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Sketchbook HarvestNanofiction

Fudge Warfare

Standing on a chair by the stove, the boy followed his mom's fudge recipe. Down in the saucepan, bubbles formed around the smooth chocolate lake, like enemy troops massing on the borders. "Back!" commanded the spoon, beating the evil bubbles into submission. But eventually the spoon is overwhelmed! The mouth and stomach vowed future retaliation.

#12's Nanofics

New this week:
The Last Session Of Congress


"There's only plastic between us."
- a parrot and Gina

Cool Words

futilitarian (fyoo-till'-ih-tair'-ee-an) n. one who believes that human striving is futile

Haiku Reviews

Galaxy Quest :-)

If I commanded
a spaceship I wouldn't go
back to Earth so soon.
Daddy-O's Reviews

The Hudsucker Proxy

When Waring Hudsucker, founder of the incredibly successful Hudsucker Industries, unexpectedly merges with the Infinite, a mail room flunky and would-be Idea Man is suddenly made president of the company. Can his idea for an extruded plastic dingus ("You know, for kids!") save the suddenly foundering Blue Chip giant? Set on New Year's Eve in 1958 (and made in 1994), this surreal tale of turmoil at a major corporation is my favorite of the many fine films by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Tirade's Choice

The Obscure Store
Fruits of Chaos
The Grey Labyrinth
#12's Webcomic picks

Thursday, December 30, 1999
by the Wunderland Toast Society

New this week:

What's New? On the Eve of Y2K

Dude, this has been like a really super-intense week for us, and so much has happened that I'm not even sure where to begin. I guess I'll start with an Executive Summary. First, there was that whole Xmas thing; ours was totally hectic, but also absolutely wonderful. We got everything we wanted, and then some, and we gave out lotsa neat stuff, including Beta release copies of our new game Q-Turn, for which we've been getting both praise and constructive criticisms. Then, just as we were settling in to play with our new toys for the week, Leslie flew in from Texas. She'll be here for 3 weeks, helping us do some long term planning, and putting together a business plan for us. Oh, I forgot to mention that Green Bean decided to have a go at gnawing off his own leg, forcing Kristin and Alison to spend a few hours in Injured-Pet-on-Christmas-Eve Hell. And now, Y2K is upon us, and of course we've left our stock-piling until the last minute, which means we've had to fight the crowds at the Price Club in order to stock up on things... anyway, it's been a very busy week for us, as usual. How were your holidays?

And now for some details...

Green Bean: Alison's little Quaker parrot got into trouble again this week, by scratching that itch on his leg so much that it bled, and then some. We're not sure why he did this (although he has been a feather picker for as long as we've known him...). It was so severe it necessitated a trip to the only emergency vet in town accepting patients on Xmas Eve. She put his leg into a soft little cast-like bandage and sentenced him to two weeks in an "Elizabethan" collar. So it looks like he'll be OK. And while this wasn't at all how the girls wanted to spend the last shopping day before the holiday, at least theirs wasn't the drama they witnessed at the emergency animal hospital... a guy with an injured dog came in, followed by the driver of the car that had hit him, and Green Bean's treatment had to wait as the hospital staff raced to keep the animal alive.

Christmas Eve: I've been living a nocturnal lifestyle for a year or two now, partly because it allows for maximum efficiency and partly because I like it, but while I routinely stay up all night, I had never kept the night watch on Christmas eve itself until this year. I really enjoyed it. There's something magical about being up all night on this night of nights, especially if you're actively working on creating Christmas magic, like I was, wrapping gifts and making fudge until dawn. It's great being awake at 5:30 am on Christmas morning, with everyone else in the house still asleep, knowing that people everywhere (or at least everywhere in my timezone) are starting to wake up, starting to experience the joy of Xmas morning. And you feel this great connection to everyone else, as you think about the excitement and anticipation they're all feeling at this time. It's like when the Grinch stood at the top of Mount Crumpit, ready to dump the toys, waiting to hear the first sounds of distress from Whoville below (except without that whole Grinch element). Come to think of it, it seems like all the best Christmas stories revolve around pulling an all-nighter... first, of course, there's that night of Grinchly mischief; then there's Scrooge, who stays up all night hobnobbing with the Spirits, George Bailey, who spends the night experiencing a world in which he never existed, and finally Santa himself, the ultimate grave-shifter, who accomplishes an entire year's work in one very productive evening. So it kind of seems like Christmas magic can really only happen in the wee small hours of the night, on this longest of all nights in the year (more or less). And that's what I was thinking about as I worked through the night on Christmas morning this year. It was cool. I think it will become a new tradition for me.

Christmas Day: We had just a totally great Christmas. Actually, it was more like 4 Xmases, since we celebrated the season with family at several different outposts, followed by our own, which we ended up postponing until Boxing Day. We got a bountiful assortment of cool gifts (and of course, the occasional clunker) and while I'm tempted to describe all the nifty new toys I got, I think I'm going to skip it, since there's so much other stuff to talk about this week. However, I will say this: Yellow Submarine Action Figures!

Q-Turn Rules v1.1: By now, many of you will have received a holiday gift from us, in the form of a pre-release copy of our new game Q-Turn. We've been getting lots of e-mail about it, and the consensus is that it's pretty cool... but that it's also just a little too prone to stalemates and king-making. We actually already knew that... that's why we included a little note in with this Beta release run, indicating that the rules will probably change slightly before the final release. But while Q-Turn does still need a little work, it's nothing that won't shake out with tweaking and added playtesting... and if you've got one of the pre-release copies, you can try out the latest changes to the rules, which are as follows:

  • No passing: you must Move, Bounce, or Turn. (And no 360 degree turns, either.)
  • Double Arrows permits *only* a 90 degree CCW turn of some *other* disk.

Let us know how it plays! Our Mad Lab Rabbits all got the Beta release, and they've already been discussing it on the Rabbits mailing list...

Leslie Burgoyne: We met Leslie a little over a year ago at a conference, and judged each other to be Cool. She's a senior at the University of North Texas, and since she's majoring in Business Management, and we're a young business seeking to grow, Leslie's become very interested in helping to craft our company's 5-year plan. She's spending her winter break with us, living, eating, and breathing the Looney Labs corporate philosophy, asking us lots of questions, and giving us writing assignments. The hope is that when she goes back to Texas in 3 weeks, we'll have a detailed business plan in hand that we can use to pursue a full-fledged business loan, and considering how aggressively our new Winter Intern has been digging into the task so far, I'm guessing we'll succeed.

Naturally, Leslie has all sorts of questions about our plans, our market, and in particular, our customers. And while we're not completely clueless about these things, we also concluded that we don't know as much about our customer demographics as we ought to, so we decided to pass her questions along to you. New this week is an online survey of Game-Player's Demographics. If you play games, please take a few moments to tell us a little bit about your game playing and buying habits. It will be very helpful to us as we work on writing our business plan. Thanks!

New Year's Eve: It sounds like most of America is now planning to just stay home for this massive milestone, and well, so are we. We're just gonna hang out, playing videogames on the Bridge's wonderfully-refurbished viewing screen, and waiting to see if the power goes out at midnight. Or perhaps we'll watch the Hudsucker Proxy. Where will you be?

Happy Y2K!!Andy

New Iceland cartoonthe story so far

Thought Residue
"Failure should never lead to despair, for despair looks only to the past, in business, and in love. The Future is NOW." - Waring Hudsucker's final Blue Letter
Anybody wanna buy a used digital camera? I got another one for Christmas (thanks Marv and Elaine!) but my old one is still in fine shape and it takes great, high-rez pictures. It's an AGFA ePhoto 1280... make me an offer?
The new Tomb Raider game ("The Last Revelation") is great! They just keep getting better and better. The new game's introductory tutorial is wonderfully immersive, and is fun even if you already know how to play. It features Lara as a teenager in pigtails, training in the field with her mentor, Professor Werner Von Croy.

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