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Sketchbook HarvestNanofiction

I Was Even Named After Gagarin

Rather than tamper with our own nation's history, my first mission was to prevent the assassination of an American president, in 1981. Ironically, this caused the collapse of the Soviet Union -- and erased the Kazamastan Chronodrome from existence. So now I work for the Time Repair Agency, fixing paradoxes. (I'll get a promotion after ten...)

#12's Nanofics

New this week:
But Tomorrow Is Another Day


"OK, the awful horrible rule is that a koan has the Buddha nature if it has two and only two flat pieces pointing at nothing." - me

Cool Words

lavalier (lav'-vuh-leer', lah'-vuh-leer') n. a pendant on a fine chain that is worn as a necklace [fr. Fr lavalliere: necktie with a large bow]

Haiku Reviews

The Land Before Time :|
We dinosaurs must
stick together to survive,
and then go extinct.

Daddy-O's Reviews


Maybe I'd have a better appreciation for this movie if I'd seen it in a theater instead of just half-watching it on Comedy Central (or if I were a kid) but somehow, I doubt it. Obviously I love toys and appreciate the film's (heavy-handed) anti-war message, and of course I love surreal stuff, so on the face of it, you'd think I'd like this. But it's just really stupid. It's trying to be a Willy Wonka-sort of a thing, except with a toy manufacturer instead of a chocolate factory, but while that story was charming, this film is idiotic.

Tirade's Choice

The Tiki Bar Review Page
Fruits of Chaos
Interface Hall of Shame
#12's Webcomic picks
Dizzy Dustbin
Update Delayed: Sorry loyal readers, this week's update will be a few days late! I'm up against a deadline that I don't want to miss, namely the Patent Office's one-year filing ruling. That's right, now that it's the last minute, I'm finally working on the IceTowers patent application, and I'm not going to do this update until I get that finished up. So check back here sometime this the weekend, or getcherself on the weekly update mailing list to be notified by email when this week's update is really done. In the meantime, go read the GinohnNews, and if you're really bored, check out this back issue from a year ago, when I gave myself the deadline I'm dealing with this week. And keep the Chrononauts playtest reactions coming! I'm listening to the discussions with great fascination and I have many things to say, but I've got to focus on patent law right now. More later... -- Andy

Almost Thursday, July 20, 2000
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Origins Rocked!

This has been one heck of a week, a week so intense and amazing that phrases like "one heck of a week" and "intense and amazing" just completely fail to convey what sort of week it's been. We've just returned from one of our best gaming events ever. Certainly it was our best in financial terms (our sales volume at Origins 2000 was nearly 4 times that of our previous best) but it was also just the most enjoyable and all-around successful thing we've done in years, perhaps ever. It was just an absolute triumph for us.

Just as we've done in the previous 3 years, we had a booth in the exhibit hall where we sold our games and offered demos. But this year, we also had an additional, much larger gaming & demo space, in a separate location called the Union Room. This was a breakthrough for us, a major improvement in our offerings, our options, and our image. Here we were able to provide on-going open demo gaming, interspersed with 15 tournament events, in a large, lounge-style setting, something no in-booth demo space can ever match. And since these events were considered "content" by the convention, they gave us all the space we needed for free, instead of charging us by the square foot like they do in the Exhibit Hall. Our bigger-than-ever staff of volunteers kept this space running all day for the entire show, officiating at frequent (and sometimes crowded) tourneys and teaching hoards of people how to play just some of the many cool games we sell, all the while telling us they were having a great time doing it. (Thanks everyone! We obviously couldn't have done it without you! Glad you had such a great time!)

This year we returned (with a vengeance) to our tradition of running a big tournament and handing out unique Olympics-style medallions to the winners. But instead of a two-day Icehouse tournament, it was a 4-day string of tourneys for 5 different Icehouse games, along with the Fluxx World Championships and other events too, with not 6 but 38 handsome prize medallions. Check out the updated Medallion Gallery for Dan Efran's fabulous original artwork and the names of all the winners. Also, we finally decided to really embrace our scientific background and the laboratory part of our name by outfitting our team with white lab coats and calling this series of events the Big Experiment. This too worked out really, really well -- we quickly became recognized as the team in the white lab coats, as our members were seen moving back and forth between the booth in the Exhibit Hall and the events in the Union room.

We also ran numerous other promotions and attention-getting devices, including a beautiful full-color Icehouse ad on the back cover of the on-site program book, freebies like a special set of 5 new Fluxx Goals made just for this event and wooden nickels with a picture of Tirade worth $5 off the cost of an Icehouse set, and one of those "guess how many jelly beans are in the jar" type contests except using a jar filled with Icehouse pieces.

Origins also marked the official unveiling of Chrononauts, and I'm just delighted to report that people LOVED it! We sold about a third of our entire print run of Beta edition copies at the show (although we didn't sell out, so if you haven't gotten one yet, place your order now! (and if you've already placed an order recently, please be patient, we're still trying to get caught up on the outgoing packages)) and of course, people were playing it constantly throughout the weekend. The increased playtesting has already revealed a few glitches (see the new Rules Updates page and join the new discussion list if you've got one of the Beta copies, so you can keep up with the current ruleset) but on the whole it's testing exceedingly well. As you might expect, time travel enthusiasts in particular were thrilled by the new game, and I'm pleased to say that even a couple of history teachers saw and it and thought it not just good, but A+ material; but best of all, it's passing the all important fun-test, and not just with fans of the subject matter, but with everyone... people love this game! Several times I came upon people just randomly playing it somewhere (I love it when that happens) and they were all having an absolutely great time. I think this one's gonna do really well for us!

Then of course there was Gargantuan Icehouse, Mike Sugarbaker's mind-blowing surprise. Just go look at the pictures.

On the downside, nothing's ever perfect, and this week was no exception. No sooner did we start distributing Chrononauts than we started getting complaints about collation errors (if you got one, make sure you have all 15 numbered sheets, and let us know if you don't) and on Thursday night we had a crisis: as Alison was driving out to the event, the transmission in her mini-van went out again. This was the last straw for her in a long struggle she's been having with her cranky old vehicle; she's always said she'd junk the dang thing if the transmission failed again, and as feared it went out big time, making the car totally undriveable, leaving poor Alison stuck all alone by the side of the road with a cargo bay full of product at the West Virginia/Ohio border. Long story short, she found refuge with a nice older couple nearby (thanks Georgetta & Bill!) and in the morning our friend Scott drove off to rescue her and help her deal with junking a dead car in the middle of nowhere. (Thanks Scott!)

But of all the joys and enjoyments of Origins, perhaps the greatest was the chance to meet and hang out with so many of our internet-based fans, finally getting faces to go with the names we've gotten used to seeing a lot of, on our mailing lists, and in our outgoing mailbins. This sentiment was widely shared, and has oft been echoed in the notes and emails we've been getting from the friends and fans we met and made at the Big Experiment this year.

Origins was such a huge event for us that catching up afterwards has been an overwhelming task all it's own. (For example, sorry to be late with this report, but I got it done just as fast as I could!) On top of all that, we're finally launching the cool new website that toK has been secretly building for us since (gosh when did she start working on this?), featuring really cool artwork that Alison's been working on ever since we got back from Ohio. Check it out at!

AndyRemember Peter McWilliams!

New Iceland cartoonthe story so far

Thought Residue
My dad checked into the hospital today, for tests that could have mandated an angioplasty; but his arteries are clearer than expected - he got to go home early!
The Kahiki (the self-proclaimed "Most Beautiful Polynesian Supper Club in the World") is being torn down... to make room for a Walgreens! They plan to re-open in downtown Columbus, but I can't believe they'll ever be able to recapture the glory of this important historic landmark. And to think we couldn't get in on Sunday night because they were so crowded!
Portugal has decriminalized marijuana!

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