Geeks Doing Good.


Hole Punch

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Okay, we work in an office. Office environments tend to have office supplies. But Mindy had zero luck last week finding a hole punch. She needed to punch three holes. Just three. And everyone was pretty sure we had a single-hole punch lying around somewhere, but nobody could agree on exactly where it was. Eventually, Mindy just went out and bought one (which she has secreted away in her desk somewhere), but not before Brett decided to not be helpful at all.

There's a long-running question in the office about who has the market cornered on dad jokes. Jeff is ahead only because he's an actual dad, but Brett does his best to offend our sensibilities, and that's not nothing.

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Watching Weight

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We're claiming accurate artistic liberty on this. The doughnuts were actually brought in by Chris, who volunteered for us a couple times earlier in the 2016 fundraiser. He showed up with two boxes of beautiful doughnuts made of and decorated with all sorts of delightful things. Unfortunately, half the office had just started Weight Watchers to keep themselves in check through the holiday season. This did not stop anybody from eating the doughnuts, they just disappeared in smaller increments.

The "accurate" part of the artistic liberty here is that Jeff would TOTALLY DO THIS TO US.


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Artistic License

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There's a lot to do around here with the fundraiser in full swing, so Brett couldn't spend as much time on the comic as usual. When Amanda called him on cutting some obvious corners, he got unapologetically artistic at her. She called him on that, too.

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Con Zombies!

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We had a blast at GenCon 2015! You guys were awesome (as usual). It was great meeting the folks who stopped by to say hi, Brett & Rachel loved hanging out with Marc, Molly, and all the awesome folks at the Writer's Symposium, Maria talked to a few potential sponsors, and Nicole sent a ton of work back to Adam, who stayed behind to hold the fort with Jeff while we were away. It was great catching up with our friends at iEllo and Badali Jewelry, much food was consumed, we got to hang out with the lovely & horrible people at Cards Against Humanity, Dungeons were Trued...

With Janelle from Badali Jewelry no less!

...and we all came home with new games we can't wait to play.

Also, Anton Strout isn't the flesh-rending demon of flatulent despair that Pat led us to believe.

Who knew? But all this will happen Later. Right now, we're really, really tired. Having fun really takes it out of you! Thanks to everyone who went out of their way to chat, all the folks who were excited to hop on board as new sponsors, and all the Con organizers who kept on top of our many questions. Y'all rock!

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Appropriate Response

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We're not even exaggerating here. This really happened.

Maybe Amanda didn't say all these things, but when Jeff opened the invoice for the 2016 Karen Hallion calendars, all he said was, "Oh, that's not right." The rest of us watched Amanda's eyes widen and all manner of different kinds of anxiety flicker across her face. She may not have said all this out loud, but she really really thought it. All she actually said was a very measured, very delicate, "Um. Jeff? What...Um, what's going on?"

The bill was lower than we expected. Not by a lot, but by enough that Jeff noticed the numbers were off. That was all that concerned him--the possibility that the math may be wrong. But in Amanda's mind, we were already on fire and sinking.

That makes Amanda the best personal assistant ever, and it also makes us all really glad we're not her.

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Post It's 4: the Betrayal

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 A few weeks ago, Nicole had a crisis of conscience. She walked into Maria's office specifically to get it off her chest: she was a bad person.

Nicole explained that, with no other option, she used a (more expensive) accordion-folded Post-It Note to dispose of her gum. She felt really really bad about it, and was worried that we would all judge her mercilessly for it.

She was right. We made a comic out of it. Consider yourself judged, Nicole! JUDGED!!

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Trina the Cyclone...Still Spinning

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This happens a lot around here. We'll all break for lunch, and we'll pretty much take our entire half hour. We'll have our employee meeting between bites, then let the conversation devolve into geeky discussions (we had a 45-minute argument about the Oxford comma once).

Everyone except Trina. She'll eat something, then get right back to work. Her lunches last about five minutes. We have to force her to sit back down and take a break.

In reality, these conversations happened. The Blade Runner conversation actually happened last Friday, since Trina had finally watched it for the first time and everyone was comparing notes. To be fair, Trina did participate in the conversation. But this strip is usually how things go--we'll be deep into a discussion about how realiable a narrator Kvothe really is, and we'll realize that Trina is actually getting stuff done without us.

Our IndieGoGo guest strips start next week--don't miss 'em!

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The Volunteers are Here!

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Please welcome Hans, Donny, and Hunter! They’ll be with us every day this week as they help us send out everyone’s perks from the IndieGoGo campaign! As for their own perks, the comics are one of ‘em!

We want to thank these guys for being good sports and basically letting Brett poke fun at them with very little supervision. That was pretty brave. We also want to once again thank all our IndieGoGo supporters for making this year our best one so far!

In “real life,” we’re making good headway on the perks, with our poor UPS guy picking up a few hundred packages every day. Maria, Rachel, and Trina are heading up a revolving door of volunteers and the rest of the Worldbuilders team to get everything sorted, wrapped, packed, and properly labeled. Updates can be found about every other week on the Worldbuilders blog, but we'll tell you right now, things are going swimmingly.

And now we have three virtual volunteers to help! Woo-hoo!

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Talk with the Hands

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As someone who also talks with his hands, Brett was happy to hear that Donny and Hunter also suffer from that speech habit. Brett has been drawing nonstop to get these comics done while Rachel, Maria, and Trina bust out perk fulfillment.

He keeps asking them if they need help, and they keep reminding him that, technically, he is doing perk fulfillment.

We’ve been careful to remind him every couple hours to take a break, and maybe help load the UPS truck or re-palletize boxes. It’s usually when we catch him rubbing his eyes and letting blood flow back into his drawing arm. We can kind of tell it’s time to pull him away from the Cintiq and reconnect him with the real world...

More and more of you should start receiving your perks pretty soon. Feel free to share photos on our Facebook page and Twitter feed! We're super happy with how they all turned out, and we're excited to see how you guys like 'em!

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That's my Favorite Line!

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Since it’s not possible to introduce Pat to our “volunteers” in person, we figured we’d at least do it virtually. And maybe get another Trina joke in.

This is pretty much what the office looks like right now: everyone running around, hauling boxes of perks upstairs or downstairs as needed, restocking boxes and poly mailers, sorting and double-checking UPS labels, and juggling spreadsheets. A lot of that is still Rachel, Maria, and Trina, and with Pat out of town, Amanda’s been deputized as well.

Maria really does lift that much. Really.
The Chinese line is from the Firefly episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds”, and apparently translates as, “My god and all her crazy nephews" (according to the script), or more accurately, "My mom and all her crazy nephews." Thanks Crispina!
Donny’s shirt says “Mal Shot First.”
We’re worried we’re giving Trina a complex. She’s really very sweet in real life.

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Aikido Packing in a Dirty Warehouse...

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The very first time we got a huge shipment of donations in, Nicole was horrified to find an easily measurable layer of grime on the top of one of the pallets. Most of us had worked in warehouses or with bulk shipments before, so we were very aware that warehouses aren't the cleanest places in the world. But the products are safe, wrapped in plastic inside taped-shut cardboard boxes, so a layer of industrial...well, dust, doesn't really matter.

Cut to today, when we have our own "warehouse" (really just the climate-controlled basement of the Worldbuilders office). Our storage area is actually pretty clean, but the boxes we get aren't always dust-free. After a lot of unpacking, repacking, and stacking, folks will be able to tell if you scritched your itchy nose recently.

Most of the time, when we're moving boxes around, it's just Something You Have To Do. Hunter, who's always pretty darn cheerful, seems to have figured out a way to make it fun and get some Aikido practice in. Rock on!

Don’t worry, all our perks are packed to the nines and ready to withstand way more than a few throws. Nicole is obsessively particular about how things are packed around here. We’re not even kidding.

If we have a weird thing to ship, we’ll approach her and say, “Hey, Nicole--weird thing,” and hand it to her. She’ll heft it once, then say something like, “Use a 12x10x2 with peanuts and send it USPS Priority because it’s $2.38 cheaper than the next best shipping price.” And we walk away in a strange, impressed daze.

Don’t mess with Nicole and her shipment process.

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Fond Farewell

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It's time to say a bittersweet goodbye to our three volunteers! Bitter because Hunter, Donny, and Hans were a joy to have around (even virtually), and we'll miss them. Sweet because PIZZA!

In case you hadn't checked the Worldbuilders blog yesterday, we have to tell you that fulfillment is going epically well! Like, seriously. All the perks are in and sorted, and we've been sending out hundreds of boxes each day. Folks have started to get their perks, and we posted a few of their tweets as well. While there are still some perks to ship out, we're well past the halfway point and starting to see a few tabletops and empty shelves.

More trivia: Maria is wearing the same top she had on when our guests arrived. Her sister gave it to her, and she really likes it.Hans’s Chinese dialogue says, “I promise I’ll watch ‘Firefly.’” We're really sorry for the mechanical translation...Trina can call lightning. This is a true fact.

Keep those Facebook posts and tweets coming--we love to see your loot arrived safely! And cats. We like seeing cats as well.

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Art Lesson

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After cranking out a week's worth of comics last week for our guests, Brett decided to teach someone else how to do it so he could grab a rest. Everyone was pretty busy, except for a largely underappreciated pool of talent.

Of course, we're wondering who's getting schooled, here. Not everyone can just crank out a Manet on demand.

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Trina's Lament

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Trina was a little horrified that we made her the bad guy a couple weeks ago, but she maybe brought it on herself. A little. Not the bad guy part, the workaholic part. We've seriously come to work and not realized that Trina's already here working, because she's just so darn quiet. She's the first to leave the table after lunch. She visited Amanda at home last week, and when she entered the kitchen, she immediately ran over and straightened Amanda's wall clock.

Trina puts herself under tremendous pressure to get work done. This is great for us (and our IndieGoGo supporters, since Trina's been cranking out fulfillment like a small, tie-dyed monster), but we worry that she'll burn out. Apparently she works for fun, and that's just not healthy.*

Don't worry. We'll figure out a way to get her to slack off, but we promise we'll wait until all the IndieGoGo perks are out the door. We love our Trina, but we love you guys too!

*Full disclosure: we all kind of do that. There's usually someone here on the weekend, and we're all guilty of working remotely after hours. But this strip is about Trina.

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Brett's on Vacation...

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Brett is grabbing a week off before planning for the annual fundraiser kicks in, but he totally forgot to do some comics in advance. Totally. This was in no way planned in advance. Adam took time out of his busy day to fill in. We're thinking Brett might need to pass the torch after this one.

The subtle nuance of the line work, the expertly rendered expressions and body language...Adam has a bright future ahead of him. Don't worry, we'll figure something out that Brett can do to contribute. We might send him out for coffee once in awhile. But no doughnuts--doughnuts should only be purchased by people who know what they're doing.

Maybe this all sounds mean, but we need to get the digs in before Brett's back from vacation. Not because he'll care, particularly, but because it's more fun this way.

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Adam is Funny

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Even though Brett's back from vacation, it looks like his head isn't back in the game yet. We'll forgive him. The biggest souvenir he brought back was a cold.

Amanda might seem less than receptive, but really, she's usually the one who has to be the adult around here. If something isn't working, it's up to her or Maria to stop the rest of us and get us back on track. She doesn't like being the bad guy, but if someone's going to call out Brett on his shenanigans, it's going to be her. Or Maria, but Maria usually just gives him that angry librarian look.

And with Brett back, Adam's gone for a week because he got married or something like that. (Hi Adam!) So while he keeps his former pre-wife laughing during their time off, Brett will have to take over the comic from him. Sorry.

But it was a great wedding, and we managed to collect most of the Worldbuilders team for a photo:

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Let's Make Fun of Jeff

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This happens all the time. Jeff is our accountant. He does numbers. He's also from Texas, so the accent is a thing.

Unfortunately for Jeff, it's a thing that gives Amanda and Maria endless amounts of joy. They will actively try to trick him into saying the word "ten" because he pronounces it "tin." And then they laugh and laugh. And Jeff rolls his eyes.

It's gotten so bad that Jeff has started to come up with mathematical phrases that equal ten, and he'll say those instead, thus ruining EVERYTHING. Apparently, there can be NO FUN in the Worldbuilders office. None.

Thanks a lot, Jeff.

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Hank Green is a Nice Guy

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So this did and didn't happen. We had the Worldbuilders booth set up in the vendor hall at NerdCon: Stories this past weekend, and on the second day, Hank Green came around and talked with everybody one-on-one, just to see how their weekend was going, if they needed anything, and if they had any suggestions. It was super nice of him. Amanda didn't have a fangirl meltdown, though. We think it's because she got it out of her system--Hank had already hugged her twice by that time.

NerdCon: Stories was a TON of fun. We were crazy busy, but in the best way. Everyone who stopped by the booth was really cool, and we got the chance to talk to a bunch of you, catch you up on IndieGoGo shipments (they're all sent!), hear your awesome stories (one very cool couple met during the Name of the Wind poker deck Kickstarter (hi Tim and Allison!)), and generally enjoy meeting you guys face to face.

Brett drew caricatures for a few shifts, and everyone loved seeing weird drawings of themselves--to the point of a few folks asking when his next shift was. Adam tag-teamed a gaming table with Amanda's boyfriend Nate that featured Pairs, Boss Monster, and King of Tokyo, and the table was packed solid the whole time. Y'all really love your games!

We also got to hang out with our friends Janelle and Minka from Badali Jewelry, and that's always a great time. We know we talk a lot about our sponsors, but we probably don't come clean about how fun it really is to hang out with them. We told Janelle they have to move Badali closer to Wisconsin so we can hang out more. She said she would, but the jewelers would have one heck of a commute each day, so it might not work so well.

These particular weirdos are Adam, Janelle, Maria, Rachel, Minka, and Nicole.

Thank you everyone--supporters, attendees, con organizers, and participating authors & performers--for an awesome con!

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Cleaning with Cinder

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So while we spent the week cleaning the office, Cinder was relocated to a space between racks in the Tinker's Packs stockroom, where he proceeded to startle both Nicole and Trina, who were used to him just sort of being by the door. All creepy-like. Staring.

He stayed there for most of the week until Nicole just couldn't take it and asked if we could move him to the basement. We don't really like moving him too much--not because he's creepy, but because we don't want to damage him. This guy's a museum-quality piece, after all! So Brett agreed to help carry him downstairs if Nicole grabbed his feet for a little more control.

Nicole did NOT want to touch him. Not because she was worried about damaging a museum-quality statue, but because he has blood on his boots. Valid, we'll grant that. But she got past the squeamishness and helped Brett tuck Cinder into a nice, dark corner in the basement stockroom, where we're sure he'll freak everyone out in new and interesting ways.

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Video Time!

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This is why Brett is usually behind the camera. We filmed our fundraiser video this morning, and things went pretty well, except for the guy playing horseshoes in the background. So we're not saying this particular accident actually happened. Not like this, anyway. Well, not exactly like this...

We're being mean to Maria, and we shouldn't. It's just fun to poke fun at her when she tackles something new. Maria will dive right in and start doing something, maybe swear a little at her computer (or what ever tool she's using), and then be successful. Then, after that small success, she will turn to the rest of the office and declare herself an expert in doing whatever it was she did. The celebration is always the fun part.

She had to edit one of the CSS files on our fundraising page this year. After typing in a line of code and discovering that the page now looked the way she wanted, she turned to Rachel and Brett and proudly said, "Guys, I'm totally a hacker now!" That's right. Maria's a hacker.

We promise she'll only use her massive skillz for good.

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