Geeks Doing Good.

Comic


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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Hi Mindy

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It seems we hire people right at the beginning of the fundraiser. Rachel started the week before last year's fundraiser, and for some reason, she didn't rage quit. Mindy seems pretty laid back amid all our running around, panicking, and general hair-pulling, so we're confident she'll flourish!

Mindy's here to help Amanda do all the Amanda things she does. As Pat's personal assistant (sometimes known as "The Amanda"), she tends to get pulled in a bunch of different directions at once, sometimes by the core Worldbuilders team. It's really not her job to help us with Worldbuilders things, but she does anyway, because she's awesome.

So far, Mindy has also been awesome. The worst thing about having her around the office is the temptation to call her Junior The Amanda, but we're above that.

Except for just now. Temptation is soooo tempting.

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Fundraiser Chaos

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The 2015 Annual Fundraiser is officially on!

There's been a lot of running around, coordinating, and mind-changing leading up to our launch this year, and as such, there's been a little friction. We're not gonna lie, we're human, and there's a lot of plates to spin for a group of only four-plus-Pat. It ain't easy, but it's SO worth it!

Luckily, we have a way to relieve stress. And it does wonders.

*no Mindy's were harmed in the making of this comic.

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Delightfully Lost

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While we're not technically in the exact middle of the fundraiser, we're hard at work keeping up with all the brilliant stuff going on around us!

Maria has been running the show, coordinating with friends and creators to get stretch goals together, keeping everybody and everything organized, and generally making sure we all stay on top of things.  Rachel has been taking photos, helping Brett with auctions, answering email questions, unpacking boxes and boxes of donated books, and taking over when Maria has to step out. Both of them probably get this image in their heads every time they come up for air.

It seems like every year we get a little better at running a fundraiser, and that confidence inspires us to try a bunch of new things, which once again gets overwhelming. When will we learn? Heh...hopefully never.

Thank you everyone for joining us again to support Heifer International!

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Power's Out

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This happened last week. We were all in the kitchen/breakroom for lunch, and everyone was using all the appliances so we could sit down and eat/hold our employee meeting. At the time, we had the garbage disposal running, two toasters going, two microwaves on, the fridge open, and then Amanda tried using the electric start for the stove burner. And that's when the lights went out.

Brett and Adam checked the breakers, but nothing showed as tripped. They flipped a couple (nothing was expressly labeled "kitchen"), but the lights didn't come back on. It was really weird. Then Rachel struck fear into everybody by announcing that we couldn't have lunch. Like, stark fear. The sort of fear that you feel to the core of your being.

We're talking "that wasn't a fart" fear.

But Maria did some weird little dance, and the lights came back on, and we had lunch. We love a happy ending. And food. Mostly food, because the happy ending just sort of follows

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Let's Get this Finished

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Everybody here wears a lot of hats (sometimes literally, but in this case, no). During the fundraiser, Brett gets to wrangle auctions while Rachel takes the photos and Mindy does shipping and updates all the databases with Rachel. Maria has to stay on top of everything--she organizes and coordinates stretch goals, handles donation requests, and keeps Pat and the rest of us on task. Amanda does a little of everything (usually while on fire), like helping organize blogs, troubleshoot livestreams, and handle press and publicity requests.

With all of us running around trying to stay on top of things, sacrifices are made. It usually falls to Maria to decide what goes, and Brett just has too much video editing and overall content-generation to get done. Ironically, the comic is content, but consider it mostly generated.

Side note: Pat has always had a fondness for sketches. He will request that Brett not finish illustrations sometimes, just because he likes that hands-on feel. Don't tell him this comic was still drawn entirely in Photoshop.

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Mindy's Day

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We hired Mindy mostly to help Amanda with all the Amanda things she does, but during the fundraiser everyone's been leaning on her a little too much. Whenever we have another thing to tackle, the default plan is, "Mindy can do that." And Mindy never told us no, so on any given day, she does a random grab bag of tasks. And she's always cheerful.

It's really weird...

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Second Wind

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We always forget how draining our annual fundraiser is, with all the running around, juggling multiple tasks from all directions, and just keeping up with this huge ball we got rolling. We really were looking forward to today being our last day of the fundraiser.

Then over the weekend, we got the call from Heifer International: they had $200,000 of matching funds to use, and were we interested?

We'll admit, we kind of saw that big relief escape our grasp and fly to the horizon. But we also saw the opportunity to help more families become self-sufficient, and $200,000 alone ($400,000 when you consider it's matching the incoming donations) will help a TON of people.

It was a no-brainer: one more week of our time is nothing compared to what we can accomplish. If you've got an extra $10, not only can you squeeze one more entry into our prize drawing, but Heifer will bump it up to $20, and that's a flock of ducks. We love ducks.

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Happy Dances 3: Thanks a Million!

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We don't have anything else to say that we haven't already told you guys: You are the BEST. Thanks to you, we raised $1,275,170.00 for Heifer International during this year's fundraiser. There was a lot of happy dancing around the office! So one more time, because we never get sick of saying it--thank you all so much for donating to Worldbuilders. Happy dances all around!

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Amanda's Computer

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Last week, Amanda was having some issues--she had a Skype call with Pat, and Skype wasn't updating. It wouldn't open until it updated, but her computer was being a punk and things were just not working. Usually the call of "Jeeeeffffffff!" would ring out, but he was busy, so Amanda got Brett instead.

Literally, Brett was just trying to open the Services panel to restart the Skype updater. Amanda's computer didn't respond when he clicked the Search bar. He was halfway through typing "services" before he realized it. So he clicked again. And again. Amanda told him to be patient while her computer caught up, and he started to get that horrifying realization that Amanda was used to a disturbingly slow computer.

Everything worked out--Skype updated and Amanda didn't miss the call. But we're thinking her computer might be an unnecessary stressor in her life, since it certainly gave Brett some nightmares. Steps may need to be taken.

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Teamwork

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We don't have a loading dock in our current building, so when UPS comes to pick up over a hundred "gold bags" for a bulk shipment, this is how we get 'em out the door. Someone (usually Rachel) runs through the office like Paul Revere to tell everyone UPS is here, and it's all hands on deck.

We've gotten depressingly good at this over the years...

One thing that kind of warmed our hearts was when our UPS driver (we've had the same guy since we moved in here, and he's super nice) told us he really appreciated that we were the only stop that actually helped him load packages. We thought he was kidding. So of course, that just makes us work harder to get him loaded and on his way, because now we've set a precedent!

...and also, because we have a ridiculous number of packages sometimes, and there's no way one guy can get all that done in the time he has.

But all the lottery prizes are now in the mail, due to a few daisy-chains like this one. Thank you all for a wonderful fundraiser!

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Post Office Run

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On their way out the door to the post office, Adam and Nicole are in the habit of asking everyone if we need any last minute supplies. The post office is downtown, so it makes sense. In the past, they've brought back emergency toilet paper and copy paper. Most of the time we don't need anything, but they always ask.

While this specific thing didn't actually happen, Adam tends to pull the comic switcheroo like this all the time. And what's worse is he keeps a straight face. It's horrible. We seriously can't trust anything he says. He'll say something out of the blue, and we'll say, "Really?" and he'll say, "No." But he might be lying. In protest, Amanda has stopped listening to him altogether.

Side note: Radio KAOS Records is the local record shop. A few of us still buy physical media instead of downloads, so Radio KAOS is our one-stop shop for that sort of thing. If you're in town, he's in a corner shop on main street, across from the library.

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Cold Enough For Ya?

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Winter this year was great until about January. Now we've hit the negative temperatures (fourteen below is -26 celsius, and no, we're not kidding), Maria and Brett have had to deal with frozen water pipes, half of our cars don't start any more, and the air makes everything seem brittle.

Why do we live here, again?

We make fun of Jeff a lot for being from the south, even though his family is originally from Wisconsin. But he's been down south long enough to have an accent, so we tend to be mean sometimes. And what's meaner than trotting out the age-old Wisconsin-ism, "Cold enough for ya?" If it was in the middle of one of our horrible, so-humid-you-can't-breathe summers, all the old folks would say, "Hot enough for ya?"

....WHY do we live here, again?

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Slow Down

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Now that the fundraiser's over, we don't know what to do with ourselves. We got used to doing everything as quickly as possible because there was just so much to get done, and now suddenly it's over. We don't have to update the Lottery Library. We don't have to get auctions together. Mindy can actually breathe instead of update the Pat-O-Matic every fifteen minutes.

Amanda still catches herself refreshing the Worldbuilders home page to see if the thermometer has moved, but we've fitted her with a shock collar to curb those impulses (don't worry, it's purple, so she likes it).

Thanks to you guys, this year was far and away the best fundraiser ever! Together we raised over $1,275,000 for Heifer International, and once again, you guys absolutely knocked it out of the park. Now we can all slow down and chew our food, knowing that we've helped feed thousands of people who needed it. Y'all are the best!

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Happy Dances 3: Thanks a Million!

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We don't have anything else to say that we haven't already told you guys: You are the BEST.

Thanks to you, we raised $1,275,170.00 for Heifer International during this year's fundraiser. There was a lot of happy dancing around the office!

So one more time, because we never get sick of saying it--thank you all so much for donating to Worldbuilders. Happy dances all around!

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Start the Year Right!

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We're not sure exactly how he rang in the new year, but Brett has a cold, and the rest of us want none of that action. So he's spending the day working from home. He did send us this comic, though, so we think we might know his feelings on the whole "Stay home until you're better" situation...

Aww....he misses us! We miss him too, but--and we say this out of love:

PLAGUE MONKEYS STAY OUT!

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Instructions Unclear

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We use a bunch of different packing material in the store and during fundraiser fulfillment, but the bane of all our existence is the fitted boxes. These are little plus-shaped boxes with scored flaps that we can wrap (tightly) around a bubble-wrapped book all snug and cozy and horrible.

The fitted boxes require no less than five arms to keep control of, since you have to keep them pressed closed as you tape around them. And you can't just tape down a couple flaps--you have to wrap tape around the middle, then the long end, then the edges (so rain and debris can't get in)...and by the time you're done packing one book, your hands are worn down to little nubs and very likely taped to the outside of the box.

But fitted boxes offer the same protection and cost waaaay less to ship, so that's what we use. And if you should ever receive your package in a fitted box, please wear eye protection when opening it.

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