Geeks Doing Good.


Countdown to Baby

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Maria's excited to finally become a mother (she's had the baby rabies for a couple years now), and has a counter on the chalkboard in the Worldbuilders office to keep track of the number of days before her due date. The counter was counting down pretty undisturbed for a while, and none of us thought anything about it until Amanda reminded us that Maria isn't going to be here until her actual due date--her maternity leave starts way before then.

This caused a small amount of panic, since we're not sure what's going to happen without a Maria at the wheel. We figure nothing short of the end of the world. (We're being a little facetious--we're already planning the mid-season fundraiser, and everyone's cross-training....but still. Maria is the beating heart of Worldbuilders, and we'll miss her.)

Maria also has an adorable habit of smugly denying reality when she's happy with her own version of it. Amanda has the equally adorable habit of not letting her.

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You Can't Leave!

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It's not all falling on Rachel, but it feels like it. Maria's got about a month left to get everything sorted, then she's off to become a mom and the rest of us have to deal with it.

The office has been filled with well wishes, like, "Good luck" and "You'll make such a great mom" and "You ARE coming back, right? Right??"

Luckily for us, Maria's a workaholic, so she'll be back in the office before we know it. And we're pretty sure that even before her maternity leave ends, she'll be Skyping in, yelling at us to get our act together.

In the meantime: Rachel! Rachel, lead us! Share with us your epic vision! Why are you cowering under your desk?

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Use Your Words

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Maria juggles a lot of different projects, delegating as she sees fit. This means that at any given time, Brett and Rachel have a dozen or so projects at different steps of development, just waiting for Maria to authorize the next step or pass along more information.

Maria will sit in silence, reading email, following links, making phone calls, and generally making things happen, then she'll suddenly say something out of the blue.

However, she will not:

  • Specify which of us she's talking to
  • Mention which project it is
  • Indicate what prompted her to speak
  • Use proper nouns for context

This means she says some of the most puzzling, random things sometimes, and we have no chance of figuring it out. She has already caught herself up on the project, and is adding new information so we know what's up. But she forgets that we're not thinking the exact same thing she is.

We love Maria, so it's kind of become a thing. Rachel's reaction in the strip is exactly how it plays out.

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Clothes are Important

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As we've increased the number of charities we work with and the number of projects we take on, we kind of needed to increase our staff. We got Mindy before the annual fundraiser, and she's been awesome, but her priority is helping Pat and Amanda. We needed more people on the Worldbuilders side of things, and we haven't been able to hire anybody until now.

Say hi to Jenny! Jenny's going to be helping out with the nuts and bolts of the fundraisers: keeping them organized, working with donors and sponsors, keeping on top of orders, and handling fulfillment.

It's her first week on the job, so she's still very nice and polite. We hope she unleashes the full potential of her sarcasm and rapier wit soon. In the mean time, at least she wears pants.

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Teach Me

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This is a little mean, since Mindy is actually really good at anything we have her tackle. But we thought it was funny.

Jenny's still showing up for work, so it looks like we haven't driven her away (yay us!). We've all be passing on weird little nuggets of information, and Jenny just smiles, nods, and takes notes. She listens so well it's kind of scary.

For the next few days, Jenny will be learning a bunch of stuff in the Tinker's Packs, so if you order something from our online store this week, odds are pretty good Jenny picked, processed, or packed it!

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Today's Comic

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This is today's comic!

Everybody in the office enjoys reading the comic, so as soon as it's uploaded and ready to go, Brett lets everyone know. If he's running late or he's run out of the strips he wrote ahead of time, it takes a little longer to post. And everyone gets a little impatient.

Also, it's been awhile since Nicole got to do something in the comic. So: Hey everyone, the comic's up!

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Meetings with Pat

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We had an IndieGoGo planning meeting last week for the mid-season fundraiser. Maria was out with a cold, so we held the meeting without her.

During a lull in the meeting, Pat decided to text Maria all sorts of horrible things, mostly that he had talked to a bunch of people and committed Worldbuilders to produce a ton of really bizarre products. He probably composed about eight text messages, and spaced them out while we were on break (it was a long meeting) for maximum effect.

His last text was pretty outrageous, mostly to tip Maria off that he was kidding the whole time. She did not call him a jerk, but this is a family comic, so we can't say exactly which names she called him.

The best part of this prank was watching Pat grinning like a weirdo and giggling.

Yes, Pat was giggling. It was the best thing ever.

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Pocket Sized

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When we hired Jenny, the first thing we noticed (apart from her being a fast learner, fun to work with, polite, etc.) was that she wasn't very tall. In fact, Maria was the smallest for a long time, until Trina came on board, and Trina's pretty darn small. So we know small.

Of course, the first thing Trina declared when she and Jenny met was that they needed to find out who was taller. This actually happened.

In reality, Jeff wasn't involved. They just volunteered their height, and it turns out Trina really is a quarter-inch taller than Jenny, though Jenny's hair is bigger.

Brett made the crack that we're hiring based on volume, since we're seriously cramped in the current Worldbuilders office (Maria, Jenny, Rachel, and Brett share an office the size of a dorm room). And, volumetrically, Jenny and Trina don't take up a lot of valuable space while still working harder than all of us. Any way you look at it, that's a win.

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Spring Addiction

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So last week we got hit by the last gasp of Wisconsin's winter, and now that the snow is gone (again) and the temperature is finally above freezing (again), everyone's in full-on spring mode. Again.

When most folks start cleaning, redecorating, and finding all the dog poo they were too lazy to track down in the snow, crazy people like Brett who ride motorcycles start itching to get back on two wheels. This leads them to do...less than intelligent things. Things like riding to work when it's barely pushing 40 degrees (that's about 4 degrees celsius) if the weather report promises it'll at least reach 50 (10 degrees celsius) by the end of the work day.

You'd think Brett would have figured out over the years that no matter how much he bundles up, 50 degrees is waaaaay colder on the highway when there isn't an entire car wrapped around you. We're calling this comic true, even though he hasn't done this.


This year.

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Dad Jokes

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When we hired Jeff to do our payroll and other accountant-y things, we were a little worried. He was the first person we hired to do a very business-specific thing, and we were worried that we just wouldn't be professional enough. He'd find out what a bunch of freaks we were and leave.

Jeff has a family. He moved here from out of state to do this job. He can count without using his fingers. We need him, and our random geekery was in danger of driving him away.

Then...we found out what a freak Jeff really is. He will say the most random things. He sings to himself. He'll listen thoughtfully to an entire two-hour conversation, and then crack THE WORST joke right at the end. Then he'll just start giggling at his own cleverness, which is when it gets genuinely funny. This comic literally happened last week, and we feel bad for Mindy.

TL;DR: Jeff is just as much of a freak as the rest of us, and it's the BEST.

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Photoshop Lessons

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Rachel and Brett have been giving Jenny some basic lessons in Photoshop so she can help out with photos and graphics around the office. Jenny's a fast learner and seems to enjoy doing this sort of thing. Last week, the three of them had a graphics contest for the Tinker's Packs--each of them started out with a donkey graphic and they all designed their own share image for Twitter. It was a lot of fun.

Jenny's still not super confident with her Photoshopping prowess, but so far there haven't actually been any fires.

And she does a nice share image!

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Bad Joke Nicole

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All of us in the office are pretty darn funny, if we do say so ourselves. Amanda and Rachel wield sarcasm like a keenly honed blade, Jeff is master of dad jokes, Adam excels at deadpan delivery, Mindy draws the strangest (and eerily accurate) parallels, Maria announces non-sequiturs out of the blue, and Brett...we're not sure what he does. Even "new girl" Jenny turns a wicked phrase as well, though she's still timid about it.

Then there's Nicole.

Nicole will make the worst puns. Not "worst" as in "wow, that was clever but groan-inducing," but "worst" as in, "that is the worst thing any living being has let slip from its mouth in the history of ever." She will belabor the setup, telegraph the pun, say the pun, and then give us that breathy, open-mouthed laugh as though she just delivered the most valuable gem of modern wit to grace polite society. We ignore her. Then she explains exactly what the pun was, and why it was clever. And we continue to ignore her

Our trauma is so great that we needed to share our burden with you. We are truly sorry for this.

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As Wisconsinites, we tend to dress for most weather conditions, since most of the conditions will kill us if we're not paying attention. This is a talent, because Wisconsin weather will fluctuate a bit. Live in Wisconsin for a couple months and you'll have at least one day where you experience every seasonal weather condition available in the span of a light afternoon.

One thing we (Worldbuilders, not Wisconsinites in general) don't take into account is rain. In the office, the only one of us who actually has a raincoat is Nicole. We're complacent, since the walk from the parking lot to the building is about five seconds. Jog, and you don't even feel weather happening around you.

Today, the rain is exactly the type of rain that will soak you to the bone within that five seconds. Adam has been watching all of us arrive in various states of drenched, and it amuses him to no end. We figured it might amuse you as well.

"Stay dry, my friends!"

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Sushi Weakness

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Last week, we decided to order out for sushi from a local restaurant we're all a little obsessed with. It's a really good sushi place (it's won awards and accolades from folks who know more than we do), but every spring they close for a month to visit relatives out of the country. So when they opened back up, we had to order. We just had to, you understand.

Mindy had brought her own lunch that day, because she's an adult. So she didn't have sushi with us. But the very next day, she just declared out of the blue: "If everyone was going to order sushi again, I wouldn't say no." And we all shouted at her and carried on, and then threw money at her and ordered sushi again. Because we had to, you understand.

Sadly, Mindy now realizes the power she has over us. It's a frightening shift in control. A frightening...delicious shift....

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No Regrets

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As we gear up to the mid-season IndieGoGo fundraiser, we're starting to miss Maria a little. We're not as overwhelmed as comic-Rachel, though. We got our ducks in a row (heh) before Maria left, but the mid-season fundraiser has always been Maria's baby, and it feels weird doing it without her.

Well, not exactly without her. She's been Skype-ing in, attending meetings, and making decisions. For the most part, though, Rachel's taken over a lot of the organization and decision making (and she's doing great).

Maria, still being in charge long-distance.

Favorite baby story so far: Maria was stuck at home when they had a manager's meeting scheduled, but Pat was headed out of town the next day, so they couldn't reschedule. So they took the meeting to Maria. Everyone gathered around Maria's dinner table with their notes, and the baby was the centerpiece. She lay bundled in the middle of the table, sleeping the whole time.

That's how we handle meetings too: sleep through 'em. Kid's got the right idea already.

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Baby Rabies

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We're filming the introduction video for our upcoming IndieGoGo campaign today, and Brett had a prediction for exactly how much we'd actually get done. Since we're filming on Maria's farm (which is absolutely gorgeous, by the way), Maria and her baby will be there. The baby is still a little too young to help with the intro (maybe next year), but she'll be there.

The problem with this is the fact that when Maria even Skypes in for a meeting, everyone has to ooh and aah over the baby. In real life, the gravitational pull of cuteness will be overwhelming. Brett says we won't get anything useful done. We aim to prove him wrong...after some baby ogling.

...and a bit more baby ogling.

We think something might be wrong with Brett's vision. He claims Maria's baby looks like Vizzini from the Princess Bride. We say he's broken.

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Environmentally Unfriendly

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This might not actually have happened, but it's true anyway.

Adam likes the bright, fluorescent orange Post-Its, but the series that 3M manufactures using recycled paper only comes in muted colors. The vivid, bright orange isn't available. Nicole feels guilty about how severely our office runs on Post-It notes, so she tries to be as environmentally friendly as possible. This means, of course, that some people's color choices just aren't available.

There may or may not have been a small revolution because of this

Have we mentioned we take our Post-It notes very seriously?

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The office is closed today, but that didn't stop Brett, Mindy, Amanda, Rachel, and Jenny for showing up to get some work done on the summer fundraiser.

It's a weird sort of work day. Since it's basically a bonus day, we're all pretty laid back and relaxed. It's like a warp zone in Mario World--it's all gravy, so if you miss a few coins, no big deal.

Of course, now we've been outed, so Pat might give us the Dad voice next time we see him to remind us that we have days off for a reason, and the last thing he needs is for us to burn ourselves out.

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We Got Dis

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Amanda was gone at the Phoenix Comic Con all weekend while Rachel and Brett got the last of the mid-season fundraiser together for today's launch. That's not to say Amanda couldn't help--she even managed to hijack Pat's blog!

This is Rachel's first time as Official Showrunner, and without Maria in the office, she was a little nervous. Luckily, when she gets nervous, she gets SUPER organized, so everybody had color-coded to-do lists and there really weren't any catastrophes.

Of course, we can't let Amanda know that without a little sarcasm.

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Let the Wookie Win

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So a little bit ago, Pat and Amanda played Tak on Pat's Twitch channel, to show the game in action. They played two games and recorded the whole thing for posterity.

Pat is very competitive when it comes to games. He doesn't like to lose. But he's also got a great sense of humor about the whole thing, so we feel okay poking him a little. This goes double when Amanda is involved, because the two of them work really well together, and smack-talk even better.

Watch all the grisly action!




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