Good news from Atlanta: it seems that all the packages of pawns arrived. Good news from the board game folks: My 250 games should be arriving in Atlanta any day now. I’m skeptical and I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m cautiously optimistic: “expecting the worst but hoping for the best.” I honestly don’t know if I will have everything together for my big premiere. It’s looking like I’ve done stuff right (at least in terms of preparations and getting things done early), but I have a continuing uneasy fear that I will have forgotten something really important, something I knew about at one point and scribbled on one of my dozens of “To Do” lists, but soon forgot about. So many little things must come together… Along with the good news about the games (allegedly) being in, there was an attached invoice for somewhat over $20,000. I barely have enough to cover that, but I also have about $4,000 in various expenses I need to come up with in the next few weeks. I’m trying not to make too big a deal of it, but Dragon*Con will really make or break it, I’m thinking. My goal is to sell 200 of the 250 games. If I can do that, I’ll come home from Atlanta not only confident that the game has potential, but also able to pay some bills right away. If I can’t sell the games, or if I’m shipping 200 games back home, I’ll… well, I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it.
Word from Tblisi is that Lasha is okay, just laying low as Russian tanks run through the city. Got an e-mailed request for an interview from a German guy named Peer; started to respond to that, but interrupted by more phone calls about the Bigfoot press conference today: ABC News, Discovery Channel, Scientific American, The Times of London, etc. Went back and forth with a producer for MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” for a few hours about appearing on the show this afternoon; ended up not doing it, slightly disappointed but frankly better for my productivity. Finally finished the questions, I hope his German translation is good.
I e-mailed the game folks asking for an update on the 250 games. The latest info (this shit seems to change by the hour) is that the pawns are being finished and should be on a boat sailing August 24, with an ETA of September 25. That’s 10 days later than last time I asked, but what are you gonna do? The stuff will be ready when they are ready. Actually I saw on the news that China shut down a bunch of polluting factories around Beijing for the Olympics, to help make the air cleaner. I wonder if one of those factories is making my games or pieces… if so, it’s possible that someone who won a gold medal did so with a tiny particle of soot from my plastic Midget Jesus. How cool would that be?
I borrowed dad’s truck and mailed off two final boxes of pawns. My friend in Atlanta wrote that he’d gotten the first two boxes of pawns I sent, and asked, “I hope you’ve thought about the return trip for some or all of this treasure?” I replied, “Yes, it has occurred to me that I may end up just shipping the boxes back here, but I don’t really have a choice. The 250 games are already on their way there (due in the 21st or so, last I heard), and I dunno if I’ll sell 5, 10, or 250 games, but in any event, I can’t sell the games without the pawns. I might as well have enough pawns to match the games. I’m hoping that the numbers will be on my side: if there are 30,000 people at Dragon*Con, and if just one person out of every hundred buys a game, I’ll sell out. Or, hell, I dunno, I could end up a few thousand dollars in the hole. But with a name like Balls Out, I gotta take a risk!” Saw that Russia stopped bombing Georgia, hope Lasha’s okay.
My friend Patty and my next door neighbor came over and helped me pack figurines into boxes for 3 hours. It would have taken me five hours, that’s what friends are for. I’m feeling relieved to finally have the pieces in boxes and ready to go. 17 days until D-Day, gotta get this stuff in transit. Finished reading / skimming Blasphemy (I skipped over 1600 to about 1880), a few interesting nuggets: In 1942, the Supreme Court ruled that profanity is not protected speech (Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire); it seems a Jehovah’s Witness named Chaplinsky called all religion a “racket. ” A cop confronted him, and he called the cop a “God damned racketeer” and a “damned Fascist.” Chaplinsky was convicted because of his profanity, and the Supreme Court upheld it. In 1941, the Supreme Court ruled that an Oklahoma City law that made it unlawful to “reproach or ridicule God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, or the Christian or any other religion” was indeed constitutional. So much for freedom of speech, goddamn it. Interesting. The book concludes by saying that though blasphemy laws are rarely enforced these days, they are still on the books in many places, and are legally speaking enforceable.
I’m sleeping better at night… Found out that my shipment was X-rayed by Customs, they didn’t see anything interesting, so they sent it back to the warehouse, and theoretically it will be on the way to Atlanta. I’m now figuring my chances of having the games at the big premiere are better than 50/50, maybe closer to 70/30. Yes, I have 3 weeks until D-Day, but a lot of things can go wrong. I’m expecting the worst and hoping for the best. Also, found out my schedule for Dragon*Con: I’m on two panels, one “Skeptics Vs. Believers” debate, and giving three talks: lake monsters, psychic detectives, and an overview of my decade in paranormal investigation. All this is fine, but leaves me very busy, don’t know when I’m going to be promoting the PG game and doing demos— much less enjoying myself. At least my friend Chris will be there to help out.