Looks Like We Made It

Hans_Fall

Thirty years ago last night, Hans Gruber’s Christmas-Eve attack on Nakatomi Plaza commenced. And while some still believe he was framed by rogue New York cop John McClane, who dropped him off the building in order to guarantee his silence, I think the only thing that matters is that the threat was neutralized. I mean, it was a long time ago. Why start pointing fingers now?

Speaking of threats, as of midnight on the 23rd (that’s the end of the day, not the beginning), ours is gone for the year, too. Now all that remains is to tally up the stats and put together the hotly anticipated year-end wrap-up, which will probably be posted a week or so into January.

You know the drill, then: post your victory or loss to the reporting form if you haven’t already; drop a victory LDBC-elfie photo on the Facebook page if you’d like to be featured in the gallery; drop a contribution into the collection cup for Americares if you can and are of a mind to; and enjoy your holidays to the extreme.

Happy Holidays, LDBCers. You make this time of year for us, year in and year out.

Day 29: Hey, Blood—Let’s Party

A night to dismember: art from Kristin Fletcher's & Emily_Guinn's kids

A night to dismember: art from Kristin Fletcher’s & Emily_Guinn’s kids

Yes, that’s a desperate channeling of Jeff Spicoli, but I’m still in this thing, and I’m drop-dead exhausted from the fear of it all. I mean, do you even remember a time when we weren’t running from The Boy? I’m not sure I can recall what normal feels like anymore.

Nevertheless, LDBCers, we’re almost there: midnight of the 23rd. The end of the struggle. And what a struggle it’s been. We’re closing in on 1,000 victims who’ve reported in via the form (Mrs. LDBC among them), and we’re at that point in the game where those who get taken out now break my heart. So close. But that’s our Boy, bloodthirsty to the last.

How bad is it? Well, take a look at the gallery of LDBC-elfies below, which is comprised of those who’ve taken a Boy-inflicted dirt nap since the last time I posted a Dispatch. Seventy-two in all. (Okay, so that’s a rather large gap between updates, but as noted philosopher Luther once said, I been busy.)

There’s no sugar-coating it. It’s bad. So bad that LDBCer Sara Starkowski wasn’t even safe in Bethlehem. As in, the Bethlehem.

Every morning I awaken and pray that today will be the day that nobody is caught out in the open. And within a few hours, a dozen or more prove that prayer is useless in this Thing of Ours. Sadly, it seems that our list of toxic media isn’t exactly getting the job done, either, as people keep stepping on clearly marked landmines. (Don’t watch that Pee-wee/Grace Jones video, folks. Just don’t. Same goes for those episodes of The West Wing and American Horror Story.)

Anyway. This’ll be the last Dispatch before the finish, when we can finally breathe easy and take time to both celebrate and mourn. We’re almost there. Hang in. We can do this.

Spare a thought for the fallen below; honor the memory of our First Fallen; keep the rules ever in mind; and for God’s sake, whatever you do, keep moving. You don’t want to be buried in a Pet Sematary this late in the game.

For Sloppy Joe!

Faces of the Fallen: LDBC-elfies

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

LDBCer Dispatches: When You Find Out Who You Are

Buffy_Kendra

“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change. Not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are. You’ll see what I mean.” — Whistler the Demon

Thirteen days in, LDBCers. Thirteen days, and nearly 500 reported losses thus far. Our friends. Our colleagues. Family members we don’t care for all that much, though we’d never admit that to ourselves when sober. And that guy everyone just knows is stealing other people’s sandwiches from the office ‘fridge.

These are their stories. Well, two of them, anyway. And there are so many more. Enough to fill 400-plus cells in the spreadsheet that the reporting form feeds into. (C’mon, you knew I was going to mention the form. I’m all about that thing.)

First up, a man who went looking for a deal and got more than he bargained for. After that, a woman with zipper issues.

All they wanted to do was shop. Is that so wrong? (Yes, yes, it depends on what you’re trying to buy, true, but rhetorically speaking and setting the freaks aside for a moment.)

These are our fellow warriors, people. Laid low by our foe. As I’ve said before, mourn them. Learn from them. Giggle at them if you must, but know that in doing so, you invite the attention of The Boy. And that’s just not the kind of scrutiny you want pointed your way.

I can offer you nothing more than those lessons in vigilance.

Well, yes, I can. Here’re a few more lessons in the form of the latest LDBC-elfies. But that’s it, I swear. I mean, I have to log off and go make dinner sometime, you know.

Meanwhile, check the list of toxic media before you go blindly watching what may be a landmine for your ears. And let’s be careful out there.

Now go find out who you are.

For Sloppy!

LDBC-Elfies: Faces of the Fallen

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Day 9: the Sound and the Furry

Kayla Roche and Kim Drogan Prentice

Material issue: Kayla Roche, Kim Drogan Prentice, and their potentially complicit cloth compatriots

Our cute and cuddly critters won’t save us, fellow LDBCers. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests they may be part of the problem. If nothing else, they’re certainly not helping. The two ladies above were done in while in the company of an assortment of wee, fuzzy pals. Kayla Roche was shopping among them when The Boy found her and laid her low. Kim Drogan Prentice was trying to find a good home for those she created. Think about that. Behind the fabric visage, could there lurk the spirit of a being that would happily create musical matricide? (Yes, this paragraph is polluted with a lot of alliteration. I fall into that now and again and have no doubt posted about it before, though I’m too upset to go find where and when.)

The body count, going by those who’ve reported in via the official form, has now topped 300—and the real number is probably higher. Some were felled by already documented toxic media. Others simply shopped when they should’ve stopped.

I don’t know. After a while, it’s all we can do to resist the temptation to go numb. But to resist is the point. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I don’t tend to zombie-walk through our struggle like an over-injected famous face full of Botox. (And there I go again, plus I’m mixing metaphor and simile.)

What can I tell you? I’m rattled. And I think that’s understandable, given that our casualty rate has just passed that of the Spartans at Thermopylae. And all we can do is run, hide, and earbud our way to safety. No stabby solutions for us.

I have nothing more profound or promising to offer on this cold, rainy Chicago Saturday, folks. If we’re to weather this thing of ours, it’ll be together—hand in hand, heart beating against heart. The Boy’s a hunter. A tracker, as noted bounty hunter and philosopher Leonard Smalls once said. Some say part hound dog.

Tex_Cobb

The most recent casualties are pictured below. Mourn them. Learn from them. Pay your respects, and then do your damndest not to suffer their fate. But should you fail and fall, post it to the Facebook page, add it to a comment on an existing post, or Tweet it to us.

And one more thing. I don’t want to flog our new charity effort to the point of being tiresome (too late, maybe?) and keep asking people to donate to Americares, our official charity this year. (Though I’ll note that the donation button is on this Facebook post.) But I wanted to call out fallen LDBCer Justin Fermenich, who pledged a very generous 50 dollars whether he won or lost. He went face first into the turf, alas, but he is a man of his word:

Justin-Fermenich

Love and altruism will get us to the other side of this thing, friends. Well, that plus cowardice, planning, panic, and dumb luck. But who’s counting? I am. And we’ve topped 500 bucks in donations thus far. So again, there’s absolutely no obligation to give. But if you can and you feel like it, here’s that link one more time.

Live or die by the rules, comrades, and don’t forget our First Fallen.

For Sloppy Joe!

Faces of the Fallen: LDBC-elfies

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Day 5: Can We Go Home Now?

Jaws pier

So long, holiday roast.

You’ll notice that certain movies get mentioned a lot in this thing of ours, people, and Jaws is certainly one of them. But the parallels between the shark terrorizing Amity and The Boy are fairly obvious. And I was reminded of another earlier today, when I pre-ordered a two-bag venti English breakfast and walked into Starbucks to drink it there, only to realize they were in full holiday-tunes mode.

I have nothing but respect for those who try to alter their circumstance using earbuds or careful planning, but lately I’ve been more in organic mode, taking normal care to avoid obvious places but otherwise trusting my luck to get me through. It often results in my exit, but today, I was able to finish my tea as harmless Christmas song after harmless Christmas song ticked by.

Though I did panic a bit when I was packing up and getting ready to leave because I was almost home. And it took me right back to sitting in a darkened theater the summer before fifth grade, freaking out as Charlie, one of the knuckleheads using a hunk of meat chained to an old pier, swam for his life while the shark approached, and his pal yelled for him to just keep swimming and don’t look back.

That was me, wet shoes slipping uselessly on wet planks as I struggled to get to safety before doom struck. I couldn’t get my Mac into my bag fast enough. Why were people blocking the trash can? And was the music playing outside, too, through external speakers? I couldn’t recall.

Still, I survived, which is in stark contrast to the 180-plus unfortunate LDBCers who’ve already reported in via the official form as having gone down. Some missed out on the warnings from our list of toxic media. Others just decided to play fast and loose and drew a bad card.

Some submitted LDBC-elfies (gallery below), and you can, too, should you be taken. Just post it to the Facebook page, add it to a comment on an existing post, or Tweet it to us.

Also, if you’d like to donate to Americares, our official charity this year, the donation button is on this Facebook post. Using that allows us to track how much has been given thus far. (We’re almost at $500, so thanks very much those who’ve contributed!)

And again, below are some of those who’ve already left us.

That’s it for now, faithful LDBCers. Step lively, keep the rules in mind, and honor our First Fallen.

For Sloppy!

Faces of the Fallen: LDBC-elfies

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 1: Already, a First Fallen

Moby Dick and Ahab

“[F]rom Hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”

The fun part of this thing of ours? It just keeps growing. The tragic part of this thing of ours? There are enough people playing that it doesn’t take long before we have a First Fallen. And so we do, people. For the rest of the game, let us cut loose with our battle cry for Sloppy Joe, taken down while testing his music-playing clock. (And if I do say so myself, I think it’s my favorite name since starting the tradition of First Fallen.)

As always, check the rules for a refresher and updates. (Parodies count this year.) And should tragedy strike, be sure to report in via the official form.

Ever vigilant, people. For Sloppy Joe!

LDBC on CNN (Do Not Watch During Game)

CNN_Screenshot

I repeat: do not watch this when the game is on (12:01 am Black Friday through midnight of Dec. 23) unless you and everyone within earshot are already out. It contains LDB and will kill you and everyone near you deader than dead.

OK, you’re sure the game’s not hot and there isn’t anyone around who you might take out?

Look again. Still sure?

Cool. Watch this.