Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 362 of 362

Mission (mostly) accomplished...

Out of 362 possible days to the whole "dress-up" thing, I only missed two. One was based on my misjudging tattoo after-care times (by a LOT), and the other was due to me being very ill on that particular day. There have been days where I've been late (like today, by design), or I haven't been at the store for long, but I missed no others. Not even when I went to a trade show where game store owners are known to "let their hair down", I was the best-dressed one there.

So... 360 divided by 362 means, percentage-wise, I scored a 99.4475138121547% on my self-assigned goal. That's actually close enough to perfect by most scientific standards that I'm gonna count this one as a win.

Where do I go from here? Well, the habit is pretty ingrained in me now, so I don't think we'll see much in the way of slacking in that department. I'm thinking there won't be any more "362" posts, as it will be a new year. Plus, we're in the process of interviewing people for the store to work part time so I can actually get a day off here and there. Thus, doing another "362" would be pointless as I will not be at the store that many days in the coming year. I'll certainly take pictures and blog on the days I do go in, but the labels will probably fall more in the "Life, Business, Gaming, or (insert new label here) realm". "362" is done...

Thank you all for joining in... It's been a fun ride thus far. Let's see what 2012 brings us this year...

-- GopherDave

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 361 of 362

It's Friday... Got word that the rest of the POS system will be here around Thursday of next week. That's good... Now I need to make some arrangements tonight and tomorrow to get the slatwall sometime next week. Operation: Hole Improvement is off to a slow (but forward) crawl.

In other news, well, not much has happened over the last couple of days. Things are about to happen, but they haven't yet, so there's not much to talk about. Hmmmm...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 360 of 362

Another Thursday at the store... Got word that the rest of the point-of-sale system has shipped, so that should be here early next week. I also need to make plans to get the slatwall from Bloomington next week. I'll solidify plans on our end once I can firm them up with the guy we're getting the slatwall from.

Also on the agenda for this week is picking up a cart for the microwave oven that can also store things like paper plates, condiments, and what-not. Plus, I need to order a cash register stand for the new POS system.

Hmmmm... I have a lot more going on this week than I thought. Mayhaps downloading DC Universe Online was a bad idea...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 359 of 362

Shipment day... Time to get moving and get stuff into the store and into the system. New stuff... ordered stuff... restocked stuff... It's all on the way...

Last night's DC Adventures game was fun, even if Marathon couldn't quite goad Geo-Force into a fight. Prince Brion is still a jerk and his friends need to stop covering for him. Just saying...

Later on today, I also get to take Dinero into the vet to see what the growth on his leg is. One of our friends who's more pet-versed that we are thinks it's just an abscess, but we're not taking chances. Dinero is one of the sweetest, most good-natured canines you'll ever encounter, and he deserves our due vigilance.

That's it for now... gotta run...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 358 of 362

Okay... It's Tuesday, which means it's order day. It's also complicated by having to find a vet for the dog. Dinero (not the dog's real name) seems okay, but he's got this odd, squishy bump on one of his front legs. It doesn't seem to cause him pain when we touch it, but it's definitely something that should not be there. So, after I get done ordering stuff, I'm going to track down a vet, come back home and get the girl and the dog, and take our four-legged friend to see the doctor.

On the game front, tonight is Casual MtG and KnightErrantJR's DC Adventures game. I can't wait, even if I cannot remember what we are doing as a group. I do remember that Marathon was going to go off and be petty by bugging the hell out of Geo-Force for Prince Brion's uppity behavior last time. I was supposed to e-mail KEJR about this, but I got distracted with the holidays and running the store and such.

Anyway... off to the day...

-- GopherDave

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 357 of 362

There are only five days left in this semi-sartorial, self-improvement journey. So what am I going to do after it ends?

I'm not certain... I've thought about keeping the blog going. It'll probably have fewer pictures of what I'm wearing and more actual content, but don't hold me to that. It will sort of depends on how quickly our agendas for "improving the store and saving GopherDave's sanity" happen.

The first item on our agenda after receiving the rest of the new point-of-sale system and setting it up is hiring one or two part-time people so I can actually get a day off from the place on a regular basis. Once that happens, I'll actually have more time to spend with my wife and family...

Speaking of wife and family, I hope your holidays were good and went well. Mine was fantabulous! Loquacious made (a non-traditional) Christmas dinner of meat loaf, chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, and cheesecake with a hint of orange flavor. It was delicious! ALL OF IT! This was on top of a breakfast of made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls and bacon. My wife knocked herself out providing me with two great home-cooked meals. Thank you, sweetness... I'll never be able to top that... That's how good it was and how much it filled up my soul.

-- GopherDave

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 356 of 362

It's Christmas Eve, and the only thing we're planning on doing at the store is selling a fair number of games...

That and a good friend of mine is in town for a visit. He's supposed to stop by the store and have a chat. Beyond that, there's really not much on the agenda. The tables will be open for first come-first serve gaming, so we'll see who drops by... =)

Hopefully you and yours have a safe holiday. Be safe on any travels you undertake...

-- GopherDave

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 355 of 362

Another busy day here at Gopher... It's so busy I almost forgot to do this, but then I remembered during a lull.

Tonight is FNM... Tomorrow is pretty much a free and open day as it being Christmas Eve, I'm expecting at least SOME shoppers. We're gamers after all... As a group we procrastinate like no other. Want proof? Just take a look at release dates for games. How many of them actually *MAKE* their prospective arrival times? Probably less than 30%. Well... we, shop like that too.

Operation: Improve A Game Store is starting to slowly progress. We received the cash drawer, the receipt printer, and the barcode scanner in today. We are told that the rest of it will be shipped next week. That's fine... It'll all get here eventually. If the deal I have in the making goes through, we will have slatwall panels here the first week of January. It won't be all of what we need, but it will be the majority. Once we get the initial panels up, we'll see what needs to be added from there. If the deal falters, well... It'll take a little longer, but it will get done... Like everything else, all in good time...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 354 of 362

Another day, another dollar, as the saying goes. I wonder if the creator of that little bit of wisdom took inflation into account? Probably not...

Loq and I looked at another potential spot for the store. It's got possibilities, but it really doesn't say 'wow' to us. We're not worried, though... the right spot will show itself eventually.

Tonight at the store are a couple of RPGs and some casual gaming. I'm not really involved with any of it, so Skribl and I can watch the store and get some work done while things happen.

The only other piece of real news is that our ancient point-of-sale station will be getting an upgrade soon. We ordered a set up with an actual cash drawer, a scanner that isn't old and been dropped dozens of times, and software that isn't DOS-based. There are some other improvements on the horizon that we should have made a long time ago. I think we'll make them, now...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 353 of 362

It's shipment day at the store, and there is a metric TON of stuff coming in today. The bulk of it is restock, and I *STILL* didn't hit all the bases because I'm a caveman at purchase orders using all four of my 44-year old eyes... Definitely need a new point-of-sale system. I need to get that ordered today...

Later on today, Loq and I will be looking at another potential Gopher hole. I'm not expecting much, but I'm open to looking. From a historical standpoint, if my memory serves me correctly, the building we're looking at today once housed a camera/photo shop. One that was the first place in town to EVER carry D&D books back in the mid-70s. On some level, it'd be nice to be the ones to bring that full circle, but I'm not going to let that cloud my judgement.

Now, I gotta get going. Work waits for no man...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 352 of 362

Running late today... Made some *MASSIVE* restock orders today as we have been torn up over the weekend. That's a good thing as it means more money, but jeez... ... our shelves haven't looked this bare in a while. As it goes, Skirbl and I are still hip deep in work, but are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lastly, Loquacious is the bestest wife ever! That is all...

-- GopherDave

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 351 of 362

Wow... I got so busy staring at various point of sale systems I alomst forgot to blog for the day... (By the by, if someone knows of a good, cheap point-of-sale system, let me know please. Thanks.)

Anyway... 'Tis 40K night so I shall be going home early and doing the laundry I didn't do the other night. S'all good, though... Normal stuff like laundry is helping keep me sane.

On the gaming front, I've been thinking about Tai'eres again, but not the setting so much as the mechanics. I'm thinking about ripping the system out of the Tai'eres setting and trying them in a different genre. Still working on what sort of game they would end up in, but I have some ideas. The main idea swirling in my head is some sort of modern-day, conspiracy game with possible (low-level)psionics added in, but nothing is set in stone.

Other than that, not much is happening...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 350 of 362

Lats night was a good time with the daughter. Not as much laundry got done as I would have liked, but I'm good with that. I'll have opportunity to do more tomorrow.

Today, I go work on weekly financials a bit. Then, it looks to be a slow day, but every time I say that, it isn't. Good problem for a business to have.

Beyond that, not much is going on. I'm heading to the store now to get it ready for not much of anything today...


-- GopherDave

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 349 of 362

It's a lazy Saturday here at the store. Not much is happening here during the day as much by design as anything else. It's giving us some time to catch up on some stuff. Like taking a check over to the folks who run Winter War. We're all paid and should be all set to see our convention friends once again! Like always, looking forward to it...

Beyond that, since it's World of Darkness night at the store, Loquacious will be coming in early and relieving me, so I get to go home and do laundry... I really don't mind. It's gives me a chance to unwind, watch some TV, and spend some time with the best dog on the planet.

It'll be good...

-- GopherDave

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 348 of 362

Well... Loq and had our meeting on Wednesday and jumped through another hoop, successfully I might add, but something at that meeting put us ill-at-ease... the details we are willing to reveal can be found here.

In other news, well, nothing is ever set in stone, and a bigger Gopher hole is in our future. We just have to be patient about it.


-- GopherDave

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 347 of 362

I hate that the speed of bureaucracy is so damned slow.

We're currently in limbo once again with the new place. I'm pretty much of the opinion that if we don't have a signed lease in place by 6PM Friday, then we (Gopher) are walking away from the deal. Too much hoop-jumping makes GopherDave a frustrated person.

On the gaming front, the DC Adventures game was a hoot. We actually beat the crap out of the Fatal Five. I am honestly kind of surprised. Tonight, we have Zug's Champions game which is having some issues. We're going to talk about those issues in a discussion that will probably be led by me, which is odd since I am not the GM for this particular game. Ehhh... whatever... We'll work things out or we won't.

I think that's it for now... I'm going to go do some game store owner-stuff... =P

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 346 of 362

Well... it's D-Day. In about an hour, Loq and I will have a meeting to determine if we are indeed signing a lease for a space we have been actively pursuing (and who has pursued us in return), or if we are back to square one. I have to be honest, with all the stress this situation has caused me, square one doesn't seem so bad right now. That, however, would be the easy way out...

...and the Gophers deserve more than that...

They deserve us to fight hard for something that will ultimately be better for them, for us, and for the good of the local table-top gaming community as a whole. The space we're pursuing (or something close to it) is that 'thing'...

So, Loq and I are going to put on our "war face". We're going to try and act professionally about it all, and we're going to fight for something that there should be no fight over. Someone has a space for rent. We want to rent it. Loq and I have run the numbers and made an offer we can pull off. The (potential) landlord sent back a counter. We had another round of back-and-forth and came to what I consider to be a (non-binding) 'handshake agreement'. Now, they've come back with trepidations about us being able to afford the space.

I don't know what numbers they're looking at, but we've no doubt we can pull this off with flying colors.

After all, we have an army of Gophers behind us... and that's all we'll ever need.

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 345 of 362

Another Tuesday... It's time to go make a couple of orders... It's time to receive an early order... and eventually it will be time to play my semi-paranoid, telekinetic private detective, Marathon.

The orders should be no issue. I do those on a regular basis. Last we left off in the game, we were facing down the Fatal Five. Now... Marathon is more durable than a LOT of characters in this game, but I'm not looking forward to receiving what could be an epic ass-whoopin'. This one is going to take some brains. I hope we're up to it.

Plus (and there is no real pressure here for KnightErrantJR), given the meeting Lo and I have tomorrow, I'm going to need a major stress release full of fun tonight. I know me, and the less stress I feel going into this meeting, the less likely I will need bail money.

Here's hoping...

-- GopherDave

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 344 of 362

Well, we survived the weekend. While I didn't got to bed until WAY later than I should have, I slept like a rock. Anyway, on to business...

Just for kicks and grins, I submitted an application to the House of Paincakes blogroll. Oddly enough, I got accepted. This is why I find it odd... Ya'see... HoP is primarily a place for Warhammer 40K blogs, and this blog here is not a 40K-oriented blog. I like the setting... I have an army for the game... but the current edition of the game leaves me feeling kind of "meh", so I don't really play it currently. Honestly, I don't play much at all right now. Running a game store just doesn't leave me the time I would like to ACTUALLY PLAY GAMES on a regular basis.

So, why'd I submit an application to the House? Simple... I was asked to. I have no clue why, but someone over there thinks I have interesting things to say in between all the pictures of what I'm wearing on a particular day. *shrug* Who knew?

Anyway, for those just joining me, this blog's primary purpose is as a self-accountability tool. I tried doing some regular features, but found that I just don't have enough "off-time" from the business to keep those up *AND* unwind. Every now and then, I drop a game-or life-related nugget of wisdom onto the 'net, and I guess that is what makes me worth reading...

Have fun... enjoy the ride... and remember, keep your arms inside the confines of the coaster at all times... We wouldn't want ya to lose one...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 343 of 362

Running late as I'm trying to catch up on sleep. So here's the sum-up...

The benefit went great! We raised $3K+ for the Geiken family, and we couldn't be happier. Thanks to all who donated their items, time, and money. We appreciate you all more than I could ever express...  =)

As for gaming, the Terracide game went okay... we did a lot of nothing, but that is as much our fault as the GMs. As players, we're still trying to find out feet in the background. Meanwhile, Shady's off at the deep end going "come on over, the water's fine". We'll get there and meet in the middle someplace. Currently, we seem to be in a stick-and-carrot situation that involves one carrot and a whole LOT of sticks. As Rorschach would say, "Hurrrrrrmmmm..."

-- GopherDave

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 342 of 362

Late night last night, but a good one. I was flying solo and we had one of our largest FNM turnouts of the season. I am a tired puppy. On top of that, we have the huge Geiken Family Benefit today. For details of that, see a couple of posts below. It looks to be a good time. We'll be auctioning off over $2100 worth of stuff, and raffling off two (semi-generic) tickets to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Basically, the tickets are good for any non-benefit show you wish to attend for the 2011-2012 season.

Yours truly will be playing auctioneer, and things will be kept at a rapid pace. I don't play when I sell stuff. It's very much shock-and-awe... Get in-Get out-Leave no doubt of the sale... That's how I roll... =P

Speaking of rolling, I need to get going. Things gotta get done...

-- GopherDave

Friday, December 09, 2011

Day 341 of 362

It's Friday, so that means Friday Night Magic at the store. It'll be a bit different this week, though. Skribl (my son) will not be there to help me as he will be on a weekend vacation to visit some friends up north. It'll be a bit hectic for me, to say the least.

On another note, we found out what the last snag is in regard to trying to move. Once I read the e-mail explaining it, it was all I could do not to completely lose it in terms of temper and frustration. I kept it in check, though, and no one got hurt. We're trying to schedule a face-to-face with the other parties involved in order to get to the bottom of it all. Both sides have been working through realtor-esque intermediaries, and I think that has been part of the problem. Either way, after the face-to-face, we'll know if we are moving forward or moving back to square one.

The Geiken Family Benefit for tomorrow proceeds apace. Loquacious is doing the bulk of the "heavy lifting" on this one. I will be there to help, and I am the auctioneer for the live auction we're having. If you've never seen me as an auctioneer, you're in for a treat, but don't blink. I don't play around. Stuff gets sold quick...

Speaking of quick, I need to jet. I have an errand or two to run before I hit the store.


-- GopherDave

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Geiken Family Fundraiser

Hey Folks...
I cannot remember if I've spoken about this here, and I know the notice is short, but the cause is good...

Armored Gopher Games will be holding a fundraiser for the Geiken family. The matriarch of the family was involved in a traffic accident a few months back and was hurt fairly badly. She's mending and well on the road to recovery, but that road isn't free. The Geiken's are gamers (like us) and could use our support...

Details are here...

Thanks for listening...

-- GopherDave

Day 340 of 362

Early at the store, not much is going on. Still waiting on the last round of paperwork to go through at the potential new landlords. If this fails, it's back to step one, but it's not an entire wash. We'll just use the money we've saved up for this potential move to make improvements to the current store and begin socking money away for some other potential move.

If it goes through, though... that's when the work truly begins for us. Either way, I am looking forward to it.

At the store, there's a couple of role-playing games tonight (Deathwatch and Jade Regent (Pathfinder)). I should have the boy with me, so the traffic flow of helping customers shouldn't be an issue.

Beyond that... not much else is going on. I'm taking a wait-and-see approach with the new place, but I'm not a patient person. Either poop or get of the pot folks. Give me a "yes" or "no", and let us get on with our next step...


-- GopherDave

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Day 339 of 362

Running behind as usual... It's "shipment day" at the store. I used quotes because based on how many distributors I placed orders to this week, it's going to be "shipment day" for the rest of the week.

Progress on "new Gopher" proceeds slowly. I believe we have finally submitted everything, and are now in wait and see mode. The ways things are looking, they "should" go through, but I'm not counting chickens until they are well and truly hatched.

Other than that, there's a ton of work at the store to catch up on. I think I'm going to be busy for the next couple of days.

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Day 338 of 362

It's order day here at the Gopher, the day where I watch a not-insubstantial sum of money fly out of the bank account in hopes of becoming a more substantial quantity of money in about a week's time.

A few years back, when we were a REALLY tiny game store and our order budget was minuscule, there was no room to take chances. We *HAD* to make a profit in order to keep going, and our order budget was so small we really could only order that which we KNEW would sell due to prior customer order/interest. It's a retail store's version of living check-to-check, and it's no fun.

As we have grown, our order budget has as well. We can now take chances on games that are new that may not sell immediately. We can order stuff for the "long haul", and we can now put money away to easily afford the big releases when they happen. We are resting easier.

With the potential move, we will be moving back to that check-to-check area for a bit. There's no way around it really. We've pretty much hit the sales ceiling here at our current location. The place where sales cannot increase much more because we cannot fit a larger quantity/variety of stuff in the store to appeal to a larger customer base. Gopher hit that with its original location in short order (with in 18 months). We hit here in about the same time (22 months). The actual space difference between original Gopher and current Gopher is only 380 square feet. With that added 54% worth of space, plus better parking and an easier-to-find location, we've tripled our sales.

The new location will increase our physical space by 463%. Do I think that it will increase our sales by a factor of 8.5? Honestly, no... We're a niche hobby, and there's only so much of that money to go around in this area. But if this moves leads us to triple our sales once again, well, the Gophers will be sitting pretty. We'll have a large enough facility where everybody truly gets to play... We'll have enough space to increase the amount of games we have on the shelf for IMMEDIATE purchase that special orders (and the wait that they entail) will be just that, SPECIAL orders... We'll be able to provide jobs to some of our unemployed Gophers, and in a down economy, this ability is worth its weight in gold.

I personally want the store to grow, because I want the gaming community of our area to not be isolated pockets of people who don't know anyone outside of their little circles. I want it to be a small gaming convention EVERY DAY, where people can come in, if they're of a mind to, meet some new people, and learn to play some cool new games. I want Armored Gopher Games to be the brightest star on the Midwest gaming horizon... the beacon that draws people in, encourages them to mingle, and helps create support networks from those new friends for when times get rough...

Because rough times are here, folks. We're all living them in one form or another, financially and/or emotionally...

It'll just be easier if we do it together...

-- GopherDave

Monday, December 05, 2011

Day 337 of 362

Monday... and busier than usual. I've a number of errands to run before the store opens and I need to be out the door as soon as I can manage without being too early as all of the places I need to go do not open until 9AM or later. Sigh...

Once this morning is done I can slow down, take a breath, and then work on OTHER stuff that's been piling up at the store lately. Beyond that, I got nothin'... that I can think of right now...

Sigh... Never done... never done... never done...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Day 336 of 362

Ugh... the show wrestling went WAYYYYY longer than I thought it would. Got home close to 1AM. By the time I wound down, it was just after 2AM. Overall, the show was good. Some very good young talent... some talent that has no business being near a ring yet... a couple of spots where it looked like folks were legitimately hurt... In short, an indy show. The promotion is called Dreamwave. They are based in Oglesby, Illinois, and they run monthly shows in nearby LaSalle, Illinois. If you like wrasslin', and are in the area when they are running a show, you should check it out.

Today, I'm going to try to finish up all the preliminary paperwork for the move, so we can turn it in tomorrow. It needs to be done before I go to bed tonight, so it might be another late night. Once we get that done, we need to start looking into signage, flooring, and the cost for a new point-of-sale system. Things never really end...

Well, if things are going to be done, I need to get to it... Later, all...

-- GopherDave

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Day 335 of 362

Another late Friday, but it was fun... Today we have a Miniatures Modeling day at the store followed by World of Darkness. That means I leave early usually, but today is a bit different.

This afternoon, the father-in-law and I are going up to Lasalle-Peru to watch some indie pro wrestling. Yeah, I dig the fake fighting... guilty pleasure... sue me...

Beyond that, not much is happening today... other than me doing another big chunk of the paperwork effort. It should all be done enough to turn in on Monday, and that is already looking like a busy day.

So what else is new? =)

-- GopherDave

Friday, December 02, 2011

Day 334 of 362

Friday... so that means Friday Might magic, and a long night for me. S'okay, though... I've grown to thoroughly enjoy the crowd we get.

Progress proceeds apace on submitting paperwork for the new place. We've got two more things to do to finish our end of that out. One of those things will tack practically no time at all. The second will take me about five to eight hours worth of uninterrupted work to accomplish. Sigh.

-- GopherDave

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Day 333 of 362

Why is it that I don't notice the really BIG hair sticking to the sweater until *AFTER* I am done taking pictures for the day?

It's 0-Dark-Early in the morning, and I'm strangely okay with that. Sometimes, I have to wonder why it's easier for me to pull myself out of bed after only four hours of sleep as opposed to when I've had seven hours of sleep or more.

Today, I'm taking my lovely Loquacious out to breakfast, in an effort to spend some time with my favorite lady. We don't get much time like this anymore, unless I make it. So, I made it. She's worth losing a couple hours of sleep for. =)

On the gaming front, tonight is the other superhero game that I play in. I'm hoping it goes well, but my time has been so crunched lately that I am looking at stepping away from it for a small while so I can get stuff that needs to be accomplished actually accomplished.

Beyond that... not much is happening. Life moves on and such...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 332 of 362

Well... Last night's DC Adventures game was every bit as fun as I thought it was going to be. It was definitely missed and needed from my point of view. Thank you, KEJR!

Today was shipment day for the main order for the week. Nothing new, but a couple of special orders and some restocks. Last night, though, was busy enough that I had to place an order with our secondary distributor today to get some things restocked and cover some items that our primary distributor did not have. So, we'll have some more stuff either tomorrow or Friday.

I am going to attempt to get some move-related paperwork done today as I am not in any games. However, given how business has been lately, it all may have to wait until after we close tonight. It needs to get done, and I haven't been able to get it done at the store when we've been open. Taking said work home hasn't been much help lately, as I've developed the mindset that when I'm home, I'm *HOME*. Working 70+ hour weeks at the store, home is supposed to be the place where I decompress at least a little, and I have not been accomplishing much there. Still, this work needs to be done, sooner rather than later.

Beyond that, not much has changed... I'm going to try to catch up on some things, now.


-- GopherDave

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 331 of 362

Orders are done... paperwork for the potential move continues slowly apace... Dominion and its kin have begun to make speedy exits out of the store, so it must be the holiday season...

Tonight at the store is casual MtG and... wait for it... KnightErrantJR's DC Adventures game.


-- GopherDave

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 330 of 362

It's Monday... Overall, it's been slow, but things did start with a burst of business.

Loquacious faxed of a "Letter of Intent" for the potential new spot for Gopher. I say potential due to a couple of contingencies that have to be met/overcome. I started the ball rolling today for one of them. If we can get the new printer to speak to the (very) old point-of sale system, there will be a couple of things to print out. If not (and it's not looking likely), then I will have a couple of long nights doing stuff after close getting some pieces together to make the rest of what we need to happen happen.

No real word yet, though... and until there is, I may comment, but we are not COMMITTING or COMMITTED to anything. It is definitely a wait-and-see time.

The next few days look to be busy with orders, and other move-related business. It's a good thing I stockpiled some sleep. I'm gonna need it...

Now if I could just find some way to stockpile some for Loq as well, that'd be super...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 329 of 362

Sunday, Sunday... (La-laaaa-laa-laa)... Not as bland as Monday... (La-laaaa-laa-laa)...

Okay, hippie 60's songs aside... Today is *scheduled* to be a busy day at the store game-wise. That being said, with the holiday weekend, a number of games and events just haven't been happening. I understand why that is, just makes knowing what's going on at Gopher a bit like throwing darts at a list of events. Every now and then, you miss the list entirely, and nothing happens.

Last night, though, Shady ran his Star HERO Terracide game. It was a lot of fun, and during it all, Ling became a touch less racist, but he still rates highly on the "Summer's Eve" scale. Thus, I consider the session a success. In general, our Gang of Four ran through a ship with about 50 people on it. We misdirected over half of them to a part of the ship where we wouldn't be, sedated those that we could, shot those that we had to (one spectacularly), kidnapped an insurance piece, and ended up with a defector who joined our side because "he wanted a better job". Overall, a good run. I'm looking forward to more of it.

For now, however, I gotta go. The store doesn't open itself...

-- GopherDave

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 328 of 362

Blue, gray, and black... For some reason, it feels right...

Last night was a long night, but an overall good one. Today promises to be more so.

First, I'm heading to the store for a bit, then Loquacious is going to relieve me, and I will change out of my normal, dapper gear into something more conducive to drumming. I've been invited to Grumpy's house for a a holiday jam session. I haven't truly touched a musical instrument in 20+ years, but that hasn't completely killed the urge. I do like music, and though I am old, out-of-shape, and WAY out-of-practice, I'm looking forward to it.

Once we've deafened ourselves, I'll come back to the store and play in Shady's Star HERO game. It wasn't what I intended, but I believe I have come up with the most racist Asian character ever. I'm going to see how this character ("Xia Ling-Jen", or just "Ling") develops... Depending on what happens, he'll either get spaced by one of the other PCs for his antics or he'll become so indispensable to the ship/crew that they'll put up with his crap. The more I look at this paragraph in writing, the more intrigued I become by the possibilities.

Finally... apparently I won something. You can read about it here. All I'll say for now is "Thanks, JJ! 'Tis appreciated"

-- GopherDave

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 327 of 362

Yeah, I noticed the giant hair after I took the pictures. It's gone now...

Yep... It's Black Friday... Currently, we have no specials going on at the store, but if you come in and buy enough, GopherDave will make you "such a deal", you'll hardly believe you're walking out with money in your pocket. =P

Seriously, though... Other than normal business, all that's going on tonight is Friday Night Magic.

My day yesterday, though, was Heaven. I got to spend the day with my family and not worry about he store. In fact, I didn't get "store twitchy" like I usually do on one of these days until about 9PM. That's about 2-3 hours later than usual. I'd like to think I'm getting better at letting go, but we shall see.

Take care... shop defensively...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 326 of 362

It's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at the Gopher, and I expect it to be slow, like every other day has been this week. I do expect things to pick up after the weekend, when holiday shopping begins in earnest.

We're still in "hurry-up-and-wait mode" over the new place. A couple of rounds of negotiation have happened, and now we're in more. With the holiday weekend, we don't expect to hear anything back until Monday afternoon at the EARLIEST. More like it'll be Tuesday or Wednesday before we hear back. Even then, things might not be settled. Instead, it may be off for another round of negotiations.

So, please be patient. Things like this rarely get done overnight. When we know something concrete, trust me, the world will know...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 325 of 362

As the holiday approaches, I anticipate another slow day at the store. As for me... well... I've got some stuff to catch up on.

To help with that, I placed my Champions campaign on hiatus until after the move (whenever that will be). I'm debating dropping out of games I'm currently playing in to help make time for work, but I do know that if I don't play at least a little bit, I will become UNBEARABLY insane.

Beyond that, not much is happening... Casual MtG at the store tonight, as well as the return of Gregghawk. It will hopefully be a productive night. Now to go puck some ducks in a few rows...

-- GopherDave

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 324 of 362

Monday... 40K tonight so I get to leave early. Still no real word yet from anyone on the new Gopher spot front. Initial things have gone out from our end, but we've not heard anything back yet. So, we're still in "wait mode".

Slow day at the store, but that's to be expected as it's Fall Break at the local university. Not much else going on...

peace... GopherDave

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 323 of 362

I had a fair amount to say today, but my lovely wife said most of it best here.

-- GopherDave

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 322 of 362

It's a lazy Saturday here at the Gopher. We have a couple of people playing Malifaux, and we'll have World of Darkness happening tonight. I'll get to leave early, but I'm not certain what I'm going to be doing. The smart thing would be to go home and catch up on laundry, but there is a *LOT* going on in my head right now, and it's becoming difficult to deal with. Nothing altogether horrible, just stressful... and like most other folks, stress and I don't enjoy being stressed out.

I also hate working at other people's speed. Hurry up and wait is not an ideal situation for me to be in, and that's where we are at right now.

I would like to say "thank you" to the people who have listened and been sounding boards; "I'm sorry" to some people who have been targets of my frustration, and "we're trying" to those who don't think progress is being made. Loq and I appreciate your patience, support, and friendship...  =)

-- GopherDave

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 321 of 362

Friday... means Friday Night Magic. Today also means the release of the new Dominion expansion, Hinterlands, and the new MtG: Premium Deck, Graveborn. That means I'm going to be a very busy man early on. As I am running late, I should get going.

No word yet on other things and it's driving me bonkers. As I've said, I'm not patient. I know I just have to wait. Time is of the essence, however, and the sooner we get started, the sooner I'm going to be less crazy and stressed than I am currently.

Long day ahead... I need to get it started...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 320 of 362

Behind me, on the right, you can see sunshine beaming through this wonderful, sunny 29-F degree day...

Hey, It's Thursday and I'm not running behind! Will wonders never cease. Tonight at the store are some games. I know there's a Champions game happening because I'm in it, but there's supposedly a Pathfinder game happening that's having some issues, so it might not go off tonight. I really don't know as I've sort of had my head buried in the sand dealing with the upcoming move and its preliminaries.

Beyond that, I have no idea... see above. Head... Sand... yeah...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 319 of 362

It's morning... in November... in the Midwest... Sweaters were a good choice for a uniform piece.

Hello, Wednesday... When I get to the store this morning, I will have packages waiting for me. It's shipment day. Amongst all of that, there are a number of things I must do. In fact, it's days like this when I cannot wait to finally move to a larger space with a separate office/back room. Then, I can hire someone (or a few someones), to do some of the basic work while I take care of most of the behind-the-scenes stuff. While we could do that now, but I would have no place to work, as I sort of need physical/visual separation for myself to fully let others do what I've entrusted them to do.

Preliminary negotiations have started for the choosing of the new spot. We have some ideas of how we want to proceed, now we just have to be patient and move at the speed of others.

I'll just be over here in the corner, patiently gnawing off my own arm... (I so want this started...)

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 318 of 362

Running late as usual, but got to the store on time. Two very late nights in a row (with a third looming tonight) has made GopherDave a very tired boy.

We're hoping to enter into some preliminary rent negotiations here in the next two days. Based on what I know of their reputations, one landlord is probably going to give us the moon, while the other landlord (while willing to compromise) will probably not give as much in regard to rent terms. Still, it doesn't hurt to try.

At the store tonight, we have Casual MtG and nothing else. For the second session in a row, real life has bitten my good friend, KnightErrantJR in the backside, so DC Adventures will not be running. S'Okay, though... He'll get through his thing and we'll get to it soon enough. =)

Well... off to go do some work...

-- GopherDave

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 317 of 362

Yeah... I have three black 'Gopher sweaters. So wearing black two days in a row is bound to happen every now and then. Sue me...

Another "come-from-behind" start to the morning... Feedback keeps coming in on the store move, and it's all important for us to listen to. Keep in mind, though, Loq and I are still the ones who have to make this decision, and it has to be right for our financial well-being (as a store *AND* as a family), as well as being good for the community. It is our every intention to keep the Gopher community happy, hale, and THRIVING.

With that in mind, apparently there are people who are saying that I've changed. I'm hearing folks are thinking I am becoming less of a friend, and more of a businessman, and that I am detaching from them in the process. To some extent, they're correct. I have detached myself a bit, mostly due to the overwhelming amount of time it takes to run a store like what we have. I don't have the time to hang out like I would like to because I am currently at the store 70+ hours a week. On the evenings I do get off, most of these friends are either gaming in the store, or busy with other aspects of their own lives, be it work, family, other friends, or whatever. Even when we are at the store together, there is so much work to do for the store that I don't get to just hang/game with these folks as much as I'd like. There are so many of those times it that makes me physically ache... I miss just being a husband, a father, a gamer, and a friend... Hell, I miss being able to have taco parties at my house...

Then I begin to think about what would happen if the store goes belly up because I neglected some important aspect of it in order to just chill... and that thought hurts me even more because I will have left these very good friends of mine without a place to hang out and enjoy each other's company. There is so much life, laughter, and joy that has spilled out into this store that I am humbled by it. I am thankful to God *EVERY DAY* for placing me in a position to steward such a wonderful place where folks can get together, laugh, joke around, and ENJOY LIFE WITH EACH OTHER.

However, running this place takes major sacrifice. Sacrifice that I make daily and willingly, out of love for what we have here at Gopher...

So please... trust me when I say that any decision Loquacious, and I make in regard to the future of this business is made for the good of everyone who enjoys what we have going at Armored Gopher Games, be they Original Gophers, New Gophers, or gophers we haven't met yet...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 316 of 362

Took a bit to get going and get settled into my day at the store. We have a couple of Pathfinder Society tables running, as well as a D&D4E campaign, and some Monsterpocalypse about to start. I've already answered a couple of texts from people looking for particular MtG cards, and am just sort of easing into some other work.

More and more responses are coming in from our "You Tell Us!" post at the store website. The feedback has been great, and Loq and I are taking everything we can into consideration. As I stated in yesterday's entry, decisions like this are incredibly difficult to make from a business perspective. Especially for a person like myself who has little to no buisness training. I am running everything from my gut and very basic financial experience.

Anytime before a decision of this magnitude happens, and I go to step off of the provebial cliff, I always wonder if I'm a lemming about to plummet or an eagle ready to soar... and I've typically got no way to know until I take that first step...

-- GopherDave

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 315 of 362

It's Saturday at the store. We supposedly have Warmachine going on at the store, but no one is here for it. To that end, I blame myself as I really didn't advertise it well. That's something I/we will have to change with the new place, but part of that is an issue with manpower. With a larger space, we'll have to hire two to four more people. We have most of those people lined up, already in one form or another, but it brings me to face an aspect of myself I hate... Even with doing twelve years in food service management, I know that I absolutely *SUCK* as a manager.

I'm great as an employee. Set a task down in front of me, and once I know how to do said task, I will do it as well as anyone who's ever done it. I can work without supervision, and honestly prefer to, and my employers always knew that things would get done. As the guy who does the bulk of the day to day work here, I do okay, as I have pretty much only myself to direct. No, my problem is letting go and TRUSTING people to do the things I need done to put my mind at ease in terms of business.

I have this mindset where it is easier for me to just do the work that needs to be done than it is to train people to do it to my expectations. That's a very short-sighted mindset to have, and it needs to change if the Gopher is going to continue to grow. I've read advice from other game store owners who went into this with full blown business plans and how they planned their staffing from the start, and I am amazed and terrified. We didn't do that. We bought a store from two guys who started it on a tax return. They didn't have much of a plan, and we didn't have much of a plan when we took it over other than I would run it long enough to either grow the place, or realize we should shut the doors.

As has happened three years ago when we moved the store to its current location, we stand on the edge of a precipice... The store HAS to move... Not to survive, but to grow... It's needs space... With space comes added necessary manpower. We (Loq, Skribl, and I) can't do everything here in the space we have now. We NEED the help, and I know it. As with the previous move, I feel, in my gut, the upcoming move will make or break the store, and I don't know what scares me more...

Failing, which means I would have to get a real job again in order to help support my family... I enjoy working for myself. I highly recommend being your own boss if you can manage it. The job stress is higher, but it's different and satisfying. At the end of the day, though, what you have is yours. Failing would take that away...


Succeeding... I honestly do not know how I would act if this move made the business explode. I do not know if I could personally handle it, mostly because I have never been in that sort of position before, and the unknown always scares me more...


Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 314 of 362

It's Friday... that means Friday Night Magic. It also means that we have three or four places to look at as potential new sites for the store... and we have Gopher Mafia T-shirts and hoodies in if we can get over to pick them up today...

Behind... as usual... gotta go...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 313 of 362

It's Thursday, and I'm not actually running behind too much. I have to go run a couple of errands for the store before I get there, but it shouldn't be too terribly hard to accomplish.

Not much is going on in the way of gaming currently with me. One game is on semi-hiatus due to some real-world issues for the GM, and the other game I play in, well, I wasn't feeling well when it last happened, so I couldn't tell you exactly what went on.

The one game I run? The Dearborne Ring (their name, not mine) went against five semi-generic villains this passed Sunday.  Three villains (Kilohurt, Psy, and Hatchetman) got away... two others (Sky Tiger and Bonecrusher) got beaten down, and one hero (JP) (along with several million in corporate bearer bonds) is missing. In the PCs defense, they were down a man, so it was four-on-five, putting them at a disadvantage from the start. We'll see how it goes...

-- GopherDave