Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 22 of 362

It's Saturday at the store and not much is going on. I did get an update on the "store sweaters" late yesterday. They should be here on Tuesday. So Wednesday, if you didn't know which store my wife and owned before, there will now be a visual clue.

We are scheduled to look at more potential relocation spaces on Monday. Updates for that situation as they develop. There are so many things we want to do to improve the store that are pretty much dependant on finding a bigger space. In no particular order...

  1. More Fixtures -- We need more shelves upon which to place...
  2. More Stock -- There are at least five lines of miniatures we'd like to get in, plus we'd love to carry more of the minis games we do carry. We would like more RPG stock, and we'd love to double our board game selection.
  3. More Tables -- To fill up more play space...
  4. New POS System -- We'd like a more modern point of sale software. What we use now is DOS-based. While it works, it's kludgy.
  5. New Computers -- We'd like to get a couple of more machines, bringing our total to three. Then we could have one dedicated POS station, one station that can run events and double as a back-up POS site if we need it, and one station in the back office into which we can take our time entering inventory and conduct more of the back office applications. We'd also like these tied into each other.
  6. Employees -- We need help. When we move, we're expanding the hours. I already personally put in 60-80 hours a week at the store. The wife puts in about 30-40 hours a month, and we get some help from the boy in the range of 10-25 hours a week. The boy does not want this to be his life, and I can appreciate that. The wife works a day job. We are beginning to get overwhelmed with the grunt work and cleaning that needs to be done. Thus, we need help. The only thing stopping us from hiring someone now is the fact that they would have nowhere to do the grunt work we need done outside of cleaning.
  7. Dedicated Storage -- Right now, the store office is more of a storage closet filled with back stock. This needs to change.

There's more things that need to improve, but they're not coming to mind now.

Until tomorrow... GopherDave

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 21 of 362

I like how this close-up shows the way that the shirt and tie really play with and compliment each other.

Three weeks in and still going. No word on sweaters yet, and I seem to have lost a recently acquired pair of pants. I have no doubt they'll turn up, but it's still disturbing. Maybe the Underpants Gnomes are expanding their operations? Ehh... who knows.

At the store, we're gearing up for Winter War next week. Right now, all looks to be in order, but we thought that last year. Our slogan for last year's shindig ended up being "Third computer's the charm, right?"

Long story short(-ish)... We go in last year to pack. I hit the switch to turn on our point of sale computer (which was working the night before) and nothing happens. Among the folks helping us is a hardware tech. We crack open the case to find no fewer than a dozen blown capacitors... four of them alone in the power supply circuit. We scramble and find a carbon copy of our machine that supposedly works. We swap out the hard drives and fire it it up... the computer works... except for the video output. Sigh. I jump on the phone to another tech-savvy regular who works in a computer lab. Turns out, he's got a shell he can give us and get working in short order. So I and another person trek to his lab with the parts while my wife directs the move from the store to the convention. He sets us up and we're good to go. We get to the convention, set up, discover we don't have a power cord, get a power cord, make some minor adjustments to the video output, and we're rolling...

It was like a REALLY passive-aggressive version of the Chinese saying "May you live in interesting times".

(Perhaps) More later... GopherDave

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 20 of 362

Apparently this is a "new" old friend. I think I'll keep him.

This happy adventure continues... This fine day has me glad I opted for the Jim Tressel sweater vest look as it is currently snowing and cold in the Midwest. Bleah. For those of you who don't know who Jim Tressel is, he is the current football coach at The Ohio State University. Mr. Tressel has been called "the Governor" and "the Sweater Vest" by many members of the sports media. Just for the record though, I did it first. I have been rocking this look since the mid-80s. I just didn't do it much in public. Plus, my color palette is a whole lot more varied than his even though I only have five sweaters that fit currently. Nyah...

The necktie in the picture above was near the bottom of one of my tie drawers. Yes, I have drawers full of these things. Shut up. I have never worn this particular tie before, nor can I remember where I purchased it, but it looks good, and it won't be its last journey around my neck.

As for the culture around the game store... the shock of me dressing this way has worn off to where the regulars don't find it worth mentioning anymore. Another month or so of this and they'll probably freak the day I decide to NOT wear a necktie in the place. That's what I like about sudden, abrupt changes. It keeps people on their toes.

Beyond that, not much is happening besides getting ready for the local game convention. With only eight days before it happens, crunch time is upon us. We have moving help, both there and back, lined up. We also have Saturday morning/afternoon booth help lined up for the wife and boy as I will be busy at the store running an event.

After the convention, the next morning is a crash through inventory. We should be well-reduced after the convention, so it's the best time to do it for us.

Until later... GopherDave

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dav 19 of 362

Not much is happening on the clothing front except what's becoming the same old-same old. I still have not repeated wearing a neck tie yet since this started, and as I've stated before, I could probably keep that up for a few months. However, if the store sweaters arrive in time, I've already got some combinations in mind that will use some of the ties I've already worn this month. So there goes that potential streak.

I may try to do something like that in the future to keep it interesting for me, like doing a no-repeat month, or nothing but stripes, or even nothing but knit ties for a month. Who knows...

For business, Wednesday is usually one of my busiest days. Not from a sales perspective, but this is the day when the majority of our shipments come in. So there's check-in, system input, pricing, shelving, pulling special orders, updating the web site, yadda-yadda-yadda. Speaking of which, UPS just pulled up... Gotta go.

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 18 of 362

So far so good on this sartorial upgrade thing. Though this may be the last time you see this particular tie. No big deal... it's not like I don't have more ties. =P

Update on the sweater front: The embroidery place sent me an e-mail saying they have everything except for one color. Luckily, the missing color is not black, so I told them to go ahead with the order and we made a substitute that's to my liking.

The wife and I also had a meeting today with our current landlord. We went into the meeting hoping to cement Option B as a back-up plan, only to be told that they hadn't done their due diligence to make certain that was even an option. So, for us at least, the meeting was a small waste of our time. Again, no big deal. We're just wanting ducks to be in rows. Sigh... the pace of business is sometimes slower than I'd like...

-- GopherDave

Monday, January 17, 2011

[Monday Music] -- VOIVOD/Angel Rat

Angel Rat is album number six from French-Canadian band, Voivod. Those of you familiar with Voivod probably know their musical origins. Their first two albums (War and Pain, and the appropriately named RRROOOAAARRR (complete with umlauts over the "O"s)) are absolutely brutal thrash/death metal from folks whose first language is not English.  With song titles like "Iron Gang" and "Ripping Headaches", you kind of knew that what you were about to listen to would be actually kind of painful, if not well-executed, thrash.

Right around platter number three (Killing Technology), Voivod started heading a different direction. Stuff was still thrashy, but the band began expanding its palette of sound with a few progressive touches. Song temps started to slow down to manageable levels, which allowed some of the band's songs to breathe and utilize quiet as part of sound. By disc number five (the VERY EXCELLENT Nothingface), Voivod came off like a metalized King Crimson or Can. Heck, Nothingface even had a cover of "Astronomy Domine" from psychedelic-era Pink Floyd.

By the time that landmark disk hit, the ubiquitously named band members ("Piggy", "Blacky", "Snake", and "Away") had each become very accomplished musicians and songwriters. Their English had gotten better and they were confidently exploring new musical terrain with each release.

Angel Rat was poised to be Voivod's mass breakthrough. Produced by noted Rush knob-twiddler Terry Brown and armed with their most bracing batch of songs, Voivod confidently dropped one of the best albums of 1991 only to have it go plop under the wave of noise that was known as Grunge.

So what makes Angel Rat the little album that tried really hard but didn't? Just about everything. Clear production, jazz-influenced guitar structures (!), well-accomplished time changes that don't sound forced, and lyrics that take you from inward reflection all the way to outer space. All of this is accomplished within a framework of metal-influenced music that is a treat to listen to.

From "Clouds in My House"

Zoning In A Hall of Glass
Plasma Flowing From A Cask
Piercing Overtones
Mainline Into My Backpack

It's Full of Clouds In My House

A Grey Hive... Humming White Souls...

Frenzy Reviving The Room
Energized By Many Flumes
Drip-Drop, On My Head
Wakes Me From A Thousand Moons

Circle Dance Around A Cave
All Movement Brings A Message
Larvae, In Their Holes
Waiting For A Summer Daze

Pretty trippy, huh? They follow this gem of of a head trip with insistent rocker the Prow, with its relentless pace drives the listener along the journey with the song's protagonists, just to bust out with a echo-laden, fast note guitar solo, giving pause only for the last stanza of lyrics, before turning into a noodling lead that never tries to leave the song, instead staying part of a cohesive whole.

Later, the lilting title track provides one of the most evocative opening and closing lines I've ever heard in a rock song

"The Idiot Walks Along A Canvas..."

This lyrical image brackets a parable of self-confidence (or lack thereof) couched in terms of an unnamed Icarus-like figure daring to fly or plummet with equal aplomb.

"Rat or Angel? Does One Really Know?"

It's all heady, challenging stuff, and it's a shame that this record was effectively ignored upon its release. I urge you to give Angel Rat a fair listen. It may take you a few spins to find your way in, but you'll be justly rewarded once you do.

GopherDave Grade: 8.1/10

Track Listing

01. Shortwave Intro
02. Panorama
03. Clouds In My House
04. the Prow
05. Best Regards
06. Twin Dummy
07. Angel Rat
08. Golem
09. the Outcast
10. Nuage Fractal
11. Freedoom
12. None of the Above

Lyrics Copyright (C) 1991 by Voivod. Published by Willesden Music, Inc. BMI. Used without permission, but with no affront meant to the band Voivod or Willesden Music, Inc. BMI.

Day 17 of 362

Yep... definitely becoming more routine, and that's a good thing. Doing this means I wake up earlier and I get more done that's productive.

I've got a couple more things to do at the house before I leave, and then I have a few things to do at the store before we open. Minor tasks, but things that have to be done nonetheless. This week will be our consolidation of help for Winter War. We've got a second computer to get up and running so we can do the MtG: Mirrodin Besieged Pre-release at the store, plus I need to put financial ducks in a row so we can afford all of what's going on with the convention, the pre-release, the potential move, etc.. So, it'll be a busy day, but I'll look good doing it. =)

Tonight is also WH40K night at the store, which means my wife will come relieve me around 6PM or so and I can come home and work on tonight's Monday Music entry. I have no idea which album it will be, but I'm sure I can find something to write about.

Until later... GopherDave

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 16 of 362

I found another vest I had buried that actually fits, so there's one more for the rotation until the store vests come in. The tie brings shades of the 80's back as it's the same necktie I wore to my high school graduation. Totally tubular, dude!

The more I do this whole "dress up" thing, the more it becomes habit and less "special". Still, it keeps me on point with the task I've set for myself of improving the store.

One thing I have definitely noticed is when I go out for errands before I go to the store, I get treated much differently than I did before. Looking like a schlub with no money, it took a small act of a deity to get any help if I needed it. Now, the moment I even *LOOK* like I need some help, it seems that sales people fall over themselves to make certain I am taken care of. It's a good feeling. If you haven't done it before, I recommend trying it as a social experiment.

If nothing else, you'll look good and you'll know it, which should at least bring a small smile to your face.

peace... GopherDave


I looked up at the clock a few minutes ago and realized it was just past midnight. That means my son is now seventeen. As that thought hit me I entered into reflection about the young man he's become and the struggles we've had to even get along at times.

I'm not going into details on this one. Suffice it to say that while I think I am a good father overall, I've done more than a fair number of cruel things to my son from an emotional standpoint. Thinking about it all makes me cringe on the inside more than a little. I can apologize all I want, but I can never take those painful memories away from him, no matter how much I may wish it so.

Most of those actions were my ham-fisted attempts to actually be a good father and teach him some important life lesson I felt he needed to learn. While my intentions may have been good, you know what they say about the road to hell...

That all being said, despite my meddling my son has grown into a fine young man. He's honorable and honest. He possesses a wicked sense of humor. He's thoughtful and responsible. He's passionate... oh so very passionate about whatever he feels he needs to be. He knows who he is and what he is about, which is something that took me much longer to figure out about myself.

My son has a mix of both his mother and I. Most of his good traits can be traced to either one of us, though his mother leads in that contributional category by a slight amount. As for his faults, ninety percent of them can be directly traced to me. Yep, I taught him the bad with the good, and he took all the lessons to heart.

He and I do not shy away from confrontation, either physical  or verbal. We're also both pretty good in both of those arenas, though neither one of us has had to prove it physically for a bit. Interacting with him has also taught me that it's no fun to argue with yourself. The boy is so much like me that we argue like we were clones...

I guess the Mother's Curse does come true... "I hope your children are just like you so you know what I have to deal with every day!"

Gee... Thanks, Mom.

Happy Birthday, Son. With me as your father, you earned every one of them...

peace... GopherDave