Breathing Room.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the weekend went off without a hitch. While this is not meant to be a journal of store happenings (though one is coming, now just around the corner), it would be difficult to separate myself from the business-related fervency of the past month or so, which would then not give me an opportunity to express the relief and pride relative to our operations over the past four days. Everything just kind of fell into place, as we had hoped it would, and now it’s onward and forward into summer.

There will be some photographic evidence of the highlights, as mundane as this should be to most, but for now I can briefly recap by saying that in the space of the weekend, we managed to run a ragged schedule of events; schmooze a hole in the ozone layer with old friends, customers, and manufacturers; proselytize some drama with a friend’s new release; blather about history and conservancy for somewhere over an hour; and actually still get inspired by some of the things present throughout the convention. It was a cavalcade of information, of energy, and of connection. An interview by the S.F. Chronicle capped it off:

We ran twenty-four people through a game tournament that folk seemed to be really excited about – smoothly and cleanly. We’ve been invited back next year and are also doing the rounds at another convention later in September, and again in March of next year. We pulled three painting awards for the store, from three of us who entered – one gold and two silver. Small victories, but an eye toward sme measure of repute and a successful business. And now the month is closed out far ahead of last year, and we see that we can do it, our new ownership as a vehicle of local confidence and excitement, with our patrons and fans all around and in between. It’s all because of that support.

I realized something important just before the lecture which had eluded me up to the opening minutes of my introduction. I had stressed myself into sincere sickness, with little sleep, and lack of confidence in my ability to present the material and capture the audience. The four warm-up runs in my hotel room through the weekend did not prove to me that I could do these things well. But it was simple, really: as I was plugging in the projector directly before the presentation began, I told myself that I could either focus on the material, or I could focus on myself and how I effused. In the event, I staved off the latter for the former, and the hour whisked by like a sirocco, a whirlwind of musketballs, tartan, and non-native heather. I had no problems, and I was in that ‘focus zone’ for the entire thing. I’ll take this into the future, and employ it against the ever-encroaching shadow of self-doubt.

Finally, and overarchingly, I remember back to a time when many of us were sitting around and yabbering in the massive hotel lobby, Sunday at midnight, coming down after a terribly busy day, and one before that. Most of our employees were there, with some of their spouses and friends, together with a gaggle of regular customers – this band of roguish friendlies. We were telling stories, jokes, laughing like imbeciles, taking the piss and conveying fondnesses. I never thought – not in a thousand years – that my place of work would be the center of my social life, that I would have made so many great friends and be spending my waking days and late nights with this community that we’ve glued together, laughing my fool head off, and feeling such a part of something so utterly pleasant. This is my job.

One of the boys came in on his day off last Thursday, as he always does, for one of our event nights. He opened Friday and stayed for six hours longer than he was scheduled for so that Andre and I could pack and head off to the hotel. He worked all day on Saturday, even though it was another normal day off. He joined us at 9:30am on Sunday – yet another day he should be home relaxing – to assist us with the tournament, and he remained with us until after midnight that evening, all off the clock. Upon seeing my exhaustion, he told me to take the next day off and that he’d be happy to cover me. No problem. No reluctance. These are our boys.

Tonight was filled with people, broken up into groups of head-scratching and scheming players, tables askew and the comforting styrofoam containers of local foods from the farmer’s market near. We bought a projector and are now playing relevant movies on one of the store’s walls as people enjoy the competition and the camaraderie. Some rotisserie chickens were smuggled in and we enjoyed the carnage and conversation with some surreptitious swigs of Chardonnay as the rolling of dice and clomping of movement pieces sounded around us. Uninitiated folk from off the street always come in on Thursdays after perusing the market wares, and we never see a night go by without more than one exclaiming to their companions: “I love this place” or “This is the coolest store in the world!” This is our future.

We have a model, we have the drive, and the results just need to be played out – in more ways than one.

27 Responses to “Breathing Room.”

  1. eskimolimon Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 3:15 am

    I liked Runequest, I had Pavis, Cults of Prax, Cults of Death (REALLY SCARY) and Trollpak and all that. Bree and elves and stuff. Loved it. Such a well-imagined universe. Tried to play Traveller but it clearly wasn't designed by people who wanted you to have fun.
    Wasn't so much into the metal figure stuff, my brother was and is a fan, mostly Napoleonic though.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 11:42 am

    See, I knew you had some glaring geekdom lying around somewhere in there. I was fearful that you were entirely too cultured for a while there! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Runequest, if you can believe it, is back thanks to Mongoose Press, a British company that simply is the most prolific in the industry. It's selling pretty well, though the magic of the old supplements just isn't there…
    I hear you about Traveller! A fine assessment!

  3. eskimolimon Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    I'm delighted to see that the shop is getting plenty of attention!
    *worships Crimson Bat*

  4. softnessbutch Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Damn! You make me miss Kublacon and miss gaming terribly. I really miss that community.

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 11:47 am

    How long ago did you leave? Have you not yet found a local base of like-minded folk up there?

  6. softnessbutch Says:
    June 6th, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Left in spring 04. They left warhammer fantasy here and thats about it. We did try to teach people other games by doing demos and the local very small game store but nobody switched. There is pretty active game board club up at Cornell, but the kids make it kinda difficult to go to. AT least when Scenario was still around in Fremont they had a tv and vcr set up for the kids to watch while we gamed. What sucks is the oldest would be old enough now to thoroughly love the kids game room at Kubla. Oh well.

  7. dndupree Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 9:57 am

    <big hugs> You made it!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I am so very glad you and Andre have the store – I can't think of a better place for so many from so many differnt walks of life coming together to share common interests and find they have more than just gaming to tie them together (and no, I don't mean rope ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I was able to attend a small 40k tournament this past Sunday where questions, comments and audience participation was welcome – and I thought of you guys, the Legends of The Old West game testing and that if/when I do get into any of the miniature games I know just where I'm going for figures, guidance and my first games ๐Ÿ™‚ So…..when are those "Girlfriend of Gamescape" shirts coming out again?? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    You are incredibly capable, articulate and pursuasive – no doubts, but if you do you've got a group around you that loves you and is always willing to remind you just how awesome you are!

  8. jacesan Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 10:32 am

    Your dedication to your research shows, my friend. You've put your heart and soul into digging up the truth. Literally. You mentioned that similar archealogical endeavors are being done at The Battle of Little Big Horn. I've never taken any formal classes, but could probably have minored in Native American studies. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    I had no idea you were so interested in Native studies. I think that's great. Classes! Who needs classes? Ever think of making some time to dig into that stuff again?
    There's a ton of cool new information out on Little Big Horn, and I'd be delighted to drop you some references should the fancy strike you. Of course, I understand how busy regular life can be. What happened to all those days and weeks of nothing but childhood enjoyment?
    Thanks again, sincerely, for your appearance and interest.

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Your praise here is utterly heartening, and I can't tell you how much it means to us. I'm glad you've taken to spending more time in the store lately; pretty soon we're going to have to insist that you actually sit down and do some playing. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for your calming presence in the days leading up to CrazyCon, and for the support, as always.
    I promise you: the shirts are coming very soon!

  11. dndupree Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    All the support I can give to you guys, you, the store with pleasure ๐Ÿ™‚ I'll sit down for a game if you take me up on the offer of help, how about that? lol
    Yayy for the shirts! hehe
    And really – I'd like to sit down with you guys and learn more about Flames of War, 40k and Axis & Allies ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh yeah – so Thursday is board-game night right? I'd like to participate ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    You're in. Qwirkle it is. You've just volunteered. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. dndupree Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Woohoo! That looked like a lot of fun ๐Ÿ™‚ Just come on out after work then? I get home from SF around 6pm ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you btw – it's really nice to be included ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. scotis_man Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 10:21 am

    To be honest with a friend, your lecture left me hoping that you would do more. I look forward to the next one and am sorry that I missed the one previous. I miss the days where I had the time to just "hang" at the the store, and I look forward to bringing Bea up there for gaming sessions (or painting, or whatever she gets into).

  15. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Hopefully this means that you were hoping it would go on, as opposed to pointing out that I missed all kinds of things. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for making the extra-special effort on your extra-esteemed day to sit in and visit with us. Bob and I were saying how great it was to see you again, and we're really looking forward to the 24th.
    Bea will certainly be a regular with your prompting. Can't wait!

  16. scothen_krau Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 10:39 am

    A magnificent weekend, from the sounds (and looks) of it. I am continually impressed.

  17. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks, man. Now the only thing we need is to see you more, and have you join in some of the things that have been going on. No pressure, of course! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. lachlain Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Congrats on the success of the tournament!
    I have an ARSELOAD to talk to you about…but I'll save that for another time.
    I'll see you on the 24th

  19. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    We should get together ahead of this to talk about stuff – you know how we get when we get going, and I'd hate to monopolize the evening with shop talk. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Okay, I'd be fine with it. How you faring?

  20. avalokita Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Very cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    I'm feelin' the geek love going on. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. thistlelurid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    holy fricken frack quit posting this stuff in the middle of the night!!!! I missed THIS!!!!
    hurray for hearing you guys speak about the games!!!! hurray for cotton ball SMOKE!!!
    boooo….not a pagoda in the sequence! ::SQUISH!::

  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    You LOVE the cotton ball smoke. I know you do.
    Since there were no WWII land battles in Japan, my little mama-san, there are no pagodas on our boards. How can I make it up to you?

  24. anaguma Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    Congratulations! Glad it all went so well for ya. I'm jealous, as i wasn't able to make Kublacon this year, as we were up in Portland for Convergence. Any chance you might be going to ConQuest SF?

  25. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 9th, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Yes, we'll certainly be at ConQuest. We've been asked to run their Flames of War national qualifiers for Origins 2008, so Sunday is already booked up. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hope to see you there (or before), and thanks very much for the kind wishes!

  26. anaguma Says:
    June 15th, 2007 at 12:26 am

    Before would be cool. ๐Ÿ˜€ Perhaps we can wrangle people together for another dim sum.
    I haven't decided what i'll be doing at ConQuest. Either helping run the Chaosium booth, doing a Cthulhu game, or a session of Arkham Horror. Hmm…

  27. ohjolielaide Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Aw, what the heck. This is a very sweet interview. I love what you guys are doing with the space. This store rules! it really, really does.

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