Game Store Confidential

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I've hit this sort of weird phase again... the one where not a whole lot seems to be going the way I want in one area and in other areas ideas are coming so fast I have to jot them down or else forget them for all eternity.

The store is doing fine. Better by a decent margin than I thought it would. The downside is that it eats up my time. I'm up and down all day. Never a sustained peroid of time to write or make serious eBay progress.

I really, really need to cut something out... it's impossible to do everything I want in such a limited amount of time.

I have decided to go ahead and apply to the county for the remaining split on the property. By splitting off 5 acres I can sell it for right around 100K. That leaves me plenty of room on the rest of Mosquito Acres to set up and board as many as 10-12 horses. In the process I'd have to drop 46K on the mortage to get free title on the 5 acres I want to sell. That means I could refinace and see another $400 or more drop in monthly payment.

I swore I'd never personally sell another of my own houses, but I think I can handle selling 5 acres with no realtor and save about $5k commission.

So now I have the ship game, the car game and yet another potential project. My old RPG that I wrote back in the 80's resurfaced. I found my last remaining copy. I did a re-read and saw that I could easily revise and update it, add good art this time and probably do a limited run for a $15-20 price tag. I sold about 3,000 of Excursion when I first wrote it at $6 a copy. I think I can easily sell 1,000 copies if it's updated. I think I'm much more competent now than I was then and even though there's no real money in small press RPG's, there is satisfaction. And the sweet little ego stroke I always get when I create something and total strangers give me money for it.

I want out of retail. That's a given. With the web site that Marshall and I are planning, the boarding business and about 2 years of remaining eBay product, I'll have plenty of time to shift my focus and generate income some way other than being in retail jail.

The store was hopping today with a MechWarrior tounament, a Pirates tournament and other people cruising through to buy this and that. Down the street about 3 blocks is the city park. There was apparently some sort of Harley Owners Group rally there because about 400 Harleys cruised by the store from noon till 1pm. I really, really didn't want to be in the store. Not that I wanted to go mill around with a bunch of people I didn't know either... but today would have been perfect for a nice ride on my Harley.

Tomorrow I'll get all the forms I need off the internet for my plans with the property and get that ball rolling.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mosquito Acres dialog ~

Rough day.

Had the lady's parents here at the ranch because we're attempting to work out how best to access the cash from 5 of the acres so I can remodel my shop/garage into an office/studio and we can have the money needed to do nice fences, bring in quality arena sand, buy an ATV with trailer and also put in about 100 feet of frost-free water line.

The tulmultuous life we have with her three girls, our quasi-adopted girl and our little 2 1/2 year old hell-on-wheels son is maddening. Everybody pulling in a different direction and me in the center because I'm the one who bought the property and owns it. Needless to say, my partner/girlfriend brought plenty of baggage into the scenario beside the three girls.

My posted hours are noon till 9pm. I managed to get here just before 4pm. I don't see much business in the day anyway but it feels wrong to not be open. Even if I have important things to do that must be done.

Being an uncurable optimist, I believe it can work. But I see many holes and I sure hope I'm doing the right thing. My only other alternative is to just sell the place now, take the profit and lay low until a future real estate deal crops up down the road.

I love Mosquito Acres though and I bought it because of unrealized potential. Hard work needs to be done... and not just by me. So we'll see.

I did teach Robo Rally tonight to a gamer buddy and his nephew who is visiting from Norway. Jason, a recent idaho transplant from Florida came by after work and we all had a good game. The kid from Norway, who is named Thor, is about 13 and despite being foreign, he acts like an ADD American 13 year old. He drove me crazy with his antics, but he grasped the game quickly and finished 2nd behind me.

Little Buddy, my pride and joy, the most compelling 2 year old on the planet is the glue that holds everything in place right now while we figure out how to make her happy, me happy and hopefully semi-equip her girls with some small degree of common sense before they unleash their post-pubescent femininity on an unsuspecting world.

I live in an estrogen ocean and me and the boy anchor each other. He can't talk well enough to ask why women act the way they do but he says it all with some of the expressions on his face.

Anne is right in that she has the skills to tap into the $39 Billion per year horse business, nobody questions that. But will she exercise financial restraint? She says she will. She even agrees that I should oversee the books, the contracts for boarding and training and act in an advisory capacity to guide the income/spending activities. Agreeing that something ought to be a certain way and then actually acting on that agreement are two entirely different matters though.

What I am having trouble getting across to her is that if she is making her share of the mortgage, upkeep and upgrade payments, then I don't want to have a say in how she spends anything. She could make her part of the payments and if she had $50K per year left I could care less how many show saddles, Garcia Bits and trucks she buys. I don't like anybody telling me I have to spend my money in a certain way and I never want to feel like I need to do that to anyone else.

This is a rough period and all I want right now is to be through it, have the cash in fist, the debt cleared and be able to say "Here's the $10K we agreed we needed to upgrade, so lets get in the truck and get the stuff and get started!"

So I'll just cruise home in a minute and see what Little Buddy is doing. He ought to be asleep but sometimes he wakes right up when I walk in and wants to play for a while.

That's more than okay by me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

eBay sucks my life

Yep. I am back at eBay again. Not much choice these days because I made the decision to close up the Boise store a few months back and wind down my 20+ year retail adventure in a gentler environment... out here in the sticks, in the little burg near my beloved Mosquito Acres.

The plan, such as it is, is to do a bit of retailing and spend the rest of my work time unloading a 23 year collection of unsold or used crap on an unsuspecting eBay public. The selling part is easy. Making everything sync so I also have a life is not easy.

Me and the lady of the house are working out the difficulties at the ranch and we now have a new plan that will hopefully allow me to keep the excess money from eBay for my future ventures. I suggested to her today that an alternative would be for me to just sell the whole spread, at what right now seems like an enormous profit, and drop some bucks on her and I'd continue with the plan I have of design and writing.

She didn't like that idea. So we worked up a way to smooth out the rough edges and get things running so the hay eaters out in the pasture and in the paddocks are creating wealth rather than draining it.

We shall see, we shall see. I prefer to keep the property and while I agree that there is a real estate bubble, I doubt very seriously it's here in Idaho. The huge increase in the cost of acreage in this valley is amazing, but still, if you look at the geography, there really isn't any other location that's got what we have and is only 18 miles to HP, 25 miles to downtown Boise and 30 miles to Micron. Unless people in California just decide to quit moving to Idaho I suppose in 5 years or so we could see Mosquito Acres double and then some from where it's valued at today.

What I need to create is enough free time to work more often on the games, of which there are now three, and to add more chapters to both books. Just in the last week I started getting an idea for yet another book. Marshall and Jaimy both have three chapters from the MEMO book and they keep urging me to move on with it. In the meantime Marshall is pushing me to do the store website and eventually just sell online and eBay. he bought several other domains for our game related site and says he's ready to make it happen when I'm ready to provide content.

ebay sucks the life out of me. But I'd better get back at it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Okay, I give in.

Not being what is normally referred to as an "early adaptor", I have managed to hold off creating my own blog until now. In truth, the word "blog" is not a particularly handsome word. That's probably why I avoided setting one up for so long. I was hoping that common sense would creep in and some better, snappier term would surface for the act of broadcasting one's inner thoughts, maladies, emotions and other nasty bits to the immortal and accessible internet.

But nonetheless, here I am. Ready to commit my imprint to Google searches forever.