Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quartermaster Blues

Ha I just had a great idea for March, 2009!

Good solid week this past week despite a bumpy Monday. Sometime around Tuesday the nature of the week changed as several items were brought to my attention. While boxing up some emergency orders Mark asked me to bring over some larger shipping boxes. I noted we were out, we checked the various and sundry places we have attempted to store our shipping boxes...the Blue Room, Storage, Mail Room (very crowded), Shop, Todd's Attic...and we couldn't find any but for one mangled, oil covered box that must have survived the Exxon Valdez spill. Being cheap and noting that this was an outer shipping box, we used it.

Mark taped it with Duck Tape.

"Mark, what are you doing?"

"We're out of packing tape."

"Ahh."

Making a mental note I went on about my day. Later while nosing around in the shop for more boxes I saw two garbage cans full of scraps. There were no liners in the can.

"Mark, why aren't we putting liners in the can?"

"We're out of liners. So I'm using the large wraps the Upper Works bundles came in to catch the scrap. Its not really working."

"Ahh."

This led me to the inescapable conclusion that we might be running short of supplies.

Its been a busy 6 weeks, what with getting Crusader 13, Upper Works and Towers of Adventure out as well as work on non TLG projects. Mark and I have been running pretty constantly. And inevitably we run out of supplies. Which is, I think, a good thing.

So Wednesday, in the midst of whatever else it is I was doing I began compiling a list of material and supplies the Trolls will need. Its the perfect time, with Christmas and end of year, so its the perfect time to resupply and get ready for January 1 and 2009 which promises to be an interesting year.

Here is the short list of what I came up with.

Large Shipping boxes...50
Outside Shipping boxes...100
Inside Shipping boxes...100
USPS FRB2 boxes...100
USPS large flat rate...100
USPS priority Mail shoebox ...100
USPS priority stickers...100
39 gallon garbage bags...4 boxes
light bulbs...4 cases
packing tape...12 rolls
6 100 round belts of M80 ball with M62 tracer rounds
Paper....22000 sheets
Toner....4 cartons
Ink for small printer...1 cartridge

The list goes on.

So Thursday I set myself the task of traveling around Little Rock and gathering these supplies. We buy much of it locally, the boxes and what not, but its a bit of a drive to go get them. And I think for the better part of the entire day I was either ordering stuff or driving and picking up stuff. Its a good thing I have a full size truck.

I'm about 3/4 of the way to resupplying the company. And I'm glad to report we are preparing ourselves for whatever 2009 brings us. And who knows what that will be?

In thinking about Castles & Crusades. I wonder sometimes, is it a Crusade we lead? Or is it a Civil War? We crossed the Rubicon to find what had been lost . . . .

Enjoy your weekend. Do not be troubled... (Around miniute 3.52, is a great scene)

Thanks for playing,
Steve

Friday, December 12, 2008

Last Train to Midnight

Well, here it is deep into December. I think I've forgotten about the blog entries for a few weeks. Of course, the busier I get the less time I have to put out announcements. Not really the best of situations as . . . well you understand.

Things have been moving very fast around here. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm actually managing to keep up with paper work. I've fixed IRS problems that have posted since 2005 (or I think that I have). Mark is working through some issues in the shop which have led to some quality issues (and we hope not released into the general pubic). Peter is doing some freelancing while hammering on a bunch of covers and interiors. Jason has been busy on cartoons and interiors. Davis has turned over 2 complete modules (3 if you count A5) and James Ward had been hammering on Of Gods & Monsters. This doesn't even count Mike doing some extra work on Arms and Armor, Casey on Halls of Adventure, Liz on the Crusader (14), and Cory editing two books. And we top all this off with Brian working over the webpage and trying to get us a gallery up of past pictures and events and McBain on conventions, Breakdaddy on the computers (which I have some questions for him come Monday...he loves hearing my hair brained questions).

(I know some of you are asking Who are all these people? I have the same question . . . . Mark assure me he know them!)

It seems that each day begins with simple tasks and ends in harried confusion. Take today (friday) for instance. I plopped down in front of the computer around 8:20 or thereabouts. Liz needed some material for Crusader 14, pictures and such. I had a few small task to tackle as well, a contract and financial statement to the bank. I figured about 2 hours and then I could wrap up the final read of A5 before it goes to Cory for editing. I thought, okay, before I get started I'll clean this desk up a little. I filed some papers, found some unpaid bills. Logged on paid those, filed those papers. Went through the in box a bit, noticed that I had a new solicitation sheet from Alliance. I cross checked that with my announcements. Noticed that some annouced projects hadn't been put up on the boards. That led to a sheet of inventory needs by Aldo Ghiozzi. I pulled print sheets and called him for an update inventory sheet so I could see what I needed to send him. He was out of lots of material. So I begin to go through the mail room and my stock room inventory to see what we had on hand.

It hit me then that i hadn't even gotten to Liz's Crusader needs yet. So I stopped, went through some art files from the old Codex, got some pictures. I couldn't find the original cover as she had asked for so I had to go into the storage boxes, dig out the old CDRoms, transfer the original cover over and save it the file type needed. I scratched that off her list. I noted that some of this art hadn't appeared in the Codex, so I moved some files around to get it where I could get to it later (or more likely forget about it). I then laid out an ad for Winter Dark. Doing this led me to the discovery that several of Jason's digital originals were not where they were supposed to be. I hunted them down, moved them, finished the ad and sat back. It was already 1015 in the a.m.

I sat back to see to some contracts I needed to do and Mark sauntered in. He needed the days assignments and wanted to go over some minor issues. We discussed these and got him set up and he wandered off to the Shop after we both cussed the governement and various technoligical devices for a few minutes.

Back to work.

So I worked over the contracts. As I was finishing those I wandered up to answer email on the lap top and process some orders. I had there a letter from Luke Gygax and I fired him off a couple of bone headed responses (to which he hasn't yet answered). The phone rang and I chatted to a Canadian customer for a bit. Back to the main office and the financial statement that the bank needed back in November. I stared at the tiny boxes for a minute and thought it best to dig out an old one and copy it instead of digesting another years worth of tax returns and other crap. And of course it had been a year since I needed one of these and I couldn't find the old ones. I searched for a bit and quit, to take up another task and wait for my old brain to joggle around. It was 11:20 so I had me some lunch. Two P&J sandwiches. Watched the news and cussed the tv.

Conversation with Peter, Casey Christofferson and the wife and then back to work. I busied myself for a minute noted that Amazon was down and worked on its password for awhile. Checking the boards I noted that I hadn't announced the Christmas sale.

Off to do a press release, realized that my email addyes were destroyed and thought up a way to get the word out. This meant extending the sale to RPGNow, something that I should have done anyway, and off to work over that sale page. This took the better part of an hour to make a new logo and design the bundles and upload all that. I returned to the file where I remembered I filed my financial statements and tackled that. Of course it was more painful that I remembered and it took too long. I remembered that I hand't signed and shipped the contracts and I stopped on that project, hit the contracts, made out the envelopes and booked off to the post office. The christmas cards, addressed, but unstamped were in the seat of the truck. So I gathrered all this up and dumped it on my local post master. Glenda laughed at me and gave me two books of stamps. I spent a good while stamping post cards. Got all that done and back to the office.

It was 3 in the afternoon. HOLY CRAP. So I finished the financial statement, faxed it to the bank. Answered a few emails and headed upstairs to get my work in on A5. I sat down and worked through a paragraph and the phone rang. Took an order. Worked and the phone rang again. It was Patrick, the latest bundle of Upper Works and StarSiege boxes were ready for pick up. Crap. Called Mark, he was elbow deep into some jobs that he couldn't quit. We decided to pick them up on Monday.

Mail arrives and a big check is there that I need to pay some bills with. Off to the bank. Back to the computer. Balance books. Pay some bills, leaving the freshly balanced books unbalanced. Head back to A5.

Its now after 4. For the next hour I struggled with A5 and managed to get through a few pages. Several interuptions and a VALA moment where I remembered a way that I might salvage my email addys from the pre-flattened computer. I wandered down to the old computer, searched them and found some original LDIF files Jason and I had saved long ago when we ported out of netscape. I imported these and they looked live.

Well. Long Train Ride later. I didn't get A5 done, but will this weekend. I managed to get alot of small stuff done and put some fires out. Strangely though it seems that every day has its own little litany of things that need doing. What's up with that??

Well, after that, we all deserve a little music. Here ya go you '70s freaks!!

Heavy Metal.

Thanks for playing.
Steve