Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Sponsor Letter, January 2nd 2019

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2019 is treating you all very well thus far.  For me the end of the year was almost unprecedented -- I took four days off and did nothing at all. It was exciting in only the way that napping, reading, and watching TV can be (i.e. not exciting in the slightest and all the more lovely for that).  But now I'm back in the saddle and ready to dive into 2019.  (Or at least ready to slowly-go-down-the-steps-at-the-shallow-end of 2019.)

One of the first pieces of business this year is to let you all know that it's that time again -- we're ready, willing and able to process your sponsorship renewals.  Operators are standing by!  Email programs are checking for new mail every 15 seconds.  Our mail-carrier is wondering who still sends checks in the post.  And our on-line form is ready to go at https://borderlands-books.com/buysponsorship19.html  Feel free to renew in the fashion that suits you best -- do it on-line, send a check, call up and do it with a credit card, or stop by the shop and pass us a fresh Franklin.  We like the last option the best because that way we get to see you and say Thank You in person.

All joking aside, if you'd like to continue to support Borderlands through 2019, I would deeply appreciate it.  However, if for any of the million reasons that might not make sense for you this year, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support in 2018.  This thing that we've done is really remarkable and I'm very pleased you came along for the ride.

As usual, I'll keep sending you these notes until March.  If you haven't renewed by then, I'll remove you from this mailing list.  Regardless of whether you renew this year, please do feel free to come to the sponsor social in February.  Likewise, if you'd like to come to the general meeting on March 31st, I'd love to see you there.

In closing, I wish you all a calm and peaceful year that brings you everything you hope for and much more.

All Best,
Alan

PS  Thank you to all the folks who pre-renewed your sponsorships.  They've all been processed and you should be seeing credit card charges appearing shortly.

Pygmy Jerboa Version:

(1) Friday, January 18th, 8:00 pm - Movie night and sing-a-long with pizza at Borderlands Cafe.

(2) Saturday, February 16th, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social, Borderlands Cafe.

(3) Saturday, March 9th - Meet up at FOGCon 9, Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(4) Sunday, March 31st, 7:00 pm - Sponsors' General Meeting, Borderlands Cafe.

(5) Friday, April 26th, 8:00 pm - Roller Skating at Church of 8 Wheels, 554 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Capybara Version:

(1) Friday, January 18th, 8:00 pm - Movie night and sing-a-long with pizza at Borderlands Cafe.  Need a little escapist fun?  Bring your favorite sleeping bag and pillow or camping chair for our first-ever Borderlands movie night.  We are screening the 1975 classic, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and, for the opening act, we'll be singing along to "Once More, With Feeling", the famous musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, both presented on our larger-than-life movie screen in the cafe.  We're going to need a head-count so please RSVP by replying to this email.

If you're interested in partaking in pizza (which will arrive around 8:45 or so), please mention it when you RSVP _and_ let us know if you're into meat or not.  Pizza will be five bucks (on the honor system) and payable the night of the show.

(2) Saturday, February 16th, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social, Borderlands Cafe.  Food and Drink and Books; what more does one need?

(3) Saturday, March 9th - Meet up at FOGCon 9, Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.  FOGCon is one of the more intimate of the genre-focused conventions, but they always pull off a great weekend of talks, readings, and local vendors selling their wares.  This year's guests of honor include Karen Joy Fowler and Becky Chambers.  More details to come as we confirm them.

(4) Sunday, March 31st, 7:00 pm - Sponsors' General Meeting, Borderlands Cafe.  If you've never attended, the General Meeting is sort of like a cross between a share-holders meeting and a big advisory board.  Alan will outline where Borderlands and the Sponsor Program stand, and then ask for comments, opinions and ideas.  We hope to see as many of you there as possible, because this is where we get guidance on where we should go with the sponsor program, and Alan would love to hear your thoughts.  If you can't attend in person, feel free to email us with your comments; we'll email a report on the meeting a week or two afterwards.

(5) Friday, April 26th, 8:00 pm - Roller Skating at Church of 8 Wheels, 554 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117.  As you may have guessed, we have LOVED our past two outings to the Church of 8 Wheels.  We're back again and we'll be renting the private corner in the rear so we will have a place to congregate and leave our belongings. Housed in the 119-year-old former location of Sacred Heart Church, The Church of 8 Wheels welcomes anyone over the age of 18 to Friday night disco.  Admission is $10.00 and skate rentals are an additional $5.00.  Personal skates and roller blades are allowed and should weather dictate layering, there is a coat check at the door.  There is also a snack bar within the Church.  Please feel free to bring as many friends as you would like.   http://www.churchof8wheels.com/.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sponsor Letter December 10th, 2019

Hello Dear Sponsors,

Here we are at the end of the year.  I don't know about you but, for me, it's gone blindingly fast.  Being busy as hell with our new building probably had a fair amount to do with that, along with participating in a local World Science Fiction Convention.  But, whatever the reason, the year has blown by and I expect that next year will be much the same.

As I usually do in December, I took a look at the total number of sponsors for this year.  There were 634 of you this time around.  While that's not a record (see my footnote), it's still quite an accomplishment.  And it's plenty more than the minimum 300 that we need to keep plugging along.

Speaking of sponsorships, it's just about time to renew (if that's something you were planning on doing).  You can pre-order your 2019 sponsorship on-line now at https://borderlands-books.com/buysponsorship19.html . You're also welcome to pre-order in the store, just stop by anytime.  Or you can call us to take care of it.  And, finally, you're completely welcome to send a check (IMPORTANT - if you're going to send a check, please date it January 1st, 2019.  It's a tax thing.)

Last month I asked a question about whether to ask for donations towards our moving costs, increase the cost of sponsorships, or just stick with our usual system.  The response was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the cost at $100 and once again asking for additional donations.  That was nice because that was the plan that I favored, despite my desire to get the other ideas out in front of you.  So, that's the plan for 2019 - $100 for a sponsorship and, if you feel motivated to do so, we're happy to accept an additional amount towards our move.

I'm sincerely grateful for your support of Borderlands over the past year.  We've done something pretty remarkable: not just keeping the store open in the face of the increased minimum wage but by building a community that is supportive and close-knit enough to allow us to buy a building to be our permanent home.  I'm honored by your faith in everyone who makes Borderlands function and your confidence that we'll continue to make the shop and cafe a place that you want to support.

I hope that you'll join us for another year of sponsoring Borderlands but, the world is a complicated place and there are a galaxy of reasons that I can imagine for not renewing this year.  If you decide not to renew, please know that you have my everlasting gratitude for having come along with us for part of our trip.

Before I close this note, I want to give very special thanks to all the people who have put their time, sweat, blood and tears into working on our new building.  Thankfully, there has been very little of the latter two spilled.  Over the last year they've shifted 8 tons of bricks, moved more than that in dirt, hauled and poured concrete, framed walls, and gotten covered with sand, charcoal, dust, dirt, and other, less easy-to-describe substances.  They've worked in the rain, the mist, and the burning heat (as an aside, for those of you who don't live in San Francisco, "burning heat" is 80 degrees with 25% humidity -- we are a delicate breed).  They've done all that and much, much more.  Over that time they've all become my friends and friends to each other.  And it has made the whole process so much fun.

So, I want to salute; Alex, Aliza, April, Bill, Canute, Caroline, Claud, Colleen, Dashiell, David and David, Donald, Elizabeth, Eloise, Emily, Frances, Garrett, Jane, Jawon, Jay and Jay, JJ, Jo, Jonathan and Jonathan, Jutta, Kelsey, Liz, Louis, Maddy, Marie, Ramon, Rebecca, Richard, Rosalind, Russ, Scott and Scott, Tex, Turtle, and Z'ev.

There are some people who deserve special mention because they spent more than a dozen days in the past year helping make the new Borderlands a reality.  They are: Laura Mazzola, Emily Schaeffer, Josie Schaeffer, and Carl Ueber.

Finally, there are also the proud few lunatics that worked more than 20 days on the new building.  In order of their lunacy, they are: Dave La Point, Jim Lively, Melinda Rose, Cassie Beckley, and Zach Harper.

Thank you all for everything you've done over the past year.  I have the best job in the world because I get to be part of our community.  Here is to a wonderful New Year for us all and to 2019 exceeding all our hopes and expectations!

Warmest Regards,
Alan

Footnote - For you who are wondering, the numbers each year have been; 2015 - 848, 2016 - 681, 2017 - 704, and 2018 - 634.  So, we're actually at our lowest point but . . . we're still holding very nicely in the 600-700 range, which is fine by me.

PS - Since you all like construction stories, here's a bit of fun dialogue between me and Tony, the guy who did the concrete pumping for the foundation week before last. Tony's a great guy and he works at construction sites all over the city.

Tony: "Good crew you've got.  They really hustle."
Alan: "Yeah, they're pretty great.  Wanna guess at their professions?"
Tony: "What?"
Alan (pointing): "Police Officer, Civil Engineer, Software Engineer, Cafe Manager, Sound Engineer, Bookseller . . . "
Tony: "I don't get it."
Alan: "They're all volunteers, man.  This isn't their day job."
Tony: "Damn.  I know a lot of professional crews who aren't half as good."
Alan: "Yup."

Wispy Version:

(1) Friday, January 18th, 8:00 pm - Movie night and sing-a-long with pizza at Borderlands Cafe.

(2) Saturday, February 16th, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social, Borderlands Cafe.

(3) Saturday, March 9th - Meet up at FOGCon 9, Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(4) Sunday, March 31st, 7:00 pm - Sponsors' General Meeting, Borderlands Cafe.

(5) Friday, April 26th, 8:00 pm - Roller Skating at Church of 8 Wheels, 554 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Rock-Solid Version:

(1) Friday, January 18th, 8:00 pm - Movie night and sing-a-long with pizza at Borderlands Cafe.  Need a little escapist fun?  Bring your favorite sleeping bag and pillow or camping chair for our first-ever Borderlands movie night.  A comedy and a very special sing-a-long will be presented on our larger-than-life movie screen in the cafe.  We will be accepting cash from those interested in partaking in pizza.

(2) Saturday, February 16th, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social, Borderlands Cafe.  Food and drink and books; what more does one need?!  This will be a potluck as usual, so bring a special dish or a bottle to share!

(3) Saturday, March 9th - Meet up at FOGCon 9, Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. FOGCon is one of the more intimate of the genre-focused conventions, but they always pull off a great weekend of talks and local vendors selling their wares. This year's guests of honor include Karen Joy Fowler and Becky Chambers.  More details to come as we confirm them.

(4) Sunday, March 31st, 7:00 pm - Sponsors' General Meeting, Borderlands Cafe.  If you've never attended, the General Meeting is sort of like a cross between a share-holders meeting and a big advisory board.  Alan will outline where Borderlands and the Sponsor Program stand, and then ask for comments, opinions and ideas.  We hope to see as many of you there as possible, because this is where we get guidance on where we should go with the sponsor program, and Alan would love to hear your thoughts.  If you can't attend in person, feel free to email with your comments; we'll email a report on the meeting a week or two afterwards.

(5) Friday, April 26th, 8:00 pm - Roller Skating at Church of 8 Wheels, 554 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117.  As you may have guessed, we have LOVED our past two outings to the Church of 8 Wheels.  We're back again and we'll be renting the private corner in the rear so we will have a place to congregate and leave our belongings.  Housed in the 119-year-old former location of Sacred Heart Church, The Church of 8 Wheels welcomes anyone over the age of 18 to Friday night disco.  Admission is $10.00 and skate rentals are an additional $5.00.  Personal skates and roller blades are allowed and should weather dictate layering, there is a coat check at the door.  There is also a snack bar within the Church.  Please feel free to bring as many friends as you would like.   http://www.churchof8wheels.com/.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Sponsor Letter, September 11th 2018

Hello Dear Sponsors,

I've heard from a few folks that the bit I wrote last month (Gods!  Was it just last month?  Seems like a year ago.) . . . anyway . . . the Tale of the Beam of Eye seemed to entertain you all. I'll try to send some other stories about the construction work at Haight Street, as time allows.  But, right now, time does not allow at all, really.  I've managed to catch up on everything that was on the post-convention list, which is a very fine thing, but I'm very busy with work at Haight St. (where there has been much progress -- see my note in the main store newsletter for details about that).

So, I'm going to keep this short and try to write something more entertaining next month.

I do have two things to point out.  First, if you're in town, I'd love to see you at the picnic on the 22nd (see details below).

Second, we're pretty close to (finally) getting the on-line forum for sponsors up and running.  Thanks to my friend Stacy, the skeleton is there but we need to spend some time kicking the tires before we go live with it.  Which is someplace you can help; if you'd be interested in being a beta-tester of sorts for the forum, please reply to this note and tell me so.  You can come kick the tires with me!  So exciting!

All Best,
Alan

Knee High Version:

Saturday, September 22nd, 12 noon - 3:00 pm - Borderlands Sponsor Picnic at Corona Heights  (Note: NEW LOCATION!)  Please RSVP.

Tuesday, September 25th, 8:00 pm - Sponsor Karaoke with Charlie Jane Anders at The Stud, (399 9th Street, at Harrison).  Please RSVP.

Saturday, October 6th, 7:00pm - 11:00pm - Fall Sponsor Social

Sunday, November 18th - Local bookstore tour

Elephant's Eye Version:

Saturday, September 22nd, 12 noon - 3:00 pm - Borderlands Sponsor Picnic at Corona Heights (Note: NEW LOCATION!):  We're actually leaving the store and venturing into the outside world for a potluck picnic!  We are exploring a new location this year to enjoy "summer" and the spectacular views of downtown San Francisco.  Perched just above the Castro district, this 15 acre park featured prominently in Fritz Leiber's novel, OUR LADY OF DARKNESS.  There is an unusually large parking lot next to the Randall Museum and once you've parked, walk away from the museum down Museum Way and look for the Borderlands hoodies on the lawn area.  (We'll be on the lawn near the corner of Museum Way and Roosevelt Way.)  Please note that there are no bbq pits or tables, so we will be enjoying more of a traditional cold picnic this year.  Borderlands will provide a few tables, but please bring your own chairs if you prefer chair over blanket.  Bring some of your favorite food or drink to share; and layers for possibly unpredictable summer weather.  Friends and guests (including children) are super welcome so please do bring 'em along. And, call or text Jude (415 385-5982) if you need directions.  You can also check out the Randall Museum while we're nearby -- the museum is an intimate peek into San Francisco, featuring an earthquake shack, train museum, and small animal sanctuary for local wildlife that has been rescued.  The museum is open again after an extensive remodel, and will be open Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.  <http://sfrecpark.org/destination/corona-heights-park/>.  Please RSVP so we know approximately how many people to expect.

Tuesday, September 25th, 8:00 pm - Sponsor Karaoke with Charlie Jane Anders at The Stud (399 9th Street, at Harrison): Seanan McGuire started a trend!  Now sponsor (and award-winning author) Charlie Jane Anders has generously offered to host a fun-filled night of karaoke for Borderlands sponsors.  This will be an enormously entertaining event, and we hope you'll join us to show off your vocal prowess (or your irrepressible attitude -- that's great, too, if you happen to lack vocal prowess).  We don't have a reserved space, so just look for Jude or Charlie Jane. Some pertinent info about The Stud: it is a bar, so this event will be for those 21 and over.  There is no cover charge, or drink minimum, but The Stud is owned and operated by an 18-person worker-owner cooperative, so we definitely hope you'll support them by purchasing lots of beverages.  Guests are welcome, but please RSVP so we know approximately how many people to expect.

Saturday, October 6th, 7:00pm - 11:00pm - Fall Sponsor Social:  C'mon down for our final social of the year and get a head-start on your holiday shopping!  This is a potluck, so bring a snack or drink to share.  As always, we will feature a raffle of fun and unique prizes and there should be another detailed New Building update.  We do hope you'll join us!

Sunday, November 18th - We are cooking up a special tour of a famous local bookstore.  More details to come as we nail it down.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sponsor Letter, August 1st 2018

Hi Everyone,

Before getting into other stuff, I want to point out a few quite special things that are going on this month.  First, The Locus Foundation is hosting an evening with George RR Martin and John Picacio.  John's one of my oldest friends in this business, and besides that he's an articulate and charming speaker.  He'll be interviewing George Martin, who has had quite a history in our business (long before A Game of Thrones and suchlike).   It promises to be a very cool event.  And, we've got a discount code for you, if you'd like to attend.  Check further down in this note for all the details.

Second, as you may have heard, the World Science Fiction convention will be happening in just a few weeks in San Jose.  This is the first WorldCon that we've attended since the sponsorship program began, and so we're doing it up right for you all.  We'll be hosting a party off-site on Thursday evening, August 16th.  All sponsors are welcome, regardless of whether you're attending the convention or not.  It's from six to eight pm and I hope you'll join us.

Finally, also at WorldCon, we'll be hosting our own hospitality suite.  It's located on the "party floor" of the main convention hotel, The Fairmont, and will be staffed (mostly) by your fellow sponsors.  Please do stop by to say "Hi", take a load off your feet, and have a complimentary soda, coffee, or tea.  Also, at four each afternoon, we'll have tea and cake, hosted by yours truly.  More details are also below.

Last month I promised that I would try to write something clever and entertaining this month, after being so out of it in June.  I don't know if what you'll find at the end of this note qualifies but . . . after the list of upcoming events you will find, for your education and enjoyment, "The Tale of The Beam: A Cautionary and Epistolary Discourse for the Burgeoning Contractor"

Travel-sized version:

(1) Sunday, August 5th, 5:00 pm -7:00 pm  -  The Sponsors' Open Mic night is back!

(2) Tuesday, August 14th - 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm. -- SF in SF presents an evening with George R.R. Martin and John Picacio at the Historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City.  Discounted tickets available for sponsors (see details below).

(3) Thursday, August 16th - 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm - Sponsor Party for WorldCon 76 at Loft Bar and Bistro, 90 S 2nd St, San Jose, CA 95113.

(4)  Thursday, August 16th to Sunday,  August 19th (various hours) - Hospitality Suite at WorldCon (see details below)

(5) Saturday, September 22nd, 12 noon - 3:00 pm - Borderlands Picnic, details forthcoming.

(6) Saturday, October 6th, 7:00pm - 11:00pm -- Fall Sponsor Social.

(7) Sunday, November 18th -- We are cooking up a special tour of a famous local bookstore.  More details to come as we nail it down.

Costco shipping container version:

(1) Sunday, August 5th, 5:00 pm -7:00 pm  -  The Sponsors' Open Mic has been on hiatus for a while, but we're bringing it back!  The next open mic is scheduled for Sunday, August 5th, at 5pm in the cafe. If you just want to attend, you don't need to do anything except show up (although you might want to take advantage of your seat reservation privilege because it might be crowded).  However, if you want to read, you should get in touch with fellow sponsor Louis Evans at evans.louis@gmail.com, who has been kind enough to organize this event. Participation will be open to writers of all levels (as long as they are sponsors), and also open to any type of writing, in any genre.  All we ask is that you keep the reading short -- five minutes max.  So, if you want to read, get in touch with Louis and he'll take care of the scheduling and so forth.

(2) Tuesday, August 14th - 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm. -- "SF in SF presents an evening with George R.R. Martin, creator of Game of Thrones, in conversation with Hugo Award-winning artist John Picacio at the landmark Fox Theatre in Redwood City.  Join friends, colleagues, and co-conspirators Martin and Picacio as they delve into a discussion on literature, art, and life in this intimate and historic theater setting, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.  Borderlands Books will be on-site selling books.  PLEASE NOTE: A limited number of signed books will be available for purchase at this event, but Mr. Martin will not be available to sign copies of attendees’ books.  Ticket proceeds from this SF in SF fundraiser go to support the non-profit Locus SF Foundation, parent to Locus Magazine, the long-standing journal of record for the science fiction and fantasy fields."  The Locus Foundation is generously offering discounted tickets to sponsors. You may sign up online with the code GRR50, and more information regarding the event can be found here:  http://locusmag.com/grrmevent/

(3) Thursday, August 16th - 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm - Sponsor Party for WorldCon 76 at Loft Bar and Bistro, 90 S 2nd St, San Jose, CA 95113.  Help us kick off the Convention the Borderlands way.  Located a VERY short distance from the convention center, we will get to sample some of the amazing appetizers Loft has to offer at our happy hour gathering.   All sponsors are welcome, regardless of whether you're attending the convention or not. We'll be covering the snacks and the drinks, so all you need to bring is yourself (and a guest if you wish).  Just come to the bar and ask for the Borderlands party.  Pro-tip -- if you have your sponsor card, you'll save some time getting in since we won't have to verify your name.

(Also, we are looking for sponsors who might like to help host our hospitality room at the Fairmont during the Convention.  If you are interested, please reply to this email and let us know.)

(If you are interested in attending WorldCon 76 itself, you may purchase your membership here: https://www.worldcon76.org/membership/how-to-register)

(4)  Thursday, August 16th to Sunday,  August 19th (various hours) - Hospitality Suite at WorldCon.   WorldCon can be a very hectic and crowded experience.  Although not as challenging as ComicCon in San Diego, the sheer amount of neat stuff to see and do often means that you leave your hotel room (or home) early in the morning and don't get back 'til late at night.  So, it's really nice to have someplace to stop, sit down for a while, and catch your breath.  This is especially true on Friday and Saturday night when the parties are in full swing and more crowded than you can imagine.

Which is why we're going to have a private suite for our sponsors, friends and staff where you can take a break, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and maybe hang out with some new friends. The suite will be located on the "party floor" of the main convention hotel, The Fairmont.  The exact hours are still being determined but they will certainly include 4 to 6 pm, when Alan will host a afternoon break with tea and cake, and from 8 pm 'til late in the evening.  We'll have coffee, tea & sodas all day long and beer & wine (plus, perhaps, some nice whisky) in the evenings.

All sponsors are welcome along with their guests.  The hours will be posted on the door and we'll also have them at our booth in the Dealers' Room. We don't have the room number yet but there are several ways you can get it; stop by our booth in the Dealers' Room and ask or sign up for the Sponsors' twitter feed @bl_sponsors.  This is another case where you'll save yourself some time if you have you sponsor card.  If you've misplaced yours, you can pick up a replacement at the Borderlands booth in the dealers' room.

The suite will (mostly) be staffed by your fellow sponsors.  We've had a number of people volunteer to play host for two-hour shifts but, if we get more volunteers, we'll be able to keep the suite open for more hours.  If you would be interested in taking a turn being host (and you haven't let us know already), please drop Jude a line at jfeldman@borderlands-books.com.

(5) Saturday, September 22nd, 12 noon - 3:00 pm - Borderlands Picnic, details forthcoming.

(6) Saturday, October 6th, 7:00pm - 11:00pm -- Fall Sponsor Social.  Join us for our final social of the year and get a head-start on your holiday shopping!  As always we will feature a raffle of fun and unique prizes.

(7) Sunday, November 18th -- We are cooking up a special tour of a famous local bookstore. More details to come as we nail it down.


The Tale of The Beam: A Cautionary and Epistolary Discourse for the Burgeoning Contractor
by Alan Beatts

May XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

It was a pleasure meeting you today and having the chance to check the rough set-up for the I-beam you are fabricating for me.  I was doubly glad to visit so that I could draw your attention to the following:

The three pairs of tabs for the posts were all something other than the specified 5 1/2" apart.  Since this dimension is critical if the posts are going to fit properly, I appreciate your attention to their correct spacing.  Though I respect the artistic "organic" quality of spacing each pair at a unique distance, I would prefer a more "mechanical" or even "precise" interpretation of the work.

The holes in those tabs were located a very precise inch lower than specified.  Though I'm sure that you, as a welder, and I, as a bookseller, are both correct that it's not an important consideration; Matthew, as a structural engineer, does not seem to agree and so I think we should subjugate our shared opinion to his.

There was also the pesky matter that the tabs for the middle post (along with the associated reinforcements) were located more than the indicated distance from the joint between the two sections of beam.  Though I'm sure that the planned connection of that joint by three 7/8" bolts will perfectly match the strength of the rest of the beam (the full height and 18-lbs-per-foot of hot-rolled steel), it seems that Matthew, spoil sport that he is, thinks that it would be wise for the joint to be supported by a post that is located _close_ to the joint.

I'm very glad that the final welding had not been completed and so it will be "easy", as you assured me, to correct these oversights.  Though you have informed me that there is, currently, in your possession, the full set of engineering drawings that I provided at the beginning of the job, please don't hesitate to ask for another copy if needed.

Warmly,
Alan Beatts


May XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

I was very excited to accept delivery today of the complete I-beam.  All 22 feet of it is a work of art.  In places, perhaps a bit more of the Brutalist school than I might prefer, but I do agree that the razor-sharp edges of the cut sections inspire the sort of caution that is wise when dealing with an object as potentially dangerous as a 400 lb mass of steel.  Likewise, the rough burrs around all the drilled holes convey the essential . . . beastliness of the work.  And, I'm sure they'll add a degree of security when the bolts are tightened -- much like a lock-washer.

It is my pleasure to send the final payment for your work.

All Best,
Alan


May XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

It is with some concern that I write you today.  Yesterday I had the necessary assistance to line up the two beam sections and perform a trial assembly.  It was with confusion and consternation that I discovered that it was not within my ability to fit more than one of the three connecting bolts through their holes at once.  As a bookseller, my first thought that it was a failure in my technique in placing round pegs through round holes but, after some trail and error along with much consideration, I concluded that, rather than a weakness in my technique, it was a more straightforward matter -- no pair of holes, let alone the full trio, lined up.

I must wonder, at this point, if there is a technique (known very well by booksellers as well as by a diverse assortment of other trades) that you, as a welder, are unaware of.  Specifically that, if three holes must line up through two pieces of metal, the best approach is to . . . CLAMP BOTH GODDAMN PIECES TOGETHER AND DRILL THEM LIKE THAT!

I hope that you will be able to address this concern since, without it being corrected, the artwork you have delivered is only slightly less useful than a boat anchor.

Sincerely,
Mr. Alan Beatts


May XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder

I was pleased to meet your staff yesterday when they came by to drill the connecting holes (oversized and in alignment) between the two beam segments.  I'm sure that we were both relieved when the structural engineer said that it would be acceptable to increase the bolt size from 7/8" to a full one inch.

It was with some pride that I was able to contribute to the success of the endeavor.  After returning to the shop for some tools they had forgotten (a pleasant break for me, since it gave me time to sit in quiet contemplation of my (or perhaps I should say "our") I-beam without the distractions of any of the other work I had to do that day) they afforded me not one, not even two, but three opportunities to assist them.  First, I was thrilled to point out to them that the (rented) drill that they were using was equipped with a magnetic base, the use of which stopped the drill from dancing around on the work piece like a deranged dervish.

After that, I was able to provide them with a requested lubricant, since they had neglected to bring some with them.  I did have some doubts about their choice, WD40, since it is flammable and, as such, seemed a poor idea for high temperature drilling.  But, as a mere bookseller, it didn't seem my place to comment on this.

And, I'm so glad I didn't say anything, because my silence provided my third and final chance to be helpful.  There is a deep satisfaction derived from standing by, with a fire extinguisher, ready to act at a moment's notice to prevent damage to our work of art -- The Beam of Eye (as I have taken to calling it).  The possibility that I might, if the mood took me and they didn't run too fast, also be able to put out your flaming associates was merely the icing on the cake.

I'm filled with anticipation for the trial assembly tomorrow.

Regards,
Alan Beatts


May XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

The connecting plate was welded out of alignment.  When bolted together, the Blessed Beam of Eye is crooked.  I am disconsolate.  Please help.

Sincerely and Sadly,
Alan


June XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

It was lovely to see you, albeit for only a short visit.  When you came to sweep the Beam of Eye off to your shop to correct its deficiency in the straightness department, I was both saddened and relieved.  I've become quite fond of it over the course of our association and the place seemed empty and strangely easy to navigate without its darkly gleaming length across my job site.  But, knowing that it will soon return, better than before, lifted my spirits.

All Best,
Alan


June XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

I hope you are well.  I've called many times but you have not answered your phone.  I've left messages, but you have not returned them.  I hope that you've not fallen under the shadow of some terrible illness or been injured in some accident.  I continue to wait, calmly but with some concern, for the return of our beloved Beam of Eye.

Warmly,
Alan


July XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

As I think back to yesterday, my face is transfigured by a warm smile when I think of our meeting.  I'm sure it was only your momentary confusion at seeing such a familiar visage, after so long, that drove the sequence of expressions that flashed across your face when I removed my motorcycle helmet at the entrance to your shop.  The rapidity with which you collected yourself is a testament to the deep fellow feeling that we share and your desire to not make me feel, for even a moment, forgotten or ignored.

Your profuse and rapid explanations of travel, broken equipment, tight deadlines and the sad matter of your dog having eaten your cell phone -- all this only cemented my conviction that you were not, in any way, hoping that, if you ignored me enough, I would just go away.

I will look forward to the delivery next week of our Beam of Eye, perfect, shining, and, most of all, correctly welded.  But, if that doesn't happen, I'm consoled by the thought that we'll be seeing each other frequently over the next month.  Very frequently.  At your shop and, perhaps, at your home. And, possibly, in court.

Sincerely,
Alan Beatts


July XXth, 2018

Dear Mr. Welder,

What I lovely beam we have made, you and I.  It hangs in the basement now, almost ready to be inspected and then locked in place with yards and yards of concrete.  This has been a journey, for both of us.  And now, in future, when people ask me, "Do you know a good welder?" I can say with absolute confidence:  "Hell No."

Sincerely,
Alan Beatts

Author's Note:  As a good friend told me years ago, "Don't let tawdry truths spoil a good story".  The facts above have been altered for the sake of the narrative but they have not, as much as I might wish, been exaggerated at all.  The take-away -- don't finish paying 'til the job is installed and passes inspection.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Sponsor Letter, July 11th 2018

Hi All,

I wish I had time to write something clever for this note but . . . I'm so tired.  As you'll see in the store newsletter, it was quite a weekend and I'm still a bit shattered.  I'll truly make an effort to be smart and clever next month.

But, speaking of next month -- I'm wondering, are you coming to the World Science Fiction convention?  I'd love to have a general idea of how many of us will be there.  So, if you're coming, reply to this note and let me know?

Also, sponsor social is _this_ Saturday.  As usual, RSVPs are appreciated but not required.

All Best,
Alan

A Question from Z'ev, the cafe manager

Hey Sponsors!  In our quest to have more edibles in the Cafe, we will be trying out some sandwiches.  Can you let us know which THREE of these choices you'd most like to see us have on the menu experimentally?  We appreciate your advice and feedback so just reply to this email with your thoughts.

1) Smoked Salmon: salmon, cream cheese, capers, red onions, tomatoes
2) Veggie: mozarrela cheese, cucumber, tomato, red onion, avocado
3) Ham & Cheese: smoked ham, swiss cheese
4) Salami & Cheese: sliced salami, cheddar cheese
5) BCT / BAT (analogous to BLT): bacon, cucumber or avocado, tomato
6) Turkey & Pesto: turkey, pesto, tomato, red onion, cucumber

Micro version:

(1) Saturday, July 14th, 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm -- Mark your calendars for our summer Sponsor Social.

(2) Sunday, July 29th, 5:00 pm -7:00 pm  -  The Sponsors' Open Mic night is back!

(3) Thursday, August 16th - Sponsor Party at WorldCon 76 in San Jose; exact location and time to be determined.  We are looking for sponsors that may be interested in helping host our hospitality room.  Please contact Scott by replying to this email if you are interested.

(4) Saturday, September 22nd, 12 noon - 3:00 pm - Borderlands Picnic, details forthcoming.

(5) Saturday, October 6th, 7:00pm - 11:00pm -- Fall Sponsor Social.

Macro version:

(1) Saturday, July 14th, 7:00pm - 11:00pm -- Mark your calendars for our summer Sponsor Social.  Come join us for our quarterly social gathering as we share our favorite foods, sip on delicious drinks and hope we have a winning raffle ticket!  We have some extra-neat stuff to raffle off this time, including some special signed books courtesy of sponsor Keith B in Ireland, a stunning goblet from sponsors Marie M and Jay W, and a Really Weird Thing from sponsor Seanan M!  Feel free to bring any food or drink that is easily shared and we'll enjoy each others' company and hear the latest and greatest on the transformation of the new bookstore space.

And, we have a really special treat for you this time.  Our retail guest will be Sponsor Cole Harkness.  Cole runs American Fencing Supply and is in the process of moving his shop.  I asked him a few weeks ago if he'd turned up some stuff that had been cluttering the corners of his shop.  He said yes and I suggested that he could bring it down to the social to sell.  He, being the guy that he is, said that he'd rather than the proceeds go to a charity.  So, all the proceeds will be going to benefit the Locus Foundation.

And, wow, is he bringing some neat pointy pieces of metal.  Among the amazing things he'll have available are a 1920's Italian police saber with a great temper and a unusually sharp tip, several (likely decorative) Indian weapons from the 19th century, and a WWII US folding pilot's survival machete with is just as cool as an iceberg and I might have to grab for myownself, but that's just scratching the surface.  One of the REALLY extraordinary items is a German 2-handed sword with Flamberge blade which was forged in Austria, before the first World War -- it was made for theatrical use and was in the armory of the Met Opera in New York (!).

But, to my mind, the undoubted standout item is a "Talhoffer" (two handed sword), made by Maestro Oscar Kolombatovich in his La Garita forge in Spain -- Maestro K made weapons that were historically accurate at a time when such things were rare.  He himself was larger than life; the Fencing Master for West Point and the Met Opera in New York.  He made most of the weapons used by the best fight-choreographer in the world, William Hobbs (the 70's "Three Musketeer" movies, "Cyrano" with Depardieu, etc).  A weapon like this was used by Rutger Hauer in "Flesh + Blood".  Kolombatovich is to my mind the greatest swordmaster and choreographer of the 20th century and this sword is really a piece of history.  Even if you're not in the market for a sword or knife, looking at them and chatting with Cole about 'em is a treat you won't get very often.

As always, it's a pot-luck and BYOB situation so bring something to share in either the food or refreshment department and plan on having fun, talking books, and hanging out with the best group of people in SF.  We hope you'll join us for a grand party!

(2) Sunday, August 5th, 5:00 pm -7:00 pm  -  The Sponsors' Open Mic has been on hiatus for a while, but we're bringing it back!  The next open mic is scheduled for Sunday, July 29th, at 5pm in the cafe. If you just want to attend, you don't need to do anything except show up (although you might want to take advantage of your seat reservation privilege because it might be crowded).  However, if you want to read, you should get in touch with fellow sponsor Louis Evans at evans.louis@gmail.com, who has been kind enough to organize this event. Participation will be open to writers of all levels (as long as they are sponsors), and also open to any type of writing, in any genre.  All we ask is that you keep the reading short -- five minutes max.  So, if you want to read, get in touch with Louis and he'll take care of the scheduling and so forth.

(3) Thursday, August 16th - Sponsor Party at WorldCon 76.  We are in the process of locating a nice, quiet, off-site bar-and-grill type establishment to kick off our weekend at WorldCon in San Jose.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to forward to Scott at scox@borderlands-books.com.

Also, we are looking for sponsors who might like to help host our hospitality room. And, we're possibly looking for some sponsors who would like to help out at our table.  If you've ever thought it would be fun to be a bookseller for a day, you should let us know.  If you're interested in either of those things, please reply to this email and let us know (and, if you've gotten in touch with us already, don't worry -- we're sorting out The Plan and we'll be in touch soon).  (If you are interested in attending WorldCon 76 itself, you may purchase your membership here: https://www.worldcon76.org/membership/how-to-register)

(4) Saturday, September 22nd, 12 noon - 3:00 pm - Borderlands Picnic, details forthcoming.

(5) Saturday, October 6th, 7:00 pm - 11:00pm -- Fall Sponsor Social.  Join us for our final social of the year and get a head-start on your holiday shopping!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Sponsor Letter, June 7th 2018

Hi Everyone,

As you've probably just seen in the store newsletter, progress on the new building was slow-ish last month.  But, for all that it was slow, there was a lot of work (who knew that staggered fences would take so much damn time?).  So, I'm a bit rushed today and this'll be another short note.

For our local folks, I want to draw your attention to the screening of "The Incredibles 2" that Rina of SF in SF has set up for us.  It's very soon (just a week from today) and so, if you want to join us, get your tickets fast.

If you're less-than-local but you're going to be in the Bay Area for WorldCon, look out for some fun stuff we've got planned for August.  I should have news about that in the next sponsor note.  And, regardless of whether you're local or not, if you'd like to have a nice place to hang out and a chance to meet many of your fellow sponsors, you should drop Scott a line about helping out at our hospitality suite (see item #4 below).

Despite all the building work (and thanks to enormous help from my friend Stacy), we're just about ready to launch the Sponsors' Forum.  My hope is that it will be a pleasant and useful way for all of you to interact directly with each other (as well as the rest of the staff here).  So, look for details about that very soon.  I may even send out a special note just to let you know it's up and ready for business.

Finally, regarding our new building and social media, I've finally (or, more accurately, I'm about to) set up a photo sharing site so you can see what's been going on (or, if you like, "what I've gotten us into").  We're using Flickr because it doesn't require that you sign up for anything.  I don't know if I'll have it completely up by the time you read this but it'll be up very, very soon.  To check it out, just follow this link - https://www.flickr.com/people/borderlandsbooks/

And that's it for now.

All Best,
Alan

PS  You'll notice that the monthly sponsor cocktails don't appear on the schedule for the next couple of months.  Truth be told, no-one was showing up to check out the new building and, given how short on time I've been, it seemed to make sense to give it a break.  But, I am holding the building open each month for anyone who is interested (see the store newsletter for those details -- this month it'll be on Saturday, the 16th).  If you come by around five or six that day, I'll be very pleased to take you out for a drink at six when I close the place up.

Amuse Bouche version:

(1) Friday, June 8th from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Bowling at Presidio Bowl, 93 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco, 94129.  More spaces available if you'd like to join in.

(2) Thursday, June 14th at 7:00 pm - Sponsor Preview of "Incredibles 2" at the Balboa Theatre, courtesy of SF in SF!

(3) Saturday, July 14th - Mark your calendars for our summer Sponsor Social.

(4) Thursday, August 16th - Sponsor Party at WorldCon 76 in San Jose; exact location and time to be determined. We are looking for sponsors that may be interested in helping host our hospitality room.  Please contact Scott by replying to this email if you are interested.

(5) Saturday, September 22nd, 12 noon - 3:00 pm - Borderlands Picnic, details forthcoming.

Las Vegas Buffet version:

(1) Friday, June 8th from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Bowling at Presidio Bowl, 93 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco, 94129.  We still have a few more spaces available, so if you'd like to attend, please join us!  Please RSVP with payment by TOMORROW, FRIDAY JUNE 8th at 5:00 pm, at the latest!  We will have two lanes (or more depending on RSVPs) for a total of two hours.  Total cost is $33.00 per person (which includes shoe rental and unlimited bowling).  We're definitely looking forward to this!  From their website: "the Presidio Bowling Center offers a convenient walk up bar and grill serving all of your favorites. With over 50 beers, 19 wines by the glass and a full bar, you're sure to find something you love." Located at 93 Moraga, San Francisco, 94129, there is ample parking at the facility and there are also multiple bus lines that service the Presidio.  For more information, feel free to check out their website: https://presidiobowl.com/  Please do RSVP for this event by replying to this email (guests are very welcome), and we'll arrange payment.

(2) Thursday, June 14th at 7:00 pm - Sponsor Preview of "Incredibles 2" at the Balboa Theatre, courtesy of SF in SF!  Huge thanks to SF in SF for arranging yet another Incredible preview!  "Everyone's favorite family of superheroes is back in "Incredibles 2" -- but this time Helen is in the spotlight, leaving Bob at home with Violet and Dash to navigate the day-to-day heroics of "normal" life.  It's a tough transition for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack's emerging superpowers.  When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone must find a way to work together again -- which is easier said than done, even when they're all Incredible!  With the voices of Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Bird, Isabella Rossellini, John Ratzenberger, and many more!"  Doors open at 6:00 pm, movie promptly at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $9 each – pay via PayPal or Venmo to sfinsfevents@gmail.com, and please choose "friends/family" option to avoid service fees.  We'll be out in force to see the film, and it's so much fun to see it in a group!  There will also be a fabulous raffle for prizes after the movie -- please join us!

(3) Saturday, July 14th - Mark your calendars for our summer Sponsor Social.

(4) Thursday, August 16th - Sponsor Party at WorldCon 76.  We are in the process of locating a nice, quiet, off-site bar-and-grill type establishment to kick off our weekend at WorldCon in San Jose.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to forward to Scott at scox@borderlands-books.com.

Also, we are looking for sponsors who might like to help host our hospitality room. And, we're possibly looking for some sponsors who would like to help out at our table.  If you've ever thought it would be fun to be a bookseller for a day, you should let us know.  If you're interested in either of those things, please reply to this email and let us know.

(If you are interested in attending WorldCon 76 itself, you may purchase your membership here: https://www.worldcon76.org/membership/how-to-register)

(5) Saturday, September 22nd, 12 noon - 3:00 pm - Borderlands Picnic, details forthcoming.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sponsor Letter, May 10th 2018

Hello, Dear Sponsors!

Yet another brief sponsor note this month due to building commitments.  If for some reason you're not on the standard bookstore mailing list, you can read the newest building update here: http://borderlands-books.blogspot.com/2018/05/may-building-news.html (and you can join the standard mailing list here, if you want: https://borderlands-books.com/)!

Also, if you requested an embroidered Sponsor hoodie & haven't yet picked it up, please come by and get it or call us and we'll arrange to ship to you!

Mouse version:

(1) Saturday, May 12th at 7:00 pm at Borderlands Books/Cafe - THIS Saturday!  Join us for the next Sponsor Social.  As usual, potluck fun, one guest per sponsor, RSVP's appreciated, and we hope to see you here!

(2) Monday, May 21st at 6:00/7:00 pm - Sponsor Cocktails and Visit Borderlands West.  Join us at the bookstore-to-be (1377 Haight St. at Masonic) for show-and-tell at 6:00 pm, and then join us for cocktails at Michael Collins Irish Bar (formerly called HQ Bar and Restaurant) at 1568 Haight Street (at Clayton) from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.  (Please note that we've changed the dates of these gatherings from the fourth Tuesday of each month to the third Monday of each month!)

(3)  <omitted>

(4) Friday, June 8th from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Bowling at Presidio Bowl, 93 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco, 94129.

(5) Monday, June 18th at 6:00/7:00 pm - Sponsor Cocktails and Visit Borderlands West.  Join us at the bookstore-to-be (1377 Haight St. at Masonic) for show-and-tell at 6:00 pm, and then join us for cocktails at Michael Collins Irish Bar at 1568 Haight Street (at Clayton) from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.

(6) Saturday, July 14th - Mark your calendars for our summer Sponsor Social.

(7) Thursday, August 16th - Sponsor Party at WorldCon 76 in San Jose; exact location and time to be determined.


Elephant version:

(1) Saturday, May 12th at 7:00 pm at Borderlands Books/Cafe - THIS Saturday!  Join us for the next Sponsor Social.  This will be a potluck party, so bring your special dish or a bottle to share.  As usual we'll have fabulous and bizarre raffle prizes, much merriment, and lots of new building stories.  We're also happy to welcome our retail guest Christopher DeWinter of Luminous Darlings <http://luminousdarlings.com/storeFront.html>, who will be on hand with gorgeous jewelry to show off and sell!  Our sponsor socials are always great fun with like-minded, book-loving folks, so we definitely hope you'll join us. One guest per sponsor, RVSP'S always appreciated but not strictly necessary.

(2) Monday, May 21st at 6:00/7:00 pm - Sponsor Cocktails and Visit Borderlands West.  (Please note that we've changed the dates of the Open Houses/Sponsor Cocktails to the THIRD MONDAY of each month; this helps us avoid Trivia Night at the bar and also works out better with my schedule.)  We thought it would be nice to give you chance to see the new building and so, for the next few months, we'll be having drinks on Haight St.  Join us at the store-to-be (1377 Haight Street at Masonic) for show-and-tell at 6:00 pm, then join us for cocktails at Michael Collins Irish Bar (formerly HQ Bar and Restaurant; formerly Martin Mack's, at 1568 Haight Street) from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.

(3) <omitted>

(4) Friday, June 8th from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Bowling at Presidio Bowl, 93 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco, 94129.  Please RSVP with payment by May 21st.  We will have two lanes (or more depending on RSVPs) for a total of two hours.  Total cost is $33.00 per person (which includes shoe rental and unlimited bowling), but if we max out our reservation, that price might go down.  We're definitely looking forward to this!  From their website: "the Presidio Bowling Center offers a convenient walk up bar and grill serving all of your favorites.  With over 50 beers, 19 wines by the glass and a full bar, you're sure to find something you love."  Located at 93 Moraga, San Francisco, 94129, there is ample parking at the facility and there are also multiple bus lines that service the Presidio.  For more information, feel free to check out their website: https://presidiobowl.com/  Please do RSVP for this event by replying to this email (guests are very welcome).

(5) Monday, June 24th at 6:00/7:00 pm - Sponsor Cocktails and Visit Borderlands West.  Join us at the bookstore-to-be (1377 Haight St. at Masonic) for show-and-tell at 6:00 pm, and then join us for cocktails at Michael Collins Irish Bar at 1568 Haight Street (at Clayton) from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.

(6) Saturday, July 14th - Mark your calendars for our summer Sponsor Social.

(7) Thursday, August 16th - Sponsor Party at WorldCon 76.  We are in the process of locating a nice, quiet, off-site bar-and-grill type establishment to kick off our weekend at WorldCon in San Jose.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to forward to Scott at scox@borderlands-books.com.  (If you are interested in attending WorldCon 76 itself, you may purchase your membership here: https://www.worldcon76.org/membership/how-to-register)