Saturday, April 27, 2019

Sponsor Letter, April 27th 2019

The micro version:

(1) Friday, May 31st, 7:00 pm - New Horizons talk with sponsor (and NASA geologist) Orkan Umurhan, Borderlands Cafe

(2) Saturday, June 22nd, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social at Borderlands Books

(3) July 2019, date to be determined - San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour

(4) Saturday, August 10th, 9:30pm (recommend arrival at 8:30 to secure a table) -- Drinks with Dueling Pianos at Johnny Foley's.

(5) September brings a social and picnic with details coming soon.

The macro version:

(1) Friday, May 31st, 7:00 pm - New Horizons talk with Orkan Umurhan, Borderlands Cafe.  Please come and join us for a return visit from our very own resident NASA geologist (and sponsor!), Orkan Umurhan, as he regales us with the latest and greatest from the New Horizons Mission to Pluto!  Among other things, Orkan says "Talk will include -- the New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule.  I will describe all the preparations that went into discovering and then flying by an object the size of SF.  I will describe what we saw, how we saw it and what it the object means about the origins of the solar system."  For a sneak peek at what New Horizons is about, feel free to check out NASA's website: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

(2) Saturday, June 22nd, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social at Borderlands Books.  Our annual summertime soiree with yummy food, yummy conversation and especially yummy door prizes.  And, thanks to publishers Harper Collins and Tor, we've got some fantastic advance reading copies to give away!  Bring some food or drink to share and join us for a great time!

(3) July 2019, date to be determined - San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour: From their website <https://www.sfghosthunt.com/>, "The original San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour, SF's first ghost tour, is a historical walking tour of the Pacific Heights neighborhood, one of the few neighborhoods to survive The Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. You'll walk a mile on tree-lined streets in a safe residential area with fine Victorian architecture. You'll learn about real historic names of San Francisco — how they lived, how they died, and the reports of their hauntings ever since.  We don't make it up.  We just report it. You'll enjoy 90 minutes to 2 hours of guaranteed unearthly fun!"   We'll have more details about this event soon.

(4)  Saturday, August 10th, 9:30pm (recommend arrival at 8:30 to secure a table) - Drinks with Dueling Pianos at Johnny Foley's. 243 O'Farrell St, San Francisco (b/t Cyril Magnin St & Powell St. at Union Square) We thought we'd try something a bit different this time 'round.  From their website: "Our entertainers will have you dancing, laughing and singing along to your favorite songs from every era.  You control the show!  Our typical audience brings together both tourists and locals alike, so you're sure to walk away with new friends, great stories and happy memories!!  Come join the fun!  We do not accept reservations for the room, as seating is limited.  To ensure your party is accommodated, we recommend you arrive as soon as the doors open to secure an area (usually an hour before show time).  Food menus are available, with a Full Bar offering a list of "lyrical" cocktails." <http://www.duelingpianosatfoleys.com/about.html>

(5) September brings a social and picnic with details coming soon.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Sponsor Letter, April 12th 2019

Hi Dear Sponsors,

First off, we made our goal of 300 sponsors by March 31st!  In fact, on the 31st we had exactly 500 sponsors.  Thank you all so very, very much for continuing to support Borderlands in 2019!

Second, and perhaps equally importantly, I handled something badly in the last note that I sent and I want to apologize.  The first line of that note was, "We're heading up to the March 31st deadline to have 300 sponsors and I'm confident we will make it."

That was deceptive and I feel badly about it.  The implication was that there was some question whether we would make it to 300 or not.  That wasn't the case.  After having done this for five years now, by March 7th (when I sent that note) I knew damn well that we were going to hit 300 by the 31st.

Since the beginning of all this in 2015, I've always steered clear of turning sponsorships into something that we're trying to "sell" to people.  Sponsoring Borderlands has always been a matter of choice and preference.  Really, at heart, it's been a matter of belief; belief that what we do here is something valuable and worthy of support.

My opening line last month wasn't consistent with that.  Nor was it consistent with my ideal of being upfront and direct with you all.  On one hand, my position at Borderlands is that of a small business owner, just like any other.  But, on the other hand (and in a way that I'm still figuring out how to quantify), I feel that I'm responsible for a private trust.  You and the hundreds of people like you are only reason that Borderlands still exists and, every year, you put your trust in me to keep Borderlands going, not just in the physical sense but also in the intangible ways that make it unique.  An essential honesty and lack of salesmanship is one of those intangibles.

And, on the gripping hand, I sure as hell shouldn't try to manipulate you into being a sponsor.*

None of the foregoing is anything I wasn't aware of, in a general way, but now I have better understanding of what is right and appropriate action on my part.  With that understanding, I don't believe that I'll make this sort of mistake again.  I truly hope you'll accept my apology for it this time.

The third thing I want to mention is the annual General Meeting last month.  It was shorter than usual (to the great pleasure of those attending) but we covered some interesting stuff.  Unfortunately, it's not going to be practical for me to give a full brief this year.  But, I can share some of the hard figures about sponsorships this year and some of the other high points.  For any of you who like to keep track of trends, here are a few figures.  On March 31st last year we had 532 sponsors, in 2017 it was 634 and in 2016 it was 613.  So, it looks like the total number of sponsors is dropping but not, to me, by a concerning amount.  Also for comparison, last year the total number was 635; 2017 was 699, and 2016 was 679.  Again, a downwards trend the last two years and, again, not concerning.  It'll be interesting to see what happens next year.

Another interesting number is that, of the current 507 sponsors, 318 of them have been sponsors every single year since 2015.  That figure is part of the reason that I'm not so concerned with the downward trend of overall numbers.  Barring any big surprises, I'll keep doing this as long as we've got 300.  And it doesn't look like we're going to drop under that number for a long while.

I mentioned last month that we've got the sponsors' forum about ready to go.  We discussed a bunch of details about it at the meeting and we're just about to sign up the first group of people to play around with it.  We'll be sending out invitations to all of your either this month or the next.  If you're not interested, please feel free to just delete the invitation.  But, if you're at all inclined, please give it a try.  I think that it'll be a nice and fun element of sponsorship for everyone.  Oh, and if you have privacy concerns (like me) - your email will not be viewable by other users, the whole thing is invite-only and password protected so it won't be searchable on Google, and there is no requirement that you use your real name (though I'd encourage it since this is meant to be an addition to meat-space interactions, rather than a substitute).

Again, thank you all for supporting Borderlands into 2019.  I hope that it will be a great year for us all.

All Best,
Alan

PS  If you don't know what the hell I mean by "on the gripping hand" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gripping_Hand .

Upcoming Sponsor Events

The truncated version:

(1) Thursday, April 25th, 7:00 pm - Sponsor preview of "Avengers: Endgame" courtesy of SF in SF: Balboa Theatre, 3630 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

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

(3) Friday, May 31st, 7:00 pm - New Horizons talk with sponsor (and NASA geologist) Orkan Umurhan, Borderlands Cafe

(4) Saturday, June 22nd, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social at Borderlands Books and Cafe

(5) July 2019, date to be determined - San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour

The expatiated version:

(1) Thursday, April 25th, 7:00 pm - Sponsor preview of "Avengers: Endgame" courtesy of SF in SF, Balboa Theatre, 3630 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121 - SF in SF is hosting a sneak preview of "Avengers: Endgame"! <snip>

(2) 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/.

(3) Friday, May 31st, 7:00 pm - New Horizons talk with Orkan Umurhan, Borderlands Cafe.  Please come and join us for a return visit from our very own resident NASA geologist (and sponsor!), Orkan Umurhan, as he regales us with the latest and greatest from the New Horizons Mission to Pluto!  Among other things, Orkan says "Talk will include -- the New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule.  I will describe all the preparations that went into discovering and then flying by an object the size of SF.  I will describe what we saw, how we saw it and what it the object means about the origins of the solar system."  For a sneak peek at what New Horizons is about, feel free to check out NASA's website: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

(4) Saturday, June 22nd, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social at Borderlands Books and Cafe.  Our annual summertime soiree with yummy food, yummy conversation and especially yummy door prizes.  Bring some food or drink to share and join us for a great time!

(5) July 2019, date to be determined - San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour: From their website <https://www.sfghosthunt.com/>, "The original San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour, SF's first ghost tour, is a historical walking tour of the Pacific Heights neighborhood, one of the few neighborhoods to survive The Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. You'll walk a mile on tree-lined streets in a safe residential area with fine Victorian architecture. You'll learn about real historic names of San Francisco — how they lived, how they died, and the reports of their hauntings ever since.  We don't make it up.  We just report it. You'll enjoy 90 minutes to 2 hours of guaranteed unearthly fun!"   We'll have more details about this event soon.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Sponsor Letter, March 7th 2019

Hello All,

We're heading up to the March 31st deadline to have 300 sponsors and I'm confident we will make it.  So, thank you to all of the folks who have supported and continue to support the store!  If you haven't renewed yet this year, you're certainly welcome to do so now . . . or later if you like.  Although the deadline to make the determination about whether to continue to operate the store is March 31st, we're happy to accept sponsorship throughout the year.  You can renew on-line at https://borderlands-books.com/buysponsorship.html or you can call, mail, or visit the store in person.

Moving into our fifth year of sponsorships, I've got a couple of neat things planned for our out-of-town sponsors.  The first will be launching in April -- after talking about it for two years, we finally have a message board / forum set up for you.  It should be a nice place to chat with fellow sponsors, share information, and communicate with us at the store.  Look for details about that in the next sponsor note.

The other thing I have planned is a secret for now, but I should have the details together in a month or two.

One last piece of business: if you haven't already, or don't renew your sponsorship, this Sponsor note will be the last one that you'll get (because I'm very much against spamming people).  If you've decided not to renew this year, please don't feel any pressure to change your mind -- there are a hundred and one reasons why it might not work for you.  I'm just terribly grateful that you were willing to support us last year.  On the other hand, if it slipped your mind or something of the sort, I'll be sending out one email to everyone who didn't renew reminding them that they have not.  I hope that you won't find that intrusive.

Our sincerest thanks to all of you -- without you, we literally wouldn't be here.

All Best,
Alan

The Wee Version:

(1) Friday, March 8th (please note date change) - Meet up at FOGCon 9, Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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

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

The Whopping Version:

(1) Friday, March 8th (please note date change) - 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 honored guests include Karen Joy Fowler and Becky Chambers.  When the Dealers' Room closes at 7 pm, we'll be meeting up in the hotel bar (because there isn't any other gin-joint in reasonable walking distance - we've checked).  It's called Atrio, and there will be live jazz until 9:00 pm.  Alan probably won't be able to make it, but the much better half of "management", Jude, will be there.  Stop by, have a beer and swap some first-day-of-the-con stories.

(2) 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.

(3) 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 roller 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, February 12, 2019

Sponsor Letter, February 12th 2019

Hello Everybody,

I hope you'll forgive me for the short note today.  Cary's passing has made a number of things pretty challenging, not the least of which is getting all the work done at the shop.  So, I didn't have much time to write anything this month.

I'm looking forward to the social this Saturday, though it'll be very strange not to have Cary working the register as she has every other time since 2015.  We don't have much in the way of special plans for it (for obvious reasons) but, really, the party is more about having a chance to socialize that any special event.

Also, if you've haven't renewed your sponsorship, it's pretty easy - https://borderlands-books.com/buysponsorship19.html - or you can stop by the shop anytime.  If you're not planning on renewing, I'll be removing you from this mailing list next month.

Warm Regards,
Alan

Hatchet Version:

(1) THIS SATURDAY, February 16th, 7:00 pm - Sponsor Social, Borderlands Cafe.

(3) Friday, March 8th (please note date change) - 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

Broadaxe Version:

(1) 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!  Come for the company, stay for the variety of odd prizes.

(2) Friday, March 8th (please note date change) - 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.  When the Dealers' Room closes at 7 pm, we'll be meeting up in the hotel bar (because there isn't any other gin-joint in reasonable walking distance - we've checked).  Alan probably won't be able to make it, but the much better half of "management", Jude, will be there.  Stop by, have a beer and swap some first-day-of-the-con stories.

(3) 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.

(4) 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/.

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/.