For Father’s Day, Kitty and I packed Jack and Hannah up in the car and headed over to Silverlake to have brunch at Millie’s (by the way, if you’ve never had brunch at Millie’s and you live in Los Angeles, you have a quest to perform – I recommend the Devil’s Mess).
Millie’s is mostly sidewalk seating, and we’re plunked down on a rickety table next to two guys who are sitting with a couple of young women. Age pegged right around 32.
Now, these two gentlemen were regaling each other (and to a lesser extent their company) with stories about personal computers in The Elde Days. Snippets of the conversation included, “Dude, I remember when the Commodore 64 came out, and it rocked the competition on graphics…”
Reality-check time. The Commodore 64 came out in 1982. I was 11. I remember when the Commodore 64 came out. I’m turning 40 this year.
If these guys were alive when the Commodore 64 came out, they were younger than 5. Okay, so maybe their big brother had a Commodore 64. But if these two dudes had the capacity to judge graphics quality at age 5, I’ll eat my Atari 400 Basic cartridge.
So my question is: are these guys fronting their nerd kred to each other… or is this an actual conversation that 32 year-old menfolk can use to get 32 year-old girls? Because if so, it’s definitely true that nerd has gone mainstream in bad, bad way.
Just yesterday, I walked through one of the Borders that is in the process of shuttering its doors as part of their retraction strategy. Everything in the store was 30%-50% off.
This isn’t a bankruptcy, but it’s close. When you’re closing a retail outlet of any sort, you have to dispose of the inventory. At this point, a lot of your normal decision-making is inverted, when it comes to pricing. In normal business operations, you’ll often sell some very popular items at or below your unit cost (what’s referred to in the retail world as a loss-leader), just to get bodies in the door. One example germane to the book business is the last Harry Potter book; you could find this brand-new bestseller for %30 off at Borders. You walk in the door, you browse the new hardback section, you pick up Deathly Hallows, but you browse the magazine rack and the classics and maybe buy a cookbook for Aunt Mabel while you’re there. Profit! They don’t make any money off of Harry, but you helped move some of their other inventory.
In a liquidation scenario, though, you’re balancing two opposing factors: you have a strong incentive to sell the *entire* inventory, so that you don’t have to pack it into boxes and ship it elsewhere (in the Pasadena Borders, they’re even selling off the furniture – need a bookshelf?) However, for the inventory items that have good turnover rates you’re actually less inclined to fire-sale, because if you *do* have to pack some stuff up after you close the doors, the boxes of books that will move anyway are less likely to be a major loss than the 80 copies of The South Beach Diet that you still have in the back, that are likely to just wind up, after shipping, in the back of whichever store they’re destined to live out the rest of their bookish lives.
This leads to a whole different set of economic incentives both for the seller, and the buyer. The buyer who only buys new releases or bestsellers might hit the store in the first couple of days, looking for a bargain. But the other new-releases-and-bestseller buyers are also there, so the popular book will be (maybe) 10-15% off. As you get closer to the “shuttering the doors” deadline, you might drop the price another chunk. But the books that are unlikely to sell are unlikely to sell everywhere, so the discount will be much higher.
This is a very long winded way of noting the following: in the Pasadena Borders store, the following genres were marked down by the following rate:
- Science Fiction and Fantasy: 30% off
- Mystery: 30% off
- Romance: 40% off
- Computer Howto/Fix It books: 40% off
- Fiction/Novels: 40-50% off
- Philosophy and Classic Literature: 50% off
Pleased that our economic overlords are indicating that the general public likes Mysteries and SF more than Romance Novels, but wryly amused that Homer and Shakespeare and Hobbes are really in the “nobody will buy this unless we dump it” category.
This has been an ugly month and a half.
Coworker Dave and I have a number of huge projects going on at work. I’m taking Financial Accounting through the Drucker School for my IS cognate minor at CGU (and while it’s really fascinating and I’m enjoying the subject, I also have very little accounting background so even though the math is blindingly easy, grokking the context is taking a huge amount of study). Just finished CERT Level I training. Kitty’s on the board at Hannah’s nursery school, on the PTA at Jack’s school, and volunteering to help set up a science room there as well. We’re still on the board for our neighborhood association. The house has been on the market (instant update: in the middle of writing this post, the really nice couple that saw the house a couple of days ago accepted our counteroffer, hot damn!) so we’ve had to keep it constantly in “show” state for the last 8 weeks. Now of course thanks to that instant update, we don’t have to keep the house is show condition any more but we’ve got to find a place to which we’d like to move, and pack. Oh, my God. We have to pack.
I feel like Norman in The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming! – We’ve GOT TO GET ORGANIZED!
Thou shalt not travel the southbound pilgrim’s road between the City of Angels and Sin City on the Sabbath.
Thus spake THE LORD.
I gave up on the monthly meme. Mebbe I’ll finish it later. But I needed something to write about today that isn’t crazy-making (there aren’t many things right now today that aren’t crazy-making), and Meg supplied a meme, so here ya’ll go:
1. The phone rings; who don’t you want it to be?
Anyone telling me somebody’s in the hospital.
2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?
About 80% of the time. I make no apologies for the other 20%.
3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?
I talk quite a bit, but I have a tendency to acquire more information than I offer. Parse that how you will.
4. What was the last compliment that someone gave you?
Hannah called me silly.
5. Do you play the lottery?
Won $10 with my last ticket. Yes, I’m something of a mathematician. Yes, I’m aware (probably more than you can know) exactly how stupid the lottery is.
6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, who would you want with you?
Someone who has their catering truck and satellite phone handy?
7. Do you like to ride horses?
Yes. I’m not good (in terms of overall skill, I don’t practice enough) but I have a knack for letting the animal know I’m in charge. Have no idea when I acquired that ability.
8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?
Yes. My eardrum exploded in spite of explicit instructions to the camp counselors as to my likelihood of getting an ear infection and how to deal with it.
9. What is your favorite party game?
This is an odd question for me to answer; my idea of “game party” is probably not yours. I’ll go with nostalgia and say “3-man” (hey, I went to college).
10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you go for it?
A sexy person who is married is pursuing me regularly. I go for it (after all, we’re married to each other). Oh, you wanted the non-trivial answer? No. Even when I was single. Regardless of how horrible your marriage may be, just kill it before coming after me, please.
11. When was the last time that you lied?
Everybody lies to themselves every day. Better question is, “When’s the last time you caught yourself?” This morning, for me.
12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?
Hell, I married a Lutheran. They don’t buy transubstantiation. Hm, wait, neither do I. Let’s rephrase the answer: “It depends upon the set of beliefs”.
13. If you have a S/O, who pursued who? If not, do you like to pursue or be pursued?
This is a complicated question to answer, in practice. Our courtship wasn’t as cut and dried as all that. But when the main critical juncture hit, I suppose you’d say that I was the one that went after her, right dear heart?
14. Use six words to describe yourself.
Engineered, Ineffable, Pithy, Weird, Critical, and Distracted.
15. Name a song that could make you cry?
Songs alone can’t make me cry, it takes something along with. I’ll betray my sister and say Megan’s answer is:
16. Are you pleased with your education?
I CAN HAZ MOAR SMARTZ?
17. How do you feel about gun control?
There are about 309 million people in the U.S. 12,000-14,000 people are murdered in the U.S. every year (about 90% of them with guns). About 40,000 people are killed by automobiles. Also:
- Heart disease: 616,067
- Cancer: 562,875
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
- Alzheimer’s disease: 74,632
- Diabetes: 71,382
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
- Septicemia: 34,828
I figure, the question of gun control is largely something that is completely stupid to spend even 30 seconds of your time pondering. Let the individualists buy a gun. Donate your money to the American Heart Association.
18. If your house was on fire, what thing would be the first thing you grabbed?
Assuming people don’t qualify as “things”, I’ll say the backup hard drive.
19. How often do you have a romantic weekend?
Since I can’t peg a number off the top of my head, I’ll say, “I wish it was more often”. Logistics are the limiter, here.
20. Do you think more about the past, present or future?
21. What was the last adult magazine that you have read?
Playboy; I think it was a Harlan Ellison short?
22. What are you told about your eyes?
They’re in my head. Seriously, that’s the last thing someone told me about my eyes (also Hannah).
23. How tall is just right?
For what? If I’m playing basketball, I’m wishing I was 7′. Most other times, that’d be too dang tall. Kitty seems to be the right size whether she’s wearing flats or heels, so I’ll say, “However tall Kitty is at the moment”.
24. Where is your dream house located?
On an island. It’s not a house, it’s a lair.
25. Do you have a secret fetish?
This is not the proper medium to discuss.
26. Have you tried bourbon? If yes, what type?
I don’t easily trust a man who won’t have a drink with me.
27. Have you ever seen a male or female stripper?
Yes. Bachelor parties are typically rather stupid, but culturally traditional. I didn’t have a stripper at mine, but I’ve been to enough of them that the intersection of “bachelor parties I’ve been to” and “bachelor parties with strippers” is not the null set.
28. When was the last time you were at TGI Fridays?
Forever ago. We used to go a lot in college.
29. When was the last time you were at Church?
At Church? Or at Mass?
30. Where was the furthest place you traveled today?
Home-to-work. 2.5 miles.
31. What was your favorite job?
Vacuuming Grandma’s house. She was a good boss.
33. Bud is hosting Thursday Thunks this week. Will you play?
Nope. Don’t know Bud. Not sure where Bud is.
34. Do you look like your mom or dad?
Both. Neither. I dunno, ask Meg? I don’t look like what I think I look like, so it stands to reason I don’t know how much I look like anybody else.
35. Who was the last person that you showered with (it’s okay to leave out the name)?
Too many of these memes are obviously written by single people.
Day Sixteen: Future Tattoos
I have yet to find it necessary to embed either artwork or a pithy phrase in my epidermis. I don’t object to it on any grounds, I just haven’t been touched by the idea that a particular something belongs permanently etched on my flesh, and I’m not the sort of dude who is going to get a tattoo for the hell of it.
I’ll go darkly dystopian for a minute and predict a bar code and a number. It’s just as likely as anything else.
Is this really the fastest possible game of Monopoly? I’m nerdy, but I don’t care enough about Monopoly (which, after all, is a pretty naive set of game mechanics) to find out for sure…