Here's what it's like here. Dedicated to the bike stuff, trying to make it all good and make things available to the micropercent of riders who want their bike gear to be a certain way. Good employees who are good people first and totally get our stuff, understand it so well....and we're living in a really expensive area that happens to be a nice area, and everybody has roots or commitments here and isn't about to move. Some of the older ones here got lucky and bought homes at the right time and with some outside help, because it hasn't been cheap here for 40 years. But most pay more in rent than my $1,050 mortgage. A starter home in a bad area costs $500,000, and any non-fixerupper in a better area goes for $700,000+ and often sells for over the asking price and in cash.
We have a good (by non-Google) benefits package that adds considerably to the cost of any employee. Up to $700 a month in medical benefits ($8,400/year), and that's just the start. We tend to keep employees because they get to work with nice bikes and gear and most importantly, other nice people. Everybody knows what it's like to have to dance around a meanie or weirdo, and there's none of that here.
Christmas/holiday bonuses are typically in the form of credits toward our gear, for the simple reason that cash isn't available. For 22 years we've been hovering just below or just above positive cash flow (money coming in vs money going out), and it's a treading water feeling until the end of the year when I look at what we've given to charities and see that we have a gap to fill (we have a self-imposed quota of $12K/year, spread among 4 charities—The Carter Center, which does super work and probably doesn't need our help as much as other charities, but I'm familiar with the work they've done and really want to support it---it feels good; and the Fistula Foundation (repairs the vaginal area of undernourished Third World women who get wrecked in childbirth because, due to malnutrition and the resulting stunted growth, their hips don't get wide enough to deliver babies, so when the pressure of the baby isn't released during birth, they develop these holes called fistulas, which, after birth (baby often dies), leaves holes down there that leak pee and poo continually, so of course their family and villages see that as a curse from God and banish them to the bushes in shame...and the Fistula Foundation pays for the $450 or so operation so they can get back to a normal-for-them life with the people who banished them for being cursed)....and the 826 Valencia foundation--is it a foundation? I think so—anyway, it was started by author Dave Eggers, and teaches and tutors and supports middle-schoolers and high schoolers in a non-school classroom, focusing mainly on reading and writing. When it's not happening at home for any number of reasons, it happens at 826 Valencia. There are chapters all over the country now, and if you believe that every child deserves this kind of help and education, then you will love 826, which we do, and that's another.
The fourth one is
I found out about it after reading WONDER, which should be required reading for everybody in the world, but you can't require anything. It's about a 5th grade boy born with a defective face going to public school for the first time. It's strictly fiction, but it is based on real life for many, and was inspired by an experience the author, Raquel J. Palacio, had with her young child in a Brooklyn ice cream shop.
The story was told to me by somebody who used to work with her and knows her, and as I remember it, it goes like this:
She and her young like 7-year old daughter were in the ice cream place ordering up, and in walked another mother and her same-aged son with severe facial problems, the kind you look away from under the guise of "not wanting to stare," but also because it's just a relief to not see it.
Her daughter did the normal kid-thing, stared, and was not able to handle it. She got flustered, upset, and the mother (who would become the author) thought it best to skedaddle before the scene escalated. On the rush out, some kind of display was knocked over, making everybody upset--the retreat was obvious, and the mother got home and felt horrible and that's what made her write WONDER.
We have some WONDERs left, and if you get WONDER you also have to get AUGGIE AND ME. We sell them for less than our cost and won't get them in again (pairing back), but any bookstore should have at least WONDER, but probably not AUGGIE AND ME.
But back to this:
It's a charity that pays for the surgeries and support costs for the children whose families can't afford the real fees. They've slipped below the charity radar here, and I just looked it up and noticed we haven't given anything to CCAKIDS this year, and there's no slush fund to dip into. But here's the plan. We will give ten percent or up to $3,000 of invoices from Saturday the 17 thru Tues the 20th to CCAKIDS, provided you read this far and write CCA on your online order.
Basically, they'll get their money one way or another, and you'll get good stuff if we send it to you, but it would help us do that donation if we had some decent orders right about now.
THis is a Bob Dylan-Patti Smith/nobel prize song thing with video. It's a column she wrote and it's really good.
If any of you get Harpers, check out the fantastic add on the letters page in the new issue you may not have rec'd yet. It's the one with D'trump on D'cover.
We're getting a new mugshot on the $20 bill, right? Either Sacagawea or Harriet Tubman, right? Andrew Jackson, he's coming off, right? He owned more than 220 slaves. Hey, here's a wackadoodle idea: Let's get all the slave-owners off our coins and dollars. No more slave-owner money, we're past that! Thanks for the good you did, but out of respect for people and the times, we'll killing your coins and bills, bros...
The Australian penny has a platypus, and now, my friends, we're talking. We don't have a platypus equivalent, and I think we're most of us kind of tired of the fierce stare of the bald eagle. If we're doing to heritagize the money--no problem with that concept--let's do it with people/animals/objects that have less baggage. Lincoln can keep the penny, but put John Muir on the five. Put Sally Hemmings in place of Jefferson on the nickel. Put Satchmo or John Coltrane on a coin or paper, and let's switch from Franklin to Teddy Roosevelt on the dime. MLK, for sure. Woody Guthrie should get something, right?
If you're a Woody Guthrie fan, you may know about the missing verses. Somewhere I have a recording of him singing them. He's in the tape deck these days, so--on my mind:
Mark Twain? Steinbeck? Poe? Longfellow? Must they all be political figures? Wouldn't a few writers send a good message?
Harper Lee, Ursula K. Le Guin, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison—must they all be dead to be on money? They do that because what if a moneyhead commits some heinous act? Then you take him (it's likely to be a him) off the money. Being on money while alive might be an incentive to keep being good.
Is there not an astronomer or astrophysicist among you? PM me. A paleoanthropologist wouldn't hurt, either. An evolutionisticbotanologist would be icing on the cake. An astrobiologist would be whipped cream on top of everything.
Here are some pictures of Rivendell. For years, but less common now, customers would come by and be unable to contain their slightly disappointment at how common our digs are, how "un-Rivendell like" they are. But they're thinking of the Rivendell in Middle Earth from the books or movies, and we're in the last low-rent district in a high-rent town. These are candid shots that are not exciting.
It's doesn't look nearly as congested from floor level as it does from the top of the stairs here.
Turkey feathers and deer antlers and a skull. This is our showroom, the area we direct customers to.
About 12 years ago a local girl (was not a woman yet, so backoff...) made us a mobile out of frame tubing and lugs, and it's been right here since.
Mark walking his dog, Buddy. Probably for relief.
Roman left Will right eating lunch. They have their own spots--air conditioned in the summer, heated in the winter---left over technology from when Miesha was here with her babies. It's in back of the showroom and joins to the kitchen.
In the parking lot, Robert has this garden of aloe vera and rosemary. People pull off the rosemary for salads. Maybe Robert does something with the aloe, not sure.
We've been on a filbert kick lately. Will broke a genuine nutcracker, so we use this Swedish trick slip-jaw pliers.
I've shown this before. In the '76 I was shooting Olympic track racing off the tv set with my OM-1 that daughter Anna now shoots with, and the camera went to the stands and I got this lady racer watching her teammates. I'm showing it here because--well, old people are familiar with this now-and-then last shot on the roll phenomenon, but it's a baffler to kids. I had the picture blown up 3 ft wide when I was at Bstone, and I haven't thrown it out. It's above the door in the showroom.
I've also shown this before. A local but not Walnut Creek candidate for city council put out these fliers. The insides are as good as the outsides. I would have "voted" for "him."
Don't forget about these guys:
Here's more about them
and this good, too--about how to comport yourself
We've made CCAKIDS DONATION as a product you can add to your cart (here). You can search by that. Order 1, 2, whatever, and we'll match your donations up to $3,000 our part--meaning CCA will get at least $6,000. If you do it this way, you won't get the tax write off. If you want that, donate directly. But we'll match only if you do it thru our site--it's too hard to track, otherwise.
OK! Fix faces!