Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Update No. 3: We had an art show!

I'm going to be doing these "Update" posts so I can mention the various things that were going on, keeping us super busy. I hope to simultaneously do more current posts.

So, on July 31st we had an employee art show at Guapo. We had the idea because so many of our volunteers are cartoonists or have an artisitic background. Allie and I participated as well.

Allie did three portraits of girls which were a combination of collage, painting and sculpture. She also did a beautiful decorated mirror--its border consisted of 30 or so inch by inch paintings of cats. I told her to charge $50 bucks for it (which is more than most of the pieces, although still really cheap for an art piece) and it sold in a week!

It was the only piece that sold although many were for display only. We busted our butts the entire last week of July getting our pieces ready for the show. I myself finished 5 pet portraits/obituaries which I decided would be the basis for my next zine, all about the pets I've loved and lost in my life.

Here are a few of the pieces:

For the opening night party, we had snacks and drinks and lots of friends and family were there. Even my parents made it. The art show itself looked great. One of our baristas did a great job performing a short set on her accordion.

I felt really happy and as I looked around the room I couldn't help but be blown away at the entire scene--all these random, great people coming together because of Guapo and all the hard work we've put into the store. It made me feel proud.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Biking and buying

Yesterday we did our first real bike trip and it was so much fun. We first rode to Hawthorne and 34th to get Allie a free b-day ice cream. Delicious! Then we went to our friends Jesse and Andrice's house. I mapped the whole journey on yahoo and found out we rode 8.59 miles round trip. Not exactly epic, but for us that's a lot. It wasn't really that bad. We were carrying a lot of stuff which was kind of a drag, but I think it'll be a breeze after a couple more times.

When I was at Hawthorne I stopped at Jackpot to spend a little of my bonus money. I bought the brand new Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin album as well as the recent Admiral Radley album featuring Jason Lytle from the awesome band Grandaddy. Unfortunately we got home so late, I wasn't able to give them a listen.

This weekend I also bought Gorillaz' G-Sides, Xiu Xiu's Air Force (upgraded from a CD-R--it sounds so much better), and Gorillaz' Plastic Beach album. I raided the awesome dollar section at CD/Game Exchange: I bought Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full which is actually really good and, fulfilling my 90s nostalgia, Filter's Short Bus (now I can get rid of my tape) and Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth. I feel so lucky getting to buy all this music! Back in the days before we opened the store I bought a few CDs a week. It's nice to recapture that feeling, if only for a moment.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Update No. 2: Good Times at the Day Job

My work week had an amazing and one of a kind end to it last week. After a couple of years of intense work, my firm closed a huge bankruptcy deal. They say this was probably the most complicated case in Oregon legal history. Everyong was feeling to happy about the big accomplishment that the firm asctually scheduled a nice party from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Friday.

Early Friday we found out about the 135 million dollar payout coming our way. Then the firm announced all staff would get a bonus with our next paycheck! In the 7 years I've worked at the firm, this has never happened. The party was lots of fun and I pigged out on appetizers and free beer. Some speeches were made and my department was specifically thanked. I'm just a small cog in a big machine at my firm and it's not often that I feel so appreciated as I did that week. They gave out factoids on the case: over a million copies were made! Myself and my department must have done at least half of those.

Here I am at the party. I've blanked out my co-workers faces out of respect for their privacy. The guy in the foreground is actually our managing partner. I'm getting myself some sushi and totally oblivious to the picture being taken. THis photo really amuses me because it looks like i'm crashing the shot.

The party was at a building across the way from ours at a penthouse bar. Here's the view of my building (the glass one). My firm is on the top three floors.

I was buzzing from all the beer and good times when I took the bus home at 5pm. A drunk old dude on the bus tried to tell me about his Indian girlfriend. He asked me if I liked beer and when I said, 'Yes,' he offered me his unopened bottle of 40oz of Steel Reserve--how nice! I did have to decline though.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Update No. 1: No More Driving

Owning a business means our personal finances have a real ebb and flow to them. In other words: if the store is doing well, we're doing well. If it's doing poorly, we're doing poorly. Things are actually going really well for us right now; the store itself is at a mini peak. About a month ago, as we weathered our latest valley, Allie and I sat down for a big conversation about our life, our finances, and our stress. We came to several decisions, the most immediate of which is to STOP driving.

We own two cars. A couple years ago we moved one of them to storage insurance and stopped driving it. I buy myself a subsidized monthly bus pass through my office job and use the pass Monday through Friday to get to work (parking downtown is TOO expensive for driving). Our store is only 15 blocks from our house. While we often drove to get there--walking, biking, or bussing the distance is supremely easy.

We put our other car on storage insurance starting August 1st and haven't driven since. Our decision to stop driving wasn't based purely on economics (although we will be saving over $100 a month). Allie and I have also been interested in living a healthier, more fit lifestyle. Not having the option to drive FORCES us to walk and bike more, even when it's not convenient. I'm also thrilled about polluting that much less in our lives and not giving our money to gas and oil companies.

The benifit is threefold. I consider it a dramatic lifestyle change and so far, it's been going great. I definitely want to sell one of our cars this year and if the experiment goes really well, maybe we'll get rid of the other.