Friday, December 26, 2008

Year End Charity

So I made my annual charity contributions and thought I would share them

Wikipedia is trying to raise money for it's foundation - good idea to help keep access commercial free
Wikipedia Affiliate Button

then I helped out of my favorite misanthropic bookseller/bloggers with her cat rescue costs (I know, I know... I hate cats...weird huh?) and if you are a sucker for helping out those who help animals you can read about the kitties and make a donation to the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society.

You can also make a donation to them or to any animal shelter through Petco

And we won't even talk about the book donation to the Friends of the Cardinal Stafford Library

that about wraps it up for this year - how did you do good?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

99 Things

I've seen this on a lot of book/library blogs (David Lee King, Stephen Abram, Walt Crawford, Ruminations, etc. etc. etc.


Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. gee - I think 1 or 2
2. Slept under the stars. done it more times than I can count but not in a long while
3. Played in a band. Harvey Farrar's Terrific Truckin' Thirteen - played a mean kazoo - got the Golden Kazoo Award in 1972
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower. one of my favorite activities
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. misleading - can one ever not give enough
7. Been to Disneyland/world. Both
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis. funny - I just had to locate a plastic one for a stage prop but I have indeed held a real one
10. Sang a solo. Unfortunately (I am tone deaf) I was cast in the show where I had to sing a couple of hymns
11. Bungee jumped. (not for me)
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. even better I have watched lightning up in the mountains - I love lightning
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Papermaking
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. Ugghh
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables. wish I could grow stuff in this arid locale
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. When we moved from St, Louis to Portland - took the train and got a sleeper
21. Had a pillow fight. but not in a long time
22. Hitch hiked. Once - bback in the 70's when it was relatively safe
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. But not in a long time
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb. and sheared a sheep
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. more than I can count
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise. If crusing the Norfolk Broads counts
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community. used to live in Pennsylvania
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. 'nuff said
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke. Once - in St, Louis - not to be repeated (see #10)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. couple of times
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. not often enough
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted. had it sketched - does that count?
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Went snorkeling in Mexico once - sorta interesting
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. many times
55. Been in a movie. crowd scene extra in "Blow Out"
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class if Tai chi counts
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching. I've seen whales in the ocean if that counts
63. Gotten flowers for no reason. there is always a reason.....
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check. guilty
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. and my son's
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square. but never on New Year's Eve
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone. my little finger from the deploying airbag
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. well it was going fast and I was on the back.....
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. twice - never again
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. more times than I can count
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous. Frank Zappa, Brewster Kahle, Parker Palmer...fame is relative
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one. My brother Paul
94. Had a baby. today is his birthday
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.sorta - helped get the ball rolling when we sued the school board in high school over the dress code
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day, a day dedicated to blogging about poverty. Now this is a topic on which I am something of an expert. Poverty comes in many guises and has floated in an out of my life several times. In grad school we used to talk about the information rich and the information poor (long before the digital divide catchphrase became popular) and I have friends who believe that I am rich in books (LOL).

Wikipedia defines poverty as
deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment to escape poverty, and/or to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens

Now I like that because it is about quality of life issues, not just money.

My brilliant son, who is working on his Peace Corps application, spends time with Engineers Without Borders working on a clean water project in El Salvador. He has shown me just how little it really takes to improve the lives of others less fortunate than ourselves.

And this year I had the pleasure of meeting Brewster Kahle who is working on some kick-ass projects dealing with what I call "Information Poverty". If you have never seen Brewster in action, you can see his presentation at TED here

I know that I am guilty of getting bogged down with the material stuff of my life - it gets in the way - it is a burden - so I am embarking on my 100 things project. I read about Daniel Perkins in Time and was fascinated with his movement to pare down his life to only owning 100 things. His goal was to pare down his possessions by November 12 and live with only 100 items for a year. So now I am embarking on such a quest. Last Spring I started to get rid of my stuff in anticipation of moving to Ireland. Since my plans didn't exactly work out I got off track. My goal is to reach the 100 items by December 31st. It will be so cathartic and incredibly important for my psyche.

To kick it all off I am clearing out my two (yes 2) storage units full of books and holding a huge book sale to benefit the Friends of the Cardinal Stafford Library. Scheduled to begin November 14th and to run for a full week, here is my opportunity to give back. Come and buy some books from us to support the library.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Books books books

In light of the latest economic news, I stumbled across this fabulous website that allows you to try and get the same value for your worthless stuff as that proposed for Wall Street. I have now posted my books (c. 50,000) to add to the pile - so do you think I'll get the $275,000 they are worth?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Latest Blog

Over the summer I visited my family in Georgia and my Mother showed me a book of letters from Robert Turnbull to his son the Rev. James Turnbull. These letters, written between 1827 and 1839, present a snapshot of life in early Victorian Glasgow and Edinburgh. Full of tales of who died and church gossip, they have been a motherlode of information about our Turnbull family history. I convinced my Mother to let me take them, digitize them and transcribe them. Sooooooo..... I've started another blog. If you stumble across any family links or historical inaccuracies, please let me know

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Wonderland Expedition Kit

I stumbled upon a true labor of love courtesy of BoingBoing, a fabulous Wonderland Expedition Kit created by absinthetic for his girlfriend. Look carefully at the clever pieces...the necessary Drink Me and Eat Me bottles... the photo of Lewis Carroll... the fetal stage Mome Rath..... a water sample for the Pool of Tears.... I could go on and on but I'm reaching now for my copy of Alice and a decent cup of tea....

I wonder does absinthetic have a much older single brother?

...and if you want to view the original copy of Alice, try the Turning the Pages Project at the British Library ... warning.... you need shockwave and highspeed broadband

Friday, August 01, 2008

Amazon acquires Abebooks

Back in the day when I really was an online book seller, I was an early fan of Abebooks. The owners of the website were used and rare book dealers and totally understood the trade. When AbeBooks acquired Germany's JustBooks GmbH online book marketplace in 2001 and the folks from JustBooks really took over the operations, it started down the slippery slope to being another Amazon clone without the customer base. Record quality became shoddy, penny sellers proliferated, shady mega-dealers signed up and the whole place became estranged from the real world of used and rare books. Many predicted that it was a matter of time before Amazon simply swallowed the operation, especially when Abebooks entered the new book market. Well those fears have been fully realized as Amazon announced today that they have acquired Abebooks. I thank the bookselling gods that I no longer list my wares on either site.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Decorating with books

Lovely post on BoingBoing about an article in the Telegraph concerning the demand for libraries in homes. I love the Telegraph's links down at the bottom and especially the one to the dealer in antique bookends. As usual. my mind started to wander and I thought I would look for a blog about bookends and of course there is one. While it is really just a marketing site, I had no idea that folks collect bookends, like I collect books.
So I wandered over to Amazon and found a charming book about collecting bookends, and then , once again, found several more. And then I found an old discussion on Palimsest about books on bookends. A quick article about collecting bookends ensued. So now I suppose, one could collect books about collecting bookends - will the madness never end? Now I just need to get a set of pirate bookends!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Edible Books and Bernard Black

I went to the Edible Books Festival in Boulder - read more at the library blog. I can say that I learned an awful lot about the artistic properties of phyllo dough

On a more exciting note, I went to see "Run Fatboy Run" yesterday - an silly movie, really with one major exception - the divine Dylan Moran played best-friend Gordon - while not so misanthropic as Bernard Black, Gordon (and his delightful bum) reinforced my belief that Dylan Moran is, without a doubt, the funniest man alive
Customer: "Excuse me, those books, leather bound ones... "
Bernard: "Yes, Dickens. The Collected Works of Charles Dickens."
Customer: "Are they real leather?"
Bernard: "They're real Dickens."
Customer: "I have to know if they're real leather, because they have to go with a sofa. Everything else in my house is real. I'll give you 200 for them."
Bernard: "200 What?"
Customer: "200 Pounds."
Bernard: "Are they leather-bound pounds?
Customer: "No"
Bernard: "Sorry, I need leather-bound pounds to go with my wallet. Next!"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Giant Pop-up Book

Can you tell that I am getting caught up on my blog reading? Well here is something that I found a Yanko Design - a gigantic pop-up book - can you imagine having one in your library?

A Perfect Cup of Tea

Nothing goes better with a good read than a lovely cup of tea. Well those folks at Improbable Research (THE best science blog) give a link to the Royal Society of Chemistry's instructions for brewing the perfect cup of tea

...ahhh.....all I need now is my lovely leather-bound copy of Parnassus on Wheels, that bathtub with the bookshelves, a cup of Earl Grey in my special teacup and I would be in heaven.

Friday, March 28, 2008


My favorite discovery of the week is the Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie blog - wow - I have always been fascinated by personal bookplates and knew that some folks collected them, but this blog is a treasure trove of information - As a former Philadelhpian myself, Lewis Jaffe, I salute you!! - now I need to start posting my bookplates online

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Electronic books

I saw this coming - according to Cory Doctorow, the folks that sell you e-books are now trying to tell you that you don't own them and therefore can't resell them - if this is upheld, the future looks a little grimmer for used book dealers

Friday, March 21, 2008

Play with the librarian

are you a little bored today? How about dressing up (or down) your favorite librarian

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

All my life for sale

I started listing my stuff for sale on Ebay and I thought that it would be fun to start documenting why I have this stuff and what it meant to me. Rather than clog up this blog with a database of the stuff, I have started a second blog that is just that. It will have a picture of the items and a link to the Ebay posting. As I get deeper into dealing with all of my things, I will also add pics of things that I am keeping. Along those lines I have also started to keep a spreadsheet of the things I am discarding and how much they weigh. My goal is to get to at least a ton, but who knows? Haven't you ever wondered about just how much stuff you have?

I did get a really fun note from an Ebayer - Roger (cycleminnesota) wishes me luck on going back to my Irish roots (LOL - I have Celtic roots, but not Irish as far as I know) and he was just looking at my set of Jazz videos that I have for sale - anyway Roger, I'll raise a toast to you when I get to Dublin!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Life Changes

Today I am officially embarking on my plan to completely change my life in six months. As part of this project I intend to relocate to Ireland to start work on my largest overdue project, acquisition of a PhD. I first learned of the new interdisciplinary degree offered through Trinity College, Dublin about three weeks ago from the Iconic Books blog and just that my last entry here mentioned the program. A week ago I started thinking that my life just isn't what I wanted, expected or needed and I should make a huge change. I mentioned the possibility of this degree program with Fr. Frank at work and he told me I should go for it. I wrote to Dr. Gribben who runs the program at Trinity and he encouraged me to reply. I have downloaded all of the pertinent information and now I need to get my application ready. I ran my research idea past Dr. Gribben and he thought it would work....sooooooo.....I have told my co-workers that I am applying which is the first step to making a dream come true.

In order to make this huge change, I need to eliminate virtually all of the physical and emotional stuff that I have carried around with me for the last 54 years. Yes, I am a hoarder! I used to just think I was a compulsive collector but now I realize that I am really a hoarder. I have boxes and boxes of things that I have moved and never examined. I have all of the stuff left over from the bookstore that needs to find a new home. I have boxes and boxes of books that I need to repack and ship to Better World Books. I need to come to terms with all of this stuff and let it go. In that way I will be ready to embark on a new life across the sea. I plan on selling as much as I can on E-bay, giving away what is not sellable and throwing away the trash. I plan on recording all of this so I can see what the cumulative weight and value of my possessions is/was. Along the way I plan on digitizing those things that I wish to remember but don't need a paper copy of and to finish up with just the bare necessities to start my life anew.

Let the journey begin!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Books that make you dumb

I'm finally getting caught up with my blog reading and found this wonderful link on BoingBoing to Virgil Griffith's fun look at the relationship of SAT scores to various book based on matches found on Facebook.

Bookride is featuring one of my favorite books, Wind in the Willows, which, thankfully, is not included in the Books That Make You Dumb.

Iconic Books has posted a link to the new PhD program in "Texts, Contexts and Cultures" which makes me wish that I wasn't too lazy to go back to school.

and last but not least, I've stumbled across a blog that is made up of transcripts from a World War I soldier and posted 90 years to the date of their original writing - you can following his experiences and find out more about Harry Lamin and his family during wartime.