Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Confessions of a Booknerd

The trouble with books is they’re so inconspicuous, so affordable and so enjoyable. I said I wasn’t going t o buy any more books in 2009 except at the Friends of the Library annual book sale. Of course I was not able to stick with this plan. I’m certain I have bought at least one book each month. The problem is, books are just too affordable! They are too affordable and available everywhere. About ten days ago I managed to buy five books for $2.50 at the Goodwill store. It was 50% off day at the Goodwill and these books would have sold for at least $2.00 at a used book store. I found a Clifford Simak novel, an Alan Dean Foster paperback, The Cat and the Hat and a few other children’s books for my stepson’s daughter. (That’s her in the cow suit in my profile photo.)

I blame my family, the economy and the book vendors for my book acquisition problem. Our local used book warehouse, McKay Books, has been a prime contributor to my problem. Their bookshelves practically bleed classic Sci-fi, fantasy novels and bargain priced rpg books. In the past two months I’ve found copies of the Castles & Crusades Players Handbook and a Savage Worlds hardcover to add to my bookshelves. I blame the economy, even at bargain prices the books innocently and quickly begin to overflow the bookshelves.

So, I blame the books, my family, the book vendors and the internet for my problem. The used books stores are a bit helpful since I can trade in my old books for books I never knew I wanted. But the book credit can be a problem if you live in a family of readers and suddenly you find you’ve been given four of five, or more, boxes of paperbacks from the in-laws. Once the used book store sorts through the in-laws old paperbacks you’ve got $200 in credit and it’s like Christmas in July.

I’ve found a few services on the internet that contribute to my problem with books too. is pretty helpful since it’s a one to one book swap between the members of the site. I’ve created an account at BookCrossing but I have yet to give a book away. I’ll eventually find a book too dilapidated to trade and will find an appropriate place where some other curious reader will likely adopt it.

Instead of announcing that I will not buy any more books in 2010 I should keep a budget of my book expenses. I’m thinking I’ll give myself a $100 budget for books at the beginning of the year. This doesn’t sound like a very big budget but $100 will go a long way at used book stores, library sales, yard sales and thrift stores. I can use the money I save by limiting my book purchases for my retirement or to purchase a new truck. Nah, I'm sure I'll spend it on my other problematic hobby, brewing my own beer.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It is finished!

It’s an odd title for my second blog post but the theme will all be clear shortly. First, I’d like to address the lack of the possessive punctuation in the name of my blog. The proper grammar for the name of my blog would be “One Consumer’s Opinion,” but I don’t think the apostrophe digit is used in the html code. You all know the process, when naming the blog, I just typed the letters for the phrase and it automatically became the title for the blog. I didn’t call the blog “One Gamer’s Opinion” because I am sure I’ll write about topics other than rpgs and speculative fiction as today’s post will prove. My apologies for the grammar error in the heading and now we can get back to my opinions.

Yes, it is finished; I have acquired a $1210 t-shirt and a pewter mug. That’s a pretty high price for some souvenirs but the price also included 300 beers. I’m an admitted beer snob and when I learned that one of our few local pubs has a “beer challenge” it was destined that I take that challenge! So, at least 300 beers and nearly 2 years later, I had my last beer on the challenge yesterday evening. I’m not certain of exactly how many beers I consumed or the exact number of days it took; I should have the statistics in a few weeks. There were 247 beers on the challenge when I began it in Feb. 2008 but the challenge is an ever shifting thing. Beers come and go and change with the seasons. I’ve been informed that the Christmas ales will be available at the pub, Union Jacks, this coming Monday. (Union Jacks does not use any possessive punctuation in their logo either.)

Obviously the beer challenge involves some bookkeeping by the management of the pub and I’m very thankful to them for their work and contributions. The challenge is complete when you have had every beer they offer and I nearly finished a few times only to learn that more beers where added or some old brands had returned. When the challenge is complete the reward is a nice green Union Jacks t-shirt, a pewter mug engraved with the pub’s logo and your name is added to a beer challenge plaque in the pub. I’m personally adding a mental notch to my beer snob card and would like to thank the Belgians for their creation, sour ale, 24 oz. of which would make an excellent baste for the turkeys we will all be cooking soon. My estimate, $1210, is probably low too. It is based on an average price of $4.00 per beer multiplied by three hundred. I don’t regret having spent the money on the drinks and Union Jacks has become a weekly meeting place for our local gaming community. I should also thank my friends and family who where very supportive and encouraging during this bit of social fun. I’m certain I’ll start the challenge again before the end of this year. I’ll see if I can finish in a year’s time on this attempt.

Now, some random business:
I have not figured out all the options for this blog. I don’t know how to add the “What I’m reading” and “What I’m playing” information to the border of the blog. I will attempt to figure these options out soon. I’ve been reading Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson. My game group is currently playing 1st edition AD&D supplemented with Osric. I suspect that we will have our final episode in Castle Ravenloft at this week’s game.