• Random

    Bookshops: Brick and Mortar

    I buy a lot of books. Our house looks like a second-hand bookshop, and I have to admit that they are on the verge of getting out of control – and I am out of space to put them all. I try to buy what I can second-hand from charity shops, but occasionally I treat myself to a new book or two. Yes, I can order online, but I love actually going to the shop, browsing the shelves and looking at cover art in the company of other book-lovers. I also want to support actual shops that sell books, as so many brick-and-mortar businesses are failing.

    I’m quite anal about the way that I treat my books; I have to open them properly, starting from the outside and fanning out sections one at a time. I always use bookmarks – aside from on supermarket trash paperbacks which I treat with terrible disrespect, as they won’t be staying on my shelves for a re-read. They’re clandestine dalliances for dirty weekends, and before I’m finished they’ll be dogeared and filled with crumbs. They aren’t taken home to meet the parents.

    Anyway, I take my books seriously.

    There are two high-street chain bookshops in the same section of the town centre where I work, and they couldn’t be more different. One is bright and open, with room to stand or sit and read a few pages. It’s a chain store, but all of the staff love books and are happy to discuss their favourites. The other is cramped, with dim flourescent lights on the ceiling. The books aren’t displayed in logical sections, and it’s hard to find anything. Most importantly, they don’t give you bags. Now, I’m used to supermarket clerks here in the UK looking at you as though you’re personally responsible for killing polar bears if you don’t have your crunchy-granola canvas bags to take your groceries home in. But books – !!! Expensive new books, and they expect me to carry them home in my hands in the perpetual English rain. Soulless bastards, every one, and I only shop there when I am forced to.

    There’s a third shop, worse still. This is an old-fashioned shop full of dark wood, where you can barely squeeze between the towering wooden shelves, and shorties like me can only reach the first few shelves. It would be quite a cool shop if they sold used books, but it is another retail book store (so in a totally non-logical way I feel vaguely ripped off that I am paying full price). The owner of the store is an older man with a terrible disposition. Okay, that is a wild guess…he might be a wonderful old character and I am missing out by not speaking to him. From his sour expression and the way that he glares at me, though, I would doubt it. Perhaps I look like a shoplifter. I think I look like an average approaching-middle-age woman, but what do I know about the shoplifter demographic? Perhaps I fit a certain profile of ladies who like to spice up their lives by stealing books. Hhmph.

    This is why I will never own a Kindle at the expense of having all my well-loved books around me. I love the feel of holding a book, from browsing shiny new books at the bookstore all the way to home and my upstairs room, which has midnight blue walls, a Victorian fireplace and squashy chair, and all the shelves of books like the smallest library in the world. It’s also my computer room, and I love it. It’s one of my favourites places to be.


  • Random

    Spammers Everywhere

    I get spam in waves on this blog – sometimes quite a lot, and sometimes just a few. It doesn’t seem to follow the scripted patterns that you would expect. I’ve had periods where I was deleting pages of Chinese or Russian porn or pharmaceutical spam, and then it just goes away. The rest of the time I get search optimisation company spam. I know that I presently work for an internet marketing company, so I may be biting the hand that parsimoniously feeds me, but I fail to see the point of you making nonsensical comments on a gaming site, listing a different name and a different Canon camera URL on each. It’s obviously the same company.

    On an only somewhat related matter, does anyone else use Google as a dictionary? I just looked up “parsimoniously” to see how it was spelt by putting it in as a search in Google.

    No deep thoughts here, just move on…some days you have something to write about, and some days you just don’t. :)

  • Random


    I don’t know what it is about Engrish, or wackily fractured English instructions and signs, that I find so endearing. I absolutely love the one below. I’d bought a maneki neko cat to sit on a shelf in the hallway, facing the front door, for luck. (Hey, I’d sacrifice a chicken or make a deal with the devil if I thought it would help!) Phil refused to put the batteries in to make his arm move up and down, which I admit might have been pushing it a bit far. Anyway, the box that he came in amused me so much that I’m going to keep it – I love it.

    And I could use some immediate realisations…


  • Random

    Spam spam spam

    I know I’m biting the hand that feeds me (working in web development, search optimisation, and social media) but this example of scummy SEO spammers really amused me. I was looking up an issue on the Magento site (open source ecommerce software that I do a lot of work in) and found pages of goldseller spam. Quite funny – and shame on them for not using a spam filter!

  • Random

    consequences, like dominos

    Last night we watched Crash, an older movie that I’ve always really liked. The movie follows an extremely disparate group of characters who are all drawn together by circumstance, by chance, and by their actions. Everything that each of them does affects another in some way.

    For me, this is almost what I mean when I speak lightly of karma. I think that every act, from an unkind word to a vicious act, has consequences. Ripples spread from everything that you do, everything you say. An over-officious medical receptionist blocks a cop’s request for a cancer test for his father, just because she can. He then goes out and commits an act of racial harrassment, because he’s hurting and the couple he’s pulled over are affluent and in love. The husband, shamed by allowing his wife to be molested by the racist cop, goes on to try to initiate a violent showdown. Everything we do, good and bad, affects the world around us.

    If you haven’t seen Crash, you should rent it – it’s quite a profound movie. it is also a very “Los Angeles” movie, at least for me. LA was the most racially tense place I’ve ever lived in. Lovely and hateful all in turn.

  • Random

    Down on my knees

    This is the song that was played at our wedding (a non-country, bluesy version sung by a great friend and his wife). For me, it’s a reminder that relationships can’t survive pride…sometimes you have to get down on your knees and say “I love you”, or “I was wrong”, or “I don’t want to lose you”.

    I wore an antique wedding dress from a second-hand shop, the wedding was outside underneath a massive old tree, and I wore ruby slippers straight out of the Wizard of Oz, paired with lacy white ankle socks. The minister arrived on a Harley, my family made all the food, and Steve and Ellie sang. Our wedding totally rocked.

    I learned to be strong a long time ago
    And I can face any wind no matter how hard it blows
    But I’d have to be stronger than I want to be
    If I had to live without you loving me