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Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Only 160 days till NFL Season!

The NFL posted the regular and post-season schedules today, and my Chiefs have five National games (three Monday night, one Sunday night, and one on Christmas Day). Beyond that, their schedule looks pretty good. Not playing the Bengals or the Jets, so I won't be winning any money this year, but I think I'll live.

Understand my power!

Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

[courtesy of Shane]

So don't fuck with me when it comes to grammar. (programming is another story. Anyone know why the picture of the Grammar God won't show up?)

Monday, April 12, 2004
Ode to Half Price Books

One of the joys in my very simple life, is my weekly or semi-weekly trip to Half Price Books. Those of you who don't live near at least one location of HPB are really missing out, as it's far and away the best book chain I've ever frequented. The premise is simple: they buy all kinds of books from people and then sell them for half the cover price or less. And if a book hangs out too long on their shelves, it gets moved to the clearance section and sold for a buck or two. It's not unusual for us to leave with 7-8 trade paperback sized books for under $30.

Unlike most other used book stores I've been to, they don't only deal in mass-market paperbacks, academic textbooks, and publisher overstock of books that aren't that good to begin with, though they have those too (actually not so much of the publisher overstock, but they do have some); they sell pretty much the same stuff you find at your local Borders or Barnes & Noble, with the notable exception that they regularly get copies of books that are out of print. Oh yeah, and they have comics and graphic novels for dirt cheap.

The best thing about them is that no two stores have the same stock, and they sometimes even have radically different pricing methodologies, so it's to your advantage to visit each store with some frequency. Of course, you also have to be pretty quick - if you leave a book there on one visit, it's often gone by the next time you visit.

At least once a month I come upon a true gem, a treasure that I've been looking for and haven't been able to find elsewhere. Most times I leave with at least one thing of value to me, either a cheaper copy of a book that is available elsewhere, or something that's been taken out of print that I can't believe I stumbled upon.

In recent months, I've managed to find all of the Ross MacDonald books that Vintage didn't reprint in the 90s, several Vintage Crime/Black Lizard books (remind me talk about VC/BL sometime) by semi-obscure pulp authors, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (my first really enjoyable experience in Miller's Sin City), A. Alvarez's The Biggest Game in Town, Scott McCloud's Zot Book 1, Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 3 (did I mention they sell DVDs and CDs, too?), Peter Carey's My Life as a Fake, and Christopher Moore's Fluke to name just a few.

My haul this weekend? Much better than average, with several books for much less than half price, and one legitimate "Holy Grail:'

Why I Hate Saturn - Kyle Baker ($6.98)
Ronin - Frank Miller ($4.98)
Yossel: April 19, 1943 - Joe Kubert ($12.98)
Blueberry 3: Angel Face - Charlier/Moebius ($4.98)
The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction ($4.98)
Superman: From the 30's to the 70's (out of print hardcover - $25)

All of these make me a happy boy with some good reading to look forward to. Have I mentioned that I love to read?

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