Thursday, November 15, 2007

Books for Rob

I’ve owed Rob a story about my books for quite a while now. It’s been so long I don’t even remember what I was supposed to talk about, but I do remember that it was books.

So, I have always been a book person. Way back in school I was proud to have a library card, and I would hit the library all the time. I was a big science fiction reader, and went through what was in the ‘juvenile’ section quickly. Back then kids were not allowed in the ‘adult’ section, and I had to get special approval to check books out of there. I also started buying my own books, and have always been buying them. I had to build two walls worth of bookshelves in our Temecula house, we purchased some nice units for San Diego, and this house has lots of fancy oak built in shelving. Unfortunately B doesn’t like oak, so she has plans for painting. This is what they look like now:

What you can’t see is that most of the shelves are deep, and we have placed rows of books behind the front row, so you are only looking at half of what we have. The left section above is mostly cookbooks, and if you look closely you can see my Encyclopedia Britannica volumes scattered around, with their purple bindings and gold print. Yes, I bought my own set of encyclopedias way back when, I really liked having them around to look things up, but now the internets has replaced it as a source of lookingupedness. We also subscribe to a bunch of magazines, my favorite being the New Yorker. I’ve had a subscription to that since I was in the Navy, probably the only guy on my ship to get it. We also subscribe to the local newspaper, and I used to get the Wall Street Journal, which has about the best writing but unfortunately loves GWBush, so I cancelled for political reasons. I like the New York Times, but that sucker costs a fortune to get every day.

I also like buying and giving away books and magazines. Our kids have always gotten books for Christmas and birthdays, and I keep getting ones for E all the time. A lot of these are from suggestions you guys post, so thanks for doing that. I’ve been getting almost every book I see written by those internet people I read all the time, right now I’m waiting on Zoe’s , which Amazon started listing but is not shipping yet. Come on Amazon, get that sucker out to us!

The above photo shows one segment of the bookcases, other similar ones are build into different sides of the tv and family rooms. There are about five other pieces similar to the one above, all filled with books. The whole wall of my office is also filled with bookcases.

Most of the ones in here deal with computers and programming. The bottom row is filled with binders, one for each customer – I print out parts of their code, but mostly database structures and the notes and requests that they send me. Whenever I get a new project I usually end up spending $150 or so on related books. Computer books now are usually around $50 to $70 each, so buying two or three can make project startup expensive. I usually also have to purchase some software program or compiler, all before I can start billing a customer. These books are used for reference, if finding an answer in one saves me three hours of wondering what’s going on it’s worth it.

This section has most of the older stuff.

Yes, I keep my old computer games. For those of you that are computer historians, you’ll see the first version of dBase for DOS in the upper left, and the IBM DOS 1.1 manuals to the right. Down below to the left is a silver dBase II binder for a really old version running on CP/M, and some of my games, including Zork – do any of you remember Zork? I originally played it on a DEC PDP machine, I think it was about the first computer game ever written. And then we flow over to my domino case and Cootie. That’s a game I really like, and am waiting for E to get older to learn, and on to Jenga and my box of Lord of the Rings audio cassettes.

The two office photos cover about 10% of the shelf space there, most are filled with language references and software boxes, but I do have a radio and some photos standing there too.

So those are my bookshelves. I don’t remember what else I’m supposed to write about. The last book I read was Angels and Demons, a paperback that I took on the plane for my trip and finished just as we pulled into Phoenix airport (flight back wasn’t non-stop) yesterday. I am awaiting Zoe’s book on the Twat, along with some others. I have on my nightstand one of Neil Gamon’s that I am about to start. The book I most remember is Sidhartha, which did calm me down a lot when I was in the Navy. I still re-read it periodically. I keep most of my books because of my poor memory, I can go back and read them again after a few years and it almost seems like a new book. When the last Harry Potter book came out I had to go back and read all of the first six before I got to it, in order to catch up on all of the characters again.

I can’t hit a bookstore without spending at least $100, but that is mostly because of the cost of computer related books. I have always bought kids books, even when there were no kids around. I see that gold Caldecott medal and figure if it’s good enough to get that it’s good enough for me to read.

The book I am in the middle of is a computer one, Creating Your World, about Second Life, the latest computer thing that Udge has me hooked on.

So, Rob, have I covered everything?

Let me end with something for Martin. For some reason he doesn’t like this song. Probably back from when they had their own TV show, The Captain and Tennille's Love.

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