Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thoughts for the Day

Union Square Farmers Market, New York, Public Domain Photograph.

Good afternoon. I have finished reading The Djinn in The Nightingale's Eye by A.S. Byatt. I have to sit down and go back through it to make some notes on what I read. Sometimes memory is not perfect and you interpret things differently while you are reading and have to check your own thoughts to make sure they are accurate. Everyone has different perceptions on what is being written. It is very easy for people to give very different accounts of the same event.

Today, I was cutting up scrap paper for the reference desk. We cut up old flyers, leftover printouts from the cybercorner, and other scrap paper into small squares to take notes at the reference desk. We of course check to make sure we aren't cutting up salacious printouts before we hand them to patrons. We also reuse scrap paper for the printer. If only one side is used, we use the other side. The amount of paper which goes through the library is truly amazing. In addition we have a scrap box to give out paper to patrons. We don't give out clean paper.

There is a famous story of an investor who visits two different railroad offices. In the first office, the man takes notes on monogrammed paper with a fine fountain pen and is dressed in a very nice silk suit. He tosses the paper which he makes mistakes on into the garbage without a thought. In the second office, the manager is dressed in a conservative, but inexpensive blue suit, the manager takes notes on pieces of carefully cut scrap paper, using as few pieces of possible and uses an old pen to take the notes. Immediately after visiting, the investor buys stock in the company from the second office without looking at the financials of either company.

People ask for whiteout, pens, envelopes, rulers, calculators, and various office supplies from the reference desk. We try to limit the amount of office supplies we give to patrons sticking to tape, use of the stapler, and golf pencils. If they insist on borrowing a pen, we ask them to bring it back. We put a piece of green tape around our pens to indicate they are library pens. We keep a magnifying glass in the drawer along with a ruler and a calculator for people to use. We have big steel scissors, but we ask for people to not sit too far from the desk with scissors and bring them back immediately when they are done.

Another thought which comes to mind about my earlier hobbies. Many of them were focused on avoiding spending money for things which I wanted. I didn't really understand then that investing is often a better vehicle for some than saving. I've never been particularly good at saving money. I have always been good at avoiding debt. I think many people who scout books for bookstores or sell books on the internet are preserving income not making money. They have a habit of collecting books or comic books that they really can't afford with their salaries.

So, they end up going to garage sales, estate sales, goodwill stores, thrift stores, library booksales, church sales, and book fairs to look for books which they want. They are never going to make enough money for a living, but they will be able to support their habit of filling their house top to bottom with old paper and books. For the few extra dollars they get in trade at their local store or on ebay, they support a book habit.

I still have five long boxes of comic books which I traded for where I live. Not a huge amount. Mostly ground level comic books, things like Den, Quack, Cobalt 60, Vaughn Bode, and Alien Worlds. Ground level is an odd term which is not quite alternative and not quite mainstream. It is bringing material in at the "ground level" to the comic book seller. There is not a huge amount of value in this, but most of the material is fairly rare.

I used to go to the big open air flea markets in Manhattan. Some of them have shutdown because the real estate values rocketed to the point where it was worth more to build skyscrapers in the open parking lots where they were than keep them as parking lots. There are still some indoor flea markets like in Manhattan. There is also the Chelsea Antiques Fair which is going the way of the dinosaurs or the old book shops.

It seems many of my old hobbies are becoming part of the musty old dust bin of history. I no longer have time for these things, but it is interesting and sad to see them go.
The first few ads from Project Wonderful are up. Three are comic strips. One is from a site which I happen to enjoy reading on occassion, Environmentastic. The cinemacomics site looks interesting, it has a whole set of different free downloadable comics.


Cowgirl Betty said...

I am a big garage, flea market, thrifter kind of gal! We've furnished our apartment with used furniture that needed a little TLC to restore them back to beauty.

I also rarely buy new clothes. I just invest more at the laundromat before wearing something new. Too bad about Manhattan, though. Is there anything available in the Boroughs(sp)?

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Book Calendar said...

I don't know too much about flea markets in the boroughs honestly. I mainly went for the books. The two big book fairs are Brooklyn Book Festival, and New York Is Book Country if you want to have some time for looking at books. They are coming into scheduling conflict. The best thrift stores in Manhattan are around the 80-90th St. around 3rd Avenue. Places like the Cancer Care Thrift Shop Another place might be A lot of very rich people donate very fashionable clothes and items to these places.

This is a bit on the New York Is Book Country.