Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What do you do with old computer books?

Begrudgingly trolling through the garage this weekend I threw out a lot of crap.  It turns out I have something on the magnitude of a small forest's worth of old technical books buried in boxes, on shelves next to motor oil, and other more disturbing places.  Sorting through it all was an interesting experience.  I kept very few of them, mostly classics like Deitel's C++ book and books on algorithms, discrete math, logic, etc.  Gone are the accounting books, the myriad of "Teach yourself X in 24hours/14 days/etc." books I used to think were so useful, despite the fact that I never learned a think from them in the specified time frame, and a whole lotta game programming books.  That career path didn't pan out.

Faced with what to do with them I decided that throwing them away wasn't a good choice.  First of all it felt environmentally irresponsible to simply place that much recyclable paper into trash bags.  Secondly, my garbage men would be likely to put a hit out on me afterwards.

Lou: Hey Joe, you ever wonder what your life coulda been like? [toss bag]

Joe: Nah, what's the point?  Da way I figures, I'm here and that's what's important, ya know.  Like, make the most of what you got. [toss bag]

Lou: Yeah, but AAAARRRRRGGGGG!!!!!!!!

Joe: Lou! What happened?!?

Lou: God ****** ****** ******' bag weighs a ******* ton!  ****** ******!  What the **** they put in there?   I think my ******* back is ******* broke.  *** **** ****** ******* son of a *****!!!!

Joe: **** Lou, it's ******* full of ******* books!  What the ****?

Lou: I can't walk man!  I can't ******* walk!  It's getting dim.  I...I'm going, man.  Blackness... overtaking me!   My life... flashing before my eyes.... ah.....*

Joe: I will avenge you my brother!  The computer geek will pay with his very life's blood!  This I swear by the honor of my ancestors!

We do get a recycle bin that we put out.  We have the non-optional choice of paying extra for recycling service, which they gratefully take off our hands for us for a (somewhat) minimal charge.  I could swear you used to get paid for recycling.  Kudos to Deffenbaugh for finding a way to turn a tidy profit there.

Oh yeah... there's a used bookstore to the south.  Let's take them there and unload them.  Even if I don't get any money maybe they can recycle them and I'll be given the right to feel morally responsible.  I get the feeling so rarely it seemed like a good idea.

The Wife: Let's call them first, wouldn't that be smarter than hauling all those books out there?

Well, maybe, but as I look at the pile of books that can only be described as an "Assload," I'm not relishing the idea of reading all the ISBN numbers over the phone to the clerk who keeps telling me, "Why don't you just go ahead and bring them in so we can review them?  [Jesus!  I'm five minutes overdue for my smoke break!]

Woohoo, I won an argument!

Fast forward and I've now got an assload of books on the counter of the used bookstore.  They take a stack of about six or so and offer me $7.  The assload-6 pile next to it they offer to recycle for me, free of charge.  Were I more entrepreneurial I might have argued a bit with this, but I was just happy to get rid of them in anything resembling a responsible manor.  I took the $7 and blew it on beer at the bar with the cute waitress with the tattoo.  I love tattoos, especially her's.  I'd love the opportunity to study that up close....

What, where was I?  Selling books, right.  So I notice that my rather-expensive-at-the-time Java books are in separate piles.  Volume II in the we're-buying-it stack and Volume I in the recycle stack. 

They're a set.  Hello?  Trying to be helpful I point this out to the lady behind the counter. 

Lady behind the counter: Well we had our computer guy go over them.

Me: I'm sure you did, but they're a set.  Somebody wanting to learn Java won't necessarily want to start with Volume II.

Of course, somebody wanting to learn Java should buy newer books anyway.

Lady behind the counter: Well, it wouldn't have made any difference in the price.

I see now, she thought I was angling for an extra dollar or two.  Heh.  I politely explain that I was just trying to make sure they knew they were throwing the other half of the set away, but it's up to them since I don't need them anymore.  I wonder what they did...

Hmmmm..... Tattoo's.......

Oops, Oh yeah... right...... never mind.

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