Ripping off the locals

One expects that as a tourist you are going to be ripped off. But locals getting ripped off? That seems to be a Costa Rican specialty.

Most national parks and attractions are priced in dollars with an equivalent price in colones.  As one would expect the conversion rate is quite bad. But think about it.

The folks paying in dollars get a good deal but the locals get ripped off!

Why a cheapskate might buy a book

Some one who knows how cheap I am (about buying books at least) was curious about my previous blog post. "The Norman library doesn't have that 24-hour bookstore book yet," she remarked, "how did you read it?".

Some context here: I typically reserve books/e-books at the public library as I hear about them, and then read the book whenever my turn comes . If the library doesn't carry the book, I suggest the book and then they automatically add me to the waiting list.  It may be six months between when I hear about a book and when I actually read it.  It's usually not a problem -- books usually keep and if I didn't have this attitude towards read-once-and-throw-away books, I'd be spending thousands of dollars every year on them. I had to purchase the book in question though obecause a book club I'm part of was reading it for December. No way to wait six months if we're going to be discussing the book in a few weeks ...

This conversation about the blog post about books brought to mind an earlier conversation with someone else who remarked that I'd posted about 1Q84 just as she was reading it, and that she thought that was pretty cool.  That was a book that I'd prefaced saying that I didn't really expect anyone else to take up my suggestion, so I suppose I am underestimating how many of my "real-life" friends do read and do take book suggestions from my blog.

If you live in Norman, and you know me, and you'd like to join the book club let me know. We're going to be reading Ted Dekker's Adam for January.  We try explicitly to cover as wide an array of books as we can (previous selections: The Round House and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore), and it has been a long time since I've read one of these mass-market thrillers. Should be fun!

UPDATE: This is truly creepy.  Amazon recommends, just for me:
What's creepy about this? That book happens to be one of the suggestions floated around for the month after next ...

A novel for nerds

If you love books, technology, distributed computing, maps, visualization, typography, (i.e. if you are anything like me), there's a new book that you ought to read. And even if you don't care for any of these things, if you like well-spun yarns of young love, I think you would love Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Unfortunately, though, this is a book-of-the-moment. The book has so many references to current technology (Google, Twitter, etc.) that it may seem very dated a couple of years from now. Still, it would make a nice 2012 Christmas gift.