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Damn Independent Bookstores

January 18, 2002 - 5:18 a.m.

I'm Currently Avoiding:

This is my 17th entry in 18 days. Apparently I skipped January 6th. I don't know, this might be the best I've ever done at writing here with any semi-regularity. It's kind of frightening actually. It means I don't look upon this as something to be done only when bored anymore. I must see this as something worth doing or something I feel it is essential to do or something. I don't really know where I was going with that, but I bet it has something to do with something.

I didn't really have that much time to talk about why independently-owned bookstores irritate me, so I think I need to expound on that. Besides, if I'm not finished being annoyed by them, you shouldn't be finished reading about them yet. I reserve all rights to bitch and complain about anything for any length of time for an number of continuous or even non-continuous entries because it's my diary and if I want to whine then I'll bloody well whine. And Damn mail.com for being uncooperative...yet again. Independent bookstores (at least around here), and a pain in the ass. And you know why they're a pain in the ass? Because their return policies bite beyond compare. And their prices suck too. See this book? Anyway...see the listed price? That's right...my professor managed to require almost every book in hardcover. And the one that wasn't in hardcover was in softcover, was taller than some of the hardcovers, and cost almost as much if not more than the hardcoveres. Anyway, so back to that book. The listed price there is $24.95 for a frigging book. It isn't the most I've ever paid for a book, but still, the principle of the thing requires me to pay the least amount of money I can. Barnes & Noble (had I waited for them to get a copy and I would have had it in time), had the book for $16.95. Now, which book would you rather have had? Considering that it was the exact same book, they were both even in hardcover. You would've rather had the cheaper one, wouldn't you? Admit it. I would've rather saved my $8 too. Forgetting the fact that I would've saved $8, I *still* would've rather had the one from Barnes & Noble (or is it a Barnes & Noble clone?). And do you know why that is? Because at least if I'd originally bought it from B&N (soul-sucking corporation that it is), I would have been able to Return The Bloody Thing had I so chosen if I had found it a week later $8 cheaper someplace else or if I dropped the class (which isn't bloody likely seeing as how I had to buy a bulkpack for it, and bulkpacks, being the waste of money and entirely unreturnable under any circumstance that they are, means that you'll be keeping the class once you buy one unless you want to waste a heck of a lot of money). And while it's true that the independently-owned bookstore will allow you to return the book if you drop the class and provide extensive proof that you have, in fact, actually dropped the class (more proof than is really possible to attain actually...seeing as how at this moment you don't need a drop form to drop the class and getting a drop form for the teacher to sign in order to drop the class when one isn't necessary to actually drop the class means that the teacher is going to think you're an idiot and refuse to sign the form and will actually tell you to just go drop it using the prescribed method of online add/dropping), they won't allow you to take the book back if you hate it or if it turns out that the teacher has dropped it from the syllabus due to time constraints or it was never on the syllabus in the first place, the bookstore just *thought* it was. The last case actually happened this year. There are 7 books on the syllabus for one of my classes. The bookstore had 8. The 8th book, Revisioning Gender, was not on the syllabus and she hadn't mentioned it being added to the syllabus in class. If I had bought the 8th book, I would've been paying an additional $28 or so. The people at the bookstore tried to insist that I *needed* the 8th book and that the 8th book was on the syllabus, she just hadn't gotten around to putting it on there or something. Wary of their return policy (which doesn't exist there, actually. This bookstore doesn't even let you return books if you drop the damn class), I politely refused the 8th book, saying I'd talk to my professor and come back and buy the stupid thing if it turned out that we actually needed it. So, the next time we had class, I asked her after class about that 8th book. She said that she'd made a mistake in the subject line of an e-mail and that she'd only meant to order the book for herself, not the entire class and that we didn't need it. Had I actually bought that book, I would've been $28 poorer, because there would've been no way to return it and no one who needed it, including me. Finally, I would much rather have bought this, or any book, from the campus B&N because then I don't have to directly pay for the stupid books. Instead, the cost for the books goes to my tuition bill and is added there where I have a tiny, tiny chance that the books will be paid for by someone who isn't me, either because of grants, loans, etc. or because someone related to me paid the bill. I wonder if this is the longest paragraph I've ever written? Well, I'm certainly not going to measure it or anything to find out, so I guess that idle remark will have to remain unanswered.

Constellating the Stars

constellate (v. KAHN-stuh-layt)

transitive senses 1 : to unite in a cluster

2 : to set or adorn with or as if with constellations

intransitive sense : cluster

It's plain that constellate is related to constellation, and indeed, things that constellate (or are constellated) cluster together like stars in a constellation. Both words derive ultimately from the Latin word for star, which is stella. Constellation (which came to us by way of Middle French from Late Latin constellation-, constellatio) entered the language first -- it dates to at least the 14th century. Constellate appeared on the scene a few centuries later, in the mid-17th century.

You know how a few days ago I said my food priorities were rather skewed? Well, I had cereal tonight for supper. This would only be important if you remember the other entry where I said I didn't buy cereal because I thought it was too expensive (but I was willing to buy something that cost even more than the cereal because it was more appealing). So the main reason why I didn't buy cereal was because the only thing that looked halfway appealing was Lucky Charms, which was on sale, but they didn't have any last time I was there. So this time, they had some and I was happy, but apparently they weren't on sale any more (damn people), so I paid $4.29 for a 14 oz box of cereal...what the hell is wrong with these people?!?! Why is cereal so damn expensive? It's not exactly a luxery item, it usually consists of some marshmallow thingys of some shape and some sort of flour-based product, so why is this stuff so frigging pricy? I'm not buying cereal again for a long time. Well...maybe if it's on sale. But it'll have to be $2 cereal before I'll pay for it. And now that it's almost 6:30 am I think I'll have a piece of cheesecake. Just because a complete reversal of expected food groups at expected times seems appropriate. That and I don't really have anything to snack on at the moment, even though I was just at the grocery store last night.

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