Funding The Bucket


Things fell a bit silent here, my apologies. Caring for my cat left me somewhat exhausted.

This past weekend I rallied some, just in time for my parents coming into town. One of the sights we visited while I played tour guide was Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden – where, conveniently, they were in the midst of their annual Chile Pepper Festival. (I figured it would safely appeal to them both — Mom would ooh and ah over the gardens themselves, while Dad would get into the various food and tasting booths they had set up to celebrate the chili pepper.)

One of the events they had was the annual return of one of Matt Timm’s cooking “takedowns”. I told him how I’d missed out on the signup for the next bacon event – but he tipped me off to a couple of upcoming events that aren’t on the web site yet.

And one of them is a cookie takedown.

Well.

The last takedown I competed in, the bacon one, I think I suffered by not putting enough thought into what I was doing. But with a two-month lead time…I think I could at the very least give things a good run for their money.

I’ve gotten a couple ideas already, so I may be spoiling friends thoroughly over the next couple months asking them to play guinea pig for various cookie ideas.

…Oh, and did I mention that one of the things my parents brought for me from home was a couple big bags of just-picked cranberries, and that both the ideas I have for cookies incorporate cranberries as ingredients?

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So part of reading all 1001 Books involves obtaining those 1001 books. Which you can do one of three ways:

1. Be independantly wealthy enough to buy all 1001 of them, including the rare limited-edition versions of the things that are out of print, and to also have an enormous endless library with polished oak and mahogany shelves and maybe a couple velvet window seats or an enormous cushy armchair and one of those way fun wheelie ladders and a fireplace and Vivaldi softly playing in the background and you can go there whenever you want and the more I write about this the more it makes me want to gnash my teeth that I can’t have it so I’m going to stop now.

2. Stalk your library for them, thus putting yourself up against the several hundred high school students who also have to read some of the books in question, and making repeated visits to see if the person who has had out the sole copy of Cryptonomicon since last Thanksgiving has happened to possibly bring it back, and pestering the librarians to use Interlibrary loan to get the one copy of Tale Of A Tub that they even know is in the state from that one library in Buffalo, and then later on pay hefty library fines because there’s no way in hell you could possibly read Proust in only three weeks to you’ve had to keep renewing it periodically and then you forgot and now you owe the library twenty bucks.

or:

3. Paperback Swap.

I love Paperback Swap. A former roommate introduced me, when he moved in after the previous roommate had moved out — she was moving away to Australia, and was forced to leave some of her things behind for me to “keep what you want and sell what you don’t.” However — among the things she left behind were fifteen boxes of books, and stoop sales can only do so much.

Enter Paperback Swap. You post a list of books you want to get rid of, and if someone claims one, you mail it to them (you pay for postage, but it’s only a couple bucks) and then you get a point. And then — you can use that point to claim a book off someone else’s list, and they send it to you. I eagerly listed all fifteen boxes of books, and fairly quickly got it down to a much more manageable three shelves. Which means, I also had that many points to trade in for books.

Free books. Oooh.

After first indulging in a couple rare children’s book finds (“sweet, I haven’t read The Tyger Voyage since I was nine!”), I started patrolling it for books off the 1001 list, ordering them as I saw them, and now have a small stack of “to be read” on a side table in the living room.

It’s a nearly perfect system — I still have enough points to stock up when the stack starts running low, and as I read something, I have the option of just keeping it — like I’m probably going to do with the lovely Jacob’s Room — or re-listing it on Paperback Swap and sending it off to someone else (like I’m doing with Tale of Genji, now that I’ve finally finished).