“Wild Books, Homeless Books”

“Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”
― Virginia Woolf

Display at main Half-Price Books, Dallas, Texas

Everybody has their addictions; I think an important part of life is to constantly take a brave look at what you are addicted to and try and choose better ones.

I used to be addicted to buying used books. My dealer of choice was Half Price Books here in Dallas. When I first moved to the area in the early 80’s, I lived on Lower Greenville and their main store was on Mockingbird, next to Campisi’s Egyptian. It was a short walk to the old-school used book store – with its labyrinthine passages. I bought too many books.

Then they moved to Northwest Highway and an old Captain’s Cargo store. It retained the odd sailing-ship style staircases and had an strange open plan. I moved too to a spot that was too close. I kept buying too many books.

One day I drove there and found the store closed. Confused and disappointed, I turned and saw that they had opened up into a gigantic warehouse-style space across the street. This was very bad. I went in and found a book of quotations I had been looking for for years. My addiction blossomed into full-fledged hopelessness. It’s funny, I only bought used books – never new. There was something about the feeling that other, unknown hands had moved over these pages before. Something about the faint smell of mold. I preferred books that had a few notes in the margin, a handful of bent corners, evidence of someone having been here before me.

Nobody ever held an Intervention for me, but when we moved to Richardson the moving company charged us a hefty upfee because of all the books. What finally broke me was the arrival of the Kindle – now I can carry a library in my pocket. I have more books in my Kindle than I can read over the rest of my pitiful life.

Jeff Koterba color carton for 7/21/09
“Mars”

Now, I have two large and one small bookshelf. This is my limit. To buy a new book, something has to go.

Is my addiction gone?… of course not. It may be under control. I do check way too many books out of the library… but that is really an addiction that I can live with.

Today, I went to Half-Price to look for a particular book that was too expensive in its ebook form. I found it in the Clearance Section for two dollars. You can be a very well-read person and never leave the Half-Price Books Clearance Rack. I suspect that the employees sometimes put really good books into Clearance as a favor to society.

At any rate, my classic book by a famous author that has helped keep society from completely (so far) running off the rails was two dollars. I also bought a blank book (my bullet journal is almost full) and it was ten.

So, I guess that putting wonderful, skillful, important words on paper reduces the value of a book by eighty percent.

Display at main Half-Price Books, Dallas, Texas

Dallas Snuggie Pub Crawl

A while back (Saturday February 4th to be exact) I was waiting to get on the McKinney Avenue Trolley down by the Dallas Museum of Art. Glancing over at the folks waiting in line to board, I noticed that some of them were wearing odd items of clothing – at a glance, at a distance, at first… they seemed to be some sort of colorful flowing robe. My first idea was that they had come from the Crow Museum of Asian Art (which was having some festivities that day) and were wearing some cheap imitation Asian costume of some kind.

Riding down McKinney Avenue in the Trolley, I started to notice other folks wearing these robes. Now, though I could see them a bit better and realized what they were. These people were wearing Snuggies.

A whole group of Women of a Certain Age clambered aboard wearing matching tiger-striped Snuggies, cateye sunglasses, and silver tiaras (sorry, I was so gobsmacked by the whole entourage I forgot to bring out my camera). I asked them what was up and they said it was the third annual Dallas Snuggie Pub Crawl.

All along the route I saw folks all snuggified – though a lot were cheating – they were simply wearing their bathrobes backward. I know this is alright… the rules say:

This is a Snuggie Pub Crawl even so a Snuggie of some kind is REQUIRED but you can also wear:

  • Slankets
  • Designer Snuggies
  • Snuggie knock-off brands
  • Adult Onesie or Forever Lazy
  • Robes

I’m sorry, but I think these rules are too lax… I don’t think robes or Forever Lazy should count. I go out in those all the time.

We chugged along through Uptown and began to pass the bars where the pub crawlers were congregating. It looked like a blast. It was tough to get decent photographs – the trolley was packed and moving fast and I had to shoot through bits of glass.

So, I assume there will be a fourth annual Dallas Snuggie Pub Crawl in or around February next year. I’ve made a note in my planner – it’s the only thing I have marked for 2013 so far.

I’ll have to buy a Snuggie, though. I am not going to go out there in a backwards robe.

The Snuggie People boarding the trolley

OK, this is Texas, so I guess the burnt orange Snuggies are all right, but what is that big green case he is lugging and why does she have such an armload of notes for a pub crawl?

When you and your insignificant other meet another couple in Uptown for drinks... is it more embarrassing to forget your Snuggies... or to remember them?

The bars were hoppin'. Are those Mandelbrot set Snuggies?

D Magazine Photographs from this year’s Snuggie Pub Crawl

Snuggie Pub Crawl in Uptown

Pegasus News, First Pub Crawl Photos

2010 Pub Crawl Photos

2011 Pub Crawl Photos

Skull & Crossbones Snuggie

Ode to My Snuggie

I Sing the Body Snuggified