neadods: (littlefreelibrary)
I was topping off the LFL and making sure that all the books are up on the trivets (they're calling for rain and the LFL has always leaked) and tsking at how the registration sign is flaking when a guy stopped his car right by me.

"Excuse me, are you the person who puts the books in [the Little Free Library] there"?

"Yeeeessss" (Dubiously; I wasn't sure where this was going.)

"Thank you SO MUCH! I've gotten so many great cookbooks and a Sherlock Holmes novel and so many books! I love it! Thank you! Thank you!"
neadods: (littlefreelibrary)
The rain has never been kind to my LFL and the wind hasn't done it much good either; a few weeks ago I found the door nearly wrenched off and the wood by the hinges split. I don't think it was vandalism - winds have been fierce - but I do think that come spring I should seriously consider building a new LFL and bringing this one inside as a novelty piece.

A LFL that I can CHECK FOR LEAKS FIRST, damnit!

In other LFL news, it's proving really fascinating to just leave the thing alone for two or three weeks and then check it. I have to pull out religious things that have been shoved in, but the thing is - it's always full, but rarely with the books that I'd put out. Donations have included Detox for Life, Persopolis, a mammoth George RR Martin compilation, Fabulosity, and a shrink-wrapped package of Rich Shapero's The Hope We Seek in hardback and a CD of what is apparently the music mentioned in the novel.
neadods: (disgusted)
The Little Free Library has been stripped again. Looks like they left the notebook, though. The sign will go back up.
neadods: (sherdoc)
The last time the library got stripped, I put up a sign about the Book Thing and left it there, taking up the entire top shelf.

It has not been stripped again. But I also didn't put all new material in; a book here, a book there. To make sure nobody's too tempted.

The last two times I checked it (last week and just now) not much had gone but it was STUFFED with new books - books on top of books, books crosswise in front of the others. (Alas, in one case that also meant a rain-damaged book. Sucker still leaks.)
This time it wasn't just stuffed with new books, it was SO stuffed that the stuffer had moved the sign to put books under it!

So I've taken the sign down and had my due "the worst in some brings out the best in others" heartwarming moment. Although my heart hasn't been warmed to the point that I threw the sign away, mind you, just brought it back inside!

(A post from the LFL organizers said that the stripping happens in a small fraction of cases. People are apparently taking them to sell as used books. The LFL organizers suggest adding a Little Free Library sticker to each book. Thing is, 95% of my stock comes from the Book Thing, which stamps its books NOT FOR SALE; if a bookstore ignores that, then it's going to ignore a LFL sticker as well.)

Oh, and someone wrote in the new notebook that they'd never heard of BookCrossing before - there's a local who seeds all the nearby Little Frees - and are thrilled by the concept and will join.
neadods: (sherdoc)
I refilled the LFL on Sunday afternoon. Not all the way full, because I thought that was the trigger for the last book grab, but apparently not, because I noticed coming home today that it was stripped down to all but the audiobooks. For all I know, it was stripped yesterday; I was at Watson's Tin Box and rushed home and to bed after.

The sheer selfishness just staggers me, it really does. Whoever is doing this is taking them before anyone else in the neighborhood has much of a chance to even look.

It's pouring buckets, so I'm not going to rush out and refill it - and I'm damned tempted to refill it with nothing but audiobooks! I could!

Ironically, yesterday there were three bags of books on my porch when I got home. I cannot figure this neighborhood out.

From now on, I'm going to be putting out about 15 books at a shot. That's a good week's "taking" and if someone has decided they get to take them ALL the moment they're available, well, at least I won't run out of books.

ETA: That's twice this month it's been stripped. Help me think of a sign to post in there. "To whoever is taking all the books at once..."

ETA 2: I just thought "Fuck you anyway" and took out a bunch of cookbooks and audiobooks. You know what? They even took my notebook. The one where people leave me messages.
neadods: (wtf)
I restocked the LFL yesterday. Today, it was stripped bare. That's the second time that it's been emptied totally. First time was weird. Now I'm pissed off. Yeah, I'm giving them away, but leave some for other people! I put out more stock - not refilling it all the way, and mostly with stuff that was picked over once. And I'm noting it here so that if it happens again, maybe I can establish a pattern.
neadods: (sherdoc)
After I had to mush through the snow to rescue books, I stripped down the Little Free Library until the rains stopped, and went out to refill it today.

Returned copies of The Last Places and 84 Charing Cross Road were waiting forlornly for me.
neadods: (littlefreelibrary)
I just went out to restock the Little Free Library and it was full.

With books I hadn't put in.

The WaPo article on Little Free Libraries started a small trend; I was also contacted for a local paper and the Swedish version of PBS (!!) wanted to come film. I told them they could but to please not film *me* so they popped by for a few minutes outside. This has also led to a discovery of the LFL by my own neighborhood. There was a long note from someone who'd seen the Post article, and a BookCrosser has started listing specifically what's coming and going, leading other people to do the same.

9-26-13: Swapped Agatha Christie for Robert B Parker (signed by bookcrosser)

(undated, different handwriting) Left Long Way Down, took Killer Angels

10-11-13 (third different handwriting) Took Long Way Down, replaced with Running the Tables. (I never saw that one, so someone got it before my weekly look-over.)

October 23 (on a page entirely covered with a childish drawing of a figure in a skirt pouring hearts) Borrowed the Girl and the Fig Cook Book. My Nan will love it!

The unknown benefactor has given me The Far Pavilions and lots of Erma Bombeck.

The week before/week of Thanksgiving I'm going to go all cookbooks. I've got tons of them, and on my last run to the Book Thing I picked up everything I could find with either Christmas cookies or a turkey on the cover. I'm also learning not to fill the LFL to the brim to make room for the contributions!
neadods: (sherlock)
It apparently came out Friday, unheralded; I was expecting today. It's free to read, but I had to look at an ad before the second page (the only place I'm quoted after a 45-minute interview!)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/the-little-free-library-arrives-in-the-dc-area/2013/09/20/6b3845fe-2158-11e3-a358-1144dee636dd_story.html
neadods: (sherlock)
I have a series of before and after pictures of the LFL that I'll use to list titles gone... someday...

In the meantime, the first two to go this week were Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine (a Southern cookbook) and Chicken Raising for Dummies.
neadods: (sherlock)
I went to restock the Little Free Library this morning and it was full to the brim of returned and new books! I've had more books returning this week than I have in the entire life of LFL 2778 so far. They're all that sort of "NYTimes Bestselling Literature" type - Tales of the City, Elegance of the Hedgehog, Bridges of Madison County, etc.

Presumably it was someone else who took Investing for Dummies. (For Dummies books are very popular, and on some really bizarre topics too. Weddings for Dummies didn't budge, but Tropical Fish for Dummies and Training for Dummies (not weight training, teaching training) both got snapped up.) Hunger Games and Catching Fire also went - I'm to the point where I just knee-jerk get extra copies of those if I can.

While downloading a couple of Trek books to my ipad, I noticed the 52 uncluttering and weight loss apps, both of which having been ignored for ages. On the other hand, in the last two weekends alone, I have: painted the bathroom, sanded and painted the bathroom vanity, gone through the vanity drawers and tried to reorganize them (the organizers did not fit; I'm using baggies until I can get lower dividers), retrofitted the area under the vanity to be another sheet-linoleum-lined litter area, scrubbed off the old glue-based bathroom window cling, put up decorative window cling (including cutting around the edges for a higher window to let more light in), paid all the bills, reorganized the cookbooks, replaced a few Trek books in ebook and set the rest aside to give to someone else, sanded and painted the top of my aunt's cedar hope chest and put it up in the living room to hold bedding for people who come to visit, rearranged the living room, took down the barrister shelves before the cats ruined them, cleaned and brought up new shelves, bought and set up more living room shelves (I can now answer the phone without standing up and craning, huzzah!), and bought and set up a console table to act as a "landing strip" as the old one was now covered in cookbooks.

Oh, and Cleaned All The Things. And delivered a 5000-word essay and started on a 2000-word essay. And started a nightly 7 items to declutter my bedroom.

Pretty damned proud of myself, actually. Especially that I only wondered what was available this week at the Book Thing less than a dozen times

Today I need to start putting together the raffle prize baskets for Scintillation of Scions next weekend. I'm also on what was supposed to be the last of the spring Kitchen Guild things, making jam over an open fire at Riversdale. But the summer heat has moved in early; yesterday was beastly and today's not much better - humid and close to body temperature. This is precisely the kind of weather I told them I couldn't cope with, and I fear I will have to come home early.

This also means I can't stand any more clinic shifts until the weather breaks again, so I'm feeling guilty for one or two of those Thing runs when I could have been in the parking lot.
neadods: (LFL)
So on Sunday I stripped out (and dried down) the Little Free Library. When I refilled it, it looked like this (* means "From Malice):

TOP SHELF: The Touchstone*, Playing for Pizza, The Poisonwood Bible, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Runaway Jury, The Time Traveller's Wife, The Bridges of Madison County, Death of an Englishman*, A Year in Provence, Soduku puzzle magazine, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

MIDDLE SHELF: Training for Dummies, Pilates for Dummies, Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Heads in Beds, The Beautiful Cigar Girl, Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil, Brothers in Battle, Issac's Storm, The Pillars of the Earth

Wife and Bridges were gone by evening. The soduku and cookbook were gone by the time I left for work Monday.

I hadn't checked it since, so when I went to get the recycle bins from the curb, I thought "Hey, let's make sure nobody's giving me horribly mildewed books."

They hadn't. However, the book line up now reads:

TOP SHELF: The Touchstone, Playing for Pizza, The Posionwood Bible, High Fidelity, Brothers in Battle (it's rare for books to be moved), The Runaway Jury, Death of an Englishman, A Year in Provence, Sunset Limited, Immoral, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

MIDDLE SHELF: Pilates for Dummies, Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Heads in Beds, The Beautiful Cigar Girl, Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil, The Volunteer, The Burning Wire, The Pillars of Earth.

The books on the bottom shelf haven't changed, but the single audiobook is not one of the two that I put out Sunday (My One Hundred Adventures and one of the Lee Child Reacher novels). I'm fairly certain Mennonite came from the LFL; I'm pretty sure Immoral and Susnset Limited did not. (To be honest, I can't remember about High Fidelity either way).

All of the books that have gone are ones that recently came from the Book Thing. I'm wrestling hard with the impulse to go up there *yet again* this weekend. I really, really, shouldn't; my stock is bursting at the seams. But the hunting has been so good the last couple of go arounds, for both the LFL and me. I'm like a rat pressing a bar for pellets (or pressing a gas pedal for books).
neadods: (sherlock)
I need to not go to the Book Thing for a while, because I have just a ridiculous amount of books piled up to go out, thanks to several donations. (This is a hard resolution to make, as with any intermittent reward system, you can't help but wonder what will turn up this time if you go. There were more of the 1930 Sayers hardbacks! All I need now is Strong Poison and I'll have the full set of my favorites -- and dagnabbit, I can't find the right edition on Half.com or Ebay.)

Anyway, considering the day the contents are very woman and child specific. The Time Traveller's Wife and Bridges of Madison County didn't even stick around for sunset; they were gone when I got back from Riversdale. (Kitchen Guild: Mother's Day Tea. We made croquettes, roasted lamb, made mint and strawberry sauces. This is also the second time I went there feeling less than perky and made myself even less perky by breathing wood smoke for 4 hours. I sound like Katharine Hepburn right now.)

Er...

May. 7th, 2013 06:13 pm
neadods: (sherlock)
The guy who likes cookbooks in the Little Free Library just came and knocked on my door for one. Or a crossword book.

I think I'm meant to be flattered, but I'm really, really creeped out. I told him that I only got a handful at the Book Thing at a time (lie) and so dribbled them out at the rate of 1 a week (true) so to check the LFL Mondays or Tuesdays when I swap out.

This may mean that he's not the guy who got the spare Food Network magazine or the cookbook that I put out Thursday.
neadods: (sherlock)
I stopped logging the books that came in and out of the LFL because frankly, it was a LOT of work to type up all the titles and then check to see if they were there, and adjust when they came back and argh! Too! Much! Work!

I finally had the sense this week to take photos of each of the shelves as I filled them. It's been overstuffed for the last few days - a bookcrosser has been by, and my notebook has a note from "Joe from Utah." There's a parade this weekend down my street, so I wanted it all stuffed and ready.

Unfortunately, I also seem to be turning into the dumping ground for someone who has horrifically damaged books. Books so mildewed and waterlogged that I've been taking them straight out to the trash, not even to the Book Thing. Although it's been raining and LFL 2778 is notoriously *not* watertight, I've found no water on the shelves and books right next to these are pristine. I'd think that if the mildew was my fault, the notebook - which never comes in and has been soaked through a couple of times - would be a cesspit, and it isn't. A little wrinkly, but spotless.

Wow, and I thought it was offensive when someone put the Book of Mormon in there!

I don't know if Malice will have a swap table this year - controversially it didn't last year - but if it does, I'll be scoping it out for LFL stock. I also have books to trade - and despite the snotty self-appointed Swap Table Monitor, they're nice books.

They ought to be. They came from earlier Malices.
neadods: (sherlock)
I am amused that someone put the Guide To Home Bartending in the Little Free Library. No idea if the same person also brought Mexican Cooking for Dummies, which I'm not expecting to last past the next dog-walking schedule.
neadods: (sherlock)
I think that some of the conclusions that I reached in the early days of the LFL are no longer valid - for one thing, cookbooks (which I thought were duds) have been requested twice by a neighbor who walks his dog by Holly House. I should be able to feed him roughly one a week, Book Thing providing.

I had also come to the conclusion that how-to books weren't of particular interest. But while I didn't write down the names of all the books I'd put out after the rain, I do know that two that I picked up & put out on a whim are gone: Fresh Water Aquariums for Dummies and Tropical Fish Aquariums for Dummies.

I'm kind of surprised by that. Knitting, quilting, gardening and scrapbooking books haven't been touched. Is it the For Dummies imprint? Or are aquariums more "guy" things? (The dogwalker is male, and has outright scorned the "girly stuff like murder books" (!) Cooking, apparently is not girly.)

As for the day, it's been a pleasant one of reading, napping, and... that's about it, actually. Pride and Prejudice is a lot longer than I remembered. I've still got two chapters to go!
neadods: (sherlock)
And accomplished I have been! Last night I returned to the scion society The Red Circle of DC for the first time in what is likely 20 (25?) years. Jeremy Brett was Holmes at the time.

Today I:
Cleaned up after the big bowl broken by the kittens. Since I had to sweep and mop the hall anyway, I might as well go on to steam mop it... and sweep & steam mop the kitchen... and scrub the kitchen counters... and scrub the bathroom counter & toilet... and sweep and steam clean in there, and once all *that* was done, there was no point in not wet-swiffering the living room and calling it a day.

Only I couldn't call it a day, because that was all before I stood a clinic shift. )

We also had an ex-military guy approach us and ask about escort training. Fearless Escort Leader is also ex-mil, so they had a grand old time swapping stories.

I topped off my gas tank on the way back, and was approached by Bobby The Pop-Up Body Guy. That sounds a little rude, but what he was actually doing was approaching people in the gas station to see if his team could take our cars around back and knock out the dings. Now, I've been mellow enough about the duct tape holding on the bumper to leave it on since September 2011 but it bothers my father SO MUCH that my main Christmas present this year was his offer to pay for all the body work *and* the rental car... which is time that I don't want to deal with. So I thought whatthehell, and let them work on it.

I got back with just barely enough time to take a desperately needed shower before rushing off to the Jane Austen Cafe at Riversdale mansion. I'll give a fuller description if people want, but basically we were discussing Pride and Prejudice and changes in women's lives (via the changes in what is considered "an accomplished woman" from then to now). I met a woman who writes Regency romances and another who is a mover and shaker of the Jane Austen Society of North America, which I have flirted with joining before and most likely will do now.

Then it was back to Bobby the Pop-Up Body Guy to clear my throat loudly and point out that while all traces of duct tape and dent have been removed, the bumper cover was still pulling loose. So I watched while the lower corner of it was screwed in... I don't quite understand how that worked but it's holding on now, so who cares?

I have three loads of laundry to do and then I shall feel I will have completely earned an agenda for tomorrow that reads, in its entirety:
1) Wear flannel PJs all day
2) Finish reading Pride and Prejudice
3) Read magazines.

For the Little Free Library fans, I wish I'd written down the books I'd put out after Snowmageddon, because a good third of them have vanished - quite likely via the local dogwalker who has requested cookbooks and the Verizon people who, although they couldn't sell me FIOS, did ask if they could take books. It turns out, though, that the door has warped, allowing the wind to whip it open - which means that during a windy rain, the books inside are in trouble. I need to come up with a catch that will hold up to wind and yet not confound the people who want books.
neadods: (Default)
It's been an extremely educational couple of weeks. I've learned:

1) That willing people the benefits of your life insurance or 401(k)/other retirement plan is the *least* effective way of giving them money because both death and inheritance taxes come out, BUT that making a charity the beneficiary is the most effective way of donating at death because they don't have to pay either set of taxes and thus get the full payout.

(I spent the weekend with my parents, talking to their estate and money people.)

2) The money people highly recommend Bull by the Horns by Sheila Blair as the best, least "the other political party ruined all our lives" guide to what happened to the U.S. economy.

3) Lunch Blox Bento is both the easiest lunch plan and the easiest diet I've ever been on in my *life.* With up to 2 cups of veg in a meal, by the time I'm getting around to the sweet I'm all "blargh, more food, ugh" and have no urge to overindulge. Often I'm not interested in my snack (a piece of fruit.) Now I'm not regulating my dinners, but with my breakfasts and lunches structured, that's a huge improvement already. I'm not losing noticable weight yet, but I think my stomach is shrinking; I get a full plate at a restaurant and simply can't eat it all.

4) Having a few things in the house makes filling Lunch Blox Bento a snap, even when my original plans fall through. No time to cook? Nuke a couple boxes of steam-in-bag veggies & portion out a can of soup & some crackers into their respective containers. Can't find the fresh fruit I want? A sidecar of unsweetened applesauce will do nicely.

5) I don't mind similar lunches as long as they aren't identical lunches all week long. Some weeks I've only changed the protein part of the proceedings - Lunch Version A on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Lunch Version B on Tuesday & Thursday - and been happy without being bored.

6) It's possible to use a smartphone as your sole internet connection for the weekend, but it's annoying. Come on, iPad mini!

7) The microphone feature with speech-to-text on the iPhone is sweet, sweet, sweet!


Slow week at the little free library. I was given several books, mostly political ones, like one about the Granada invasion and another on the Bay of Pigs.

Returned: Da Vinci Code, Angela' Ashes, All Over but the Shouting, Brownies and Broomsticks*, Dark Tower*
*(taken and returned same week)

Taken: The Appeal (Grisham), Bone Bed, The Bourne Identity, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Dark Shadows: House of Despair (Big Finish audio), Divergent, The Murder of King Tut, Nature Girl, Torchwood: The House that Jack Built, Queen Camilla, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures (I took that one), Royal Pain, Severe Clear, Washingtonienne.

As always, the audio sat and sat and sat, then suddenly everything was gone in a day regardless of genre.

I've been offline since yesterday - I need to get my lunches settled out and then I can come catch up with LJ et al.
neadods: (Default)
I've been fighting off a cold, and right now the cold is winning hands down because I was out 3 hours past my bedtime in the cold last night. But it was worth it, because I was with the SherlockDC group taking part in the Washington Ghost Tour.

There are all kinds of walking tours, naturally, and plenty of ghost tours of different parts of the city. This one was focused in the heart of downtown; SherlockDC picked it because the guide dresses in Victorian clothing, and without anything specifically Sherlockian around here, that was as close to canon as we could get.

The walking part of the proceedings is very slight - we essentially circled Lafayette Park and then crossed the street to end in front of the White House. (Actually, we polygonned the park, as our tour had to dodge all the other tours. "It's like Grand Central around here near Halloween," the guide explained.) But that area is FULL to the brim of tragic stories, murders, and death, and the guide milked every story at every stop, from Dolly Madison still happily waving from her perch on her porch through Decatur showing up in his window even though the window was closed, bricked, and covered with shutters.

Our guide was a historian who teaches 4th grade ("I do this to buy pencils and stuff for class") but it meant that he 1) really knew the settings, 2) had a booming voice when he wanted to be heard, and 3) could wrangle 30 people without batting an eyelash.

There were stops to take photos; he tread a fine line between saying "if you believe in that sort of thing" and "last week we got a good shot of a human figure right here..." Lacey of SherlockDC got an unexplained something showing up in one of her photos; there were also lots of orb photos (which I'm inclined to consider something to do with all the headlights around us.) One guy had an ipad with him and was filming the whole thing in infrared - who knew there was an app for that?

I learned a lot. I hadn't known that there were so many burials at Lafayette, much less that some of the bodies were still there. I knew about the President's church, but not of the death knell it rings for ex-Presidents, nor of the 6 ghostly figures who come to pay their respects. ("You won't find anything about that on the church website, of course. They were last seen in the 1920s, but when Reagan died, there were about 150 people on the portcullis with cameras, infrared cameras, EMP meters, etc. Didn't get anything.")

We wound up in front of the White House because that is, of course, *THE* most haunted house in DC. The guide told us of the 4 Presidents, 2 First Ladies, and 2 children who died there, and a little bit about how they died. (Although he said Todd Lincoln died of typhoid, then described cholera. In graphic detail.) He talked about the hauntings in the various rooms. ("Women don't go to the Andrew Jackson room because they get their bottoms pinched. Especially when Bill Clinton's in there.") He talked about the many, many sightings of Lincoln by famous individuals ("Churchill was in the bath. I want you to think hard about a wet, naked, Winston Churchill. Never gonna get that image out of your brain, are you?") The last story he told was of "the most famous person to see Lincoln's ghost" - Lincoln himself. The tour ends with him reading the verbatim account of the dream Lincoln had of a dead man in the East Room and being told "the President's dead."

It was a fun tour, and I recommend it. Afterwards, parts of the SherlockDC gang went out for drinks and elevens-at-nightses; Old Ebbitt Grill was packed to the gills, so we struck out north, ending up at Georgia Brown's for dessert and beer.


As for the Little Free Library, it was a weird week. Only 7 things went out all week -- a very poor tally -- but the ones that went were things I wasn't sure would go, and a LOT showed up.

Left: Bollywood Cookbook, Catching Fire (actually waiting for [livejournal.com profile] shawan_7 to pick up), The Forgotten Garden (I'm going to learn to read stuff I'm interested in before it goes), Podcasting Hacks, Practical Magic, and the Sherlock Holmes radio collection on 6 cassette tapes.

Left and returned: Grisham's The Firm.

Returned: Under the Banner of Heaven, Da Vinci Code (audio)

Appeared: 6 children's books, 2 books in Spanish, Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban, Eagle's Cry, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures (which I snapped right up myself), and an academic conference study with a title like "Evolution of Western Thought Regarding Islam and Arabs."

I also discovered, as I noted before, that there are two little free libraries near my local yarn store. So there's going to be some cross pollination going on next Knit Night.

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