November 17th, 2005


Those sneaky publishers ...

I am scandalized, I tell you! SCANDALIZED! Doesn't everybody know that an ISBN number is supposed to be for a particular edition of a book? Change the book, and you should update the ISBN number! Well, tonight I started in on some of my bookshelves, entering the data into my LibraryThing "catalog" and I was regularly finding that the ISBN's that I was entering were bringing up completely different covers and publication dates! I am mortified by this ... if I'm plugging in the ISBN for the first paperback edition of something, I want the data to match that, not some subsequent re-issue 5-10 years down the pike!

Grumble, grumble, grumble ... obsess, obsess, obsess!

All that aside, I'm up to an even 100 books entered over there, having added two shelves worth of stuff that I read in the late 90's and early '00s to the stuff that I'd had in boxes that I'd read over the past few years. I'm amazed that I'd never thought of putting the actual dates I'd read stuff in them before the end of '03 ... it certainly makes things easier "backtracking" through my reading.

Actually, I have 95% or so of the books in chronological order on the book shelves, and it took me a bit to figure out how to maintain that in the LibraryThing listing. I am no doubt "abusing" the "tag" thing there (their examples are for fiction/non-fiction, subject, genre, etc.), as each book has a unique tag, either "finished yyyy-mm-dd" for the later books for which I have the specific date info, or "filed c#-s#-b##" for the earlier stuff, going by bookCase, Shelf, and Book. Oh, yeah, you only wish you were this obsessive-compulsive!

I did find the binder with my previous attempt at cataloging my library ... which amazed me in having gone well into 1991 (probably right up to when I moved out of my old apartment and into this one with The Wife ... an event which "scrambled" a lot of my long-time "systems"), so I'll at least have a decent "ballpark" for the chronology. It really is sort of fun going back through all these books and remembering (in many cases) where and when I read them. One of the problems with my old "shelf" system is that if a book goes away from its neighbors for any length of time, it loses its place. I had two books that I'd leant out for over a year that I was trying hard to figure where they should go ... and I probably didn't guess exactly right (but, hey, I did get them back into the library!).

One of the challenges of this project is that my office is a hellacious mass of stuff and my bookcases all have about 2 feet worth of things piled in front of them, going up about chest high. I started tonight on "Bookcase #9", which only had "Shelves 1 & 2" filled up (well, that's not exactly true, the rest of #9 and all of #10 are solidly packed with as-yet-unread books), so it was only a matter of clearing a reachable approach (and moving all the other accumulated stuff off the shelves that was on top of and in front of the books). Starting with "Bookcase #8" I'll have to do some serious archaeological work to be able to get to "Shelves 3 & 4", which are currently below the easily-cleared level of the stuff stacked up in front of them. Fortunately, I moved my record collection onto the bottom shelves when I moved everything up here, so I don't have to dig out all the way to the floor (at least until I get the urge to get set up to convert 1000+ LPs to CDs!).

Now, of course, this "excavation" could have a good side to it ... much of this stuff was miscellania from my old apartment that got "exiled" (by The Wife) into my office back in 1991, which then got multiple layers of files, etc. from Eschaton over the years that I was doing that. Digging through this stuff in an attempt to get to the books will at least let me re-familiarize myself with what's in there. I did actually throw out some stuff tonight (which is a HUGE step for me ... it may not sound that way to you, but I am the Uber PackRat, and I tend to freak out over loss of any possible "historical" ephemera from my existence), and maybe I can do more of that as I get into the other book shelves.

One thing I did run into were some fun old pictures of me ... shots of me in India and Nepal, shots of me on the Inca Trail in Peru, shots of me hiking the Grand Canyon, shots of me and The Wife in Morocco, and shots from various business trips, etc. I can't wait to show The Girls them in the morning!

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More on SONY ...

Hat-tip to windswept for the link ... this is pretty simple, just a list of what CDs the "rootkit" trojan came with!

Naughty, SONY ... nobody likes you anymore! Just about the only thing you could do at this point to really redeem yourself is to cut the price of CDs across the board ... you know, like down to "around $10" like they were supposed to be "once the plants got built" just a few years after CDs were introduced way back when!

P.S.: It will be very interesting to see what SONY does with all the CDs involved in the recall ... will they destroy them, or will they simply "dump" them onto the aftermarket? This list will be helpful to keep on hand if shopping with folks like eBay's JayAndMarie to make sure you're not getting a nasty surprise along with your music!

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Wow ...

OK, so I'm impressed now! I'm sure my blithering on about has gotten to the point where it's as irritating as my eBay/Pokemon screeds (and I'm thinking of making this icon my "here comes another book blither" warning flag, like how my "comicbook hero" icon flags my eBay/Pokemon rants), but I've been messing with it a lot of late.

What is "wowing" me is that it managed to pull up the files for dozens of quite obscure "books" from both the Institute for Cultural Research and Designist Communications! These are two groups affiliated with the late Idries Shah's "Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge", ICR focusing on papers in general cultural topics, and Designist featuring research pieces in Sufi studies. The early ICR monographs (from the 70's) were legal-sized sheets, printed on one side (and as often as not just typed instead of typeset!), and "bound" with black tape, some as few as 6-8 pages long. I was sure that I was going to have to manually enter all the info on these, but to my amazement, each and every one eventually came up in the search thing! I worried too that the Designist "chapbook" format was likely to make it hard to find, but again, all came up in the search. Now, I don't know if this is purely due to "fancy searching" by LibraryThing, or if I should be really impressed with ISHK/Octagon in pushing these obscure titles into the Internet data stream. Frankly, I'm amazed that they've kept these in print ... the early ICR Monographs appear to have been printed versions of talks in the early 70's ... the first nine were from 1971, and they seem to have come out one or two a year thereafter. Only a handful of either series (and I just logged in 26 of the ICR monographs and 15 of the Designist books) had ISBN numbers in the editions I have (although it appears that Octagon has updated all those with ISBNs now), so I'm impressed that all those were "found" when I put in their title/author info!

It was quite a "memory event" looking at those books again. A lot of the "inspiration" for me to take Eschaton Books from my own "vanity press" (which published a few dozen editions of my poetry) to a "real publisher" was the ICR/Designist books. Here were serious esoteric studies, presented without any bells and whistles, and I really wanted to be able to do something similar. In fact, that's the reason that several of our initial publications were in the "chapbook" format, I figured that if it was good enough for Idries Shah, it should be good enough for me ... unfortunately, I soon found out that it wasn't "good enough" for the distributors/wholesalers/retailers in the Book Trade ... I guess if one is Idries Shah one can "get away" with chapbook editions, Eschaton had to quickly move into glossy-covered perfect-bound editions, in order to get the books carried by anybody!

Still, looking at these, I wanted to start up the publishing biz all over again. One thing that got "lost in the shuffle" was doing a series of lectures (which would then be published ala the ICR monographs), and "Eschaton Events" was pretty much a still-born division of the company (we co-developed one big event, but long-time readers of this space will recall that was pretty much the final coup de grace for Eschaton when it imploded at the last minute in the summer of '01).

Oh, well ... with the addition of C8-S1-B(01-72), I'm up to having 172 books logged in. I have "clear access" to C8-S2 (which looks to only have about 40 books on it), so that might yet get done tonight ... before I have to start "excavations" to get down to C8-S3 and C8-S4!

Books ... they're not just for breakfast anymore!

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