The Sadness of Disappearing Used Book Stores

starlight Starlight Books in Newmarket, Ontario, has closed. Not big news to a lot of people. I was sad to see it gone this week when I drove by on my way to visit my sister in Newmarket. I used to live in the area. Starlight books was one of my favourite places for about 20 years. Now its gone.  The Facebook page is missing, not even a note to say good bye. The website is just a dead link.

Technology killed the little community book store.

Where will all the secondhand books go when there are few (or none left at all) places to trade books? The best thing about Starlight and the other secondhand bookstores is being able to bring in books I’ve read and find more from the same author, or take the risk of a new author.

Used book stores are opportunities for readers. Not just finding old books no longer in the big retail stores, but books in stock catered to the reader rather than the shopper. Also, when I exchange books I can select a few for free then. This was the best time to try someone new, a book I would have passed up as too expensive to take a chance on otherwise.starlightbooks

How much is the literary world losing as the used bookstores fade away? Likely more than many people realize.

It’s not a co-incidence that Starlight thrived and grew for at least 20 years (that much time since I’ve been shopping there) and all at once has now closed. I’ve talked to the local used bookstore here too. She says there is more stock coming in and less being bought (or traded out again). The paranormal genre which was selling so quickly is now slumbering too. That doesn’t help as they come in and stay, taking up space now.

Less space consuming are the ebooks, of course. The approaching paperless swarm of electronic books many people buy but only a few actually seem to read. It’s the buying that counts though, not the reading.

I do feel sad for the future of the paperback especially. Will all those printed words end up in landfills? No longer able to find new readers at the community book shops.

What will happen to writers too? There may be book buyers but are there still book readers?

Documenting the Decline of the Bingo Hall

Documenting the Decline of the Bingo Hall
From thriving social clubs to piles of rubble.

abandoned bingo
(Image credit: Forsaken Fotos via Flickr)

The rough-hewn simplicity and rustic charm of traditional land-based bingo halls have captivated the imagination of thousands of people throughout the decades. Indeed, brick-and-mortar bingo halls are teeming with vibrant characters and interesting personalities that bring life to a time-honored establishment. So it’s not too surprising to learn that a few talented photographers have devoted their time and energies to document the humanity inside these old-school bingo halls. Washington resident Andrew Miksys was exposed to bingo at an early age. His father published the daily Bingo Today newspaper, which Miksys then delivered to bingo halls and convenience stores across Seattle. Miksys eventually toured America’s bingo halls to present a respectful look into the communal spirit that’s part of a bingo hall’s character.

There’s even more proof that the time-honored game is a veritable treasure trove of expressive portraits. German photographer Michael Hess is a structural engineer by training and a self-taught photographer by choice. Currently residing in London, Hess lived near a bingo hall in Southampton in 2005 and always wondered what happened inside. One fateful game in that same bingo hall was all it took to motivate Hess to travel to almost 70 bingo halls in the UK for the next four years. The result was Bingo and Social Club, a good-natured and graciously rare peek into the enigmatic society of bingo halls.

However, bingo halls are believed to be not long for this world, with many different bingo halls now closing all over the world. The classic game has found its new home online, where various companies have begun to launch online bingo portals which are much more convenient and easy to play. The Virtue Fusion software that runs the games on Betfair Bingo also allow for a variety of themed games to be held simultaneously, and land-based bingo halls just cannot keep up. As such, many bingo halls have shut down, their doors closing as though to keep their memories nestled within.

While they’re no longer visited by the average bingo player, these abandoned bingo halls have made for some truly evocative images, inspiring wayward photographers with the stories they seem to tell. Web Urbanist has even come out with a collection of haunting photographs of abandoned bingo halls called “Punched Cards”. The selection of photos has everything from dilapidated signage to the remains of old bingo cards and the remains of old structures that have now been reduced to rubble, and they make one think about all the history and memories that have been made in these places. Where people once crowded and fought to shout, “BINGO!”, there lies nothing but shambles and old signs. But often, these are exactly what the urban photographer is looking for.

INTJ personality | 16Personalities

INTJ personality | 16Personalities.

intj

Today I’m INTJ. Often it’s either INTP or INFP. Here’s what the site says about INTJ:

INTJ PERSONALITY

It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. People with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy.

Read more

Australian definition of a Canadian…

I think I’ve read this before. It was forwarded in email by my Mom today.

Australian definition of a Canadian…

Once in a while someone does a nice job of describing a Canadian, this time it was an Australian dentist.

You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian – any Canadian. …

An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one.

So the following is an Australian Definition of a Canadian. In case anyone asks you who a Canadian is ??

A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek.

A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan.

A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians.

A Canadian’s religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan.

The key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds.

But they also welcome the least – the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected. These are the people who built Canada.

You can try to kill a Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world have tried but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place.

They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.

Please keep this going !!
Pass this around the World. Then pass it around again !!
It says it all, for all of us.

‘Keep your stick on the ice Canada’ !!!

I’m Going to be Hiding on Halloween

Not everyone wants to be a part of Halloween. We all have our reasons and we might actually enjoy parts of the holiday and the days leading up to it. But, not all of us want to wait by the door to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Not all of us want to attend Halloween parties. For whatever your reason, you may be among those of us who hide on Halloween.
Halloween-Wallpaper-7

Create Your own Halloween Magic – A disappearing act

Personally, I have no children and would rather leave the handing out of candy to those who would enjoy it. I don’t. Nothing against the dear little children but handing out candy is just a chore to me. It means spending 2 or 3 hours (sometimes more) pretending I’m happy to see a lot of parents and children and teenagers coming to my door. I’m a introvert, not a great party host. The times I have handed out candy I really did it for the teenagers. I don’t like the way some people are ageist about Halloween. Let the teenagers trick-or-treat and don’t give them a hard time about it.

Anyway, the past three years I have left behind Halloween and done something else. I love the decorations and all the fun leading up to Halloween but on the night itself – I disappear!  Just think of it as a little Halloween magic.

Grab a Good Book – Think H.P. Lovecraft to keep in the Halloween theme

Of course, what you do while disappearing will depend on who you are. I prefer to take along a good book and hide out at the coffee shop. When it gets late enough I head along home. It is especially nice to take the bus (if the bus is available for you). Let someone else worry about driving on Halloween night with children running amok and jack-o-lanterns being smashed on the road.  It’s a good time to treat yourself to the public chauffeur.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Go to the movie theatre or a play
  • Visit someone else staying home
  • Go out for dinner, bonus if they have a Halloween special
  • Have a Halloween drink out somewhere
  • Find an adult party and dress up for Halloween
  • Run errands and pick up a few things at the mall
  • Stay overnight at a fancy hotel
  • Take your vacation time from work

There is always the Halloween staycation too. If you can keep the house looking dark from the outside and ignore the rustling at your door and around your yard (because you know there will be some who just have to try every house for candy, lights or not).

Some people would leave up a sign telling kids they aren’t doing Halloween. Some people would leave a bunch of candy for kids to pick up. Neither of these sound good to me. I think it’s smarter and simpler to just leave the lights off and pull any Halloween decorations inside the house where they won’t be seen or broken.

From Live Beta March 25th, 2001

The following is the introduction I had written for my website on Geocities, posted March 25th, 2001.

I’m a Sagittarius, year of the Dragon kind of woman. I like being outdoors, having a great coffee in the city mall, spending too much time in bookstores, traveling around on a shoestring budget, comfortable shoes, Civilization 2, Carmageddon 2 and Caesar3, cats (predatory animals in general), writing, reading, sewing, quilting and embroidery, yellow smiley faces, being on the Internet, publishing online, Wicca, nature, tulips and wildflowers, ascii art, Raggedy Ann, taking pictures but not so much being in them, history, my family, Christmas and Halloween.

My favourite colour is deep dark red. My favourite food is chocolate ice cream with nuts and sauce. Though I have found a really great vanilla flavour called Vanilla Storm but its not always available. My favourite smells are vanilla and lemon, not together. My favourite place to travel to is British Columbia, Canada. My favourite time of day is very early in the morning. My favourite time of year is a tie between Spring and Winter. I don’t like people who are fussy nit-pickers, they usually look for ways to stab you in the back. I like people who enjoy life but aren’t agressively perky about it.

I used to write to penpals around the world and trade postcards and coins with them. I met my husband when we were both 14 and began writing as penpals. I still like to collect postcards and old Canadian coins. I enjoy learning new things about computers and the Internet, history and nature. I can’t ever see myself being one of those tidy, organized people. I live in chaos yet I know where everything is, until someone moves it. I always have projects on the go, half done or not quite started yet. No doubt that tells you a lot about the kind of person I am. But, if you’re the sort of person to sit there feeling superior we’ll never get along anyway. 🙂