Spend, spend, spend

I was back at work today. Still coughing, but I have my voice back, which is good cos I spent pretty much the whole day phoning random people to ask if they would be interested in maybe possible coming to teach for us at the language school which we haven’t even set up yet and really can’t give them any information about right now, but thought we’d, y’know, just ask anyway. Yes. It wasn’t my idea.

On the way home I went shopping. First I had to go to a book shop. You see I’m taking part in a combination Open University / Bookcrossing Not So Secret Christmas Santa (NSSCS). It’s organised by OU people who just happen to also be bookcrossers, based on an idea that originated on bookcrossing. Those who don’t know what bookcrossing is need to read my previous blog entry on it here. So, what you have to do is buy some books which your NSSCS partner has put on their wishlist (I huess this is where the not so secret comes in – they sort of know what they’re getting already), register them on bookcrossing them package them up nicely into a parcel along with some sweeties and a small gift before sending said parcel off to your partner’s address. Unfortunately I couldn’t get hold of any of the books on my partner’s wishlist. The book shops here didn’t have single one of them, at least not in the right language. Still can’t believe I couldn’t even get “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” here! So I got two that I hope she’ll liked based on the stuff that is on her wishlist. Then I headed of to Nanu Nana (brilliant shop by the way! If you’re ever in Germany and need to find a gift, or just a nice cheap set of coffee cups, you have to go there!) where I bought a couple of candles shaped like fir cones for the secret santa partner’s parcel before finally heading off to Karstadt where I first visited the food department in search of something for tea and some choccy for the secret santa parcel then headed towards the bit where the gifts live to pick up something for a friend whose birthday party I’m invited to next week. Oh yes, and between Karstadt and home I also found myself popping into another shop where I bought a colourful scarf/shawl thing for my Grandma and also discovered something amusing to get my sister for her birthday, which is January. Phew! Lots of money spent. And I still haven’t even got all my Christmas presents yet! I keep thinking I’m done then realising there are still more people to buy for. And what am I going to get my sister’s boyfriend? I’ve only met the guy twice! Sister dearest suggested a book but it seems they’re having trouble finding the books he likes in England so I’d probably have no chance here. Hmm, he does like tea though (understatement of the year there!) so that could be an idea.

Anyway, must dash. I have some food to cook. And I’m pretty sure I’ve bored you all enough by now anyway. It does make a change from complaing though I suppose 😉

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A ray of books

I got a book today. I didn’t buy it, I received it in the post. It’s a bookcrossing book which was sent to me by a fellow bookcrosser as part of a book ray.
What’s a book ray? you ask. Well to put it in fairly simple terms it’s a chain. Here’s how it works.
1. Someone registers a book on bookcrossing
2. They announce that they are starting a book ray
3. Other bookcrossers who are interested in reading the book register for the book ray
4. The creater of the book ray makes a list of the bookcrossing members who have joined the book ray
5. They then read the book (if they haven’t already) then send the person who is first on the list a private message asking for their address
6. The creater now sends the book to the first person on the list
7. This person receives the book, reads it then asks the next person on the list for their address
8. The pattern repeats until the last person on the list has the book
9. The last person on the list is free to do what they like with the book.

If it were a book ring, the last person on the list would have to send the book back to the person who created the ring, but in this case it’s a ray so the book could end up anywhere at the end.

It’s been a while since the ray actually started and I’d forgotten I’d signed up for it, so it was a nice surprise when the person who had the book before me asked for my address. Now it’s here and I can’t wait to start reading.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, the book is We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.
I shall let you know if it’s any good.

Long live bookcrossing! There’s nothing better than free books 🙂

Shoes and other things that girls worry about before a night out

Loking at my stats, I’m quite pleased to see that my bookcrossing blog got 25 views yesterday and another 5 today. Now if only all 30 of those people have signed up things would be perfect. The more bookcrossers there are out there the higher the liklihood that I’ll find a free book lying around just begging for me to take it home and read it. Free books are definitely among my favourite things in the world. Actually, I quite like anything that I don’t have to pay for, but books are definitley among the best.
Good old Joachim Loew and his cigarette are still getting me a lot of traffic as well. His nickname is Jogi you know, which amuses me greatly. In German a ‘j’ is pronounced like an English ‘y’, so Mr. Loew shares his name with a certain cartoon bear. *snigger*

I’m feeling quite excited today. Jan and I are off to Baden Baden tonight with 6 other people. We’re going to a rather posh hotel called Brenner’s Park. I’m not sure how many stars it has… 4? 5? I just know it’s posh. And we’re going to have a 6 course meal there. Six courses! I don’t know how I’ll fit it all in! I’ve spent the whole morning making random comments like “I really need to pluck my eyebrows” and “I’m not sure what shoes to wear”. I expect Jan was quite pleased to escape back to his flat where he’s going to do computer sciency type stuff until it’s time to get ready. He wanted me to meet him at Marktplatz later so we can get the tram to the train station together, but I insisted that he come here first so I can take a photo of us in our posh clothes. It’s not often that I get an opportunity to get dressed up in posh clothes. I need photographic evidence to prove that it is actually possible for me to look good.

I have to go and write another job application now. This time for a company in Mannheim. Then I can get back to wondering what on Earth I’m going to do with my hair tonight.

Bookcrossers cross books at bookcrossing.com

Wow, I think I should blog about Joachim Loew smoking more often. I’ve had more hits tody than ever before (ok, I’ve only been blogging here for a week, but still…) The stats now say:

does joachim loew smoke? – 3
joachim löw smoking – 2
+ “joachim löw” + cigarette – 2
joachim löw cigarette – 1
joachim loew cigarette – 1
loew smoking – 1
“loew smoking” – 1
joachim loew+smoking – 1
joachim loew+cigarette – 1
joachim cigarette germany – 1

The numbers are how many people have searched for that phrase. Anyway, Mr. Loew isn’t what I want to talk about now. Instead I want to advertise one of my favourite websites, http://www.bookcrossing.com

Bookcrossing is brilliant, especially if you’re a book lover like me, and I think everyone should join. Basically it’s like a giant book club. The idea is you sign up for free, register any books you don’t want any more and they give you a number for them, called a Bookcrossing ID. You write the ID on the book, along with a note explaining that it’s a book crossing book (there are even special labels with a message already on them, all you have to do is fill in the BC ID). Then you can either leave the book somewhere (called wild releasing) or pass it on to someone else in person. If the boom is left in the wild, bookcrossers can find the book, go to the website and enter the number and you get an email telling you where the book is now. One book I left in Newcastle was taken by someone from Innsbruck! You then get to go looking for books that other people have “released”. You can set up your bookcrossing account so that you get an email every time someone releases a book in a town of your choice, so that you can go out and try to track it down.

There are also official book crossing zones, known as OBCZs in bookcrossing slang. These are public places, usually cafés, where one or two bookcrossing members have set up a bookshelf specially for bookcrossing books. Members can leave their books there instead of releasing them somewhere random. Other members can then come to that place and be guaranteed to find books. Another good thing about OBCZs is that they are set up by someone who lives in that town, and you can usually assume that they will pick somewhere good. Every time I go on holiday I check whether there’s a bookcrossing zone in that town. Not only can I gather new reading material, but at the same time I’m guaranteed to find at least one good place for a coffee while I’m on holiday.

I love the concept of bookcrossing. If more people got involved in this, less books would get thrown away. No book should ever be thrown away, unless it’s missing pages or disintegrated after being dropped in the bath. If you don’t want your books give them to bookcrossing! It’s not like it costs you anything…

For more information, and to register, check out http://www.bookcrossing.com

Oh, and I have to admit, I didn’t dream up the title of this blog – I’m not that creative! I actually stole it from the title of a group on Studivz (the German version of Facebook). Credit where credit’s due and all that…