Sunday, January 30, 2011

Netflix for Books? Hardley.

My "summer of reading" that I started about 4 years ago has lived on and I continue to read every I have read a lot of books.  They just stack up in my house and then I give them away to charity.  I'm also have a hard time finding books I want to read.  I buy them all from Amazon and they usually arrive the next day so it's very convenient.  I've been stopping books half way through though and giving up on some lately since I wasn't enjoying them.  If I'm falling asleep after reading two pages, it's not the book for me and I gave up on the Kindle a while ago since I didn't like reading on it

Then I thought, I wonder if there is Netflix for books?  That way I would save money and space in my house as well as not feeling like I've wasted anything if I got a book I didn't like.  So I searched the internet and there were two places that provided this service.

1. has plans starting at $10.99 per month and deals only in paperbacks

2. has plans starting at $23.95 and has paperback and hardbacks

I chose because they were cheaper (I chose the $13.99/month plan to have 2 books at a time) with the downside being that only has paperbacks so I would still need to buy new releases I really wanted, or just wait.  Excitedly, I started putting items in my queue and they were processed for shipment right away. 

Here are my thoughts on the service so far:

1. Selection: Pretty good.  Some of the random stuff I read is not on their list, but they claim a customer can put in a request and they will buy it.  I knew when I signed up that new hardbacks were not available, so I don't hold this against them.  All the books have links to Amazon with descriptions and reviews

2. Shipping speed:  Pretty bad.  I realize the site says it will take 5 to 10 days for books to arrive, but I live only 7 miles away from where the books are shipped from and it took 8 to 10 days for the books to arrive.  I don't know exactly how long because I did not check my mail box during or after the snow storm last week (my mail box is on the street and I didn't want to walk down the long driveway to get to it in the snow).  This is where I think they need improvement to be compared to Netflix.  Netflix accommodates people's desire to get things quickly.  Amazon quotes 2 day shipping, but books usually arrive in 1 day.  I don't like having to wait once I decide I want something.

3. Book condition: Could be better  I received 2 books.  One called French by Heart that is relatively unknown and not many people read it probably.  It is in decent condition, but has that old book odor to it like it's been packed in a box for way too long.  The second book was Twilight which, of course, everyone has heard of and probably read before me.  This book is in horrible condition (see photo above).  This book can be replaced for $6.59 on Amazon.  They should consider replacing highly requested books so that they stay in good condition.  I'm used to reading new books from Amazon so this will be an adjustment.

 I'm not sure if I will remain a customer or not.  I will give it one go around with sending books back and getting more, but this is definitely not a "Netflix for Books".

Where do you get your books from?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adventures in Remodeling - The Bathroom

Here we go again!  The pain of the kitchen remodel has subsided and now we are ready to enter the adventures of remodeling again.  We want to remodel the master bathroom and are considering doing the other two bathrooms on the top floor as well if the price is right.  It's kind of like when I had my deviated septum repaired at the same time as the sinus surgery since "they would already be in there".  That was a bad decision, but hopefully doing 3 bathrooms at the same time will save us money and inconvenience.  We've met with 2 contractors and are going to get the first proposal tomorrow.  I'm hoping they can make the numbers work so that we can do all three.  There are trade offs of course and I'll have to put all my spending on hold for the rest of the year...including travel.  I already have a short trip to Jamaica planned for next month so I still get to do that, but nothing else. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Gridlock

Finally  Home!
The DC metro area's "snow force field" was finally broken yesterday and it snowed like mad...and right at rush hour.  It was a complete mess with people being on the roads for hours (up to 13 hours!).  It took me 2 hours to get home and it was frightening.  My usual commute takes 20 minutes.  The roads had not been treated because it rained earlier in the day and it seems everyone left work at the same time.  Federal workers were let out at 3pm and most people at my work left right as the snow started at about 3:15pm, as did I.  I got home at 5:30 and seriously thought about having a drink.  When the snow started, it was heavy and with all the cars on the roads, the plows supposedly couldn't get the streets cleared.  I eventually changed my course to the path less taken where there were only a few cars on the road and there were still no plows (on a snow emergency route!).  I saw many many cars stuck and people abandoning them.  It was nice though to see people helping each other...but then got their cars stuck because they tried to help someone else.  One car slid out of control in circles and backward before finally coming to a stop facing the wrong way.  At one point I was on a more deserted road and everything was so white that I didn't even know where I was or where the road ended and a ditch/sidewalk/curb started.  I had no idea if I had missed my turn or not.  Visibility was less than 100 yards at times.  I'm so happy I have 4WD and next time they say it's going to snow during rush hour I am going to work from home. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Stayed Up for This???

The choices for New Year's Eve shows last night were awful!!!  

Things I witnessed, unfortunately:

1. Ryan Seacrest doing just about nothing and making oodles of cash for it.  I'm sure Brian Dunkleman gets a stabbing feeling in his stomach every time he sees this guy.

2. Jenny McCarthy asking people on the street lames questions, such as their name.

3. Dick Clark.  He is a legend, but watching him was really sad.

4. NKOTBSB "practicing" their "dance" moves before their performance in Times Square.

5. What I think was the Jersey Shore cast talking about their resolutions. 

6. Snookie getting ready to be dropped about 10 feet in the NJ ball.  I didn't see the actual ball drop...did she ever put down that classy drink in the red plastic cup that was in her hand?

7. After midnight each station had a performer and I had no idea who these people were.  Oh wait, one had some weird pre-taped Mariah Carey video.  I couldn't watch that either.

Next year I'm going to have my own show for grown-ups. 

While we are on the long after January 1 do you think it's acceptable to say "Happy New Year" to someone? 

Happy New Year!