Saturday, February 12, 2011

VNSA Book Sale 2011: Power and Stillness from the Rising Sun

Dragon claw chi exercise

Try this some time: face the direction of the rising sun just before dawn, arms raised, hands in the form of claws, motionless, eyes shut. Shiver in the pre-dawn. Seek stillness. As the first slivers of warmth touch your face and palms, begin tensing and relaxing the muscles in your hands, fingers, wrists, but without moving. Some movements of the hand are powered by muscles in the forearm. Tense those, and feel the opposing bones, tendons, muscles within the hands resist. Then relax thoroughly. Visualize energy filling each finger in turn--for me, it helps to think of them lighting up. Keep your arms up. Don't move. Stillness. Repeat. Again. If you start at dawn and stop only after the sun has fully risen, 15 minutes later or so, this would be a workout. I suspect that if I tried it, I would be a trembling, sweaty mess in five minutes.

I didn't know any of that when I saw this person in this stance at the book sale. Instead, I had some sort of mocking response. Sometimes, I am a moron. When the intertubes helped me figure it out later, I realized my error, and thought: I went to buy books, with an open mind to learn, yet I was a moron. Anyway, buy books I did.

Thousand of us waiting for books. Including 1 Tool fan.

In previous years, there were two lines, but this year, they herded us all into one long line that bent back on itself several times, until thousands waited for the doors to open at 8:00 am. 600,000 used books, once a year, and I try to never miss it.

Book crowd
L, M
Would it be uncool if I installed bar tape on someone's bike?
Police are investigating the color-matched bar-taping of two bicycles locked up at the VNSA book sale.
Cat inspects the bicycle-related book purchases.

I debated riding the bicycle to the sale. It was off and on several times. In the end, though, I resigned to the reality that I have no practical way to transport that many books on a bicycle. And purchasing a cargo bike expressly for this purpose seems excessive. But, as you can see above, several people did bike to the sale, giving me reason to consider the matter further next year. Perhaps a trailer would do. When, also, perhaps I will not mock that which I do not understand, but instead will seek stillness and power in the rising sun myself. Get up. Go ride.


  1. Foolish things like that are what brought me to adopting the name "Oldfool". It is survivable and I am thankful for that. I have noticed over the years that I am not alone.
    I don't know if I could deal with a crowd that big and even if I did I would have to be handcuffed so that I could not reach my wallet. I have buying books under control (sort of) but it is hard since I like to hang out in places that sell them.

  2. Using a large saddlebag to get my books to and from the Tempe Public Library works nicely. Depending on the number of books, one may work for this application as well.

  3. What a haul you made! My favorite places are used book stores; you're very lucky to have this sale. I've found just a simple backpack works for carrying items like books and my computer. I do get a tad sweaty under the backpack, so I sometimes carry an extra shirt just in case.

  4. Boy, it's been some time since I've seen socks like the one on the Glenn's book!
    Nice score!

  5. OldFool as crowds go the book sale fanatics are pretty tolerable. VNSA beefed up security this year, peeking into every bag that went in the door, looking for "weapons and alcohol", I heard one of the security guys say. I wonder if they found any.

    mseintempe, HI! Welcome to the blog. Including the bicycle-related books pictured, I left with just over 30 books, too many to stuff into saddle bags or, even if they fit, to carry across town on my current bicycle. For the library, though, your setup sounds perfect.

    JK I bought a messenger-style bag to try out carrying my computer to/from work on my bicycle. It didn't work for me for that, but for carrying books+computer other places, it is fantastic. My computer of choice for that use is my little netbook, my eepc, which is just enough machine for its intended use. Typing this on it now.

    limom, those are the most powerful socks ever invented! The whims of fashion have caused them to fade from usage, but one day my friend, the striped sweat socks shall rise again!!!

  6. I love cheap books. It looks like you walked out of there with some good stuff. That old bike manual should come in handy.

    It took a little research for me to figure out what VNSA stood for.

  7. RTP I probably should have mentioned: Volunteer Non-Profit Service Association.

    Their web site states they made an estimated $340,000 off their two-day sale for 2011.

    So you and I have at least two loves in common. Just saying.


Please feel free to comment here, almost anything goes, except for obvious spam or blatantly illegal or objectionable material. Spammers may be subject to public ridicule, scorn, or outright shaming, and the companies represented in spam shall earn disrepute and ire for each occurrence.