For those of you who were wondering what I was doing with myself yesterday instead of hanging out with all y’all online: I went shopping. Specifically, I went shopping for computer parts, because I had finally settled on what I wanted to do with my PC computing life and I drove down to CompUSA (which, as it is on the other side of Dayton from me, was not an insignificant distance) to see if they had everything I needed to build myself a bitchin’ PC.
To say I was disappointed upon my arrival is to understate the case rather dramatically: CompUSA’s selection of components pretty much sucked. For example, most of their motherboards are for AMD, which was not what I wanted, and those that fit Intel processors were not SLI-capable (or even Crossfire capable). They didn’t have any CPUs in stock, either. Basically, just a big fat waste of my time. I understand that people wanting to build their own computers are a relatively small segment of the market, but I would also think that those who do want to do so would want components that are at least up to date, so their home-built computers are not six months obsolete from the first moment they are switched on. This is what I get for wanting to give my business to a brick-and-mortar computer store; I don’t know that I’m likely to make the same mistake in the future.
Having thus been disappointed in my quest, I came home and started pricing out what I wanted and realized that for what it would cost me to build my own, I could get a computer maker to do it for me, and then it would come with a three-year warranty, whereas my own experiments would not. So I said screw it and ordered one online. For those of you who want to get your geek on the specs are: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, 2GB DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory, 350GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM hard drive (remember I have other drives I’ll be putting in as well), two SLI-compliant NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS 512MB PCI Express x16 Video Cards (I went with less than top-of-the line here because as others have noted, DirectX10-compatible cards will be on their way soon; nevertheless, two of these babies working together will do me just fine), Creative X-Fi soundcard and 5.1 speakers, also from Creative, and then the usual bells and whistles as far as optical drives and media readers and so on. All for rather substantially less than I had budgeted to spend, so I’m pretty happy with that.
While I was out and about I also stopped at book stores to see if I could spot Android’s Dream in the wild. And lo, it was there: One copy at the Barnes & Noble, where I corrected its spine out presentation, three copies at Borders, where the staff had not only placed it face out but also put it on the top shelf in its own little presentation, so it was right at eye level, and none at my local bookstore, which is fine because, you know, it’s not officially out yet. Hopefully it will be there tomorrow. And if it’s not I’ll burn the place down. Actually, no, I won’t. They’re nice people and it’s a nice store and they have other books of mine, so, you know. Arson is not the answer. Now.
Thwarted though I was in building my own computer, I assuaged my need to contribute to the grinding gears of America’s economy by buying every single one of Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels save Dzur. The first seven were helpfully compiled into three trade paperback-sized volumes, and Dragon and Issola were stand-alones. This was delightful for me because while I’m a big sloppy fan of Steve’s and particularly of the Vlad books, my own copies of the books have mysteriously vaporized over the years, and also a number of books have come out since I read the series, and I was always confused as to how many there were and in what order I should read them (Steve himself is notably unhelpful in this regard; he basically says to read them in whatever order one wants. Gee, thanks, Steve). But now I have them all, save Dzur, and I feel, you know, complete.
Why didn’t I also get Dzur, you may ask? Well, come on: I just bought nine novels. It’ll take me while to get through them, you know? Also, in buying these nine novels I pretty much depleted the Barnes & Noble’s Brust collection; I figured that taking Dzur as well would just be greedy. No worries, though; I’ll be getting it soon enough, I imagine. And don’t let me stop you from getting your own copy. Please, be my guest.
Now, let me get extra dorky here and say that what’s even cooler than buying a store’s worth of Steve Brust books is buying a store’s worth of books from my pal Steve Brust, because Steve and I have met on a number of occasions now, enjoy each others’ company and have a passel of friends in common. I’m still enough of a fanboy to get a hell of a kick out of the fact that I get to meet and spend a little time with some of the writers who were inspirations to me. Steve was certainly one of them and still is, so every time I see him, some part of my brain is still going coooooooooool. What can I say, I’m a geek. And it’s extra happy making that I’m now well on my way to catching up with his work. You can’t beat that, I say.