Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As I creeped out of my room this afternoon, I had today's Washington Post shoved in my face by my dad. On page A9 was the news we all secretly knew was going to happen but never wanted to think about: Borders closing.
NEW YORK — In a story on July 19, The Associated Press, relying on a company statement, reported erroneously that Borders was expected to ask a federal bankruptcy court to allow it to be sold to liquidators. Borders plans to ask the court to appoint liquidation firms to conduct going-out-of business sales. They will not buy any assets of Borders.
To me and my friends, Borders was way more than a book store. Every Friday after school we would go and discuss colleges, what happened during the week, new hairstyles we were considering, and just joke around until it closed at 10pm.

As my dad said, bookstores are for books you didn't know you wanted. I doubt I would've bought a book on double standards between men and women or a one where the revolutionary war had been fought with dragons had I been perusing Amazon. And I'm glad I found those books, especially the many college books I looked in at Borders. You can't just look through books in an online store, but at Borders my friends and I would gather them and bring them to our table in the café and point out interesting ones and talk about what we liked about them. When we went through a bridal gown phase, we would get wedding magazines and share the dresses we loved and laughed at the ridiculous looking ones.

After we ate lunch at a restaurant today we walked to the grocery store, passing an empty storefront that used to be a Blockbuster. My dad said people don't use DVD's anymore since they get everything off the internet. Although I admit there have been times when my sister and I or my mom and I have huddled around a monitor to watch a missed episode of Glee, watching things on a TV is just better. One day after a rough week at school, my friend came to my house with a DVD of the seventh Harry Potter movie and microwavable popcorn, which kind of goes along with my ramble in the second paragraph. It's all about sharing. My friends lend their books all the time. I don't know of anybody who would give away their Kindle willingly, but you already know what I think of Kindles.

All in all, I think the situation that's going on is ridiculous, since it seems people would rather stay in their houses than venture out into the world to get a book or a film. It's either that or people aren't reading anymore, which is worse. When my Borders closes, there will be no bookstore in the county. I would have to go to Baltimore to get my fix in the Barnes & Noble (which I hear is going down too).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


For the past 12 days I was on the Erie Canal in New York on my grandparent's steamboat. I was with my grandparents, my sister Andelle, my cousin Hallie, and my aunt Innes. It took us two days to get to Little Falls, which was the first stop for the Great International Steamboat Flotilla. Little Falls was a cute but dead town, which was what I found in common with Canajoharie and Amsterdam, which were two other towns we stopped in along the way to our destination.

Our final destination was Waterford, where they had a weekend full of activities planned for us. We got there on Wednesday, and Thursday was our chill day. Hallie, Andelle and I noticed that other boats had wooden signs that they had on the dock, either for show or to hold their place. Earlier that week a lockmaster gave us Erie Canal coloring books so Hallie bought crayons in Schenectady and we used the crayons and colored on two by fours that we got off our boat. We made one for our boat and for two other boats whose owners we're friends with. Then we started making them anonymously for boats that didn't have any. Soon people who already had signs gave us some of their wood to make them signs on, and two people said they would varnish theirs.

On Friday we called my mom and told her to go to a website that had a live feed of a camera that pointed towards our boat. We all waved to the camera and even pulled in some other steamboating friends. We also had a "parade", where the boats went a few miles down the river and followed behind an old tugboat called the Urger, which dates back to 1901. When we got back to the docks, we had pizza and wings in the visitor center. My grandmother, Hallie, Andelle and I (my aunt left on a train in Amsterdam) were wearing matching French sailor shirts, which impressed everybody. We also got free t-shirts of the Sayonara, whose captain basically commanded the entire trip. For Saturday we got food vouchers to pay for our meals.

On Saturday there were vendors selling just about anything on the docks. The was a lot of people walking around, checking out the boats. The steamboaters congregated in this one area under a shady tree with small fold up tables and lawn chairs. The adults drank gin and tonic while my cousin, my sister, and I played cards. This one boat was firing a cannon and we got to take turns firing it. At night we sat on the boat and watched the fireworks across the water.

On Sunday there was a farmer's market, where my sister bought berries and a strawberry rhubarb pie with the remaining food vouchers. We steamed down to a lock where we parked the trailer in the pouring rain and we were on our way. Two days later we were home where I am now.