Picture of the Day: Falling Giant

Falling Giant by Jvstin
Falling Giant, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

This tree was formerly the tallest red oak tree in the state of Minnesota, signed and highlighted by Itasca State park, and a landmark on the “Wilderness drive”.

A windstorm several years ago, as you can see, took off the top of the tree and ending the reign of this fallen giant. The tree still lives, for now, but its days are numbered.

The tree was, before the windstorm, 126 feet tall, and is estimated to be about 300 years old.

B&N–Walking down Borders Road?

After a visit to Smashburger today, I walked over to Barnes and Noble. Even though I buy most of my books as ebooks these days, and many of the physical ones on Amazon, there is something to walking through a bookstore and browsing.
This time, I got depressed, quickly. Sections had shrunk from my last visit–the science fiction and fantasy section especially. I know the layout of that B&N well, and the shelves were shorter. Worse, the density of books on the shelves was less,; there were far fewer copies of any particular book.
And then there were the games.
Friends of Borders might remember their “build a bear” fiasco, where they had Build a bear workshops in some of their stores, and tried to sell anything and everything but books to keep their profits up. Well, Barnes and Noble is going down that road, too.
I am not talking about the large amount of floor space devoted to promoting their Nook.
No, I am talking about the record amount of floor space devoted to board games. Yes, board games.
Barnes and Noble seems to be walking down Borders road. That’s not a good road. Not for authors. Not for readers.
Will Steve Jobs be remembered one day as the catalyst for the death of the chain record store AND the chain bookstore?

Picture: Origin of the Mississippi

The origin of the Mississippi by Jvstin
The origin of the Mississippi, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

It’s time to start sharing pictures from my two fall color trips.

First up:

This is Itasca State Park, in northwest Minnesota. As the marker indicates, this is the outlet of the lake, a little river called the Mississippi. Yes, you can walk across those rocks there, and thus walk across the river. There is also a small wooden slab a few yards downstream (to the right) for those who are afraid of the slippery rocks, or don’t want to cross them twice.

Itasca State Park and the lake sit on and north of the Itasca moraine, which is why, paradoxically, the river flows north and east out of the park, and only turns south for good at Grand Rapids (birthplace of Judy Garland).

Letter from Barnes and Noble

So Barnes and Noble bought my Borders user information, and sent me the following letter.
So, unless I put the effort to do so, my information will go to B&N (on two separate accounts–apparently Borders had two of my email addresses somehow).
Privacy? What privacy?
They are offering Borders Premium members a switchover to a B&N membership, though. That’s not so bad for those sad souls who actually bought one of those memberships knowing that Borders was circling the drain…
Dear Borders Customer,
My name is William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble, and I’m writing to you today on
behalf of the entire B&N team to make you aware of important information regarding your Borders account.
First of all let me say Barnes & Noble uniquely appreciates the importance bookstores play within local communities, and we’re very sorry your Borders store closed.
As part of Borders ceasing operations, we acquired some of its assets including Borders brand trademarks and their customer list. The subject matter of your DVD and other video purchases will be part of the transferred information. The federal bankruptcy court approved this sale on September 26, 2011.
Our intent in buying the Borders customer list is simply to try and earn your business. The majority of our stores are within close proximity to former Borders store locations, and for those that aren’t, we offer our award- winning NOOK™ digital reading devices that provide a bookstore in your pocket. We are readers like you, and hope that through our stores, NOOK devices, and our bn.com online bookstore we can win your trust and provide you with a place to read and shop.
It’s important for you to understand however you have the absolute right to opt-out of having your customer data transferred to Barnes & Noble. If you would like to opt-out, we will ensure all your data we receive from Borders is disposed of in a secure and confidential manner. Please visit www.bn.com/borders before October 15, 2011 to do so.
Should you choose not to opt-out by October 15, 2011, be assured your information will be covered under the Barnes & Noble privacy policy, which can be accessed at www.bn.com/privacy. B&N will maintain any of your data according to this policy and our strict privacy standards.
At Barnes & Noble we share your love of books — whatever shape they take. We also take our responsibility to service communities by providing a local bookstore very seriously. In the coming weeks, assuming you don’t opt-out, you’ll be hearing from us with some offers to encourage you to shop our stores and try our NOOK products. We hope you’ll give us a chance to be your bookstore.