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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Interviews and Nostalgia

I've been busy lately. Over the last two weeks, I interviewed with three software companies, one in Washington, one in California, and one in Colorado. I'm pretty sick of traveling, but at least all of the flying gave me time to read.

I tried to focus for my interviews, so I packed only reading materials that would help me prepare for my interviews: review material on algorithms, concurrency in Java, and testing methodology. By day two I was slavering for something juicy to read, something non-technical. Thankfully, my friends in San Jose were eager to help, and took me to a neat used bookstore in Mountain View, Book Buyers.

What a selection! Actually, the selection wasn't perfect. There were a number of books on my list that I couldn't find (admittedly, they're oddball books), but I did stumble across some nostalgia pieces that I hadn't thought of since grade school. These books included some of the old Endless Quest, Choose Your Own Adventure, and Lone Wolf books. I had to pick some of my favorites up. And I didn't care if people saw me reading them later on the plane and thought I had a fifth-grade reading level. As I flipped through Return to Brookmere in the airport lobby, I thought, "Nostalgia deserves its due every once in a while."

What books do you look back on with nostalgia?

Update: Poster Pythor tells us that the Lone Wolf books are available legally and for free online at Project Aon, and that they may be back in print again. Project Aon has the books in multiple formats, including appropriately-linked HTML pages that make for easy reading and navigation (and backtracking in case your character dies). Awesome find!

8 comments:

Pythor said...

Lone Wolf books are available (legally!) online, and may be back in print. Take a look.

Jamie C said...

Ahh, BookBuyers. I spent way too much money there when I was in Mountain View. I miss that store.

Billy Goat said...

@Jamie - Yes, it was a really cool place. I had a very difficult time saving my money. Just poking through various parts of the store I found so much that I didn't expect to see. It will be dangerous to live near it....

@Pythor - Thank you for the link! I actually visited this website before I bought the Lone Wolf books I found in BookBuyers, but didn't think to post it. I'll update my post with the info.

It turns out that finding the Lone Wolf books was a stroke of nostalgic luck for me. I read a couple in elementary school, and the writing and tone were so different from the Endless Quest books I was reading at the time that the impression they gave me really stuck. However, I forgot nearly everything else about them, except for one minor plot detail near the front of one book. After we found the Interactive Fiction section of BookBuyers, and the nostalgia impulse was fully triggered, I said, "Man, I really want to find this book that I only barely remember."

That night I did some Google searches with horrendously vague queries such as, "cold climate bear fat warmth adventure book." The part I remembered was from The Caverns of Kalte, book 3 in the series, but my searches only turned up results about polar bears. Fortunately, I found a website cataloging all sorts of "game books" that listed the Lone Wolf books as a major series, and that website linked to the one you linked. Following that link, and going by intuition and vague, tickly memories ("Hmmm, Caverns of Kalte, that sounds cold"), I got lucky and found this page. Bingo! :)

The next day, I went back and bought the first three books, thinking that maybe someday my son will show an interest when he sees them on the bookshelf, or I can take them on a long car or airplane trip for him to try out. If he likes them, he can read the rest online or pester me to buy them. ;)

Jamie C said...

Both summers I was in Mountain View I ended up shipping back 2 boxes of books purchased at Book Buyers over the course of the summer. A very dangerous place.

If your looking to stay in MA, let me know. I can submit your resume at my company. We're hiring. :)

Billy Goat said...

Jamie, thanks for the offer. I really appreciate it.

I didn't really look at any MA jobs. I have been itching to try something new, live somewhere different. I really like MA, and may come back in a few years, however. If this happens, I'll definitely send you my resume. :)

I accepted an offer last week, by the way. Starting June 16, I will be working for SRI International, working on a project involving Artificial Intelligence. I'm very excited about the move and the new job!

Mister Troll said...

Hey, your new company has jobs I could apply for! Go figure.

Jamie C said...

So, when do you move and where are you going?

Billy Goat said...

@Jamie - I'm moving in two weeks, maybe slightly longer if I go visit the Troll family first. I'll be moving to the San Jose area. If you're ever in the area, we'd love to have you over to visit. :)