the three buck book club

It only makes sense that a guy who cooks on cast iron, spends time in the outdoors and enjoys cooking clean, simple food would also be into vintage books, right?

I decided that I want to read more in 2023.

I want do do a lot of things in 2023, but reading is something that is pretty achievable.

Book. Quiet. Go.

That said, books are getting expensive. (Grumpy old man alert!) For example, I bought myself a few of the Witcher novels for a Black Friday sale and even discounted they still cost me something like $18 each for paperbacks. And while I love the library, I’ve always been something of a slow, scattershot-type reader and tend to need to renew every book two or three times, or I end up returning it and never finishing it. I also got into e-books for a while but have resorted back to the tactile paper novel for things that are not work-related.

So, spend a lot of money on books? Read less? Ugh! What’s a guy to do?

One solution: I was at the local used bookshop on my lunch break the other day. I was hunting for something very specific, but then on a whim started picking out other books that caught my eye…. books that fit a particular set of characteristics:

  1. They were all science fiction
  2. Based on copyright dates, every one of them were written and published before was old enough to really get into reading proper novels, so say mid-80s and prior vintage stuff,
  3. Each of them plot summarized some absolute cheese, camp, cornball, classic sci fi (which is kinda my vibe recently)
  4. None were going to cost me more than $3 per book… used of course

In other words, I had the makings of a 2023 project in my hands, right there at the cash register.

The Three Dollar Book Club was born.

How many of these old campy books from the last century could I read through this year?

Would people be interested in semi-serious reviews of corny old books?

When could I start reading?

What I’m trying to say is that if you’re the kind of person who cooks on cast iron, spends time in the outdoors and enjoys cooking clean, simple food … are you also, maybe into vintage books? Or at least, into reading about a guy who finds himself with a small stack of three dollar used novels from the seventies and eighties?

If so, you might be in the right place. Stay tuned.

Caribbean Star Wars Day & That Yoda Guy

It’s Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you.

And back in February of 2013, we had a weird and wonderful Star Wars morning on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin (or Sint Maarten).

While the idea of big ship cruising these days seems about as fantastic as starships and galaxies far, far away, eight years ago we splurged and spent seven days on one of those mega cruise ships touring a short list of tropic islands.

On one of those islands we found an unlikely science fictional cultural touchstone.

for whatever one photo is worth:

From where I stand Nick Maley, “that Yoda Guy” seems to be living the dream.

After a successful career doing special effects for over fifty movies, including co-creating the puppetry work that brought Yoda to life, he semi-retired to a tropical island and opened a museum to showcase his life’s work.

He also sells prints of his personal paintings… one of which hangs framed on the wall of my living room. A sunset over the water.

That is roughly the extent of my knowledge of Mr. Maley. Though I do seem to remember nodding a friendly greeting to him back in 2013 when, on a morning off-ship walkabout in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten a few kilometers from the docks, my wife and I stumbled upon the “that Yoda Guy” museum and exhibit in a sand-coloured mos-eisley-esque building adorned with multiple colourful signs beaconing lost Star Wars fans hither into it’s mysterious realms.

It’s not a big exhibit.

At least it wasn’t when we visited in 2013.

The website says that they expanded in 2016, and that Mr. Maley was honoured by Lucasfilm for his work that same year. The tone of the museum space was part Caribbean art shop, part Star Wars artifact collection, and part examination of the lifelong quest for the proprietor to reclaim the credit for his work for which he seemed to have been unfairly deprived. I hope he found his due, and perhaps 2016 marked a new chapter in that legitimacy he seemed to be seeking.

We brought our art back to the ship and later that day we went snorkeling and ate a big buffet meal back on the boat. That night the massive ship fled out of the Sint Maarten harbour like a rebel transport ship off to the next destination in the inky star-filled blackness of a nighttime sea.

If your nerdy self happens to dock in Sint Maarten and you need an hour break from shopping for perfume, diamonds or tacky souvenirs, you can’t go wrong embracing the sunny side of the force and paying that Yoda Guy a visit. It’s a sequel I’d like to see myself.