As Leah intimated, I'm going back to school. They let me in, and more importantly they let me in in time for me to attend the first day of classes, which will be this Tuesday. There was some doubt that I had managed the timing correctly, but happily everything worked out fine. I planned to write a celebratory post, but unfortunately before I had a chance to do so the wind was taken out of my sails by a heretofore forgotten-by-me feature of university life, to wit, buying textbooks.
Yes, I went into the bookstore with my class list clutched in my hands, ready to experience anew the joy of learning, only to be hit by a series of crushing blows as I noticed the reading list for each sucessive course. $93.95 here, $110.30 there... it really adds up! Considering the semester's imminent start, however, I had choice but to hand over the cash (in the form of invisible plastic dollars, of course). But as soon as I got home I was on the internets checking out Amazon and Half.com (of which I have heard much in the past couple days, strangely enough). Just about every book I had to buy was cheaper on the line; unable to resist, I ordered every title that was more than $15 cheaper, and in the end I saved myself about a hundred bucks. That is, assuming the campus bookstore lets me take back the volumes I got from them. If not, um, my plan will have worked less well.
I don't have to say here that this textbook business is a big scam. In my online searching I noticed that, while the latest volume of any given work was selling for some $77.00, last year's version was around twenty-five dollars. That's a big difference. I was tempted, but who knows if some vital bit of information was added in the new edition that will make all the difference on the final?! Plus, they change the cover: if I show up in class with the 9th ed. when everyone else has the 10th they'll all know how poor I am. Curse those greedy professors and the publishing companies that support their evil ways!