The Other Change of Hobbit

OK, which one of you cleans the catbox?

Meet the Staff

There have been many faces behind the counter at The Other Change of Hobbit -- here are some of them in their own words:

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The Last Standing Partner:

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Dave Nee (mis-)manages the store, juggles at least two other lives, posts store updates to FaceBook, and has fallen behind in keeping the website current. This bio is seriously in need of having been Under Construction.

[Tom wrote this piece about Dave for Minicon 34 second Progress Report, October 1998. Deb wrote a more detailed bio for the Program Book, but it doesn't appear to have been posted online.]

And you can read, see (and hear) Dave at Berkeley Patch .

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The Other Two Founding Former Partners:

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Tom Whitmore, one of the three partners, has been a columnist for Locus, assistant chair of a Worldcon, and has won trivia contests at several worldcons, generally while working on them. He loves finding lost stories for people. In his spare time, he's also been a statistician for the Department of Energy, a tech writer, an art dealer and a researcher.

If you want to find him, e-mail here.

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Debbie Notkin is mulling over the fact that she's been in fandom for almost 25 years, and was a partner in The Other Change of Hobbit for 18 (longer if you include its precursor, The Portable Bookstore). She promises to keep all the mistakes of that quarter-century in mind for the next 25 years, and see how many of them she can avoid (you get to count how many new ones she invents). Since she left the partnership, she has attempted to exercise her legendary ability for keeping her mouth shut and not intruding in the operations of the bookstore. (You don't believe this? Well, she said the ability was legendary; she, ummm, just didn't repeat what the legends actually say.)

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Current Staff:

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Jan Murphy
In Real Life:
hoarder of books and trivia
In Bookstore Life:
Mail Order Maven;
Mover of Books;
Paper-juggler and Problem Solver
In Previous Life:
BA Classical Studies;
MA Linguistics
Employed at OCH for: a long, long time
Has read SF and Fantasy for: even longer
Home 'directory':
the office, aka The Attic or Shelob's Lair
Also found in: the basement, aka Khazad-dûm
to send books all over the world

"What's it like to work in a bookstore?"

It's like having Christmas every week! There are two great things about working here. Unpacking the new books when they come in is always a treat. Finding the new books that I have been eagerly waiting for is great; finding surprises that I didn't know about is even better. Okay, I'm weird, I'm the geeky kid with glasses who enjoyed shelving books in the library. But I like handling all the books, and somebody has to do it. Basically when the books come into the store in the first place, or when they leave the store on their way to you, I'm the one checking the list to make sure the stack of books I have under my hand is what it is supposed to be.

Happy reading!

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OCH Staff Alumni:

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I got a good start in a life-long love of reading fantasy & science fiction when my mother named me after one of the main characters in Robert Nathan's Portrait of Jennie (fortunately choosing the long form, rather than the diminutive). Being read the Narnia books and The Hobbit at a young & impressionable age only confirmed this love :-).

I am among the ranks of the Thoroughly Educated (and I like the Oz books, too) having gotten a BA in History and Drama from Ripon College in Wisconsin, and a M.Div from The Church Divinity School of the Pacific, here in Berkeley. I will, as a result, happily make recommendations of books that deal with theology & the like, and will expound at length if you let me. :-)

I am a media fan too -- Doctor Who, Babylon 5, Blake's 7, even the Original Star Trek.

I am usually to be found in the store on Saturdays, as I also work full time as a technical writer for Sybase.

In the rest of my spare time (hah!) I am a costumer - competing at the master level, but mostly just for fun - a published poet (see Walking to Bablyon by Kate Orman, Feb 98) and bookaholic. Other interests include the SCA, where I am known as Wander Riordan, music and trains.

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Jay is a Bolivian Dictator living in Berkeley CA. until such time as his plans for world domination come to fruition. His main nemesi are Chocolate-covered Espresso Beans and an unending desire for the perfect cup of coffee. Ironically, these are also the things that keep him up late into the wee hours planning World Domination. His current plan is simple, everyone can stay home, and we'll send you checks; If you're interested, there's also a Direct Deposit setup and a 401 (k).

Jay the Bolivian Dictator came to Berkeley mostly because he was a bad dictator, a touch strapped for cash, and needed a cup of coffee right then. Finding employment at a retail store in Berkeley seemed like a good idea at the time. What he planned on was to use such a perfect situation to subvert the people who come into the store to his Ways. What he found that he had a natural affinity for finding the right kind of book for whoever comes into the store; such is the pity of being a Dictator.

Jay is also currently looking for an Honest to Life real Nemesis. If you are interested in such a part, don't go anywhere, Fate has a way of making the Hero and Villain meet. Parts are negotiable.

Jay the Bolivian Dictator might be changing his profession soon, Jay the Retail Clerk is starting to sound better and better every day.

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Yeah, I'm Shawn. I've been reading science fiction for a few years, and I sell books. I started reading S.F. when I was about nine with my mother's collection. Mostly I love good space opera, when it's done well it can be excellent. Also I like anything with the feel of classic S.F. During the time of Heinlein, before he became a dirty old man, there was a sense of wonder in S.F. Anything which has that sense of wonder, or explores new ground is great. That's about all I can say.

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In theory I was the first non-store employee at OCH -- i.e., I was not a regular customer, I had never slept with anyone in that world wide network called 'friends of the partners,' nor had I ever taken a bullet for any famous sf authors. This was the first lie.

Actually, I was gestated by the group mind of OCH Partners -- and customers -- this is not necessarily a good thing. Immediately upon birth (5/10/95) complete with false memories of a degree in English Lit. from SUNY Buffalo, Technicolor subtitles to an anime upbringing in suburbia, and an abiding interest in various Fortean events, I had an accident with a freak tachyon emission from a Doctor Who book I was using to club a Robert Jordan fan who was insisting that it was within my power to get the next Wheel of Time published faster. The stray tachyon interacted with the Schwa Alien Detector creating a wormhole, and I found myself handing a resume to a predatory creature behind the counter of the First Incarnation of OCH . . .

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. . . prefers to remain mysterious.

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Mad Prof. Mike was born in Buffalo, New York in 1964, the youngest of nine children. His interest in horror is, therefore, self-evident.

Stupidly, and out of a naiveté only a middle class college boy in the early 80's could muster, he pursued a career as a Medieval historian. One year of graduate school kicked that idea right out of him. Since then, he's worked as a bouncer, a roadie, a Punk Rock DJ, a college writing instructor, an apartment building manager, and rare book dealer. This wide array of positions either makes him a Renaissance Man, or someone who can't hold a steady job.

You pick.

Currently, besides working at Other Change of Hobbit, he is a nationally syndicated Horror movie reviewer on, and Associate Producer of, Movie Magazine, which is heard in 88 markets over The Public Radio Satellite Network. His horror movie reviews can also be found in the Punk Rock Magazine, MAXIMUM ROCK'N ROLL.

He also writes horror, and will have a particularly twisted piece, "Winter Requiem," in the forthcoming Harper/Prism anthology Immortal Unicorn, edited by Peter Beagle and Janet Berliner.

Read his reviews on this home page.

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In a world of Techno-Shamans, Jocka-Warriors, and Upper-clords, live a few souls who dabble but never Fooly succeed in all. And I have been called such a Fool.

I journeyed in the Eastern Kingdom called New York for most my life and found a Beautiful Princess whose heart I (with a little bit of Magickal thievery) stole . . . For a Fool is the ultimate thief . . . the thief of Emotions. But in such a Realm as the Princess', a Fool is only a Fool if he knows not that he is a Fool and it soon came to pass that I forgot who and what I was.

In desperation, the Princess, whose love was bound to the Fool's, set me free so that I might be what I was anew. So I wandered in search of those things which I was. I apprenticed under a Jocka-Warrior . . . had a Skeeve stint as a Techno-Shaman. But it soon came down to a Wanderlust in search of a Jungian shadow.

So I travel to a legendary Techno-Shaman I knew in a Fantasy Land called Berkeley and began to train in finding What Was Lost. Now all that I have known has been stripped away: my mind . . . my body . . . my essence . . . gone . . . underneath a shadow phoenix is born to grow and develope in its own true path.

The Other Change of Hobbit is my Temple . . . all are my teachers . . . to labor from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn . . . my experiences are the path to in sanity in which I now have achieved. And I once more am the Dabbler, Physical Hacker, Dreamer, Ultimate Thief . . . the Fool! Join the Fantasy . . . Enjoy the Insanity . . . My Will is True -- How about Yours?

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Kumari was rhetoric major at UC Berkeley. She graduated in '95 and moved to Los Angeles. Since then she has worked for KPBS, The WB Television Network and Warner Bros. Studios. She finally found the most odd and obscure job you could possibly imagine, testing audio on film trailers for the Motion Picture Association of America and doing other weird post production related stuff at THX (a division of Lucasfilm Ltd.). Her favorite job of all time is, and will always be, working the front counter at The Other Change of Hobbit.

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Born 06/08/66. Two earliest memories: picking my nose while sitting on top of a washing machine in Rhode Island and drawing a story about Snoopy robbing a bank--kind of a good dog turned bad thing.

1969-1981: The formative years, learned to dislike my parents, read a lot of SF (mostly Heinlein, Niven, Burroughs, Norton and Anderson), was outcast by my peers, developed strong, irrational feelings of hatred toward authority figures, and wrote some crappy fiction.

1982-1988: Perfected the art of alienating women.

1989-1990: Worked on Greenpeace silly putty reclamation project in southern New Jersey.

1991-1993: Not telling.

1993-1995: Involved in extensive research linking AD&D and the lack of sexual activity in teenage boys. Present: I am at work on a Star Trek novel entitled Space Zombies and the Secret of the Forbidden Gum.

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(Worked in 1980, summer break after my first year in college). I was a friend of a friend of the founding three. I'd been a regular customer since 77. By the end of the summer I had filled in a lot of gaps in my sci-fi reading list (the big discovery for me that summer was Gordon Dickson's Dorsai series). In those years, OCH was located in the cellar of a parking garage just off Telegraph Ave. The great thing about its location was the proximity to the Cheese Shop. I still remember fondly those wonderful, not to mention inexpensive, sandwiches...

I started reading science fiction in third grade: Andre Norton's early works, Alan E. Norse's books, Robert A. Heinlein's novels from the 50's, and...The Lord of the Rings. I read it for the first time when I was around 9 years old, it has continued to shape my life to this day. I still read SF and Fantasy and I sometimes put reviews of my favorite books up on my web site.

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Special Accounts


Lost Stories


The Other Change of Hobbit
email to:
SnailMail: 1600 Kearney St, Ste A, El Cerrito CA 94530-2119 USA
Phone: 510-848-0413 or 510-OKHOBBI(T)

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