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I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up to Some Good - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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July 16th, 2005

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02:06 am - I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up to Some Good
A little after eleven, I headed to Borders to crash the Harry Potter release party and beat up someone and steal a copy. Or look at hot women and admire costumes.

I walked in, and the place was rather packed. People everywhere. There was a line for people to pick up a ticket for their reservation or make a new reservation. No one in an obvious costume yet.

I wandered around for a couple minutes until I noticed a little boy sitting down dressed as Harry. He even had a little wand. Of course he had the scar; the scar was a pretty common decoration, although the placement was rather variable. I told him he was the first, just as a witch walked past us. As I stood there, he said to his father, "You know what's going to be so good? Curling up with the new book." It was the cutest thing ever.

After every sentence in this entry, just assume I notice an attractive girl. It will cut down the number of words.

The sign at the entrance had advertised activities, but it seemed the activities had fizzled out as midnight drew near. As I saw upstairs, they were pretty kiddie-oriented anyway, involving crayons and coloring and the like.

More people in interesting attire now. Hogwarts shirts, both official and homemade. An "I *heart* Draco Malfoy" shirt. A white shirt with writing in permanent marker. "I'd rather be playing Quidditch." A rather hot woman in a black shirt with a cursive white "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" on the front and "Mischief managed" on the back. A cloak here, a witch's hat there. Harry Potter glasses here, a Hogwarts uniform there. I smiled at each new one I saw because I appreciated the love, the passion that drives people to dress up. I recognized one girl, but I couldn't remember her name or how I knew her. Her name turned out to be Rachel.

I totally saw an Indian guy with a white girlfriend. I should tell my mom on him. I also saw a white guy with a white girlfriend, which is a more common sight. She was trying to explain why she loved the books. "They're just good stories," she kept repeating. He said he tried to read the first book, but after the first three chapters, he gave up. He didn't understand what was so good about them. "They're just good stories," she said. He said no one would ever give him a real answer. "They're good stories," she said, "I like the good storytelling"--and she said the magic word and thus the urge to make out was rising.

In another area of the store, I came across five girls all dressed up. A couple in Hogwarts uniforms, one with a homemade "Weird Sisters" shirt, and a couple witches, I think. "You guys definitely win," I said. "For costumes, I've been looking at people's costumes, but I haven't seen...this. Good coordination."

Girl #4 thanked me and said, "We don't get anything, for our costumes."

"You get my respect," I said with my hand on my heart. "Which is...pretty valuable currency these days."

Since there was still time before midnight, I checked out the Shaman Drum shindig, which was...a little more low-key. There was a little jazz band and some refreshments. I had some Oreos and Ohana Lemonade (Ohana means family, and lemonade means high fructose corn syrup with lemon flavoring).

Back at Borders, I marvelled at the phenomenon around me. Here were hundreds of people of all ages, excited as all get-out. All joined together by a common bond. Not for a movie, not for a sports event, not for a celebrity sighting. But for a book. For words on a page that tell a story.

Midnight drew closer, and I explained to strangers how the different lines worked, because I like talking to random people when it works out okay. The first fifty people were lined up to buy the book. Thirty minutes. Fifteen minutes. Six short minutes, though I did not think those minutes would be any shorter than sixty seconds each. One minute.

And then the entire store counted down from ten. Nine. Eight. I joined in, seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Cheers abounded. It was at this point that I realized I needed to go back in time and PhonePost, because that's just the sort of thing you want to preserve in mp3 format.

The very first book was brought out all special to be sold, and they were off. I stayed for a few more minutes to get a glimpse of the actual book before I left. I collect in paperback; I would borrow the book from someone else as soon as I could.

We've only got one more of these. A couple years from now, your local bookstores will be organizing one last gathering. And regardless of your opinion of the books, whether you think they're crap, whether you think they're okay but overrated, whether you don't understand them, I urge you to go. Absorb the atmosphere. Feel the excitement. Witness the kind of happiness a great story can engender in people.

Because sometimes, you just need to smile.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Current Music: Oasis - Don't Look Back in Anger

(34 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")


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[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 06:55 am (UTC)
I've never been to one, but I agree, I may have to for the last one. Mainly because how you described it is just amazing. And like you said, all of this over a book, words on paper. But to me my books, my stories (much like my television shows) let me become someone else, if only for a little while. It is a little escape and I love that. I've got my copy waiting for me to read (went to Wal-mart though, cheaper and smaller lines) and will probably be up the next couple of hours reading. Thanks for this post though, it brought a smile to my face.
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 07:00 am (UTC)
Glad to bring a smile!
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 07:27 am (UTC)
I was working our party. When they wheeled the books out, people cheered and took my picture just because I was standing near them. It was wild. I agree, everyone should experience it. All that love for a book makes my heart happy. :)
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 07:30 am (UTC)
You are cool. :>
Date:July 16th, 2005 08:07 am (UTC)
Ohana means family, and lemonade means high fructose corn syrup with lemon flavoring

Dude, you're awesome, really.

Thanks for recapping the event, sounded like great fun.
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 11:59 am (UTC)
I totally saw an Indian guy with a white girlfriend. I should tell my mom on him.
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
Gah! They are not celebrating a good book! They are celebrating subtle seductions that corrupt the Christian faith in tiny, vulnerable souls! The Holy Father says so!

That little boy wasn't cute, he was cut off from God, the source of Love and Hope! That bookstore was a celebration of losing the spirit of discernment between good and evil and lacking the necessary strength and knowledge to withstand the temptations to evil! No wonder there was a mixed-race couple! YOU DRANK THE LEMONADE, SUNIL!

*cries at the spectacle*

*was too lazy to go to a party or get a book last night*

*suspects the Pope is bitter because JKR didn't send him a complimentary copy*
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)

Goodness, I read that article about the Pope and lost all "Well, maybe he'll be all right" vibes I was attempting to work up for him. You try to give some people a chance and they repay you by saying that fantasy books are the work of the Devil. (which particularly confuses me, since I write them. *needs to go find a Satan's Handmaiden t-shirt just to tick off the Pope*) ;-)

Anyway, the party sounded really fun-- we ordered the book from amazon.com, so I'll be snatching it once it arrives, if I can get it before my mother does, which is unlikely.
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
The countdown? Best thing ever.

I almost wish someone hadn't preordered the book for me. BECAUSE IF THE MAIL DOES NOT GET HERE SOON, I WILL DIE. TEH END.
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 02:45 pm (UTC)
Very fun recap of the event. While I'm not any sort of HP fan* I can always appreciate fandom and general excitement of this sort.

There are things we look forward to every day; a night out, a certain movie, a nice vacation, etc., etc. -- but there aren't many things that are unique and strangely special. Something like the release of the last Star Wars movie or the final unleashing of a new Harry Potter book. Just makes me happy to see people get so excited about something, because that excitement's not based on marketing or greed or cynicism. It's just normal folks really psyched for the next chapter in their favorite story. Fun stuff across the board, and especially cool because in this day and age; to have kids excited to READ (something, anything!) is cause for celebration

(* Read the first book once; liked it quite a bit, but didn't go nutty for it. I do plan to re-read #1 and then move on from there. I just don't know when. Thought the first two movies were fairly entertaining and neat-o, but neither really struck me on a personal level. The third movie was the best yet, and I do look forward to #4. I still say Gilliam should have directed the first movie.)
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC)
Well said.

And yeah, I do suggest giving it another go, especially since you did actually like the first one. I think the second one is underrated; I like it because it's much darker than the first one, already. I love the third one for its ridiculously excellent plotting. And the last two have really raised the stakes as far as the Voldemort conflict and how it affects the entire magical community.
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC)

Sunil! Suniliman! Sunil-my-knight-will-come! Polter-Cow! Polter-Cowicus! Polter-Cowenstein!

Sorry, just trying to be like that Making Copies guy on SNL.

Anyway, awesome. You were Drinking the Lemonade, man. (Not exactly the same connotations as Drinking the Kool-Aid, but close.) The Cult of Harry Potter has you in their grasp. Soon, their plan for world domination will come to fruitation. Or so I imagine.

I missed going to a bookstore, mainly because I was really, really tired. But! Harry and the Potters will be playing at Vromans on August 3. I want to be there.
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Sunil! Suniliman! Sunil-my-knight-will-come! Polter-Cow! Polter-Cowicus! Polter-Cowenstein!

Heh. I finally listened to them yesterday. They're...not very good. Musically or vocally, at least. The lyrics are obviously amusing.

"Oh my God, you look like a frog!"
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)

I admit I have never read any of the HP books, but I did have fun (drunkenly) queuing with my mate for his copy last night.

Random girls dressed up in the queue:

[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 04:03 pm (UTC)

Heh. Why haven't you read them?! You're a Brit, isn't it your sworn duty? But I'm glad you had a good time at the release. Cause it totally proves my point!
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
That sounds awesome, like an experience. I think I'll have to do that for the last one.

I picked up my copy this morning, but I'm being strong and not letting myself read it until I re-read the other five. I'm partway through number 2 so it may be a little bit, but I know it'll make Half Blood Prince that much better.

(Then I'm going to return my copy to the bookstore and wait until it's out in paperback to buy my real copy. But shhhhhh don't tell!!!)
Date:July 16th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
God. Harry Potter makes fandoms go KA BOOM.
[User Picture]
Date:July 16th, 2005 08:47 pm (UTC)
Aww, now I wish I had gone to one instead of the party I went to. This sounds like so much fun! I will definitely go to a party for the last one. Hmmm. Maybe I'll dress up as Tonks.
[User Picture]
Date:July 17th, 2005 12:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for the well-done recap! I'll also have to check out the event for the next release. I'm exactly like that person upthread here who read the first, liked it, hasn't read the rest yet, but is planning to, and enjoyed all the movies.
[User Picture]
Date:July 17th, 2005 03:44 am (UTC)
I went to a Borders party, it was sooo cool! I wanted to get my face painted, but there was a hella line. I felt underdressed with just my scar. : ( But! I finished the book a couple of hours ago, and all the lack of sleep was totally worth it.

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