Sunday, July 17, 2005

If you give a mouse a cookie...

...he's going to want a glass of milk.

Similarly, if you gave me a copy of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", I'm going to read it. Try as I might with all my will power, once the book was in my possession, I'd use nearly every free moment I have to enjoy Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts.

How'd I get charmed by the young wizard's spell? Good question. We're going back. Way back. Back into time.

It's August 2003. This was my last summer staying at my parents' place in the Marshall Islands. The Army Corps of Engineers had no need for me anymore, since they had managed to hold onto a secretary for the past year, and she would not be leaving on vacation at any time during the summer. So, I got stuck helping to watch kindergarters (and a few older kids in the late afternoon). On the shelf, lay that first Potter book.

So, what the hell? I was bored off my ass anyway. I started reading. I had already seen the movie (one of the perks of my dad supervising the video rental place and bringing home the newest DVD's before they were made available to the general public). Took me a few days to read it.

Then, my dad brings home two books. Numbers 1 and 4. Both hardcover. And of no use, since I had already, and only, finished the first. I needed another book. So, I bought the second one. Sadly, I was only able to find it in paperback. My goal was to read it on the plane trip back to Fargo. I finished the second one somewhere between Honolulu and Fargo, so I picked up the third in the airport bookstore (don't even remember what city that was). Then, the fourth. Finished all four with the month of August.

This was also the summer that #5 came out. I was having a little trouble finding it. So, my boss and friend Dave let me borrow his copy (or was it his roommates...?). During a Labor Day Weekend trip to a friend's cabin, I started the fifth book and finished it in about a week.

I wouldn't necessarily say that I enjoyed the books. Maybe more satisfied than anything else. Proud that I had actually read a book for the first time in years. What truly made the whole experience enjoyable was having someone to discuss it with. My friend Jim's girlfriend, Becky, was a big fan of the series. When she was at the lake cabin, and subsquently during her visits to Fargo, I would go off on what I liked and didn't like about the stories. Like my problems with Quidditch. Rowling's great writing style. Other things that I can't recall at this time.

In the day or so leading up to the release of this newest book, I thought it might be fun to go to one of the many local stores in Fargo for the midnight openings. Just to find amusement in saying that I was there when it went on sale. Kind of like Star Wars nerds lining up for weeks before the movie opens. Better yet, sell my spot in the line for a quick $20, then go to the end of the line and do it again. But I never acted upon this. I wasn't THAT desparate for it. Or bored for that matter.

So, I was in Target today, picking up a few things, when I saw that they still had like 40-50 copies on their shelves. I'm guessing they started with about 60 or 80. On sale for $17. What the hell. I'll eventually have to buy it and read it anyway (although I never got around to buying Order of the Phoenix yet).

Waiting for my favorite TV show, Stargate SG-1, to come on. I started reading it. And I fear I won't be able to put it down until I finish it. I'll reserve it for those moments when I'd normally read the paper at work during my lunch break. Or when there's nothing good on TV. Maybe a chapter before I go to bed. I just hope it doesn't interfere with anything else I need to do.

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