Tuesday, July 17, 2007

harry potter and the book seven spoilers

there's a death toll at the end of harry potter and the deathly hallows, and i know every name (worth knowing) on the list.

i figure that at this point, its pretty much all anyone talks about when it comes to the book these days, so i might as well get it out of the way before moving on to the stuff that matters... like, what happens in the rest of the book? how does it end? who sleeps with who (things i still don't know, and don't WANT to know)?

there was a link on the drudgereport to a page at torrent freak with another link to a page that pretty much lays out the last potter novel in a format so succinct that would make cliff hillegass blush.

i'm pretty used to spoilers by now, being the web-loving media-loving geek i am (i knew about the big death at the end of book six well before it hit my shelf, and i wasn't even looking for that one). in fact, at times i'm rather fond of them. knowing what i'm getting into before i spend my money on that movie ticket or book doesn't diminish the pleasure of experiencing a real moment with characters i have grown to love .

it all comes down to the fact that i don't really care if i know who dies at the hands of whom before it happens in the book or movie. what matters to me is HOW it happens (i still cringe at the end of joss whedon's serenity every time a certain beloved character meets his untimely demise).

death comes to everyone, that much is guaranteed. what i want to know is will j.k. rowling put me there with these characters when their time comes? is their death noble? justified? unjust? will it fill me with hope or despair? these are the moments i look forward to most.

btw, i would NEVER ruin the book for anyone else. i completely respect other people's wishes to remain "pure" for the moment of truth... these are just my opinions on the matter.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

holy fucking shit

it's a few minutes before four pm on thursday, july the fifth, and i'm walking along spring street in downtown los angeles. i've just taken my first peek inside what i'm told used to be the los angeles stock exchange. the building has a beautiful stone facade on the outside, but inside it looks like a cross between the death star and a trailer home from the 1970's.

i love it.

my car is parked on main street, just a little ways up from where spring and main meet. until earlier that afternoon, i didn't even know the two streets weren't totally parallel. i had meant to pick up some bike parts from maestro (on main) and then have a coffee with bri (at lost souls on fourth), then circle around (back up spring) to where my car was parked at a broken meter (lucky for me, being out of change) just a few yards down (again, on the main street side) from the angelique cafe, which is smack on the most acute corner of that little isocelese triangle-shaped block.

as i approach angelique, i notice that two of the women who work there are already packing in the small sections of white picket fence used to barricade off their patio area. the sun is shining, downtown is beautiful, and these ladies are going home.

i reach the patio just in time to see a grey pontiac cutlass heading north on main blow a tire, skid out of control, jump the main street side curb at about 20 miles per hour, glance off of a street light, and plow through the angelique cafe employee who not a second before was standing just ten feet from me, minding his own business stacking chairs and probably thinking about how he was going to spend the rest of his day.

i swear to God - he was there, and then he was gone. it was all over in about three seconds.

one of the women who was cleaning up comes running out of the cafe. what happened? what happened? where is jim? (speaking spanish)

the other woman (who is standing next to me) shakes her head. we exchange blank stares. like myself, she's still in the middle of processing what just happened. her coworker rushes back inside, where the wreckage of the cutlass is visible through a couple of large picture windows. the picture windows have those metal security gates on them that roll up like blinds, and the one closest to me has been torn completely off the building, its coiled shutters lying across the trunk of the cutlass, having shattered the rear window completely.

she stumbles back outside in tears. jim is not well. i spot the baseball cap on the sidewalk where he had been standing and i suddenly remember what i saw.

i take out my phone and start to dial 9-1-1, but someone inside the cafe has already been connected with a dispatcher. by now, not more than a minute after the incident, people are rushing to the scene, either to satisfy their curiosity or to help. i do the only thing i can possibly think of.

i walk away, retracing my steps down spring to a small beauty parlor about half a block back. i cut through the parlor, whose patrons have already emptied onto the main street sidewalk for a look-see and walk up to my truck, which is just a few paces down from where the cutlass came to a stop.

from this side i can see that after the cutlass slammed into jim, it travelled down the sidewalk another ten feet, scraping the driver's side of the car up against the brick facade of the cafe. i can't see through the windshield (it too is shattered, but intact). it looks like a wood beam or something has pierced it close to the driver's side. the front passenger wheel is shredded.

the whole scene is fairly beliwidering. angelique's kitchen staff seemed to have been in the middle of gathering up the day's baked goods for storage or disposal when the accident occured. they've dropped the bags of baguettes and rolls next to cafe's back door and rushed to assist jim, who seems to be pinned between the car and the wall and a stack of tables and chairs. a woman is sitting on the curb next to my car, crying hysterically and bleeding from head wound as three samaritans try to keep her calm.

just a few feet from the cutlass's front bumper, amongst the toppled patio furniture and forgotten bread, another hat lies on the concrete filled with what looks like spaghetti sauce and broken pottery.

at this point, it seems like the situation is as under control as its going to get until the fire department and medical assitance arrives. i'm about to get into my car when i notice a homeless man surreptitiously sidestep the hysterical woman on the curb, tiptoe around the hat filled with spaghetti sauce and pottery chips (oh God, i hope that's what it is), and casually swipe three baguettes from the bags the kitchen staff had dropped. he slips away unnoticed.

i drive back down main street to spring and fourth. i'd been arguing with bri earlier, and now i just wanted to tell her i loved her. up in her editing bay, i can hear the sounds of sirens racing up spring towards angelique and i feel a deep sense of remorse for not having acted in a helpful manner when the accident initially occured.

at this point the most i can do is give the police my information and volunteer myself as a witness, which is exactly what i did. the least i can do is go back to angelique next week and offer my support, any kind of support, which is what i plan to do. if anyone out there reading this lives downtown or happens to be a regular angelique customer, a little extra neighborhood/patronly support probably wouldn't hurt these nice folks.

between now and then, i'm just hoping that jim is all right.

or is it joe?

(photo by eric richardson; used under creative commons)