That’s One Scary Ninja Turtle

I grew up a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, reveling in their wacky cartoon adventures, thrilled at the live action movies (only the first two, never saw the third, and only saw the second the one time). But as I grew up, the Turtles became less cool and more slapstick — what kind of a disincentive is it for a bad guy to wake up in a dumpster the next morning, sore all over, smelling vaguely of anchovy pizza?

Well, there’s a new TMNT movie in the works, set for next year, and if this is representative of the film, this ain’t going to be a kid’s movie:

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Rather, it’ll be based on the Eastman & Laird original comics. You know: the ones where if you pull a knife on a Ninja Turtle, you’re going to not wake up in a dumpster smelling of anchovy pizza, because they fucking slaughtered your stupid ass.

(Also, that is one scary fucking turtle).
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Weight: Week Seven (pretty soon, I’m going to have to start cutting some extra notches in this here belt)

I can’t help but feeling that last week could’ve been a better weight loss week for me. Maybe if I hadn’t had that beer last night. Or the bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries for dinner.

In terms of walking, last week was golden. Every night, with one exception, that I worked at the Bookstore I walked home: Monday night, Tuesday night, Thursday night, Friday night. Wednesday I went to see Kick Ass at The Uptown with a coworker, technically, I walked home from Cleveland Park, but that’s just over half a mile, so nothing to crow about. Saturday and Sunday I walked to work both days, and Saturday I even walked home, although my feet ached and my legs felt like rotten timber ready to collapse from within: literally, when I stepped out of the store and checked the NextBus app and saw that the bus would be at the nearest stop — a block away — in zero minutes, I could almost feel myself cry. I seriously contemplated waiting the ninety-six minutes for the next L2 after that.

But in the end, I sucked it up. And I walked. And my feet ached and my legs hurt, but somehow I made it home, that last block always seeming to be the very longest, when I can see my building like a mirage in the distance, drawing me to it with its sheer presence, yet never actually being there.

Until, y’know, I stumble up the front steps and somehow manage to haul myself into the elevator, knowing how much it’s going to hurt when the doors open five floors later, and I’ve got to continue my homeward trek on its last, brief bit.

And then there was Sunday night, where my folks came into DC to take me out to dinner, and coincidentally, leave me my old car (now my dad’s) for the week while they travel west. Never fear: this isn’t going to impact my walking schedule as much as the rainy weather will. Truly, it’s only indicative that I live a very boring life. Guess what my big, super awesome plans are for a week with access to a vehicle?

I’m going to go to Petsmart (cat litter), Target (toilet paper), and IKEA (bookshelf). All this, even though my first day off since April 3rd is arriving this coming Saturday.

That’s it. Those are my fantastically exciting plans for having a car for the next eight days.

I really am boring, aren’t I?

In any case, perhaps it was the bacon cheeseburger that tacked on an extra pound at the end of the week: today, I weighed myself at 241.5, which is a drop of one and a half pounds since last week, and seventeen and a half total since I started this whole endeavor (back on March 4th). I’m mentally gearing myself up for some long walks this week, and I’m quite determined to be below 240 one hundred and sixty-eight hours from now.

People Who Use “Nazi” Too Lightly

Scrolling through Twitter’s feed (having searched for Tweets about Sarah Silverman), I was rather saddened to come across this woman’s Tweets about the event. In short, she called the staff of the store “Nazis” for not permitting photography with the guest.

horrible

Nazis.

For not permitting photography with the guest. (Um — does anyone know any actual Nazis that would host an event where the guest is a prominent Jew? Anyone? Bueller?)

At this point, I went from “saddened” to “What kind of entitlement syndrome does someone have to have to equate rules on photography with Nazism?”

Used to be, people who committed genocide were called Nazis. Now, it’s just people who work at a bookstore that want to keep the line moving as fast as possible so people aren’t standing around for four hours.

Nazis.

Lady, do you have any clue what the Nazis did? Clearly not. Between this and the Adolf Hitler videos, I think maybe people are forgetting what evil he truly represented. When you go around to calling people “Nazis” for not allowing photography, truly … well, frankly, you’ve completely lost your argument (whatever that might’ve been, “Oh, no, they’re not going to let me have my way”, perhaps?), and proved yourself to be a complete, total, and utter moron.

Entitlement = it’s a mentality, NOT A RIGHT.

It’s also highly classy that she ended her Nazi tweet with “Stay Jewish!”, having just called the staff Nazis.

In any case, since we’re all Nazis (by her estimation), I’m not sorry at all that we won’t be seeing her in the bookstore again. Goodness knows she doesn’t want to support Nazis.

As for the ironic bit: if she’d hung around at the store after having had her book signed, Sarah did actually stop on her way out to take photos with people. Crazy!

Sarah Silverman Made Grammatical Corrections to My “End of Line” Sign

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Look, there’s something you should know: the guy, at the end of the line? Holding the sign that says “End of Line”? He’s like the last person in the entire store who has any input on how the signing is run, thus, critiquing him for not suggesting an alternate procedure for people to be able to listen to Sarah Silverman speak, and then line up for signings, are possibly ideas better presented to someone else.

Also: totally not our fault. Silverman arrived, was told she had to talk, and said: “WTF.” I don’t actually know what she said, but she was just prepared to show up and sign. It was The Washington Post (or perhaps The Express) that mentioned she would be speaking (where they got that info, nobody knows – or if they do, aren’t admitting to that knowledge) and things spiraled out of control from there.

Actually, as things went, the event was pretty low key. She signs remarkably fast, and even though everything started a little behind schedule, she signed closed to 300 books in a little under an hour.

The night was remarkable for some other reasons, however:

1. A rare sighting of Who Invented Roses? The last time I saw her was when she stopped in for the Chelsea Handler event, but she assured me, no, she wasn’t here for Ms. Silverman. In any case, it’s always good to see her.

2. Years and years and years ago I worked with a guy named Matt at a Domino’s pizza shop in Jacksonville, MD (i.e.: bumfuck, MD). Well, I was standing at the End of the Line, when who should appear? Matt. He recognized me too, which was kind of odd seeing as how the last time I’d seen him (probably four or five years ago), I had hair on my head and none on my face, and now am the reverse. This is also hilarious as I’d just thought about him for the first time last week as I re-read my Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy collection, which I’d lent him when he was living on the land at the Loch Raven Reservoir. He’d returned it to me considerably dirtier, and without its dust jacket. ‘

3. Remember when I was bitching about not being paid as much as new people? Alas, my attempt to contact the CEO bore no fruit. However, pigeon-holing the DM and making my case? Totally worked. Just gotta make sure he follows through on my behalf.

4. And finally. As the event was running down, and Silverman was signing stock, one of the bike couriers who hangs around in the store started getting in her face, and our events manager tried to block him. Mr. Courier — either drunk, crazy, all of the above — didn’t take kindly to this, and it is for this reason — the crazy drunk people who want to start shit — that we have security on hand for events. He backed down real quick when the rent-a-cops and store security came up. Then he gave us evil looks as he walked out of the store as one of our LP (Loss Prevention) staff lost control: “The whole event, no problems, THE LAST GUY? THE LAST GUY HAS TO BE A DOUCHEBAG?”

I also have a souvenir of the night, the sign that I was carrying all night (now including Sarah Silverman’s grammatical corrections and approving signature):

endoflinesign

If you have absolutely no idea who Sarah Silverman is, I suggest you watch these two videos (in order):

And the hilarious (and much funnier) response:

The Downfall of the Hitler Meme

If you’re not walking around with your eyes stapled shut and your ears clogged with molten wax, you’re probably familiar with the Hitler meme based off the German film Downfall. Utilizing a clip from the movie where Hitler’s been informed that essentially, yeah, they’re all doomed and in a few days Berlin’s going to be a smoking crater, Hitler flips out and starts swearing everyone. The meme replaces the original subtitles (yes, the film itself is in German) with attacks on pop-culture, sports, Hillary Clinton, etc. (Personally, my favorite is the Risk one).

I mean, there was a time when you couldn’t go anywhere on YouTube without tripping over a Hitler meme.

But they’re disappearing. Because Constantin Films (Downfall‘s owner) doesn’t find them funny:

However, the film’s producers have failed to see the funny side, and Constantin films is now mounting a campaign to assert its copyright and have the clips removed from the site.

This is wrong for two reasons.

One – would you even know what Downfall was without the Hitler meme? I wouldn’t! But because of the Hitler meme, I stuck it on my Netflix queue, watched it, and quite enjoyed it. Free publicity, you guys! Free!

Two – well, I’m actually going to let a Hitler meme make my point for me:

Even thought it’s a parody.

Even though that’s really not Hitler.

Even though I agree with everything he’s saying … *

… it’s really disturbing to have an actor playing Hitler defending a cause you believe in (even though, really, it’s the guy writing the subtitles).

*”saying” = “subtitling”

The Castle Hrothingas – Through the Ages

I found images of the Castle Hrothingas on Brickshelf, the imaginative creation of a Lego builder I know only as “Daniel Z” (you can see his work on flickr, too). The concept of his creation is the evolution of a castle, through six distinct stages (from “rough settlement” through to “tourist attraction”).

This, as opposed to the usual Lego castle models you see, which are quite complete in all their Arthurian majesty.

So, anyhoodle, without further preamble, enjoy the pictures:

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A small settlement, a fort wall. Such humble beginnings.

stage-two
And now we’ve got stone structures. The wooden wall is also being replaced by stone. And there’s also a flimsy looking watchtower.

stage-three

The watchtower’s gone — made into stone. But there are still plenty of flimsy wooden structures. In any case, this is certainly looking like a castle (albeit one still under construction).

stage-four

Would you look at this sucker! Beautiful! (There’s also a whole folder of pictures of the castle under siege, if you’re into that violence stuff.)

stage-five

And even, in ruins, still beautiful.

stage-six

And where’s the dammed McDonald’s?

Kick Ass’s Kick Ass Score That Isn’t Actually Kick Ass’s Score

UPDATE 5/23:

The score has been released on Amazon.co.uk! If you don’t want to wait for the US release, here’s how to get it.

*** RESUME ORIGINAL POST ***

Leaving work at my regularly scheduled Bat-time, I went to the 4:20 showing of Kick Ass at my local theater: the historic Uptown, in not quite so lovely Cleveland Park (c’mon – you know it’s true).

I blogged a few weeks ago about how excited I was to see the movie, and how much I enjoyed the graphic novel. Millar’s other original graphic novel, Wanted, was turned into a pretty shitty movie, but the book itself was great: Adam West and What’s-His-Face get fed to a robotic super octopus by the super villains who killed all the world’s superheroes and secretly rule the world. (I mean, it was great for reasons more than that. My favorite line of the entire book belongs to the bad guy who, after a “good” bad guy tries to insult him with, “Go fuck a goat”, replies that he doesn’t fuck goats: he makes sweet, tender love to them.)

So, as for the movie, which I’ll touch on briefly: the movie stays very true to the graphic novel. There are some notable differences, particularly Katie’s reaction when Dave confesses the truth to her (I was expecting that to be a day-dream sequence, honestly). The movie is everything the book is: raw and violent. Some of the additions seem to have expanded to make the “hero” characters more sympathetic — i.e., Big Daddy’s wife really did die, as opposed to the graphic novel, where he just ran off with his daughter and the intention to kill lots of bad people. Still, the severed limbs and the swears are in the film, and that’s the most important part, right?

(I mean, unless you’re Roger Ebert).

Okay, so there’s also a pair of miniguns attached to a jet pack. But it fits so well with the implausibility of the entire movie, that it’s easy to get into the spirit of it all.

Oh, also, did Nick Cage do a perfect Adam West impersonation, or WHAT?

But my absolute favorite part of the movie? The score.

So, here’s a confession about me (if you haven’t figured this out already), I like movie scores. Those are the instrumental, orchestral tracks. You know what they are: John Williams’ scores for Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Jaws are so legendary, people think he also composed Back to the Future — actually, Alan Silvestri did. Throw in some Hans Zimmer, James Horner, and a whole bunch of other talented folks, and you’ve pretty much got the majority of what’s on my iPod.

And the score for Kick Ass was great: it fit so well. It was haunting and wonderful and beautiful and was making me tap my feet. That’s the hallmark of a good score: that’s why when I’m walking home after a long day at work, my pace is usually a step quicker with Zimmer’s The Chase, or Steve Jablonsky’s Optimus v Megatron.

So I was pretty disappointed when I got home and could only find the soundtrack (not the score!) for Kick Ass on iTunes.

Don’t get me wrong: there are some really great songs on the soundtrack. I’m totally grabbing Make Me Want To Die. But damn, I really wanted the score.

So I turned to Twitter, and @UrbanBohemian mentioned that the score had been temp tracked.

Basically, as the director and editors are cutting the movie into its final version, they’ll put the footage to temporary tracks — classical music, or scores from other films. I remember watching the Babylon 5 pilot at a Star Trek convention (yes, yes, I know*) several months before B5 aired, and when it finally aired, all I could think was that I preferred the version I’d seen — with the wonderful James Horner’s Glory soundtrack than the music it wound up with.

With the wonderful internet researcher that I am (my secret is “Google”), I quickly found this article from Phelim O’Neill in The Guardian:

In the opening titles there’s something a little unusual. The “music composed by” credit lists four names: John Murphy, Henry Jackman, Marius De Vries and Ilan Eshkeri. Now that seemed interesting, four fairly prominent names in the soundtracking business working together on a movie. As someone who has enjoyed John Murphy’s work for Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Sunshine, I was looking forward to hearing his contribution in particular. Would it stand out from the others? Yes, it does, but for all the wrong reasons.

As the movie ramps up for the lengthy, action-packed finale the music is clearly Murphy’s. It’s Murphy’s music for 28 Days Later, one of the variants of In the House – In a Heartbeat. As the movie progresses there’s more from Murphy, what sounds like his music from Sunshine. Kick-Ass reuses his scores, his highly recognisable scores that have previously been heard not only in the movies for which they were written, but also achieved omnipresence on trailers, adverts and TV.

Pretty much realizing that my hopes for finding a complete score for the film impossible to acquire (no, really, some of the best tracks from the Indiana Jones flicks were JUST released within the last twelve months, even those films have been out for pushing thirty years), I surfed through iTunes listings for the Sunshine and 28 Days scores …

… and then I found this Facebook page, belonging to John Murphy, one of the composers whose work was used for the film.

AND! GUESS! WHAT! I! FOUND! OUT!

Kick-Ass: The Score, on iTunes April 26th. 40 tracks. You’d best believe one of those iTunes gift cards collecting dust in my pantry is getting used for this bad boy.

*If you argument is “Oh my god, you watched B5 at a Star Trek con, what is wrong with you?” or “Oh my god, you went to Star Trek conventions?” yes, yes, I know.

UPDATE 4/25: Via Murphy’s Facebook page, the score will be on iTunes May 3rd.

UPDATE 5/4: Yes, I know it’s not on iTunes. Yes, I am disappointed. No, I do not know when it will be on iTunes. I suggest checking Murphy’s Facebook page (linked just above).

The Rules For The Sarah Silverman Signing at Borders

I keep beating around the bush regarding the Bookstore I work at, but since I’ve mentioned it in the past, and it’s more an open secret than anything else, you probably know I work at a Borders bookstore. Specifically, I work at the store at the corner of 18th & L Streets Northwest, and the store which is hosting Sarah Silverman this Thursday night.

If you’re coming (or thinking of coming) to the Sarah Silverman event:

1. You need a wristband.

2. Wristbands can be obtained beginning at 8am on Thursday the 22nd at the store (18th & L NW). You must either buy a copy of her book, or bring a copy with you. Only one wristband will be distributed per book. You don’t have to buy the book at Borders, but you do need to have a book with you to get a wristband. (All copies of the book will be kept behind the counter at the registers).

3. She will only be signing her book. She will not be signing any memorabilia — she won’t be signing photos, DVDs, boobs, etc.

4. There will be no pictures with Sarah Silverman. You will be permitted to take photos from the signing line.

5. There may be a limited number of wristbands. I don’t know how many. If we’re out of wristbands, you’re out of luck. Wristbands are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Don’t call asking if we’ll hold some for you, we won’t.

6. She is speaking for about ten minutes, and then will sign. If you do not have a wristband, it is doubtful you will be able to hear her.

7. People will be allowed to begin lining up at 4pm: first come, first served. The color of your wristband will have no bearing on your place in line.

8. As of now, there is no word on when she will be departing.

9. There are trashcans throughout the store. Please do not leave your trash on bookshelves, floors, or counter space. You bring it in, you can track it out (or at least utilize any of the cafe trashcans, or the big trashcan to the right of the front door as you exit)

10. All of this is subject to change at any time, with little or no warning at all.

Also, please utilize common sense at all times.

Weight: Week Six

I had a really bad week.

Like, really bad.

Like, not just, “Oh, my day job sucks but my bookstore job rocks” kind of week, where one balances the other, but the kind of week where both jobs sucked so much I just wanted to quit both, sell all my crap on Craigslist and eBay and live as a hermit somewhere within Rock Creek Park. Like, that kind of week.

You know — the kind of week where those of us who find comfort in food (like ME) fall into old, bad habits. Like, for example, eating at Subway after 8pm, and not a sandwich with no mayo or fatty meats, but a Spicy Italian with the works, and a non-diet soda (with refills!) and a bag of Doritos on the side (sooooo good). And then, instead of walking the two miles home, being lazy enough to just jump on the bus.

Yeah, that was pretty much my whole week. I mean – I only actually ate at Subway once, but I wasn’t turning down the cake coworkers were bringing in for their birthdays, y’know? And when one tempted me with a bag of spicy Cheetos? Yeah, I ate the whole bag. In one sitting. Not one of those .99 cent bags, either, but the big $2.99 bag. My fingers were bright red for two days.

And with all of that said …

… I still lost weight. Only a pound. But any loss is no gain, right?

My sister’s wedding is two months away. So, figure, what, eight weeks? If I can maintain a weight loss of two pounds per week, I’ll exceed (slightly) my goal of losing thirty pounds. But I’ve got to stay focused on that goal. I need to get back into the habit of using iLoseIt, a great little app for my beloved Jesus Phone. I need to keep walking, as much as possible, whenever possible. To keep me focused, I went back through my archives to map my weight loss:

Week One – 6.5 lbs
Week Two – 2.5 lbs
Week Three – 3.5 lbs
Week Four – .5 lb
Last Week – 2 lbs

I weighed in at 243 today, a loss of one pound from last week, for a total of sixteen since March 4th. I’m determined to get myself back on my regular walking routine, however, and currently estimate my walking this coming week to be nineteen miles total (which will, of course, be adjusted for weather, aching right foot, and how much the Sarah Silverman event sucks).

(my first half of) April Reading List

The Once And Future King by T.H. White

Men Who Stare at Goatsby Jon Ronson

Knight Life by Peter David

Jackdaws by Ken Follett

Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I wasn’t sure what to expect from T.H. White’s The Once And Future King, but, um, I’m pretty sure I didn’t get what I was looking for. What I hoped for was a dramatic tale of King Arthur — what I got was somewhere between serious, and farcical. The first part of the book (it was originally published as four separate novels) was actually the basis for Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, and features young Wart turning into all manners of beasts. Ultimately, while a very good book, I was disappointed and underwhelmed: I sort of did want the whole grand story of Arthur and his Knights, and it just felt too much like a morality lesson. Honestly, is there any true difference between might is right and might for right? Not really.

A legitimately bizarre book — made more so by the fact that it’s non-fiction (i.e.: TRUE!) is Jon Ronson’s Men Who Stare at Goats, which chronicles Ronson’s examinations of some of the truly strange efforts the U.S. Military has made in the field of “psychic research.” Basically, it all boils down to this: once upon a time, the U.S. deceived the Soviets into thinking that the U.S. had developed “psychic warriors” capable of using their minds to do all kinds of crazy stuff — spy, kill, etc. So the Soviets said, “Holy shit! We gotta get in on this!” and developed a psychic warfare program. When the U.S. realized the Soviets were taking it seriously, they realized they had to take it seriously, too, and all kind of whacked out hippy crazy shit occurred (including, yes, the death of a goat by a man who stared at it). The movie is only loosely based on the book.

I don’t know why, but I’m feeling a King Arthur kick for whatever reason — anyway, having finished The Once and Future King, I opted to continue my King Arthur reading with Knight Life, a humurous take on the Arthurian legend, this time focusing on his return. In New York City. To run for Mayor. David’s an imaginative writer, and the story is pretty fun and quick — Merlin’s aging has regressed him to a 10-year old kid, and most of the Camelot standbys return through assorted literary tricks: Percival (the Grail Knight), Gwen, Morgan, etc. Sure, it’s all a little inconceivable, but that’s got more to do with Arthur in the first place then it does with the book’s author.

Jackdaws was my third Ken Follett book, the first being The Pillars of the Earth (AMAZING!), and my second being Night Over Water (not so amazing, honestly). I read that latter back in December, but looking at my review for it, I think I actually left out my review: so, here it is: Night Over Water = fun, but not particularly gripping. Jackdaws however, was fantastic. A week before the Allied invasion of Europe, and it’s up to a team of female Special Operations Executive agents to infiltrate a telephone switch center and destroy it, thus disabling German communications and slowing their military responsiveness. Although sometimes it feels a bit too formulaic (switching between SOE Agent-in-Charge Felicity Clairet and her German counterpart Dieter Franck), this was a page turner — a bit under 500 pages, and I read it in two days (while working both jobs!)

I’ve been wanting to re-read Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy for a while now. It’s a collection of all of Douglas Adams’ HHGTTG books into one volume, so at 800+ pages contains The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe, and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish; and Mostly Harmless. If you’ve never read this series, it’s great. True fact: I first read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (just the first book) while I was in fourth grade for an assignment. In one day. My teachers (Ms. Schwaab) apparently assumed I’d picked too easy of a read and made me pick another book and read that (can’t recall what book I chose, so it was probably dreadfully boring — I also probably read it in a day and then lied when asked how long it took me. Why, yes, I was in Catholic school for my 4th grade year). (And despite what some people might say, I thought the film was pretty darn good!)

Sweden’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

the-girl-with-a-dragon-tattoo-swedish-version

If my memory serves correctly (and it probably doesn’t), I first read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo last summer, possibly August? Also, this sentence was a lie, as it implies I’ve read the book more than once, and I have, in pure and total fact, not. (Go, read it).

Being a Bookseller, I can pretty much recite this from memory: Stieg Larsson was a Swedish journalist who investigated right-wing fringe groups in, um, Sweden. In his spare time, he wrote, and had completed three books (and was working on a fourth) when he died of natural causes. His completed books were published posthumously in Sweden, and quickly became best sellers across Europe, eventually making their way across the Pond (which is what people for reasons passing comprehension call the Atlantic Ocean) to North America where, in 2008, Stieg Larsson was the 2nd best selling fiction author (after Khaled Hossieni, he of Kite Runner fame)*.

So, due to their popularity, all three books were turned into films. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is currently playing at E-Street Cinema (follow them on Twitter here) and I finally made my way down last night for the 5pm show. And it was pretty good — from what I remember, they stayed very true to the books, and they didn’t flinch away from the book’s theme: in fact, in Sweden, it’s titled Men Who Hate Women** which, in addition to sounding like a middle school movie on how to recognize domestic violence and why you should call 911 if Daddy is doing stuff to Mommy with his belt, is pretty much the whole plot of the book, but more on that in a bit.

Larsson’s books, known as the Millennium Trilogy overseas (although not marketed as such here in the States), follow Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. He is the publisher of a left-wing magazine called Millennium, and she is a girl with a dragon tattoo who, among other things, is both a pretty fucked up individual, and, a “fucking hacker.” Cue crazy plot twists! (And spoilers for both the movie, and the book, so be warned).

There are two intertwined plots to the story: in the first, Blomkvist is fresh off a libel suit loss to a Swedish industrialist named Wennerström, and is scheduled to spend some time in jail. Before his incarceration starts, he’s hired to put his researching skills to use for another Swedish industrialist: this one, a man named Henrik Vanger (CEO of Vanger Group), who wants to find out which Vanger family member killed his niece Harriet forty years previously.

In the second plot, Salander, a researcher for a private security firm with a criminal background of her own, runs into trouble when her guardianship is transferred to a new caretaker. Now, this is sort of bizarre, but from what I understand, in Sweden, people with unsavory pasts can (even as adults) be put into a program where a “guardian” is responsible legally and financially for them. Larsson goes into this in quite a bit of detail in the book, and honestly, some of the exposition was a fucking brick wall. Fortunately, that’s skipped over in the movie (they just assume you know what it is, or can pick up the situation pretty quickly). Sadly, Salander’s new “guardian” is a pretty twisted fucker.

What Blomkvist uncovers regarding Harriet Vanger’s disappearance is a string of religious themed murders. And that’s pretty disturbing, but not quite so much as what’s going on in the other plot, as Salander is the unwitting participant in two pretty graphic rape scenes — in the first, she’s forced to perform oral sex, in the second, she’s beaten and sodomized. By the time you get to the third rape scene (where Salander pretty brutally flips the table on her guardian), you’re not really cringing when she rams a huge dildo up his ass (then kicks it into place).

Eventually, both plots intertwine and, wow, does this movie (and the book, for that matter) suffer from the syndrome of “will you just conclude already?”, as possibly best seen in The Return of the King. That said, yes, the happy ending (if you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about) got me to choke and tear up a bit.

The good news is, that if you haven’t yet seen the movie, you’ve still got the opportunity: while E Street had been concerned that today (yes, today) would be their last day to show the film, judging from their online schedule, they’re going to have it through April 20th (and possibly beyond). If you didn’t go see it (I know this blogger did, because I saw her in the lobby; and I know this blogger wants to) go sooner (not later). Wikipedia’s entry on the film series also includes this awesome nugget of information: The film was released in the United States on March 19th, 2010 by Music Box Films, which will also release the second and third films in the trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, later in 2010.

Point of order: yes, the movie is almost entirely subtitled (there’s a very brief English dialogue sequence at the end). I’m always worried about attending subtitled films, but once it gets going, you really hardly notice them. (Still, c’mon: yellow subtitles are where it’s at. White? Especially when so many characters wear WHITE shirts? Boo!)

*Okay, I can’t actually recall where I read this last bit about 2008, Publisher’s Weekly, maybe?

**Point of order: in Sweden, it’s actually titled Män som hatar kvinnor, because, duh, Swedes speak Swedish, not English. However, Män som hatar kvinnor translates to “Men Who Hate Women.” (I know this, because I wikipediaed it).

***Okay, I read it back in July. I know, because I blogged it.

Vignettes of Stupid People

Sometimes, it seems when I write about the Bookstore here, all I’m doing is bitching. To base what it’s like to work in a bookstore on my blog must make it seem like a hellish job, where only the strong survive, and where reshelving books is a dangerous task, where booksellers must navigate carefully around bookshelves to avoid being ambushed by idiots, morons, and masterbators.

Really, it’s not always that bad, but I think a common rule about working in retail is that you will, at some point, deal with some of the stupidest people you’ve ever met. And as things stand, they usually seem to be making a fuck load of money than you do. I mean, okay, maybe you’re really a brilliant person with zero social skills, but when you thrust a book in my face and demand “RESHELVE THIS PROPERLY!”, my instinct is not, in fact, to re-shelve it properly — my instinct is to slam it into your face as hard as I can swing it.

In any case, I’ve got some venting to do:

The Screamers

A week from last Saturday night, a well dressed couple walked into the store. They began walking through the store, looking agitated, and began calling out for their daughter. I’ll call her “Sarah.” “Sarah? Sarah, where are you?” Except, they weren’t speaking in a normal volume. They weren’t speaking in a raised volume.

THEY WERE SCREAMING. Like, “OH MY GOD THIS MAN STOLE MY PURSE AND IS TRYING TO RAPE ME HELP!” screaming. Except for their daughter, who, apparently, wasn’t answering her phone. “SARAH? WHERE ARE YOU? SARAH?”

The best part of this was all the customers who came up to me angry that two people I had no control over were walking through the store screaming for their daughter. Seriously, people, if I could’ve stapled their mouths shut, I would’ve.

In any case, they apparently found her, because a minute or two after they went downstairs (screaming), she stormed out of the store, (also screaming, because apparently people in that family don’t understand concepts like “indoor voices”), “Oh my GOD you guys are SO INCONSIDERATE!” while they defended their screaming (by screaming, of course), “BUT FOR ALL WE KNEW YOU WERE IN A CORNER BEING RAPED!” Amusingly enough (not really), one of my coworkers said Sarah’d been reading on a bench near our Art section, and since that’s where all the pervs tend to hang out, well, if someone ever gets raped in our store, it’s going to be there or the Kid’s section.

Roman Numerals

There’s this lady. She comes in. Her intelligence level is somewhere between Short Bus and “Hey, I’m tapping the screen, why isn’t it doing anything?” Well, gosh, I don’t know — could they keyboard and mouse possible indicate that you must utilize these input devices?

But that was actually some other guy, who tapped the monitor so hard the damn thing nearly toppled back. “Do you get a lot of people who do that?” he asked. “To my knowledge, you’re the closest to actually breaking a monitor.”

Anyway, back to this lady. I’m going to call her Ms. Shortbus, for short.

Back in “the day”, if you wanted something that we didn’t have in stock, we could order it for you. It would be shipped to the store, and you had the option of not buying it if it wasn’t what you wanted. This was abused considerably, and it was expensive, so when the eCommerce site was launched, this practice was extinguished. Back when we could do it, though, this lady would just come right up to the desk and request that we order like half a dozen box sets of assorted TV shows. Then when they came in, she’d decide she didn’t want them, we’d send them back, and she’d decide to reorder them.

I could tell you so many stories about this lady … no, really, I could. Stupid is a word that does not even describe her lack of mental facilities. Like, when she asked if a gift card, which had just been utilized for all of its previously present balance, could be utilized for a future purchase? Um. No.

She came in the other night looking for a movie with a number in the title. Unfortunately, the computer was no help, so she opted to browse the shelf, while I fled the area, lest she come back with some other request. On her way out, she held a DVD up for me to see, “I found it! Malcolm Ten!”

My “WTF” moment was compounded because she’s African-American.

I really don’t know whether I should be pissed at her complete and absolute stupidity, or be impressed that she knows X is the Roman numeral for ten. I think I’ll just be flabbergasted. (Not in a good way).

But lest you think I only mock the customers …

I have the unfortunate habit of opening my mouth, taking my foot (preferably shoed), and pushing it so far down my throat that I can only hope I suffocate to death before recipient of my verbalized stupidity kills me most painfully. So, not long ago, a woman asked me if I could show her where our books on pregnancy were.

Fun (relevant) fact: we have three sections geared towards getting or being pregnant: the first is our actual Pregnancy Section, where books on what to expect when pregnant are — these books are in our Parenting Section, near Kids; the second is our Fertility Section, which is a subsection of our General Health area; the third is our Sex section.

Other fun fact: while Fertility and Sex are located fairly close to each other, Pregnancy is on the far side of the lower level. So as we’re halfway to the Parenting section, I think to ask her, “Just to clarify, are you looking for books on being pregnant, or how to get fertilized?” And I pointed back towards the Health Section, and as I saw her face become mortified, realized she thought I was pointing at the big Sex sign.

Whoops!

Weight: Week Five (HALFWAY THERE!)

Once upon a time, I visited a guy’s blog, and he posted the secret to being successful at blogging: “Be a completely anonymous blogger,” he wrote. This was like five years ago, so I’m completely paraphrasing. In essence, he argued that great bloggers were unafraid of censoring themselves, and they could only be unafraid of censoring themselves if no one knew who they were, and they didn’t have to worry about negative reactions from friends or families.

Sometimes, I wish I were a completely anonymous blogger. I wish no one knew who I was, so that I could write with impunity about [adjective] decision made at my place of employment. But I’m not anonymous, and so I can’t write what I want to, so I’ll just say: what the fuck? And you’ll have to trust me that it was a real “WTF” moment. (And yes, I’m still employed.)

But this post isn’t about work being sucky, it’s about weight loss. Well, I had a real bad weekend, friends.

Friday is my “safety” day, per the kind advice of one crazy triathlete running guy named Brian. Basically, it’s a day where I take his advice:

My advice, give yourself one a day week where you eat anything you want. ANYTHING. Gorge yourself for just one day and the rest of the week eat as healthy as you can. By pigging out one day a week you’ll rev up your metabolism into overdrive, lower your net caloric intake over the week and give yourself much needed relief from all that healthy eating. Try it for a month, I bet it will work.

I mean, I wouldn’t say I eat healthy so much as I’m usually pretty good at watching my calorie intake (two totally different things, I know). But Fridays, even forgetting the whole metabolism thing, it’s just great to tell myself, as I’m craving pizza or ice cream or whatever, “Hey, just two more days … and then you can eat a whole pizza, all by yourself!” And boy do I love my Friday pig-outs.

Sadly, my Friday pig-out turned into a weekend-long pig-out, which wasn’t helped by finding out what I vaguely referenced above. After I heard that, I made myself a big plate of chips smothered in salsa and queso and sour cream, and chased all that down with a beer*.

This weekend, I walked a total of eight miles — six on Saturday, two more on Sunday. I also re-exacerbated the injury to my right foot, which resulted in me walking four miles less than I would have otherwise. I really need to get to DSW sometime this week for new walking shoes — any advice? Right now I’m wearing Avia. (And I rewarded myself for all my Saturday AM walking (four miles!**) by eating an entire bag of Old Fashioned Ginger Snaps, and like three or four glasses of milk with it).

And yet, from last week, I’ve still lost weight: I’m at 244 this morning, which means I’ve dropped 2 pounds since last Monday, and fifteen pounds since March 4th. You’ll also note that I am now halfway towards my first goal, which is for a total weight loss of thirty pounds by the time of my sister’s wedding in mid-June. At this pace, and assuming I can keep myself in check, I can expect to meet (and beat!) that goal.

* Or three.

**I hoofed out to Target Saturday morning via Calvert Street and Lanier Place to 16th. Heading home, I opted (on a whim!) to vary it up, and went north to Park, and over to Klingle. Holy crap those hills. By the time I got to Connecticut, I felt like I was a member of the walking doom (the tourists).

The Boy Who Broke Copyright Law For The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

If you’re someone who is “into” books (by which I mean you’re someone who reads more than just when trying to kill time on an airplane, and/or you freakishly obsess over where you can possibly put more bookshelves in your tiny apartment), you’re probably familiar with Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.

As you might recall (or more probably, might not), after finishing The Girl Who Played With Fire, I was too impatient to wait for May for the sequel, so I went to Amazon’s UK site and ordered it from England when it was published in October.

Well …

Knopf obtained the rights to the books after Larsson’s death in 2004. At the time, he was unknown in the U.S., so the publishing company’s first priority was to introduce him to the public. At that point, they didn’t think about the need for a simultaneous release of the books in different countries. They just wanted time to build interest with the release of each book. They had no idea that avid fans would be so eager to get their hands on The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

As John Gomperts, one of those fans, puts it, “Once you know you can have it, once you know it exists in English and you can buy it, it would be crazy not to.”

After a friend told him the book would be available in Britain long before its U.S. release date, Gomperts didn’t waste any time.

“She said, ‘Well you know you can just go to [Amazon.co.uk] and buy it.’ And, in fact, she said, ‘I’ve already been there, it’s coming out on Oct. 8.’ As it turned out , it was released on Oct. 1,” says Gomperts. “I had it and had already read it by Oct. 8.”

All this online book-buying did not escape the attention of book sellers, like David Thompson of Murder By the Book mystery bookstore in Houston. Thompson says the store wanted to honor the U.S. release date, but it kept getting harder and harder.

“We had gotten several very loyal customers who just absolutely needed the third book because the second one ends with such a cliffhanger you really, really want to read that third one right away,” Thompson says. “And so we felt that it was really important to serve our customers and import these books that there was a desperate demand for.”

Eventually Knopf found out that Thompson’s store and others were importing copies of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and selling them to their customers. Knopf asked the booksellers to stop the practice, because says Bogaards, “it’s a violation of copyright law.”

But even online booksellers like Amazon.com are supposed to honor the U.S. release dates, which Bogaards says consumers may not know.

And if the much speculated-over fourth book in Larsson’s series surfaces? What then? Bogaards answers with a careful chuckle.

“If there is a fourth book — and we know that there are 200 pages of a fourth book somewhere — I can assure you that we will consider, if we ever have the opportunity to publish it, we will consider publishing it simultaneously with our U.K. partner.”

I didn’t know that many people had ordered it from overseas! Now I feel less original.

Also: I’ve heard so many good things about the film adaption of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo that I intend to do my best to get to a screening sometime before the end of next week. E-Street! Violence! Girls with Tattoos!