Taking a Look Into the Crystal Ball

Life has a little extra spark when we have something fun to look forward to, so this week we are going to take a look at some ever so swoony, or just plain over the top, upcoming entertainment events.

Cover image courtesy of Scholastic Books100 Days of Harry - The kickoff for the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince got underway on the seventh of this month. If you and your family are having trouble waiting for the midnight of July 16th release you can go to the Scholastic website and download a Harry Countdown Clock which will tell you exactly how much longer you have to wait. You can also enter a contest to guess the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, download a printable poster or a screensaver, take the wizard challenge and post to the discussion chamber. The New York Times will be running a special Harry Potter crossword puzzle on July tenth. This could be a unique opportunity to finish the Times crossword in ink!

Scholastic is printing 10.8 million copies of the book. This is a record in the U.S. and seems to be a reasonable number based on sales of past books in the series. Amazon.com has already taken 700,000 preorders. Isn’t that amazing? Compare this to Halo 2, which presold about a million copies total, from all outlets, not just the online superstore. Many brick and mortar stores are planning midnight release parties that should be fun, so be sure to either mark your calendar or download the countdown clock.

Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith opens May 19th. That is still a little ways away but it hasn't stopped people from getting in line to buy tickets. Some eager err, dedicated, umm obsessive, I mean passionate fans started lining up a full six weeks before the film is scheduled to open. The sheer oddness of really fascinating thing about this behavior is compounded by the fact that it appears as though they are not lining up at the correct theater. Revenge of the Sith is booked to open at the Arclight but the fans are outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Their website says that the other prequels premiered there and they have fond memories of prior lineups so they are going to stick it out at Grauman's no matter what.

Now I don't want you going away thinking these people are a bunch of whacko losers because I don't think that they are. The entire event is raising money for the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation and they have raised more than $10,000 so far and I think that is wonderful. This is not one lonely guy waiting in the rain for six weeks while he loses his job at the Radio Shack. This is a group of people, some friends, some dating, some strangers, who hang out and socialize while doing their shifts in line. Now they've got hotties like Bai Ling dropping by to deliver the next five movies in their Netflix queue. Want to know what she is like? Call this number (323) 462-9609 and someone in the line will answer.

Last but certainly not least, May sixth is no pants day and May seventh is free comic book day. If you somehow combine those dates I would either love or hate a picture, I am not sure which, but I am sure there would some type of strong emotion.

Visit the free comic book day website for a list of retailers who are participating in the program. The choices this year are super cool, ranging from a book by Matt Groening, The Simpsons, Futurama to Betty and Veronica. I'm planning to take home a copy of Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: A Tale of Edwin Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology fcbd edition. It's both a short story and an introduction to the upcoming graphic novel. The cast of characters includes the Cardiff Giant, dinosaurs, a gambling scientist and a whole slew of cowboys. I can hardly wait.

Finally, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy opens today! Boom! Be sure to check out the website. One of the members of the Quality Time Support Team spent two hours yesterday playing games and interacting with Marvin the depressed android.