Sunday, July 22, 2007

Next station, Muggle Town

I've done it. I've finished the book. I've been shown the exit to Potter world and said goodbye to Harry, Hermione, Snape, McGonagall, and the rest of them. I raced through the story like a crack whore looking for the ultimate fix. Certainly, I'll have to re-read it after SO and LegoGuy have had a go at it. At least it tied up all the loose ends. But it certainly did meander in the middle. That's all I'm gonna say right now.

We went to our last pre-release party on Friday night. I threw on a blonde wig and went as Luna Lovegood, Sport looked like an authentic Harry, and Lego outdid us all by turning himself into Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor Quidditch keeper. Many people wanted to take their picture (but sadly, not mine). They were so adorable. I simply looked creepy.

The party did not live up to our expectations. Lots of people showed up in costume, but there was only a pathetic booth set up in the back for dream interpretation and a lame spelling bee taking place without a microphone for amplification. I think you had to be under 12 to participate. I got some funny looks when I stood in line behind some little 4th grader, who took her time spelling "port key." I stepped out of the line reluctantly. Looking at the weary faces of the book store employees, I could tell they were ready for this hype to be over with so they could get back to the business of discussing Nabokov with gray-haired doctoral in a nearly empty building.

The first pre-release party I took Lego to was for The Prisoner of Azkaban. I didn't tell him what I was up to. I let him go to bed, them woke him at 10 o'clock and bundled him into the car. "We're going for a drive. It's a surprise." He was half asleep for most of the ride, but perked up when we pulled into the Borders parking lot. It truly was a festive atmosphere. Children and their parents were rushing from booth to booth, getting tattoos, making wands, buying butterbeers. Cashiers were practically bursting with enthusiasm. We were all united in our excitement over the next installmant of Harry's story, and all shared the singular joy of reading.

I don't know that another book will bring this kind of hysterical adoration again, but I'm glad it's been a part of the boys' childhood.

Doubtful I'll ever get a chance to say it to her in person, so thanks J.K. Rowling, for bringing a little bit of magic into our lives.

I don't know if Lego and Sport will continue to read anything else with such devotion, but I do think we've all had a blast getting acquainted with the characters Rowling created.
That's enough.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter and the annoying movie audience

The wands are back: sticks broken off of the tree out front. The robe is back, too, wrinkled from its long slumber at the bottom of the toybox. Bella has been renamed "Bellatrix" and choruses of Expelliarmus! fill the air. Sport drew a lightning bolt on his forehead and LegoGuy got his Hogwarts Lego set out of the closet and is back at work reconstructing the castle. We've just come from the new Harry Potter movie and the boys are neck deep in Pottermania.

The movie's great fun-- especially if you've read all the books, which we have. What's not so great (and what I always seem to forget about later) is the movie-going experience. Nine times out of ten, I have a terrible time. It's one thing to afford the luxury of renting out a theater for one's entire family, but Elvis, we ain't. Going to see a movie means getting elbow-to-elbow with a hodgepodge of the general public. And, to modify Forest Gump's truisim, "A movie audience is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get."

I knew we were in trouble when I watched a woman, her husband, and 4 children move up the stairs and right to the seats directly in front of us. She was wearing a spaghetti strap top and her flesh was practically oozing out of the top and sides. He husband had his left hand wrapped in bandages, frozen in a permanent "Heil Hitler" gesture. The children were whining, and Big Momma kept telling them to shut up. Loudly. All six of them were clutching extra large vats of popcorn. They stood in front of us while the previews were rolling, not even bothering to pretend to duck out of the way so we could see what was on the screen.

"Let's move down a few seats," I whispered to SO, who hates to make a scene. I knew he wouldn't want to move, but I couldn't see what was going on. We all shifted down a bit, and I hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, we ended up near a Granny and her grandaughter, a kid all of 5 years old who had no idea how to control her curiousity and excitement. This little girl chattered through the whole movie. Being a mother, I understand the nature of a child. It's hard to sit still through a long film. Sometimes it's hard to follow the plot or to catch what someone is saying. I know that kids are going to fidget. But it's up to the adult to teach the child how to act in public. Granny never once shushed the kid, never asked to lower her voice, not once did she pay heed to my curiously ineffective dirty looks. In fact, the two of them continued to carry on conversations in what Barney calls "an outside voice" through the entire episode-- and if I'd had a working wand I wouldn't have hesitated to throw a Sectumsempra their way.

Meanwhile, Big Momma and Heil Hitler went for a popcorn refill and she ended up choking on the salty snack 3 or 4 times during the movie. I actually considered withholding my first aid skills for a moment when it appeared that she had a kernel lodged in her windpipe. But I muttered Evanesco to myself and she was able to catch her breath.

She later fell in the parking lot. I swear I didn't throw a Impedimenta her way.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Wherefore art thou, RadCat?

It's only the first day of RadCat's vacation, and already a pall has settled upon all of us. His empty seat -- so vacant, so lonely -- calls out to all of us. One by one, co-workers take a turn sitting in the chair, but nothing, no one can take his place. His laughter echoes off other walls. His political commentaries tickle the ears of others. His cell phone rings in another state. We are left only with a light dusting of black gunk from the air conditioning vent above his desk, and a framed photo of Tiny Kiss, posing for a non-existent audience. Oh RadCat, two weeks is such a long time!

Besides missing my little brother, I've been pretty busy. Took my grandmother to church with me on Sunday. She was eager to get out of the care center. My church is probably the most liberal church in Oklahoma City, and we are open and affirming. Unlike other area churches, all are welcome, despite sexual orientation.

"It's not anything like a Nazarene church," I warned her. She had been, after all, the wife of two pastors, one Nazarene and one Methodist. But Grandma has always been a open-minded individual, and she wasn't at all bothered about visiting a UCC church. In fact, she had nothing but praise for the building, the visiting preachers (ours is on vacation) and the people.

Her one complaint? "There aren't that many good looking men here, are there?"

At least there weren't that many over the age of 80.