Thursday, July 26, 2007

Potterblog Revolutions

The Potterblog is finally released, giving you the scoop on how the Harry Potter party went on Friday, July 20th. If you need to see the afternoon's events, scroll down to the first Potterblog, or just click here.

635pm... I finally roll up to
Barnes & Noble, park in a great spot, and walk over to the nearby Panera Bread, awaiting Nikki Brown and my Little Sister.

Of course, Ashley isn't really my little sister, but we are both really charming, and good looking, so we could be related, plus she lived with The Lovely Steph Leann and I for a few months, so that's kinda how I see her. So, Little Sister she is.

650pm... I call Ashley, who isn't there, and both Nikki and I are starving. Ashley had just woken up from a nap, so we eat a little later. And not only do they have Boston Clam Chowder, which they never do, they also have bread bowls left, which they never do. This is indeed going to be a good night.

720pm... Dinner done, we head over to Barnes & Noble. She already has a blue wrist band, which means when people with yellow bands (like myself) have gotten their books, those with the blue bands will have a chance to get theirs. The place is brimming with activity already, as they have everything from face painting to wand making to character pictures to a "potions demonstration" later to Harry Potter trivia.  Its all silly, its all a little too much really, but hey, we're here to have fun, and if you can't have fun making a wand at Harry Potter night, then when can you have fun making a wand?

745pm... I have gotten out Nikki's laptop and am trying to get it up and running. We determine that I have to purchase a stupid 2-hour pass from AT&T, because the B&N is a AT&T HotSpot. This is why real Starbucks are better... at least with Starbucks, we have T-Mobile HotSpot passes, and for one price, you can get 24 hour access. So if I get this up and running here at this fake Starbucks Cafe in Barnes & Noble, I'll have to fork over another $4.99 at 9:45 or so. Stuuu-piiid.

746pm... While I struggle with the laptop, Nikki and Ashley are going to get their faces painted. Though I am in a mood to be silly and child-like tonight, I've see the facepainting that has gone on... its not the artistry one would hope, so I am letting the girls do this part.

8pm... I'm giving up on the laptop (which I later
document here). No use. So, that's why five days later you're reading about the evening, not in real time. The girls come back with the Harry Potter scar, which is really nothing more than a big zig-zagged line square in the middle of their foreheads. Harry's scar is smaller, on the right side. Maybe this is Dali Potter or something.

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Nikki gets her face and arm painted by one of Barnes & Nobles accomplished Potter Painters

810pm... We decide to go make some wands over in the children's section. The set-up is really a big table with a bucket of chopsticks broken into two pieces, two plastic containers full of pipe cleaners of all different colors, another bucket full of feathers, and glitter glue sitting all over. At first, I elected not to do this one, as I'm not sure I wanted a frilly wand with a gay feather and glitter all over... but finally, I gave in, choosing to make this as manly as possible. Not sure I succeeded, but on my wand there is no glitter, nor is their a feather, so I'm okay with the end result.

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Ashley and Nikki and their crooked foreheads and ghetto wands.

817pm... Some woman is dressed in a Mad Eye Moody costume, with the roving eye and everything. Priceless.

830pm... This is the kind of night when I want a digital camera of my very own. Nikki has one, but the battery just zonked out on it (we end up using Ashley's), so we didn't have a chance to get pictures of the great costumes... various Harry and Hermoine get-ups, I've seen one Luna, and tons of "Generic Hogwarts Student" costumes. There is also a clever Patronus costume (I think she was a ferret), and someone was wearing Luna's Lionhead. If you're saying to yourself "What the *$&@ is a Patronus?!" then this blog might not be the one for you.

845pm... Actually do a scan for Attractive Sorority Girl, Great Hair Girl, Girl 3 and Girl 4, but don't see them. I did see Stewart, however, and wonder if he made it to work on time. Then I find myself just not caring.

846pm... We get pictures with the Death Eater. Some guy has dressed up in a Death Eater costume, and actually looks pretty good. They are using a Polaroid camera (seriously... who actually uses those anymore besides my mom, and the workers at events such as this? seriously...) and the shots are free. One girl takes a Polaroid, while another uses Ashley's camera, to get a few shots. The Polaroid camera messes up a couple of times, but she gets it.

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Here is all of us with the Death Eater, and our wands. Stupify!

9pm... Three hours and counting. There is a "Potions Demonstration" in the kids area, so we venture over there to watch. We sit towards the back to let the kiddies be closer, while some rather larger lady in a witch outfit tells the kids we'll be making "Homeworkus Avoidacus". I'm not making this up.

905pm... I'm sure science is involved in what she's doing... you know, on second thought, I'm not so sure. She's got a pile of ingredients, giving each of them wizard sounding names like "Eye of Bat Tongue", "Leg O'Rotting Aardvark" and "Teat of Borehound" (I made that last one up, but man, that would have been funny... is there a funnier word to guys than "teat"?). And she used a few Harry Potter words, like "Boomslang", which is actually an ingredient in one of Snape's classes.

910pm... There is a large vase of greenish gooey liquid, and its starting to foam, though I'll bet she was expecting much more of an overflow. Frankly, so were we.

915pm... Okay, I'll admit, that potions demonstration sucked. Really. I mean, if I were seven I'd be a little hacked at the wasting of my youthful time when I could be getting more face painted, or making a manlier wand.

920pm... Two things have been going on all night, Harry Potter Trivia, and giveaways. They started at 7ish, giving out ten questions dealing with the first movie (which we missed--the trivia, not the movie), and every 45 minutes or so, the questions deal with the next movie. Nikki and I both have been flying through the questions, save for one or two here or there that caused us to really think... and we've turned them in. We've yet to win jack.

930pm... We recieved raffle tickets when we got here. We fill our info on one, turn it in, and keep the other. At the beginning, a familiar voice would come over the loudspeaker telling us it was time to give out prizes. Bowling passes, movie tickets, bowling passes, Barnes & Noble gift cards, bowling passes, gift cards to various local Patton Creek Shopping Center businesses, bowling passes, Harry Potter memorabilia and bowling passes. Oh, and Brunswick lanes had provided free passes for a few games of bowling.

940pm... Dumbledore and Madame Hooch are over at the character area, so we file over there to get some pictures. The line is a little longer, but we get there and the Polaroid messes up... again. And again... and again... and again. We were there, no joke, about ten minutes trying to get one Polaroid snapshot, which we finally did, after the poor girl changed film about three times.

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The official Harry Potter Polaroid in the Official Harry Potter Frame.

950pm... The Lovely Steph Leann has joined us, as we're in the music section now. Nikki has run off to buy the latest
Entertainment Weekly with Daniel Radcliffe on the front, leaving me holding her soon to be purchased Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Original Movie Soundtrack. A little over two hours to go, now.

10pm... We figure its a good time to camp out in the cafe. We shoot through the line really quickly, everyone buying a drink or so, and Nikki and Ashley sit absorbed in the EW magazine, while I chat with the lovely Steph Leann. The guy doing the annoucing of prizes, which they are giving away quite frequently now, is Nathan, who was "Nate Dogg" on the old Beaner & Ken show when they were on 107.7 the X. It's really sad
how that station bit it, undeservedly so.

1015pm... Harry Potter Trivia 6 has us stumped. What is Neville Longbottom's Gran's name? Ey... we don't know. Nikki runs off to grab a copy of "Half-Blood Prince"

1020pm... Look, its Fleur!

1025pm... The prizes are coming fast and furious now... and it seems like Brunswick Lanes decided to give a Free Bowling 4-Pack for every word in the entire Harry Potter series. And all these stupid prizes, and I'm not winning a thing. My number is 690028, and I've heard 082, 802 and 208.

1040pm... Nikki's still searching for Neville's Gran's real name.

1050pm... Fed up, she calls Drew. He Googles it, and we find out the answer... Augusta. I quickly turn the papers in. We don't win. Again.

11pm... Who know why I didn't win anything, but found out why Nikki doesn't... she holds up both halves of her ticket. "Is one of these supposed to go in the bucket?"

1105pm... The next prizes are places 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 in line to get the book tonight. Nikki races to the back to toss her ticket in, and I win nothing. Nothing.

1107pm... Its pandamonium and chaos as people with yellow wristbands number 1 thru 50 are instructed to head toward a certain part of the store. The chick dressed up as Professor Sprout was the chick who dressed up as Professor Sprout during the Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince party in 2005.

1110pm... I'm standing in the crowd, awaiting entry into the Potter Queue. I spot Attractive Sorority Girl and Girl 4 close by, but no Girl 3, nor Great Hair Girl.

Someone asked me "Why do the first two girls have nicknames but the others are 3 and 4?" Well, because Attractive Sorority Girl was the first one I saw this afternoon, and the other three came later, but because My Daughter is So Great Mom was right behind me telling me her daughter was Mensa Material, I didn't really notice the other girls, except for the one with really great hair. It was all wavy and such.

1113pm... The leader of this crazy crowd is standing atop the customer service desk, telling us the zoo passes, and spots 1 and 3 have not been claimed, so they give them away again. I'm moving for spots 1 or 3, but I'm not giving up my position for zoo passes... its just not worth it.

115pm... The leader, atop the customer service desk, asks everyone to step back a little, out the aisles. No one moves, except for a dad with his son, who take a step or two back. A minute later, I hear the small voice of the son say "Daddy, no one moved", and the father, disheartened, reply, "I know, son... I know"

1120pm... And the gates open. With numbered bracelet, you'd think they would line you up according to numbers. As in, my wrist band says 30, so I'm 30th in line... nope. Numbers 1 thru 50 all hustle in at the same time. I step in right behind Attractive Sorority Girl and Girl 4, and end up about... 25th or 30th or so in line, so no big deal. Rumor has it that the people who had Nos 1, 2 and 3, the ones who arrived at noon or so to get the wristbands given out at 4pm this afternoon, were in the back of the 1 thru 50 line. I mean, its 1120... we got 40 minutes. Surely, we can line this line up 1, 2, 3, 4, all the way to 50 in half an hour.

1130pm... Kelli and Deborah. Attractive Sorority Girl is Kelli, though I have no idea if she's in a sorority. She goes to UAB. Girl 4 is Deborah, and though I have no idea if she's in a sorority either, she goes to Union University. She seems impressed that I knew someone who went to Union, though Beth Sentall and Cherry Johnston are probably long gone by now.

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Deborah and Kelli, wearing shirts that do indeed say "Too Crazy For Harry". Back in the cafe ae Great Hair Girl and Girl 3 who, I found out through the wonders of Facebook, are Zara Lee and Melissa. I'm Chris Hanson, we'll be back with "To Catch a Predator" in just a moment.

1135pm... The Lovely Steph Leann joins the party, having slipped around the line. Wristbandless, she's just here for me. Nikki, with her blue band, and Ashley, also wristbandless and here for the party, Gretchen Wilson style, are back in the cafe.

1140pm... Deborah and Kelli are nice folk. We chit-chat back and forth, making predictions on who lives and who dies, discussing favorite parts and favorite characters. We engage in lively conversation and debate with a few people behind us as well, discussing plot points in previous books. I already called Snape's death, and the feeling that Harry will live.

1142pm... It makes me feel good that both girls back me up on Annoying Mom who was behind me in the wristband line, telling me how her daughter is an embryo reading Stephen Hawking's books.

1150pm... Ten minutes and counting. You know, in retrospect, winning spots 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 really wouldn't have made a difference, as there are like, 9 cashiers. This is more than Wal-Mart has at this time of the night (though the line is similar).

1159pm... Deborah and Kelli are like my surrogate Nikki in the line, as they are both jittery and ready to jump. The leader, atop the customer service desk, starts counting down from 20, though 10 thru 8 took about four seconds... 10... 9... 87...65... 4321....

1200am... Its on.

1202am... I'm almost there. Deborah and Kelli have just raced to their respective cashiers.

1203am... I have the book in hand, its paid for and I'm headed back to the cafe to join Nikki & Ashley. Only there are about 200 people crammed in a fat line from the front door to the middle of the store. I asked one of the managers if I can get to the other side, he said "Go to the cafe door... if its locked, they'll let you in".

1204am... Steph Leann and I knock on the locked cafe door. A B&N guy comes to the door, points me to the front door from whence we came, and I replied "He told us we could get back in the cafe through this door, that you'd let us in". He, and another guy, begrudgingly opened the door. As we walked back through, I heard one guy say to the other "Why did he tell us to keep it locked if he was gonna keep sending people over here....?"

1204am... I sit down with "Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows". Nikki is shaking, she's so excited, while Ashley looks on bemused and Stephanie is beginning to let on that she's exhausted.

1206am... Though I've done it with almost every fiction book I've ever read (and some nonfiction) I resist the temptation to scan the last chapter. I'm determined not to do this. And I begin to read about Voldemort's and Snape's meeting.

1215am...Perhaps on purpose, perhaps involuntarily, perhaps a wee bit of both, I let my facial expressions alter slightly as I read, driving Nikki bonkers, making the Lovely Steph Leann smack me a few times to quit, and still leaving Ashley bemused.1240am... Nikki goes to get ready for the blueband line.

1245am... We join her. They open the line for the bluebands, and Nikki goes through. At first, the guy stopped me, but I held up my book, indicating I already had one, so he waved me in. The fact that it was so late was probably why he didn't care that Steph Leann and Ashley followed me in.

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What? You made out with Ginny Weasley? High five, Harry! Rock on!

1255am... We all walk out of the Barnes & Noble, four of us, two books in hand. We say our goodbyes, and head toward our vehicles... its been a long night, but I've got lots of reading to do.

19 Hours Later...

Epilogue. I read the book. Two hours when I got home, then another 7 or so the next day, finishing around 10pm Saturday night--this was after waking up at 1030am, lunch, then later, dinner with friends. What did I think? I think the epilogue wasn't long enough. So, I'll give everyone a few more days to read it, then I'll post my own review of the book, then give my own addition to the epilogue.

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