The Harry Potter release was a little surreal. First, there were a lot of kids. A lot. I dislike kids–this is why I wore my big stompy steel toe boots with metal bits on the front back, sides, and sole along with all black and a leather jacket. (It was almost, but not quite, old-skool-Matrix style). But I digress. There were a lot of kids. There were also a good number of adults there without kids, mostly scary. I guess the evening had started earlier with events for the kiddies–we got to skip out on that because Kate's mom went earlier to get our “sorting hat” tickets (like numbered wristbands, only not wristbands–we were “Slytherin 20”).
There were some scary people there. A gigantic number of adults were wearing the long red/yellow Harry Potter scarves. A good number of people were also wearing cloaks of one sort or another. There was one girl trying to be “gothy-er than thou” with the black hair, piercings, black clothes, and everything but the fangs–but the black and green cloak with the Slytherin [the “evil” house in the stories] crest stitched on to the front just kind of killed the whole image. There was a middle-aged lady with a cloak, a pointed hat, and a broomstick who looked to be there without any kids. And there were dark cloaks. Did I mention the dark cloaks? I think I saw more grown people wearing cloaks than I do at most goth clubs! I would have snapped off a few pictures and posted them here, as I am hardly ever without a camera, but I did not feel like I could safely and surreptitiously snap pictures without becoming creechy and/or annoying to others.
The big surprise of the evening was that I ran into someone I know. Chris (that I know off and on from Rock'n'Java, but I can never remember his last name–“the gothic Greg Brady” as he used to call himself) and his girlfriend were there. Kate ran into a friend from high school. Well, there was also somebody else there that we kind of knew, only did not really feel motivated to talk to. One of the guys who works the registers at Hi-Time Wine Cellars (the one who is a little too creechy and used to always talk about the Art Bell radio program) was there. He was not there with a child, but I kind of got the impression he was watching the children. And I really mean watching the children–in that predatory sort of way. Now, I am probably reading my own prejudices into what I saw, but it still felt creepy. “Hey kid, huuughhggg, my hands are full. Wanna reach in my pocket and get my wand for me?” [That “huuughhggg” was an old-man, hoarse, throat-clearing sound that adds creechiness and can be demonstrated in person, but translates poorly to the written word].
There was a lot of standing around, a lot of wandering around, and yes–there was a Balloon Diva. She was making balloon animals, balloon hats, balloon sculptures–just about everything you could imagine (except maybe an ashtray…that would not work so well with balloons). The funniest part of that was when she first made her appearance, a few of the kids toward the front of the balloon line screamed “that's our substitute teacher!” and ran away.
We finally picked up the two books that were pre-ordered (one for Kate and one for her mom), and I managed to ride their coattails and pick up a non-pre-ordered CD audiobook (yes, Feedle, I dropped the cash on it even though it would be on BitTorrent/SoleSeek/Gnutella today…in fact, my copy may just be one available source) without waiting in the gigantic non-preorde line.
After returning home and settling in, I got the computers set up to suck up the first few discs (of the 23 total CDs–that's more discs than a standard television series on DVD!). Kate read me the first chapter aloud (thank you, Kitten! You are the best!) and I put the audiobook on and fell asleep almost immediately.
Oh, and here is a Netninja mirror of the OS X/Panther screenshots that have been floating around.