Expecto Patronum!

I finished reading “Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows” a few minutes ago. I’m not ashamed to admit I was in tears at the end: if anything, that’s a credit to JK Rowling — it’s only the very best writers who can draw such an emotional reaction from their audience (alternatively, I could just be a giant sap). I’m going to put my specific reaction down in a post, but so as not to spoil the book for those who haven’t yet finished, I’m going to delay that posting until Monday or later.

#7

Yes, I’m fucking excited.

No, I don’t have my copy yet (even UPS doesn’t deliver this early, but they are coming on a Saturday).

UPDATE:

It’s here.

sixty-one

My dad turned sixty-one this week. Enroute to my parents’ house for a celebratory dinner, I stopped at Home Depot. They’ve been doing a lot of work on the townhouse they bought five years ago, and my Dad isn’t entirely joking when he calls it “the toy store.” Selecting a gift card with a birthday cake on it, I took it to the register where a guy with a rather thick accent was jockying the register. Appropriately, I asked for sixty-one dollars to be put on the card.

“That is odd number,” the man told me.

I don’t think he was referring to the one after the six, either. I mean, really, how many people put amounts on gift cards that don’t end in zero or five? Not, I’d think, many.

I explained that it was my dad’s sixty-first birthday. The clerk laughed, rang me up, I paid, and he called after me as I left, “Happy Father’s Day!”

He was probably thinking “Man, that guy looks great for being sixty-one!”

Wynn

The problem with my car turned out to be …

… nothing.

A loose cover, or somesuch. They pulled the wheel over, shaved the rotors, did some cleaning, and best of all, it was all under warranty. I was home within two hours and managed a quick nap before heading out to work.

***

I started reading John Irving’s “Until I Find You.” Holy shit, it’s great. I also re-read “The Hotel New Hampshire” this week. What a great fucking writer.

***

I don’t much care for this current crop of Top Chefs, with the possible exception of Howie, and the seafood guy, and that cute blonde chick (Caroline? Catherine?).

***

My deadbolt seems to be working fine again, which is a little frustrating because of course I just called maintenance to take a look at it. Now the guy is going to think I’m a complete retard.

***

I’m off to see Harry Potter for a second time today, this time with my little sister. The last time we saw a movie together it was The Prisoner of Azkaban shortly before she moved to Hawaii.

***

Astro Empires remains highly addictive.

i. hate.

I. Hate. Drunk wedding guests at a hotel. Mark said he didn’t take a name down because “they’d be waiting for me in the lobby.” Sure, them and the other ten assholes who ordered pizzas. I was there ten minutes with no idea who I was looking for with drunks coming up to me asking if I had their pizzas, kids coming up asking if I had their pizzas, other pizza drivers coming up asking if I knew where their party was. Here’s the rule: I don’t care if the customer says they’ll “see me.” If it’s going to a business or a public place, I want to know who I’m looking for. Get a name. It takes five seconds. It saves so much time.

Did I say I hate drunk wedding guests at hotels? Because, I. Love. Drunk wedding guests at a hotel. They waaaaay overtip.

There’s nothing quite like working all day — and being aware that something is wrong mechanically with your car, although, not being a certified mechanic, unable to ascertain exactly what that something is* — and coming home to find that your deadbolt isn’t working properly. Which is to say, for whatever reason, they key won’t unlock it like it will the bottom lock. Thank goodness for cell phones and emergency maintenance — a big hulking bald guy who did all kinds of things with the key and the door and eventually got me into my apartment. I played around with the deadbolt for a little bit, and with the door opened, the key seemed to be working again. In any case, I’m taking my spare keys with me today, and I’ll cross my fingers and hope that my door opens when I come home tonight.

Meanwhile, I’m going to see when I can get my car into the shop (Monday, maybe, Tuesday, certainly, but that might eff up my plans to go see Harry Potter with my little sister). If asked for an off the cuff diagnosis, I’d say “passenger side front brake.” Because the tire isn’t flat, but it’s making that weird thwump-thwump noise.

*Drive a car long enough, and you get a sixth sense about when not everything’s working as well as it’s supposed to be working.

Me on HP&tOotP

Wow.

Just: “Wow.”

I really can’t think of anything else to say, having just gotten home from the 10:40pm showing of “Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix” at Regal Hunt Valley. My first impression, after looking at the time, was “Holy shit, that was only two hours?” I mean, shit, there were at least twenty minutes of movie trailers, most of which looked like vague knock-offs of Harry Potter and Narnia and the Chronicles of Prydain (Wikipedia says the film has a running time of 138 minutes, so maybe the trailers started early …)

Anyway, this is, to my mind, the best Harry Potter movie. For a film that is almost certainly the shortest of the five, yet the adaptation of the book that is by about four hundred pages the longest of them all, I was almost certain I was going to walk out of the theater feeling let down. However …

… with the exception of a few key moments (the attack on McGonagall, the visit to St. Mungo’s), the movie captures the book in a way much more satisfying than how Goblet of Fire captured that book. In addition, the movie feels like it’s four hours — this isn’t a bad thing, I don’t think, the movie moves at such a pace and with so much content that it’s hard to believe you’ve only been in the theater for under two and a half hours.

There are always things that are disappointing. The characters who get a short shrift or almost completely ignored beyond a cameo. The character development cut for plot points. The movie isn’t perfect, of course it isn’t, but I have to say I think its probably the best of the five so far.

Neat Point: The Room of Requirment look familar to you? It should — it’s a redress of the Trophy Room in Goblet of Fire.

No, There Is Not A Grandmother in my Trunk

The most popular inquiry at the Franchise lately is “Do you really keep a grandmother in your trunk?” After the second of these, I replied that, yes, in fact, I had kept a grandmother in my trunk, but she kept screeching at me to slow down and not take turns so fast that I’d thrown her into the Loch Raven after clubbing her skull in with the tire iron she kept bitching about (apologies: in the other version of the commercial, she says “that was close!” after the kid opens the trunk, then complains about being poked by the tire iron. He tells her to shut the fuck up because she’s a stinking whore and slams the trunk lid down).

I tried apologizing after the kid ran off sobbing, but at least he was too busy sobbing to ask for money back. Tip City!!!!!

(If you haven’t seen the Franchise’s parent company’s commercials, this post really won’t make sense).

Dead Slow

I’ve spent time the last couple days driving into Baltimore to water the plants of a former professor of mine. She and her husband have a big old house that they’re preparing to sell, and the backyard is simply gorgeous — it’s overflowing with color. They’re down in West Virginia taking a breather from moving preparation (and I’ll be vacationing at their cabin there later in the summer), and I was only too happy to help. Watering their backyard isn’t a simple job — like I said, it’s very big (large enough, in fact, that the last time I went to one of her post-semester parties — she invites all her current students, a lot of her former students, and a number of her friends — there was still standing room: and this with probably well over a hundred people).

Anyway, watered the plants this morning and drove home for a few minutes before work: needed to set some production queues up for my bases on Astro Empires, a free online game allowing thousands of players to play against each other in a galactic version of Risk. I pull into my apartment complex behind two Baltimore County police cruisers, and was slightly nervous as I followed them up to the door of my building.

Thankfully, after a gentle inquiry, “Hey, you’re not here for that loser in Apartment A, are you?” “Um, no.” “Oh, good, that’s me.” (they chuckled), I darted into my apartment. They were standing by the door to Apt. C when I went into mine (I was kinda hoping they were going to evict the neighbors in D, but alas), and when I left ten minutes later, they were both gone.

***

Tonight at the Indy was dead slow. I was in the lobby re-reading for a second time this month Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (hey, it was in my car) when a lady and her daughter came in for their order. Driver Gary was leaning against the counter. He recently bought a house in the city and has been spending a lot of time rehabbing it. Today he’d been up since 7am moving in, and was sick to boot.

Apparently, he wasn’t very enthusiastic in his service of the customer, because the woman called him on it. Mind you, I was paying attention only peripherally, and only after I realized she was actually upset about something. Driver Gary apologized for not sounding appreciative of her business (and I understand her point), explained that he was under the weather, and the woman apologized for her attitude, then for some reason defended her behavior because someone had tried to molest her little girl earlier in the day.

The same daughter who’d left the store a moment earlier with their food. I mean, hello?

I understand the woman’s complaint: when you give your business to a company, you want to feel appreciated as a customer. That’s all well and fine. But for Christ’s sake, keep your eye on your kid, especially if she actually had almost been molested earlier in the day.

***

I have been resummoned to Jury Duty in August. Wonderful.

wonky blog

This blog will be moving to a new hosting service in late August — or, maybe even sooner. Frankly, I haven’t been happy with the service I’ve been getting for the last few months or so. My number one complaint is that all new comments (even the ones I leave) provoke an error message, even though the comments have posted correctly. This has resulted in a lot of duplicate comments.

In addition, this blog will be getting updated to the newest level of WordPress.

Also: it’s very hot out and I’ve been running the a/c all the time. Last night, “Sysco Mike”, Gary’s old produce salesman, stopped into the Franchise for a pie (because no one at the Indy was answering phones). I don’t see too much of “Sysco Mike” ever since Gary stopped using Sysco, and that’s too bad — Sysco Mike was the only salesman Gary ever liked (except for that hot Coke girl we used to have), and his experiences with other salesmen leave all of us at the Indy wishing we just had one big commissary — I mean, seriously, I know Gary’s pissed at these guys, but when he hurtles the big-ass phone out of his office and it bounces off the freezer, it often times close to hitting his employees. And while we’d probably accept that risk if he’d install an air conditioning unit …

Anyway, I’m off to set up my production and construction queues on Astro Empires before I hit the showers and run off for a haircut before going back to work (at the Indy tonight, yay me).

You: Driving a silver sedan in Hunt Valley at 2:30pm with an “O’s” magnet on your car.

Me: The guy you nearly killed.

See, there I was, making a right-hand turn from the center lane on Ashland Road onto the left-hand northbound lane. And there you were, making a right-hand turn from the right-lane on Ashland Road. But whereas you’re supposed to make that turn into the right-most lane on York, you made it directly onto the left northbound lane.

Thank goodness I was paying attention and braked before you hit me. Hey, did you hear me honking? Hope I didn’t interupt your phone call.

Oh, and, yes, I’m kicking myself for missing my payday. You’re welcome! (Bitch).