on the uses and abuses of expelliarmus at lincoln park and the 2017 emerald city comicon

Of the handfuls of younger children moving through the convention in shimmery-green capes, Oliver Fern (pictured here) moved with uncommon aplomb and funny panache except when getting barreled over from time to time by enthusiastic fat guys wearing spandex superhero costumes (or nearly getting stepped on by a seven foot tall Chewbacca) but still there was plenty of breathing room in Artist Alley during the last few hours of 2017 Emerald City Comicon.  The show was painfully unwieldy as ever, continuing its risky spiral into ever-higher levels of vainglorious bigness but each year we peel back more layers for nice surprises and decide being spun around in a human blender is mostly worth it.  We split the convention into two days, this year.


The off-gassing of polyvinyl chloride from toys and related memorabilia gave me a handful of unpleasant, dull headaches. It’s hard to believe how both astoundingly realistic and expensive fantasy paraphernalia is getting- give me a scratched-up, big head variation of the Kenner Han Solo, anytime! On the subject of off-gassing, the degree of stealth farting at the convention approached comically gross proportions. It’s unavoidable the engaged conventioneer will variously lean, bend and contort in order to more closely peer upon comics, books and related art and it isn’t a stretch to imagine these low-grade calisthenics must have the mechanical effect of squeezing and kneading the colon like silly putty, henceforth producing stimulative gastroenterologic effects. Speaking of special effects, the cement floors of the exhibition center killed my feet which as you can imagine only increased my fondness for carpeted areas of the convention and often I would feel the urge to curl up into a ball on the floor and purr like a cat. Inadvertently (I hope) I was groped a half dozen times by several large medieval characters on their way to cosplay and while tattooing was not available at the convention this year you could get a pair of elf ears or the usual variety of steampunk accessories (the intended uses of which frequently eluded me, much as they appeared oftentimes similarly designed for either the head or buttocks region, the weird holes made it hard to tell). The last thing we did at this year’s comicon was make the acquaintance of Kazu Kibuishi, author of Amulet, the series of books which are regularly unshelved by the boys out of the second-from-the-bottom spot of the living room bookcase during the occasion of not infrequent dinnertimes during which their hardworking mother is not present to enforce a certain degree of sociable manners. The boys are descended from a long line of shameless but very productive reader-eaters.

Before I conclude this amalgamation of words which sadly has exceeded five hundred in number and is going to be a grizzly bear to decipher (and how can I blame my dear loyal readers upon rejoicing at the news that I’m very slowly transitioning the site to more of a classic photo blog?) let me just say that last weekend also marked the conclusion of my foray into the world of Hogwarts as I turned to the last page of the final book in the Harry Potter series. I found all of the books rewarding but I have to be truthful in saying I’m relieved to be done with the wizard and magic business. We took the boys to Lincoln Park in West Seattle on Saturday morning for several hours of beach-combing and bluff-strolling and Adam unleashed a barrage of pent-up editorializing and analysis regarding characters such as Voldemort, Snape, Dumbledore, Dobby, Black and Lestrange. Oliver Fern joined in as we discovered magic wands that had been inexplicably lost on the beach and we practiced spells on each other. Expelliarmus!

12 thoughts on “on the uses and abuses of expelliarmus at lincoln park and the 2017 emerald city comicon

    • Aha! I broke part of your stick off and now it’s only nine feet long and if you don’t hurry up and drop it the purple-spotted fungus is going to touch you (and that stuff is bad). Hope you and the gramps are doing well.

  1. Thank you for the laughs! It was much needed today. Adam sounds like a younger version of my daughter (who will still gladly give in-depth analyses of all the HP characters, if asked). She still has a wand, though would never admit it!

    • I’m glad I could tickle your funny bone, Kelly. And I’m curious whose wand your daughter has, if in fact she fashioned one of her own accord (accounting for the preferable possibility that she could have pretended to go into Ollivander’s magic wand shop in Diagon Alley and have one specially selected to suit her magical dispositions) because disregarding my counsel (there are plenty of sticks laying around in the world) at the time, Adam used his hard-earned allowance money to obtain a detailed replica of the wand belonging to the brooding Sirius Black.

      Sorry, that’s what reading seven books about magic and wizards has done to me! No wonder it turns children into fountains of knowledge when it comes to the wizarding world.

      • Devon also purchased one, most likely so it would be as accurate as possible! I can’t remember but I’m guessing it was Hermione’s, as Devon is a huge bookworm. I must admit, I loved those books as much as she did. When the last few came out, we would order two copies, because neither of us wanted to wait for the other to finish (even though it would be in less than 48 hours!).

  2. Think I’ll stick to Lord of the Rings – no complicated spells to remember. As for all the song lyrics in it, I can’t even remember contemporary tunes, so that’s a non-starter too.

    Oh, and those truck stop diners? Steer clear of the restrooms…

  3. If people are like onions, you must be among the most multi-layered out there! I had no idea you were such a Comicon veteran, or that you’ve been playing in the double-AAs all this time (not to mention the side effects of all those long bus rides). Although I completely understand your blog’s evolution away from writing — damned time-consuming pastime, that — I hope you will continue writing for yourself. You have a marvelous voice, a wonderful wit, and a keen insight both into your own workings and those of the world around you … and they all deserve to be recorded. But no matter where that broken-down eighteen-wheeler heads next, I very much look forward to tagging along for the ride. In the meantime, GO VOLES!!

  4. PS: You’ve made an excellent case for next year’s Comicon exhibitors to showcase their wares in ways that don’t require leaning, bending, or stretching of any kind. The scene you’ve described will likely return tonight as a most aromatic nightmare, Mr. TFir. Thank you in advance for that. 😀

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