Friday, August 19, 2005

Harry Potter - My Little Obsession

I will have to say that I have no reason why I am so obsessed with these Harry Potter books and movies. As you may recall, I finished Book 6 in 18 hours and then reread it.

Then, I reread Book 4, as it's my favorite.

And then I reread Book 3 and today I finished Book 5. I am looking for some more information about Godric's Hollow - that is discussed at the end of Book 6. I watched the third movie last night and no mention, so I will keep reading the books. I finally found it. It is where Harry's parents lived (and where they died).

I also picked up two books about the Harry Potter phenomenon. The first was "The hidden key to Harry Potter : Understanding the meaning, genius, and popularity of Joanne Rowling's Harry Potter novels." The second was called "The Wisdom of Harry Potter."

So, the two phenomenon books. The first one I went through very quickly - it was written after book 4 but before book 5. And the guy made some predictions. For example, he said Dumbledore needed to die because otherwise Harry will never be able to lead as he is intended to. I would never have thought they would kill Dumbledore off as he was one of my favorites. Now, an interesting prediction he made is that it will be revealed that Harry is the real heir (blood relative) to Gryffindor. I'm not so sure about this one. JK Rowling has always said that Harry's heritage wasn't very important, so this doesn't seem likely to me. He also predicted that Neville will become more important, which he has in the past few books. Hagrid will become more important, too. And he believes that the Dursley's may know more than they are telling -- at least Petunia might. This could possibly be true. He even believes that Harry will end up saving Dudley or all of the Dursleys while putting himself in mortal peril - we'll see about that.

He spent a great deal of time making Christian parallels to Harry Potter. He seems to believe him to be somewhat of a Christ figure, who is meant to lead the way.

He points out some interesting value lessons. Did you notice how often Rowling's points out injustices and prejudices -- the pure-bloods against the mudbloods, the Gryffindors versus Slytherins, the magical world against the muggles, the magical world against house elves, etc... Everyone seems to have prejudices against someone or something except for Dumbledore. Even Mrs. Weasley treated Hermoine badly when she thought Hermoine was breaking Harry's heart.

The focus on death and the grieving process are highlighted, also. Rowling really gives a very sensible way of dealing with death throughout all the books. For example, when Harry sees his parents in the magic mirror in book 1 and Dumbledore explaining that he needs to move on, not to dwell on dreams and forget to live. And of course, it continued throughout the book with Harry finding his father inside himself at the end of Book 4.

The second book is similar in some ways. It's not nearly as fun to read as the other. Although, the first was a bit lengthy and I only picked sections to read. The second I just skimmed through.

He talks of Rowling's love of fun names -- did you know Voldemort meant "theft of death" in another language or that Malfoy means "bad faith."

He focuses on the morality issues. For example, her characters (the good ones) may value life and material possessions, but they realize that many other things are important. Voldemort does not. The search for the sorcerer's stone is about living forever and obtaining unlimited riches. The Dursleys are all about material wealth - the nice car, the best lawn.

Harry is so familiar with the worthlessness the Dursleys try to impress on him that every book ends with him not looking forward to going back to the Dursley's. It is because he is familiar with frustration and knows that he can adapt to it. He can control his response -- nothing else in that household.

A persistent theme this author seems is that persons should not be judged by circumstances, but by their choices. Book 3 is more complex than the first two, allowing Harry to make moral choices without a clear cut right and wrong answer.

This author provides a book-by-book assessment that is quite thorough in its synopsis of each book's plot. Then, he picks out the major ideas as he seems them. He focuses on the effects the books can have on a child and the chances for discussion that can occur as a result of reading them.

This author believes the book to be secular, not religious as the first author did. He believes that there will not be a rash of kids trying to become wizards or witches to be like Harry Potter. He believes they will try to emulate his moral choices, which would be wise.

If you want to read a book about the phenomenon of Harry Potter go with the Hidden Key book -- it's just more interesting. The second book is fairly dry.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

March of the Penguins

I took my 4 (actually 4 and a half, if you ask her) year old niece to see "March of the Penguins" over the weekend. It was quite good.

The baby penguins were so cute and the cinematic is just extraordinary. Morgan Freeman has such a great voice. And you just felt like he was telling you a beautiful story with pictures to match.

Now mind you there was some death in the movie as the movie does depict how baby penguins come to be. Not all of them make it. However, it is very tastefully handled and usually gone with some remark such as "and then they were no more." And because it is not "disneyfied," you don't develop an attachment to any one particular penguin. It really was amazing.

The courtship aspect is interesting in itself. Penguins are not like swans who mate for life. They all gather at the same place for breeding and for that season they are monogamous. But, the next year all bets are off. But, the love and care they show during that year really is pretty amazing. And the care they have to take to keep their egg and their young alive. It's pretty amazing.

The movie shows reality, but doesn't delve into the less pleasant side any more than it has to to acknowledge what happened.

I highly recommend this movie. My niece and I both loved it and for the first time she didn't sleep a wink during the film.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Noone died...

Well, it appears as if everyone lived. Thomas and the Nut. However, it was only because I didn't feel like dealing with either of them. I am just trying to get through this week as I am on vacation next week.

Thomas -- now he is getting back together with an ex from Atlanta. So, they are going to be flying back and forth to see one another. The boy still owes me about $2500, yet he's flying to see someone every other month or so. Still no money for me although he did mention he meant to go by the back on Friday. So, maybe I'll see some money soon.

The Nut -- I have decided that I am going to lay low this week and have her fix everything. I am going to be "too busy." Now mind you I won't let us look like fools. I am just not going to tell her I have us covered. I will let her run around like a maniac. Now mind you, it's already almost 1:30 p.m. I told her over a week ago in an e-mail that our Thursday presentation was all hers (I even gave her the 10 PowerPoint slides that I already finished). She told me this morning that she is off tomorrow, so she has this afternoon and Wednesday. She still hasn't even started! Also, I had a team set up a meeting with me for this afternoon. She asked me about it. Adn then proceeded to tell me she's already worked with them once. So, I told her if she wants to work with them, go ahead. Of course, no follow through from her about whether she is or is not going to meet with them. On top of all of this, she's been a pain in the ass about some room reservations I made. I told her if she wants to change them, knock herself out. I am not dealing with her.

These two people make me crazy. I need my vacation!!

Friday, August 05, 2005

People are annoying...

Just a quick rant of the people on my crap list this week.

1. Roommate (or should I say unpaying tenant in my home) Thomas - Owes me over $2200. Bitches about the way I have my house decorated. Supposed to help with household project but half asses them -

Exhibit A Mowing the yard - he doesn't put the gas can away, doesn't sweep up the grass from the sidewalks, doesn't clean the mower. All of which I have talked about before.
Exhibit BPainting the basement stairs - it looks like crap. We tried this experiment with mixing sand in the paint to create some kind of grip. I've never done it before. Neither had he. And yet as he painted all these steps, he never thought to say "hmmm, this doesn't seem right." So, now it has to be done over again.

2. Team Lead (Nuthouse or nut for short) - Is on vacation this week. Loves to volunteer "us" but said since I "enjoy" the paperwork, she handles other things. Takes an entire 8 hour day just to turn around a 1 page document. But, this week tops them all. She decided two months ago to get involved with presenting at another agency's biannual conference. She was the one who wanted to do it. Guess what? It's next week.

Exhibit A - Left it until the last minute - So, for weeks now, I have asked her question after question about what we wanted to do and she gave me these totally flaky, non substantive answers. Finally last week on Wednesday she gave me a bit of feedback on what she thought and said she would do the class outline. So, I took what she gave me on Thursday and did the best I could with it. She was here last Friday -- did she do anything except point out that I misspelled a word in something I sent out? No. She didn't review anything.
Exhibit B - She barely contributed - Plus, the outline she did sucked -- again very vague. And she only had to use the stuff I provided her which was much more detailed than what she provided.
Exhibit C - There was a great deal of stuff to do. I had to stay strapped to my computer all week. So, I worked my ASS off again this week because I had to get two presentations, including the 26 page manual, 19 page PowerPoint, and class outlines together for this trip. I not only had to write all of it, but then I had to add notes for us on what exactly we were going to talk about. I also had to make the copies, staple them, and send them out to Phoenix by yesterday. So, if she says one damn thing, I swear I am not holding back.

In fact, if no dead bodies turn up by next Friday, then I will be surprised. This people are so damn annoying. And the thing is everyone loves them. Some friends of mine (who I try not to bitch to about them because they are both of our friends) just think Thomas is so nice and wonderful. And our boss just thinks my teamlead Nut is wonderful.

So, I'm packing up and hitting the mall. Mama needs a new pair of shoes!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Harry Potter Personality Test

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Isn't this cute? I've done Mayers-Brigg a number of times and usually come up ENFJ or ENFP. Have fun with it.