Friday, December 31, 2010

Rereading Harry Potter, Part 1

A few years after my first read-through, I'm re-reading the "Harry Potter" series to my kids. This morning, I just finished book 5. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, and I'm ready to start posting about my reaction the second time through.

This book (#5) was the one that changed me from avid Harry Potter fan to lukewarm Harry Potter fan. My first reaction to this book was "OK, she finished the set-up in the previous book, and it's too early to start on the wrap-up, so she's killing time between books 4 and 6. And yet it's still I-don't-know-how-many-hundred pages long." My reaction this time? The same, except that I was less annoyed/disappointed this time because of my lowered expectations going in. I was able to just enjoy the episodic ride because I wasn't thinking "Sheesh, do we have to plod through every date on the school calendar before the final chapter where Dumbledore explains everything...?"

Now, I'd like to go over some of my main criticisms of the series. But before I begin, I want to make it perfectly clear that I don't want to see any angry comments about what an evil hater I am for not liking the Harry Potter series. I do like it, and I'm enjoying re-reading it to my kids. Please review my parable of criticism as a compliment. I wouldn't bother to critique/analyze the Harry Potter series if I thought it were just a pile of scheiss.

Also, I'd like to draw your attention to some other critiques made by fellow-blogger friends here and here. These are interesting points, and I have nothing in particular to add to them.

I could swear that I read Holly say somewhere that the "magic" in Harry Potter is not at all magical, but I can't find the link. That is quite a valid and interesting point. Yet, I'm actually kind of intrigued by Rowling's conception of magic as being kind of like science/technology. Indeed, it's interesting how she presents the wizards as sticking with outdated technologies like quills and ink bottles because -- once they've found a way of bewitching a "muggle" technology to their liking -- they have no reason to switch to the latest thing. It creates a situation where sometimes it's actually not clear that the wizarding community's ways are better or more convenient -- just different, and existing in parallel with more familiar ways. So the author's unorthodox conception of magic isn't what I particularly object to.

To be continued. ;^)

Monday, December 20, 2010

(dreaming of a) a white-on-white Christmas!

I was planning to deconstruct "Frosty" this year (since my "popular posts" widget tells me that my posts on Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey, The Grinch, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and The Polar Express are among my most popular posts), but...

I was too busy trying to wrestle this dry-powder snow into the snow-mom-and-baby you see here. And, sadly, this is the only picture my Nico managed to take before the other kiddies knocked 'em down. :-^(

Please bear with me as I celebrate a minimalist Christmas this year. As some famous guy once said, "I'll be back again someday!" :D

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Me, on Star Trek!!!

I've mentioned a few times that my brother and I produced a 13-episode community-cable Star Trek parody series (way back when we had just graduated from college). Well, I finally found a friend who knew how to convert the DVDs to YouTube-friendly format (and another who knows his way around YouTube), so you can see the show for yourselves!

I'm starting with episode 6 because the the early episodes have really poor sound quality and other technical problems, and I'd rather introduce the series with one that we filmed after a few episodes worth of on-the-job training. ;)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

And now my immense psychic powers will make this blog more relevant to your life!!

Check this out!! In the course of livening up the ol' blog, I've added this this fab new sidebar widget --> to psychically *cough* randomly *cough* select a batch of amusing old posts just for you!

After a bit of playing with it, it's kind of making me want to go back and delete all of my less-interesting filler-posts. Like this one. ;)

p.s. If any of the posts it chooses really are eerily relevant to your life, please leave a comment! I'd like to build up some (self-selection-biased) evidence to prove that my psychic powers really are amazing!!! :D