Thoughts from a bus

Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Anne Lamott speak. Which I can now say with authority, you should definitely take advantage of if given the chance. She is occasionally profound, sometimes rambling, frequently witty and always raw and loving.

This was the first stop for her book tour for Small Victories: Spotting Improbably Moments of Grace, a collection of essays. She is the author of any other beloved books I have read and many other that I plan on reading. She was also suffering from a sore throat, which she handled with grace while speaking and reading to a packed crowd.

As for how I ended up there? I must admit this event had several strikes against it.

  • It was on weeknight evening during the months in which I leave work after dark.
  • It was held in capital hill which is not the easiest trek for me.
  • I didn’t have anyone to go with me.

But in spite of those perfectly good reasons to stay inside and read, I am so glad I went.
On the bus ride there I read an email from my uncle which included a long wonderfully rambling update on Grammy. Which included the reminder that next week on the 19th it will be 10 years since Pappy died. I find that idea mesmerizing. I honestly don’t believe time has progressed at that rate. Perhaps it is because my memories of that experience are sharper in that way that dealing with death often does to life? Or maybe it is just that ever expanding sense that life is going by too fast for me to soak it all in?

Either way Anne talked about death and grief and how we are rarely allowed by society to grieve at length. While I miss my grandparents it is not with a sharp ache, but more with a fond tug. But it is good for me to remember them and cry, like I did tonight. Grief doesn’t work on time tables.

Well my bus is almost home, so I will end this by saying read some Anne Lamont, go hear her speak if you can and remember as she said tonight you are loved even when you don’t feel it.

Interstellar: Not a review

Other than watching the trailer, I knew very little about this movie going into the theater this afternoon. And I think that is a good way to approach it. All you need to know is that Interstellar is the next big thing (both for box office numbers & awards season) and it involves space and science. While I am still on the fence about whether it is actually a good film or not, it is definitely a good 3 hour theater experience. So I encourage you to go to the theater on this one. It will be worth your money. And when you do, let me know, cause I would love to chat about it.

Who knew listening was so exhausting?

After another enriching/exhausting 9 hour day spent learning about the power of storytelling, my brain is officially shot. So here are a couple of things I found amusing on the internet:

Artist Removes One Letter from Famous Movies and Illustrates the Results – My favorite is of course, #19

Minions, the movie

My Modern Met – One of my new favorite blogs on Tumblr

Giant Men Meet Tiny Kittens

Last day of NaBloPoMo

There we go, another November of daily blogging is gone. I am hoping that I manage not to completely fall of the wagon with this when December rolls in tomorrow. Although I think publishing a post every day, definitely brought down the quality of my posts. Maybe if I were to say just try to write part of a post every day, I could come up with more substantive posts. Either way, it was a fun excuse to get the blog dusted off and going again.

In other news, my deliciously lazy weekend continued today with finishing a book – The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, hanging out with Alex, eating a delicious leftover redux meal of ham, and going to see Catching Fire, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Err, as much as one can enjoy watching a film in which the characters suffer greatly in a dystopian future where children (and adults) are forced to kill each other for live entertainment.

As for the book, it is apparently the first in an expected 7 long series, which seems a bit long to me. It is set in a future dystopian world where magic (clairvoyance, specifically), exists but is persecuted and repressed. The main character lives a shadow world with her criminal friends in London, until she is kidnapped and set to an even more brutal existence serving vampire-like aliens with her power. Overall, it was a decent read, but it didn’t really stand out from the many many other young adult books in this same vein. That all said, I still remember enough of the plot when the next book comes out, I may give it a read.

old timey link bonanza

50 pictures in perfect timing – I think Charletta shared this on Facebook, but trust me this is a list worth browsing. I think 23 might be my favorite

Pharrell Williams has a new 24-hour music video called 24 Hours of Happy and I spent quite a browsing through various segments. Definitely worth a look.

31 GIFs That Will Make You Laugh Every Time – Several of these made both Alex and I laugh out loud in the literal sense.

Neville Longbottom is the Most Important Person in Harry Potter—And Here’s Why – I don’t know if I buy this author’s idea that all of the younger characters in Harry Potter mimic the previous generation, but it does make for a fascinating argument about the power of followers and how you can do more than your destiny.

for Katie

Tonight at a farewell for the pastor at our church the Emcee had a lovely British accent that reminded me of Neil Gaiman. When I shared this with Katie, it was discovered that she had never heard Neil speak, which means she had never watched this video.

So while yes it is long (around 20 minutes) this is a great video about the importance of creating, making art and forging the kind of life you want to lead. I guarantee you won’t regret watching it.

How to have a delightful Friday night

1. Get out of work a little early because of late nights earlier in the week.

2. Putz around the apartment, accomplishing very little.

3. Go and pick Alex up from the car mechanic, because the check engine light came on his car (the second time in a month!).

4. Discover that Alex owns a massage chair insert thing (it fits on top of a pre-existing chair) and spend the next 30 minutes blissed out on massage, while working on a secret project.

5. Go out to dinner and eat a delicious steak salad.

6. Talk about all sorts of things with Alex, including everything from elder care, children and alcohol.

7. Complete the dinner & a movie twofer with the new Thor movie.

8. Laugh a lot, mainly in the second half or when Loki was involved. And especially for the very brief Captain America cameo and the great Easter Eggs at the end (both of them!)

Live “Tweeting” Harry Potter 7

In October, Katie, Jenn and I went to Girl Geek Con in downtown Seattle and ended going to see the EMP’s new exhibit on the Archetypes of Fantasy. In that exhibit, they had Professor McGonagall listed under the Iron Woman trope and they played the awesome clip of her calling the suits of armor of Hogwarts to battle.

That was pretty much all it took for Katie and I decide it was really time to re-watch some Harry Potter. We started with number 6 a few weeks ago and tonight we will attempt a back to back screening of part 1 and 2 of Harry Potter part 7.

We are preparing some traditional bangers and Yorkshire pudding to go with our evening and some slightly less tradition cucumbers and hummus. Follow along as we relive the the darkest hours of the Harry Potter series.

[Spoilers ahead, duh!]
Watching Harry Potter 7
The movie definitely makes no qualms about its darker tone starting out with the heart wrenching scene where Hermione causes her parents to forget she exists. Also Fiona Shaw is incredible, wringing more emotion out of a 2 second scene than most actors do with 3 minutes.

The dark lord is dark, one murder and that nasty snake biting the camera scene all in the first 10 minutes.

Ron gets the first joke! And an apt one it is, how often have all of these people risked their lives for Harry?

I love the scene with the multiple Harry Potters, and the great touches of Wesley humor

Katie points out that Hedwig gets a better death in the movie than the book, saving Harry’s life as opposed to dying in her cage.

Poor Molly, she had 4 of her children and her husband out risking their lives to help Harry arrive at the Burrow.

Ron finally puts Harry in his place and reminds Harry that he may be the chosen one, but their friends don’t die for him, they die for a bigger cause.

One of best scenes in the whole 7 movies is the short scene where Fred catches Ginny and Harry kissing and only says “Morning” and some hilariously meaningful looks are exchanged.

Also Bilious is pretty much the worst middle name ever.

I love Luna Lovegood, such an insightful, but very out if character. Perhaps Harry’s closest friend outside of Hermione and Ron.

And quickly the trio is completely on their own, thank goodness for Hermione. She really is my favorite. Her rucksack is the best thing ever.

Kreacher is the Gollum of the Harry Potter series.

Finally a scene with Neville!

Umbridge remains the creepiest of all Harry Potter villains, perhaps even more than Voldemort himself.

Ache, these scenes of Hermione and Ron and all their repressed teenage passionate longing.

Polyjuice potion time! These three actors faced with pretending to be inhabited by the trio do such a fantastic job! Especially Ron’s, somehow capturing that teenage tension in adult bodies, trying so hard to fit in.

I love how the elevators in the ministry don’t just go up and down, but side to side too.

The tension really doesn’t stop in the movie, especially the whole ministry scene.

Ron splinching is definitely even more horrible in the movie than in the book.

And now the the locket, the movie has its ring of doom. Toxic to the wearer, but incredibly valuable.

Wow, they walk through some desolate landscapes, it seems like most of England is burnt or broken.

Ron has turned into quite the downer after his splinching, but his frustrations about Dumbledore’s lack of clear instructions aren’t entirely off.

They do a good job of making Ron’s departure both believable (mostly) and incredibly cutting.

The dancing in the tent scene is so well done – a brief reminder that they are actually just teenagers in a very adult and scary world.

Merry Christmas, come see your parents’ graves, the ruin of the house they were murdered in and meet the world’s creepiest old woman who is actually a giant snake!

Harry attempts to snake fight with a chair, but thankfully Hermione has the good sense to apparate them out through the window.

Also their persistent lack of scarves, hats, gloves or other winter gear is a bit troubling, considering it is so clearly winter.

Clearly going ice swimming without telling your sole companion about it is totally a good idea, even if you do see a nice shiny sword at the bottom. Also wise, leaving on the malevolent locket so it can drown you in the water.

Wow, there is a lot more creepy sticky spider really weird naked Harry and Hermione CG figures in that locket than originally meets the eye.

I find pretty much every scene among the trio that deals with the Ron/Hermione “relationship” hilarious.
“You aren’t still mad at him are you?” – Harry
“I am always mad at him.” – Hermione

There are very few low blood pressure scenes in this movie, but at least they do make them interesting. The sound effects of the scene running from the snatchers in the woods are so well done.

In regards to the snatchers and their decision to take the trio to Voldemort, Katie comments, “It is nice to see some minions with some brains.”

The torture of Hermione by Bellatrix is particularly unpleasant.

While I never cared for Dobby that much, his rescue scene and acquisition of a wand are pretty kick ass.

“Dobby never meant to kill, Dobby meant to wound or seriously injure” – Dobby, a free elf with a few pretty good lines.

Considering the ending of part 1, I am really excited to actually head right into part 2, back to back.

Harry Potter 7, part 2
So to start, we get to watch Voldemort break into Dumbledore’s grave and take the Elder Wand again.

It feels like the first part is all angst, stillness, melancholy, and bonding between the trio, I am excited to get to part 2 with so many good scenes ahead. But I am glad they took the time to tell the stories of part 1 – it adds a lot to the characters.

“The wand chooses the wizard. That much has always been clear to those of us who study wand lore.” – Ollivander

Wow, that polyjuice potion has been the most helpful thing they learned in Hogwarts by far.

Helena Bonham Carter pretending to be Hermione, pretending to be Bellatrix is pretty darn awesome. Also Ron with a fake beard and shaggy hair is also highly amusing.

Wait a second, why did they enchant the goblin guard, when they actually did have Bellatrix’s wand. Did they just forget to bring it with them to the bank?

Once again, they would all be dead without Hermione and her spell ability to catch them 6 inches from the ground.

I love that Hermione will just as quickly champion abused dragons as enslaved house elves.

When will they learn that Accio never really works if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.

Big surprise Griphook ends up being more than just a little bit of a jerk, even letting his fellow goblin banker get burnt by a dragon.

Awesome, escape via dragon! This trio has best/craziest/worst adventures.

I also forgot that this is the movie in which the climax starts about 20 minutes in and doesn’t really stop.

Heading back into Hogwarts! So strange to think that the students were the trio’s peers just a few months ago, but now they seem so much younger.

Seeing Harry confront Snape and then having him battle McGonagall is both awesome and heart-wrenching knowing what Snape is truly going through to play the traitor.

Really they are going to lock up all of Slytherin for one bad seed?

Uh oh they are splitting the party. Harry goes off alone, but thank goodness for Luna.

When Professor McGonagall goes to war, it means business.
“His name is Voldemort, he is going to try to kill you either way, so you might well use it”

Harry never ignore Luna, she always knows what’s going on. Once again Ravenclaw brains win out.

Wow, Voldemort managed to acquire quite an army in the past few months.

“It is the quality of your convictions that determine your success, not the number of your followers.” – Professor Lupin
“Who said that?” – Kingsley
“Me.” Professor Lupin

Apparently destroying horcruxes is the primary way to get Hermione and Ron to finally kiss! Other teenage turn-ons? Apparently battle, adrenaline and war.

Nevin finally gets to show his kick-ass nature.

So if you are counting along, the horcruxes destroyed include Riddle’s diary, the ring, the locket, the cup and the diadem. All that’s left is snake and Harry.

“If we die for them Harry, I’m going to kill you.” – Ron

Wow, not only does Voldemort kill Snape with out a second thought, but he doesn’t even give him an easy death. Instead choosing to slit his throat and have the snake finish him off. Cruel, but it does give Snape the chance tell his final story to Harry.

“You have your mother’s eyes” – Snape’s final words

Fred’s death always hits the hardest. Although Lupin and Tonks are a very close second and third.

Finally time to get to know the incredible person Snape actually was. In other words it’s time for some back story!

The resurrection stone was in the snitch? I had completely forgotten that! But I guess that is how they explain all his parents, Sirius, and Lupin joining him on his last walk.

Of course he would wake up in King’s Cross Station, what better version of purgatory is there.

Do not pity the dead Harry, pity the living and pity all those who live without love. – Dumbledore

The Malfoys always manage to do some good in their steadfast pursuit of their own survival.

Voldemort’s nose is really quite well done. I like out it blurs slightly and never seems entirely in focus.

Poor Draco, reunited with his parents, but never going to be able to live it down.

Never abandon your snake when Neville is around.

Poof goes Voldemort. I had kind of forgotten whether or not Harry had to actually do the killing spell on him or not.

I like that the trio remains a trio, despite Ron and Hermione finally getting together.

You get a nice rejection of violence in Harry’s complete rejection of the Elder Wand. In fact he also dropped the Resurrection Stone in the forest AND has owned the invisibility cloak for several years.

Epilogue time! Of the trio, Harry’s aging is definitely the best, while Ron’s is definitely the worst. Also this means they all got to having children quick at least to have kids age 13 or so at age 36.

It’s Friday, Friday

What a week! While nothing particularly more busy about this week as opposed to others, it is still with a very content sigh that I embrace this Friday evening. Thanks to my 12 hour day earlier this week, I was able to head out from work around 2pm. Then Alex and I went to Bastille, fancy French restaurant, for happy hour. Which, sadly, was a bit underwhelming. I tried the mussels and fries and while the fries were amazingly good, the mussels had a different sauce that didn’t make them nearly as tasty as I had remembered. But still it was a nice time and I tried a fancy whiskey based cocktail, that was actually pretty good.

Then Alex and headed back to the apartment and finished playing through the game Gone Home. It has been a number of years since I have played a first person immersive game like this, so trying to remember how to maneuver and such was tricky at times. But I do highly recommend this game, no combat, no big puzzles, just an immersive, sometimes spooky story based game. Essentially you arrive home from your trip to Europe to find no one at home. So you search the house to find out what happened to your parents and sister. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is definitely one I recommend.

With that I head off to a bit more relaxing and then bed.

Skyfall

Alex, David and I went to see the new James Bond movie tonight and it was quite fun. It is truly amazing how such a long-running series that revolves around basic ideas I disagree with (violence everywhere and lots of expendable sex objects women running around), can be so continually entertaining. I won’t go into any details for fear of the dreaded spoiler, but I will say that Bond, does get to introduce himself at least once as, “Bond, James Bond”, he also drinks a shaken martini, seduces several women, gets shot, shoots people in return (although this Bond seems to much more a fan of beating people up and then strangling them or dropping them off high places).

Also the theme song is by Adele and far and away the best Bond song yet. Here’s proof: