Saturday, July 28, 2007

Finally got around to it ...


grilled pimento cheese on sourdough
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

We ate lunch at Parker & Otis today, although I think it shall forever be known to us as "that place that used to be Fowler's." It was OK. It will be one of those places we end up going to when we can't think of anything better because hunger has clouded our faculties.

In other news, that book about the wizard boy is still tumbling through my mind. (SPOILER WARNING: go away if you still haven't read it ... or if you're not a fan and the topic doesn't interest you.)

There's one part that I have a question about--maybe it's a continuity error, maybe an error in my understanding. During "The Prince's Tale," when Snape is in the headmaster's office and Dumbledore's portrait is telling him to reveal the correct date of Harry's transfer, it's more than a month before Snape has been announced as headmaster. So what's he doing in the office getting advice from the portraits? Perhaps in the absence of an actual headmaster any member of staff is free to wander in and consult the portraits ...

Oh yeah, make that two things I have a question about: How is Dobby able to take Dean and Ollivander to Shell Cottage when it's under a Fidelius Charm and he hasn't been told its location by the Secret-Keeper? Or is it yet another case of house elves having their own magic and not being subject to certain rules? If that's true, then they'd be pretty handy if you want to assasinate someone, now wouldn't they? Hmmm ...

Friday, July 27, 2007

As much fun as a barrel of boggarts

Part 2 of the Today Show interview with JKR. Why is it assumed that those viewing an interview with a famous author want to see the interviewer fake-smiling and nodding while the interviewee speaks? It's as if they think the interview is about Meredith Vieira as much as it's about JKR. And why the hell are TV interviewers so damn annoying? It's no wonder JKR does as few interviews as she can possibly get away with--they all ask her the same insipid questions she been asked and answering for years, particularly some version of 'gosh, you've come so far from being a welfare mom to one of the richest women in the world ... how does it feel?" I wish just once she would answer "That's right, I'm rich, bitch!" And of course, they all ask her "What's next," as if that question hasn'rt been asked and answered again and again and we don't already know what she's going to say "Well, I'm going to relax a bit and enjoy life and then I'm going to write some more."

So I guess what I'm saying is if you're pressed for time, don't even bother with part 2 of the interview,. She doesn't really reveal anything like, say, the whereabouts of Florean Fortescue ...

And last night I had a dream that my Patronus and I were competing in some sport together. It was not at all clear whether the patronus was a dog or the sport was agility ...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some of Harry's loose ends ...

WARNING: THIS POST IS SPOILERIFIC. DO NOT READ IT IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED DEATHLY HALLOWS YET!!


The Today Show interview with JK Rowling answers some of the questions left unanswered by DH, and Jo explains why she had to leave so many loose ends:
"It would have been humanly impossible to answer every single question that fans have because I'm dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest until they know the middle names of harry's great-great grandparents."
Yeah, we're geeks, aren't we?

Anyway, the number one question seems to be about Harry, Ron and Hermione (and a few other characters) do for a living. Jo said she had originally planned to include more of that in the epilogue, but it "didn't work very well as a piece of writing." But she's happy to disclose that Harry and Ron have "utterly revolutionized the Auror Department" and Hermione is "pretty high up in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement." Did Luna and Neville ever get together, as some of us were hoping? Jo doesn't rule it out, but she left the question open at the end of the book because answering it "felt too neat."

The first half of the segment can be viewed at the site now, i imagine the second half will be up after it airs tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fun to be had elsewhere ...

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: There's some lovely discussion and spoilerage to be had chez Georg and chez Rakka and, well feel free to discuss it here if you want ... spoilers and all!

Also, the latest "Mugglecast" is spoilerific fun as well.

And, HOORAY: According to MuggleNet, J.K. Rowling has announced she will write an HP character encyclopedia!! That entry also reveals which character got a reprieve from death in DH (you have to highlight some text to see it, so you're safe clicking the link even if you don't want to know).

Oh yeah, and The Chancellory At Trinity Park (y'know, that condo thingie in my hood): Go on over to Bull City Rising and discuss.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'll try not to spoil anything ...

I spent most of the weekend reading, of course. (Harry Potter, in case you couldn't guess.) Unlike Georg, I didn't attempt to clock my reading hours, because I was actually trying to stretch it all out and make it last, seeing as how it's the final one and all. I decided against picking the book up at midnight Friday, as I had originally planned, because I knew I would then stay up all night to read it and staying up all night doesn't agree with me at all. So instead I went to the Regulator at 9 am and picked up my copy, settling in on the sofa for most of the day. It was sort of a shame that it had to be released on such a gorgeous day--sunny but not too hot--so I made a point of keeping than back door open while i sat on the sofa, and spending some of my reading time out in the back yard. I also took a break to take the dogs for a nice walk and to attend a week-late Bastille Day party thrown by an agility pal.

I will try to speak cryptically, but if you haven't read it and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now, just in case. First I just want to say: I KNEW IT! What was revealed in Chapter 33, "The Prince's Tale," turned out pretty much as I expected and hoped. Well, almost--it actually was far better than I had thought it would be. That was most gratifying.

I was disconcerted, but not surprised, by the body count. Mostly I took the deaths in stride because I knew someone had to bite it--we're fighting supreme evil here, people! But there was one death a little more than halfway through the book (last page of Chapter 23), that really hit me in the gut. I got a bit teary-eyed over it.

Although the ending wasn't exactly as I expected, it was far from a surprise, as Jim Dale had characterized it. I didn't expect it to be handled the way it was, but then again, when your whole plot revolves around magic you can get away with a lot and still satisfy your readers, can't you? And I am satisfied. Except that I still wonder what exactly happened to Florean Fortescue. Or did I miss it somewhere? I have to go and re-read the whole thing ASAP.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oh goody, a surprise

I had a great weekend in Georgia. The local Athens paper had an article about the flyball tournament in the Sunday edition, and there's even a little video that sort of explains the sport, in case you're curious.

Mr. Pants and I finally saw Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix last night. Mr. P said it's his favorite so far because he finally got to see a real magic battle. For my part, the battle scene seemed a bit thin compared to the one in the book, but isn't that often the case? I had heard that Evanna Lynch and Imelda Staunton were fantastic as Luna Lovegood and Dolores Umbridge, respectively, and I was not disappointed. I had hoped, based on clips and trailers I'd seen, that Helena Bonham Carter would get a bit more screen time as Bellatrix Lestrange, but maybe that will happen over the next two movies.

My weekend road trip put me behind in my quest to re-read all six previous books. I was so busy I barely had a chance to read, and now I still have books 5 and 6 to go. The only thing Jim Dale, the audiobook voice of the series, will reveal is that Book 6 has a "surprise ending." Hmmm, what would surprise me? Voldemort and Harry settling their differences over a pint of butterbeer?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Chancellory At Trinity Park: Capitulation Nears


People who are more concerned with the Snape Question will be disappointed, for here instead is an update on The Condo Project That Ate Trinity Park. The Trinity Park Neighborhood Association board had declared in an e-mail last month that it was unanimous "in believing that the developer's final parameters did not adequately address the concerns of the BoA and the majority of the neighborhood." The BoA being the Durham Board of Adjustments, who had previously instructed the developer (park City Development) to met with the TPNA board and a group called Neighbors For Sustainable Development in Trinity Park and come up with a compromise that was acceptable to all. Apparently, that wasn't happening because the developers weren't willing to budge, as the TPNA e-mail pointed out. It was looking like Park City would have to go back to the BoA still lacking neighborhood support for their project.

Apparently however, the TPNA decided to ditch the NFSDTP and continue negotiations with Park City on their own----without telling NFSDTP. The TPNA Board is now considering whether to endorse new renderings from Park City that seem to merely rearrange the density so that it's more evenly distributed, getting rid of the most common objection to the project--the seven story height. Meanwhile, the rest of the particulars, including everything else to which the NFSDTP objected, seem to remain the same.

The whole thing will be discussed beginning at 8:00 pm Wednesday evening at the Watts School Media Center. As mentioned previously, I am already engaged that evening so I'll miss the fireworks.

UPDATE: I've edited this entry to correct the name of the neighbors group--I had gotten all the words in the wrong order.

Mandrake cake!


mandrake cake 1
Originally uploaded by chotda.

You probably have to go to Guam to get one (unless you've got skillz and can make your own.) (Thanks for the photo, chotda!)

Harry Potter and the Scheduling Snafu

I'm a bit disappointed that I will most likely have to wait until next week to see Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, an event to which I have been looking forward since Goblet of Fire. But unfortunately my schedule is booked solid. Wednesday evening I have an agility class, which I suppose I could skip but I love agility even more than I love HP. But, I also have to pack up that evening because I'm off with a teammate Thursday afternoon to Athens, GA, where we have a flyball tournament this weekend. Not that we couldn't go in Athens, but we may not have any time and we're traveling with dogs, of course, which adds a logistic wrinkle to everything we do. So I'll probably go Monday evening, and those of you who are able to go earlier and inclined to blog about the topic can taunt me with descriptions of just how good Imelda Staunton is as Dolores Umbridge.

But the movie will keep a few days. The important thing is that I am available to spend most of the following weekend reading Book 7, which is even more important to me than the movie. I may even be able to keep myself awake that Friday night for the big hoo-ha at The Regulmocator. Meanwhile, of course, my idle moments will be spent pondering that captivating question. Oh yeah, and re=reading the first six books. I knocked 1 and 2 out over the weekend and am currently plowing through three.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Things I wonder about ...

I guess I don't have anything really interesting to say, so let's visit the department of Pet Peeves, shall we?

So let's say you're driving along on a two-lane road, and a cop turns onto the road and begins following you. You'd be retarded not to go the speed limit, right? Why then does the cop proceed to ride your ass? He knows you're going the speed limit because there's a cop behind you and you're not going to go any faster, right? Or is he retarded? Isn't riding someones ass considered a bad thing? Don't they tell us not to do it in the NC Drivers' Handbook? Here's what it says:
Following too closely is a leading cause of traffic crashes. Maintain plenty of space between your vehicle and the one ahead. If the car ahead stops suddenly, you will need time to react. On the open road, keep enough distance between you and the car ahead so that a passing vehicle can safely move into and occupy the space. Remember to follow the "two second rule".
Oh yeah, and when they're not riding someone's ass, Durham cops like to drive really, really fast.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Overdue maintenance

At long last, I've updated the template for this blog to include some necessary links and get rid of some old dead ones and such. Most notably, I've added some new "locals" to my little sidebar on the right, and created a new section for "ex-locals," to which I've included Xta's new blog, even though she's not gone yet (I'm very lazy and I figured if I put it there now it will save me having to put it there later). To that list I will eventually have to add Elsa and Dick (who only occasionally honors us with an actual update).

I've also overhauled the other links, which formerly resided on an externally hosted "Blogroll," to which I had signed up once upon a time using a now-extinct email address, and to which I had long also forgotten the password. So I ditched the blogroll and have now added and subtracted some links, all to serve you better, of course, dear reader.

Eventually I will make this whole blog less ugly, probably by switching to the one of the minimalist, plain white templates, but I've run out of steam for today.