Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Last Book -- Spoiler Alert!

On Saturday afternoon, I stepped out of my apartment door and picked up the copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that I had preordered from Amazon and immediately started reading. It took me about 8 hours, and I finished a little bit after midnight. I know that I am going to have to reread it at some point, because I was so all fired up to get to the ending that I know that I skimmed over a lot of points. But all in all, I thought it was a really good read.

I would, however, like to respond to a few things that have been mentioned in someone else's blog regarding this book.

First of all, yes, I will admit that the epilogue is a little too cheesy. But guess what folks? That's how JKR intended it to be! She wrote that chapter way back in the early days when she was first writing Philosopher's Stone. And while she may have changed a few details along the way, it's the way she wanted the entire story to end. I agree that it's a little pat (and yes, I wanted to know a little bit more about a few of the characters), but I'm not going to gripe about it. It's the way she wanted it written.

Secondly, this person mentions (and I quote) "Where's Alan Rickman's big death scene? Does JKR want to deny him his Oscar?"

Ummm. Excuse me? His death scene? First of all, his character does get a death scene, and (in my own humble opninion) it's pretty cool too. Secondly, since when is it the responsibility of an author to determine how much screen time an actor receives? JKR wrote the book for which the movie will be based, not the other way around. It is not her job to change the way she originally intended the story to end just because we happen to like one of the actors that plays one of the major characters. Moreover, she has always maintained that HP came to her pretty much fully formed while she was riding the train one day, and that was way back in the early nineties. Over fifteen years ago! Back then, AR was the Sheriff of Nottingham, and JKR had no idea that HP was going to a successful story, let alone become the basis for seven major blockbusters. And the fact that she had written the epilogue at the very beginning leads me to believe that the way that she deals with this particular character in the book is the way she had always intended it. Besides, even if she did take the different actors and actresses into account when she finished the book, I personally liked the way she dealt with this character, because I think that it's the only way she could have dealt with him that we readers (let alone Harry) would have found believable. And if AR is half the actor I know him to be, he's going to pull off that scene REALLY, REALLY well.

(Let's just hope that the director is going to think so also.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And Now, a Lesson in Math

So today, having slept in and dilly-dallied to the point where I didn't have time to pack my lunch, I had to go out to grab a bite to eat. So, at around 12:30, I trecked out into the heat to go to the nearby Subway two doors down. I ordered a sandwich combo and paid for my meal. As I started to walk away, I realized the woman hadn't given me my cup, so I asked for one.

Her: "Oh, that's for the combo."

Me: "Yes, that's what I ordered."

Her: "Oh. I guess I'm going to have to ring you up again."

(Now, personally, if this were me behind the counter, I would have just forked over a cup. I mean, it was my mistake, so I would be willing to pay for it, but I won't complain. I allow the woman behind the counter to ring me up again.)

Her: "Now, I charged you $5.53 for your sandwich and cookies, and the combo is...let's see....$6.60

Now, when she tells me this, I reach into my purse for my $1.07 to pay the difference.

Her (continued, pulling out an old receipt to do the math): Let me think here... I'll have to subtract it from this... (??) So, so that's....that's...that's...$1.10.

Now, I will admit, that I am not the world's greatest mathematician. I failed my high school trig exam (although I will contend to this day that it was because the teacher tested us on things he said wouldn't be on the test, and then accused us of not studying), and it takes me half a morning just to balance my checkbook, but this is pretty fundamental, even for the numerically challenged, like me. And while I will also admit that it was obvious that this woman behind the counter had a primary language other than English, I've never known numbers to change just because you don't speak the language your patron is speaking as fluently as she/he does. I mean, that's one of the beauties of math. Numbers don't change. 6 minus 5 is one. It has always been one, and it will always be one. 60 minus 53 is seven. It has always been seven, and it will always be seven. Therefor, 6.60 minus 5.53 is 1.07. It's really not that hard. It has always been that way, and it will always continue to be that way. And while I'm not one to begrudge anyone three cents, it's still three cents that I'd rather not part with (and besides, if she had been the one short, she would have demanded that I fork over the three pennies)

Me (slapping the extra $1.07 down on the counter): Actually, it's $1.07.

Her (a bewildered look on her face): It is? (a pause) I guess maybe it is....

Sigh. Some people. Incidentally, if you're interested in some additional math humor, please check out the link below.

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Books, Old Series

I am one of the few people on this planet who has not yet read any of the LOTR books. And I haven't seen any of the movies either, because, well, I tell myself that once I've read the books, I'll see the movies, but I don't want to see the movies before I've read the books. But at this point, I'm not sure when either one of them is going to happen.

People look at me strangely when I tell them this, but in all honesty, I really did try. When I was a senior in college (that was the year Return of the King was released in theatres), I sat down to read Fellowship of the Ring.

I read a couple chapters, and put it down. I just couldn't get into it. A few months later, I picked it up again and managed a few more chapters before setting it aside again. People tell me that I put it down just when it gets interesting, but I just haven't had any interest to pick it back up.

But at least I don't pretend that I know all there is to know about the trilogy. I dated this guy in college who contended that he was a big Harry Potter fan. And at first glance, I guess he was. He was familiar with many of the characters, believed that any book that got kids to read was fantastic, and found the charges against the books of witchcraft to be ridiculously ubsurd. He even gave me a book talking about religious symbolism in the books. That aside, at the time that we broke up, I don't know that he had once read a single one of the books. Everything he knew about the series, he knew from the movies.

Now, granted, at the time we were dating, The Order of the Phoenix was just about to come out, so the movies weren't that far behind the books. And I'm sure that, in the four plus years that have passed since we have gone our separate ways, he has probably read a few of the books. But still, really.

This is all prelude to my discovery this past weekend that there actually are human beings on this earth who have yet to read a few of the HP books. One of my coworkers has just begun reading the series with the intention of getting it read by the time the seventh book comes out. Hmmm.

BTW, does anyone have any cool ideas about what to do for a Harry Potter party for 8-12 year olds?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


When I was in high school, we were studying the concept of alcohol addiction in health class, and the teacher discussed the idea of an "enabler." An enabler, according to him, was someone who defended and/or protected the alcoholic, like making excuses for him/her, and in the process sometimes encouraged the person to drink more.

I have come to the conclusion that alcoholism is not the only addiction that has enablers. Two days ago, I was at church, and a friend of mine came up to me and said, "If the guy at the yarn shop calls me today, would you like to go this afternoon?"

Dangerous words to a compulsive knitter. I mean, really, my stash is already taking over the living room, and I have so many projects on the needles that I'll be knitting for the rest of my life. I don't need an excuse to go to a yarn shop, and when I do, I always end up spending far more than I ever have the money for. And yet, when she called me later that day, of course I went. I mean, really. It's a yarn shop.

So we went, and I spent far too much money, mainly because, in the process of looking for something I can knit for my father, S picked up this variegated blue wool, held it up to my face and said, "Since you're not looking for yourself, I won't tell you how good you look with it." She then preceded to pull me over to a nearby mirror and show me. It was the perfect color. I was hooked. I, who had planned on getting some soft alpaca for my dad's sweater, and two skeins of soy yarn to make into socks, listened to S, who said, "Your father can wait. Get this for yourself," forgot completely about the alpaca and picked up the blue wool. It is now on two needles at home, and is going to be made into a ribbed sweater.

S is my enabler. She feeds my addiction for all things woolly, and I, of course, am helpless to defend myself against her. And she will remain my friend for life.

Oh, and I got the two skeins of soy for the socks, too.

My Things

There's been some questions, and it's been a while since the 23 Things started, so I thought I should probably explain to people who haven't been following what exactly I'm talking about. At work, there's been the initiative to introduce new technologies to all of us. It's called Learning 2.0, and it has 23 steps ("Things") for people to do. The premise is that we would do each step, and then blog about it to show that we actually did it (creating a blog was actually one of the steps). I completed all 23 of them back in April, but I've decided that since I did a lot of them just to say I did them, I'm going to go back and do some of them over again. This way, I can get more experience with them, and know what it is that some of my patrons are talking about when they come up and start throwing weird technology words at me :) And plus, it's fun!

If you are interested in learning more about these various and sundry steps, you can check out the link below (hopefully it works. copying and pasting might be necessary)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A New Pattern

I bring in my knitting to work so I can work on it during my lunch break. The past two weeks, I finished two pairs of socks. Of course, I didn't use up all of my yarn, so I'm going to have to start another pair pretty soon. I just can't think of anything else that I can use with this particular yarn when I only have two skeins. But in the meantime, I've started with a sweater that will be a Christmas present to someone this year. (I'm only doing this because the needles required are larger and are not as horrendous for my carpal tunnel. The socks will return soon.)

Some of my coworkers think that the fact that I can string loops of yarn through other loops of yarn is just down right the coolest thing since sliced bread (although they would never think to ask me to teach them how to do it). The problem is that a few others also know how to knit (and are just as fiber-obsessed as I am, if not more so). One of them has given me a dilemma. She has this pattern for what she calls a "Probability Scarf." You take six different types of yarn, preferably in six different colors, and assign each one a number. Then, knit every row with a different color, rolling a die to find out which one you want to use. She says that this a great way to use up leftover yarn.

This is a problem for me. I had already thought that that was what socks were for. Now I have another way to use up my leftovers. Oh dear. Oh, the combinations I could come up with when doing a project like this...

Monday, July 02, 2007

A new thing whatever number this is... - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I chose this particular image, just because it looked homey and nice. While I'm not an overly huge coffee fan, I thought it creates a nice picture. And you can use your own imagination over what it's never too late for...