Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holiday debriefing…

Since this year’s holiday plans did not include traveling, I decided to make a to-do list of vacation activities, not only to avoid boredom, but to give me crap to blog about. It went like this…

1. Clean apartment from top to bottom

Not a particularly fascinating blog topic, but since we’re here… I did clean from top to bottom (bottom to top) and once I recovered from the headache caused by my very liberal use of bleach in the bathroom, I was quite pleased with the result. It didn’t even take that long. Having my own place has made me much neater, although I’m still prone to clutter (magazines, books, clothes). What I’m not so good at is dusting and organizing. I still think dusting is a waste of precious time, but organizing is always a good thing because it helps me gain control in a world of chaos.

2. See at least one movie in a theatre

Li’l Sis and I took in Twilight (finally!). It was alright. I thought the girl playing Bella did a good job, in that she was just as frustrating on screen as she is in the book. I mean, I don’t pretend to understand the hearts and minds of teenage girls, but would any self-respecting emo, hormonal, impressionable, high school girl act like Bella? Granted, Robert Pattinson is swoon-worthy, but he eats wild animals, sparkles, and doesn’t seem to own a hairbrush. Love is great and all, but not when bodily harm is involved. In other words, JUST BITE HER ALREADY! Anyway, I did like the movie, but only because I’ve decided not to let my dissatisfaction with the conclusion of the series color my appreciation for the first book.

3. Start a new knitting project

I can’t say I succeeded here. I thought about it a lot; I looked through all of my patterns and books, organized my yarn, etc… but I didn’t actually settle on anything. I crave a massive project, but looking at all the barely started, half-finished, sitting in a bag, never to be seen again projects next to my yarn stash gave me pause. I should probably finish some of those before starting something else, but I couldn’t find the motivation. Therefore, this holiday activity will have to rollover.

4. Listen to all the CDs I’ve purchased this year

So THAT’S where all my money goes! I have a terrible habit of buying music and then not listening to it, which is just CRAZY, considering how much I’ve spent. I managed to plug through everything between lots of walks and mindless internet-browsing, and I was very proud of myself when I was finished. However, since I listened to almost 50 albums (I know, it’s ridiculous) practically back-to-back, I don’t remember any of it. Perhaps it wasn’t really worth it?

5. Read the entire Harry Potter series

I’ve actually been meaning to do this for quite some time. I was so exhausted after the build-up, release, and manic speed-read through the final book two summers ago (god, has it been that long?), that I figured I needed a break. And since movie 6 comes out this summer, it seemed like I was ripe for a review. I’ve read the first four books more times than I care to admit (actually, I can’t admit anything because I’ve lost count), but prior to this holiday Potter-blitz, I’d only read the last three books one time each. I know, I’m a bad Potter-fan. I thought this would be an easy thing, but I underestimated how long and involved these books are. I have just now finished reading all seven, and it is one week past Christmas vacation. I’m really quite tired.

Since this was my first complete read-through of all seven books, I was able to take in the entire scope of the series. It really is an amazing feat of literature. Some of the best fantasy fiction being written today is absolute GARBAGE compared to Harry Potter. Often times, these huge, sprawling epics are littered with unworthy installments. Even The Lord of the Rings has been criticized for the plodding and drama-leaking second book (The Two Towers), and that’s frikkin’ JRR Tolkien, for god’s sake. But all seven books in Rowling’s series are gems; perfect within themselves, and yet perfect parts to the whole, too. One of my main goals after this re-read was to be able to confirm which one of the seven is my favorite. It’s still The Prisoner of Azkaban, but now that I see how they all fit together, The Half-Blood Prince almost caused an upset.

I love PoA because of the seamless blend of magic, mystery, and action. While the first two books are genius, I feel like the darker tone and thrilling twists of this third novel make it the one in which the series begins to take off. But H-BP is really amazing, too. I didn’t fully appreciate it the first time through (all those years ago), but it really is a masterpiece. Such a fitting prelude to the final book…

Finally, I’m glad I did this because now I can say I actually like the last book. I won’t lie… when I first read it, I was a tad disappointed. I suppose I thought it would end differently (too many nights spent on fan-sites soaking in all those theories about how the series would end kind of backfired), and I found so much of it to be frustrating (why are we still camping!? DO SOMETHING!). I’ll also admit that I was incredibly confused at the end when I read it the first time, which probably informed my bad attitude about it. This time, I followed the twists and turns much better, so it was fascinating rather than tedious. But let’s be real: all those horcruxes and all those hallows – that’s a lot to keep up with. No wonder I was lost. But now that I understand everything, this book is a tremendously entertaining climax to a tremendously awesome series. I doubt very much that any series will ever be as good, or as universally beloved. That is, unless she plans to do a spin-off. Personally, I think she is. How else do you explain that awful, awful epilogue?

(and don’t get snippy with me. You know that epilogue was bad. Unnecessary, sentimental, pointless… awful)

Oh, and as a sidebar: I also read the recently released Tales of Beedle the Bard. Very cute.

6. And finally… get a root canal

My mouth added this one to the list last-minute. See what had happened was… one of my wisdom teeth had a bad day and decided to end it all by coming down hard on a stale pretzel and breaking in half. OH THE PAIN!! So, yeah, I got a root canal. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. It was almost pleasant. Just kind of sat there for 20 minutes with some dude’s hand in mouth. No biggie.


S, Galloway said...

I did much what you did with the HP series. I own the collection and have very much appreciated Ms. Rawlings ability to flesh out characters and keep the reader guessing on plot twists. My favorite "villain" was Delores Umbridge, followed by Flitch's cat, Mrs. Norris. (who I thought was way under-used) I wrote a few fan fics and both characters had featured roles. Yes, I've even entered geekdom to that level, by writing HP fanfic.

AND I had a laugh when I saw your photo accompanying your root canal comment. I need to go rent that film now!

Erin G said...


Anonymous said...

Have you watched the trailer for new in town yet?

Ryan D. said...

@ S, Galloway - I think you're the first person I've ever met who names Mrs. Norris as a favorite character! I think that's awesome. Do you post your fan-fic anywhere?

@ Erin - Well-spoken!

@ Li'l Sis - see new post :-)