Saturday, July 28, 2007

My Take on Harry Potter

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows several days ago. It to me was an excellent book. Some things we had speculated were correct, but some were way off. Without offering any spoilers for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of reading it, I would say that the way J. K. Rowling developed this entire series was nothing short of amazing. There is so much depth and intricacy to it that it boggles the mind.

I have since revisited book 1 and have found several things in the first few chapters that she dealt with in this final book.

If I had the chance to meet her face to face, I would thank her for her dedication to this project, the lengths she went to in bringing her characters to be for her fans like real people. We feel we know them.

One aspect of her writing that I like is that she writes in cafes. I have done this several times, and I have to agree that it is a good place to write. I always find the table in the corner where I can face the outside window. That way, it sends a silent signal to others that I would prefer to not be bothered, while I can stare out the window as I ponder my story.

As I read this final book, I was grateful that it was so long. I was able to immerse myself in it for three nights in a row, while still seeing that there was a lot more to read. My responses to things going on in the book were frequently "Holy Crap!" as in "I wasn't expecting that!"

There were several lines in the book that made me laugh. One in particular had me chuckling for a good 5 minutes. "Accio Hagrid!"

Nothing of course will beat the line toward the end uttered by Mrs. Weasley. It was one that made you cheer "YES!"

I loved the book, and I have throughly enjoyed the entire Harry Potter series. The one thing I found a little disheartening though was comparing my own book to this one. There is so much more that I have to do to come anywhere close to the strength of book 7.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blubbering Over Ham and Cheese - The Novel

Have you ever opened the fridge, pulled open the drawer that holds that ham and cheese, then become overcome with emotion? It just happened to me.

No, I wasn't euphoric over the fact that I was going to have a nice sandwich, and no, there wasn't a thousand dollar bill poking out of the cheese.

It had to do with my son, and our time together after work yesterday. I came home, and wrangled up some grub which consisted of DramaMama's fabulous Russian Shepherd's Pot Pie* and a couple ham and cheese sandwiches.

This morning very early, I drove my son to the airport for him to return to his home in Utah. This concluded his once a year-30 day visit. These visits seem to last a wink, and it always seems so unfair when he has to go back. We were both a bit misty when he was leaving.

I recently made a change in my "happy pill" medication, and the transition has been a little scary and unpleasant. As I came down from the one that was only sort of working, it soon became evident why I wasn't feeling good. I had an unbelievable amount of pent up stress and and emotion that the medication basically had put a lid on and sealed it tight. As the effects of the not-so-happy happy pills wore off, I began feeling what I can only describe as rage. For those familiar with the Harry Potter movies, think of the moving picture wanted poster of Sirius Black. When he looks forward and screams... That's what I felt like. I wanted to scream, hit, break, cuss, yell, throw, and basically explode. To DramaMama, it was both scary and comical.

I released some of that by acting on it in a relatively harmless way. We were both in our room and I was telling her how I was feeling. There was an empty box on the floor, and I used it as an outlet. First I punched it, and put my hand through it, then I punched and punched, then ripped it to pieces. That's where DramaMama thought it was comical, watching me rip up a box. She got a raspberry for that one. I am happy to report that none of this aggression was taken out on anyone or anything but that poor hapless box. I have been a bit grouchy through this though.

I am still waiting for the new meds to take hold. In the meantime, I have been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride of emotions. That rampage happened before church. I was still pretty hot through the main service. We go through a 3 hour block which consists of 3 meetings. That day I was to teach a lesson during the 3rd meeting, and I was nowhere near the right frame of mind or spiritual deportment to do so.

The second meeting was Sunday School, and I just couldn't go in there. I sat on the couch in the lobby. I brought along something to "center" me, which was my MP3 player. I don't bring things like that to church... this was a one-shot deal, because I knew I had to get a grip before my lesson. I put on my New Age genre songs, reviewed my lesson, and soon came down from the rage. I felt like there was a ceiling inside my head blocking the spirit, and I prayed and asked for help. Between the music David Lanz and Suzanne Ciani, and reviewing the material of my lesson, the spirit was finally able to break through. The result was a release of pent up emotion. I was sitting there, and half the ward walked by and said hello. I was doing my best to hold it all in so I wasn't bawling in the lobby.

My lesson was for Priesthood Meeting, and one of the people that came and talked to me was the Elder's Quorum President. He asked about my upcoming lesson, and I said I was ready. He could tell there was something wrong, and asked if I was alright to which I replied I wasn't.

That of course made it even harder to hold in. He had his little baby boy there with him, so I took him and held him for a few minutes, and made faces and stuff to make him laugh which was also to help me cheer up. The EQP offered to take the lesson for me, but I was determined to do it myself, and not wimp out on it. I turned him down.

By the time the third meeting was to begin, I had managed to center myself, and headed off to the opening exercises. (A prayer, announcements and a hymn). Then I did my lesson which was on integrity. We talked about a lot of the little things in life that eat away at our integrity. I used examples of Peter, who told those who wanted to kill him "We should obey God rather than men." We talked of Daniel who rather than pray to a thing, defied the king's edict and openly prayed to God. We talked of Shadrac, Meshac and Abednego, who similarly refused to worship an idol, and told the king in no uncertain terms that they would not do it. They were tossed into a furnace that had been stoked to seven times its normal temperature, and it was so hot that those stoking the fire died. Both Daniel and the those three men were saved by divine providence. The Lord shut the mouths of the lions, and personally stood with Shadrac, Meshac and Abednego in the fiery furnace from which they were delivered without harm. The lesson was one of the best I have ever given, because there was a lot of participation from the group.

I am still up and down and am really looking forward to the newer meds getting properly built up. I have noticed a difference in how my head feels though. Before it always felt like my head was full of cotton, and I just couldn't deal with stuff because I always felt like nothing else could fit in my head. Now that has diminished, and I find myself getting into things that have been dormant for a long long time. I started playing the piano again, I have done more writing, I find it easier to do stuff like take out the trash, laundry, dishes, etc. I feel that there is a ways to go still, and possibly an increase in the dosage, but on the whole I think the trend is good.

Believe it or not, I see the rage/meltdown yo-yo thing as a positive. What I feel like, is that instead of helping me deal with these things, the old meds were merely masking their effects, and I was not releasing anything. With that out of my system, it finally unlocked the cage and let out a "Freddy Kruger breaks the Hoover Dam" kind of thing.

I took the day off from work yesterday to spend the last day with James before he had to leave. We played games, went to see a movie, and just spent time together which was very nice.

DramaMama and the other two boys are visiting DramaMama's parents in New Mexico for a couple days, so now I am home alone again. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

I was intending to do a little writing this evening on my book, but it appears I have spent that time writing this post... oh well. I did at least upload the stuff I wrote at lunch today.

* What the...??? Her creation was described as a combination of Chicken Kiev, Shepherd's Pie and Chicken Pot Pie... I gave it the name above

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Bear on a Hog

I think the "cheezer" on the Bear says it all.
He called me at work to tell me he rode a Harley, and he was brave.
DramaMama went for a ride on it too.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Harry Experience

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.... Most satisfying.

We all loved the movie. It of course had several spots which did not follow the book exactly, but I didn't care. This is by far the best of the series. I didn't want it to end even though it was 2 hours and 18 minutes long, we arrived an hour early, and didn't get home until after 2:30 am.

I walked out of there with a cheezy grin on my face. I will definitely go back several times and see it again.

I'm a little tired this morning, but it was worth it. WOO HOO!

The Bear made it through just fine.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Our whole family is going to the Midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! Including the Bear who is so excited, he can't stand himself.

The other day DramaMama came home with the video game for this book and he nearly cried he was so happy.

We are all going to have naps before we go. The Bear is already in bed so he can get a few hours in before we wake him up to go.

Our local movie house will be playing the movie in nine different theaters, and when we ordered our tickets two had already sold out.

We plan to head over there at 11:00. We figure if we have to wait in line, so be it. Everyone is excited to go, even though it is so late.

I will post my reactions tomorrow after my nap.


It won't be long until book seven is out. We are all looking forward to that as well.



Monday, July 02, 2007

The Tales of Black Eye Pete

This past weekend we had a family reunion with DramaMama's clan.

Some of her cousins and I have somewhat kindred spirits as we enjoy a good "ARRRRRRRR".

They were in charge of the reunion this time, so we had a pirate theme. I of course felt right at home.

We were at a privately owned pond in the middle of Show Low Arizona. It was a neat place. We were greeted at the entrance gate (One you have to get out of your car, unhook the bailing wire, and swing open to let the car in, then close again) by the property owner. He instructed us that we have to be sure to close the gate again, because the Sheriff called him earlier to tell him his horses were all over the highway. Once we pulled into the place we found the cousins watching, as you might have guessed, Pirates of the Carribean.

It was late by the time we arrived, so we headed off to bed. In the morning, we had a big group breakfast, then set about family reunion type activities. There was a good sized pond there complete with a rowboat, kayaks, and other floaty things.

We all got hosed down with sun screen. It was decidedly cooler there than in Mesa, but make no mistake, it was hot. Drummer Boy spent quite a lot of time in the water. We found out later how good of a job he did on his sunscreen application. He got everywhere he could reach, which obviously excluded his back. He got deep-fried, roasted, and baked. I have a nice red face, but am okay other than that. The Bear burned his legs a bit.

I took the Bug (he is visiting for the month) and the Bear out on the row boat and rowed to the far end of the pond and back. I discovered that I had rubbed up a sizeable blister on the inside of my right thumb. There is an oval about 3/4 of an inch long and about 1/4 inch wide. It is all red and cracky right now.

The Bug and the Bear spent a lot of time together either on or in the water. The Bear had a permanent life jacket on Saturday, even at dinner. All three boys had a great time.

This is the Bear with his "Treasure Map" which was actually the brackets for the horseshoe tournament.

Saturday evening, we had the traditional program of skits followed by homemade ice cream. I was talking to one of the cousins, and we jumped into pirate-speak mode. I threw out my best pirate line, and then he informed me that his brother who was supposed to emcee the program had hurt his back, and then asked if I would fill in.

Since I am a good pirate, I agreed. Last time I did this, I had a lot of advanced warnings, and had a lot of jokes ready. This time, I had to scramble to get something together. There was enough pirate stuff around that I was able to get into "costume". Once I was ready, I was told I looked like a "Dead Head". I donned the name "Black Eye Pete" and took the mic.

So I started off in fine voice, with nobody getting or laughing at my jokes. I dumped half of them, and my bits that I had worked up fell through.

I talked the Bear into coming up and telling a couple pirate jokes. I made one of them up, the other came courtesy of drummer boy.

Here they are for your enjoyment:

This is the one I made up:

"Where do Pirates put their banana peels?"


Coming from the Bear it got a good laugh.

This is the other one:

A pirate walked into an ice cream parlor. He had a wooden leg, A hook hand, and a patch on his eye. The shop owner asked, "How did you lose your leg?"

"ARRRR, I lost it in battle!"

"How did you lose your hand?"

"It were bitten off by a shark."

"How did you lose your eye?"

"A bird pooped in it."

"And that blinded you?

"No... it were the first day with me hook!"


We returned on Sunday after a very enjoyable weekend with family and the sun.

Here's his royal fatness losing horribly at horseshoes

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