Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Re-reading and Re-watching: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Resuming my quest to re-read and re-watch each of the Harry Potter books and movies, years later as a full-grown adult, I have come to the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Now my copy of the fifth book is the Bloombury edition, which was printed and sold in the U.K.  At the time of the book’s release, I was in London as part of the Radio/TV/Film overseas summer course in British Broadcasting co-hosted by my school, the University of North Texas, and the University of London.  My classmates and I stayed with host families for two months in the Muswell Hill area.   I had spied the local bookstore, Muswell Hill Bookshop, and on the night of the fifth book’s release went to stand in line to buy a copy.

Went I got to the bookshop I couldn’t help but grin in amazement.  I stood behind a long line of young local kids standing with their parents, chatting excitedly in British accents and dressed in long black robes and pointed witch hats.  I SWEAR to God, it was like being dropped off at the 9¾ platform in person.  It was like stepping into the books themselves, and I’ll never forget that treasured memory.

The book itself, on the other hand, is my least favorite book, so far.  I say so far, because maybe in re-reading the last two, I may turn out not to like them as much as I previously thought but I highly, highly doubt it.  It starts sad and slow, remains at a somewhat sluggish pace and then ends in an incredibly sad manner but I’ll get to that more below.

Spoilers to follow.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Re-reading and Re-watching: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Continuing on to the fourth book in the series, I have been re-reading and re-watching the Harry Potter series, after more than a decade, from a different perspective.  I’m much older and one would hope, wiser.  I also wanted to re-read the series for more details of the much overshadowed Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff houses.

I first came across the Harry Potter series right as the Book Four was coming out.  My younger cousin had the first two books with him, the weekend my dad and stepmom got married.  I finished both in no time, found the third book and was all set when the fourth book came out later that year.  Interestingly, the beginning of Book Four does a good job of describing the past plot-lines in the first few chapters, making it seem as though it was designed to bring in new readers right away, setting them up to understand the story, and letting them read the first three books at another time, if they chose to do so.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire gets right into the trio’s growing pains and we experience Ron, Harry and Hermione going through the ugly emotions of jealousy, fear, isolation, awkwardness, and unrequited love.  This book also established the pattern of a heart-breaking death for each of the remaining books in the series.  Book Four launches head-long into puberty and emerges on the other side more mature due to darker themes.

As always, spoilers ahead.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Re-reading and Re-watching: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

If you missed my previous posts, I've been re-reading and re-watching the Harry Potter series in order.  Mostly because I wanted to read it again from the perspective of my Pottermore assigned Ravenclaw House, but also because now I'm a full-blown adult with a home mortgage and I was curious to see how the series has held up.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is notable in my opinion for expanding the Harry Potter world to include Harry's father James' generation and for also developing Hermione into a stronger, passionate character.

(Warning - Spoilers)

Hermione is amazing as f**k, in this, although her character is put on a painful journey through a majority of the book.  She tries to genuinely protect Harry and yet is sworn to secrecy about having a time turner. Thus she has to resort in tattling on her friends and is shunned by Ron for most of the book.  I would argue that Ron isn't really unfairly harsh to Hermione since he cannot know her motivations and really reacts as anyone normally would but not even Harry suffers as much as Hermione in the third book.  Hermione undergoes a fantastic hero's journey that could rival Harry's own.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Re-reading and Re-watching: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Continuing on my mission to re-read and re-watch all the Harry Potter books and movies, approximately 15 years later since I first started when Book 4 came out, I have to admit that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was always my favorite book prior to Books 6 and 7.

It’s not a popular opinion, and I totally understand why most prefer Book Three over Book Two.  The plotting in Book Three is denser, and has more world-building elements.

The second book in my opinion just so cinematic.  Reading it the first time, I could definitely picture an Indiana Jones type movie in my mind’s eye.  The Basilisk made for a fantastic villain, versus the whodunit aspect of the third book, which had more difficult elements to translate to film.  I’m a movie director at heart so I always read books in the same way, picturing them as movies.

Again, I was re-reading to keep an eye out for any mentions of Ravenclaw and by extension Hufflepuff students.  Ravenclaw, because that is the house I was sorted into by Pottermore, and Hufflepuff because that is the house my best friend was sorted into. 

Below are my thoughts on both the second book and the second film. 

The same as last time, spoilers are abound.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Re-reading and Re-watching: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

So yeah, I’m a Harry Potter nerd….who isn’t, really?  On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate myself as an 8.  I’ve read all the books, watched all the movies, logged onto to the Pottermore site in its second beta testing phase and have gotten sorted into Ravenclaw. 

I can’t really rate myself any higher because I haven’t watched A Very Potter musical online, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Harry Potter, and I have never been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or LeakyCon.  Don’t worry, I’m working on going there someday.

Thinking it was a good idea to refresh myself with the source material,  this time from a Ravenclaw perspective, I dived in head-first into the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Philosopher’s Stone if you want to be super-technical about it),  and Christopher Columbus’ first film in the Harry Potter film franchise by the same name.

Here are my thoughts. 

Beware, spoilers here.


Monday, October 19, 2015

New Halloween Movie Playlist

It seems to me that Halloween comes second only to Christmas.  Everyone loves Christmas and Halloween.  Both outrank every other holiday.  Both have treats, their own playlists, their own movie marathons, etc.  I originally wanted to run through a list of my favorite Halloween movies, which include popular favorites like Ghostbusters, Young Frankenstein, Sleepy Hollow, Night of the Hunter, and Nightmare Before Christmas, but I decided to recommend some current movies that may have originally flew under your radar when they first came out, all of which you can find on Netflix streaming.

Just note that I'm not a horror fan AT ALL.  I can stomach The Shining and Silence of the Lambs nothing scarier.  I can't handle torture porn, Japanese horror, or stuff like the The Evil Dead remake.  Nope, nope, nope.  Ain't no way I'm sitting through women being mutilated or worse on screen. HELL NO.

The following recommendations feature may feature some gruesome deaths but nothing too realistic or extreme.  Certainly not like anything you've seen in the Game of Thrones series.

1. Monsters (2010) dir. Gareth Edwards

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Postcards from Milan

Milan likes to have fun.  On the way to see the Duomo of Milan, my parents and I were weaving through the beautiful streets lined with impossibly tall, incredibly old ornate buildings, the kind you'd see in most major cities in Italy, when we came across clearing and saw a modern sculpture of a hand flipping you off, placed right in the middle of the street.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Venice/ Venezia - 2 Days in Venice

When we, my parents and I, first arrived at the train station in Venice from Florence we saw the beautiful greenish water immediately.  All the canals and all the buildings fronting them, their stone steps entirely immersed in the lapping green waves. Walking alongside canal there are quite a few souvenir stands, filled with captain hats and those elaborate glittering Venetian carnival masks but as I was passing one such stand I saw for a brief second a t-shirt that featured a square shaped maze and along the bottom of the maze there was a phrase in white letters, "Venice - Get Lost".

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Roman Holiday - Part Two

Probably surprising no female ever, I actually did some research prior to packing for my trip to Italy. Dreamt of it, fantasized about what perfect little outfits to pack.  See, I wanted to look like I belonged in Italy and decided upon the advice of travel blogs and posts to pack mostly layers and mostly black clothing.  Black is chic and fits in anywhere, right?  Well the truth of it is, you can pretty much wear anything you want to, especially in Rome.  There are SO MANY tourists, everywhere, that you can wear shorts, flip-flops, sports bras, sweats, yoga pants.....whatever you please, and no one will bat an eye.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Roman Holiday - 3 Days in Rome

There is much to be said about traveling overseas with your parents once you are in your 30's.  I won't go into too much detail here, as there are probably not enough words to describe all the little moments of stress, laughter, joy, tears, minor fights, being completely lost in Venice and after an exhausting 20+ hours of flights and layovers, harmonizing with your mom to Phil Collins' Land of Confusion in totally deserted airport.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Power of Mindfulness

Before we delve deep into the concept of mindfulness, I just want to scale it back a bit and confess something to you all.  Ya'll, online dating is hard.  It totally messes with your mind and any remote amount of self-confidence you may have.  Subjecting yourself on a weekly basis to complete and total strangers for the purposes of romantic involvement is draining and somewhat unhealthy.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Oh Hai

I'm posting again for the first time in four months, and you know what?  I'm not even going to apologize.  Because life happens and it's not even a glamorous life in which so many amazing, exciting opportunities and adventures are going on, that there is simply no time to blog.  It's because work gets busy, or relationships rise and fall, or your inspiration falls flat, because let's face it, I don't live a life worth blogging consistently about on a regular basis.  No one truly does.  Why are there five Kardashian sisters on one show?  Why doesn't Kim or Kendall have their own show?  Because even their lives can't sustain enough footage for a on-going series.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Austin Calling


Man, sorry for the infrequent posts.  I can't seem to find extra time these few weeks to catch up on my blog but I wanted to share some photos from my recent trip to Austin with my friend Christina, back in February.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Height of Luxury – Pizza and Sushi

One day last week I treated myself to lunch at Central Market’s indoor café.  Central Market is an upscale grocery store similar to Whole Foods.  You can get fancy bread, fancy wines, fancy cheese, fancy to-go meals, fancy cooked to order meals and you can sit down for lunch or dinner in there indoor café.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nerd Rant # 5 - 4 Reasons Why You Should Care About the new Ant-Man Movie

I don't know if you are a huge comic-book nerd like I am but I'm sure by now most people have a passing knowledge about the Marvel Universe and understand that The Avengers movie and their characters, Iron-Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk, are part of the same world as the tv show Marvel Agents of Shield and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

You have probably seen the trailer for this upcoming Marvel Superhero movie called Ant-Man, and have thought one thing.

Who the f*ck is Ant-Man?

Friday, January 2, 2015

5 New Year's Resolutions That I Promise Aren't Lame

Happy New Year!  Hopefully ya'll spent New Year's with friends and family!

Normally I don't do New Year's Resolutions, and if I do they are almost always super easy like say smuggling a hot dog into a movie screening.

Yes that was really a resolution of mine for 2012!  Then I lied to my mom, when she called me and said my resolution was to get in shape, which is what I always say and never, ever do.

This time around I thought I would pick five doable yet legitimate resolutions.  

1.  Go out to a nice restaurant and eat an amazing meal once every three months.

Around the middle of year in 2014, I started cooking more meals at home, which helped me to lose some weight and helped me to stay relatively healthy during the cold/flu season.  I still plan on doing this but during the weekend, I had a habit of going out to eat at fast food places like Sonic.  I probably spent more money going to Sonic and Fuzzy's than treating myself to a nice dinner once every three months.  Plus, I feel that living so close to Dallas and Fort Worth, both of which have great restaurants, is kind of pointless unless I experience from time to time the good places that both have to offer.

2.  Do not believe the hype for music festivals and only go back to the ones I've had great time at.

I'm notorious for believing all the music festival hype and buying tickets to a three day festival, only to just go on Saturday, spend all day in lines and/or stand in the freezing rain to watch a band waay past their prime.  By this time, I know which festivals I had fun at last year, so I'll only be going to those this year.  I'll be saving time and money.

3.  Be relentlessly and unapologetically, yourself.

Look, some time during this year and any other year, life will throw us curve-balls.  Bad news, funerals, disappointments, injuries, etc.  To deal with any of these things while trying to be a skinnier, prettier, happier version of yourself is just too hard.  Be who you are and you will shelter any coming storms, I promise.

4.  Wear bright colors to work.

Right around November of 2014, I started to tone down the colors in my wardrobe and started wearing more button downs in neutral colors.  No real reason for it.  I was just out shopping with my mom and we found some ladylike and work appropriate blouses to wear under sweaters instead of my old standbys of cotton t-shirts,  I got bought myself some new sweaters at the same time, all in neutrals.  I thought I looked good buy my co-workers noticed immediately and not in a good way.  They missed the bright pop of color that is usually my signature, and now I miss it too.  I'm not skinny, I'm a big girl and I hate fading into the background.  2015 will be the year of color!

5.  Keep reading like a beast and write more!

Since getting my library card back in May to check out Dave Ramsay's Total Money Makeover, which I highly recommend since I was able to work off my consumer debt by year's end (which is probably my best accomplishment all year), I have kept returning to the library twice a month to check out two novels each time and read through them like an absolute beast.  I'm back to my old high school reading speed, which was usually insanely fast.  I love it and I don't plan on quitting in 2015.  Reading helps me to figure out my own strengths as a writer, so now I just need to write more, which is what absolutely every writer says.

What about you?  What goals or aspirations have you come up with for the New Year?