The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Denseness Strikes Again

No really, when did I become so dim-witted? On the heels of my Owl City man vs. group snafu I have yet more brainless news to report. I just figured out – seriously, there was a cartoon light bulb flashing on above my head and everything – that vlog brother John is in actuality John Green the YA author I’m much enamored with. How did I not figure this out before now?!

But you already knew that didn’t you, smart blog followers [insert deep sigh here].
Fine, I guess I’ll go lament my oldness and lameness by myself.


If you haven’t read John Green then I recommend Looking for Alaska or Will Grayson, Will Grayson because they are my favorites. If you haven’t seen the Vlog Bros. then you’re missing out.

Here is John’s most recent grammar rant:

HP Tuesday will follow here shortly.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What Do You Think of Fireflies?

I’m curious. What do other people think of the group Owl City and their song “Fireflies”? You can tell me what you think about any of their songs, but I’m particularly intrigued with this one. It keeps popping up everywhere. Usually when this happens, I hate the song with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.

For instance…Madonna’s “Frozen” still makes me shutter. It followed me around for about two years in the late 90s, culminating in Mariah actually screaming at some poor guy on the city bus because he started singing it while sitting next to me without prompt of a Discman, (late 90s was very pre-mp3 player in my universe) radio, or any other music-aide I could see. Moral of the story: If you’re going to go all crazy and yell at someone for no good reason you should do so on a city bus – the rest of the trip was quite peaceful; no one else bothered me at all that day.

But “Fireflies” is different and I’m not quite sure why...
- The words make no sense. It’s like a hodge-podge of random stream of consciousness.

- I’m not sure why I’d like to make myself believe that planet earth turns slowly, or why fireflies would leave teardrops, or why lightning bugs are hugging me or teaching me how to dance (dancing + Mariah = dying duck in a thunderstorm after all).

- Anyone can sing anything to this tune and sound like they are professional musicians. I mean that’s like magic more than a song, isn’t it?

- The song has gone viral in a major way. On YouTube alone, there’s a fan version of “Fireflies” for pretty much any TV show ever invented.

- Not ONLY can anyone sing the song and sound good but your creativity will be tested in new and intriguing ways. You can RANT about anything with “Fireflies”.

And here’s where I stop because I want to share some of these viral versions below. I was going to do a poll on which you think is the best, but since my followers are mostly here for HP Mondays. (Or HP-day-of-the-week-that-ends-in-Y-and-I-feel-like-posting…See. HP Monday is so much easier to say.) I have a feeling the poll would be biased. So here are a few of my favorites and yes I should have been writing instead of playing around on YouTube – but that’s what writing distractions are for.

The first one is the actual song – but the cartoon amuses me. And, if my British Husband reads this post, he will cringe and make me a prettier new version because he is such a wonderful artist and computer animator. (Alas, he tends not to read my blog posts and therefore misses out on some of my accolades.)

Next follows the Hermione/Ron HP version (Thank you Mara Corey for sending me this one) and is performed by that girl in the Parselmouths who also did that great NaNoWriMo song.

Then a geek fan version of Doctor Who but seriously the nanogenes totally look like fireflies

Finally, I couldn’t resist this brilliant IKEA one…I shop there and so I understand. Plus, arrows are just plain wrong.

Thanks for reading another faulty logic rant.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

HP Wednesday – The Beginning of the End

Yeah, that wasn’t the most original post title. Here we are at book 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. For those of you wondering (like with the Philosopher’s Stone) what exactly a hallow is, then let me begin by enlightening you with Webster’s definition – usually a verb (Do you think they actually added the “usually” when Rowling used it as a noun in the title of a book? Just think of the power?!) 1. to make holy or set apart for holy use, or 2. to respect greatly.

Book 7 is quite large, large enough to be a purse even. Like the last season or episode of a television series, I think the reader looks for certain things to happen when they know it is the last one. And I think a lot of those things do happen – including an epilogue wrap up to answer any questions – or as I like to believe, to make sure no one takes off where Rowling didn’t want her characters to go. But I digress and we will get to the end – or after the end – later on.

Back to the beginning – the wizarding world changes slowly and yet all at once in book 7. I’ve seen this happen in the real world too suddenly to think it isn’t realistic – and I’m not just talking about the metaphorical child/teen turning into an adult, although that happens too. It is however absolutely terrifying – again, both versions. I think we expect smooth transitions, which is ridiculous because it hardly ever happens that way. Time has always been a solid contributor to the series (maybe not as much as FIRE, but close) and I really like the way it works in book 7. There are hours that seem like days, days that seem like weeks and months that flash past in the blink of an eye. It spirals around itself and flashes backwards and forwards in amazing ways that I just can’t stop thinking about.

That being said, like book 3, book 7 has a lot of telling especially in the flashbacks. This isn’t something that should work – and even if it does I shouldn’t like it – but book 3 is still my favorite and book 7 is mesmerizing; so I guess I’m going to have to say: "I wish I could show in my writing like JK Rowling tells in hers". Because it all works for me and is integrated enough with showing to just add enticing seasoning to the story.

Chapter 1 – Yeah, the very beginning of the end…
From a writer's standpoint...and an editors...and probably even an agent's, chapter one is the be all, end all of a book. It's what grabs the reader (and editor and agent) and in reality sells your book. Obviously by the seventh HP book, JK Rowling could have written blah, blah, blippity blah Harry's our man. Look at him, he's great. and still sold out on the first run printing; but this chapter one still reads like a first time writer trying her hardest. As a reader and writer I appreciate that more than I thought I would.

At the beginning of the book I think we are in the darkest of dark places. Not even the cave with the Inferi is as cold and stark as this opening scene in the Malfoy household. Everyone is uncomfortable, jumpy and extremely apprehensive. Their time has arrived and yet none of the Death Eaters seem very enthusiastic about it. This may have something to do with the torture victim hanging upside down over the family eating area, but only partly. While reading chapter one, I felt like there were Dementors in the room around me – how appropriate the chapter ends with a mealtime for the snake in said family eating area – solidifying the transformation of family manor to evil dungeon and the transformation of children’s book to something that goes even beyond YA in its adult-themed complexity.

On a whole, the book is filled with strange juxtapositions, time shifts, and a myriad of symbols that all mean about three to five different things at the same time – why would I expect anything different?

What are your thoughts on the beginning of the end? When we first see Harry he’s already bleeding – is that foreshadowing or just a cheap trick by the author? He’s bleeding from the mirror shard which is yet another magical object with a purpose – like the cloak and Marauder’s Map. Are these objects twisted into the story line extremely useful or just more name dropping to make the reader nostalgic for the series? Yes, they all serve a purpose, but would other plot elements/objects have worked just as well?

Next week – four funerals and a wedding, death and dismemberment and Merlin’s pants!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Geek Chic Power

I was told today that I am geek chic. If I didn’t call myself a geek 10 times a post on my blog here, I might have been offended. As it were – I’ve decided to embrace my geeky chic and feminist kick-fanny approach to life from here on out. Which is why I’m leaving you with this ultimate in geek chic videos (Thank you T – geek chic soul sister):

Monday, July 12, 2010

HP Monday – I know, really!

I was reminded yesterday that I haven’t been on here again in a while. Also, I put that tracking widget (map thing at the bottom of the blog page) on here (Thank you Joe Conrad) and discovered that although I only have 12 wonderful and glorious followers, my blog had 99 hits last week. I’m thinking maybe more people would follow if I were to actually post stuff. Wild guess, I know. But still there it is.

Also those 12 aforementioned wonderful and glorious followers are patiently waiting for a discussion on HP movie 6 and book 7; and as it is Monday I should most likely oblige.

Movie 6:
Before we get started, I DID like it. That being said (And I’m pretty sure I say it every time we discuss an HP movie.) wow, it is not the same as the book.

What Works:
•The teenage angst-ridden love-capades. This movie is brilliant with complicated mismatched love themes. It’s like watching a Hogwarts school play rendition of A Mid Summer Night’s Dream.

•I don’t want to slap Harry as much as I do in the book. He’s not quite so all-obsessed (see point #1 & love-capades?!) with Malfoy in the movie. I know you’re telling me he’s correct in his Malfory-is-a-death-eater-theory in the end; but he spent so much time on it in the book he missed the much bigger picture.

•The Inferi creep me out. Which they should; but usually when you translate something that freaky onto the screen my imagination laughs at the feeble attempt. Not this time…CREEPY!

•Daniel Radcliffe in the luck potion scenes. Especially when he’s being the pincers of Aragog. The scene is quite surreal and many actors would have overplayed it. High marks to Mr. Radcliffe who usually is not quite as brilliant as I want him to be.

What Doesn’t Work:
•Burning down the Burrow. I know, that particular scene actually sponsors HP Mondays on my blog – really, it started the whole thing. But I still think it’s a load of…twollop. Whatever that is. Boo burning down the Burrow, boo!

•The entire ending. Really?! Death Eaters running willy-nilly through Hogwarts without anyone else raising a wand. I know Dumbledore’s dead but he is not the be all and end all of the wizarding world and I think it’s just plain rude to audiences and wizards/witches alike for the movie to pretend no one else would fight back in the slightest (breathe Mariah, breathe). Also the funeral – or severe lack thereof…And Harry not doing anything to stop Dumbledore’s death; so unlike him but easily explained in book format.

•Ginny/Dean and Ginny/Harry. You’ve done a wonderful job at love-capades movie version; but just one snog in the Three Broomsticks for Ginny/Dean and one snog (Can you even call it that?) in the room of requirement for Ginny/Harry…what now?

•Hermione’s wrath. I know I harp on this a lot and I guess they are following her movie character, but I love the birds attacking Ron in the book – it has such impact and…girl power; yes, I mostly miss Hermione’s gray-line walking.

What are your thoughts, ruminations and ponderings? This particular movie seems to have caused mass rioting on the streets; people either really liked it or really hated it. Why?

I will leave you with a newer trailer for the two HP 7 movies! Next week we will start book #7.