harry potter, of course

I've read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows twice through in three days and am ready to write about it. You should not read this if you haven't read the book. Monstro this means you!

First off, JK Rowling is to be commended for becoming fabulously wealthy through a creative endeavor. And how lovely that all along, she had a plan, which is great and shall, we can hope, be emulated by the writers of “Lost” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

Secondly, (and perhaps this should be firstly) Snape being revealed as romantic hero is the best, because it cements him in the generation of Harry's folks and their friends, and because (for me) it was so surprising. I defy you to find a more romantic line in literature than Professor Severus Snape's dying “Look…at… me…” Can't wait to see Rickman do it on screen, he will kill it with a mighty, breathtaking blow.

Of course Harry wins, but the fake-out was solid, and Dumbledore even in death served his long-standing purpose to make Harry better: better than Dumbledore, and better than he himself would might have been otherwise. Voldemort mewling and puking under the chair in “King's Cross” served as haunting counterpoint to Potter and Dumbledore's tear-inducing (Patrick Hillman, this means you) gabfest.

Ahh, Ron and Hermione. The Comtesse thinks that Hermione's “you taste better than Goyle” is a bj joke, but I remind her it could be for kissing, too. Sheesh. I will, however, admit to having a Willow-and-Oz “panicking” flashback when the two disappeared before the Hogwarts fight.

Did anyone pick up on the importance of their children's names? Rose (similar to “Lily” maybe?), Hugo (Hagrid?). Just asking.

Poor Draco, to wash-out so young. I think 19 years later he should have taken over Filch's job at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I also appreciated Dudder's “you saved my life” and Petunia's long relationship with magic: she wanted it so bad, but hated it so much. Uncle Vernon lifting the bags with added heretounknown dumbbells made me laugh.

It was super last week to see the fifth movie on date night with Monstro, finish re-reading the sixth book on Friday (which is why I'd had to finish Gravity's Rainbow before that), and have the seventh book on my doorstep when Lex and I returned from our walk.

So I guess what I'm saying is the book is great. It's Rowling's “favorite” and maybe mine, too. A wonderful payoff (except for Tonks and Lupin, what a blow. a commentary on interspecies marriage? the circle of Godfathers? or perhaps Harry, part deux?).

Thanks bunches! And now that I've finished GR and read 2,170 pages on top of that in the past week, I'm going to start gearing up for the introductory material to “Finnegans Wake.”

Pray for me.

that's that

I have avoided the Internet all day so that I wouldn't find out what happens in the last Harry Potter book. It's pretty easy to avoid the Internet when you're trying to read 700+ pages in a day. Which, I have just done. And I'm so pleased (no spoilers here) that the seventh book has more stuff crammed into its first hundred pages than the last two books combined.

two down

I just this moment finished reading Gravity's Rainbow, and it's a good freaking thing, because I've got Harry Potter vol. 7 arriving tomorrow, courtesy of amazon.com.

How do I feel about the book I just finished? Glad I can refer to it as “the book I just finished.”

I'll take a week off from hard reading and then come August first, it's into the Wake I go.

Tra la la!

(SPOILERS for sixth book in comments section…)


We've had a flat-panel hdtv for a couple of years now, and mostly I love it, but when I was watching my dvr recording of Live Earth, I found the clarity distracting, because during the entire Foo Fighters set Dave Grohl had a booger in his nose.

book contract

Hey folks, guess what? I'm writing a book. AND, I'm being paid for it. AND, it's being published by a real (i.e., not vanity) publisher.

Look for Living in Northampton and Amherst 2008-2010 in early January.

do not wanna

I am within 100 pages of the end of Gravity's Rainbow. You think I'd be happy about that.

“100 pages? What's the big deal?” Yeah, I know, I hear you, but I'm so over this book, so ready to cast it aside, that the final 100 93 pages are going to be something that's tough — canvas. The last 93 pages are going to be canvas. Ugh.

“You're in The Counterforce?” Monstro asks, nearly rubbing his hands together. “It completely makes no sense anymore. Once you lose Slothrop…” And I Know he loves the book and that it's His book but I can't imagine why. It's best read through a modified Bibliomancy — ask a question in your head, shut thy eyes, open book, point, and interpret.

For a man who writes epic-in-size novels, Pynchon's really stingy as an author. You get catalogs of information but very little heart and soul about the characters. I knew more about Ortho “The Darkness” Stice after 400 pages of Infinite Jest than I do about Slothrop.

I'll tell you though, I'm damn glad to have Monstro guiding me — mostly through questions about things that haven't happened yet, followed by what he intends as a tantalizing tidbit but I interpret as 20 more pounds of bricks on my shoulders.

Gravity's Rainbow is wearing me down, man.

So far the best question I've been able to ask about it is whether anyone has mentioned that the title itself is an oxymoron: Gravity is the law that holds things to earth, while rainbows are the promise that arc above it.

Will Divide? Patrick, sfmike? Monstro hadn't seen that before; what about you?


I performed music in church yesterday — something I've only done once before, and only then because one of my favorite parishoners was leaving to do mission work in Costa Rica. Yesterday we worshipped outdoors, which seemed a good venue for my acoustic guitar and my 'ukulele.

I had planned to play/sing “Morning Has Broken” on the guitar as the opening song but apparently that didn't get passed to the secretary, who had me listed (and misspelled) on the Order of Worship as performing the Offeratory on the guitar.

“How about if I play the guitar for the offeratory and the 'uke for the benediction?” I asked the organist.

“Fine by me,” she said. “Does he know?” She motioned to the pastor. I shrugged.

Monstro and the kid were across the street at the playground so I sang as loudly as I could, hoping they'd hear. I was most concerned about the guitar piece but it went very well — probably the best I've played it to date.

I had hidden the ukulele, a gift customized for me by Avram, and when I pulled it out as the pastor made his way down the aisle (we were in an outdoor tabernacle, complete with stage and altar) the whole place started laughing at me. Many remained standing for my song, “I Can See Clearly Now,” and some even sang along. I was met with applause at the end. The organist was visibly flummoxed.

“I can't follow that. What can I play to follow that?” she asked me. She put her fingers on the keys but took them off again as quickly. “Nope. I'm not doin' it.”

Then, after church we had a picnic, and the kid busied himself by taking a chicken nugget off one woman's plate and then grubbed down on a cookie he'd grabbed from the buffet.

I guess what I'm saying is, a good time was had by all.