Posts tagged ‘harry potter’

I Saw StarKids and it was Totally Awesome!

21 November, 2011 | | 1 Comment

OK, sorry, that’s their tagline.  They were totally pretty good, though.  The Human Tape Recorder was not alone at the Fillmore in Silver Spring last night: some of the songs seemed to consist of the folks on stage just holding the microphones out to the audience.  I didn’t remember “Karaoke with 2000 people” on the ticket, but hey.

If you’re not familiar with Starkid and the StarKidPotter show, I assume that you are over the age of consent and don’t have teenagers at home.  The music didn’t suck, generally, and some of the standout songs were really good – when this group puts its collective mind to doing an R&B old school blues number, they can bring it down.  The parts that came from the college auditorium review still sound like they came from a college auditorium review – not that there’s anything wrong with that. 

While it’s disconcerting to be among 2000 people at a show and still raise the average age by 5 years, I have to say that makes me glad to see teens at a concert like this wearing Spinal Tap tee-shirts.  Another good one said “Shakespere hates your emo poems.”  On me, that would be rude.  On the skinny goth emo chick wearing it, it was hilarious.  I would have bought her a drink, but of course she was probably 12. 
The HTR had several friends there, bordering on a mob of their own, and one of the other parents loaned me a pair of earplugs for the duration.  What little hearing I have, I owe to him.  What little sanity I have I don’t owe anyone for, I paid for it – in the form of a Dewers on the rocks, mid-way through the show.  The venue is actually great; the acoustics at the Fillmore are amazing in surround-sound – I got all the songs from the stage, from the sound system, and from 1500 female amplifiers, all aged 18 and under. 

The highlight of the evening was being groped by a teenage girl with a Ron Paul for President button.  Of course, when I texted this fact to SOBUMD (“My life is getting weirder by the minute!”), all I got back in terms of sympathy was “Just lie back and think of the blog.”  Heh. 

The opening act was a guy named George Watsky.  He was more than just pretty good – I’d’ve paid to see him by himself.  He recalls Bo Burnham, but I mean that in a nice way.   More interesting to me was that when someone shouted something about “do the something something one” he said, “This is a concert.  That’s a poem.  You don’t really want me to recite a poem to you, do you?”  The crowd said yes, pretty clearly – and he stood there on stage and recited a poem (about lisping, and getting past that fact) to a crowd of 2000 mostly teenage girls.  And they applauded like crazy – his delivery was great, the content was good, but to me the simple fact that the opening act can still hold a crowd like this steady and happy with a poem…  Well, it does my heart good. 

But all good things must come to an end, and I got the HTR home a little after midnight – a near-final birthday gift concluded – and it was totally awesome.  Just ask her!


A Thankful Countdown: Day 5

19 November, 2011 | | 1 Comment

I’ve decided to count down to Thinksgiving, and take a moment each day to think about things I’m thankful for. 

Number Five:  Technology.

It’s not just for breakfast anymore.  It’s not just a job.  I really love the modern conveniences that a high-tech world enable.  There’s a bit in the fourth Harry Potter book, Goblet of Fire, before he and the Weasleys attend the Quidditch World Cup; Harry ducks into the tiny pup-tent that Mr. Weasley has set up, looking a little dubious.  He steps inside, straightens up and looks around to find, like the TARDIS, it’s bigger on the inside.  He gazes in wonder for a moment, and says, “I love magic!”

That’s about how I feel every time SOBUMD whips out her iPhone and does something amazing, which is to say, nearly daily.  It’s not like I don’t know how it works – I’m a techie.  I’m just not quite used to all the things that have become possible.  When we’re driving and a song comes on the radio that I like, but no one knows who’s singing or what it’s called, she whips out the magic and tells me the name of the band, and the song – by having the iPhone play “name that tune” really fast. 

Or a few years ago, when we decided to send Holiday pictures.  She took a picture on the digital camera, uploaded it to a site that helps you put Holiday pics together, decided what it should say and how many we wanted, and clicked go.  I worried that with shipping they’d be late getting to us, that we would be too late to send them before the 25th.  She just smiled.  “They’re at CVS.  They’ll be ready by the time you get there, if you leave now.”  Magic.

Arthur C. Clarke said it best:  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  He was right, and for that, even though I know how it works, I’m still thankful.  It’s still a little bit magic, deep in there. 


On the Golden Globes

17 January, 2011 | | 3 Comments

I was about to mention that even my cat is going to bed tonight dreaming of Natalie Portman, and then I remembered that he’s from Texas and he’s probably dreaming of Eva Longoria, and then I remembered that we call him Albus the Gay, and he’s probably dreaming of Johnny Depp.  And who can blame him?

The other cat, Professor Flitwick, is dreaming of Halle Berry, and I’m sure it’s Number One Son dreaming of Queen Padme Amidala of Naboo – although he was irritated to find out that her new movie (A) has nothing to do with Star Wars and (B) isn’t going to show up on his personal Netflix list for a LONG time. 

I’d like to thank the Academy.  I’d better finish that screenplay, so they can vote for me and I can kiss whoever presents the award.  Halle, Eva, Johnny Depp – I’m not picky.

Let There Be Light, As Long As It’s Quiet…

12 October, 2010 | | No Comment

So there I was last night, up at Pee O’clock in the morning, only to find SOBUMD awake at my desk.  We talked for a while, then I went upstairs to play one of my favorite games:  Guess Who Turned Their Lights Off.  Usually, I have to turn off at least 1 or 2 and sometimes all 3 lights, sometimes removing books from sleeping fingers in the process.

Last night was a full win – every one of them had turned their own light out before crashing.  Score! 

The days of insisting their lights were out before I went downstairs went away when they learned to read.  Nothing teaches personal responsibility like falling asleep in class because you’ve stayed up too late reading a book, and the sooner they learn this – and the Human Tape Recorder gets it already – the better. 

Sleeping With Harry

Sleeping With Harry

The Reigning Queen of Pink, above, is on her way to learning it, I think. The flash on the camera didn’t even wake her that morning, and the sound of a camera to the RQoP usually has the same effect that the crack of ice had on Joe Lewis.  She was beat.

Number One Son, on the other hand, sometimes requires more extreme measures.  Yeah, I know, go figure.

He came downstairs one morning a few weeks ago and mentioned that his light was broken.  I told him I’d look at it – oh look, it’s working now!  The next morning he told me it broke again.  By the third night, he noticed that his light broke at 10:30 every evening, and asked me about that.  I told him there must be a problem with the breaker – probably couldn’t be fixed. 

He didn’t actually notice the timer SOBUMD had plugged into his lamp for a week, by which time he’d gotten a little closer to back on schedule and was getting to sleep before midnight.  He wasn’t even mad, which I took for a good sign. 

The first time I caught the Human Tape Recorder sitting under her blanket reading a book with a flashlight, I told her that she had to stop that Right Now.  She was all of 6 years old, and I have no idea anymore what she was reading, but she looked up at me very obviously trying to gauge my mood – she could tell I wasn’t’ really angry, but the *words* were angry, and this threw her for a moment.  I was trying to decide just what the hell the right response was.  Yell at her for disobeying?  Yell at her for falling into a cliché?  Congratulate her on her reading skills?  What behavior was I trying to reinforce here, anyhow?

I decided, all in an instant, to take this lesson from my own childhood, which was (of course) also spent with flashlights and books under sheets.  I had done the same thing.  My parents had made the standard desultory efforts to curb this behavior.  It never worked, and by the time I was maybe 10, they decided the hell with it – as long as I was quiet, they were going to bed. 

So, I figure all my kids are genetically pre-programmed to read in bed.  But there was a critical difference between me and my daughter.  I still don’t wear glasses.  She’s had glasses since she was 2 years old.

“OK kid.  Turn your damn lights on if you’re reading, your eyes are bad enough already.  Don’t stay up too late, and don’t make any noise.  Daddy needs plausible deniability, OK?”

“OK Daddy!”

And we just don’t talk about why all my kids could define “plausible deniability” before they could write their names…

And now, just to check before I post this here at 11:30 at night, let’s play again – shall we?  Be right back.

Still a win – two lights out, one light on, and all three sound asleep!  I’ll take it.  And so, good night.

Harry Potter and the Shakespearian Ending

19 July, 2007 | | No Comment

OK, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but things have been slow in the world of the Big Ugly Man Doll, and time ran away with me. We had a short fling, me and time, but in the end we realized it would never work out and we went back to our respective spouses. We’ll always have Paris in 1894, October 13, at shortly before sunrise, for about 38 minutes. Time doesn’t have so much a fear of commitment as she has a penchant for declaring an end and making it so. I’d say she invented serial monogamy, but that was Mrs. Kellogg.

None of which is what we’re discussing tonight, boy and girls, for something truly momentous and exciting has been delivered to my doorstep! That’s right, I’m one of those lucky bastards who got an accidentally early delivery of the last Harry Potter installment! (I think my little tête-à-tête rendezvous with the mistress of Chronos might have helped, but I have no proof and I’m not going to be the first to break down and call. Besides, what would my wife say?)

So, without further ado, let me give you an advance review of the book! It was fantastic, as only JK Rowling can be, but let me tell you now that all the so-called spoilers you’ve heard were completely wrong. It’s not even called “Deathly Hallows.” It turns out that she looked to the Bard to end the series, and while she didn’t use iambic pentameter, she certainly took a few pages from him on how to end a story!

Harry Potter and the Shakespearian Ending starts out with Harry attending Bill and Fleur’s wedding. Montague shows up, being distantly related to the Delacour’s on Fleur’s mother’s sister’s cousin’s side. The Weasleys thumb their noses at him, but rather than go for his wand, he professes that he has always loved Mrs. Weasley’s second cousin’s daughter, Mafalda, and she returns his love just as fiercely. Neither Montague’s family nor the Weasleys will countenance such a union, Montague’s side being convinced that he can do better than to shack up with those Muggle-loving redheaded Irish, and probably Papists too, no doubt, look at all those damned kids, and the Weasley are just as dismayed at the prospect of the cost of traveling to, nevermind living in, the town of Fair Verona, which is where Montague’s family has their estate.

Montague and Mafalda decide they don’t care at all what the rest of them think. They shoot their way out of the celebrations, sending bits of Fleur’s wedding cake flying into the cheap seats, and the chase is on. That oaf Hagrid is killed in a most humorous fashion, and the nuptials are demolished, along with Mrs. Weasley’s great aunt Muriel’s lovely goblin-made tiara, which was a horcrux. Montague and Mafalda find themselves star-crossed as they’re followed by all and sundry through many small towns and hamlets. It turns out that no one with the authority to do so will marry them – little wonder, since between them they’re cousin to half the country. Eventually, they find one person who is willing to bind them in matrimony.

You guessed it: It’s the Dark Lord. Voldemort wants to perform an unbreakable curse on them, binding them to each other – and to his own bad ass. He’s just about to torture them into giving up their Gringotts PIN numbers when the Three Angstiteers show up. Harry, Ron, and Hermione walk into the bombed-out church to find Wormtongue, sorry wrong book I mean Wormtail, reprising his role as toady in chief by playing usher. “Death Eaters on the left, please, you Phoenix lot on the right.” The church is suddenly much bigger than we thought it was since half the Ministry of Magic shows up, mostly seated on the right, along with what’s left of the Order of the Phoenix, and all the Death Eaters coalesce out of the shadows on the left.

In the ensuing melee, after Rufus Scrimgeour has taken down no fewer than 17 Death Eaters with his bare teeth, Voldemort kills off pretty much everyone we’ve ever heard of. The snake Nagini chokes to death trying to swallow and digest Crookshanks. Wormtail tells Lupin he’s always loved him, be he man or beast, and kills himself in a fit of homoerotic shame. Tonks finally realizes why Lupin wouldn’t marry her and runs off, swearing to change her name from Nymphadora to something sensible, like Ophelia.

Harry and Ginny vow to love each other to the end, which at this point is only 3 pages away. Voldemort catches them snogging and gets them with a twofer, both dead with a single Avada Kedavra. His elation is short-lived, since Ron and Hermione are so pissed about this that they find the one thing they can agree on, which is killing the Dark Lord. Voldemort remembers too late that he meant to kill Harry last because he was the sole remaining horcrux oh shit oh shit oh shiiiii.

Ron and Hermione mop up and leave the deathly, hallowed grounds, with Hermione noting to the stunned Montague and Mafalda that human beings are neither wholly good nor wholly evil, but instead are “more or less alike.”

“Yeah,” Ron adds, “more or less a bunch of gits.”