Monday, July 23, 2007

Amusingly enough, this comic from way back in February was surprisingly accurate.

Well, okay, it's not that accurate. Harry Potter does not, in fact, "sell Hermione to a nunnery." And Harry's final confrontation with Voldemort doesn't take place in a graveyard. But other than that...

One thing I thought was interesting was the Christian imagery in this book. Maybe I was primed to read that sort of thing into the book whether it was actually there or not after six books of talk about love and sacrifice and death, and also talk about backlash against the books by religious groups (this is a more amusing example than the well-known Christian ones), or maybe I noticed it because it actually was there. When an important sword with virtuous connotations is described as a "silver cross," well, that might be Christian but then again it might be Arthurian, since the sword was under water at the time.

On the other hand, there's a scene where Harry assumes that a reference to life after death is talking about Voldemort's style of necromancy, and he has to be tenderly reminded that it means something more positive for most people. It was a vivid reminder of the bleak kind of life that Harry has lived. "Wow, this kid has had such a rough life that he assumes a bit of ceremonial deism, a very common idea even if oddly phrased in this particular case, means the same thing as the Dark Lord's goal? Ouch."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I finished reading Harry Potter!

That is all. Details will follow later - good book, I like what she did there, holy shit I can't believe it, etc.

Predictions that were made: well, I guess it wouldn't be kind to spoil it. I can say two things, though: my personal guess for the number of main characters to die turned out to be exactly right, and I thought that Snape and/or Draco would have bigger roles than they did at the climax. I mean, they did have big roles, but they weren't... well, I should stop.

Monday, July 16, 2007

It's interesting how easy it is to not think about things correctly. I don't just mean forgetting stuff; I mean knowing something and not being aware of it, maybe. Knowing it but not thinking about what it actually means. To be slightly more specific*, last week I had a problem of general type M, and I thought of it as if it like I would think of any problem of that very general type, even though the details of this particular problem made the "usual way" downright counterproductive.

Here's what happened. This past week I was having a money problem, as a result of the bad weekend. Thursday I went up to Burlington, like usual. I stopped at the comic book shop and planned to go shopping for a new wallet before going to Drinking Liberally, and on the way home afterwards, stop by the gas station for beer (I was out) and coffee (just so I wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel). I knew all along about the money problem, so I counted the cash in my pocket carefully when paying for my comics, and calculated that I only had enough cash for only one or at most two of the things on my agenda, so I should go by the ATM next. Simple enough. I headed up there, walking a block or so out of my way, and I waited for the guy in front of me to finish up, and then I stepped up to the ATM and put my hand in my pocket and stopped in my tracks because my debit card was not in my pocket, of course, it was last seen in my wallet, and I had LOST MY FUCKING WALLET.


Losing my wallet was a big part of why the weekend of July 6-8 was bad, but not the only part. The week leading up to it was pretty depressing too, but I had forgotten about the wedding until I was reminded just a couple days before. In addition to stuff I had planned for the weekend which I would now have less time to do, I also had to cancel an interview scheduled for Friday. The secretary of the guy was on vacation that week, so I had no easy way to get the message through that I needed to change or cancel it.

He called me eventually and seemed understanding enough, but that was one more thing to take care of on Friday morning. After rushing through writing my stories on Friday, I rushed through packing in time for my parents to pick me up, and spent roughly the next six hours in my parents' van as we drove to Maine, where the wedding would be. After we finally got there, most of my mom's branch of the family was sharing a hotel, so Friday evening we got to hang out with familiar faces and stuff. Seeing the cousins was fun, yes. I was amused that Anne was asked to read a list of "dorky" quotes, from people like Mal Reynolds and Mikey in "The Goonies." The C.S. Lewis quote used in the title of this felt especially appropriate and bittersweet for me.

However, that night didn't go well. My aunt (my mom's cousin's wife, technically) has taken Tae Kwon Do, or maybe is still taking it now, I don't remember. I studied Tae Kwon Do myself, and when someone mentioned it, we jokingly went into fighting stances and threw a few punches and kicks. It ended abruptly when she punched me in the nose. I spent the next hour or so wiping blood off my face and holding ice in a washcloth around my nose. It started to swell, but the ice did the trick; it was not visible by the following morning. The incident sure didn't help my mood, though.

Saturday, the day of the wedding, was fun enough. Our branch of the family took over a tiny diner for breakfast, the next generation got to run around the beach collecting weird rocks, etc. The wedding itself was short and sweet, and on top of a mountain. The reception afterwards went well too, for a while. Good food, open bar, new and interesting people to talk to. Unfortunately, I took too much advantage of the open bar. Way too much. I'm impressed by the cleanup efforts that my family went through, but hated myself for putting them in that position.

Sunday, I couldn't find my wallet. I kept saying that someone at the wedding must have stolen it, which my parents insist was needlessly negative and it just fell out of my pocket at some point after I got hammered, but then, I was obviously not in a cheerful frame of mind. Sunday evening after we got back and Monday I made the calls to cancel my credit and debit cards. No charges had been made to them, luckily.

This past Thursday or Friday, I got the new credit card in the mail, earlier than expected. Lucky me. Still waiting to be replaced: my debit card, which I ordered and just hasn't arrived yet, and my driver's license, which I didn't get around to last week. Probably irreplacable: an old driver's license which I kept around as a conversation piece to show people what I looked like with longer hair and a beard, and my black belt certificate wallet card. Not that I need either of those — to be unrealistically self-critical, I'm so out of practice I don't deserve the black belt certificate, but also, I will probably want to start a different style anew if I ever go back to martial arts at all — but I'll miss having them and it's annoying losing them.

So: a rushed couple days getting ready for a wedding at which I got punched in the nose, had too much to drink and got sick, and lost my wallet. I have another wedding coming up in a couple weeks, for a cousin of the same branch of the family, and I reserve the right to be at least a little grouchy.

* Yes, only slightly more specific, I admit it'll take me about another hundred words to get to the point — mea culpa. But that's because I wanted the revelation of what actually happened last weekend to be dramatic; give me a break here, let me have a little fun!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Two jeers and a cheer* today: my neighbors suck. Why were those guys up at three in the morning on a Thursday in a residential neighborhood? Especially when our co-tenant has spoken to them before about being loud late at night?

When I got home at 10 last night, four tiki torches were burning over a beer-pong table propped up by our garbage cans (which I wanted to get into, by the way, but whatever), and a car was running with the door open and the stereo on, but no one was around. I hadn't seen any person in the area by 11 p.m., so I put out the torches, turned the stereo off, and went to bed. At 2 a.m., the partygoers came back, presumably from the bar across the yard. They were up and at it until 3 at least. I didn't say anything then, partly because I was already in bed and also because my restlessness could have just been because I had had coffee at 9 p.m. so I didn't want to blame them but mostly because, duh, I don't like being the adult and making the scene, so I just made plans to talk to them today or this weekend. However, the little old lady in the third apartment told me this morning that she had called the police about the noise, and I can't blame her a bit.

Other jeer: what the hell is with private Web sites that try to take the place of public ones?, for example, and the lack of the link is intentional. As far as I can tell it's a company — probably just some guy running a dozen such Web sites — trying to make money by selling ad space to insurance companies. If you look around there for any useful information, they just make you click a few precious links before sending you to the real state Web site. Yeah, it's a minor annoyance, but still.

But a CHEER to important people getting sick. Um, that came out wrong, especially since the hospital administrator in question is a nice guy and all that. I certainly have nothing against him personally. But when his secretary called me an hour or so ago I was guiltily relieved, just because it meant I didn't have to do an interview I'm only half-prepared for. It would have been even worse because of the lack of sleep and other annoyances. So I get to put it off until Tuesday. Which is kinda funny, though, because it was already rescheduled once, because I had forgot I had something else going on.

That promised post about my bad weekend is coming up, and I think I even have an interesting way to tell the story. Just putting it off again.

* That phrasing of "cheers and jeers" for a list of stuff you simply like or don't like sounds pretty dumb, I think. But I had a hard time thinking of a better word for the positive side, and that kind of locked me into the rhyming negative side. Oh well.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"Personally, I'd rather be human than perfect." Well, no I wouldn't. I'd probably be a better and/or happier person if I agreed with that statement, but at the moment, I'd say I do not. I would eagerly choose an emotionless shell I can take down when it's convenient to open up to a selected person or people, instead of the more human alternative.

I've been meaning to write a post about just how horrible the wedding I went to over the weekend was. Not that horrible in a particularly interesting way — no one got arrested that I know of, no one broke any bones, the bride and groom both showed up — just horrible in the sense that I had a bad weekend. And I probably will write the post, but I want to get some work done this morning, and this brief commentary on something else seemed easier than writing a sardonic, justifiably-whining, amusing-from-a-safe-distance post about the wedding. In other words, I want to do it justice.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Your linguistic trivia for the day, via, of course, Unfogged. I've always been aware of that class of words that are their own opposites ever since reading something in Reader's Digest as a kid or teen, but I couldn't remember the exact term for them, and the only example I could ever think of was "buckle."

Yes, I read Reader's Digest as a kid. Don't judge me! My parents had a subscription, and I read it mostly just for the jokes. To the extent that I ever flirted with right-wing ideas, I blame mostly that magazine, but it was partly P.J. O'Rourke's fault too.