Thursday, July 26, 2007

Job and school situation, the Harry Potter journey is over...

In my last post, I promised more. This is because I was going to also talk about my job and school issues, and I got too tired after spilling opinions on big developments in Deathly Hallows (which I finished today btw -- I wasn't planning to finish it so fast, but it got to a point where it was hard to stop reading...I'll mention it later).

I, as you can probably guess, do not like my job. Why do you think I've bought so many CD's and other forms of entertainment in the last few months? Because my job is boring with a capital, bold-faced B. Sure, the coworkers are nice, and the pay is decent. But the commute stinks, the endless closing shifts are causing me to become more and more of a night owl, and nobody seems to appreciate the hard work I do. I'm the behind-the-scenes girl, the one whose breakout makes it possible for all those rolls to grace our table, the La Brea breads to sit in their little baskets, and those danishes, donuts and bagels to sit in pomp in their glass-fronted cases. I'm also behind-the-scenes as the perpetual closer, packaging all the danishes, muffins, danish-case rolls, and bagels so they can be put out in the morning (or whatever it is they do with them), sweeping and spraying down the floors so we don't get flies, and washing the danish and muffin case trays (and often dishes from the cake decorators and bakers too) so the morning crew have clean dishes to use. In other words, I make what the others do possible. (It's like Linus says in the movie Sabrina to his brother David: "My life makes your life possible!").

Now, granted, I am not the only closer, or they could not afford to give me as many days off as they have been doing (I've got 3 this week, including today; 2's the usual). Joseph, Sara, and Elizabeth -- all long-time employees compared to me -- have all closed many times; Filiberto or "Phil" also knows how to close, and no doubt he closes on days I am off. But most of the time it is me.

It would be great if I could get a job at school. I just checked Monstertrak (where MiraCosta posts their job openings) and there were 2 positions. One was for a lab assistant in the library. I am not familiar with "Visual Basic, Macromedia Suite (Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash), Adobe Suite (In Design, Photoshop, Illustrator), Quark Xpress, [and] programming languages" though. But then it does say that you need to have passed CIS 100 (which I did), which is a plus. I don't know Macromedia or Adobe though (which basically means, do I know Flash and/or Photoshop -- the two programs from those companies that I know MiraCosta has classes in--and I know I don't). I'm not sure I'd qualify. I'd have to check. I was going to go to school tomorrow for something else anyway. The other one is for an assistant for the Director of Campus Police. This one essentially requires someone who can do office work and if required, patrol the campus, looking for "hazardous conditions." Now, I am more qualified for this job, since I have office skills (thanks to the BOT program) and know the campus pretty well since I've been going there for over 3 years. But there is only one opening, and it is likely that the opening for Oceanside (they need someone for any of the campuses) is filled already. I'll check tomorrow. (They're both part-time too; the Campus Police job has 3 shifts to choose from; I might have to do the early one cause I can't work 5pm-10pm cause I can't take the bus home and I don't want to make my parents have to pick me up, and if I do 12pm-5pm I sacrifice the chance to rejoin InterVarsity, which meets 12-1 for its weekly meetings, as far as I know, plus I couldn't take any afternoon classes).

Speaking of school, I do want to go back this fall, but I have to decide what to take, since I'm down to major prep stuff now in order to finish my A.A. (University Studies) and nowhere closer to picking a major. I am thinking I will end up having a major and a minor, if I can accomplish that, because that way I will have a degree in two subjects (my dad did this -- he got a B.A. in Speech, with a minor in political science). But if I start a new job somewhere else than at school (where I know they'd accommodate my school schedule...I mean, c'mon, they have to), it would be kinda awkward to spring a standing schedule commitment on my new employers. Now I know most employers are pretty good with working around school schedules, but some aren't (as Heather can attest) so I am afraid to take that risk.

I planned to tackle the school problem last night while using my laptop downstairs, but got caught up in other stuff. So probably tonight. I may not be able to pay till Friday though, assuming my Direct Deposit goes through this week (which Tori told me it should), because I have been a bit reckless with money this week. I just spent about $60 at Wal-Mart this afternoon picking up 6 shirts (one of which I just realized from looking at the receipt was $ must've been on the wrong table, cause I could've sworn I only had 4 $5 shirts and a couple $6.44 shirts) and some iron-transfer paper for my "make my own T-shirts" project (as well as pizza for dinner and some gummy bears).

Just remembered that the price per unit went down, according to the copy of the MiraCosta schedule that I picked up last week when I went to pick up my check from work. (I missed the express bus I normally take, and so I took the 302 Oceanside instead, and since it goes through MC, I decided to hop off and grab a schedule -- one of the benefits of having a monthly pass is that you can actually do such a thing and then just hop on another bus to continue your original journey). I guess maybe Arnold's promise to help out schools is finally going to come true. Anyway, the fee went down to $20 a unit (from $26 a unit) so if I took 12 units it would only be $240. Add to this other fees -- $14 health fee, up to $10 a fiscal year for the "Student Center" fee, and the optional $6 for the ID card (which I always get cause it's needed to check out library materials; plus if I get any books at the school bookstore and decide to write a check, they want your school ID as an ID), and we're looking at an extra $30 (or so) and I have over $300 in my checking account (I night-dropped 3 checks, which made my checking account go up to almost $600, which is how this is possible). So I could write a check for school (since I don't have a credit card I can't do that, and I feel uncomfortable carrying that much cash) and be okay, since I get paid on Friday anyway, and Direct Deposit is supposed to start this week if Tori is right about that (I will have to check Thursday or Friday to make sure). It won't add much (I haven't been working a ton of hours lately, plus my checks have been skimpier cause the union's taking out double dues right now to make up for June -- see my post on visiting the union to see why). But it will help.

Okay now...the news you've been waiting for...Harry Potter. I finished the last book today, as aforesaid. But before, I express my thoughts...


Let's start this this way. PotterCast, on their summer tour, asked each city a 5-question Deathly Hallows "prediction exam," asking the biggest questions still left unanswered. So I'll start with answering those.

1. Harry Potter - Live or Die? He lives. He almost dies, though. It's kind of confusing. This one chapter ends with Harry ready to die (cause of a new discovery...I'll say that in a minute) and a Avada Kedavra curse getting shot at him by Voldemort (or Voldy as I like to call him), and in the next chapter he's in some unidentified place with Dumbledore (who is of course dead). Yet Dumbledore says Harry himself is not dead. Where they actually are is confusing too -- Harry says it looks like King's Cross (where the Hogwarts Express picks up and drops off students) "but cleaner." I'm guessing it's supposed to be some sort of heaven.

2. Snape - Good or Bad? Unfortunately, Mr. Severus Snape is indeed Dumbledore's man. He is good. I say "unfortunately" for this because I was always in the "Snape is evil" camp, though I thought the "Snape is out for himself" theory (which involves Snape playing both sides for his own benefit) was good too. The chapter "The Prince's Tale," which features a bunch of Snape's memories, basically clinches this topic. Even up to the chapter before this, Snape seems to be siding mainly with Voldemort, even offering to bring Harry to Voldemort (despite Voldy's reassurance that Harry will come to him -- Voldy -- instead). And while we're on the subject of Snape, why did Dumbledore trust Snape? I was a little confused on this. I'm not quite sure if this is explicitly answered in DH. Snape's actions to protect Harry had to do with his love for Lily (Snape x Lily fans rejoice!) but I don't think that's why Dumbledore trusted Snape. Snape asks Dumbledore for his word on something and Dumbledore swears not to tell, but I am confused as to what that thing is. The scene goes like this:

[Snape talking] "'I were keep'

"'She and James put their faith in the wrong person,' said Dumbledore. 'Rather like you, Severus. Weren't you hoping that Lord Voldemort would spare her?'

"Snape's breathing was shallow.

"'Her boy survives,' said Dumbledore.

"With a tiny jerk of the head, Snape seemed to flick off an irksome fly.

[Dumbledore] "'Her son lives. He has her eyes, precisely her eyes. You remember the shape and color of Lily Evans's eyes, I am sure?"

"'DON'T!" bellowed Snape. 'Gone...dead..."

"'Is this remorse, Severus?'

"'I wish...I wish I were dead.....'

"'And what use would that be to anyone?' said Dumbledore coldly. 'If you loved Lily Evans, if you truly loved her, then your way forward is clear.'

"Snape seemed to peer through a haze of pain, and Dumbledore's words appeared to take a long time to reach him.

"'What --- what do you mean?'

"'You know how and why she died. Make sure it was not in vain. Help me protect Lily's son.'

"'He does not need protection. The Dark Lord has gone ---"

"'The Dark Lord will return, and Harry Potter will be in terrible danger when he does.'

"There was a long pause, and slowly Snape regained control of himself, mastered his own breathing. At last he said, 'Very well. Very well. But never ---- never tell, Dumbledore! This must be between us! Swear it! I cannot bear...especially Potter's son...I want your word!'

"'My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you?' Dumbledore sighed, looking down into Snape's ferocious, anguished face. 'If you insist...'"

~~ Deathly Hallows pages 678-679

So what does Snape want to hide? That he loves Lily or that he's helping Dumbledore? Not quite sure.

Anyway, moving on...

3. Is Harry a Horcrux - Yes or No? Surprisingly enough, Harry is a Horcrux. I seem to recall the writer of that chapter in's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7 seemed highly in favor of that side of the issue, so he (or she) must be pretty happy. Basically, he is, of course, an accidental Horcrux. I doubt Voldemort really wanted to make a seventh Horcrux -- he had 6 already, and the soul in him was the 7th part -- he had successfully split his soul into 7 pieces, as he'd planned. (That is, unless he wanted to find a Gryffindor item and make it a Horcrux --- we know he may have tried with the sword, but was unsuccessful...coincidentally, the Sword manages to be able to take down Horcruxes, and is actually used to take down 2 of them -- the locket and Nagini. Judging by the fact that we know now what all of them are, we find out Voldemort never ended up with Horcuxes from all the four founders). Anyway, it happened cause on the night he killed the Potters, Voldy's soul was so unstable, a piece of it latched onto the only other living soul in the room -- baby Harry's. But when Voldemort tries to kill Harry again, he actually (somehow) destroys that piece of soul, but Harry doesn't die. Something to do with Lily's blood protection being in Voldy too (Voldy used some of Harry's blood to make his new body in Goblet of Fire). I'll have to re-read that part again.

4. Harry Will Return to Hogwarts for School - Yes or No? This question was prompted by fans who realized the U.S. cover says "Year 7" on the spine. Since the "years" on the spine generally refer to Harry's years in school, people figured he'd go back to school (or at least Ron & Hermione would -- as the PotterCast people said, "would Hermione really miss her N.E.W.T.s?"). The answer is no. While the trio does go to the school (to find a Horcrux), they don't actually attend school. But then this is just as well cause with Snape as headmaster (which is a weird thought anyway) and Alecto and Amycus Carrow (dangerous Death Eaters) as Muggle Studies and DADA teachers respectively, Hogwarts is pretty screwed up anyway.

5. Will we go behind the Veil - Yes or No? What Veil? No seriously. The Department of Mysteries does appear briefly in the book, when the trio infiltrates the Ministry cause Mundungus sold the locket Horcrux to Umbridge (yeah, dumb idea, but hey this is Mundungus we're talking he didn't know what the locket really was). But do we even go close to the Veil, let alone behind it in DH? Not at all. Now, one could argue that when Harry is with Dumbledore's spirit after Voldemort aims a AK curse at him and Harry assumes he's dead, that he is "behind the Veil," but this is not explicitly said, and I think JKR would've said that specifically if it were true, cause the Veil is a major plot thing.

Now, for fun, I'll answer Scholastic's "There will be 7" questions.

1. Who will live? Who will die? That's technically 2 questions, Scholastic, but whatever. So who lives and who dies? I'll use the death odds chart in's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7 in order to identify the main characters people thought might die.

- Dobby: Surprisingly, the Mugglenet people gave Dobby an 100/1 chance of dying, making him the least likely to die. And yet what do we see? Dobby stabbed by Bellatrix's knife as Dobby and Harry are Disapparating from Malfoy Manor to Shell Cottage (Bill and Fleur's house). So, Mugglenet people, Dobby's not gonna die, huh? Wrongo. It was actually very sad when Dobby died, though. I wish he hadn't died.

- Dudley Dursley: We see nothing of the Dursleys after chapter 2, when they are taken into hiding by a couple Order members, so it is not said whether Dudley died, but it's likely he did not (did we ever find out what he saw when the Dementors attacked? I don't think so! I thought we were supposed to find that out!).

- Minerva McGonagall: The Mugglenet people said McGonagall would have an important job as Hogwarts's Head and was not likely to be killed, especially since JKR just killed off another Head (Dumbledore). Well, in DH McGonagall's not Head of Hogwarts (Snape is), and yet she is not killed.

- Vernon Dursley: Same as Dudley, not seen since chapter 2, very likely made it through.

- Petunia Dursley: Same as Vernon and Dudley.

- Luna Lovegood: Luckily Luna (who has quickly become a favorite character of mine, through re-readings of OOTP, plus seeing the OOTP movie) does not die, though since she is captured by the Death Eaters and takes part in the big battle at Hogwarts at the end of the book, the fact that she did survive is definitely amazing.

- Percy Weasley: Percy actually has a change of heart, turns against the Voldy-infiltrated Ministry, and reconciles with Molly and Arthur. Who could've predicted that? But he does not die. Lucky Percy.

- Fred Weasley: Sadly, Fred does actually die! It's not quite clear who kills him; Harry doesn't really see it happen, and of course pretty much everything's from his viewpoint in these books. I was thinking Bellatrix after she taunts Mrs. Weasley with the fact that Fred's dead, but then Bellatrix would do that even if she didn't kill Fred.

- George Weasley: While George does lose an ear when the Order is rescuing Harry from Privet Drive and gets pursued by Death Eaters, he does not die like his twin bro.

- Nymphadora Tonks: Poor Tonks actually does die cause although Lupin tells her to stay home with their new baby, she heads to Hogwarts anyway (leaving the baby with her mom) to help fight Voldemort. Again, not sure who killed her; we just see Harry seeing her body as one of the "50 people who died for him."

- Charlie Weasley: Charlie is supposedly at Bill & Fleur's wedding, though I don't remember him mentioned, but after that he disappears and I don't think he's at the Hogwarts battle. I assume that he lives, cause if he'd died we would have been told as much.

- Grawp: Grawp's 15/1 odds in the Mugglenet book leaned on the idea that he would go back to live with the giants, and the giants, being rather violent, might kill the poor guy. But he stays with Hagrid, rather than going to the other giants, so these odds fall through, and yes he lives.

- Bill Weasley: Bill survives, and actually proves useful to Harry in DH.

- Hermione: Traveling with Harry and Ron to find Horcruxes, Hermione comes close to death many times, and in fact is almost killed by Fenrir Greyback when the trio is captured by Death Eaters and hauled to Malfoy Manor. But she survives (yay!) and goes on to marry Ron (boo!).

- Neville: Neville fights pretty valiantly, even destroying a Horcrux (Nagini; he slices off her head with the Sword of Gryffindor). He doesn't get his revenge duel with Bellatrix though. He makes it through anyway.

- Ron: Ron, too, comes close to death several times, but he pulls through and marries Hermione.

- Ginny: Ginny comes close to death a few times (Bellatrix even almost AK's her, but misses, and this provokes a duel with Mrs. Weasley, who gets so mad she says, "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B*****!!" Ouch) but survives, and marries Harry.

- Lucius Malfoy: Malfoy gets in some major disfavor with Voldy, especially after Voldy borrows Lucius's wand in order to be able to kill Harry (cause of Priori Incantatem Voldy can't use his own wand) and Harry still escapes. But he does actually survive.

- Harry: As I said, he lives. Even though he's a Horcrux and puts himself in the position to die in order to get rid of that Horcrux, and also to save his friends, he still lives.

- Lupin: Lupin dies. WAHHH! Again, not sure who cast the fatal spell; we just see his body with Tonks's when Harry goes by them in the Great Hall.

- Snape: Snape being good would suggest that he would die, either by taking the blow for Harry or getting killed by a very angry Voldy when Snape reveals he's been a traitor to Voldy all along. And indeed Snape does die, but very unceremoniously. He has an argument with Voldy and Voldy realizes he can only truly be the master of the Elder Wand (the most powerful wand ever) if he kills Snape, since Snape came to the wand by killing Dumbledore, who had won it from Grindelwald. So he kills Snape. Snape manages to survive a few seconds after being AK'd, enough time to allow Harry to collect a flask full of memories from him, which are key in the next chapter.

- Hagrid: Though Hagrid falls into Death Eater hands (he is tied to a tree when Harry comes to the Forbidden Forest to face Voldemort), he makes it through. And despite the Mugglenet writers saying Hagrid has no part to play in the story, he does actually play a part.

- Arthur Weasley: JKR revealed in a recent post-DH interview that Arthur was the character who got the "reprieve" she'd talked about before. (Thanks for this tidbit). This means he was originally slated to die but then she chose not to kill him. Interesting thought. She's gonna be on the Today Show and Dateline this week; maybe she'll say why then (you know people will ask).

- Molly Weasley: Despite daring to duel Bellatrix (after having called Bella the "b-word"...see above), Molly makes it out ok.

- Draco: Draco does survive, though I wasn't sure he did until the very end, when it was said that the "three Malfoys" were sitting together in the Great Hall. Draco marries later on, though who his wife is isn't revealed.

- Wormtail/Peter Pettigrew: Wormtail does die, and apparently the Mugglenet people thought he would too, seeing as he has very bad odds in their book (1/3). He dies while trying to help Harry and friends escape Malfoy Manor. Method of death? Strangulation by an unknown and unseen person (likely Voldy). Reminds me of Darth Vader, and how he'd strangle his underlings on occasion, using the Force.

- Bellatrix: Bellatrix gets killed by Molly in their duel. Ha! Go Molly!

- Voldemort: Um, what did you expect? That he'd live? OF COURSE HE DIES!

2. Is Snape good or evil? He's good, as I've already said.

3. Will Hogwarts reopen? The most pointless question in terms of its relation to the plot, since the trio didn't go back to school anyways. And yes, it did reopen.

4. Who winds up with whom? The epilogue only answers this question for the trio and for Draco. Oh and as for Lupin and Tonks...yes they get married, but then at the end they both die. Draco marries somebody, as I said, but we're not told who. Ron ends up with Hermione and Harry with Ginny. Both relationships were suggested early on but then barely mentioned, so I thought there was still hope for Hermione/Harry and for Ron (who I'm not terribly fond of, though he redeems himself somewhat in DH from the bad rap he has in other books) to be left in the cold. But the epilogue basically lays down the facts: It's Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny, and that's that.

5. Where are the Horcruxes?

There are 7 Horcruxes total: Riddle's diary, the Peverell ring, the Slytherin locket, the Hufflepuff cup, the Diadem of Ravenclaw, Nagini, and Harry himself.

The diary and the ring were found and destroyed pre-DH (Harry destroyed the diary in Chamber of Secrets; in Half-Blood Prince we find out Dumbledore destroyed the ring). The diary was entrusted to Lucius Malfoy, and the ring was hidden in the Gaunts' old shack.

As for the others:

~~ LOCKET: The locket Horcrux was the locket found in the cupboard of Number 12 Grimmauld Place in Order of the Phoenix. According to Kreacher, it was stolen by Mundungus Fletcher, who raided the house, and, according to Mundungus, was sold to Umbridge. The trio infiltrate the Ministry Polyjuiced as Ministry employees, and Hermione manages to steal back the locket. Ron destroys it in chapter 19 of DH using the Sword of Gryffindor.

~~ CUP: Obtained by Voldemort from a lady he knew while working for Borgin & Burkes. Entrusted to Bellatrix Lestrange, who had it locked in her vault at Gringotts. (How she got it there, I'm not sure). Retrieved by the trio (with help from Griphook) from the vault, destroyed by Hermione using a basilisk fang that she and Ron found in the Chamber of Secrets.

~~ DIADEM: Obtained by Voldemort from a tree in Albania, where it had been hidden by The Grey Lady, who was Ravenclaw's daughter. Voldemort brought it back and hid it in the Room of Requirement, similar to how Harry hid the Half-Blood Prince's Potions book in there. It was unknowingly destroyed by Crabbe, who cast a Fiendfyre spell at the trio that also affected most of the stuff in the room, including the diadem.

~~ NAGINI: Nagini was, of course, with Voldemort. Voldemort carries her on his neck when going to show Harry's (supposedly) dead body to the people inside to prove his victory. Seizing a chance (and knowing from Harry that Nagini must be killed), Neville cuts off Nagini's head with the Sword of Gryffindor, which he pulled out of the Sorting Hat.

~~ HARRY: Well we all know where Harry was.

6. Will Voldemort be defeated? Well, duh. Of course he will, and he is.

7. What are the Deathly Hallows? The trio finds out about these "Hallows" from Luna's dad, Xenophilius, who was wearing a necklace with "the sign of the Deathly Hallows" at Bill and Fleur's wedding. Here is the sign:

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They are three items, said (in an old kids' tale) to have been given to three brothers (later known to be the Peverell brothers) by Death after they defied him by magicking up a bridge to cross an otherwise impassable river. The first brother asked for a wand to defeat Death, and so he was given the Elder Wand. The second brother wanted to bring back the dead, so he got the Resurrection Stone. The youngest brother, wiser and not exactly trustful of Death, asked for a way to always escape Death, and Death gives him his own Invisibility Cloak.

The Elder Wand ends up with Gregorovitch (the guy who made Krum's wand), is stolen from him by Grindelwald, passes to Dumbledore when he defeats Grindelwald, passes from him (in loyalty) to Draco when Draco disarms Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince (not to Snape, as Voldy thought), and then to Harry when Harry disarms Draco in DH. Voldy does gain possession of it, but when he uses it, it does basic spells okay, but nothing extraordinary. Harry decides not to keep the Elder Wand, and instead uses it to repair his old wand (which broke in two but was hanging on by a thread) and then intends to put the Elder Wand back in Dumbledore's grave. (It should be noted that in an interview with CBBC at the midnight release of DH, JKR subtly gave away the fact that the chapter title "The Elder Wand" was part of one of the alternate titles she had in mind for DH).

The Resurrection Stone is cracked cause it was in the Peverell ring Horcrux, which Dumbledore destroyed. Wikipedia claims that Harry uses it to "bring back" the spirits of Lupin, Sirius, and his parents as he goes off to face Voldemort in the Forest. I need to re-read that part cause I don't remember him doing that. He loses it in the Forest but decides not to go back for it.

The only Hallow Harry keeps is the Invisibility Cloak, which is indeed the one that was his dad's, which he got from Dumbledore in book 1.

Okay, it's late. Enough with the spoilers and any other news.

Oh, one more thing. How does the symbol represent the Hallows? Simple. The triangle stands for the Cloak, the circle for the Stone, and the line for the Wand.


Gonna go take a shower and go to bed. G'night.

Gah. I started this post around 8pm, and it's 12:25AM now. I guess I got distracted...well the Firefox window was frozen for a while too.

Anyway, g'night.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Little sleep breeds irritation, the DH experience, and more later

Hi again. Haven't written in about 10 days, I know, but it's better than like a month between entries, as often happens with me, as anybody who checks the list of posts per month on this blog can see.

Last night, I only got 4 1/2 hours of sleep, and as a result, I was rather irritable at work today, which I feel bad about. I mean, generally I do get irritated if I'm pulling the breakout cart out and a box falls off. But today I even seemed supersensitive to the sound of a bus's tires screeching when I was heading back to the mall bus area after going across the street really quick to see if the Dollar Tree over there was open. It wasn't, but then it was only a little after 7am.

I should explain something here. My parents are out of town, on a trip to New York and Montreal, because it's their 25th wedding anniversary this year. Knowing this in advance, I asked for early shifts so I could take the bus home and not have to have someone pick me up. I got them, but I have to be at work at 10:00. I looked up the buses and found out I had to catch the 6:30 FAST to make it (the one an hour later would work too, but I'd get to work 15 minutes before I was supposed to start). I remembered that one of the buses for the normal bus route in the area where I live reaches a stop close to my house at around 6:40am. (I know this because I had an 8am class one semester, and I'd have to catch the 6:40 bus to make it to school on time). So I decided to catch this. To be ready, I had to get up at 5:30am.

Unfortunately, last night, I went to bed at 12:42am (I count anything before dawn as part of the night before). This meant, 4 1/2 hours of sleep, probably the least I've ever gotten. Hence, my irritability. Add to that my stress about my work situation (should I look for another job? Or should I stay here for a bit longer? If I should go, should I seek an office job or another store job?, etc) and school (which I'll mention later), plus that it's around "that time of the month," and, while I was not a b-word (female dog b-word, not illegitimate child b-word), I was whiny and irritable.

Stuff got better later in the day when I realized I have tomorrow and Thursday off and so can catch up on sleep. Still, I had to stay a half hour late (the latest I could legally stay) to finish breakout.

In other news, yesterday I picked up my pre-ordered copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And though I, as I have been telling people, have been trying to pace myself and not read it too fast, taking two bus trips to and from work provides more reading time for me than usual, plus a slow computer and a big need to relieve myself when I get home from work have contributed to me having more reading time too. (Yes, I read in the bathroom -- I read everywhere basically). So I am past chapter 20 (of 39, including the epilogue).

And since I really want to share my thoughts about this book with somebody, I'm going to post my thoughts here, where I am least likely to spoil the book for anybody. But for the rare few who actually read this blog (despite the fact that I have a link to it in my forum signatures, on my websites, and that sort of thing), I will make sure to put a warning before spilling the beans.


From what I've read so far, Deathly Hallows is excellently written, and unique among the other books in that there is action going on constantly. But then, considering what's going on with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and with Vol--oh, whoops, his name's Tabooed...He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named--about, things are bound to be action-packed. (Mr. Bad Guy [as I'll call him]'s name becomes "tabooed" around the midpoint of the book, because somehow it has the power to break protective enchantments, which is how come Death Eaters keep finding the trio just when they think they're safe...we hear about this taboo through dialogue from Ron though so we don't know exactly when in the timeline this taboo started).

As for deaths...Rowling said there'd be some, and there are. Heck, the first chapter even has a death! Not a main character though, just a former Hogwarts teacher, Charity Burbage. (She taught Muggle least we know who that teacher is now...Hermione took MS during her 3rd year, but never mentioned her teacher's name, nor was Professor Burbage ever mentioned as having been at the staff table during feasts, whereas even Professor Vector [Arithmancy] and Professor Sinistra [Astronomy] have been mentioned before...maybe she's real elusive, like Trelawney?).

Main character deaths happen early on, though. When the Order rescues Harry from Privet Drive and get pursued by Death Eaters on the way to safe houses, Hagrid very nearly gets killed, but two actual deaths occur. Mad-Eye Moody is hit by Avada Kedavra while traveling with Mundungus Fletcher, who, being the coward he is, got scared and Disapparated, leaving Moody alone (scoundrel!). The other death is...*sigh* Hedwig! Poor Hedwig gets the brunt of a misaimed (I'm assuming...why kill Harry's owl?) Killing Curse.

So far, no other real deaths of consequence (i.e., main characters) have happened, pretty much just random wizards (and Muggles) killed by Voldemort (I'll say his name, who cares) or his followers.

Some other highlights...Lupin married Tonks (yay!) though he regrets making her an outcast in the magical world because of his being a werewolf. Our lovely "Dastardly Duo" of ladies from book 5 -- Rita Skeeter and Dolores Umbridge -- are back in full force as well. Umbridge is still secretary to the Minister, but is primarily acting as a judge in trials resulting from the Ministry's sudden decision to round up Muggle-born wizards and witches who refuse to register with the Ministry (a result of Voldy's infiltration of the Ministry). Rita Skeeter is, of all things, WRITING A BIOGRAPHY OF ALBUS DUMBLEDORE. Now, knowing Rita and her tendency to take only part of the truth and make up the rest (much like tabloid magazines do), this is a scary thought. On the other hand, it proves convenient as a way to let us know some stuff about Dumbledore's past, although I have a feeling some of what Rita's saying is not true. One thing that is of note is that Dumbledore's dad went to Azkaban for killing (or torturing, can't remember which) 3 young Muggles. We know in Half-Blood Prince, when he was drinking the potion, that Dumbledore said "Don't hurt them! Don't hurt them!". Could this be why? Did he witness the act?

Also Dumbledore had a sister, who Rita (and Molly's aunt Muriel, a perfect picture of the prim, strict family matriarch who criticizes everything) claims was a Squib (a child born to magical parents who can't do magic), and that Dumbledore's mom was so ashamed of this that she kept his sister prisoner. I doubt this too.

We finally meet Luna Lovegood's dad, who is as quirky as she is. And get this -- his name is Xenophilius. What a name! (I know that "xenophobia" is the fear of foreign or alien things, so "xenophilia" must be the opposite). Also, Mr. Lovegood mentions that they have this radish-looking plant that makes it easier for a person to accept the extraordinary. Luna's earrings, anyone?

The kind of disappointing thing is I'm over halfway through, and they've destroyed only ONE Horcrux so far (the locket, which is, in fact, the locket from Grimmauld Place).

Oh and R.A.B. ... he is Regulus Black indeed, and yes he is dead. Kreacher went with him to switch the lockets, but Regulus drank the potion, telling Kreacher to leave Regulus there and save himself. Bound to obey Regulus, Kreacher had to stand and watch Regulus get dragged under the water, unable to do anything. Also, Kreacher went with him because Kreacher had been there before...with Voldemort! Voldemort, when he went to put the original Horcrux in the cave, decided he needed a house-elf to come along, and Regulus volunteered Kreacher. Voldemort, of course, made Kreacher drink the potion. This may explain Kreacher's deranged behavior.

There's more I was going to say, but my memory escapes me as, as they say in Ella Enchanted, "the Shores of Sleep are approaching." So I'll end this here for now.


More tomorrow. Now I want to sleep. I am tired, as aforesaid.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Boring summer mostly, saw OOTP, Deathly Hallows comes out in a little over a week, and stuff like that

I don't feel like writing a long entry, so I'll keep this short.

~~ Boredom: My summer for the most part has been very boring. I am working pretty much all the time. Well, that's full-time work for you. I suppose it's sorta good, cause if I didn't have a job or was only working part-time, I don't know what I'd do with myself. Free time is nice, but too much of it, like any good thing, gets tiresome after awhile. On my days off, I tend to go somewhere, either by walking or on the bus, just to get out of the house. For the most part, making videos and watching the anime torrents I've been downloading (like the OVA for the video game Tales of Eternia) are the only things that have kept me sane...oh and the fact that new seasons of two of my favorite shows -- Code Lyoko and Pokémon -- are airing this summer.

~~ ORDER OF THE PHOENIX: Yes siree, the 5th Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is out -- came out yesterday -- and today, as I had the day off (the first of three days off in a row...yay), I saw it. Now, as a rule, I tend not to see movies right after they come out cause of the crowded theaters, but I had been waiting for this movie for some time, so I decided not to wait. I had hoped to get one of those House Crest t-shirts from Hot Topic with the Ravenclaw crest, but as expected, they didn't have it. I bought a Ravenclaw crest keychain though, along with a pack of Order of the Phoenix trading cards (which had three cards with Luna Lovegood on it...yay...two by herself and one called "Ravenclaw DA Members" with her and Cho) and a postcard with the main members of Dumbledore's Army (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny, and Luna -- on it. (Did you know Cho is actually supposed to be older than Harry? I didn't realize this until recently, when I bought Prisoner of Azkaban from my work, where they are selling paperbacks of the Harry Potter books, and re-read it -- in that book, when Cho is first mentioned, she is said to be a 4th-year, and Harry is a 3rd-year in that book. The trading cards confirm this too...the "Ravenclaw DA Members" one calls Cho a 6th-year, which is correct for Order of the Phoenix cause Harry and friends are 5th-year in that book, except for Ginny and Luna who are 4th-years). The reason I wanted the shirt was I was going to wear it to the movie. Oh well. Maybe this means I could make my own and not get into copyright trouble. (I'm planning, as soon as I can find a thrift store where I can buy some cheap plain T-shirts, to buy a bunch of shirts and some iron-on paper and make my own shirts, not only to save money on buying shirts but also to have cool, one-of-a-kind shirts). I did wear the little Hogwarts crest pin that I got free from Barnes & Noble when I bought a OOTP bookmark. It was dark in the theater though so I don't think anybody noticed me wearing it.

Anyway, the movie was awesome. My coworker Laura (coworker in that she works in the store I work in -- she's a CSR, a sort of special type of checker), who has read the books and went to see a midnight showing of the movie with her sister Heather (who works in my department) and some other people, said the movie was the "Cliff Cliff Notes Version" of the book. But I had expected this, once I found out the movie was only going to be a little over 2 hours long, seeing as the book is 870 pages long (the longest of the Harry Potter books).

Now, granted, they did cut out some stuff. But they kept the core of the story, with a few changes, like having Neville find the Room of Requirement for the D.A. to use, in lieu of Harry finding out about the room from Dobby, who due to the cost of having him on screen, has not appeared in the movies since movie 2. I sort of figured they might do that, since they did this with the scene in Goblet of Fire where Harry finds out about gillyweed as an option for him to use to breathe underwater for the 2nd Triwizard task -- in the book, he finds out this from Dobby, and in the movie he finds out from Neville. It actually worked there because Neville is really into plants, and plus there's a line from the fake Moody in the book about planting the book with the information on gillyweed in it on Neville in hopes Harry would be able to find out about it.

The cuts seemed to be more for time than plot (though they took out the whole "Weasley is Our King" subplot, which involved Ron doing badly as Gryffindor's new Keeper and Harry and the Weasley twins getting banned from Quidditch for life by Umbridge, which would've made a nice "cruel Umbridge" moment...but it was minor enough to get cut, I think). They condensed the many chapters spent on Umbridge's various changes at the school and her inspections of teachers into a montage of scenes, punctuated by the proclaiming of various decrees (even more than in the book -- including ones like "Boys and girls shall not be within 8 inches of each other," which I thought was kinda funny). The progression of the D.A. meetings was also made into a sort of montage, which worked out well. They changed the plot though slightly by having Umbridge actually have some inkling of the fact that the D.A. exists (since she overhears Harry and friends as they walk in the building talking about where to meet), and so the D.A. montage is punctuated with shots of Filch waiting outside the door to catch them, which includes a funny scene of him opening a box of what appear to be Valentine's chocolates, with Fred & George snickering behind him, which then switches to Filch reporting to Umbridge with a bunch of boils on his face from one of Fred and George's joke things.

And...glorious day...they actually included at least some of the Skiving Snackboxes plot, which I was hoping they would, but the fact they kept it in is really interesting cause they didn't have the scene of Harry giving them his Triwizard money at the end of Goblet of Fire in the movie of that book, so how would they explain how the twins got the money to make this stuff?

Okay I better stop blabbering now...I was going to keep it short. Basically, awesome movie. Luna was AWESOMELY TERRIFIC, as I assumed she would be the first time I heard Evanna Lynch's voice on a PotterCast phone interview. Umbridge was her perfect evil self, and Bellatrix was pretty good too, though she hardly had any lines. Oh and the fight between Voldemort and Dumbledore was pretty good, but a bit short. And, as the podcasters were saying, Dumbledore and Voldemort seemed to be having a little "Priori Incantatem" moment for a while, where the jets of light from their wands connected. I don't understand that.

There were some good lines in the movie. They gave Bellatrix's line about having to mean Unforgivable Curses to Voldemort instead, which actually worked a lot better. And I loved the part where Umbridge is being carried off by the centaurs and she yells, "Tell them I mean no harm!" and Harry says, "Sorry, Professor. I must not tell lies" ("I must not tell lies" was the line Umbridge was making him write in detention).

~~ Deathly Hallows: The 7th book of Harry Potter comes out in a little over a week, 8 days by the new MuggleNet countdown I put on here (to replace the one that also had a movie countdown on it), although technically here it's 9 days (the MuggleNet server must be somewhere where it's already tomorrow). It's sooo exciting. By next weekend I could be holding that precious book in my hands. As Sue of PotterCast would say, Squee!

Well that's all I feel like writing. Good night.