Friday, July 27, 2007

A Tale of Two Doggies

I love this video. I remember seeing it on a repeat of America's Funniest Home Videos once. It won the 10,000 dollar prize. Might have won more but I'm not sure.

That's right, he's attacking his OWN foot (which looks to be trying to scratch his ear) solely because he thinks his foot might somehow steal his bone. I love dogs, I really do but sometimes they do things that just leave you scratching your head.

Then, on the other hand, they do something that just seems so absolutely brilliant!

Childproof Drawer - Watch more free videos

Thursday, July 26, 2007

As close to spoilers as I get

I saw this article on MSNBC this morning. It's a great little follow-up for anyone who's already finished the 7th Harry Potter book. It tells you a bit more about what happened to all of the characters. I'll just reprint the entire article here.

Warning! This does contain some spoilers so if you haven't finished the book yet and don't want to know ANYTHING about it, don't read it. However, if you've already finished it or are just too darn curious, take your mouse and highlight all the text below.

Finished ‘Potter’? Rowling tells what happens next

Exclusive: Author gives details on events after the book’s final epilogue

By Jen Brown contributor
Updated: 2 hours, 18 minutes ago

Spoiler alert: This story reveals some key plot points in the final Harry Potter book. So if you've haven't finished the book, J.K. Rowling asks that you not read this story.

If you found the epilogue of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” rather vague, then J.K Rowling achieved her goal.

The author was shooting for “nebulous,” something “poetic.” She wanted the readers to feel as if they were looking at Platform 9¾ through the mist, unable to make out exactly who was there and who was not.

“I do, of course, have that information for you, should you require it,” she told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira rather coyly in her first interview since fans got their hands on the final book.
Ummm … yes, please!

Rowling said her original epilogue was “a lot more detailed,” including the name of every child born to the Weasley clan in the past 19 years. (Victoire, who was snogging Teddy — Lupin and Tonks’ son — is Bill and Fleur’s eldest.)

“But it didn’t work very well as a piece of writing,” Rowling said. “It felt very much that I had crowbarred in every bit of information I could … In a novel you have to resist the urge to tell everything.”

But now that the seventh and final novel is in the hands of her adoring public, Rowling no longer has to hold back any information about Harry Potter from her fans. And when 14 fans crowded around her in Edinburgh Castle in Scotland earlier this week as part of TODAY’s interview, Rowling was more than willing to share her thoughts about what Harry and his friends are up to now.

Harry, Ron and Hermione
We know that Harry marries Ginny and has three kids, essentially, as Rowling explains, creating the family and the peace and calm he never had as a child.

As for his occupation, Harry, along with Ron, is working at the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic. After all these years, Harry is now the department head.

“Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department,” Rowling said. “They are now the experts. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what else they’ve done.”

Meanwhile, Hermione, Ron’s wife, is “pretty high up” in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, despite laughing at the idea of becoming a lawyer in “Deathly Hallows.”

“I would imagine that her brainpower and her knowledge of how the Dark Arts operate would really give her a sound grounding,” Rowling said.

Harry, Ron and Hermione don’t join the same Ministry of Magic they had been at odds with for years; they revolutionize it and the ministry evolves into a “really good place to be.”

“They made a new world,” Rowling said.

The wizarding naturalist
Luna Lovegood, the eccentric Ravenclaw who was fascinated with Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and Umgubular Slashkilters, continues to march to the beat of her own drum.

“I think that Luna is now traveling the world looking for various mad creatures,” Rowling said. “She’s a naturalist, whatever the wizarding equivalent of that is.”

Luna comes to see the truth about her father, eventually acknowledging there are some creatures that don’t exist.

“But I do think that she’s so open-minded and just an incredible person that she probably would be uncovering things that no one’s ever seen before,” Rowling said.

Luna and Neville Longbottom?
It’s possible Luna has also found love with another member of the D.A.

When she was first asked about the possibility of Luna hooking up with Neville Longbottom several years ago, Rowling’s response was “Definitely not.” But as time passed and she watched her characters mature, Rowling started to “feel a bit of a pull” between the unlikely pair.

Ultimately, Rowling left the question of their relationship open at the end of the book because doing otherwise “felt too neat.”

Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom: “The damage is done.”

There is no chance, however, that Neville’s parents, who were tortured into madness by Bellatrix Lestrange, ever left St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies.

“I know people really wanted some hope for that, and I can quite see why because, in a way, what happens to Neville’s parents is even worse than what happened to Harry’s parents,” Rowling said. “The damage that is done, in some cases with very dark magic, is done permanently.”

Rowling said Neville finds happiness in his grandmother’s acceptance of him as a gifted wizard and as the new herbology professor at Hogwarts.

The fate of Hogwarts
Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the school for witchcraft and wizardry is led by an entirely new headmaster (“McGonagall was really getting on a bit”) as well as a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. That position is now as safe as the other teaching posts at Hogwarts, since Voldemort’s death broke the jinx that kept a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor from remaining for more than a year.

While Rowling didn’t clarify whether Harry, Ron and Hermione ever return to school to finish their seventh year, she did say she could see Harry popping up every now and again to give the “odd talk” on Defense Against the Dark Arts.

More details to come?
Rowling said she may eventually reveal more details in a Harry Potter encyclopedia, but even then, it will never be enough to satisfy the most ardent of her fans.

“I’m dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest until they know the middle names of Harry’s great-great-grandparents,” she said. Not that she’s discouraging the Potter devotion!

“I love it,” she said. “I’m all for that.”

Too much time on their hands

You know, sometimes I wonder if the guys in prison have just a little TOO much time on their hands. Case in point, this little video clip from a prison in the Philippines. It reminds me of something you might see in a Stephen Chow movie . . .

"We're just trying to work out whether being picked out of 1,500 rapists, bank robbers and serial killers to be "the woman" is lucky or terrifying. Still - the moral of this story? The Philippine prison system has completely lost its mind. And it. Is. Awesome."
-FHM Magazine

You've got to admit it though, they did a pretty damn good job of it :-)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My muse . . . that explains the long blog entries

gURL.comI took the "The Nine Muses" quiz on
My muse is...

Calliope is the patron goddess of epic poetry. She is often depicted holding a writing tablet and wearing a golden crown, for she is the oldest of the muses and their leader. Her name means "The Fair Voiced," but Calliope inspires eloquence in writing. Read more...

Who is your muse?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Smack in the middle of summer . . .

Currently Reading: Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

So here we are, smack in the middle of summer. Two weeks into July, two weeks left of July plus August. Yeah we're pretty much right in the middle with the hot part still left to come. Of course, I'm using the old schedule from my high school days. For the kids these days summer ends much earlier in August than it did for us. We just didn't have quite as many vacation days during the year as they get now.

And now that we've reached the half-way point, what can be said of summer? Not a whole lot really. I mean, all things considered, it's been rather slow. We've got the usual movies playing in the theaters. The latest Harry Potter is the only one that can really be called an undisputed hit. I do get a kick out of reading the reviews on that one. It's not as highly rated as some of the others and they complain that Harry spends a lot of time being bitchy. Now, if you've read the book, you know that's pretty much what happens there too. It's really more of a bridge leading from the earlier parts of the story to the climax that builds in book 6 and finishes up in the book to be released on Saturday.

Actually, when you get right down to it, Harry Potter book 7 is really THE event of the summer as it stands right now. Forget that lame environmental concert thing that no one really watched. What's got everyone talking is what happens to the Potter characters. There's been a LOT of speculation floating around and I agree with some of it and disagree with others. I suppose we'll know for sure on Saturday won't we? Don't worry, I'm not going to post any spoilers once I've finished the book. That would be mean. I probably won't even mention anything about it until the ending is common knowledge.

I woke up this morning with a song stuck in my head. That sort of thing happens to everyone I suppose but what was weird was that I have no idea how it got in there in the first place. It's not a song I'd heard recently or one that I was thinking about. I just woke up and there it was. At least it wasn't anything annoying. It was Best of Times by Styx. Yeah, way back in the 70's for that one. But you know, it was stuck in my head and I just couldn't shake it so I went out earlier today and got their greatest hits CD and I've been listening to that all morning. Then I decided I'd share a little of that so I hit You Tube and crawled through there for a while. Not many videos from the 70's of course and the few there are tend to be a little embarrassing. So, rather than subject you to that sort of suffering, here's a video that was sort of re-mixed with Pirates of the Caribbean.

I was cleaning out my e-mail box this morning and I came across this picture . . .
Those are a pair of my great great great great grandparents. My cousin had sent me that picture some time last year and it's been sitting at the bottom of my in-box for so long I'd forgotten I had it. She also sent me two more pictures that are what passed for immigration papers at the time. That guy there is Charles White. His father John is the one we have the immigration papers on. Shockingly enough, he had a home in the "French Republic" somewhere. Could be he came down from Canada or up from the south or even the Caribbean. But you know, there's still the most tragic possibility that I may, in fact, be part French. Talk about having skeletons in your closet!

My future reading list is getting longer. Since I won't be reading any NEW books until the last Potter comes out on Saturday I've been bouncing between books. Some have been short stories like the Lovecraft, others are just books I read a while back and wanted to read again like Dune and now Dune Messiah. I'm thinking the newest Potter will only take me a few days to get through depending on how much work I have to do at the salon and then I'll end up floating again trying to decide what to read. I've got another one by William Gibson coming out in August I think but that's it probably for the year. Not much in terms of new fiction for me. We've had the Murakami books, next is Potter, then Gibson. I would expect Neil Gaiman to have something out soon but you know, he's so tied up in making movies lately that I don't think he's got any long fiction coming out. Ah well, worst case I'll get back to the classics. I've still got I am Legend sitting here on my desk. That one is being turned into a movie with Will Smith later this year. And I've got at least two more of the Dune novels to read if I'm going to finish up this chunk of the series. Will it keep me busy for the rest of the year? Probably not, but maybe somewhere along the way I'll take a liking to some other author and the problem will be solved.

I've been letting the housework pile up again for some reason. I would NEVER do this if CC were here. She's probably reading this and nodding and thinking, "Damn right you wouldn't." It's not like I'm living in unsanitary conditions or anything like that. There's just more than the usual number of newspapers sitting in the chair by the table. There's a little more dog hair in the carpet. Still haven't done the laundry yet. I'll probably do most of these things later today but then again, I still have tomorrow too. Maybe I'll get to it then. Of course, I can't do laundry AND ironing in the same day I don't think. Well, I can but it'd be rushed so laundry has to go today.

Guess I'd better get that started.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All Star Classic

Currently Reading: Short stories by H.P. Lovecraft and Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography

As you can see from the sub-heading, I'm taking a break from long fiction and reading some shorter works at the moment. No particular reason, I just wasn't in the mood to read another novel. Later, at the end of the month, the new Harry Potter comes out and I've already ordered a copy so I'll be reading that for sure. I've also got a copy of I Am Legend sitting on the desk along with a few others. This is just a temporary break.

Why the switch and why those two authors? Again, no reason. With Lovecraft it's mostly due to my not having read a horror novel in a while. There just hasn't been anything that really drew my attention. Most vampire novels tend to run about the same basic plot. Either the vampire is a misunderstood, tragic hero or the old German type that doesn't even look close to being human and must be destroyed at all costs. You take that same basic vampire plot and swap in other monsters and you pretty much have yourself a horror novel. Too easy to predict.

Lovecraft, on the other hand, well I have no idea what, if anything, he was smoking but it sure was some powerful stuff. These novellas and short stories were WAY before their time and run off in all sorts of unpredictable directions. Some of them have your basic Twilight Zone twist at the end. Some really don't end at all, they just sort of stop. It's a different approach to story telling which, I suppose, is why I'm enjoying it.

As for Benjamin Franklin, well I've always liked him. He's my favorite of the founding fathers mostly because he's so normal, at least for us. He doesn't have that sort of semi-regal aura around him like the others do. He wasn't president either. Not one of your lofty, moralists. Ben was the kind of guy you could sit down and have a beer with and he'd tell ya interesting stories along the way.

Wow, did you catch the all-star game? Probably not. Most of the people who read my blog aren't baseball fans. That's a shame because it was one hell of a great game.

This is my boy here, Ichiro Suzuki. Clearly he's not a blood relative :-)

He put on one hell of a display last night at the all-star game in San Francisco. He was the lead-off hitter and got the game started with his first base hit of three. In fact, he went three for three last night, getting on base every time he was at bat. Oh but that's not what made it such a spectacular display last night. What really made him stand out, and what earned him the MVP award, was this in the park home run!

You think a no-hitter is rare? Well this was the first in the park home run ever in the all star game. Officials from the baseball hall of fame took the ball and will put it on display. That's how rare we're talking here. For those of you who don't know what that is, and who didn't bother to watch the video, an in the park home run means the ball didn't go out over the wall but the player hitting it still managed to run the bases without getting tagged out.

So now he's the MVP of the all star game. About the only person disappointed about that (apart from the losing National League all stars) might be Ichiro's agent. You see, they've been negotiating a contract extension and rumor has it they'd reached a deal before the all star game. Of course, had they been able to bring this video to the table, he could easily have asked for more. And he's worth it. Unlike SOME players (Mr. Bonds), Ichiro is part of the team. He works hard, he handles the ball VERY well, and he does what's best for the team as a whole, not just for himself. Guys like that in professional sports are getting pretty rare so it's nice to see a guy like that get rewarded.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Odds and Ends

Currently Reading: Dune by Frank Herbert

I'm no longer going to bother reading any of the new Dune books. I've tried the first of each series and ended up giving up on them right at about the same point. These latest two books (of which one has been released) were supposed to be based on an outline by Frank Herbert that was discovered in some safe deposit box by his son but after reading the first 150 pages or so and reading the outline of the plot, I'm finding that hard to believe.

I didn't really care that much that the son was going to do a whole set of prequel books. So long as he didn't mess with the original, fine, no problem. I didn't find them very well-written and they really weren't very complex in plot. In all I would rank them as average. Maybe if you liked that sort of book you'd want to read it but otherwise, nothing in it really jumps out at you.

Towards the end of the series though, he started messing a little bit with the original. Or rather, his version started running into consistency errors with the original. Characters that were clearly alive in the original series had already been killed off in the prequels leaving some readers scratching their heads. Oh they tried to play it off by saying that the one in the original series was a clone (of which there are many in the original series) but the problem with that is the clones weren't introduced until the second or third book. Oops.

Still, didn't really bother me because I never put much stock into the prequels. They were supposed to tell the backstory of the novels, most of which is already told in the novels themselves. These books were just fleshing things out a little.

Then this new series came out and, as I said, it was supposed to be based on a long-missing outline. I'm guessing that's a very loose term "based on." Yeah, it was based on that outline in the sense that it has chapters and characters, sure. Or maybe there really wasn't anything IN the outline at that point and the outline needed fleshing out.

What it looks like they're doing with the two new books is trying to link everything together. And while I can understand the need to do it, it's really like trying to nail the back end of a rusted out Ford onto a new Cadillac. They just don't match and I don't mean purely in style. The characters suddenly have different personalities. Minor details are over-looked. The plot, well, it doesn't move very much and when it does move it certainly doesn't take off in the direction the other novels were heading. They couldn't even keep it to one book (which would have made two trilogies linked by one bridge novel). They attempted (or were forced to) stretch everything out to make it all fit together.

So, my advice, skip Hunters of Dune and the soon to be released Sandworms of Dune. Instead, just fill in the blanks after Chapterhouse yourself. It's certainly going to be better than what Brian Herbert came up with.

Baseball's All-Star game is coming up next week. If you're a fan, you'll want to check out all the action on the MLB site. If you're not a fan, better make plans to rent some videos or take in a movie that night :-)

People spell names weird down here. There was an article in the paper about a kid in Arkansas who got killed. His name was DeAuntae. Yes, just like that. No, you're not supposed to translate it, that's supposed to be in English. He's not "Of the Aunt" or "the Aunt". That's the family's attempt to produce Dante or at least make it seem more fancy. Worse, apparently they called this kid Tae Tae. If you're from the Philippines, go ahead and laugh. Just try not to spew coffee all over your keyboard when I tell you that the headline in the paper that day was FAREWELL TAE TAE. For the rest of us who do NOT speak Tagalog, roughly translated, that headline reads FAREWELL POO POO.

Slow week in the grooming salon because of the 4th of July. Sunday I had a total of two dogs. Monday I had no appointments scheduled. Fortunately we had quite a few walk-ins, otherwise I'd have gone nuts from boredom. Things will pick up over the weekend though. It as kinda nice having a few slow days after all the heavy work we had leading up to it.

Time to get back to summer things. Enjoy!