Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy 20th Anniversary, Harry Potter!!!!

Image result for harry potter and the sorcerer's stone
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Welcome back, everybody!!! It has been a while since I have written a post.  I thought that today would be a great day to write one because today is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. On this day in 1997, Harry Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were first introduced to the world, and a mad kind of fandom was  born.  The novel had been rejected by 12 publishers before Scholastic decided to take a chance with J. K. Rowling and her boy wizard. 

“I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. 'Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Frankly, I was much like those rejecting publishers, I had heard of the book, but truly didn't pay much attention, because I was busy interviewing for a job after graduating from college. (Fun Fact: Two of my favorite fandoms were born in 1997:  Tony Gonzalez was drafted by the Chiefs, and Harry Potter was published. 1997 was a great year!!!) Besides, it was a kids novel, and I was beyond that. I was too busy trying to reread Romeo and Juliet, The Crucible, and Of Mice and Men, as I began my career as a High School teacher.  Who had time for a book about a little boy wizard?

“There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Fast forward to 2005, almost 10 years later, I am now four years into my third teaching job (the one that was supposed to last one year but lasted fifteen).  Every year, my senior class would have to write a literary research paper.  I would have them pick from a long list of texts that were pre-chosen by me. The list included works by Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, JRR Tolkien, William Shakespeare to name a few.  One of my seniors (CHS Class of 2006) asked if he could do Harry Potter for his research paper. I actually laughed out loud before I answered him and with absolutely no pretense, told him no.  He asked me why not. I'm scrambling because seriously, you could not BS this group of kids. My legit answer was because it was not yet a part of the highly revered "literary canon." Another student asked why not? I responded that it was too new and not many literary criticisms had been written about them. Besides, I continued, you guys can only write about novels I have readThere was a literal collective gasp, because these students had grown up with Harry Potter and could not fathom that I had not read any of them. Keep in mind, I taught three preps, I was reading approximately 12 novels a year just to keep up with these classes. That, however, did not deter them. They challenged me to read the series. I told them I would, but I really had no plans to until they kept checking up on me.

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

So, I relented, and I went to our school library checked out all of the available novels from the library, there was still a waiting list from some of those novels, but as a teacher, I could jump the line. (perks). I left school for Christmas break armed with the first six novels courtesy of the library and another student who loaned me Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I read all 6 novels over Christmas vacation. I literally could not put them down. I devoured ever page as they were my favorite potato chips, just aimlessly, following page after page with Harry, Hermione, and Ron on their various adventures.

“We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I met the professors:  Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Sybill Trelawney, and the revolving door of Defense against the Dark Arts teachers. I identified with all of these teachers at one point of other in my teaching career. I liked Snape because, he always wore black, he was a bit snarky, and he really was the only one who would keep Harry in check. I told someone one time who said that Snape was unreasonably hard on Harry to the point of bullying. First I reminded them of all the stuff Dumbledore did to Harry, then I reminded them, that a lot of times teachers are the hardest on the students they see the most potential in, and they feel like they are wasting it, but I digress. 

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By the time I finished Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, I could not believe there was nothing else, but I was sure of something. I was sure that Harry was a horcrux, and it was one of the few times that I could not wait for vacation to be over, so I could discuss my theories with my students. When we started back, most were impressed that I was finished with all of the books in a two week period. We discussed favorite characters, theories, characters who we were sad to see go, and characters we would not miss. We discussed the horcruxes, and this novice Potterhead discussed my theory about Harry and how Dumbledore more or less tells Harry this in Chamber of Secrets. We all loved the books for different reasons, but in the end, we all loved these books. We also agreed that waiting another whole year for the Deathly Hallows was going to be a misery.

“No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” 

― J.K. Rowling

Thanks to the Class of 2006, I have been hooked on Potter ever since. A couple of them, who of course had graduated by then, contacted me on Facebook after I finished The Deathly Hallows. Now, my students have challenged me to read series before Percy Jackson-hated it, Hunger Games-loved it, Twilight-hated it (y'all know that), and Lemony Snicket-hated it.  None of those series resonate with me the way the Harry Potter books do. I do try to read other works every year. I challenge myself to read at least 15-20 books a year, because as a teacher, I have to read so much for work, that reading for pleasure some times takes a back seat. I try to read the series every other year. 

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I love this series for many, many reasons, (and yes, Snape has always been one of my favorite characters), but it teaches young people about standing up for what's right even if it isn't popular. It teaches friendship, love, and acceptance. My favorite characters:

Harry-because of his sheer determination. He overcomes so many tragedies, and on more than one occasion willing to sacrifice himself for others.

Hermione-because I was Hermione in school. Not the know it all, except with my friends, but the girl who always knew the library was the place to go find the answer, and I was fiercely devoted to my friends.

Luna-because she was unabashedly herself. She was not afraid to be different in a world that was already so vastly different. 

Fred and George-the twins who could find humor in a funeral. I was truly heartbroken when Fred died, and I cry every time.

“You're a prefect? Oh Ronnie! That's everyone in the family!"

"What are Fred and I? Next door neighbors?” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Snape-Yeah, yeah, yeah, he was a jerk, yes, he was abusive to Harry, yes, he took out his anger over James on Harry. I still liked him. He was snarky, so am I, and sometimes, Harry was little know it all jerk who deserved it. There, I said it!!! In the end though, when you find out about his devotion to Lily, you go back to all those little moments throughout the novel when you knew at the end of the day, he was going to protect Lily's baby.

McGonagall-The stern protector of Hogwarts and her students. She always saw their potential and would not accept anything but the best from them.

My favorite novel in the series: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Even though, we lost a lot of our favorites in this novel, so many secrets were revealed, especially the Lily and Snape storyline. 

My least favorite: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I like to call this one Harry Potter and the Nonstop Teenage Angst. Harry was at his most annoying in this novel. I seriously wanted to punch him myself or at least turn him over to Voldemort. Sheesh. I know he was recovering from the trauma of Goblet of Fire, but geez kid!! Oh, and Sirius was just as annoying, plus I didn't like the writing in this one. I don't know why, it is the only one I feel this way about.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

You noticed that Dumbledore is not on my list of favorite characters. In my mind, he is like Glinda the good witch, Gandalf the Grey, and Haymitch Abernathy. Why? Hey, inexperienced kid, I'm going to send you on a perilous journey, I may show up from time to time to help you out, you may die to accomplish this mission, and I more than okay with that. You know grand scheme of things and all. I did agree with Dumbledore on one thing. “One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

In the end, J.K. Rowling masterfully created a world that even in its darkest moments, you still want to visit. She gave a generation of children and adults a wonderful series that when you are reading it, it feels like you are visiting an old friend. Thank you, Ms. Rowling for giving us the most wondrous world of Harry Potter!!! Happy Anniversary, Harry Potter!!!!

“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.

"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dead Viewing: Season 7, Episode 16: "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"

***You may want to stop here.***
***There will be spoilers.***
***This is not a review. It is just my thoughts as I'm watching the show.***

***I update during commercials.***

I believe this opening of Sasha listening to music is her death scene.  I don't think she is going to make it to the next season.  Awwww...a flashback to Abraham. Just like when Tyrese died. He saw all the one's he lost when he died. Negan's back. He still thinks Sasha will help him get Rick back in check. Really, smiley face pancake Negan. 

Back to Alexandria. Dwight and Rick. Tara is all in Dwight's face about Denise.  Daryl wants to kill Dwight now. Yes, Dwight, Daryl wants to kill you. Tara wants to kill you, too. See, Daryl is not a murderer. Dwight is straight plotting, but I don't trust this guy as far as I can throw him. If he is lying, I'm going to kill him real slow. Tara is going to get herself killed being foolish. Calm down. Dwight will get what's coming to him.

At least Sasha is getting better music than Daryl. Negan wants them to stand down and then kill three of them with Lucille. Just one person has to die. Man, I hate Negan. These flashbacks are killing me slowly. Jesus and Mggie plotting for Hillside, and no one has checked on Gregory. Wait, is that Judith? What is going on with Morgan? Carol armed, Shiva ready to pounce, and now Zeke convincing Morgan to get with the program. Zeke with that Tiger man...


Junkyard crew rolling in on bikes and dump trucks...Jadis, really? they are laying down the trap. Abraham and his quips, oh how I missed him. Eugene escorting Sasha. These Sasha flashbacks. Wait, they are going in being led by Eugene. Rosita is looking like, can I just shoot him now. What just happened?  The bomb didn't go off. Man, the junk yard people turned. this like watching the WWE. Eff you Jadis and Dwight!!!! Freaking non-talking right junkyard hobos.

Negan, just makes me sick. I just can't get this dude.  Eugene turned on them, what did you expect Negan?  They got Sasha in a coffin? Man, I freaking hate Negan. You are not getting Daryl back. Negan is the worse stand up comedian. Y'all the suspense is killing me, and I think Sasha took the pill in the coffin.  These flashbacks with Abraham makes me miss what could have been.  Yeah, Sasha took the pill. She sacrificed herself for everybody. Carl is a BA with that gun. Sasha got one of the Saviors. This heifer just shot Rick!!!! And pushed him off the lookout!!!! I can't right now...Somebody has to kill Jadis. I need Carol to take out Jadis. C'mon, Michonne, don't let trashheap beat you. Man, they got Carl. Michonne finally took down Trashheap. Filthy garbage people what did they trade twelve of?  He can't kill Carl.  Not Carl...

Was that Michonne? That can't be Michonne. Nooooooo, not Michonne. Rick is good at talking crap man.  You are all already, dead. Rick ain't playing. There ya go Shiva. Alexandria will not fall. Is the tiger?  Maggie and Hilltop!!!!! Negan cannot believe what is happening. Shiva is eating some people. Who knew Zeke could pop caps. Warzone. Who is watching Judith? Negan rolling out flipping everybody off.  Trash-heap fell off the building. Michonne is Alive!!!!!

Negan is looking at Eugene, he knows that something hinky happened with Sasha. They knnow Sasha killed herself. Jesus took down walker. Maggie delivered the blow. Morgan and Carol side-by-side.  Michonne and Rosita healing. Dwight left the figure. The voice-over by Maggie at the end where she said they were following Glenn's lead. All the sobs. This was a great episode!!!!  It has been a great season, although we lost some great characters, the war has just begun.  Where is Gregory?  Will Oceanside join up? So many questions. Sigh...

See you in OCTOBER!!!!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dead Viewing: Season 7, Episode 15-"Something They Need"

***You may want to stop here.***
***There will be spoilers.***
***This is not a review. It is just my thoughts as I'm watching the show.***

***I update during commercials.***

Welcome back, everybody!!! Well, we will find out this week (hopefully) what happened to Sasha and Rosita after their poorly thought out suicide mission. Our Alexandrians are on their way to Oceanside to try to draw the women into the fight.  We see them preparing what looks like a trap.  Maggie and the Hillside people are planting vegetables in their garden. Back to Sanctuary, Sasha has been taken hostage after her foolhardy attempt to kill Negan. This is an uber-creepy member of the Saviors. Wow!!! Sasha just head-butted the hell out of this rapey-faced dude.

Negan is upset with rapey dude. Yikes, dude just got knifed to the neck up close and personal by Negan. He finally recognized Sasha. Negan and his quotes. She just called Rick, Negan's bitch. He is asking her to join his army. Rapey-Davey can still turn. Negan is a mess. I hate him, but at the same time. And they are not monsters?!! WTF????? dude, seriously...

Eugene...This dude will do anything to save himself. Really, the pillow, Eugene. Pig-sticker. This dude is a hot-mess.  The greatest 37 minutes of his life was driving the RV into the sunset. Sasha full on wanted to stab Eugene for trying to make her join the army.  Why hasn't she already stabbed that dead dude? Plus, you are gonna make her sleep in the room with the dead dude?  Swarmy Gregory, is back. Ugh, I hate this guy. He is such a crook. He is never some one I would trust to watch my back. He seriously contemplated stabbing Maggie. Man, Gregory is hopeless. Seriously, the pregnant lady has to save you from a walker, Greogory? Back to Oceanside. Tara sneaking up on the ladies. Well, Tonya is tripping with this gun. She needs to listen to reason. Even her people are saying she should fight. Cindy knock-out grandma. Uh-oh, a gang of walkers. Yuck, these are Pirates of the Caribbean walkers. Tonya is so stubborn. If Tara found her, then, the Saviors can find you. Oceanside has some good warriors. She needs to listen to Rick.

Sasha has killed zombie Davey. She is pretending to join Negan. He still doesn't trust Sasha. Uh-oh, Negan knows Rick is up to no good. He is going to use Sasha to try to convince Rick that this challenge is a bad idea.  What is Gregory up to now? Where is Gregory getting this guy to drive him? Is he going to snitch on Maggie and the Hilltop?  Sasha is going to kill herself to keep Negan from using her to hurt her friends. Cindy wants to join up. Rachel gets a middle finger salute from Tara. She really can't stand that kid. 

Eugene just gave Sasha the pill he made to give those girls to kill Negan. He told her that he didn't want her to take it. Damn, Rosita captured Dwight and has him in the jail cell.  Daryl is ready to kill him, though. Dwight claiming he wants to help. Rick has made him get on his knees. Boy, the season finale is going to be off the chain. Shiva is coming out to play too!!!!??? Now, it's time for Into the Badlands.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dead Viewing: Season 7, Episode 14-"The Other Side"

***You may want to stop here.***
***There will be spoilers.***
***This is not a review. It is just my thoughts as I'm watching the show.***

***I update during commercials.***

Welcome back, everybody!! Tonight might be the night we lose some significant characters.  Last week, we lost Benjamin and Richard.  This week, Sasha and Rosita are about to embark on a what appears to be a suicide mission. Sasha is getting ready for the mission, and we see awwwww little Glenn.  Feels like everybody is saying goodbye.

Daryl still can't really talk to Maggie because he feels so guilty about Glenn.  Rosita's back.  Oh so, this is the lead up to what happened at the end of last week's episode. Jesus is trying to change Sasha's mind. Rosita is so freaking annoying, and now, she has dragged Sasha into her foolish trip.  Enid for once is right telling Maggie, because this can cause so many problems.  Man, the Saviors are coming, and they have to hide Maggie and Daryl, which puts shady Gregory in Charge.  Sasha and Rosita made it out, while Daryl and Maggie are hiding in the basement. Meanwhile Simon is interrogating Gregory.

(FYI, I'm so excited for the new season of Into the Badlands)

All these years and they have never passed one significant car lot. Rosita is sooooooooooooooooooooo annoying. Ugh...These Saviors.  They just got Enid's knife, as she was trying to keep them out of the basement.  Didn't know that the Saviors former doctor was the Hilltop's doctor were brothers.  I really hate Gregory.  Now, they are taking the Hilltop doctor to replace his dearly departed and barbequed brother.  Maggie had to stop Daryl from killing that Savior. Awwww, I can't take Daryl crying as he apologizes to Maggie. He still feels guilty, even though Maggie is telling him it's not his fault. She is telling him that he and Glenn were some of the good things in this world, and she needs him to help beat the Saviors. She needs him to help her win.  Annnnnnnnnd we are back to the suicide mission. Eugene walking the gate like he's in charge. Sasha looks like she wanted to cap him. They are tying knots waiting for Negan.  Roseta telling how she learned all of her tricks from all of her exes. She pretended she needed help to find out all the things they knew how to do. Abraham saw her for what she really was--quite capable. 

I'm starting to feel for Rosita. She was happy he was happy. Sasha is mad that Abraham didn't get a chance to fight. Well, glad they made up now that they are about to die. They just realized that they have doctor Carson, and there is Negan.  Eugene realizes that he may not the only doctor now, but he has given them intel about Negan, as well as, the level to which he is now kissing Negan's behind.  The girls aren't going to be able to take the outside shot so now they are going in. 

There are only five minutes, must we go back to Gregory and the Hilltop. Gregory is threatening Jesus. Gregory this is not going to work out well for you.  They just realized that Rosita and Sasha are gone. Eugene has turned full Negan.  Rosita and Sasha are going in and Eugene is ahead of them. Sasha locked Rosita out, and went in alone.  Is that Dwight or Daryl in the shadows. Is Gregory really sneaking up on Maggie with a knife?  Only two episodes left. UGH!!!! Is Sasha dead?  I think she is or will be shortly.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dead Viewing: Season 7, Episode 13: Bury Me Here"

***You may want to stop here.***
***There will be spoilers.***
***This is not a review. It is just my thoughts as I'm watching the show.***
***I update during commercials.***

Welcome back, everybody!!! Sorry that I have missed the last two episodes, but sometimes life gets in the way of blogging.  I will say this about 11 and 12.  I did not care too much for the Eugene episode "Hostiles and Calamities," but I did enjoy "Say Yes" episode with Rick and Michonne, even with the bad decisions and the fake deer...FYI, I am getting more than a little sick of Rosita, and now she is dragging Sasha into her madness. Rosita is turning into Andrea who turned into Lori who made us all sick.

Tonight, I believe that we finally get to see Carol back in action.  The Kingdom is taking the Saviors only a cantaloupe? I'm confused? I hope Cut-Throat Carol is back tonight.  Morgan is still mad about his stick. Carol is the most creative killer on the show.  Just tell her the truth Morgan, dang man.  What is Richard up to? Nabila is smart. Smart enough not to mess with the Tiger.  Bad news about your garden Zeke. The cantaloupes have me suspicious. They are watching Benjamin take care of his brother. Jerry loves his cobbler. I bet Richard did this. Now, I know Richard did this and dug this grave. Morgan needs to kill old boy that took his stick. I freaking hate the Saviors. These Saviors are the most annoying in the bunch. Someone took a melon. Now, someone has to die. Richard is willing to sacrifice himself, but WTH!!!!!!!

This reject from the Spin Doctors member of the Saviors who stole Morgan's stick needs to die. They shot Benjamin for one melon. Richard is now regretting what he has done. He really thought they would kill him.  Now, they have killed Benjamin. Morgan has snapped again. Morgan has figured out that is was Richard who did this. Richard confessing to Morgan, but Morgan still looks like he is ready to pop a cap. Whoa. He to Morgan he has to kill, or he might as well kill himself. This is why there was only one melon at the beginning of the show.

Well, Gavin is punishing Spin Doctor. What the hell, MORGAN Is killing Richard!!!!! Morgan has done lost it y'all. He just called Benjamin, Duane. Well, Morgan just went back to Clear city Morgan. Morgan has taken out Richard, but he fails to realize they would not change.

Now, Morgan is at Carol's. Carol finally knows the truth. Carlo has returned to the kingdom, and they are going to join the fight!!!! Morgan has moved into the cabin. He is wheedling the staff I bet into a spear.

Oh, boy...See you guys next week!! We'll see how well Sasha and Rosita's suicide mission works out.