A Storm is Coming….

(This contains spoilers of HP: HBP, so read at your own risk. Don’t say I didn’t warn you either.)harry-potter-and-the-half-blood-prince-20080320101218658_640w

Hello again! For all of you who don’t know, the next installment of the “8-movie series” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is going to be in 2 movies since one “wont’ do it justice,”).  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is due to be in theaters nation wide July 9th, 2009. The filming ended, May 17, according to a new update on Emma Watson’s official website.  It was due to be released last November however, Warner Brothers wanted to give the “brother” movie Twilight a chance at actually making money.

The 652 pages of volume six drive forward more satisfyingly. At the outset, Cornelius Fudge, whom we have met as the Minister for Magic, updates a Muggle prime minister about the dark times — raising the intriguing possibility that a real British prime minister might be tempted to play a bit part in a future film which is not confirmed yet. Fudge is then to be replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour as the new Minister. The device of this meeting in the PM’s office gives an opportunity for a certain amount of (rather dull) recapping — for those who will read only this volume, perhaps? They would be unwise to do so. A great deal of the pleasure of this book comes from seeing developments unfold that careful readers will have predicted. This is the book in which everything in the series starts to come to unfold as we uncover the truth behind the 4 most powerful Wizards.

A question that pop’s up a lot in this book (as well in the series) is Snape persuading Death Eaters of his loyalty to their side. Is this what it appears to be? Or is Snape fulfilling Dumbledore’s orders to infiltrate the enemy as a means of fighting them? Through out the entire book, Snapes actions are uncertain, I was even confused, with him wanting to help Draco Malfoy (due to the fact he made an unbreakable vow with Malfoy’s mother to protect him) in fulfilling his “job” since he replaced his father in Voldemort’s circle. At the end when Snapes actions are clearly leaning towards one side, there is still room for interpretation. For example, after Snape kills Dumbledore and Harry runs after him, Snape deflects Harry’s spells and yells, “Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!” Now doesn’t that sound an awful lot like Snape’s giving Harry a few pointers on learning occulemcy again? We all know how well that turn out in the Order of the Phoenix… utter and complete disaster. It is one of the achievements of this volume that we are left questioning what we know in order to understand Snape and his motivations that are left unresolved until Deathly Hallows.

We then find ourselves back at No. 4 Privet Dr., the Dursley’s as Dumbledore comes to pick up Harry (for the first and last time). This is where Rowling’s creativity and charisma lashes out as kind Dumbledore, being scrupulously polite, manages at the same time to be devastatingly rude to Harry’s foster family. From then on the book is aloft.

We expect this volume to be grim, with the after effects of Sirius’ death, and the danger to the wizarding world is as great as it has ever been. And yet the novel has vivacious bubbly attitude, partly thanks to the blossoming of young love, in directions Rowling neatly and cleverly encouraged us to hope for. They get their OWL results (Hermione gets her 11 O’s). A wedding begins to blossom. Weasley Wizarding Wheeze is a success. Luna commentaries, quite enthusiastically, a quidditch match. Dumbledore takes Harry back through the Pensieve to learn more of the early life and antecedents of Voldemort. Malfoy’s alliance is questioned, which side is he really on? Harry’s now the “heart throb” of the school and finally dates Ginny, to Ron’s annoyance. Ron’s now pimpin’-it-up with Lavender Brown, and they’re even interpreted as “a noise like a plunger being withdrawn from a blocked sink.” Three guesses who said that.

As expected the book takes it’s usual dangerous action packed adventure where Dumbledore gives clues, Harry follows them, almost gets killed, blames himself in sorrow, Hermione snap him out of it, add a couple of inappropriate comments from Ron and all is well until the next installment. In this morally complex sequence, there are agonizing issues of responsibility and sacrifice. It ends in shock and tears, and its consequences will resonate to the end of the seventh book.

There will always be those who say that Harry Potter, measured against great literature like Twain, is not worth the hoo-hah. But the hoo-hah is born of pure enjoyment, and those who have enjoyed the first five volumes can’t possibly abandon the story now. Rather than miss this, most enthusiasts would, as Peeves the Poltergeist urges in the book, “set fire to their own pants.”

(disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, that alone belongs to JK Rowling.)

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Winner of the YouTube Awards!!

Now to give you all a taste of my sense of humor, here is the first place winner of the YouTube video awards that I found a few months back. It’s a parody of the Harry Potter books and films into a puppet show called Potter Puppet Pals.  Neil Cicierega is the creator of a genre of surrealist Flash animation known as “Animutation.”  Animutation features arbitrary, nonsensical scenes and pop culture imagery, are typically set to novelty or foreign music, often Japanese. Most of his early Animutations used music from the original Japanese version of Pokemon.

Cicierega’s Potter Puppet Pals is a comedy series which parodies Harry Potter.  It originated as a pair of Flash animations on Newgrounds in 2003, and later resurfaced in the form of a series of live action puppet shows released onto YouTube and Potterpuppetpals.com in 2006. The central characters of the Harry Potter series are portrayed by simply hand puppets (with the exception of Neville Longbottom, who is portrayed by a squash). Cicierega has also done puppetry live at Harry Potter-themed events.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tootles!

JKR Write’s a Prequal for Auction

jkrowling

Although JK Rowling stated that she would never write a prequel for the Harry Potter books, she wrote a “fanfiction” for what some have called it (I would call it a fun story into her favorite character, Sirius Black).The story was auction off in London last June. There’s a catch though: the prequel is only 8oo-words long, written on an index card and stars James Potter and Sirius Black 3-years before Harry was born (courtesy of leakycauldron.org).  The proceeds from the auction benefited two charities: English PEN which promotes the freedom to write around the world, and Dyslexia Action.   It was sold for 1.95 million pounds (or $2,796,301.34).  A partial quote, curtsy of  jkrowling.com.

“After playing around with a number of different ideas I decided to write a short (for me!) excerpt from a prequel to the Potter series. It is about 800 words long and the action takes place around 3 years before Harry is born,” Rowling stated.

“Although I did feel a bit like a relapsing addict as I sat down to write – the words poured from my pen with frightening ease – I am NOT working on a prequel. Indeed, I’ve written that clearly at the bottom of the card itself. I just thought that this was the best way to make money for two extremely worthwhile charities.”

Rowling stated that she had no intention on writing another Potter novel, but 2-years ago, she sold a handwritten leather-bound fairy tale called The Tales of Beetle the Bard, based off of the book in the Deathly Hallows at a silent auction for $4 million dollars. For more information on The Tales of Beetle the Bard, go to HPANA.com or any other Harry Potter fan site.

(disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and is in no way affiliated with JK Rowling.)

“A whole new…” topic?

So fan’s this is kind of a switch.  For the past few weeks I have been in a writers block.  Surprisingly I felt like I ran out of sarcastic things to say which let’s face it, I’m usually “word vomiting” out constantly.  So, I’m going to give you another side of me, the nerdy side, my “Bookworm” side; and my favorite book series ever is the Harry Potter collection. The world of wizards, love, mystery, laughter and wonder.

BRITAIN YOUNG ACTOR STABBEDI’m going to take you back a year to May 24th, 2008.  This was a sad day in the Harry Potter film history. Robert Knox, 18-year-old actor was stabbed to death outside the Metro Bar in Sidcup, in an attempt to protect his younger brother, Jamie, from an attacker. Knox just finished his film debut as the seventh-year Ravenclaw Marcus Belby in the upcoming film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Even though the part of Marcus Belby was a minor role, Knox’s absence will be surely missed.

Marcus Belby is first introduced to us in Chapter 7: The Slug Club as Professor Horace Slughorn, newly re-appointed Potions Master, finds students who seem to have connects to somebody well known or influential. Since Marcus is the nephew of Damocles Belby, who was an outstanding wizard with his invention of the Wolfsbane Potion and Order of Merlin First-Class, he was a candidate to be roped into joining The Slug Club.

I’m positive I’m not the only Harry Potter fan that’s deeply saddened by this tragedy that happened last week. When I read “‘Harry Potter Actor Stabbed’” on CNN I first thought of Daniel Radcliffe or Rupert Grint, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ I almost cried right there until a wave of relief washed over me when i found out, it was some other actor. But then I thought, “Who the hell am I to say ‘Oh thank goodness it’s none of the important actors that died, it’s just some extra, so who cares.'” What kind of person am I? I mean seriously, I was relieved that it was some minor character that died and not a main one. It’s like in the actual Harry Potter books, you always want the main characters to live on and have huge families (like Harry, Ron, Hermione, etc). But, if a minor character dies, say like Colin Creevy, you just brush it off and say “oh well, he was funny, but annoying.” And we all do it in books, TV shows, movies, and were not aware of it or not whether it’s in Grey’s Anatomy (where people die in every show) or I, Robot (robots die through manipulation, but you can’t but help feel sorry for them) it’s a never ending cycle. So, what do you think? (mind you this is my first blog so it’s it’s all over the place, the next one will be better.)

In every movie there are the main and minor actors, but no mater what part you are, they are of equal importance. Marcus Belby may of been a minor role, but Robert Nox was making him into a character to be remembered. Robert was a promising actor that could of reached beyond greatness. He was a great person but sadly died protecting his little brother but, that was the kind of man he was. He would do anything for his friends and family. Robert Nox was said to be a born performer and his kind but funny energy is going to be terribly missed.

The Half Blood Prince is due to be out July 9 this summer.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2008/05/26/murphy.potter.stabbing.itn?iref=videosearch

At It Again…

Here it comes again… following a successful run of 2008 fall dates which included sold-out performances, 511-michaelwsmithde_unitedtour2008standaloneprod_affiliate79GRAMMY® award-winning and multi-Platinum selling artists Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman will once again hit the road together for the spring leg of “the United Tour.”  Kicking off on March 28th, in Chattanooga, the tour will hit 24 cities across the country including Cleveland, Baltimore, Colorado Springs, Little Rock, Indianapolis, Nashville and more.

This unique tour showcases two of Christian Music’s most recognized and respected artists. Together, Chapman and Smith have garnered a staggering eight GRAMMY ® awards, 96 Dove Awards, 78 No. 1 singles and more than 30 gold and platinum albums. The idea for the tour came together shortly after Chapman and Smith spent time together in the UK working on the CompassionArt project that brought more than 10 of Christian Music’s most revered singers, songwriters and worship leaders together to write and record a collection of songs for charity.

stevencurtischapmon-081007Whether I want to admit it or not, Steven Curtis Chapman is one of the more prestigious songwriters of the decade.  There is a reason for why he has the top Christian musicians playing with him… his songs are extremely hard to play. His songs have difficult rhythms, in bizarre key signatures and can loose an inexperienced guitar player by the first measure. On the other hand, Michael W Smith…. oh Michael what can I say about him.  Oh I know… he’s easy!  For all of you who were thinking bad thoughts when I said that, shame on you, I’m talking about his music.  To me, it has no depth, no (in Elvis terms) “Oomph” to it… it’s just boring.

I know for a fact it’s not his instrument, the piano is a beautiful instrument (when played correctly) it’s how the music itself is layed out.  You would never have an entire song on one dynamic, it would be too boring and go nowhere.  You have to have movement in music, the song needs to go somewhere in order to sound great to the musicians and the audience.  Music equals freedom, freedom equals movement and more movement equals less of a chance to suck at playing the song in the first place.  You could learn something from me Smith… and I mean a lot.

Never on the Radio

One of my all time favorite worship bands has to be Hillsong and Hillsong United.  Located “down unda” in Australia,  Hillsong United is a youth ministry combined of four different ages groups that meet separately but have “United” nights when they come together. The different age groups are; Fuel for years 7 to 9 at school, Wildlife for years 10 to 12 at school, Powerhouse for ages 18 to 25 and Frontline for ages 25 to 35.  The Hillsong Church is a Pentecostal Christian church affiliated with Australian Christian Churches, the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God denomination.  The church is located in Sydney, Australia. It also has a congregation designated the “City” campus which is located in Waterloo.The church’s senior pastors are Brian and Bobbie Houston, who started the church in Baulkham Hills in 1983, later to merge with a church in the city to form Hillsong Church.

HIllong United

Hillong United

Apart from the two main campuses, Hillsong Church currently has 14 extension services across Sydney. These extension services are based on either location or culture and rely on Hillsong Church for support and leadership.  In addition to Australian Hillsong, there is a affiliation in the United Kingdom called Hillsong London and churches in Berlin, Moscow, Paris, South Africa and Ukraine. Hillsong Music has topped Australian charts, with albums achieving gold and platinum sales status.

Hillsong has made its mark internationally with many travelling to Sydney for the annual Hillsong Conference, which attracts over 26,000 people, as well as the sales of albums and teaching and the international reputation of its leadership. The Hillsong Television program is seen in over 160 countries and Hillsong International Leadership College is attended by over 900 students from many different countries. Hillsong Church currently claims that it is attended by over 20,000 people each week.

Sweet Picture!! ^^

Sweet Picture!! ^^

With all of Hillsong’s success in the music world, their missions and their outreach to the entire world, why hasn’t Hillsong touched America yet?  I know that more and more of their songs are coming into churches than in years past.  Some of their earlier songs were a terrible from Shout to the Lord to God is in the House.  The words to their songs were corney, the music made you want to stuff wax in your ears and let’s just say that the outfits were… still stuck in the 80’s.  The one thing that get’s my “I’m annoyed radar” going is when KTIS is playing Chris Tomlin and the ever horrifiying Michael W. Smith when there’s better music that is playing around the country in churches and around the world.  Hillsong song writers are one of the best in the world; the music is great, the lyrics are great and the evergy the music gives to the audience and the worship team is fenominal.  If KTIS got their heads out of their buttocks,’ then they would realize that Hillsong is amazing, musically, and actually play them on the radio for all of us to hear rather than Michael W. Smith, who can make a cat cry out in pain from the shrill of his voice.

Not Achieved in the Natural World

Back in September of 2008, Chris Tomlin released one of his most successful albums entitled “Hello Love.”   Some of his most well-known songs are “How Great is our God“, “Indescribable”, “Forever”, “Famous One”, “We Fall Down”, “Holy is the Lord” and “Made to Worship”.  According to the Christian Copyright Licensing International, Tomlin is the most sung Christian artist in the United States.  He was awarded Male Vocalist at the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Gospel Music Awards, and was named Artist of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

Suffice it to say, Chris Tomlin’s songs came to the “rescue” to churches around the globe.  They are memorable, catchy and easy to sing, and there aren’t a ton of words.  So, people know them pretty well and don’t need powerpoint to aid them… However, ever since there has been complaining about loud music in church, I’ll stay in the groove and complain now about bad some of the music can be.

chris-tomlin_31

Singing "How Great is our God..." should be "how great is it that I'm almost done."

There’s no doubt that Chris Tomlin can write “hook-y” tunes. Many of them stay with you after church, going on and on in your head until you can’t stand it anymore, even if you want them badly to go away.  The one thing that bugs me about his songs, and him for that matter, are that all his songs sound relatively the same; there is no difference in the chord progressions (except different keys), the melody to the way the song is structured… not to mention he hits unnecessary high notes that only a dog should be able to hear.  If you couldn’t figure it out, I’m not a fan of his work.  Yes, they’re popular but they’re over played, over worked and over performed.  He just needs to give up already, give other up and coming artists a chance. So, Mr. Tomlin, if you’re reading this here’s a little advice… don’t be so humble, you’re not that great, so deal with it.