Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - finally finished!

Note: I've been careful to not have any spoilers for any of you who haven't read the book yet and don't want to know...

I've been busy working on various projects and things the last couple of weeks, but today I have a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. After receiving a borrowed copy of the book on Thursday, this afternoon I finished reading the final book of the Harry Potter series - and I loved it! There are a couple of things that are a little hokey, but in general the book is the best one yet and I was not disappointed. Rowling managed to answer most of my burning questions about the key characters and gave a lot of information in a surprising amount of space. I really can't wait to see this one as a movie - with all of the action scenes, it should be pretty easy to convert from book to screen.

I also think the conversations around Harry Potter have been very interesting - between the 5th movie being released recently and now the book being out, Potter-mania has struck the media but the religious communities seem split. Some people aren't talking about it all and others are talking about it A LOT - either to use as a way to reach out to younger people or in condemnation of the culture that allows for the Potter phenomenon. So, I'm curious, what do you think about Harry Potter and the general frenzy around the books/movies/etc.?? If you're a fan, why? If you're not, why? I willingly admit that I'm a fan, but there will be no judgement on people who think otherwise. My own partner doesn't even read ficition, let alone have any feelings on Harry! Love ya, honey!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

My country visit

Pardon me for not writing much lately - I even missed the Harry Potter Friday Five!! :( Oh well. I went ouf town the last few days to see my friends in the glorious little town of Mankato, KS. It's a small rural town north of Salina, near the Nebraska border and one of my good friends from seminary is the new pastor there. She and her husband moved into the parsonage (next door to the church) a couple of weeks ago and I went to see them and help them a little bit with the house. We did manage to get one room pretty much done, which is great progress, but we didn't do anything towards painting or removing wall paper, which was what I had expected to be doing. There's just a lot of work to be done on the house itself and then "moving in," i.e. finding the right places for all of their stuff. One thing they have going for them is that the house is plenty big!

I've never lived in a small town; I always lived in suburban type of areas (or the island of Aruba, which is really its own thing altogether) so really didn't know what it would be like to visit my friends. I've visited small towns before, but really just going home with a friend from college or something like that where there were other things going on so that I didn't really experience the town for itself. This weekend was generally very relaxing - we only worked on that one room for less than half of Saturday (with 3 of us working, it just didn't take very long), but spent the rest of the time walking around town (I got the grand tour). Dakotah the Beagle loved getting to wander around a new place - there was lots of sniffing to be done and several dogs and cats to track. :) I have to admit that there's a lot more there than I expected there would be. Of course, this town is the county seat, but the only chain restaurant in town is a Pizza Hut that's open Thursday, Friday and Saturday only.

This little trip got me thinking about what my expectations are in life - for example, the fact that pizza is only available 3 days a week at first freaked me out. What if I want pizza on a Monday?? So, I expect to be able to get what I want whenever I decide I want it. Hmmm. Not something I think I'm proud of, and yet isn't that "the American dream"? Oy. There's not Target, or even a WalMart within 30 minutes, so if you need something from the store, you have to go to the little stores in town (which are very cute, I must admit) before they close (they're all closed on Sunday, and most close by 6 weeknights and afternoon on Saturday). It's just so different from anything I've ever known! Not that I think I couldn't do it - I loved being there for the weekend and things had a more relaxed, laid back feel to them. The church was nice (other than their little bat problem), the people were friendly, you can walk everywhere in town, and it's not like things are cut off from the world with cable and the internet. Trouble didn't get to go with me on this little trip, so we'll definitely be going back together sometime. have you ever lived in a small, rural town? Do you think it's better or worse than urban/suburban living? Why?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Fun Stuff

You Should Try Kite Surfing

Surfing to the extreme!
Catch some air, but don't get carried off!
You know, I really have wanted to try this - if only I had some vacation time and place to go...


It's Friday of a holiday weekend am I'm currently sitting in a tiny office in the back corner of my church working on putting together a list of people, United Methodists especially but anyone is welcome, who are willing to call and/or write a letter (not email) to their legislators in Jefferson City regarding the death penalty in MO. Specifically, I'm working my part time job for the MO Annual Conference Social Justice Team who have made it one of their specific goals to speak out against the death penalty. To me, this is a no brainer - "Thou shalt not kill" is pretty plain English and I don't see a lot of room for interpretation (but then I did read a book for a class once regarding the translation of "kill" which could also be "murder" and then there are BIG interpretive debates). I also really love the bumper sticker that says "Why do we kill people to show that killing people in wrong?" Go ahead, Big Unit - I figure you have an answer. :)

Thus far in my work, it's been a lot of research and set up kind of stuff - making a database to store the names and addresses of folks who sign on to the list, tracking down the names of people who have been parts of similar things in the past, looking up current pastors of churches who signes a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions in MO at 2006 Annual Conference, etc. It's been fun, but I'm now getting to the point where it's going to be a lot of phone calls to people that it is presumed will not want to hear from me. I kind of feel like I'm a telemarketer, but I'm not really sure why the expectation is that people will cringe when I mention the death penalty. Can you help me understand this? I really want to understand all sides of the debate...