The Harry Potter Tag

I saw this post on Jenny’s blog here. As a big Harry Potter fan, I had to fill it out with my answers. The original idea for this was to fill it out when someone tags you. I wasn’t tagged, so I’m not going to tag anyone. But if you see this and decide to do it, I’d love to see your answers.

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1. What house are you in?

The most difficult question first. Here’s where I reveal my Harry Potter nerd status. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I feel like I haven’t figured it out for sure yet. I could see myself in Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. But I think no matter which house I were sorted in, I would stand out as different from the other students. I’m going to say Hufflepuff.

 

2. What is your Patronus?

A dog.

 

3. What is your wand?

Ash wood, unicorn hair core, brittle flexibility.

 

4. What would your boggart be?

I think my boggart would be similar Harry’s- basically fear itself.

 

5. What position would you play in Quiddich?

Probably a seeker, since these players are usually the smallest on the team.

 

6. Would you be a pure-blood, half-blood or muggle born?

Probably the second most difficult question to answer. I’ll say pure-blood.

7. What job would you want to have after leaving Hogwarts?

Writer or professor.

 

8. Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose?

The Cloak of Invisibility.

 

9. Favourite book?

The Goblet of Fire.

 

10. Least favourite book?

The Order of the Phoenix.

 

11. Favourite film?

The Goblet of Fire.

 

12. Least favourite film?

The Order of the Phoenix.

 

13. Favourite character?

So many great ones come to mind: aside from the three main characters, there is Cedric Diggory, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood. Right now I’ll say Longbottom.

 

14. Least favourite/most hated character?

Tie between Gilderoy Lockhart and Delores Umbridge. Also there’s that Voldemort guy.

 

15. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

Minerva McGonagall.

 

16. Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

Tie between Lockhart and Umbridge.

 

17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

I don’t think of Hufflepuff as a lesser house compared to the others. I know Hufflepuff has increased in popularity recently. But I think this still remains somewhat of an unpopular opinion.

 

I’m always up for a conversation about all things Harry Potter. I look forward to seeing other people’s answers to these questions.

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the perks of being a wallflower

The novel the perks of being a wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, was published in 1999. The movie came out in 2012. I remember the book selling very well from the time I started working at Barnes & Noble in 2000. I don’t remember how quickly, but it made its way onto the summer reading lists of several local schools. After seeing the previews for the film adaptation I finally decide to put it on my reading list.

The first clue that I would enjoy it came when I read a blurb on the back cover comparing it to A Separate Peace and Catcher in the Rye, two books also about young men passing from adolescence to adulthood. I have read these two books many times and enjoyed them. “Wallflower” gives a modern treatment to this popular theme, so it is not for everyone. Charlie, the main character, finds himself in many adult situations during the course of his story, so consider yourself forewarned.

Charlie is a high school freshman, and he struggles with all of the familiar teen problems: fitting in while staying true to yourself, finding love, and so forth. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me is Charlie’s friendship with his English teacher, Mr. Anderson. Anderson recognizes that Charlie has a gift for reading and writing, and challenges him with books that he doesn’t ask the rest of the class to read. The books he reads are mostly classics. I had read several, but some that I have not. Mr. Anderson tries in several conversations to build Charlie up. Anderson sees that Charlie is an exceptional writer, which is why he gives Charlie the extra books to read.

Charlie is different from me in that the people he hangs around with are into parties and the social scene. I was not into all that. But I identify with Charlie’s extreme sentimentality. And, like Charlie, I also tend to listen to people and take everything in that goes on around me. I have a tendency to live in my thoughts and have to make myself aware of it in order to “particpate” more. And unrequited love is something I know very well. All of the girls I had a crush on as a teenager were out of reach for me from a dating standpoint. But I have always had lots of female friends.

One of the things I enjoyed most is the way the story is told. Charlie is writing letters to an anonymous reciever who he believes will appreciate his story. This allows for more of a glimpse inside the main character than if he were telling the events of the story as they happen. As I mentioned earlier, Charlie is an astute observer of the world around him.

I will close with two of my favorite quotes from the book:

Sam: “Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve”.

Patrick: “You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand. You’re a wallflower”. (I think this one is from the movie).

The film is a very good adaptation of the book. I am glad that Chobsky decided to write and direct the film himself so it would be faithful to the book. If coming-of-age stories are something that you typically enjoy, I recommend the book and movie to you. For those of you who have read the book and/or seen the movie, what did you think of them?

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2012: The Year in Film

I am not a big moviegoer. I only see a handful of films a year, so I wasn’t going to write a post about my favorite films of the year. I couldn’t think of many to write about. Then I had one of the best movie experiences of the year this afternoon and found inspiration.

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I saw “Les Miserables”. The source material (the novel and the musical) are so well-done it makes you believe that art can’t get any better. Every emotion- every grand theme was in this film. Love and loss; death and life; pain and redemption. This is why I go to a movie. It is one of the few movies I have seen that the crowd applauded at the end. This was more than entertainment; this was art. A few film adaptations have come before this one (and I have not seen them), but I find it hard to think how any of them could top this one.

The second film that stood out to me this year is “Skyfall”, the latest James Bond movie. I’ve loved the books since I was a kid. Then I started watching the movies. None of them had the right feel to me of the character in the books. Bond on screen was mostly a ladies’ man with a quick wit and a smirk. Then came “Casino Royale” in 2006.

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Here was the Bond from the books: tough; unfeeling; smart; focused; but still a ladies man. This was the 007 who could outsmart you and kill you (with bare hands or a gun). My brother and I were talking one time about what film character we would be if we had the chance. I wouldn’t be a superhero. I would be James Bond. All the women love him. He has all the best things money can buy: clothes, watches, weapons, exotic places. What man would not want all this?

As for “Skyfall” itself, I love how overtly British it is. I love everything about British culture and history. And “Skyfall” proudly displays its Britishness to the benefit of the movie. And we get a little peek behind the curtain of Bond’s life and see a part of his childhood- a unique thing for a Bond movie.

These are two of my favorite films of 2012. What did you think of them? What others would you pick for your list?

Clint Eastwood

I had the opportunity of a lifetime a few days ago, so I decided to write a bit about it. Clint Eastwood, my favorite actor/director, chose a ballpark and a bar in my hometown as locations to shoot scenes for an upcoming movie he is starring in. I knew I had to try and figure out a way to get in the middle of the activities. The following are my experiences. I had forgotten about any calls that might have gone out for extras in either location, assuming that they had enough people this close to shooting. This past Wednesday was the start of shooting at the bar, which is a couple of minutes from my house. Curiosity got the better of me and I drove by a couple of times to check things out. No luck. Everything was closed off and it was clear that nobody would be able to get near the place. Strike one. Fast forward to Wednesday evening. A friend who knew about the filming asked me if I had signed up as an extra for the scenes at the ballpark Thursday. I told her I had not, guessing that they had enough people. She told me to send my information in. I did and was promptly told that I was in and to show up on Thursday. I was very excited. One reason for my excitement was because I had never been a part of a movie. The second was that this was a Clint Eastwood movie. In my mind, when it comes to film actors/directors, there is Clint Eastwood and then everyone else. I love everything he has ever done, period. Could I possibly get to meet Clint Eastwood? Unfortunately, I did not get the chance. But I did have a fun experience. I spent from roughly 3:30-11:00 at the ballpark for the scene, along with a couple hundred other extras. Two or three camera angles included me in the background, so it will be interesting to see if they use any of the film I was in for the final cut of the movie. For about twenty minutes of the day, Eastwood was actually in the ballpark filming his scenes, but I was far enough away that I couldn’t actually tell he was there. I just heard other people saying so after seeing a lot more lights and cameras behind home plate all of a sudden. Even though I didn’t get to meet my favorite movie star, it was a fun day. I have been interested in the behind-the-scenes goings on in productions such as this for years. It was interesting watching everything happen on the other side of the camera. I get to check this off of my list of things to do before I die.