O’ Children – The Orphans of Harry Potter

The influence of a song on a scene in Harry Potter

I was laying in the tub today trying to grasp a slippery thought. I have most of my semi-deep, to semi-ridiculous ideas while neck deep in the suds. Goes back to my deep and unabiding love of bath bombs from Lush. The problem was that I had had a song on repeat in my head for two days. It was maddening. Especially when it is only a few bars of it. It was as if the thought was made of eel and Vasoline in equal parts, and every time I got just enough of it to push the song into coalescence it slipped through my mental fingers. By the time I had become sufficiently pruned, and the last of our sad little hot water heater was sputtering its last blessed drops, I had figured it out. I had the epiphanic moment.

The song was “O’Children” by Nick Cave, and the Bad Seeds and the scene was the dance scene from Harry Potter 8.

The connection that had been bouncing around my neurons for two days  Weird right. But I

Hey little train! Wait for me!
I was held in chains but now I’m free
I’m hanging in there, don’t you see
In this process of elimination

have funny thoughts pass through my brain a lot while nackt in der Badewanne (naked in the bath – practicing my German). There is a scene in Harry Potter 8 that is both lovely and mellow; until this point, I wouldn’t have described it as brilliant.  But it is utterly brilliant, and wonderfully written now that I think about it. When Harry and Hermione are waiting together in their tent. Ron had just left their expedition in a fit of madness and rage. Both Ron and Hermione are feeling down in different ways. It is an exceptionally well-acted scene, showcasing the talents of Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliff. They are listening to the radio, waiting for news, for death, for anything, when Nick Cave comes on. His voice is melodious but dark and deep and slow.  This is definitely not music you would usually dance to.

Do you remember where you were when you saw this scene? Did you hate it? Love it? In the Harry Potter film universe, it is one of the most divisive scenes ever written. On first watching, you could assume that it is hinting at a possible romantic connection between the lead characters. But, not everything has to be about romantic love. Harry and Hermione are completely worn down like butter scraped over to much bread. The body language of the scene suggests this. Hermione is almost fetal while Harry is at the far edge of the scene. The lighting of the scene suggests a somber dark and shadowy environment. Harry walks over to Hermione and takes her hand and begins to dance in a goofy way. For one blissful moment, they escape their lives

O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

and dance together in the joy of friendship. A way that two friends would do to cheer themselves up. To bring a moment of levity into their world that is falling apart. The music is, for me, one of the best selections in a cinematic scene ever done. Bold words.

Here me out, and take a look at the lyrics.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – O’ Children

[Verse 1]
Pass me that lovely little gun
My dear, my darling one
The cleaners are coming, one by one
You don’t even want to let them start

They are knocking now upon your door
They measure the room, they know the score
They’re mopping up the butcher’s floor
Of your broken little hearts

O children
Forgive us now for what we’ve done
It started out as a bit of fun
Here, take these before we run away
The keys to the gulag

[Chorus]
O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice
Come on, come on, come on, come on

[Verse 2]
Here comes Frank and poor old Jim
They’re gathering round with all my friends
We’re older now, the light is dim

And you are only just beginning

O children

We have the answer to all your fears
It’s short, it’s simple, it’s crystal clear
It’s round about and it’s somewhere here
Lost amongst our winnings

[Chorus]
O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

[Verse 3]
The cleaners have done their job on you
They’re hip to it, man, they’re in the groove
They’ve hosed you down, you’re good as new
And they’re lining up to inspect you

O children
Poor old Jim’s white as a ghost
He’s found the answer that we lost
We’re all weeping now, weeping because
There ain’t nothing we can do to protect you

[Chorus]
O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice
[Outro]
Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
And the train ain’t even left the station

Hey, little train! Wait for me!
I once was blind but now I see
Have you left a seat for me?
Is that such a stretch of the imagination?

Hey little train! Wait for me!
I was held in chains but now I’m free
I’m hanging in there, don’t you see
In this process of elimination

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
It’s beyond my wildest expectation

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
And the train ain’t even left the station

The lyrics talk of a world being destroyed by the adults of the system, and it is up to the children to sort it out. It is hopeful. The bombs may be dropping, the world might be ending, but lift your voice children for there is always hope. Rejoice in that.

This is what the Harry Potter story is. I think it is even more powerful when you think of Harry and Hermione as lone orphans. Harry against his will, and Hermione to protect her parents. Both children, fighting a battle and losing. Alone in the world, and now abandoned by their third. Lift your voice children and dance.  Rejoice.

It is a really damn powerful scene, and I have so much more appreciation for it now that I can look at it through the lens of time.

Review of “Inhuman” (Inhuman (Collected Editions) #1-3) by Charles Soule, Joe Madureira, Ryan Stegman, Pepe Larraz, Andre Araujo

inhumans-marvel-knights-1017842Soule, Charles, et al. Inhuman. Marvel Worldwide, 2016.

Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)

Let us start off by saying that we all agree that at one time there existed a tv

I looked for a great quote from the story that would exemplify how good the writing is. “Blah Blah”. I literally couldn’t find one.  B-

show called “Inhumans.” It was based loosely on the comic book characters of the same name. We can just say that the studio that brought forth this atrocity, has since seen the error of their ways and ripped it off of TV. I hate to be so harsh here, but it was as well acted as an episode of Xena the Warrior Princess without all the fun. The source material allows some interesting characters, and interesting they aren’t on the show.

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Must have more Lockjaw. Ahhh You are such a good boy. yes, you are.

Book wise, this is definitely not my favorite set of characters. I tried to like them. Or get attached to them in any way. The least I could say is that I didn’t give a shit about their existence or not. Save for the large pit bull, Lockjaw. Got to love pitties. I just didn’t get it. Maybe this series of stories is written for a younger audience or having stories this disjointed is just comic M.O. I get so lost reading them, even when reading them in the required order. You get little fleeting glimpses of the protagonist or antagonist dealing with the plot line. Then all the sudden another stupid character is waving his arms over here, and saying “look what I made for breakfast!” The reader is basically saying Da Fuq. What stories I could parlay into cohesive thought through manipulation of cross stupid plot lines still sucked and were vapid cheese. C’mon. we can do better here.

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Look at this shit. I mean c’mon. We can do better then this.

I will say however that the artwork is very good. Not Alex Ross, mind you. Just very good artwork that tells a story well. If I had to rate this it would be a solid 2 gorgon stomps out of 5. I finished this story arc, and I am not sure I will be jumping off into the next one. I may read more stories if they come up only to see if it could possibly get better.

What Skills Do You Have?

I am currently watching the TV show Sense8 (screw you Netflix for canceling) and freaking loving it. I have always have been a fan of the Wachowiski sisters. I saw Matrix 8 times at the theater, and I really adore Speed Racer. When I was watching Sesne8, I had an interesting thought based upon the plot.  As an individual, what skill have you cultivated? Who are you? In the story, they are eight very different individuals. Each has a very unique life experience. Each of them brings something to the table. My question is, what do you know how to do that other’s might not know about. sense8-clusters1

I have always been a bit fascinated by this thought. In a world full of people, hell, in a room full of people, we are the stars of our own movie or our own book. In that, we are the main protagonist of our lives. Each of us has gone down many branching paths that have led us to adopt, understand and try new things. Those branches lead an individual to become a combination of infinite things. So who are you, because I am a combination of millions of choices in my 37 years.

I am a tryer. To me, one of the coolest things in life is trying new things. I figure that if I try enough stuff I might come across something that makes my heart explode in delight. Or if it sucks really bad, that’s ok too. It is something new.  This is how I personally battle depression and anxiety. Which I have been dogged with for most of my life. But, that is another story.

So who am I? I am one who tries different things.

I can tell you a little about some things that I can do, and I am curious as a lover of stories, about things that you can do. Everyone has such great stories if they could only tell them. So tell me something. Here are a few about me:

I can juggle like a fiend. I used to work at IKEA in childcare, and it was boring. Boring and insanely stressful at the same time. The coworkers would sit with anonymous children for 8 hours a day and try and figure out things to do to entertain them. We also had a giant ball pit. All kids like playing with balls, and I discovered 99% of children love to watch juggling. It is magical to them. I watched a few youtube videos on basic juggling and taught myself to juggle over the course of a few weeks. I can now juggle 3 balls backward, forwards,  upside down, all sorts of ways. I can juggle 4 balls for a few seconds. But I quit Working there before I got to spend much time doing that. I am infinitely grateful IKEA because they gave me health insurance when my family really needed it, and an opportunity to learn to juggle while getting paid for it.

bwadam
Adam the Bawdy Juggler. Image Courtesy of http://www.adamthejuggler.com/imagepage.html

A little proud tidbit. I actually impressed Adam the Bawdy Juggler with my basic juggling skills. He taught me how to do Mills Mess. Well, he showed me Mills Mess, and I dropped all the balls on the floor. Repeatedly.

 

I have read a lot. (Well duh if you read this blog.) Books are this mysterious entity for me. So many stories, true or not, lay inside of flattened, dead trees. The thought itself is kinda magical. When I was younger, I carried a tiny little book inside my purse everywhere I went. It had lists of books that I would like to read. As I went along and read them, I crossed them off with a highlighter. Crossing something off became this fantastic cathartic happy inducing thing. I have graduated on to other means of tracking my lists, but the idea still fascinates me. Electronic means of tracking lists are not as satisfying as a little yellow book that you can carry. I might even go back to that. Very old school. I have read, as of today 1700 books. Of various lengths. That isn’t 1700, 500-page novels. Some were much longer, I am looking at you unabridged version of The Stand by Stephen King, and some were novellas. But Lists and books make my heart sing. Happy happy things.

The third thing I am mentioning today. I have a degree in Landscape Architecture that I do not use professionally but use it every day otherwise. Education is never a waste, and my knowledge has a daily effect on me. I hate when people say to me, “Wow your parents spent 40 grand on a degree that you don’t use. They must be so pissed at you.” First off, you’re a presumptuous prick. Secondly, I am sure my folks would love it if I got back into designing parks and stuff. But, a degree is not like a jug of milk. It doesn’t go bad, and you have to throw it away if you don’t use it. It took me seven years to get my degree. I think I got something out of it I can use on a daily basis. Stop being a prick.

Tell me what you like to do, or part of your story. I want to hear something about you. You are the protagonist, tell me something that changed your story as you lived it. I am all ears, or eyes because you know.. computer.

 

Obligatory apology – I haven’t written in a couple weeks. Every member of my family came down with Pneumonia or bronchitis at the same damn time. Every single one. It was like a damn plague swept through our homes. I have been too sick to get out of bed, let alone write and think. But I am feeling much better now. So here you go. 

 

You Can’t Go Home Again

Or can you?

 

 

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Image courtesy of visitlasvegas.com

When I stepped off of the plane last week and into my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, I was assaulted by a familiar cacophony of noise, blaring light, and a hair dryer worth of heat. I felt at both times exhilarated and full of dread although that dread had a helpful tinge of fondness and nostalgia. I left home eight years ago after living in Vegas for 30 years. I had to. I was out of a job, and my husband and I needed to live, so we ripped Las Vegas out of that place in our minds and hearts that held what home is and made for parts unknown. It was one of the most painful and scariest things I have ever done.

 

Now looking back, it is so odd. I am in a sorta limbo. Portland, my new home,  does not have the hometown feel that I used to get from Vegas, but Vegas doesn’t have it either. Vegas is so changed now that I get lost here. The vegas I new is now gone.

It is ok though. The new things to discover are like icing on a nostalgia cake. There are new restaurants, new parks, new things to try and do. So maybe you can’t come home again, because home is not a static place. It lives inside you, in your memories, with your family,  and your past. It has been quite the adventure. I will be here for another week due to a family emergency. Hopefully, I will have a chance between panic attacks to try some new exciting things. Here’s to hoping. Cheers.

 

 

 

Thank You Mr. Rogers

32106This post will be a mite more serious than my usual lighter fare. I haven’t written anything this week because I wanted to write about this thing that happened to me, and I didn’t have the words. I think I might have some words now, but it might be that I will never know exactly what to say.

Recently while driving home from my almost daily coffee run, Starbucks makes a lot of money off of me, I came across a dead body. At least I think he was dead. I was too scared to actually check for a pulse. But, he certainly looked like he had passed into the beyond, and his chest wasn’t moving.

Not where you think I was going with this.

A man lying in the middle of the sidewalk, face down behind a grocery store. He had a box of Venezia wine and a 24 pack of beers next to him like they came tumbling from his arms as he fell. Before I am asked, he wasn’t homeless, not that that matters in the slightest. He wasn’t just some dude deciding that a nap in the middle of a cold sidewalk sounded awesome. He was a man lying down in the middle of the sidewalk. Face down, and not moving. The part that bothered me so

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

much, is not that he was dead but that people were walking around him seemingly unconcerned about this person. He was a non-entity that did not exist in their world. That bothers me. As in existential crisis bothers me. Have we as a society become so inured to horrible things that someone who is dead is not given a second thought? We care about Kim Kardashian, couldn’t we care a little about the guy on the sidewalk.  I was stunned by what I was witnessing.

Mr. Rogers came to my mind and offered me comfort. All was not as bleak as it seemed. Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” So I did.  I looked for the helpers, and then I endeavored to become one. There was a man across the street, who I had originally not seen,  on his phone calling 911. I asked him what he was doing. His reply was, “trying to get him some help.” He was a helper.

What can I do?  how can I be a helper in this situation? The only thing I did the only thing I could think of, I went and got a blanket out of my car and threw it over the man. Not over his face, but around him.  It was a cold damp day, if he was alive, maybe a blanket would keep him a little warmer. When I got close to him, his chest wasn’t moving. Maybe the breathing was imperceptible, and it was there but I couldn’t see it. I hope so. There wasn’t much else I could do for this man. The paramedics were coming, so I left him the blanket and got back in my car. When I got home, I sat in the car for a long time trying to process what I had just seen and later I talked to my mom about the whole thing.  She said that I did a good thing, and I was a good person by giving him the blanket. Did I? I feel like I did the absolute minimum that a person should do. I felt bad, and cowardly that I did not do more. I still do. But what could I have done?

Later on that afternoon, I drove by where the man was laying out of morbid curiosity. Was there a chalk outline to be found like out of a detective novel? There wasn’t. There was nothing. Like he was never there.

Here I am writing this blog, not sure how I feel about the whole situation, but I do feel better for having written something. I will always endeavor to try and be the helper. Even if it is scary, it often is. Thank you, Mr. Rogers for helping me that day. Your lessons go on and on.

The Importance of To-do lists

Eating the Frog

Hannah Brencher on productivity and to-do lists: “Locate the task that is the most important but also the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on. That’s your frog. Your frog is the thing that NEEDS to get done . . . I try to ‘eat the frog’ every week, early in the week.”

Via Mapping My Weeks — Discover


I live and die by my to-do lists. I came across this great and straightforward way of tracking your ideas and what needs to get done via a notebook on my feed this morning and had to share. It is much easier getting things down on paper, and yes paper, electronic stuff does not work for me when it comes to lists. I can’t keep something in my brain and juggle a hundred things at once. Try it out. It has made a world of difference to me. For me eating the frog is phone calls to places like the utility company, oy.

Review of “Year One” by Nora Roberts

 

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goodreads.com

I was very excited to read Year One by Nora Roberts. First off, I have read close to thirty of her books. For a while there I was plowing through them. She writes great characters and exciting plots. Especially her later work. I also have read pretty much all the post-apocalyptic books I can get my hands on. Except for “The Road” which I won’t touch with a ten-foot stick.

 

My first observation is a positive one. The entire novel rests on an interesting, if not a slightly trite premise. World plague that decimates human the population. The thrilling thing is that the epidemic is based on lore mythology and magic. The disease is itself named “Doom,” and is made of these dark energies escaping and infecting the world. I think. Nora Roberts was a little fuzzy on it. In response to these increasing darkness and sickness infecting, a reaction in people with any spiritual and/or magical is that the latent power these people had increased exponentially. Another point I’m fuzzy on. Otherwords, some people get big woo-woo, others not so much. No idea what it is based on or why. Some people get nothing at all and remain human. Also no clue. It just is. Plot points like these that lay the foundation in novels, in my opinion, need to be rock solid. Otherwise, niggling questions remain and throw the reader’s mind out of the story.

The second observation is also a positive one. Nora Roberts knows how to write good dialog. It may be a little schmaltzy, but it flows like people talk. The dialog was well written. I may not have liked what the characters were saying, but she is damn good at writing it.

Character-wise, it is just damn confusing. She has some well-written ones in there that are fleshed out, and some that are flat as a board (I am looking at you Eric and Allegra) and you scratch your head wondering what the hell. Why are the ones that are vapid come from out of nowhere and give so much page time? Also, the pacing and plot arcs are jarring as hell. I have never read a novel that jarred me like a car accident from one vignette to another.

Lastly the third act of the story. I am going to speak in broad terms so as not to do any spoilers, but I spent 75 pages scratching my head. It was all so bland and wrapped up in a neat little bow. I didn’t give a damn about the characters at the end. The ones that I really liked and thought were interesting got unceremoniously excised from the last act of the novel which was a weird pacing and story arc thing to do. Maybe I was just slightly miffed at that. Where are my Arlys, Fred and Jonah? She should have at least nodded her head at them and told us a little of what was going on.

I want to be very clear here. This isn’t a crap book. Nora Roberts is a master storyteller, but this isn’t her best work. That’s ok not everything is going to be a shining star. It is a serviceable book with highs and lows and is very readable. I will read the next book in the series to see what happens. If I had to give it a rating, I’d rate it 3 out of 5.