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Archive for July 11th, 2007

Yesterday afternoon before I left for rehearsals, I finished Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult. It’s the first book I’ve ever read by Picoult, and I really liked it. That’s not to say that the subject matter–a school shooting much like Columbine and successors–was a pleasant one. It wasn’t.  And there was a bit of a twist at the end, and I will admit to seeing it coming very early on. In fact, at one point when it appeared that my guess was incorrect, I was startled, only to find a few pages later that I was actually right on target (forgive the ghastly pun).

I was horribly bullied when I was in 5th and 6th grades. My reaction was to spend more time crying than I should have, and a lot of time hiding from people. I would climb a tree with a few good books so that I could get away from the bullies. I remember the guys who threw rocks at me every day as I passed the corner of the street where they lived. Not fun. But I never had any urge to take violent action against them or anyone else. I just wanted to be left alone.

The shooter in this book probably just wanted to be left alone as well. But he wasn’t bullied only for two years, as I was. He was bullied constantly. Brutally. His one friend somehow manages to find her way into the in crowd, but behind her facade she seems to be as unhappy as he.

There aren’t really any easy answers. I know that ever since the Columbine shootings, I wondered what would make someone feel that shooting everyone they could was a solution. Picoult doesn’t hand us solutions on a silver platter. There are complex motivations behind the actions of all the characters, and Picoult moves fluidly back and forth in time to show us how the characters developed and why. The ending is sad but not unexpected.

I was more impressed than I had expected to be. I couldn’t put the book down–you’ll remember yesterday I was talking about reading it while I was getting ready for work, and arriving a few minutes late because I had trouble putting it down so I could leave. I’ll definitely be reading more Picoult, in the hopes that her other works are as good or better.

Okay, moving on to movies. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Wow! I hardly know what to say about it. I really loved the show. It was great being in a packed auditorium full of equally avid fans who were ready to clap, cheer, shout, and jeer as needed. I performed an astonishing number of curses on Umbridge; however, my wand is, alas, only a plaything, so her teeth didn’t fall out and her butt did not swell to gargantuan proportions. The actors have grown so much since the first movie, and it is just a pleasure to watch them in this show.  Evanna Lynch is an utter delight as Luna Lovegood; she has such a charming, sweet voice and demeanor. I cannot imagine anyone else fulfilling that role as satisfactorily.

Trimming a huge novel down to a movie of 2 hours 19 minutes is quite a task, so many of the things I wanted to see were not there. However, I think the writer did an excellent job of getting in the most important things. The scene where Fred and George “pull a Weasley” is alone worth the price of admission. 

This was the first movie in which I felt comfortable with the choice of Gambon as Dumbledore. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gambon was having to step into the wildly popular shoes of Richard Harris. He deliberately played his Dumbledore completely differently than Harris did; I didn’t totally like him in the role, but recognized that I may not have liked anyone fully. In Goblet of Fire, Gambon’s Dumbledore was so angry through much of the film that it was a distinct disappointment. However, in Order of the Phoenix, his Dumbledore is able, compassionate, able to take charge and do what must be done no matter how painful the consequences.  One scene near the end where Dumbledore goes Yoda on Voldemort is just incredible. It makes me feel a lot more confident about his abilities to interact with Harry in the challenges that lie ahead in Half-Blood Prince.

I will be seeing this again on Saturday. I’ll also catch it on an IMAX screen. And I feel quite sure I’ll see it several more times after that before it leaves the theatre. And you know I’m buying the DVD the day it’s released. So I give it a wholehearted two thumbs up. If you’re a Harry fan, you should like this one.

I’m completely exhausted today. I didn’t get the time to nap before rehearsal (I didn’t think I would, but still hoped), so I pretty much went yesterday from 6:15 until 4 a.m. today. I’m running on empty. Today I am DEFINITELY taking a nap before rehearsal, or there’s no way I’ll make it until 10 p.m.  I’ve been having some back spasms as a result of the blocking we’re doing on the scene we rehearsed Monday and Tuesday nights. I got so out of shape when I couldn’t get to the gym after surgery. I’ve got to get going again. This is so not fun. And I honestly didn’t like seeing those photos of myself last night. I feel like a huge balloon or something–just stick a Goodyear sign on my back, and I’ll float over the football games. Yeah. Will that happen before the end of the Juarez show? Doubtful. I’ve got tons of housework I’m trying to get done while Joe’s out of town. But that’s more exercise than just sitting on my backside, so it’s better than nothing.

Okay. Well, enough of this. Go see Harry Potter.

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We had a great time at the show last night. My pink hair was quite popular–a lot of people stared as they walked by, and quite a few of those complimented me on the wig. One guy even asked if he could take his picture with me. It was fun, even if I did feel dorky.  And I was so sweaty after rehearsal that I didn’t feel like putting makeup on, which didn’t really help. I’ll definitely put makeup on when I put on the pink wig for the HP book release.  Anyway, here’s linky goodness to the photos. Enjoy!

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