Thursday, July 26, 2007

Me want

So, rumour has it I'm a library geek. So it should come as a shock to no one that I would like to have this t-shirt, please.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And now, for something completely different ...

So the next thing to look forward to on my busy summer schedule is the long weekend Serdic and I have planned in Québec City, coming up in a scant ten days. I'm really excited about this trip, both because I'm looking forward to getting away somewhere new for a few days, and also because it'll be the first trip we've taken together.

So my question to my faithful readers is this: what should we do while we're there? Has anyone out there been to Québec City? Got any tips for things we MUST see and/or do there? Cool restaurants to try? Lemme know in the comments section!

I'll just be over here packing and re-packing my suitcase, and taking entirely too much stuff for a long weekend. I always take too many outfits, but a girl needs options, right? How am I supposed to know when I pack what I'll feel like wearing on any given day?

Monday, July 23, 2007

The end of an era

So Harry Potter weekend has come and gone. All the anticipation, the speculation, the excitement, and, in the final days, the desperate attempts to avoid spoilers ... all over. I know it seems like a lot of "sound and fury, signifying nothing" to those who are not HP fans, and it's kind of hard to explain if you don't already "get it." I guess the closest I can come is the article I posted last week. I don't know, really, why these books have caught my imagination, and the imaginations of so many others, so fiercely. It's that rare blend of good and careful storytelling, a group of characters people can fall in love with for a variety of reasons, and, as much as anything, the book being in the right place at the right time. Who's to say why JK Rowling succeeded in such a staggering way when so many authors, many of whom may indeed be better writers than her, have not been able to do so? Magic, maybe. All I know is this story has been part of my consciousness for the better part of a decade, and it has all been building towards the release of this final book, towards us finally getting to find out what happened, what all the clues were and what all the different events meant. It was like a big jigsaw puzzle, and the final pieces, after a decade of trying to put them all together, were in this last book.

And it didn't disappoint.

We made a bit of an event of getting the book, which I've never done before. Serdic and I, along with my sister and her husband, decided to do a midnight release at a nearby drugstore. We thought this would be a little less crowded than the bookstores, most of which were planning huge release parties, but to our surprise when we arrived there was already a massive line stretching the length of the store and starting to double back again. Resigned, we got in line and settled ourselves in for what seemed like a lengthy wait. Imagine our surprise when at 12:01 they simply brought out a huge box of the books and just dumped it in the middle of the store. Literally at the feet of my brother-in-law, who had wandered away from the line to browse the magazines. He grabbed two copies and we were in line to pay faster than you can say "wingardium leviosa." Total time in the store: less than half an hour.

We winged our way home as fast as Serdic's little car would carry us, and I read the first 100 pages before my eyes and brain began to protest and I had to admit defeat and get a few hours of sleep. Saturday morning I picked it up again and plowed right through, stopping only when Serdic insisted I eat something mid-afternoon (he was very patient and understanding about the whole thing, dear boy, if a bit bemused), and I finished around 4:00. At one point I was very close to turning to the epilogue to spoil myself and make sure certain characters made it through all right, but I resisted and in the end I was glad I did, and I just got to watch the story unfold with no idea what was coming next.

I wouldn't say the book was flawless, of course -- it dragged more than a little through the middle third. But the final section was breathtaking as it all came together. Old friends appeared from the previous books, plot points that seemed superfluous at the time turned out to be essential, and in the end it was a fitting and perfect finale to the series.

And now I'm going to go back and start at the very beginning of the series and fall in love all over again.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Long live Harry Potter

I really enjoyed this article on the CBC's website about what, exactly, it is about Harry Potter that I love. It's like the author looked inside my own head and put it into better words than I could.

A few choice quotes:

"... what turned Harry Potter into a global phenomenon was Rowling’s canny decision to unspool this tale in closely guarded instalments doled out every few years. There’s no real reason why the narrative arc needs to span seven novels, but, oh, what delicious anticipation was created each time a new book was released ... the Harry Potter series helped readers rediscover the pleasure of being part of a collective holding of breath, of an impatient worldwide wait to discover what will come next."

"How old-fashioned to line up at midnight for our copies of the new Harry Potter, the way we all tuned in for Princess Di’s wedding or the final episode of M*A*S*H. It feels hopeful, too: if readers from Harlem to Tokyo can be united in their joy and worry over Harry, maybe there’s more common ground in our post-9/11 world than we suspected."

"Time will decide whether the Harry Potter series is a classic or just a passing fad. Whatever the outcome, this weekend, there will be some real Muggle magic at work. Millions of us will stay up long past our bedtimes, ignore our loved ones and forget to eat. We’re about to find out the fate of a lonely, orphaned boy we’ve watched find true friendship, fight dragons, fall in love, learn to perform a Patronus spell, lose two of his father figures and discover that the future of the world rests on his skinny, adolescent shoulders. The end is nigh. Long live Harry Potter."

Not long now. Long live Harry Potter, indeed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Catching up ...

First off, huge congrats to Null and Britgal. Great news!

Welcome to the blogging world, Kiy! I look forward to reading your thoughts and following your journey!

I haven't blogged much lately because there isn't a lot to say. Things continue on as normal in all areas. Life is good, work is good, all is good. When I turned 30 last summer I told myself that I spent my 20s figuring out who I was, and I intended to spend my 30s enjoying being that person. And it's turning out even better than I hoped. So far, at least. Perhaps I should knock on wood or something. ;-) So now I'm gearing up for my 31st birthday in just a few short weeks, and something tells me it'll be the start of an even better year.

Right now a part of my world is consumed with a) anticipating the final Harry Potter novel and b) trying to avoid the dipshits online who have already gotten their hands on a copy and want to ruin the fun for the rest of us. Only three more days! And if you know how it ends, DON'T TELL ME.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Three guesses what I'm doing tonight. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! That is all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Go to your happy place

Everyone has a happy place, right? The place where they love to be above all other places, the place that soothes the soul and recharges the batteries. For me that place is generally wherever my family is, but more specifically it's on the water. I grew up on the St. Lawrence river (see the view from my bedroom window at right) and we spent our summers with definitely more time on (and in) the river than off. Other families camp or go on road trips, we boat. (Although there were lots of family camping and road trips as well, I have to admit.)

So every couple of years when my parents bring their boat up the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa (and back again), it's a highlight of the summer for everyone. They take just under two weeks to make the trip one way, ending up tied up downtown Ottawa near the National Arts Centre and the Parliament buildings for a couple of days. And every year my sister and I make arrangements to take a couple of days off and join them somewhere along the route for a long weekend.

This year it was in Portland, about an hour's drive south of Ottawa. My brother-in-law (who I love dearly) was away for the weekend and couldn't join us so it was just the four of us, which hasn't happened for a long time. (Although Serdic did join us on Saturday for the day, which was a nice treat.) Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate, and it poured rain most of the weekend, but that didn't stop us from taking advantage of the family time and being in our collective happy place.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The weekend past and the weekend to come

Another Canada Day has come and gone, and I finally managed to throw a successful fireworks watching party! This was my third try at it, and after the first two were spectacular failures (less than four guests each time) I nearly gave up, but this weekend we had a great turn out. I have a perfect view of the parliament buildings and the fireworks from my apartment balcony, and it's a great place to hang out and enjoy without having to deal with the million people who descend on the Hill every year. This one was also special because it was the first time Serdic and I were bringing our friends together for something. I have met a lot of his friends and he has met a lot of mine, but this was our first attempt at having our friends meet each other. I think it went swimmingly, and if anyone else feels differently they aren't telling me! I have been blessed with some very special and wonderful friends in my life, and they mean the world to me. And as I am getting to know Serdic's friends I realize that they are another blessing, a whole new group of wonderful people to be part of my life. I keep teasing Serdic that I'm going to keep his friends when we break up, and while that's an idle threat because I don't plan on going anywhere without him anytime soon, I have to say it would be very tempting to try and steal them.

So thanks to everyone who came out and celebrated Canada Day with us. It was a blast! (No pun intended. ;-)

And now I'm gearing up for another long weekend, as I'm taking tomorrow off to spend the weekend with my folks on their boat. Every couple of summers they take a few weeks and bring the boat the length of the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa and back again, and they are on their way up the canal as we speak. My sister and I are heading down to meet them half way tomorrow and we'll spend the weekend chilling on the boat. I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend, frankly! Unfortunately the forecast is not ideal, but family time is always A Good Thing. Which is another blessing.

And somewhere along the line I will ponder how it possibly got to be July already. Where is the time going? The past six months have just flown by, and while I am not in any way complaining about how the last six months have gone, I am still a little gobsmacked by the speed at which time is passing. How can it be July? Wasn't it March a couple of days ago?