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Friday, July 15, 2011
Pottered Out

I've spent most of the day getting over last night/this morning's viewing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. This time around, I'm convinced that it's the wake and not the waiting that has gotten me off the keel. I've been in something of a stupor all day, mostly vegging in the apartment. Maybe I'm just not made for midnight movies anymore.

The movie, of course, was good. No final judgments until I see it a second time, which is my rule for any movie based on a book that I've read. There's something about sifting through your preconceptions that has to happen if you're going to see the made movie clearly. So one more time sometime soon for the movie.

The reaction, of course, has been most interesting. I know that you have to accept movies on their own merits, and let's face it, a series full of child actors is always a tricky proposition. It's also tricky when you have to cut major portions of a story out for any of a number of reasons (which happens in any and every adaptation, thanks Tom Bombadil). But the reviews have been staggeringly good, mainly, I think for sentimental reasons. And it's all left me a little more tired than normal really. Still, a few links if you're interested in seeing a few more things about Harry and friends. . .

  • Musician Andrew Peterson posted a short essay on the whole affair on his website, the Rabbit Room, and has since had it picked up by Christianity Today. He talks some about that tension that exists (and especially existed early on) between the series and Christian readers. You can check out that article here.

  • Christianity Today also posted an interesting article on why the Potter novels have been so popular and will have staying power. It's quite technical, really, and tries to put the series in the context of other great works or literature and cinema. A decent read that you can find here.

  • And finally, for something a little broader and more light-hearted from Newsarama, an article whose title explains it all: "10 Wizards Who Can Kick Harry Potter's Arse." Check it out here.
  • Posted at 08:35 pm by AWTraughber
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    Thursday, July 14, 2011
    Lining Up

    This has been a great summer for movies. Almost every week, Hollywood has released a decent, non-disappointing story. Maybe itís because the work rooted in the writersí strike a few years ago has finally been dispatched. Maybe itís because geeks really are ruling the roost these days when it comes to creative output. Either way, itís almost strange that the whole summer has passed and we are just now getting to the one that everyone has been waiting for. The movie to beat this summer, for me at least, is Super 8. Can Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two stand up to JJ Abramsís monster masterpiece? Itís possible.

    In honor of the day, hereís the most recent FoxTrot by Bill Amend. I miss the days when this one was a daily, but Iím glad thereís at least one of these out every week. You can check out more of Amend's work at Foxtrot.com.

    Posted at 01:21 pm by AWTraughber
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    Wednesday, July 13, 2011
    Trailer (not) Trash

    A good bit has happened in Donald Miller's life since i last blogged about his blog. He's taken something of a break from his blog, gotten engaged, and supposedly working on lots more new book-stuff.

    One other big thing that has taken real shape for him has been the Blue Like Jazz movie. Surprisingly enough, I haven't heard one other Christian talk about it (at least not in my circle of Christian adult friends). The trailer debuted online a few weeks ago. I was surprised by how much I liked it. I have no idea how the book will translate to the screen as a visual narrative, but the following trailer gives me hope. Hope that it's good, mind you. I'm thinking chances are slim it will ever get a wide enough release to be screened in Hawaii.

    Posted at 05:25 pm by AWTraughber
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    Tuesday, July 12, 2011
    Last Call for Hogwarts

    Beginnings and ending are funny things: so often we find ourselves waking up in the middle. So itís no small thing, especially in our accelerated culture, when a major ďfranchiseĒ comes to a conclusion. I have often wondered what it wouldíve been like to read Tolkienís Lord of the Rings or Lewisís Narnia books as they were published. . . something about the not-knowing-whatís-next mustíve been very exciting. I almost got to have that feeling with the Enderís series by Orson Scott Card. Lucky for me, I became a fan of the Harry Potter series about halfway through the book series. I did not start the books until the first movie was readied for release, so I have to admit to being something of a late-coming, conditional fan. Iím glad that I entered the series when I did, though, because the halfway point of the series really had the weight that I needed in a fantasy series.

    I read those last few novels in the series with great anticipation, often devouring over the course of a day or two. I bought two of the last three at midnight. I wouldíve bought a third at midnight except that I was (gratefully) at a friendís wedding out-of-state. Iíve seen many of the movies at midnight, even after swearing off of midnight movies for a time. So while Iíve never dressed in a robe or had an official wand, I canít help but be a fan. So Iím both excited about this Thursday at midnight, when Iíll meet up with three other friends and hundreds of other fans to watch the final Harry Potter movie.

    In honor of the ten-year project, the folks at Warner Brothers have put together a nice compilation of moments from each of the films. They left out some of my favorites, but they also included some things I had forgotten.

    Ten years is a long time, a time that stretches back to my time in Texas, which was special in so many ways. And, I have to admit, Harry Potter and friends have made my time here in Hawaii all the more special, too.


    Posted at 07:48 am by AWTraughber
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    Monday, July 11, 2011
    Wading Back In

    Some time has passed, it seems, since my last time posting here. †Much of it has to do with the loss of momentum, no doubt. †Some of it has to do with the events of life, the things that run away with you for a time. †I have moved since my last post, this time to a studio apartment adjacent to a co-workers house. †I am very close to the school now: it is basically my back yard. †I've been there for a month, but I'm not sure what happened to the time I had hoped to save.

    I've also spent the last four weeks teaching one last round of summer school. †Communication Skills, which I have been privileged to teach these last few summers, is now being phased out of our curriculum. †Should that prove to be the case, this class was a good one to go out with. †Who knows what I'll do with myself next summer? Time, of course, will tell.

    And so two weeks before school starts back up. †Between now and then comes lunches with friends, the final Harry Potter movie, a Sunday evening dinner with friends visiting from Texas, and any of a number of errands to run. †And hopefully, I'll be posting more here. †

    Posted at 11:49 am by AWTraughber
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    Tuesday, May 31, 2011
    Summer Starting

    Sumber, it seems to me, gets to start a number of times. For instance, the "summer movie season" usually starts in May when the first big-budget show hits. This year, that movie, at least for me, was Thor. Everything else follows from that.

    Then there's the Memorial Day holiday. This was the big one for me during my time in Texas. "First Blast" started it all off right. Swimming, good food, usually a movie. Those days, have passed for me, though. So summer has to start a little differently.

    The end of the regular TV season could also be used as a marker for the end of spring and the beginning of summer. I caught up on my last straggling episode or two a few days ago, and there's nothing left on network TV until Big Brother starts up in July. So there's that.

    Which leaves one more marker: the end of the school year. I guess that's most defining for me in a day-to-day way. This is especially true because I teach seniors in the spring, which means that graduation-time is in almost every way final. This past Sunday I had the opportunity to speak to this year's graduating class at Baccalaureate. It was a good time, really; the class has been very kind to me, and I was honored to share the moment with them. This morning, as I had to proctor underclassman exams, I could feel their absence. It's an annual thing that takes some real getting used to. Even still, this is perhaps the surest sign of summer.

    And so the school year winds down, lots of little lunches and last-minute administrative things to do' but that's okay. Perhaps summer is like the kingdom of God for a while, both now and not yet. I think I can handle that for a little while longer.

    Posted at 03:33 pm by AWTraughber
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    Monday, May 09, 2011
    Good Morning, Midlife Crisis

    I had every intent to post something to commemorate turning 35. Truth be told, I had drafts of two possibilities written, but neither seemed right. Too melancholy, too ruminative, Iím not sure. Regardless, neither of them got posted. Then, last Sunday, I sat down and wrote a post following the death of Osama bin Laden, but that seemed a little heavy-handed, too. And so I step back into the waters three weeks later with this, a picture compilation made by someone commemorating his 30th birthday.

    Before I get to the montage, let me say this: Iím not sure how I feel about 35. Iíve made the joke to some friends that this is the year of my midlife crisis. Something about 35 is sobering, serious, and final. The changes that started last year will continue, perhaps come to a head, this year. So Iím naming this my midlife crisis to take away some of its power. That and to make room for possibility.

    So hereís to 35 three weeks late. And below is a great video/photo montage with much wisdom in the voice-over. Itís worth the full viewing.

    Posted at 09:38 pm by AWTraughber
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