Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

Archive for July, 2005

Harry Potter

I’ve got a lot to record about this week that has just happened, but first, a word about reading material.

Well, I just finished reading the 6th Harry Potter book, and may I say that I enjoyed it greatly. I’m going to talk about it now, so there are about to be spoilers. You are now about to be warned.

***SPOILERS FOR HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE***

First of all, I wholeheartedly approve of the relationship between Harry and Ginny. Unlike Cho Chang, Ginny’s got a head on her shoulders, and she’s always liked Harry anyway. It’s too bad that Harry feels they have to break up at the end, but who knows? Maybe it’ll turn out like the whole Peter Parker-Mary Jane Watson thing, as the similarities between that relationship at the end of Spider-man 1 and Harry & Ginny at the end of book 6 are similar, so I’m hoping the parallel will continue.

Another thing that’s interesting to me is that the book, while a great book(and much better than #5, in my opinion), seems to be more of a bridge than a stand-alone story. There were definite individual plots in books 1,2,3 and 4 (and 5 as well, but a bit less) that developed, climaxed, and resolved. While there were still plot points left undone, the major focus of the story was resolved. Harry found and protected the Sorcerer’s(or Philosopher’s) Stone, Harry solved the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets and destroyed the diary, Harry found out the truth about Sirius and saved him, Harry successfully completed the Triwizard Tournament(and saw Voldemort return to power), the Ministry finally recognized his return. In book 6 at the end, almost every single plot point brought up is left unresolved. You can definitely sense that the entire series is building to the climax, not just the book.

The betrayal and killing at the end is not entirely unexpected, but I believe that is a boon, not a problem. In Book 5, the death of Sirius was just random and not foreshadowed at all. In book 6 there is just enough doubt of Snape’s motives, especially considering past occurrences, that the reader doesn’t really know what side he’s on until the end, even with the early chapter having him consort with Death Eaters. You get the idea that he’s a double agent, but for whom? Same goes for many other characters such as Malfoy, and even Dumbledore himself. Somehow I feel that Draco will actually become Harry’s ally in book 7. Dunno why; it’s just a feeling. Anyway, the fact that the killer and killed are both well-established characters with a well-established yet at times questionable relationship heightens the suspense. Almost everything was foreshadowed, but there was enough doubt that everything very well could have gone the other way.

This book was also more mature than previous installments, not in terms of adult or sexual content, but in thematic content. Nearly gone are the whimsical descriptions of Bernie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans or the habits of the magical hippogriff. Almost nonexistent are the House rivalries, the magical enchantments and descriptions of every aspect of Wizarding life. Instead, there are chapters devoted to the psychological reasons behind Voldemort’s former rise to power, and the intricacies of Harry’s relationship to him.

Wow, I just got really tired, so I may or may not finish this later. But in any case, read the book!

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In anticipation

My mood is down, meaning tired, not sad, since tired for some reason isn’t an option, which is odd. I feel tired more than I feel “vegas lucky” or “on fire.”

I leave Wednesday for West Yellowstone with Josh, and I am pretty darn excited for that, especially to spend some time with Ben. Yes, I know, a few entries ago I was complaining about him, but he still is my brother, and we normally have a blast together. A lot of the things I was complaining about earlier I don’t even thinks he realizes he does, so at the times when he isn’t like that he’s the coolest guy in the world. Of course, that’s actually part of the problem I’m having; he’s such a good guy in my estimation that I feel that I have to live up to his expectations, even when they differ from mine. It’s usually better when we don’t live together, but merely visit once in a while; that way we don’t get sick of each other.

This year at the Playmill, the theater in West Yellowstone where Ben and Kjersti work, they are putting on three shows: The Foreigner, Bye Bye Birdie, and The Secret Garden. Kjersti is in all three, while Ben is on two and does tech for The Foreigner. I’ll have somewhat of a critique after I get home, but from what I heard from Kjersti yesterday they are all quite good, better than last year’s plays.

Also, one of these days I have to devote an entry in here entirely to Josh, as he deserves his own entry. But that will be for later; for now, I’m off to bed.


The Greater Speaker

(How come they don’t have an emoticon for “contemplative” or “thoughtful?”)

So I went to church today(I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, AKA the LDS Church or the Mormon Church, for those who might not know) to the singles’ ward I attend, when the bishop announces that the special guest speaker for that day would be. . .President Boyd K. Packer! As in President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! As in, the person who originally said that quote I have a few posts down. We were all really excited, until it was revealed that he was actually speaking in the other ward that meets in the same building two hours later, when our ward is in priesthood meetings. So we didn’t attend the meeting he was at, although we got out ten minutes before they did, and I eavesdropped at the door. All I could hear was a story about “Roman murals” for some reason, and then his closing remarks urging the members of the ward and Church to live worthily. Then I walked behind his entourage as he went to his car at the conclusion of the meeting, no more than six or seven feet away.

It’s funny the thoughts I have whenever I see apostles or prophets or other high-ranking Church leaders in person. In the Church sometimes they become almost mythical beings, much as the world thinks of the prophets of old. But whenever I see one in person(especially from six feet away) it strikes me how much they are just people, like the rest of us. Just people, who have the same feelings, drives, or problems as the rest of us. The only difference is the calling that has been placed upon their shoulders by God. Without that mantle, Boyd K. Packer would just be another old grandfather who likes carving wood and painting. When he spoke to people in the hall or getting in the car, it was Boyd K. Packer speaking. When he spoke in front of the congregation, however, he was an Apostle of the Lord, bearing his testimony of Christ and speaking for Him. There is a clear difference, a nearly physical difference, at least for those who are attuned to it.

Now here comes the interesting part. During our sacrament meeting, we had a talk, not by the president of the Twelve Apostles, but by a sister whose name escapes me, from in the ward, like we normally have. Her talk, however, was very inspiring as well, as it was obvious to me that she had prepared it under the inspiration of the Lord as well. It talked about “waging an offensive war” against Satan, dealing with how, instead of just waiting for Satan to tempt us and toughing it out, that we should be constantly preparing ourselves by careful study, prayer, and service, to beat Satan and even regain ground we had previously lost through repentance. I won’t detail the entire talk here, but it was very good. What was interesting, though, at least to me, is that Heavenly Father used this sister as a mouthpiece to our ward just as much as he used President Packer to the other ward. His words were no more inspiring than hers, since (at least I believe) they both prepared their talks seeking the Holy Spirit to guide them. As it says in Doctrine and Covenants 1:38, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken. . .whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” Both speakers were mouthpieces of the Lord, whether the president of the Twelve or simply an assistant Relief Society pianist(or whatever her calling was), because they were both speaking under the influence of the Holy Ghost. The source was the same.


Russian

Finished the murder mystery. Our audience consisted of Josh and Jeff & Emily Murphy. That was it. The cast outnumbered the audience by more than 2 to 1, which doesn’t work for this kind of mystery, as there is a lot of audience participation and stuff. The show went well, however, so that’s coo. We’ll hopefully be ready for the actual performance on the 19th.

Kjersti’s coming into town tomorrow. Dunno why.

Well, since this is a “blog” that I won’t be heavily advertising to people I really know, I just want to say that, well, first of all, I’m really into Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers. One thing I do, as a fan, is collect a lot of fan art from various places on the ‘net. And I have discovered that, for the most part, the pics from Russia evoke a lot more from me than those from other places. I don’t know why this is exactly; whether it’s the artistic style of the country or it just so happens that the artists that have that ability are Russian by coincidence. Consider the following pic by Russian artist Loki:

Loki’s Gadget

This is just Gadget looking at the viewer from over a brick wall. Very simple; nothing fancy. And yet, I feel something when I see it that many other pics don’t give me. It’s not really anything romantic or such, but more something. . .wistful, maybe? There are a few other examples that I could share, but I don’t want to use up all my webspace in the first few entries, so I’ll let it be. Don’t automatically demean something simply because it’s children’s entertainment; there’s a lot of good stuff that even adults can learn or experience.

(A side note:apparently the “Now Playing” line is somehow supposed to convey to the readers more accurately how I’m feeling at a particular moment; however, I’ve just been using to say what’s actually playing on my Winamp list. So, while you may not know how I’m feeling, you will get a random sampling of the music I listen to.)


Sibling rivalry

I know I just did an entry. I can do two in one day. It’s in the rules. Rules? Apparently.

Why are siblings controlling of our lives? I spent approximately a year in Idaho rooming with my brother Ben, and it was loads of fun, but at the same time I felt I had to live up to his expectations. I had opinions as to why I felt pressured by him, but I couldn’t get any validation from him, as no matter what I say when I talk about it with him he denies everything I say. Therefore I don’t know if what I’m about to say is true or not. Just don’t ask Ben; he won’t admit it. I couldn’t like who I liked, date who I wanted to date, even be friends with those that I wanted, simply because Ben wouldn’t date, like, or be friends with those people. It’s true, he never outright said, “Jeff, don’t be friends with so-and-so, because he/she is an idiot” but with the way he talked about other people I got a pretty good idea of the kind of people he approved of. Little brother thing, perhaps? Who knows? At any rate, I’m no longer in Idaho, where he is, so that influence is gone from my life, at least for the time being. However, I have hardly any social opportunities to meet new people in my current situation(living at home, working full-time, etc.), so who knows if I could wow the lady-folk? Based on past experience, probably not, but time vill tell. Sooner or later, time vill tell.

Next week I’m going to West Yellowstone with my friend Josh, to see both my siblings Ben and Kjersti, so will the situation be any different? Let us find out, mua ha ha. 99 Flavors.


The first entry

Hey there! I’ve got a blog! Now I’m trendy! Actually, I’m mainly doing this thing for myself rather than for everyone to hear whatever I’m thinkin’. You see, my journal-keeping habits are horrendous, and as I like doing on-line things, I figure I’d update this thing every so often, probably. So therefore I’m starting this thing. There. You like it or not? So to start off this party correctly, here’s a picture of my head.

headj.JPG

Today I’m doing a murder mystery show that my sister Annelise wrote and is in, as well as my good friend Nate Winder. It’s the dress rehearsal, so we’ll see what happens. I left the music that I was supposed to input into the computer at work yesterday, which is sucktastic. Suck. I’m the geeky piano player who loves sci-fi, so no actual acting involved. Slightly nervous, possibly.

A heads-up: this might turn into a lot of stream-of-concsiousness junk, so be forewarned.

To close this entry, here is what my AIM(MisterKerr) profile used to be, since I’m going to change it to include a link to this thingy:

“When [the greatest hymns and anthems] are produced, who will produce them? Will it be the most talented and the most highly trained among us? I rather think it will not. They will be produced by those who are the most inspired among us. Inspiration can come to those whose talents are barely adequate, and their contribution will be felt for generations; and the Church and kingdom of God will move forward just a little more easily because they have been here. Some of our most gifted people struggle to produce a work of art, hoping that it will be described by the world as masterpiece! monumental! epic! when in truth the simple, compelling theme of ‘I Am a Child of God’ has moved and will move more souls to salvation than would such a work were they to succeed.”

– Boyd K. Packer, “The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord” February 1, 1976.