Archive for Harry Potter

Stephen King is an angel … and he dislikes “Twilight,” to boot

Posted in Books, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2009 by macmystery

Does this man scare you?

Well, I know that’s not the way most people, even those who like his writing, would describe him.

But Stephen King recently did something pretty cool. He and his wife, Tabitha, donated $13,000 so that 150 Maine Army National Guardsmen training in Indiana can come home for Christmas.

The troops, from the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Unit, are training at Camp Atterbury and are scheduled to depart for Afghanistan in January.

It’s a kind gesture that many of those soldiers and their families may never forget. Who knows how long it will be before they can return to their loved ones for the holidays … if at all. Those men and women shouldn’t have to spend their last holidays stateside a third of the country away from home.

The Kings actually gave $12,999 — because 13 is an unlucky number … who’d have though King was superstitious? — and a personal assistant chipped in $1.

If you’re a King fan, here are some other recent developments you may or may not be aware of:

Speculation that if King broke into the business today, he’d be less successful

A review of “Under The Dome”

SyFy turning King’s “The Colorado Kid” into a series titles ‘Haven”

King is considering a sequel to ‘The Shining”

King possibly teaming with Spielberg to bring “Under the Dome” to TV as miniseries

And my favorite … King trashes “Twilight” author Meyer, praises Harry Potter author Rowling

Hogwarts, S.C.

Posted in Books, Family, Movies with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by macmystery
Dylan reluctantly pets the dragon. Hagrid would be proud.

Dylan reluctantly pets the dragon. Hagrid would be proud.

In yet another installment of  Daddy and Dylan Day, Dylan and I went all wizard last Saturday.

The Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville County hosted “The Science of Harry Potter.”

The program, which is an excuse to get kids and parents into the science center, married its exhibits with themes from the Harry Potter series of books by J.K. Rowling.

The program, open from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., was a lot to take in. There was no way we would be able to see everything, and there was a lot.

Among the activities:

  • Hold mice, snakes and a dragon.
  • The chance to meet and hold these Hogwarts creatures … tarantulas, giant toads and a python.
  • Quidditch demos … Well, this is as close as you can come to quidditch without being able to fly. There was a Harry Potter day camp back in the summer where the kids played quidditch, apparently. Some of the pupils were brought back to demonstrate the sport. There were hula-hoops suspended from trees branches for the rings. Soccer balls were used, and a tennis ball was the golden snitch. And did I mention there was no flying? Dylan was not impressed.
  • Old-fashioned broom making
  • The younger kids made bitty brooms from small sticks and yarn.
  • Among several demonstrations at the planetarium, there was a chart showing how all the names of the Black family (as in Sirius) corresponded with astronomy.
  • The kids could take a tour of the forbidden forest and discuss the botany of wands.
  • There were readings from “The Tales of Beetle the Bard.”
  • Wandmaking … using pretzels, chocolate and sprinkles.
  • Learning to write with quills.
  • Herbology … making your own herbal tea bag.
  • Meeting a live barred owl.
  • Photo opportunities with the Sorting Hat.
  • Potions lab … activities such as making slime, smoke, etc.

Dylan loved it. Even if the ties to Harry Potter weren’t always so strong. Really, the whole point is just to get you into the science center. Once you’re there, there’s almost no choice but to learn. And it was well worth the $9 total it took for us to get in.

When Harry Potter camp comes up next summer, I think we’ll be there.

July 17 … I can’t wait

Posted in Movies with tags , , on April 18, 2009 by macmystery

OK, there’s nothing really for me to write here. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

I can’t wait for this. And I’m sure Dylan and Brooke will feel the same when they see this.

Just like magic, Harry Potter is banished … until summer

Posted in Movies, Uncategorized with tags on August 15, 2008 by macmystery

So much for seeing the next Harry Potter movie this fall. It’s been bumped back until next summer.

Read all about it …

More Harry Potter? … well, kinda

Posted in Books with tags on August 6, 2008 by macmystery

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard"

I got an e-mail from Barnes & Noble today letting me know that the new J.K Rowling book was available for pre-order. Obviously, I was interested in what the Harry Potter author had coming out next, and to my surprise it was a Harry Potter-related book.

“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” will e released on Dec. 4 … just in time for Christmas, no less.

It contains all five wizarding tales left to Hermoine Granger by Professor Dumbledore in the seventh and final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Only one of these tales, “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” was recounted in the book. The rest are revealed in this 128-page book that lists for $12.99.

Here’s the synopsis from the Barnes & Noble Web site:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”

The stories are accompanied by delightful pen-and-ink illustrations by Ms. Rowling herself, featuring a still-life frontispiece for each one. Professor Dumbledore’s commentary-apparently written some eighteen months before his death-reveals not just his vast knowledge of Wizarding lore, but also more of his personal qualities: his sense of humor, his courage, his pride in his abilities, and his hard-won wisdom. Names familiar from the Harry Potter novels sprinkle the pages, including Aberforth Dumbledore, Lucius Malfoy and his forebears, and Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington (or “Nearly Headless Nick”), as well as other professors at Hogwarts and the past owners of the Elder Wand. Dumbledore tells us of incidents unique to the Wizarding world, like hilariously troubled theatrical productions at Hogwarts or the dangers of having a “hairy heart.” But he also reveals aspects of the Wizarding world that his Muggle readers might find all too familiar, like censorship, intolerance, and questions about the deepest mysteries in life.

But not only are thesetales the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter. This purchase also represents another very important form of giving: From every sale of this book, Scholastic will give its net proceeds to The Children’s High Level Group, a charity cofounded in 2005 by J. K. Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP to make life better for vulnerable children. CHLG helps around a quarter of a million children each year through its education activities, outreach work in institutions, and a dedicated telephone and e-mail help line.

Three movies I really want to see

Posted in Movies with tags , , on July 30, 2008 by macmystery

These are three movies I really want to go and see. Obviously, this doesn’t include the new Batman movie, which I haven’t seen either.

Of course, two of these, we’ll be taking Dylan to.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I’m not sure who wants to see this more … me or Dylan.

Unfortunately, he still hasn’t seen Episodes 2 or 3, so he needs to before we go and see this. We’ve got about two weeks … it comes out Aug. 15.

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

I saw this today for the first time, although I’m pretty sure this was running in the previews for “The Dark Knight.”

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince comes out Nov. 21. Almost four months.

The X Files: I Want to Believe

This one’s already out. I’ve heard good and bad things about it, but to be honest, if I listened to what a lot of critics said about X Files, I’d have never watched. I’m glad they were wrong.

Gatsby great, this time around

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , on July 26, 2008 by macmystery
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I did something Friday I don’t do very often anymore … I finished a book.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I had read it before. High school. Tenth grade, maybe. I wasn’t impressed then. I simply couldn’t relate to the early 20s lifestyle with the parties and drinking and the implied sexuality.

This time, however, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down. In a grand total, over parts of three days, it may have taken me five hours to read. That’s a high estimate, I think.

I don’t know why I chose to pick up this particular book. I do a lot of reading at work. So much so, that sometimes it’s difficult for me to enjoy reading outside of work.

In recent memory, books of fiction I have read over the past 10 years: All seven Harry Potter books. And maybe 10-12 Perry Mason mysteries by Erle Stanley Gardner … they’re short, quick and interesting. And a book called “Name the Baby.” (It’s not a parenting book.)

But that’s it. Lots of magazine articles and newspaper stories and tons more online, but not many books.

But as for this book, it makes me think, how many books do we push as “classics” in high school lit classes that simply go misunderstood by kids? I think maybe I just didn’t have the life experience at 15 or whatever to fully grasp this story.

Though, I say that knowing I was reading William Faulkner and John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway at the same time and enjoying them. And those three, particularly Faulkner, are no walk in the park and certainly not always easy to understand.

But it makes me wonder what else I should try and read again, knowing I may find myself reading a totally different book than I first encountered in my high school literature class.