Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oxford to Hogwarts

I've been missing Oxford a great deal lately.
It's been interesting having now read Harry Potter and wept through watched the first two movies to recall all the HP connections to that trip.
I couldn't appreciate them then, but that's ok.  I still have their memory,
now mingled with my own reading experience.

 All that to say... I was particularly struck the other day when I saw this pin:

The funny bit is that I was at that premiere.  Well, not "at it" as in attending it.  But my very first night in London, the group I was with sort of ran right into it on the way to - get this - the Palace! 

[Trafalgar Square - thousands of Potterheads...and me]
We could hear the cheers from several London-blocks away.
I had never come across or been a part of a crowd this big
[and wouldn't be again until the Seahawks Superbowl parade].

[Bellatrix, Hermione, and Harry]

[They had these jumbotrons they were projecting the arrivals onto - so big, so so insane!]
And then we were off to Westminster, Parliament, and the Palace:

[Buckingham at night]
  The Harry Potter connections continued in Oxford,
the most notable being the "sorting stairs."
The scene in the first HP film where the Harry and the other first years
are greeted by Professor McGonagall before entering the dining hall and being sorted
was filmed at Christ Church College.

We made a visit... and ran into young Harry:

But seriously, it's such a majestic location. 
Hogwarts definitely has it's "Oxbridge" roots and I love HP all the more for it!

So... fun memories blended with new reading/viewing experiences.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ask my Bookshelf

A blogger friend of mine (from England :), Hannah, recently "tagged" me on her blog for this fun little blogging challenge.  Following are 16 questions I had to answer using only book titles.  I may have fudged a bit and used a few poems' titles.  Enjoy! 

1. Are you a man or a woman?  
The Odd Women [Gissing]

2. Describe yourself.
The Hobbit [Tolkien]
3. What does life mean to you?  
Six Characters in Search of an Author [Pirandello]

4. How are you doing?
Great Expectations [Dickens]

5. Describe your current home.  
The Little House [Burton]
6. Where would you like to travel?
Surprised by Oxford [Weber]

7. Describe your best friend.
"Bright Star" [Keats]

8. What is your favourite colour?
The Picture of Dorian Gray [Wilde]

9. What is the weather like now?
Gone with the Wind [Mitchell]

10. What is the best season in your opinion?
A Midsummer Night's Dream [Shakespeare]

11. If your life was a tv series, what would it be called?  
The Metamorphosis [Kafka]

12. What is your (romantic) relationship like?
Much Ado about Nothing [Shakespeare]

13. What are you afraid of?
The Book Thief [Zusak]

14. Aphorism for the day.
You are Special [Lucado]

15. What advice would you like to give?
"Carry On" [Service]

16. How would you prefer to die?  
At the back of the North Wind [MacDonald]

Beks :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Things my teenage self never thought I'd say... [Pt. 1]

* "In Frozen, I'm glad Elsa's story doesn't end with her meeting a guy."
Let me explain - this isn't some crazy "women don't need men" things.  I just appreciate that of all the Disney princesses (of marrying age) we've had, this one woman doesn't end up with a guy.  Her story arc is about familial love - and it is beautiful that way!  Romance is wonderful, but relationships are hard work and getting married doesn't just solve all of a girl's problems.  So way to go, Disney, for showing a woman who has a different kind of lesson to learn.
Some people in my life have reminded me that this perspective is a far cry from what I once espoused.  My flatmate and I were recalling (and cringing over) a conversation late in high school where she tried to convince me that getting married was not the only purpose in my life.  Beks, accept this as an apology for vehemently disagreeing with you then.

* "Eminem is breaking my heart."
[This was my brother's response...]
Between Monster & Headlights [Warning: both are explicit. Yes, this is Eminem], he has absolutely wrecked me. I could do a whole separate post on the gold in those lyrics (and I might need to in order to justify these statements), but more than a change in his tone & lyrics, the change has been in me. His music can be very dark - though, lately, more desperate & even repentant. But, facing my own darkness has taught me to appreciate others'. 

* "It's been nearly 2 years since I read something pre-1900."
I know, I've alluded to this before, but I'm still shocked.  I will return.  Hopefully soon.  But there have been so many other treasures to find. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Q&A with Tom Hiddleston

Last weekend I saw Coriolanus with some ladies, and ever since has been "Tom Hiddleston Appreciation Week."  I know I've mentioned him before, but I've realized some people don't know much about him. Well, let's just say he's a lovely old soul who has still retained a child's playfulness.  And is at the same time devilishly handsome!

Last fall, he did a Twitter Q&A and I loved some of his answers, so here are some quotes, pictures and videos of his for your enjoyment.

[My favorite poem...]
 He recites the beginning in this photo shoot & interview:

[My favorite Disney film as a child...]
He once broke into the "Bare Necessities" impromptu:

[Hiddleston reading to his Thor teddy bear]
[Hiddleston with Quvenzhane Wallis at the MTV Movie Awards 2013]

[Prince Hal to Henry V - from PBS's The Hollow Crown]

[Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris]

And remember...

Probably more to come on that, but it's safe to say that I think Hiddleston is pretty fantastic.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ridding ourselves of the dualistic notions of sacred & secular is not a statement that "nothing is sacred." Far from it! The goal is to face life as a whole - the beautiful & the messy all in one - and to realize that "the sacred" can be found anywhere. Our aim is to work into life what Christ accomplished in His death - the renting of the temple curtain. God is no longer contained in the Holy of Holies. He has escaped - and He wants to be discovered wherever you are.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Metamorphosis, Pt. 3

It is late, dark, wet and I'm trying to get home as fast as possible.

I am cruising just fine, wipers on their highest speed when an accident up ahead brings traffic to a halt and I decide to detour on back roads to get around this obstacle.  Even though this takes me through an unfamiliar part of the city, I dismiss the map on my phone. So what if it takes a few extra turns.  I should be able to figure it out if I dare to call myself a Seattlite. 

And I do.  Soon enough I'm taking a left at the genesis of Interstate-90.  This bridge will take me home.  If I let it, it could take me all the way to Boston.  I've followed it that way before.  The ends of a road fascinate me.  It's an inexplicable sense that I find every time I go there - where that long of a road runs into the water.  I think it's the Hobbit in me; "The road goes ever on and on..."

And then I'm in the tunnels, moving fast under lights.  Like the movies, I'm driving and weighing decisions - but they're nothing compared to the weight of my heart.  My heart is trying to say so many things at once.

I'm thinking of the future. And past. And of the film I just watched. Of how much heartbreak we can handle. Of the music. Of the parking ticket that's drying on my dash. Of how difficult relationships are. Of what it would be like to get to know different mountain ranges.

Of how things can be light and dark at the same time.

Speaking of... I don't know if this is unique to Seattle, (but I like to think it is) we get these schizophrenic spring days where you can be in golden light, needing your sunglasses and yet at the same time be rained on.  Usually just a system rolling through.  But the phenomenon seems an apt description for the melancholy beauty I see in things.

Thoughts keep rushing by faster than my wheels.

But then, I turn into my driveway.  I turn once again inward to the stillness.