That Potter Kid

Today is the birthday of J.K. Rowling, therefore it seemed like a good time to post some Harry Potter stuff.

From today’s Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of children’s fantasy writer J.K. Rowling, (books by this author) born Joanne Rowling in Yate, England, in 1965. She has written seven novels in the Harry Potter series, a series that has sold nearly 400 million copies.

Rowling grew up in rural England. She says that the character of Hermione in her series is “a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I’m not particularly proud of.” She studied French and Classics and went on to be a secretary for Amnesty International, but she didn’t like secretarial work. One day on a cross-country train trip, the idea of Harry Potter “came fully formed” into her mind. “It started with Harry,” she said, “then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head.” She was frustrated because she didn’t have a pen to write things down, so she just sat for four hours thinking and hoped she would remember, then started writing as soon as she got home.

In the next few years, she went to Portugal, got married, and then divorced. She moved to Scotland with her young daughter, where she started writing in cafés because taking her daughter for a walk was the best way to make her fall asleep and give her a few hours to write.

It took J.K. Rowling a while to find a publisher for her novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (published in the U.S. as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). In 1997, Bloomsbury published the first Harry Potter book with a print run of 1,000 copies, 500 of which went to libraries. It has now sold about 120 million copies. Her publisher thought young boys were her target audience and was worried that they wouldn’t buy a novel by a woman, so they encouraged her to use initials instead. Joanne didn’t have a middle name, so she took her grandmother’s name, Kathleen, and made herself J.K. Rowling.

J.K. Rowling is now the highest-earning novelist in history.

J.K. Rowling has launched a new generation of readers (and some adult readers) into the world of fantasy, but it’s a genre that she doesn’t actually like much herself. She didn’t even realize that she was writing fantasy until after her first book was published. She says, “You know, the unicorns were in there. There was the castle, God knows. But I really had not thought that that’s what I was doing. And I think maybe the reason that it didn’t occur to me is that I’m not a huge fan of fantasy.” She has never managed to finish the Lord of the Rings series or the Narnia series, and her favorite authors are realists: Jane Austen, whom she calls “the pinnacle to which all other authors aspire,” and contemporary Irish novelist Roddy Doyle.

She planned out the entire Harry Potter series before she wrote the first book, and she says: “I wrote the story I meant to write. If I lost readers along the way, so be it, but I still told my story. The one I wanted. Without permitting it to sound too corny, that’s what I owe to my characters. That we won’t be deflected, either by adoration or by criticism.”

And she says, “You have to resign yourself to wasting lots of trees before you write anything really good.”

And, “What we forget is that kids lead this whole hidden life, however close they are to their parents. I’m aware of this with my seven-year-old daughter. I don’t find it constantly, but I know it’s the reality. It’s the slow process of separation—and slightly underground. I have to be aware that my daughter is leading this kid life I cannot share. And that’s part of the books.”

J.K. Rowling, who wrote, “If you’re holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time.”

And, “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

And, “Hearing voices no one else can hear isn’t a good sign, even in the wizarding world.”

Recently the trailer for the new Harry Potter movie was released. Have a look. Of course you will actually have to go to the website to view this video if you subscribe via RSS or email.

VIDEO DELETED

The last movie was kind of a disappointment, but this movie looks to be fantastic. I can hardly wait until November 21.

An Announcement

As of yesterday, my dear friend Jay is no longer a “Corporate Sellout”.

There is an old bit of knowledge that dates back to the dawn of man. I think it might be found in Leviticus. That bit of knowledge is “Bros before hoes.” Jay has long been a big proponent of this knowledge and for the last few years has never failed to live by it.

I’ve never been big into this precept, but I do believe in putting “Bros before dough.” Meaning you put your brothers (friends) over monetary concerns. To not put your bros before cash would make somebody a sellout. If they chose to take that cash from an evil, heartless, soulless corporation, that would make them a Corporate Sellout.

Things weren’t always that way for Jay. Look at how tight he was with his bro Jesse.


Eastern Iowa Road Trip - 2006

Eastern Iowa Road Trip - 2006

However, I’m not what you would call psychic, but I have always been able to smell evil on a person. In this picture below, I might have been smelling what Jay was to become.


Eastern Iowa Road Trip - 2006
I’m giving Jay “the look”.

As of about 10 PM last night, Jay removed the shackles of corporate tyranny and has placed his bros back where they belong.


Eastern Iowa Road Trip - 2006
As Jay looks into the future!

I don’t know what choices Jay will make now. I do know (in my heart) that he has learned from his time as a Corporate Sellout the proper spot to place his bros in his priority hierarchy. I look forward to welcoming him back to Friday Night Supper Club with both arms wide open.

Shhh…

I don’t know if I should be telling you about this, but there is going to be a bonus Half Shell this Friday. Now you won’t find it on the poster or the magnet, but you have to take my word on this one.

The band is going to be 35 South. They are a southern rock cover band. You might know this band because their lead singer is Dennis. You might remember Dennis as a guitarist in the band UnHingd or as one of the singers in Against the Grain.

Even if you don’t like Skynyrd or Marshall Tucker, you should come check them out because they have, bar none, the best sound guy in the history of sound guys. That is correct Derrick Gorshe. Seeing this man work a soundboard is worth the 3 dollar price of admission.

As usual, the show will be from 5-8 at Bandshell Park near downtown Ames.

Now, I can’t be there because I will be in Kentucky, so some of you are going to have to go and watch Derrick for me. It will definitely be worth it.

Cedar Rapids Trip Day 1

I went over to Cedar Rapids with a group from my church to do a little flood relief. All I can really say is that it was 100 times worse than I imagined. 5,038 houses were effected by the flooding in Cedar Rapids. It will take 4 years of continuous volunteer work to get Cedar Rapids looking anything like it did before the flood.

Below are some pictures from the first day of work.


Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

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Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

Cedar Rapids Mission Trip - 2008

>We worked on two houses on Thursday. Unfortunately the second house we worked on could not be saved.