Friday, July 29, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Since the last Harry Potter movie just came out a week or so ago, and it was good, by the way, I felt inspired to re-read all the Harry Potter books. It took me about a week to do but was worth it, I think. The first three books seem to me to be written differently than the last four, as if for a younger audience. I think the writing in books 4-6 are the best. The last book just ties up most loose ends but is not particularly exciting. There are some strong themes throughout the series. One is the desire that every person has to some extent to be special, but that there are always consequences. Harry Potter is special due to something he had no control over and must deal with people's judgments and reactions to his fame, and he must also deal with it within himself. Ron Weasley must deal with being overshadowed by his siblings and best friend. Hermione Granger is the class genius, Luna Lovegood is the "odd" one, Neville thinks he's a near-squib, etc. Related to this is the theme of love - the need for and the power of love. Another theme is what we inherit from parents - bad blood, relationships, knowledge, things, judgments, stories, pride, fears, etc. This theme plays out for adults as well as kids - Hagrid, Sirius Black, and many others included. Draco has one of the toughest challenges in what he inherits from his parents - a role as a 'racist' Death-Eater. One of the primary themes is of course death - choosing death, courage in death, meaning in death, sacrifice in death, etc. The Deathly Hallows, the horcruxes - they're all about seeking eternal life but one of the major themes of this series shows the fallacy in that and how anyone - even Professor Dumbledore - can be misguided by the desire for eternal life. Along with this is the theme of power and corruption - this comes up not only with You-Know-Who but also with the Ministry and Hogwarts. At times the series is very dark/heavy - probably most so in book 5. It was really hard in that book to deal with the lies and rumors. It is very painful to have people doubt you when you know you're telling the truth, it is painful to have people believe things that aren't true. Yet, this theme, which carries on into later books, is an important lesson about how we digest and interpret media, how we judge others on rumors and first appearances, etc. - this idea carries on to the ever-present question of Professor Snape's loyalties, the Malfoys, Luna, Neville, Percy, and others. It is present in earlier books, in fact, from the very start, with Potter's family's treatment of him.
I didn't see Harry Potter as being as much the hero as I did the first time through. His flaws were more noticeable, but entirely realistic. Neville and Luna really shined on second reading as favorite characters for me. I think Neville was "The Chosen One" with Harry Potter, but never fully recognized. The prophecy could apply to him, and he did kill Nagini, the last horcrux. Major theme number xxxx: HP could never have done it all alone. Did the book say what Luna ended up doing 19 years later or did I miss that part? Now I want to re-read LOTR for the umpteenth time....
Friday, July 22, 2011
The initial switchbacks to access Mt. Esther are pretty steep but kind of fun. You can avoid these by accessing the Crews Gulch trails on the Pikes Peak Highway if you are willing to pay the fee to drive the highway. This is a very pretty hike with a good combination of ascent and meadows. At the end you are within a stone's throw of the Crystal and Catamount Reservoirs.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
My cousin Frankie Sue Wichman Bower passed away today at age 44. On Monday night she had a sudden massive stroke in her brain stem that it was not possible to recover from.
I had just seen her on July 4th at the annual family picnic at her mom's. She is loved and missed.
We don't know that it would have made a difference in this case, but in her memory please get a health check-up if you haven't had one in the past year. Undiagnosed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc., could take your life in an instant at a young age and leave loved ones behind reeling in the wake.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Accessed Mt. Rosa via the forest service roads off Old Stage Rd and climbed up the quarry. Fun exploring, but missed the cave - needed to bring gps coordinates. Maybe next time.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Parts of this trail are very steep and untraily - nice adventure. You navigate via colored metal tabs in trees. Mainly the descent along the creek was like this. We should try this again but go on to the reservoirs and come down another way perhaps. We had a new hiker with us on this and almost scared her off for good. I found it kind of fun, but that's easier to say after coming out of it successfully, no longer wondering if you made a wrong turn somewhere. :)