Do you ever want to listen to a specific something or you're in a mood and nothing in you CD collection is doing it for you? Go to pandora.com and let them create the mood for you. Pandora is a free radio service where you choose what is played. You can create up to 100 "stations" creating surrounding a theme you give the service. You can tell the service if a song is stupid or rad and it will learn to play what is kosher with you! You can buy good songs with the click of a button from Itunes. Could life get better? I submit that it can not!


Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is my favorite book of the series. And now it is a film!
We purchased our tickets weeks before. We made shirts with iron-ons. "Weasley is our King;" "I will not tell lies;" "Harry, Dumbledore was just kidding -- Neville is the chosen one;" My shirt said, "i see thestrals." We lined up about 90 minutes before the midnight showing and found ourselves at the very end of the line. It was thrilling to see Hogwarts uniforms, Snape look-alikes, Harry look-alikes, and even a Trelawny look-alike huddled in a corner reading a book.
When the movie started a loud roar and cheer came up from the crowd. It was amazing. We laughed and cheered for the best lines and our favorite parts. I most enjoyed the scene after Harry's kiss with Cho, as he discusses it with Ron and Hermione. Ron, Hermione, and Harry were laughing and joking and we were all laughing and joking.
Rupert Grint is excellent as usual, and Dan Radcliffe has improved immensely. Emma Watson is still just as motherly as ever and that's kind of annoying. She delivers her lines weird. I can't quite pin point it, but it's odd. Still, I like her.
The snake getting Mr. Weasley is much scarier in the book and the scene where Sirius dies is much slower and more emotional in the book. But I think the movie did what it could. I was surprised at how well the film makers did at shortening long sections and stories. Of course the book is better because there is more detail, but the movie does a great job of capturing the feeling and meaning of the book.
The music is different, kind of happy and Scottish. I like it.
Noticeably missing from the film were Ron and Hermione as prefects, quidditch, and my favorite line of all the books -- "Give her hell, Peeves." And where did all the ghosts get off to? My roommate says that both she and another critic noticed an absence of Harry's scar, even in scenes in which a scar-reference in made. Another excuse to see it again.
Luna Lovegood was really great. She did the spacey-thing without appearing drugged. And her hair extensions are inspiring. Dolores Umbridge was good. Everyone is raving about her and she was good but not soooooo good as all this hoopla.
The final battle scene was awesome. I'm not a special-effect gal but I was really blown away by this last scene. Helena Bonham Carter was a very creepy Bellatrix Lestrange. I was so jazzed when I got home that I had to take a 3am calm-down shower. I went to sleep with visions of Harry Potter and the Order fo the Phoenix in my head and woke up the same way.
Too much fun! Too much fun!
As for predictions for the book. . . I don't think Harry will die but I think that Lord Voldemort and either Ron or Hermione will die. Harry can't die because that would be too horrible and bad for business (just ask Sir Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes) but Ron or Hermione could go. I hope, if one absolutely has to go, that it's Hermione because I like Ron better.
I don't think that Snape is on the Dark Lord's side, but I don't think he is very nice. I think that he and Dumbledore had some prior arrangement or agreement and that is why Snape killed Voldemort (there goes his teaching career and his hope of becoming the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher).
Draco Malfoy is just a child soldier. He is only bad because he has been raised that way. If he dies it wouldn't be the end of the world but I don't think there is a chance.
I think Ginny could also be one to go. So Harry dumped her because he didn't want to give Voldemort any more ammo, but just because you aren't with someone doesn't mean that you suddenly don't care about them. And the whole point of the books is to show the power of love and friendship. Harry can be such a dweeb.
Hagrid could die. His accent kind of annoys me.
Harry says he's got to do it alone but that is riddiculous. That is the one big difference between Harry and Voldemort -- Harry has friends not pawns.
What is so compelling about the Harry Potter series? The plot is intricate and mysterious. It really keeps you on your toes. The characters are so varied that everyone can find a bit of themselves in someone or another.
And there is nothing more atttractive that someone fighting for right. Hot!


Were we always this weird?

I kind of thought my family was less weird.
Let me clarify.
We are usually calm. Of course there was the time my sister-in-law tried to simultaneously lick and pinch the Jazz bear.
But usually we are calm, relaxed, mild.
Then my sister bought LeadSinger. LeadSinger is a karaoke machine for the TV which rates your singing. And with about a million and four songs, it's a source of never-ending something. The Wii was somehow voted off the island that Sunday, and the Leadsinger was plugged in. A competition ensued with the three married couples singing Summer Lovin' rather badly yet happily. I was ready to poke my own eye-balls out when YMCA was chosen. Bad memories. Have you ever overdone something and then never wanted to do it ever every again? So is it with me and YMCA. It was a phase. My brother and I tried out the Cranberries' Zombie but got the plug pulled when no one else understood our artistic merits or the slightly creepy song. And I learned that if you don't know every word to We Didn't Start the Fire karaoke is not the forum for learning.
We were weird.
My brother-in-law told me that the LeadSinger will make you sound better than you are. After I finished NSync's It's Gonna Be Me I asked why the make-you-sound-better feature wasn't on. "It was on," he said dryly.