Tag Archives: reading

The Making of Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour


At last: my birthday gift to me!

I laughed.

I cried.

(Well, nearly.)

And I wandered Leavesden Studios in a daze, remembering with fondness every moment of Harry Potter mania – the seven books, the midnight release parties, the costumes, fan fiction, and hushed spoiler whispers – and the anticipation of the films that brought the magic to life.IMG_1132IMG_1065On the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, eager fans (e.g. yours truly + Marijn, my trusty comrade in arms) can revel with abandon in the literary and cinematic masterpiece of fifteen years of Harry Potter – from the 1997 publication of the Philosopher’s Stone to the box set release of all eight films.

Props, sets, costumes, interviews, pranks and quirks, production secrets and behind-the-scenes gossip – soak it all in, children of all ages. The magic lives on. IMG_1124

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Seven Sevens

7 July 2014

The seventh day of the seventh month in a year twice-seven marked the seventh anniversary of the release of the seventh book of the 7-book Harry Potter series, which I have read a full seven times.

For an update on the lives of the gang of misfits, the Daily Prophet has issued a recent gossip column (penned by none other than Rita Skeeter herself) with all the juicy details surrounding their reunion at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

At some point in the future I’d like to spend one year devoted to philosophy – specifically, to the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

As chance would have it, Mokhotlong has established a book club featuring Jenn, two of the Mokhotlong-area Peace Corps Volunteers (Matt and Devin), and myself. First on the list: Zen.

I gave myself a full week to read this book. In light of events the week before, my mental state throughout the first chapter was a bit under par. The moment I caught up emotionally, I realized that a single week just wouldn’t cut it.

With each chapter I found myself pausing to reflect, to insert myself into the story and grapple with the concepts presented therein. I highlighted notable works and phrases at first, later critical examples that illustrated a point well, and finally entire passages that corroborated or contradicted my line of thinking. I added dozens of notes, especially when angered, but my first-edition Kindle makes note-taking difficult and a pen always seemed too far out of reach. I completed the book thrilled by the challenge of the story’s thesis and hungry for a re-read. The text demanded it.

Thus I propose to myself:

A one year project in which I take the book in sections. Reading, Reflecting. Writing. Reviewing. Reworking.

It seems like a luxury for which I will have little time to spare for due attention, but the book will be re-read someday regardless. I hope my scattered notes and highlights will reignite this desire for true contemplation…and make sense.

Many Happy Returns

It is true I’ve fallen in love … with “the most brilliant doomed detective in all of the UK,” to quote a friend’s assessment of my heart’s desire. Sherlock Holmes has won me over.

In my quest to absorb the greatest works of classical literature within the brief span of my lifetime, it only stood to reason that I would one day page through the dusty canon of Arthur Conan Doyle’s mortal genius. What found I there, but the scribblings of an honest but average doctor named Watson and the extraordinary feats of an arrogant pomp with a keen eye for detail and a penchant for trouble. Ah, Holmes.

Naturally, I gravitated toward the tales retold by Hollywood blockbusters and BBC mini-series. What stroke of luck! My Holmes returns to an Empty Hearse on New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, we wish him Many Happy Returns:

Jenn Baker in profile

For the next few months, I share a job, a living space, and all my personal health details with a Ms. Jenn Baker, who is as lovely as they come.

IMG_2803Jenn is an east coaster by birth and a wanderer by choice. She has been introducing me to all the best places to experience southern Africa.

A registered nurse, Jenn is also a retired Peace Corps Volunteer, who served in Swaziland from 2011 to 2012 and worked to improve rural health initiatives. Though she finished early, her travel was nowhere near complete and off to India she went to live in community where she found balance, friends, and a personal motivation. She returned then to Lesotho to begin work with TTL in May 2013 and has been my guide from day one.

IMG_3305She is interested in international maternal and child health, which makes her an asset to the TTL Team and a phenomenal resource as I ease into the new job. In August she will return to graduate school, likely Boston University, for her MPH.

Jenn is a runner and a reader and a yogi and a hiker and a natural foodie all rolled into five-foot-nothing.

It is so fun to share time and space with a woman of kindred spirit and I count myself quite fortunate. Now, reader, carry on with an increased appreciation for this marvelous lady.




How to improve the daily slew of news articles.

Warning: Contains science

Wizard Genetics