Totally Sick of Harry!!

Sorry Potter fans--forgive me for this little rant!

Living in the birthplace of Harry Potter its impossible to not know when a new Harry Potter book is coming out. Its plastered all over the news, all of the bookstores have midnight openings, every shopping centre seems to have 'wizard weekends', you get random people in the grocery store dressed up as Potter characters and even the pubs have 1/2 price pints for potter fans. It seems to go away after a while until the new movie comes out or the next book installment.

I figured it would be the same this time for the last book. Boy was I wrong though---It has totally completely gotten out of hand. You would think the Beatles landed or something. Most bookstores are completely out of stock already due to the (I kid you not)--2 to 3 mile long lines to get your greasy little hand on one. People apparently came from all over the world to stand in one of the lines here in the birthplace of Harry!! Why spend your only vacation time standing in line to get a book? Was a trip to the Taj Mahal too much money?

Saturday we did a bit o' shopping at Canary Wharf and I saw about 5 complete brownie troups getting their faces painted and then standing in line to ride the huge broom ride. Are they even old enough to read the darn thing? Of course the usual dressed up people and by the end of the day I thought I was going to barf if I saw another little kid dressed up like Harry or Hermione. That and the thought of how much money is being made off a little book.

If you can't tell I'm sick of the hype around Harry Potter. Seriously I think its great that it gets kids and adults reading and excited about it. However, I doubt that most of the hype is due to the fact that these books will win the pulitzer or some other award for their amazing good writing. I think its because everyone is doing it because its the 'cool' thing to do at the moment. I've never read any of the books and actually walked out of the first movie cause I thought it was rubbish and have never turned back since. Call me strange but I'd rather read a book or go to a movie cause I want to not because everyone else is doing it. I am sure its great mindless fun but at the moment I just would rather do other more worthwhile things. Maybe when I'm retired I'll buy my first copy of a Harry Potter book, I just don't know. In the mean time I'm really sick of this whole thing and can't wait until this whole thing passes.


Mean Girls

Call me bitter but growing up I've realized that some things do not change much from High School. There are still cliques, and there is still the craving to be accepted by the "cool people". Getting older you figure out different ways to prey on the weak whether it be soccer moms ganging up on someone whose still childless or not being invited to the annual neighborhood BBQ down the street. It may not be the same as the petty things we dealt with like not sitting next to someone at the lunch table but it still hurts the same. As the years progress though--we just have more things to distract us and for this reason its easier to bounce back and forget about the hurtful actions of others. Either this or its true what they say that the older you get the wiser you become.

I have often wondered why the never ending quest to be associated with popular people. I think its down to the primal urge of survival of the fittest. If the weak in the pack shadow the strong--maybe their status will improve and they will one day emerge the leader. I believe this is why many people refuse to even speak to or acknowledge those that are deemed "weak" in any way---it does not benefit or improve their social standing.

Anyway--I'll never understand the psychology surrounding people sometimes. Although I believe people are generally good--I just think they forget whats important. Even if some things dont change from high school I do think as you get older more are willing to step out of that "mean girl" phase and help those that may be trailing behind. People are generally good in my opinion and whether you are 30 or 84 you eventually figure stuff like this out.


The Tour de France in a Minute or Less

The Tour de France started in London this year. Every year they do the Prologue and Stage 1 in a different country before moving to France and this year we're lucky enough that it was here. The route was actually scheduled to go through Greenwich which is only 10 minutes from where I live. This was an incredible opportunity to see something like this so we stood waiting for about 45 minutes just to see the riders. This is actually the first time we've seen the beginning of the race. A couple of years ago we by default were in Paris on the Champs Elysee at the very end of the race when Lance Armstrong won his 6th title.

It was crazy watching the race though as there was more entourage than cyclists on the route. Buses, Sponsors, French and British Police, Cars with extra bikes and Race Officials were the majority of what we saw. When it came time for the hundred or so cyclists they were so fast that they were gone in like less than a minute. Even though it was short and we had to deal with rude people trying to push into our view--it was definitely worth it. I really admire people who do this kind of thing which is the ultimate test of endurance and strength of character. I feel really grateful that I live in London so I can have these opportunities to be a part of experiences like this!


Happy Fourth of July!


Life Doesn't Frighten Me

I've been fascinated with buying children's books recently mostly because of new nieces, nephews for James and I plus my recent work with two AIDS Orphanages. My favorites lately have been: Aliens love underpants and Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou. The latter one by Ms. Angelou actually I would secretly love to buy for myself and would really recommend to get. Its a fantastic poem about fear and having courage and has the most amazing paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat, an American artist who died in his late 20's. Anyway- I thought I'd share you this poem and one of my favorite paintings from the book. Please be aware the book does it way more justice though and it is a lot more moving if read it in its original context with ALL the paintings.

(Jean Michel Basquiat, Self Portrait--1982?)
Life Doesn't Frighten Me
by Maya Angelou
Shadows on the Wall
Noises down the Hall
Life Doesn't Frighten me at all
Bad Dogs Barking Loud
Big Ghosts in a cloud
Life Doesn't Frighten me at all.
Mean Old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don't frighten me at all
Dragon's breathing flame
on my counterpane
That Doesn't frighten me at all.
I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won't cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don't frighten me at all.
That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
with their hair in curls)
They don't frighten me at all.
Don't show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my screams
If I'm afraid at all
It's only in my dreams.
I've got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve,
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.
Life doesn't frighten me at all.