Starting School

“Can you believe our firstborn is starting school?” My wife asked me this question a few days ago, her eyes going wide as she said it, and it ridiculously enough took me completely by surprise.

My son is about to start Begindergarten, which is a cute way of saying an “Early Fives” class. He is going to attend it in an elementary and he will be there all day just like all of the bigger kids, using their same cafeteria and their playground (not at the same time, of course). My wife and I were so focused on getting him into the right school in our area for the last eight months that I didn’t realize until recently how much this change meant for all of us in our little family and for him.

This was about to be something new…

In preparation of this first day over the weekend we drove him to his new school and allowed him to play in the playground for about an hour. While he loved playing in the playground (trying everything he could), I kept noticing things, my parental eye kicking in.

  • Who was it that left these empty beer cans here on the playset? Will these people who would drink at a kids’ playground be around the school? Heaven forbid, or will they actually be attending?
  • Why are there so many weeds?
  • And are those soccer nets going to be fixed?
  • Is that rust?

Yes, while this playground is better than anything I had growing up (and this is a great school district), I still was catching everything I possibly could. This could be a super power of mine. A lame super power, but still a power. You can call me “Protective Dad.” And I am here to shake my head and wag my finger at others! Irresponsible people of the world be warned! Protective Dad is among you now! Continue reading

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Underwhelmed by Pottermore

Maybe it is the Ravenclaw in me, but I was expecting something with a little more creativity and inspirational zing from Pottermore.com.

Pottermore… I remember when I first heard of the Web site. What a great idea! An online experience around Hogwarts that also works as an opportunity for JK Rowling to share new insights into the world of Harry Potter. The last part is what got me the most; see, while as satisfied as I was with the end of Potter (both book and on film), a part of me still missed the universe. It had found a home in my heart next to Middle Earth and a galaxy far, far away (not the prequels), and that is quite an achievement.

Pottermore first opened for Beta testers last year. I did not work to become a beta tester because I assumed it wouldn’t be beta tested for that long. I mean, they just got done making a major announcement that stretched the entire world about the new site! You don’t do that unless you are ready to go. I mean, it is unheard of to do otherwise.

Well, surprising it is heard of! My bad.

The Beta testers “owned” the site from Fall to April of this year (while the main page kept promising its opening in a month that was long gone), as I, and most of the other Potter fans waited and waited… Continue reading

Goodbye Mr. Potter

I have a new film/book editorial up at Green Spot Blue. It is on the last Harry Potter films and what it means for the series.  Here is an excerpt from the beginning.

I remember the first time I read J.K. Rowling.

I was a grad student at the University of Southern California studying fiction writing and I had no hesitation in pooh-poohing (yes, I said pooh-pooh, we snobby writers talk like that) the books to my fellow writers. They were modern-day kid books, surely like a thousand published every year. A flash in the pan, a lucky break.

One of my fellow students argued for the books and, as part of a challenge, gave me the first four books to read, claiming I will be addicted after the first chapter.

…I finished all four books in one weekend.

I never loved the first two movies; I enjoyed them, I liked them, I even bought them, but I didn’t love them.

They were fun, but they really didn’t capture the essence of the books for me. Usually I would watch them wondering what someone like Terry Gilliam (JK Rowling’s first choice, and brilliant notion, for directing the first book) would have done and how long it would be before they were remade… Then the third film came out.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban truly and perfectly captured to me the book series. That is how I envisioned the world when I read them and he laced it from beginning to end with the living, breathing magic that seemed to be missing from the first two films.

He focused the story on Harry’s perspective, captured his wonder, and, more importantly, actually created terror; because, as much as we like to forget that fact, the Harry Potter books are full of it. The first chapter is about a double homicide, don’t forget, of parents while their young child watched. Why is that not more shocking to people?

Yet, for an entire generation of readers the Potter Universe is a place of safety. It is place of escape, of wonder… but it is also a world where a person can be killed simply by a wand and two deadly words.

So what is it that draws readers there with such love again and again?

You can read the rest of the article here.

My Time With Harry, Part Two

The second part of my discussion of the Harry Potter films is up at greenspotblue.com. In it, I discuss my quick opinion on the four remaining films in the series (their highs and lows).

I hope you will check it out.