“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” – G.K. Chesterton

Archive for June, 2011

What Is Pottermore?

Four years have flown by since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It seems like only yesterday, but I guess it is time we’ve heard from Rowling – what’s she up to?

A new website called Pottermore depicts a logo with Rowling’s signature and an owl on each side of the webpage. Clicking either owl will lead you to Rowling’s youtube channel. She will be making an announcement in 3 days 9 hours 38 minutes and 41 seconds!

I’m assuming this announcement has to do with the website, Pottermore… The name suggests there will be more “Potter.” But what could it be?

Immediately, the first thing that came to mind was a virtual encyclopedia. In more than one interview J.K. Rowling has hinted at the idea of creating an encyclopedia of everything “Harry Potter.” I honestly thought it would be a published hard copy encyclopedia, though it makes sense for it to be online. It seems like almost everyone has access to the internet these days… but I’m sure there are fans who don’t. Another benefit for having the encyclopedia online is that Rowling can post links to all of her charities so that fans can easily donate. With all the Harry Potter fans out there it would be dumb not to do that.

Some other speculations:

An 8th Harry Potter book? Maybe, but I seriously doubt it. We’ve already heard Harry’s story. It would have to be from another character’s point of view to be interesting and then it wouldn’t be called “Harry Potter”, would it? Also, none of the actors from the movies know what the announcement will be (so they claim) and I’m sure they’re ready to move on after 10 years of Harry Potter.

Digital Webcomic – That would be pretty cool.

Online Game – That would be really cool. Actually, a lot of fans think Pottermore will be an MMORPG – Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.

Social Networking Site – The new site Pottermore could in fact be a social networking site in itself – people from all over the world sharing their thoughts and theories about Harry Potter on an official Harry Potter site. And perhaps Rowling could publish new stories on the site?

Out of all these speculations, I stand firm on the idea that this site will be a virtual encyclopedia. And if I’m wrong, that’s okay. It’s nice to be surprised every now and again!

What do you think Rowling’s announcement will be?

 


Favorite Fan Art

I want to give a shout out to The Geek Can Paint. This artwork is fantastic and truly magical.


Rainbows and Myths

~ Beliefs and myths about rainbows among different cultures and/or religions. ~

Judeo-Christian – God placed the rainbow in the sky as a reminder of the covenant He made to humanity –  to never again destroy the earth via flood.

Mayans – Similar to Judeo-Christian, but rather than the destruction of the world by rainwater, they believed their world was destroyed by fire rain. Those who escaped the destruction saw the rainbow in the sky as a symbol that their gods were not angry anymore.

Some Africans believed that the rainbow is actually a full circle, only half of which can be seen at any given time. Furthermore, they believed that circle separates the earth from heaven. (Scientifically, the rainbow is actually a full circle. We can only see half of it because the other half is below the horizon. That’s why you can see a full circle rainbow sometimes in sprinklers, fountains, and other mediums).

Some Buddhists related the seven colors of the rainbow to the seven regions of the earth. Viewing the rainbow is the highest state achievable before attaining Nirvana where individual desire and consciousness are extinguished.

In Islam, the rainbow is said to have only four colors – blue, green, red, and yellow – all of which are related to the four elements of earth, water, wind, and fire.

Beliefs about rainbows among Native American tribes were as varied and different as the people within. Some believed the rainbow was the drinking fountain for all the souls of heaven. Others called it the bridge between the human world and the world of the gods, although not necessarily heaven as we typically know it. Still other tribes believed it was merely the pathway the gods used to move between the realms. In other Native American cultures, the rainbow is believed to be the symbol of their healing goddess.

The Cherokee believed the rainbow represented the hem of the sun god’s coat.

The Hindu, on the other hand, believed that it represents the archer’s bow of their god of war. They further believed that the god used the bow to shoot arrows of lightning to kill a demon that threatened their land and people. Many Scandinavian cultures held similar beliefs.

According to Germanic myths, the rainbow was the bowl that God used during creation to color the world.

The Incas believed it was a gift from their sun god.

The ancient Arabians thought it was a tapestry woven by the south wind.

Some cultures took it as a symbol of something mysterious and “lucky.” Being part Irish, I was raised on tales of leprechauns and the pot of gold that could be found at the end of the rainbow.

Poland holds similar folklore. It seems, however, that they believed the gold left at the end of the rainbow was a gift by the angels.

In many cultures, however, the rainbow was nothing more than a symbol of the gods and goddesses. To Aborigines, for example, it represented the Rainbow Serpent Mother who they believed to be the goddess of creation. A similar belief existed in parts of Africa. They believed that it represents the Rainbow Goddess.

In Greece, the rainbow was the symbol of the goddess Iris who was also the goddess of healing. Iris always dressed in colors and delivered news.

In Roman mythology, the rainbow was believed to be the pathway used by the messenger god, Mercury. There was a similar belief in Polynesia, where the rainbow was believed to be the route taken by all of the gods.

Norse – One of the most celebrated rainbow bridges in Western mythology is Bifrost, which connects Earth with Asgard, home of the Norse gods. Bifrost can only be used by gods and those who are killed in battle. It is eventually shattered under the weight of war – the Ragnarök. The notion that the rainbow bridge to heaven is attainable by only the good or virtuous, such as warriors and royalty, is a theme repeated often in world myth.

Peruvians held the rainbow in such high esteem that they didn’t utter a sound during its duration.

In Bulgarian legends, it is said that if you walk beneath a rainbow, you will change genders: if a man, you’ll begin to think like a woman, and if a woman, you’ll begin to think like a man.

A few cultures even managed to turn the rainbow into something negative. For example, in Honduras and Nicaragua, the people believed it was a symbol of the devil and they would hide inside their homes until it passed. They believed that looking at it put a curse upon them.

At a certain period in Japan’s past, the rainbow was viewed as a bad luck omen because it reminded them of snakes, which were generally considered evil.

According to Slavic mythology, a mortal once touched a rainbow and was turned into a demonic-creature by the god of lightning and thunder.

In Amazonian cultures, rainbows have long been associated with malign spirits that cause harm, such as miscarriages and (especially) skin problems.

Many different cultures and groups believed that the multi-colored bridge spanned the distance between heaven and earth. Some simply called it the gateway or bridge to heaven, believing that it only shows up in the sky on those eventful days when St. Peter opens the pearly gates to usher in new souls. The rainbow colors were believed to represent the magnificence of heaven itself.

Some cultures think it is a link of six or seven bridges (depending on each culture’s belief about the number of colors in the bow) that souls must successfully traverse in order to reach heaven.

No matter what culture, group, or religion, the rainbow is an enchanting phenomenon – perhaps one we aren’t supposed to dissect with reason and logic. Sometimes we just need to enjoy the beauty of nature!


Lazy Lasagna

Crock Pot Lasagna

It’s Italian, y’all! This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. Why? 1) It’s easy to make and you can forget about it for a good amount of time while it’s in the slow cooker. 2) It contains cottage cheese which happens to be my favorite food. :)

Ingredients

Makes 6 Servings

1 lb. ground beef, browned
32 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz. bag curly-edged noodles, cooked, or lasagna noodles cut up, cooked
16 oz. carton cottage cheese (I prefer 4%)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese to taste

1. Combine beef and spaghetti sauce.
2. Combine noodles, cottage cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
3. Layer one-third of the beef mixture, followed by half the noodle mixture in slow cooker. Repeat layers, ending with beef mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
4. Cover. Cook on low 3-4 hours.
5. Serve with salad and French bread.


Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.

Last weekend, my dad left home to take a trip out west. He called me today to tell me he was in Yellowstone National Park. He’s been taking lots of pictures – I’m so excited to see them! Then I remembered…

I have photos saved on my computer from when I went out west seven years ago. They were taken with a 35 mm camera and there are orange date stamps on them, but I will share them anyway! They aren’t great, but they aren’t bad either considering I was 14 when I took them. :)

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Dancing To Today’s Music – Lindy Hop

Do you find yourself uncomfortable at dance clubs, weddings, and other venues where dancing is expected of you? Does the idea of having sex with your clothes on seem a bit awkward? Not to worry! There are other ways to dance – and I mean actual dancing! And I promise, you’ll look cool! I am going to teach you how to “lindy bomb” any dance venue.

lindy bomb (verb) – spontaneously crashing a dance floor via lindy hop.

What is Lindy Hop, you may ask? Lindy Hop is a type of swing dance. Swing Dance is a style of dance that developed concurrently with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s, ’30s ’40s and ’50s.

There are many types of swing dances including East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Hand Dancing, Jive, Rock and Roll, Modern Jive, Charleston, Shag, Balboa, and of course, Lindy Hop.

Lindy Hop is basically a more complicated version of basic 6-count swing. It evolved in the late 1920s and early 1930s out of Partnered Charleston. It is characterized by an 8-count circular basic or “swing out”.

Before I learned Lindy Hop, I started out taking a class on East Coast Swing. It is very simple.

Basic East Coast Swing:

Once you have East Coast Swing down, learning Lindy Hop will be a breeze!

Lindy Hop:

(Basic Step: Rock step, triple step, step, step, triple step).

MUSIC:

You can actually Lindy Hop to many pop and hip hop songs played in clubs today. Lindy Hop has the ability to easily adapt to any conceivable type of music. I’ve formed a short list of today’s hits that you can Lindy Hop to, but the sky is the limit! Any song with an 8-count beat can work.

Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner
Shake It – Metro Station
Candyman – Christina Aguilera
Animal – Neon Trees
Girlfriend – Avril Lavigne
S.O.S. – Rihanna
Hey Ya! – Outkast
Dynamite – Tiao Cruz
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

Here is Pump It! by the Black Eyed Peas. This group incorporated Lindy Hop into their choreography.


Summer Reading 2011!