pegkerr: (Default)
Week 20: Twelfth
Once again, we gather around the table to celebrate the end of Christmas.

Week 20 Twelfth

Yes, yes, this card should be named 'Twelfth Night' But I am limiting my card titles to one word. Not quite satisfactory, but I couldn't find a one word that would substitute (unlike finding "Hogmanay" as a substitution for "New Year's Eve.")
Again, this card was an experiment with different media. The table cloth and napkins are tissue paper, the forks are cut from aluminum foil. And the plates are from the foil wrapped around the Hershey's Kisses we had inside the miniature stockings.
We did indeed manage to gather around the table this year, although it was a Twelfth Night dinner this time rather than breakfast. That's just the way the schedules worked out.

Week 21: Severus
He was the bravest man I ever knew.

Week 21 Severus

This was the week that Alan Rickman died, and I made this card in honor of him and in honor of one of my favorite of his performances. Once I started thinking about Severus, I started making connections between his situation and mine (and not all of them are flattering, to say the least). This gets into personal stuff, so Elinor Dashwood will leave it there for now.
It was the last day of the previous week, January 9, that was Severus Snape's birthday. Rowling deliberately chose that day because it was the feast for the Roman God Janus, the two-headed god who guarded doorways, looking both into the past and into the future. An extremely appropriate choice for the ambiguous Severus Snape's birthday, and an appropriate thing for me to ponder, as I think about my career--where it has been as well as where it is going.

Week 22: iPod
I lost my iPod in the snow and felt helpless without it.

Week 22 iPod

At least by process of elimination, that's where I figured it wound up. I never got it back. I held out a week, gritting my teeth, and then I bought a replacement. Screw the fact that I am unemployed. I need one to organize my life.

Annoyingly, I found out when I upgraded to the next model, that I can't synch it on my iMac. The software on my desktop Apple is too old. Planned obsolescence is pretty damned annoying.

Week 23: Three
There are three things I do to help myself.

Week 23 Three

This was a tough week. Again, Elinor Dashwood will not provide many details. The three stones represent three stepping stones, the sort to keep you above the water you would drown in otherwise (I tried and tried to find an image of three stepping stones, but for a variety of reasons, what I found just didn't work. So I used an image of stacked stones). The stones represent three things I do throughout the week for self-care. The stones are carried by a manatee, and if you haven't found the site Calming Manatee, really, what are you waiting for?

I know what the next card is (Card 24) and I worked on it today, but I had tremendous trouble with figuring out the right fixative to use. I had an image with words superimposed over it. I printed the words on waxed paper, but every fixative I used just smeared or blurred the words. I have an idea for how to fix the problem, but it involves a trip to the store. So I started working on the next card (Card 25), and finished it, too. I worked on the cards OUT OF ORDER! I felt SO GUILTY! And I will not scan and show this past week's card until I finish the card for the week before.

This means we are almost halfway through the year! (It also means it's been half a year since I've had a job--groan). [ profile] minnehaha K. impishly suggested that we could swap decks and I would do the rest of hers and she would do the rest of mine. I firmly vetoed this idea. But then she made the clever suggestion that we would each do the jokers of the other person's deck, one at Week 26 and one at the end. Which I think is a really cool idea.
pegkerr: (Always)

Hits me much harder than the news of David Bowie.
pegkerr: (Professor Snape)
Delia told me about this. If I

hooked up with Severus Snape

our son would look like this )

and our daughter would look like this )

On the other hand, if I (went to the Bad Place and) hooked up with Harry Potter

Our son would look like this )

and our daughter would look like this )

See what your kids would look like at morphthing. If you try it, leave a comment with your results!
pegkerr: (Snape Yay)
Severus Snape has a touching message of hope for you:

pegkerr: (Professor Snape)
This is interesting, and, I think, convincing. From the Hogwarts Professor here (syndicated at [ profile] hogwartspro and [syndicated profile] hogwartspro_feed)(note: this surfaced before Deathly Hallows was released and Severus Snape's motivations were made clear):
French Literature Source for Severus Character? Polyeucte!

Another great letter! This one for Mary Norman, a French Literature major in school, who suggests that Ms. Rowling almost certainly has read a play, Polyeucte, in her French studies, in which play one hero’s name is Severus. This may be the source and it’s one, of course, that your favorite classicist could never have found. Thank you, Mary Norman!

Dear John,

I’m a Catholic homeschooling mother of five who absolutely loves Harry Potter, and thoroughly enjoyed your book, Unlocking Harry Potter. As a former graduate student in French Literature, I’m painfully familiar with Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault, but you actually managed to make these guys interesting! (Not that I agree with their philosophical conclusions — I told a professor once that if I actually believed what these men espoused, i.e., that there is no transcendent meaning to literature or life, I would go throw myself off the nearest bridge.) Thanks for producing a work of serious, yet entertaining literary criticism of Harry Potter. I’ll be anxious to hear what you have to say after Book 7 comes out.

I was dismayed when I read the article on Machiavelli’s Half-Blood Prince, because the arguments there were very compelling, and I really want Snape to be a good guy in the end, even if he doesn’t make his final decision for good until the end of Book 7. Just thinking back to my French Lit. days, I came up with another Severus connection that would kind of fit in with the Snape-loved-Lily theory, and the “bad-or-indifferent-Snape turns good” angle. There’s a seventeenth century play by Corneille called “Polyeucte” (in English, Polyeuctus.) The play is about a Christian martyr, Polyeuctus, who died during the reign of the Roman Emperor Decius.

There is an important character in the play named Severus (Severe, in French.) Severus, a Roman soldier, pagan, and favorite of the Emperor, is hopelessly in love with a married woman, Pauline, the wife of Polyeuctus. Severus is offered the opportunity to marry Pauline upon the death of Polyeuctus. In an act of unselfish heroism, Severus instead tries (unsuccessfully) to save Polyeuctus for the sake of Pauline. If memory serves me correctly, I think Pauline winds up being martyred also, and Severus comes over to the good side, accepting the truth of Christianity and vowing to defend Christians from the Emperor. Incidentally, there is a character named Albin in this play; he is the wise, but unheeded confidante of the weak and fearful Governor Felix.

The story of “Polyeucte,” of course, would be obscure to anyone but a French Lit. major, such as JKR! But there are so many possible sources for a name like Severus, and JKR undoubtedly had multiple reasons for choosing that name. I’ll just try not to be too upset if our Potions Master does in fact come down on the dark side. . .

Thanks for all your wonderful insights!

Mary Norman


Jul. 8th, 2010 10:53 pm
pegkerr: (Default)
Snape/Miss Piggy. No, really.

C'mon, click the link. You know you want to. Hat tip to [ profile] gina_r_snape.
pegkerr: (Snape Yay)
Look at my birthday pressie from Delia! A Severus Snape Potter Puppet Pal tea pot cozy!

Thanks to [ profile] chirosinger who taught her how to make it!

pegkerr: (Default)
I'm late to the party, but...

[ profile] naomikritzer sent me a link to a story a few months back because she knows I'm interested in reading good fanfiction depictions of Neville Longbottom. I didn't get around to reading it until this weekend, but the story sucked me right in. It's a re-telling of Deathly Hallows from Neville's point of view, covering what happened at Hogwarts, with Neville running the D.A. An author's note at the conclusion of the story ended with this:
...This story is not dedicated to my readers, or to a group of fictional, if -- at least to me -- compelling teenagers [i.e., the D.A.]. It is dedicated to the real-life soldiers who gave their time and effort to help me with the psychology of war. Many of these young men and women are as young as eighteen themselves, and they are not fighting with wands and hexes on the grounds of an imaginary wizarding school. They fire real bullets and shed real blood on the very non-fictional battlefields of the Muggle world even as you read this, and their courage, their sacrifice is too often ignored because they do so out of our daily sight...Go ahead and drop me some feedback if you want, but I would also ask that the next time you spot a young man or woman in uniform, take a moment to shake their hand. Their truth is greater than fiction.
That's quite a particularly graceful note, I thought. I remembered that Rowling has said that the series, and particularly the last book, is about recovering from the scars of war. Perhaps this fanfiction writer worked at the Veterans Administration or something?

There was something about that last line that niggled at me, though, something half-remembered. Who was this author, anyway?

I took a look. The author's name was "thanfiction" (on Livejournal as [ profile] thanfiction). I sat there for a second and then my eyes widened. Thanfiction? Wait a minute. I spent a couple minutes googling, following up on something I'd noticed fleetingly on my friends list sometime in the last month.

I told you I was late to the party. Well, it was a weird trick of timing, actually. Naomi had sent me the link months ago, before the knowledge hit the internet (she said she's a little embarrassed about doing so, in retrospect), and I didn't look at the author's name until I had finished reading the entire story. But yes, dear reader, I had unknowingly spent the last two days reading and enjoying Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness (the "DAYDverse") a work written by one of the craziest people I've ever encountered on the internet: the notorious Amy Player AKA Victoria Bitter AKA Mr. Frodo AKA Jordan Wood AKA Andrew Blake AKA thanfiction. The dots were connected that thanfiction was the person that [ profile] fandom_wank calls "VB," I guess, about a month ago.

Read more )

So what did I really think about the story? And how did my opinion change, once I knew the authorship?

Armchair psychology is so much fun )

Tell me about an author whose works you enjoy, rather against your own inclination, because you find the person doing the writing to be absolutely reprehensible. How do you reconcile that for yourself?
pegkerr: (Default)
I had an old tape recording of the soundtrack of the Broadway musical The Secret Garden (score by Lucy Simon, Carly Simon's sister). I love, love, love this show: the soundtrack is exquisite, and besides, of course, I love the story. I purchased an .mp3 version of it yesterday and have been reacquainting myself with the beautiful songs (DON'T buy it on iTunes, as the version they have there is three times as expensive and is missing significant bits of the dialogue. Buy it on Amazon).

Here's a youtube video, featuring members of the Broadway cast performing a few excerpts, which will give you a taste of the delights of this score:

The two men singing an excerpt from the show-stopping duet "Lily's Eyes" are Mandy Patinkin and Robert Westenberg (you may remember Westenberg as Prince Charming in Sondheim's "Into the Woods"); John Cameron sings "Wick" (for more but VERY different JCM, see "Hedwig and the Angry Inch").

John Granger's blog ([ profile] hogwartspro) includes a couple fascinating posts about the influence of Frances Hodges Burnett's The Secret Garden on the Harry Potter books. The point that is particularly obvious, of course, is the idea of a child's green eyes that remind everyone of the child's dead mother Lily. The stage show tightened this story even further by making the antagonist (a doctor who is merely a cousin in the book), into a brother to Archibald, who loved Lily, too. Think of Snape singing Neville Craven's lines instead (oh, the irony of the name!) "(S)he has those eyes, (s)he has my Lily's hazel eyes, those eyes that loved my brother (James Potter), never me/those eyes that never saw me, never knew I longed/to hold her close, to live at last in Lily's eyes . . ."

Here is another full rendition of 'Lily's Eyes' )
pegkerr: (Professor Snape)
Now I've got Marilyn Manson's "Tainted Love" stuck in my brain.

[ profile] flourish, it's all your fault! )

La la la

Aug. 1st, 2008 09:33 am
pegkerr: (Default)
I know that People Who Know Things say that you shouldn't listen to music via earphones more than an hour a day. This is advice I ignore entirely. I have my earphones on, listening to music every day, all day, while at work. I LOVE music and listen to it all the time. Part of the reason I started was when I had a cubicle mate, it was a simple matter of courtesy. Not only to I listen to music all the time, I frequently listen to songs over and over. And over and over and over. This scratches the same part of my brain that loves to re-read stories many time, too. I just love re-immersing myself in something, whether a story, or a story in a song, set to beautiful music.

The three songs on constant repeat this past week:

The Newry Highwayman (Traditional). I have both the versions by Solas and by Leahy's Luck (you can download the Leahy's Luck .mp3 for free here, or the Boiled in Lead version, if you prefer it.) The words are here. Why I like it: I'm an absolutely sucker for English folk ballads and love listening to them. Great tune, absorbing story, tragic ending. One of the stories I was obsessed with as a kid was Robin Hood--the cheerful rebel who robbed from the rich but left the poor alone. There are echoes of that story here. And it's hard to think badly of the Newry Highwayman for being a thief when he loves his wife so dearly.

The Bravest Man I Ever Knew - Ministry of Magic Great song. Mark's climb on the tenor line raises the hairs on the back of my neck. Again, a tragic story that gets under my skin. I mean, it's about Severus Snape, come on! The lyrics bring tears to my eyes. It's all about choosing the heart of flesh over the heart of stone:
I have given you a name
One that shows you can always change
No matter the way or mistake you've made
And sometimes consequences define your life with hardship
Will goodness be the banner you raise?
Because with his last breath
Severus said
Take it, take it
And it has a great danceable beat. Here's a video of Ministry of Magic doing this in an acoustic set at Portus. Before they do the song, Mark talks a little bit about the challenge of hitting that high note.

Sexyback - Justin Timberlake I first became aware of this song when I ran across this video created by [ profile] chaeche about Snape using it. (Yeah, it was the first time I'd heard of it. Yeah, I told you I was old. Shut up.) The video is quite cleverly edited, with each quirk of an eyebrow corresponding to emphatic beats in the music, creating a masterpiece of innuendo. Now, the Snarry ship does absolutely nothing whatsoever to float my boat, but (*blushes*) I DO find Alan Rickman to be really hot. Seeing the way this video is edited makes him even hotter. I do like a song that power-taps directly into the libido (mine has been, um, up quite a bit lately), and this song, combined with the video, accomplished it powerfully for me.

Tell me about three songs you've been listening to on constant repeat lately, and why you like them. (And let me know if you like the Sexyback video, too.)
pegkerr: (Default)
I have been mulling about betrayal this week, and about making mistakes in general.

It's a lot of little things coming together in my mind. I spent a lot of time--perhaps too much--kicking myself about a couple of bone-headed things I had said in this journal. Just stupid things, really, the sort where I look back at myself and wonder, My god, Peg, what on earth were you thinking??? (I've mentioned my seven year "statute of limitations" rule, where I refuse to feel guilty about anything that happened over seven years ago, on the basis of the fact that you all replace the cells in your body over the course of seven years, so you can rightfully say it was an entirely different person who made that mistake.) I've been reading a ton of fanfiction about Severus Snape (*waves to [ profile] bohemianspirit), about the choices he made (not to mention listening to "The Bravest Man I Ever Knew" on the Ministry of Magic website on endless repeat). I've been following the coverage about the trial between J.K. Rowling and RDR Books. (Reminder: this is the trial concerning the Harry Potter Lexicon webmaster Steve Vander Ark, who, contrary to J.K. Rowling's wishes, is trying to publish a print copy of the Lexicon through RDR Books). The trial concerns issues of fair use copyright; I've mentioned the excellent analysis being done by [ profile] praetorianguard. I was listening to PotterCast's [[ profile] pottercast] episode about the trial, in which the PotterCast staff talked about the severing of their longtime relationship with Steve Vander Ark over the issues coming out of the trial and where [ profile] sue_tlc in particular talked about her personal grief over the loss of the friendship.

I've mentioned it before; I, too, was friends with Steve because we worked together on the HPEF Board of Directors. This has all been bothering me a great deal more than I have said here.

I liked him. I can't understand why he has done this. I read the coverage about his words and actions during the trial, and while I want to scream at him for doing such a thing, the part of him that was his friend reads about his own grief at how he now feels cut off from the Harry Potter community, and I find myself sympathizing with him against my will. It hurts to find something inside of yourself that still tugs you toward someone who you feel has done something betraying.

This, coupled with all that Severus Snape fanfiction, has made me think again about the essay I wrote about remorse and transformation of character in Book 7. It's fascinating to re-read that essay, keeping the events of the J.K. Rowling trial against RDR books in mind. I wrote:
Rowling has always said that that series is about choosing what is right over what is easy. What I started thinking about as I read DH is that, especially in this book, Rowling has as much to say about the people who initially chose wrongly, and then went back to correct their mistakes. Choosing rightly the first chance you are given is best, of course. If you don't make mistakes, you don't have as much to fix. Some mistakes are enormous, and they can create consequences that are permanent.

Is it still possible to go back and choose again, differently? To say, I was wrong, I take it back. I want to now move in a new direction, the first one I should have chosen"? Since it is our choices that make us who we are, Dumbledore tells us, changing our choices means transforming our character. Is this possible, even when our initial mistake was enormous, leading to permanent consequences
I've been thinking about the Order of the Phoenix and how horrified they were by Severus Snape's actions in Book 6. How could he do such a thing? How could he betray them like that? (Of course, in Snape's case, ironically we learn in book 7 that the events in Book 6 weren't a betrayal, but he did truly betray someone in the past, and that--what he did to Lily--is really what shaped his life.) I've been thinking about Steve's actions in comparison to Severus' story arc. In the essay, I said that to correct a huge mistake, you need four things: remorse, courage, the willingness to seize the opportunity to correct your mistake as soon as it comes, and humility. From what I've read about Steve's comments about the case, he's lacking that first crucial element, remorse. As sad as he is about the bad feelings that have resulted, the broken friendships, he doesn't think he has done anything wrong.

I realized, as I was mulling this all over, that I'm still looking back with grief at my relationship with [ profile] msscribe, who was on my innermost friends lock until her perfidy in the Harry Potter fandom was revealed over at the bad penny journal at journalfen. It gnawed at me for months. I missed her friendship, even as I was angry at her. And it badly shook my confidence in my own ability to accurately assess other people. How could I have considered someone who would do such things a good friend? How could I still miss someone who had the type of character to hurt people so badly?

Tell me about a case where you felt betrayed by someone. Were you able to forgive?

Or--even harder--tell me about an incident where you betrayed someone. What happened? Why did you do it? Were you ever able to change course and mend the relationship again? What did you learn?
pegkerr: (Look at me)
Happy birthday to my very favorite misanthrope, Severus Snape.
pegkerr: (Look at me)
There was a Wizard Rock gathering at Birmingham, U.K. last weekend, too, Potter Rocks. Here's a performance by RiddleTM, a pair of identical twin songwriters. They say they'll soon have an EP for sale on line, containing this song:

Look at Me:

More Snape

Oct. 1st, 2007 09:47 am
pegkerr: (Default)
I really kinda like this one. It's Snape. It's Lily. It's emo. It's DH-spoilerific, sorta.

Maybe you'll get the song stuck in your head, too.

pegkerr: (Wizard Rock)
The Weasel King has launched his new website. (Remember when I posted the link to his video to his song "Through and Through"? To celebrate, he is making ALL of his (very excellent) songs available for high quality free download (better than the sound quality you can get from the few songs he has on MySpace). Go here to get thirteen songs for free from one of the best wizard rockers out there. Huzzah!

(If you download and listen, leave a comment telling me what you think. Snape fans (are you paying attention, [ profile] snapecast?), listen particularly to the song at the end of the album "Magical Decree Number Twenty-Four. It's heartbreaking. Time for another video, [ profile] chaeche?)
pegkerr: (Look at me)
Edited to add: I have re-posted this, now that I have formal permission from [ profile] chaeche.

Here's a really excellent vid created by [ profile] chaeche:

By offering a generous sampling of the work of many talented fan artists (and there are some lovely pieces here), [ profile] chaeche captures the multi-faceted complexity of Severus Snape.

Spoilers for DH, obviously.
pegkerr: (Look at me)
Hey, Snape fans, go to the RiddleTM MySpace page and listen to "Look at Me." (Spoilers for HP7, obviously.) Not downloadable, alas. I'll keep an eye on this page, and if/when they start selling their music, I'll try to pick this one up.

Riddle(TM) apparently consists of a pair of identical twins, budding songwriters who are beginning to perform professionally. They have another MySpace page for their non-Harry Potter music, and their compositions are really beautiful. Listen to "Don't Cry" and "Come and Go." Lovely voices, set to keyboard. They write and produce all their own songs. Apparently, they are recording an album, and I'll bet it'll be worth buying when it comes out. Worth a listen.

Anyway, if you listen to "Look at Me," comment to let me know what you think.
pegkerr: (I'm ready to talk about the book)
I've been mulling HP7 over some more, specifically about remorse. I told [ profile] gina_r_snape I'd like to do an essay on the subject.

Before I could get started, however, I ran across this essay, about Snape's story arc in book 7. I really urge you to read it, it's excellent. And I'm going to riff on some of what she was saying in that essay in the remarks I have that follow, so read it first.

Anyway. Remorse. )


pegkerr: (Default)

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