It's been quiet in my little corner of the Middle of Nowhere, mostly because I've slid into one of my antisocial moods. Sometimes, I feel like I just want to fold in on myself and not talk to anyone for weeks. This feeling spreads even into the Internet realm, as I haven't been answering email or blogging or commenting on blogs for the last few weeks. The days are getting shorter and although the golden light of autumn is my favourite, I can't help but dread the Dark Womb of Winter.
As I'm waiting for tonight's dinner (chicken curry from the Avoca Cookbook) to boil rapidly until it has reduced in volume by half, I decided it was time for a little catching up.
Harry Potter dominated my August reading. I read only one non-Potter book, Man of Fate by Brad Metzler. I found it confusing, uninspiring, and overall poorly executed.
Re-reading the Harry Potter books was fantastic fun and was well worth the effort. I've thought a lot about how I feel about them and how I'd rank them. In order from least favourite to most favourite, this is what I've come up with. (I will try to keep my reasons to under 25 words. I know I tend to be too wordy in my monthly reading recap.)
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Too long, too moody, too little going on. It was necessary but depressing reading and it's one of the rare examples where the movie was leagues better than the book.
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Just doesn't hold up when compared to the quality of the others. I can't pin it on any one thing - Lockhart is a fabulous character and the world remains interesting and vivid, it's just missing something.
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Numbers 5-3 were incredibly difficult to rank and really could get swapped around depending on how I feel on any given day. Azkaban is losing out today because I felt like the danger was too manufactured.
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - An excellent entry into the world - introduces the characters in age-appropriate writing and it's gratifying to look back and see how much they've grown.
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - The penultimate book in the series is a strong building block to the end. The Snape storyline, in particular, is a delightful shade of dark charcol.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I absolutely loved this last book. It did everything I wanted - tied up most of the loose ends and gave me an emotionally satisfying ending.
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Definitely my sentimental favourite. Goblet of Fire represents the turning point in the series. Harry has become a teenager and the dangers he faces are becoming more clear and more deadly.
We had a camogie match last week, which we lost badly. I couldn't even tell you how badly and it's little comfort that the team we lost to were at least the division champions. After we lost our championship match, our season sort of sputtered to a premature end even though we have a pile of fixtures left that we're meant to play before the proper end of the season. They get scheduled and then postponed with alarming regularity.
Peter came to the match with his camera and came away with a two half-decent photos of me. I'm a forward and the majority of the match was played in front of our own goal, so I didn't see a lot of action. I did get moved to wing forward for the second half, so I had a bit more to do then.
In this first photo, I am in the white shirt and blue helmet and am trying to block down my opponents shot. Note my very un-macho flinching face. I can't remember if I was successful in my blocking attempt. I did manage to block one shot in this match, but I don't know if this was the one.
In this second photo, I am the one blue helmet with the 7 visible on the back of my shirt. (In point of fact, I was wearing number 17 but my braid is obscuring the 1.) I'm trying to catch the ball in the air and although I was Out In Front when the ball started to come my way, that crafty half-back ran around from behind me and ended up batting down the ball. She was about 8 inches taller than me, all of it leg, and I found it nearly impossible to keep up with her. I see a lot of wind sprints in my winter off-season.
That photo also illustrates what I hate most about our uniforms - the ridiculous skirts. Even though we all wear shorts underneath, I always feel like I am one play away from flashing the world. Plus, the damn skirts make me feel even larger of ass than I usually do.
In Search of a Quest
The book I'm reading this week is Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, which is about his adventures in hiking the Appalachian Trail. I think I'm having a sort of mid-life crisis (and I know you'll probably be hearing more about it soon, because what is a blog for if not for self-indulgent navel-gazing). I find myself wanting to achieve some sort of grueling, physically and mentally demanding task, like hiking the Appalachian Trail. Only not that particular quest. It's not that I have a problem with the idea of hiking some 2,100 miles. Sure, arranging the 6 months off work would be tricky, but I think I am stubborn enough to haul my sorry ass (and a 40lb pack) all the way. But this has to be a quest I can do alone as Peter is not having a mid-life crisis (he's a good three years younger than I am) and people have been murdered on the AT, so the thought of hiking alone in that particular Deep Dark Forest gives me the heebies.
I talked about this with my youngest brother and he proved a fantastic brainstormer, but nothing he suggested hit the right tone for me:
So, my search for a quest continues. Any ideas are most appreciated.