The End of Harry Potter

It’s the day before the end. Tomorrow night at midnight myself and thousands of people around the world will be sitting in a movie theater waiting to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. I already know it will be an amazing movie and I’m pretty sure it will be my favorite movie of the series. For many people this movie signifies the end of the Harry Potter era but for true fans that era will never end. I will continue to watch the movies and re-read the books and as weird as it sounds, the world of Hogwarts will always be a part of my life, part of my conversations, and I will continue to shout spells anytime I’m holding anything that remotely resembles a wand!

The Harry Potter series has definitely had its share of praise and criticism. The books have been burned, the movies snubbed at award shows, but the reason they are so popular is because they strike a chord in us, they resonate with us. The idea of Hogwarts and being sorted into a house excites us. I think most people at some time have wanted to be able to do something magical.

When it comes to the books versus the movies debate, it’s really hard for me to choose, but I guess I would lean towards the books. There’s a lot more fullness and richness of the story that comes alive there that just couldn’t be added to the movie. Even though I know the plot and know the characters, the story still comes alive whenever that book cracks open. The movies on the other hand are amazing too, they bring to life all the things I imagine in my head and that’s why I’m so excited for this last movie. I want to see everyone in a new light for the last time. Yes there will be tears shed, I already know which parts will cause them, but there will also be a sense of victory, of accomplishment, of justice.

For those of you who would like the world of Harry Potter to continue on, here are a few suggestions:

www.pottermore.com – J.K. Rowlings on website that will take the series to new places.

Mugglecast – a podcast dedicated to all things HP

http://www.rabbitroom.com/2011/07/harry-potter-jesus-and-me/ – a link to a great blog about Harry Potter and Christianity written by Andrew Peterson

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book and my favorite movie (excluding the freeze frame that ends the film). Just thought I would throw that in here.

Enjoy the final movie and every now and then re-read one of the books. It’s worth it.

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A-Z: Things I like

A – Africa (the continent I love)

B – Basset Hounds (there is no greater breed)

C – Christmas (everything about Christmas makes me happy)

D – Dexter (easily one of my top 5 favorite TV shows)

E – Eating (not gonna lie, I like to eat)

F – Funnel Cakes (is there any sweet treat that’s better?)

G – Geocaching (my favorite hobby)

H – Harry Potter (probably the greatest book series ever)

I – In ‘n Out Burger (mmmmm)

J – Jenny (my wife, she’s awesome)

K – King (Stephen King to be exact, his books frighten me)

L – Los Angeles Dodgers (my favorite baseball team)

M – Monster Energy Drinks (they keep me awake when I need to be awake)

N – Newcastle United (my favorite soccer team)

O – Outback Steakhouse (yes it’s a chain, but it’s one of my favorite restaurants)

P – Podcasts (so many great podcasts, so many great topics)

Q – Queen (some of the best guitar solo’s ever)

R – Rain (I love rain, I just wish California got more of it)

S – Survivor (recently got hooked on this show, now I’m watching every season!)

T – Traveling (I love seeing new places and old places)

U – Uganda (the place I truly consider home)

V – Vanilla Latte (iced or hot, I’ll drink them)

W – Words With Friends (play me! username: adamansel)

X – X-Files (Mulder & Scully, need I say more?)

Y – Yahoo News Ticker (this is where I keep up with the world)

Z – Zoo’s (Santa Barbara and San Diego have great ones)

22 must read books

  1. A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson (This book will make you laugh out loud as you read it, people will stare)
  2. Dark Star Safari – Paul Theroux
  3. Acts of Faith – Philip Caputo (An amazing novel about NGO workers in Sudan)
  4. Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling (Need I say more?)
  5. The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins (Reading this right now, on the 2nd book, can’t put it down)
  6. The Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning
  7. An Arrow Pointing to Heaven – James Bryan Smith (A biography about the life of Rich Mullins)
  8. Land of a Thousand Hills – Rosamond Halsey Carr (She lived in Rwanda for 40 plus years and I had tea with her in her home by Lake Kivu)
  9. Shake Hands with the Devil – Romeo Dallaire (Written by the head of the UN forces in Rwanda during the genocide)
  10. We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow we will be killed with our families – Philip Gourevitch
  11. In a Sunburned Country – Bill Bryson
  12. Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving (Probably my favorite novel that I’ve ever read)
  13. The World According to Garp – John Irving
  14. It – Stephen King (This book will scare you)
  15. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway (I went through a Hemingway phase, loved all his books, but this one made the list)
  16. On the Road – Jack Kerouac (For many years I wanted to be Sal Paradise)
  17. The Walking Dead – Robert Kirkman (Graphic novel series, not finished yet so new comics are still coming out)
  18. Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller (Better than Blue Like Jazz)
  19. The Belgariad and The Mallorean Series – David Eddings
  20. Church History in Plain Language – Bruce Shelley
  21. What is the What – Dave Eggers (You gotta read this one)
  22. Watchmen – Alan Moore

Adventure, have you seen it?

The problem with living a life of adventure is that normal life seems all the more dull. Can anyone honestly think that Indiana Jones really enjoyed being stuck in a classroom teaching students when he could be out chasing the holy grail? Did Clark Kent really enjoy working in the newspaper editing room? No! Adventure is addicting and once you get a taste of it, everything else seems very, very bland.

Adventure can mean different things to different people. To some, going to the market after 8pm is an adventure, to others, visiting their In-Laws would get their adrenaline pumping. I try to take all of life as an adventure, that way nothing is normal, nothing is boring, everything is exciting and full of possibility. But sometimes I lose track. Sometimes I find myself getting bored with the routine of life because at one time I did have what most would consider to be an “exciting” life.

I spent a few years traveling around the world with a group of children from all across Africa. The kids would sing at different venues and we raised money to build schools in their native countries. After that I moved to Uganda, East Africa and embarked on many adventures that could fill an entire book. Now I live in Southern California, have been married for just over 2 years and work full time. It may not sound as adventurous as gallavanting around the world in a bus, living out of a suitcase, but it is just as adventurous, although in different ways. And that’s what I forget sometimes.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t want adventure, I’m a month away from turning 30, I feel settled and in a routine, why shake it up? Then I need to slap myself and say, “don’t become an old, grump yet!” Every day is exciting, every day is a blessing, every day is full of possibility if we decide to look at it that way. Starting my truck in the morning is definitely an adventure and actually driving it on the freeway would be enough to thrill most adrenaline junkies. Digging around through the refridgerator to figure out what to take for lunch can cause some heavy heart-pounding and finding that perfect meal is like discovering a hidden treasure. I’ve learned it’s all about perspective.

I don’t always need to be exploring a jungle in Mexico or getting my passport stamped in Tunisia, there are times for that. Usually I can enjoy dangerous living vicariously by watching “Whale Wars” or reading “Harry Potter”. I love my life, I love how there is so much unknown amongst the routine, and I love that I have an awesome wife to experience all of this with.

So whether I’m at home in California, eating gyros in Greece, or running with the bulls in Spain, I will find adventure and adventure will find me.

Deserted Island – Book Series

If I was stuck on a deserted island, I could use some good books to read. If I could take 5 book series with me to help pass the days, here is what I would take:

1. The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling

2. The Lord of the Rings Series – J.R.R. Tolkein

3. The Wheel of Time Series – Robert Jordan

4. The Belgariad and Malloreon Series – David Eddings

5. The Courtney and Ballantyne Series – Wilbur Smith