Tada! Wonders!

Don’t worry! It’s safe to come in here. There is nary a single Potteriffic spoiler to be found! I promise. I can promise this because I have not yet read the book. I know! I don’t even own it yet! I KNOW! My friends are horrified and outraged. They want to discuss it with me this minute! I mean, how can I call myself a children’s book author and not have read Book Seven THE MINUTE IT CAME OUT or you know at least the twenty-four hours afterwards since that’s probably how long it would take if you didn’t stop for anything and why would you I mean it’s at long last book seven book seven book seven!?

Apparently, everyone has forgotten that we already went through all this when book six came out. Yes, I am an enormous Harry Potter fan, and no, I am not jaded by the fact that I doubt her editor gets much say anymore (although I think editors are very important and essential and pretty!), nor does the merchandising empire bother me, and I’m sure I will lurve book seven to bits and pieces once I have it, which will be soon.

But! There are many authors I love just as much as JK Rowling if not more (gasp! sacrilege!), and I’m not reading their books the very second they come out, either. Really, the main reason to read this book right now right now right now is because (a) people want to talk to me about it, (b) I want to be part of the zeitgeist, too, and (c) I’m sure there are already spoilers lurking everywhere. Although it certainly helps that I rarely leave the house, nor do I watch or read news unless it’s about something very very important like TV (I mean, did you see the Emmy nominations? seriously now!).

Also! I am patiently waiting for my copy to arrive from Canada. BWAH? Canada! How un-American of me! Well, exactly. I like to read Harry Potter with all the British spellings intact. It’s like casting British actors in the movies. Also! The Canadian/British versions are more compact, so they’re easier to carry around. AND! Why the Canadian and not the British? Because the Canadian version is printed on “100% ancient-forest-free paper, 100% post-consumer recycled processed chlorine free”! I’m not entirely sure what all that means, but it sounds lovely and good for the world, especially for a 200-million print run of a 5,000-page book (numbers may be slightly exaggerated). Think of all the saved trees! It is TOTALLY worth waiting a few extra days for my copy to save all them trees. Right?

Anyway, I shouldn’t be reading giant addictive books right now, since I’m supposed to be finishing my own less-giant, less-addictive book, so even when HP7 gets here, I’m not going to let myself read it until this manuscript of mine is turned in. That’s the plan! We’ll see what happens to my self-control once it’s actually here. Sitting on the desk. Staring at me. And hopefully my friends will still be speaking to me in a month.

As I pledged in my last entry, I have intrepidly forged a path to my desk chair, and from here I can’t actually see the TV where Danny and Anya are waiting eternally to waltz for me, so I am getting much much more accomplished, hooray!

Also, who wouldn’t be happy when there’s somebody like this out there. O.M.G! Did we know about this? Are there people who knew about this and didn’t tell me? This guy is RIDIKKULOUS, as certain reality judges might say. Seriously, watch his videos (you can also find them by searching for “Greg Pattillo” on YouTube). And don’t worry, Mom, they won’t make your computer explode. Except with AWESOMENESS!

I found this guy by reading Jane Espenson’s brilliant blog, which led me to
John Hodgman’s hilarious blog, where he posted a Greg Pattillo video, something I haven’t quite figured out how to do yet. My goodness. The things you find when you’re supposed to be researching what cowrie shells are (snails! who knew? everyone? OK, then) or where on the Nordic World Tree Mimir’s spring of wisdom would be. (Er, no reason.)

I also realized I never closed out this blog’s only real arc so far, which was: What are the New Seven WONDERS OF THE WORLD? OOOOOOOOO! Did you all go look and see? Did you vote? Well, if you didn’t, you only have yourselves to blame, and don’t think the Sydney Opera House doesn’t blame you, too.  🙂

Here are your winners!:

Machu Picchu, Peru

I’ve been here! It totally deserves to win. For one thing, at night it is full of chinchillas. Seriously! Chinchillas! If that shouldn’t automatically qualify you as a wonder, I don’t know what would.

The Taj Mahal, India

The Great Wall of China

I haven’t been to either of those, but I still know they ought to be on this list, as I think I said way back when. I mean, walls you can see from space and entirely white large shiny things are inherently impressive.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Go Mayans! Represent! I haven’t been here either, but I will one day, because I nearly went to graduate school to study Mayan art instead of going into publishing. Imagine, if I’d done that, there’d be no blog to read! Horrors! Or maybe there would be, but it’d be more about temples and jaguars and playing ball with the heads of decapitated prisoners or sticking a vine of thorns through your tongue to get in touch with the gods. EEEE! Can you see why I was tempted to study them? The Mayans totally ruled (although it might have been rough to be one, especially, say, one of the sacrificed virgins or decapitated prisoners).

(Man, I totally made that alternate world blog sound more interesting than this one, didn’t I? OK, I’d also talk a lot about pottery shards. And how hot it is in Guatemala. And how many mosquitoes there are. And the complex socioeconomic forces that brought about the decline of the Mayan empire. Did you fall asleep when I said socioeconomic? Me too. That’s why I’m doing what I do instead, where I can write about beheadings and temples without having to be all smart about pottery and ethnozzzzzzz…)

The Colosseum, Italy

I’ve been here, too, and although I didn’t vote for it, I’m OK with it winning. It is pretty cool. I mean, it’s no Alhambra (poor Alhambra), but then, Russell Crowe never killed a tiger in the gardens of the Alhambra (as far as we know…I mean, dude is a bit crazy), so how could it really compete?

Apparently the Colosseum used to be called the Flavian Amphitheatre. Hmm. I don’t know if it could have won with a name like that. COLOSSEUM! is much more kick-ass.

Wow, Wikipedia is a morass of fascinating trivia. Here’s what I’ve learned today: You know the “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” you see in these kinds of movies, where the emperor is like, “OK, let him live” or “death! bloodshed! woo!” Well, apparently it was actually the other way around — the thumbs up meant “kill the gladiator,” as in, send his soul to the gods up above. Whereas thumbs down meant “stick your swords in the ground and let him live.” Isn’t that incredible? This is very important information! I mean, what if you accidentally go back in time and get mistaken for the emperor of Rome in an amusing case of mistaken identity and then get whisked away to a gladiator fight and then try to give the thumbs up to save somebody only to have them get stabbed instead because you believed what you saw in the movies? I bet the resulting “AAH WHAT ARE YOU DOING THAT WAS A THUMBS UP YOU IDIOT” would probably blow your cover as emperor, and then you might have to fight lions and tigers yourself. See, all because of a little historical inaccuracy. But now you know, so you’ll be all right. Phew!

Petra, Jordan

OK, this place looks kind of amazing. I have to admit, the only thing I knew about Petra is that they filmed Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade there, and OK, I didn’t actually know that, but I looked at the picture and was like, “hey, that looks familiar — didn’t Indiana Jones find the Holy Grail there?” and Google helpfully confirmed that yes, he sure did. I also learned that Sean Connery is only twelve years older than Harrison Ford. !!! Scandal in the Jones family!

Christ Redeemer, Brazil

You know, I think I actually have been here, since we drove to Rio from Paraguay when I was like, six or something, but the fact that I don’t remember it doesn’t seem like a good sign for it being a Wonder! of! the! World!, does it? Well, I have vague memories of something glowing on a hill. Does it actually glow? I have no idea. Also, it’s only, like, seventy-six years old, to which five-thousand-year-old Stonehenge says: “Are you frakking kidding me?” But hey, at least it’s been featured on the Amazing Race! Can’t say that about Stonehenge…

And, of course, the Great Pyramids of Egypt were accorded special Always and Forever Wonder Status, basically because they stamped their feet and complained, but that’s OK, because if anyone’s allowed to have a tantrum and get their way, the only surviving Ancient Wonder of the World should.

So there you have it. Sorry, Angkor Wat. Sorry, Easter Island. Tough luck, Timbuktu. Maybe if you last another thousand years, we’ll think about it.

But! The excitement isn’t over yet! Because NOW they’re looking for nominations for…(drumroll)…the Seven NATURAL Wonders of the World! WOO! The drama continues! And we get to help with nominations, too! Whatcha think? I bet I’ve been to even fewer of these. For instance, I have totally never been to the Grand Canyon. OMG, I know, although I have flown over it. Did you know that you could fit the entire world’s population inside it? I’m assuming stacked on top of one another, and it sure wouldn’t be comfortable, but still, isn’t that fascinating? I learned that online, too, perhaps while researching caves in Borneo (how did people write books before the internet? probably by not reading about dance reality shows all the time, is how).

(Speaking of which, apparently my two favorites are dancing together tomorrow night: Lacey and Danny! EEEEEEP! Ridikkulously exciting.)

So I have no idea what could be nominated for the Natural Wonders — well, Victoria Falls, I assume (haven’t been there)…maybe Ayers Rock? (haven’t been there)…perhaps the world’s biggest cave, in Borneo (basically, if it involves hiking, it’s safe to assume I haven’t been there). But I will alertly keep an eye on it and update you if anything exciting happens. Because I am totally sure you care.

Back to work! Harry Potter 7 is winging its way toward me as we speak! Must finish manuscript tout suite!

Quote of the Day:
Professor Henry Jones: Those people are trying to kill us!
Indiana Jones: I know, Dad!
Professor Henry Jones: This is a new experience for me.
Indiana Jones: It happens to me all the time.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade