Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I finished reading the latest Harry Potter book last evening, and I have to say, I liked it, though I lament Jo Rowling's choices of who to kill. Spoilers ahead.

Of all the characters to kill, why did she have to kill Dobby? Mad-Eye Moody, I can understand, he'd have wanted it that way, but Dobby? And why Fred? He was my favorite Weasley twin. She should have killed Percy, that would have been so much better.

The book is long, half past seven hundred pages. There was alot to get through, so I can understand it, but there were times when I just wished the filler would get over. Weeks and months in the book's time line where nothing of note really happened got boring. I will say that the action scenes were worth it though, and the complexity of the plot definitely held my interest.

And why did she have to kill Snape, who risked his life to protect Harry for years. I can see why a happily ever after wouldn't have worked for Snape, he wasn't very lovable.

The way the book was woven throughout with hints, shadows, and call backs was quite interesting. I think it was a fitting way to end the series. In the end, it was Voldemort's own doing with the help of Snape that brought his life finally to a conclusion. The book speaks so much of love, and it was Harry's love of the others that protected them after Harry's apparent death.

I especially liked the way that Rowling brought Dumbledore back. Toward the middle of the book, I began to realize that Dumbledore was either controlling things from beyond the grave, or had properly set things in motion before he died. The reader, just as Harry, was led to doubt Dumbledore, but he put things in perspective in the end.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Of course, I do not believe witchcraft has any power, so that part of the story is of no account to me. And the morals of the story are sufficiently acceptable, good wins, love conquers, evil never prospers, that fluff. The story is entertaining, and contains enough trivia to keep you interested in the whole series. I have always enjoyed fictional universes.

Back to the real universe.

Yes, News!

I've just completed construction on my new sawdust toilet. It's out in the carport with the stain drying. I'll try to get up some pictures as soon as it's actually in operation but for some imaginary pics, just imagine a box about the size that a toilet without the tank might fit in. The box is made from oak plywood with a standard store bought oak toilet seat with brass hinges.

Though it has been in the planning stages for a few months since I read "The Humanure Handbook," I was forced to build the toilet after I found out I'd have to tear up the whole floor in my bathroom because of a water leak from the toilet supply line. That would leave me with no toilet for a few days or even weeks. So, I decided to build the sawdust toilet.

Construction was easy, though my toilet was a bit more complicated and expensive than "normal" ones are. In fact, if you can find some scrap lumber, old buckets, and a toilet seat, it would be essentially free. Mine cost $40 for the plywood, half of which is left over and $10 for the seat as well as some 2" screws, hinges and stain. My wife knows a woman whose husband is a carpenter, and they say we can have all the sawdust we want. I did have to buy buckets, but you can get those at any paint or big department store with a home improvement section.

Take a look around the internet for sawdust toilets and the theory behind their operation. It's basically a hot compost operation, allowing plenty of time to cook and cure. Then enjoy the richest compost you could imagine. After all the stuff I've read about composting toilets going wrong, I haven't found any complaints with the sawdust composting method, in fact, I've read a number of articles and stories about people who have been doing it for years.

The benefits are vast, especially from a sustainable living viewpoint. Think of all the water not wasted flushing the toilet, and all the energy and pollution saved from not treating that water both before and after the toilet. But the best part is that the nutrients go back into the garden or lawn or wherever you decide to put it. Returning the nutrients to the soil is something that rarely goes on in today's huge fertilizer fed farms.

I'll probably be using it for the first time some time tomorrow so I'll keep you up to date.

This poo's for you!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Christian Environmentalism the Jesus Way

Check out this video.

By "the Jesus way" what I mean is living by example. Matthew Sleeth is the only environmentalist activist I have ever seen who actually lives by example. That's the kind of thing Jesus would do. Check out Dr. Sleeth in a recent Mars Hill Bible Church sermon. Then check out the sermon the week after that with Rob Bell, a good follow up.