Friday, April 29, 2011

Travelling in Time and Space... to Friday

Hey girls, I graduate from college tomorrow!! I'll be getting up at the ridiculous hour of 6:30 (ridiculous for me) to head down to The Big House and officially become a U of M alumna. I seriously considered putting this post off until tomorrow because today was completely full of graduation ceremonies, I'm exhausted, and I have to get up early. All the punishments have been so vindictive, though, that I was too scared to go down that road... so here I am!

Oh, also, before I move onto obsessions, I just want to quickly mention the royal wedding! My roommate and I got into the wedding in a bit of a ridiculous way: dvring specials about the royals, watching specials on will's and kate's relationship... and of course watching the wedding live at 6 am today. I know some people find the whole thing just ridiculous and a waste of time, but I thought it was all really nice and sweet and she was just so pretty, guys! I really, really loved her dress. I just have to say that. Quite possibly the prettiest wedding dress I've ever seen.

Sooo... obsessions! This topic probably couldn't have come on a better week because I have been newly flung back into the throes of Doctor Who obsession. If you guys don't watch/keep up to date with Doctor Who, the new season just started last Saturday (new episode tomorrow!!!) and it was CRAZY. My friend and I (he's also obsessed) actually made a google doc of theories about the new episode and it's not over five pages in length. All about the season premiere, no other information. Anyway, I got into Doctor Who almost exactly a year ago (last April). Now, I haven't watched any Old Who, I'm completely a New Who girl at the moment- something I hope to eventually change. So, last April: I get hooked on Doctor Who thanks to my friend Kyle and I zoomed through the first 5 seasons in about... a month I'd say. By the time I'd gotten through seasons 1-4, season 5's finale had already aired, so I never had to wait week-to-week for an episode until this year (except the Christmas special, of course). It... is.... agonizing! I'm loving the theorizing though, it reminds me of old school Harry Potter days, waiting 2+ years for the next book to come out and in the meantime analyzing every single single for some semblance of a clue. I miss it.

Another obsession I want to mention is Lord of the Rings, specifically the movies. I like the books too, of course, but I love love love the movies. My friends and I would watch the movies (and the commentary!) over and over until we could recite nearly every line. This also includes the behind the scenes featurettes. Those have got to be the best behind the scenes features any movie has ever known. Billy, Dom, Elijah, Sean, Orlando, Viggo, and many more.... just amazing. I tried to find a more descriptive way to describe my love for those movies, but I failed. And the new Hobbit movie being filed right now? I'll sum up my feelings on that thusly: OSIDJF;AOSIDJFOSIJFO SIDJFOAIJDFOIJASODFIJ WROSJDFJA.

Also, I want to just mention Firefly. Now, I'm not obsessed- YET, but that's because I just started watching it! I'm glad there weren't any spoilers in anyone's posts (thanks, guys!) and I want to just put this out there right now- I'm not done with it yet and haven't seen Serenity so please no spoilers yet!! I'm watching it on SciFi because they started playing it and so far I'm 9 episodes in, so almost done. It's taking longer than it normally takes me to watch a tv show season, though, because I'm only watching one a week as they're played on SciFi. Please go easy on me guys! I must say though that so far I'm loving it. I'm still not completely into the story line per se, but I lovelovelove the characters.

Alexandra: Yu-Gi-Oh!! In middle school I would come home every day from school and watch Yu-Gi-Oh. I never got into the card game, but wow did I love that show. And I loved Yu-Gi-Oh Abriged! I need to thank you for bringing that up because I'd actually almost forgotten about it!

Cassie: I just made a new HP-obsessed friend a few weeks ago (yay!) and she recommended Ministry of Magic to me too. I actually know some of their songs because I sub Luke and Jason on youtube, but I've been meaning to listen to more of their stuff!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday is Gorram Shiny!

Gorramit all of you for mentioning Firefly as on of your obsessions and therefore stealing some of my thunder for my post today! However, I am determined to out-geek all of you (though probably not possible because I'm too lazy). Also, the question that has been burning in your mind all week will be answered. In riddle form (devilish wink). However, it is a very easy riddle. What is the lowest prime number minus the only non-prime number less than the lowest prime number. And if you can't figure that one out, I will post it in a less confusing form next week.

Now, on to my obsessions >:D. Obviously, I've already mentioned Firefly, and this was my main addiction for almost two years (peanuts compared to the eight years of blind Harry Potter devotion, but still, our first loves are our best right?). It was one of those things that I had heard about years before I decided to try it, and only ended up watching it because a friend recommended it and I had nothing better to do that weekend (like every weekend in my sophomore year of high school, and indeed, my junior and senior year as well). I fell in love as soon as I saw Dr. Tam. Also, the sick joke that Captain Reynolds (aka Captain Tightpants) pulls on Simon in that pilot episode was the funniest thing to me for a long time. And at that point in my life, I needed hot doctors and funny space cowboys. If I had any money, I would go on a Browncoat cruise (or actually buy a browncoat, and a Jayne hat, and Nathan Fillion). I even bought all the comics even though they aren't as good and none of them take place after the movie. And speaking of Serenity, the first time I watched the movie the DVD skipped a very (VERY!!!) important scene, and I completely missed out on a beloved character death and didn't realize it until it was brought up in the next scene (I think a little bit of me died in that moment).

The best thing about Firefly is that it's the gift that keeps on giving. Because of Firefly I also watched Dollhouse (Yay Alan Tudyk as Alpha!), Castle (Yay Nathan Fillion as anybody!), Waitress (good movie), Slither (funny, disturbing movie), Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog (with Commentary: The Musical also, which is definately a must), and most recently the movie Super, in which Nathan Fillion has a cameo as a televangelist superhero (with long lustrous brown locks of glorious hair). The last one I only recommend to those who can appreciate gore (lots of gore) and sex (not a lot but sorta disturbing at points).

I've also had brief obsessions with Smallville (I could tell you who had guest-starred in which season on which episode and why they were important to the Superman mythos at one point), Chuck (and I will be obsessed again when I have season 4 on DVD), Psych (I made it a thing to understand every single pop culture reference and I'm up to about 70% comprehension per each episode), Eragon (haters, please give it up; yeah he's not the best writer and the elves are very Tolkien-ish but it's got it's own spin on things and Roran is a total bad-ass), Sarah Dessen novels (I love crying when I read books for some reason), His Dark Materials (These books sort of opened my eyes to the larger faults of Christianity and organized religion and also told a very amazing story, and are definately the anti-Narnias), Neil Gaiman (first with Stardust, then with Sandman, now I would pay my entire savings to read his grocery lists), and Percy Jackson (well, mostly Greek Mythology but I love teen reader series, especially if they mention Greek Mythology or British spies ala Alex Rider).

I guess, after looking at the above list, that I'm pretty much obsessed with books and TV shows, so not much has really changed for me, but I love how much random trivia I gain from all of it, and I can make Star Trek references and understand Star Wars jokes, and it just makes my life all the more shiny :).

Two by two, hands of blue.

Casey, out!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday is Dancingly On Time!

Casey: I guess #2 as well! And good job with the punishment.

Christina: What did you play in pit orchestras? That’s where the bulk of my theatrical experience lies as well.

Cassie: I vote we have a Firefly week. : ) And if there are any of us that don’t know Firefly, your life will be better once you do.

Now I shall briefly regale you with my various obsessions. The first began when I was about 10. I was bored and had nothing to read, so my mother gave me an old book of hers called The Dolphins of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. Before too long, I was reading and rereading every book from the Dragonriders of Pern series I could get my paws on. I trolled bookstores to find new titles, and I even emailed Anne McCaffrey herself one day—and got a response! (That was a pretty good day…) I will be frank: I got a bit weird about it. I had an imaginary dragon, learned to draw dragon pictures, crocheted sweaters for my stuffed dragons (who came to school with me and sat on my desk), and designed dragon versions of Bead Buddies (remember those lizards?), which I wore on a lanyard around my neck. I’m not sure how I thought that was a good thing… but those dragons were my adolescence. It was intense.

My obsessions these days are more numerous but faaarrrr less in-depth. I tend to find TV shows that capture my fancy, and then I watch all of them that I can on Netflix and other various resources. Notable inclusions are NCIS, Firefly, Futurama, Lie to Me, Arrested Development, 30Rock, and Scrubs. I also tend to fall in love with webcomics relatively easily—current favorites are Natalie Dee (the whole group), xkcd, Buttersafe, Cyanide & Happiness, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and AmazingSuperPowers (among others).

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… 796 words of pure sparkle.

A bit of a disclaimer: I was, once upon a time, a relative fan of Twilight. The first book is really pretty okay. That being said, this was really, really difficult to do. It doesn’t help that I am not used to maintaining narratives for more than about 200 words (I’m a bit of a vignette-er.)

Here goes…

A burst of light.

A brisk breeze that neither cooled nor warmed.

A popping sound, then tearing.

The wind picked up speed.

Her eyes cracked open, and then shut again, exhausted and angry at the brightness that assaulted them.

The tearing sound grew closer and closer, until Bella was forced to open her eyes and expose them to the offensive light that had somehow engulfed her.

There was nothing to see, apart from a blindingly luminous glow. She assumed that she was outside, as that would be the only way to explain the wind that blew with increasing intensity. Bella opened her eyes fully and tried to sit up, but found that she was unable—and sit up from what? She realized with dawning confusion that she was not, in fact, laying down on anything at all, but seemed to be hovering. There was no up, there was no down; there seemed to be no boundaries whatsoever. Bella’s wonder began to mix with panic.

There!—a flash of something… something metallic? Bella tried to turn her head to follow the direction of the flash, but soon found that she was unable to move at all. She glanced around, squinting through the haze that was beginning to form on the edges of her vision. Of her own body, she could only see her arms stretched out in front of her, her skin sparkling like diamonds. She was outside, then, and this was sunlight.

She shut her eyes tightly for a moment, glad to have at least that slight ability of movement. When she opened them again, the ripping sound had grown to a roar, and she saw something in the approaching distance. She couldn’t tell what it was, but it sparkled like diamonds.


The haze overtook her.


Sudden silence awoke Bella from her unconsciousness. The tearing sound had ceased abruptly. She opened her eyes cautiously, anxiously, tiredly, and saw that the sparkling thing was still approaching. But that’s not all she could see: the blinding light had subsided somewhat, and she could see that she was, in fact, in midair. And, gauging by the rapid movement of the earth below her, she appeared to be flying.


Bella knew she did not have the power of flight; the only vampire she had ever met with that particular ability had been a young woman they had encountered at the Massacre of 3015. That had been many centuries ago—a mere drop in the bucket, though, of Bella’s already two-millennia-long life as a vampire.

So why was she flying?

Clearly, that answer would not come of its own accord. She could still not move any part of her except her eyes, so she could see nothing to any side of her save for that which was in front of her.

The sparkling thing continued to approach—or, rather, she continued to approach it, she reasoned. She focused her improving sight on discerning its shape.

Soon, Bella realized that the object had been approaching her after all, just as she had been flying towards it. It was a personal transport pod, a very antique model from the late 4500s. These days, people traveled by mindport. Who would be zipping around in a pod?

The transport pod slowed as it reached Bella, and just as she caught up with it, it changed direction, matched her speed, and flew next to her over the vast expanse of clouds and earth below. Its smooth silver surface glittered in the sunlight.

Bella tried to call out to whoever would be flying the pod, but she found she could not open her mouth. She attempted to call out with her mind, in case the person could read her thoughts (though no one had ever been able to in her entire existence, save one person, and that person was long gone). But to no avail: while her mind could project, all she got in return was the tearing sound that had awoken her mid-flight in the first place, however long ago that had been.

The silver sunshield that covered the pod’s surface retracted partway, revealing a video recorder’s glistening eye. She stared into that eye and, to her surprise, it seemed to blink.

“What the hell kind of video recorder blinks?” Bella wondered. She knew technology had made immense progress in recent centuries, in part because of Edward’s contributions to the fields of technogenetics and electrobiology.

The sunshield folded back along the egg-shaped inner glass windshield. Within the pod was something she never could have expected. The eye was attached to a monstrous face, one she had grown to love, then know, then understand, then hate, then fear:


Tune in next week [read: NEVER] for a continuation of this Adventure of Bella: Vampire of the 51st Century!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday's Time to D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL!

I ate about twenty cupcakes in the past week. My stomach is rebelling against me. It doesn't help that, just before I bought these cupcakes, I had all of my fillings removed (I am getting them replaced today, since they were cracked), so decade old cavities were exposed to sugar. Good stuff. At least we've picked a place for our wedding cupcakes (because cupcakes > cake).

@Cassie; Oh, I agree, I think it is simply a matter of perspective. Harry is our viewpoint character, so the Slytherins are near unanimously evil, or at least rather unpleasant. I don't really mind that fact; it is just how the stories are written. But I still like the Slytherins the best, even if we only see them as the slimy snakes Harry sees them as.

@Christina; Plane tickets. :P

Obsessions, eh? I don't know if I really have any, truth be told. I am a big fan of certain fandoms, certain authors, certain things. But Harry Potter hit me at a stage in my life where an obsession was something I really could have. I own a Slytherin tie, a Slytherin plushie, an engraved wooden plaque of the Hogwarts emblem, the $100 edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, all that. It lingers on from my nostalgia - I do the midnight shows, even though I am not as huge a fan as I once was. Most of the things I liked back then have also become far less of an interest to me. The only reason I know all of the original Pokémon is because I can remember the lyrics to any song I hear (I wonder if there is a word for that). Buffy the Vampire Slayer has only lingered in my heart because of Angel, which I liked later in my teenage years. I had a thing for BL manga (boy's love) that has near entirely faded. Aside from the rare spark of enthusiasm for Darkwing Duck or something similar, I rarely get that old feeling of obsession back save for two series. Harry Potter is the first; I've covered that. The second is Yu-Gi-Oh!

I hit this show up a bit later than I did Harry Potter. I think I would have been in 5th or 6th grade, so 10 or 11. I watched every episode that was out - about a season - and I kept up with it religiously every Saturday morning. The first good friend I had based on something other than geographical location (my previous best friends were twin sisters who lived next door) was met because she had a Yu-Gi-Oh! t-shirt on, and it turned out, she was also a gamer and Harry Potter nerd. The result of that friendship is quite a tale, one for another week. Yu-Gi-Oh! introduced me to anime, something I really loved in high school and still appreciate, if significantly less, to this day. It ran for several years, and once it ended, GX came out (a series that takes place in the future, with an academy to learn to play card games). After that, 5Ds (CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES). We are now on Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, which takes it a step further by using augmented reality. There were a few rather terrible movies and side series, as well. The first manga I ever owned was the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, the earliest season which never came to America (mostly because it had little to do with duel monsters, and instead featured death games and tabletop RPGs prominently). My decision to buy a new game console hinged on if a new Yu-Gi-Oh! game was out for it. I didn't buy a Gamecube or XBox until the systems came out with Yu-Gi-Oh! games, though the games on those systems were terrible. I owned a few tins worth of cards, had all the really powerful ones and all of my favorite sets. I still do own a good deal of them. And, of course, there is Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged.

The concept of the 'Abridged' series, now popular on YouTube, pretty much started with Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged (though I imagine it was inspired, in part, by Shakespeare Abridged). If one thing kept my love of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series going, it was comedy based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! series. Harry Potter had Potter Puppet Pals (and later A Very Potter Musical), Yu-Gi-Oh! had Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged. And it was, and still is, absolutely hilarious.

The long running series, the long running comedy web show, and the simple fact that - no matter how ridiculous the show got - the card game was bloody amazing and really fun to play kept me attached to Yu-Gi-Oh! past the time when I would have (perhaps should have) likely stopped caring. It was just unique. I have a good history with the series, and I continue to watch it and buy the cards and sometimes even the perpetually terrible video games. I don't even know why. I much prefer the Pokémon games and franchise as a whole, but I don't have that same attachment to it, the same nostalgia (an oddity, really, as Pokémon Yellow was the first game I ever called my own), or the same - well - obsession.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday has a tremendous love for Aaron Sorkin

Hello, girls! It’s Monday! And – Yay, Harry Potter! Seriously, you can expect more HP theme weeks in the future because I could talk Harry Potter for weeks on end and not get tired. But everyone else might, so I won’t.

Though I will, to be fair, spend a decent bit of time here talking more about Harry Potter. What can I say? I have responses to all your points. :)

Alexandra: I, too, share a fascination with Slytherins – to an extent. Draco is the one who continuously captures my interest, though Snape is captivating, too. But my main fascination with the house is how they became what they were in the series’s present day. I believe very strongly in the idea that history is written by the winners, and I think that while the Slytherins we saw mostly fit into the “evil” category, I refuse to believe that they were always supposed to be that way. I like to think that Salazar was not actually as bad a guy as everyone made him out to be, and I’d really love to hear his side of why the split occurred. I also love to think about what Slytherin house can become if people stop focusing only on the negative qualities of the house, because each house has positive and negative aspects (Gryffindors are brave but can be foolhardy, impulsive, reckless; Ravenclaws are intelligent but can be cold, aloof; Hufflepuffs are hard-working and loyal, but can be stubborn and exclusive, etc.). To me, Slytherins’ positive aspects are their ambition, practicality, and logic. Anyway, enough waffling on that from me.

Carlyn: How do I feel about giving presentations in class? Well, it depends on the class, honestly, how comfortable or excited I am with/about the topic, how important the presentation is to my grade, how well prepared I feel, etc. I know, I know, I can’t just answer a question simply, can I, but that is the truth. I hated giving my Spanish class presentations, but I loved workshopping monologues in acting classes. But I also got much more stressed about presenting an oral report to Sara Chambers (a strict directing professor that I really admire) than to Ray Schuck (a disorganized communications professor I had little respect for). So yeah. It depends.

Casey: Okay, so here’s my thing with Snape. I agree with you to an extent. Snape was an asshole. There’s no way around that, and I would never try to deny it. He was an awful teacher, showing favoritism and verbally abusing students he didn’t like. Even outside of his classroom, he was incredibly petty and bitter, emotionally and mentally abusive to students and old classmates alike. He was not a nice guy. But I can’t entirely dismiss him. I don’t know that I can ever really give him “love,” but it’s possible, and often necessary, to recognize the good a person did without subscribing to his values or glossing over the weaknesses of character.

My point is this: Snape did the right thing, and he was very courageous about it. He did the right thing for the absolutely wrong reasons, but he still did the right thing, and he took great risks in doing so. He knowingly and willingly alienated himself from pretty much everyone, and his actions were driven by love. A twisted, corrupt, and damaged love, but love. Snape, to me, is a cautionary tale, and we have to acknowledge the good along with the bad for two reasons. One, we made him and two, he is what we could very easily become. Snape became a bully because he was bullied. That’s a cycle that we can see just about everywhere. He became a bully because he was bullied, by his father, by his classmates, and the only person who might have been able to change that chose his bullier over him. And as for becoming Snape, he let disappointment and pain and emotional scarring turn him bitter. He let his love turn into an unhealthy obsession that he could never get past. He’s not that far off from any of us, a bad situation, and a few bad choices.

So no, he’s not a good guy. But we need to consider all of him and the context in which he existed.

. . . Sorry about that. Harry Potter does this to me . . . :)

Christina: I’M SO EXCITED YOU KNOW FROM WIZARD ROCK!!! I discovered Wizard Rock a few years ago, and I love it. I love that it exists, I love how it came to be, I love how widespread it is. My favorite bands are The Butterbeer Experience, Riddle TM, The Moaning Myrtles, and the Ministry of Magic. I got to see Lena’s farewell tour last summer, and I’m hoping to get to more concerts this summer (fingers crossed!)

And now onto this week’s topic. Now that I’ve, you know, already rambled a ton about Snape and Slytherins and what have you.

No other series has affected me to the degree that Harry Potter has, I’ll say that right off. There have been other series whose final books I have waited for and then read day of release. There have been other fandoms I have written in or posted in forums for. There have been other movies I’ve gone to midnight showings of. But there has yet to be a series that holds me past a few months.

That tends to be a thing with me: I’ll get obsessed for three months or so, but then I get over it, for whatever reason. Either the fandom isn’t large enough for a following I can get involved in, or I have to stop watching the show on TV or any other number of reasons. But over the years, I have hooked onto a variety of series, and I’ll touch on them briefly.

First of all, I’m an Aaron Sorkin fangirl. I watched The West Wing religiously from season three to season seven, I own all seven seasons on DVD and watch them regularly, and I can quote pretty much every episode. When it was on, The West Wing was my show. Even now, The West Wing is my show. You should be around when my older brother and I get going. We can exchange quotes back and forth for a solid five minutes, jumping characters, episodes, and seasons in the blink of an eye, and good luck keeping up. I’m also a diehard Studio 60 fan, and consider its cancellation after a single season to be a travesty of epic proportions.

I also fell in love with Firefly as soon as I watched it, and I imagine that show will stick with me through the years, as well. I love Simon and River and their relationship, and there’s so much fodder attached to that show that I can latch onto. Cancelled before the end of its season? Yes, please, let’s write some fanfiction and let our imaginations run wild.

I also got really attached to Heroes for the first two seasons. I participated in forums and wrote fanfiction and was obsessed with the show. But then I stopped watching because my schedule got too insane, and I’ve never gone back and actually finished the series. I’ve seen through the beginning of season three, but not beyond. Eventually, I’ll get back to it, probably, but I’ll never reobsess, I don’t think.

As for book series, I waited with bated breath for the last books in Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series, Kate Constable’s Chanters of Tremaris trilogy, and Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching quartet. I also blew through the entire Percy Jackson series in two days (in my defense, it was summer and I had nothing else to do. I don’t usually power through books like that), and they’ve come close to hitting me like Harry Potter did. I follow the Once Upon a Time series releases religiously, and I have a handful of authors I’ll read whenever they come out with something new, but there’s nothing at the moment that I’d go to a midnight release for.

I think Harry Potter just hit me at the right moment. I grew up with him, which is why I’d say The West Wing comes closest to being an obsession. I also grew up with that show, so it holds a special place in my heart.

So, yeah. I’m a Harry Potter fan, a Wingnut, a Browncoat, and also a Trekkie (Voyager and Enterprise, mostly, though I didn’t touch on it here). How about you?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week Seven: Obsessions . . .

I think it only fitting that we follow up Harry Potter week by talking about some of our other obsessions. Has any other story from your past (book, TV show, movie, video game, etc), affected you in the same way as Harry Potter? Even if not, what are some other things that you have attached yourself to in the past?

Carlyn, I think it's safe to say that we are all looking forward to your punishment this week!

Read you later!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Harry Potter Harry Potter Harry Potter!!!

I'm getting myself in the perfect mood for this post by listening to Harry & The Potters as I type, "These Days Are Dark" is currently playing. I really want to do this post justice because Harry Potter has been such a big part of my life and I love the whole fandom so much. I have a lot of amazing HP memories, though, so I won't be able to get everything in without making this upwards of 10,000 words. I'm only slightly exaggerating.

Also, Casey- I'm going to guess memory number 2. And I thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts on the Biebs' new 'do. I'm also curious how it's going with the whole possible government shut-down? You mentioned earlier that it was less than desirable for you and I was wondering how things are going with that. I hope everything's going well!

Carlyn- Sorry we're all secretly evil masterminds. I can't pretend I'm too sorry though, I'm looking forward to seeing your wonderful, sparkly story. :D

Alexandra- Yikes, $600. Why did you have to pay so much to have a maid of honor? I'm interested to hear more about your wedding preparations! While I'm nowhere near ready to get married myself, it's interesting to hear about your experiences! Are you getting nervous?

Cassie- Good luck with the play and all the rehearsals! I don't have nearly as much experience with theatre as you (goes without saying), but I was in the pit orchestra for a few of the musicals in high school and those were some of the best memories I have from high school. I'm sure your students will look back on this and be really thankful for all your hard work. :)

Okay, onto Harry Potter! As I briefly mentioned last week, I initially turned my nose up at Harry Potter and thought it was a stupid fad that would pass. I didn't read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone until seventh grade, about a month before the first movie came out. I remember watching tv and a commercial for the movie came on. My mom asked me if I wanted to see it and I replied something to the effect of, "Psh, no, it's a stupid fad." I now shake my head at young Christina. So how did I end up reading it? In my seventh grade English class we had a period of time in which we had to silently read a book for pleasure, about 20 minutes or so. One day I had forgotten to bring a book. There was a bookshelf in the classroom for people who had forgotten a book, so I went over to find a book and found SS and thought, "Oh, what the hell." (To be more accurate, in seventh grade I probably would have thought "Oh, what the heck.") So I got through the first chapter or so in class and was kind of feeling it, but wasn't hooked. I kept reading when I got home that day and by the end of the night I was obsessed. I still have the little notebook in which I wrote down a list of Hogwarts school supplies that first fortuitous night.

Fast forward to now, I've had so many wonderful memories in this fandom, I love it so, so much. I started out writing some terrible fanfiction and being very active in the forums (especially HPANA). I was big into theorizing about what would happen in OotP (and then HBP and DH). A little anecdote I like to tell, I actually read a post by someone in the early days who said that they thought Voldemort had hidden part of his soul in Nagini and that always stuck with me right up until the end when, what??! It turned out to be true? It's funny to think that a piece of me knew (part of) the answer that whole time. So, let's see: fanfiction, forums, and theorizing. Oh, and how could I forget: HP role play. An online friend and I had a Hogwarts role play chat in which she was headmistress, I was deputy headmistress, and we would also teach classes. Good times... And then, junior year of high school, I found wizard rock! My friends and I went to our first Harry & The Potters show (for my birthday, and they sang me happy birthday!) and we've gone to quite a few more shows since then. In addition to HatP we've seen Draco and the Malfoys a few times when they toured with HatP and then we also saw The Remus Lupins and a live MuggleCast show when they did their tour in the summer of 2007 right after the DH release. (A fun sidenote, I just started watching Alex Carpenter on youtube and then realized that I have a picture with him from that tour. Takes on new significance now!) We also had the privilege of meeting Melissa Anelli at one of the HatP shows, so we like to joke that we're two degrees away from Jo now. One of the best memories, second only to the DH midnight book release, was going to the Wizarding World for its grand opening and seeing (most of) the cast. Just. Amazing. I recently starting putting together an album of pictures from my friends' and my best Harry Potter memories, so all these moments are especially fresh in my mind.

Okay, now for my thoughts on the books! I've never really had a favorite character. Well, actually I guess when I was younger Hermione was my favorite character because I practically was Hermione and really identified with her. A real bushy-haired, annoying know-it-all who had to be perfect. Now, however, I wouldn't say I have a favorite. Lately, though, I have really loved Lupin. I reread the series before DH Part 1 came out and after rereading PoA, I have a newfound respect for Lupin. He is just amazing. First of all, he was a great teacher and role model for Harry. But he's not without his weaknesses, as we saw in DH when he tries to run off with the trio and shirk his duties as a soon-to-be dad. I really wish we would have got to see more of Lupin and his struggles. But alas, we only see what Harry sees. Something I loved from the movies is that Dan had Harry emulate Lupin when he led Dumbledore's Army. It was his idea to have Harry wear the open cardigan and tie, just as Lupin dressed in PoA. Oh, Dan, you're made of awesome. Along with many others I also LOVE Neville. I've actually slightly seriously considered naming my (possible) future son Neville. I don't think I need to go into why I love Neville, especially because you guys have already touched on it and you already know how sweet Neville is.

Favorite book? Pre-OotP, it used to be GoF, in large part due to the extreme use it got during OotP theorizing. What did that gleam of triumph mean?? Second to GoF was CoS. And well, after OotP came out, it was still between GoF and CoS. I have to admit, I was one of those people who wasn't all that fond of OotP. No, no, I did love it, but it wasn't my favorite. And Harry was such an ANNOYING TEENAGER (sorry, just went a little OotP-era Harry there myself). But seriously guys, SO MUCH YELLING. After rereading OotP a few times though, I do like it a lot more than I initially did. Once HBP came out it was my favorite book. I know not everyone loved it, but I most definitely did. Some people didn't like how much it was focused on hormones, teen romance, and all that silly stuff. I liked that though, I thought it felt very real and relatable (due in no small part to the fact that I was 16 at the time like the trio and deep in the throes of teenage hormones). And yes, I like Harry/Ginny, and Ginny as the great character she is (suck it, haters!). And once we got DH, surely enough, that became my favorite and it still is. Not only was the story itself just fantastic, but Jo's writing also improved throughout the series and it's really evident in DH.

I'll third the motion of "Yay, foreign Harry Potter books!" Personally, I have the French copies of SS and HBP. Or should I say, Harry Potter à l'Ecole des Sorciers and Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort.

Lastly, I want to leave you guys with a quote that, for some reason or another, has always stuck in my head since I read it in seventh grade. From CoS: "He missed Hogwarts so much it was like having a constant stomach ache." I expect this is how I'll feel come July 15th.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Strikes Back!!!

First of all, I wear make-up any chance I get, because I feel the need to pamper myself after a week of playing army. This is also why I wear strange elaborate outfits on weekends. Actually, that's just the way I dress. But, I never touch my hair except to brush, blowdry (occasionally), or pull it back in a ponytail (which I can't do right now 'cause it's too short).

I have three Harry Potter Tales to tell you, and you shall guess which contains the true origins of my love (nay, obsession) with Harry Potter.

1-My mom gave me the choice of reading Harry Potter or cleaning my room. I, only reluctantly, chose the former. I thought it looked stupid.
2-My friend lent it too me and told me that if I didn't read it, she'd never play "Sewer Snake" with me again (fyi, Sewer Snake is a game of my own design, which is like tag on a bi-colored merry-go-round in which one can only be tagged on the designated color, which at the time of my childhood was brown).
3-The boy I liked was reading Harry Potter so I read it to impress him. It didn't work between us two (he never answered my note) but I stuck with Harry for the best eight years of my life (ages 9-16) and while we may not be as close as we once were, I will fight to the death for him.

The truth will be revealed to you all next Thursday (if I remember it).

Favorite Character: I too am a Neville FanBottom (that's what we call ourselves, it's true). I mean, come on, the boy was so cutely clumsy in the first three books, and starts to reveal his inner epicness from Book 4 and Beyond. Neville circa Deathly Hallows is a veritable bad-ass. He is an honorary Hufflepuff, and would have been our best if Jo hadn't needed him in Gryffindor so as to be a better friend and parellel to Harry.

My favorite moment happens to be included in both the books and the movies, and if you guessed The Seven Potters you have guessed correctly. The best Fred & George line is in this scene ("Hey, look! We're identical!") and getting to see Dan without his shirt on was a definate plus (I missed out on Equus :( )

Chamber of Secrets is my favorite book, though I can't really tell you exactly why. Maybe it's because Gilderoy Lockhart is such a git, and maybe it's because I like Ron's slug-vomiting scene. And maybe it's because Hermione ended up as a cat. Who knows? I just know that I love it the most, and you can't stop me. As for least favorite, I'd say Half-Blood Prince because so much of it felt like fan-fiction, and Harry was in extremely annoying single-minded form about Malfoy (I hate him when he's stupidly stubborn, but Harry often wins me over with his nobleness and personal sacrifice).

Also, I think Snape is being given too much love. Yeah, he was in love with Harry's mom and capable of good, and yeah, he was on Harry's side all along. But he was still an utter douchebag. And he still hated Harry and made his life miserable for no better reason than he wasn't the one with Lily, and James was.

And now, the moment you sadists have been waiting for. Let me first mention my initial ignorance of JB's new 'do (and it's definately a do, if you'll let me explain). For those of you ignorant of Beib's now outdated signature look, it is what I personally call "The Hot Lesbian" because it's a 'do very popular among good-looking women of the into women persuasion (for more info, google lesbians who look like justin beiber). This cut pretty much looks like he never cut his hair before, and let it fall in place every morning after brushing it (100 strokes). The new cut is much more modern, and is what I'll call "The Bedhead" because it's cut short enough that he can wake up in the morning and not have to brush it (so tired from last 'do) and still look like a million dollars. Which is what he paid his stylist for The Bedhead cut.

I think that JB's new hair is the best thing for him right now. It show's that he's trying to shed his old wigger image and become more deserving of his pop idol fame. By cutting his hair, which was an iconic symbol to his many fangirls, he shows that he is willing to shed his old image and take the next big step in his career; Puberty. Let us hope that with his mature looking hair, his body will soon catch up.

That is all. Casey, out.

...Seriously though, you guys are sadists, but looking forward to someone else's punishment :)


Wednesday Strikes Again!

Guess what, everybody! I’m staying true to my character, and posting late AGAIN. More apologies… I don’t expect you to be gentle. As of my writing this, Casey hasn’t yet posted for Thursday, so at least I get to keep some semblance of order. Eek…

Casey: Good luck with the punishment!

Christina: That would be awesome if we ended up in the same state! Perhaps we’ll even be at the same school. Time will tell! Good luck starting the application process!

Make up. I do wear it. Every day, in some form or another, though some days, time dictates that it’s only as a remnant of the make up from the day before. I like to work with color quite a bit (tangerine orange eye shadow is a bit of a staple, as is royal blue mascara), but I also have my au naturale days, where I just even out my skin and slide on a little black mascara.

Cassie: Welsh Philosopher’s Stone. Win.

Alexandra: Your birthday is the same as my father’s! Several decades later, of course. But yeah.

Now, my thoughts on HP…

My family started reading HP together right after the first book came out. Dad would read aloud to us, a chapter a night, all the way through the whole series. (We had to finish the seventh when I was home on a break from my freshman year of college.) All the characters had voices, most of which stayed relatively constant through the books. Hermione’s name, however, we couldn’t for the life of us figure out how to pronounce at first, so she was “Heather” throughout the reading of the first book : )

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love the HP series. I’ve been to several midnight movie premieres, read all the books, etc. But I honestly forget where each book ends and the next begins. I guess I’ll talk about it, then, in terms of my favorite facets of the series in general, without being able to label them by book. Help me out if you can!

I love Hermione’s transformation through the books. She starts as this obnoxious little know-it-all and develops into a (relatively) charismatic, loving, know-it-all leader. I like that she refines herself. I’d come up with details to support my point here, but I really want to get this posted before Thursday posts hers : )

I guess I never really thought about my loyalty to Hermione before, but there it is! I’m also a staunch fan of Neville and Hagrid, for various reasons.

An amusing anecdote for you:

This morning, I got an email notification from my online research participant scheduling system. The short version of the story is that I have two participants to run next Monday morning: Lily and James.

And I thought to myself, “How perfect! I’ll write about this in my late blog post, and it wouldn’t have been included if I had written on time!”

Okay, now a question for all of you: How do you feel about giving presentations in front of classes or other similarly large groups of people?

I think this is the shortest post I’ve had yet! Don’t worry… the next one will be longer, what with my punishment and all… Yay!...

See you shortly, Casey!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday thinks Lucius is Luscious

I just paid $600 so I could have a maid of honor at my wedding. Good stuff.

I consider myself a casual fan of make up. I don't really wear it myself, but I like the idea of it. I just don't have the face for it. I wear lip gloss or chap stick from time to time, mostly because I'm always biting or smacking my lips. I'll probably be wearing some light make up on the day of my wedding, if only for the sake of formality. But just going out around town, or chilling at home? No. Also, I just don't find it to be worth the price. Even drug store makeup costs more than I'd want to spend for the product I'm getting.

So, Harry Potter. I was introduced to the series when I was in the third grade. Our teacher would read us a chapter every day at the end of school, as we were antsy youngsters who just wanted to go home and she could barely get anything done when we were like that. It was the first book I enjoyed. I was a big reader already - though not by choice. My father could be a bit of a grades nazi, and I had read a good deal of children's classics (he rarely cared for more modern works, though he did end up liking Harry Potter) and even a few adult novels. My mum was a Stephen King fan and those occupied most of the shelves in our library, so I read some of them to ease the boredom (and because I liked the movies, particularly 'The Shining'). But I never really liked reading, in spite of this. It was just how I was raised. Harry Potter changed that, and even without the nostalgia goggles, I can acknowledge its importance in my life for that much, if nothing else.

I was always a fan of Slytherins. I like all of the characters, at least a little, except Colin Creevey perhaps. But Slytherins always held my interest. Severus Snape, Tom Riddle, Draco Malfoy, and - after the movies came out - Lucius Malfoy. I should say that I am big fan of Jason Isaacs. If a movie has Jason Isaacs in it, it doesn't suck. Even if it is 'The Patriot'. The biggest complaint about 'The Last Airbender' is the fact that they replaced Jason Isaacs with Asif Mandvi. Knowing that, and knowing that I already loved Lucius Malfoy's character, I think you can imagine my reaction to seeing him playing the character. It was perhaps my first act of fangirling as a youth. Indeed, Harry Potter was many firsts for me. The first fanfiction I read was a Harry/Draco fanfic (and, indeed, Harry/Draco was my first shipping).

My favorite book in the series was probably either 'Half-Blood Prince' or 'Chamber of Secrets', which are perhaps the two least liked books in the series (save, I suppose, Deathly Hallows). As I said, I'm a fan of Slytherins. Both books focused heavily on Slytherins, so they get some bonus points. 'Chamber of Secrets' does, I agree, follow a similar story to 'Sorcerer's Stone', but I think the second one was simply better executed. I don't tend to like the storyline of a (if you will) muggle learning of the magical world, and though every book has that to some extent, the first had it in spades, and though I understood why it was there, it made it hard for me to enjoy as much as the second book. Additionally, I simply preferred the the story. The sorcerer's stone inevitably didn't do anything to impact the overall story. It doesn't show up again, it was destroyed. It introduces many things that would pop up later (invisibility cloak, Norbert/a), but nothing in the core of the story ever shows up again. 'Chamber of Secrets', however, throws out a horcrux and our means of destroying them. Half-Blood Prince, well, yeah, that was almost entirely due to the Slytherins. I loved the Gaunt family, loved the extra Malfoy, loved SNAPE KILLING DUMBLEDORE (OMG!), loved Slughorn.

I've stuck with the series because, well, it was sort of my life. I loved Harry Potter as a kid, I saw all the movies, I made more than a few friends because of our mutual love of the books, and I've been a fan for nearly 12 years of my life. It's hard to break away from that. I think it's hard to deny that most of my love for it comes from the old nostalgia goggles, though. I read it now, and I can't help but notice the little clichés, the often subpar writing, and other things that keep me from saying it's just a great series. It doesn't help that I hit that stage in my life as a reader just before 'Deathly Hallows' came out (and let's face it, even if I hadn't hit that stage, it wasn't a book without its faults). Still, I'm here to stay, even if my love is routed in loyalism.

My favorite Harry Potter pairings are split into two categories: things I ship because Harry is a vessel for the reader, and I love the other half of the pairing, and things I ship because they actually make some canonical sense. For the latter, my favorite pairings are Molly/Arthur and Harry/Luna. I don't have a problem with Harry/Ginny, per se, but I think he could have done better. And though I didn't care for the movie, I think the fifth set my lingering ideas of Harry/Luna in stone. For the former, it's a toss up between Harry/Fenrir and Harry/Lucius. Because...

To answer Cassie, Harry, as a character, is pretty bland and inoffensive. I don't love him by any means. As an author, I like him because he serves his purpose very well. He is simple enough, inexperienced enough, to work as a reader avatar, so that we can live through the stories as though we are there ourselves. Yet he is still a character in his own right. Not one I care for, but a character. That is where many characters of this nature fail (*cough*Bella*cough*). He's an alright character. I care enough about him for it to not affect my ability to read the book. Except perhaps in 'Order of the Phoenix'. And I like shipping him with older male villains.

Also, my birthday - September 2nd, 1991 - is Harry's first day at Hogwarts.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday is a Neville Fangirl

So, life is crazy hectic right now, and I’m writing this post in what are, perhaps, the only free few moments I’m going to get today. Usually I’d put it off until I got home late tonight, but you all are mean with your punishments! I saw what Carlyn and Casey had/have to do, and I’m not taking any chances!

My musical auditioned last week, and our read through is tonight, and I’ve spent the day trying to put a rehearsal schedule together, which, oh, good Lord is far harder than it sounds. Not only do I have my schedule to work around (which includes the rehearsal schedule for another show that I’m in), I’m also juggling my musical director’s, my assistant director’s, my assistant musical director’s, 38 kids’, and the three facilities we will eventually be rehearsing at. I have detailed conflicts calendars, standing conflict calendars, and ten colors of highlighter, and I still managed to schedule a rehearsal in the middle of my fraternity’s big Spring Masque, and not realize it until five hours later. Oi.

But it’s done, and it’s good, and now, I’m gonna talk about Harry Potter.

Well, first I’m gonna answer Christina’s question about makeup. But then, I’m gonna talk about Harry Potter.

The answer to whether or not I wear makeup is it depends. I own makeup, but I own far more than I usually put on. This is mainly because I’m a performer, and so I own whatever I have to wear when I go onstage – base, powder, blush, lipstick, eyeliner, mascara. But on a day to day basis? Even at my most fancy, I keep it to base, blush, and mascara. I just don’t have time for more than that, and even that only goes on when my skin is particularly bad and I’m going to be around people I feel like I should look nice for. Just the boyfriend or friends or family? Hells, no. My students? . . . Eh, depends on how bad the acne is. On camera? Yes every time, ‘cause I’m  self conscious like that.

So, yeah. Sometimes. But never very much.

And now I’m gonna talk about Harry Potter.

So, my parents read aloud to me long past when people seem to consider appropriate, but I never cared. I love the fact, now that I’m older, that my mother read books to me well into my high school days. And not because I couldn’t read them for myself, just because that was something we did together. My aunt and cousin did, too, and we would recommend books back and forth to each other all the time.

The summer I turned 11, my cousin told me about this book she and her mom were reading, but it had a long, complicated title and I stopped paying attention halfway through. I shouldn’t have. I might have discovered this marvelous series a little earlier in my life. The book was, of course, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My first real introduction was during our family reunion that summer, when my cousin invited me over to hear my aunt read from it. So the first thing of Harry Potter I ever heard was the midnight duel in the trophy room, and my lasting impression of it was, “Man, Malfoy is the weirdest name for a kid I’ve ever heard.”

I know, right? But there you have it. I knew I had to get the books and read them for myself, if only to clear up all the confusion. So I did. And I’ve loved them ever since.

Part of the magic for me is the fact that I grew up with Harry. We share a birthday month, and I was eleven when I read the first book and 19 when I read the last. I love Rowling’s quirky writing style, and the way that things mentioned just briefly in an early book come back to play such an important role in the later ones. I love the way Rowling uses words and tells her stories, and I loved it long before I learned how to dissect what I loved about it.

Favorite piece of narration? “Just then, Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a large canary.” - Goblet of Fire

Favorite spoken quote? “Of course this is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” from our own wonderful Dumbledore.

Favorite book? Prisoner of Azkaban, though asking me to choose my favorite HP book is like asking me to choose my favorite mango-flavored item (I will eat mango in any and every form I can get it, to clarify).

Favorite character? Neville Longbottom, and if anyone looks at me with disdain and asks why, I will throw my 19-page character analysis of Neville as an orphaned hero, a child of prophecy, and Harry’s foil at them and make them read it.

Opinion of the epilogue? It was the ending the series needed, and I will defend it forever.

I own two full copies of the series: one in American hardback and one in British paperback, as well as a copy of Philosopher’s Stone in Welsh. Why? Because it was four dollars and I could. I am currently creating my own annotated Harry Potter series and I invite pretty much all of my friends to add to it if they’d like. Deathly Hallows is up to seven annotators, I believe, and Sorcerer’s Stone stands at two.

I don’t know why I love the series so much, except that it has captured my imagination in a way that few other books have. Some of that, I know, is the fandom. It’s huge, so it was much easier to find a niche to fit into and prolong my love. I write Harry Potter fanfiction, quite a bit of it, and I love that there’s so much to work with. There are so many rich and fascinating characters on the periphery of this world that I can go in and explore and build up past what JK Rowling was able to give us. I love the secondary and tertiary characters: Dean, Luna, Draco, Astoria, Percy, Lavender, and the whole next generation. I love looking at this world from their perspectives. I written over 40 stories in this world, and Harry appears in hardly any of them, and Ron and Hermione scarcely more (though they were my entry into fandom, so I do keep going back to them to pay the debt, as it were).

I love Harry, too. Don’t get me wrong. I love him and his story. I love how human and real he is, to the point of having that ridiculous stubbornness and angsty period because, let’s face it, we’ve all been there and gone through that. I love that he isn’t perfect, and is, in fact, far from perfect. I love the way he views being a hero and the way that, in his mind, he just set out to do what had to be done.

But more than that, I think, I love what these books did for reading. I love that they made it cool again, that teenagers were standing in lines for hours in the middle of the night to get their hands on a 500+ page book and sit down and read it. I love that publishers and authors have been trying to recreate this pop culture phenomenon for the past ten years. I love the way Harry Potter brings people together. I’ve already told you that I met some of my best friends because I mentioned to a girl I hardly knew that I wrote Harry Potter fanfiction, and that spawned a three-hour conversation.

And I love that I can disagree with other readers about just about anything having to do with the books –  the epilogue, how awesome Hufflepuffs are, why Harry naming his son after Snape wasn’t crazy, whether or not McGonagall should have turned out to be a Death Eater in the end — and at the end of the discussion still be able to find a common opinion about the books somewhere.

There’s more to my story and love of Harry, of course, but I’ve written enough for now. Plus I have to head to a read through. If you have more questions, ask! And in the meantime, tell me.

Why do you love Harry?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week Six! (wow . . . really??)

Hey there! So! Week Six central question:

We're all Harry Potter people; that's been made pretty clear. So let's talk Harry Potter. How you started the series, why you're a fan, favorite book, and favorite character sound good? Let's start with that and see where it goes!

Highlight of the week: Casey's punishment.

Read you later!

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Thursday is really, really Sorry (and really, really, Late)

I have no excuse except Casey=Epic Fail for this week. I deserve any punishment you bestow upon me (please, not the BEIBER!!!!). And now, the long awaited Thursday post. First, if money were no issue I'd spend the rest of my life reading and traveling. Plus, I think if money weren't an issue for anyone (say, we had a barter system again) life would probably be better for everybody. Second, my books recommendations. Let me just say that I've spent as much time in my life reading as I have eating. Possibly more. Think about it, it's a long time. I only have two books to review, though I pretty much reccommend the entire Young Adult Fiction genre to you (minus the ones about werewolves and vampires in love with humans/each other/frogs). So, without further ado, READ THESE BOOKS!!!! -Publish This Book by Stephen Markley I found this book while searching randomly through Borders one day and I bought it on a whim. Best. Choice. Ever. It is a book about the author's journey to publish the very book you are reading, and if that makes you very sick in the head while thinking about it, then you've just been meta-pwned! Steve Markley seems like your typical frat-boy who likes drinking beer and watching basketball in bars (and he acknowledges that he does indeed spend a lot of time doing such activities) but beyond the smut and scatological jokes, there is a lot more going on, and Markley comes across as a brilliant writer and also very relatable (I hate basketball yet I can still feel a connection through my need to infect your mind with words such as he has done). Markley pretty much published his autobiography before he published his actual book (think of it like J.K. Rowling writing a book about herself publishing a book while she was still living in a small apartment and acting as a single mom). It's completely arrogant, and also hilarious, romantic, gross, and, on occasion, serious. This is a very well written book, and if you are suffering from the sixth grade style writing common in many contemporary novels, the language (well, not the dirty bits) will be a breath of fresh air. It's not Shakespearean, but you can tell that the person who wrote the book actually has studied how to properly write an interesting, complex sentence. READ IT!!!! -Deadline by Chris Crutcher I hate sports. I hate books about sports. I love Chris Crutcher. I don't know exactly how that work out, but I think it's becasue Chris Crutcher knows how to write a story about human triumph and tribulation and set it to a background of high school competative athletics, and instead of limiting the story, it broadens it's appeal and makes it into something relateable. I've been a fan now since sixth grade when I read Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. Crutcher really knows how to make me laugh, as well as make me cry to myself while I'm reading in my bed at night. Deadline is the book of his that makes me do both the most. The main character is Cody Wolfe, the smaller long-distance running version of his younger football-star brother. Also, Cody has a terminal illness and less than a year to live. So, he joins the football team and asking his long-time crush, Dallas Suzuki (that name is pure win) to homecoming. Cody's battle to make his life one worth dying for is frought with obstacles, many of which are unpredictable, such as what happens when Dallas says yes and things get serious between them. The entire time you're wondering how much harder it is to let go when your ties to others have become so much stronger. Fans of Crutcher's other work will enjoy cameo's by some familiar faces, some of which are even supporting roles. Please read this book. Even if you don't think it's your cup of tea, you may find that you like something new. Okay, that's over. Now, bring on the punishment!

In which I am a rebel and don't mention the day of the week in the title*

*I went back and read the rules and didn't see anything about having to include the day of the week in the title of the post, so I'm deviating for deviation's sake.

I am currently writing this entry at a friend's house while we watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I was sitting there talking with the group when I suddenly realized that I hadn't posted yet today and thankfully my friend is letting me use his laptop. It's very hard to concentrate while Voldemort asks Lucius for his wand, Lucius' pimpcane is broken, etc, etc, but I must persevere.

Well, barring extenuating circumstances it looks like we're going to be seeing another punishment next week. I hope everything's okay with you, Casey.

Carlyn, congrats on getting into grad school!! That's awesome! I'm going to be applying this fall, so I slightly understand the stress you were going through. And Indiana University is actually my top choice at the moment, so it possibly we'll end up in the same state for grad school?

I've really enjoyed reading your book recommendations and I hope mine stand up! I've never been that good at summarizing books, so I'll just attempt to tell you guys what I like about the books. These aren't in any particular order, just as they come to mind.

1. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: This is a story about a young girl (Callie) growing up in a Greek American family in Detroit. She is genetically a man and this becomes more and more apparent as she reaches and goes through puberty. The story follows her self-realization as she becomes he. Jeffrey Eugenides is one of my favorite authors (the second book on this list is also by him!) We're shown both her story and her grandmother's story (who immigrated to the US from Greece). I think I actually enjoyed the grandmother's story more than Callie's, but I did like both.

Ohhh and now it's the seven Potters scene! I have to take a little blogging break to watch this. Okay, I'm back.

2. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: Again, Jeffrey Eugenides= one of my favorites. And it's not just because he's from metro Detroit like me, I swear. I don't think this is really a spoiler, but in case you don't want to know the main events the story is based around (the title's a bit of a giveaway), then stop reading now. The story follows the Lisbon family: mother, father, and five daughters. As the story progresses the girls become more and more withdrawn until they all commit suicide. The point of the story isn't their suicide; the story is told from the point of view of a neighborhood boy who always knew of the girls, but didn't really know them. In my opinion the real point of the story, and where the value is found, is in the idea that you can't always know why something happened or why someone did something. We have to accept not always having a complete knowledge of something and a lack of that knowledge does not diminish the event itself.

3. American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson: I love Craig Ferguson, he is my favorite late night host and one of my favorite comedians (second to Bill Hader, for whom I have an inexplicably strong love). This is his autobiography. I read it over Christmas break and it's funny, educational, meaningful- just all around good, to sum it up. Craig's an alcoholic and he's been clean for over 10 years now. The majority of the book details his decent into alcoholism and his subsequent trip to rehab and clean living. He's able to describe his lowest lows without making you feel sorry for him and without dwelling in his past. And all while being funny, of course.

4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll: I have to say upfront, I haven't read this in quite a long time, but it's been one of my favorite books for years- it dates back before I'd even picked up a copy of any Harry Potter book. Embarrassing fact, I used to scoff at Harry Potter and say it was a passing fad and wasn't nearly as good as Alice in Wonderland. Oh, young me, how little you knew. Anyway, I don't think I need to explain what this book is about, but if you haven't read it then I highly recommend that you do!

I think this will mark the end of my recommendations! If I went on longer I would start listing books which I'm sure you guys have all already read and loved (Harry Potter, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ender's Game, Paper Towns- to name a few).

I have a question for everyone: do you wear makeup? This is something I've been thinking about lately because I've been wearing less and less makeup over the past few months. It's partly out of laziness and partly because I just don't feel like I need as much anymore. It's generally just some foundation and cover-up in the morning before class for me. And if I'm feeling fancy, a little mascara.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday needs some musical recovery time!

Casey: I think it’s time to post that spasming finger video : )

And I agree that the Westboro folks need to have a serious shaking.

Christina: I love the Gryffinclaw/Ravendor idea! If we’re going that way, I fancy myself a Ravenpuff. Huffleclaw just sounds weird.

Congrats on the psych lab job!! That’s very exciting. I’ll be spending a lot of time in psych labs this summer myself, but there ain’t no money for me.

AND even more congrats on the teaching position!! Je suis un petit peu jaloux, bien sûr, mais bien fait! Though I know you solely through the blogosphere, I’m proud of you!

Cassie: I remember being astonished the first time I heard people talking about how much you read (Other Friends, yes, it is a relatively common topic of conversation here). And good recommendations!

Alexandra: I’m impressed by your writing! I like to fancy myself a writer sometimes, but the ideas that float around in my head are often better expressed in ways other than writing.

As for my habits as a reader, I’m slightly embarrassed to report that I’ve slowed down my literary consumption in recent months. I’ve just not had time, between grad school applications (news on that later :D) and finishing up my undergrad. But I’ve done enough reading in my life to have some recommendations to make!

I tend to love a book if one of two conditions is met: (1) it has a good story with identifiable, complex characters, or (2) it speaks to concepts that already exist, often unlabeled, within my soul. I’ve categorized the following books according to which of those conditions they meet. Many of them I have not read in a while, so forgive me if my descriptions are a bit sparse : )

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandra Dumas, père, Condition 1

Boy, can Dumas ever write a story… I love everything I’ve ever read that he’s written, but Monte Cristo is my favorite. It’s a big book, but totally worth reading. The characters are fascinating, the plot is gripping (once you wade through the beginning—it can get confusing if you aren’t already familiar with the characters [by, say, having read it three or four times]), and it’s essentially just awesome.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Condition 1

This book blew my mind. I’ve read it more recently than many on the list, so I can say more about its plot and why I love it so much. Long story short, it takes place in a mental hospital and things get weird. The story and characters will make you rethink everything you think about mental health and humanity in general. Sure, it was written by a hippie probably in the throes of an acid trip, and sure, times have changed. But this is one book you’ll be unable to put down.

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, Conditions 1 and 2

I haven’t read this since it was assigned to me my sophomore year of high school, back when I was still quite a devoutly religious child. Frankly, it shook me, more than I knew at the time. It set in motion a series of thought patterns and character examinations that have begun to serve as pretty fundamental factors of who and what I am today, and why I think the way I do. That’s maybe the vaguest paragraph I’ve ever written. Suffice it to say that this book will make you think, regardless of your current thoughts on topics like religion and human nature.

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Condition 2

This is a series of 81 “chapters” (in reality, page-long proverbs) written in ancient China by a person, Lao Tzu, who may or may not actually have existed (his name means “Old Master” and may indicate more of a legendary existence than actual). I read it on a recommendation from my then-oboe professor. Its wisdom may seem to be common sense or even useless, like “The best teacher knows that there is nothing to teach.” But if you come at it from an angle of open-mindedness and let the wisdom sink in, you’ll be amazed. Tao Te Ching is not for everyone; it’s a love-it-or-hate-it type of thing. I, for one, love it.

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch, Condition 2

I read this one on a recommendation from my then-English professor. It’s about how life is improvisation, and gives insight about where play (spontaneous, thoughtless, intrinsically meaningful action) comes from, how we can use it, how to achieve it, and how it affects our lives. It’s one of the most liberating books I’ve ever read.

And now, to write my Punishment about “Friday”, so I can reward myself by talking about something I actually want to talk about…

Fine. I’ll do it. As of right now, this stupid thing as achieved 100,360,596 views.

By the third viewing, it’s hit 100,478,646.

I can feel my soul melting as I refresh the page to listen to it a second time. … And a third time… And again…

Five viewings is my absolute limit.


These are the themes I came up with after five viewings, with corresponding evidence and thoughts reinforcing them. This is purely an analysis of the song itself; visual qualities of the video have not been taken into consideration.




“Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal”: Everybody’s rushin’, time is tickin’

THEN you get down to the bus stop!

Don’t get on the bus driven by a trained, licensed adult! Get in the car driven by child idiots!

What’s the difference between “kickin’” in the front seat and “sittin’” in the back seat?

Are they doing something different in the front seat?

Later: Underage-driving rapper complains about bus


Work all week, Friday is for partyin’, partyin’

Thursday, Thursday is clearly useless.

“Today, it is Friday, Friday.”

Saturday and Sunday (afterwards): Don’t want this weekend to end!


Rush through life, RB, and you’ll miss the excellence of life! I bet you already forget what it was like not to be a YouTube celebrity.

Monotony: Useless repetition: All friends the same? Every day the same?

“Partyin’, partyin’”

“We, we, we so excited; we so excited.”

“I got this, you got this; I got this, you got this—now you know it.”

“Fun, fun, fun, fun”

And, of course: “Friday, Friday, gi’in down on Friday.”

Decisions: Only carefully consider the shallow ones. The rest can be made impulsively.

“Which seat can I take?”

“How is my life going to be affected if I post this video to YouTube?”

What exactly does “gi’in down” entail?

Legality of actions

Driving at 13?

Driving super fast and recklessly?
Does Friday make this okay?

Partying past curfew?

Don’t worry, tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards.

Horrible pronunciation of all words: What the heck kind of accent is this?



All other words

Musical analysis

Chord scheme: I vi IV V I: Pretty bread-and-butter. Go figure.

Melody: Composed primarily of “do”, occasionally going to “re”, “ti”, and “fa” and others, always indicating a major thematic skip.

“Do” over and over indicates repetition and serious symbolism.

Upon some very disappointing reflection, I think I could probably write more than ten pages on this subject. Ew.

Ok, now I’m going to reward myself! Good news, everyone! I got into my favorite graduate school! I’ll be moving to Indiana in August to pursue a dual MA in Counseling and Social Psychology. I’m really glad I got in—I was planning on moving there regardless and making myself a nuisance in the department until they let me in. I really think I belong there. Like, really.

All right. I’m posting before midnight. Lesson learned : )

See you tomorrow, Casey!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Writes Way More Than She Reads

It's true. I'm a writer, and that takes up two or three hours of my day. I still read at least a book a month (usually two to five), but I read a lot less than I did back in high school when writing was something I just did for fun. I keep up with all of my favorite authors, and reread those books that really inspired me, but honestly, I've torn through a fair few books in my life (my goodreads suggests 1,166, specifically) and there aren't really any that I'm dying to read nowadays. It's basically just new releases in long-loved series and rereads for me, although I am going to be giving George R.R. Martin another shot since Game of Thrones on HBO looks right fantastic. If I can just push through his bulky prose, I'm sure I'll enjoy it highly.

Recommending books is not that easy, because I do not like books most people like (and even the ones I do I have a few problems with), and I certainly do not like YA. As an author, I am perhaps more inclined to think of books less in terms of "favorites" and more in terms of "inspiration", as well. As such, I will simply review two books that I consider to be the most influential to my own writing, and perhaps give you a little taste of what you might expect if you ever peak at my own works.

Iron Council, by China Miéville

Iron Council is the third book in Miéville's Bas-Lag series, and everyone seems to have their favorite. They stand alone, and each explores something different - though they all stay close to New Crobuzon, the big city of Bas-Lag - this one is my favorite, however, and I will admit a lot of that comes down to the fact that Judah, one of our protagonists, can make golems out of abstract concepts, like darkness and time. Awesome.

If I have any criticism of the novel, it is simply that I don't like stories that follow multiple POVs. The story follows three characters, Judah, Cutter, and Ori. The first two are deeply intertwined (indeed, those two characters have been 'intertwined' in the past, if you catch my drift), while the third reinforces the message of the other two, while serving to flesh out the narrative. It's a dark fantasy/steampunk story, about a train that travels freely, lifting up the tracks behind it and putting them in front to move forward and away from Crobuzon, until that time when they finally decide to fight.

Miéville will not appeal to everyone. It is dark fantasy beyond the term's common use. This is legitimately dark, not just gritty, and, at times, horrific. It's adult fantasy at its finest. The prose is very heavy, perhaps the only indication that he was influenced by the fantasy greats at all. It is beautiful, though. It doesn't waste time on "flowing raven locks shadowing her frame, flowing before her sapphire eyes" or any of that. If he's going to spend a paragraph describing something, it will likely be a creature with a mucus membrane on its face and fur in its unmentionables.

Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

This book is not a fantasy of any sort, though what it lacks in that, it makes up for by being one of the darkest books I have ever read. At face value, this is a Western with some Biblican overtones. Nothing particularly unusual, particularly from this author. But it's grim. Gratuitous violence fills the pages, and for good reason. This book wants to break your spirit. It wants you to be as down as possible, and it is only through the allusions to Christ we find in our protagonist that we can hold any hope in our hearts. Prepare to have those hopes (and your heart along with it) crushed.

The kid and the judge are the focus of this story. The Kid is our protagonist. We follow him around, but it's hard to really say that this is his story. He's too young for the frontier. There is also the Judge, a ruthless man whose crimes cannot be described in a manner appropriate for this blog. The prose is perhaps as beautiful as Miéville's, but in a very different way. Where Miéville is extravagant and perhaps, at times, gratuitous (to great effect), McCarthy excels by using precise words and cutting language. This is a powerful book, it would appeal to fans of Herman Melville (of Moby Dick) and, to an extent, any fan of Westerns who can make it through some heavy prose.

To answer the other question posed, I suppose I have my fair share of 'procrastination' tucked away, but since I've left school, I haven't had much to procrastinate about. I certainly don't do this with my writing, not anymore. The only thing I can think of is scratching myself when I have dry skin (during the transition between months), since that just makes it worse. I don't care, I'm itchy, darn it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Likes to Read

Hello, girls! I hope you are enjoying your Monday! Personally, mine’s been pretty good. I had auditions for my musical today, and this is going to be a tough show to cast. 32 incredibly talented students, and that’s only day one! Wish me luck; I’m gonna need it come Thursday and casting.

Onto questions! The one habit I can never seem to break is, as was already said, procrastination. I’ve always been a procrastinator, but it’s getting worse and worse the older I get. I have to work to a hard deadline anymore, or things just won’t get done. I also play with my hair and face a lot, which I really need to force myself to stop doing.

To answer my own question about what I would do if money was no issue . . . open a bookstore. That’s always been something that I wanted to do. Open a corner, mom and pop kind of little bookshop somewhere while simultaneously running the artistic side of a town’s arts center. Let my life be entirely about theatre and books, please and thank you.

Which is a brilliant segue to this week’s theme!

So, I’m a reader. Like, whoa. I can’t remember not being able to read, and a few years ago, someone asked me how many books, on average, I read in a year. I had no idea, so when 2008 rolled around, I decided to find out. Since then, I’ve kept careful track of the books I read each year. In 2008, my goal was fifty. My final tally was 113. I decided I liked setting myself challenges, so in 2009, my challenge was to read 100 books (I just barely made it), but that 50 of them had to be new reads. I met that goal, and met it again in 2010.

This year, I’m upping my number. Originally, it was 115, but that was back when I was going to be starting grad school in the fall. Now that I’m not, I’m officially upping it again to 125, at least 60 of which have to be new. Right now, my tally stands at 42, so I’m well on my way.

So, yeah. I read a lot. And since starting to keep track of my reading, I have tried to learn to read more critically, to more readily be able to identify what it is that makes a story good and worth reading. I’ve learned, through this process, to differentiate between a good story and a story that’s enjoyable. They’re not mutually exclusive, of course, but just because we didn’t enjoy a particular book or fall in love with it doesn’t mean it isn’t a good, worthwhile book to read.

To this end, what I’d like to share with you all is my list of Ultimate Recommendations. This is not the same as my favorite books – though there are many titles in common. But rather, these are the books that I think everyone needs to read at some point in their lives. You don’t have to fall in love with them, you don’t even have to like them. But they each have a message that I think everyone should be exposed to, and they tell them in a way that is meaningful and compelling and wonderfully well done.

So then! My list of Ultimate Recommendations! There are six titles.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

First on the UR list, first on my favorites list, and hands down the best book I have ever read. I love this book so much. I am moved to tears every time I read it. Set against the backdrop of early WWII Germany, The Book Thief follows a young girl, Liesel Meminger, growing up in Hitler’s Germany. She steals books to learn how to read, and the relatively simple world she lives in is turned upside down when her foster father begins hiding a Jew in his basement.

The book is narrated by Death, and it is all about the way that we are all connected through words and language and stories and the fact that we will all one day die. Death is a weary voice, captivated by this young girl and the truths she learns from the Jew and her foster parents and her best friend and the life she finds herself living. It is a devastatingly beautiful story, and if you haven’t read it, you need to now.

I Am the Messenger
by Markus Zusak

Listed second to keep like authors together, this books tells the story of Ed Kennedy, a thoroughly ordinary guy until he accidently stops a bank robbery and starts receiving playing card aces in the mail. Each card leads him to three people, all of whom need something from Ed. Some are as easy as sitting down to eat with an old woman. Others are much more difficult. And through the missions Ed receives, he begins to change, to take chances, to recognize the difference between what is easy and what is right.

This book makes the list because of the last five pages, the reveal of who exactly is sending Ed these cards. I never saw it coming, and it completely blew my mind. This is a story about what ordinary people can do if they just go out and do it and forget about being defined as a hero.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

I completely understand why some people don’t care for this book. It doesn’t make my top five favorites, and if it makes the top ten, it’s near the bottom. It’s a hard book to read. But I think it’s still a book that people need to read. It’s all about how quickly our lives can be changed by one person and a single choice, and how death affects us all.

I also love the style of this book, the buildup and the misdirection and the way that John Green uses language. I always have to read something light and fluffy after finishing this book, but the weight is what makes it real for me.

Paper Towns by John Green

I list this one after Looking for Alaska because I love how it builds on the themes that are interwoven into Looking for Alaska. It’s not a sequel by any means, but thematically, it seems to pick up where Alaska leaves off and look more deeply into that so central Nerdfighting idea of imagining people complexly.

I love that the physical journey to find Margo so closely parallels the metaphorical journey to find out who Margo really is, and I love the idea that in finding the essence of other people, we come that much closer to finding our own selves.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I am always appalled to learn how many people have never read this book. I had to read it in eighth grade, and while I enjoyed it then, it didn’t make the list until I reread it in high school. I think I was able, then, to understand what I hadn’t gotten before. The dystopian world portrayed in this novel is so fascinating to me because it is a world that, on the surface, seems so appealing. No pain, no illness, all decisions about our lives taken out of our hands so that we don’t make mistakes.

But it’s the exploration of what all that means that earns this book a spot on the list. This book asks us to consider what it means to be human and what happens to our humanity when our flaws are taken away. I think the message of this book is so strong and so well portrayed in such a short amount of time.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The most recent addition to the list. Both dystopic and post-apocalyptic, this book explores the definition of monstrosity and again, what it is that makes us human. This book makes its reader think, really think about the nature of the world and our place in it. The characters and the story are compelling and heartwrenching. I powered through this book, in a way that I have with very few (we’re talking not speed of reading, but of un-put-downable-ness), and that’s always the first hint for me that there’s something that might earn a story a place on this list.

Brilliantly told, Collins makes you ache for her characters and the situation, and the fact that it’s set in the future of our own world just makes it that much more gut-punching. The whole trilogy is amazing, and really, the whole trilogy should be on this list.

So those are my top six titles. I can’t wait to hear what recommendations you all have for me!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week Five Central Question

Week 5: Book Recommendations

Recommend some books to us! We all seem to be readers here, so review a recent read or talk about your favorites or really whatever you like.

Carlyn, I'm sure we're all looking forward to your punishment! :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday, Friday, gotta write a blog on Friday

Nerdfightin', nerdfightin', yeah...

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system, onto more important matters!

What’s one habit you can never seem to break? Oh gosh... this is a close call between biting my nails and procrastination. Procrastination would have to win though... just take a look at the time all of my posts have so far been posted to know why. I'm being good tonight though, I started working on this post at around 9:30- crazy! I have always been a chronic procrastinator. I can count on one hand the number of papers that I didn't start on the day before they were due. My procrastination keeps being rewarded with good grades, so I've never really had any reason to stop except for the extreme stress it causes the night before an assignment's due. For the past four years of college, I was convinced that the procrastination would catch up with me at some point, but it never did. Well... maybe in grad school? I surprisingly didn't procrastinate that much on my thesis though, so maybe I'm getting better about it as I get older? Only time will tell I suppose!

Now to answer my own question: what Hogwart's house am I? That would
probably be Ravenclaw. Whenever I take tests I always get either Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, but if I'm being honest with myself I'm more of a Ravenclaw than a Gryffindor. If we're allowed mixtures, I'd say I'm a Gryffinclaw/Ravendor, but if we're choosing just one then I'm a Ravenclaw. (And proud of it! I don't want my ambivalent house characteristics to come off as being unenthusiastic about my house.)

If money were no object... I would spend all my time learning foreign languages and travelling to the areas where they're spoken. Once I became happy with my proficiency in one language, I would move to another country and learn a new language. It would be wonderful. After learning a good amount of languages, I would probably want to settle down again, but I don't think that would be for a while. This hypothetical life sounds so appealing to me- yes, please.

So... what's up with me? I would be hard pressed to think of a better week to have been our free week because I have some really exciting things to share! Well, first, which you guys already know, my thesis is over so I got to have a fun weekend of post-thesis/late birthday celebration with some of my best friends who came to visit and others who live here.

The first piece of exciting news (I'm saving the best for last) is that I have an official summer job now! I knew that I'd be working in my psychology lab this summer, but nothing was official and I didn't know how much I'd be working and for how much. I talked with my lab advisor today and I'm going to be working 40-hour weeks this summer.... whoa. My first full-time job. Even if it is just for a summer, I'm starting to actually feel... like an adult? Besides working in a lab doing studies that I'm really interested in, the good thing about this is that I'll be making good money. And that money will come in really handy for my second piece of exciting news...

I should actually preface this by explaining that in December I applied to be an English assistant in France. I don't think I told you guys about this yet (or maybe I did, it's one of those things that I've shared with so many people that I've lost track...) and it's pretty integral to the whole excitement portion of this story. So. I applied to help teach English in a French school. Short explanation: it's a program through the French government where they take Americans under 30 and place them in French schools to help teach English to the students. It entails helping with American pronunciation, teaching American culture, just helping cross-cultural ties in general. Okay, back to the present, I just found out on Monday... that I got in!!!!! I'm going to be living in France next year, guys!! I'll be moving in mid-September and I'll be there for 7-9 months. I'm going to be living in Lille. I took the liberty of drawing you all this lovely, explanatory picture:

That's where I'm going to be living next year! And you lucky people get to read all about my move in *counts on fingers* five month's time! Notice the proximity to Paris, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany- that's why I requested Lille! Strasbourg was my first choice, but Lille was my second and I'm really happy with it. I was technically placed in the Académie de Lille, which is an academic district. I don't yet know what town I'll actually be in, so I could end up being placed in the middle of the country. I'm hoping that I get placed within 45 minutes of the actually city of Lille so that I can just commute to my school. We only work 12-15 hours a week in the program, so I'll have to find ways to fill my copious free time. I'm hoping to find good German classes (which I think is very realistic, I mean look at the map!) so that I can continue learning and I don't forget all the German I learned this semester. (Oh, it would help to know that I started taking German this semester, just for fun. Und es macht viel Spaß!)

So that's what's up with me! I've been riding pretty high this week on the news about France. I'm still in the extremely-excited phase, which will probably give way to the really-terrified phase in a few months, but right now I'm happpyyyy.

I also have to go back to when I mentioned that I wasn't procrastinating on this post and had started working on it at 9:30 tonight- that was entirely true. You may be wondering, then, why this was not posted until around 11:45. That would be due to my bff who entertained me tonight with three drunk dials in the span of about 1.5 hours. The funny thing is that each time he called me back, he made absolutely no mention of that fact that he'd already talked to me. I also wanted to share with you guys this fact that makes me very proud. When my friend drunk dialed me, what did he rant about for twenty straight minutes? Doctor Who. The main message that he relayed to me over and over was that I really, really need to rewatch season 5 because it's so different once you watch it knowing what happens in the finale. It's practically a different season!

Cassie, I'll see you on Monday and Carlyn, I'm looking forward to your punishment! Mwuahaha.

(I also agree with Casey that more readers would be wonderful! I'll head over right now to your pants and bump up our thread with my new post.)