Books, Geekiness

Harry Potter Tag

Jessica over at Ever The Crafter did a Harry Potter tag and while I realize I just did one, this one is way better. So I figured, what the heck. Also, I realize that I didn’t post this week. The weeks that I have off from school are so rare that sometimes I just do nothing for awhile and lost track of what I meant to do. I’m also working on a Halloween short story with a few other bloggers and of course NaNo prep. I will endeavor to do better, as always. So without further ado…

What house are you in? I am, apparently, a hat stall. I have always come out fairly even between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. As our queen, JKR, has said that the hat always takes choice into consideration, I consider myself a Hufflepuff.Hufflepuff

What is your patronus? The Pottermore site says a dapple grey mare, so a horse, essentially. Personally, I’ve always been very fond of raccoons, so I suspect that if I had real magic that’s what it would be.

What is your wand? Hazel wood, 10 1/2 inches, unbending with a unicorn hair core.  Hazel wood is very sensitive to the owner’s emotional state and hazel wood wands often refuse to work for other wizards. Unicorn hair tends to be the most consistent of all the cores and it is very loyal as well. So my wand is very attached to me, which makes sense because I’d be very attached to it.

What would your boggart be? I am honestly not sure. I’m scared of falling and, generally, the dark but I’m not sure either of those could be boggarts. Some kind of monster maybe?

What position would you play in Quidditch? Probably a seeker or maybe a keeper. I am smaller and can be fast. I’d probably be better as a keeper, since I can get very defensive when it comes to people I consider my team.

Would you be pure blood, half blood, or muggle born? I can’t see myself as pure blood unless it was a family like the Potters or the Weasleys. Actually, I could see myself as a Weasley…

Which of the deathly hallows would you choose? The cloak. I don’t even have to think about that. Who wouldn’t want an invisibility cloak?

Favorite book and least favorite book? Favorite is Prisoner of Azkaban and least favorite is Chamber of Secrets.

Favorite film? The Half Blood Prince, for the amazing abilities of Alan Rickman. Yes, I know, it doesn’t follow the book well. I don’t necessarily think it has to.

Least favorite film? Yes, Chamber of Secrets again.

Favorite character? To pick just one favorite… Sirius. I adore how that character is written. There are so many sides to him and you feel so many emotions towards him. I would feel angry with him and feel sad for him all at once.

Least favorite/most hated character? Well Umbridge is easily the most hated. That woman was the definition of nasty. I think she’s one of the most despicable characters in the story. A lot of other characters have flaws but they also have horrible things that happened to them that explain those flaws. We never really hear anything about Umbridge’s back story but I don’t think she had a tragic childhood like Snape so she’s just a… well… anyway.

Favorite teacher? Flitwick. We never hear much about Filius in the books (and even less in the films) but I was always intrigued by him.

Least favorite teacher? Ugh, Lockhart forever and always. I feel sure Dumbledore thought it would be hilarious to watch Lockhart screw everything up but he was such a pompous jerk.

Do you have any unpopular opinions? Besides thinking that the sixth movie was the best? I don’t think that Fudge was a horrible person. I know that a lot of people felt that Fudge was almost as bad as Umbridge and I agree that his behavior was not great but I also think that he had a lot of reasons for his behavior that explains why he did those things.

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Books, Geekiness, Writing

Ultimate Harry Potter Tag

I am a bit of a geek. If I’m honest, I’m totally a geek. Harry Potter is one of my loves, so for your amusement (and mine), here are some of my best and worsts from the world of Harry.
1. Favorite book: My favorite book is definitely Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s the first time that we don’t deal with Voldemort plus, we learn a lot about how Harry’s parents die. Plus we’re introduced to Lupin, who is an awesome character and Sirius, who is definitely a complex character.

2. Least favorite book: My least favorite book is probably Chamber of Secrets. I don’t like Lockhart as a character. He seems very flat to me. He’s not really nice and he works as a villain of sorts but he seems like an annoying side plot.

  1. Favorite movie: My favorite movie is The Half Blood Prince. I feel like that movie does a good job bringing us to the last two movies and the end of the story. I also love that the story focuses on Snape and Draco and how the two are intertwined. I also love that Ron and Hermione spend the whole movie questioning Harry (doubting him) and Harry ends up being right. And that Harry loves that book and later finds out that it was Snape’s.
  2. Least favorite movie: I’m going to say Deathly Hallows part 2 because it was the end.
  3. Favorite quote: “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” I think that this quote tells us so much about Sirius’ character and it really speaks to one of the themes of Rowling’s story. It’s all about the choices that we make. No person is truly all bad or all good.
  4. Favorite Weasley: Ginny because she is at least as strong of a female character as Hermione is but she is strong in different ways. Or rather she shows that strength differently. Ginny isn’t afraid to be who she is and she is able to stand up to her brothers.
  5. Favorite female character: Minerva McGonagall. She is the most amazing character and then her being played by Maggie Smith.
  6. Favorite villain: Delores Umbridge. That woman is at least as evil as Bellatrix but she is not seen that way initially. It’s not until at least part way through Order of the Phoenix that you truly realize how awful this woman really is.
  7. Favorite male character: Sirius Black. Sirius is such a multidimensional character. He has so many flaws but at the same time he means well. He’s the type of character that you could know in real life. For all of Sirius’ flaws he truly loves Harry as a son even though he has moments where he doesn’t seem to know if he’s looking at Harry or James.

10.Favorite professor: Flitwick because I’d love to take Charms.

  1. Would you rather A)wash Snape’s hair or B)spend a day listening to Lockhart rant about himself? Probably wash Snape’s hair because I don’t know that I could listen to Lockhart for any length of time without wanting to off myself.
  2. Would you rather duel A) an elated Bellatrix or B) an angry Molly? Uhm, is there really a difference here? Either one would be a formidable opponent. I guess an elated Bellatrix. She’s more likely to make mistakes.
  3. Would you rather travel to Hogwarts via A) Hogwarts Express or B) flying car? Hogwart’s Express, obviously. Who wouldn’t want to ride on that train and get sweets off the trolley?
  4. Would you rather A) kiss Voldemort or B) give Umbridge a bubble bath? Well, if you kissed Woldemort you’d probably be killed so I’ll take my chances with Umbridge and the bubble bath.
  5. Would you rather A) ride a Hippogriff or B) ride a firebolt? I think a broomstick would be fun to try, so the firebolt.
  6. Is there a character you felt differently about in the movies? No. I thought that was one of the things that was done really well on screen was the characters and the actors they chose and how they were portrayed. All excellent.
  7. Is there a movie you preferred to the book? I think that Chamber of Secrets is better on screen than it is as a book. Of course, it doesn’t follow the book too closely so that may be why.
  8. Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore? I preferred Richard Harris. It was very hard for me to see the switch after Harris died.
  9. Your top thing (person or event) that wasn’t in the movie that you wanted there the most? I can’t think of anything that wasn’t there that I really wanted to see.
  10. If you could remake any of the Harry Potter movies which would it be? Possibly Prisoner of Azkaban. I wish it was closer to the actual book.

21.Which house was your first gut feeling you’d be a part of? Ravenclaw. It was actually very close. I think I would be a hat stall…

  1. Which house were you actually sorted into on Pottermore? Hufflepuff (Puffs for life!)
  2. Which class would be your favorite? Charms. I love the idea of being able to modify everyday things. Transfiguration would probably be a close second.
  3. Which spell do you think would be the most useful to learn? Accio? Or possibly some of Molly’s cleaning spells.
  4. Which character do you think you’d instantly become friends with? Hermione or Luna.
  5. If you could own one of the three Hallows, which would it be? The cloak. I wouldn’t want the wand because to many other people want it and you’d be killed over it. The stone is just sad.
  6. Is there any aspect of the books you’d want to change? Nope. They are amazing exactly as they are.
  7. Favorite Marauder? James. I have a lot of curiosity about James as a child and how he changed as he grew up. He is clearly a person who had strong morals but I wonder what happened to him from the ages of 11 to 17 that completely changed how he behaved. I think that James was one of those people who was truly good at heart and may have made some bad choices. I also think that he regretted those choices later on.
  8. If you could bring one character back to life, which would it be? Fred Weasley. I think separating the twins is simply cruel.
  9. Hallows or Horcruxes? Hallows.
Books, Writing

On writing and reading

As I have worked on my writing these past few weeks, I have discovered something interesting. I have always been the type of writer who wrote as I went. Now, I’ve never been a terribly great writer when it comes to things like fiction but I could bang out a paper, have it be well researched and get a good grade. Many an English teacher has touted the importance of outlining before you write. I always scoffed at this because I could write papers fairly quickly and very well without an outline. Not a written one anyway. I’d have a vague idea of what I wanted to do in my head. Sometimes it changed course as I wrote but generally it worked well. I have always tackled fiction in much the same way and it’s readable but I usually had trouble getting things to coalesce. Then I started to write down an outline.

Oh. whoa. Suddenly I can see why people talk about outlines as being such important things. I could write a lot more effectively with an outline in place than I could without one. Even though I knew where I wanted my story to go. Even though I have characters in my head. This worked so much better. I will admit that it took a little time. In fact, putting one in place retroactively may cause it to be more time consuming because I have to go back and fix things but it helps a lot. So, I will admit defeat. Outlines are useful things and I can probably see a use for them writing regular papers too, if only to get an idea of where the paper is going before I start writing so I don’t have to rewrite my thesis a dozen times. It means that some of what I write earlier requires some edits but that’s ok. I don’t mind editing. As long as I’m not looking for grammatical errors. That is still a bane of mine.

I still haven’t done my bullet journal post. I keep meaning to and then something else comes up. Like finishing another book or needing to do dishes or going for a run. So it’s still on the list. I’m hoping to be able to use the new layout I have as a more effective tool for watching what I eat, studying, working out and writing. We’ll see how well it goes since Tuesday has me back in classes and with little time to breathe. Also, work, so my whole weekend is pretty much consumed too. Although the last few weeks have been strange with me ending up on the floor a lot. I don’t mind being on the floor. It’s just unanticipated, especially given it’s been more than a month like this.

As a brief aside, I like reading books that nobody else is reading. It makes getting said book from the library much easier. I had wanted to start rereading Outlander because I got halfway through the fourth book and then put it down and never pick dit back up. Now I’ve forgotten a lot of plot points and I feel like instead of picking up book 4 and starting there, I need to go back to the beginning. However, getting ahold of the book is nearly impossible. I’ve had it marked as to hold at the library for weeks. I can only imagine there are a million people in front of me wanting the book. So, you know I may or may not get to that anytime soon. I still have other things to read. It’s just annoying that everybody wants to read it all of a sudden. Honestly, more people need to pursue libraries and bookstores. There are lots of good stories out there but apparently if it’s not on tv, it’s not worth reading which is so silly.

So that’s it. Attempts are being made at lots of things. I still don’t have a post schedule. I really need one. Like seriously. I’m working on it, I swear!

Books, Fitness, Healthy Eating, Running, Writing

It might be a miracle

It’s been several months since I began running again in earnest. It does a soul good to be able to pummel the ground repeatedly with your feet. Unfortunately, I live in an oven. Or at least that’s what it feels like from (usually) May until September. That’s almost half the year if you’re keeping track. And generally it isn’t the heat that is the true problem here. It’s the 90% humidity that accompanies it. That can make breathing hard when you aren’t doing anything. Then put exertion in the mix and you have a recipe for crawling rather than running.

Our weather this year has been odd. It hasn’t been as hot as it usually is and it didn’t warm up until much later than usual. So you can imagine my surprise when I went running Sunday and did three miles with all negative splits. I’ve never run all negative splits, since I started running years ago. I could get the second mile negative but then the third would be a disaster or the second mile would be awful and the third would be better (but not better than the first). Now part of this is a poor ability to pace on my part, which I’ve been working on. But part of it is the horrible heat.

When the weather is cooler out, I can typically run about even splits, a second or two over or under for each mile. Sunday was remarkable because the second mile was almost third second faster and my third was a few second faster yet. It wasn’t a ten minute pace (it was around 10:30) but it was a vast improvement over the 11:00 to 11:30 that I’ve been running. I have no idea what I did differently and could not replicate it today. I’ll keep working at it though.

I have also made efforts to get my food healthy again. I was lax during the last few weeks of school due to stress, so I wasn’t eating as much and some of it was not the best choices (there was a lot of pizza… pizza is my kryptonite). So I’ve really put effort into ensuring that I’m eating a good breakfast and getting lots of fruits and vegetables in, especially while they are really good. I was good about not resorting to eating out all the time. So while my choices weren’t the best choices at home, they were at least choices that I largely controlled the portions and sides for. Small victories, right?

As a brief aside, I will also add that I am working on two more books currently, as I move forward on my day zero project. I have also started a book with a full complement of characters, a brief outline and somewhere around 12,000 words. This is progress and hopefully it will continue. I have research notes and may actually get a notebook to keep details in so that I don’t have to keep flipping to different computer files (it’s easier sometimes to have paper!). I haven’t decided yet what to do with the book once it’s finished. First I have to finish it but I can say with confidence that this one is the most likely yet to actually reach a point where it would be complete. Of course, I’d also need an editor because I am bad with grammar and can make mistakes that are very amateur. A person with good editing skills would need to look over this thing before I even contemplated publishing it.

See what I can accomplish when I have time off?

Books, Writing

About writing

I can get attached to fictional characters. This probably sounds pretty silly to most people but it has always been true for me. I have been reading since I was very small and often those books were a place of refuge for me, letting me go to places that I couldn’t actually go to and meet people who might have been friends. Since I have always had a fairly creative imagination, I would think about what might happen to those characters after their book ended. Eventually, I discovered tv shows that engrossed me as much as my books and I would find myself contemplating what happened to those characters as well.

Somehow, I never thought about creating my own characters until I was much older. As much as I loved books and to write I never felt as though I was a writer. That was a purview for other people who were better at it than I was. In fact, throughout most of school I felt as though I simply wasn’t good enough at anything for it to be important or valuable. That’s how I ended up graduating from college long after I should have with absolutely no direction. I was lost. Mostly within my books because at least those people were nice to me. Which makes it sound like I had no friends which isn’t true. But often I felt misunderstood and like a background character. I had issues.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more attached to characters because I can see so clearly who they are. I have television shows that I’ve watched now for so long that I know everything about those characters (two shows come to mind, NCIS and Criminal Minds) because I am invested in those characters. That happens when you watch a show for more than a decade, I guess. There are also books that I’ve gotten invested in, where I know those characters and love them. This to me, is very different from being a fan of a director or tv show. As an example, I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith. I’ve seen all of his movies. Some of them were not great but I still love him as a director. I am not invested in those characters though. I mean, I can tell you a little about the characters but I’m not invested in them. NCIS – that I am invested in. I have cried over that show (like when Ziva was killed or when Tony met his daughter). I feel as though I know the personalities of those characters and could write stories that involve them.

I mentioned yesterday that I was using fan fiction as a way to work on my prose. Mostly what I mean, is taking those characters and trying to learn how to be invested in them. Sometimes when I work on writing stories of my own, I have issues with keeping an interest in the characters, which shouldn’t happen since they’re my creations. So I’m working on finding ways to learn more about the characters when they seem to be at their worst. Fan fiction is letting me do that without creating a world for those characters because that world already exists. I’m just playing with it. I feel as though it may be working. I have written more in this particular fan fiction piece than I have in anything else. I don’t know that I have the character personalities down yet but I’m making progress. I’m trying to use their voices and speak as they would. Again, work in progress. But there is progress, so that’s good.

As a side note, I have almost completed one of my day zero goals: complete a 30 miles challenge. If you’re unfamiliar, the goal is to run 30 miles in one month. For a lot of people, this is probably a monthly accomplishment. I don’t think I’ve ever done it… maybe once when I was doing half marathon training but that would be five years ago now, so I’m not counting it. I’ve got about five miles to go for July and it’ll be done. I’ll actually run more than 30 miles but I’m good with that. It means I’m back on track. I took time off last week and only ran once so I thought I wouldn’t reach my goal but I have 6 days, so it should be doable. That would be my first official goal crossed off the list. Of course, I still don’t have 101 things on the list but I’ll add some more eventually. I’ve still got 2 years and 11 months.

Books, Life, Nursing School, Writing

School’s out for summer

This is officially, the beginning of ten days of vacation for me. I started my job just over a year ago and since then, I have worked every weekend and have been in school almost every week. So as of now, I am working on several things all at once. We shall see how successful I end up being.

First and foremost, I worked on cleaning today. That’s not to say that I haven’t cleaned in over a year but aside from little daily tasks like sweeping and dishes, lots of things get neglected day to day. So I scrubbed a bathroom today (1 of 2), took out some garbage and folded the laundry that had piled up. I have one basket still left to do but I thought I’d sit down and write first.

Speaking of writing, I have been practicing my writing. What I mean by that is I have been writing fan fiction (nobody needs to read that though cause honestly, it’s fan fiction). This seems like a silly way to practice but it really allows me to focus on things like prose and point of view without having to think about characters and backstory because none of that is mine. I have started a new story in my head but it’s in the very early stages of thought. Sooner or later, one of these stories will stick and I’ll actually finish one. I have so many bits and pieces that don’t go together, it’s kind of funny. Creativity is fickle like that, I guess.

I spent time working on my bullet journal. Not a lot of time, mind you but some. I got August going and while I have a few spreads to still work on I could put next week in if I didn’t get any further. I am still seeing how this new weekly spread works for me. It’s a little wishy-washy right now. That’s probably a result of my not being sure how to best use the space which happens when I try a new way setting up. That’s ok though. This spread may work a little better, in terms of functionality.

July is almost over. I’m not quite sure how that happened. I suppose the fact that I was in school for the first half of the summer explains it. I have started filling in my day zero project list but at this point it’s mostly books that I’ve read or planning for bigger things. I have been considering a few of my photo projects that are on the list. I will update that tomorrow. For now, I’m going to put away the rest of the laundry and then watch another episode of NCIS (because I’m watching last season and I’m LOVING IT!!!). See you in the am!

Books, Bucket List, Bullet Journal, Life, Running

My Day Zero Project

So, the premise of the day zero project is to complete 101 tasks in 1001 days. These tasks are intended to be things that are challenging or interesting to you. Things you might not otherwise try to do. So, in the vein of accountability, I’m going to list the 52 things that I have on my list currently. I am also open to suggestions, if anyone has a suggestion about things to do that should or could go on my list. My official start date was July 1, 2017. That means I have util February 26, 2020 to finish everything. I still need 49 things. It’s a bit varied and there is some overlap… and some places where I’m not overlapping. It’s my project that will hopefully get me adventuring again. I will update when I make some progress (I have started on a couple of things). Wish me luck!

My list is

1. Go on a road trip
2. Complete a 365 day photo challenge
3. Do some volunteer work
4. No fast food for a month
5. Write a book
6. See 10 classic movies I’ve never seen
7. Complete a coloring book
8. Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over
9. Learn a poem by heart
10. Ask 20 friends to suggest one book, and read them all
11. Get a facial
12. Go rockclimbing
13. Attend the New Orleans Jazz Festival
14. See the Northern Lights
15. Make a Christmas song playlist
16. Mail a letter to Santa
17. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life
18. See the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree
19. Host a cookie-baking party
20. Deliver homemade holiday treats to someone unexpected
21. Do a random act of kindness for a stranger
22. Have a Christmas cookie swap
23. Learn meditation
24. Learn to make cheese
25. Learn to longboard
26. Write one page of my novel every day for a year
27. Learn how to paint with oils
28. Blog at least once a week for a year
29. Take a photo of the same place every month for a year
30. Run a 5K every month for a year
31. Send one handwritten letter per month for a year
32. Bake something new every month for a year
33. Spend an afternoon taking photos once a month for a year
34. Complete the 52 week money challenge
35. Keep a blog for a year
36. Drink from a coconut
37. Swim in every ocean
38. Visit a friend in a different country
39. Attend a TED event
40. Sleep in an overnight train
41. Save $500 in an emergency fund
42. Perform 5 random acts of kindness
43. Complete a 30 Miles in 30 Days Challenge
44. Complete a 30 Day Yoga Challenge
45. Climb an indoor rock wall
46. Go to Disneyland from opening to closing
47. Make a pie on Pi day
48. Eat lobster in Maine
49. Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet
50. Make a list of the top 5 people who have positively influenced me and write them letters
51. Keep a “My Day in Six Words” journal for 6 months
52. Read 50 books