Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rambles in Guilt

Ever since I wrote that post on Monday I've been feeling really guilty. But that's not the only reason why.

I wrote that post only with the intention to say that someone said something that upset me and why it was that it did so. I was angry and hurt, but even so I feel like I've done something mean. It wasn't supposed to be, if it was then I probably would have named who it was that I was talking about. 

This is just a blog where I ramble about life, love, issues, and my work as a writer. I've always expressed my feelings better through written word than I have by speaking, and it's just a forum to get things off my chest. But I still feel guilty.

I thought of taking it down, but people have told me more than once that there's no need to; it was just the way I felt and not maliciously intended at all. But I still feel guilty. 

So I apologise, but that doesn't change the way that what they said really hurt my feelings and writing is the best way I know how to get it off my chest. 

On the other hand, I feel a bit guilty for laughing over the apparent misery of an old nemesis. That sounds horrible, right? 

We have a very long history, my nemesis and I, but in the past year or so I've let it all go and I don't think about it so much anymore. However, whilst doing my time at the old coffee shop the other day, my nemesis walked in and up to the counter to order. I was a little surprised, I wasn't really expecting to see them, but I didn't really care enough to be angry or upset. I did however struggle not to laugh when they turned to see me, look like they'd swallowed a watermelon and make a hasty exit from the store. I might not have been all that bothered, but they were and, as I found out later, in a particular state of misery lately.

Already on the laughter track every new piece of information only caused me to laugh harder until I stopped, wiped my eyes and consoled myself with the fact that I'm probably going to hell. A friend noted my insidious glee was not at all healthy. 

And I own that - that wasn't nice at all, and whatever karmic bitchslap heading my way is probably deserved. So I feel guilty, and rightfully so. 

But in my defense - the childish nature of them actively running from me was pretty amusing when I probably wouldn't have done the same. 

So like I've said time and again - I'm not perfect. I feel guilty for what I've done regardless of motivation and I acknowledge that I probably didn't act in the best way possible. But isn't life about owning up to mistakes and learning from them? 

Sam xox

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Grave and Ghostly Encounters

If you haven't seen Ghost Adventures, I suggest giving it a try; it's been one of my favourite shows for about 2 years now.

You may be familiar with paranormal investigation shows like Ghost Hunters or GHI, or even the highly researched and medium driven The Dead Files. Whilst the former are your typical paranormal investigation reality television programmes each in different locations with different crews and dynamics, the latter is much different and features what comes across more of a police investigation coupled with a psychic walk through. As we all know I'm a big fan of the paranormal and an avid believer in ghosts, these kinds of shows have been a staple for me since I stumbled across GHI in 2009, and been hooked ever since. In the following years I've watched a multitude of similar shows, including episodes set in places I've been to (like Port Arthur in Tasmania where I feel especially connected - google it), but I would have to say that of the ones I've watched Ghost Adventures is perhaps my favourite.

And there's no one reason why.

The premise consists of 3 guys (Zak, Nick and Aaron) who travel around the world (but mostly America) investigating reportedly haunted and historical locations. The show gets more polished as it goes along, the first season from 2008 having been so much more low key than it is now, but the dynamic that makes me love the show so much never changes. Zak, Nick and Aaron are just a bunch of guys with cameras and EMF recorders at the start and they never lose that Bro kind of charm even when they get more funding (and more equipment), the fans start rolling in and someone else takes over the film editing. Or it at least just gets better. The re-enactments and animations are also super terrifying.

At the beginning, Zak - who started investigating the paranormal due to his previous personal experiences - comes across as a kind of comedic, loveable douchebag from his gelled hair to his musculature, but he definitely grows on you and now (almost 2 years later) watching new episodes is like catching up with a friend. Not to mention that he's a pretty decent guy - he's passionate about what he does, treats his fans really well and even though he's not the brightest crayon in the box he makes up for it in charm and enthusiasm. Plus he just kind of adorable - and I don't just mean because he's attractive.

Nick and Aaron aren't as dear to me, but the trio are a package deal - this isn't the Zak Bagans show and they never try to make it so - and so these two are are as part of the fun as he is.

And what fun. Like I said, the trio are just a bunch of guys with cameras set to night-vision and as a result there is little polishing on what is actually filmed. The footage taken in cut for time, yes, but there's not a heap that doesn't get taken out when it comes to making the trio look like regular guys. For one thing there's so many occasions when (since they only use the light from the camera half the time) someone trips over furniture, or screams in terror at some shadow or loud noise, there's lots of scared man swearing (bleeped though), and so much guy pranking time that there's definite hilarity in practically every episode. My favourite is perhaps the time Zak calls for an incubus to come and get him, unaware that the difference between a succubus and an incubus is that the latter is male and that he's literally called himself a homo hookup. It isn't until the rest of the crew erupts into laughter at Zak's expense that he realises his blunder (Note: Zak is no homophobe, but he is an old school macho straight guy). That's not to mention all the blooper reels and in jokes that crop up over the seasons.


Then on the opposite side of the scale there's the terror; GA is one of the creepiest paranormal activity shows out there and there are thousands of instances over the 100+ episodes where something weird happens from doors slamming, to someone in the crew becoming ill, to injuries, ghost imagery, EVPs and EMF readings. Aaron, in particular, is probably the most suspect to being left alone and frightened by something but he is not the only one; at some point, Zak, Nick and Aaron all encounter something that freaks them out so much that they almost don't want to continue with the investigation. Even recently on the episode dedicated to the house Sharon Tate was murdered in in 1969, the trio considered pulling the investigation before it even started. It definitely humanised the trio more and was a nice homage to the horror movie fans who sit at home screaming 'don't go in there'. I don't know about this one guys, maybe we shouldn't go in there and provoke whatever could be inhabiting the house because it might end badly.

Obviously though, they did eventually.

But that does bring up another valuable point when you're talking about GA. The trio often use controversial means to provoke whatever may be inside the building or at the location they're investigating in order to derive a response - and quite a few times it has worked (if you believe their findings are as real as they do). It's the same sort of concept that has investigators on other programmes rolling marbles across the floor, producing stuffed animals for children, asking questions and for objects to be moved. The thing that makes what the GA crew does so different and controversial is the manner in which they go about it from time to time - they're brash, manly guys so they often yell abuse at the spirits, call them names, dare them to show themselves and sometimes bring in particular types of people that may connect better. For example for spirits that may only show themselves to or touch women, the crew might bring a woman in to the investigation, give her some equipment and leave her on her own. That being said though these people are always volunteers, they are given the choice, and when they're left alone Zak is too far away that he can't get to them in a rush.  But their methods are still considered particularly controversial.

Personally, I don't think anything they've done has been so bad - they pull out if things get hectic or someone suggests they stop and so they do. I do however sometimes think they have a sort of death wish because half the things they get up to in general turn out to be dangerous and occasionally life-threatening. Things like investigating in old asbestos buildings, small islands, and the sheer fact that they're always roaming around at night with no lights on someone is bound to get hurt eventually - and they do. Or something scares the crap out of them and they retreat to home base. Plus I don't think that always screwing around with the paranormal is such a great idea if you're going to be actively trying to contact them. Seances and Ouija boards are never a great idea, in my opinion, but so long as the GA crew don't start reading aloud from books they find on location or bust out the candles and salt, then I think they'll be alright. At least for now.

So, check out Ghost Adventures if you can and you're interested because its definitely entertaining if nothing else whether you believe (as I do) or not.

But that brings me on to the next half of the post: Grave Encounters.

Unless you've been living under a rock or in the middle of the wild since 1998, you're probably familiar with the 'found-footage' sub-genre of film which is effectively just that - what appears to be a real documentation of some event much later by a third party (usually the police). Notable examples include the Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and Quarrantine with Paranormal Activity that sort of fits in along the same lines as having been reviewed security camera footage. Well, Grave Encounters fits the bill, too, and acts as both an homage and a spoof of Ghost Adventures as well as the entire paranormal investigation industry. It pretty much fits so much on par that I wish I could find somewhere on the internet that would say whether Zak had seen it or not - I'm not sure if he'd love it or hate it and I'm dying to know. 

Anyway, the premise of the film revolved around the fictional crew of the Grave Encounters television show led by Investigator Lance Preston, a very Zak-esque kind of guy down to the tone of his voice and the way he interviews his guests. The crew head to what they call the 'Collingwood' institute - an old mental asylum somewhere out of Vancouver that has been reportedly the location for various hauntings over the years since it shut down before. 

What transpires is then a cornucopia of creepy moments starting from the initial behind the scenes paranormal investigaton it starts with to the totally crazed shock horror fest it turns into. It should come as no surprise that the plot follows along the lines of the investigators stumbling across much more than they bargained for during their lockdown at the asylum when members of the team start being picked off one at a time. 

Since the film is done almost entirely with handheld cameras and standing security footage, there is very little added music or added scenes that may take away from the film genre. The only exceptions occur much later on when entities, demons and ghosts start popping up on camera and since this is actually a movie and not a documentary as it pretends to be the special effects come in to make the spooks look...well, like spooks.

Grave Encounters was particularly awesome for me not because it was scary, which I thought it was, but because it preyed on an idea I'd had a hundred times when watching GHI or Ghost Adventures in the past: what if they see something...tangible? As opposed to the usual EVPs or EMFs, doors slamming, scratches, photos or similar. What if one day a full scale apparition or spectre jumps out and scares the living daylights out of Zak Bagans? 

Grave Encounters takes a pretty good crack at answering that question in a fictional context, though as much as I liked it, it never really satisfies that urge to really know but I get that it probably never will. I guess it's just not the sort of way that things happen in the real world -  its a big mystery as to whatever does lay beyond the veil and the laws of the universe (or what have you) don't allow for that kind of thing to be caught on camera in the way that we wish they would. Who knows, it's all open to opinion and speculation. 

To sum up: if you're interested then give them a try and see how you like them. I'm going to keep on watching until Zak stops investigating.

Oh and there's also a fun little comic series on DeviantArt dedicated to the hilarity that Zak, Nick and Aaron get up to on location. Check it out here: http://violetthepanther.deviantart.com/gallery/30059854

Sam xox

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Be Careful What You Say

Many lessons should have been learnt in Pre-school that were aimed to govern how we acted when we grew up. Things like smiling, saying 'please' and 'thank you', treating others as you wish to be treated. But the one that stands out today is one that I used to hear a lot growing up with plenty of rebellious kids: if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. 

Now I'm going to go ahead and once again clarify that no, I'm not perfect. That's nuts - but I do always try to adhere to common courtesy and manners even if I'm fallible. I'm only human, after all, and it's not like I went to some royal finishing school for diplomacy. 

But yesterday someone said something particularly nasty and upsetting - mostly unwarranted, by the way - and I definitely think that it should have been one of those situations; if you can't think of anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. 

The comment was made when I was asked to gush about my upcoming trip (yes, someone else asked me - I didn't just gush on my own). When I said that it was still so far away a third party butted in and asked me if I was actually doing anything beneficial in the time being, or was I just sitting around because I'm an 'over-privileged white girl'. 

I was so stunned I was actually stuttering. I couldn't believe how offensive that was. Yes, I'm a white girl from a relatively wealthy family - but my family are immigrants and all the wealth they've built up is a collective effort of my grandparents and parents over the past 40 years. It's not like we're millionaires, we can just afford to buy things like books and tea and DVDs. Which when you consider that my grandad came from impoverished parts of India (yes, really) is pretty damn awesome, and I'm aware of that - I actively try not to be spoilt or selfish because I know that not every one is a a well off as my family has worked to be.

So that was one level that that was offensive. The next was the implication that all I was doing was sitting around and waiting. On one hand, yes that's true mentally - I am in a sort of limbo. But I take great offense to the suggestion that I am doing nothing beneficial when I've applied for a crap load of jobs since the day I got back, I'm studying mythology and actually taking a class, I've been applying for voluntary positions even if I haven't gotten any, I've applied for digs, I've put up my services for babysitting and I've tried to sell some of my books. But no, apparently none of that is 'beneficial'. 

I just have to say that this person and I have a long history of rubbig each other the wrong way, but even so that does not excuse them from being such a total bastard. 

I'm doing my best. I've had a hard time (without getting into how I'm such a privileged white girl) and it's all I can so to try my hardest to be a better person and achieve goals. That does not give third parties the right to assume that they know better than I and to make hurtful, offensive statements like that. That is not the sort of behaviour that's acceptable - so, if you can't think of anything nice to say then don't say anything at all. Especially when your opinion wasn't asked for in the first place. 

This isn't usually the forum that I would use to slam other people - it's not really a gossip or bitch blog - but this was something I felt needed to be said. 

Sam xox 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Arrogant

I'm afraid that I'm becoming an arrogant writer. Over the past year, well, all my life, I suppose, I've read some truly terrible books. 

From horror stories to ill-fated romance and adventure, I've read a wide range of genres. But there have been some books that I either couldn't finish or refused to, whilst others I only stuck in with out of pride or determination. I used to never not finish a book once I'd started it - I was prideful that way and figured I owed it to fellow writers - but recently I heard some advice that made me re-evaluate:

"Life's too short to read bad books".

Initially I was sort of resistant, but then I realised that they were right. Life is short and I have so many goals to complete like finishing my own books, seeing the world and completing a phD at some point. (Also dig all the sites!) So really there was nothing to rally against, they really did have a point. 

But there is still the moral obligation that I have as a writer to respect the work of my peers and give them fair judgement - kindly and constructively - by finishing what I set out to read. Only that's where the arrogance comes in. 

Everytime I read I take notes on things like grammar, use of words in descriptions, character and plot development, dialogue and everything else (mentally, I rarely actually make lists or SAAO charts). It's not meant to downplay anyone, but rather to see how those who've succeeded In publication have done so - publication is my goal as well and it's like studying past theses when completing your own. But now I keep reading some certain books (not always) and thinking to myself 'I could do better'. 

It's not so much as an insult to the author because usually their storytelling is quite good only written poorly (mostly, sometimes I admit the story is terrible also or instead of the writing), but it's more so an over-confidence in my own writing abilities. Sometimes I applaud a story or a concept and think that I could write it better. 

Let me just say quickly before I continue to explain that I don't like this; it's a feeling I am not fond of, and an arrogance that I'm ashamed of. I've never considered myself a great writer, Nobel literature prize candidate or New York Times Bestselling author-to-be, but I do think when I put my heart in and make an effort and edit my work then it's pretty good. I work really hard on my writing and sometimes I think that it pays off, as much as I think some of my work is terrible.

And so when I read a published book that is particularly bad either because the writing is bad or the story not good, I feel a little let down: how come they get to be published and not me? Yes, I work hard and no, I have not yet been lucky enough to be 'discovered', so I feel envious. That is in turn what makes my arrogance so terrible.

I genuinely don't say anything with the conscious effort to downplay fellow writers, though, and I feel so awful when I think about it. I'm not a bad person, but jealousy and envy are my patron sin. Believe me when I say that I know it's wrong as much as I can't stop myself.

So whilst that niggling little part of my thinks it could do better, that I'm a better writer or story teller, I always remind myself of two things: 

One) that my day will come if I continue to work hard and make the effort to publish, my writing is not all bad.

Two) that the authors before me made it because they had something their publisher was looking for, and none of them got there without a good idea or determination. 

It's easier to put someone else or their abilities down to make yourself feel better for having not achieved something. It's an unfortunate aspect of humanity. However, never forget yourself that it's not to do with how hard you work or proportionate to the abilities you have. Thinking I could do a better job of someone else's novel is a negative and arrogant approach to writing that I recognise. I'm no saint, just human, but I try to be better. 

Does that truly make me so arrogant? 

Sam xox


Monday, March 17, 2014

Quick Fix

Some of the worries that I mentioned last week in my Rambles have managed to come to an as-yet seeming conclusion. And such lopped a little of the chip and burden off my shoulders.

For one thing some of my books have been picked up for sale (the rest of them can be found on Gumtree), and I've set my self up to be rented out as a babysitter. I have plenty of experience with kids so if you're looking for someone to watch them for the evening or the day, just let me know.

Additionally the last of my Topdeck tour has been paid off, and I've managed to pick up some waitress shifts back at my old Dome with my old boss who was wonderful enough to take me back on until La Vie in a little under eight weeks. So my pressing stress about not being able to spend a cent is somewhat eased, though I'll still be frugal as all hell in the meantime.

And then there's the decision to just stick with a UK sim instead of the trauma of an international one, and the fact that I realised Europe cover also includes Asia anyway (hooray for cheaper rates!). It's kind of like the universe took pity on me and decided to make life a little easier for me.

So, now that the brunt of the Sword of Damocles has been removed, there's just the ever-growing list of things that need to be done and tied up prior to my fleeing the country. Little things from haircuts and updating devices to bigger things like travel insurance, fixing my tax return package to be lodged whilst I'm away and swapping my monthly plan system to prepaid so that I won't have to pay for it whilst I'm not here. In short - I'm feeling a lot better now that time is speeding up and I've started to get on top of the things that need doing.

I do always seem to deal better when I'm busy.

Sam xox

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Series of Potter Musical Awesome




If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, and more so if you grew up with Harry like I did, then I suggest that you do yourself a favour and check out Team Starkid's A Very Potter Musical series if you haven't done so already.


I've mentioned Stakid before when I spoke about their latest musical based on Disney's Aladdin and the Wicked-style back story to a Villan we thought we knew. And whilst Twisted was only their latest production, Starkid fame really took off in 2009 with A Very Potter Musical starring Darren Criss as Harry before he transferred from Hogwarts to Dalton Academy and became the Blaine Anderson we know today. 


A Very Potter Musical


AVPM is set in our favourite trio's seconds year at Hogwarts, beginning with the miserable monologue Harry gives regarding his time in Privet drive, meeting up with Ron and Hermione and making it back to school in a very colourful and amusing song and dance. This is probably my favourite musical number simply because it's so quotable and catchy, but that's not to say that the rest of the show isn't as wonderful or the songs as good - rather just that this is the one that I personally like the best. And whilst the show itself doesn't follow the timeline of JKR's primary text, it's rather a mashup of many of the main themes of Harry Potter and loosely follows the overall storyline of  the Goblet of Fire with added extras from the Philosopher's Stone and the Deathly Hallows. Starkid's musical is not meant to be an adaptation of the series, but rather a fan-based re-interpretation fuelled by fun. Here are some of my favourite things:

*Pigfarts - the Mars equivalent of Hogwarts that Malfoy desperately wants to go to, run by the Aslann-esque headmaster, RumbleRoar. 
*Quirrell and Voldemort as a really bizarre odd/gay couple. 
*Ron CONSTANTLY eating - from novelty size Hershey bar to hot dogs and chips. 
*Darren Criss.
*Joe Walker's Abs. 
*Ron and Hermione's totally awkward, totally creepy make out scene. 
*Voldemort tap-dancing. 

There's plenty more, but I'll leave that to you to check out if you want to. The song list is as follows:


Act I
  • "Goin' Back to Hogwarts"[7][8] – Harry, Ron, Hermione, Cedric, Draco, Dumbledore and Students of Hogwarts
  • "Different As Can Be" – Voldemort and Quirrell
  • "Ginny's Song" – Harry
  • "Harry"[8] – Ginny
  • "Different As Can Be" (Reprise) – Voldemort and Quirrell
  • "Hey Dragon"[8] or "The Dragon Song" – Harry and the Hungarian Horntail
  • "Ginny's Song Reprise (Cho's Song)"[8] – Harry
  • "Granger Danger"[8] – Ron and Draco
  • "To Dance Again!" – Voldemort, Quirrell and Death Eaters
Act II
  • "Pigfarts"– Draco
  • "Missing You" – Harry and Quirrell
  • "Not Alone"[8] – Ginny, Harry, Ron and Hermione
  • "Voldemort is Goin' Down" – Ron, Hermione and Students of Hogwarts
  • "Not Alone (Reprise)/Goin' Back to Hogwarts (Reprise)" – Everyone in the Wizarding World













You can watch the first Act of AVPM here:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmwM_AKeMCk


A Very Potter Sequel


Next up comes A Very Potter Sequel which is my favourite of the full-staged musicals which launches right in with a very twinkle-toed Lucius Malfoy plotting to go back in time by using the Time Turner to kill Harry during his first year at Hogwarts so he can't defeat the Dark Lord the following year (Note: Lucius Malfoy is so freaking awesome as a ballerina). And so what we get is a mix up of how the trio first met, the escapement of Sirius Black from Azkaban, the  reign of Umbridge (in drag, by the way), Remus Lupin, Snape losing his shit, and not to mention some musical numbers even better than the first instalment. My favourites are definitely 'Stutter' and 'No Way', but 'Days of Summer' is pretty awesome, too. And I also think that AVPS is probably even more quotable than its predecessor mostly for one very good reason: Umbridge. 

Joe Walker returns in AVPS as Umbridge, keeping on with his Twisted and odd villains after his Ab-tastic show as Voldemort in the first musical. He/she offers a very different interpretation of the crazed villainess than the original source material does, and his version of Umbridge is a slightly manic, sassy, masculine and hard-ass woman from the South who basically just wants to love and be loved in a show of cute aggression gone totally bat-shit.  But whilst she's mental, this Umbridge unlike the one you're probably familiar with, is totally loveable in a Gloria Estefan kind of way that really reflects in the song she sings to Dumbledore when she breaks up with him (despite the fact that they were never together and Dumbledore is 100% gay - the rainbow Scarf of Sexual Preference said so). And Joe Walker just does it all so well that if it wasn't for his super sexy man arms, I'd have almost believed he really was a jilted Southern Belle who'd lived off nothing but protein shake, falcon eggs and rocks. 

Here's the song list:


Act I
  • "Not Over Yet" – Lucius and Death Eaters
  • "Harry Freakin' Potter" – Ron, Rita, Harry and People at Platform 9¾
  • "To Have a Home"[4] – Harry
  • "Hermione Can't Draw/Lupin Can't Sing" – Gryffindor and Slytherin Quidditch Teams
  • "The Coolest Girl"[4] – Hermione
  • "Gettin' Along" – Dumbledore and Umbridge
  • "Let the Games Begin" – Gryffindor and Slytherin Quidditch Teams
  • "Those Voices" – Harry, Sirius, James and Lily
Act II
  • "Guys Like Potter"[4] – Lucius and Snape
  • "Stutter" – Umbridge
  • "No Way" – Harry, Draco, Ron and Hermione
  • "Hermione Can't Draw" (Reprise) – Everyone at Hogwarts
  • "Days of Summer"[4] – Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco and students
  • "Goin' Back to Hogwarts" – Everyone in the Wizarding World (also used in A Very Potter Musical)


You can watch the first act of AVPS here: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OepW-AG-Ris


A Very Potter Senior Year


Lastly, the final installment of the VP Starkid musical series wasn't actually ever performed as a stage show, rather at Leaky Con in 2012 a live reading with the cast was put on as one of the star attractions. It included almost all of the original cast, with the exception of Bonnie Gruesen (Hermione) who was replaced by Meredith Stepien (don't ask me why), and the addition of Evanna Lynch as Luna (reprising her film role). As it was a very quickly and un-polished show, all the actors carried their scripts onto stage and the regular dialogue was accompanied with a narrator who often set the scene. Whilst this was a very different approach to stage production than I was used to, I actually rather loved it. There's something very refreshing about seeing a group of what are effectively just friends with fans putting on a show chocked full of songs, jokes and enough improv and breaking the fourth wall to make it awesome. Not to mention the added extras of cast members trying not to laugh or forgetting lines and all the other fun that usually gets cut out of the final polished show (ish). It's like a show plus the blooper reel included - so much more fun and so much easier to relate to. 


This last musical is effectively what the title says: Harry and the gang's senior year at Hogwarts as we imagine it would have been if they'd actually gone. It's full of fun puns, ongoing jokes, teen drama, over sexed teenagers, sad losses and reprises of past musical numbers plus a bunch of really catchy new ones. Like its predecessors, this third musical is also a mashup of the Wizarding World we know and love. The plot is loosely based on the events of The Chamber of Secrets, the Half-Blood Prince and with some elements thrown in from the Deathly Hallows such as Harry's trip to Godric's Hollow and the 19 years later scene on platform 9 and 3/4. 

What I think I love the most about this one is probably the really romantic song that Joey Richter (Ron) sings to Hermione after she is paralysed by the Basilisk. It's adorable and sweet and the first real solo that Ron has gotten in the series. It's all about being the sidekick and not being the one who saves the day, which is sort of a twist in Ron's character throughout the Harry Potter series and causes him particular distress (most notably in the Goblet of Fire), but that to him it doesn't matter so long as he can be beside Hermione. It's truly touching and pretty much steals there show for me. 

The song list is as follows:


Act I
  • "This Is the End" – Ron, Neville, Luna, Hermione and Death Eaters
  • "Senior Year" – Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Harry
  • "Gilderoy" – Lockhart and Ensemble
  • "Always Dance" – Dumbledore, Tom and Slytherins
  • "When You Have to Go All the Way Home" - Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers
  • "Get in My Mouth" – Aragog and Spiders
  • "The School Is Mine" – Draco and Harry
  • "I Was" – Harry and Tom
Act II
  • "Sidekick" – Ron
  • "Everything Ends" – James, Sirius, Lupin, Lily, Snape and Cedric
  • "Goin' Back to Hogwarts (Reprise)" - Harry, Ron, McGonagall and Ensemble*
  • "Harry Freakin' Potter (Reprise)" - Harry and Ensemble*
  • "Days of Summer (Reprise)" - Ensemble*
  • "Goin' Back to Hogwarts (Reprise)" - Harry*




You can watch Act 1 here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a81FO-2TxNg

So not only did I enjoy pretty much everything about all three of the Potter musicals, but now I've developed a minor crush on Joe Walker, Joey Richter and Darren Criss. Three supremely talented men that will at one point in every musical make you go 'awww' and feel kind of awesome - I'd watch them all again just for these three. 



But I'm not that pervy, so here are some more honourable mentions: 


*Malfoy's love for Hermione. 
*Cho Chang being a white girl from Texas. 
*Anything that Lucius Malfoy does. 
* The songs: 'Goin' back to Hogwarts', 'No Way', 'Not Alone', 'Days of Summer', 'Stutter', 'Always Dance', and 'Sidekick'. 
*Hermione's hair. 
*Remus and Sirius completly failing at blending in with the Muggle world. 
*Voldemort and Dumbledore's odd love for Zac Efron (Zefron).
*Umbridge's Norman Bates-esque encounter with her mother. 
*Scarfy the Scarf of Sexual Preference. 
*Aragog's weird sex song to encourage the trio to 'get in his mouth'. 


*The Jelly-legs jinx - who knew the counter curse was just unjellify? 
*Harry and Ron's make up hug after defeating the Zefron Horcrux. 
*Lucius Malfoy using the Time Turner to kill Harry Potter - why did no one ever think of that?
*Umbridge's rules for the Hogwarts girls dormitory. 
*Snape's class questions. 
*Draco's homemade Dark Mark. 
*Mrs Weasley. 
*Umbridge's obsession with everybody texting her back. 
*Voldemort learning that killing people doesn't make them like you, it only makes them dead. 
*Hermione trying to seduce Gilderoy Lockhart. 
*Lockhart writing Harry's story and trying to sell it as a fictional series in the Muggle World. 
*Lupin referring to the Dementors as being so old they used to go by the original name of Ringwraiths. 
*Evanna Lynch joining StarKid on stage. 
*Hagrid bouncing Harry on his knee. 
*Ginny using Riddle's Diary like it's a dream journal. 
*Quirrell and Voldemort adopting an Asian baby together. 

Considering the stress I've been having lately many of the lyrics have been particularly inspiring. Such as the lyrics to 'No Way' from AVPS that make me determined despite my impending difficulties making my money last abroad: 


My mind is racing, but my heart, it beats faster.
I'm in control, commander and master.

Lady Fate, creating disaster--

but she ain't the boss of me!

A head-on collision with a catastrophic setback

makes you either wanna get lost, or get back.
I choose the latter; let's not forget that
we hold the cards this time,
so there's no need to bitch or whine!


There's no way

I'm gonna take another option,
no way I am gonna settle with a loss!
No way I'm gonna sit around and watch,
there's no, no way...


There's no way

you're gonna find me in the background,
no damn way you gonna see me satisfied!
No way they're ever gonna make me back down,
no, no way...
There's no way!

There's no way

we're gonna leave it up to chance,
there's no damn way we're gonna go without a fight!
No way you gonna see us on on our ass,
There's no, no way...


There's no way

we're gonna settle with sorrow,
leave right now if you think this ain't real!
Today, not waitin' for tomorrow!


Or those from 'Days of Summer' that reminds me of how I feel about to leave my friends and family for so long:


We've got these days of summer to,
remind us of each other!

The time we have to spend apart,
Will keep us in each other's hearts!



I'm hoping that thegoodold days
are something I willdreamabout at night.
Don't matter if it's sooner or later,
I know that it's gonna be all right!



I don't wanna see you go,
But it's not forever,
Not forever!
Even if it was you know,
That I would never let it get me down!
'Cause you're the part of me,
That makes me better,
Wherever I go!



So I will try,
Not to cry,
But no one needs to say goodbye!


So I guess for me whilst I greatly enjoyed practically everything about the Harry Potter musical series that Team StarKid made, and for so many more reasons than I've already listed, but they also inspired me and reminded me of some things that are important. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you're in the mood for a laugh, or maybe just want to feel inspired - give these shows a shot. You won't regret it.


Sam xox



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Teaser Time: Werewolf in the Woods

It's been a little while since I brought myself back around to edit through what I wrote in the NaNo just gone for Eleanor Price's story, and in doing so I thought I would post this fun scene. Basically, after teaming up with the sorcerer's apprentice, Henry Shay, Eleanor and Rory set out with their new companion in the direction of the Rebellion's base camp. The Rebellion, known as the House of Cards, is intent on overthrowing Rory's uncle from the White Throne and Phineas Alabaster (the Rabbit) enlists Eleanor to help her convince Rory to their cause.

There's a lot more too it, but since the story isn't finished yet - more information will come later.

Enjoy!

After four days wandering through the forest, Eleanor was starting to get really tired. They walked for hours every day and it seemed like they were still no closer to finding the House of Cards’ encampment although Henry assured her every day that they were actually honing in on the rebels.
                They stopped again to make camp, and this time Rory grudgingly offered to go in search of firewood with Henry whilst Eleanor stayed to get everything else in order.
                She was just sitting down to peel some of the remaining berries that Rory had gathered to ready them for the boil when a roar followed by a shout of alarm shocked her from her task. Jumping up and snatching her sword, Eleanor raced towards Henry’s shout just in time to see the sorcerer swiped aside by the largest Wolf she had ever seen.
                “Werewolf!” Henry cried in warning from where he’d landed hard against the trunk of a large tree. “Watch out, Elea, it’s angry!”
                “Werewolf? Of Jesus, of course they’re real here.”
                She could hardly deny it now when the truth was quite literally snarling her in the face.
                Rory was a few paces ahead of her, face to snout with the growling werewolf, and had pulled the Sword of Wonder from his mind, holding it at the ready.
                “Stay back, No!” He yelled, launching himself forward to slash at the Wolf.
                The Wolf ducked away but lunged back toward him when Rory retreated to regroup his stance. He was knocked off his feet momentarily when the Wolf snapped at his legs. Eleanor’s heart just about stopped when he landed heavily on his back at the Wolf’s feet and the animal clambered atop him, jowls dripping with fowl-smelling spit. The Sword of Wonder was thrown to the ground, inches out of reach of Rory’s arms.
                Before she could question herself, Eleanor gave a yell and leapt into the fray, swinging her sword in an arc about her head. She bashed her sword against the werewolf to distract it and it howled in pain before leaping off of Rory and coming after her. Not for the first time in her life, she thanked her lucky stars that she let Jaz drag her to the gym because her cardio was enough to keep her slightly ahead of the Wolf snapping at her heels. But after the first couple seconds of sprinting through the trees her stamina began to lag a little and she wasn’t so confident that her plan to outrun the demon was the best one ever.
                Her scream tore through the forest when a stitch ripped through her and felled her. The wolf skittered around a corner behind her and saw her, howling in pleasure at the kill it was about to make. Eleanor screamed again when the Wolf jumped up into the air to catch her, razor teeth bared.
                She snapped her eyes shut and prayed her death would be quick, only it didn’t come.
                Only a few more moments passed and it didn’t.
                Then a few more. Maybe she had died and simply didn’t notice the difference yet. She cracked one eye open, then the other.
                The sight she saw upon regaining vision caused her to let out an ear splitting scream again, because bare centimetres ahead of her were the still-bared silver-white teeth of the werewolf, poised and ready to gobble her up.
                Well, the good news was she probably wasn’t dead. The bad news was that she’d scared about twenty years off her life.
                She was working on controlling her breathing when a large, male hand thrust down towards her. It belonged to Rory, panting heavily and filled with relief to see that she wasn’t dog food by now. Well, that makes two of us.
                “God, don’t scare me like that,” Rory growled, sounding suspiciously like the wolf he’d just pulled her away from. “I’d have taken him in the end, but you nearly got yourself turned to steak!”
                “I had faith in you guys to save me?”
                Henry’s equally angry voice drifted over to her. “I’m flattered you did, but don’t ever do that again. You just scared about a century off my life!”
                Eleanor followed his voice to see Henry standing beside the Wolf with his hands held up and outwards. It took her all of a second to realise that her close call with the werewolf was helped by the timely interference of Henry, having apparently recovered enough from his slam dunk to give chase. He held his hands up to freeze the Wolf like a stop watch and froze it in place.
                “How long will that Wolf be frozen like that?”
                The spell suddenly wore off and the Wolf went nose-first straight into the ground with a squeal of pain before turning around. Eleanor screamed and clutched onto Rory when Henry threw out his hands again sent a bolt of energy shooting straight at the wolf. It squealed again in pain and with a loud pop it...miniaturised.
                Right into a teeny, tiny puppy with huge eyes.
                Eleanor’s scream of terror morphed to a squeal of delight at the complete adorability of the sudden baby animal in the forest.
                The puppy cried in surprise and despair and limped away from them into the forest.
                “Oh no, come back! Gosh you’re so adorable!”
                Henry lowered his arms and shot Rory a look over Eleanor’s head; she was clutching onto Rory still but now out of disappointment.
                Eleanor didn’t like to lie to herself, and she knew that she’d wanted to hug that damn werewolf turned puppy so, so bad.
                “You alright, pet?” Henry asked as Eleanor did her best to tamp down the disappointment of not cuddling the werewolf. She turned to see him watching her with a faint twinkle in his eye.
                “Yes – you saved me.” A wide grin of gratitude spread across her face. “You froze that werewolf like a giant icy pole!”
                Henry looked pleased. “Indeed yes, although I don’t quite know what an ‘icy pole’ is. I suppose it’s worth mentioning that I have the ability, albeit for a short period of time, to freeze an object or being in its place.” He wiggled his fingers at her. “It’s a bit more taxing to do it longer though.”
                “Well, it’s a good thing you could force yourself to use your precious energy,” Rory huffed over the top of Eleanor’s head. “I hate to think what would have happened to Nor here without your interference.”
                Eleanor couldn’t help but notice his admission seemed to cost him some kernel of pride because he went a bit red in the cheeks. She tugged on his arm until he looked down and met her eyes. She smiled at him to show that his attempts to help were as equally appreciated and that she was glad he was alright, but it only succeeded in making him go redder, extricate himself from her strangely tight grip and stumble off into the trees.
                Eleanor followed his movement with her eyes, baffled.
                Henry’s expression just faded to impassivity like he knew what Rory was really doing. Stupid male pride shenanigans.
                “Don’t worry, he’ll be back soon.”

                “I know.”

Sam xox 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Post LOTR marathon thoughts

I decided to re-watch Lord of the Rings again in a day-long extended edition marathon that has so far lasted about 11 hours (admittedly I'm still in the midst of Return of the King) with a bit of a break in the middle to go for a walk. I figured since it had been shamefully long since my last homage to the series and my epic failure during a recent game of LOTR Trivial Pursuit today was as good as any. But I've been thinking all day of things to comment on and wished I'd thought sooner to start up a running commentary whilst in media res. here are just a few things that stuck out during the day:

- Frodo has the prettiest eyes.
- Merry and Pippin are so awesome.
- Yeah, but what about second breakfast? 
- The Nazgul would not be nearly as scary if they didn't have any kind of transport. It wouldn't be the same if they were just running after you.
- Elrond's face palm when Gandalf launches into Black Speech.
- John Rhys Davies! 
- Poor Boromir.
- Maybe we shouldn't trust Boromir, even if it's not his fault.  
- Why does no one ever call Aragorn a Prince? 
- There couldn't have been one single woman in the fellowship? 
- Saurman is such a dick.
- Mellon. 
- You shall not pass!
- Are celeborn and Galadriel actually together?
- Galadriel would be way scarier than Sauron if she got that ring.
- She jokes with Gimli about what to give a dwarf...but still doesn't give him anything.
- Poor Boromir.
- Sam and Frodo have the most touching, homo-erotic bromance of all time. 
- Remembering that Sean Astin sliced his foot open running into the water.
- Which are the two towers they're referring to?
- They're taking the Hobbits to Isenguard guard guard guard guard....
- That awkward moment when Eomer thinks he's burned Merry and Pippin to death amongst the Orcs.
- Viggo kicking that helmet and breaking his toes...we thought his scream was just good acting.
- I am Gandalf the White. 
- Eowyn is the best! 
- Grima wormtongue...and you really thought he was a good guy? 
- Apparently Middle Earth has Elephants...do they have lions?
- Murderer!
- We wants it, precious!
- Kudos for Aragorn for desperately pretending to like Eowyn's cooking.
- it takes an entire day for a bunch of Ents to just have one conversation..?
- Who tipped of the Elves again to help at Helms Deep? 
- Legolas is hard core to skate down the railing and still shoot off arrows! 
- Victories all round! 
- Lol @ Treebeard, the Ents, Merry and Pippin taking Isenguard. 
- Saruman has the most grisly death of the whole trilogy. 
- Drinks all around!
- Legolas is a drinking champion!
- Dammit Aragorn stop leading Eowyn on!
- Seriously Pippin, don't touch the giant marble/orb/thing. 
- Why does Gandalf sleep with his eyes open?
- Did they play the scenes with groups of elves walking in slow mo? Or did they just walk really slowly when they were filmed? 
- Why is Minas Tirith so perfectly white? 
- Denethor is such an ass. 
- Light the fires, the Huns are coming!
- Does anyone else think the Army of the Dead is incredibly freaking scary? 
- What the hell is Denethor eating? Raw bloody meat?
- I'm Arwen, I'm just going to lie down on this bed and die. 
- Rivendell has an upkeep problem, there are hundreds of leaves inside the buildings.
- Don't trust Gollum, you Idiot! 
- Please don't kill the beloved Faramir, everyone loves Faramir...well, except you.
- Orcs popping out of Osgiliath like daisies.
- Gandalf beating the crap out of Denethor like everyone wishes they could.
- I want a dragon like the Witch King has.
- Eomer's like go back to the kitchen, Eowyn, this battle is for men not women and hobbits. 
- Wait, how did Arwen's life become tied to the fate of the ring, again? 
- Giant spider - epic nightmare! 
- I wonder if Shelog is related to Aragog at all.
- RUN! 
- I wish Sam was my best friend, too. 
- GIANT GODDAMN SPIDER. 
- Suit up, we've got evil to defeat. 
- Sam is the true hero in this duo. 
- Uh...Faramir's not dead, guys. 
- Denethor, you are the worst father in the history of the universe.
- You have to admit that the witch king is all sorts of awesome. 
- Theoden is a pretty good king. 
- A crap load of Orcs are just literally trampled to death by Rohan's horses before the battle really starts. 
- Why are those guards just enabling Denethor's psycho murder/suicide? 
- I love how Gandalf just writes him off before he even makes his fire run off the top of the Citadel. 
- Where did the Orcs even get those elephants? 
- I am NO man! 
- Gimli and Legolas, competitive BFFs ! 
- That still only counts as one. Even though it was really hardcore and you showed up literally everyone else on the battlefield.
- I forgot this happens to Eowyn. This makes me really sad. She's still my hero.
- Can't help but fantasise about Eowyn and Faramir.
- Orcs sound too much like dogs when they're hurt that it makes me feel bad. 
- Sam is so pure of heart! 
- Only 10,000 Orcs stand between Frodo and Mount Doom? 
- I just hallucinated Sauron flipping off Aragorn when he contacts him through the orb. 
- Sam isn't appreciated nearly as much as he should be. He saves the whole day! Frodo would not have made it to Mt Doom without him. 
- The guy that just came out of the gates really freaks me out. So, so much. 
- Until Aragorn just beheads him. 
- What if Mt Doom had just randomly erupted like Vesuvius? 
- Where is the rest of Sauron? 
- Tiny people, titanic courage. #Merry, Pippin and Sam.
- Seriously, who keeps sending the Eagles?
- Inanimate objects shouldn't be able to whisper. That's like every childhood nightmare.
- Surprise wedding! 
- You will never again see Hugo Weaving cry...
- Is Eomer king of Rohan now?
- Everything is all tied up so nicely and everyone lives happily ever after in a way that makes you have warm fuzzies...but it seriously goes forever! 
- I feel like I went on an epic quest, too.

And so concludes another very satisfying LOTR marathon, and I'm once again reminded just how much I love the entire thing. Even through some of the lulls and things I just don't quite get. And on that thought I realised that Game of Thrones does not compare to the awesome of LOTR. Don't flame me, just hear me out: whilst GOT has scores of sex, witticisms, incest, half naked dragon women, gratuitous violence and politics, you're garunteed that everyone will suffer and you're favourite characters are all eventually going to die. Plus there's more than one overarching story and hundreds of characters and a very long continuing story. On the other hand, LOTR was groundbreaking for it's time, a pioneer in that kind of fantasy world building and language building that GOT draws from like it's a bible. It has a very clear overarching plot with scores of subplots and histories to fill in all the gaps, plus a prologue or two just to add some more flavour to the mix. It's got a battalion of loveable and hate-able characters that Tolkien didn't kill off everytime he wanted you, his readers, to suffer a bit more. Although LOTR didn't have much sex and only one sort of love triangle, I think I prefer that than the hours of nudity and hot sex you get from GOT. Call me crazy, but I think that LOTR just has this purity as a fantasy/medieval/war/good vs evil series that GOT just doesn't since it leans far closer to pulp than just fantasy. 

I will say though that my basis is from the films (LOTR) and the television series (GOT), because I haven't read either book series although I intend to someday in the future - LOTR was just too dense when I was younger and GOT is too freaking long for my patience right now. But I do own all of both and will get in that sooner or later. And you never know - it could change my opinions. I'll remember to take notes. 

Again I say: and so concludes this commentary of my LOTR marathon. I hope you enjoyed my rambles and that I inspired you to watch (or read) the trilogy all over again. 

Night! 

Sam xox