Hogwarts is so close I can smell the potions!


Our package from Universal came this week! The one with the welcome letter and the owl plush and the tickets to things like our breakfast at 3 Broomsticks and our other breakfast at Leaky Cauldron! TWO BREAKFASTS WITH WIZARDS! I can’t wait.

You get this type of package when you specifically book the Harry Potter travel dealio. It’s really nothing more than those reservations and this welcome package BUT IT IS ALL WORTH IT BECAUSE…HOGWARTS!

I’ve been very tired lately and not really mentally stable as my life feels like it’s 180 degrees different than it was 2 months ago and I haven’t really settled into this new life successfully on just about any level but then…


I’ve been reliving a lot of my Hogwarts memories lately. The one I visit the most awesome is when I was depressed on of my weekends (in 1999) without E, when his Dad and I still lived in the same town so we were doing the every other weekend thing. So – I did what I always did when I was depressed and I went and bought books at Books-A-Million (we didn’t have a Barnes and Noble) on my credit card I shouldn’t have been using because I was too poor to make payments. There was this interesting display with three Harry Potter books on it, and I assumed it was a trilogy and I thought, “Well…this should get me through the weekend.”


I went to everyone I knew on Monday and was like, “Have you heard of Harry Potter?” and of course they all had because none of them were as disconnected from the real world as I was with no TV. I was hooked, and would forever be hooked.

Since then we’ve done midnight releases for every book and every movie that there was one. The first movies didn’t have a midnight release locally but everyone that did – we attended. Harry Potter is/was E’s childhood and in a way – it was mine too. Nikki has made it through book 3 now and I’m hoping Wes starts reading them someday.

This will be our first time to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we’ve been planning this trip since the first park opened several years ago. We just now really were able to set aside the money. First family vacation in 5 years. FIVE YEARS. All 5 of us on a trip together for a whole week. The last time we did that was the summer of 2009. WAIT. SHIT. THAT’S SIX YEARS. I’ve been saying 5 but it’s actually six. I’m good at math.

We leave May 2nd and come back May 9th.

Or maybe never. If I find a job in Diagon Alley I’ll send the family back without me.


Ode To A Remake

I’m going to be honest.

I love a good remake.

Now, it has to be good, but it doesn’t have to be great. But I don’t have that suspiciousness of them that a lot of people have. And I don’t make snarky comments about how there’s “nothing new” left in Hollywood. Look, remakes are GENIUS. Because they Target adults with money by using something they loved as kids. I don’t have a problem with it and I enjoy it and I keep hoping someone will take on my favorite: Neverending Story.

my-daughter-loved-it-anywayLast night we watched Annie. Nikki was so excited about that one that she insisted I get it first thing when the Red Box opened up as we knew it came out yesterday. Which I did. She was SO EXCITED last night to watch it, it was almost the total thrill just to see that.

But it was SO GOOD. I adored Jamie Foxx as the new Daddy Warbucks. LOVED him. But y’all? My favorite? Was Rose Byrne as Grace. I don’t know why she’s not been giving All Of The Rolls yet because she has range! I saw her be serious/dark on that dreadful show Damages which I only watched for about five minutes because it was WAY too grown-up for me. But she was also great in Bridesmaids and Neighbors so she does comedy great. And in Annie? She did sweet and charming BEAUTIFULLY. I really believed her adorable slip-ups about being a dorky kid who liked talk radio and being an overworked adult with no friends. She was GREAT.

And of course Quvenzhané Wallis was great. I loved her turn on the character and my daughter ADORED her. I wouldn’t say the original movie was my favorite by any means. I don’t even remember a lot of it as I’ve not seeing it in full probably since I was a kid. But this one? This one I LOVED. So, would someone who adored the original love it? I have no idea. But Nikki and I laughed and I cried and we squealed…it was great.

I’ll be honest, I can’t think of a remake off the top of my head that I haven’t liked. What about you? Any you’ve hated? Any you’re dreading in the horizon? I keep hearing mixed reports about this Ghostbusters thing – is it all women? Or men? I have no idea but I watched that movie 100 million times growing up, so I’m curious about it either way!


Something NEW (to me) in Harry Potter?

I’ve been re-listening to Harry Potter in preparation for our trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’ve read all of the books several times (some more than others) and have listened to the audiobooks at least 5-10 times (depending on the book) in the last 10’ish years.  Since Goblet of Fire is my favorite, it’s the one I’ve read and listened too the most.

So! Consider my surpise when I noticed SOMETHING NEW this time through! When I first started listening to the books, I often picked up new bits I’d missed reading the books. But I  have not heard ANYTHING “new” in years.

Until last night! Harry, Ron and Hermione are walking the grounds before the second task when the see Viktor Krum diving into the lake from the Durmstrang ship! This was after the Yule Ball so Ron expressed a little bit of joy at the idea of the giant squid getting him, and Hermione commented that he probably thinks the lake is warm since where he comes from it’s so cold.

But I never remembered them seeing him do that! Are we to assume he was practicing his plan for the second task? Or was he just swimming for the hell of it? And how am I still finding “new” stuff in these books after reading and listening to them SO MANY TIMES!


ACK. I wrote this post several days ago to save for a day I didn’t have any thing to say. And then guess what happened today? (Friday!) I heard ANOTHER “new” part in Book V!

Kingsley and Mr. Weasley are faking a business like conversation before Harry’s trial at the beginning of the book. Kingsley says to Mr. Weasley, “…the delay on that firelegs report held up our investigation for about a month.” To which Mr. Weasley says, “If you had read my report, you would know the term is firearms.”


Now, I haven’t read book 5 that much because I really don’t like the Dumbledore/Harry issues in the book, so discovering new things in this one is not as exciting as book 4, but still. I’ve probably read/listened to it at least 5 times all the way through!


Another 50 Shades Public Service Announcement…Just In Time for the Movie.

I’m publishing 2 entries today so this one is NOT the “only” one showing up on my blog. I AM A PRUDE!

I do my kids a favor and leave one topic off-limits on this blog: SEX. I can write about boob sweat and crotch chaffing but not SEX. And I will continue to respect that so that I don’t embarrass them to the point of wishing for death. This is not a difficult topic to avoid because I’m pearl-grasping prude of the utmost order and have never thought if only I could talk about sex…. NO WAY! BRING ME MY SMELLING SALTS!

HOWEVER…it is time to remind you all of a video I shared out years ago that discusses how “50 Shades of Grey” is an awful example of good/safe/healthy BDSM. Laci Green is wonderful but she is frank and her language is NOT safe for work. She explains why the book is not a good example or guidebook for BDSM and it’s something to keep in mind if you enjoy the books or the movie.

That said: I HAVE NOT READ THE BOOKS. Nor will I see the movie. For a few reasons, but mainly because…as I mentioned before…I’m a prude. And while I have no problem with the existence of erotica and I’m very glad people read sexy books and enjoy them, they are not for me. I’m not even comfortable with the nudity/sex on cable television, I’m definitely not going to read some sort of BDSM erotica.

But if you like it, Laci gives recommendations for others that are more in tune with proper BDSM guidelines for safety and health. Enjoy the 50 Shades books and movies, but don’t use them as a model for experimentation in your own life.

Now I’m going back to never talking about this stuff again. I highly recommend Laci Green videos for all things, however. She’s not a prude, she even does sex talks at universities and she’s smart and fun and a good soul. Watch her while I go clutch my pearls some more.


About that Podcast I recommended…

serial-social-logoSo, do y’all remember me writing about how much I loved the podcast Serial awhile back? I’m not sure I stand by that anymore.

(Do I give a Spoiler alert here? I mean, this is a true story that’s out on the internet, not a scripted TV show no one knows the ending of. I don’t know. I guess if you haven’t listened to the podcast and don’t even want to know how they handled the story, then this might spoil things. But if you’re not sure you care, or maybe considering listening to it, then I don’t think this will spoil things. But I DON’T KNOW! POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD?)

I did really like it. And while a lot of people complained when the host went from actual investigating of facts to “discussing of personal opinions” …I didn’t mind that. I felt like that made a lot of the characters, including the host as she was a character herself, 3-dimensional and not just “someone who saw this ________” or “someone who did this _________” BUT! The second the last episode played without any sort of wrap-up reminding the listeners that Hae Min Lee was still dead, it suddenly felt very exploitive.

I think I expected the final episode to kinda remind people of that, since it did feel like culture – as a whole – was discussing this podcast like it was the latest episode of Scandal and forgetting there’s still a dead 18-year old girl at the center of the story. I mean…I understood that excitement, it was a well-done podcast. I didn’t mind the fervor around it at first, but I did feel like it was the job of the podcast to bring everyone back to reality in the end. And they didn’t.

The final episode was fine, I liked that we got to hear from the producers more and I liked that Sarah Koenig was very honest about how often she changed her mind about things, but it surprised me that no one ever said – when discussing other potential suspects, “And it keeps me awake at night knowing the real murderer could be still out there.”

Why didn’t they say that? There were small little things like that, that I expected on the last episode, to bring it all back from the “Law & Order” feel of a TV show you’re trying to guess the ending of, to a REAL story involving a REAL tragic murder. And none of that happened. No thoughts on how – if the wrong guy is in jail – there could be a murderer still roaming free. Not discussion about how, if the right guy is in jail, they’ve dug up a traumatic phase in everyone’s history for nothing. Sarah Koenig did not keep the 4th wall up at all, she often discussed how the popularity of the story led them down new paths of investigation. So why didn’t they discuss how that same popularity made them feel more like they were writing a scripted television show than doing a journalistic piece on a possible botched trial?

I don’t know…I guess I just expected some “real” talk on the last episode, maybe even some discussion about how the popularity of the podcast got weird considering there’s still a tragic murder in the center of it all. Maybe just a gentle reminder to people writing blog posts and podcasting like it is a television show…that it’s NOT a television show. It’s a true story. It might deserve a little more respect than, say, your recap of The Good Wife.

But nope, just a basic wrap-up. Good, but just missing a lot, to me. Missing a lot that would have made me feel comfortable with people joking about their addiction to it. I don’t know, it just went from “Holy Cow…this is an interesting look on crime investigation and murder trials!” to “Why am I saying I’m addicted to a story about a girl’s murder?”

I’ve been sitting on that for weeks, trying to decide how I felt about it all. And then they started offering swag with the show logo – and that felt REALLY weird. Maybe after there’s a second season with a different story it won’t feel weird. But right now, all that logo means to me is “A story about the murder of an 18-year old girl!” And who wants that logo on their coffee mug?

And then there was MORE digging by other journalists and agencies and there were podcasts about podcasts and I DON’T KNOW…It just got weird. REALLY WEIRD.

So, I’ve stopped talking about it completely. I don’t recommend it anymore. I still think it was well done and if it hadn’t gotten so popular, none of this would sit wrong with me. But since it became a pop-culture hit, something that Entertainment Weekly wrote about, I felt like the last few episodes should have maybe brought the people listening back down to earth a bit. I definitely don’t think they should be selling swag until that logo stands for something other than Hae Min Lee’s murder. When someone asks me if I listened to it, I give them this long speech that basically says what I’ve said here.

Yes, I listened to it. I thought it was well done, but the popularity of it all freaked me out and I had trouble listening to the last few episodes without thinking about Hae Min’s family, knowing that I was one of 40 million people listening to the story of their daughter’s murder.

What about you? Did your feelings change about it? Did any of the fanfare sit weird with you?