How An Old Lady Became Obsessed With D&D

I’ve been writing here since late 2003 and there are very few topics I haven’t covered. And today? I’m 99.9999% positive I’m in uncharted territory here at misszoot.com. I’m also worried that 99.99999% of you will NOT CARE IN THE SLIGHTEST about this topic but if you all will hang with me, we may end up in this new world together.

Let’s talk Dungeons & Dragons!

(Did I lose you already?)

(Please! Hang in there!)

My only experience with Dungeons & Dragons was learning about it when my brother played with a friend in our youth and the idea sounding SO COOL. But that’s it. And every time I hear other people talk about it I think, “THAT SOUNDS SO COOL!” But I’ve never seen it played nor do I know anything about it or – really – any other Role Playing Games (RPGs) for that matter. I’ve never even seen/played online RPGs much less table-top ones. Meaning, NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER.

But that part of me that says, “THAT SOUNDS SO COOL!” has always been intrigued when hearing people talking about it. Fantasy role-playing? I mean…it just sounds like me, right? I like fantasy. I have a very vivid imagination. I’m a nerd. How I never ended up in a D&D crowd in my life is beyond me.

NOW! Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I learned that a silly group of brothers (The McElroy Brothers) I listen to in a different podcast (My Brother, My Brother And Me – it’s a bit profane) also do a D&D podcast called The Adventure Zone. I quickly looked at it on iTunes and learned the 3 brothers do it with their Dad and there was “only” 45+ episodes which is a reasonable amount to catch up on. (I’m currently running 50’ish miles a week, it doesn’t take me long to burn through 45+ episodes of podcasts.) And I hadn’t listened to a fiction podcast in awhile and was itching for a new one, so this seemed like a good one to fit the bill.

So, I queued up episode one and went to town.

In case you know nothing about D&D it’s simple. You have a DM/GM (Dungeon Master/Game Master) who plans an adventure and the other players are characters who have pre-determined abilities based on base-definitions and you roll various dice to see how you perform in certain instances.

(That sounds SO boring.)

And y’all? I AM SO HOOKED NOW. I’m looking into trying to start a game with the kids, or maybe joining a different one (Donnie knows someone who might be able to DM for us as a family) but either way, I will play soon if it kills me. This series of podcasts has cracked me up (I already love these guys because they’re hilarious even though they can get SO FOUL) so many times. I’ll be on a run, or in my car, or washing dishes and they’ll do a goof that has me LOLing in a very real sense. BUT! It’s also super-riveting. In one episode Travis McElroy (who plays Magnus) paused Griffin while he was doing the story telling and said something like, “I just want to say I’m on the edge of my seat here,” and I was thinking THE SAME THING. Who knew an audio format of a group playing a table-top role playing game could have me BITING MY FINGERNAILS WITH NERVES.

But there have been some moments when Griffin (The DM) has announced a twist or a turn or a result that has had me literally GASP. I got goosebumps at the end of one episode recently. I looked down at my arm and there they were: GOOSEBUMPS. And then? Most recently? Two episodes ago? I SOBBED LIKE A DAMN BABY. This crazy podcast with 4 guys playing a game – NOT EVEN IN THE SAME ROOM (they live in different cities and play via Skype) – has me ADDICTED and LAUGHING and CRYING and SCARED and OH MY GOD I AM NOW CAUGHT UP WITH THE REAL WORLD AND I HAVE TO WAIT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

It took a few episodes to get into it. I think this is partly because I didn’t understand the game that well (not sure I still do) and it was hard for me to figure out what was going on with dice rolling. It might be harder to get into if you don’t already know the guy’s voices from their other podcast because it might take awhile to sort out who is playing who. But! It didn’t take long for me to understand enough to get the gist of the thing. I think it also took a bit for the guys to really hash out their characters so they became dimensional. Once Travis said, “Okay. There’s something I really want to do right now but it’s something TRAVIS would do, NOT Magnus, so I’m going to NOT do it and respect the fiction.”

I thought that was SO COOL.

And I love hearing Griffin McElroy MDM’ing. My favorite is when the guys do something unexpected and he gets excited. He’ll even say, “Okay…I’m totally into this…” like he LOVES the challenge to build a story based on some of these insane actions. While I love Magnus the best (played by Travis McElroy), I think Justin McElroy’s character is the funniest (His character is Taako, pronounced “Taco.”) and it doesn’t help the he’s SO good at the voice so sometimes it’s not WHAT he’s saying that cracks me up but HOW he’s saying it.

I just love the whole thing. I’m super-sad that I’m now caught up with the real world and I’ll have to wait 2 weeks at a time like everyone else. It was already hard enough to remember what had happened when I only started a few weeks ago, it’s going to be impossible to keep it all straight now.

Either way – I’m looking forward to trying to actually play this game some time in the future. Hopefully with the kids if I can figure out how to DM a game I’ve never played. I think I’d be a terrible DM but the kids won’t mind me being bad, I think they’ll just get into playing it. The podcast is not as foul as MBMBAM can be (They’re foul in the way any 3 brothers are foul when they get together), so I’ve let them listen to it periodically. They can’t wait to get started playing.

So here’s to a new thing to obsess over. I’m 41, that’s the age when most people start playing D&D, right?


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.