Why I’m Getting My Harry Potter Tattoo

I’m excited to share with you all that I will be getting my first tattoo in September of this year. My artist is still finishing the sketch, but it will be a Jame’s Potter’s stag patronus in that ethereal blue and white fading down into a Deathly Hallows symbol. Since high school, I had been talking about how if I were to get a tattoo, it would be a Harry Potter themed one. After going to Universal Studios in February, I realized why shouldn’t I get a tattoo now instead of holding off and waiting years to get something I have always wanted. This will be my first tattoo and I wanted to share the process of finding the artist along with the reasons why I want this tattoo.

Once I decided I was going forward with my Harry Potter tattoo, I started researching different shops. My first requirement was to find a shop that supports women, but also the LGBTQIA+ community. As a consumer, it’s my due diligence to ensure my money wasn’t going to someone who was actively trying to degrade the rights of an entire group of people. I settled on Jackalope Tattoo which is one of the few shops in the Twin Cities owned by women or non-binary individuals. The shop itself was beautiful with a variety of different plants everywhere and privacy between the different booths. The artist I picked specializes in water color work. My tattoo will have this blue / white look to it and I had a specific image in my mind of how I wanted this tattoo to look.

Now I will go into my reasons why I have always wanted a tattoo:

Harry Potter Made Me Love To Read

Reading has been a huge hobby of mine which started from reading the Harry Potter books as a family. My dad’s side of the family has a cottage in Minnesota that we would travel to in summer. As we read the Harry Potter books late in the evening, we would hear the lapping sounds of the waves hitting the shore. My dad used to work in radio, so he would have this soothing, calming voice whenever he read the books. He also used to do sound effects like if he was reading Hagrid’s lines versus Harry’s. My love of reading grew from Harry Potter. 

To Remember My Father

Part of this, is to remember my dad. This is however, not the sole reason I want a tattoo. The permanence of a tattoo is a great way to remember my father forever. I think it’s incredibly meaningful to have an artist draw up a memory based on a person and blend it with a childhood story.

To Remind Me To Love Everyone & Judge Less

The Harry Potter book series has many adult themes as I’m seeing when I’m doing my re-read this year. One theme is how bigotry can ruin a society. The bigotry is seen with “mud-bloods” and “pure-blood” wizards. In the height of the Second Wizarding War, “mud-bloods.” were being put on trial or executed based on their magical family history. The Harry Potter series teaches how if we are more accepting and open to everyone, it leads to a more peaceful way of life.

September cannot come fast enough. I’m proud of myself for going through this instead of backing out or putting it off. If you have any first time tattoo tips, please them in the comments!

 

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Prodigy Review

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After reading the last page in Prodigy, I felt my heart being ripped open and stomped on. Any reader can empathize with this feeling of reading a book with a heart-wrenching cliff hanger. Thanks to Marie Lu for putting me in a state of despair after reading Prodigy. As much as I loved Prodigy, I did feel the book moved a bit slower than I had anticipated. There was a lot of build up to the plot, but it was somewhat boring to read about. Once I was about half way through the book, I became entranced with seeing the events unfold. I’m hoping to finish this series in 2019.

Prodigy picks up immediately after Legend with June and Day wandering through Las Vegas after escaping the Republic. Day’s still injured as June is trying her best to drag him along to seek shelter. They’re picked up by the Patriots, a rebel group with aims to protest against the Republic. The Patriots give June and Day a deal: help the Patriots successfully assassinate the new elector and the Patriots will personally see to Eden (Day’s brother) being released from the Republic. Day’s leg is patched up and June is sent into the Republic to initiate the assassination attempt.

The beauty in Marie Lu’s writing is the way she writes her action sequences. As I’m reading the action packed paragraphs, it reminds me of the Bourne movies. Day’s ability to climb balconies and leap across buildings reminds me of something Jason Bourne could do. June’s skill in hand-to-hand combat is also exciting to read about considering without June, Day probably wouldn’t have made it far in his quest to free his brother.

One disappointment I had with this book is how a certain character’s death is treated. I won’t say who they are because I don’t want to provide spoilers, but I felt it wasn’t seen as being a big deal. I wish they would have shown a proper funeral. Another possible scene I would have liked to see in the book, is how this character death would have impacted June and Day. This character’s death scene felt quick and undeserving.

Honestly, I did prefer Legend to Prodigy. Part of this is due to the cliff hanger appearing in the last couple pages of Prodigy. The series went in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I feel for Day because of everything he went through, I wanted him to have a happy ending. I’m not sure if this will be the case, but I can’t quit the series now. All of the Legend trilogy can be purchased wherever books are sold.

 

Star Wars Canon Timeline

The Star Wars universe encompasses so many various media including the movies, TV series, books, comics and board games. There’s so much to devour that if you stick with the movies, you miss out on other stories. Kristin at Super Space Chick made a pact to try and read more “Star Wars Canon” in between the release of episodes VIII & episode IV. I made a decision that I wanted to read more “Star Wars Canon”. I also want to take another stab at watching Clone Wars because even though I have tried to watch it twice without continuing on, I have heard too many good things about the show to completely abandon it. I plan on posting my Star Wars Canon Project which I did adapt from Kristin’s list, so credit goes to her for putting it all together.

The Star Wars Expanded Universe has had various changes as to whether or not the books were “canon” or not. When something is “canon” it means it’s existing in the same universe. When Disney acquired LucasFilm, they set out to make a standard as to which Star Wars books would be considered “canon”. On April 25th 2014, the Expanded Universe was retconned, meaning all the books published before this date weren’t technically considered canon. These books still were written, but technically are considered almost fan-fiction versus actually occurring in the Star Wars universe. This may have angered fans who fell in love with the books only for them to not be considered in the main Star Wars saga.

One summer, I had walked to a library near by my house. I spotted sitting on a shelf Maul Lockdown by Joe Schreiber. Darth Maul is easily one of the most underused characters in the Star Wars saga. I enjoyed Maul Lockdown as it adds to his story that we don’t get to see in the Phantom Menace. However, this book was released before April 25th, so therefore it’s not strictly canon.

The question becomes. . . what is considered canon in the Star Wars Universe? The movies are always going to be number one. Followed by both Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. The books help provide fans with much needed character development taking place between the movies. Comics also help to fill that void.

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In the above picture, I crossed off in blue what I have read or watched already. The list is about five pages on it’s own including every TV episode, movie, comic, book that’s been created. I’m also going to include a link to Kristin’s video where she gives even more resources for fans to utilize when reading the extended universe.

Ultimately, my goal is to read as much as I can before the end of the year. That may only be one book or it can be finally finishing Clone Wars. I like this organized guide because it feels like a check list and I’m a list making person. In Kristin’s above video, she links to her original google doc which I then used to make it my own. Episode IX comes out this year and reading more Star Wars will get me excited for December.

 

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire Re-Read

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire is the pivotal book in the series where everything becomes much darker. This may still be a “children’s” book, but these adult themes become much more present. Voldemort arises out of the mist ready to take over the Wizarding World with his bigotry towards Mudbloods. As an adult, I find re-reading the Harry Potter book series to be completely different than when I read it as a child. It’s the same material, but I pick up on different themes that have relevance to today’s society. As always, I’m going to post details I completely forgot about from The Goblet of Fire:

  • The difference between Wormtail in the book versus the movie is vastly different. In the book, Voldemort makes numerous comments about Wormtail’s devotion due to his endless fear. In the movie, Wormtail is seen as a normal follower willing to do Voldemort’s bidding.
  • I wish we would have seen Dudley’s tongue turn purple and grow a foot in length. Instead the movie starts right at the Quidditch World Cup.
  • Apparation requires passing a highly challenging test. This is also the first reference to “splinching” which becomes important later in the series.
  • Portkeys need to be objects a “muggle” wouldn’t touch. An example would be litter.
  • Ways in which Amos Diggory is such a jerk: He talks about how Cedric beat Harry in the Quidditch match last year EVEN THOUGH Harry fell off his broom due to the Dementor’s presence. Amos Diggory also accused Harry of conjuring the Dark Mark during the World Cup.
  • The Quidditch World Cup seats 100,000 people.
  • Veelas were women who put men into a trance. They performed at the Quidditch World Cup which almost prompted Harry to dive out of his seat. Fleur is part veela which is why she’s seen as irresistible.
  • A break-in is reported at Mad Eye Moody’s house which Arthur Weasley investigates. More excellent foreshadowing by J.K. Rowling.
  • Professor Snape forces Neville to disembowel toads as punishment. That’s extremely messed up.
  • During the Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson with Professor Moody, he puts everyone under the Imperius Curse and Harry is the only one to fight it off. This becomes extremely important later on as Harry is able to resist Voldemort’s Imperius Curse during their battle after the third task.
  • Triwizard Champions are exempt from end of year tests.
  • Sirius Black has such an important role in the book. He’s the one who informs Harry about Karkaroff’s past as a Death Eater and about Barty Crouch Sr.’s ruthless ways in punishing the Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War.
  • In the book, Harry stays near the arena while fighting the dragon. The whole Hogwarts castle show down with the dragon is purely made to make the sequence more thrilling.
  • DOBBY MADE HARRY QUIDDITCH SOCKS! How cute 🙂
  • Moody mentions to Harry about how he would make a good Auror.
  • “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors not his equals.” This quote from Sirius is spot on.
  • Sirius was sentenced to Azkaban without a proper trial, all thanks to Barty Crouch Sr.
  • During Moody’s time as an Auror, he never tried to kill Death Eaters if he didn’t have to. Barty Crouch Sr. gave him special permission to use the three unforgivable curses, but he still avoided using them.
  • In Hagrid’s class they studied Niffler’s! They even had a contest with the Niffler’s to see which Niffler would find the most coins. Ron ended up winning. Harry even describes the Niffler’s as being cute.
  • During a divination lesson, Harry has a dream where Voldemort tortures Wormtail after he makes a mistake. This further describes Voldemort and Wormtail’s volatile relationship that wasn’t demonstrated in the movies.
  • Ludo Bagman was on trial for giving information to Rookwood [Rookwood was convicted of being a Death Eater].
  • The torture of the Longbottom’s shocked the Wizarding World. Frank was a popular Auror and the timing happened right after Voldemort fell from power. This means that Harry’s parents were killed in July and the Longbottom’s were tortured shortly after that.
  • Imagine being in Neville’s position: leading the legacy of his parents who have no idea who he is. This is compounded by the fact that his real true strength is in Herbology and not necessarily in other forms of magic like his parents. That’s a lot of pressure for Neville.
  • A phoenix song plays when Harry and Voldemort’s wands connect. They are also raised in the air and float over the Death Eaters.
  • Bertha Jorkins is released from Voldemort’s wand encouraging Harry to keep their wands connected.
  • Fawkes heals Harry after the battle with Voldemort. This is after Barty Crouch Jr. is apprehended.
  • Fudge doesn’t believe Voldemort’s rise to power due to Harry’s apparent “mental instability” which was written about by Rita Skeeter. In this article, it’s revealed Harry can talk to snakes which was unknown to Fudge. It’s one reason why Fudge launches a smear campaign against Harry and Dumbledore.
  • During the argument between Fudge and Dumbledore, Professor Snape reveals his “dark mark” to everyone saying how his mark is darker on his arm. Snape is a lot of things, but he at least believes Harry’s account of Voldemort’s return.
  • Towards the end of Goblet of Fire, it’s revealed that Sirius is the black dog that’s been following Harry around. Dumbledore insists Sirius and Snape need to work together. This is the beginning of the formation of the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Dumbledore makes a comment to Snape, “You know what I must ask you to do. If you are ready . . . if you are prepared . . . then good luck.” I wonder if this was the moment that Snape contacted Voldemort to become his double agent.
  • Ron in the end got an autograph from Krum
  • The last sentence in Goblet of Fire is fitting to what happens in the series. It is, “What would come, would come. . . and he would have to meet it when it did.” This is written from Harry’s view and how Harry has accepted Voldemort’s return.

These aren’t even all the comments I wrote about Goblet of Fire. I’m keeping a word document of every little detail I find interesting as I re-read the books. I’m already at 13 pages of little tidbits from the series I had forgotten about. Re-reading Goblet of Fire brought out more emotion than I had prepared for. It means I’m one book closer to reading the Deathly Hallows and all the character deaths that occur from the Battle of Hogwarts. I’m still looking forward to reading the other three books and I hope to start Order of the Phoenix sometime this week.

Also as an added side note, I did schedule my Harry Potter themed tattoo for this September. I’m thrilled to finally set a date as this tattoo means a lot to me. I will write a blog post sometime in the future detailing more of this.

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Yes, I did buy one. It’s sitting on my Harry Potter shelf with my other Harry Potter Collectible toys. 

I’m a Doctor, Not a Board Gamer: Star Trek Ascendancy Review

I’m the first one to admit: I’m not a Star Trek fan. That’s not to say I don’t like Star Trek, I just have never sat down and watched an episode. I do have access to Hulu now thanks to my subscription with Spotify, and I have considered watching the original series or Star Trek: Next Generation. When my uncle bought Star Trek Ascendancy, I wasn’t sure if this game would be for me because of my limited Star Trek knowledge. I’m EXTREMELY surprised because I thought this game was massively addicting.

Star Trek Ascendancy was published by GaleForce Nine which is a company also producing the Doctor Who board game which is another game I deeply enjoyed. Star Trek Ascendancy allows the player to choose out of four factions to travel deep space with. These include: the Federation, Romulans, Klingons and the Cardassians (which I believe is pronounced similarly to the Kardashians?). I picked the Romulans as everyone in my gaming group had desperately wanted to play the other factions. The goal of the game is to build up your fleet and either take over another faction or acquire five Ascendancy tokens which can be earned by dominating other civilizations.

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This is what our game board looked like with all of the factions exploring deep space. It’s madness! Photo taken by me. 

From the above picture, this is towards the middle of the game. Since one of the main components of winning the game is by dominance, it’s crucial to explore different planets. They can net resources for the faction which can be utilized to build or upgrade ships. This allows for better success in intergalactic space battles.

Each faction starts out with a card that givens them an added benefit to the game. I had “the Romulan cloaking device” which allowed me first strike in space battles. I never used the device because my main premise was to dominate other planets. Another aspect of the game is offering “trade agreements”. These agreements are established between planets to avoid conflict and gather resources. Trade agreements are violated when you betray the faction and attack them instead. In our game, I had a trade agreement with my brother. I wholeheartedly believe that if we had time to finish our game, he would have stabbed me in the back and full on attacked me.

I will admit, turn orders are extremely time consuming. As a player, I found my attention wavered because I was waiting for my turn. Turns are split into a “build” and a “command” phase. Building ships and formulating upgrades always happens first. Once you spend your resources, you flip the turn card over and command your ships across the galaxy. As my gaming group started to learn the rules, turns weren’t as lengthy, but in the beginning it felt like a round took forever.

Ultimately, I did highly enjoy this game and I’m not a “trekkie”. I’m actually inspired to watch more Star Trek so I can understand where all the references come from. I have heard nothing but good things about Star Trek Next Generation. I think that might be my new TV watching project after finishing up How To Get Away With Murder. Until then, I’ll keep up my galactic conquest with the Romulans.

 

*If you’re interested in reading the rule book: GaleForce Nine does have the rule book to download free of charge. You can find that here: Star Trek Ascendancy Rulebook*

 

The Insecurity of Not Doing Enough

One bucket list item I haven’t achieved yet is leaving the United States. I have always wanted to travel to Europe, Australia, Japan and more. Travel is a huge passion of mine as I like to experience new places and go on mini adventures. The most difficult part for me to accept is the expense of travel and not being able to financially support the trips I want to do. The reason why I bring this up is I constantly think about how I’m not doing enough meaningful things in my life. When I think about this, it send me down a really dark hole.

Speaking of “dark holes” last night, I was researching buying a new smart phone because my current phone has screen issues. Looking at how much that would cost me was slightly disheartening. I would rather put that money to airfare or to an air B&B somewhere than spend it on a new phone. I also need new pairs of workout shoes as my other pair has holes in them. Workout shoes are also quite an expensive purchase. It’s thinking about all of these things I need at once and recognizing how I need to spend money on them instead of travel ideas.

When I reflect on my travel, I need to keep a couple things in mind. The first would be that all my trips have been self funded. I never got a “2,000” payment to go to Mexico for Spring Break while I was in college. I’m not trying to shame anyone; I’m happy you had that experience, however I’m proud to say I was able to travel all on my own. Another thing I have to be thankful for is that I’m here. Every day I hear of another school shooting or violent outburst. People are ripped from this planet at younger ages than I am. I’m sure they would want to be here going to work and spending time with loved ones while I’m over here complaining about my situation. I’m attempting to improve on this attitude I have that I’m not living a meaningful life.

The definition of meaningful is having a serious, important or useful quality or purpose. Even though I want to travel more, I could argue my life is meaningful every day. The impact I have with people I see week to week at my day job or continuing to support my mom by driving her to her dentist appointment. These are all important facets in my life. I’m sure I have an impact on many people I interact with, but I suddenly forget about that when I think of my travel plans.

I wanted to write this personal post because I figured I can’t be alone in this. I wanted to say, you’re enough. Every day is a blessing to have you on this planet. I need to remind myself of this more often as I want to remind my readers now. To anyone who took the time to read this whole post, I thank you. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be able to express my thoughts or feelings. Hopefully this post serves as a reminder, but also to say that if this is something you have been feeling too, you’re not alone.

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A year ago, I was celebrating Mother’s Day in Boston. A year later, I’m engaged and went to Harry Potter World. 

Rainbow Rowell’s Runaways Vol. #1

 

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When I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I was a junior in college Reading Fangirl allowed me to reflect on my own college experience. My freshman year was an intimidating experience where I had to make new friends from scratch. I related to Cath in her devotion to Simon & Bazz. I have the same devotion to Harry Potter especially since re-reading the books this year. When I found out Rainbow Rowell was transitioning into writing comics, I was invested in whatever property she became attached to. Runaways: Find Your Way Home is an adventure story centered on the relationships between friends.

Before reading Runaways, I never knew the premise behind the team. The Runaways is a comic series published by Marvel that debuted in 2003. The series stars a group of teenagers who interact with each other every time their parents have a dinner party. The teenagers discover the dinner parties are a front for their parent’s criminal undertakings. The parents are apart of a group titled “The Pride” with the ultimate goal of wiping out the planet and starting fresh. The teenagers are forced to team up and go against authority and stop “The Pride” from unleashing hell on Earth. As I did my research of The Runaways, I learned that they were created by Brian K. Vaughn. This name may sound familiar because he is a main creator on Paper Girls which is one of my favorite comic series. Vaughn worked on Runaways until the series was cancelled in 2009.

Rainbow Rowell’s Runaways: Find Your Way Home takes place after the teenagers learn about their parents background. What I like about Runaways: Find Your Way Home is how it hints at the original story, but I don’t need prior knowledge of the Runaways to comprehend the story. The protagonists of the story are: Nico Minoru, Chase Stein, Gertrude Yorkes, Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes and Alex Wilder. Each teenager has special abilities which contributes to how the Runaways team up in battle. One of the positive attributes of Runaways: Find Your Way Home is the diversity between the characters. This doesn’t include race, but also diversity in body type. Gertrude is one of my favorite teenagers because of her sassy personality, but she’s also drawn as being plus size. In comics, women are often super thin, curvy and muscular all at the same time. As someone who’s body type doesn’t fit that mold, I’m happy to see characters in comics with a variety of different bodies.

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As I mentioned, Gertrude is one of my favorite characters because I think her character arc is dynamic. Without giving spoilers, she has to contemplate how the Runaways have grown apart since she felt they would always be together. Also Gertrude has a pet dinosaur named Old Lace who’s her partner in crime. I’m also intrigued by Nico’s magical abilities since it seems she can’t create the same spell twice. I would hate to have this ability because I wouldn’t be creative enough to come up with different spell names every time.

I can’t talk about Runaways: Find Your Way Home without referencing Kris Anka. Kris Anka has worked on many of Marvel’s properties including X-Men, Captain Marvel and the redesign of Spider-Woman. Kris Anka’s art makes this story shine. I feel he is perfect for Rainbow Rowell since her writing usually is lighthearted and clever.

As I typed this review, I didn’t realize I would have so much to say. I do highly recommend this series because of the story, but also the diversity between the characters. You really don’t have to know anything about the original Runaways to start this series. However, now that I have read this, I would love to find the original run of  Runaways back in 2003. Go to your local comic book store and pick up Runaways: Find Your Way Home, you won’t be disappointed.