24 August 2008

Happy Birthday John Green and Frak!!!!!!

Squee!!!!!!! Both absolutely amazing people who have brought so much to my life. John, with his amazing books, and Frak with his amazing commentary on PotterCast and love of Pellegrino. =] I wish both of them a VERY happy birthday....and, I am going to help Hank make John happy....more on that later, when it isn't supposed to be secret anymore!

You may have noticed that I only posted two entries yesterday...and that's because I decided against posting a huge ranting/complaining post about my sister and her "superiority" and family issues and all that. I really do need someone to talk to about it who doesn't know my family but who will just sit there and listen. But I don't think ranting to my journal will help in this case, because I need someone to give advice and be comforting and all that. So...if you're up for that, let me know...Skype: lunasnargle E-mail: kdancingintherain@yahoo.com

Erm...so...this weekend. Yesterday morning I....uh, I'm pretty sure I spent it reading and hanging on the computer when I should've been doing homework. Leslie and I also went to Barnes and Noble, where I bought The Road by Cormac McCarthy (which I needed for school but also really WANT to read) and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (which was only 3.99 and Leslie always seems willing to buy good books for me....) Around 1:20 we left for theater (and got there about half an hour early, during which time I read some of An Abundance of Katherines). The first show was As You Like It. Absolutely hilarious, especially since they portrayed it sort of in modern times...It was funny seeing the second scene and remembering Ian in a fat suit as a sumo wrestler, though! After the first show we went to the Indian restaurant and waited for quite a while for Elyse. But, in the end, it was worth it. My Panneer Masala was really good, they have fantastic naan, and I even got to have Cookies and Cream ice cream at Baskin Robbins, and I probably haven't had actual ice cream (not sorbet or gelato) for about a year! The second show was Venus and Adonis. It wasn't as interesting as As You Like It, but, again, the portrayal in modern times made it funny, and the ending was beautiful. =]

Today I've been doing all the homework and studying I should have been doing yesterday....Oops. We also went to the BX/Commissary, King Soopers, and OfficeMax. So I'm now pretty dang sure that I have everything I need for school, either supply wise or food wise. Yay! But....I made flashcards for my Arts & Tech vocab test, my Chemistry test on the Periodic table, and printed out a map of France so I can study the provinces for my quiz tomorrow (so pointles...) I also typed and sort of rewrote my English paragraph, but I'll do it more thoroughly tomorrow. And took notes for US History now that I finally have a binder for that class! *sigh* I need to continue studying for my Chemistry and French quizzes tomorrow, though....

I can't believe I have school tomorrow! I've recalled the main reason I hate school: I'M ALWAYS TIRED!!!!! Seriously, no matter now much sleep I try to get, the work is draining, and I never really feel as awake as I do during the summer.

I don't know how many times I've thought the phrase, "Eff this, I'm going to Hogwarts," recently. A lot. Definitely. I think I'd have more friends there and a lot more fun...anyone want to join me in the quest for a happier life at Hogwarts? =]

So........Happy Birthday again to John and Frak!

I hope y'all are having a better time than I am right now, and I'm sending what happy thoughts I can y'alls way right now. Cheers!

23 August 2008

Looking for Alaska

Oh. My. GOD.

This is probably going to sound really cheesy or something, but...This book changed my life. I'm completely serious in saying this, too. It's a long story, but I connect with this book so much. And it made me cry like no book other than Deathly Hallows.

John, I loved you before, because you were sweet and funny and, with Hank, started the amazing Nerdfighters group. I had way too much fun watching you on YouTube. But....I couldn't ever find your books at my Barnes and Noble (which was weird...) So I was resigned to thinking, "Hey, John's amazing, and so many people love his books, they must be good." But I couldn't ever truly say, "John Green is an amazing author," because (*blushes*) I hadn't actually read your books.

Anyway, after Terminus I've been thinking even more about his books and how I wished I could have gone to the Nerdfighters meet-up on 8/8/08 at the library. And, like fate, I was sitting in the school library with two of my friends eating lunch on Tuesday. Staring at the shelves, there, before me, was a black hardcover book with purple smoke on it. Oh my god, I thought, Is that REALLY Looking for Alaska?? It was. I recall saying to my friend, "I can't believe they have this," and then immediately checking out the book, which is something special in itself because I NEVER check books out from the library. Like, ever.

So, I started in on Wednesday and I was done by Friday. At one point, it was so good that I was overwhelmed and upset that school is started now and I couldn't stay up all night to finish the book. I cried so much during the book, and I related so much to the (SPOILER!!!!!!!!!! BEEP, BEEP, BEEP...........) death of a really good friend and how it could physically make you hurt inside. But the book was just so amazingly beautiful....It was awe-inspiring, and, like I said, a little overwhelming because I KNOW I'll never in my life write a story for young adults as well as John's book.

I'm completely serious in saying that Looking for Alaska changed my life. It did, in so many ways that I can't really even explain and that probably wouldn't make sense to anyone even if I could. So, John, you are AMAZING. And I love you.

Summary of first week of school

(Just FYI I have a lot of thoughts today, which I will be splitting up into three separate journal entries, possibly four if I want to say something else....more, maybe? Anyway, this is the first.)

So, first FULL week of school. I think that one extra Friday last week was incredibly stupid, and I didn't do ANYTHING work-wise that day. So yes, first week of school.

To be completely honest, it's kind of...stunk. I mean, it hasn't been all bad, of course, but I'm not happy at Rampart AT ALL. Plus, I feel like I've changed a lot as a person this summer, what with Girl Scout camp and then Terminus. I mean, I've realized that a lot of the people I considered my friends truly are people who just talked to me because I was there. Not everyone, of course, but it was an interesting discovery.

Also, I'm not a big fan of my classmates. Or the IB program in general. They claim that it's so much harder and so much more work and all, but as more and more people who can't deal with the workload enter the IB program, I feel that the level of work and the quality of the lessons, etc, has declined. Or maybe I just don't like the way that the IB program is run. Okay, so I try not to be egotistical and it is EXTREMELY rare that I compliment myself or try to put myself above anyone else. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't think I was at a much higher learning and thinking level than a lot of my peers. There are probably people who are smarter (especially in math), but I think I have a lot higher level in thinking and analyzing and all that. I'm not saying I'm a genius, because I'm certainly not. Believe me, I've gotten plenty of low grades, but I always work really hard to make up for those. I just truly believe that I'd be a lot happier at Fountain Valley or some other private school in which my peers would be closer to my level, some above and some below (at least I hope so). Plus, at FVS or someplace else, I think I'd be getting a much more diverse high school experience and be learning a lot more about real life. Overall, I do think I'd be much happier.

It's almost worse knowing that I did get into Fountain Valley last year and that I could be going there right now if we'd been able to scrounge up the money. It would almost be easier if I hadn't been accepted, because then I wouldn't be fantasizing about what I could be doing there right now if we'd gotten enough financial aid. It's just so HARD. =[

I'm also not a big fan of my classes. I'll summarize my feelings on them:
MYP Arts and Tech: Well, I actually like this class so far, the theatre part, and I guess it's a good class to be in.....I don't have anything against this class, definitely.
Pre-Calculus: Well, I hate math, as people who've known me for a while are fully aware. And as awesome as Mr. Perry is, there are some things he doesn't teach us because he thinks we can learn them out of the book. But we're using a Higher-Level math book for some stupid reason and it doesn't really TEACH. So I've been getting real frustrated when I do my homework.
French IV: GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! 34 freaking people are in that class!!!! It's way too big, way to chaotic, and the teacher speaks English half the time, which isn't going to help us with our speaking and understanding French. I don't think ANY class should have that many people in it, but especially not a language class where the students generally need a lot of specific help.
English: Actually, this is the one class that I'm really enjoying so far this year. I've only had three classes of it, but I really like the analyzing we've been doing of short stories and the new way I'm learning to write and all that. Plus, Mr. Treece is a really good teacher, I think.
Weights and Fitness: Well, I really like this class, too, but since it's a gym class, that doesn't factor into my liking of classes and the IB curriculum. I love the exercise we're doing, and Mr. West is awesome, but I don't think it counts in my factoring.
Chemistry: Mmm...well, mostly I just think Mr. McGregor is really...strange. And Chemistry is probably my least favorite of the different sciences. Plus, I've only had this class twice, so I don't have a full opinion on it yet.
US History: Erm....I mean, I love history, though I'd much rather study International history. Mrs. Gillette seems okay so far. In this class, it's mostly that I have a lot of classmates who have no clue what they're talking about in discussions. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just saying they should say what they KNOW and what they MEAN, instead of trying to sound all smart.

Basically, I'm not happy being a sophomore at Rampart High School. I know I really shouldn't be complaining because Rampart is a great school on a national scale, I just don't think it's for me. I'd like something a lot more personal. Still, at least I have the opportunity to go to a school, and a good school, unlike an awful lot of people around the world. I am thankful that I'm at a good school, but that doesn't stop me from wishing I was at Fountain Valley. *sigh*

Well, Cheers, I guess....

18 August 2008

Terminus, part six: Sunday 10 August 2008

Okay, so I actually got to sleep in on Sunday!!!  Leslie woke me up when she went to go running around 7:00, but I stayed in bed until around 9:00, half-asleep, until I finally decided to get up and take a shower. First real shower, too—one that wasn’t at 12:30 at night! I took forever to dry my hair, though! GAH!!!! Sometimes I really hate having thick hair—I dried it with the hair dryer for about 20 minutes and then let it air-dry for another 20 or so minutes, and then straightened it. Leslie and I headed down to the vender room around 10:40 to buy me a Ravenclaw tie that actually had the right colors! Squee!!!!

I was hoping to get into Cody’s roundtable about sorting, but it was full even though I arrived more than 10 minutes early, so I went to Julia’s roundtable about Wizard Rock. So, I obviously don’t know how Cody’s would have been, but I had a genuinely good time at Julia’s—all of us there, naturally, were huge wrock fans, and Matt even came in for the last half to talk to us. I was still really disappointed that I didn’t get to go to Wrock Chicago, but I’ve heard so much about it and been around all the wrock bands there that I feel pretty close to having been there!!! Sadly, I had to leave the roundtable about half an hour early because I was going out to lunch with Leslie’s sister, niece, and nephew. It wasn’t too bad—I had some pretty plain pasta and got a pretty long time to calm myself down for my presentation.

Presentation. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. I mean, I’d seen how nice the audience was to other presenters, and I knew that Harry Potter fans in general are pretty nice. I was still a little nervous, of course, because I didn’t know the people I was presenting to and how they’d accept a paper written by a 15-year-old. A pretty small number of people showed up, which was disappointing at first, but it turned out to be really nice because I left about 10 minutes for “questions,” but that period turned into a semi-roundtable with really good discussion. And everyone there seemed to genuinely enjoy the paper, though I can’t be sure…Either way, I left the room very happy.

I got Leslie to take over my volunteer shift for an hour so that I could go to the Unplugged Common room session with my favorite bands….that I never ended up finding!!!! It was pretty annoying, because that was my main chance to talk to Lauren and Kristina and all and to buy merchandise from them. Instead, I walked around searching for quite a while, bought a DVD of the Wizard Rockumentary and then found Mike and one of his friends (who was playing the piano). I talked to Mike for….well, for a while, and then I had to go back upstairs to finish out the last hour of my volunteer session. Really boring, because I wasn’t particularly interested in the presentation and the presenter did the powerpoint herself. So I pretty much sat outside in the hallway reading through the ENTIRE Terminus program, and then waited what seemed like forever for the AV people to pick up the laptop and projector.

Well….I was kind of in a bad mood after that because I hadn’t had the most exciting day, hadn’t seen very many of my friends, and I really didn’t want it to be the last night. But my spirits were lifted when we found a really good Mexican restaurant to eat at for dinner—enchiladas!! Then, that night was the Bon Voyage Ball, which I’m going to attempt to write a separate entry about…so, stay tuned!

15 August 2008

First day of 10th grade....

TODAY. Gah!!!!! SO stupid to start school on a Friday, really. I mean, they just had to take that last weekend away from us....it's so weird to hear teachers say, "So, give this to me on Monday." on the FIRST day of school!!!

Anyway, the first day was....well, it definitely wasn't a great first day of school. For a few reasons:
1. Well, first, because I'm still pretty upset that I can't go to Fountain Valley this year even though I got in just because they didn't give us enough financial aid. I still think I'd be so, so much happier there, around peers who share my love of learning and interests and...well, not to sound egotistical, but my levels of intelligence, really. I wish I was going there so much, and going to school today and seeing how IDIOTIC most of my peers are really upset me.
2. Also, I haven't stopped missing Terminus. I don't have many friends, and only about two that I'd call "true friends." Going to school today and remembering that reminded me of all my lovely friends from Terminus who love me and understand me and don't make fun of me....Without fully realizing it, I had three things from Terminus with/on me today: My Aeolian University messenger bag, my trade winds track jacket, and my red PotterCast shirt. And, of course, no one at my school understood what they meant, and that got me a little teary-eyed.
3. I hate Rampart. Okay, so that's probably an overstatement, but I do dislike it: The stupid assemblies, the crowded hallways, constantly getting bumped around and shoved, and the apathy of a large amount of my peers.
4. It rained ALL day today. And my sister's car battery died and we didn't think we should jump it in the rain, so we walked to my dad's house. In other words, I was in the rain for about 25 minutes. I was completely soaked--my hair made it look like I'd just gotten out of a shower!!! *sigh* And I was also really freezing...my feet are still pretty cold. Come on!!! It's August 15th, and it's not allowed to be this cold!!!
5. Well, I'm still pretty exhausted from my lack of sleep at Terminus and waking up at 5:50 today didn't make me happy. My headache made a return in the morning, but luckily went away by the afternoon....

Anyway, I really do miss Terminus so much. I'm listening to "I Found a Loophole" right now and it's making me teary-eyed remembering how we all were jumping around to it at Terminus and here no one understands how amazing it is! *hugs all her Terminus friends*

Well...Cheers, I suppose!

14 August 2008

Anger on one side, happiness on the other???

Anger. Yes. DEFINITE anger at WB for moving the opening date for Half-Blood Prince to July 17, 2009. I mean, WTF?!?! There's no LEGITIMATE reason. They say the writer's strike, but that ended so long ago. And then there's the "a summer release date is better." Er....well, a holiday one works out just as well usually, and three other HP movies came out around Thanksgiving just fine. And they were obviously done filming and ready to release in November. So evidentally WB just wants more money....and a BUNCH of angry Harry Potter fans!!!! Cody, Shoshana, and I are planning to write a bunch of letters to WB. =] And start a facebook group/notes/myspace group...to have global cyber domination. Muahahahaha!!!!! Seriously. I'm so pissed at WB right now.

Strangely, just when this news came out I also checked my schedule and saw that I have a new English teacher, which is very Squeeful news.

So, news that makes me very angry at the same time news that makes me very happy? Odd. Very odd.

Anyway, let me know if you'd like to participate in our campaign against WB.

Terminus, part five: Post-Terminus depression

So. I’ve been home for…about three days now, estimated. And it still doesn’t feel any less weird to be home. I miss everyone and everything about Terminus so much it actually hurts. Or….well, that headache is actually probably because I’ve been so sleep-deprived and listened to so much loud music. But I miss that.

I’m not kidding when I say I feel like I have Post-Terminus Depression. I’ve been really sleepy, which is probably mostly because of my lack of sleep. But I’ve also been awfully lazy (I haven’t been outside since Monday!!!) and nothing that I normally do during the summer interests me. Reading….well, it only interests me for about 30 minutes at a time post-terminus, whereas beforehand I’d get lost in books for hours. I don’t feel like watching TV or a movie or hanging out with IRL friends. Mostly I’ve been moping around on youtube and facebook, writing and listening to wrock.

Seriously. It feels so strange to be home. I don’t have people around me constantly, and I don’t have to be running around trying to get to a presentation or meet-up with friends. I can’t walk downstairs and see a bunch of people dressed in robes. I get weird looks when I wear Wrock/Leaky/PotterCast/Terminus shirts or carry a wand. No one at home quite understands me the way all y’all from Terminus do……

I don’t really know how to explain how upset I am that Terminus is over. The feeling is so overwhelming that it’s hard to put into words, and even if I managed, it would probably diminish the feeling. My stepmom says she “knows I miss my Harry Potter friends,” but I don’t think she fully understands. Only my amazing friends from Terminus truly understand my feelings after Terminus, how I miss even the crowded elevators and waiting to get into roundtables and staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning.

I still have a headache and the sniffles (not a full-blown cold like some people). I’m sleep-deprived and still trying to get used to being back at home….But everything that’s come out of Terminus, even the headache and sleepiness, are one hundred percent worth it. Because the friends I made, the love I felt, the memories I’ve taken away, the inside jokes that were made, and all the joy totally make everything worth it.

I miss y’all so, so much!!!!! And right now I think there’s a 50% chance I can go to LeakyCon….if I can find a chaperone. Anyone willing? *hugs all her Terminus friends tightly and refuses to let go*

(Note: entries on Sunday, the Ball, and Monday to come when I feel like writing again.)

Terminus, part four: Saturday 9 August 2008

Well, I woke up at about 6:45. Partly because I thought we were going running again and partly because I needed to go to the bathroom (lol). I couldn’t fall back asleep after that, and there wouldn’t have been much point anyway….

At 8:00 there was the Squee Chat coffee, which was really fun and quite amusing because all of us had had about 4 hours of sleep or less, so were mostly too tired to be real happy that “early” in the morning. But, again, I got to talk to a lot of people. At about 8:40 I went to check in for volunteering and then went to the Joliet room. Well….It turned out that the first presentation was cancelled, so I sat in the room half-asleep for a while, and walked around the halls until 9:45. Both presentations after that were genuinely interesting, though. There was one about learning/teaching at Hogwarts that, being a complete geek, I found much too fascinating. And the one after that was about families and fandom. What I loved about it was that it was a very unconventional way that the mother and daughter presented the paper. Very entertaining, quite touching, and funny overall. But then I had to wait for someone to come get the laptop and projector—in the end I actually went and got someone because I was running late for my intersection at noon. *sigh*

So, yeah, then I had my Luna/Neville intersection. Squee!!!! It was a lot of fun, because every person there seriously connected with me and how I generally feel when in the outside world: one of the adults even handed us out sheets of paper about Adult Ids that I definitely fit. Not one hundred percent, but it felt so amazing to eat lunch with a large amount of people who understood me and connected with me. I talked a lot to Madeleine/Athena, with whom I became really close to. Oh, and it didn’t hurt that the food at The Yolk was absolutely amazing!!!!

Madeleine and I went to an intersection on Dumbledore’s Army at 2:00, which was great. Then we snuck out a little early to go to the second half of Reading and Rocking out: The Culture and Future of Wizard Rock. The Panel included Lauren Fairweather, Alex Carpenter, and Matt Maggiacomo, and it was great—Matt and Alex gave me that final push to FINALLY read the His Dark Materials series because even they said it was a great series and that IT MADE THEM CRY!!! =] So, yeah, definitely reading it now! Ahem, but after that my cell phone semi-died….after I’d gone all the way up to the hotel room to recharge it, I realized the logical thing: just take out the battery and put it back in…Aaaaaaaand….yeah, it started working again. So I then walked all the way back downstairs (okay, rode the elevator, but I was genuinely annoyed) to go to the Luna roundtable. Definitely the best roundtable I went to all weekend!!! I absolutely loved discussing Luna and talking to people who, like me, see her as a real person and a role model instead of someone who’s just really eccentric.

Well, after that I went to dinner with Leslie at a diner….the service was horrible, it took way too long to get our food, and the ravioli I got wasn’t even that amazing. Anyway, we hurried back to the hotel so I could get in line for the Live PotterCast. Oh my geez. That line was SO long. I suppose I needn’t have worried, since I got a seat in the front row off to the right side of the stage anyway. It wasn’t a great angle for taking pictures of PotterCast, but great for taking pictures of the little Wrock sideshows. The Mudbloods played, and at first only me, Julia, and Cody were dancing, but then everyone else started! Yay! Trend-starter! (just kidding) But, SQUEE!!! I got to participate in the game “Guess That Book” and I got it right! So great, because I was so worried that the ONE I got would be the ONE I didn’t know. So, I got to be on stage, got a button with Frak’s drawing of a Ravenclaw tie, and I might possibly be on the podcast when it comes out (I’m not sure if they put everything from the Live shows onto the podcasts). I loved the live PotterCast so much—I got my yellow PotterCast shirt signed by all four of them and got a very happy picture with Frak.

At 9:30 was Melissa’s reading, but I decided to head over to the room a little early to get a semi-good seat. Two authors were there before her, one who did a trivia book and another who wrote a book on the fandom. But………It was, of course, Melissa’s reading that I was waiting for! And, O my god, was it amazing. I managed to record it, and she is a brilliant writer. A wonderful mix of light-hearted jokes and touching comments about the release. I honestly almost started crying because it was so beautiful…Melissa DID start crying because of our reaction: we cheered for about 5 minutes afterwards, and then more when she read us the foreword. I felt really bad for the guy who was after Melissa, because no one wanted to stay: We all wanted to talk to Melissa, hug her, congratulate her, thank her, and ask questions. A small group of fans plus the Leaky staff headed over to the elevator lobby on the third floor and we just TALKED for about an hour and a half. We got another small excerpt of the first time she met Jo (hilarious). And, can I just say that I LOVE Melissa?!?! She was so sweet about all our questions and so humble for a person who runs the biggest Harry Potter website and has interviewed Jo oh-so-many times. Anyway, I told her that if she can’t get a book tour going, she’s welcome to stay at my house, sign my book, and I’ll cook for her. =] I CAN’T WAIT for this book to come out!!!!

Okay, so the final event of Saturday actually technically happened on Sunday. I watched the midnight movie, Goblet of Fire. There is definitely no better way to watch a Harry Potter movie than to watch it with other big Harry Potter fans who love to make fun of them just as much as you do. I love making fun of the movies, and it was so amusing/fun to hear what other people said. And it was AWESOME to just be able to shout things out during the movie, have people understand the jokes, and laugh….oh, and NOT get thrown out of the theater! ;) So, I went to bed around, oh, 3:30 or 4:00.

Terminus, part three: Friday 8 August 2008

Well, I woke up at 6:30 in the morning on Friday, which turned out to be a bad idea: I’d only managed to get about 5 hours of sleep (maybe less?) and the pattern continued/disintegrated throughout the rest of the weekend. The reason I woke up at this horrible, horrible time was to go running with Leslie around the track. Which was good, I suppose. Woke me up at first….

Anyway, around 7:45 I headed down to the lobby to pick up breakfast (a smoothie) from Leslie and then to head over to the Lakeside Green Lounge to buy coffee and go to the Conference Newbies Intersection. I was a little shy at first, but Jen had done up a bingo that pretty much required you to meet and talk to people, so it ended up being really fun. Then we all kind of headed up to our various floors to go to programming….I changed my mind at the last minute not to go to the Compendium Submissions presentation but rather to go to a roundtable about the trio. I don’t know how the presentation would’ve been, but the roundtable was great! It started my weekend love for roundtables….and this continued to the roundtable I went to on Neville later at 11:00 (I had a break from 10-10:45 to go get Leslie). The roundtables are amazing because everyone gets the chance to speak and join in the discussion. People are interested in what you have to say and never tell you that you’re wrong or your opinion is bad. I love having discussions, which is why I’m on the Lounge, and it was really nice to be able to hear someone respond to your comments immediately instead of waiting until the next time someone got online. Both roundtables were fascinating: I contributed a lot to both and got new perspectives and ideas from both of them.

At noon I went to Cheryl Klein’s keynote presentation. First we all ate lunch, which was phenomenal: really good cheesy pasta that I mixed red peppers into, salad, and amazing carrot cake. I got into talking to several of the other people at our table, including one woman from Denver. I don’t know exactly how long it was until Cheryl started speaking….maybe 30 minutes during which we all ate the amazing lunch and talked. But Cheryl’s presentation was AMAZING!!!!! I thoroughly enjoyed learning her journey with the Potter books/phenomenon, and she was really sweet, too. Another great thing is that she managed to include a relatively large amount of jokes in the presentation, so it was light-hearted, not just serious “these are the facts.” I talked to her afterwards a little bit…Then I got a picture with Melissa (=]) and Lisa (who I was super glad to finally meet after talking to her online since last July!)

Well, in the afternoon we went around Chicago with Mary Rose…and I’ll be completely honest in saying that it wasn’t super exciting. We walked over to the Shedd Aquarium, deemed it much too expensive to spend only 3 and a half hours at, and then walked back over to Grant Park. We walked to Walgreens to buy cards and sharpies (yes, random) and then back over to a cafĂ© to play Egyptian Rat Slap until 5:00 when the Chicago Art Institute would be free. There, we saw some African art and….well, I don’t remember exactly, but some fairly famous paintings as well. And we ate at a Thai restaurant: I had curry, which tasted amazing!!!!

Once back at the hotel, I headed over to the International Ballroom because I thought the North Star started at 7:00, but it didn’t start until 8:00 so I talked to people my age for the first time…Maggie, Sophie, Melanie, and Mike. The North Star was pretty interesting because it presented views and ideas on the fandom from a very diverse amount of people. Plus, the Whomping Willows and Draco and the Malfoys played in between the segments!!!! Squee!!!! I think the main thing I treasured about the North Star was that it was when I really formed my first friendships: Mike, Shoshana, Cody, Julia, Maggie, and Sophie. Which was really nice. =] But the wizard rock was a definite bonus!

Erm….well, I got back to the hotel room probably around 12:30 (oops), took a shower, and finished up my PowerPoint. It was probably about 2 in the morning by the time I got in bed, and another 30 minutes to an hour before I actually fell asleep. So….4 and a half hours of sleep! Yay!

13 August 2008

Terminus, part two: Thursday 7 August 2008

Obviously, the start of the epic five days of awesomeness. I’m still uberly upset that I couldn’t go to Wrock Chicago, because it sounded amazing and I would have loved to get a whole entire day of wrock!!!! But, that can’t be changed now, so I’ll just get on to the first day of Terminus. It started with me waking up at 6:00 in the morning, getting ready/eating, and making sure I had everything packed….then the hour and fifteen minute drive to the Denver Airport (groan). Leslie almost lost her suitcase (!) but someone had just taken it off the shuttle and left it by the curb. Well…I’m sure most of y’all know the airport routine, so I won’t go into that. We left about 40 minutes late, though, and got in…pretty much on time. I met Mary Rose at the airport (squee!) and we all rode the el to the airport…

Ahem. Once at the hotel, we couldn’t get our room because the Bears had reserved rooms with late check-out and the rooms weren’t done being cleaned yet! Aaaaaargh!!!! It ended up taking us two and a half hours to get our room…but, we got a free fridge, free appetizers, free fitness room, and somehow got upgraded to two bathrooms. Mostly because Leslie is persuasive, but also because I think the Hilton Chicago now hates everyone who was at Terminus and just didn’t want to see us anymore. However, getting checked in for Terminus, then picking up my presentation and volunteer stuff, was really easy. And, volunteer training, while not super exciting, was fun because I met a few people there right off the bat.

I will fully admit that Thursday wasn’t exactly an epic day of awesome, but it was still pretty dang awesome. The arrival dinner was fantastic: amazing food, great people to talk to around me at the Kohilo table, funny speeches…and, of course, fangirling Sue!!!!!! =] I got a picture with her, and even though my eyes are half closed in the picture, I treasure it because it’s with Sue.

As I said in my “Immediately after the fact” post, Terminus felt amazing. Even on the first day, I was immediately touched by how friendly everyone was and how close the fandom was…You’d think Sue would be sick of pictures and people fangirling her, but she was a doll about it. And pretty much everyone I was with that first day talked to me, a genuine, heartfelt conversation. The joy and love and happiness that I felt that first night definitely started off the week on an awesome footing. =] It was so much fun: We did the wave (=]) and got yelled at for being too loud so did “spirit fingers” instead. Honestly, how can 1500 Harry Potter fans be quiet? And that’s what I love about this fandom. Our enthusiasm and love and joy.

11 August 2008

Draco's Dad

We were having too much fun with this at the Departure Breakfast. =] All we came up with was the chorus, but we sang it to a "Lucius" and the woman loved it.

Draco’s dad is really freaking rad
He’s all I want, even though he may be bad
Draco, can’t you see, you’re just not the boy for me
I know it may be mad, but
I’m in love with Draco’s dad

Squee!!!! =]

Terminus, part one: Immediately after the fact

So, it is currently 9:30 pm on Monday, August 11, 2008. And I can’t believe I’m still awake to be honest, because I’ve been getting an average of 4 hours of sleep a night, and I got much less than that last night. I haven’t even finished putting everything away and my bed is covered in clothes and souvenirs and I’m still organizing pictures. But as long as I’m this awake and willing, I really feel that I need to document my thoughts upon coming back from Terminus. And later I’ll probably go through each day if I don’t do it now.

I’m so upset that I’m home, to be honest. While I was at Terminus, suddenly, I was around people who understood me, who loved Harry Potter as much as I did, who enjoyed my eccentricities, who wanted to hug me and talk to me, who made plans to hang out with me, and who were just as sad as I was when it ended. These people, more than anyone else in my life, LOVE ME. The love in the Harry Potter fandom is the most freaking amazing thing you will ever feel. Almost every time I walked somewhere there was someone waving at me and saying “Hi!” and running to hug me. And unlike at home, these people love my eccentricities—we had so much fun doing just about everything. The Harry Potter fandom is a beautiful place—people I’d never talked to would just come up and hug me, and I was perfectly welcome to do the same to them. We’re a loving, accepting community, something I’ve honestly never felt anywhere else.

It’s pretty much impossible to pick my favorite thing that happened these past five days. I mean, these have been the most freaking awesome five days of my life. EVER. Although I definitely loved the Ball last night. It was the only dance I’ve been to where I felt absolutely like the people in the room wouldn’t judge me at all…and every single person I was dancing with made me feel welcome. We had the most amazing time!!! We made up a bunch of dance moves to look like Quidditch, and everyone else at the conference started catching on to it. We requested Muggle songs that had Wizard Rock parodies and all sang the Wrock parodies at the top of our lungs. My friends and I (only about 10 of us) started singing a new “Draco’s Mom” song during Stacy’s Mom and by the second verse, almost every person on the dance floor had caught on to the lyrics. I danced almost non-stop for 4 hours (with Alex Carpenter at one point!!!!) and when the music ended, we all kept singing: first The Leaky Song and then The Weapon we have is love. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world, to have such a gigantic group of people united over the love of one thing.

Other amazingly awesome things? Well, god, I have to be honest, there wasn’t anything that wasn’t awesome, really. Listening to Cheryl Klein talk about editing the books? AWESOME!!! Totally fangirling Sue, Melissa, and Lisa? AWESOME!!! Dancing and singing along to The Whomping Willows and Draco and the Malfoys Friday night at the North Star Live? AWESOME!!! The Squee Chat coffee with all of us on about 4 or 5 hours of sleep? AWESOME!!! My Luna and Neville Intersection with some pretty awesome close friends who loved me for who I am? AWESOME!!! Going to a bunch of roundtables and discussing Luna and the trio and Dumbledore’s Army and Wizard Rock and Neville? While having everyone in the room genuinely interested in what you’re saying? AWESOME!!! My first ever Live PotterCast? Definitely AWESOME. But even more awesome? Getting to participate in “Guess that Book” (hopefully it’ll be on the podcast!), getting the answer right (squee!!!), getting my PotterCast shirt signed by all four….Oh my geez, I love PotterCast, and they were all so amazingly friendly! More awesome that night? Definitely dancing to the Mudbloods. =] Listening to Melissa’s reading of her book and almost crying, and then talking to her for about an hour and a half afterwards about it. Then, having genuine discussion during my presentation Sunday and finding out that people actually liked what I did? FREAKING AMAZING!!!! And a definite favorite late night activity: making fun of the Harry Potter movies in ways only us HUGE Harry Potter fans understood and laughing hysterically.

There’s just so much stuff that I’ve done in the past few days that have changed my life. I never thought I’d make such close friends in the short period of five days…friends who love me more than people who’ve known me for 10 years. Suddenly knowing now that there are people who want to talk to me and enjoy being around me and understand the inside jokes I make…god, LIFE CHANGING, most definitely. I mean, if you don’t know the fandom, you can’t understand, but everyone in it is just so amazing about talking to you and being genuinely interested. Everyone at Terminus that I talked to was genuinely, honestly nice to me. And, can I just say that Melissa, Frak, John, and Sue are AMAZING?!?! They were so friendly to me after the live PotterCast. And, all the wizard rockers? SQUEE!!!! They adore their fans so much!!!

Honestly, I somehow managed to hold myself together during the Departure Breakfast and the goodbyes this morning, but once I got home…The tears started. This has been so awesome (I know I’ve used that word a lot…but we’re MADE OF AWESOME, okay?) And I’ve had so little sleep the past few nights that it really just feels like one really long day with a couple short naps in between…every once in a while I took a shower and maybe ate some food. (But to be honest I didn’t eat much at the con because there’s NO TIME!) I got about 3 hours of sleep last night and even though it’s almost 11:00 body time, somehow I’m still awake. The energy that is radiated by all my fandom friends is still with me.

I just can’t believe it’s over now. It just zipped past, and I won’t see any of these people for a long time. Most of them live in Jersey, though, so I’m going to try to go out there during Christmas and wrock out with them. =]

It’s just so different not being at Terminus. I’m somehow even lonelier than I was before Terminus because now I know the true feeling of NOT being lonely and having people around me all the time. And no one understands me nearly as well outside of the fandom….I mean, when I was walking through the airport in my PotterCast shirt and Ravenclaw tie and butterbeer cork necklace and wand and all, everyone gave me the weirdest looks, and it made me feel automatically sad to be away.

I suppose it’s like the Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls song, though, right? “I'll keep on smiling, From the times I had with them.” =]

To all of you who were at Terminus:
I love y'all so much I can't even really put it into words.
Thank you so much for all the fun times, the laughs, the inside jokes, the discussions, the staying up until 3:30 in the morning, the having coffee together and squeeing on 4 hours of sleep, the breaking chandeliers, the dancing, the wrock, the making fun of Harry Potter movies, the hugs, and the awesome LOVE.

So stay in touch, everyone. Our love is never-ending. And…Wizard rock: It’s chandelier-breaking awesome!!! =] I love y’all so much and I miss everyone so much already! *hugs*

06 August 2008

It's the monsoon season here in Colorado...

Seriously. Past two evenings, it has absolutely POURED rain. Today there was even a flood warning for El Paso County!!!

Yesterday some of the thunder was so loud (meaning the lightning was so close) that it was making the entire house shake! It was vaguely scary, and I made a point to stay off the computer during that storm. Today's rain started out as just that: rain. But, now it's 9:00 and there's quite a bit of lightning and thunder...I usually like thunderstorms. I don't like them in two cases: When I'm outside (especially in the middle of a parking lot/field) at camp and....at night. At night they're just a little bit creepier because I can actually really see the lightning flash and....well, I admit to being a bit frightened of lightning! I know people who've lost friends to it, and I don't like lightning. *sigh*

I do, however, adore the rain. So this rain has been making me very, very happy (as if I needed anymore happiness in my life right now) *winces as an especially bright lightning flash is right outside her window*

Let's hope I can sleep through this tonight....Cheers!

8/6: In which Kat reveals more of her geekiness and eccentricities

Okay....so......time for more random information on my life! =]

Yesterday I basically spent a lot of time reading and packing for Terminus. I've been reading A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man who Dreamed It by Stephen Kinzer. I know, not a normal book for a 15 and a half year old teenage girl to be reading. But I'm definitely NOT normal. It's mostly being used for reference for my novel about the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and it's definitely been really helpful with that--giving me a lot of new ideas for the novel as well as an awful lot of new insights on the genocide, what caused it, and the feelings coming from both the Hutu and Tutsi. But, more than that, I confess to finding the whole plight in Rwanda and Africa to be fascinating. Horrible, yes, but fascinating. I know it's strange (really, I do) but I can't help it. It's a beautifully written book, and I'm enjoying it very very much. Other time of the day was spent packing some stuff up for Terminus as well as doing a final edit of my paper (about time I did it, really). I also had an orthodontist appointment yesterday which was completely pointless: I waited in a chair for about 15 minutes and had a one minute check-up in which I was told to move on to just wearing my retainer at night. *rolls eyes* Oh, and it was also my half-birthday yesterday. Which is....not really exciting at all, but I just thought I'd share it with y'all!!!

Ahem, but now for the exciting news................I'M WRITING THIS JOURNAL ON MY BEAUTIFUL, NEW HP LAPTOP!!!!!!!!!!!! =] =] Squee!!!!!!!! Again, I can't thank Dad and Leslie enough for being willing to buy me a new laptop since my Thinkpad broke. I'm still insisting on paying a portion of it, but they were super nice about the whole thing, and....well, just THANK YOU. Because this laptop works so much better, has a bazillion features, and since it's new....will probably last me into college! I have finally finished transfering my documents and pictures and (Most importantly *wink*) PotterCasts over to the new laptop. It took forever, but I'm not complaining! Eeeeee...It's just so beautiful!!!! =] Again, so much thanks comes from me to Dad and Leslie for the laptop.

On to less exciting stuff. Today was school registration. Yay? I got my planner (which is absolutely hideous and will be worked on intently by me), bought my yearbook, got my school picture taken (and it isn't half-bad!). And, I'd thought I didn't have a locker partner. But, Michelle and Kelsey tried two lockers, both of which were broken. They got fed up, and now all three of us are in the same locker in senior hall!!! Squee!!!!!!! The best part about school registration was getting to see my friends: Joel, Michelle, Kelsey, Malia, Hannah, Emily, and Macy. I hadn't seen any of them all summer and I haven't seen any of my friends since camp ended on July 11th. It felt so amazingly good to have people to talk to, and to have these people excited to see and talk to me. =] I know that's probably normal for most of y'all, but remember that I'm a Luna and don't have many friends. So I really cherish every single time I get to be happy and crazy with my small group of friends!

(In other news, Leslie's friend Arnie came for dinner on Monday. It was nice to talk to him because he does stuff with energy conservation as well as in Africa.) Anyway, I should probably go do more packing for Terminus, actually PRINT out the final draft of my paper for Terminus, and....just because I'm geeky, I'm sure I'll read about 150 more pages of A Thousand Hills.

O my geez, Terminus is tomorrow!!!!!!!!!! =]

In case you didn't notice, I'm really happy today, and I'm sending y'all some very happy thoughts because of this. Be careful of bursting into Squee/Wrock songs and be warned that this happiness may be overpowering. ;) Cheers!

04 August 2008

Hiking and random happy news

Okay, so as I mentioned, my family hiked a 14,196 foot mountain yesterday--Mt. Belford. We got up at 4:30 in the morning (and I'd only gotten about 5 hours of sleep), drank a lot of coffee, ate some small breakfast, were hiking by 6:15 am, on the summit at 10:15 and back down at 2:00. =] It was going to be two fourteeners, but by complete bad luck the clouds appeared around 10:15-10:30, and it was looked pretty bad. We weren't moving too fast, and getting caught in a thunderstorm above timberline where you're the highest things around...NOT a good idea. And we would've been pretty miserable walking that exposed in the rain--we ended up getting rained on while walking back down, and if we'd hiked the second one we would've been...well, about 1/8th of the way back down and really miserable. But it was so much fun, to be honest. It's an absolutely amazing feeling to be on the top of a mountain that high!!!! You just look all around you at the scenery and the valley below. What really put it in perspective for me was looking down from the top at this small river along the trail that seemed an awful lot bigger when walking next to it, but from the top is just a thin line of blue water. And, when you're looking up at the mountain from the 'bottom,' it seems so daunting. I mean, you stand there thinking, "wow, I'm going to climb that?!" But then there's the amazing feeling when you stand on the summit of a mountain and proceed to think, "Oh my god, I really did climb up that whole way!"

I was pretty exhausted when we got home yesterday, though--I pretty much unpacked stuff, took a shower, and collapsed on my bed!!! And boy did I sleep like a baby....There's a way to get a good night's sleep: Hike for about 8 hours! But it was so much fun, and such a great accomplishment--2 14ers down, only 52 more in Colorado to go!

Just for fun: Kat's hiking a fourteener survival tips
1. Get up early. Even if you don't want to...Believe me, you'd much rather wake up tired and drink coffee than get stuck in a big thunderstorm.
2. Don't go too fast!!! Seriously, you'll walk a lot slower than you probably do just hiking on mostly flat ground, but you're losing oxygen and going up the whole way, so it's okay. It's not a race, and if someone passes you, let them. You don't know them, and who cares if they're going faster?
3. Wear sunscreen. Up above timberline, at 14,000 feet, that sun's pretty dang strong. So reapply it and don't get sunburned!!!
4. Don't look too far ahead of you. If you do, you'll likely get somewhat discouraged about how far away the summit seems. It's probably not as far as your brain is making it seem anyway. But just to be safe, look more like 10 feet in front of you so you don't realize how much elevation you're gaining.
5. Don't think about how much less oxygen you have. If you don't think too much about it, you won't notice it as much.
6. DO NOT get fooled by false summits. And if you do, don't get discouraged by them. The real summit isn't far away either, and if you just climbed to the false summit, you are perfectly capable of making it to the real one.
7. Look around you, because then you'll be distracted by the beauty of the mountain you're climbing and the valley below. Just appreciate nature, and focus on it, not any amount of pain you may be in.
8. Talk to other hikers if you see them. They'll be friendly and may have good tips, especially if you're going up and they're going back down.
9. Allow yourself to have fun!!! =] Fun, after all, is what is important in life.
10. Know that you have accomplished something really big when you stand on that summit, and feel good about it. It's a powerful feeling and very energizing.

Yay! But, to be honest, I wasn't any pain at all hiking yesterday and I didn't have any problems with the lack of oxygen. My feet were a little sore on the way down and I got a small blister on my heel on the way down because my feet were slipping more. But I personally think I'm in much better shape than I was on Quandry...and it felt a lot better to reach that summit not in pain.

Mt. Belford--This is the mountain we climbed up. This picture was taken about halfway through the hike, too, so we'd already climbed a very considerable amount!!!
Us on the summit--Okay, so I've posted pictures of me on here before, but just to be sure, I'm the youngest one in the blue shirt on the far left.
The view--This is the view from the top. *sighs happily* Isn't it beautiful?

In other news...
It's Obama's birthday!!!!!!!!!!!................. *crickets* Well, it is, and I just wanted to wish him a very Happy Birthday and good luck in the elections!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand........2 days until Terminus! Squee!!!!!!!

Well, Cheers everyone! =]

01 August 2008

Happy Lammas!!!!

Today is the first of August, which means today is Lammas!!!!!!!!!!!................(insert your confused stare here) Okay, yes, no one knows what that is. ;D So I'll explain! Well, it's one of the 8 Pagan/Wiccan holidays or "sabbats." And it...well, it celebrates/symbolizes two things: the first harvest of the year as well as the sacrifice of the Corn God (recognized as part of the Sun God). That probably doesn't make any sense, but it's my religion. Though, I haven't done a ritual for any of the holidays in the longest time, and it makes me feel somewhat bad. *sigh* However, I am making a point of starting my High Priestess training (a year and a day!!!) on Samhain (Halloween, our new year) this year. Okay. Er....I'm going to stop rambling about my religion that no one else understands and get on with stuff y'all possibly actually care about. Ahem.

So, the first of August also means that school is in 14 days. UGH!!!! I mean, I sort of like school because it's the only way I'd ever have friends and I really honestly kind of enjoy the stuff we learn, but I'm not looking forward to waking up at 5:45 every day and getting a bunch of homework and essays and basically having no free time. *sigh*

Er...well, I went to Target with my dad last night and got the last few things I'd need for Terminus: hair clips, razor replacement heads, and an iPod armband/case (not exclusively for Terminus). Yeah, random list. I couldn't find any blister block. =[ I very rarely get blisters, though, my feet are so callused that it's near impossible for me to get a blister! And today Leslie and I went and looked at some laptops at Office Depot--there was an HP one I really liked but I think it's too expensive and it doesn't come with Microsoft Office, which would be another 100 dollars or so. *sighs again*

We're hiking Oxford/Belford on Sunday! =] (Two fourteeners, just FYI) But I really want someone to go to Water World with on the 6th. Because I really want to go sometime this summer, but I don't want to go just with all the people Elyse works with because it would be rather...awkward, I think. *sighs yet again* (wow, I've been doing that A LOT today)

6 and a half days until Terminus!!!! =] Cheers!