Category Archives: obsessions

To Die would be a Great Adventure

Last week, we said goodbye to one of the funniest men to ever walk the earth. A man who was so quick and energetic and hyper, you had no choice but to pay close attention. A man whose performances and comedy lit up and shaped my childhood. A genius.

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Normally, I don’t care about celebrity deaths all that much. Sure, it was sad when Heath Ledger died and Michael Jackson died, but neither of them truly impacted me in the same way as Robin. I mean, I enjoyed dancing and singing to “Black and White” and “The Man in the Mirror,” and “Will You Be There” from Free Willy may have been belted in the car and end credits for an entire year, but the King of Pop didn’t shape my life. Robin did.

Robin taught me to fly as a kid, and as an adult, the messages in Hook are even more prevalent. Peter Pan has always been, even before Harry Potter, one of the most defining stories of my childhood, and Hook is one of my absolute favorite versions. Robin’s Peter and Dustin Hoffman’s Hook are iconic to me, and I will never not love that movie. I was taught that even though we all have to grow up, even Peter Pan, there’s a way to embrace the magic, as long as we don’t forget it.

My parents divorced when I was six, and I can remember receiving a VHS copy of Mrs. Doubtfire from my Dad’s parents for Christmas sometime around then. I always kind of thought it a bit too nail-on-the-head, as the parents in the film resembled my own parents, and my Mom had custody… but I loved that movie. Sure, it’s cheesy and ridiculous, but I loved it. I laughed and laughed, which is probably the precise reason it was given to me, and to this day I still love it. I mean, what’s NOT to love about Robin Williams dressing up as an elderly Scottish nanny? Especially the scene where the fat suit starts coming off in the restaurant…! Hilarious. Robin taught me that although divorce is a nasty business, it’s okay to laugh.

While Aladdin was never my all-time favorite Disney movie, the Genie was my favorite sidekick. How awesome is he!? I gotta tell you, Disney’s tribute to Robin, along with the Academy’s, who also referenced the great Genie, moved me to tears. I can’t even think about it now without getting choked up.

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And finally, Dead Poet’s Society. I watched this movie as a kid at my Dad’s house (I always suspected my Dad wanted to sort of be Robin Williams, maybe with a mix of Jerry Garcia and Gandalf) and every time, found myself crying. And not just because of the death at the end, but because of the respect the students had for Mr. Keating. I won’t say this movie influenced my decision to become an English teacher, for there were a great many factors, but AS an English teacher, I want nothing more than to be Mr. Keating.

While there were many other great, great films and roles had by Robin: Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, One Hour Photo (which haunted me for a while), Jumanji, etc… these four were the ones that impacted me the most, the ones that I will never be able to watch again without a tear glistening in my eye as I shout BANGARANG!

Robin’s humor was one that often presented itself in dark places, helping us cope with our own demons with a little laughter. It is a shame that his own darkness consumed him, and it is something to remember when confronting life. Everyone needs laughter, even the Jester, so fill your days with smiles and incite the laughter in others.

O Captain, My Captain.

You will be missed.

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Just Kidding, J.K.

Romeo and Juliet. Bella and Edward. Katniss and Peeta. Ron and Hermione. All of these epitomize true love and are the kinds of relationships readers fall in love with. In the case of Ron and Hermione, author J.K. Rowling spent seven books developing the relationship from friends to lovers.
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When a book is published, the story and facts established are then known as canon, or an absolute truth. In early February, Rowling upset many fans with her anti-canonical comments in an interview with Hermione actress Emma Watson.

She claims she “wrote the Hermione-Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment,” and that “for reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.” She goes on to say the couple would have needed marriage counseling and that “in some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit.”

The young witch and wizard started on less-than-stellar terms, as Hermione was an “insufferable know it all,” and Ron an insecure sidekick to the famous Harry Potter, but they eventually became friends and the trio of Ron, Harry, and Hermione was born. In book four, The Goblet of Fire, Hermione was asked to the Yule Ball by Viktor Krum, an act that ensnares Ron with jealousy and ruins Hermione’s night. In the fifth book, The Order of the Phoenix, Ron and Hermione’s friendship blossoms without Harry. Finally, in The Deathly Hallows, a year spent on the run from Voldemort and his cronies, was full of the most tension between the two, with Ron even leaving his friends for a time, leaving the opportunity for Harry and Hermione to come together. But they didn’t. Ron returned, and in the midst of saving the wizarding world, Ron and Hermione finally came together as a couple. As it should be.

hermione-harry-j.k.-rowling-interviewFor an author who claims she was mistaken, the evidence for the “wish fulfilled” relationship is strong. Harry and Hermione have always been friends, and nothing more. Screenwriter for the Harry Potter movie series, Steve Kloves, constantly undermined Ron’s importance and focused on the other two of the trio.

Ron is the sixth of seven children. He has grown up with hand-me-downs and a life of trying to outshine his successful older siblings. His best friend is the most famous wizard of their generation. For once, Ron would like to stand out from the shadows. For him, that means winning Hermione, the girl whose heart guides him to happiness and away from poor decisions.

If an author writes something, has it published, and legions of fans adoring it, that something becomes part of canon. Despite the author’s feelings afterward, the canon has been established, and fans accept it as that. To announce seven years after the final book was published that she changed her mind is ludicrous, and fans are upset.

Perhaps Rowling’s backtracking hesitancy was brought on by similar relationships and realizations in her own life, but who’s to say Ron and Hermione would suffer the same fate as the muggles influencing them?

Despite her reasons, Rowling should learn to keep her opinions to herself. If she wants Harry and Hermione to end up together, she should join the fan fiction writers and write her new ending anonymously.

Ron and Hermione forever.

 

 

***originally published in the April 11 edition of The Southerner.

“Since the last Games, something’s different. I can see it.”

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Anyone who has known me over the fast few years has undoubtedly noticed my affection for The Hunger Games series. I read the books the first time over a weekend; I just couldn’t stop reading. It reminded me of the days when I first read Harry Potter (the greatest love of my life, along with Hanson), where I would marathon read, my neck cramping and eyes blurry because I can’t stop without knowing what happens. The Hunger Games hooked me.

I fell in love with Katniss, the strong female lead who is a good role model for young girls (especially in the wake of “if you leave me, I’ll die” Bella Swan), and the supporting characters were all believable and interesting. And the premise. Ooo. I do love me a good dystopia (and thanks to the success of THG, teen dystopias became all the rage, which means I have that many more to read… even though most are super weak in comparison, though I did love super-flawed Divergent and Matched).  Not to mention, I was already a fan of Japan’s Battle Royale, which is basically the same premise but heavier on the gore. Are there flaws in THG? Absolutely. Do I care? No.

When I taught the first book the first time (yay for being an English teacher), I became completely wrapped up in it. Every time I teach it (it’s been 3 times now), it basically becomes my life. When my students need to find vocab words, it doesn’t take me long to find it, I’ve read the book so many times.

Then the movie came out, which was… meh. You can read my full review here, but basically, though I loved it and LOVE Jennifer Lawrence (I basically want to be her), I was disappointed with many of the details.

Then came Catching Fire. Oh My God. I LOVED this film. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read the second book in the series as many times, so I didn’t notice the details they failed to include, but I thought the transition from page to screen worked so well. Not only is the eye candy amazing – between Josh Hutchenson, Liam Hemsworth, and Sam Claflin, plus JLaw for my girl crush – I was good; but there’s so much more than that. The film was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I went from tearing up at the scene in District 11 to angry at the Capitol, to laughing at Haymitch and Effie, to suspense in the arena, to tears at Mags, to suspense at the monkeys… you get the picture.

Having read the book, I already knew the plot twists and secrets, but that didn’t make it any less enjoying. In fact, I had a lot of fun with Boy next to me; angry at characters I knew to be good and worried about characters I knew would die. His review, by the way, was a 10/10 (it’s worth noting our first movie we ever saw together in theaters was the first installment).

Everything translated so well. I loved Finnick, played by Sam Claflin, and Jena Malone’s Johanna was perfect (I do have a soft spot for the crazy bitches though… Clove was one of my favorites in the first book). I liked being able to see Betee’s wiring project and the Arena itself, which matched the descriptions pretty well. It was also interesting to see the Capitol’s side of things, a continuing element from the first movie that helps with suspense and red herons. I also felt the portrayal of the animosity of the tributes toward the Capitol, and the unfairness of it all was spot-on. The interview scene was done very well. I almost felt sorry for Caesar Flickerman.

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And, oh, the costumes. I wish I could dress like Katniss. She has so many good looks in Catching Fire; from the tour outfits that are comfortable yet flattering, to the gorgeous wedding dress-turned-mockingjay. I also thought the “girl on fire” look was ten times better than it was in the first movie, where it looked obviously fake; here the smoldering coal look was more believable and entrancing.

o-CATCHING-FIRE-PHOTOS-570Then there was the love triangle. This is how I feel about the whole Katniss – Peeta – Gale drama: if Katniss had never gone into the Hunger Games, she and Gale would’ve been meant to be, but because she endured the Games with Peeta, a connection forged between them that could never be broken. Sure, Gale is strong and handsome and good for her, but he brings out the dark side of Katniss. Peeta, on the other hand, is calm and peaceful, traits Katniss needs to balance her out. Gale will never understand the Games the same way Peeta does, and so he will never understand the bond between Katniss and Peeta. Katniss fights it because she wants a choice, and she feels the Games and the Capitol concocted her relationship with Peeta, even though her feelings are true. It isn’t until the scene on the beach that you see Katniss’ true feelings for Peeta come out, and it’s lovely to watch. Not to mention, Josh beefed up between films, so it’s not even an easy “Gale’s hotter” decision anymore. But oh, there was so much more kissing. Thank catchingfirestill3 goodness.

When I watch movies or read books that really grab me, I know I love them because of how they affect me emotionally. If I spend the next few days replaying them in my head, empathizing with the characters and wishing I were in the world, I know it was done well. Catching Fire was no exception here. I couldn’t help but feel the same trapped feeling as Katniss, the surrealness of being back in the Arena, but this time knowing there’s no escape. As she watches Cinna’s beating and is lifted into the Arena, a feeling of “Oh, God, it’s really happening and I’m not ready for this” washed over me. When she conspired with Peeta about leaving the alliance, knowing there’s no way out of the Arena but death, I felt it. Call me crazy, but I did. And that is a mark of something good.

Though the third book is my least favorite in the trilogy, I’m excited for the two-part installment (thanks, Harry Potter, for that trend… while you may have needed the six hours to tell the final book, now every film adaptation feels it needs multiple movies as well, when all it really wants is more money…  I’m looking at you Twilight and The Hobbit).  I can’t wait to see the end play out, and more Haymitch on screen is always a bonus.

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Let’s Run Around With Balls and Brooms!

One of the great things about living in Richmond is the proximity of VCU and UofR, and the therein abundance of hipsters and nerds. This is nice for 2 reasons:
1. As I am somewhat of a hipster nerd, I don’t super stand out, but can still find all my hipsterific needs, like sunglasses, thrift stores, Trader Joes, etc.
2. I am not the only Harry Potter witch-nerd in the area…

MUGGLE QUIDDITCH!!!

It makes me so incredibly upset that this sport became popular at the college level AFTER I graduated (not that UNCW even has a team, but by Gods, I would’ve made one had the League been around…). So while I don’t get to play (except at camp), Boy and I did take the opportunity of VCU’s Quidditch season to watch a match.

This is what I discovered:

  • WM is not very good, but mainly because of this one player, Joe, who didn’t seem to understand anything about the sport and had to be repeatedly told by the captain/coach what to do.
  • VCU has a really large team, but who I thought was their best player didn’t seem to be utilized.
  • I’m still not sure what the rules are regarding the Snitch…
  • This is a sport that brings together people of all types: the non-athletic nerds involved because of Harry Potter; the athletes that want to try something new; and a combination of the two.
  • I want to play.

100 Things That Make Me Happy

One of the many (101 to be exact) items on my 101/1001 list is to make a 100 Things That Make Me Happy list. I discovered recently that I’d started this list some time ago, but only got to the 60’s before I gave up. Upon re-reading of this original list, I decided not only would I finish it, but I would revamp it as well, adding new things and taking away the ones that didn’t seem relevant anymore (like “when a boy calls you for no reason”).

See the complete list after the jump:

Continue reading 100 Things That Make Me Happy

Just Get Together, Will You!? Top 5 Television Couples

As much as we all love the Dawson drama, the Friends humor, the epicness of the Friday Night Lights football games, let’s face it, there’s always a love story tying it all together and captivating us. Will they or Won’t they?

Below are what I consider to be the BEST of television couples (or the ones I got most wrapped up in), in no particular order:

Jim and Pam

Who didn’t watch every week as these two played pranks together on Dwight, teaming up and helping to make the workday go just a teeny bit faster? Who didn’t feel Jim’s heartbreak and jealousy as Pam’s idiotic, fratboy of a loser fiancée stifled all her fun? In turn, who liked Karen when Jim tried to move to Stanford to get over Pam (and then rubbed her in Pam’s face when they returned together a few episodes later)? When they finally got together, it just felt right in so many ways… the timing was finally right, and Jim’s speech at their rehearsal dinner was just perfect. Now that they’re married and have kids, their relationship isn’t as much fun to watch as it was in the early days, but without Michael, the show’s suffering from greatness anyway.

House and Cuddy/House and Vicodin

It took House and Cuddy 7 seasons to get together, and then his addiction to Vicodin and masochism interfered and he sabotaged that relationship as well, despite the fact that it was the only healthy thing going on in his life. Oh, House.

Eric and Tami Taylor

Theirs is pretty much the epitome of the perfect marriage. They’re pro’s at compromising, they listen to one another (usually), and they present themselves as a team. No matter what the writers and life threw at this power couple, be it unwanted house guests, surprising pregnancies, losing and gaining of jobs, rebellious teenage daughters, etc, their marriage always came through in the end, and their love for one another stayed true and pure.

Pacey and Joey

Forget Dawson and Joey, Pacey’s her true love. Dawson may be her best friend and all, but look at everytime they got together… it never worked. He’s too self-absorbed and serious for her; his true love is filmmaking, not Joey. For Pacey, who never aspired to be anything of consequence, Joey is what makes him better, she’s what inspires him to do well in school and in life, and in return, he brings out life in her. Pacey’s the one that makes her happy.

Ross and Rachel

They spent 10 years bringing this couple together and pulling them apart (Who can forget “We Were On A Break!!!!”) We watched both move on, Ross get married and divorced (and married and divorced), before they finally came together over their daughter, Emma. About time, too.

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(This last one won’t embed, but it’s the best re-telling of their relationship, so I suggest clicking the link).

-No Videos are By Me and All are Courtesy of a Youtube Search and belong to the creators-

How The Hunger Games Disappointed, Excited, and Scared Me All at Once

For the past two months or so, I’ve been living and breathing The Hunger Games in my 10th grade English class. I’ve read it multiple times, discussed it, dissected it, decorated the walls with it, analyzed it, etc. I’ve read so many essays on Haymitch, the similarities and differences of Gale and Peeta, and the effect of the star-crossed lovers scenario on Katniss and the outcome of the Games.

So did I go to the midnight release of the movie adaptation? No.

I’d planned on it, even tried to buy tickets on numerous occasions. Each time, however, the stupid Internet kept failing and not processing the request. Then I realized I had a soccer game that night, and by the time I got home and showered (games make me feel nasty), there’s no way I’d make it or even be awake enough to enjoy it.

We went Saturday instead. SPOILERS BELOW

It was okay. It wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t bad, either. There were parts that I really enjoyed:
* The Tracker Jackers
* Seneca Crane’s beard
* The casting decisions (Jennifer Lawrence did a great job)
* The not-too-bloody,not-too-boring deaths (as much as I’d love an R rating with gory killings, PG-13 works for the story and the audience)
* The District 11 Riot
* Cato and Clove
* Getting to see Peeta’s interview
* Caesar Flickerman and his commentary
* Effie Trinket
* The music
* Seneca’s implied berry-suicide death

…and things I didn’t like:
* The Cornucopia – it looked like an ugly plane crashed in the middle of the field… where’s my Thanksgiving symbol of harvest and gratitude?
* The missing Thunderstorm/3 Days in a Cave
* Peeta didn’t seem too worse for the wear when Katniss found him in the stream… I thought he was supposed to be walking Death’s balance beam?
* The downplay of the romance – I get that they don’t want to make it Twilight where people actually die, but come on, I need more than one Katniss/Peeta kiss, especially when that kiss is interrupted by a morose Gale watching it on TV.
* The wolves.
* The Games seemed rushed. Katniss even made a comment about how the Gamemakers were trying to hurry up and end the Games, which is how I felt about the filmmakers.
* Did I miss the field where Thresh dwells? I didn’t see it in the Arena
* Peeta didn’t lose a leg
* Katniss and Peeta didn’t actually “eat” the berries. There’s no way the Capitol would have stopped them that soon.
* As much as I liked the cutaways to Seneca/President Snow/Haymitch, they took away from Katniss’s story and her survival, and made it more about the Reality TV aspect. While I get this also shows the negativity of the Capitol and their all-controlling totalitarianism, it gives away much of the conflict of the following books.
* The “Girl on Fire” parade outfits – the fire seemed really fake
* Rue and Marvel’s deaths – I imagined that net to be hanging from the air, not on the ground… and Katniss is a better shot than hitting him in the chest – she got him in the neck in the book.
* Katniss wasn’t on camera for Peeta’s confession, and the filmmakers made the whole thing seem a lot more contrived than in the book.
* Some of the deaths were skipped over or changed… Thresh doesn’t die by the wolves!
* Haymitch didn’t fall off the stage!

So yea, I may be a bit of a nitpicker… many of these are minor changes that were done to either enhance the story, tell it faster, or because they work better in a film medium, and I totally get it. The whole thing seemed really low budget, which is surprising considering the popularity of the series, but at the same time, Hollywood’s recent performance means playing it safe, budget-wise is sometimes the better option. Not every book-to-movie or tv show-to-movie adaptation does well, after all (Golden Compass and The Last Airbender, anyone?). Maybe this one will succeed well enough to up the budget for the next two movies, though.

I did enjoy the movie, don’t get me wrong. I almost cried during Rue’s farewell, and I jumped a bit when the wolf leaped out from behind the trees. I will buy the special edition bluray version when it comes out, and show it to all my students at the culmination of the Unit each year.

The boy also enjoyed it, or so he claims. I heard him curse when Rue died, he thought the Tracker Jackers were cool, and he argued with me over why Gale is better than Peeta. Apparently, Gale has a more “sculpted” look, whereas Peeta is just “cute,” therefore, Gale is more attractive. When I told him that he is a good mixture of the two, he almost got offended. Looks-wise, he’s more like Gale: tall, strong, “sculpted,” dark hair… but he also has the Peeta curls and the strong arms (he disagreed and said Peeta’s arms weren’t strong). Maybe I should have said he looks like Gale, but has the emotions of Peeta…

I finally had to stop his arguing and tell him “I’m trying to tell you that I’d rather have you than either of them, so just shut up and stop arguing.”

It worked. And the scary part is that it’s true. Scary because I’ve never felt that way about a boy before… happier with the person sitting next to me, fingers intertwined, than the eye candy gracing and romancing the fickle/love-struck/naïve/idiotic/etc girls on screen. I caught myself glancing at him during the movie and realizing that he’s more attractive than Peeta and Gale, and sitting next to me. On purpose.

May the odds be ever in my favor.

Big Lights Will Inspire You

Part II

Since we spent all day Friday waiting in line for tickets and then sleeping off hangovers and sleeplessness, we planned Saturday as our “tourist” day – waking up pseudo-early and finding Carrie Bradshaw’s Greenwich Village apartment, then finding the “Love” statue, buying scarves and hats, walking down Fifth Ave and into Times Square, armed with cameras and stopping in stores along the way.

It’d been about six years since I’d last been to New York, so the paving over of Times Square was new for me… and what a good idea! Too bad TRL and it’s consistent blocking of the roads died (and with it, the last music videos of MTV), but it’s still a madhouse of people now, rather than cars.

By pure chance, we happened on the Discovery Center’s Harry Potter Exhibition and knew we had no choice but to cough up the $25. Despite the line to get in, and the overpriced photos that photoshop you in front of Hogwarts, once we entered pure joy overcame me.

The exhibit starts by walking down a hallway lined with movie posters of each Harry film, and then into a room of numerous television screens, where they play a Harry Potter tribute, with different images on alternating screens. Watching the montage of the last ten years, I jumped up and down with giddiness and couldn’t stop smiling. Next, everyone was ushered into the next room, where a witch with a Sorting Hat was waiting, and she asked for volunteers to try their luck with the Hat. Naturally, I raised my hand, but it being a “kid’s” exhibit, I was beaten out by three boys who all chose Gryffindor. Fail.

And then, a walk into the World of Harry Potter, with the Hogwarts Express steaming and props and costumes from the movie out in the open for all to see and admire. Let me tell you, I didn’t care about all the people crowding around me, I was lost in the world, and wish I could’ve spent hours there, reading and examining every little detail… but sadly, the line had to keep moving.

In the gift shop, however, I did finally buy my wand… Hermione’s (naturally), and resisted the urge to drop $200 (that I definitely don’t have) on a Gryffindor Robe and $100 on the Gryffindor sweater… one day…

And then came time to prepare for yet more waiting. We made our way back to Broadway around 9, where we staked our claim at the front of the barricades, entertaining the crowds as they slowly filled in around us… and making fun of the teenage girls who had “VIP” access inside the barricades but outside the door, who brought Hershey’s Kisses (with a note) for Dan. Gag.

We met John Larroquette and other members of the cast, and then… Daniel came out, amongst a mix of screaming and hushedly-excited girls. Autograph-hounds asked him to sign DVDs, and he ignored the item, claiming, “Not when you’re selling it, Dude.” The girl behind me complimented him, telling Dan he was awesome, and in a dreamlike state, I echoed her, hearing his bumbling thank you, and as he did so, he glanced upward and did a double-take, telling me, “Nice hat, by the way”.

The rest of the night was spent in a giddy stupor, calling everyone I know (only one person picked up, and the others told me later they were glad they didn’t) and reliving that moment. It’s become my “Happy Place” at work when Jellyfish screams an inch away from my face, and I ordered a frame for my signed Playbill.

I know he’s just an actor and not actually Harry Potter, but seeing as how the “real” Harry is a fictional character whom I have no chance of ever meeting in this world, Daniel is the closest I can come (besides maybe J.K. Rowling), and that moment will live on, next to the framed Hanson autograph and photos, my two passions hung neatly, side by side.

Like I do everytime I see Hanson live, I’ve been bitten and have already begun planning a return trip this summer.

Two Great Passions

Foreward to “These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you” (coming up after these messages!)

I have two great passions in my life – Hanson, and Harry Potter. I fell in love with both during that first decade of my life, and both have been consistent presences ever since. Both make up a large portion of who I am, and to fully understand me, you need to understand them. Even my own mother does not “get it;” she thinks these are passing obsessions via the likes of *NSYNC, Star Wars, Peter Pan (all of which I still love but no longer devote to). She has yet to even finish reading all the Harry Potter books (much less the movies) or attend a Hanson concert (though she will listen to songs when I play them for her).

For me, Hanson defines passion. They put so much into their music, and have fought so hard to continue making it, and that love comes through in every lyric and stroke of the piano. They are constantly fighting against perceptions and connotations, associations with “mmmbop” and the fact they became famous as pre-teens whose voices hadn’t yet dropped. I have grown up listening to their music, hearing the changes that come with maturity – both emotionally and musically – and relating them to the emotions tormenting me.

I met Hanson, in particularly Zac, in 2005 outside of a show – the first show of theirs I’d seen since 1997 and become an adult. The moment was life-changing and brought my childhood and adulthood together. To actually meet the man I obsessed over, my first love, who I’d listened to countless times and stared longingly at posters of, was surreal, and I felt my life was complete in many ways. He is still the man I consider my “ideal,” though I am mature enough now to realize the reality of life. 

Harry Potter is a different kind of love. I read the first story and immediately fell in love. In fact, when I read it now, over a decade later, I can still remember the way I felt reading the words for the first time. I still become enraptured with the characters, the wonder, the magic of it all. Like Hanson, I grew up with Harry Potter. My generation, and those a few years younger, were roughly the same age as Harry and followed his journey, relating to the emotions and turmoil like no one else could, because we were living it. I waited impatiently between book releases, scooping them up at midnight and reading them in a single sitting. Harry represented so much of what I wanted to be, and his battles became my own.

This summer I started working at a technology camp, where every week we lived a different theme – Greek Mythology, The Last Airbender, and Harry Potter. I pulled together a Hermione costume and we transformed the camp, complete with Muggle Quidditch, a Sorting Hat and House Cup, and Wizard Duels. As instructors, we carried wands and cast spells, handing out raffle tickets tocampers who “performed” them for us. (For instance, if we yelled “Lumos!” and a camper turned the lights on, he or she was given tickets). Essentially, we lived Harry Potter for two weeks.

Since then, my costume has grown – thanks to Halloween, movie marathons and premieres, and Dress Up as Your Favorite Literary Character days at work – and I find excuses to wear the costume whenever possible. This summer, my fellow Harry-loving instructor (who would be made fun of with me for our incessantconversations while the boys talked about programming and/or sports, depending on the person) and I are moving to a different camp location, and are bringing Harry with us.

So you understand the magnitude of my meeting Daniel Radcliffe, the boy who grew up as Harry Potter, after over a decade of loyalty, and the excitement when he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Nice hat, by the way.”