LADA…and Me

As I’m sure a lot of you can relate to, link I spent a lot of my life and time in school being teased and being bullied. It’s hard being a nerd. And I’m talking a real nerd. Lately, there’s been this blow up of “I <3 Nerds!” and “OMG I’m so nerdy!” and all that. I’m talking, straight up nerd, when you’re doing stuff that most other kids just don’t get.

So yeah, I definitely spent most of my time just being WEIRD. I’m sure, the things I liked were popular: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pokemon, etc. But the extent to which I liked these things was a lot for people to handle. I’m a very intense person and when I find something that I like, I can be really intense. And a lot of people have a hard time understanding that. They can’t understand the serious LOVE I have for Harry Potter. No one can understand the sort of passion I feel for reading and the attachment I feel for fictional characters.

So I had a really hard time finding friends in school and outside of school. I followed my best friend for so much of my life and made friends through her. That kept me happy for awhile. I had good friends. They weren’t really MY friends, but I had good friends.

But as life happens, my best friend and I grew apart. In a seriously big way. And for the first time in my life, I felt truly and totally screwed. I had to make friends on my own and this wasn’t something I wasn’t used to. I spent a lot of years trying and failing, trying and failing to make friends. I met people I didn’t like, I met people that I did like. I met people who were really cool. But I just didn’t meet anyone who really clicked with me. I found a new best friend, as our boyfriends were friends, and I love this girl to death. She continues to be my best friend, no matter what. But I still needed to learn to make friends on my own, to branch out on my own.

And this is when I discovered the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army.

Its simple: its a group of 21 and over Harry Potter fans who get together and do seriously awesome things.

I first met them at Whimsic Alley when one of the members of the group, Melissa, who is a professor at a local university, did a preview of the Harry Potter Literature class that she was going to begin teaching. I was hooked. These were people who didn’t just see it as a book…it was so much more than that. I had to find out more.

The very first official meet-up I ever went to was the Intermagical Relations Quidditch Picnic. And yeah, I said Quidditch. It was a joint picnic between the LADA, the Auror Brigade, and the awesome people behind Harry Potter Day at DisneyLand. There were Potter themed games and food and you could learn to play Quidditch in preparation of an actual quidditch game. It was amazing. I had to go back for more. I was hooked, easily. These people were so welcoming and friendly and I had so much in common with all of them. I had never felt so much in my element.

That was almost a year ago. I’ve been a member of LADA for almost a year and I can honestly say that this group is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

One, the people. This group is all adults (there is drinking involved in these meet-ups though I, myself, do not personally drink) and we all love the same things: Harry Potter, obviously, Hunger Games, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek, comics, cartoons, Game of Thrones, books, movies, video games and so much more. Every single time I am with these people, I never run out of things to talk about it. I can go from one conversation on one side of the room talking about a recent book we all read and then cross the room and talk to a different group of people about the most recent episode of a t.v. show. I’ve never met a group of people who just GET IT, they just get me. They’re funny and smart and they’re of every race, gender, religion (or not), philosophy, career, whatever. They are such a great example of diversity and yet we’re all bonded together by this.

Two, the amazing things we do. I’ve only been a member for a year and this group has been around for about four years. And yet despite that, I have already experienced a great amount of awesome times. Every month there is a book club meeting, where we read a book and get together to discuss it. And I think we all know that I LOVE talking about books.

But we’ve also done quidditch tournaments. We did a Hunger Games party where we were “reaped” into different districts, went and saw the movie, and then came back to the Capitol party to compete in the games. We had our very first, extremely successful Harry Potter Roller Skating Night. We had an Avengers de Mayo party, where we saw the Avengers and then partied and played games. I’ve met Tom Felton with these guys, we’ve had Harry Potter pub nights and Harry Potter pub crawls and Potter game nights. We’ve done beach days and we’ve celebrated Harry Potter’s birthday. We’ve done a wizard version of Iron Chef called Wizard Chef. We did a wizard version of a white elephant party called white hippogriff. We’ve done tattoo days and we hit all the cons. We’ve gone and seen geeky parody musicals. I can go on and on and on. I’ve never seen so much creativity and fun in a group of people before. Its the ultimate geek partying. There are a ton of pictures below to show the awesome things we’ve done.

We even have a Harry Potter Bowling Night coming up soon, as a part of So Cal Wizarding Weekend (more on that to come).

Just one day ago, I went to the most recent meetup, which was the second Wizard Chef. And after we held our cooking competition, which was SO MUCH FUN, we all kicked back, opened up a couple of beers and just talked. And while I was sitting there, I realized something, something super happy.

I have met an amazing group of friends and an amazing group of people. Not only are these people my friends because we have so much in common and we’re all nerds together, but they’re all such amazing people. They’re mothers, and fathers, and teachers, and writers, and filmmakers and artists, and they can sew and knit and they’re creative as hell. I look forward to each and every meet-up because I know I’m going to have a fun and unique and badass time and I’m going to do it all with the best friends that I could possibly have.

Intermagical Quidditch Picnic

The costume winners at our Hunger Games Capitol Party

Me meeting Tom Felton at a small convention we attended

My fellow members at our White Hippogriff party

Celebrating 100th Meetup at Harry Potter Game Night

The various super heroes of Avengers de Mayo

The first ever LADA Pub Crawl

A few members meeting Tom Felton <3

If you’re in Southern California, I definitely urge you to join. Its the best decision I ever made. And if you’re not in Southern California, then I encourage you to go out there, and find that group for you, no matter what your thing is. Meetup.com is a great place to start. Good hunting, everyone! We all deserve to find a place where we belong :D

Are you a member of LADA? Do you feel the same? Are you part of a group that you’ve had some awesome experiences with? As always, let me know in the comments.

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I Have a Logo…and A Title for My Second Novel!

It’s almost Friday!!!!!

This is an exciting thing. I love the weekends. Weekends are like…the best gift you can get after a long week at school and work. Weekends are amazing.

And what a perfect way to start off the weekend with two little new things for you!

First off, pills I’d like to tell you a little bit about my second novel. My first novel is done, viagra sale written about two years ago, sildenafil called Another Chance for Summer (clicking the link will take you to the e-reader edition on Amazon!). Now, I’m about two chapters away from finishing my second. I am very happy about this; it’s taken me a long time to write and I’ve worked my butt off on it.

The novel is basically about a girl named McKinley Evans. McKinley is twenty-four-years-old, living above the diner where she works with her adopted dad. The diner, and the people who frequent there, are her entire life, ever since she was abandoned there as a child. She has a tough skin, and she’s stubborn and sarcastic to no end and she’s not quick with letting people in and trusting them, especially boys. She has rules and she has standards. Until she meets Jake Kennedy, the rich and famous TV star. At first, McKinley is annoyed by Jake’s attentions but slowly, that changes.

I’ve been trying to think of a title for AGES and with the help of a good friend of mine, I finally have one. The title of my second novel is:

A Little Less Than Famous

Look for it in about November/December in the Kindle Store. I will definitely be posting about it!

Secondly, my logo! I am so excited about it! My dad and his friend Doug are both graphic designers and have been working extra hard on it. When I got the final bit of it, OHMYROWLING. I was so happy! Its perfect! Its very fitting for this blog and for me. I can’t wait to start plastering it all over the place. I’m definitely looking to get stickers soon now that I have this badass logo.

Isn’t it awesome! What do you think of it?

WhataNerdGirlSays Hits Comikaze 2012!

Hello everyone! Hope that you are having a wonderful week and that you enjoyed my first ever Book of the Week post yesterday. Look for those posts every Thursday or Friday :D

Now, pill as it is Tuesday, viagra normally this would be my Tuesday Three post. Instead, drug I’d rather review a convention I just went to.

As some of you may know, I recently went to Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  This is the second year of the convention and though of course there are still kinks to work out as with any new conventions, it was definitely a super fun time.

Now, I’ve gone to San Diego Comic Con a few times and always had a good time. However, I haven’t been in a few years because of how insanely crowded its gotten lately. You can hardly move through the crowd; it’s like sardines in a can. And forget about panels, unless you’re willing to wait in line all day long.

Comikaze is a breath of fresh air. It has everything that you want for a comic convention. It had the awesome cosplays, great celebrity guests, fantastic vendors and great panels. And the best part? It had that great nerdy, geeky feel to it without having to pay a lot (tickets ran anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars, depending on where you bought them) and without having to navigate insane crowds.

The Good: 

1. Cosplays

Cosplays are always my favorite part about cons and other nerd events. The time and effort that people go to to represent the fandoms they love is just amazing. I always feel kind of like a little kid at Disneyland, but instead of seeing all the DIsney characters, I see all my favorite characters from various fandoms.

I see Jedis, and Russell from Up, and Disney Princesses, zombies, and Wall.E and R2D2, The Doctor and the Tardis, and even Darth Helmet.



There were so many more that I couldn’t even begin to take pictures of them all.

2. The Guests:

There were great guests for this being such a new convention. First off, Elvira was there. She was one of the biggest guests but she did several stints for autographs and, according to my friend Lavonne, was super sweet and nice. Stan Lee was a guest as well…and this is STAN LEE we’re talking about it. He’s is the god of comics and the guy is no spring chicken anymore; he’ll be turning 90 in December. He was amazing though, signing about a million autographs, taking pictures with fans and being there for the fans. One of the coolest things I liked about Stan was that instead of having a panel for his Q and A, he did it on the main stage, where anyone could watch and anyone could ask questions. What a man. There’s a reason people literally worship this guy.

3. Zombies and Quidditch: 

There were two ongoing events going on both days of Comikaze:

One was a Zombie Apocalypse obstacle course. This was held in a room off the side of the main floor and looked awesome! There were various obstacles, like climbing walls, and it was dark with strobe lights everywhere. The best part was all the people in amazing make-up, walking around, acting like zombies. Some of those guys were pretty creepy, and there were even kids too. It was fairly cheap, only about twenty dollars, and it looked like a ton of fun. If they continue to do this next year, I’ll definitely do it.

There was also Quidditch going on. Anyone could sign up to learn and play, and this was sponsored by Whimsic Alley, a Harry Potter shop in L.A., and was right across the way from my good friends, the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army. The game is so much fun (of course, I’ve played!) and it was a good chance for anyone to try it out, especially since there are a few club teams here in Southern California and teams at various high schools and colleges.

The Bad (and there’s not a lot)

1. The Lines

I only attended on Sunday (I had a wedding to go to on Saturday) so this is only by word of mouth. Apparently the lines on Saturday to pick up your badges and get inside the convention were ridiculous. Think HOURS of waiting in line, outside, in horrible heat. The heat obviously isn’t controllable, just a huge inconvenience. The lines do really suck though. Waiting hours in line to get badges is a real letdown, especially when you could miss out on autograph sessions or panels that you really wanted to see. The good part of this though was that they definitely learned from it and getting in on Sunday was extremely quick. The line moved super quickly and my sister and I got into the convention really fast. Its only their second year and they are bound to have mishaps. The fact that they did notice it and tried to do something about it is awesome in my book.

2. Balance of Panels

One thing that wasn’t a HUGE deal but should be noted, when a convention is going on, the panels should be balanced on the different days. I mean, obviously the bigger panels are going to be on Saturday, with the big names and whatnot. It just makes sense. But the other days of a convention shouldn’t be neglected and I felt a little bit of that on Sunday. I felt like the bigger names were on Saturday and there weren’t a lot of BIG panels on Sunday. This wasn’t a huge deal, I’m definitely not crying over. Like I said, it’s a newer con and they have mistakes to make and lessons to learn and I’m sure that the panels will get better and better.

So all in all, it was a great panel. The price was great (have you seen how expensive San Diego Comic Con is?) and the atmosphere was familiar and welcome. There were awesome vendors there (check out Elizabeth Wu and Jeremy Rathbone for some amazing fan art) and some really great ideas, with the Quidditch matches and the zombie obstacle course. This is a convention that I feel like is only going to get better as the years go by and its definitely one I would go to again.

Was anyone there? What did you think? As always, tell me in the comments!

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Book of the Week: Trickster’s Choice

Welcome ot my newly weekly segment. Now, drugs normally I’m going to be posting this around Thursday, ed Friday or Saturday to keep it nicely spaced out from the Tuesday Three. For now, approved the first one will be posted today because I’m sick in bed and I need something to do besides watching Once Upon a Time reruns.

So now, I will introduce you to the new weekly blog: Book of the Week. Each week I will review a book for you. It may be a book that I’ve already read in the past, it may be a new book, it may be a book I absolutely hated. Eitehr way, I’m sharing a book with you guys :D I also asked my good friend, Jackie, the awesome nerd-writer over at seekingbazinga.com, to help contribute to this.

For the first week, I decided to do one of my favorite books of all time. This book is both popular and overlooked at the same time.

Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce

Book One of The Trickster Series by Tamora Pierce

Tamora’s Series (in Order)

The Song of the Lioness (Alanna)
The Immortals (Daine)
The Protector of the Small (Keladry)
The Trickster Series (Aly)

The Plot:

This is the first book of Tamora’s fourth series in the Tortall world. Now, it IS helpful if you read the series in order. But it doesn’t ruin the experience. The first Tortall book I picked up was this one. Tortall is a fictional land where there are kings and queens, knights and mages, magical creatures and all sorts of fun and awesome stuff.

Now, Alianne of Pirates Swoop is the daughter of the King’s Champion (who also happens to be the first female knight in over 100 years) and the King’s Spymaster. Her brother, Thom, is learning to be a mage at the palace university and her twin brother, Alan, is being trained to be a Knight of the realm. Aly is sixteen years old, an adult, and has yet to find her way in the world.

However, she knows exactly what she wants to do: she wants to be a spy. Trained at her father’s knee, she is clever and knows the way of a spy world. Of course, she is a well-bred, noble girl and that is out of the question. After getting into an argument with her mother about her future, she does what any other normal sixteen year old would do: she takes her ship out to sea, to go on a nice little sail until her mother leaves again.

Her ship is soon attacked and boarded by pirates and she is sold into slavery in the nearby Copper Isles. Ever the clever girl, she makes herself as ugly as possible in the slave pens to deter anyone buying her as a bed warmer. Instead she is given to the Balitang family, a rich noble family in the heart of the Copper Isles kingdom. She begins to learn the history of the country: how it was once called the Kyprish Isles and was ruled by the brown-skinned raka people…that is until the white luarins from the nearby countries invaded and took over.

It doesn’t take long for Aly to get swept up in a secret, underground rebellion involving the raka slaves and servants of the Balitang house, a trickster god by the name of Kyprioth and the two eldest daughters of the family, Saraiyu and Dovesary, who are both luarin and raka, and have royal blood in each line.

The Good or the Bad:

Obviously since this is one of my favorite books in the entire world, it is definitely good. There are several reasons for this.

Tamora Pierce is amazing at writing fantastic strong female characters. And I love strong female characters (see: Joss Whedon). Aly is only sixteen-years-old and gets sold into slavery in a foreign country, a country which is hostile toward her own. Despite all of this, she’s insanely clever and smart. She fits herself in so well, and gets information without seeming like she is getting information. She forms a bond with the trickster god, Kyprioth, that is more like friendship than worship. Once she uncovers the rebellion going on in the house, she’s intrigued. She’s fighting her hardest to escape and make her way back home but the history of the country and the intricacy of the rebellion is almost like fun for her. Its a chance to finally use all the skills and intelligence she has.

As much as I love all the series of Tamora’s, I love this one the most. Yes, because it was the first series I read of hers, but also because I love how much more complex this story was. The ideas of slavery and invading another country and taking it as their own…these are not new ideas. These ideas are part of our own history. It seems like almost a little bit of a political statement on the part of Pierce. Its just another interesting way to read about slavery and conquering, from the conquered point of view.

There are also amazing characters in this book, besides just Aly. If anyone ever needed a lesson on character development, this is a person to go to. Every single one of her characters are individual and unique and written so well. There’s a character for everyone. All these characters are so round and believable, I can’t think of any of the characters that are flat. And the villians, the royal family of the Copper Isles, are so evil, in such a conniving, sneaky, slippery ways. You’re literally disgusted at the things they do, especially once you start reading the second book.

The best part? There’s romance (which I do love) but its not mushy or forced and roll-your-eye worthy. And  no love triangle. Aly feels something for her new friend, Nawat, but she is more concerned with her task at hand than love. She’s so focused and driven. LOVE it.

So I definitely recommend this book, to anyone. I would recommend it more to girls/women but I’ve heard of guys liking it as well. The link above is a direct link to its amazon page, where you can pick it up in paperback for under 10 dollars. I hope to hear from some of you that you’ve read it or that you plan to! Check out the Tuesday Three tomorrow and keep an eye out for my Comikaze blog coming soon!

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Being a Fan-Too Expensive?

I’m a fangirl. I think we’ve discussed this before but I am definitely a fangirl. I’m a nerd. I love fandoms.

And something that comes along with that is a desire to buy everything in sight from that fandom. I want all the Blu-rays, sale I want a kick ass cosplay outfit. I want phone covers, viagra order and posters, prop replicas and books, shirts and bags and stickers and toothbrushes and EVERYTHING.

But as years have gone by, as I’ve tried to collect everything in sight, I’ve realized something:

Being a fangirl is really expensive.

I mean, really expensive. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on my wand and my Ravenclaw sweater. I’ve held off on buying the blu-rays of Doctor Who because of how expensive they are. I’ve paid money for limited edition this and limited edition that because I just *had* to have it.

And I do it because I love fandoms. I want the limited edition of whatever you’re selling me. Most of the time, things just are so cool that I have to have. I HAVE to.

Even if it means dipping into my already small wallet. The average wand replica for Harry Potter runs about 30 to 40 dollars. An iphone case? 40 dollars. A sonic screwdriver, with accompanying noises? About 35 dollars. A replica Hogwarts sweater and robe? You’re looking at about 40 and 180 dollars. Things start adding up fast and next thing you know, you’re looking at your credit card bill, feeling a little letdown.

Why am I bringing this up?

Well, two reasons: a recent boxed set release from my Warner Bros. friend and a soon to be released boxed set. Both of them? Ridiculously over the top, insane expensive.

Last weekend, Warner Bros. released the long awaited 8 movie box set of the epic movie series, Harry Potter. Topping out at 350 dollars for 31 discs, it was a crazy release.

And to answer your question, no I did not buy this set.

Sure, this looks like a really aweome set. It literally has 31 discs! That’s crazy. There’s a DVD of each movie, a Blu-Ray of each movie and even the 3D version of the last two. There are 12 discs all for bonus features. It comes in this awesome box, with all these maps and even a replica Horcrux. And yes, I totally want it.

There are two things holding me back. One, it only has the extended editions of the first two movies (but that’s a whole ‘nother story). And two, did I mention the fact that it is 350 dollars? Its astronomical….especially for a college student who gets paid about that same amount in an entire month.

As for the other box set, damn, I want this one even more. It’s great. its the expanded version of the Harry Potter Wizardry Collection. This includes: five books that relate to the film making process of the Harry Potter films, a cloth-bound copy of Harry Potter: Page to Screen (I have the normal one…), AND a prop replica of the Monster Book of Monsters. This is pretty badass, I’m not going to lie. There are only going to be 3,000 copies worldwide which makes it super limited and they’re going to be numbered.

AS of right now, its only listed on Amazon UK, and its listed at 552 pounds…or about 880 U.S. Dollars. My eyes literally popped out of my head when I was that. I definitely don’t have the money for that. Who does have the money for something like that? It’s just insane, or as Harry Potter news gurus, Mugglenet, said, “Harry potter and the Astronomically Priced Box Set”. This is a nice thing to dream about but I highly doubt that owning this box set is in my future.

Things like this…it almost makes me feel like these companies are taking advantage of our love and devotion to these fandoms. I love Harry Potter, I love Star Wars and Doctor Who and so on and I want to keep them all alive for as long as I possibly can. I want to show my love and appreciate for them and for what they’ve done for me. But I don’t like being taken advantage of. Just because I am willing to buy everything Harry Potter in sight and wait in lines for releases doesn’t mean that I am willing to drop an insane amount of cash on something just because its limited edition. I’ve already spent a ton on movies, and I’m starting to buy TV seasons, I’ve spent money on clothes for cosplay, I’ve spent money on posters…I’ve spent money on tattoos! But sometimes, I have to draw the line.

What do you guys think? How much is too much? When is it an awesome new release and when is it just a release to make more money? How much have you emptied your wallet as a fan? As always, share in the comments.

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Update: at time of post, Amazon UK had this box set up on its website. As of now, it is no longer up there. Was the price so astronomical they had to take it down so they could really beef up the excitement for it? Or does this box set even exist? Time will only tell…

The Tuesday Three

As I spend most of my days lately burning to a crisp from the still lingering hot weather here in Southern California, drug I sit in my room, thumb full of wonderful air conditioned air, ready to bring you the Tuesday Three.

1. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

I could listen to Matt Smith saying “I know! Dinosaurs…on a spaceship!” about a hundred times. I loved this episode. This one seemed more fun than the season opener. While Asylum of the Daleks had more serious things going on, this one seemed more playful, bringing back that awesome fun that we’ve been missing for so long. I adored Mark Williams as Brian Williams, Rory’s dad. He just kind of went with things and did his part and it was fantastic. I always love when there are other companions there (except River Song, ugh). Queen Nefertiti and John Riddell (apparently an English explorer…Doctor Who teaches history!) were awesome characters. Nefertiti was sassy as hell and Rupert Graves, from Sherlock, was hilarious as Riddell. This was a definite change from the previous episode, where serious stuff was going down. This was fun and playful and I liked it. True, there was seriousness in it. First off, it kind of called in the question of killing creatures, and the circumstances with that. Then there was the fact that Amy and Rory aren’t staying with the Doctor anymore. Matt Smith looked so heartbroken. I feel like Amy and Rory leaving is going to suck really bad. Bring out the tissues.

2. Comikaze Expo

So this weekend is Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, a smaller con but a supposed really fun one. I’ve been trying more and more to go to more cons. For one thing, man, they are so much fun! I am surrounded by people just like me and I finally feel like I fit in. And there’s stuff everywhere that just makes me have nerdgasm after nerdgasm. There’s always super fun panels and cool people to meet and…the best part, really awesome cool stuff to BUY! My wallet always gets into trouble on cons. I’m really excited for this one though because its the first time I will be cosplaying in something other than just my standard Ravenclaw outfit. No, this time around, I’m cosplaying as the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who and I am SO excited about it. Its going to be a little different; I wanted to do a girl version of it: a brown cardigan instead of the blazer, a skirt instead of pants, etc. We’ll see how it goes. I feel like its going to be exciting! I will definitely post pictures!

3. NerdsForObama

Now, I’m gonna get a little political. But only for a second, I promise. Someone sent this picture to me a few days ago and I was SO into it. Its amazing! So I decided to check out where this came from and I came across the site, NerdsForObama. Its fantastic. Without getting too political, I think Obama has been a good and fair president, and I think that we need to give him more time to get this country back in order and to guarantee the things that we deserve (healthcare, gay marriage, etc). I think that there are tons of nerds out there that support this because the fandoms that we are apart of all teach us to be tolerant and accepting. So finding this website (which literally has fandoms from Harry Potter to Firefly, Doctor Who to Game of Thrones) was really awesome. Its a real way to get involved and to encourage those who aren’t involved to get involved. I would support a “Ravenclaws for Obama” button anytime.

Stay tuned in. I have a couple blog posts coming up VERY soon. I’ll do a post for Comikaze definitely, I have a couple annoucements to make in the next few days and I am definitely starting another little weekly blog post, with my good friend Jackie. So don’t go anywhere, plenty more coming whatanerdgirlsays!

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