I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good
Many years ago, early teens maybe I was staying over at my grandmother's house and I had nothing to do, so she recommended I read before bed like most of my family does/did. She handed me this book from a small collection that just so happened to be on the bedside table. That was my very first experience of Harry Potter and the wizarding world. To this date the Harry Potter series is one of the only entire sets of books I have read. Harry Potter has always been a huge part of my life growing up, I have the books (all of them including the Cursed Child screenplay, all the books such as Quidditch through the ages), all the movies on Blu-Ray and an ever growing collection of figures and collectables so when I heard that there was to be an Harry Potter themed night out in Melbourne of course I had to go. It originally had the name 'Harry potters Birthday' but due to copyright reasons it was changed to 'Potterfest'. It was my sister who brought it to my attention and asked if I wanted to attend with her.
We wanted to dress up but by this point we only had two days before the event so last Wednesday we headed off to Melbourne to get some supplies, see if we could find some things. Unfortunately nothing, everywhere was out of wands, only had kids costumes (cloaks) or had nothing altogether. Crap. We ended up ordering a few items online at around 12:45am on the Thursday. Come Friday morning we headed into town and bought some more things we needed to complete the costumes. Just really hoping that the parcel arrives at the place in Melbourne we sent it as it said express shipping from Sydney to any major city would be one day shipping. We got to Melbourne where the parcel had arrived so now we had near complete costumes, good enough. That was stressful as hell!
After meeting up with some of my sisters friends and having dinner (I ate Korean food, YES! ME! I has a picture as proof) the four of us got changed and headed out to the event. We didn't think we had the right place as we were approaching but once inside it was amazing! The people who organise the event do events like this all around Australia apparently and in photos of other cities the location was 'dressed up' more but it probably has something to do with what they were allowed to do within the venue. Regardless it still looked pretty amazing, the first thing we did when we got there was lined up and got our special drinking glass. That's all we were told, that you could pre order or buy on the night a special glass. There was three varieties we saw when we got there, Butterbeer glass, Polyjuice Potion bottle or a Firewhisky glass. I got the Polyjuice Potion bottle, it looked the coolest. Another thing which had to be the most disappointing part of the event was that we weren't told you could only have one glass/bottle per person and you could only have the themed drink that goes in the glass/bottle you got. I'm not one for trying things but man I wanted to try all of these famous Harry Potter themed drinks. I grew up reading about them.
After that we headed over to get our first drink of the night. Personally I feel the Polyjuice potion drink tasted like a cider. The prices were a bit steep too but being a club I still wasn't surprised. The cheapest drink was $12.50. As you walked around the venue there were Harry Potter themed posters, as if we were at a location within the wizarding world, and many other little trinkets and things showing off what it's be like. It seriously felt like walking into the Wizarding world from the Muggle or Nomaj world. The DJ had a wickard set up on the main level who was blasting awesome tunes all night. The first Harry Potter book came out in 1997 and I swear the DJ made the setlist for 90's and early 2000's people because it was a blast from the past, from party favorites even in this day and age like Outkast's song 'Hey Ya' or 'Teenage Dirtbag' by Wheatus, to songs we never thought we'd hear such as songs from ABBA and a few others but all speed up to a nice beat for a club. They also remixed newer songs such as Uptown Funk by either replacing lyrics, or merging the Harry Potter theme into the instrumental part of the song or both. The part that got the entire place to dance was when they played 'Do The Hippogriff' which was a song from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film. The song was played towards the end of the Yule Ball in the film. On two screens either side of the DJ and one behind was clips from the films and various memes of Harry Potter and famous quote all to fit with the songs. Some gave us the feels, others made us laugh. That was certainly a great touch.
There was much more going on besides the drinks and dancing. They had a photo booth, a replica of the car that Ron and Harry flew several times in the series including when they missed the train to Hogwarts on year, face painting, a magic show and a guy who was selling his home-made wands. I bought a wand off him, I am so glad I didn't buy one from Zing for $60 like I was going to. His wands were better and man-made. He was also a very kind guy. To complete the authenticity he included a tag on them stating the characteristics of the want just like in the movies. Remember, the wand chooses the wizard, never the other way around and after trying out some wands I found the one that called my name. It was a Pine wand, 11.4" with Unicorn hair, Unyielding. After about four and a half hours of almost straight dancing, one Polyjuice Potion and two Smirnoff Ice Double Blacks later we left the club. To be honest, I wanted to stay until the end, 5am not just until 1:30am like we did but the person Angela and I were relying on was feeling sick.
Throughout the event I saw some people I knew including a cosplayer I follow on instagram who I've never met before. She was amazing, and It was so great to meet her even if it was only for a minute in a very large and loud crowd. I am sure I will see her around at cons in the future though. It was a fantastic experience, Harry Potter themed or not I can't go to clubs very often. I am more the stay at home and watch Netflix type but it was certainly worth it. We got one of the first trains back from Melbourne where I got home, immediately had a shower and fell asleep on the couch for the rest of the day until 5:30pm when I was called up by mum to remind me I had work at 6:30, she assumed I would be asleep and she was right! I feel old, one night out and I am wrecked. Anyway,
Can't wait until the next Harry Potter themed night which to my knowledge is a movie marathon in Melbourne. Bring it on!
Do you remember those shitty little education games, they came from scholastic and other educational places. Sometimes there were games based off your favourite cartoons that focused on solving puzzles or answering math. We all hated them right? Yeah. Another type of learning game is games that teach you to touch type or just type more quickly really. I remember when I was younger playing one or two of those games. Never got into the education games, but did anyone?
Jerry, one of my Tech YouTubers/Twitch streamers that I watch used to be a programmer for Microsoft, and among other things he does, he does a daily livestream to kick start his morning. To keep his own skills sharp for programming, he plays this flash game called Z-Type and it is actually pretty fun!
My highest level is level 19, can you beat me?
13 Reasons Why.. And all it takes is one
I think everyone by now should know that I prefer story over mechanics when it comes to games, story over destruction in movies. Don’t get me wrong mechanics and destruction are both amazing but nothing captivates me more than an amazingly told story. I guess that should be obvious? Not really, not everybody enjoys an amazing story, they would rather just be competitive or see things blow up and all those things are the right thing. There is no single one thing to like. Besides Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as it’s not a story rich game all my other stand out, favourite and highly recommended games are story rich, and serious games. What does that say about me? Spec Ops: The Line was spectacular for a lot of things but what really got me was the terrifying choices I had to make in this third person shooter game, I questioned my own moral, multiple times. The Walking Dead: Season 1 (Video Game), an episodic interactive adventure survival game and all the other games in that series for that matter all had me weak at the knees for many different reasons.
Not only about my decision to the all terrible choices I had, the terrible things that occurred due to what I thought was an excellent decision and what happened regardless of what I did. These are games that either through action or otherwise make you tremble, make you feel things, make you write things to get it off your chest are the types of games that are amazing within this world. I was never big on reading, despite most of my family being enthusiastic readers and I think as I’ve grown older I have grown out of the whole ‘FIND, KILL, SHOOT’ for the most part and need to find something with more substance. I’ll still love me some Call of Duty, League of Legends and my newest obsession, Overwatch but the things that captivate me are story rich.
Where am I going with this? That was all about games, but that theory doesn’t just apply to games it also applies to everything including movies/TV shows. Long story short after finding time, hopping back on Netflix I saw Netflix recommended ‘13 Reasons Why’. I’d heard that there was some controversy surrounding it, that it was all about suicide. I thought I’d give it a shot but I never would have imagined that it would have given me the same sort of feelings as the games I’ve previously mentioned. 13 Reasons Why started out in 2007 as a novel written by Jay Asher. In 2017, it was released on Netflix, a TV show based off the novel. It’s funny, I never knew it was a novel first until after I finished watching the series. I won’t spoil much for you, but here is the synopsis the Internet Movie Database gives, “Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life”. I think, the actors were amazing, the story was amazing, the production was amazing.
I will just add a caution that this shouldn’t be watched by just anyone as discussed topics are quite harsh in nature and depicted on screen during certain episodes. I do think that having something like this is great to start discussions that normally would be taboo or brushed under the carpet. Boy it certainly started discussions, I’m just glad that it wasn’t an awful show trying to bring up these discussions as it would just turn into blaming the show for suicides that probably would have occurred anyway (which is ironic considering when you watch it, it’s all about people blaming others to protect themselves) …
… Which did happen anyway. Just one Google search of the shows name and the top results are “TV show 13 reasons why ‘inspired’ suicides of teens”, “Families blame ’13 reasons why’ for 2 teens’ suicides”, and many others. That’s not the discussion that we are meant to be having. Mental health is a serious issue, and whilst most just like me and you just get swept away with our own issues, there are many, many things going a lot worse for others. I’ve always believed suicide is the cowards way out, you hurt those around you more than you hurt yourself and whilst I still believe that, going through high school, having certain situations arise in life and watching something like 13 Reasons Why gives me a pretty good understanding as why some people would want to go that way, the world isn’t a nice place, well it is, but people aren’t... Sometimes.
There will always be good and evil and with the rise of the internet like it has been for over a decade the internet just creates a new way to bully, harass, stalk and many other things to people who are trying to make ends meet like the rest of it. Take one look on 4chan, reddit or even the YouTube comments section, a lot of the times they are toxic. What about when you were in high school and there was a fight online between two people and you either commented, egging the fight on or just sat there with some popcorn and watched. The world isn’t a pretty place but if we all do our bit, and help be a part of a solution, not the problem then I think that could go a long way.
I don’t know how parents believed the show ‘convinced’ or ‘inspired’ their loved ones to go through with it. What that show inspired me to do is start some conversation about the topic. The show doesn’t end on a low indicating that suicide is the way out. It has a carefully crafted ending that gives across the right message for those who either are considering suicide or those who know someone who is. I recommend the show 13 Reasons Why, and by extent it’s source material. Just so you know, you have been warned it’s type of content and I can’t wait for the second season which I didn’t think they’d make, but from a quick search it seems like it is coming in 2018.
Steam Sales of Old
Steam's Summer Sale is here again! ♫
♫ Are you ready for a miracle ♫
I first hopped on Valve's Steam train back in early 2010, the start into my venture of going from console gaming to PC gaming. Not quite at the beginning of Steam in 2003, in which I would have been 9 years old! Actually with today's kids and all their accounts and devices that sounds about right to have a steam account at 9, but I never did. Since I created a Steam account, I have purchased 336 games on Steam alone, and that doesn't include games that are only on other services like Uplay or Origin, it also doesn't include PC games prior to Steam.
One of the many reasons behind Valve's success with Steam is that they have amazing sales, in comparison to when Steam was first made to when I started I don't know how the sales were but as soon as I joined up and started throwing money at our Lord and Saviour, Lord GabeN. 50% off, 75% off, and for once I could just downloaded everything, I didn't have 8+ disks to install! (The Sims 1...) Over the last year or so I feel like the Steam sales are going downhill, not as many games on sale, not as good discounts. I could be right, or it could be that I have amassed so many games that I just don't care about anymore games. Either way most recent sales I haven't really paid much attention to them, they have been quite uninspiring. Then comes along the sale that is currently on, and it's pretty good but it feels different, some good deals, but still something is off. After some research I noticed things that made Steam sales unique, and fun and more than just a sale you visit once, get a few things and leave.
I used to have the Steam app on my mobile and when I would go to school I would check the app each 4 hours, as there would be many different types on sales, flash sales, deals of the day (last for 24 hours) and they would transform the entire store into a theme. These days, it looks the same as normal Steam, no flash sales, no deals of the day, whichever price you see is the final price unlike many previous sales where you'd be looking back every so many hours to see if a game that is discounted, has been further discounted. Some people could argue I have no life, but honestly that was half the fun of Steam sales to me. Always checking, the hunt for the best discounts. Another thing that has overtaken Steam is trading cards, gems, profile levels, and special games relating to each sale, slightly differently where you earn cards and packs for spending money. Props to Valve for doing this, they are making so much money from it, but it turns Steam into something I hate, I try to avoid all that nonsense.
I say these bad things but so far in like less than 48 hours of the Steam sale going live I have bought Nidhogg, Quantum Break, Outlast 2, Dishonored, The Jackbox Party Pack 2, Batman: The Telltale Series and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Shattered my spending limit which was $0 and took money out of my account I use for food. Luckily I have a lot of food cooked and frozen, enough that will last me until I get paid. All in all, I am incredibly happy (getting some games such as Shadow of Mordor for as little at $3) and honestly, if I work my ass off just to put money in my bank, what is the point of having it in the bank if I don't spend it on things I enjoy and want. I just now have to make sure I start to go through my backlog of games.
If you wish to see what games I own, or add me as a friend a link to my Steam account is below in the website's footer.