Hogsmeade

Orlando, Florida. 10.01.13.

Orlando, Florida. 10.01.13.

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Schadenfreude is inevitable when the person everyone hates is suffering.

No one likes that guy (who is also known as Dementor) at work.

Dementor terrorizes everyone, so it’s not a surprise that he only has enemies here. Old Jim tolerates him because they share so many cases. People have waited years for karma to kick his ass. This week proved to be the beginning of his comeuppance.

The other day, Dementor left mid-afternoon because a pipe burst in his basement. We got reprieve from him for the rest of the day. This morning, he stomped into my office.

“Sam, do you know what happened to my coffee mug?” Dementor’s usually pale face was red and pinched with rage.

“Nope. The only mugs I’ve seen are the ones in the cabinet. Why?”

“Someone took mine out of my office and made a mess on the floor!”

“I have no clue.” I shrugged, turning back to my computer.

A few minutes later, the HR director called me.

“Samantha, you don’t think Mike would’ve –”

“Definitely not.”

“Okay, just making sure. Dementor emailed our boss, who suggested that it was the new maintenance crew who could’ve broken his mug while cleaning his office.”

“Dementor must not have anything better to do.”

“It just isn’t his week, is it?” She stifled a laugh.

“Apparently. Maybe he’ll start being nicer to people so bad things stop happening to him.”

Still.

Schadenfreude is inevitable when the person everyone hates is suffering.

PSA about NaNoWriMo

Just so y’all know, during November, I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s the first year I’ve entered this contest. While I’m aware the end product will be a very rough draft of a novel, I want to do the best I can.

Thus, next month, I’ll be posting mostly (if not all) photos on my blog while I write a novel that’s at least 50,000 words. I believe I can do it, given that my longest Harry Potter fic was over 65,000 words. (As embarrassing as that is to admit.) This is the first time I’ll be writing an original piece comparable to that story (in length — I’d hope it’s much better in quality).

Who knows, I may even post excerpts on my blog when I’m done (and have edited). Good luck to everyone else who’s participating in NaNoWriMo!

In every workplace, there’s always one person that everyone hates.

In every workplace, there’s always one person that everyone hates.

At my office, that guy is intolerable. He’s smart, but makes sure everyone knows it. He thinks his time is the most precious, so he’ll throw projects on my desk at 4:55 PM on a Friday. (Hopefully this won’t happen today.) Unfortunately, he also has job security because he’s my boss’s bitch.

Whenever that guy is on vacation, everyone rejoices. The halls seem a bit brighter. There isn’t a cloud of doom hanging over his office. No one dreads a last minute email insisting a project has to be done immediately because it’s of the utmost importance.

In Harry Potter, there are creatures called dementors. These creatures feed on others’ happiness, thus causing people to plummet into depression or worse, despair. This is why that guy is nicknamed Dementor.

Mike, Dusty, and I have dealt with Dementor the most. Dusty is a self-proclaimed Alabama redneck. He’s unapologetically politically incorrect, but we get along because he’s got a no bullshit policy. The three of us always brainstorm (and sometimes execute) pranks to play on Dementor.

“Well, what I could do is gather some of them mushrooms from the woods –”

“Dusty, we can’t poison Dementor.”

“Damn it, Mike. Ruinin’ my fun.”

“We could put eyedrops or white-out in his coffee.”

“That shit don’t work, Sam. He won’t get diarrhea — his coffee’ll just look weird.”

“I saw that YouTube video of the guy gettin’ tazed who was all, ‘Don’t taze me, bro!’ That would be pretty funny!”

“Great idea, Mike! Let’s do it at the next staff meeting!” Dusty paused. “But you and I can’t do it. The boss man ain’t gonna believe that it malfunctioned if we were usin’ it.”

“That’s true, Dusty.” Mike turned to me, “Sam, I’ll buy you a pink tazer if you do the honors.”

“Guys, I’ve never used a tazer before.”

“Exactly why this is a brilliant plan.”

“We’re totally gonna get fired!” I shook my head. “Wait — there’s that dead roach in the kitchen…”

“Say no more. I’m on it. When he goes to lunch, we’re goin’ in!”

Dementor’s strangled scream of disgust was worth having to plant the dead roach in his desk drawer.

I used to write Harry Potter fanfiction.

I used to write Harry Potter fanfiction (also known as fics).

Even before that, I wrote hilariously bad Gilmore girls fics. In my defense, it was middle school. I knew nothing about keeping characters’ voices true to themselves or what high schoolers’ lives were actually like. Rory Gilmore’s world was as foreign to me as Harry Potter’s. Despite encouraging reviews, I took the Gilmore girls fics down from my fanfiction.net profile.

I’ve always been an enthusiastic fangirl. During my Gilmore girls phase, I had a wall in my bedroom with magazine pages featuring the cast and a giant collage I made. While I began reading the Harry Potter books in fourth grade, I didn’t start writing fics until high school.

Oftentimes, fans write fics in anticipation of the next installment of a series (to predict what’s going to happen next) or to rewrite moments they found to be unsatisfactory. Typically, I wrote fics for the former reason. I never wrote the plot-driven fics; instead, I always focused on the ships I supported. In fandom terms, a “ship” is a relationship that you support (thus making you a shipper).

I wrote my first Harry Potter fic during junior year of high school, before Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was published. Like many fans, I was (and still am) a Ron and Hermione shipper. At lunch, I brainstormed ideas with my fellow Harry Potter fangirls (and fanboy) friends Gaby, Daniel, and Becca. I ended up writing sixteen chapters and over 65,000 words. Almost a decade later, people are still reviewing the fic and adding it to their favorites.

Any time I get discouraged about writing, I remind myself of two things:

  1. I wrote a silly Ron/Hermione fic in high school that got 854 reviews.
  2. If E.L. James could get published by rewriting a Twilight fic as Fifty Shades of Grey, I will get published by writing an awesome original book.

Three deadly sins

I. Wrath

When Brie was diagnosed with autism, I became her defender. I was an aggressive crusader against people who said “retarded” or “retard” in a derogatory way (or ever, really).

Tenth grade was the height of my belligerence. On a bus ride after a marching band competition, an obnoxious drummer was impersonating a boy with Downs Syndrome from a rival band.

“I’m a reeetaaaard.” He kept repeating as he intentionally tripped down the bus aisle.

I tapped him on the shoulder and slapped him across the face as he turned around.

“What gives you the right to make fun of that boy?! You’re pathetic — making fun of a kid who can’t defend himself.”

“Damn — I was just joking, Sam.”

“Did it ever occur to you that he’s someone’s brother? Or maybe, that I’ve got a sister who’s in special ed? Or that other people do, too?”

“No it didn’t. Shit. I’m sorry.”

II. Envy

When you’re a former chubby girl, it’s hard to overcome body image issues even after you’ve lost weight. Most days, I believed what I saw in the mirror and in photos. Every once in awhile, old insecurities crept into the back of my mind.

Andrea is lovely. She has long eyelashes and brown hair. Her favorite food groups are cheese and bacon, but she’s naturally slim. She’s also one of the smartest and quirkiest people I know. We’ve been The Ridiculous for over a decade, so it’s uncertain whether we react to things similarly because we’ve been best friends so long, or if that’s why we became friends in the first place.

In college, there were times when guys (acquaintances, not friends or romantic prospects) would say,

“Your friend’s hot. Hook me up?”

I would laugh. “You wouldn’t stand a chance.”

Yet self-loathing mantras of days past persisted.

Your best friend is hot. You’re the funny, sassy one. Why would someone ever think you’re pretty?

III. Pride

When I was in middle school, there was no one more insufferable to have as a classmate than me. I went to a small Catholic school in Birmingham with less than fifty kids per grade (from preschool to eighth grade). I was the Filipino Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and due to the size of the school, most people knew it.

In eighth grade, my group of friends was constantly getting dragged into the guidance counselor’s office because of another group of girls. Our group was comprised of overachievers. We won the spelling and geography bees. We had the highest test scores. We genuinely liked and got along with our teachers.

The other group was comprised of the girls who were wearing full makeup in sixth grade. By eighth grade, they either were or knew people who were partying with their older siblings who went to the Catholic high school. The situation was a Taylor Swift song personified.

The other group’s queen bee and I would get into emailing wars. We accused each other of talking shit. Finally, our homeroom teachers staged an intervention, Mean Girls style. We gathered in a circle and each girl aired her grievances. Tears were shed. Everyone got along (for the moment).

Still, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself because the queen bee claimed that our group was put on a podium, not a pedestal.

Platform 9 3/4

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Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station. London, United Kingdom. 01.25.09.

After enduring the disappointment of never
receiving a Hogwarts acceptance letter at age eleven,
a decade later, I traveled across the pond
to find that magic existed in
the King’s Cross tube station.