Hufflepuff Problems

If you type “Hufflepuff” into Google, the second suggested search is “Hufflepuff jokes.”

WHY?!

I am a proud Hufflepuff, but in a fandom that’s known for its understanding and acceptance, I get a buttload of hate for it. The thing is, I’m pretty sure we haven’t done anything to deserve this…

  • According to the Sorting Hat song, we are just, loyal, true, and unafraid of toil. (None of these are bad qualities.)
  • Also according to the Sorting Hat song, Helga Hufflepuff didn’t have some sort of bravery or intelligence requirement for accepting students into her house; she just welcomed everyone who displayed even a hint of magical ability. How much more awesome can you get?
  • In the Battle of Hogwarts, students who were old enough were given the opportunity to stay behind and fight instead of escaping to Hogsmeade. Hufflepuff had the second highest number of students staying behind (after Gryffindor). Also, Hufflepuff had the second highest membership in Dumbledore’s Army in Harry’s fifth year (after Gryffindor).
  • The Hufflepuff common room is right next to the kitchens. Midnight snacks without having to walk through a creepy castle at night? I vote yes.
  • Nymphadora Tonks was a Hufflepuff. If you don’t want to be at least a little bit like Tonks, are you really a fan of Harry Potter? Cedric Diggory was also Hufflepuff, and he was chosen as the most worthy out of all the eligible Hogwarts students for the Triwizard Tournament. Newt Scamander, “author” of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and main character in the upcoming films, was also a Hufflepuff. (John Green, celebrated author/Youtuber/generally awesome human being, is a Hufflepuff as well.)
  • J.K. Rowling tweeted that there are diamonds in our hourglass used for keeping track of points, so there’s that.
  • Queen Rowling legitimately said that in many ways, Hufflepuff is her favorite house. Do you want to disagree with the queen? Do you?

Hufflepuffs deserve more acceptance and appreciation from the Harry Potter fandom. Because if you don’t start giving us what we deserve, we’ll… we’ll… er… probably bake you cookies or something. But we might burn them in vengeance. Just slightly. Or maybe put in too many chocolate chips.

So there. Respect us. (Please.)

The Catastrophic Costco Calamity

On Monday night, I spent almost three hours in Costco. Here’s the story. (All times are approximate.)

7:55 – My father and I enter Costco, with the aim of obtaining his and my mother’s new iPhones. We have taken the same car from a college panel night at my school.

7:57 – I am dismissed to the food court, where I order a chicken bake and a churro. One of my classmates walks past, saying hi and making it very obvious that he notices how alone I am. I tweet humorously about how my Harry Potter jacket (which I am wearing) has negatively impacted my social life.

8:34 – I get tired of waiting for my dad in the food court like a loser, checking twitter and Instagram at five minute intervals, and venture to the cell phone kiosk. When I see that the phones are still being set up, I venture to the book section (where I use a random backpack that is lying around to cover up the many stacks of Blood of Olympus.)

8:41 – I am kicked out of the book section. Costco is closing, and I rejoin my father at the phone kiosk.

8:55 – Legitimately, every customer has left the Costco but us. The employee helping us explains that the system to set up the phones keeps crashing/not working/functioning improperly.

9:08 – “Can we just leave and come back tomorrow?” “You could, but you would have to undo a bunch of stuff and it doesn’t make sense because it’ll probably be done soon.”

9:39- My father’s phone is alive! Now onto setting up my mother’s new one!

9:50 – My mother texts me to ask if we are still at Costco. I respond that we’re about to leave. Ha.

9:59 – Surprise, surprise, the mother’s phone is having issues, too!

10:01 – I begin exploring the music options on the Costco iPads. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals! Dave Barnes! Unfortunately, the one Florence and the Machine song available is on the iPods, which cannot be listened to without headphones. Which I do not have.

10:06 – @HALEingoutside: “Update: still at Costco”

10:09 – @HALEingoutside: “Updated update: just jammed out to Kidz Bop Party in the USA off one of the Costco iPads

10:10 – I pat myself on the back about my hilarious twitter skills.

10:14 – I begin to take selfies on the Costco iPads’ photo booth. (The last selfies on one of the iPads are also from me a couple days before.) The “stretch” effect is my favorite, because it stretches your face into a square and can make you look like a square-headed alien.

10:22 – I look up music to play for my dad on the iTunes store on one of the Costco iPhones. Why I didn’t just play music off my Spotify app on my phone, I have no idea. Two hours in Costco muddles your brain a little (a lot). We hear Florence and the Machine, Birdy, the new Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors song, and many more.

10:34 – I watch YouTube videos on the Costco iPhones. Nothing Much to Do! Ursula’s Picnic! Cattack! (My dad does not understand any of my NMTD fangirling, but that’s okay. At this point, I’ve been inside Costco for two and a half hours, and I really don’t care about fangirling in front of my father and the Costco employee.)

10:49 – (a.k.a. The Great Escape) @HALEingoutside: “I HAVE BEEN TRAPPED IN COSTCO FOR 2 HOURS AND 49 MINUTES

And so, I finally traveled home, where I proceeded to ignore my homework and collapse into bed, completely forgetting an order form that was due the next day. I love Costco, you guys.

Awkward

Ron waveHarry spill Harry train tea drinking

The fact that I only used Harry Potter gifs above illustrates my point perfectly: Awkward was my middle name for a really long time. I have nothing against the word itself; those seven little letters that once won my grandmother a spelling bee, arguably one of the most common uses of the frequently ignored letter “k,” title of a popular MTV show. I don’t think most of us realize how often this seemingly harmless word appears in our daily lives.

That is, until we try to give it up, which I decided to do back in August.

As I looked ahead to junior year, I was recovering from a stinging blow to my self-worth that had taken up much of my sophomore year. Though I had finally begun to love myself, crowds and any type of social interaction still made me nervous. I replayed conversations constantly in my head, wishing I could have done a million things differently. There would be brief moments where I stopped and considered how small of a deal it was that I tripped in front of a cute boy, but most of the time, I lived in terror of being awkward.

This word was my incredibly overused response to just about everything. Waving to someone who doesn’t see me and wave back? Awkward. Tripping up the stairs? Awkward. Stuttering because I don’t know what to say? Awkward. Over the summer, I gradually realized that I used the word “awkward” so much that it had become part of my identity. It shaped the way I viewed myself, which in turn shaped my relationships with friends and family. In general, this word just brought me down.

So, I decided to give it up.

Spending the past two months without the word “awkward” has been nothing short of phenomenal. Losing this word is definitely an ongoing process: I still grimace when I don’t know how to end a conversation, or when someone goes for the high-five when I go for the hug. But I no longer think of myself as perpetually, unchangeably awkward, and I no longer live in fear of being so. It’s made all the difference in the way I carry myself in public, the way I interact with my friends, the way I introduce myself to new acquaintances. As I’ve abandoned awkward in exchange for better descriptors, I’ve learned that viewing yourself positively can transform everything. So ditch the negativity, and maybe even a few vocabulary words. Building yourself up is infinitely better than tearing yourself down.

Review: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

(Yes, I’m reviewing this bad boy three days after it came out. Binge-reading for the win.) It took me a while to stop crying at the end of Blood of Olympus, Rick Riordan’s conclusion to the Heroes of Olympus series, which is the sequel series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Percy was a big part of my childhood, and quite honestly, I just wasn’t ready to let him go. I had prepared myself for an epic conclusion to end all conclusions, with just enough victory to be deemed a happy ending but a solid amount of death, too. But as I got over the “holy crap it’s finished” and began to think about the book itself, I realized that it was a bit of a letdown. I rate Blood of Olympus a 4/10.

Things I Liked:

  • Minor character development! Nico and Reyna each get POVs and back stories. I went into this book with Reyna as my second least favorite character, but I just couldn’t keep hating her. She’s so strong. The way Nico develops is also absolutely flawless. He finds community and that community makes him more of himself… It was beautiful.
  • Riordan’s pacing, as always, is brilliant. The action never stops coming but never feels rushed either, even if you read the entire book in two days.

Things I Didn’t Like (a.k.a. rants):

  • By far my biggest grievance in the book, and excuse me if I’m being a brat for saying this, but where are my Percy and Annabeth? Riordan has tweeted very sarcastically on this issue, arguing that the series had nine POVs and a large percent of the first four books were Percy. But this last book wasn’t just a letdown because it doesn’t have narration from their points of view; it’s a complete injustice to their characters. Percy and Annabeth are both natural leaders, and we didn’t see them step up at all during this book. I understand that this series is about seven heroes, but Percy and Annabeth deserve to be a part of those seven, and BoO felt like they weren’t even there. It especially bothered me when Jason is all, “I’ll finish the work you started, Percy,” and PERCY IS OKAY WITH IT?! You know what Percy Jackson would really do? He would finish the crap he started, that’s what. It also bugged me when he and Annabeth are just totally nonchalant at the end and planning for their future together. They’re adventurous, and even though I want them to go to college and be happy together I can’t see them living a normal life. One possible argument for the lack of Percy/Annabeth awesomeness is that they just came back from Tartarus, but in my opinion, this should make them even more willing to fight and fight hard. Their blood is literally the blood of Olympus! That’s the title! The lack of Percy and Annabeth was honestly unacceptable. They deserved so much more.
  • No Frank and Hazel either! What even?!
  • I’ve never been Jason’s biggest fan, and he was one of the POVs of the final book, the epic conclusion to end all conclusions? Why? Why????????
  • The battle with the giants was almost too epic. One of the best parts of The Last Olympian is that back-ups come in at several points during the Battle of Manhattan, so it’s like a roller coaster ride of hopelessness and rejoicing. The battle with the giants in BoO is literally just the skies opening, the gods coming down for like two chapters, and everything’s done.
  • No Sally? No Paul? No Chiron? Minimal Grover and Tyson? WHERE WERE THE FAMILY MOMENTS? WHERE?
  • It. Ends. On. A. Cliffhanger.
    Why.
    Why.
    (A minor cliffhanger, but still. Why.)

Maybe I’m just wanting it to be PJO and it’s not. Maybe I’m being a stupid, nostalgic teenager who should stop reading books for middle schoolers. But honestly, I’m disappointed. (And unfortunately, writing this review didn’t really help me get over it.)

If you’ve read Blood of Olympus, what were your thoughts? Do you feel the need to reread PJO just for old times’ sake? Let me know! Thanks!

Music Coming Soon?

Hello! I haven’t posted too often as of late, and part of the reason for this is that I’ve been working on a couple of new things, including: a) getting schoolwork done before midnight and b) new music stuff. I won’t give anything away because even I don’t know many of the details yet, but be assured that some fun things consisting of my voice and my ukulele/guitar are coming soon. I’ll hopefully give y’all updates periodically on how music is going, so be on the lookout for those as well! I appreciate so much anyone who’s ever supported my musical endeavors, and I’m very excited that I’m becoming brave enough to make those dreams into reality. Much love and I’ll have an actual post up within a week!