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1 year ago | 3 notes

MuggleCast Night Before Christmas: 2012 Year in Review

'Twas the night before Christmas and since I'm a Jew,

I sat in my bedroom without much to do.

Chinese food was ordered, movie tickets were bought

So I opened on my iTunes without another thought.


The icon was waiting as it was in years past

A new episode of MuggleCast was here at last!

And me in my pjs knew just what to do:

Pressed play and settled in for MuggleCast’s year in review.


The familiar tune started and I hummed along

As the tempo picked up in the Hedwig’s Theme song.

It finally ended and Andrew came on

To let us know this was sponsored by Audible.com.


As always, then Micah went into the news

And listed the stories the ‘Casters perused.

Pottermore chapters, Aunt Marge news revealed

And just how much income Butterbeer yields.

With a little nostalgia my mind started to drift

And seven years of shows I started to sift.


I began to think of the ghosts of hosts past

And how they began each and every podcast:

"I’m Andrew." "I’m Ben." "I’m Eric." "I’m Micah."

"I’m Jamie." "I’m Kevin." "I’m Matt." "I’m Laura."

I thought of the fanclub, of the PicklePack!

And wondered when Spy on Spartz would come back!


Make the Connection, British Jokes, Dueling Club,

And all of the MuggleCast segments I love.

Character discussions, listener rebuttals after

And seriously what happened to Chapter-by-Chapter?


Then, Eric recited his top seven list

And recapped the events we shouldn’t have missed.

In no particular order he started his spiel

And allowed other hosts to weigh in how they feel.


But where were the MuggleCasties this year?

The awards every MuggleCast fan holds most dear.

It seems such a Bobfail- now how will we know

If the JK Rowling award was still given to Jo?


After plugs for podcasts, calendars, and more

We moved on to what 2013 has in store:

Theme park expansions? A kids book from Jo?

Could MuggleCast: the Musical be given a go?


And what is the status of Jo’s pen and paper?

Since The Casual Vacancy has her writing tapered?

Or can we cross our fingers for an encyclopedia

Despite what she may have said to the media?


It’s amazing that MuggleCast has been around seven years,

For more than a forth of my life it’s been here!

I recall being nestled all snug in my bed

While voices of ‘Casters drifted through my head!


No way they knew how many they’d touch when they started,

But by simply existing their reach was uncharted.

Strangers at the time, they discussed Mr Potter

And their friendships ran through us just like running water.


Every year I thank MuggleCast just for being around

And for the joy made from a simple podcast I’ve found.

For uniting online to record near and far

And bringing friendships together through the boy with a scar.


(Yeah…I ended with scar.  Someone had to end something with the word ‘scar’, didn’t they?)


H x

1 year ago | 4 notes

New Fantasyland vs Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Does Disney have a fighting chance?

I have two costumes hanging in my closet that I am proud of due to their intricately detailed qualities. They are the costumes I alternate between most frequently and the ones I devoted the most time to completing with authenticity. They are the characters I find most closely resemble my alter egos and that I relate to best: Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Belle from Beauty and the Beast

When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened its doors back in June 2010, I wasn’t just at the grand opening, I made the three hour drive from South Florida to Orlando just to spend two hours in the park the moment I found out the park was doing a soft open.

Just over two years later, it’s Belle’s turn. In the largest expansion in Disney World history, New Fantasyland will be opening it’s doors December 6th for Orlando visitors to experience life under the sea with Ariel and Belle’s pre- and post-provincial life. Disney World Passholders anxiously battled busy Internet servers last Monday to snag a spot in the Passholder Preview Days next month, so imagine my surprise when I heard that Disney World was hosting a ‘Dress Rehearsal’. Once again, with a fervor and excitement I hadn’t felt since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, I jumped in my car and drove three hours with my fingers crossed, hoping Belle’s Village would be open and waiting for me when I arrived. Thankfully, it was!

New Fantasyland is the first Disney World expansion since Universal Orlando opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so naturally, this section will likely be highly compared to Harry’s world. The most immediate downfall I found in Disney’s New Fantasyland is the use of forced perspective. Where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has a near scale Hogwarts at its focal point, New Fantasyland has built two castles, Beast/Prince Adam’s and Prince Eric’s, but both are smaller castles meant to be viewed as though far in the distance. Prince Eric’s castle is, admittedly, larger, but Beast’s castle is so clearly a small castle meant to be viewed in forced perspective that I fear the day a bird lands on it revealing the castle’s tiny stature or appearing to be an avian monster attacking Belle’s ‘little town’.

Hogwarts 1 - New Fantasyland 0

Small castles aside, the rest of Disney World’s New Fantasyland does not disappoint. It seems the Imagineers really stepped it up after seeing the competition’s detailing in Hogwarts and Hogsmeade village. Gaston’s Tavern is covered in antlers (he really does use antlers in all of his decorating!), Belle’s cottage features tiny details of her childhood alive in every nook and cranny, and Ariel’s Under The Sea ride not only pays homage to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the now closed attraction which was sited near the current ride’s location, with a etched Nautilus submarine hidden within the rock cove, but also houses one of the most intricately detailed hidden Mickey’s I’ve ever encountered (once a year, on Mickey’s birthday, the sun will cast a shadow through the rocks to form a hidden Mickey on the floor below for one hour).  But the detail that really sets New Fantasyland apart are the expertly fantastic characters. Currently, Belle can be found in the Enchanting Tales with Belle attraction and Ariel (in her fin) meets you in her grotto.  Both are amazingly accurate and entertaining to a tee. But the most finely tuned character literally wandering around New Fantasyland is Gaston. Almost an attraction in himself, I found myself spending large portions of time simply watching Belle’s vain and egotistical would-be suitor interact with guests in an impeccable manner.  From his mannerisms to his off-the-cuff exchanges in conversation, Gaston has quickly climbed the ranks for me after having met him in the park. I was more than impressed by how well Disney conceived their characters and felt slightly deflated by the fact that the Wizarding World lacked in this section greatly.  Sure, I could meet random Hogwarts students or random Beauxbatons students or random Durmstrang students, but the randoms aren’t what draw us in.  Universal’s frog choir is entertaining, but I have walked right past it more times than I haven’t.  And honestly, don’t get me started on the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang show.  I’ve been going to the Wizarding World multiple times a month since its opening, and if pressed for information at this very moment, I couldn’t tell someone what happens at that performance aside from some minor rhythmic gymnastics with ribbons and staffs and then a photo op with obscure and unnamed students.  The most characterized person in the Wizarding World is the Conductor of the Hogwarts Express, but he is more informational rather than a big personality to draw you in.  Gaston, on the other hand, literally traipses through Belle’s village, seemingly without boundaries like normal Disney characters, approaching unsuspecting woman and thanking them for visiting him, shouting that women shouldn’t read books because it ‘gives them ideas’, and admiring himself in every reflection he finds, including your sunglasses.  For me, this type of on-point characterization sets New Fantasyland apart in a way that Disney fans can appreciate and Potter fans can only long for.

Hogwarts 1 - New Fantasyland 1

On the subject of Gaston, Gaston’s Tavern is almost certainly the Hog’s Head Pub’s newest rival.  Both feature dark, wooden decors, barrels of ‘ale’ placed decoratively at the bar, and finite details from their respective stories.  While Gaston’s Tavern does not have any actual alcohol (for the first time ever, The Magic Kingdom will be lifting it’s dry park rule ONLY for the new Be Our Guest Restaurant inside Beast’s Castle, but will only be serving wine and beer in limited beverage counts), the Tavern does have a new drink poised to rival the Wizarding World’s Butterbeer.  LeFou’s Brew, named after Gaston’s bumbling, smart-alecy sidekick, is, perhaps, a more refreshing version of Butterbeer.  Sold only in a frozen format, LeFou’s Brew is a no-sugar added frozen apple juice drink with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with an all natural mango and passion fruit foam.  Having drank Butterbeer countless times at this point, I naturally assumed this drink in Gaston’s Tavern would be sweet like the drink I was used to in Universal and so my taste buds were sent into temporary shock tasting the more tart flavours of the fruits.  Personally, I’m not a huge apple juice fan, but I did find the sweeter addition of the toasted marshmallow dressed up the drink just enough that I went back for seconds!  The passionfruit and mango foam on top of the drink was not as sweet as I expected either, and in fact, I forgot it was a frozen drink and initially tried to drink it without a straw which is a very bland task as I only managed to consume foam.  Grab a straw and allow the flavours to melt into each other though, and the flavour is delicious.  LeFou’s Brew, actually, tastes closer to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s pumpkin juice since both are heavily apple juice based, though Disney’s is not as spiced nor does it come bottled in order to bring home or mail to friends outside of Florida.  To me, Butterbeer has always tasted like cream soda meets shortbread.  The density of the drink feels heavier as I consume it and many times I feel so full that draining the cup becomes almost difficult due to the sweetness.  LeFou’s Brew, however, is a light enough drink that I had no problem slurping the last refreshing sip in the hot Florida sun.  The drink is sure to be a hit for Disney World and the fact that it can be purchased with not one, but two styles of souvenir mugs (a stein featuring Gaston on one side and Beast on the other or a goblet featuring Belle) is sure to make repeat customers a must. As for which drink is better?  I think it comes down to your preference for sweet versus fruity.  People who want a sweet candy-coated beverage will always prefer Butterbeer, but for those who want something light, refreshing, and admittedly more health conscious, LeFou’s Brew would be the clear winner.  Disney has made a definite contender against Universal’s hit wizarding beverage.

Hogwarts 2 - New Fantasyland 2

All that remains, for me, are the unknowns.  During New Fantasyland’s Dress Rehearsal, I managed to experience everything except previewing the centerpiece of the new section, Be Our Guest Restaurant.  The restaurant based on Beast’s castle, is being regarded as one of the most spectacular and anticipated portions of New Fantasyland.  During Dress Rehearsals, guests are only being allowed to preview it for about an hour a day.  I, however, missed out on the first day I was there and the gates were never opened on the second day due to a tour group with ‘high profile attendees’.  Having spoken to Disney Cast members, however, I am assured that while Hogwarts may be the grander castle on the outside, Beast’s castle wins hands-down on the inside.  The castle is split into three dining areas: the Ballroom, the Rose Gallery, and the West Wing, featuring the enchanted glass-domed rose.  Of course, it’s hard to compare a ride in Universal to a restaurant in Disney World, especially one that is still yet to be seen, but I tend to lean more towards Beast’s Castle winning out only because it allows for more freedom.  Inside Hogwarts is a ride where you are confined to a certain track.  The rest of the exploration can be done while in a queue or through the Hogwarts Tour which essentially follows the queue without the pressure of having to move as quickly.  If Be Our Guest lives up to what it is being made out to be, Beasts Castle will be a more free-roaming castle to explore.  The dining areas will not be confined and, for a guest, the experience may feel more transformative without the added element of queue barriers.  But again, this is all speculation.

The other speculation has to do with what is still under construction in both theme parks.  After much anticipation, Universal Orlando has announced a new Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion, but the details of what will actually be there are yet to be revealed.  One heavily suspected rumour is a Gringott’s Bank mine car roller coaster.  Similarly, the final phase of New Fantasyland, slated to open in 2014, is the Seven Dwarves Mine Train roller coaster.  While a Gringott’s ride is likely to be a bit scarier versus what will likely be a family friendly Disney ride, I’m under the impression that the Disney coaster will be closer to being like Thunder Mountain rather than Flight of the Hippogriff and it is being called the first roller coaster to move in a wobbling motion on the track.  So, we shall see.  Additionally, Disney is set to open a new Princess Fairytale Hall where guests can meet and greet with their favourite Princesses in 2013, which means more characters which are unlikely to appear in the Universal expansion.

For me, one of the biggest differences between New Fantasyland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are the attractions vs shopping ratio.  In it’s current Dress Rehearsal set up, New Fantasyland (and the Fantasyland Storybook Circus which quietly opened this past summer) has nine attractions including rides and character meet and greets.  We also know the expansion will have at least two more attractions, but potentially more that are yet unknown.  As for merchandise and moneymaking, New Fantasyland and the Fantasyland Storybook Circus has exactly two shops, a tavern, and a restaurant.  In contrast, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, before the unknown expansion elements, has seven attractions (this includes counting the Hogwarts Choir and Triwizard shows separately and includes the Conductor as an attraction) and five shops, a pub, and a restaurant.  If the expansion continues accordingly, it’s safe to bet that there will be more shops than attractions, a criticism that is already a disappointment to some fans who feel the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is more of a strip mall rather than a theme park. 

Despite it all, at the end of the day it really comes down to the fandoms and the draw the theme parks provide.  The Harry Potter fandom certainly has a larger fan base than the Disney Princesses appear to have, but Disney is putting up a heck of a fight and only time will tell if their hard work will provide the competition Disney hoped for.  In the end though, magic, fantasy, and story telling prevails in both parks and in a world full of such troubles and strife, what more could you ask for really?

H x

2 years ago | 4 notes

Libra Horoscope

This may be the most accurate horoscope I’ve seen in a while.  Especially, if you read it down to the detail of the dates.  April 7-July 21st?  Really?  Are you kidding me??  SPOT. ON. (and if you have any idea of what happened in my life between those dates you would know). 

In other news, I officially hate having Saturn in Libra and cannot WAIT for it to leave.  February 7th is here as of 15 minutes ago…retrograde.  Do it.  I can’t deal with you any longer….

Libra Horoscope for February 2012

By Susan Miller

In life, we often strive for a balance, with hard work sprinkled liberally with moments of pleasure. Lately, this balance has been off for you, and responsibilities and hard work have dominated your life. You may have felt that, at times, that life is a never-ending series of demands, and you may have wondered if this was to be how life would be from now on. No, dear Libra. Things will improve, and actually, parts of February will dotted with bright spots of happiness.

Your present situation is being heavily influenced by the rare, once-in-29-year visit of Saturn, the taskmaster planet whose job it is to help you find and develop your inner strength and character by presenting you with a series of challenges. Saturn periods can be difficult because of Saturn’s “tough love” methods, but thankfully, Saturn only visits us two or three times in a lifetime, each time with a two-and-a-half-year stay. Before this, the last time you coped with Saturn, it was from September 1980 to August 1983.

Saturn has been visiting Libra since October 2009, with only a brief break when Saturn retrograded out of Libra and back into Virgo from April 7 to July 21, 2011. Ever since Saturn returned to your sign in July 2011, he has not left your side. You may feel there’s been no relief. One way Saturn often works is to isolate you by removing all support around you so that you will develop your own inner resourcefulness and independence. Often when this happens we feel that others don’t understand the difficulties we face, and that lack of empathy often intensifies the feeling of isolation. (To counter this, surround yourself with only supportive people for now.) Saturn teaches the value of long-term planning and of being realistic and practical. Visits from Saturn are always sobering periods, but they also are ones that we grow in maturity and wisdom.

You would feel the most direct rays from Saturn if your birthday falls from October 15 to October 23. If your birthday falls earlier, in September or from October 1 to 14, you have already dealt with the most severe tests of this planet, and in that case, Saturn is now moving away from your Sun and you are starting to feel a bit better. If you were born in September, you are currently wrestling with Uranus, which is a whole different influence involving your partner, and I will get to that later when we talk together about romance. It’s unusual to have both of these big planets exerting a direct influence at the same time. There is a benefit to this, however, because more often the influence of these two planetary heavyweights is drawn out over the course of many years.

Although Saturn won’t leave Libra until October 4 of this year, this month all Libras, of every birthday, will get a needed break. Saturn will actually be friendly to other planets, which is welcome news. You are in the home stretch, dear Libra, about to be done, and once Saturn speeds out of Libra in October, he will not be back until 2039. In the meantime, you appear to be committing to something important - perhaps it is a long-held dream - that will require patience, study, and preparation. It may be a goal to buy a house, start your own a business, or write a book. Other Libras may be having their first child or, if in a later stage in life, waving goodbye to a child who is leaving their nest. Any new commitment or change in lifestyle that happens during a Saturn trend usually requires a major adjustment.

Saturn will now retrograde starting on February 7 and continue to slide backward until June 24. While retrograde, Saturn is a little weaker, so you may actually get a chance to catch your breath. Saturn is currently IN Libra, but RULES your fourth house of home, so if you were involved in a renovation or sale, progress will slow until the end of June. This is good to know. If you have tried to sell your house to no avail, it’s time to see your broker to decide about how to change your asking price. You may want to take the house off the market while you think about your next move. Be ready for a big push at your next most favorable time for home matters, the full moon, July 3.

This month you can make some progress, despite Saturn’s move backward. You might make a solid decision that you find agreeable for home or family matters on February 18, when the Sun and Saturn will be so beautifully oriented.

(Source: astrologyzone.com)

2 years ago | 70,487 notes





wait a minute WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But… but…. they’re all still… like… alive!!!

This could still happen!!

Except Matt Lewis doesn’t really resemble a potato these days. 

(Source: riddlemetom)

Via Sharing fannish enthusiasm!
2 years ago | 4 notes

My dad’s name is Ira.

- Sam Gershman (via i-wantyoursoul)
Via AGENT P. ✞
2 years ago | 5 notes

My cousin is awesome

  • Yeah well...that's my cousin : D
  • Steven Tyler: You'll make a great Easter Bunny.
  • Girl Auditioning: Well, I'm Jewish.
Via I Wanna Be Adored
2 years ago | 11 notes


I was cast as James Potter in “Mischief Managed!” premiering at Ascendio 2012. We are now fundraising to cover the cost of costumes and set pieces. Please consider helping us out! Now, a word from the show’s writer/director! (http://kck.st/whqL4w)

Via Spielerville
2 years ago | 4 notes

Harry, Hugo, and Cuckoo Clocks

I’ve been meaning to write something about this for some time now, but just haven’t had the time to sit down and research and write.  I apologise for whatever ignorance I may display here.  It is just something I found very interesting that I wanted to share.

Back in late-October, my mind was heavily preoccupied with other things when I glanced up and, in a bit of a daze, saw the following scenes on my TV screen: a young boy twirling around amongst a shower of pieces of paper falling on him, an old steam train pulling into a train station, a tall tower full of heavy stone staircases filmed from below, the inner workings of a large clock.  And for a moment, in my foggy mind, I thought I was watching a TV spot for Harry Potter and the Philosophers/Sorcerers Stone.  I could not figure out why this would be on TV.  At first I thought, maybe it was going to be played on ABC Family for Halloween (which was only a few days away), but then the title filled the screen and I found that it was for a new film callled Hugo which was coming to theatres soon.  That said, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this advert was geared towards the Potter fans.  It felt like some one high up was being incredibly clever and appealing to us on a subliminal level.  And let’s be honest, it worked.  After seeing that ad spot, I wanted to see Hugo.  I had no idea what it was, but the fact that it reminded me enough of the franchise which had so recently concluded, felt like a slight resurgence, a slight glimpse back to that feeling of fantasy.

I finally saw Hugo a few weeks ago and have to say, for the first few moments, I really thought I was just seeing things: Was that Mr Dursley and Madame Maxime quickly passing by in the crowd?  My brother sat beside me sure I was losing my mind.  How could I have spotted those actors in such a fleeting scene, especially when they were in a crowd of other actors?  I must be making it up simply because I had a Potter preconception.  But lo and behold, it was them.  Richard Griffiths and Francis de la Tour were both in the film.  And what I found even more interesting, was the roles they were in.  I’ve seen them act together before.  In fact, I saw the original run of History Boys at the National Theatre in London and met both actors after the show (Francis de la Tour was exceedingly lovely, I might add!)  But their parts in Hugo felt like such throwaway roles.  If they weren’t there, nothing in the plot would have changed, as far as I am concerned.  They added a comic relief, but didn’t further any plot and weren’t on screen all that often either.  The casting, to me, felt strange due to those reasons and I almost wondered if this was another subliminal Potter nod—if perhaps, these two actors were chosen, instead of others, to subtly seduce the Potter fans.

Moving forward, we are introduced to another character and in the initial introduction they are turned half away from the camera with their face blocked, but I still reacted with, ‘Is that Narcissa Malfoy?!’  Again, I was correct.  Helen McCrory played a much larger role then the others (playing the wife of Georges Méliès), but I still found the casting strange, especially because afterwards, I spoke to people fairly deep within Harry Potter fandom and they were equally unaware that these cast members were in the film.

I did greatly enjoy the film and plan to look into the book (though it seems that it is highly illustrated so it will have to be something I read and not audiobook), but I can’t help but wonder why I feel so drawn to this movie/book in a Harry Potter way.  I’ve done some minor research on it and it appears the book came out in early 2007, the same year that Potter ended.  I wonder if the author was consciously aware of that while writing.  Afterall, while Harry Potter is set in a fairly current time period, a lot of the castle and setting does appear to be derived from a similarly fantastical time period.  The thing that I was left with largely from the film though, was the idea of Georges Méliès, a filmmaker and magician whose story becomes very central to the Hugo Cabret tale.  This idea of magic, even though it is more ‘magician’ rather than ‘wizard’, appealed to me and drew me in further.  Also, having left the theatre, I found out that Méliès was actually a real person and not just a figment of imagination.  The thought of learning more about this ‘real’ wizard had a high appeal to me as a Potter fan, but also on a personal level.

Maybe I’m stretching (in fact, I probably am), but I found all these aspects combined, whether arbitrary or planned, definitely added to the appeal of Hugo for me.  And now, to take it one step further, I was sent a book as a holiday gift which immedietly appealed to me simply by the title, The Boy With The Cuckoo Clock Heart. But when I started reading it, I was led into a fantastical world that started in Edinburgh and made it’s way to Paris where a new character was finally introduced—Méliès.  The very same Méliès.  In the past month, I have suddenly come across this real life ‘wizard’ twice and whether or not it is coincidence or some sort of sign that I should learn more about him, I quite like the idea of a new magician featuring in my life at the moment.  This man, this film-maker, will never take the place of Harry (of this I am sure), but the fact that I’m still finding new and interesting magic in my everyday life is something I can appreciate, whether strategically planned or not.

H x

2 years ago | 4 notes

Skins Playlist

Does anyone know where I can get a song tracklisting for the Netflix/Home Video version of Skins Season 5 episode 3 (‘Mini’)?  I liked basically every song in that episode and Shazam has no results, Google lyrics is failing, Youtube has nothing, Wikipedia has nothing, and Skins Wiki only lists the original song listings which apparently are different from the Netflix release.  There isn’t even info on the credits for the episode.  Any help would be much appreciated.  I’m beginning to think these songs don’t really exist! LOL

2 years ago | 88,188 notes


The actors reading their character’s first appearance in the books

(Source: imsirius)

Via Sharing fannish enthusiasm!