Saturday, July 30, 2011

Post Script

Location: Bedroom floor
Listening to: Nothing

YOU GUYS. I ALMOST FORGOT. (Well, I did forget, which is why I'm posting this part now instead of with my last post which you should definitely read, don't ignore it because this one is here.)

Death By Roller Coasters? Yeah, that was my 200th post. No big deal. :)

Also, Allyson, I was too afraid to try Superman because I didn't want to be facing the ground the whole time, but Brad really, really wanted to go on it, so I promised I'd try it next time.

HMWeasley, I am soooo pumped that I like roller coasters now, because I hopefully will be visiting Harry Potter World in the spring!

JW - Of course you are wonderful. You read my blog. :p

Death By Roller Coaster

Location: Bedroom floor
Listening to: Nothing. How boring.
Followers: 43!!!!!!!

Wow, you guys! I'm gone for a few days and suddenly I have several new followers. Welcome to Kali, Jay, and Jordan! I bet you're all wonderful. :)

Recently, I have had some pretty big adventures. Mostly involving roller coasters.

Until last Tuesday, I had never ever been on a roller coaster before in my entire life. I'd been to a few amusement parks where they had them, but I was always a huge chicken and refused to go on anything more adventurous than the carousel or the ride where you sit in a swing that gently lifts you off the ground while flying in a circle.

But, because of a deal made with Bradly, I had to go on roller coasters. And I could only veto two of his choices.

The first one I went on was a pretty basic kids roller coaster. It went fast and tipped you sideways and had some sharp corners, but nothing too dramatic. The second one had a few loops, but I survived.

But the third one. The third one terrified me, but Brad said it was the one that I absolutely could not veto. I don't know if you've heard of it. It's called "Raging Bull". It brings you up 208 feet, lets you hover for a second, then drops you almost straight down, then resumes to be like most non-loop roller coasters with lots of twists and sideways-tipping at ridiculous fast speeds.

Now, my least favorite part of coasters (except for loops, but I'll get to that later) is the ride to the top of the first drop. It's slow. They let the anticipation build. My heart feels like it's going to explode out of my chest. I hate the feeling of laying nearly straight back facing up at the sky, getting higher and higher, knowing that when the climbing stops, I'm going to be plummeted. It doesn't help that I'm also terrified of heights.

We stood in line for about 45 minutes, then got seated in a car pretty close to the front. We start our ascent, and Brad is next to me trying to distract me from what is happening and what is coming, but I'm having none of that. I'm clutching his hand hard enough to break it, muttering over and over about how terrified I am and how I'm going to die and how did I let him take me on this? Soon, we're at the top. They give a short drop, then plunge you down further than you climbed (the platform where you start is a few stories up, plus the track goes through a tunnel in the ground). It feels like you're dropping straight down, like you're going to fall out of your seat.

It was terrifying.

It was awesome.

The rest of the ride was just really fast and lots of quick turns, and I came off of it smiling, not being able to believe how much fun I'd just had. We ended up going on it twice.

My least favorite ride of the day: Batman. It's a coaster where you're sitting with your legs dangling, the harness attached to the track above your head. It has lots of loops, but instead of going along the inside of the loop like a normal roller coaster, you are on the outside, getting flipped upside-down with you're legs just flailing wildly above you. I didn't hate it, but it made me really dizzy and I was terrified the whole time. I didn't like my legs dangling freely. It freaked me out.

Have you ever been on any crazy roller coasters? Or do you hate them? What is your favorite ride and what is your least favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How To Get People To Read Your Blog

Location: Bedroom floor
Listening to: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Not to sound conceited, but after over a year maintaining this lovely little explosion of my mind we call a "blog", I feel like I'm kind of a pro at blogging and the internet in general. And I know I tend to find myself shamelessly trying to find ways to tempt/lure/trick people into reading/following my page. After very little research and lots of dumb luck and avid following of other people's blogs, I believe I hold the secrets of How To Get People To Read Your Blog. And, because I love you all so much, Internet, I am going to share them with you.

How To Get People To Read Your Blog

1.) Mention Harry Potter.  Two of the most-read posts I have posted were about Harry Potter. Go figure. It's not like everyone doesn't love HP. If you would like to shamelessly trick people into reading your blog, talk about Harry Potter. Make a list of what you hate/love about the books or movies or characters or just ramble about your thoughts on such subjects. I bet you that just mentioning those two words will get people to take a peek at your post.

2.) Have a successful YouTube channel. The first few people who's blogs I started to read were members of Five Awesome Girls (5AG), a ridiculously popular YouTube channel featuring five equally popular YouTubers (that makes them sound kind of like potatoes...) who had been posting videos practically since the website came into existence. If I hadn't seen their videos, I would not have known to look for/at their blogs. Thus comes Tip #2: Get popular on YouTube, and your blog popularity will follow.

3.) Get spots guest-blogging on other, more popular blogs. My most-read post is one that I linked to from a post I got to write for Keltie Colleen, a dancer with a pretty popular blog. So, if anyone you follow who has lots of readers ever mentions looking for guest bloggers, jump on that. Write a post for them, mention one of your other posts and link to it, and readers will follow.

4.) Casually mention to your friends that you have a secret blog you don't want any of them to read. This should be kind of self-explanatory. If you tell people that you have a secret and that you don't want them to do something, they will want to do it. Reverse psychology. Try it. I haven't, but it sounds logical.

5.) Have no shame. If you are always serious and have no sense of humor and don't share any stories that make you seem human, people aren't going to be able to relate. So embarrass yourself every once in a while. Tell people about the time your pants ripped all the way down the back in the middle of a crowded party or when you accidentally threw up all over your date. People are kind of creepy and like to reassure themselves that they are not the only ones who do stupid things, so if you offer them stories that will make them feel better about themselves, they'll be hooked.

6.) Comment endlessly on other people's blogs.  Being friendly helps you get friends. When you comment on other people's blogs, often times they feel obliged to comment on yours as well. Maybe they'll read and actually enjoy your posts. Maybe their readers will see your comment, think you sound witty, and wander on over to your page. Maybe the blogger will like you so much, they will mention you in their blog or let you guest blog (and give you a chance to try #3).

7.) Offer advice that appeals to your target audience. Reviews. Relationship tips. Lists of things to do. Things people should try. Things you would warn against trying. Whatever. If you offer advice that might help someone figure something out somewhere, someone is going to look at it.

8.) Post pictures of and stories about your baby. The world loves babies. If you have a baby (or are going to have a baby), take pictures and tell people about your experiences. How, when you were pregnant, you always craved pickles and ice cream. How you accidentally went to the ER once because you thought you were going into labor when you were really just constipated. How your baby smiled/laughed/blinked at you the other day. Babies = gold.

9.) Link to other people's websites. If you link to someone else's website, you will be doing them a favor as well as yourself. Your blog could bring them more traffic, just as their page could bring your blog more traffic. If people search for their website, your link will make you show up in the list of pages.

10.) Tag posts with words you KNOW people will search for. Obama. Amy Winehouse. Harry Potter (Tip #1). Whatever is popular at the moment. If you mention it in your blog, tag it. If you don't mention it, maybe don't tag it. I mean, I'm sure you can, but you might just upset people. No one likes a liar.

So, that, my friends, is how you get people to read your blog. How do you get people to read your blog? Do you do anything special that seems to draw in readers? Leave your tips in the comments!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Things I Hated About Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2

Location: Home
Listening to: Parks & Rec

Oh my God, you guys. Words can not describe how incredibly, terribly, horribly disappointed I was in HP&TDH2. If you haven't seen it and do not wish to have your view tainted by my negativity or would care not to see any SPOILERS, I suggest skipping this post.

I have been a fan of Harry Potter practically since I could read. I remember my mom ordering the books off of Amazon after Chamber of Secrets came out because she had heard good things about them. I was in first grade or so. By the end of Sorcerer's Stone, my entire family was hooked and we pre-ordered every book in the series since. When the new books would come, I would snatch them and scurry off to my room to read them in an all-night marathon. I had to read them in one sitting. I refused to talk to anyone or do anything until I had finished.

Harry Potter makes me geek out like no other (as you could probably tell by my excitement when I got my Hogwarts letter). Which is exactly why I hated the last movie.

I was one of many who went to see it at midnight last night. I was super pumped and danced around Brad's apartment like an idiot while I was waiting to leave. I was looking forward to the brilliant movie that I was sure would follow the incredibly accurate HP & The Deathy Hallow pt. 1. (I was also really looking forward to the commemorative 3D glasses).


The first 20 or so minutes followed the last movie's trend of nearly spot-on accuracy, forgiving the minor changes that understandably had to take place due to discrepancies in previous movies and the unforgiving time limit.

After Harry, Ron, and Hermione got to Bellatrix LeStrange's Gringots vault, though, it was like a completely different story. The only way I can think of describing it is like playing a game of telephone and being the person who starts the message. You know what the last person is supposed to say, but somehow things got jumbled up in the process and the final result only vaguely resembles what you know to be right. It was like the people who made the movie hadn't read the books, looked up a paragraph summary of the main events, and fudged the rest to get from point A to B. I started compiling the following list in my head. And continued to compile for the next two hours.

Things I Hated About Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2

-Minor things that didn't need to be changed were changed for no reason at all. Hermione comes up with the idea to use the dragon to escape Gringots in the movie, whereas it was Harry's idea in the book. Also, the treasure in the vault was supposed to cause painful burns to anyone who touched it. There was no sign (except for a brief moment after their escape where they all rub some stuff on their hands) that any of them suffered any injury in the attempt. This trend continued throughout the entire movie.

-Major plot points were eliminated or altered nearly to the point of being unrecognizable, apparently to leave enough room for the final, overly CG battle scene where Harry and Voldemort chase each other around Hogwarts. Suddenly it doesn't matter how Dumbledore got the Elder Wand, or what happened to his sister. Harry's search for Ravenclaw's diadem is completely botched. The house elves never come save the day (although, the importance of the house elves was eliminated from the movie series entirely). Grawp just disappeared. The centaurs don't help. You only know that Lupin and Tonks have a child from one passing comment. Voldemort's spells don't seem unaffective on the crowd of Hogwarts fighters, so you never see the proof that he is not the master of the Elder Wand, Harry just randomly comes up with the theory that he is it's true master. Harry snaps the Elder Wand in half at the end and throws it away, not even bothering to repair his broken wand that we know Hermione saved because it was a big deal in the previous movie. 

-Nitpicky things that bothered me: Hermione is suddenly an expert broomstick flyer, despite it supposedly being the one thing she can't do. Hermione and Ron chase Nagini, the snake, around with basilisk fangs for about 15 minutes before Neville just randomly appears to chop it's head off. The underage kids are never sent home. Helena Ravenclaw's back story about the diadem is totally left out and replaced by confusing dialogue. There isn't a big fight scene in the Great Hall, and the statues don't actively fight with the humans (they are sent out to the front lines initially, but you don't see them fighting ever). For some reason Snape's memories he gives to Harry about his mom come out in the form of tears. I could go on....

The movie wasn't completely awful. I mean, I didn't like it, but it had some funny lines and was a well made movie. I love Neville, so seeing him be a badass was fun, and Snape's flashback/penseive made me cry. But that was about the only part I approved of.

I can practically hear you all rolling your eyes and muttering, "Gee, Abbie, tell me how you really feel." As far as I know, I am one of the few people who didn't completely love the movies.

Did any of you see HP7.2 at midnight? Did you dress up or do anything fun to celebrate? What did you think of the movie? Leave your thoughts in the comments! I'm dying to know!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kindred Spirits

Location: Bedroom floor
Listening to: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Followers: 40!!!

Welcome Hazel and S. Gregory! You guys helped me clear the 30's. Thanks so much. :)

There is one thing that I really love about blogging, and I'm pretty sure you can guess it from the title of this post. I love...getting popular and narcissistically posting details of my daily life and knowing that people are interested in it.

Just kidding. I love how writing a blog has enabled me to find so many people who are so much like me. I have not had one negative encounter in the nearly year and a half I've been writing this. Everyone is so encouraging and happy and cute. You all offer wonderful advice and hilarious anecdotes. Getting comments makes me almost as excited as finding out I have new followers. More so, maybe.

I'm not gonna lie to you guys. This summer has kind of proved to me that I really don't have many friends at home anymore. The group that I considered my best friends has consistently not invited me to anything all summer, though they still continue to hang out with each other and invite new people. I don't know if it's college that has changed them, or changed me, or changed us, but all I know is they don't care about me anymore and, while it bothers me a little in the moments when I find out that all of my friends are at someone's bonfire or movie night, I really don't mind all that much.

The fact is, I consider you all my friends more than those kids I hung out with in high school. I'm sure you know much more about my life from college and this summer, and I'm pretty convinced you care more.

So thanks for being awesome! :)

Sorry for not posting these past few weeks. I've been pretty busy with work and visiting Brad. (We took his 2-year-old nephew to the zoo the last time I visited. It was so much fun.)* Next week I'm heading down to visit him for the entire week. I'm pretty excited.

I think that's about it for now. I'm all worded out. More later.

*That's a bad excuse. I've had a lot of free time between those things. I just haven't felt motivated.