Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Harry Potter Reread: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I'm still super behind on my reread, but I finally finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I wasn't really looking forward to reading this one because of what happens. But in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can find the post explaining the reread here. I will also let you know that there will very likely be spoilers, so if you haven't read (or even seen) Half Blood Prince and don't want things ruined, leave now. But if you don't care about spoilers, or just forget what the book's about, here's the synopsis.

It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys' house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can't quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys' of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks' time? Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine...
J.K. Rowling charts Harry Potter's latest adventures in his sixth year at Hogwarts with consummate skill and in breathtaking fashion.
 Like I said, I wasn't super excited to read this one. I just couldn't seem to look past Dumbledore's death. Rereading it though, I realized we learn a lot about Voldemort and his past and what Harry needs to do. I like that Dumbledore gives Harry permission to tell Ron and Hermione what they learn in their "lessons". It shows that he trusts them and that they really do help Harry.

It sucks when Ron and Hermione are mad at each other because of Lavender. It just makes you want to shake some sense into them and tell them to hurry up and get together. I do however love the part where Harry and Ginny finally get together. Though on a side note, it's sad because I realized Harry didn't get to play in what would be the last Quidditch game for him at Hogwarts.

When you first read this book, Snape killing Dumbledore after he says "Severus, please" is absolutely heartbreaking and you hate Snape and think how could Dumbledore have ever trusted him?, he's evil, etc. But rereading it, and thinking about it, you realize Voldemort sent Malfoy to kill him. He didn't want Malfoy to become a murderer at 16. He was dying anyways. And as a Legilimens, Dumbledore was expressing all of this to Snape while he was standing there. His "Severus, please" was "please kill me so it doesn't have to be Malfoy". Which in itself is another level of heartbreaking.

It's sad that Bill gets attacked by Fenrir, but it makes me a little happier knowing that made Lupin realize that he and Tonks should be together.

The end just makes me really sad, when Harry says goodbye and breaks up with Ginny (even though "it's for some stupid noble reason isn't it?" is kind of funny) and when Ron and Hermione decide to go with him and not go back to Hogwarts. It really show just how good friends they are and how much they want to help Harry.

Overall this is just a super depressing book, probably #2 most depressing in the series (I think Deathly Hallows wins that). But it is an interesting one. You get to learn so much and see all the little details that have been woven in coming together.

This review is very late, but better late than never. So, stay tuned for the final reread (hopefully before the end of this month...) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Met Con Blue 2014

I signed up for Met Con Blue as part of Simon & Schuster Canada's Running Like a Girl Challenge. The post explaining what the challenge is can be found here, as well as my two update posts here and here :)


Met Con Blue is not a regular race. It is a mountain adventure race or mud race if you'd rather (or, insane). I've wanted to do the race for the past 2 years and this challenge motivated me to do it. I really, really wish I had trained more.

I am writing this a month after the race (bad Megan), mostly because I wasn't sure how to approach this post, and also because I was waiting for the official results and pictures (and also, huge procrastinator). Apparently I shouldn't have tried waiting. I've heard a lot of bad things about how the timing was off, because they didn't use chip timers (not totally sure what that means but I assume they're more accurate) and the website still says they're unofficial results, I also kept checking my watch for the time and when I thought I finished and when they said I was finished were different. So I don't even know anymore. I've also been told the race was longer than 5km and was actually closer to 7 or 8. I also was very disappointed with the lack of pictures. The company was stationed at 3 different obstacles and took over 10 thousand pictures, and yet I have 3. I understand that it's hard to get a bunch of pictures of everyone at each obstacle, but when they take 8 or so on one obstacle of the girl I know is next to me, is kind of a piss off. But that's my rant, now onto how the race went.

As I already mentioned, I should have trained more. I ran a bit here and there and hiked the mountain a couple times but didn't really do any type of hill or strength training. The obstacles themselves weren't as hard as I thought they'd be. There were only really 2 out of the 13 (or 14, can't quite remember) that I didn't do very well. In a way that was kind of disappointing, because I didn't find them a challenge. I also walked most of the way. I ran down the hill and on the flat parts but when it came to uphill I said "screw that" and walked. Which seemed to be what a lot of people were doing.

Trail map

One of the obstacles I couldn't do was the monkey bars (there were like 15 feet of them over water and they were pipe so they were slightly larger than regular monkey bars) so I fell into the water. This was the second last obstacle so that pretty much washed me off and made me less muddy for the end which actually made me kind of sad. The other obstacle was the quarter pipe at the finish line, and the first time I ran up I grabbed on but there was nothing to grip and the guys at the top missed my arms so I slid back down. On my second attempt the guys managed to grab me and pretty much just pull me up. Some of the other obstacles were crawling through a mud tunnel under a mound of snow, crawling through tubes, crawling through a mud/water pit under barbed wire, 8 foot wall (I was actually most worried about this one and it was a piece of cake. I actually helped someone over :) haha), a cargo net pyramid, and a slip and slide. The slip and slide was fun, until I realized I was going to over shoot the end of the tarp and hit the muddy/rocky bit at the end.

Battle Wounds!

My battle wounds from the race! Because apparently there was a crap ton of crawling involved, my knees got pretty scraped up. My forearms were also pretty bad from the quarter pipe, the bruising got quite a bit worse over the following days. There's also another mark I got which was inappropriate to take a picture of because it was a scratch right across my butt from the slip and slide. I was not joking when I said I over shot and hit some rocks, my shorts came up and it was painful. It took over a week to heal. I also got a sun burn. Because I didn't listen to my mother and forgot sunscreen. I was just super distracted and freaking out and totally forgot.

I look so dumb, but whatever. I finished!
So according to the Met Con results, I took 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete the race. I didn't have a goal, but under an hour and a half seemed like a pretty good result. Out of all the female 5k racers, I came 322 out of 713. Top half, I'm pretty proud of that.

Since I was running at Blue Mountain and that's where I work, everyone who was working that day knew I was going to be running by. The course went right by my "office" (the ropes courses) so my co workers could watch. One of my supervisors actually called over the radio at 5 minutes to 12 and said that I was going to be starting in 5 minutes and for everyone to cheer for me. When they told me that it made me so happy. Running by them was awesome though because I could hear them all cheering for me and it gave me a little bit of a boost. So, thanks guys!

Some things I've learned from doing this race, it's smart to train haha. I failed miserably on that part. But, I knew I wasn't going to do super awesome and I was just aiming to finish, and that's what I did. Also, I already had an idea but what I was wearing (spandex-y tank top and shorts) worked pretty well. It didn't get too water logged and heavy from the obstacles. Race day started out pretty chilly, and as I was waiting I was actually pretty cold. After we started and towards the end it started warming up, and I started warming up, so I was definitely glad I had just a tank top. I would, however, have liked to have slightly longer shorts. I think they would have helped when it came to the slip and slide, they might not have ridden up as much. I was just working with what I had, and didn't want to buy new clothes just to potentially have them ruined. I just wore regular running shoes and they worked fine, if I had a pair of the wet/dry shoes or whatever they are, those probably would have been nicer but mine did the job (and are still disgusting :) lol). I also know if I do this again, bring an extra pair of everything. Not just a shirt and shorts, but bra and underwear as well. I was soaked and disgusting afterwards and had really wished I had more dry things.

My swag!
I got a free shirt for signing up, a medal for finishing, and I bought myself a tank top (I love it!) and a dog tag.

I had a lot of fun running the race. I think not having a goal and just doing it to finish helped with that. If I had stressed too much about time or how well I was doing I don't think I would have had as much fun. If I'm around in Collingwood next year I might do it again. I am however going to be doing Warrior Dash July 20 at Horseshoe Valley Resort. And, bad Megan, I haven't been training for that one even though I kept saying how much I wish I had trained for Met Con. Oh well. Warrior Dash I believe is a little bit tougher, but the obstacles look like fun and more of a challenge. Wish me luck!

Thank you to everyone who has followed my little running journey, and thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for running the challenge and sending me my running kit! I had a lot of fun over the last couple months.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Upcoming July Movie Releases

I'm very behind this month. Good thing there's not a whole lot of movies being released this month. It's a tad surprising because usually July is one of the busiest month for movies. And maybe it's just that I think 90% of the movies coming out right now look like crap.

There's one movie being released on DVD this month and that's The Other Woman being released July 29

After discovering her boyfriend is married, a woman (Cameron Diaz) tries to get her ruined life back on track. But when she accidentally meets the wife he's been cheating on (Leslie Mann), she realizes they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered (Kate Upton), all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on their cheating, lying, three-timing SOB.
I thought this movie looked kind of funny. I never went to see it in theatres, mostly because I didn't think it looked funny enough to spend that much money on. Basically, if it comes on Netflix and I come across it, I'll throw it on and watch it, I probably won't go out of my way to look for it and watch it.

There are only two movies this month coming to theatres that I want to see.

First up was Earth to Echo on July 1

Tuck, Munch and Alex are a trio of inseparable friends whose lives are about to change. Their neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that is forcing their families to move away. But just two days before they must part ways, the boys begin receiving a strange series of signals on their phones. Convinced something bigger is going on, they team up with another school friend, Emma, and set out to look for the source of their phone signals.  What they discover is something beyond their wildest imaginations: a small alien who has become stranded on Earth.  In need of their help, the four friends come together to protect the alien and help him find his way home. This journey, full of wonder and adventure, is their story, and their secret.

I didn't really know much about this movie. I think I've seen one preview so far, and that was only because I told Josh I didn't have much interest in seeing it and he showed me the trailer. He actually said "how can you tell me you don't think that thing is cute?" haha. Which is true. It is adorable. I also feel like this may be a bit like ET. And I wasn't a huge fan of ET, and I'm not sure if that was because I didn't like the movie itself or because ET freaked me out lol. So I'll probably give this one a shot, but I may not go out of my way to go to it in theatres.

Lastly, being released July 24 is Hercules (The Rock version)

Now a traveling mercenary, Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) must once again become a hero to help the benevolent king of Thrace protect his people from a savage warlord.

 I don't really know much about this movie either, but it looks interesting. I feel like The Rock will play Hercules fairly well. This is another one that I may not go out of my way to see in theatres, but wouldn't mind seeing if I did.

Overall, July's not a very exciting month for movies. Here's hoping August's a bit better.