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The Slytherin Dungeons

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My persistent cough has finally dwindled down to an extremely intermittent cough, but it has done its damage this past week. I feel like I'm behind on everything, so naturally it's time to procrastinate a little more and write in here!
It was exciting to watch SQT back in action and see Amy make her SQT debut! The idea of Seeking just makes me happy. Hopefully the schedule works out better for the rest of the team as the season goes on.
We're now halfway through the 12 Days of Slythmas! I'd like to get a few more scavenger hunt pictures in before the next one begins now that I am feeling better and can go exploring. I also need to work on creating my tasks as Cody politely pointed out that he already finished making all of his. Good thing he took one of my tasks from me.
There's still plenty of time left in December and so much to do!

Scales awarded
~Max

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I'm off to a bit of a slower start this year, though I think I can partly blame the fun Off to School and HOLLERS's First o' September activities for distracting me. Luckily, it turns out that most of the classes I have decided to take this term have an end of term deadline. I did receive my first points of the term for completing the homework and extra credit assignments for Magic on Ice: Figure Skating. I'm hoping to learn more about figure skating before the Winter Olympics in February. I also submitted points for the students who sent in the introductory assignment for Journey of the Hero. No one completed the class last year, so I'm hoping one of them will this year *crosses fingers*

Goblet of Fire Read-Along has begun! I'm glad that Arianna has volunteered to run the trivia. We've also received some gorgeous graphics and Moments for SerpenTimes. They inspired me to make a few ads and send in my Moments as well. Now I just have to get myself into writing mode!

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Once again, there has been so much going on in October. The Deathday Party has a wide variety of tasks. I've also attempted a few of the puzzle tasks for Gryfftoberfest, including getting Cody to unscramble trees. SerpenTimes does take up a lot of my time, but it's always worth it. There were so many great articles, stories, and Moments. I'm very happy with how Slyth-o-ween has unfolded, even though it was faster than I expected. Homework-wise, the discussion for the Unicorn lesson for Magical Creatures Lore was enlightening. It's nice that there's always more to learn about things you've heard about for many years. I had a lot of fun with my Typography assignment too! I'm still working on Places and Magic, but hopefully I'll be able to send it out before the month ends. I've yet to make it to a Saturday Quidditch practice, but I've been to a few botting sessions and pickups.

November looks quite busy as well. I'm really looking forward to the Hogsmeade Literary Festival. I did participate in Mr./Miss HOL last time, so I think I'll only be observing this time. It was a good experience, but being in the spotlight doesn't quite fit my personality. In a few weeks, I'll finally get to fly with Cody rather than to/from him! 

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Whoooosh! Another month! I don't know if I've been extra busy or extra lazy (most likely a combination of the two), but I have two more essay type homework options to finish up for November. I didn't get a chance to complete every task for the Hogsmeade Literary Festival, but I'm happy with the ones I did do. 

Yesterday, I went to the library to get The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. The online catalog said it was in the New Book section, but I didn't see it. I went to check the Non-Fiction section, but it wasn't there. After glancing through the New Book shelf one more time, I decided to just check out my other books. When the librarian handed me my books, I saw that The Four Tendencies was a featured book standing at the end of the check out counter, like it was waiting for me the entire time.

Annnnnnnd.... It's beginning to look a lot like Slythmas! 

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Whaaaaat? A journal entry in the early half of the month? How can that be? I'm anticipating a really busy end of December, with a ski trip to Vermont and BOTH of the full-time pharmacists away the week of Christmas, so I wanted to get this in early.

Cody and I decided to start a tradition of giving each other ornaments every holiday season, so here are the first and only two ornaments currently on our tree:

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The Sorting Hat's criteria for Slytherin and our favorite character, Ron Weasley!

There was snow on Saturday... Cody's first snow in New Jersey! Unfortunately, I felt dizzy most of the day and attempted to sleep it off, so I didn't get that many pictures. But here's one from our balcony:

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I've tried to get a head start on my homework this month, but there's always more to do! These final weeks of term will go by so quickly. I absolutely love seeing the theme ideas for the Yule Ball and I'm very excited to see the turn out for Silver Snake! I've begun my Choose Your Own Adventure, currently running in Gryffindor, but I need my creative juices to kick in for the next segment. Maybe working on my Secret Elf gift will help spark an idea...  

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Quite an eventful weekend... My sister got engaged on Saturday! We spent the entire day in North Jersey trying to complete "The Amazing Adventure" that her now fiancée set up. She may have gotten a ring, but I got a Snitch :wub:

I heard Saturday afternoon was really hectic at work, so I lucked out with no admissions on Sunday. Coupled with Cody Seeking, it gave me the unique opportunity to "watch" both Quaffle and Snitch at the same time.

The next few days should be very fun - full of grading, submitting quills, and editing/uploading everything for SerpenTimes, which means... I should stop procrastinating and finish up my column!

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This year has flown by, hasn't it?

Slythmas is no longer one of our major events, but I still wanted to continue the Slythmas signature tradition. Joining me this winter is my friend Olaf!

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The next few months will be busy. My family is going to Vermont for our annual Christmas ski trip. Then, I'm going to Taiwan with my parents in January to attend my cousin's wedding. The last time I was there was over four years ago, so I'm really excited.

My sister is getting married in the spring. She asked me to draw something for her invitation, so I came up with this:

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Cody outlined, edited, and colored it on the computer:

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And it looks really good on the finished product! (They had a lot of fun creating their RSVP options, by the way.) 

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5 scales awarded

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*dusts off journal*

In an effort to try to journal regularly this year, I've decided to start "Friday Five." If you have any ideas for topics, please send them my way! They don't have to be related to HOL/Harry Potter.

Five HOL Classes That I Recommend

As you probably know, choosing which classes to take in a term is difficult. If you are new to HOL, introductory classes and canon classes are good choices. I have taken the full load of five classes for as long as I can remember, but I have only decided on three so far. We'll see if I add to that! Here are five classes currently on the list that I have taken before:

Astrology and Harry Potter - This class is back in the hands of its creator. The lessons are incredibly well-written and I love how it is organized by element rather than chronologically by sign. Even if you know nothing about astrology, February links everything to the Harry Potter universe so that the information is easier to understand.

Braille: The Basics - I've always liked taking language classes, even if I don't retain much of the language. It was a lot of fun to find objects to use to write Braille. There is also so much history surrounding Braille, which I thoroughly enjoyed delving into. 

Magic in Famous Mysteries - Did you know some of the greatest mysteries in the Muggle world can be explained simply with magic? This class does a great job of introducing and discussing the mysteries in Muggle terms, including mysteries that I was not familiar with, and giving plausible Wizarding explanations. 

Occlumency - Occlumency is difficult to learn and even harder to master. In today's world, though, sometimes privacy is needed. This class explores the challenges of Occlumency and the willpower needed to be successful at performing the obscure magic. 

The Unforgivable Curses - I loved learning about the origin of each of the Unforgivable Curses. Unfortunately, people tend to abuse things, even spells originally created to do good. This class provided a new perspective of the curses that we have all learned to fear.

5 scales awarded

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Five Musicals that I've Seen in the Past Five Years

There's always something magical about seeing a show live. I love seeing how the pieces of the set and lighting work together, the quick costume changes on stage, and the dance choreography. Of course, for musicals, the music is one of the highlights. 

Wicked - This happened to coincide with the first Emerald Cup, which was Oz-themed. It was part of the Dallas Summer Musicals lineup.

The Book of Mormon - I am able to get Cody to agree to one NYC trip a year for my birthday. Last year, we saw The Book of Mormon, which was really funny. 

Beauty and the Beast - When I saw that the musical version of my favorite Disney story would be performed at a local theatre, I had to get tickets! Mrs. Potts was played by the wife of my high school biology teacher, who has been the director of my high school's spring musical for as long as I can remember.

The Lion King - Occasionally, I enter the daily Broadway lotteries, but sometimes I forget which days I'm actually available and haven't ended up going to any that I won. That changed last February when I won two tickets to The Lion King and took my mom with me.

Frozen - Last night, for my annual birthday/NYC trip, Cody and I saw Frozen. We had to walk about 10 blocks in light rain, but it was a fun night and a great show.

Looking closer at this list, four of these shows were actually within the past year, but five musicals in the past five years sounds better, doesn't it? Don't forget... If you have any potential topics for a "Friday Five," send me a message!

5 scales awarded

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Five Dice Games that I Enjoy

I follow quite a few avid board gamers on Instagram. A challenge that some of them are completing at the moment is "X dice games that I love in X days." Here are five of my favorite board games that use dice.

Settlers of Catan - The resources that are available are determined by dice rolls, which obviously influence the flow of the game. "Why is no one rolling 6's?!"

Dice Forge - Maybe it's a major blessing or maybe it's a minor blessing, but the ability to upgrade dice faces in Dice Forge is a fun mechanism.

Roll Player - You want higher numbers to fulfill the attributes of your character, but the lower values tend to allow you to buy from the market first. Decisions, decisions...

The Castles of Burgundy - I really like that the actions you can complete are entirely dependent on the values that you roll. Everything from placement of tiles to selling goods must match the number on your die face.

Sagrada - As you might expect for a game about stained-glass windows, this game is gorgeous! It does hurt your head a little as you try to maximize all your points.

Honorable Mention:
Unearth - I'm not as good at taking risks as I should be for this game, but it's really cool that different types of dice (4-sided and 8-sided) are used in addition the usual 6-sided.

5 scales awarded

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Five Chapter Titles

I figured that I should do another Friday Five that is related to Harry Potter, so here are five chapter titles that I like!

The Rogue Bludger - I learned chapter titles pretty late in my Quidditch career, but this is one that I usually remember. I guess it's just hard to forget a Bludger that seems to have a mind of its own.

Priori Incantatem - I loved the imagery of the Priori Incantatem effect with the wands connecting, the phoenix song, and the formation of the web.

The Eye of the Snake - For some reason, this chapter title is easy for me to remember. Maybe because my mom is deathly afraid of snakes.

Hermione's Helping Hand - It was really fun to see a different side of Hermione in this chapter!

The Forest Again - Back in the day, Edmund Smethwyck would always respond to every chapter question with "The Forest Again."

5 scales awarded

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Five Book Series

I recently had to go through all the projects from my Journey of the Hero class and I noticed that I have recommended quite of few of the series that people had chosen for their projects. Of course, this list only includes book series, not movies or TV shows. I also haven't really recommended any of Tamora Pierce's series because, as you can see from the projects, most people have already read them!

  • The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks
  • Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

5 scales awarded

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Five LeakyCon Moments

I'm currently in Boston with Cody, attending my first LeakyCon! Here's proof that all of the following occurred on Friday:

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And here are my top five moments from today!

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Snitchwiches - I asked LeakyCon veteran Shiloh Adlar for some tips and she said I must buy a Snitchwich. I'm not sure if I'll be adding a Snitchwich to my regular diet, but going through the official Snitchwich Fly Thru was fun!

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Louis Cordice (Blaise Zabini) - Although we heard some of Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum)'s interview while walking around, we sat down for most of Louis Cordice's spotlight. He talked a lot about the Room of Requirement scene and has a strange obsession with aliens...

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Quidditch Panel - The most interesting panel was about Quidditch, of course! The presenter brought up interesting points about how Quidditch injuries paralleled other injuries in the series and discussed literary elements like ring composition.

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Wands - The Marketplace is full of amazing trinkets and merchandise, but I really wanted to make sure I left LeakyCon with a wand. We bought our wands from a Hungarian wandmaker. My wand core is a Hippogriff feather. 

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Trivia! - The best part of the day was trivia! We got there a little too close to the start and there were already 50 teams. Luckily, the Wrackspurts were looking for a few more team members. By the end, there were 70 teams! We only managed to complete five rounds due to the number of teams and some technical difficulties. The most difficult round was Death Eaters. Other themes were Quidditch, Fantastic Beasts, and Potions. We ended up 7th out of 70 teams.

5 scales awarded

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Five Beverages

Other than water and milk, here are five beverages that I enjoy drinking!

Almond Milk Tea - This technically has milk in it, but I really love the almond flavor. If it is bubble tea, the tapioca provides an interesting texture. I almost always get almond milk tea whenever I order bubble tea. If they don't have almond, honeydew milk tea is my alternate.

Coca-Cola - I'm not a big coffee or tea drinker, so most of my caffeine intake is from Coke. I've had trouble sleeping after drinking Pepsi, so, no, Pepsi is not okay.

Apple Sidra - My other carbonated drink is Apple Sidra! It's an apple soda that we'd always get when we were in Taiwan and occasionally from the Asian stores at home.

Apple Juice - It's odd that apple didn't make my fruit list, isn't it? I usually also like any juice with peach or white grape.

Hot Chocolate - Especially now that the weather is getting colder, hot chocolate is the best way to get warm! I love having mint hot chocolate readily available around the holidays.

5 scales awarded

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It's the day after Halloween, so here are:

Five Types of Candy

These will be candy commonly given out for Halloween around here, so nothing extra fancy.

Snickers - If all the candy was in a bowl and I was given a choice, I'd take a Snickers.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - You can never go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!

Peanut M&Ms - Those yellow bags are pretty easy to spot.

Milky Way Midnight - I'm a fan of dark chocolate.

Skittles - The orange and green ones are my favorites.

5 scales awarded

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It's getting darker earlier, so I can use a little brightening up!

Five Crayola Crayons

The first three were easy to come up with, but it got tricky. There are a lot of fun Crayola color names, but I decided to go with how the crayons actually look when used on paper.

Cerulean - This was definitely my go-to color when I was growing up. And, despite Cody's belief that my list would just be shades of blue, this is the only blue that made the list!

Jungle Green - I feel like this looked really similar to cerulean on paper brightness-wise, so of course I liked it.

Burnt Sienna - The earthy tone of burnt sienna was always appealing to me.

Dandelion - Yellow is my second favorite color, so I used it pretty often. Dandelion just edged out goldenrod.

Silver - The metallic crayons were so popular. As you might expect, silver was my crayon of choice there.

5 scales awarded

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Five Word Games

Yesterday, I had the chance to play Word-a-Melon with some friends before volleyball. It's from the creators of Bananagrams. On your turn, you roll the die that tells you to flip over 3-5 seeds and you try to make the longest word from those letters. Whoever has the most seeds at the end wins! I like most word games and here are five more that I'd like to try sometime.

Quiddler - This game is from the same manufacturer as the card game SET, where you have to collect sets of three cards based on their pattern, number, and shape. Many people that I've played SET with have told me that I'd like Quiddler.

Pairs in Pears - Another fruity game by the Bananagrams folks. Not sure if it is still around, but it involves making pairs of words using letter tiles with the same patterns (solid, dotted, etc.).

Paperback - It's described as "Dominion meets Scrabble." The deck-building aspect is definitely intriguing!

Word on the Street - I know an adaption of this has been played at Gathering and Games. Cody was there for one of its appearances and told me I would like it.

Upwords - Scrabble is already fun, so 3D Scrabble would be extra fun!

5 scales awarded

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Frozen II is now playing, so I switched back to my Olaf avatar/signature. And, yes, I saw the movie last night! There were some really cool new "sidekicks" introduced, but to prevent spoilers here are five existing ones that I like.

Five Disney Sidekicks

Tinker Bell - It was hard to find a female sidekick because most of the main characters are princesses. Despite her small size, Tinker Bell is feisty and resourceful. She isn't perfect as she's got a jealous side, but that makes her relatable.

Mushu - He's talkative and funny and has a lot to prove. Plus, he's a dragon!

Olaf - His innocence, sense of fun, and ability to point out the obvious simply brings out the inner kid in everyone.

Dug - He is truly everyone's best friend and extremely loyal... Though easily distracted.

Pascal - I love all of Pascal's facial expressions and how his changing colors reveal his feelings.

5 scales awarded

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I had to renew a library book online and the library website said that it is Picture Book Month.

Five Picture Books

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - It's not too hard to guess that a book that features a cookie is at the top of my list. I love how this book shows that there are consequences to every action.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - The tissue paper illustrations by Eric Carle have always fascinated me.

Harold and the Purple Crayon - I really like the concept of being able to draw your way out of anything!

The Rainbow Fish - The glittery scales were always attractive and the overall lesson of inclusion is powerful.

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig - Fairy tale retellings are a weakness of mine. It must've started at an early age ^_^

Hope all of those in the US had a lovely Thanksgiving!

5 scales awarded

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December is when you start looking back at everything you've done this past year. First up are book series that I've completed this year. Courtesy of Goodreads, these are in chronological order.

Five Book Series

Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab - The magic system in this series is amazing and the characters are even better. The first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, is being adapted as a movie.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - Although I wasn't a huge fan of all the books in the series, the seventh and final book (Kingdom of Ash) was satisfying.

Percy and Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan - I bought the boxed set on a whim because I felt I needed a faster read. It fulfilled that requirement and more! I really enjoyed the quick brush-up on Greek mythology and getting to know all the characters. And I read it just in time because The Lightning Thief musical is on Broadway for a limited run.

Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden - My Secret Elf recommended this trilogy to me last year. It is definitely heavier in both writing style and content, which is why I needed the Percy Jackson break.

Renegades trilogy by Marissa Meyer - The second book was a little disappointing, but I loved how everything was wrapped up in Supernova... with a couple loose ends.

Interestingly enough, I only have five book series completed this year on my list... so far! I did just finish reading Epic by Conor Kostick, the first book of the Avatar Chronicles trilogy. There are still a few weeks until the end of the year!

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