Friday, July 22, 2011

Where I've Been

Shhh. We can talk, Blog, but we have to be quiet. It's 8am and I'm the only one awake. I sort of feel like we're at a slumber party, hanging out under a sleeping bag, passing each other stale Cheetos as silently as we can. (...Is that not what you do at slumber parties?)

I'm in a hotel room in Austin, TX, by the way. Long story made short: I hadn't planned on attending LeakyCon because I didn't think I could afford it, but my mother helped me out a bit as an advanced birthday present and I got on the damn plane. I had an amazing time (more on that later) and even made plans to travel two extra days to New Orleans with The Situation and his summer music tour, the ConTour. With my bag packed and flight information ready, it wasn't until the night before I was scheduled to fly home that the whole tour staged an intervention. "So Hayley," said Alex, as in Alex Carpenter, as in The Remus Lupins, "You're staying for the rest of the tour." Considering my bank account, the opinions of my parents, and the amount of clothing I'd packed, I prepared my counterargument. I strongly stated, "There is no way I'm doing that."

...I'm doing that. To a chorus of jeers and cheers and other debauchery, I cancelled my flight. I will now be a roadie for the next week and a half, all the way to VidCon. What is my life?! Below are the highlights from each event up until this point.

LeakyCon Day 1:
After waiting in the airport for a few hours, I met up with my friends Kristina and Eia from The Parselmouths and we got a temporary hotel room with some other Leaky-goers before heading to the conference. After meeting up with my friend Marlena, I got to attend a panel of YA authors reading selections from things they wrote as teenagers. Hilarious. David Levithan read a chapter from a novel he was working on before he came out as gay, in which the male protagonist describes his girl crush as being a skilled pianist and being able to "sing like Streisand." My cheekbones started to hurt from laughing-- I can barely type that line without cracking up, still. Anyway, the rest of Wednesday was filled with reunions and hugging and swimming and room parties until I finally passed out in the early morning. I remember thinking at one point, "If I ever need to cast a Patronus, these memories should do the trick."

LeakyCon Day 2:
We got up early enough to see the first ever screening of Finding Hogwarts, a documentary about the Harry Potter fandom. Despite technical difficulties, it was really beautiful. I don't have the faintest idea what I did for the rest of the afternoon, but that hardly matters because I GOT TO SEE THE LAST HARRY POTTER MOVIE IN AN ADVANCED SCREENING WITH MOST OF MY FRIENDS. As John Green's +1, I was lucky enough to grab a ticket to the theater designated for Leaky staff and special guests, so I watched the final movie in the same room as Team Starkid, the child actors from the Epilogue and The Prince's Tale, and I believe Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna. (I say "I believe" because I didn't actually lay eyes on her in the theater; I made a point not to stare at her, for her sake. We met later on in the week, but that story's just for me. :)) I honestly could not have asked for a more perfect final movie experience. The entire crowd screamed and clapped every time something awesome happened, and I even found myself tearing up as the credits rolled.

As impossible as it sounds, the most fun of the night came in the form of the wizard rock concert. I danced and screamed all throughout sets by my friends Justin Finch-Fletchley, Lauren Fairweather and Ministry of Magic and attempted (though failed) to contain my emotion over the last ever Remus Lupins show. The whole crowd (about 3,000 people) went ALL OUT for this one. I think "Looking for Trouble," Alex's big hit, lasted for around fifteen minutes. Amazing. Hands down, the most fun I've ever had at a concert.

LeakyCon Day 3:
After seeing my good friend Leah kill as Tonks in The Final Battle, a musical written and composed by another friend, Lena Gabrielle, Friday afternoon was spent primarily in the pool with friends, chilling out in preparation for the second huge wizard rock show. The Parselmouths, Gred and Forge, Tonks and the Aurors, Draco and the Malfoys and Harry and the Potters were all awesome, as per usual, but I had the majority of my fun during The Whomping Willows set. Matt's a good friend of mine and that man knows how to make me dance. It was really beautiful how, long after the show was over, tons of people in the crowd kept singing the chorus to a new Willows song. It was like an acapella choir of drunken nerd angels. "We're wizards. We'll party forever. This night will never end."

LeakyCon Day 4:
I went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park with The Situation and our friend/his drummer, Andy. We had lunch in the Hog's Head-- leek and potato soup! Yum!-- and I bought Ginny Weasley's wand. I happened to meet my crush, Neil Cicierega, who made the Potter Puppet Pals, as we walked in opposite directions around the park. Which was cool. The best part, though, was the incredible ride that simulated flying on a broomstick through different scenery from the Potter universe. I beamed the entire time and couldn't even find words to express how awesome I felt once it was over. I played Quidditch, guys! For real!

But of course, we got back in time for the Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball-- the sprinkles on top of the best week of my life. I wore a pretty dress and heels and I didn't stop dancing for a single second the entire night. My feet felt like HELL the next day, but I wouldn't change a thing. Well, I might change the fact that the DJs played "Total Eclipse of the Heart" three full times, but.

Disney World
I packed up my stuff and said depressing goodbyes to the whole gang before heading out with The ConTour & co. for my first ever trip to Disney World. I rode the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios with The Situation and our friend Sammy, had lunch in Epcot's Japan, got stuck on a broken-down boat ride in "Norway," almost died of excitement on Space Mountain, and had a whole slew of other adventures. The best part of it all? Someone who follows us on twitter was able to get us tickets into the parks FOR FREE. I'm not kidding! What?!

New Orleans
The next day, the tour played a show in Tampa, FL, where I danced around to my favorite Skyway Flyer songs with a lightsaber, before driving all the way to Louisiana. The show that night was teeny tiny, but it was still a good time. We got a super cheap discount on a really gorgeous hotel right in the middle of the action of New Orleans and spent the whole night pursuing the chaotic streets. We even had a balcony outside our rooms! It was awesome. I ate some delicious vegetarian red beans and rice and was sad to see NOLA go.

Austin, TX
And that brings us here. I'm currently coming to you live from Austin, home of the second-best burrito I've ever had and the number-one worst tour experience of all time. Actually, let me rephrase that: worst tour venue experience of all time. The crowd was cool enough to make up for all the crap, but BOY was there crap. First, we found out in the morning that the venue had forgotten to put our tour on their calendar, so they'd scheduled three other bands to perform in the same time slot. Next, these other bands turned out to be really crazy groups of intimidating, screaming men dressed in white jumpsuits and minotaur masks, one of whom walked right up to me and a group of girls wearing DFTBA shirts and Gryffindor ties and sing-screamed in our faces in his sweat-soaked t-shirt. Terrifying. Third, it was approximately a billion katrillion thousand degrees inside. Fourth, the guys who owned the shop were jerks who spent the entire time being completely unhelpful, rude and mocking toward us. FIFTH, and this one's the real kicker-- the power went out. Totally out. One could say that they unplugged us, shut us down, and refused to love us with their steel hearts. It would have been hell, but the ConTour guys pulled through. We finished the show with acoustic guitars in the dark parking lot because, even in the darkest of times, Voldemort can't stop the rock. Sigh.

But you know what, guys? Today is a new day. Once everyone else wakes up, we're heading out to Dallas, where we'll hopefully have a show good enough to undo all of yesterday's notsome. Until then, I'll be hanging out in a car with my fellow merch girl, Sarah Snitch, working on my godforsaken novel, and checking in whenever I get free internet. Check out the tour dates and let me know if I'll be meeting you on my trip! Until then, I hope you have a lovely day. I'll talk to you soon.

Chipotle burritos this year: 13
Subscribers: 52,669
Nail color: Gross. Pinkish. I don't know.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Two Months Later

It's been two months and I realize this. I also realize that everything I say in this paragraph will be skimmed over, your eyes mid-roll, because this is far from my first apology and will certainly not be my last. Still, I feel obligated to say IT'SNOTYOUIT'SME and to extend my arms. If you want to accept my hug, it's all yours. If you want to pelt me with small objects instead, that's cool too. I get it, I'm sorry, I love you, baby, let's never fight again.

So where did we leave off? I moved out of school in mid-June and was immediately congratulated for a term well-done... with oral surgery. No matter how much I protested, my wisdom teeth were begging to gtfo. It wasn't a horrendous experience pain-wise, but my tiny mouth decided to punish me* by swelling out like a basketball and preventing my jaw from opening fully. I spent a week and a half on an undesired juice fast, unable to part my teeth more than a centimeter. Sigh. #whitegirlproblems

But just as every gay-friendly celebrity will tell you, it gets better. My cheeks shrunk back to their normal size, my fatassery picked back up where it left off, and I've had some very fun post-recovery days. The Situation came over for the week leading up to his current tour, and we went for walks, made completely inane internet projects solely for our own amusement, and visited the Cleveland zoo. I even got to drag him to my extended family's annual Fourth of July party where the main topics of conversation ranged from how friggin' pregnant my sister and brother-in-law are getting**, to how much abuse my brother takes from the little cousins, to cupcakes. Party in the USA.

I also spent the 4th and its surrounding weekend with The Situation's tourmates (friends of mine, as well), Alex Carpenter, Jason Munday, Christian Caldeira and his girlfriend, Kelly. I put aside my strong aversion to pokey objects in the vicinity of my eyes just long enough to play with sparklers, and to the great amusement of my boyfriend, managed to paint the fingernails of a sleeping Jason. Oh, youth.

I'd like to lie and tell you that more has happened since we last spoke, but unless you want to hear long, detailed descriptions of... watching Nancy Grace cover the Casey Anthony trial... with my mother... every single night... I've got nothing. So far, the summer has been devoted entirely to nursing my sore mouth, screaming things like "HOW CAN THEY IGNORE THE TRACES OF CHLOROFORM?!" at Anderson Cooper's dreamy eyes, and working on this godforsaken novel of mine. The current goal is to have a solid, decent draft by the time my sister passes a human child through her legs. I'm racing a baby. A Book Before the Birth. I was going to come up with another quirky way of phrasing that, but besides realizing that "librarian" rhymes with "cesarean," I'm fresh out of ideas. Shut up. It's late.

Anyway, I leave tomorrow evening for LeakyCon, where I'll hopefully meet a whole slew of you. If we do cross paths, be prepared to high-five a stranger, because you really don't have a choice in the matter. If we don't get to chill in person this week, however, try not to be too bummed-- I've had to stay home while all my friends attended Potter conferences in the past, and it majorly sucks, but you're still freaking top-notch in my book. Here, have a high-five in typographic form: ^5.*** You guys all kick ass. And now I sleep. Goodnight!

Chipotle burritos this year: um... 13?
Subscribers: 52,245
Nail color: a pale pink OPI
Miles run today: 1

*As if I'm not already punished enough as it is-- damn you, Angelina Jolie, for making full lips a beauty requirement.
**He's showing less than she is, though.
***Sorry, Karen Kavett-- I can't say I'm positive what the word "typographic" actually means.