Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I went to Hogwarts!

So I'm a little late in writing about my Hogwarts adventure, but better late than never I say. The roommates and I woke up at around 4:30 a.m. to make it to Islands of Adventure by 5:30 a.m for the opening day of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This was definitely the right call on our part. We were let into the park at around 6:30 and then made a dash toward the line that began in Jurassic Park (Land? World?) There we waited for a couple of hours as everyone kept checking Twitter for a play-by-play of what was happening for the opening ceremonies. Once the Wizarding World was opened, we got uber-excited and everyone stood to their feet in anticipation.

Around 9:30 a.m., they started letting us in. As we crossed the bridge from Jurassic Park to the Lost Continent we realized that this was it. We were getting in! It's difficult to explain that first moment of seeing Hogsmeade. All you could do was stop and take it all in. I stood there taking picture after picture as I had the biggest smile on my face. After that initial reaction, we made a beeline straight to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The wait time was 90 minutes, but we got through the line in about an hour. It felt fast thanks to all the cool stuff inside the castle. We saw mandrakes and the house points! When we got to the room with the moving portraits I wanted to stay in there and look at each one. Plus the conversations going on between the portraits were rather interesting.

Dumbledore's office held many fun items including the pensieve. I wanted to take more of it in, but the line was flying fast and the people behind us were a bit impatient and kept trying to pass us. Rude. By the time we got to the sorting hat I felt like I had been running through the line, and next thing we knew were being harnessed into the ride. I didn't know what to expect with the ride. I had heard it was part Spiderman part Haunted Mansion which sounded cool since those are two of my favorite rides. But the Forbidden Journey was much more frightening than either of those rides could pretend to be. I spent the entire ride screaming!

At times we were upside down, and there were spiders squirting at you, and by the time the dementors came out I was yelling, "What is this!?" Poor Tasha was still shaking two hours after we had dismounted. It was that intense. Now if you're a roller coaster enthusiast and love thrill rides, then it probably won't do much for you, but for those of us who don't get on rides much, it was intense. But I loved it and can't wait to go on it again.

After surviving the Forbidden Journey, we made the line for The Three Broomsticks. This was our chance to try Butterbeer. Having the pickiest taste on the planet, I was prepared to not care much for it, but as it turns out, butterbeer is really sweet and refreshing. I drank it pretty fast and wanted seconds. We also tried the pumpkin juice which tasted just like pumpkin pie. Talk about odd. But I liked that one as well.

After taking that time to rest and eat, we headed to the long wait for Olivander's. Originally we thought everyone would get a wand experience, but they only let 25 people in at a time and then chose only 1 person to have the wand experience. That was a bit disappointing, but once I saw why they did it that way I understood. Still, it would be nice to have my wand choose me. I didn't buy any wands this time around, but when I go back I think I'll start my collection with either Draco's or Snape's. Maybe Voldemort's. Did I ever mention that I took the Sorting Hat Quiz and was placed into Slytherin? No? Well now you know.

We didn't stay long after that. After waking up so early and being in line for so long, our exhaustion and the heat started to get the best of us. So we left so that three others that were still in line could get the chance to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Overall I loved the experience and I really can't wait to get back there. It is small, but it's relatively the same size as the other lands at IOA and I think they did a great job with the space they had.

I do have one suggestion for IOA. A teeny, weeny suggestion. At night, maybe during Halloween Horror Nights, you should flash the Dark Mark in the sky. Seriously! This would be brilliant. Think about it, Universal.



That first moment you walk in. Breathtaking.


Hogwarts!


I spy a mandrake.


House Points. Gryffindor is winning ... again. How not surprising.


The talking portraits.


I want a pensieve.


Chocolate frogs @ Honeydukes.


Best. Sign. Ever.


The greatest writer of life.


One of these wands belongs to me.


The Beauxbatons girls and Durmstrung boys.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New website, yay!

So I decided to do a new website on Weebly. I'm hoping this will make it more manageable and allow me to keep it better updated. I'm so excited about it and I keep wanting to add features.

I wanted to find a way to feed that blog into this one and vice versa but the best I could do was put an RSS link on the side of this blog. One day I'll figure that all out I'm sure. Per usual, it's all a work in progress.

The most exciting thing I did was add photo galleries! Check them out.

linarivera.com

Friday, June 11, 2010

updating because yes

My website. I know I've said a million times I'm going to work on it, but the hold up has been my internal debate between continuing it the way it is or moving it to Weebly where it's easier to manage. Plus I love their photo gallery feature. I'm bad at making decisions. :\

I made a super nice looking gif for Winter Lakes!

Winter LakesWinter Lakes

What do you guys think? It's more pretty than creepy but that's okay. Not everything is as it seems in Winter Lakes....

Speaking of Winter Lakes, I'm now in my final revision of it. I have this great system set up where I take Tara's notes and use it as my base as I comb through the story, then after I've made all of those changes I give it to my crit group and they tell me if it works or not. Then they give me those final comments that make me perfect what I have even more, and then that's it. Since I've been working on this story since 2001, I've come to terms with this version of it. I've rewritten this story so many times I've lost count and now it's finally come together. Well in a way... I mean this is only the first book and I have yet to start writing the second in the series. I want to get this final revision done before I work on that.

The first few chapters of Vizcaya (fancy gif forthcoming) went over well at the crit group so I'm going to try and send out query letters for that one again. I love that novel so freakin' much. I don't know about you guys but whenever I write something I usually find myself picking it apart and thinking it didn't come out as well as I had hoped, but Vizcaya was inspired. When I finished it I knew I had done something pretty special, and after I revised it I felt that even more. It makes me smile whenever I go back to re-read it.

I'm hoping that same inspiration strikes again with a couple of the stories in my mind right now. I've been going back and forth on which to start (that darn indecision issue again) and every time I lean toward one, something inspires me to write the other one instead. Crazy. Before both of those though I need to work on another spec script. I read that you should have at least two in case someone's interested in the first one you sent out. I was thinking of writing one for Entourage, but I'm so behind on that show. :( I've been missing my Ari and E fix.

I'll end this update with a big congrats to Lisa!!! She's headed to New York to begin what I know will be a fruitful career in publishing. Best wishes!