Category Archives: books


Felicia Day, Fear, Failure, and Me

This past Thursday, I finally read Felicia Day’s new book. Well, technically, I listened to Felicia Day’s new book, for specific medical reasons. But we’ll get there.

To say that I enjoyed You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) would be an understatement. I’d like to think that most people would at least enjoy this book. It’s funny and poignant and extremely weird–all the things you would expect from a memoir by Felicia Day. But I’m not convinced that most people would love it as if Felicia Day and the universe at large conspired to write and publish this one specific book to be found and consumed by one specific reader at one specific point in their timeline.

That’s the degree of my love for this book. It was only a couple days ago, but I’m pretty sure this book changed my life.

Continue reading Felicia Day, Fear, Failure, and Me

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun House: A Legislative Tragifcomic

A couple weeks back, I wrote a post for Forever Young Adult about the Fun Home controversy at the College of Charleston. In it, I illustrated some legislative transcripts from my home state, depicting a very few of the many appalling statements College of Charleston Trustees made while up for (re)appointment to the Board. If you haven’t already seen it, I would strongly encourage you to read my whole post. Not only will this gratify my own vanity, but it’s also a horrifying look into South Carolina politics. Plus, Fun Home is one of my favorite books, so EVERYONE SHOULD GO BUY A COPY, NOW.

Continue reading Fun House: A Legislative Tragifcomic

Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings, Perfect Fifths

Gustave Courbet, Celebrity Stalker

Several months ago, E told me that I absolutely had to read this one young adult series–the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty. Now for all but the three of you I’ve managed to convince that YA lit is not a complete waste of time, hold on a minute before you click that little x on your browser tab. This is not going to be a post about YA lit. I repeat: This is not going to be a post about YA lit. Just bear with me for the next two paragraphs and I promise that you’ll be rewarded with an art history lesson and one of those insane person rants that several of you seem to like so much.

Continue reading Gustave Courbet, Celebrity Stalker

Neville Longbottom: Year 3

I am very sorry it has taken me so long to write the next Hipster Neville installment. I actually reread book three over a week and a half ago, but I’ve been a very busy lady: playing host to some friends, visiting museums, dying of heat exhaustion several times over, writing to my pen-pal, studying up on Hanson’s discography, getting hooked on a new Korean drama and even doing work on occasion. Then, there’s my new boyfriend, Ján Mucha, who is a terrifying Slovakian man. I call him Slovak for short, and because I can’t remember his real name from one minute to the next. He may also be a vampire if his proclivity to hide from sunlight is any indication. My very own Slovakian Edward Cullen! Here is a picture of him with my other new boyfriend, Cartoon Vanilla Ice:

Now, you’re probably thinking, “two new boyfriends, Alix? You fictional slut!” I know! I’m kind of a serial polygamist in that respect. I tend to juggle several fake relationships at once. And since Glee has officially jumped the shark, a couple new spots have opened up. (Sorry Darren and Other Asian! Would this be a good time to mention that we’re breaking up?) But of course the best place on my imaginary boyfriend shelf will always be reserved for my one true love, Mr. Darcy Gilbert Blythe Neville Longbottom.

Y’all, I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t see Neville Longbottom and the Sword of Gryffindor yet, but let me just say that fair isle cardigans have never looked so sexy. I went to a midnight showing with CS, to which we didn’t have tickets until about 8:30pm the day of. I set up a craigslist notification on my phone, and while I was on my way to dinner, I literally stopped in the middle of the street in Dupont Circle to respond to a posting for tickets. This scheme also involved me sending the shadiest text message of my life that went something like, “I need you to get some cash, call this number, and meet a girl in Chinatown immediately.” But it was totally worth almost getting hit by a car to participate in my first (and regrettably last!) Harry Potter Midnight Experience and join the whole theater in raucous applause for “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re only in the third year of Neville’s journey through Hogwarts! During the first two years, Neville maintained his cool factor despite being a perpetual punching bag for the rest of the school (haters gonna hate!) and started a really sweet rock group that’s way too underground for you. Unfortunately, Justin Finch Fletchley ate all his bandmates at then end of last semester, so we’re back to square one for 8th grade.

So how did Neville do this year? The good news is that he shows up in more than six sentences in this book. The bad news? We’ll see how well I can spin this…

Neville Longbottom and the Klepto Cat

Dude, the weirdest thing happened to me the other day. Gran and I were headed to Diagon Alley via Knight bus (floo powder makes her queasy), and when they asked our names, this creepy guy with a monster case of acne kept insisting that I was lying. “‘Choo talkin’ about? I know Neville an’ you int him. Neville is ‘arry Potter’s name.” He kept asking what I was really called until Gran finally hexed him to shut him up. Thank God I’m not a complete fuck up like that guy. He’s the kind of moron who would join the Death Eaters just because You-Know-Who promised he’d make him a flying tricycle. I’d better focus a little more on my studies this year or I could end up as the crazy person harassing children on the bus.

Unfortunately, I think I might have some residual memory problems from that time my uncle dropped me out a window. I keep forgetting things. Gran got really pissed when I lost my booklist. I don’t know what happened to it! It was in my pocket when I went to buy some Magical Toad Serum in the pet store, and now it’s gone. I also saw Granger in there buying the world’s ugliest cat. Like this thing is possibly unloveable. And people make fun of me for Trevor.

The Hogwarts Express was way more exciting this year since there’s an escaped magical mass murderer named Sirius Black on the lamb. I was just getting to the end of the On the Road when the train stopped and all the lights went off. I went into Harry’s compartment to see if they knew what was up, but it was dark in there too and I sat on Hermione’s cat by mistake. Then, the Azkaban guards appeared to look for Black and it got really cold and depressing until this homeless guy shot silvery stuff at them and gave us some chocolate. I guess he’s our new Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher! I feel a little better about my future prospects, because even if I end up like that weirdo on the Knight Bus, Dumbledore will probably still hire me as the DADA professor. Dude is desperate! But in the kerfuffle, I misplaced my copy of On the Road. Now how will I ever find out what happens!?

As it turns out, the homeless guy is not a bad teacher! The first day of class was pretty intimidating. I’d just come from Potions class, where Snape threatened Trevor with my crappy potion and then took points away when Hermione helped me fix it. (side note: damn! that girl’s taking a lot of classes! How is that even possible?) Before that, Professor Trelawney kept predicting my failure in Divination. It was not exactly a stellar day. And then Professor Lupin called on me to battle a boggart, even though we’ve learned approximately nothing in two years of DADA classes. But guess what?! I was awesome! The boggart came out as scary-as-hell Professor Snape, but I imagined him in Gran’s clothes and it was both hilarious and disturbing! Ten points to Gryffindor! This almost as good as the time I won the house cu–Hey! is that Hermione’s cat reading my copy of On the Road? Wait a minute, cats can’t read!

I think I’m starting to lose it. I thought I saw that cat walking around with my Hogsmeade permission slip last week, too, but Gran sent a copy directly to professor McGonagall. Lucky, too, because security’s much tighter now with Black on the loose. Harry has to stay home with the first and second years cause his uncle didn’t sign his form. Sucks. Butterbeer is awesome.

Despite all the security, Sirius Black showed up at the castle last night and tried to get into Gryffindor tower. He slashed through the Fat Lady’s portrait when he didn’t know the password, and now she’s been temporarily replaced by a painting of Sir Cadogan the Useless and his Fat Pony. It’s really difficult to get into the common room now because he keeps challenging everyone to duels and changing the password every five seconds.

Meanwhile, my memory is getting worse, as is my sanity. My remembrall disappeared, and I could have sworn I saw Hermione’s cat petting it like Gollum in the corner. I started making lists of everything to help me remember stuff, but those have been disappearing too. Then I thought I saw the cat hanging out with a dog the size of a pony over by the whomping willow, but that can’t be right either. I also keep imagining seeing Hermione in two places at once lately. I don’t know what’s up with that. Maybe it’s because Snape is being extra scary lately and I’m really stressed. He started taking over DADA classes once a month whenever Lupin wanders off mysteriously, and this time he assigned us two whole rolls of parchment on werewolves!!! We’re not supposed to study those for ages! I’ll never finish this work and I’m totally going to end up like that weirdo from the Knight Bus!!!

Holy crap! Sirius Black is back! IN OUR FREAKING DORM ROOM! Ron woke up the other night with him standing over him with a giant knife! Turns out he somehow got hold of my missing list of passwords and Sir Cadogan let him in. Great. Now even McGonagall is against me and the other Gryffindors have been forbidden from giving me the password. I just have to wait outside every night for someone to let me in. Don’t mind me if Sirius Black comes looking to kill random students again! I’ll just be sitting out here in corridor, easy prey!

The year finished as it always does. Me: social leper. Harry, Ron and Hermione: some crazy shenanigans way beyond the magical ability of third years that involve several near death experiences and Sirius Black escaping via hippogriff. Miraculously, no one dies or has their soul sucked out. None of it really makes sense.

But what DOES make sense is that I TOTALLY CAUGHT HERMIONE’S CAT STEALING MY ENCHANTED DOCTOR WHO NEEDLEPOINT GUITAR PICK HOLDER I BOUGHT ON WIZARD ETSY! That damn cat has been stealing my stuff all year and I AM NOT A CRAZY PERSON! Maybe I won’t end up like that weirdo on the Knight Bus after all!

Most Badass Moment of the Book

Obviously the boggart scene. Despite being constantly bullied and threatened by Snape, even in front of other teachers, Neville still manages to finish off the boggart with the help of his gran’s stuffed vulture hat (scary in itself). That pansy Harry can’t even try to fight a boggart because he’s too busy convulsing and hearing his dead mother’s screams in his head.

#1 Reason Neville is Cooler than You

Neville gets some some automatic cool-by-association points from his grandmother. Anyone who can pull off that hat is fierce.

Neville Longbottom: Year 2

Hello again, folks! When we last left off, we’d just finished Neville’s first year at Hogwarts, or a year of being shat upon by the entire school, including his so-called “friends” Harry, Ron and Hermione. I guess they must be jealous of Neville’s inherent coolness! Let’s see where year two takes us!

Neville Longbottom and the Mandragora

It’s year two and I’m back at Hogwarts! I am laying low this year because I couldn’t handle all of Harry & Co’s shenanigans last term. It’s only five minutes into the back-to-school feast when Harry and Ron fly a car into a belligerent tree instead of arriving by train. Those two are shining examples of how to make good life choices.

Our dreaded classes have begun again. Remember last year when I said Snape was the worst teacher ever? I was wrong. Since Harry offed our Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher last year, we got a new one in the form of celebrated author Gilderoy Lockhart. Only, I think he pathologically lied on his resume because it’s painfully clear that even I would be more qualified to teach this class. The first day, he let a cage full of pixies loose in the room. I ended up falling from the chandelier.

But there’s always Herbology. The only downside is that we have class with the Hufflepuffs. Justin Finch-Fletchley suuuuckkkks. He tried to name-drop Eton last week. Um, Hogwarts is the coolest school in the universe,* Justin. No one here has ever heard of Eton, and if they had, they wouldn’t be impressed. But apart from having to listen to him and Ernie MacMillan compete for gold in the Tool Olympics, Herbology is awesome. We’re working in greenhouse 3 this year, which is where they keep all the good stuff. I’ve been hanging out there a lot, especially since I formed my new band, Neville and the Mandrakes. We’re pretty underground; no one can listen to our music or they’ll die. I haven’t even heard any of our songs.

Back at the castle, weird shit has been going down. Filch’s cat was petrified, followed by some dopey first year with a camera, Justin Finch-Fletchley and Nearly Headless Nick. But that’s just a normal Tuesday at Hogwarts. The strange part is that Harry, Ron and Hermione have been spending all their free time in an abandoned girls’ bathroom, hanging around with ghosts. And Ron is not the only Weasley off his rocker–his little sister keeps wandering around covered in chicken blood and writing in her diary like some sad, friendless emo girl who also happens to torture animals in her free time.

The story behind all the petrifications is that some secret room in Hogwarts has a 1000 year old monster in it that’s trying to purge the school of muggle-borns. Everyone is freaking out and rounding up protective talismans to ward of the unspecified monster. Harry made fun of me for buying a pointy crystal, an evil onion and a newt’s tail because I’m a pure-blood and shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I was too embarrassed to tell him that the real reason is that I have an addiction to Wizard Etsy. I nearly bought a purple denim fanny-pack with an undetectable extendability charm the other day, before I remembered that fanny-packs are never not a terrible idea.**

Since Harry and his friends do nothing but attract trouble, right as we were about to win the the Quidditch cup for the first time in about a billion years, Granger and Percy Weasley’s sad-sack girlfriend were attacked by the unnamed monster. School really started to suck after that–Dumbledore got fired, we have to be escorted to all our classes, and curfew is 6pm. I can’t even go to band practice anymore, but we still have exams because McGonagall is a sadist!

And all the curfews were for naught, because Ginny Weasley ended up in the Chamber of Secrets anyway. I guess she was being possessed by Voldemort this whole time and no one noticed? As usual, there was no one more competent around than a 12 year old wizard to save the day, and then everyone was happy. Everyone but me, because Madame Pomfrey cut up my band mates to feed to Justin Finch-Fletchley. I’ll need to be finding a new hobby next year.

I gotta hand it to Ginny Weasley, though. Getting possessed and almost murdered by Voldemort was a necessary sacrifice for exams to be canceled.

*Second coolest. +1 Pigfarts

**Actual roommate bought actual non-magical product off Non-Wizard Etsy this week. If you see a diminutive sandy-haired woman tooling around the District with aforementioned fanny-pack, please confiscate it and light it on fire for the good of society.

Most Badass Moment of the Book

I’ll be honest here. Neville was only in approximately six sentences of this entire book, and in one of those, he got strung up on a chandelier by some pixies. But for argument’s sake, let’s assume that he was pulling extra hours in the Herbology lab helping to cultivate the mandrakes, thereby ensuring the revival of Hermione, Colin Creevey, Penelope Clearwater, Mrs. Norris, Nearly Headless Nick and (regrettably) Justin Finch-Fletchley. Neville saves the day once again!

#1 Reason Neville Is Cooler Than You

I tried really hard to come up with something from the actual book, but I didn’t have a lot to work with. When he does show up, he mostly just says things like, “Hey Harry! Someone broke into our room!” and that’s the end of the scene for Neville. So we’ll just have use our imaginations here:

Apologies for my lackluster photoshop effort.

UPDATE: Year 3