What to do on a snowday?

Once the University of Michigan cancelling classes for two days in a row, I thought to myself “Hooray!  I’m going to catch up on sleep for the next two days!” Then I tried to remember what I did on snow days during elementary and high school.  I would play outside for the day, or have friends over to play inside. So I decided that maybe instead of sleeping for the next two days I could do something else.  So here is a list of things that I might do during our snow-days.

Movie Marathons!  I am a huge fan of movies, my favorite genres are romcoms, sci-fi, and thrillers.  When creating a movie marathon you have the choice of watching a bunch or random movies, movies with the same theme, or a movie series.  Watching random movies is good so that you do not get too bored when watching a couple movies in one sitting. This way you can laugh, cry, and get scared in one day; which can be more exciting.  Watching movies from the same genre, or with the same theme can give you an extra dose of whatever feeling you want. Watching a movie series gives you purpose when you are sitting watching a movie, because you now have to finish the series.  I personally like watching movie series. You can always re-watch Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.

Read!  As a college student, I never do any reading for pleasure during the school year because I am constantly reading for my classes.  Taking two days to start and possibly finish a book that has been sitting unread in my bookshelf would be great. Cold weather is also the perfect reading conditions because then you are incentivized to sit in a chair curled up with a blanket and a book and are able to read for hours.  It’s also nice when you are sitting by a window that brings in natural light and so that you can look outside but you do not have to go outside.

Game night!  The last activity is better if there is someone else with you.  A game night or afternoon is always fun and relaxing, depending on the game.  I used to play a lot of board games growing up with my family, and I have not played them much since going to college.  I love when an opportunity comes up and I can play them again. The best games to play during snow days are games that take a long time because you have all of the time in the world.  I personally like to play Risk when I have a couple of hours to spend on a game.


Some of the most famous songs across the world are not pop songs, or classics from the 80’s, but the film scores to some of the most popular movies around the world.  Film scores help to create a feeling for the movie and they add another level of emotion for the audience. One of the most successful film scorist is John Williams. Some of William’s most famous work is the scoring for Superman, ET, Jurassic Park, Jaws, and Star Wars.  These tunes are things that most people can recognize and hum along to after hearing just 3 or 4 seconds from the songs.

John Williams has been writing film scores for many years and in many different genres.  He knows how to evoke audience emotion with only music. Most, if not all, of his scores do not have words.  An example of the emotion that the audience can gather about a character from the scores is the Imperial March from Star Wars.  The Imperial March is what plays every time Darth Vader steps on to the screen, or is about to appear on screen. This composition is very deep, letting the audience know that the character that they are about to see is intimidating and powerful.  It also gives the audience a clue that he is a villain because the music is very dark.

Scores of movies are not only used to add another dimension to a character, but to address the overall feeling of the movie.  The scores for fun and action packed movies like to Star Wars, Superman, or Jurassic Park were designed to make the audience have fun.  The opening composition in Star Wars is an upbeat and exciting song that make the audience giddy to watch the movie and see what is in store.

John Williams also worked on the scores for very serious films like the Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and the Book Thief.  These movies the goal of the music was to show the seriousness and intensity of the film. In the Schindler’s List, and the Book Thief, the goal is also to show the fear of the people who went through the experiences shown in the movies.  These movies were not to have a fun and light atmosphere to gear audiences for a fun couple of hours.

Lastly, the scores of movies can be used to emphasize a situation that the characters are in.  Even in a fun movie, a specific composition can be lower and darker if the situation that the characters face is intimidating.  On the other side, if the situation is fun, then the composition is bright and exciting. An example of this is the action scenes in the Indiana Jones movies.  These scenes are a little intense, but are more so fun for the audience to watch, and the composition reflects that with exciting music playing in the background to tell the audience not to worry too much about the character.

Scores of movies help to tell the story and the feeling of the movie itself.  They help the audience to know what to feel and can help to enhance their original feelings toward the movie, character, or scene.  One of the most famous and successful score writer is John Williams. Williams has done all of these things throughout his long and diverse career with films like Harry Potter, Home Alone, the BFG, and Catch Me if You Can.

Tape as Art

Tape. You’ve used it before. You’ve tested out all of the different kinds and found your favorite. You’ve duct taped the dent in your car or wrapped your throbbing toes with medical tape. You’ve attempted making a wallet back when duct tape wallets were cool and posted the Harry Potter book cover poster you got at the book release on your wall with shiny Scotch tape. Now that you’re older, you may have even tried Kim K’s breast taping secret trick or found one of your own. But did you know there’s more to tape than just sticking things together? Tape can be used for much more. It can be used as a medium to build and create beautiful works of art.

Now that tape is being made in a variety of colors and sizes, artists are finding new ways to get creative with the sticky substance. Some are taking colored tape and putting it in designs, shapes, or lines on walls, floors, windows, and gates as if tape is a new way of making graffiti or decorating a home. They’re taking traditional works of art and recreating them in tape form. They’re looking at a blank wall not as a soon-to-be-painted partition, but as a blank canvas ready for their tape art. Painting takes time; you have to wait for paint to dry. But, tape lets you get creative right away and keep changing a wall until the work of art in your mind becomes the work of art in your home.

Others tape artists are saying goodbye to tulle and satin and building dresses and suits out of this magical medium. They’re creating cool accessories to brighten up or add a personal taste to their outfits. They’re getting creative with what can be considered “prom formal” and finding a way to make that special night even more personal.

Can’t find the perfect design to use as your next tattoo? Tape artists have got you covered there, too. Tape is now the perfect way to create your own unique body art without the commitment of a life-long pattern. It’s also great for creating personalized jewelry that can change with each outfit so you never have to worry about wearing the same ensemble twice.

Even more tape artists are taking to their crafting tables to create anything from sculptures and lampshades, to hammocks and rugs, to candles and bookmarks. These people are starting small and slowly taking on new sticky adventures in tape art that continue to wow the world.

Don’t believe me? Just do a quick Google search of “tape as art” and you’ll find hundreds of creative people sharing their masterpieces. Need inspiration? Watch a few YouTube How-To videos or sign into that Pinterest account you forgot about for fun ideas that’ll remind you how creative the world can be with even the simplest of hardware store items. Or, if you’re not feeling it, just do what Kim does and tape up the girls for a fun night on the town. I’m not judging.

Midnight Book Release Parties

Four children sit on a bench each reading their own copy of

Recently, one of the greatest announcements of my generation was made: there will be another Harry Potter book! Well, sort of. The announcement came earlier this month that the new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will be made into a script book available to everyone this July. JK Rowling didn’t exactly write it, but the giddy excitement of anyone who has ever taken the magical journey to Hogwarts and fought Voldemort beside Harry, Ron, and Hermione is still palpable.

Excited? I haven’t even said the best part, yet. Along with a new Harry Potter book comes new opportunities to celebrate literature with people who care at midnight release parties! Remember those? Dressing up in your dark cloaks and coke bottle glasses and boasting to anyone who would listen that you were a particularly good finder so it was okay you had the yellow and black scarf. Stuffing your face with chocolate frogs and cauldron cakes? Playing games and standing in long lines all to do what? Be the first to read the newest Harry Potter book!

Now, it’s been a while since I had the good fortune of going to a midnight release for a book. Movies, sure. All the time. There are so many that have midnight releases, complete with dressing up, long lines, and the mad rush when they open the doors to the theater (Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, anything Marvel, The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc.). But books are different. Books rarely get as much attention as movies. Even incredibly popular books, like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, haven’t had any release parties (at least in my area). That makes me sad.

Being able to commemorate the release of a book is one of my favorite things to do. People of all ages and all backgrounds come together for one reason—to get excited about reading. Inside that book store, you’re surrounded by other people who love the book just as much as you do, who are so excited to read the next book, to touch the next book, that they can’t imagine waiting even a few hours. There’s dressing up, games, food, and excitement. Then, there’s something even more special. There’s silence. Everyone has his or her book. They’ve found a place to read and sat down with their noses almost touching the freshly turned pages. They’re feverishly reading and they’re not stopping until they’ve finished. It’s pure magic. And soon it’s coming back; hopefully not as a one-time event.

Saying Goodbye

Although there’s many things that I could write about this week for my post, and I went through all of them in my head, trust me, my heart wasn’t in any of them. Why? Because today, I feel like I lost a friend.

For those of you that don’t know, Alan Rickman passed away today at the age of 69. If you don’t know Alan Rickman, though I will be very surprised if you don’t, he is known for his iconic roles in Die Hard, Love Actually, Robin Hood (yes, the terrible one with Kevin Costner), and, the one closest to my heart, Severus Snape in all of the Harry Potter movies.

When I was younger and watching Harry Potter for the first time, I had no idea who Alan Rickman was. But when I read the books, I realized that he was the embodiment of Snape, straight down to the hair and nose. He was just menacing, and you knew it, and yet for all his one-dimensionality, you knew Snape wasn’t all bad. That was Alan Rickman, and his brilliant acting.

Only when I got older did I realize this, though, and the respect he was given. I learned about Dame Maggie Smith, and I looked up to these figures, as I was dreaming of becoming an actor, and realizing that the roles these people played were the ones I wanted to play. I respected them, and I’d even say I loved them.

I still remember when I went and saw the last Harry Potter movie at midnight. It was the end of an era for me, and for millions of other teenagers. But I didn’t cry about it, because while it was an end, I knew the books and the movies would always be there for me, just as they had in the past. I knew I might cry during the movie, but not for that.

Instead, when I saw Snape curled around Lily, crying himself, unable to face the truth, I started crying as well. I’m not even that big of a fan of Snape, but that loss, that pain – you could see it all. And that was Rickman. That was what he made people felt.

There comes a time when you have to let go of something when you’re in a fandom. That’s what happens when you become a fan of something. You watch it, you read it, you hold it dear, and when it’s gone, you mourn it. And today, we mourn Alan Rickman.

Rest in Peace, Alan. Always.