Headphones and Quill

Three Fandom Podcasts to Try

I love podcasts.  It’s a new thing for me; I became interested in them well after they became popular. It took a long time to get past the fact that, no, this isn’t like some of the boring talk-radio shows I was stuck listening to on the radio years ago. Podcasts are interesting and engaging; each one I listen to opens me up to some new ideas and concepts. The way I know a podcast will end up being a regular one for me is I find myself talking and/or arguing with the hosts while driving down the highway. (They can’t hear me, but that doesn’t stop me!)

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites that have a fandom and/or Harry Potter focus to them:

1. Mugglenet Academia. Anyone that has been in the Harry Potter fandom for awhile has at least some passing knowledge of Mugglenet, a HP fansite. Over the years, they have rolled out a few different Harry Potter-themed podcasts.
What is it about: Academic discussions of Harry Potter fandom with experts in fields related to the discussion of the day.
Why you should give it a listen: Get a chance to listen very in-depth and educational conversations about the Harry Potter series
Favorite episode: Parseltongue, Gobbledegook, and Troll: Translating Harry Potter, an episode that discusses what goes into creating translations of the Harry Potter series.

2. Fansplaining: This is an interesting fandom podcast that came onto my radar a few months ago when the Harry Potter Alliance‘s Communications Director Jackson Bird was on the podcast. It actually might be my favorite podcast right now across all subjects.
What is it about: This is a general fandom podcast, so the possibilities are endless! The hosts are huge Harry Potter fans though, so HP is included in a number of conversations. Topics tend to be broad (Fanfiction! Copyright Law! Social Justice! Fandom on Tumblr!) and can occasionally jump from fandom to fandom.
Why give it a listen: Learn new things about fandoms you’re in as well as fandoms you may never have heard of before, intriguing discussions that go into perspectives you may never have considered, etc. This podcast satisfies my inner Ravenclaw. Also, it’s one of the few general nerdy/geeky podcasts that I know of with a feminist perspective.
Favorite episodes: Fangirling through Time, an episode that talks about the history of fandom in general with a focus on gender roles, or The Dark Fantastic, an episode that explores race in fandom and pop culture.

3. Always: The Potter Fandom Podcast. Okay, yes, I’m biased in recommending this one. After all, I’m in it! It’s easy to listen to the entirety of this podcast in a short period of time though; not only is it entertaining, but we haven’t had the time to record it in awhile so there aren’t many episodes.
What is it about: This is a podcast is about the Harry Potter fandom, specifically Harry Potter events and fan groups.
Why give it a listen: Hilarious tales of Harry Potter event planning, opportunity to hear about Harry Potter themed events around the world. If you have ever thought of running or helping with your local Harry Potter fan group, I recommend giving this a try.
Favorite Episodes: Conventions, a discussion of Harry Potter conventions, or Harry Potter Food and Fandom, which talks about the various ways the fan groups have used HP themed food for their meetups.

Honorable Mention: Alohomora from Mugglenet. Many people have recommended this podcast to me, but there are so many episodes already that I’m a little intimidated to jump in. It’s quite a commitment. I’ve heard such wonderful things though that I felt it needed a place in this post. Alohomora breaks down the Harry Potter books into small bits, discussing just a few chapters at a time. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your Harry Potter series re-read. Give it a listen and let me know your thoughts!

 

What are some of your favorite podcasts?

New Year's Resolutions

Need Help with Your New Year’s Resolutions? Join the Slug Club!

It’s that time of year again when people start thinking about new beginnings. Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions or goals for 2016? If so, joining and being active with the Central Florida Slug Club might actually help you accomplish your goals! How so? Here are some example goals:

  1. Make Friends and/or Get Out of the House More. Making friends as an adult is hard. In school, you always saw the same people in class each year and always had that one thing in common. But as an adult, you don’t necessarily have that. With the Slug Club though, you already know that every single person at our meetups has at least one thing in common – we all love the Harry Potter series. It makes it easier to get conversations started. Even if you don’t say a word during your first meetup or two, keep coming! The more you see the same people, the easier it gets to open up and start talking with new people.
  2. Read More. We have a book club in our group! Book club meets every other month and alternates between re-reading the Harry Potter series (with some members reading it for the first time!) and reading a new book as selected by members.
  3. Learn a New Skill/Try Something New – I guarantee that at some point in the year, you will learn something new at a Slug Club meeting. We’ve had a variety of activities such as knitting your own house scarf, laser tag, cosplay days, and Quidditch pong.
  4. Volunteer. Want to help others and get more involved in your community? We have a subgroup within the Slug Club called S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Everyone’s Welfare) that does community service and activism projects. They’re also a member of the Harry Potter Alliance, an international nonprofit that uses the positive energy of fandom to create social change.12243380_1247831591910240_892006089286919503_n
  5. Get organized. …yeah, okay, we might not be able to help you out much with this, though come find me at a meetup and I will be happy to discuss at length the pros and cons of various planners I’ve tried over the years.
  6. Improve your writing skills. Both our newsletter and blog are always looking for submissions! Write something and send it our way! Also, participate in our book club! Reading the writings of fellow authors helps improve your skills… plus you’ll learn a lot from the discussions about what other readers enjoy and get recommendations on other books to read.
  7. Improve your health. Okay, so our pizza nights probably aren’t the best for this (though they do have vegan and gluten-free options!) But for those who are looking to get more physically active, a number of our members are also in the Hogwarts Running Club. Start a post in our Facebook discussion group and get a group together!
  8. Travel more. There’s at least one Harry Potter convention each year. They are a great way to indulge your nerdy side while giving you an excuse to travel to a location you might not have necessarily visited on your own. (Trust me, I know. New Hampshire wasn’t on my top list of travel locations until I started attending MISTI-con. Now I can’t wait until my next trip up there… and at least 20 Slug Club members are attending next time!)Slug Club and Portkey to Magic at MISTI-con Ball

Have we convinced you? Join our Meetup.com and/or Facebook groups in order to find out about upcoming meetups.

Positive CFSlugClub

A Positive Start to the New Year

It’s that time of year again, when we want to get the warm fuzzies from the holiday season and the promise of a new year but outside stressors may be affecting our good cheer – crowds at the stores, family drama, that awful customer who procrastinated their project and now puts a rush on you when you’d rather daydream of candy canes or relaxing afternoons at home…

Over the summer, the Harry Potter Alliance released their Positive Fandom campaign, a list of community guidelines to help make fandom a safe, inclusive, and welcome space for all fans. At GeekyCon 2015, they passed out postcards with these points and a list of tasks that attendees could complete in order to work their way towards a more positive fandom (and one of the coveted ribbon badges.) Each task was relatively easy to complete, but really left us thinking afterwards about how we can apply these to our daily lives.

The Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. team took inspiration from these guidelines, discussed how these affected us, how could use these reminders particularly through the holidays and new year, and came up with a list of four points where we could use improvement: Kindness, Community, Education, and Self-Care.  During this month-long project, we are asking members of our group and the community to talk about what these mean to them, what they are doing to improve as individuals on each point, and post it on social media with #positivecfslugclub. Keep an eye on Slug Club social media (particularly our Twitter and Tumblr!) for member submissions and ideas on what YOU can do throughout the month! We’re dedicating a week to each point; expect to see a new one up each Sunday through early January. 

 

Intrahouse Rivalry?

All Aboard the Hogwarts Express for the 2015-16 School Year!

Another September 1st has come and gone. As you may know, September 1st is the day that young witches and wizards throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland gather at Kings Cross in London to hop on board the Hogwarts Express for the new school year. While many of us are well beyond our Hogwarts years, every year on September 1st we still don our Hogwarts uniforms, gather at Platform 9 3/4s at 11am, sing the school song, and think fondly back to our school days.

Slug Club at Kings Cross

Slug Club members outside of Kings Cross on September 1st, 2015

September 1st is always a magical day. We see old friends again…   Seeing Old Friends Again

And make some new ones…

Lauren and Carla Magical Law Enforcement Squad

Rehash old rivalries…

Intrahouse Rivalry?

And rekindle those old school romances.

Hogwarts Romance

Eventually, we made our way back to Hogwarts for old times’ sakes.

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In the famous words of Albus Dumbledore: “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! […] I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you.”

Now time for the feast!

Cornfundo!

Wait, you’re doing it wrong!

Accio Books 2015

S.P.E.W.’s Accio Books 2015 Drive Would Make Hermione Proud

A couple of weeks ago we delivered the books we collected this year, thus completing our second year participating in The Harry Potter Alliance‘s Accio Books campaign. Last year, we collected over 300 books and were so proud. It was our first year doing it plus we started with less than half of the campaign left. We expected maybe 100 books.

This year, Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. group was a little more ambitious. When the HPA asked us to set a collection goal, we went for 1,500 books – almost five times what we collected in the previous year. Our team went all out, setting up book collection boxes at their jobs and in local libraries, pestered their friends and family, and partnered with other local groups such as Orlando Nerd Nite and Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic. (It really helped that the organization we were working with was one that many of our members were passionate about helping: Impower FL, a mental health and child well-being organization that serves five counties in Central Florida.) Our total this year? Read More

Gringotts

Potterwatch 2014: One Year Later

by Megan Stump

Several years ago there was a rumor that more Harry Potter was coming to Universal Studios Florida. I had fallen in love with Hogsmeade immediately after seeing the tip of Hogwarts from across the lagoon in IoA, so needless to say, I was very excited. We learned about some fun details at the Harry Potter Celebration. Finally June 9, 2014 the construction walls came down. Read More

Gryffindors at Sawyer's Dairy Bar

So You Want to Attend a Harry Potter Convention: Choosing Your Convention

“So you want to attend a Harry Potter convention?” is our new series to help out first-time Harry Potter convention attendees. We will break down each individual con, provide tips on how to budget, how to prepare, and how to make it a successful con experience.

You’ve been a fan of the books for years and have always been jealous of the pictures floating around the internet of everyone with their amazing con experiences. Or maybe you’re a new fan that missed all of the excitement of midnight book releases and movie premieres. Whatever your reasons, it is time for you to attend your first Harry Potter convention. What next?

Part 1 – Choosing Your Convention

First, pick which convention you prefer to attend. Each convention has a unique style and pros and cons. Your friend may enjoy one con that you hated, while you adored another con that your friend found mediocre. That is totally okay. Each experience is different and valid. As you go through the list, really think about what YOU are looking for in your first con experience. Read More

Slug Club at Hogwarts

Upcoming Meetups

We have a number of fun meetups coming up soon! Want to be one of the first to know about any upcoming meetups? Join our Facebook or Meetup.com groups! (You’ll need to be a member in order to RSVP to any of the events listed below.)

April 29th – “Kill the Spare” Bowling Meetup – RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
Come join us at Kings Bowling on I-Drive for our second “Kill the Spare” Bowling Meet-up!

May 4th – Second Annual Battle of Hogwarts Laser Tag RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
“It’s time to choose your side and either fight to protect Hogwarts, Harry Potter, and the future of the wizarding world as you know it, or fight to rid the wizarding world of the mudbloods and blood traitors who only serve as a disgrace to our community. You-Know-Who and his followers will storm the castle on May 4th in an event that will forever be known as “The Battle of Hogwarts.””

May 5th – S.P.E.W. MeetingRSVP on Facebook
Interested in community service and activism? Join our S.P.E.W. group, a Harry Potter Alliance chapter! We’ll talk about our current Accio Books campaign, plan for Esther Day, and more! Make sure to join our S.P.E.W group here.

May 24th – Group Photo at MISTI-con – RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
For those of us attending MISTI-con in May, let’s meet up at the ball just after it begins to get a group picture! (If you’re unfamiliar with MISTI-con – it’s an amazing Harry Potter conference taking place over Memorial Day weekend this year. You can get more information at http://www.misti-con.org/)

May 30th – May Book Club: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – RSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
For book club meeting we will be reading the fourth book in the Harry Potter series: The Goblet of Fire. Join us at the George & Dragon for book discussion and trivia! This is the last day to turn in all the books you collected for Accio Books. Be sure to get them to us today or you are stuck with them for another year!!

June 6th – Abracadabra Ice CreamRSVP on Facebook or Meetup.com
“Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory is one of the hottest new liquid nitrogen ice cream concepts in the country. They use liquid nitrogen to freeze your very own ice cream creation within seconds. With temperatures reaching -328 degrees below 0 they are able to flash freeze the ice cream right before your eyes. Every witch and wizard loves the quick little magic show as “Magic Clouds” flow across the counter top creating an exciting experience for everyone, including the most curmudgeonly Potions professor. Come and create your own flavor of ice cream or try one of Abracadabra’s suggestions. You are welcome to bring any (and I mean ANY) ingredients to put in your own concoction! (Slughorn’s favorite is pineapple.)” **Rescheduled from May 16th**

June 12th – Harry Potter Game Night – RSVPs are CLOSED but you can join the waiting list on Facebook!
Join us at Liam Mason’s apartment for a great big Potter bash. Liam will be providing HP Scene it, HP Clue, and Quidditch Beer Pong . The HoH’s will bring Cards Against Muggles! Feel free to bring another HP themed game if you have one.

September 1st – Train Ride to HogwartsRSVP on Facebook (Open to the Public!) or on Meetup.com
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment that you can purchase in Diagon Alley prior to your departure.

Term begins on September 1. Please arrive at King’s Cross station at 10:00am* to cross through Platform 9 3/4 and board the Hogwarts Express at 11:00am.

Join the Central Florida Slug Club as we travel from King’s Cross station to Hogsmeade for the start of term. School uniform is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. Once off the train we will head to Hogwarts to get a class photo. We will follow up with lunch at the Three Broomsticks.

December 5th – Portkey to Magic’s Yule Ball – RSVP on Facebook
Join us as we venture to St. Petersburg, Florida and invade our sister group’s Yule Ball. Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic has worked out a hotel discount for us; check the Facebook event for details. Ball tickets need to be purchased in advance – only 100 tickets will be sold!

HPA Chapters

Accio Books 2015 Donation Locations

Want to donate some books for our 2015 Accio Books program? We have donation boxes at the following locations:

Winter Park Public Library
460 E New England Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: M-Th 9AM-9PM, Sat 9AM-5PM, Sun 1-5PM

Regus Winter Park
941 W Morse Blvd, Suite 100
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: M-F 830AM-500PM

Leesburg Public Library
100 E Main Street
Leesburg, FL 34748
Hours: M-Th 9AM-8PM, Sat 9AM-5PM

First Baptist Church of Highland City
5410 Yarborough Lane
Lakeland, FL 33813
Hours: 7AM-6PM (Ring Bell)

More locations coming soon! Keep an eye on our blog here or our S.P.E.W. Facebook page for more information. The Central Florida Slug Club’s Accio Books 2015 Donation Drive goes from April 1st through May 30th.

You can also bring your books to any Central Florida Slug Club meetup in April and May, as well as meetups for “Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic”, an adult Harry Potter club in the Tampa area, and Nerd Nite Orlando.

All donations will go to Impower, a non-profit mental health and child well-being organization in Central Florida.

SPEW logo                       impower                    HPA Chapters