My Gameplan for the Apocalypse

Since everyone is doing it, I thought it right to detail my plans for the end of society. What’s that? Of course, it’s vogue. If there’s one thing it’s Ben Ditmars knows, it’s what’s vogue. And if there are two things I know, it’s probably how off-putting third-person portrayals can be. Regardless, in the events that follow, I will have a full-proof survival strategy: unless Pet Rocks arrive from the ’80s with revenge in their hearts.

  1. Zombie or Large-Scale Epidemic
    Assuming the Umbrella Corporation buys Dow Chemicals or acquires a massive government contract, we can expect human experimentation that will lead to murderous monsters. It’s just good business. And my chance at living out the future my adolescence prepared me for. How would I survive? There wouldn’t be near enough bullets or hedge clippers to go Tallahassee from the movie Zombieland. I would have to improvise and cure all the deformed hippies being vagrants in my yard. First, I would go to the medicine cabinet and find the rubbing alcohol. Then scream about cotton balls. Why are they never where I left them? Once I tore the bathroom apart like the undead monsters I want to re-kill, the alcohol goes on the cotton balls. Then, BAM! I stand on the roof and huck them at passing brain Nazis. You know it will work, because rubbing alcohol is good at killing bacteria – and probably the T-Virus.
  2. Asteroid or Comet Collision
    There aren’t many places you can hide when the earth has angry sex with a space rock. My initial reaction might be to seek high ground as the oceans engulf my last hope for Chicken McNuggets (I don’t miss them now, but I know after the earth has descended into eternal darkness I will want the flavor only processed meat dipped in ranch dressing can provide). My best bet? I’ve long suspected the highest setting on my ceiling fan has  a greater purpose than shaking the walls like a demonic helicopter. Obviously the creators of this contraption never intended any mere mortal to pull the cord three times. If I so dare (an am worthy of this Zeus-like power) the upward force of my fan should push the asteroid to another unsuspecting solar system, preferably without fans of their own.
  3. Trump Becoming President
    The Donald receiving the Republican nomination for President of the United States is scary enough, let alone him actually fitting his hair into Oval Office. There is an easier solution than living under a demagogue bent on denying basic freedoms to Muslims and women. Mexico pays to build the wall… around Trump. Think about it: Trump gets to rant all he wants and we don’t have to hear him speak. His supporters can hop in Cask of Amontilado style as we brick them in. They can even go down in the manner of Pharoahs with their life-size love-dolls of David Duke and copies of Mein Kampf.

Signs Our Sun is Middle-Aged

5 billion years old and 5 billion years left.

Image Source: Flickr


  1. Traded its cool sunglasses for Aviators.

  2. Passed over for promotion to “regular star” at work.

  3. Telling planets to “get off its lawn.”

  4. Complains about low-H.

  5. Naps during solar flares.

  6. Receding helium.

  7. Recovering from bad divorce with Alpha Centauri.

  8. Insists pulsars turn down “infernal” frequencies.

  9. Exchanged asteroid belt for sweatpants.

  10. Calls Neptune when it wants Pluto.


100 Ways to Read the Harry Potter Series

I posed a question to my Facebook friends, all of whom are incredibly smart, about the many different ways to read the Harry Potter series. I had done several already, but was curious how other people have enjoyed the books. This is what we found. Please feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comment section.

© 2010 Universal Orlando Resort. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR

1. Backwards
2. Forwards
3. Upside down (preferably the result of Levicorpus)
4. Paperback
5. Hardback
6. In braille
7. First and Seventh, then the rest in order
8. All the books with Voldemort (1, 2, 4, 5, 7)
9. All the books without Voldemort (3, 6)
10. Voldemort in chronological order
11. Fight scenes
12. Love scenes
13. Wizard duels
14. Quidditch matches
15. Parts featuring the Pensieve
16. Harry’s detentions
17. Parts with Snape and Harry
18. Parts featuring Harry Potter’s parents (including the Mirror of Erised)
19. Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons
20. Transfiguration lessons
21. Potions lessons
22. Charms lessons
23. Divination lessons
24. In another language
25. Audiobooks transmitted via Morse-code
26. Parts featuring Hedwig
27. On public transport
28. Dressed as Harry Potter or your favorite character
29. At King’s Cross Station
30. While watching films with subtitles
31. Competitively against friends
32. Aloud from memory
33. Parts featuring Sirius
34. Parts featuring the Marauders
35. Holding a wand
36. Read as Gollum
37. Replacing “Harry” with “Frodo.”
38. Read and write down references and inferences to other works such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis
39. Sitting in front of a cauldron
40. Read while someone claps coconut shells like Monty Python
41. In sign language
42. At a public library
43. The Quidditch matches out loud on an airplane. It’s just like magic!
44. On a broomstick
45. Inside a Ford Anglia
46. Drinking butterbeer
47. Wearing a turban
48. While everyone watches the Muggle World Cup
49. Scenes featuring polyjuice potion
50. Scenes featuring Fred and George
51. The sortings
52. With a flashlight
53. Arguments between Ron and Hermione
54. Arguments between Ron and Harry
55. While eating cauldron cake
56. While eating jellybeans
57. Scenes involving magical creatures
58. Scenes with Harry and Malfoy
59. With a puppet on your hand
60. With a British accent (Or American if you are British)
61. Take turns reading with a friend
62. Change the genders of characters
63. Singing it
64. Rapping it
65. Wearing a Wizard’s hat
66. Each paragraph as a horse racing commentator or auctioneer
67. Scenes at the Ministry of Magic
68. Scenes in the Room of Requirement
69. Parts with Hogwarts’ ghosts
70. Parts with Nearly Headless Nick
71. Scenes involving Peeves
72. Scenes involving apparition
73. Chapters with Portkeys
74. Chapters with Floo Powder
75. Scenes in The Forbidden Forest
76. Read as Dobby
77. Scenes with Dobby
78. Parts where Horcruxes are destroyed
79. Uses of Patronuses
80. Scenes in the library
81. Scenes in the Great Hall
82. Chapters at Christmastime
83. Each sentence as a question
84. Scenes at the Burrow
85. Scenes at Privet Drive
86. Parts with Luna Lovegood
87. Performing unique voices for each character
88. Pretending you are Rita Skeeter making snide comments
89. Every word in all of the books that doesn’t pertain to the story itself; publishing info, acknowledgments, etc.
90. In jive or street talk
91. While translating into Klingon or another language
92. Only sentences containing words coined in the series
93. Scenes in Dumbledore’s office
94. Scenes in the Hospital Wing
95. Parts with the Invisibility Cloak
96. Performing spells as you read
97. With a real witch
98. Inside a castle
99. Parts with House-elves
100. At Harry Potter World

Special thank you to Maria Savva, Ford Forkum, Merita King, Darcia Helle, Cathy Sheets, Linda Reis, Jackie Smith, Peter Forster, Claudette Peercy, Jherek Cummings, and Cinta Garcia-Stone for their countless suggestions.

Horcrux Math

Something has always bothered me about Voldemort’s horcruxes in Harry Potter, apart from the murder. The books seemed to allude that Voldemort split his soul into eight equal parts. Maybe souls don’t follow the same laws of nature as everything else, but it would seem to me that if you split your soul in half, you would only maintain one-half. And if you split that half again, you would retain one-fourth and so-on and so-forth. Thus, the potency of horcruxes created should be less, which seems to almost ring true if you look at the level of defenses they provided. The diary put up a far larger fight than the cup or diadem. It’s almost as if the ones he created earlier had greater ability to feel. Anyway, that’s my two sickles and a knut. I’ll leave you with some math as a caution against creating your own horcruxes.

Horcrux Fraction Left Percentage Left
1.     Diary ½ 50%
2.     Ring ¼ 25%
3.     Locket 1/8 12.5%
4.     Cup 1/16 6.25%
5.     Diadem 1/32 3.13%
6.     Harry Potter 1/64 1.56%
7.     Nagini 1/128 0.78%

More About Me!

I was tagged by Ciara Ballintyne to answer these questions and challenged to tag 12 more people. So here goes:

Astrological Sign: Sagittarius. I’m the Katniss Everdeen of astrology signs.
Middle Name: James. Harry James Potter.
Hair color: Brown
Biggest Fear: Death
Quirks: There a lot of them. I like to do things in order and I won’t eat soft noodles.
Age: 27
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Diet Coke
Favorite Hobby: Reading/Writing
Favorite Sport: Billiards/pool
Favorite candy: Butterscotch
Favorite Musician/Singer: Ellie Goulding
Favorite actor: Robin Williams
Favorite author: JK Rowling
Place you want to go you’ve never been: Germany
Favorite flower: Moonflower
Trait You Find Attractive in Others: Quirky nerdiness
Favorite TV Show: Doctor Who
Favorite snack food: Relish trays with veggies, dips, and cheese.
Favorite bit of Geekery: My Harry Potter books in their cardboard treasure chest. And yes, I put the stickers on it!

The 36 Questions That Lead to Nerd Love

I read an article in the New York Times about falling in love. It claims intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by asking 36 questions. There’s a lot of talk about mutual vulnerability and stuff like that. The questions themselves are BORING and not very satisfying for nerds. I decided to make them more relevant.

Set I

  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you eat burritos with?
  2. Would you like eternal glory? If it meant getting bit by a vampire?
  3. Before sending an emotional tweet, do you ever rehearse what you are going to write? Why?
  4. What would constitute a “supercalifragilistic” day for you?
  5. When did you last hum the theme from Star Wars?
  6. If you were able to live to the age of 100, would you still be able to throw a precious diamond into the ocean?
  7. In what heroic fashion do you see your own death?
  8. Name three super powers you and your partner appear to have in common.
  9. For what in your fictional life at Hogwarts do you feel most grateful?
  10. If you could change anything about the way Katniss Everdeen was raised in the Hunger Games, what would it be?
  11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story (real or imagined) in as much detail as possible.
  12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one wizard power, what would it be?

Set II

  1. If Professor Trelawney could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? Would you see the grim?
  2. Is there any ride at Disney World you’ve dreamed of riding for a long time? Why haven’t you rode it?
  3. What is the greatest accomplishment of your pet’s life?
  4. What do you value most in the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione?
  5. What is your most treasured memory from reading a novel?
  6. What is your most terrible memory from reading a novel?
  7. If you knew that in one year you would be done in by Lord Voldemort, would you change anything about the way you are using magic? Or do you not believe in prophecies?
  8. Can Death Eaters have friends?
  9. What roles do love and affection have in your cosplay?
  10. Alternate sharing something you consider makes your partner a good nerd. Share a total of five items.
  11. Is your family more like the Weasleys or Malfoys? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most Muggles?
  12. How do you feel about your relationship with Remus Lupin?


  1. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both watching the Hobbit trilogy and feel … “
  2. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could battle … “
  3. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know about time travel.
  4. Tell your partner what you like about Middle Earth; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
  5. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment you might have as an elf.
  6. When did you last cry in front of a Disney movie? By yourself?
  7. Tell your partner something that you like about pointy ears.
  8. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? Note: If their answer is anything other than the death of a fictional character, they might not be the one for you.
  9. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told Bilbo Baggins?
  10. Your favorite franchise catches fire. After saving actors and movie props, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
  11. Of all the people in Harry Potter, whose death did you find most disturbing? Why?
  12. Share a continuity problem in the last film you saw and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Dream List of Books

There are a lot of books I want to buy. Unfortunately, some are not yet available, and others cost money. I’ve read as much as the Amazon sample allows for most, but decided it would be good to have a dream list of books.


Between Worlds by Jacqueline E. Smith


Birthing Inadequacy by Natasha Head

Broken Places by Rachel Thompson


The Complete History of Middle Earth by Christopher Tolkien


A Dash of Desire by Charity Parkerson


Enlightened by Regina Puckett


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling


Hark-A Christmas Collection by Justin Bog

The Funny Adventures of Little Nani: Book 2

Midnight Chimera by Helle Gade


Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling


Realm of Blood and Fire by Dionne Lister


Sexy Witches by Charity Parkerson


Sing Song Stories by Agnes Crozier Hebertson

7 Films, Books & Songs

I’m starting a post where I list my seven favorite films, books, and songs. Feel free to post yours as well.


7. Milk


5. Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

4. Clerks

3. Disney’s Hercules

2. Return of the Jedi

1. Toy Story


7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

6. Sandcastle and Other Stories by Justin Bog

5. Nocturnal Embers by Helle Gade

4. Taming the Incubus by Robyn Koshel

3. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. A Splash of Hope by Charity Parkerson

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling


7. American Pie by Don McLean

6. I’ve Got a Name by Jim Croce

5. Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits

4. Night Moves by Bob Seger

3. Heart of Gold by Neil Young

2. Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland

1. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin