Mini Show Reviews: August 2016

Warped Tour Chicago – July 23
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Even though Warped didn’t make a Toronto stop this year, I was in Chicago for their date and I truly feel like I finally experienced Warped the way it’s meant to be experienced. There were no delays from bands struggling to cross the border; all the merch was available instead of stuck in transit; and it was so hot, I broke into a sweat just by sitting still (rather than being rained on, which happens every year). We started the day with Young Guns (highly recommend) just after noon and ended the night around 7:30pm with Sum 41 (Canadians represent!) who drew a huge crowd. In between, we saw about a dozen bands total (including partial sets from bands we happened to be passing or who we caught while waiting for the next band), but the highlight for us was The Maine who ALWAYS puts on a stellar show. I’m so glad we got a chance to hit up Warped this year – the summer just isn’t the same without a day at pop punk camp!


Seaway – July 29
seaway

I’ve seen Seaway a couple of times before, but this was their first headlining tour (and they sold out their final date in Toronto!). They’re pure pop punk and I love it: nothing like thrashing around to bangers like “Freak” or “Your Best Friend” on a Friday night. I missed the first two opening bands because I was eating dinner (sidenote: people rave about Sneaky Dee’s but I was quite unimpressed – their nachos weren’t as good as other people would have me believe), but Coldfront was decent. I like how Canadian this tour was!


Nothing But Thieves – August 2
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For something completely non-Canadian, we saw Nothing But Thieves play their first Toronto show ever at the Velvet Underground (I’ve never been there, so that was cool). Opening band Weathers was really good – catchy and decent performers – and the second band, The Unlikely Candidates, were okay, but the singer was greasy in an unpleasant way and it coloured my ability to enjoy them (you know in books when people go to shows and the band is made up of really sleazy dudes? That was this guy). Nothing But Thieves, however, was phenomenal. His voice is so impressive (and very Matt Bellamy) on the album and live he’s even more powerful – check out “Excuse Me” for an example of his range. The highlights, of course, were “Wake Up Call” and “Trip Switch“, but the whole thing was well done and I’d 100% see them again.


blink 182 – August 21
blink

I’ve always wanted to see blink-182 live, and I finally got my chance on the 21st. I was all sorts of stoked when I originally found out that All Time Low was opening for them, and I definitely lost my voice during their set – they played “Six Feet Under the Stars” (the song that made me an ATL fan) which I wasn’t expecting, plus Jack Barakat ran past me halfway through the opening song (“Lost in Stereo“), and I ALMOST touched him. I’ve also heard great things about a live A Day To Remember show, and let me tell you, they did NOT disappoint. They’re literally everything I want in a band (and a little more), and I’m kicking myself for not getting into them sooner, because they’re sooooo good (“2nd Sucks” might be my new favourite song/video/thing in general).

So I was already pretty hyped before blink even came on stage…and while they were good, they weren’t as magnificent as I imagined. I’ve always heard that All Time Low’s stage presence was greatly influenced by blink, but there was no banter, and barely any audience interaction, apart from a handful of sentences thrown out by Mark Hoppus. And while the hits were awesome to sing along to (the crowd was so boisterous, I couldn’t even hear myself during songs like “The Rock Show” and “All the Small Things“), they seemed to be playing them by rote and without any real passion. I also have to say that, while Matt Skiba did a decent job on vocals, it was weird hearing certain songs without Tom DeLonge’s nasally voice, especially that second verse of “I Miss You“. It was still worthwhile seeing pop punk royalty like them, but they were probably more exciting a few years ago. Travis Barker is a MACHINE, though, and watching him drum was definitely the highlight of their set.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books & Music

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Books and Music. These are two of my favourite things, but I rarely put them together (except for the thing I wrote here). So I’ve decided to make a list of songs that are based on literature/authors and/or make literary references.

I know there are a lot more out there – especially David Bowie and Radiohead and The Cure and whatnot – but I limited the list to songs I’m really familiar with.

1) “Resistance” – Muse; based on George Orwell’s 1984

2) “Time to Dance” – Panic! at the Disco; based on Chuck Palahuick’s Invisible Monsters

3) “Legendary” – The Summer Set; references J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

4) “Painting Flowers” – All Time Low; references Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

5) “Weight of Living (Pt. 1)” – Bastille; based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

6) “To the End” – My Chemical Romance; based on William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

7) “Win Some, Lose Some” – You Me At Six; references Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games

8) “Back to Life” – Paradise Fears; references S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders

9) “Bukowski” – Moose Blood; refers to the author, Charles Bukowski

10) “Sowing Season” – Brand New; the second verse is inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”, and the title of the song comes from Stephen King’s Secret Window, Secret Garden

I’m positive I’m missing really obvious ones from my music collection, but those were the ones I came up with (of course, there would have been more if I repeated artists, such as All Time Low’s “Somewhere in Neverland”, Bastille’s “Icarus”, and Paradise Fears’ “Stories in the Dark”, etc).

Let me know in the comments if you think of other songs that could make this list!

Liebster Award Part 3!

Thanks so much to Katie (katiejaysbookblog) for the nomination! I appreciate it and you should check out her blog!

Liebster2

1) What are your hobbies?

Reading, writing, drinking tea, and eating (I’m joking about that last one)(not really, though).

2) Whats your favorite book?

Outside of the Harry Potter series, my favourites include Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted and Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait!.

3) What fandoms (if any) are you in?

Harry Potter, of course, and Sherlock, to a certain extent (I have a fondness for Sherlock gifs!).

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4) What’s your favorite music?

I’ll listen to anything, but I gravitate towards pop-punk and alternative. My top five bands are: You Me At Six, Panic! at the Disco, All Time Low, The Maine, and either Fall Out Boy or Paradise Fears, depending on my mood!

5) Pancakes or Waffles and why?

Well, #wafflesaturday is my favourite day of the week (that’s when my sister makes waffles for breakfast), so I’m going to say WAFFLES!

6) Left or Right handed?

Right handed.

7) What was the last movie you saw?

In theatres: The Peanuts Movie, which I loved. At home: Legally Blonde Two: Red, White & Blonde which I couldn’t remember at all.

snoopy

8) Where are 3 places you’d like to visit?

Ireland, Greece, and San Francisco!

9) Would you rather have your favorite character come into your life or be inserted into your favorite novel?

Ooo, this is a tough one! I’d say be inserted into my favourite novel; I’ve always wanted to visit Hogwarts, and the world in Ella Enchanted is just as magical, full of goblins and fairies and attractive princes. Audrey, Wait! takes place in LA, which I wouldn’t mind visiting either!

10) Favorite beverage?

Tea! I have a large, almost ridiculous, collection (mostly from England, because the Brits really do know their tea).

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I <3 Helena Bonham Carter.

11) What are your goals for 2016 (if any)?

My goal is to read at least 120 books, finish a manuscript (any of them that are currently in progress), and possibly start querying agents (once I finish writing something!).

Thanks again, Katie!

I’ve done the Liebster award twice before, so I won’t nominate blogs (mostly because I don’t have the brain power to come up with questions), but here are the last eleven blogs I followed – you should check them out!

Shelly’s Rambles
Mud and Stars
Cafe Book Bean
That’s So Jacob
Untamed Shrews
The Geek Couple
The Worn Bookmark
RedHeaded Book Lover
Wanderlust: Becoming a Traveler
AroActionCat
Ana Spoke

Top Ten Albums of 2015 [+ link to Mind the Gap]

As usual, I’ve made my list of the best albums of the year, including links to any reviews I wrote on them. You can click here for a playlist featuring two of my favourite songs from each release!

top ten of 2015

1) That’s the Spirit – Bring Me the Horizon
2) American Candy – The Maine
3) American Beauty/American Psycho – Fall Out Boy
4) Future Hearts – All Time Low
5) Life’s Not Out to Get You – Neck Deep
6) Blurryface – twenty one pilots
7) Life in Real Time – Paradise Fears
8) Automatic – Don Broco
9) Sounds Good, Feels Good – 5 Seconds of Summer
10) Vikings – New Politics

There was lots of other good albums this year, including Knuckle Puck’s Copacetic, The Wonder Years’ No Closer to Heaven, Young Guns’ Ones and Zeros, Muse’s Drones, We Are Harlot’s self-titled debut, and Nate Ruess’s solo release, Grand Romantic.

What made your list of best albums?

More Like NaNo-NoGo

I’ve failed. Failed to complete NaNoWriMo, even though you’d think I’d have it under control, it being my third year and all (you can read my success stories here and here).

Alas, it was not meant to be.

I was determined to finish a manuscript, and I got stuck and couldn’t get unstuck. Partly because I know next-to-nothing about British law enforcement and sports, and guess what my WIP is about? BRITISH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SPORTS. So I was constantly pausing to research, and therefore only hit 29,000 words. My other problem is that I like talking about the characters, but I sometimes ignore the plot. My bad.

Plus I wrote 13654320 other things for this blog and Mind the Gap, and spent the rest of my time job-hunting, grumbling about job-hunting, decorating for Christmas, sleeping, and, I don’t know, probably eating.

food sleep

Instead of dwelling on my failure, I’m using this as a learning experience and I know that I will have to better manage my time next year. And, as a positive, I’ll be home for half of December, so I can work on my manuscript then (hopefully)!

I do think, however, that I wrote 50,000 words this month anyway (just not in my WIP!). The following is a list of posts I published in November:

ON THIS BLOG:

Library of Souls review
5 Seconds of Summer mini-review
TTT: Book to Movie Adaptations
Book Blitz: Sugar Skulls
Anne & Henry review
Blog Tour: Every Word
#TheShelfieHop
The Real Neat Blog Award
Andrew McMahon concert review
The Universe Versus Alex Woods review
A Thousand Nights review

ON MIND THE GAP:

PVRIS
WCW: Lynn Gunn
Every series review
Why We Love Neil Gaiman
Orphan Black season one review
Tea-riffic Recommendations
Why We Love Andrew McMahon
#NowPlaying
NaNoWriMo (ironically, I didn’t follow my own advice!)
Soulless review
Why We Love Harry Potter
Community season five review
Peanuts
Holiday Music
Don Broco

ON IDOBI.COM:

Friday Night Lites review

And here’s a list of upcoming posts (written but not yet published) that I’ve been working on, since I’m going to London next week and won’t be home to write them! You can click the links now, but they won’t be live until the date listed in parentheses.

ON THIS BLOG:

TTT: Top Ten Books of 2015 (Dec 15)

ON MIND THE GAP:

Victor Frankenstein review (Dec 2)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Dec 4)
All I Want For Christmas (Dec 5)
My Favourite Christmas/Holiday Episodes (Dec 8)
London (Dec 10)
Holiday Movies (Dec 12)
All Time Low (Dec 14)
WCW: Emma Stone (Dec 16)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone/Days of Blood and Starlight review (Dec 18)
Celebrating the Holidays (Dec 19)
How I Met Your Mother season nine (Dec 22)
Best of 2015 (Dec 26)

You could also maybe sign up for the Mind the Gap newsletter (on our homepage), so that you can keep up with these posts every week (but only if you want to!).

ON IDOBI.COM:

My Christmas Letter to All Time Low/You Me At Six
Un(Covered): Christmas Time is Here
Un(Covered): Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

For anyone who participated in NaNoWriMo, how did it go? And for the rest of you: how was your November?

Five Truths of Riot Fest [re-direct to Mind the Gap]

I just realized I didn’t do a Riot Fest 2015 recap!! This was mostly because I was so darn wet/cold on Saturday, I couldn’t even think of writing anything.

On Saturday, we saw full sets from Thrice and my loves All Time Low, plus partial sets from moneen, Coheed and Cambria, Cancer Bats, and Echo & the Bunnymen. Mostly, we walked around and ate food, because we were cold and wet and eating food made us feel better.

We did get to hear one of our absolute favourite ATL songs live for the first time, though, so that was awesome.

Sunday, we saw part of Frank Turner (recommended if you, like us, enjoy Bruce Springsteen), Bleachers, and Weezer who performed Blue Album in full! We also heard-but-didn’t-see Rancid (we may have been eating again…) and it was considerably nicer (i.e. warmer) than it had been the day before.

It was a great experience, but I really could have done without the rain (it poured while we stood in line on Saturday, which meant we spent most of the day soaked!). I was also able to come up with five truths and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Liebster Award Part 2!

You guys! My ego is going to explode from all this blogger love: I’ve been (re)nominated for the Liebster Award by two people, SJ (Delirious Antidotes) and Cassie (Book Reviews & Haikus)! Thanks so much SJ and Cassie! Please go check out their blogs :)

I love answering random questions, so here we go!

Sidenote: when I was 17-18, I spent half my time on Facebook filling out those random questionnaires that you could post as notes, so this is pretty much my jam.

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Last time, I used the standard turquoise-y one, this time I wanted the pretty pink badge!

Questions from SJ:

1) Let’s kick this off with a little bit of self promotion, as it never did any harm: tell me about a project, website, post etc. that you want to draw attraction to. (URL’s are allowed)

My friend Jane and I are working on a pop culture website which we’re both very excited about! It officially launches on June 1st, but you can check out our snazzy home page here!

2) How did you/do you cope with exam season?

I made a lot of notes. Mostly on graph paper because, for some reason, it helped me focus (I was an English/French major, so I actually had to go out and buy graph paper, come exam time).

3) Who is your favourite band/musician?

How much time do you have?? I can narrow it down to my top five (in no particular order): You Me At Six, Panic! at the Disco, All Time Low, The Maine, and Fall Out Boy.

4) What is your favourite book?

One of my most favourite books of all time is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

5) When did you start blogging?

I started my blog in August 2013. I started talking about books in October 2013, and I’ve been reviewing ARCs/giving books actual ratings since April 2015 (before, I just talked about whether or not I liked the book).

6) What is the best advice you have ever been given?

“Everything happens for a reason”. It’s not really advice so much as a proverb (is it even a proverb?) and I know it’s somewhat cliched, but it’s something I hold on to.

7) Explain the title of your blog.

My oldest sister nicknamed me “Bella” when I was little; she still calls me that and so now my three nieces call me “Bella” as well. When she was about three (she just turned nine), my oldest niece figured out that “Bella” and “books” both start with “b”, and thus she christened me “Bellsiebooks”.

8) Tea or coffee?

Tea! I have a borderline absurd collection of tea, but I love it.

9) What is your least “politically correct” opinion?

That’s a tough one…I don’t know how to answer that!

10) What did you think about before you fell asleep last night?

I’ve been telling myself stories to fall asleep ever since I was a child. For years, it’s been how I’ve worked out plot points for the books I’m trying to write.

Questions from Cassie:

1) What are three things you want to do/accomplish in life?

a) Publish a book (multiple books, ideally)
b) Become a kids’ book editor (or work in marketing for kids’ books…I’d take anything at this point)
c) Travel the world

2) Do you have a favorite musical genre and/or musician/band?

Pop-punk and similar genres (pop rock, metal, “emo”, etc). Please see above for my top five bands!

3) What was your first concert?

I saw Bon Jovi on the “One Wild Night” tour in 2001 with my sisters (I was 11).

4) Who is your favorite author? [If you don’t have one, what’s your favorite book genre?]

I love many authors, including Neil Gaiman, Libba Bray, Melissa Marr, and J.K. Rowling. I read a lot of YA (which is a category, not a genre), and I tend to enjoy contemporary or paranormal/supernatural/urban fantasy.

5) What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

I cannot possibly pick just one!! Ella Enchanted has been one of my favourite books for 17 years (I read it when I was 8), but I’m always swooning over some book or another.

6) When do you read most?

When I was working, I’d read on the morning commute and then continued for a bit when I got to work. Since my internship ended a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been reading a lot more at night.

7) What’s your preference: “real” physical books, e-books, audiobooks, or a mix of all of them?

Real books!!! I have a Kindle (which I stole from my dad) for my NetGalley ARCs and I sometimes use my phone if I don’t want to carry the e-reader around, but I much prefer the feel of physical books.

8) If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Telepathy!

9) What fictional character would you like to be friends with most? Why?

Oh, so many! Anyone from the Harry Potter universe, of course, but sometimes I wish I had a tiger friend like Hobbes (he’s furry and good for conversation!). And if we’re going outside of books, then I’d want to be BFF’s with Marceline from Adventure Time because she is my hero.

10) Do you have hobbies besides reading?

I write and I’m a huge music fan, so I’m constantly a) updating my collection or b) attending a concert.

11) What’s your favorite food or drink to have while reading?

I don’t really eat/drink when I’m reading, but I guess tea. And I’ll eat chocolate at any time of the day, so I wouldn’t say no if someone were to hand me a piece of Dairy Milk while I was reading :)

Thanks for reading! And thanks again for the nomination(s)!

You may recall that I was nominated for this award in April, so I’m not going to officially nominate blogs. However, here is a list of the last 10 blogs I followed – you should check them out too!

a bookworm’s escape
aBOOkishOwl
iamkira
thoughts and afterthoughts
Becca and Books
Owls and Things
Just my humble life
Barda Book Talk
Gilmored
Hardcovers and Heroines

We’ve got scars on our future hearts

Much to my delight, nearly all of my favourite bands are releasing new music this year! A couple of weeks ago, All Time Low dropped their fifth (technically sixth, but since you can’t find a physical copy of 2005’s The Party Scene, I tend to ignore it) album and it’s just as good as their past efforts. I would describe this overall as a cross between 2009’s Nothing Personal and 2011’s Dirty Work and below I’ve presented my thoughts on each track.

All_Time_Low_Future_Hearts

1) “Satellite”

Favourite lyric: We were just kids singing

This is an excellent opener and has a bit of an anthemic quality to it. I love how it starts slow and builds up until you’re practically screaming the last few lines. Apparently ATL have been opening their live shows with this song, and I can only imagine how pumped the fans get.

2) “Kicking & Screaming”

Favourite lyric: I’m chasing after rock n’ roll

I personally love how aggressive Alex sounds in this song. It’s bold and brash and absurdly catching.

3) “Something’s Gotta Give”

Favourite lyric: Wake me up, say “enough is enough”, I’m dying to live, something’s gotta give

This was the first taste we received of new ATL back in February, and I think it still holds up as one of my favourite tracks. As I mentioned when it came out, people complained that they didn’t like ATL’s “new direction”, but this song, to me, is the logical and natural progression for the band.

4) “Kids in the Dark”

Favourite lyric: They left us alone, the kids in the dark, to burn out forever, or light up a spark

Another single that was released in March, this one grew on me. I liked it fine to begin with and now, after listening to it for the umpteenth time, it’s a great sing-a-long song.

5) “Runaways”

Favourite lyric: They will have to find some other hearts to break

I think I listened to this song once before the album officially dropped and most people were comparing it to The Killers’ “When You Were Young”. I can sort of see where they got that idea from, but I don’t think it’s so similar that you would get the two mixed up.

It’s probably not among my top five faves on the album, but this is still vintage All Time Low.

6) “Missing You”

Favourite lyric: Paint the walls black and scream “fuck the world”, ’cause it’s my life, I’m gonna take it back

THIS SONG is one of my favourites. I don’t know what it is about it that I love so much, but it seeps into my bones – especially when the bass kicks in – and makes me stop whatever I’m doing to sing along.

7) “Cinderblock Garden”

Favourite lyric: Let’s take the worst and make it better

If I said this on a music fan site (like absolutepunk or propertyofzack), I’d probably be stoned, but honestly, this song reminds me of a 5 Seconds of Summer song, especially the beginning. Before you lambaste me, please note that I a) have been a fan of ATL for 8 years and will lovingly support them until my dying day and b) I actually quite like 5SOS, so it’s not an insult (plus, Alex Gaskarth wrote with 5SOS, so it makes sense that they’d have a similar style, right?).

That being said, it’s not actually my favourite song. I can appreciate the musical aspect and Alex’s voice is, as always, gorgeous, but despite the pretty lyrics, it just makes me feel “meh”. It does get stuck in my head quite a bit, though, so I probably like it more than I think I do (if that makes sense).

8) “Tidal Waves”

Favourite lyric: You sharpen words to use like knives, when you lose your cover, there’ll be nothing left

This song makes me think of blink-182, but that’s literally because of Mark Hoppus’ verse. It’s the closest thing to a ballad on this album and I generally enjoy ATL’s slow songs, so of course I like this one. Again, Alex’s voice = beautiful.

9) “Don’t You Go”

Favourite lyric: Settle back now and raise a toast, to the young ones growing old

The beginning of this song reminds me of blink too (or maybe even Simple Plan?), and while that could be because of it’s proximity to “Tidal Waves”, I also think it’s because of its playful, bouncy vibe. I’ll bet this is a fun one to hear live.

10) “Bail Me Out”

Favourite lyric: Will you catch me when I fall?

To me, this is one of the filler tracks. Standard, boppy ATL (shout out to Joel Madden of Good Charlotte!), but nothing too outstanding. I can’t even remember what it sounds like when I’m not listening to it.

11) “Dancing With a Wolf”

Favourite lyric: Fool me once, it’s shame on you, fool me twice and let the wolves come crashing through

I’ve named this one “my jam” (for this album). It’s not exactly what you’d expect from ATL – it almost has an early Fall Out Boy vibe – but it’s fun and dancey and gah, I just love it so much.

12) “The Edge of Tonight”

Favourite lyric: You’re the beat playing in my heart

Similar to “Bail Me Out” where I can’t bring it to mind. It fits with the overall tone of the album, but it does feel more like a filler (which is fine – you can’t expect every song to be the BEST SONG EVER).

13) “Old Scars/Future Hearts”

Favourite lyric: We’ve got scars on our future hearts, but we never look back, no, we never look back

I love this as a closer. It brings the same energy as “Satellite”, the guitars are on point, and while it has a bit more of an aggressive vibe, I think it’s one of the strongest, most cohesive tracks on the album.

I bought the deluxe edition with the bonus tracks: “Bottle and a Beat” and “Your Bed”, neither of which I LOVE (with a capital L-O-V-E), but still appreciate and if you’re a hardcore ATL fan like me, they’re worth checking out.

Tattoo Thursday

I’ve decided that today is “Tattoo Thursday”. Why? Because yesterday I got my fourth tattoo! But also because it’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want!

I’m actually 25, but this is close enough.

August 2012

tattoo

My first tattoo – Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I often talk about how much I love Jack, so it made perfect sense to get his face permanently inked on me.

April 2014

Last year on my birthday, I finally convinced my sister Ro to get matching tattoos with me (I’m Reckless, she’s Brave). There are two layers to these tattoos:

1) The “VI” symbolizes one of our favourite bands, You Me At Six, and “Reckless” is my favourite YMAS song.

2) “The Reckless and the Brave” is a song by another fave band, All Time Low, and it was the perfect way to combine our love for two bands.

August 2014

IMAG0278

I wrote an entire post about the album behind this tattoo when I got it last summer, but it’s a Panic! at the Disco reference (“Nine in the Afternoon”), plus I’ve always liked pocket watches.

April 2015

quarter sleeveI’m referring to this as my “quarter sleeve” (not quite a half sleeve, but still more than just a single tattoo). I got this yesterday and it’s gorgeous (though it was gruesomely bloody before I took the bandage off). It’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandthemed (“we’re all mad here” is one of my favourite quotes) plus it went really well with my pocket watch and I also love drinking tea, so it has multiple meanings!

And there you have it! Those are my four tattoos, but trust me when I say I have a thousand other ideas (which include, but are not limited to: the Deathly Hallows symbol, Calvin & Hobbes, Adventure Time, the VFD/eye symbol from A Series of Unfortunate Events, song lyrics, and a Neil Gaiman quote).

How about you, readers? Do you have any tattoos? Do you want any? Let me know in the comments!