Happy Halloween!

So we’re not really the type of family to celebrate Halloween. It’s not really because of our religious beliefs (although we are Catholic) but none of us go trick-or-treating. Even still, it is quite entertaining to try and be vaguely *ahem* spooky throughout the day. Just randomly ambush people on the street. Well no, not random people on the street, that’s going a step too far… maybe just random family members? No, no… well I suppose I could attack the mirror every now and then.

The adorable pumpkin – it’s the next big thing, I’m telling you.

But in all seriousness, Halloween does have quite a cool vibe to it, which is probably the most enjoyable thing about it (well obviously trick-or-treating reaps its own rewards, but speaking from first hand experience here). We don’t get many (if any) trick-or-treaters at our house, which is also fine by me. Overall, you could say I enjoy Halloween from the comfort of my computer. That’s nice isn’t it? Better than being outside in the rain and the cold knocking on stranger’s doors for candy. Yes… Halloween for me is more of the indoor holiday.

Joe.

P.S. Also, crossing Halloween off of the holiday list means that the next big thing is Christmas… yay! Now that is an outdoor holiday if there every was one.

P.P.S. If you haven’t seen my previous post, go read it at https://coatechnophile.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/house-elf-a-day-in-the-life/ and vote on whether you think it was the best out of nine amazing entries to the What If? Writing Challenge at http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=323239.

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House Elf – A Day in the Life….

The doorbell rang at the break of dawn.

“Coming!” I shouted sleepily.

I opened the door to see someone wearing what looked like a giant pillowcase, holding a clipboard in his hand. Why did the fanatics always come in the early hours of the morning?

“Excuse me sir! Would you be willing to donate money to the house elf rehabilitation centre, for those abandoned, neglected and abused house elves who-”

I slammed the door in his face. All of these Harry Potter charities had started popping up all over the place, asking for money for a new wand or  advertising Hogwarts Castle for sale. It always happened around Halloween time, and it drove me crazy – especially when it disturbed my sleep. I hadn’t even read the Harry Potter books…

I looked back and saw the man was still outside the door. He had suddenly whipped out what looked like a large stick and I felt myself shrinking uncontrollably. What was happening? I felt my skin become wrinkly and my eyes getting larger, my clothes turning white and pillow-like. I could no longer reach the door handle of my own front door. I was trapped.

“LET ME OUT!” I cried, but my voice had turned high-pitched and squeaky. “What have you done to me!?”

The man muttered something under his breath, pointing the wand at the door, and it opened. He picked me up and put me in his backpack.

“Hello little guy!” he said. “Owner abandon you?”

“YOU did this. You made me into a… a…”

“Oh look at you. You’re a feisty one aren’t you?”

He winked at me. “Trust me, you’re safe. It’s only one day. You’ll last one day – right?”

What was he talking about? What was he doing? I wracked my brains to remember what he’d said before. A charity for house elves… was he going to take me to the rehab centre? Oh no, no, no…

***

When he finally took me out of his backpack, I got a good view of the rehabilitation centre. There were at least thirty house elves playing around, which from my limited Harry Potter knowledge didn’t seem right – weren’t house elves, in all essence, slaves?

“Here, we rescue abused or neglected house elves, and train them to find useful roles in the wizarding society.” the charity man said.

“Wait… how is this happening? Harry Potter isn’t real…”

“Yeah he is.” he said. “I am Harry Potter.”

“Wait, how…”

“After I defeated Voldemort, I didn’t find real fulfilment in being an Auror – so I decided to set up a charity for the protection of house elf rights. Now I live a happy life.”

I decided to go along with him. “So you don’t sell anyone?”

“No… not usually.” he said. “But I hear that the Malfoy family is in need of a new house elf. We do offer rental services to teach any misbehaving house elves that they’re very lucky to be rescued… it usually sets them straight. And maybe it will set you straight too…”

“You can’t do this. This is slave labour! This is kidnapping!”

“And it’s what thousands of house elves go through every year.” he said. “You should have donated. You should have donated…”

I sighed, knowing I just had to deal with it. It was only one day right? Surely I could last one day? Malfoy… the name sounded nice enough. What could go wrong?

***

“Clean my shoes elf! Where are you, you good-for-nothing, mudblood loving elf!”

I had long since gotten past refusing. The first time had got me a kick and the second something much more deadly… some sort of spell. He even made me feel as if I had it easy, saying “You’re lucky I don’t use the cruciatus curse on house elves.” I didn’t know what that was, but it didn’t sound good. I started to polish when I noticed a pair of scissors on the table, out of reach. When he wasn’t looking, I stacked his shoes on top of one another to give me a lift, and slid them off the table. Then I cut two small holes out of the pillow case so it looked like a ghost costume. Whenever he poked his head around the door I went back to my cleaning. Luckily for me, he was preoccupied keeping the trick-or-treaters off his lawn, scaring the living daylights out of the little kids. It was time for my revenge.

The next chance I got, I hung myself from the ceiling using  a piece of string and waited. As soon as he came into view, I shouted as loud as I could, “BOO!”

He froze… and then burst out laughing. He wouldn’t stop. I felt some sort of anger boiling up inside of me.

“You think I’m scared of that cheap muggle imitation?” he said. “You’re lucky I’m amused enough not to punish you. But I’m not buying you a new bedsheet. You’ll be wearing that the rest of your life.”

“Wait… WHAT?!” I said. “But this is a rental service…”

“Well the stupid rehabilitation centre shouldn’t be stupid enough to lend house elves to me – unless they want me to ruin their little “charity”…” he said, fingering his wand gently.

My heart sunk. I was trapped forever…

But then as the brink of dawn caught on the horizon, the strangest thing happened. I started to grow, as my body changed back into human form. Malfoy watched on horror stricken as my skin smoothened and my eyes shrunk back to normal size, before he finally fainted. The string that had been used to tie me to the ceiling broke.

I smiled and said, “Trick or treat.” before running out of the house at full speed and donating £1000 to the house elf rehabilitation centre.

***

This was done as part of the What If? Monthly Writing Challenge. This is officially a voting process, so if you think mine was the best entry out of a number of entries (please read the others before you vote!) then go to okaywhatif.com and vote!

EDIT: Sorry, wrong website to vote! Go to http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=323239 (you could have gotten there from the What If? Monthly Writing Challenge as well).

OT: The Queen Incident

I know I didn’t post last week like I planned to (so much for the schedule) but now it is officially HALF TERM! This is the first holiday of the term, so a welcome relief, even if it only lasts a week. This is good as it means more posts. We have also reached 2000 hits people! :) I have started to write a Bucket List, which currently has a bit more than 100 things to accomplish on there already. It’ll probably be ready by next Saturday for you to see (yes, it will be one of my *ahem* longer posts).

The Queen

As such, I thought it could be nice to talk about something that definitely would have been on my bucket list had I not already done it: meet the Queen.

Before you go hysterical, I was maybe two or three (and also Scottish, but that’s irrelevant :)) and in my memory I never saw her face… in fact I don’t even remember seeing any part of her. I remember some feet wearing fancy shoes, but I’m not even sure they were her feet. So yeah… more of an indistinct dream than a meeting. But I came within a few metres of her, so I count it as a meeting.

It wasn’t just a random thing though. Like I wasn’t walking down the road when I saw her at a burger bar. She had come to open some new nearby sports centre, so my nursery obviously got into full swing and we made all these mini Union Jack flags to wave around. Even though I don’t remember the Queen herself, I do remember waving my Union Jack around frantically as she walked down some sort of pathway. At the time my understanding of the Royal Family was somewhat confused, but I think I appreciated the occasion as much as I could at my tender age.

And that’s the story of how I kind of, sort of met the Queen.

Joe.

Extrovert or Introvert?

As you may have noticed, I have attempted to drop the ‘OT’ tag from now on, since it’s pretty obvious which posts are Operation Toothpaste posts and which are not. We’ll see how that turns out.

I’m not entirely sure why this has happened, but recently everyone has been using the words ‘extrovert’ and ‘introvert’. A lot. For those not in the know…

An extrovert is some who finds happiness in social interaction and prefers time with friends as opposed to time alone in a room writing on a computer. Extrovert are generally quite talkative and energetic, and generally outgoing.

On the other end of the scale, introverts are happy when they spend some time alone with themselves. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT INTROVERTS ARE LONELY. It just means they like to read a book more than they like shuffling around awkwardly at parties. They are more analytical and less energetic. They’re also quite reflective on life and all that jazz. Continue reading

The WordPress Family Award!

Very recently I was nominated for the WordPress Family Award by the Indecisive Eejit (formerly the Geeky G4mer), for which I’d like to say muchas gracias! I’m very honoured to be part of your WordPress Family. :3 As you can probably tell, you give this award to about 10 fellow WordPress bloggers who are part of your virtual family. There’s very little work, all you have to do is nominate 10 people, put the award sign on your blog, link back to the person who nominated you, and smile for the people watching you through your webcam.

Just joking. ;)

In no particular order…

Thank all of you guys so much! I’m not really in a speech mood for some reason, but you’re all really great blogs and I’m happy to say that, through blogging, I’ve met loads of really great people. It’s quite a big diversity of people, so it shows that… you know. There are great people everywhere? Sorry to sound cheesy…

What do you know, I was in a speech mood. :D

Again, thank all of you guys so much. You make this blog a blog (as opposed to an awkward internet diary that no-one reads apart from myself). I’ll let you all know I’ve nominated you as soon as I can be bothered (most of you, if not all, will probably read this anyway).

Joe. :3

Song analysis: Skyfall

On YouTube, there is a channel called Cup of Team, consisting of two people. You most likely haven’t heard of it, because it isn’t very mainstream. But they used to do a feature called Song Analysis, were one of them would mock the lyrics of songs and find out what they really meant.  They haven’t done this for a while, but I thought I would do an analysis of “Skyfall” and see what it literally means. I’ll go line by line. The notes are italicised.The results may shock you…

“Skyfall” – By Adele

First Verse

This is the end – This obviously refers to an apocalypse of some kind.
Hold your breath and count to ten – This signifies the near immediate impact of the event.
Feel the earth move and then – As the earth has been moved by the event, it could be an earthquake or collision.
Hear my heart burst again – Melancholy grief at the end of the world.

Second Verse

For this is the end – The phrase ‘this is the end’ has been repeated to emphasise the importance of it.
I’ve drowned and dreamt this moment – It has been clear for a long time that the end of the world is nigh. All those annoying soothsayers!
So overdue I owe them – The singer knows that the event has been long coming or she needs to pay the soothsayer.
Swept away, I’m stolen – The singer has been literally swept away by the impact of the event.

Chorus

Let the sky fall – The event entails something falling from the sky.
When it crumbles – This can be viewed metaphorically, as in the singer’s world is crumbling, or literally, as in the singer’s world is crumbling.
We will stand tall – The singer is encouring others to face the event…
Face it all together – … together.

The chorus is repeated with the extra lines ‘At Skyfall/That Skyfall’ but these add little meaning.

Skyfall is where we start – This indicates that the event, though a harbinger of destruction, will also herald a new beginning.
A thousand miles and poles apart – The impact will be felt from the North Pole to the South Pole.
Where worlds collide and days are dark – This indicates the darkening of the sky and the collision of two planetary objects.
You may have my number, you can take my name – See next line.
But you’ll never have my heart – The singer mocks the incoming object. It can take his/her identity, but it can not have her love!

Chorus x 2 with the extra line ‘At skyfall’

[2x:]
(Let the sky fall – Nothing to add.
When it crumbles – The impacting object will likely crumble at impact.
We will stand tall) – The singer is encouraging people to face the oncoming destruction with bravery!

Where you go I go
What you see I see
I know I’d never be me
Without the security
Of your loving arms
Keeping me from harm
Put your hand in my hand
And we’ll stand

(This entire verse suggests some sort of lover who gives the singer comfort, and strengthens the singer in their dire time of need. More on this later.)

The last few verses are basically a repeat of the above, so nothing important.

But what do the verses mean!

As much as you may think that Skyfall is nonsensical, like many other songs (or perhaps it makes sense along with the movie; I don’t know, I haven’t seen it), all the evidence is in the contrary.

Hear me out OK? I believe… my theory is that Skyfall is about the meteor apocalypse that killed the dinosaurs.

No wait… think about it. This is the end. Feel the earth move and then. Where worlds collide and days are dark. What else could it plausibly be? Adele is quite literally singing about a skyfall. To point out the science, days are dark is obviously referring to the ash that surrounded the earth for a while after the meteor hit. What else, apart from possibly Gangnam Style, could have an influence ‘poles apart’?

But why on earth would Adele be singing about the dinosaur apocalypse. What reasoning is there behind this? Which leads onto my next point quite nicely. You’ll have to bear with me – I’m going to backtrack a little to when you or your nephew or niece or son or daughter or even grandchild was a small baby. Like I said – bear with me. Now think back as to what your first memory of television is. What were you watching? For many of you, you will see a big purple blob. Zoom in, and you will see that this purple blob is actually a very smiley dinosaur, complete with an absurdly high voice. In case you don’t know, this dinosaur’s name is Barney.*

If you don’t know him, it doesn’t matter; just think of him as a big, purple dinosaur made cute and cuddly for children under the age of three.

Now the show never really touches on Barney’s origins, which leaves a lot of questions unanswered. For instance, how did he get here? Dinosaurs are extinct, right? We all know that he has found a useful place in society, teaching children moral values and the alphabet through song and dance, but surely there is more to him than this? I believe that behind this façade lies a dinosaur troubled and disturbed by his past. You see, the only way he could have gotten here is if he had survived the dinosaur apocalypse. We know he escaped with a few other dinosaurs, who also appear on the show, but what must he have left behind?

This is going to sound crazy, but I think Barney was the inspiration for Skyfall. It is probable that he lost a lover in the meteor shower, and Skyfall is actually a song of mourning. The verse that starts ‘Skyfall is where we start’ is probably Barney’s ode to humanity; for although the meteors brought an end to the era of the dinosaurs, it was also the harbinger of a new age.

But how did these original lyrics come into the hands of Adele? Perhaps in her quest for inspiration, she came across this big purple blob from her childhood, wrote a song about him, and immortalised him forever in a Bond song. As the show was cancelled in 2009, Barney is effectively dead. But he lives on in our hearts… and reruns. R.I.P. Barney.

***

*I’m pretty sure Barney is originally American, but we have videos of him; I watched those.

I have a lot to get off my chest… Part 2!

It’s been a while since I last posted so a lot has happened. I don’t really have any reasons for not posting, it just never felt like the right time. Obviously homework, but I think if I had wanted to I could have posted.

To catch you up quickly…

… on why there is a skull in this picture?

Almost immediately after my last post, we had a French exchange student come live in our house for a week. I won’t say much about it, but she was really nice, and it was a good week.

School is also going well. The homework levels have settled a bit lower than usual, which is a good thing, and the feeling of novelty is nearly gone. I am officially back to school. Quiz Club is thriving. Although in the beginning my friends found it boring, a lot of them have returned and I’m very happy about that. That might sound a little weird, as it isn’t even my club, but last year, I was the only one in my entire year in Quiz Club for most of the year, so this is good news! We have had a few minor tests, but nothing too drastic yet. Next half-term is when the Christmas exams start, so eventually my feeling of security will be shattered and all sense of calm will be gone… to put it lightly.

Moving on…

My parents recently signed the letter for me to go on a trip to Paris with the school for a number of days. This might not sound that big, but I’ve never been abroad without my family before, so I’m really excited! :D For part of the trip, we’ll visit Disneyland Paris, so it’ll be my second time going. I have fond memories of their, although I admit Florida would have been better… but by no means am I complaining! ;)

I also went to a Chinese restaurant yesterday with the rest of the family. Although I would like to say that I tried everything and was not that much of a fussy eater (especially as I know that everyone loves Chinese food) it wasn’t really for me. There was nuggets and chips and jelly available, and that composed the majority of my meal. I think the only vaguely Chinese thing I liked was the ‘Chef’s Special’; I didn’t even like the noodles there!

And finally, some very good news…

I am really happy to say that I now have 50 followers. Fifty! This is also my sixtieth post, but considering that includes all the little updates and stuff, that’s not really that important. I would like to thank everyone who followed, even the spammers. ;) Thank you for making this blog worthwhile. I have also been nominated for the WordPress Family Award by The Indecisive Eejit (formerly the Geeky G4mer) so I will get on that right away!

Again, thank you guys so much. I wasn’t really sure where this blog would go when I started, but I’m happy where it’s taking me. I’ve met a lot of really good people here, so thanks for supporting me!

Joe.