projectspace: (sora)
Dear new student:

Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Thank you for accepting your offered place at Britain's premiere school of Magic; we are excited to have you join us. Attached is your orientation packet to help guide you though your first few weeks at Hogwarts. If you are Muggle-raised you will also find A Parent's Guide to Magical Britain enclosed. Although it says "A Parent's Guide", you, the student, are encouraged to read it with your family so you may learn something of your rights and responsibilities as a junior citizen of the Wizarding world.

Your time at Hogwarts will likely be very different from your life at home. While it is incumbent upon you to make the adjustment, the Hogwarts faculty and staff are committed to helping you transition from childhood to being an adult Witch or Wizard.


You may have by now heard of Hogwarts' House System which Sorts students based on their personalities. While in the past students were Sorted into Houses upon their arrival at Hogwarts, today we recognize that a person's personality is extremely fluid at age eleven, and that their priorities and interests can change day by day, especially as they learn more about the world of adult Wizards. Sorting can be an important part of self-discovery, but we have opted to wait for final House Sorting until the beginning of a student's third year. This way, you will have time to get a sense of what place you might like to have in the Magical World, your interests and priorities, and even what kinds of other people you would like to spend most of your time around. Your House will be your family and home at Hogwarts, so a good fit is especially important.

First and second year students live and study together in Ickle House (also called Lower or Unsorted House). You will still go through the Sorting ceremony, as this is part of how Hogwarts recognizes you as a student, but you will automatically be assigned to Ickle House if you are under thirteen years of age. Your Head of House, House Matron, and Prefects (sixth and seventh year students drawn from all four Upper Houses) will all help you adjust to life at Hogwarts and in the Magical world. They will counsel you both academically and personally, mediate conflicts, guide you through the ins-and-outs of Hogwarts, ensure school rules are followed, and lend a sympathetic ear if you simply need to talk.


In addition to the Core Subjects of History of Magic, Transfiguration, Charms, Protection (formerly Defense Against Dark Arts), and Potions, first and second year students will take two classes to introduce them to life at Hogwarts and the larger world. All first and second years attend Methods, which will teach you to cope with the academic rigors of Hogwarts and be a successful student: how to conduct good library research, effective study skills, how to safely practice for practicals, time management, and essay writing. As our students come from diverse academic backgrounds, remedial tutoring in these topics, as well as literacy and numeracy, are available for students who require it in addition to regular classes. Just remember, you would not have been offered a place at Hogwarts if the faculty did not have full confidence in your ability to do well here.

First and second year students are also required to take Introduction to Magical Britain. This is a civics class, focused on a Wizard's rights and responsibilities as a citizen of Magical Britain, law, Britain's place in the larger Magical world, the relationship between Magical and Muggle Britain, and the functioning of various Magical institutions such as the Ministry, Wizengamot, Gringotts, and the school system of which Hogwarts is the crown jewel. In the first two months of the first year, students will be divided according to their upbringing: Muggle-raised students will receive instruction in magical matters their Wizard-raised peers learned as children, including an introduction to Wizarding culture; Wizard-raised students will conversely receive an overview of modern Muggle life, so they may understand their fellow students and the entirety of the world of which Wizards are a minority.

Because most Magical incantations are not in Modern English, first year students receive an introduction to Latin, focusing on the language elements salient to the formation of Magical incantations and naming conventions. Second year students take a similar class focusing on Ancient Greek. Further classes in both these languages are available as electives, which you may begin to take in your third year.
projectspace: (Default)
Note to self:

Sand plows? Like snow plows, but for after sandstorms. Sandstorms are why desert cities have walls & doors.
projectspace: (Default)
I've been vaguely poking at a sort of continuation of this entry (which is also turning into a Defendor fanfic if you stand on your head and squint) and a story about Snape being saved from death and de-aged/sent back in time for a do-over to see if he's worthy of becoming an Alchemist1 after his "assumed" death at Nagini's, er, fang. Both stories have the same problem: so far they're much more about logistics and planning than plot.

I freely admit I am Bad At Plot. Part of this is because I don't really understand How Things Work, including People. I mean, I get cause and effect, but all those unseen steps that go into other people's decision-making and all of the things between the cause and the effect, I don't know what they are, and unlike the root cause, I can't necessarily extrapolate them from the effect. This could be why I am so fond of procedurals, even as I recognize they are nothing resembling accurate.

I also am not good at seeing opportunities for action. "What does one do in school?" Well, one goes to class, studies, socializes with friends at lunch... How people got themselves into trouble I will never know. I always say I never smoked pot because I didn't have clue one how to find a dealer. This is still true. As hard as it is to write people who are smarter than you, it's that much harder to write people who have more agency/initiative than you do. Perhaps it's because I grew up in a fairly adventure/trouble-free area.

But really, the shape of the gears is at least (if not more) interesting to me than the configuration. Given what we were shown in the books, could the Trio have created the Marauder's Map? Could Severus? Or were Moony, Padfoot, and Prongs2 so uniquely smart and that powerful that they and only they could have managed such a thing at any age? How exactly does a street-level superhero go about gearing up without his credit card history giving him away? With the realism/grit knob turned up, what would be important for a superhero to have?

On the other hand, I know most other people don't want to read 500 words about how 10-year-old sent-back-in-time Snape finds paper to write his obsessive lists on or how a street-hero structures his shopping trips.

1Alchemists are sort of the Hidden Masters/Shadow Rulers/Illuminati/Whathaveyou of the Wizarding World, and Nicholas Flamel was the hidden king, which is why his failed protege/liaison to the wand-wavers Dumbledore started losing political influence after his death sometime just before or during the beginning of Chamber of Secrets.

I happen to like the theory because the Wizengamot doesn't seem to be well-thought out (as seen through the Harry filter). What exactly are their powers? They are both the Legislature and the Judiciary? What exactly is their relationship to the Ministry? What is the Ministry's relationship to the governance of the outside-of-Britain Wizarding World?

2Wormtail is braver than other characters credit him, but I always see him as someone with more cunning than intelligence, and he was certainly not as rawly powerful as his friends.
projectspace: (matterhorn/castle)
I need some new icons for this account...

Anyway, I've been delving as much as possible into pre-Galfridian Arthur. Which, considering how little is extant, is kind of difficult. I'm really trying to avoid Gildas too. I have ... theoried.

Arthur is not actually all that interesting to me as a figure. He doesn't seem to have much of a defined personality and is totally at the whim of the writer. Same with Gwenhwyfar. The knights of the court, however, are kind of cool. Cei, for example, is a giant who can hold his breath for several days and runs so hot he can boil water with his hand. Bedwyr is the most prominent knight of the court, and has exceptional prowess in spite of having only one hand.

I've always been fond of Gawain. Unfortunately, his Welsh source, Gwalchmei, doesn't show up in a lot of stories. He's mentioned, frequently, in passing ("he was no Gwalchmei"), and he shows up in some of the Triads (golden-tongued, well-endowed, generous to guests, fearless, and has an awesome horse), but there don't seem to be any stories (extant) where he does anything outside of that one time he talked Drustan/Tristram out of a cave. Obviously he was a very prominent figure back when all those manuscripts were written, but nowadays we have to settle for French and Middle English romances.

I tripped across a mention that Gareth's name may have derived from Gwared, meaning "gentle". Like Agravaine and Gaheris, Gareth as a character is a post-Galfridian addition to the mythology, and does nothing beyond be an Orkney brother until Malory1 decided he needed a paragon to kill off. Like Gawain, Gareth is well-known for his courtesy. Until Malory, he's redundant, and it's unclear how many Orkney brothers with G names there are (yay medieval spelling).

I started to think Gwalchmei (hawk of the plain) kind of sounds more like an epithet or title. So I've decided Gawain and Gareth are the same person, named Gwared, and his fierceness and prowess in battle earned him the epithet Gwalchmei, which got elided/muddled into his name as he faded into passing mentions.

This could just be because I truly loathe the phlegm syllable. Gwalchmei is kind of unlovely to say. It just kind of Gollums around in the back of your throat.

1 The Orkneys should sue Malory for slander. Especially Morgause/Anna(/Gwyar?). Srsly. So should Guinevere, come to think of it.
projectspace: (Default)
I've started on a vaguely Arthurian/British mythology Harry Potter story based in large part off [ profile] swythyv's (the older newspaper hattery especially) and Red Hen's theories, with a good dollop of Whitehound thrown in, as well as my own speculations.

Unfortunately, as plot and I are not the best friends, I seem to be bogged down in world building (as well as figuring out what my POV character's and Bad Company's glasses of water are). Here's what I have of the Wizarding World (sans Harry filter and wand-waving foolishness) so far:

Read more... )
projectspace: (sora)
thin piezoelectric substrate over a solid substance under a slightly flexible substance for sidewalks and floors power municipal lighting.

Water clocks
projectspace: (sora)
Upgraded to a Plus account so's I can start posting pictures of all the Heraldry stuff I've been doing in the last 18 mo. or so. As soon as I can figure out the confluence between my camera, notebook, and LJ. Then you will know ph34r. Dread the Herald who cannot draw!!

Except for now I'm going to go watch Human Weapon before my DVR eats it.

You may also be subjected to my sighings and moanings regarding garb, armor, and whatever else my restless little brain gets around to.
projectspace: (Default)
I think Clark Sorensen's flower urinals would be a great little bit of theming in the restroom nearest Alice in Wonderland. With matching toilets for the ladies room, of course.
projectspace: (princejohn)
I've decided my brain's not big enough to hold everything at once. Anyone know of good OSX-compatible (pre Intel) wiki software that requires no programming fu? Free is a plus.


Sep. 27th, 2006 01:03 pm
projectspace: (woozle)
Wanted to get this train of thought down before I forgot it.

I've always been a little dissatisfied with the Butterbeer recipes found on the intarwebz. They all seem to be along the lines of "add butter/butterscotch syrup to cream soda or root beer". That's butterscotch cream soda, not Butterbeer. I've been considering making my own sodas (several methods put forth on the web sound fairly easy, with the greatest difficulty lying in the ability to find high quality extracts in the flavors I want), and butterscotch was sort of on the list, so proper Butterbeer seemed like a logical step from there.

A couple things collided in my various and sundry researches over the last couple days: there was mentioned, on one of the Make Your Own Soda sites that hops is one of the ingredients in root beer. Butterbeer is at least slightly alcoholic (Winky gets rather drunk off it), so the possibility of actual butterscotch-flavored beer wasn't too far from my mind in the first place. Especially since one of the best soda-making tutorials I found on a Google search came up from Brew Your Own, a homebrewing magazine (the library subscribes). Right, off to the Florilegium Beverage archive for a look at the brewing threads. Wherein I found that the Medieval definitions are (generally) that ale is an unhopped malty brew thing, and beer is a hopped malty brew thing. In the 1400's (well before the Secrecy Act and separation of the wizarding world from the Muggles), the Brewers Guild petitioned the Mayor of London to ban brewing with hops. The Beer Brewers Guild and the Ale Brewers Guild were separate until the 1500's (still before the Seclusion). Hops were a beer component before wizards left the Muggle world, and thus were known to wizard brewers (and used by them) at time of the Seclusion. The key is that Butterbeer is indeed a beer.

That all leaves us with a definition of Butterbeer as a hoppy, malty, butterscotchy brew thing. Probably don't want to drunken up the kiddies (plus, beer brewing sounds rather effort-intensive); better to leave it as a soda than let it ferment. So...a syrup base with hops, malt (malted milk instead?), and butter/butterscotch as flavoring mixed with soda water? Which is a little better/more accurate than "make butterscotch-flavored root beer". I think.

Someday I may even get off my lazy ass and try this. After I get off my lazy ass and make Cinnamon Vanilla soda, the desire for which kicked off this entire line of thought in the first place.
projectspace: (Default)
In rereading Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the, I noticed at least two references to elf-made wine: Snape offers it to Narcissa and Bellatrix in the first chapter, and Hagrid and Slughorn sing its praises when they get shitfaced after Aragog's funeral. Now, house-elves don't strike me as the vintner types. As far as they have been presented, house elves are the semi-skilled domestics of the wizarding world; never have we seen them have any inclination to the kind of highly skilled and specialized labor wine-making and brewing would require, nor has it ever been mentioned that they are employed in such a capacity. If there is wine made by house elves, wouldn't it bear the label/name of their master? Wouldn't the master then get the credit for the wine? Wizards in general, even the open-minded ones like the Weasleys, don't seem inclined to give house elves much credit for anything regardless of the elf's competence or personality. Most wizards don't seem to think house elves are capable of anything great, or even doing something particularly well, so why are wizards writing songs about the wonderfulness of elven wine? Why are they keeping bottles of it to get dusty in the cellar as though it were some rare vintage?

I'm thinking perhaps house elves aren't the only elves. They certainly weren't the only ones in the folkloric traditions Rowling has freely admitted she draws from. I concur with the assessment of the essayist at Red Hen that House Elves are more properly known as Hobs (frelling brilliant analysis, BTW), and are thus drawing from a very specific tradition. They are the kinds of elves that make shoes and sweep up after you at night, sort of like brownies. In the Potterverse, these elves appear to be related to goblins and leprechauns, and possibly trolls (if one is to go for a morphological classification system).

I propose that there is another species called "elves", and that they may be more closely related to veela and merpeople (and, distantly, centaurs?), and they are the vintners who garner such praise. The magical peoples (not creatures, for which we have already been given a guidebook) who Harry has encountered so far seem divided into the "little people" and the "humans but more magic than you" types. So why couldn't there be both House Elves and the other kind of elf? You know, those elves: the Fair Folk, the ones that play cuckoo and put their own children in human cradles, the ones who kidnap your sister if she walks around the church widdershins, the mound-builders, the rulers of the Other land who seduce poets to spend centuries in their courts. Certainly both types exist side-by-side in the folklore.

And just why haven't we met these Sonoma-caliber wine-makers yet? If I were King of Elf-land (or wherever), ruler of a proud and skilled people (also, more magic than you) and guardian of an ancient culture, I wouldn't take being governed by a bunch of stick-waving apes very well. Especially not if said stick-waving apes happened to think that their stick waving made them inherently superior to those peoples who do not need a stick and several years of highly specialized training to use their magic. Better to withdraw and conduct such commerce as we may at a distance. They're not a factor in the story simply because they aren't around to get sucked into the plot. But, like non-European countries, that doesn't mean they don't exist.
projectspace: (Default)
In thinking more about converting Kingdom Hearts to d20, I got to thinking that the Keyblade Wielder is really only good for a Very Specific type of campaign. Unless your players are Really Into That Sort of Thing, he's a bit of a useless git. Cool, but useless outside of his extremely narrow context (i.e. fighting Heartless/Nobodies and locking the Heart of the World).

Make a great NPC, though. I mean, it's obvious that Leon and his harem have all sorts of adventures (including, apparently, lobotomizing Aerith) while Sora & Co. are out Saving the Universe. That could be a cool campaign in and of itself: your town/planet blew up, there's universal implications, but you're not the Chosen One(s). Protect your home, rebuild, and keep the Chosen One and Party from doing even more damage when they come through. If the Blowers Up are not tied to a single nation or race, how do you define "enemy"? How do you discern who your enemies are? If your home is totally gone, how do you feel about the place to which you've relocated? How do they feel about you? How much news do you get about what's going on in the rest of the world/universe/whatever? Do you care?

It could turn into a super-political game, or it could be all "frak, go hide in Helm's Deep, hold them off as best we can, and hope the guy with the magic sword shows up in time". Great opportunities for exploration, the PCs will have an immediate and tangible impact on their surrounds, and having the Universe's Champion roll in and say "hey, I couldn't have done it without you, no really" is kinda neat. It also leaves open the possibility of Another World-Shattering Crisis that the PCs are equipped to deal with because it's outside the Chosen's specialty/purpose. Assuming the Chosen One survives, of course.

Ooooh, just had a thought: parallel campaigns. Each player has a character in the Chosen One's party and another in the Home Team. Alternate sessions between the two plotlines. Or have two groups of players who occasionally get together for some cross-over scenes. Shiny.


Mar. 27th, 2006 10:19 am
projectspace: (Default)
Looks like my all-time favorite Disneyland pun, the Prince's john, is no more. I knew the Prince and Princess bathrooms behind Alice were under remodel, but I was hoping for a new coat of paint on the doors and maybe new countertops. Better theme integration is always good, and I know bathrooms are hard to theme/integrate, but it feels like something's been taken away.

I don't know if the pun was ever intentional, but my mom always laughed when I said I was going to the Prince's john. Of course, I started saying it when I was five or six, which might have had something to do with it. I'm almost afraid to go next month, now. Pirates, the submarines, and now my favorite this the way my parents felt the first time they visited the park after the 1982 Fantasyland re-do?
projectspace: (Default)
I guess I'm so wound up about the movie insertions into Pirates of the Caribbean because I'm coming at it from the perspective of a (maybe former, now) Star Wars fan. The original trilogy wasn't perfect by any means, but it had a great, cohesive story; the elements, both emotional and visual, were well balanced between highs and lows (allegros and adagios [allegri and adagii?] might be a better metaphor); the movies' structures and the structure of the overall trilogy had had a flow and symmetry that lent them/it grace. And that structure was tight. There's not a single element in any one of those three movies which does not serve the flow, the balance, or the story.

Very nearly every change in the original trilogy, right up to the last "director's cut" version, by itself, was not necessarily a bad thing. For the life of me I will never understand why they altered R2-D2's dialogue in that one scene in Star Wars, but it by itself did not detract from the movie. It was not the discrete changes that were the problem, rather it was the accretion of those changes that disrupted the structure of the movies. By changing some things, but not others, Lucas rendered the movies asymmetrical and disrupted the flow while adding very little to the story. One change, one scene addition, probably won't do that, but a whole bunch of them will.

Both the new trilogy and the new version of the original trilogy suffer the same problem: a disruption of flow based on over-emphasis of certain elements. The story no longer flows organically because the emphasis is on Action, Fan Service, and Special Effects, not the story. All the adagios have been hacked out or glossed over in favor of ever longer and more intense allegros.

Pirates of the Caribbean, as a ride, achieves much the same balance, flow, and grace as the original Star Wars trilogy. The filmic sensibilities, as well as the storylines and flow, of the great Disney dark rides are covered more thoroughly than I could do in Wednesday's Re-Imagineering blog update by Mr. Banks. Be sure you read the comments, which are equally enlightening.

So I worry that sticking in all this stuff not accounted for in the ride's original structure, changing the story completely to revolve around this Jack Sparrow bloke, will break the ride the way sticking in all the bright, splashy special effects and liberally sprinkling Boba Fett all over everything broke the original Star Wars movies. It's wonderful, Imagineers, that you're plussing the ride. I loved the changes in the mid-90's (except for the trays of food part, but that was minor at best), but they were a few small plusses. It's nice that you've found eight (or nine or ten) things you can change to make the ride bigger and cater more to your guests' desires of the moment, but what about the thirty-five or forty things connected to those eight changes? Have you thought about where these changes will leave those elements? Will the ride still flow? Will it still be balanced? Will there be any adagios left to counterpoint the allegros? Will it still be beautiful?


Mar. 6th, 2006 02:49 pm
projectspace: (princejohn)
Someday, I will be able to fathom, and reconcile myself to, the Johnny Depp in the Pirates ride decision. But today is not that day. Au revoir, mon ami. Enjoy your honored spot in Yesterland. Maybe they'll give you a headstone over at the Mansion, which I notice is not getting any movie characters put in.

Lost online

Jan. 4th, 2006 02:14 pm
projectspace: (Default)
Apparently, Dr. Candle posted some directions to the Island. I'm not playing the game, but it popped into my mind that you can't really solve that with a ruler and a map.

First of all, most map projections are flat (Mercator excepted, but it ain't perfect), but the shortest difference between two points on a sphere is an arc, not a straight line. It's one of the reasons you go over Greenland and Iceland on your way from New York to London. So, just drawing a line from Sydney to LA and going 6x570 miles from Sydney before turning toward Fiji won't net you the right answer. You were on the wrong course to start with.

Second, even if you do find the proper course, you have to take into account the Earth's rotation under the plane while it's in the air when you calculate the distance travelled. When you make that course correction to Fiji, the island is not in the same place it was when you left Sydney. It's in the same place in relation to Sydney, but not in relation to your course.

Which is why air navigation is a bitch and a half. I'll stick with steering boats, thanks. I bet the Lost writers are peeing themselves laughing at everyone going "OMG, they're on Raritan!"
projectspace: (Default)
This picture went up on one of the Lost ARG sites this weekend, but apparently got taken down right away. Based on this bagua diagram (which I realize may or may not be correct, but based on what little I remember looks more or less right), here's what I'm seeing on the wall:

The three complete lines=Helpful People, Heaven, Travel- H.R (Hugo [Hurley] Reyes?)
broken whole broken=career, water, ancestral- C.P. (Charlie Pace?)
broken broken whole=knowledge, mountain, hands- obscured (post-it says Not Her Kid- Claire or Rousseau?)
whole broken broken=Family/Health, thunder, wood, foot- C.L. (Claire? arrow to ? is Aaron before she named him?)
broken whole whole=Health, wind, hips- S.R. (Shannon Rutherford?)
whole broken whole=Fame/Rank, reputation, fire- J.S.K. (Jin?)
3 broken=Marriage, mother, abdomen, earth- J.L (Locke?)
whole whole broken=Children, descendant/offspring, metal, lake- C.S. J.S. (Christian Shepherd Jack Shepherd?)


Hurley being aligned with "helpful", Claire to "Family", Jin to "Rank", and "Knowledge" being obscured all really stick out to me. And Walt's in the middle (with maybe Aaron). Is he the fulfillment of the bagua, containing all parts in equal amounts? The potentiality?

Here's a chart of the I Ching hexagrams, which are combinations of two of the bagua trigrams.

Chart of the elements
Metal feeds Water (Jack -> Charlie)
Metal conflicts with Wood (Jack vs. Claire)
Water feeds Wood (Charlie -> Claire [that one actually works])
Water conflicts with Fire (Charlie vs. Jin)
Wood feeds Fire (Claire -> Jin)
Wood conflicts with Earth (Claire vs. Locke)
Fire feeds Earth (Jin -> Locke)
Fire conflicts with Metal (Jin vs. Jack)
Earth feeds Metal (Locke -> Jack [hey, another one that works!])
Earth conflicts with Water (Locke vs. Charlie)

Not perfect, but JJ probably isn't going to follow through on everything.

You'd have to have one anal son of a bitch GM, but I contend yet again that Lost would be an excellent RPG.
projectspace: (Default)
Remember the electronic paper slap-bracelets I mentioned a while ago? called it! Well, not quite yet, but it's obviously step #1. Woo go me.
projectspace: (Default)
Been reading a lot about the evolution of electronic paper film computer screen thingies. You know what would be cool? Remember those slap bracelets from the 80's? The thin strips of metal covered in vinyl that were straight until you slapped them on your wrist and they wrapped around? How about one of those with this electronic paper stuff? One side could have a watch face and the other would be like a customizable news ticker. Every time a story or subject you were watching came up, you'd get a notification (maybe the bracelet vibrates like a cell phone), like Google News. Then you could just flip over your wrist and read the story. Like the top and bottom could extend to like 3x5", then retract when you were done reading. It could have an integrated web browser or e-book function (or be wirelessly networked to your computer/Blackberry whatever as a secondary display). That would rock.
projectspace: (Default)
Best one I've read so far. Sounds like a hell of a fun ride.

Reading about people doing haunted houses and dark rides in their garages is giving me ideas. Good thing I have no initiative (it's true! Look at my character sheet!).
Page generated Oct. 21st, 2017 05:34 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios