Tuesday, August 11, 2015
There was crying coming from the bathroom.
Donna, known by most as the cute red-head, ran into the bathroom holding the Sword of Gryffindor. The fabled sword had been bestowed to her while she was on her first-year boat ride to the school. Earning the sword so early was unheard of but Donna's talents were equally uncommon. Rushing across the tile floors Donna held the sword blade down, as any responsible witch would do, when she realized which bathroom she had entered. The crying was no doubt from one of the oldest students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Myrtle Warren, or as she had be dubbed by the men of the school, "Moaning Myrtle." The cute red-head had no time for such limiting descriptive monikers.
Bracing the sword tight, Donna kicked open the stall door to find Myrtle dry-eyed even though the crying persisted elsewhere in the room. Myrtle pointed with a shrug to the stall door opposite her. Donna, again bracing the sword tight, kicked open this door and found a lowly creature.
"What's your name," Donna asked the shriveling thing.
"Sexybeard," he said, looking up to meet her gaze.
"Oh you're that 'Crabbe and Goyle' guy. Gordon, right?" she relaxed the grip on the Sword of Gryffindor.
"Are you crying because you killed Yo-Yo?"
Gordon shook his head "no."
As if a spell had been lifted she suddenly saw the rest of the bathroom. It was a mess. Sinks bashed in with a clumsy effort, water spraying out of toilets, ancient fixtures rendered useless.
Gordon, when asked, gave up the truth that he was looking for the Chamber of Secrets.
Somehow, beyond any reason a muggle would be able to comprehend, Donna found this endearing and within moments opened the Chamber of Secrets herself. Gordon didn't understand how she did this without a hammer.
As the two young students entered the Chamber they discovered a scene already in motion. That wizard Joe Macmillan was talking to somebody down in the depths. Joe spoke with a confidence entirely absent from Gordon's life experience.
"We're not friends," Joe said lifting a book, "we're family. We'll see each other at Christmas, every other year. We'll nod to each other across the room, and after about 45 minutes of fake chit-chat and butter beer, I'll make an excuse, 'We have to be somewhere. I'm so sorry.' And when the Slytherins ask me who that tall gray stranger in the diary is, I'll remind them, that's Tom Riddle."
With that Joe Macmillan stabbed the book. Donna, not for the first time, wondered if maybe she should work with Joe but immediately dismissed the thought and decided to hitch her thestril to Gordon's proverbial carriage.
Joe didn't see Gordon and Donna as he left the subbasement and came upon a noise behind the moving stairs. People were having fun. He hadn't heard laughter for weeks, not one smile since Yo-Yo died. Turning the corner he saw her, the short-haired girl with eyes as pure as bubbles, Cameron. She was talking to house-elves and having fun doing it.
Joe, with the sleeves of his robe rolled up to 3/4 length, introduced himself and asked her about the house-elves. She explained how when they're not taking care of Hogwarts' cleaning and food needs the house-elves are "free." The word stuck in her throat, immediately realizing how captive they really are at Hogwarts. Not just herself and her mold-breaking desires, but also the house-elves who are bound to duties. She had an idea for a club called Mutiny that would explore breaking the rules of house-elves and witchcraft.
Cameron's idea gave Joe another idea. He saw the potential of house-elves' time away from Hogwarts' related tasks. He walked away thinking about what he could accomplish with the nearly limitless efforts of house-elves. If only there was a space where he could work out his plan. And then, just as he needed it, a door opened in the middle of what had just been a solid wall. It opened to a room equipped with everything Joe Macmillan required.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
It was 1985 and before the Sorting Hat could say Slytherin, Joe MacMillan said "I want Hufflepuff."
In the Great Hall Joe sat down with the other newly appointed Hufflepuffs. His chosen seat was beside Gordon who was obsessing. Gordon, in trying to impress the cute redhead in Gryffindor, made a joke about how his name was Gordon, "as in Crabbe and Gordon" forgetting not only that the reference should have been "Crabbe and Goyle" but also that these two wizards would be the cause of great turmoil at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the near future. This was of course only according to the irrational tea leaves of adjunct professor Trelawney but it seemed in poor taste all the same. The joke worked like social polyjuice potion, tasting bitter and turning Gordon into a real clown. Somehow the red headed witch still smiled. It was beyond anything anyone could understand. Even Gordon himself wondered if he'd used a love potion on her and just forgot about it. He'd been using a lot of potions in the last 20 months and couldn't remember all of them. Gordon turned to Joe with all of these preoccupations clear to read on his conjunctivitis cursed face.
Joe's concerns were elsewhere and more focused. His thoughts were divided in two between both the house points in the hour glass and the short haired girl in Ravenclaw. Joe MacMillian had a plan for obtaining house points but nothing for her. She couldn't be understood by his understanding. She was raw talent incarnate. Like being hit with a spell, any spell, Joe's thoughts went still when thinking of her. Joe didn't know the particulars of spells well enough to diagnose this frozen feeling but he knew he had to be with this Ravenclaw. Gordon leaned over to inform Joe that the spell he's thinking of is most likely the freezing spell "Petrificus Totalus." All that did was anger Joe and strike Yo-Yo dead with a glacial blast.
Gordon's insufferable fucking up succeeded in bringing Joe's mind back to his objective, and if he'd ever admit to being helped, it also inspired a new goal. Before the year was out Joe would find a way to freeze the house points in Ravenclaw's hour glass forcing a merge with Hufflepuff. Also, before returning home for the summer to deal with his private and troubled past, Joe MacMillan will win the short haired Ravenclaw for himself. As sure as Voldemort's impending return, there was no spell to cure the scars on his body but maybe, just maybe, this Ravenclaw could cure his loneliness.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Monday, August 19, 2013
It’s practically 2030 and dorms still suck like they always have. I know this because the carvings on the bunk bed are from 2015. My roommate’s cool at least. For all intents she should be a brat, her mom practically runs Braemore College, but I’m supposed to be a brat too so it’s fine. After all, I’m nothing but a trust fund kid just waiting to hit 18 and roll it in. That’s the problem with having smart parents: you skip grades and get to college before you have the cash to spend on booze and drugs. Smart of them to set up a trust fund too. Lots of problems with smart parents. I’ll try to marry someone dumb and give my kids a chance.
Dean Taylor’s kid Gracie Bell ain’t half bad though. She asked me about my folks and I told her to tread lightly. She knew I was just being defensive and gave me choice of beds as a peace offering. She’s a good kid. Campus rumors say her sis was the real wild one in the family. Maybe she’ll be good for Flynn but who knows what forsaken island he’s on. Spending his hard earned trustbacks with Louis and those girls he manages to pick up with his charming Flynn powers. Anyway, my guess is that Gracie Bell’s sister took all the fun out of being rebellious and left all the “being responsible” genes to her. For all counts she could’ve went Ivy League but I’m sure getting a free ride from Dean Mom factors into things. Her dad’s kinda hot though. Shut up, I know. But he is. I’m gonna order some stuff from Super IKEA and see if that doesn’t line up with one of his unannounced “are you girls being safe” checks. I can’t wait to see him try to put one of those things together.
Other than that there’s not much to do around campus but I’m sure we’ll think of something. And the good news is now that I’m in Pennsylvania I can visit Uncle Jesse anytime I want.
He hates when I call him “Uncle Jesse” and every time I do he tells me the three reasons why.
“One: I’m not your uncle. Two: I hate that show.” I always forget what show it’s from. He says it’s before my time and he’s right. But apparently there’s some goofy show with an Uncle Jesse in it who thinks he's Elvis or Neil Diamond or something. But then there’s the third reason and that’s the one we always say out loud together.
“And Three: I’m in witness protection, Bitch!”
Gracie Bell borrows her mom’s car and drives us up to his spot. Dean Mom’s pretty cool and insists that I call her Tami. I’ll try not to litter in her Prius. Gracie Bell wonders if this is the right place and I break it to her that Uncle Jesse’s seen better times. It’s hard finding his headstone because I always forget the dumb assumed name he gave himself. There it is. “George O’Margolis.” What a goofball. If you’re gonna hide from the scariest man around don’t name yourself after some girl you dated.
I put some flowers down, some that remind me of the other half of his namesake, and sincerely wish that he’s safe now. Safe from my dad. Who knows if he is? They’re in the same place and I don’t think this semester of Intro to Religion is gonna cover jurisdiction of vengeful ghosts. But I hope he’s okay. I hope they both are.
I don’t care if she hears me, I shout “And Three: I’m in witness protection, Bitch!” and low-five his stone before I leave.
We get back to campus before dark cause Gracie Bell insists we go to the first game of the season. I hate football.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
I get moved around a lot. No one tells me what city I'm in or what a city is even. They're always changing. I gather it's the Kaiju's fault. I hear that a lot. But I also hear it said that they come from a Kaiju fault. So I'm not sure if "fault" means blame or what. Sometimes it sounds like "fault" is a crack in the earth. Like a fissure. Everyone says it different. "It's the Kaiju's fault" or "It came from the Kaiju fault." It's the kind of thing about the English language that makes me want to give up on trying to communicate. Maybe I should just learn Japanese like everyone else.
The new sandy haired guy, the one who doesn't rub my face, he's been talking to that black and blued haired woman. Not the older sandy haired guy. That guy seems to be my sandy haired guy's dad or something. He doesn't rub my face but he rubs my sandy haired guy's back sometimes after a rough day. That's another one I can't deal with. People come up to me all smiles and say "ruff" but, and I know they're trying to be nice, but "ruff" sounds like "rough" and out of context I just can't tell if they're trying to start a sentence about a rough day or mocking me. Either way it's probably best not to engage so I just slobber a bit to buy some distance.
There's a lot of recent talk of drifting. Not the drifting of tectonic plates that could cause a fault, but like some kind of mind sharing thing. I wouldn't have to learn Japanese if I could just drift with my sandy haired guy. The new sandy haired guy is starting to smell like the black and blue haired woman. I wonder if they're drifting. I usually only see them in the cafeteria. He likes to eat diced fruit with spaghetti. These people.
I see my guy and this new guy fight in the hallway. Matching each other move for move. They'd be good partners. Perfect partners. Compatible for drift. If they become a team I'll never get to drift with my guy. I'm going to have to think of a way to break them up.
It's late and the guy with the nose bleeds doesn't see me sneak under his bed. I chew on his little girl shoe, the red one, and toss it up on his bed. He wakes up thinking he has some sort of inspiration and he gives it to the black and blue haired woman. Instincts told me this would work but honestly it just adds further evidence to the fact that I just don't get humans. But it works so I'm not going to argue or read to deep into it. The black and blue haired woman teams up with the new sandy haired guy and my guy needs a new partner. This is my shot.
That night I have my first dream. I'm in the Jaeger only this Jaeger looks like my mother. My sandy haired guy looks at me, but he's also behind me, but he looks at me and asks if I'm ready. I say "はい" and we start to drift. I see his whole life and he sees my deepest secrets. He knows where all the bones are buried and I'm okay with that. I can finally communicate with him and tell him I want to come on his leg.
And then I wake up and he's not there. His dad picks me up and starts to cry. I lick his face with my slobbery tongue and he sets me down. I waddle to the Shatterdome and everyone is cheering. Everyone but the guy with the nose bleeds. He's not there either. I see the new sandy haired guy and he bends down, holds me, and rubs my face. He says he has rough news and for the first time I know what he means.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
For summer blockbusters, thematic twins hitting theaters at the same time has been a given since Dante’s Peak and Volcano both erupted in the summer of 1997. Then, as if to cement this phenomenon, 1998 followed suit with two movies about the world getting hit with a space rock in the form of Deep Impact and Armageddon. Last year there was a pair of Snow Whites, and by Friday will have had two White House takeovers. Playing in theaters right now are Monsters University and Francis Ha, two films that couldn’t seem more different but in fact share an extremely rare strand of DNA.
One is an animated legacy born to be a blockbuster and the other is an indie darling predestined to be seen more On Demand than in theaters. Though they come from completely different pedigrees, they share something deep in their core theme. Both stories are about compromising lifelong dreams for the sake of a more stable career. This summer children and young adults alike will be relating to characters that choose jobs that are in field that they love but in more administrative capacities.
Monsters University is a prequel to Monsters, Inc. and tells the story of how Sullivan (the big blue one) came to be the top kid scarer on the scare floor, a tale linked entirely to the reveal of how Mike (the small green one) came to be his excellent assistant. This relationship becomes tragic when it’s revealed in the first scene that Mike’s dream has always been to become a scarer, not the monster helping the scarer. The audience soon realizes that this is going to be a story of aspiration losing to reality and a character’s acceptance of his lot in life. However, since this is a geared to be an uplifting movie, the storytellers find a way to turn this potentially depressing notion into a celebration by having the character find a way to actually be excited about this less romanticized outcome.
Francis Ha tells the story of a girl who wants to be a dancer and choreographer but (spoilers) settles for a desk job at the company. Since this is the only film in the Francis Ha franchise we don’t know where her story is headed until it gets there naturally but when it does it is with a similar air. Francis, a durable dreamer, finds peace in her desk job and continues to follow her passion on the side. Unfortunately for Francis, the audience is left with a feeling that the side is where her career in dancing will stay. She is content and we as an audience are made to feel similarly.
There are other shared connections between the two films such as bearing witness to varying degrees of nepotism and living with wealthy peers who don’t struggle as much as the lead character but it’s this odd final note of happily giving up that’s the real mutual disaster flick happening here. Perhaps even more than most cultural mediums, cinema has the ability to speak on behalf of a generation. For ages 8-32, these films herald the era of quitting while behind and calling it ahead. The summer of 2013 seems to be about playing it safe and convincing the audience that they should be happy with it.
Monday, March 25, 2013
"You know what's better than a million poodles? A billion dollars."
- Sean Parker, Vet
None of us knew what was going to happen when we opened up shop. Eduardo wanted to call it "The Social Petwork" but Sean thought that was stupid. I suggested "The Social Vetwork" but Sean looked at me and I quickly said I was being sarcastic. I don't think he caught on. I'm very smart. Then like a gift, Sean said "drop the 'the'" and walked out of the room. Eduardo and I didn't know if Sean meant to drop the "the" on "The Social Petwork" or "The Social Vetwork" so we decided to start from scratch.
Three weeks later we were up and running. The first pet hospital exclusive to graduates of Madam Rough's Doggie School. There was just one problem. The dogs weren't getting sick. Madam Rough had died several years ago in a fire sparked by lightning bugs when the dalmatians were all out on holiday. Since then her body, limp but not lifeless, roamed the hallways much like a zombie. But I'd prefer to call it a virus. Anyway it infected the dogs that she bit and now they all have a fine bill of health or lack there of. Zombie Dogs. That's what I'm getting at.