Vancouver Yule Ball

“Guess what?”

“We’re going to the Yule Ball!”

This was the repeated question and answer duo on Thursday. In fact I’m kind of surprised Rachel’s aunt didn’t kill us both. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera to Vancouver so all the photos were taken on my iPhone (which I call Draco). Hopefully they’ll be okay even though I know the quality isn’t that great. Rachel and/or I will cover the rest of the Vancouver trip in later posts, but I wanted to write about Yule Ball ASAP.

The short version of the story is: it was awesome. However, the long version of the story is a bit more interesting.

Rachel’s aunt drove us to the Heritage Hall where the event was taking place. We arrived a bit after seven and ran through the rain inside. When we got inside there were a fair few people. Enough to be slightly intimidating – if they weren’t Harry Potter fans anyway. The check in went pretty quickly although it took them a moment to find my name on the list for online tickets. We handed in our canned goods and surveyed the room. There were four tables – two on each side. The tables were, obviously, divided into houses. Before we could decide where we wanted to sit though we decided to take a look around.

That’s right, it’s Snape

That’s right. They had a giant Snape. I was blown away. The decorations were really well done. The entire place was covered in proclamations made by Umbridge and awesome slogans. After squeeing over the decor we went back to arguing about where we should sit. Rachel didn’t want to sit at the Slytherin table and I didn’t want to sit at the Hufflepuff table. We would have sat at Ravenclaw, but there weren’t two chairs beside each other available. By this time we were feeling a bit awkward. We were standing around and everyone else was sitting and talking. Finally I convinced her to sit at the Slytherin table. We watched a guy drawing dark marks onto people and basically just took it all in.

The room was starting to fill up, but even though we knew we wouldn’t get our seats back we decided to head to the bathroom. The bathrooms were downstairs and I don’t know about the guys’ bathroom, but in the girls’ I got the shock of my life when I saw Myrtle peeping over the bathroom stall!

What are you doing in my bathroom?

After we got over the novelty of that we headed back upstairs. As we expected, once we got back our chairs had been occupied. That was okay though as we wandered around some more and found the table full of prizes (spoiler alert: we didn’t win any). Soon enough the host of the evening (who was dressed up as the Whomping Willow) introduced the Heads of Houses and the Yule Ball Headmistress. Soon after that the music began.

The DJ who played the music for most of the evening was pretty good, but there was a disturbing lack of wizard rock. The only wrock song all night came much later (Dumbledore by Alex Carpenter) and was (in my opinion) the highlight of night, but more on that later. Rachel and I were kind of dancing really awkwardly and then we fell into conversations with Stella and Marcel (I’m not sure of the spelling of her name unfortunately). It was kind of funny when they asked us where we went to school and we answered that we went to UVic. They were, apparently, from North Vancouver.

As soon as we made friends the four of us (all Slytherins except Rachel still) started dancing. We spent the whole evening as a foursome. This is another thing I love about the Harry Potter community – the friendships can form in such a short period of time even when you’re from different places and are different ages (the both of them were in grade 11 so must have been about 16 to our 19 and 20).

The band playing the evening was called the Snapes of Wrath. With a name like that I was expecting wizard rock. Unfortunately I was disappointed, although, much to my surprise, not as much as Rachel who actually seemed to get a bit angry. Although there were a few songs relating to Harry Potter (or, at least, I think there were, it was kind of hard to hear) most of it was muggle music. However, considering the fact that BC is pretty much a wrock blind spot I wasn’t that surprised. Despite the lack of wrock though, the band was still good and everyone was dancing.

At intermission the four of us took a seat at the Hufflepuff table and we saw these.

“Dumbledore is Gay, and that’s OKAY” – JFF

Just for Rachel, Our Hufflepuff

The pictures were taken upside down if you were wondering why they looked so odd. Dancing recommenced, but we ended up back at the same table for a while later where I began speaking to a girl who looked familiar. She thought I looked familiar too and it turned out we had met at the Harry and the Potters show last summer. She, because she’s awesome, is starting a Vancouver chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance! I’m on the email list and am hoping to get out there sometimes to help them out. Rachel and I want to start a Victoria chapter, but who knows whether it will actually ever happen and this way I can (hopefully) be more involved. In even bigger news though, she’s going to try and get a wizard rock event in Vancouver in May 2013! BC may not be a dead zone forever!

I was still talking to her when she asked if we wanted to go dance to Alex. I was completely confused until I realized that Dumbledore by Alex Carpenter was playing. Well, we all made a beeline for the dance floor and joined the giant conga line that was going on. We screamed the lyrics and high fived as the conga line whirled around the floor. Someone even grabbed the giant Snape and put him at the head of the line. It was pretty much madness, and it was an indication that Yule Ball needs to play more wrock next year. I’m not sure why they didn’t have more to be honest.

The prizes were drawn – one girl in pink won almost half the raffle prizes. There was a costume contest. A guy dressed as Colin Creevy and a young Slytherin won the competition. I loved them both, but I also loved a girl dressed up as Lily Evans (NOT Potter as she made very clear). Slytherin won the house cup by donating the most food and books (and they say Slytherins are all evil). I guess that ambitious streak paid off.

The evening was winding down so we decided to take a few pictures in the props corner

Rachel and I – Tired, but Happy

Marcel, Stella (Stellatrix), & Voldemort (faces blocked for privacy)

The rest of the night was quieter. We managed to dance a bit more – we even danced with Snape for a bit. The guy dressed as the willow seemed to want Snape to himself though. We sat down at the Slytherin table for a bit and did some talking… and stole a couple Christmas ornaments (hey, we are Slytherins after all).

All in all the night was fantastic. Lacking in wrock, but still a whole lot of fun. Apparently they sold out of tickets and this was the first year that had happened so I’m pretty sure there will be a next year. And, depending on finances of course, I know Rachel and I will be there in 2012.

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s a few more pictures from the Yule Ball.

Volunteers Only

“I’d Get Sleazy for Ron Weasley”

“Make Love, Not Horcruxes”

– Kali

Inability

Hello All!

It appears that I have an inability to finish blog posts… I have several saved as drafts because of some circumstance or another, and have never gotten back to them. For a couple it is because they are no longer relevant, like the one I started while visiting my dad. I find this fact to be a little depressing, and I really really want it to stop. Like, right now. This is a fact that is really starting to annoy me and from now on I will make an increased effort (very much increased) to finish all the blog posts I start. With that said, I think I will finish off this very short post here before I can save it as a draft.

Ciao!

~Rachel

Winter Break

Wow, it’s certainly been a hectic week or so. All my exams are over now and I’m just awaiting results to come in. I’ve gotten my mark for my EU class and I got an A. I’m really happy about that. I even think my theory exam went alright, but I haven’t gotten my mark for that class yet. I’m expecting it any time now though.

My dress for the Yule Ball arrived from ModCloth. It’s really pretty and I’m so excited for Yule Ball now (not that I wasn’t before). I think I’m more excited for that than for Christmas oddly enough.

Fortunately for me Rachel’s aunt is letting us stay with her when we’re in Vancouver so that takes some of the cost out of the trip. Currently the plan is to go over on the Thursday and come home on the Friday, but if Rachel isn’t working it’s been suggested that we go over on the Wednesday and spend some time in the city. You certainly won’t hear me complaining, I love cities. Unfortunately my job ends after boxing day which means I’ll be on the job hunt… again. On the plus side though, that means I don’t have to worry about taking the time off for the ball.

I really do hate job hunting though so that’s going to be a pain. Plus it will be after Christmas so nobody will be hiring. I guess I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. At least I’ll have plenty of time to study until I find a job (if I manage to).

It’s also weird to think that two weeks today (at this time actually) I’ll be sitting in a classroom as the first class of my second semester (International Relations) will just be starting. I’m really excited though. Plus, now that I’ve gotten all my student loan stuff sorted out I have a load off my shoulders.

Now I just need to finish buying Christmas presents and finish buying textbooks. I think with Christmas with Rachel and attending the Yule Ball this is going to be the best winter break ever!

– Kali

Social Butterfly?

Our region had our TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) Party for NaNoWriMo on Friday. It was, as always, a whole lot of fun. There were 22 of us there – although only 20 of us had been active NaNo participants. One of our Municipal Liaisons (MLs)brought her wife and a friend of mine brought one of our mutual friends along. It was nice to be over 20 people though since it meant we finally got to take advantage of the pizza deal where we got unlimited two topping pizza for a flat rate each (I think it was something like 10.99?).

My Social Butterfly Award

During our party one of our MLs handed out prizes for various things such as highest word count, best use of an owl (it was a regional challenge), and there was even an award called the social butterfly award. I was shocked to find out that I won that one! When I really think about it it’s not that surprising given that I went to almost all the write ins this year, but at the same time being called social is definitely a new one for me. I suppose it’s all about the people though, after all, I was social and rather outgoing at Wrockstock as well. Apparently awesome people bring out the awesome in me.

I had my first exam on Saturday evening (for my European Union (EU) class). I went up to the school an hour an a half early to study with a friend of mine. We originally met each other in a history class we both took last year (History of the 20th Century), but have really become friends this year since we’ve been sitting together in class. We’re going to be in the same International Relations class next semester with the same prof as this class and we’re excited for that too. I think we may have freaked out a few people on campus as we drilled each other on the EU, but it was helpful. I think the exam went well too which is good because I’m doing really well in that class and I don’t want to jeopardize that with a bad final exam mark. My next exam is tomorrow night and it’s my Political Theory one. I feel so wrung out from studying theory and really just want it to be over already. I don’t know how well it’s going to go, but I’m also pretty sure I’m almost as ready as I’m ever going to be.

On another social note though, we had our staff holiday party last night. We did a secret gift exchange and I ended up with a pair of tea towels and a $10 gift card to the mall where we all work. I’m happy with what I got and I think everyone else was as well. We also had a Christmas Quiz, which I won. I was surprised by that too, especially considering that there were a few questions that I had no idea about so I just wrote down information about the EU and political theory. I guess I made up for that by knowing the names of all 9 of Santa’s reindeer though. The party was fun, though admittedly not as much fun as TGIO. It was a little more low key, but then again I don’t know my coworkers quite as well and I don’t have as much in common with most of them as I do with my NaNo friends.

Textbook wise, I’ve gotten a couple more. I picked up my text for my International Relations class (The Globalization of World Politics by John Baylis, Steve Smith & Patricia Owens) and got two of the textbooks for my History of religion in Europe class (God’s Crucible¬† by David Levering Lewis and The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt). The Arendt title makes me think of theory class though since we’ve been reading pieces of hers for that class. At first that turned me off a bit, but the subject matter intrigues me and I don’t actually find Arendt as tough to read as some of the others. I’ve still got a couple of books to get, but I’m definitely on my way.

I’ve gotten most of my holiday shopping done, but considering my work and exam schedule for the next couple of days I don’t think I’m going to get it done before Rachel leaves for home, and actually probably won’t get it done until at least the 22nd. I was really hoping not to have to go gift shopping so late again, but school must come first and my last exam is on the 17th and then I work the next couple of days. I suppose I might be able to get it done before/after work though.

I guess it’s time for this social butterfly to go back into hibernation amongst her books until she has to leave for work.

– Kali

December Plans

Our Christmas Tree

The tree at my place has been up for a couple of weeks, but Rachel and I decorated it just the other night (with a little help from my mom and her boyfriend). My mom almost always moves the decorations after letting me decorate it because she would prefer it her way and this time was no exception – although she did redecorate it less this time. I guess that means Rachel has a better eye for decoration than I do.

We’ve decided to make an effort to put more pictures into our posts to try to make them more interesting, but I keep forgetting to take my camera with me when I go places. I will try harder although admittedly I’m not going many places that aren’t work right now.

Rachel’s not going home for Christmas this year so she’ll be spending Christmas with us instead. My mom and I (and now Rachel and mom’s boyfriend) are just doing stockings for each other. Mom is easy enough to buy for since I’ve been doing it for years, and I know Rachel well enough to know what will make her happy (I’ve ordered her a few things from Etsy. One has shipped and one, according to my calculations should ship on Thursday), but mom’s boyfriend is proving more difficult. Rachel and I basically harassed him the other night trying to figure out what to buy him.

I’m trying to get some shopping done alongside working and studying for exams. Fortunately the holiday season means that most stores are open later so I can go after work. My exams start this Saturday with my European Integration and the European Union exam. I’m not insanely nervous about that one, but I am about my Political Theory one next Tuesday. I’m pretty sure I’m only going into Theory with a B- and the exam is worth 40% of my mark (YIKES). There’s nothing I can do but study and hope I do alright. At least Theory will be over in a week.

On a happier school note though, textbooks lists went up December 1st. Unfortunately the texts for my Greek and Roman Mythology and my Religion in Europe classes weren’t there yet, and I’m hoping to pick up a used copy of my International Relations text, but I did manage to get 2/3 of the texts for my History of the Modern Middle East class. One is War and Peace in the Middle East by Avi Shlaim, and the other is A History of the Modern Middle East by William Cleveland and Martin Bunton. I haven’t taken a look at either yet (and I wont until after my exams), but they look interesting. It also turns out that one of mine and Rachel’s mutual friends is in my History of the Modern Middle East class which is great. We met her in our sign language class last year as well and I haven’t had a class with her since.

I’m going to go make lunch now and then get back to studying the European Union. Our NaNo Thank God It’s Over (TGIO) party is on Friday so I’m losing that study time, but it’s completely worth it. Also, I finished the actual story of my NaNo novel on November 26th at 61,334 words and started something new (not the sequel though. I needed a break from that world for a while). Unfortunately I haven’t done any work on the new novel since the Sprint to the Finish we had in our region on November 30th. Maybe I’ll get back to it after exams.

Also, I ordered a dress for the Yule Ball from ModCloth. I hope it gets here in time since it’s only 23 days away. It’s supposed to arrive here by Friday at the earliest and the 28th at the latest. Everything I’ve read tells me their shipping tends to be pretty fast. Fingers crossed.

– Kali

It must be the end of term: I need chocolate.

This blog is happier than my last one. I swear.

I just had my last Women’s Studies course and we spent the 50 minutes reflecting with each other. We sat in a circle and talked about our feelings. Well, mostly we talked about how we have changed because of this course. There were a lot of similar answers from the class and one of those was this: we were more critical about what we were being exposed to. TV shows, music videos, advertisements, they were all being analyzed and called out for their sexist, racist, classist, and subversive messages.

Before this course (Women’s Studies 104) I knew that things weren’t right with media portrayal of women, but I didn’t really have an understanding of what the issues were. I couldn’t identify them or tell anyone else what it was that was damaging, I just knew it was there. This didn’t prevent me from ignoring things that I knew were sexist or some other -ist. It was like, because I didn’t really know a lot about the issues I felt I was capable of pushing it aside and ignoring it. This class has given me the knowledge to know exactly what that ad is doing, and what I can do to stop that effect. The most effective and easiest way to stop the influence, is to talk about it. If you’re watching TV with your roommates (or whoever you live with, if you live with someone) and something happens that others you and you know it’s, say, sexist, call it out. Say something about the issue and have a discussion or small talk about it with whoever else is there. If no one is ever made aware of the issues, they will continue to happen and the message will continue to be received.

This isn’t to say that you have to consider yourself a feminist, or charge out to save the world from the numerous issues that plague it. The little things do just as much as the big things, if not more. Awareness is crucial. If no one is aware, no one can think.

Enough of my feminist rant, I only hope that my words have made someone a little more aware and that they are now challenging the status-quo. For a really good resource book to read, check out Jessica Valenti’s “Full Frontal Feminism.”

~.*.~

On November 30th at 8:35 pm, I passed 50,000 words on my nano novel and officially won Nanowrimo. By the end of the night, I had reached 51,744 words. What must have been the most enjoyable part of the evening, though, was being able to sit in McDonalds with fellow novelists who were also racing towards the Nanowrimo finish line. When the clock struck twelve, all of us commenced in a group hug and jumped up and down while squealing our joy that this intimidating obstacle had been defeated. The people I have met through nano, and the friendships that have developed because of it, have done nothing but enrich my life; and that is something that I am truly grateful for. I may have met Kali, the other author of this blog, in Sign Language Class, but it was Nanowrimo that created our friendship, and that is something I would never give up.

This year I am determined to finish my novel, and not just reach 50,000 words and stop. My first nano, last year, I started with only the knowledge that my FMC was an orphan and healer. That story will one day be a four book series that I hope to see sold on bookstore shelves around the world. My next nano endeavour was Camp Nano this past August. Once again my story reached 50,000 words, but isn’t complete. This one, at least, will not be a series. That leaves this year’s novel. My hopes for this novel is that it will just be this one book, and that the total word count won’t be any more than 100,000. I also want to have it finished by the start of my third year of university. I would like to have both my Camp Nano novel and this year’s novel finished by 11:59 on August 31st 2012. It doesn’t have to be the final draft, just a full first draft manuscript for both.

Since the end of November, 2 days ago, I have managed to write a couple hundred words on this year’s nano titled “What Will Florence Do?”

P.S. I broke my promise to not read any new fanfictions, but I only read a couple and kept them to short one shot stories. I am trying really really hard not to read any more, at least until after a couple hours of studying for my exams.

~Rachel