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

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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

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

The Last Days

From today on, my classes are officially the last one. The thought of this brings on a nostalgia for me; despite everything I had enjoyed my courses. Yes, there were times when I just wanted to give up and curl into a ball, but I see that as a part of university. Two of my five classes today were the last ones. Ever. Tomorrow two more will be over, leaving just one class and a tutorial on friday. It is finally starting to dawn on me that this term is over. My first term as a second year student.

My hopes for this term were much higher: for my courses, my grades, and my work ethic. Every one of those disappointed. My courses weren’t as interesting as I thought they would be, my grades aren’t going to be very good or even better than last year, and my work ethic sucks. As soon as I discovered a FanFiction site that opened up hundreds of thousands of Harry Potter and specifically Snarry fanfics, everything else was pushed to the side and forgotten. The only things I managed to do were eat, sleep, go to classes, and go to work. No homework or course readings were done, not until the last minute possible, and even then it wasn’t as good quality it could have been. I am disappointed in myself, to be honest.

From this day until my last exam is over, I will not start a new fan fiction story. The only extracurricular reading I will be doing is the new updates of fanfics that are already on my alerts list. No more. This is my promise to myself, for I have a lot of work to do before the end of exams.

Today is also the last day of NaNoWriMo, and I am still 2,200 words away from being finished. That is the 50,000 word goal and not my personal one of 75,000. This, as well, is another thing that I foolishly pushed aside for Snarry fanfics and a source of regret. I know I will reach the 50,000, but it’s still a disappointment. I will be able to order the really cool winner’s shirt, but not according to my own word goal (not that that is going to stop me, it is a really cool shirt).

There is hope yet, not for one class, but for the rest of them, if I study hard and diligently. A lot of planning and will power will be required for this, but I believe that I can do it. If I try.

On a much happier note for me, I ordered my wand from Whimsic Alley for the Yule Ball coming up on the 29th (that I am very very excited for). I couldn’t actually decide between two wands, so I ordered them both (they were having a sale) as well as a sheath (that I am going to use to store my wand on my thigh). This was not my only purchase for this week, ModCloth was also having a sale and I purchased two skirts. Two absolutely adorable skirts that I can’t wait for them to arrive. Hopefully the email notifying me they have been sent out will arrive soon; I have already received the email declaring the order has been received and is being processed.

The Yule Ball would have to be the one event of the next few months (if not the year) that I am most excited for. I have never been to a Harry Potter event, and I find myself a little nervous about what to expect, not too much, though, for Kali will also be there. I have yet to decide if I want to get a new dress for this or not, only time will tell.

~Rachel

Wannagoballwime

I’m a Harry Potter fan.

I’ve never hid this fact, and I never will. Since the release of Deathly Hallows (Part 2) on November 11th I’ve been keeping myself busy with NaNoWriMo, but it’s hit me that Harry Potter events are going to be few and far between now. So, today I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and purchased my ticket to the Vancouver Yule Ball.

In 2009 when I went to my first Wrockstock (for those of you not in the know it’s a Harry Potter music festival in Missouri) I met a whole whack of awesome people. On the last night at the bonfire I began talking to these two girls. I had gone most of the weekend without meeting anyone even from Canada let alone from the west, but when I said where I was from an explosion happened.

“ARE YOU THE GIRL WHO IS ON THE LIST FOR AN ‘I BELIEVE IN NARGLES’ SHIRT!?”

I was that girl and it turned out that these two girls from Vancouver had posted a note looking for me near the Room of Wrockquirement (the main stage for bands). They invited me out to the Yule Ball that December.

I didn’t end up going that year because I got busy with work and forgot about it. I remembered about it last year, but I again didn’t end up going since I didn’t want to go to Vancouver alone. In hindsight that seems a bit ridiculous since when I went to Wrockstock I went alone both times (although of course I knew people when I got there the second time) and that was a lot further away than Vancouver.

Last June I went to a Harry and the Potters concert in Vancouver. It was really my first time in the city, despite the fact that I’ve only lived an hour and a half away for my entire life. Of course I have been there a few times before, but since I’ve been old enough that I remember it clearly it’s only been twice, once on a school trip to Science World and once just to go to the Vancouver airport when I went to Spain.

I’ve always said I loved cities and Vancouver proved it. I fell in love almost instantly. The Harry and the Potters concert was AMAZING. I’d never seen them before (one of the downsides to living in western Canada is that almost no wizard rock bands come here), but they put on a heck of a show. At the show I ended up hanging out with a great group of people (mostly Slytherin, just like me) and then I got to have another one of those fantastic moments that show just how interconnected Harry Potter fans are.

“You obviously really like wrock if you came out here for the show, have you ever heard of Wrockstock?”

Had I ever heard of Wrockstock, heck yes I had! I ended up talking to this girl and we found out that we had actually been at Wrockstock together, which was awesome. She and her friends brought up the Yule Ball and I promised to go. I have a few friends from university who are Harry Potter fans as well and we’ve all decided to go this year, although I think I’d go this time regardless. Especially now that I’m a little more familiar with the city.

I’ve got my ticket. A ticket for one is called ‘The Snape’ and a friend of mine joked that that’s because he’s your date. Since we’re both major Snape fans (and Alan Rickman fans. Yes, there is a difference) this made me deliriously happy.

Something that I really love about the Harry Potter fandom is its propensity for helping others. All proceeds from the ball go to the Surrey Food Bank and to the libraries of two elementary schools in Vancouver. To encourage donation there is a ‘House Cup” (SLYTHERIN FTW!) which is won by the house that donates the most non-perishable items. I love my fandom.

If you live anywhere near Vancouver consider getting your ticket to the Vancouver Yule Ball¬†and come out and party with us. It’s on Thursday December 29th and I’m already super excited. If you don’t live near Vancouver there are Yule Balls hosted in many other places as well

Now only one thing is left to decide; should I wear formal dress or a Harry Potter themed costume?

– Kali