Sunday, August 24, 2014

Harry Potter, Smart A&&

One day, feeling under the weather, I decided to give "fanfiction" a go. I've read my fair share of it, and decided it would be fun to try my hand at it. I've always said that the one form of writing I'm incapable of is a story, plot and all. I figured, if there's to be a place to start, fanfiction, with characters already in place, would be it. It also allows for people to comment and let me know what they think. 

Disclaimer: I own not a whit of the Potter Universe. It's all JK's. I wish I owned some of it, but alas, I don't.


"Harry Potter, I bestow upon you the title, The-Boy-Who-Lived."


Albus Dumbledore sighed, "I suppose I shouldn't have expected an elegant acceptance speech from a 15-month old."

"You're an idiot, whoever you are. What kind of a stupid name is 'The-Boy-Who-Lived'? 'Savior of Humanity,' 'Killing Curse Killer,' 'Scarface,' I don't know, but 'The-Boy-Who-Lived'? Honestly? That is bloody lame. You want an elegant acceptance speech, give me a good title."

Albus Dumbledore fainted.



"Albus, how do you explain this?"

"I can't Minerva, maybe it has something to do with Harry surviving the killing curse," Dumbledore replied.

"I am right here you know, old man Albus. It's about time I learned your name by the way. And no, what the bloody hell could surviving a killing curse have to do with me being able to speak? What, you think Voldemort left a piece of him inside of me or something and shazam, I can speak?"

"Er, well, you see..." Dumbledore stuttered.

Harry Potter giggled hysterically. "You really thought that?"

"Young man, watch your mouth when speaking to the greatest wizard of our times!" Minerva McGonagall snapped.

"Old man Albus, here? He's the greatest wizard of our time? What about me, the "Killing Curse Conqueror"? C'mon... Please," Harry whined, before breaking out into giggles once more.

"Young man-"

"Minerva, he's only 15 months old," Albus soothed with a placating gesture.

McGonagall huffed, and glared at the precocious young boy.

"Harry, when did you learn to speak?" Albus asked.

"When I was 3 days old. Funny story, that. Padfoot was teasing me about my hair and I had had enough of it. So I levitated him into the bath and turned on the tap."

"Hold on," Minerva interrupted, "You did what?"

"Minerva, keep up, will you? I levitated him into the bath and turned on the tap. Anyway," Harry continued, blissfully unaware of the shock followed by a glare being directed his way, "Padfoot started screaming for help- I stuck him in place under the taps- so I let him know if he stopped making fun of me, I'd stop."

"You stuck him in place too?" This time it was Albus who interjected.

"Slow too, are you old man? Age getting to you? Get your ears checked, they say that's the first thing to go. And rude to boot, the both of ya. You two need to learn some manners."

Again, the adults in the room were too stunned at being put in their place by a 15-month old to come up with a coherent reply.

"As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted, my parents and Moony had burst into the room just as I finished giving my terms to Padfoot. The four of them up and fainted. It was finally quiet until Mum woke up. That didn't last long though. She looked up at me, went 'eep' and fainted again. That 'eep' was the first noise I had heard in 7 hours. The cycle of them all waking up and fainting went on for 2 days! 2 days! I had to feed myself, bathe myself, put myself to sleep- seriously, what 3-day old puts himself to sleep, I ask you- give them nutrition potions. Let me tell you, it was a traumatizing experience."

Albus put his hand up. "Harry?"

"You're supposed to wait until I call on you, but the hand-raising is a start."

"This story sounds very funny, but can we get back to the matter at hand?"

"Uh, hell no, I'm in middle of a story! Rule number 1: Never interrupt a story. That was Dad's rule. How that came about is also a good one! It all started-"

Seeing Minerva about to interrupt, Harry continued, "Wait, I'm in middle of a different story. That's what you were going to say, right?"

Not seeing the older lady's look of dismay, Harry took up his tale once again. "Where was I? Oh, right, traumatizing experience. Anywho, when they finally stopped their tiresome fainting and 'eeping' I insisted they all shower. Except Moony, that is. He was in his 'other' form, if you know what I mean?"

"OTHER FORM?" Both of them shrieked.

"OW! What the hell was that for? That hurt! Albus, you shriek like a girl. You should work on shouting like a man, not, well, whatever that was."

Minerva fainted.

"Oh no," Harry sighed, "Thank heavens you're still conscious, Albus. I'm tired of taking care of fainting people."

"Enervate," Dumbledore intoned, waving his wand at his colleague.

"Eep," was all Minerva managed before falling unconscious once more.

"That sounded exactly like Mum's!" Harry giggled.

"Enervate," Dumbledore tried again.






"Give it up, Albus, I have a story to finish, and besides, it took you a day of me waking you up before you finally stayed that way. I'm impressed she lasted this long." Harry said with a smirk. "That whole 'enervate' and wand-waving thing, totally overrated by the way."

Dumbledore fainted.

"DARN IT! I really wanted to finish my story!"


What'd you think? Want more?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ethical Question

I recently discovered that I was in possession of forged money.

I tried using a $20 bill at a convenience store and was surprised when my buddy behind the coutner did a double-take when he saw the bill. He suggested that it was a fake, and then used that handy marker thingy to confirm his suspicion.



I'm pretty sure that's a first for me.

I was with a friend at the time who said I "could try passing it off" to someone else.

I called a friend who knows more about these things than I do, and he told me that a bank wouldn't honor it (I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but for some reason I was...a little bit.)

He then suggested what my friend did: pass it off to some unsuspecting fella and let them deal with it.

So, what would you do?

Option 1: Pass it on.
Reasoning: Who knows how many more hands it would pass through before it finally made its way to a bank. Maybe at that point it would be in poor enough condition that it would make its way through. Or, maybe it'll somehow get destroyed before it'll ever make its way to a bank.

Option 2: Give it to a bank.
Reasoning: Pray that the bank you go to has a policy of "we'll give you the money because we're going to pass it on to the FBI, who will then catch the people involved, who will then give us millions as a cash reward."

Option 3: Destroy it.
Reasoning: It isn't destroying money, because it isn't money. No one else should have to lose $20. I got stuck with it, let that be the end of it.

Option 4: Deliver it to the FBI.
Reasoning. See Option 2. I'LL get the millions cash reward.

Option 5: Cry.
Reasoning. I lost $20!

Option 6: Give it to a younger sibling/relative as a prank.
Reasoning: Do I need a reason?

Pretty sure the options have gotten exponentially worse, so we'll stop there. I do have more, but you'll have to ask for more to get more (what a horrible way to encourage comments!).

What would you do? One of my options or something else?

Let me know, in the comments below (accidental rhyme woohoo!).

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Saved by the Bell

I started writing a blog post about someone. Without getting into it, it wasn't the niiiicesssst of posts. It would have been done in a way that the subject would never have known it was about them. There would have been a disclaimer saying as much for anyone who might have thought it was about them.

Then my Calendar notified me about an event, a special event. An event that I started just that week.

"Don't speak Lashon Hara".

It was one of my sister's who called me with the idea that each member of our family would take on hours in which we would commit not to speak lashon hara, with the goal being that we would managed the entire 24 hours in a day.

The idea, I was told, is that it should be as easy as possible. Hours that you have a chavrusa, davening, sleeping, working, etc. It isn't supposed  to be difficult, it's just supposed to happen.

Except for a brother learning in Israel, we're all in the same time zone, so we couldn't have filled the hours with sleep, but if we could have, I'd imagine, we would have.

Thankfully, being in a largish family, we don't have to take on 6 hours each, so that's definitely a boon to it actually happening.

Anyway, as I was saying, I started writing this post about someone. And then, hashgacha pratis, my phone calendar notified me that I was up to bat for my family. I was on the clock towards completing my part in the 24 hours.

I had written two lines of what was going to be a poem, when I stopped myself.

Not speaking lashon hara is more than just "not speaking lashon hara," it's about watching what we speak!
As people I know love saying, "it's not just about the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law."

Halachically, could I have written the post? According to my limited knowledge of halacha, absolutely. Is it in the spirit of "guarding your mouth"? Eeeeeeehhhhhhhh, not so much.

So, thank you sis, for acting on the idea you heard, including me, and helping our family grow in Torah and Yiras Shamayim. You're an inspiration to me, the family, and undoubtedly others.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

ה' מלך, ה' מלך, ה' ימלך לעולם ועד

Been a while since I've blogged, commented on your blogs, or replied to your comments on mine, but this was too special not to share with you all.

Be inspired.

For the song and full lyrics of the second song, here it is.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Leave a Message after the Beep

There's an art to leaving a voicemail. Depending on who the person is in relation to you, the reason you're calling, how busy they are, when you're going to see them next, when you saw them last, how frequently you see them.... you get the point.

I used to be that guy who would leave the most discombobulated voicemails ever. Worse, I would apologize at the end of the voicemail for how horrendous the message was. It was bad. Some people were amused and thought it was "cute" (not the adjective I'm looking for my voicemails to be described as), others not as amused.

As it turns out, I'm getting better in specific circumstances. My cousin called me and I missed his call. This cousin hasn't called me in probably around 5 years, if not more. He's 6 or 7 years older than me, married with, er, 2 kids (around that anyway), living in a different city, and incredibly busy. It doesn't help that I have 400 cousins (ok, 70-80). It also doesn't help that I'm busy.

So, when he called, I was flattered that he thought to call me, annoyed that I missed him, and traumatized that I couldn't take him up on his incredibly thoughtful offer that was time sensitive.

When I called him back, a few moments ago, it went to voicemail. Shucks. Now what? How do you impart your feelings when there's no response to what you're saying?

Well, I think I acquitted myself quite nicely. Not that I'll know until I speak to him, but I covered all the points I wanted to make and did so in a succinct fashion.

It was a great feeling realizing that something I had been so horrible at in years past, was something that I had managed to work on and improve.

What was even more amazing about the feeling was that I had actively worked on improving my leaving messages skills better and not seen any results until today.

It's always been hard for me to apply the idea that water droplets can wear down a stone as a way to work on middos. Thanks to something as simple as leaving a voicemail, I can see just how applicable it is.

"Sometimes life gives us lessons sent in ridiculous packaging."~ Dar Williams (whoever that is)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Random Happenings

In the past few weeks, the following has happened:

  • Toiveled kitchen set. 6 months after I bought it.

  • Bought second kitchen set. For $25. (Princess Lea, don't yell at me...too much :-))

  • Toiveled second kitchen set.

  • Random two-day road trip. Went with 10 hours of notice.

  • BBQ in parking lot, presumably, illegally.

  • BBQ not in parking lot, but likely illegal spot.

  • Getting called out on taking advantage of a deal the store offers. What.

  • Ignoring multiple misdemeanors from horrible roommate.

  • People from one place calling ahead to the next about our imminent arrival.

If you want to read more about any of these things, let me know in the comments and I'll write it up for your reading pleasure.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In a Bind

A host of mine has a daughter who is looking for a job. I have a position open in the company that she fits. I spoke to the host and offered to give her a shot. 

I spoke to her (on her father's phone). She told me that she isn't sure if the particular work I have for her is a strength of hers. Rather than hire her on the spot, we agreed that I'd give her some work to do and we'd take it from there. 

I emailed her the work I needed done. I told her to call me so that we can discuss before she begins. 

Then, nothing.

2 days later I emailed her asking what was going on (nicely).


The next day she emails me asking for the lowdown. I emailed her back 8 minutes later suggesting she call me to discuss. 

Nothing. She has a smartphone, so it it's not like she needed to be in front of a computer to get the email. 

5 (!!!!!!!!!!!) days later she calls me. I missed the call because I rarely pick up the phone if it's a number I don't recognize. She left a message asking me to call her back and saying she'd call back later. 

She hasn't called back since.

Now, what am I supposed to do? I have a business to (help) run, and hiring someone who takes a week to call (when I told her off the bat we needed to discuss it on the phone), isn't good business sense. On the other hand, her dad is awesome and don't want to burn any bridges by telling his daughter to go fly a kite. 

I've hired people. I've fired people. I've turned down applications. But it's the daughter of a friend, and I don't think that's a tactic I can take here.

I understand now why mixing business and personal matters are not a good idea. I always understood the theory of it, but now I have the issue staring me in the face. And I have no idea what to do. 

What would you do?