Potions, Anyone?

Daily Prompt: Back to School

July 26, 2013

If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MASTERY.

Oh, umm, do wizarding subjects count? Because mine would totally be potions. Stoppered and bottled magic is something we’ve all heard of and vividly pictured at some or other point in our childhood/adulthood, from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice to Harry Potter Also, I kind of always liked Chem Lab. ^_^

Course Requirements:

Textbook: Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger

Materials:

  • 1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
  • 1 set of glass or crystal phials
  • 1 brass scales

Care to join me anyone? What would your favorite subject be?

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Asp Army: the Hufflepuff of Ender’s Game

So this is a much-needed rant; I will explode if I don’t say this. I just took the Ender’s Game: IF Strategic Aptitude Test, which is basically to sort you into one of four armies: Dragon, Rat, Salamander and Asp. I got drafted into Asp. The asp, by the way, is a venemous snake,most popular for being used by Cleopatra to commit suicide. But, I digress. Before you read on, I would like to warn you with a SPOILER ALERT. If you’re like me, and absolutely abhor spoilers, please don’t read on. If, on the other hand, you’re another hardcore fan, or else don’t mind spoilers, please continue.

Dragon Army: Anyone who’s read the book knows that, like Gryffindor, Dragon Army is where you want to be. Created specifically for Ender, this army has the best, most coveted, most talented students.

Traits: Intelligence, Improvisation Ability, Tactical Ability, and everything else awesome and embodying perfection.

Salamander Army: Led by the devil himself, Bonzo Madrid, Salamander Army is the equivalent of Slytherin in terms of popular perception. It differs in that it is badly-captained, and lack of respect reigns everywhere. Run by fear, it’s not the place you want to be. Still Salamander has Petra, and Petra is awesome. At the end of the day, Salamander does well – they’re just not the most welcoming or easy at improvisation. Stick to the plan and work hard is a motto that normally works for them.

Traits: Ambition, Hubris, Order, Hierarchy, Following the Plan (sometimes blindly)

Rat Army: The Ravenclaw of the Enderverse, Rat Army commander is Rose de Nose, but seeing as he’s not really commander material, I consider him a bad example. Rat is chaotic and disorderly, but they possess an open-mindedness that I like. Dink Meeker, in my opinion, is the embodiment of Rat. Cool, calm and collected, Dink is perfect commander material. Dink actually thinks. He sees the bigger picture and predicts the war that’s going to happen on Earth. He sees the teachers playing them, and he comes to his own conclusions and decision: that he won’t take part in the *ahem* rat race.

Traits: Analytical Skill, Adaptability, Chaos (creativity?)

Asp Army: Here we reach the point of this post and the root of the problem. Despite being a fan, (or maybe precisely because I am a fan) I cannot, for the life of me, recall any part of the book that does more than name Asp Army as a statistic, along with all the other armies. Nowhere is Asp given any character. We have no idea whether it’s a good team or a bad team or what the army’s like. Hence, the Hufflepuff reference.The Asp snake looks more like a nice tough-looking fourth-army-mascot than anything else.

Traits(according to the quiz): Creativity, Innovation

Now, for the rant. I highly dislike the fact that, once again, we have a house/army/category that it is IMPOSSIBLE to identify with for fans. Note that I don’t say that the traits are hard to identify with: I think their analysis of me as creative and innovative is pretty much right. I just don’t feel like I belong in Asp because they’ve obviously just picked up a fourth army to round it off and assigned these character traits to them because, for a quiz, we need the artsy, right-brained house.

Disclaimer: I’m not just jealous that I wasn’t put into Dragon. Although I am jealous. It’s obvious what answers are required to get Dragon, and I decided to be honest and see what I got.

Also, it still remains that Dragon Army is the creme de la creme of Battle School – a sort of Special Ops squad. In short, it’s like Dumbledore’s Army – a collection of the best from each category – not a category of its own, and definitely not comparable with Rat, Salamander and *snort* Asp. Therefore, not being sorted into Dragon automatically makes you inferior.

Back to the Hufflepuff comparison. I’m not saying either Hufflepuff or Asp are inherently bad. I’m just reminded of Harry Potter fans’ disconnect with Hufflepuff because it plays such a minor role in the books/movies. We don’t even get to see their Common Room. So imagine my frustration when I’m placed in an Army which:

  • is not even one of four main armies – it’s just one of many, randomly selected to fill the vacancy. Even Condor and Rabbit were given bigger roles.
  • doesn’t have any significant role or scene in the book
  • does not even have any distinguishing characteristics mentioned in the book – we just have to take Lionsgate’s word for it. At least Hufflepuff has loyalty and magnanimity as guideposts.

Coincidentally, Asp Army has a significantly lesser number of insignias (those circular army-badge-things) on Google image search, as I found out when trying to find images for this post. Hence the slight size difference, for any of you that noticed. Just thought I’d mention it.

So anyway, I’m really angry and really frustrated. The “sorting” does not make sense to me to begin with, and although I’m happy to be pronounced creative and innovative, I hate that I was sorted into Asp. It honestly bothers me.

Also, they do not allow you to retake the quiz. I’ve tried. Even if you revoke app permission on Facebook and try again. Yeah, I know. Another little warning: there’s no guarantee that all your information will be deleted from their system if you decide to back out. It’s part of their Privacy Policy, which – yes – i read. Yes, I was that angry. Although I must admit this would be pretty much a non-issue if I’d gotten Dragon.

I know I can’t be alone in feeling this annoyed. I ranted to two people already and cursed being placed in Asp till my throat went sore. What hurts the most is the fact that the quiz is supposed to make you get more excited and involved with Ender’s Game; they just alienated me from it. Asp has no role in the book. I’ve been placed in a background army with randomly-assigned traits. That makes me feel lost. Even though I know it’s just a game, and it’s just for fun, and it should probably be considered a bonus that we have a somewhat official quiz at all, I’m still annoyed at the illogical way in which it was handled. Sure, I realize that for moviegoers, or people who are only reading the book to get an idea of the story before the movie releases, it’ll be all in fun and it won’t really matter. But for me, as a devoted fan, it does.

I, immature or not, will continue to hate Asp Army as one of the four advertised/promoted armies until I hear word from Card about Asp. It’s his world: if he says Asp is important and creative, I will believe that Asp is important and creative. But not until then.  So please, if anyone hears any official news about Asp or has proof or views to the contrary, please let me know. I am definitely open to persuasion.

As a side note: it sucks that I got 5/5 in the YA quiz, and I can’t go to the comic-con and collect my prize. Cue loud weeping.

Breathtakingly Alive

Daily Prompt: Singin’ in the Rain

June 15, 2013

Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

 

I’m sitting at my dining table,

And I think I forgot to close the window

Because the curtains are flying

And there is water

Everywhere.

Monsoon wind swirls and gusts are life-giving,

Invigorating, in the face of summer heat.

I’m curled up with Harry Potter again –

I’m sorry if it looks like I’m ignoring you

But I’m not really here anymore;

I really didn’t hear you.

My stomach interrupts me though,

So I blast my DVD player all the way

With a mix CD from two years ago

Signed by a friend,

And sing like no one ever has before

Because no one ever has.

And I get my poncho, chocolate,

Sunflower seeds and soup

Because tea is hard to get just right

And sweaters and coffee are too cliché.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/daily-prompt-rain/