Stealing time

From “I Steal Time” | MORNING, COMPUTER, by Warren Ellis.

Walking in London with a friend from America who works in film. I stopped at a roundabout near Covent Garden, looked up. He asked what I was looking at. Everything, I said. It’s my practice. I take five minutes every day just for me, to look around and see where I am and be there.
[…]
It’s easy to feel like you’re living on borrowed time, and that time is running out. For five minutes a day, I like to turn the hourglass the other way. I’ve stolen six hundred hours from the countdown clock that the world would have drained away from me had I let it.

In the chaos in which we live our lives these days, with the constant pinging of notifications, the deluge of media and advertising, the constant thrum of people doing stuff, wanting stuff, needing stuff from everyone else, it’s important to stop and take a moment.

In the words of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off :

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Take a moment. Look around. What do you see?

Wondering about Wands

Have you ever wondered about the wands in Harry Potter? I have…

wands

The wand chooses the wizard, remember…
~ Garrick Ollivander, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

We were in Alnwick Castle recently. They filmed parts of the first Harry Potter movie there, and the gift shop had quite a range of collectable replica wands. Harry, Ron and Hermione’s were all there, as were the wands belonging to Snape, Luna, Tonks and assorted other characters. The kids and I spent a while poring over them discussing which ones we liked best.

It was the wands belonging to the dark wizards which struck me as most interesting.

If, as the book suggests, the wand chooses the wizard, would it not be really easy to tell a bad ‘un by their wand?

Take, for example, the Death Eater wand (it’s the one next to Voldemort’s in the photo). The grinning skull in the handle has got to be a bit of a giveaway, hasn’t it? Imagine before You Know Who turns up again. You’re a Death Eater[1], minding your own business when someone spots your wand.

“Ere, you’re one of them Death Eater’s, ain’t cha?”
“Me, madam? Certainly not! What a preposterous suggestion!”
“Why’s your wand got a skull on it then?”
“Oh, drat. Avada Kedavra!
“Oh, bum.” [dies]

Or the ‘snatcher’ wand.

“Ere mate. That’s not a wand. It’s a stick.”
“It’s a wand! Look!” [flourishes]
“Oh, bum. You’re right. It’s a stick. Now, where did I put me wand?”

[1] What a stupid name that is. Honestly, if anyone can give me a *good* explanation of why they’re called Death Eaters, I’ll give you ONE MILLION HOUSE POINTS.

Going bananas

Recently I discovered a colleague at work liked to snap his bananas.

“Like a monkey,” he said. “You’ve got half a banana to eat now, and half a banana to eat later. Kind of a bonus banana.”

Observe:

Now, this was new to us. It’s kind of genius – you do have half a banana later, and it’s still in its skin (mostly) so it stays ok for a while.

Another colleague had a go.

It’s not as easy at it seems! However, when I showed this to kids (after they’d stopped falling about laughing), they immediately asked if they could try.

Sure, I said. But if you snap it, you’ve got to eat it.

The quantity of bananas consumed in our house went up quite dramatically (at least for a short while). It even put a dent in the quantity of black banana cake that I was able to make.

After all, to make black banana cake, you need (unsurprisingly) black bananas.

As I was writing this post, I idly typed ‘snap banana like a monkey’ into YouTube, and came across this.

Whoa. One-handed banana opening. Genius!

So, dear reader. How do you eat your bananas? Do you snap them like a monkey? Peel them from the bottom (also a favoured technique of our monkey chums), or something else?

I leave you with this – a gif of a banana which has been put through an MRI. Oddly beautiful.

What has it got in its pockets, precious?

image

Discovered in my coat pocket this morning. This is the the same coat I wear for work most days. I have no idea how they got there.

I recognise the badge – I did Russian at school and there was a class trip to Moscow & St Petersburg but at the time it was too expensive for us so I didn’t go. Friends did and one of them brought this back. The text reads ‘Moscow – City of Heroes’ and I’ve had it for at nearly 30 years. How it ended up in my coat…

As for the dime, I’ve got a pot of foreign notes & coins which occasionally the kids get out and go through. Perhaps this got dropped out of it then picked up later, thinking it was a 5p.

Either that, or the Universe is trying to tell me something. I just wish it works be slightly less cryptic…

🙂