my vain attempt at fiction writing

For the past few days I have had this idea to write a story based on the Harry Potter saga. The idea came to me, in all honesty, in a dream.

I don’t know how good what I have so far actually is, but I see no harm in sharing it with the world. It’s more of a passion project than any serious attempt at literature.

So here it is…


The letter arrived with a thud.

Not a heavy thud, at least not right away. The weight it bore wouldn’t be known for weeks, but heavy it would be.

No, it landed with a thud because it was so unexpected. The post had come hours before, and Harry wasn’t expecting anything else on that Friday afternoon. But here was this letter falling through the slot in the door that no one used.

The owls always came to the window in the kitchen, always before noon.

It had been a relaxing Friday. Harry had taken the day off, tired from what had become tedious drudgery. Chasing rogue Death Eaters had been exciting in his early days of being an Auror in the aftermath of the Tom Riddle’s death. But after the last were hunted down two years ago, Harry’s days were filled with paperwork to process the arrests and prosecutions.

So a day off was welcome, even though he knew what awaited him when he would return to the office.

In fact, the prospect of more hours of paperwork had on at least one occasion given rise to the thought of resigning from the Auror office. Riddle was gone. His followers were all locked up or dead. Why did Harry need to continue being an Auror?

If it wasn’t that the work wasn’t yet done, he would have walked away. He was 22. He had spent more than a decade of his life fighting Riddle in one form or another.

He had done his duty and service to the magical world. No one would begrudge him his desire to simply walk away and enjoy some peace and quiet.

But that wasn’t Harry. He had committed to the job; he was going to see it through.

And if he wanted to take some time away to simply clear his head, he was going to take it and no one was going to stop him.

Who would? He was The Boy Who Lived. He had hunted down and destroyed most of Riddle’s Horcruxes.

If there was one person who could get away with anything, it was Harry.

That was what was going through Harry’s mind when there was a rattle at the front door and the letter slid through the slot and fell on the floor.

It was Ginny who picked the letter off the floor. Ginny, several months pregnant and starting to show, had recently taken leave from the Holyhead Harpies.

Not as struck with malaise at where her life had taken her as her husband, she too was at a loss for much motivation that afternoon. A week away from Quidditch, when that had been her all-consuming focus the past three years, had made her start to wonder how to fill the time.

So for Ginny, this letter was a break in that afternoon’s quiet tedium. It was even a bit of a mystery, because in the three years she and Harry had lived in their home, not once had anything come through that slot.

Not once had they received anything through the Muggle post.

Ginny and Harry had chosen to move into a Muggle neighbourhood to get away from it all when they were home. It was a choice they didn’t have to think too much about. Sure, they still received owl post, and the Daily Prophet was always read at breakfast. But neighbours who didn’t know who they were was a welcome respite.

There had been some questions, unspoken to the Potters, about the owls. But other than that, the Potters were simply that nice, young couple next door.

All the envelope said on it was ‘Harry Potter,’ and the couple’s address. No other markings were present. It was entirely unremarkable, save for the silver of the paper.

Ginny took the letter to Harry—it was addressed to him, after all—and sat across from him as he opened it.

At first, Harry’s expression was of surprise. But as he read what was inside, his eyes widened.

Ginny wouldn’t have said it was shock that registered on her husband’s face, but the expression still worried her.

“What’s it say?” she asked.

Harry didn’t answer right away. He read the letter again, taking in every word written in an elegant handwriting, the green ink shining in the afternoon sun.

When he put it down, the disbelief in his eyes was evident.

“It’s from Draco Malfoy,” he whispered. “He wants to see me.”

So that’s that. Thoughts?


Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard the news that Stuart McLean died today, Feb. 15. I don’t know how you could have missed it – it blew up my twitter feed.


“Devastated” is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about Stuart’s death. There really are no words that adequately express the extreme sadness I feel.

I don’t know when I first discovered the Vinyl Cafe. It may have been in my university days. I know for certain the summer of 2009 I would lie on my couch listening to the show every Sunday I didn’t have work. So I’ve been listening for at least seven years, and probably longer.

Then, when I got into podcasting, it was no longer appointment listening, so I never missed a show (although I have suspicions the podcast wasn’t exactly the same as the show, but that’s neither here nor there).

I can’t tell you how much Stuart and the Vinyl Cafe has affected my life.

I fell in love with the stories and the characters. I remained steadfast in my belief that while the stories could have made an amazing TV show, I would hate to have actors’ faces become the faces I see when listening to the stories.

Then there’s the music. I found a lot of great musical acts through Stuart.

If it wasn’t for the Vinyl Cafe, I would never have discovered:

  • The Once
  • Madison Violet
  • Ann Vriend
  • Hannah Georgas
  • Jadea Kelly
  • The Good Lovelies
  • Kathleen Edwards
  • Whitehorse
  • Said the Whale

And many others.

When Stuart announced his melanoma diagnosis, I was incredibly disappointed. I had bought tickets to his Edmonton Christmas show in 2015, and it would have been my first show. But obviously health comes first.

Then in late 2016 he announced the radio show would be on hiatus while he focused on treatment. That was disheartening, because it definitely made his health situation sound worse than he wanted to let on.

Then I’m scrolling through my Twitter today and I see a few references to Stuart dying.

I rarely tear up when people die. I didn’t even cry when I lost two of my grandparents in the last few years (I’m not cold-hearted; I had been out west for a long time by that point, and I had had less contact with them, so it was just a continuation of the separation that already existed). But I started to tear up.

Stuart and the Vinyl Cafe had been such a huge part of my life since university. I wouldn’t say the show kept me sane as I moved around Western Canada and went through ups and downs. But it was a constant. It was something that was there and something I felt comfortable with.

I laughed at Dave’s misadventures. I cried when Stuart read stories about war, especially the letter from the man who wanted to play his bagpipes at … I want to say Vimy Ridge. Being able to almost recite along with some stories.

He and the show were just a part of my life.

I think it speaks to the power of radio that my reaction, and those of countless others, has been so visceral. I and thousands of people welcomed Stuart and his guests into our homes on a weekly basis. We were soothed by his voice. We laughed along with his stories. We learned of new, predominantly Canadian, artists. We formed our own family.

Stuart would almost always end his shows with four little words: “So long for now!”

No, Stuart. So long forever. We miss you already.

Why must I get ‘the sick’ as my vacation ends?

[Composed on Jan. 8, 2017; 21:33 EST, in an airplane]

Being sick while travelling is just about the worst thing there is.

Picture it: you’re away from work, enjoying a leisurely time when and where you have very few cares, and suddenly you feel your throats getting sore, your nose start to stuff up or run, and fatigue hits you like a flaming sack of crap.

And the worst part is, you often feel yourself getting sicker.

This is what I’ve had to endure the last three days. And it’s honestly a mix of emotions.

On the one hand, I’m getting sick at the very end of my time off work, so my time off hasn’t been ruined.

On the other hand, I’m getting sick, which is never fun.

I’m feeling fairly decent, all things considered, however. This sick is feeling like it could clear up with lots of sleep and keeping hydrated. And that’s a good thing, because my stupid body has treated me to some doozies over the years.

There was that time I had to cover a rodeo and a triathlon on the same day, and that day saw me feeling tired, achy all over and slightly chilled – it’s highly likely I had a high fever.

Thankfully my only experiences (that I can recall) with vomiting have been the result of excessive alcohol and not something like the flu.

Anyway, I survived my 17 days off without really getting sick.

Time to commence the countdown to a trip to Europe. When am I going? Absolutely no concrete idea yet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Vacation at an end

It’s Jan. 7, and while I don’t leave the GTA to return to Alberta until tomorrow, this vacation is pretty much over.

Today is my 31th birthday, so I’m apparently doing something right. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I have to say this is probably one of the best vacations I’ve taken since I started working like a mature, responsible adult.

What did I do? Heck, what didn’t I do?

I went to seven WJHC games at the ACC.

I went to the Centennial Classic at BMO Field.

I went to Ottawa for the first time since early 2010 (at least I think that was the last time).

I nearly achieved a gyarados, but did achieve several other top-level pokemon (if anyone even still plays that game).

And today, I’m holding a mini birthday party, since I haven’t been in the T.Dot on my birthday since 2010. So I thought, “why not?”

It’s going to feel weird going back to Edmonton, to an office that will be different (well, more different) than I left. To a job where I am a one-person department. We’ll have to see how that goes.

Hopefully I can get picked up from the airport. I don’t really want to take the bus.


Or not.

It’s 2017, and while I have often tried to make resolutions of some shape or form, I have not always been too successful. Sure, like always, I start out with the best of intentions, but things always tend to get in the way.

This year will be different. Or so I keep telling myself.

I have actual goals this year. I want to take a two-week trip to Europe. I want to take control of my burgeoning mass. I want to profane my body with the Dark Mark (because the mudbloods and halfblooded need to know they’re inferior!). I want to live a more wholesome life, W/eTF that means.

I think what might make achieving some of those goals easier is linking them together. Except for the Europe trip — that’s happening regardless.

Will I succeed? Hopefully.

I won’t keep you posted, because I think I read somewhere that regular updates to friends/family makes the chances of success less likely because you feel like you’ve achieved something before you’ve actually achieved anything.

Merry Christmas

Or something like that…

Christmas in your 30s, which is apparently where I find myself, is a strange thing.

You’re no longer super excited about what you’re going to get, so there’s no rush to wake up early and start ripping into your presents. Instead, you’re often more excited about getting friends and family the quote-unquote perfect present.

Really, it’s the experiences that become more meaningful than the actual items you’ll receive.

Heck, for me, I had a brief list that was pretty much essentials (e.g. grocery store gift cards) or something I would plan to get for myself anyway, but would rather wait to see if Christmas or birthday would produce it for me (e.g. wearable GPS).

So, as this, the 30th Christmas of my life is ready to happen (as I’m only barely waking up), I look more forward to the time spend with family (and friends in the coming days) than I am to what I will get.

The only thing I could get that would actually be disappointing would be socks and skivvies — I explicitly told people not to get me any because I have too many to begin with.

Home for the holidays

I’m still kicking myself for passing up the chance to go to Euro 2016 in France this summer. Tickets were still available when I bailed, so my regret is even stronger. Yes, I had a strong reason not to go, but that reason never materialized, so… yeah.

So, in a vain attempt to make up for that choice, I decided to go to the IIHF World U20 (WJHC) tournament in Toronto. I figure if I passed up international football, I may as well go to an international hockey tournament instead.

Adding in the fact my family is in Toronto, and it’s actually a much cheaper experience than Euro 2016 would have been. That said, I still would have preferred Euro 2016 to the WJHC.

I don’t know why I started this off with that mini treatise on my life choices in the past year, since I’m planning to discuss that closer to Dec. 31 (or on Dec. 31, I don’t know).

This year I will be home for Christmas for the first time since 2014, and only the second time since 2009. And it’s only the second time I will have headed back east to the GTA *not* for a wedding since I moved out here to Alberta back in 2010. Yes, you read that right – I had only ever flown into or out of Edmonton for weddings until this past September when I went home for a weekend to see a Blue Jays game, and watch my brother get recognized for his work as a Blue Jays physiotherapist.

Anyway. Yes. It’s going to be nice to be home for Christmas again this year. While pretty much every year I have been out here I have been invited somewhere for Christmas, there is still nothing like being with family and friends whom I have known for a long time – a.k.a. people I actually know.

It’s going to be a busy two weeks, too. I have seven WJHC games to attend, as well as the Centennial Classic (outdoor) game on Jan. 1. I hadn’t really planned on attending that game, but I decided I’m going to be in town, so why not? The only thing I worry about is that it’s outdoors, so I’m at the mercy of the weather, be it snowing and cold, or raining (it is Toronto, after all).