The Deathly Hallows / The Seventh Horcrux  

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When rumors about a leaked copy of the final installment of the Harry Potter series - The Deathly Hallows - circulated almost three years ago, shortly before the book's official release, I started searching the internet for a copy. Being the insufferable copyright-infringement-law violator that I was, I found myself in possession of an "advanced" copy of The Deathly Hallows, in e-book form.

Shortly after Book 7's official release it was revealed that the "advanced" copy was a fake. Despite being a fraud, the fake copy made for very interesting reading. I thought back then that whoever wrote it must have been a huge Harry Potter fan.

It turns out I was right. I stumbled upon this website yesterday that showcased literally an entire collection of Harry Potter fan fiction. It's amazing to see what dedicated fans can come up with when they've got loads of time on their hands. The "fake" copy of The Deathly Hallows was a thirty-four chapter project entitled "The Seventh Horcrux". It can be read here.

Here are some interesting snippets from The Seventh Horcrux.

Umbridge turned her wide, panicked eyes toward the Dark Lord, gaping like a fish. Despite his hatred of her and everything she’d done, Harry couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit sorry for her. He could see the Aurors grasping their wands, still seeking orders to surge and attack. Umbridge’s loyal followers – those who were now in charge – suddenly appeared uncertain of what to do.

Voldemort’s face twisted into a hideous smile – a smile bereft of joy or happiness. It was a truly frightening sight, causing Harry to shudder.

“Fenrir,” Voldemort said, caressing his wand with his fingers. “I believe your kind have some issues with the current Minister. Perhaps you’d like to discuss them with her…directly.”

Greyback smiled wolfishly, running his long, yellowed fingernails through his whiskers. “Why, yes…that would be quite…delectable.”

Umbridge screeched and backed away as Greyback began stalking her. She held her hands in front of her body as if it would somehow shield her. Greyback’s pack of angry werewolves began to advance, joining Fenrir on the hunt. Umbridge’s panicked face disappeared as she was surrounded by the pack, and Harry saw a smattering of blood hit the wall.

Umbridge’s screams acted as the signal for violence to erupt. Several Ministry officials attempted to stop the werewolves’ attack, but the Death Eaters struck them down without mercy.

Vindication! Dolores Umbridge meets a gruesome end. I also find it interesting how they made Harry's muggle cousin Dudley Dursley into a wizard in this version.

“Greetings fellow w-w-wizards,” Dudley, said, his voice wavering. “I was raised with one of you – but I was taught to fear you.” Dudley paused, most likely because he was stuck on a word, but he appeared to enjoy the reaction and stretched the moment out longer. “I was told that you were all abnormal – freaks – and made to believe that everything magical was meant to harm me. I was wrong. My family was misled.”

Dudley’s frustration with the parchment and what was written finally overcame him, and he crumpled it. Dolores’s face registered alarm when Dudley tossed it to the ground.

Harry shook his head, clearly seeing why Dolores would have gone after Dudley once she realized the magical register had been obscured. Her reasons for using him were twofold. First, she could strip Harry’s strong public appeal by supplying a new “hero,” and this time, she’d found one she could control. Manipulating Harry’s blood connection to Dudley was a win-win for her.

“Look. I’m magic just like you. From what she tells me,” Dudley said, jerking his thumb in Umbridge’s direction, “I’ve got a lot of power. My folks were afraid of magic until they realized how special it made me. We’ve been threatened so many times, we thought—”

“Yes, and we all owe you an apology for that, Mr. Dursley,” Umbridge said, swiftly moving Dudley behind her. “Your family never should have been made to fear your gift.”

Harry could see Aunt Petunia dab her eyes, staring adoringly at her little popkin, who took up half the stage with his wide girth. Even Uncle Vernon had managed to maintain a stiff upper lip around all the magical folk. He proudly stuck his chest out and clapped Dudley on the back.

I tell you, it's a very interesting read, especially if you're into all that snogging between Harry and Ginny. Kudos to Melindaleo and company for coming up with this. Oh, and you gotta love the ending too.

Late last evening on a quiet street in Surrey, a gruesome discovery was made. Vernon and Petunia Dursley were found dead in their home. Both victims were found seated at their kitchen table, but a source close to the investigation tells us no cause of death is readily apparent. Both victims had been in relatively good health, although Mr. Dursley suffered from high blood pressure and a dangerous cholesterol level. Still, this wouldn't explain how both victims died at the same time with no obvious sign of foul play.

The doors to their house on Privet Drive remained locked, and there was no sign of forced entry. The Dursleys are survived by one son, Dudley, who was unavailable for comment, although one neighbor claimed to have seen him in the area on the day of his parents' mysterious deaths. The source tells this reporter that the strangest thing about the case is the expression of terror on both victims' faces. The source claimed it was as if they'd been frightened to death…

Now imagine Dudley Dursley trying out Avada Kedavra on his parents. That's a disturbing thought.

Traitors And Thieves  

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The light underneath the door told him someone was there. He could hear footsteps just beyond the threshold scurrying across the creaking floorboards.

Who's in there?

The noises stopped. As if contemplating their next move, his unwelcome visitors stood there silent for what seemed like an eternity. Clutching his heart in one hand, and a 9 millimeter in the other, he cautiously crept closer to the door. Hearing nothing, he clicked the lock on the doorknob and pushed the door open quietly. He didn't even have to use his key. Then, just as his eyes consumed the sight of an empty room, he heard the sound of a car engine roaring from the back of the house. Running towards the back door, he got there just in time to see the sedan swerve and careen towards the embankment and speed into the distance. He knew they got what they came for.

=============================================================================

They stopped in the middle of nowhere. They had just broken into a man's house and had stolen what they were paid to steal - an antique Van Gogh. The man they took it from was supposedly a descendant of the world renowned painter.

How much do you reckon it's worth?

Without answering the question, the other thief pulled out his revolver and shot his partner in cold blood. He kicked the car door open and shoved the lifeless mass beside him out onto the pavement. It made a silent thud. He turned the engine over and drove off in the opposite direction.

It's worth a lot more to me than you, Stan.




Skin Ink  

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A tattoo, at least according to Wikipedia, is a mark made by inserting ink under the skin. But what do tattoos really mean? For some, its an expression of feelings. They get portraits of loved ones immortalized on their skin. Others, like me, consider it an art form. Its like wearing a very unique piece of art on your body. In some areas, tattoos can also identify a person's affiliation, like tribal tattoos or gangster inks. And lastly, believe it or not, there are also those who get inked for medical purposes. For instance, those who undergo certain medical procedures repeatedly get marked to ensure proper placement of medical equipment.

Now why am I talking about tattoos, you ask. Or at least I think you did. That's because for as long as I can remember I've always wanted to get one. So late last year, I finally got my first real tattoo.

I decided to get an Asian theme done because I'm Asian and I really admired Asian art tattoos. That's a Kanji symbol that's supposed to mean "respect", although I'm not sure if the strokes on the symbol nailed the exact translation. But I did some research beforehand of course, and this is close enough. I still vividly remember the first time the tip of the tattoo machine touched skin. I'll be honest with you people, it hurt big time. But I told myself I wanted it so I held on as every line, every shade and every stroke was painfully etched on my skin. Besides, I thought it would look really stupid if I had an incomplete tattoo on me. When it was done I looked at it in the mirror and I was awestruck. That was it. I was completely hooked. The first thing I honestly thought was what design should I do next. Credit goes to my friend Rap, he introduced me to his artist Waway.

So that was how it started. Actually, I had a glimpse of how it felt to have a tattoo two years before the real tattoo was made when I had a henna tattoo done in Puerto Galera. Take a look.

Incidentally, the day I got that henna tattoo done was the day my niece Keia was born.

A few months after that first real (and painful) tattoo I had the itch again. I wanted to get inked again. Somehow I found the pain rather satisfying. So I scoured the Internet for my next piece. I initially wanted a dragon design, but Rap talked me into getting a koi fish design. I went along with it since dragons were pretty commonplace anyway. And I liked his idea. So we hunted Waway down again and on that fateful January afternoon I got tattooed again.

This time I was ready for the pain. I was impressed by how Waway hand-drew the koi fish on my arm from scratch - no templates, not even a picture of a koi fish to copy his design from. It took him two solid hours but when he was done, I was happy to see more art on my body. Again I started thinking about my next tattoo.

I kept in close contact with Waway for the next few weeks and not long after the last session I came back for more. And then some.

Then Waway lost his mobile, hid in Boracay for a few months for some reason, and my arm got a few months rest. It's a good thing I had his email address. I am again in the hunt for my next tattoo. This one's going to completely cover my arm above the elbow up to a portion of my back. I'm psyched! If you guys have any suggestions please let me know!

That's me on the left, and Rap on the right!

Vomiting Headsets All Over Again  

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Six years ago I told myself and some of my friends who tried to talk me into it that I would never get into the call center business. I knew all the graveyard shifts would eventually take a toll on one's health, I thought it wasn't worth the shit I'd get from all those frustrated and irate son-of-a-bitches. So I ventured into the insurance business. I sold insurance policies to every sucker who would listen. We'd all die in the end anyway, right? So you might as well be prepared to leave something behind for those who depend on you. A noble job, I thought. Then I realized I wasn't built to sell (especially since my selling point then was to tell my clients they would die sooner or later), so I quit. At that time, my heart was really into music. I joined a band, and took it as a career. Unfortunately it didn't pay too well. So I put down my guitar and walked away. I needed the money. So I closed my eyes and bit the bullet.

Here I am now, five years later, wallowing in the pits of the very business I so despised. I had to take on the opportunity back then because I needed a respectable source of income, and because I knew I had the tools to do good in this line of work. I told myself, how hard could it be to talk to some dumb-ass over the phone and get paid big money doing it? After all, I did go to school and learned how to speak English. So on my first serious attempt I got a job at one of the leading call centers back then, and signed my contract on the very same day. I bent my principles and reluctantly conformed to society.

It wasn't all that bad at first. In fact, I met some of my best friends at that first call center that I worked for. I still consider them my family to this very day. It was really great because I was proud that I was getting a five-digit salary despite being a college undergraduate. I literally never took my company ID off if could keep it on. I wore it like a medal.

Things got a little complicated and I realized I needed more. I thought I wasn't getting paid enough to do my job. Don't criticize me, all those hypocrites among you, its human nature to ask for more. There is no such thing as contentment. So to cut the long story short I allowed myself to be pirated by another call center for a much more desirable salary. So again, it went great. I met more friends, learned new stuff and of course I was getting paid more.

Then the whole thing turned into a vicious cycle. I found myself wanting more and getting more and more disgruntled with the repetitiveness of the job. To be honest, it became really boring. No longer did I have that zeal to come to work because I knew I was good at it. I struggled to find reasons to drag my feet out of bed and go to the office. It was a never-ending nightmare.

I'm in my fifth call center and again I find myself dissatisfied with how things are going. I am so sick and tired of what I've been doing the last five years. Sure, I'm still getting paid a huge amount of money. But I was right. All those graveyard shifts are finally getting to me. I've become so depressed and my health has deteriorated exponentially. I wish my weight did too, but it never really helped to be sitting 8 hours a day and being too tired when you get home to do any exercise. I know I can't blame the industry entirely for what I've become, but if I am to turn my life around I have to find a way out.

On the other hand, I still need the job. Sure, I started a small business of my own, and despite my grievances towards the industry I know I still owe it gratitude. But a small computer shop wouldn't net as much as what I'm earning right now. Ergo, the root of my frustration.

For the longest time I've wanted to turn in my headsets and retire from this accursed redundancy, but I never could. I'm a tormented and desperate soul looking for salvation. Somebody please give me some Valium.

So here I am again venting. Venting's all I could do for now. Now if I only had some C4 and a build-your-own bomb kit...

San ba kasi nakakabili ng motivation?

Ink Brothers  

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This will be my mobile tribute to Rap, the guy who introduced me to skin ink. We won't be seeing each other at work anymore, but we'll always be ink brothers. That's my tat on the left, and Rap's on the right. Both our tats were inked by the same artist, Rap's buddy Waway.

March! Attack! Run Away! Nod Your Head To The Beat.  

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I've rekindled a new interest lately. I picked up a copy of Patapon 2 (meaning I ripped it off somrbody's PSP via Adhoc), and started playing with my PSP again. It's been months since I finished the first Patapon, and I found the second installment completely entertaining. No I'm not here to write a review of the game, that's Lio's job (hek-hek). I just thought I'd write about how fascinated I am with it. It certainly took my mind off of things and made me sigh about Davao less frequently, but on the other hand I had only managed to read 7 chapters of The Deathly Hallows ever since I started nodding my head to beat of the Pon Pata song again. Oh well. Essie-Hime and Lio Loco better get their beats going 'coz I've got loads of practice with this thing. PON PON PATA PON!

Yes, the Patapons can fly now. They can jump too.

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Stories from the Simian Crease by Binchee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.
Based on a work at binchee.blogspot.com