Hey there, folks! I’ve just spent the last bunch of hours inputting data from ESC ‘12 through to ‘16. It was tedious work, but unleashed a lot of interesting data, not least what today’s statistical map is about - each country’s favourite country (i.e. the countrythey gave most points to) in the past five years. It looks quite different from the all-time points map - with Sweden and Russia by far the most dominant countries in that timescale. It is impossible to look at this map without personifying the countries a little:
[Iceland, Norway, Finland and Denmark are ringing Sweden’s door. There is no answer. They continue knocking and ringing - Sweden eventually appears.] Sweden: Oh, it’s you lot. Iceland: Hello, Sweden! Sweden: What do you want? I’m kind of busy right now. Norway: We just thought you’d like us to hang out with you and give you ALL OUR LOVE. OMG SWEDEN! Denmark: Yeah, you may make fun of my mouth potato and my pølser, but we think you’re pretty cool despite that. Finland: *silently nods ever so slightly* Sweden: Well, it turns out I’ve got company. But there’s always room for more at the Sweden is Great party! Come on in. Take off those shoes first, though! Iceland: You’re throwing a party? Sweden: Yeah, and you’re quite late. The people come from far and wide to pay their tributes to me! Some of them from as far as (whispers) Eastern Europe. (Waves to Germany) The most powerful nations of Europe know that they should doff their cap to me in this contest! (Points to an ashen-faced UK and Ireland) Even the fallen kings of Eurovision come to bask in my magic! Some people here (points to Slovakia with eyes) I can’t even remember seeing! But they still come! Do you guys want some akvavit and a form on which you can list your 50 favourite Melodifestivalen acts of this decade? [Finland’s eyes glaze over and they imagine going to Russia’s party instead.]
[Peering through opera glasses at the crowd outside Sweden’s house] Italy: Those arrogant Swedes! Serving mindless junk every year but thinking they are God’s gift! It’s time the land of Verdi and Puccini showed them how to sang and write a song that goes straight to the heart. WHO’S WITH ME?! Malta: Ooh, us! We love you, mum! Italy: Thank you, dear… (sotto voce) “mum?” (loudly) anyone else? Ukraine? We’d make a beautiful alliance against Sweden and Russia. I’ll give you all my love! Ukraine: Hard pass, sorry. I got to keep showering my love on Azerbaijan. I’ve almost got him away from Russia! San Marino: You don’t need her, Italy. I’m with you. Literally. I’m inside you. Right now. So I’m always with you. Forever. Italy: ….. Creepy. Albania: Yeah, look closer to home - a brief distance across the Adriatic. You occupied our land for a few years.. but you occupied our heart forever! We’re in! Italy: Double creepy. Anyone not so weird? Switzerland: We are extraordinary in our normality. And we support you! Italy: Two tiny nations, our formal vassals, and some painfully neutral fondue-lovers. What a task force! But hell, let’s do this!
[In the Baltics’ house] Lithuania: Now girls. For once in my life, I’d like us to go to the same party as Poland. Can I count on you? Estonia: No problem - as long as Poland’s coming to Sweden’s party. I am a Nordic after all. No matter what you say. (Sotto voce) Or the other Nordics say… Latvia: Nah, let’s go to Russia’s party. I hear even Spain and Portugal are going to be there to watch her wrestle a bear in the snow. And you know Russia. She can be pretty mean to those who don’t come to her parties. We see her much more often than we see Sweden, so we need to keep her happy. Lithuania: You’ve both got it so wrong. Worrying about Russia. Crushing on Sweden. They both pay hardly any attention to you! I, on the other hand, treat them both with insouciance - and they love me for it! I’m going to Ukraine’s party. It’s going to drive them both crazy with jealousy!
[In the Balkans’ house, Serbia and Montenegro are hugging.] Serbia: When we embrace like this, it feels like we never split! Want to join in, Croatia, Bosnia? Bosnia: Sure, why not? We love you so much! Croatia: We are the happiest family around! [Both join group hug. There’s a knock at the door] Macedonia: Hey guys! I heard you’re having a group hug. Mind if I join? Serbia: Of course not! Stay here with me forever if you want! It feels like the good old days now. But I feel something is missing. Albania is a lost cause, but where is… Slovenia? Croatia: Oh, you know she was always an independent spirit. Serbia: You’re saying she’s not in her house? Montenegro: Listen dear, she… is fond of you. But really wanted to go to Sweden. Their party lasts six whole weeks, she said. It’s nothing against… [Serbia is fuming and breaks up the hug] Serbia: God damn it! I hate this family. I’m going to check on the real Slavs in Russia!
Georgia: Whatever happened to supporting your neighbours? I give my love to Armenia, but she prefers to ogle Russia alongside the warring mother and son, Greece and Cyprus. Romania and Moldova are at different parties too. France: It’s so sad, Géorgie. I used to be beloved by my neighbours too. Now their reaction to me is pitoyable. Here, here is my love! Georgia: But… you gave your love to Armenia. France: Yes. Now you don’t feel alone in loving her! Georgia: That makes absolutely no sense… [Australia casually walks by in beach attire despite freezing cold weather] Georgia: Speaking of which, here comes the one who Sweden loves most out of all of Europe. But I don’t even think you’re European! What are you doing here? Australia: You’re one to talk, mate! But hey, I’m true blue European! As Euro as they come, mate! It’s just a case of mistaken identity… my real name is Euro McEuropeson! France: A likely story… so who do you love most in Europe then?! Australia: (sotto voce) Think fast, mate! Ah mate, think of some country! (normal voice) Er, Belgium! France: (incredulous) Belgium?! Australia: Well, Brussels is the capital of Europe… so who would a European love more?! (France dials 112 to get “suspicious newcomer” removed)
The best way to learn about magic is to write your own spells. Here is how I break down my own spell writing process.
How will it function
For some people spells are circuits; power source, to module, to switch and all connected. For some, its a mini ceremony that mimics what you want to happen in simplistic terms, sympathetic magic with poppets and writing your intention down. For others, it a map of direction to the spirit, deity or force you are appealing towards. You can use a mix of all styles, none or whatever, but knowing beforehand will help you make the spell.
I’ve done a post already on how the means of a spell can affect the outcome in my opinion, but a good challenge is to think about what materials you have in the cupboard to make it work. A candle spell can yield the same result as a sigil, but if you really care about the outcome, think about the medium behind it. A sigil on paper tends to look more intimidatiing to me, the black ink and mysterious symbols on paper tend to put people off if they are unsure of what it is,so I use it for warding mgic very often. Whereas a candle gives off heat and light, its good for healing and more emotional aspects of magic. But that is just my opinion, take into consideration your own interpretations.
Everything from how you plan to ‘feed’ the spell to what you ‘store’ it in can be tweaked. I like to think in this department about waste not want not, I listen to my music quite loudly, so I like to stake that extra noises out my phone and do a little sigil on my earphones for banishing, so bad vibes are kept at bay. Need charge something with energy? Why not use body heat or a spritz of a certain perfume to get your point across? Everything yields something different in magic, so be careful.
Not everyone obeys ‘as above so below’ but you can think about how timing might affect your work; a crossraods spell in rushhour might scatter better than at a slower pace, a purifiction spell when its raining might well add to the energy you are looking for.
More of ____ Less of _____
This helps hone your intention and gives you a chance to double whammy your issue; creepy person at your workplace you can’t get rid of via conventional means? More peace and less creepy guy. Need some more focus for an upcoming exam? Less distraction, more focus. Attack both ends.
Conjure what you need not what you want.
Okay so this might be a matter of opinion, but I find it far more helpful to do a spell for a job interview success than immeadiate cash, or some other example. There are exceptions to this, of course, but keep it in mind.
Engaging your senses
You don’t necessarily need to be smelling, hearing, touching, tasting and seeing all at the same time to have a good spell, but its worth spending time thinking about what senses affect ou and how. For example, a health spell might be worth making in the form of food stuffs. Think also about the elimination of a sense; a spell for silencing an individual done in complete slilence, perhaps?
Write down the perameters
This is a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do one… I am always forgetting the rules for my own spells, so just make a little note. I find myself being more conciousof my magic if a spell is only meant to last so long. If your spell affects a particular individual, think about writing down the terms and conditions, especially if it is a curse.
Begining, middle, end
One of my fave ways of doing spell is just ‘I’m gonna charge you object’ and then I charge it with an action, like I kiss my perfume vials for confidence, or blow on a hoodie to instill it with warmth, or stir comfort into tea, and then I nod or smile or clap. It marks the beggininng and ending of the magicing process so that it seperates the middle as the magical part, it doesn’t need to be fancy, it could b a simple ‘so mote it be’ or ‘in your name’ if you’re working with a deity. It really does help mark out the magic part of the magic, as well as letting it end in your head.
Same girl? Or same character played by different actress? Maybe? The girl in TYI/M&C can obviously tell the future because she gave Crybaby the poison. What’s with the black eyes? Maybe she’ll tie it into Mad Hatter or something? Tell me your theories guys!!!
“when a guy goes through obstacles to get a girl, it’s considered ‘romantic.’ think climbing through a girl’s window unannounced to watch her sleep. however, when it’s a girl making dramatic gestures for a guy, it’s creepy. double-standard bullshit!”
is the name given to a look-alike or exact double of a living person. They have been regarded as a paranormal entity or a bad omen, commonly believed to bring death. Some refer to a
as an ‘evil twin’ or ‘alter ego’. Whatever they are, they’re extremely creepy, and more common then you’d first think.
Doppelgängers have been reported all over the world. Usually, a family member or a friend may see their loved one in one location, only to find they were actually somewhere else (sometimes even in a different country) at the time their double was seen. There have been many reports of Doppelgängers in places that have also been reported to be haunted or that have some level of paranormal activity. A common occurrence linked to
doppelgängers is the phenomenon of hearing a loved one’s voice, only to find them to not have been the ones that spoke.
There are many theories linking
doppelgängers to paranormal phenomena, such as demons mimicking us, but one theory that is particularly interesting is the theory linking
doppelgängers to dimensional shifts. The 18th Century poet,
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, documented an encounter with his own
doppelgänger whilst riding. He passed an exact double of himself wearing a grey suit with gold details riding in the opposite direction. Years later, he was riding down that exact road when he realized that he was wearing the exact same clothes as he had seen himself in before. This raises the question, are
doppelgängers our future selves? Are they glimpses of ourselves in alternate dimensions?
Unfortunately, we do not know for definite what these entities are, or even that they exist at all.
Heautoscopy is a symptom of several mental illnesses such as schizophrenia where the sufferer has hallucinations of themselves from a distance. This may be an explanation for the
phenomenon, but how does that explain the sightings of
doppelgängers by individuals with no history or symptoms of mental illness?
After researching this phenomenon I seem to have come away with more questions than answers. Truthfully, this unexplained event is just that - unexplained. One thing is for sure, however, when I look out of my bedroom window at night, I sure as hell don’t want to see a duplicate of myself smiling back at me.
“Leo…” Jason sighed. “I’m not abandoning you, I’m just swapping to French.”
“Instead of Spanish, which is your ONLY class with me.”
“I don’t have ANY classes with Piper,” Jason pointed out.
“You two are in the same tutor group and you always abandon me and go on dates instead of remembering the third wheel- I’m sorry, best friend.” Leo muttered grumpily. He never got to see Piper outside of Maths in school, and now he wasn’t going to see Jason at all because they always spent break and lunch together without him.
Don’t get him wrong, he was happy they were happy, but would it kill them to spend some time with him once in a while? They were his best friends… his only friends.
And if nothing else, Jason had to catch up on 3 months’ worth of French, and Leo now had no one to write scripts with in Spanish. They had exactly 14 students in the class, so everyone was in pairs, except now there were 13, so Leo would either have to join another group (and he’d rather not, thanks, he didn’t know any of them very well) or do it on his own- and that would be boring.
Jason just sighed. There would be no talking to Leo now that he was in that kind of mood.
“I’m sorry, man, it’s just…”
It’s just that I’m in love and happy but none of your relationships ever work out. Khione had used him and tossed him aside like an old doll. She’d been Leo’s first love, and he had loved her so much, and his heart had been shattered. It had been weeks before Leo even came out of his little shed/workshop behind his and Piper’s house (Piper’s dad had fostered him a while back when he found out that Leo was Piper’s friend), and just when Jason thought he was getting it back together, he got together with the new girl, Calypso. He’d loved her, too, but he’d been a little more wary, and in the end she couldn’t deal with him being clingy and antisocial in turn.
Leo had never recovered from that, either, not really. Jason hated it, and that’s why he’d taken Spanish in the first place, but he didn’t know how to help, and he preferred French, so he’d reluctantly switched back.
Jason was worried about Leo, dammit, but Leo just smiled that stupid fake smile all the time and Jason didn’t have the heart to call him out on it.
Jason turned and left, frown still marring his expression.
“What’s going on?”
A bunch of people in the year had been in and out of class all morning in various states of distress, so Leo felt the need to ask one of the girls who shared both English and Spanish with him as they walked to the latter class. He thought her name was Rachel or something.
She gave him a funny look. “Didn’t you hear? Katie Gardener’s dad died yesterday and she’s moving in with her grandparents, and not coming back to school. Everyone who knew him and a lot of the people who knows Katie really well are very upset.”
“Oh.” He felt bad for her. He remembered when his mother died, and what a wreck he’d been. If she was even half as upset as he was, he doubted she’d be going to school for a while.
He mentally shook his head. Don’t dwell on things. Don’t stay in one place too long. That was how he kept ahead of loneliness and sadness, and humour was a good way to hide the pain.
Spanish was quiet that day, but the teacher still asked them to write a script about their current topic- food.
Leo just looked around awkwardly as people got into pairs, but then noticed that one person wasn’t. Leo didn’t know his name, but Leo knew that he always worked with Katie and that he struggled with the language.
Seeing as writing a script all by his lonesome would be rather boring, Leo decided that maybe he should go sit by the guy. Only the guy sat right at the front, and Leo sat right at the back, and he didn’t want to wade through the other students to get there and possibly get rejected.
The teacher didn’t even look up. “Valdez, di Angelo, work together.”
The guy- di Angelo (wasn’t that Italian?)- turned around in his seat, and Leo had to force himself not to shudder. He looked like he’d been created from angst and pain and double-dipped in psycho-sprinkles. Creepy. But then again, his hair flicked up like baby bat wings, and that idea was kind of cute, so he wasn’t terrifying.
Leo waved sheepishly, and di Angelo sighed and got up, tucking his chair under the desk and threading through the throng of students.
“Hola,” Leo said as the other guy sat down.
“Hola,” he mumbled back. He didn’t seem very social.
“So, uh, you wanna start the script?”
“What do you think, genius?”
“Well then, Lieutentant Sarcasm, what are you going to say first?”
They’d finished the script and read it out to the class three lessons later, and the teacher smiled. “You work well together.”
Leo and di Angelo (he still didn’t know his first name, and he didn’t think di Angelo knew his) exchanged a sidelong glance. It had mostly been di Angelo deciding on the conversation and Leo translating it- easiest class he’d ever take, Spanish, considering he grew up speaking both English and Spanish.
It didn’t surprise Leo when di Angelo sat next to him at the back of the class next lesson- they mostly learnt in class by writing scripts, so it was likely that they were going to have to write another that lesson.
They did, this time about meeting people for the first time and describing their family and stuff like that. Leo wondered why that hadn’t been the first thing they did.
He didn’t even glance at the help sheet once while rapidly translating the conversation di Angelo outlined into Spanish, occasionally correcting his spelling, but generally Nico (as Leo then found out his name was) was pretty good, only stumbling with translating itself.
Later on, after the lesson, Leo wondered if it was because Nico’s family was Italian, as he’d revealed in the script.
Leo wasn’t sure when they became friends, exactly, but he soon found himself spending his break times with Nico, who wasn’t as scary as he first imagined. In fact, Nico was a bit of a nerd, admitting that he played the Mythomagic card game. Leo had never managed to get into Mythomagic, but he thought he still had his old Yugioh deck somewhere, and wondered if Nico had ever played it.
In fact, they started spending time together outside of school, too, Leo inviting Nico over to put his money where his mouth was and see if he could teach Leo to be decent at Mythomagic.
Piper had popped in to tell Leo that she was going to be out for a bit (going on a date with Jason to the movies or something, probably), and had stopped short upon seeing Nico. “Nice to see you’re getting out again,” she observed, shutting the door in time to hear the thump of the pillow Leo had thrown.
Nico raised his eyebrows, but didn’t look up from his hand of cards.
“Stupid Piper…” Leo mumbled, then explained: “She worries that I spend too much time in my workshop and not enough time with people and getting social interaction,” he made a face.
“It’s nice to have someone worry about you,” Nico said, and Leo suddenly remembered the death of both Nico’s mother and his elder sister. Nico had found out about his younger half-sister, but no matter how much he loved Hazel, she just wasn’t the same as Bianca. He didn’t think he wanted her to be, either.
“It is,” Leo agreed, “but she acts like I’m made of glass sometimes. I’m not delicate.”
“But you are breakable,” Nico countered.
Maybe Leo shouldn’t have told him about Khione and Calypso, but friends talked about stuff like that, didn’t they?
“And in a way, you are delicate. Like seriously, who gets eyebrows so thin and neat naturally?”
Leo didn’t really have anything to say to that, so he kept quiet, eyes glued to his own hand. Piper had never been the kind of girl that got her eyebrows plucked, but he remembered that Khione had often asked him how he got his eyebrows like that, and he’d ended up plucking her eyebrows for her a lot.
There must have been a grimace on his face or something, because Nico’s voice was suddenly a lot quieter and more careful. “Sorry.” Leo didn’t think he’d ever mentioned that he used to pluck Khione’s eyebrows, so maybe Nico thought he’d gotten flack for his own or something.
“I’m not so easily hurt, dammit, di Angelo!” he growled, slamming his hand of cards on the ground, and Nico jumped slightly, then stuffed his hand in his pocket.
“I never said you were.”
“Then why do you always seem to tread on tiptoes around me? It’s not like I’m gonna kill anyone if you so much as look at me funny!”
Nico looked down, didn’t say anything, the picture of regret. He hadn’t meant to make Leo feel like crap, and that’s what it sounded like.
“It’s just- ¡es muy estupido!” And with that Leo surged forward, grabbing Nico by the shoulders, and kissed him soundly on the mouth.
He broke it off, panting. Nico was flushed bright red, blinking rapidly, and one hand rose, shaking, to touch his lips.
Neither of them said anything for almost two minutes, then Nico smiled softly, almost cheekily. “If you wanted to ask me to the Sadie Hawkins dance in two weeks, Valdez, you could have just asked.”
Leo just gaped at him and squawked; “I identify as male, thank you very much!”
One of the new ideas I had. Also, I added an extra page to my blog with links to my stories (and right now it just has Valdangelo, but I don’t see a problem with that). By the way, I’m fairly sure that a Sadie Hawkins dance is a dance where the girls are supposed to ask the guys, which is why Leo reacted like that. And I get the feeling that Piper would be the kind of person that drills is into Leo’s head that people don’t always identify as the gender they’re born as.