Thursday, 5 November 2015

Wizard and Wand

http://thetigerchronicle.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Halloween

After all these years of dressing up, Tiger is still fond of doing so (although I suspect not for much longer).  At Halloween, he often dresses up as a wizard, this year being no exception.


He has been fascinated by magic and wizardry so has been practising magic tricks using a few books and a "Magic Tricks Box" that I picked up from the charity shop.


While this is all just fun to a very imaginative boy, I have a strong aversion to conjurors and magicians as I find the idea of deception, a principle on which most 'magic' we are shown is based on, rather objectional.  Therefore, I tried to redirect Tiger's fascination with wizardry to more 'useful' outlets, such as studying the entire Harry Potter series using the related issue of The Arrow for discussion and other English-related work.


We were at King's Cross station the other day, so we went to look for platform where Harry Potter boarded the Hogwarts Express for the first time in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.


The station was refurbished a few years ago so it is now very bright and spacious, nothing like the dark and slightly dingy King's Cross station that I knew and missed from more than a decade ago.  The station is now almost too modern, cheerful and well-managed for the setting of the story.  While back in the dark and dingy days anyone could walk up and down the platforms freely and tried one's luck at running into a wall without bothering anyone else, there is absolutely no chance of doing that now without looking like a total fool to everyone in the station since there are now no dark corners in the station where one can hide in shame or embarrassment.  Moreoever, new and shiny electronic barriers are now up in front of all the barriers so there is no way to even walk between the actual platorms 9 and 10 to look for platform unless you buy a train ticket beforehand.  In short, more progress but less spontaneous fun.

The station authorities have no doubt thought about the station's significance in the Harry Potter story, so a few feet away from platforms 9 to 11 is a wall dedicated to being the famous platform , where tourists and fans can pose for photos and visit the shop.



As a result of our dislike for the commercialised aspect of the story, Tiger is adamant that he would not watch any of the Harry Potter movies despite my repeated encouragement.  I thought he might enjoy the movie's special effects so I started watching the first movie.


Tiger watched for 10 minutes and decided that, "The movie has left out too many details.  The book is better."  So that put an end to movie-watching.  Consequently, we need not go to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour too, which saves me a small fortune.

We used the time and money saved from not watching the Harry Potter movies and not going to the studio tour on some real magic, where Tiger made an electronic wand by soldering bits and pieces of resistors and other electronics bits to create a programmable wand using binary codes.


I have not captured the video very well, but the wand was programmed to display the word "bye".  Apparently the wand is able to be programmed to display different six-character words by changing the codes, but I don't really know how the wand works or how to programme the codes to change the word display.  Luckily Tiger paid attention in class and knows how to work it.

  video

8 comments:

  1. What an impressive wand! Your comments about missing the dark old Kings Cross made me chuckle. What will we be like in another forty years when the world around us has changed even more?!
    I don't like magic shows very much either, I just don't find them fun. But I suppose if people are entertained by the experienced of being deceived, do you think that is okay? My husband loves Derren Brown and a few years ago I (reluctantly) bought him show tickets as a Christmas present. He was delighted, and so was I when I saw the show. It was so clever! I don't think Derren Brown would consider himself a magician, in fact his show is all about disbunking fake 'medium' tricks and the like, but he certainly does plenty I have no explanation for. Perhaps I like it because it makes me wonder! (Sorry to leave such a long rambly comment!)

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  2. I've always felt an affinity with things that are old and charming (which England is full of), which probably explains why I feel a sense of loss when things are modernised but lose their character in the process. :-)

    As for magic shows, I think it's perfectly fine for people to find joy in whatever entertains them. I only speak for myself. :-) It's just that I don't foresee myself ever hiring a magician for any of my family's parties. When I wrote the post, I did wonder whether I was going to come across as a total kill-joy, old fuddy duddy... Just for the records: I don't have a problem with anybody being interested in magic. However, I won't actively encourage my own child to go deeper in it because I don't like the underlying principle on which magic operates. :-)

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    1. You didn't come across fuddy duddy at all, Hwee! :) You have a talent for conveying your smile in your writing. Your post just made me think, which is always fun! I hope I didn't come across confrontational. :)

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    2. Oh no, you haven't come across confrontational at all, Lucinda! Please don't worry. It's difficult to gauge people's tone of voice over the internet, isn't it? :-) I guess it also doesn't help that I am slightly flippant when writing, so people don't always know whether I'm serious or not!

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  3. Okay now I want a programmable wand.

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    1. You're too funny, Ticia! From what I know (and I know very little about electronics), the wand was put together by buying a circuit board from a company called Rapid, and then various resistors and connectors were soldered onto it to make it work. Sorry that I can't provide more useful information, because that's all I know! :-) I think if you go into an electronics store and tell them what you're trying to make, they may be able to give you a good recommendation on the parts to buy, or maybe even a kit.

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  4. I feel a bit the same way as you, but have to admit to being quite impressed by both the Potter books and the films - both thoroughly enjoyable!

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    1. I tried to get into the Potter books but abandoned it half way through... just not my cup of tea, but Tiger finds it very interesting. The fact that it has grown to such a big, global franchise says something about how popular it is with people! :-)

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