Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 5 of ?

Potter in the Park is tomorrow. I'm going to go over a number of logistical issues (the boring part), and then the presentations themselves (the exciting part).


The woman that manages the event seems way overwhelmed. She started this thing a number of years ago and I think it's probably surprised her how large it is getting now. She kept telling me that she would answer my questions later because she was busy. That went on for a few months. For about a week now she hasn't responded to, or even looked at, my messages. So, I don't know if I can get into the event early, which is kind of important because early admission is at noon and I give a speech at 12:15, which is before the general admission at 12:30. I don't know if there is an MC or if I will get introduced. I don't know if I will have a handheld microphone or a headset. Basically, I have none of the information that you would like to have if you were giving a presentation at an event. But, I do like to have my presentations half set and half created in the moment, apparently the whole event is like that.

Since Rebecca never found out if the real muzzleloaders could be used at the event, I ordered and am bringing cap guns, but they are ones that look like classic dueling pistols, they look good. Since she never got back to me about if anyone is introducing me, or if I just wander up on stage at my time and take over, I should probably go in with the plan that no one is introducing me. That's probably for the best anyway. I'll obviously have to figure out the microphone situation when I get there. Hopefully the tech people will be on it, hopefully there are tech people.

I did notice that the schedule was released a few days ago. Here are the times for my presentations.

- - - - - - -

12:15 - Muggle Studies: The Great Gnome Conspiracy of the 18th and 19th Centuries
3:30 - Muggle Studies: A Short History of Muggle Dueling
4:45 - Muggle studies: Muggle Encounters with Dragons Through the Ages
6:30 - Muggle Studies: Further Research on the Many Uses of the Rubber Duck

- - - - - - -

I don't know how much prep time I get, and I don't know if there's any way to keep track of my presentation time while on stage. Good things to know beforehand, but since I have a lack of communication coming my way, I'll have to figure these out on the fly. (I wonder if all of the presenters are completely in the dark on all of this stuff, or if there's a list I wasn't put on, or if I was blacklisted.)

The world is full of logistical issues, but I do have a lot of things going well.

I inked my own tattoos and they turned out pretty well. Better than I expected. I have the Dark Mark on the inside of my left forearm (from my impertinent youth as a gullible young wizard). I have the Deathly Hallows on the back of my right hand. (I also have 42 on my left hand. I find it odd that no one has asked why. It's not from Harry Potter, it's the answer the ultimate question of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I feel like someone will say something tomorrow.)

I carved my own wand, and it looks decent. It is definitely unique. I don't really need it for anything, but hey, I have it.

I have a bag of rubber ducks. They're for the presentation about rubber ducks. And, they're better than I expected. They just arrived today. There are six, and they are different sizes. The big one will be great for people to see from farther away, and they will all be good for throwing.

I picked up the LARP staffs and swords today from The Griffin's Rest in Muskegon. They will be used in the dueling demonstration, along with the pistols. I told Kiel to pick them out for me and just told him that I was doing a dueling demonstration at a Harry Potter festival. I assumed I would end up with normal looking staffs and crazy swords for some reason. I was completely backwards, I have crazy looking staffs and normal looking swords. I've been thinking about how to use that, and I think it'll work great.

I'm hoping that some people will record the presentations and send me the videos. We'll see.

I may try to get a chiropractic adjustment tomorrow after teaching and before heading to Sparta. I'm not sure I can fit it in though. I should get there early because parking is usually an issue in Sparta, and I'll have to store stuff in my car and retrieve it for my presentations.

Since I'm a professor, I can carry a notebook on stage, so I'll probably do that. I don't usually use notes, and in general I really dislike it, but it makes sense in this situation. It will be more difficult if I have to use a handheld mic, so I'll be flexible on that tomorrow.

Since we're assuming I'll be introducing myself I'll probably do something similar at the beginning of each presentation. I don't want to dive right into the main part of my presentation unless someone else introduces me, or a lot of people will miss the first line. That's the main difference between being introduced and introducing yourself.

I'll probably do something like:

- - - - - - -

My name is Jeffrey Alexander Martin. I'm a writer at JeffThinks.com. I am a visiting lecturer here at the Sparta Institute for Muggle Studies, the current Assistant Professor of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the former Professor of Muggle Studies at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is MUG 207 - Muggles in Real Life, and today we'll be going over...(depends on the speech).

Now, let me ask you this...(start speech).

- - - - - - -

Something like that. It will change in the moment, because that's how I like to do it.

Alright, let's tackle the speeches in order. Gnomes first.

- - - - - - -

Have you ever seen a muggle lawn gnome?

Just a few years ago - doing research door to door - saw a few of these weird little things and asked about them.

The real story - first used in muggle book in 1753.
1794 book "A Complete Edition of the Poets of Great Britain. Volume the Eighth. Containing Pope, Gay, Pattifon, Hammond, Savage, Hill, Tickell, Somervile, Broome, Pitt & Blair."
Canto IV of "The Rape of the Lock" by Alexander Pope
Swift on his footy pinions flits the gnome,
And in a vapour reach'd the difmal dome.
Seen as magical by muggles, who caught them for various reasons. Hotly debated, some saw it as good, others opposed. Political meeting where fight broke out.

Small group launched a conspiracy to get muggles to think that gnomes were fictional creatures and to replace them with different kinds of wooden and stone statues.

Problem still ongoing. Muggle encounter with a gnome that I saw.

The next time that you see a gnome on a muggles lawn, know that there is more to the story.

- - - - - - -

I reserve the right to change any of this at any moment. There is a balance here to being between a professor and a speaker.

Next, dueling.

- - - - - - -

Laura in crowd.

"Have you ever seen muggles fight?"

Story of seeing muggle fight.

Story of starting research, connecting with a history buff that's a reenactor.

Call up Laura - Professor Whitestone, who teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts.

The Griffin's Rest of Muskegon lent us muggle training instruments.

Staff - trade blows in kneeling position, Jeff down. (Only one written record of such a type of duel. Look at notes to seem like I'm reading instructions.)

Sword - classic kid's style, Laura down.

Gun - get the crowd involved. Back to back 10 paces, turn and fire. Split crowd, one half says pow and one half says boom. Jeff down. Laura comes to check.

Ongoing research is important. The next time you see muggles in an argument, ask them if you can watch them duel.

- - - - - - -

And... dragons!

- - - - - - -

Have you ever heard muggles talking about dragons?

First time I saw a dragon, fly over at quidditch tournament as kid.

First time I heard muggles talking about dragons, at least that I noticed, doing research on dueling, of course. Seemed like they thought they were real.

Did door to door research to determine what muggles thought of dragons. (When I found out about muggle lawn gnomes.)

Most thought fake, some thought real as an archetype. Explain archetype psychology.

George and the Dragon, what people know and what's real.

Specific organizations handle these incidents. Plane, boat, and car accidents. Example.

The next time you hear muggles talking about dragons, ask them if they think they're real.

- - - - - - -

Finally, the rubber ducks.

- - - - - - -

My first accidental encounter with a rubber duck as a child.

Reading Arthur Weasley's paper on "The Many Uses of the Rubber Duck" while in school at Ilvermorny.

A teenage adventure to try to observe a rubber duck in action. (factory and/or family)

What the research has revealed: humor, entertainment, child training in animal interaction, water transportation, distraction, possible growth into hunting decoys, relation to the rubber chicken, play as life preparation.

Questions fielded from the class. (Possibly hundreds of people from a large crowd in front of the main stage.)

Homework assignments.

- - - - - - -

Somewhere in there I'm going to throw some rubber ducks into the crowd.

I may or may not do homework assignments and questions in any of the presentations. That will depend on how the situation is going. If I get hecklers I will probably just take points away from their house, which will never be from the best house, which is Ravenclaw.

Well, that's the basic idea anyway. I'll learn a lot about how the event is going to go in that first speech. That should allow me to work out a lot of the logistical details for the later speeches. It's going to be pretty crazy.

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You can find more of what I'm doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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