Michelle Gomez

Michelle Gomez1small

Michelle Gomez was a delight to meet! We asked her what she enjoyed about playing the role of Missy, and she said “Everything! It’s so much fun!”

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for CON Creative Ottawa Nerdscraft fair! It’s coming up fast, on Saturday, June 11!

Michelle Gomez1small Michelle Gomez3small

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 5

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

“Holy Shit that’s gruesome!” Zane’s voice cracked.

“Okay. That’s it. I’m out. I’m going to the boathouse and see if there’s a boat for us.” Blane sounded almost as panicked as Zane.

Riko’s first instinct was to make sure everyone was together. The killer would have a harder time getting them if they were in a group. She knew it wasn’t true. Missy died while they all watched a tv screen.

“That sounds like a good plan,” Riko told them.

“No it’s a terrible plan,” Sandrine said through her sobbing. “If we split up we’re dead… dead!”

Trying to sooth her, Riko whispered, “If we can get off, we’ll be away from this killer.”

The two men nodded and walked back into their rooms to get dressed. Not wanting to deal with the mess that was Abe, Riko closed the door. She moved towards Ethan’s room, to tell him what happened and Sandrine followed her wordlessly.

It was strange to have someone like Sandrine be in shock from a murder. From what Riko had read she’d been implicated in more than her fair share of deaths. Maybe she was faking? If she was, she was a really good actor.

She knocked on Ethan’s door and held her breath as she waited for him. He came to the door looking groggy. He was only in his underwear, and his naked torso made Riko blush. He wasn’t built like a body builder, but he was toned and in great shape.

Seeing her face he said, “Who?” She told him about Abe and how Sandrine had found him. He shook his head and replied, “I’ll be right back.”

While they waited, Riko changed into a pair of comfortable jeans and an Ottawa Police Service baseball tee-shirt. In high school she’d played a little baseball, so when she joined the force she was happy they had a team. The team mostly played against other emergency services and it was all just for fun, but she took pride in the fact that they’d won.

“Cute.” Sandrine’s tone was half admiring, half sarcastic. She must have been feeling better.

Ethan came back out and smirked at Riko. “Ok, let’s get some breakfast.”

“How can you think of food?” Sandrine looked annoyed.

“We’ll all think and survive better if our blood sugar is regulated.” Ethan glared at her, daring her to say anything.

The cafeteria was just as they’d left it the light before. Zoe and Kate were sitting together in the far corner eating canned fruit straight from the cans.

“I saw eggs, bacon, ham, cereal, and a whole lot of fresh fruit yesterday. Why are you eating that?” asked Sandrine.

“It’s the hardest thing to tamper with. I’m not eating bacon soaked in arsenic or fruit with razor blades in it.” Kate’s voice was steady but Riko could hear the note of panic hiding behind her logic.

“That’s a good point,” Ethan said, surprising her. “I know it sounds totally paranoid but we have no idea what this crazy person wants from us or to do to us. Poisoning the food makes sense.”

“I don’t like it,”Riko grumbled and made her way to the kitchen. In the fridge, pantry, and everywhere else she looked she saw ways to die. “Even the coffee could be ruined,” she muttered starring at her favourite brand of coffee. “and they have mint chocolate chip coffee.”

She reached into the pantry for a can of peaches when she heard Sandrine swear and punch the wall. “I will not live in a state of terror,” Sandrine growled and for the first time since last night, Riko saw some of the fire and anger that had made the other girl the school’s most feared bully.

“My cousin owns a restaurant, smell and taste everything a tiny bit. If it tastes off don’t eat it. Riko give me a hand.” Sandrine started piling all the dishes, including the reusable coffee filters, into the industrial sized dishwasher. “These things heat hot enough to melt the flesh off a turkey. They’ll kill anything that some psycho would put on the dishes.”

Sandrine barked orders at Ethan and Riko as if they were kitchen hands in a reality TV cooking show. Before they knew it they had a big hearty breakfast on the table. The smell of bacon enticed Kate and Zoe over and after Sandrine ate a few pieces of everything, they all tucked in for a big breakfast.

Despite, or possibly because of, the trauma of the past few days they all ate more than they’d normally consider. When the meal was over Sandrine said, “It’s going to take more than a few terror tactics and bad booby-traps to kill me.” She said it with bluster but then cringed. Everyone was silent for a moment expecting something to happen. When nothing did they all laughed a little.

“Riko, you’ve got to stop him,” Arun shouted as he ran into the dining room.

Everyone jumped. “What’s wrong?”

“Jonathan, Zane, Blane, and I were trying to get the old boat we found in the boat house working,” Arun panted. “We had it running when Jonathan found a flare gun and threatened to shoot if we didn’t get off the boat.”

Everyone got up and ran as fast as their full stomachs would allow them.

They got close to the boathouse in time to see an old fishing boat pull out. Jonathan’s laugher could barely be heard over the thrum of the engine.

From a distance Riko could see Zane and Blane on the dock looking downtrodden.

They all watched as the boat grew smaller and more distant. “Maybe he’ll tell people where we are,” suggested Ethan. Almost perfectly timed with his words, they all got a text message. As they pulled out their phones, the boat exploded.

The fifth was a jerk who loved a good burn, now in a ball of fire it’s his turn

Epic Nerd Camp

Do you miss going to sleepaway camp? Or did you never get the chance to go? Here’s your chance! There is a Geek Summer Camp for Grown-ups! And I’m rather excited about it. You can spend four days/three nights at a sleepaway camp in the Poconos (Pennsylvania), and experience a whole bunch of really cool activities, including horseback riding, sword play, rock climbing, various water activities, and others!

Independent Lake Camp is a children's camp, but ENC has booked it for a week this June. Image screen captured from www.epicnerdcamp.com
Independent Lake Camp is a children’s camp, but ENC has booked it for a week this June. Image screen captured from www.epicnerdcamp.com. Watch the video – it seriously makes me want to go.

The price is CRAZY low for its first year, as a promotional price – over half off! Next year will be a lot more expensive.

Want to see more details? Here you go.

Need to get there? I know a travel agent who can book you a car, train, or plane (there is a shuttle from Scranton for the latter two options). Contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

I want Entertainment and Hope; Or Why I Gave Up on Daredevil

Dear Grimdark Entertainment,

Everyone tells me you’re fantastic. My friends rave about you, they obsess about you, and their eyes grow wide in surprise that a giant geek like me doesn’t watch you.

I’ve told them it’s not my thing, I’ve told them it doesn’t interest me, and eventually I’ll lie and say it’s too violent, I don’t like zombies, I hate the actor, or whatever will get them to shut up.

Dear Daredevil

You’ve enchanted the world, brought mobsters, zombies, fantasy, cops, superheroes, mystery, and countless other things into the public mind. You’ve touched our culture in a way that people everywhere have an idea who your protagonists are. The older among you have influenced your genres in ground breaking ways. Where would character dramas with an overarching story be without The Sopranos? What would the colour palette and story structure of Science Fiction be without Battlestar Galactica?

I appreciate your writing, your story structure, and your fantastic dialogue. Daredevil has some of the most thought provoking themes about what it means to kill and about being a Hero.

Despite your awesomeness, I can’t do it anymore. I’m sorry but I can’t do it anymore. It’s not you, it’s me.

Behind your edginess, your clever writing, and your amazing dialogue, you have a constant message. “Life Sucks!” “Everyone you love will die!” “Feel the Pain!”

Award winning and popular entertainment seems to have lost its sense of humour and its sense of hope. Even television shows that should be funny beyond belief to counteract their subject matter, like American Horror story, fail.

I’ve tried. I’ve tried for years to love you. I’ve forced myself to read and watch you. I just can’t do it.

I want fun. I want Hope. I want cheesy one-liners. I want sappy moments. I want friendships that last. I want love that burns beautifully. I want awkward people. I want characters that care about their friends.

In short, I want to enjoy my entertainment.

This doesn’t mean I’m against character death, sadness, or trauma. It just means I don’t want those to be your main emphasis.

Robert J. Sawyer is a master of making a book hurt me deeply but still be wildly entertaining. Frameshift was both sad and beautiful. It was hopeful, entertaining, and still makes me want to cry.

Joss Whedon’s Doctor Horrible is a wonderful Supervillain romp with singing and laughs aplenty but it doesn’t shy away from asking the important questions about killing and nature of evil.

The Final Girls examines the guilt and trauma of losing someone you love. It has a character that is borderline suicidal and blames herself for the death of her mother. It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen with one of the most entertaining premises.

Hope and deep character drama shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

So I’m sorry Daredevil, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, The Shield, The Expanse, Breaking Bad, American Horror Story, The Sopranos, Punisher, Gotham, True Blood, and countless others.

I just can’t be with you. I hope you find an audience that loves you.

I’ll just be over here reading, watching, or writing something that makes me feel more than just sad, broken, and hopeless.

Your ex-consumer,

Éric

P.S. Rape and torture aren’t fun. They aren’t necessary, they’re not something I want to experience (even second hand), and they certainly aren’t funny.

Will Friedle

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We got to meet some amazing people last weekend at Ottawa Comic Con, and none more so than Will Friedle (Twitter). He was so great with the woman ahead of us in line, who told him that she had a major crush on him when she was growing up. “That’s adorable!” he replied, all smiles. I love when actors are so amazing with their fans.

And OUR interaction with him. Oh wow. I was wearing the shirt that my sister designed for me (Geeklet on Board), and the “d” at the end is comprised of a pencil and a d20, to represent our love of D&D. Will got all excited about the d20, and asked if we watched Critical Role, which we have not yet. Apparently he is a guest star in the show. I want to see it even more now.

I also explained why I was wearing the shirt, and he got all excited that we are expecting. He said “And how is little Will treating you today?” I said the first name that popped into my head at this point: “Actually, Wilhelmina is treating me quite well.” Then I quickly corrected myself, explaining that we were NOT going to name her Wilhelmina, but that I couldn’t come up with another female ‘Will’ name. So he asked our name possibilities, and pulled a d20 out from his pocket! He rolled for each one, and the results were all really low. Maybe we’ll see her and end up naming her something completely different! I have no idea. (We have since thought of one: Willow! What do you think Will? What does the dice say? Update: Will says that the dice rolled a 19!)

He also asked how long we’ve been married, and said congratulations when he heard that it was almost 7 years. He’s getting married on September 25, 2016. I wish him happiness and joy!

We also managed to squeeze two pictures in with the TARDIS. Will was a real pleasure to meet. I highly recommend going to see him at any and all conventions you go to!

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I love his face in this one!Will Friedle3small

P.S. Bracelet is by Popsquatch Designs. You can buy stuff from them at CON Creative Ottawa Nerds on June 11!

Too Female? #TooFemale

Last Monday, I found out that CBS had passed on the new Nancy Drew TV series. Not because the pilot tested badly (it tested really well) but because it was “Too Female”.

My only reaction was: Ugh!

CBC Ottawa’s All in a Day talked about it that night.

Sarah Shahi – Filming ‘Nancy Drew’ in New York City 3/19/2016 - celebmafia.com
Sarah Shahi – Filming ‘Nancy Drew’ in New York City 3/19/2016 – celebmafia.com

What do they mean by Too Female?

It could mean a lot of things but mostly it means that they believe that it won’t appeal to their core demographic. Which is apparently mostly men between the age of 18 and 49. Which is the demographic that most networks seem to be targeting.

That’s why you get a kickass character like Detective Kate Beckett (Castle) and Doctor Constance Brennan (Bones), but the studio insists that they work with a male lead. Sometimes it works, and sometimes the male is just boring like Body of Proof where the male cops were about as interesting as the corpses. (Mostly less.)

Rarely do you get a mystery show where you have a female lead that isn’t saddled with a male partner to appeal to the “male demographic”. Other than Veronica Mars and Murder She Wrote, the only one I can think of is Rizzoli & Isles.

Does Gender Matter?

From a story perspective; no. You can tell a fantastic story with a male or a female lead.

From a demographics perspective; I don’t know. I’m not your typical man and I can’t speak for all men. I enjoy female leads, and I think a smart intelligent character is awesome. Female led shows have done well in the past; Veronica Mars, Buffy, Xena, Murder She Wrote, Star Trek Voyager, etc.

I have gotten more than one funny look when I’ve mentioned my love for Gilmore Girls or Disney Princess movies, so the stereotype is there.

The one place that it absolutely matters is in representation. I can turn on the tv and press any combination of buttons and there’s a huge chance that I’ll end up on a show with a main character that looks like me. (White male, 18-49) There are good guys that look like me, bad guys, smart, dumb, etc. etc. etc.

We don’t have the same for women. It’s improving but it’s not there yet.

And that’s not mentioning other gender identities, sexual preferences, cultures, ethnicities, etc.

What Can We Do?

Find and Enjoy the #TooFemale shows out there with well written female leads. Share your love on social media, buy the merchandise, go see the movies.

My experience is limited, but the following TV shows have female leads that kick ass (figuratively and literally) and are still on the air. Check them out, and if you love them let the world know:

There are LOTS more but these are the ones I’ve watched and enjoyed.

While you’re feeling active, sign the Agent Carter to Netflix petition.

 

Go and shamelessly enjoy all the “Too Female” shows. They’re usually better written anyway.

Éric

Blush: Pubic Hair

Dr Lindsey Doe has a fantastic video about pubic hair growth which you can watch here. However, if you’d like to read about it instead of watch it, here are my answers to a few questions.

Image from static.independent.co.uk
Image from static.independent.co.uk

Question

Why do we have pubic hair?

Answer

For many reasons! To reduce friction, decrease skin abrasion and injury, protect from bacteria (like eyelashes protect our eyes, as Dr Doe pointed out), and a visible sign of puberty. (and more!)

Question

If pubic hair does all that, why is there such a big industry dedicated to removing it?

Answer

For many reasons! Well, sort of. The biggest ones for today’s society is embarrassment and fashion. We body-shame ourselves (and each other) into the belief that pubic hair is an awful thing to have. And with bikinis getting smaller, the likelihood of pubic hair being visible is higher than it was a century ago. Sports athletes often shave for sports reasons (you can tell I’m not a sports person, right?).

Of course, the hair removal industry is mostly centered around Western Europe and North America (Canada and the US, specifically). There are other cultures that don’t have a problem with pubic hair.

Question

Is it so bad to remove pubic hair?

Answer

It is up to you. Going through the hair removal process can cause small abrasions on your skin, allowing for bacteria to enter your body. It also increases chances of ingrown hairs. Being hairless (or mostly hairless) can mean that there is more friction during sex (or even just walking!), which can also cause injury to your skin. As Dr Doe says, if you wish to remove your hair, do it because you want to.


References

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyITfS3MGFk

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/04/war-pubic-hair.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pubic_hair – I don’t usually recommend wikipedia articles, but this one has so many great sources that I can’t help but use it.

Concussion Fears

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

As I lay on the couch trying not to think of all things I should be doing. I kept coming back to scary thoughts of what this concussion could do to me. I wrote about what happened last week.

I was afraid I’d lose parts of myself. What if I didn’t enjoy reading anymore? What if I couldn’t write coherently? What if my personality had changed? What if my inability to find the right word didn’t go away? What if I had forgotten something important?

Between the stress of perceived deadlines and the above questions it’s no wonder I went against the doctor’s orders and started to read. I lost myself in a fun novel and it helped calm me down.

Those pesky questions were still there. I was reminded of a movie from the late nineties called Safe House. I haven’t seen it since 1999. I have no idea if it aged well over the past 17 years.

Safe house 1998

The movie, from what I remember, is about an ageing spy who was dealing with Alzheimer’s. The major tension came from trying to figure out if he was truly in danger or if it was all fueled by the disease. The concept of losing oneself terrifies me more than any horror movie ever could.

I had a few long and scary nights. Honestly I’m still worried about it. I’m writing this in advance to give myself ample convention recovery time. At the moment I’m still fighting with headaches and a little confusion.

I’m worried about what will happen if they never go away. What if this is me now. This is my life?

It absolutely could be worse. I can still read and after this post, and a few others, I’m fairly sure I’m still capable of writing. What really scares me isn’t what I know is wrong but what I don’t know that I’ve lost.

I guess philosophically it shouldn’t matter but is still scares me. I mean, if I don’t know, I can’t miss it… right?

 

Maybe I’ll get lucky and this will activate my X-Gene

 

Protect your heads!

Éric