Top 5 Dumbest Arguments

XKCD – Duty Calls

5. I can’t see the curve

For the past two thousand years scientists have been explaining that the earth is a spheroid. Ancient soldiers needed to keep the curve of the earth in mind when firing catapults, and trebuchets.

But for some reason, to this day, there are people who argue their inability to see the curve of the earth is proof that it must be flat.

We have footage from countless satellites, astronauts, space telescopes, and sports cars in space, but apparently that’s just a giant conspiracy.

4. The devil did it

Science isn’t flawless. History is only a good as the person who wrote it, those that can read it, and the medium it was recorded on. However, we have near certainty that the earth is old. Like really old. Somewhere around 4.5 billion years.

Certain people however think that an allegory can help date the earth and they believe that it’s 6000 years or less. Some believe that dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans two thousand years ago. Others, when asked about dinosaur bones, will reply that the devil put them there to test our faith.

3. Car exhaust is worse

If I’m standing close to a smoker, I start coughing and feeling like I’m going to be sick. We’ve known that cigarettes cause cancer and are bad for people’s health for more than fifty years. Yet smokers still walk around like they own the sidewalk or bus stop.

When smoking is banned, or talked about being banned, smokers start arguing about their rights and there’s always those that argue that you’re getting more harmful chemicals from car exhaust.

As if the fact that car exhaust is bad for us means smoking should be okay… I guess their view is if Rome is burning, they should be allowed to walk around with flame throwers.

2. Bad guys don’t follow laws

When it comes to weaponry, certain people believe that it’s inevitable that the “bad guys” with get their hands on them. No laws or restrictions cans stop that. They use this as an argument against those laws.

We have laws to not only deter, but also prevent. If this statement were true than the rate of drunk drivers wouldn’t go up if there were no laws.

Our laws should be a reflection of our taboos, beliefs, and values. In the case of weaponry, the laws should show that we value well-trained, responsible, and safe weapon users.

1. I’m not/wasn’t/wouldn’t be hurt/offended

I’ve been guilty of this myself, but it’s extremely important that when someone tells you that your actions or words have hurt or offended them that you listen to them.

Just because I wouldn’t be hurt or offended to be called frog, doesn’t mean that others wouldn’t.

If you value the friendship of those around you then you need to value their feelings too. It’s not your place to decide what people should feel or how they should react to something.

 

Are there any dumb arguments I missed?

Éric

New Disney Updates

I am a big Disney fan. Anyone who knows me can tell you that. So when I heard that the two North American Disney parks were adding Pixar content, I got incredibly (get it?) excited.

Disney World (Florida)

Toy Story Land, in the Hollywood Studios park (possibly soon to be renamed again), is opening on June 30, 2018 in Florida. There will be a roller coaster (Slinky dog), swirling saucers (Aliens), an expanded Toy Story Mania, and Woody’s lunch box fill this new space. I’m sure there will be more coming, as well. There’s lots of room for expansion.

Disneyland (California)

Image from www.travelweekly.com

June 23, 2018, Pixar Pier in the California Adventures park will be officially open! If you don’t want to wait that long, however, there will be a preview of the Pier during Pixar Fest starting April 13. Rides you will find include a roller coaster (Incredibles), Toy Story Mania and neighbourhood, “something” from Inside Out, and a complete re-theme of the pier with images and characters.

You can read more about the changes in Florida here, and California here, here, and here.


Are you interested in travelling to Disney? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

The Interconnectedness of all [book] things

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve recently finished the second, and sadly last, season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

It’s weird, silly, irreverent, and absolutely wonderful. Warning that it is a little gory and there’s lots of death. It was everything I loved about the novel and a little more. I highly recommend it.

One of the main themes of Dirk Gently is that everything is connected. It means the show throws a whole lot of disjointed weirdness and then manages to put it all together in the end.

Interconnectedness

I got a great email from a reader this weekend and I have to say it made a particularly tough weekend so much better.

The email was praising Parasomnia (Available on Amazon and from Renaissance Press). I had mentioned to this reader that Parasomnia and A Study in Aether exist in the same world and they asked for clarification and if we’d see more of that in the future.

I have a plan to connect all my novels. It’s not going to be necessary to have read all of them to follow, but those that do will get an extra treat and information about certain characters.

It won’t be soon; it’ll come to fruition after years of novels but I have plans…. Mhuhahahaa!

Stay tuned and you’ll get all kinds of interconnectedness.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Fezzik and Inigo

Princess Bride was introduced to me by my cousins while I was babysitting them. I was 13, I think. I can barely remember my life before this movie.

I was thrilled to see this Fezzik and Inigo Montoya at OCC 2017. I look forward to seeing what these two do this year!

Devices of Desire (Serial Story) Chapter 2

Chapter 1


Chapter 2: A Princess and a Tinker

“That was a wonderful speech dear,” King Nathan said, his voice sounding thin and creaky. He sat in his wheelchair that looked like a throne and was covered in an afghan that Diana knew her mother had made.

“Thank you great-grandfather. You know I could make you an automated chair.” She put her hand on his arm as she bent down.

“Oh, no no. That would be a waste of your time and talents. Plus what would I do without Martin’s sparkling conversation.” The large man who acted as body guard, nurse, and confidant of the king smiled and grunted softly. “See dear, it’s nearly impossible to get him to shut up.” King Nathan gave a soft laugh and then started to cough.

The coughing fit lasted longer than Diana would have liked, but at least there was no blood this time. She’d spent a lot of time worrying about him and trying to find a cure for what ailed him, but in the end it was just old age. At a hundred and four years of age, he’d outlived three wives, all four of his children, and all three grandchildren. He had ten great-grandchildren all between the age of twenty-six and ten. Diana was the eldest and in all but name she ruled the island kingdom.

When the coughing ended, the old man took a deep breath and said, “You don’t have anything on your calendar for the rest of the day. Don’t waste your free time with this old man. Go have fun.” He winked at her. He was the only one who knew.

The castle was built with both servants corridors and secret passages. Diana had grown up in these halls with her cousins and her twin brother. He’d left when he was fifteen, angry that he’d never be king unless she died. Angry at being born a few minutes too late. And mostly just angry. She hadn’t seen or heard from him since he’d left. She hoped he was okay wherever he was.

Navigating the corridors and passages was easy and she quickly made it to her bedroom. Once there, she cleaned off all the makeup she wore to public events, changed into simple overalls, and tied her curly reddish brown hair into a tight bun. Finally she added a pair of dark rimmed glasses to hide her family’s distinctive green eyes. No good disguise is complete without glasses, she thought.

Once changed, she headed out of the castle through a series of complex tunnels. The servants she passed only smiled and bowed.

Once she’d used her rooms as a workshop, but it was hard to explain why the princesses rooms always smelled of grease and smoke. The seamstresses were particularly cross about the stains in her clothing. Her great-grandfather had given her money and told her to find a small space in town. Her parents were suspicious at the time, but her brother’s running away kept them busy until they died in an airship crash while searching for him.

Her head was in the clouds and she wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around her and she ran into a boy. He had the most beautiful golden skin and full lips. The boy glared at her and put his hand on his sword. He had on novice robes from the Fighting Monks.

“What the hell are you thinking?” he asked. His voice cracking part way.

“Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. I really didn’t mean offence and if you challenge me to a duel you’ll be extremely bored and I’ll be extremely dead, so how about you don’t…”

“You’re a tinker aren’t you?”

“Yes I am. Master Tinker Dee. Pleasure to meet you…” she trailed and stuck out her hand to shake.

The man shook her hand and she couldn’t help but admire his strong lean muscled arms. It was definitely too bad that the Monks took vows of celibacy.

“I’m Novice Arty but that won’t last long. I’ll be a master by the end of the year.”

“That’s a lot of confidence there, Arty. Where are you going in such a hurry?” She smiled at him.

“I’m trying to find the Apollo Shipping Company, but this damned island is worse than a labyrinth.”

Giggling a little, she said, “It’s a little hard when you first start, but it becomes second nature eventually. I’m heading there now. I could walk you there if you like?”

The man blushed and it made Diana happy that she seemed to have the same effect on him that he did on her.

The Apollo Shipping Company owned the biggest, best, and more importantly, fastest airships in the world. They delivered packages and mail to everyone who could pay. They were headquartered in Cillian and she rented a workshop from them. The engineers and airship pilots came to her when they were having technical issues. She’d re-designed most of the technology to use solar powered boilers instead of the old coal engines and the patents would have made her rich is she hadn’t already been.

Sitting behind the desk was Ezekiel. He was her best friend and one of the prettiest men she’d ever met. He was the heir to the Apollo fortune but preferred working in the warehouse and dealing with people. He’d lost his left leg when he was young.

“Hey Ezekiel. What’s new?”

Seeing her he smiled widely and furrowed his brow. “I have a bone to pick with you. The new leg worked great until the pistons started going off and I was hoping around like a deranged toad.”

Diana couldn’t help laughing and it turned into a snort. “I have a look at it. You know what I say…” He joined her in repeating her favourite saying, “Perfection through persistence.”

“It’s in your workshop. Let me know if you need anything.”

“Thanks. I should be good. I want to work on that glider-cycle again. I think If I tweek the air-magic I can get more reliable balance.” Remembering Arty, she added, “Arty here was looking for you. Take care of him, he’ll be a master soon.” She winked at Arty and headed to her workshop.

Thinking about them both as she worked she sighed… so much pretty in the same room.


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Blush: Candy is not a toy

Are you looking to spice up the bedroom this Valentine’s Day?

Keep looking past the grocery store.

Candy is not safe to use!

Image from stock photos.

While your first thought might go to chocolate, whipped cream, hard candies, and fruit, all of these things (and a lot of others that don’t pop up in Cosmo’s “recommended sex foods”) are not safe for one very good and major reason: sugar should not go anywhere near the mucous membranes of the vagina or anus.

Sugar can change the pH of the vagina, and is a food source for bacteria and yeast, leading to yeast infections and other problems.

Coconut oil is very popular, and I’ve heard it suggested as a use for anything from cradle cap to an ingredient in stir fry. But do NOT use it as a lube! If you are using it with a latex condom/dental dam, oil can degrade the latex. If you are not using a condom/dental dam, you’d think that the slipperiness of the oil would be an ideal lubricant. Unfortunately, the oil is hard to remove completely from inside the body, and it can trap bacteria, increasing the risk of infections.

Fruits and veggies should NOT be inserted into the body (other than your mouth), unless inside latex. For one thing, there’s no guarantee that you’d be able to remove all of it – your internal muscles are stronger than you realize, and having to go to the doctor’s to have a piece of food removed from inside you isn’t the best way to spend your evening. Secondly, no matter how thoroughly you think you may have disinfected the food, there is still a chance of bacteria on the skin.

The safest way to use food, even the ones with sugar, would be to keep it above the waist. If you insist on bringing something down below, use plain ice. Avoid direct contact, as the nerve endings are much closer to the surface and can be “traumatized”.

There are several safe products that can be used down below, but you may have some difficulty finding them in the condom aisle of your drugstore. Sex shops like Venus Envy or Wicked Wanda’s in downtown Ottawa are safe spaces for all genders and orientations (although you may have some difficulty entering the latter if you are mobility impaired, Venus Envy has an automatic front door and is accessible as stated online), and they would have edible lubricants and other products that could be fun. Unfortunately, these products are still a work in progress:

[I]t’s hard to balance taste with safety. The ingredients that bring flavor (sucrose, sodium saccharin, aspartame) can also cause yeast infections – or lead to genital irritation – Atlas Obscura

Happy Valentine’s Day, and be safe!


References

https://www.self.com/story/7-ways-not-to-use-food-during-sex

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/a-matter-of-taste-inside-the-edible-sex-toy-industry


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.

Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson– Book Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

With a book this large and this filled with… well stuff… I needed a formal way to organize my thoughts. (For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.)

This will be a spoiler free review.

Characters

I liked

With over 800 pages, this book delivers a staggering amount of characters. Every time I started to get annoyed with a character, the point of view switched.

The characters themselves were fantastically fleshed out. They always felt like they had complex histories and stories. They also felt like a part of their world and invested.

I also have a soft spot of introspective characters that don’t get all angsty.

The character arcs were both beautifully plotted and unpredictable.

I didn’t like

I was really annoyed that the majority of my favourite characters were not in this book. I was really getting to like some of the mains from the first book.

Some of the characters suffer from what I’m calling fantasy race syndrome, in which they are something because their race is that thing.

There’s a lack of diverse women. The women in this book are either there as sensible love interests, broken women, leaders, or background characters.

I really wanted to fall in love with these characters. I knew some would die and I really wanted that feeling of falling in love with a character and didn’t get it.

For characters, I give it 3 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The author manages to be both poetic and excruciatingly brief. It’s a style that favours character depth and quick pacing. Every once in a while the author would add a great turn of phrase or a flowery description, but it never turns purple.

All epic fantasy authors have an obsession that shows in their work. Erikson loves history and archeology and it shows in his prose and world.

I didn’t like

There were more than a few times that the author’s love of history and archelogy showed me glimpses of other stories and I wished I was reading that instead.

There are long, walking scenes where the history interested me more than what was going on.

This book’s voice is extremely white, western, academic, and male. It shows the author’s culture and thought process in every description of noble savages and crazed wild men.

For writing style, I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

I liked the focus on the small punctuated by the grand. The story sticks to characters and not grand concepts. The wars and battles are described in gory detail and not in romantic troop movements.

The world is beautifully crafted and gives a sense of so much history and so many other stories to be told.

I also appreciated that unlike a lot of other epic fantasy, the main stories of this book were wrapped up at the end.

I didn’t like

The gore and horror was a little much for me. I understand that it was needed for the story and for the set up but I’m not a huge fan of babies on pikes and raped bodies. (Aside… why would crazed killers only rape the women?)

If it wasn’t for the author’s wonderful language and compelling style I wouldn’t have read past the 300 page mark.

I give the story 2 out of 5.

Fun

I liked

The magic, history, and engineers were fantastic. The games of gods and ascendants fascinating. Some of the characters were absolutely awesome. The use of language and world building alone are worth the read.

I didn’t like

I’m not a war person. I don’t like the movies, books, or history; it’s not my thing. This book made me uncomfortable at multiple times and not in “out of your comfort zone” way.

I give it 3 out of 5 for fun

Overall

This book is fantastic when it hits all the right notes but when it’s off, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about the history and cultures of that ancient world instead of paying attention to the book.

Like the first in the series it has a huge adaptation period where you’ll WTF all over the place.

Overall I think there’s a lot to love in this book and series but it has some awkward issues and it’s certainly not my style.

If you’d like a shorter and, in my opinion, more balanced writer try S. M. Carrière.

Final score is 60%