I’m not Okay and that’s Okay

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s been a hard few months.

Returning to work after Keladry was born saw me fall into depression. It was a combination of things and it was hard. The hardest part being that I felt like I’m lucky to have a wonderful wife that worked from home and could take care of our daughter, I had a good job, wonderful friends, and I had a great small business. I felt ungrateful and weak for being depressed.

I did what I thought was the right thing and threw myself headfirst into being the best at everything I was doing. Trying to distract myself and prove that I deserved my life. It worked but at a cost. I ran myself ragged and burned out a year and a half later.

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I realized that I was going to experience the same thing with Adrien. I could feel it when I wrote about going back to work.

Then there was a Pandemic (sounds like a bad kids book or punk band). I expected working from home would be a little stressful but I didn’t expect it to be as stressful as going back to work. I can’t believe how similar I’m feeling about work as I did. (Only 19-24 more years before retirement.)

Again here I am feeling guilty for being depressed and anxious. I know I have it good. I can work from home and have a good job, great coworkers, I get to hang out with my kids and wife, I try to stay in contact with my friends (sorry), my small business is small enough that we can scale down without risking shutting down, and I have spent the past six years making this house as comfortable as humanly possible (introvert life!).

Yet I still get mini-panic attacks before leaving the house to go shopping. I mourn the probable loss of my daughter’s first year of kindergarten, I miss the comforts of in-person game night, conventions, going to the movies, and I’m terrified for my family and friends.

Yesterday I posted this:

The hardest part of depression (other than feeling utterly powerless) is the part before I realize what’s going on. Naming the feelings, somehow, lets me feel them and process them. I’m still going to have a rough year but I guess that’s kind of a world-wide problem right now.

Now why am I writing this? It’s not for sympathy or presents, it’s simply to let you know what I’m going through and that it’s okay.

If you’re going through something similar and things start seeming completely hopeless, please reach out to someone to talk (or text). You’re not a burden and it’s okay to not be okay.

Be well and wash your hands,

Éric

Spy Kids 3 and Spy Kids 4 – WMR

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2004 and 2011 movies Spy Kids 3: Game Over and Spy Kids 4-D: All the Time in the World.

I reviewed Spy Kids 1 and 2 in a previous post

Story

Spy Kids 3

Villain captured in a cyber prison turns that prison into a game in order to enslave kids minds and …? Spy organization sends kid spy into game to find his sister and shut the game down.

It has serious potential but there was so little story and what there was, was confusing, ableist, or just boring. I spent most of the movie shaking my head or yelling at the main character. The first two were all about family but this one barely makes a cameo out of everything.

Score: 0

Spy Kids 4

It took seven years for people to forget about the last one. This one brings in new kids, new parents, and a very updated OSS. The time manipulation was utterly unbelievable and made my head hurt.

The story did go back to it’s roots and become all about family. The cameos by the original kids was great.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Spy Kids 3

They really tried to make Juni the sensitive outsider here and it failed completely. He’s basically a bumbling idiot. While in the others he and his sister bumble together and solve the problem, in this one the villain is helping him win and his sister is only in a tiny part of the movie.

Stalone is fantastic at chewing the scenery but his character is confused, confusing, and barely above useful. And don’t get me started on the one girl character.

Score: 0

Spy Kids 4

The characters in this were much better and less insulting stereotypes. I like that the boy being hearing impaired doesn’t make him weak, I like that the mom kicks ass while pregnant, I like that the kids are smart again. That being said, they were all a little bland as characters.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Spy Kids 3

There’s a scene near the beginning where the main character is talking about family and another character says, “Everyone is family Juni.”

His reply is, “That doesn’t any sense.”

That’s the best description of this movie. Nonsensical drivel followed by insipid dialogue.

Score: 0

Spy Kids 4

It wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible. There are a few good puns and a lot of clock or time jokes. It’s ok.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Spy Kids 3

I thought 2 had a lot of 3D gimmicks and stupidity. This one practically based the entire movie on it. It’s cheesy pseudo computer game graphics for the entire movie. It looked bad sixteen years ago and looks worse now. The music was better.

Score: 0.5

Spy Kids 4

It took a few movies but they finally moved back to the hyper-saturated cartoon look of the first one. The action well done and the scenery is great. The music wasn’t fantastic but it was pretty good.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Spy Kids 3

The beginning and the end are a lot of fun and the middle parts are interesting if non-nonsensical and dumb.

Score: 0.5

Spy Kids 4

This was my daughters favourite of the four. She said it’s cause there was a dog and a baby. I liked it because it was a fun kids action movie. It doesn’t hold up to the original, but it was ok.

Score: 1

Overall

Spy Kids 3

Taking out the sibling dynamic from this series was a mistake. This movie doesn’t live up to the first and frankly is one of the worst movies I’ve seeen. It’s not offensive (Except the honeypot, nerd bashing, and ableism) just boring.

Final Score: 1 Star

Spy Kids 4

This movie tried to recreate the whimsy and awesomeness of the first but doesn’t quite get there. It’s bogged down by fart jokes and 3D gags along with a premise that makes my head hurt if I think about it too hard.

Final Score: 3 Stars

Renaissance Virtual Conference Update

Hello My Book loving Friends,

A few weeks ago I told you all about Renaissance’s Virtual Conference. A few things have happened. It’s been moved to June 5-7 and it’s now open for people who want to attend the panels.

If you want to check out the panels you can look at them and register at the Website.

Don’t forget to come say hi in the vendors room.

There are some fantastic panels. I look forward to seeing you there.

Éric

Top Five Phrases You Need to Stop Using

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There are things that piss me off… Pet Peeves, Office Pet Peeves, Convention Pet Peeves, Freelancer Pet Peeves and Angering statements for a short list.

There are, however, quicker ways to piss me off. The following phrases need to be forgotten to history and absolutely guarantee making me mad.

5. I’m Just Playing Devil’s Advocate

Movie poster for The Devils Advocate 1997

If you’re not Al Pacino or Keanu Reeves, I don’t want to hear it.

This is the preferred phrase for people who know they’re going to piss you off for fun. It’s a tell that they are arguing for the sake of arguing and that they don’t care about your feelings.

Don’t. Just don’t.

4. Do Your Research

Sherlock Holmes from the Sherlock BBC show saying, “I’m not a psychopath, Anderson, I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research.

Just like the image above. This phrase is used by people who fundamentally missed the point. Their idea of research is a good emotional Netflix or Youtube propaganda film or some conspiracy site. It’s not just an annoying phrase, but an indication that you’re probably dealing with someone with a huge ego that truly believes the bullshit coming from their mouths.

Don’t say it unless you want me to picture you with a foil hat. (and probably block, unfriend, etc.)

3. Survival of the Fittest

Sign that reads, “Please do not lick the walls” from a background image in Good Omens 2019.

Survival of the fittest is a bullshit name for an incomplete theory that people have taken to mean that it’s okay if people die.

There’a great article from New Scientist that explains the flaw in this. Evolution myths: ‘Survival of the fittest’ justifies ‘everyone for themselves’

Evolution and survival are not streamlined to only the strong. It’s messy and random.

This phrase has been co-opted by business and competitions. More recently by jackasses that are trying to push a Eugenic point of view with regard to Covid-19.

Seeing as most of my friends and family would be considered weak by these people… Just don’t use the phrase.

We Have to Consider Both Sides

Photo of Patton Oswalt with dog. Quote on the side reads:
You’ve gotta respect everyone’s beliefs.” No, you don’t. That’s what gets us in trouble. Look, you have to acknowledge everyone’s beliefs, and then you have to reserve the right to go: “That is fucking stupid. Are you kidding me?”
The Full quote not shown on the image continues:
I acknowledge that you believe that, that’s great, but I’m not going to respect it. I have an uncle that believes he saw Sasquatch. We do not believe him, nor do we respect him!”

There’s so much emphasis on balance and respect when it comes to arguments. Not people, but arguments. There are extremes ON BOTH SIDES, you have to understand BOTH SIDES, BOTH SIDES are entitled to their opinions.

Stop, just stop. Yes, there are arguments that have complex issues where you need to look at both sides. But the moment someone starts to devalue another person’s life, I refuse to listen to both sides.

Giving a Nazi, or an Anti-vaxx person the same podium to speak validates their opinion. By saying, “Their are good people on both sides” you tell the world that it’s okay to hate others and want them dead if you’re nice about it.

The value of human life should not be a political issue.

Calm Down / Don’t Get Emotional

Photo of Captain Picard, Chief Engineer Laforge, and other crew members looking at Data who is lying on a console. Text reads: “Install an emotion chip they said / You’ll act normal they said”

There’s a great theme that runs throughout Star Trek. That of the importance of balancing logic and emotion. We see it with Spock, Data, the Doctor, Odo, T’Pol, Burnham, and Spock again.

Wild unchecked emotion is destructive, unfettered logic is cold and heartless. But it seems that when talking to people about something you’re passionate about, the phrases ‘calm down’ or ‘don’t get emotional’ are the quickest way to dismiss your passion.

When talking about something you love or feel passionate about, you will be emotional and, in my opinion, you shouldn’t be calm.

It’s also a wonderful way to make anyone angry. It’s dismissive and condescending.


What common phrases do you think we should stop using?

Stay Safe,

Éric

Spy Kids and Spy Kids 2 – WMR

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2001 and 2002 movies Spy Kids and Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams.

Story

Spy Kids

I was expecting this to be silly and juvenile. It was, but it owned it to a degree that I never expected. The story is a near perfectly crafted spy adventure, with just the right amount of twists and surprises. What elevates the movie is the purposeful overdoing of literally everything. This is a lovingly crafted homage to spy movies that manages to amp up the silly.

Score: 1

Spy Kids 2

The sequel suffers from the tightness of the firsts writing. Expanding to include more spies and more gadgets and more of everything. It did manage to capture the joy and charm of the first one but it took a while.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Spy Kids

Each character is built as a caricature of a standard spy trope and each one manages to overcome it through depth of character and some surprisingly good acting.

Score: 1

Spy Kids 2

The main actors reprise their roles well if not as well as the first. The characters are a little less intricate to make room for the plot and special effects. The inclusion of Buscemi, Montalban, and Taylor to the cast adds skill and gravitas but doesn’t save from the rest of the poor characters and some truly terrible acting from the villians.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Spy Kids

Overall the dialogue is hammy and overblown. It’s fun but nothing extremely special.

Score: 0

Spy Kids 2

The dialogue in this movie is best described as a pale imitation of the first movie.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

Spy Kids

This was a pretty solid movie for a low budget 2001 film it still looked good. The music was okay both are acceptable.

Score: 1

Spy Kids 2

This did not age well. The special effects look terrible and the constant 3D gimmicks actually hurt the composition of most scenes.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Spy Kids

This movie was fun and consistently so throughout the movie. Wonderful commentary on kids entertainment, spy movies, and family.

Score: 1

Spy Kids 2

This was uneven and there were several times I wished I wasn’t watching it. It really wasn’t terrible.

Score: 0.5

Overall

Spy Kids

Lovely little film that explorers what it is to be family with an impressive absurdity.

Final Score: 4 Stars

Spy Kids 2

It fails to capture the whimsical absurdity of the first and almost completely loses the heart. It’s not a bad movie but it’s not very good.

Final Score: 2 Stars

Travelling TARDIS Nominated for Aurora Award

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

So proud of my wonderful wife and the Travelling TARDIS Blog for their THIRD nomination!

Voter’s Package

The majority of nominated works are available in the voter’s package now. Simply make an account, pay $10, and you’ll have access to a wonderful library of Canadian Science fiction and fantasy.

The Travelling TARDIS isn’t part of the package because you can access it for free on this site.

The Travelling TARDIS

The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.

Voting

If you think The Travelling TARDIS is worthy of your vote, voting for the Auroras will be open on June 20th.


Thank you to everyone who nominated and especially to everyone who reads and enjoys our content.

Thank you!

Éric