Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 4

Dear Little Dragon,

It’s been a big year for you.

Since your last birthday you’ve:

  • Potty trained to a point of no accidents;
  • Learned the alphabet in English (working on french);
  • Learned to count to 10 in English (working on french);
  • Learned to write your letters (better than me);
  • Graduated out of a booster seat at the dinner table;
  • Gone to Disney and your first rides;
  • Been an excellent if over-enthusiastic big sister;
  • Watched a lot of movies
  • Started école
  • and a lot of other fantastic things.
Dragon talking to fantastic FadhiliTheOne for a birthday video chat.

One of my favourite memories from this past year is the long-weekend we spent just you and me. You’ve already forgotten most of it, so you say, but it was fun. It was Halloween and we hung out, watched Phineas & Ferb, went to the cinema, played video games, and of course trick or treated. It was nice to have time just you and me.

On the bus on our way home from seeing Abominable in cinema.

Another great memory is you dictating your Christmas letter to Santa and making sure you told him what Adrien wants. You truly love him and want to take care of him. It’s sweet and I hope that love and the adoration I see in his eyes don’t go away as you age.

One of your favourite things right now is to snuggle into someones lap and play video games with them on their phone. I’m not sure if it’s the game or the bonding you want but I’ll take the snuggles. (You’re already asking for your own phone by the way.)

I guess I can’t talk about this year without talking about Covid-19, or as you call it The Virus. You love being around people and last year you went to conventions with us, parties, and Disney. Then March came and everything stopped. It’s been hard for you and I’m so glad we podded with your grandparents.

I miss going shopping with you, I miss going to the park, I miss not panicking every time you touch a package. You have been great though. I’m not sure how much you get the concept, but you seem to understand it’s important.

One great thing about it, is that you have me home. I still hope you’ll be able to go to école for your first grade but everything is up in the air until a vaccine.

You’ve grown physically, mentally, and emotionally so much since you turned 3. (Oh man am I glad you’re no longer having full-on sensory overload tantrums anymore.) I can’t imagine what you’re going to be like next year, but I look forward to being there and finding out.

Happy Birthday, love you!

Your sappy Papa

Bill & Ted Series – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1989 movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the 1991 movie Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and the 2020 movie Bill & Ted Face the Music.

Story

Excellent Adventure

This story is dated in so many ways but still manages to be fantastic at the end. I’m torn between the poor pacing, homophobia, and sexism; and the fantastic message of love and peace.

Score: 0.5

Bogus Journey

The same message resounds through the second movie as in the first, but again there’s more sexism, homophobia, and transphobia to make things awkward. Again the ending is fantastic.

Score: 0.5

Face the Music

The same message of unity and love are sown throughout this movie like the others but with a little more maturity. The twist is predictable but getting there wasn’t. There was none of the previous movies’ sexism, homophobia, or transphobia, but there was a little bit of an awkward fat joke. (nothing compared to Avengers Endgame)

Score: 0.5

Characters

Excellent Adventure

Bill and Ted are well meaning, mostly kind, but so foolish. They have fantastic vocabularies but they really don’t seem to follow everything going on. They are the personification of the slacker. There was an extremely homophobic joke that was out of character and pretty jarring.

The rest of the characters are a wonderful mix of what-if historical characters showed up in 1988.

Unfortunately the women are all pretty useless.

Score: 0.5

Bogus Journey

Once again we get Bill and Ted as sweet, mostly, caring, and pretty fools. They graduated high school and got jobs at the mall.

The evil people are all very much evil and totalitarian. It’s an interesting switch to see the rebels be the ones who want to be controlled.

Score: 0.5

Face the Music

This is the saddest and the most relatable version of Bill and Ted. They are broken by the weight of their own destiny but still trying anyway.

The introduction of the daughters was great. They are the generation that grew up with music-obsessed slackers. They were both believable and perfect. Both actors managed to mimic the original Bill and Ted’s movements and mannerisms better than the original actors did.

I’m happy they gave the princesses both more story and more screen time.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Excellent Adventure

The dialogue is actually impressively clever. They bypass time travel confusion really well and do really well with making their characters sound unique. It’s endlessly quotable in the way only 80’s movies can be.

Score: 0.5

Bogus Journey

Station! The dialogue doesn’t seem quite as special the second time, but there are some fantastic lines. The time travel battle at the end and speech is fantastic.

Score: 0.5

Face the Music

It’s hard to judge the dialogue of this one compared to the others. It’s a lot of self-referential jokes and quips but there’s some interesting bit in there too. I like the consistency in speech patterns and then impressive impersonations of famous musicians.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Excellent Adventure

The production value on this was fantastic, making each time period look authentic (in an 80’s high school curriculum sort of way).

The music was perfect for the movie and really enjoyable.

Score: 1

Bogus Journey

The nature of them going to hell and heaven make so that everything in this movie is more stylized and a little darker.

The music was okay but not excellent.

Score: 0.5

Face the Music

The special effects were updated and beautiful, the makeup work was fantastic, and everything worked towards the story. The locations were authentic and the shots were well thought out.

The nature of the final twist means that the music is less important than the message, but despite that there’s some fantastic pieces. Especially between the historical figures.

Score: 1

Fun

Excellent Adventure

Despite a little cringe and a few really awkward moments the movie is pure fun.

Score: 1

Bogus Journey

There’s some cringe and a few parts that I think drag but overall the movie is a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Face the Music

For both nostalgic reasons and because it was well written with little to no cringe, this was a lot of fun. It kept the entire family entertained and watching.

Score: 1

Overall

Excellent Adventure

The movie is dated but still really heartwarming. They really want to push the love and peace message and like Bill and Ted themselves they stumble a few times along the way.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Bogus Journey

Like the first movie, it is dated but overall positive. It manages to capture the optimism of the first despite the darker tone.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Face the Music

The movie manages to pay homage to the first two while surpassing them in fun and quality. Definitely my favourite of the series.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Busy, pumpkins, and tired

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Work is starting to ramp up for the return of parliament (I do layouts for government reports, a lot of them are tabled in parliament). So I’m really busy. Especially with work, the preparations for the JenEric Advent Calendar, and Dragon going to school.

Pegasus is really into stacking things. Here he’s stacked 2 blue cylinders on my shoulder.

I’m also really tired from the last hurrah of this season’s seasonal allergies (apparently that means I have different allergies each season) and Pegasus having issues sleeping (more teeth and growing pains). All that to say that I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to writing or blogging. Sorry about that.

In other news, pie pumpkins are in stores here which means I’ll be going all out on pumpkin stuff. I’ve already roasted two of them and eaten the seeds. This weekend I’ll attempt Pumpkin & Spice Doughnuts if I have the time and energy.

Hope you’re all doing well.

Stay Safe and Be Kind!

Éric

Week 3 – Moana

This week is Moana, the 2016 film by Disney. I thought it would be nice to be able to go star-gazing when it’s not too cold but gets dark a little bit earlier. And this week has great viewing opportunities for Jupiter and Saturn at the beginning of the week (Mon-Wed).

Here is the link for the downloadable materials.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Watch movieStar-gazingBake with coconutObjects floating in waterFlex
Summary of the week

Daily details:

Dance

Ballet and martial arts on alternate days

Music

Singing, listening to different pieces, learning piano

Crochet

The project she is working on (currently she is making herself a poncho)

Basic Information

We talk about the days of the week and play games with the cutouts of the names. We do the same thing with the names of the months of the year. You can find the print-outs here.

Printing words

Downloadable materials

Counting objects/math-type activities

Practice counting objects and writing how many of each type – in downloadable materials

Draw x number of coconuts on a palm tree

Count and talk a bit about the planets (before going star gazing!)

Storytime

Activity

Star gazing – Best days to view Jupiter and Saturn this week are Mon-Wed 2020 (just check weather first!) During the day – talk about the two planets and what to expect while observing them

Bake with coconut – cookies? Any option you like

Objects floating in water (experiment link)

Next week: Tinker Bell (2008)

Week 1 – Tangled Results

Dragon’s first week of Jr Kindergarten went well. There were some hiccups with technology for her virtual classes for her real school on the first day, but after getting a new link (and downloading new firmware for the camera) the second day went much smoother – other than several meltdowns from a very tired Dragon. We’re trying to figure out how to have her be part-time (one day a week), with the teacher’s assistance.

As for the part of her week taught by me, that also went well, for the most part.

Dance

Ballet was a big hit

Music

We listened to a bunch of French music. Coeur de Pirate was the favourite.

Crochet

We managed to get a few stitches in.

Printing words

Worked really well. The blank sheet was used on the second day with the filled in sheet as a guide for spelling.

Writing words

Counting objects/math-type activities

The download sheet worked really well. She got to practice writing numbers and she counted well.

Counting

Storytime

She enjoyed the books, but I’m not sure she understood them

Activity

Baking – cake – talked about mixing colours and measurements.

Painting – free-style with Crayola washable paint on paper – talked about mixing colours.

Make a paper lantern – need construction paper, paper bag, stencil (in download material), cardboard box, paper towel folded in fourths, and screwdriver thumb tack, and pen (instructions are Number 11). Put the paper bag over the cardboard box, and slide the folded paper towel in between the box and the bag. Place the stencil over-top of the bag/paper towel. Use the screwdriver to punch holes in the stencil/paper bag. Be careful not to move the stencil, or you will mess up your design. (Edited in italics after attempt.)

More Advent News!

Hello Coffee and Crochet Lovers,

Last year Jen made fantastic festive coloured baskets. (I liked them so much I asked for one for Christmas.)

This year she levelled up her game and decided to make 3 new types; Santa, Snowman, and Gingerbread Man.

Aren’t these fantastic? Each Advent calendar will come packaged in one of the baskets and the 24 packet 2 oz will require 2.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Advent Calendars. Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

There will be two sets of pre-orders.
Deadline to order first wave September 30th – Orders will ship mid-October.
Deadline to order second wave November 9th – Orders will ship mid-November.

ALLERGY If you have allergies please email us at JenEricDesigns(AT)gmail.com to let us know your specific allergy.

Pre-orders are open now

Enjoy your coffee!

Éric

High School Musical – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2006 film High School Musical.

Story

This movie simplifies everything about high school and condenses it into a plot that is much less stressful then the real thing. The loves story, which could have been super annoying, is played low key and the focus is really on expressing yourself through multiple likes and dislikes.

It’s simple and works well to get the message and the music through.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are desperately trying to not be two dimensional in a one dimensional world. There’s growth and even the main characters that could have been bland were endearing.

They are cleverly built and work perfectly for the movie.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There’s nothing fantastic about the dialogue, but there are a few moments of tenderness between the love interests that is both sweet and genuine.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

This is one of the most lavish high schools I’ve ever seen; it’s beautiful in it’s own right. Add in the singing and dancing and it works really well. I’ve always wondered why they have a camel for this musical. The music is poppy and very mid-2000’s but it has heart and is used to push the story forward.

The character framing for the love interests is always perfect, both reflecting their feelings and in showing them vs the world.

Score: 1

Fun

Despite never wanting to be in the same situation, I love the meet-cute at the beginning and the overall feel of the romance.

I despise the teachers and the complete lack of understanding of theatre and science. I also really dislike the “character says something to shut up friends that is mean and gets them in trouble with the love interest” trope.

I’m also extremely amused that this has one of the most realistic portrayals of computer hacking. (The science girl uses a preset macro program to shut the gym down.)

Score: 0.5

Overall

This is a fun movie that reminds me of high school while not looking anything like my high school. The music and story are fun and overall it’s pretty good.

I do wish that the character of Kelsi was more used, or that she got a spinoff.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars

Top 5 things I didn’t notice I did before Covid

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There are a few odd tics that I noticed recently that I’m thinking I always had but didn’t notice…maybe it’s quarantine.

5. Misunderstand

I’ve noticed that when I want to lighten the mood, distract, or get further clarification, I’ll act as if I don’t understand any part of what the person is telling me. I think it’s a way of avoiding me making false assumptions, rather than playing dumb.

It’s a lot of fun with a 3 year old though. Especially with the old, “Hello hungry, I’m Papa.”

4. Sing

I knew that I sang with my headphones. (Poor coworkers and other passengers on the bus) But it turns out that I’ll sometimes make up songs about what I’m doing using a borrowed tune. It’s not pretty but it is funny and lifts my spirits.

The 3 year old seems nonplussed with a side of, “Papa, you’re just being funny.”

3. Mumble

I talk through my issues when I work or write. Normally that’s in my head but sometimes I’ve noticed that I do it out loud. Again my poor coworkers.

2. Fidget

I have a standing desk or I work on the couch… I do not stop moving my body for very long. I fidget and sit weirdly. I’m a bad stereotype of Bi people.

It’s not a problem unless the 14 month old decides he wants to play at my feet… then I invariably step on a toy.

1. Fools

I call people, situations, and things FOOLS more often than anyone who isn’t a cranky Middle-Earth wizard or a Disney villain should.

I know I do this more than I used to but 2020 and its people seems to need it.

Stay Safe and Be Kind,

Éric