The Bear who wanted to be a Wizard – Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities

In a realm of magic, in a time of heroes; lived a young black bear. She loved all things that bears love, berries, chasing small animals, sleeping, and of course magic. She would sneak into the village and watch the travelling magicians and wizards.

From the bushes she’d watch them as they made people disappear and then reappear, changed eggs into birds, and pulled rabbits out of hats. There were different kinds of performers, those that used genuine magic and those that used illusion and sleight of hand. The best ones combined both.

One day while she was hiding in the bushes she hear a young boy ask how the wizard had learned magic.

“Well my boy! I learnt magic from the greatest magic school in the world. The illustrious Pigmole.”

The little bear had been trying to teach herself magic and she could do some decent sleight of hand but couldn’t do any real magic, no matter how much she practiced. She was convinced it was because she needed to be taught.

Saying goodbye to her parents, she set out on a long walk to go to Pigmole School of Magic and Mystery. Along the way she met a large black crow.

“Where are you going little bear?” asked the crow.

“I’m going to become a powerful wizard,” replied the bear.

The crow laughed rudely and when it could breathe again, it said, “You’re a bear. They’ll never let you learn magic.”

“If they can teach pigs and moles, they can teach bears.” With a furrowed brow and a determined grimace, which looked pretty funny on a bear, she continued on her way.

At the gates she came up to a large stone statue. When she was within a few feet, the statue creaked and turned to face her saying, “Shoo bear. Go away.”

“I want to learn magic.”

“We don’t teach bears.” The statue refused to speak after and only blocked her way. The big crow laughed from a distance.

Instead of going home, she decided that she’d find another way to study at the school.

She suck onto the grounds and hid in the bushes, being careful not to leave any traces. She’d listen at the windows and learn everything she could. She slept in the old forest and ate what she could find there.

After several months she was starting to get the hang of basic spells. She still couldn’t pull a rabbit from a hat but she wondered if that was because she didn’t know any rabbits.

She became careless with her hiding and one day, the large black crow saw her at a window and started laughing uncontrollably. The noise attracted the groundskeeper who, seeing the bear said, “Ah ha! You’re the one who’s been trampling my garden!”

“No. I swear I’ve only been listening to lessons. Please. I want to keep learning magic.”

“If you’re not the one trampling my garden, than who is?” The large imposing man asked.

“I don’t know, but if you let me, I’ll find out and then maybe I can stay?”

The groundskeeper nodded.

It took less than a day of hiding for the bear to find out who was destroying the garden; it was a family of rabbits. They were tiny, scrawny looking rabbits. “Stop doing that!” she screamed and the rabbits all ran away.

That’s when she got an idea.

Borrowing the groundskeeper’s hat, she locked herself in a shed and started pulling the rabbits out of the hat. It worked and within moments she had a family of rabbits in the shed with her.

“A bear that does magic?” asked the littlest rabbit as its stomach growled.

“Yes and I can teach you how to do magic so you can find other food than the school’s garden.”

The bear taught the rabbits and the groundskeeper kept his word. Over the years, the old forest filled with animals who would come to learn magic from the great bear wizard.

She studied hard and despite the school never letting her in, she became its best teacher.

The moral of this story is simple: Never doubt a determined bear.


Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities are the expanded versions of stories I’ve told my children at night before bed. They’re short, silly, and were completely improvised in the telling.

ETIAS in 2021

This is more of an update than a Fandom Travel post, although if you want to travel to Europe for Fandom stuff, it applies!

In 2021, the European Travel Information and Authorization System will be up and running, and anyone from 61 countries, including Canada, will have to go through a detailed security check if they wish to travel to Europe.

Note: This is NOT a Visa.

You will need your valid passport in order to fill out the application.

Canadian Passport. Image from canada.ca.

After the online submission of your ETIAS application (which they say will take about ten minutes to complete), there is a minimal fee of approximately $11 CAD, and then it will only take a few minutes for it to be processed.

Minors must have a legal guardian complete the ETIAS for them. They are exempt from the fee.

You can check out the full details, including what information is required for the application, on the ETIAS website here.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Comments, Politics, and Entertainment.

Dear Imaginary Friends,

I have an unhealthy obsession. I’m a little ashamed of myself actually. I just can’t seem to stop… reading the comments online.

I know I really shouldn’t but there’s a weird fascination to seeing the worst of humanity interacting. I’m fascinated, repulsed, and I feel a little gross after.

My particular weaknesses are looking at comments on stories relating to Doctor Who, Captain Marvel, CW’s superhero shows, and Canadian politics.

Comic Showing an archaeologist looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics and saying, “I should know better than to read the comments section.”
Comic from Rhymes With Orange

The comments are a squirming cesspool of humanity’s worst qualities and worst arguments. One that I’ve heard a lot lately is that there’s too much politics in entertainment. Make me think of the old Peanut Butter cup commercials, “You got peanut butter on my chocolate.”

Unlike chocolate and peanut butter (yummy), the idea that you can have any form of entertainment devoid of politics is laughable. Even when you think something isn’t political, it is.

The reason most people don’t notice is that the politics align with theirs. If you’re a straight, white, cis, middle to upper class person, you won’t notice any politics in something like Friends, Big Bang, or How I Met Your Mother. You might glance over the commentary on sexism or classism in those shows as just normal everyday stuff. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

I can hear the “Well actually, it’s more blatant” and that’s bullshit. If you’re one of those people who thinks old shows didn’t make political comments, you weren’t listening. Star Wars, Diehard, North by North-West, all had political messages in them. It’s nearly impossible to separate politics from art because it’s impossible to separate belief from creation.

Those complaining that things have become too political aren’t complaining about politics. They’re complaining that they aren’t seeing their politics reflected back at them.

Later Days,

Éric

I’m not going to See Captain Marvel

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Why am I not going to see Captain Marvel? My in-laws (whom I go to the movies with) are out of town. We’ll go see it, probably, the 19th. I do wish I could go see it opening weekend but it’s time to ramp up for spring (by name only in Ottawa) convention season.

Did you think I was going to talk about the Brie Larson controversy?


The actor said in an interview:

“About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male. So, I spoke to Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of color, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.”

This has led to plenty of insecure men to call her racist and sexist and somehow means she doesn’t want white men to see the movie. I’m not sure they’ve learnt to read critically.

Even after she said:

“What I’m looking for is to bring more seats up to the table. No one is getting their chair taken away. There’s not less seats at the table, there’s just more seats at the table.”

The angry white men are still very angry.

They’ll argue that it’s just about:

  • Bad writing – she’s overpowered
  • Ethics in Journalism – she shouldn’t get to choose
  • Should be a man – they think Mar’vel was a better character
  • Ruining science fiction – Because she’s too powerful
  • Bad acting – the Oscar winner just wasn’t built to be a superhero
  • Too feminist – there are women in the movie who are in the lead roles

I’m sure I missed some sad-puppy, proud boy, kkk, incel, gamergate, bullshit in there.

Long story short, the entire controversy is just another, in a long list, of made up sexist crap.

This movie looks amazing and I can’t wait, even though I will have to, to see it.

Éric

Blush: New game?

On March 4th, Global News* reported on a new interactive game* for mobile, called “Clit-Me”, designed to simulate different “techniques” to “satisfy” the clitoris avatar. Each of the five levels unlocks content and statistics on sexual satisfaction.

*Please note: gendered language is used throughout the article and game.

Image from globalnews.ca

This game was designed by eight interns at NFB’s Digital Studio in Montreal during their internship through the Université du Québec à Montreal (UQAM). During their research into the statistics on clitoral orgasms, they discovered that only 62% reached climax with a first time partner compared to 85% of those with a penis. So they decided to build a game that might help to close that gap.

I played it. It’s cute. A little clunky at times (especially the multi-touch level), but cute. This game is only available on mobile devices.

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

Top Five Ways to Argue Like a Toddler

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

This could easily be an article about how to argue on the internet but it’s not. I’m here to teach you the valuable skill of arguing like a toddler.

5. Where is…

I was prepared to answer why, what, whom, and even how… but repeated instances of where, I wasn’t ready. Here’s the way it typically goes.

Dragon: Where is Granny?

Me: At home.

Dragon: Where is Granny home?

Me: Same place it always is.

Dragon: Where?

Me: *Says address*

Dragon: Where is that?

Me: If we go down the street and turn left it’s at the end of that street?

Dragon: I can’t see it. Can you show me?

The trick with this is to keep asking the same question no matter how absurd it sounds. Really throws people through a loop.

4. Scream louder

Trying to talk to my wife from another room is now followed by, “Don’t yell at MUM!” the same thing happens if my wife replies; “Don’t yell at PAPA!”

If I say something to her sternly my daughter sometimes counters with, “Don’t yell at me.” Then she yells louder over me, ignoring what I’m saying.

This is advanced, and definitely common online. The goal is to just keep saying what you’re saying while telling people to stop being mean.

3. Walk away and pout

When she knows she’s done something wrong but doesn’t want to admit it, she’ll pout and walk away. Stand in a corner or just glare at us from across the room.

Me: Please pick up your toys before dinner.

Dragon: No.

Me: Please pick up your toys.

Dragon: No.

Me: Now.

Dragon: *Walks away and pouts*

You wouldn’t think this was useful in adult life or online, but suddenly turning around and ignoring someone throws all the power to you for a small amount of time.

2. Ask again… and again and again

She normally does this if she really wants to eat or do something. She’ll say, “I NEED candy!” I’ll reply with, “Not now” or “no.” She then says, “Can I have candy?”, “Candy?”, or she’ll repeat I need. The less attention we pay to her the louder and more repetitive she gets.

This is similar to 4 but more insistent. When using it, make sure everyone knows what you want. Over and over again.

1. Because Yes/No

This is quite possibly the hardest possible thing to argue with.

Me: Why did you throw your teddy bear?

Dragon: Because Yes.

Or

Dragon: I NEED orange!

Me: You just ate 2 oranges. Do you really need another one?

Dragon: Because yes?

Because Yes and Because No, will stop the conversation and make the other person question why they’re arguing with you. It’s a wonderful way to argue when you don’t really care about educating but really want to annoy.


Okay so arguing with a toddler is very similar to arguing online. I think I might start using #1.

Later days,

Éric

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