Collecting, Space, and Nests

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

We here at Books End have a serious collecting problem. Books, Movies, Disney Infinity, Statues, Lego, Books, Autographs, and Books.

Once you’ve accepted that you have a problem, you can start work on organizing and displaying. Our friends and family have often laughed at us when they see we’ve moved an entire room around. We do it in a hunt for efficiency, how to best fit everything in the room that we want and not look like hoarders.

What happens when we don’t have optimal organization? Nests! These are piles of things that have no home. It starts with a simple, “I’ll just leave this here for now until I find it’s place.” and ends in a massive pile of stuff. We ignore it until I finally crack and go on a cleaning binge.

Often when this happens we need to find new. cheap, and innovative ways of organizing. Make fun of us if you will, but IKEA is an amazing place to get organized for cheap.

It’s also a lot of fun to look around, play, and waste a few hours. Not a store to go to if you can’t handle browsing.

Nice chat, I have some books to go organize.

Later Days.

Éric

Dear Dragon – Six Months

Six months

Six months

Dear Baby Dragon,

You turned six months old on Sunday and as I write this you’re playing on your mat making adorable sounds and rotating to the toy you want to chew on.

The past week or so has been tough; you caught your first cold and have been leaking from your nose. It’s gotten to the point where you start screaming when you see a tissue. You’re getting better now and I look forward to not hearing you be all phlegmy.

Crawling is about to happen any day. You get up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth. Sometimes you’ll army crawl. You also love to pretend that you’re skydiving.

Added to your screeching (Curse you DanIsNotOnFire) is growling, babbling, and a lot of giggles. Honestly, there is nothing better than hearing you laugh. It’s filled with such pure joy and love. I could listen to it all day.

One thing I really wish you’d stop doing is grabbing and pinching. I know you don’t understand that it hurts us and you’re just trying to keep your balance but it’s a real pain.

It’s been a wonderful six months with you and I wish I could spend more time but you’ll be eight and a half months when I have to go back to work. I’m doing everything I can to remember and appreciate this time together.

Well, I have a diaper to change.

Love you lots and lots my Little Dragon,

Your Papa

 

 

Blue Victory VS Doctor D.U.M.B.

“You have besmirched my good name!” The man in a long purple lab coat bellowed as he took a step closer to the edge of the building.

“What name is that?” I asked, trying to sound calm. I had no idea who this person was or why he’d taken my date hostage.

Waving the weird contraption in my direction as he spoke he said, “Doctor Umberto Michael Berman! World’s premier interdimensional scientist.”

Laura squeaked as he pointed the device back at her head.

“Oh… Doctor D.U.M.B. You were running dangerous experiments on runaway teens. You smirched your own name.”

“Not helping, Verity…” growled Laura. Even held captive by a crazed scientist she still had time to glare at me. She looked good, even captured by a mad scientist. I should have asked her out earlier. Her long orange curly hair flew in the wind, and there was a lot of wind on the roof of an 80 storey building.

“Your article destroyed my credibility. You and that blasted Blue Victory!”

“Okay Doc… You’re really close to the edge of the building, you have my date hostage, what do you want?” I took a small step forward, trying to look harmless by spreading my arms out.

“I want you to pay for what you’ve done. I want you to suffer as I have suffered. I lost everything, my wife left me, my company disowned me, and I’m wanted by the police… I want you to suffer.”

“You realize that you’re holding my boss and editor hostage, right? She tortures me on a regular basis.”

“I’m not an idiot. I can tell this is a date. No one shows that much cleavage for a business meeting.” He gestured at me with the device again. Looking down at myself, I had to agree I’d never wear this to the office. Laura was my boss and editor and had I worn this to work she’d have given me a sweater.

“So you want to make me suffer. How can I make that happen without anyone getting thrown off the roof?” I took another step forward, if I could get close enough I could grab her and blame my speed on adrenaline.

I shouldn’t have mentioned the roof, he looked behind him, startled, and still holding Laura, fell backwards.

A quick spin helped me telepathically change into my Blue Victory costume and I ran and leapt off the building. I ran down the building for a little trying to spot the Doctor and Laura. They were both falling fast, as one does without the ability to fly.

As quickly as I could, I flew towards Laura and gently grabbed her by the waist. I did the same with the Doc and slowed our decent until we landed gently on the pavement.

The Doc’s eyes were wide with terror as he said, “Thank you Blue Victory. I thought I was going to die.”

In contrast, Laura’s eyes were equally as wide, but in surprise and recognition, “You’re…” she started and reached out, taking off my glasses. I had forgotten to take them off.

“Where did my Dimensional-Tunneller go?” The Doctor asked and I saw the device fall a few feet away from Laura. A beam of yellow energy shot out from it towards her and I rushed to push her out of the way. For the first time in my life I was too slow and we were both caught by the ray.

Time for a Contest

A Dinosaur onesie with butterfly pants.

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My daughter feel asleep on my lap and I can’t reach my computer to finish the Word of the Day story I had planned for today. It’ll be on Thursdays post.

A Dinosaur onesie with butterfly pants.
A Dinosaur onesie with butterfly pants.

The first five people who can guess what classic Science Fiction story this outfit is inspired by will be featured in one of the next chapters of this year’s serial story.

Send your answers as a private message to @ericdesmarais on Twitter or EricDesmaraisAuthor on Facebook.

 

Good Luck!

Éric

Your Source Matters (Or why I won’t take your link seriously)

Cartoon from Dave Granlund

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve noticed a trend on my facebook lately. A lot of people, who I respect, are posting articles that may have a point but are from a non-credible source.

We all gloss over dozens of these sorts of articles, advertisements, or videos each day. Most of the time we either ignore them or think, “HA! I knew it!” Anytime I find myself doing the second I look into where the information is coming from.

Cartoon from Dave Granlund
Cartoon by Dave Granlund

Both Sides of the Argument dot ca

Let’s take a province-wide advertisement, going on right now in Ontario. It’s called Both Sides of the Argument. On the radio, it has people who say they’re police, nurses, etc. coming out against the proposed plain packaging laws for cigarettes (brown paper packaging for all cigarettes). At first hearing how plain packaging will help gangs and illegal cigarette sales, it’s kind of scary. At the end of the ads it’s said quickly that they were paid for by JTI-Macdonald Corp. A quick google will tell you they’re one of the worlds largest tobacco companies.

Instantly anything said by those ads and anything said by their website is suspect. Multinational, billion dollar companies rarely create ad campaigns to stop laws, unless it will affect their business.

Does this mean that what they are saying is wrong? No. They could be completely right, but since the source is biased, any information shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Extremist Sources

We’ve all come across that article that says that contrails are really mind controlling vapour, or that fluoride is put in the water to make us more passive.

You’ll find variations of these on both hyper conservative and hyper liberal news sources. Thrown in with articles about the vices of the poor from the first and the dangers of modern medicine for the second.

If you post an article from one of these sites, my first reaction is to check their sources and then to check their other articles. The quality of their articles and sources affect their credibility.

These sites are notorious for sourcing statistics but not the studies, or experts they mention in their articles. Usually because they either outright lie or manipulate their quotes into a lie.

Does this mean that what they are saying is wrong? No. They could be completely right but since the source is biased, any information shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Writing

This may be petty of me but if the writing is too informal, has too many mistakes, or isn’t organized in a logical order; I will not take it seriously.

(This is my blog. I’m a fiction author. I don’t write news and any articles I do write, you should think of critically. I am not a news source. I also don’t have a team of editors to make sure each post is properly written.)

I’ve come across so many articles that attack politicians and celebrities. If your article is mean or harsh, I’ll assume it’s biased. Some might call this “tone policing”, it’s not. It’s called Journalistic Objectivity, and without it the news source is unprofessional and unreliable. (Opinion articles are an exception, but they should be properly labelled.)

Does this mean that what they are saying is wrong? No. They could be completely right but since the source is biased, any information shouldn’t be taken seriously.

What should you do?

Before you post something, or share something, double check to make sure the source is trustworthy or in the very least add that you’re not sure about it’s validity. It’s really that simple.

You can even google the title of the article and see what pops up. Often someone will have a dissenting opinion and you can learn something about the original source.

As I’ve learnt, multiple times lately, calling out the integrity of an article will normally just piss off the person who posted it. Angry people will defend their point of view, even if the source is bad, to an excessive level. They’ll also assume you’re attacking them or the news itself as opposed to it’s source.

It’s up to you whether you’re willing to challenge a friend on something. They may thank you, or they may yell at you.

 

My philosophy is that if a source isn’t valid, the content isn’t valid.

Éric

Geek Market Coffee

SnowWhite

Hello Coffee Lovers,

We will be debuting our newest coffee flavour at the end of the month at Geek Market.

Introducing our newest coffee flavour:

Snow White’s Wake Up Potion

A Green Apple medium roast that’s recommended by Six out of Seven Dwarfs.

SnowWhite

Now available for order at http://coffee.jeneric-designs.ca/

What coffee would you like at Geek Market

Select all the coffee you want to buy at Geek Market in the following poll and we’ll make sure the most popular ones will be available at the end of March.

What coffee should be available at Geek Market

View Results

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Thank you and good coffee drinking,

Éric

Let’s get Cynical

Borrowed from https://www.instagram.com/_12drawings_/

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

By reading this blog, I’m sure you noticed I’m a rather optimistic kind of person. I tend to assume the best of people and believe hope is important.

That being said I have my cynical moments. Last night as we were getting the little Dragon to sleep, I came to the realization that there are two kinds of cynical. When things don’t go your way or go badly, you can fall on two extremes of cynicism; Conspiracy or Stupidity.

Borrowed from https://www.instagram.com/_12drawings_/
Borrowed from Kenzie AKA _12drawings_ on Instagram

Conspiracy

Let’s say, for examples sake only, that your baby doesn’t seem to be going to sleep (just an example, I swear…). If your cynicism leans towards conspiracy, you’ll assume that the baby is trying to stop you from sleeping. Possibly for some sort of nefarious plan where she steals all your energy.

This is the extreme that you see a lot of with big businesses or with government. They’re all out to get us/me/you! It makes us feel special, because someone wants to get us, and makes us feel like there is purpose in the world.

Stupidity

This is absolute opposite side of cynicism. Instead of assuming the baby is trying to stop you from sleeping, you assume the baby has no idea what it’s doing and has no sinister motives. It’s just a baby that hasn’t developed enough to realize that it’s time to sleep and that you haven’t abandoned her in a crib for ever.

This is the harder form of cynicism. It assumes chaos and it assumes you have nothing to do with what happened. Humans tend to assume everything that happens around us is about us; we are a self-absorbed race. It is freeing to realize that everyone is just blundering about trying to get to their goals.

 

I’m trying my best to be hopeful and grotesquely optimistic, but the times I am cynical I lean towards the second option. I’ve worked in government, retail, big business, tourism, etc (seriously, I’ve done a lot) and one thing I’ve noticed is how, as a society, we are extremely hard to organize. It’s always more likely to be incompetence or stupidity rather then maliciousness. (That’s Hanlon’s Razor)

Where do you fall on the cynicism spectrum?

Éric

Top 5 Things you Shouldn’t Do/Say to a Baby

annoyed_yet_amusing_baby_kids_640_19

annoyed_yet_amusing_baby_kids_640_19

5. Judge their behaviour

Seriously. I see you over there tsking at the parents whose kids are crying or being loud.

Not every child deals the same with different stimulus. It’s not that they’re badly behaved, it’s that they have no methods for coping with stuff. Infants and babies literally have never experienced anything as terrible as what they’re going through. Cut them some slack.

4. Complain about their clothing

Not all parents can afford designer clothing, some parents are geeky, and not all parents follow your gendering ways. If a parent wants to put their girl in a batman outfit it’s none of your business. Same with if they want to put their boy in a pink wonder woman shirt. It’s none of your business.

3. Touch them without permission

The parents don’t know where your hands have been, the child can’t give consent, and it’s down right creepy. Check with the parents, and then if they’re ok with it, go nuts.

How would you feel if someone came up to you and started poking you, messing your hair, or grabbing your hand?

2. Insist they smile at you

Baby smiles are awesome. I understand that everyone loves it when a baby smiles at them. That doesn’t give you the right to stop the baby and parents and insist that the baby smile at you. If the baby smiles in passing, yay. If not, move along.

Having someone stop you in public to explain to your baby why they should smile is creepy.

1. Smoke in their vicinity or living area

At this point you either understand the dangers of smoking or you don’t want to understand. That’s perfectly fine but you forfeit the right to complain when someone tells you to move away from a baby.

Second hand smoke and third hand smoke (the smoke that stays on your clothing) can cause severe respiratory issues in babies for their entire life.

If you smoked in that clothing, you should not be holding a baby.

 

Anything I missed?

Éric

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 2

Part 1

Part 2: An Emu in SPACE!

“What you’ve done is launch us into hyperspace with no exit coordinates.” The Prince sat up from his glass coffin and shook his head. “Now who the hell are you and what are you doing on my ship?”

Sophia just stared at him. He was just as handsome as the stories had described. His black hair contrasted with his pale skin and he had a lopsided grin that made her feel weak. His words made sense to her, but he spoke much faster than the computer had when she’d been learning his language.

“I Sophia. You Prince. Me fix ship.”

“You speak galactic standard? But I landed on Sol-oh-three. There’s never been contact with that disturbing branch of humanity.” He looked scared and angry, and he awkwardly hopped out of the coffin almost falling on his face. “Who the hell are you and where are you taking me?”

There was an arm lengths distance between them but somehow Hagrid managed to stuff his girth between them. He squawked at the Prince, his head bobbing in every possible direction, like a helium balloon in a storm.

Jumping back, the Prince said a string of words that she didn’t understand but were obviously curses. “What is that thing?” His hands raised up in an awkward defensive posture.

“Hagrid. Down boy,” she told her Emu sternly. To her great surprise, he listened to her. Possibly for the first time. “This Hagrid, he’s an Emu.”

Apparently happy that she was safe, Hagrid, the picture of poise, bobbed towards the exit and slipped, falling to his side, and then jumping back up with a low, “Wark!”

“Is he your protector? I’ve never encountered an Emu but he looks a lot like a Manu.” When she didn’t say anything, he added, “Large flightless bird body guards. Hyper intelligent and ridiculously graceful.”

Laughing she replied, “Hyper? Yes. Intelligent; graceful? No.”

“Yeah.” He joined in with the laughter before adding, “Sorry for coming off so harshly. Before I went into cryosleep I was being chased by someone bent on killing me.”

Blushing despite herself, she said, “It’s okay. How long you sleep?”

Shrugging he walked over to a computer terminal and looked at the screen. She was about to interrupt him when he turned and said, “Twenty of your years.” He paused and asked, “Where are you taking me?”

“I accidentally pressed buttons. You tell me.” She was doing her best to match his wording and structure. The language was simple but had a few quirks that confused her. She was proud at the progress she was already making.

“How would I know? I just press where I want to go. This is only giving me coordinates and that means nothing to me.”

She shook her head; he sounded just like her father. He couldn’t figure out where he was without the GPS on his phone. “Coordinates are based off galaxy centre and the galaxy as seen from above. Using four digits representing; Quadrant, Depth, Horizontal axis, and Vertical axis.” She said it exactly the way the computer had pronounced it. Going to the navigation computer she added, “Combine with the map, we go to planet called Centuras Prime.”

“Oh thank goodness. We’re going home. Centuras Prime is the seat of the Galactic Queen. My sister.”

Nodding was the only thing Sophia could think of doing. The two looked at each other in an awkward silence that was thankfully interrupted by the ship’s alarm.

“Warning! Explosives detected on outer hull,” the voice of the computer said with the calm of someone who stopped caring a long time ago.

The Prince’s face went paler then normal and he slumped in the chair he was sitting in.

“Prince. Stay here. I go fix.” She knew this ship back and forth. She knew that in case of something getting stuck to the hull, the ship had small drones that could clear it off.

Part way to the engineering room, Sophia noticed that the Prince was following her. When she turned to him he shrugged and said, “I’d rather not be alone right now.”

“You the Prince,” She replied without turning.

“Please stop calling me that. My name is Phillip. Call me Phil.”

The ship was right and there was a bomb placed on the outside of the hull. It was just over the nacelles of the ship. If the bomb went off, it would create a reaction in the nacelles and then the engine that would not only blow up the ship, but cause an explosion that half the quadrant would see.

“Do you know anything about bombs?” Sophia asked.

“They explode?” Phil replied. This was the suave heartthrob from the stories she’d read so much about? He wasn’t living up to her expectations.

Picking up a drone that looked like it had a large shovel on the front of it she put it on a work table and started making changes. After twenty minutes of work, Phil asked, “What are you doing?”

“Changing drone.”

“Is it really a great time to be tinkering?”

Picking up the drone, she brought it to the airlock and prepared to open the outer doors. When she was comfortably sitting at the control panel she explained, “Drone is going to take bomb off ship.”

“But–”

She cut him off with a hand gesture. “Ship is inside Hyperspace bubble. Inside bubble ship moving slow. Outside bubble moving fast. If we can take bomb off ship and out of bubble, it blow up too far to hurt us.”

“What if it blow up right after you touch it with that thing?”

“We use drone like spatula. It have thrusters that push away from ship and scoop bomb. At worst it might redirect blast.”

“Isn’t that dangerous?” He asked his eyes wide in either fear or admiration. Sophia wasn’t sure. She gave him a look that she hoped was universal in saying, “Duh!” and continued to maneuver the drone.

Both of them held their breath as her hands flew over the controls. A small screen on the panel showed a video from the drone. Her plan worked perfectly and she lost contact with the drone.

They both waited, and after a few seconds sighed as the ship said, “Detonation at eight light years aft of the ship.”

“That was brilliant,” Phil said, his hands shaking.

She was debating giving him a victory hug when a loud boom echoed through the room. Running to the porthole, they looked out to see Hagrid flapping his useless wings inside the floppy arms of a humanoid shaped space suit.

“How did he get out there?” Sophia asked.

“How did he get into a spacesuit?” asked Phil.


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

Secrets and Truths

Tattoo

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

A few weeks ago I promised secrets; it took a little while for everything to finalize but now the ink has dried and I can tell you.

AJ Travel Logo

First announcement is that I have joined AJ Travel as a travel agent. I’ll be selling travel with my wife and best friend which is something that makes me very happy.

If you haven’t been reading our bi-weekly Fandom Travel Blog, you really should. Jen has been doing an amazing job.

I’ll mostly be specializing in the same things as Jen but with the addition of Culinary Tourism (Food, Drink, Coffee, Tea, Wine, Etc.)

Tattoo
My new tattoo. It’s a baby dragon. Click on the image to enlarge

My second announcement is that I got a tattoo. I’ve wanted to get one for a long time and couldn’t decide on what to get. With the arrival of our baby Dragon, I decided to ask the wonderful S.M. Carrière to design one for me and hold my hand through the process.

I went to Living Colour Tattoo in downtown Ottawa and they were wonderful. The original design was beautiful but not perfect for a tattoo so the artist Patrick Drouin recommended some changes and the final product looks great.

I’m extremely happy with it and really thankful for all of S.M.’s help, encouragement, and guidance.

 

That’s the big excitement for me.

Later Days,

Éric