Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette – Recommendation Thursday

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

One thing that I’ve said a lot on this blog is that I’m inspired by stories. Stories to me are everything; they frame our lives, they feed our minds, they are what humanity is based on.

Last night Jen and I watched  Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s quite possibly the most powerful comedy show I’ve ever seen. I laughed a lot, I learned a lot, and I cried a lot. Hannah is a brilliant comedian and public speaker, but most of all, the writing of the show is beyond anything I’ve seen. The writing is perfectly paced, beautifully self referential, and exquisitely done. This is a writer at their peak and anything she does after this I will follow.

Go watch it!

Obvious warning: It’s a comedy show for adults so there’s swearing, sex, violence, and feels.

Have you seen the show? What did you think?

Éric

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*Update* The Grocer’s Shop / Alimentation L’Epicier Inc. – WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

So last October I wrote a post telling our experiences with The Grocer’s Shop / Alimentation L’Epicier Inc. To say it’s scathing is an understatement.

One of my references that was called, despite our asking differently, signed up with their Quebec branch. They had perfect service and love the product. This tells me that the Ontario side is probably the problem.

Yesterday at 11am I got a call from their head of Customer Retention. He was extremely nice and very polite and asked what he could do to win us back. He was polite, understanding, and repentant. He offered us some free samples and genuinely tried to win me over (the big telecom companies could learn a thing or two from this guy).

Near the end of the call he did ask if I could take the original blog down. This tells me that it might have been the reason for his call and not the official complaint.

I neither accepted any restitution gifts nor will I take down the original post, but I have to give them credit for trying.

Conclusion

Although I can’t recommended them I have heard good things about their Quebec branch and nothing but fantastic things about their product.

The act of reaching out to me (although 9 months latte), apologizing, and trying to make amends tells me that they are not as bad as I first thought.

 

What are your thoughts?

Éric

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Top 5 Things I Never Thought I’d say – Toddler Edition

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There are times in life where you say something and suddenly you’re hit with both the ridiculousness of the statement and the fact that you never would have guessed you’d say it. Toddlers are fantastic at bringing about these moments, or at least mine is.

5. She wouldn’t sleep so I…

Our child is not the same as other children. Here is a list of ways I’ve put her to sleep:

  • Bouncing on knee in a more and more violent fashion in an Air Canada Lounge
  • Watching Specter on Netflix and turning up the volume
  • Loud music, including Death Metal, Opera, and Metal Covers of Classical music
  • Yelling while holding her
  • Being in the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean Ride at Disney World
  • Reading a horror novel to her
  • Jumping in place while holding her

4. That is not Mum

The moment my wife isn’t in the room my daughter starts asking for her. It doesn’t matter where we are, she’ll randomly say MUM?! It gets extra weird when she looks at a person (Woman, Man, Biker, Person in an ad) and says questioningly MUM?! as if she couldn’t remember who her mom is.

3. We do not walk on …

She has a future in balancing on pretty much anything she can get her toes on. Electronics, books, pillows, couches, Grannie’s shins, my neck… etc

2. Are you Jelly?

Disposable diapers have two settings; dry (Where they feel like sawdust in a soft pouch), and wet (Where they feel like they’re filled with jelly). So I often ask if she’s jelly. The answer is always NO! since she hates being changed.

1. Not in your mouth!

Oh, if I had some sort of money for each time I said this… I’d be very very rich. My child is truly a Dragon and tries to eat everything.

Variations of this include:

  • We don’t eat our toys
  • We don’t eat our friends
  • We don’t eat rocks
  • We don’t eat walls…

 

What odd things have you said to your children?

Éric

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2018 Resolution Redux

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Since I’m doing so well with my resolutions. I decided to add some more and alter a few.

Oh my goodness… what have I done!?

Writing

Write 2000 words a week for The Mystery of the Dancing Lights

I will continue to try and reach this goal. Maybe I’ll catch up and maybe I won’t, but if I continue the way I have been I might fail but I’ll still have 2/3 of a novel.

Write a Monthly Serial Story

I’ll keep going at this and hopefully succeed. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. Go read it from the start.

Finish the new content for FADDS and playtest it

Play testing will continue until at least September and maybe end of year.

Pitch Everdome and the Super-Secret Project (Completed)

Nothing to do here until my publisher and partners get back to me.

Start getting a short story collection together (Completed)

This will still need to be edited but I consider it put together.

Write the Bookend Material for the Short Story Collection (NEW)

I’ve decide to submit the past 5 years of serial stories to my publisher with in between parts that are related to the Elizabeth novels. I’m hoping to call it The Coffee Shop Between the Worlds.

I need roughly 6000 words for the book ends and I might add a little to the serial stories to give people a reason to buy them.

Rewrite the introduction to FADDS (NEW)

The game is really close to ready but the first bit was written so long ago that it isn’t relevant to the game anymore. It needs a complete rewrite.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

Continue to ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs

We’ve been going for five years now with content every weekday on JenEric Designs and I’m very proud of that. Jen and I have worked hard not to miss a day. I’ll do my best to ensure we keep that streak going.

Test, Design, and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Completed)

Done and done. Working on even more.

Look into pricing and interest in CoasteRPG (NEW)

I developed a super simple RPG and I need to find out if it’s worth printing it onto coasters and selling it. I’d like to get some prices, and check if any of the local gaming bars/cafes would be interested.

Editing

Edit and send Dinosaur Road Trip to a willing beta reader

I’m going to go through this and hopefully I won’t cringe while reading it.

Edit and Submit A Case of Synchronicity to my publisher by end of summer. (NEW)

It looks like my publisher is doing extremely well and that means they have more than enough books for the 2019 roster. That means that there might not be room for Everdome (if they accept it). I don’t want that to happen again so I’ll try and submit a little earlier. Hopefully there will be room for the next Elizabeth A Case of Synchronicity in 2020 and Everdome in 2021.

Pleasure

Read 30 books by authors I have interacted with (Amended)

I’m amending this one to books by authors I’ve interacted with or met. It’s forcing me to read all the awesome books by authors who I like as people but haven’t gotten around to reading their books.

Play more Videogames

I will continue to try and play more games. I’m hoping to get Detroit: Become Human for my birthday and spend a few days playing it on vacation.

Finish Star Trek: Discovery (NEW)

I didn’t enjoy the show much but I feel I need to give it a full season to make up my mind. There are interesting characters and ideas but it’s very dark and has made some really dumb writing choices. I have four episodes to watch.

 

Well that’s an intimidating list. Here’s hoping it goes ok.

Is 15 too much?

Éric

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2018 Resolution Mid-Year Review

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I made some resolutions in January about my year. I made them to push myself and encourage improvement.

Let’s have a look at them and how I’m doing.

Write 2000 words a week for The Mystery of the Dancing Lights (Failing)

This was an extremely ambitious goal. I was hoping to have 52000 words by this point but I’ve only managed 23000. It’s still writing but it’s not as much as I’d hoped. I’m averaging under 1000 a week, mostly due to the weeks I haven’t or just didn’t write.

I’m hoping I can increase my speed but we’ll see how it goes.

Pitch Everdome and the Super-Secret Project (Succeeded)

I pitched to Renaissance Press and they’re currently deciding on Everdome, if they don’t take it I’ll shop it around and maybe make the plunge and self publish it.

The pitch for the Super-Secret Project went well and everyone was excited but due to everyone involved being really busy it’s been put on the back burner.

I’ll hopefully have news by end of year.

Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

So far Devices of Desire has been going strong and I haven’t missed a month. I’m really enjoying this story and I hope you are too.

Continue to ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs (Succeeding)

So far so good… I’ve had a few days where I was too sick or tired but I managed to put something up. Yay!

Read 30 books (Succeeding)

So far this year I’ve read 12 books (13 if you count beta-reading). I’ve been trying to challenge myself to only read books by people I have met or interacted with online. I’m a little behind but I should be able to catch up by end of month. Thank goodness for audiobooks and graphic novels.

Finish the new content for FADDS and playtest it (Succeeding)

I’m currently running a rag tag group of misfits through a fetch quest in the world of Everworld (precursor to Everdome) and it’s going well. I’ve managed to fix and write all the content I wanted and a little more. I still need to keep making monsters and see how the playing goes. So far so good.

Test, Design, and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Succeeded)

I have successfully developed the above 3 flavours and I’m testing 3 potential flavours. Yay coffee!

Edit and send Dinosaur Road Trip to a willing betareader (No movement)

I haven’t even looked at it since the Weditor sent it back to me. I’m nervous that it sucks. I don’t think it’ll be a book I pitch. I might get a few self published copies for myself and family.

Start getting a short story collection together (Succeeded)

I’ve picked the theme, and the stories. I just have to write the middle parts and book ends. I’ll hopefully have them done by year end. So I consider this done.

Play more Videogames (Succeeding-ish)

I’ve played a lot of mobile games lately. I’ve really enjoyed SIMS Mobile as a time waster and I’m still in love with both Ticket to Ride Mobile, and Civilization Revolution 2.

Besides that I’ve maybe played an hour of FFX and a couple of hours of the new Lego Incredibles. I need to do more but Keladry still attacks the remote. I’ve tried to teach her what to do but she’s not getting it yet. I’ll keep trying.

 

So not bad, I’m currently succeeding at 6.5 out of 10. I guess that means I need to add more but that will be another post.

How are your resolutions going?

Éric

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Devices of Desire (Serial Story) Chapter 6

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5


Chapter 6: No pants and a special delivery

The concert had been a wild ride from beginning to end. The performance had been one of his best. The upgrades Di had made to his leg made switching the pedals so much faster. He could control the pedals so fast that he could make completely unique sounds with his guitar. It was both invigorating and everything he ever wanted.

After the concert was pretty awesome too. Arty had come to visit him backstage. That man was amazing with his hands. They were strong and sensual, a lot like the rest of him.

Thinking about the fighting monk made Ezekiel smile and wish it hadn’t been so short. He’d offered to have the man back at his place but he’d refused.

Now Ezekiel was lying in bed in nothing but his underwear, enjoying the early morning breeze. The morning was already warm and it was only going to get hotter. He was happy that he had the day off. He was looking forward to lounging in his apartment and playing around with some song ideas. If there were any emergencies in the office, he lived on the fourth floor and they could easily get him.

He was just contemplating getting out of bed when someone knocked at his door. He lazily got out of bed and attached his leg as the knocker got more insistent.

“I’m coming!” He shouted as he put on a shirt that smelled clean.

The knocking went from insistent to violent. He picked up his pants but dropped them as his door was knocked down. A large muscled green humanoid with four arms stood snarling. He stood seven feet tall and wore nothing but a belt, with a nasty looking sword, and a backpack.

“Heir of Apollo,” the voice was deep raspy and oddly sharp.

“Yes, how can I help you?”

The large semi-naked demon, Ezekiel was certain it was a demon now, pulled a package from its backpack and gave it to him. “Deliver this to your champion.”

“Who?”

“The champion of light and life. Bring it to him.” The demon looked at him with disdain.

Ezekiel couldn’t help but notice the demon’s nakedness. It was impressive in size but any inappropriate thoughts were quashed by the barbs. Shuddering he asked, “You’ll have to be more specific.”

“No I don’t. Your princess will know.” The demon gave him the package and he took it automatically. Then the demon picked him up with his four strong arms and threw him out the open window.

As a child he’d hated his family’s obsession with landscaping. Every branch of Apollo Shipping had to have the same lush plants and trees.

He managed to grab onto a vine and slow his fall. He landed comfortably in a patch of cushy grass. Looking up he saw the demon, in all its naked glory, walk into some sort of portal.

He decided that this needed to get to the princess, but first he needed pants.

It was a good plan, but a scream cut off any further thought. He stood up and looked around to find three fully armoured demons, with only two arms each, attacking random people. The guards were converging but it was bedlam. People were running around and he could smell smoke. It would be near impossible for him to get to the castle fast enough to deliver the package to the princess.

“Oh no…” he moaned having a really bad idea.

The best way to get to the palace would be to avoid the streets and take to the air. There were no airships docked, which left Didi’s glider-cycle. He hoped she’d perfected it because the last time he’d watched her try it, it couldn’t go down or turn left.

Running for the back entrance, still wearing nothing but a loose t-shirt and his boxers, he avoided the panicked crowds.

When he got to the back door he was thrilled to find it unlocked, since his keys were still in his pants, in his room, and on the fourth floor. He wasn’t as thrilled to find that there was a demon running amok inside.

The demon saw him and grinned. Unlike his muscular friend, this one just looked like a square brick of flesh, with gangly arms topped with fists that were bigger than Ezekiel’s chest. He was glad to find that not all demons looked like runway models.

“Pretty!” hissed the demon.

“Stop! I’m the delivery person for this!” He lifted up the package and the demon recoiled and ran through the closest wall.

Scurrying to Didi’s workshop, he met no one on the way and was relieved to see that the glider-cycle was all in one piece. She hadn’t taken it apart, again, and left it all over her lab.

The glider-cylce was a steam powered bicycle with glider wings and a small airship balloon. The balloon doubled as the frame and seat making it look like you were riding an odd bird.

Getting the thing out proved harder than getting to it. He had to pull up the wings and push it through the halls until he was finally out of the building. Maybe he should upgrade Didi to a roof-top lab?

Once outside, he put the package in the basket and strapped it down, then he started the magic. The magic should last two hours. He then started boiler and the glider lurched forward.

The city looked small from the air but the fires were everywhere, as were the specks of green that were the demons. He aimed the glider at the castle and picked up the small radio, “Castle Cillian, this is Ezekiel Apollo requesting emergency landing. I have a package for the princess. Authorization Sigma Papa Golf.”

He didn’t hear the reply; a large winged demon flew straight at him and hit the bike. It destroyed the radio, and worse, broke the magic sigils that helped it fly. He was going down and fast.

“I wish I’d worn a helmet… and pants,” he said to the air as the glider headed down towards the castle.


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

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CoasteRPG Oneshot Scenario – Lost Toys

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

On Tuesday I introduced you the the new and improved CoasteRPG; now here for the first time is a oneshot scenario for the game. Depending on your players’ zeal and distraction level, it should take between 1-3 hours to play.

The players are all playing a toy that has just now gained sentience. Encourage your players to bring in the toy or at least bring a picture. Give each of them an attack and special ability based off their toy and its accessories.

The Room

They start out waking up in a kid’s room. Clean but filled with toys. Other than them, there are only 2 other toys that are moving.

There is a door and a window. They can see the night sky out the window. The door appears to be locked.

One of the toys with them is a stuffed Winnie the Pooh. He is quiet, says “bother” a lot, and sometimes mumbles.

The other is a Barbie who is missing her arms and legs. She shudders as she talks and manages to say, “Ship… Chip… RUN!” before becoming immobile.

Challenge

They need to escape the room. If they can pick the lock to the door they find what looks like a solid metal wall. It’s actually a sliding door (Spot 6)

There is a computer chip inside the Barbie’s torso (Search 4) that will open the sliding metal door.

The window is a porthole to the outside. They could open the window (Strength 5 or two at strength 3) but everything will be sucked into space. If this happens, they can use special abilities to get back to the hull of the ship.

The Hall

The door leads to a long narrow corridor that branches left or right. There are signs.

Challenge

There are 6 flying defence drones. They target any flying toys first or anyone who hurts them.

The left passage leads to the Teleporter, the right to the Extractor.

The Extractor

The Extractor is where the mad genius sucks the love out of a toy and turns it into energy. The planet’s energy reserves are completely dependent on this form of energy.

Challenge

Zombie Toys and Mad Genius

The Teleporter

The Teleporter is where new toys arrive from alternate dimensions.

Challenge

Getting home.

Activating the transporter (2) sends them somewhere randomly.

Activating it with coordinates (4) sends them home.

Ending

Hopefully they don’t die…

Options: They can send themselves home, destroy the Extractor permanently, take over the facility, or all of the above. Let them play with the idea.

Enemies

  Defence Drone Zombie Mad Genius
Health 6 1 5
Defence 3 4 6
Body 4 0 0
Mind 1 0 4
Luck 1 4 1
Special Abilities Lasers 1

Slam 1

Explode 3 flips

Fly

Bite 1

Squeeze 1

Drain 1+1flip

Grab and toss into extractor  6

 

Enjoy and good gaming,

Éric

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CoasteRPG

Hello My Imaginary Friends and Gamers,

A few years ago I developed The Simplest Role Playing System after some play testing I updated it and created a character sheet.

Now I have made a few more changes and changed the name. I plan on getting it printed on actual coasters (Rules on one side, character sheet on the other).

Here are the rules:

CoasteRPG

Simple Rules: Each player chooses Body, Mind, or Luck as their character’s specialty. They have 4 in that ability. (Ex. Fighters choose Body.) Their Health and Defence each equal 4.

Complex Rules: Each person has 5 points to place in Body, Mind, and Luck. No negatives. Their Health equals their Body plus their Luck +1. Their Defence equals Body plus Mind +1

Resolution Mechanism: When a character needs to do something, the Storyteller decides if it’s easy (1), hard (2), ridiculous (4), or inconceivable (6). The character then subtracts their attribute from the difficulty.

If the attribute is higher than the difficulty they succeed. If not, they have to flip the coaster 3 times and call it (if it’s a die have them call even or odd). Add every right guess to their attribute.

Combat: Each character does 1 point of damage if they hit something and takes the same if they are hit. Death occurs at 0 health.

Everything else: The storyteller makes up.

Character Sheet: Download PDF (43KB)

Good gaming!

Éric

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Be Different but don’t be Different?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

In genre fiction, most adventure or epic forms, the protagonist is an ordinary person placed in extraordinary situations. They are praised for a certain talent or personality trait that saves them in the end.

Despite being nothing special at the beginning, they have something that makes them special. As their story unfolds they become extremely special by the end.

Sometimes the protagonist starts as impressive or unique, but that almost always makes them social outcast in order to avoid making them seem too good to be true. We excuse friends, or characters we’ve watched grow, from this because we feel invested in their journey.

The whole narrative informs and is informed by real life, where anything new or different is seen as suspect. People revel in watching those with fame or great ability fall from grace. Is it jealousy or just a twisted sense of balance?

The contradiction is certainly there for everyone to see. We as a society worship extraordinary abilities and accomplishments while simultaneously dehumanizing anyone who is different, including those same people.

It honestly feels like society is telling us to be different and special but while being like everyone else.

Hold on… while I climb onto my high horse.

There’s a lesson in this and it’s simply to think critically about your reactions to what’s different. Your natural instincts will kick in and tell you that different is evil, wrong, silly, etc.; well, your instincts are jerk-faces.

Take the time to understand, analyse, and if necessary, live and let live.

Different isn’t bad, it’s just different. We need to stop trying to pull each other down and instead celebrate both our differences and our talents.

 

Be aware, be curious, and be kind,

Éric

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Congratulations to Jen & The Travelling TARDIS

We discovered this weekend that Jen & The Travelling TARDIS were nominated for an Aurora Award in the category of “Best Fan Writing and Publications”.

Congratulations!

The Travelling TARDIS is almost 7 years old and has 870 images. These include locations, celebrities, monuments, cosplayers, and cute babies.

Check out The Travelling TARDIS and go vote for it to win an Aurora Award.

P.S. Happy 9th wedding anniversary to Jen and Eric.

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