Aurora Nominations Deadline

Hello,

The Aurora Nominations end this Saturday. Please consider JenEric Designs’s products in your nominations!

I’ve posted about How I Taught My Dragon for your Aurora Nominations.

Here are all the products that JenEric Designs has worked on that are eligible for Aurora nominations.

Thank you in advance and good nominating.


aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

You’ll have to join the CSFFA for a pittance of $10 before you can nominate anyone. Once you’ve paid, you can nominate 5 works in each category. You can nominate works from now until May 18th.

The extra bonus of joining the CSFFA is you’ll get a voters package that includes most of the works that make the ballot. That’s 8-10 novels plus a bunch of other awesome stuff.


Thank you!

Éric

Good and Bad

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

We’ve been watching Falcon and the Winter Soldier. No spoilers, I promise. My daughter is having a really hard time following it, which is interesting on its own, considering she had no issues with WandaVision.

Her biggest problem, besides the sheer quantity of military, political, and racism language; is figuring out who the bad characters are.

Television, books, and movies normally have very well defined good and bad characters. She understands the twist baddie, but this show’s characters are all so ambiguously bad that it’s hard to tell.

Even the main characters do some bad and dumb things.

I’ve been trying to explain to her that in real life, bad or good isn’t what you are, but what you do. We’ll get to how it can be hard to tell the difference later, but right now she needs to understand that its not an innate state of being. No one is Good and no one is Bad. We are defined by our actions.

It’s important to me that my kids understand the difference both for themselves and for others. Because once you decide people are one way or another you put them in a box and start to paint their actions based off of your preconceptions. It leads to hero worship and accepting bad things because someone is good.

It’s a hard concept, but we have a lifetime to discuss it.

Stay safe, and be kind,

Éric

Charlie’s Angels (2000) – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2000 film Charlie’s Angels.

Story

The story relies on the speed of changing scenes and action to distract the viewer from the absurdity. I love silly movies and I remember loving this one and thinking it was super clever. It’s not. It’s obvious and derivative with no idea how technology, romance, or combat works.

Score: 0

Characters

The characters are sacrificed to the alter of plot convenience and need for action. The love stories are shallow and uncompleted. Then then there’s the rampant racism (seen through black/brown face, yellow face) transphobic dialogue, and for a movie that is supposed to be about female empowerment, it doesn’t hesitate to slutshame and use it’s main characters.

Score: 0

Dialogue

This movie revels in it’s own cheese and then doubles down. It also take it to a level that makes no sense. The dialogue is terrible and only the caliber of the actors manages to make it palatable.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

The action is passable and the special effects are good if convoluted. The scenery is lovely and the women have lovely if completely impractical clothing.

The music is a lot of fun, if a little heavy on the angel references.

Score: 1

Fun

There are some really fun action scenes, but overall the movie made me very upset. Did they really not know how a server works? The music was good.

Score: 0.5

Overall

This is a movie aimed at men, with the man’s gaze, that pretends to be about “strong women”. It is awkwardly racist, transphobic, and sexist. The action and awesome actors doesn’t make up for the lack of depth or plot.

Final Score: 1.5 stars out of 5

My Kids are cute…

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My kids are so freaking cute. Seriously look at this:

I’m not boasting, I’m trying to remind myself.

Pegasus is teething his second set of molars so that means more wake-ups and lots of screaming. Dragon is not dealing well with the lack of routine during March break… Basically the two of them have been screaming and being difficult.

I have a headache, Jen has a headache, the kids ache, and I think we’re all looking forward to getting back to a “regular” routine. Normally, I’d have taken them to the park or shopping or maybe even to a museum but *shrugs* Covid.

Next week, I turn back on my work computer, Dragon and Jen go back to doing school and Pegasus goes back to climbing me and trying to help with my work. It sounds soothing and exausting.

This will pass, every day Pegasus starts to talk more and by Christmas we’ll have mini sentences. Dragon is learning more and more words, letters, and sounds. I wouldn’t be surprised if by this time next year she’s reading. That’ll be nice.

My kids are loud, they are very touchy, and those are things I’ll miss, but sometimes it’s all a little too much. It’s important to remember that they are adorable and I love them lots and lots.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Psst we’re in a pandemic

Please consider nominating JenEric Designs’ products for an Aurora Award.

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I read today that Ontario has administered over 3 million vaccines, but that there were barely over 300,000 people fully vaccinated. I get the plan is to get everyone one dose as soon as possible, but that number is still depressingly low. At this point, the science is unclear on if this is a good idea (WHO, CDC, and vaccine manufacturers seem to think it’s not good). The lack of available vaccine is the problem and I really hope this isn’t going to bite us in the ass.

I see the numbers and I see my older relatives getting vaccinated and I’m happy for them while still being worried that they might have to take a third dose for effectiveness.

I should be heartened, the politicians are patting themselves on the back saying everyone will have one dose by end of summer. Everyone but children and teens of course. Those studies should be mostly done by Christmas, and if we’re lucky, roll-out should happen by next summer. (All three approved vaccines in Canada are in trials for kids and all are showing great promise. Moderna had a 100% effectiveness rating with 12-16 year olds.)

The mistakes we make now will seriously impact the availability and roll-out for kids. I understand that kids aren’t a priority. They aren’t hit in the same way as adults and that’s great. There have still been deaths (approx 200) and there have been multiple studies showing long term effects on kids. Overall they are rare, but if I can avoid the risk completely, I will. My wife and I are lucky that we can afford to; most people can’t and that frustrates me.

If I could get my vaccine later and give it to my kids I would, but that’s not how it works. Hopefully things will continue to accelerate.

I keep reading that the magic number is 70% of the population vaccinated. We can barely hit that without including teens and kids. We won’t because of the over-abundance of vaccine hesitance and anti-vaxxers.

I’m just feeling a pessimistic. I know it’s pandemic anxiety and I really hope I’m wrong and everything goes smoothly. As it stands, I have at least a year, probably two, before I can get a coffee with friends, go to the theatre, or walk by someone on the street without panicking.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Secret Magic Control Agency – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Secret Magic Control Agency.

Story

Plenty of action and plenty of intrigue, but very little plot. The story is mostly just a vehicle for the next location and mini-story.

There are a few tiny twists, but overall it’s overly simple.

Score: 0

Character

The two main characters had a little depth but the rest of them were pretty cookie cutter (pun intended.)

I liked the brother-sister relationship, but the interactions felt shoehorned and not given enough time to truly develop.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There were a few clever bits and the banter was acceptable but there wasn’t anything particularly interesting or exciting.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals were all over the place. You’d have sworn that some of it was from a different movie. The locations were gorgeous but the characters bland and derivative.

The music was acceptable but not particularly interesting.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I enjoyed the nods to the fairy tales and to other movies in the same genre, it was pretty, and there was some fun action. The kids loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

Despite being derivative and predictable, the movie was beautiful and a lot of fun. Not great, but inoffensive with a few laughs along the way.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Aurora Award Nominations

Hello,

Last week I posted about How I Taught My Dragon for your Aurora Nominations.

Here are all the other products that JenEric Designs has worked on that are eligible for Aurora nominations.

Thank you in advance and good nominating.


aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

You’ll have to join the CSFFA for a pittance of $10 before you can nominate anyone. Once you’ve paid, you can nominate 5 works in each category. You can nominate works from now until May 18th.

The extra bonus of joining the CSFFA is you’ll get a voters package that includes most of the works that make the ballot. That’s 8-10 novels plus a bunch of other awesome stuff.


Thank you!

Éric

Dear Dragon and Pegasus – Easter

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

You both know by now that I’m not a religious man, but I love Easter. Both for the imagery of spring and rebirth and because of the little traditions.

When I was young my mom, and often brother, would set up a hunt. I don’t remember it all, but there were riddles and maps. It was awesome. It was so much fun.

Yesterday was Easter and we had a simple hunt, a free-for-all type of hunt. It was fun. So much fun that Dragon asked me to do another. When I said I could hide the empty eggs, she was ready to do it right away. It was seriously adorable.

There’s a special sense of wonder and joy that I get watching you both being exited and happy. It makes everything slightly better.

As you get older I’m planning on making the hunts more elaborate. I have so many ideas.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and your joy.

I love you!

Papa

A Week Away – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film A Week Away.

Story

I’m sure someone thought the name of the camp was a clever joke, but in 2021 we should be beyond to the inherent racism of mocking native languages.

This is a camp movie musical first and a christian movie second, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t all over the place. They at least have the grace to use it for some jokes.

The basic story is as cliched as possible and adds nothing new to the musical, romance, or teen genres. That being said, the movie is obviously paying respect to many of the previous movies that it takes inspiration.

The overall story is mildly pedantic, but overall heartwarming.

Score: 0

Characters

The movie has all the traditional characters from movies in the past; the awkward geek who’s in love, the Troy Bolton bad boy with a heart of gold, and the good Christian girl.

It would have been easy to make these characters bad copies, but instead, through the writing and acting, they made them likeable. The main girl is hyper competitive and still dealing with the death of her mom, the geek is funny and a good musician. The bad guy admits his faults and actually apologizes.

I greatly appreciate that the movie spent time building the brotherly relationship between the two main men.

The lack of Queer characters was glaring and awkward.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Clever quotes and quippy dialogue with lots of double meanings made me happy. There’s a few cringe dialogue moments, but most of it is well done.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were unique. They used a lot of surreal shots that are reminiscent of music videos. I liked it, but it felt jarring when it wasn’t at the beginning of a song.

The movie also used a lot of scenes from movies both in the genre and not (the Mr. and Mrs. Smith scene was a lot of fun.)

The music was okay, I liked it while it was on, but it didn’t make me dash out to buy the soundtrack. I’m particularly annoyed at the use of autotune for a campfire song. (Mostly, the music made me want to rewatch Julie and the Phantoms.)

Score: 0.5

Fun

This was a fun movie, but as a queer man with lots of queer friends, I had trouble settling into the fun of it. The complete lack of any form of queer character made me uncomfortable.

It did remind me of some great memories from high school franco camps and I greatly appreciate the lack of massive angst.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie has great respect for other films and treats us to some great non-romance relationships as a bonus, but the casual racism towards native people and lack of queer characters make it hard to believe in 2021.

That being said, it’s a warm and fuzzy camp musical with a talented young cast.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

For your Aurora Considerations – How I Taught My Dragon

Hello!

Since September, Jen of JenEric Designs has been writing, preparing, running, and posting a new adventure called How I Taught my Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media.

Effectively it’s a guide (and results) for parents to use films as a jumping off point for kindergarten education, each week a new film with activities and learning sheets designed around the film’s themes and content.

It was designed with the Ontario Curriculum in mind and to supplement our daughters 1 day a week of online school. It could easily be scaled up to be a full home school, or down to simply add some extras for parents who keep their kids home.

What she’s done over the past 8 months is spectacular both as a tool for other parents and as a journey with Keladry.

Please check out the blog and consider nominating it for the Aurora Awards in the category of Best Fan Related Work. Nominations are open until April 24th.

What are the Aurora Awards?

aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

You’ll have to join the CSFFA for a pittance of $10 before you can nominate anyone. Once you’ve paid, you can nominate 5 works in each category. You can nominate works from now until May 18th.

The extra bonus of joining the CSFFA is you’ll get a voters package that includes most of the works that make the ballot. That’s 8-10 novels plus a bunch of other awesome stuff.


Thank you!

Éric