ADHD and Me

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans;

Before the pandemic, I was talking to a friend and they said something like, “You understand what it’s like since you’re neurodivergent.” I didn’t know what that meant. In case you don’t, neurodivergent is a blanket term for those who have a different mental or neurological function. You’ll also hear neurospicy or other variations. The word is often claimed by autistics, those with ADHD, dyslexics, etc.

Once I looked up what they meant, I assumed it was due to my dyslexia, something that has plagued me my whole life.

Another friend later said they claimed Jen and I as part of their neurodivergent friends. I also started noticing a lot of my friends are neurodivergent and I started looking into it.

I started to see a lot of memes and videos about ADHD and Autism that were really relatable and I started wondering.

By the time the pandemic hit, I was thinking maybe. We’d also noticed some attributes in Dragon and started the process of getting her psycho-educational testing.

After a lot of procrastinating, Jen and I set up appointments for ourselves. (We’re still waiting on Jen’s results.)

Mine came back, as I expected, with ADHD of the Inattentive type. I’d done enough research to be fairly sure but it still feels weird. It makes sense however.

There it is, I’ve learnt more about myself and this gives me tools and a community to help me deal with my own brain. The nurse I talked to said that I’d done a good job finding strategies to help myself avoid the worst.

If you have questions I can try to answer but I’m no expert… yet.

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

Power Rangers (2017) – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film Power Rangers.

Story

This is a very derivative story. It’s a chosen-one, superhero, Breakfast Club with lots of old Power Ranger cheese. It’s exactly what I wanted from this movie even if it wasn’t original.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I liked the diversity. They each had their individual arcs, and despite the multiple set pieces eating the time, they all felt well set up and complete.

The acting was extremely well done considering the cheesiness of the script.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Some of the dialogue is terrible but delivered really well, almost making it seem natural.

The heart to heart moments between characters are pretty staged but again well-acted.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals used the style of the old comics with the unmistakable 2010’s main colour palette. At least they kept the rangers brightly coloured.

The music is epic and the score utterly fantastic.

Score: 1

Fun

I wanted something that had the essence of the Power Rangers I grew up with. I didn’t want the exact same story or the same characters (I don’t remember them that well, it’s been 30 years since I watched it). This delivered and was just plain fun. Lost of cheese, lots of great acting, and some awesome battles.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun take on the concept of Power Rangers that will enrage the diehard fans but on its own it’s a fun and exciting movie.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Doubt is Still There…

Hello Family, Friends, and Fans;

I think I can say that I’m a moderately experienced author at this point… (2 unpublishable novels, 7 solo published novels, 2 co-authored published novels, 2 co-authored unpublished novels, 10 years of serial stories, a dozen or so short stories, and over 15 years of blog posts)

I’m currently 2/3rd of the way through a novel, in the last stages of a TTRPG system, writing a serial story, and writing a novel with my wonderful wife. (I’m tired just thinking about it all.)

I have a giant secret to tell you… come in close… closer… hey, stop licking your screen…

It doesn’t get easier

The mechanics get simpler, once you understand how to use quotation marks and construct sentences. I’ve heard wild tales of authors taming commas but I’m sure that’s just a tall tale.

The actual writing doesn’t get easier. You try your best to put one word in front of the other and stay coherent, and in the end you have a pile of them that have to be cleaned and organized into something resembling a story. All the while, there’s a little voice that says, “Can you really do this? No, probably not.” Even after writing 11 novels, I still hear that voice and it’s hard to ignore.

That doubt is something I’m told all authors live with (if it’s just me, please don’t tell me. Leave me to my delusions) and it’s one of the greatest obstacles.

Having finished something does give me the extra little confidence to say, “I did it before, maybe I can do it again”. It’s not enough to silence the doubt but it does help.

Whether it’s your first or your hundredth writing project, you’re not alone. I understand.

Now, go write something,

Éric

Monstrous Valentines

Have you made Valentines for your friends and family yet? Fear not, we’ve got you covered with our Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests valentines!

Print them out, write your loved ones names, and you’re done!

Link to our drive here

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order soon!

Physical from Canadian indie bookstoresphysical from Indigo, electronic version

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

The Marvels – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film The Marvels.

Story

The structure was very similar to other Marvel films, but managed to make it feel fresh. There was an almost origin story feel to it. I liked how it managed to include some heavy topics like colonialism, racism, and death, while still including the light humorous moments.

There were a few things that felt rushed or out of place. The second bangle’s fate was glossed over and a few other things that I think could have been clearer. It leaves the audience with a feeling like they missed something, even if they’ve watched all the tv shows and movies.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I think Miss Marvel is my favourite MCU character and she’s amazing in this. It was great to see the contrast between the stoic soldier of Captain Marvel and the fangirling Miss Marvel.

The only thing that really bothered me was how Miss Marvel couldn’t follow the technobabble. She’s genre savvy enough that she should have gotten it and if felt like a cheap gag and reason to explain it to the audience.

Score: 1

Dialogue

I’d love to know how much of Miss Marvel’s fan-babble was scripted and how much was just the actress. Either way, the dialogue was clear, punchy, and handled emotion well.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects and space backgrounds were beautiful and the costumes were great. The real star was the choreography, which was spectacular.

The music was strong and entangled the three characters well.

Score: 1

Fun

I’ve been looking forward to this movie since they announced it and was sad I missed it in theatres (Colds and RSV stopped us). I was not disappointed; it had everything I wanted in a movie and a little extra.

The three characters are great and I look forward to seeing more of them. The rest of the family loved it too.

Score: 1

Overall

This is what a Marvel movie should be and with a lot of their recent releases, it felt like they had forgotten how to have fun. Humour, emotion, and heavy topics are handled perfectly and transitioned naturally, making for a satisfying film. If that’s not enough, the fight choreography is utterly breathtaking.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

There was a PEBCAK error on Friday

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans,

I’ve prided myself on ensuring content every weekday for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, we had a major PEBCAK error last week.

PEBCAK stands for Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard.

Basically I messed up. Sorry.

I’ve been struggling to do updates. This new head cold I caught last week doesn’t help. Motivation has been hard to come by. I think it’s a combination of re-adjusting to the routine and wanting to do too many things. It’s leaving me unfocused.

I’ve been through it before; I just need to get excited about one thing and get it done.

How’s your 2024 going?

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

A Haunting in Venice – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film A Haunting in Venice.

Story

I haven’t read Hallowe’en Party and can’t speak to how faithful this is to the original plot.

That being said, this is the most fast paced of the three Branagh Poirot movies and definitely the darkest. The story is a fascinating mystery with a lot of ghostly dressing. The pace is slowed and story hurt by the humdrum attempts at integrating horror clichés into it.

Score: 0.5

Characters

There is a massive disparity in quality in acting. Branagh and Yeoh are absolutely fabulous and the kid is amazing. The rest of the cast is passable.

The characters are believable and act accordingly.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There’s a near poetry to the banter and dialogue of the characters. Yeoh’s confrontation with Branagh is spectacular.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was filmed on location and it adds a level of authenticity. The sets are great. Despite the jump scares and a few odd angles, the cinematography is a wonderful mix of the mystery and horror styles.

Score: 1

Fun

I’m both proud and a little disappointed that I guessed the killer, method, and blackmailer way before I should have. It was, however, a fun movie to experience.

It being on the scarier side means I watched it on my own.

Score: 1

Overall

An excellent movie with a fun Halloween twist. The acting is a little uneven and the mystery watered down, but a worthy successor to the other two films and a fun watch. Branagh and Yeoh are fabulous as usual.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story (Serial Story)

The text, "Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story" over a red sun.

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 1: When all other negotiation tactics fail, scare the pants off them

Have you ever tried holding onto melting ice cream? No matter how hard you hold on or try to force it back into shape, it just keeps dripping. That’s what it felt like trying to convince the rulers of the solar system to listen to me.

There were members from all the systems empires: The Mercurial Guild, The Venusian Empire, The Martian Empire, The Free Peoples of Ceres, The Jupiter Protectorate, The Titan Federation, The United Moons of Uranus, the Neptunia Commonwealth, Pluto, the TNO Alliance, The Republic of Kuiper, and last but not least, the nomadic Psionic Clans.

That’s a lot of names, and frankly I wouldn’t remember them all either if I were you. Just picture a room with a lot of people who’ve hated each other for longer than anyone can remember why, and add a very tired Sun Speaker, that’s me, in the centre of the yelling. 

Let me recap what’s going on, just in case you haven’t been following. I am Hal, and when I was young I was chosen by the great god Sol, who lives in our sun, to speak for him. I am the Sun Speaker, and in millenia past, that has meant being the head of a massive system-spanning church.

Unfortunately for me, the church didn’t approve of my style of leadership and declared me a heretic. The church then appointed a jerk who would say whatever they wanted and I stole a spaceship and did my best to serve Sol and help people.

Real Sun Speakers are given special powers. We can heal the sick, summon great cleansing fire, and purify water. We also get glimpses into the future and vague orders from Sol themselves. The human body wasn’t made to channel such power and most die by thirty.

I am now almost fifty and still look thirty, thanks to the last known vial of an immortality serum given to me by my friend, doctor, and resident mad scientist.

Things were going pretty well for me until Sol started showing me visions of devastation on a system-wide level. Black ships filled with other Sun Speakers and endless soldiers. And here I thought I was unique… Unfortunately I’m not, and the other Suns are older and able to have more than one Speaker.

I had hoped I would have a few more decades before the attack arrived, but then I checked out a derelict ship and almost died fighting one Sun Speaker, and he said they were coming.

I’ve seen the fleet of ships covering everything inside the Kuiper Belt with death. They aren’t just coming for Sol, they’re coming for everything and everyone they protect.

The Grande Adjudicator of the Jupiter Protectorate screeched in frustration in the face of the Queen of Venus. She followed up with a comment about the faithfulness of his husband.

I should have interceded and stopped them from kicking off a system-wide war that would leave us weaker against the imminent threat. Instead, I left the room.

The air in the hall was cooler by several degrees. The royal palace of Mars wasn’t used to that many people in one room and was struggling to keep the temperature even. 

I put my back to the wall and slid down to the stone floor. I curled my legs up and debated crying, laughing, or locking the doors from the outside.

“Aren’t you supposed to be organizing them into a coherent defence plan?” Suzie said gently, kicking my foot. She looked like she was wearing a simple business suit, but I knew it was her light armour that projected a disguise. Her long curly black hair was pulled into a thick braid, which I knew held several spikes to dissuade anyone from pulling on it.

“Yeah. I’m not the right person for this. I’m a meddler, I pull small strings and help people. I don’t think I can do this.” I wouldn’t confide that to anyone else. Suzie and I had been together for four years now, four years of struggling to get to these negotiations.

She kicked me again. “Don’t do this. You’re the only one who can do this. You have allies in there, leverage that. Use some of that charm you keep saying you have. Do what you have to. Or would you rather I deal with them?”

“No!” I exclaimed, standing up. She was the love of my life, but as an ex-assassin, her way of dealing with people was a lot more violent than mine. I kissed her gently and added, “Thank you for believing in me.”

I turned to head toward the door and Sol chose to send me some interesting information. The worst visions can leave me crying on the floor in pain but most aren’t that bad; this was the equivalent of getting slapped behind the head.

I walked into the room and I’m not sure any of them even noticed me.

Into my comms earpiece, I said, “Adric, can you put our guests on the main viewscreen in the conference room.” The large screen had been used as a visual aid for explaining what was coming early in the conference. 

“How did you know? A ship just appeared outside Xanthus,” The asteroid past Pluto was populated by people who didn’t want to deal with groups like this. It was also home to the, arguably, best psychic in the system Caro, one of my good friends.

The screen flickered to life and a large saucer shaped ship came into view. The room fell silent for a second before they all started demanding answers at the same time.

They were cut off when Adric played the audio message that was coming from the ship. A loud deep mechanical voice said, “The Myrddin have arrived to protect Sol from the Council of Suns. Please do not resist the Myrddin, we will only harm you in self defence. The fleet shall arrive momentarily.”

Adric cut into the audio. With awe in his voice, he said, “Every trans-Neptunian outpost is reading ships. There’s tens of thousands… no, millions. The system is surrounded.”

Read Chapter 2 (February 2024)


While you wait for the next chapter, you can read some related stories:

Accidental Family – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Accidental Family.

Story

A twist on While You Were Sleeping without the creepy coma stuff. The movie does a great job at setting everything up, but tries too hard to include conventions from comedy, drama, and romance movies.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main character is the standard nerdy/quirky, supposedly shy, leading lady. She’s sympathetic but a little generic. She is shown to be good at her job which is something I feel is often forgotten in rom-coms.

The rest of the cast is okay with some cringe scenes that could have been better acted.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

I found a lot of the dialogue heavy handed. Hearing the girlfriend admit over the phone that she’s just using him for his house was a convenient way to make us dislike her but it wasn’t needed.

The romantic banter is cute and only a little weird because they think they’re 3rd cousins.

The heartfelt moments were well done.

I loved the narrator/angel.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The camera work is good and the locations are well picked. I really appreciated the props for the chests.

The music did it’s job but was not memorable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie was a calm-ish rom-com. I wasn’t expecting the death and it wasn’t a fun surprise. The rest was cute and enjoyable. The family enjoyed it.

I really hate puking scenes, especially played for laughs. I’m even less of a fan since my 4yo has been going around pretending to puke on people since we watched it.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A mostly inoffensive and mildly enjoyable romantic comedy that takes a dip too far into drama for my liking. Worth a watch if you like rom-coms or dramady films.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Alternate Reality Viewing

The word of the day was: pareidolia


The garage was a mess of tools, metals, and things she couldn’t name. Sitting in the centre, soldering a tiny circuit board, was her best friend. “Jayne, what are you doing now?” She was sitting cross legged in front of what looked like a steampunk microwave the size of a small car.

“I figured it out last night. Just like Doc Brown, I was in the shower and boom I fell, and when I woke up I had it.” Jayne’s curly brown hair was all over the place and she had a large bruise on her temple.

“So instead of going to the hospital with a possible concussion, you built a time machine?” Miranda tried to sound scolding but it struck her both as typical and a little funny.

“Oh Picard,, no! I’d never even try. Time is too fragile and yuck.” She shook her head in disbelief. “I created a way to see into alternate realities.”

“Is this about Mal?” That was Jayne’s ex. They’d been together for four years, but after one too many nights tinkering in the garage, Mal left.

A horrified look crossed Jayne’s face and she replied, “Absolutely not. Obsessing over the path not taken would only lead to madness. I figured out a way to see the media from alternate realities.”

“Are you sure you’re not just staring into that thing and seeing what you want?”

Sighing loudly and dramatically, Jayne replied, “These are crisp, high definition, media from another reality, not some pareidolia.” Standing up and brushing off her dirt covered jeans, she took a USB drive from the machine and gestured to her friend to follow her.

They sat down on the couch in the living room and Jayne put the USB into the TV. She navigated to a file called, “1.06-Dead-Or-Alive.mkv” and pressed play.

That’s when Miranda cued in to what was happening. “You said media from another reality? You broke the laws of physics so we could watch—”

She was cut off by the intro music, “Take my love, take my land…”


Enjoy more Word of the Day stories on the stories page.