Alive, mostly!

Hello World,

I’m still alive. Mostly. Well Kinda…

I’m fighting a cold or flu or something. I’ll spare you the gory details.

I spent yesterday in a weird nauseated fog and hibernated. Today I felt mildly better and slept in just to make sure.

The one thing weighing on me is that I didn’t write yesterday. I’m always extra stressed about writing during the first third of a novel. It feels like if I stop then I’ll never get started again.

With than I’ll stop procrastinating and go try to write.

Wish me luck.

Attached below is my version of the Venusian Lullaby sung by the 3rd Doctor. It’ll be the credits song for my eventual web show.

http://ericdesmarais.tumblr.com/post/73302200316/my-interpretation-of-the-venusian-lullaby-sung-by

Thanks for reading and see you later my invisible friends.

Éric

Microphones, Desk toys, and Vlogs.

This is a picture of the stuff on my desk. It’s only missing The Mummy mug that my brother got me from MGM.

Agent P. Pez, Tardis USB hub, Uncle John's daily calendar, Two Portal Turrets, Princess Cadence, Crystal Applejack, and K9 Mark 2.
Agent P. Pez, Tardis USB hub, Uncle John’s daily calendar, Two Portal Turrets, Princess Cadence, Crystal Applejack, and K9 Mark 2.

Last night I received my microphone. I now have everything I need to start my vlog. I was so excited about the microphone that I just tossed and turned until 1am. Leaving me exhausted.

It’s kinda silly that I’m so excited. I mean I barely have a concept. I don’t even have a channel name yet. I was thinking JenEric Productions. If anything I should be panicking. And there I go. Ack. I have no clue what to talk about other than just ranting on random subjects that interest me.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what topics I should talk about?

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper – Book Review

210331I’d heard of Susan Cooper before but had never read any of her books. They were on my “To read, maybe someday, if I remember, who knows” list but hadn’t gotten to them yet.

Last month S.M. Carrière asked me to join Silver Stag Entertainment as a contributor. All I had to do was sit with other people and discuss movies and books. That’s how I joined The Nights of the Round Table.

The first book was Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. If you hadn’t guessed yet.

You can join the NotRT bookclub on Goodreads, and watch the review on Youtube.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

I really enjoyed the ominous and creepy villain but wished we’d been properly introduced to him earlier on. I also enjoyed Barney who was the only fleshed out character in the book.

I also enjoyed that the main characters spoke to each other, as if they were siblings. It’s a fine line between friends and siblings but the banter is a little different and Cooper nailed it.

I didn’t like

I felt that for the size of the book, there were too many characters that didn’t get fleshed out. The parents were basicly set pieces.

Other than the scene where the Uncle lays out what’s going on, I found he was more or less useless. He was so useful that the author needed to pull a Gandalf and have him disappear.

For characters, I give it 2 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The language in this book was wonderful. It wasn’t dumbed down or over explained. I also liked the weaving of Arthurian myth into the story. It was a very simple book and didn’t pretend to be anything more.

I didn’t like

I felt she spent too much time describing how they solve the puzzle and not enough explaining the puzzle.

I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

I liked the second half of the books, action. It was quick and well-paced. Again I think a little trimming of characters might have helped the pace.

I didn’t like

The beginning was just so slow and I kept thinking certain people were more important than others. It was a little frustrating that the Author introduced characters and possible stories and then didn’t follow through.

I give the story 3 out of 5

Fun

I liked

It was light and easy to read. The language was nice and it was an Arthurian Quest. It was written to be fun and that’s what it was. I also really like the part at the end with the Uncles name.

I didn’t like

How slow it was to begin or that the majority of characters aren’t fleshed out as much as they should have been.

It shows that the author made the characters interesting if one of my major complaints is that she didn’t let me see more of them.

I give it 4 out of 5 for fun

Overall

It’s an interesting book that holds a lot of nostalgic value for people who read it as children. Since I read it as an adult I can see the flaws in the over-simplicity of the story.

Final score is 65%

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper – Book Review

210331I’d heard of Susan Cooper before but had never read any of her books. They were on my “To read, maybe someday, if I remember, who knows” list but hadn’t gotten to them yet.

Last month S.M. Carrière asked me to join Silver Stag Entertainment as a contributor. All I had to do was sit with other people and discuss movies and books. That’s how I joined The Nights of the Round Table.

The first book was Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. If you hadn’t guessed yet.

You can join the NotRT bookclub on Goodreads, and watch the review on Youtube.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

I really enjoyed the ominous and creepy villain but wished we’d been properly introduced to him earlier on. I also enjoyed Barney who was the only fleshed out character in the book.

I also enjoyed that the main characters spoke to each other, as if they were siblings. It’s a fine line between friends and siblings but the banter is a little different and Cooper nailed it.

I didn’t like

I felt that for the size of the book, there were too many characters that didn’t get fleshed out. The parents were basicly set pieces.

Other than the scene where the Uncle lays out what’s going on, I found he was more or less useless. He was so useful that the author needed to pull a Gandalf and have him disappear.

For characters, I give it 2 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The language in this book was wonderful. It wasn’t dumbed down or over explained. I also liked the weaving of Arthurian myth into the story. It was a very simple book and didn’t pretend to be anything more.

I didn’t like

I felt she spent too much time describing how they solve the puzzle and not enough explaining the puzzle.

I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

I liked the second half of the books, action. It was quick and well-paced. Again I think a little trimming of characters might have helped the pace.

I didn’t like

The beginning was just so slow and I kept thinking certain people were more important than others. It was a little frustrating that the Author introduced characters and possible stories and then didn’t follow through.

I give the story 3 out of 5

Fun

I liked

It was light and easy to read. The language was nice and it was an Arthurian Quest. It was written to be fun and that’s what it was. I also really like the part at the end with the Uncles name.

I didn’t like

How slow it was to begin or that the majority of characters aren’t fleshed out as much as they should have been.

It shows that the author made the characters interesting if one of my major complaints is that she didn’t let me see more of them.

I give it 4 out of 5 for fun

Overall

It’s an interesting book that holds a lot of nostalgic value for people who read it as children. Since I read it as an adult I can see the flaws in the over-simplicity of the story.

Final score is 65%

Evil is Stupid

Taken from Demotivational Posters: http://www.demotivationalposters.org/now-you-see-demotivational-posters-71725.html
Taken from Demotivational Posters

Why do we accept that villains are stupid? Not that they make stupid mistakes but that they are stupid. Think of a villain… I’ll wait… Ok do you have one? Great!

Are they stupid? Not unintelligent. All Bond villains are brilliant but soooo stupid. “I will destroy the world.” Chances are you’ve thought of a dumb villain and chances are it doesn’t bother you that they’re dumb.

It’s like there are four classes of villains, anti-villains, comic, stupid, and scary. Some villains are just there to make you laugh and some are there just to give the protagonist something to achieve.

Most of what Loki does in Avengers and Thor seems absolutely dumb. Did he really think he could get away with it? I mean really? No of course he didn’t. I don’t think Loki is a villain any more than I think Dexter is a hero. Loki is an Anti-Villain. He wants to be a bad guy and he wants it bad but at heart he’s really a big softy.

The comic villains are the ones that are so over-the-top that they are barely even considered villains. Darth Helmet from Spaceballs or Amilyn (Paul Reuben) from the Buffy movie.

The stupid villains are everywhere. Sometimes it’s just bad writing. Benedict CumberKHAAAAN from the latest Star Trek was a super-genius but apparently didn’t understand how to work a scanner. (Armed torpedoes beamed on his ship and he didn’t know?) STUPID!

I’m not against villains having flaws. Sauron, from Lord of the Rings, loses simply because he’s too arrogant to think anyone would destroy the ring. Other than that he was a scary level of brilliant. Benedict CumberSmaug, from the latest Hobbit, is so prideful that he doesn’t believe anyone can touch him. Pride and Arrogance are the most common fault in villains and Heroes.

Now try to think of a villain that truly terrified you. In horror movies, we have Micheal Myers, from Halloween, and Jason, from Friday the 13th, all they want is to kill. No elaborate plans just carnage. That’s scary! The audience knows what the villain want, understands why they want it, and knows they’ll get it.

Disney has some scary villains. Gaston is a true villain. He pretends to be dumb but plans and schemes. He’s a bigot, murderer, and hates progress. Worst of all, he’s charmed everyone around him to make them think he’s the Hero. Now that’s scary.

Or how about Ursula, or Cruella De Vil? They make a few mistakes but overall they were good at what they did and they did it ruthlessly.

I love television but it’s the worst offender when it comes to having stupid villains. Every recurring bad guy in Bones starts out as scary and then they have to make them stupid at the last minute. Castle did it for a few villains. Whedon seems to avoid this by making a lot of Anti-Villains. Warehouse 13, Sanctuary, Eureka, and to a lesser degree Stargate all had this problem.

Back to my original question: Why?

Why do we, as an audience, allow stupid villains?

Is there a villain that scared you with how smart they were?

Until later,

Eric

P.S. Evil Overlord list!

The Past was like Totally Better

Nostalgia: Sentimental longing for or regretful memory of a period of the past, esp. one in an individual’s own lifetime; (also) sentimental imagining or evocation of a period of the past. – Oxford English Dictionary

Someday we’ll look back on today and think how wonderful the world was and how horrible it has become. I can say that without exaggeration because it’s already happened. It’s happening right now. (I’m looking at you!)

I think it’s part of human nature that we idolize a time where we think we were happier, where life was simpler, where all the horrible things had yet to happen. We latch onto the horrible things in our lives now and glorify the good things of the past.

It’s not that we forget the bad things but their bite lessens with time. We can see it with less bias. There are two quotes that come to mind and I’ll say upfront that I disagree with Doctor Who.

“Great men are forged in fire, it is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame” – 50th anniversary of Doctor Who

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness, and love.” – Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

These two quotes define our cultures beliefs on life. Fire, turmoil, battle, horror, etcetera are what creates great people. It is what makes exciting stories but not people. We don’t define ourselves by our hardships but our successes. When we don’t, we run into trouble.

Back to nostalgia… Nostalgia is our way of whitewashing our past and making sure we mostly remember the good stuff. It’s not that we want to forget the bad but that we want to concentrate on the good. We also tend to make a big deal about stuff that we won’t find important in the future.

A good example for me is writing. When I’m writing I feel stressed to be writing, but excited. I also feel ridiculously frustrated when I first edit. When all is said and done and I have an “almost” finished book (I say almost because my mind will never let me finish. I can always do more.) I feel amazing and only remember the excitement and elation of writing.

In some cases nostalgia is right but in a lot of cases it’s not. The world isn’t worse off than it was twenty years ago. The nineties wasn’t a better time. The internet and technology isn’t leading us to a horrible brain melting doom.

Nostalgia is great, especially with a drink and an old friend, but next time you find yourself saying, “When I was a kid…” stop and try to think of the good things now.

We live in a time of wonder and excitement.

If you need proof:  At the begining of 2014 Biofabrication isn’t Science Fiction.

See you in the New Year my Imaginary Friends!

Éric

Shadow Shapers – Story

The corridor was dark but had the warmth of home. Ashley knew she was dreaming but it didn’t feel like regular dream. She never remembered feeling warmth before in a dream. She’d never dreamt in colour either.

The corridor lighted to a dark blue and the smell of cooking bacon wafted towards her. Walking quicker, she expected the corridor to lengthen and for her to have to start running. Most of her dreams were spent running or screaming.

The doctors said she was repressing memory and her dreams were her minds way of dealing with those memories. It didn’t matter to her; she didn’t want to remember what happened to her brother.

The corridor ended in a large room with a long table. There were candles and a fireplace bathing the room in an orange glow and keeping it warm. Around the table were two other girls.

Ashley recognized Drew from her full arm tattoo. It was the only thing that looked the same. Her hospital clothes were replaced by a blood-red corset and long black skirt. Her face wasn’t deathly grey but healthy golden tan. Most surprisingly she wasn’t deathly thin. This must be what Drew could look like if she wasn’t puking every meal.

The other girl wasn’t familiar. She had short blond hair and large green eyes. She looked and dressed like Tinkerbelle.

Smiling and sitting down with the other girls, Ashley said, “Hi, I’m Ash. What’s your name?”

The new girl radiated happiness, she actually glowed, as she replied, “I’m Tara. Nice to meet you. Isn’t this a wonderful dream?” All three of them nodded together.

Tara was wearing a pair of earrings that looked black but when they were hit by candlelight, turned a beautiful purple. Ashley didn’t notice details like that in her dreams.

Each of the girls looked down at the table and saw food. There was a different plate in front of each of them. Ashley had a breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes, just like she used to order after church with her family. Her brother used to tease her that she must have a hollow leg.

The other two had completely different meals. Drew had a huge burger with fries and Tara had some form of curried chicken. They ate in silence, each girl savoring the intense flavour.

When they were done, the plates disappeared and a small box appeared in front of each of them. Each box was wrapped in a brightly coloured bow. Inside, was a necklace, each girl received a golden necklace with a gold sun pendant. In the centre of each sun was a heart shaped gem. Ashley’s was an emerald of dark forest green, Drew’s was a pink diamond, and Tara’s was a purple amethyst.

Without know why, Ashley put on the necklace and the other two followed her lead. The same calming warmth radiated from the gem, washing over her.

Someone shook Ashley awake and she returned to the clinical white light of her hospital room. Nurse Fishburn was waking her for her morning pills.

“That must have been quite the dream,” he said his baritone voice barely above a whisper. “You haven’t slept like that since you went off the sedatives.”

She could only nod as the cold of the hospital flooded over her. There was an ache of longing in her chest, for the dream.

Taking her pills and showing her mouth to the Nurse, she wished she could return. When he left she went to her dresser and pulled out a pair of exercise pants and a loose sweater. As she striped, she forced herself to look into the mirror and find the parts of her body that she liked. It was one of Dr Leslie’s assignments. She hated it, it felt odd appraising yourself.

As her eyes travelled down from her face they caught the glint of green around her neck. It was the sun necklace from her dream. Where did it come from? Could she have brought it back with her?