Identity Musings

“The soul’s made of stories, not atoms.” – The Doctor in The Rings of Akhaten

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity. Who we are, who we think we are, and who people think we are.

The Dissonance of Identity

It’s happened to all of us at one point. A friend or family member says something is “typical you” and it shocks you. “How could they think that?”

When my wife was younger, her family would by her cow themed presents. She says that once she mentioned that one cow was cute; her family swears that she loved cows. That’s a perfect example of the dissonance between who we think we are and who others think we are. “I don’t like cows” compared to “She loves cows.”

There’s a disconnect between what the three parts of yourself. I’m sure there are technical terms for it but I’ll just make it up. There’s the Self Identity, the Projected Identity, and the True Self.

Forget about the last one. By the time you have discovered and understood the True Self, you’ve already altered it.

The other two are important to understand, both in life and in fiction. A good villain thinks he’s the hero. Think about that… Go ahead I have time…

Yeah you could be the villain in someone else story. The truly depressing fact is, you have been at some point.

There are two ways to look at this, you either accept that it’s part of you or you deny the effect of other people’s opinions on your life.

I know I’ve done some stupid things and I’m not proud of everything but I am sorry.

To everyone who has seen me as the villain in their story: I’m sorry. (And thank you for reading my blog.)

Changing

When I was young, I hated green olives, or I thought I hated them. Then one day I decided to try one. Something had changed and suddenly my mouth was telling me I liked green olives.

As human beings we change and a lot of the time we don’t notice. This applies to everything in our lives. However our perception of ourselves doesn’t always change with us.

That’s what makes me still think of myself as an Improv player, despite the fact that I haven’t played in over a decade. The realization that you aren’t who you thought you were can painful.

Fandoms

Being a fan a decade or two ago was simple for me. I was a Trekkie. No doubt about it, no second guessing nothing. I built my identity, morals, and knowledge of story structure around the shows. From 1987 to 2002, I lived and breathed Star Trek.

If someone were to ask me the same thing now, I’d reply that I’m a Geek. It’s not that I love Star Trek any less, it’s that I have so many other Fandoms that I don’t have the time or energy to list them out.

There are fandoms that I’m not part of but still enjoy the source. I like Star Wars but I wouldn’t consider myself a Jedi, Warsy? Whatever they call themselves.

When I was about to go to high school, I was terrified to be placed in the wrong group. Television, books, and movies had trained me to think high school kids were sorted into categories. Boy was I shocked when I realized that it never happened. Sure there were cliques and groups but they weren’t categorized and the groups consistently shifted.

In a world that tells you, consistently, that you must be one thing, it’s hard to realize I’m not just one thing.

I will attempt to list all my fandoms at the end of the post. *

The Future

As confusing and as painful not knowing or being wrong about who you are is, it’s nowhere as devastating as realizing you aren’t who you wanted to be.

At every part of your life, you’ve looked toward the future and said, “That’ll be me someday.” Some people even achieve those goals but most won’t.

Interestingly the idea of what we are going to be seems to be tied with turning 30. It’s not everyone but when people say, “When I grow up.” It’s around 30 that they are thinking or in the very least 30 is when we stop pushing the age back.

I’ve noticed a lot of friends being upset that they aren’t who or what or where they wanted to be. I understand. When I was 5 I wanted to be a taxi driver by now. When I was 10 I wanted to be Paleontologist by now. When I was 15 I wanted to be a robotic expert by now. When I was 20 I wanted to be a media theorist. When I was 25 I wanted to be alive.

Other than that last one, I haven’t really succeeded at becoming what I wanted to become.

It hurts, you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough. Seen enough of the world, or changed it enough.

You’re not alone

You know what?

It’s ok, if you aren’t where you thought you’d be.

It’s ok, if you’re not who you thought you’d be.

And it’s ok if you’re not who thought you were.

The important thing to remember is to Keep Moving Forward. (Yeah I just reference Disney. You got a problem?)

Don’t wallow in pity or fear. Analyze and mobilize yourself. Figure out what you like about yourself and concentrate on improving it, figure out what you hate about yourself and concentrate on accepting it. Talk to friends and family, or even a professional if you need to, it’s ok not to know.

I know what I want to be and where I want to be in ten years but it took me a while to figure it out.

Good luck!

Eric

* I started listing everything and it devolved into listing everything I like a lot. Here’s the partial list, I’m sure I’ve forgotten plenty of things.

Browncoat, Bronie, Trekkie, Gater, Whovian, Fiver, Scoobie, Whedonite, Nerd Fighter, Beard Lover, Fullerite, Supernatural fan, Superwholockian, Schlocker, Playgrounder, Phineas and Ferb fan, Weekender, Kim Possible Fan, Backie, Loki’s army, Baker Street Irregular, Potthead, Ringer, Amberite, Dresdenite, Gaimanite, Gamer, Goblin, Tortallan, Rush fan, David Usher Fan, Shakespeare lover, Robert Frost Fan, Reader, Minion, Disney fan, Stephen King Fan, Winter fan, Superhero fan, Android, Ubuntu, Gadgets,…

Identity Musings

“The soul’s made of stories, not atoms.” – The Doctor in The Rings of Akhaten

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity. Who we are, who we think we are, and who people think we are.

The Dissonance of Identity

It’s happened to all of us at one point. A friend or family member says something is “typical you” and it shocks you. “How could they think that?”

When my wife was younger, her family would by her cow themed presents. She says that once she mentioned that one cow was cute; her family swears that she loved cows. That’s a perfect example of the dissonance between who we think we are and who others think we are. “I don’t like cows” compared to “She loves cows.”

There’s a disconnect between what the three parts of yourself. I’m sure there are technical terms for it but I’ll just make it up. There’s the Self Identity, the Projected Identity, and the True Self.

Forget about the last one. By the time you have discovered and understood the True Self, you’ve already altered it.

The other two are important to understand, both in life and in fiction. A good villain thinks he’s the hero. Think about that… Go ahead I have time…

Yeah you could be the villain in someone else story. The truly depressing fact is, you have been at some point.

There are two ways to look at this, you either accept that it’s part of you or you deny the effect of other people’s opinions on your life.

I know I’ve done some stupid things and I’m not proud of everything but I am sorry.

To everyone who has seen me as the villain in their story: I’m sorry. (And thank you for reading my blog.)

Changing

When I was young, I hated green olives, or I thought I hated them. Then one day I decided to try one. Something had changed and suddenly my mouth was telling me I liked green olives.

As human beings we change and a lot of the time we don’t notice. This applies to everything in our lives. However our perception of ourselves doesn’t always change with us.

That’s what makes me still think of myself as an Improv player, despite the fact that I haven’t played in over a decade. The realization that you aren’t who you thought you were can painful.

Fandoms

Being a fan a decade or two ago was simple for me. I was a Trekkie. No doubt about it, no second guessing nothing. I built my identity, morals, and knowledge of story structure around the shows. From 1987 to 2002, I lived and breathed Star Trek.

If someone were to ask me the same thing now, I’d reply that I’m a Geek. It’s not that I love Star Trek any less, it’s that I have so many other Fandoms that I don’t have the time or energy to list them out.

There are fandoms that I’m not part of but still enjoy the source. I like Star Wars but I wouldn’t consider myself a Jedi, Warsy? Whatever they call themselves.

When I was about to go to high school, I was terrified to be placed in the wrong group. Television, books, and movies had trained me to think high school kids were sorted into categories. Boy was I shocked when I realized that it never happened. Sure there were cliques and groups but they weren’t categorized and the groups consistently shifted.

In a world that tells you, consistently, that you must be one thing, it’s hard to realize I’m not just one thing.

I will attempt to list all my fandoms at the end of the post. *

The Future

As confusing and as painful not knowing or being wrong about who you are is, it’s nowhere as devastating as realizing you aren’t who you wanted to be.

At every part of your life, you’ve looked toward the future and said, “That’ll be me someday.” Some people even achieve those goals but most won’t.

Interestingly the idea of what we are going to be seems to be tied with turning 30. It’s not everyone but when people say, “When I grow up.” It’s around 30 that they are thinking or in the very least 30 is when we stop pushing the age back.

I’ve noticed a lot of friends being upset that they aren’t who or what or where they wanted to be. I understand. When I was 5 I wanted to be a taxi driver by now. When I was 10 I wanted to be Paleontologist by now. When I was 15 I wanted to be a robotic expert by now. When I was 20 I wanted to be a media theorist. When I was 25 I wanted to be alive.

Other than that last one, I haven’t really succeeded at becoming what I wanted to become.

It hurts, you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough. Seen enough of the world, or changed it enough.

You’re not alone

You know what?

It’s ok, if you aren’t where you thought you’d be.

It’s ok, if you’re not who you thought you’d be.

And it’s ok if you’re not who thought you were.

The important thing to remember is to Keep Moving Forward. (Yeah I just reference Disney. You got a problem?)

Don’t wallow in pity or fear. Analyze and mobilize yourself. Figure out what you like about yourself and concentrate on improving it, figure out what you hate about yourself and concentrate on accepting it. Talk to friends and family, or even a professional if you need to, it’s ok not to know.

I know what I want to be and where I want to be in ten years but it took me a while to figure it out.

Good luck!

Eric

* I started listing everything and it devolved into listing everything I like a lot. Here’s the partial list, I’m sure I’ve forgotten plenty of things.

Browncoat, Bronie, Trekkie, Gater, Whovian, Fiver, Scoobie, Whedonite, Nerd Fighter, Beard Lover, Fullerite, Supernatural fan, Superwholockian, Schlocker, Playgrounder, Phineas and Ferb fan, Weekender, Kim Possible Fan, Backie, Loki’s army, Baker Street Irregular, Potthead, Ringer, Amberite, Dresdenite, Gaimanite, Gamer, Goblin, Tortallan, Rush fan, David Usher Fan, Shakespeare lover, Robert Frost Fan, Reader, Minion, Disney fan, Stephen King Fan, Winter fan, Superhero fan, Android, Ubuntu, Gadgets,…

The Shining by Stephen King – Book Review

Stephen King is a fantastic author, a man that truly understands his characters and how to scare his audience. He’s best known for his horror but has written some amazing science fiction, fantasy, and heartwarming works.

The Shining is probably one of his best known works due to the Kubric movie adaptation.

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

There are five main characters in the book and we see a glimpse into each one but we mostly see the development of the Torrence Family. All in excruciating detail. They each feel real and like friends going through a terrible time.

I didn’t like

If you haven’t seen the movie or tv adaptation, you still know how this will end. It’s a large shadow of inevitability. It was amazingly done but the slow decent into madness was almost painful as a reader. I understand that was the goal but it was difficult to read and made me want to stop.

For characters, I give it 5 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

King has an amazing way of swinging from exist descriptions to crude turns of phrase. Often he even mixes them. When we saw from Jack’s (the father) point of view, it was often filled with clichéd thoughts or crude turns of phrase. Almost as if King was trying to tell us that Jack as a writer wasn’t as good as he believed.

In contrast when we followed Danny (the son) his thoughts were poetic and beautiful. In the way that kids’ minds often are. Showing him to be the real hero.

I didn’t like

Often things were repeated from different viewpoints in what felt needless. The repetition served to remind us what was going to happen and why but it felt like it was overdone. That said it was written for an audience 35 years ago that might not have been as savvy with genre concepts.

I give it 3 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was set in one location for most of the book. Despite the stagnation in place, there is always a feeling that something is happening and that we are going somewhere with the story.

All the events are foreshadowed. Everything is structured and the book doesn’t pull any punches in scariness or character pain.

I didn’t like

The moments of joy are all at the beginning and a little at the end. This isn’t a happy story. It doesn’t pretend to be.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

I loved the characters and the writing. It’s a true classic in horror literature. It was overall very well done.

I didn’t like

I knew what would happen and I didn’t like it. It made reading harder than it should have. Less the fault of the author and more the fault of the reader.

I give it 2 out of 5 for fun

Overall

The book is very different than the movies. Make sure to check your preconceptions at the door.

This isn’t the best Stephen King novel I’ve read but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s an amazing book. If you like horror and don’t mind a sad book, it’s more than worth the read.

Final score is 70%

The Shining by Stephen King – Book Review

Stephen King is a fantastic author, a man that truly understands his characters and how to scare his audience. He’s best known for his horror but has written some amazing science fiction, fantasy, and heartwarming works.

The Shining is probably one of his best known works due to the Kubric movie adaptation.

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

There are five main characters in the book and we see a glimpse into each one but we mostly see the development of the Torrence Family. All in excruciating detail. They each feel real and like friends going through a terrible time.

I didn’t like

If you haven’t seen the movie or tv adaptation, you still know how this will end. It’s a large shadow of inevitability. It was amazingly done but the slow decent into madness was almost painful as a reader. I understand that was the goal but it was difficult to read and made me want to stop.

For characters, I give it 5 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

King has an amazing way of swinging from exist descriptions to crude turns of phrase. Often he even mixes them. When we saw from Jack’s (the father) point of view, it was often filled with clichéd thoughts or crude turns of phrase. Almost as if King was trying to tell us that Jack as a writer wasn’t as good as he believed.

In contrast when we followed Danny (the son) his thoughts were poetic and beautiful. In the way that kids’ minds often are. Showing him to be the real hero.

I didn’t like

Often things were repeated from different viewpoints in what felt needless. The repetition served to remind us what was going to happen and why but it felt like it was overdone. That said it was written for an audience 35 years ago that might not have been as savvy with genre concepts.

I give it 3 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was set in one location for most of the book. Despite the stagnation in place, there is always a feeling that something is happening and that we are going somewhere with the story.

All the events are foreshadowed. Everything is structured and the book doesn’t pull any punches in scariness or character pain.

I didn’t like

The moments of joy are all at the beginning and a little at the end. This isn’t a happy story. It doesn’t pretend to be.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

I loved the characters and the writing. It’s a true classic in horror literature. It was overall very well done.

I didn’t like

I knew what would happen and I didn’t like it. It made reading harder than it should have. Less the fault of the author and more the fault of the reader.

I give it 2 out of 5 for fun

Overall

The book is very different than the movies. Make sure to check your preconceptions at the door.

This isn’t the best Stephen King novel I’ve read but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s an amazing book. If you like horror and don’t mind a sad book, it’s more than worth the read.

Final score is 70%

Chivalry Should not Mean Chauvinist

I am a Giant Squid of Anger because of this article.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

First I’d like to dispel the myth that Chivalry has anything to do with sex or gender. All definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary.

The word Chivalry has changed over time. Starting out in the Middle Ages (early 1300’s but who’s counting), the world simply meant Knights or horsemen equipped for Battle. It was adapted from the French Chevalerie which meant man fighting on horse.

Shortly after, it was changed to mean acts of bravery or honour on the battlefield.

Let’s skip a few hundred years. In the early 1800’s it started to mean “Gallant Gentleman” and represent everything that is knightly.

The wonderful French and British Romantic poets glorified the simpler time that was the dark ages and what they called the Chivalrous Code. Which meant, “The brave, honourable, and courteous character attributed to the ideal knight; disinterested bravery, honour, and courtesy.”

Nowhere before 1832, did Chivalry have anything to do with women. Other than that the Chivalrous Code said that knights must protect the weak.

Victorians were dumb

I like my steampunk as much as the next geek but the time period is horrible for women. We are still dealing with the shit that the Victorian’s shoved into our collective consciousness.

It was during this period that Chivalry took on the more modern and disturbing meaning of, “courteous behaviour, especially that of a man towards women.”

Even then Chivalry wasn’t only towards women.

When they were handing out brains, you said, “No thanks I’m afraid of flying.”

Somehow, chauvinistic morons have tried to appropriate a word that meant being nice to people and killing the bad guys into a word that means women are deluded and weak.

The author states that in our world of instant hookups (sure dude) chivalry is dead.

“All I know is, the more I look around, the less I see men treating women the way that we’re raised to. What happened to paying for dinners and drinks? What happened to pulling out chairs and holding doors? What happened to walking on the outside, closest to the street and all that sh*t?”

Avoiding the horrible crime of ending a sentence with a preposition, why does he think these things are important?

A man paying for dinner and drinks makes perfect sense in a world where women have no money of their own but when women make as much money or more than the man why the hell should a guy go broke for a date?

Pulling out a chair is respectful and something that should be done with anyone who would have trouble moving their chairs back towards the table alone. Women in tight corsets and pencil skirts might have this issue, men in skinny jean will also.

As for walking on the outside on a sidewalk, well some rules were developed for a different time. This was established so women wouldn’t get shit on their heads or splashed on them from carriages. Now they might get splashed by a car or bus (stupid busses) but walking on the outside isn’t going to help a girl in this case since the wave of water won’t be blocked.

And my personal pet peeve. I have been berated, insulted, yelled at, and in one case kicked, for opening a door for a woman. That hasn’t stopped me from doing it for the simple reason that I don’t do it for women exclusively. I do it for any human being and occasional pets. If I get to the door before you, I will open it for you and hold it open. I don’t care who you are.

The rest of the article is a combination of shaming and pining for a better time, in other words bullshit.

“Be excellent to each other….and….PARTY ON, DUDES!”

Let’s take back the word Chivalry and give it a new meaning. Let’s make it mean something positive and loving. I propose a new definition:

“The act of being noble, selfless, kind, and helping others without reward or ulterior motives.”

Death is a Jerk

Death Bah!

I’m sure if there is a personification of Death, they are really sweet. It’s the consequences of their actions that are horrible. So he/she is a Jerk.

It’s a strange concept that haunts and terrifies me.

I remember when I first realized that someday I wouldn’t exist. I was in the car with my mother and had just clipped my seatbelt in for the hour ride to the nearest big town for groceries.

My whole world went black for a moment and I thought I might faint. I must have been seven or eight when I realized that someday I would end. Instead of doing the intelligent thing and talking to my mother about it, I internalized it and it freaked me out.

But Death only terrorizes the living. As far as I know, once you’re dead it’s not scary anymore. It’s those left behind that feel the pain and fear of death.

I’m older now and slightly wiser than my seven year old self, I hope, and I’ve come to realize that Death should be scary. It should paralyze people but it’s important to remind ourselves to appreciate what we have and those around us, while we still can.

Happy Birthday Mom

I lost my mother shortly after my twenty-fifth birthday. She’d been sick for several years, but it still took me by surprise. I had come to terms with my own mortality at seven but I never came to terms with hers.

Today is her birthday and I miss her.

She raised me and helped shape me into the man I am today. More than that she was also my best friend for a long time, I knew I could tell her anything.

It’s been over five years now and it still hurts the same, I think it always will.

Thank you and Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

Death in Writing

I tend to shy away from killing my characters. I mean real death, not superhero death. It’s not that I’m afraid to, it that I’m afraid of not being able to give the death the emotional weight it deserves.

That last thing I want is to write a story or book, kill off a character, and be the only one who grieves.

The threat of death, and the history of death, drives most of my characters as I imagine it drives most of humanity.

Another reason I don’t often kill off my characters, especially in short stories, is that they’re going to die anyways. I’ll finish the story and their lives will end. It’s one of the reasons I hate writing short stories. I feel for the characters and then they are gone. It hurts in a ridiculous and silly way.

Question and challenge

Has there ever been a death in something you’ve watched, read, or listened too that hit you hard? Did it surprise you? Thinking about it now, was it important to the story?

I’m going to challenge myself to write a story where someone dies and see if I can make the Jerk come to life in words.

I’ve done things I never thought I’d do…

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Nice and dramatic title. It refers to book launches. I’ve been to two this year. Sad naïve me from a year ago didn’t even know they existed. I though launch parties were for movies or businesses.

If you don’t know what a launch party is, it’s simply a way to celebrate the release of a book. The author and everyone involved have worked hard for years and want to celebrate before they get back to repeating the same hard work.

The good thing about a book launch is you get to meet the author, get the book signed by them, and hear them read from the book. The bad thing, it’s usually in a noisy bar and the rest of the world doesn’t realize you’re trying to listen to a reading. Totally worth it.

My Wife…

Have a refered to her in the blog before? Maybe. I’m too lazy to go look. Maybe I should give her a pet name or something. Wifey? The Wife? Jen? The Alpha Reader? Spouse? Hummm. Darn it. Now I’ve not spent so much time writing and thinking of the word Wife. That it looks wrong. Ok Wife it is.

My Wife and I have turned these events into date nights. Which is awesome. Hopefully she agrees.

The Launch party I went to was for The Summer Bird By S.M. Carrière.

It was at the Royal Oak on Laurier and if you’ve ever been to a British style pub in Ottawa you know what it looked like. White stone like walls that are made from something accented with dark brown wooden beams and decorated with bilingual world war two posters and one big screen tv.

Not what my tired mind expected for a fantasy book launch. Don’t get me wrong the book launch was awesome. We talked with great people, a wonderful meal, heard a fantastic reading, and bought a great book.

When I went to sleep that night I relived the book launch in a much more medieval fantasy way… My wife and I arrived at the Queen’s longhouse in advance of the given time. We waited on the comfortable chairs near the crackling fire. The stone room wasn’t large. It had two long tables and a small dais for the Queen’s throne.

We didn’t wait long. The Elven Queen S.M. and her Knight Protector J The Amazing Flatmate, arrived and greeted us. As they made sure that everything was prepared and ready for the festivities, several other guests arrived. There was the Minstrel T. of the Brown Coat and Sir B a Knight Champion, along with a dozen or so guests. As an aspiring monarch myself, it was nice to see the level of enthusiasm everyone had for the Queen and her work.

The evening passed quickly, the food and drink was abundant and the Queen never actually sat on her throne, choosing instead to sit with her guests. Spending time at each table.

When the meal was cleared, the Queen stood to thank everyone and to read of her work. (Since it was close to Halloween she read chapter 13.) She somehow found the perfect lighting to stand under (I’m not exaggerating S.M. found the most regal lighting possible.) As she read the hall became quiet. Everyone was captivated by her words. The only sounds that could be heard were her reading and the uncultured brutes in the other hall.

The hall burst into applause when she had finished. With the speech finished, my wife and I decided to head out. The Queen signed our book and thank us. We said goodbye to our new noble friends and headed home.

Probably from now on my mind will use this version as the truth. So if I ask where S.M. had such an awesome themed book launch just roll your eyes and leave me to my delusions.

We were at the bus stop before we realized that we hadn’t paid for dinner. I felt so horribly guilty that I ran all the way back. The waitress just shrugged and said it happened often. I still feel horrible about it. I might have to rethink my plans of becoming a master criminal.

If you want an ebook version of the Summer Bird, it’s available on all the major sites. If you want a hardcopy you’ll be able to buy one at Pop Expo in December. Get one it’s worth it. I’ve only had one chapter read to me and I whole heartedly encourage you to read it.

Until we meet again,

Éric

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire – Book Review

If you’ve been following my book reviews. You know that I have a soft spot for Urban Fantasy. I also have a soft spot for interesting female characters. Discount Armageddon delivers both and does it well.

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

At the center of the story is Verity Price, a tough ballroom dancer who’s been trained from birth on how to kill things and study them. Unfortunately she isn’t the most interesting character.

The supporting cast from religious mice to a shapeshifer cousin truly makes the book. There is a wide and varied group of people. I loved both the interactions and dialogue between the characters.

I didn’t like

Again, unfortunately Verity Price isn’t the most interesting of characters, falling into the girly tough girl stereotype. She loves to dance and seems to have a love hate relationship with her life. She wants to dance but also wants to follow in the family business.

To ignore her own inner struggle she tries to continuously meet the world with sex appeal and one-liners. She played dumb, when she obviously wasn’t, too many times.

For characters, I give it 3 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The author isn’t afraid to go on small tangents to explain the world. I really enjoyed the history and Price family life. It’s a great world with all kinds of interesting people and events.

Despite what people often think, writing first person is more difficult than third and if done wrong makes the story sound like “than guy” at a party that wants to tell you all about his d&d character or cat.

Ms. McGuire makes the story flow quickly, smoothly and keeps all the action tight.

I didn’t like

The language bugged me a little. I understand first person characters using slang and odd turns of phrase but sometimes it felt discordant. The writing had a strange juxtaposition of British and American slang.

I give it 3 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The flow of the story was wonderful. Never leaving us in the same place long enough to get bored. The story shape is extremely simple but works wonderfully. Never leaving me annoyed with what was happening.

I didn’t like

This is the first in a series and with that there are a lot of details added that don’t directly impact the story. Relatives that weren’t essential, and plot points that won’t be important until later books.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading about her grandfather stuck in hell and her grandmothers quest to find him but I would have liked to learn more about the characters that were important to the story.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

Despite her clichés and often bad one-liners I like Verity Price. She perfectly personifies that struggle and lost feeling that I had in my twenties.

It also has a few steamy scenes that made me blush.

I didn’t like

I often would have like more in depth descriptions or interactions. It would have slown down the story pace but it would have given the book more substance. However I realize that this is an action book and not an epic.

I give it 5 out of 5 for fun

Overall

If you like fast paced action and fun characters thrown into ridiculous situations I recommend you pick this up.

Final score is 75%

About Time Movie Review

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Trailer

I was offered two free tickets to an advanced showing of About Time. It officially comes out on November first. It is a Romantic Comedy with a twist. The main character can travel back in time.

To truly enjoy the movie, you have to keep in mind that it is a Romantic Comedy and not a time travel movie. I kept expecting his jumps back to have disastrous and unfixable repercussions. They never happened. Yes there were a few “Oh Crap” moments but the main character seems to have the ability to reset the timeline without any problems.

At its core this movie isn’t about time, it’s about family and love. It beautifully sidesteps any moral questions by having the main character be completely sweet and upstanding. He doesn’t use his power to make the perfect date or to learn everything about the girl in order to seduce her. He meets her and they fall for each other without any use of time travel.

The strength of the movie is in its characters. They are all unique, memorable, lovable, and sweet. From the quirky father, the flower child sister, the grouchy playwright, all the way to the nutty uncle; each character is wonderfully played and written.

The movie is sappy and a little heavy handed in the end but that doesn’t take away from its constant laughs and good time.

Is this the greatest movie ever made? Probably not but it was a lot of fun and easily one of my favourite movies of the year. Possible of all time.

If you liked Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, or enjoy funny love stories… Go see it.

4.5/5

The Simplest Role Playing System

I went to a social gathering the other night and someone asked if I’d brought a game. I hadn’t, so obviously I offered to run an improvised RPG. I had my phone with a dice roller so I was covered.

Turned out that I wasn’t needed but it got me thinking about how to create a simplified rule set that would be easy to remember and even easier to teach.

Here’s what I came up with… You need a coin or a dice (a coaster or other flip-able thing works too), a storyteller, and players. (Something to write on and with would help.)

Simple Rules: Each player chooses Body, Mind, or Luck as their characters specialty. They have 3 in that ability. (Ex. Fighters choose Body.) Their health and defence 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 clownshoes crazy (7). 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 coin 5 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 take the same if they are hit. Death occurs at 0 health.

Everything else: The storyteller makes up.

Character Sheets: Available here!

I’d like to thank both XDM and Shadowrun for inspiring me.

Remember this when you’re at a bar or party and everyone looks scared or/and bored. Everyone will think you’re awesome! I promise.

*Rules updated July 7th, 2015 after a play test*