Don’t Shit on Other People’s Hobbies

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There’s a trend that has been pissing me off practically my entire life. The self-righteous arrogance of judging what others do with their time.

It’s a hundred times worse when it comes to parenting. (Pro-tip for parenting: No matter what you do, you’re doing it wrong according to someone.) Here’s the meme that set me off most recently:
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It’s cute isn’t it? Daddy teaching his little girl how to fix cars.

There is so much wrong with this meme but let me stick to two major points:

  1. Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
  2. Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

1. Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.

It’s a common trope that men are irresponsible or unable to take care of themselves or children. It’s a common and pervasive stereotype. I mean boys will be boys… right?

You know what happens when people are always expecting, and allowing, you to be a certain way? You start thinking you should be that way or that you’re wrong/broken for not being that way.

I don’t fix cars, I don’d build things, I hate yardwork, and couldn’t care less about the latest sports thingy. I do love to watch sappy movies, read, cook, and be responsible.

No matter what your gender identity is, it’s possible to be an inconsiderate deadbeat stupidface.

2. Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

I will never understand wanting to get on a motorcycle and cruise around. It sounds uncomfortable and bothersome to me. That doesn’t mean I think it’s worthless. It offers people a safe (when done properly) thrill that they enjoy. Yay to enjoying yourself.

So why is driving a dilapidated boat into the middle of nowhere to throw string into the water to maybe catch fish considered a wonderful bonding experience, but playing a video game as a family is an immature waste of time?

Seriously, why is one hobby considered more valuable then the other?

Video games are educational, emotionally compelling, and even the worst of them help develop problem solving skills.

Anything can be valuable

When I was a kid I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my father. I don’t think he knew what to do with a nerdy bookworm. He tried to get me into helping with the car and I was totally not interested. I tried, but it usually devolved into him calling his buddies and them drinking while they did car stuff. To me, it was smelly, greasy, and generally uncomfortable.

On the opposite side of the coin, my mother and older brother loved video games. I grew up watching and playing with them. I remember being the navigator for old role playing games. We played as a team, each of us having input in what we did and where we went. I learned so much from those games and those times we did things as a family.

I understand that this meme is trying to say that doing something with your child is more valuable then ignoring them. But a person can ignore their child while working on a car just as easily as playing video games.

How about we as people, and especially as parents, show tolerance for things we don’t understand and back off on the gender stereotypes?

 

Later Days,

Éric

EEP! Still Busy

Cold Coffee

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve made headway on my to-do list. It’s now… *Goes to check on list and adds three more things* less than ten items. I got a lot of stuff done yesterday, but it felt like I was walking through molasses. Everything took three times longer than it should.

My publisher is moving full speed ahead with Parasomnia. They sent me a mock-up of the cover and it looks great. I can’t wait to see this book in print! I’m going to send them back the edits soon.

I’m still fighting with this cold. Mostly it’s at night where I go from feeling OK to unable to stop coughing. I hate coughing!

I think I should probably go quality test the coffee I roasted on Tuesday. It’s a hard job but someone has to do it.

Cold Coffee

Later Days,

Éric

 

 

All Work and no Sleep Makes Éric something something…

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Have you ever gotten to the point where you’re so busy, or your to-do list is so long, that you feel like you’re drowning? Well I’m almost there. The ocean of stuff is turbulent and I’m barely dog paddling. All of it is made worse by lack of sleep and this stupid, unending cold.

I’m starting to realize I might have taken on too much too quickly this year and certain things have been suffering because of it. Mostly my writing, or lack thereof, and other creative endeavours like FADDS.

What am I going to do about it? I’m going to get as much done of what I have already promised and try to stop taking on more projects. Both publishers I work with are going to settle down into a slower routine and after Ottawa Comic Con, conventions will slow down too.

All that said, I’m going to try and take a week off to relax after OCC. Maybe play Skyrim with the little Dragon.

I have a lot of coffee to roast and not much time so I’ll see you later.

Éric

Sick Week

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been sick since Sunday. It’s a typical spring cold with coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, aches, pains, and a total inability to think. It has effectively rendered me useless all week beyond eating, sleeping, and Dragon wrangling.

Speaking of Dragon, she’s been sick about the same amount of time. Add that to her teething, we’re at 5 and can feel the 6th, and no one is getting much sleep. Jen also got sick as of Tuesday.

With my severe allergies, spring until early July is a really bad time for me.

Long story short I have a lot of work that I should have done this week that wasn’t done.

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WARNING BLOG HIJACKED BY DRAGON

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Sorry about that. I should get back to cuddling the sick little Dragon.

To a healthier and more productive next week,

Éric

Aurora Awards Nominations

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Allow me to be completely shameless. This year I have a book, a short story, and a few projects that are eligible for the Aurora Awards.

Aurora Awards

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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 6th.

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.

What do I have that’s eligible

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My debut novel, A Study in Aether is eligible in the YA category and my short story Gladiators in SPACE!  is eligible for Short Story.

Recommendations

Now that I’ve been shameless, here are a few works that I think are truly worth an award this year:

Novels

YA Novels

Related Work

Fan Writing and Publication

Fan Organizational

Other Options

The Aurora’s website has a section that lets you see eligible works. I like to think of it as a shopping list.

 

Go Nominate Works and enjoy the amazing science fiction and fantasy that came out last year.

Éric

 

Bumkins Cloth Diapers Review and Complaint

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

When we were expecting little Dragon, we knew diapers were going to be expensive. We decided that an upfront cost was worth it for an overall cheaper price. So we went with cloth diapers. I did countless hours of research that ended in total and complete confusion.

We finally decided on Bumkins Two Piece Diaper System. It seemed like the perfect choice. We loved the idea of shells that could be reused and inserts / soakers that would let us control the amount of absorption. The clincher was the idea that she could use them for her entire diapered life.

They were terrible. Quite possibly one of the most disappointing purchases I’ve ever made. They seriously suck. I’m sure part of my issues are due to the complexity of cloth diapering but most were due to the shoddy quality of the diapers.

bumkins

See the letter I sent the company below.

Later Days,
Éric

Dear Bumkins,

I’m writing to express my extreme disappointment with your Two Piece Diaper System.

My wife and I decided on your system because of the flexibility of your one size fits all, your price, and because of the softness of your materials.

We purchased a dozen your shells in various patterns, thirty of your soakers, and twenty inserts. It was a rough start, but with the help of other parents that swore by cloth diapers and your product we came to get the hang of them.

Over the past five months we’ve had countless problems with the quality of your product.

First, the shells were so poorly sewn together that we needed to repair more than half of them, some multiple times. After a few months of use, the shells’ waterproof material thinned and let liquid through.

Second, the seams on the soakers are just as terribly put together. For a few nights, I needed to trim the loose threads every time before putting them in the diaper.

Third, even with the inserts, our daughter couldn’t go several hours of napping without wetting her clothing and soaking through your diapers. It became such a problem that we worried she was peeing an abnormal amount. The problem completely disappeared when we started using regular disposables at night.

Fourth, they are not one size fits all. Although our six month old daughter is long and thin, it seems ridiculous that we should choose between deep red indentations that irritate her skin or changing her clothing three times a day.

Fifth, the soakers and inserts do not draw the liquid away from her body. They will soak in one location and stay there instead of being absorbed. This means even a small amount of urine will rest against her skin and cause a rash.

My wife and I had high hopes for your product, but its poor-quality construction and worse design mean we will certainly dissuade our friends and family from using your diapers.

Sincerely,
Éric and Jen Desmarais

In a World of BS This Guy Tells it Straight!

Flim Flam Brothers from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There’s a movement in the media, politics, and general pop culture; that glorifies simplicity in speech. It’s deeply rooted in a false sense of nostalgia that believes the past was a more honest and wholesome.

This is sadly bullshit, the past was a cesspool of lies, death, hate, and stupidity. Kinda like today.

Why do people have this ridiculous idea that we are unable to speak our minds and that everyone is trying to screw us over now but the past was so much better? That problem is due to three things: Glorification of Americana, Systemic Hate, and Lies.

Flim Flam Brothers from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic
Flim Flam Brothers from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic

Glorification of Americana

Through movies and other media, the time period after World War II has been glorified as a golden age. Arguably it was, if you were a middle class, white male, with no left leaning political views. If you weren’t in that very specific demographic, it wasn’t all that great.

Despite this being a time of travelling salesman bamboozling and flimflamming all over the place, it’s still seen as a safe and honest era. Mostly because of movies and television, but also because anyone alive who remembers it was young and innocent at the time.

It was, however, a great time for racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Systemic Hate

We as a species love to find patterns in everything and even more we love to categorize everything. Once we’ve categorized and separated things into boxes, we then rank or judge value. It’s harmless when we’re talking about fruit, but when we talk about ourselves it gets dangerous.

The idea that certain races are mentally, emotionally, or physically predisposed to specific traits is a complete fabrication. The concept that there’s more than one race of humans on the planet is scientifically unsound.

Unfortunately, culturally, especially in Cananda and the US, we’ve had a lot of problems with hate. Historically there was slavery; recently there’s residential schools. All because of a need to separate or assimilate those who aren’t like us.

Thankfully, we are slowly moving away from such idiotic and barbaric ideas. Part of the backlash against our society becoming less hateful is a backlash against political correctness.

If you are not part of a culture or subculture that is attacked with systemic hate, you can’t understand the hurt that your “only joking” does. To them, the joke is funny because of things they’ve heard. With no one to say, “Hey. That’s hurtful!” systemic hate just keeps going.

Remember that you don’t have to be hateful to say something hateful. Political Correctness is just being a decent human being.

Liars

I promised I’d tell it straight, no BS, in the title so here it is:

YOU’RE BEING LIED TO!

All these politicians that want to make something great, push Canadian Values, or are saying it like it is; are lying to you. They are appealing to your Hate and False Nostalgia to get what they want. They may be lying to themselves at the same time, but a lie is still a lie.

 

Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments.

Later Days,

Éric

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

Part 3: An Emu Takes a Nap

“At least your emu’s suit is still tethered to the ship,” Phil said, running a hand through his hair.

Sometimes when odd things happened to Sophia, she tried not to think about them until her brain, like a browser with too many tabs open, crashed. She’d managed to accept and push back that they were in space going faster than the speed of light. She’d even managed to accept that she was on this ship with the dreamy character from the ship’s stories.

Seeing Hagrid floating outside of the ship, wearing a spacesuit, and flopping around, was just a little to far for her. She sat down on the ground and said, “Gah!” a little too loudly.

The Prince jumped up and alternated his gaze from her to the space walking emu. His wide eyes and head movements meant he was having the same sort of mental freeze or he was replaying a particularly traumatic ping-pong game.

The two of them contemplated the farce that had become their day when Prince Phil looked out the window and said, “What the hell is that? That’s not part of my ship.” Then looking at Sophia he asked, “Did you put that there?”

She stood up shook her head clear and looked out the portal. Ignoring Hagrid flopping around, she looked for what Phil was pointing at. It was a small grayish box with a blinking purple light. “No, what is it?”

“I don’t know but your bird is going straight for it.”

Hagrid’s flailing turned to flouncing and suddenly he moved with purpose. He reached the place where the box was and started trying to peck at it. Since his head was in a spacesuit helmet it just looked like he was headbutting the ship. His head hit the ship, but the momentum of the hit pushed his entire body away from it.

His mask stuck onto the device and the rest of him just floated there like a disturbing and misshapen space accident.

“He’s still tethered,” she said, reaching for the controls to reel him in.

“I already said that.”

“Sorry, I have breakdown.”

Reeling him in was much easier than she’d expected. He just stayed there and didn’t move.

Once the emu was in the airlock and the air had been pumped back in, Phil opened the hatch and took a tentative step inside before turning to her and saying, “You may want to be the one to come in first… it’s a very large bird.”

Hagrid, however, offered no resistance to them taking the suit off. Once it was off, he gave a happy chirp and wobbled out of the airlock.

“It’s a good thing I have spare suits… this one is completely ruined.” His eyes widened as he picked up the helmet. “Holy nebulas! The thing is in the mask.”

The small box had embedded itself in the mask. It took her a little work and the right tools to take it out. “So engineering girl, what is it?”

She was about to tell him she didn’t know, but decided to see if there was some sort of transmission coming from it. It did. “It’s a tracking beacon!” she exclaimed in English.

“What barbaric language is that?” The Prince asked his mouth frowning as if he’d eaten something disgusting.

“English. The box is sending signal. Someone following us.” She grabbed a hammer and was about to smash it, but he picked it up and looked at it.

“I’ve never seen this tech… Can you tell where it’s sending information?”

“It send everywhere.”

“Oh… can you disable it without destroying it?”

Nodding she took the box and started studying it. The ship had sensors that let her see inside the box and she took her time trying to understand how it worked. Phil was right that it didn’t look like it was made by the same people as his ship.

Her study and tinkering took several hours. Eventually she figured out how to sever a small wire to stop it from transmitting.

When she was done, she looked up to see that both Phil and Hagrid had left her in the engine room. She found them in the small kitchen where Phil was eating something that looked like cereal and Hagrid was asleep in the corner, his head under his wing.

“Did you do it?” Phil asked, almost knocking over the bowl of cereal.

“Yes. It is disabled.” She gave it to him and went to the food replicator and ordered a muffin. When she turned around, Phil was gone and Hagrid was snoring.

Phil was on the bridge and looked really upset. “Why aren’t we there yet?”

Looking at the instruments she replied, “We are. We circle coordinates until we have exit coordinates.” Without a safe place to exit they could appear next to a ship or inside a planet.

Pulling up the map, Phil pointed at a place slightly out of the way of this solar systems fourth planet. She punched in the coordinates and they dropped out of hyperspace.

Scanning around she looked back at Phil and asked, “Are you sure this home? No radio signals or signs of life.”

She looked back at the large view screen in time too see that the planet was surrounded by a halo of metal debris. A large asteroid flew by them and the proximity alarms started going nuts.

“We are in an asteroid field,” she told Phil.

“That’s not possible. Where are the stations? Where are the ships? Where’s Innas?”

“There is too much things. We must go back to hyperspace.” She pushed a few buttons and lacking any idea where to go, she headed back to Earth.

They said nothing for a little while and finally Phil said, “There should have been people… how could this happen? My home is destroyed. My family is gone…”

She could think of nothing else to say, so she stood up and gave him a hug.


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

Return of the Geek Market

Geek Market logo

Geek Market logo

This weekend JenEric Designs, Aspiring Something, Blush, and JenEric Coffee will be at Ottawa Geek Market. Over the past 5 and half years it’s quickly become a staple of the geek scene in Ottawa. If you want something geeky, but don’t want to pay to get into Comic Con this is the place to go.

Come see us at booth 306

We’ll be next to Renaissance Press so you can get your crochet, coffee, books, and games all in one place!

Come say hi!

Collecting, Space, and Nests

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

We here at Books End have a serious collecting problem. Books, Movies, Disney Infinity, Statues, Lego, Books, Autographs, and Books.

Once you’ve accepted that you have a problem, you can start work on organizing and displaying. Our friends and family have often laughed at us when they see we’ve moved an entire room around. We do it in a hunt for efficiency, how to best fit everything in the room that we want and not look like hoarders.

What happens when we don’t have optimal organization? Nests! These are piles of things that have no home. It starts with a simple, “I’ll just leave this here for now until I find it’s place.” and ends in a massive pile of stuff. We ignore it until I finally crack and go on a cleaning binge.

Often when this happens we need to find new. cheap, and innovative ways of organizing. Make fun of us if you will, but IKEA is an amazing place to get organized for cheap.

It’s also a lot of fun to look around, play, and waste a few hours. Not a store to go to if you can’t handle browsing.

Nice chat, I have some books to go organize.

Later Days.

Éric