Take Two – Recommendation Thursday

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I love mystery books, movies, and television shows. I also enjoy a good old procedural. Recently a network show came across my radar that I hadn’t heard about. Take Two is a buddy cop show by  Andrew W. Marlowe and Terri Edda Miller, the former creator and executive producer of Castle respectively.

This show owes a lot to Castle and doesn’t even try to hide it, including hiring some of the cast.

If you liked Castle for it’s wittiness and the fact that it never took itself seriously, you’ll love this show. If you liked it because of the charisma of Nathan Fillion, you’ll get almost as much spread between the cast.

I’m enjoying the fact that this show revels in taking its mysteries into weird and unexpected directions.

Have a look at one of my favourite episodes so far:


What do you think? Will this fill the Castle-sized shape in your heart?


Blush: Toys

I have to say, I’m thrilled that people are using our anonymous question box! Keep the questions coming!


I was cleaning out my room the other day, and found a dildo in the back of my drawer under a pile of papers. It was sticky! I’m sure I washed it properly before I put it away, bc I always do that, but it was so long ago I don’t actually remember. What happened, and can I expect my others to do the same?


There is no indication of the material of the sex toy, but I can guess that it was either jelly rubber or plastic. Those are the cheapest materials used to make toys, and although the question doesn’t indicate the cost of the toy, the cheaper ones degrade over time, no matter how carefully you take care of them.

Image from howtocleanstuff.net

An example of cheap plastic:
When we bought our house four years ago (four? already?) my mother gave me several boxes of my old toys, including my Barbies. Several of these Barbies had to be thrown out due to discolouration or sticky plastic. I was really upset, but didn’t know what had happened until I started researching for this question.

Some Barbies (including one or two of mine, apparently) used to be made with cheap plastic. This plastic has now been banned for use in household items and children’s toys, but not in adult novelty items like sex toys.

How do sex toys slip through a ban like that?

Legal jargon.

Because they are not specifically mentioned, and are considered “novelty items”, there is a legal loophole. So consumers have to be careful when buying products. They should double check the materials and be sure to buy from reputable companies.

There are two criteria that must be carefully considered when buying a sex toy: the chemical composition and porosity of the material.

Lots of plastics are made with phthalates, and these are what has been banned in children’s toys. But phthalates interact very poorly (or well, depending on how you look at it) with mucous membranes, such as the one in a vagina, and can cause itchiness and chemical burns. Yikes!

Porosity is the measure of void spaces in a material. The more porous something is, the more likely the material is to harbour bacteria. Even if you wash a toy with soap and water, a very porous material will never be completely free of bacteria. If you own a porous toy, I recommend using a condom over the toy to prevent any problems. If you’re considering buying a porous toy, don’t.

The recommended material for sex toys is silicone (and you can use water or oil based lube with silicone toys), because it can come in a variety of densities (flexibility), is not made with phthalates and is completely non-porous. A good company to buy from is Bad Dragon. (Caution, do not click this link if you are not prepared to see dildos of many shapes and sizes)

So to get back to your question, what probably happened was degradation of a phthalate-ridden porous material. It will happen to your other toys of similar quality and make. When it comes to sex toys, quality is definitely better than quantity, and you definitely get what you pay for.




If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.

Is it autumn yet?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I have a secret to tell you… Come closer… Closer… Ok that’s good… I HATE HEAT!!!

This past month has been torture for me. Like alternating between a sauna and an oven. As much as walking in snow is a pain, it’s much more comfortable than walking in the rain. As much as I hate shoveling, I’d rather do that than mow the lawn (I’m literally allergic to mowing the lawn).

There’s only one thing that I like about summer and that’s when it’s not too hot… I love the cool evenings were it dips below 20 degrees Celsius. That I can stand, but this… arg.

Added onto that, Baby Dragon has been sick since mid month and I’ve caught the cold. For her it was a sore throat, cough, and fever. For me it’s a head cold. I feel like someone is trying to inflate a balloon inside my nasal cavities.

Being sick sucks. Being sick and overheating sucks X1000.

I should be writing, beta-reading, or writing, or editing… sigh.

Is is Autumn yet? I want hoodies, pumpkin pie, cool nights, and Halloween movies.


How’s your summer going?


The Teapot Chicken – Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities

In a realm of magic, in a time of heroes; lived an old cantankerous wizard named Myrka. Despite living in an ideal little village, close enough to the castle to buy anything she needed but far enough not to be disturbed, she hated people. Wanting nothing more than to be left alone in her small, comfortable cottage, to drink tea and read her books.

Unfortunately, as a Wizard, people always seemed to need her to heal something, fix something, find something, or just stop some ultimate evil.

Because of the drain on her time, people were constantly touching her things. They’d come into her home begging to turn their children back from frogs. (Despite the fact that those same children had been warned that kissing an enchanted frog was a terribly dangerous idea. She’d even done a very informative talk at the local schoolhouse.) While they were inside they’d start touching things. Leaving fingermarks all over the wizard’s books, paintings, or teapots.

One day, after one of the ungrateful townsfolk had a second head removed (How’d she get the second head? That’s another story and the wizard didn’t care to ask.) they touched her favourite teapot, a dainty little china number with pastel blue flowers. The dark black smears on the spout of the teapot made the wizard’s stomach roil and she had to throw out a perfectly good pot of tea.

The wizard finally had enough and decided to enchant the teapot. She took her time in deciding how, but finally settled on making the teapot turn into a chicken when touched by anyone but the wizard or her family.

Why a chicken you ask? Well they’re both cuddly and vicious at the same time. Like tiny dragons, with feathers. She named the teapot Tina and could be seen absentmindedly stroking its spout and lid while reading.

One day the ruler of the land decided she wanted something from the wizard. Despite the wizard doing everything in her power to make people think she wasn’t powerful, word had gone around and Queen Renelle the Sixth needed something.

The Queen didn’t send a messenger or a knight to bring the wizard to her, no; she and her personal guard, court wizard, royal band, and half her court, showed up one morning on poor Myrka the wizard’s doorstep.

The small cottage was only able to accommodate the Queen and two of her guards.

“Would you like some tea Your Majesty?” Myrka asked forgetting the rituals of the court. She had always been more interested in the workings of the magical universe, so it’s understandable that she not know that, in that queendom, when the Queen visits, she must serve her host.

Before anyone could say anything, the queen picked up the teapot, yes that one, and started to serve tea. The events that followed saw the Queen soaked in scalding tea regurgitated by an angry chicken, and the wizard imprisoned for attacking the Queen. Tina hovered off in a huff, pecking several guards on her way out.

The Queen promptly forgot about the Wizard, who was placed in the deepest part of the dungeons. So deep as to have no guards, light, food, or drink. Just a rotting smell from the other prisoners.

Thankfully for the wizard, Tina the teapot was fond of her. The little teapot forced herself into chicken form and made her way to the dungeons. It’s amazing how little attention people will pay to a random chicken and how a strong peck to the nose will dissuade predators.

The valiant teapot freed the wizard from the dungeons and the two headed back to their little cottage.

The thought of cursing the Queen came to the wizard’s mind, but in the end she decided that wherever there was a curse there was always a pesky hero trying to break it. Instead she cast a spell making everyone in the castle forget that she existed.

To avoid the same situation happening again, the wizard enchanted her cottage. The next time a royal knocked on her cottage, the entire thing sprouted legs and ran away.

The moral of this story is simple: Always warn your guests about spells placed on your dishware. Also, don’t bother a wizard while they’re relaxing with a cup of tea and reading.

Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities are the expanded versions of stories I’ve told my daughter at night before bed. They’re short, silly, and were completely improvised in the telling.

Writing Excuses workshop at Sea

Yesterday, a writer’s cruise was brought to my attention. And wow, did it ever get my attention!

The Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat 2018! (scroll past the ticket info to get to the event details)

Take a look at the incredible instructors and the amazing seminars being offered!

I have met a couple of these instructors at Can-Con in Ottawa and I was incredibly shy and quiet around them very impressed by them. To have the opportunity to have a one-on-one session with even one of these instructors – where you can cover anything from a critique, worldbuilding, pitching practice (no, not baseball!), or simply get general writing advice – is worth it’s weight in gold.

The seminars themselves are extremely comprehensive and include writing exercises and Q&A time with the professor as well as instructional time.

The cruise allows for a guest to accompany their writer, with a nice discount. Children aged 12-17 can also attend seminars with parental guidance.

Please bear in mind that the prices listed are in USD but they include things like WiFi, gratuities, and transfers to/from the Houston WX hotel, all things that are not normally included in cruise pricing.

There are only a few tickets to the conference left! What are you waiting for?

The Liberty of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Image from Wikipedia.

Are you interested in cruising? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Star Trek: Discovery; I finally finished it

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I had a hard time finishing Star Trek: Discovery. That says a lot considering I’ve happily watched every Star Trek series to come out since TNG.

I have a lot of thoughts that I’ll share after the cut.

Star Trek: Discovery (l-r): Oyin Oladejo as Joann Owosekun; Sara Mitich as Airiam; Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets; Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly; Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham; Ronnie Rowe as Bryce; Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys; Doug Jones as Saru; Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer © 2017 CBS Interactive. photo by Jan Thijs

Read moreStar Trek: Discovery; I finally finished it

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