Revenge of Bumkins

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

A few weeks ago I complained to Bumkins about their product. I received an email two days later asking for pictures of the defective products, our address, and receipts. I sent all the information and have yet to receive an email reply.

What I did get instead was a facebook comment:

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Now, I expected they were going to send a refund. I was wrong; instead they sent a “Gift Package.”

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I complained that, “…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.”

So who over at Bumkins thought that sending more diapers that don’t work was a good idea?

On top of that, because it was a “gift” and came from the US, we had to pay $47 of taxes and duty for the package.

Here’s my reply to Bumpkins:

Hello,

I sent an email complaining about the quality and poor fit of your diapers and was asked to send my address, images, and receipts.
Today I picked up your package, which cost us $47 in taxes and duty. I’m not sure why you thought, after our complaint, that we’d want more diapers that do not fit and fall apart. We didn’t request the package and if you’d asked we would have said it wasn’t what we wanted.
We have now spent over $300 on your products and packages. Your gesture, although well meaning, is both insulting and useless.
The Wonder woman bib is cute though.
Regretfully
Éric and Jen Desmarais

There’s a lesson in customer service that we can all learn here. Don’t assume that people are complaining just to get random free stuff. Talk to your customers and don’t assume.

The Wonder Woman bib is cute, but not $47 worth.

Later Days,

Éric

Hyperloop, or Tube, travel

Image from this article.

Travel of the future may be closer than we realize, with Elon Musk’s Hyperloop and Daryl Oster’s Tube Travel ET3 concepts.

Image from this article.
Image from this article.

If they can make these happen, then we would be able to travel to the other side of the world in approximately 3-4 hours, and it would cost ~$50.

Possible problems with Intercontinental Travel

Shifting tectonic plates – even a micrometre could shift these tubes out of alignment, and at the speeds that the “cars” inside would be travelling, the results could be disastrous.

Forces of nature – hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, etc could damage the exterior, and possibly even remove entire sections of the tubing

Is there any other problems that the engineers would have to account for? Leave your answer in the comments!

Pros

If these do become our reality, then the possibilities are endless for travel. You would be able to see parts of the world that you didn’t think you’d ever be able to see due to costs or time constraints.

On top of travel benefits, the number of job opportunities for engineers and mechanics would increase. I’m sure the plans would include the need for “tube attendants” during the travel, and security would have to be as strict as at airports, so it wouldn’t be removing jobs from the airline industry.

I’m very excited to see how this turns out.

You can read more about the ET3 here.


If you are interested in booking a trip, you can contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

Coffee Testers Club Results

Marshmallow coffee

Hello Coffee Lovers,

A few months ago I asked a special and wonderful few to test out four flavours and fill out a survey on which they liked best. Two were extremely close, but the following flavour won out in the end. It will be available at Ottawa Comic Con, and after that on JenEric Coffee.

My Neighbour Marshmallow

Marshmallow

Along with this flavour we will also have the following available:

I look forward to seeing all the coffee and crochet lovers in two weeks (May 12-14) at Ottawa Comic Con.

Later Days,

Éric

The Main Characters from Parasomnia

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My publisher and cover designer asked me to send an ideal cast for my characters from Parasomnia.

I figured if I was going to do the work I could cheat and make it into a post.

Disclaimer: Authors do not cast movies. If this were to become a movie, I’d have no say on who plays these roles. Also, most of these actors are now much to old for the characters.

Parasomnia is the story of a group of people in an Institute dedicated to sleep disorders and the fantasy world they go to in their dreams. It’s their journey to accepting themselves and realizing that sometimes, it’s OK to be broken.

Adelaide

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Parasomnia: Imaginary Friend

Actor: A young Christina Hendricks

She’s dedicated her life to discovering why she has an imaginary friend and why that imaginary friend can see and experience things independently.

She’s actually a group counsellor and not a patient at the Institute.

Kitty

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Parasomnia: None

Actor: A young Christina Hendricks as a catgirl

Kitty is Adelaide’s imaginary friend. She looks exactly like Adelaide but more cat like. She’s curious and playful. (Also the reason fans of this blog are named Imaginary Friends.)

Ashley

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Parasomnia: Night Terrors

Actor: A young Vanessa Hudgens

She’s the queen of geeks and uses her fandoms as a way of both filtering the world and making it easier to deal with.

Kiri

Auli'i Cravalho

Parasomnia: Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder

Actor: Auli’i Cravalho with a shaved head

Kiri suffers from two eating disorders. In her sleep she’ll eat anything, but awake she suffers from the reverse. She’s slowly trying to become her own person despite her mother.

I had pictured someone else while writing the book, but the moment I saw the actress I knew she was perfect.

Terrance / Tara
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Parasomnia: Sleep Walking

Actors: Spencer and Abigail Breslin

Terrance has been verbally and physically abused by their hyper conservative family. They are terrified of who they are and it comes out as awkward machoism. In the dream world they are Tara, a strong and cable knight of the realm.

If I was really casting, I’d want this role to go to a Trans actor, but for visual reference I thought these two worked well.

Paul

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Parasomnia: Pyrosomnia

Actor: Lucas Till

Paul is from a military family and wanted to serve, but due to his epilepsy, he couldn’t join the police. Instead, he trained and became a security officer. When his partner was killed in the line of action, he couldn’t forgive himself.

Bonus 1: Nurse Michael

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Actor: Percy Daggs III

An extremely compassionate and hard working nurse, Michael takes care of the patients as if they were his own family.

Bonus 2: Prince Icelus

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Actor: Nicholas Hoult

The mysterious and flirtatious prince in the dream world. He doesn’t seem to have an equivalent in the Institute.

Blush: Kegels

Cute exercise picture. Because cute. Image from pinterest.

Your doctor may have mentioned that you should be doing Kegel exercises, no matter what your genitalia looks like.

Cute exercise picture. Because cute. Image from pinterest.
Cute exercise picture. Because cute. Image from pinterest.

Why should you bother?

There is one major reason to do Kegels: to strengthen the pelvic floor.

Who cares about the pelvic floor?

Well, everyone should. You may not have any problems with incontinence now, but over the course of your life, your pelvic muscles loosen, allowing for leakage from the bladder to happen. Hence the market for TENA, Poise, Always (yes, they have bladder protection pads as well as menstrual pads), and Depends.

Ok! Pelvic strength is important! How do I exercise it?

First you need to find the muscles. Go to the bathroom and start to urinate. Then stop it mid-stream. The muscles you use to stop the flow are your pelvic muscles.

Now that you know which muscles you’re supposed to be exercising, it’s time to get to it.

The general process is fairly easy: tighten your muscles for 5 seconds, release for 5 seconds, and repeat 10-15 times, three times daily. Gradually build up your strength by increasing the amount of time you tighten your muscles; 10 seconds, 15 seconds, etc. The easiest position to do these exercises is when lying down, moderate position is sitting up, and hardest is while standing.

Please note: Don’t exercise the wrong muscle group. The rest of your body should be relaxed during this time. Don’t hold your breath, clench your teeth, or tense any other muscles.

If you have any trouble finding the correct muscle group, the reference below gives more techniques for finding them. It also has some suggestions about when you can do the exercises. I do mine at meal times, because then I didn’t forget to eat, or exercise!


Reference

www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/pelvic-floor-muscles


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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