Point Zero – Word of the Day – Cloister

Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

It was a cool August night in my childhood hometown. It had a name at the time, something nature related that no cares about; now it’s called Point Zero. It was a small town barely numbering in the four digits. I sat on the duck in the grade school playground, it sprung back and forwards every time I took a drink from the bottle of vodka in my hand.

The small schoolyard had a fence around it. You could say that the yard was as cloistered from the town as the town was from the rest of the world. Other than the media from the outside world, Point Zero was its own little world.

The five of us sat on various remnants of our youth and drank to forget that we’d be leaving soon. Each of us heading to a college, university, or apprenticeship. I was supposed to be leaving the next day; I’d managed an apprenticeship with my uncle as an electrician at the new diamond mine near Timmins.

Frank was going into theatre in Toronto, Mel was heading to Vancouver for animation, Jane was going to study and travel the world in Ottawa, and finally James was going to save the world on the east coast.

“Is it a relief to have found what you want to do for the rest of your life James?” asked Mel.

“Sure,” her replied tentatively.

“Must be nice to have found your porpoise.” She burst into giggles and the rest of us groaned. We’d been friends our whole lives and despite multiple hiccups we’d managed to stay together.

“What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you’re on your own?” Frank asked the group.

“I’d say get drunk, but I’m not doing that anymore.” Jane shook her fourth beer before adding, “Without you freaks to keep me safe, I’m going to be paranoid of everyone.”

“I’m going to make a huge chocolate cake, with chocolate icing, and I’ll eat it without having my mom yelling at me.” Mel’s mom was a diet freak and severely allergic to chocolate. I’d once forgotten to brush my teeth before coming over at Halloween and almost sent the woman to the hospital.

“I’m going to go swimming in the ocean,” James said wistfully.

“How about you Sam?” Frank asked me, his green eyes seemed to glow in the yellow streetlight.

I took another swig of vodka to avoid answering the question. I’d had a crush on Frank since… well since I met him in kindergarten. Tonight was my last chance, so I thought, to tell him how I felt.

“I don’t know,” I replied lamely.

“Going to stay current?” Mel’s pun fell flat as the park was flooded with bright green light and searing fire. I still have nightmares about the green fire, the smell, and the pain.

The entire thing felt like it lasted minutes, but when we awoke on the glass surface known as Point Zero it was three months later and the five of us were alone.


If you enjoyed this word of the day story, you can find more on our stories page and catch up on this year’s serial story, Devices of Desire

Dance Klance

Keith (@incaseyouart, Tumblr) and Lance (@Gilove2dance, Tumblr), from Voltron, as dancers! (Specifically from a fanfiction called Shut Up and Dance With Me by wittyy_name on AO3 with art by wolfpainters on Tumblr. Please note, you must be over 18 to read this.) This pose is from the beginning of the dance (choreographed by Keone and Mariel) to the song “Could” by Elderbrook.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Spice Soup

Hello My Fall Friends,

I love everything pumpkin and decided to have some fun and make a new soup.

It turned out wonderfully and is Toddler Dragon approved.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Spice Soup

All the yummyness of squash soup with a hint of pumpkin pie.

Course Soup
Keyword fall, gourd, pumpkin, pumpkin spice, spice, squash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Liquid Ingredients

  • 4 cups soup broth vegetable or chicken
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree Fresh roasted is best
  • 1 diced pear

Spices

  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle Optional

Instructions

  1. Add the liquid ingredients and the Spices into a large pot and bring to a simmer.

  2. Once the pear is soft blend the whole thing with a hand blender.

  3. Bring to a slow boil and take off heat. 
    Stir constantly to avoid burning.

  4. Serve hot with roasted pumpkin seeds and bread.

If you make the soup, let me know what you think.

Later Days,

Éric

Blush: Recommendation Wednesday: Nadine Thornhill, Ed.D

Ontario scrapped the Health curriculum. I’m sure you’ve heard about that. In the interim of coming up with a “better” version, they’ve reverted to the 1998 curriculum in Elementary schools, eliminating talk about consent, LGBTQIA2S+, cyberbullying, and more from the curriculum. Secondary school curriculum hasn’t changed as much, fortunately, but I’m still concerned about what they might change it to.

Fortunately, there are people who have the province’s children’s best interests at heart, and Nadine Thornhill, Ed.D, is one of those.

She is a sex educator, and while her website has workshops for parents and teachers, her YouTube channel has videos for free. #savesexed are her videos specifically for students in primary, intermediate, and secondary schools, although the rest of her videos are great as well.

#savesexed is Nadine Thornhill’s YouTube series geared towards students in the Ontario school board. Image from www.youtube.com.

Ontario’s government might be stuck in the past, but together, we can work together for our future.


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

Devices of Desire (Serial Story) Chapter 9

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8


Chapter 9: Royals, Snakes, and an Easy Rescue

The lost Prince walked through the doorway spell and with a cocky smirk said, “Hello Sister, I knew you couldn’t resist opening my present.”

“Still copying my work I see.” The Princess seemed completely unimpressed or did a great job of faking it.

“Why mess with genius? Come now, big sis. Your work has paved the way for a whole new world.” He waved at the portal behind him.

She looked like she was going to reply but before she had the chance the Prince whipped his head towards Ezekiel and screamed, “KNEEL BEFORE YOUR BETTERS, FOOL.”

Ezekiel didn’t remember falling to his knees but suddenly they hurt and he was looking down. If felt like his mind was being squeezed by a pillow. Similar to the time he had too much to drink after a gig and woke up semi-naked in an alley.

The two royals talked about something, but Ezekiel couldn’t hear anything other than a thrumming in his ears. He concentrated on getting control of his mind and body. He struggled and forced all he could, but the more he fought the more the spell tightened.

Knowing that he couldn’t fight it he gave up and let the spell take hold. He concentrated on being as calm and relaxed as possible. After a while he could feel the slimy tendrils of the spell slipping around him. The spell was designed to constrict but when it was faced with relaxation and acceptance it just slipped off.

Singing a song in his mind, he imagined it as water that would wash away the slime. It worked and he was able to move.

Things had changed. The room had been turned upside down. All the science and magic tools had been tossed around like a tornado had passed through. Both the Princess and the Prince were gone and there was a half dozen demon bodies strewn around the, still open, magical doorway. The Princess’s long single bladed sword was sticking out of one of the demons.

There was no sound, but Ezekiel ran to the workbench to see if the Princess was on the other side. She wasn’t, but there was a piece of paper with blood on it and a word. The word was Gaboon.

“What does that have to do with anything?”

About a year previous Didi had finished upgrading all the Apollo ships with the self-repairing balloons. A large shipment of Gaboon snakes collided with another ship. It should have only destroyed one but it destroyed both. He’d read the reports and it turned out that the snake’s venom had anticoagulant properties which caused the balloons to stop being able to heal themselves. He guessed that the Princess must have read the same report.

The Princess talked a lot as she worked and Ezekiel had found himself falling into the same half-listening habit he’d developed with Didi. There was so much technical jargon and babbling that he only half listened. One thing he did hear was that the blood in the demons healed like the airships. Which meant the Gaboon venom would stop their healing. Too bad there weren’t any snakes in the lab.

Looking around he saw a large glass cabinet that had been turned over. When he lifted it he saw that it was filled with vials of different chemicals. He grabbed a pair of heavy gloves and sorted through them. He found three bottles that were marked Gaboon one through three. Unfortunately one and two had smashed when the cabinet fell.

He took the last bottle and grabbed the Princess’s sword and ran through the portal.

He’d expected a hell scape, desert, or something horrible but it was just a stone room. The room had thirteen walls and a throne in the centre. Each of the walls had a doorway like the one he’d come through except for one that seemed to go into a corridor.

“Hello?” he said tentatively. He didn’t want to attract attention but he needed to find the Princess.

“Help me!” he heard a cry from the hallway and ran towards it.

Laying under a giant hulking demon the princess struggled to get free. Ezekial did his best to move the mountain of green muscle but it was much too large. As he pushed he saw the wounds closing and the demon rolled off the Princess.

“Let’s get out of here, Mr. Apollo, before he awakens,” she said standing up and wobbling. “My leg… it think it’s broken. Can you help me walk?”

Putting his arm under hers he helped her get to the doorway. Once through the gate, she waved her hand and cast a spell to close the door. He was impressed that she’d worked out the spell so quickly, but everyone always said she was a genius.

She leaned heavily on him and he saw her hair was matted with blood. “We should get you to a healer,” he said expecting her to argue.

“Take me to my chambers, we’ll ask someone to get a healer on the way.”

They didn’t talk much on the way, other to ask someone to get a healer. He was in pain; even though she wasn’t heavy, the way she leaned on him put a lot of pressure on his artificial leg. Even with the impressive prosthetic that Didi had made for him he still was putting a lot of weight on his stump.

They reached her chambers at the same time as a healer and the Princess pushed him out of the room and said, “Thank you, Mr. Apollo. I’m sure you’re very busy goodbye.”

Read Next (October 2018)


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

The Importance of Quiet Moments

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The fourth novel in my Elizabeth Investigates series is kicking my butt. I thought I had everything planned out and set up. I was wrong. As I wrote I kept feeling like I was going too fast. I hit a wall about a month ago and instead of trying to find a solution I flirted with another book idea.

Writing isn’t a hobby so much as an obsession. When I’m writing, my mind is consumed with what’s going to happen. I think about scenes in the shower and I play out dialogue on the bus.

When the obsession stops being productive or switches stories my writing stops.

It’s an extremely frustrating feeling not knowing what to do to make the story move forward without becoming derivative or dumb.

My Daughter has appended her bedtime routine. It’s shortened and removed the last GOPEE! Instead now she says, “Wake up… Papa! Wake up… Papa.” It’s followed by, “Sing” and after her two songs (Goodness I’d missed holding her and singing.) and finally by “SIT!?”

So I sit there for ten minutes whiles she goes to sleep. Not every night, but it goes better when I do.

In those ten minutes she’s pretending to sleep, my wife is in bed, and I have nothing to do but think. Those quite moments are slowly helping me understand what to do next. I have some good ideas now, but the next 2/3rds of the novel have changed a dozen times. It’s amazing how much just stopping and thinking has helped.

If you’re stuck in your writing, try shutting yourself off from distractions and letting your mind go over the story. Like all writing advice, your mileage may vary.

Later Days,

Éric

Guest post: 5 James Bond Travel Destinations

This is a guest post. All content, images, and links were supplied by a contributor. This was not written by JenEric Designs nor are any links endorsed or verified by us. It is however a very interesting post with fun facts.

Enjoy!


According to Hollywood, spies travel the world like no other. Not only do they get to go to all kinds of exotic destinations, from tropical beaches to non-existent moon bases, but they tend to do so dressed sharply, without needing to pay for much, while sipping cocktails and rendezvousing with gorgeous members of the opposite sex. Not a bad lifestyle, but then that’s why it’s fantasy (I think – if any of you are globetrotting spies and find the cinematic experiences to be accurate, drop a line in the comments).

At any rate, no fictional character enjoys spy-style travel quite like James Bond. The MI-6 agent otherwise known as 007 has been all over the world and has looked impossibly suave doing it, all resulting in the fact that plenty of Bond fans would love to follow the spy’s footsteps. Lo and behold, I’ve put together a guide for how to do so, or at least a list of some of the best Bond-related destinations to consider visiting.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to pack your best jet pack and laser watch!

1. Khao Phing Kan, Thailand

Would you buy it if I told you there were a place called James Bond Island? Well, it’s not official, so perhaps you’d be right not to. But Khao Phing Kan (and its sister island Ko Khao Phing Kan) in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand are actually loosely known by that name. That’s because they appeared in The Man With The Golden Gun, and hosted an iconic beach duel between Bond and his nemesis Francisco Scaramanga. Evidently, the islands’ original names are rarely used by the locals, which in a way makes this the Bond tourism destination. As you might imagine it’s become a bit of a hot spot, but it’s not as if it’s teeming with commercial development. You’re still in for a remote, beautiful Thailand beach escape.

2. Istanbul, Turkey

As far as major cities are concerned, Istanbul may be the quintessential Bond location, so long as we aren’t counting London. In a way this makes perfect sense. The city famously sits between two continents and has historically been an important crossroads – which suits a series that famously treks all over the world and involves all kinds of different cultures. Bond showed up in the city in Skyfall (Daniel Craig), The World Is Not Enough (Pierce Brosnan), and From Russia With Love (Sean Connery), and left a veritable guidebook of landmarks for fans to follow. There’s the Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, and the Basilica Cistern for instance. However, don’t miss out on more general Istanbul attractions while you’re there. This is a fascinating city full of awesome things to see and do. Additionally, make sure to try the local tea (sometimes offered as a friendly gesture) and the lamb preparation known as kofte.

3. Bahamas

The Bahamas are most closely associated with recent Bond films, given that Daniel Craig spent time there in Casino Royale However, speaking more broadly, Bond has frequented the Caribbean, and you can soak up lots of that classic atmosphere at this island nation. Another perk here is that it’s one Bond destination where you can enjoy one of his favorite activities (and one that’s all over Casino Royale) in casino gaming. This is becoming less of a tourist draw around the globe, with online and mobile gaming taking over. Says one Canadian guide to the topic, gambling on mobile devices have been steadily rising with each passing year, which can make it less necessary in person. But would Bond play poker on a mobile phone? I don’t really think so, but stacking chips at a beachside casino in the Bahamas is different, and can make you feel quite a bit like 007.

4. Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como has a whole lot going for it. Yes, it’s beautiful enough to have been invented as a utopia in a fantasy novel. Yes, George Clooney summers there. But most importantly for any self-respecting Bond nerd (I’m certainly in that club), this is where Craig’s Bond wound up at the end of Casino Royale. Remember when he wakes up with Vesper watching over him on a balcony straight out of your imagination of what Heaven must look like? That’s a villa (Villa La Gaeta) right on the edge of Lake Como. It’s not exactly memorable for any Bond-like action, but if you get the chance to relax anywhere close to this you might be able to replicate a rare moment of peace and serenity from our favorite double-o.

5. Hong Kong

Roger Moore actually shot in Hong Kong, though the character of Bond has appeared there multiple times (in You Only Live Twice, The Man With The Golden Gun, and Die Another Day). And truth be told, the city hasn’t produced many of the most memorable scenes of 007 lore. Nevertheless, this same lore gives you a good excuse to check the city out, and it happens to be a popular favorite tourist destination in the world for a lot of regular travelers. I will say this: Pierce Brosnan’s escape from boat captivity straight into Victoria Harbor does give you some excellent glimpses of the city at night, which is enough to make you want to visit. Just don’t jump into the water like he did!


Are you interested in travelling like James Bond? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial