Éric’s Conspiracy Theory Theory

Hello Imaginary Friends,

The world is a scary place right now. Other than the virus that has killed over 350,000 people worldwide and left countless others with life-long side effects; there are other things going on.

Some countries have taken this worldwide emergency as a great time to trample over civil-rights. I’m talking about China, the Saudi state, and Russia. The lockdown is hurting people. Joblessness is hurting people.

And the world will be different when this whole thing is over. Whether it’s for better or worse is yet to be seen.

It’s completely understandable that people are scared. It’s that fear that has driven people to believe in the most ridiculous things.

Image of Benjamin Franklin and the quote, “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead. “

I’ve stated before that human intellect is based on pattern recognition and that leads to a biasing effect. We want to see the patterns and we want to see that the world is organized and controlled, therefore controllable.

It’s hard for those most fearful to accept that the universe is random and sometimes bad things happen for no reason. It’s easier to believe that Bill Gates wants to GPS tag everyone so he created the virus than believe that poor conditions in animal markets might be to blame.

In these trying times, it’s important that we keep vigilant and listen to the experts. Read and watch with critical thought. Here’s some more advice from me four years ago.

Be Kind, Be Aware, and WASH YOUR HANDS!

Éric

Why no extra content on JenEric Designs?

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Some of my favourite creators are doing extra stories, readings, podcasts, and all kinds of awesome stuff. S. M. Carrière is doing live streams of her guitar playing (seriously cool). She’s also reading her works over on youtube.

Seeing as I tend to express my emotions and work thoughts through my writing, you’d expect that I’d be doing something extra… or possible “extra” as the kids say.

Fortunately for me and my little family, I’m an essential worker (from home) with the federal government. That means I’m pretty much working 8:30 to 4:30. Trying to do work with a baby and a child isn’t always easy, but it is doable. Some of the reports and documents I work on are legislated and must come out even this tiny-pocalypse. That means I’ve actually done overtime this week.

Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t give me much time to create or write. Honestly, I’m struggling to get everything I’m doing done, but I’ll get used to it and production will go up. But there won’t be extra awesome content.

However, there are plenty of amazing people doing great things. Those small businesses and creators that are doing these things need your support. Help them out by buying stuff, becoming a patron, buying them a coffee, or donating to their art. They need the money and more than that, it’ll let them know that someone cares enough about their products and art to give them money for it.

Stay home, wash your hands, and support artists;

Éric

Covid-19 and Me

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been pretty silent about the state of the world the past few weeks. Part of that was being overwhelmed and part of that was being busy.

Ottawa called for people to start self-isolating and working from home starting March 16th. My first day of work after just over eight months of parental leave was the 18th of March. I work for the government in a communications area so I’m considered essential.

I’ve been dealing with going back to work (although I do enjoy working from home), a baby that is teething (AKA not sleeping well), the pandemic, and everything that entails.

My family is in a good place. We have a house, I have a job that will continue to pay me (barring some sort of pheonix crap), and we’re all pretty used to being at home. Our house is filled with movies, games, books, and comfy furniture.

The kids are still too young for school and like I said, I just finished ~8 months of parental leave so we’re all kind of used to being at home. I do miss having people over for D&D, movies, and to chat. I miss going to the cinema, and going for walks with the kids to Walmart or the park. My daughter and wife miss church and we all miss our conventions.

Those are minor inconveniences and I know we are extremely lucky.

My wife asked me to cut her hair. This was right before.

It’s still been hard. I’ve felt like I was on high alert for the past three weeks. I’ve felt terrified while shopping and I’m scared for my friends and family.

I’m starting to calm down but I’m still teary and worried.

This will become normal and when things get better we’ll have hopefully spared much death and heartache.

The implications of what this will change in our world are staggering and a little scary. But that’s another post all together.

Stay home and wash your hands!

Éric

I’m fairly certain I’m still alive

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I really need to learn that I have to take time off after a convention. They drain me like crazy. After can*con I was exhausted. So what did I decide to do? Do a full week of work and then spend the weekend hosting. I cooked a full turkey dinner on Saturday and brunch for 10 on Sunday.

Monday was rough, Tuesday was worse, and Wednesday I crashed. I was dizzy and nauseated and slept until 11.

I’m feeling better today, mostly, but still a little dizzy, and I’m back at work.

So here’s an update for things and stuff:

Coffee

Things are going well. I’ll be doing some roasting this weekend and/or next weekend to make enough for Ottawa Comic-Con Holiday Edition. We have one more holiday fair after that and we get into holiday quiet time.

It’s been a great year for coffee and I appreciate everyone’s support.

NaNoWriMo

No… Nope… I really shouldn’t… Well fine.

I’ll be doing a modified NaNoWriMo this year to finish Paragenesis: The Copper Tarnish; I have another 20-30 thousand words to write and it’ll be ready for submission.

Everdome

If you’re not excited about it… I am. I have a contract with Renaissance and I’m hoping to get the first edits early next year.

I’m hoping to send this one out to my favourite Urban and Fantasy writers to get a blurb.

This is by far my best book and the easiest to make into an epic movie or TV show… hint hint… Netflix, Amazon, HBO, CBC? Anyone?

FADDS

Most of my projects I write, edit, pass on; but not FADDS. I’ve been editing and fixing this thing for the better part of 8 years. It’s only gotten better.

The first 10 levels are completely balanced and well done. The higher levels I’ll be playtesting this January.

If you’re interested in joining a regular group in 2019, let me know.

Dragon

She’s still fantastically cute and occasionally infuriating.

Well that’s most of the news.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Dear Dragon – I’m Sorry

Hello Dragon,

You’re half way here. Right now you’re swimming around in your mother as if you were a fish. I can’t feel you move yet, but she does, and it somehow makes you more real.

Dragon19-weeks02

We found out that you’re going to be a girl. At least, your sex designation at birth will be girl.

I have never doubted that I wanted to have you; even when you were a small probability in the far future. I always wanted you. That doesn’t mean I haven’t worried about bringing you into this world.

We (humans) as a race are capable of such horrible things. I will tell you it’s because of fear, insecurity, or sickness, but sometimes it just seems inexplicable. Nothing in all of history has killed more humans than humans themselves. When we don’t attack each other physically, we do it with our minds and words. The world is filled with people who want to make themselves feel better by bringing someone down.

I’m sorry for everything you will have to go through because of other people. Every parent wants to protect their child and hopes these things won’t happen.

There is good in this world though. There is beauty. (and ice cream!) For every terrible thing in this world that humans have created, there is something beautiful. They don’t balance themselves out, but the beauty can help. Music, art, literature, architecture, and science can help you recover. Life is not easy and as a girl it’ll be a little harder.

There are two things I want you to remember. The first is that there’s always hope, as long and you can find the beauty in the world. I will never have to look far for it, as long as I have you and your mother. You are my hope.

The second thing I want you to remember is something I will repeat over and over. Your mother and I love you and we’ll always be there for you when you need it. Life isn’t always fair, humans aren’t always kind, and you will have terrible days; but we will ALWAYS be there for you; even if it’s only in these letters.

Enjoy swimming around and try to stop kicking that nerve that makes your mother uncomfortable.

I love you, Baby Dragon,

Your worried Father

Basic Update – July 14

The morning heat rushed to embrace me as I left the house. Its touch was warm and soothing to start but quickly it started to suffocate me. As I walked the short walk to the bus the heat threw a blanket of humidity over everything and made the world feel and look like it was under water, without the soothing liquid.

That’s not the start of a story, it’s just my morning commute… blarg. I hate heat. Fall is my favourite season. Give me 5-15 degrees Celsius and I’m happy. I realize it’s only been a few days of 30 degree weather but I’m not a fan.

Other than the heat my weeks are busy with multiple big projects at work, tweaking FADDS from player feedback, and trying to get some writing done. With the constant urgencies at work I’m starting to feel like I’m falling behind on my writing. I think it may be time to start writing at night again. (Yeah I know I was spoiled.)

FADDS is coming around really well. My two major blocks were Magical items and Villains. Last week in the shower I figured out magic items cost and creation.

Villains, Monsters, Fiends, Challenges, opponents, adversaries, bad guys, etc. whatever you want to call them they’re essential to role playing games. My biggest issue with most games is their lack of instructions for making a villain that isn’t a player class. Sometimes I like to have an insanely awesome rat fight my high level characters. Without making it really big or giving it class levels.
On the flip side as a game master I really don’t want to spend 1 hour or more making a monster that my players will ignore or kill in under 30 seconds.

So the challenge I have is creating a two tiered system, one for genuine big-bads and one for the challenging but quick monsters. All without players knowing the difference.

Building a game system is difficult but really exciting. I’ve spent so many hours in front of a screen that I can say with authority, get yourself computer glasses. I love the feeling I get when everyone is having fun and the game is moving forward. It’s great.

Éric

The 16th of September, 2039

Hello,

I have skills, but sometimes I feel utterly useless when it comes to the working world. There aren’t a lot of full time jobs for Layout Artists, which means there’s little to no advancement. I have a good job and I’m good at it, but both the public service and private industry are moving away from print layouts and going straight to website. It’ll take a while before I’m completely obsolete, but it is inevitable.

I got my Pension Statement today. I can retire in 2039 with penalties or 2044 without penalties. I’m lucky that I was hired before they bumped the retirement age by 5 years. So in theory, I’ll be able to retire between 56-61 years of age. Those numbers are scary for me; both my parents died before 60. My plan is to live until 90 so I can yell at kids to get off my space lawn, see the 200th anniversary of confederation, and the 100th anniversary Doctor Who special.

My dream is to make enough money from writing and freelance work to never need to retire. I want to love my work so much that I’ll gladly keep going until I can’t anymore. I’ve been at this seriously for just over 5 years now. It’s a slow business but I’ve:

  • written 5.5 novels,  four of them that I’m proud of;
  • updated my blog regularly for 2 years.;
  • written dozens of stories;
  • designed two role playing games;
  • received rejections from 8 book agents, 3 book publishers, and a dozen magazines or anthologies
  • received one conditional acceptance from a book publisher;
  • made lots of friends that understand (and some that don’t);
  • and drank enough coffee to fill several Olympic pools.

I have a lot going for me, but sometimes it’s important to list the things I’ve done, if only to prove to myself that I haven’t been idle or wasteful.

One of the issues with writing, or any other creative calling, is the constant fear that you’re wasting your time. Even when you succeed it’s not perfect.

It’s not always easy to have faith, especially when the odds always seem against you. I know I’m a good writer and I know my stories are fun. All I can do it keep working and hope for the best.

I’ll get there! (Hopefully before 2039)

Thank you, my imaginary and not so imaginary friends, for everything, but mostly thank you for listening.

 

In what dramatic way would you quit your job if you could?

Éric

Stressed is Desserts Backwards. Cake for Everyone!

Good Morning my Imaginary Friends,

I bought antacids today. I only get heartburn for three reasons, Sickness, Coconut Oil, or stress.

Stress is one of the hardest things to deal with. It changes the way a person thinks, acts, and feels, which is one of the main reason why people opt for pharmaceutical grade cbd as it numbs their sensory nerves and their pain receptors.

A lot of people talk about dealing with stress. I’m fairly certain the people who say that have no idea what stress really feels like. Unfortunately stress is completely subjective. What causes stress, how it affects you, and how much you can handle changes from person to person.

As if stress wasn’t troublesome enough it loves to feed off of other conditions. Anxiety can make stress so much worse that it’s almost paralyzing. Click here for some options how you should deal with your anxiety.

So why am I stressed? It’s the end of the fiscal year for work and things are crazy. I’ve been told several times this month (Yeah the past 5 days) that my job is useless and unnecessary. I’ve also been told several times that I’m doing it wrong. Always from clients, my coworkers and bosses are awesome and stand up for me but it still hurts and makes every project a trial. (Let’s not think of the self-doubt comments like that cause.)

Because work has been insane I also haven’t had the chance to write regularly. Stress means I don’t sleep well which means I have a harder time reading. It’s a vicious cycle. I have a four day weekend starting tomorrow that will help relax me.

When you’re stressed people will give you advice and platitudes. I know because it’s what I want to do. Remember that they aren’t trying to make you feel bad they’re just feeling helpless and want to help. The best way to show your support for someone who is stressed is to tell them you’re there for them. A hug helps if you’re both ok with that.

Stress is part of life and I don’t have any magic spell to get rid of it. This time next month It’ll be over and I’ll feel better. untitled

What do you do to de-stress?

Live long and prosper my friends,

Éric

We’re a Team (Or why my Wife does the things I don’t want to.)

My wife went to New York last week and I was hit by the realization that I no longer have the complete skills it takes to survive alone.

Ok maybe I’m exaggerating but the fact that we’ve each specialized in certain tasks becomes more and more evident every year.

This might seems confusing or odd but when your partner is willing, and good, at doing something then it’s natural to let them do it. It frees your time and energy to do other things that you’re good at instead.

In a large group, my wife will do more talking that I will, no matter what group it is. She’s much better at approaching people at events.

On the flip side if we’re in a store I will automatically take the lead and speak with the staff.

There are countless other little things, like how she remembers people’s birthdays and reminds me.

This is an interesting phenomenon and makes me wonder if a lot of failed partnerships (romantic, business, friend, etc) are due to the fact that people don’t want to give up, or take, control of the same things.

Let’s say you ran a bakery and you loved kneading the bread but hated mixing it. If your partner was ok to mix it but wanted to knead it too, you’d have to compromise or tensions would be the only things rising. (Bread puns dough not get old.)

Maybe it’s not just about what comes naturally but what you’re willing to do even when you don’t want to.

Does this form of partnering, where you let the other do the stuff their better at, cause a loss of self or opportunities for self-discovery?

In theory it’s only by failing that we learn from our mistakes but if there’s someone there to help us prevent the mistakes does that mean we’re not learning? Does letting someone else remember all the details of Lord of the Rings make me less of a fan?

Good questions to ask. I obviously have a biased view. I think that having my wife do things that she’s good at, frees me up to do things I won’t be able too. Sometimes that ends terribly, like the time I decided to try and learn metal working (our poor table). And sometimes it ends well, like the time I decided to learn how to roast and flavour my own coffee (the end product is yummy, not sure if it’ll be profitable yet).

 

These are the types of things I think about while roasting coffee for 10+ hours.

Is there a task that your partner (business, Romantic, etc) takes care of that you’re extremely thankful you don’t need to do?

Eric

Being Happy.*Grumble*

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-diB65scQU&w=420&h=315]

You may not know it but I’m a grumpy man. Optimistic but grumpy. Our world is filled with great beauty and horrible things.

Lately I’ve noticed the #100HappyDays trend on my tumblr and facebook pages. I’m torn in my feelings for it. I do honestly believe that it’s important to see the beauty in life but I’m not sure if happy is necessarily the best thing.

What makes us happy, what we appreciate, and what enriches our lives isn’t always the same thing. The book, “The Fault in our Stars” didn’t make me happy but I saw the beauty in it and enjoyed it.

If you’re unhappy I certainly think you should look for the positive in your life.

Sometimes I like being unhappy, grumpy, or sad. It’s ok to feel bad. “Pain demands to be felt.”

I think this challenge encourages an unhealthy attitude. Being happy at all times is impossible. Therefore it will cause you to feel guilty for not being happy when you have every right to be upset.

Not to mention the self-editing that people would do with their pictures. “Oh I posted a picture of Coffee yesterday, Today I should do something else.” Or the critics, “Another picture of his/her food or children yuck.”

I fully admit that I might be wrong but it seems to me that instead of encouraging people to find the good in their life, it encourages people to fake happiness.

What do you think? Am I just an old grumpy flibbertigibbet?

Until later my Imaginary Friends,

Éric