Results: 2018 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The Votes are in and everything is over but the writing.

The genre will be a Fantasy-Romance. I take it that you’ve enjoyed the romance elements from my previous serial stories since you as a group keep voting for it. The mood will be Comedy of Errors. Lots of mistaken identities, misheard information, and sill misunderstandings. The setting will be Steampunk and the main characters will be special humans.

My influences for this story are going to be The Comedy of Errors, Star Wars, The Three Musketeers, Warehouse 13, and The Librarians

This should be an interesting year.

The Devices of Desire

The island of Cillian is the technological and magical jewel of the world. It is the seat of the richest merchants, the most revered royal family, and the most dangerous fighting monks.

Artemis studied fighting with the greatest hero in the world but craved the knowledge that only the Fighting Monk order of Dumas could teach. Unfortunately they only teach men. That didn’t stop her and she disguised herself to get in.

Diana is the princess of Cillian and is ready to take over for her ailing father. She is loved by all her subjects but they don’t know that she’s also the inventor of half the new technomagic discoveries coming from Cillian. Unfortunately she has to disguise herself to do, and sell, her work.

Ezekiel is the heir to the Apollo Shipping Company fortunes. He hates everything to do with being a merchant and disguises himself to follow his true passion; Music.

Things get complicated when the Oracle of Espenson arrives and confuses Artemis in disguise for Ezekiel, Diana in disguise for Artemis, and Ezekiel in disguise for Diana’s long lost twin brother.

Look for the first Chapter in by the end of January.

Later Days,

Éric

Blush: Nursing

Nursing vs breast feeding

You might think that these two terms are the same, and for myself, they are. However, there are people who do not identify as female, and using the term “breast feeding” might generate a feeling of dysphoria in them. So I am trying to use the term “nursing” universally.

Nursing vs formula

I chose to nurse Dragon, rather than to use formula. For multiple reasons, this was the best choice for us. On top of the doctors and nurses telling us that nursing was the only way to go (I felt bad for the woman in our baby classes who was choosing to formula feed. The nurse running the class was shaming her), it’s so much cheaper to nurse than to buy formula, and it’s much faster to feed the baby when nursing; shirt goes up, bra goes down, baby latches to the body.

While the woman in my class did choose to formula feed, there are many people who don’t get that choice and must use formula for a variety of reasons. No one should be shamed for their inability or choice when it comes to nursing.

The Beginning

Nursing was really confusing to start with, because I constantly felt like I was doing it wrong. Is she latching properly? Is she getting enough? How do I hold her? How can she breathe?

One of the major benefits of being at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital was that my nurse was someone that I’ve known since she was 3 years old. I felt very comfortable asking her for help. The QCH also has excellent lactation consultants. There are numerous places you can go to if you need additional resources as well, like ottawa.ca/prenatal, parentinginottawa.com, lllc.ca, breastfeedinginc.ca, ottawabreastfeeds.ca, and 311 during business hours to talk to a public health nurse. The QCH also offers nursing classes on certain days.

Fortunately, we figured things out fairly quickly, which I am grateful for, and my milk came in after about 48 hours, so Keladry didn’t lose much weight before she started gaining it again. There’s nothing like seeing the numbers on the scale drop to make you feel like you’re failing as a parent, and this happens right after birth.

Interesting things I discovered about nursing

There’s something called let-down that happens when the breasts fill with milk unexpectedly. (I say unexpectedly, because I am often surprised by it.) This happens after a certain amount of stimulation of the nipple. The amount of time required for this varies from person to person, and the amount of let-down varies as well. I’ve discovered that if I’m already full of milk, let-down causes some milk to escape, even if the baby is attached to the other side. I assume to see a problem here. I’ll come back to that.

Let-down can also happen if the baby hasn’t been fed in a while, if the baby cries, if another baby cries, if you think about the baby and are nowhere near the baby, etc.

So to get back to that problem. The problem of leaking. I find that I have this problem most often at night, because Keladry is a very good sleeper. If she has fed well enough before bedtime, she has slept 8 hours straight. Compare this to during the day, when I feed her every 4 hours or so. You can imagine that that extra 4 hours means that I am incredibly full. I’ve had several incidents of waking up with a soaking wet pyjama top.

Solution:

nursing-padssmall

Nursing pads! I commissioned these from Crafty What-Knots, and OMG they are the most comfortable things of life! The pad on the bottom left (the purple one) is showing the inside. It is a super soft material that I want to rub constantly, and it is incredibly absorbent. There is an inner layer that is extra absorbent. Then the backing…the awesome backing that is the reason you should get your nursing pads from Crafty What Knots; I told her that I loved all things geeky, and she found me Avengers, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Minion fabric!! The backing protects my clothing by locking the wet inside the pad.

I am so impressed by these pads – they’re big enough that my shifting around at night doesn’t move them (which was my problem before), and they’re exactly what I wanted. (She can do non-geeky fabrics, too, if that’s what you want.)


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

Little Rey

One of the first costumes we saw on the Friday of Ottawa Comic Con was this one, and did it ever start the weekend off right! She’s perfect!

IMG_20160513_132128small

Come out to CON Creative Ottawa Nerds tomorrow!! You are completely welcome to cosplay, and the crocheted TARDIS will be available for pictures. 😀

Ireland

The beautiful Emerald Isle (which I went to a workshop about on Thursday last week, incidentally) is an excellent place to visit if you’re interested in Fandom Travel.

Doonagore Castle is situated on a hill about half way between the village of Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher on the County Clare coast. The castle is a round tower house with a small courtyard enclosed by a defensive wall. With its elevated position overlooking Doolin Point, the castle serves as a navigational landmark for boats approaching Doolin Pier. West of Ireland , Doolin. Image from travelandleisure.com
Doonagore Castle is situated on a hill about half way between the village of Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher on the County Clare coast.
The castle is a round tower house with a small courtyard enclosed by a defensive wall. With its elevated position overlooking Doolin Point, the castle serves as a navigational landmark for boats approaching Doolin Pier. West of Ireland , Doolin. Image from travelandleisure.com

Galway Film Fleadh

This is Ireland’s leading film festival, and 2016 is its 28th year! It runs from July 5 – 10, 2016 in Galway, Ireland. And while you’re there, you might as well check out a bunch of other really cool places!

Castles

I don’t care who you are, if you say you don’t like castles, you’re lying. Ireland is full of castles, many of which have been turned into hotels.

Vikings

The popular TV series Vikings  is shot on location in Ireland, around the Dublin area.

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

 

Skellig Michel. Image from irishtimes.com
Skellig Michael. Image from irishtimes.com

The scene at the end of the movie was filmed on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Skellig Michael, an island located six miles off the coast of Ireland, to the Southwest. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Game of Thrones

The ever popular Game of Thrones TV show in Northern Ireland, and near Belfast. There are many tours that will show you around the sets, and you can even join a cosplay tour! It will really make you feel immersed in the books.

There are tons of other movies filmed in Ireland, and many different options of tours, either hosted or on your own, that you can take. Let me help you plan your trip. It would really be my pleasure! (And then I will beg you for pictures afterwards…) Contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

Blush: Condoms

So far we have received almost three digits worth of questions, but I’m greedy, and I want more! Ask us your anonymous questions here!

Star Wars condoms? Why not? Image from mic.com
Star Wars condoms? Why not? Image from mic.com

Question

Who should buy condoms? When should they be bought?

Answer

You should buy condoms when you and your partner are ready to have sex.

But…should the boy or the girl buy the condoms?

Did I mumble?

How many times have I heard this question? Too many to count, in all its various forms. “The guy should buy the condom, because he doesn’t want to get the girl pregnant.” or “The girl should buy the condom, because she doesn’t want to get pregnant.”

This is frustrating for many reasons. One, this presumes that the hypothetical couple is heterosexual. Better to not assume. Two, it focuses only on the prevention of pregnancy. Sure, condoms are great for that. But they are used for so much more! Three, gender stereotyping is bothersome in all its forms!

And why is it so bad for both partners to buy condoms? Having too many is not a problem!

Condoms should be used as protection when you and your partner are unsure of your sexual pasts. Until you both get tested, even if it’s your first time, you cannot be certain that you are clean from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Protect both of you by using condoms.

Condoms are great for protecting against pregnancy if used properly, although pregnancy isn’t an issue for everyone.

If you are part of a couple and are planning on having sex, (where you and your partner have given enthusiastic consent) why not go shopping for condoms together? It can ramp up the anticipation, you get the right size, and the brand you both prefer.

If you plan on getting together with a one-night stand, (I’m not judging, have consensual fun as adults!) you should have a condom with you, whether you are a male or female. You can’t assume that your partner will have thought of it, or have the right size, or know that you have a latex allergy. (If you’re a homosexual female, condoms can still come in handy. Read here about how to transform one into a dental dam!)

If you’re allergic to latex, there are several options available:

  1. Polyurethane condoms
    • longer shelf life than latex condoms, no scent, not as sensitive to temperature
    • transfer heat between skin and condom better
    • thinner, and less elastic, so you should use water or silicone based lube to avoid breakage
    • Trojan Supra is one such condom
  2. Polyisoprene condoms
    • synthetic latex material that does not produce the allergen
    • stretchier and more resistant to breakage
    • pair well with water and silicone based lubricants, but DO NOT use oil based
    • Lifestyles SKYN is one such condom
  3. FC2 female condom
    • strong, thin, flexible nitrile sheath
    • fits inside the woman before sex
      • note: I have not read anything about anal use for these condoms. Not recommended.
    • will fit any size of penis
    • FC2 is one such female condom
  4. Natural skin condoms
    • also known as sheep skin condoms
    • these condoms are NOT good enough to prevent STIs, as they are very porous, but will prevent pregnancy
    • completely biodegradable
    • transfers heat well, and can barely feel it
    • note: an odour is noticeable from these condoms, as they are made from an animal byproduct
    • Trojan NaturaLamb is one such condom

Use only one condom at a time. Two condoms, even one male and one female, will cause friction and break. Not can, will.

Also, when you are done with your condom, please throw it out in the garbage!

Story time! When my husband and I first moved into our house a year and a half ago, we noticed that the master bathroom sink was leaking. We finally found the source of the leak: the stopper had scraped its way through the metal of the pipe at the back! We bought a new pipe and stopper and replaced it (with my dad’s help). When we took out the old pipe, we found a very old, blackened condom that hadn’t been able to get past the stopper and was blocking the pipe! Gross!

Moral of the story is: throw your condoms in the garbage, NOT down the sink or in the toilet! If you’re trying to hide its use from your parents/kids/friends, you should buy Blush: A Card Game when it comes out, to open communication lines and remove the taboo surrounding sex! But seriously, if you’re trying to hide the evidence, wrap it in a tissue and stuff it in the bottom of the garbage can.

While you’re checking out condoms, check out the cool new Star Wars condoms! Are you a Sith or a Jedi? Either way, protect yourself!


References

http://www.yourtango.com/experts/lucky-bloke/4-fantastic-alternatives-latex-condoms-expert
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/stis-stds/how_do_i_protect_myself_from_stis_stds/male-condom
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/stis-stds/how_do_i_protect_myself_from_stis_stds/female-condom
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/en/health-care-professionals/contraception-birth_control_methods/condoms

BIG Coffee News!

Good News!

My wife and I, sat down and calculated how well we were doing with coffee.

We’ve sold a lot of coffee but until we sat and calculated cost vs profit there was no way of knowing if we were losing money.

After a little over a year and eight conventions we’re making more money then we’re spending on coffee. It’s not a lot more but enough to justify continuing.

So we will have coffee beans available for Ottawa Comic Con, Creative Ottawa Nerds Craft Fair, and possible Geek Market.

What’s Next?

There were two choices for the future. Either we continue the way we have or we expand production and try to streamline our process. We’ll be going with option two and expanding our production.

It’s a risk but hopefully, with your help, it’ll pay off.

What does that Mean?

It means selling more coffee and being smart about it.

Buying in bulk

This year we’ve been buying what we need for each convention and nothing more. However the more you buy of something the cheaper it becomes. This year has proven that there’s a demand for good flavoured coffee and I can stop worrying about ending up with useless supplies. (I hope)

Roaster

Currently it takes me, depending on the roast, 7-12 minutes per 100g bag of coffee. If you consider that on average we make roughly 25 bags that size and 40 smaller bags. That means it takes me roughly 5+ hours for a moderately sized con.

My hopes are to buy a roaster on Boxing Day. The roaster I want can roast 900g per batch and will take around 15-20 minutes per batch. It should also allow for a more even roast and a darker dark roast.

Core Flavours

I need your help.

I want to have a core amount of flavours that will always be available at a convention. I was thinking one of each kind of roast (Light, Medium, or Dark.

Please vote below on your favourite of each category and between that and demand I’ll decide on the core flavours.

Light

Favourite Ligth Roast

  • Coconut - Jack Coco'Oneill (44%, 7 Votes)
  • Butter Rum - Spiked Coffee (38%, 6 Votes)
  • Banana - Minion Coffee (19%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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Medium

Favourite Medium Roast

  • Chocolate - Davroast (44%, 7 Votes)
  • Peanut Butter - Jabba the Peanut (38%, 6 Votes)
  • Raspberry - Red Pill (19%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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Dark

Favourite Dark Roast

  • Cinnamon - Raktajino (100%, 15 Votes)
  • Key Line - Key Lime PI (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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Future Ideas

Below are a series of options for possible future coffee products. Please vote.

Decaf

Would you buy decaf versions of our coffee?

  • No (60%, 9 Votes)
  • Maybe (27%, 4 Votes)
  • Yes even if a little more expensive (13%, 2 Votes)
  • Yes but ionly at the same price (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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Grinder

Would you buy a grinder?

  • No (40%, 6 Votes)
  • Maybe (27%, 4 Votes)
  • Yes (Branded JenEric Gourmet Coffee) (20%, 3 Votes)
  • Yes (With Geeky themes) (13%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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Unflavoured

Would you buy regular unflavoured coffee? (Still Geeky themed and Fair Trade / Organic)

  • Yes at the same price (36%, 5 Votes)
  • No (29%, 4 Votes)
  • Maybe (21%, 3 Votes)
  • Yes at a cheaper price only (14%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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Now I’m going to go make myself a coffee. Thank you for all your help!

Éric

Norway

Norway is a beautiful country full of geeky opportunities. Tons of movies were filmed there, including “Empire Strikes Back” (in Finse), “Die Another Day”, “Eight Below”, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra”, and “Captain America: The First Avenger” (in Svalbard), parts of “Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince” (in Rauma), “Ex Machina” (in Norddal and Luster), and “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows” (in Mardalsfossen). Of course, “Vikings” was shot in many locations in Norway, including Sokndal, Bjerkreim, Gjesdal, Forsand, Aurland, and Stranda.

Note: Svalbard is an island much further North of the continent, and would probably be a trip all on it’s own.

And that’s not even counting Oslo, Norway’s capital. One of the best comic book stores exists there: Outland. They have everything you could possibly want, including Lego, board games, comic books (obviously), and collectibles.

Akershus Fortress is also located in Oslo. It was used as the model for Arendelle’s castle in Frozen, and Norway’s building in Epcot is a replica of the Fortress.

Akershus Fortress picture from www.visitolso.com
Akershus Fortress picture from www.visitolso.com

For History buffs, Norway is an amazing place to visit. They have museums, carvings, and historical centres all over the place. I read through this website, a mom and her six year old son’s trip to Norway was beautifully written.

She also writes about eight haunted places in Norway that you must visit. They have a Ghost Walk similar to the Haunted Walk in Ottawa!

Let’s not forget that Disney’s Cruise Line Magic has a “Frozen” themed cruise to Norway as well. See Norway with that Disney magic thrown in!

Anna and Elsa from Disney Cruise Line www.disneyparks.disney.go.com
Anna and Elsa from Disney Cruise Line www.disneyparks.disney.go.com

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