Happy and letting others rant for me

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Letting Others do my Work

Today I don’t feel like ranting. I’ll let others do it for me:

On stupid comments and other stupidity: This Behaviour is Not OK! by S.M. Carrière

On a similar note, in that it includes retail customers: Maybe You Get Bad Customer Service Because You’re a Bad Customer By Matt Walsh

If you don’t want to read these two awesome posts, just remember that being nice to people in customer service shouldn’t be the exception. Also let them do their job without getting harassed sexually, verbally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.

Good Mood

I’m in a good mood. You might think from this blog that this is a huge exception and you’d be mostly right. I get worked up and protective a lot. Probably more than I should.

But today I’m happy. You might be asking why. It’s simple, spent last evening in a bookstore with my wife, a good friend, a baby, and a famous author. (There were a couple hundred other people too.)

Our Friend, K.R. asked us to go to a book signing with her. My wife said yes without even asking me (K.R. has an adorable baby boy and my wife can’t say no to being around babies) When I found out who the author was I was pretty excited.

I haven’t read anything by Diana Gabaldon but I had heard great things. Her Outlander Series is said to be one of the best Romance, Action, Adventure, Historical, Time Travel series ever.

I wasn’t expecting too much (Writing and public speaking aren’t skills that every writer has). She was hilarious, interesting, and intelligent. She probably has one of the coolest stories on how she got published (I’m Super jealous) and had no issue making “Men in Kilts” jokes.

The series is also partially inspired by Doctor Who and one of my favourite companions Jamie McCrimmon.

Overall it was a great talk, and a wonderful evening.

frazer14

Publishing

I’m still waiting on word from the publishers that I submitted my novel “A Study in Aether” to back in October. I’ve decided I’ll email again next week and if I don’t get a response from them by end of July, I’ll look into alternates. Every time I think about them I flip flop between three thoughts, “They hate it so much they don’t want to reply”; “They think its ok and are considering it but don’t know”; and “They completely forgot about it”.

Expect me to not mention this until end of July. Unless I get an email soon.

Once I get a response, if it’s a no, I’ll have to decide if I want to go back to submitting to agents, pay for an editor and resubmit to the other company that was so nice, or self-publish. Each one of those is scary for separate reasons.

 

Well that’s it for now.

Hope you’re having a great day.

Èric

Naked Models and Meat

Every year in Ottawa there is an event called Ribfest. It’s a festival, of sorts, with vendors from across North America who come and sell Ribs and Chicken. There is also a protest every year from groups like PETA.

This year’s PETA protest bothered me but not in the way they wanted it too.

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The concept is that they’re trying to make people realize that animals are similar to humans. They have the same parts and the same feelings. I’m not going to debate that. The protest’s intended message is lost in the “Sexy” aspect. People stopped to take pictures, people talked about it and a bunch of people sat nearby and watched the half-naked models while they ate their meat.

The message that seemed to be more prevalent from this protest, and what bothered me about it, was that women are just like animals. Instead of humanizing the animals they effectively dehumanized the models.

The naked people were all woman, all white, and all model shaped and sized. To the guys taking pictures and catcalling these models, they are effectively pieces of meat.

In my opinion the protest was misogynistic, and badly thought out. PETA loves to have nakedness in their protests. I know it’s done for shock value but I still think they’re missing their mark.

What do you think? Is it a thought provoking protest or something else?

Éric

***Edit for clarity: The models were all volunteers and members of PETA.

Recommendation Wednesday – Video Game High School

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8ScNjBd118&w=560&h=315]

A few weeks back a friend recommended I look up Video Game High School and I was instantly hooked.

My productivity was completely destroyed for two days as I plowed through the two seasons on Youtube.

The show has its issues but it’s a lot of fun to watch and extremely funny.

Go Enjoy!

Éric

Why I LOATH Strategic Voting

vote-300x251

Hello Imaginary Friends,

In this post I’ll be talking a bunch about Canadian and Ontarian politics but I think it should apply to any form of democratic elections.

What am I talking about

Over the past few years I’ve noticed a big push towards movements like ABC (Anything but Conservative). At first I thought it was a cool idea and something that would get people interested in voting.

It took a few years before I realized why it bugged me. It wasn’t until someone told me not to vote for a certain party because it would be “wasting my vote”. In Canada and Ontario, each electoral district has multiple candidates from different parties. There are only four parties that run candidates in each area across the province of Ontario. If you vote for a party that doesn’t have much chance of winning people will tell you that your vote is wasted.

When that person told me not to vote for a certain party (It was the one I was going to vote for by the way) I was insulted. It wasn’t because I’m deeply partisan and was insulted for my party. I don’t belong to a party and I probably never will. I was insulted because the person was saying my opinions didn’t matter. That’s a form of strategic voting and I’ve come to loath it.

Voting in the Real World

In a perfect world, everyone who can vote reads the political agendas and plans and vote according to their belief system. We don’t live in that world. In Canada and Ontario, less than 40% of people voted in the last federal and provincial elections.

That means if you ask 10 people on the bus (And they tell you the truth) if they voted, 6 of them would not have voted. So the party that won with 30% of the vote actually won with about 13% of the population who could vote.

What’s Strategic Voting

So it makes sense that when you have a Party, who is disliked you’d try to make sure they don’t get elected right? So let’s say the Darth Party is in power and their strongest political rival is the Vulcan party. You don’t like the politics of either but you’ll vote for the Vulcan party because you really don’t want to get the Darth party elected. You really preferred the politics of the Browncoat party but were told that they would never be elected and you didn’t want to waste your vote.

Guess what happens? The Browncoats get less votes and a party you didn’t believe in was elected. Maybe the Darths don’t win and you feel validated or maybe they do and you feel you’ve at least done your duty in fighting the Empire. It’s a false sense of accomplishment. Next election, after some stupid moves on the Vulcan’s part you realize they’re all scum and decide to vote Darth to make sure the Vulcan’s don’t get elected.

Why I Loath Strategic Voting

What you did was vote negatively. You didn’t vote for what you believed in, you voted against something you didn’t like.

Let’s say out of the 40% of people who voted, 5% of the 40% voted strategically instead of voting for what they believe in, we could theoretically have a completely different election result.

With the exception of some rare elections, especially in Canada, the deciding outcome is decided by a staggeringly small number of votes. And even the elections that look like they were complete unalterably wins are decided by a less than a hundred votes.

What’s my Point

In the short term, strategic voting sounds like the best policy, get Vader out of power and deal with the rest later. But it encourages an unhealthy way of looking at politics.

If you look at what’s happened the past 3-5 Federal Elections you’ll see the true cost of Strategic Voting. The political parties have decided that it’s more effective to paint their opposition as horrible monsters, or completely incompetent, than it is to have a well thought out platform.

Strategic voting is the best way to screw up the electoral process. All we end up with is a party we hated less than another.

Is that what you want? To always get something you sort of are ok with?

Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “The government you elect is government you deserve.”

Change can only happen if we trust in ourselves and each other to do the right thing, not just the least objectionable.

Well My Imaginary Friends, I firmly believe that we deserve to vote with our hearts and that in the long run it will not only make for better politics but for a better world.

What do you think?

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

Shame, Biking, and Sadness

Reading Shame

So the other day I read an article from a successful author, saying that it’s ok to read young adult literature but that you should still be ashamed of it. I raged and sputtered and beat my chest like some sort of primal monkey man and howled my anger. (It was just in my head but I was on the bus at the time.)

I had planned to give my usual rant at people being classist etc. but S.M. Carrière beat me to it and probably said it with more tact and finesse than I would have. Go read her response.

One quote that S.M. didn’t go into that had me frothing at the mouth late that night was this:

“Let’s set aside the transparently trashy stuff like Divergent and Twilight, which no one defends as serious literature. I’m talking about the genre the publishing industry calls ‘realistic fiction.’”

True I haven’t read Divergent and I loathe Twillight but to automatically dismiss two of the best selling novels in YA and then say that they are “Transparently Trashy” is not only harsh but sort of hint that she thinks all Speculative Fiction in the YA Genre isn’t serious literature. GAH!!!!

I might not be the best person to say this (seeing as I primarily write YA, Fantasy, and Scifi) but Spec-Fic and YA are great genres that exist to challenge our perception of the world. To say that they aren’t real literature is ignorant, classist, bullshit.

YA is a beautiful and clean pallet that allows an author to ignore and mix common story structures that wouldn’t be allowed in adult literature.

Writing

I restarted writing Parasomnia yesterday. I had taken May off of writing and I feel it was a good decision. I needed to remember why I love writing. As I get older I’m having a harder time adjusting to new things and moving/ buying a house threw off my groove. (The two horrible colds back to back didn’t help either.)

I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to get back into writing this novel but when I started yesterday the words just flowed out of me. It was a great feeling and one that has calmed me down.

It’s been 4 months since I last heard from the publishing company that said they’d get back to me soon. I emailed them last week but I’ve decided I’ll email their generic email at the end of this month and If I haven’t heard anything by my birthday (17th of July) I’ll contact the various editors that I’ve spoken too.

It’s frustrating because I’ve heard great things from this company and I really liked them in person but I’m a little sick of waiting and I feel like I’m being jerked around. I realise I’m about as important as a slug to them but… sigh.

If you’ve noticed I did something that I’ve never done before. I wrote a sequel to a “word of the day” story. Several people were very upset about not getting more story so I decided I’ll make it a random serial. Expect more from Felix in the future. Start here to read the story.

Biking

Another thing that went on the back burner while I was sick was biking. I had always told myself that if I lived in an area that connected to Ottawa’s awesome bike trails, I’d bike to work. Well I managed to bike in once and bike home once. It was HARD. Google maps said it would take 45 minutes but it took me close to an hour and a half and I was sticky, hot, and wobbly the rest of the day.

Almost immediately after I started the back of my knee started to hurt. So between the plague and my knee pain I haven’t done it again. I’m frankly terrified of it and that makes me sad.

I’m a big guy and I always have been. Even at my healthiest when I the hint of abs, I was 40 pounds heavier than what doctors say I should be. Since then I’ve gained more than I’d like, biking was supposed to be the fun and happy activity that would help me slim down and be happier.

I haven’t given up. I’ll talk to my doctor about the knee and if he gives his permission I’ll try to do it at least once a week.

Breaking Down is ok

A lot of people I know have issues with depression in early or late winter. I’m different; I struggle with it in spring and summer. I think it has something to do with my severe seasonal allergies and my hate of heat. It’s not normally that bad but the other day I broke down.

I mean a full breakdown, getting angry at my wife for an innocent comment, crying on the bus, deep-feeling of complete failure type of depression.

It was a bad day. The biking, the weight, the lack of success in writing (combined with the utter slowness of the industry) all made me want to curl up into a ball and make ugly sobbing noises.

The next day I felt better. Nothing much has changed since the breakdown but I feel hopeful.

Sometimes it’s important to let yourself feel the sadness in order to get over it. It’s healthy. I think.

It’s important to remember that you can’t be happy all the time. Sometimes you have to be sad and that’s ok.

 

That’s more than enough from me today. How do you deal with sadness?

Éric

The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis – Part Two

Start from the beginning!

To say that Felix was having a bad day was an understatement.

He’d gotten up that morning to go into work, finish a business meeting, and go home before anything silly happened. He hated his birthday, the first of April, all most as much as he hated prop comedy. This year was turning out to be particularly frustrating.

Sitting across from him was a professionally and symmetrical woman. His younger brother Dean, would have said she was “hot”. Felix preferred to think of her as surprisingly attractive. It was unfortunate that she was completely insane.

They were sitting in a dirty and disgusting fast food restaurant and she was trying to explain something but he wasn’t listening, he was too busy disinfecting their table.

Moments after she had shown him his apartment building in shattered pieces, presumably from a bomb of some sort, the police had arrived at his workplace. He was going to confront them about their audacity in accusing him of doing something so distasteful but Miss Eris had grabbed his arm and pulled him into the staircase.

“Those aren’t the real police,” she said smiling as if she was having the greatest time of her life.

“How can you possibly know that?” he had asked her trying to escape her iron grip. He wasn’t a strong man, more tall and lanky than anything, but her head barely reached his chest even though she wore ridiculously high heels. She shouldn’t be that strong.

“The patches on their shoulders say, ‘Poleece’” she replied calmly still smiling. When he looked into the small window of the stairway door he did, in fact, see that the officers had misspelled uniforms. Beyond Poleece, there was, Aweficer, and SeeTee of Otttawaa.

“That’s terrible,” he exclaimed.

“I know, they’re here to kill you,” she replied.

“No not that, the spelling. Someone should really correct them,” he moved towards the door and saw from the corner of his eye, one of the Aweficers pull out their firearm.

The rest of the morning was spent running around in a distasteful manner. When she had pulled him into a fast food restaurant he’d sneered but sat down. He was sweaty and now sitting in someone else dirt. If he’d had a home, he’d go there to shower.

“Have you heard a word of what I’m saying?”

“I’m sorry Miss Eris. You seem like a nice, if unhinged, person but I have no interest in what you have to say. I should head to the nearest police station and turn myself in. I have done nothing and they’ll realize that soon enough.”

Tilting her head and looking at him as if he was the one who was insane she said, “They blew up your apartment and sent goons out to kill you. Do you really thing they will let you get to the police, and if you do they’ll kill you in jail. No the only safe thing is for you to come home with me.”

“That’s preposterous. Why would I go home with a Madwoman?”

“Because if you don’t, they’ll kill you,” she said it with genuine worry in her voice.

“And who is this ‘They’ you keep talking about?”

Lifting the large colourful book with a lizard on the cover she replied, “Why the dinosaurs of course.”

Read Part 3

Books and Shows

I might have mentioned, a few times, the importance of stories to me. It might seem like an obvious statement for someone who wants to be a published author, but it goes beyond writing.

Writing is my way of taking all the great stories I’ve experienced and re-working them into something that is uniquely me. Sort of like Lego.

But I don’t love stories in order to write. I write because I like stories. Very important distinction. It means I write because I have a need to write and because I love doing it, not because I’m good at it or because I have to. It means that even if I don’t get published I’ll continue to write.

All that being said, with sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, I can help support stories that I think are going to be awesome. The worst thing is when these campaigns fail because I’ve gotten excited about the story and will never get to read it.

Two such stories that I’ve supported lately are Second Contacts by Bundoran Press, and Muzzled the Musical by Matthew Mercer.

Second Contacts

Capture

This is an anthology of stories about what happens after we meet aliens. It will be an open submission for all authors. Bundoran has a great track record for choosing great authors in their anthologies.

The Project will happen either way but this campaign will allow them to pay professional rates and go all out on the making of the book. It means that you’ll get an awesome book with great stories, written by people who will be supper happy to be paid.

What’s in it for you

If you like reading this campaign gives you all kinds of choices. My two favourite rewards are $25 for the actual book and the ebook of the anthology or $100 for a bunch of ebooks, the physical book and story advice from an award winning publisher and author. Hayden Trenholm is a really good writer and I’ve heard great things about his editing but even better, he’s a really nice person.

If those two levels of rewards don’t interest you there are a whole bunch of different choices. It’s a great way to bulk up your ebook library.

Go support them now! You have 4 days and trust me it’ll be worth it.

Muzzled the Musical

This is a web musical that will be 3 episodes, or more if they make their stretch goals, and it’s about singing princesses in a world of magic.

If that’s not enough to interest you, it also has Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), and Juliet Landau. Not to mention a who’s who of Youtube celebrities.

Go check it out.

That’s it for me,

See you soon!

Éric

Colds, Roleplaying Games, Bullying, and Creationism

Today will be a mixture of topics that jump around. Good luck following my train of thought as it chugs through this post.

Colds

I hate being sick. I’ve had three colds this year so far and I’m putting my foot down. No more! The line must be drawn here!

Because of this damnable cold, I’ve fallen behind in everything. This means I’ve scrambling but at least I’m starting to feel better.

Roleplaying Games

My wife and I lent our D&D 3.5 handbooks to one of our cousins, so that he could run a game for his kids. So far it sounds like they’re having a lot of fun. I’m excited to hear their stories and happy to hear that a new generation is being introduced to Pen and Paper games.

It also makes me excited to start a new game of my own. This is the longest I’ve gone without playing or running a game in over 5 years. I have a few ideas brewing and I’m hoping to get a group together for early July or late June.

Bullying

Switching gears hear. My brother was in a short film on bullying. It’s well made and makes a strong point against bullying. Warning it contains violence, crude language, and disturbing scenes.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYaC_nvAS3k&w=560&h=315]

I’m not sure I agree with the “vigilante” theme but I’ve seen it be effective.

What do you think is the best way to stop bullying?

Creationism

And another change of subject. I don’t understand Creationism, particularly the extreme version portrayed in the news. I know that they believe a literal interpretation of the Bible but how can they ignore the evidence of science?

It’s confused me for a while. Any thought?

Until later

Éric

Sick, Writing, and stuff

Like a horror movie villain in an ill-advised sequel, my cold has returned. I had a sore throat, chills, headache, and general symptoms just before comiccon two weeks ago. I never really go back to feeling 100% I was hovering at 40% wondering why I felt crappy. I assumed it was simply because of allergy season. Turns out I have been fighting this this for over two weeks and now I’m losing. That or my wife didn’t catch my cold but something similar and then passed it on to me.

I’m in a weird, uncomfortable period of mourning for the character I killed in my novel. It’s weird I didn’t think I’d feel it but I did.

Between the persistent cold, the death of a character, an excessive amount of work, and a favour I promised a friend I’d finish by May. I took last week off from writing and I’m going to take this week off. I might take all of May to make sure I get everything done in time.

I was hoping to finish this novel before July but I have another 5-9 chapters left. Hopefully by September.

Ok. Back to work!

Talk to you soon.