Health Update 2 Steps forward 1 back

Hello Everyone,

Since my last update I’ve started physio, exercises, and occupational therapy. It’s only been a week, but it feels like a lot of effort for little gain. I’m going to continue because at least it’s completely covered by WSIB. The people are nice but everything feels fast.

I saw a pain doctor. He was rushed and said I should continue what I’m doing and gave me some exercises that are the same as the kinesiologist has been doing. I’m glad he didn’t give me any pills. I’m already dealing with a lot of mind fog, I don’t want to deal with any more.

I had called my doctor to try and talk to him about MS and I managed to get an appointment. He said I had a lot of the symptoms but that the neurologist should have caught it. (Same guy who told me I was too young and should just ignore it.) However since I have the symptoms he has referred me to get an MRI. It’ll image my brain, neck, and back to make sure. This should help diagnose MS or any form of cancer.

My father died of brain cancer and my grandmother of leukemia, so I’m trying not to panic at the idea.

Reality Sucks, or Yes, I am disabled

I’m starting to come to the realization that I’m disabled.

My energy levels, lung capacity, and overall strength have never fully recovered from covid in February 2020. I’m told it’ll get better, but it’s a slow process.

Add to that the dizziness and fatigue I’ve been feeling since last year and it means I’m not in good shape or feeling well. In short, I’m disabled.

It’s frustrating me because I am physically able to do almost anything I need to but I start getting tired and pained quickly. If I push myself too far, I start to get dizzy and clumsy. Just setting up my backyard, with lots of help from the kids, left me feeling horrible for two days after. Headache, inability to think, pain everywhere, short of breath, fatigue, and extra pain in my arms.

I’ve been experiencing something similar with picketing but that’s a different post.

Accepting that I’m disabled means I need to start finding my limits and living inside them. Once I know what’s wrong, I can hopefully work up to increasing activity. For now, I’ll have to be extra careful with gardening.

So that’s my update, it’s all over the place but I’m okay and things are moving. Let’s hope it’s in the right direction.


The Final Girls – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2015 film The Final Girls.


Inventive and heartwrenching while still staying true to what a slasher film is all about. The start is a little slow but necessary and the rest just zooms by delightfully.

Score: 1


The main character is a little dispondant for most of the movie and that means the rest of the cast have to bring the personality until they die. That dynamic could have made us not care for her but the writers made sure to add enough developement and emotional moments to make her taking control of the narrative to feel deserved and exciting.

The rest of the cast is a wonderful mix of tropes and works really well.

Score: 1


The movie was at it’s best when it leaned into the emotional moments or the slasher tropes. The rest of movie’s dialogue feels like it was trying too hard to be normal.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The slasher moments are extremely well done considering it’s PG and the camera work is amazing. The final confrontation scene is spectacular and wonderfully stylistic.

The diegetic music was used with great effect and emotion while the soundtrack was a little bland but worked really well.

Score: 1


I object to this being considered a timeloop movie since it’s not really a big part of it but more of a short gag.

That being said, this is an extremely fun movie that did a great job pulling at my heartstrings.

Score: 1


A true love letter to the spirit of slasher films with a fun twist. The slasher aspects are extremely well done and managed to still have effect despite being PG. The true joy of the movie is the emotional heart and journey of mourning a parent.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

The Suns of War – Chapter 4 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 4: Meet the Crew, Fix the Ship, Find a Quest

“The planet shouldn’t exist,” Alexandre added after saying it was hailing them. “Without a sun, nothing could live. Not to mention it’s supermassive and shouldn’t be able to support life.”

“Somethings there and hailing and I’m Commander Muldune. Officer,” she said gesturing at the Tyrite Canine standing near coms.

“Master Sergeant Em Frechette, Sir,” he said in a deep and extremely clear voice.

“Put them on the main viewscreen.”

The man turned to the coms panel and his fingers danced across it like he’d been using Martian tech his whole life.

A picture of a woman appeared on the screen. She was pale but healthy, with light brown hair and bright blue eyes. “Welcome Commander. We’ve been waiting for you.”

“You have me at a disadvantage,” Nessa said tentatively. She was trying to figure out if this was a trick and what angle these people might have.

“Of course. I am the Morgaine and this planet is Avalon.” When no one reacted, she said, “We are searching for Arthur and need to find him before the Myrddin or the Blue-Star find him.”

“Good luck,” Nessa said, wondering where this was going.

“We need you to find him. Our movements can be foreseen by Blue-Sun and Arthur must be trained in his powers or the universe will soon be controlled by the suns.”

Trying to sound diplomatic, Nessa said, “We’d love to try and find them but unless we can get repairs and maybe some upgrades, we’re no match for either Blue-Sun or Myrddin.”

“We can help with repairs. What do you need?” The woman asked. 

Nessa was going to ask her to hold, when the young girl started to talk, “The drive is damaged, the outer hull needs patching, the power distribution is cracked, and Blue-Sun put a tracker on us. We could also use some enhanced plating for the hull, better weapons, and a full upgrade of our powercore for shields and drive.”

The woman looked amused and replied, “Is that all?”

The girl must have caught on to the teasing because she blushed, her dark skin turning deep red. Her accent was Martian but her clothes weren’t from anywhere Nessa had seen. Her hair was long and black tied in complicated braids. “From your coms you probably use liquid fusion power derived from pure plasma. We could use that and whatever you’re using to make your planet look dark and dead when it’s obviously not.”

“Impressive from one so young. Yes, we can upgrade your ship. It won’t make you stronger than your enemies, but it’ll give you a fighting chance. We’ll also give you all the data we have on Arthur. Hold for landing coordinates.” 

Em turned off the coms.

Nessa turned to the girl and was about to say something when the girl looked down at her own feet and said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have talked without permission.”

This young girl wasn’t an officer in the Martian military and she looked too young to join even if she’d wanted to. Nessa wasn’t going to treat her like a new recruit. “I’d appreciate you checking with me in advance next time, but you did well. Good job kid. What’s your name?”

“Um. Uh. You can call me Zuri. I’m a human from Proserpina.” That explained the odd clothes. Proserpina was a moon of Mars and the people were farmers and engineers who’d dedicated themselves to the goddess of the same name. They rarely left their moon and never allowed visitors beyond the market and landing bays.

“Zuri… did you say that we have a tracking device on the ship?”

She smiled a proud smile that looked a little predatory and answered, “Yes, but I’ve been jamming it since we got to the bridge. They won’t find us.”

“We’re all refugees now and not soldiers,” Nessa said, making sure the sickbay could hear her. “I don’t want to order anyone around, so I’ll leave it up to you. What do we do?”

“I think we should do it. Maybe we can deal a blow to those Blue-Sun bastards,” grunted Em.

Nodding, Tanya added, “If I get to shoot a few of them then I’ll be happy.”

“I am a man of science and this sounds fascinating,” Alexandre added.

“I’m in!” exclaimed Zuri.

Over the coms, Bart’s gravelly voice said, “You might be a dirty Martian but since Mars, Ares, and Tyr have all been destroyed, I’ll follow you.”

“And I’m with you old friend.” The doctor couldn’t keep the smile out of his voice.

They received the coordinates for landing and everyone but Zuri seemed apprehensive. As they approached the planet, everything shifted and went from dark to bright. The planet, which had seemed supermassive, was much smaller and had a tiny sun orbiting it like a moon.

“This is spectacular,” gasped Alexandre.

Avalon was a beautiful planet from what they saw of it. Unfortunately, the Morgaine refused to let them meet in person or see anything but the large field they’d been ordered to land in.

Zuri followed the repair crews like a puppy and the rest of the crew had nothing to do, so they decided to assign roles. Nessa was appointed captain, Bart helmsman and second in command, Alexander science, Tanya tactical, Em coms, and Zuri engineering. Peri, being the doctor, was assigned to medical. The seven of them practised with the ship and read up on Arthur.

He’d been a great leader on old Earth and died in a battle. He’d been resurrected during the great Earth wars where billions escaped the fighting to the stars. Three ships came to this part of the galaxy and formed the three empires.

The Avalonians and the Myrddin believed that Arthur would come back and fight the evil Sun empires. 

When all the repairs and upgrades were complete the ship was renamed the ISS (Independent Starship) Galahad.

The Avalonians were not big on long goodbyes and they were ordered to leave as soon as possible. The data on Arthur said he’d be reincarnated in the Martian system so they headed there to find any signs.

Read Chapter 5 (May 2023)

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Top 5 Things I wish I’d Known When I Started Working

Hello My Imaginary and Fans,

Hold on to your hats… I am not a full time author. I wish I were or that I was independently wealthy, but nope I work. Currently I work in the government as a Desktop Publisher, which is a sort of typesetter meets webmaster. On the side, I run a coffee business and do freelance typesetting.

I’ve also worked as: Bricklayer, Babysitter, LCBO Clerk, Convenience Store Clerk, Office Assistant, Typesetter, Tour Guide, Radio Host, Boat Captain, Independent Producer and Director, Computer Lab Assistant, Secretary, Black Jack Croupier, Webmaster, Technical-Manual Writer, Media Monitor, Administrative Assistant, Pamphlet Distributor, Convenience Store Night Manager, Desktop Manager, Phone Survey Operator, Editor, Video Editor, and Battle of the Bands Judge. (Full disclosure my memory isn’t what it used to be so I might have forgotten some.) That’s just my paying jobs not my volunteer work or things I did for fun.

It’s safe to say that over the past quarter decade, that I’ve had a lot of jobs and a lot of bosses. There are some things I wish I had known when I was young and impressionable.

5. Your boss isn’t your friend

This has been really hard for me to internalize. With very few exceptions, bosses are tools of the company and will have to do what the company says. Some are reluctant, some skirt the rules, and some take pride in being assholes.

Most bosses will put themselves and the company ahead of the employees. That’s just the way of things. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people or that they are trying to hurt you, but they are not your friend.

The best bosses do care, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be nice or reasonable when the company tells them to do something.

You can have a great boss that has swallowed the company line so thoroughly that they can’t even see how toxic it can be.

4. You are replaceable

You might be the best a your job. You might be so good they give you praise and say, “What would we ever do without you?” In the end, you are completely replaceable. Everyone is. That’s how our businesses are made, they are designed to survive.

Don’t stay with a job or not take days off because they tell you that you can’t be replaced. That’s either bullshit or they are terrible at their jobs.

3. A performance is more important than your performance

You are hired to do a job. Do it and try to do it well, but that doesn’t mean you owe anyone more than that.

That being said, if you want to climb the ladder you need to say, do, and act the way they want you to. It’s different in each workplace, but performing the song and dance is the best way to get ahead and it rarely has to do with how good you are at your job.

2. Use the benefits/rights you have

If you have sick days and you are sick, use them. Use your vacation days. Use your health benefits. Use parental leave. Whatever the company has been forced to give you, use them when you need them and DON’T FEEL GUILTY.

Those are your days. If they can’t live without you, it’s their fault, not yours. Don’t let your employer make you feel bad for it.

Research the laws around work in your region, look up the safety rules and laws, and don’t let your bosses tell you to ignore them.

Your health is more important than your job!

1. Have pride in what you do (even if no one cares)

There are a hundred things I do to make sure my work is the best it can be and I have come to realize that it really doesn’t matter if no one cares because I do.

Do your work to the best of your ability, but don’t expect recognition. If you get it, great, but if you’re going to survive the capitalist dystopia that is our world, you have to find joy and pride in your work. Otherwise it’ll get really boring and make you angry and bitter.

Just to be clear, bosses are not clients and clients are not bosses.

And of course #NotAllMenBosses

Stay safe and be kind,


Blue’s Big City Adventure – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Blue’s Big City Adventure.


This was definitely made with love of the original shows. As someone who only has a passing knowledge of them, I never felt lost or like I was missing something.

They did a great job balancing a simple story, music, and cameos. It reminded me of my childhood with the Muppets and Loonie Toons.

Score: 0.5


There is an honesty and earnestness in the characters that really comes through. Often kids show hosts feel like they’re faking it, but with these it felt like they were being an ideal version of themselves.

The cameos were great and a lot of fun for the adults.

The representation in the movie of disabled singers, dancers, and kids was excellent to see.

Score: 1


There were a lot of quotes and little references to other films. There was a lot of uplifting dialogue and great messages for kids.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie was colourful and well composed. The dancing was great, the costumes were really well thought out, and the special effects used to great… well, effect.

If I had one complaint it would be the cameraman’s love of tilt.

The music was catchy, uplifting, and pleasant.

Score: 1


I didn’t have the nostalgia for the film but I still felt it in the loving way it was made. I enjoyed it, but the basic story seemed to stress out the other adults. The 6 year old loved it and even interacted even though she’d never watched the show. The 3 year old was glued to the screen, although he insisted he didn’t like it. (He wanted to watch Selena+Chef)

Score: 1


This is a warm hug in the form of a movie. Whether you grew up on Blue’s Clues or just want a feel good musical, this is a great choice. The dance, music, costumes, are all excellent, but it’s the joy and earnestness of the actors that truly elevates the film

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Aurora Awards Update

Hello family, fans, people who randomly read this blog, and friends (both real and imaginary),

Just a reminder that the nominations close on April 22, 2023 just before midnight.

One of the questions I was asked about this was “When will I receive the package of downloadable works?” and I had no idea and thought it was an excellent question, so I reached out to ask. Here is their response:

“We hope to have the voter’s package out around the 20th of May. With nominations not ending until the 22 of April, we expect it to take about a month. We first have to confirm who is on the ballot, then it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for us to get the works for the package and put it together and test. If it’s ready earlier then it will be announced but at this point later in May is the best time to expect it.”

Thank you all for your time, attention, and support. Wish us luck!

The Aurora Awards, which are for Canadian science fiction and fantasy writers and artists, are open for nominations! This means the LONG lists of eligible works are being narrowed down to 5-6 per category.

Once they have a list of nominated works, every single person who signed up and paid the $10 membership fee gets ALL the nominated works as downloads. That’s all the adult novels, YA novels, novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and related works (usually anthologies), so about 36 works, for just $10 CAD, which is a great deal.

Getting nominated for an Aurora Award is a BIG DEAL in the writing community. You get a nomination pin (only once, so I’m terrified I’ll lose mine!), and you’re part of an elite group of people.

How do you nominate?

  1. Go to this website
  2. Join, pay membership fee
  3. Nominate up to 5 works per category

It would mean a lot to us if you’re willing to nominate us! (Categories are in alphabetical order by work)

  • Category 1 – Best Novel
    • Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers by Jen and Éric Desmarais
  • Category 3 – Best Novelette/Novella
    • Birth of the Aetherverse by Éric Desmarais
  • Category 4 – Best Short Story
    • Ringing In The New Year by Jen Desmarais
    • Choose Your Own Adventure – Welcome to Westmeath by Jen Desmarais
  • Category 7 – Best Related Work
    • Nothing Without Us Too by Cait Gordon and Talia C. Johnson (Jen has a short story Semper Ubi Sub Ubi in this one!)
  • Category 9 – Best Fan Writing/Publication
    • JenEric Movie Reviews by Éric Desmarais
    • The Travelling TARDIS by Jennifer Desmarais

In case you’re wondering why Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers is not included in the best cover art category, it’s because our cover artist is Vietnamese! Only Canadian creators are eligible, unfortunately.

Thank you so much for your time, attention, and support!

Jen and Éric

Discussion Questions for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers

Download the printable Discussion Guide

  1. Do you think that with half a martial arts class, a magic jewel, and a new suit, Jason should have been okay with Kennedy joining him for superhero work? Why do you think he agreed?
  2. Jason falls fast for Kennedy. Does his vocalization of that come off as honest or creepy? How would it differ if their positions were reversed?
  3. Kennedy is underestimated by both her boss and Jason’s uncle. Why do you think that is and how does she handle it?
  4. We meet several Aetherborn, both with and without powers, some who look human and others who don’t. How do you think the political power dynamic is balanced? Are some better off than others? Why or why not?
  5. Is Kennedy’s job at a boutique lingerie store empowering or fetishizing? When she chooses her outfits for the fashion show, do you think she felt pressured to wear certain items? How does her viewpoint make a difference?
  6. Jason is not shy about showing his emotions. Do you find that realistic? Why or why not?
  7. This book mixes urban fantasy and romance genres. Do you think it worked? Why or why not?
  8. Jason’s behaviour varies depending on who he’s around. Does this make him seem disingenuous? With whom, other than Kennedy, do you think he is most himself?
  9. Do you have a favourite secondary character? Who do you wish got more attention in the story?
  10. Suppose Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers became a movie or a TV show. Who would you pick to play the roles? (You can check out our dream casting for ideas) What aspects of the book would you want to see more of? What would be the most difficult part of filming?
Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr/@flowerraven93 on Instagram

Read Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers by Jen and Éric Desmarais

Physical versionelectronic version AVAILABLE NOW!

Ready or Not – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 film Ready or Not.


This was meant as a dark comedy but came off more as a survival horror with incompetent, if better equipped, enemies. There were a lot of jump scares that doubled as attempts at humour, but overall it missed the mark almost completely.

Score: 0


The characters were interesting. A wonderful assortment of terrible rich people. Unfortunately, they were built up and almost all of them had unsatisfying deaths.

The bride played it like a horror action movie while the direction played it like a survival movie and the difference was a little jarring. She was an excellent actress and I would have liked to see the movie she was acting for rather then what they cut together.

Score: 0.5


The snippy rich family is an old trope but fun to watch. The dialogue between them was entertaining and the crazed aunt had some great lines.

The bride also had some excellent one liners.

However, the switching between whiny rich people and murderous devil worshipers was a little bland.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The music was okay if expected. Creepy old-timey music is really overdone and has been done better.

The visuals were appropriately gory and the special effects were excellent.

Score: 0.5


The movie starts quickly and the intro is done well, but after that it gets a little repetitive. The twists are predictable and honestly I just kept looking forward to the bride snapping and taking initiative to fight back.

I spent most of this movie planning a better version.

Score: 0


A wonderful premise and excellent actress wasted on a mediocre and repetitive story. The action and special effects are great but everything else has been done better.

Final Score: 1.5 Stars out of 5

Vacation ending… :-(


Looks like today is my last day of vacation. It’s sad but I’ll take another week at the end of June and then hopefully another in mid July. Those will be better. It’ll be nice to spend time with the kids.

I’m going to enjoy my last day by spending time with my kids, playing videogames, and maybe I’ll take them to Walmart and check out the discount chocolate.

Later days,


Health Update April 2023

Hello Friends, family, and fans;

As I mentioned in March, I did the nerve conduction test with a very condescending neurologist.

Yesterday I had an appointment at the speciality clinic. My very nice occupational therapist (OT) went through a bunch of questions and asked me about a bunch of things. She then did some physical tests and went off to talk to the doctor.

I told her I was worried about the vision problems and the numbness in my face and my worries about MS. She said she’d talk to the doctor. She also said that that was normally something a family doctor dealt with and not them. They are concentrating on the neurologist’s conclusion that it’s muscular.

The doctor came in and asked me more questions and then asked, “What is bothering you more.” I told him it was the pain that bothered me more, but the face that scared me more. His reply was, “Okay then. Let’s focus on the pain.”

So the plan now is to have me see a doctor that specializes in pain and put me with a group consisting of a physiotherapist, a therapist, and my OT. They’ll run special rehab and physio for me two or three times a week. I’m kinda happy about that, since it’ll save us some money on physio that is only covered 80% usually.

I’ll be honest, I’m a little underwhelmed. It’s been 10 months of this and I haven’t had an x-ray or any other tests on the part of my arms that hurt. I’ve had one type of test, no imaging, and this feels very flimsy as a diagnosis. (Is it wrong that I want something definitive?)

The clinic people are really nice and I think they have my best interests at heart, but I feel like they’re focussed on getting me back to work and not really figuring out what’s wrong with me.

I asked again about MS and the OT said that if there had been any signs, the neurologist would have noticed and that the doctor is trusting that. It’s not very comforting, but I’ll have to trust them for now.

I doubt the balance issues, clumsiness, brain fog, trouble sleeping, numbness in my face, and vision issues are due to muscular issues in my arms. I’ll do what they say (I don’t have much choice) and hope it helps, but I’m not convinced. If this doesn’t help, I’ll have to try and see if my family doctor is willing to run a parallel investigation (if he hasn’t fully retired by then).

It’s been a hard week. Glad it’s over and now I can enjoy spending time with my family over the long weekend.

Stay safe and be kind,