Week 33 – Brave

When I think about mothers in movies, Queen Eleanor is the first person who springs to mind. I love this movie and haven’t seen it in quite a while, and look forward to sharing it with Dragon. Hopefully she’ll neve turn me into a bear.

Here is the link for the downloadable materials. (Please let me know if you have any problems so I can fix it!)

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Watch movieelements of a fairy talebake Spell Cakelearn about bearsFlex

Summary of the week

Daily details:

Dance

Ballet and martial arts on alternate days

Music

Singing, listening to different pieces, learning piano

Crochet

The project she is working on (currently she is making herself a poncho)

Basic Information

We talk about the days of the week and play games with the cutouts of the names. We do the same thing with the names of the months of the year. You can find the print-outs here.

Printing words

In download materials

Counting objects/math-type activities

Practice counting objects and writing how many of each type – in download materials

Addition and pattern – worksheet in download materials

Storytime

Activity

Elements of a Fairy Tale – sheet found in download materials
Bake Spell Cake – link to recipes
Learn about bears – link to references, link to video

Next week – Matilda

Week 31 – Boxtrolls Results

Virtual school started out a bit rough – Dragon was unfocussed and not able to listen well for the regular morning routine. But then they did an exercise video, which Dragon adores, and she was much more focussed after that.

Then they did printing words that begin with the letter ‘G’ and she did very well.

After recess, they did a short reading, and then the teacher had set up a powerpoint with images that the students used to “read” a sentence. There were some very funny sentences made. My favourite was “Le Tyranosaur mange les enfants.” Keladry’s was “Le docteur pleur parce qu’il a pincé le doigt.”

After lunch, they were split into groups to talk in French. I don’t think that it went particularly well, because the kids don’t know what to talk about with each other AND they don’t know much French. When it was led by the teacher, it went okay, but when she left, not so much. Maybe if they had a goal like doing math like last week…

They did not do math because too many kids were tired.

Homeschool was very busy this week.

Dance

She did ballet 2 times this week.

Music

Piano: she practiced her finger exercises every day this week. They started with finger exercises and the practicing showed, she was doing well even with the hard one. She did lessons 4 and 5 were almost perfect, and then they did lesson 6, and she did such a good job. Then they started lesson 7 and she did the first row very well (other than mixing up D and F on her right hand). Then they did chopsticks, and it’s going well, so she was introduced to the next part. She focussed and tried hard and did really well.

We have a French playlist that I can play through the Google mini, with a variety of artists.

Crochet

We did not do any crochet this week.

Basic Information

We are working on yesterday (hier) and tomorrow (demain) around any given day. The months of the year is going well. We’re working on the month before and after any given month. That’s coming slowly.

The saisons de l’année are all memorized. We’re working on how each of them feel and the types of things we can do during each of them.

When I ask her “combien” for any of the above, she responds in complete sentences.

Printing words

Printing went very well this week.

Counting objects/math-type activities

She had no problems with the counting worksheet. We counted by 10s to 100 and counted up to 70.

Math went well this week with no tears.

Storytime

We read stories from the teacher’s outline that was sent to us on Monday. She enjoyed that, and we will continue to do it next week.

We watched Raiponce in French on Disney Plus, one episode a day. Dragon is enjoying it immensely, and is even recognizing some words!

Activity

Make a movie – We put together the last prop and then set up for taking pictures. Dragon did an excellent job in directing me to move the characters. She used the storyboard she had drawn to help keep us on track. This movie, we decided to record her voice, rather than do it in the Silent Movie style that we did for the other one. We did include the dialogue in the background of the movie. She recorded the music for the movie as well.

Learn how to draw a 3-D box – This went super well. I queued up the video and we watched it, and then we went through the video slowly, pausing after each step for her to draw it. She needed a little bit of help with one or two lines and about which lines to erase, but she did all the work. I was very impressed.

Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Stand aside Mos Eisley Spaceport, you’ve got some competition. Yes, I mean Facebook, although the internet at large is quite bad.

Please, no advice is required.

Over the past week I’ve been procrastinating taking breaks from editing by reading my news feed. Here’s a short list of things that I’ve read that have made me wonder if Ultron was being too generous:

  • Defending a celebrity who’s been accused of sexual assault with the incel call to arms, “Innocent until proven guilty.”
  • Same person and same post then doing self promotion for their product.
  • People telling disabled people to call ahead or just wait outside because it’s too expensive to make things accessible. (I personally think there should be a government subsidy to make these things accessible and not bankrupt businesses, but I’m a deluded socialist.)
  • That there’s some sort of shame in watching films with Closed Captioning. (I took media communications and I had 4 separate professors; film, music, feminism, and advertising encourage us to use CC as often as possible to catch all the details of what was happening and intended.)
  • Someone posting a poem on a writers group comparing men to vagabond ships and women to the anchors that keep them from straying. (This devolved into him saying I was too argumentative and was headed for divorce, followed by being called a fairy, and being told I was going to hell.)

And that’s not even mentioning all the Anti-vaxx pro-plague comments on every Covid-19 post.

So this week I’ve been called:

  • Anti-Business
  • Communist (Starting to think this isn’t an insult.)
  • Fairy (Definitely not an insult. Fear my sparkling wrath.)
  • Unable to love
  • Headed for divorce (my wife laughed at this. She practically guffawed. It was adorable.)
  • Going to hell
  • Child abuser (because I want my kids immunized)
  • Snowflake
  • Tru-anon cultist
  • MeToo Groupie
  • Anti-law
  • Pitchfork carrying mob
  • A Shill (BTW Big-Pharma, Liberal Party, NDP, Big-Agriculture, #MeToo, and disabled community, I’m still waiting on those e-transfers.)

I’m not saying I’m perfect and always right, but I try to follow simple rules. Listen to the victims, listen to those affected/minorities, listen to science, and listen credible sources.

I’ve been called on internalized toxic opinions and I’m trying to grow.

If your first reaction is to get defensive when someone asks for help, you should maybe check why and re-evaluate your opinion.

It might be time to lessen my social media scrolling for a while and find another way to procrastinate take breaks from editing.

Stay safe and stay kind,

Éric

Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1999 film Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.

Story

At it’s core, this story is one that Disney and countless others have done a million times before and since, painted with a shiny sci-fi veneer.

It includes my most hated trope, parents who don’t believe their children.

Score: 0

Characters

The parents are frustrating and made me yell at the TV, but I enjoyed Zenon herself. She was confident, smart, amazingly lucky, and competent. Despite the overuse, I do like the competent child trope.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is both fascinating and cringe-worthy. The made up slang mixed with turn of the millenium slang just really interests me. I like that they made sure to have seperate styles of slang for earth vs the space station. A lot more thought went into this than I would have thought.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects were okay for the time period despite some major misunderstandings of physics. The costuming was clever and the music was ok.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The parents and adults being about as smart as rocks took some of the fun out of it for me. I enjoyed the main character and the other kids.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie is a fascinating time capsule of retro sci-fi that has a wonderful main character. Unfortunately, the entire story is overly dependent on the aggressive stupidity of the adults and them not believing her.

Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

I should be editing

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ll be honest. I dislike editing. It’s an extremely emotional experience for me. I get angry, I get sad, I get frustrated, usually I contemplate just writing and not publishing at this point.

Of course, when you truly hate doing something, you should do a lot of it right? Sigh. So I’m editing Stories Between the ‘Verses, which I think will come out this year if I can whip myself into shape. And while that’s going on, we have beta-readers editing Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

The editors and beta-readers are excellent and I’m fantastically lucky to have them. I’m just a broody curmudgeon who alternates between hating and loving everything I write. Editing makes me simultaneously feel defensive of my perfect stories and disgusted at the tripe I write.

I think (hope) this emotional back and forth happens to most authors.

Look at all the stages I go through editing. It loops infinitely. All aimed at the book or myself btw.
Photo of the five emotions from Pixar’s Inside Out. Sadness, Joy, Fear, Disgust, and Anger.

Of course what I do to get myself in the mood is go read reviews of my books (even though I know this is a terrible idea.) It’s amazing how well I can focus on the negative.

Anyway, I’ll go torture myself for a while.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Week 32 – The Odd Life of Timothy Green

I saw this in theatres when it came out and I was so enchanted by it, but haven’t seen it since. It felt like a good mother’s day month movie.

Here is the link for the downloadable materials. (Please let me know if you have any problems so I can fix it!)

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Watch movieBuild house mood boardPlant beansWrite personality characteristicsFlex

Summary of the week

Daily details:

Dance

Ballet and martial arts on alternate days

Music

Singing, listening to different pieces, learning piano

Crochet

The project she is working on (currently she is making herself a poncho)

Basic Information

We talk about the days of the week and play games with the cutouts of the names. We do the same thing with the names of the months of the year. You can find the print-outs here.

Printing words

In download materials

Counting objects/math-type activities

Practice counting objects and writing how many of each type –in download materials

Addition and pattern – worksheet in download materials

Storytime

Activity

Build a house mood board – cut out inspiration from magazines like IKEA etc
Plant beans – link to activity
Write personality characteristics

Next week – Brave

Week 30 – Totoro Results

Virtual school was a bit rough in the morning. There was a misunderstanding when Dragon was stretching, not raising her hand, and then when she was raising her hand, the teacher called on someone else. Cue tears. I think she prefers one-on-one lol

They learned the letter Q today. Dragon loves printing because she’s good at it.

They were read a story about the beginning of Spring, and asked to describe what they saw on the page. Dragon raised her hand (yay) and said “des fleurs”, but then when she was asked if she saw anything else, I prompted her with “do you want to say more?” and she raised her hand and said “more”. I said, “No, more words in French.” and she raised her hand again and said “more words in French.” And I honestly think she wasn’t doing it to be funny! She got really upset when I asked her to describe the pictures in French and didn’t want to say anything else.

After lunch, they did math in small groups (I guess the teacher is feeling more comfortable with the technology now?) and Dragon was put in a group with two other kids that she’s familiar with. One of them presented their math first, and then Dragon presented (addition), and then the other one said that they couldn’t do it. Dragon reassured them that it was alright. (sweetie). Then when they went back into the main class, she presented her math again. Her teachers were very impressed with how well she did. (So am I, but I knew she could do it.)

Totoro was a big hit this week. Dragon watched the movie twice on Monday; once in French for homeschool and once in English at night.

Dance

She did ballet 2 times this week.

Music

Piano: she practiced her finger exercises every day this week. They started with finger exercises and the practicing showed, she was doing well even with the hard one. She did lessons 4 and 5 no problem, and then they started lesson 6, and she played the first two long lines very well. Chopsticks sounds like chopsticks now. She was focussed, paid attention, and tried hard.

We have a French playlist that I can play through the Google mini, with a variety of artists.

Crochet

We did a few rows of crochet this week.

Basic Information

We are working on yesterday (hier) and tomorrow (demain) around any given day. The months of the year is going well. We’re working on the month before and after any given month. That’s coming slowly.

The saisons de l’année are all memorized. We’re working on how each of them feel and the types of things we can do during each of them.

When I ask her “combien” for any of the above, she responds in complete sentences.

Printing words

Printing went very well this week.

Counting objects/math-type activities

She had no problems with the counting worksheet. We took it easy this week, as it’s the first week back after the break, for the out loud counting, and only counted to 20, 30, and 40. Dragon found it easy.

Math was interesting. On Monday, she decided that she didn’t want to draw it out, and decided to use her toes. Great problem solving skills. Then the more complicated math had a series in letters, and she didn’t like that, so I changed them to numbers, which went much better.

Storytime

We read stories from the teacher’s outline that was sent to us on Monday. She enjoyed that, and we will continue to do it next week.

We watched Raiponce in French on Disney Plus, one episode a day. Dragon is enjoying it immensely, and is even recognizing some words!

Activity

Make a movie – Dragon is EXTREMELY excited about her movie. She’s done a dry run twice already. I wrote out her plot, she drew the storyboard, and I wrote out her dialogue. She then transcribed the dialogue onto pieces of paper that we can insert into the stop motion movie next week.

Make a soot sprite – Dragon enjoyed this and is very proud of the result. She was able to do most of it herself, too, which made her happy.

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 4

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

“Brave coming back to your ship after so long.” The Specter’s monotone was either bored or appreciative.

“I can honestly say it wasn’t by choice. I was kidnapped by this crew and forced to work with them.” Sometimes telling the truth is a great way to throw people off. In this case I was stalling trying to get to the magnetic spanner, a fancy little wrench that was designed to return to the owner if it fell off into space.

“According to my psych profile for you, that’s not really surprising. I was never expecting to find you. You probably set up shop as a mechanic in a backwater world. Maybe even convinced yourself you liked it.”

I sighed loudly and dramatically. “You’ve got me. I actually enjoy not being yelled at by commanders and I especially enjoy not being ordered to kill civilians.”

“There is only the God and the Cause!” he replied.

I spit at his feet and replied, “No God of mine.” I found the spanner and tossed it at the Specter. As expected, he activated his phase and the wrench went right through him. With my hand hidden behind my back, I pulled it back just in time. The Phasing tech drained a lot of power; combined with the fact that he couldn’t hit me if it was on, he turned it off.

My timing had been perfect and I heard a small gurgle as his body tried to understand how a foot long piece of metal was inside it. He fell to the ground right after the spanner burst out of his chest like an alien in a bad movie. 

I cleaned the room and spaced the body, keeping the extra stun grenades. His sidearm was keyed to his genetics and would explode if I tried it.

The next thing I did was check on Onyx. The ship’s diagnostics were years ahead of anything else and it told me he had a major concussion. With a few flips of switches I was able to fix the damage. He’d have a hell of a headache, but no other side effects. I watched him sleep a little, the contours of his cheekbones and perfect skin. He was beautiful. Of course the moment I thought it, he released the most ridiculous snore, something between an old gas engine and a wild animal.

Placing Diamond and Sphene on the other bunks, I had time to move the Mountain, whose girth, if not his height, lived up to his name, and his crew back onto their ship before everyone woke up. The stun grenades have a massive range and if you don’t have shielding, you’re going to be knocked out. 

The old man, who I still didn’t know his name, came over the coms sounding groggy, “You all alive down there?”

“Hey, it’s Garnet. Onyx took a pretty hard blow to the head, but everyone else was just knocked out.”

“Well well, good job new guy.” The man sounded impressed but didn’t offer his name. “Is the ship working?”

“Yes. All good to go.”

“Great, then follow me and let the princesses dream.” He undocked and started out of the sector. I ran to the pilot’s chair and followed Diamond’s ship. From the outside, I could see it’s name on the hull, Revenge.

“Uh… Revenge. Where are we going?” We couldn’t just fly the Rainbow through any commercial gate and without a psychic, there was no way I could get her to jump safely. 

“Just follow me. Diamond’s got a trick up their sleeve.”

I watched as the Revenge piloted right into a large asteroid and disappeared. “A hollow emitter masking a gate? How much money does Diamond have?” I said to myself.

“Very little, but I do have a map to all the hidden gates in the system,” Diamond said from behind me.

“But… How?” I asked as we came out of the moon of Tryo. I activated the cloak on the ship and continued to follow the Revenge.

“Honestly, I don’t know. The gates are hundreds of years old. A secret lost to all but a few Diamonds.”

The ship shook and Diamond sat in the engineer chair. I checked the sensors as she worked the automatic repair drones. “Looks like the Specter had a partner. There’s a 2-12 Aurora following us.” I swore.

“What’s that? I’ve never heard of it.” Diamond sounded worried.

“Spector attack ship. Three pilots almost as fast as a Rainbow and twice as well armed.” I checked that our cloak was on; it was and it did nothing as we got hit by a second barrage.

“Revenge, are we close?” Diamond asked.

“Two seconds.”

I mentally counted to two and spun the ship around. I watched as the dark blur that was the Aurora was attacked by four asteroid mounted guns.

Not wanting to take any chances, I joined in with the Rainbow’s weapons. The other ship exploded in a dramatic display.

“Hidden weapons? Are those ancient too?” I asked.

Laughing, Diamond replied, “No, I added those. You never know who’s going to follow.” She paused and asked, “Anything we can salvage from that, you think?”

“Not unless you want to blow up or wait around for more.” I fired at all the pieces bigger than my head. “When it comes to Black-Sun there’s no such thing as overkill.”

“You’d know as well as I could, Engineer First Class.” She winked at me and said, “You locked down the ship, but didn’t secure the database. Nothing there really but the crew manifest.”

“How long have you known?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I suspected when you first got on board, but wasn’t sure until I saw how comfortable you were in that chair.”

“What now?” I asked. The penalty for harbouring a Black-Sun deserter was death, of you, your family, and anyone dumb enough to call you friend.

“Us deserters need to stick together.” She smirked and added, “Now let’s get to the base and plan a Heist.”

Read Next Chapter (May 2020)


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