Complicated Feelings about Pride

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans,

I was raised by my mom. I saw my dad occasionally, and although he had an influence on my upbringing, he wasn’t a big one. My mom raised me and she was very much a hippy. One thing that she did, and I’m not sure it was intentional, was to instill a deep mistrust of those that have pride.

I’m sure the ADHD didn’t help. I was always asking people why, and they usually just got angry. Especially when I would question national, cultural, school, language, or sports pride. Screaming “We’re Number 1!” has always seemed silly to me. I have respect for those that came before me and for the fact that me and my country are more privileged than others, but I’d never classify that as pride.

I’m not completely sure what the feeling of pride in that sense is like. I feel proud of my accomplishments, I’m proud of my family, and I’m proud of my friends. I’m also oddly proud of people I’ve barely met but who I like. But that feeling is a warm feeling of joy and satisfaction at their success, not an all consuming emotion the way I’ve seen it in others. If someone I’m proud of does something bad, I’m disappointed, and if they turn to hate, I grieve for losing them.

The concept of pride as I’ve seen it around me and portrayed in fiction seems more like blind faith or fanatical devotion. Something that deeply disturbs me.

2021 Intersex-inclusive redesign of the Progress Pride Flag by Valentino Vecchietti

This month is Pride Month, and that is a completely different type of pride. One i can understand much better than the one that people will be showing July 1st.

As you might know, I’m bisexual, and I haven’t had the greatest interactions about it. Both straight and gay people have told me I was “confused”, that I should just admit to being gay, jumping on the bandwagon, or just trying to get attention. It took a long time for me to find friends I was comfortable around and I still don’t feel comfortable in 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces.

All that being said, the pride in Pride Month is a feeling of grim determination and joy that we as a community have survived despite the ever-present hate. The first pride parade was a riot and a demand for basic human rights. Despite all the advancements we’ve made, we still have a lot of work to do.

This month, filled with rainbow capitalism, remember that it’s still illegal to be gay in 64 countries and same sex marriages are recognized in only 32 countries. In Canada, the US, and England, laws have recently passed that prioritize the rights of parents over those of queer and trans youth. In the past year, Ottawa has had multiple protests, some in front of schools, demanding that same sex and trans not be mentioned in the classroom.

We have a long way to go, and as you watch the community celebrate, remember the Pride Month isn’t about an irrational love and devotion, it’s about survival.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Week 39 – Finding Nemo

Pegasus loves this movie.

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

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
learn about sustainable fishingWatch moviemake fish and chipsFlexlearn about shipwrecks

Summary of the week

Daily details:

Dance

Ballet and martial arts on alternate days

Music

Singing, listening to different pieces, learning piano, learning guitar

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

Download material

Counting objects/math-type activities

Practice counting objects and writing how many of each type – (in download material)

Addition and pattern – worksheet

Storytime

Activity

Make fish and chips – link to our recipe
Learn about sustainability in fishing – link to reference videos
Learn about shipwrecks – link to video (6 minutes)

Next week: Beauty and the Beast

Week 37 – Curious George Results

Pegasus adored this movie. He laughed a lot. He was terrified near the end when George was captured, climbing onto my lap and burying his face in my chest. He really related to the little monkey.

Dance

As per usual, I didn’t do anything specific for this.

Music

His scales are coming along nicely and he willingly practises both his scales and the pieces in the book. He’s only 20 pages away from finishing the first book.

Basic Information

We are working on the day before and the day after any given day. The months of the year is going well. All months have proper pronounciation now, and we’re working on the month before and after any given month. That’s coming slowly.

We practised the seasons, but he still needs help remembering them in French.

Printing words

Pegasus was willing to change his letters a little bit, but spacing…

Counting objects/math-type activities

This week, he had trouble with the French version of numbers. It was weird. He said he was tired. He wasn’t focussing well, so I believe it.

Math worksheets. He did them so fast, and only made one mistake (10-3), which he corrected.

Storytime

We have no French library books this week, so he read some French books through Boukili.

Activity

Bake with bananas – He made banana pancakes for dinner. He did everything himself, including cracking the eggs and flipping the pancakes! I’m super proud of him for getting past his fear of the hot plate and making yummy pancakes.

Make a crown – He had fun making this, but didn’t really want to draw on it. He wrote his name on the other side of the crown.

Paint – He was so excited to do the painting. His is on the abstract side. He described it for me, and I copied it down verbatim.

The pale blue is the sky, the red is blood from the two white people. The red-black is a magic horse with a long tail, and the black below it is its blood. The dark green is a magic rocking chair, which is where the two white people came from. On the right is an equal sign. The orange is the red blood’s blood. The yellow is the multiplication of the orange’s blood. The pink is the yellow’s blood. The purple is the pink’s blood. The dark blue is the rocking chair’s blood.
His reasoning: There is so much blood because everybody who keeps coming to this place dies.

Weddings, Monsters, and Interviews, Oh My!

Hello Readers,

It’s unusual in both Urban Fantasy and Romance to have a series in which the leads fall in love and get married quickly. It’s even rarer to see a happy couple working together without the angst of miscommunication or “dark secrets from their past” adding to the drama. 

So why did we decide to write a wedding with no romantic angst for the second book in The Gates of Westmeath series? There are two main reasons.

The first being that these two characters fell in love fast and hard. They are not tentative people, and once they’ve made up their minds, they stick to their plans. So unless we introduced some sort of drama, it would be an odd outlier in their behaviour.

Second was that we were excited at the idea of writing a wedding in this world and with these characters. Their romance arc has always been about trusting each other and becoming partners, and this felt like the next logical step.

Adding monsters to contrast the wedding preparations and family drama was a delicious challenge.

But what do the characters think?

The Ariki and I

By Juleka J. Jameson

I had the privilege to sit with the Ariki and his future bride, and ask them about the upcoming nuptials.

Juleka: Jason and Kennedy, thank you for speaking with me today. What are you most excited about for the wedding?

Kennedy Fairfield: Getting my family all together with friends and Jason’s family. It’s going to be a whole week of celebrating!

Jason Johnson: The Community Ball. I look forward to introducing Kennedy formally to the Community. She’s made my life so much better just by being in it and I want to share that energy with the Community.

Juleka: Many are surprised by the quick about face from stoic leader to loving family man. What brought about the change?

Jason: Several attempts on my life and Kennedy saving it.

Kennedy: I only saved you the first time.

Juleka: Speaking of saving lives, Kennedy, you were whisked away by the Phantom, Westmeath’s very own superhero. How was that experience and is he as handsome in person?

Kennedy: I was! He even let me put on clothes first.

Juleka: That sounds like a story! Go on.

Kennedy: *laughs* Not really. I was in between outfits at a fashion show. It was quite exciting to be whisked away through shadows, and rather thrilling to trust someone so completely without knowing them. He had a nice jawline, but the mask covered my favourite part of a person – his eyes.

Juleka: Sounds dreamy. Any jealousy about that, Jason?

Jason: Yes, absolutely. I’m extremely jealous that the Phantom has never tried to save me. It would have been very useful several times.

Juleka: Speaking of the Phantom, he and his new partner have been fighting some new threats in the form of giant monsters. Are you worried about an attack on your wedding day?

Kennedy: None of the attacks have been near Oldtown or the church, so I guess we might want to hire security for the shuttle between the two?

Jason: Definitely going to get extra security, but honestly, the Phantom and the Wraith have this well in hand, and if anything happens, the Community isn’t defenceless.

Juleka: Enough politics. Tell me about the dress!

Kennedy: Even my mother hasn’t seen it! I can’t tell you much. I can tell you it’s being designed by the Turgenevas at Seams Likeable, and I hired a lace maker in Baker called Inara Kotosuga who is absolutely brilliant. You’ll have to see it after the wedding. I’ve agreed to let Seams Likeable display it for the rest of the month of June.

Juleka: I can’t wait to see it and thank you for letting me and our photographer cover the wedding. The ball and the wedding promise to be the social events of the year. Do you have any surprises planned that you can let our readers know?

Jason: That’s not how surprises work, Juleka. We are not expecting any surprises. Other than the last minute details, everything should be smooth and expected.


Jason couldn’t be more wrong, find out all the surprises in Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order now!

49th Shelf Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Indigo Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Archambault Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Amazon Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Rakuten Kobo Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Apple Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Story

The story is equally as nonsensical as the rest of the series but feels even more disjointed. The set pieces are barely held together by plot. Reminds me of the James Bond series for more than just Sean Connery.

Score: 0

Characters

Whoever wrote this has no idea what a romance is or how to fake it. Indiana’s love life is all the more cringe with the Nazi triple agent. The villain doesn’t take his own advice which is really frustrating. I hate dumb villains.

All that being said, the character interactions between Ford and Connery are spectacular. The humour, heart, and familial frustration are the saving grace of this movie.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is all over the place. There are some great quotable lines and some self-referential humour that just doesn’t stick the landing.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The majority of the movie was beautiful but the reliance on blue screen was obvious in several locations.

The music was amazing as usual.

Score: 1

Fun

This is a nostalgic and fun movie. The father-son dynamic alone is worth a watch. Everyone liked it and even the 4yo was glued to the screen.

One accidental funny moment was when Indiana Jones tells the love interest, called Elsa, to “let it go”, a joke that wouldn’t be funny for 24 years after the film’s release.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun, if disjointed, action-packed movie that’s mostly saved by the charisma and chemistry between the two leads.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Chapter 5

The text, "Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story" over a red sun.

Characters | 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 5: Obligatory boardroom and planning scene

“Denebola,” I (Hal) said, hoping to get a rise out of someone. It was the sun that the Sun Speaker on the Robinson had said he represented before I flew our ship into Sol and let the plasma work it out. 

The entire crew of the Revenge did a complicated gesture over their hearts. “Let me guess… God of your people?”

It was Diamond that answered, “No. The God of Black-Sun is Spica. Denebola is the god of devouring in the Pantheon. He is the one that eats the rebel suns. His Speakers are twisted and lead armies of Void-Beasts.”

I saw the look in Diamond and Zuri’s eyes a split second before the vision hit me. Our three ships were flying toward the edge of the system when the Denebola fleet arrived. They were the ships I’d been having nightmares about. They were black and shiny like they were covered in tar, their angles were wrong and seemed to shift as I watched.

The Sol fleet had already been decimated by the Sun Fleet. This new influx was the last straw, and I saw them retreat through a portal near Mars.

The Denebola ships started to attack the other sun’s ships, the planets, and anything between them and Sol. By the end of the vision, there was nothing left, the Sol had been extinguished.

The meeting room on the Hey Sunny had really comfy chairs for when this happened. The three of us woke up to our friends looking worried. 

“That was concerning,” I understated.

Zuri ran to the corner and threw up in the garbage. Her captain brought her some water to rinse her mouth, and the girl came back.

I had an idea but I needed more information first. “Zuri, your ship creates an FLT-bubble and moves space around it?”

“Yes. But it takes a lot of energy,” she replied.

“Diamond, you use a jump drive? With a wormhole generator for long distance trips?” The jump drive was similar to the way my ship and most of the Sol system ships worked.

The man nodded. 

I turned to our last guest, Captain Jan, and asked, “You have an actual sun inside your ship, and it propels you how?”

“My people have been using stardrives for millennia. We use the sun’s natural resonance to move the universe around the ship.”

Adric, Zuri, and all the other tech heads started asking questions at the same time. When they’d calmed down, I asked the question I’d been dreading since I’d heard of the stardrive, “Can you make more non-sapient micro stars?”

The captain looked confused as she replied, “Yes, but they’d be useless for stardrives. The mind of the sun is what does all the calculations.”

“I don’t want to use them as stardrives. I want to use them as bombs. We can manipulate the plasma levels in the sun and cause it to go supernova. If we can make enough, I can create a chain reaction that would take out most of that fleet.” 

“Hal! Channelling that sort of energy would kill you!” Suzie exclaimed.

Taking her hand gently, I replied, “It would but I’m not alone anymore. With three people, it’ll be a lot easier.” Turning to Adric, I said, “Can you retrofit the ship to have a stardrive and a wormhole generator?”

“Yeah, with some help,” he seemed confident but overwhelmed. We all were.

“Okay. Captain Ng. How many non-sapient suns can you create in a month?”

She looked over at her crew and spoke in their language before turning to me and saying, “If we can use Sol for extra power, we can probably have a few thousand by that time.”

“Excellent. Let’s all get ready.” Dismissed, everyone started to leave. When there was only me, Suzie, Zuri, and Diamond left, I cocked an eyebrow and asked, “What is it?”  

It was Zuri who spoke first. She tried hard to sound confident but years of being looked down on showed in her tone. “I don’t like the idea of killing trillions.”

“I don’t like the Suns but it seems harsh to kill them like that,” Diamond added.

I gave a theatrical sigh before asking, “What other options do we have? They’re not going to offer us the same courtesy.”

“I don’t know but there has to be another option,” Zuri said and her attitude was like looking into a mirror.

Diamond nodded and his lower lip jutted out in a stubborn pout. I swear the man could have been a male model.

Earlier the three of us had exchanged information in a wholly new way that involved sharing our history together through a telepathic connection. I showed them everything I had learned about being a Sun Speaker, Diamond showed us all the training a Black-Sun Sun Speaker received, and finally Zuri shared her multi-lifetime experience as the reincarnation of King Arthur. It was fascinating to see the difference between everyone’s training and how varied the powers they accessed. One of the reasons me and my predecessors had such short lifespans was that we spent a lot more energy and power than was safe.  

“I’m glad to hear that,” I said and tried to smile reassuringly. “I’m hoping the micro sun bombs can be more of a deterrent until the Denebola ships arrive. If we can keep the Sun’s armies busy without hurting them, they’ll have no choice but to help face off against the void-beasts and their masters.”

“What?” all three of them said at the same time.

“We saw those ships attacking everything. I’m guessing that the Sun fleet has a sense of survival. We just have to delay them until the real nightmares arrive and then hope we can take whoever survives.”

Suzie chuckled and said, “That’s the most Hal plan I’ve ever heard.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I replied.

She chided, “Don’t. It’s still very risky and depends on us being able to distract a fleet of bloodthirsty zealots.”

“Distracting is what I do second best,” I said with as much confidence as I could.

“What do you do first best?” Zuri asked suspiciously.

“Getting into trouble,” I replied. 

Suzie rolled her eyes and the other two Sun Speakers walked out of the meeting room.

“I know you’re keeping something from the rest of the group. Why?” Suzie asked, and I loved her all the more for not asking what.“I’m not sure how much the enemy Sun Speakers can see or how much control they have. If I could watch them planning, I know I would. I want to keep as many surprises as I can.”

Read Chapter 6 (June 2024)


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

Week 38 – How to Train Your Dragon

The staple. The first movie that occurred to me back in 2020 for Dragon and gave me the name for the homeschool for her.

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

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
design a dragonWatch movielearn about prostheticsFlexmake a paper boat

Summary of the week

Daily details:

Dance

Ballet and martial arts on alternate days

Music

Singing, listening to different pieces, learning piano, learning guitar

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

Download material

Counting objects/math-type activities

Practice counting objects and writing how many of each type – (in download material)

Addition and pattern – worksheet

Storytime

Activity

Design a dragon – link to reference
Learn about prosthetics – video how it’s made, video beyond bionics
Make a paper boat – link to reference

Next week: Finding Nemo

Week 36 – Strange World Results

Pegasus liked this movie. He says “I liked it! It was good,” and when pressed about what parts exactly he liked, he says “I liked all of it!”

Dance

As per usual, I didn’t do anything specific for this.

Music

His scales are coming along nicely and he willingly practises both his scales and the pieces in the book. He’s only 20 pages away from finishing the first book.

Basic Information

We are working on the day before and the day after any given day. The months of the year is going well. All months have proper pronounciation now, and we’re working on the month before and after any given month. That’s coming slowly.

We practised the seasons, but he still needs help remembering them in French.

Printing words

Pegasus has forgotten to drop his p’s below the line, and didn’t care to fix it. Great g on page 1 though.

Counting objects/math-type activities

This week, he had trouble with the direction of his 7’s. He fixed them.

Math worksheets. Zero problems with these, after we walked through the series on page 2.

Storytime

We have no French library books this week, so he read some French books through Boukili.

Activity

Draw by number – he was very excited to trace the puppy

Garden – It was very hot, but Pegasus stuck it out. He preferred collecting the discarded stuff and watering. He was not a fan of getting his hands dirty, even though he was wearing gloves (tbh, that tracks). He helped plant zucchini.

Learn about body systems – he was deeply invested in the videos and answered the quiz questions at the end of each one correctly.