Dear Pegasus – Eye Love You

Dear Pegasus,

Sunday morning, you and your sister were snuggling. Which apparently is code for wrestling or ultimate fighting, because a few minutes in, you started crying.

Your eye was red and you said it hurt. We couldn’t see anything in it. We tried to flush it out and you said it was okay so we forgot about it.

After breakfast, you burst into tears and said your eye hurt. We flushed it again and put a wet towel on your eye. That seemed to work.

Then every five to ten minutes, you burst into tears and your eye would look red again, so we called the nurse hotline (which is now 811) and the nurse told us to take you to the hospital.

CHEO had an estimated wait time of three and a half hours. Your mum went with you over dinner (about 3 hours) and then we switched. You refused to eat anything but your mum’s mixed nuts. I might have made them sound deliciously forbidden.

When you were called, we were brought to a room and waited less then a minute for the doctor. She was awesome; she put some numbing agent in your eye and then some orange dye that showed her where you were hurt. The dye went into the tear and it glowed orange. Really cool to see. Well… from my angle anyway.

Altogether, it was about 5 hours at CHEO, which is pretty good in my opinion.

Pegasus with the remnants of the orange dye on his eye.

You have a small tear in your cornea (the coloured part of your eye) but it’s not close to your pupil and it should heal quickly. We have some REALLY FUN (no not really) antibiotic cream to put in your eye every night for 5-7 nights.

You were really good. It’s certainly not the first place I wanted to take you after your vaccinations.

I’m really glad it wasn’t worse and I hope you heal quickly. Listening to your pitiful moans as you fell asleep tonight was hearbreaking.

I am so thankful for your Grand-dad; he drove us there and back three times across town. We are very lucky to have your grandparents to help out and that they’re so awesome.

Eye Love you, little Pegasus,

Your Papa

Dear Pegasus – Dresses

Dear Pegasus,

You were assigned male at birth, well actually, at ultrasound.

You’re still discovering what you like and who you are. Somedays peanut butter sandwiches are “disgusting” and other days they’re the best thing in the world.

There are some things that you are firm on for now; you love Doctor Who, blueberries, your sister, Encanto, and dresses.

A few weeks ago, you sat and had a serious conversation with your mum. You asked if you could wear a dress for your birthday. One of the pretty dresses that Grannie made.

I’m embarrassed to say that my first instinct was to say no. Your mum reacted quicker than I did and said yes with only a little hesitation. I was a little worried at first about how people would react, how family might react, but a few days later we got a dress from Grannie (who was overjoyed someone else would get to wear the dresses that she worked so hard on.)

You’ve worn a few dresses now and honestly, it doesn’t feel weird. I’m glad you get the chance to wear pretty things. It’s something I remember wanting to do when I was young, but felt too embarrassed to ask.

I asked you tonight if you thought you were a boy or a girl and you answered, “Neither. I’m Pegasus.” (Okay, you said your name, not Pegasus.) I asked if you wanted me to use he, she, or they and you repeated, “I’m just Pegasus.” So that was fine. We’ll revisit that another time.

I’m not sure if you’ll grow up wanting to wear dresses, realize your trans, or just not care and do what you want. We’ll support you no matter what.

I really hope the world you grow up in gets better. A lot of us are trying, but even the most progressive among us have to step back and think about what we’re doing. It’s also important to listen to those that have come before.

No matter what you decide, you’re our child and we love you,

Your trying Papa. (Yes, yes, in both senses of the word trying.)

Dear Dragon – Easter Bunny

Dear Dragon,

Last night in a desperate plea to not sleep, you asked me if the Easter Bunny hid the easter stuff or if I did. Here’s how that conversation played out:

Papa: What do you think?

Dragon: I think you do it. Am I right?

P: Why do you think that?

D: Because it would be a very long way for him to go all the way here and all the way back.

P (Trying not to laugh): Where do you think the Easter Bunny comes from?

D (With all the confidence of a 5yo): Very far away.

P: So why can Santa do it and not the Easter Bunny?

D (No hesitation at all): Because Santa has a magic sleigh and the Easter Bunny doesn’t. So am I right?

This is the point where I panicked and worried that I might say something that would cause you to stop believing in the Easter Bunny and/or Santa.

I told you that it was really well thought out and we’d talk about it the next day. That’s today as I write this letter. Then I said goodnight and ran away despite you still asking.

It only occured to me later that you seemed to firmly believe the Easter Bunny existed but that he can’t deliver all the stuff. I wonder if you think that he ships it to us?

As I write this, I need to go wake you, your brother, and your mother. I hope a good night’s sleep will make you forget the questions.

You’re very clever and absolutely adorable.

Love you little Dragon,

Papa

Taking care

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

As a follow-up to my post about Long Covid, I want to add a few things.

There are multiple other things that are also affecting me and I realize I might have sounded a little dour. I’m okay and I’m taking steps to make things better for me.

I’m trying to do things that let me rest and don’t hurt me more. It’s hard, because sometimes giving my kids Sunday eggos with strawberries instead of pancakes feels like failure, sometimes writing a post and then reading a little feels like laziness, and sometimes taking a warm shower instead of practising music feels self-indulgent.

I’m going to try and give myself some slack. As I mentioned in my post about burnout, it’s really hard to fight the guilt of doing something for me. I’m going to try and hopefully it’ll get easier.

What am I doing you ask?

All joking aside, I’m working on that. I’ll figure it out. I have a wonderful wife and family to help.

Well, I should go read. I have a book to finish.

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

A Castle for Christmas – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film A Castle for Christmas.

Story

Part Christmas movie, part enemies to lovers, and part rich author can’t write. (I’ve released 6 books in six years. When are the talk show interviews, international renown, and castle buying money supposed to kick in?)

The story is simple and not very original, but that’s part of it’s charm. If follows through with all its promises and it’s certainly a feel good movie.

Score: 0.5

Characters

It’s nice to see a love story without mocking about two 50+ characters / actors. They are roughly the same age (thank you for not making her 21) and other than her having an adult daughter, age isn’t mentioned.

The main cast play their roles perfectly. The reticent author, the grumpy Scot, and the new best friends are all fantastic. I like the relationships made throughout the movie. Also nice to see a guy friendship with no toxicity in it.

There were a few times it felt forced or scripted and it threw me out of the movie.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

One of my English teachers told me that every type of love story is based off one of Shakespeare’s plays. This one has all the sass and quipping of Much Ado About Nothing. I love the interactions between characters and the quick, simple wordplay.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

It’s hard to beat the setting of a Scottish castle. They filmed it perfectly to bring out the beauty of Scotland, and the set dressing for the Christmas scenes was over the top in the best way.

The music was lovely, especially the choice of songs.

Score: 1

Fun

Both kids sat for the whole thing, although I bribed them with chips (don’t judge me, please). It was exactly what I wanted to watch and exactly what it said on the tin. I laughed, cried, and smiled a lot.

Score: 1

Overall

With two veteran actors hamming it up, this movie couldn’t be anything but entertaining. If you like romances and Christmas movies, you’ll like this one. It’s a lot fun.

Final Score: 4 stars out of 5

Recommendation Monday – Kung Fu 2021

Hello TV show fans,

I was a massive fan of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. I watched it with my mom and it was one of the shows that helped build my understanding of story structure. It was fun and exciting and a little magical.

So when they announced a reboot I was a little unsure about it.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well they kept the 1990’s TV show feel while updating everything else. The story writing was fantastic and the characters were wonderful. I’m amazed at how well balanced the show is for drama. Never drawing anything out too long and never going for the cheap shock. If I had to say anything negative about the show, it’s that the action was great, but not mind blowing. But there is a lot more to Kung Fu than just fighting.

I really think that modern superhero shows can learn a lot by watching how well arced and set up it was. Most important, to me, was the wonderful family dynamic that was both realistic and heart warming. The show’s action, story, and everything else is useless if we don’t like the character and I could happily watch these characters do anything.

The next season has been set up masterfully and I can’t wait to see more.

If you liked the original or it’s sequel and enjoy good character dramas, check this show out. You’ll be hooked by the end of the first episode.

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

Wish Dragon – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Wish Dragon.

Story

An interesting re-imagining of the wishing trope. The main character is adorable and actually as innocent as he seems. The dragon is both funny and has an interesting backstory.

The movie does get bogged down by forced awkwardness and ridiculous drama. The story is at it’s best when it’s exploring family and community and at it’s worst when it veers to close to romance.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main character is adorable and only does stupid stuff because he’s very trusting of the magical dragon.The dragon is over the top and completely out of his depth. The friend is the definition of dutiful and conflicted about it.

The goon villains are cute and scary while the main villain was a nice surpise.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Clever and funny, but not extremely memorable, the dialogue serves its purpose. There are a few good lines, especially the dialogue between the main characters.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie looks very similar to what other top studios are doing, character design looks pulled from Pearl Studios or Blue Sky Studios. There are moments of pure beauty, however.

The music is lovely and really accentuates the story.

Score: 1

Fun

Overall, the movie is a lot of fun. The kids loved it and other than that annoying middle part, it was a joy to watch. I was excited to have a movie all about friends and felt a little betrayed when they played with the possibility of the characters becoming love interests.

Score: 1

Overall

A wonderful addition to the animated “genie” genre. It is a lot of fun, but sacrifices some depth for awkward humour and a few too many chase scenes. In the end it’s pretty, has a great moral and is fun to watch.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Ever After – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1998 film Ever After.

Story

An interesting twist on the Cinderella story that concentrates more on the meeting and courting before the ball of the lovers. It makes the love story feel slightly more real.

One of the few “realistic” takes on a classic fairy-tale that manages to work.

Score: 1

Characters

The evil stepmother was evil, the prince was handsome, and the Cinderella was spunky and kicked ass. I like that one of the stepsisters was nice.

I’m not super comfortable with the portrayal of the Romani in the movie. Showing them as brigands and thieves with a sense of honour and humour is very cliché and borders on racist.

I adore Da Vinci as an artist, inventor, and plot device but it made me sad that they had to remove a positive female role from the story to have him in there. Couldn’t they have made Gustave’s patron a famous female artist?

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This is a movie with a lot of dialogue and a lot of subtext. It might be a Cinderella story but it takes a lot from modern romantic comedy banter and Much Ado About Nothing.

I’m not sure how quotable it is, but listening to the banter and dialogue is like listening to a good musical piece.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This movie includes some beautiful locations and clothing. It was beautifully shot but everything was marred by a weird blue-green filter. It darkened the movie and made everything look wrong rather than stylish.

The music was lovely and unobtrusive but nothing special.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Watching a movie this long with a three year old and a fourteen month old isn’t very conducive to fun. The three year old liked the colours and movement but lost interest in the long conversations that were the heart of the movie.

Despite that, I enjoyed myself and look forward to watching it with them when they’re older.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie manages to strike the perfect balance between love story, fairy tale, and alternate history. It’s romantic and lovely without much to cringe at.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Christmas Setup – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film The Christmas Setup.

Story

Borrowing partly from indie slice of life and partly from Christmas romances, this is an easy to watch mix of the two. There’s a mystery and a little angst, but overall wasn’t too bad. There are two parts that I didn’t like. I hate the trope of forcing a character to go on stage and then they rock it. If someone doesn’t want to do it, they shouldn’t be pressured. The second time it happened the character didn’t even do what they were supposed to.

I did however love the mirroring in the story of the train station and the main characters. That was cute and awesome.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Fran Drescher plays the perfect meddling mother. She’s never hurtful and she’s somehow always respectful. A nice change of pace for this character archetype. The rest of the cast is both pretty and easy to watch. The characters are believable and overall pretty authentic. I really liked the dynamic of the brothers and how they had to work at understanding each other.

I also like that the main couple being gay didn’t add to the drama but still influenced the character’s stories and conversations.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This movie had an interesting effect. I laughed and loved the clever dialogue… but I don’t remember any of it. It was fast and clever and never took itself seriously.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was well shot, the clothes were fantastic, and locations were stunning. That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the “Northern Lights” scene that looked pretty fake.

The music was good if not memorable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie was fun to watch. It kept my 18 month old completely enthralled. I’m thinking it was the banter, but it could have been my popcorn. The entire family liked it and I hope there will be more like it in the future.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an adorable Christmas love story that is made all the better by wonderful dialogue and authentic representation. I liked this one and look forward to buying a copy for annual watching.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Princess Bride – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1987 film Princess Bride.

Story

There are two stories going on in the movie. The boy and his grand father and then the main story. Both are extremely simple. Simplicity in this movie isn’t a bad thing; it’s used to shift the focus away from the plot and towards the characters and dialogue.

The movie has aged well in almost every way except the complete lack of diversity and failing the Bechdel test on all counts.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The movie has some of the most iconic characters and the movie is really about them and their journey. Other than Buttercup and Humperdinck, the major characters see growth and resolution.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is quite possibly the most iconic in American cinema. It’s definitely one of the most quoted movies and in my D&D group it competes with Monty Python for quote time.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The scenery is gorgeous as are the costumes. The sets are purposefully simple but still beautiful. The movie has a look that is just borderline cheesy while still being ageless. The sword fighting is exceptional.

The music is lovely, simple but definitely fantasy inspired. It’s very well used in the fight scenes and “Kissing” moments. I was glad it didn’t follow the synth trend of the 80’s.

Score: 1

Fun

I saw this movie for the first time in my twenties and have watched it a handful of times since. It’s extremely fun to watch and easy to enjoy. It really has a little bit of everything.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie isn’t perfect but it’s pretty and a lot of fun. The dialogue is iconic and if you don’t find yourself quoting something from it, I’d be surprised.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars