Busy, Busy, and CONTEST!

February 19, 2014

Things at work have been crazy. I’m busier than I’ve ever been. It’s refreshing but doesn’t leave a lot of time to write. I’m a little behind for this week but I’ll try to catch-up tomorrow.

Work isn’t the only thing that’s crazy. Things at home are just as busy. I can’t really discuss it yet but big changes are coming for me and my wife.

Now if you haven’t had the chance to check out our contest. Now’s the time. Jen will be selling at Ottawa Geek Market and if you do our survey you’ll have a chance to win at $10 gift certificate for anything she makes or a commission.

Go do the survey, Only 6 Days left.

contest

Until later my imaginary friend,

Éric

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February stuff and things

February 4, 2014

Hello my imaginary friends,

Tomorrow I’ll have a short Harry Potter fanfic for you.

I’m glad that January is over. No seriously. I was sick for most of it and when I wasn’t I felt like crap. So far February is better.

In an interesting story I missed my stop on the bus this morning and didn’t realize until I got off one stop later. There is nothing more discombobulating than expecting one bus stop and getting another.

On the writing front I started chapter 5 yesterday of Parasomnia (Working title) and am still enjoying it. Someone asked me what it was and I thought about it for the first time. I think it could be considered a Supernatural thriller.

On the vlog front, I’ve finally got all the equipment and tonight I’ll be installing Ubuntu on my computer and testing out some linux based video editing software. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll have something posted.

In related new Jen took part in a panel on Roverandom by Tolkien, over on the Silver Stag Entertainment’s youtube Chanel.

At the JenEric Designs headquarters, (our house) we’ve been discussing the future of JenEric Designs, Aspiring Something, Travels of the Cocheted Tardis, JenEric Photography, and FADDS Role Playing. We’ve come to the conclusion that splitting our audience is probably a bad thing and we plan on combining all the products under one website and adding a webstore. We’re in the design stages at the moment and hope to get everything done by July or August.

In the same train of thought, we would greatly appreciate you filling out our tiny little survey. It will be up until mid February.

The point of the survey is to improve what we have and produce better stuff. Please help.

We’re also running a FaceBook Contest. See details here: https://www.facebook.com/JenEricDesigns/posts/10100722377353006

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon,
Éric


Evil is Stupid

January 3, 2014

Why do we accept that villains are stupid? Not that they make stupid mistakes but that they are stupid. Think of a villain… I’ll wait… Ok do you have one? Great!

Are they stupid? Not unintelligent. All Bond villains are brilliant but soooo stupid. “I will destroy the world.” Chances are you’ve thought of a dumb villain and chances are it doesn’t bother you that they’re dumb.

It’s like there are four classes of villains, anti-villains, comic, stupid, and scary. Some villains are just there to make you laugh and some are there just to give the protagonist something to achieve.

Most of what Loki does in Avengers and Thor seems absolutely dumb. Did he really think he could get away with it? I mean really? No of course he didn’t. I don’t think Loki is a villain any more than I think Dexter is a hero. Loki is an Anti-Villain. He wants to be a bad guy and he wants it bad but at heart he’s really a big softy.

The comic villains are the ones that are so over-the-top that they are barely even considered villains. Darth Helmet from Spaceballs or Amilyn (Paul Reuben) from the Buffy movie.

The stupid villains are everywhere. Sometimes it’s just bad writing. Benedict CumberKHAAAAN from the latest Star Trek was a super-genius but apparently didn’t understand how to work a scanner. (Armed torpedoes beamed on his ship and he didn’t know?) STUPID!

I’m not against villains having flaws. Sauron, from Lord of the Rings, loses simply because he’s too arrogant to think anyone would destroy the ring. Other than that he was a scary level of brilliant. Benedict CumberSmaug, from the latest Hobbit, is so prideful that he doesn’t believe anyone can touch him. Pride and Arrogance are the most common fault in villains and Heroes.

Now try to think of a villain that truly terrified you. In horror movies, we have Micheal Myers, from Halloween, and Jason, from Friday the 13th, all they want is to kill. No elaborate plans just carnage. That’s scary! The audience knows what the villain want, understands why they want it, and knows they’ll get it.

Disney has some scary villains. Gaston is a true villain. He pretends to be dumb but plans and schemes. He’s a bigot, murderer, and hates progress. Worst of all, he’s charmed everyone around him to make them think he’s the Hero. Now that’s scary.

Or how about Ursula, or Cruella De Vil? They make a few mistakes but overall they were good at what they did and they did it ruthlessly.

I love television but it’s the worst offender when it comes to having stupid villains. Every recurring bad guy in Bones starts out as scary and then they have to make them stupid at the last minute. Castle did it for a few villains. Whedon seems to avoid this by making a lot of Anti-Villains. Warehouse 13, Sanctuary, Eureka, and to a lesser degree Stargate all had this problem.

Back to my original question: Why?

Why do we, as an audience, allow stupid villains?

Is there a villain that scared you with how smart they were?

Until later,

Eric

P.S. Evil Overlord list!


2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 730 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2013

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Happy Holidays!


I’ll Meet You Yesterday by Tom Barlow – Book Review

December 3, 2013

barlow

I met Mr Barlow at Can-Con (The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature). I unintentionally bought the first copy of his book. He was very nice and signed it for us. I later saw him speak at a panel on mystery writing.

When I bought the book I didn’t read the back right away. I read the title and said, “I want it”. I stupidly thought it was a time travel story. It isn’t but that’s ok, it was a great read.

He is published by the awesome people at Bundoran Press

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

This wasn’t a large book, and I appreciated that there weren’t too many characters. I easily confuse characters with similar names or roles.

Not in this book. Each character was well fleshed out and had the weight of implied history behind them. Other than one tiny exception, none of the characters did anything stupid.

I genuinely felt for the characters.

I didn’t like

As much as I know in my mind that characters thrive through challenge. It’s hard to watch them get hurt. The characters made the best of a bad situation and came out stronger but it made me sad.

I guess none of that is a criticism. It works to build pathos and character development.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

Maybe it’s that I don’t read enough mystery but I’ve never come across a writing style like Barlow’s. Some books exhaust me with stress but suck me in. Others don’t suck me in but aren’t stressful. I’d always thought the stress and the interest were a necessary pair. Barlow proved that it wasn’t.

He has a relaxed beauty to his writing. I was still worried for the characters but I never felt stressed or pressed. Everything was smooth and calm. Like the perfect sip of coffee.

I didn’t like

I can’t think about anything I didn’t like about the style.

I give it 5 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was a near future science fiction, mystery, love story, with strong elements of a road trip in the middle. It was a refreshing mix of styles.

The story wasn’t complicated. It didn’t feel cluttered and had me wondering what would happen next. It was beautifully crafted and made me feel certain that the author knew where he was going.

I didn’t like

The world wasn’t a nice place. It was also a little too plausible. Neither of them bad things but throughout, I wondered if it was necessary. They added a little background and a few of the plot devices but other than that I could have seen this work in the 1930’s or even modern day.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

Any time a character does something stupid, like buying drugs, I usually feel like throwing the book away but in this book it just had me mentally yelling at the character. That shows me that the book was too good to get angry at and I enjoyed it the way I enjoy a good cop show that doesn’t telegraph the ending.

I didn’t like

I found the ending a little quick. I would have liked to see a little more but I also see why it ended where it ended.

I give it 5 out of 5 for fun

Overall

I struggled to find things I didn’t like about this book. It was just so good that I couldn’t put it down.

I eagerly await more from Tom Barlow and recommend you get this book and read it, as soon as possible.

Final score is 90%


Chivalry Should not Mean Chauvinist

November 10, 2013

I am a Giant Squid of Anger because of this article.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

First I’d like to dispel the myth that Chivalry has anything to do with sex or gender. All definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary.

The word Chivalry has changed over time. Starting out in the Middle Ages (early 1300’s but who’s counting), the world simply meant Knights or horsemen equipped for Battle. It was adapted from the French Chevalerie which meant man fighting on horse.

Shortly after, it was changed to mean acts of bravery or honour on the battlefield.

Let’s skip a few hundred years. In the early 1800’s it started to mean “Gallant Gentleman” and represent everything that is knightly.

The wonderful French and British Romantic poets glorified the simpler time that was the dark ages and what they called the Chivalrous Code. Which meant, “The brave, honourable, and courteous character attributed to the ideal knight; disinterested bravery, honour, and courtesy.”

Nowhere before 1832, did Chivalry have anything to do with women. Other than that the Chivalrous Code said that knights must protect the weak.

Victorians were dumb

I like my steampunk as much as the next geek but the time period is horrible for women. We are still dealing with the shit that the Victorian’s shoved into our collective consciousness.

It was during this period that Chivalry took on the more modern and disturbing meaning of, “courteous behaviour, especially that of a man towards women.”

Even then Chivalry wasn’t only towards women.

When they were handing out brains, you said, “No thanks I’m afraid of flying.”

Somehow, chauvinistic morons have tried to appropriate a word that meant being nice to people and killing the bad guys into a word that means women are deluded and weak.

The author states that in our world of instant hookups (sure dude) chivalry is dead.

“All I know is, the more I look around, the less I see men treating women the way that we’re raised to. What happened to paying for dinners and drinks? What happened to pulling out chairs and holding doors? What happened to walking on the outside, closest to the street and all that sh*t?”

Avoiding the horrible crime of ending a sentence with a preposition, why does he think these things are important?

A man paying for dinner and drinks makes perfect sense in a world where women have no money of their own but when women make as much money or more than the man why the hell should a guy go broke for a date?

Pulling out a chair is respectful and something that should be done with anyone who would have trouble moving their chairs back towards the table alone. Women in tight corsets and pencil skirts might have this issue, men in skinny jean will also.

As for walking on the outside on a sidewalk, well some rules were developed for a different time. This was established so women wouldn’t get shit on their heads or splashed on them from carriages. Now they might get splashed by a car or bus (stupid busses) but walking on the outside isn’t going to help a girl in this case since the wave of water won’t be blocked.

And my personal pet peeve. I have been berated, insulted, yelled at, and in one case kicked, for opening a door for a woman. That hasn’t stopped me from doing it for the simple reason that I don’t do it for women exclusively. I do it for any human being and occasional pets. If I get to the door before you, I will open it for you and hold it open. I don’t care who you are.

The rest of the article is a combination of shaming and pining for a better time, in other words bullshit.

“Be excellent to each other….and….PARTY ON, DUDES!”

Let’s take back the word Chivalry and give it a new meaning. Let’s make it mean something positive and loving. I propose a new definition:

“The act of being noble, selfless, kind, and helping others without reward or ulterior motives.”