Being Happy.*Grumble*

June 11, 2014

You may not know it but I’m a grumpy man. Optimistic but grumpy. Our world is filled with great beauty and horrible things.

Lately I’ve noticed the #100HappyDays trend on my tumblr and facebook pages. I’m torn in my feelings for it. I do honestly believe that it’s important to see the beauty in life but I’m not sure if happy is necessarily the best thing.

What makes us happy, what we appreciate, and what enriches our lives isn’t always the same thing. The book, “The Fault in our Stars” didn’t make me happy but I saw the beauty in it and enjoyed it.

If you’re unhappy I certainly think you should look for the positive in your life.

Sometimes I like being unhappy, grumpy, or sad. It’s ok to feel bad. “Pain demands to be felt.”

I think this challenge encourages an unhealthy attitude. Being happy at all times is impossible. Therefore it will cause you to feel guilty for not being happy when you have every right to be upset.

Not to mention the self-editing that people would do with their pictures. “Oh I posted a picture of Coffee yesterday, Today I should do something else.” Or the critics, “Another picture of his/her food or children yuck.”

I fully admit that I might be wrong but it seems to me that instead of encouraging people to find the good in their life, it encourages people to fake happiness.

What do you think? Am I just an old grumpy flibbertigibbet?

Until later my Imaginary Friends,

Éric

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Screw Money Time is Knowledge

April 15, 2014

You were only killing time and it’ll kill you right back / Come on! come on! / It’s time to burn up the fuse / You’ve got nothing to do and even less to lose
– Meatloaf “Out Of The Frying Pan”

Wasting Time

Have you ever thought about a project, game, tv show, series of movies, or book and thought, “Dang! That was a large chunk of my life.”

I read an average of 15 hours a week (Fiction, articles, news, facebook). I read much more fiction in grade school and high school and almost finished an English degree in university. If you stretch that over my entire life (24 years of which I read regularly) that’s 18,720 hours or just over 2 years of my life (It’s probably a little higher than that). Some would say I’ve been slacking that’s only 1/18th of my life.

I’m sure if you looked into my other hobbies (Writing, TV, Movies, Tabletop games, Video games, Tabletop role playing games, acting, and talking) you’d find that it’s a huge part of my life.

Is all that a waste of time? Does my deep seeded love and obsession with stories “Wasting Time”?

If you know me you’ll already know that I don’t think it was but I hear so many people accusing activities of being a waste of time.

I’ve seen every Star Trek episode ever aired (Yes including the Animated Series) does that mean I’ve wasted over 600 hours not counting the movies? I don’t think so, I think it made me think throughout the 6 series. It challenged my idea of humanity, morals, and various other concepts.

“Well that’s Star Trek,” I hear you thinking. It’s not. Any story has something in it to make you think and challenge your preconceptions about the world. Even if all you have to think is how bad this story is and how you could fix it.

I think for something to be worth your time, it needs to have two things:

1. An idea or lesson (Something to make you think)

2. Fun (Something that you enjoy)

If you read my book or movie reviews you know I’ll talk about “important” stories that I didn’t enjoy but that I believe are wonderful. It means I didn’t enjoy it but it made me think. These are often great works that are too painful for me to re-watch but I feel that I’ve grown while watching/reading them.

So my imaginary friends, next time someone tells you to get your nose out of a book, your ass off the couch, your head from a game, or your hand off the polyhedral dice, and stop wasting time. Ask them what is more important than learning about your world and yourself through its best, worst, and average stories. (I’d also apply this to Sports, Travelling, and Creating.)

Until later, remember to see your world through a critical eye.

Analyze, Understand, and Grow!

John Lennon


The Past was like Totally Better

December 31, 2013

Nostalgia: Sentimental longing for or regretful memory of a period of the past, esp. one in an individual’s own lifetime; (also) sentimental imagining or evocation of a period of the past. – Oxford English Dictionary

Someday we’ll look back on today and think how wonderful the world was and how horrible it has become. I can say that without exaggeration because it’s already happened. It’s happening right now. (I’m looking at you!)

I think it’s part of human nature that we idolize a time where we think we were happier, where life was simpler, where all the horrible things had yet to happen. We latch onto the horrible things in our lives now and glorify the good things of the past.

It’s not that we forget the bad things but their bite lessens with time. We can see it with less bias. There are two quotes that come to mind and I’ll say upfront that I disagree with Doctor Who.

“Great men are forged in fire, it is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame” – 50th anniversary of Doctor Who

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness, and love.” – Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

These two quotes define our cultures beliefs on life. Fire, turmoil, battle, horror, etcetera are what creates great people. It is what makes exciting stories but not people. We don’t define ourselves by our hardships but our successes. When we don’t, we run into trouble.

Back to nostalgia… Nostalgia is our way of whitewashing our past and making sure we mostly remember the good stuff. It’s not that we want to forget the bad but that we want to concentrate on the good. We also tend to make a big deal about stuff that we won’t find important in the future.

A good example for me is writing. When I’m writing I feel stressed to be writing, but excited. I also feel ridiculously frustrated when I first edit. When all is said and done and I have an “almost” finished book (I say almost because my mind will never let me finish. I can always do more.) I feel amazing and only remember the excitement and elation of writing.

In some cases nostalgia is right but in a lot of cases it’s not. The world isn’t worse off than it was twenty years ago. The nineties wasn’t a better time. The internet and technology isn’t leading us to a horrible brain melting doom.

Nostalgia is great, especially with a drink and an old friend, but next time you find yourself saying, “When I was a kid…” stop and try to think of the good things now.

We live in a time of wonder and excitement.

If you need proof:  At the begining of 2014 Biofabrication isn’t Science Fiction.

See you in the New Year my Imaginary Friends!

Éric


Just Watch Me

December 10, 2013

It’s the holiday season. For some, that means stress piled on top of stress. For me this year it means I’m ignoring the stress and cuddling up with the good feelings. (And I haven’t even bought my yearly Irish Cream. I swear.) There’s just something so hopeful about this time of year.

Resolutions

Someone once told me to make New Year’s resolutions that you know you can accomplish. Let me give you advice my wonderful Imaginary Friends. Make New Year’s resolutions that you can accomplish, that you can fail, and that you want to accomplish.

I could easily say that this year I’ll lose 30 pounds. It’s possible, I could easily fail, but I don’t really care enough. I could say that I will breathe regularly. It’s possible, and I certainly want to but I can’t really fail. So follow the three guidelines and you’ll have nice, useful, and attainable goals.

Last year I resolved to do three things, Read more, Write regularly, and post more on this blog. Two out of three ain’t bad right? I managed a novel and 4 short stories. Read 31 books and I’m on 32. I unfortunately didn’t update much. Sorry.

This year I resolve to do three things again, Write regularly (500 Words a Day of novels or stories), Continue Reading as much (30+ might be tiny compared to my wife who reads that in 3 months), improve my internet presence (See next).

Projects

I have multiple projects in the works, some of which have been in the works for way to long. I’m hoping to get them started and some of them finished this year. Others might take a few year but I’ll get there.

FADDS (Four Attribute Dual Dodecahedron System)

I’ve been working on the rules for FADDS for going on 3 years now. I have most of them worked out and I’m hoping to have a downloadable PDF and hyperlinked SRD finished by the end of 2014. From there I’d like to work on beta testing at Cons and maybe running a kickstarter for the basic rules book.

Elizabeth Investigates (or the Baker City Adventures)

I’m going to be taking a break from writing this series. As much as I love the characters and setting, it’s time to diversify my available products. In other words I’d like another book to shop around. I am waiting to hear from a few publishers about the first book. If they decline it I’ll look into self-publishing. (See previous post for incoherent ramblings.)

Project Kitchen Sink

When I was in high school, one of my favourite books was the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I loved it for the structure. It’s effectively a series of short stories that work themselves into a larger narrative.

Lately I’ve been enjoying George R.R. Martin’s multi-character style, where he jumps from one character to another filling in their side of the story. I did this in my latest novel and, my beta readers have said they enjoyed it.

Project Kitchen Sink is a going to be a Fantasy novel riddled with elements of science fiction, mystery, and adventure. It’s going to jump from one protagonist to the other in an over-arching plot with multiverse destroying consequences. I want it to be character driven with multiple different styles. I’m aiming for it to be a standalone novel that is roughly 100,000 words. I have 5 characters stories plotted out.

The Dying World

This is a story and world I’ve been working on for about half a year now and I’m hoping to turn it into a generic roleplaying game adventure. It would be a large fantasy/sci-fi adventure that is compatible with any roleplaying system.

This is a ridiculously ambitious project and I might not get started until summer. Before I submit/publish it, I’ll have to run it with at least 1 group.

The basic story will be laid out in a future post.

Youtube

Last year I became obsessed with some youtubers and decided that if I ever get the right equipment, I’d start my own show. I’d like it to take one several formats and post once a month to start and maybe every week when I get good at it.

The formats would include but not be limited to:

  • How Hard Could it be to Cook _____ (Where I cook something I’ve never tried before.)
  • The Canadian Conspiracy Nut (The fictional story of a conspiracy nut who accidently got it right.)
  • Basic Vlog (Where I can rant and talk about stuff.)

Websites

I want to create a website that combines all my online stuff and my wife’s and organizes it coherently.

The main page would be JenEric Designs and that would integrate:

And add:

  • A Youtube Channel,
  • A Store for JenEric Designs,
  •  And Forums

The idea would be to have some sort of content being published at least 4-5 times a week.

In Conclusion, We’re Just Starting.

That looks like a lot more than I expected but I look forward to it. I hope this hasn’t been too long and rambling.

I also hope that the followers (or what I call My Imaginary Friends) will follow and grow as the projects get realized.

That’s it for now. Try and enjoy the season and all the joy that it brings.


Death is a Jerk

November 8, 2013

Death Bah!

I’m sure if there is a personification of Death, they are really sweet. It’s the consequences of their actions that are horrible. So he/she is a Jerk.

It’s a strange concept that haunts and terrifies me.

I remember when I first realized that someday I wouldn’t exist. I was in the car with my mother and had just clipped my seatbelt in for the hour ride to the nearest big town for groceries.

My whole world went black for a moment and I thought I might faint. I must have been seven or eight when I realized that someday I would end. Instead of doing the intelligent thing and talking to my mother about it, I internalized it and it freaked me out.

But Death only terrorizes the living. As far as I know, once you’re dead it’s not scary anymore. It’s those left behind that feel the pain and fear of death.

I’m older now and slightly wiser than my seven year old self, I hope, and I’ve come to realize that Death should be scary. It should paralyze people but it’s important to remind ourselves to appreciate what we have and those around us, while we still can.

Happy Birthday Mom

I lost my mother shortly after my twenty-fifth birthday. She’d been sick for several years, but it still took me by surprise. I had come to terms with my own mortality at seven but I never came to terms with hers.

Today is her birthday and I miss her.

She raised me and helped shape me into the man I am today. More than that she was also my best friend for a long time, I knew I could tell her anything.

It’s been over five years now and it still hurts the same, I think it always will.

Thank you and Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

Death in Writing

I tend to shy away from killing my characters. I mean real death, not superhero death. It’s not that I’m afraid to, it that I’m afraid of not being able to give the death the emotional weight it deserves.

That last thing I want is to write a story or book, kill off a character, and be the only one who grieves.

The threat of death, and the history of death, drives most of my characters as I imagine it drives most of humanity.

Another reason I don’t often kill off my characters, especially in short stories, is that they’re going to die anyways. I’ll finish the story and their lives will end. It’s one of the reasons I hate writing short stories. I feel for the characters and then they are gone. It hurts in a ridiculous and silly way.

Question and challenge

Has there ever been a death in something you’ve watched, read, or listened too that hit you hard? Did it surprise you? Thinking about it now, was it important to the story?

I’m going to challenge myself to write a story where someone dies and see if I can make the Jerk come to life in words.