Blog Posts

When they speak

I had an excellent class this morning. Previously I blogged about how, in this combined ENG3C/NBE3C Grade 11 English course, we looked at various texts to help students article their identity. We’ve now moved on to looking at the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. We have watched three…

Exploring Self and Identity Through Short Stories

I have two book reviews I really should be writing instead, and some planning to finish, because I’m off tomorrow afternoon to Sudbury (of all places) for a two-day workshop. So of course I’m blogging instead! In the previous session (March to April) at the adult education centre, I taught…

Surprisingly good television these days

Should I be posting a knitting update? Probably. But I wanted to tweet some thoughts about The Magicians, and Orphan Black, and Supergirl, until I realized I should really just expand them into a summary of my thoughts about television shows! So this is a round up…

Algorithms are not the answer

Oh, look! It’s another article about discovery vs rote math! Here we go again…. I thought I had solved this back in 2011 (twice!), but apparently a couple of people in the world didn’t listen, so now here I am, back at it again. It seems like every five…

My first exploration expedition: success

I have returned from my first exploration expedition in Elite: Dangerous. I'm putting a checkmark here: huge success. Financially, I made over 7.8 million credits. I spent about that much buying and outfitting my Asp Explorer for the trip, so I’m very happy with that. Exploration is not an…

Boldly going forward, because I can't find reverse

I started playing Elite Dangerous over the Christmas break. Now that I have a shiny new computer (which I still have to blog about), I can actually play PC games again. I’m pleasantly surprised by how well my XPS 15 can play such a demanding game, graphically—once I figured out…

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

Afterworlds cover image

This is a very charming and endearing book, which is good, because it is also implausible and silly and so otherwise it would be terrible. Afterworlds is a very tongue-in-cheek novel about writing and publishing novels, with a novel within the novel, because yo dawg, I heard you like novels in your novels so I novelled a novel novel for you. Novel novel novel….

Darcy Patel is an eighteen-year-old high school graduate whose NaNoWriMo novel gets accepted for publication. She moves to New York (parents…

Excession (Culture, #5) cover image

Finally, the Culture novel I’ve been waiting to read since I started the series. Everyone told me not to start with Excession, so I didn’t—and honestly that was pretty good advice. I can see why people wouldn’t enjoy this novel, and even though I think I would have liked it with no previous Culture experience, reading other books has given me a deeper appreciation for what is happening here.

Excession reminds me of children’s books where the main characters are all animals, and humans have very…

Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire, #6) cover image

I have been remiss in my Temeraire reading. I am way behind now, and with the series ending, it is time to catch up. (I say this, but I don’t actually own the next books and have no intention of buying them in the near future, because I have a ton of other stuff to catch up on. Hah. We’ll see how that goes.) Naomi Novik has always managed to keep the series fresh by sending Temeraire and Laurence off to new and interesting locations. From the coast of Great Britain to China to the heart of Africa…

The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex cover image

Back in Grade 4, a small group of peers asked me if I was a virgin.

Not knowing what a virgin was, I said no. Well, that certainly got them laughing. And I got very upset.

This incident has stuck in my memory (which is otherwise very much a sieve through which most details inevitably fall) for a few reasons. Firstly, it was one of the few times I ever felt bullied in school, despite being very nerdy and introverted and unapologetically individualist in my outward behaviour. And I don’t even really…

The Dark Forest cover image

Last year I read The Three-Body Problem, which you might recall ended up winning a little thing called the Hugo Award. Since then Liu Cixin’s sequels, already published in China, are making their way to English-speaking readers. The Dark Forest didn’t snag a nomination this year, but I still wanted to read it and discover what happens next in the Trisolaran crisis. As I learned in the first book, Liu is a writer of prodigious philosophical talent. His plots and characters attempt to engage with…

Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier cover image

This book was an indulgence: its price is US$60, which means in Canada it’s closer to $80 (although Chapters was selling it online at a considerable discount, so I didn’t pay even close to that). But it’s totally worth it. This book is as gorgeous as you would expect. It’s a coffee-table book, oversized and weighty, its pages thick and glossy and covered with colour photos of costumes, stills, and concept art. I mean, it is hard to mess up a tie-in book like this, but Star Trek Costumes: Five…