Blog Posts

On police cameras, Ferguson, and justice

Chatter about police wearing cameras while on duty has been picking up over the past year. The recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson has only amplified such calls. Really, as more and more ordinary citizens undertake lifelogging seriously, police wearing cameras will be inevitable. For an example from some recent and near-future fiction, look no further than Halting State, by Charles Stross.

Home via Halifax

I’m home. I’m sitting in my bedroom, in my slightly-too-short-for-this-desk rolling chair, a cup of tea in my big blue Eeyore mug to my right, and my fabulous bookshelves to my left. Oh, and my room is a mess. My suitcases lie on the floor in front of the bookshelves and TV, bulging and gravid with my life in England. I haven’t even attempted to unpack yet. I need to tidy the room first, for it has become mired in the accumulated kipple of two years’ near-continuous absence.

Missing the little things in England

Right, so, I’m going back to Canada in four days. Unlike last summer, I’m not coming back after five weeks. As I have begun to pack up my life in preparation for this move, I’ve started fantasizing about all the things I’m eager to do once I’m back in Canada. But that got me thinking about all the things I’ve become accustomed to over here in the UK. There are things I’m going to miss having as part of my daily life.

Last day teaching in England

Picture if you will: finding it difficult to get a job in your chosen profession near home, you elect to move to an entirely different country to start your career. Now, some of you might have actually done this. So factor in having stayed in your hometown for almost your entire life, including university studies, with only occasional forays to other places.

Visit to Kentwell Hall

It has been ages since I blogged. There’s plenty I could talk about: TV shows that I have enjoyed lately, the Ontario provincial election and voting by special ballot, my impending return home … and I may indeed get around to blogging about these. For now, though, let’s talk about Kentwell Hall. Last Sunday, I accompanied my landlady and her daughter to Kentwell Hall Through the Ages. Ordinarily this stately manor house has re-enactments from a single time period (often Tudor).

Amsterdam travel diary: Wednesday

When I went to Edinburgh, we took a Sandeman’s walking tour of the city. These tours are given by freelance guides who hire Sandeman’s to promote them; they are “pay what you want” tours, where one pays the guide at the end within their means and according to their satisfaction with the tour.

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds cover image

I love libraries! I hadn’t planned to get the illustrated version of this, or probably read it at all. But then there it was, on my library’s New Books shelf, staring at me … and I stared back … and I borrowed it. Because that’s what libraries let you do. They let you take books, as long as you promise to bring them back. It’s amazing.

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains is a short story reimagined as a picture book for adults. Actually, I think we need more picture books for adults. No, not…

Something Missing cover image

I couldn’t remember why I had added Something Missing to my to-read list, so I was somewhat sceptical going into it. Matthew Dicks’ writing style didn’t improve my opinion at first. Something about Marin, a burglar who only robs select “clients” and only takes items that won’t be missed, changed my mind. Somewhere along the way, Dicks made me care, not just about Martin but about the proposition that he could help the people he is otherwise stealing from.

I can even point to when my opinion began…

Lady Chatterley's Lover cover image

So, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is about a woman who can’t have sex (or a child) with her paraplegic husband, who gives her permission to take a lover so she can conceive a child that he can raise as theirs, and then gets mad when she does exactly that.

And there’s lots of sex in it.

Like, explicit, full-on-erotica, “he entered her, and she cradled his penis and balls” sort of stuff.

So naturally it got banned when it was first published, but as any modern reader of the book will report, the sex scenes…

And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture cover image

The first viral marketing campaign, and the most successful to come to mind, that I remember is the Old Spice video response campaign from 2010. I first heard about it on Twitter, and in no time at all I was enthralled by the hilarious, personalized videos the Old Spice team was producing in response to commenters. True, the marketing firm behind the campaign admits they purchased a promoted trend on Twitter to get the ball rolling. But the campaign soon became truly viral, with the Internet taking…

Blindsight

Peter Watts

Blindsight cover image

I’ve had this book on my to-read list for several years now, and I feel like the me who added this book would have liked it more than the me who ended up reading it. One of the nice things about having Goodreads to help me track my reading, what I’ve read and what I want to read, is that sometimes I can remember why I’ve put something on my list. In this case I can’t, specifically, except maybe that I heard about Peter Watts or Blindsight somewhere, maybe io9, and it seemed like something I could…

The Mysterious Affair at Styles cover image

It has been ages since I read a Poirot novel. Poirot is my favourite fictional detective. So I thought I should start again from the beginning, with his debut in The Mysterious Affair at Styles. It is at once classic Christie with so many of the nascent attributes that would become hallmarks of Poirot’s career. Nevertheless, it is also much rougher and undeniably an early work, with much looser plotting and characterization than some of the books that come afterwards.

Much of one’s opinion of the…