Blog Posts

That autumn feeling

Well, it’s happened. The leaves have changed colour. They are starting to fall. That chill is in the air again. Autumn is here. I’m lucky enough to live in a part of Canada that (usually) experiences all four seasons to a good extent. And I am especially anticipating winter this year, of course, because I “missed” it last year.

Will consult on your spam email for $$$

I don’t get a great deal of spam, and Gmail does protect me from the most obvious—from a machine’s point of view. Gmail has dropped the ball, however, on detecting spam that is clearly spam to a human but cleverly disguised as legitimate. Here’s a message I received on Wednesday: Dear owner of, I’m sure you have been contacted in this matter many times before but our value proposition is much different.

Libraries make my day

I feel the need to make note on this blog that I’m 25 now. Since Saturday. I started a blog post last week about how I felt to be 25. Essentially it boiled down to “I don’t feel like an adult yet still” and then digressed into morose ruminations on the cognitive dissonance of being Facebook friends with people from high school I never talk to. It was entirely too serious and lugubrious considering that, on the whole, I’m feeling like I’m in a good place with my life right now.

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.

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

The Monkey's Voyage cover image

So, there are monkeys in South America and in Africa. How did they get there? That’s essentially what Alan de Queiroz wants to answer in The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life, albeit in a roundabout way.

If you’re a creationist, especially a young-Earth creationist, you don’t have to worry too much about this. The answer is “God did it!” (Or possibly, “God did it, praise Jesus!” if you are feeling particularly devout at the moment.)

Alas, I am not a creationist, so…

Dawn's Early Light (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, #3) cover image

Every ongoing but somewhat formulaic series has its tipping point, that moment where the overall story arc and mythos of the series’ world begins to subsume the individual plots of each book. For The Dresden Files it was Summer Knight , the fourth book, which adds faeries to the Dresdenverse. For the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, that tipping point is here, with Dawn’s Early Light.

On the surface, there is little to make Dawn’s Early Light stand out from the first two books. Once again…

Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2) cover image

I started re-reading the entire Temeraire series recently. I didn’t post a new review of His Majesty’s Dragon, because I felt my original review said everything that needed to be said. Throne of Jade, however, has been lingering on my to-reread shelf for years, a somewhat hyperbolic five stars attached to it, no explanation. So it’s only fair I give it a review it deserves. Yes, I’ve downgraded it to a satisfactory three stars. But that still means it’s good.

If you haven’t read His Majesty’s Dragon…

A Fistful of Sky (LaZelle, #1) cover image

I shouldn’t like A Fistful of Sky as much as I did. It’s a weird book. Nina Kiriki Hoffman is able to bend all the tropes of fantasy novels set in the contemporary world ever so slightly. The end result is something odd, strange, but no less wonderful. Gypsum LaZelle and her family are an interesting group of people for whom magic is supposed to be a gift—except when it’s not.

The idea of a magical family reminds me somewhat of Tanya Huff’s Gale women. It’s not the same in practice, but the ways in…

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload cover image

I first heard about this book when Daniel Levitin appeared on a Spark episode to talk about organization. I recommend you follow the link and listen to the interview; his examples are pretty much straight from the book, so it should give you a good idea of whether or not to read this. I mentioned the book to my friend Rebecca, because it seemed like she would be interested in it. Lo and behold, she goes out and buys the book herself … and then turns around and lends it to me before she reads it,…

The Janus Affair (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, #2) cover image

Agents Books and Braun are back. Aftering solving their case in Phoenix Rising in their “off hours”, the unlikely duo get involved in a new rash of abductions of suffragists from around London. These abductions involve strange, lightning-like teleportations. Braun knows one of the leaders of the suffragist movement—in fact, she used to date the leader’s son, back in New Zealand. Meanwhile, Books continues to struggle with keeping his military past and skills from Braun. Oh, and Lord Sussex and…