Blog Posts

An open response to “Teachers have no right threatening education”

Dear Mr. Lavallee, You wrote a letter to the editor that appeared in The Chronicle Journal on Saturday, April 11: “Teachers have no right threatening education.” Your letter communicates a great deal of frustration with teachers, arguing that we suffer from a sense of entitlement, that we strike because we aren’t satisfied with how easy we already have it. You ask us how we “dare” to “hold our kids’ education hostage.” The truth is, the decision to strike is never an easy one.

On binge-watching

Two interesting television-related things happened this weekend that have me thinking about our (and by that I mean, my, I suppose) relationship with consuming new television shows in 2015. Firstly, Netflix released the first season of Daredevil, a “Netflix original” series it produced with ABC Studios for Marvel.

Fighting CryptoWall on Windows XP: caltrops, scorched earth, and triage

How was your Easter break? I spent a good portion of my four-day weekend fighting a ransomware attack. My boss’s computer at the art gallery (not at my other job) is still running Windows XP while connected to the Internet. This is, no joke, a terrible idea. But they are a not-for-profit organization with very little money—she is finally getting a modern computer in May. Not soon enough.

Modelling epidemics to learn about probability

My major focus in my work at the Adult Education Centre has been adapting online courses for the Hybrid Learning Project. Basically, these are high school courses adult learners can complete online, but there is also an in-person tutorial component to them. I’ve been adapting the e-Learning Ontario MDM4U (Grade 12 Data Management) course. I’m almost done. I could write an entire post about this assignment and how I feel about it, but that’s for another time.

You should watch Haphead

Recently one of the vloggers I follow, Nicole Coenen, tweeted about a video series she’s in. It’s called Haphead, and it’s an 8-part miniseries set in 2025 about young people, video games, and the pace of change. I’m a science fiction fan (big surprise, that), so I was immediately intrigued. I started watching the first episode … and I was hooked. As in, it has been a while since a TV show has so effortlessly drawn me into its world and made me want to watch more.

Haters gonna hate: we need Ontario's new sex ed curriculum

Ontario’s new health and physical education curriculum landed today. As with all curriculum documents, you can read it yourself. This marks the first revised curriculum since 1998/1999. I remember in 2010 being disappointed when the McGuinty government backtracked hard on its revised curriculum. Both Premier Wynne and Minister of Education Liz Sandals seem pretty committed to keeping this one around, however, and that’s a very good thing.

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress cover image

It didn’t take me long to understand why this book received such acclaim and is still regarded as a classic. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is an emblem of political science fiction. Robert Heinlein manages to take the idea of a penal colony on the moon and turn it into a romantic story of political revolution. This is an idea that has been explored repeatedly since this novel was published, but those stories almost all owe a debt to this one.

Manuel/Manny/Man O’Kelly-Davis is a computer repair tec…

Empire of Ivory (Temeraire, #4) cover image

Most of my first review of Empire of Ivory stands, so rather than rehash that, I’ll just comment on where my opinion has changed or things I noticed that I didn’t mention in the first review.

I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews, but Laurence is just such a delightful character. I think we’ve gotten used to seeing caricatures of women from the turn of the nineteenth century simply based on Jane Austen’s celebrity. It’s refreshing to see Naomi Novik capture the thoughts of a English gentleman of…

The Predator (Animorphs, #5) cover image

We arrive at the last of the introductions to the original five Animorphs: Marco, no last name (as usual). He is, in our Animorph boy band, the Funny One (not the Pretty One, though he might try to sell you on that). (Debate which of the other Animorphs are which boy band stereotype in the comments!) He has spent the past four novels providing comic relief, sometimes at the most inopportune times, and generally being a dick to Tobias and Rachel, because he is scared shitless the Yeerks will kill…

Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood, #1) cover image

It took me forever to read Servant of the Underworld, and I don’t know why. It’s great. Aliette de Bodard has created a mystery set in the Mexica (Aztec) Empire in 1480. As a long-lived emperor under whom the Mexica have prospered lies on his deathbed, Acatl, a priest of the dead, finds himself investigating a murder or abduction where his estranged brother is the prime suspect. And rather than making this a straight-up historical mystery, like the fantastic Falco series by Lindsey Davis, de Bodard…

Mona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl, #3) cover image

It’s common to accuse a writer of writing the same thing over again. In many cases this merely means the writer sticks to variations on a theme. Sometimes, though, it feels like each novel is another installment in an iterative process designed to get at a central idea. As I continue to read William Gibson’s novels, I continue to get a better idea of the novel he is trying to write. Mona Lisa Overdrive mixes the legacy of the previous two Sprawl books with a corporate espionage–fuelled plot worthy…

Always Coming Home cover image

Why is it Ursula K. Le Guin always makes my life as a reader and reviewer difficult? Her books can’t be nice, straightforward stories—no, she has to create lyric, moving pieces of experimental literature that transcend our ordinary definitions of form and genre. I have a problem with Always Coming Home, but that problem is entirely independent of the book itself. It is, rather, a result of me and my particular biases and hang-ups.

I can’t help it: I love novels.

I know that, as far as literature goes…