Blog Posts

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.

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.

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

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…

When We Wake (When We Wake, #1) cover image

One of the pleasures of reading often and reading widely is the capacity for books to surprise me. A book I think I’ll enjoy turns out to be rubbish, while other books exceed expectations. This book delighted and invigorated me. I didn’t expect much from When We Wake. It’s not because it’s YA. It’s because it’s set in Australia.

I’m totally kidding. It’s totally because it’s YA. Specifically, dystopian YA. I’ve been burned enough times by it before. There’s something about the allegory of dystopian…

Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, #1) cover image

Why did no one tell me this book existed until now????!!!!111

Seriously, it took a careful browsing of the library’s New Paperbacks section to discover the second and third books in this series. A quick hop to the nearby computer (which I think is running some kind of locked-down Ubuntu if the font anti-aliasing is anything to go by) to check the library’s catalogue, and sure enough, Phoenix Rising was in the stacks of that branch. Have I mentioned how much I love my library?

A quick glance at the…