Archive - 2016

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The Year in Review

It's been a good year.

TLO and I are on the verge of a very big change: for the first time in 15 years, we're moving house. We're heading into Burnaby, and we're swapping a freestanding house for an apartment. We'll miss the old place, but our new home will be very exciting.

My hobbies are going interestingly: I did everything from teach children how to crochet, to act as MC for the Cycling BC awards. I helped run something like 40 or 50 bike races. I did another playday, this time in support of a literature class at the college. I may have created an underground racing league. I attended the most amazing party of my life. I kept busy.

Sound Smart About Guns, Canadian Edition

In the light of recent tragic events in Orlando, I've noticed a lot of comments in my feeds about guns. Given what I've seen there, I thought it worthwhile to write a primer about how guns work, both mechanically and politically, with a Canadian perspective.

(Where my perspective comes from: I am Canadian, and do not have a
Purchase and Acquisition License. I have never fired a firearm.)

Guns in Canada

Boring but useful investment advice from an idiot

Full disclosure: I am invested in nothing. I have no debt and few assets. Hopefully my well-vested public-sector pension will meet my relatively modest retirement ambitions.

With that said, I had a conversation recently. It was with a smart person who had a comfortably middle-class amount of money to invest. Never mind about time horizons, risk profiles, or whatever, here's the world's most boring and generic investment advice.


Do you have a guess about currency movement? Do you think you can pick stocks? Are you listening to people who claim either of those abilities? There are two important classes of investment advisors in the world: the first group has a personal net worth, on average, of some billions. The second group, on average, are charlatans.

Notes on a Unified Film Theory

What follows is not likely to be novel. It is surely naive.

The most interesting question to ask about a film is "IS IT AWESOME?"

Comic films are underrated compared to dramas. Or to put it another way, dramas are overrated. Great dramas are fine, but Good dramas are often mediocre, and sometimes bad. Compensate by assuming that critical opinion is tilted against comedy and toward drama, and act accordingly.

Film is a visual medium. Based on that fact alone, the Wachowskis' "Speed Racer" is a minor classic. More generally, there seems to be a sort of high art (what I think of "photos composed by a cinematographer") that are praised excessively, while visually creative films often end up regarded as somehow lower forms of art.

Movies about movies are the laziest of lazy settings. But I cannot deny the greatness to be found in the subject. "The Player" and "Sunset Boulevard" nearly justify the genre all by themselves.

Amateur Futurism

Thanks to my availability and willingness to identify as a futurist, I was invited to be on Technotopia, Episode 5.

First, I'd like to thank John Biggs and Stefan Etienne for having me on as a guest. To be clear, the sound problems were all mine: I should have checked my audio better before showtime, and using a setup where you have no local audio feedback is a rookie mistake. Technotopia is a fun podcast, and I'm a subscriber now. If they're willing to have me, I'll do it again.

About the content: I regret everything. No, not really.

Mancrafted: a quick and foolish guide to crochet

Those of you who follow me on feeds I still update may have noticed that I've been knotting some yarn.

For just over a year, I've been dabbling in crochet, a deliberate attempt to take up a hobby that was, unlike my first love (car maintenance) and my dream (welding and brazing), doable inside a small house, that would occupy my hands, and would keep me away from a video screen.

What follows is two things: a guide to some things I've learned about crochet that may help you learn it faster than me, and a brag collection of stuff I've made.

The Basics