Category Archives: Blog

The Once and Future King – Tier 3

I just added The Once and Future King to my Best Novels List, slotting it into Tier 3  – Especially Excellent. (Technically it’s a 5-book series, but I listed it as one item anyways.)

I loved Merlin’s humourous, playful philosophy; Arthur’s sincerity and determination; Lancelot’s courage and tragedy.

The book is especially effective when it’s read with the awareness that it was written in the middle of World War II, what with King Arthur’s efforts to do away with “might is right” and Merlin’s work to explore the meaning of war.

I actually “read” the book as an audiobook through Audible, and the reader was excellent. I highly recommend it.

Funny Things About My Kids – Victor’s Distractability

It’s both cute and annoying how distractable Victor is. If I’m in the same room while he’s nursing, he looks up every 15 seconds or so to check on me and see what I’m doing. He waits to get eye contact from me and then breaks into a smile.

I don’t remember Calvin doing that while he was nursing at all, so I find it very cute from Victor, but Larissa doesn’t seem to appreciate the disruptions all that much…

The Fourth Time I Was on TV

Last week I was invited by a friend to join him at a Canucks vs. Oilers game here in Edmonton. He’d been given some tickets by his work, and they were supposedly “pretty good” seats. Of course I was excited to accept.

So we arrived at the game on Wednesday just as the puck dropped, and wandered down to our seats… Which turned out to be in the third row, right on the goal line. Seats don’t get much better than that! My friend’s company owns some awesome season tickets.

The game itself was a lot of fun, and the Canucks ended up winning 5-4, with a disallowed Oilers goal right at the end of the game to draw out the excitement.

Since I was wearing a Canucks jersey and my friend was in an Oilers jersey, I figured we’d be a good bet to show up in a crowd shot at some point during the game. Sure enough, I wound up on-screen shaking my head after an Oilers goal.

It was a lot of fun all around!

(FYI, out of the other three times I’ve been on TV, that I can remember, two more were hockey-related, and one was… nunchuk-related, actually. But that’s another story!)

The Great Timothini?

I’ve been exploring magic as a hobby for about two and a half years now, though not especially seriously for most of that time. It began as a way to see how hard it was to learn basic sleight of hand (making something disappear and reappear to impress little kids), and at this point I’ve got a pretty long list of card tricks, half a dozen tricks I can do with my wedding ring, and a few other effects. I recently created a spreadsheet to help me keep track of the different tricks I know!

It’s gotten to the point where I’m asking myself why I’m doing this and where it’s going. Do I just want to pull out an occasional magic trick for friends and family, or am I after something more?

I don’t know that “professional magician” is a target for me. Definitely not right now. But am I open to taking magic as far as I took writing a few years ago, spending a part of my time doing it and making a bit of spending money on the side?

I’m not sure, and I’m not at the point yet where I need to make that type of decision, but it’s kind of fun (and kind of terrifying) to think about.

Almost as terrifying as this weird thing my wedding ring has started doing…

My Lowly LoL Ladder Climb

Larissa and the boys have been in BC since Thursday, so in the meantime I’ve been spending a fair amount of my home-alone time honing my skills in League of Legends.

I have played 27 “ranked” games since they left, with a record of 15 wins and 12 losses. That record looked a lot worse before I went on a recent 7-game winning streak!

I told Larissa before she left that my goal was to climb the ladder from the Silver V league into the Gold V league. I may not make it, but one more good win streak should have me in Silver III at least.

I’ve been having recent success playing the AD Carry and Jungle roles. In the Jungle, I was playing a bit of Amumu, who has decent ganks and awesome team-fight presence, especially once he gets his ultimate. But then I went back to an old favourite, Elise, who I used to play in the top lane when she first came out. She’s much better as a jungler, especially in the early game. I’ve been invading the enemy jungler early and trying to steal their second buff or get an early kill, with mixed success, but I’m learning some of the common mistakes to avoid on those early invades.

As an AD Carry, my greatest success has come with Sivir recently. I’ve won 5 out of 6 games with her in the past couple of days, by shoving the lane really hard early. Before picking Sivir back up, I was playing a lot of Corki, too.

Other champions I’ve been playing lately include Shen in top lane, Braum and Sona as support, and Lissandra and Ryze in mid. My champion pool in mid lane is really weak, though, so I need to find something new there. I’m thinking of picking up Syndra or Ziggs.

10 Books That Moved Me

Stuart Turnbull, a frequent contributor to, challenged me on Twitter to share 10 books that “moved me”. My list, in some ways, may feel like a bit of a cop-out because I basically took the 10 most moving books from my Best Novels page. But these novels made it onto that page for a reason!

I’ve put these into some sort of order, but catch me on a different day and I might order them differently!

Here goes:

10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hunchback is the novel that taught me about tragedy (in the artistic sense). It isn’t the first tragic story I ever read, but it’s the first one that really got me invested in its incredible emotional swings from sadness to joy, triumph to defeat, and loss to hope.

9. A Scanner Darkly

Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel about the surreal life and twisted reality of drug addiction invoked real sympathy in me for the characters, and for their far too numerous real-life counterparts.

8. The Power of One

It’s difficult to pinpoint what was so significant about this novel to me, but whenever I think of it I feel a kind of wide-open longing to find my place in the world, to achieve something with meaning.

7. Lord of the Flies

Nooooo! Piggy! :(

6. To Kill a Mockingbird

It’s a classic, with all of the ingredients needed to get the reader emotionally invested not only in the characters, but also in the book’s broader social themes.

5. The Great Gatsby

Part romantic tragedy, part diatribe against excess and consumerism. I only read this a few years ago, but it definitely moved me.

4. Of Mice and Men

I was hooked by the waning hope and tragic inevitability of the two main characters’ journey. Lennie Small is one of the most sympathetic characters I’ve ever come across.

3. Les Miserables

Victor Hugo’s masterpiece takes us along on Jean Valjean’s incredible journey to redemption. It’s packed with emotion. And historical essays!

2. Grapes of Wrath

The final scene of this novel may be the most impactful, moving scene I’ve ever read.

1. All Quiet on the Western Front

Everything about this novel is incredibly moving. If you haven’t read it, you definitely should, in order to redefine your understanding of World War I, and war in general.

Those are the 10 books that I think have had the great emotional impact on me. Would anyone else like to share their top 3?