The Plan

Every year I make a plan, post it here, and every year I fail to follow through. The plan isn’t really a plan, it’s just a list of books that I’ve recently acquired or rediscovered on my shelves and hope to read some time before the end of the year. I think I made my very first “plan” post more than six years ago, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that one or more of those books still haven’t been read. It’ll happen eventually. So without further ado, here, in no particular order, is this year’s list (not including Wild Geese, which I’m currently reading, and the remaining Robertson Davies novels that I didn’t get a chance to finish writing about): Fear of Fighting, by Stacey May Fowles, illustrated by Marlena Zuber The Discoverer, by Jan Kjærstad What Boys Like, by Amy Jones Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall… Continue Reading

Back That Up

As I write this, Apple’s supposedly wonderful Time Machine software is busy making its third attempt in twelve hours to backup my system. Those who follow me on Twitter (again with the Twitter—all the cool stuff happens there first these days) will know that I’ve been having issues with the hard drive in my iMac, and that I finally have the opportunity to get it fixed. What I didn’t have was an external hard drive large enough to do a full system backup onto before taking it into the shop. It would be an incredible shame to have my computer repaired only to lose all my data. Like curing a disease by killing the patient. Someone who relies on their computer as much as I do not having a backup drive is kind of like a lawyer who doesn’t have a will, and since I’m not all that eager to… Continue Reading

Canada Reads

I’ve never participated in Canada Reads before. I’d like to say that sometimes my reading schedule doesn’t allow for it, or that I’m not interested in the books, but the truth is that, while I really believe in the value of my job and the project I work on (which I’d rather not discuss the specifics of), I don’t make very much money, and buying all those books at once is far and away beyond my means. Not unless I can find them used or remaindered, of course, and good luck with that. Toronto’s used bookstores are picked clean the day after the titles are announced. Usually. This year things are different. Kerry Clare is running a concurrent programme, called Canada Reads: Independently, in part as a response to the criticism that this year’s lineup for the CBC event only features books that have already received considerable attention here in… Continue Reading

Updates on the Updates

So ten hours later, I’m only half-way through the process of updating the software. I have successfully updated to from MovableType 3.34 to 4.33, but was unable to make 5.01 work, for reasons that are entirely unknown to me. According to their knowledge base, the errors I was having do not exist. After spending a couple hours bumping my head against that particular brick wall, I decided to give up on 5.01, and revert to the 4.33 upgrade I’d made earlier in the evening. The result was close to three hours of downtime as I tried to figure out why Firefox was giving me 404 errors for files that were clearly on the server. Because I’d been at it for far too long, I was too tired and burnt out to realize the obvious, that the permissions had gotten messed up. A four-second fix turned into a three-hour nightmare. This… Continue Reading


Tonight (and possibly even tomorrow, depending on how long this takes), I will be attempting to upgrade the blogging software that runs It’s been, well, close to three years since a database failure forced me to upgrade, and in the meantime I’ve missed at least two major updates to the software. According to the instructions provided, I’ll have to upgrade from version 3 to version 4 before moving to version 5, which is the latest release. This will be a tremendous pain in the ass, but hopefully it will allow me greater flexibility for dealing with comment spam and various other housekeeping issues. I’ve been blogging at since February 2000, and I haven’t had much luck with upgrades. I’ve lost bits of the database at least twice, the search function was unworkable for close to four years, and I’ve had to rebuild the entire file structure three times,… Continue Reading


So for a variety of reasons, I can’t use my credit card this month, and decided instead to pay for my hosting with PayPal. What I didn’t realize, is that transferring money from a bank account to PayPal isn’t instantaneous the way it is from a credit card, or from person to person. Therefore: I won’t be able to pay my hosting bill on time (a whopping $15.38 USD), and my host has informed me that they will be suspending my account until I do. Fair enough. From what I can tell, this will happen sometime tomorrow. My money will not arrive in my PayPal account until Tuesday. This site will be down from tomorrow until probably Wednesday, and I will not be accessible via my normal email address either. If you absolutely must get in touch with me, use my “backup” email address: I appreciate your patience.

Of Silences and Sealing Wax

I’d like to apologize for the long silence here at; it has been a long, strange summer. I have not stopped reading (slowed, though), and unfortunately the silence may continue for some few days longer. Rest assured that I will return with book reviews and commentary (I already have the whole Salterton Trilogy and half the Deptford Trilogy to write about!). In the meantime, might I suggest a visit to The Literary Type, an excellent new blog operated by the fine folks at The New Quarterly.

Tweeting Like Nobody’s Business

So I’ve actually had a Twitter account for quite some time, but no real interest in using it. An application called Tweetie launched yesterday that was interesting enough for me to revisit Twitter, and now I’m having great fun with it. So if you’re interested in reading my clever quips, quotations without attribution, and endless ability to complain about the minutiae of life, feel free to follow my Twitter feed. I might even mention books from time to time. Ah, so many things to keep me from reading and reviewing like I should be.

Silence, Bad Poetry, Etc.

I have not fallen from the face of the earth, nor am I somehow stuck on Man’s Search for Meaning. I’ve actually read four books since then, and am nearly finished with the fifth. I’m just having some trouble writing the review (and I’ve kind of started playing World of Warcraft). It will be up soon, I promise, along with the other belated reviews (and for the record, I’m currently reading The Taker, by Rubem Fonesca). This post is just to let you know that I’m still alive and about as well as I ever am, and that I love sonnets, and have decide to write some. And they will be terrible. Don’t worry, I won’t inflict them on you. I was thinking about the books that I lost in the flood this summer. The one I miss the most isn’t the Emily Dickinson or the China Miéville or even… Continue Reading

Wooden Fish Update

Well, it’s official: I’ve decided to relaunch Wooden Fish. All that’s up right now is a placeholder until I figure out the specifics of how I’m going to organize it, how I’ll accept submissions, the new look, and so on. Hopefully the more important bits will be figured out in the next week or two, though I think that it could be several months until it launches officially with its first issue. Any and all queries regarding Wooden Fish can and should be directed to Thanks for your time, your input, and your support!