Anything is possible-ness.

The Best God-damned Pie I Ever Did Have

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 07:03 -- Andrew

I like pie.  I like pie a whole-damned bunch.  My life was once a proud example of debaucherous excess and consumptive revelry.  Health and common sense have in recent years stripped, simplified and cleansed my habits to a point where very few vices remain.  The occasional pie is one such vice.  

As an x-mas gift this year, my beloved wife was kind enough to give me a handmade pie-of-the-month-club type coupon book allowing me to get a true and proper handle on the pie scene here in Montreal.  I am (of course) keeping the results of my monthly pie tasting in a publicly available database.  Follow along with me in my pie adventure at www.andorandrew.com/pies.

Empathy and the Meat Industry

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 11:39 -- Alex

These are living creatures that we consume: creatures imbued with the beating spark of Creation; living creatures with the capacity to witness, feel and care.

These are living creatures whose existence we gluttonously steal, who are obscenely mass-birthed, tortured and sacrificed on a monstrous scale that defies comprehension, for things that we take pride in owning and devouring, loudly acclaiming how we could "never give up bacon".

Alex is a panelist at the Dept of Education Symposium

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 11:55 -- Alex

The 2014 theme is “Reshaping Education: Connecting Communities and Criticality.” The panel will be moderated by my friend and former teacher Dr Arpi Hamalian.

My crushes on rogues: Talisman of Death

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 11:02 -- Alex

In classic Dungeons and Dragons, you have the Fighter, the Magic User, the Cleric and the Thief.

Fighters fight. They are decked out in armor, have sharp weapons and know how to use them. If there's a problem, yo, I'll solve it. Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it. Except that in this case, the hooks are not musical or metaphorical. They are dangerously sharp pointy hooks wielded by capable warriors.  If Dungeons and Dragons was a university, the Fighter would be a football jock, a beer bro. That's the Fighter in a nutshell.  

Magic Users cast spells. They wear robes and are intriguing and mystikal. They have a magical staff or a magical wand and if you hit them they usually go down. Hard. So they stay in the rear with the gear and they cast fireball spells. That's magic users.

Clerics are the most boring of all. No-one ever wants to be a cleric. Anyone who's ever played a cleric is someone's younger sister or someone who's been promised a ride to a concert or convention or best friend points. In Dungeons and Dragons they tried to make clerics more fun by giving them ok fighting skills except that they can't use swords. The only reason clerics are around is to cast healing spells. That's it.

The thieves though, no-one really knows why they're around and half the time it sorta feels like a mistake to have brought one along.

My first crush on rogues was through Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith's Talisman of Death choose-your-own-adventure book.

In it, you play the part of a real-day person, sucked into the magical world of Orb in order to prevent the forces of evil from getting their hands on the Talisman of Death and thus bring about Armageddon. It's epic, fast-paced fantasy, beautifully illustrated by Bob Harvey and much of it takes place in the streets of Greyguild-on-the-Moor, a sprawling fantasy city filled with well-described factions, all with a particular vested interest in the conflict that's playing out. I read the book when I was 7 or 8 and found the book, and particularly the descriptions of the fantasy city, absolutely riveting.  But what I loved most about the book was the rogues.

Being that this was the early 80s and that choose-your-own-adventure books were targeted primarily at a 10-15 demographic, the character you got to play was pretty much your standard do-gooder. You were on an epic quest granted to you by the gods, you had a sword, Evil was coming after you, etc.

Phosphorus & Us: An Interactive Dance Performance at Nuit Blanche

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 12:53 -- Leah

The program for Montreal's annual Nuit Blanche festival promises colorful and expressive resistance to the season's cold dreariness. This is the 11th 'all-nighter' of its sort. Multimedia art installations and performances are presented, for free, in all corners of the city, reachable by free shuttles...and the metro is open all night. With events spread out from Mile End to Old Port, and the Olympic Stadium to the Latin Quarter, it has as much potential to delight as it does to overwhelm, so don't try to do it all! Do get out there, though.

More Hacker Poetry: Passions Proclaimed in Perl

Sat, 02/22/2014 - 06:17 -- Andrew

I ran into Unix patch command creator Larry Wall's stunning poem Black Perl poem in a Boing Boing post last year.  It was only recently, however, that I discovered the Perl-based poetry of Sharon Hopkins and her fascinating 2002 paper "Camels and Needles: Computer Poetry Meets the Perl Programming Language".  Sharon's paper contains and references numerous poems written as runnable code in the Perl programming language.

Larry Wall's Black Perl:

BEFOREHAND: close door, each window & exit; wait until time.
    open spellbook, study, read (scan, select, tell us);
write it, print the hex while each watches,
    reverse its length, write again;
    kill spiders, pop them, chop, split, kill them.
        unlink arms, shift, wait & listen (listening, wait),
sort the flock (then, warn the "goats" & kill the "sheep");
    kill them, dump qualms, shift moralities,
    values aside, each one;
        die sheep! die to reverse the system
        you accept (reject, respect);
next step,
    kill the next sacrifice, each sacrifice,
    wait, redo ritual until "all the spirits are pleased";
    do it ("as they say").
do it(*everyone***must***participate***in***forbidden**s*e*x*).
return last victim; package body;
    exit crypt (time, times & "half a time") & close it,
    select (quickly) & warn your next victim;
AFTERWORDS: tell nobody.
    wait, wait until time;
    wait until next year, next decade;
        sleep, sleep, die yourself,
        die at last

McGill Explorations Rnd 2: Pulp and Paper

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 16:36 -- Alex

So a bunch of us who work-study-hang-out at McGill University have decided to snoop around some of the buildings on Friday evenings as a means of learning more about this awesome and contentious and sprawling place.

On Friday, Vijay, Aaron and Micah came by my office for the McGexplo. We were a bit strapped for time because the Annual March for Missing and Murdered Women was happening that eve and we all wanted to go, which only left us about 45 minutes or so to do a quick look around one of the buildings.
After weighing our options, Vijay and Aaron seemed to agree on a destination (I wasn't really listening) and we headed out, walking crossing Sherbrooke on University, intent on walking a ways to our (to me at least) mysterious destination.
As soon as we crossed the street however and walked past the Otto Chemistry Building, Aaron spotted the door to the Pulp and Paper Research Lab and made a comment about that might be a cool spot to check out at some point. Well, no time like the present! Or, as Hubbs from 80s metal homage film the Stoned Age would say, "you gotta jump on the grenade." So in we went and jumped on that grenade.


Subscribe to HIGH ALERT RSS