Québec City ComicCon 2014

We were excited when we first heard that Québec City was going to hold it’s very first ComicCon and, of course, immediately signed up for VIP Weekend Tickets!

Well, the ComicCon came and went this weekend and not only was it one of the best little Cons I’ve ever attended, it was right on my own doorstep. I could sleep in my own bed, get up, have a hearty breakfast at home. And then? Take the bus downtown to the Convention Centre to enjoy two great days of silly, unabashed fun.

And Quebeckers came out in force. 9000 of them to be exact. Making this a qualified success for the Show-runners, who have promised another for next year. We can’t wait.

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On the hunt for, BIG Data

Big Data

I am so rightly proud of my niece, she of Oracle fame, as she gives a presentation this coming week on BIG Data. Something we’ve been talking about for a while now. No, not the presentation she’ll give, but about the subject of big data. A topic that is fast taking hold outside of the scientific community as, after all, scientists have been grappling with their own ‘Big Data’ for any number of decades now.

Whether that’s how big the Universe really is to what the relationship is between galaxies and atoms, to how do stars form, and from particle physicists looking ever outwards into the cosmos to geneticists looking to map the human genome, amassing data as they go.

But what is BIG Data? And what can it be used for?

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A Clean Sweap

Now look what you’ve gone and made me do … the dusting.

And I had to rearrange the furniture and push the vacuuming cylinder across the linoleum chasing those dastardly dust bunnies. It really doesn’t pay to live in the desert. And all that noise. Oh my! Anyone would think this was a testing ground for those Atomic Boys and their toys. Blasting huge craters in the sand. I mean, it really doesn’t do, now does it? What did the sand ever do to deserve that kind of treatment?

What? Sorry, where are my manners? I almost forgot you were there, darkening my doorstep.

Please, come in, yes, take a seat.

Yes, I know, I moved it so you could look out the window and see those strange mushroom clouds off in the distance. Marvellous don’t you think. They say it’s bad weather coming in. But that Mikey, you know, who delivers the newspapers, said it was a sign of something though what, exactly, he didn’t know. Bless him. He’s only ten. I mean, what would a ten year-old know about the weather?

Exactly! Nothing. But I tell you, that whooshing sound does hurt me ears and all that dust? I keep telling Fred, it’s no good. He’s going to have to do something to seal the windows better, because I swear, I’m at my wits end with dust, the shaking, and all that noise. Morning, noon and night, why, anyone would think we were at war, and the Boys were cooking up some strange new fangled devices to fight the enemy, in those huge hangers of theirs.

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

But don’t mind me … how about we sit in the kitchen, away from the windows, and have some nice, cool, refreshing coke? My, that does sound good.

Apple iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Plus meet Alex

I couldn’t resist.

I never have been able to. Not where new tech is concerned. I’m one of those people that want to see it, touch it and, more to the point, play with it. So this afternoon, while on an appointment at the other end of the city, I stopped in at the Mall and called in at the Apple shop. Well, you know, someone has to.

And there they were. All lined up. The new, shiny, bendable, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Like Xl and 2XL blouses at Old Navy, waiting for my grubby hands to set upon them.

So here’s the thing. That shop is wired. I kid you not. I mean W I R E D … for surveillence. So no amount of subversive positioning could block out the ever watchful eye above.

God? What if electricity became sentient?

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My Top 50

MY TOP 50 SPECULATIVE FICTION CLASSICS

There are numerous lists of everyone’s favourite Top 20, 50 or 100 Classic Science Fiction (read: science fiction/fantasy) books floating around the web.

But rather than attempt to do a ‘defining’ list, or copy quoted lists and highlighting those I’ve read, I though to do my own list. Here’s my own personal list of 50 Classic SF books, and yes, I’ve read them all.

In no particular order:

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LOL & OMG!

LOL & OMG toll the Death-knell of the English Language

Really? I don’t think so.

English is one of those languages that begs, borrows and downright steals from other languages to the point of stalking them down dark alleys. Where, before hitting them over the head with a dangling participle, rifles through a language’s pockets in search of any word it thinks it can get away with. It doesn’t care whether it’s bright, shiny, and new, or if it is dog-eared and long since forgotten. The only criteria is, can I use it?

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Amazon Wages War

While Amazon continues to wage war with various publishing houses, setting itself up to be the distributor/supplier of the future and carve out a huge slice of the monopoly pie in the process, it is us, as readers, who are losing out.

One of the contributing factors is we are no longer content to amble along to the local bookstore and rummage through books looking for something to read. In a world run by technology and having a growing need for instant gratification, are we sacrificing ‘choice’ in the process, especially when it comes to reading material, by turning to our so-called smart devices and buying at the click of a button?

And is this only a concern of a die-hard few, a breed of reader who, it would seem, like the Dodo, is heading for mass-extinction? Do those rank and file readers coming up behind us care with the same passion we do for paper? Are they drawn to, and motivated by other concerns? And will the ‘They’ even bat an eyelid at the demise of the publishing dinosaurs, care if books vanish off shelves slowly but surely, to be replaced by badly formatted files on their so-called smart phones?

Does any of this matter and why should we care?

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Life after Death

Or, surviving the loss of my parents.

Surviving a loved one’s death can only be personal and subjective. We all react differently, we all perceive differently, we all emote differently. Some feel the loss more keenly than others, some not so much. But one thing you can be sure of is, the loss of a loved one changes you no matter what your relationship was till that point.

I lost my father to lung cancer in 1991, he was only 68 years of age. His ‘illness’ was slow, debilitating, terrifying and painful right through till the last few weeks when, being cared for in our local hospice, my father passed quietly, almost peacefully after his (and yes, our) two year ordeal.

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Obituary

BILLY RAY MELNIK (aged 13) of Pensacola, Florida, died today, March 6th, when his DNA register his final act of stupidity and terminated his existence under the Statute of Evolution regulations, section 7(a) para 1(b). Which states that, no entity can forthwith continue its existence if deemed to be in violation of watering down the Gene-Pool.

Termination occurred on the corner of 12th and Main, as, spray-cans in hand, Melnik engaged in the vandalous act of graffiti.

A bio-hazard clean-up crew for the city managed to collect enough of the gelatinous remains to fill a funerary pot. An interment service will be held Monday at the Pensacola City cemetery.

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