Nov 11

Vignettes of Parental Failure, Volume 1


I gave the daughters a bath. They’re old enough now to do most of the work, but I still have to wash and condition their hair.

Esmé, the younger one, was eating some cherry tomatoes afterward. Usually she insists on draining the water from the tub. This time she didn’t. I went in to the bathroom to gather up the towels and caught her dipping cherry tomatoes in the bathwater and eating them.

“What?” she said.

“Don’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“It’s bum water,” I said.

Apr 10
Feb 23

Lost quotations by the greats, volume 9


Someday, I want the Olympics. The winter ones! Are you writing this down? We will win all of the medals that are good to win. And then the bears will come. They will roost in the village. No one will know what to do. We will pretend to be helpless, and the communications will cease, and slowly we will feed the imperialists to the bears. THEY WILL GET A TASTE FOR FLESH. And so we will feed them more. And when the communications come back we will say, “We don’t know what happened! We did our best!”

But in their hearts they will know.

-Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin, 1878-1953


Nov 25

A Very Barbarian Christmas


Just in time for you to buy Christmas presents for people who like good things: Come Barbarians was chosen as a Globe and Mail best book of the year.

Here is a delightful review from the Postmedia newspapers, and another from The Globe and Mail.

Author Michael Hingston wrote this profile of the novel and me.

Two very fine and discerning book bloggers recommend the novel for your holiday book-buying: Janet Somerville and Monique Sherrett of So Misguided.

If you only have a few minutes, here is a video by director Tom Gunia that gets to the bottom of it all.

The plaza in Villedieu, France, where Come Barbarians begins.

Oct 25

The Garneau Block board game


A few weeks ago, some beautiful women from a book club contacted me about joining them at their meeting. Come Barbarians had not yet been released. They had read, and were preparing to discuss, The Garneau Block.

I like going to book clubs. As I mentioned in my previous post, I make awkward promises to book clubs.

The women meeting to discuss The Garneau Block invited me, but I was not in the same place at the same time. So they met without me. Did they talk about the novel? Yes.


The Garneau Block as a board game — note the hummus

It is lucky I couldn’t make it. I don’t know what I would have done to show my appreciation. It might have become nutty.

They mapped out the neighbourhood and created avatars for the characters. I can’t say how someone would win or lose the game, but they have promised to invite me when they talk about Come Barbarians, so I’ll ask how the game worked.

Come Barbarians would be more of a video game, probably, than a board game. Perhaps one of the women works at Bioware.

On the bottom left, a character has landed on The Roost nightclub — now a part of Edmonton’s past. On the bottom right, the Varscona Theatre.