She-Ra

    2 December 2018, terribly early in the morning

She-Ra Netflix Poster

Finished watching the new She-Ra with my daughter. It’s really well done. Noelle Stevenson—of Nimona and Lumberjanes fame—has done a great job here. There is a clear vision and arc for the whole thing, all about friendship and junk like that. The show doesn’t completely repudiate the origin story of the original, but it’s doing its own thing. This first season is about Adora learning she’s She-Ra, working to unite all the princesses of power so they can all be part of a rebellion against the horde. They also give She-Ra and Catra a deeper relationship, and a lot of the show is about each of them realizing they have grown apart. But also it’s a show for like 7 year olds so keep that in mind when you’re watching it. It’s aesthetic is closer to anime I’d say. I don’t think it’s a bold statement to say it’s better than the original.

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Roma

    1 December 2018, evening time

I ended up with a free membership to TIFF. My first film as a member was Roma, the latest film by Alfonso Cuarón. When I watched Children of Men I said, “Children of Men is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Holy shit that was good.” I know I am quick to throw superlatives around when it comes to cinema, but Roma was fucking fantastic. It’s one of the best movies i’ve seen in my entire life. The film is clearly autobiographical. There is so much detail and specificity in the 1970s Mexico the film shows us. The movie’s protagonist is Cleo, the servant of a rich family in Mexico city. The film is slow, sometimes funny, sometimes tense. There are two scenes in the movie, one in a hospital, and one on a beach, that are so masterfully put together they make the whole film worthwhile all by themselves. And they are just two scenes. You must watch this film. If you’re in Toronto you’re lucky enough to be able to watch it at the Lightbox: you should do that.

Read the Guardian’s review of Roma.

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Go Back to China

   31 October 2018, early morning

“Go back to China,” some old man yells at some old lady at Lansdowne station. I am walking in to the station, while he is leaving. We come to the same shitty Presto turnstile.

You often wonder what you’ll do or say when you bump up against stuff like this. It’s been so long since I have heard some proper-ass racism in the city. (Has it? I can’t recall, anyway.)

“What the fuck did you say?” So I guess that’s what I am doing.

I stop him from leaving because I want to hear him say something, but he mumbles and pushes past me. The moment is over in seconds. I realize I wasn’t going to get anything worth hearing.

So I turn and yell at the two men working in the operator booth, dealing with the women who was told to go back to China. She’s agitated as well. “What are you even doing when this shit is happening right in front of you?” None of us our white. I bet this old brown dude I am now talking to has seen some shit.

“This happens all the time. Some people are crazy. You just got to ignore them.” Now I am the crazy person he needs to calm down.

I tell him nothing changes if no one says anything as I walk away, but I suspect he is the one that’s right.

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Demons in Paradise

   18 October 2018, terribly early in the morning

It turned out Demons in Paradise was a documentary. I’m not sure why I thought it was going to be a fictional retelling of the war in Sri Lanka. No matter, it was an interesting film all the same. Directed by Jude Ratnam, the film is a look at the violence of the civil war through the lens of his family’s experience with the war. The movie’s narrative seems to move from violence inflicted on the Tamil community to violence inflicted by the Tamil community (upon themselves). The movie opens in Colombo, discussing Sinhalese violence. The movie ends in Jaffna, discussing Tamil violence. In between is a brief coda in Kandy, that feels a bit out of place except that it separates these two chunks of the film. Ratnam managed to get people to be quite candid about their experiences. An ex-LTTE fighter talks about the TELO massacre. People from other groups talk about the random violence they committed. The film also asks the question (but doesn’t answer) why the civilian population was so blasé about the violence being committed in their name. I liked the film. My friend Fathima (who shuttered her blog!) thought it was muddled and poorly executed. We are a complicated peoples.

I saw Demons in Paradie at Jackman Hall as part of the Rendezvous With Madness Festival.

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Walking Home

   21 August 2018, terribly early in the morning

Walking home along Bloor at night a stranger turns to me and says, “I interviewed for a job and they offered it to me.” She was so excited she wanted to tell someone, I suppose. We chatted briefly as we walked. I asked her where she was going to work. What she was going to be doing. And then she was on her way.

I had a very long day, but that was a good conclusion.

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Laying Out Software

   30 July 2018, terribly early in the morning

I wrote this in 2007, when my life was all C and C++. I was working on migrating something that morphed from a small focused C program to a larger messy C++ program. I don’t remember why I didn’t publish it at the time. I’m sure I had more I wanted to say. Or maybe this advice is bad and with my forgetting all the C++ I used to know I no longer remember why.

I should write some posts about cleaning up old and poorly written programs. As software develops over time it sometimes ends up a huge unmanageable mess. It takes concerted effort to keep source code neat and organized. Furthermore, spending the time to think about how you organize your software will save you time in the long run. So, my first piece of advice for you budding software developers — i’m looking at you here Shima — is that source files should be as small as possible, and no smaller.

If you are working in C++ (or a similar object-oriented language), header files should be used to declare classes, and source files should be used for their definitions. Inline function should go in their own file as well. You should be able to look at a file and know what its contents are. Languages like C++ are fairly easy to work with because the structure of your code in the file system generally mirrors the structure of the program as discrete objects.

When working with a procedural languages like C, it is sometimes harder to see where things should be delineated. It is easy to fall into the habit of having one mother-of-all header files that contains all your declarations, and one source file with all your functions. This is stupid. Code should be organized such that unrelated functions, typedefs, structures, etc, are kept apart. Digging through a 3000 line source file looking for a function definition will make you crazy. You shouldn’t need a fancy IDE to manage your software projects.

Regardless of the programming language you are using, related functionality should be grouped and declared in their own header files, with definitions of functions in their own source files. Dividing your source code neatly in this fashion allows code that requires this functionality to (ideally) #include just the definitions it needs, and no more. You should be able to look at the #include directives in source file and header files and understand the dependencies of the code contained within; you should be able to see the relationships between the functions in your program. If you are lazy about the file structure of your source this becomes difficult. Don’t be lazy.

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