Good evening! Please take up a chair; I will bring you some hot chocolate in a moment.
Feel free to browse.
This is the website of me, Alan Rempel. I am a student at the
University of King's College
(Halifax, NS), as well as a chorister there. I am fond of tea and wool sweaters.
I like programming in Haskell, especially when I have
no spare time in which to do so.
This website consists, at the moment, solely of my blog, which I update according as I
have spare time and whim. It is displayed in full below.
I have started using a paper notebook for an agenda/planner/to-do-list thing,
and I find it works for me much better than any of the various electronic,
computer-based solutions that I have tried! Partly this is because the computer
continually offers me distractions, ways of getting wrapped up in computing,
when all I actually need to do is jot down what I have to do today. Paper and pen
are less intrinsically exciting. A specific case of this: I can waste all kinds of time
configuring whatever computer tool I use, but there is no such thing as that
with the paper notebook, because the act of “configuring” it and the act of using it
are one: both consist in writing lines, symbols, and characters with the pen on the page.
The configuration is done in exactly the same medium as the content. The reason this is
not so with computer-based tools is that, while writing prose on a computer is the easiest
thing in the world, organizing that prose visually – as one wants to do when one
is making an agenda (a section for each day of the week, say) – is much more cumbersome.
The obvious solution is to automate it – create a template for the desired layout (in the
form of HTML or org-mode or whatever one wishes) – but this introduces brittleness, and the
necessity of the dreaded configuration. There's no way around it. That said, some
computer-based task-management or calendar-management tools are actually very very good – but
they cost at least as much as my notebook did, and I have more confidence that my notebook
will be useful to me – for a long time and in a variety of contexts – than any piece of software.
I wanted to write a new blog post tonight, but when I re-rendered the site and had a look at
it, I was perplexed to find that all my posts were gone! I checked my ‘posts’ folder, and
indeed, I had apparently somehow deleted them all. I may have a means of recovering them; I'll
have to investigate further.
But how is it, you ask, that you can still see all my posts in the very flesh, sitting just below this one?
The answer is this: I write my posts in a different format than that in which they are provided to your web browser;
I deleted those original files that I wrote myself, but I had already compiled them into the hypertext files that
the web browser reads, and so all the posts still exist in that format (namely, the
HyperText Markup Language).
The upshot, then, is that nothing has changed
you, the reader of this blog, but for me, its author, the blog is considerably more awkward to edit and update.
For that reason, I will probably no longer have an ‘All Posts’ page separate from the home page, since I now have to
copy and paste post titles between the two pages to keep them in sync.
(But then again, a little copy-and-pasting is good for the soul …)
More or less on a whim, I purchased the domain threedots.ca
tonight and pointed it to this website. Thus you can now
access this website at http://threedots.ca/, which is
considerably shorter and more memorable than
https://threedots.neocities.org/. Three Dots will continue
to be available at the latter domain for the foreseeable
future. The nice thing about threedots.ca, though, is that
I can continue to point that to my website no matter where I
host it—as opposed to threedots.neocities.org or
threedots.github.io, which contains the name of the hosting
provider, and in fact they control the domain.
While I was sitting in the café this morning, I saw a bus
rolling sure-wheeledly down Oxford street – on its
electronic displays, instead of a route number, it said
“STUFF A BUS”. I was mightily perplexed …
I have a secret, which I’ve never revealed, and it is this:
I made this recipe for a quick pasta with chickpeas the other day, and it is totally brilliant. It is
probably the second or third easiest recipe for a nourishing
and delicious supper that I have ever made. And it only uses
ingredients that I virtually always have in my cupboard!
(Part of the trick is that it has you cook the pasta in
the sauce. This is a technique Deb Perelman has advocated for
before, I believe.)
This city is a strange place—so much of it is paved.
The trees here—it must be lonely for them, not being in a
forest;—stretching their roots out and finding mostly soil
not nourished by sunlight.
Airplanes are placeless:—this is my insight
about airplanes. Travelling
by airplane is essentially a form of teleportation, in that
it involves travelling from a starting point to a
destination without traversing any of the intervening
places. One does traverse some kind of intervening space
(namely, some part of the atmosphere), but this is not humanly
habitable space – not space that has the capacity to
contain places.—What then of mid-journey airport layovers? Well,
airports tend to be placeless, or un-placed, or deprived of
place-context, or only-quasi-places, in a different sense:
they are typically very poorly connected to the urban fabric
of the city which they serve.
There was the method of kneeling, a fine method, if you lived in a country where stones were smooth. The women dreamed wistfully of bleached courtyards, hidden corners where knee fit rock. Their prayers were weathered rib bones, small calcium words uttered in sequence, as if this shedding of syllables could somehow fuse them to the sky.
They turned out really well! It’s a very soft and sticky
dough, and the cookies expanded during baking quite a bit
more than I anticipated. The result is not actually such a
radically different cookie than you might suppose from the
typical chocolate chip cookie;—the tahini just adds a
lovely nutty and slightly bitter shade, without changing the
texture much. Will definitely make again.
In which children endeavour to sort out my life plans.
I was bored this afternoon, so I ate a raw clove of garlic.
While skating at the Oval this afternoon with a few
friends, I felt compelled to offer an explanation for why I
was alternating smooth skating with bouts of stumbling:
“Sometimes I space out for a moment and suddenly I’m no
longer in the zone! But it’s okay, I just take a moment to
center myself and get back in the groove.” My friend thought this
remark expressed a truth about my essence. I think he was
right; also, I am sure my skates were not laced tightly enough.