Summer’s Gone (It Goes By Quicker Every Year)

“Summer’s gone . . . a summer song,
You’ve wasted every day”

– Summer by Buffalo Tom

This time of year, I always listen to this song and start to wonder if I really did waste every day.

Of course, I worked this summer. A lot. I couldn’t just have lazy, do nothing, days. I had a few of those though. Wish I could have had more.

I went skateboarding a bunch of times, went to the beach several times, did a lot of live shows and performances, did some community theatre, and had a pretty good time overall.

I guess I can’t really complain.

This fall has a lot of great things on the horizon. Really looking forward to it all.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me here on Silent Cacophony and everywhere online.

Chasing Content – Is it September Already?

Chasing ContentChasing Content is a monthly feature here on Silent Cacophony.

This is how it works, at the start of each month I look back at the blog entries I posted the previous year in that month and highlight some of my favourites. This gives us a chance to dig through the old posts and unearth some gems that might otherwise get buried in the archives.

It’s now time for the September 2014 edition.

Read all of the posts from Last September . . .

or just these personal favourites.

Reading Salad 

A great lesson that teaches students that they need to think while they read. It uses a hands-on and is quite visual. It is simply brilliant and a great way to start off the school year.

Hula-Hoops on the First Day of School

Still my favourite activity to kick off the school year. Click through and you’ll see why. It’s a bit unconventional but a lot of fun.

The New Spider-Man, Miles Morales

I really enjoyed this comic book series and would love to see this version of Spider-Man on the big screen one day. I highly recommend you read it.

Daredevil Autographs

I collected a few more autographs last year at Fan Expo. I’m really excited about going back to the event this weekend. Alex Maleev is going to be there this year. I would so love to get his autograph. I probably won’t be able to though since he is doing a signing at the same time at the Doctor Who panel. :(

Doctor Who at Fan Expo

Last year was so much fun.  This year, the ladies of Doctor Who will be on hand. I can’t wait to see Karen Gillan and Jenna Coleman. Should be a lot of fun!

First Day of School Lesson Plan

I’ve used a variation of this plan every year for the past several years and it has never failed. It’s due for a tweaking though. I never just re-use units or lesson. I always strive to improve and build upon past successes.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me

It’s always nice to look back and see what was. Hopefully this month will be just as good as it was last year.

Kitchener Aud Skatepark

Kitchener Aud Skatepark

This skatepark is known affectionately as The Aud.

Bowl

Located outside of The Kitchener Auditorium, it is a nice place for both the experienced skateboarder and the novice.

Box

Here is a double-layered box,

Grind

some grind rails and ledges,

Hill Ledge

and a double camel hump. It’s a little hard to see the contour of it in this photo, but it is a nice obstacle to skate. And one that I have never seen elsewhere.

Launch Ramp with Rail

Here is the launch ramp with a rail to slide or grind.

Pyramid

This pyramid has metal grind bars on it that are very nice for the beginner to experiment with.

quarter-pipe

This quarter-pipe is a little steep. It reminds me of the Widow Maker at Beasley in Hamilton.

More Skatepark Tours

Lions Lake Trail Run

Lions Lake Trail

I collect trails. I am always on the lookout for a new spot to explore. My latest adventure was at Lions Lake Trail in Floradale, Ontario.

Lions Lake Trail Shore

The parking lot brings you right to the shore

Woolwich Dam

and the Woolwich Dam.

Lioins Lake Wooded Trail

The trail is only a few hundred meters further down.

Maple Syrup Farm

It cuts through a Maple Syrup Farm. You can see the blue lines that are used to collect sap from the trees. You can even veer off of the trail and walk toward the farm building to buy some.

Trails End

I keep running until I came to the end of the trail. It wasn’t as long as I had expected, or hoped for. Either that or I just didn’t take the best route.

Floradale Park Sign

So when I came to the road and saw this sign, I thought it would be a good idea to run to the park and explore some more of the local area.

Path Back to the Trail

Along the way, there were two entrances back to the Lions  Trail that I had left to go find Floradale Park. I probably should have taken one of them and kept running on the trail.

Road

But I figured 2.5 kilometers down the road wasn’t that far. I had visions of a beautiful park ahead with more trails.

Woolwich Fire Department

I never found it. I ran on the road for way more than two and a half kilometers. I passed the firehouse and realized that I would have to run a fairly big loop on the road to get back to my starting point.

Woolwich Reservoir

I pretty much never run a route that doesn’t include a trail. That section today though was a little too short for me. I know I didn’t choose the best route and could probably run here again and have a different experience. Perhaps I will.

Woolwich Run Map

I love my phone app and all of the data it provides. As you can see, I ran 8.03 kilometers in 43 minutes with an average pace of 5:24 per kilometer. You can also see that there were several hills and changes in elevation along the route.

Want to see more of my trail collection? 

Check the Photographic Tour Archive (over 50 trails to explore with me)

Doon Skatium – Kitchener’s Mobile Skatepark

Doon Skatium

Kitchener has a mobile skatepark that it sets up in various neighbourhoods throughout the city. It is called “Doon Skatium”

Doon Box

They often set up shop outside of the Pioneer Park branch of the Public Library

Doon Rail

I love this rail! It is great for beginners, since you can skate right on to it without having to olley.

Doon Fun Box

They have an array of ramps that include a fun box, quarter-pipes,

Doon Launch Ramp

a launch ramp, and more. Apparently, they have more ramps in the trailer that they can set up depending on the crowd any particular night.

Doon Mobile Skatepark

Here’s an idea of what the whole mobile park looks like when it is set up. Apparently, there were more ramps that they could have brought out as well.

More Skatepark Tours

Ain’t Nothing Like the Old School (Commodore 64)

Commodore 64

I had the urge to dig out my old Commodore 64 and play some old school video games.

Computer not Working

When I turned it on though, I couldn’t get any of the games to load up. I knew what the problem was so . . .

Fixed Disk Drive

I took apart the disk drive and fixed the door lock mechanism. It was quite easy. All I had to do was slide a pin back into place.

Bubble Bobble

And I was playing my all-time favourite video game, Bubble Bobble once again.

Burger Time

I love these old school games. Anyone remember Burger Time?

What’s your favourite Commodore 64 game?

Beasley Skatepark – Hamilton

Beasley

Beasley is the first permanent outdoor skateboard park that I had ever seen.

Beasley Bowl

It’s the oldest skatepark on the entire Eastern Seaboard. People have been coming here since the mid 1980s to skate.

Bottom of the Bowl Addition'

I skated here a lot when I was a kid and it wasn’t until many years later that parks like this became commonplace.

When I skated here as a teenager, this ramp didn’t even exist. Skaters have been maintaining and improving the park for years now.

Bowl Addition

This ramp is a new addition as well. It’s only about five years old.

piano ledge

I love the look and feel of this park.

Pyramid

It was nice to get back here after all these years and enjoy a skate on a very familiar park.

quarter pipe

This is the famous Widow Maker quarter-pipe.

rail

a standard rail,

start ramp

and the launch ramp.

This weekend, they are running their 23rd Annual Sk8 Jam.

Beasley 23

It’s always a lot of fun. Hope to see you there!

Virtual Skatepark Tours (over a dozen great parks to visit)

The More You Do, The Better You Feel

More You Do David Parker

The More You Do, The Better You Feel: How to Overcome Procrastination and Live a Happier Life by David Parker

I received this book in the mail a little while ago and I kept putting off reading it. I’m not sure why. I knew there were things I procrastinated about. I knew it. But I also knew that I kept putting those same things off.

For all of us that have that problem in life, this book offers some great advice and ways to combat it.

The Concept

Here is how David Parker explains the concept of the book . . .

“If you work at overcoming your own habitual procrastination you’ll start overcoming the fear that has interfered with your ability to deal with the tasks and projects that you’ve learned to automatically shy away from. You’ll discover that you are far more capable than you thought possible, and your new definitions of yourself will be based upon newer self-beliefs garnered from positive experiences.”

Writing Helps

He suggests writing in a journal and he shares how that simple act helped him break out of his funk. He writes, “I accumulated enough material to begin taking a look back at what I had written, and this presented me with an opportunity to observe the ways and patterns in which my mind worked.”

And then something interesting happened . . .

“it was if all those reminders had connected in some odd way . . .  There seemed to be a relationship between the length of time a task was left undone, and the effect it was having on my emotions. The connection was so real; it felt almost palpable.”

Sometimes, all you need to do is take a step back and get some real perspective.

How It Applies to Teaching

Another strange thing happened to me while reading this book. I began to see some of my students within the pages. Some of them don’t like school and try their best to avoid doing work. Many of them get through their academic career doing very little.

Parker puts it this way . . .

“Many habitual procrastinators have remarked that they began noticing what they could get away with from an early age. The practice is commonly called getting over on others.”

Some students put more effort “into the act of not doing” than it would take to just do the task before them. And “if [they] continue the act of getting over on others, it can be difficult to put an end to this sort of practice. After all, who wants to give up a skill that they’ve worked hard at developing over a lifetime?”

Reduce the Number of Tasks

Reduce the number of tasks you have to do. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you can get more done. And the more you do, the better you feel.

It reminds me of a phrase that I have heard time and time again. I never quite understood it though.

Give it to a Busy Person

I am a member of The Lions Club, a service organization run by volunteers. At one meeting, we needed a member to take on a specific task. I was too busy to volunteer for this particular task. I was surprised to see that no one else stepped up for several seconds. Then finally, one person agreed to take it on. The member beside me said, “Want something done? Give it to a busy person” and we talked about how he might have been the person with the most on his plate.

The More You Do, The Better You Feel

So, we can see that the title of this book goes beyond the procrastination aspect. I do a lot of things; I skateboard, write, produce a radio show, DJ at live events, do some community theatre, work a few jobs, and make time for my family and girlfriend. And I feel good about being able to do all of that.

And There’s More

I took lots of notes while reading this book. I just might have to write an additional blog post or two. Let’s see if I have time to do that.

My List of 2015 Reads (30 books and counting)

You Can’t Handle Shakespeare’s Power

Kill Shakespeare Vol 3

Kill Shakespeare: Volume 3 – The Tide of Blood

This comic features a fictional world where all of the characters of the Bard’s work exist in one time and place. It is a brilliant concept and executed perfectly. This is the third edition of the on-going trade paperback collection.

(Spolier Alert)

William Shakespeare is one of the characters in this series. Many people believe that he is a myth, but a few know that he is real and want to seize his power. They believe that with his pen they can be the ultimate ruler of the universe.

Prospero captures Shakespeare near the end of this comic and steals his quill. They both leave the fictional world and crossover into the realm in which Shakespeare creates, and it wasn’t what Prospero was expecting.

Shakespeare's The Airy Nothing

Shakespeare call this realm “The Airy Nothing”

Kill Shakespeare - All is Nothingness

Prospero is ultimately lost in the world of the blank page. It’s overwhelming. He tries to create something, but fails. What he envisioned for his perfect creation in the world, he simply can’t make happen in the chaos of nothingness.

This was such a powerful scene and a great payoff for reading three collected editions of Kill Shakespeare. I was expecting the series to conclude because of it. It was a perfect ending point.

It turns out, it was only the end of the chapter, not the series. Just like the works of Shakespeare, the works of this comic are strong and bound to continue for sometime.

My List of 2015 Reads – novels, comics, non-fiction, and more!

Beasley Skatepark Documentary

It’s very cool to skateboarders taking such ownership of their neighbourhood park. Beasely has such a rich history and I was there for some of it. I was sitting on the sidelines at the very skateboard competition shown in this documentary.

I went every single year, sat on my board, and watched very talented skaters do all sorts of crazy tricks. It was always a lot of fun. I miss those days. Haven’t been to the Annual Beasley Competition in years. Perhaps I should do something about that.

The 23rd Annual Sk8 Jam runs next weekend, Saturday August 15th, 2015.

Beasley 23

I’m going to do my best to get back to my hometown for this. It is always a great event! Hope to see you there!

Find out more about this park and their events from The Hamilton Skateboard Assembly Facebook Page.

Chasing Content – The Best of Last August

CC AugIt’s hard to believe that it is August 2015 already. Time seems to be flying by. That’s one of the reasons I love having this blog. I can take a moment to look back at what was. Won’t you do that with me right now?

It’s time for another edition of Chasing Content.

Read all of the posts from last August,

or just these highlights . . .

Grade 2/3 Long Range Plan

This is my newly revised year plan that I used to teach a combined Grade 2 / Grade 3 class last year. It is very detailed and can help you in your planning. Feel free to download it as a PDF or as a MS Word document that you can customize to your needs. Happy Teaching!

D-sisive Shout -Out

I got some great praise from a musician that I have been following his entire career.  I was so stoked to see this interaction on Twitter and Instagram.

Coyotes and Deer, Oh My!

It’s amazing what you can come across during a quiet and peaceful trail run.

Classroom Management for Dummies

A great video full of tips for both new and experienced teachers.

The Best of August 2013

I love doing these posts every month. It’s great to look back and relive / remember all of these great events, topics, and articles. I like how I wrote this particular one too!

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Skate Port – Port Stanley’s Skatepark

2015-07-02 10.37.18

The skatepark in Port Stanley, Ontario is known as Skate Port. I love that play on words.

Kai Rasmussen

It was nice to see this plaque on the side of one of the ramps. It reads, “Dedicated to the man with a kid’s heart, who saw a dream and fulfilled it. Kai Rasmussen Skate Port”

SkatePort Box

This must be a common template. I have seen this obstacle time and time again at various skateparks.

SkatePort Launch Ramp

The ramps are very colourful at this park.

Skateport Quarter Pipe

The quarter-pipe is a little steep, in my humble opinion.

SkatePort Rail

It’s not the best park that I’ve ever been to, but it is still nice to see that we have places to skate like this all over the place in various cities and townships.

More Skatepark Tours

The Latest from Word is Bond Rap Radio

Here are the latest two episodes of Word is Bond Rap Radio.

This first episode features two interviews. The first one is with up and coming MC, producer, DJ, radio host, Maloney aka MLNY. And the second is with Dear Derrick. Both artists called in to the station for these live radio interviews.

This second episode is straight music. I hope you enjoy the show.

Thanks for listening. Please like and share using the hashtag #WIBRapRadio

Listen to Word is Bond Rap Radio

Oh No, The Bridge is Out! (but not for long)

I have nothing but respect for people who maintain all of the nature trails that I go running on.

Bridge Down

Most of the trails I visit are kept up quite nicely, either by the Park Association or a dedicated group of volunteers.

Bridge Out

Earlier this summer, I came across a broken bridge. I was still able to navigate my way passed this section of the trail. I jumped from the edge and landed on the downed bridge.

fixed bridge

A few weeks later, I returned to this same spot and noticed that the bridge had been repaired. You can see that they had to move its location slightly, but I don’t think anyone will mind.

It’s nice to have a smooth running environment where I don’t have to stop for any hazards. So, to those lovely people that maintain Komoka Provincial Park, I would like to say, “Thank You!

Want to see some of My Virtual Running Tours?

Here is the link to my collection of trails (60 great spots to visit)

Turner Skatepark – Hamilton, Ontario

Police Station Skatepark

Turner Skateboard Park is an amazing facility located on the Hamilton Mountain.

Clean Park No Graffiti

It is one of the only outdoor skateparks that has managed to remain graffiti free. It’s very nice to have a clean, smooth park to skate on. It’s a little thing, but I really appreciate it.

No Bikes Allowed

I also love the fact that this park is specifically for skateboarders. Bicycles are also not allowed.

Skateboard Bench Mod

This bench had been vandalized but it was probably done by a skateboard fanatic. One of the locals taught me how to use my board to take a quick break from skating.

Turner Park Bowl

The bowl is quite nice with different levels to it as well.

Turner Park Ledge

Here is a ledge to get your grind on.

Turner Park Mini-Stairs and Rail

And if you don’t like jumping a large staircase . . .

Turner Park Mini-Stairs

there is a nice starting one here.

Turner Park Rail

This rail is a little higher than I would like it to be. But plenty of skaters seemed to be doing all sorts of grinds and slides on it.

Turner Park Ramp

This park seems to cater to skaters who love to go big.

Turner Park Wing

These are interesting obstacles to skate.

Turner Skatepark Hamilton

The park is extremely clean and smooth. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that it is located directly beside a police station. Either way, I’m not complaining at all. It’s nice!

Visual Skatepark Tours (12 great spots to visit)

Why Do We All Have to Earn a Living?

I found this quote on Instagram and immediately nodded my head in agreement.

Buckminster Fuller Quote

There are so many pointless and soul-sucking jobs out there that probably don’t even really need to be done.

Haven’t we advanced enough in society that we don’t all need to work the way we have been?

I am convinced there is a better way of doing things. We could have community gardens, we could work together and not rely on the institutions and business that only seem to be about profits.

It is possible. I just hope someone out there can get this up and moving. It’s easy enough to make image quotes or write blog posts. It’s harder to take action.

We could all increase our quality of life and not want for anything.

So, please, let’s make that happen!

 

 

Get Social Online and in the Real World

got social mediology

Got Social Mediology by Jay Izso

Jay Izso looks at social media from a psychology stand point. He says . . .

“We have to understand the reasons why people are on social media in the first place: to engage with others, to be validated for who they are, and to enjoy the resulting positive emotions that lead to a sense of validation. Social media will always be social first and media second.”

Be a True Participant

That is something that we need to remember when we want to expose people to our art, music, or small business. If we go on these platform and just try to push our wares, we will largely be ignored.

But these online tools can be extremely useful. They can help us establish meaningful connections that are much more powerful that traditional advertising.

“What traditionally makes small business so successful is the personal connection that such businesses are able to establish one person at a time.”

Building a real and sincere social media presence helps you do just that.

“People are on social media to connect with others, not to be sold to. If you respect that reality and play within its cultural norms and guidelines – as a genuine participant . . .  – you and your business will be rewarded with clients who will but from you for a lifetime and tell everyone they know that you are a someone worthy of doing business with.”

Learn and Engage

So, learn about the places people congregate online and engage them there,

“If people are in these social media worlds and getting so much from it, it only follows that when you become part of that world, you contribute to their emotional well-being. In turn, they will grow to know, like, and trust you, opening up opportunities for you to do business together as well as with their friends.”

The 3 Cs – Check In, Connect, and Check Out

“You do not have to be on social media all the time, or even most of the time; you just have to check in, connect, and check out.”

It Only Takes 15 Minutes 

“You can be effective with social media in two or three 15-minute segments per day for a total of thirty to forty-five minutes a day.”

Digital Immigrants Can Figure This Out Too

People under the age of 35 have grown up with the Internet being an integral part of their lives. Izso refers to these people as “Digital Natives.” He refers to the rest of us as “Digital Immigrants” and just like real-world immigrants, we can all learn to live in this new environment.

Jump In

So go ahead, give it a chance. The benefits can be spectacular. I have made some amazing connections online, built friendships with people I have never met, and collaborated on projects. All of these things have enriched my life and I am thankful for them.

My List of 2015 Reads – continually updated all year long

Kains Woods to Warbler Woods

I love running down a nature trail, not knowing exactly where it will take me, experiencing the quiet surroundings, and getting a workout at the same time. And I love sharing these journeys with you.

A few years back, I discovered Kains Woods and had a very nice run in the fall. The pictures are gorgeous.

Kaims Woods Back Entrance

Last week, I ran the trail again and ended up at this non-marked trail entrance.

Kains Woods Shore Rd Path

There was still some more trail to explore, but I was exhausted and figured I would save it for another day.

Kains Woods Shore Rd Entrance

But the very next day, I went back to see where this trail really did end.

Kains Woods right turn

It wasn’t far down the trail before I had to make this quick right turn, run down a small valley, and then back up the other side..

Kains Woods Trail

The trail then continued for one kilometer,

Kains Woods Oxford St

before it came to an end at Oxford Street in London, Ontario.

Oxford St Path

I ran across the street and headed in the opposite direction of the bridge.

Oxford Pond

I knew exactly where I was and thought it would be a good idea to run all the way to Warbler Woods. 

Underpass to Warbler Woods

The paved multi-use trail was really nice.

Warbler Wood Perimeter Path

I took it all the way to the end and then ran through Warbler Woods back to its parking lot.

Kains to Warbler 019

Then, I retraced my route and went back to the Shore Road entrance of Kains Woods.

Kains to Warbler Route

That run was about 4 kilometers, so I ran down the suburb streets a little bit to get my 5 kilometers in.

As you can see on my Nike+ App, I started at the green dot, ran 1 kilometer to the main street, ran another kilometer down the street, and then ran through Warbler Woods, before returning to where I had started, ran down those streets some more and finished up my route.

I have never run two different woods before in one continuous run. It was fun!

I hope you enjoyed it too!

Running Tours – 70 great routes and counting

Talent for Humanity (Not Everyone Has It)

TFH cover

Talent for Humanity – editied by Patrick Gaffney

This book is inspiring in so many ways. It features the voices of people from all over the world who were bestowed a Human Spirit Award. Instead of a trophy, they were given a chapter of this book to share their passion and life mission.

I thought I would review it in a series of images (something I have never done before)

I hope you enjoy it, and then go get inspired yourself.

TFH 1 (1)

TFH2

TFH3

And that was just from the introduction.

Imagine what other tidbits of knowledge and wisdom you can gain from reading this book and getting an experience of the seven inspiring human beings profiled in these pages.

Here is one from Sherry and Bob Jason’s chapter.

Teachers

I really like this metaphor about writing and where ideas come from.

Mushrooms

I hope you have enjoyed this original take on a book review.

My List of 2015 Reads – 27 titles and counting

The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue

Fiction Writers Guide to Dialogue

The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue by John Hough, Jr.

As a teacher, I keep coming across posters that declare, “Said is Dead!”

Said is Dead

To me, these alternatives are just lazy. A good writer doesn’t need them. Said says it all. John Hough explains . . .

“Said” isn’t  intrusive, at all. It’s invisible. The reader reads it again and again and again, and never notices it. The dialogue, then, stands on its own, This forces you, the writer, to write dialogue that needs no help, and dialogue that needs no help is good dialogue.

He also suggest that exclamation points should rarely be used. There’s an oft-repeated rule in writing that “you are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.” Once again, this is all about letting the writing speak for itself. Wise words indeed!

Keep it Brief

It’s best not to let your characters drone on. Hough suggest speeches be “one to three sentences, preferably no more that two, per speech–whenever possible.”

Avoid the Quirks, Tics, and Habits of Real Life

In real life we ask questions a lot that are really insignificant. We should never do that in our writing.

Dialogue should be abrupt. Every question, however benign, should be direct. It should demand an answer. With every question your characters are putting each other on the spot, which is why their answers are revealing.

The Paradox of Dialogue

In everyday speech, we start and stop abruptly. We repeat ourselves, we grope along for the right words, and we don’t always say what we had meant to say. Fiction dialogue needs to be a lot cleaner but still sound realistic. Here is the paradox . . .

The better the dialogue, the less realistic it should be, and the more realistic it will sound. Think of dialogue in fiction as  what is left after the extraneous verbiage is stripped away. It is what we mean to say, what we do say, in essence, Think of your written dialogue as a form of shorthand that preserves the most vivid and succinct lines of an exchange or conversation.

Invent a Spoken Language

Here is some great advice for all us writers out there . . .

Invent a spoken language–dialogue–that is a synthesis of what you read and what you hear, and that is appropriate to your characters and their time and place. 

The author suggests that we can be on the lookout for great tidbits of dialogue. We can borrow a line from here and there and focus it better in our own writing.

My 2 Cents

These are just a few of the notes I made while reading this book. I hope my dialogue will improve because of the tips that Hough points out.

I know that I need to work on this part of my writing. I plan to do a rewrite of some of my work focusing only on dialogue. Then I will be ready to query it and release my works to the world. I know, it’s long over due.

My 2015 Reading Log (25 books and counting)