Thames Park Trail

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Thames Park is located close to the downtown core of London, Ontario and it is the starting point for the latest Visual Running Tour! 

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I started off at the Wortley Road entrance and ran past the playground and community pool. I went over the main bridge to get to the other side of the river.

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This is where the Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) continues.

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The TVP is a fully-accessible trail that is good for strollers, rollerblades, skateboards, and of course, runners.

A few bicyclists zoomed passed me this afternoon as well. But I always make sure to stick to the right side of the trail for just that reason.

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This is where I started off running The Thames Valley Parkway last time. There are 40 kilometers of linked trails. Maybe I should try to run the whole route, bit-by-bit this summer.

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I’m not a big fan of paved trails but one that traverses the entire city is a great idea. And one that follows the river is beautiful.

More Trails

Click on the Photographic Tours button at the top of the page and explore the 50 or so routes I have posted there.

West Lions Skatepark (London, ON)

West Lions Park

I’ve been living in London for a few years now and I only just discovered this amazing skatepark.

West Lions Halfpipe

It has the best half-pipe that I have ever seen at a free outdoor facility.

Halfpipe

I like that the ramp is wide and not too tall. It is also very well-maintained.

Street Course

West Lions Park looks like a great place to spend an afternoon. Besides the half-pipe, there is a cute little street course. It is a bit small but nice nonetheless. I love the contour for doing tricks along the edge and the rail blocks that aren’t as scary as regular rails.

There is also a Splash Pad on the site to cool down after a great skate session.

Nice Rail

This might just be my new favourite skate spot.

Skatepark Zone

I hope you enjoyed this tour of The West Lions Skatepark Zone and I hope to see you out there one day this summer!

More Skatepark Tours

The Tenth Doctor Lives On

Doctor Who - Tesseract

Doctor Who – Tesseract

I love the fact that the Tenth Doctor lives on in graphic novels. I was fortunate enough to find this book in a discount bin. I didn’t matter that I hadn’t read Volume One, this book was still a great read.

Doctor Who TPB

Doctor Who: The Forgotten

This is the first graphic novel that I have ever read digitally.

I downloaded it to my iPhone using an app called Comixology and it only cost me $3.99 for the book.

It was pretty cool too because the app led you through the comic panel by panel. And when there was an entire page of artwork to consume, it gave you a close up of the speech bubble, and then when you swiped the screen to continue, it pulled back to show you the entire page.

The story was really good as well. The Doctor finds himself in a museum that is dedicated to him. The only problem is that he can’t remember his past or his future. Good thing that Martha is there to help him out and that a few of the objects stimulate some memories.

We get to experience all the Doctors in this issue as the tenth recounts some of his old adventures. Even better than that, there are a few panels where all Ten Doctors are together.

Doctor Who -

That’s awesome!

My 2014 Reading Log - comics, novels, teaching-related titles, writing books, and more.

Windsor Waterfront Trail

Windor Trail

It’s time to explore Windsor’s Riverfront Park Trail.

Mulit-use trail

The trail has a section for leisurely strolls (on the far right) and it has a paved trail for anyone who wants to roll along on skates or bicycles.

Distance Marker

I love the brilliant trail markers that let you know how far you’ve traveled!

Observation Dock

This is a nice observation dock. The waterfront here seems to be a very popular spot for fishing.  Not sure why but no one was camped out here during my run.

Paved Trail

I love running along a beautiful waterfront!

Sculpture Info

This plaque gives some of the history about the sculptures that are placed all along this 5 kilometer route.

Waterfront walkway

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Windsor Shore Line

I’m not used to seeing sights like this. I really enjoyed this trip to Windsor!

Cobblestone Path

This portion of the trail is done in stamp concrete and has plenty of benches and places to stop and rest in the shade.

Winsor Waterfront

Thanks for coming along with me on this Visual Running Tour!

Photographic Tour Archive – over 4 dozen great trails to hike, run, or bike.

Everything is Awesome! (Do we overuse that adjective?)

Everything is AwesomeHave you seen the Lego Movie?

Emmet, the main character of the film, continually refers to everything as awesome. There is a catchy song to go with this sentiment as well.

Emmet isn’t the only person to over-use the word awesome.

“Awesome” gets bandied about way more than it probably should be. Not everything can be awesome.

Here is a tidbit of wisdom on the subject from the book Get It Done by Sam Bennett.

Get it Done book

“In his book Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins says, ‘The inability to correctly perceive reality is often responsible for humans’ insane behavior. And every time they substitute an all-purpose, sloppy slang word for the words that would accurately describe an emotion or a situation, it lowers their reality orientations, pushes them further from shore, out onto the foggy waters of alienation and confusion.”

So maybe, we should be a little more respectful of this awesome word and use it only when it is called for. I mean, not everything can be as awesome as this blog post or The Lego Movie, right?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Part 6 (of 3)

Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy 6

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: Part Six of Three – And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer

I was really surprised to see this book at the public library a few weeks back. I’d always counted myself as a fan of this series. I’ve read the first book, devoured the BBC television series, and even heard a few of the old radio programs.

And yet, I had no idea that this book even existed. I thought the series was a “trilogy in five parts.” After all, that is how Douglas Adams’ billed it. And that’s all that he wrote.

This new addition to the canon was written by someone else. That fact would have normally turned me off right away but Eoin Colfer is a brilliant writer and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from him.

So, I picked up the book and started to read. I was surprised to see that Colfer was able to channel Adams as well as he did. It felt like Adams wrote this book. It is in that dry, shooting off on random tangents, witty-humour-style that we’ve come to expect from the complete five book series.

Make sure you add this sixth book to your collection if you are a fan of the series. Colfer knocked it out of the park. Just when we thought the adventure was over, here comes one more thing.

And the book ends with the title phrase still lingering, “And another thing . . . ”

Which makes us all wonder if the adventure truly is over.

My 2014 Reading List - constantly updated with every new title I read this year

Exercise Trail in Cambridge, Ontario

Bob McMullen Trail

Last year, I showed you the running route I took along the Bob McMullen Trail in Cambridge, Ontario. Today, I want to show you the exercise trail that runs along the route as well.

Chin-Up

There are several of these stations placed along the trail route. Each station has specific equipment and instructions about how to do the exercises properly.

Exercise 1

This is the entire station and as you can see, there are four different exercises you can do here.

Exercise Station

I always wondered what those parallel bars were for.

Hip Flexes

Here are some exercises you can do on any bench. Lots of the trails I run on have benches throughout the route. Maybe they are for more than just taking a short break.

History Sign

This poster illustrates the historical significance of the area.

Exercise trails such as this one are rare. I’ve only seen this type of arrangement in a few places. I remember going to one of theses as a kid and I love running ahead to the next station. I will have to look that up again. I wonder if it is still there.

Do you have a great trail to recommend?

Please leave a comment below or take a few pictures and contribute a post to this blog. Just contact me and I’ll be happy to have you as a guest contributor for Silent Cacophony.

Thanks!

WIHH 4 – Complete Broadcast Download

WIHH4 logoDOPEfm celebrates International Women’s Day every year by dedicating our entire overnight’s programming to the Women in Hip-Hop.

Here is the easiest way to download DOPEfm’s Fourth Annual Women in Hip-Hop Special.

These zipped files will give you all 8 parts of the show as they aired on 93.3 CFMU.

WIHH 4 – Part 1 of 3
WIHH 4 – Part 2 of 3
WIHH 4 – Part 3 of 3

You can click on each part below to read the description of the segment and download the individual files as well.

1) Celebrating International Women’s Day – Hip-Hop Style
2) Roundtable Discussion (with Dessa, E-Turn, Lodo, and Reverie)
3) Miss DJ (interview and guest mix-set)
4) Shay D (in-depth interview)
5) Mixset (Chase March spins female-fronted hip-hop tunes)
6) Dessa (a spotlight with music and talk)
7) Know Your History Special (an exploration of motherhood in hip-hop)
8) Rapsody (a spotlight with music and talk)

Thanks for listening!

Star Trek Scrabble Win

Star Trek Scrabble

Star Trek Scrabble is a really cool variant of my all-time favourite board game.

I bought this for my dad a few years back. We’d always enjoyed Scrabble and are huge Star Trek fans, so it was only logical for us to play this. See what I did there?

One of the coolest things about this version of Scrabble is that, not only can you use Star Trek terms and proper names from the Original series, but you can get bonus points for doing so.

In all of the games we have played, I have never been able to spell a “Star Trek” word. That was why I was so excited to have this word on my rack.

Waiting on Spock

I held onto that word for about 5 turns. I was determined to play it and score the 20 bonus points.

But alas, the board wouldn’t cooperate with me and there was simply nowhere to play “Spock.”

I know that my dad would have gotten a kick out of just the possibility of playing that word.

86 Point Scrabble Word

I did manage to score 86 points with a single word, however.

It’s a word that I had never spelled before in a game of Scrabble either. And even better than that, it fell across 2 double word scores. And to top that, it used 7 tiles so I got a 50 point bonus.

“MATINEE” was an 86 point word.

That was awesome!

5 Words

I found this on Tumblr and was really inspired.

I would love to build a lesson around it.

  1. Have the students write their own 5 Word Sentences
  2. Have each student share one of the sentences.
  3. Challenge students to create a 5 Sentence Paragraph using only 5 Word Sentences.
  4. Have a sharing session.
  5. Discuss the pros and cons of using only 5 words.
  6. Share the above images and discuss the importance of varying sentence length.

Isn’t that a great idea?

There’s tons more every Tuesday right here on Silent Cacophony.

Visit the Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive for tons of great tips, tricks, and lessons.

Summer Break

Teaching Tip Tuesday will be taking a short hiatus for the summer break. This weekly feature will start back up again in late August. Enjoy your summer and don’t work too hard. Even though I know you probably will. I know I am already thinking about the new school year.

New Posting Schedule

For the summer. new posts will drop every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Bechtel Park Trail

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Let’s go trail running and explore the beautiful Bechtel Park in Waterloo, Ontario!

bechtel park trail entrance

The trails begins on the other sides of the soccer fields.

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The trail runs through a forested area. There a a few short hills along the route too.

bechtel park bridge

I can’t resist a bridge over a creek. I probably should have today though.

bechtel park overgrown

The path was really over-grown on this side of the bridge. Many of the plants were prickly as well. My legs got a little bit scratched up.

bechtel park wood chip

So, I turned around, headed back over the bridge, and re-joined the main path.

bechtel park creek

Next time, I will stay on the main trail for the entire run. There were several off-shoots of it and I am sure they link up for a great running route.

Explore More Trails

Photographic Tours – I collect trails and post pictures and narratives here!

Chasing Content – July 2013

Chasing Content JulyIt’s time to grab the excavator and dig through the archives.

We do this at the start of every month to look back at what was happening last year at this time.

Read all of the posts from last July, 

or just these favourites . . .

A Run to the Lighthouse

I never ran to a lighthouse before. That was a pretty cool trail run!

Hash-Tag Rap Explained

Twitter revolutionized the way we communicate and it even influenced a new poetic style in hip-hop. Or is it that new?

I explore the history of Hash-Tag rap and trace it’s origins back to the very start. You’ll be surprised at where this journey takes us. Read, listen, or download the podcast / radio show. It’s one of my favourite episodes.

The Word  is Bond Rap Radio Hour

I started doing The Word is Bond Podcast over two years ago.

Last year at this time, we decided to rebrand the show as The Word is Bond Rap Radio Hour. 

More recently, I started a new two-hour radio program on 94.9 CHRW so I dropped the word “hour” and now refer to the program as Word is Bond Rap Radio or WIB Rap Radio for short.

Gareth Malone and the Power of The Choir

Gareth Malone inspires me. I’m not a singer but his ability to bring a group of musicians together in any situation is absolutely incredible. BBC documents his journeys is several different television series. The Choir is one of the best and I have enjoyed every season.

This book is a behind-the-scenes look at the television series and it was a great read too!

Thanks for Chasing Content with me.

No sense in letting these great post getting buried in the archive. So, dig them up, click on the links above, and enjoy!

Canada Day Hip-Hop Style

Let’s Celebrate Canada Day with a nice hip-hop mix of homegrown talent.

The first half of the program is a mix of old and new Canadian hip-hop jams. Then, we finish off the show by dedicating the last half hour to the ladies of the north. We have some amazing talent in this country and it’s important to shed a light on hip-hop’s better half.

So, press play, enjoy the tunes, and Have a Wonderful Canada Day!

You can stream this mix with the player below, or click on the download link to take it with you wherever your holiday plans may bring you.

Part 1 – The Jams

Just Poets – Push to Strive
Flowtilla (Lee Reed and Mother Tareka) – Stop Line 9
Anonymous Twist – Stepped On
D-Sisive – If
Concrete Mob – Boiling Point
Relic aka Rel McCoy – Wink and a Nod
Theo 3 – I’ll Be Betteer
Wrabeanz – Canadian Dreaming

Part 2 – Canadian Women Rock the Mic!

Eternia – Final Offering
Lady ASG – The Thesis
Nilla / DJ Rummage – Us
Loowop ft Isis – The Love Haters
Kool Krys – Let Me Play
Class of 93 – Soul Runner
Skulastic – The Bridge
Haviah Mighty – Out the Door
Teck Zilla / Sonyae – L.O.V.E.
Eternia and Moss – Any Man

And for more great Canadian hip-hop, make sure to visit these websites

Artists Don’t Have a Never-Ending Well

Artistic WellProducing art is taxing. It is a process that needs to be rewarded. Yet many people think artists don’t need to be compensated for their work. They erroneously believe that there is an infinite well from which we draw. Art isn’t valued the way it should be in this day and age.

Tina Welling sums it up beautifully in her book Writing Wild . . .

“. . . as if artists can keep producing more and more art as cows produce milk – it’s assumed at no cost to them – and therefore don’t need reimbursement for their efforts.”

This musician does so in a smart response to an ad for free musicians.

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So let’s remember this and make sure we compensate our artists. What they do is valuable and doesn’t come at no cost.

Access Interviews – Live Hip-Hop Radio Archive

Access Title Card

Access is a special segment of Our Show on 91.5 WPRK in Winterpark, Florida.

It’s live and interactive radio where we interview all sorts of hip-hop artists and interesting people in the music business.

And through the power of the Internet, I am able to be on the show quite regularly without ever having to leave the country. I’m repping Canada on the American radio waves when Conshus and I tag team interviews. It’s always a lot of fun.

This page will serve as the archive of the shows we do this year. Please bookmark it and come back often.

We run live video before we actually get started on the radio waves so the start of the videos may seem a little disorganized, but stick with them and you will hear real conversations based around hip-hip music and culture.

Asheru
Bishop Nehru
Dessa
Devine Carama
Guy (W.A.R. Media)
Has-Lo
Homeboy Sandman
J57
Louis Logic
Marco Polo
Random aka Mega Ran
Pharoahe Monch
Soul Khan
88 HIP HOP

A Mixtape to Celebrate 3 Months

 

Stacy 3

I met the love of my life 3 months ago and time has flown by. Yet, at the same time, it seems like it can’t have only been three months. It seems like I have know her much longer. And it’s a great feeling.

Her favourite song right now is All of Me by John Legend so I had to kick off the tape with it. I did play with the three month theme though with a creative intro. I won’t give it away, just press play and enjoy!

Help us celebrate by downloading or streaming this mixtape! 

01. John Legend – All of Me
02. American Authors – Best Day of My Life
03. Blake Shelton – Ten Times Crazier
04. Imagine Dragons – Demons
05. Dem Atlas – All We Got
06. Atmosphere – The World Might Not Live Through the Night
07. Avril / Evan – Best Years of Our Lives
08. Robyn – Show Me Love
09. Kriss Kross – Jump
10. Ina Kamozi – Hotstepper
11. Brad Paisley – Then
12. Tim McGraw – Just to See You Smile
13. Belly – Red
14. superGARAGE – Away
15. Bif Naked – Moment of Weakness
16. Goldfinger – Superman
17. Might Mighty Bosstones – The Impression That I Get
18. Reverie and LC Collective – Calm Before the Storm
19. Angel Haze – Battle Cry
20. The Flan – Don’t Tell Me

Download the album version (with skippable tracks)

or stream it with the player below!

Classrooms are Irrelevant (But Schools Aren’t)

ApexOn April 10, 2008, the Economist ran an article entitled “The New Oases: Nomadism Changes Buildings, Cities and Traffic”

I only discovered it because of the book I am currently reading, Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel.

I couldn’t help but see how this passage could be applied to our schools and classrooms. I think it is something we need to look closely at.  We are at an apex in our daily lives where we could continue on the way we always have, or make a sharp turn and end up in a better, more logical place.

Read this quotation and think of how it could be applied to our schools.

“The fact that people are no longer tied to specific places for functions such as studying or learning, says Mr. Mitchell, means that there is a ‘huge drop in demand for traditional, private, enclosed spaces’ such as offices or classrooms, and simultaneously a huge rise in demand for semi-public spaces that can be informally appropriated to ad-hoc workspaces. This shift, he thinks, amounts to the biggest change in architecture in this century.”

I want to run with this quotation because if we truly are no longer tied to specific places, does our current way of managing schools still make sense?

Here are my thoughts . . .

1) Don’t Assign Students to Specific Classrooms

Students should feel free to work where they want to in the school environment.

2) Develop a plan with a Specific Teacher and Be Held Accountable

I think students could soar to new heights academically if given more freedom in school. Now I know that there are detractors out there who believe that kids are lazy and wouldn’t do anything if we given them freedom in school.

The truth is, there are a great number of students completely unengaged in their current school work. It doesn’t speak to them and seems useless and trivial. I know that I don’t want to do busy-work. Why would my students?

3) Let’s Try Something New

Can we redesign school spaces and throw the current operating and organizational practices out the window?

Schools should be a place of learning that engages students and makes them want to strive to accomplish great things academically. Our schools, for the most part, don’t do that.

I know I want change. I think our students do too. It’s time to have this discussion.

Any thoughts?  

Please share them with a comment below or on Twitter with the hashtag #RedefineSchool

It’s time to turn a corner and to do so smartly!

Brock’s Route Rail Trail

Let’s explore The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Rail Trail today.

This trail runs for 32 kilometers and links downtown Hamilton to Brantford.

I started my journey today in Copetown, Ontario on Hwy 52, just North of Highway 403. It turns out that this portion of the trail follows the route that Major General Isaac Brock took between Hamilton and Port Dover through Brantford during the War of 1812.

I love how every kilometer of this trail is marked so it makes it really easy to track how far you’ve run.

I actually ran this trail last fall, as you can see from this picture. I just hadn’t gotten around to posting it yet. I really should go back and run another portion of the rail trail this summer too.

The trail is very flat and only runs in a straight line, for the most part. That is because this used to be a railroad at one point on time. I’m glad it was re-purposed as a nature trail.

The trail continues on the other side of Highway 52. I ran a kilometer or so down it and it is pretty much the same. I should start there next time I am in the neighbourhood.

There are a few farms alongside either side of the rail trail. I was glad to see the plaque about the importance of farms.

Explore More Trails 

Photographic Tour Archive (over 4 dozen trails and counting)

It’s Go Skateboarding Day!

go-skateboarding-day-logo-whiteToday is National Go Skateboarding Day!

There are all sorts of events, competitions, demonstrations, and fun for the entire family to be had today at skateparks all over the world.

Search for an event near you and go to a local event. Here are some of the great events you can attend in Southern, Ontario.

And if none of those tickle your fancy, a quick Google search will help you find one closer.

Enter to Win a Skateboard Prize Pack . . .

Take a photo at any West 49 Go Skateboarding Day Event, or between June 21st and June 26th, share it to Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #W49GoSkate to be instantly entered to win a Pro Skate Package, a $100 West 49 Gift Card, and a Dine Alone Records CD & Merchandise package!

Some Music to Celebrate! 

Download Music for Skaters: A Mixtape (free album version with skippable tracks) Or stream it with the player below.

The Fault in Our Stars

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’ve wanted to read this book for quite a long time. I’d heard about the author from a few of my blogging buddies who simple rave about his work. Yet, I’d never gotten around to reading anything from him prior to now.

I was finally motivated to read it, because I knew that several of my students were excited about the film version being released this summer. I managed to finish reading it the night before the film was released too. Whew, I avoided any possible spoilers.

The book was well-written and I enjoyed the story. I also liked the twist on the convention of “sick-people-stories.” It wasn’t about what the sick could teach the other characters. The other characters were almost inconsequential. This was a story about how teenagers with terminal illnesses live and interact.

One of the characters was concerned that he wouldn’t have a heroic death. People tend to romanticize death from illness, saying things like, “he fought the good fight, right till the end, and never complained.” But the characters make fun of that sentiment too.

It’s a great story that seems to say, “We all matter.”

I never felt sorry for the characters. John Green did a great job of making them feel real. I didn’t pity them for being sick, I just wanted to see them live and enjoy life while they could. They seemed to understand that all of our days are numbered. They were trying to figure it out just like we all are.

Now, I’m ready to go see the movie. Hope it lives up to the book!

My 2014 Reading Log – Have you read any of these titles? Let me know!