Monthly Archives: April 2008

Why Do You Throw Bottles?

I have been to lots of concerts. I really enjoy live music and I respect the musicians who tour around to give us a good show. The one thing I don’t understand at these shows is the audience. There are always a few people in the audience who seem to have absolutely no respect for anything. I hate that I have to put up with these peckerheads every time I want to see a show.

I haven’t blogged about this before. I usually just take the bad with the good. I try to ignore these people and just enjoy myself. But I can’t do that today. I’m upset at a situation that happened at a Stop The Violence concert a few weeks ago. I wasn’t there but I’ve seen this happen several times. It seems to be common. But it shouldn’t be and it makes no sense to me as to why it happens.

Krs-One is a legend in hip-hop culture. He respects the culture, makes great music, and is heavily involved in the culture. He always puts a positive spin on things and tries to educate the youth. So he was performing on stage in an event to call attention to violence and what happens? – Someone in the crowd throws a bottle at him.

Krs-One finished his set but then had to be taken to the hospital for his injuries.

What’s funny about throwing things at performers on the stage? If you don’t like the show leave. If you can’t be respectful, don’t even go. Stay home and listen to music in your bedroom.

I’m tired of people ruining the show. I hate having to worry that someone is going to get hurt. I hate having to pay attention to the crowd instead of the act on the stage. But I can’t do that when I see someone acting like an idiot. I’m too afraid that I’m going to be stuck in the middle of something ugly. And I shouldn’t have to feel like that at a show. I should just be able to lose myself in the moment and in the music. That’s what it is all about.

At least Krs-One rose above the situation. He told people,

“Let it go. When negativity comes your way, let it go,”
“Let this be an example as to how we stop the violence.”

Myth Revisited

Last April I wrote a blog entry entitled Global Warming Myth. I just reread it and it is amazing how it still resonates.

Last April, we were getting record low temperatures and snow. Up until last week, I thought it was now spring. Except, we seem to be getting a repeat of last year’s weather. The west coast of Canada was hit with a huge snowstorm last week and just this past weekend, Northern Ontario was hit with one as well.

It is amazing to think that we are basically in the same place we were last year at this time. It seemed like it should be summer near the end of April but in Canada we are getting one last surprise visit from a winter that doesn’t want to go away.

This isn’t novel. This isn’t a new condition. In fact, about twenty years ago, the winter roads in Northern Ontario used to be open into May. Nowadays the roads are usually gone and melted by Easter.

It seems to have gotten warmer in the past fifteen years or so. And people have focused on that. They invented the term Global Warming to explain it. But it doesn’t really explain anything. We go through some weird and unpredictable weather. This has always been the case.

I know that we need to look after our planet and should take pains to do so. But I still believe that Global Warming is a myth. But like I said last year, if it scares people into looking closely at the interaction that we have with this planet, then it is a good thing. We need to drastically change things now. I agree with that. If this myth helps to that end, then I say “Great!” That is what myths are for after all.

Ladies First

Hip-hop is a culture that everyone can participate in. But where are the ladies? They are severely underrepresented in this genre. Why is that?

XM radio 65 explored this topic all weekend. The extended the Ladies First radio program to celebrate everything female in hip-hop. It was nice to hear all the great songs from female rappers over the entire history of this art form. I had the radio on all weekend long.

There are some historic ladies that have blessed us with their skills on record. But they always had to battle for respect. They still do. Female rappers and DJs are few and far between. Why aren’t there more ladies in hip-hop?

It could have something to do with image. When it comes to guys on the mic, we don’t care what they look like. The Notorious B.I.G. is heralded as being one of these best ever on the mic, but he was a huge dude. Craig Mack had a bunch of hits and he wasn’t even close to being attractive.

However, when it comes to ladies on the mic, I think we expect too much. We expect women to be polite and look good. Rappers generally don’t have to do this. We expect women to behave in certain ways and it’s almost counterintuitive to what hip-hop seems to stand for.

I think we need a total shift of thinking here. Women can rock the mic and they can do it well. I think we should pay more attention to them. Women deserve respect in this culture and there are some truly great and underappreciated artists out there.

Check out Eternia, Remy Ma, Jean Grey.

And the Legends; Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Michie Mee, Salt and Pepper, Motion, Missy Elliot, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte,

And don’t forget; Foxxy Brown, Lil Kim, Da Brat, Angie Martinez, Left Eye Lopez, Nonchalant, Lauryn Hill, Rage, JJ Fad, Eve, Bahamadia, Paula Perry, Rah Digga, Heather B.

And yes I do own some of these records. I should own more though. A lot of the artists I just listed haven’t recorded any new material in a long time either. It’s a shame. And there should be way more ladies on the mic, so much so that my list would be too large to even put in a single blog post. Which leads me back to the question, where the ladies at?

The Promotion of Human Welfare

I read this great essay and within it was this quotation,

“…it would be far more socially beneficial to induce men to accept the promotion of human welfare on earth as their major purpose in life.”

That is beautiful!

Think about it for one moment. Imagine what would happen if everyone looked out for one another. Imagine what the world would be like if we all took on this challenge personally.

It doesn’t take much to do either. Next time someone is following you into the mall, hold open the door for that person. Simple things can mean a lot. It doesn’t have to be a large task to help someone out.

Scouts Canada has a saying that all its members should, “Do a good turn daily.” This means that they should do something nice for someone everyday. I think this is a rule we all should live by. I often look for ways to help people out. And I don’t expect anything in return.

This quotation continues,

“Moreover, men can achieve far greater and more immediate personal satisfaction from success in their effort to promote human welfare in this world than from any other effort to achieve bliss in the next world. And the observation of visible success is bound to strengthen any purpose.”

Think about it. Try to do something today to promote human welfare. It will make you feel good and it will do a lot for the world.

quotation from Burnham P. Beckwith, American Atheist, March 1986. as is appeared in Richard Robinson, Life Has No Purpose – We Create It from Constructing a Life Philosophy. 2002 Greenhaven Press.

What is Story?

A Myth is simply a story that tries to explain the way the world works. We behave in certain ways due to the myths that we support. Myths, in and of themselves, have nothing to do with religion. Myths transcend religion and affect each and everyone one of us, whether we have religious convictions or not.

The word myth is a very strong and powerful word. It means a lot. It is often a scary word to people who don’t truly understand what a myth is. As such, people have fought hard to devalue this word. This may not have been a conscious decision but it has happened. Myth is now equated with the word lie or untruth, which really does a disservice to us all. That is why I often don’t even use the word anymore. It has lost its meaning.

This is why I use the word story instead. Unfortunately, this word also can be equated with untruth but I don’t think the two have become synonymous in our culture just yet. You will often hear people ask if a story is true or if a movie is based on a true story. As such, we almost always believe that there is a true story.

Our legal system works at trying to get to the true story. A judge and jury listen to both sides of a story and then come up with what they believe to be the one true story. Of course, in court, there are often more than just two sides. The plaintiff and the defendant are often entrenched in their own specific and limited view of the situation but experts, and witnesses often bring up a myriad of other viewpoints and angles at which to look at the story.

In my exploration of the nature of reality, I believe that we need to look at a variety of writings and viewpoints. I feel like I can never fully research my thesis here but I think that I have made some great discoveries and have come upon some startling insights.

We use stories to make sense of our world on a daily basis. Everyone does, without exception. It was the one true and common thing that we all share in this world. And that alone makes it a topic worth our study and attention.

Extent of My Vocabulary

I read somewhere that Shakespeare had a vocabulary of over 30,000 words. Apparently, this is a huge amount and most people don’t have such an extensive vocabulary. This got me thinking about the size and content of my vocabulary. So I’ve decided I am going to measure my vocabulary.

The problem is, I’m not sure how to go about this. I’ve thought of a few ways but I’m not sure how practical they are.

1) I could look over my past entries word by word and write down each new word that I come across.
2) I could comb through a dictionary word by word and record every word I am familiar with.
3) Or maybe I should just listen to the words I use when I speak. I could record everything I say in the course of a day by using my digital tape recorder. I could then play it back and count each new word.

Maybe I would need to do all three of these things to get a true measure. I am sure that there are words I only use in certain contexts. I wonder if I write words I never say, or say words that I never write. I wonder if there are words that I never use in either my writing or my speaking but I would know them to read them.

Vocabulary is a very interesting thing. I think that I know a lot of words, but I often come across words I don’t know. I bet I get by with only using a small and insignificant amount of words on a daily basis.

The funny thing is that Shakespeare never would’ve dreamt that his work would be so influential that people would actually study it in such detail hundreds of years later. I wonder if he consciously chose to introduce new words. I wonder if he strove to increase his vocabulary. Or maybe he was just brilliant and no other writer will be able to measure up to him. Still though, we could measure ourselves. What do you think?

A Thing of Beauty

I watched the Boston Marathon this morning and it was a thing of beauty. I just have so much respect and admiration for the athletes. Running a marathon is not something that everyone can do. I like to think that I might be able to do it, if I trained really hard and extensively but I am content to stick to running under 10 kilometers. I actually don’t know how these runners do what they do.

These athletes ran 26 miles, which is about 42 kilometers. And even more impressive was the last five miles for the women. Two women were battling all the way to the finish line. They were neck and neck and it was certainly one of the most exciting races I have ever seen. They pushed themselves so hard and were running the fastest pace they had of the whole race in those last few miles. Their pace, by the way, totally shattered my usual pace for a 10-kilometer run.

Dire Tune broke ahead but was quickly challenged by the other runner. Alevtina Biktimirova caught back up and they stayed together until the very end. Dire Tune pulled away and took the lead, crossing the finish line a mere two seconds before her competitor.

That was a thing of beauty. And not just for these two winners, but for everyone who even finished the race. It is a grand accomplishment and worth celebrating. It was a very exciting race, and definitely a thing of beauty.

I’ve been Brushing Wrong!

I went to the dentist last week for a regular cleaning. I talked to the hygienist about a sensitive area in my teeth. She told me that the enamel on my teeth has been eroded over the years. I asked her why and she said it could be because of how I brush my teeth. I was really surprised to hear her say this.

I have never had a cavity in my entire life. I pride myself in doing a good job brushing my teeth. I was shocked to hear that I have actually been brushing wrong for pretty much my whole life.

She asked if I brush my teeth hard. I had to admit that I do. I attack my teeth like a janitor would attack a sticky and dirty floor. I scrub it with all my might and put in a bit of elbow grease. I even use the toothbrush head on.

She showed me that you don’t have to press hard to clean your teeth well. She also showed me that I should use the side of the brush and go more on an angle instead of head on. It was like I had never been in a dentist office before. It was amazing. I was learning something new and I absorbed everything she had to say.

The funny thing is that I think dentists have tried to tell me this before. They just have never put it in ways that I understand. I have been getting soft brushes for years. I never equated a soft brush with a soft hand while brushing. Maybe that is my fault.

Anyway, once enamel has been eroded, it cannot be restored. So I now use Sensodyne toothpaste and it has made a huge difference in just a week.

What is Reality?

What is Reality? It seems like such a simple question? But it is related to a myriad of other questions. What makes up reality? Are we here for a reason? Is there such thing as fate? Is there a grand design to the universe? Is there a supreme being that sees over everything? What composes the building blocks of everything that we see and do?

These are questions that humanity has struggled with since the beginning of time. (Did time even have a beginning?)

Religion has had a lot to say about these important questions and I think they provide us with some answers. Science also can provide us with some answers. But both of these disciplines fall short of the whole story. And that is the entire problem with religion and science.

I think that the humanities have a lot to say about the nature of reality. Poets and writers have given us some brilliant answers, but most of the time, these just get written off (sorry for the pun).

The interesting thing is that religion and science both offer good stories about the nature of reality. But if authors and poets are doing the same thing, then it isn’t that much of a stretch to say that everything seems to be story.

Joseph Gold writes about how each and every one of us uses story in our everyday lives.
“We are all storymakers. We use story to organize and control. . . . Human beings strive for order, control and peace but we can never be static. We must change, age, learn more, grow and adapt. So we are always in a cycle of creative struggle, changing and striving to manage our changing and to integrate what we learn into our own story. If during our growing up, for instance, we have suffered trauma . . .To escape the feeling of helplessness and confusion that we carry with us we need to organize, package, index our experience, do what we mean when we say “get a handle on it,” so that we can carry the baggage of our experience comfortably and not have bits and pieces falling all over the place. This is what we do when we “story” it.” (taken from Read For Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Fitzhenry and Whiteside: Markham, 1990. pg 51-52)

Story is everywhere. And if we believe Marshall McLuhan when he says, “the medium is the message,” then I think it is safe to say that the medium is story and therefore the message must also be story. To put it simply, story is the nature of reality.

More to come – Storied Thursdays are now a feature on both Silent Cacophony and Thoughtful Cacophony.

Deprived of Emotional Needs

I think some kids are growing up deprived of their emotional needs. Everyone knows what the physical needs are. Children need food and shelter and parents work hard to make sure they get these things. However, I believe that some parents go overboard providing things for their children. Many adults work hard to give their children things that they didn’t have and this is noble.

But kids don’t need tones of stuff. Sure it is nice to have things like MP3 players, video games, bicycles, computers, and all the latest gadgetry and toys. And I’ll admit that I had some of these things, or their ancient equivalent, when I was growing up. I had an Atari, a cassette walkman, a bike, and a skateboard. And I played with these things all the time. But the most important part of my childhood, and the part I fondly remember, has nothing to do with tangible objects. It was all the time that my dad spent with me.

My dad was my hero growing up. He coached my soccer team. He played out front and in the backyard with me. We went camping and he took me on all sorts of adventures. He spanked me when I did wrong. He talked to me about real things. He was, and continues, to be there for me. He helped me to grow and develop as a person.

My mom wasn’t so good at this but she tried. My parents made sure that they took care of my emotional needs. They provided for me in ways that I will forever be grateful.

Here are some emotional needs that you need to consider. Children need examples of how to behave and act in certain situations. Parents are the model for this. Children need to be listened to and engaged in meaningful conversation. Parents need to model this as well. Children need to be disciplined and taught what is right and wrong. This is the parents’ job, no one else’s. Children need to have their emotions acknowledged, even if we don’t understand them. They need to be told it is okay to laugh or to cry. They need our support in all of their emotional needs.

I try to do these things in the classroom. And I see how some children at school are so starved for this kind of attention. It’s really sad to see. I hate to admit it, but I spend more time and attention on some children than their parents do. That is just sad. And it needs to change.

Character Pours Out His Soul

I’ve been working on a novel now for about three months. I got a fair amount of writing done this weekend. I wrote this scene in which Michael, the main character, poured out his soul and wrote a poem to a girl that he is in love with. This is what he wrote.

For Rachel

why are we going in opposite directions?
we came together by chance – twice
and it was nice.
I’m already feeling alone
in a sea of people travelling every which way
watching them to see if they know
just what they are doing
and where they are going
cause I don’t
not anymore,
it feels as if everything has changed
just by me knowing your name

things happen for a reason,
is what my dad always says
and I believe him
though I rarely know the reason
till the current has taken me far
the master of my craft, I could be
never the master of the sea
but I don’t have a seaworthy ship just yet
I’m working on it, I think
but it seems like it needs a lot more work
so that I don’t sink

I sit here and think about everything we had
it wasn’t perfect but I see the potential
a work in progress like a first draft novel
the story is pretty good and would be great
with a rewrite, or small edit
the winds can take us where they go
but we can build a better sail
and channel the flow
and I definitely can’t do it alone

It’s funny though because as I wrote this poem. I wasn’t exactly sure that it was for Rachel. I met a girl recently and can’t help but think I was kind of writing this poem for her. Maybe this wasn’t Michael writing a poem to Rachel, but instead me writing a poem to a special someone. Or maybe it’s both.

The Season Begins

Yesterday was a beautiful day. It felt like the perfect day to go for a run. So I laced up my new shoes, the ones I bought on sale weeks and weeks ago. The same shoes that have been sitting patiently in the front closet, waiting for this day – the start of my running season.

The winter break was longer than usual this year. I’ve missed running so much. I just can’t seem to run in the winter. It feels like my lungs are going to freeze. And after a cold weather run, I find myself coughing for the rest of the day. Not fun! I also don’t like running on treadmills so I have an off-season every year.

The first run of the year is usually tough. After an extended break, it is often hard to get back into the routine. Knowing this, I made sure to do a lot of stretching and to not push myself too hard. I ran at a comfortable pace and a bit shorter a distance than what I normally like to do. But it wasn’t hard this year.

It was a great run. I ran a short loop and it took me about sixteen and a half minutes. It felt so amazing. I probably only ran about three kilometers today but it was a good start. I’ll will work up to running 5 kilometers and increasing my pace and time over the next few weeks. After that, I will run a few 10 km routes. I much prefer to run these middle distances. This summer I also plan to go in a few races. I should be back up to speed by then.

It feels great. Running season has now begun!

Excuse to Change?

I just finished reading forget about it, by Caprice Crane. It is an amazing novel. I had a hard time putting it down. It is about a twenty-five year old that doesn’t really like how her life has turned out so far. She starts thinking about a do-over. And then, as if the universe heard her, she gets into a car accident and decides to use it to fake amnesia. This way she can have a fresh start and make some changes in her life.

It got me thinking. Why do we need to have an excuse to change something about our lives? We do it all the time. That’s what New Years Resolutions are all about. People often resolve to change things about themselves after a birthday, a promotion, or a failed relationship.

But why do we need the excuse?

Is it because it is really hard to make a change? Is it because other people would have a hard time accepting our choice to change? Maybe it is. But I think if we are living and acting in ways just because it is easy, we really need to reevaluate ourselves.

I know that I typically don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but I have made several life resolutions whenever I felt the need. I have changed a few things about myself that I didn’t like over the years.

I think life is about making choices. Choices that you can be comfortable with. If you are making choices that go against what you are thinking or feeling then you are not going to be satisfied in life. I know that I have made some horrible decisions in my life but I think I have learned from them and did my best to move on.

I don’t know what I would do if I had to restart my entire life. I don’t think I’d want to wipe the slate clean and just start over again. Life is about our experiences and what we make and do with them. I know that if I could redo certain things that I would make better choices and wouldn’t have had so many failures. But we learn from each and every failure. And I kind of like the journey.

The Mystery of the Internal Clock

I haven’t needed an alarm clock for the past two years. I used to need one. I used to set the loud buzzer on my clock radio. It would go off, I’d press snooze twice and then my watch would go off. I knew that once my watch went off I would have to get up. But that was a long time ago.

Now I don’t need an alarm to get up in the morning. I still set my watch, just in case, but I tend to wake up before it goes off everyday. I think that my brain and body have gotten accustomed to waking up at the same time everyday. I don’t know why this has happened. But my internal clock seems to be running my days now.

I used to be able to sleep in on the weekends too. I can’t anymore. I’m an early bird and I can’t seem to help it. Even when I want to sleep in or I need to, I don’t normally sleep passed nine o’clock. Normally, I’m up by seven o’clock everyday. On the weekends, I can go back to sleep for a little bit but not much longer.

I don’t know why I’m like this. I used to be a heavy sleeper when I was a teenager but over the past few years I have turned into a light sleeper. I’ve written about this here before. I used to need an alarm but now I don’t.

I actually don’t think I know anyone who wakes up before their alarm goes off every single day. People always seemed surprised when I tell them this.

I like the fact that I don’t need an alarm. Alarms seem unnatural. We should be able to wake up whenever we have gotten a good night’s sleep. We shouldn’t need to rely on an alarm to get out of bed. I know that it is nice not to hear a loud buzz and search for the way to shut it off in the mornings. I certainly don’t miss that.

The mystery of the internal clock is something that fascinates me. So, let me know, do you need an alarm to wake up in the morning or do you just wake up like me? I’m curious to see if other people have this clock thing like me.

Changing Face of Marriage

One of my friends said I should write a blog entry about the changing face of marriage these days. He thought it would be interesting to discuss how some woman are choosing not to take their husband’s name anymore. This sounds like a hot-button topic so I thought I’d tackle it here.

It used to be assumed that a wife would change her last name to that of the man she married. Now this is not a given anymore. Some women choose to hyphenate the two names, or not change their name at all. Why is this changing?

Marriage is supposed to be about coming together and truly joining another life. Changing your name is just a symbolic way to show that you have done this. It has meaning. It is bound in history and tradition. Now I know that the history hasn’t always been good but I think that has changed dramatically. Woman should be treated equally and with respect in the household. Changing your name does not denote ownership and mean that you release all control to your husband. If anyone would argue this fact, then they don’t understand the institution of marriage.

Marriage is changing in a lot of ways these days. But it should always be built on mutual respect and love. Marriage is a beautiful institution that I wish to be apart of some day. I hope I can find what my grandparents had. They had a loving relationship that was until death do they part. It was great to see.

I don’t know if marriage is in my future. If it is, I don’t think it would bother me if my wife does not take my name. I understand why women would want to keep their own last name. I don’t know if I would want to change mine. So much of our identity can be tied up in a name. All I know is that I want my children to have my name. That is important to me.

Sport and Tradition – Leave the Politics Out

The images I have been seeing on the news lately have been enraging me. There is just no excuse to protest the Olympic Torch run. It is an honoured tradition. The Olympics are supposed to be about the sport. Do the people protesting realize the damage they are doing to our athletes?

Athletes work hard for years and years to be able to go to the Olympics. Who cares where the games are being held? All this talk and protesting takes away from the beauty, grace, and style of the games. The games should be free of politics.

I know that there are some serious issues in regards to China that deserve to have attention called to them, but this is not the way to do it. We can’t expect China to change overnight because of something as simple as sport. It isn’t going to happen.

The news was running stories about protesting the games by not attending the opening ceremonies. That is utterly pointless. And you wouldn’t be protesting human rights issues, you’d be taking away from the games.

There are better ways to protest and send a message to China. We should do it with our trade agreements. If you feel really strongly about this, don’t assault the torch relay runners, just stop buying products manufactured in China. That will send a better message and it will be directed to the people who are in a position to do something about it. It will affect the right people and not our athletes.

Juno Canadians

The Juno Awards were on last night to celebrate great Canadian music. It was a pretty good show. The talent that we have in this country is amazing. I enjoyed all of the live performances.

Russell Peters did a pretty good job as host. He admitted to not having seen the show before, which made him just like any other Canadian. That would be a funny joke if it weren’t so true. I don’t know why we don’t celebrate and hold up our own talent more often. We need the Juno Awards. We need programs that support and nurture talent in this country.

I like the fact that the show has been hitting the road for the past few years. One artist said last night that they are always on the road so the award show should be too. That makes sense. Last night, it was in Calgary. There was a lot of talent from Alberta there too. It was a great celebration of a province that doesn’t often get recognition for their music.

Every year, there are several awards that are given out prior to the broadcast. I always get upset when the rap award is not televised. Unfortunately, last night this was the case. However, Russell Peters managed to get some hip-hop culture into the show. I remember listening to him when he was a staple on the Mastermind Street Jam radio show every week in the late 1990’s. Well, last night he showed that even though he is making it big as a comedian lately, he still knows how to rock the turntables. He put on a nice little scratching session. Once again, something not often seen in award shows. It was great. It was nice to see him making sure that hip-hop was represented properly in the telecast. Way to go!

My Writing Process

There are so many different ways to write. I remember in school we were told that we needed to plan our writing. We always used to do pre-writing activities. Sometimes we would need to fill in a story planner, a chart, or draw a concept map before we were allowed to start writing. I now realize that none of that is necessary.

All you need to write is an idea and some time. I don’t preplan out my stories. Sure I have an idea about what it is about. I know a little bit about the characters I want to include. And I have a rough concept for the start of the story but that is about it. I realize that I don’t need anything else.

I can start writing and not even know where the story is going to go. In fact, this is how I work. I like to discover the story as I work. It is like a journey. It’s like a hike were you aren’t exactly sure of your destination. The cool thing about writing like this is that the story and characters can surprise you. The idea that you had for the book might not even work once you start. But then something magical happens and the story creates itself. It goes in a new unexpected way and it just works.

I can’t really explain it. All I know is that is how I write. I write the story and let it come alive. I don’t like to go back and do revising as I write either unless it is absolutely necessary. I just write and write until the story is told.

I then put the story away for a while. I work on something else or take a break for a few months. It is then that I can look at the story with fresh eyes. I read the entire story in one sitting, even if it is a novel and takes up my entire Saturday. This helps me catch any problems or continuity errors in the story. I take notes as I read but that is it.

On the following day, I can make changes, revisions, and edit my file on the computer. I can work on developing themes and bringing out what I have wrote so that it is clearer to the reader.

I know that all writers seem to work differently. I can tell you that a lot of writers don’t preplan out everything. Planning is a good idea. I mean, you need to have some idea of what you are doing but you don’t need to do extensive planning. You can do it in your head and make it up as you go. It works for me. That’s my writing process.

superGARAGE in Trees

I was watching Men in Trees last night. It’s a quirky little show about an author who goes to Alaska for a speaking engagement and ends up moving there. The show is called Men in Trees because there are very few women who live in the small town.

Anyway, as I watched the episode last night, a song played in the background. Shows do this a lot. Sometimes I recognize the song, sometimes I don’t. It usually doesn’t effect my enjoyment of the show. Last night though, the song they played totally took my mind off of the story.

I couldn’t believe what my ears were hearing. Could it be? I concentrated on the song in the background. Yes, it was. They were playing “Keep” by superGARAGE.

I can’t say enough good things about superGARAGE. I first saw they play in 1994 in Hamilton. They put on an amazing show and I was an immediate fan. I bought their cassette tape and a T-shirt. The following year, they put out the album on CD.

This is an independent group for Thorold, Ontario. This was a small release from 1995 and it just showed up on a brand new episode of primetime television. I couldn’t believe it.

The band is currently on hiatus. But their music is amazing. You can find them online easily enough. I am listening to their first E.P. Duct Tape right now. It never gets old for me. I love these guys. It was awesome to hear them on T.V. last night. superGARAGE in trees!

Fake Test – I pranked my class!

Yesterday was April Fool’s Day so I decided to play a prank on my class.

I designed a fake test. Here it is…

Basic Skills Test

– Read the instructions carefully before beginning this test.
– Read through all the questions before you start.

1) Write your name in the correct place in the top corner.

2) Write the date under your name.

3) Draw a star in the top left corner of this page.

4) How many light fixtures are hanging in your classroom? __________

5) Yell out, “I’m on question 5”

6) Now you can begin the test.

7) Circle the group of words that are in alphabetical order

a) back, break, bill
b) cup, cap, corn
c) drink, dinosaur, day

8) Which word has a long A?

a) faster b) easy c) among d) was e) can

9) Fix all the errors in the sentence by writing it again below.

a) Mrs. Jones drove us to school today. _______________________________________________

b) The rain almost ruined our picnic.

10) Fill in these sentences using words from this word box

(were eating is run cheese threw six stop)

a) She _______ glad to help
b) Exactly what were you _______ on doing?
c) If you ______ happy and you know it, clap your hands.
d) He doesn’t always _____ before he speaks.
e) The crow _____ really high.
f) What flavour of ice cream do you ________?
g) Put on your jacket before you _______.

11) Rip up the test. You don’t have to do this. April Fools!


If the students had read through all the questions first, like the instructions said, they would have ripped up their tests in minutes. But that didn’t happen.

I sat at the back of the classroom and watched them. The students were quietly working away at it until some of them got to question 5. They yelled out, “I’m on question 5,” just like they were instructed to. Other students that weren’t there started yelling out other things too. Like, “I’m only on question three,” Or “So what?”

It was hard for me not to break out laughing at the back of the classroom. I was watching them struggle with the test and it was almost painful. Almost.

Anyway, it took sixteen minutes before one of the students read question 11. She broke into a great big smile, turned to look at me, and said, “Ever sad.”

I told her to, “Do it!” She the ripped up the test.

Everyone then knew what was up and started ripping up the papers after that. I couldn’t believe that it took my class sixteen minutes to figure this out.

I thought they’d be mad at me, but they all loved the joke. They even wanted an extra copy of it to go show their parents. It was a great prank.

Surprisingly, no one pranked me at school yesterday. I thought for sure my class would try to pull something. I wanted to get them first. And I did. It was great.