Monthly Archives: October 2008

Happy Halloween

“In the face of all the horror, the small-minded stupidity, the endless bloody wars, and inevitable death, people have gone on and on constructing things of beauty.”

– Kieran Egan. Teaching as Story Telling. The Althouse Press: London, 1986 pg 109

Have a safe and Happy Halloween Everyone!

We Both Lost

Yesterday, I went to go get gas at Canadian Tire. One of the bonuses of going there is that if you pay with cash, you get Canadian Tire money to use in the store. Last time I went there, I forgot that and paid with my Visa. Well this time, I wasn’t going to forget. I had just enough money in my wallet to fill up and I didn’t want to use plastic to pay at all. I’m trying to cut down on that.

I tried to get gas as I usually do. Normally, you fill up and then walk inside the store to pay. That is the way it should be. But for some reason, the pump wouldn’t start up. It beeped at me instead, and the display read, “Sorry for the inconvenience, please pay inside.”

I went inside to pay and there were five people in front of me and only one teller. The line wasn’t moving at all. I paced around for about ten seconds and knew that this just wasn’t worth it. So I left. I went back out to my car, took the nozzle out of my tank and hung it back on the pump. I drove away without getting any gas.

Canadian Tire has lost a costumer. I don’t have time to go in and prepay for my gas. What happens if I pay too much? I have to go back inside and wait in line again to get my change. What if I pay too little and don’t get my tank filled up? I’d have to come back tomorrow and do it again. I don’t think so.

I lost too because I went to the Mac’s and filled up there. I had to pay a cent more a litre but at least it was worth it to go some place that treats me like a human being.

I shouldn’t just blame Canadian Tire. I have seen other gas stations move to this way of business too. The problem is that we accept it. Some people just pay at the pumps now because it’s easier. I don’t like paying at the pump. I don’t think we should have to put up with this.

I know that some people have driven away without paying. But does everyone have to pay for this behaviour? And how often does this actually happen? I just don’t like being treated like a criminal from gas stations that I frequent and give a lot of my hard earned money too. It’s just not right.

We Are Forgetting

I think we are in the process of forgetting a lot of the things we used to know. The irony is that everything is recorded and stored in someway nowadays. With this constant storage and compiling we don’t think we are forgetting anything. It feels like knowledge is readily accessible and that we are in no danger. However, this is far from the truth.

Imagine a room filled with paper. There are sheets of it everywhere. Every sheet has some historical significance. Every page offers some truth about the world we live in. Every page is relevant is some way.

Now a lot of this information isn’t something that particularly interests you. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. But you walk over the pages and throw them to the side. You search for something that you want.

You search and search. You flip through pages and pages of material hoping that the next page will give you something. If not, you quit.

Do you ever feel like that?

I know that I do. Sometimes while doing a web search, I come up empty. I waste tonnes of time and never find anything remotely close to what I wanted. I give up and create the material for my classroom myself or I just move on to a different topic.

I wish there was a better way to find information on the World Wide Web. I haven’t found it yet. Search engines will often let me down. I know the information is out there but if I can’t find it, it’s pretty much useless.

If the knowledge is there but lost, isn’t it like we have forgotten it. Does that make sense?

Blog Inaction Day

Yesterday I lamented about the old posts that get forgotten in the blogosphere. Today I have a solution.

We need to collectively stop and take a look back.

That’s why I am proposing a Blog Inaction Day.

That’s right. A day of inaction. A day where all bloggers don’t publish anything. A day where we bloggers honour the past by doing nothing except reading old entries. We can dip into the vaults of our favourite blogs or explore blogs we’ve never been to before.

We can keep a record of what jewels from the past we were able to find. We should all find at least five articles from the past that interested us in some way. We can then go and post the links up on our blog. No commentary is needed.

All we need to write is, “Look what I found in the sandbox!”

Then we will let the discussion begin. We will have created a dialogue with the past. We will honour our history and still move forward.

What’d ya say. Are you with me?

Blogs are Disposable

You know it’s true. I mean, when was the last time you read a post of any blog that wasn’t the most recent post?

Why is it that we always gravitate towards the newest material? We only want to see the latest movies, either at the ciniplex or at the rental store. We only want to see the latest research in anything we are interested in.

The news is the same way. We don’t read old newspapers or old magazines for the most part. We read them quickly and throw them them away just as quickly. We are always looking for the next thing.

I think we sometimes need to work against this commonly-held belief that it’s old it doesn’t count. There are some jewels of knowledge hidden in previous blog posts, old newspapers, old stories, and old theories.

My old posts mean something to me. They are there for you to browse through if you choose to. But who has the time?

So old posts are discarded and never to be thought of again. At least, they aren’t recycled into a new edition like the daily newspapers are. The old posts remain. The titles call for your attention. But like the voices of the elders, we seem to be hastily moving forward all the time. Maybe this isn’t the best practice.

What do you think? Are blogs disposable? Do our voices matter?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post as I will continue along this theme.

It’s Just the Way We’re Built

I don’t know why I always manage to put my foot in my mouth. I’ve done it so many times over the years, you’d think I would’ve learned by now. I guess I haven’t though because I did it again today.

It was a professional development day and the students had the day off. We had to travel to another school in a different district to attend these workshops. I was impressed with this conference. The workshops were very well presented and I got a lot out of them. A hot lunch was served and it was excellent. And as an added bonus they had free massages throughout the day.

The massages were assigned randomly and we were told when we registered if we were to get one or not. I managed to find my way onto the list. Now, I had no interest in getting a massage so I asked them to give it to somebody else. “No problem” they said.

I talked to a colleague shortly after that. She teaches at my school and I know that we are the same age. Anyway, she was excited that she made it on the list. She asked if I did. I told her I did but I gave it away. She asked why. I said, “I don’t know, I’m young and vigorous.”

“What does that make me?” she retorted, “Old and decrepit?”

I said, “Why do girls always do that? They always assume the opposite of what you say. That’s not what I meant.”

Next break, I bumped into her again and I knew what to say this time. I said, “What I meant to say earlier is that I had no interest in getting a massage so I thought I’d pass it on to someone who’d appreciate it more.”

She said, “I know that is what you were supposed to say but you didn’t.”

I told her that I should’ve learned not to put my foot in my mouth by now. She said she thinks it is just the way guys are built. You know what? I’m positive she is right. She always seems to be about everything else. So next time I put my foot in my mouth, cut me a break, it’s just the way I’m built.

Welcome to the SC!

Silent Cacophony was born a long, long time ago. I remember exactly how it started.

I was fishing through the dictionary and came across this wonderful word “cacophony.” It meant a harsh or discordant sound. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word at the time, but it resonated with me for some reason. I also immediately thought of the oxymoron “Silent Cacophony.”

This term energized me. It felt like a description of who I was. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I hadn’t yet discovered my place in the world. I tried to make noise so people could know me but it didn’t work. I felt invisible. This was the perfect term to describe myself.

It was also the perfect term to describe the act of writing. Words can speak volumes even though they make no noise at all.

So I decided this term would be the title of the book I had always wanted to write. I was a teenager at the time and I thought I had all the answers (boy was I naïve.) Anyway I wrote my observations about life in a coil notebook. I didn’t follow through with it though. The book was never completed.

Years later, I decided to start writing seriously. I wrote a screenplay and had a few other ideas floating around in my head for some novels. I thought I should have an on-line presence if I wanted to become an author so I set out to get a blog. Right away, I knew my blog should be titled “Silent Cacophony.” I was glad it was available in blogspot and I got right to work.

Since then, I have written a verse novel, a young adult novel, a short story, some poems and songs, and a literary novel. My blog has grown and developed too.

If you are new to Silent Cacophony, please check some of these posts. If you are familiar with me and my blog, please check these out for a trip down memory lane.

Thanks for stopping by!

Five Year Mission – My very first post

A Nice Short Story – Survived by Stuff

The Title Here Says It All – Nothing

On The Radio – Chase March on a Podcast

Hip Hop Commentary – Rap Isn’t Music

Relationships – Whatever Happened to Commitment

Break Up – Trouble With Falling

Put Your Kid on That Bus

Ari at Our Best Version inspired this post. He mentioned that he plans to home school his children. I started to type of this reply and then thought that it might be a bit long for a reply. Check his post here and my response both here and there (they are different.)

To School or Not to School?

Teachers have a huge responsibility. And believe me, it’s not a job that I take lightly.

My dad is an amazing guy. He taught me a lot of things in life. He still does. But I am glad that he sent me to school. I’m sure he could’ve kept me home and taught me all sorts of things. I could’ve spent tonnes of time focusing on my interests and not being bogged down by curriculum and schedules. However, school is more than just that.

School teaches us how to get along with all sorts of people. It forces us to be part of a community of people we might not otherwise associate with. It forces us to expand our horizons. But I don’t think force is the right word here. We all need to do things in this life we don’t want to.

Education isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I’ll readily admit that. Some of the students in my school probably shouldn’t be there. But for the vast majority of children, school is the right place for them. Besides, sometimes parents are too blinded by their own children. They think they know what is best for them all the time. They try to control them and all the situations that they come across. This can stifle a child’s development.

I also know that some parents just aren’t good teachers. I wasn’t a good teacher at first either. I knew I wanted to do this job. I went to school to learn and I got a lot better. I am a professional with a lot of training and experience, and I only accumulate more and more as time passes.

That’s why I think you need to trust me with your kids. Put them on that bus in the morning. Talk to me about any concerns you have. Let’s work together and give your child the best education possible. I’m sure that is both of our goals here.

Kids Aren’t China Dolls

I don’t know why some parents treat their children like they are precious and breakable items that need to be constantly looking their best.

It’s okay for children to get muddy. It’s alright if they come home with a grass stain. Bumps and bruises are part of childhood. A little scratch or bruise is not a big deal. In fact, these things are pretty much an essential part of anyone’s childhood.

Children need to take risks and try new things. They need to try a jump on their bike or attempt to ride a skateboard. They need to try rolling down a hill one day. They need to explore the world around them, interact with it, and learn all sorts of things in the process. Without these things, kids lose out on what life is all about.

I know parents only want to protect their children. No one wants to see a kid fall down and cry. But the important thing to remember is that the crying, bruise, or scratch doesn’t last long. It heals.

But if you teach a kid that they shouldn’t try something because they might get hurt, that lesson will stay with them. They will always be afraid to try things. And life is about trying, falling down, and trying again. Everyone need to learn this lesson. And childhood is the best thing to do it.

So let your kids explore. Let them get dirty. Don’t freak out over a little bruise, cut, or scratch. Children are not nearly as fragile as we might think them to be. They are not collectible toys that need to just be put on a shelf and admired.

I leave you with some lyrics from Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You.” This song speaks some great truths about this topic. Check out the video on YouTube. There is also a great duet version of this song that I had never seen before with Reba. Check them both out. I love this song. Both versions.

“Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt.
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid.”

– Kelly Clarkson “Because of You” from the album “Breakaway.”

I Ran Up The Escarpment

“Hey I can see my mom’s house from here.”

That little red dot is where I started my run, approximately.

I have gone for some great runs in Grimsby. Last time I ran at Beamer’s Memorial Conservation Area on the mountain.

The time before that run, I ran the Waterfront Trail.

I knew that the Waterfront Trail connected up to the trails on the Niagara Escarpment but I wasn’t exactly sure how. The trail spit me out in downtown Grimsby and I couldn’t find how to get back on it.

Well, my mom showed me the entrance to the trail last weekend so I thought I’d combine both runs. My plan was to run the waterfront trail and then up the escarpment and finish at Beamer’s.

I thought it would be a long and tiring run, so I asked my mom to meet me up there so we could go for a walk. This way I wouldn’t have to run down Hamilton Mountain as well. After all I thought I’d be really exhausted after this run. But I was so excited about trying it.

It took me 19 minutes to come to the bottom of the mountain. I looked up the long incline and thought, “Here goes nothing.”

These are the stairs near the very top. It was tiring to get to this point and my legs were beginning to feel a bit rubbery. The entire run up the mountain only took me four minutes. I thought it would take much longer.

I met my mom at Beamer’s Conservation Area and we walked around the trails up there. I usually take a cool down walk anyway so this was nice.

My mom brought her camera and took some beautiful shots. It’s amazing how I ran this same route and took pictures myself only two weeks ago, but now it looks completely different. Don’t you just love the colours of the fall?

I thought this view was great before. But I just love all the different colours of the leaves. I could use this as an art lesson for my class. Look at all the warm and cool colours.

My Mom loved this red tree. She had to take a couple of pictures to capture it just right.

That was an awesome run. I wished I lived closer to my mom’s house. I’d do this run all the time. It didn’t even wear me out.

I ran up the escarpment. Wow! I don’t think too many people can say that.

And I will do it again. It was fun. Now, I really know not too many people can say that.