Monthly Archives: December 2008

Resolutions

It’s a good thing to reflect on your life and realize that there are some things that are worth changing. Today a lot of us will be examining our lives in detail as we prepare ourselves for a brand new year. As such, it may seem like a fresh start.

2009 will be the year where I … and … and …

Fill in the blanks.

There are probably a few things you can change in your life to make it better for you, for those around you, or for the environment. These aren’t the only areas of focus either. It’s different for everyone.

While I believe making a resolution and sticking to it is a great idea, I won’t be making any New Years Resolutions this year. The truth is, I don’t believe in them. For one simple reason – this is the worst time of year to make a change.

The holiday season is hectic. We are often busy with family, parties, and socializing. So how can we possible start a major life change amongst all of this?

I truly believe that we should resolve to change things in our lives that aren’t working the very second we realize they aren’t. I’ve made a lot of resolutions this year and I’ve stuck to them, for the most part.

Life is about change and adapting. Remember that, in this New Year. If you are motivated by the New Year to change something about your life, then go ahead and do it. I wish you all the best.

In fact, I wish all my readers and everyone in the blogosphere a safe and happy night tonight. Go celebrate and have fun.

And all the best in 2009!

Best and Worst of 2008

Here is my annual Best and Worst of list.

Best Athlete – Usain Bolt

He was amazing to watch during the Summer Olympics. I love running, and watching these games was very exciting. Bolt was unbelievable.

Best Album – Water Street

I have been a fan of Sweatshop Union for quite some time. This is their fourth album and deserves top spot. This has been a good year for the hip-hop album.

Last year, I didn’t even have any honourable mentions. This year I do. EPMD’s We Mean Business, and Murs for President.

Best Artist – Blu

Blu has certainly proved himself this year. Last year’s Below the Heavens by Blu and Exile is still in heavy rotation. This year he could be found all over the place. The Johnson and Johnson album is nice.

Honorable mention, John Robinson. These are the two MCs you need to look out for in the new year.

Best New TV Show – Fringe

This show is creepy. It can actually be a bit disturbing. I think it is billed as a science fiction / horror show. It reminds me of the X-files, in that they are constantly investigating scientific anomalies. Yet, all of the strange things that have been happening seem to be connected. The characters are trying to figure out what exactly “the pattern” is and what it means.

It’s compelling and well-written. I haven’t found any other new shows that I have stuck with this year. This isn’t the best show on television but it is worth watching every week.

Best Post – Nothing

This was my favourite post this year. It sparked a lot of discussion both on and off this blog. I really wasn’t expecting that. Check it out here!

Worst Album – 808’s and Heartbreak

Kanye’s West went from one of the best producers and innovative artists in the game to copying someone else’s style. He doesn’t rap once on this album. He sings with a vocoder on every single track. He sounds like a poor imitation of T-Pain, and that’s saying a lot because T-Pain is horrible.

Honorable Mention, Universal Mind Control

Kanye seems to have even pulled Common down. Common’s last two albums were amazing. I really respect and admire both of these artists but they both dropped the ball this year.

Well, that’s it. My worst list is a bit lacking this year, but I didn’t see much in the way of movies or television to even comment on. I also haven’t been following popular music much this year.

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas everyone! I wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season.

I will be taking a bit of a break from my blogging routine to enjoy the holidays. I will post my annual Best and Worst of the Year list next week. You can also look forward to some sporadic posts this holiday.

I will resume my regular posting schedule when school starts back up in January. Until then, peace and warm wishes!

Lots of love,

Chase

Break the Rule or Not?

I use

and

but

and so

to start sentences often in my writing.

It just feels right. The tone is more conversational and seems to have a better flow. But does it make for good writing?

I’ve asked this question before. But I feel like I need to ask it again.

I’ve been revising my young adult novel “4 Wheels and a Piece of Maple.” My cousin was kind enough to read it critically. She pointed out all the flaws in the book and I’m happy that she was so brutally honest with me.

I’ve spent the weekend, going over her notes and making the changes in my novel. Here is one of the notes she wrote,

You have to decide if you are comfortable breaking the “Do Not Start A Sentence With But or And” rule. I will continue to point them all out, but you will have to decide if you want to do this. I’ve seen big name authors do it, infrequently.

It’s her word “infrequently” that really got me thinking. I was amazed at the amount of times I actually started sentences with conjunctions. It was probably too much. So I changed all but a few of them. The only ones I kept were in dialogue because they sounded natural to me there.

But as I read the newspaper this weekend, I noticed that several journalists actually do break the rule. I then thumbed through a few of my novels and couldn’t find any examples of this blatant rule breaking.

I wonder if it’s okay to break this rule in newspapers and blogs because they are more informal than the novel. What do you think?

Ripped off – But Safe

The kids in my class were looking forward to the last day of school and our Christmas party. They’d been asking about it all week.

I prepared some games for us to play together this morning. Several students told me that they were bringing in treats to share.

The kids were a bit crazy and hyper all week, which always happens just before Christmas holidays, but we got through the week just fine. The pay off would be today’s Christmas party.

Unfortunately, it is not going to happen.

School is cancelled due to the huge winter storm that is currently hitting most of Southern Ontario. The weather and traffic reports are advising us to stay in if possible.

So right now, my students should be nice and safe in their homes. I’m not planning on going anywhere. It really is best to keep the car parked in the driveway today. Better safe than sorry.

I don’t know if my students mind starting their holidays early. But I feel a bit ripped off. We didn’t have a proper send off and we lose out on our Christmas party and the fun day that I had planned.

Oh well, it’s better to have the roads clear today so that no one gets hurt. We still have two more systems moving in so the weather is only going to get worse.

Be safe out there and have a great Christmas holiday!

Student – Teacher Disconnect

I went to a two-day workshop two weeks ago that was quite enlightening. One of the presenters told us how prepared he was for every class he ever taught. He had all the curriculum expectations that he was covering written down on his lesson plans. He knew what he was teaching and what his student were to learn each and every day.

He asked us if we did the same thing. Heads nodded in agreement. I know that I certainly do the same thing. He then asked if we ever share this with the students.

There was a pause in the room as most of us realized that we don’t.

“Why not?” he asked.

He then revealed to us that there is often a disconnect between what students think they are learning and what teachers think they are teaching. He pointed out some research that had been done on the subject. It even happens at the university level as well.

“It took me 17 years to figure this out,” he said.

It seems so simple. We can write a learning goal for each lesson. This learning goal should be clear and concise. It should be in student friendly language that describes what students are to know or be able to do at the end of the period of instruction.

It would be so easy to write a learning goal on the board for each lesson.

“I can . . .”

That’s all we need to do. “I can add three digit numbers.” or “I can write a list of items in a complete sentence.”

I section off a portion of my board to write the agenda for each and every day of school. The agenda is detailed enough that my students know what to expect every period all day long. It wouldn’t take much to add a section for a learning goal as well.

I started this practice this last week. I know that my students haven’t quite been living up to my expectations. I thought that I’ve been very clear about them but I know that I can be more clear. Learning goals sound like such a simple and easy concept. I wonder why I never thought of it before.

My Fight with the Photocopier


– I was trying to copy a large double-sided worksheet for my students
– I set the machine to the 2 sided to 2 sided copy
– The paper selector automatically sets it to 11×17 ledger-sized
– I’m all set
– I hit start
– Three copies come through just fine
– But then it jams.
– I open up the panels and search for the paper stuck in the machine
– I clear the jam and start it back up
– It jams again
– I clear the jam and start once more
– It jams again
– I clear the jam and give up

– I try again later in the day
– I hit double sided 11×17 paper size.
– Three copies come through and then it jams, just like earlier in the day
– I clear out the jam once again,
– I try again, and guess what?
– It jams again
– I clear it out and then switch to one-sided copies
– The copies spit out with ease.
– I put the copies back in the tray, flip over the worksheet and hit one sided-copy
– The copies spit out with ease again and my two-sided copy job is done.
– This should’ve been a quick and easy job that stretched on like this jot note list
– But I got it done.
– I wasted a lot of time but I got it done
– The worksheets will ready for the kids tomorrow.

The Choir


My TV is so old that it doesn’t even have a remote control. To change channels or adjust the volume, I actually have to get off of the couch.

I also only have rabbit ears so I don’t get very many stations. I get channel 10, 69, 71, 91, 107, and 125. Most of the time, I watch either channel 10 or 91.

When I got home Sunday night, I turned on the TV. The last thing I had watched was on TVO on channel 69. I don’t normally watch TV on Sunday nights but I really needed to sit down and relax after a long and busy weekend.

I was about to flip the channel because I figured that there couldn’t be anything worth watching on TVO at this time of night. Boy was I wrong.

I found this amazing show called “The Choir.” It was completely captivating. It was about a choirmaster and his attempt to start a choir at an all-boys high school. Gareth Malone had his work cut out for him as the school didn’t have a formal music program at the time. Athletics were all the rage at this school and singing was something that was actually looked down upon by most of the boys.

Boys don’t sing. Singing isn’t cool. These were just a few of the false beliefs Malone had to conquer. But he did it.

He showed the kids at this school that singing can be cool and built an amazing choir.

“The Choir” airs on BBC 2 and can be seen here in Ontario Sunday nights on TVO. It is a reality television series that is inspiring and shows how important the arts are in schools. (link – http://chasemarch.blogspot.com/2008/12/arts-academics-athletics.html)

Please check it out if you get the chance. I found these clips on YouTube to share with you. Enjoy!

The first clip features the choir Sense of Sound. The boys in the school get really inspired after seeing them. It’s a great clip.

This next clip is the final song and performance of Stand By Me / Beautiful Girl.

What a show. I know I will definitely be tuning in next week. Too bad I don’t have a VCR. It is worth taping, that’s for sure.

Arts – Academics – Athletics

The 3 A’s; arts, academics, and athletics. These are the three components of a good education.

I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms before. But as soon as I heard another teacher mention this at the workshop I attended two weeks ago, I scribbled it down as a pearl of wisdom.

I have noticed in some schools that the arts are not really valued. They get neglected for a variety of reasons. Some teachers do not feel comfortable teaching the arts because they have no experience and believe that they have no talent.

The truth is, everyone can learn how to sing, appreciate art, dance, or act. We can study techniques and the elements basic to these four art forms. Any teacher can teach the arts, and moreover has the obligation to do so.

We have four strands in the provincial curriculum; visual arts, music, dance, and drama. I feel very comfortable teaching the first two of these. I am a musician and really enjoy teaching music. I know enough about art that I actually teach it instead of just having a craft or project for the students to do each week. I’ll admit that I don’t really feel comfortable teaching dance. I basically have no rhythm when it comes to dance. That being said, I have taught it several times because it is part of my job.

I think when it comes to the arts, we basically give permission for teachers not to teach it. Teachers will threaten to take away art or gym as a consequence in their classes. We will let teachers get away with not teaching music or dance because we value the other subjects more. This is wrong.

We would never tell a teacher that it’s okay just to do a little bit of math. We’d never say. “It’s okay, do what you can. Don’t worry about it.” But we say this all the time about the arts.

I feel that the arts are important and need to be taught in school. Teachers can’t make excuses why they don’t teach the four disciplines. I know that there are a million excuses out there. And I wholeheartedly agree that every school should have a music teacher, a drama teacher, and a physical education teacher. But until that day is a reality, we as classroom teachers have a responsibility to teach these subjects to our students.

Sweatshop Union Interview Podcast

My Sweatshop Union interview hit the airwaves of Hamilton and the world last night. Look out!

If you weren’t tuned in to the radio station last night, don’t fret. You can download it at the Dope FM web page.

You can listen to it here, if you subscribe to my blog in a reader.

Or you can and scroll down and read the transcript. The transcript is divided into three parts. The bonus of reading it here is that there are some music videos embedded.

If you would rather read the interview here. Please click on these links; Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The direct link to the podcast is here; http://www.mypodcast.com/fsaudio/dopefm_20081214_1406-347809.mp3

I hope you enjoy it!

Sweatshop Union Interview Part 3

Without further ado, here is the conclusion of the Sweatshop Union interview I did for Dope FM radio. I’m talking with Dusty Melodica, one of the seven members of this super group.

Chase: “So what inspires you when you are either beat making or writing your lyrics. Where do you draw inspiration from?”

Dusty: “Um, ya know sometimes from the sample itself ya know what I mean. I’ll be listening to a record that I’m feeling so much that I just try to capture a piece of it, I start making a beat and writing and things just happen. Other times I really be into a certain artist and whatever they’re doing will inspire me. It comes from a lot of places, It’s kind of a hard thing to pinpoint ya know? If there was like sure thing that I knew every time would inspire me. I’d be putting out a lot more music.”

Chase: “Yeah definitely. So I actually went to the record stores in Hamilton here and I couldn’t find Sweatshop Union here.”

Dusty: “Nah.”

Chase: “I bought your 2 CDs Natural Progression and United we Fall, I bought in a record store but I bought your latest release Water Street and Local 604 off of Itunes. So I don’t know if it’s hard to find your stuff or what the problem is. But I think Sweatshop Union should be a lot larger. You guys deserve props.

Dusty: “Thanks”

Chase: “So what’s the latest single?”

Dusty: “Oh My”

Chase: “Yeah, Oh My. There’s a great video for that. You can check that on YouTube as well.”

Dusty: “Yeah and we got a new video coming out for High Grade too, the next single.”

Chase: “Okay, so we’ll play Oh My and be back to wrap things up with Dusty from Sweatshop Union.”

Chase: “That was Oh My by Sweatshop Union off of their brand new album Water Street. If you don’t have that go pick that up. ‘Cause seriously right now that’s my pick for hip-hop album of the year. And we’re on the phone with Dusty from Sweatshop. Thanks for this interview man.

Dusty: “Yeah no worries, thanks for having me.”

Chase: “It’s definitely been awesome to have you on the air and talk with you about the group and about the lyrics and everything. You got another good lyric I wanted to highlight off of Labour Pains from your first album Local 604. You close off your lyric, ‘So I fight with my pen to enlighten a friend.’ That’s nice ’cause we talked about before how you guys are actually saying something and you’ve got lots of messages in all four of your albums, which is really nice to see. And I kind of gravitate towards that a bit. More like, I guess you call, the golden era in the early 90s when A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul and Jungle Brothers and all the groups were coming out and really saying something and still having a really good vibe to it. I kind of relate you guys to that in a way.”

Dusty: “Well that’s what we grew up listening to. That definitely heavily influences us. We’re all the same way. We wanna have some substance in the lyrics. We wanna walk away with something from the song, from the music. We don’t wanna listen to something that was just pointless rambling, right?”

Chase: “Right. So, just so we know, maybe you can run down the other member who weren’t able to be with us tonight.”

Dusty: “There’s Mr. Marmalade, Kyprios, of course, Metty The Dirt Merchant, Mos Eisley, Conscience, and DJ Itchy Rock.”

Chase: “I like the way you never know what to expect from song to song. Sometimes it will be a song with just Dirty Circus, or sometimes it will be Pigeon Hole or Innocent Bystanders, sometimes Kyprios will have a solo joint on the album. Sometimes Kyprios will be singing a hook. Does Dirty sing too, Metty the Dirt Merchant?

Dusty: “Yeah”

Chase: “Yeah cause sometime it’s hard to get all your voices straight. You guys mesh. I don’t even care who’s on the song, right? It’s like any Sweatshop Union song I’m like feeling it. So this had been a complete honour to have you on the air. I bought Water Street twice ’cause I noticed they had the instrumental album too. So hopefully, we’ll be talking over some of your beats here on Dope FM.

Chase: “One last question. What’s with the sheep for your logo?”

Dusty: “Basically the whole thought behind that is that people are easy to control in a large group. Ya know, same concept as herding sheep. That’s kind of the whole thing behind that, people are herded around like sheep. Ya know when the government or whoever it be that’s in power tells them what to do, they usually follow the bottom line and do it. So we put a message behind then music and hopefully we can herd people in another direction ya know.”

Chase: “That’s awesome. That’s really cool. I’ll guess we’ll play another track. I wanna hear Try.”

Dusty: “Yeah man do it up.”

Chase: “That song is awesome. That song’s off of United We Fall. Really, really great track. Thanks a lot Dusty for being on with us. This is 93.3 CFMU Dope Fm. Gamma Krush has been on the boards, Daddy J on the 1’s and 2’s and this is Chase March on the interview tip. Check out my blog or the podcast.

Chase: “Alright we’re closing off with Try. Make sure you stay tuned because we’re here all night long just as we do every Saturday. CFMU Dope FM. Peace.”

Thanks for reading! Check out the podcast of this interview.

Sweatshop Union Interview Part 2

This is the second installment of the interview I did with Dusty Melodica from the hip-hop group Sweatshop Union.

This entire interview is available as a podcast from the Dope FM radio show on 93.3 CFMU Hamilton. Please check it out and subscribe to the podcast. It’s free and one of the best hip-hop mix shows out there.

Without further ado, here is part two of the interview.

Chase: “Yeah, so if I were to ask you what’s your favourite Sweatshop Union song, what would you say? “

Dusty: “Woah, favourite Sweatshop Union song?”

Chase: “Yeah?”

Dusty: “Um, that’s a difficult question. I don’t think I’ve actually ever been asked that before.”

Chase: “Really?”

Dusty: “No, but I don’t know. I’d probably go with Lead The Way just because that’s one of my favourite beats that’s ever been on one of my records by Rob the Viking. That song has dope lyrics by Innocent Bystanders as well but yeah, I’ll say Lead the Way.”

Chase: “Alright we’re gonna play that one right now. It’s off of Sweatshop Union’s third album United We Fall. And stay tuned because we’ll be back more with Dusty Melodica.”

Chase: “That’s a nice track definitely. You do some production yourself too, don’t you?”

Dusty: “Yeah me and Marmalade work on a lot of beats together. We have a production team going on.”

Chase: “So how is production handled as a group per se?

Dusty: “Well, ya know basically everyone starts off on their samplers. I use a MPC 2000 so we all kind of make the bare track or whatever, demo a song, sample based beats ya know stuff like that, put all our beats together, take it to the group and see if anyone’s interested in writing to the beat. Someone’s doing the beat, then will take it into the studio and develop it a little more, bring in session players. Ya know, whatever it needs on in that it doesn’t already have. Ya we just like to build up songs and produce a little more in the studio.”

Chase: “I was just reading a review in a local magazine here and it said you were 100% independent. So are you not on Battleaxe anymore?”

Dusty: “No on this record we’re not working with Battleaxe, no.”

Chase: “Oh okay. You still have some management with Battleaxe though don’t you?”

Dusty: “Yeah we still have some Battleaxe ties yeah.”

Chase: “Cause I was talking with someone from Battleaxe about setting this up so I was just curious what 100% independent meant. Alright. So, I’m a huge fan of Kyprios. When he got signed to a major label and had that video, I was like hyped. Haven’t heard anything from him as a solo artist. I was just wondering, do you know if we can expect another Kyprios solos record.”

Dusty: “Yeah definitely. He’s working on it right now in the studio. I don’t know exactly what his progress is on the album. I’ve been able to sample some songs from him but I don’t know if he has a release date just yet but he’s definitely working on something, yeah.”

Chase: “Nice. So are you on tour or you just got off tour?”

Dusty: “Yeah we just got off of tour.”

Chase: “So how was that?”

Dusty: “Good man, we’ve been really busy for the last three months. We’ve been going back and forth to the states, heading out east. Really focusing on the Western States.”

Chase: “Ya I noticed that because I was looking at all the dates and wondering, Man are you coming to Hamilton? Are you coming anywhere down here? ‘Cause I would love to see you guys live.”

Dusty: “I’d love to come back to Hamilton, it’s been a while.”

Chase: “So what are you bumping right now. What’s in your car deck?”

Dusty: “I’ve been listening to a lot of Blu lately. Blu and Exile Below the Heavens and the Johnson and Johnson album, that was really dope.”

Chase: “Yeah I like that one.”

Dusty: “I think he’s like the craziest shit out there right now. I’ve also been going back and listening to a lot of old Outkast albums. I heard that there supposed to be releasing three albums; each a solo album, and an Outkast album so I’ve been listening to their old albums getting back into them. Also I’m listening to the Knux. Ya heard of the Knux yet?

Gamma Krush: “They got that one song Fresh Cappuccino with a Mocha twist. I forget the name of the album but DJ Sage was telling em about it. He says ‘it’s like so-so’”

Dusty: “It’s got some really good stuff on it and some stuff that’s a little too pop-y for me but that stuff that works is unbelievable.”

We didn’t play Blu or the Knux at this time in the show but for the blog entry, I’d like to.

So here is “Blu Collar Workers” another great video. Check it out.

And here is the Knux video

Enjoy! See you tomorrow for part 3 of the Sweatshop Union interview I did for Dope FM radio. Stay tuned to the podcast and the blog. Thanks!

Sweatshop Union Interview

Last week, I had the honour and the privilege to interview one of the best groups in hip-hop right now. I talked to Dusty Melodica of Sweatshop Union.

This interview is available as a podcast. I thought it would also be a good idea to put up a transcript of it here as well. I’ve embedded some of their videos to the songs we played on the podcast. I hope you enjoy this interview.

Without further ado, here is part one of the interview. I want to start off with a video here since this song is mentioned a few times in the interview. This is The Thing About It by Sweatshop Union.

Chase: “Alright everybody! Dope FM Radio 93.3 CFMU. This is Chase March and we are lucky enough to have Sweatshop Union with us today.”

Dusty: “Yeah, what’s up?”

Chase: “We got Dusty Melodica on the phone. How ya doing?”

Dusty: “I’m doing pretty good. Actually a bit under the weather right now but other than that, I’m doing really good.”

Chase: “I can’t tell ya how hyped I am about having Sweatshop Union on the show ’cause I’ve been a fan for years.”

Dusty: “Thanks.”

Chase: “This is really exciting for me. I first saw you guys on a video on Much Music, I think it was Humans Race. Was that your first video?”

Dusty: “I think we shot Truth We Speak before that one but that was definitely one of our earliest ones, yeah.”

After the interview I went to YouTube and found their first video. I really remember seeing this one. I thought I’d interrupt the interview transcript and play it here.

Chase: “So I saw that one, I thought “ah alright,” didn’t pay it much mind until The Thing About It came out. That track was awesome. You’ve got a really nice verse in there; I like that one a lot. But first off, maybe we should just give the people out there a little bit of history on how Sweatshop Union came about.”

Dusty: “Yeah, well, basically we all go way back. Some of us have known each other from elementary school. Others since high school and stuff so we have a lot of history together. We were all kind of doing our thing separately and there came a point where everyone was kind of financially tied. No one could put out there album [or] afford to record. We always had to budget so we decided to pool all of our resources together and make a compilation album which was the first album, Local 604. And after the release of that and doing shows and touring and stuff, we just decided to stick with it and you know people were feeling us as a group so we figured we might as well keep rolling with it right. It’s kind of built up from there.”

Chase: “Nice, so four albums later, you guys just released Water Street, which I think is the best album of the year.”

Dusty: “Gee man, thank you.”

Chase: “I’m really feeling that joint. So you’re like basically two groups and a solo artist, that have come together?”

Dusty: “Three groups; Innocent Bystanders, Dirty Circus, Pigeon Hole, and then there’s Kyprios.”

Chase: “And you’re part of Pigeon Hole, is that correct?”

Dusty: “Yeah.”

Chase: “There’s a lyric on your newest single that says, “return of the poor man rap,” so can you comment on that?”

Dusty: “That’s one of Metty’s lines. When we grew up listening to rap music, it wasn’t the way it’s been for the last five, ten years. Ya know what I mean, where it’s all glorifying money and what you got. Ya know, it was just about who you were and where you came from. I find it was a lot more of an honest music form. And so we’re just trying to take it back to that and just be ourselves and be honest with people.”

Chase: “That’s what I love about Sweatshop; your lyrics are just like really real. I mean, I can really relate to them. You guys always have a message, like you got something to say.”

Dusty: “You know, we put our opinions out there and, ya know, at the same time we try not to over do it. We don’t say anything we don’t believe in or force ourselves to say anything. Whatever we feel like writing about we do, and we don’t shy away from doing that.”

Chase: “Awesome. One of my favourite songs is off of your second album Natural Progression I’d just like to play that track now and maybe we can talk about it in a second.”

Dusty: “Okay,”

Chase: Alright so this is Us off their second album Natural Progression. If you don’t got that, go cop that.” (warning – explicit lyrics)

Chase: “I like that lyric cause it kind of talks about how we have the power as citizens , you know, how the power is really all on us.

Dusty: Yeah.

Chase: “So really great lyric and I think that kind of relates back to your lyric on The Thing About It ’cause you say, “Now the ball is in our court while we sit and watch passively.” Beautiful lyric, And I like the way you close that like “how can we be free when the water that we drink is owned by some company.” nice lyrics so I definitely wanted to touch on those.

Dusty: “Thanks man. Ya know, we try to make a point of getting to get it across that it is in everyone’s hands ya know and that’s what the song us is more about than anything. A lot of time when we do that at shows people think it’s an anti-Bush song but more than anything it’s a song to people. Ya know you need to pay attention because it is in your hands. It is in your control you know. You’re voting for these people and you do have a say.”

Chase: “Speaking about having a say, does it ever feel like it’s hard to have say in a group with seven members and get your own shine on?”

Dusty: “Yeah definitely. Sometime being in this group is the greatest thing in the world, and other times when you are only one of seven people ya kind of scratch your head like what have I gotten myself into. But I think it’s worth it.”

Chase: “I’ve noticed too that sometimes you work together in your individual groups or as solo artists even on your album. Is that intentional? Is that because you work with your own group so much instead of all seven that it just kind of happens that way?

Dusty: “Yeah, I think that kind of goes back to what I was saying earlier where we kind of just work on songs that naturally happen. It just so happens that I work with Marmalade a lot more of the time. I meet with him, I link up with him and bounce around song ideas more so than with some of the other guys. They all work in the same fashion as that. So it just kind of naturally happens. Like a natural writing partnership.”

Stay tuned. Part 2 will be posted up here tomorrow and then we will finish off this series with Part 3 on Thursday.

Thanks for Being Honest

Report card day was on Friday. Parents were supposed to drop in to the school at any time during the day to pick up their child’s report card and have a parent teacher interview.

I put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that I was prepared. I had a table, just as you came into my room, that had the curriculum documents on it. I had my Day Book Binder on the table as well. I prepared a table card that read “Parents, please have a look.”

I drew a triangle on the board that looked like this.

I put all of the student report cards in personalized envelopes and kept a copy on my desk as well.

I had done my job. I taught the students the best way I knew how this term. I gave them honest marks and personalized comments. I knew that some of my marks might be perceived as being too low and that I might catch a bit of flack from some parents. I was expecting as much from at least a few of them.

The first interview I had was with one of the parents who I knew didn’t always agree with me or my methods this year. We already had a few run in this year and they were not pleasant at all. I was really expecting a battle with her over the report cards. But it didn’t come.

We sat down and honestly discussed where her kids are at academically and socially. I found some common ground with this parent and referred to the triangle diagram. I told her that I feel that we are really on the same page here. We both want what is best for her kids. But we need to work together as parent (P) and teacher (T) to push the student (S) up as far as we can.

To my bewildered surprise the parent agreed with me on everything I had to say about her kids. She even thanked me for giving them honest marks. I was blown away by this.

As a teacher, I often don’t feel appreciated. I work hard for the best interest of the students and the class. This parent probably doesn’t even know how much that thank you made my day. A little compliment goes a long way.

I hope this gives us a fresh start now. I always felt like this parent was out for blood. It’s good to see that we will be able to work together so that her kids will be successful this year. It gives me a lot of hope for next term and the rest of the year.

Prime Minister’s Address

Last night, the Prime Minister had a televised national address. He assured us that he is working in the best interest of the country and that the coalition is not. It was short and sweet and right to the point.

His speech was to be followed up by one from Stephane Dion.

All of the TV networks were to get the tapes to air between 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. EST. Stephen Harper’s speech was on schedule but the networks had to stall because the coalition’s tape didn’t air until 7:28 p.m.

Dion’s speech didn’t convince me that he should be the person to run our country.

This morning the Governor-General is meeting with the Prime Minister.

I called my local MP last night and left a message about how I feel about the coalition. I’ve been talking to colleagues at work, family members, and friends. Opinions differ but I have found that most people in my life seem to think the coalition is not a good thing.

I think we just have to wait and see what will happen now.

Coalition is Bad News

I don’t normally write about politics but I have to today. I don’t like what is happening on Parliament Hill right now and I need to address this issue.

First off, here’s a little background into Canadian politics and what has led to the historic turn of events.

The political system works a little bit differently in Canada than in does in the states. We have four major parties; The Conservatives, The Liberals, The New Democrats, and The Bloc Quebecois. Each party has a convention to elect a leader and that leader then runs for the federal election. The Canadian public votes and we elect a Prime Minister.

We recently had an election and re-elected Stephen Harper. Harper’s Conservatives picked up even more seats than the previous election. The only problem was that they did not pick up enough seats to form a majority government.

The Liberals were handed their worst defeat in the history of the party last election. It was mostly due to the perception of their leader. The Canadian people did not have faith in Stephane Dion to lead our country. This was spoken loud and clear by the votes.

The Bloc only operates in Quebec and has never held the office of Prime Minister. It is unlikely that they ever will as well. But they represent the interest of their province and the french language culture. They have a voice in the House of Commons and this is important.

So Stephen Harper is our country’s leader. I didn’t vote for him, but I also did not vote for Dion. That being said, I respect our Prime Minister and I think he has done a good job. The Canadian people must think so too or his party wouldn’t have picked up more seats.

So when I heard the press conference on the radio last night that the other three parties have decided to form a coalition government and basically overthrow our elected official, I was outraged and a little scared.

These three parties are so radically different that I cannot see them agreeing on anything past this coalition agreement they have drawn up. I don’t believe that they are acting in the best interests of the country. And I have no confidence in Dion as the leader of this country.

I don’t know what we as regular citizens can do about this but I DON”T SUPPORT THE COALITION. I think it is bad news and not in our best interests.

Give a Day – If you can

Today is World Aids Day.

Last year on this day, I blogged about how we need to wake up to this problem across the world. We need to do something about it now. I wrote that we should all participate in Give a Day to World Aids.

It’s a great idea, and it’s a simple one. All you need to do is give one day’s pay to fight the global epidemic of aids.

I realize that one day’s pay is a pretty significant amount of money. It’s hard to do if you have debt and other things weighing on you, which unfortunately happens to be the case for me this year.

Last year, I donated; this year I want to but I had better now. It’s a shame too. I believe that this idea could work if we had a lot of people participate in it. We could really do something about this problem if we all just give a day.

Think about it. Read my entry from last year. Go to giveaday.ca Then decide for yourself. Can I give a day?