Monthly Archives: July 2009

Running Passed the Farms

I decided to go for a run out in the boonies. I was visiting a friend up in farm country and he told me of a trail not too far away from his house. So I took my camera, laced up my running shoes, and hit the road.

Not all of the streets here have sidewalks. 

The houses look really nice though. It’s a quiet neighbourhood and I quite enjoyed my run down the streets.

I can see the farmer’s fields just ahead of this curve.

I’ve never really ran through farm country before, It was nice to see the crops in nice, neat rows.

I’m a city boy through and through so I’m not too familiar with farming. I think this might be corn but I’m not sure.

I zoomed past the train tracks. It’s strange seeing these without the barrier arms as well. The trail is still a kilometer or so ahead.

There is the unassuming entrance to the trails. It’s a good thing my friend described where it was to me in such detail or I might have run right by it.

I so love trail running. It is so much better than running on the street.

I even saw a deer jumping through the bush at one point. Unfortunately he was too quick for me and disappeared into the bush before I could snap a picture.

Well, that’s about it. The trails then opened up back to a different road that I was able to loop around for a nice 5 kilometer run.

I completed this course in just over 20 minutes. It was a very nice run that I will have to do again. Now, if only I could get my friend to join me. Wouldn’t that be great? If I lived here, I’d be running this trail every day. Well, he doesn’t know what he’s missing. 

I hope you enjoyed my visual running tour. I hope to do this again for you soon with another route and from a different location. 

Run-DMC autograph

This is my most prized autograph. It is from all three members of Run-DMC.

Reverend Run, Daryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and the late, great Jam Master Jay.

You can see that they autographed the door poster for me. I have it framed with my original ticket in the bottom right hand corner.

I wasn’t able to fit the entire poster into a scan so I just scanned a bit of it to share with you.

The concert was awesome. I think Run-DMC are the best group ever. I am just glad that I got to see them perform live and that I was actually able to get their autographs. It’s hard to believe that this was 15 years ago. It’s crazy how time flies.

Recommended Reads – The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is an excellent book that I can’t say enough about. I first discovered it as an audio book when I used to have a long commute to work. There were some amazing passages in it that made me want to pull the car over and jot them down but I didn’t want to interrupt the excellent story. 

After I had listened to it, I went to the bookstore and found a special 10th anniversary edition of the novel. I quickly bought it and reread the entire thing with a pencil by my side. I underlined the passages that spoke to me and wrote notes in the margins. I wanted to interact with the thoughts put forth by the main character and the author.

The novel deals with finding your place in the world and realizing the connections we have with the world itself. This story is very touching and it tells us to follow our hearts. It is almost like having a debate on philosophy and the meaning of life. It’s a powerful tale that has stuck with me all these many years later.

Here are some great passages that I highlighted.

“Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At one point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.”

“To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one. And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

What a great message. It deals with the purpose we all have in life. It tells a great story and teaches us important rules about how life actually works in the real world.

That is why I needed to add this book to my Recommended Reads. I have given it as a gift several times just because I believe it is such an amazing story and so beautifully written that anyone can appreciate it.

My Beef with Disposable Razor Commercials

I remember when the first razor came out that had three blades and how the television commercials praised this system as an amazing shave.

Then four-blade razors came out. 

And not to be topped, Gillette came out with a five-blade razor that had a sixth precision trimming blade on the edge of it. I got one of those as Christmas present three years ago and it is the only razor I have used since. I really enjoy the shave I get with my Gillette Fusion. I hardly ever cut myself anymore and I always have a close shave.

The commercials for this razor used to praise how effective the product was. Lately, however, the commercials have been reminding us that we need to replace our blades. Perhaps too many people are using the same blade for weeks and weeks. I know I am. And it’s not just because the replacement blades are expensive (although that it mostly the reason.) It’s because you can still get a good shave if you clean the blade well every day, even after a month.

So the commercials come along and tell us to change our blades. I find it hilarious that Gillette stopped telling us how great their product was and just started to tell us that we need to replace our blades frequently. I’ll replace my blade when it stops giving me a good shave, and not simply because an indicator strip tells me to.

And why are the blades more expensive than the starter kit with the razor, a fancy stand, and shaving cream. Does it make sense that four replacement blades should cost that much? I’ve spent a lot of money on your blades over the years. But I since like the shave and I am not about to get an electric razor (I don’t trust them) I guess I am stuck paying a lot of money for your cartridges. I just thought I’d complain about it. 

Professional Development Shouldn’t Be So Expensive

I have wanted to upgrade my teaching credentials for some time now. I just haven’t been able to afford to. I still have a large amount of student debt and until that is paid off, I don’t think I should be incurring more. Thankfully, my school had some money available this year to anyone who decided to take a course. I jumped on the opportunity and was happy to see that not all of the staff did. As such, my tuition was entirely paid for.

I wasn’t off the hook for all the costs though. I had to pay for and order a transcript to get enrolled. I also had to buy the textbook which cost $125 after all was said and done. And not only that, I had to use paper and ink to print off journal articles and other required reading material.

All in all, this course cost close to $1000.00. Yet, I know some teachers who take a course or two every single year. I don’t know of another profession where people actually continue to upgrade their skills at their own costs. It seems ridiculous to me.

I am dedicated to improving my teaching. I regularly reflect on what has and has not worked in my classroom. I regularly do professional reading and am constantly looking for things that will help improve my instruction. I go to staff meetings and workshops and am often pleased at what I take away from these things.

Yet, I want to upgrade my skills. There are a handful of courses that I know would benefit me professionally. I want to take Special Education so I can help my students who struggle. I love teaching music and am very knowledgeable about it but it would be nice to be a more effective teacher with it as well. I can think of a few other courses that I think would be worthwhile but I simply cannot afford to take them.

I am glad that my school had this money available. I feel like I have learned a lot. I know that I will be applying this knowledge in my classroom next year.

I think the schools we teach for should be as interested in our professional learning as we are. They should offer to help us out financially every year. If this were the case, my credential might actually match my experience and I know that I would be a much better teacher because of it. And of course, that is all I want.

Tim McGraw Reigns in the Rain

I went to my first country concert this past weekend. I had seen country acts before at free festivals but I had never been to a see a major show before. That changed when Witgirl bought me a ticket to Sarnia Bayfest to see Tim McGraw. I’ve been a fan of his since I first heard “Live Like You Are Dying” on the radio. 

That is an amazing song. In fact, the whole album is amazing.

And now I can add that he has an amazing live show as well.

There were over 17,000 fans in attendance for the show. We were in the licensed VIP section and had a great spot about 15 feet back from centre stage.

Just before Tim McGraw came on, the rain started to fall. Fortunately, it was a light rain and it let up after at short while. It didn’t dampen anyone’s mood.

Tim McGraw’s band came out and got all the instruments ready and then Tim just strolled onto the stage and started the show with “I Like It, I Love It.” He captivated the crowd with his nine-piece band consisting of two drummers, a steel guitar player, a keyboard player, a fiddle player, and guitar and bass players. Tim played guitar for a few songs but mostly just held down vocal duties. And he didn’t disappoint.

I could tell that the crowd was in to the performance as they sang along to almost all of his songs and took picture and videos. Although, I must say that they did baffle me a bit. Country fans are a lot different than rap or rock fans. They just stand there and seem to have very little energy. No one jumps up and down or throws their hands in the air. Some people dance in their spot but that’s about it. I guess it’s just that nature of the country concert. But it was weird to see.

Tim McGraw really impressed me with his no-nonsense, no-holds barred show. And he topped off his set perfectly with my favourite song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

One of his opening acts, Jason Blaine, also really impressed me. He commanded the crowd with his entire performance. I also like how he had a fiddle player on every song. Sometimes she plucked the strings and sometimes she used the bow. She had a really nice solo or two thrown in there as well. They put on a great show. I think I will have to go check out his album.

Tim McGraw has a new album coming out this fall. He played new material from it and got quiet a good response from it. One of the songs was hilarious. It was called “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You.” I love how he flips that phrase and tells a story about a woman he likes spending money on. I’ll be looking forward to the album.

So I guess I will have two recent country albums to add to the Taylor Swift one I just got. Crazy, it seems I’m reverting back to a country boy, won’t my mom be happy.

Plagiarizing Myself

I have been taking an online course to upgrade my teaching credentials. Currently I am qualified to teach Kindergarten up to Grade 6. By the time I am done this course, I will be able to teach all the way up to Grade 10.

I never planned on teaching high school but I have thought about teaching middle school. My current school goes from Kindergarten to Grade 8 so this course should make me more valuable at my school since I will be able to teach any grade in the school. Either way, it never hurts to upgrade my skills.

Many of the assignments in this course have touched on issues or topics that I have already covered in this blog. It was really surprising to find out that I could fulfill some of my assignments by dipping into my old blog posts. I copied some of my blog posts outright and others I had to reformat or rework just a little.

At first, I thought I was plagiarizing myself. But there was a section in the textbook about the value of portfolios and I came to realize that my blog could serve as a professional portfolio. I have written quite a few posts about teaching and if I could use them to answer the questions posed in the course, why not use them?

My only fear is that the professor might find out that I already published material very similar to what I submitted to him on this blog. I wondered if that might get me into trouble. But is it even possible to plagiarize yourself? I don’t think so.

My thoughts haven’t changed much since I wrote those useful posts. I added some of my new learning and references so that that my assignments were more academic. Storytellers do this all the time. They tailor their presentation based on the needs of the audience. At that is just what I did. I don’t feel bad about it at all.

I have done a lot of work for this course and plan on using some of my assignments as future blog posts. So my blog served as a portfolio for my course work and my course work will serve as fodder for blog posts. Pretty cool, eh?

Everwood Lives!

Everwood is an amazing television series. I can’t say enough good things about it. It is powerfully written and has amazing actors and performances. 
I bought Season 1 on DVD as soon as it was released and waited for the other seasons to be released. I waited a long time. It looked like they weren’t going to release any of the other seasons. 
So I caved in and bought an unofficial complete series set online. I really enjoyed being able to watch the entire season again. It was just as good as I had remembered.
I decided to share this series with my girlfriend and she is hooked. We’ve been working through watching the whole series together but came to a snag near the end of Season 2 last night. The final three episodes would not play properly. Witgirl was upset about it, but I told her the same thing happened to me last time I tried to watch it. I had to settle for going online to read the transcripts. 
She wasn’t overly excited about that prospect and I can’t blame her. I wanted to watch those final three episodes of Season 2 again as well. So I was hoping I might be able to find them online somewhere to watch. I searched “Everwood season 2” on Google as was really surprised to see that it had just been officially released. 
I wasted no time and ordered it. It should be here in less than a week. I know that I can’t wait to own this season, see the extra features, and finally get to watch those last three episodes again. 
You can order your copy from or 
This series is well worth the purchase. And hopefully, if enough people buy it, they will officially release Season 3 and Season 4 as well. 
I know that I have watched this series now several times and I never tire of it. It is perfect television and is without a doubt, my favourite television series of all time. 

Upper Case Vs. Lower Case


I understand using upper case to emphasize a specific word or phrase in a piece of text. Of course, abbreviations and acronyms should also be written in upper case.

What I don’t understand is how in children’s programs complete words are often written in upper case letters.

Almost all of the letters in a text, no matter whether it be online or in printed text will be lower case letters. These are the letters that children should be learning.

I appreciate that children’s programming tries to teach about letters, words, phonics, spelling, and vocabulary. Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge the seemingly predominate use of uppercase letters. Either way the children are learning, right?

But consider this

One great show that I have seen about building words is an animated program called “Word World.” It has likable characters that often play with letters to build objects they need for the story. It is very well done and I understand why upper case letters are used here. It is much easier to use capital letters because most of them have a flat top and bottom to them. As such, they lend themselves well to creating depictions of the words using their letters. Good enough.

But other shows often spell complete words in UPPER CASE when it is REALLY NOT NEEDED. PERHAPS IT IS EVEN DETRIMENTAL TO DO SO. Most letters are round and of different sizes and positions. Kids need to learn this. They need to be exposed to more and more words to learn.

Shows like Sesame Street and The Electric Company just seem to get it. This image is from an older episode of The Electric Company but the new shows are following on this tradition.

Notice how the word “steal” is all in lower case. This prepares kids better for their reading in the real world. This word will most likely look like this in a chapter or picture book.

The other great thing about the presentation of this word on the screen is that the vowel sound is in a different colour. It is easy to understand and teaches kids phonics.

What do you think? Do you see this as a problem or do you think I am nit-picking? Do you write in upper case letters when you print? Join the discussion and drop a comment below. Thanks!

Windchill Interview Part 4

Here is the wrap up of the interview that Gamma Krush and I did with Windchill of Artists Over Industry and After.Words. 

If you’ve missed any of this transcript, please go and read it from the beginning. There is a link to each new part at the end of each post as well so you can navigate through the whole interview quickly or you can just go download the podcast and listen to it for free. Either way, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. I had a lot of fun doing this interview. 

So here it is, the wrap up,

WINDCHILL: “I got the new album coming out in October man. Try and get me up there. I got my passport. I am ready. I would love to come up there, straight up.”

CHASE: “Nice. There’s a lot of good places to play in Southern Ontario. Some people like Classified have been on a tour and this guy Shad is making a lot of noise right now. So, yeah, hopefully you can get up here.”

WINDCHILL: “That would be sweet man. I’ll definitely keep you posted, for sure.”

CHASE: “It feels like I could talk to you all night. I mean, we got an overnight show but I know you gotta perform or you could stay on air all night. We could like spin a set and come back and talk to you again. This has been wicked.”

WINDCHILL: “Absolutely. I could always call you guys back on my way home and give you updates on the show.”

CHASE: “That would be cool.”

WINDCHILL: “I’m always down to call. I love talking to the real heads who always listen to the real stuff. And ‘real hip hop’ is used pretty loosely these days but you guys know what it truly is. And likewise to you both, it was a pleasure talking to you guys.”

CHASE: “I still have like 40 questions I want to ask you because we kept on coming up with new things. I definitely have more to talk with you about for sure. Anyway, we should close off with another song before we go anywhere.”

WINDCHILL: “Yeah, what you do you wanna roll, do you want to roll another After.Words joint or maybe go to the solo album, what re you thinking?”

CHASE: “I was thinking about paying homage but I wanted to talk to you about some of your lyrics there so if you got like 5 more minutes, we’ll drop the track, talk to you some more, and then we’ll let you go perform, do your thing, win some awards.”

WINDCHILL; “Absolutely bro, that sounds like a plan. So this is ‘Pay Homage’ produced by JJ Brown, the one and only JJ Brown who you hear with Louis Logic. So here’s my joint.”

CHASE: “Alright this is it. ‘Pay Homage’ by Windchill. This is Gamma Krush on the ones and twos, Chase March on the interview tip. Dope FM we’ll be back.”

CHASE: “Alright that was ‘Pay Homage.’ Nice, nice track. The beat on that is amazing. It’s cool to see that JJ Brown produced that. Louis Logic, I’ve been listening to them for a while. Nice stuff. So they’re from your area too right?”

WINDCHILL: “They’re actually from New York.”

CHASE: “Are they really?”

WINDCHILL: “I know they’re both not originally from New York but right now they’re residing in Brooklyn and have been for a while.”

CHASE: “Nice. I have to come clean with you here. When I first heard this song, it was a while back, I wrote you off. I was like, ‘Yo, I don’t need to hear someone saying someone else’s rhymes again. Rappers do this all the time. They call it paying homage and stealing someone else’s rhyme and I don’t want to hear this.’ 

And I ignored you for a while until Gamma started spinning ya. And then I listened to it a little bit more. Because really, I’m a hip hop historian and I’m getting really tired of kids coming up to me and quoting a song and telling me that Soldier Boy or C-Murder did it. And I’m like, ‘No man that was Rakim. Nah, man that was like… ‘cause they don’t know where it’s coming from. And I’m thinking we almost need some kind of footnote system so the kids these days know what homage is being paid ‘cause they don’t know.”

WINDCHILL: “Yeah, they definitely don’t.”

CHASE: “Because I wanted to talk to you about some of your influences in this interview but if we listen to that song, I’m sure we hear them. Like Onyx and 2Pac and Biggie and there’s like a million in there. So I think the more times you listen to it, the ore you can pick up. And it’s cool ‘cause I’m a fan of pretty much all the ones you mention in there too.”

WINDCHILL: “That’s what’s up. Definitely. I know what you’re saying and don’t get me wrong. I’ve actually got that response a few times. Because you’re right. For some reason in hip hop music they do feel that they have to pay homage. It’s almost a way of showing you’re down almost, ya know what I mean? Of course, it wasn’t that to me. A cool little story about that song. I guess just being an artist that every song should have a little bit of a backdrop. I used to collect tapes like crazy. And I had shoeboxes full of tapes, all the way back to Main Ingredient tapes, Supernatural tapes from way back.”

CHASE: “Nice.”

WINDCHILL: “And I’m not too old but I had all the old KRS-One stuff. I was young. I was like ten years old listening to Krs-One. But at any rate, I wanted to make a song called ‘Pay Homage’ because I wanted to pay homage to the people who truly changed my life.

Hip hop changed my life so much for the better that I truly had to pay homage to it. Hip hop didn’t get me some girls, it didn’t give me money, it didn’t give me a new car. It didn’t give me anything like that but it gave me peace of mind, which we all know, there’s no price tag on that. So I felt a need to say thank you to the things I found in my life that bring me peace. So that’s why I wrote the song.

And what I did was, I had all my old tapes but once CDs hit they took a back seat. So they’re all out back in this aluminum shed and I had them out there. And they gold moldy and most of them didn’t work. I’d put them in and try to play it and some of the tapes would snap and whatnot. So they were pretty much useless. But I still had them all. And what I did was, when I went to write this track, I brought in all my tapes. I’d have to say it was at least a couple hundred. And I just got my one, big, huge table I had in the kitchen. I place them all face down so all the song titles were facing up. And I just laid them all out, literally hundreds of tapes laying out and I don’t even know how I started writing it.

But I knew if I wanted to pay homage and that was my idea that I wanted to weave song titles and albums into bars but it’s not like totally biting any lines that they say. It’s kind of like making lines outta the song. And that’s what I did. I just sat there and constructed a verse and it sounded dope. So I was actually rhyming it. I was using song titles, album titles, ya know, with the Busta Rhymes thing I kind of like quoted the whole chorus, like everything. I was like, ‘Yo, I gotta do this.’

And then, the funny thing is I wrote that and it was like to this old beat and it was just some beat lying around. It wasn’t close to the beat I got from JJ. And when I played it for the boys, they were like, ‘That is the joint right there!’ and a few people were like, ‘I think you need a better beat.’ And I could take that. I’m good with the constructive criticism and I knew anyway that the beat wasn’t nothing to write home about. So I just started looking.

And I went to ScribbleJam right before I dropped my album. It would’ve been ’06. ScribbleJam, they used to hold it down in Cincinnati. Eminem got his start there. Ya know what I mean, it’s like a weekend long hip hop festival. The year I was there Brother Ali rocked and Louis and JJ had rocked, and the background with them is that we threw our own hip hop festival here in PA back in ’05 and we had Louis Logic and JJ as the headliners. We brought them in and that’s how we started a relationship together. And then in ’06 I went to ScribbleJam ‘cause I knew they were on the bill performing. Because we did get really cool with them when we did the show, it wasn’t just ‘Here’s your money, bounce.’ We talked and we got cool with everybody. And I went out to ScribbleJam and I was talking to them after the show. We must’ve sat there for an hour, chopping it up with them just like old friends. And I had mentioned to JJ very briefly that I was working on an album and I’d love to get a beat. And he was like sure, when you get home, hit me up. We’ll talk about it.

And the after I got home, I remembered the pay homage thing. I basically just had the accapella and my verse of ‘Pay Homage’ and I just went over JJ’s beats and listened, listened, listened. He gave me a beat CD with like 40 joints on ‘em, maybe 30 and just listened, listened, listened, and when that one hit, I was immediately making payments the next day. This is the one. It was one of those things where you just know. That was the beat for that song, no doubt.”

CHASE: “Nice. It works. I think I judged you too harshly on first listen because it does work and I’m a hip hop historian and I appreciate those influences, so I’m sorry about that man. But it’s definitely good I got Gamma Krush to school me on what’s good, ya know? ‘Cause I listen to him all the time.”

WINDCHILL; “For sure, no hard feelings man. I know what you’re saying man, I get it all the time. There’s a bunch of crap out there and if you don’t make sure you give it a listen, ya know, people fall for anything, you gotta make sure you give it a second listen just to make sure it’s legit man. But no hard feelings man, it’s all good.”

CHASE: “This has been amazing talking with you, simply amazing. I feel like we could talk all night. You’re a super intelligent guy, totally into hip hop, you make good songs and good albums, in good crews, but we know you’re at the venue right now. We’ve been taking up a lot of your time so we should get going but you should just let us know how people can get a hold of you so if people want to find you online, they can.”

WINDCHILL: “Yeah, and right back at ya bros. Thanks Gamma for all the calls and everything. Thanks Chase. It was a pleasure to meet you today. I had a blast talking with y’all man. I’ll definitely check out Dope FF. I check the podcasts now and again when I got the time. Please do that because these cats are preserving what real hip hop is all about, what real indy artists need. This is great for me. I’m a humble dude. And I can’t thank you enough like seriously, right back at you guys 100%, and let’s definitely do this again. And listeners out there I got the myspace if you want to check me out its and I respond to everybody, I hit everybody back, all my info, albums, shows, tours, free downloads, everything is there. So please swing by and drop me a line. I would love to talk and meet with y’all for sure.”

GAMMA KRUSH: “No doubt. We’ll have that up at or either Either or, and like I said before to all our listeners, subscribe to both really. We’re not going to put each show on each podcast. So subscribe to both, see which one comes up first and tune in. But y’all already know that for real. Yeah, we can’t thank you enough B. Because here at Dope FM we listen to a lot of underground hip hop and we always look in to all the independent artists. So any of y’all out there just look up the myspaces and check out what’s out there from all over. Like the hottest rapper out right now and he may be living out in Antarctica, ya know what I’m saying.”

WINDCHILL: “Yeah man, you never know. And I commend you guys on putting people out there simply because you’re a fan and you like what they’re doing ‘cause a lot of the radio out there, ya know, it’s all paid for. Like foe a couple grand the DJ’ll be playing your stuff. I mean that’s cool too if that’s how these guys want to get around, throwing around thousands of dollars. Whatever. I ain’t here to hate on it. I don’t agree with it. That’s why I commend you guys. The reason you play it is because you like it. And a lot of DJs can’t say that. A lot of DJs get a playlist handed to them and they don’t like one song. Like Primo’s calling them freaking robots, ya know what I mean? Some DJs don’t understand that they have a powerful weapon and they’re sitting behind one of the most powerful media weapons in the whole world and here they are playing this bull to everybody and infecting the young kids minds, ya know what I mean? I don’t know. I just commend you guys a thousand times. And that’s what’s up seriously.”

CHASE: “That’s how we roll each and every day here at Dope FM. The coolest thing is that we got the podcast so we have free mix tapes for everybody basically. And we’ve got this interview series that we do. And another cool thing is that I will actually take four hours and type this all out and put a transcript of it up on my blog.”

WINDCHILL: “I gotta get running. I gotta get up in here. I think my DJ is here. So let me get in here and do my thing. And I will talk to you guys soon. Thanks again for chatting with me. I really appreciate it.”

CHASE: “Alright good luck tonight at the Central PA Music Awards. This has been Dope FM with Windchill of A.O.I. and After.Words, we’re outta here.”

GAMMA KRUSH: “ and as always we are never stale in Westdale. Keep it locked, yo!”


Well that’s it’s it. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did recording it. Make sure you go and download the podcast for free. 

And remember to tune in each and every week for the best in underground hip hop. Daddy J and Gamma Krush spin the tunes and I’m around to emcee and interview some dope artists. This is just the latest interview and there will be more to come. 
If you missed any of the past interviews, click on the sidebar to get the interviews I did with Animal Farm, Classified, Invizzibl Men, and Sweatshop Union.