I pull up to my girlfriend’s apartment and park right in front of the building. The area is marked as a “fire zone” but most people park there to unload or pack up their cars or moving trucks.
I am an elementary school teacher. I teach in schools that range from Kindergarten to Grade 8.
Every year around this time, I get outraged by all of the commercials, flyers, store displays, and advertisements suggesting that parents need to spend hundreds of dollars to prepare their children to go back to school.
I think the schools should supply pretty much everything your child needs to be successful this school year. That means; pencils, notebooks, loose-leaf paper, pencil crayons, crayons, markers, rulers, dictionaries, calculators, etc.
I don’t like to ask the parents of my students for any money. I don’t want to give them a list of things they should buy. Yet some schools do just that.
Apparently, it is now common for Canadian families to spend $300 per child on back to school expenses.
I think this is ridiculous.
Here is what a primary (Kindergarten to Grade 3) or junior (Grade 4 to 6) student really needs.
1) Backpack – there are things that need to be brought to and from school every day so a backpack is essential.
2) Lunch bag – you can save money with a reusable lunch bag as opposed to the old stand-by brown paper bag. Not only that, but you are teaching your child about conservation. That’s well worth the ten bucks.
3) Gym shoes – your child needs to have a pair of running shoes to wear inside of the school. These should be in addition to the brand new pair of everyday kick-around shoes. They should stay at the school for your child to change into every time he or she comes back in from being outside.
4) Pencil case – I provide these for my students but some teachers don’t. I find that my students lose pencils without them. The good news is that you can pick up a decent one from the dollar store.
5) New clothes – I know that new clothes don’t come cheap. But I think it is important for your child to have at least one new outfit for the school year. It doesn’t have to be brand new, just new to them. You can go to thrift stores and find some excellent clothes that look new for a fraction of the price. Having a new outfit gives your child some confidence about going back to school.
6) Winter clothes – Please dress your child for the weather. They will be going outside three times a day regardless of the weather. They should have a hat, a pair of gloves, some boots, and snow pants.
And that’s it. Or is it?
I don’t think a primary or junior student needs any electronic devices. They don’t need all the bright and shiny items that look cool in the store and might appeal to them. Back to school shouldn’t be a second Christmas gift-giving season.
Many people will try to sell you things your child really doesn’t need. Get your kid what he or she needs, but don’t go overboard.
Last year’s rant – Stop The Back To School Madness
What are your thoughts on Back to School?
Please leave a comment below.
I’d love to hear from you.
I was inspired to make this mixtape by a meme that was floating around on Tumblr. It was a 30 day challenge and Day 17 asked, “What songs would appear in your Doctor Who mixtape?”
I found this great blog post from Janine. She came up with a song for each of the major characters and justified her choices with song lyrics. The blog, Meanwher, elsewhen also offered some great suggestions for this hypothetical tape.
After reading those two posts, I was determined to make my own Doctor Who mix and to include some of their suggestions. I was unfamiliar with a lot of these songs prior to making the tape, but I got right to work, and was delighted with what I found.
I knew I had to start the tape with “Spaceman” from Bif Naked. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you will see how perfectly that song ties into the very first episode of Series 5 when Amelia Pond first meets the Doctor.
Another highlight of the tape was including Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream.” It made me think of the time stream, the relationship the Doctor has with his companions, or even the one the Doctor has with the TARDIS. I know it sounds complicated, but give the tape a listen and I’m sure you’ll get it.
I included sound effects from the show and even an audio clip from an episode. The songs are blended together and you will never hear a song fade out. I’m doing my best to preserve the art of the mixtape. That is why I’ve divided it into two-sides because I really miss cassette tapes and how each side of a tape can have its own identity and flavour.
The Doctor Who Mixtape will fit on one CD, so download it for free, burn it to disc, save it to your iPod or MP3 player, and turn up the jams. You can also stream it with the player below.
Download Side A (right click and “save as”)
Download Side B (right click and “save as”)
Or you can download the mixtape in album format.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about it. And if you enjoyed this mixtape based upon a television show. You might like to check out the other one I made last year, “The Lost Mixtape”
Spread the music, and enjoy!
Side A Stream
If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here
Side B Stream
If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here
Two images I found on Tumblr just now that I had to post together. Had to!
Apparently the above image was taken during a break in shooting and it actually is Heath Ledger (rest in peace) doing a kickflip over Batman from the set of The Dark Knight. Very cool!
This image is fake. A faithful reader clued me in to that fact. See how this image has been altered with the post Skateboarding, Batman, and Photoshop.
The cool thing is that Heath did actually skate. So did Batman.
Check the new post for more details.
It was Motown Night at the Canadian National Exhibition last night and we were very excited to be there covering it for the radio show. We had interviews set up with the headlining acts; The Manhattans, and The Spinners.
The Manhattans took to the stage in their matching red jackets and captivated the crowd with their performance.
I was really enjoying the show and looking forward to seeing The Spinners take the stage next.
Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. Before The Manhattans had even finished their set, the concert was shut down due to a tornado warning. We were advised to go inside one of the buildings for cover.
You can see how quickly this storm rolled through because the sky does not look threatening at all in the above shot.
I took this shot from the cover of the Arts and Crafts building. The rain was coming down hard and lightning was filling the clouds above us every few seconds. It was really intense!
It almost looks like I took this photo during the day time. The lightning completely lit up the sky.
It was a beautiful storm to watch but unfortunately the CNE decided to shut down the entire operation. I have never seen them do that before. That meant, we had to either buckle down where we were or make it back to the car in the pounding rain.
We waited for ten minutes. The rain let up, and we made a break for the car. The sky continued to illuminate brilliantly all the way home. Fortunately, we were spared any strong winds and made it home with no problems at all.
The good news was that we had a chance to sit down with The Manhattans for a great interview earlier in the day. Stay tuned to DOPEfm to hear it first! I will post the podcast and transcript after it has been aired.
Earlier this year, I was approached to write an article for Word is Bond. The staff over there thought I would be a good choice to write about race relations in hip-hop as a guest contributor.
We thought it would be a good idea to contrast the large white audience hip-hop has to the lack of successful white artists in the genre.
I wrote a rather lengthy article on the topic and realized in the process that it would also work as an episode of Know Your History.
You can stream this show with the player below, you can download it for free, or you can continue reading.
As Dalton Higgins so aptly put it, “Culture . . . is not something that can be controlled and locked in the basement. Culture travels at the speed of light (or Internet cable lines) and doesn’t respect borders.” (Hip Hop World pg 51)
It starts off as a shared pathway and it is paved for easy access for bicycle riders or rollerbladers, but there is an area where the dirt trail becomes an option as well.
I couldn’t help but stop and take a picture of this large rock at the side of the trail.
I much prefer running through the woods on a dirt trail as opposed to the paved walkways that seem to be more common these days.
I was really surprised to see this deer behind this fence.
I’ve seen deer before during my runs through nature areas but this is the first time I have ever captured one on film. How exciting! There was also a Canadian Goose there as well.
I didn’t even realize that this trail would lead me to Churchill Park. It’s a gorgeous park that spans 27 hectares.
There is a replica grist mill here on this small pond. It looks really cool.
Here is a closer shot of the river leading up to it.
During my run, there were several bridges, like this one, to cross over.
Here’s a nice memorial to Don Rope, a two-time Olympic winning athlete. He helped Canada win a Bronze Medal in hockey in 1956 and a Silver Medal in the 1960 Winter Games.
He taught high school in Cambridge and was very active in helping develop local athletic programs. He is definitely a local hero.
This map shows some of the other trails in the area. I hope to run them all one day and document them for My Visual Running Tour series.
I’m still working my way through the archives of Silent Cacophony to create “Best of” posts for each and every month. Today, I thought we’d take a moment to look back at what I was writing four years ago at this time.
Wow, we’ve come a long way over the years. Those posts look so small from way up here.
You can read all of the posts from August 2007 or just these few gems.
Trouble With Falling – A little poem I wrote about how difficult it is to fall out of love. The comments I received from it were very interesting. Feel free to leave one yourself.
Old and Falling Apart – I’ve since added a few more stories of personal injury since this original post four years ago. I really don’t feel that much older though. These past four years have just flown by.
I See It – Beauty is all around us. Do you see it? I had a moment where it became clear to me and I wrote about it.
Writing Chair – This was an awesome chair. Still haven’t found one like it.
What Makes a Volunteer – I have always volunteered in my community. I think it is important to give back.
Thanks for Chasing Content with me!
Television has always been free.
All you needed was a television and an antenna.
The networks could deliver quality programming by allowing corporate sponsors to advertise on their shows. This quickly turned into commercials. Now, it is standard practice to have our programs interrupted every ten minutes so we can watch a slew of advertising spots.
But then someone had a brilliant idea – convince people to pay for something that they had always gotten for free.
And guess what?
People actually did.
A whopping 90% of Canadians pay for television by subscribing to cable or satellite services. I once counted myself amongst that hoard. A few years ago, though I cancelled my cable and I haven’t looked back.
Now, I am among the 1 in 10 Canadians who rely on free over the air reception. However, I keep seeing these commercials reminding us (the 10%) that our TVs may just show static in less than two weeks.
If we want to continue uninterrupted service, we need to buy a convertor box or subscribe to cable or satellite. Of course, these commercials have been running for over a year. I thought I was prepared for the switch that happens on September 1st because I bought this digital antenna.
It looks like a cutting board. It’s so strange, but it is designed to pick up both analogue and digital television signals. So far, it is working great for me. I hope it continues to work when the analogue signals stop.
Of course, my other big worry is that I will no longer be able to tune in the CBC.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is our national station and it is financed through tax dollars. I love watching Canadian productions and local news. I think it is an invaluable resource.
Although we don’t have a local station for each large city in Canada, those of us in Southern Ontario get a feed from the Toronto station, and that is completely fine with me.
The problem is, the national public broadcaster does not have the budget to convert all of their signal towers to digital. 16 communities that currently receive the CBC over the air, may not get any signal come the first of the month. The neighbouring cities to Toronto may be out of luck, including Kitchener and London.
I hope that the CBC will be allowed to continue broadcasting in analogue for the time being so my signal won’t be interrupted.
I hope my digital antenna will work for me as well.
But I guess I am just going to have to wait and see.
Queen Latifah has achieved more than any other female artist in the history of this hip-hop. She has starred in movies, a few television series, has written books, earned a Golden Globe, two SAG awards, a Grammy award, and several other nominations for a variety of award shows. She continues to act, sing, and rap as well.
Listen to this track and don’t go anywhere as we continue our look at Queen Latifah for our special evening dedicated to the Women of Hip-Hop. You can download this radio show for free or stream it with the player below. We’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day all night long here for DOPEfm. putting “Ladies First.”
Today, though, it’s all about the ladies as we dedicate the entire overnight to the women who have blessed us with great music. Stay tuned as we celebrate International Women’s Day all night long.
You can download the entire 7 hours of our Women in Hip-Hop Special, you can stream this episode with the player below or download it for free.
Thanks for tuning in and remember to keep your dial or browser on DOPEfm each and every week.