Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Walking Dead: Rebuilding Society

the walking dead volume 15

The Walking Dead: Volume 15 – We Find Ourselves

In the last volume of this on-going series, Rick had an epiphany. He realized that fighting to survive wasn’t enough. Rebuilding society by creating a close-knit community was the only way to go.

In this volume, the community is running really low on supplies and it looks as though they might not have enough food to last the winter.  There is a little unrest in the community but Rick manages to mend bridges and it looks like things must just hold together.

Walking Dead Volume 16

The Walking Dead: Volume 16 – A Larger World

A man with incredible fighting skills shows up and tells the survivors that they aren’t the only community around. Rick is immediately suspicious and takes every precaution. But it turns out that society is starting to put itself back together. There are other communities and they want to establish regular trade routes between them.

The story ends with the very hopeful words, “This changes everything, can’t you see that? We can finally stop surviving . . . and start living.”

wd96

It’s nice to see that they might finally have a happy ending. That being said, rebuilding society might be a little harder than Rick imagines right now.

My 2014 Reading Log – a list of everything I read this year

The Divergent Series Concludes with Allegiant

Divergent Book 3

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The first book of this series was absolutely incredible. I loved every minute of the page-turner and didn’t want to put it down.  I looked forward to reading more.  The second book wasn’t as good, in my humble opinion, but I still enjoyed the read and looked forward to the conclusion of this epic tale.

I just finished reading the third book and I have to say that it really let me down. I didn’t like it from the very start. It radically changed the way the story was told and I had a hard time getting into this change of perspective.

I don’t know why Roth decided that Four needed to narrate some of the story. In the first two books, all the narration was done by Tris. In this third volume, she and he alternate chapters.  I found that oft-putting. I really just wanted to hear the story from Tris’ point of view.

In this third book, we find out more about factions and what the purpose of their walled city actually was. I have to admit, that I didn’t see that coming at all.  That was a welcome surprise. I actually yelled at the book a few times and cheered. I know that sounds weird, but I did. I wasn’t sure what to expect when they travelled outside of the city-walls, but it sure wasn’t that.

I’m being careful not to give away any spoilers here. I know people who are still reading it. I have talked to several people who have all managed to stay tight-lipped about the plot as I worked my way through the series. That’s important for this story and I appreciate it. So there won’t be any spoilers here.

The ending of this book didn’t quite do it for me. The narration continued long after the story could have ended. It seemed to drag on. I also didn’t like a story point at the resolution that I will avoid from revealing.

Overall, I think this is a good series. The writing is sharp, the characters are well-developed, and there is a message to the whole thing. What did you think of the series?

Book 1Divergent
Book 2Insurgent
Book 3 – Allegiant

My List of 2014 Reads – 20 Books and Counting!

When Will I Ever Use This Stuff?

Learn ThingsIt’s normal for students to question why they are learning a specific skill or subject in school.

It might even be normal to dismiss a particular learning opportunity out of hand by assuming that it will never serve a useful purpose.

But, as teachers we need to remember that . . . 

“Even if we aim to teach only what will be useful to them in the future, we need to make sure that we consider all of their possible futures.”

I have learned so many things in my life that I have been able to apply outside of the original intent. And things I assumed would never come in handy, have indeed, been a blessing. I hope to impart that lesson on my students.

It might be useful later . . .

“We therefore need to teach some things that are not immediately useful, or that may never have been useful to us personally, in order that they find a use later, or at least create the opportunity for them to become useful.”

This is a key fact. Things that we might not consider to be useful can have huge implications for our students. We can learn with them. That is always my goal in education.

And, of course, Art matters . . . 

“Learning about art is not ostensibly useful unless one is to become an artist or work in the creative industries, yet without individuals outside of these spheres who have an appreciation of art such industries would not exist.”

I would argue that everyone should learn about art. We live in an artistic age and art encompasses our daily lives. Everyone can work on some form of art, whether it be, visual art, music, or some form of media.

“It is beneficial to learn about things we will never directly apply for the simple reason that it helps us to appreciate and understand the world that we live in, and ourselves. “

In helps us gain insight . . . 

“We often gain the most from that which has the least practical use, for it is this that encourages us to think.”

And encourages us to think . . . 

The inspiration for this blog post came from the book . . .

Thinking Teacher book

The Thinking Teacher by Oliver Quinlan.

So far this book has been a great read. I will write a review of it when I have finished reading it. And probably a future Teaching Tip Tuesday post or two.

Teaching Tip Tuesday  Archive – Over 100 great tips, tricks, lessons, and resources.

The Console for My TARDIS

Last year, I built a life-sized TARDIS.

This year, I wanted to expand on it a little bit further by creating the control room.

The TARDIS is bigger on the inside so this console room will be a completely separate build. It won’t be housed inside the Public Call Box you see above.

My first challenge was to build the cylinder that sits atop the hexagonal base.

tardis_console_room_2012

I couldn’t find a large, clear plastic tube that would work. I searched for a suitable compromise for a long time.

Plastic Fencing

Finally, I came upon this plastic fencing and thought that I could use it to make the cylinder.

Console Cylinder

I used my old 13-inch snare drum casing to wrap the fencing around and keep it in place.

Snare Drum Base

I then used cable ties to secure the cylinder since it stands about four feet high.

TARDIS Console Centre

Lastly, I used tube Christmas lights and ran them up and down the fencing in five straight lines. I secured them with cable ties as well.

That’s just STEP ONE of my TARDIS Console Room build. Check back soon to see how I create the hexagonal base, switches, and controls.

Hopefully, this summer, I will have a short fan film to share with you as well.

Amazing Hip-Hop Book – The Big Payback

The Big Payback

The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas

I’ve wanted to write a book about hip-hop history for some time now. This is the book that I wanted to write. It’s simply brilliant. It’s captivating. And it’s a page-turner.

Dan Charnas weaves a narrative  to illustrate the growth of hip-hop music from the 1940s right up to the present day. It reads like a story even though this is a work of non-fiction.

And the title lives up to its name. It’s no small feat to tell this huge story. That’s why the book clocks in at just under 700 pages. But it is such a compelling read that it never feels like a chore. I whipped through this book in three weeks.

Here is some of the knowledge that gets dropped in this amazing book . . .

Hip-Hop didn’t start out as a recorded music form. 

Rick “Rubin was shocked by how much better hip-hop was in person than record. The cutting by DJs like Jazzy Jay and performances by MC crews like the Treacherous Three exploded from the stage . . . Their gigs sounded nothing like their records, which by comparison sounded liked canned disco music with a bit of rap thrown on top. Live hip-hop, to Rick’s surprise rocked!”

Pioneers like Rick Rubin brought that live energy to hip-hop recordings and forever changed the game. 

“Rubin wanted to conjure something that he hadn’t yet heard in a rap record – parity between DJ and MC, in the same way that rock records might feature the singer and lead guitarist equally.  So Rubin arranged breaks in T La Rock’s lyrics, and in the spaces had Jazzy Jay cut not one, but two turntable parts – playing off each other almost as a rock band might have rhythm and lead guitar. Last, Rick Rubin gave equal billing to T La Rock and Jazzy Jay.”

For the love of the art!

“Other record companies made rap records for money.” But Rick Rubin helped create a company to make” an implicit statement . . .  [that] Def Jam’s name and packaging made a novel promise: it would be a label by and for hip-hop fans.”

Rick Rubin is one of the hip-hop pioneers who truly cared about the art more so than the business of hip-hop.

Of course, hip-hop is a huge business and it has taken all sorts of twists and turns in becoming the dominant culture of popular music today.

I really enjoyed this book and I think you will do. It’s a must read for any hip-hop fan!

My 2014 Reading Log  – continually updated with every new book I read this year

The Governor is a Monster

The Walking Dead TPB Volume 8

The Walking Dead: Volume 8 – Made to Suffer

The Governor launches an all-out war against the small band of survivors who have built themselves a home and safe community in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

The band manages to hold their own for a little while, but there are casualties on both sides. Things turn tragic and the prison becomes a home that they need to abandon.

The Walking Dead Vol 9-Here We Remain

The Walking Dead: Volume 9 – Here We Remain

In the after-math of the war for the prison, the survivors find themselves separated once again. Rick falls ill and his son, Carl is left to his own devices. It’s a powerful way to start off this edition of the on-going series and it gets quite heart-wrenching

The survivors come back together and meet up with another small group. These new survivors are heading for Washington and one of them claims that when they get there, he will be able to set things straight. He has classified information about how the zombie menace started and what can be done about it scientifically.

They join forces and start their journey towards Washington.

 My 2014 Reading Log (with links to every book I read this year)

Random Name Generator for Your Smartboard

Random Name Generator

This is a great way to pick students randomly.

You can select the number of students you have in your class and then type out each name. When you click “Select,” the computer clicks through several names with a cool sound effect and then it selects just one.

Macy

One of the best features of this program is that once a name has been selected, it won’t be selected again if you click “No Repeat.”

This way, if you save this file at the end of every day, you can make sure to have called on every student in your class before moving on to something else.

Download the Random Name Generator for free (Notebook file for Smartboard)

Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive – over 200 great tips!

Star Trek Model

Star Trek Model Kit

Both my dad and I had one of these. He painted his white and I painted mine grey. We then hung them from the ceiling using thread so they looked like they were in flight.

I also had a Romulan Bird of Prey just off the bow of this ship too. I always imagined that they were engaged in battle.

Sometimes I miss those days and my old bedroom. And I definitely miss my dad. It was nice building models with him. We had a hobby shop within walking distance of our house and we visited it often.

Those were the days!

It’s Not Garbage . . . It’s Beautiful Music!

I saw this documentary a few years back and was completely blown away by how music and instruments were brought to one of the most impoverished areas I had ever seen.

Last week, I was able to see The Recycled Orchestra in person and it was awe-inspiring.

The violin and flutes sounded absolutely perfect. I don’t know how they manage to construct these instruments out of garbage and have them sound that good.

The cello is constructed out of a 30 gallon oil can. They tried to use a smaller can and found that it couldn’t take the pressure and weight of the strings.

The saxophone was made out of an eaves-trough downspout.

It’s nice to see that in an area where people have to live at the dump and go through the trash just to survive, that music can flourish there too.

You can find out more from the Global Family Foundation’s website. 

My New Radio Show – Midnight Marauders

Image - Midnight Sky by Arty-Farty018 via Deviant Art
Image – Midnight Sky by Arty-Farty018 via Deviant Art

I can now be heard on the London, airwaves. I’m taking over the Midnight Marauders Radio Program for the entire summer.

It broadcasts out of the Western University campus in London, Ontario, Canada on 94.9 fm. You can also listen, stream, and download the shows from the CHRW radio website. Or use the Tune In App on your phone or your desktop to listen live.

Midnight Marauders will return in the fall with the regular hosts. Hopefully by then, my show Word is Bond Rap Radio will be premiering on the station as well.

Stream my first show with the player below or download it for free.

And get ready for tonight’s brand new episode!

LISTEN TONIGHT for your chance to Win a Platinum Pass to the NXNE music festival. This is a $1,200 prize with all access tickets to the hottest concerts June 13th – June 22 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Midnight Marauders
Thursdays at Midnight – 2:00 a.m. Friday Morning
Real Hip-Hop Music and Talk with Chase March

Thanks for listening!

5 Ways To Set Long-Term Goals to Achieve Success

Long Term GoalsSelf-help gurus can make their secrets to success as simple or as complicated as their audience requires. But before success truly sets-in, one must change his or her way of thinking to include a wide-angle view of life.

Long-term goals are one of the strongest components of successful strategies, yet lots of work needs to be done just to get the goal-setting accomplished. Consider these successful approaches to long-range thinking, which yield positive results for many individuals.

Be Candid and Clear About Desires

When setting long-term goals it’s easy to take too many outside suggestions into account. We all have unique responsibilities and pressures, so we rarely take the time to really open our eyes to the things we want out of life. Without a candid look, it is too common for people to spread themselves too thin in an effort to accomplish vastly different goals. It pays to quietly and privately hash it all out within yourself, and then to discuss your findings with your partner. Goals will doubtless encompass both individual and family interests, but it is important to be candid with yourself, to know where you stand.

Stop Self-Limiting Thoughts and Behaviors

Success will not be achieved until you truly believe you can make it. In order to reach desired goals it is crucial to first be your own best ally. Not everyone you encounter offers a leg up, but successful people surround themselves with positivity. According to many, when it comes to achieving success, the story is always the same: successful people believe in themselves, even during the darkest times.

Put in the Work

Look at the most successful people and you’ll also see hard workers. Positive self-image is important, true, but it’s not enough to achieve success. Focus on desired goals and clear your negative thoughts, but also put in the work to achieve your goals. Focusing on goals that really mean something to you is easy, because the work will seem like play when you get in alignment with your desires.

No matter how small your efforts may seem, it is important to put in some positive momentum toward goals each day. Use your long-term vision to keep you motivated and to identify new projects to help your progress.

Give up to Gain

Sometimes sacrifices lead to gains, down the road. Pursuing a stable life with a home and family means other life options may need to be put on hold. If giving up now, in order to gain later sounds unappealing, remember that living in alignment with true desires makes the decision-making process almost effortless. And ultimately achieving your goals will eventually make the sacrifices feel minimal.

Remain Adaptable

Adaptability can be tricky to understand, particularly after committing to the importance of being focused on long-term goals. However, life has a funny way of throwing unanticipated obstacles in our way, so adaptability is an essential feature of long term success.

Sometimes the hurdles we face make our victories sweeter, while others obstacles make us question our commitments. Remember that goals are great guidelines, but they’re also subject to change, depending on how life unfolds. All experiences help shape us, so successful people recognize this fact and make it work to their advantage. If you change course every now and then; you aren’t really giving up. In most cases, you are just clarifying exactly what it is you want to take away from your life.

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from Freepeoplesearch.org. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com.

My Top 10 All Time Favourite TV Shows

Here is a list of my all-time favourite TV shows!

I wanted to expand on The Top 5 List you read here a few years back.

So here it is, My Top 10 All Time Favourite TV Shows!

Everwood

1) Everwood

This show is just perfect. I have watched it from beginning to end several times and I never get bored of it. I love the way the series finale wrapped up every beautifully. I love a good story and getting that sense of closure. This show did that perfectly.

my-so-called-life

2) My So-Called Life

This show was in the Number 1 spot for so many years. It was the first television show I got obsessive about. I was working a part-time job at the time and had to make sure the VCR was set for those days I did work. I even wrote Claire Danes a fan letter. 

Star Trek TOS

3) Star Trek

The Original Series was brilliant and something that my dad and I really loved. It had a lot to say about our lives and culture. It was powerfully written with great characters that have managed to stand the test of time. It has inspired movies, television series, comics, novels, and more. It is a phenomenon.

Breaking_Bad

4) Breaking Bad

This series took me by surprise. I didn’t think I could get into a show about a drug dealer, but I heard so much about it, that I gave it a shot. It was train-wreck television, that’s the best description I can offer for it. The main character got into so much trouble that I would cringe as I watched it. But it was extremely compelling and I found I could relate to the main character in a way I never would have thought possible. The final episode brought things to the only ending that it could have. It was perfect!

Jericho

5) Jericho

This is sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat television. And just when you think they can’t ramp it up any more, they hit you with something at the end of the episode that makes you sad it’s over and waiting nervously for the resolution. I wish we could have got some closure to this series. It really is a crime that it was taken off the air. It was brilliant.

Doctor Who

6) Doctor Who

This probably should be higher on my list. I first discovered it via the television movie that introduced us to the 8th Doctor. I then watched all of the 1st Doctor’s adventures courtesy of the public library, and I have been watching the series since it came back to television with 9. Doctor Who is a hero that we can all stand behind. He is a kind individual who helps people all the time, and he doesn’t carry a weapon. That is inspiring.

Life on Mars

7) Life on Mars

I rarely watch procedural drama. There are just too many cop shows out there and they lack originality. They don’t compel me to watch them and they don’t draw me into the fictional world. This one, however did. It’s about a modern day cop who gets into an accident and wakes up thirty years in the past. He struggles trying to adjust to 1973 and also to find a way back to the present day. I love how the series wrapped up too. It was perfect.

MASH

8) M*A*S*H

This show is a classic on so many levels. It is the only sit-com on my list but it managed to transcend that form. It was hilarious but it managed to hit some really emotional arcs with some very heavy topics.

fridaynightlights

9) Friday Night Lights

This show is about a high-school football team in a town where football is life. It’s intense for everyone involved and it’s a great drama. I didn’t want to see it come to an end. I loved every episode.

Life Unexpected

10) Life Unexpected

This one took me by surprise as well. It was only on the air for two seasons but it gave us a nice story and a great sense of closure at the end. It was brilliantly written and I fell in love with the characters, especially the main character, Lux Cassidy.

A Hip-Hop Salute for Mother’s Day

I wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day with a fitting tribute for all of the mothers out there. This is a very special edition of Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. It features interview clips from Common, 2Pac, Masta Ace, and Kanye West talking about the huge influence their mothers had in their lives. Each of these artists also celebrates Mother’s Day with special dedication songs. Press play and enjoy. And remember to let your mom know how special she is tomorrow.

After you listen to that show, you can check out this one that goes more in-depth as to what it means to be a mother in hip-hop music and culture. Featuring interview clips from Amy Kicks, Dessa, Eternia, Michie Mee, and Money Stax. This show originally aired on International Women’s Day earlier this year.

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!

I hope you enjoy the radio show podcasts!

Animal Man + Avengers + Xmen = Awesome

A + X = Awesome

This is a crossover book that tells several short stories. Each story pairs up a member of The Avengers with one of the X-Men.

There are twelve different adventures in this trade paperback that team up the likes of Wolverine and Hulk, Black Widow and Rogue, Spiderman and Beast, and many more. It’s light fair and good for a laugh or two, not very serious reading, and not connected to regular continuity.

Animal Man TPB

Animal Man: Volume 2 – Animal VS Man

I was pleasantly surprised to see the second issue of this graphic novel in the public library last week. The first volume captured my attention with an interesting take on a super-hero family. 

Buddy Baker is able to call on the power of animals around him, but his four-year old daughter’s emerging powers already surpass his own. She is destined to be the protector of The Red – the force of animal life.

The Rot is threatening to destroy all of nature. It has upset the delicate balance that has been in place since time began. Quite simply, it is death and decay. As such, this story is horrific and a bit scary, but it is a compelling read nonetheless.

I don’t normally like horror but I am enjoying The Walking Dead and Animal Man.

Avengers White Event

Avengers: The Last White Event

White Events have been happening since the very beginning of time. Yet, something has damaged the mechanism that controls them. As such, the system is broken and so is the universe.

The Last White Event created an extremely powerful being and it’s up to the Avengers to manage the threat. Even the Canadian super-hero team, Omega Flight gets caught up in the action. They begin fighting it but then start to protect it. What is this new system that has been brought into the world? We might have to wait until the next issue to find out.

My 2014 Reading Log (updated constantly with every new title I read over the course of the year)

3 Tips for Using the Computer Lab Effectively

Computer Lab TipsThere are some cool teachers on Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest. I suggest signing up for these sites. You never know what inspiration you will find there.  I know I come across great ideas on them all the time. 

Here are some great computer lab tips from Classroom Chaos.

 

Scout Out the Computer Lab Before Taking the Class There

By doing this I discovered that 3 out of 36 computers were not functioning or missing something. (1) A computer was missing a mouse, (2) another would not turn on at all, and (3) I could not reach the wiring on another computer tower because it was under the desk and against the wall but I knew the tower was not connected to the monitor. Upon discovering this, I removed the chairs from these computers and wrote down on sticky notes describing the malfunction.

This preparation served two purposes: to deviate from students wasting time trying to make something that does not operate to work and to inform the next teacher who arrives in the computer lab that the following computers do not work and that it occurred BEFORE my the class started.

Students are Responsible for their Workstation

Oh, and I did not assign seating arrangements like I used to. Instead, I had them sit where they wanted and held them responsible for their learning space by having them sign the paper that was taped at their station. This will also help if a student should accidentally (or purposely) damage the computer or save something inappropriate (teens like to change the desktop images) and I would know who it was, or you can look at this as a preventative measure.

We are here to Work and Learn

Some students expect computer lab time to be a respite from any work or responsibility. This is something that we can overcome.

. . . with a bit of learning experience from trial and error, I have learned to teach in the computer lab and my students understand that they are here to work. 

Great ideas that will help your time in the computer lab run more smoothly.

Teaching Tip Archive – over 200 great ideas!

Roth Park Nature Trail

Running season is back on!

I love exploring new trails and taking pictures along the way.

Let’s visit Roth Park in Woodstock, Ontario for the first Photographic Running Tour of the season.

This trail is very accessible. There is a paved trail that is good for strollers and rollerblades.

I love that there is a nature trail running alongside it as well. This symmetrical forest was really interesting to run through.

There were all sorts of dirt trails to explore.

I took a short trail right to this small beach. I didn’t stop long to admire the view. I just snapped a picture and continued my run.

I love all of the different terrain at this park. The only downside is that the trail is fairly flat. I enjoy running up and down hills. But I also enjoy running alongside the waterfront.

I really love thin trails along the water. The sounds of the city fade completely away and all I hear is nature and the pounding of my feet hitting the trail. Nothing better than that!

There is a nice picnic pavilion here as well. Looks like a great place to spend an afternoon.

Want to explore more trails? 

Photographic Tour Archive (3 Dozen Trails and counting)
Youth Start Trail (Woodstock, Ontario)
Scenic Trails (Ingersoll, Ontario)

Today is Free Comic Book Day!

Every year, on the first Saturday of May, we celebrate Free Comic Book Day!

It is a great event where comic book stores across the globe offer free books. There’s no catch either. You go in to the store and get to choose from a few dozen different books especially commissioned for this day.

This is one of the titles I will be picking up today.

Hip-Hop Family Tree FCBD

This book series is incredible. Hip-Hop Family Tree tells the history of rap acts in comic strip form. The have a few collected graphic novels as well. I’ve been meaning to pick them up for some time. Perhaps I will today when I visit the shops.

HIP-HOP-FAMILY-TREE-COVER

The art looks like what you would have seen in the weekend edition of the newspaper back in the day. It gives it that further sense of reliving or discovering some important moments in hip-hip history. It feels authentic. The writers really care about this culture and do a great job of documented and preserving it.

And if hip-hop isn’t your thing, they have all sorts of books from Power Rangers to Hello Kitty to Guardians of the Galaxy to Transformers to GI Joe and much, much more.

It’s a great day to pack up the family and visit a few comic book shops.

For more information about stores near you and all of the special events you can attend today, visit the official Free Comic Book Day website.

Happy Free Comic Book Day!

Chasing Content – May 2013

Photo by terinea via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/terinea/536245891/
Photo by terinea via Flickr

It’s time to go digging through the archive to uncover all of the great things that were happening on Silent Cacophony last year at this time.

Read all of the posts from last May,

or just these favs . . .

The TARDIS Console Room Mega Set

Doctor Who Lego? This is just too awesome! There are other sets that I want to collect as well. But for now, this is the only one I have.

30 Things Wrong with Star Trek into Darkness

This movie was beyond horrible. I am often critical of movies. I like things like plot and story when it comes to my films. Call me picky. This was the laziest Star Trek vehicle I have ever seen. There is still life in this property. It just needs someone at the helm that respects the history and vision of Star Trek. I have high hopes that something nice will come together for the 50th Anniversary in two years.

My TARDIS is complete!

I love the full-size TARDIS I made last year. I think it turned out great! I’m working on the console room right now. And then I plan on making a fan film this summer. Stay tuned!

A Hip-Hop Tribute for Mother’s Day

I like this episode of Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. It’s about time we show love and appreciation for mothers in hip-hop music and culture.

Perfect Movie – Wreck it Ralph

This movie is so good. It manages to capture the old school single-screen video game world to life in a Toy Story kind of way.  It is completely original, has a great story, awesome animation, and amazing voice acting. It is quite simply, perfect, and I don’t say that often.

I Won a Skateboard Competition

I still can’t believe I won! That was a great day and I’ve been enjoying this board for several weeks now. Skateboard season is back in session!

Thanks for Chasing Content with me! We do this at the start of every month to highlight the best of the best from last year at this time. Check the archive for more great posts!