Monthly Archives: June 2014

Artists Don’t Have a Never-Ending Well

Artistic WellProducing art is taxing. It is a process that needs to be rewarded. Yet many people think artists don’t need to be compensated for their work. They erroneously believe that there is an infinite well from which we draw. Art isn’t valued the way it should be in this day and age.

Tina Welling sums it up beautifully in her book Writing Wild . . .

“. . . as if artists can keep producing more and more art as cows produce milk – it’s assumed at no cost to them – and therefore don’t need reimbursement for their efforts.”

This musician does so in a smart response to an ad for free musicians.

musician-ad

So let’s remember this and make sure we compensate our artists. What they do is valuable and doesn’t come at no cost.

Access Interviews – Live Hip-Hop Radio Archive

Access Title Card

Access is a special segment of Our Show on 91.5 WPRK in Winterpark, Florida.

It’s live and interactive radio where we interview all sorts of hip-hop artists and interesting people in the music business.

And through the power of the Internet, I am able to be on the show quite regularly without ever having to leave the country. I’m repping Canada on the American radio waves when Conshus and I tag team interviews. It’s always a lot of fun.

This page will serve as the archive of the shows we do this year. Please bookmark it and come back often.

We run live video before we actually get started on the radio waves so the start of the videos may seem a little disorganized, but stick with them and you will hear real conversations based around hip-hip music and culture.

Amerigo Gazaway
Asheru
Bishop Nehru
Dessa
Devine Carama
DJ Z of DJ Booth
Guy (W.A.R. Media)
Has-Lo
Homeboy Sandman
J57
Louis Logic
Marco Polo
Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples
Random aka Mega Ran
Pharoahe Monch
Soul Khan
88 HIP HOP

A Mixtape to Celebrate 3 Months

 

Stacy 3

I met the love of my life 3 months ago and time has flown by. Yet, at the same time, it seems like it can’t have only been three months. It seems like I have know her much longer. And it’s a great feeling.

Her favourite song right now is All of Me by John Legend so I had to kick off the tape with it. I did play with the three month theme though with a creative intro. I won’t give it away, just press play and enjoy!

Help us celebrate by downloading or streaming this mixtape! 

01. John Legend – All of Me
02. American Authors – Best Day of My Life
03. Blake Shelton – Ten Times Crazier
04. Imagine Dragons – Demons
05. Dem Atlas – All We Got
06. Atmosphere – The World Might Not Live Through the Night
07. Avril / Evan – Best Years of Our Lives
08. Robyn – Show Me Love
09. Kriss Kross – Jump
10. Ina Kamozi – Hotstepper
11. Brad Paisley – Then
12. Tim McGraw – Just to See You Smile
13. Belly – Red
14. superGARAGE – Away
15. Bif Naked – Moment of Weakness
16. Goldfinger – Superman
17. Might Mighty Bosstones – The Impression That I Get
18. Reverie and LC Collective – Calm Before the Storm
19. Angel Haze – Battle Cry
20. The Flan – Don’t Tell Me

Download the album version (with skippable tracks)

or stream it with the player below!

Classrooms are Irrelevant (But Schools Aren’t)

ApexOn April 10, 2008, the Economist ran an article entitled “The New Oases: Nomadism Changes Buildings, Cities and Traffic”

I only discovered it because of the book I am currently reading, Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel.

I couldn’t help but see how this passage could be applied to our schools and classrooms. I think it is something we need to look closely at.  We are at an apex in our daily lives where we could continue on the way we always have, or make a sharp turn and end up in a better, more logical place.

Read this quotation and think of how it could be applied to our schools.

“The fact that people are no longer tied to specific places for functions such as studying or learning, says Mr. Mitchell, means that there is a ‘huge drop in demand for traditional, private, enclosed spaces’ such as offices or classrooms, and simultaneously a huge rise in demand for semi-public spaces that can be informally appropriated to ad-hoc workspaces. This shift, he thinks, amounts to the biggest change in architecture in this century.”

I want to run with this quotation because if we truly are no longer tied to specific places, does our current way of managing schools still make sense?

Here are my thoughts . . .

1) Don’t Assign Students to Specific Classrooms

Students should feel free to work where they want to in the school environment.

2) Develop a plan with a Specific Teacher and Be Held Accountable

I think students could soar to new heights academically if given more freedom in school. Now I know that there are detractors out there who believe that kids are lazy and wouldn’t do anything if we given them freedom in school.

The truth is, there are a great number of students completely unengaged in their current school work. It doesn’t speak to them and seems useless and trivial. I know that I don’t want to do busy-work. Why would my students?

3) Let’s Try Something New

Can we redesign school spaces and throw the current operating and organizational practices out the window?

Schools should be a place of learning that engages students and makes them want to strive to accomplish great things academically. Our schools, for the most part, don’t do that.

I know I want change. I think our students do too. It’s time to have this discussion.

Any thoughts?  

Please share them with a comment below or on Twitter with the hashtag #RedefineSchool

It’s time to turn a corner and to do so smartly!

Brock’s Route Rail Trail

Let’s explore The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Rail Trail today.

This trail runs for 32 kilometers and links downtown Hamilton to Brantford.

I started my journey today in Copetown, Ontario on Hwy 52, just North of Highway 403. It turns out that this portion of the trail follows the route that Major General Isaac Brock took between Hamilton and Port Dover through Brantford during the War of 1812.

I love how every kilometer of this trail is marked so it makes it really easy to track how far you’ve run.

I actually ran this trail last fall, as you can see from this picture. I just hadn’t gotten around to posting it yet. I really should go back and run another portion of the rail trail this summer too.

The trail is very flat and only runs in a straight line, for the most part. That is because this used to be a railroad at one point on time. I’m glad it was re-purposed as a nature trail.

The trail continues on the other side of Highway 52. I ran a kilometer or so down it and it is pretty much the same. I should start there next time I am in the neighbourhood.

There are a few farms alongside either side of the rail trail. I was glad to see the plaque about the importance of farms.

Explore More Trails 

Photographic Tour Archive (over 4 dozen trails and counting)

It’s Go Skateboarding Day!

go-skateboarding-day-logo-whiteToday is National Go Skateboarding Day!

There are all sorts of events, competitions, demonstrations, and fun for the entire family to be had today at skateparks all over the world.

Search for an event near you and go to a local event. Here are some of the great events you can attend in Southern, Ontario.

And if none of those tickle your fancy, a quick Google search will help you find one closer.

Enter to Win a Skateboard Prize Pack . . .

Take a photo at any West 49 Go Skateboarding Day Event, or between June 21st and June 26th, share it to Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #W49GoSkate to be instantly entered to win a Pro Skate Package, a $100 West 49 Gift Card, and a Dine Alone Records CD & Merchandise package!

Some Music to Celebrate! 

Download Music for Skaters: A Mixtape (free album version with skippable tracks) Or stream it with the player below.

The Fault in Our Stars

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’ve wanted to read this book for quite a long time. I’d heard about the author from a few of my blogging buddies who simple rave about his work. Yet, I’d never gotten around to reading anything from him prior to now.

I was finally motivated to read it, because I knew that several of my students were excited about the film version being released this summer. I managed to finish reading it the night before the film was released too. Whew, I avoided any possible spoilers.

The book was well-written and I enjoyed the story. I also liked the twist on the convention of “sick-people-stories.” It wasn’t about what the sick could teach the other characters. The other characters were almost inconsequential. This was a story about how teenagers with terminal illnesses live and interact.

One of the characters was concerned that he wouldn’t have a heroic death. People tend to romanticize death from illness, saying things like, “he fought the good fight, right till the end, and never complained.” But the characters make fun of that sentiment too.

It’s a great story that seems to say, “We all matter.”

I never felt sorry for the characters. John Green did a great job of making them feel real. I didn’t pity them for being sick, I just wanted to see them live and enjoy life while they could. They seemed to understand that all of our days are numbered. They were trying to figure it out just like we all are.

Now, I’m ready to go see the movie. Hope it lives up to the book!

My 2014 Reading Log – Have you read any of these titles? Let me know!

Gibbons Park – Trails Open London

Trails Open

Trails Open London was a great event that happened this past weekend. I got to explore a few trails that I didn’t even know about. That was the point of this inaugural event.

Gibbons Park

Gibbons Park was the second site that I visited for Trails Open. It is located only a few kilometers from downtown London, Ontario.

London Pacers

The London Pacers hosted the festivities that included trail runs, kids’ races, and a race-walking lesson.

Mulit-Use Trail

I was glad that the London Pacers were there to serve as tour guides. Otherwise, I might not have know that the paved multi-use trail branched off into a cross-country trail.

Entrance to Nature Trail

It doesn’t look like the main trail but this one continues along the waterfront for kilometers.

Gibbons Park Nature Trail

It was a really nice run.

Group Trail Run

This is one of the very few times that you will actually see fellow runners in my photographic tours. I normally run alone. But it was nice having company today.

White Trail

The trail is clearly marked as well, which is a bonus!

Find Out More

4 Ideal Apps for Creative Writers

Ideal AppsAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US, the employment opportunities for writers and authors is projected to grow 3 percent from by 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Despite this fact, strong competition is expected for full-time jobs because of the attraction of the occupation.

Writers and authors provide written content for advertisements, books, magazines, movie and television scripts, songs, and online publications. Although it sounds fun, creative writing is one of the most challenging jobs out there. Even the most professional writers still struggle to think of story ideas to put down on paper.

Thanks to the rise of digital technology, various apps have been developed to make everyone’s jobs easier even that of a creative writer’s. This article will give you a roundup of some of the most amazing creative writing apps on the market.

Some of them are being used by teachers to support and enhance creative writing lessons for their students.  Teachers can also use them to stay organized in all aspects of their career and personal life as well.

Here are 4 Ideal Apps you can try . . .

EVERNOTE (Android, iOS, Windows)

Evernote is the perfect app for storing research. It syncs audio recordings, photos, scans, and text notes between devices making them searchable. Evernote is the ideal for your on-the-go needs. The free app has many features but if you want to keep a history of your notes, it is best to purchase the premium account.

INDEX CARD (iOS)

Index Card is for writers who believe in outlining and jotting down notes. You can also quickly shuffle them around a virtual corkboard to fix structural problems.

GOODREADER (iOS)

This editing app puts an end to the traditional way of editing a manuscript that involves massive amounts of paper. Through GoodReader, all you have to do is save a PDF and mark up the document with a stylus. It lets you interact with the text as if it were a printed page.

BRAINSTORMER (iOS)

The Brainstormer is an app that spins a wheel to randomly combine plots, subjects and styles. For fun, you can even add your own scenarios, if you don’t like the included wheel options.

QUICK TIP

When using these apps, it is important to make sure to check your battery life to avoid losing essential data. According to experts from mobile gaming app pocketfruity.com, it is ideal to adjust the brightness of your screen to a more suitable level, to lessen the energy consumption. This way you can prolong your mobile device’s battery power.

If you have other writing app suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below.

GUEST BLOGGER TODAY – Evie Barton

TEACHING TIP TUESDAYArchive

Nothing Better than a Good Street Fest

This past weekend, the main street in Downtown London was closed to traffic and the Forest City threw an amazing Street Party!

Trails Open Gainsborough 022

My campus radio station was highlighting local talent on two different stages along the two kilometers of Dundas Street.

Trails Open Gainsborough 023

There were plenty of vendors to visit and activities to do.

Trails Open Gainsborough 021

I’ve been to plenty of street parties and invariably, there are usually a few skateboarders there, but I’d never seen a make-shift skatepark as part of the celebration.

They had three quarter-pipes, a box, and a rail. They organizers gave away prizes randomly for great tricks too. There were quite a few skaters and an enthusiastic audience. It was definitely one of the highlights of Dundas Street Fest!

What an awesome weekend!