Monthly Archives: July 2014

Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected

Six Pixels of Separation Book
Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone by Mitch Joel

In this day and age we are all connected via the power of modern communication devices. Everyone I know has access to the Internet, whether at home, on a mobile phone, or at the public library. And with the proliferation of social media, we are pretty much all connected to one another.

In this book, Mitch Joel plays off of the Six Degrees of Separation idea, meaning that within six steps, we can be connected to virtually anyone on the planet. His clever use of the word pixel means just that, we are all connected. Everyone. Especially in this digital age.

Here are a few of the take-home ideas I got as I read this book . . .

Duty to Respond in a Digital Age

Mitch Joel believes, “it is critical that you never be silent if someone emails you, blogs or podcasts about you, or interviews you for an article . . . Make this your one golden rule, and make a commitment that you will never break it.”

I try my best to respond to legitimate online communiqués. I know that there are several that I have ignored over the past several years. And I am trying to get better at that.

Finding the Time

“Having the time to response is a huge and realistic issue, but we can’t afford to have the attitude that people are too busy to respond to every comment or posting.”

“As much as you can, be responsive and be thankful. Do it now. And, as the old saying goes, “People always have time for the things that are important to them.”

That makes sense. It only takes a minute to fire off a quick response if we do it as soon as it comes to our attention. I know that I’ve opened email and said to myself “later” only to have that message sit in my inbox for weeks and weeks. And then, it seems like I’ve missed the opportunity to even respond anymore. And I delete the email.

Finding New Ways to Use Everything

“Did you know that 20 percent of all searches done on Google every single day are searches that have never been done in the engine before?

That’s crazy. I figured people searched for the same things over and over again. I guess not. There are novel searches being done every day, and not just people looking for books. See what I did there?

“Google also engenders a philosophy that the consumers and the community are going to do many things to your business that are unknown and potentially not in your control, You have to be open to this type of reality. The inventor rarely knows what the invention is for.”

I know that I have used a TV entertainment stand as a book case for binders and often come up with inventive ways to use what I have at hand.

How it Worked for Twitter

“The primary function of Twitter was to let everyone know what was happening in your life at that particular moment . . . Somewhere, someone along the way started adding the @ sign with no space and then the user name of the person they were responding to . . . From there, everyone was able to do a quick search for the phrase “@chasemarch” to see if it was mentioned.

As this idea spread, it became a new way of communicating, connecting, and sharing. The Wisdom of Crowds prevailed, Instead of waiting for Twitter to develop a function outside of the original intention of enabling individuals to connect to one another . . . the community developed a primitive workaround. This workaround has now become not only core to the functionality of Twitter, but . . . this type of communication has widened—without Twitter doing much at all.”

That was news to me. I joined Twitter after this had already become a reality for the platform. A way of sharing became a method of communicating. And it is by far my favourite way to communicate with almost anybody. I rarely use email. Twitter is so much more efficient and effective. I am so happy that early adopters of this platform transformed Twitter into what it is today. Thank you!

My 2014 Reading Log – 3 dozen titles and counting

Thames Park Trail

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Thames Park is located close to the downtown core of London, Ontario and it is the starting point for the latest Visual Running Tour! 

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I started off at the Wortley Road entrance and ran past the playground and community pool. I went over the main bridge to get to the other side of the river.

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This is where the Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) continues.

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The TVP is a fully-accessible trail that is good for strollers, rollerblades, skateboards, and of course, runners.

A few bicyclists zoomed passed me this afternoon as well. But I always make sure to stick to the right side of the trail for just that reason.

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This is where I started off running The Thames Valley Parkway last time. There are 40 kilometers of linked trails. Maybe I should try to run the whole route, bit-by-bit this summer.

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I’m not a big fan of paved trails but one that traverses the entire city is a great idea. And one that follows the river is beautiful.

More Trails

Click on the Photographic Tours button at the top of the page and explore the 50 or so routes I have posted there.

West Lions Skatepark (London, ON)

West Lions Park

I’ve been living in London for a few years now and I only just discovered this amazing skatepark.

West Lions Halfpipe

It has the best half-pipe that I have ever seen at a free outdoor facility.

Halfpipe

I like that the ramp is wide and not too tall. It is also very well-maintained.

Street Course

West Lions Park looks like a great place to spend an afternoon. Besides the half-pipe, there is a cute little street course. It is a bit small but nice nonetheless. I love the contour for doing tricks along the edge and the rail blocks that aren’t as scary as regular rails.

There is also a Splash Pad on the site to cool down after a great skate session.

Nice Rail

This might just be my new favourite skate spot.

Skatepark Zone

I hope you enjoyed this tour of The West Lions Skatepark Zone and I hope to see you out there one day this summer!

More Skatepark Tours

The Tenth Doctor Lives On

Doctor Who - Tesseract

Doctor Who – Tesseract

I love the fact that the Tenth Doctor lives on in graphic novels. I was fortunate enough to find this book in a discount bin. I didn’t matter that I hadn’t read Volume One, this book was still a great read.

Doctor Who TPB

Doctor Who: The Forgotten

This is the first graphic novel that I have ever read digitally.

I downloaded it to my iPhone using an app called Comixology and it only cost me $3.99 for the book.

It was pretty cool too because the app led you through the comic panel by panel. And when there was an entire page of artwork to consume, it gave you a close up of the speech bubble, and then when you swiped the screen to continue, it pulled back to show you the entire page.

The story was really good as well. The Doctor finds himself in a museum that is dedicated to him. The only problem is that he can’t remember his past or his future. Good thing that Martha is there to help him out and that a few of the objects stimulate some memories.

We get to experience all the Doctors in this issue as the tenth recounts some of his old adventures. Even better than that, there are a few panels where all Ten Doctors are together.

Doctor Who -

That’s awesome!

My 2014 Reading Log – comics, novels, teaching-related titles, writing books, and more.

Windsor Waterfront Trail

Windor Trail

It’s time to explore Windsor’s Riverfront Park Trail.

Mulit-use trail

The trail has a section for leisurely strolls (on the far right) and it has a paved trail for anyone who wants to roll along on skates or bicycles.

Distance Marker

I love the brilliant trail markers that let you know how far you’ve traveled!

Observation Dock

This is a nice observation dock. The waterfront here seems to be a very popular spot for fishing.  Not sure why but no one was camped out here during my run.

Paved Trail

I love running along a beautiful waterfront!

Sculpture Info

This plaque gives some of the history about the sculptures that are placed all along this 5 kilometer route.

Waterfront walkway

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Windsor Shore Line

I’m not used to seeing sights like this. I really enjoyed this trip to Windsor!

Cobblestone Path

This portion of the trail is done in stamp concrete and has plenty of benches and places to stop and rest in the shade.

Winsor Waterfront

Thanks for coming along with me on this Visual Running Tour!

Photographic Tour Archive – over 4 dozen great trails to hike, run, or bike.

Everything is Awesome! (Do we overuse that adjective?)

Everything is AwesomeHave you seen the Lego Movie?

Emmet, the main character of the film, continually refers to everything as awesome. There is a catchy song to go with this sentiment as well.

Emmet isn’t the only person to over-use the word awesome.

“Awesome” gets bandied about way more than it probably should be. Not everything can be awesome.

Here is a tidbit of wisdom on the subject from the book Get It Done by Sam Bennett.

Get it Done book

“In his book Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins says, ‘The inability to correctly perceive reality is often responsible for humans’ insane behavior. And every time they substitute an all-purpose, sloppy slang word for the words that would accurately describe an emotion or a situation, it lowers their reality orientations, pushes them further from shore, out onto the foggy waters of alienation and confusion.”

So maybe, we should be a little more respectful of this awesome word and use it only when it is called for. I mean, not everything can be as awesome as this blog post or The Lego Movie, right?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Part 6 (of 3)

Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy 6

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: Part Six of Three – And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer

I was really surprised to see this book at the public library a few weeks back. I’d always counted myself as a fan of this series. I’ve read the first book, devoured the BBC television series, and even heard a few of the old radio programs.

And yet, I had no idea that this book even existed. I thought the series was a “trilogy in five parts.” After all, that is how Douglas Adams’ billed it. And that’s all that he wrote.

This new addition to the canon was written by someone else. That fact would have normally turned me off right away but Eoin Colfer is a brilliant writer and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from him.

So, I picked up the book and started to read. I was surprised to see that Colfer was able to channel Adams as well as he did. It felt like Adams wrote this book. It is in that dry, shooting off on random tangents, witty-humour-style that we’ve come to expect from the complete five book series.

Make sure you add this sixth book to your collection if you are a fan of the series. Colfer knocked it out of the park. Just when we thought the adventure was over, here comes one more thing.

And the book ends with the title phrase still lingering, “And another thing . . . ”

Which makes us all wonder if the adventure truly is over.

My 2014 Reading List – constantly updated with every new title I read this year

Exercise Trail in Cambridge, Ontario

Bob McMullen Trail

Last year, I showed you the running route I took along the Bob McMullen Trail in Cambridge, Ontario. Today, I want to show you the exercise trail that runs along the route as well.

Chin-Up

There are several of these stations placed along the trail route. Each station has specific equipment and instructions about how to do the exercises properly.

Exercise 1

This is the entire station and as you can see, there are four different exercises you can do here.

Exercise Station

I always wondered what those parallel bars were for.

Hip Flexes

Here are some exercises you can do on any bench. Lots of the trails I run on have benches throughout the route. Maybe they are for more than just taking a short break.

History Sign

This poster illustrates the historical significance of the area.

Exercise trails such as this one are rare. I’ve only seen this type of arrangement in a few places. I remember going to one of theses as a kid and I love running ahead to the next station. I will have to look that up again. I wonder if it is still there.

Do you have a great trail to recommend?

Please leave a comment below or take a few pictures and contribute a post to this blog. Just contact me and I’ll be happy to have you as a guest contributor for Silent Cacophony.

Thanks!

WIHH 4 – Complete Broadcast Download

WIHH4 logoDOPEfm celebrates International Women’s Day every year by dedicating our entire overnight’s programming to the Women in Hip-Hop.

Here is the easiest way to download DOPEfm’s Fourth Annual Women in Hip-Hop Special.

These zipped files will give you all 8 parts of the show as they aired on 93.3 CFMU.

WIHH 4 – Part 1 of 3
WIHH 4 – Part 2 of 3
WIHH 4 – Part 3 of 3

You can click on each part below to read the description of the segment and download the individual files as well.

1) Celebrating International Women’s Day – Hip-Hop Style
2) Roundtable Discussion (with Dessa, E-Turn, Lodo, and Reverie)
3) Miss DJ (interview and guest mix-set)
4) Shay D (in-depth interview)
5) Mixset (Chase March spins female-fronted hip-hop tunes)
6) Dessa (a spotlight with music and talk)
7) Know Your History Special (an exploration of motherhood in hip-hop)
8) Rapsody (a spotlight with music and talk)

Thanks for listening!

Star Trek Scrabble Win

Star Trek Scrabble

Star Trek Scrabble is a really cool variant of my all-time favourite board game.

I bought this for my dad a few years back. We’d always enjoyed Scrabble and are huge Star Trek fans, so it was only logical for us to play this. See what I did there?

One of the coolest things about this version of Scrabble is that, not only can you use Star Trek terms and proper names from the Original series, but you can get bonus points for doing so.

In all of the games we have played, I have never been able to spell a “Star Trek” word. That was why I was so excited to have this word on my rack.

Waiting on Spock

I held onto that word for about 5 turns. I was determined to play it and score the 20 bonus points.

But alas, the board wouldn’t cooperate with me and there was simply nowhere to play “Spock.”

I know that my dad would have gotten a kick out of just the possibility of playing that word.

86 Point Scrabble Word

I did manage to score 86 points with a single word, however.

It’s a word that I had never spelled before in a game of Scrabble either. And even better than that, it fell across 2 double word scores. And to top that, it used 7 tiles so I got a 50 point bonus.

“MATINEE” was an 86 point word.

That was awesome!

5 Words

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I found this on Tumblr and was really inspired.

I would love to build a lesson around it.

  1. Have the students write their own 5 Word Sentences
  2. Have each student share one of the sentences.
  3. Challenge students to create a 5 Sentence Paragraph using only 5 Word Sentences.
  4. Have a sharing session.
  5. Discuss the pros and cons of using only 5 words.
  6. Share the above images and discuss the importance of varying sentence length.

Isn’t that a great idea?

There’s tons more every Tuesday right here on Silent Cacophony.

Visit the Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive for tons of great tips, tricks, and lessons.

Summer Break

Teaching Tip Tuesday will be taking a short hiatus for the summer break. This weekly feature will start back up again in late August. Enjoy your summer and don’t work too hard. Even though I know you probably will. I know I am already thinking about the new school year.

New Posting Schedule

For the summer. new posts will drop every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Bechtel Park Trail

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Let’s go trail running and explore the beautiful Bechtel Park in Waterloo, Ontario!

bechtel park trail entrance

The trails begins on the other sides of the soccer fields.

bechtel park trail

The trail runs through a forested area. There a a few short hills along the route too.

bechtel park bridge

I can’t resist a bridge over a creek. I probably should have today though.

bechtel park overgrown

The path was really over-grown on this side of the bridge. Many of the plants were prickly as well. My legs got a little bit scratched up.

bechtel park wood chip

So, I turned around, headed back over the bridge, and re-joined the main path.

bechtel park creek

Next time, I will stay on the main trail for the entire run. There were several off-shoots of it and I am sure they link up for a great running route.

Explore More Trails

Photographic Tours – I collect trails and post pictures and narratives here!

Chasing Content – July 2013

Chasing Content JulyIt’s time to grab the excavator and dig through the archives.

We do this at the start of every month to look back at what was happening last year at this time.

Read all of the posts from last July, 

or just these favourites . . .

A Run to the Lighthouse

I never ran to a lighthouse before. That was a pretty cool trail run!

Hash-Tag Rap Explained

Twitter revolutionized the way we communicate and it even influenced a new poetic style in hip-hop. Or is it that new?

I explore the history of Hash-Tag rap and trace it’s origins back to the very start. You’ll be surprised at where this journey takes us. Read, listen, or download the podcast / radio show. It’s one of my favourite episodes.

The Word  is Bond Rap Radio Hour

I started doing The Word is Bond Podcast over two years ago.

Last year at this time, we decided to rebrand the show as The Word is Bond Rap Radio Hour. 

More recently, I started a new two-hour radio program on 94.9 CHRW so I dropped the word “hour” and now refer to the program as Word is Bond Rap Radio or WIB Rap Radio for short.

Gareth Malone and the Power of The Choir

Gareth Malone inspires me. I’m not a singer but his ability to bring a group of musicians together in any situation is absolutely incredible. BBC documents his journeys is several different television series. The Choir is one of the best and I have enjoyed every season.

This book is a behind-the-scenes look at the television series and it was a great read too!

Thanks for Chasing Content with me.

No sense in letting these great post getting buried in the archive. So, dig them up, click on the links above, and enjoy!

Canada Day Hip-Hop Style

Let’s Celebrate Canada Day with a nice hip-hop mix of homegrown talent.

The first half of the program is a mix of old and new Canadian hip-hop jams. Then, we finish off the show by dedicating the last half hour to the ladies of the north. We have some amazing talent in this country and it’s important to shed a light on hip-hop’s better half.

So, press play, enjoy the tunes, and Have a Wonderful Canada Day!

You can stream this mix with the player below, or click on the download link to take it with you wherever your holiday plans may bring you.

Part 1 – The Jams

Just Poets – Push to Strive
Flowtilla (Lee Reed and Mother Tareka) – Stop Line 9
Anonymous Twist – Stepped On
D-Sisive – If
Concrete Mob – Boiling Point
Relic aka Rel McCoy – Wink and a Nod
Theo 3 – I’ll Be Betteer
Wrabeanz – Canadian Dreaming

Part 2 – Canadian Women Rock the Mic!

Eternia – Final Offering
Lady ASG – The Thesis
Nilla / DJ Rummage – Us
Loowop ft Isis – The Love Haters
Kool Krys – Let Me Play
Class of 93 – Soul Runner
Skulastic – The Bridge
Haviah Mighty – Out the Door
Teck Zilla / Sonyae – L.O.V.E.
Eternia and Moss – Any Man

And for more great Canadian hip-hop, make sure to visit these websites