Monthly Archives: November 2015

Springwater Trail Run

Springwater East Day Use Site

Springwater Forest is part of Catfish Creek Conservation Area and is located in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Springwater Run Along the Water

The trails through the forest are absolutely beautiful.

Springwater Boardwalk

This boardwalk leads over a lush bog.

Springwater Bridge

There are several foot bridges along the route as well.

Springwater Dock

I only stop at the observation docks long enough to snap a picture. They would be a great place to stop for  a picnic though.

Springwater Info Plaque

I appreciate the information plaques,

Springwater Rest Station

rest stations,

Springwater Swamp

and the natural beauty everywhere.

Springwater You are Here

The trails were clearly marked and easy to follow.

Springwater Run Route

Here’s a map showing the route I took today.

Springwater Boat Dock and Beach

There’s even a beach to cool off afterwards. What a beautiful run!

Photographic Tours – over 50 great places for a trail run

Ward Indoor Skatepark and Shop

Launch Ramps

Ward Skatepark and Shop is located at 199 Victoria Rd S, Guelph, ON.

Beginner Street Course

It is a warehouse style indoor facility with tons of great ramps and obstacles.

Grind Ledges

It is open year-round and offers membership and daily use passes.

Half Pipe

This is a really nice half-pipe.

Mini Mini-Ramp

This is truly a mini-ramp. I love it!

Quarter Pipes

There are all sorts of launch ramps.

View from the Half Pipe

The graffiti is a nice aesthetic touch as well.

Ward Skatepark Geulph

The park is well-designed and maintained.

Warehouse Style Skatepark

It’s worth a trip to Guelph!

More Great Places to Skate

Record Collecting for EVERYONE!

Record Collecting for Girls

Record Collecting for Girls by Courtney E. Smith

Why would I read a book entitled, Record Collecting for Girls?

Because Record Collecting is for Everybody!

Just like feminism.

feminism_is_for_everybody_bell_hooks

Both of these are great books and while the former isn’t necessarily about feminism, it does touch on some major issues. Courtney E. Smith explains . . .

“I felt it was important to make each week’s show a 50/50 split of male and female artists, and I was amazed by how difficult it was to achieve gender balance.”

I know that struggle all too well. I want Word is Bond Rap Radio to feature female voices on it regularly. I do my best to play at least one female track an episode, and every International Women’s Day is dedicated to the Women in Hip-Hop. But maybe, that’s not enough.

Smith talks about how many of the female popular musicians seem to fall into the same category. For some reason, they all take the same lane. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. She sums it up like this . . .

“I don’t want another Rihanna. I want to know this: Where’s the female equivalent of the Foo Fighters?”

Great question. And there is no easy answer to it. We’ve had only had a handful of female rap groups that have many any sort of noise. There is one group on the horizon now, Heresy. I hope they bring back a resurgence of female rap groups. We need this voice in hip-hop.

I enjoyed reading Record Collecting for Girls and will be writing more posts about it soon. I want to look at how Smith explores soundtracks, Top 5 lists, guilty pleasures, and break-up songs.

Keep it locked to this blog for more.

My List of 2015 Reads – 40 books and counting

Archie Coulter Conservation Area Trail

Archie Coulter Conservation Area

Archie Coulter Conservation Area is in St. Thomas, Ontario. I stumbled across it by chance and just knew I had to go for a run and explore.

Archie Coulter Trail

I didn’t realize that there was a formal parking lot a little further down the road until the end of my run. But this entrance was nice too.

Archie Coulter Bridge

After a kilometer in, I came to this bridge.

Archie Coulter in Autumn

I stayed on the main trail and it looped up nicely.

Archie Coulter River Bank

Running alongside the river was really nice.

Archie Coulter Woods

I ran a couple different loops and covered 4.5 kilometers today. It was a very nice run!

Photographic Tours – Over 50 Great Places for a Trail Run

My 2015 Running Season

I had a lot of fun out on the trails this season.

It is the first time I actually have data about all of those runs, however.

It is nice to have an app on my phone that not only tracks the distance I run every time, but also records the time, my average pace, and keeps track of any personal best that I may have reached that particular day.

Running Season

Here are the official stats for My 2015 Running Season.

  • Total Kilometers – 300.7 km
  • Total Trail Runs – 61
  • Average Distance Covered – 4.92 km
  • Average Pace  – 05:42 per km
  • Farthest Run – 8.02 k,
  • Longest Run – 44:22 mins
  • Fastest Kilometer – 04:27
  • Fastest Mile – 07:22
  • Fastest 5 km – 25:09

Keep in mind that I usually run trails with a lot of hills and challenging footing. As such, my pace is a little slower than it would be on flat, even ground.

On average I find that on a flat surface I can cover a kilometer is just over four minutes. On the trail, it takes me about five and a half minutes to do so.

Here are the individual run statistics starting from the most recent trail run to the start of my 2015 season.

Running Season Page 1

Running Season Page 2

It was a late start to the running season this year. I did run a few times before I started using the app, however.

Starting running again after a winter off, is always a tough process. My first two weeks of getting back into it are rather slow and are for a much shorter distance. That’s why I didn’t track those runs using the app.

I like having this data to look back on. Now I can see how consistent I am from season to season.

All I know is that my personal best for a 5 km is 19:03. It seems, I am past my prime days. But I am proud of these numbers and can’t wait for it to get warm enough, for the trails to be run-worthy again, and to see if I can smash any of these records next year.

I still have a few new running spots that I haven’t blogged about yet. I will do so in the next couple of weeks to add to the vast collection of trails I already have.

See you on the trails soon!

Grimsby’s Memorial Skatepark

Shayne Armstrong Skatepark

Shayne Armstrong Memorial Skatepark is located in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada.

Box and Rail

It has all the typical ramps you would expect to see at an outdoor park.

Bump Launch

The ramps and obstacles are spread out nicely to allow a great flow when skateboarding.

Grinds

There are several ledges to do grind tricks on.

Half-pipe

There are three ramps here and one of them is part of a half-pipe.

Quarter-pipe

It serves as a great mini-ramp, complete with coping on either side.

Memorial Graffiti

I like how this skatepark is relatively graffiti free. They do have a few pieces such as this one on posts just off to the side of the cement course.

Pyramid

This pyramid box is nice.

ramps

I really love skating here and I think you will too.

Visual Skatepark Tours – Over a dozen great spots to skate!

Divine Styler – The Story of a Hip Hop Zine

Ryan Somers - Divine Styler

In Search Of . . . Divine Styler by Ryan Somers aka Fritz the Cat

Before the Internet made it possible to easily publish and distribute content, and before the popularity of blogs and social media, there were independent, do-it-yourself publications known as zines.

Zines were a labour of love for would-be journalists who simply wanted to share their passion with the world. Fritz the Cat was one of the best to ever do it.

His humble photocopied mini-magazine travelled far and made a lot of noise. It got reviewed and mentioned in mainstream magazines, song lyrics, and radio interviews. Now the story is being told in a book that features some of the content from the zine as well as commentary and special features.

It’s obvious that Fritz the Cat is a underground hip-hop aficionado. He managed to get exclusive interviews with Ras Kass, Abstract Rude, MF Doom, Aceyalone before many mainstream publications did so.

He even fulfilled his mission to bring Divine Styler back to the hip-hop realm. Maybe that was all due to the magazine and its huge influence. Perhaps things were already in motion for that to happen. The cool thing is that Divine Styler himself discovered the magazine and Fritz the Cat was able to meet him and get a guest article in this book.

I also like the fact that Fritz the Cat was a big proponent of the local hip-hop scene. It was before my time in London, Ontario, but the scene is still strong today thanks to the foundation he helped lay.

This book is a nice trip back in time to the mid to late 1990s featuring artwork, original zine pages and covers, and commentary about the entire journey.

My List of 2015 Reads – my detailed reading log

 

Schools Can Be So Much Greener

Making Our Schools GreenerWhen we think of the cost of school, we rarely think of the buildings themselves. It is important to remember that they have both a financial cost and an environmental one.

Energy Use

“School buildings are the third biggest energy users. A mid-size school district may spend $1 million yearly on energy, a number that is increasing by around 19 percent each year.”

I found that number to be mind-blowing when reading the article, 10 Ways to Green Your School by J.H. Fearless. And that wasn’t the only thing that caught my attention.

Environmental Costs

“Poor indoor air quality negatively affects students’ performance, and schools remain a huge source of pollution and waste that degrades the environment.”

I know some of our old buildings aren’t the best places for students to learn. I hadn’t even thought about any negative health consequences associated with our schools. It definitely is something worth considering.

“Going to school can actually harm your health. Nearly half of all schools (43 percent) have unsatisfactory indoor environmental conditions, and 20 percent have unsatisfactory air quality. That’s partly due to aging school buildings, but also related to an overall decrease in indoor air quality thanks to reduced air circulation and more synthetic substances in our daily lives. One in ten school-age kids now suffer from asthma, so poor air quality isn’t just an annoyance—it can be life threatening.”

What Needs to Be Done

Our schools need some major upgrades. But there are also things that we can do as teachers and students to makes things better.

So, let’s “take action to improve indoor air quality and reduce exposure to toxic substances for all teachers and students.”

Organize Classroom Cleanup Days

Sometimes, it’s hard to keep a classroom clean. I try my best to keep my work area clean for purely aesthetic reasons, but there are health benefits too.

“Some of the biggest health concerns lurking in your classroom exists under all your stuff. Cluttered surfaces, cupboards, and corners harbor dust and mold. Organize some classmates or fellow parents to stay after school once a month to declutter. You’ll help reduce asthma triggers, and your teachers and custodians will thank you.”

Use Green Cleaning / Maintenance Materials

“Toxic cleaning supplies, pest poisons, paints, furnishing finishes, and even chemical fertilizers and ice melt threaten kids’ health. They’re also toxic to cleaning and maintenance staff. Ask your school administration to seek out green solutions to various issues, including sidewalk weed control, ice melt in the winter months, and cleaning products.”

Get an Air Quality Meter

“Want to get a clearer idea of what you’re really breathing? Work with students and parents to raisefunds for or ask the school to invest in air quality meters, which will help students manage asthma. Additionally, the meters notify the school of any serious air quality issues, such as high CO2 levels, or elevated moisture that could cause mold.”

Organize a Local Food Day

“Consider teaming up with local restaurants, farms, or even food trucks to bring fresh, local food to school once a month or once every few months. Kids will get a chance to learn the benefits of local food, and you’ll be supporting the small businesses in your community.”

Set Up A Green Club

“Take environmental education into your own hands. A student club can take real action on school issues. Your club may create a school-wide recycling or composting program; learn about growing your own food with a school garden; organize cleanup and planting days; raise funds for green initiatives; and even take part in statewide and national green schools competitions. Through all this, students will learn leadership, teamwork, and how great feels to make a positive difference.”

Form a Carpooling, Cycling, or Walking Group

“Save time for busy parents, conserve energy, and make friends with a community carpool or other transportation group. By getting together with your neighbors, you can find new, more efficient ways to get to and from school. Carpools are the time-tested solution, but if you live close enough to your school, think about organizing a group to ride bikes or walk together. As a bonus, parent chaperones will get their daily exercise, too.”

Install Energy Meters

“It’s a lot easier to understand energy use when you can see it in action. Energy meters that are visible to any student and teacher aren’t just great learning tools— they can also encourage everyone to conserve energy and water throughout the day. Many schools have started sharing their energy use in this way. Monitoring not only creates savings for the school’s power, heat, and water budgets, but can also be incorporated into friendly school-wide competitions and classroom sustainability lessons.”

Save Money, Save the Environment

“If you asked your school administration, they’d probably be the first to tell you that they would love to upgrade your school with more modern, sustainable, and healthy features. Unfortunately, most schools have tight budgets, and they have to make tough choices about how to allocate funds.”

That said, it shouldn’t be surprising that environmentally sustainable schools—with increased efficiency and health benefits—are also more financially sustainable. For example:

It Increases Efficiency and Health Benefits

Test scores and learning ability improve by three to five percent when a school incorporates natural daylight—equating to an annual earning increase of $532 per student.

Building a green school costs less than 2 percent more than a conventional school (about $3 per square foot) but provides 20 times the financial benefits.

A green school saves an average of $100,000 annually—enough to hire two new teachers, buy 250 new computers, or purchase 5000 new textbooks.

Green schools utilize 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water than traditional schools.

On average, a green school produces:

  • 1,200 fewer pounds of nitrogen oxides (a principal component of smog)
  • 1,300 fewer pounds of sulfur dioxide (a principal cause of acid rain)
  • 585,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas)
  • 150 fewer pounds of coarse particulate matter (a principal cause of respiratory illness)
  • 74 percent less waste

Do Your Part

How can you help your school go green? Start by reducing energy use, water use, waste, and pollution in everyday action. Calculate the savings your actions are creating, and lobby the school district to set aside that money for upgrades and improvements to facilities.

Teaching Tip Tuesday – Once a month, we feature articles designed by teachers for teachers