Monthly Archives: December 2015

How I Did with My 2015 Goals

2015 GoalsI set some goals for myself at the start of the year. I think this is a good practice. But setting goals doesn’t do anything without a little reflection.

So, let’s look back at the ones I set and see how I did with them.

MY SET GOALS

1. Revise, Polish, and Actively Seek Ways to Get My Novels Published

Didn’t do this again!

I really need to work on this is 2016.

2. Write Something New

I didn’t do this either. All I wrote were blog posts this year.

3. Continue Producing Quality Radio

I stepped up my game with this one. I produced countless interviews, radio documentaries, and have knocked out some great mixsets as well.

4. Stay Fit 

I ran 300 kilometers this season, collected new trails, went swimming, hiking, skateboarding, and had tons of fun while stating fit.

5. Read a Lot

I still managed to do this one. I would have fallen short though had I not injured my back. I was able to get a lot more reading done in December because of that injury,

6. Revise and Track My Goals

That was the plan. I didn’t do it though.

NEW GOALS THAT SPRUNG UP THIS YEAR

But I did achieve a few goals for myself that I hadn’t set out to do.

DJ at Live Events

I am so happy that I got to DJ at some pretty amazing concerts, venues, and private parties this year.

Launched Chase March DJ Services

I love deejaying and plan on taking it even further in 2016.

SET-BACKS

I had a few set-backs this year, but I can ultimately say that I am happier than I had been for the past couple of years. I have a great girlfriend, have been making moves with my music and radio career, and have been putting in work trying to find my new career.

Big things are going to happen in 2016!

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

Thanks for being on this ride with me!

2015 Reading Challenge – How’d I Do?

I found this reading challenge at the start of the year and thought it was a great idea. Truth be told though, I never glanced at it a second time throughout the entire year.

I already blog about every book I read, and manage to put up a new post every week. So, finding books according to a list seemed a little restricting to me. So, now that the year is over, let’s see what I can knock off of this list.

2015 Reading Challenge

20/50

Not too bad, I guess, since I didn’t actively choose books according to this checklist.

Although, it seems I didn’t read as much this year as I did since starting my annual reading log 4 years ago.

Here are the stats,

2012 – 65 Books
2013 – 61 Books
2014 – 78 Books
2015 – 60 Books

That’s a pretty good amount of books read in four years. And it is quite varied as well. I read memoirs, novels, comics, teaching books, writing books, books about music, and a fair bit of non-fiction.

Let’s see how I do in 2016!

Psycho-Cybernetics

Psycho-Cybernetics

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

I read this book when I was a teenager and it blew me away. I decided that I needed to brush the dust off it and give it a re-read.

This book was written by a plastic surgeon who noticed something interesting in his practice. He would operate on people who might have had a disfigurement or small flaw. And after the procedure, some people were ultimately happier, and others still saw themselves the same way.

He sums it up this way, “You act, and feel, not according to what things are really like, but according to the image your mind holds of what they are like.” 

In other words, our thoughts have way more power than we usually consider. Did you know that your body can’t tell the difference between an imagined experience and a real one?

We can even hold false truths that hold us back from achieving what we want to. Maltz says, “every human being is hypnotized to some extent, either by ideas he has uncritically accepted from others, or ideas he has repeated to himself or convinced himself are true.”

There are chapters in this book that deal with creativity and where it comes from. He tells us how we can nurture ideas and even shares with us his “Five Rules for For Freeing Your Creative Machinery”

He believes that we are machines and within each of us is a success mechanism. He shows us how to unlock that, how to get what we want in life, and how to be happy. And that all comes down to our thoughts.

Abarham Lincoln said it best, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Maltz says . . .

We can acquire the “habit of success”; we can build into our gray matter patterns and feelings of success at any time and at any age.”

This book is so full of wisdom. I highly recommend it! I’m glad I re-read it, but most of his lessons stuck with me over the past twenty years. It truly was a game changer for me.

I hope you enjoy it too!

My List of 2015 Reads – my annual reading log (now complete)

Wit’s End – The Line Between Fiction and Reality

Wit's End

Wit’s End by Karen Joy Fowler

This novel revolves around a successful author who values her privacy. She has a unique way of planning her mysteries. For each book, she builds a diorama in a doll house. This allows her to plan out the murder scene in detail. She never lets anyone see these, however.

Her detective character has spanned several books and television shows and everyone is eager for the next chapter. It had been several years since her last book.

He granddaughter comes to visit her and discovers something interesting about the books. Fans have written letters to the fiction characters, as if they were real. And to complicate things, her father is a character in one of the books. There is quite a similarity between the fictional character and her real life kin.

This book explores the relationship between fiction and reality, the way people feel about fictional characters, and how they can become a part of our lives.

My List of 2015 Reads – detailed personal reading log with links to each title

 

Little Brother – A Great Read!

Little_Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

I love reading Young Adult fiction. Maybe we don’t need this distinction when it comes to novels. A great story is a great story no matter who it is aimed at. And this one definitely fits that.

There is a passage in this book from the main character’s point of view that suggests everyone should learn how to code. We all use computers everyday, but most of us have no idea how they work.

I haven’t had the time or desire to learn a computer language since the old school days of BASIC. But I see how it could be beneficial.

Of course, knowing computers so well, gets our main character into trouble. He is also able to use those skills to get himself and his friends out of trouble and help reshape a society crippled by terrorist attacks.

It’s a thriller, mixed with a lite bit of science fiction. It deals with the issue of how the Internet should be free and accessible to all. To further hammer home this point, the author has made this book available to download for free.

This was  a real page turner and I highly recommend it.

My List of 2015 Reads – very nearly complete now (Stay tuned)

 

 

Top 15 Albums of 2015

I started this tradition in 2009. I came up with the Top 9 Albums that year and have been adding an album to list every year.

For some reason though, I only posted that list last year on The Word is Bond and not here on Silent Cacophony.

So here is this year’s list. Please add your choices or thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks!

Joey_Badass_B4.Da.$$

15. Joey Bada$$ – B4.Da.$$

He has dropped a few mixtapes, but this was his first album and it definitely lives up to the hype. The record has the aesthetic of the 90s boom-bap that I love, while at the same time, commenting on problems in the modern age, and intelligent lyrics.

John Robinson and Chief

14. John Robinson & Chief – We The Prolific

John Robinson has been dropping albums for years. The last few years have seen him drop projects produced entirely by one producer. This is the latest in the series and features beats by Chief.

Myka 9 and Factor

13. Myka 9 and Factor – Famous Future Time Travel 

Factor is a Canadian producer who got to work with one of the pioneers of West Coast hip-hop, Myka 9. This album gets a little weird, but it really works. I have played several tracks this year on Word is Bond Rap Radio.

moss_marching_to_the_sound_of_my_own_drum

12. Moss – Marching to the Sound of My Own Drum

One of Canada’s biggest names in hip-hop is a name you might not even know. He has produced tracks for some very big name artists and been featured on some classic albums. This year, he dropped his debut producer album and it is fire.

RNDM

11.Random aka Mega Ran – RNDM

Fresh Kils produced one of the tracks on this album. He’s featured a few times in this list. Random also has a great Christmas album you should check for.

Wordsworth and Donel Smokes

10. Wordsworth and Donel Smokes – New Beginning 

Wordsworth dropped two albums this year, one with his super-group EMC, and this one with producer Donel Smokes. I have always loved his wordplay and freestyling ability. The lead single F.U. is really good and I spun it regularly this year.

Tempomental - Involution

9. Tempomental – Involution 

I love supporting local hip-hop. I have seen Tempomental perform several times this year and have been quite impressed with his live show. His new album doesn’t disappoint either.

11183_JKT

8. Semi Hendrix – Breakfast At Banksy’s

Ras Kass is one of the most consistent emcees in the game. He has been dropping smart hip-hop for over 20 years now and shows no signs of slowing down. I really love the song on this project that samples the M*A*S*H* theme. It’s brilliant.

Apollo Brown - Grandeur

7. Apollo Brown – Grandeur

Apollo Brown is one of the best beatsmiths hip-hop has ever seen. He is on par with the likes of DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and the RZA. This is his producer album featuring tracks by some very talented emcees.

Lee Reed

6. Lee Reed – The Butcher, The Banker, The Bitumen Tanker

Lee Reed is a veteran in the scene. His intelligent hip-hop is refreshing in a world of dumb-downed lyrics, and catch beats. I got to interview him on the radio show this year too. Very cool guy and this is a great album.

Zoetic Minds

5. Zoetic Minds – Zoetic Minds

I discovered this album completely by accident one day. And it blew me away. The artists noticed that I played their music on the show and reached out to me. We had an amazing interview on the air as well.

Taylor Swift 1989

4. Taylor Swift – 1989

Taylor Swift evoked the music from the year she was born in a really authentic way. This record sounds like it could have been released in 1989. I used to love listening to Tiffany back then. This has the same aesthetic to it.

The packaging is amazing as well. There are Polaroid style photos and tons of extras in the deluxe edition.

Backburner-Eclipse

3. Backburner – Eclipse

Backburner is a huge crew consisting of close to 20 rappers and producers including Chokeules, Savilion, and Timbuktu (of Swamp Thing), Fresh Kils, Uncle Fester, and Ghettosocks (of The Extremities), Thesis Sahib and many more.

Each member has put out successful albums either solo or part of their individual rap groups. This Wu-Tang style album hits a lot of high marks. My personal favourite track is In Tha Place and Thesis Sahib’s verse absolutely blows me away. It was my most spun record this year.

Blackalicious

2. Blackalicious – Imani: Vol. 1

Severely under-rated, Blackalicious have been dropping quality music since the mid 1990s. Lead emcee Gift of Gab revolutionized alphabet tracks with his 1999 anthem A to G. This new album is funky, lyrical, and a head-nodder.

Relic 13th Floor

#1. Relic and Fresh Kils – The 13th Floor

Relic is one of Canada’s best kept secrets. Fresh Kils is one of the most amazing producers this country has ever seen. Together they have crafted the best album of the year. I highly recommend this one.

That’s the list.

What were your favourites this year?

The Last Graphic Novel Reads of 2015

Hydra Ascendant TPB

All New Captain America: Hydra Ascendant

Sam Wilson aka The Falcon has taken on the mantle of Captain America. Although, he still has his wings and hasn’t quite mastered how to target the shield effectively.

His first mission doesn’t go exactly as planned either. He’s unsure that he deserves to be Captain America. He knows he needs to soldier on though. But when he learns that Hydra has affected all of the super-hero teams, including The Avengers, he is not sure who to tun to for help. And to make matters worse, Hydra has a plan to sterilize all of humanity.

This was an interesting read and a fairly good start to the new title and hero. I felt a little out of the loop at points, not having read the Marvel Now version of Captain America before, but it does seem to tie into what has happened in the cinematic and television universe.

I’m not completely won over by Wilson as Captain America. He’s a good hero, but he is also good as The Falcon. I guess time will tell how long he holds the mantle and the shield.

Peaceful Warrior Graphic Novel

Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Dan Millman wrote a screenplay for the movie version of his popular book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior. That script, however, was not used for the film. This graphic novel is pretty much the same as the movie and story we all love. It is the vision for the film that Millman originally planned. And he gets to share his love of comics with us too. It’s a win-win.

Secret Origins

Secret Origins: Volume 1 – The New 52

Origin stories are a staple in comic books. They get told again and again. Sometimes, necessarily so. I really love how Frank Miller retold the origin of Daredevil and then how Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale told the same origin to explain the yellow costume. Brilliant stuff.

For people unfamiliar with some of these characters, it’s a nice starting point. But if you already know the stories of Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow, you can skip this one.

They do have an origin of Harley Quinn though. That can get us all prepped for the Suicide Squad movie that comes out next year. There are several other origin tales in this trade paperback as well.

My List of 2015 Reads – now up to date and complete

Are We All Zapped?

Zapped

Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution by Ann Louise Gittleman

In this day and age we are inundated with electronic devices. It’s almost impossible to get away from them. Most of us wouldn’t want to either. These modern conveniences are not only comforting but essential.

So, why should we not use our iPhone as an alarm clock?

According to the author, the human body is susceptible to energy from the environment. This includes wifi, radio waves, and the signal your phone gives off all the time.

I am a big proponent of keeping my cell phone out of the bedroom. First off, it is just too easy to check in the middle of the night if you wake. I remove that temptation by keeping it in the other room. Secondly, getting a break from the electronic pollution at night is an added health benefit.

Gittleman suggests going through your environment to clean up or reduce the EMF waves given off by our electronic devices. It makes sense to me in a lot of ways.

She even talks about dirty electricity. There is pollution there that we never even think about.

This was an interesting read. I think that the effects of wireless devices and electricity is something that needs a lot more scientific study. in the meantime, there are things we can do to reduce the harm that these things may cause.

Dimmer switches for lights are problematic. They produce “electronic fields in the RF end of the spectrum.” She suggests removing the dimmer switch or getting a de-buzzing coil.

Apparently there are filters you can buy to protect against dirty electricity as well. They are expensive but have proven to help people who are susceptible to these harmful effects.

Zapped is the first step-by-step manual for fortifying your body, detoxifying your home, and protecting yourself and your family from invisible electronic pollution.

My List of 2015 Reads (detailed reading log for the entire year)

Life is Great . . . Even When It Sucks

Life is Great Even When it Sucks
Life is Great Even When It Sucks by Ellen Nyland

It’s hard to have a positive attitude when things are going poorly for you. But if you take a moment, it is hard to argue that Life is Good . . . Even When it Sucks.

I am always amazed at how books that are not written for teachers, can have a lot to say about education and help us improve our practice.

That being said, we can all work on personal development and learn from the teachings that Ellen Nyland shares in this book.

Gain Perspective

“The challenge in teaching anyone is that we tend to teach from our own perspective. We don’t consider the person we are teaching. We teach others from our toolbox, our view on life, our circumstances, our failures, and our personal fears instead of modifying our teaching to the toolbox of the individuals we are teaching.”

Nyland suggests that failing to take into account other people’s perspectives might be the cause of all of the trouble in the world. Very interesting theory.

Teach Listening Skills

She goes on to say that we rarely teach our children the art of listening. I wholeheartedly agree. Teaching the art of listening and conflict resolution is just as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Understand People’s Levels of Readiness

I like the Feedback Checklist that the author shares with us. We can use it to see if someone is in the right place to hear our message. She believes that if we all used it, “Everybody would be paying attention to others and waiting to discuss issues until the receiving party was ready, willing, and able. What a utopia that would.”

Make Friends with Failure

Nyland writes, “When you take the opportunity to learn, not shut down, you often emerge a better person with a new skill set”

Own Your Mistakes 

She adds, “By owning up to your mistakes, parents show their children the power of personal responsibility and teach, through example, that kids can own their responsibilities.”

More Life Lessons

These are just a few of the notes I took while reading this book. I didn’t agree with everything she had to say, and there were parts of the book that dragged a bit, but overall, it was a good read that has given me some perspective and things to think about next time I get in a classroom.

My 2015 Reading Log – with links to every title I’ve read this year

Sound Unbound- Sampling Music and Culture

soundunbound_cover

Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture. Edited by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky

The basic tenet of this book is . . .

Technology enables creativity, community, art, and love. Crippling it to save someone’s outmoded business-model is a crime against humanity.

Sampling is perhaps one of the least understood concepts about modern music, and, in particular, hip-hop. But believe it or not, some very respected musicians have worked with this form and even helped develop it. Artists that you would be surprised to hear about. Artists like The Beatles.

I took tons of notes while reading this collection of essays, articles, and creative pieces. I plan to blog about it over the next few weeks in detail. Suffice it to say, I truly believe that musicians should be allowed to steal, borrow, sample, and take sounds from everywhere to create new works.

Human culture is always derivative, and music perhaps especially so. New art builds on old art. We hear music, process it, reconfigure it, and create something derivative but new – folk melodies become Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies; Roy Acuff’s “Great Speckled Bird” becomes Hank William’s “Wild Side of Life:’ and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” becomes a John Coltrane classic. 

And that passage didn’t mention hip-hop once. This is how music works. Hip-hop might be know for sampling more than any other genre but it didn’t invent the practice. Not by a long shot. Although, we might have perfected it.

This was a great read and I recommend it for serious music scholars, hip-hop DJs, music producers, artists, and fans alike.

My 2015 Reading Log – now almost complete