Monthly Archives: April 2016

Scott Pilgrim’s London, ON. Connection

Scott Pilgrim Vol 1

Scott Pilgrim Vol 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley

I saw the film, Scott Pilgrim vs The World a few years back and I was impressed with the quirky writing, hilarious scenes, and original story. I knew that it was based on a book but I knew nothing about the print version of it whatsoever.

I saw this book in the library last week and decided to pick it up. After reading it, I must say that the movie stays true to the source material. I haven’t read the entire story though, it continues on in a few separate graphic novels, but so far everything that has happened on the page, pretty much happened in the film too.

Reading the afterward was especially enlightening. I knew the story was uniquely Canadian but I didn’t know of the London, Ontario connection.

Scott Pilgrim Afterward

My radio show, Word is Bond, is on the very same station the author mentions in the afterward. I’ve been to concerts at Call the Office, a local venue. And I have shopped at Sunrise Records in Westmount Mall.

It was cool to see that Bryan Lee O’Malley was inspired to write this story from his time spent in London, Ontario.

This story was told so well on the screen that I can honestly say that the film version is better than the book. It’s hard to say that about any movie. In fact, I have only had one other film, in my opinion, that surpasses the book. Ironically, it was a comic as well. I am talking about V for Vendetta. 

The afterward is fairly long. It includes character sketches and information about how each character came to be. It shows how the author used real locations and photos to draw the scenes. It even includes the original pitch he made to get the series green lit. It is a nice window into the entire creative process.

I think you should check out both the film and print versions and get to know Scott Pilgrim. You won’t be disappointed.

My List of 2016 Reads – a detailed and continually updated reading log

Happy Earth Day – Let’s Leave Some of It Alone

“We should take about a quarter of the Earth and only let Darwin run the show there. It doesn’t have to be contiguous, doesn’t have to all be tied together. It should be part in the oceans, part on land. But we should not run every evolutionary decision on this planet. We want to have our evolutionary system running. We want to have Darwin’s evolutionary system running. And it’s just really important to have these two things running in parallel and not overwhelm evolution.”

– Juan Enriquez

What a great thought for Earth Day. Let’s get on reserving at least 1/4 of the Earth for just this purpose before it’s too late and we’ve used every available inch of the land.

Darth Vader lives on . . . In Comics

Darth Vader Vol 1

Darth Vader: Vol. 1 – Vader

This story takes place right after Star Wars IV: A New Hope and is the start of Darth Vader’s own on-going series.

Darth Vader has been demoted in the wake of the Death Star fiasco. He was the one who ultimately got blamed for the rebellion being able to take it out. The Emperor expects him to atone for this mistake.

Darth Vader isn’t one to simply take this all lying down. however. He starts to build his own army of battle droids. The Emperor gets wind of his plan and sets him up to battle against another hopeful apprentice. Vader must prove his worth to the Empire, but it all leaves a bit of a sour taste in his mouth.

Darth Vader Volume 2

Darth Vader: Vol. 2 – Shadows and Secrets

Darth Vader turned to archaeologist and droid expert, Dr. Aphra to help him build his droid army. She proved her allegiance to him and even though he is a little reluctant, Vader accepts her help and they become a team, of sorts.

Film Version Please

This was a really great story. I would love to see a film trilogy made that focuses solely on Darth Vader. It would be great to see things from his point of view and in all of his fearsome glory.

Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin

Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin

Darth Vader had a few mini-series before getting his own title. This one focuses on a father who wants to avenge his son’s death at the hands of Vader. He enlists some very bad men to get the task done. But eight others have failed before. Will this ninth assassin be any different?

Darth VAder and the Lost Command

Darth Vader and the Lost Command

Darth Vader is haunted by his past. We are treated to some of the moments that the prequel trilogy didn’t touch on. We see some sweet scenes between Anakin and Padme that really make this graphic novel stand out.

Darth Vader and Cry of Shadows

Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 

I’m not sure why this one was billed as a Darth Vader title. The story focuses on a clone trooper who is abandoned during a battle. He seeks to gain the acceptance of Darth Vader and works hard to prove to him that he is the ultimate warrior. It was a very good read, however.

My List of 2016 Reads – a detailed reading log for my entire year

What’s Your Something Special?

What's Your Something Special book

What’s Your Something Special? by Catherine Gibson and Mary Fletcher

We all have something special locked up inside us. It might be hard to find, and some of us might not even know to look for it, but it is there.

This book taps into the power of imagination and self-discovery. It’ s a story that our youth need to see, hear, and experience. Perhaps this can be a window into something greater.

Not all of us have a physical limitation like Samantha, but I still think we can identify with her and the longing she feels to do something more with her life. It also helps to show that children in wheelchairs can be the star of a story.

Last month, I wrote about how we need to make sure our students are reflected in the texts we have available in the classroom. If you have ever had a wheelchair bound student at your school, and even if you haven’t, this would be a great book to add to your classroom library.

Teaching Tips – an archive of great resources for classroom teachers (NEW TIP featured on the third Tuesday of every month)

Record Store Day Tomorrow!

James Kirkpatrick aka Thesis Sahib is a performance artist, visual artist, rapper, and much, much more.

He circuit bends toys and turns them into musical instruments. I have seen him perform live several times and what he does just blows me away.

Make sure you go to Grooves Records in London, Ontario for Record Store Day tomorrow. The store has all sorts of performances, exclusive records, and deals. Thesis will be performing at 5:00 p.m.

Here he is explaining how he does what he does.

Make sure you go to your local record store tomorrow and celebrate Record Store Day!

RSDCANADA_Date

A Secret Stash of Medicine Music

Secret Medicine-MusicAmanda Palmer writes,

“In my darkest hours, I still go to my secret stash of medicine-music to comfort me, like a familiar childhood blanket, and cocoon myself in the songs of . . . “

Instead of sharing her list of medicine-music, I thought I would share mine.

No matter how I feel; happy, sad, depressed, lonely, etc, I can put on any one of my Buffalo Tom albums and feel better. Likewise, Tim McGraw albums often do the job.

I can always listen to Tiffany when I am in a low spot.

2Pac and Run-DMC are all-time favs!

Smoother and superGARAGE are great medicine-music for me as well. When I was a teenager, I went to see both of those bands live all of the time. They were local independent groups and playing them, even today, brings back those great memories.

I agree with Palmer about the power that music can have. She compares a live concert to “sharing a blanket with a crowd of strangers” and says that it gives her “a feeling of humanhood that [she] doesn’t often get to experience; it’s the closest thing [she has] to church.”

When the gift circulates, we feel the very essence of art and life not just in words and songs, but also in our deep desire to share them with one another. 

This is why she says, The Gift Must Always Move.

This belief comes from a book by Lewis Hyde entitled The Gift. I think I am adding that book to my must-reads list now.

What is your secret medicine music? 

Please share it below in the comment section!

Thor – Who’s Worthy?

Thor - Goddness of Thunder

Thor – Goddess of Thunder

What a brilliant concept for a story about Thor.

The title has always been built around the theme “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

Unfortunately, Thor is no longer worthy to wield the hammer and as such Mjölnir is stuck without an owner. Every one tries to lift it and fails. Even Thor himself.

But some mysterious woman is able to pick up the hammer and wield it’s power. She becomes the new Thor.

Spoilers Below – I won’t reveal who the new Thor is though. I’d hate to do that to you.

Thor - Who Holds the Hammer

Thor – Who Holds the Hammer

The new Thor is trying to figure out how to be a hero like the previous Thor. She has a few hilarious run-ins, but is clearly capable of coming into her own and being the all-powerful super-hero we would expect Thor to be.

Meanwhile, Thor has come up with a list of people who could possibly have succeeded him in becoming Thor. He tracks each and every one down, hoping to find a way that he can regain his power and title.

When he finally does meet up with the mysterious Goddess of Thunder, he realizes that he still isn’t worthy to wield the hammer. He endorses her as the new Thor and we finally get to see who she is.

My List of 2016 Reads – a detailed personal reading log. Please share and comment if you have read any of these titles too.

The Kick-Ass Writer

Kick-Ass Writer

The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig

This is a book for writers who don’t have time to read a book for writers.

You can dive in and out of the book with ease. If you want to learn something about the fundamentals, the craft of writing, or about presenting your final work, just go to that section and find some tips and advice.

Wendig admits thagt his book is “just a bucket of ideas that are at least half-nonsense. A bucket of ideas that serve as tools. And not every tool is meant for every job. And not every craftsman finds the value in every tool.”

Basically, take what you can from this and apply it how you see fit. Ignore the parts that don’t fit with your methodology. And get writing.

Here are the notes I took when reading it . . .

From 25 Ways to Plot, Plan, and Prep Your Story

Write three paragraphs, each detailing the rough three acts found in every story: the inciting incident and outcome of the beginning (Act I), the escalation and conflict in the middle (Act II), the climatic culmination of events and the ease-down denouement (Act III)

I don’t normally plan or outline my stories, but I like to go back and make sure these things are apparent.

From 25 Things You Should Know About Dialogue

You can use dialogue to set the pace of your story or scene.

If you want your story to read faster, you use dialogue to move it along. . . dialogue reads easy . . . a reader gets to it, they zip forth fast, fancy and free. Want to slow things down? Pull away from dialogue. Speed things up? More dialogue.

From 25 Things You Should Know About Editing, Revising, and Rewriting

Wendig advises that you don’t start your rewrite or edit without a plan.

How do you know what to fix if you haven’t identified what’s broken?

He also suggests only fixing one thing at a time. Go through your work in progress and do a dialogue pass. Then go back and look at your use of description. Then take a pass for plot, sentence variety, and anything else you need to look at.

Tracking revisions is also important.

Keep a record of them all. . .  Any time you make a revision change, mark the revision and save a new file. I don’t care if you have 152 files by the end of it. You’ll be happy if you need to go back. 

And last but not least in this list, you should read your work aloud

When you read your work aloud, you’ll be amazed at the things you catch, the things that sound off, that don’t make sense, that are awkward or wishy-washy or inconsistent.

From 25 Things You Should Know About Getting Published

Even if you want to go the traditional route, Wendig suggests self-publishing one thing that might not be the best fit for conventional publishers.

Walk both paths to gain the advantages of each. 

Know your story very well so you can explain it in a variety of ways.

Learn how to sum up your work in a single sentence, a single paragraph, and three paragraphs. 

The publishing industry cares about genre, so figure out what you story is so it doesn’t get mislabeled or misrepresented.

From 25 Things You Should Know About Self-Publishing

Find ways to experiment with format such as “transmedia initiatives, app-novels, stories told across social media,” etc.

Do not me constrained by the formats that exist. Story does not begin and end with a physical book. It doesn’t stop at e-books either.

That was me

I bet if you read this book, you will take away different things from it. So, if you do read it, please write about your experience with it, and link to it in the comment section.

Happy Writing!

My Detailed Reading Log for 2016

The Death of Wolverine

Wolverine Three Months to Die Book 1

Wolverine – Three Months to Die: Book 1

Wolverine has lost his ability to heal. He goes on like nothing has changed, but he knows that everything has.

He confided to Ms. Marvel that it was the only power really worth anything.

Healing Factor

Wolverine needs his healing ability. Every time he uses his claws they pierce his skin and when then retract, they could potentially expose him to infection. I love how this comic series addresses how much of an issue that is for him right now. It’s scary.

Wolverine Three Months to Die Book 2

Wolverine – Three Months to Die: Book 2

Wolverine confronts Death himself in this story. Death seems to help him get over his fear of continuing to be a hero despite losing his super-powers.

When things look bleak, Wolverine calls for a little bit of back up. Nick Fury shows up with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and The Avengers to help save the day. He says, “You know what your best super-power is, old man? That you’ve got so many friends.”

Wolverine Friends

Unfortunately, in the end, Wolverine is going to die alone.

Death of Wolverine

Death of Wolverine

This is Wolverine’s final battle. Even without his healing ability, he continues to fight like he is immortal. He puts everything on the line to protect the lives of others and to stop a terrible evil from being unleashed.

This four issue mini-series was a fitting end for our Favourite Canadian Super-Hero.

My List of 2016 Reads – my annual reading log with links to each title and book review

First Trail Run of the Year

Meadowlily Bridge

I decided to kick off the running season with a trail run through Meadowlily Woods.

Area Floods

It rained heavily for two days though, so when I got there, I decided that it might be best to stick to the paved trail.

This sign warned me that the area is subject to flooding. It still thought the paved trail would be better than the one through the bush.

Flooded Trail

As you can see, I was wrong. I have never seen the river this high. There was absolutely no way around it. This wasn’t a puddle. It was the river encompassing the entire trail.

Meadowlily Woods Trail

So I turned around, and went through the nature part of the trail. There were a few wet sections, but I was able to get a three kilometer run in quite nicely.

Wide and High River

It was an interesting start to my new season of running.

It’s going to be a little different this year. I no longer have data on my phone (I had to cut some expenses) so I won’t be able to track my runs as easily as I did last year. I really loved using that app too.

I do hope to find and document some new running spots for this blog though. So stay tuned for that.

If you need somewhere new to run, check out my photographic tours and visit one of 50 great trail run spots.

Happy Running!

Chasing Content – April 2015

Chasing Content (1)It’s time for another edition of Chasing Content, that monthly feature that has us looking back at what was last year at this time.

Read all the posts from last April

or just these shiny ones . . .

The Art of the DJ

I read an amazing book about the deejaying entitled On the Record: The Scratch DJ Academy Guide. I shared a few quotes from it and the takeaways I took from reading it.

Let Kids Make the Cheap Mistakes

Sometimes we are too afraid to let our children (or our students) make mistakes. But the learning that can come from experiencing a mistake, figuring out what went wrong, and trying to correct it can have immense benefits. Click through to find out why and how we can allow our kids to make the “cheap” mistakes.

Daredevil – Perfect Television

Last year at the time, Daredevil premiered on Netflix. I was very excited to see my all-time favourite super-hero getting his own television series. It was so well done and actually blew me away. The second season is available now, although I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet. I will soon. And I will post about it too. Stay tuned!

St. Julien Skatepark – London, Ontario

It is officially skateboard season again. And there is no snow on the ground like there was last year at this time. So, let’s go explore some of the great skateparks in our community and beyond.

Stop Using a 12 Hour Clock

It makes no sense to continue using a 12 hour clock in this non-stop society we live in these days. Let’s all migrate to the standard 24 clock they use in the military. It just makes sense.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Click through the links above to discover great tidbits from the extensive archive here at Silent Cacophony. Thank you for being on this journey with me!