Monthly Archives: April 2017

My Everything Birthday

Everything Birthday

42 is the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything. That is why I am dubbing today as my “Everything Birthday.”

There is surprisingly little about everything birthdays on the world wide web. I was certain that fellow Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans would have made everything birthdays commonplace. I guess it is up to me.

I want to have an everything bagel for lunch today and celebrate all of the great things that have been happening in my life.

Coincidentally, this month we celebrated the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the colour-barrier in baseball. He changed the face of baseball and popular sport, and he did it while wearing the Number 42.

This year, I got married, celebrated the fifth anniversary of my radio show, excelled in my studies at university, rekindled my love of teaching, taught high school for the first time, and have continued to skateboard and trail run.

I have a lot to be thankful for and will be celebrating all of this, today, on my everything birthday.

School Life (Talking with the Filmmakers)

I had the chance to interview Neasa Ni Chianain about her documentary film School Life. We talked about how schools are different in Ireland, the concept of boarding schools, passionate teachers, arts programs, and much more.

The film focuses on John and Amanda, a married couple who have been teaching for over forty years. They work at Headfort School, the only primary age boarding school in Ireland.  As they approach retirement, they can’t imagine a time where they wouldn’t or couldn’t teach. They are passionate and dedicated teachers. They also have no idea what they would do next or where they would go. After all, they live on the school grounds, a cottage that will be demolished when they finally leave the school.

School Life is being screened at Hot Docs running from today until March 7th in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If you are a film lover, this is an event you will want to check out. And if you get the chance to see this film, please leave a comment with your thoughts on it.

If you are an educator, look for my series, Teaching Tips. There are over 200 posts offering inspiration, ideas, and resources for you to use in your classroom.

You can also download this podcast here. 

Thanks for listening!

Corunna Skatepark (ON, Canada)

Last week I discovered an amazing skatepark close to Sarnia, Ontario. As I drove home from it, I saw this park off in the distance. I immediately took a detour to see what it had to offer.

Corunna Skatepark

This park is located in the Corunna Athletic Park at 420 Colborne Street. Corunna, ON.

Graduated Rail

This graduated rail is nice for beginners. The pavement doesn’t offer a smooth ride though.

Plastcic Quarter Pipe

These ramps are made out of plastic. They feel a little strange to ride on.

Plastic Skatepark

If you look at the first image in this post, you can see the underside of this ramp and how it looks like a slide from a playground. It’s the first ramp of its type that I have ever seen. I didn’t even know they made plastic quarter-pipes like this.

Pyarmid

Overall, this park isn’t terrible. It’s nice for the kids in the small town to have a place to skate. But it’s definitely not worth your time to travel to.

Virtual Skatepark Tours – over two dozen great spots to skate

The Come Up Show – Record Store Day Edition (with DJ Chase March)

Record Store Day was this past Saturday and it celebrated its tenth year, encouraging consumers to visit their local record shops for all sorts of exclusive releases and material.

Cheeky Monkey (Sarnia)

I stood in line before the store opened to make sure I could get a few items that I had my eye on,

Brother Ali RSD

including this triple LP re-issue from Brother Ali on clear vinyl.

Soul Assasins - Picture Disc

I also picked up a double LP compilation from Profile Records and a cool picture disc  from the Soul Assassins.

Vinyl DJ mix

I was fortunate enough to be asked to guest-host The Come Up Show that day as well, and I got to spin these records for the very first time on the air. The red one is from the Profile Records release and the black one is one of my older records.

Mission 5 on vinyl

Since I was celebrating record store day and spinning vinyl on the radio, I had to take out the record I made back in 2000. I am very proud to have released my own music on vinyl. This one is a triple single with three songs on Side A and their accompanying instrumentals on Side B. My group was called Mission 5 and the song I played was “Close the Curtain.”

Here are the other songs that I played on the show.

O.C. – Ma Dukes
Ruff Ryders – Ride or Die
3 Fresh MCs – Fresh
Beatnuts – No Escapin’ This
Nine – Whutcha Want
Run-DMC – Ooh What’cha Gonna Do
Kool Moe Dee – Knowledge is King
Peanuts and Corn – Savings Account
Sir Menelik ft Grand Puba and Sadat X – 7XL
Brother Ali – What’cha Got
Young MC – Got More Rhymes
Mission 5 – Close the Curtain
Grand Analog – Play My Kazoo
Cquel – Memory Lane
Tempomental ft Exit Only – Stability
Mad Hattr ft Whatshisface – It Gets Cold
KIV – Show Me the Money
Fantom of the Beat – First Time Ever
Apathy and Celph-Titled – Prince of Vengeance
Es ft Mathematik – We Are Only Getting Older
Public Enemy – Can’t Truss It
Labeled Minority – That’s When Ya Lost

Press play and enjoy this special edition of The Come Up Show, which you can hear Saturdays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on CHRW.

And remember that you can catch me every week on Word is Bond Rap Radio Monday nights at midnight and anytime on the podcast.

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If you liked this show make sure to check our previous episode of real hip-hop music and talk

We Celebrated Live-N-Direct 20 with Style

I had a lot of fun supplying the music for the 20th Anniversary of Live-N-Direct.

dj-chase-march-of-word-is-bond

I have fond memories of listening to this radio show on 93.3 CFMU every week. DJ Realistic and host, Eklipz, always put on a great program that highlighted the best in underground hip-hop. The mantle has been passed a few times over the past twenty years, but the time-slot and show have continued to rock the air waves every single week.

dj-chase-march-and-rap-group-1424

Hip-hop group 1424 was one of the acts to hit the stage to help celebrate this milestone anniversary.

dj-chase-march-set-up

The crowd was enthusiastic and I was very excited to be part of this seminal event.

ldn20

I love live hip-hop shows whether they are in a venue with rappers and deejays, or they are on the campus radio airwaves.

dr-disc

I don’t get to Hamilton much anymore these days, but it is my hometown and I will always rep for it. Of course, whenever I am back in town, it’s a must that I visit Dr. Disc.

the-mixedtape-at-dr-disc

It’s nice to have my music in the store now too. If you’d like to pick up a CD copy of The MIX(ed)TAPE, please go find it at Dr. Disc Hamilton on 20 Wilson Street.

LND20

LND20 was a huge success.

Here’s to the next twenty years, Live-N-Direct.

Moo, a Flute, and a Moo-ve to Maine

Sharon Creech - Moo

Moo by Sharon Creech

I absolutely love the way Sharon Creech writes verse novels. The sound and rhythm of her words, jumps right off the page. This particular novel is filled with all sorts of sounds such as a flute melody travelling through the air from an upstairs window, to the sounds of rain and water dripping, to a grizzly, misunderstood neighbour, and of course, to a stuborn cow named Zora.

The story revolves around a family who uproot for no other reason than to find what’s next. The idea comes out of the blue one day as they are all in the car. The twelve year-old daughter of the family suggests that they go to Maine when the topic comes up. She’s not even sure why she suggests it. It just popped into her head at that moment. Of course, she starts to regret it almost immediately when she finds Maine isn’t exactly how she had pictured it to be.

Both her and her brother are a little scared of their neighbour. But they end up working at her farm and taking care of a stubborn cow. That cow ends up changing everything. Just like their move did.

This is a fun read and it was nice to see at the library last week. I have read close to half of her books now. And my all-time favourite book is Heartbeat by her as well.

My List of 2017 Reads – with links to each title I read over the course of the year

Aamjiwnaang Skatepark (Sarnia, ON)

This is my new favourite skateboard park. It is located on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation at 1972 Virgil Avenue in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

Aamjiwnaang Skatepark

The ramps are metal and offer a smooth ride. There are plenty of obstacles, some great ramps, and even a dual leveled half-pipe.

Mini-ramp Half-pipe

I wish every skatepark had one of these ramps. I love a small mini-ramp that lets me do some of my old school and vert tricks.

Great flow skatepark

The angle and size of this ramp is perfect too!

Launch Ramp with Mini-quarter pipe

This obstacle is a lot of fun. It has a short quarter-pipe at the end that lets me practice my stalls and grinds.

Pyramid

This is the typical ramp you find at most skateparks, but it has a gap to jump as well.

Skatepark Ramps

I like this pyramid-styles ramp. I was able to get a little bit of air on it too. I just need to work on my landings.

Tall Quarter Pipe

This is a tall quarter-pipe launch ramp.

Roll-in ramp

Here is a roll-in ramp, along with a steep quarter-pipe launch.

This is a gorgeous park. I am glad I found it. I will be going back here often this summer. You can count on that!

When you visit skateparks, remember to take good care of them. These are meant for everybody (just not bikes or scooters) I love that too!

Want to see more skateparks?

Virtual Skatepark Tour – dozens and dozens of great spots to skate

Moving Beyond Traditional Relationship Roles

Beyond Mars and Venus by John Gray

Beyond Mars and Venus by John Gray

John Gray has written some amazing books to help people understand and navigate their relationships better. Many of these books are based around the concept of differences. His brilliant metaphor, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, was meant to show that we have much to learn about the other gender.

I enjoyed his last book, Conscious Men. He, along with Arjuna Ardagh, gave us some words to live by. I think it is important to be conscious of our gender identity and how it does not have to be a static thing. We can grow and develop. We can be in touch with our feminine side, and we can strive to understand our partners better.

In this book, Gray talks about how the traditional roles have changed and how we need to be able to adapt to this change to have healthy and happy relationships. He talks of how marriage used to have us fulfilling roles. The men were traditionally the providers and the women the nurturers. This division hasn’t been as black and white for years, however.

Gray argues that we have moved away from Role Mates to Soul Mates. He writes about how women can support men, how men can support women, how we often have different approaches to situations, and how we can work together to build a great marriage.

His thoughts are as relevant as ever and provide us with the wisdom we need to carry on productive relationships. However, this book seemed to be a little repetitive for me. Maybe, it is because he is preaching to the choir. I have been aware of my gender identity for some time now and am working to combat some of the misogyny I see in everyday life.

I also did not like the way this book is formatted. It is off-putting to see the text broken up with large quotations in the middle of the pages. If you flip through the book, you can quickly pick up some tidbits of wisdom, but it is ultimately distracting when reading it. I did not like seeing the sentence I just read in larger type on the same page. It threw off the flow of the text and made it hard for me to continue reading.

I don’t often abandon a book, but I stopped reading this one. I might get back to it in the future. Gray still has good things to say and his message is important. I’m just not impressed with how it is presented or written this time around.

My List of 2017 Reads – an organic reading log (continually updated)

Bif Naked Bears All

Bif Naked - I Bificus

I, Bificus – A Memoir by Bif Naked

I am a huge Bif Naked fan. I have been for a while. She is an amazing performer and a great songwriter, so when I heard she had written a memoir, I knew that I had to read it.

I was hoping I could find out how she got her name. A few chapters in, I thought it had it figured out.

I felt it was my duty to torture Kenny, and it was never long before I took all my clothes off and ran naked, yelling “Chase me!” and waving my arms madly.

She was a young child at the time of that incident and apparently, it wasn’t the impetus for the name. She earned that because of a flyer promotion. At the time, she had already had the nickname of “Bif.”

Few punk bands had female vocalists then. The concern was that switching to a female vocalist would be looked down upon by the male punk rockers, especially in Winnipeg. The guys in Gorilla Gorilla decided to go out large, making gig posters to advertise the upcoming show that read”Come see Bif Naked.” It was a double entendre that basically  baited the naysayers-peers, friends, and fans still disappointed about the previous singer’s departure – to come to the show, even if only out of curiosity to see if I really would be naked. The band plastered the posters all over the city, putting them on practically every street lamp post and mailbox, even gluing them on store windows. It was a massive street-level postering campaign, and it worked. 

I mentioned Bif Naked in my Grade 3 classroom a few years back and my students laughed. I told Bif about this via Twitter.

Bif Naked tweet

I saved that tweet notice in my email for the past four years because it was a memorable exchange from one of my favourite musicians. We tweeted a few more times since then too. (I just wish the logos still loaded properly in my email for this first message)

Part of me didn’t want to know all of the things I learned about Bif Naked in this book. I had to cringe a few times. I didn’t want to see her go through some of what she had to do. I didn’t like to see that she made some stupid choices when she was young. I wanted her to just be a sweet girl who grew into a great poet, musician, and songwriter. I guess she had to go through all of that stuff to become who she was.

I maintain that everything happens for a reason. This theory drove my dad crazy-he believed it was just a way to frame stuff and justify it. He said I am a “great justifier” and a “shamelss predestinist,” and that holding this theory enable me to find a reason for anything.

Maybe it’s best not to meet your heroes. Maybe just listening to the music and tweeting is enough.

If you are a super-fan, and want to learn more, check it out. Or buy a copy to support her if you have never seen her live or own all her albums. And then keep it on the shelf. Either way, let’s celebrate Bif Naked.

My List of 2017 Reads – continually updated all year long

With Confidence Steal the Show

St. Andrews Hall in Detroit was certainly rocking last night with the diverse styles of four power-punk-pop bands. It was the second stop of the Around the World and Back Tour for State Champs.

Don Broco

Don Broco set off the night with an energetic live show. At one point, they asked us to take a knee and get as low to the floor as we could. They then counted us in, and the entire club was jumping up and down.  It was intense. The floor had a bit of a give to it. It was literally bowing and bending beneath our feet.  The club must have invested money in this floor. I wasn’t worried for a moment that we would fall through it.

With Confidence

Next up was, With Confidence. They absolutely stole the show. As soon as they got on stage, the entire crowd pushed up about ten feet. And we were already jammed packed in the club. Now, with barely any personal space to move or breathe, we collectively responded to the energy the band put out. It was an amazing set and by far, the hypest one of the night.

Against the Current

Against the Current took the stage next with an amazing light show and powerful vocals. Even the bass drum was even illuminated and changing colours throughout the set. The lead singer brought some much-welcomed feminine energy to the night.

Headlining Act

The headling act, State Champs had the crowd singing along to every single song.

State Champs

One of the members is even from Detroit and was able to celebrate with the capacity crowd.

With Confidence (Detroit show)

This fabulous shot of the audience was taken by Brandon Lung. If you look closely, you can see in the middle wearing a fitted baseball cap.

I had a blast at this show. If you were there, please add a comment with any memories you have of the night too.

My Radio Show is 5 Now!

My radio show, Word is Bond celebrated its 5th Anniversary with special in-studio guests, live performances, a freestyle cypher, hip-hop trivia, and prizes last week.

I had a lot of fun spinning songs that featured 5 emcees on the tracks. I tested my listener’s knowledge of hip-hop by asking trivia questions about the fifth album releases from artists. And I gave away packs of 5 gum as prizes.

Labeled Minority, Tempomental, Sankdafied, The Mighty Speak EZ, and DJ Hullewud were all in the house to celebrate live on the radio. If you missed it live, you can celebrate with us now through the magic of podcasts.

Thank you for five years! It’s been a blast!

Here’s to the next 5!

Jurassic 5 – Golden
Rascalz ft Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust, and Choclair – Northern Touch
LL Cool J ft Method Man, Redman, Canibus, and DMX – 4, 3, 2, 1
Run-DMC ft Pete Rock and CL Smooth – Down with the King
Labeled Minority – Freestyle
Labeled Minority – Pigment
Kayne West ft Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Bon Iver– Monster
Tempomental – Another One
Heltah Skeltah ft OGC – Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka
A Tribe Called Quest ft Leaders of the New School – Scenario
Bone Thugs and Harmony – Crossroads
Sankdafied – On My Own
Craig Mack ft Notorious B.I.G., L.L. Cool J, Busta Rhymes, and Rampage – Flavor in Ya Ear (Remix)
Swamp Thing ft Wordburglar, Def3, Birdapres, Relic, Ambition – Meat Lump
Funky 4 + 1 – The Joint
Speak EZ – Just Another Night
Word is Bond – 5th Anniversary Cypher
Mission 5 – Nameless
LL Cool J ft Prodigy, Keith Murray, Foxy Brown, and Fat Joe – I Shot Ya
Mad Hattr ft Cee, Notion, and Exit Only – Eya

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If you liked this show make sure to check our previous Anniversary Specials

Chasing Content – April 2016

Chasing ContentIt’s time for another edition of Chasing Content, that monthly feature that has us looking back at the best content featured on this blog from this month one year ago.

Read all of the posts from last April

or just these highlights

Scott Pilgrim’s London, Ontario Connection

The famous comic book series that spanned a movie featuring Michael Cera has a pretty cool local connection.

James Kirkpatrick – Circuit-Bending Toys

James Kirkpatrick aka Thesis Sahib performed last year for Record Store Day. If you have never seen him live, click through to see the cool instruments he creates out of toys.

A Secret Stash of Medicine Music

The secret is out. Here are my picks. What are yours?

Wolverine is Dead

Our favourite Canadian super-hero gets a fitting end in a great comic book story arc.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Let’s not let great posts like these get buried in the archives, never to be seen again. Keep them alive with a click of your mouse and a share via social media. Thank you for being on this journey with me.