Category Archives: blogging

Nothing Lasts (not even audio players)

Why doesn’t anything seem to last these days?

Last year, our podcast host shut down operations and I had to find a new home for all of my audio files. In the process, some shows were lost.

Today, I logged on to my favourite media player for blog posts and found this message.

So, the players on the bottom of all of my posts no longer work. It’s going to take me some time to fix all of those broken links.

I don’t understand why Mixpod has ceased operations but still seems to have an app. I don’t have an iPhone, tablet computer, or anything that will let me run apps. I just have a blog. A blog with broken audio players. I better get to fixing those.

200,000 Pageviews!

Last year about this time, my blog reached 100,000 pageviews. I was proud of this milestone even though it took me four years to reach it.

Now, less than one year later, I’ve doubled that number.

Silent Cacophony has just reached 200,000 pageviews.

Here are my stats for the week.

I know I don’t have a superstar blog but I am really happy with what I’ve built here over the past five years.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Silent Cacophony Turns 5!

In March of 2007 I started this blog with a very specific goal. I wanted to become a published author and thought it would be a great idea to establish a presence online. So I started this blog with the goal and desire to become a published author within five years.

Well, tomorrow, this little blog celebrates its 5th birthday. It feels like a great accomplishment in and of itself and it is definitely worth celebrating.

I have fallen a little short of my goal of becoming a published author. However, I am not giving up on that dream. While it looks like it may not happen by the end of 2012, I am still dedicated to getting my name in print. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.

I am still writing and perfecting my craft. I will be participating in Script Frenzy again next month and in National Novel Writing Month in November. I plan on writing a Teaching Tip ebook later this year as well. So lots of things are in motion. I am currently working on a few revisions and hope to start sending out queries soon.

What I didn’t know when I started out this little blog was that it would become a hub for teachers. I was unaware that my Teaching Tip Tuesday posts would become a popular feature here on the blog. While the posts may not get much in the way of comments, they continue to give teachers what they are looking for and I’m glad.

I also had no idea that I would become part of a radio show and a regular contributor to a hip-hop magazine website. I am having so much fun producing radio segments, doing artist interviews, podcasting, and writing album reviews and articles.

Overall, I can say that my foray into the blogosphere has been a great experience. Thank you for tagging along with me.

Please leave a comment below and help celebrate my blogging birthday!

Thanks!

I Should Blog That!

Illustration depicting thought.Image via Wikipedia

There have been many, many occasions where I have been out and about and thought, “I should blog about that!”

Ideas float around in my head constantly. I can be inspired by something as simple as a comment or part of a conversation. Sometimes a great idea comes from something I have read or seen.

Most of the ideas that float around in my head would be great topics of discussion here at Silent Cacophony.

I’ve been blogging for a while and I am never at a loss for ideas. The thing that stops me from posting all these things is, invariably, time.

I simply don’t have the time to write everything that I want to.

That being said, I’m sorry for the ideas that have floated by and away from me. It’s too late to catch all those strays.

I still want to write…
– album reviews for projects that came up earlier this year.
– those interesting blog challenge and unity days that have long since passed
– commentaries about events that have passed.

Those strays are gone, but I do have ideas for posts and short stories that I have scribbled down that will, hopefully, see the light of day soon.

Hey, I just thought of something else – I should so blog about that.

Gotta go now. See you soon! Happy blogging!

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It’s My Self-Referential Introduction Post

My girlfriend reads exactly one blog. Mine! The other day she asked if she could do a guest post. So without further ado, here is Witgirl.

After this I’m no longer a virgin

I’m new to the blogosphere, yet thanks to the trusty guidance of Chase March I am slowly becoming acquainted.  I know I talk a lot however when it comes to writing something, I’m at a loss for words.  I also question whether or not what I am about to write really matters.  I know I often will read a post, reflect on it then move on.  It has become a part of my daily routine, yet with all else that life has going on I soon forget.   I am by no means a writer; I am just a very curious person who is open to learning and experiencing new things.

I think it is at about this point where I should voice my opinion about something, to give my post a little street credit.  Here it is, I hope you’re ready for it.

I work in a hospital where there are a lot of veterans as patients. I have gotten to know some of them quite well over the years.
At first I thought the patients were there because they had no family members to look after them, it made sense.As I have discovered over the years, they have family, lots of them.

It seems as though family members appear when the patient is near death.

Why?

Why was this person not important before they were dying?

It really irks me to see this happen time and time again. These last minute visits seem very insincere. I see these men on a daily basis, bored and lonely. There is one man in particular who waits in the foyer daily for an hour hoping his son is coming to visit on his way home from work. The son only comes roughly once a month. I have a feeling I will be seeing him more as his father has fallen ill recently and most likely won’t live much longer. Sad isn’t it?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is if you have an older family member who lives alone, in a hospital or a nursing home take the time to visit them. They devoted so much of their life directly or indirectly helping to make yours, it’s time you do the same.

I honestly thought I wasn’t going to use this opportunity to rant about something but here I am.

One last thought for today, hopefully something bring a laugh: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES – NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS. Try not to be a slinky.

– Witgirl

Thank you MC Lars for the title idea. We stole it from your song. 

I Thought It Wasn’t For Me

It’s no secret that I don’t like social networking sites. I’ve written about this topic several times here on Silent Cacophony. That’s why you will probably be surprised that I have been won over by one of them.

That’s right, I am on Twitter and enjoying it. At first I didn’t get it and I thought about quitting the site several times but I hammered on anyway. As I did, I realized that Twitter can actually be a useful device.

Twitter is essentially a microblog reader. You post small updates that can be no longer than 140 characters. It sounds really limiting and when I first heard of Twitter, I immediately decided that it wasn’t for me. But I tried it out for a while and began to see the benefits.

So what won me over?

1) I have picked up more readers and subscribers to my blog since I have been on there.
2) It isn’t difficult to get updates. If you decide to follow someone, their posts end up on your homepage and it is quick and easy to scan them.
3) You can find out some interesting things about your favourite artists. MC Lars posts regular updates about his tour. They are cool to see.
4) It is quick and easy to post things up.

Here are the latest Tweets that I have posted there;

“I’m working on my short story for the contest that @writerdad is hosting. Entries are due Friday. Look for my story later this week.”

“I’m glad most people here write in sentences. I don’t get text message lingo. I’m too old school but not old enough for Twitter, it seems.”

“I should be writing now. I said I was. Maybe just knowing that you know I’m working on this story will get me moving & get in done in time.

“Just joined a twibe. Visit http://twibes.com/kidlitosphere to join”

“Still working on my short story. I don’t know why I always find it harder to write one of these than an entire novel.”

“Watching Sopranos Season 3 DVD. Episode 1 is amazing. I love the way it is cut and the music editing is brilliant.”

“Check out this intriguing blog post about the “Privitization of the English Language” and trademarks on @zen_habits

If you are intrigued or like what you see. Head on over to http://twitter.com/chasemarch and follow me.

Double Spacing Between Sentences is Not Cool Anymore!

I never really learned how to type properly. I’m not horrible at it. I can type fairly fast but I only use about four fingers and a thumb to do so.

I remember learning that it was proper to hit the space bar two times at the end of each sentence. For typewriters this was an important rule. It also helped to do so if you had a dot-matrix printer (I did by the way).

The problem is that with the computer fonts we have these days two spaces can often look wrong. It can also lead to some weird formatting problems.

I have always written paragraphs with two spaces after each sentence. I’ve been doing so for years.

Whenever I publish something online, whether it be a blog entry or a comment, I always check to make sure it looks okay. Sometimes the double space causes formatting problems and actually fragments a perfectly good paragraph.

I subscribe to an agent’s blog and he had a post on there a few weeks back about what was proper – one space or two. Most people voted that one space was better. I voted for two and decided that there was nothing wrong with it. I wasn’t going to change.

But then I decided that it might be good to change my habits to reflect the times. It has been hard to change. I always hit that space bar twice. So all week I have been going back and deleting one of the spaces. This is taking up a lot of time. Maybe after a while I will just automatically only insert one space. Or perhaps I am forever doomed to filling in that extra space for the rest of my life.

Editors will painstakingly have to delete all those spaces. They will curse at me and my old school ways. Or maybe I will get it. Does it even matter though? What do you think?

Year Three of My Five-Year Mission

My five-year mission was simply to write as much as possible with the goal of being published within five years. I started this blog two years ago today with that goal in mind. It seemed achievable and I have been working towards that end since then.

This was my first-year update at the start of year-two.

This past year, I finished writing another novel. I revised and rewrote sections of my young adult novel as well. I believe that it is nearly ready to be shopped around to publishers. I really like how this story turned out.

I wrote my first short story this year. You can read it for free here.

So far I have written a screenplay, a verse novel, a young adult novel, a literary novel, a short story, and 504 blog entries. That’s a pretty good haul for two years.

I also joined the airwaves this past year and became part of the production team for Dope FM, a hip hop mix show on 93.3 CFMU here in Hamilton. The show is available as a podcast each and every week.

I have interviewed artists and really enjoyed my role as an on-air personality. This year, I will be launching a new monthly segment for the show on the history of hip-hop. I am really excited about this project.

It should be another stellar year here at Silent Cacophony. Thanks for coming along with me on this mission. I really love having this outlet and I appreciate you reading my words, commenting on posts, and following me on Twitter.

Happy Blog Birthday Silent Cacophony!

Here’s to a great Year 3!

Journal Vs Blog

Last year, I wrote 250 blog entries. Do the math.

250 entries divided by 365 days in the year = a 68.5% efficiency.

That number is misleading though since my goal was to write a blog entry every weekday. So let’s revise the numbers

52 weeks in a year times 5 days a week = 260 potential blogging days

I actually posted 250 entries so let’s divide that by 260 to get a 96% efficiency rate.

I would say that’s a pretty good record.

Let’s look at my journal now. I started it up quite a long time ago. I have managed to keep it updated but my entries have gotten to be very few and far between. I want to correct that this year. I have lots of things to write about that I wouldn’t want to put on the World Wide Web. My journal still has a purpose, even if I have neglected it.

Total Journal Entries 56

56 divided by 365 days in the year = 15% efficiency

Of course blog entries are short, most are only about 300 words long. My journal entries by nature are much larger, most of them are anywhere from a page and a half to six pages.

Total journal pages for 2008 = 134 pages.

Each entry is then roughly 2 and a half pages long. I guess that’s not too bad. I bet if I counted the number of pages I did the year before, it would probably be pretty close to that number as well.

There used to be a time when I wrote in my journal every single day. I love being able to look back at my old writing and relive those moments in time. I really wish I could write in them more, but I just don’t have the time. I write blog entries, journal entries, and fiction.

I probably write now more than I ever did. I guess I don’t need to keep score. This really isn’t a contest. My blog and my journal both have their place and my attention. They both are permanent records of my thoughts at the time. As such, my writing serves as a time machine to my mind state and feelings at the time of each entry. That is the magic behind my writing and what keeps me going.

Blog Inaction Day


Yesterday I lamented about the old posts that get forgotten in the blogosphere. Today I have a solution.

We need to collectively stop and take a look back.

That’s why I am proposing a Blog Inaction Day.

That’s right. A day of inaction. A day where all bloggers don’t publish anything. A day where we bloggers honour the past by doing nothing except reading old entries. We can dip into the vaults of our favourite blogs or explore blogs we’ve never been to before.

We can keep a record of what jewels from the past we were able to find. We should all find at least five articles from the past that interested us in some way. We can then go and post the links up on our blog. No commentary is needed.

All we need to write is, “Look what I found in the sandbox!”

Then we will let the discussion begin. We will have created a dialogue with the past. We will honour our history and still move forward.

What’d ya say. Are you with me?

Blogs are Disposable

You know it’s true. I mean, when was the last time you read a post of any blog that wasn’t the most recent post?

Why is it that we always gravitate towards the newest material? We only want to see the latest movies, either at the ciniplex or at the rental store. We only want to see the latest research in anything we are interested in.

The news is the same way. We don’t read old newspapers or old magazines for the most part. We read them quickly and throw them them away just as quickly. We are always looking for the next thing.

I think we sometimes need to work against this commonly-held belief that it’s old it doesn’t count. There are some jewels of knowledge hidden in previous blog posts, old newspapers, old stories, and old theories.

My old posts mean something to me. They are there for you to browse through if you choose to. But who has the time?

So old posts are discarded and never to be thought of again. At least, they aren’t recycled into a new edition like the daily newspapers are. The old posts remain. The titles call for your attention. But like the voices of the elders, we seem to be hastily moving forward all the time. Maybe this isn’t the best practice.

What do you think? Are blogs disposable? Do our voices matter?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post as I will continue along this theme.

Welcome to the SC!

Silent Cacophony was born a long, long time ago. I remember exactly how it started.

I was fishing through the dictionary and came across this wonderful word “cacophony.” It meant a harsh or discordant sound. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word at the time, but it resonated with me for some reason. I also immediately thought of the oxymoron “Silent Cacophony.”

This term energized me. It felt like a description of who I was. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I hadn’t yet discovered my place in the world. I tried to make noise so people could know me but it didn’t work. I felt invisible. This was the perfect term to describe myself.

It was also the perfect term to describe the act of writing. Words can speak volumes even though they make no noise at all.

So I decided this term would be the title of the book I had always wanted to write. I was a teenager at the time and I thought I had all the answers (boy was I naïve.) Anyway I wrote my observations about life in a coil notebook. I didn’t follow through with it though. The book was never completed.

Years later, I decided to start writing seriously. I wrote a screenplay and had a few other ideas floating around in my head for some novels. I thought I should have an on-line presence if I wanted to become an author so I set out to get a blog. Right away, I knew my blog should be titled “Silent Cacophony.” I was glad it was available in blogspot and I got right to work.

Since then, I have written a verse novel, a young adult novel, a short story, some poems and songs, and a literary novel. My blog has grown and developed too.

If you are new to Silent Cacophony, please check some of these posts. If you are familiar with me and my blog, please check these out for a trip down memory lane.

Thanks for stopping by!

Five Year Mission – My very first post

A Nice Short Story – Survived by Stuff

The Title Here Says It All – Nothing

On The Radio – Chase March on a Podcast

Hip Hop Commentary – Rap Isn’t Music

Relationships – Whatever Happened to Commitment

Break Up – Trouble With Falling

Twice as Much Work

It’s a bit frustrating teaching a split class. There is just so much stuff that I need to juggle. I’ve been trying my best and I know that I’ve been doing a good job. But I also know, that I can always do better.

I’ve been staying late almost every single night for the past two weeks. I’ve been trying to figure out how to teach the Grade 3 and Grade 4 curriculums at the same time.

Truth is, sometimes I just can’t. There are certain lessons or topics that I just can’t fracture. I need to spend some time on these topics so that everyone in the class can understand them. So I try to teach a lesson that can apply to both grades and then just vary the work that the students do afterwards.

Of course, this doesn’t always work. I find that I don’t have enough time to do everything that I want to do. So I need to pick and choose which topics or lessons need more time and which ones don’t.

The problem is that I know my students are losing out, just a bit. I can’t spend as much time on a science unit as I can if I were only teaching a single grade.

I finally have my year plan down to my liking. The problem is that I am already a week behind schedule. I found that my students needed that extra time for this current unit of math and science. So I gave it to them. Now I need to trim my plan once again.

It’s really not fair.

I also found that I don’t have the same amount of time I used to have for blogging. I think I might drop down to only three or four posts a week. But I don’t really want to cut back on my posting schedule. Besides, if I do that, wouldn’t I need to change my header again?

Ah man, there’s always something more to do. It’s crazy. I need a break.

Good thing it’s a long weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Why Blogs Suck

Last week when I was at the university for the radio show, I picked up a copy of the student newspaper. I haven’t read it in quite some time. Truth is, I used to write for it way back when.

I read almost through the entire publication. It’s still just as an interesting read as it was back when I was still in my undergrad. The paper hasn’t changed much, and surprisingly, the student voice still seems familiar to me.

Anyway, I found an interesting column by Sarah El-Hamzawi. In it, she discusses why blogs suck. I really got a kick out of her viewpoint and I agree with most of it. It might be strange for a blogger to actually say that, but she even admits to blogging. So here goes, the condensed version of her article.

Why Blogs Suck

1) It makes anyone an expert.

2) They are killing off the pen to paper means of writing.

Remember when you had a real journal and not a “live” one?

3) I can’t escape them.

Those are all good reasons Sarah. I agree with them and I have much of the same gripes about the whole thing that you do.

Anyway, go read her column f.u.b.a.r. I think I will be checking for that every week now.

You Talked Me Off The Ledge

I almost quit blogging last week. It didn’t feel like there was much value in it anymore. It felt like I was just going through the motions.

I actually wrote a post titled, “What’s the Point?” where I contemplated the entire process of this blog and its purpose. I didn’t publish it though.

I did, however, drop a few comments on some other blogs that really reflected how I was feeling at the time. On Blogging Without a Blog, Barbara asked her readers “How do you see yourself in blogosphere? How do you see me?” I immediately started typing;

“I feel like I’m a tiny pebble at the bottom of the aquarium. Nobody watched the pebbles. They wouldn’t notice if I disappeared. It seems like there are enough pebbles doing the job…”

Barbara wrote a great reply that made me feel much better about my role in the blogosphere. So I emailed her to thank her.

She then used my crisis of faith as fodder for her next post. Tonnes of responses came in and I was really surprised at the amount and value of those comments. They really helped me to realize that real reason why I blog.

I blog because I enjoy writing. I enjoy the comments and discussions that have sprung forth on this and my favourite blogs. I like the small community that has developed around these blogs as well. There were some really touching comments that made me realize that I was worrying about stuff that I didn’t really need to worry about.

So, I’ve gotten over my crisis of faith, thanks to all the great community members in the blogosphere. I really appreciate all the advice and encouragement you’ve given me.

Thanks for talking me down from the ledge.

Still Trying to Find My Rhythm

School is back in full swing but I’m still trying to find my rhythm. I feel better when I know exactly what I’m doing and the best way to work things. But I’m still adjusting to my new school, their established rules and routines, and a having a split class. I’m trying to develop my own routines and get my class running smoothly as well. It’s a lot to deal with, and has been taking up a vast majority of my time.

I haven’t had much time online since I got Internet service at home. And the time I have had, I’ve been searching for new music and podcasts. It’s just the novelty of being able to finally do that. It feels like I’ve really joined the digital age now.

I haven’t written much. I haven’t really replied to any blog entries. But I’ve continued to read my favourites in Google Reader.

So I’m still trying to find my daily rhythm. I hope I find it soon. Things seem a little crazy right now and I’ll look forward to everything slowing down and falling into place.

Welcome to My Talk Show

I have begun to think of blogging like talk radio.

I love talk radio.

It is great to tune into to a show daily and hear the host speak about a variety of topics. My favourite talk shows don’t carve out a niche. They explore a vast array of topics. And this is important.

I don’t normally care what topic my favourite hosts put on their shows. That’s not why I tune in. I tune in because of their personality. I tune in because of the way they handle the discussion. I tune in because it is comforting to hear them. I think blogs are like this as well.

I visit blogs regularly because it feels like I have a connection to the author. I like to join in on the discussion. I like to hear their take on issues. I like being exposed to topics and discussions that I wouldn’t otherwise be interested in.

This is why I don’t think blogs need to be limited in focus. Yet, I see things written all the time that say we need to identify our audience and write for them. I don’t believe in this.

I think as authors we needs to write primarily for ourselves. We need to write with passion, we need to be open and honest in our writings, and we need to foster discussion by replying to comments with respect. If we do all of this, then we are a lot like radio talk show hosts.

So come on tune in to my show every weekday. I will be here discussing things that may concern you, things you might not have thought about, and things you probably should think about.

Agree with me, disagree with me, it doesn’t matter. Join the discussion. I look forward to hearing from you as much as you do reading me. Without your readership and comments this blog wouldn’t work. We are in this together.

Thanks for joining Silent Cacophony, the Chase March show.

Comment Moderation – On or Off?

I have had comment moderation on my blog since I started it. I wanted to make sure that no offensive comments or language were ever posted on my blog. But so far, I haven’t deleted one comment because of this criteria. In fact, the only comments that I didn’t approve were spam. And that has only happened twice.

The comment moderation feature does not allow me to alter the comment in any way. It just gives me two options; approve or deny. I normally approve every comment that I get, and I wouldn’t want to edit anyone else’s thoughts anyway.

So, I’ve been thinking that maybe I don’t need to moderate comments anymore. I’m a little hesitant to cancel the feature though, simply because I want to keep my blog G-rated. But I think that normal people, and my readers in particular, won’t take advantage of an open comment format.

Most of my favourite blogs don’t seem to moderate comments. And they don’t seem to have a problem with inappropriate remarks. Besides, I can always delete a comment after it has been posted if need be.

I also like going to other blogs and seeing my comment appear immediately. Your comments won’t show up immediately on my blog. They only show up after I have approved them. My question is, do you like to wait? Does it scare you away from making a comment? Does it impede the discussion?

Man, I’ve got so many questions about this feature. But I’m still sitting on the fence. So what do you think, should comment moderation stay on my blog or should it go bye bye?

Work It In

It’s funny how my original Silent Cacophony book that I wrote in a coil notebook got put away for years but would not die. It stayed with me, even when I thought it was completely lost. And when I thought of starting a blog I knew that it had to have the same title. But after finding my book two weeks ago, I was shocked to see that the coil notebook was indeed the start of this blog.

It kind of reminds me of the original idea I had for my last novel. I wrote a scene that told me exactly what the book was going to be about. I couldn’t seem to start the novel though. It took me a few weeks to get going on it as I cooked the idea some more in my brain.

That original scene didn’t actually come into the novel until I was way into it. It managed to fit nicely into chapter 3. It managed to work itself in.

I always wanted to be a writer. In fact, I considered myself a writer long before I started this blog. I was just a writer that didn’t write. A writer who tinkered around with some horrible poetry and some pretty pedestrian rhymes. A writer who had a novel in him but couldn’t find the time to write it. A writer who was scared to even try.

But the story wouldn’t leave me alone. It was hard to write that first one but the story insisted on being told. It found a way to work in to my life. And I’m glad it did.

I love writing now. I have written quite a few different things since then. And I plan on continuing to write. Writing has managed to work its way into my life just as those original writings in my notebook found their way into my blog.

It’s amazing how things seem to work out, but they always do. It seems like I tried to start this blog a decade too early. Like Barbara, I seemed to be blogging without a blog. Perhaps the timing just wasn’t right. But it looked like I knew what I wanted to do with it. I’m just glad that I finally did it, and I will keep doing it. Silent Cacophony for life!