Continuing the Chase in 2017

chasing-contentEvery month, I like to take a glimpse back into the past to see what was happening exactly one year ago.

I highlight some of my favourite posts from that month and share them here in a little feature I call “Chasing Content.”

Read all of the posts from last January

or just these highlights

Exploring Swearing in Hip-Hop

I had a lot of fun producing this radio documentary on swearing in hip-hop music. It’s part of the monthly series I do entitled, Know Your History. 

How to Properly Reboot a Franchise

I hope filmmakers can learn something from the Planet of the Apes movies. The reboot movies are extremely well done and are faithful to the original material in a way that can only please fans both new and old.

Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide

This is a fun read for anyone who truly loves hip-hop. The editor takes us on a journey through 60 classic albums with in-depth articles from noted music journalists.

The Death of Spider-Man

I did a lot of comic book reading last January. If you scroll through all the posts for the month, you’ll see tons of great Spider-Man reviews including Superior Spider-Man, Miles Morales, and this huge event that brought tears to many an eye.

Star Wars: The Force Retread

I still haven’t seen Rogue One yet, although I have heard good things about it. It can’t be worse than The Force Awakens. I was so disappointed with that movie that lacked any originality and I vented about it here.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me! 

We do this at the start of every month. Don’t let great content get lost in the archive. Click the links above, leave comments, and share stuff on your social media accounts.

Thank you!

Looking Back to help Look Forward

launching-a-new-yearIn order to truly accomplish a goal, you need to work at it regularly, keep it in the forefront of your mind, and make small steps to reach the intended destination.

This is something I am not good at. I write a list every year, and then it gets buried in the archive.

I decided not to make resolutions at the start of last year. Instead, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish.

The post still got buried in the archive and I didn’t think much about it till now as we launch a brand new year.

That being said, let’s look back at what I was thinking last year at this time and see how I did and what I really need to work on in 2017.

Here it is

“I want to . . .

  • be more creative
  • DJ all sorts of events (weddings, rap concerts, dances, etc)
  • get my fiction published
  • produce quality radio
  • build a life with the woman I love
  • find a way to support myself financially
  • find a job that not only pays the bills but makes me happy
  • sharpen my DJ skills
  • make a few mixtapes to highlight my DJ skills
  • run more than 300 kilometers
  • write a new work of fiction
  • write a non-fiction book (I have two great ideas for this too)
  • keep this blog regularly updated
  • read for enjoyment, self-improvement, and personal education”

Why?

Why did I write that first one? I have always been creative and don’t think I slowed down in that arena.

Wins

I did DJ a lot this year as you can tell from my #2016bestnine posts on Instagram.

2016bestnine-chase-march

Six out of these nine pictures are DJ related. It shows me deejaying on the radio, at a night club, at a stag-and-doe party, holding it down for the Rel McCoy and Cquel tour stop in London, and for being an official DJ for Sons of Boombap.

I did produce lots of quality radio programs including my annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular, All Women’s  Voices Day, Christmas Special episode, and tons of great in-depth interviews.

I made two mixtapes this year that were events. I mixed one-third of the collaborative mixtape from the Sons of Boombap collective. I also teamed up with DJ Hullewud to drop The MIX(ed)TAPE. I am very proud of both of these projects.

I didn’t track my running with an app this year but I did get out at least three times a week every week all season. I have to have cleared close to 300 km. I wish I knew for sure though.

I didn’t read as many novels in 2016, but I still did read a lot. I didn’t include the stuff I read for school either as I started working on a masters degree at Western University.

Fail

I didn’t write any new works of fiction or non-fiction this year. I did write and work on projects for the four university classes I took though. I hadn’t planned on going back  to school, but I am glad I did.

Win

Returning to university to pursue a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.

I am very excited about this new career path and can’t wait to finish.

Set-back

I worked at a fast food spot as a survival job and kind of got stuck there. The good news is that I did get promoted twice.

Launch-forward

I have moved on from that job and will be teaching high school this winter term. That doesn’t start until Tuesday, but it’s a great way to kick off a new year (also featured on my Best 9 picture above)

The Biggest Win

The biggest win of 2016 is my engagement to Diana. She is an amazing woman and I am really looking forward to our wedding this winter and building a life together.

Good bye 2016

2016 wasn’t a terrible year. It felt like it was a transition year and that even better things are on the horizon. That is why I wrote this tweet.

chase-march-tweet

Hello 2017

I am ready for all the good things that will happen this year. I don’t plan on making any goals or resolutions just yet. Perhaps I will make shorter goals and work hard towards accomplishing some of the things I didn’t get to this year.

Happy New Year!

Top 16 Albums of 2016

A few years back I wrote a post about the best albums of that year. I called it the Top 9 Albums of ’09 and unknowingly started a tradition. Every year now, I have to add one more album to the list.

This year, I had no problem finding 16 albums to rank. It was a good year for hip-hop music.

All of the albums listed below were in heavy rotation for me, were featured on my radio show –  Word is Bond several times, and the tunes bang.

I even got to interview a few of these artists on the show.

If you have a favourite album that I didn’t list here, please leave a comment below. This time of year is always great for discovering music that flew under your radar. I know I discover great new music from other people’s lists. Hopefully mine can do that for you too.

So without further ado, here is the Top 16 Albums of 2016.

16. Sadat X – Aqua

sadat-x-aqua

Sadat X is a veteran in the rap game. He still has the chops on the mic and enlists the production skills of Pete Rock, Diamond D, DJ Scratch, and more. The features on the album are also on point.

15. More or Les – Blow the F&#@ Up But Stay Humble

more-or-les-btfybsh

More or Les has a very distinct voice and actually talks about things on his record. In the lead single for this project, he admits that he might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think you should at least take a sip. He battles stereotypes, drops knowledge, and makes your head nod.

14. Atmosphere – Fishing Blues

atmopshere-fishing-blues

Atmosphere are always one of my favs.  I might be a little biased here. And this may effort may not be their best work to date, but it is still getting regular rotation in my house and car.

13. Torae – Entitled

torae-entitled

I love how Torae has stopped using the n-word. The track that addresses this on the album is absolutely brilliant. I also like how he tackles the subject of entitlement that many of us struggle with regularly.

12. Apollo Brown & Skyzoo – The Easy Truth

apollo-brown-x-skyzoo-easy-truth

Apollo Brown is one of the best producers in the game. He can bring out the best in an emcee. And when that emcee is already a gifted lyricist such as Skyzoo, a collaborative project is going to sound amazing. This one is a future classic!

11. Rel McCoy – Gas Money

rel-mccoy-gas-money

Relic officially changed his name to Rel McCoy with this project. He tries some new flows and enlists the talents of a variety of producers including Fresh Kils, Tone Mason, Moka Only, and Elaquent to create another great album. Rel never disappoints.

10. DJ Hullewud / DJ Chase March – The MIX(ed)TAPE

dj-hullewud-x-dj-chase-march-the-mixedtape-cover

It might be a little self-serving to include this on my year-end list, but I am very proud of this project. It features world-premiere and exclusive tracks from some of hip-hop’s best underground artists including Exit Only, Sankdafied, Branded Moore, Swamp Thing, Timbuktu, Jon Corbin, Es, Zoetic Minds, Animal Nation, Ultra Magnus and DJ Slam, and more.

9. Masta Ace – The Falling Season

masta-ace-falling-season

Masta Ace goes back to high school with this concept album that retells the story of his youth in skits placed between topical songs that will surely have your head nodding and you rapping along.

8. Tiff the Gift – It Gets Greater Later

tiff-the-gift-it-gets-greateer-later

I really love the feel, the message, and the boom bap beats on this one. It was worth the two year wait between albums if this is what Tiff the Gift had been cooking up for us. My favourite track is “Painted Pictures.”

7. Common – Black America Again

common-black-america-again

Common has taken a few mis-steps when it comes to albums and projects. But his growth and development is something that cannot be denied. His is redefining a genre that often tries to paint older voices as irrelevant. This is Common at his finest.

6. A-F-R-O and Marco Polo – A-F-R-O Polo

a-f-r-o-marco-polo-a-f-r-o-polo

All Flows Reach Out is one of the freshest new voices we have in hip-hop. Team him up with one of the best producers to ever come out of Canada, and we end up with A-F-R-O Polo, a great underground hip-hop project.

5. Elevator Emcees – Elevator MCs

elevator-mcs

These guys captured my attention right away with this project. They remind me of Dilated Peoples with their sound. I hope to see big things from them in the future.

4. Homeboy Sandman – Kindness for Weakness

homeboy-sandman-kindness-for-weakness

I love this album. “Eyes” is quite possibly my favourite song of the whole year. Homeboy Sandman is quite unconventional and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. He can probably relate to More or Les is that way.

3. A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service

a-tribe-called-quest-we-got-it-from-here-thank-you-4-your-service

This album is incredible for a few different reasons. First off, it is the last album we will see from the group as founding member Phife Dawg passed away. Secondly, the group came back together to record it. You can tell that they were in the same room at the same time. Third, they push the envelope while maintaing the Tribe sound. I’m so glad we have this final chapter in the ATCQ catalogue.

2. Tempomental – Loaded with Pain

tempomental-loaded-with-pain

Tempomental is one of London, Ontario’s finest. His live performances are absolutely incredible. He has a soulful flow, sings, and produces. This album is sonically beautiful with some depressing and thought provoking lyrics. It’s what Tempomental does best.

1. Nilla – Valkyrie

nilla-valkyrie

We haven’t heard from Nilla in years, but it was well worth the wait. This album was produced entirely by Ghettosocks and we even get to hear him vocally on the project as well. Nilla takes aim at misogyny in hip-hop and sexism in every day life. She spits hard hitting rhymes over top of great boom-bap beats. She will definitely make you say, “Woah, man!” (a highlight track everyone should hear)

Support the artists

Go find these albums and support the artists by purchasing their music, playing to see them perform live, and copping some merchandise.

Your turn

Do you agree or disagree with my list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

End of the Year Hip Hop Anonymous Bash

hha-end-of-year-bash

We are closing off the year with one more edition of Hip Hop Anonymous featuring performances by Tempomental, Sankdafied, Typewriters, Laura Leger, Traffimatics, KRouge, Revelated Me, and T Will. There will also be a beat showcase by AdD.

DJ Chase March on the 1s and 2s all night long.

WHAT: Hip Hop Anonymous – End of Year Bash
WHEN: Friday December 30, 2016
WHERE: Gordy’s Brewhouse. 1631 Oxford St. E. London, ON.
DOORS: 9:00 p.m.
TICKETS: Free (DWG wants to give back to all the fans and supporters)

Visit the Facebook Event Page for more info.

I hope to you can come out and kick it with us in a small, intimate setting. Help support the local hip-hop scene by attending shows, letting people know that you are going via social media, buying some merch at the gig, and enjoying the tunes. It’s going to be a good night!

Star Trek Dropped the Ball in 2016

star-trek-50-logo

2016 marked the 50th Anniversary of the biggest science fiction franchise of all-time. I was really looking forward to a year-long celebration of all things Trek. Unfortunately, those in charge of Star Trek dropped the ball, the anniversary passed with very little fanfare, and an opportunity was missed.

I have been championing Star Trek my entire life. I have watched all of the television series, read the novels, collected the comic books, cosplayed as characters from the Enterprise, bought and displayed collectibles, constructed models, played board games and trivia, and had a blast doing it.

I was hoping to share my passion for the show with some like-minded people this year, both in person and online. I was looking forward to a new television series premiering this fall. I think a lot of us were. It is a crime that the series has been pushed back and that we won’t see it till next year. A lot had been lost by not having it shown during the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

I made some noise on the day we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the very first broadcast of the original television series that aired September 8th, 1966.

I celebrated by rereading some of my old comic books and rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation from its very first episode. I’m not sure I will have the series done in this calendar year, but I will write a review of it once I get through all 177 episodes.

At least we did see a new Star Trek film this year, and it was actually good. Star Trek Beyond has its problems but it feels like the creators are starting to get their act together with the new universe. I even got to see William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk this year at Fan Expo.

When I have talked with people about this monumental anniversary, many of them didn’t even realize it happened. That is a shame. Star Trek dropped the ball. They should have hyped it up and capitalized on the event. I am not sure why they didn’t.

I just want to say that I love and appreciate all that Star Trek has given to me and to popular culture. Without it, we wouldn’t have Star Wars and countless other series and fandoms. It paved the way for science fiction to be a legitimate artform. It has also inspired me in countless ways.

Star Trek, live long and prosper.

And here’s to another 50!

Star Trek Revisited and Reinterpreted

startrek-new-adventures-vol-2

Star Trek: The New Adventures – Volume 2

The first volume of this graphic novel series didn’t sit right with me. I was pretty harsh in my review of it. In fact, I recommended skipping the title altogether. It was advice that even I didn’t take. I saw the second volume at the library and decided to give it a try. I am glad that I did.

Spoiler Free Review

The first story in the collection revolves around a minor character from the first rebooted movie, Hendorff. It sounds like a weird start to the collection, but it works. I like how much he takes pride in wearing the red shirt uniform for the Enterprise. A lot of us in the fandom know what that might mean, but to see it taken so seriously in this story and have it not be a joke is a really nice touch.

One-off Stories

We also get a one-off story from Scott’s associate, Keenser. We see the challenges he has serving on the starship due to his diminished stature. It’s the only time in the Star Trek universe that I am aware of where this issue has been tackled.

Scotty, Bones, and Uhura each get their own one-issue story in this collection, but for some reason Sulu and Chekov have to share one.

Mirror Universe

We get a Mirror Mirror story in this volume that isn’t simply a retelling of the original television series episode. In this one, Kirk is the bad guy and Spock is the reasonable one. We even get old Spock in the story, which was pretty cool.

Pon Farr Troubles

I also really like the reinterpretation of the classic episode “Amok Time.” This is the one where Spock goes through a mating cycle that requires him to return to Vulcan. Of course, in the first movie, his home planet had been destroyed, making this impossible. The Enterprise diverts to New Vulcan only to find that the Pon Farr ritual is not effective for many of the Vulcans. It seems that the ritual was tied to the solar system and planet of the original Vulcan. It looks as though Spock might be lost to insanity, along with many others.

The Verdict

I can’t believe how effective this second volume of the comic series was. It seems that writers and artists have grown into knowing exactly what this universe is about. They are respecting the source material while bringing something new to it. It feels like Star Trek and I will be happy to read more.

My List of 2016 Reads  – nearly done now

A Chase March Hip-Hop Christmas Mix

I did this mix of underground Christmas-themed hip-hop live on the radio Monday night.

I get tired of the same-old, same-old Christmas music every year. That’s why I did some digging and found some new and new-to-me tunes to spin.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday and enjoy the mix!

FavorMusik – Snowed In
Saigon – It’s Cold
Kev Brown – We’re a Car-roll-ing
Bob Rivers – If Eminem did Jingle Bells
Fat Lip (of Pharcyde) – All I Want
Foreknown ft Phil Harmonic – Ghost of Christmas Past
Torae – Egg Nod
MC Lars – Frost the Flow Man
Cross Movement – Different Kind of Christmas
Scribbling Idiots – Jingle Bell Knock
Page One x Theory Hazit x MG the Visionary x DJ Because – We Three Kings
Atmosphere – If I Was Santa Claus
LA Symphony – Christmas Song
Word Salad and Mad Hattr – Your Present’s Here
Sweet Tee – Let the Jingle Bells Rock
Juice Crew All Stars – Cold Chillin’ Christmas
Onyx – Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells
Easy-E – Merry M-F Christmas
People Under the Stairs – Holiday Party
Run-DMC – Christmas in Hollis
Dynamix II – Merry Ride
Supastition – Sounds of Xmas
Muneshine ft D-sisive – Starter Jacket
Bop Alloy – Hottest Christmas on Record
Audio Two – A Christmas Rhyme
Rev Run and Friends – Santa Baby
Kardinal Offishall and Friends – Christmas Rappin’
Ice Cube – Put it in ya Egg Nog
ScienZe ft Blu – Charlie Brown
Casual – Santa Claus
Dana Dane – Dana Dane is Coming to Town

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The King of Rock-Bottom

dmc-memoir

Ten Ways to Not Commit Suicide by Darryl McDaniels (DMC)

I am a huge Run-DMC fan. They are my all-time favourite group. So when I saw this book at the public library, I knew I had to pick it up.

I had heard DMC talking about this book on the radio, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t that interested in reading it. Maybe it was the awkward title. Maybe it was the fact that Run-DMC disbanded when Jam Master Jay died over 10 years ago and I haven’t paid much attention to the solo carreers of Run or DMC since then.

When I saw that this book was available for me to read for free, I knew I had to check it out. I found out a few things I didn’t know about Run-DMC. I thought they were cool with each other and made music together in a creative partnership. DMC doesn’t paint that picture in this memoir. He writes of his unhappiness with the group often. He also has nothing positive to say about Run. He doesn’t blame Run for anything and he doesn’t air any of his dirty laundry. This isn’t a tell-all book. It isn’t a self-help book either. It’s simply a memoir from an artist who almost fell victim to the music industry.

DMC writes how he drank to relieve the anxiety he felt when performing live. It quickly became a problem for him as he slid down to alcoholism. It’s almost hard to believe that any one person could drink as much as he did. And it almost killed him.

He tells us of his childhood passions and how they took a backseat to his rapping career. He is working hard to fulfill some of the dreams he put on hold when he became the King of Rock.

I am glad to see that DMC made it through the dark times and that he is still here in this world. Run-DMC are an historic group that deserve all the praise and recognition that they get. I wish things could have ended better for them. I wish Jay hadn’t died. I wish that they had released the 20th Anniversary album and launched the tour that was speculated just before Jam Master Jay’s untimely passing.

We won’t likely see a Run-DMC reunion, but we can continue to play their music and sing their praises. And we can read this book.

My List of 2016 Reads – just about complete now

12th Annual Xmas Wrap (Biggest Rap Show of the Year)

xmas-wrap-2016

One of the first hip-hop concerts I ever went to in London, Ontario was The 4th Annual Xmas Wrap. I was strictly a fan back then and just starting my career in radio. I wasn’t really known yet, especially outside of Hamilton. A lot has happened in the past eight years. DJ Hullewud distinctly remembers meeting me at that event. It’s hard to believe that was eight years ago.

I’m glad that the event has remained a Christmas tradition for all of us. It’s almost hard to believe that I am actually on the bill this year. I am so excited. This is always the biggest show of the year. It’s nice to see Swamp Thing come back to town every year to connect with their roots and throw an amazing concert full of talented artists to a packed house of energetic fans.

This years event is special because it features a Soundminds reunion, and marks the return of Sum-1 to the stage. It’s also hosted by London legend, Fritz tha Cat.

DJ Hullewud and DJ Chase March will be holding it down on the turntables all night long too.

The 12th annual Xmas Wrap Spectacular

The Annual Xmas Wrap Spectacular returns on December 22nd at Call The Office. This years event features Swamp Thing (Timbuktu, Chokeules & Savilion), Thesis Sahib, Soundminds, and Sum-01, along with DJ Hullewud & DJ Chase March. Hosted by Fritz Tha Cat.

Bios

Swamp Thing – For the past five years Toronto’s three-headed rap monster, Swamp Thing (Timbuktu, Chokeules & Savilion), have delivered a special sonic treat every Halloween. This year is no different. Back again with perhaps their greatest achievement yet, “Pray To Science” dropped October 28th via Urbnet. Produced entirely by Savilion and Timbuktu, “Pray To Science” delivers uptempo grooves and deep pocket space-aged boom bap, born of and created for the musically creative. Digging into the pantheon of underground hip hop, the records features collaboration from Ghettosocks, Birdpares, Ambition, Wordburglar, and Nilla.

Thesis Sahib – Thesis Sahib has been contributing to the underground hip hop movement for the past 19+ years, both as an innovative rapper and a well known visual artist. His articulate, rapid-fire delivery, harmonic vocals, and imaginative lyrics have graced an impressive catalogue of sought after releases on CD and vinyl. Often combining both 2D aesthetic with circuit-bent electronic toys, compositions written on modified Gameboys, a face mask costume fitted with a heavily effected microphone, and circuit-bent sounds have become part of his music and on-stage performances.

Soundminds – The last time the legendary London crew Soundsminds graced a stage together was at the 10th Xmas Wrap event back in 2014. Fingerslim, Mr. Megaphone, and Lionize Prime will once again reunite on stage, at the same time, with a very special set of their classic tracks, along with a possible surprise or two.

Sum-01 – Fresh off her latest hiatus, it’s the offical Sum-01 comeback. The queen of London hip hop returns to the stage for the first time since the summer of 2010 to take us back in time and perform tracks off her 2008 mixtape and 2010 EP.

Fritz Tha Cat – Claiming to have retired from the rap game 10 years ago Fritz returns to the stage this year to host the Xmas Wrap event for the very first time. Fritz has been quiet musically since dropping the last OK Cobra record back in 2009, but can be heard on the new Hand Solo “Bassment Of Badmen 3” compilation over DJ Moves production….with rumours of more new “old” material dropping in the near future.

DJs

Music provided by DJ Hullewud (Sausage Gut Radio, Crate Crusaders, Sons Of Boombap) and DJ Chase March (Word Is Bond Rap Radio, Sons Of Boombap).

Info

WHAT: The 12th annual Xmas Wrap Spectacular
WHEN: Thursday December 22, 2016
WHERE: Call The Office. 216 York Street, London, Ontario
DOORS: 9:00 p.m.
TICKETS: $10 at the door

I hope to see you there!

Failure Breeds? Doesn’t it?

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Life Lessons from a Total Failure by M.J. Dougherty

M.J. Dougherty has certainly had his share of ups and downs. He’s not afraid to open up and tell us about them in his new memoir, Life Lessons from a Total Failure.

I can relate to feeling like a failure. I think we all can. We might not have had experiences similar to Dougherty but we can still learn from him nonetheless. Each chapter starts with subtitles such as “It’s OK to keep things simple” , “Embrace change” , and “It can happen to anyone.”

Dougherty doesn’t hit us over the head with lessons. Instead, he simply tells his story and hopes that we get the message through the shared experience. In the final pages of the book, he sums everything up with “M.J.’s Top Ten Lessons from a Total Failure.” Each lesson is one paragraph long and gets straight to the point.

I like to write spoiler-free reviews, so if you don’t want to read this book without knowing any particulars stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert

It feels strange giving a spoiler alert for a memoir, but here we are.

I wanted to talk about my surprise of people’s expectations and how they can they can do a lot of harm. This happened to Dougherty shortly after he decided to get married. People had known that he was gay prior to this, but after his wedding, the public began to perceive his bar as being a “gay bar” even though it wasn’t. Ultimately, people stopped going there because of this perception and the business failed. I almost couldn’t believe that something like that could actually happen. Perception is powerful.

It’s interesting to see how some opportunities just presented themselves to the author as well. He was in the right place at the right time and was able to capitalize on them. Perhaps he needed to experience those failures and go through some low periods in life to ultimately find himself. Maybe we all do.

My List of 2016 Reads – just about done my reading log for the year.

Truth Found in an Ancient Manuscript

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Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

Words have power. They have the power to inspire, to educate, to entertain, and they even have a calming quality that can make a anxious time more bearable.

Perhaps that is why a group of people gathered around an elder back in the year 1099 as their city was being invaded and attacked. Fortunately for us, someone wrote down his words and they happened to survive all this time.

Here is some knowledge from the Manuscript Found in Accra.

Focus on Your Goal

“He focuses not just on the goal to be reached, but on everything happening around him. He often has to stop because his strength fails him. At such moments, Love appears and says: “You think you’re heading toward a specific point, but the whole justification for the goal’s existence lies in your love for it. Rest a little, but as soon as you can, get up and carry on. Because ever since your goal found out that you were traveling toward it, it has been running to meet you.”

Pour in the Love

“This second type of work we call the Offering. For example, two people might be cooking the same meal and using exactly the same ingredients, but one is pouring Love into what he does and the other is merely trying to fill his belly. The result will be completely different, even though Love is not something that can be seen or weighed. The person making the Offering is always rewarded. The more he shares out his affection, the more his affection grows.”

Be Yourself

“Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself; that is enough, and that makes all the difference. Walk neither faster nor slower than your own soul, because it is your soul that will teach you the usefulness of each step you take.”

Simplicity is Beautiful

“And what is simplicity? It is the coming together of the true values of life. Snow is pretty because it has only one color. The sea is pretty because it appears to be a flat plane. The desert is beautiful because it seems to consist only of sand and rocks. However, when we look more closely at each of these things, we discover how profound and complete they are, and recognize their qualities. The simplest things in life are the most extraordinary. Let them reveal themselves.”

True Fiction

This book is a work of fiction but it reads like a self-help book or even a religious text. It get into some topics that Holy books usually don’t, but the openness and honesty of the elder’s words ring just as true.

Recommended

I have enjoyed every Paulo Coelho book that I have ever read and highly recommend The Alchemist by him as well.

Keep Reading

My List of 2016 Reads – my annual reading is almost complete for this year

Medical Ngajuana: The Prescription Tour (Brantford – Dec 16)

nga-brantford

Ngajuana is one of the most talented artists I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is prolific in his output, having written over 500 songs and now he is launching his very first headlining tour.  If you haven’t seen this man live yet, do yourself a favour and come to the show this Friday in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

Bio: Born and raised in London, Ontario, Ngajuana has garnered a reputation as one of the best independent rappers ever to call Canada home. With 5 albums, more than 530 tracks and counting, over 200 shows played, and a growing fan base, the future is perpetually bright for Ngajuana. He has built a solid reputation for being reliable, consistent and focused. Ngajuana won the 2013 Jack Richardson Music Award for Hip-Hop, as well as the 2013 CHRW Fan-Favourite Album of the Year Award. Most recently, Ngajuana is currently a student in Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts program. He is getting ready to drop his biggest project to date, “Sonic Therapy 2: Paintings In Braille”.

Medical Ngajuana: The Prescription Tour – Brantford Stop

Featuring live performances by

Mad Hattr
Tempomental
Jennings
MLNY
OB1
Makzwell Skot
Multiverse Poets
Nos Killah
Woodlawn Warriors
The Renegade Master

Shorty

Music by DJ Chase March all night long!

WHEN: November 4th, 2016
WHERE: 310 Sports Bar – 310 Colborne St, Brantford, ON N3S 3M9
DOORS: Open at 9:00
TICKETS: $10 at the door.

I’m looking forward to rocking this show and I hope to see you there.

Facebook Event Page

Little Women – The Next Generation

little-women-letters

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly

Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott and released in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. The story is a classic in every aspect. It has been reprinted countless times, translated into different languages, been made into more than one feature film, and is still widely read close to 150 years later.

I had no idea this sequel book existed until I saw it on the library shelf and immediately picked it up. I was intrigued.

The story revolves around the descendants of the original March sisters that we all got to know and love in the original book. We even get to hear from them again in this new story that is set in the present day.

Unfortunately, the March name didn’t survive as all of the remaining sisters got married and took on their husbands names. But some of letters that Jo wrote to Amy, Meg, and Beth did.

Reading those letters was like being transported back in time. I could hear Jo’s voice through them. It was like she had actually wrote them and I forgot that she was a fictional character.

The letters were the best part of this book. The modern day group of sisters didn’t capture my heart as quickly as the original March sisters did. I found this story to be a bit dry as well. However, it did seem to fit well in tone with the original novel.

If you love the March sisters, you will probably love this one as well. If you decide to check it out, I also highly recommend this young adult reworking on the story featuring a young lady who just happens to be named March.

Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

I asolutely loved this story and it is on my “to read again soon” list.

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

Running Alongside the Ausable River Cut

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I love finding new places to run and explore.

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I had no idea what to expect when I started off on this run through Ausable River Cut Conservation Area.

auable-riverside-trail

It was quite beautiful  running alongside the river,

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with some nice places to stop and take it all in,

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including this look-out.

ausable-river-cut-plaque

I like when there are information plaques like this one to learn more about the unique area and wildlife features.

ausable-sand-trail

It’s hard to tell from this picture, but the trail got really sandy once I got further in.

sand-dune

I had to take it slow to traverse this sand dune.

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The trail was only two kilometers long. On my second pass through, I decided to run up it instead. That was a lot harder to do than it appeared.

tire-staircase

These tire stairs were fun to run up and down.

dock

I haven’t been in a canoe in a while, but had a yearning to explore this river from the view of a boat. Maybe I will one day.

Photographic Tours – over 50 great places to run

Hagersville Skatepark

hagersville-skatepark

I stumbled across this skatepark last weekend. I wasn’t looking for a new spot to skate so it’s a good thing that I keep my skateboard in my trunk for occasions such as this one.

curved-quarter-pipe

I like the arch of this quarter-pipe. It’s also a nice height.

grind-rails-and-ledges

There are plenty of places to do grind tricks too.

pyramid-ramp

It has the typical pyramid ramp that is standard at these concrete parks.

stairs

The stair obstacles are nice.

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Not sure what this ramp is all about.

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I like that the part is relatively free of graffiti. It’s not the best place to skate and maybe not worth your time to travel here . . .

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but if you are in the vacinity of Hagersville in Haldimand County, it’s the only place to get your skate on.

Want to check out more Skateparks? 

Virtual Skatepark Tour – over 2 dozen great spots to skate

Chasing Content – December Again

chasing-content-1It’s time for another edition of Chasing Content, that monthly feature that has us looking back at what was happening last year at this time right here on Silent Cacophony.

So, please click the links, share posts, and leave comments. Let’s not let great content get buried in the archives, never to be seen again.

Thanks!

Read all of the posts from last December

or just these shiny ones.

Little Brother – A Great Read!

I really enjoyed this science fiction, thriller, YA novel. You probably will too.

Flashpoint – One Moment Changes Everything

I read the iconic comic book story that this season of The Flash on television is loosely based around. The comic tells a heartbreaking story and if you are a fan of the TV show, I highly recommend taking a look at this graphic novel.

Bridgeview Park Nature Trail

I got one last trail run in late last season. It was kind of late in the evening for me to be doing it too. It was dark by the time I completed the 5 kilometer run. But it was fun. I’m already sad that this year’s running season has come to a close. I will be blogging a bit more about it this month, however.

Sound Unbound – Sampling Music and Culture

“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.” – click through to read more.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Planet of the Apes (Book vs Movie)

My father really enjoyed the Planet of the Apes movies. I vividly recall watching them together on television when I was growing up. I’m not sure I completely understood what they were about, but I remember enjoying them nonetheless.

rise-of-the-apes

When the film series was rebooted in 2011, I was pleasantly surprised by how the filmmakers respected what I thought was the source material. There were all sorts of Easter Eggs and ties to the original 1968 theatrical film.

I brought the DVD over to my dad’s place and we watched it together again, all those years later. Unfortunately, he passed away and I can’t talk to him about my discovery of the novel that sparked the whole Apes phenomenon.

planet-of-the-apes-pierre-boulle

Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Published in French in 1963 under the title of La Planète des Singes, the original novel is quite a bit different than the 1968 film adaptation. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As I read the book, I looked forward to rewatching the original movie so I could compare and contrast the two.

planet-of-the-apes-1968

Planet of the Apes (1968 film)

I hate that this poster shows the finale of the movie. I admit that it is an iconic image but it is also a spoiler and it bugs me that the film is still advertised like this. This shot was even on the DVD menu when I watched the film again last week. Even more pointed is that this scene doesn’t exist in the novel.

The astronauts in the film actually do visit an alien world. The monkeys speak a different language and it is up to the main character to find a way to communicate with them and show his intelligence. The human characters on this planet also don’t wear any clothes. They are completely naked. I can see how both of these points needed to be changed for the movie. It only makes sense.

It made sense for the monkeys to speak English, for the main character to be called Taylor as opposed to Ulysse. But the film version did need to find a way that Taylor couldn’t just talk right away. He had to be caged up like an animal and suffer through that. In the film, he is shot in the throat and it takes him some time to recover his voice.

The novel explores the notion that primates are good at imitating and that something must have happened for them to be able to imitate man so well. Both the film and novel explore the idea that apes derived from man. But the novel is able to explore this notion in much more detail.

The film and the novel both explore an archaeological dig that uncovers human artifacts that don’t make sense in a Simian society. In the movie, the native human characters are completely mute, but in the novel, they make animal utterances and noises. Not sure why they didn’t in the film version.

In the novel, the main character is a little more likable. He is not a know-it-all as portrayed by Charlton Heston in the film. Nova is also described as the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. That didn’t seem to translate so well to film.

Another theme in the novel is the one of rebuilding a human society. Ulysse feels like it is his mission to do so. He actually has a child with Nova. The authorities see this child as a threat though and a few monkey friends help him return to his spaceship. The three of them finally make it back to Earth, but due to the realities of space travel over long distances, they arrive thousands of years later . . . only to find that the same pattern of evolution has happened. It’s a scene that resonates just as well as the Statue of Liberty scene in the movie.

If you like the movies, I recommend giving the book a try. That is if I haven’t given away too many spoilers for you.

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

Live-N-Direct Celebrates 20 Years on the Air

lnd20

Live-N-Direct is celebrating 20 years on the airwaves with a big show this Friday at The Spice Factory in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I am proud to be part of the celebrations and holding down the night on the 1s and 2s.

I have been a fan of this radio program from the very beginning. It was always a pleasure to turn on 93.3 CFMU and hear DJ Realistic cutting it up with great music, transitions, and mixes. Eklipz held in down on the microphone as the host and together their program delivered real hip-hop music and talk.

The baton has been passed a few times, but the show has continued to bless the airwaves every Saturday night from 9:00 – 10:30 p.m. since its debut in 1996. The show is now hosted by RashDon and The Oddfella and they are planning a huge celebration this Friday.

The award show / concert is proudly sponsered by PDN, Trenz Clothing, HamiltonHype.com, ReMax, Delta Nine, Mama Dee’s & View Magazine.

I hope to see you there.

WHAT: LND20 – Live-N-Direct’s 20th Anniversary Celebration
WHERE: The Spice Factory – 121 Hughson Street North, Hamilton, Ontario.
DOORS: 10:00 p.m.
TICKETS: $10 before Midnight

Check the Facebook event page for more information.

Parkhill Skatepark Tour

Last week, I happened to be driving through Parkhill, Ontario and stumbled upon this amazing skatepark. Let’s go on a visual tour of it now.

parkhill-skateboard-park-rock

Parkhill Libro Skateboard Park is located at 269 McLeod Street in Parkhill, Ontario.

parkhill-skateboard-park

This park has plenty of obstacles, some unique features, and a great flow.

brick-wall-ramp

This brick-wall quarter-pipe ramp is a neat visual and quite different from the rest of the black-top ramps.

bump-obstacle

I’m not quite sure what this one is or how to skate it.

grind-rail

This extended and curved rail is interesting.

mini-ramp

I love a park that actually has a mini-ramp!

multi-levlel-quarter-pipe

This quarter-pipe has multiple levels to it and is good for skaters of all abilities.

parkhill-sign

When you are here, make sure you follow the rules.

parkhill-skatepark-stairs

Stairs, pyramid, and flat ramps.

picnic-table-skateboard-obstacle

This picnic-table obstacle is really cool. I haven’t seen anything like it at any skate park.

skateboarding-spectator-sport

Skateboarding is a great spectator sport. This park even has bleachers so you can sit back, relax, and take in some great skateboarding action.

skatepark-in-the-morning

It’s worth the drive to Parkhill, Ontario, Canada.

Want to Explore More Skateparks?

Visit my continually updated Virtual Skatepark Tour page!

Always Reading Comics

I love reading comics. I pretty much always have a graphic novel on the go. Here are the latest ones that I have read.

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Powerless

I was pleasantly surprised by this story set in an alternate universe where there are no super-heroes. Peter Parker was still bitten by a spider but instead of becoming Spider-Man, he gets a limp arm instead. Matt Murdoch is still a blind lawyer, but doesn’t have his heightened senses. Wolverine doesn’t have retractable claws but he does have knives that are quite similar and he has been trained to kill.

These three characters are tied together by a therapist who has glimpses of their more colourful lives in an alternate reality. He feels as if he knows them somehow and he does his best to help them.

It’s an interesting read and well worth your time.

wolverine-season-one

Wolverine: Season One

This graphic novel is part of a series that focuses on the early days of the super-heroes we all know and love. It’s an origin story that sees Wolverine going head-to-head with The Hulk, Wendigo, and The Weapon X program. That’s exactly what I wanted to see and I liked the new take on familiar territory.

Old Man Logan

old-man-logan

Wolverine is an old man. He has a family now and has given up being a super-hero. The world is a dark place and he is doing his best to survive in it. So, when he suddenly finds himself back in the past, he believes he was brought there for a reason, to get the world back on track and avert the post-apocalyptic world that will surely come to bear if he doesn’t act.

To the outside world and the current superheroes though, he seems like a fanatic who is just on a killing spree. And it seems like he might not come from the same timeline as all of them either. This is part of an on-going series and it is interesting to see an older-adult charcater in mainstream comics.

My List of 2016 Reads  – a detailed reading log with links to every title