Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Sunnyvale Liquor Tour hits London, ON.

sunnyvale-liquor-tour

NORTH2WEST PROMOTIONS & Mistaitken Productions present

DOUG CRAWFORD – THE SUNNYVALE LIQUOR TOUR

WITH SPECIAL TOUR GUESTS :

Knucklehead aka Tyrone from Trailer Park Boys
Rude Dowg

and featuring

Marmel Ent
Sky Bundy & Big Blax
Filty Tarantino
Brad Shank
Lyrical Mind
Traffimatics
MLNY
PB Styls

An open-mic rap battle featuring beats by AdD

Hosted by YTV’s Own PJ Phill & Bradie W

Music by DJ Chase March all night long!

WHEN: November 4th, 2016
WHERE: Grinning Gator – 391 Richmond St. London, ON.
DOORS: Open at 9:00
TICKETS: $10 advance tickets,$15 at the door.
ONLINE TICKETS: https://www.ticketscene.ca/events/16318/

Event Details

Hosting this event is the duo of YTV’s Pj Phresh Phil & Bradie Whetham! Pj Phil was a mainstay in the 90s with his show The Zone. He is the current host of Session X and will be bringing his 90s Retro Vibe with him.

Bradie W is a Canadian actor and entertainer known for his roles on such shows as; Goosebumps & Wind At My Back. Bradie is also a musician and will be performing a set for the first time in over 3 years.

First Ever by N2W ( CAN YOU BATTLE ? )Open Mic Rap Battle…

There will be a open mic rap battle one hour before the show starts over AdD beat’s, with special guest judges. If you win the battle, you will win some merch ,2 exclusive beats, and a feature with a Secret Society artist. You will also get a spot on the next North2West Promotions Show in any city )

All you need is a $10 ticket, or pay at the door to take part. The battle is at 8:00 p.m.

BIOS

Doug Crawford

Doug Crawford, also known as one half of the Canadian rap group Secret Society, has broken out as a solo artist and is bringing his impetuous flow to the masses. Crawford’s ability to channel his thoughts and feelings into astute and opulent rhymes is what continues to draw in the fans, and the release of his 3rd album F.A.M.E – For All My Efforts makes a strong statement about his talent, his work ethic, and his drive to break through.

Crawford’s LA upbringing seeded the inspiration for his future endeavors and laid the foundations for working with some of the same artists that he grew up listening to – having opened for Ice Cube, Mobb Deep, and Snoop Dogg among others.

Crawford has sold tens of thousands of albums and collaborated with legends of the game, including Royce Da 5’9″, The Outlawz, and Obie Trice. His reach only widens via extensive international press attention and radio play, yet Doug Crawford’s focus remains about the impact his music can have on others. In his own words, “I work hardest on improving my music and changing it with the times.” He’s ambitious, up and coming, and hard to miss; Doug Crawford’s time is now.

Doug has been taking the global scene by storm now performing to larger audience than ever before. With fans now spanning the globe Doug is poised for breakthrough success. Watch for Doug Crawford to establish a serious international presence for himself in the near future!

Visit the links to learn more about Doug Crawford

http://www.dougcrawfordmusic.com/
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Tyrone Parsons aka Knucklehead

Tyrone Parsons is an actor, best-known for the role of T, a member of J-Roc’s Roc Pile. from Trailer Park Boys.

Parsons was born and raised in Lucasville, Nova Scotia. Tyrone has had an active rap career under the name Knucklehead.  Since 1993, beginning with an association with Atlantic rap troupe DJ Ruckus and Mad Craz. This association landed him a record contract under which he collaboratively released two albums and conducted three tours with other rappers.

After appearing in a music video by Classified, he began to make the move to TV, landing an audition with Mike Clattenburg who was casting the Trailer Park Boys series at the start of its run. Even after landing the role of T, Parsons remained in the rap game, signing first with Change The Game Records (home to Anonamyss), then left with some the artists under this label to form Musik Overmatter, an independent label. Since then he has played a major part in the production and release of several albums, and released his first solo record, KnuckleUp in 2005, and a Mad Craz record in 2008.

In the show, T is sometimes referred to as T-Knuckles, a subtle nod to Parsons’ real life rap persona.

https://www.facebook.com/KnuckleheadAkaTyroneParsons

For more information about this concert, check the Facebook Event Page.

I hope to see you there on Friday. It’s going to be a great show!

This Used To Be My Playground

Fav BlogsI used to read blogs on a daily basis. I had these ones bookmarked through Feedly and would eagerly await any new post.

There was always plenty to read as these bloggers updated their sites regularly. Some had daily updates, some weekly, and others would post rather sporadically.

I knew I could count on them for some great reading and intellectual interaction through the comments and linking that happened in our little blogging community.

Most of these blogs have gone silent and I haven’t seen a post from them in quite some time. Some of them haven’t posted for years.

The exception being Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool.  He continues to blog prolifically and I make sure to check for his posts every day.

I know that life gets in the way and sometime blogging has to take a back seat. It certainly has for me this summer.

When I started this blog back in 2007, I wrote five posts a week. I brought that down to three posts in the past year or so and unfortunately, I let it really slide this summer.

I just haven’t had the time to write, collect, plan, and publish posts this summer. I haven’t had time to find new blogs and build relationships through comments, linking, and genuine conversation either.

It’s kind of sad. This used to be my playground, after all.

I’m Thankful

im-thankfulEvery year at this time, I like to take stock of my life and reflect on all of the blessings I have.

It’s one of the reasons that I like Thanksgiving. I love getting together with the family and have a nice dinner, but I also like reflecting on my life and all of the good things that are in it.

This year has been a challenging one, that’s for sure. But through challenge and adversity, we grow and develop.

So, here is my list of things that I am grateful for right now.

My Fiance

She understands me in a way that no one else ever has. She is thoughtful and caring, and I love her so much. I am so happy that she said, “Yes!” when I popped the question a few months back. I was waiting for us to get official engagement photos do before telling the story here. Stay tuned!

Music

Music has been a constant companion of mine and something that has always helped me deal with the harsh realities of life. I love it so much. I am thankful that my latest project is with a man I respect as a person and an artist, DJ Hullewud. The MIX(ed)TAPE is available now on cassette, CD, and digital download.

Silent Cacophony

I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to, but this platform, and this online space is still very important to me. I appreciate all of my readers and the opportunity to share things with each and every one of you.

DJing

Deejaying has brought me to some pretty amazing heights this year. I have done countless concerts, radio shows, and even a few weddings. And I even have an official mixtape release on cassette (see above). I am so proud of that project!

University

I am pursuing a Masters of Library and Information Science right now on a part-time basis. I am very excited to earn a degree and get started on a new career. I am thankful for the opportunity to continue learning new things and growing as a person.

Nature Trails

I love running cross country, through wooded areas and nature trails. It’s one of my favourite things ever.

Potato Chips

I am thankful for potato chips. Whenever I want a quick snack, you are there. Thank you!

Peanut Butter

I could have peanut butter for toast every day and never get bored of it. Thank you!

My Health

Despite having problems with my back and my rotator cuff this year, I am a healthy, young man with lots of energy. I know that I often take this for granted. I shouldn’t. I am very thankful for my health.

Teaching

I quit last year, but there is a teacher permanently ingrained into my soul. I might not want to do it as a profession in the traditional manner anymore, but I am thankful that I have had the chance to supply teach a few times this month. It reminded me why I love teaching and that I still can do it.

Writing

I am thankful that I write, that I have some work that is almost ready for publication, and for the avenue to express myself. I really need to get to work on getting published. Remind me, please. Motivate me to put myself out there.

There are plenty of things to be thankful for this holiday weekend. 

What are yours?

Carving Out Some Time

I share things on Instagram and Facebook that I don’t necessarily share here. That’s probably because of the immediacy of those platforms.  It’s easy to throw up a quick update and move on.

With my blog, I am a little more deliberate of what I post and take several hours each week crafting entries. At least, I used to.

These days, I am finding myself with too many things to do and not enough time. I don’t even have a queue of drafts ready to schedule and keep the blog running on auto-pilot. For that, I apologize.

If you don’t follow me on other platforms, here is an update on what has been keeping me so busy.
Western University Letter
I am now a graduate student at Western University and working towards a Masters Degree in Library and Information Sciences.

I am working full time in a job that doesn’t earn me enough money to pay the bills. I am looking for a better paying gig and applying to teaching jobs for September. The truth is, I love teaching and I’m good at it. I want to pursue a library career, but I can do that on a part-time basis even if I head back to teaching.

I continue to deejay every week on the radio station. I’m looking for concerts and events to rock as well.

I continue to go for trail runs at least three times a week and spend time with my girlfriend. Those things are important.

A few things have fallen by the wayside, however. I’ve gone from blogging three times a week to once a week. I haven’t done anything to further my writing goals of being published, I haven’t been able to work on any new writing projects, and my place isn’t as tidy as it normally is.

I am pursuing a dream and working hard to better myself. That’s something I always strive to do.  Finances are super-tight, but they won’t always be. Bright things are on the horizon.

Wish me luck!

Teaching Yard Sale and Resource Exchange

I have been collecting teaching resources for the past 15 years. I have a lot of great items that I will be selling this weekend.

Other teachers will also be selling some of their tried-and-true teaching resources at the ETFO Yard Sale and Resource Exchange. Here are the details . . .
Teacher Yard Sale

I will have a parking spot at the London. Ontario office and will be selling bins of material grouped by grade this Saturday, June 4th. Here is what I have to offer . . .

Kindergarten to Grade 2

BOOKS – Grammar Handbook 1 (Part of the Jolly Phonics Program – I love this resource) Teaching with Ezra Jack Keats Books, Crayola Imagination Book 1 and 3, Painted Words, Learn Every Day: Grammar Skills, OPHEA: Jigga Jump, Creative Reading Gr 1, Guide to Effective Instruction in Writing, Connect with Words, The Teachers Guide to Building Block, Jump Start – Outer Space Unit, Fun to Learn – Finish the Picture, The Complete Book of Science Gr 1-2, Basic Skills Helper, Brighter Child Math, Family Fun Games, Learning Land – First Words, Lightning Lessons – Graphing, Hands On Physics Experiments K – 2, Calculator Math Level A, Funtastic Frogs Measuring.

BINDERS – Come Play With Us Unit, Skills for Success for Your First Grader, NaNoWriMo – Young Writers Program, 100th Day of School, My Little Grammar Books, A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Show Me – Teaching Information and Visual Texts, Art Ideas.

Grade 2

BOOKS – Grammar Handbook 2 (Part of the Jolly Phonics Program – I love this resource) Connect with Words, Method Math, The Complete Math Smart 2, Sunflowering, Math Skills, Phonics, Reading Comprehension, Science Courseware Pack, Reading Workbook, Writing Mini-Lessons, How to: Inventions, Owl: Funbook, Learning Activities, Teach Children to Read and Write, Daily Language Review 2, Creative Reading, Daily Word Ladders, Write Now, Total Basic Skills, Words Every 2nd Grader Needs to Know, How to Make Books, Teachers Guide to Shared Reading, Think on Your Feet

BINDERS – Reading Assessment, Working it Out, Read and Understand, Strategies that Work, Reading Package K – 10, Art Ideas, Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Apple Attitude, AND a bin of Unifix cubes

Grade 3

BOOKS – Take it to Your Seat Literacy Centres (already prepped and laminated) Method Math, Science Courseware Pack, BrainQuest 3, What the Heck is a Grape Nut? Total Reading Grade 3, Words Every 3rd Grader Needs to Know, The Inuit Thought of It, Complete MathSmart 3, Creating Reading 3, Quick and Shirt Book Reports, New Start Canada, Nurturing Growth, ArchiGames – 50 Activities to Build Creative Thinkers, Math at School 3, Basics First Vocabulary Development, Canada Curriculum Teacher Helper – Art Lessons, Year Round Activity Guide – Planting the Seeds, Home Workbook – Word Problems, Daily Language Review Grade 3, Total Basic Skills 3

BINDERS – Show Me – Teaching Information and Visual Texts, Mapping Skills, Cursive Writing, Mad Minute Math, Let’s Write, The Write Genre, Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Get Writing, Land and Sea Unit

School Supplies

– 3 sets of 25 duotangs (red, yellow, grey)
– 32 page exercise book (50 blue, 50 yellow, 50 green, 25 pink)
– 150 loose-leaf paper packs (16 sets)

Craft Supplies Bin

80 foam sheets, 30 foam glider kits, 1000 craft sticks. 25 gingerbread necklace Christmas Craft Kits, 45 Reindeer Necklace Christmas Craft Kits, Assorted Christmas Craft Supplies Bin, Crayola Color Explosion 3D Kit, 3 Self Adhesive Vinyl Rolls, 16 Desk Magnet White Boards, 18 Plastic Clothespins, Artist Calendars (Monet, Van Gogh, DaVinci) Magnetic Calendar

Bulletin Board Bin

Lots of border trims of different themes and colours, letters of different sizes and colours, and magnetic border trim for the blackboard or whiteboard

Assorted Bin

Hanging Folders for your desk and filing cabinet, number line for the wall, various posters for the classroom.

Board Games Bin

Pattern Blocks Tub, Colour Tiles tub, 2 Colour Counters, Double 12 Dominoes Game, Princess Card Games, Math Board Game, Race to Read Board Game, Scrabble Junior, Parcheesi, Syl-la-bles Game, The Children’s Quiz Compendium, Early Discoveries Games

And More

I am still gathering things that I will be selling. So, come on out, say, “Hi!” and pick up a few things that you can use in your classroom

Hope to see you there!

The bins have anywhere from $200 to $500 worth of great resources in them. And I am selling them from $30 – $75.

Happy Star Wars Day!

Star-Wars-Day-2014

It’s a bad pun, but it has started a yearly celebration of everything Star Wars.

One of the slogans in the franchise is , “May The Force Be With You” and since today is May the Fourth and that sounds very close, fans have taken that and run with it.

Happy Star Wars Day!

I am going to celebrate my bringing my Darth Vader helmet into work and trying to wear it for a bit. I might not be allowed to, but I like to push the limits.

I also want to celebrate by looking back at all of the Star Wars posts I have made over the years. So read the descriptions, click through the links, and let’s explore the universe.

Star Wars: The Force Retread

I watched the film a second time with my son. I thought that I could see it in a new light if I watched it through his eyes. I did my best not to colour it for him beforehand.

After we watched it together, I asked him what he thought. He simply shrugged his shoulders and said it wasn’t that good. I agree, more than ever. Click through to find out why.

Free Comic Book Day meets Star Wars Day

That’s right, some years they actually fall on the same date. That was the case three years ago. Don’t forget that Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday. Make sure you celebrate both this week.

Darth Vader Lives on in the Comics

I really enjoyed this graphic novel reads. Check them out!

Darth Vader Unleashed

The very first Darth Vader comic I ever read. It was a great story too! Click through for myu review.

Princess Leia gets her own Comic

Once again, a great read and a nice addition to what we already know and knew of this heroine.

How to Properly Reboot a Franchise

Here I look at a few different franchise reboots to look at what they did right, what they did wrong, and what they maybe should have done. I look at Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica.

Star Wars Comic Reboot

This comic book series reboots the movie universe we all know and love. And so far, it is great.

James Bond in Space

Not really, but this Agent of the Empire is just as cool and the story will draw you right in.

I hope you have a great Star Wars Day!

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

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

– Juan Enriquez

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

Record Store Day Tomorrow!

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

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

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

Here he is explaining how he does what he does.

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

RSDCANADA_Date

A Secret Stash of Medicine Music

Secret Medicine-MusicAmanda Palmer writes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your secret medicine music? 

Please share it below in the comment section!

How I Feel Doing Midnight Radio

Midnight Radio 1

Midnight Radio 2

Midnight Radio 3

Midnight Radio 4

Midnight Radio 5

Midnight Radio 6

Midnight Radio 7

Midnight Radio 8

Midnight Radio. Written by Ehud Lavski. Art by Yael Nathan.

Contact: elavski@gmail.com

I feel like this when I do my Midnight Radio program. It feels like I belong there and I hope I connect with the listeners in the same way. Brilliant comic!

Listen to My Show –  Word is Bond Rap Radio

The Gift Must Always Move

Seven TeachingsI have never liked the term Indian Giver. Not only is it racist, it is wholly inaccurate.

The First Nations People weren’t in the practice of giving presents and then taking them back. There was a cycle that was observed and for those outside of the culture, it was a little hard to understand.

I never really got it until I read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. 

In it, she retells the story of The Gift by Lewis Hyde. He speaks of “the commerce of the creative spirit.”

Apparently, Tribal Chiefs would share a pipe of tobacco with their guest and then offer the pipe as a symbolic peace offering. It was never meant to be a gift that the guest would hold onto forever. The pipe would be “continually regifted from tribe to tribe, never really ‘belonging’ to anybody.” The Englishman would be confused by this. He thought the pipe was a gift and was insulted when the next tribal leader came over to his house and seem to expect to be given the pipe.

Hyde concludes:

The opposite of “Indian Giver” would be something like “white man keeper” . . . that is, a person whose instinct is to remove property from circulation . . . The Indian giver (or the original one, at any rate) understood a cardinal property of the gift: whatever we have been given is supposed to be given away again, no kept . . . The only essential is this:

The gift must always move.

What a great sentiment!

Give It Away–Pass the Hat

Pass the HatI have been blogging for eight years now. I freely give away all of my content, and have never thought about placing an ad on the site.

My radio show is on a university campus and although I put tons of work into it, I never see a dime.

Give It Away

I do what I love and am happy to share it with all of you.

If you see a value in what I do, you can throw a few dollars my way. It’s time I passed the hat around to my listeners and readers. Don’t feel obliged to either. Let’s both work out of a place of gratitude.

Pay What You Want

Amanda Palmer works pretty much the same way with her music. Here is her story.

I uploaded the song, for free download, along with my jubilant blog, and, for the first time, I put out my virtual hat. I asked the fans to pay whatever they wanted for the song. Some took it for free, some paid a dollar, some paid a hundred dollars in a gesture of symbolic congratulations It worked. 

I decided at that moment . . . that I would try to make things as freely available as I could. I would encourage sharing, burning, torrenting, and downloading. But I would leave my hat out, I would ask, and I would work from a place of gratitude if people stepped up to help. . .

I didn’t want to force people to help me. I wanted to let them. 

Ninja Gigging

As soon as the weather gets nicer and we welcome the spring, I will be bringing the show on the road. I plan to bring my DJ gear out and encourage rappers, fellow DJs, and musicians to create spur-of-the-moment public concerts with me.

Ninja gigs as always free, always all-ages, and never announced more than a day in advance. There is no advertising: only Internet posts and word of mouth. People are encouraged to bring instruments, cameras, children, pets, or whatever else they can think of, and there’s no official end time or shape to the event. 

My Hat is Out!

Here’s my hat, please consider making a donation if you appreciate the words I write, the community radio that I do, and if you’d like to help a starving artist out.

I spent a lot of time putting together the radio show and mixtapes I freely share with you. Every minute of my time is volunteer. if you like what you hear, please pay what you can for downloading or streaming it.

Donate via PayPal or click the banner below.

Thanks!

Support the DJ 1

Happy Valentine’s Day, My Love!

Front Cover

This is the second Valentine’s Day that I have had with my beautiful, amazing, and thoughtful girlfriend. I mixed this collection of songs with love just for her.

Diana, you make my life so much better. Thank you for your friendship and your love.

I hope you enjoy this mix!

Back Cover

You can download this mixtape for your listening pleasure,

or stream it with the player below.

Would you like a customized mixtape just for you or your loved one? I promise you that it will be completely one of a kind. Music makes a great gift and you can cherish the mix forever. Order yours now.

If you enjoy this mix, please show your support by clicking on the banner below.

Thank you!

Support the DJ 1

Know Your History 39 – Women in Hip-Hop (Radio Special)

WIHH 2013This episode of Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge focuses on some notable Women in Hip-Hop.

We look at the history of the women in hip-hop and feature tracks from Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott, Eve, Rah Digga, Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj, and Angel Haze.

This was part of Women in Hip-Hop 3, our annual special celebrating International Women’s Day.

Our 6th Annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular is happening in just a few weeks. It will air on DOPEfm March 6th and on Word is Bond Rap Radio on March 8th.

Don’t miss it!

Know Your History – Swearing in Hip-Hop

Swearing in Hip-HopWelcome to Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge.

Be forewarned that there is a lot of cursing in today’s episode as we explore swearing in hip-hop. We’ll listen to a sound clip from a movie, a few interview clips, and of course, great music.

I used to have the time to transcribe every episode and it has been killing me that I no longer have the time to to do so.

I hope you have been following the podcast over at The Word is Bond so that you haven’t missed an episode. I have a lot of ground to make up here on Silent Cacophony and will be dropping an episode of the show once a week until we are all caught up.

Download this episode for free or stream it with the player below!

And please share online using the hashtag #WIBRapRadio.

Thanks!

How to Properly Reboot a Franchise

Star Wars I

Star Wars tried to rebuild their franchise with the prequel trilogy but those films were flawed and didn’t gain a lot of traction with fans.

Fans have loved the books, animated television shows, and comics for years now. It was finally the right time to restart the film franchise.

Star Wars VII - The Force ReTread

But they went about it the wrong way again. This time it might even be more unforgivable than the prequel flops. All they did was retell the same story that had already been told twice before in the original films.

I wrote extensively about this already, but I wanted to touch on this subject again to show that it is possible to reboot a franchise and breathe new live into the property while pleasing die-hard fans and attracting new ones.

RiseOfThePlanetOfTheApes

The latest two movies in the Planet of The Apes franchise were brilliant. I loved every moment of them. They effectively paid tribute to the original films without having to retread old familiar stories. They effectively told a prequel story the way George Lucas wanted to with Episode I.

How did they do this?

They took note of the past. There were all sorts of Easter eggs in the Apes movies that would have gone unnoticed to brand new fans, but that us, die-hard fans, appreciated greatly. They didn’t feel the need to use an old and tried plot to attract new fans to their fictional world.

They learned from the mistakes of their past.

Planet_of_the_Apes_Reboot

They tried the story-retell thing before and it didn’t work for precisely the same reasons the new Star Wars film doesn’t. The whole thing just felt stale.

Pay Tribute While Being Novel

It’s a hard balance to achieve but it has been done. You can breathe fresh air into a dead franchise without having to overhaul the whole thing.

Battlestar Galactica

I loved the way Battlestar Galatica didn’t just retell the same old story. They updated it by having robots that looked human. It added a new terrifying sense of drama to the series. They didn’t throw out what made Battlestar, Battlestar. They kept all of the elements you wanted to see and expected to see.

Star-Trek-Movie-Poster

Star Trek is doing it wrong, So is Star Wars.

Seeing that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Trek, I was so excited for big things with this franchise, but the new trailer shows just how far the film-makers have strayed from the essence of Trek.

Star Trek was always at its best in deep space. That is the entire premise. so having two Star Trek films in a row not set on the ship is a huge disappointment.

Let’s not Dumb-Down the Scripts 

The audience is always smarter than you. That’s one of the cardinal writing rules, but when it comes to blockbuster films, it seems that this rule has been forgotten.

I want to see well-told stories and no more retreads or rehashes. Is that too much to ask for?

Star Wars VII – The Force ReTread

Star Wars VII - The Force ReTreadI avoided pretty much all of the hype leading up to Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens because I wanted to go in to it with an open mind. This was one film that I was hoping would blow me out of the water and replenish the franchise.

But as I watched the film, I got more and more disillusioned with it as time marched on.

Warning – Spoiler Alert: Read no further if you haven’t yet see the film.

One of the first scenes in the movie was set on a desert planet. That’s a very familiar trope in Star Wars. But then again so is a droid carrying a secret message in it. There was even an Obi Wan Kenobi type character in the opening sequence. He looked almost exactly the same as we remembered him. Of course, it wasn’t him or any relation. It was just an image we’d already seen before.

Maybe that was by design. After-all, the film-makers wanted to reestablish the galaxy for a new audience and for one intimately familiar with Star Wars. So I let that some of that go.

Next, we are introduced to a female character through this very droid. It was pretty much exactly what happened to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film. And it plays out nearly beat by beat. She discovers that she is strong in the force and starts her journey to become a hero, at first reluctantly.

This is when the film started to get ridiculous. I wanted a new story, set in the Star Wars universe with a smart plot. That wasn’t too much to ask for, was it?

Maybe it was. I swear the film-makers thought, “Hmmm, what are the parts of the original movies that fans really connected with?

  • desert planet (like Episode IV) – check
  • ice planet (like Episode V) – check
  • forest plant (like Episode VI) – check
  • hand-to-hand battle between the hero and villain on a planet that is falling apart (like Episode III) – check
  • a father-son relationship where one is on the Dark Side (like Episode IV-VI) – check

They just piece-worked all of that stuff in. The film looked great, however. The visual aesthetic was bang-on for what we would expect, but the story?

The story was exactly the same as Episode IV – A New Hope. If this were a reboot, I could have forgiven that. But this was Episode VII – The Force Awakens and I expected something novel.

Instead, we get a new and more powerful Death-Star, now called a Starkiller. And guess what, it has one small vulnerability that can be exploited by two teams. Even Han Solo knew the film was getting ridiculous at this point. He says, “We can always blow those up?”

And so they send a team to the planet to disable the shields and a fleet of ships to exploit that weakness in the Starkiller and blow it up. We saw this already in Return of the Jedi and even before that, minus the shields in A New Hope. 

Oh, and we get a scene where Han Solo confronts the bad guy, on that base. Just like Obi Wan did in the original, and with the same consequence.

And that’s the main story. The subplot is that everyone has been looking for Luke Skywalker for years. The droid had a map that would lead directly to him. Why such a map would exist is beyond me and the weakest plot point of the entire film.

My Verdict 

This film was a lazily written reboot and not a true sequel at all. We deserved a lot more for this beloved franchise. But I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything smart from this film. J.J. Abrams only seems capable of redoing past stories. That’s exactly what he did with the last Star Trek movie.

I heard a critic on the radio who called him, “The brilliantly unoriginal J.J. Abrams” and I couldn’t agree more.

Where are the Critics?

I had quite the heated debate about this on Facebook. So many of my friends loved the film and didn’t see these as problems at all.

David Roberts had some great things to say in his article, “Critics are going too easy on Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens”

What say you?

Final Thoughts

There are so many things wrong with this film. And it looks like they are set to copy even more elements of the original trilogy in Part VIII. I can possibly forgive that, if the story comes correct next time.

Let’s hope so!

Why I’m Not Making Resolutions This Year

happy new year!There are a lot of things I want to accomplish this year.

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

That is quite the extensive list of things I’d like to accomplish in one year.

I can resolve to do all of these right now, but what good would that do? I’ve tried to get a few of these things done for years now and haven’t been successful.

The good news is that overall, I’ve had a lot of success since starting this blog. I’ve done things I hadn’t initially set out to do and they have been amazing.

So I am not setting any resolutions this year. Instead, I will look at this list of goals at the start of every month. I will break down each point in detail and set out a monthly goal for myself. I will share that goal with my girlfriend and a few close friends. I might even blog about the process. I will write down my monthly goal and track it.

This way, I hope to have a very productive 2016. I hope you will too!

How I Did with My 2015 Goals

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

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

MY SET GOALS

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

Didn’t do this again!

I really need to work on this is 2016.

2. Write Something New

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

3. Continue Producing Quality Radio

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

4. Stay Fit 

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

5. Read a Lot

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

6. Revise and Track My Goals

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

NEW GOALS THAT SPRUNG UP THIS YEAR

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

DJ at Live Events

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

Launched Chase March DJ Services

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

SET-BACKS

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

Big things are going to happen in 2016!

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

Thanks for being on this ride with me!

Back Pain . . . Once Again

ChirpractorTwo years ago I hurt my back and was shocked to see that it became unaligned somehow.

After a couple of weeks of treatment by the chiropractor, I was finally straightened out and got back to normal.

I had a flair up again last week. I wasn’t even doing anything stupid this time either. I didn’t even realize I had done anything until the next day.

Sure enough, I was leaning to the left again. The doctor thought that I had done okay. It had been two years since I last had to use his services. I never thought I’d need them again. I really hope this isn’t a regular occurrence every couple of years.

Here is the story of my back injury

So, the high jump injury affected my C4 and C5. I think that might have weakend my back somehow. The next injury was focused on my L2. And the most recent flair up is too.

I can’t lift anything right now. There is a constant pain that makes it hard to do a lot of things. Once I get back to normal though, I plan on doing some strengthening exercises regularly. I really don’t want to have to go through this again . . . and definitely not every few years.