Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Political Discource, what the heck is that??

On October 16, 1854 Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas engaged in a very famous debate. Douglas made his point first which lasted a solid 3 hours. Lincoln said that he needed at least as much time and Douglas would get his chance for a rebuttal. He suggested that everyone go home for dinner and return to finish the debate, which ended up lasting another four hours.

They were able to debate the important political issues at the time in the in depth detail that they needed...and now today, in the age of Web 2.0, an age were we are capable of unparalleled discourse we get this.


What a difference seven score, thirteen years make.

As opposed to actually discussing the issues, politicians today go for simple attack ads such as this one. Of course, I would love to decry the Conservatives for this one, but I know full well that an election or two ago, the Liberals ran those "Stephen Harper Said" ads, which were more or less the same thing.

I do find it funny though, that just yesterday, I was driving into school and I heard on the radio that the Conservatives were not planning for a spring election. I get to school, get on-line, and go to read the news and find out about this. They are clearly saying one thing and doing another. Dear Mr. Harper, this is the pot calling...you're black.

I really hope that people don't buy into these. Of course, followers of this blog will know that I love Stephane Dion and have really high hopes for him. But I also have some hope for a critically evaluated political process...yeah I'm naive.

Can I just point out a few things that I hope people who watched this ad are thinking...

1) The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 when Dion was the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and not the Minister of the Environment. He took on the environment portfolio in 2004, when the "Carbon Emissions rose to pre-1990 levels" stat is taken into account.

2) In one article on the subject the Conservatives boasted about receiving 5 times the amount of private donations than the Liberals. Who would have the money to donate? Well big business of course. Who are the biggest businesses in the country? Oil and automotive of course. Who has the most to profit by rejecting Kyoto? Oil and automotive of course. Who is the corrupt party again?

3) This really is a different Liberal party than it was only 4 years ago. Paul Martin did a lot of purging to the party, and the Sponsorship Scandal really got rid of a lot of the key members. Maybe the Liberals should just change their name every couple of years to avoid the baggage, it seems to work for the Conservatives.

Alright, I had best stop now. I hope that all of you out there don't pay any attention to these terrible ads. I hope even more that the Liberals don't respond in kind, the smartest thing that they can do is ignore these things. They need to take the moral high ground here. Liberals taking the high ground? What kind of a world do we live in...

Until next time,

G

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I Have a Terrible Confession To Make

Wow, am I ever not proud of this. Today I have done something really very terrible. I am really very ashamed of this, and I hope that all of you out there can forgive me for my actions, and please do not judge me harshly for what I am about to tell you.

I downloaded the Arcade Fire leak. That's right, I couldn't want until March 6th for the official release and I caved. I slowly gathered all of the songs and now I have all 11 from the album on my computer.

Now I am not about to get all high and mighty about violating intellectual property or any of the other thing else associated with this golden age of media piracy that we live in. I really have no moral qualms about downloading music, movies, TV shows or anything really. However, there are some bands and musicians out there who I respect so much that I feel obligated to buy their work. The Arcade Fire definitely fall into that category.

I am a firm believer that a great album is more than just a collection of its songs. It is a full experience as the songs build off of one another to make something really special. The Arcade Fire's debut album Funeral is definitely one of those albums. It definitely belongs in every CD catalog. If you have only heard a few of the songs then you are doing yourself a great disservice and you really need to listen to all 10 songs in succession to capture it all.

So when I began to download the songs yesterday I was doing myself the same disservice. The first song I was able to download (other than the previously released "Intervention" which I discussed way back here) was "My Body is a Cage", which is ironically the last song on the album. Now this song is simply amazing, and probably my favourite song on the album, but I still felt wrong. This song was not meant to be listened to by itself, it was meant to be fit into the context of the entire album. Only now do I have all 11 songs and am just doing my first thorough listen right now as I type this entry.

Yet as I listen to these songs flow together, I feel that I have somehow cheapened my experience. There is something exciting about buying a CD. Allow me to quote my friend Ryan McNutt (who coincidentally introduced me to The Arcade Fire a few years ago, and provided me with the tracks I was unable to find for download, despite the fact that he has refused to listen to them himself)

"For me, there is nothing more exciting than on Tuesday - new release day - going to the record store and finding that album I’ve been dying to hear on display at the front of the store (or with many of my selections, buried way in the back). I get to ponder over the artwork and track listing on the way home, then spend 10 minutes more trying to get the plastic off before putting it in my CD player, sitting back with the liner notes and flipping through them as the album goes through its 30-70 minutes of glory"

I have robbed myself of that experience. Sure I do it all the time, but this is The Freakin' Arcade Fire. A band that I can honestly say without hyperbole is the band of the century thus far. A band that I have honestly felt have spoken to me directly. A band who I love more and more every time I hear them. A band who has unknowingly helped me make some tough decisions in my life. A band who restored my faith in music as a whole. And here I did this to them.

I feel the same way that I did when I snooped in my mom's closet and found some Christmas presents.

But may I move onto some happier topics? Like just how FREAKING AWESOME this album is?

I really don't know what to say about it. I don't think that I am that great at describing songs, especially not in the vivid detail that ones like these deserve.

However, I will try for the aforementioned "My Body is a Cage", the 11th and final song on this amazing album. I have always had a soft spot for the finale track on an album, since it is the song that needs to bring closure to the whole experience. Oddly, on Funeral the final song, "In the Backseat" is the one song that I rank as "Good" as opposed to "F'N SPECTACULAR", but yet when I hear it at the end of the album it fits well. It is somehow relaxing and reassuring after the intense musical experience you have just finished.

This song is the polar opposite of "In the Backseat". The lyrics are deep and cutting, while the organs give the song a distinct 1940's Horror Movie Feel. The real moment of the song, and dare I say the entire album, comes at the 2:10 mark,when the music kicks itself into high gear and you can just imagine the monster waking up. If it doesn't give you goosebumps than I don't know what will. Instead of calming you down, this song gets you pumped and wanting more. Perfect that it it blends well into the opening song "Black Mirror" (which they are streaming off of their website), in case you have this album on repeat.

I could go on for every song on this album, but I figure I had best pass on this one. Just in case you haven't seen it, here is the video promo for Neon Bible which has some good samples of the songs.




At the beginning of this video "Juno Award Winning Guitarist" Richard Reed Parry asks "Do you remember how music used to make you feel?", well now that I have listened to this album I remember it all too well. I have a feeling that my last.fm profile will have The Arcade Fire as my most listened to artist next week, they are all I can listen to right now. Because compared to this, everything else is just noise.

Until next time,

G

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Remembering the Victims

On this day 62 years ago, Auschwitz Concentration Camp was liberated by forces from the Soviet Union. People all over Europe commemorate today as Holocaust Memorial Day (called by a different name in some other countries).

Now everyone knows enough about the Holocaust, millions of Jews, Poles, homosexuals, disabled, Roma, communists, blacks, and many more all systematically eliminated with cold, hard, twentieth century efficiency. It is an event that just about everyone has some sort of knowledge about and it really has been ingrained into our collective conscience.

Last February, I had the opportunity to go to Amsterdam. Needless to say it was an amazing trip (yeah make whatever comment you may about that sentence). But one of the highlights of it all was going to see Anne Frank's House. As I'm sure you all know, the Frank family and several of their friends, hid in an upstairs apartment for an extended period of time before they were finally found by the Nazis and sent off to various concentration camps. Anne was sent to Bergen-Belsen where she died of typhoid.

Now the apartment is very small and it is of course, a major tourist destination. As a result you have to filter through in a long, plodding line. I can't help but feel that much of the mystique was lost as a result. However, I still found it very emotional. Me being so crowded and confined for even a short period made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I can not imagine how it must have felt to have been crowded and confined in that small place for such an extended period of time.

Due to the high volume of people I didn't take many pictures while in there. It also somehow felt wrong to do so, I wanted to just look at the pictures she posted on the wall of her bedroom and touch the walls to feel their sadness. I was looking for some pictures of the rooms to post here, but I found this video tour on YouTube...



After you go through the entire house there is a small, but interesting exhibit. They show a series of video clips on contemporary political issues. After the short clip they ask a simple yes or no question and then they display the results of both the room and of all the data they have collected. They present some interesting questions such as, "Should the government be allowed to monitor what people read?", "Should Neo-Nazis be allowed to protest in from of Synagogues on the Sabbath?", "Should the government be allowed to shut down newspapers? (especially in the given example the Spanish government shut down the only Basque language newspaper for terrorist links)", and of course "Should Holocaust deniers be allowed to publish their work on the internet?". Very tough questions that were all aimed at keeping people aware of any potential for a government to remove rights from its citizens, the starting point of any tyranny.

Needless to say, I highly recommend the experience. It is further proof that there is more to Amsterdam than just the hash and the hookers. However there are a few interesting questions that I don't feel were explored enough in here or in the Amsterdam Historisch Museum (a museum dedicated to the history of Amsterdam). They never really explored the notion of Dutch collaboration in the holocaust. A stunning 73% of Dutch Jews were executed during the occupied years. This is the highest out of all Western European nations. It really did not take a large amount of SS officers to force this. The Dutch were very willing participants.

They had no choice you say? Well, over in Denmark, the Danes outright rejected the Final Solution. The government by and large refused to cooperate with the Nazis and were able to save the lives of thousands of Jews. Similar actions were taken by the governments of Bulgaria and Finland. I really don't have any explanations as to why some countries refused and why some so eagerly participated. I just found it most definitely interesting (and not surprising) that such an issue was never really discussed.

I realize that I could go on about this topic forever, so I had best stop here. You really can cut and paste most of my comments from a few weeks ago for Martin Luther King Day, and paste them for this subject. They really are the same issue at hand, social justice. We have come a long, long way in the past 6 or so decades on this issue but still have a long way to go. We are not that far out of the jungle, hate crimes still happen right here in our own back yard. Not to mention the covert forms of discrimination taking place all around us.

But until we get that perfect world, I'm going to have to keep dreaming, and keep remembering. Because if we forget the millions who died along the way then their lives become meaningless, and then we are back where we started.

Until next time,

G

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Yet Another Special Day

O my love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
My love like the melody
That's sweetly played in tune.


As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.


Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.


And fare thee weel, my only love!
And fare thee weel, awhile!
And I will come again, my love
Though it were ten thousand mile.
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That little bit of culture was because today is a very special day. That's right, it's Burns Day!!!! The day to celebrate the Scottish National Poet, Robert Burns (as a quick aside: note the use of the word National, that is what Burns is officially know as. Further putting pros into this whole Quebec as a Nation thing, which you can find my opinions of here).

Like most days in Scotland, today is typically filled with excessive drinking and haggis. When I was living there last year, I gathered with many of my Canadian friends (and an Australian for good measure) and we read some of his poems and ate some haggis. Yeah they sell vegan haggis at grocery stores over there. I couldn't make this up. It was hilarious trying to read all of the poems which are of course written in Scots, and presented quite the challenge for those of us who are accently-impaired.

I have taken this opportunity to look at a collection of a number of his poems, and I am amazed at how amazing they are. Sure this man was unfaithful and incredibly lecherous, but I'll be damned if he wasn't smooth. The above listed "Oh, My Love is a Red, Red Rose" is one of his most famous works, but there are so many others!!! For the romantics out there may I also recommend you check out "Ae Fond Kiss, and Then We Sever". And of course if you have some time to kill then check out the epic "Tam O'Shanter. Wikipdeia has an awesome collection of several of his poems, which are well worth checking out.

Last year I went on a bit of a Burns tour, going to a lot of the man's hotspots and places of inspiration. Here I have a couple to share. I hope that you enjoy them!!!

These first two are the Alloway Kirk that gets mentioned in Tam O'Shanter. In the poem it is haunted and full of witches. It still looks kind of creepy to me now.




Here we have the Brig O' Doon, also mentioned in the above poem.



Here we have one of many Burns Monuments , this is right where the Brig is.
This is in Dumfries, the town I was living in. This is Burns's mausoleum. Apparently he was buried in a regular grave but they later dug him up and put him in this big mausoleum instead. It really is a cool graveyard with giant head stones that are taller than I am. It was only a short walk down from my old apartment too.



Anyway, I hope that you all have a Happy Burns Day, eat some (hopefully vegan) haggis and have a wee dram. Or at least go read some really great poetry!!!

Until next time,

G

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Depositing into the Bank of Buddha

This morning I was coming into campus, late as usual. It was snowing, also as usual, and the roads were a little bit slippery, but nothing I couldn't handle. Anyway, it was really quite typical until I pull into the parking lot.

At the Nipissing Parking lot there are a number of concrete dividers that are maybe five feet long and weigh an absolute ton. However, one of these was slightly different this morning. It had been moved several feet away, ohh and it had a car resting on it. That's right, someone had somehow managed to get their car up on the divider. This guy had somehow got his car stuck onto the divider. The worst part for him, was that the front wheels of the car were hanging in the air. Allow my beautiful Mircosoft Paint diagram to explain:

I notice a lone guy with a cell phone staring at this car. The emphasis should be on lone. It needs to be noted that it is almost 8:30 and the parking lot is full of people like me, rushing to class. Yet nobody stopped to offer this poor guy help. Nobody stopped when they saw him crash into this divider, and nobody stopped when they saw him in that situation.

I thought about a conversation I had with my Education and Schooling professor, Jason Price, just last week. He told me privately "A lot of people here can talk the talk, but you are going to walk the walk", I realized that I could not let him down. So off I walked.

I walked up to this complete stranger and asked him if he was ok and if he needed any help. He was not hurt but was quite torn as to what he could do. He had already called a tow truck but it was still an hour away. He and I came up with a lot of ideas such as jacking up the car and moving the divider. However, the divider is made out of solid concrete and was a wee bit too heavy for even my intense physical strength.

He tried to jack the car up but his was not tall enough, so I went and grabbed mine. It was tall enough to reach the car in it's state of suspension, but was unable to get it off of the divider.

I realized that there wasn't much I could to help him out at this point, especially since he had already called a tow-truck. I went to campus and bought him a coffee since he was clearly having a bad day. I figured he needed something to keep himself warm while waiting for the tow-truck. Ohhh and his girlfriend was coming with a camera to take pictures of his car and how the barriers were completely concealed by the snow, and not overly visible. I didn't want to mess with anything so I left my jack on his car and asked him to put it in the backseat once he was finished and then I headed to class, slightly late, but happy with myself.

While there was not a lot that I could physically do for Eric (we did exchange names at some point). I would like to think that me just stopping to check on him was worth something. Even if it was to just understand that there are people out there who are willing to lend a hand, even if it is mildly inconvenient to them. I may never see Eric again, so I don't expect him to pay me back at all, I really hope that he pays it forward actually. Maybe lends a hand to someone out there who needs it.

I am really glad that I took the time to do the right thing, and I have been feeling quite happy with myself all day about it. I can't help but wonder about all the people who walked by. Why would you just leave someone so clearly in need by themselves? What would they want someone to do if they were in the same situation?

One of my favourite movies ever is The Boondock Saints and my favourite part is the opening scene. Connor and Murphy are sitting in a church and the priest gives the following sermon:

And I am reminded, on this holy day, of the sad story of Kitty Genovese. As you all may remember, a long time ago, almost thirty years ago, this poor soul cried out for help time and time again, but no person answered her calls. Though many saw, no one so much as called the police. They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

Now, the characters in this movie go on a murderous rampage as a result of this. But that's besides my point. Everyone who walked by and everyone who would walk by is giving into their own indifference. Yet I imagine everyone who walked by has gone off at some point about the perils of our modern world.

Everyone says that the world is a shitty place at one time or another. But yet, here is a tangible opportunity for people to make a positive difference. Sure it may not matter much in the grand scheme of things, but to one person it may make the world of difference.

So I hope that all of you out there reading this, my friends and family, would act the same way that I did this morning, or even go above and beyond any of my actions. Because rememeber, the next person in need just may be you.

Until next time,

G

P.S. Happy 50th post to me!!! Wow 50 posts in 3 months...I'm a lean, mean bloggin' machine!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Our Obsession With the Depraved

A swarm of media has descended upon New Westminster, BC today for the media event of the year. The trial of Canada's most prolific serial killer, Robert Pickton. The man has been accused of killing 27 women, many of which were prostitutes, over the course of several years.

This event became an international media sensation, with reporters from all over the world turning up to cover this horrifying story. I tend to check Canoe to get my news, and their front page includes up to date trial information as it comes out, and it really is quite graphic. There are no doubt many other media outlets filling their headlines with gory details. I won't bother sharing them, I'm sure you can find them elsewhere. All that I can say, is that I'm glad that I don't eat meat...

Now before anyone judges the shallowness of the media type, remember one thing. They are out to get an audience. If we didn't read it so much, they wouldn't do it now would they? The media only gives public the information that it wants.

So why do we want all of this gory disgusting information? This was the exact same thing over a decade ago with Paul Bernardo. It was the same thing five years ago with the DC Sniper. Our society seems to be absolutely obsessed with gore.

Don't believe me? Well why have movies like Hostel and Saw done so well? Why is CSI one of the highest rated shows on television? Why does Charles Manson receive more mail than just about any other person on the planet?

So why do we love this kind of stuff? Are we living vicariously through terrible murders? I really don't know. I seem to be just full of questions today, with no room for answers.

To lighten the mood up a bit, here is a picture of me lying on the spot were they found one of Jack the Ripper's victims. I went on a "Jack the Ripper Walking Tour" when I was in London in 2004. Yeah I know, I'm just as into this gore as everyone else I suppose. Those blurry lines are there since I was low on battery power and this sort of thing happens.




Until next time,

G

Glen and McNutt's Second Opinion - Episode I

In the spirit of Heel Heat, Director's Cut and the Predictaculars, I bring you another special Bloggin' Collabo. That's right, I continue to be an unoriginal hack and rely on my friends do do more of my work.

This time I team with my good friend Ryan McNutt who is also posting this on his blog, McNutt Against the Music. We decide that we are going to try and help you, our readers, with advice. We are taking some very real requests for advice and offering our suggestions on them. The two of us can only really agree on the fact that we love The Arcade Fire, so naturally we are not going to be debating on these issues.

So without further ado, here is McNutt to introduce this column...

"In my experience, the only thing more important than making a point is making a counter-point, and in that spirit we present "Second Opinion," an adversarial advice column. It's reflective counsel with raging combat. It's snappy rebuttals taking priority over actually answering people's questions. It's down-to-earth issues with through-the-roof excitement. It's "Dear Abby" meets "Crossfire"!"

...and now, Second Opinion!!!!

**************************************************************

(Credit for logo goes to McNutt)


Question #1

I am in a muddle. I love two men. One is my ex.-boyfriend who wants to come back to me, the other is my current boyfriend. Both are lovely men, but feel more spiritually attached to my ex. I am unable to make a decision. Do you have any tips?

-- Torn in Toronto

Glen says:

Well Torn, you certainly are in a tough situation. I think that we have all been in your situation at some point or another, so I really feel your pain. I think that you are so hung up on being with one of them that you are failing to notice an obvious third option. Being with none of them. Obviously you and your ex have some compatibility issues or you would still be together right? And you obviously do not feel quite so strongly for your new boyfriend or else you would not be so torn. There is nothing wrong with keeping fond memories of your ex and even staying friends, but what is in the past should remain in the past, or else you won't have much of a future.

You are probably thinking that life would be perfect if you could just combine the two of them right? Like if someone was as sensitive as the new boy, but as exciting as the old one right? Well you are not going to change either of these guys, but there might just be the perfect combination out there somewhere, waiting to make a spiritual connection with a woman like you. I say let go of both of them to not let that perfect guy pass you by. I know that it is a hard thing to do, but I am sure that you can do it!!

I'm pulling for you,

-- Glen

Ryan says:

Torn, it's metaphor time. You're a starving child desperate for a slice of cake, and it just so happens that the Lords of Homemade Baked Goods have placed two moist, delicious pieces of cake right in front of you. Which do you choose? The answer should be obvious to anyone with a stomach attached to their brain - both of them. Glen, on the other hand, would advise you to sit there and starve to death. Whose advice are you going to take?

There is no "perfect combination" out there, Torn, short of drugging both of these men in the middle of the night and stitching their bodies together into some sort of "FrankenLover." Do you really want to throw both of them aside and spend your days as a Celebate Jesus, dying lonely for the sins of these two men's faults? Keep dating both of them; maybe alternate beetwen them bi-weekly or even divide up the days of the week. You can tell them if you want to, or keep the whole double-life a secret. Treat the whole thing like one giant spy game, complete with codewords and high-tech gadgets. The possibilities are endless!

I think the point that I'm trying to get at here is that Glen wants starving children to die.

-- RRM

Question #2

I met a wonderful and beautiful girl, and we've been off and on dating (mainly "on") for about three and a half years now while attending school. Here's the problem: I'm an atheist who questions everything and has a very strong foundation regarding my beliefs. My girlfriend, on the other hand, is a Catholic - in my opinion, one who doesn't question her beliefs enough. She was raised Catholic and seems to like it, even if she doesn't practice it. We've talked about having kids, and every time have ended with an argument: She wants to take her kids to church and raise them Catholic, and I won't even consider the thought of having my children raised in a church. At first I thought this was something that we could possibly work out. I stupidly thought that I could possibly convert my scientific-minded, Catholic girlfriend to atheism. But now, I really don't see either one of those things happening. We both love each other and would like to get married, but we can't seem to get over this children issue.

Thanks,

Disbeliever in Dartmouth


Ryan says:

DID, it was a hard lesson to learn, but you've finally realized one of the fundamental realities of a relationship: you're never, ever going to change anyone to fit the mould that you want them to. You got into this relationship under some foolish notion that you could "convert" your girlfriend to atheism; did you stop to think that maybe SHE thought that she could "convert" you to Catholicism as well? Either way, both of you were horribly wrong: you were up against belief systems that have been built over years of thought and tradition and had no chance of budging. You can't change people, DID, you can only learn how best to accommodate their beliefs with your own.

So you've got to ask yourself if this religious impasse is a dealbreaker. That's a question only you can answer, but consider this: if kids are going to be part of the equation some day, then either they're going to be going to church with their mother every Sunday or staying home with their father. If both of these options leaves one parent upset, uncompromising and bitter, then how do you expect the relationship to function? In your letter you even refer to the children as "hers" when they hypothetically join her at church. If this is going to be an ongoing, impenetrable source of conflict in this relationship, then maybe it's time to let it go.

-- RRM

Glen says:

Well Disbeliever, I think that you have one clear problem here, a definable lack of faith. No, I don't mean in the church, I mean in yourself, and more specifically, your persuasive abilities. If you put your mind to it, you can convince anyone of anything. The only reason that you haven't been able to convince your girlfriend to leave the church behind is because you have not been trying hard enough. You think it's a bad thing to convince other people? Well the ancient Greeks considered the art of rhetoric to be incredibly important, in fact, along with dialectic and grammar, it made up the original liberal arts, or trivium. Would you say that Socrates and Aristotle where wrong? I think not.

Disbeliever, you just need to find the right angle. People will do anything with the right motivation. All you need to do is dangle that proverbial carrot in front of this girl and she will be excommunicated faster than Henry VIII. What is the carrot you ask? Well unfortunately Disbeliever I can not really answer that one. I don't know this woman, but I am sure that it is something. You have to ask yourself what are her likes and dislikes? Her greatest fears and wildest dreams? You need to find someway of connecting the negatives with the church and the positives with your secularism.

There is an old saying that you have heard time and time again, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going", well my friend, you need to decide what you want to do. I say that you need to get tough, while McNutt says that you should back down. If you really do love this girl, than you will see that she is worth fighting for.

In other words, get tough.

-- Glen

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That just about does it for this, we hope that you enjoyed it and maybe took some of our advice!!! Look for this to come out a little bit more often.

Ohh and for the record, the views expressed in this column do not actually reflect the views of the people involved. McNutt is far more of a jerk than he portrays himself to be.

Until next time,

G

Friday, January 19, 2007

Director's Cuts - Residence S01E01

Welcome on and all to the first of hopefully many special posts here at this blog!!!!

I have recovered and posted an old project of my friend Kory's, a show called Residence. Now back when I was at Acadia my friends and I would occasionaly make some videos and post them on Direct Connect (The Acadia network for file sharing...it was a simpler time before YouTube). Our first crack at it, Repeat Offenders, was a sketch comedy type show, that none of us were really happy with (I may get around to posting that on here some day). Kory decided that he had watched enough episodes of the BBC Version of The Office that he wanted to make a show just like it. Relying less on gags and easy punch lines and more on akward moments and subtlety.

So the basic plot is rather simple. Randall Sarvage (played by Kory) is a first year University Student and decides that he will make a video diary for his girlfriend so that she can experience his first year with him. Of course, Randall meets some very odd people along the way including his obnoxious neighbour Simon (played by Greg Smith), who borrows his camera, the very strange Drake (played by Alex Jayner), who always talks poetically, and his RA Tyrone, played by yours truly.

The fitting part about my role is that I was Kory's RA during his first year. Now, I'll be honest, I was not a fan of the Tyrone character. I felt that he was too one dimensional and not really all that funny. But I'll leave that up to you. Originally I was scheduled to be a character named Billy Niederman, while McNutt was going to be Tyrone. However, things changed and Billy was axed and I was set as Tyrone.

There is one scene that really sticks out to me, and that is the first meeting between Randall and Simon. Now I knew from Repeat Offenders and our on-line radio show (which is a whole other epic for me to right about there...) that Kory could play the "Straight Man" to an excellent degree, but Greg blew me away in this scene. He massively exceeded my expectations. Another great part about this scene is that I hung out with Kory and Greg enough during their First Year tto know that they really were not acting all that much.

But I have rambled enough, here is a quick blurg of commentary from the star himself, Kory Wade.


So if you are reading this post on the most exciting blog site in the world then you either just watched episode one of residence, or are about to. To put it simply the show is very loosely based on my life. However it quickly became much more than that as my friends who worked on it made there characters so much better than I envisioned. Seeing as all the dialogue was improvised and most people had no idea what the scenes were about until it was time to film it I think it amazing how great everyone did, Especially since most of us aren’t actors.

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the show so I’m happy to watch it again. I think its fitting that the shows are being posted on Glen’s blog because he was there the day the show was thought up, in a Pizza Delight in Digby.

I have a lot of favorite moments in episode one; I love the scene where I meet Glen’s character Tyrone. I think both Glen and Jayner who plays Drake are awesome in this scene. It feels awkward and that’s exactly what we wanted. Glen you are very funny in this scene despite your feelings otherwise. My favorite scene in the whole show however is my first scene with Greg who plays Simon. Greg helped in the writing of this episode and originally the show was scripted. However when we went to film the scene where Simon and Randal meet we realized our written dialogue sucked. After five or six awful takes we threw away the script and from then on out the whole show was improvised. I’m sure Greg would say his scene with Becca (who plays Jennie) was his favorite for obvious reasons. Well if my very lame comments haven’t stopped you from watching the show than I hope you enjoy it.

And without further ado, I present you with the first episode of Residence, written by Kory Wade, Greg Smith and Matt Graham.

Part 1




Part 2



Part 3




Well that is it for Episode 1. I hope that you enjoyed watching this as much as I did. I'm not sure when, but I will get the other ones up and running in the very near future.

Until next time,

G

Glen and Troy's Quarterly Predictacular Vol. 2

Well here, we are at that wonderful time of year again, the second installment of the Quarterly Predictions staring Glen and Troy. For those of you that missed the first installment, we will be breaking down each conference to our predicted standings. Now I was good and sent my predictions off to Troy about a week ago so anything that I will say may be slightly out of date (like the current division leaders). More importantly though, this gave Troy a clear chance to copy all of my predictions. Also, Troy is currently suffering in the sun of St. Marteen, and I think that his brain may have been fried since he only sent me his Top 8 Predictions for each Conference. Ahh well, he probably would have just copied mine even further anyway.

As a slight change from last time, I will just be putting both of our thoughts in normal old boring font. I think it's much more readable that way and for whatever reason Blogger didn’t want to post any different colours or even italics.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

Glen says:

What a difference a few months make in the Northwest Division!!! When we wrote this earlier Predictacular, Minnesota was running away with the division and Vancouver was in dead last. Since then, just about every team has taken turns leading the division at one point or another. Right now, Vancouver is in first and Edmonton is in last. Kind of strange is it? This is exactly why the NHL needs to change its schedule. While these divisional games make for some great hockey, it really is not fair to all of these teams. They all deserve a shot in the post season, however they have to spend a ton of time beating up on each other and therefore will end up with lower points as a result. Meanwhile, Nashville and Detroit get to feast on the other Central Division suckers, and Anaheim and San Jose can to take turns pummeling LA and Phoenix. Not really all that fair now is it?

Anyway, I am standing pat on the 8 teams I think will make the cut, although I am going to change the order around a bit. Call me crazy, but I still think that Calgary has the best team in the Northwest and Vancouver's lack of depth will catch up to them around crunch time. I have been impressed with the play of the Central Division bottom feeders (Chicago, Columbus, and St. Louis) since they all changed their coaches this season, so I'll give them some love too.

Biggest Surprise: Columbus...Hitchcock has them playing well.
Biggest Disappointment: Edmonton...they'll turn around though!!!

Troy says:

The Western Conference is almost the exact opposite of the East. Everything is a surprise here. At our quarter season predictions Vancouver was a tough call as to whether they would be in the playoffs and now they're leading their division. What a tough division to be leading too. Five teams, separated by 6 points. I think in the end though Calgary will rise to the top and will be leading the division by season's end. The Pacific division will be a battle to the death between Anaheim and San Jose and I see Anaheim pulling it out. In the Central division Detroit's reign is finally over and Nashville will dethrone them and take the division. The good thing for Detroit though is that the other three teams in their division are weak enabling them to rack up the points and secure 4th place in the conference while teams like Vancouver and Edmonton, while perhaps better, have to play against much harder competition which lowers their point totals.

The bonus though is that these teams will be ready to go come playoff time. To prove my point look at last year's first round. Edmonton beat Detroit in 6. Edmonton had been playing playoff hockey for 2 months while Detroit coasted in.

Biggest Disappointment: Phoenix and Columbus
Biggest Surprise: Vancouver

PROJECTED STANDINGS

Glen says:

1. Nashville
2. Anaheim
3. Calgary
4. Detroit
5. San Jose
6. Dallas
7. Minnesota
8. Edmonton
9. Vancouver
10. Colorado
11. Chicago
12. Columbus
13. Phoenix
14. Los Angeles
15. St. Louis

Troy says:

Anyway, here is how I see it going down in the West.

1. Anaheim
2. Nashville
3. Calgary
4. Detroit
5. San Jose
6. Dallas.
7. Edmonton
8. Vancouver

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Glen says:


The Sabres continue to make absolute jokes of this conference and all who dwell within it. With two solid goaltenders, a very underrated defense corps and the leagues best offense, they really are a step above everyone else. Last time I talked about how disappointing the play of Philadelphia, Boston, Carolina and Ottawa was changing the face of the conference. Out of these four teams only Ottawa has really been able to step it up over the past 20 odd games, so they get some bAs for Vancouver, I'm going to jump back on their bandwagon. In the
beginning of the season I said that Luongo would make all the difference and
I will stand by that. I don't see them taking the division but I see no
reason they can't steal the 8th spot away from Minnesota. Anyway, here is
how I see it going down in the West.ias love from me. I have been super impressed with Montreal this season, and I could see them making some real damage this year, but alas I am getting ahead of myself. In the SouthLeast, Atlanta continues to be impressive, Tampa is really dropping the ball, and expect some mega changes coming soon, ohh and Florida and Washington are just sort of there as usual. New Jersey should remain the class of the Atlantic, more by default than any other reason.

So just like the West, I am not changing any of my playoff teams, but the order should change a bit. I have hoped on the "Atlanta Wins Their Division" boat, and I still think that Pittsburgh will sneak into 8th place. We have only just begun to see what Crosby is capable of, and I see no reason why he can't get this team over the hump.

Biggest Surprise: Montreal...one of the biggest success stories of the year. And to think they are stuck with Kovalev and Samsonov stinking up the joint
Biggest Disappointment: Philadelphia...Forsberg the "Most Complete Player in the World", please...

Troy says:

In the East there are a few surprises and a few constants. The surprises, to my great enjoyment, includes the play of Montreal. This is my team but their excellent play is certainly unexpected. At least to this level. I thought they would compete but not dominate as they are. Except for Buffalo. But can you blame them? I guess in reality that's really it for surprises. Philly, Washington, Tampa, Florida and the Islanders all still suck, and New Jersey is leading the Atlantic. I could have called this 5 years ago. Except for maybe Philly. They really should be better than this. Young talent but too much size and not enough speed. Did they get
the memo?

New Jersey will win their division and as my mortal enemy Glen stated, it will basically be by default. Atlanta will continue to lead their division as well and of course Buffalo is two wins away from clinching the conference. (Hyperbole?....Perhaps....but damn they're good). The first three seeds in the division are spoken for and Montreal will take the last remaining home ice spot. The only movement will be in the bottom four playoff teams. Ottawa will be there, as will Carolina. The Rangers should be ok leaving the 8th and final spot a toss up between Toronto and Pittsburgh. Do I go with my desire to see Canadian teams do well? Or do I go with the "Sidney Crosby is amazing and I can't wait to see him in the playoffs" theory. Tough call.

But I'm going with Sidney.

Biggest Disappointment: Philly.
Biggest Surprise: Montreal.

PROJECTED STANDINGS

Glen says:

1. Buffalo
2. New Jersey
3. Atlanta
4. Montreal
5. Ottawa
6. New York Rangers
7. Carolina
8. Pittsburgh
9. Boston
10. Toronto
11. Washington
12. Tampa Bay
13. New York Islanders
14. Florida
15. Philadelphia

Troy says:

This is how I see it shaking down in the east. (I'm hoping I'm cool enough to use the term "shaking")

1. Buffalo
2. New Jersey
3. Atlanta
4. Montreal
5. Ottawa
6. Carolina
7. NYR
8. Pittsburgh

PLAYOFFS

Glen says:

I guess the theme of this entry for me is sticking to my guns. Out West, I am standing by my prediction of San Jose over Anaheim in a 7 game Western Conference Final. Both of these teams are just too good, and as I mentioned earlier, they both have a spare goalie to trade if they really want to get better. I am giving the Sharks the edge because I think that Pronger can only cover Thornton or Marleau, leaving the other to get them.

Out East, I will change things up a bit. In my previous predictions I have called Buffalo winning the conference, and I see no reason for this to change. However, I have called both Ottawa and Carolina as the team for them to beat. I am changing this call to Montreal. They are playing really well and all they need are Huet to string together a few good weeks, something that he is more than capable of doing. And think about it, in the past four seasons we have had a different Canadian team make it to at least the third round of the playoffs (2002: Toronto loses in the East Finals, 2003: Ottawa loses in the East Finals, 2004: Calgary loses in the Cup Finals, 2006: Edmonton loses in the Cup Finals), so it is Montreal's turn this year. Vancouver will have to wait their turn. Ohh yeah Buffalo should win in 6.

In the finals, I am sticking with Buffalo in 6, because really, why change now?

Troy says:

The West Final will be between San Jose and Anaheim and I see Anaheim taking this because San Jose had nothing against Pronger last year. He's just that good.

I see the conference final coming down to Buffalo and Montreal. And although my brain tells me to go with Buffalo my heart says Montreal. And I will follow my heart. If you know anything about Buffalo as a professional sports city you know they never will anything. (Four straight Super Bowl losses) Although this may be the year that changes. But I will stay with Montreal.

This gives us a final between Montreal and Anaheim. This would be a pretty sweet final and again I will go with Montreal for no other reason than I want them to win. Probably a stupid reason but meh. So there it is.

**************************************************************

So that's the end of that one. If you take my predictions and your student loans down to Vegas than I take no responsibility, unless you win, then I want half. We shall revist these in 20 or so games and see if Troy can find any more creative ways to copy off of me.

Until next time,

G

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The (250) Million Dollar Man


It has been a few days since the announcement that the World's Most Famous Athlete is coming to the one part of the world where he sits in relative obscurity. For those of you who have been living under a rock, on the moon, or perhaps even farther into Northern Ontario than I am, David Beckham has signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS.

First off, how many of you even knew that there was an MLS before this? As a sports fan, I was aware of it, but it certainly was not high up on my list of sporting priorities, even with an expansion team in Toronto coming this season.

If the Galaxy and the MLS were trying to increase the profile of their league then mission accomplished. If for no other reason than the steep $250 million dollars Beckham is set to receive over the next 5 years, making Beckham the highest paid athlete in North American History. Ohh that of course, fails to include the ridiculous amount of money he is set to make from endorsements, which incidentally his new contract allows him to retain 100% of his endorsement money, a huge step up from the 50% that Real Madrid was allowing him.

It appears to be more than just the mind-numbing amount of money someone can get for playing a game, as tickets for MLS games have been selling much faster in the past few days since the announcements. So-called "Beckham Tickets" are already getting hard to come by at MLS games, and season ticket sales are way up.

One of the big reasons Beckham gives for accepting the move, is that he wants to help soccer expand into the United States. Of course, if you wanted to expand the sport, you could pick no better representative than Beckham. He is the only soccer player that the typical American could name. And if you wanted a market, there is none better than LA, it has a large immigrant population (Remember, soccer is huge in every other country in the world), a celebrity obsessed culture, and more importantly, no NFL team.

How would that matter you ask? Well having multiple professional sports teams in one city puts them in direct competition with one another. If you think about it, most sports fans are sports fans and while many would have their favourites, there is still a strong overlap in the fan bases. And since there obviously is only so much money to go around and people often have to choose which local sports games they attend. Why else do Vancouver and Montreal only have NHL teams now? So Beckham coming to a city that does not have a team in North America's largest sporting league makes a huge amount of sense since they don't have to deal with those pesky (American) Football Fans.

Now the big question remains. Will this work? I honestly think no. This has been done before and failed miserably. There was the North American Soccer League that existed from 1968-84 and even signed then major players Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore and of course, Pele, but yet it could not find a way to last. One of the major reasons for its collapse? Short-sighted investments and an over reliance on foreign players. Sounds familiar already now doesn't it?

Don't believe me on the foreign players deal? Well what are the biggest leagues in the United States? Times up, the answer is easily the NFL and the NBA. Guess where most of their players come from? Sure there are obviously exceptions, especially in the more recent years of the NBA, but by and large they are sports played by Americans, for Americans, so help me God. Soccer meanwhile, is a sport played by the world for the world. The US has always done its best to separate itself from the rest of the world and sports are no different. Unless the US goes out and wins a World Cup than soccer will always be seen as a game for everyone else and not for the United States.

On a broader, more tangential note, do the owners of the Los Angeles Galaxy really understand the global world that we live in? The whole point of globalization is the spread of American culture. Don't believe me? Then why is there a McDonald's in Red Square but no Tim Horton's within sight of the Lincoln Memorial? Another pop quiz, what is the fastest growing sport in the world? If you think soccer you are wrong, it is basketball, more and more children are starting to bounce balls instead of kick them around. The future of sports unfortunately lies in the expansion of US sports, especially basketball, to the rest of the world.


Wow, I really am jaded. I had better stop before I hurt myself. Moral of the story, this whole David Beckham move, while bold, will not work out for the MLS. Just like when the New York Cosmos signed Pele, it did not pay off. Americans do not care about soccer and they won't really. The only hope that the MLS has is if the US actually decides to stop fearing the Mexicans and lets them in, maybe then will they have a sustainable audience.

Soccer fans and anti-xenophobes, don't hold your breath.

Until next time,

G

Monday, January 15, 2007

What Would He Say Now?

I was ashamed and a little embarrassed that I almost forgot what today is. I was checking tsn.ca at about and saw that there were some hockey games going on. I thought, that is weird, since afternoon games only happen on weekends or US Holidays. Then I realized that today is indeed a US Holiday. It is Martin Luther King Day!!!! To start this blog I am going to put up the single most famous speech of the 20th Century. Sure we've all heard it before, but just in case you haven't heard all 17 minutes of this amazing and inspirational oration, here goes:



Great isn't it?


I'm not nearly so presumptuous to bore you with some sort of tribute to the man, that's been done by far better people than I. Everyone of you has heard a list of his individual accomplishments, you all know enough about the Civil Rights Movement, and if you don't then here's the wikipedia entry to get you started.

But what I can't help but think about (and therefore blog about) is what on earth would he say now, 39 years after his assassination? We Westerners tend to see ourselves as very enlightened and modern. I really think that this could not be farther from the truth. Don't believe me? Well today in 2007 there are still country clubs in the American South where Dr. King's children could still not get into due to the colour of their skin, regardless of the content of their characters. The Canadian Government only just decided to finally allow people to marry whoever they want, and are one of only five countries in the world to allow that. Women still earn significantly less than their male counterparts. People's lifestyles and handicaps, gay and retarded respectively, are still used as insults by people. How is any of this fair? How is Freedom ringing?

(To any of the people in Section 23: I realize that I made a similar speech in Education and Schooling class a month or so ago. It's ok to plagiarize yourself, isn't it?)

It really scares me to see just how much everyone takes all of these injustices at face value. I was shocked the other day in my International Teaching Class, when we were having a debate on feminist issues around the world. People seemed to think that we in Canada have moved passed gender issues, and I really can't see how people think that. It was brought up that we have had a woman Prime Minister, something many countries can not say. Yet, if you look back Kim Campbell was never voted in by the Canadian people and is see by and large as a joke. A quick glance at the list of MPs shows that only 20% of them are women. Now maybe I notice this since I am in math, but that is an incredibly statistical significance. I felt the need to stand up for the oppressed women and was only met with support from one female in my class.

I have had similar conversations with people on racial and sexuality issues. What bothers me the most about it, is that these have by and large been conversations with education individuals. Teachers no less. People who have the power to influence the youth of the world and genuinely make a difference. Yet here so many people sit blinded to the social inequalities of our time.

Some may argue that "it is come a long way". Well sure, The Jim Crow Laws have been abolished, we do have Universal Suffrage, and many other large steps have been taken in the past half-century, but there is still a long way to go. Social change is not truly possible without a shift in the social conscious. People need to believe that minority support programs including the dreaded Affirmative Action, are indeed for the benefit of the society before it ever begins to benefit the society. Everyone needs to take some action for the cause of Social Justice, not just minorities, women, immigrants and homosexuals. Unless some straight white males take it on as well, then it is just a minority issue. What people need to realize is that the issues of the minority are the issues of everyone. You can always judge a society by how the majority treats its minorities. Right now we may be a head of many other countries in the world, but we still have a long way to go. It is never about comparing yourself to others but rather about comparing yourself to yourself and seeing that there is always room for improvement.

Here's hoping that it can improve and King's dream can finally become a reality.

Until next time,

G

Random Things to Share

I really don't have much to say here, I'm feeling a bit of bloggers block. So I just wanted to pass along a few YouTube videos for your viewing pleasure. If you are on facebook then come on and see the real deal.

First off here is one from my cyber-heros, Barats and Bereta, I think that these guys are so brilliant. I love all of the lame references in this video. Probably much worse that I get them all..




Secondly here is a brilliant mash-up of sorts. The Napoleon Dynamite Dance mixed with the theme from Fraggle Rock. I find this so incredibly funny.



Speaking of mash-ups, I mentioned this song way back here. Here is a slide show video that someone made for Come Closer Together. Watch out, the lyrics are naughty.




Now I do believe that Sandee introduced me to this one. It's a Sony add that features exploding paint cans. An act of logistical genius. Best part? No computer animation...


Need help with a problem? Well then Ask a Ninja!!!



Lastly, here is a little ditty that everyone from Acadia should have seen at some point over the past half-decade. The quick story: During Spring Break a sink in Tower breaks and people document it and create this brilliant video. It is easily Travis Smith's finest hour (you can also find Travis right here at Heel Heat...how was that for a plug?).




That's probably enough out of me. Not sure what I'm going to be posting next. I hope that you found these videos as awesome as I do!!!!

Until next time,

G

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Forgot How Much I Miss Some Things

Last night I proved just how much of a wild and crazy party animal I really am. A group of five of us had a wild and crazy night of Indiana Jones movies. That's right, we watched a solid six hours of awesomness.

While in the middle of watching Raiders of the Lost Arc, I realized something. While I love the Indiana Jones movies, the best part of my night was the hilarious banter that was taking place. I realized that this is something that has been missing in my life since my days watching wrestling in Tower. A close group of friends with similar interests who are able to make me laugh so hard that it hurts. I'm sure none of you will get this, unless you were there, but here were some of the things that made me laugh the most:

- (after Indie drives a guy in a motorcycle off of a cliff that just appears out of nowhere)
Me: Where did that cliff come from?
Josh: Erosion.

- Our game of seeing who else was in any other "Epic Trilogies" besides just Harrison Ford. We came up with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen (who were both in X-Men, Steward was in four Star Trek Movies, and McKellen was of course Mother F'n Gandalf), ohh and Orlando Bloom upon the creation of the third Pirates. But that didn't stop us from coming up with other hilarious ideas and ultimately lead to Angie asking why they never made a sequel to Shindler's List.

- My constant attempts at Action Hero wit, such as "He had to be let go" when someone was dropped down a cliff, ultimately being met with silence.

- The realization that I would have much more luck with women if I just wore a cool hat and carried a whip around.

- Erica trying to drink every time that that Indie used his whip. Too bad she only had a squishie.

- Debating the effectiveness of Unionized Goons.

- Josh and I constantly drawing parallels between Indiana Jones and Star Wars, too bad nobody else got the references like we did.

- When it looked like I was going to fall asleep, I was threatened to be leg dropped, have my hand placed in warm watter or have my bra put into the freezer.

A ton more of highlights that I can't begin to remember. But easily the highlight was the feeling of closeness I had with my friends. Sorry to sound too after-school-special here, but I haven't felt that same level in a long time. After running around for the past several weeks (one could even argue months or even years) it was nice to feel settled again. So I just wanted to say thank you to Kim, Josh, Erica, and Angie for taking me to happy place night. I'm excited for when we finally do Star Wars or Lord of the Rings next!!!

Until next time,

G

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"The Kids Are Alright" or "Why the Hell Do You Want to be a Teacher???"

Whenever anybody asks me about how I like Teacher's College I tend to have one standard response. I always say something along the lines of "The classes are boring, the teaching is amazing, I love half of the people, but the other half make me fear for the future of my children". Today I had an experience with the later section of that quote.

This morning, I was sitting in my Senior Math Elective and we were looking back at a Grade 9 Algebra book from 1897. There was a hilarious question about a cask of brandy. The question had hilarious wordings like "If you empty 45 gallons of brandy and fill it with water, and one-quarter of the solution be brandy, then how much of the original amount be brandy?" or something like that. The fact that it said "be brandy" prompted me to ask if this was a question intended for pirates.

Our professor asked if the students today could handle that question at Grade 9. Of course, the language in that particular problem is really quite archaic, but if it were modernized and perhaps made slightly more relevant (a bottle of Gin and Juice perhaps?) could a typical Grade 9 student be able to do this question? Most people in the class said no, and gave a variety of reasons as to why the students today just could not handle such a thing. I was alarmed at some of the answers that I heard.

"They can't do word problems"
"They would freak out if they saw the fraction"
"They don't know how to put that into their calculators"

And then it quickly turned into yet another rant about how "kids these days" don't have any respect or academic ability. My mind is consistently blown by just how little faith the teacher's of tomorrow have in the youth of today. It honestly makes me wonder why some of these people are going into this profession if they can't think of good things to say about the students that they are going to be intereacting with every day.

I decided to keep with my trend of looking on the bright side, and sticking up for the students, someone needs to speak for the ones with no voice right? I brought up the fact that in 1897 Education was much more elitist. A very small percentage of the population made it to Grade 9, and those that did would more than likely be the top students. So of course the top students then could solve it. While I doubt that every single Grade 9 today could solve that equation, I bet that a number of them could do it. In fact, I think that the number of fourteen year olds who could figure that out today would be much higher than it was over a hundred years ago.

In fact, in looking at that question, I see no reason why I would not have given one like that to the Grade 8 students I was teaching back in the fall. Sure they may not have all gotten it, but it would have made a great Problem of the Day to start a math lesson off with. I gave some very complicated questions and I was amazed at their abilities, there were some student who were capable of solving intense logic puzzles, or were able to compute the Fibonacci sequence. Could they all do it? Well of course not, but many of them were able to do it.

I have been rather frustrated of late with this whole B.Ed program. It really has nothing to do with the classes or the work. It is all about the people here. I don't mean to insult any of my peers or anything like that, but the negativity here really brings me down. Now there is a huge stereo-type about teachers being whiners who are only in the career for the pension and the holidays. At the start of the year, I resented that a lot, but now I see where it comes from. A lot of people in this program just don't seem to like youth. So again, I have to ask, WHY ARE YOU HERE????

Of course, I have met several people in this program who I think are great and will make wonderful teachers, but as the year goes on I can't help but think that they are in a minority. What scares me the most is the thought of entering a career full of negativity and having it overtake me. As I said way back here, my number one fear is getting crushed by the weight of the world. This is exactly why it scares me. I consider myself to be a really positive person, and am so worried that being surrounded by negativity for the rest of my life will crush any amount of optimism I have left in me.

So I am making a plea to all educators and would be educators out there. Please, please, please, only go into this profession if it is something that you want to do. Sure summers off are going to be great, and so will the sweet teacher's pension. But that can't be the only reason to be here. Make sure that you want to do this. You have a huge chance to influence the lives of future generations and somehow make a difference. Don't shirk that responsibility for any reason. It's not fair to the students, it's not fair to yourself and it's not fair for anyone who cares about the youth of today.

Maybe I am just naive, I don't know. Maybe the kids today are not alright. Maybe they really don't have any respect. Maybe they are stupid. Maybe the only two reasons to be a teacher are July and August.

You know what? I don't care if I am wrong. I would much rather keep my rose coloured glasses on than be forced to gaze upon the bleakness of reality. I have to believe that what I am doing matters. Because without purpose, what is the point of anything really? I will continue to try and go against the negativity stream that I am immersed in.

Someone has to believe in these students. I just wish that I could share the same optimism for their future teachers.

Until next time,

G

P.S. For anyone interested, there be 60 gallons of brandy in the cask.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Some Insights Into My Twisted Mind, Volume IV

I was just thinking that I needed to add another one of these up here sometime soon, and then as luck would have it we did my all time favourite bit of psycho-analysis in Management Class today. That's right this entry will not be about me being a former President, a guy with a cool hat, or a big fat loud mouth, no sirree, this one is about what colour I am.

First off, I have done the True Colours test more times than I care to name, but every time I get something a little bit different and I am absolutely fascinated by it. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular test, the purpose is to divide everyone into one of four different colours, Orange, Gold, Green, and Blue. The test is quick to point out that everyone is a bit of every colour and it is the varying degrees which make it more interesting. Just so we are all on the same page, here is the right up it says for each colour, courtesy of http://www.mytruecolors.com/:

*****************************************************************

Orange represents energy, consuming physiological potency, power, and strength. Orange is the expression of vital force, of nervous and glandular activity. Thus, it has the meaning of desire and all forms of appetite and craving. Those with Orange as a Primary Color feel the will to achieve results, to win, to be successful. They desire all things that offer intense living and full experience.

Orange generates an impulse toward active doing: sport, struggle, competition and enterprising productivity. In temporal terms, Orange is the present.

Gold is the body's natural perceptions. It represents a need to be responsible, to fulfill duties and obligations, to organize and structure our life and that of others. Those with Gold as a Primary Color value being practical and sensible. They believe that people should earn their way in life through work and service to others.

Gold reflects a need to belong through carrying a share of the load in all areas of living. It represents stability, maintenance of the culture and the organization, efficiency, and dependability. It embraces the concepts of home and family with fierce loyalty and faithfulness.

Green expresses itself psychologically as human will in operation: as persistence and determination. Green is an expression of firmness and consistency. Its strength can lead to a resistance to change if it is not proven that the change will work or is warranted. Those with Green as a Primary Color value their intellect and capabilities above all else. Comfort in these areas creates a sense of personal security and self-esteem.

Green characteristics seek to increase the certainty of their own values through being assertive and requiring differences from others in intellectual areas. They are rarely settled in their countenance, since they depend upon information rather than feelings to create a sense of well-being. Green expresses the grounding of theory and data in its practical applications and creative constructs.

Blue represents calm. Contemplation of this color pacifies the central nervous system. It creates physiological tranquility and psychological contentment. Those with Blue as a Primary Color value balance and harmony. They prefer lives free from tension... settled, united, and secure.

Blue represents loyalty and a sense of belonging, and yet, when friends are involved, a vulnerability. Blue corresponds to depth in feeling and a relaxed sensitivity. It is characterized by empathy, aesthetic experiences, and reflective awareness.

*****************************************************************

So before you all read ahead, anyone who has not done this test with me (i.e. anyone who I know from somewhere other than Kodiak or Section 23), give those profiles a read over again and try and guess what my colour is.

You picked orange right? I felt a lot of eyes in the class today looking my way when they read off the Orange Description.

We had to rank a variety of different attributes from 1 to 4, and the highest possible score for any given colour was 24 and the lowest possible score was 6.

So here are my True Colours:

Gold: 6
Green: 13
Orange: 18
Blue: 23

That's right, I am most definitely the emotional type and not the adventurous loud mouthed type.

The part that gets me every time is just how accurate this test is at describing me. We were given a table with the one heading "Area of Life" that described different characteristics of each colour. I am not going to bother typing all of these up right now, but I just wanted to highlight a few of these blue characteristics.

Under "fantasy to be", we Blues are listed as "a messiah". I can't say that I really argue with that one to say the least. On a hilarious side note the green were listed as "a wizard".
Under "guilt", it says "let someone down".
By "mood in relationships", we are "meaningful".
Apparently I am rewarded by "acceptance of who they are".
And nurtured by "vision of a better world".

Also they had a section of symptoms of what to look for when people of the different colours (man I feel so racist typing that up!!!) are having bad days and for Blues it says two that caught my eye, namely, "Attention-getting misbehaviour" and "Fantasy, day-dreaming and trancing out". That first one really makes me laugh.

Really very eerie just how accurate this impersonal test designed by someone I don't even know can describe me so very well. But the real funny part was that the professor described the different colours in more detail. He was going on about how Blues tend to take things personally. I felt a huge weight on my shoulders and that it was somehow my fault for taking things personally and I felt a huge rush of guilt. How pathetic is that?

Anyway, sorry to make this really long post just about me, I suppose I really need to watch my ego. Man I'm starting to take that personally!!!

If any of you are interested then CLICK AWAY to find your own True Colours. I would love to know.

Ohh on a side note, as a Blue, I am naturally a people person. I went around my class and predicted where people would be (I guessed their top two colours), and I'll be damned if I wasn't right a solid 9 times out of 10. So if you are going to take it, please message me and have me guess, I take it as a huge challenge.

Alrightie I think that I've ramble on about myself long enough. It is time for me to sleep now. Not sure what will be coming out next here on the ol'Blogeroo. But I'm sure it will kick all sorts of ass.

Until next time,

G

Monday, January 08, 2007

Random Acts of Glenness, Version IV

Alright so I haven't done a Random Acts of Glenness in a long time, and I really, REALLY don't feel like doing any work right now, so here we go with #137-169. Enjoy!!!

137. I consider the first time I beat Mario 3 one of the proudest moments of my life
138. If I don't get enough sleep I tend to be a wee bit cranky
139. I don't wear a watch
140. The reason for this is that I think it is more social to ask people if they know the time
141. I am pretty good at eating with chopsticks
142. I both love and hate Teacher's College
143. I included the words "DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS" on an assignment for Methods this year
144. I never know what type of super power I would have if given the choice
145. 1984, by George Orwell is my favourite book ever
146. I say "Stick it to THE MAN" more times a day than I can count
147. I am a huge bed hog
148. Sometimes I wish I wasn't just considered "the funny guy"
149. That doesn't mean that I am going to stop wearing a tutu
150. I really like to write, but I hate showing people what I have done
151. For some reason, blogging is the exception to the above rule
152. People doubting me is one my biggest sources of motivation
153. I'm affraid of heights
154. I think that finding Camp Kodiak was the best thing to ever happen to me
155. I think that leaving Scotland when I did was the second best
156. I get stressed out about hockey games
157. Amsterdam and Paris are my favourite cities that I have ever been to
158. I spent my whole life growing up with three grand-parents and now I only have one
159. I said a poem that I wrote at my grand-mother's funeral
160. I really like to cook
161. I own more Simpsons memorabillia than I can bother to remember
162. I think that the UK version of The Office is the funniest show that I have ever seen
163. Sometimes I wonder if I will make a good teacher
164. I like to draw childish things like stick people and sea monsters
165. I have way too many inside jokes with people to keep track of them all
166. A lot of people think that I am left handed for some reason
167. One of the best compliments I have ever received is that I make people comfortable
168. I hardly ever participated in sports as a kid because I was too self-conscious
169. Now I play, and just don't care

That'll probably do it for me, I should be getting myself to class soon. Not sure what I plan on writing about next, the second Predictacular should be coming soon, and I know that I owe another "Music to _______" from oh so long ago. Ohh and I have homework as well, I suppose.

Until next time,

G