Thursday, June 18, 2009

This is pretty cool.

OK, to that one guy who keeps emailing and commenting about Gov't Mule - it does, indeed, look as though they are not coming. Too bad, because they're great - and they were on the official press release that was sent out by Bluesfest before the acts were all officially announced. But they are no longer on the website. So you can give up on seeing them. But you can now see a ton of acts not previously announced, most of which are awesome. Not only some small, after-hours club shows and jams and the like, but seventy totally free concerts right in the middle of the market. I'm excited about George Clinton, having seen him at Bluesfest a few years back. My review of that show can be read here.

But mostly, I'm excited about the addition of Lee "Scratch" Perry, the legendary reggae star from Jamaica. No idea yet on the dates of the performances, but I plan to come back from my honeymoon for this one. Time permitting. And wife permitting. Of course. Lee Perry is one of the most influential and important reggae artists of all time, basically creating the reggae sound we know today. Primarily a producer, he worked with absolutely everyone in reggae music over the course of his career. Read more about him here, and go see him.

Busy week, busy weekend...

It has been a busy week. Studying for math (he did well on the exam - success!) Monday and Tuesday, yardwork and haircuts and so forth. Haircuts because I have Woody's wedding coming up on Saturday, and we all just discovered that we have to wear suits, which means that I will have to reach deep into the chair in my bedroom to extract my suit from between the cushions and then hang it on the back of the door until Saturday to get the wrinkles out. Yesterday was the annual general meeting for Operation Go Home, which was held in a giant church and just went over the successes of the past year and so forth.

Congratulations, however, to Pierre Belanger who won the Street Guardian of the Year Award. Pierre is the chariman of the board, and was re-elected to that postition shortly after the AGM thanks to his tireless efforts and hard work on behalf of the organization. Pierre is close to becoming a man of God - he is going to be a deacon - and he knows not to make me upset because I have some pictures that might make the church folk think twice...you do one Rocky Horror event and it haunts you forever...

Today, we are launching the new look and vision of Operation Go Home - it will have a new name and a new logo and a new campaign - all of this will be revealed at the breakfast at the Courtyard restaurant this morning. that will be going from 7:30 - 9:00, and I will be there during the show today. Then it's off to Loch March golf course for the Soloway Jewish Community Centre golf tournament - last year they raised a huge amount of money, and it was a great event. Looking forward to this one too.

Tomorrow, it's Rock Band at Bayshore, with all those great prizes and some solid video game action, which will be fun, and then Saturday I have that Woody guy's wedding. My girlfriend is already laying out my clothes for that one. Mrs. Woody was right - it IS the women who get worried about that sort of thing. Maybe I'll wear my suit golfing today, just to shake those wrinkles out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I don't think I like this

I have been helping my step-son with his Grade Nine math through most of the year. He struggled early on, but as we identified the problem and sat down with him for an hour or two each night he made a marked improvement (100% on his "angles" test!). His big final exam for the class is tomorrow, and I spent a couple of hours yesterday doing some studying. Algebra and geometry and so forth. I bought an easel and a white board for the purposes of studying and teaching and such and such, because I'm a nerd and I like the white board.

What's good is that I still know this math, and I'm still able to do it, no problem. But you know how they say those that can't do, teach? I'm pretty sure the second part of that saying is "those that can do, should probably not teach". Because although I have been helping him for pretty much the entire year, it was only today, just in time for the final exam, that I realized what the problem was. In Grade Eight, he was very good at math. Got great marks, did really well, really understood it. Now, not so much. And it finally occurred to me that the reason is that he no longer remembers that math from the eighth grade! Multiplying and dividing fractions, and that sort of thing - all the stuff you need to build on for Grade Nine.

And I think this is because he is in a semestered school. When I went to high school, I had eight classes, and they all lasted all year. In a semestered system, you get four courses at a time, spend twice as long in each class, have more homework in each one, and try to cram all that learning into half the time. I would get distracted with a period that was twice as long as the ones I had in high school too. It feels like overkill. But more importantly, with the semestered system, the fact that he had math in the second semester meant that he spent almost a full year not thinking about math at all. So now he has forgotten the basic building blocks for the math he is supposed to learn.

His class started on Chapter 2 of their textbook, because Chapter 1 was just a grade 8 review. Well, that was kind of essential. His friends seem to be having the same problems he is - I have seen them struggle with the same stuff. I'm just kicking myself for not realizing until the last second. We did the most important calculation of all though - what mark does he have to get on the final exam in order to pass math for the year. It turns out he can pass the year even with a zero on the final exam. So I told him to bring a book to the exam room. And some candy. And maybe an iPod. Don't even bother writing stuff. And next year I'll be sure to do some rehashing of the basics the week before math starts. I assume the school won't be doing that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Today's Cynical Cinema reviews

That new Friday The 13th movie hits DVD today. Which means there were an awful lot of reissues of old Friday movies this week. Which meant I spent the entire week watching some painfully bad movies.

45 R.P.M. - Canadiam movie about music, the cold war, and coming-of-age in the 1960s.

Dough Boys - Quite a bad movie about hustlers on the mean streets and bad guy gangsters.

Operation Valkyrie - A German movie from 2004, out because of the Cruise flick.

Trailer Park Boys, The Complete Series - Best Canadian show ever.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Deluxe Edition - Terrible. And not the final chapter at all.

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, Deluxe Edition - Slightly better. But still awful.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, Deluxe Edition - Maybe the worst of all.

Friday the 13th Part 2, Blu-Ray - Before the subtitles and roman numerals. Dreadful.

Friday the 13th Part 3, Blu-Ray - Totally silly and awful. But at least it's in 3-D.