Current Musical Gold: Installment 1

I like music. It defines life, love, and everything in between. I also happen to have an abnormally ridiculous amount of music in my possession, most of which I listen to very very rarely because I have a tendency to overplay. As in, overkill. As in, when I'm feeling a song I will play that tuneage over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again until I am either sick of it, or it is inducted into my special itunes playlist simply titled LEGENDARY. Many songs have come and gone; only the chosen few have made it to LEGENDARY status. Every so often, because I like to share music that is good, I will post the tracks that I am feeling at the moment - the ones that are on trial to make it to LEGENDARY. Hopefully in this manner, you, my readers, will be able to expose yourself to a broader variety of good music. And who knows - maybe it'll even make your LEGENDARY.


Current Musical Gold: Installment 1 (in no particular order)
1. Hands Held High - Linkin Park
2. Make You Feel My Love - Adele
3. Burn This City - Cartel
4. Young Forever ft. Mr. Hudson - Jay-Z
5. Who Says - John Mayer
6. Deliverance - Bubba Sparxxx
7. Sleep - Azure Ray
8. Night Bird Flying - Jimi Hendrix


Blast from the Past #4 - Legacy of Terry Fox

BFTP #4 - Legacy of Terry Fox
Type: news story
For: Coquitlam Now current affairs
Written: September 2004 (grade 10)


“He was an ordinary person who chose to do extraordinary things.” That was how Mr. Fichter summed up our interview on Terry Fox one day after school. The school’s principal appeared slightly regretful as he told me a story of when he had coached his Mission High School basketball team against a junior team from Hastings Jr. High, led by a point guard named Terry Fox. “We were dominating,” Mr. Fichter said, with a hint of a smile on his face. “We were bigger, faster, better. We pretty much owned the game, owned the other team. Except for this one kid, a point guard, named Terry Fox. Boy. He knew where his teammates were all the time, and he knew how to get them the ball. What a leader. He wasn’t particularly tall. He had no great offensive skills. But his defense? Tenacious. Tenacious, tenacious. He never backed down, never gave an inch against any of the six-foot monsters I had on my team.”
That’s how Terry is remembered today. As a person who never quit. Even when his junior team was severely outmatched in a high school basketball game. Even when he had his right leg amputated in 1977 due to cancer. Even when he was feeling pain in his stomach and chest during his 143 days of consecutive running, 42 kilometers a day, everyday, to raise money for cancer research. And even when he was diagnosed with lung cancer on September 1st, 1980. He died 10 months later.
On Friday Sept. 16th, Charles Best Secondary took part in a historic event. The entire school, 1380 staff and students, participated in the 25th annual Terry Fox Run. On this day, the goal was that every school in Canada, both private and public, would participate in the run. The emphasis on the event isn’t how much money the school raises, but that every student participated and contributed to Terry’s dream. As Terry said in 1980, “If you’ve given a dollar, you’ve participated in the Marathon of Hope.”
The turnout was phenomenal, with runs taking place all across the country. The school’s run was primarily organized and promoted by our tireless administration, Mr. Fichter, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Johnstone, and retired vice-principal, Mr. French. Some of the teachers involved included Ms. Howell, who was in charge of the running trails, Mr. Jones, who took care of marshalling, Mr. Ewert, who made sure none of the other staff members slacked on the run, and Mr. Hyde, who did all the work behind the scenes.
The day started out with students reporting to their homerooms, where teachers collected pledge forms and money that students had raised for the Terry Fox Foundation. The students were then asked to move to the big gym, where we were addressed by a guest speaker, Mr. Rich Chambers. Mr. Chambers is presently a counselor and basketball coach at Terry Fox Secondary School in Port Coquitlam, and as Mr. Fichter said, “He coached Terry, coached against Terry, met Terry, knew Terry.” After Mr. Chamber’s inspiring speech, the ever-popular Mr. Mushens came out and proceeded to do stand-up comedy for ten minutes as the student body exited the gym and began the run/walk in order of grade. The runners started off in waves on the 5km trail, while the walkers followed on the 2km trail.
The first runners to finish were the members of the senior girls volleyball team, who started their run early due to the fact that they had to leave for a tournament. As the other runners and walkers returned to school, they were greeted by loud music and enthusiastic Best Buddy Leaders, who handed out Terry Fox Run shoe tags and bottles of water. The shoe tags, which were given to all students and staff who completed their respective trails, were shaped in the resemblance of the Adidas sneaker that Terry chose to use during his Marathon of Hope. On the back, they read, “This shoe ran in the 25th Terry Fox Run.”
The high rate of student participation was due to the fact that students can relate to Terry Fox as he was not much older than us when he had his right leg amputated, and he was only 21 years old when he began his historic run. School-wide opinions on Terry Fox are very much alike. When asked what they thought of Terry Fox, Lexie Snowden and Shawna Campbell, two grade 11 students, answered, “We believe that Terry was a hero and that his legacy will live on forever.” Amira Tmar responded similarly, saying, “Terry Fox was an amazing person and his actions touched many Canadians,” whereas Jeff Taylor was a bit more blunt, simply stating, “He was a good guy. Raised some money and stuff.”
The fact of the matter is, Terry Fox didn’t just raise some money. He raised a lot of money. Some students in our school don’t seem to understand just how much Terry has done for cancer research. When asked how much he thought had been raised by the Terry Fox Foundation so far, a grade 9 student who shall remain unnamed replied, “I dunno. A couple hundred thousand, maybe?” On the other hand, Amy Belanger of grade 11 jokingly answered, “Katrillions!” While not as extreme as either of these two answers, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised an incredible $360 million dollars for cancer research worldwide, as over 50 countries take part annually in the Terry Fox Run.
Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope inspired a nation, and eventually the world, to rise to its feet and continue his mission to fight the sickness that affects so many of us. He has been honored in numerous ways, from the Order of Canada and the Terry Fox Memorial to having schools and a mountain named after him. But his greatest legacy is that every year in September, millions across our country and across the world take part in what has become an annual event to raise money for cancer research.
So who was Terry Fox? He was just an ordinary person. But he chose to do extraordinary things.


Boxscore from October 25, 2009

43-20 for Athletics 2.

Statline = foul shooting fail.

3-6 from the line (hello Dwight Howard)
9 points
6 rebounds
8 assists
3 steals
1 game of lock-down defense.

Basically I'm Shawn Marion.

Newsflash: I can now shoot a basketball.


Things learned from October 20, 2009

"I'm not a success story. But I will be." - Shaun Livingston

Words of SO much wisdom.


Blast from the Past #3 - Education is Overrated

Still one of my favorite pieces after three years.

BFTP #3 - Education is Overrated
Type: Editorial
For: Coquitlam Now My Generation Column
Written: March 2007 (grade 12)


I’m writing this from one of the many computers in one of the many libraries at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. It’s a nice, quiet campus town; so far I haven’t met anyone who isn’t affiliated with Queen’s in some way. Yesterday I was in downtown Toronto for a tour of Ryerson University, the primary destination for all of Canada’s aspiring journalists. Tomorrow, it’s two hours north to the history-hallowed halls of Ottawa’s Carleton University, where I’ll take yet another three-hour tour and ask yet another hundred or so questions and then hop on a plane home so that I can get to school bright and early on Tuesday morning having only missed one day of precious grade 12. The amusing aspect is that my dad shelled out close to 25000 Air Miles for me to take this “trip that will determine the future of my life’s future,” as he so eloquently put it, and I’m using it to write my Now article.

It’s a funny thing, education is. From the get-go, it has been pounded into our heads that in order to succeed, we must have our education, and for those who truly desire fulfillment (and money), it is necessary to have a degree, if not three. “Education is key,” they tell us. Well gee thanks, but to what? To penthouses and diamond rings and fast cars? To success? To happiness? I could ask that question all day, but there’s really no point until the root of the question is exposed. Specifically, what is education?

My life, both past and present, and soon to be future, has revolved, does revolve, and will revolve around education. Everything learned in school up to this point has been to prepare me for a further education. What I’m learning in school now is how to take notes, how to take exams, how to write a proper thesis essay so that I can make it to university and hopefully not bomb every single term paper thrown my way. Heck, what I’m writing right now is to gain clip experience for my entrance portfolio to get me into journalism school. But that still begs the question: what is education? I’ve heard it described many ways, key, necessary, and the secret to happiness being among the most prominent. Personally, one word for me sums up our society’s view of education: overrated.

There was a time, back in the glorious days before money was invented, that education was learning, and learning was beautiful. It was pure, a display of the natural inquisitiveness of man to explore and discover more about the world around him. Today, that purity is recaptured by the innocent curiosity of a child whenever she turns over a rock to look at worms or tries to fathom how nine pennies is worth less than a dime. That, my friends, is learning, and what education is meant to be.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and as soon as society’s standard can get its claws into our young, another good crop of inquiring human minds is brainwashed to believe that education is what the system teaches. I might be wrong, but something tells me that knowing the critical point theorem of the application of a derivative will probably not help me out very much in the future unless I plan to go into engineering, which I don’t. We learn what is taught, but more often than not, what is taught is boring and utterly pointless. I’m no malcontent teenager who is ranting to try and get out of school; on the contrary, I’m a motivated and intelligent student who is doing exactly what education was born of in the first place, but is now discouraged – I’m thinking for myself.

In about two and a half months, I’ll be graduating from high school, at which point I’ll enjoy two months of sweet liberation from “learning” before I once again head off to a still undecided post-secondary institution to pursue my further education. I’ll shell out big bucks to listen to professors lecture about things that I don’t want to learn about, all the while thinking that I’d rather be somewhere else but at the same time knowing that my degree is more important. After all, that’s what the employers are looking for, right? That little piece of paper that says you’ve done your educational time. Pardon that reference to jail, but for some reason, it seems to fit.

I’ll wrap this up quickly, because there are a lot of Queen’s students who are impatiently waiting for the computers, March being term paper month. Even now, looking around at the shoulders hunched over from backpacks literally bursting at the seams with textbooks that contain unpractical jargon about practical subjects, I can see the curious kids that these students used to be. And I can also see myself in their exact place a year from now, my shoulders hunched over from the weight of my backpack, waiting for my turn at the computer. Waiting for my turn at an education. Until then, I’ll keep learning as much as I can.



Life Updates: Entry 2

Here are things from today:
1. My knee is not yet 100%.
2. I just ate an orange and it was delicious.
3. I peeled the orange with two peels. My best is one peel.
4. A haircut is now a foregone conclusion. I think it's best I attempt to comb it myself so that the mean lady doesn't rip half of it out when she goes at it with the brush.
5. The latest work rush ended earlier today. No assignments due until next Thursday, YES!
6. I haven't had legitimate vegetables (or meat, for that matter,) for over six days.
7. I have had a lot of toast and fried rice with egg.
8. There is a sale on cream cheese happening at Billings. I think I will get some after class.
9. Billings closes at 9. I'll get some tomorrow.
10. I feel as if Vancouver has forgotten me.
11. Sarah Hill sent me a letter today and I loved it and she is a grand friend to have when I feel as if Vancouver has forgotten me.
12. Hopefully Eddie approves of this post.
13. Shaw left for Thanksgiving Weekend, as did everyone else worth spending time with. It's going to be a lonely Thanksgiving...


Things learned from October 3, 2009

We are not students who do missions.
We are missionaries who do studies.