Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Spy... Forgotten Loved Ones: Rust In Peace!

RIP :-(
I came across a collection of pictures of motorcycles that have since found themselves either abandoned, repurposed or neglected. Either way, it's hard to imagine that these all rolled off the assembly lines and into the hands of excited owners at one time in history. If nothing else, its a testament to humanity's penchant for creating waste. I can't help but wonder what has happened to the women in my life?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

DesTination: CooKshIre BiKe ShOw

The year could be 1966, that's how the event, indeed, the day felt.
Located in Cookshire Eaton, the Cookshire Bike Show runs every year in June. I had attempted to attend several years ago but when we arrived it was immediately clear that we were way too early. Nothing had been set up and only a handful of bikes were to be seen. So I thought to myself this time would be different. This year the event took place on June 17 and 18. I played it smart and showed up today, thus ensuring that everything would be set up. So you can imagine my surprise when I arrived to see the display tent for the "bike show" was nearly empty. Their were plenty of vendors of course, all of whom were selling their crap for a ridiculous amount of money. There were even food vendors up and running and selling Hot Dogs for $4.00. You know, the kind that you can buy for 25 Cents back in the day. But still, not all was lost, I did manage to get some pictures of some bikes being displayed. However, to be perfectly honest with you, the majority of bikes worth any interest were the ones being parked out back by the hoards of bikers arriving.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thoughts on Consumption, Teaching and Learning By Peter Cohen

Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)
Photo © Beatriz Esmer
I look back now on a career that began more than twenty years ago as a teacher at Seward Park High School in New York City which served mostly working class Dominican and Puerto Rican students. I arrived at Seward Park with a group of new teachers who were influenced by Paulo Freire whose best known work is Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Throughout this and subsequent books, Freire argues for a system of education that emphasizes learning as an act of culture and freedom.  He spoke of conscientization or the process in which men, not as recipients, but as knowing subjects achieve a deepening awareness both of the sociocultural reality that shapes their lives and of their capacity to transform that reality.

V.ALRT: A Tool Against Sexual Assault On Campus By Angie Ethell, President of Lemon Drop Enterprises, LLC

Introducing V.ALRT 
By Lemon Drop Enterprises, LLC

Safety and peace of mind to decrease the risk of sexual assault, rape, domestic assault, and human trafficking. These are things that we want most for ourselves and our loved ones. Lemon Drop Enterprises is trying to help stop the risk of sexual assault and human trafficking globally.  We have three teenage girls and we are actively trying to help stop this widespread problem among girls and women that are at such high risk for assault over their lifetime.  All of us use the V.ALRT as an added safety measure to alert three (3) contacts with a phone call that will open up the microphone automatically on your smartphone so someone can hear you are in trouble in the event that an assault may/does take place. The V.ALRT also automatically notifies your 3 pre-programmed contacts with your GPS location and a pre-programmed text message, such as "I have an emergency.  Please send help right away."

Reshaping Communities in the Republic of Ireland

Photo © Irish Independent
Community service and care is an ever-growing area that governments in Western societies are deciding to pour more money into each year. It takes more than money to help a community develop. Beyond the financial needs of any community there exists a 'soul' within them that requires recognition and needs to be addressed. Communities are made up of individuals and groups of people who have settled into the area and may be themselves second or third generation residents. From an anthropological point of view communities exist within several degrees and levels. From the general community spirit of a city (i.e. proud New Yorkers) to that of the general neighborhood (i.e. Harlem in New York) to even that of community spirit of a work place. (i.e. A hospital or school for instance)

Teaching the Millennial Generation (But wait, I'm a Millennial too!) By Jennifer Fawcett


Photo © EnterraSolutions.com
I am conflicted by the idea that today's students are basically a new kind of people - ones that require a specialized approach, and teachers that understand that there is a great divide between their generational thinking and the needs of the young 'uns. This is possibly because I am a Millennial teaching Millennials. What makes this such a diverse generation gap is the huge explosion of technology that for better or worse has changed the way we interact with each other.

An 'A' To Die For - Suicide in Education

With a stronger economy, South Korea has placed emphasis on education as the key to their overwhelming success. However, at what cost are these new pressures having on the children who have been entrusted with its economy’s future survival? In the early 1990's South Koreans spent nearly 7.5 billion Won on their children's extra curricular education. South Korean children and adolescents are being sent to language hagwons ranging from English to Japanese. In addition children are also sent to music, math and science hagwons. This, on top of their civil education has resulted in Korean youth starting academic careers from the age of five years old. Failure is not an option and the end results are devastating effects on those children and adolescents who can not keep up with the "rat race." One such effect is suicide.

When Parents Go Bad: Respect in Sports Initiative (RiS)

Piss Off Ye Langer!
Photo © Suite.io
On January 26, 2002, Thomas Junta was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 6 to 10 years in prison. What started out as a regular hockey practice game on July 5th, 2000, for the respective children of Thomas Junta and Michael Costin soon made international headlines when both men became embroiled in a heated argument. Ironically, Junta and Costin argued over Junta’s son being violently jabbed during practice. Differing views about the incident turned to blows resulting in Costin’s death.

At A Glance: Cult Fiction By James and Brendan Dwyer

Available @ Amazon
"Municipal City: the only place on earth where you can be anyone. Anyone from your favorite movies, books, TV shows, comics, video games or any cult media you can imagine. This is not virtual reality. This is real. Tina Lockhart arrives at the City to do exactly that, and is willing to pay any price to get in, willing to take the Elixir drug she needs just to breathe the air, and willing to kill, and risk being killed, just to survive. Municipal City: the only place on earth where you can do anything. Anything can be replicated, given the right technology, and anything can be done as long as you follow the rules of the game. But someone isn't playing by the rules. Someone is murdering players in the safe zones, something that should be impossible. As dangerous as this is for Tina Lockhart, things get worse as she becomes the one accused of these killings, and Tina desperately needs to find the truth in her world of cult fiction." - James and Brendan Dwyer

Markers, MindMaps and Me By Jennifer Fawcett

Pony up & Make A Difference!
Sometimes it's worth spending the $7 on a package of 50 different coloured markers, and bringing them to class. It's only fair to say that if you ask your students to bring in coloured pens, you will be lucky if a couple of them do. The rest will be relying on a motley collection of highlighters and stubs of pencil crayons. I say this without judgment, after all, rainbow coloured markers are not normally a required item of stationery at college or university level. In fact, note taking is at times a dying art. There are those of us who remember blotchy acetates (and grumpy professors who refused to move their big arm out the way of the projector's light, so we could barely read the acetate), and it's easy for us to declare today's youth "spoiled" by the variety of technologies that eliminate the need for note taking.

Re-Defining the 'F' Word: Grade Inflation in Colleges & Universities

The Need for Better Reporting
Photo © Janemitchinson.ca
To 'fail' a student is becoming increasingly difficult in lieu of grade inflation. Why are colleges and universities dumbing down their programs? Third level institutions in countries such as Canada and the Republic of Ireland have started being criticised for becoming too lenient in their grading rubrics. A growing culture is becoming prevalent whence receiving anything less than a seventy percent (70%) is unacceptable. Both college and university students along with administration are adding undue pressure on lecturers to pass students despite the fact that many of these students are not meeting the criteria set out by the course objectives.

At A Glance: Creative Studies For The Caring Profession

Creative Studies for the Caring Profession is an excellent resource tool for professionals and students alike. Published in 2010 by Gill & MacMillan, Denise Lyons, editor and contributor, brought several academic professionals together from around the Republic of Ireland in order to create this unique academic textbook. Both Jennifer and I were approached to contribute two distinct chapters. (see below) I taught for four years at the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown in the department of humanities (and occassionally business). Courses I taught on included Applied Social Studies in Social Care (known in Quebec, Canada as Special Care Counselling) and Social & Community Development. I have also worked in the area of social care (special care) counselling for a variety of institutions in both Canada and Ireland. Jennifer has also worked extensively in the field of education and taught children with learning and reading difficulties. I thought I would take this opportunity to list the various sections and chapters available in the book, including our own. You never know, it may prove useful to teachers seeking to change things up in their classrooms or perhaps as a student you are looking for ideas on how to improve your future stage or work experiences!

Self-Publishing With LAP Lambert Academic Publishing

When I was first approached by LAP Lambert Academic Publishing back in February 2014 I was rather surprised. My MPhil dissertation in Sociology had been collecting dust in the depths of University College Cork's library since I graduated in 2006 and was most likely never to be read by human eyes ever again. Unlike most, my thesis is not accessible online. It is under UCC's Library Special Collections on Request and is restricted to Library Use Only. So I was rather curious as to how or why Mr. Dmitrii Ghimisli, an Acquisition Editor for LAP, could have even come across my work. Of course, thanks to Google, it didn't take long to find out that LAP itself has a reputation for being a book-mill. After some polite correspondence between Mr. Ghimisli and myself I soon retreated and gave the topic little thought. That is, until I came upon Mr. Joseph Stromberg's article "I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm: A trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill." Stromberg's article got me thinking. I began to consider publishing with LAP again. Why, you may ask? Good question! The fact is I have been extremely fortunate in the past and have been published through two other book publishers including Trickster Press, and more notably, Gill & MacMillan. The similarities between LAP and Gill & MacMillan in particular got me wondering about how different they are really, if at all?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Suzuki Hayabusa GSXR1300R: The Show-Stopper By Dave Lague-Lauzon

Pic © TopSpeed
The Suzuki Hayabusa. One of the most unmistakable icons of the contemporary sports bike scene. It has raised the bar, so to speak, for all other motorcycles and their respective manufacturers from the moment of its conception. It has provided a concrete blueprint for other bikes to model themselves after. Its radically different design – a result of an unconventional order of priorities – brought about unseen innovations and gave new face to speed. The Hayabusa is a motorcycle that has been questioned by many for its seemingly unjustified popularity, resulting in the general public making assumptions as to who rides Hayabusas and also gives ambiguity in terms of specifications. Add this to the lack of commercials for the GSXR1300 and the bike becomes nothing more than a powerful presence that leaves people intimidated, but also intrigued. It is akin to finding a jaguar in the living room; it is terrifying, and there’s no clear reason as to why it should be there.  Only one source is available in regards to the Busa’s design, which comes from the designer himself. There was no big statement made by Suzuki to clarify why the bike was conceived as it was, and because few people know about his intentions, the bulbous and impressively effective look of the bike remains unjustified to most.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Barry’s Bay, Ontario Canada: A Year in the Making

Junkyard Villain
This was going to be a back country ride of 941 KM door to door and back, which was planned by my buddy Wolf. It was a ride that would take us into Ontario, Canada just on the outskirts of the Algonquin Park, all the while taking back roads. Our plan was to take no major highways and once again, Wolf did not disappoint with the ride plan.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Good, The Bad & The Bella: A 600 Mile (1000 km) Review

The Beginning - From Bella's Perspective
For two years I sat at Rock Moto Sport. Sure, there was a lot of interest. There always is. People come and go. They fondle me in ways I'd rather not be touched. Some even hop on without so much as asking permission. One guy in particular accidentally scratched the top of my chrome tank (albeit lightly, but still...) with the cuff of his leather jacket sleeve next to my brown leather belt on the left side. I was annoyed as was Michael Oborne, a salesman at Rock Moto Sport, but what could they do? Others came in promising to get back to them by week's end only never to return. I know I am not to everyone's taste. They think I am high maintenance, what with my candy apple red frame, chrome tank and suede seat. Others find my number 7 plates too poserish. To them I say how many posers can run 250 miles (450 km) without having to stop for petrol all whilst doing the ton? Still, I didn't want just anyone to buy me. I have seen many other bikes be bought by folks only to be sold soon afterwards or worse, wrecked. While some of the Kawasakis were particularly interested in the "young crowd", I had hoped for someone a little more mature, preferably with nothing to prove. Someone like me, who knew their own limitations as well as mine.