All posts by themonster

Was It Worth It? (Final Address)

Was it worth it? That is a question I seem to be asking myself a lot lately. Was the deconstruction of our current monarchy the proper thing to do, only to have it lead to a reign of terror and the rise of an even stricter monarch in its place? Were those few months of freedom and independence what was best to prelude total control of everything in an even more controlled setting that when we first started to get fed up? My answer for a long time was “I don’t know.” It was not an end I thought of when I marched on Bastille. I asked for the king to release some of his iron grip, to keep his starving people alive, but I did not know the chain reaction it would cause would shake the country to its foundation and set it on a path of assured destruction. Those few months of Freedom were great, though. We ruled the country by ourselves (more or less) and had to answer to no one but our neighbors for our actions and activities. Of course, the fool Robespierre had to go and spoil it by killing his opponents for power, causing the reign of terror. I was lucky not to be selected for guillotining myself during that time. Things didn’t get better after he died either. My prediction came true as Napoleon rose to power through the triumvirate and had himself crowned Emperor. The truly dark days, I saw in my mind’s eye when I met him in Croatia have arrived worse than I predicted. Hell has come to France, and his name is Napoleon. This brings me back to my original question: was it worth it? After much consideration, I have now come to the answer of yes. It may not have worked perfectly for my country, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for other countries in the future if they try, and I encourage them to try. Eventually, someone will succeed, and when that happens, the world will be a better place. I depart into history knowing that that is what I have left to the new world.

Big Talk With the Little Man (DOL #2)

It was the year 1783. I was on the run from the French army for taking part in the storming of Bastille, and I had taken refuge in Croatia.  One night, on my way home, I saw an average-height man in a French army officer uniform being chased by a small mob. By a stroke of fate, he happened to turn down the alley I was hiding in and tripped right over my outstretched foot. Once he had picked himself off the ground, I discovered he was, in fact, the great Napoleon, on leave back in his native country. I had seen some British newspaper comics about him and I could not resist using the “Short” joke at any possible opportunity during the conversation that ensued. He was (and still is) a very intelligent man and he could see that the royals were not going to win this fight. He was interested to hear about my connections with the Jacobeans, and asked about contact information I had on their leaders. I agreed to give him what I had, in exchange for calling the army off my back about the Bastille thing. I could see the wheels turning in his head as he started to formulate a plan to the top of their organization, and I can clearly see him succeeding. He would be a dangerous man to have power, possibly a threat to the whole world. I hope he never gets it.

From the Text: The Event of My Character’s Importance

This link is to a letter by the Marshal de Broglie, the head of the army, telling the leader of the Bastille to make some changes to how the prison operated due to an increase in unrest. Some of the changes he suggested were implemented, but they did not halt the aggression. Led in part by my character (and spurred on by a certain shouting prisoner), a mass mob of poorly armed French third estaters  smashed and destroyed the prison, freeing prisoners and stealing weapons and ammo. This proved once and for all to the royals that the commoners were not to be messed with, and the demand for respect resonated to spur the more open major killing bit of the French Revolution.

In-Depth Week 16

As a general update, all of my practicing with Josh is paying off. We connect really well and our meetings are always productive. I believe our methods are effective, and I have learned much from them. My skill as a banjo player has advanced significantly over the last few weeks, and I feel (mostly) ready for the upcoming in-depth night. My main plan is to do a performance of the popular banjo song, cripple creek, but I am also planning to have a small learning center about the history of the instrument and possibly writing a short essay on the topic, to be submitted as proof of research.  It is a bit much, but I think I can pull it off pretty well. I don’t have a whole lot after school, so this should fill the void, and I have already started. I would never be able to summarize my learning in two minutes, anyway. Until next time,


March to the (Golden) Gates of Hell (French Revolution Post #1)

(In the perspective of Madame Reine Audu)

It is the 6th of November 1789. My march was successful. The king never implemented, or even responded to the suggestions I put in the letter I wrote to him. There are no women allowed in his conventions, so I had to send the message directly. It was just me and a bunch of other women to start. We had demands, and we wanted to see the king. Over the two days it took to march to the palace of Versailles, we were joined by hundreds if not thousands of people, effectively becoming an unruly mob eager for blood if our plights were not heard. We reached the golden gates full of anger and vice. The guards were intent to stop us from reaching the king, so we killed them.  That got the kings attention and he ran out in a huff about not killing anyone, and said he would listen and in act all of our demands. Satisfied that the king had finally heard us, and worried about possible reinforcements (I didn’t want that maniac with the grapeshot showing up) we decided to head home, and waited for the changes to happen. Two months later, we were still waiting. The king had played us for fools, and now we were angrier than ever. We were collectively looking for a target for our aggressions, and we all seemed to settle on the prison-fortress of Bastille. Not only was it close and easy to burn, it also had lots of weapons in it. The staffs, even though they were Swiss Guard, were critically short and they would be unable to defend a mass invasion from a mob of our size. We were able to force our way in and smash into the grounds, liberating many weapons and “freeing” some “political” prisoners. It was just moral justification for the crimes we committed. The prison burned, and with it the chances of peace between the Royalty and the Third Estate. Nothing will ever be the same again.

What Do You Meme? (DOL #3)

empire sepsaliensCfjG8FtVIAEcDd7My meme big idea is the theory that the Americans could not have beat the British Empire in the Revolutionary war without outside help from other countries such as France. This connects to Zinn/Hamilton because that is the time period when they took place and they have several mentions to the fact that the French army helped them with their revolution and probably won the whole thing for them (and then proceeded to be forgotten by the Americans when the US ducked out of helping in the French revolution). This also connects to current events with the fact that immigrants and foreigners helped them make the country, and now they are turning them away and trying to force them out (ahem, Mr Drumpf, ahem). The invasions, subjugation’s and manipulations are almost exactly how the British Empire ran the world and made the Americans want to leave them in the first place. The America of now has become the British Empire of then.


In-Depth Week 12

Nearing the final stretch of the in-depth project, I have come to the reasonable conclusion that the outcome of the project and my participation would have been completely different (not for the better). My musical library of knowledge has expanded almost threefold since we started our lessons and I have never been this interested in a musical instrument. I plan to continue my lessons even after the project has concluded. Over spring break in particular I learned how to play popular banjo songs such as “Oh Susanna,” “I’ll fly away,” and “Worried Man Blues” to name a few. I was planning to make a recording for this blog post, but I had to send my banjo into the shop for a modification called an “action adjustment,” which allows it to play higher notes without them going flat (compressed strings).

The learning opportunities Josh provides to expose me to new learning is to put me in the forefront of my learning by letting me choose what I wish to learn and personalizing his standard teaching program to my personal learning style. This sort of openness accurately reflects the learning of the TALONS program so I found it very easy to learn via this method.

The learning opportunities that exist to promote new learning is the fact that music is an infinite field of new learning that you can never completely explore and the odd satisfaction that comes with it. With musical in-depths, usually the conclusion after six months of study is that you know nothing.

The opportunities that might accelerate my learning would to focus on just one specific field of interest within the different styles of playing the instrument, and to work on that area as much as possible. For example, in my learning I am focusing on the “bluegrass” style of playing the banjo as opposed to strumming, clawhammer, or the many other variations of making noise come out of the instrument.

When my mentor and I get together for our meetings (usually once a week) we mostly talk about my advancement with what we learned last week (homework), and what to work on for the next week. The rest of the time is spent practicing, because we can only meet for about half an hour at a time.

The thing that is going particularly well in my mentoring relationship right now is our work schedule. Our method of learning and gaining new information works really well for me and we can get a lot done at every meeting, even though we only meet for half an hour at a time.

What my mentor and I are learning about each other is that we actually have a lot in common. The age gap between us isn’t that great, but it is significant so it was pleasing that we have similar interests that did not involve banjos; like travelling, reading fiction novels and computer games.

In conclusion, I think my current mentoring situation is fantastic, much better than last year, and that I would have probably lost interest in my topic after a couple months if it hadn’t been for Josh, pushing my possible achievements to the project to greater heights. Once again, I apologize for not having any musical evidence for this blog post and I will have something on a recording for next time.

Until the next post,



UK > EU?

For this next installment of my social studies learning I will talk about the upcoming referendum  in the United Kingdom about weather or not they should remain in the European Union.

Many Mayors and other leaders of municipal governments want to leave because they don’t like the influx of immigrants and they think being in the Union is making them a risk for terrorist attacks. Basically, for the same reasons Donald Drumpf wants to build a wall across the Mexican Border. Their opposition is led By David Cameron and the county’s government, saying that it is not worth losing the trade, safe travel, protection, investments and regulations imposed by the rest of the Union. Personally, I would side with David Cameron on this, but this looks like a topic that will be open to debate for the months to come, until the country goes to vote on the 23rd of June.

I do have some questions about this topic. Things like: why are people so easily swayed by fear? Why is the threat of terrorism so great to countries so far removed? Should younger people be allowed to vote on the issue like with Scotland? These questions mainly have to do with human nature, but human nature is the reason we have this problem in the first place.

People in Canada should care about this more than commonwealth sympathy because the European union is a machine of many gears, and removing pieces would make the whole machine collapse. The world economy would not be able to handle a country like the UK to flounder around die, a result which would ultimately happen if the country separates, a lá the Scottish referendum.

I have gained this information from multiple scores, namely discussions with Kelvin and Oliver on the forum, online magazine The Week, and the BBC website.

The many causes of the issue are that this was a campaign promise of the conservative party during the last election, and a major pledge and the euro-skeptics of the party keeping them to their word. David tried to change it so that it would be a “reformed” EU, but the Brexit campaign has shut him down.

The various opinions of this debate are the one championed by David Cameron, that it is a bad idea and Britain would fail on it’s own  without the benefits of being in the EU. The other main opinion, championed by most of the municipal government heads, is that being in the EU is making them a target for things like the unchecked levels of immigration and Islamic terrorism.

Personally, I am with the “stay” party because while leaving would be good for the short term, I think that staying  is what is best for the country in the long term.  We shall see what the UK thinks on the 23rd of June.

In-Depth Post Week 8

After many weeks of working on my in-depth I have visibly noticed an increase in my ability as a banjo player. Josh is a great mentor, and I hope to stick with him to the end of the project.

So far the most difficult mentoring challenge between me and Josh is the timing. Our meetings are only half an hour long, so we have to make all the learning count and doesn’t leave much time for social interaction beyond the usual “hello, how are you?” and so forth. I plan to improve on this situation by taking multiple lessons during spring break, because I feel that would improve my overall quality of playing significantly.

What has been working really well between us right now is the mentoring style and the way I am learning new information. Because the time we have together is limited, our meeting usually only serve for Josh to asses my playing and give me a song that he thinks is relevant to my playing skill. After going over the song a couple times with him, I spend the rest of the week working on it. When Thursday rolls around again, I show him how well I have accomplished my “homework” and he assess me again on my ability, and the cycle begins anew.

The biggest thing that could be working better is my ability. This is of no particular fault of anyone, I just need to practice more. I plan to work on this by budgeting specific time in my schedule, sticking to the schedule, and  going to the extra lessons during spring break. The timing of my lessons is also a little awkward, but I plan on taking an earlier slot during spring break because there is no school.

That’s all I have for now, see you after spring break!


In-Depth Post Week 6

So far this project, I have been meeting with my mentor, Josh once a week for half-hour sessions on the banjo, and I think it is the perfect time. I ask questions, and we work on new material, and then I spend the rest of the week doing “homework” to make sure I understand the concepts that were taught. Overall, I am working about 4-5 hours a week consciously on my in-depth.  I meet with Josh (face-to-face) at the music teaching-rooms above the Port Coquitlam Long and Mcuades because that is where he works. It is a cross-generational mentor ship, but not by much and we seem to have similar likes and interests. For example, we are both interested in bluegrass style banjo playing, so that is what the current focus of my lessons is. Our communication so far has been isolated to just our weekly meetings, but I have his cell number if something urgent comes up.

In address to the questions posted in Ms. Mulder’s blog, I think that Josh and I have been communication quite effectively, with complete understanding and acknowledgement on both sides of the equation.  Both of us get our messages across and neither one of us has a particular dominance in conversation beyond the mentor/learner split. The one major learning problem we have come across so far is that I am not very good at playing musical instruments. I plan to address this by stepping up my home practice, but I still sometimes struggle with new material and have to go at a slower pace. This is dragging down my rate of learning, but I am confident that I will be able to reach the goals I had set up for myself by in-depth night. Three strategies I could use to improve the quality of the communication with my mentor are to know more about the subject he is teaching me, learning more about his likes and dislikes, and trying harder to understand the position he is in. I can implement these by practicing longer on the banjo, doing more research on the internet, talking to josh about things other than banjos, and putting myself in his shoes.

All in all, I believe I am progressing well with communicating with my mentor and the in-depth project in general, and I believe I am on the fast track to being ready for the big night. Until next time,