All posts by themonster

Social Studies. I’ll Come Up With A Creative Name Later.

Well, as social studies have started up again, this shall be my first document of learning for 2016. The first thing I am putting forward is my biggest comment from last year: don’t rush. I have to learn to slow down, look things over carefully, and catch my mistakes. Personal behaviors aside, I also want to improve my abilities for conversation/ debates about the current topic (i.e. contributing more in class and on twitter). These goals more or less fit into the competency of communication, specifically the explain/recount and reflect and the acquire, interpret, and present information parts.

The big idea I want us to focus the most on this year is disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies. The biggest reason for this preference is that it complements my favorite part of history the most: learning about the people themselves. When we can state the name of someone and exactly what they did, that I what go into history hoping to do. I have no particular reason for this preference, it is just something I have always liked, and I hope to do a lot more of it this year.

I have no particular issue or questions about the curricular competencies, but I have the most  interest in learning and developing the communication and social responsibility competency because they can help me achieve  my goals for the course and life in general. I suppose my biggest question about our reading on Columbus would be  is it fair to judge his actions by modern standards, and would he have gone on his exploration if he knew how it would end, and the suffering it would cause? Another question I have is will we be reading the rest of the book, because it sounds like a very valuable recourse.

That is all from me for now. I am looking forward to a fun and successful semester, and hope to post soon,


In-Depth Post #2

Going into week four of the in-depth project, I think my banjo is going well. I have purchased my banjo, and it work well. I know how to tune it, and I have started some research on the history of the instrument (apparently, it originated in Africa, not the United States). Most importantly, I have secured a mentor for the duration of the project. His mane is Josh, he is the banjo instructor for the local Long and Mcuade’s, and I have signed up for lessons with him on a weekly basis. He has many years of training with the banjo, and he has the permanent string grooves on his fingers to prove it. I only have half an hour with Josh, so I did not get the chance to ask about his wisdom or experiences, but the things I did glean from him in our first meeting were things like how to hold the banjo and some basic chords. Some things I did learn for future teaching and mentoring perspectives is to start relatively slow, but have a clear plan of development clearly tailored to the student and final goal. I have my sheet of music and strumming patterns to take with me up to Kelowna this weekend, so I plan to make good on that over family day. See you in the next couple weeks.

Return of the In-Depth

It is that time of year again, time to crank up the imagination and pick a project to spend many months working on for the glory of finding a mentor and presenting your learning in some way to everyone else. If you remember, last year I did sushi making. It had a good final product, but I could have worked on it more. This is why I plan to top last year with my new topic: five-string banjo! I choose this not just because I was inspired by a Pete Seeger performance, but also because I wanted to do an instrument which no one have done yet so that it could be different. I also thought the banjo would have a more interesting history than the guitar or ukulele. So far in perpetration for the project I have been researching places that may be able to rent be a banjo and give me a mentor (I do have a family member that plays the banjo, but he lives in Victoria and would not be able to do much face-to-face mentoring). After some research and help from Jordan, I have found one place that should answer both of my problems: Long and Mcquades. They have a very nice banjo that they are renting out at the Port Coquitlam branch for a reasonable price, and I have emailed the front desk about a mentor (expecting a reply on Monday). All in all I think this year will be very exciting, and I can’t wait to write it all in these blog posts. See you in week 4,
(P.S. this would have been published earlier but the server crash kept me out)

Leader Interview Synthesis


This post is for my Leadership 11 project “Leader in my Community.” For the project I was required to choose a leader in my community and eventually set up a face to face interview. I choose my Venture Adviser Mark Wilson. I choose him over various other candidates because I felt he would have better knowledge of person to person leadership, which I was more interested in developing than person to community leadership (which he has extensive knowledge on, too). It took a while to coordinate our schedules, and that is why my post is late.  Before I interviewed him, we were supposed to do online research, but I already knew him somewhat (for example. he is a VP of engineering), so I did not do that part. I did the interview with Hamilton Shrimpton from the grade nines (Hamilton’s Blog).

I had chosen to interview Mark because he is such a great leader not only within the scouting community, but also in the local area as well, helping with community events and church gatherings, as well as encouraging others to do the same. He embodies many aspects of leadership that I hope to gain and/or develop, such as not making being led feel like a chore, and projecting the aura of someone you can talk to about anything, no matter what. I also had a lot of past experience with him, and knew him to qualify quite easily to the ‘leader’ model.

Once we were both available, I sat down for an interview with him on the second of January from about 3:00 to 3:30. This is a brief synopsis.

Hamilton: “What do you think makes a good leader?”

Mark: “A willingness to help, an interest in others, being active (not passive), just being involved in general and not sitting back while others work hard.”

Me: “Do you think you have all these qualities?”

Mark: “I have some aspects of them, which I try to develop. I wouldn’t say i’m perfect, but it important to me, so I try to work on them.”

Me: “What can we do to encourage new leaders?”

Mark: “We can encourage future leaders by providing more chances to lead others. Give them a turn, so to speak. One of the greatest things a leader can do is ensure that there are leaders after him/her. The greatest leadership legacy is what the leaders after you do.”

Me: “Do YOU consider yourself to be a leader within the community?”

Mark: “Yes, because very few people are involved in the community and it falls to the leaders to be actually involved. I’m not as involved as some other people are, but we all do our part.”

Me: “Do you think we need leaders?”

Mark: “Yes, we do, because if a community is just a bunch of individuals, each doing their own thing in their own way, it’s not much of a community. Leadership doesn’t mean control, it mean encouraging people to get out and get involved. . . If we didn’t have  people getting involved, then it wouldn’t be much of a community. It would just be a bunch of people who live here and don’t really do anything and go somewhere else to live their life.”

Hamilton: “Are there any drawbacks to being a scout leader?”

Mark: “It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of time, and effort, but the good things in life usually do. Sitting back is easy, but it takes leadership to get up and be active in the group and that takes time and energy.”

Me: “Who were your leadership role models growing up?”

Mark: “Well, my parents, for one. I was involved in a church youth group, so the leaders there. As a young adult I learned things from the leaders from the various groups I was in at UBC. We see leadership from our families, but its getting out and meeting other people where you see the true aspects of leadership.”

In conclusion, I think the interview went very well, and I learned a lot about what it means to be a leader,  and gave me some views as to what I would wish to do in the future in terms of leadership roles.

See you next time,


Bibliography 2015

Sunzi, Ralph D. Sawyer, and Mei-chün Sawyer. The Essential Art of War = Sun-tzu Ping-fa. New York: Basic, 2005. Print.

Xu, Yuanxiang. Sun Tzu: The Ultimate Master of War. Beijing: China Intercontinental, 2007. Print.

Unknown. “Sun Tzu Biography.” – Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline. The Famous, 12 Aug. 2012. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Kissinger, Henry. “2.” On China. New York: Penguin, 2011. N. pag. Print.

Unknown. “” Ancient, 18 Apr. 2014. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.

Brown, Jeremy, Mr. “Interview W/ Jeremy Brown (via Email).” Interview by Christopher Adams. Gmail. Google, 02 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <>.

Document of Learning

I am most sorry for how late this is getting out, but for my document of learning I will be posting another draft of my speech. Here it is:


It’s sad, isn’t it? How mighty things can fall so quickly? How an empire built on twenty years of devoted service can crumble in just two?

The old king has perished, and his son has taken the throne. He is selfish, he takes everything for granted, and he threatens to kill any who oppose him. He doesn’t even seem to realize that the reason his kingdom is so large is because we didn’t act like him. Our enemies did, and that is why they lost! He is arrogant. He thinks he has walls, some impenetrable defence, immune to time. But with (arrogance), ignorance, insolence, assumption and stupidity, even the mightiest walls become thin air, so that any threat can strike a deadly blow against you.

I owe this king no loyalty, so I have moved back to my old home, where I will live the rest of my days in peace. Of course, if I live as a hermit, my teachings will be lost to the ages, because the rulers of this land have no respect for my lessons of non-combative fighting that have been proven again and again. The only way I can think of to preserve my teachings is to write them in a book. The book would preserve my ideas and proves that combat really is an art.

I shall call it, The Art of War.


OK, I have just concluded my interview with SF U’s Professor Jeremy Brown of the history department. His area of study is ancient China, so I thought he would be a perfect interviewee. I managed to find his email on the directory, an contacted him. He was pleased to accept, and the key points of the interview (via email) were:

Q:  What was the general area like? How did the environment work to Sun Tzu’s Favor?

A: “At one point during the Warring States Period there were more than 100 states: some as big as a European nation, others controlling no more than one or two walled cities.  They didn’t have very well defined borders.  Eventually, big states swallowed up the smaller ones, and the bigger states were the only ones that remained.  According to one source, the Zuozhuan, in the 259 years between 722 and 463 BC, there were more than 500 battles between states and over 100 civil wars within states.  So there was a market for Sun Tzu’s ideas.”

Q: Why were Sun Tzu’s tactics so effective?

A: ” Sun Tzu thought that heroism in battle was useless.  He also promoted the controversial idea that the best military leaders actually avoided war whenever possible. . . Knowledge is key to Sun Tzu: know your enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, know your own strengths and weaknesses, know the terrain, weather, economics, psychology.  Be as good at defense as at offence.”

Q: Why are Sun Tzu’s tactics still effective and in continuous use?

A: “The short answer is “because more often than not, they work.”  It’s rare to have evenly matched military opponents in a conflict.  More often we see asymmetry between opponents (guerrilla insurgencies or small terrorist cells versus established armies, for example)–but both sides can learn from Sun Tzu’s ideas.  As for why Sun Tzu’s philosophy has become popular in self-help and business books, I think it’s more of a fad.”

Q: Why was no one else using these tactics in China?

A: “Before Sun Tzu, it used to be that noble military leaders were qualified to command troops because their fathers had led before them.  It was hard for established military leaders to break away from hereditary rule and to go with a more practical instructional manual based on expertise rather than inheritance.  This required a change in the entire structure of society.”
All this information is very useful, an I plan to incorporate it into my speech and learning center (still to come). See you next time,


Speech Draft

Hello everyone, this is my speech for eminent at it’s current level. (Please note that everything in the speech is subject to change, revision, and suggestions.)

It’s sad, isn’t it? How mighty things can fall so quickly? How the empire built on my twenty years of dedicated service can fall apart in two? The Kingdom of Wu, MY Kingdom of Wu, is the most powerful in the land, and it is crumbling at the seams. The old king has died, and his son has taken the throne. Not to be rude, but he is nothing like his father. He is selfish and arrogant, and he threatens to kill any who oppose him, even the general that is the reason he even has a kingdom to play with. He doesn’t even seem to realize that the reason his kingdom is so large is that our enemies acted exactly as he is acting, and that is why they lost. The reason we are so great is that we don’t – or didn’t – act like him. He thinks he has walls, some impenetrable defence, but with arrogance, ignorance, insolence, assumption and stupidity, even the mightiest walls become thin air, where even your own forces can strike a deadly blow against you. I owe this king no loyalty, and the home I built when I was just a lowly hermit still stands, so I will go there and live the rest of my days in peace. Of course, if I do that, my teachings will be lost to the ages, because this king has no respect for the lessons that have been proven again and again. The only form of compromise I can think of is a book; a lowly book that will stop my ideas from rotting away with me. A book that proves that combat really is an art. I shall call it “The Art of War.”

If you wish to tell me what you think of it, let me know with a comment.


Library Post (But Which One?)

On the fourteenth of October, we the TALONS program went on a trip (in our favorite school bus. . .) to the Vancouver public library downtown. While it also counted as a cultural event to get to know the grade nines, my personal goal was to collect materials on the illustrious Sun Tzu.

My first point I would like to put out there is that it was a success. Multiple times! I managed to secure a wonderful book from the Vancouver public library, and I was so in the zone that that weekend I went to my local library and found another book that was even more useful! Two books for the effort of one, that real literary skill right there. In a week I had all the information I could ever use.

Now, after the initial (second hand) information has been gathered, it is time to work on some firsthand gathering (i.e. the interview). I have some ideas about whom to interview. I was thinking for an initial sweep of the local universities history departments, seeing as he was pretty influential and no one is still alive to remember him personally. If you have other ideas, feel free to let me know about them in the comments. I will read them when I have the time. Until next time,