Eminent 2015 Intro Post

Well, it is that time of year again. The time of year when the grade nines start to sweat and most of the grade tens completely freak out (fragment for effect). Yes, it is eminent time, and the talons world is roiling. Comparatively, this post is coming out kind of late, and the library trip has already happened. This incident was not as bad, and it would have been posted sooner, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had surgery on my feet which put me out for a week. Nevertheless, here I am, and here is my introductory post!

As I said before, this post is coming out late, so I already know who I am doing for the post: Sun Tzu, the guy who supposedly wrote the book on Chinese battle tactics and warfare. I am saying “supposedly” because my current research has proven that he may not have written the book for which he is so famous, The Art of War. My evidence so far is that all the chapter’s start with the phrase: “Sun Tzu said. . .”

There are even some theories that Sun Tzu himself did not exist, that it was a pen name for: One of his students, a famous general that is often quoted in the book, a god, and Confucius the philosopher. All of these theories have been put forward, each with their own evidence (some more convincing than others), but none have been officially proven. That has led me to having a possible theme of my learning center to be a “who am I?” theme. Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree with this idea, I just thought it sounded cool.

Well that’s all I have for now, let me know if you have any questions or comments, and i will try to get back to you as soon as I can. Until next time, Christopher

My Socials Final (Biography)

Hello everyone. This is my biography that I made for my final for Social Studies this year.

My life? Yes it was a good one. One I can look back on with a smile on my face, one that I am proud of, but it did not start that way. . .

I can remember everything that has happened to me since I was born. I even remember some things from before I was born, but you don’t care about that. I was born to poor Irish immigrants Megan and Peter McSmith on August 25, 1845, in the new and glorious country of Canada. Or that is what they told me. Christened Ably Jonas McSmith of the not-so-noble house of McSmith, I grew up in one of the first slums of the country, backstreet Toronto. It was a rough neighborhood for immigrants and I got in fights often as a boy, usually losing. Education was mandatory but not enforced, so I received no formal schooling, but the ways of the streets became my soul and I could still tell you how to navigate it in fullest detail. This came to my aid when my generally-bad luck turned for the better.

The day was October 21, 1860. I was walking home after doing some errands for my mother, when I noticed noise coming from the alley. I looked down it and saw a boy, about ten, being roughed up by a couple of older boys. I have always been one to look out for myself but this boy intrigued me, so I chose to save his life. I rushed down the alley, dropping mother’s groceries along the way, shouting to the older boys to get their attention. They barely had time to turn around when my fist plunged into the face of the closer of the two, spraying blood from his nose and mouth, knocking at least two teeth out. The first boy hit the ground, unconscious, and the second boy dragged his friend out of the alley and away to whatever safety he could find.

The little boy I had come to save had been cowering in the corner this whole time, shaking like a leaf, and he tried to shrink away when I asked if he was alright, scared of me and what I could do. I tried to calm him but he was too scared, so I tried a change of tactics. I walked away and stood outside of the alleyway, waiting for the boy to calm his nerves and come out to talk in his own time. After about 15 minutes he came out, still scared, but no longer shaking. He thanked me, and I told him it what I had done was just the right thing to do. He asked me for my name; I told him. When I asked him for his, he told me: Hugh John Macdonald. I was not familiar with the name, so I asked him where he lived. When he gave me an address, I took him home.

We walked out of the slums into the richer part of town, and then we walked out of the richer part of town into the incredibly rich part of town. I was quite surprised at the obvious wealth of this place. The only time we had fountains in my neighbourhood was when the local plumbing broke. And that was the nasty, public flush toilets used by a whole building of about 50 people, because it was so revolutionary. I looked at Hugh again, and noticed that his clothes were smeared with grime, but undoubtedly top quality. We stopped in front of an absolutely astonishing mansion with every extravagance money could buy. I knocked on the door and a maid answered. She had a disgusted look on her face, but this changed to surprise when she saw Hugh. She rushed back inside, only to come out again with the head of the house. He was a tall man in a rich coat, and I recognized him from all his pictures in the newspaper. He was Sir John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada.

On my way home, I stopped to pick up mother’s groceries that I had dropped. The milk was done for, but everything else was fine, or so I thought. When I got home, mother was waiting for me with a dark look emanating from her eyes. She asked me where I had been. When I told her about Hugh John (cleverly leaving the fight out), she bubbled over with anger and slapped me across the face so hard I hit my head on the doorframe. I woke up to her screaming something about how all the Scottish and all the Politicians are corrupt and corrupting and that I was to never to go there again.  After that event I went back to my regular life and didnt’ see Hugh for months. I never stopped thinking about him, though. After a while I often found myself walking through the richest part of town, looking for the Macdonald residence. I would never go in, never knock; I would just watch. Watch and wait for Hugh to come out. Then we would talk. It was never about heavy topics like expansion or politics, only normal things like life in general, and how it differed between us. It was an unusual bridge of the classes that did not happen very much, if at all. This was a friendship that ended up being productive for both of us.

After we had been talking for a few months, Hugh and I started teaching each other. Hugh taught me how to read and write, and I taught him the ways of the streets, the slums, and the people who lived in them. He believed he would go into politics like his dad, and I wanted a better future. These simple talks and teachings blossomed into a friendship that lasted many years. I saw him become a powerful and influential member of the Conservative Party, and myself. . . a school teacher. This, I admit, is a bit of an anticlimax. This was not the job I had always wanted, but it got me out of the slums and into a nice house, with only the occasional student to upset my routine. I still got the weekly letter from Hugh, though. There was one in particular that was the final turning point in my life, for the better.

I received my usual weekly letter from Hugh on April 23, 1873 without thinking much about it. It was always the same thing:  stuff happening on Parliament Hill, the latest scandals, and other truths about the politics of this country. This letter was different though – lighter, in a sense. This week’s letter would be short, I knew. I had already read about the Pacific scandal, and I knew Hugh’s father would have to step down soon, as many had done before him. I remembered my mother’s tirades and smiled to myself thinking how she was always right, even after death. He was losing his grip on everything, even that precious railway of his. Nothing in that letter could surprise me, or so I thought.

The letter was small, but very elegant. It had an envelope that was much more expensive than Hugh usually used. When I opened it, I saw two kinds of handwriting. I recognized Hugh’s immediately, it read:

“My dearest friend Ably,

You would not believe the news I have for you today! I finally told my father about everything you have done for me, and he has decided to reward you by pulling every last string he has. . .”

The letter continued to thank me for everything I had done since we met, but suddenly the writing changed to a hand I did not recognize. After a bit of reading, I realized that it was the writing of Sir John A. Macdonald himself. It was a letter of recommendation for the Senate. My friend’s father used the last of his influence to make me a senator. There was no escaping my joy at the prospect, but it also filled me with dread about the possibility of being shut out because of the scandal. This fear was lifted shortly thereafter when I read that he sacrificed his own position as Prime Minister so that I would not be kicked out by the other members. This act of selflessness was the reason I took the job. Well, one of the reasons.

When I first took my seat in the cabinet, I have to admit I was sweating buckets. The other senators were all better at politics and none of them seemed to like me, but I don’t blame them for that. They were all elected. I was placed via recommendation. This stigma remained for a few months before they warmed up to me, and accepted me as one of their own. After I got used to the role, I loved being a senator, and continued to be one for the rest of my working life, until I retired at age 67. I saw Canada become a mighty country, in size and economy alike. I also saw how much one person can affect a whole nation with a single idea. These experiences, combined with my hardships and friendships, make me believe I lived a good life to its absolute fullest. I never did forget Hugh, but he soon slipped off the political radar after his father left, and his letters stopped coming. Wherever he is, I want him to know it was all because of him that I ascended away from a dark and dreary fate, and allowed my children to escape the path I had to endure. Thank you.

My Current Political Views and Supportting Party

The one political narrative I believe in the most is the government aspect of the inquiry and search for the missing and murdered aboriginal women. Any current action has been handled badly, if any at all. It has become a huge mess that whoever is elected next has to clean up. I think of it as a major issue because it is living testament to the white settlers’ negative attitude towards the first nations. They have been mistreated for too long, and we have done almost nothing to fix what has happened. The recent charter released on residential schools can even be considered cultural genocide, and yet, nothing. The same chart even says that an inquiry towards these missing and murdered first nation women would help with the healing processes of the country. This makes lot of sense, but Mr. Harper has failed to even start an inquiry on why these people even died. It has been overall mishandled. The conservatives are no longer able to head up the government. I feel a replacement is in order. The best replacement I feel is the NDP. They are willing to completely follow the suggestion and search for the women. I think they could place it as a higher priority, but their plan is mostly sound and completely possible, something I am willing to follow. Tom Mulcair is not the perfect leader, but he is the leader this country needs at the moment. They are the country’s best choice not only with the missing aboriginal women, but most other issues as well.

Christopher

Give Me Your Land: a Canadian Expansion History

Of all the crazy and weird things that the early Canadians have done, the one that intrigues me the most is their treatment of occupied first nation territory and its people. Before it became a country, the people living in Canada were very friendly and kind to the first nations people. Why did that suddenly have to change? I personally think they went too far with the various treaties and residential schools. I believe they could have been lighter- handed and still have gotten all the things they wanted.  I am mostly drawn to the treatment of first nations people. It could have been handled so much better. It connects with the person I was for the role play and all the stuff we have been learning about and discussing in class for the last week.  I would love to know why Canada decided to cut the various treaties into chunks, and why they stopped briefly. I think it is possible to answer these questions, with the help of Canada’s record bank, and I hope to figure it out myself someday. I find that this topics connects to many other parts of the curriculum, such as C3, B3, and C1. It all relates because without first nations people, all of those events would have taken a very different course and outcome. In fact, I believe if first nations people never existed, Canada would not have such a rich and vibrant history. I wish for continued research in this topic. That is all I have to say for now. I hope to blog soon. Goodbye for now,

-Christopher

In-Depth Post #8: Comfortably Getting Ready for the Big Night

In the time since I have last blogged I have done a lot of things to do with my in-depth. I borrowed my mentor’s special pan, and attempted to make the omelette nigiri, with less success than I hoped for. I boiled that down to rushing my cooking. I also went to a special workshop on commercial drive at the eternal abundance cafe for a lesson for making raw (vegan) sushi. I was the youngest person there by about ten years, but I still had fun. The vegan sushi was quite interesting, with a completely different flavor that rice sushi. The “rice” is made with ground parsnips or rutabaga. It produces quite an interesting bitter flavor that can be quite overpowering without soy sauce. I made sushi for my family and guests at least once a week since my last blog post, and I am feeling very confident in my ability with rolled sushi, so I plan to only serve rolls for my learning center and just show demos of the other kinds of sushi I did over the last six months.  After in-depth night, I will gather all the pictures I have taken and turn them into a photo library of sorts, but a preview will be posted soon.

In terms of the items presented by Ms. Mulder’s blog post #8 (see link below), my mentor has interrupted me on occasion before. In the first session we were together, she told me to make a sushi roll how I would normally do it (I had gained some sushi experience by that point). Part way through my veggie prep stage, she abruptly stopped me telling me I was cutting the cucumber wrong. In traditional Japanese sushi, the cucumber, and other vegetables, have their seeds cut out and are cut much smaller than in the sushi we usually get on this side of the Pacific. She also pointed out other things I could improve on, overall improving the amount of ingredients and their locations in the roll,  how it was rolled and cutting techniques than improved my sushi immensely. Because the rolls were smaller, they did not explode, squish, or fall apart as much when being cut/ eaten. My mentor was rightly justified in interrupting me, and my sushi quality and experience have come out for the better because of it, advancing to the level where you would actually want to eat it, not just to be nice.

Many emotions have been brought into conversations with my mentor, but no more so than agreement with the most powerful. Although she would not admit it, Makiko (my mentor) is vastly knowledgeable in the topic of sushi and Japanese culture, and when we met, I tended to defer to her. This was okay in the beginning, but near the end this emotion stopped me from questioning practices or  doing much on my own. After my time with Makiko, I went to the commercial drive raw sushi, were I used a quite different emotion primarily with my second mentor, The Perky Parsnip (lesson/ company name, real name unknown). With her, my main emotion was innovator. We were doing choose your own ingredient sushi (raw style), and I found myself making interesting combos like mango carrot rolls and mushroom nigiri. I was the most experience sushi maker in the class, so my technique was alright, but i put together sushi combos and flavors that I would have never done on my own. I thought the extra side of sushi making was wonderful, and I encourage people to take similar risks with their in-depths, if you haven’t already.

For my closing statement, I have learned a lot and had a lot of fun with my mentors, and i am feeling very confident going into in-depth night. My plan for my learning center is to have a sushi bar of sorts. I will only sere two kinds of sushi (cucumber and California), but I will have examples of other items I have done over the project. I might put together a PowerPoint on sushi’s part in Japanese culture, and I will put together a slideshow of  all the pictures I have taken over the last six months. If you have any suggestions, please let me know with a comment, I promise I will read them. Also, this is going up early because I will be out of town on the day this is due. As always, thanks for reading and  I hope to post again soon. Goodbye for now,

-Christopher

Social Studies Midterm

This half of the term has been wonderful. I felt that for the most part I did really well and understood the overall ideas put forward by the extraordinary teaching of Mr. Jackson. There were some shortcomings and misunderstandings, all of my fault, but other than that I feel great about what I accomplished so far and hope the second half goes just as well.

So far this term, I have found that I have done considerably well in some of the aspects that we have covered, specifically A1 (applying critical thinking skills), A3 (demonstrating effective written, oral, and graphic communicating skills), and C1 (describing the evolution of responsible government structure and key contributing events). I did this mostly by the three role-play blog posts, the 4 note-taking sessions, and our almost daily class discussions on any topic related to social studies. Through the blog posts (example my second post), I was able to take on the role of a pacifist aboriginal chief, and saw the world through his eyes, allowing me to express my ability to communicate ideas, opinions, and arguments in oral and written forms. My note-taking skills (ex. the session on 16/02/15) proved that I can draw conclusions about an issue, situation, or topic. Finally, our discussions a few weeks ago (about 20/03/15) proved I can describe the consequences of the 1837-38 rebellions. I found that reading material also helped in all of these categories for me. The blog posts are also a revolutionary idea that I do not have much experience with.

On the other hand, when it came to some of the topics, I found that I did not reach my full potential. These areas were B4 (Describe the factors that contributed to a changing identity), C4 (describe the structure and function of Canada’s federal, provincial, and local governments), and B1 (analyse Canadian society from 1815-1914 in terms of gender roles, ethnicity, daily life, and the arts). The feeling for the inadequacy of these categories is based off mostly the feeling that I did not do it for long enough. I feel if I had more time, I would do much better. For some of these topics it was also just not grasping the topic and unintelligibly not asking for help.

In conclusion, I felt very good about what I have accomplished this half of the term. I did have some trip-ups, and I made some mistakes, but I feel that I did very well and succeeded in my personal goals for this half. I hope for a second half of the term that is just as good, if not better, then the one I just had. Thank you, Mr. Jackson.

Crowfoot’s Closing Statement

I am chief Crowfoot. I am the head of the Blackfoot and Blood tribes on the plains of new Canada. I have long held my people together during the worst times of our land. Losing our buffalo, our homeland, and our warriors to alcohol and disease has made us very weak. We have made peace, even at the cost of distrust and high crime. The Canadians have made me an offer, first presented to me in 1877. They will protect my people, and be considered part of the country (we will still live here), in exchange for the ability to count the lands as part of Canada, and putting a railway through my lands. The mounted police are a blessing to my land of high crime rates. The train will bring wealth and ease of transportation to my people. These and many other factions allowed me to accept their proposition. I will do it. I will sign treaty number 7.

This is the pelude to my post.

http://themonster.talons43.ca/2015/03/31/here-comes-the-train-of-confederation/

This is my first blog post about Crowfoot.

http://themonster.talons43.ca/2015/03/05/i-am-crowfoot/

This is a couple comments from a debate with Thomas D’arcy McGee.

http://themonster.talons43.ca/wp-admin/edit-comments.php

Here comes the train (of confederation)

My portrait
My portrait

1863. I will always remember this year. It was the year the white men came. Not for war, mind you, for an idea. The white men were making a country and they were going to want our land. They were setting teir eyes on our land without spoiling for a fight. They were suggesting talks and treaties and things that could be mutually beneficial. Our buffalo are slowly disappearing and my people will so begin to go hungry. We cannot fight back, for white man’s diseases and alcohol have poisoned our warriors and scouts. We are defenceless. We must believe that white men can be trusted and be held to their word. They wand our land, not only for their country, but for their “railway” what ever that is. They want to put their machines through my lands. If they protect us, I will agree to their terms. The blackfoot and blood tribes will be cooperative, as soon as they draw up the treaty. (14 years later. . .) #talonsconfed treaty #7

 

 

California

This week on Christopher’s sushi adventures, we have Christopher trying to make a California roll. I had all the ingredients, and I was going to do this with my tutor, but she was sick the day we were going to meet so I did it myself. The result was much better than my earlier attempt at the cucumber roll. The nori was fresher and did not tear, so the rolling process was easier. The sushi did not have too much vinegar so the flavor was not overpowering. I still need to work on rolling structure and keeping the size of the roll down, so that will be the priority during the next meeting with Makiko-san. This is all I have to report for now. See you next time! All the salutations,
-Christopher

Media Inspiration! + Mentors for all!

There last couple week have been delayed because I broke my leg in a skiing accident, so I am combining the two posts that should have been done in this time. First, my passion for sushi has been renewed by watching a movie: Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It is a lovely movie about a man trying to get into the sushi business in Tokyo. The drive and passion inspired me to reach the same heights with my sushi skills. Nothing special on the making front. Second, I have found a mentor! She is a friend of a friend and is in a lull of work, so she has the time to apply her knowledge to my developing skills. I went shopping to find the best seaweed for rolls (harder than you think). The problem with my last batch was that it was too old, making it soft and easy to tear. Not a good look. Well, professional, good looking sushi should be on its way in the near future. Leave a comment for anything you need, and I hope to see you soon.
-Christopher

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