Sunday, January 07, 2018

Thoughts Without Words: Trifecta albums

Remember when I used to blog? Anyway, it has been awhile.

So I was thinking the other day about bands that released 3 albums in a row that are just "all killer, no filler". And as I thought about it more, I realized that making 3 great albums in a row is very hard. This post will look at some of my favorite bands and see if they every had a trifecta.

Metallica: definitely. I would say they hit 4 in a row. Their 1st 4 albums are all classics. But if you were to narrow it down to 3 I would say Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and And Justice for All. 

Megadeth: Yes. They actually could lay claim that their first 5 albums are all classics. But I would also go with their 2nd half albums, The World Needs a Hero, The System has Failed, and United Abominations. 

Trivium: Nope. This hurts cause I love Trivium. Their debut and Ascendancy are good, but The Crusade ruins that run. Shogun and In Waves started it up again, only to be stopped by Vengeance Falls. And their last two albums aren't the beginning of a trifecta run either.

Shadows Fall: Yep. Of One Blood, The Art of Balance & The War Within. In fact, if not for Threads of Life, Shadows Fall could have had the perfect run.

Killswitch Engage: Nope. Alive or Just Breathing & End of Heartache are classics. As Daylight Dies kills that one though. ADD doesn't bring anything new to the game so to speak. And the songs, just don't compare. They almost did it again with Killswitch Engage II & Disarm the Descent, but Incarnate was just above average.

All That Remains:  Nope. Their debut & The Fall of Ideals are classics. Their sophomore album is just blah. Sounds too much like KsE. Overcome is ok, but For We are Many is the beginning of the end of this band.

Into Eternity: Nope. Buried in Oblivion and Scattering of Ashes are solid, but Incurable Tragedy is too short and Dead or Dreaming suffers from some poor production.

In Flames: Yes. Whoracle, Colony, and Clayman are classics in Swedish Death Metal. Come Clarity & Sounds of a Playground Fading are great as well, but unfortunately that middle album A Sense of Purpose is just mediocre.

Nevermore: Yes. Like Shadows Fall, they come close to running the table. Their debut is un-listenable to me. But Politics of Ecstasy through This Godless Endeavor are all great examples of modern thrash metal.

Those are basically most of the bands I listen to and you can see only 5 really have done it. If I went to rock I would say Aerosmith and Guns N Roses.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Inside Four Walls: 2011-2012 CST results

So a few months ago, but only two posts down :-( I predicted my scores for my Geometry class, but not my Algebra B. First I predicted my Geometry would be a 73%, which would be my highest scores ever. Well, I did better. It came out to be 75% of my students were proficient or advanced. And yeah, like I said in the post, if it was above a 70% it would be high for our school because we are usually in the high 50s. Well, the school average was in the mid 50%s. So yeah, really excited there.

But what about my Algebra scores? I didn't give a prediction because I forgot to update it, but I was looking at, hopefully, a 30% (based on their grade). Well, I guess I was a little too hard on them because they came back at 93%. That isn't a typo, 93% of my students were either advanced or proficient. School average was 57%. I got nothing to say.

So for those that stumble upon this and want to know how? In Geometry, I give a 15 minute weekly quiz over anything that we have done. So if it is March and I want to ask questions from Chapter 2, it's fair game. I think they have something to do with it. I started doing it during the second semester of the 2010-2011 school year and I ended up with the second highest scores. Or it could be I just had really motivated students.

In Algebra B, same thing. A 4 question daily quiz covering factoring, graphing, systems of equations, and whatever else (usually rational expressions). I barely covered word problems, like only two types. But if they can master those sections, they are almost guaranteed a proficient score. I also don't have any partial credit. It's all right or wrong. Plus multiple choice tests get them ready for the CSTs. In Algebra, they can just plug in their answers. In Geometry, they can eliminate some.

Finally, I don't allow calculators 2nd all. I don't want them to have their first test without a calculator being the CSTs. In Geometry, I make them solve right triangles with special angles or leaving answers with trig functions in the answers.

So do I think I am a good teacher? Actually, no. I think I have found a way to teach to a test. I put my students in the best position to pass. Kind of like a coach making adjustments at half time, that's all I have done.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Right Now: a little update

So where have I been the last 2 months? Just sitting around waiting for some good music to finally come out, but it never happened. I'm in the middle of summer school and realized it had been a long time since I posted, so here is a quick run
-down of things I want to talk about;
- albums of the year (of course)
- saw the Avengers & Thor
- new cartoons (some soon to be cancelled)
- new school year It's a lot on my mind and I am going to try and post one topic per day...I say try because I probably won't post again until Christmas.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Inside Four Walls: CSTs are here - 2012 edition

So here we go state testing is 2 weeks away and it is crunch time. Now I have been doing more work for my Geometry students this year than I have in years past, meaning trying new things. I started a weekly quiz that was 5 questions based on any material we covered until that day. My hope was that it would force the students to always be reviewing past material, in turn they wouldn't have to review as much before the CSTs.

So this week I took the state released questions, which is about 80+. However, the test is only 65, so I went old school and cut and pasted...literally a 65 question test for them. On top of that I selected the same number of questions they would have for each cluster. It took a long time to select them and get them all made so hopefully it will pay off.

So instead of doing the normal looking at grades to predict my CST scores, I am going to be looking at this test they took this week. Basically a proficient is about a 67% or so and that was the cut off I used. So for each period it broke down like this;
1st - 56%
2nd - 81%
4th - 72%
6th - 79%

Those are very good, unfortunately most of my students are in first so overall the average is just a 73%. If I could be above 70% I would be happy and would be looking at my highest scores ever, especially considering my 58% was high for our school last year.

Unfortunately, I don't know if the quizzes had any effect or not. What people don't understand about education is that we are simply a piece of the learning puzzle. Maybe I have great students? Maybe I had parents at home that valued a good education? Will I try it again next year? Yes.

Now comes the test and then the wait.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Music Non Stop: new Soul Cycle

I have talked about Soul Cycle before. They play instrumental thrash. It's very good music. Well out of nowhere I received an email saying they were releasing a new album in a couple of weeks. These guys are pretty good at what they do and with only 4-5 albums on my radar right now (including this one) who knows where this will end up at the end of the year.

Here is the album sampler to get a feel for what I am talking about.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Music Non Stop: another batch of 2012 music

Been kind of a slow year for music, but two bands that I do like have some new songs out. First up is Dirge Within. Their debut was really impressive especially some of the guitar work. This sounds pretty good...nothing special, but hey its new.

Next up God Forbid. They are a hit and miss with me. Some of their stuff I love, other stuff is just meh. They have changed up their guitar tone on this album, can't tell if I like it or not yet. I think I will have to hear the whole thing before I pass judgement.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Inside Four Walls: Why do you want to be a teacher...

I feel like I have asked this before...

In Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, an 8th grader attacked and beat his science teacher.
An 8th grade student confronted Williams, his science teacher, about a bad grade, when it turned ugly. 
"I saw him take a swing," one student told Fox 29. "I couldn't believe it."
I am really at a loss for words here...and if you know me, that's a surprise.

Venting the Anger: New Power Girl costume

I have talked a lot how DC has screwed up costumes over the years, well with the new DC Universe some more characters got some new looks. The latest is Power Girl. Now for those who don't know who Power Girl is (or whatever she is now), she is a clone of Supergirl, a more mature version...which is funny that she keeps the "girl" tag in her name.

Anyway, here is a look at her suits through the years.

There seems to be one constant of her suit...the hole right in front of her chest. I really don't know how this started, but as you can see it has been a staple from the beginning. Heck they even made fun of the blatant sexual nature of the suit.

So now they are bringing her back into the new universe and here is the new look

What the...? How do we go from this

to this?
Let's look past the obvious chest and focus on the looks like Black Canary's hair from the 80's.  By the way, if Power Girl's suit wasn't so bad I might focus some of this anger on The Huntress' new suit.  What is up with those freakin' ears?!?!

Now if DC was getting rid of all sexual costumes I would be fine with it...but here is the new Starfire look

Yeah...explain that DC.

Thoughts Without Words: Prop 209 challenged

Prop 209 basically got rid of race as a reason for admission into California colleges or as most know it as affirmative action. You can go read the story HERE, but I had to post the comment by a poster named mat3 who summed it up nicely;
I want to be treated as equal except for this, and this, and this, What a bunch of BS. You're either treated equally or not.