Friday, December 14, 2007

Another baby on the way...

So my wife is pregnant again and we found out yesterday it is a boy! I truly didn't care what we had because I love my daughter to death and she is soo great. My wife and I just wanted a healthy baby like our first. Now I can sit back and realize how my life is going to be with a boy instead of 2 girls. First off, I now have someone to help me out with yard work, washing cars, and other "man chores". I'm not saying I won't let my daughter help if she wants, but most girls don't want to do that type of work. Secondly, I have someone to watch football with. Once again a bit of a stereotype, but oh well. If I had another girl I would be outnumbered 3 to 1. At least now it is 2 to 2. And finally, I don't have to worry about the last name dying with me and my brothers. We have all had girls (my sister in law is pregnant too, but they don't know the sex yet).

So it is good times for my wife and I right now.

So what else is goin on? Well 1 week until Christmas break and everything is going well. I think I am doing about 1000 times better in my Algebra 2 classes this year. We took the benchmark tests and my classes were in the high 60's for averages which is pretty good for a test that covers 4 chapters (almost a mid-term). My Algebra B's a coming along slowly. Some that struggle just give up, but those that stick with it are starting to see improvement, which is what I have told them since day one.

Musically, let's see no new albums out. But some exciting news this week. First off Protest the Hero released a new song from their next album, Fortress. The song is called Sequoia Throne and it sounds like it could have been taken off their debut Keiza. I am really excited about this album. BTW the song is on their my space page, HERE. But something more exciting is the news Matt Barlow has returned to Iced Earth as lead vocalist. I will talk more abou this, but this is great news. Barlow has one of the best metal vocals out there right now.

That's it, music this week and next week is all Christmas music, so not too much there.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Spotlight: Nevermore

Ahhh Nevermore, one of my favorite bands...ever, period end of story. Nevermore is a classic thrash metal band with progressive tendencies. Here's what I like best about Nevermore, they haven't put out a bad album yet...6 albums and 1 EP all classics.

I guess if I had to describe them, I would say the speed of old school Megadeth with solos to match, the heaviness of Vulgar Display era Pantera and the vocals of Geoff Tate of Queensryche. There is no death vocals on these albums.

There debut was more power metal than the rest of their material, but still a solid debut. After that it is required thrash material though. Politics of Ectasy, Dreaming Neon Black, Dead Heart in a Dead World, Enemies of Reality, and This Godless Endeavor.

Now I have already told you what I thought about This Godless Endeavor. How are the others? I would probably say Dead Heart in a Dead World is my 2nd favorite followed closely by Dreaming Neon Black. I would say most fans would agree that those are their top 3 albums. Now eventhough Politics and Enemies of Reality aren't in my top 3, those albums actually have some of my favorite Nevermore songs. Take 42147 or This Sacrament from Politics are two great examples of what Nevermore are like. Or Seed Awakening from Enemies has one of the sickest guitar riffs ever.

Nevermore is just one of those bands that you can't go wrong with when trying to pick out an album to buy. It's all good.

Playlist for the week;
Monday: Lost, This Sacrament, 42147 from Politics of Ecstasy
Tuesday/Wednesday: Seed Awakening, I, Voyager, Matricide from Enemies of Reality & EP
Thursday: Beyond Within, The Death of Passion, Fault of the Flesh from Dreaming Neon Black
Friday: The River Dragon has Come, Believe in Nothing, The Heart Collector from Dead Heart in a Dead World.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Spotlight: Halford

what is this?? rain? Seriously, it hasn't rained in about 6 months and today it has been pouring all day long. It's funny to watch kids run from class to class trying not to get wet. Then you have the 'cool' kids that don't want to seem like they are freezing so they walk slower than they ever have.

I also noticed that tardies seem to disappear completely on rainy days. Makes me wonder how the tardies are in outdoor high schools in the north west. Would they just adapt after some time? Oh well.

Music this week was Halford and Judas Priest. Now Halford's Crucible is one of my favorite albums of all time. It is solid from start to finish. A lot of people like to focus on his first album Resurrection, but I tend to like Crucible better because it is more of a modern metal album than a power metal album like Resurrection. Don't get me wrong it has it's moments, but Crucible is just a lot better. The music is more varied; you can go from a song like Betrayal or One Will to a song like Trail of Tears or Crystal, and then even a song like Golgatha (which borders on doom metal at times). I honestly can't find one thing wrong with this album. If I had to pick something I would probably say it has that stupid intro...a 40 or so throw away track. Seriously, just put it part of the song!

I should also note not only is the guitar playing incredible, but the drumming is top notch as well. The intro to Betrayal is classic. I would say it rivals Painkiller in terms of speed.

If you are a fan of Painkiller then this is for you, just go get it now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Well rested

So it's been a few weeks since I posted. So what have I been up to? Nothing much really. Last week was a short week for us and I missed Monday due to our daughter being sick. I didn't have any theme for that week just hit random and let it go. The week before I was only at school for 3 days due to cultural sensitivity training which well was a joke. I had some Limp Bizkit playing that week...censored versions of course.

As for this week, we are listening to some Judas Priest/Halford. I think I will be going with some Nevermore until Christmas break. That's about it. I will post the playlist later this week.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Spotlight: nu-metal

well it was bound to happen. I finally did it though and went ahead with a week of nu-metal. Now I don't have a problem with it anymore because it isn't as blown out of proportion. And I have to admit what I played this week was pretty fun.

I won't go into too much discussion about nu-metal because I just talked about it HERE.

The only thing I did which I am proud of is shown my students that nu-metal started back with bands like Aerosmith, Faith No More, and Anthrax before Korn and Limp Bizkit.

Playlist for the week:
Monday: Walk This Way by Aerosmith w/ Run DMC & Bring the Noise by Anthrax & Public Enemy
Tuesday: Somewhere I Belong, Faint, Numb by Linkin Park
Wednesday: Papercut, One Step Closer, Crawling by Linkin Park
Thursday: Flow Heat, Blind My Eyes, No Light by 3rd Strike
Friday: Alive & Youth of the Nation by P.O.D.

what's next a week of Limp Bizkit?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Missing in Action

So it's been awhile since I have posted. We have been really busy at home with the accident at CJ and losing Charlie. Plus ... well nevermind. So I will try to get back on track this week.

First off the theme for the weeks; two weeks ago was a cover week. For those that don't know, cover songs are songs that are re-recorded by another band. I have a ton, but I picked some favorites. Blue Monday, Take on Me, and Holy Diver (I forgot one song...grrrr!) Anyway let me say this...Killswitch Engage's cover of Holy Diver is definitely as good as Dio's original. I will post a video of both soon.

Last week was my first album of the week. It was Lacuna Coil's Comalies. Now I think we already know how I feel about that album...HERE. I was planning on doing Master of Puppets, Rust in Peace, The Real Thing, Alive or Just Breathing, or something else first, but I went with Comalies because I needed that gothic metal sound after that weekend.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crappy weekend

So this past weekend might possbily be the worst weekend I have ever lived through. First off there was a huge accident at my wife's work. You can read about it there. My wife was first on the scene and saw the victim before anyone else. She is having a difficult time trying to get this out of her head and work through it.

So then we wake up Saturday morning to go on our walk. I am locking up the house and I hear my wife scream "Kevin!!! It's Charlie!!!" I run over to our neighbors yard to see our cat of 6 years lying in their yard dead. His whole chest was gone...empty. I saw his tiny little heart. What makes it worse for me is that when I was locking up the house he was sitting at the front door meowing to come in. I looked at him and told him to go to sleep outside. That was the last thing I said to my cat.
So that was my crappy weekend. There is tons more information, but I am so drained thinking of all the loss this weekend I am done talking about it. I feel bad for the family of the victim at my wife's work and the loss of our cat Charlie.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Venting the Anger: CST's

ok, so let me just get something off my chest. When I started teaching 5 years ago, CST results weren't that big of deal. In fact, when I came to my current school all I heard from administrators was reasons not to take the test to seriously. We heard it doesn't reflect what they learn in a year because "they could be having a bad day and they aren't concentrating", they could "be sick", they could "blow it off because there isn't accountability", or that we couldn't measure a what a student has learned by one test on one day.

Well fast forward 4 years later and apparently all of that has been blown out the window. Now we are being held completely responsible for their scores. But what has changed? Are they held accountable for their results? Nope. Are there kids that still just "blow it off"? Yep. Does it matter if they are sick or having some sort of personal drama? Nope.

So all of the reasons that we heard just 4 years ago don't matter even though nothing has been done to address them. Yet we are held accountable. When do we start expecting the students to start taking ownership?

I know I have some control over what happens with the scores, but when it's time for the test days it's all about the students. It's like my old football coach said "Cheerleaders have to cheer, coaches have to coach, and players have to play." And that's my feeling...the students have to get it done.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Spotlight: Pre-Metal Days

ok now I wasn't born listening to heavy metal, in fact I didn't start until I was in junior high. So what did I listen to pre-metal? Well, this week we take a look and listen to what I was into a very long time ago. The first song that I really fell in love with was Man in Motion by John Parr...classic. Anyway, that was my kind of music; 80's new wave mostly with British singers. This week I focus in on a few of those artists.

Pet Shop Boys were pretty popular back in the day. They were heavy on the keyboards and had some great choruses. Their first hit was West End Girls. Now funny story is that up until about 4 months ago I always thought it was Western Girls...kinda like California Girls for the 80's? maybe? Their other hit was Opportunity whic is now used for the show Beauty and the Geek. Great chorus, so catchy.

Tears for Fears were probably one of my favorite bands, and Songs from the Big Chair is just a great album. Shout, Head Over Heels, and Everybody Wants to Rule the World were huge...huge people. They had the great vocals and keys, and some top notch choruses. They released The Seeds of Love which had another song I liked, Sowing the Seeds of Love. By the early 90's grunge was all the rage and new wave and pretty much any 80's band was done. Well in 1993 they release dan album with Break It Down Again. Now by 93, I was in full metal mode, but I still enjoyed a nice laid back pop sound.

Duran Duran was another band that I listened to, but not because of Rio or Hungry like a Wolf. It was for A View to a Kill, from the James Bond movie of the same name. Side note, that was the first movie I saw with Christopher Walken in it. For me though it was their 1993 album, The Wedding Album, that had some of my favorite songs on it. Come Undone and Ordinary World are just great songs. And once again, it was during my early metal days, but I still recongized great music when I heard it.

Now let me say this, I didn't talk about alot of my other "ghosts in the closet", like A-Ha, Simple Minds, and tons more...that's another week.

Playlist for the week
Monday: West End Girls, Opportunity by Pet Shop Boys from Fear is the Mindkiller
Tuesday: Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, and Head Over Heals by Tears for Fears from Songs from the Big Chair
Thursday: Break It Down Again and Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears from
Friday: A View to a Kill, Ordinary World, and Come Undone by Duran Duran from

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Venting the Anger: New Captain America

Now even though this is for the most part a music blog, deep down inside I am a huge comic book fan/nerd. There are certain things which I consider sacred in the comic book world. For example, a non-electric blue Superman, Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, Batman with a Robin, a wise crackin' Spider-Man, and a Captain America wearing red, white, and blue only!
For those who might not have heard Captain America (Steve Rogers) was killed off in a storyline this past summer. Well Marvel Comics is going to bring the character back with more attitude...I guess. They unveiled the new look this past week and I gotta say I hate it! How do you give Captain America, the symbol of America, a black costume?!?!?! Anyone? And on top of that a gun? Cap only needs his shield. The designer said he took a page from some old movie serials in which Captain America had a gun. Nice right? Everyone likes the retro feel, but did he also remember that that version of Captain America was a lawyer?!?!? huh? Or that it wasn't a canon Captain America?!?! no of course not.

So what does this mean? Well like all comic gimmicks it means that for about a year or so we have to live with this atrocity. Like having Jean-Paul as Batman for a year, or the blue Superman, or the entire Spider-man clone disaster; it's just something we will have to live with for awhile until Steve Rogers makes his return.

Spotlight Fear Factory REMIX

Now we will have a regular week of industrial music which includes Fear Factory, but this week we change it up a bit and go with their 2 remix albums, Fear is the Mindkiller and Remanufacture. After thier debut, Fear Factory decided to remix 4 of the better songs off of the album. Now FF plays industrial metal, so the industrial elements added border on techno music. If you took out the guitar riffs that drive the song it would be techno. Fans were a little shocked, but it had enough guitar to keep fans least it did for me. Well that's not entirely true. When I bought Demanufacture, it came with Remanufacture. I had no idea what it was. I was happy because Demanufacture was so good I figured it should be as wasn't. It took me about a year before I could listen to that album.

After Demanufacture, they put out another remix album. Except this one was a little different, they remixed every song with a new title that was similar to the original. They even threw in some instrumental songs (sounds) that weren't on the original. For me, Remanufacture is better than Fear is the Mindkiller. It could be that Fear is the Mindkiller is just 5 songs and 2 of them are the same or that Demanufacture takes more chances in terms of pushing the techno/metal line.

I am not sure how to describe the music. It really does border on techno, but at the same time it has the definte metal undertones. I have to say I have grown to love these albums. Last I heard they were planning another, but nothing has been mentioned in who knows.

Now I usually post videos from the albums, but to be honest...there are none. Just this video for Final Fantasy someone made which uses a song.


Playlist for the week
Monday: Self Immolation (Vein Tap Mix), Martyr (Suffer Mix) from Fear is the Mindkiller
Tuesday: Machines of Hate, Self Immolation (Liquid Mix) from Remanufacture & Fear is the Mindkiller
Wednesday: Genetic Blueprint, Cloning Technology from Remanufacture
Thursday: T-1000, Cyberdyne from Remanufacture
Friday: New Breed, New Breed (Spoetnik Mix), New Breed (Revolutionary Designed Mix) from Remanufacture

Friday, October 05, 2007

Spotlight: Susperia

Ok so we have another spotlight and this week it is a newer band from Europe, Susperia. Susperia was formed by some black metal bands like Dimmur Borgi, but after their debut the black metal influences pretty much disappeared. Susperia plays a modern thrash style of music. They are almost always compared to later day Testament...and with good reason. The vocals for one are almost identical to Chuck Billy at times. And musically, you're looking at heavy riffs, solid drumming, and solos that would make any old school metal fan bang their head.


On Vindication, their 2nd album, there was a noticeable shift in the style of music. There was a more modern thrash sound than a black metal sound. If anyone tries to call modern day Susperia black metal...they are flat out wrong. Unlimited, for me, is their best album. I remember hearing it for the first time thinking that this is classic bay area thrash with a modern twist. At times it was Testament, but it wasn't a flat out copy cat job. Chemistry's opening guitar playing was awesome. The drums in Home Sweet Hell are still my favorite. Then are Years of Infinity there is some Halford-esq singing. A classic. They released an EP, Devil May Care with one new song and some covers. Venting the Anger was both brutal and melodic at the same time. It was probably the most melodic song they had done, but it worked...didn't seem forced at all. One of the covers, The Sun Always Shines on TV (by A-HA), was perfect as well.


Their latest, Carved from Stone, is alot like Unlimited and the EP combined. Classic songs with more melody and some great choruses. I don't think it is better than Unlimited, but that's like saying Ride the Lighting isn't better than Master of Puppets. Both are great albums, but I prefer one over the other. The first time I heard More and Brother...I was blown away by the aggression. It wasn't til later that I realized other classics like The Clone or Release.


Once again if you are a fan of thrash metal...this is your band.

Playlist for the week
Monday: Home Sweet Hell, Years of Infinity from Unlimited
Tuesday: Chemistry, Untouched from Unlimited
Wednesday: Mind Apart, Beast by Design from Unlimited
Thursday: The Clone, Release, Life Deprived from Carved from Stone
Friday: More, Brother from Carved from Stone and Venting the Anger from Devil May Care EP

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Spotlight: At the Gates

So here we go with another spotlight, this week it is At the Gates. ATG was the first real death metal band I really enjoyed. To be honest, I'm not sure how I got into this band. If I was to guess I would say it was because of The Haunted. You see The Haunted was founded by 3 members of ATG. I will have more on The Haunted later on in the year, so let's stay focused on ATG.

ATG play a genre of death metal called melodic death metal. I'm not to sure what makes it melodic, I would probably say it is the guitar work...very NWOBHM twin guitar sound going on. Musically, ATG is for ANY classic thrash metal fan...Metallica to Megadeth to Slayer, you would love this music. I would say the hard part for most would be swallowing the vocals. Tomas Lindberg has a unique sound to his screams. They aren't deep death growls, but rather a sort of drowning screams...definitely unique.

Unfortunately, this band disbanded after their classic album Slaughter of the Soul. When I talk about classic albums, this one is on there. I would say it belongs in the same category of a Master of Puppets, Peace Sells, Reign in Blood...a definte classic. As I said musically, it is class bay area thrash with tight guitar solos and solid drumming. That would be the one positive of this band is that the drumming isn't the insane blast beats that never slow down, it is actual drumming going on back there.

As I said earlier after ATG broke up the guitarists and drummer went onto form The Haunted. The lead singer went onto a bunch of other projects, nothing coming close to ATG until he joined Nightrage. Their first 2 albums sound like a continuation of ATG, more on Nightrage later.

Playlist for the week:
Monday: The Swarm, Terminal Spirit Disease, Forever Blind from Terminal Spirit Disease
Tues/Wed: Blinded by Fear, Slaughter of the Soul, Cold from Slaughter of the Soul
Thursday: Legion, World of Lies, The Dying from Slaughter of the Soul
Friday: Drug, Descent onto Chaos, Being Nothing, from Nightrage's Descent onto Chaos

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thoughts Without Words: Rachel's Challenge

so yesterday we had an assembly about the Columbine shootings. At first, I thought it might be one of those "feel sorry for the shooters because they were picked on" assemblies, but it wasn't. It was without a doubt the best assembly/presentation I have been to.

It was based upon Rachel Scott, who was the first victim of the Columbine High Shootings, and her journals and writings about how to treat people better. She appeared to be the kind of person that actually did what she said. She would help out and do anything for someone. I was moved when I saw video of her as a baby because I couldn't help but think about my daughter. Rachel was only 17 years old...that's just too young to die. I can't imagine losing my daughter...the mere thought of it makes me sad.

Rachel's Challenge takes her writing and ideas and spreads them around the country to other schools. Her ideas are simple, but powerful
1. Eliminate Prejudice
2. Dare to Dream
3. Choose your influences
4. Kind words
5. Start a chain reaction with family and friends

She was a special person and I feel for her family and friends.

For more information go to Rachel's Challenge.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

test results

well we got our results back from last years state testing and talk about a mixed bag. My Algebra B classes did do well. I was able to get the number of profecient and advanced up 6% from the previous year. But all my efforts in Geometry didn't pay off. Only 6 out of 36 were profecient or higher...ouch! I had 20 students that were basic. I will have to look up to see how close/far they were from becoming proficient. As for Algebra 2, a mixed bag again. I only had 14 students take the test and only 4 were proficient or higher. Looking back I realize that the high amount of seniors (16) derailed that class second semester. This year I don't have any classes that are a majority of seniors...which is good news.

I plan on doing pretty much the same thing in Algebra B as last year; multiple choice quizzes, no calculators 2nd semester, review questions daily, and mad minutes. If I get 2 years in a row of growth then I am doing something right...if not then it might indicate that I had a few bright classes.

As for Algebra 2, I will be implementing a lot of my Algebra B strategies. This means review questions throughout the year, multiple choice tests, and no calculators 2nd semester. Hopefully it will pay off.

Let me say I understand I don't control a lot of what happens on the tests. I teach the material. It's like coaching, is it the coach that just called a great game or was it the players that made his gameplan a success?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Spotlight: Chick metal

ok so that isn't the most p.c. term, but whatever. Now this isn't gothic metal ala Lacuna Coil (we will get to that style another week), this is straight up metalcore/thrash metal. I am old fashioned. I like my metal fast and sung by guys. But there have been a few thrashier bands led by women that have caught my eye. The first was Amaran. They were described as Nevermore with female vocals. And you know what? They were...they broke up a few years back sadly.


They did a nice job of having the classic thrash sound with clean female vocals. Now I was used to hearing females singing gothic style metal, so this was new to me. Pristine in Bondage is a classic metal album that is worth trying to track down.

Now minus Amaran, I didn't hear any female thrash I like. I can't stand Arch Enemy...gimmie some sign you are female please. Well earlier this year came along a band that worked for me...In This Moment. It sounds like dual vocalists because the screams and growls are so fierce. But in reality it is the same lady...Maria Brinks.


Now I heard Prayers first and was blown away by the guitar work first. It took me awhile to get used to the chick scream thing, but I did. Their follow up single Beautiful Tragedy is a classic metal song in the same vein as Amaran...not alot of screams but a majority of clean vocals


The Agonist is another band very similar to In This fact they are the same. Fast guitars, pounding drums, breakdowns, and chick screams followed by melodic clean singing. I like it, but it is missing the catchiness of In This Moment.


This leads me to a band that uses female vocals for clean singing only, Deadlock. Now I have talked about Deadlock before, in fact I put their latest in my Top 10 of 2007. Imagine At The Gates style metal with clean choruses or verses sung by a female. She doesn't slow down the music like the other bands...once again like Amaran. Wolves did add more of a keyboard element to their sound, hopefully they won't add any more on the next album.


Playlist for the week;
Monday: Rise and Fall, Business Suits and Combat Boots by The Agonist from Once Only Imagined
Tuesday: Prayers, Beautiful Tragedy, Ashes by In This Moment from Beautiful Diaster
Wednesday: Prayers, Beautiful Tragedy, Daddy's Little Angel by In This Moment from Beautiful Diaster
Thursday: Awakened by the Sirens, End Begins by Deadlock from Earth.Revolt & Wolves
Friday: Atropine, Revolution Without Arms, Primal Nature by Amaran from Pristine in Bondage

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spotlight: Into Eternity

Ok so I figure once a week I will take some time to talk about the band or genre that I am playing in my room for the week. This week is one of my favorite bands of all time... Into Eternity. Into Eternity is a Canadian band that play a variety of metal, I talked about them awhile ago here. One moment it is pure death, then power, and then throw in some progressive time/tempo changes. On top of all that you have a vocalist that goes from death to clean in a second. In fact before their current vocalist, they used 3 different vocalists; a screamer, death growls, and clean. The harmonies they created on the records was amazing, but apparently it didn't translate as well live so they went this way.


I have been listening to metal for some time now and have never found another band that plays the same style of music...with the vocals like this. Mercenary has the dual vocalists, but doesn't have the time/tempo changes like IE. 3 Inches of Blood has the two vocalists as well, but they play more of an old school power metal/thrash. Into Eternity is a unique band that so far hasn't fallen prey to copycats.


Now on the spotlight I will either rank the albums from the artist or give top choices for the genre. Into Eternity has released 4 albums, with their debut suffering big time from a lack of production. I read a few years ago they were going to remaster it, but nothing so far.

1. Buried in Oblivion: their 3rd album, still my favorite. 3 vocalists, great song writing (especially the last 3 about a roller coaster ending). No filler on this album...highly recommended.

2. The Scattering of Ashes: this is their latest album. Shorter songs, one vocalist [trust me he does the job well], the drumming is faster as well. I miss the vocal harmonies and the twists and turns of Buried in Oblivion. Still a solid album, some say it's better...but who knows right?

3. Dead or Dreaming: second album. They really started to shine on this one. I have nothing bad ot say about this album... it's just that the others are better. The first 4 songs are classics though.

4. Into Eternity: I have heard this thing like 2 times...really bad production stops this from being better. I hope they remaster it.


The playlist for the week;
Monday: Shallow, Distant Pale Future from Dead or Dreaming
Tuesday: Embraced by Desolation, 3 Dimensional Aperture from Buried in Oblivion
Wednesday: Spiralling into Depression, Beginning of the End from Buried in Oblivion
Thursday: Timeless Winter, Surrounded by Night from The Scattering of Ashes
Friday: Severe Emotional Distress, Nothing from The Scattering of Ashes

Friday, September 07, 2007

Branding Iron spirit & some thoughts

so tonight is the big rival football game between Diamond Bar for the Branding Iron. It's really sad to see just how little our school has for school spirit. Kids asking the players how much they are going to lose by or coming to school wearing purple and saying it's for D-Bar. It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and pick on a losing team I guess. The thing that the students don't understand is how different this game is. It brings out something special in the players. Hopefully, they will step it up and bring home the Branding's been gone for too long.

As for my classes, we are into factoring in Algebra B. I like to think that I teach factoring pretty well. I have the whole chart of techniques and model the thought process for them and everything. I always ask other kdis how they learned factoring. Some say they learn the box method or guess and check...I am always wondering if I do it the best way. Oh well right?

Algebra 2 is still working on chapter 1, mainly a review of algebra skills. I am doing well on keeping up on the daily quizzes. I am really expecting to see a turn around on the test scores this year.

Music for next week...Into Eternity. I figure it's a good transition band. You got the screams, growls, and some of the best clean vocals around. On top of that the music is insane... time/tempo changes galore and some killer drumming.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

one week in....

So we are one week in to the new school year and everything looks good. Classes seem to be nice and friendly for the most part. I am really concentrating on keeping up on reviewing the material (like I did last year for Algebra B) so hopefulyl it will pay off.

Music this week is a little Ozzy Osbourne. It's a nice change of pace because last year I went straight into Industrial Metal, this year I am kinda building it up. As of right now I am thinking of Into Eternity...still up in the air on that one though.

In the meantime, this week we play our rivals in football ... Diamond Bar. I can't stand anything associated with D-bar, maybe that what I get for going to school here for 4 years, and coaching against them for 6 more. Who knows what the outcome will be, both schools lost their openers. Winning the Branding Iron game would make this a successful season for most of the players...good luck.

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day Back!!!

Well today was the 1st day of a new year. We had a minimum day, so that means only 32 minutes with each class. It's hard to gauge the students on day 1 because they are attentive and trying to make a good impression. Unfortunately, you have some seniors or even juniors who come in with a chip on their shoulder...why?

It is going to be a fun year this year. Last year, I felt I did an excellent job on Algebra B. I focused in on it and made a huge effort to teach it better and prepare the students for the CST. Well our school API went up, but I won't know about my classes until next month or so...still nervous. I put in alot of effort and I hope it paid off. This year I am focusing in on my Algebra 2 classes. I was able to get more practice on the material during summer school, so we will see.

As for music, I always start off the year with School by Fear Factory (a cover of Nirvana's song, but I am not a big Nirvana fan) & Van Halen's Hot for Teacher. VH has a cool drum intro that usually draws in the kids. As for School, well take a look at the lyrics:

Won't you believe it
It's just my luck (x4)

No recess (x3)

Won't you believe it
It's just my luck (x4)

No recess (x3)

You're in high school again (x7)

You're nothing again!

No recess (x7)

If there was ever a song for the first day of high school that's it. Well...let's see where we are next time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Good Nu-Metal?

School starts up again tomorrow...oh well it was a fun summer. Curious to see how my classes did on the standards testing...wait a couple more months.

Let me blame this one on Limp Bizkit. I do my post on how catchy Limp Bizkit was and next thing I know I am listening to So let me say this, not all nu-metal is bad...yes a majority is very bad, but there does exist a few good bands. Also Sepultura and Soulfly were both nu-metal bands during the 90's, they hid behind the whole "tribal beats" thing, but it was nu-metal. Hell, Fred Durst and Jon Davis both did vocals on Soulfly's debut...nuff said. Now the funny thing is that most nu-metal bands are coming out of South obvious influence from Soulfly and Sepultura (both from Brasil).

Most of these bands I will list you have never heard of, but if you are into nu-metal or were check them out.

Pr1mal - Pr1mal: this is my kind of nu-metal. Fast, great beats, a DJ that scratches like a lead guitarist, and some great vocals. Yeah I know that some of it is in spanish or some other language but who cares it's great nu-metal (is that an oxymoron?)


3rd Strike - Lost Angel: this is a little more rap than most nu-metal bands, but it works ok for me. I heard they broke up, which is a shame because they were pretty good. Now the song they made their video for is not a great example of this band. This is definitely an attempt to be a radio friendly song, but it has it's moments.


Twin Method - The Volume of Self: How did this band not make it big? A very Linkin Park kind of sound with harsher vocals...maybe that's it. Some catchy choruses here people.


Five Pointe O - Untitled: not sure if this counts as nu-metal, they have nu-metal tendencies, but if they are...they are solid as well.

Reveille - Bleed the Sky: these guys are kinda like Limp Bizkit, catchy choruses with some pretty hard crunchy guitars.

Twisted Method - Escape from Cape Coma: once again...these guys could have made it big...similar to Linkin Park with more heavy behind it.

If I was to recommend on band here it would be Pr1mal...hands down my favorite.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Baby turns 1

WOW I can't believe a whole year has gone by already! So much has changed in a year, she can crawl & stand up on her own (but no walking), she has a lot of teeth, and her personality is so cute.

It reminds me of what my wife and I were talking about when we found out she was pregnant. Our life is full of worries for the rest of our lives.

When she was pregnant, you worry about the baby being healthy and free from any problems.

At birth, you worry about complications during delivery and that she comes out healthy and crying.

Something we didn't plan on worrying about was her hearing test the next day...I didn't sleep much that night because I was worried about her hearing.

During the first year there is so much to worry she sleeping on her back, is she eating enough, etc.

As she grows you worry about her fitting in and hoping she isn't picked on.

In her teen years, you worry about her still fitting in and staying out of trouble like drugs and drinking.

You worry about her getting into college & finding someone that treats her right.

You worry that she has a comfortable life with little struggles and that she too can raise a healthy family.

As you can see, there is a ton of stuff to worry about. And I didn't mention alot of them. But I wouldn't change anything.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Industrial metal...must own albums

Ok let me get this out of the way, industrial metal is similar to all other forms of metal because of the different sub-genres within. For this list I am talking about Fear Factory type industrial metal, crushing start/stop riffs, double bass drumming, with some distorted vocals and some keyboards thrown in for good measure. I am not talking Ministry, Godflesh, Marilyn Manson, or any sort of techno/electronic metal.

So how did I get into Industrial metal? Well, Megadeth was starting their inaugural Gigantour and included a band called Fear Factory. I had never heard of them so I checked out some reviews and they varied from classic to sucks. One day I was at Best Buy and saw a 2 disc re-release of Demanufacture. I picked it up, put it in and was blown away by the guitar riffs and the drumming. Vocally, they changed between death metal screams and clean harmonic singing (not like KsE, but similar). The second disc was Remanufacture, which is a techno remix of took me about a year before i could enjoy that disc. After that it all came together, and from that I give you 5 iindustrial metal albums you must own.

1. Fear Factory - Demanufacture: Did you think this wouldn't be #1? In music sometimes you are fortunate to pinpoint an album that starts a new genre, well FF's Demanufacture did just that. This was their 2nd album, their debut had elements of industrial, but was more of a death metal album. Demanufacture, Replica, Zero Signal, New Breed, and Self Bias Resistor are all classics in this genre. If you are into any kind of metal then this album belongs in your collection.


2. Mnemic - The Audio Injected Soul: Like FF this is Mnemic's second album (why do bands put out classic albums on their second try?), and like FF there is the standard start/stop riffs, incredible drumming, and catchy choruses. I personally feel that the clean harmonic vocals are better here than Fear Factory. Dreamstate Emergency, Deathbox, Illuminate, and Door 2.12 are all solids songs. In fact, like Fear Factory (notice a trend?), the whole album is a classic in the industrial metal genre.


3. Strapping Young Lad - SYL: ok now this might confuse some people that are into metal. A lot of people don't consider SYL to be an industrial metal band, but take one listen to this album and you will see why I included them on the list. Now the one difference would be the lack of death metal screams. Devin Townsend (vocalist/guitarist) doesn't use a lot of screams, more of classic heavy metal singing. Now unlike FF & Mnemic, there aren't any melodic choruses. Devin has described his music as a "wall of sound" and that fits it pretty well. With SYL, you have to keep you senses up because typical song structures don't exist. What you think should happen doesn't, so don't look to have the song memorized in one listening. BTW, SYL is a difficult/challenging listen on their follow-up to SYL, Alien, their is a twelve minute "song" of white noise and other odd sounds...why? If you can get past some of the unusual song structures you are in for a treat. One last note, SYL is an angry album, it was written as Devin's response to the attack's on 9-11.


4. Threat Signal - Under Reprisal: ok I failed to mention something in my description of industrial metal, there are normally no solos. That's right no guitar solos, just crushing riffs. Well Threat Signal changed that. Take everything you know about Fear Factory and throw in some guitar solos and you have Threat I'm serious. When I hear Rational Eyes I thought it was a new FF song, down to the vocals and harmonic clean chorus and then I heard a solo. Now this isn't a Metallica/Megadeth solo, but it still separates them from the pack. One of the reasons that TS sounds like FF is the fact that FF's guitarist produced their album. An interesting side note it that this band was discovered on a website for new bands. Their song became #1 on the site and it caught the attention of the right people and now they are making records.


5. Dagoba - What Is Hell About?: Well I never thought I would say something from France is good, but Dagoba is from France and they are more than good. Do they bring anything new to the scene? Not really, but they have put their own little twist on it. Dagoba's vocals are what does it for me. When I heard Cancer and The Things Within I was blown away.


After awhile, most industrial metal bands start to sound alike, so my suggestion is to take them in small doses, like a couple hours at a time.

Next up...good nu-metal? Damn you Limp Bizkit!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Dark Days

ok so in the mid 90's metal was all but dead. Grunge came around in the early 90's killing off all of the glam metal and whatever other forms of metal were popular at the time. In fact, grunge was the downfall of Headbanger's Ball. Grunge wasn't bad, don't get me wrong I don't like it...maybe a song here or there, but grunge was depressing and they took out all of the solos!!!

So after grunge died out something worse took it's So what's nu-metal? Well imagine down tuned guitars, heavy bass lines (almost to the extent of the bass taking over as lead guitar), drum beats, sometimes a d.j., and worst of all rapping. Now Korn was the first big nu-metal band, but they found a band that would change the landscape of metal music for the rest of the decade...Limp Bizkit. I absolutely hated this band back when they were huge. Everything Fred Durst did was annoying and to top it off everyone wore stupid red hats backwards (you know who you are). Looking back I still think the music is childish (see Nookie) and simple, but I will say it's catchy.
Break Stuff was my first real introduction to L.B., I remember seeing Faith and thinking it sucked, but Break Stuff was catchy and heavy. Still a favorite to this day.

Rollin' was their next song that stuck with me...and still does. It's a fun song and once again HEAVY.

When I first heard Boiler I was very surprised. It wasn't a catchy kid song, but an actual song. Lyrically though "crawled up your butt now"...ouch that's bad writing. When I play this song, most people can't recognize it as L.B.

So after Chocolate Starfish, Wes (the guitarist) left the band saying he felt like a sell out. Now because of those words Wes is always looked on now as the "musician" of Limp Bizkit. I don't have a problem with Wes, but he knew what he was that man can play a mean guitar riff. So Fred replaced him with some guy and released an album with sucked. They tried the whole serious artist thing, but it didn't work. Fans wanted Wes back.

In 2005 Limp Bizkit released The Unquestionable Truth Part 1. Now this is one L.B. album I tell people I own. The music isn't childish, but it is heavy. I saw the video for The Truth and was blown away by how good it was. Now Fred tries really hard to copy Rage Against the Machine and that's ok by me.

Unfortunately, Wes left again and no one knows who is playing guitar now. There are rumors swirling that TUT part 2 will be released this year and a website has a song that could be from the new album. It sounds good. But what if this is the new guitarist?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

quick note

well summer school is over and I had a few students not make a C or better. No matter how many times I told them I wouldn't change grades they asked.

My dad's surgery went well. So well in fact they sent him home the next day...less than 24 hours after his surgery.

I am in the middle of redoing our guest bathroom. I have pulled out 2 medicine cabinets, old light box fixtures and have put in recessed lighting, a new cabinet above the toilet, putting up new paint, re-textured the walls and some other crap. Hopefully, I will be done by Friday.

I really gotta talk about industrial metal...I'm talking Fear Factory style. I have about 5 or so must own industrial albums.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Big Day

so I already mentioned that my dad has cancer, well today is his surgery. I don't think anything bad is going to happen, but it is still surgery. I plan on stopping by today to see him after the surgery. He is in my prayers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


2 weeks to go in summer and all is well. Nothing much to mention except 2nd semester is alot harder, in fact the last 3-4 chapters are all brand new material. Should be interesting.

I have been thinking about writing a book of all of my UPS stories...I worked there for 5 years and have quite a few to share. My students seem to appreciate them and you know the saying sometimes truth is stranger than fiction? well that sums up UPS.

I do get off track don't I? I was going to list my favorite canceled shows like 2 weeks ago...ok well here they are in no particular order.

Everybody LovesRaymond
The Andy Griffith Show
King of Queens
Justice League Unlimited (I gotta do a write up on these guys to show my comic book nerdness)
Transformers Beast Wars (see above)
Star Trek: Enterprise
Magnum P.I.

that's pretty close to what I watch.

In terms of music this week...back to the Industrial Metal scene with a new band Divine Heresy - Bleed the Fifth. I heard a few songs on their myspace page and it sounds killer. Their guitarist used to be the guitarist of Fear Factory and this has early FF all over it.

My dad is going in for surgery for his prostate cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with him. All I can say is that I am glad they found it early. I don't expect anything bad to happen, but it is still surgery.