Monday, May 30, 2011

Music Non Stop: Another New Unearth song - Ruination Of The Lost

Well this starting to look like my surprise album of the year. I posted a new song from Unearth a couple of weeks ago and was impressed by how much different and better they sound now. Well now there is a second new song, Ruination of the Lost, and it's just as good. I have never been a fan of an Unearth album from start to finish, but this is now two songs in a row.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Music Non Stop: New Blood Stain Child - Sirius VI

I listen to a wide variety of music. I know it doesn't seem like it, but I have "soft spots" for pop music and techno. So when I heard Blood Stain Child for the first time I was blown away. They mix techno with death metal and what comes out is nothing short of magical. Some other bands have tried to mix the two genres, but BSC seems to just have it down.

Their last album, Mozaiq, came out in 2007 and I have been waiting ever since for some sort of follow up. Well that time has finally come. They released a single, Sirius VI, from their upcoming album, which will hopefully come out later this year. Anyway here is that song;

Not too bad. Heavy on the female vocals, which isn't bad, so I will just wait for more.  On a side note, here is my favorite BSC song Freedom;

Thoughts Without Words: More Emma Frost from X-Men First Class

Well a couple of months ago I posted the first picture of January Jones in her full on Emma Frost costume. Emma Frost definitely has a lot of ... well sex appeal and it's going to be hard to pull it off. So today a couple more photos of her popped up and well...

I might be in the minority here, but it's still not working for me. There is something that is still a little off.  Maybe it is that lack of a choker or maybe it is the fact that January Jones has the same facial expression in every single photo.  I gotta say that photo of her on the couch...not flattering.  She looks very old in that photo, I think it's the hair style to be honest with you.

Much like the rest of the's just not working for me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Inside Four Walls: This is our future...

A teacher was telling us a story about some senior in her class. Apparently, he ran a Stop sign and missed a day of school to fight the ticket. He took in a picture of the Stop sign and told the judge he couldn't see it because it was blocked by overgrown trees. The judge looked at the picture and agreed with him and dismissed the ticket. Here's the kicker, he told his teacher and friends at school that he just ran the Stop sign, but didn't want to pay the ticket. So he took a picture of the sign and photoshopped in a bunch of trees to make it look like he couldn't see the sign.

So here is a senior going into the real world who obviously sees nothing wrong with lying in court and then bragging about it.

I don't know what is wrong with this generation, but this behavior to me doesn't make sense. Maybe it is our school, because we are hearing rumors that someone broke into the room with the AP exams to steal a test. That's pretty extreme, except we have heard now that this person went through the ceiling to get into that room...true story.

The Last Laugh: Patriot Act gets Extended

Now The Huffington Post isn't a site that most conservatives would go to on a daily basis, but I do. Why? Because I love to see the hypocrisy in the liberal way of thinking and freak out when the President actually does something "Republican-like".

Which brings us to the Patriot Act. Obama signed an extension of it last night. Now two things are funny here; first Obama blasted Bush on Gitmo and things like the Patriot Act and yet now since he has become President, he understands the importance of it. Second, the reaction of the liberals on The Huffington Post site.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Inside Four Walls: Seniors 2011...gone

Today was the last day of school for the seniors this year, of course they will still be at school for graduation practice, but classes are done for them.

I have a class of all seniors this year and we took our final on Monday, so that gave us 3 days of "extra time". So instead of throwing parties or letting them screw around for 3 days straight I had them watch some of the best episodes of Scrubs. These are the ones we watched, funny thing is that these are considered some of the best episodes, and for good reason. You can click the link to watch the full episodes on youtube or just watch the clips.

My Old Lady

My Five Stages

My Screw Up

My Lunch

My Fallen Idol

My Finale (not on Youtube...sorry)

All great episodes. By the time we hit today and watched My Finale, the students were tearing up and crying because of course My Finale is about JD leaving Sacred Heart and the students are leaving school. Believe it or not, a couple were able to see the reason for me choosing that as the last episode to show them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Music Non Stop: New In Flames - A New Dawn

Well maybe this song will stay on youtube longer than Deliver Us did. Anyway, another solid song. I can't find anything to complain about here. After A Sense of Purpose, I had lost hopes for another solid album, but this one is shaping up to be something special.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thoughts Without Words: And yet another reason why...

...people hate education.

When most people went to school, they went to get an education. They showed up on time because they knew every minute counted. They showed up everyday because they didn't want to miss a day and fall behind. So why and when did those expectancies change? And more importantly, when did educators/parents/politicians give up on holding kids accountable to learn?

In Texas, a district is going to raffle a car off every year for students who show up to class and earn good grades. Why does everything come with a bribe? Why can't students just do it because it's important for their future, not because they can get a new car out of it?

And we wonder why this nation is falling apart?

Inside Four Walls: L.A. Unified catches up to the rest of the state...

Maybe that's a little harsh, but we have been changing final grades based on their CST scores for about 5 years now.

The concept is pretty simple, if the students improve from their previous year they get some extra "enhancements" to their grade. Now at our school that's pretty hard to do, since most of the students are proficient or advanced. In fact, all we want is proficient or advanced, so if they want that enhancement then they need to score advanced or proficient.

And I think we should remember this quote when politicians and others want to tie test scores to teacher salary;
"We're always looking for a way to motivate kids to do better in school," said Jefferson High Principal Michael Taft. "I'd see them bubbling in carelessly and say, 'Are you reading that question?' They would say, 'No I'm tired.' They had multiple excuses." 
He estimated that 50% weren't trying hard.
That's right...50% don't try. So tell me again how fair and logical it is to tie my pay to someone that isn't even trying?

The other thing in the article that peaked my interest was this little line;
The L.A. Unified plan also applies to Advanced Placement tests, which are nationally administered. L.A. Unified students who take AP classes already benefit from "weighted grades," meaning that they receive more points per class, which can significantly raise grade-point averages. Under the new plan, a "passing" score on the college-level AP exams will allow students to achieve an automatic A in that course.
Anyone else hear that? That's the sound of the ACLU knocking on your door telling you this is illegal.

Thoughts Without Words: Final Wonder Woman costume...

I think.

You would think I would have run out of Wonder Woman costume posts by now (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE), but apparently not. Now for those somewhat out of the loop, NBC piloted a new Wonder Woman TV show. They released one design, with the blue boots, that pissed off the entire comic nerd world. So they touched them up and made them red. The other travesty was that she was wearing pants instead of shorts. Now I actually didn't think the blue pants with red boots was all that bad, it was a good update. Now at the time the producers claimed she would wear shorts, but no one really thought they would do it...until now.

That is hands down the best version of the suit. I looks like Wonder Woman came off the pages of a comic and into real life. The plot was kind of stupid, but at least they got the costume right...and then they cancelled the show before it aired.  Nicely done.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Music Non Stop: New Sepultura - Kairos

I have always had a soft spot for Sepultura. When this blog was created, they were basically the first band I talked about, HEREHERE & HERE and one more HERE. Honestly, since Max left they have had one good album, Roorback. When I needed some tribal metal I went to Soulfly.  Well that may change.

When I heard that Roy Z. was going to produce their new album, Kairos, I was excited and cautiously optimistic. You see Roy Z. is one of my favorite producers of all time. His work with Halford, Bruce Dickinson, and Helloween has given us some great modern power metal. Whatever the man touches sounds like gold. It's always crisp and heavy.

So that brings up to Kairos
Kairos by sepulturacombr
pretty impressive. The second half of 2011 is sounding pretty good right now. In Flames, Trivium, Nightrage, and now Sepultura. This is probably the best year for music since I started this blog in 06.

Music Non Stop: New Trivium - In Waves

Wow...this is good, not as good as Shattering the Skies Above, but still better than most of The Crusade. As of right now, I still have Mercenary or Times of Grace as my favorite album, but this might make the top spot.  Trivium is easily my favorite "new band" out there right now and this new song is hopefully the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thoughts Without Words: Preach on...

I found this on Joanne Jacobs site. I won't add anything else except AMEN.
They (state tests) are even less reliable as indicators of teachers’ performance. For reasons that have been brought up again and again, reasons given by scholars, teachers, policymakers, and others, test scores should not decide a teacher’s fate or override human judgment. There are simply too many unstable factors–the tests themselves, the students’ lives, conditions on the day of the test–that make the scores inaccurate indicators of what a teacher is accomplishing. 
In an op-ed in the New York Daily News, Arthur Goldstein points out that students’ efforts are not uniform: “For example, how much television does a student watch? … If my students don’t know how to read, haven’t been in school for the past six years or refuse to put a mark on a piece of paper, is it my fault? If a kid was dragged to the U.S. against his will and simply won’t learn English, should I be penalized?” (Having taught ESL, I have seen these situations.)
It's a good read and the comments are thoughtful as well.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Inside Four Walls: Cheating

Cheating happens. It always has and unfortunately, it always will. But what should a school do about it? At our school if a student is caught cheating on a test, sorry "violating test conditions" (we aren't allowed to call it cheating anymore), or copying homework for the first time, nothing really happens to them. In fact, all they have to do is get a piece of paper signed by their parents. Not even a detention. No one really understands why that policy is in place, but it is.

Anyway, I mentioned this story from a couple of months ago about the whole Facebook group/cheating scandal. And now there is some fallout, if you will. There were a total of 70 students in the group, out of about 100-110, at least 29 are on Facebook as cheating. When the teachers took the information to the administration, they didn't get the response they were looking for. At first they were told that the students that created the group, but the others wouldn't be called in for cheating. One counselor said that the teachers would need the assignments to compare answers. That is hilarious that they would take that stance, considering online the student literally said "hey I need the answers to the homework, who wants to help me out?". And then you saw a bunch of responses with the answers. I guess that isn't enough proof.

The group has been shut down and now all of the cheaters are being called in. The sad part is that no one knows what their punishment is yet. It's one of those "you cheated, we know you did, but we don't know what we are going to do yet." and send them back to class. We have only like 9 days of school left, you would think there would be a policy in place as to how to handle this.

One last thought, the teachers drafted a letter to the parents explaining what happened and how they should monitor their kids a bit more. They sent it to the administrators for approval and...they were told to hold off on sending it out. I'm not sure why, but talking to the teachers they feel frustrated at how long it is taking to figure this out.

Worst part, the students don't think they did anything wrong.

Music Non Stop: In Flames - Deliver Us video

I played the song already, but they released a video for it now. I actually think this one song is better than a majority of A Sense of Purpose, enjoy.

Inside Four Walls: Girl Suspended for wishing her teacher dead

...and surprisingly she is suspended by the school. Not surprisingly though, the mom thinks the punishment is too harsh.
Dell'isola said she agreed that the post was offensive but thought the punishment was extreme and her daughter was entitled to free speech. 
"In hindsight, she's mortified that she said that, but she's a 13-year-old kid," Dell'isola said.  Dell'isola said she usually monitors her daughter's use of the social networking website but found out about the post when she received a phone call from the school's principal. She said a parent of one of the girl's friends reported the comment. 
The concerned mother was urging the school to remove her daughter from class and give her a private math tutor instead of the suspension. 
"You are denying her an education based on something she did at home. That's my business, not your business," Dell'isola said.
So if someone wished her daughter dead, do you think she would say that was "freedom of speech"? Once again a parent is making excuses for their children, instead of teaching them right & wrong.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Music Non Stop: New Dead by April

This has been a fun year for music. It started off pretty strong and slowed down a bit the last month or so, but it looks like it will pick up the next few months again. Anthrax, Trivium, In Flames, Nightrage, and more are set to release albums still. And speaking of Nightrage, their former lead vocalist's band Dead by April will be releasing their album this summer too. I have heard some demos of the new album and another song, Within My Heart, was just released and it seems a little heavier than More Than Yesterday.

These guys are pretty good at making metal that has a super catchy chorus. I would have liked to seen the keys moved to the back a bit more and the guitars up more, but I guess that didn't happen.  Another album to look forward to.

It's going to be tough to do a Top 10 mid albums of the year this year...easily the toughest list so far.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Inside Four Walls: Prom

I don't think people outside of education realize how much has changed from even 10 years ago. It used to be if you wanted to go to prom, you asked the girl. Now? It's a whole big production, seriously it's like these guys are asking the girl to get married. It's a joke and a waste of time. Think about how much time went into this. Now, that is how much time that was spend not studying for a test or doing homework for a class...yeah let's tie test scores to teacher's salary.

By the way, this took place at the other high school in our district, so this is what we deal with. Good times, right? I always tell my male students not to make a big deal out of asking a girl to prom. And if I find out they did, I will take their "Man Card" away from them. Funny thing is, years after I started saying this, I saw this Scrubs episode...with Man Cards...classic!

Music Non Stop: new Limp Bizkit

Gold Cobra was supposed to come out last year and it didn't. I was afraid Limp Bizkit was going the Guns N Roses route of waiting 15 years before releasing an album. Anyway, the new album is supposed to come out this summer, so we will wait and see on that. I have talked a lot about Limp Bizkit in the past and so while I am not a fan of nu metal, I am curious as to how this will sound considering The Unquestionable Truth Part 1 was so good.

It's just one song, it has it's moments...still out on this one.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Video Killed the Radio Star: Ochocinco going for a short ride

How short? About 2 seconds. Whats funny is that he takes more time getting ready than he does on the bull.

The Sun Always Shines on T.V.: Two Starbucks

Where was I when this photo came out? I am a huge Battlestar Galactica fan...seriously huge. The new show was great and hopefully the latest spin off Blood & Chrome will be solid as well...hopefully a little bit faster pace than Caprica.

Anyway, apparently this was taken before the new show aired.  The man on the left was the original Starbuck.  The girl on the left, the new Starbuck.  You read that correctly, they changed the sex of one of the two main characters.  Anyway, Dirk Benedict played nice for the promo tour, but then ripped the show when it aired.  I knew he didn't like the new show, which is why I freaked out when I thought this was a current photo and not an 8 year old one.

The original Starbuck was one of my favorite characters of all time, so to turn him into a her pissed me off a bit.  However, much like the new Star Trek movie, if you are able to forget everything you remembered about the original show then the new one was actually pretty good.  I always hoped Dirk would find his way back to Galactica like Richard Hatch did, but alas it wasn't meant to be.

Music Non Stop: new Unearth

Unearth is a mixed bag for me. The Oncoming Storm was pretty solid...for metalcore. It wasn't ground-breaking like Killswitch Engage, it was good. III: In the Eyes of Fire literally had one good song, This Glorious Nightmare. And The March...well...yeah.

Unearth is almost like the Iron Maiden of metalcore. Simply put, when you have heard one Unearth song, you have pretty much heard them all. With all that said, their new song Eyes of Black from their upcoming album, Darkness in the Light, is actually pretty good. Solid drumming, a nice little guitar solo, and of course the trademark breakdown make this song enjoyable. I might check this out.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thoughts Without Words: I thought teachers were the cause...

...of the budget problems. That's what I always hear on the radio and read online. Teachers are greedy and if they were to take furlough days or pay cuts then all the budget problems could be gone. In our district our new superintendent is getting $20,000 more than our old sup, and she was only there for 2 years. So some people might be shocked by this, but for's nothing new.
For a new position, chief of intensive support and intervention, the commission approved a salary of $171,312. The commission, at an April meeting, had previously set a five-step salary range beginning at $137,496. The amended salary is set at the top step of the range. This position will be held by newcomer Donna Muncey.
So an increase of over $30,000, yet L.A. Unified is going through a ton of cuts. And yet when the teachers refuse to take furlough days or pay cuts, they are the evil greedy ones. I love education.

The Sun Always Shines on T.V.: Voltron Force

Ahh the 80's. Gotta love em. One of my favorite shows growing up was Voltron. It was awesome. 5 giant lion robots that can transform and connect into one giant robot...with a freakin' blazing sword!! It was awesome. It ranked up their with G-Force (Battle of the Planets) in terms of coolness.

But like Thundercats, the powers that be want to update it. Now this was done once before and it didn't go so well. So maybe this time is different? Apparently the show takes place about 10 years after the original show and there are new cadets...really? Are they really necessary? Anyway here is the first look at the show.

What was that? That animation is something you see on a Flash animation site or worse yet the Nintendo CD-i! This looks bad...really really bad.

Maybe Thundercats will be better.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Music Non Stop: In Flames - Deliver Us

I like In Flames. I can't deny it. They were one of the first bands that got me into the heavier type of metal with Clayman. If I had to describe that earlier sound it was almost like Iron Maiden with harsh/death vocals. Well like other bands, their sound evolved. The band that put out Whoracle & Clayman is pretty much gone. They came close to recapturing that early sound on Come Clarity. Sense of Purpose, their last album, was bland...and I think that is being nice. That was probably their first album since Whoracle that I just couldn't "get into". Reroute to Remain & Soundtrack to Your Escape were solid with Reroute to Remain actually being one of my top 3 In Flames albums.

Well enough rambling about the past. They have a new album coming out, Sounds of a Playground Fading. Not the most metal sounding title, but it's In Flames, I'll give it a chance. Their first single, Deliver Us, came out and it has a sort of Reroute to Remain/Come Clarity feel to it. I know it is one song, but it's not as bad as I was thinking it would be.

Inside Four Walls: Where's the radical button?

So yesterday my students were taking a test and I will loan out a calculator if a student forgot theirs. So during the test a student came up and asked, "Where's the radical button on this calculator?" I thought it was pretty obvious...just sitting there next to the x^2 button. So I pointed it out to the student to which they responded, "that's the square root button, I need the radical button." I must have gave a pretty funny expression because my TA started to laugh a little. I told the student, "you do realize a radical is a square root?" To which the student said "oh yeah...I forgot."

Funny, but at the same time a bit sad. This is a Geometry student. I have had a lot of "really?" type questions and this one is now one of my favorites. It's up there with the student who put in 0 * (-4) because the student wanted to make sure it was 0 and not -0. Good times.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Free Speech for the Dumb: Rashard Mendenhall

So as the U.S. and the world are celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden, Rashard Mendenhall (a running back for the Steelers) decided to share his views;
What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side...
Wow...that's pretty amazing. I wonder what bin Laden's side was? Oh's because we are Americans. This genius decides to keep on rolling though into Charlie Sheen type territory;
We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style
conspiracy theorist!!! I know the NFL is in lock out right now, so maybe if Mendenhall isn't too busy he can go ahead and read this Popular Mechanics article that explains how a plane can "take a skyscraper down".

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Thoughts Without Words: Bin Laden is Dead

Pretty amazing to say the least. I was turning into one of those people who thought he would die of kidney failure before we got him. I got to give credit to Obama and the CIA who really upped the pressure and the drone strikes that eventually killed him.