In-Depth Post #6

*Sorry for the late post, my internet (and Flash) crashed and deleted a majority of my blog post and due to my internet not being good I couldn’t upload things, luckily Elyssa put it on SoundCloud!*

Here’s the recording of Today by the Smashing Pumpkins (sans singer). There’s no Guitar Hero in the background this time :)

As you saw/heard above, the Dysfunctional Eagles completed their first recording last practice. We’re a little bit behind schedule since we’re only practicing 2 songs at the moment, but we’ll work to fix that as soon as possible.

During my last session with my mentor, I learned how to do a blues jam/chord progression. I will include this in my next blog post for sure, as currently I can’t really upload my recordings. During my next session with my mentor I’m going to learn the C Pentatonic Scale, so I’ll make sure to include that as well.

The blues jam/chord thing is pretty much a chord progression of:



B A E B (repeat)

Pretty much this plays in the background while the soloist makes up a whole bunch of cool stuff (improv solos).

My mentor taught me that just strumming the chord once per beat would give an acoustic feel to the song. If I wanted a rock feel, I would have to strum/mute the power chord (the bottom two strings – you strum them then stop them using your palm) to a pattern of triplets and playing the 1st and 3rd section of each triplet:

1 . . 2 . . 3 . . 4 . . (repeat)

I know it looks weird but it would sound like this: Link (see 0:21 – 0:24)

A power chord is usually the first and the fifth note of a scale (C power chord = C + G) However, on the different beats, we added a finger (therefore raising the note) or two on the second string (This will be much easier to understand with audio so I will make sure to record and post next week!) It would look like this in the key of C, although I played it in E:

G  GA  GB♭ GA  G

1 . . 2 . . 3 . . 4 . . (repeat)

It was hard to play the B♭ (or the D in my case) as it was 3 frets higher than G and you needed to stretch a total of 6 frets on certain chords, which kinda hurts a lot.

Concepts that my mentor has tackled with me would be mostly the Blues scale and I guess the concept of Musical Style, because playing your right hand differently changed the style of music you play.

Since my mentor kind of just teaches me things, there isn’t really alternatives, as he often knows what’s the most optimal way to play something on the guitar. An alternative could be the key we play in. I mentioned that you needed to stretch 6 frets on the Blues scale at one point; on most keys you have to do this for all 3 chords that are played, but in the key of E, only the last (B) chord requires this stretching. Also in terms of alternatives, the Dysfunctional Eagles have found an alternative to Green Day; we’ve decided instead to try Pink’s Perfect (it turns out there was a censored version; this is the same song from my last blog post) since it’s well known (like Green Day’s Basket Case) and so far it has worked out well.

That sums up my blog post for this week; I’ll make sure to post audio recordings of myself for sure next blog post or maybe as a 0.5 post.

In dept post #4

During the past two weeks for in-depth, I have begun working on time signatures with my mentor. For those of you who don’t know, a time signature is two numbers placed at the beginning of a song, which indicate how many beats are placed in each bar. For example, in a 4/4 time signature, there are 4 beats per bar, and each quarter note is worth 1 beat. In 3/2 time, each half note is worth one beat, and there are 3 beats in a bar. It is important to choose the right one to fit your melody. Generally, 4/4 is the most common time signature since it is versatile and easy to read. ¾ is also very common, but, only works for certain melodies. A time signature such as 2/4 would only be common in songs such as marching songs. Time signatures such as 12/8 are hard to read, and therefore aren’t used all that often. However, they are still used in some odd songs that require the beats to be sub-divided be three (each single beat can be divided into 3 parts, rather than the stander 2 or 4). Upon asking whether it would be better to try to work in a 12/8, 3/4 or 4/4 time, my mentor said that 4/4 will generally be the best since it is versatile and easy to use. When asking why this would be ideal, he explained that the large majority of songs use this time signature since it allows you to play in either a swung or straight-eight rhythm without any difficulties, and because we listen to it so much, our braings will usually think up melody ideas in a 4/4 time signature anyways.

However, I must still learn how to use the other ones. To do this, we have taken songs that use some of the more complex time signatures, such as 12/8, and have begun to break them down into smaller pieces. For example, in a 12/8 song, you need to look at each note as being 3 beats. There are then 4 of these 3 beat notes, so instead of a standard quarter note being viewed as one beat, you must count one quarter note plus an eighth note. This can get complicated, but after working through it for a while, it becomes relatively easy.

We also began to work on a new technique for writing melodies. This involves taking the chord progressions from a previous song, and writing a new melody over top of it. Upon asking what the benefits of this were, my mentor answered that this is very helpful since the chord progressions will already be well laid out, and the rhythm section won’t be as hard to create. Instead, you only need to be coming up with a melody, rather than an entire song. Although I may tend to value originality in music, it seems that my mentor places some of his values in improving what has already been done. The way he sees it, there is no point in re-inventing the wheel. He explained that many artists take old songs and build off of them, since it allows them to focus more on aspects of the song such as the melody, and not have to spend too much time working on the rest of the song. Although I still wish to make original compositions, this does make sense to me.



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Eminent 2015 Biblography-Parsons

As Eminent wraps up, here are my sources on Shane McConkey

1. McConkey – This was a documentary fallowing his whole life. It focused on his many accomplishments and the inspiring life he lived. I would recommend this to anyone just at an awesome movie.

2. Shane McConkey Wiki – I know that Wikipedia isn’t the first place we should be looking but I used this site for factual stuff like date of birth and hometown.

3. Mens Journal – This web page was about Shane’s final moments.

4. About Shane McConkey – This site had a lot of good info of Shane’s life, all of which matched up with the documentary.

5. National Geographic – This site was about some of Shane’s more extreme moments and how his wife was coping with the stress.


Interview Post: Part 1

In my opinion, the most difficult part of the entire Eminent project might have been the interview, and more so, finding one.

Though the time of my eminent project, I searched further from home than closer, and was attempting to reach more difficult people to interview. After many hours searching for people to contact, it seemed that almost all of them did not want to be interviewed or in fact even contacted, by a non-recognizable source I assumed.

Strangely enough, after the Night of the Notables, which is suppose to be the end of the Eminent project, I thought of an idea of who I shall interview. About a month before the Eminent project, I attended the Theater Sports cultural event at Grandview Island, where I met Scott Patey, a stand-up comedian and a stage performer. A day after eminent officially ended I thought about how perfect it would be to interview Mr. Patey, since my Eminent person, Rowan Atkinson, was much like Mr. Patey.

At the end of December and after a few e-mails between the director of theater sports and myself, I was finally able to get a hold of Mr. Patey and set up an interview. Now at around early January, I am contacting him and sending him my interview questions for him to respond at this convenience.

Finally (for real this time) I am almost done this project.


The Aftermath

Ahh yes, the Night of the Notables is over. While I am in part relived, sad, and totally exhausted, I am mostly pleased with the amount of improvement since last’s years Night of the Notables.

My initial goals for this project were: Find a good person (better then last year) who I understood and intrigued me, have my speech completed at least three days before eminent, and improve my public speaking/relations skills with my speech and learning center. I definitely accomplished the first one. The second one, however . . . I actually more started my speech three days before eminent. In my defense, I had ideas, I just hadn’t written them down. The speech went amazingly, though. The third, well, I had fun talking to people at my station; I don’t know if they did.

As for the night itself, it was kinda stressful. With everyone rushing to complete their learning centers, and I had a whole costume/makeup/wig getup to get into (I had to go to choir dressed like that; not fun.) I barely had enough time to set up  my learning center before we were all being called down for speeches.

That, is what I am most proud of, the speech. If you go on the TALONS flickr page, you will see several shots of me yelling angrily at the crowd to fight me.  Unfortunately, the minute the speeches were done and we were all in our dazed, “what? speeches are done?” mode, we heard the doors opening and the crown coming out. Well, it was a mad dash for learning centers after that. Luckily, we all got to our stations in time. I had a lot of fun talking to people and occasionally sword fighting them, if they requested it. I was a lot busier then last year, though that might not so much have been me as the cheese that I had on my table. The best question I got asked was by this one guy who said “But why was she so . . . tense???” 

One of the main things I learned during this project was about getting into character. I thought this project was more about finding out thins about your person, researching them, but when I started writing my speech and really got into her character, acting like her, I understood her a lot better and it showed in the rest of my work.

I could not have completed this project without a whole lot of help. First of all, the biggest and brightest thank-you goes to my sister, Emily. When I told her who I was going to be for eminent this year, so was immediately intrigued and, as she has both a talent and love for sewing, offered to help me with my costume. Now, as I am quite hopeless with sewing and the more crafty things, her “helping” was more me showing her pictures of what I imagined, and her creating me the best costume I could have imagined. The end result was a shirt, vest, hat, scarf, gloves and jacket that turned me into the most swashbuckling opera singer ever to swashbuckle. She also gave me so much encouragement for both learning center and speech alike, turning my piddly small-stemmed ideas into an amazing garden. Thank, Em.

My other thank-yous go mostly to my friend in the TALONS class (namely Vanessa F, Emma and Alison) and my parents, both of whom gave me ideas, prompted me, encouraged me, and told me to get off my butt and start actually doing things. I received a lot of help with my learning and my speech. Another thank-you to whatever other poor souls I dragged down and forced them to listen to me repeating “FIGHT ME” over and over.

The best thing I will remember about this eminent night was the big group hug backstage, right before grade then speeches. Each of us were a bundle of nervous energy, having repeated and edited our speeches over and over as the day went bye. You could see people muttering lines, or practicing gestures, or teh few that gave up and were sitting down trying to sleep. Eventually, though, after we heard everyone sitting down and w had all gone over our transitions so many times, we had a big group hug backstage and just wished everyone the best luck. Because we just want everyone else to do well. It’s a great group dynamic. And you bet every time someone came off the stage from finishing their speech, they were surrounded by the rest of the class, being told how good they did.

And now, it’s over. And I know I did good because for once, I don’t want to redo it.



Well, here we are. I never actually made it this far last year because I didn’t finish my posts, but now here I am and it feels good. Also, happy birthday to me!

Here is everything I used over the course of this project:

Wikipedia article: The general wikipedia article for Banksy. This includes a general overview of his career, information on the possibility of his identity, notable artworks, technique, social and political themes, and his critics.

Banksy’s Webpage: Banksy’s website, includes photostreams of public arts, photostream of sketches and drawings, information about films Banksy has produced and directed, and Q+A.

Wikipedia article (Graffiti): General information on various types of graffiti, legality, etc.

Exit Through the Gift Shop: Film directed by Banksy, discusses works both public and private by Banksy and other street artists.

/r/graffiti: Subreddit about graffiti, less focused on art and more on ‘tagging’ (the act of painting your name or graffiti handle in public spaces. Interview source.

/r/streetart: More general subreddit of other types of street art such as stencil art, wheat paste, and 3D installations.


Art installation featured in ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, piece built by ‘Mr. Brainwash.’


Welcome to Katherine’s Guide to Searching the Web for Badass, Bisexual 17th-Century Swordfighting-Opera Singers.

Badass of the Week: Julie D’Aubigny

This site is probably my favorite site of all the ones I visited. The writing style was . . . unconventional, but despite that it told the most accurate depiction of her story I have yet seen.  I really quite enjoyed this article and you’ll find that many other sites/articles about her quote it.

Rejected Princesses

This site is where I first learned about Madame du Maupin, simply because I was scrolling through the internet and stumbled upon this gem of a website. Dedicated to reporting the women too badass, violent or unknown to have movies made about them, it’s a great article if you want to learn about her.

This site is the most extensive and informative of all the sites I visited. It’s the longest article, with plenty of sources. I quite appreciated the writing style, which was professional yet not boring or plain. If you want to get the most relevant and accurate information, this site would be the best.


This site is dedicated to famous opera singers, so I was really pleased to find Madame du Maupin on it. Again, an unconventional writing style (seems to happen a lot with Julie . .  wonder why.)

The Daily Dot

A really great article which, along with copious illustrations, focuses not only on her life and tales but also on the effect she had on society and the questions about her life/gender/adventures.  It’s handy if you want to know more about the whole ripple affect of her life.

One of the more sophisticated articles written about her.  It’s a good read, and it captures the mystery and enigmas that surrounded her life. Illustrations included.

La Maupin

This is a website entirely dedicated to Madame du Maupin. The article on Eldacur originally led me to this, since the author has a big interest on her life. While it hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s still got valuable info.

Exclamation Point

This little article was something I found while browsing tumblr quite by accident. It’s short, but a lot of condensed information and opinions shoved into five paragraphs.


Ah yes, good ol’ wikipedia. Some teachers will scorn you for using this, but I found it quite helpful. You can also find links to the different operas she acted in and movies/plays done about her.


INTERVIEW PART 2!!!!! (On Going)

OF COURSE! RIGHT WHEN I FINISH POSTING ABOUT MY FAILED INTERVIEWS, I THEN FINALLY GET A REPLY BACK :D I just got back from the Stanley Park Train Ride cultural event and when I opened up my email, this was the first thing I see! I couldn’t wait so I just decided to write the blog post right now, since why not? This is still an on going interview! This is very late, but I thought since my interviewer put lots of effort into this interview, why not post another interview blog post right? But before reading this, please check my previous interview blog post to understand this better :D

The person who emailed me back was Paul Gooding (, a coach at the Bedford and County Athletics Club. I was very amazed with his reply because he is so helpful! He wrote:

Hello Nicole,

Unfortunately I’m not in a very good position to answer your questions. Paula joined the club in circa 1987, but by the mid 1990’s was largely based elsewhere (as indeed she is now). Whilst I myself was a member of the club in the 1970’s, I then left (having moved away from Bedford) circa 1980 and was a member of various other clubs up until quite recently when I returned to the club. Hence I have no first hand observation to inform a response to your first two questions.

I will, however, forward your email to Paula’s long-term coach, in case he is in a position to respond.

In terms of the effect on the club, I can only comment based on a slightly remote perspective. Again, Paula’s coach (and others who were around at the time) would have a more informed view. But there is no doubt that she had a very positive influence as an inspiration to a generation of female middle-distance/endurance runners, as you might expect, and Bedford experienced an prolonged period of success in this discipline over the years when Paula was developing as an athlete and thereafter whilst she was at the height of her career.

It is also clearly the case that she heightened the profile of the club – for many, Bedford became synonymous with Paula (which perhaps led to a lack of appreciation by some of the considerable achievements of other club members during this period).

That said, over the years her direct contact with the club has reduced considerably, as her profile and athletic commitments have led to her necessarily being away from Bedford for much of the time. I’m sure that something similar is true of most athletes that achieve success at the very highest level.

I’ll let you know if I get any response to your questions from Paula’s coach. Please don’t be offended if I don’t – the volume of mail we still receive for Paula is huge, as has been the case for many years.



Paul  Gooding

Bedford and County AC

Paul was very considerate when writing this email, which really surprised me. I thought my replies were all going to be so short and straight to the point, but this felt very genuine. And as you can see, this was still slightly an unsuccessful interview, since he only answered one questions. But I’m hoping I will get a reply from her coach, who I assume is Alex Stanton. So, if I do get a reply back from Alex Stanton, then that will be edited in this blog post :)

From this interview, I have learned how to have a proper interview, and that I never have good timing……..But other from that, I have learned that Paula Radcliffe did have an extreme impact on the Bedford and County Athletics Club. If I was in that club and heard about Paula’s success, then yes, I would be even more motivated than I ever was! :D Since Paula proved the impossible to be possible! Yes, I still didn’t learn that much, but we can all just hope that Alex Stanton replies with more answers!

UNTIL THEN, VOILA, and hopefully, I’ll see you again very soon :)


This is finally the last blog post and assignment for Eminent 2014!!! I am tempted to say that Eminent felt like it took a long time, but, surprisingly, with speeches long gone and Night of the Notables being done and over with, it feels like the time passed so fast! Yes, I know, I am just as amazed as you are right now! (And PS: I had an extension on this post) Now getting into what this post is actually supposed to be about: I asked for an extension in hopes that everyone I emailed would reply back, but after weeks and weeks of waiting, I think it’s time to surrender…..I, sadly, could not get a successful interview on the amazing Paula Radcliffe.

In the beginning of my interview hunt, I felt like I didn’t really need an interview because I found out everything I think I needed to know about Paula, but now I realize that isn’t the case. There are multiple things I could still learn about her that searching on Google wouldn’t have answers to. More about her personal struggles, her childhood, her impact on the world, and even more! From wanting to know the answers to all these questions I was wondering about, I was genuinely so excited to read about the all the wonderful information emailed back to me! I thought that some of the questions I asked could impact me by inspiring me in some sort of way. (don’t worry, the questions are listed below) :)

When I finally figured out exactly what I wanted to ask, then came even more struggles! “Now the real question is…who do I ask? How do I ask?” I kept wondering to myself. I don’t know if it was just me, but it took me so long to try to find someone to interview. I thought finding an interview would be easy, and I could just email the author of an autobiography of Paula Radcliffe…that was before I realized that she was the only writer of the only three autobiographies on Paula Radcliffe!!! Yeah, it was at that point when I knew I was doomed! I tried finding her coaches, her physiologist, her family, but no emails showed up. I kept trying and trying, hunting, searching everywhere for someone to interview, but I couldn’t find anyone. At this point, I was willing to try anything! I even tried using Paula Radcliffe’s official site to contact her: which I knew wasn’t going to work, but it was worth a shot. I wrote:


Hello, how are you?

I have been working on a project on Paula Radcliffe and I am wondering if you could help me answer questions I have. If you have the time, It would be very much appreciated if you could email me back with some answers!

These are my questions:

1) What were the struggles Paula Radcliffe had when she was growing up?

2) When was the moment when Paula Radcliffe realized running was her forte and kept pushing and pushing to do her best?

3) What makes Paula Radcliffe love to run?

Sincerely, Nicole Huang

Gleneagle Seconday School

T.A.L.O.N.S. Gifted Program


I then figured out that it would be a good idea to contact the Bedford and County Athletics Club, which is the club Paula joined when she was just 12 years old! I decided to contact them since most of my questions were related to her childhood. Also, because of her coach, Alex Stanton, who was her coach during the club (and still is in the club), but stuck he with her even when she started her professional running career. On the website: I still couldn’t find Alex Stanton’s email, so I just tried emailing all the emails I found on that website, in hopes that one would reply with the right answers! Yeah….that also didn’t work….. :( When I started writing these interviews, I started developing even more meaningful questions that I was so excited to learn about! I tried emailing the club secretary, Tracy Lawrence, the club chairmen, Paul Gooding, the club treasurer, Courtney Gunn, and the club coach coordinator, Allen Adamson. I thought there was no point in writing four different emails, so I just sent the same email to all of them:


Hello, how are you?

I have been working on a project on Paula Radcliffe and I am wondering if you could help me answer questions I have. If you have the time, It would be very much appreciated if you could email me back with some answers!

These are my questions:

1) In the first few years after Paula Radcliffe joined your athletic club, what were the main struggles you noticed about her?

2) Once Paula Radcliffe joined your club, did you notice she had something in her that stood out from the rest? If so, what stood out?

3) After Paula’s success, how did that impact your club?

Sincerely, Nicole Huang

Gleneagle Seconday School

T.A.L.O.N.S. Gifted Program

Yes, I didn’t not email as many people as I should’ve, and I will try to improve on that for next year’s interview! I think I could’ve improved by looking even more in depth; trying to see if there were any University students that studied Paula Radcliffe. Or trying to find contacts to people connected to people that are connected to Paula (that just sounded very confusing and “people” and “connected” were used too much in just one sentence…). Anyways, for example: I could’ve contacted someone that is connected to Alex Stanton, Paula Radcliffe’s coach. I probably also will want to send interviews A LOT earlier than I sent them this year, just in case I need more time if no one replies. Then, I will have more than enough time to keep finding more people to contact! Hopefully….just hopefully, I will remember that for next year….and hopefully, just hopefully, I will not procrastinate next year…..!!!

Thank you all for reading this disappointing interviews :'( But, once again, I hope you all, somehow, enjoyed the stressful but really interesting Eminent project 2014!!!! Stay tuned next year, for EMINENT 2015! And you better all be ready for this…. :) Hope to see all the current grade 10’s be alumni!!! :D OKAY BYE BYE FOR NOW EMINENT BLOG POSTS……..

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Andrea’s Incomplete Interview- 2014

(Basic outline of all my emails, changed depending on who I was addressing)

Hello ______,

My name is Andrea Shao, I am currently a grade 9 student at Gleneagle Secondary and am writing this letter to you requesting for your help. Recently, I have begun a class project where I was assigned to study an eminent person. The person I have decided to study is Jane Austen. I thought it would be a good idea to contact you seeing as you work in the same field that Jane Austen did. If possible, a short interview with you would be great, whether it be in person or over email. I am hoping that you will help me further understand the history of English literature and Jane Austen herself through your own opinions and beliefs. If an interview is not convenient at the moment, any other articles of written work you could point me to would be great! I understand if you cannot get back to me and if recommending another person that could help me is not too much to ask, I would really appreciate it. Thank you for taking your time to read this, I look forward to hearing from you!


Andrea Shao

As you can probably tell from the title of my blog post, I, Andrea Shao, did not get an interview. I am actually surprised at how disappointed I am in not getting one. Though I did not directly learn anything about my eminent person, Jane Austen, in this process, I did happen to experience many life lessons that can help further improve my communications skills. Going through the process of looking for the right person to interview was like no other. At first, I spent hours upon hours looking for the ideal interviewee, but as eminent came to a close, I became more frantic and started to email as many people as I could. In the end, though no one responded to my pleas of help, it was still a great experience and will hopefully help me with the upcoming environmental project interviews.

The first person I had stumbled upon was Park Honan. While I was the library searching for Jane Austen biographies, a certain book caught my eye. The book was titled “Jane Austen: Her Life: The Definitive Portrait of Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Art, Her Family, Her World”. Quite a mouthful isn’t it? This book was roughly around five hundred pages and as I had only been twenty or so pages in, I had already decided I was going to attempt to interview Park Honan. But, alas, fate is never on my side for as I searched him up online, my screen told me he had died around three months ago on September 27, 2014.

So as I, unfortunately, cross him off my list of interviewees, I move onto my next, Lori Smith. Lori was another author of one of many more Jane Austen biographies, “Jane Austen’s Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Women”. This book had been published recently, May of 2012, and was filled with around 200 pages. After a month of waiting, I, (again) unfortunately, realise that a chance of a reply was slim to none.

After my first two attempts, I started to email any small town writer that lived in the BC area or had lived in BC. You would think that with the amount of people I emailed, I would get at least one reply but, sadly, I still got none. This interview process got me thinking on how to approach someone through email. When writing the email, I saw myself focusing on my grammar and politeness more than usual. Thank you(s) were a lot more consistent throughout all my emails, as well as formal introductions. I focused on not being forceful when writing, but more gentle, understanding if they do not get back to me or don’t have the time to do an interview.

Since everyone I emailed had different personalities and ties with Jane Austen in different ways, I was not able to think of broad interview questions I could ask everyone. I really wanted my interview questions to be connected to the interviewee and have them relate to their own personal experiences. Thinking of questions before I got a reply was not ideal to me because that way all the questions would not be personal enough to help me decipher what are fact answers and opinion based answers and what ties the person had with Jane Austen.

Although I am disappointed on not receiving an interview, I am glad that I learned a few communication skills that can hopefully help me for any upcoming interviews. I can definitely assure that next year I will try even harder to get an interview and if I happen to not once again, at least I gained the experience! Already looking forward to the various emails I will be sending out next year! (Good luck Future Andrea)




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    Did you see what I did in the title there? “Andrea’s Notable Night of the Notables Assessment”. I thought it was pretty clever when it popped into my mind ten seconds ago. Good one, Past Andrea. Future Andrea is proud. Anyways, getting back on topic, Night of the Notables! What a crazy night that was.…
    Tags: jane, austen, andrea, questions, eminent
  • 67
    The morning of the SFU library trip, I specifically remember my mom telling my sister and I to bring umbrellas, or at least a jacket, to which I dismissed by saying "Mom, it's not even going to rain and if it does, I'll use Crystal's umbrella." I can now say that I, future Andrea, regret…
    Tags: eminent, experience, austen, jane