Category Archives: Random

A little nature, tech and creativity

While on vacation this summer, we took some time to visit the Hopewell Rocks. We have been there before, and certainly looked forward to the return visit as it is an amazing place. On this particular day, we arrive about 2:00 p.m. to observe the water at high tide, then returned at 6:00 p.m. to explore during the low tide time of evening. I am still astounded at the 41 foot vertical difference in the high tide, low tide water heights.

High Tide

Low Tide


While walking around, a number of us noted a bird screeching from high up one of the rock cliffs. It turned out that the bird was a baby Peregrine Falcon, almost old enough to fly. Unfortunately, I did not have a high powered camera with me, and the lighting was somewhat on the dark side, so it was time to get creative.

The following 3 pictures were taken using an iPod touch ‘looking’ through a set of binoculars. Considering the distance, lighting and make shift approach I was able to get some interesting shots.

Falcon 1

Falcon 2

Falcon 3


What’s cooking?

An interview with Susan Carter Morgan.

What you can do when there is not a computing device or clarinet in your hand. see page 16

I am thrilled to be part of the new Powerful Learning Practice (PLP) Connected Coaches project.

~ Mark

Welcome to 2010

There is no doubt that 2009 has been an exciting year for me on many fronts. I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions because they are typically unrealistic and therefore get broken, and often quickly. However, there is still the ‘what will 2010 bring’ question.

My list is simple in terms of what I promise myself:

  • ongoing commitment to a healthy living style
    • regular exercise
    • eat GI
    • maybe do a little better in the get more sleep department (maybe because I know it is unlikely :-))
    • work at the balance
    • enjoy family, friends, work & play
  • embrace the new opportunities that present themselves
  • make a difference

Each year brings a renewed opportunity to appreciate family, friends, fellow workers and new acquaintances. Certainly the PLP & the related experiences of blogging and exploring the social media tools has been a big part of the ‘new’ this past year. Truthfully, I feel very thankful for the people & opportunities in my life. I anticipate 2010 will bring continued learning, more dialog (online & F2F) regarding educational change, greater use of social media tools and change – yes, more change – yeah!!!  I will embrace 2010 with energy, enthusiasm and a passion to make a difference.

I wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2010.

~ Mark

Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings from my family to yours. Warm wishes for a safe, healthy and happy holiday.

~ Mark

Season's Greetings

The Coke Cake

Perhaps this holiday season you are getting together with family, the folks at work, or some friends through your online connections such as Twitter, PLP Ontario or Facebook.

If you are looking for something a little different (or a lot different) to make, why not give the Coke cake a spin. My sister passed along this recipe to me years ago. I have prepared it several times and each time it was a big hit.

Note: I have used different types of icing in an effort to vary the sugar levels!

Happy Festive Season.

~ Mark


Makes ones 9 x 13 cake.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of coca-cola
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows


  • ½ cup butter
  • 6 tbsp coca-cola
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coca powder
  • 1 pound (2 cups) powdered sugar (not icing sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For Cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl. Melt 1 cup of butter in a heavy sauce pan. Add coca-cola  and cocoa powder and bring just to a boil. Stir into flour mixture. Blend in buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Fold in marshmallows. Pour into pan and bake until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Baking time should be about 35 minutes.

Icing Preparation: Melt butter in heavy medium sized sauce pan. Add coca-cola and coca powder and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold in pecans. Spread icing over hot cake. Serve at room temperature.