Archive | January, 2012

Reflections # 7 Choices (again)

28 Jan

They say that once you hit the floor there is no where to go, but up. On your way back up, you realize the truths and realities that life has to offer. Its also a realization that everyone has their own personal struggles and that children of God it is our duty to help each other during our time of need.

Now that I see people bouncing off the floor, I can say that I understand that people CHOOSE to have their life full of positivity and appreciation of life. Sometimes we hit the floor because of the choices we make or the people we surround ourselves by. We CHOOSE to surround ourselves with positive people. We also CHOOSE to help out others that are in need whether it maybe financially, physically or simply during a time in need.

Babies and dogs have been my inspiration: they do whatever makes them smile, they eat whenever they are hungry, smile when they mean it, and love others unconditionally. On the contrary, adulthood makes us CHOOSE these options instead of doing them instinctively. Life is a choice and I’m thankful that I have the self- will and legal status in this country to CHOOSE what makes me happy. Its always nice to be able to go to work and surround myself with positive people or at least offer an ear or helping hand to those that are hurting on the inside and vice versa: I have some phenomenal co-workers that are my inspiration for positivity in my life or have offered a lending hand. What is more amazing is that I have to see these people everyday and that we still manage to foster our work and personal relationships.

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Marina and the Diamonds

18 Jan

2010 had a rough end for me. Music helped me get through the rough patch. Once you hit the floor there’s nowhere to go but up. Its even harder when many people don’t understand your choices. Marina and the Diamonds helped ease the pain. Here’s two of her songs: “Are You Satisfied?” and “I am Not a Robot.” The later of the two songs starts off in “you,” but eventually the listener realizes that the singer is singing to herself.

People like to tell you what you’re gonna be
It’s not my problem if you don’t see what I see
And I do not give a damn if you don’t believe/Are you satisfied?/ Once you cross the line will you be satisfied?

“Better to be hated than loved for what you are not” – She wrote the song to herself

Reflection on the 4 Agreements

12 Jan

Its funny to me when I see people not following the 4 agreements especially when its a family member. One in particular follows the 4 Disagreements, if you ask me. ha ha Hey that comment was against the first agreement, but I’m being impeccable and I truly mean it…. right?

 

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

26 Life Lessons Learned by Age 26

12 Jan

Now that I’m 27, this article makes sense

Taken from http://www.marcandangel.com/2008/02/06/26-life-lessons-learned-by-age-26/

  1. Being an adult can be fun when you are acting like a child.
  2. Love has nothing to do with looks, but everything to do with time, trust, and interest.
  3. Laughing, crying, joy and anger… All are a vital.  All make us human.
  4. The greatest truths in life are uncovered with simple, steady awareness.
  5. Greed will bury even the lucky eventually.
  6. Bad things do happen to good people.
  7. Paving your own road is intelligent only if nobody has gone exactly where you are going.
  8. Uncertainty is caused by a lack of knowledge.  Hesitation is the product of fear.
  9. Time heals all wounds… regardless of how you feel right now.
  10. Most of the time what you are looking for is right in front of you.
  11. Your health is your life.
  12. Chance is a gift, so act on chance when given the opportunity.
  13. Kindness and hard work will take you further than intelligence.
  14. People deserve a second chance, but not a third.
  15. Marry your best friend.
  16. Take lots of pictures.  Someday you’ll be really glad you did.
  17. Money makes life easier only when the money is yours free and clear.
  18. Carelessness is the root of failure
  19. Your actions now create memories you will reminisce and talk about in your elder years.
  20. Stepping outside of your comfort zone will put things into perspective from an angle you can’t grasp now.
  21. Motivation comes in short bursts.  Act while it’s hot.
  22. Purposely ignoring the obvious is like walking backwards toward the enemy.
  23. Taking ownership of failure builds the foundation for success.
  24. First impressions are completely worthless 50% of the time.
  25. Personal glory lasts forever.
  26. If you never act, you will never know for sure.

60 Ways to Make Life Simple Again

12 Jan

From http://www.marcandangel.com/2010/11/01/60-ways-to-make-life-simple-again/

60 Ways To Make Life Simple Again

 

When we were young life was easier, right?  I know sometimes it seems that way.  But the truth is life still is easy.  It always will be.  The only difference is we’re older, and the older we get, the more we complicate things for ourselves.

You see, when we were young we saw the world through simple, hopeful eyes.  We knew what we wanted and we had no biases or concealed agendas.  We liked people who smiled.  We avoided people who frowned.  We ate when we were hungry, drank when we were thirsty, and slept when we were tired.

As we grew older our minds became gradually disillusioned by negative external influences.  At some point we began to hesitate and question our instincts.  When a new obstacle or growing pain arose, we stumbled and a fell down.  This happened several times.  Eventually we decided we didn’t want to fall again, but rather than solving the problem that caused us to fall, we avoided it all together.

As a result, we ate comfort food and drank alcohol to numb our wounds and fill our voids.  We worked late nights on purpose to avoid unresolved conflicts at home.  We started holding grudges, playing mind games, and subtly deceiving others and ourselves to get ahead.  And when it didn’t work out, we lived above our means, bought things we didn’t need, and ate and drank some more just to make ourselves feel better again.

Over the course of time, we made our lives more and more difficult, and we started losing touch with who we really are and what we really need.

So let’s get back to the basics, shall we?  Let’s make things simple again.  It’s easy.  Here are 60 ways to do just that:

  1. Don’t try to read other people’s minds.  Don’t make other people try to read yours.  Communicate.
  2. Be polite, but don’t try to be friends with everyone around you.  Instead, spend time nurturing your relationships with the people who matter most to you.
  3. Your health is your life, keep up with it.  Get an annual physical check-up.
  4. Live below your means.  Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.  Always sleep on big purchases.  Create a budget and savings plan and stick to both of them.
  5. Get enough sleep every night.  An exhausted mind is rarely productive.
  6.  Get up 30 minutes earlier so you don’t have to rush around like a mad man.  That 30 minutes will help you avoid speeding tickets, tardiness, and other unnecessary headaches.
  7. Get off your high horse, talk it out, shake hands or hug, and move on.
  8. Don’t waste your time on jealously.  The only person you’re competing against is yourself.
  9. Surround yourself with people who fill your gaps.  Let them do the stuff they’re better at so you can do the stuff you’re better at.
  10. Organize your living space and working space.  Read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done for some practical organizational guidance.
  11. Get rid of stuff you don’t use.
  12. Ask someone if you aren’t sure.
  13. Spend a little time now learning a time-saving trick or shortcut that you can use over and over again in the future.
  14. Don’t try to please everyone.  Just do what you know is right.
  15. Don’t drink alcohol or consume recreational drugs when you’re mad or sad.  Take a jog instead.
  16. Be sure to pay your bills on time.
  17. Fill up your gas tank on the way home, not in the morning when you’re in a hurry.
  18. Use technology to automate tasks.
  19. Handle important two-minute tasks immediately.
  20. Relocate closer to your place of employment.
  21. Don’t steal.
  22. Always be honest with yourself and others.
  23. Say “I love you” to your loved ones as often as possible.
  24. Single-task.  Do one thing at a time and give it all you got.
  25. Finish one project before you start another.
  26. Be yourself.
  27. When traveling, pack light.  Don’t bring it unless you absolutely must.
  28. Clean up after yourself.  Don’t put it off until later.
  29. Learn to cook, and cook.
  30. Make a weekly (healthy) menu, and shop for only the items you need.
  31. Consider buying and cooking food in bulk.  If you make a large portion of something on Sunday, you can eat leftovers several times during the week without spending more time cooking.
  32. Stay out of other people’s drama.  And don’t needlessly create your own.
  33. Buy things with cash.
  34. Maintain your car, home, and other personal belongings you rely on.
  35. Smile often, even to complete strangers.
  36. If you hate doing it, stop it.
  37. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.
  38. Apologize when you should.
  39. Write things down.
  40. Be curious.  Don’t be scared to learn something new.
  41. Explore new ideas and opportunities often.
  42. Don’t be shy.  Network with people.  Meet new people.
  43. Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you.
  44. Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven, and likeminded.
  45. Don’t text and drive.  Don’t drink and drive.
  46. Drink water when you’re thirsty.
  47. Don’t eat when you’re bored.  Eat when you’re hungry.
  48. Exercise every day.  Simply take a long, relaxing walk or commit 30 minutes to an at-home exercise program like the P90X workout.
  49. Let go of things you can’t change.  Concentrate on things you can.
  50. Find hard work you actually enjoy doing.
  51. Realize that the harder you work, the luckier you will become.
  52. Follow your heart.  Don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires.
  53. Set priorities for yourself and act accordingly.
  54. Take it slow and add up all your small victories.
  55. However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  Accept this simple fact.
  56. Excel at what you do.  Otherwise you’ll just frustrate yourself.
  57. Mature, but don’t grow up too fast.
  58. Realize that you’re never quite as right as you think you are.
  59. Build something or do something that makes you proud.
  60. Make mistakes, learn from them, laugh about them, and move along.

Top 11 Songs of 2011

11 Jan

Something else I had to get out of my system:

Technically its top 8, but I encountered 3 older songs that I felt were worth mentioning.

 

1. Luna  (unplugged)– Zoe and Lo Blondo from Hello Seahorse!

Even after listening to this song for the five hundreth time, I still get chills at hearing the opening guitar strums. Lo Blondo’s voice is flawless blended in with the beautiful cello. The chorus: a climactic peak of musical emotions foreshadowed with Lo Blondo’s vocal ornaments. Definitely one of the best songs I have ever heard recorded. And it’s live.

 

2. Espiral- Porter

Technically it’s not a 2011 song, but it was a new song to me. The 3 descending notes at the beginning of the song automatically create the haunting mood of the song. Juan Son’s voice works wonders in the mysterious song. The changing time signature make this song almost unpredictable. It’s a perfect combination of a rock band with almost minimal orchestral arrangements that are only used when needed. And that guitar. Its almost telling a story of its own. Just wait for the second half of the song. The narrator’s desperation and anxiety almost appear right before your eyes. It slowly oh so slowly builds to the climax of the song.  Check out the youtube version at Vive Latino of this band.

 

3. Muralismo –Aparato!

The live version of this song floating around youtube is better than the recorded version. The song is a combination of the mariachi guitarron, dreamy guitar, jarana, powerful vocals, socially conscious lyrics and creative drums combined in one. They had me at guitarron with rock band, but this song takes much more than one listen to truly digest. This is a fusion dream. I can’t wait to see them live.

 

4. Velo de Novia – Hello Seahorse!

The last track of Hello Seahorse’s latest CD, I simply thought, “why would they leave this song at the end of the CD?” Lo Blondo’s vocals are amazing once again. She has vocally developed so much from the first HS CD. In this song, its hard not to get sucked into her operatic beautifully haunting voice. This is a mariachi song at its core, if you ask me. The girl could do an opera or mariachi CD without a problem.

 

5. Daphne – Porter

Also not a 2011 song, but I just encountered Porter. “I don’t know why I love it down here.” Perfect lyrics for a chorus of a melancholic CD.  Porter has a knack of using changing beats and meters to engage and emphasize certain lyrics especially the chorus. The song is quite minimalist with few instruments, but it’s a great melancholic song.

 

6.Born this Way – Lady Gaga

Hey, the song is covered by mariachis and has been embraced by so many people. Add the flash mobs and you’ve got a song that will stick around for a long time. I really like the song has such a positive message. A happy song! This is the mariachi version:

 

7. La Negra- La Santa Cecilia

LSC makes me proud of being a Latina from SoCal. They embody innocence, happiness, excellent musicianship, creativity, and traditions all in one. Who else can blend norteño accordions, cumbia, jazz guitars, and powerful vocals? Again, a fusion dream.

 

8. Somos Mas Americanos- Los Tigres del Norte y Zach de La Rocha

A norteño song with the modern twist. Can you think a better way of unifying generations than with music and a socially conscious message?

 

9. Obstaculo – Ana Tijoux

She sounds gangsta’ with her beats and flow, but she’s got a message in almost all her songs. Her flowing skills are superb at 0:49.

 

 

10. So Easy- UnDVided

This group of 13 year olds is one to watch. I’m completely biased because Klarissa, the lead singer, is someone I know off stage. The lead guitarist (Jakob/Logan) is phenomenal.  Can you think of many 13 year olds that can write a song complete with amazing guitar solos and a great chorus? “Getting over me was so damn easy” are the lyrics that will stick with you even after you’re done listening to the song. Listen to the song and remind yourself that they are only 13.

 

11.  Melodia de tu Alma – Paulina Rubio

Also not a 2011 song, but I just bought the CD. La Pau still has it in her to create meaningful songs that are beyond radio friendly hits.

New CD’s I’m looking forward to in 2012

11 Jan

I had to get this out of my system:

I’m mainly sticking to the local musicians since mainstream music/radio has really gotten on my nerves. Please support all of the local musicians by liking them on facebook or attending their shows.

  1. Quetzal

Oh Quetzal its been sooooo long! I almost peed my pants when I heard you had a new CD. Eeek! Socially conscious lyrics with odd meters, jaranas, Martha’s impeccable and versatile voice… ahhh. I can’t wait. Their new CD is going to be released under the Smithsonian Folkways Tradiciónes series.

 

Here’s a preview of their CD: http://soundcloud.com/smithsonian-folkways/imaginaries-by-quetzal-from

 

Tie for 2. Fadia Mosri and Ruby Castellanos

 

Fadia Mosri

The former Taller Sur member has spent a really long time getting ready for her CD release. After securing a performance at a NAMM event in 2012, Fadia released a preview of her first single. Wow! Can’t wait to see her performance.  http://www.fadiamosri.com/

 

Ruby Castellanos

The founder/owner of Taller Sur and Orange County Music Award nominated singer/songwriter is looooong overdue for an EP. Almost solely responsible for trova/nueva canción movement during recent years in Orange County, Ruby has been taking her time to work on her latest creation. Ruby allowed me to listen to one of her tracks a few weeks ago: if she plays her cards right she can become bigger than she can think of.

 

 

http://www.facebook.com/taller.sur1

 

4. UnDVided

Gotta love these kids! 2011 saw them land a spot in the 2012 NAMM, play the House of Blues, Coachhouse, Whisky a Go Go, the Galaxy, OC Fair… and they’re only 13. I should get their autographs before they end up on KROQ’s top 40. I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings.

http://www.undvided.com/

 

5. Pilar Diaz

The front woman of now defunct Los Abandoned worked in Chile for her new EP. She has a skill for creating melodic songs that always get stuck in my head. Her end of the year “Confessions” email to her fans also struck a chord with me and now I would love to support her newest EP.

http://www.pilardiazmusic.com/

 

6. Aparato!

Jaranas with an operatic voice and rock influences equate to one of the most original groups that I have seen in a long time. Check out their video of “Murolismo”

http://www.facebook.com/aparatoband

 

7. Jesse y Joy

Inspiring lyrics and great song writing have been making me get anxious for their new CD.

http://www.facebook.com/JesseyJoyOficial

 

8. Kelly Clarkson

The girl can sing. I hope she can continue to do so without another mediocre album.

 

9. No Doubt

They’re just due for some new material.

 

10. Madonna

Please don’t let it be like the last CD and more like “Confessions on a Dance Floor” and the really early stuff. Give us something fresh and original.