Archive | March, 2013

March 31

31 Mar

Happy Easter, Cesar Chavez Day and Selena’s 18 year death anniversary!

 

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Mexico builds border wall to keep out U.S. assholes

26 Mar

From pocho.com via theonion.com

 

http://pocho.com/mexico-builds-border-wall-to-keep-out-u-s-assholes-video/

 

<br /><a href=”http://www.theonion.com/video/mexico-builds-border-wall-to-keep-out-us-assholes,14349/&#8221; target=”_blank” title=”Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out U.S. Assholes”>Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out U.S. Assholes</a>

2012 CD reviews

24 Mar

These are the 2012 CDs I have purchased so far. The only two missing are Kelly Clarkson and Cafe Tacuba which I really don’t fell like spending my money on.

Ana Tijoux- La Bala

What’s better than Ana Tijoux’s “La Bala”? Seeing her live in concert. this woman can rap and sing very very well. I would love to see her backed up with a full symphonic orchestra. I think I would pee my pants. I’ve never been so intrigued by rap/hip hop than with this CD. Its quite simply beautiful. Tijoux puts all of the rappers on the radio to shame. She does the technicolor Harlem inspired hip hop so well. Its hip hop, but its different.  Do yourself a favor and get this thought provoking, beat ridden, orchestral packed, jazz influenced, rap infused CD. You will never think of rap/hip hop the same way again. Quick recap: “La Bala” is an extended metaphor for people ready to act on a social cause. “Desclasificado” crescendo at 2:17 is just WOW. “Sacar La Voz” orchestral- string quartet elements and a Julieta Venegas’ – ish chorus. Its hauntingly beautiful

Grade: A+ the to OCSA student that grew up in Santa Ana, but whose parents took her to music lessons when she turned three and still goes to social protests.

Quetzal – Imaginaries

Polyrhythms, son jarocho with a violin, smooth vocals, cumbia, salsa, a love song, and socially conscious lyrics make up this Grammy winning CD spearheaded by East LA power couple, Quetzal and Martha Flores. it truly takes someone with an open mind to appreciate this CD. Its NOT a typical son jarocho, or a cumbia or a world music category CD. Quetzal is an academically and intellectually powered band. If I were to try to sit here and explain Quetzal and this CD I would write a 10 page paper so just support these Chican@s and buy their CD.

Grade: A+ to the overachieving GATE students of the class who went to UCLA for their Masters, but are still poor

Carla Morrison – Dejenme Llorar

“Apague Mi Mente” is a hauntingly beautiful opening track with a crescendo that works so well. I should incorporate crescendos with my music students more often. All the instruments just work so well with Morrison’s light, thin, airy and sentimental voice.

Her style is minimalistic with melodic “soft” instruments that range from violins, ukuleles, xylophones, and flutes in different parts of the CD. Sometimes its just Morrison with her electric guitar and small ornaments. Her lyrics are painfully honest and direct with what I consider the Jose Afredo Jimenez and Juan Gabriel model: they are not afraid to admit that they are wrong, in love and say what they truly feel in a 3 minute song.  My favorite song: “Hasta la Piel” with its obvious mariachi influence on behalf of the guitarrón.  My only problem with Carla Morrison: Her voice isn’t great and her songs are SO mellow! But she uses her voice so well AND uses tons of instruments to her advantage

Grade: A- to the introvert who is very in love

Marina and the Diamonds – Electra Heart

The spunky Marina is back with an even spunkier CD. Almost all of her songs are upbeat and extremely catchy with phenomenal arrangements. I like this CD better than her previous work. Marina’s forte however is her lyrics. Like CD#1 shes not afraid to say she isn’t perfect and in fact society is all messed up in the head. I mean she writes a song called “How to be a Heartbreaker” “Sex Yeah”  “Homewrecker” that are incredibly catchy. I’m sure that her goal is to trick people into thinking that this CD is a typical bubblegum pop/electronic/techno/ female version of Justin Beiber. Ha were they wrong!

Grade: A  to the student who you would least expect to be talented based on looks and the way she speaks

Natalia Lafourcade- Homenaje a Agustin Lara

What an amazing CD! I have earned a new  level of respect for Natalia. Every CD she comes up with is a work of art. Each one of these should be Grammy winners. I’m so pleasantly amused with this CD in so many ways. How did she land all those duets with so many guys (that ‘ho!), sound like an angel, re-arrange all the songs, produce the CD, and probably play all those instruments as well? I hate her. OK So I love her. She’s my hero for landing a duet with Miguel Bose. Bitch.

Grade: A+ to the musical nerd with the introverted personality

Gaby Moreno- Postales

Talented! What a great song writer! The mood of this  CD reminds me of a Ximena Sariñana’s first CD. However, I didn’t find it as memorable as any other CDs. Its a very mellow mood without truly catchy melodies. I’m a huge melodic fan AKA I’m a pop/catchy chorus fan. The only exception is the first song in the CD “No Estoy Tan Mal.” Maybe this isn’t my cup of tea? I mean shes obviously very talented, buts its so mellow…

Grade B to the “Daria” of the class

P!nk- The Truth About Love

Spunky spunky spunky! Back in the late 90’s with the explosion of wanna be Britney Spears characters like Christina Aguilera, and more : P!nk is the only soloist who struck a “real” chord with many. Almost 15 years later, she is that and much much more. P!nk ‘s latest CD is basically the pop/rock version of Jenni Rivera’s mid-career CDs. Its bold, unapologetic, sentimental, and hey if guys can drink and sleep around, why can’t women? With songs titled “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),”  “Slut Like You,” and “Walk of Shame” there is no denying what message P!nk is trying to place across the table. Her power (distortion guitar driven) pop songs are still there, but now she is adding different elements like marching band style bells/xylophone and much more melodic song elements.

Grade A- to the girl that sleeps around with a bunch of guys and is still down to earth. Basically the marching band  girls.

Chetes- Cardio Sapien

Oh Chetes! You actually disappointed me with this CD. Its IS the first time I have said that about Chetes in his musical career. His CD was produced by the guys from Plastilina Mosh… not a fan of them! (maybe a song or two). Its so basic and electronic for Chetes. He is known for being creative, different, layering a lot of instruments to create an amazing mini-orchestral piece just like the Beach Boys. “Cardio Sapien?” meh.

Grade: C To that one kid you know is a genius, but this isn’t his best work.

Leon Larregui – Solstis

The singer from Zoé’s solo CD. Incredibly mellow and different. Very unique lyrics. But honestly, not my cup of tea. I really couldn’t get through it.

Grade: N/A I’m giving this one to Rocio to grade. I don’t get this kid all by himself.

Miguel Bose – Papitwo

Ah Miguel Bose doing a sequel to his critically acclaimed CD “Papito” (duet remakes of his personal favorite hits with currently popular aritsts). He landed a mostly male cast for this CD. His first two songs are “Linda” with Malú and “Aire” with Ximena Sariñana which are incredible catchy, passionate, and intense. The rest of the CD features an eclectic male cast. Juan Luis Guerra (yawn!), Penelope Cruz (seriously?!), Juanes, Jovanotti, Joaquin Sabina (yay for some trova rep), Tzianno Ferro (Bose’s rumored lover), Aleks Syntek, his niece Bimba , and Alejandro Sanz.  I didn’t find the songs as memorable as the previous CD. However the duets are carefully crafted to met Bose’s style. The only exception is Juan Luis Guerra. He really shouldn’t sing ballads and should stick to his genre.

Grade: B To the obviously sexually confused kid in class that can swoon the ladies and the gentelman, is down to earth AND doesn’t give you the perverted vibe.

Bebe- Un Pokito de Rocanrol

I always said that Bebe’s Cd’s were poetry with background music. CD#1 “Malo” may be the exception. This CD is filled with Bebe’s poetry, but also some highly energetic music that had been missing in her last 2 poetry CD’s. Bebe is always solid in all of her work.

Grade: A- To the Spanish major

EOY- Alibabu

The first 3 songs are great! They are still rockin’ out after their 25 year career. They still have their Nirvana/Pixie power chord rock influence. “Solo Fui Yo” is melodic and their “sho” for saying “yo” is just awesome. However, the rest of the CD is meh! Nothing too memorable. Much worse is that some of the songs sound like rip-offs of their own songs. No bueno for EOY!

Grade C+ To that one kid that always sat in the back with all his Nirvana shirts, long hair and walked around with a guitar in his hand. C’Mon!

🙂  🙂  🙂

10 Little Habits that Steal Your Happiness

16 Mar

We’re all guilty of some of these:

 

from http://www.marcandangel.com

 

You ultimately become what you repeatedly do.  If your habits aren’t helping you, they’re hurting you.  Here are a few examples of the latter that will steal your happiness if you let them:

1.  Focusing on everyone’s story except your own.

Don’t be so satisfied with the success stories of others and how things have gone for them that you forget to write your own.  Unfold your own tale and bring it to life.  You have everything you need to become what you are capable of becoming.  Incredible change happens when you decide to take control.  This meansconsuming less and creating more.  It means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and deciding for you.  It means learning to respect and use your own ideas and instincts to write your passage.

If you want your life story to soar to new heights, you’ve got to clear a path, reduce the time-sinks and burdens weighing you down, and pick up the things that give you wings.  Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day.  If you truly care about what you do and you work diligently at it, there’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish.

2.  Waiting for the perfect moment.

Don’t buy into the myth of the perfect moment.  Moments aren’t perfect; they’re what you make them.  So many people wait around for the stars to align to do what they’re here to do.  The perfect moment, the perfect opportunity, the perfect state of being, etc.  Wake up!  These states of perfection are myths.  They do not exist.

Your ability to grow to your highest potential is directly related to your willingness to act in the face of imperfection.  You will come to succeed not byfinding a perfect moment, but by learning to see and use life’s imperfections perfectly.  Read The Power of Now.

3.  Working for nothing more than a paycheck.

Work without interest is imprisonment.  Even if you aren’t super-passionate about your work, you’ve got to at least be interested in it.  When you design a lifestyle in which your work is something you suffer through daily strictly to pay your bills, you end up spending your entire life wishing you had someone else’s.

Think about it.  This is your life; your work will fill a large percentage of it.  It’s not all about the money; it’s about you.  Ignore the propaganda, especially from people who say, “Don’t let your work define you.”  Reverse this message and mediate on it:  “I will do work that defines me.”  When the essence of who you are defines at least some slice of the work you do for a living, that work generates fulfillment.

Bottom line:  Interest in your work puts quality in your output and happiness in your mind.  Don’t settle for a paycheck.  Shuffle around until you find work that interests you.

4.  Harboring feelings of hate.

As Martin Luther King Jr. so profoundly said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Truth be told, when we harbor feelings of hate, it eventually gets the best of us.  It takes control of us.  We forget why we hate, what we hate, and whom we hate – we simply hate for the sake of hating.  And then, naturally, we begin to hate ourselves too.

Everything and everyone you hate rents permanent space in both your head and heart.  So if you want to eliminate something or someone from your mind, don’t hate.  Instead, disconnect yourself, move on, and don’t look back.  Read The Mastery of Love.

5.  Holding tight to worries and fears.

Someday when you look back over your life you’ll realize that nearly all of your worries and anxious fears never came to fruition – they were completely unfounded.  So why not wake up and realize this right now.  When you look back over the last few years, how many opportunities for joy did you destroy with needless worry and negativity?  Although there’s nothing you can do about these lost joys, there’s plenty you can do about the ones that are still to come.

You will find that it’s necessary to let some things go simply for the reason that they’re heavy on your heart and soul.  Let go of them.  Don’t clamp shackles to your own ankles.  It’s incredibly easy to enjoy more of your life right now, no matter what the situation.  It’s just a matter of letting go of the layers of nonsense that are weighing you down.

Let go of your worries and fears, of your rage and jealousy, of your need to always be right and control others.  Let go of your pretentiousness and your need to have everything your way.  Underneath all these layers of nonsense there is a happy, productive person.  When you start peeling them off and simply appreciating everything for what it is, life can be wonderfully fulfilling.

6.  Dwelling on difficulties.

A bad day is just a bad day.  Choose not to make it anything more.  Times of adversity will inevitably affect the conditions in which you live and work; yet you don’t have to let it affect who you are and where you’re headed.  Take note of the setbacks and adjust to them, but don’t expand on them by making them a bigger part of your life.

Every day brings new lessons and new possibilities.  There is always a way to take the next step forward on the path you’ve chosen.  Events may be terrible and inescapable at times, but you always have choice – if not when, then how, you may endure and proceed onward.

7.  Constantly seeking fleeting contentment.

There are two variations of contentment in life – fleeting and enduring.  The fleeting type is derived from instants of material comfort, while the enduring type is attained through the gradual growth of your mind.  At a glimpse it might be difficult to decipher one from the other, but as time rolls on it becomes vividly obvious that the latter is far superior.

Enduring contentment sustains itself through life’s ups and downs, because through them your mind remains confident and at peace.  On the other hand, when life’s fleeting changes have the ability to ruffle your mind into a frenzy, even the most elaborate physical comforts won’t make you any happier for very long.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.

8. Trying to make a big difference all at once.

If you want to make a difference in the world, start with the world around you.  Making a big difference all at once is usually impossible, and the process of trying is extremely stressful.  However, instantly making a difference in a few lives is entirely possible and usually fairly easy.  You just have to focus on one person at a time and start with the one closest to you.

Work to make a bunch of small splashes, and let the ripples spread naturally.  If you want to change a person’s mind or mood, sometimes you have to change the minds or moods of the people around them first.  For instance, if you make one person smile, their smile just might make others smile too.  In this subtle way, you can touch the masses with your thoughtfulness without stressing yourself out.

9.  Holding on to someone who hurts you.

Sometimes you have to walk away from people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.  When someone hurts you time and time again, accept the fact that they don’t care about you.  It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s necessary medicine.  Do NOT strive to impress them any further.  Waste not another second of your time trying to prove something to them.  Nothing needs to be proven.  Do not act with any thought of them ever again.  Read 1,000 Little Things.

10.  Over-amplifying the importance of physical attractiveness.

Infatuating yourself with someone simply for what they look like on the outside is like choosing your favorite food based on color instead of taste.  It makes no sense.  It’s innate, invisible, unquantifiable characteristics that create lasting attraction.

Just as some people enjoy the smell of mint, while others prefer the scent of cinnamon, there is an undeniable, magnetic draw that attracts you to the qualities of certain people, places, and things.  Sometimes it’s even the scars your soul shares with them that reels you in and creates the very hinges that hold you together in the long run.

El Corazón

16 Mar

Chiquita texts me talking about a issue regarding “matters of the heart”:

“I need to use more of my brain than my heart. I need to get it together. I’m too much of a damn hippie…I know its good for friendship and family, but not dating which is very odd to me (society is so twisted). We would all be better if we’d interact at a higher level of thinking. sigh”

 

I reply (partially):

“Ten cuidado con el corazón
aquí abajo en este
mundo material
te defiendes o te
van a destrozar
por nada…
Ten cuidado con el corazón
con las alas y con
todo lo demás
un descuido y te
pueden desplumar
alerta”  – Alejandra Guzmán

 

Yes, my friend you are correct! Why do you think I’m single! ha ha Maybe we’re just too intellectual for all the love life. Either that or people need to turn into into cold hearted bitches for a love life???  Well I can’t comment much on this topic so enjoy this Alejandra Guzmán video

 

 

Mexico’s Educational System

2 Mar

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/elba-esther-gordillos-arrest-means-future-mexicos-education/story?id=18630829

The president of the teacher’s union in Mexico, Elba Esther Gordillo, was arrested for taking over $200 million from the union. ABC News reports that she was known for her private jet trips, plastic surgeries, and spending over $300 million at a Neiman Marcus store. Um yikes.

Mexico has a national union for its teacher just likes its national curriculum and standards. For years, people have contended that the union is extremely powerful and does nothing for students. In fact, in some parts of Mexico teachers can choose to not show up to work and the union will back up its teachers. Teachers also have no formal training and rely on memorization and direct lecture as their teaching strategies.

The documentary De Panzazo capitalizes on the ongoing education issues that Mexico faces on an everyday basis. And the US thought it had it bad. Mexico’s educational system is a joke and people should stand up for educational rights like the youth did in Chile. Elba Esther Gordillo is interviewed. She definitely gives a scary and awkward vibe. Watch the movie for yourself:

 

Harlem Shake

1 Mar

The Harlem Shake…. will go into the fads of 2013 list along with Gangam Style. Basically a person starts to dance and then when the song reaches its peak everyone “magically” starts to dance as well. Almost all of the videos are about 30 seconds and feature someone doing a sexually insinuating action. However, there’s also hilarious parodies like the Peanuts or Sea World Harlem Shake.

Most Harlem Shakes are like this:

but my favorite is this Mexican inspired Harlem Shake: