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As is evidenced from my previous entries relating to music, it’s pretty apparent that my taste runs toward the eclectic side, and if there is a band I listen to that probably exemplifies musical eclecticism and fusion best it would have to be the fantastic band I’ll be seeing at a private radio station (KPRI) gig tonight, Ozomatli. This quote from a BC Music review puts the band’s sound on their latest venture “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” into perspective quite well, “Ozo is, as ever, a instrumental atom bomb compared to most pop out there โ€“ the disc burns with their unique energy and soul.” While I don’t think I’d use the category of “pop” for Ozomatli, it is so true that their music IS an instrumental atom bomb compared to most others. Their CDs are truly worthy of spending a bit of time getting to know–as is the band!

I really don’t have time to write much about them other than to tell you to get your fannies over to iTunes or your local record shop to buy “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” ASAP! Here is a link to a Google page of reviews for the CD, and here is the Ozomatli web site. I’ll also include a couple of videos for you to enjoy. I did do a brief story about Ozomatli about a year ago, so will post that for you, too. Off to get ready for a night of fun with friends, incredible music, TONS of dancing, and an all-around celebration of life! ๐Ÿ™‚

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*** 8/7/07 UPDATE: Ozomatli was ON FIRE at Anthology in San Diego last night!!! While they only played just under one hour of music, it was jam packed, crowd-pleasing, shake-your-ass-until-you-can’t-shake-it-anymore music, and they definitely had the crowd eating out of their hands. I implore you to hit the link I offered above to Ozo’s web site to find out when they will be hitting your town, then buy those tickets ASAP and prepare for one hell of a good time! Thank you Ozomatli (especially for performing one of my new faves: Magnolia Soul-lyrics copied below!) and KPRI for a fantastic night. Despite the fact the bathroom door at the venue decided to slice a chunk of my right thumb off, it was STILL an incredible evening of great music, high energy, and memorable times with friends. :)***

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“City of Angels” from Don’t Mess with the Dragon by Ozomatli

(Ozomatli “City of Angels” music video directed/edited by Matthew Johnston and shot by Willie Tipp. Winner of the “Wanna Mess with the Dragon?” music video contest)

“Magnolia Soul” from Don’t Mess with the Dragon by Ozomatli

This isn’t the best video, but is from a live performance of one of my favorite songs on the new CD. As a reviewer said, it’s a scathing indictment of post-Katrina chaos. Ozomatli does an incredible job of getting out very important political messages in their music.

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Magnolia Soul

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CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Justin:

Dear magnolia, what’s crackin’?

Been a long time since I last saw your face

Never forget the day out in the sticks I saw your crecsent smile in place

All the way from uptown, downtown, lakeside to river

Heard W don’t care about them

Gotta watch who you make ya friend

Otherwise FEMA will come through and backstab you again

Just some advice to lend

Weak ties will bend

Through the dark true light will win

And they said that this the end

But we fixin’ to make them saints march on again

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Jabu:

Polite little hurricane, called for she came

Officials knew the deal and they didn’t do a thang

Knew her every move

Yep Katrina was her name

The mayor had the whole game in the palm of his hand

Hand in the pot

Caught cold and oh!/ shouldv’e fixed them damn levees long time ago/ but they didn’t take the chance to do it

Pitty pat between the pres and the mayor

Folks was dying (die) too

A gang of us in the superdome

We’re in the heat

Folks in wheelchairs feet swole, nothing to eat

So to the kids and the families that lost

I rhyme for, โ€˜nolia clap

Show the world your sooooooul

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Bridge:

Everybody clap them hands

Still steppin to the second line band

Still stompin’ to the zulu drum

You can’t stop this native son

A huh huh

Let the good times roll

Let the good times roll pretty mama can’t stop magnolias soul

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

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Here’s the story I did last year:

ozoaacover.jpgI dare you to not move your feet and fanny (and any other body parts you so choose) while listening to this band! As a matter of fact, the first time I ever heard Ozomatli we couldn’t see them, but boy we sure could hear them…and feel them! Our bodies sensed the excitement and the rhythms from their horn section and drums…they infused our bodies. We were magically drawn toward the music like bees to honey…to the sweet sounds of their voices and the potent lyrics. Unfortunately such was the case with hundreds of other bodies who were all trying to get near the stage, and sadly blocking our ability to get anywhere near it. The closest we could get had the band members looking like small dolls dancing on stage. Sadly this first encounter with the band would not allow us to embrace the entire Ozomatli experience (and trust me, an Ozo show IS an experience!), but it did allow us to get a taste of what would soon become an addiction.

ozofillmore.jpgThis first brief experience with Ozomatli was back on a beautiful Saturday in September of 2002 at a music festival called Street Scene. Back in the day it was held in the Gaslamp Quarter, an area of downtown San Diego, California. Sadly the festival has moved to Qualcomm Stadium (where the San Diego Chargers play…at least for now…sigh), and even though I have to admit to not having attended Street Scene since they moved there, I just can’t imagine it having the same ‘flavor’ as it did by being held in the fabulous historic streets of downtown San Diego. (Street Scene has moved a couple of times since I did this review–twice this year!)

Since that initial taste of addiction was born on 9/7/02, thankfully the fixes have had much more success than that day at Street Scene. The next couple of times I saw Ozomatli were at one of the BEST venues to see a show in San Diego County, the Belly Up Tavern. It’s located in Solana Beach, which is in Northern San Diego County, literally just north of the Del Mar Race Track and Fairgrounds. I L-O-V-E the Belly Up Tavern! I’ve pretty much spent some of my best concert-going times there since I became legal (oh so long ago!)…awesome music…great service…small venue with great sound…and incredibly memorable times with friends! Yup, love that place.

ozostreetsigns.jpgSo back to Ozomatli. Right now this GRAMMYยฎ Award winning, Los Angeles-based band with an active political conscience has ten band members, a wide array of instruments, and several of their members contributing to vocals. It’s hard to describe Ozo‘s music other than to say it’s a FABULOUS fusion of latin and world music, hip-hop (which I’m usually NOT a fan of), heavy doses of political activism, reggae, a hot brass section and elaborate percussion, all woven together to get you rocking your body off on the dance floor. My experience has been that there truly is NO WAY you can be at an Ozomatli show and NOT move your body. No way possible! The music invades your soul, your head starts to bob, your toes start tapping, next thing you know your fanny is off the seat and you’re moving like you’ve been dancing to this blend of music all your life. It honestly is an experience that consumes every fiber of your being, mentally and physically. While it may leave you completely drained after the show, there is actually an interesting sense of renewal and invigoration you feel when all is said and done. And speaking of done, this band finishes each show by grabbing their instruments (drum included!), heading out into the audience, snaking their way around folks, while singing and dancing with the audience as they head out the door. I guarantee an Ozomatli concert will be one of your BEST musical experiences EVER!

So click on the links I’ve provided throughout this page to get more information on the band, sample some music, check out their merchandise, and most of all find out when they might be touring in your area.

May you fall victim to the Ozomatli addiction like I did and soon consider yourself an Ozo fanatic. No 12-step program required.

Mom is one of those folks that keeps saying she’s going to learn all about the internet, but has yet to even figure out how to get past clicking the on button…sigh. And it’s not like I haven’t tried to get her to learn. Oh well, she does peruse the blog when she’s visiting and since she’ll be here on Mother’s Day I thought I’d throw some well wishes out into the universe. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM, even though I know it’s that (gulp) birthday that has a special significance with the government. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here are a few classic videos of performers you’ve always enjoyed. As a matter of fact I think I’ve sent you and dad off to see each of them over the past few years. Hope the videos at least help make you feel a bit younger…memories, eh? Love ya, Mom!:)

“She’s A Lady”-Tom Jones (1973)

“The Last Waltz”=Engelbert Humperdinck (1967)

“Soul and Inspiration”=The Righteous Brothers (1966)

…of your hair before you head out the door. You might not have noticed it dropping today when the blog went over 1,000 hits, but tons of confetti and many balloons DID drop on ya. Yup, that was me. Hey, I’m ALL about the party atmosphere, kids, so let’s see what videos I can dig up on YouTube to celebrate. (Read this all as my way of being swamped with life/school right now, BUT wanting to acknowledge this little milestone. ๐Ÿ™‚)

Oh come on, you just KNEW I’d have to go old school on ya and put this one up since it IS a “Celebration”! Hey, we ARE talking old school here–they played at my Grad Nite at Disneyland…along with K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Yup, WAY old school, my dears! Now come on, kick those legs as high up as the band members do. Get a little cardio action going on!

And to get in a tummy work-out from laughing, here’s a little Craig Ferguson for you from the night we were in the audience back in October. Can you tell which laugh is mine? No, it’s not THAT one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another beautiful, sunshiny day in Southern California, then BAM! Literally.

I was driving north on the 5 (Interstate 5 for non-locals ;)), heading off to meet some friends for a drink after having just had my hair cut and colored (yes, I freely admit to that), the sun was dipping closer and closer to the ocean. Then suddenly I experienced something I can only describe as being like what I imagine a sonic boom would be: a big boom in my ears and instant pressure all around me, but especially on my forehead and nose. I instinctively closed my eyes, then when I opened them it was much darker. I was looking straight at the front windshield and took a second to comprehend that it was dark because my car’s hood had flipped open and come careening smack-dab at me. I then realized the windshield was shattered into a million small crevices, yet amazingly (and thankfully!) still attached to the car. (Here’s an interesting article about windshields.) Keep in mind, all this is happening as I’m cruising along about 65-70 mph, but I was in the slow lane (someplace you’ll RARELY find me), so was able to pull over to the shoulder. Weird thing is that in the middle of all this instant chaos, I remembered to flip on my turn signal! Go figure.

As if all that wasn’t fun enough, the shoulder was extremely narrow, with each auto (and especially buses) practically pulling my car along with them, AND to top it all off I apparently did NOT receive my renewal notice for AAA, so was in a grace period! Thankfully the gal that assisted me on the phone was great and gladly took my credit card info to instantly renew my membership to the AAA Plus status. With the kind of (bad) luck I have with cars, I always like to have their extra 100 mile tow option. Sure came in handy tonight. Okay, it came in handy a couple of other nights, too.

It’s weird that even though the whole thing really shook the hell out of me (although it really didn’t hit me until about 4 hours later when I was finally alone and the reality of what “could have been” really sank in), there was also a reminder of just how amazing a connection with a stranger can be. The sweet AAA driver who came to save me from my twisted mess on the freeway ended up being such a calming presence, just by having an interesting conversation with me during our nearly one hour ordeal. Him just being “normal” and talking with me about people, life, education, helped keep me from having a well-deserved mini-meltdown. Thank you for that, Erwin!

So even though this day had a decidedly “icky” aspect to it and I’m still picking tiny bits of windshield out of my clothing, I can ONLY look at how lucky I am. I’m lucky that things weren’t much worse….they easily could have been. I’m lucky that no one else was injured…that would be unbearable. I’m lucky I have family who drops what they’re doing to come get me at the shop we towed the car to, then gladly forks over one of their cars to me so I can get around. I’m lucky I have friends who worry about me and delay their plans just to make sure I’m okay (did you get your decaf? ;)). But most of all, what I got from this big-time wake-up call was that you really never DO know when it just might be your time. Yes, this time I escaped with just some seriously shaken nerves, a crunched up hood, and a shattered windshield, but who knows what the future holds? All I know right now is that I plan on making good use of what time I do have. How about you?

As I scurry about getting things ready for tomorrow, my first day of the last semester of the teaching credential program, I find myself wondering about my future students.

Do they have any idea what a curvy path this road to being a teacher has been for me? Yes, the path started back in 1980 right after high school, but that thing called life got in the way. Then the dream of being a teacher fell by the wayside, only to be picked up, brushed off, and presented to me by some fantastic teachers I worked with as an Instructional Aide in Los Angeles. Were it not for those incredible women telling me what a great teacher I would be and questioning me as to why I wasn’t one—well, who knows what road I might have taken after the divorce. So yes, back to community college getting my AA in 2000, then after another few see-saw years, back to university to get my BA in 2004. And now, just a few weeks shy of forty-five (when did THAT happen?!), I’m finally finishing up the teaching credential program.

Do my future students have any idea just how much it costs to embark on this adventure? The student loans I’ll be paying off for ages, the never-ending state or federally mandated exams I must pay to take, and keep taking until they are passed. I honestly wonder how many of those who legislated for some of these exams could actually PASS them! (Gee, can you tell I’m a tad bitter about the cost of the CSET and the fact that it’s virtually impossible to “really” be prepared for since it covers pretty much anything and everything under the sun. See for yourself here by trying the online sample exam…good luck!) Let’s not forget the ridiculous skyrocketing cost of textbooks, which seem to have a new edition each semester, so there’s no way to make any money selling them back or saving any money in buying them used.

Will my future students have any idea that the reason most of us enter the profession (that sincere desire to truly assist students in achieving their full potential educationally and as productive, happy members of society), quite often gets lost in the reality of what teaching has become. The politics of what to teach, when to teach it, how to teach it. The way in which classrooms have become standard-driven instead of driven by the needs of the individual student. The time spent trying to remain professional when dealing with well-intentioned (and some not-so-well-intentioned) parents who think they know better how to handle your classroom than you do.

Nope, my future students probably will never know any of that. But you know what? That’s okay. I know that while there were many bumps in the road on my way to becoming their teacher, my passion for this profession never waned and hopefully never will. All they need to know is there is no place I’d rather be.

A handful of my very good buds have humored me and joined me in creating a private blog where we can keep up with each other’s lives. Nothing like friends who humor you, eh? I’ve enjoyed the individual blogs they’ve begun so figured I’d do the same myself. Really have no clue where I’ll go with this blog, but being the Pisces gal that I am one thing is for sure–it will be ALL OVER THE PLACE!

I tend to write the way I speak, so don’t expect Little Miss Grammar, okay? I’m definitely Read the rest of this entry »

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