21 April 2009

closing time or the end of vacation...the power of music...what's goin' on...

Those of us here at Grammatical Chaos do not advocate the use of drugs in general and especially don't advocate the use of any drug in particular. We were celebrating the Election National Holiday in Mali, and if you weren't celebrating it, it's because you're a racist. There. I said it.

a little culture from one of the best live bands i've ever heard, so here's a little Ozomatli...


The vacation was a lot of things. There were a variety of high points and low points. There were times during the vacation where i wished it was summer and i had months to not stress, but there were also times i was really wanting to get back into the swing of things and paint the town red (or burnt orange for the U Texas Fans). That being said, it's good to be back in the bay, even if it hot like a pizza oven (actually hotter than Las Vegas, and that almost never happens). On the car ride home, i found myself listening to a mix of 70's music and marveling with the ability for different music to find it's own niche in society, and to float freely between Van Morrison and the Delfonics and The Who. Music and the people that produce music today spend too much time trying to produce and reproduce music. There's no creativity, no diversity of opinions, whcih inevitibly shuts down dissent, closing the door on the possibility of music as a mechanism for revolution, which is where i think music has it's most powerful access point.

an old school protest song, just to keep you in the spirit.


For those curious to know more about this, I highly suggest you read the book, The New H.N.I.C- The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip-Hop, by University of Southern California professor Todd Boyd, who makes a powerful, albeit unexpected argument. Definitely worth the read....but I digress...

...it's rough being back from vacation. I recognize my job isn't particularly hard, and i do enjoy my job more than most, but, and i think most of us would agree, i would quit my job tomorrow if they told me they would pay me my current salary to stay home and read and write...and i believe most of us would. The kids are awesome, but they too, are looking back reflectively on the days where responsibility was not a requirement, so they are a little unruly the first day from break. I decided to do something i really enjoy and feel are effective when i use them, but for some reason i don't use them enough, Group Exercises- they get to work as a group, which allows them to talk (no ability to check this) but i'm able to walk around and keep them on task enough to make sure work actually gets done. The classes worked out pretty well, and students should be on task for the next class...which is good, because we will be leaving friday morning for the state speech and debate tournament. I remember the days when a speech and/or debate tournament were no-stress situations, where I just had to show up at the school or the airport on time, with no concerns or stress. Now I have to show up early, make sure i have all the boarding passes, make sure i've packed all the things i need, as well as making sure i have the permission slips, hotel logistics, rental car logistics, etc. I have to actually keep a checklist to make sure i have all the things taken care of, and i started that list over an hour ago...i truly am getting old. it's also still really strange to hold all this responsibility- some of you that know me probably still think it's odd, but you'll get over it...even I did...but the best way to describe it to those that know me, i treat responsibility like my job depended on it...because it does....great gig, but i have to be responsible for kids i genuinely like...they're like my kids, except they go home at the end, and home isn't my house...


  1. welcome back and btw, you're not old

  2. I heard Ozo perform the entire "Embrace the Chaos" album live at the newly-opened Amoeba in LA several years ago. I fucking love those dudes. I enjoyed celebrating the election as soon as I got off of work (those racists made me work on what should be an international holiday).

  3. I must agree with Erik...i saw them perform at the 2000 Democratic Convention...in the protest confinement cage with the rest of us rabble...they were not just awesome on stage, they were ruthlessly true to the political moment.

    Rage Against the Machine had been playing up until the time that the anarchist black bloc'ers manages to tip an entire handicapped parking sign (the only thing left in the cage to indicate that the "free speech area" was converted from a prohibitively priced parking lot) over the razor-wire-topped fence (apparently razor wire makes it easier to remember that one's speech is free) to within a couple hundred yards of the phalanx of riot police who surrounded the cage (presumably so they could bask in the freedom of our speech)...needless to say, the potential that this calorie-impoverished, defintionally-disorganized cadre would begin hurling 450-pound parking signs (complete with chunks of anchoring pavement) over the olympic-record-worthy distance between the police and us free speech malcontents prompted everybody's favorite public servants to Protect and Serve by declaring the free speech area (that they set up) an unauthorized assembly.

    At this point, de la Rocha and company decided it was best to Rage Against the Machine from a distance and abandoned ship (they should have called that last album "Ass and Elbows" 'cause that was all we saw of them during the encore), leaving Ozomatli to play a blistering set in the face of an onslaught of tear gas, rubber bullets and jack-booted free-speech-appreciation...it is hard to imagine a classier way to make the point, and without missing a beat...now THAT was Rage Against the Machine.