nifty view from the classroom

photo – of the cool Starbucks cup from a teacher’s meeting.

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Music Albums That Have Changed My Life

let the music play (explored)

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Music has always been in my life, ever since I was little and listening to the tinkling of the music mobile that adorned my crib, to the Classic Rock road trips with my parents that introduced me to a world of music that defined times, that started movements; music that transcends times; music I use in class.  From there, I started creating my music identity, listening to music that I really liked, that brought a sense of comfort, normalcy, and acceptance, in a somewhat craaazy life I’ve had.

Below is a list of albums that had changed my life; some of which were empowering to an emotionally weak me where the confidence boost from the music definitely helped me.  Sometimes I was so emotionally wrecked, that music was the only solace I had, strange when it comes to the fact that I come off as a strong independent woman.  The selection may not be to everyone’s taste, but these are albums that I played constantly until I was a better person while my friends and family agonized over the trillionth time I played the album.

So here’s my list of the Music Albums that have changed my life.

The Dresden Dolls

1. The Dresden Dolls, by The Dresden Dolls

It’s strange that I put this as the first album, but it’s not going to be the last of Mrs. Amanda Fucking Palmer Gaiman’s attempts at enlightenment with me.  I first discovered this album from the Eastern Echo, of which you can read the whole story here, and after listening to it for hours on end, while studying, taking a shower, in the car, on my cd player (I had no iPod then), on my way back home to Texas, so on so forth, I started realizing one important factor: I spent nearly my entire life to that point living to what I thought I wanted people to view me as, instead of being myself.  I was always my own drummer, but I did my own drumming to other people’s beats. That revelation made me realize that I was a unique individual who didn’t need to lie to be interesting, I could do that all on my own.  All I needed to do was let people know of my own interests and let them feel sorry for themselves.   While, yes, it does sound selfish, it transformed my life’s mission into showing people who follow the conga line doesn’t necessarily mean they have happiness.

How many times have I told myself this now that I’ve lost my teaching position, agonizing over the fact that I can’t be happy unless I have a salary paying job.  I’m enjoying myself, which is really scary, back doing something creative, working on rosaries, and everything in between.  I’m actually very happy not in the corporate world, because of the stifling of creativity, and political nonsense (not corporate politics, but general politics).  I listen to this album more so now, to keep reminding myself of what I learned at the age of 20, I just need to find my niche in life, not the niche someone else carved out for me.  That’s what Amanda did, and that’s the message of the debut album of The Dresden Dolls.

I Am Me

2. I Am Me, by Ashlee Simpson

After all the drama around the SNL scandal, the Orange Bowl debacle, and just all around kid sister of Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson’s second album was a life saver for me.  I was in a relationship that was going south, I was going through my Senior year in college, and I was getting bored with life.  DJing on a radio station for an online Game was starting to pick up, with some of the highest (certainly not THE highest) ratings the station had, but my long-term relationship was just ending.  Neither of us were happy with our situation, having to see each other at Christmas and Summer vacations, and he was attending school four hours away from where I was going to be living in Houston.  Things were not getting better, I was moving in one direction, and he was still the same boy I had started dating in high school.  I was just ready for a more adult relationship, and I felt a bit dejected that I had spent my college years chasing a loosing dream.

I Am Me came out right before Thanksgiving, and I was superbly excited for the album.  I had liked her debut, and I was ready for another round, having forgiven her for the SNL thing.  When I listened to the album, I heard this girl, hurt, crying, striving to reach for something she possibly couldn’t reach but was damn well trying.  The Songs I AM ME, Beautifully Broken, Catch Me When I Fall, and Dancing Alone were my consistent soundtrack up until the second Dresden Dolls Album.  Each song hit a nerve in me, making me feel like I wasn’t alone in being hurt, and the 80’s throwback sounds helped me as well, since I tend to like music that has a bit of history to it (sound or songwriting, take your pick).

While not many people accept the Ashlee Simpson, calling her a poser and whatnot, I found this album to be very honest, a trait I started realizing after the boyfriend and I started going over the thousands of albums and songs that we both identify to.  We basically had three questions: Which Artist, Which Album and Why?  For all my choices, those of which are listed here, I ended up with the why as honest.  Each artist’s album was an honest interpretation of how this person was feeling, and I Am Meis nothing short of honest.  I can feel her pain in these songs, and her joy, and her frustration.  The anthem song I Am Me still resonates with me to today, and I still blast it in my car whenever I get the chance, its straight forward, to the point, and it helps me remind myself that I won’t change unless I say that I am ready to change.

Box Car Racers

3. Box Car Racers, by Box Car Racers

Still in High School when this album came out, I was feeling already an adult.  Having lived through the crisis that was 9/11, I realized that within the moment I saw the plane fly into Tower 2 on live television, I was no longer a child.  I could not hold on to things that I held dear before September 11th, and things I listened to reflected that.  I was looking for a more adult tone with what I wanted out of my music, and I started listening to more Classic Rock than ever before. Probably due to the fact most of what I listened to were influenced by The Vietnam War, it didn’t seem a likely source that Tome DeLonge and Travis Barker’s side project would influence me so much.

I was a huge Blink-182 fan since I could even remember, being introduced to them by my cousins, and sneaking off to buy their albums on band trips to avoid my parents discovering the music that I found fascinating, but they saw only as raunchy and death (Adam’s Song was forbidden in my house after a suicide in the newspapers).  The music resonated to me as a child before 9/11, and they were one of the first concerts I had ever been to, and my first mosh pit accident happened on their Take Off Your Pants & Jacket tour (A broken toe, I’m so badass!).  But after 9/11, I couldn’t listen to the last few albums anymore, with the exception of the songs Dammit, All The Small Things, What’s My Age Again, and First Date, with the sick  feeling  that I had grown up somehow.  I ended up realizing that they were not cutting it for me, and to this day I haven’t listened to any other Album by them (even the most recent album my ex absolutely loved,but because of him, I can’t listen to that album because it leaves a bad taste in my mouth).

When I heard about the side project, I was very excited, I purchased it the day of the release, and started listening to it.  Finally, someone who got the fact that I was trying to grow up, be an adult but didn’t know how.  Hell, I still don’t know how and being back in my parents place makes me feel more like a teenager than ever!  Maybe I should take up a career in writing huh?  Anyway, sidetracked, this album had songs that related to a Post 9/11 me, and while I couldn’t stop listening to it, even in college, something about this album has continued on with me to this very day.  Even now, in my car’s disc changer, I have this album, Letters to God still plays on constant loop, maybe because every day, I ask God why he took my job at school away, why can’t I find another, and this song seems to help me be less angry at Him, I don’t know why it just helps.

There is and I Feel So have been constant companions in my never-ending path towards growing up, somehow I feel like the adult in those teen movies who has yet to grow up and relieves the glory days to the youth but they know he’s just full of it. Like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, who relives his high school years which have long since passed him.  When I listen to this album, I listen to it to find sense and direction in this crazy world, trying to make sense of a life gone wrong, a mission gone awry, a disk that has slipped.  Its kind of the Fisher King’s wound, a never healing answer to the crazy thing called life.  That’s why this album has stuck with me for so long, it gives you more questions than answers, but it definitely gives you something to think about.

Who Killed Amanda Palmer

4. Who Killed Amanda Palmer, by Amanda Palmer

I have to say, Amanda Palmer, for those who just happened across this website, is probably the most honest person when it comes to music.  The songs on this album are so raw and thought-provoking that it took me a very long time to actually stop listening to the album.  The album came at a great time, Hurricane Ike had just ended, and I was in a boredom rut.

Then it happened, an oasis of electricity not far from my home was a Best Buy and lo and behold, the Who Killed Amanda Palmer Album ready for purchase!  I spent the nearly two weeks of electricity-deprived life listening to this album.  The album deeply resonated with the feelings inside me, that each song has a story that fits into my life. The words felt like a best friend giving me advice, like I was ready to hear a long kept secret that no one else was supposed to hear, something to beautiful, that upon hearing it you’d cry.  That’s how I felt about this album.  It summed up everything in my life to that point, it was as if there was a sign pointing me to the direction I was supposed to go, I was supposed to hear this album, I was supposed to do great things with these songs.

Not only that, but this Album created my life’s mantra, the words I live by, ones in which I’m considering getting a tattoo of on my body somewhere:

“And I may be a romantic, and I may risk my life for it, But I ain’t gonna die for you, you know I ain’t no Juliet, and I’m not gonna watch you while you burn yourself out, baby, no, I’m not gonna stop you ‘cause I’m not the one that’s crazy”

The underlined part is the piece that I’m going to get tattooed on me.  Possibly in white ink, not sure yet.  But this album was one of those albums that you will never let go of, it will follow me forever, the music, the words, the honesty was just absolutely beautiful, and every song in this album specifies a point in my life I have either conquered, or a conquering as we speak.  The music is something I still believe in to this day.

The songs on this album I had owned from live concerts and downloads, and these songs, especially Ampersand and Point of It All were ones that helped me through the horrible break up between me and my ex boyfriend.  They helped me empower myself against the things that I felt were important, being part of a unit, having an identity with someone else, afraid of being alone, not doing anything because of the depression, and these two songs especially, helped me realize my own life’s path.  Thank you, Amanda Palmer.

Dreamers, what are some of the albums that you would describe as life-changing?  Which ones do you find the most inspirational?


The Oracle of Dreams

Darkness Labyrinth

A Poem I Texted to the Boyfriend after a severe emotional breakdown a couple days ago. Sometimes writing helps sorts out my feelings, and gives me clarity in a time of need. The following was a free write in class the other day and it just seemed to make alot of sense.

I hurt,
I’m broken.
I don’t feel like there is a place for me in this world.

I cry,
I pray.
But no answers come.

The choice is mine,
But sometimes I can’t choose because of too many words in my head.
Telling me I can’t
Or they won’t hire,
Or you’re worthless.

Pain is all around me,
And I can’t shake it off.

Jest words sting.
And the Shields I used to have don’t work.
Everything stings.
Is there going to be a light at the end of the dark tunnel?
Or am I going to travel life in the Darkness Labyrinth.
No way out.
Full of pain.
Never Ending.

The Emotionally tired, Oracle of Dreams

A Paranormal Library – The Dark Sacrament

Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2007

The Dark Sacrament: True Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession and Exorcism , by Richard Kiely, was one of the first books I downloaded to my Nook from the Paranormal Podcast .  I was attracted to the idea of exorcism, mostly because of the freaky 1973 The Exorcist, and that there was a weird blurb in the podcast, but more on that later.

The book revolves around several cases in Ireland of either possessions or cursed land.  The cases are separated between two men, Reverend William H. Lendrum and Father Ignatius McCarthy.  The two men are highly sought-after exorcists who work in two completely different ways to rid evil Spirits.  While Reverend Lendrum discusses the different ways he expels spirits, Father Ignatius keeps his solemn oath to make sure that only those deemed an Exorcist by The Church keep the holy rite secret.

Before I go into my review, I would like to address something.  There are those who prefer to have scientific proof of these events happening, I am one of those people as well, while this book is NOT one that is based on science.  There are people in this book who did consult other professionals before contacting the two exorcists, so I took this as positive feedback towards the cases that are presented.

Now, since I was very little, I have always had an interest in the paranormal-that and I grew up in a very superstitious Catholic household.  Trust me on this, when you say the lord’s name in vain, my grandmother would cross  me, turn me around three times and spray holy water on me to prevent the devil from coming in. Interesting times!  So as I grew up learning about the paranormal, my parents would try to deter me because they didnt’ want me to get possessed, a very real possibility for a child of 10, not so much for a woman of her late twenties.

Fast forward to now, I’m not as scared about being possessed, but with a family like mine, I kind of wonder if they’re possessed or not, they tend to be on the weird side, but aside from the fact.  These superstitions that were placed in me are still around, and listening to the podcast episode regarding the book, doing my hair in the near dark climate of early February 2011, I was getting on edge a little bit, and I had turned on all of my lights due to the subject, and around half way through the discussion, I heard something whisper behind me.  It was too soft for me to hear what the whisper was saying, but loud enough to know that there was a whisper and right behind me.  Scaredy Cat me, looked into the mirror to make sure no one was behind me, and then I looked into my room.  At that point my rational mind kicked in, and I went to my phone to make sure that the phone downloaded the file weird and that was the noise that I heard,  sure enough, I heard something all right, but it was just the file, it had corrupted somehow into what sounded like a loud whisper.  I’m a weirdo I know.

The book is essentially about families, who at one point had a traumatizing event upturn their lives, and the book is about these two men who came in and helped work out these demons, angry humans, and strange what nots that occurred.  I do want to say, that while I read this book for pleasure, I in no way want this to happen to people, the pain and suffering some of these people have had in their past is something that I do not wish on my worst enemy, I also send my heart out to the people who were effected by these possessions.

One story to me stood out the most, it was about a family who had lived and owned an orchard farm in County Wexford, Ireland.  The family had lived on this property for several generations, and no one had really liked the land because of it being cursed.  In 2003, the current owner who had lived in the 200 year-old cottage that resided on the property, wanted to build a new house for his family.  Once construction was finished, and after the death of a loved one, the family started experiencing strange incidents that seemed innocent at first, but started getting more and more malevolent.   The incidents started effecting the whole family, but especially that of 15-year-old Katie, who was being attacked physically by the evil entity.

The Family had asked the Parish Priest to bless the house, but things go awry even further, and that’s when they had to call in Father McCarthy.

While I did enjoy the book, it was written as a cautionary tale for those who like dabbling in magic and playing with Ouija boards (I swear I’m not going to preach here, because I like reading about these things, so I’m very guilty).    The book is basically a discussion of how more and more people are becoming possessed in this time because we have pretty much debunked every form of possession as Schizophrenia or some other form of mental illness.  As the Reverend and the Priest have said, “The Devil is the master of disguising, and he has disguised himself under Mental Illness and false promises of richness and greed.”  Basically saying, our society has completely dismantled the idea of Possession as a form of Mental illness or other mental problem/disease.

In following with this idea, they said that as a society, as we devalue the idea of Possession, we have devalued the fear of playing with oracles (the Tarot, Ouija boards, seances, etc.), put more value on things that devalue our soul (money, sex, food, etc.), and that leaves us open for Possession, or easily influenced by things that are evil.  The two men are basically saying that everything we do in our society is making it easier for the devil to influence us.  That’s why the majority of the book discusses this subject, and at the end of the book there are four Appendices that discuss the history of exorcism in detail, The Prayer to Archangel Michael, The Lorica of St Patrick, Prayers of Exorcism and a Bibliography.

While I really don’t agree with what the book was discussing as far as our souls, I do agree with the fact that maybe we do need to take sometime and look at what is really important to us, I really can’t believe that the majority of our lives should be about money, that’s just really sad for those of us who had a job that wasn’t a really good paying one to begin with and then lose it because of saving money…makes you think that money is the root of all evil (messing by the way).

This is my first review for my Paranormal Library, I hopefully will get the better hanging of this after a while.

Dreamers, do you believe in Possession? Do you agree with what Reverend Lendrum and Father McCarthy had said about our lives today and possibility of Possession?

The ever confusing, Oracle of Dreams

Subbing 8/24/11

This was my first full day subbing and while it was bittersweet, seeing all my former students, I felt a bit upset at the fact that I couldn’t enlighten a new full group of students. My former students were a bit upset at that fact and proceeded to tell the principal in their own words how getting rid of me was the worst mistake ever…bless them!  In any case, getting back to the hectic-never-knowing-what-I’ll-have-next days again, but it was worth it.

First thing back to subbing and I’m already making mistakes…didn’t take roll, got on the computer to check email only to realize they deleted my account, and it wasn’t my class, so all this awkward what-should-i-do nonsense running through my head….I really want my classroom back.

The problem today was trying to teach English without going into a History Spiel about how Sandra Cisneros was basing her essays and characters off of experiences she had while she was a child and a lot of these experiences are from a time where being Mexican wasn’t a good thing.  In any case, they were confused on the subject, couldn’t figure out why the person couldn’t change her name because she didn’t like it.  The problem is they see people like Sean “Puffy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, tra la la” Combs, and Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta aka “Lady Gaga” in their view sights, they couldn’t understand that changing your name was a significant dishonor to your parents, and in the case of Sandra Cisneros, your culture.  Again, over their heads.  But they got it when I explained to them how would their parent’s feel if they decided to change their given name to something else.

After that smooth sailing, but again it was hard to get back on the saddle after being destroyed emotionally over stupid State budget cuts, putting more people into unemployment, and thinking that the Governor can become President GRR!

The extremely, psychotically, irrationally angry-need-to-break-things, Oracle of Dreams

Like a Thomas Kinkade Painting…

Taking a break to show you the greatest Harry Potter Puppet pals EVER!!!





Simulation Complete


The Harry Potter Obsessed, Oracle of Dreams

Back to School…. Back to School….

I was hoping that I would post some amazing summer vacation photos and such, but time got away from me.  I lost my teaching position to cut backs in the Texas State Government, spent all summer trying to obtain a position, and ended up working back at Hobby Lobby in the Framing Department, and re-applied as a Substitute Teacher in the Cypress-Fairbanks School District, and I’ll work part-time at night at Hobby Lobby to pay off a car I had purchased, because my trustworthy 1995 Honda Odyssey Van went to see St. Peterbuilt at the pearly garage gates in the sky.  I ended up purchasing a 2004 Toyota Matrix, and I couldn’t be happier with it.  It doesn’t need much work, but I am planning on doing some major engine and exterior remodeling on the car very soon (it’s so great to be dating a mechanic!!).

Michigan Trip 2011

My trip to Michigan was amazing, and I’ll plan on doing a post about that now that I’ll have some down time during classes to work on stuff like that.  I’ll talk about some amazing vintage stores, great foods, and of course my friends.  I’ll do this while watching the students do their busy work.  Yes, it sounds a bit lazy, but for the most part I’ll be subbing at my old school, and those kids’ listen to me…I hope….

Wedding 2012

Wedding 2012 Countdown begins as the school year starts, my sister’s wedding is in May, and we’re now starting the final countdown for floral arrangements, dresses, shoes, weight-loss, hair (if I have any left), dates, and surprise wedding festivities the boy and I are arranging with some friends of ours.  I’m on keyboards, The boy on lead guitar, our friend Jimmy on bass, and we still need a rhythm guitarist and a drummer, if you live in the Jersey Village area of Houston, Texas, and can play either instrument, just let me know.  You have to have an interest in all different types of music from Tejano to Indie Rock, we’re going to rock their socks off!  It’s a surprise, so don’t tell anyone!  I’ll keep you posted on the wedding details, the plans, the dresses, the weight-loss, the song list for surprise concert and any other tidbits of fun wedding related activities.  If all goes well, we may become a wedding band and do everything from Tex-Mex weddings to same-sex weddings to Klingon weddings.

A Paranormal Library

I spent all summer reading and listening to Podcasts.  I’m currently addicted to Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast, Campfire, Paranormal Report, and Weird News Radio.  I’m trying to save up for his Paranormal Plus club for the 79.95 price for a whole year…I hope I can get it.

Anyway, check him out, and while listening to his podcasts, he has authors and such come up  and give a premise on their books. From there, I’ve been stock piling numerous amounts of books that I have found, and I’ve been making my own paranormal reference library picking authors I like from the suggestions on the Paranormal Podcast, and either purchasing them at Half Price Books, or on my Nook, depending on the price of course!  In any case, Every Friday, I’ll pick one of these books to do a post on, and give my review of them, and others that I have found on my own.

Other podcasts I like are

Hometown Tales

Coast to Coast – there are some art bell classics updated on ITunes for free, other than that you do have to pay.

That’s the most of this update I’ll be doing, I’ll start posting everyday while I”m subbing, letting you guys know how it feels to go back to substitute teaching, the job search, everything that can possibly be me.

Dreamers, what are your back to school plans?

The Educational, Oracle of Dreams

Billy Madison Copyright 1995 Universal Pictures and Happy Madison Productions