Just give me 2 turntables…

And a microphone.

I’ve been hitting the night clubs for years and this ‘phase’ has yet to pass. Needing to take my love of clubs to another (read paid) level, I made the next and only logical decision.

Your guess: You bought a night club

Answer: I did not buy a nightclub. The next logical step is to become a DJ, silly!

Gettin’ in the mix

I bought the intro ‘Learn to be a DJ’ class, registered for the ‘Learn to be a DJ’ lesson, and packed a positive ‘Learn to be a DJ’ attitude to match. Check, check and check.


6 weeks drag by and then finally it’s here. Now, I’ve readied for this class by hitting as many bars/clubs and DJ hot spots as I could (I like to be prepared). But I almost forgot the most important prep work needed for the lesson. More important than counting beats, knowing popular music and being able to distinguish musical genres – I needed to get together the perfect ensemble:

  • Short skirt,
  • Knee high boots, & a
  • Deep V-neck tee (too cold for tank tops)

Check, check, check and check. I don’t know if we’ll be graded on our work in tonight’s class, but if I can’t get by on talent…

Getting by on love

Getting my ensemble , hair & makeup together took longer than I thought. Tonight’s class starts promptly @ 630pm.  Arriving @ 642pm, I rush into the studio and dive right into the lesson already in progress. Our professor – DJ Danny D, is already teaching the (pretty un-DJ looking, I might add) class about turntables, mics, headphones and area set-up. He continues by saying that techonolgy has advanced so far that its opened up the DJ world to just about anybody these days. (yay! I’m anybody!) What distinguishes people now as a good DJ is moreso their song selection and ability to market themselves than their actual DJ skills. He then goes on to explain something really important and one of the key things to learn in order to be a succesful DJ, blah, blah, blah. C’mon already. When do we get to play?!

Play on, playa

Finally! 40mins in we get a chance to put our hands on the turntables we could only stare at throughout our lesson. Our professor’s specialty is house music so our task for the remaining hour is to match up 2 songs – one playing on our left turntable to the second song playing on the right turntable.

I wanna touch you so badly..

Key things to remember:

  • Your audience can always hear something playing in the external speakers (either the left side or right side song on the turntable – depending on your selection)
  • You have an internal speaker (your headphones) and the power to control what the audience hears while at the same time cuing up the next song (the key to being a DJ)
  • As a beginner, you must get the next song to start playing on the down beat (the loudest beat I think)  or else it will sound like something that nobody wants to dance to (aka a bad DJ)
  • It may all sound simple but mastering the above can be immediate….or can take a person years to learn (what??)

Step up to the mic

It’s my turn at the main turntables and something weird happens. I get nervous. Like when your airplane suddenly dips in flight nervous.  I don’t want to fail at this. I’ve always loved music, admired DJs and wanted this chance for so, so long. With my love for numerous musical genres, I assume I should be a natural mix-master DJ.  With my classmates cheering me on, no matter what else happens, it’s very, very, VERY important that I don’t suck at this.

I totally suck at this

I can’t get song 2 to match up with song 1. Or even song 1 to match up with song 2. I worry that even if I tried to play them at the same time, I couldn’t match up song 1 with song 1. With everyone watching, I’m the worst wanna-be DJ in the class. The world even. No exaggeration.

On to the next

45 minutes later, I start to get it. I still can’t match song 2 to song 1 but I’m getting pretty damn close. Professor DJ Danny D is encouraging and reminds me that it took him a year to be able to intuitively match up the songs and now he does it on cue and with ease. With practice, he promises, I will get it in no time.

Ok, Ok. I’ll relax and breathe a little. I guess I can’t be perfect at everything…at first. If practice is what the pros recommend then practice is what it’ll take.  I’m hooked on DJ-ing and I must return. No matter the price (FYI the price starts at around $399 for 6-1hr sessions) I just wish I could be amazing now! I might have to take a class on patience…but who has the time for that?  Even worse, after all the anticipation of going to DJ class and the excitement of getting ready for DJ  class, I forgot about the most important part of becoming a DJ!

Picking a DJ name! 😮

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Any suggestions? Send them to Nelleytimes@gmail.com. See the top choices in a future post! 😉

photo source
DJ classes and more available @: School of Remix
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All the truth you can handle

I love seeing my name in lights! Or better yet, online. As long as my name is in something or on something, I’m happy.

In most recent news, I’ve been published again, yay! This time in the online newszine WestCoastTruth.com.  I was asked to be controversial, push the envelope, break the seal and challenge your views. And after my kittens vs puppies debate was vetoed (not cute enough, they told me), it was my next submission that got the popular vote….

Compulsory voting; A really nice way to say ‘do it or else’

Or else what?

Well if you don’t have a good reason for not voting (illness, etc.) Then you could face a sentence of community service, fines, or even jail time if these terms are not met within the specified time lines. Fair or not, this is the reality in countries like Australia, Belgium, Greece and more. And with overall lower voter turnout worldwide, and the potential for an easy revenue grab with non-voter fines, what’s to stop it from coming to your country?

Wanna find out the truth?…click here

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Bonus:  Link to the CBC’s Voting Compass. On Monday, May 2 Canada, Don’t forget to vote!!

Food on Sticks

YAWN! (rumble)

Bored and feeling nibbly, I decide to take on a new, part time, and mostly temporary career. As experts recommend, I took two of my top self-diagnosed strengths: criticizing and eating, and came to a logical conclusion – I was both hungry and feeling the need to opine. This then led me to a career related decision – it was time to let my inner food critic out.

Nelly the Food Critic

Next, liking this whole dual combination theme, and having the perfect item on hand (convenience rocks!), I easily find the first item to put up on the judge’s table:

Cupcake pops!

Whimsical, fanciful, relatively new and wonderfully unknown to many, cupcake pops are to dessert lovers what vodka is to my martinis – a natural fit! Attending a fund raising bake sale (I live to give…to my stomach) I pick up my first cupcake pop made by local bakery Sweet Teas Cupcakesand am both excited and annoyed:

Excitement = So pretty! So cute! So yummy looking!

Annoyance = $3?! For 2 bites of cake?? Yes, I’m cheap but I can also buy a slice of cake for $5. Heck, I can get a whole cake for $10! This had better be an amazing 2-bite cake bit.

After taking a few perfunctory pictures (smile for the camera lil cupcake pop), I take a huge bite into this delectable looking baked good and it’s………..

I luv u so much I'd marry u!

Disgusting.

The cake pop was heavy. Which should have been my first clue that it wasn’t going to be the light and fluffy treat I envisioned. It was like eating a chunk of half-cooked pound cake dunked in super sweet fondant icing. I force myself to chew as its mammoth, unwelcome shape lumps around in my mouth, my tongue unwillingly pushing it side to side.

Finally, after much hesitation, and quite a few pep talks, I choke down the half chewed mass. I wonder if there are any rules in this food critiquing business. Like rule #1 – do I have to eat all of anything I decide to critique?

Looking down at this un-delectable, un-yummy creation, and glancing at my garbage can in the corner, I know there’s only one thing I can do with this ‘crapcake pop’.

I take another bite.

I dislike u so much I'd divorce u & leave u with the kids...

Confirmed. It’s just as bad as the first bite but this time I intelligently decide to spit it into the garbage can versus taking on wasteful calories (food critiquing rules be damned!).

As most of my blog inspired part time jobs (pie critic, art critic, trade show critic, etc. ) my role as food critic was fun but seemingly short lived. The thought of having to force down another wad of yucky cupcake on a stick in order to critique it was both unpleasant and undesirable (yet not altogether unreasonable – suffering for my readers!)

However, as my friend pointed out to me, there are so many tasty food items out there that come on sticks, I can easily branch out and move away from just ‘cupcakes’ on sticks.

Genius!

Later, on my way out that night, I pass by my local Starbucks and see another stick-ed food item:

Mmmmm. (pic via Starbucks.com)

Cake pops! So whimsical, so fanciful, and so completely different from those cupcake pops I’ve heard too much about.  What a unique and original idea. Nelley the Food Critic is back with her next original ‘food on stick’ assignment – Cake pops.

Ooo I can’t wait to try one!

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Cupcake pops pic source

In a Perfect Wedding World

Braving the cold and the pouring rain, a scrappy group of faux wedding party participants came out to Vancouver’s famed Robson Street on Sunday, April 10, 2011 in support of Dress for Success Vancouver.

Proving that people don’t like to come out when it rains, the estimated dozens who were expected to attend got whittled down to an enthusiastic few who withstood the heavy downpours with big smiles and even bigger hearts.

They handed out pamphlets, informed passers-by about the upcoming Dress for Success power walk and provided donation cards for anyone wishing to make a contribution.

The organizers are trying to raise awareness for Dress for Success Vancouver, an organization that empowers low and no income women to transition into the workforce by providing them with professional attire and a small working wardrobe to get them started in their roles. They also provide other services including a clothing stylist, career counseling and an ongoing mentoring program.

http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/210313–dozens-of-brides-and-grooms-swarm-vancouver

All this in support of the Perfect Wedding Show taking place this Sunday, April 17 at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel in Richmond featuring traditional vendors offering unique wedding options for all bride-to-be’s.

And this is how the article SHOULD have appeared on all the local newspapers if I had any say in it. Oh well.  2 news outlets out of how ever many there are in Vancouver should be good enough for now.

Shooot!

Photo provided by Tempest Photography - http://www.tempestphoto.com

Ready for your close-up?

C’mon. Who doesn’t like getting their photo taken again and again and again and again? As it turns out, excluding fame hungry celebutants (ahem, Heidi Montag, ahem) a lot of people don`t. Myself included. However when you introduce a professional hair stylist into this equation and then add in a professional makeup artist to be on hand throughout the photo shoot, suddenly getting your photo taken repeatedly becomes very enticing indeed. Who doesn’t like taking a guaranteed great photo? Tally the number in this new group and its definitely gotten bigger. Include me in this new group too (guaranteed? That`s like over 50%!).

The term ‘Boudoir Photo’ elicits mixed reactions from people, depending on whom you ask. To some, it’s reminiscent of old school parlour shots still done at carnivals and fairs today.  But today, boudoir photos can be whatever you want them to be. They can range from innocent snap shots of you in colourful outfits and fun poses, to high art shots with strategically placed feathers (aka fancy nudes). The decision is up to you and the creative potential is unlimited.

You who!!!

I love photography but after toying around with a friend’s $3,000 camera ($1,000 camera with a $2,000 lens) I proved that skill comes not with the cost of your equipment but from actual skill. Humph! 

Luckily we had the very talented Ray Chum from TempestPhoto.com, who came with actual skill, in charge of taking the photos (cost = priceless).

For today’s event, I would not be in any photos but I hoped I would at least get to enjoy some of the fun if not all of the excitement.

As you know, I’ve accumulated several fun roles over the past year and one of them is as a marketing specialist for the wedding products and wedding consulting company weddingblingz.com.

In this role we’ve planned, plotted and attended events but this was our first together involving a photo shoot. Both of us being expert event planners with numerous successful events in our past, we figured we had this one under control.

After all, with all the expertise in the room, what could go wrong?…

ooo la la!

Up at the crack of 7:30am, on my day off, no less, we arrived at the Executive Hotel`s fully loaded penthouse suite.  The sun was shining brightly through the floor to ceiling windows throughout the 2-level suite and we had a clear view of the mountains. The perfect day and backdrop for our photo shoot.  So far, so good.
All the girls arrived for their individual photo shoots filled with excitement and brimming with nervous energy. As the day’s assistant, I played the role of everyone’s beetch and carried bags, poured drinks (only water for once!), and made sure everyone was comfortable, relaxed and feeling great. 

Running around and prepping the sets, getting drinks, and keeping everyone chocolate filled and in high spirits was a lot of fun, surprisingly. I enjoyed pampering the lovely ladies and this sudden selflessness is very rare of and so unlike me. As the day went on and photo shoot after photo shoot took place, I dutifully played the role of helpful spectator despite hearing all the giggles and laughter from the studio above. It was okay this time but next time I definitely want a starring role.

Like I said earlier, ‘So what could go wrong???’

Well like I also said earlier ‘we had a whole bunch of experts helping on this’…

So absolutely nothing. 😉 

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 Top 3 Boudoir Photo shoot tips (as taken from www.weddingblingz.com):

  1. Wardrobe: Bring a few options to try (2 to 4 options) but not too many accesories (earrings, bracelets, etc) as you don`t want them to overpower your natural beauty.
  2. Hair: Wear it down in soft curls or waves if possible. This is the most easily manageable hair for the many poses and positions you might want to try.
  3. Makeup: If doing your own makeup then go heavy on your foundation, powder, bronzer, and/or blush. This shows up better in photos and puts you in your best light.

 

Ready to get pampered and take your own boudoir photo? Contact WeddingbBlingz today! 

Photo sources:  old school saloon, sexy curvy corset

The Follow Up

Following up has never been my thing. I live for loose ends. I feed off half-stories and partial tales. Once something happens, it’s done with. Plus, if it’s that important then I’m sure I’ll hear about it from someone else soon enough (let someone else worry about that). This is true for me, but for others, these nagging bits of unfinished business might be the end of you. Maybe I’ve been leading you on for the last while. I’ve started topics, piqued your curiosity, engaged your mind, made you all hot and bothered about an interesting topic and then stopped abruptly before getting you to the literary climax you deserve.

 Well to all of you still sitting in limbo, consider this edition your happy ending.

Where we left off

Original post: How to pick up guys and other inanimate objects  

Where we left off: I wanted to find a man (I was bored that day) and asked you yahoos what the best way was. Taking a look at the poll – you suggested I ridiculously leave it to fate. Like god doesn’t have anything better to do than send a hottie my way. Sheesh.

The follow-up: But as suggested, I did leave it to fate….and fate led me to plenty of fish.com. Priced @ $0, it was definitely within my price range. Now my potentials can find me in person or online, woo! I’m so multidimensional now.

I'M my own fate, dammit!

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Original post: At first I was afraid

Where we left off: I claimed I was a social media marketer (only cuz I am!)

The follow-up:  I’m now working with 3 companies (2 paid, one volunteer) as a Marketing/Social media specialist. I love it when slight exaggeration turns into happy reality.

Lesson kids: When you keep lying to yourself, everyone eventually believes it too and then it becomes a reality. Yay!

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Original post: A novel idea  

Where we left off: Me- the novice novelist. You – the critical critic. Together we made a lopsided cake (there was no support, get it??). I promised gifts of power, unrestrained judgement, the title of ultimate critic and a $25 Visa Gift card prize contingent on me receiving at least 25 comments.  Even after a massive social media marketing campaign, I only received just over a dozen responses (all great!). 

So what’s a girl to do?: the only rational thing to do – Run the contest again! All the current entries will remain intact but I’m giving everyone else till Jan 31st to read the snippet and post or email a comment. If I get 25+ comments, then I’ll randomly select a winner. Anything less than 25, then EVERYONE who responds gets a $5 gift card to a popular location, woo!

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Original post: DAM that sounds good

Where we left off: At the end of this post I promoted several posts that I planned on writing.

The follow-up:  

  • Budget Life: Math time! Add up all the money you spend in a month on the fun stuff, cut it by over 60% and then try to live off the rest. Can you reach the end of the month before you reach the end of the money?
  • The $10 Dinner Party: Serving a party of 7 on a $10 budget.  Macaroni and cheese not allowed… Darn it.
  • What in the world?: Sometimes I attend events that can go really, really well…or the complete opposite.  Either way it makes for a great story.
  • Bye-Bye Mustard: Pineapple slices; chutney; alfalfa sprouts; cranberry sauce; butter chicken sauce; bacon wrapped and deep-fried. Creative and delicious (?) ways the old-fashioned hot dog has being revamped.
    • STATUS: Ya, well I did actually start going to a few hot doggie places but after trying 6 different types of hot dogs, I realized that I never wanted to eat another hot dog again. Perhaps next time I shouldn’t try eating all 6 in one sitting…. Burp.

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Original post: Pie Times

Where we left off: We didn’t leave off anywhere. I just love that there were 22 homemade pies to try and none of them were boring ol  apple. I will never get over this very wonderful day!

The bottom line: I will attend anything as long as there’s food involved. 😉

When's the last time YOU had 22 pie samples?

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The original post: Happy 365! (My one year blogging anniversary)

Where we left off: Another post tantalizing you with upcoming post ideas.

The follow-up:

  • Gastronomic Anomalies: with so much good food out there, why do people feel the need to make this stuff??
    • STATUS: postponed. This was in regards to an invention by my favourite late night poutine parlour – poutine pizza. Regular pizza crust, gravy and cheddar cheese as topping, and deep-fried French fries on top. Sound delicious? Yup, to me too. Gotta try this little bit of heaven one day.
  • Happy Sexy You
  • How am I supposed to eat THAT?
    • STATUS: Well this one’s still coming up so I’m not gonna give this one away just yet…
  • The bartering system: the real oldest profession
    • STATUS: Ditto for this. I’ve got some great ideas for this one too!

 Did I miss something?

 So there you have it. A follow-up to most, if not all of the open-ended posts I’ve left you hanging with for the past few years. If I missed anything or if you have questions about something I’ve done in the past (or said I was gonna do is more likely), feel free to drop me a line and ask me a question in the comments box below or @ nelleytimes@gmail.com.  Maybe I’ll follow up your question with a whole blog post…or maybe I’ll just start a blog post and leave the ending up to your imagination. After all, the #1 rule for everything is simple:

You gotta leave ’em wanting more…

I’ve got your future right here

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  So many to make and no way to know which ones are right. Not in advance at least. Sure, you can seek out expert guidance from life coaches, financial planners, money advisors, business professionals and career counselors but that can take weeks, months, years even to determine the right course of action for you. However, there is one type of person out there who has the knowledge, the insight, the foresight and even the hindsight to answer all your queries, lead you in the right direction and put you on the right path. Want to know the answer to life’s most important questions? For a price, you can get all the answers you’ve ever wanted, and more. And one lazy Saturday afternoon, that’s just what I did.

With an overly excited friend in tow (calm down!), we ventured out into the dark, seedy and scary underworld of Fortune Telling.  Turns out, it’s not so seedy or scary. Forget dark, and insert mundane as that would be the best description for the  little shop that was badly decorated in beige carpet, broken white tiles and fake wood paneled walls. The visions I’d had of heavy purple drapes and gold speckled curtains and crystal balls everywhere were quickly pushed aside by the reality of the small, old fashioned TV in the corner playing a CNN broadcast (from the future??).

We called him Ol' Nozzy for short

Going into this with an open mind we try to open the front door…only to find it locked. Hmmmm. I definitely didn’t see that coming but I guess I’m not the psychic. Calling the number on the door, we learn our Shamans were going to be 5 minutes late. (I’ll let you insert your own jokes here about how she should have known we’d be there on time) 15 minutes later they show up. My friend’s oracle was a pretty girl but otherwise ordinary looking whereas my Seer was the coolest one ever. Short spikey hair, a  raspy voice, a Romanian accent and scars of unknown origin on her face, neck and chest which just added to the mystery and to her mystic aura. Furthermore, Fortune Telling has been in her family for generations and she’s been reading people for over 25 years. Even her daughter runs a fortune telling business in another city. Fortune telling runs in their veins and is a huge part of their lives – Ya, ya, ya. Enough about you, Nostradamus. Let’s get to me already.

Leading me behind a shroud of curtains, I’m told to sit down in a back room and am immediately handed a crystal. She tells me to hold it and think of a question that I want answered. I immediately think about caramilk and the mystery of the smooth flowing caramel and snap at myself to focus. I try to pinpoint my thoughts on career and writing, career and writing, career and writing, caramilk (dammit!), career and writing.  After a few more moments, she removes the crystal from my clenched fist and my experience begins:

Crystal Reading: done to evaluate the life cycles, and how you are directly affected by what is happening to you now, what has happened in the past and what is to come in the future. (http://www.spiritedboutique.com/?p=208)

Crystal Reading/Psychic Facial Determination:

  • I’m a good person (hmmm. Define ‘good’…)
  • I try to do nice things (Ha! Wrong again)
  • I’m lonely and hurting on the inside (Whoa! Hey!)
  • I have very few close relationships and hold people back (Well now she’s just being hurtful. Wah!)

Palm reading (aka Chiromancy) consists of the practice of evaluating a person’s character or future life by “reading” the palm of that person’s hand. Various “lines” (“heart line”, “life line”, etc.) purportedly suggest interpretations by their relative sizes, qualities, and intersections. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmistry

Palm Reading:

  • She saw I had a long life line
  • A few obstacles in my past and a few to come in the future
  • I’m an independent female
  • She saw marriage in my future and 2 kids (Dammit. Oh well. At least this should make my mother happy)

Think you can read me better? Try it for yourself!

Tarot Cards: the deck represents all phenomenal experience, the wheel of life. Tarot reading revolves around the belief that the cards can be used to gain insight into the current and possible future situations of the subject. http://healing.about.com/cs/uc_directory/a/uc_readtarot.htm

Tarot Reading

Love life:

  • I had a bad breakup in the past (bad for him maybe but not for me. Hee hee hee)
  • …And there is still some connection or negativity there  (Aw man. I don’t have room for a stalker right now)
  • My love life is cursed (Sheesh. I think you have to actually HAVE a love life in order for it to be cursed…ohhhhh)
  • I had a devil card in my mix, which requires one-on-one meditation with the psychic at a future date (and at an additional cost of course). She will light candles on my behalf and try to determine what is causing troubles in my love life and then we should meet again to put me on the right path to clarity (hmmmm…)
  • I will find love in the next 3 to 6 months (with the devil maybe? Check if he’s free to date since he’s leaving his card for me everywhere)
  • I’ll find true love in the next 3 to 6 months but not in Vancouver (in Paris then? Packing a bag!)

Life:

  • A change in my life in the next 3 to 6 months
  • She foresaw a big move in the next few months that will be good for me (Okay finally a good one. My friends & I were discussing a move to Australia in the fall)
  • I find it hard to save money (No. It’s just hard not to spend it. Totally different)
  • Or at least hard to save as much money as I would like to (true of most people)

Career:

  • You don’t like to be told what to do or how to act (insert your own skeptical ‘duh’ face here)
  • You want to be your own boss (Damn right!)
  • I see creativity around you and in your future (Woo hoo!)
  • There will be change in profession and this change will be good for me
  • I will always have money in my life (Yes, but how much. I need dollar amounts here lady!)

Conclusion: inconclusive. To believe some of it, I have to believe all of it. Open mind or not, these generalized statements and lucky guesses aren’t enough to make me a supporter. For fun (and $40), it was definitely nice to be assured of some things that I wanted to know about. However, always needing a second source (makes it more legit), I went to my dear friend the Internet for some additional guidance.

Caution: When it comes to psychic phenomena, the Internet is the Worst. Friend. Ever.

With a million+ websites out there offering you guidance and readings for prices as low as $0.99/minute, a simple 30 minute reading can easily get out of hand and repeated visits can get out of budget.

One site even uses the trick where they ask you to focus on one card and one card only and then the site refreshes and they change ALL the cards (unbeknownst to some users) to demonstrate to the poor believer that their  ‘online psychic connection’ has been established. Humph! http://www.onlinepsychic.com/main/m_testread_c1.shtml

Still, I needed some more answers and as luck would have it, I came across a legitimate looking site offering free crystal ball readings. Just pop in your yes/no question and the all-knowing crystal ball will tell all. After learning that I was more than likely a princess in a previous life; the favourable possibility exists for me to marry a millionaire; and the chances are probable that I will travel to the moon; I had to ask the Great Crystal Ball one last question:

Aha! Close you indeed.

Question mark source

Nostradamus image source