Is it the end of #Awesome?

Yes folks, sadly it is….or is it?

The blog 1000 Awesome Things countdowns 1000 , well, “awesome” things.  Launched in June 2008, it has been updated everyday since and is now coming to an end later next week, culminating in the #1 awesome thing.

Although I’ve never actually read his stuff until now and only recently learned of his blog’s impending passing, I am truly sad that ol what’s-his-face is ending whatever-that-blog-was-called again.

Neil Pasricha is the creator of  1000 Awesome Things  and has since authored several books about awesome, including The Book of Awesome, The Book of (Even More) Awesome, and The Book of Holiday Awesome (I love his titles!). His daily blog is described as :

“Unrelentingly optimistic without being sappy. It’s less about awesome things than it is about seeing the awesomeness of the everyday.” The Toronto Star

Some of his top rated posts include:

With millions of page views, and thousands of fans following his every awesome thought, although it’ll be interesting to see who takes over the ‘reign of awesome’ in the blog’s splendid wake, what fans are most anticipating is the ‘# 1 most awesome thing’.  After 4 years, 3 books and a countdown clock that seized the attention of a generation, what will the #1 most awesome simple pleasure be?

Whatever the case, endings are always sad, but only when they mark the ending of something really good.

Always being contrary, in honour of the unfortunate ending of 1000 awesome things, I bring you a list in a different spirit:  I present to you…

10 things that #suck:

  1. Arriving home from the grocery store and realizing you forget one of your grocery bags at the checkout stand – dammit!
  2. Getting to your car 2 minutes past the meter end time and seeing a parking ticket already on the dash – oh c’MON!
  3. Your boss scheduling a lunch time meeting – but not providing you with any lunch – shoooot!
  4. Picking up someone’s baby and having it start to cry uncontrollably in your arms.
  5. Your boss schedules a 4:30pm meeting on a Friday– uh oh!
  6. Taking  your new clothing purchases out of the bag at home and seeing the security tag was accidentally left on the item – boooo!
  7. Putting money in a parking meter but no ticket comes out  – son-of-a-@#$%
  8. Finding a stain or a hole in your favourite anything –  WTF!
  9. Pouring a cream packet into you coffee and watching your coffee curdle because the cream has gone bad. Gah!
  10. Finding a thick curly hair in your food – just before you finish the dish. YUCK!

Ok, ok. Calm down and get out of that hair-tangled-in-your-food funk.  To bring you back up to normal (aka 2-drink minimum happy), in honour of the end of something awesome,   I present you with…

10 things that @#$%^&* rock!:

  1. Getting to a parking meter and there’s already money in the meter – hells yeah!
  2. Having nothing to eat at lunch but then walking into the lunchroom at work and finding leftover snacks, sandwiches, etc from a catered meeting that day – woo hoo!
  3. A slice of someone else’s birthday cake (even if you hate chocolate). yum-o!
  4. 50% off Halloween chocolate on November 1st. yes please!
  5. When someone else’s baby recognizes you and smiles expectantly. awwww!
  6. Using the candy/pop  vending machine and when you put your money in and make your selection, 2 items fall out instead of one. 2 for 1, baby!
  7. Going to pay for the bus but the payment system is down so you get to ride for free!
  8. Leaving a store, checking your receipt and realizing the cashier forgot to charge you for an item – woo hoo!
  9. Buying an item of clothing already on sale, and when you get to the counter, you find out there’s an additional discount – yea baby!
  10. Free anything! (mattresses excluded)

Now go forth and appreciate all the #Awesome things today!…

and try to avoid the ones that suck. 😉

And feel free to share whichever ones hit you today in the comments below!

.

.

.

Image sources:  going home , greasy fingers; potato chip sammich

Wicked

Nope, I’m not describing what I’ve been up to lately (and not because ‘wicked’ would be too tame a descriptor) but instead the famed musical – Wicked, based on the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

If you were to read the theater reviews (and I don’t) you’d probably be told what a great show it is, what a wonderful cast they have and what fantastic sets they use. Well I’m here to tell you my first hand story of my life and time at Wicked…

And the invitation goes to…

Receiving a second hand invite from a friend with an extra ticket; I give her an offhand acceptance with innocently innocent inquiries on ticket prices & potential resale value. Having been sold out for months, this show was highly anticipated and I could imagine tickets reselling for an exorbitant price. My good friend, knowing me well enough and long enough, held onto my ticket until show time to ensure I did no such thing. Apparently she bought the tickets because she wanted to see the show and wasn’t looking to make a profit (amateur!). With tickets safely locked away in her purse, we headed downtown to watch the show.

Cut to Act 1, scene 1

I’m falling asleep. Actually, I think I’ve fallen asleep several times already and I’m not sure if it’s still the first scene or even still the first act.  Years of attending boring lectures and never-ending meetings has taught me how to look awake (sit upright, hold head straight) while dozing quietly away. As the singing chorus on stage bursts into song, I awake with a start. Glinda the good witch is regaling her court with a story of the Wicked Witch of the West. As the chorus leans in expectantly to listen to the good witch’s tale, I know should feel excited, I should be intrigued, I should be on the edge of my seat but I can barely keep my eyes open…

2 hours before showtime

My friend and I are sharing stories and making up for lost time the best way we know how – our traditional tequila shooters ( Recipe: take regular tequila and then add the word ‘traditional’ in front). They’re on special tonight too, a sure sign that we were all meant to be together…

1 hour to showtime

Martinis on special you say? Don’t mind if we do. If our glasses are empty waitress dear, that means we need refills. Chop chop!

30 minutes to showtime

They sell drinks at the theatre too? How convenient. Now, should we start with gin and tonics, bacardi and cokes or one of each?

You’re right, silly question (one of each).

Also, let’s not forget to pre-order our intermission bevies too.

Showtime!

Cut to Act 2, Scene 1

Nothing like halftime refreshments to, well, refresh. The scenes are brighter, the singing is bolder and the action is soooo much livelier when your eyes are open.

Things I’ve learned from my life and time @ the musical Wicked:

  • I love getting dressed up to go to plays
  • 1 hour goes by very slowly when you desperately need to use the washroom
  • People take their play watching seriously ( I think someone poked me in the shoulder for moving my head around too much!)
  • My eyes will always perk up for good looking male actors (oh Fiyero!)
  • I’ll never get the song Defying Gravity out of me head (and yes, I’m even singing it now)

And most importantly:

  • If you’re gonna consume a whole lotta drinks….save it for after the play.

.

.

.

Oh and if you still need some official reviews:

4 out of 4 stars – The Toronto Star

Wicked is steeped in talent -The New York Times

If [Wicked] doesn’t please you, you’re too tough to please – Wall Street Journal

Go see it already!

The Mating Game

Hey. You wanna go watch my dog make puppies?


Puppies!?! Of course I wanna see puppies. Who doesn’t want to see puppies. As innocent as that sounds, what this friend really meant to ask me was:  “Do you wanna watch some dogs do it?”

Either way, I would still have said yes so off we went to watch two doggies go at it in the style of dog.

Thoughts: People usually pay to see this stuff and I’m getting in on the ground floor for free, woo! Puppies!

I Want Puppies!

Motivation: Unless you work professionally with animals, most people don’t usually get the opportunity to play with a litter of puppies. The thought of rolling around with a 6-pack of baby golden retrievers and especially getting the chance to rub it in other people’s faces, was just too great to turn down.

Before Play

We set out late in the evening to bring the two dogs together in an open field. The female’s in heat (Jillie*) and the male dog (Lincoln*) is ready to go. As Lincoln  tries to get on top of Jillie, I start to feel a little weird for watching, nay, gawking at the whole scene (don’t they want some privacy for this?).  Jillie’s owner lets us know that it can happen in the blink of an eye. One minute 2 dogs are playing around, next thing you know – puppy-making is taking place. Yay, puppies!


Make Room for Baby

Wanting to give them some space, we take a walk around and leave the dogs in their playful state of ‘chase the girl-dog’. It’s a whole song and dance routine and it’s interesting (and awkward) to watch. Should we cheer them on or something?

Maybe he Should Buy her Dinner First…

An hour later, the sun has almost set around us but nothing’s happened between puppy maker 1 and puppy maker 2. It’s not that I’m bored (although I am) but for me NOT to be bored, that means the dogs have to do the deed….and I’m still wondering If I’m a freak for going out to watch ’em do it in the first place. Lincoln keeps trying but Jillie ain’t having it. (Been there, eh?). He tried sniffing her, following her around, barking, playful nibbling, whining, and even bringing her some of his toys (gifts work for me…), but she still wouldn’t let him in (heh heh heh). Jillie’s owner says that they’ll need to try it again as Jillie will be in heat for 5 more days and should be ready then. So at long last, when it starts to rain and as I shiver in the dark, the owners decide to give it up.  It’s especially cold outside in Vancouver, BC for late spring and even colder in the dogs’ proverbial bed. I’m cold, I’m wet, my shoes are muddy and I’m whinning more than Lincoln was. I don’t even know why I came out here tonight.  Oh right –

Puppies!!!!

* Names have been changed to protect the randy animals. 😉

Nelley’s Got a Gun

The shooting range. Oh how I’ve longed to shoot off a set of twin rifles, pop off an oozi or hold a silver smith ‘n Wesson sideways against a punk ass bitch. Yes, most of my gun knowledge comes from the movies or video games, but I assumed it should be just as easy to pull the trigger in real life as it is to pop off a pimp in Grand Theft Auto…..right?

It all started with Duck Hunt…

I loved that Nintendo video game and, if I can be blunt, I kicked ass at it too. No duck was safe when I was at the controller.  I could even accurately hit that damn dog too (you know, the one who laughs at you when you miss) if the system was advanced enough, damn dog!

Nelley get your gun

Guns as far as the eye can see!  They have to buzz you into the showroom area, there are cameras everywhere and they have to buzz you out to let you leave. They even take your driver’s license away while you’re in the shooting range. High Security – check!  There are so many guns to choose from and I can’t decide on which to shoot first. I settle on the basic – a 9mm handgun. Cool. We’ve signed in, picked our weapons of choice and now we wait for our turn.

In the line of fire

We suit up in protective earphones and eyepieces and 45 minutes later, we’re -BANG- onto the -BANG- shooting range. Our -BANG- assigned gun-guy dude is -BANG- going to, or is telling us -BANG- how to safely hold and -BANG- shoot our guns. I’m trying to -BANG- listen to him so my girls and I move in close -BANG- to hear him but all I can understand is -BANG- don’t point anywhere but at the range -BANG- (and duh!).  I’m trying to loosen -BANG- up but I can’t. The loud -BANG- sounds from the other shooters in the range is getting to me and I can’t -BANG- concentrate. Plus we can’t take off our protective ear wear to hear him better or else we’ll go BANG deaf from the shots. Plus if they’re this loud -BANG- with the protective ear wear on, then I don’t want to -BANG- hear what it sounds like without protection.

I’m first up to shoot but before I can take aim, I have to put some of the 50 bullets I bought into the dang clip. One by one.

Booooring!

I paid $32+tax for this so these clips should be pre-loaded! There’s no manual clip loading in Duck Hunt. Hump. In 5 minutes, I’ve managed to wedge in only 10 bullets….5 with the instructors help (show me again…and again….and again…and 47 more times please).

He warns us that the empty shells may pop up and hit us, but not to worry or jump when the searing hot metal hits our flesh. Right. I’m jumping already just from the sound of the gun shots (they’re never this loud in video games!) so I hope hot bullet corpses don’t smack me in the face.

Why did I wanna do this again??

Take the shot

No, it's not blurry. I'm just shaking alot...

I’m up. The gun is heavy and industrial looking. Following his instructions (technically he has to physically move my hands and body into position because I’m frozen in place) I’m ready to shoot. I look at my lifelike target, take aim and start shooting at the shoulders and other non essential areas so that the paramedics can revive him after I’ve finished (the paper target’s family would thank me). After each shot, our instructor tells me I can open my eyes now. He also reminds me to breathe since I seemed to have forgotten how (air goes in and then out, right?). I’m only 3 shots in and I’m done. This sucks. I turn around and my girls are dying from laughter behind me…and taking pics. Argh!! I hate the sound, I hate the explosions from the gun, and I hate the smell of gun powder. I take 7 more shots at the instructor’s encouragement and then I’m ready for a break. Unfortunately, the instructor took my obvious hints and filled my secondary clip with 18 more bullets.

Dammit.

Ok, I’ll just shoot off the rest and then I’m done. I’ll do just enough to earn my street cred (done!) but not so much that people think I actually like shooting these things (not a gun freak – done!).  18 more shots down and I’m free to leave the area and let the others in my group take aim. Phew. Enough with this human  target stress.

I’m going back to Duck Hunt.

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! 😮

.
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

Happy Momma’s Day!

Mother’s Day is all about spoiling the woman you love and letting her kick back, relax and have fun.

In her honour, let’s all sit back, relax and have fun trying to name these 5 famous mommas in TV history:

#1. The Family Matters’ momma:_______

Remember 'Family Matters'?

#2.The Step by Step momma:________

hahahaha - Step by Step - old school!

#3.The Brady Bunch momma:_________

The Brady's! and 'Mrs Brady is NOT the answer!

#4.The Cosby show momma:_________

The Cosby's!

#5.The That 70’s Show momma:_______

Hanging out...on the street! (theme song btw)

.

.

.

.

Answers:

1- Harriette Winslow

2 – Carol Foster

3 – Carol Martin (or I’ll give you Carol Brady)

4 – Clair Huxtable

5 – Kitty Forman

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!

.

.

.

Cupcake pops pic source