the amazing googleEarth

For those unfamiliar with googleEarth, it's a program that takes googlemaps and adds three dimensional, satelite, CG aspects to it. You'll see it used on nearly every major news network today. Whenever they cut to a graphic that includes a zoom into or fly over a city--it's nearly always the pro version of googleEarth. CNN really started using it a lot to show the proximity of different areas in New Orleans during their huricane Katrina coverage.

OK, enough about the background, how is that relevant?

I'm sure some of you have been using it for a while now. The PC version is about a year old. I've been a little late to the googleEarth game since the mac version was released only a couple weeks ago. Turns out you can save driving directions in a file to be shared with others. So to get my feet wet I created directions from the church in Scituate to our reception at the Red Lion in Cohassett. And it's just a cool piece of software. I couldn't even imagine technology like this on a home computer five years ago...much less something that anyone can download and use for free. In the next few weeks I plan to supplement the driving directions on our guest info site with these googleEarth files--even if just for the novelty.

For now, faithful readers of our blog get a preview. Follow the directions below and you too will soon be flying from Scituate to Cohassett.
  1. Download and install googleEarth. You can find the file here.
  2. Download the googleEarth document I created here. (PC: right-click, "save-as") (mac: alt-click)
  3. On your computer, find the document called churchtoreception.kmz. Doubleclick it.
  4. GoogleEarth will now open and zoom you to the south shore from outer space. Hit play and you see a turn-by-turn flyover. If you highlight "route" and hit play, you get a smooth flyover from start to end.
I encourage anyone that's never used googleEarth to play around with it. Major cities and landmarks are presented with the buildings in 3D so you can go down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston with the buildings passing beside you. Or try visiting the Grand Canyon where the topography is mapped out fully in three dimensions so you can fly from the rim right down to the Colorado river at the bottom. It's wild.


She works hard for the money

Okay, I know that some of you will read this and think I am a whiner. I can live with that, I guess sometimes* I am.

A month ago, I graduated with my master's degree in Speech Language Pathology. The program was difficult, and I worked hard. All the time. I complained, and I worried--my commute, the workload, being a poor student. I thought my life was sooooo hard.


Now that I have been welcomed back into the working world, I remember how much it, pardon the vulgarity, sucks. Here are just a few of the reasons why...

  1. I have to go to work every single day. I can't skip if I am overtired, or have a headache, or it's raining. In school, I could just get someone to take notes for me. Sadly it doesn't work that way with a job.
  2. I have to get up early on every single weekday. Not just when I have a class. That might not be so terrible if I could make myself go to bed earlier. But no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to force myself to go to bed at a "reasonable" hour.
  3. I have to work all day long. I can't pace myself, take breaks at will, or run errands during the day like when I was a student.
  4. Some days, by the time I get home, it's already dark. Uhm hello, no wonder people get seasonal affect disorder. This business of getting up when it's still dark out, working inside all day during the sunshine hours, then coming home after dark, is for the birds.
  5. If I make mistakes, I could get fired. Or, the school district could get sued. In school if I messed up, I would just get a bad grade.
So, the question I pose to any worker bees out there who have been at it for a long time is, does it get better? Because as of now, I am fervently hoping that James and I will win the lottery so that I can retire to a life of leisure.

*including, but not limited to, today

We now have an RSS feed!

For anyone out there that's techsaavy, we now have an RSS feed available for the blog. Using RSS is very simple.
  1. Click here to bring up the RSS page. Or click this icon to auto launch the feed:
  2. If your browser is able to view RSS, just bookmark that page. If not, copy the link and paste it in your RSS reader.
  3. That's it! Everytime the blog is updated, the feed will update and let you know that there's new content.
If you're new to RSS here's some info...
  • Mac users can view RSS and get auto-updates in the Safari browser. You can also click here for more options.
  • I'm not as familiar with Windows RSS, but I don't think Internet Explorer will do it. Try here for more options.
If anyone on Windows has a recommendation, please add a comment.


Bad DJ, Bad!

This one's a little long, but it's worth the read.

It seems we finally found a DJ that seems like he'll be able to be on the same wavelength as us. Along the way, we encountered a lot of characters who seemed to be more about putting on a little show than actually trying to do what we need. It just started to become easier to just be upfront with the type of DJ we were looking for--someone that doesn't lead the room in the chicken dance, insist on the dollar dance game, yell on the mike for five of every ten minutes, and give out glow necklaces and blow up air guitars...oh yes, air guitars, and people really do pay for that. Whodathunkit? Now do they really enjoy it? I guess anything is fun when you're drunk.

So here's my original inquiry...

looking for rate and package information. We are planning this wedding..to be held in Cohassett, MA, from California. As many people in our circle of friends are professional night club DJs and promoters in Los Angeles, we are VERY picky about sound/music and looking for someone willing to meet our needs. We don't want to hire an MC. It's our show, not the DJs. Our reception will include guests of all ages and we understand the need to entertain all, but we don't want people to leave our wedding thinking they heard the same cliche, overplayed wedding songs you hear at everywhere. Our goal is to avoid that at all costs. My apologies for the long winded comments, but I just want to be sure we're on the same page before proceeding further in case you feel you are unable to meet out needs. Thank you.

Seems clear enough. Note the part where I say that the wedding will include guests of all ages and that we understand the need to entertain everyone. Here's the response...

I was sent your information from a fellow associate. We get these types of requests frequently. From my 26 years experience I find The reason for this I find is the prospective clent has attended an event that had an obnoxious DJ. One thing however that did catch my eye was your circle of friends being NIGHT CLUB DJS. A wedding and a night club are two different Animals. and most nightclub djs ,as wonderful as they are spinnin vinyl. well basically, ruin a wedding. In a nightclub, the DJ has free reign to play what they please along as it is in the clubs format and therefore plays their choice of music whether the dance floor likes it or not, In a club people go there to drink and the crowd doesn't start until 11pm. Most attendees of a club arrive half drunk or whatever. I say this because I was a resident DJ in Miami for 2 years. Many a couple have hired a DJ that plays at their club and the wedding flopped. A club dj is one sided , an event dj has to be multi- faceted. You need to play to young and old. That's right! Aunts , uncles , grandparents and parents. So a DJ needs to start out first being an MC, something most club djs have never had to do. The coordinate the series of events so things like cake cutting , first dance etc. run smoothly and are timed. You are correct, it is your show, but a professional DJ also realizes it is his companies reputation online. So we try to attend to everyone's styles and genres. So I caution you, this is Massachusetts, what about your LOCAL ATTENDEES, what do you think they are going to like. A professional DJ has music for everyone and does a rotation of this music so EVERYONE has a great time. That is the goal for everyone to have a good time, if not why invite them? Enjoy......

Best Wishes
Darin Boisvert
The Perfect Mix Entertainment Company
Anyone can DJ...... We Entertain!
Tel: 978-345-1151
Wha...wha...whaaaaaat?! Wow....ask for information and get a lecture in return. While Darin Boisvert is completely out of line, it would be funny to see my grandmother trying to dance to techno music when we turn the wedding reception into a rave like he seemed to assume we would. I don't like who make baseless assumptions cop an attitude, so I of course replied...

Thank you for the reply but to quote my original message, "Our reception will include guests of all ages and we understand the need to entertain all." I would never hire a club DJ to play a wedding. We have friends that have residencies at some of the hottest clubs in LA...playing for the types of events that you read about in US Weekly and I wouldn't pay them to play at our reception either. Our circle of friends has led us to become very detail oriented and picky when it comes to music, but it has not made us ignorant. Those are two very different things. If we were having a reception that was including only those friends, we wouldn't be contacting wedding or event DJs to begin with.

I stated that I didn't want to hire an attention grabbing MC, wanted to avoid the cliche songs, and requested rate and package information. I did NOT say that I wanted to hire someone to play five hours of house and techno. I don't think those requests are overly demanding, and I've made the exact same request to several vendors and have had very positive dialogues with a few DJs thus far. After hearing my concerns, they asked me some questions, and then we came to a mutual understanding about the vision my fiance and I have for the event. To me, that seems like the way to do good business.

That said, all I get in reply from you is a very condescending message that's trying to lecture me about what's right and what's wrong before you have even tried to contact me to fully understand what I'm looking for. Frankly, your description of club DJs is insulting as well. What they may play is different than what you'll have at a wedding, but the end goal is exactly the same. If my friends don't get the room dancing, they don't get hired again. As far as arriving half drunk, well lets just say I've been to my fair share of weddings where sobriety was a distant concept.

You add that the wedding DJ needs to represent their company. I'm not hiring someone to promote a business without regard to our needs. That makes no sense to me. As I see it, a desirable DJ should feel confident in their ability to incorporate their client's needs into their understanding and experience of how to have a successful party--which is why I was upfront about what we were looking for. If they can't do that, they shouldn't take the job. Other DJs I've spoken with have not raised concern that the party would be a failure or that they would take a negative hit on their reputation. These are not fly-by-night vendors either. They come highly recommended from the Red Lion where we will be holding our reception.

I'm sorry for the rant, but it upsets me that you didn't answer my questions or provide the information I requested. Since you felt the need to send unsolicited advice, here's some in return....before you go off on a potential client who's simply looking for information, try understanding what it is they really need.
This is the type of guy that probably has been on autopilot doing weddings for the last 15 years. If the man didn't get it the first time, I thought my reply made it very clear that we weren't idiots and were planning for a reception that could be enjoyed by all our guests. I was wrong and he needed to continue the lecture...(and he can't let go of the nightclub thing)
Please read my email closer. My email was not meant to be condescending at all. In twenty six years I see DJ's ruin weddings because they fail to educate the client. Being a guest or an observer at a wedding is far from being the planner and guest of honor. As I stated I was once a prominent resident club DJ and am now a prominent Wedding DJ. What I said was a club is a different atmosphere than a wedding and most club DJs that venture into the wedding market have a hard time separating the two venues. It happens! This is why I got out of the club market, your mind is in a different zone musically.

Secondly when I was talking about people arriving drunk, I was talking about the club scene and certainly not your wedding. At a club people arrive already primed and ready to go so essentially the DJ can get away with playing whatever he wants. At a wedding the dj has to warm up the guests with a compliment of both personality and music. My obligation to anyone is to help in the planning and to set the expectations through years of observations at real weddings. Case in Point, We had a client from New York that wanted dance music played between courses. Knowing the size of the venue I knew it would be detrimental to the timely serving and advised that it could cause them to run into overtime with the caterer. What I got was "well that's how we do it in New York" From the Bride. However the wedding wasn't in New York and Halls and caterers run at a different pace. I can only advise, so I agreed to do it her way. The long and short of it was, after food was being spilled and peopled weren't sitting down for the serving, She told me to do what I thought best. Which is why people hire professionals in the first place, to have a stress free event. You made a statement that this is how good business should be done. True and my point is that any professional entertainer that wants to stay in business will not bend on the integrity of his business to make a buck. We don't take just any job we see if the clients are a fit. For instance I would not play anything inappropriate at any function if it was going to offend anyone! Regardless of what my client wants. My business has been built on that concept and I will elaborate. We did a wedding, around 5 hours into the groom came up and wanted me to play a song with very explicit lyrics. I would not as there were children and elderly there as well as the clergy. I said I could probably play it a little later with these guest leave. Well when the bride found out what I did at the end of the night, she hugged me and gave be a considerable sized gratuity for being the consummate professional and not bending on my integrity. We as DJs audition for work at every event we do. We are in business to stay in business, and haven't had a complaint about the quality of services we provide.

Lastly you said your vendors came from The Red Lion, well I received your info from a DJ that received your info from an online planner called wedj.com. No I never said your music wouldn't work, I just cautioned you in regards to looking for what looked like a club DJ. You spend $20- 50 to get into a club, you spend $25,000 and up to plan a wedding, I was just ADVISING you. I didn't give a price because I wasn't considering doing the wedding I was just trying to help out. Some DJs will promise you the world and yes you to death, but ultimately when the wedding starts you can't change your mind on the choices you made. I wish you good luck and apologize if my email was misconstrued.
I wanted to reply, but I resisted the urge. Could you imaigine what this guy must be like to work with?

If you'll be attending the wedding just know that no matter what music you're into, or what age you may be, or whether you like to stand or dance, it will be fun for everyone. Liz and I would have it no other way. And no, we didn't hire Darrin Boisvert.


so exciting

My mom came to California this past weekend, and we ordered my gown! I don't think any other wedding decision will be as fun to make.

I love my gown; it's perfect!! No details of course, you'll just have to wait until June.


Back to the gym!

I had been going to the gym fairly regularly for about six months before Christmas. It would be upper body one day, cardio the next, lower body, back to cardio and repeat. I had myself in a mode to go at least five days a week. For someone who never really went to the gym much their entire life, that wasn't an easy task. I've probably had at least a half dozen well intended failed efforts to get myself into the right pattern over the last few years.

What finally changed it was the opening of a 24 Hour Fitness across the street from our house. I no longer had an excuse, and it worked. After about two weeks I was feeling bad if I missed a day. And there was a payoff since I've lost 35 pounds through my effort.

With holidays and traveling, patterns break. I worked out a bit in Scituate and planned to jog in Westminster, but I was sick most of the time in Maryland, so that never really happened. Upon return to LA, drinking and partying on New Year's Eve on top of being run down from traveling made the effort to restart the engine a difficult one, but I went a few days last week doing only cardio and had gone three days this week so I'm getting back to my normal pattern.

Today was the first day I tried the weights again...before Christmas, I was doing mostly cardio because I thought I might eat too much during the holidays so it's been about five weeks since I've done strength training. I am going to be SORE tomorrow. Man....it was tough. Makes you not want to slack off again, that's for sure. It felt good to get back to it though and I should be back to my normal routine full time by next week. With only five months until the wedding, there's no more time for slacking off.


Warm weather

The nice weather isn't letting up. (and we're not complaining about it.) It's making it hard to focus on the wedding related things that need to be taken care of....right now that's the ongoing search for a videographer.

Soon we get to walk around a few stores with a scanner to register. That should be fun.


What a nice day!

The temperature today in Hermosa was 78 degrees and the sun was out.

I worked outside in the afternoon....

and there was a glorious sunset too. This is the view from our porch:


rained out without the rain

Turns out our big NYE plans back in LA were rained out...even though the rain ended by about 5PM here. To be fair, there were torrential rains from when our plane landed around noon through most of the afternoon, but it was still disapointing to have our plans put on ice. (The cancellation has actually turned into quite the controversy in the local media as well.)

Fortunately, after some last minute scrambling we still had a great night.

A few friends came over and we broke in the gas tank liquor dispencer that Rich and Tracy gave us for Christmas. We toasted at midnight and still managed to make it over to that afterhours to see a few friends DJ.

New Year's Day was spent sleeping.....finally sleeping. Ahhhhhhhhhh....


Happy New Year!!

Here's hoping that 2006 is full of love, health, happiness, and prosperity for all of us!