Archive | June, 2009

My Top 5 Michael Jackson Songs…

26 Jun

Michael Jackson. I grew up with his music. I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan back in the day… born in ’82, I was a little too young to really appreciate it… but his music was always there in the background for me. I can even say that Michael Jackson changed the course of my life a little bit. In my grade six year of school, I decided I was going to audition for every play, every musical, everything. I didn’t know if I could carry a tune or not, but when the chance came along to sing a solo in the school choir, I went to the audition, and scored the part. People loved my performance so much that they encouraged me to start pursuing music more seriously. I ended up teaching vocal music for several years in my late teens and early twenties. The song it all began with was Heal The World. 


So, to honour Michael’s career in my own small way, I’ve decided to post my 5 favourite MJ songs. I’ll add pics or video later if I can just figure out how! 

5. Heal The World. Even though the tune is arguably not his best or most memorable, this song shaped a huge part of my life. How could that not be in my top 5?   

4. Black Or White. Remember the video for this, with the morphing faces? And Macaulay Culkin lip-syncing the rap in the middle? I loved it then and I love it now. The riff is great… so simple, but sticks in my brain like no other. Love how he tackles such serious subject matter in a very uplifting and positive way.    

3. They Don’t Care About Us. Tackling the same serious subject matter in a not so uplifting way… this song makes me feel feisty. Great lyrics. Potentially offensive, I suppose, but they sure did hammer the point home. Love the beat, too.   
   
2. The Way You Make Me Feel. I used to have this stuck in my head constantly in high school. I don’t know why. It’s just a really great, danceable love song. 

1. Man In The Mirror. Just perfect in every way. It’s sad that the lyrics encourage so many plastic surgery jokes, because they actually have a very powerful message.

What are your top 5 MJ picks?
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Summer resolutions…

25 Jun

– Take at least one photograph every day

– Wear nail varnish constantly
– Master the hoola-hula-hoop!
– Wear more makeup, because it’s fun
– Listen to tonnnnnnns of music… never grow out of your Beatles “phase”!

How To… Apply For Your First Job!

22 Jun

I make no secret of the fact that I’m an honest-to-goodness grown woman and I still work at the mall. This isn’t because I’m an epic failure of a human being; it’s due to a combination of things (lack of opportunity, choosing the road less travelled and getting my degree later in life, still not knowing what I want to be when I grow up…). So, while I’m probably not the best go-to source for professional advice, I suspect that I’m a veritable font of wisdom when it comes to young people out there who are just beginning the search for their first job. Trust me, the people who accept your resume when you drop it off for a manager do read it over, and they do examine it (and you!) with a critical eye. Here’s a list of five common rookie mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them…


1) Not being dressed appropriately. 

It’s a sad fact of life that people do judge you based on the image you present to the world. I’m not saying it’s fair, or even that it’s right, but if someone comes into the store asking for a job and they’re dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, it gives the impression that they don’t care enough to put any effort in. You don’t need to be dressed as nicely as you would for an actual interview, but you should definitely try to appear professional. Try to avoid anything too casual (no t-shirts, sweats, or baseball caps) or anything that shows too much skin (your pencil skirt isn’t considered “professional looking” if the back is slit up to your bum!). Jeans are okay as long as the wash is dark, they have no holes, and they’re in a classic style (no skinnies, please!).    
 
2) Coming in with your friend… or mom!

It might not seem like a big deal, lending moral support to a friend… but trust me, the people who apply in tag teams never get called in for an interview at my store. Why not? Because it shows a lack of independence and confidence. If you really feel like you can’t go it alone, walk around with your friends while you look for places to apply, but make sure they stay outside of the store until after you have dropped your resume off… even if all they’re doing is coming in to shop!  

3) Not being polite. 

This ought to be such a no-brainer, but I’ve seen more than one person come in and be really rude to the person who’s taking their resume! In the very least, remember to smile and say please and thank you.

4) Not being yourself!

The applicants who really stand out are the ones who aren’t afraid to show a little bit of personality when they come in. Talk a little bit about why you’re applying at this particular place… it never hurts to show a little enthusiasm! Don’t be worried that you won’t give a good impression… sure, you might not fit in at every place you apply, but do you really want to get stuck working at a place where you have to pretend to be someone you’re not every single day?  

5) Not formatting your resume correctly.

A lot of the time, there will be no manager on duty when you’re dropping a resume off. This means that your resume is the first point of contact that they have with you. As much as an over-casual outfit can make a bad first impression, so too can a poorly formatted resume. Some tips to keep in mind:

– Pick one font and stick with it. Make sure it’s a font that’s easy to read on the printed page. 

– Don’t make your font incredibly small because you’re trying to fit a lot of information in a small amount of space. If your information takes up more than two pages, it doesn’t mean you should set your font size to 9… it means you need to edit! 

– A one-page resume is fine, but if you do use two pages, remember to staple them before you give it out! 

– Don’t use bright coloured fonts. If this is your first resume, you might want to avoid colour altogether as it’s tricky to use correctly. If you do want to incorporate colour, you could try using it around your name in order to make it stand out… but stick to classic colours like navy blue. Skip the hot pink for now. 

– Try to give the page an overall sense of “balance.” If your left margin is one inch, for example, you don’t want to have three inches of white space running down the right hand side. 

– Try to show how your previous experience is relevant to the job you’re asking for. If you don’t have much experience, you might be tempted to put every babysitting job you’ve ever had on your resume. That’s okay, but rather than listing each job individually, put them all under one heading (i.e. “babysitter”) and then list the relevant skills you developed while working in that position. A babysitter might, for example, be responsible for picking kids up from school, which means you are probably punctual and reliable.   

– A lot of places that are suited to “first job” experiences don’t require you to include a cover letter, but if you choose to have one, be sure to tailor it to the specific place you’re applying. It’s obvious when you’ve written a general cover letter that’s meant to be passed out to a bunch of different places, and it comes off as lazy. 

– Start building your references now! Using family friends is fine, but if you can get a teacher or guidance counsellor to vouch for you, all the better! 

Honestly, getting a job in a shop like the one I work at is one part right-place-at-the-right-time (if we’ve just finished hiring for the season, you won’t be getting the call no matter how awesome you are), and two parts selling yourself. Remember to try to impress all the staff, too, not just the manager… after all, we’re the ones who have to work with you!

 
 

 

Summer is coming…!!

21 Jun

In but a few hours, it will be Summer! Time flies. Summer means it’s only one more season ’til the wedding…


…oh hey did I tell you I’m getting married?…

…Summer also means three(ish) months of delicious heat and fun and general good feelings. Does anyone else experience the Summer season as a sort of xmastime 2.0? I think it’s the memories of childhood, how in Summer, all there ever was to do was relax. Two decades later, I’ve got work, and bills, and apartment hunting, and car insurance payments, and stress… but Summer makes it all feel somehow Less Than. So, for the next three months, I am going to (try to) put aside my grown-up cares, and make the most of the time I have! 

Things to look forward to:
– Getting ice cream tomorrow. It’s tradition! Hopefully the fact that I work to close tomorrow won’t put a damper on this… yeesh! 
– Sunning my shoulders
– A wedding in a different town that will require train tickets! 
– …a trip on a train!
– Evening walks
– Iced tea, American style
– Delicious watermelon! 



Using Twitter for good, not evil

12 Jun

I hopped on the Twitter bandwagon not too long ago now, and for the most part, I’m really enjoying it. I thought I was late to the party, so I’m surprised that a lot of people, when they find out I’m on it, ask me “what’s it for”? Usually I explain it as follows: “It’s endless status updates… it’s so fun!” which I know isn’t exactly accurate, but it’s the best I can come up with. After all, endless status updates are primarily what I, and the people I follow, seem to use Twitter for.

However, just because that’s the way I use Twitter doesn’t mean it’s the way everybody uses it. Judging by the new and random followers I seem to acquire every day, it would seem lots of people use it to promote their businesses, their bands, or their amateur porn (hi, “Britney”!). Others use it because they are championing a cause, and Twitter is their chosen means of reaching out to potential supporters. It’s a fine, fine line though, between educating people and bombarding them. So, with that in mind, I’ve come up with a few rules of common courtesy that I think people should all extend to each other when using Twitter.
1) Follow someone because you think they are interesting/inspiring/hot, not because you expect them to follow you in return.     
2) If you are trying to promote some type of service, don’t create multiple accounts with which to follow the same person. I’m okay with someone having a personal account and a business account, but if you’re posting the same information on several accounts, it’s just a little too shameless.
3) If you are campaigning for a cause, have something fresh to say with every tweet you make. Nobody likes reading the same inspirational quotes over and over and over again. 
4) Try not to monopolize your followers’ accounts! If you have a lot to say, you might want to consider starting a blog instead, and use Twitter to post a link whenever you have a new entry up. 
5) Keep it human… but not too human! What’s the only thing worse than a robotic series of quotes, links, and ads that have no hint of the personality that lurks behind them? A detailed play-by-play of not just what you ate for breakfast, but a complete timeline accounting for how long it took you to finish your meal as well as what distractions hindered your enjoyment of it along the way. 
So those are my rules. What other common courtesies do you expect from the people you follow on Twitter?
 

Rainbow Connection

11 Jun

Apparently if you leave cd’s upside down on your nightstand, they will cast rainbows on your walls and ceiling when the sun hits them in the morning. Just FYI.

"Weekend"

8 Jun

Today is Impostor Friday. Impostor in the sense that it’s actually Monday, but I have the next two days off. If it makes you feel any better, I earn minimum wage and usually have to work 8 hour shifts on both Saturdays and Sundays. So don’t be hatin’! 


Anyway, I’m left here pondering what I ought to do in order to take full advantage of my makeshift weekend. As such, a list! You know I love lists!

1. Begin some “baby steps” projects. i.e., learn to draw basic shapes as part of the “draw a graphic novel!” project; set up the sewing machine in the “become a sewing MACHINE!” project; learn one new guitar chord for the “Dude… I totally forgot how to play my guitar because I didn’t pick it up for two years” project.

2. Attempt to wash sheets. Hope dryer is not still broken. Make bed with clean sheets.

3. Attempt to wash coziest pajama pants. Hope dryer is not broken again after successfully drying sheets. Hop in clean bed with dryer-toasty pajamas.

4. Stay up late for The Tonight Show. Every night.

5. Eat a big salad for dinner (um, these are not in chronological order, obvs). 

6. Get on the treadmill and get some exercise! 

7. Maybe take a nice bike ride, perhaps with Steve.

8. Watch Galaxy Quest (it has to get done. Don’t ask). 

9. Do some fun shopping with the cheque the government just sent me! I’m currently coveting a hot pink Matt&Nat bag (probably won’t find or buy one), some gladiator-esque sandals (probably will find them everywhere but won’t buy them), and GOSH brand artliner pens (will find them, will buy them in multiple). 

I’m pretty excited. Yay weekend!

I love you’s…

4 Jun

I love you, Stash tea!

I love you, Jacob Connexion!
I love you, purple nail varnish!
I love you, free bangs trim!
I love you, Conan O’Brien!
I love you, tax return!
I love you, Zen Is Stupid!
I love you, crown ring!
I love you, Arboretum!
I love you, seeds and berries!
I love you, music issue of Nylon magazine!
I love you, PMA Blog! 
I love you, bicycle!
I love you, river parkway! 
I love you, turquoise beetle! 
I love you, fiance! 

It’s been a good two days.