Archive for the 35 Things Learned in 35 Years Category

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 20

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years on December 20, 2010 by djscottshirley

20) Everybody Has a Story In Them!

We have all heard the quote, attributed to artist and pop icon Andy Warhol, that “Everybody gets 15 minutes of fame.”

The concept has become part of our everyday lexicon. When we grow tired of seeing the latest flash-in-the-pan pop star, we wonder when their 15 minutes will expire!

But we all have a background and a history; events from our past, sports, and hobbies that make each of us unique and interesting.

Party Machine Celebrations always strives to personalize our events, whether it’s a milestone birthday, a wedding, or a bar mitzvah. I like to take the time and effort to learn each client’s “story.”

When Justin Bird first got to know Leilani Taylor, she challenged him to demonstrate how to solve the Rubik’s Cube puzzle. He showed her in short order, and soon they were dating. So when Justin decided to propose marriage, he presented the engagement ring with his own personal style:

"Now that you can solve the puzzle, will you marry me?"

Leilani said “Yes,” and they plan to have an un-solved Rubik’s Cube for Justin’s groom’s cake.

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 19

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years, College Traditions, Texas Aggie Weddings, Weddings! on December 19, 2010 by djscottshirley

19) Honor Tradition!

Traditions exist for families, schools, religions, countries and cultures. Many traditions have ancient roots, that have long been forgotten.

One good definition of tradition is “something that must be done a certain way, and nobody can remember why.” Perhaps the most famous explanation of tradition comes from this classic scene from “Fiddler On The Roof,” presented here in its full glory:

I think my favorite part is when he admits, “I don’t know why.”

But traditions add a lot to a celebration. Traditions link us to our past, to our roots, and to our ancestors. They connect us with our faith, with our associations with friends, schools, and clubs…they connect us to each other.

Big Fat Greek Weddings are COOL!

And traditions can be just plain fun. If you have danced the hora at a Jewish wedding, or watched the kalamatiano dance at a Greek wedding (above), or witnessed the Alcatraz dance at a Peruvian wedding, you know what I mean. Traditions add a special element to any celebration.

Many schools and sports are steeped in tradition. Yachting traditions blend the nautical with the military, and there is nothing quite like the blue-blazered spectacle of Opening Day festivities at the Fort Worth Boat Club, complete with the Blessing of the Fleet and the Setting of the Watch by cannon fire!

Yacht Club officers in traditional non-conformist uniforms.

What about a group of Texas Aggies belting out the Aggie War Hymn?

This school has a long list of traditions, from standing up at football games to becoming engaged beneath the Century Tree. We have a Blog category for college traditions, and one just for Aggie Weddings. At one Aggie Corpsman’s wedding, they cut the cake with his sword.

The famous Century Tree at Texas A & M University, where Aggies propose.

Other schools joke that “if the Aggies do anything twice, they declare it to be a tradition!”

Regardless of age or origin, traditions have a special place in our hearts, and will always be honored – in a proper spirit of celebration – at Party Machine Celebrations.

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 18

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years on December 18, 2010 by djscottshirley

18) Do Your Homework!

As kids we hated doing homework. So often it seemed like a waste of time, designed to simply keep us busy, and not to instruct. Since the beginning of time students have procrastinated, copied the work of others, and developed enormous type fonts to stretch 50 words into a three-page paper.

Ever wonder if ancient Sumerian school kids claimed the dog ate their clay tablets?

But if knowledge is power, then study is the fuel. There is no substitute for doing your homework – especially since the Internet has made research so easy. Unless your dog can swallow a laptop, there is no excuse.

My friends are often surprised when I tell them how much time I invest in study, research, reading, and continuing education in order to operate the Party Machine.

“But you’re a DJ,” they say, “Don’t you just push ‘play’?”

It reminds me of my friend Rev. Frank Briggs of Lighthouse Fellowship. One of his church members once told him “You only work one day a week, and that’s just for one hour!” As a PK (preacher’s kid) I understood the absurdity of that right away.

But a DJ must obviously keep up with current music. This means reading Billboard charts and DJ publications like Mobile Beat and Disc Jockey News, as well as numerous other sources.

And a sound and lighting technician (another job a DJ does) must keep up with a vast and rapidly-expanding world of emerging technology. Everything from sound mixing and editing to lighting control is programmable. The Party Machine has 4 software packages for sound control, 3 to run lighting, and 5 for audio and video editing. How many professions require you to learn 12 kinds of software?

Think a DJ doesn't need to study? A brief lesson on simple DMX protocol will make you tear your hair out!

There are several dozen of the “jobs” a professional DJ entertainer performs, that would make a stand-alone career. And I often perform the tasks of a wedding coordinator, photographer, waiter, videographer, tailor, baker, bartender, and family counselor.

A career professional DJ is a businessman, which means keeping up with sales and marketing, bookkeeping, advertising, taxes, liability insurance, property inventories, warranties, two vehicles, and seven computers. Oh yes…there’s also the website…and the Blog…and WasteBook…

And keeping it all in good repair. It’s a full-time job.

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 17

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years on December 17, 2010 by djscottshirley

17) Don’t “Just Do it,” Do It Well!

While there is virtue to be found in Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan, and Larry the Cable Guy tells us to “Git ‘er done,” that’s not good enough in my business.

In fact, “good enough” is fightin’ words at Party Machine Celebrations! Clients don’t hire us to be merely adequate, our customers count on us to do our job exceedingly well. They have a valid reason to expect more than a minimal approach from the most experienced business in the field. I believe it is their right!

Master Yoda said it best in The Empire Strikes Back:

We work to find creative solutions, embrace new ideas, and to get things done for our clients – to exceed expectations, because “good enough” isn’t.

Do, or do not; There is no “try.”