5 Things I Love This Week - Episode #1

A singer, a turntable, a comedian, a store and a pan

  Gin Wigmore is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand. Her latest album is titled, Blood to Bone.

Gin Wigmore is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand. Her latest album is titled, Blood to Bone.

1. Gin Wigmore
While no one is going to duplicate Amy Winehouse. Gin Wigmore comes pretty close.

Admittedly her sound is new to me, despite having a third album recently released. Hailing from New Zealand, perhaps a fellow single-named Kiwi, that Lorde girl, with huge pop success has overshadowed Wigmore a bit. But her high pitched, yet “throaty” voice is what perked my ears when I heard it the other day. The sound is a little rock with some pop beats. Spotify lists related artists such as ZZ Ward, Ingrid Michaelson, Kimbra and Anya Marina … all faves of mine.

And "Gin" is about the greatest nickname I've ever heard for someone named Virginia. 

2. Reloop RP-8000 Turntable
Everything old is new again. When I started DJing in the early 90s I used turntables and lugged around crates of records -- yes, I too have that badge of honor. After using an assortment of controllers, CD-Js and other DJ gear, I’m incredibly excited to add a turntable set-up to my gear line-up.

I opted for the Reloops because of their MIDI functionality and other features such as digital display and torque adjustment. It’s a nice hybrid of an analog turntable and digital DJ controller.

All of my past set-ups were built on streamlining and convenience. A turntable set-up is neither, in fact, in some ways it’s more work to set-up and even more work to operate. But it’s 100x more fun. I’m also looking forward to honing my craft as a DJ, something that really can only be done with a couple of pieces of vinyl and ‘tables.

  The Reloop RP-8000 turntable, with it's MIDI functionality, adjustable torque and a host of other features is part of a new breed of DJ turntables. 

The Reloop RP-8000 turntable, with it's MIDI functionality, adjustable torque and a host of other features is part of a new breed of DJ turntables. 

3. Comedian, Michael Jr. -The What vs. The Why
I was introduced to Michael Jr. via a video that was posted on Facebook. He is a comedian and during each of his shows, takes time to chat with members of the audience. He does this, because in his own words “comedy just happens.”

The particular video I saw had him explaining the concept of “what vs. why.”

  • What = The things we do. For example, I am a DJ. I play music at parties, that’s what I do.
  • Why = The reason we do things and when you know why you are doing it, and you believe in that why, you put more into the what.

Now, the video below is not the same one I saw which has him explaining the concept (for some reason I could not find an actual way to embed that one). But it is of a man singing "Amazing Grace," which Michael used to illustrate his concept. See the difference when he is asked “what to sing” vs. “why he is singing.”

  Pitbull Audio is the perfect place for a DJ to come into and try out various controllers and turntables. Nearly every piece of gear is connected to it's own computer. 

Pitbull Audio is the perfect place for a DJ to come into and try out various controllers and turntables. Nearly every piece of gear is connected to it's own computer. 

4. Pitbull Audio
San Diego DJ’s and audio professionals are pretty lucky when it comes to shopping around for new gear. Between DJ specific stores, Guitar Centers and other places there are plenty of choices. When I was shopping for my new turntable set-up, I checked with a handful of online sources as well as one local place … and I went local.

Pitbull Audio has been a great online retailer for the past few years and just over a year ago opened up a location in National City, CA, just south of downtown San Diego. I was impressed with their selection and even more impressed with their set-up. The DJ section of the store not only has nearly every popular controller on display, but they are also hooked up to their own Macbook so customers can try them out.

Customer service is great and because of my rather large order, they did a great job working with me on the pricing and helping me stay within my spending budget.

If you are local to San Diego check them out. And if you’re not, be sure to visit their website.

5. Lodge cast iron
I’ve been loving cast iron pots and pans for many years. But lately, I’m using my various Lodge skillets exclusively. I also use Lodge Dutch ovens on our family camping trips. No other pan can go from the cooktop, to the oven to the open campfire flame like a solid piece of cast iron.

My go to recipe utilizing my Lodge 12-inch skillet is pan-cooked chicken thighs. After seasoning chicken with kosher salt and pepper:

  • Heat oven to 400°; put pan in oven
  • Once heated, place pan on stovetop and sear thighs skin side down
  • Flip thighs and sear opposite side
  • Place entire pan inside stove and finish cooking chicken (internal temperature should be 180°)

You’ll have a juicy piece of chicken with a delicious and crispy exterior skin.