Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Things I've Been Incredulous Toward Joel About in the Past 20 Minutes While Watching Shit on YouTube

1.) The Hobbit Trailer

Joel: Wow, Tolkien really knew where that story was going.
Me: Um, yeah?
Joel: I mean, I saw a lot of things that I know from "Lord of the Rings."
ME: That's the nature of a prequel?

2.) Purim costumes

Joel: Wait, that guy's name tag said, "Mordechai!"
Me: Yeah, he's kind of a main character in the story?
Joel: Why are those guys dressed up as astronauts?
Me: You can be whatever you want. That guy's dressed as Harry Potter.
Joel: I forgot.
Me: You are a terrible Jew.

3.) The location of Yeshiva University

Joel: I know where this was shot! These are the Palisades, on the Jersey side of the bridge. This part is in Manhattan!
Me: Yeshiva University is in New York, dude. ::googles:: Yeah, they're on 185th Street.

4.) The prevalence of acapella groups in general on college campuses
Joel: (watching more Maccabeats videos) They're really good.
Me: They are.
Joel: Is this just at this college?
Me: Um, no. Acapella groups are, like, a thing. All-guy groups are total chick magnets.


Joel: Are acapella groups at every college?
Me: Um, yeah.
Joel: Like marching bands?
Me: ....

Joel is forbidding me to post this unless I make very clear that he knows who Mordechai is, (except he thought he was Esther's brother.) My in-laws total need to get their Hebrew School tuition money back. Now he's taken my iPad away. :( *Frowny face*

Happy Second Night of Hanukkah, everybody. We're not really celebrating until tomorrow, when my mother-in-law, Role Model Shiksa V1.0 is making latkes from scratch. Yum!

Friday, December 09, 2011

I want to go home.

I have this... quirk. Shocking, I know, even more shocking than my randomly updating this blog that I've let languish for a full six months. :)

Sometimes, when I'm very tired, or sad, or want desperately to stop working, I will say, out loud, "I want to go home." I may in fact be home when I say it. Since I work from home, it's quite likely. I might even say it while sitting on my own couch. It means I want things to be simpler. I want to relax. I want a feeling of safety, of familiarity, of security. I want to go to Lancaster; I want to stay here all at the same time.

I am sad because this happened two years ago today. I don't even know what I want to say about it, just... I want to go home.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Way outside my comfort zone

I'm changing a lot of things up in my life and in my business. It's hard. I am way outside my comfort zone. Ultimately, these changes, I fully believe, will make me more profitable and less stressed. Six months from now I will look back on this time and say, "Wow. That was hard but I'm soooo happy I did these things." But being a better businesswoman- not someone who is a pushover, with true consistency in my life- is a worthy goal. But right now it's so hard.

I'm workin' through a lot, and it's all consuming. That's where I've been. If you're still here, then thank you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When Maddie Met Gunner...

Photos of my parents' new puppy Maddie in her first few moments at home!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Sunday

Here is a slideshow of Easter Sunday, starring the neighbors' new pup. Photos of my parents' puppy coming soon!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pass the Kleenex, please

Number of times I've seen/photographed "The Secret Garden" in the past three weeks? 16
Number of times the scene where Colin gets out of his wheelchair and walks again has made me cry? 16
Number of performances/dress rehearsals left: 4
Number of times I expect to weep behind my camera body: 4

It's not that just that the children are so earnest and committed, although they are, which tends to make me well up anyway, or that they're all that age where some of them still have mild speech impediments that fade with maturity, although lots of them do.

"The gawden is a secwet, Dicken." "Might I have a bit of earff?" Just twy, Colin! I know you can do it!" It's not even that the smell of grey hair dye in a aerosol makes me feel about 9, even as I sprout actual grey hairs with every new production.

The real reason that the scene always makes me cry is because it plays out a modified version of every wish I've made over every birthday cake since I was five. Fuck off, muscular dystrophy.

ADDED TO SAY: I've discovered an antidote to the tears- if the young actor does a painful, painful Cockney accent. Evaporates 'em every time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

When can I relax? NEVER.

One of my High School Friends-Turned-Client-Brides (seriously, you guys should start a softball team or make t-shirts or something) asked me recently when "summer" for wedding photographers is, because it's certainly not during the actual summer. The truth is, I don't know, because I spend whatever down time (or you know, down-ish time) I have panicking.

This week has been Editing Week, where I've basically sat down, glued to my laptop, and knocked out all the editing for two out of my four remaining weddings that are due by the middle of next month. Joel came home sick from school on Tuesday and I spent all night taking care of him. Then I spent Wednesday alternately shivering and sweating and having whacked out fever dreams in which I have to take a boat to find a baby, that may or may not be mine, studying abroad in Japan, which is located in downtown Manhattan where I have to go shopping for red shoes in a glitzy McDonald's.

So while I'm glad I have some time to edit and be sick and be home without having to call an editor at 7:30 a.m. or turn down freelance assignments so I can flit between subsconsciousness and wellness, I worry. I worry because I had four promising consultations in the past two weeks, BUT! Of the four- One bride simply disappeared after seemingly loving everything I do. Poof! Bye! I guess!

The second prospective client and I had a great meeting but decided to go in a different direction today, though I suspect that was the groom's call.

The third couple would be a cool challenge but I'm not sure how sad I'll be if I don't get it. They're basically having two separate weddings over a three-day holiday less than six months away and still hasn't found someone she and her fiance like. While I would would really love the challenge of this one (and the money would be nice), I'm less sure that they love my visual style and that's never a recipe for success

The fourth one- oh puh-lease let them book because I'm starting to feel like no one likes my work or me and I'll never book a wedding ever again and soon I'm going to start speaking whale like Dori in Finding Nemo: COME BAAAAAHHHCK!.

*pant pant pant*

I know. That's nuts, but this whole making a living of my art thing? It's intensely personal. And when people don't book and I don't know why? It feels like something might be wrong with me. Also, a friend of mine got a job at A Big Metropolitan Newspaper of Impressiveness and she's not even 30 but she's not a photographer so it's not like we were even remotely competitive on my career path and I'm happy for her but OH I AM SO JEALOUS too jealous to use punctuation sigh

So that's what I'm doing this week. How you doin'?

Also, if you know anyone who needs a wedding photographer, I'm free the last three weekends in October. Woo, prime weekends! Someone book me so I can stop compulsively counting my lips. ONE TWO ONE TWO ONE ONE- OH DAMN.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Procrastinating on My Tax Preparation

Okay, this is too funny not to share, even though I am totally supposed to be figuring out how I owe the government for the privilege of having been self-employed this past year. Gulp!

This is a pro gay marriage song by the awesome comedy music duo Garfunkel and Oates, mocking Pat Robertson for his statements worrying that people protected by hate crime legislation would seek legalized same-sex marriage which would then lead to the legalization of people having sex with ducks.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Good Times Never Seemed So Good

Hi. How are you? I am fine.

You are everywhere today. It started at my breakfast meeting. One of the people in my networking group just lost a loved one, and everyone is signing up to bring their family dinner. It got a little keystone cops with everyone trying to reinvent the wheel when in fact a dinner-bringing schedule was already set up. I made a suggestion that no one else thought of because- well, I'm not sure, but I don't think they can see thestrels, most of 'em- and I joked about wearing a scarlet B for Bereaved.

Then I went to the pool. Chlorine usually makes me think of you anyway, so when the 85-year-old lifeguard (If I bonk my head underwater, do you think that guy would be able to drag me to safety? really?) asked me who I was punching so hard with my floatie underwater hand weights, I just smiled and said, "Aw, never kid a kidder!" because answering honestly- "Uh, lung tumors? And/or muscular dystrophy, you know, whichevs" would have made me seem a little craaazy. Hmmm.

I'm shooting championship games all day, so there's a lot of Black-Eyed Peas and R.E.M. and oh hell- lots of your favorite songs, all around. Right now "Sweet Caroline" is blasting so loudly that the reverberation from the speaker is literally pounding the floor in the media platform. Of course, they play it at EVERY game. Since this is a six-day tournament and all, this happens to be the fifth time this week and the third time today I've heard this song.

I'm going to choose to believe that the chorus- you know, the part that makes people do that cheesy pointing thing at wedding receptions- is you answering my question about how you are. The speakers are literally thumping the words "SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!" right into my feet. Glad to hear it.

As always, I miss you. And it sucks that you're dead.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hello, Foot. It's your old friend Mouth.

Greetings from Captain Overreaction! You know that line where being a passionate person becomes being a pain in the ass? Oh, yes, I am back here again. I need to kick it 80s style and take a chill pill. Fly below the radar, Ang. Fly below the radar.

Trip Photos #1: Antelope Canyon

While we were in Vegas, Alissa asked me if I like nature photography. It was such a simple question, but I was hard-pressed to pick a favorite kind of shooting. I started to say, It's like asking me to pick my favorite flavor of ice cream" but I only got as far as "It's like asking me to pick..." when she filled in with, "...a favorite child?" That's more like it.

Anyway, I can't pick a favorite. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Too Dumb to Gamble

Does anyone else find slot machines kinda of confusing and dumbfounding? Yes, I know the screen tells you if you won or lost, but what's the deal with all the lines? And how come the symbols don't always line up? You don't have to answer that. Honestly, what I know about slot machines I probably learned from the bonus round of Super Mario Brothers 3 (three cherries in a row means more lives!) and the Las Vegas episode of Friends where Phoebe mixes it up with the old lady who lurked around her machine and won the jackpot after she played all day long.

Vegas was fun, but it made me feel kind of stupid and perpetually lost and befuddled as well. I know that's part of the strategy, to make things confusing and funnel you to the casinos and other places where you spend your money and consume overpriced drinks. I joked that I felt like a gerbil in an elaborate Habitrail. Like, whuh? Wait, the buffet was over THERE, sooo.. the Miracle Mile shops... are... where? Oh, fuck it. To the salt lick, everyone!

One thing I know for sure? I already hit the jackpot years ago.

You can see some of my more artistic photos up on the pro photo blog here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rage, rage, go away.

Shooting sunrise at the south rim of the Grand Canyon this morning gave me a rare case of "Amateur Rage." I usually don't mind the crowd of amateurs at gorgeous places. I used to be one, and hey- no one's paying me to be here today. I'm not on anybody's clock but my own.

Usually I feel like photography is this amazing thing that anyone can do at any commitment level and the joy of making an image that makes you happy for years to come isn't exclusive to anyone person, group, etc. But then this woman kicked over Joel's lens because she was being dumb and not paying attention. It didn't go over into the canyon, but still.

Then a young couple spent seven minutes in the PRIME shooting spot shooting a video of the girlfriend making silly faces while I tried not to elbow in next to them. I finally said something and they were really apologetic, but I still gave them the stinkeye behind their backs. Grumpy Photojournalist Barbie says, "Bah!" Bah, I say.

The rare herd of (extremely patient) mule deer gazing in a dramatically gorgeous snowy meadow on the exit road from the rim made me feel much better, although I clucked exasperatedly at an off-the-clock park ranger walking her dogs on the trail behind employee housing when the herd darted away. As if I'm not a silly face shooting videomaker or a dog-walker myself, don't ya know. Hypocrisy is fun.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Viva Espana, er, Las Vegas

I am biding my time in JFK Airport for my flight to Las Vegas in an hour for Fun Girl Weekend in Las Vegas. As I approached the ticket window to check my bag and get my boarding pass, it looked like a long line had formed. I groaned a little to myself by realized that I couldn't actually get in line, because there was one of those strappy belt thingies cordoning off the line... wth?

Trust me," a man said, seeing my confusion. "You want to go around us. We're all going to Madrid."

And then- a flash of recognition. Dude, I know what this is. This is a school group flying en masse somewhere. There's all the telltale signs: a clump of passengers with a striking uniformity of age/varsity jacket attire, two adults in front, two adults in back, all with practiced looks of enthusiasm of their faces with just a hint of resignation and top notes of a "What I have gotten myself into?" followed by a role model-y demonstration of patience to finish.

I slide my driver's license out of my wallet and watch a group of teenage girls taking pictures of each other. It takes all I have not to run up and hug them and word-vomit all over them along the lines of "OMG you guys! I went to Spain with some of my best friends when I was your age you're gonna love it I can't believe that was like 16 years ago- but anyway guess what we're still friends and I'm on my way to meet some of them in Las Vegas right now and you guys! BBFs! Have so much fun and oh you're gonna need to wear a skirt over those leggings in Spain because men might just call out whatever body parts they like as you pass by you know that right? okay have a blast SQUEE!"

Instead I grin like a fool as I move through security, right up until the moment when our x-ray machine breaks. Ah, well. Eyes on the prize! Vegas awaits!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

O, Cavities

I am almost 31 years old and I had cavities filled for the first time in my life today. I've always been the gold star tooth patient, except for that one time in Miami when I went to the stupid Holistic Dentist and got him to sand down the small black spot on my tooth that wasn't a cavity but hurt when I ate or drank hot, cold and/or sweet things.

I didn't have any cavities for my whole life, and then at this last visit they found five. FIVE. I had them filled today and other than a funny, Novocaine-fueled chat with my sister wherein I struggled to say words that have the letters M, B and P, all is well. We had an interesting interlude where I was trying to tell her that you could read what the big surprise ending to the movie Black Swan is on while my mouth was numb.

"I want to see Bwuh-Bwuh- sorry, novocaine, Bwack Swan. I know how it ends though."

Amanda: "I was trying to read the spoiler online, but iPhone cut the webpage off."

Me: Oh, it's on mm-mm- sorry, Novocaine-muh-mwovie pup-pwoop-puh-er dot - this is hard, sorry- COM. Mu-Mwoovie Pwoopwer dot COM.

Amanda: It really makes you respect people with speech impediments, doesn't it?

Me: Yes.

Also? Flossing. I should do that more.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

I have a question.

So it's high school musical/dance theater season, which means I'm covering a lot of dress rehearsals and preview performances and what not. Forgive me while I wax poetic for a second, and then I'll get to my question.

One of the things that I personally find fascinating is the universality of American experience, particularly in terms of high school, teenage years, coming-of-age rituals, etc. Things like Homecoming, the prom, the overdramatic backstage pre-show "energy" circle. There are some things that are universal, and obviously, I tend to see these things that reflect my own personal experience, which... for readers just joining the Chunky Photojournalist Barbie Show, already in progress, involved stage managing the spring musical and doing school plays and marching band and various other Gleek-y pursuits.

So. My question. What's the deal with the sparkly top hats? Why is it that EVERY dance theater recital/variety type show- high school people, think "Dance Theater;" college folks, think "Danceworks"- has some sort of Broadway number involving sparkly top hats?

EVERY SINGLE Evening of Dance / Jazz Co / type show I shoot has at least one number like this. The director/choreographers usually call it "The Broadway Number" and the music is almost always either "On Broadway" from Smokey Joe's Cafe or "All That Jazz" from Chicago. The best way to describe it is to show you this YouTube video of the sequence in the movie "American Beauty: where the daughter is performing at a basketball game.

As I look at the video now, I see the hats aren't sparkly. This isn't helping me make my case, but I know my fellow former child performers know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Also, ignore the creepy Lolita fantasy sequence thing that happens between Kevin Spacey and Men Suvari's characters.

Anyway ... a quick google images search for those numbers doesn't yield ANY shots of the original Broadway casts from either of those shows wearing sparkly top hats. In fact, my only knowledge of sparkly top hats in Broadway numbers EVER was in A Chorus Line. Michelle, help me out here.

Is it really possible that ONE number in ONE show (har; get it? get it?) has resulted this omnipresent phenomena of what must be tens of thousands of high school, college and community theater performers all over the country wearing sparkly top hats and doing some sort of jazzy, 1940s, high kicking sparkly top hat-waving choreography? Really? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Dog, My Co-Worker

Right now I'm spending a truly depressing amount of time retouching and editing. Seriously, I had an editing marathon from last Friday morning until Sunday night. Today I got a bit of a break for a doctor's appointment and a freelance assignment. Woot. (A break from work to do... a different kind of work!) Arg.

Anyway, my dog is my constant companion. She mostly sleeps beside me and truth be told, I sit around in sweatpants right next to her and play with her floppy ears while giant 60 MB files open and render and whatnot. She intermittantly emits odors, which is less fun.

The silent-but-deadly dog farts are actually NOT the most annoying thing. We have a few hours every day where she gets off the couch, just to ask to get right back on. Quick backstory: Bella is a packleader personality. She's an Alpha girl. When she was about 2 and a half, she starting copping an attitude and we had to revisit obedience training. The main change for her was that she no longer had unfettered access to the couch and the bed. She slowly earned back her bed privileges, but she sleeps at our feet (at the bottom of the pack.)

But ever since, she has had to "ask" for permission to get up on the couch. She sits on the floor right next to the couch and either looks at me or paws the cushion a few times and waits for me to say, "You're invited" and/or "Up up up" while patting the cushion. I like the companionship honestly, but she spends at least one hour every day being... annoying.

She wants up; she wants down. She wants back up. She wants to lick my hand; she wants to lick my empty pudding cup. She wants to lick her foot, she wants to use her foot to scratch her ears and then she headbutts ME to scratch her ears. She flips on her back and wants a belly rub (gladly!) She wants the left cushion; then she gets down and wants to sit on the right cushion so she paws to get back up. She stands up, turns 180 degrees and lays back down.

If I take a bathroom break, Fred jumps up and lays on my warm laptop and pretends to be sound asleep when I get back. Sorry, cat: you did not fall into a deep, deep sleep in the time it took me to pee and grab another Diet Snapple. I move Fred to the side, and then Bella wants to sit next to *him,* but that involves hopping down and then asking for permission to get back up by pawing the couch to sit on the other side. If Joel joins me to watch a movie, she wants to sit next to him, then she wants me. Then she wants to sit between us, which means she paws our knees sitting side by side until we make room for her between us. (Gladly!)

And then, just when the annoying pawing of the cushions hits a fever pitch, she falls asleep. She snores. She chases squirrels in her sleep. She lays her head on Fred. She lays her head on me. She is the best co-worker ever.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


You know how life seems to have a tempo to it sometimes, that cycle of ups and downs? And you have those times when you're growing and getting stronger and learning life lessons and sorting out your shit and ultimately this is a good thing that we all must do in order to live and do and be and grow, but then you just get tired of working on yourself? Yup. That's where I'm at. So I don't mean to be all cryptic and weird here. I'm doin' okay; I'm just struggling with things I wish I weren't struggling with right now.

Also... gah... Blogging is such a conundrum sometimes. It's cathartic,but but it's really not the best space for writing about where you are in life when where you are is working on Relation Ships with other people. Since I've been aboard the USS Crazy Town for the past few weeks, writing here would ultimately also air some dirty laundry in my family, and that's not fair. So... poo. But I miss you, and I've been taking these vague forays into blog hiatus for the past year. I don't like it. So here are some tidbits.

Challenge: Advocating for myself and taking time for myself and saying no to things. I am bad at this, particularly when I genuinely WANT to do the things I really need to turn down.

Guilt: I need to learn to live with guilt, just a little. If I say no to doing something and it disappoints someone I love, I feel terrible and try to overcompensate and get all high-strung and do stuff like stay up all night to fulfill all my obligations but then I'm all off-kilter and my actions ultimately make people wish I would have just... opted out. I could skip all the drama by just taking care of myself and taking time for the solitude that I really, really need (See Above: Challenge) but then I would feel guilty about disappointing people I love. I need to learn to live with the guilt of saying no. I need to learn to live with the guilt of saying no. I need to learn to live with the guilt of saying no. Do I need to learn to live with the guilt? Why yes, yes I do.

Respect: I've been changing some of my meds around (trying to cope with some of the issues, see?) and boy howdy has THAT sucked. It's never, ever good when you find yourself driving on the highway and the signs seem to get further away the closer you get. Vertigo, you fun side effect, you. I have so much more respect for people who fight their addictions to narcotic substances. Withdrawal is TERRIBLE. We've been quoting Grandpa Simpson around here a lot lately. "The red ones keep you from screamin.'" Indeed.

Exasperation: Cats, you live indoors. You are indoor cats. There is nothing out there you need to do, nothing you need to deal with, nothing you need to pee on. You are fine and warm and safe and loved in here. Please, come inside and claw some furniture or something.

Awesome: I called my grandmother to wish her a happy 94th birthday, but she only had a second since there was a party in her room and her phone was dying after being on the phone all day with people who had called to wish her happy birthday. (For those of you who are fans of Larry, my grandmother's much younger friend with the, um, unique speaking style, he was the one who picked up: "Daaaahllly's room, hehllooow?") Her nursing home- particularly since they renovated and moved to a "cluster model" where eight residents live in single rooms that share a dining room/living room/common area combo- is almost like a college dorm, except everyone goes to bed really early.

Expensive: Joel has a new (used) car. This is a very good thing, since one of the key rules in our marriage is, "No dying." The other one's transmission was shot and had "electrical issues" (like shorting out all kablooey on the West Side Highway at midnight without warning ) and kept developing weird quirks including: The hatchback wouldn't pop open anymore. The radio/CD player didn't work. If you wanted to lock the front passenger door, you needed to hold the handle out as you closed the door. The running boards and other non-essential metal bits would flake off like the car had leprosy (my Suzuki does this, too). There was some sort of faint death rattle happening under the hood, and some sort of fan under the dashboard kept turning itself on and off, all annoying and rattle-like. So now I dont have to worry about Joel driving around in a car that might stop working any minute. That's a good thing.

Digital Makeover: I have joined Twitter- partly because I have this fantasy where I get lots of followers and then bully Suzuki into fixing my car's leprosy problem with free body work- plus am revamping my fancypants business website so it works with iPads and iPhones and shows off more of the kickass weddings I've shot in the last year and a half. There's, like, none of my latest and great stuff up there. That's... not good. I'm also updating my LinkedIn profile so it doesn't say I still work at the newspaper and doing all that stuff that I should, you know, do regularly.

Gym Hottie: I joined a gym nearby that borders on the very strictly Orthodox/Hassidic community here, mostly because it has a pool. The gym crowd is extremely diverse, actually but I tend to be there in the middle of the day when kids are in school and lots of Orthodox ladies are aquacising. At first I was afraid I would make people uncomfortable with my immodest- by- Orthodox -standards swimsuit, and while I *am* the most skimpily dressed... you should hear the locker room talk when the ladies are "amongst themselves." Obviously if you have eight kids, you have a lot of sex, but getting to quietly overhear it while changing is kind of awesome. I also find the "men only" swimming hours annoying, but hey, out of all the sexism happening in this particular kinship group/gym community... at least I get to wear my own hair out in public. Go, me.

So yeah. There's some tidbits for ya. And now, back to editing photos from autumn weddings.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

I don't know what to say...

Everything kinda sucks right now. Thanks for checking in. Be back soon!