October 31, 2013

Top 10 Halloween Movies

Whether it's halloween or not, I love scary stuff.  I was constantly terrified of ghosts as a teenager (with some stories I still can't explain) and stayed far away from anything scary, including movies.  Over the years, the fear was replaced by curiosity.  And now, I can't get enough of scary movies, haunted houses (real or fake) and if you have a good ghost story I'd love to hear it.  My Dad would tell terrifying stories when I was little that scared me to death, now I ask him to tell me the stories again and sometimes he comes up with new ones (all real of course).

So here's a list of my top 10 favorite scary movies.  Happy Halloween!

#10 - Insidious
A little campy, but still scary.  A somewhat typical plot line with some interesting twists.

#9 - Rosemary's Baby
A classic, Mia Farrow is a cute little pixie running around
being terrorized spoilers.  Just watch.

#8 Paranormal Activity
I know, people love to make fun of this series but the truth is, they scare
the crap out of me, but in a fun way.  I love them, the
4th not so much, but hoping for a good end of the series for #5.

#7 - Blair Witch Project
Wonderful movie, without showing everything like Insidious does,
it manages to be more scary.  

#6 - Evil Dead
It's a must, must, must.  Weird, a little scary, laughable, amazing.
What I love so much about this movie is how it was filmed.  I recommend reading
 the whole Wikipedia article on it, but basically Sam Rami took all the cast out to the
woods where they got lost many times, and the cast suffered some injuries.  The final
 shot was made by putting a camera on a bike and literally running it into Bruce Campbell,
giving him an injury that still affects him today.

#5 - The Conjuring
The most recent on this listing, and one of the scariest.  It's your typical
haunted house story, but done well.  My favorite part is it features Ed &
Lorraine Warren, real life spiritualists that to this day run an Occult museum
that I would love to visit one day.

#4 - Night of the Living Dead
Another classic, by far my favorite zombie movie.
 Just close your eyes for the shovel scene.

#3 - House of the Devil
This movie was made in the late 2000's, but looks and feels like a 70's horror film.
 It's a slow build up, that leads to one of the scariest scenes I've ever seen.
Seth and I had to pause the movie, and decide if we could keep watching or not.
We did...

#2 - Cabin in the Woods
More awesome than scary, but any horror fan should see this movie
and should hopefully enjoy it.  Much more to it than a group of teenagers
stuck in the woods.  And the ending?  Perfect.

#1 - The Shining
The best of the best.  An absolute masterpiece by Stanley Kubrick.
Every scene so thoughtfully put together, the hotel itself a menacing character.
Amazing performances by all.  I definitely recommend the documentary
Room 237 as well, which is available on Netflix streaming, and is all about different
 theories behind the movie and what everything means. 

April 28, 2013

New York - Part II

(Pssst, I wrote this a while ago, in September, and am just now posting it...)

We found an apartment in South Williamsburg.  It's close to North Williamsburg, and we have bikes (which haven't yet been stolen!) so we are close to a lot of cool stuff, though not within walking distance to a lot, which is kind of a bummer.  I don't love our apartment but I'm trying to be happy with it because we are here for the next 6 months.  The apartment itself isn't bad.  But it's a pain getting our bikes up here, the elevator is old and slow, and people play music a lot here.  It's got a lot of partiers, so that sucks.  But its so nice to have an apartment finally.

After being in New York, I've already changed some of my habits.  Especially my driving habits (:  But if I had to choose, I wouldn't live in New York.  It's annoying because trying to do what I'm doing, you have to be here, or maybe LA, but mostly New York is where it all is.  Where everything is happening.  I love this city and I hate it, and the things I love are the things I hate about it too.  Here's a list to give you a better idea:

Things I love about New York
1. The people.  They are so interesting and everyone is doing what they want to do.  Nobody cares if you want to dress crazy, you should, your in New York!  I once saw a billboard here that said "In New York, your believes are tolerated, but your shoes will be judged."  So true!  You see some crazy, funny, awesome, amazing things happening all the time in New York, because people are here for a reason.
2. Transportation.  I love the metro
3. Exploring.  You can just walk around and find things to do, discover new things wherever you go.
4. Movie Theaters.  So many cool ones.
5. Endless adventures.  Lots of places to see, lots of things to do.
6. Food.  Lots of choices, not as good as Seattle though.
7. Lots of blue skies (I'll take the NY skies over Seattle's good food)
8.  Confidence.  The most confident city, the kids, even the pigeons don't move for cars.
9. Culture.  Lots of it, one neighborhood to the next is like a different country sometimes
10.  Shopping.  Except when you need things for your apartment.  Target?  Forget about it.

Things I hate about New York
1. Ordering food.  Sometimes you go to these really New York places, and it gets really intense because you have to order REALLY fast, and they talk really fast, and it's very stressful!
2. Transportation.  If you can't get somewhere easily on the metro, it sucks (this is more a problem in Brooklyn than Manhattan).  If you park wrong, which is VERY easy to do thanks to the millions of different signs that don't make sense sometimes, you get a whopping $115 parking ticket each time.  We've gotten 4 so far.
3. Cost.  Self explanatory, even car insurance is more expensive here, everything is.
4. Humidity.  Always makes it feel hotter
5. Double Parking.  Drives me crazy!

Working for Sarah is great, I am learning so much about how all this works.  I should mention, I'm not sure what I'll be doing in the future, no I dont think I'll be shooting for Vogue, but there are lots of things photographers can do that isn't shooting weddings or portraits if that's not what you want to do.  Sarah works for an agency and she gets to do fun projects through them.  That's where I'd like to be, only my focus would be on children's fashion, because I just love shooting kids so much, and while I think the idea of Children's Fashion can be a little silly, I could have so much fun with the shoots and be really creative.  I get to go on shoots with Sarah, and I just try to be as helpful as possible.  I learn a lot from the photo assistants, and seeing what they do, I'm not sure I could do it.  They set up the lights and solve these problems that I don't think I could, since I'm not very technical.  Other than that I'm in the office, working on photos or organizing for Sarah.  I also have to keep doing the etsy shop, as we can't afford to hire someone to do my job, since it's so expensive here.  I havent started full time yet so I'm not sure how it will work.  I will work for Sarah 30 hours a week, unpaid, but still have to come home and do the shop so it may get tricky and I'll basically be working my butt off for the next year.  I'm not sure what follows after this, but in the meantime I'm going to be working on doing my own shoots and getting published in some smaller magazines that I like.

It's been a crazy journey and I can't believe I'm doing this, but I am so happy I'm finally pursuing my passion.  Even if it doesn't go anywhere (which I'm confident won't happen), I can still say I tried.  I am really excited ot be able to tell my kids about this time.  For so long I was stagnant, not going anywhere and not doing anything with my life.  I was happy, and Seth and I got to spend so much time together, and I got to spend so much time with my family in Indy, (and being with the people I love is always the most important thing) but there was always a naggy feeling, I was always frustrated with myself for not trying, and being content with doing the shop which wasn't what I wanted to be doing.  So I'm excited about the future, I'm going to work hard and give it everything, and we'll see what happens!

Moving to New York Part I - Our Summer

Lately, every-time I talk to someone on the phone the first thing they want to know is where I am.  So, where are you right now?  In May, we moved out of our apartment in Indianapolis and put all of our things in storage.  After that we jumped around a lot, and changed our minds a lot.

So here is a condensed version on the last 5 months.  Not just so you know, but so I can keep it all straight in my head as well.

We start the month off by visiting Seth's sister Shelly in San Diego, we still had our apartment, this was just a fun vacation we wanted to take.  It was a great trip, I would have blogged about it ages ago but all of my film pictures, which turned out really cool, are lost somewhere on a CD in storage, hoping to find those someday.  But what I do have are the iphone pictures.  Someday when I find those images I will post them.  For now, here is a brief summary of the trip:

After the trip, we move out of our apartment.  The day we move out, we don't know where we're going next (this happens A LOT over the next several months, most weeks we didn't know where we'd be staying the next week).  We moved out, put our things in a storage unit and go stay at my sisters.  During the whole day, in-between moving things and cleaning, we would casually ask, so, where should we go next?  The last 6 months spent in Indy with my sister and her family had been so fun.  We did a lot of fun little trips together, I was really happy, and things were going well.

The shop was doing great, but it started to become something I didn't like doing anymore.  It got so crazy and I got sick of working with brides, plus I don't do any of the creative stuff.  Some people don't realize this but I am not a graphic designer!  Seth creates everything in the shop, he's amazing.  Though I will say, pretty much everything Seth and I do is collaborative.  He helps me with ideas, I help him with ideas, and we help each other execute those ideas.  So pretty much everything you see from his prints to my shoots are an effort from both of us.  We do make a good team.  But for me, the shop isn't what I want to be doing (shocker I know), and I felt like I didn't have much of an identity as an artist.  I really wanted to start taking my photography seriously, but I didn't know what to do with it.  I don't like shooting weddings, even worse is shooting family portraits, but I knew I wanted to be shooting.  I thought a while about doing portraits but I didn't have a lot of control that way.  If I choose the person I'm shooting, their outfits and the set, then I love it.  But when someone is asking me to shoot for them, I usually don't enjoy it very much.  I've always wanted to shoot for magazines or do editorial work but I thought that was silly to try and do something like that, I had a lot of hang ups about it.  So I never tried.  I had a studio in Indy for a great price, and I did use it, but looking back I should have been shooting more.

So that night, after moving out of our apartment, we are at my sister's.  No apartment, no place to call home.  There was a condo that we fell in love with in a cool part of Indy (yeah, cool parts of Indy do exist...).  We had been going back and forth on getting this condo for the last couple of months.  Buying a house seemed like a huge commitment, but at the same time, it would be so nice to be settled.  Then something happened that night, and I don't want to get into details, because it's cheesy, but I was suddenly inspired to do something.  I sort of had this awakening moment, where all of a sudden I had this very strong urge to pursue my career, and work for magazines, or fashion not sure what yet, just something cool.  I just kept asking, what am I doing???  Why am I not trying?  I knew what I wanted to do, children's fashion photography, so from there I wrote down all of the photographers I wanted to work for, all of the brands I liked, and from that day forward started researching where to go next.

It soon became obvious that we needed to move to New York.  It took us a while to decide, because I thought, maybe I'd get a job in California or some other city, who knows?  I would love to live in California, and hey, I do like LA.  But everything is here, in New York.  We stayed in Indiana for another month, in an extended stay hotel (that was awful) because we had a print show in Indy, and that was a lot of fun, Seth made some really cool prints for the show and we did pretty well.

After that we headed out to New York for the first time, neither of us had ever been.  We found an aparmtent in a crummy part of Brooklyn through AirBnB.  At first, I hated it. It was too intense, and I was confused.  Isn't this supposed to be the greatest city in the world?  I just didn't like the vibe.  But, I soon started to be so entertained and amused by the city and the people, that the dislike turned to curiosity.  Also, we discovered Brooklyn which I preferred right away.   I didn't do any interviews, but we stayed here for 3 weeks discovering the city.  I didn't do any sight seeing either, more of what we did is try to find which neighborhoods we like.  We found we both liked North Williamsburg.  Which is funny because if you live here you probably think of N. Williamsburg as a place where all the hipsters live.  It does get a little pretensious and sometimes that bothers me too.  But a lot of the poeple here are really nice and friendly, and there are tons of cool shops and restaurants.  It also has our favorite movie theartre, Nite Hawk.  We knew we wanted to live here, but finding an aparmtent is a total nightmare in New York.  Basically, everything is done differently here and everything has a taste of crazy to it.  Driving, parking, walking, paying for parking, grocery shopping, biking, apartment finding, metro riding, you name it, it's done differently here.

Our 3 weeks was up and we hadn't found a place.  But I found out that my family had rented a beach house in Florida for a week so we headed out there.  Which was exactly what we needed.  A nice relaxing trip to the beach with family.  My favorite part of this summer and the most relaxed, just the opposite of the stress we were feeling not knowing where to live.

We stopped in North Carolina for a couple of days too (separate post).  After that it was back to Indy.  Back to another extended stay hotel (this one was much nicer than the previous one).

We then decided to go back to New York so that i could take a Fashion Photography class at ICP.  Another AirBnB, this time in Greenpoint (brooklyn) which we really like.  I took my class and started learning more about how fashion photography works, and got some cool shots made and got familiar with some really nice lighting equipment.

This time, Seth found an apartment.  We realized we needed to just do a sublet.  Getting an apartment without a brokers fee (which runs you about $3000) is difficult, it's also hard for us to get an apartment because we're self employed, so we write a lot of stuff off of our taxes.  Which means our tax forms show less then what we actually make, which means we can't qualify for more expensive apartments.  And guess what?  NY is full of expensive apartments.  Good luck finding one under $2,000.

It was also during this time that we decided to go to Utah.  Our Airbnb was up, but we didn't couldn't move into our apartment for another 2 weeks.  I was sick to death of finding places for us to stay and more sick of spending the money.  So we thought, let's fly to Utah.  We can stay with family, and then head up to Boise for Seth's family reunion, then we can go to Portland for a week, stay with Seth's parents, and head back to NY.  I was all about not spending ANY money, I refused to get any hotels or spend any money on rental cards.  The problem with this plan is that I had already gone to a couple of interviews  and wasn't sure if I was going to get call backs, or if I was going to get called in to new interviews.  I should mention, I decided that I needed to start as an intern.  Since I have no experience, nobody's going to hire me.  Sure enough, after being in Utah only 2 days I did get called back.  Not sure what to do, since I didn't want to pay for another plane ticket, but didn't want to miss the family reunion  my aunt bought me a ticket to head back to NY so I could make those interviews, and still come back of the reunion.  So nice of her.

I was in utah a total of 3 days.  At least I got to see everyone, even if it was a short visit.  Seth flew out to Portland to stay with his family and I was in the big city by myself for 10 days, since the interviews were spread out.  Another Airbnb, I stayed with a married couple who was really nice.  I went to my first interview and that ended up being the one I got.  I now work (for free) for a photographer, Sarah Kehoe, who's style I love so I was really excited to get the job.  I ended up being really busy that week because she wanted me to go on photo shoots with her and we did some training too.  Then I met up with Seth for the family reunion for 3 days in Boise, and then came back to move to NY, with Seth and Cosi, to our new apartment