Taming of the Selfie

“Head Shot – needed for profile.”

I hadn’t heard that phrase flung my way in quite a while; a 25 year while.

Never liked the things. Never expected to need another one. Ever.

_______________________________________________________

Dear Friends,

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a selfie?

Two hours and fifteen minutes. Uh, huh. I’ve been explaining for a while, that although my pictures reflect near complete baldness, I do in fact actually have hair. Very fine hair, but there’s enough of it to get messed up in the wind so it counts.

One hour and twenty  minutes into the how-hard-can-this-be selfie suffering, I stopped worrying about my hair (or lack thereof) and starting hoping for just one missing an expression of possession. I mean seriously strange eyes.  Dually a victim of circumstance and admitted over-eying, I’m absolutely confident that I have (pictures-taken percentage wise,) surpassed Sir Harley of Perpetual Surprise with my wide-eyed level of shock at absolutely nothing.  I was truly just attempting to avoid the blink.

I must either be an older model of form or an anomaly possessing disproportionate arms. Bottom line: mine are simply not long enough evidenced by missing chins and the removal of that pitifully fine hairline that barely show up, anyway. I trial-and-error landed on a revelation regarding above head poses. Appropriate but still semi-distorted, the elbowed angle determines a corresponding head tilt.

Still, like the last hold-out microwave kernel of corn, more problems popped. How do you keep your elbow from elbowing in or a shoulder crease from announcing obvious buff-less biceps? I suspect some sort of cheat is involved in the process. There has to be a third hand launching the click. Otherwise, everyone would have sprained fingers and tight gripping claw hand residue.

Let me also mention the whole mirror, backwards, go left to go right thing? Yeah, that wasn’t a cake walk, either. The rapid neck-lash routine left me slightly more off balance than usual. At this point I decided to sit for safety, and continued the ego shattering shuttering.

Meanly, cartoon mode isn’t available for selfies. Undeterred, I retry all of the above approaches. All I achieve are arm cramps and a few faintly-fine, low-grade Warhol-ish, but won’t be mistaken for one, images. Due to twist and burn, I’m counting the arm stretches as exercise. It’s also possible that I’ve just invented Photo-Yoga. Momentarily distracted by the possibilities of funky feline portraits, I’m a little bummed to find the cats come out better; especially when annoyed. Raised hackles and alert ears create great contrast and light-play differentiations

Click, click, click. I supposed I could de-sound the clicker. It can already be classified as gone past starting to annoy me. Not even close to the  musically enhanced rapid fire intro of Duran Duran’s Girls on Film, my sounds are more guttural. Click, grumble, click, soft-explicative, click, whoops dropped the phone, click, for goodness sake, click, click, click.

The clicking seems to be getting to Miss Freddie, too. She seems a little “I’m plotting something” more than normal. I’m familiar with her squint of slotted eyes and thin lip fang reveal. It turns out I can smile scary, too. In embarrassing desperation, I conjured up laughter as if I was laughing at a joke. My eyes were no longer staring wide. They disappeared entirely. As added insult, my mouth takes on a dreadful twist. I re-file that wonderful idea under woeful fail, and sigh. Ok. Good to know. I’m pretty sure it’s a little late to outgrow that.

Shooting below while looking down ended up producing a completely creepy cautioning I was about to charge and possibly maul with (as of yet) still hidden horns, probably, because I was feeling that way. In a flashbulb moment, I imagined a charge and mall situation where I might possibly convince JC Penney to let me use one of those kid portrait deals.

107 poses later, two pairs of glasses, above the head, below the head, lying down (disaster), over the shoulder, giving up… the giving up one is actually cute, but not at all “Head Shot” material. I think about that and get my grump on.

There are sparse and scattered I-would-have-liked-that poses, except for the exceptional flaws. Oddly, they add artistically fierce fascination. Left ear left out of the shot, micro-movement fuzz effects, irreparable background noise, shiny nose, eyeglass reflection, crooked smiles, mis-angling into distorted chins, chipmunk cheeks or Churchill noses. I nod to the memory of Poppy Selin’s WC Fields-ish nose. His was due to a welter-weight boxing championship. Mine is merely repetitive lack-of-grace breakage.

I’ve chased the late afternoon and early evening light from room to room. I’m either chiseled like a cartoon fiend, or seamless like porcelain. The stark lights are not kind. The soft lights blanks into expression-less-ism. There are a couple of “take the damn picture” glares and I wonder who I’m trying to intimidate the phone or my fingers?

The good news is I don’t need a zoom loop to identify the absolutely nots . Delete, delete, delete.  I pause at one awkward affected 1980 style “looking off into the future” pondering gaze.” Starry and unfocused, if it was the 80’s… it could be a contender.

I should just scan my senior high school picture. It seemed so ridiculous at the time, and even more off-base now. I’m peeking out from behind some tree. It’s got more bark than I do, literally. There’s more of the tree than me. Perhaps a New York photo or the Tennessee head shot which to this day I can’t believe is me. I mean I recognize the clothes, but the young person who I thought was old at 30 looks 20 now to me. Plus, there’s hair. 85% of the people I know now have never seen me with hair; at least, not that much, comparatively.

Eight. I’ve narrowed it down to eight. I think. I’m tempted to take more, but am holding off for tomorrow. Maybe there’ll be better light and a flattering head shot tilt in the Earth’s rotation.

Some of the better one’s have debris in the background. Doesn’t that figure? Photoshop is on my to-own list. I’ve learned I need more than just an ability to “get the red out” of my eerie orbs.  Trying to posit natural eyes isn’t natural. Naturally, I look surprised, skeptical, cross-eyed, lazy-eyed, one-eyed, and tired.

Out of the corner of one of those same self-portrait  wandering eyes, I spy my very reasonable Friday night to-do list that was feasible at 4:15 PM. At 7:48 PM, I haven’t eaten dinner, yet, which might account for some of my shrew-ness. Prior to this marathon of discovery, I prepped cucumbers and zucchini for that “Zucchini Cold Noodle” recipe everyone’s been talking about. Julienne the squash; omitting seeds. Matchstick cucumbers, carrot, peppers, broccoli, radishes, onions, anything really, add red wine vinegar, celery seed, a little sugar, chill and let set and you’ve got it made.

It looks pretty good. I think I’ll plate it. Plop some in a chicken bowl, take a picture, and send it off with a note:

Sorry, no headshot available. Please accept this Bowl Shot as a consolation prize.

Or, maybe I should just take a picture of my smiley face Joe Boxer watch I once used for a staff id photo. Don’t see why it wouldn’t fly now. Wish I’d thought of that, hours ago. 🙂

 

Quote for the Week:

if i couldnt laugh at myself

Here is my collage of I honestly thought these would come out better pictures.  All were attempts to be natural; none were staged.

One has to be used for my One Brick Detroit profile. Positive opinions welcome.

selfies semi selected

None of these will be used, however, since I described them above…

selfies unselected

Crush

Crush sucks up a lot of my daily life.

Most late afternoons, my perpetual lists and lists of lists are updated, reworked; feasible within normal limits of someone who has no other circumstance or person requiring energy divergence. Daily, I corral 4 or 5 must-do’s, herding them to the top of the list. There are always a few wishful thinking “If-I-Feel-Like-It’s” further down. Eventually, the IFLI’s rotate into prominence, and other not-so-urgents take their place. The harder things and the piddily things slide up and down; the regular things are the ones I remain committed to.

Post-work early evenings, an hour’s worth of unlisteds begin. Walking comes first, if possible. Postbox mail retrieval, plant watering, clothes changing, disassembling my lunch box, dinner, dirty dishes, assembling lunch, cat tending, prepping clothes for the next workday; all rote. Then, the decisions begin.

Some days the mail purposely remains unread. Nothing-to-handle piles itself up on the sideboard. Seeing it sitting there is a stressor semi-easily re-categorized as semi-ignorable. On the days when action is required, I clump the must-handles together, and rifle and toss the rest. Unless it’s a magazine; then, it piles itself on the coffee table for another someday. Under the handle it once rule if I am holding a bill, I want to pay it, file it, and be done with it. I take myself upstairs and wait for the computer boot, all the while staring at my list.

A problematic get it-out-of-the-way temperament derails me. Payment secured or scheduled, logic dictates continuity; other acts must follow. I update my register, review the budget, log expenditures in EPS.* As long as I am sitting at the computer, I might as well delve into the weight of main and multiple email accounts, checking for more required payments and due date reminders hiding between notifications: Twitter, Linked-In, Facebook, Word Press, Sparkpeople, MyPoints, E-Reader, Kohl’s, Pet Supplies Plus, Current, Vermont Country Store, FTD, The Grommet, Living Social, Groupon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Sears. AT&T, Verizon, Zingerman’s, Costco, Kroger, Daytrotter, MeetUp, Snapfish, Omaha Steaks, Live Nation, Amazon, Expedia, Women’s Ministry, Crafty Kids, Brad’s Deals, What on Earth.  Click, delete. Click, delete. Occasionally, just delete. Unless MyPoints has a click-thru, or if I haven’t logged my nutrition or exercise into SparkPeople, or if an email actually looks save-for-a-later-date interesting. Coupons don’t get deleted either. Discounts should never be sneezed at.

Down to 601 unread emails, I’ve been sitting for another hour now. If I haven’t already taken my evening walk, by this point, I’m not likely to.  I log out of my inbox and the news pops up. All sorts of things distract me; horrific, entertaining, intelligent, dumb. Unlimited information streams nurture fears of missing important pieces of the world. Cruising creates another time crush, which I eventually abandon out of boredom. Before kicking off the internet, I convince myself I should make sure I’m not missing a Facebook birthday. I should play moves in my current 30 Words with Friends games in the interest of promoting myself as being responsive, polite player, and for the added benefit of possibly making another move later.

Glancing at the list, I bite my lip and sigh. Not enough time for that, not enough concentration for that, not enough enthusiasm for that, before I do that I have to do this. Between overwhelm and laziness, I succumb, self-offering certain possibilities for tomorrow.

On these strangely justifiable late weekday evenings, the mindlessness of Candy Crush is enthusiastically welcomed. It’s a wind down experience; a blanking, mind-numbing, pre-retiring near-necessity. After using all 5 immediately available plays, I smooth into another crush. This one involves cookies and pastries that thankfully don’t resemble reality. When those plays have dwindled, I flip back to the first crush, and back to the second crush, and back to the first crush. Until the next energy deposit is 20 minutes away and I have cruised past a decent bedtime for a responsible adult.

Somewhere in between, sometimes, some things get done. I’m not sure that the reason I don’t do these things is because I don’t want to do them. They’re on the list because I want to do them. I have plenty of time; not enough incentive. Plenty of responsibilities; not enough reasons for resistance.

First thing amid the disappointment of morning, the list is reappears. Contemplation, evaluation, reprioritization, recommitment: re-ordered as attainable tasks I aim to accomplish, today. I set the bar again, prepared to leap past it, though I fully expect the crush.

 

Quote for the Week:

The remedy for responsibility is candy crush

Enjoy this week’s Discovery Links

Crushing Demographics: http://www.mnn.com/money/sustainable-business-practices/blogs/candy-crush-saga-addiction-is-worth-millions

Hedonic Adaptation – No Pay for Play: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=science+of+brain+waves+during+acndy+crush&qpvt=science+of+brain+waves+during+acndy+crush&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=3292BD8E7F5DD384DD333292BD8E7F5DD384DD33

Non-Addictive Stress Relief Games: http://stress.about.com/od/funandgames/tp/games.htm

……………………………………………………………………………………

PS. EPS = Every Penny Spent, spreadsheet of where the money goes, and goes, and goes…

PSS. I don’t pay to play, never will.

steps

worn, grey, nothing special

yet, salvation’s stairs to some

moved to still and stay

absorbed by art, homeless

outside the protection of fences,

it shouldn’t have been safe.

exposure sat me there, and kept me there,

and brings me back with every blink

an unnecessary repeat, what I didn’t think

was true, isn’t. yet.

 

Quote for the Week

where you're at

Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Concrete secrets:  http://www.romanconcrete.com/Article1Secrets.pdf

You Don’t Have to Be Local. Just available:  http://www.meetup.com/One-Brick-Ann-Arbor/members/?op=leaders

Reducing Fear:  http://www.wikihow.com/Have-No-Fear

 

Less, More or Less

I’ve been flirting with Zen, exploring peace and super stunned by mini-homes. Last near-end of winter sparked an interest in an intriguing early July Event-brite posting. A click and another lead me to a place I had been before. About a year ago, I stumbled upon Leo Babauta and shared his ZenHabits.net site in one of my weekly Midweek Encouragement Newsletters.

At the time, I was focused on eliminating excess and clutter. It was, after all, the third time I’d be moving in six years. Each time – losing a little more. A little more of my belongings, and my memories; paring down for expense reasons. I also got tired of moving it all around and having to pay people to help me do so. Luckily, many of my movers were acquaintances content with a sandwich and a few bucks for gasoline.

On an only slightly warm July early evening, I coerced a companion into first discovering a school I never knew existed in my neighborhood, and then attending a free seminar by a duo known as “The Minimalists.” Traumatized by the death of an immediate family member and the demise of a relationship (sound familiar?) the search for something more began. Interestingly, Babauta discovery played a part in leading them on to greater things. Actually, it led them on to lesser things, which, in my opinion (and theirs) has led to greater things.

I see the draw. Lamentably, there isn’t much I am willing to minimalize. My things are functional, and my drawers and closets aren’t stuffed. If something breaks, I might not replace it. I don’t have much that will break, though. Going on five years without a television has been easy, except for those few times a year when I find myself wishing I could tune in to a special program.

To my credit, I have been saying, “No.” As much as I loved that imitation potted plant I was recently offered, my little fiends would be bent on destroying it, and truthfully, I had nowhere to put it, anyway. I also passed up an event t-shirt. I really liked it; thought it was nicely done, very artistic. I truly have enough event t-shirts. I’m getting another one Thursday night. It’s mandatory that I wear it, so it will come home with me. If I wore every “around the house” logo’d, promotion oriented, group identifying shirt, I wouldn’t run out for two weeks.  They double duty as pj tops, too. Just sayin’.

Then, there’s my love and bane. Art supplies. This move provided me with a long dreamt of studio. All of my craft paper is sorted, colorized, neatly tucked away in mobile drawers within a closet. Envelopes are in another drawer; card stock in another. Gems, brads, ribbon, glue, beads, punches, embossers, cutting machines, enamel embossing powders, brayers, brushes, fabric (lots of fabric), markers, canvases: for the first time stored neatly, within reach and find. There’s an end product to be had, and release of long pent creativity. Now, I just need to find the time. I know that’s no excuse. I have an abundance of time. Time that gets sucked up by… real life, I guess.

What’s left? Clothes will wear out. I am planning on wearing them out. For those about to balk, realistically, I’m also expecting another closet intervention in the vicinity of 6 years future. Not earlier than that.

Since I’m at a point where I feel that I can’t, won’t, and don’t think I really need to minimalize, I have decided to attack organized reduction in another way. My philosophic minimalism is less about elimination, and more about non-accumulation. In this spirit, I have created, The Minimal List.

Inventories are amazing tools. My detailed, Excel-blocked stock of pantry, paper goods, pet supplies, bake and cookware, sneakers and shoes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, towels, sheets; nope don’t need to buy any of these things. Some of that is due to the existence of Costco. Some of that is due to my ditzy tendency to forget my shopping list and regularly choosing to be on the safe side. I recently bought mega bathroom tissue, mega paper towel and mega napkins, only to discover I had already mega’d it all on an earlier run. I won’t run out for a while. I also have a little over another year of laundry soap. Pet supplies are always purchased on sale, usually with coupons. I buy in mock “bulk.” I cart up two or three bags at a time, and do the same with litter. It’s monetarily sound. I won’t deny the convenience factor, especially in winter.

The challenger for me is “need.” I evaluate everything on it now. Do I need new bras? No, I just bought some. However, I found one I liked and who knows how long that particular style will be available? So, while they are on-sale, and I have a $10.00 discount coupon and free shipping and get 9% cash back through DubLi, well, I heavily consider. I also reevaluate my budget, and decide what is going by the wayside, and immediately account for the reallocation of funds. Make no mistake, this constant consciousness is tiring and time-consuming. Someday, I hope, this will be rote.

When I moved into my current space a year ago, I sloughed off the suggestion that this place would be too big for me. I didn’t see it that way. I wanted the studio. I’m glad I have it. I also have to admit this place is too big for me. My smaller one was about $250.00 more a month, for one-third the space. Ridiculous, but true; it was also comfortable. I would have stayed if I could have afforded to.

Mini homes are on the upswing. I love the idea, the minimal cash layout, the reusable resources, and the limited space that demands minimal. To me, a mini home feels like a hug encouraging a conscious, embraceable lifestyle. The only drawback to mini homes is the probable lack of studio space. I’d need another mini home for that. It could double as a guest cottage, though.

So, yes, in a dreamland way, I’m onboard with this particularly appealing program. I’m keen on this mind-blowing sub-culture, hopefully headed more mainstream. Minimalism. I can do that.

Quote for the Week: jakorte 08/05/2014

Less More or Less Contentment Knabble Aug 05 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

The Minimalists: http://www.theminimalists.com/

Leo Baubata: http://zenhabits.net/

I’m in love with this Tumbleweed: http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/blogs/tumbleweed/14061973-step-inside-a-tumbleweed-cottage

 (* If you are interested in signing up for DubLi, please, please, let me know and I will send you a referral link! I get credit, and you get cash back on purchases. Yes, it works! I have 7.56 cash back in my account after using a $10.00 off coupon for Kohl’s to buy bras on sale, earning $10.00 Kohl’s cash, plus I also got 9% back from DubLi)

http://us.mall.dubli.com/?BArefno=9321112