Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Evidently, it's been awhile.  But I noticed that I had 21 posts this year, which was exactly the number of posts I had last year, and I thought "To hell with that, let's show improvement."

So I'm posting now. 

Also, I made a pattern blog


It's Ravens Big Damn Patterns Blog, and in it, I will be sharing hilarious bits from my massive vintage pattern collection, as well as occasionally putting up legit reviews and finished projects (Assuming I ever *finish* a project)

Most of the patterns I lovingly ridicule are available on my Etsy

Monday, September 24, 2012

So... it's been awhile.

I had been on a roll here, I think.  If I remember May correctly.  It doesn't seem that long ago, but yet...

I came back and was too starstruck.  I didn't want to drool all over my blog about sexy Germans.
And then I got busy.
And then I got comfortable.

And then I got fired.  So here I am.

I have one more week at work (really, I got laid off, not "pack your stuff" fired.) and I've been trying to put together some sort of plan for my imminent future.

Just what, exactly, am I going to do with myself?

I've been listing the myriad of vintage patterns I've picked up lately on Etsy.  You can check them out at www.etsy.com/shop/ravenwcatz, if you're curious.  Mostly stuff from the 70's and 80's for the time being, but once I've inventoried the lot, there might be some older goodies popping up here or there.

I'm thinking about starting a blog.  Ha ha, you say.  You already have one.  You're writing on it right now.

Let me be more clear.

I'm thinking about blogging.  Having a burlesque blog, one for my photography, and one for these infernal patterns, as I work through and catalog them all.  I think it might be fun to comment on them.  Everything from the evolutionary dead-ends of fashion to finished projects, if I'm so inclined.

I have to remember to apply for unemployment.

I have to remember to register to vote.

Did I mention my birthday is in two weeks?  Yep.

There's a lot going on here, and I hope it doesn't slow down.  Even if I don't have a job in October, it looks like I'll have several gigs lined up that should carry me partway.

Mostly, I can't wait for this week to be over.  Because after that, I won't be obligated to care anymore. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm not dead. I promise!

Things have gotten very busy here for me, and by that I mean:
~I had a bunch of performances all in a row for which I was crazy behind in finishing costumes/choreography/what-have-you.
~THEN it was almost time for me to go on my mini-tour seeing Rammstein.
~THEN I saw them.  In Chicago.  And Detroit.  On the rail.
~THEN (well, not really THEN, more like WHILE I WAS DOING THAT...) I got into the coveted afterparty in Chicago, a surprisingly chill deal wherein I did a little dancing, got Richard Z K to sign my ticket, was TWO FEET from Paul Landers, but all I had in me to say was a lame hello, and generally behaved like a socially inept dweeb.  BUT I GOT IN.  Baby steps. Schneider was also there, but he was pretty preoccupied with some other chick, and since I was busy being awkward turtle I figured I'd just avoid that whole situation.  (not like "PREOCCUPIED" preoccupied.  But he was talking to her, and I was just sort of orbiting them all like some sort of awkward-feeling asteroid (Or Pluto, perhaps?  It has to be awkward not really being a planet anymore.), so.  Yeah.)
~and NOW I'm staring down the barrel of four performances in the next two weeks, four in June, and four in July, not to mention the start of rehearsals for Lebowski (BECAUSE WE'RE DOING THAT AGAIN THIS YEAR.  WHEE!), plus PUDDLE and the Windy City Burlesque Fest, and all the prep work that I have to do for THOSE things, and... Urgh.

So... Busy.  busybusybusy.  But it's good busy. 

P.S.  Paul Landers is wonderful.  I have such a crush it's shameful.  I couldn't say a damn thing to him because I was afraid of sounding like a weirdo.  It was like being in high school all over again, except we're grown adults and there's no reason I should feel that way around ANYONE anymore, particularly someone I might never see again. 


Friday, April 13, 2012

Sometimes life gets in the way

Sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes you just get so bogged down looking at the teeny, insignificant little details, that you can't possibly see anything other than minutae and blur.  I've been having one of those moments. 

An update:  The costume for my Live Band burlesque act is coming together.  I still have bunches to do, but it's mostly cosmetic work now, making everything sparklier and prettier, and more custom-looking.  I have until next Saturday to have the final touches on everything, but I'd still like to get the brunt of it all done this weekend. 

Another update:  I have been bad.  I have been bad because I am so used to being bad that it is more second nature to me than being good.  I have wanted to take photographs, and told myself, of all things, maybe later. 

There is no maybe later in life.  I am slowly re-learning the art of living on impulse, of giving myself permission to do things. 

I am also starting to save some money for a new lens for my camera.  I'm debating between the 50mm f1.8 or the 50mm f1.4.  the 1.4 is about three hundred dollars more expensive, which means I won't have it until my birthday, at least, unless some things start looking up for me, but it's a much better quality lens.  I'm torn between instant (well, more instant) gratification, and my unbending will to have only the nicest things. 

I'll probably go for the 1.4, for the record.  If I play my cards right, I'll have fifty dollars toward it by the end of the month, which means $350 left to go.  ^_^  The way I figure it, if I buy nicer lenses from the outset, I won't have to upgrade EVERYTHING when that magical day comes when I can afford a real, professional-level digital camera body. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

And now for something completely different.

I realize, academically, that The Other Side of Life is not terribly much more than 80's pop garbage, but goddamn it, I was born in 1986, and I will love it no matter how awful people say it was.  Even the really horrible synth and poorly-written lyrics.  Even this:

I'm listening to this track as we speak, actually.

And, just to keep this somewhat on a topic that kind of fits the theme of this blog, I've been tossing around the idea of maybe eventually putting together a burlesque act to "Sunset/Twilight Time" from Days of Future Past.  I love the eastern-y sound, and am tossing around either the concept of being an Indian deity, or Ra, since it is all about the sun...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A (very) personal project

Every once in awhile, I get a brainwave that has nothing to do with how much money I could be making.  It doesn't happen very often anymore, since I live in a constant state of financial desperation, but once in a great while, it occurs to me that there are things that I would like to do, simply because I have a passion to do them.  This is one of those moments.

I was supervising a theater rental last night (I brought Kenneth along with me, bribed with coffee, but that's another story.), and I was remarking about how I had no idea what I wanted to do with myself, as I don't even trust myself enough to know that what I want is really what I want, or is good for me.  I've been continually frustrated by this self-mistrust lately. 

Driving home, I dropped Kenneth off at the train, and took Lakeshore Drive up north.  I rarely drive on LSD, because the traffic can be hellish, and really, it's out of my way, unless I have to drop people off at the train for any reason.  Zipping up the shoreline, I hazarded a glance out at the endless darkness that is Lake Michigan.  And I remembered how much I love the water, and how it's really been nagging at me that I wish I could get out of the city and go spend some time at my family's cottage in northern Michigan. 

And then I remembered a goal I had had when I was about 16 or so.  I had decided that I wanted to photograph all the lighthouses on the Great Lakes.  When I was 16, I decided it would be AWESOME if I could make the whole trip on foot, because then you would really be in tune with all the minutiae of the world and the water.  For the record, I think it would take about a decade to walk around the ENTIRE chain of great lakes.  Thinking about it right now, it would probably be a really cool thing to do by bike, if I wasn't planning on carrying a zillion pounds of gear, or bringing companions.  As it stands, my current hope is to be able to start in Chicago, end in Buffalo, and pass through about ten thousand towns along the way, dead, dying, post-industrial, or resort. 

I want to photograph the lighthouses, yes.  And the lakeboats, and the lake, and the water and the trees and the sky.  But I also want to record a narrative of the midwest.  The Great Lakes region.  Canada and the U.S.  The collective voice of my home, the people who live there.  The history that runs through everything like water.  The whole span of human history, crushing in front of my lens simultaneously. 

I want to take the summation of all my feelings about those woods and that water from my entire life, and I want to express them. 

My end goal is twofold.  I'd love to write a book about the experience, stuffed with shiny, full-color digital photographs of my journey. 

But I'd also like to take the absolute best of the photographs, be it ten or a hundred or seven-hundred-thirty-two, and create prints.  The platinum-palladium prints that I learned in college, that lent such a timeless antiquation to my subjects.  And I'd like to have a gallery exhibition.  I want the narrative of my lakes and my history and my boundless love to be shared, to be known. 

So... I'm going to start researching, with the goal of departing in the summer of 2013, and just being an adventurer for however long it takes.  I need to know a lot of things before I go.  How many lighthouses *are* there?  What else can I plan on visiting?  How much time can I allot in case I find something I *didn't* plan on visiting?  Hotels?  What happens to my apartment?  My cat?  Who wants to come with me, and for how long?  I imagine this journey is going to take the entire summer, at the very least. 

And I don't want to neglect the other part of me either.  I'd love to do some research into the burlesque scene of every major metropolitan area I will pass through on my journey.  I'd love to make my personal journey one where I build bridges in the present-day as well.  And it wouldn't hurt to get paid to perform every once in awhile on my way either. 

I expect this project will be coming, sooner or later, to Kickstarter, in the hopes that I can drum up support for the grandest adventure I've always ached to have. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A matter of perspective

I've been feeling very overwhelmed and unmotivated lately.  Sometimes, I feel as if that is my natural state, since I seem to say that a lot.  But it's true.  The more I have to accomplish, the more I want to run away, until I'm trapped in a corner with my hands over my ears going "LA LA LA!  CAN'T HEAR YOU!!"

I've been having one of those moments the last few weeks.  There are dishes in my sink that are now coated with some sort of nastiness that I don't even want to fathom, because every time I look at them, I just get too overwhelmed to deal with it. 

I had a chat with one of my fellow burlesketeers, Marci Vousplait, a few days ago.  We both made our debuts sometime last year, and both of us remarked how this feeling has set in where we just don't want to work on anything right now.  For me, it's this overwhelming feeling again.  I've accomplished how many acts?  In six months time, I've finished two regular-run acts, one holiday act, worked on another, plus the three iterations of our group act, the Vaudezilla group acts, and our new group act.  It's a lot of work, and a lot of money, and it's gotten to the point where I just have a hard time thinking about it without reflexively watching a few minutes of MacGyver, (or a random Youtube video) just to try and chase it out of my head. 

But I've been thinking about it today.  Because it's really sort of a matter of perspective.  The first thing that helped was writing myself a to-do list.  Just a short blurb to get everything that was nagging at me out of my head, and down on a thing I can look at to remind me.  The next thing was really mentally preparing for showing my latest act in rehearsal tonight.  Normally an activity I dread, this time I concentrated my energies on trying to give a good performance, and really boosted my enthusiasm for getting it accomplished.  And you know what?  It was a zillion times better. 

I know that I have a hard time seeing the forest through all the trees, but I'd like to keep concentrating on the big picture, knocking out one thing at a time, and really attacking these next few weeks.  Because I can accomplish everything on those big, scary to-do lists.  I just have to look at it the right way. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The big announcement, part two

Well, I guess now's as good a time as any to make my big announcement.  I will be performing my murder act (Haifisch) as part of this year's Windy City Burlesque Fest!  I'll be getting the opportunity to share the stage with such wonderful, talented ladies as Jo Boobs, Foxy Tann, and Penny Starr Jr. (Whom I've met on a few occasions, and have a huge admiration for)

In addition to being able to perform with such esteemed burly-girls, I am also crafting my (not-so) famous handmade feather fascinators for the goodie-bags of all our headliners and featured performers.  I'm stoked (and terrified).

SO.  If you happen to be in the Chicagoland area the weekend of July 13-14th, you should REALLY make it a priority to get yourself down to at least one of the showcases of the Windy City Burlesque Fest.  (Hint hint, I'll be performing at 8pm on Friday, the 13th.  Not like you weren't going to figure that out on your own, to come see me.  But now I've done the work for you.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Big things!

There are some big things brewing in the land of me.  I'm not going to announce the biggest one yet, since the *official* announcement hasn't been released yet, but if you're interested in the burlesque side of the burlesque-dancing photographer, stay tuned.

The other big thing that's coming up is Vaudezilla's next theater show.  We're doing a live band show with our friends from Fatally Cool.  I'm listening to the recorded track of my act literally as we speak, since I need to jump on putting this act together.  I'll be completely honest, I wasn't really pumped to do this, a few weeks ago.  But since we've really fleshed out the concept of the show, and since *I've* really fleshed out the concept of what I want to do within that show, I'm really excited to get it done, and I'm just hoping I can make reality match the thing I have in my head.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Planes, trains, and automobiles

Side note for you all.  You can add Morocco and Iran to the list of interesting places from which people have visited my blog.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Vaudezilla's student showcase

Friday's performance went well.  As I believe I have mentioned, it was Vaudezilla's student showcase, which meant that there were a lot of ladies taking it off (or partially taking it off) for the very first time.  It can be very exciting and refreshing to see so many new faces, especially when they are all so enthused to be performing.

I did not get to watch most of the actual show.  Or... I could have, if I was willing to brave the muggy humidity and unbearable warmth of the bar, but I instead retreated to the cellar office we use as a dressing room, and got a play-by-play from every  relieved newbie.

Sometimes I forget why I perform.  It's very easy to get wrapped up in the minutae of planning this act, fixing that costume, drudging up the money for something new, being pushed toward the next big theater show and its next big theme. I've been very tired of thinking about new acts for awhile.  Not because I don't want to have new acts, mind you.  Because I do.  But I feel like all of this has just been happening so quickly, an inexorable progression toward an endgame that I am increasingly unable to see.

Before I began performing, the road looked fairly straight.  Put together some acts.  Weed out the ones that don't work, cultivate new ones.  Promote yourself.  Get famous.  It obviously helps if you're a) talented, b) driven, or c) both of the above.

The fact is that I'm working on three solo acts, two independent group acts, I'm learning all the Vaudezilla group acts.  And I've got to carve out separate times to work on all these.  I'm starting to think that I've perhaps stretched myself a little too thin.  I think that it's time for me to only worry about the things that I really need to worry about RIGHT NOW.  The rest is going to come.  It will.  But I will say this.  Once I'm done with these three acts, really good and done with them, I'm taking a break.  I'll perform them until I'm blue in the face, but I don't want to think about anything new for awhile.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shameless self-promotion time!

I've got a show tomorrow night!  If you happen to be within the sound of my voice and think it might be nifty to see a REAL, LIVE BURLESQUE SHOW, you should come out.  This month is our student showcase, highlighting all the hard work of the students of Vaudezilla studios.

And if you're curious as to what you'd be in for in terms of *my* performance... I'll just leave you with this little image.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A new layout and an old video

I decided it was time for a new layout.  Something not too dissimilar, but also something that didn't look like I had designed my blog in 2002.  (I didn't, for the record.)  I like that it's a little sleeker and sharper this time around.

But the real meat of this post is... a video that's a million years old.  Not really.  It's about three months old, actually.  Vaudezilla puts out a monthly podcast, commonly known as Vaudezillavision.  In January, I was given the opportunity to guest host, and I was also able to conduct a mini-segment on constructing hair fascinators.  Have a look at the video. 

Please note that I also offer ready-made as well as made-to-order hair fascinators through my Etsy shop The Raven's Nest

Monday, March 5, 2012

A full weekend

I have had one of the most productive weekends, and I cannot wait to share with you.  Now, all of you are probably like "But it's the end of MONDAY, you've certainly waited awhile, yes?" 

No.  I don't work Mondays, so my weekend is still in full swing.  (FOR ANOTHER FOUR HOURS. WOOO)

Let's start with Saturday.  Saturday, I had a shoot for Vaudezilla with the lovely Kriss Abigail.  Myself and a few other Vaudezilla performers trekked out to the Museum of Science and Industry to take some wicked photos. 

Perhaps you would like a teaser from said shoot?
Here you go.

 Many thanks to Kriss for making me look gorgeous, as always. 

Immediately following our shoot, I booked it over to the theater where I work, so that I could open the box office for our performance that night.  Which basically meant, since I am SO GREAT at planning ahead, that I wore the same clothes I was wearing for the photoshoot in the box office all night.  I also may or may not have taken a nap on the floor in the middle of the box office during the show.  Classy.

The majority of Sunday was taken up by a three-hour long choreography workshop at Vaudezilla studios
It was epic, and it's really a shame that we're only holding them once a month.  (Although my muscles have no complaints about the lack of frequency.)  Can I just say that I am SO sore?  I had already felt like I was hit by a truck after four hours of running around MSI and posing all day, and THEN standing around the box office for hours, so add a three hour long dance class, and you've basically got muscular mutiny on your hands. 

But the real topper to this weekend was today.  Mmm.  Monday.  (Oh god, I might be the only person who has ever looked forward to a Monday.)
I do all my banking downtown, so I got up this morning and hopped on the train.  I decided that perhaps I would bring my camera downtown with me again, since I wasn't really thrilled with most of the shots I took last week.  So... a little begrudgingly, I packed up my camera, and headed down.  I did all my banking, and was kind of looking for an excuse to not have to shoot... I was walking around down by Millennium Park, and feeling SUPER uninspired, because I like taking photos of all the architecture when I'm in the moment, but when I come home, it all looks very standard and literal and boring, and then I get discouraged, and then...

Anyway.  I was down by Millennium Park, and I realized (after a failed trip into the Chicago cultural center... it was closed.  Because, apparently, it's Kasimir Pulaski day.  What?) that the ice rink was still open.  So I rented some skates and went ice skating for an hour.  Mostly to see if I could still remember how. 
For the record, I did get the hang of it pretty quickly, but the ice was fairly soft, and there were a bunch of folks out there, so I ended up wiping out three times in the same spot.  (I think I was getting stuck in a deeper ice rut)  By the third time, my left knee was pretty banged up, so I decided to grab my stuff and continue my day on foot.

So... I'm wandering away from the park, still without a clue as to where I'm going to go, or do I even feel like shooting? And I'm about to just give up and go get some bao... and then there it was. 

 Where have you been all my life?

So I spent the day concentrating on weird little details.  And the more I looked, the more of them I found.
The preceding might be my favorite shot of the day, and it definitely ranks in the top 10 shots I've ever taken. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Monkees' Davy Jones

So, I got the news yesterday that Davy Jones, singer/misc. percussion (come ON guys, you KNOW what I mean by this. :P) for The Monkees, has died. 

What, you may ask yourself, does this have to do with either photography OR burlesque?  Not much, outright.  But here's a little backstory for you.

I fell in love with The Monkees back in... '97?  Maybe?  I was about ten or eleven years old, so that sounds about right.  I didn't know it then, but all the resurgent hubbub for them was a result of their releasing their final- and only fully self-produced studio album Justus.  All I cared about was the TV show.  And the music.  My dad played a Monkees tape (Yes, this *is* how old we are) on the way home from a Tigers baseball game, and that was that.  I was hooked.  They were all over tv that summer, and we taped a bunch of episodes. 

Davy Jones might well have been my first childhood crush.  Granted, he was supplanted exactly fifteen seconds later when my capricious childhood mind decided that Mickey was much cuter.  (I still prefer Mickey, for the record, though I had a phase revolving around each of them.)  Still, for those fifteen seconds, he was the only tiny, British heartthrob in the world to me. 

Fast forward to this Tuesday.  I've been getting very frustrated with the state of my newest burlesque act.  Choreography-wise, it's coming together well.  Intentions-wise, I could be stronger, but that's more an issue of rehearse, rehearse, rehearse than anything else.  But costume-wise?  Eesh.  I haven't got a sparkle on that damn thing, and I've got no money to change that, at least not in the quantity that this particular act requires.  So I dusted off an old idea I've had hanging around. 

Since the inception of my burlesque career, as it were, I've been alternately trying to talk myself into and out of doing an act to The Monkees She Hangs Out.  It's a 2.5 minute long song, which makes it pretty damn short for burlesque, but it's peppy and catchy, and I tend to dance to it even though said dancing makes the record skip horribly.  I just can't help it.  And on Tuesday night, it finally hit me.  I'll throw together a quick shimmy act.  Fringe is dirt cheap compared to Swarovskis, and I'm pretty good at faking all those boppy '60's dance staples like the Pony, the Swim, and, oh, hey, the MONKEY. 

So I shimmied myself sick on Tuesday night.  And when I woke up Wednesday morning and dragged ass to work, I opened up my laptop only to see ten million people on Facebook posting Monkees clips and "RIP Davy" messages.

What the what? 

I have to admit, I'd never guessed that he would be the first to go.  Not least of which because he was the youngest Monkee.  It's still kind of a weird twingey feeling in my gut thinking about it, too.  Despite the fact that it was fifteen seconds of a ten-year-old me's life, Davy Jones was one of my first crushes, and this is the first time someone I've felt "that way" for (inasmuch as a ten year old can feel "that way") has died. 

So... cheers Davy.  I'm still gonna put that act together, and you might just have yourself a dedication.  And... I'll see you on the other side, with that bright orange GTO. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


So... I realize that the only reference you all have of me is probably that picture of me in the mask on the sidebar.  And that's... kind of a shame.  Partially because I'm vain.  Partially because I'm very much in a share-y mood.  Have some pictures of me. 

All of the preceeding were from a photoshoot I did for Vaudezilla.  All images are (C) Callie Lipkin.  This is what I enjoy doing with my life.  Neat, huh?

Monday, February 27, 2012

The business side of things

I will be the first to admit that I have a serious problem.  I think of everything I do as a means to make money. 

"Hold it."  You say.
"That's great!" 

While I definitely consider it an asset to be thinking of things in terms of earning potential, especially as an individual with an eye on living off the grid, as it were, the kind of thinking I am prone to is dangerous and frustrating. 

I'm not putting the cart before the horse.  I'm putting the cart before a planet made of lava and potential and just sitting there and hoping the horse eventually evolves so that I can hitch the two together and go on my merry way. 
I'm sitting around and thinking about how nice it would be to be able to make a living solely off of burlesque and photography (and maybe with a little help from blogging about what it's like to be a burlesque-dancing, world-traveling, generally awesome photographing machine), but I have relatively little in the way of planning the actual steps I need to take to get there.  For example, I'm not even sure what I would do.  Obviously, I've got the burlesque part down. That is something for which I have already had an a-ha moment.  (No, not like Take On Me...)  But the photography part, and even the part where I put all of this together into a serendipitous perfection (that also happens to make me ridiculously wealthy somehow.), remains nebulous. 

I'm stuck in a world of pretty thoughts, because it is easier to say "Wouldn't it be nice if..." than it is to say "This is what I am going to do"... and then going and doing it.  The fact is, I know next-to-nothing about business, overhead, how much I really need to live (more than I'm making right now, certainly).  And I know relatively little about my own photography background except that I vastly prefer working in the darkroom, and that I probably could make it as a portrait photographer, if I really wanted to, though my love will always be art photography.  And the only thing I know about blogging is that, if I just start writing, eventually I'll get the hang of things, and this all won't seem so stilted and awkward. 

But I'm in a phase where I'm doing a lot of research.  I'm reading a lot of blogs.  About photography.  About business.  About blogging.  And I'm getting terrified and frustrated by the whole prospect, because I know that I want to get to that place eventually, but I'm not sure where that place even really is, or if my skills and interests will hold up to the challenges.  My personality is nothing if not capricious, and so I ebb from one thing to the next more quickly than the tides. 

And I worry.  About money, mostly.  My financial situation is precarious at best, and I have been in a blind desperate panic to better it for years.  Due to that panic, I have actually steadily decreased my standard of living for the last three years.  All I think about is what I can do to make money, but because I'm on the run, none of these things are well-thought-out, practiced, etc.  I'm just desperate to not have to do what I've been doing, and equally desperate to replenish my stores, and pay down my debts.

So, here I am.  Sitting on a rock in the midst of an infant planet.  Lava flows all around.  Just me and my cart.  Waiting for that damned horse. 
Well, it's a new week, and here I am, back again.  Lucky me, because I work in a theatre, and we run shows all weekend, I have Mondays off, and it's a perk I've quite gotten used to.  Most Mondays, I'm appreciative of getting to run around the world while everyone else (so it seems) is stuck at work.  At the very least, even when I'm so busy trying to catch up from the week prior, I'm still thankful that I at least get to take my paycheck to the bank, instead of having to mail it back to my parents. 

Today is one of those fortunate days.  I had time yesterday to do some catching up, and the class I've been taking on Mondays wrapped up last week.  (That is sadface for other reasons, but for right now, it's a blessing)  I think I'm going to take my cameras (The DSLR and the Holga, as those two are actually functional at the moment) on my weekly trek downtown, and perhaps have a bit of a city-wandering adventure. 

I almost cannot tell you the last time I went out shooting.  As a photographer who does not photograph, but would like to resume photographing in the imminent future, I feel obligated to make that imminent future start as soon as possible.  Like, perhaps, today. 

Lucky for you, that means that I will have pretty photographs to share with you later this week. 

Now, it's getting late in the morning, and time's a-wastin'. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Welcome to ADD Megan

Yeah... So... I started writing a thing, and I literally just deleted the whole thing because most of it was just pointless rambling.  I'm given to that... probably more often than not, but for the sake of being able to follow what I'm saying, I'll try to keep it to a minimum. 

Since you all are probably new to the game here, I'll continue with my week of introductions.  Yesterday, obviously, was the intro to my lovely cameras.  Today, you get to meet my cat.  Which... depending on who you are, might not be quite as interesting from the outset.  Or perhaps that's way more interesting than being introduced to several glorified boxes full of film.  With names. 

... Anyway...

 This is Sinatra.  Evidently, I take millions of pictures of him sleeping.  I usually feel kind of guilty because he tries to sleep on my legs, typically choosing to do so when I have to move immediately. 
 He also sleeps in very bizarre positions.  The above photo is captioned "Cat, I'm a kitty cat, and I dance, dance, dance, and I dance, dance, dance." on my Facebook.  Thank you, 10 year old internet memes. 
 His name, as I have mentioned, is Sinatra, which is the name he came with when I adopted him.  He has no idea, and won't answer to it, which is fine, because I typically don't call him Sinatra.  He will occasionally answer to "Kitty", but I have recently (and depressingly) found out that he will readily respond to being called "Booger". 
And I swear to god he is a man trapped in a cat's body.  I took him home for Christmas and he was over the moon to have both me and my mom fawning all over him.  When my boyfriend comes over, kitty will attempt to woo me with feats of strength, performing chin-ups on my windowsill.  This sort of behavior has earned him the nickname Marcello, as in Marcello Mastroianni, and most specifically, his character in Fellini's 8 1/2.  There is a scene in this film involving a harem of every woman his character has ever known, all fawning over him and answering his every beck and call, and I feel this describes kitty's wishes to a T.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My cameras, etc.

You've had plenty of time to be introduced to me by now, but one thing you haven't been introduced to is my four (FOUR) cameras. The following pictures don't belong to me, because I'm not about to play round-robin taking pictures of my own cameras on the paisley-esque backdrop of my duvet, but it'll give you a decent idea of what I'm talking about.

First up is my 35mm SLR. It is a Canon Elan II (The photo is actually a Canon Elan IIe, but they're basically the same camera. The IIe has a couple of additional bells and whistles). This is the camera I learned to shoot film with. It's not... the *actual* camera, I borrowed one from a friend of my dad, but I tracked down an identical model on eBay and bought it for my birthday this year. I haven't actually shot with the one I own yet, mostly because I enjoy shooting black and white, but I haven't got access to a darkroom at the moment.

Next up is my Digital SLR. I currently shoot a Canon Rebel T2i. Prior to October of 2010, I shot a Rebel XTi, and I will say that I much preferred it. BUT, it got stolen along with all my other electronics when our house got broken into, so the insurance money bought me a shiny new T2i, and that's what I'm stuck with. I will admit that I would probably like it a lot better if I would just use it enough to get used to the differences between the old model and this newer one. Fun fact: This camera, like it's predecessor, has been named Graeme, as in Graeme Edge, the drummer from the Moody Blues. (My computer is John C, as a mashup of John Lodge of the Moody Blues and the John C. Lodge freeway, indicating my childhood in Metro Detroit, and my car is Justin, as in Justin Hayward, also of the Moody Blues. ^_^ But I digress.)

Next up is the camera I lovingly refer to as PPOS (Plastic Piece of S#*$). It is a Holga 120N. Unlike every hipster I have ever met, I did not shell out over a hundred bucks for this thing, and I kind of think you're an idiot if you did. Sorry. I purchased mine in the middle of the desert (a couple miles outside Santa Fe, to be exact), for $25, AND they threw in five rolls of film and a book for free. I shoot slides and medium-format color film on this thing, depending on what I can get my hands on. I have a fascination with cross-processed slides, so if I can get slide film, I'm all over that.
Last but not least, my newest toy, the Kodak Brownie Target Six-20. This thing is literally made out of cardboard and tin. Manufactured between 1946 and 1952. (Yes, I realize that's not a complete sentence, but I kind of lost control of the thought before it completed itself.) I do have a roll of modified 120 film in this thing at the moment, but I need to pry it apart in the darkroom and figure out what I did wrong, as I've managed to jam the whole thing up. Before I can do that, I need to buy a latch for my closet door, because when I say "darkroom", I mean "closet" and, unfortunately, my cat knows how to open the door.

So... those are my cameras. You'd be enthused about photography too if you got to carry around a box made of cardboard and tin and hear it's little shutter go snappy-snappy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Goals (Ever-changing)

I figured I'd want to delineate this in a separate post from the previous. Keeps the focus on the list, without it being all bogged down and wordy. Though, knowing me, it will probably get wordy anyway.

I need to keep accountable for all my goals. I often think perhaps I should write them all out and post them all over my life, so I don't forget them, as I am wont to do.

General Goals:
1. (because it is relevant) BLOG! I want to blog. I want the world to know that a sassy burlesque-dancing photographer exists in the world.
2. Get my finances back on track. This is a hard one, because I only make about $12,250 a year, and $8500 of that pays my rent alone. A lot of the following goals are aimed at not only fulfilling me as a person, but also helping to add a little to my wallet.
3. Get my damn Etsy shop back on track. This is a smaller goal for me because, as much as I love crafting, when one's sole motivation is to make money, things tend to become kind of dry and uninspired. And desperate. Once I can shift my focus to making things because I legitimately enjoy how it makes me feel to create (and oh, yeah, I might make some cash on the side...) THEN I can work on this.

Burlesque Goals:
1. Perform more. This sounds stupid, and I give myself a hard time about it because I only have two acts (plus the Christmas act, PLUS the act that's in the works), but I really need to be performing as much as I can.
2. PRACTICE more. Jesus H. I rarely practice outside of class, and that's a big effing problem because I can't afford to take classes anymore. Indefinitely. Perhaps forever. (Not really forever. Everything seems like forever.) I need to cultivate self-reliance as a performer.
3. Finish my nebulously-named third act. All I need are panties and a gun. Seriously. The sparkles are fab, but they can happen slowly. (Oh, and some dot-matrix printer paper. I could use some of that too)
4. GET A DAMN WEBSITE. This costs money. I know. I'll figure it out. Maybe I'll set aside a roll of quarters or something to buy the domain.

Photography Goals: (What's this? AGAIN??)
1. Photograph more. I have FOUR cameras. Four. I can stand to shoot with them once in awhile, yes? The rest of the photography goals will materialize when I stop THINKING about shooting, when I stop TALKING about shooting, and when I actually take the damn things outside and SHOOT.

The Rest:
Yes, I know, I had general goals in the beginning. I'm adding to them now, without going back and muddling everything up.
1. Record a voice reel. SURPRISE! I can sing. Like a motherfucker. I'm... actually not sure what that would sound like, so pretend I never said that. I can sing. I'm a classically trained soprano. I'd like to record a voice reel to go on my WEBSITE! CROSSOVER GOAL!
2. Lose some damn weight. I'm not fat, nor have I ever been. BUT. I was on a nice little roll for awhile. I lost eight pounds, which put me in some pretty good shape. But then the depression was all like "FUCK YOU." and I climbed in bed and ate about fifteen pizzas. So I think I would like to get back to that whole getting up at seven and putting on pants and going for a run thing that I had going on before. You know, in January, when it was minus a million degrees. Because if I could do it then, I can do it now.

I think that's it for now. They change a lot, so I'll be keeping you updated.

When you fall off the horse...

You get back on. And then fall off again. And then get back on again.

Granted, I will only cop to having fallen off an actual horse once. But. Here I am again, after a long absence, and it pains me, because I just keep being too lazy, and then making excuses, and then being too lazy, and then making excuses.

So. Where am I now? Much in the same place I was when we left off. Crazy poor, still in Chicago. Hanging on to my nice apartment and my shill of a life by an absolute thread. Perpetually running after that one last gig. And perpetually trying to run away from my day job. One day, I'll figure it all out, I swear. And when I do, those few of you that are here in the beginning will be able to say "I knew that crazy son-of-a- when she was still saying 'I wish'."

I'm going to try and be here more often. I know, "WOLF." I've said it before, but I'm serious. I think I need to try posting every day. Even if I only have some stupid garbage to say. I feel like this will be important one day.

So, here I am. The burlesque dancer who is terrible at practicing. The photographer who doesn't photograph. The girl who spent her whole life chasing the feeling of being alive, only to realize she's been too busy chasing a feeling to actually live.

Also, I'm broke. Legitimately, this time. I had saved a bunch of money to take photography classes later this year and, guess what? It's paying my rent instead, because I don't have anything else.

And. I spend a good deal of my time fighting the lovely one-two punch that is depression and anxiety. Which probably goes a long way to explain why I spend so much time in absentia. I spend about that much time in a catatonic state suspended somewhere between terror and utter nothingness.

So, there are a couple of walls to scale. But I'm optimistic. Today. Today I am optimistic. We'll see about tomorrow.