Exciting announcement!

I believe I have one or two people who follow me here because I post stuff about photography once in a blue moon. Not to say that that will stop happening altogether BUT…

I have officially started up a separate photography website!! I dubbed it ZV Image Creations. Over there, I will be writing posts strictly related to all things photography, including but not limited to editing, techniques, or even other photographers/vendors. I am ecstatic about this because not only am I making all the decisions about how to customize the site, which tickles me, but I can legitimately build a side business, which has been something I’ve been working towards for quite some time now.

The bones of the site are up and I will continually be tweaking a few things here and there but for right now, ZV Image Creations version 1.0 is up! (ZVIC also looks kinda cool….but I’m biased.)

Eventually there will be an e-commerce section (galleries/shopping cart/prints) but that is a work in progress as I continue to build my portfolio.

And if any one of you fine readers happens to be a photography enthusiast or a professional, please feel free to contact me with any constructive feedback.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here chair dancing (mostly because I’m excited but also because Lady Gaga’s new album is badass).

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No. You didn’t SEEN anything.

Um, can we talk about something serious for a moment?

There is an epidemic in this country – an epidemic of extremely, extremely ignorant grammar, speaking, and writing skills. I understand colloquialisms. I do! I say ’em, too. But when you write these things out as your actual manner of speaking, it just puts the nail in my tightass coffin.

I don’t like to preach a lot about grammar here and if I can help it, I won’t write another one of these for a long time, if ever again. But I can’t help it this time. No, it’s not the You’re vs. Your thing; which is appalling, by the way. “Your welcome” always makes me want to say, “But is it my welcome?”

The issue at hand is the misuse of the word “seen.”

Seen is a conjugation of the verb “to see,” which means that if you want to use it, you may do so in the present, past and future perfect voice. Which also means that there is always another verb in between subject and the word “seen.”

Examples:

  • You have seen
  • I had seen
  • We will have seen
  • They had seen

and so forth. There is absolutely NO conjugation that has subject + seen. None. Zip. Really! If you say, “I seen with my own eyes” or ask, “You seen it?” I strongly but gently advise you or your friend who does this to go back to elementary school grammar and brush up on this verb. (I won’t comment on, “You done seen it, too?”) I don’t know why this one thing in particular motivated me to write a post about it. I mean, yes, I can write bitchy rants, and I know that many people frown on those who take time to write stuff like this, but it just cooks my cactus – whatever that means.

It gives us, as Americans who speak English, an even worse reputation than we already have for being (proud) uneducated morons.

I am not without humor – clearly – so I am also posting one of my all-time favorite Friends scenes here with Ross and Rachel having yet another one of their epic fights, in which Ross corrects Rachel’s grammar in the letter she wrote to him. If for some reason you have never seen this, you’re welcome.

Thank you for reading my rant when you could have been doing any number of other things on this lovely Sunday afternoon.

Dear Wendy’s, I love ya but you’re not a bistro.

On a recent excursion to the sole Wendy’s in my fair town, I had the opportunity to try their new line of French fries. These new fries are supposed to call forth healthier images of a fried treat (more like a staple) that is consumed daily around the world as if the next potato famine will start any second now.

Made from Russet potatoes, left with some critical minimal amount of skin on for a more natural effect, and seasoned only with sea salt, Wendy’s portends that this is the new standard of fry that is going to beat out McDonald’s’. <~~~~I swear that that is the correct way to properly put McDonald’s in the plural possessive. Those two apostrophes are annoying, however.

Before I cite some other articles on this topic, I’m just going to give my totally subjective, casual opinion on them. Which is….they’re really not all that good. Honestly, what peeves me more than anything else is that these new fries completely took over the old ones, and I happened to like their classic yellow, thicker cut fries. We had no choice whatsoever in this matter. The old ones tasted great with ranch (quelle surprise) and Kevin liked to dip them into Frosties. I’m a big fan of Frosties. Big time. Chocolate, not vanilla. Their coffee chocolate dessert thingy is good, too, where they mix in candy and stuff with it. But in a pinch, you can’t go wrong with a bit of Frosty. Mmm.

Okay, back to the fries. We were mourning the old ones. Quite frankly, if we just had the option of choosing between classic and these new “bistro” fries, I’d be okay with that! I’d just never order the bistro fries. I mean, even Arby’s and Jack in the Box have multiple fry options. Curly vs. classic. Why can’t they get on board with this? Yeah, it’s one more thing to fry up but it’s just potatoes and chicken nuggets in the fryers over there. BFD, ya know?

These new fries are skinnier, the ends burn more easily, and I don’t know if it’s the 1% skin on them or what, but the flavor just isn’t….”Hurry up and eat me!” like I do with other places’ fries.

I love me some sea salt. But there’s no way that these fast food fries are potatoes + salt and that’s it. And I surmised correctly! Check out this article on all the crap that the fries are processed with – I’m telling you, it’s nasty. And if you have some extra time and wanna see what an actual food blog wrote up about the fries, check out what Serious Eats had to say about them.

I disagree that the old ones had no merit but I do agree that they were inconsistently cooked.

In summation, I’m sorry to say it, Wendy’s. The new fries are more a fail than a success. Please stick to what you do best, which is make above average fast food. And your new salads are bomb, too. But your thinly veiled marketing campaign to disguise your fries as anything but regular, same-old processed ones is lame. Bring back the old fries that never pretended to be anything than what they were – mediocre and bad for you!

Do you LOL?

When I was first chatting on the internet in my late teens – the late 90s – I remember when internet speak and acronyms burst onto the scene. If I don’t already feel old saying that, I surely will as the years pass.

I have to admit, I got caught up in it all in the beginning and I was ‘loling’ away. Even then, however, I noticed that there were those who would write “heehee” or “heh;” some dudes even did “HAAAAA.” For a little while I would use ROFL or LMAO or even the extreme LMGDMFAO, which is super nerdy, but it didn’t take long before I found a different system that totally worked for me and has until this day.

What I use is the Haha System. I’ve found haha and variations thereof works to signify actual laughter or appreciation of humor.

“Ha” is both a nod to something being said in jest but it also can be used in short sarcastic bursts, as well.

Haha is your go-to response. You can add this before or after any sentence as a way of saying, “Yeah totally.” Or, “I’m laughing at what I just said.” And lastly, “This was intended as a joke.” This is pretty crucial, if I do say so myself, since anything and everything can be misinterpreted in online chat or texting.

P's awesome laugh

A great example of genuine laughter.

Hahaha denotes real laughs coming now. A hahaha with an exclamation point is one step beyond that.

If I type, “HAHAHAHA,” this is the equivalent of LMAO. And anything beyond that – more hahas, exclamation points, bold, etc, I’m going crazy with laughter.

I dunno, it just works!

With the Lol System, it’s hard to tell – in my opinion – if a person actually thinks what you’re saying is funny, but particularly if a person overuses it. I suppose the overuse should tell you. If every time you say something and a person has no response or doesn’t know what to say and responds with “lol,” chances are it’s not actually funny. And this goes for, “haha,” as well!

Aside: I will refrain from going on too much of a tangent on notorious Conversation Killers but couldn’t help but put this in. Just know that if your only response to a person’s descriptive paragraph is, “Oh,” “I see,” or “I hear ya,” there’s hardly a good way to come back from that. If people say that to me in an online conversation, I flat out stop talking. Message received.

I’ve actually written back to people and said, “But are you laughing outloud?” Someone I know used to make fun of “lol” by pronouncing it like the word loll. So he’d exclaim, “Loll!!” to demonstrate how ridiculous he found this expression. I always had to laugh.

I think one tick in the plus column for the Lol System is that it is universally recognized. Everyone knows what you mean. Moreover, it’s more succinct. A LMAO doesn’t take up as much time or space as “HAHAHAHAHA.” Usually that would appeal to me, as I am a practical woman, but for whatever reason, I don’t use it. But I will use acronyms like FTW. I’m a big fan but I think it’s because I simply like the phrase, “for the win.” Anyway, this whole online laugh thing is totally a matter of preference. I’d love to hear from those of you who are devotees of the Lol System. (Paging Scott…)

I thought of one more reason I prefer the Haha System over the Lol System. I think for me, the alliteration with the Haha System says to the other person that I really do think something is funny, over using an acronym like ROFL. Because no one is actually rolling on the floor laughing.

Don’t forget about the people who refuse to use either system and have come up with their own way of doing things. I’d be fascinated to hear from someone who does that.

As always, thoughts/comments/feedback are welcome! Happy Wednesday, haha. (See what I did there?)

Wethead.

In order to test one of my own theories this morning, I decided to go to work without drying my hair.

Some of you may be gasping. Some of you may be shrugging.

Heretofore, I have always believed it to be a completely unprofessional look for people (read: women) to show up to work with a wet head. I know it’s a double standard and it sucks but if a man has short hair and shows up to work with his hair neatly combed but still damp, it looks nice. Plus, you know the guy has washed at least one part of his body.

Not so for women, unless you also have a short boy cut. Otherwise, it looks like you were in a hurry and/or too lazy to bother with your hair.  Normally I don’t judge stuff like this because I don’t regularly paint my nails, I don’t wear heels a ton, and really, I vacillate back and forth between being high maintenance and not. Some days I really take my time with my appearance and others, I walk out of the house with nothing but SPF lotion on my face. (Is this against Girly Girl Credo? More than likely.)

But for whatever reason, wet hair on a woman has always signified to me a real lack of professionalism and I don’t know from where it stems. It just doesn’t look right to me.

This morning, I was in a particular rush so I decided to wing it and go to work with still-damp hair. I was a little upset with myself for breaking my own judgment/rule but I really couldn’t lose another minute. I had even put some cream/mousse in my hair, hoping that it would dry with a nice tousled, effortless look.

Well, we reap what we sow, don’t we? My hair dried lifeless with not very much curl or body to it, so it ended up just looking like ass instead of fluffy and bouncy – or even shaped, for that matter. I ran a brush through it hoping to give it some oomph but I think that just angered it. In the end, the saving grace became tucking my hair behind my ears and that’ll just have to do. Now I know that when in doubt, although I don’t see why I’d be in doubt after this, always blow-dry my hair.

In my younger years, I used to put my longer wet hair into one French braid or two regular pig-tail braids and then my hair drying flat on top was fine. It was super cute. I wish I had a photo of that. (Note: if I find one such picture, I’ll come back and post it.) Then and only then is not blow-drying acceptable.

Edit: found the photo!

Me in my dorm sophomore year - webcam pic!

Heck, I’ll post a poll, since there is just a matter of opinion and perspective. Whatcha think?

I know I’ve learned my lesson.

4 Reasons Apartment Hunting Sucks | Cracked.com

4 Reasons Apartment Hunting Sucks | Cracked.com.

I love that I beat Cracked to this post with my very own about the pitfalls of Craigslist; it’s what started this blog. Except I went into far more detail. Yes, Cracked got the gist and many of the things they say is true. But let me tell you something: when you live in NYC and you don’t have a lot of money (so like, 97% of people there), you use Craigslist exclusively. You just have to. And you learn the ins and outs. I was not only the seeker but I was the seekee on a couple of occasions. And for the record, I DID take awesome apartment photos because I knew exactly what people would need to see to give me a call. I put up real photos.

This is a photo of one of my actual former living rooms.

Since I’ve already written about this, I won’t go into much more detail. But now I’m thinking I need to apply to be a writer for Cracked.

Hmm…

So…this is being “in my 30s”

I’m still adjusting to this new jacket I’ve shrugged on. It’s the official being-in-my-30s starter jacket. Something that only three years ago felt far, far away.

Being 30 was new and interesting but since it came right after 29, it was like, okay I could just be 29 another year. 29 part deux. But 31 is a whole different ballgame. We’re not effing around now.

I am positive I will do this same adjustment when I have a 4 in front of my age but right now, that is too scary to comprehend. So many of my friends will enjoy at least three more years of having a 2 in front of their age. And even being 30 was okay, so add another year of enjoyment. Lucky bastards. By which time, I will be full on approaching my mid-thirties, which is almost as scary as the 4 word. I literally have heartburn as I write this. Another adjustment of getting older. Things that occurred fairly infrequently you just get used to and you say to yourself, “Yep, that just happens now.” I guess I just get to enjoy heartburn from time to time. Win.

I have a distinct memory of looking in the mirror when I was young (somewhere between 8 and 13, let’s say) and wondering what I was going to look like when I was grown up. I don’t know if it’s exactly what I look like now, because really, it’s more of the same but maybe with less eyebrow. Also I don’t think I could have predicted how much I would love coffee. Serious, deep abiding affection for that stuff.

I’ve heard from several friends that one’s 30s is “the best time of your life,” although isn’t that what they said about one’s 20s?

But like, I don’t have a house, I don’t have a husband (just a legal issue really….and a matter of a great wedding), I don’t have children, I don’t have a Master’s degree, I don’t drive my dream car (but I will, someday).

What I do have is a kickass new coffee maker – I am talking badass – a sweet dog, a Twitter account, this blog, and creativity coming out of my (large) pores. Oh, and a rather self-depricating sense of humor.

I only have nine more years to enjoy the hell out of this decade so…in the words of Andy Dufresne, I guess I better get on it. Well, what he actually said was get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’. He was trying to escape from a really corrupt prison, which in no way resembles my life at all.

Birthdays never used to do this to me.

Over and out.

May: the month of a gazillion birthdays

Compleanno
Well, we’re officially in one of my two favorite months of the year and so far, the first three days have been a doozy. Am I right or am I right or am I right?

I am getting close to knowing someone with a birthday on each and every day of this wonderful month. I don’t have children but if I ever get to that phase of my life, I’m going to wonder what is so special about the 9 months prior to May because it is baby and birthday explosion come May 1. I got my Facebook notification on Sunday night that told me I know six people on Facebook alone with birthdays in the first week.

My special day is 5-5, a very symmetrical birthday. I’m all about symmetry. Heck, this blog began on 8-8-08, incidentally. I have a cousin with my same birthday and I have met probably ten others who also share the May 5 birthday. Today is my dear friend Meg’s birthday and I know at least twelve more people with birthdays this month. I even know people with birthdays on the 6th, 7th, and 8th. It’s crazy!

Have I said the word  birthday enough?

May is the month of Taurus and Gemini. That’s right, I went there. I also am completely discounting the “new” astrology system because the 13th sign sounds ridiculous. I know it doesn’t change my sign because of the year but I still find it lame (as at least half the population does about astrology in general). I have a soft spot for astrology. I like figuring out which signs are supposed to be compatible with which and I have this book called The Secret Language of Birthdays which is a really cool personality profile based on everyone’s actual birth-day. Just saying, if you’re into this, this is a must-have book.

Aside from May being Birthday Month Extravaganza, it is also the month with Memorial Day and kicks off travel season. I am visiting a dear friend in Seattle for over five days at the end of the month and I am completely through and through stoked about it. I’ve only been to the Pacific Northwest once for vacation when I was a teenager and I was in Vancouver ten years ago but I have never explored the fine metropolis of Seattle. So Original Starbucks here I come!

I may not have mentioned my passion for coffee mugs, though I know I’ve talked about my being a coffee snob. I have an array of Starbucks mugs from various cities I’ve visited and I’m actually kind of excited to add to the collection. I had a fabulous mug from Paris from 2004 when I was there and it survived the trip back, and even many moves within New York City, but it was no match for Kevin, who accidentally broke it in my last New York apartment. I went to find a replacement and they were selling on eBay for like, $90 or something. C’est ridicule, ca! So yeah, that’s long gone. I’ll have to stick with Stateside mugs.* C’est la vie.

Any travel plans (or anything particularly exciting) this month? How many people do you know celebrating a May b-day?

*Edit: I received a replacement Paris mug that was, in fact, purchased for an obscene amount of money, and it happily sits in my kitchen cabinet with all of the other mugs I have amassed.