Friday, September 23, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

upgrade [uhp-greyd]

an incline going up in the direction of movement; an increase or improvement; a new version, improved model, etc.

Synonyms include: advancement, betterment, growth

For years now, I've been lusting after the MacBook Pro. If I couldn't afford the $2,600 camera (oy, Canon 5D, Mark ii), I told myself that I'd at least "settle" for a hot new laptop.

"So when are you getting your Pro, fool?" Jaja Tecson would constantly ask.

"Yay tax refund! Go get your MacBook Pro now, Anna!" Jaja's sister, Cecile, chimed in.

Alas, no matter how much money I'd saved the past few years to buy this darn thing, there would always be something else more important to spend the money on, and that $1,700 laptop may as well have cost $2,600 because, in short, I could afford neither.

Never one to be discouraged or disillusioned too easily, I reasoned with myself, knowing deep inside that the best I could do was to MAKE the best of what I already had; and I had a perfectly competent HP desktop with the large flat screen monitor that ran Microsoft Word, Excel, Lightroom and Photoshop round-the-clock...until about a month ago. A month ago, that competent monitor went black and I was stuck - stuck with three photoshoots to edit through and no computer to edit with. Thankfully, I did manage to save, and with little to no emergency expenditures in sight, I bit the bullet, or, well, the Apple.

I never even gave purchasing an iMac over a MacBook Pro a second thought, assuming the laptop would cost less. Showed how unsavvy I was, right? The iMac was significantly less (like a third), so I went down to the neighborhood Apple Store (a badass new store with high ceilings at the Americana) and bought this gorgeous 21.5 inch iMac that I don't know how I ever managed without. I even bought a new desk to match the awesomeness =)

...and then I went to the Container Store and bought this desk drawer organizer to maximize my desk space. It keeps all my pens, pencils, markers, scissors, hole punchers and other Laker office supplies - yes, those are Laker glue sticks (Thanks, Iya & Chris! =D) - neatly placed in sections. O...C...Damn look how organized that is!

I'm like a little kid with a new toy, I know. But mostly I'm just a grateful adult. As corny as it sounds to say it, I feel really blessed to even have the means to buy such things. It's not like I was suffering from technological abuse (there are literally three other computers in this house, not counting my broken, but fixable, desktop). A purchase this major, though, just reminded me of what my parents have taught and showed me all my life - how and why to appreciate what I have.

I don't live in a mansion with a dozen servants, but live in a modest townhouse with, yes, my family who lets me live rent-free and I share a room with my 21-year old sister who schools me on Photoshop (and who, by the way, also bought an iMac so our room looks like an office with beds). I don't drive a fancy car, but a very well-maintained 2002 Rav4 that's got 175,000 miles on it still manages my 400 mile/week commute. I don't shop on Rodeo Drive, but the occasional visit to H&M, Anthropologie or The GAP always seems to keep the shopping bug satisfied. I don't own that top of the line camera yet, but what my Canon 40D has produced sure is a reflection of how much I've learned about photography.

And now I have this awesome new computer that is, by far, the nicest thing I've ever owned, and I don't know if I could appreciate what it means as much as I do now, if I hadn't known how to appreciate what I had before it.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Monday, September 05, 2011

background [bak-ground]

the ground or parts, as of a scene, situated in the rear ( opposed to foreground);
the part of a painted or carved surface against which represented objects and forms are perceived or depicted: a portrait against a purple background; the part of an image represented as being at maximum distance from the frontal plane.

Synonyms include: accomplishments, experience, backdrop

The girl was crying, saying how all through school, all through her childhood, and now in her young adult life, she'd always just almost get the part, almost get the spotlight, but never quite got to be that one - the chosen one. She's a young dancer on Laurieann Gibson's reality show, Born to Dance, and to her seemingly hopeless, tearfilled face, Laurieann said, "You dance like the girl who doesn't get picked." There sure is a whole lotta wisdom under all that boomkack, because it hit me - I'm her, the girl who doesn't get picked, and for once I'm starting to realize that maybe that's my fault.

Yes, I've had my share of the spotlight. In general though, my M.O. is to stay in the background, work behind the scenes, manage the details that no one really notices. I always said I'd never be a good boss, preferring to report to a higher power than be that power myself. I'd rather work in supportive, less glamourous and less prominent positions, like assistants, logistical coordinators, wedding planners or second shooters. Even being student council president in the 8th grade meant a lot of dirty work that often went unnoticed. But I never minded. The work got done and I knew I had a part in it and, truly, how could that not be enough for me? There is absolutely no shame in playing these roles, and frankly I don't just NOT mind it - I rather enjoy it. The trouble comes, however, when I need more for and from myself and sitting and working in the background where no one sees me can be a problem...a big one.

How did I expect to make a living as a writer if I refuse to show people work I've spent a lot of time and careful thought writing because I'm afraid I'll be told how awful I am instead of being hungry for the guidance I so wish I had? How does someone like me, who has never taken a photography class, call herself an aspiring photographer when I see another photographer's images and mentally punish myself for not being that good instead of getting out there and searching for help?

Though I've been on the receiving end of generous accolades, I've also been the one who often thinks she doesn't deserve it. In the process of growing up in a humble household, I've mistaken humility for self-deprecation and they are, in fact, not even close to being the same thing.

I'm not cutthroat at anything, I tell myself. I'm not a vicious social climber who'd sell her soul to the devil to be the best at something. Live like the nice girl, I remind myself. Live life straight, no shortcuts, no over the top gimmicks, etc. And while that seems to be a good plan, I also don't want the fate of the "nice girl." If at all possible, I'd rather not finish last.

Thursday, September 01, 2011