I'm sure I'll figure something out with this, but for now, I have to take it off my plate. It's pushing too many of my depression/anxiety buttons.
Another accident, sorta. I was trying to get detail of the hair and crown and the Mouse just stayed in character.
I had a shred of light left from Golden Hour when I shot this and it shows. I have cropped and done some burning, along with the usual color correcting that I like, but other than that, that's it.
This one is going in a frame and going over my desk. I think it's the best photo I've taken of her in years. The Husband's comment was, "Ooo, yeah. That's Arya Stark."
* * *
Continuing catch up...
Along with the relapse of really bad depression, I also caught both a horrid cold AND an ear infection. No, I don't know how I managed it either, other than the fact that depression literally depresses your immune system. I'd just never experienced it before. Holy fuck, that SUCKED. And dude, I haven't had an ear infection since I was a child. I will not regale you with TMI of what I had to do to get over it and clear that eustachion tube, but fuck sticks, that was awful.
The rest of the time, I just felt in limbo.
Never mind that September the 27th rolled around, the day that my Uncle-in-Law, Albert "Bud" Wheelon died, two years ago and some change. It hurt this year more than last. I'm hoping that someday others will illuminate his legacy as things de-classify. Maybe it will be me. I don't know. I just know that he shouldn't be forgotten by history or America. I don't want to see him suffer a Hamilton, and get forgotten for two hundred years. It's not every day that you find out that you are related by marriage to the first Mayor of Area 51.
Then October hit. My birthday month. And then the long slide into the holidays. This year flew by. They keep doing that. But whatever. I keep working. I keep writing. I keep making cards.
During all of that, my self-talk was pretty poisonous. Sub thoughts rolling around in my head about how I was nothing and haven’t amounted to anything in my life. How everyone I know is more successful than me and doing more than me.
Which is bullshit.
And then I started to improve healthwise. I had moments of feeling moderately happy and content, even if the poison thoughts ran in the background. I got my skull rivets back, (someone had walked off with them) so I went back to work pounding rivets on the Magician's belt and corset.
I was working.
But I was fighting myself every Gods-be-damned inch of the way.
Considering how I threw every obstacle I could think of in my own path to sabotage this shoot and this process, (no, really, I fucking was and it was fucking stupid, but somethimes you have to be stupid) it was a miracle that I got THIS shot, never mind the one that followed.
Saturday's shoot was the perfect example of what happens when I finally get the fuck out of the way of the work and just do the fucking work.Hopefully this time it'll stick. Cause it's not the first fucking time I've had this damn revelation.
But more on the shoot later...
* * *
And I begin to catch you up...
I had a relapse. That's why I had not been blogging or talking as much and pretty much reduced to retweeting memes. Crushing depression, I had gotten to that stage of work with the Sutro Bath shoot where I just wanted to quit, because I hated everything. Ditto for the Apocalyptica and I'd only gotten one card in the bag. What the hell. Talk about resistance. (I will be finishing up Sutro now, but it's on the back burner.)
So I put my head down and I kept swinging and I kept working, but it felt like I am and was going so so so slow. Slow is better than not at all. It’s better than a lot of people ever manage. So why couldn't I just chill and do the work?
Because I was depressed and felt like shit and that was the hardest thing to do right then.
And really, if it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.
So I just sat with how I felt. It is and was okay to feel like shit. Nowhere does it say that I have to feel great all the time and nowhere does it say that I have to perform happiness or wellness for anyone.
So it really fucking sucked to go through, but the jewel I found in the dark was worth it. I did say that this Apocalyptica was a journey of recovery. I just wish I knew a little more ahead of time when I'm fortelling, know what I'm sayin'?
And a lot of briefing/bringing y’all up to speed, because boy howdy, a LOT has been going on. In fact, I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll just start in the middle and work my way out.
First off, the campaign for the fourth card, the Imperatrix, is now live! You can find it here:
We’re already at 42% funding, which blows my mind and humbles me.
So, the Major Arcana continue to drive ahead, shredding the track. The Magician is days away from shooting. Here, have a peek at some stuff:
The High Priestess has already acreted a fair amount of fabric and props. I’m hoping that once I get the Magician in the can, the High Priestess will (prop and costume wise) come together quickly.
Because we hit a bit of a snag. The location that I chose initially for the High Priestess in NoCal…won’t work. It’s surrounded by a fence and a jog to get out to it. Unlike the Magician or the Fool, there’s an actual set piece that needs to travel to the site. The same is true of the next two cards, the Imperatrix and the Imperator.
So. I’ve had to rethink a few things. In a perfect world, I’d be able to get cast, crew, and set out to the locations that I want with no problems. Except I’m not Annie Liebowitz, Mark Milller, or Ridley Scott and with the attendant budgets that go with them.
So my current plan is thus: me and my camera have already begun to go out to the locations on my list and started shooting ALL of the master plates NOW that I will need at the exact time of day and place that I want. It only costs gas and me. And the occasional scramble over obstacles. And falling on my ass.
But I digress.
tl;dr: I’m accelerating the shooting of the master plates/backgrounds and discovered some good news in the process. As of today, I’ve shot the Echo Park Secret Swing, the old abandoned Los Angeles Zoo–seriously cool!–two different art deco underpasses, one in Pasadena and one over the LA River. Next, I’ll be heading out to Murphy’s Ranch, aka Hitler’s Bunker.
No. That’s not a mistype.
Then I need to rebalance the next locations I want, because every one after those is further out. Most likely, the Edwards AFB Boneyard will be next, then the Victoria/Laguna Beach tower, and the ship wreck trail.
In between all of these shooting loops, I will build all the sets that I need, until Cristi and others are available, which won’t be till October at the earliest. Then I rent a green screen studio, put model and set in front of a green screen and go to town. In fact, if I play my cards right, I’ll be able to shoot all damn day, rotating models and sets. For the NoCal models, I can have them all meet me in one location. Ditto, the SoCal models.
There’s actually a lot of upside to this. My producer-husband happens to do exactly this sort of work (it literally pays our rent) and knows how to talk to green screen lighting grips. I’ll have total control of the entire environment. It’ll also bring up the comfort level for the models. Instead of sweating their ass off in the desert, they will be in a climate controlled location with showers and bathrooms and kitchens. And down here in La La Land, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting three green screen studios. Competition is fierce and the cost is really low, compared to dragging everyone and everything out to a location.
As long as I match light and color temp… Well, I think I might dare you to spot the difference.
I have the time. I just have to build and shoot as much as I freaking can. And like most things in my life, this may be a felix culpa. I seem to always land on my feet in a better situation when things go south like this.
Ooo! Also, once again, my primary model for the Imperatrix said YES! WOO! Two for two!
* * *
In the meantime, my jaw started aching like you would not believe last night, y’know, night before launch. I couldn’t tell if it was my teeth that were hurting and it was referring or if it were the ear and Eustachian tube that was giving me shit. It was the ear. It’s much better as of this evening, but gods, it fucking sucks. I got sick near the end for the High Priestess too.
Oh, and there is nothing worse than feeling an ear drain. GAH. It’s not painful. It just feels fucking gross.
And that’s it for the fish report with a beat! *random Roger Waters reference* I apologize for the novel, but I wanted to let everyone know what I’ve been up to while being relatively quiet here and elsewhere. I’ve been building and sewing and driving and shooting and… I’m a wee bit tired.
But I’m happy. Happier than I’ve been in a long long time. It feels good.
Apparently I was just unconsciously shooting book covers for an epic fantasy series…
I’m not complaining!
There’s nothing about this one that I don’t love. NOM.
* * *
I woke up okay, but the anxiety is trying to amp up to panic, so I’m breathing and doing the exercises first, before I go and take my Klonopin.
School starts tomorrow. As a result, I am taking the Bean out to get new shoes. Shockingly, the shoes the Mouse currently has are fine and she loves them. One less thing.
* * *
Trying to figure out how much I can do in a day is really frustrating me. I just have no sense of what my endurance or recovery time is. I know I need to exercise more, but everything is a choice. I can exercise and not work on the Apocalyptica. I can exercise or not take care of my girls the way that they need. I can’t give up on my health, because it is directly related to my sanity.
So. I’ve got to figure that out. Which is okay. Everything is solvable.
In the meantime, I need to get the rest of the Sutro photos processed so I can to strip the establishing shots I took over the weekend into the computer, so I can get them prepped. And everything is taking five times longer than I want it to and then I stop…
It takes as long as it takes.
And who knows? Hiking out to all these locations should get me in good shape. Climbing too. I’ll just let my body do what it needs to do. A breathing body is a perfect body.
Screwing around with effects here.
* * *
Party was a swimming success as far as I can tell. The Mouse loved it and had a ton of fun with her friends. There was much grilling and drinks even if the weather was 102′. We stayed in the shade, unlike the younger set, with the outdoor fan and correct application of chilled beverages kept it pleasant. I also got to smoke two cigars with friends, which I haven’t done in far too long.
I had planned on taking the girls to get shoes for school, but again, I have forgotten how I do not have the resilience I once had. I just managed to make a simple dinner, and that was work for me. As a result, today is a rest day. Bless the Ant. The only reason my garden isn’t dead is she went out and got everything watered in defense against the heat.
If I had any complaint about today, it would be the fact that I’m exhausted and moving slow. My creative brain has a ton of new stuff in it from conversations had with friends yesterday and I itch to work. But. Not enough spoons.
So I’m making notes and breathing. If it’s meant to get made, it’ll be there tomorrow.
Hope your weekend was equally wonderful.
This one is going to be an eventual bookmark/business card. Exquisite, isn’t she?
* * *
So I am the parent of a 12-year-old, officially and everything. Lordy. It does not remotely feel like twelve years and change have gone by. I mean, clearly they have, but damn. It seemed so slow at the beginning and now, the time flies.
I’m also back on school year hours which starts my day at 0630. Honestly, it feels good to be back on the morning shift. While it is true that I am a night owl, the mornings are the only time I get to myself and have any semblance of silence. The rest of the time, it’s just wall to wall noise.
My Hello Kitty metal water bottle achieved lack of containment, which is a tiny loss, but I really liked it. I didn’t know they could fail like that. Live and learn.
Yesterday was a rest day. I realized I hadn’t taken one in over a week and have been going non-stop again, so, I made rest happen.
In other news, completed the chaotic giant rock task that’s been dominating my week this morning, and on my way back from Arcadia (don’t ask), I was able to detour to the Colorado Street Bridge and get some establishing shot plates for the Apocalyptica. Also realized I was wearing the wrong damn shoes for hiking (flip flops). So, going to make a point of kitting out Moneypenny with a basic hike pack to live in the car, since this is basically the way I’m doing things. Go to place A, detour to shoot location on way back, lather, rinse, repeat.
Oh, and I really have to go dumpster diving sooner than later. I need to build a stage, a throne, and a royalish divan type object, so that means taking people’s left on the street furniture, and stripping them to their frames. Reupholstering really isn’t that hard and again, see the backlog of fabric in the Garage of Doom. And pallets can be had for nothing if I cruise the neighborhood. Lot of construction going on right now.
And that’s me. How are you?
No, we didn’t get arrested for having weapons. I have no idea how I managed it either, so don’t ask. LOL
* * *
TODAY IS THE MOUSE’S BIRTHDAY. THE POPULACE WILL MAKE MERRY UNDER PAIN OF DEATH. YES.
The Birthday Girl has asked for a session at the Salon of Mom and materials will be arriving soon for Cake of Awesomeness (delivery is my life saver).
*gets momentarily serious and maudlin*
I cannot remotely describe my eldest daughter adequately. She’s growing to be easily taller than me at this rate. She has a dancer’s grace and the steel strength that goes with it. She’s silly and sings ridiculous songs when I’m having a bad day. She’s maddening as hell and argues with me over any injustice in her mind, no matter how slight. She’s smart, goes without saying, but, the thing that I’m proudest of?
Not all the time. She is a child still. But she tries. And she stands up for her friends and for herself and is not afraid to speak out against the things that she feels are wrong.
I don’t know how we got so lucky. She’s amazing. I helped make her. But the making of her now is starting to be more of her own choosing, and she is choosing far more wisely than I ever did. I mean it’s not all great. She appears to have inherited my predilection to anxiety and has an unusual variant of ADHD, but she’s learning how to turn them into strengths, not weaknesses.
And this year, the Perseid meteor shower that heralds her birth every year appears to be even more spectacular than usual. I blame her grandfather for that one. He likes to show off.
I have no idea what she will become. I just know it will be glorious. Even if that means becoming a beach bum. Because if she chooses that, she will be the greatest beach bum the world has ever seen. Or not. Doesn’t matter. Whatever she chooses, she appears to be choosing to be uniquely herself.
It’s fucking awesome.
I am so lucky in my friends and models. Such beautiful ladies, as Baron Munchausen would say…
* * *
The day today was an exercise in controlling the urge to scream. Mostly in frustration. As a result, my garden has been seriously weeded.
Actually, that’s a pretty awesome and positive outcome and a correct application of that feeling. Huh. Go me. Amazing what meds and therapy will do for you.
Oh, and my arms are tired. Some of the weeds required serious digging out. *shakes fist at whatever that thing is with the giant tap root that isn’t a dandelion)