Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My roommates obsession

So my roommate has an obsession.

Actually, several obsessions.

She's a total geek, nerd, dork, whatever you wanna say, and she's freakin' AWESOME.

She's also obsessed with My Little Pony... or she's a Brony (her words, not mine)

But, that's actually just a hilarious obsession, she cracks me up, I love it. 

So that's not the subject of this post. It's her other obsession (I mean, there's more...but...yeah).

My roommate eats ice cubes. All. of. the. time.

I'm serious, she goes through like 4 trays a day. Half the time I'm sitting on the couch working on homework, she is too, chomping on those ice cubes like carrots or chips. At first I kept wanting to ask what she was eating, before I remembered the ice cubes.

There's a whole science to it too. They're only half frozen when she eats them, cause fully frozen is bad for your teeth. The water actually freezes faster if its hot when you put it in the freezer.

When we first emailed each other before meeting I asked her if there was anything she thought we should get for the apt...and the only thing she mentioned was ice cube trays. So naturally I thought there weren't any ice cube trays in our apt. But when I arrived I found there were already two trays, in addition to the three I bought. I was worried that we would have no use for all of them.

Boy was I wrong. I'm so glad we have FIVE trays. One is for drinks and stuff, the others she rotates through.

I have the best roommate.

live. laugh. photograph.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sleeping in College

So today, for what feels like the third or fourth time this week, I woke up on my couch. 

I think this is becoming a problem.

I have often been finding myself up late, either doing homework on productive days, or watching endless episodes of tv series on dysfunctional days, and will wake up curled up on the couch, my laptop pushed to the side, praying that my roommate (who wakes up pretty early) doesn't think I'm as much of a freak as I really am.

I mean, it's not like I'm not trying to set myself a schedule. The goal is to sleep nine hours every night, and thanks to later classes, that means I can still stay up pretty late. 

But it's so ridiculously hard to get myself to sleep at a regular time...is that crazy? Is that just part of the whole new-to-college process, or am I just really weird cause 75% of the time my roommate finds me on the couch when she wakes up in the morning?

And to alleviate the bizarreness of this post, here's a picture of the Brigham Young Statue wrapped in plastic wrap.

Live. Laugh. Photograph.

Note: Update on the Job Interview... Unfortunately I didn't get the job I interviewed for. I thought it went really well, and he told me that I was his second choice...oh well...cross my fingers that come April or Aug when he has another opening he'll hire me! :D

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Camera Hungry

I'm camera hungry like newlyweds get baby hungry.

I've been without a camera for nearly two months now. My wonderful Nikon D3000....

Please note that some of these photos were taken with my phone.

....died whilst taking these photos of the Niagara falls....
Like this one...my phone is awesome :)

You see, it got a little bit wetter than I expected...

At the crow's nest at the base of the falls... My sister and her friend are standing there in front as we get pummeled by water.

...and despite by creative attempts to protect it...
I got soaked, but I tied my poncho around me, keeping my purse dry and I put my camera in the poncho hood...it still didn't work. And please, excuse my ugliness in this picture... I'm not very photogenic.

...it stopped working shortly after we left. :(

I tried to fix it! I put it in a huge thing of rice for a few days, as well as the lens I had been using, and while my lens was pretty lucky, and it still functioned, the camera did not.

Note: funny thing about the lens... it was already acting a little funky because I got sand in it, so the auto-focus was making weird screechy noises, but I usually just use manual, so I didn't do anything about it. But when I put it in the rice, it got rice inside! BUT STILL WORKED OKAY! It's the Nokia (indestructible cell phone) of lenses!

So I took it to my beloved B&H and managed to sell it as well as two lenses, one of which had rice in it (55-200mm f/4-5.6), and the other (50mm f/1.8) because I got a newer (and better!) one for christmas (50mm f/1.4!) and I have like two of the exact same lens for my film cameras.

I was surprised they paid me for it, since the camera didn't work and one of the lenses had rice in it (so maybe I didn't mention that... but hey, it still worked ok!)

So for what originally cost a little less than $1000 I sold for $165...but hey, that's pretty good considering the circumstances, there was no way I would get that much if I tried to sell it online. So thank you B&H for accepting broken cameras for parts! WHOOT!

So here comes the actual reason for this post.

For the last two years of high school, I was on the yearbook photography staff... and was even photography editor! And my yearbook advisor has a phenomenal set of camera equipment to use for yearbook. (A Nikon D700, D300s, D300, two D7000's and a TON of great lenses)

So naturally, I borrowed stuff all of the time. My personal favorites became the D7000, the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and the 50mm f/1.4 lens. (I mean I liked the bigger cameras, don't get me wrong...but he wouldn't lend me the D700 to take out of school, and I liked the D7000 waayyy better than the D300's.)

I also loved to pull out his fish-eye every once and a while, and totally fell in love with his 14-24mm wide-angle (a $2000 dollar lens!).

But I quickly realized that I wouldn't have access to this equipment when I graduated, and decided that when I did go to college I'd need an upgrade anyway (BFA Photography program... I needed something a little more than a entry level DSLR you see.)

So I set my sights on these babies...

The Nikon D7000, the 18-200mm and 50mm f/1.4 lens, because that's what I got really comfortable with at school, what I used the most, and what I really loved. I had no concerns about wether I would like it or not, because I already had two years of experience using it! SO AWESOME!

I was fortunate to have AMAZING PARENTS, and my clever mother hacked (yes, not kidding, hacked... to certain people, my usernames and passwords are VERY easy to guess... so my mother and best friend will never have any issues logging into whatever I have and looking at it, because they know exactly what I would use for a username or password...and no, they aren't all the same, they're just that good.) into my B&H account and picked out one of the lenses on my wishlist to give me for christmas. So I already have the 50mm f/1.4, and it's AMAZING!!! :D

Mother, if you read this... have I remembered to say thank you for that this month? If not, THANK YOU!

I'm not being rather straightforward...I hope you don't mind...but I like to tell the WHOLE story (or most of it... just be glad I didn't start with my D40...wow! it's a doozy!)

So after drooling over this equipment for a year, and borrowing it nearly every other weekend from yearbook, I finally graduated, and knew that FINALLY, I would get my own!

Now here's the catch. I guess you could say that I'm an expensive child. Nah, there's no guessing, I'm an EXPENSIVE child. So between my drooling over this nearly $2000 worth of equipment and a nearly $2000 laptop (which I now have... her name is Athena, and we're best friends), plus all of the expensiveness of the beginning of college, my parents were not promising me anything any time soon. Other than that they would work at it, and eventually it would come... I would just need to be patient, helpful, and budget, budget, budget.

Except I'm not so good with the patient part. Or the budget. Bleh.

But thanks to BYU being ridiculously inexpensive, and the amazingness of student loans, we got the laptop, and we're just waiting to get the camera stuff when the excess loan stuff comes to us.

This is where I get sad... thanks to BYU financial services mix up, they decided to send the check for my mother to her old PO Box from when she was here at BYU nearly 26 YEARS AGO! WHAT?!?!?!

Thankfully I caught it in time, and went to the post office, where they said they were going to send it back because the PO Box didn't exist any more (no duh!). Instead they gave it to me, and since I had to send some other stuff home too, I sent it in a package to my parents a couple of weeks ago.

It still hasn't shown up. Gulp.

So now I have no one to blame for but myself. :( I sent it in a USPS flat rate box, and I'm warning you now, if you need tracking, NEVER SEND IT THAT WAY! Because flat rate boxes don't have tracking! UGH! Also, I sent it to my home address, instead of the PO Box our family has at the UPS store up the street. Had I sent it there, someone would have collected it for us, and we wouldn't have to worry about wether the delivery person tried to deliver, and was just stupid and never left us a note, or if it got lost somewhere along the way. 

So now I must wait. I must wait and try not to explode because I just want to take pictures. 

So if you stuck with me throughout the entirety of this post, I congratulate you, you probably think I'm a total spoiled brat right now...and I'm inclined to agree with you. It helps when I remember that I'm so so so so so fortunate to have what I do have, and that there are millions of people out there that would love to get to live the life I have. Because I really do live such a privileged life, so I count my blessings and remember that what I want is not anywhere as important as what I need.

My parents told me often that they would try to pay for these things that I wanted so desperately, and they knew that if I were to try and save up, it would take much longer and make me extremely frustrated (and trust me, that's what I tried to do for so long, I tried to save up...but it wasn't gonna happen within a reasonable amount of time). But while they wanted to help me, and to make me happy, they had to prioritize. They needed to make sure that their bills were paid, that they had money for food, clothes and everything they would need. Plus they wanted to put money forward first for my college education, for my housing, food, and clothing, because those would be the basics I needed.

But I did have good reasons for wanting these things. I didn't have a laptop, and had only been using my computer at home for homework. I would need a laptop by the time I started classes, because everything for school is online. While I wanted a rather fancy and expensive laptop for my photography, for school I only needed the basics, so my parents told me they would get me something inexpensive if they had to.

The camera and other equipment is also for good reason. Photography is not just a hobby, but a passion, an integral part of my education, and (hopefully) eventual career. I would need the camera for classes, for possible jobs and to help me grow as an independent individual living on my own for the first time.

So I don't wallow in self-pity because I don't have everything I want. I remember to be grateful for everything I have, everyday, I'm just not good at expressing it.

So here's to our blessings. To being patient, helpful, and to a good budget. I'm so blessed, and so grateful for everything I have. For my educational opportunities, for my excessive amount of stuff, and for the most amazing parents in the world, who are willing to pay for their extremely expensive child, even though they don't have to.

So remember to count your blessings, and as always, Live, Laugh, Photograph (even when you don't have a camera)

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 11th

For the first time ever, I will not be home in my beloved city on the anniversary of September 11th.

Tomorrow is going to be hard. 

I mean, I really struggle every year on this day, remembering, and trying to honor the tragedy that struck my home that day. Over the years I've come to realize how blessed and fortunate and LUCKY my own family was on that day, something that I will forever be grateful for. But the memories of what the city was like in the aftermath of this event is an ever humbling experience, and something that I've come to realize is very, very difficult for one to understand unless they were actually there. 

I was 7, and in the 1st Grade. Many may say that I was too young to have been really strongly affected, to have really understood the gravity of that day until I was much older. To a certain extent they would be right. My parents and my older brother were all much older, and have much stronger feelings than I do. On the other hand, my sister, who wasn't even born until two years later, struggles to connect to the emotions that we feel every Sept 11th.

I remember clearly being in school, and when another teacher came into the room to share the news with my teacher, I overheard the statement "The twin towers have fallen." At the time I didn't know what this meant, but I pictured a lego or block structure that had been knocked down like I would do sometimes when playing, and I never imagined that anyone was hurt. I knew of the towers, and had seen them many times. I just didn't connect the two on that day, and so, in a total little-kid-me nature, I spread it around the classroom, thinking that it was some sort of funny joke.

I also overheard the teacher saying that parents would be coming to pick up students at anytime, that she just had to confirm that they were the right people and then to let them go, because nobody wanted to be separated from their family. I also clearly remember thinking "Yes! We'll get out of school early!"

My amazing teacher (bless her, she really did an amazing job) kept the day going as usual, not mentioning anything of the tragedy or showing any sign of stress. Some students were indeed picked up early, and I grew more jealous because my parents hadn't come. I figured that my mom was doing the "smart" thing and making me stay for the whole day (she never wanted me to have any fun). That jealousy turned into panic as the school day ended and my parents still hadn't arrived. 

Now here's where I'm a little fuzzy on the details. I can't remember if a friend picked me up or not, but I do remember feeling very upset at my mother because she had taken so long to come and get me. And a little bit of panic, because I could sense that things were really off, and that the adults around me were scared. Only later did I learn that she had left home before noon, and it had taken her something like six hours to get from 181st street to 92nd. She had to take several buses, trains, cabs, and then walk around blocked off areas, something that I know had to have been difficult, as she saw firsthand the impact this had on the streets.

On a bus on our way home, I once again proved my childish nature by pointing to some very dusty and depressed looking passengers on the bus and telling my mother "look mom, those guys really need a bath, look how dirty they are!" 

Little did I understand where they were coming from or why they were so dusty.

Upon our return home, my parents allowed my brother and I to see the video footage on television for a few minutes, so that we could understand what was going on (I feel that this was more for me than my brother), then proceded to turn the tv off for the next couple of days. They made the wisest decision any parent should make in that situation. They limited what we saw and heard so that we weren't traumatized by the information, because the details they were showing on television was definitely something that would give even an adult nightmares, not to mention a 7 year old.

As the days went on my understanding of this catastrophe deepened, but thankfully not enough that I couldn't handle it. I began to understand and respect the victims, and I found myself hoping that the cheery smiling faces of the people on the missing persons signs would come home. 

Upon our return to school our teacher sat us down and told us that we could ask her any questions regarding the event, if we hadn't heard anything from our families (again, what a wise teacher.) And of course, the first question was to ask where one of the students was. Everyone was well aware that he hadn't been picked up until very very late, and he was the only one absent. We then found out something that broke my heart a million times over. That little boy (I don't remember his name, but I do have a picture of his face in my head that will never go away) had the worst happen to him. He sat there in school, only understanding so much of what was happening, watching all of his friends go home, until he was the only one left, waiting, waiting, waiting for his parents to come for him.

Only they never did. 

He was finally picked up by an aunt or uncle, as our teacher informed us, and would be moving away to live with family who could take care of him. 

I remember that feeling of panic that crossed the pit of my stomach when I would see the look on an adult's face that told me how scared they were. It was something I wasn't used to seeing and it made me crave my parent's safe presence. I can't imagine for one second what that must have felt like, to have been sitting there for hours, shuffled around by adults, hoping and praying that your parents would come soon, so you could be safe again, because nobody felt safe, and every child in that school could tell.

Our class cried for him, we wept and we prayed, everyone in their own individual way. My teacher asked us to remember him, and to remember how the attacks had affected people, and to remember how much it hurt our city.

I will never forget how much my home was hurt on that day. Never.

As I've grown up I've heard other stories, and learned more about the event that had made me weep and has made me count my blessings.

My father worked a few blocks away from the WTC, and had he gone into work that day on time, he would have been walking out of the train station the moment the attacks hit. He had been up late helping my brother with a project the night before, so he slept in. We are so lucky.

But when my father did go back to work, the dust that stayed in the sky for months gave him a perpetual cough, that my mother said must have lasted a year. 

The company he worked for tanked less than a year later. They went bankrupt because the economy took a hit after the attacks.

I heard stories of people I knew who spent hours trying to get home, or trying to get kids in schools or trying to get to the WTC, hoping and praying that friends or family could be found. 

My parents bought my brother a cell phone two days later. He was 13. 

My Stake President has told a story many times of his experiences after the attacks. He talked about being on a bus, a few days later, and seeing everyone sitting, looking exhausted, sad, and worried. He saw that there was an immense kindess that took hold of those in the city. That anyone, complete strangers, would stop and try to hold someone up throughout those days afterwards. That in a city of so many, where for so long so many were alone, suddenly everyone was looking around, willing to ease someone else's burden if they could. 

The September 11 attacks didn't just impact the victims and their families. It impacted a whole city. One of the best and biggest cities in the world. It impacted my home. 

I felt the fear. I felt the grief. I felt the pain. I felt the horror. I felt the loss that NYC has a whole felt. I mourned with my home, and even now, when I'm 3,000 miles away, I mourn for my home.

The hardest part for me now is what it has been turned into. Now it's a political debate. A reason for war. A reason for revenge. Its turned into racism, bias and hatred for a people who are of no fault. It has been a cause for contention among the very same people who were apart of the country that was targeted. 

So how can something like this manage to be so unifying, yet so contentious at the same time?
Why do we argue about it? Why do we need to rehash out the details every year? Why should we fight for revenge when we can forgive, then pray for a better world? Why didn't this compel us to do good? Why didn't this make our nation want to provide an example of forgiveness, of service, of love? 

So here's to hope. Hope that one day we can be that example. That one day the contention will end. That no generation will ever have to feel this pain and grief ever again.

The American Flag attached to the Maid of the Mist boats that go to the bottom of the Niagara Falls.

I apologize for the seriousness and somewhat depressing aspect of this post. I just needed to get it out. I hope that I haven't offended anyone in anyway or shown any disrespect whatsoever.

I do hope that any of you who wish, will honor and respect the victims of 9/11 by listening to WNYC tomorrow as they read off the names of all of the deceased.
Thank you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Job Interview

Tomorrow I have my first job interview. Ever. 
I'm excited. A little nervous. And totally freaking out.

What do I say? Am I good enough? PLEASE PLEASE give me this job?

I guess I should tell you what this job is for... The guy who photographs for BYU Magazine is looking for a photography assistant. 

Basically, it's my last chance to get an on-campus photography-related job. I'm praying that I get it.

I mean, I take good pictures right? I mean, I'm not Annie Leibovitz or anything... But I think I'm pretty good for a College Freshman.

The problem is that today anybody can pick up a DSLR and think they're a photographer, one who can take good pictures without trying too hard. Geez that bothers me. It takes more work than that! Photographers should get more respect dangit!

This is the end of my somewhat small rant, seeing as I have class to get to. Toodaloo! Enjoy more adorable baby pictures!

Live, Laugh, Photograph.