Showing posts with label video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video. Show all posts

some small attempt

Many thanks to those of you that have sent messages of condolences about Chaucer.

It's been three months and I still don't really know how to talk about him. What he meant to me and the ways in which he truly saved my life. I originally had this idea that I would create something about him, write a story or make a video or something--anything that would get all of my feelings funneled into one place so that I could let go and move on.

But I know now that's impossible. I'll always have more to say and think and feel about him.

The visuals have been the hardest; it took me ages to sit down and attempt even this short video. And it could have been an hour long, easily. But it's something. Some small attempt at cathartic expression.

I can't tell you how much it has meant to me to share his funny, sweet, goofy, amazingly loving self with you, all these years. Thank you.

a potential cure for jealousy

I've fangirled for The School of Life before, and I'm sure I'll do it again. I don't think the importance of emotional intelligence, humility, and self-awareness (all of which SOL triumphs), can be overstated. And this video about flirting is a surprising new favorite.

Historically speaking, I've been a terribly jealous partner. In 99/100 cases (how sad to think there could have been that many!), the jealousy had less to do with feeling genuinely threatened by an interloper than with facing my own insecurities; I am nothing if not well-versed in and thoroughly convinced of my inadequacies.

Watching a partner get chatted up by someone (that I perceive as) more accomplished, more successful, more this or more that - has always been an exquisite form of torture. He likes her more than me. He relates to her more than me. They have more in common. I'm not worthy, and she's helping to make that clear to him. 

Lovely, I know.

Anyway, this video takes the concept of flirting and makes something really sweet out of it.

I love the idea of a "redistribution" of confidence. I love the idea of my boyfriend - of anyone I care about - getting a harmless dose of it. Feeling just a bit more handsome, or walking just a bit taller after a throwaway conversation with a member of the opposite sex.

It's almost comical how quickly this philosophy of flirting dissolved at least one gnarly arm of my own green eyed monster.

DOG, by Nat Johnson

Well, I found it. A video about a dog that slays me even harder than Denali. I've got a bit of the ol' serotonin depletion today, so this was just what I needed to push me over the edge into a full-on cathartic cry.

Naturally I wanted to inflict similar suffering on the one person I know who loves his dog as much as I love Chaucer: Cameron. But he got his vengeance, oh boy. He sent me back a video of him and his Rhodeagle mix Bailey--both of whom I miss achingly--watching the video.

Good luck, dog lovers!

(via Brain Pickings)

labor of love

Something different today. Something I had intended to share earlier this year, thought under different circumstances. But things don't always work out the way we intend or hope. And that's okay. And I'm still very proud of what I created, even if it didn't pan out as a profitable enterprise.

Remember when I spoke about a business I was starting? Well, I had what I thought was a fantastic idea. And I still do think it's pretty cool. But there are just too many variables to make it feasible. And so after many months of frustration, of trying to hack my way through those variables, I had to admit it isn't going to happen. Not in its current iteration anyway.

First, some background.

A couple of years ago, inspired by flat-lay collages I saw online, I decided to compile outfits of my own. Over the course of a couple of Red Bull-and-EDM fueled days, I pulled all the clothing out of my closet and arranged it in neat groupings that I photographed on my desk. Nothing revelatory, I know. Lots of people do that, particularly fashion bloggers. But after I'd uploaded all the pics to my phone, I showed a couple of girlfriends, and they both responded the same way: "Awesome. I wish someone would do that for me."

Both of these women are working professionals, and neither would have the time (and maybe not the patience) to do this for themselves. And when one of them said, "Seriously, you could charge people for a service like that," I had the exact same (admittedly dim, because I never think any of my efforts are really all that great) sort of lightbulb moment as I had when someone said I could charge people to redesign their blogs (resulting in Rainy Day Templates). Hmmm. I wonder...

And that's how Trove was born.

Sort of.

Trove wasn't actually born until a couple years later, because I shelved the idea for a very long time before dusting it off to really examine it again. The reason I pulled down off the shelf? Stylebook. If you've never heard of it, Stylebook is an app for visually cataloging your clothing, and easily compiling it into outfits. It's absolutely fantastic and super useful...once you get past the incredibly tiresome task of photographing every. single. item. of. clothing. you. own.

When I discovered Stylebook, I re-shot all of my garments separately. And holy hell was it tedious and time-consuming. But once it was done and I could use the app, it was amazing. So much fun. And I instantly saw that someone could make a business out of doing the grunt work, for professional women who had no inclination to do it for themselves, so that those women could then enjoy the fruits of all that grunt work. I thought about fashion bloggers and stylists, too. Even costume designers. I saw the market for it.

At that stage of the game, I still thought flat lay was the way to go. But that didn't last long. I realized after a few weeks of playing around that I wanted something that would look spectacular. Magazine-quality images. Something visually appealing and fun and interactive.

That's when mannequins came into the picture.

There's not much point in walking you through the process from there, because it's very easy to see where I was going. My idea was to inventory garments one by one styled on an actual mannequin for shape, and under professional lighting for accurate color representation. I would then edit the images to remove the mannequin completely, leaving a "ghosted out" garment. These images could then be used by clients in apps like Stylebook (because by then, other similar apps had emerged onto the market) to easily and quickly create outfits.

Only, it's not as simple as it sounds. Because women and their clothing? Come in lots of different sizes. And you can't put a size 0/2 top on a size 6/8 mannequin, without stretching it out. And here's a fact you might not know, because you haven't spent about a hundred hours in mannequin factories like I have--mannequins don't even come in size 0/2.

And there are a whole other host of insurmountable issues I'm eclipsing. Loads of problems related to dress forms (yep, tried those), mannequin shapes, lighting, the technological obstacles, and much more that I'm skipping over. Bottom line: it is all but impossible to do what I want do to, large scale. I'd need a ton of resources. I'd need a studio where I could have an army of different sized mannequins, plus bins and racks and tables for temporarily storing clothing. I'd need a small team of employees to help with the steaming, the dressing and undressing. If you've never fought to pull a pair of skinny jeans onto a rigid, lifeless mannequin--trust me, you never want to.

And this isn't even touching the subject of editing the images, which I planned to outsource, because OH MY GOD the tediousness of background removal, even with how powerful Photoshop is.

Oh yeah, and the problems of where, how, and how quickly to accomplish the inventory. Would you want some stranger coming in and packing up all of your clothing for a few days? Maybe if you saw how glorious the rewards were...but maybe not.

Also, and perhaps that which is most important: It became glaringly apparent throughout my efforts that I simply do not have the temperament or discipline to work for myself.

Anyway, that was my idea. I got as far as doing my own entire closet for sampling and exampling, and creating a pretty gorgeous website (if I do say so myself). You can see it for yourself here (I'm particularly proud of the copy, so if anything please read the "about" page), but here are a few screenshots, too:

The silver lining that came from this dead end, of course, is that my own wardrobe has been beautifully inventoried, and I can use the Stylebook app exactly how I'd envisioned others using it. And you guys, it is an absolute pleasure. The only way you can fully appreciate how it works is by watching me use it, so I just made this quick, super crappy video just to demonstrate (it keeps timing out here but you should be able to watch it on YouTube):

Again, when Trove still seemed like a viable business idea, I had every intention of making an amazing video that would showcase how cool it is. But yeah. No. Trove is not a viable business idea. Which is a bummer, not the least because it dovetails so well with minimalism and especially capsule wardrobing.

But that was (is) Trove. Defunct pursuit. Abandoned concept. Labor of love.

back to the lake

About that time. All packed up, ready to get on a plane tonight. Sweaters, flannels, jeans, a pair of boots the soles of which probably won't survive the trip. Running shoes, because I am an optimist. And a light parka, because I am a wimp.

There are a couple more posts about my last visit that I'll get around to sooner or later, but in the meantime, I made two short videos that probably give a better idea of where I'm headed than my babbling ever could.

The first is a snippet of Neighbor Woody's lake tour; the second a series of the "Lake TV" clips I recorded to send home every day. Lake TV is my answer to one of those fireplace videos. If you're having a stressful day, punch it up to full screen and just watch the water - I guarantee a decrease in blood pressure.

The timing on this is...well, let's just say all three of us could use a break from the current situation. Wish I could bring Chaucy with me but he'll be chilling at home with Terence this week. I'll see if I can't sneak a handful of leaves into my suitcase for him to crunch when I get home.

Have a great rest of your week, amigos. See some of you on the 'gram.


I first watched the video below this past Friday, in a resort in Las Vegas. I was sitting next to Mason, both of us trying to recover from the previous night's celebration (his birthday), when I got a push notification that a mutual friend of ours had just shared it on Twitter. This friend doesn't post much online, so when he does, I make a point of checking out whatever it is.

"Here, you have to watch this video with me. Steve just tweeted it. I read the description and I can tell it's gonna make me cry."

And it did. And afterward, as I snuffled and wiped my wet cheeks with a sweatshirt sleeve, Mason laughed. "Well if you had any serotonin at all left this morning, that certainly took care of it."

I just watched it once more, and I'll probably watch it again every time I'm feeling weepy and sentimental about Chaucer, which is a circumstance I find myself in a lot more often than post-partying recovery in Vegas. You certainly don't need to have dogs to be moved by this seven minute film, but if you do, hold on to your heart.

A few weeks ago, Chaucer had a limp when he got up in the morning. He walked it off pretty quickly, as he always does, but it unsettled me. I fretted about it to Terence and coddled Chaucer especially hard for the rest of the day. That evening Terence suggested we take Chauc for a super long walk, the kind of epic walk he hasn't been up to in several months.

"He can't," I said. "He's just getting too old. He can't do that kind of distance anymore. I'm scared that we'll get across town and he'll lay down and refuse to move. Then what?"

Terence disagreed. "He needs the exercise. His leg is probably freezing up because he's not getting as much as he used to." We asked Chaucer how he felt, and as soon as we said the "w" word his tail went nuts. So we grabbed his leash and the next thing we knew, we were walking further than we had with him in ages.

And then even further. And further. Chaucer just charged ahead, full of verve and not slowing down a bit despite some heavy panting. Soon we were at his old stomping grounds: City Hall and Grand Park. Places he hasn't been up to trekking to in a heartbreakingly long time.

"You know what this is, right?" Terence looked at me meaningfully. "He knows. He knows you're worried about him, and he wants to reassure you. He's proving to you that he's still strong, baby."

The more I insist I don't go in for magical thinking, the less convincing it sounds, I know. So I'll just stop there.

If there's anything better in this world than being loved by a dog, I've yet to find out what that is. Probably couldn't handle it if I did.

Year Two

Acknowledging that this blog occasionally devolves into The Ellie and Terence Show and recognizing how uninteresting the romantic lives of strangers can be, I'm nevertheless gonna hit you with another segment before you get a commercial break.

Terence and I turned two this past weekend. I told him that if we were canine, we'd no longer be a puppy. We'd be a full-fledged adult dog expected to mind our manners and not pee in the house. Neither he nor I had any idea where I was going with that metaphor, but there it is.

We celebrated our anniversary by doing our thing - going to a music festival, of course. In this case, an all-electronic music festival. The longest-running one in the country, in fact, and one also celebrating an anniversary: 20 years. I've wanted to go to Nocturnal Wonderland for a while now, and something about it having a milestone birthday made going at forty a little less intimidating. I figured there'd be a lot of veteran ravers and older peeps there to stoke the EDM fire (particularly since this year the festival was a full three days) - and I was right. And that was cool.

I wore leg wraps and fluffies, furry hoods and fishnets. Terence wore animal ears and tails, glow stuff and goofy glasses. We stashed our maturity in a rented locker and ran around a park in San Bernardino three nights in a row, only stopping for a few hours of sleep in between.

On Saturday night (well, 3am Sunday morning) we showered off the filth of the festival, cuddled up under overly-starched hotel sheets, and munched on single-serving boxes of Apple Jacks from the lobby. And when we were done he showed me a short video he'd made for our anniversary. And it's kinda ridiculous. I watched it four times in a row, crying despite the fact that I was still high as a kite. It's just about the sweetest goddamn thing ever, particularly since the reason he made it, he says, was to make me feel how the video I did last year made him feel.

He had very few clips with which to do this, because I rarely let him record video of me.* And even when he does, I refuse to watch it. (I almost always hate how I look and it freaks me out.) So I was seeing much of this for the first time. Seeing, in a way, how he sees me, for the first time. It's got some in-jokes and relationship memes the logic of which would crumble if I tried to explain them, but I don't think that matters. And with that I will stop contextualizing a two minute video and just let the E and T show play on.

And because you suffered through that, I will shortly reward you with the most mockery-inviting photos of me (leg wraps! fluffies! when will I grow up?!) you have ever seen.

I hope your holiday weekend had some celebrating in it, too, even something as simple as hotdogs and a day off.


* The zip line video isn't even his; that's footage from the GoPro of one of the zip tour guides, from my Georgia trip this summer (still haven't blogged about that day yet!).

grassy parks and crowded dance floors

There once was a girl who loved a boy who loved her back. And though there were some days on which he didn't seem to speak her language, she tried to remember that most days, he did. But on those days when no, he definitely did not, she thought about the other ways they could speak to one another - and the places they could go where words didn't matter so much.

birfday vidcard

Friend of mine has a birthday this weekend. He's a snapshot nut, and always makes these adorable little collages to send everyone on Sunday after we've been hanging out. So I made a video birthday card for him, and even though it's a bit esoteric with the injokes, I spend too much damn time on it not to share it. (The "snap to beats" function isn't available on the newest version of iMovie, so I had to use an old, glitch-ridden version. I swear I can keep a beat, the program is just a mess, hence the wonky timing of middle section.)

Happy weekend, warriors!

year one

A year ago tonight I went on a first date with someone who, every day since, has shown me more love, affection, support, sweetness, patience and understanding than I ever could have dreamed of finding in one person. Lucky doesn't even come close to describing how I feel. Lucky is just a shadow of my gratitude, which gets filled in to bursting every day with the laughter and light Terence has brought into my life - even when I forget to tell him, which is entirely too often.

I have much more to say to him privately, if I can get it out without blubbering into our anniversary dinner. But I don't think he'll mind my sharing something I made just now, to celebrate and commemorate the time we've spent together so far. It's basically a three minute explanation of where I am when I'm not around here. Personally I think it constitutes a pretty solid excuse, but I don't know. I could be under some kind of spell from staring at that damn dimple for the past hour and a half.

Thanks loads to everyone who's cheered us on this far. It's really nice to be able to share this milestone in a place where I haven't always had the happiest things to share.

Happy weekend, weirdos.

pit stop

I am never more aware of how self-absorbed a pursuit blogging is than when I return to it after a break, feeling compelled to account for my absence for a moment before remembering that really, Ellie, no1curr. The world continued to turn just fine without updates from my tiny, insignificant corner of it.

Still, by way of explanation for those of you who don't do the Instagram thing: I moved into a new apartment - with Terence. And it's been amazing and fun and overwhelming and challenging and great and scary and hilarious and all the things that the first two weeks of cohabitation usually is. And I haven't made time to blog, because of all the expected reasons. I mean, The Container Store isn't going to shop itself, amirite?

But I'm mostly settled in now, and feel like I have enough room in my brain to return to thrice-weekly blasts of ME ME ME from a brand-new location a few floors down in the same old building. I'll explain why I stayed so close in the next post, or the one after that. For now though I am just firing this off to ease back into things, and because truthfully I'm too weak and hungry to dig into anything more substantial, since I just ran three laps around the cornfield on nothing but a venti Machiatto and six (homemade, not very good) molasses cookies. Einstein here needs to make some real food.

In the meantime however, I have a fun/cute(?) Chaucer thing to share.

One day on a walk a few months ago, Ridiculips stopped dead on the sidewalk when he saw we were heading in the opposite direction of the park we usually visit. He wouldn't budge, no matter how much I pleaded with him, and just kept glancing the way that he clearly wanted to go. When I realized what was up, I took a testing step in the "right" direction. He immediately started walking again. It was so cute and smart of him that I had to laugh, and I went along with his wishes.

I created a monster that day.

Ever since then, he's been walking me. Ever since it dawned on him that if his 135 lbs don't want to go in a particular direction, his 135 lbs don't fucking have to, walks with Chaucer are Chaucer-directed, with zero allowances for change and deviation. It is Chaucer's world, and I'm just scooping poop in it.

With this new program, he's grown increasingly bold and curious and demanding. He was always a very inquisitive dog, peeking into corners and trotting down steps he'd never been down, looking for cats or just meandering for the fun of it - but now he's really loving life. And yesterday I taped a bit of our walk to show you what I mean. You can see him glancing down at a little section of grass he's taken to exploring, up by the John Ferraro Building. At first I'd go down with him, but now we've worked out a system where I unclip him, let him go do his thing solo for a minute, and then call him up before we continue on together.

We do this every. single. time.

It's ridiculous, and letting him call the shots is a truly terrible habit I need to curb ASAP, but I can't help loving that he's so smart and stubborn and full of personality. Oh and sorry for my ugly, grating voice, ugh.

And that's what I got today.


serenade in b

And if they were to ask why I insist on posting videos of you playing everywhere I can, all over the goddamn internet, this is what I would say to them. I'd say, Well, I'm sure by now you've gathered that he's a really sweet and loving and fun guy, but what you might not realize is that Terence is blind.

Terence is blind, and doesn't see his own talent. He doesn't get it. And I'm not talking about just humbly demurring or shrugging it off, when I ask with disbelief, after hearing him play some pretty tune, Wait, you wrote that?? I'm talking about a serious and extremely frustrating-to-witness lack of self-confidence, from someone who doesn't recognize his own potential. 

So guess what? You can go ahead and keep thinking that the music you make is nothing special, you can keep finding excuses or reasons not to accept how immensely talented and creative you are, and you can keep ignoring the fact that you're fucking good at something that comes so easy to you. In the meantime, I'll be over here continuing to be your biggest fan, and getting the beautiful things you write heard by as many people as I, here in my tiny little corner of the blogosphere, possibly can. 

Deal with it.

bedtime song

Last night:

Incidentally, he thinks being able to do this is no big deal whatsoever. Layering in each instrument one at a time, choosing the chords, and making the harmony up on the spot. It blows my mind, but to him? No big deal.

He also uses an app called iKaossilator for making techno. I'll post a clip of that on IG in a couple days, because it is so crazy cool to watch.

Happy hump day uh I mean Tuesday, you guys!

oversized air freshener

I put up an Instagram post derived from the vid below, but I wanted to redo it slower and sync the music differently so I could send the whole glorious 36 seconds to LeBoyf. It was super easy to make, using the VideoPix app (to slow it down, in this case to 15 frames/second, though the IG one is 18 fps) and the InstaVideo app (to add music, in this case The Christmas Song by The Raveonettes). Then I uploaded it straight to YouTube from my phone.

We (obviously) got a tree last night, an anemic little thing that looked more like an oversized air freshener sitting in the car than an actual holiday decoration BUT IT IS OURS and we carefully hung a handful of very lightweight ornaments on it (which will probably be smashed by Chaucer's tail anyway) while listening to records. Then we went for Thai food and came home and watched The Ricky Gervais Show projected on the wall above a happy (if hungry) looking tree, and it was good.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far, being cozy and content, and eating the hell out of some carbs. I've got the next coupla nights to myself so I'm planning on putting up some meaty posts, because I know I have been weaksauce lately.

in memoriam

I thought Chaucer had murdered her the other day, but Celia was one tough pinniped. She hung tenaciously on for another couple of weeks, past the point at which a weaker semi-aquatic, fin-footed soul would have given up.

I did what I could for her during those final days, discouraging Chaucer from further tearing what must have been a very painful rip down her tummy, and encouraging him to instead play with one of his less mortally-wounded toys.

But this morning, in the predawn hour, I could only watch helplessly make a YouTube video as the reaper collected his soggy, fluff-filled due (note: for some reason, the video quality is all wonky, and looks like it was filmed underwater - coincidence?? I THINK NOT):


RIP Celia the Seal (2012-2013)

Celia was a beautiful soul. Known to her close friends and family as "Ce", she was a common harbor seal originally hailing from the Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland. She often barked longingly of her days as a pup, frolicking in the chilly waters of the Northern Atlantic, and fleeing killer whales. Celia loved to swim (Chaucer often dropped her in the bathtub - usually when I was in it), to cook (her specialty was squid stuffed with minced anchovies), and to hide under the bed for days at a time.

A perpetual prankster, Celia often strategically placed herself underfoot in the middle of the night, typically in the pathway between my bed and the bathroom. Many's the time I erupted into delighted laughter as I stumbled over her drool-drenched body, nearly breaking my neck in the dark.

As Celia was a great fan of 19th century American poetry, I thought it would be fitting to do a reading of her favorite Emily Dickinson poem:

Because I could not swim to Death,
He kindly swam to me;
The ocean held but just ourselves
And sea anemones.

We slowly dove, he knew no haste
And I had put away
My blubber and my flippers too,
For his civility.

We passed the pool where sperm whales sprayed,
Their blowholes scarcely dry;
We passed the reefs of coral bright
We passed the islands by.

We paused before a beach that seemed
A desert of the sea;
The coast was scarcely swimmable
The shoreline but a key.

Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the porpoise' heads
Were toward eternity.  

Celia was a well-loved member of our family, and she will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, please send Glad Tall 13 Gallon Kitchen bags. (She was rather well stuffed, and left a bit of a mess behind.) Thank you for your thoughts during this difficult time.


I just finished my slideshow for 2012 and oh my god, this one was a doozy. Took me a long time to winnow down the photos - I started with a few thousand for the year (though that's including a huge load of Hipstamatics). I originally had another song picked out, with a slower beat, but I could only get about 270 pics on it (this one has about 450). Then I was soundsdropping on Spotify a couple of weeks ago, and saw track I didn't recognize come up in a friend's queue: Days Gone By, by Wiretree. I gave it a listen and immediately loved it, but it wasn't until a few days ago that I realized how incredible the lyrics are, and how much I wanted to use it for my video this year.

It's a pretty fast beat, so the pictures really fly by...which is exactly what the year felt like to me. But I tried not to leave anything or anyone significant out.

Making these videos is so cathartic for me. It's a fun, nostalgia-inducing way to look back at how I spent my year, but it's also a way to process and let go of the past - for better or for worse. It's how I say goodbye to an earlier version of myself. It's also a great way for me to get motivated and excited about what still lies ahead. I'd never in a million years have anticipated I'd do some of the things I did last year. So what else don't I know about, that the world has in store for me?

Anyway, without further ado, I present some of the people, places, moments, and memories that constituted my 2012:



Thanks to Greg for the idea.