Thursday, May 31, 2007

whereabouts and happenings

wednesday: finally planted the strawberry plants my grandmother had shipped to me :) they already had roots but were in a dormant state and just needed some dirt, water and sunshine. rick and i went to the mall and i returned a pair of nine west shoes to macy's because when i peeled off the price tag, it tore up the suede sole and left a huge sticky square. doesn't sound like a big deal but they were black strapless sandals and every time i walked it sounded like... "whoooooit. whoooooit" because my foot was sticking to the shoe. plus they were $41 plus tax (on clearance) and they were pretty ugly so i only would have only ever worn them with pants anyway. why are only the ugly shoes comfortable?!! i wound up buying a really cute top and a pair of shorts with the money i got back from the shoes and had $10 to spare. woo woo!!

during dinner, rick and i watched Saw III. i was a bit disappointed. here's the eloquent review i posted aldrin:

"Saw III def didn't live up to the first two :( it would have been waaaaay better if marky mark rescued donny and kicked the shit outta that dumb jigsaw-wannabe beyotch."

couldn't have said it better myself... oh, wait. ;) haha.

but check this out... doesn't the chick from Saw look a bit like demi moore??? i thought so.

according to, "The final shooting draft of the script was written in under a week in Toronto by Leigh Whannell based on an idea by creator and Saw director James Wan." and it shows. the casting was pretty poorly done as well. the actors who played the lawyer and the male lead victim were awful.

thursday: (today) i cleaned out the closet in the spare bedroom/computer room and put away all of my clothes, which was quite an accomplishment considering how much more i brought back with me from jersey.

funny thing that happened: i got a phone call (accidentally) from someone who didn't know their phone was on. apparently they couldn't hear me saying hello repeatedly. i didn't recognize the number, so i stayed on the line for four minutes just to try to figure where they were or who it was. sounded like they were setting up/cleaning up for a trade show. unfortunately nothing interesting occured while i was listening but my favorite line was: "yeah, we're looking for a f*cking trailor too to pull our Bobcat around on."

after rick got home, we walked to the park and played tennis. this is only the second time we played tennis together. the first time we were rusty, but this time we did really well. it was so nice too... two little boys came up to our court and were watching us play and would retrieve any balls we hit into the net. it was like having our own personal ball boys!! hehe. after tennis, we went swimming and finally used the hot tub. (we've been living in this apt. complex for five months and never used the hot tub). we starting watching what ever happened to baby jane? (my pick, hehe). bette davis is definitely one of my favorites. tim and his girlfriend morgan stopped by for an hour and then rick and i hit up the hot tub again. then i tortured rick by plucking his eyebrows. all and all, an eventful day.

plans for this weekend include: a BBQ at ben's house on saturday and work on sunday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

hard to imagine how small we really are...

"Astronomers have discovered 28 new planets outside of our solar system, increasing to 236 the number of known exoplanets, revealing that planets can exist around a broad spectrum of stellar types-from tiny, dim stars to giants." ~yahoo news

whoever doesn't believe life exists in other parts of the universe must be mistaken.

busy is good.

busy weekend!!

friday i worked 10-5 and saturday i worked 10-6 doing promo jobs. :) sunday i was second shooter at a jewish wedding at the intercontinental in century city. i was left in charge of photographing the bride, her mother and sisters while they were getting ready in their suite that had the most gorgeous view of LA i've ever seen. :O i never experienced a jewish wedding before but i am a fan. the Hora tradition was a trip. it really loosens people up and gets everybody on the dance floor as opposed to non-jewish weddings were most people are hesitant to start dancing. throughout the night i shot candids of family and guests during the ceremony and the reception. i took lots of silly dance floor shots. i didn't get home until 12:30 am, but the night was pretty fun. photographer michael brannigan was a joy to work for. he has a great sense of humor and a lot of energy. he also credits women for the transition wedding photography has taken from being posed and formulated to its current artistic/more aestetic style. there's much to be said about a man who named his daughter after amelia earhart and says mary ellen mark is the most underrated photographer ever. since michael has assistants booked for the majority of his upcoming weddings, i may be doing layouts for his albums. :)

monday i vegetated and ate a lot of watermelon. rick drove his brother to the airport and then we finished watching terms of endearment. not what i expected. at all. it's a pretty long movie with a depressing ending. jack nicholson plays a dirt bag astronaut and he looks as old as he did in 1983 as he does now... which isn't really a compliment, but at least he's consistent. rick and i played uno and he kept winning. aldrin stopped by to let us borrow saw 3 and wound up staying til midnight. we have him hooked on uno now too which could be credited to the fact that he loves to screw people over with the draw two/draw four cards.

most idiotic thing i've done in a while: i singed my eyelashes by trying to smell a candle while it was lit. yeah, that was dumb but my face wasn't even that close to the flame!! i was trying to smell if the candle was giving off a scent but the heat from the flame singed my eyelashes in the corner of my left eye. you can't notice it but i can and it will be a constant reminder (at least til the lashes recuperate) that i sometimes am an idiot. : P

goals for this week include illustrating a story my grandmother wrote, cleaning up the apartment, watching saw 3 (finally) and... i don't know else.

current song stuck in my head:
cold war kids - "hang me out to dry."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

the rest of my trip: a photoblog.

here's a recap of my trip back home :)

sunday, may 13th: mother's day. ate thai food with my mom and grandmother. played scrabble. found some hilarious notes from high school that i will post on my flickr.

my mom opening her gifts:

monday, may 14th: drove with my grandmother to her sister's house to pick up some polaroid cameras she saved to give to me :) we ate lunch there too. on our way home i stopped many times to take some polaroids. at one point, i even asked a man if i could enter his yard to get a good shot of his tire swing, haha. i also taught my grandmother how to use her digital camera and how to email photos!! after dinner with my mother, we took roxie to the park and walked 2.5 miles.

tuesday, may 15th: went over my mom's cousin's house for lunch (i'm specifying this so it's less confusing for you ;) haha). then went to kohl's so my mother could exchange the bath mats i got her for mother's day (i bought her new bath mats because my cat destroyed her old bath mats. he's an inside/outside cat and for some reason whenever he accidentally gets left in the house, he goes to the bathroom in our bathroom... on the bath mats. this time he even tried covering up his crap by digging up the bath mats. how's that for too much info).

then we stopped at my aunt's house. she got a new bengal kitten!! this time a white one, named lenox. he has the most beautiful blue eyes... and they're going to stay blue when he gets older.

my aunt has two more bengals on the way. she's planning on breeding them. they go for $300-$1000.

that night, lindsay stopped by and stayed til 1 am. she showed me her photos from mexico and i bombarded her with all of my cali photos and then we took some more photos!!

they are HILARIOUS check em out.

wednesday, may 16th: my mom did a lot of yard work and i weeded. got so covered in dirt that when i blew my nose, dirt came out. Mmm!! i can't remember what i did that night. probably played scrabble with my mom :) while i was visiting, she got me hooked on "dancing with the stars." thank goodness rick and i don't have cable.

thursday, may 17th: my grandmother called an old man (who was driving poorly) a "scrotum face." AND i got $100 for eating a tuna sandwich. i will leave you wondering why...

friday, may 18th: went to a fancy bar with justin and lindsay.

lindsay bought me a mojito :) she also got hit on by every guy in the bar. on our way back to justin's, luckily still close to the bar, lindsay realized that she forgot to get her credit card back from the bartender so we had to go back. justin and i had bets on how many guys would hit on her in the amount of time it took her to get the card. it was somewhere around 7 or 8. ;)

i wasn't sure if andrea was even coming up, but she arrived at my house at 2 am, around 10 minutes before we got home. it was rare to have my two best friends in one place (andrea lives in upstate NY) so naturally i had to photograph the event. they came out really cute...

saturday, may 19th: my grandma kitty (biological father's side) and her lifemate tina took andrea and i out to brunch. we inteneded to get together with our friend zac, but it got to be too late and we exhausted. :( the weather was too crappy to take the photos i had planned, so andrea and i watched the holiday instead. then my mom came home from work and started watching it and asking questions about the characters, so we started the movie over for her. (that's right, i watched the holiday a total of 2.5 times while i was home. haha). after dinner, andrea and i went to foodstore to buy some candy. then we picked up my grandmother, brought her back to my house and we all played cranium.

side note: my best friend andrea is a cranium fanatic. so much so, she holds cranium nights at her house. sometimes the attendance is so well they have to set up two boards. with all of this cranium experience you would think she would always win, however that is not the case. rick and i beat her and my mom after new years and my grandmother and i beat her and my mom this time around, hahaha.

sunday, may 20th: busy, hectic day. i took a BUNCH of polaroids with andrea. (one of the MANY reasons why love my best friend is because she likes having her photo taken and she is very patient and compliant when it comes to me directing the shots). they came out really good!! i am in the process of scanning and cropping them.

right as andrea was leaving, my best pal from college, margot, arrived!!

it took her 4 hours to get to my house when it should have only taken 2 hours because her dad's car's navigational thingy was set to the "no-highway" route. (her car is in florida, where she now resides). i hadn't seen her since august!! :( we talked, took photos (of course), i did her makeup, we took more photos, my mom cooked us ate dinner and then we talked some more. we had a lot of catching up to do!!

monday, may 21st: ran a few last minute errands with my grandmother. cleaned out the part of my garage that was full of my crap that i intended to sell in a yard sale, but never did. after that, i went to the chinese resturant with my mom and grandmother. lindsay stopped by too while i was packing.

and there you have it!! now i'm back and busy in california with loads to unpack!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

my advice on blogging... don't follow advice.

so there's this columnist on yahoo who i always unintentionally run into by clicking little headlines like "Five Steps to Being More Productive," "Breaking the Perfection Habit" or "Four Ways to Make a Bad Job Good." the author is successful, "her syndicated column has run in more than 200 publications... she was a software executive... founded two companies... has been through an IPO, an acquisition and a bankruptcy... before that she played professional beach volleyball..." blah blah blah, says the bio on her website. the problem... her articles resemble something i wrote when i was freshman in college. they're weak!! she lists common sense in a numerical order and then throws in some quotes from books or the internet. i'm not the most affluent writer, but i am a critical editor. i love finding grammatical errors as much as i love making them. anyway, let's get to my point...

i find an article she wrote for The Boston Globe titled "Blogs 'essential' to a good career," in which she and a professor from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena makes the following recommendation...

"But pick your topics carefully and have a purpose. ''The most interesting blogs are focused and have a certain attitude," says van Allen. ''You need to have a guiding philosophy that you stick to. You cannot one minute pontificate on large issues of the world and the next minute be like, 'My dog died.' ""

that's great advice for... business executives. (but, personally i love those blogs fueled by the contempt of a 9-to-5 cubical job written by someone who wants to "stick it to the man"). when i see a blog that only caters to new gadgets or celebrity gossip or personal philosophies, i stop reading. i get bored. i need variety. i want to connect with someone or something, find the familiar in the unfamiliar. the truth is, people are nosy. that's why reality shows are still popular. they love the one-sided bond between self-identity and the personal life of a stranger.

on paper, employers are more interested in your career. online, employers want to investigate your personal life. that's why it's beneficial to combine the two. show you are a dedicated worker, but also show you have a life outside of work. how wouldn't it be beneficial for an employer to discover than you both share an obsession for receiving positive feedback on ebay??? those quirks allow people to relate to you. if you're a creative professional giving your blog address to clients, it's true that you should slightly monitor your content, but don't void it of personality. show future employers you are a loyal friend, a pet lover, a multi-tasker or an avid mini golfer. you never know where it will take you.

so in the world of blogging, remember why buffets are so appealing... because there's a variety!! just make sure to keep your content hot.

east coast beaches > west coast beaches.


beach stroll
Originally uploaded by jena ardell.

smiles and sunshine
Originally uploaded by jena ardell.

half pomeranian, half lion
Originally uploaded by jena ardell.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


recap so far:

the weekend: as soon as i arrived in nj, my mom and i ordered thai food to go and ate it over my grandmother's house. i went food shopping with my grandmother and visited my aunt. i made hummus!! i put a little too much garlic in it, but it was still good. i took a lot of photos of my aunt's bengal kitten, monte. and my mother and i played scrabble. she won :(

monday: went to kohl's with my grandmother. bought a few things. went to the park with my mom and roxie. walked 4 miles!! (shesh). met roxie's new best friend, a cocker spaniel pup named phoebe, hehe. my mom and i wound up eating dinner over my grandmother's house. i baked a cake for my mom's birthday. i didn't follow any directions, modified all of the ingredients, mixed two different cake mixes together and added a lot of sprinkles to the batter... and it came out like a giant, colorful pound cake... which is what i was hoping for. then i cut it in half, created two layers and filled the middle with a layer of cool whip and strawberries... mMmm!! i also covered the top of the cake with cool whip and strawberries as well.

my mom's birthday!! she liked the card i made her and her presents :) i also had decorated a few areas of the house with b-day banners and wrote on the bathroom mirror with lipstick, hehe. we went to sandy hook for the day, laid on the beach, took some polaroids, ate seafood and had a good day!! when we got home, we sang to my mom and had cake with my dad's niece and her kids. my grandmother stopped by and my former 2nd grade teacher/family friend, mrs. m, stopped by. we wound up watching the "gilmore girls" (the season ends next week!!) and "dancing with the stars." poor billie ray cyrus...

wednesday: went to the dermatologist for a general check up and to see about a strange bite that appeared on my arm. i was worried it was a tick bite, but luckily it's not. i went to a few stores with my grandmother. i ate dinner with my mom then went over my friend justin's house (hadn't seen him since new years!!) and we watched Strangers With Candy, the movie. honestly, i was disappointed... the movie wasn't as funny as i had hoped. i thought the movie would be a bizarre little cult classic that continued where the tv show had left off, but instead the story starts from the beginning and the whole movie is merely a weak recreation. some of the same jokes are recycled from the tv show and they just fizzle. it would have been acceptable if the movie spawned the tv show but for the tv show to spawn this movie... such a shame. they could have done so much with this movie!! :(

thursday: went over my grandmother's house and watched The Holiday, which i've already seen but really enjoyed and thought my grandmother would enjoy it as well. my mom and i took my poor cat to the vet because he's been having trouble with one of his eyes. it's inflamed, goopy and he won't open it. turns out he has "a crater" in his cornea. YEOUCH!! the vet had to cut his cornea some more just so it can heal. poor cat. he's still really out of it and woozy from the anaesthetic and medication the vet had to give him in order to poke around in his eye socket. it gave me the chills. we still have no idea how it happened... he's an inside/outside cat, so it could have been a number of things. he's a trooper though... the vet was surprised hexum was acting like his normal self because most cats would have been reclusive and moody if they had a huge gouge in their cornea!!

friday: i'm going to work with my cousin. he owns a martial arts school and i will be filing and organizing/cleaning the offices. on saturday i might help out with a birthday party at the school... it's teenage mutant ninja turtles party!! hehe.

random quotes from my grandmother:
when driving past a group of kids with shaggy hair and skateboards: "look at those little weiners!!"
"when i do the speed limit, i feel like i'm not moving!!"

Saturday, May 5, 2007

my good deed of the month.

our apartment complex has been chopping down all of its trees. every day. early in the morning. so far, they cut over 80 trees total. there are three trees right by our bedroom windows marked with orange dots, waiting to be cut. so naturally i got all hot and bothered over it.

#1 because if those trees are taken down, we gain a lovely view of the parking lot and our neighbors' apartments. likewise, our neighbors gain clearer views into both bedrooms.

#2 because it's unnecessary... i was told the trees are being removed because the pine needles kill the grass. we are talking three measly pine trees on a SMALL area of grass between the sidewalks. my mother's house has TONS of pine trees, to the point where all you see is orange pine needles covering the lawn, yet we still have grass.

#3 another reason for cutting down the trees: "because they don't correspond with the new landscaping plan." they cut five or six trees down across from our apartment to clear out a space to build a small putting green. HOW STUPID and (again) UNNECESSARY.

so after rick and i chiseled away the orange dots off the trees by our apartment, i wrote a petition/letter and went door to door collecting signatures. a few pansies were concerned that signing the petition would lead to the apartment complex raising their rents, but regardless, i got a lot of praise and signatures. :) hopefully my petition will spare the remaining trees... if not, at least i tried.

what was your good deed of the month???

Friday, May 4, 2007

to each his own (and gael garcia bernal is in everything).

wednesday: i assisted my friend hal's shoot for a non-profit computer center that caters to people with disabilities (hearing, vision, you name it). it was pretty amazing. the center has a variety of machines that allow people with disabilities to use computers and the internet. one man, a paraplegic, was able navigate online with a small box on top of a monitor that corresponded with a small adhesive circle placed on his forehead. the shoot ran fairly smoothly... we only blew one of their fuses. there was a thai restaurant across the street that was taunting me the entire afternoon so after the shoot, hal treated me and his friend/art director che to dinner there. the food was pretty good and i got rick some pad see ew to go. hal and i stopped over dave's house to return some equipment and chat.

thursday: i worked a promotional event at a fair. there were about six of us and our goal was to solicit smokers (21 and older) and ask them to complete a short market research survey which included scanning their driver's licenses. participants got to choose one of two FREE tee-shirts: one had a music design and the other said "free and easy." i don't think i have to tell you which shirt was more desirable to this crowd. participants were also entered in a $250 cash prize. SO guess who got the most amount of people to take the survey... me!! i got 30 people, which is A LOT considering the circumstances (who the hell willingly wants their license copied?!). the person who came closest to my score only got 17 people to take the survey. i rocked. :)

friday: i carpooled with rick to work and met with a local photographer who might hire me as a full-time second shooter for weddings. he's not a fan of polaroids, but to each his own... i know a lot of people who like my polaroids. i even have a fun couple wanting me to photograph their wedding with polaroids. (how kewl is that?!) after rick got out of work, we stopped at the food store so i could fuel my pretzel addiction. (i eat waaaay too many of them). then we took a nap. we planned on taking a thirty minute nap but wound up waking up around 8:30 pm. haha. then we made dinner and watched Dot the i which was REALLY good. i read a few bad reviews, but was glad i took them with a grain of salt. i recommed seeing the movie without knowing much about the plot because there are many clever twists and turns.

rick and i have been watching A LOT of gael garcia bernal movies. (kind of hard not to, the man's in EVERYTHING!!) it was funny because after we watched Dot the i, we finished up another movie, Russian Dolls, we started the night before. Russian Dolls sucked to the point where we had to fast forward just to get through it BUT it was funny because rick was like, "wait, what happened to gael garcia bernal's character?!" and i was like "you have to be kidding me... he's not even in this movie!!" hahaha. but that's because we've seen THREE of bernal's movies (Babel, Science of Sleep, Dot the i) within the past week.

this weekend: i will be home spending time with friends and family!! :) but missing rick. :( we endured a looong distance relationship for two years and are finally living together. we had a record going of consecutive time spent together (a little over 5 months) and now i am breaking it... but only for two weeks. and although we've spent as much as three months apart at a time, it's still going to feel weird being away from him. my plans for when i am home: beat my mom at scrabble; celebrate mother's day and my mom's birthday; go shopping and watch movies with my grandmother; hug my cat; hang out with andrea, lindsay, justin and margot; go to work with my cousin; work, assisting a local photographer; eat lots of utz pretzels; clean out my garage; take photos of my aunt's crazy bengal cat; and take lots and lots of awesome polaroids.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

reason #7548392 why you shouldn't spit on the sidewalk...

sunday: i went over hal's for a photo play day. there was this cute mural at an elementary school near hal's apartment that i knew would make a lovely polaroid subject but, since it was sunday, the school was closed and the gates were locked. so hal and i had to climb over a chain link fence to get near the mural. (and of course i was wearing flip-flops). there were a lot of kewl things on the lot, including an abandoned building full of computers. so we took our photos and were about to climb back over the fence when this lady and man walked by.

"what are you guys doing?" the lady asked. "isn't school closed?"
"yeah," hal said nonchalantly.
then the lady saw our bags and camera equipment.
"ohhhh, photography," she said, as if that were a justifiable reason to trespass.

so we're on our way to hal's car when... *SPLAT!* water splashes up on my leg.
"ewww, i just got wet!!" i said, assuming my flip flop caught the edge of a puddle. but the water didn't run off, it clung to me like a gel. and to my dismay, there wasn't a puddle in sight... only the damp spot from a big, fat loogie. YEP, there i was with a loooong glob of someone else's spit hanging on the back of my calf. how GROSS is that?!!! luckily i am so addicted to pretzels that i carry them in little plastic baggies. so i used the plastic baggie i had in my purse to pull the saliva/phlegm off of my leg. when we got back to hal's apartment i must have washed my leg and foot at least four times.

after that pleasant experience, hal and i headed to a little greek place called "the hungry pocket" where the only framed thing hanging on the wall was an autographed photo from the cast of Full House, circa 1992. i had the hummus sandwich and hal had some kind of sandwich with gyro meat and falafels. it was pretty good. then we headed to hal's friend jen's art gallery. we positioned some lights for jen who was preparing to shoot a friend's headshots. in the process, we took a bunch of silly photos that i will post on flickr after i get them all from hal.

after jen's model arrived, hal and i left to find some kewl things to photograph outside since the weather was so nice. we picked up hal's girlfriend from work and walked around the venice canals in awe of the cute little houses that line the water. unfortunately hal's battery went dead and it got gray and cloudy outside, so after walking around for a while, we headed back to hal's apartment and started watching The Slums of Beverly Hills.

i hit a bit of traffic on my way home because everyone loves to slow down and gawk at fender benders. you can tell i'm from out of state when i'm driving because I ACTUALLY USE MY BLINKERS WHEN I'M CHANGING LANES!!!! anyway, after i returned home, rick and i watched Thelma & Louise (because neither of us had ever seen that movie in its entirity) and played scrabble. rick won... which is pretty rare. (no offense to rick, hehe. he's getting good!!) lately i've been sucking at scrabble :(