Thursday, December 15, 2011


 My various freelance jobs don't allow me to take technological hiatuses very often, but what happens when the information floating around the Internet that is constantly in your face, starts to become more than you can handle?

Most people can agree that not everything they read on Facebook or Twitter is exactly "uplifting."  Frankly, those status updates that many people covet, have a tendency to make other people feel bad about themselves.  What seems like an endless string of news reports have popped up recently advocating for stricter guidelines for social media content.  They identify an increase in low self-esteem among users and incidents of physical violence as the results of this new generation of social media addicts. 

It is no secret that the events on social media sites have contributed to suicide. Most of us can still remember the highly publicized Myspace case in 2008.  Thirteen year-old, Megan Meier, committed suicide after being harassed by a neighbor who signed up for the site posing as a teenage boy. Events as severe as this might be few and far between, but local news crews are constantly covering "breaking stories" that deal with the misuse of sites like these - no different than the effect that chat rooms had during the 1990s when headlines screamed "middle age man lured teenage girl into compromising position." 

Is the Internet becoming an unhealthy use of time in more ways than the physical sense?  I would argue yes.  Social media is addictive, and with easy access almost everywhere you look -smart phones, laptops, iPods, iPads, Internet stations - it's a hard addiction to break. 

Sitting at home on a Friday night may be the responsible choice if you have work to finish, but seeing what seems like everyone else on your friend list updating the Twitterverse on their club-o-choice for the evening doesn't help your reserve.  When you're feeling a little oompa-loompa like, checking out your friends photo albums and glaring at their sex-on-a-stick looks, isn't going to help your cause.  And, when you're dealing with a love-sick-puppy situation, seeing the hearts and love notes all over his wall, isn't going to do anything but bring the water works.

I am a huge advocate of the use of social media for marketing and getting information out there in the most convenient and easy to navigate way, and there are definite perks to be said for the social aspect. But as a user and abuser, I myself have had to establish limits.  Facebook stalking, bad idea.  Constant Twitter updates, get a life.  Mobile uploads that chronicle your day one picture at a time, no thanks!

Stand up, take a breath, stretch, and walk away.  Come again another day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weight Loss and Cherry Jubilee

It's an odd feeling when your favorite jeans no longer hug your curves the same way they always have.  In my case, it's a mix of triumph and defeat. 


Well, duh!  I've logged what seems like an unbelievable amount of hours on excercise machines that make you feel like you're not going anywhere.  I've suffered through countless training sessions that I prayed would end before they began.  Anyone who has ever had a trainer (well a good one) can commiserate with me on this.  I have an amazing trainer who has volunteered her time to help me on this crazy workout, weight-loss adventure - BUT, free sessions = serious pain.  I have to earn every minute of her time, and that comes with lots of silent prayers.  I've also had to give up some of the simple joys in life, like overindulging on sour patch kids and goldfish ::tears::


Whoa, why would I feel defeated? sayonara fat, hello a perfect excuse for a wardrobe makeover!  Well, like I said, my favorite jeans don't fit very well anymore.  That may be a little thing, but when staples in your wardrobe stop working for you, it's seriously stressful.  My goal was to lose around 30 pounds.  It's not that I was an oompa-loompa to start with, but I'm going through a change-everything-about-me-phase and it seemed like a good round number.  I'm only halfway there (sometimes more, but one latte too many and I'm back to half) and I don't want to invest in new clothes when I don't plan to stay at this weight.  So, even though I'm super stoked to be losing the weight, my everyday clothes that no longer fit make me feel sort of ucky.

For now, leggings are my best friend..           

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Is A Long Title..

Now that I have experienced The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1..twice, I feel that I am more qualified to have an opinion. 

The first time I saw the film was at midnight (well, 12:10) on opening night, a tradition that I started with New Moon.  And, just like the last two middle of the night movie forays, I left slightly disappointed.  It's not that I didn't like the film - but I didn't immediately love it.  There wasn't that instant, jaw-dropping moment as the credits rolled down the screen that I wanted to have.  I'm not sure if it was that exhaustion had set in at that point, or that my mind was still consumed in dissecting the differences that exist between the cinematic version and the novel.  Either way, it always takes me at least a couple viewings to decide whether I really liked it or not.

Critics are always quick to dismiss the Twilight films, like those in academia do for the books.  I, on the other hand, can appreciate the escapist feelings that the novels invoked and the attempt to translate that into a visual format.

I must say that after seeing the film for a second time, I am more likely to give it some praise.  There were definitely moments from the book that I would have liked to see expanded on screen, i.e. the scene between Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) on the driveway after Jacob discovers Bella (Kristen Stewart) is pregnant.  It is supposed to be an enormously complex emotional scene between these two guys that hate each other when Jacob finds something to appreciate in Edward's desperate plea - at this point in the text, we are seeing things from Jacob's point of view.  Jacob describes Edward as a "burning man" and feels this uncontrollable surge of empathy for his situation.  Instead, we get a fairly pathetic, "hey man, can you talk to Bella?" type of scenario.
As for realism, the birth scene - incredible. Bella looked like a corpse for sure, it was quite a sickening sight. As for the dress they choose for her when she is transforming into a vampire - another scene that could have been spoofed up with some additional dialogue, even if it was just Bella's internal monologue, like in the book - wouldn't have been my first choice. The color is darling, but I thought it would have been more flattering to her new "perfect" physique.

Other than that, there were some funny scenes.  Any of them with Charlie (Billy Burke) in it is almost a guaranteed laugh out loud moment!  He is just amazing at delivering those one liners.  The honeymoon after Edward decides that sex is out gets pretty funny as well.  His attempts to distract Bella from naughty thoughts and exhaust her are definitely amusing.

Overall, I give it a solid B (which may or may not improve after I see
it another dozen or so times).  But, let's face it, even if the movie was a total drag, I would have seen it multiple times in theaters and bought every version of it when it hits DVD. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Worth Movie Theater Prices: The Descendants

Lately, I've been concerned with the lack of Blockbuster films that have rocked my socks.  I find myself falling into the "that was ok" rut when leaving the movie theater.  Considering the outrageous prices that movie theaters themselves are charging these days (costs that I supplement with Fandango gift cards, free passes, and movie screenings) - due to inflation based on economic hardships caused by whatever the latest means of illegally obtaining films - I feel that movies should be more than "just ok."

I want to walk out of a movie and say "wow, that was excellent" or "that just blew my mind."  Even the latest installment of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 didn't do it for me, and I am a huge Twilight fan.  Although my movie viewing time as of late has been lackluster because of other more pressing responsibilities, the time I do spend enjoying a film has been less than stellar - until this past Friday evening.

I was extremely impressed by The Descendants starring George Clooney.  I found it to be a powerfully simple story of responsibility in the light of tragedy and the bond of family.  Clooney plays a father struggling to understand what he's overlooked in life after his wife is in a boating accident that leaves her in a permanent coma.  As he tries to let go, while caring for his two daughters, both of whom have problems of their own aside from the most recent, he learns a lot about the person he really is and who he wants to be.  The director and crew did a great job of bringing this story to life.  It was touching without being overly dramatic.

On a side note, seeing Clooney as a father gave me a new appreciation for his acting range.  I'm so used to him playing the silver fox with a lovely waiting in the wings lately that this role seems almost foreign for him - and I loved it!  Also, the film starred Shailene Woodley as one of the daughters.  If this role is any indication, Woodley has a bright future ahead of her.  I look forward to seeing where her career goes from here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shopping Improves the Economy!

The holidays bring about a lot of things.  One of those that we seem to focus on most, shopping. Theoretically, shopping will improve the economy.  However, realistically, shopping also puts people in serious debt.  With the state of the current economy, this cultural construct that has associated love with gifts has made us into a materialistic nation - an image we quite literally can no longer afford to uphold.

The idea of living within your means has become an outdated notion as credit cards have taken over financial woes.  Lack of cash has been replaced with layaway and payment plans, loans and lines of credit, and even better - the offer of bankruptcy as a quick fix with limited strings attached.   

We are living in a generation where money is being thrown around like it does grow in the community garden.  College graduates are so far in debt, with no job in sight, that the prospect of debt-free doesn't seem like a phrase they should consider in their vocabulary.  Citizens are facing an economy that can no longer pretend to support ideas like 'long-term security' and 'low risk.' Yet, the holidays always bring new hope to struggling businesses.

Why?  Because people are unwavering in their willingness to dole out wads of cash [read: credit] during the holiday season to perpetuate tradition, to keep the status qou.  And I am no exception. 

So amen to a legitimate excuse to spend money you don't have on the people you love (and yourself, especially yourself)!


Quotes: One Tree Hill 514

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Altered Press!

Altered received a special set visit from the AFP News Agency (Agence France-Press) during this last round of filming.

 Check out the clip below!

Going The Distance: An Open Letter To My Friends

To: The Loves of My Life,

My parents have always been big proponents of diversity, so it's no surprise that my friends don't fit into any one category.  We never lived in places that were predominately anything like us.  They raised my siblings and I to believe that it's the differences between us that make us special.  They encouraged us to surround ourselves with people that could offer us an unique perspective on life.

Over the years I have built an epic resume of friendships.  They span racial, ethnic, and religious groups, geographic boundaries, and cross generational lines.  Some of them have been around since before I can remember - they know my everything (and they love me anyways), our memories weave in and out of each others.  Others have come along the way - meeting me at different points of my life: high school, college, grad school; through organizations, mutual friends; or at parties, work, random chance encounters.  Even more recently has a new group of friends found their way into the mix.  

Not everyone sticks around and even more than those are the ones that come and go without a plan.  My brand of pretty complete honesty combined with my propensity for sticking my foot in my mouth has severed a few ties.  I don't always make the right choice, sometimes I make the decision that makes the most sense whether it's "right" or not.  I never give up on the people I care about. 

I love with my whole heart and it has earned me a long list of extraordinary friends.  I am in constant awe of them and owe them more than I'll ever be able to repay.  Life has given me amazing opportunities and presented me with more than I can ever fully appreciate.  I have more than a few friendships that I would go to the ends of the Earth to protect, and that phrase may make you laugh, but that probably means this letter isn't meant for you.            

This past year has definitely had its moments - some that have definitely effected me in a forever kind of way.

Today is my 26th birthday.  Nothing spectacular happened - there were no surprise presents, no orchids, nothing shiny, and the man my heart still unequivocally and irrationally beats faster for didn't suddenly decide he wasn't better off without me. It was just another day.  There's no mystical guarantee that life will change just because you will it to, no matter how many stars you wish on.  Maybe that's the point.  Sometimes we all need reminders that things don't turn out the way we want them to, even if we haven't found it in ourselves to let go and accept it yet. You can still know that your life is complete just the way it is.   
So embrace your emotions, the good with the bad, because the beautiful moments in life aren't always the ones that came easy.  Be scared and go for it anyway, chase a dream that doesn't want you, love without excuse - and remember, that at the end of the day, you are loved, and that love is just as good as any kind that exists.

Until Always,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Altered Wraps Up Another Successful Round of Filming

Last week, Altered wrapped on an exciting third round of filming in Gary, Indiana /Chicago. This time only utilizing a micro-crew, several members of the original crew were joined by new talent. The Atlanta based production crew made up of Dan Slemons (Gaffer/Key Grip) and Ace Harney (Sound Technician) brought along the incredibly skillful Molly Coffee (Art Director) and Kevin McKnight (Script Supervisor/Grip). Molly was also the set dresser for round two of filming in Atlanta . Her incredible vision and tenacity has been an asset to production, and continues to stun everyone around her. Kevin, brilliant in his own right, brought a calm infusion of hard work and persistence to set that on extensively long days everyone can appreciate.

(Molly Coffee)

(Kevin McKnight)

Long days and cold nights didn’t stop the Altered crew from taking care of business. Under the direction of our epic director Kely McClung and amazing AD/DP Jessica Imoto Harney, we captured some great scenes and added a boatload of footage to the archives.

An incredible cast came out to be part of filming, staples such as Rob Pralgo (Vampire Diaries), Amanda Dreschler (Creed), and Keith Brooks were joined by Atlanta-based actors Angele Masters, Nicholas Wolfe, and Jon Chaffin. Special props go out to Angele who endeared more than her share of the cold for the cause.

(Angele Masters)

(Left to Right: Nicholas Wolfe, Jon Chaffin)

We were also in the great company of Zee Gustafson, an awesome FX make-up artist that transformed some hotties into zombies for our production.  She was a pleasure to work with and definitely fun to have on set.

(Left to Right: Stephanie, Molly Pan, Rachael Sanchez) 

A huge production night was shot with the collaboration with Nassau Chainsaw DisGraceLand Demolition Committee - a heavy metal suspension crew out of Brooklyn, NY that was game for anything we could pull off!  Members of this crew were willing to go the extra mile to make the scene look epic!  

The last night on set was one of the highlights, we shot pick-ups in Chicago's hip Wicker Park under the Damen EL train station*.  Even though the wardrobe was skimpy - gangsta's don't like to layer it on in the summer months we were recreating - the guys were all in great spirits.  These fine actors came out again to share in the Altered experience and the footage is amazing!  Special thanks to Chicago based actors Abel Castro, Jordan Dillon, Will Cochran, Yancy Jones, Ivan Ellis, and Glenn Stanton!
The images that were captured on set are only a small tribute to the non-stop contribution of cast and crew. If the 20 minutes or so of edited scenes thus far are any indication, the finished product will definitely look amazing!

McClung estimates that after this round was completed, he has between 85% - 90% of the filming done. To finish the project, McClung plans to film scenes in Los Angeles , New York , Atlanta , and back to Gary one more time.

Stay tuned for more updates – but in the meantime, make sure to ‘Like’ The Altered Movie on Facebook for all the latest information!

*If you're in the Wicker Park area, check out the delicous coffee at a cozy local joint, Wormhole Coffee - order the homemade Vanilla bean, you won't be disappointed!

All photos courtesy of our friends at Doobious.Org and Captain Crazy Productions, INC!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'Altered' Brings Positive News to Gary, Ind.

'Altered' the latest brainchild of independent Director Kely McClung continues to receive a steady stream of positive news coverage.  The film was featured on ABC news as part of a segment titled 'Gary, Ind., Sees Increased Film Production.'  Production on this epic project continues in the Gary/Chicago area the first week in November!

Check out the clip below:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Generation Responds - Occupy America!

One of the biggest complaints that has been placed on Generation XYZ is that we are lazy. For years, we have been told that we have no sense of social commitment and are apathetic to the issues around us. With the recent Occupy Wall Street Movement expanding into a full blown Occupy America campaign, our generation has found our first real cause to get behind, standing up and shouting "We are the 99%!"

Across the United States, thousands of twenty-something activists have been joined in their fight for democracy. College students are camping out at parks and walking out of their universities to support a movement that they have made their own. The Internet has allowed us a new way to protest, and for years we have taken full advantage of it, supporting from a distance, behind a screen of anonymity, in our comfiest pj's- but the government has now awaken a sleeping giant. We have been pushed to the brink and are now responding in a very public way.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The CW is Fashion Forward on 'Ringer'

Last night, on episode #104 ("It's Gonna Kill Me, But I'll Do It") of the CW's new hit show, Ringer, Gemma (Tara Summers) donned this awesome dress for a birthday dinner in the Hampton's (right side of photo). 

I am totally in love with it!  It is not your everyday dinner dress, but I would completely rock it for an occasion like NYE. 

You can't go wrong with full-on sparkles and a great cut for a memorable night out!

The costumer for this show must be having a ball - keep up the good work!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Support The Arts: 'Good Grief Suicide Hotline'

Another opportunity to support the arts, by way of independent feature films, has come to my attention.

Why should you support independent feature films?  
Independent films are the backbone of the movie industry.  They allow up and coming filmmakers to make a mark in the community, show their talent, and build their resume.  Some of the biggest name directors got their start this way; it gave them an opportunity to showcase their work and get noticed.  The independent film community in many areas are tight-knit, full of dedicated, hardworking, and talented individuals working for little or no money.  Independent films are comprised of brilliant collaborating talents that truly love what they do. [taken directly from: Support the Arts: Perception]

Good Grief Suicide Hotline is an independent feature, directed by Atlanta filmmaker, Sam Carter, currently in the pre-production stage.  Carter has developed a reputation for his hilarious, yet dark, puppet hi-jinx in shorts like Shadow Puppets and Beast of Burden

This dark comedy is about a recent college graduate that goes to work at a crisis call center only to find out that the people doling out the advice might be more damaged than the callers themselves.  When this wholesome new employee starts dating a caller, something that is more than just frowned upon, things only get more awkward.

StoneCarter Media is currently raising funds for the project, and you can help: Help make it happen for 'Good Grief Suicide Hotline' on IndiGoGo

Check out the teaser trailer and see what you can look forward to:

You can also follow the adventure on Facebook and Twitter @goodgriefsh!