Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Just Can't Face Me

You want to know what's impossible? Putting together a video of yourself when you're a vain, vain person sporting the skin your father warned you about when you were sixteen and wearing nothing but a string bikini and Crisco Oil as you lounged on the swimming pool deck. His prophetic words leathery old bag will haunt me until I can afford to have my eyes done.

Every wrinkle, line, skin flake, craterlike pore and pimple has come to my attention because MacDougal Street Baby has mentioned that I should vlog or video blog and because I'm nothing if not accommodating, I tried. I really did. As some of you will recall, I am no stranger to videotaping myself doing embarrassing things. In fact, there's a whole youtube series of videos featuring MathMan and me as we commuted to work. They're cleverly titled Commute Chats and in this one, I fellate an ice cream cone. And I dragged my mother into it, too.

I've created the worst kind of self-indulgent sentimental videos here, here and here, music videos, biology videos, goofball videos here and here, a catrospective and a nostalgic look at high school here.

So today I spent some time making and deleting videos of myself. I talked to the camera. I ironed. I gave a tour of the stockpile. And I ended up with nothing. I do weird things with my mouth when I talk. I don't know quite what it is that I do with my face when I pause to think, but it's not attractive. I can't script for myself to save my life. My skin is a shameful mess. I can't quit staring at my double chin, crepey neck and cougar chest. And, no offense to lispers, but my camera's audio gives me a lisp, but not just any old lisp, but a lateral one. I mean, come on! Aren't the insults that come with aging enough?

Finally, out of desperation to produce something I went to go my go to subjects. Yes, I filmed the cats and you can hear me directing them and getting pretty dang huffy when they don't take direction. Which is often.

MacDougal Street Baby, I'll make new videos as soon as I can figure out how to do so using MathMan's laptop and the webcam. I promise. I've got things to say about Charlie Sheen, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, politicians sermonizing about morals, my most recent job applications and several other crazy and annoying things.

Until then, I give you.....MicroManaged Cats.

I know. It's pretty clear that I spend way too much time alone with these cats. We understand each other just a little too much. I just can't decide if I'm Jane Goodall or Cecil B. DeMille.

Is it just me or do you hate to hear yourself and/or see yourself on video? Show of hands, who wants me to smash my camera?


  1. I can't face me either - but I love a good pussy video.

  2. Okay, even you writing about this, you had me. Had me.
    Between the lot of us, we'll figure out your niche. Because you're too damn funny not to share with a larger audience.
    And yes, yes, yes. Get it about the pictures, every moment I look and think, I must not have had enough sleep that night...or that night...or that night...


  3. I can't bear to hear the sound of my recorded voice played back to me.

  4. How many cats do you have?

    (Oh, yeah. My voice on video is weirdly unpleasant, and I look like someone's grandmother. And I talk too fast and therefore mumble. My skin's all right, though (thank the ancestors, the occasional use of moisturizer, and the fact that when I moved here I took to wearing broad-brimmed hats, although apparently I have to correct a Vitamin D deficiency on that score, because I did almost nothing with it to deserve that).

  5. Well, obviously if you really can't do it, you could always hire a young actor but I think you've got it going on. Might I suggest a costume or disguise of some sort? You will be shocked at how much confidence it brings.

    I see you sitting behind a desk, a la Jon Stewart or SNL. Read from a script if you have to. Success is yours!

  6. My solution to having perfect pictures taken of me these days is to be at least 50 feet away from the camera, preferably while I'm standing behind a tree.

    The best trick I know of for looking as if you have great skin in a picture is to soft focus your lens. Vaseline (messy to remove but easily applied to a cheap UV filter), hairspray, or a piece of nylon from pantyhose stretched over a lens will accomplish this. I'm pretty sure cinematographers use this technique (with professional grade vaseline) for those close-ups of stars that will appear across a 50 foot screen.

    I think your voice sounds fine but if you're unhappy with the presentation you could always try a vocoder :-)

  7. Is it just me or do you hate to hear yourself and/or see yourself on video?

    Yes, but I loved seeing you!

  8. I don't mind hearing myself, but I cannot stand to see myself. You know the old saying about the camera adding 10 pounds? It does....the problem is I kept all those 10 pounds each time a picture was taken.

  9. You can't fool us with this domestic bliss video, we all know you're secretly training these felines to be your minions in taking over the planet.

  10. I know it well, the cringe at our own voices or images.

    I'm getting desensitized to it a little through recording my voice. I had done in interview this past fall with Dave Bonta for his podcast--it was a super fun conversation, but hearing my voice so extendedly was intense.

    I am a rather active listener--I was so annoyed at hearing myself go, "Yes, mmmhmmm, mmHMMM" over and over. I think it comes from teaching, maybe?

    So maybe just put the video(s) out there and watch them many times. It'll feel less odd soon. :)

  11. Oh yeah - not sure if I could bear the process of even trying! My dear bloggy friend Selma did a lovely one for her blog-versary and I wondered if I could do the same. Doubt it. I'm sure my double-chin and crepey neck outdo yours in spades!

  12. I badly need a new profile photo, but I can't seem to get the focus soft enough. I hear ya, Lisa! :-/

  13. I agree - DH has taken up videoing me on his Droid after we've had wine. I have to admit the videos get pretty funny but I do hate the sound of my own voice, let alone what I look like!

    Re: the cats: too funny! I micromanage the pets as well. Five cats is a handful. But I guess not as much as two dogs, LOL! I remember growing up my family had 3 cats and right before dinner they'd all converge on the kitchen and start fighting with each other until we fed them. Then all was calm.

  14. Oh, I LURVE your kitties... maybe especially Morris with his gimpy ear, though Tiger looks like Bernie who was the best CAT EVER. Ivy the food thief... I identify with her... *snicker*

    (and I am also a former sun worshipper who is now afraid of a camera, but i hate my VOICE even more.

  15. I hear ya, especially having just posted photos of my broad back for the sake of achieving a better pattern fit. Whoa.

    Hannah's point is a good one, that it might just take some getting use to.

    Love your kitty cats!

  16. You are a brave brave woman. I'm terrified of the video camera --- so much so that, when my son suggested we get a webcam so we can talk "face to face" on-line, I balked. I balked because I'm vain, because I don't want to be seen across the miles in my pajamas, with unwashed hair, or food in my teeth. Anyway, I say no. To which my son said, "That's okay. I only need to see my parents twice a year."


    And P.S. I love your post title: "I just can't face me."

  17. "MicroManaged Cats!" AHAHHAHAHAH

    And, yes. I LOATHE the sound of my voice and I cringe when I see myself on video.

  18. ML - Oh, thank you for that. I know you know how much restraint I had to use for this post.

    Lyra - Thank you. And yes! Critique, critique, critique. It's what I do to me. But maybe MSB is onto something. A disguise.....

    Dr. MVM - Do we need to do podcasts to get beyond our issues? Now I'm dying to hear you to see if you have some kind of accent. I know your background so tell me - Midwestern? Virginian? Sorta southern?

    D - FIVE. It's a sickness. We're putting the crazy in crazy cat people, but we're not hoarders. Yet. And I wish I'd been wiser about the sun. Vitamin D or not.

    MSB - You're an instigator. I like that! A diguise......

    Susan - I think MathMan has a couple of filters. That won't fix the lisp, but the vocoder could be fun!

    Downith - Thank you. I'm a total show off.

    Latka - Stop that! But yeah. Even though I've lost weight, it's still not enough. I need to be skeletal!

    Randal - I'm thinking those felines have trained ME.

    Hannah - Your videos are fantastic! You have such a beautiful voice and face. But I think you're onto something. When we were making those Commute Chat videos, they got easier as time went on.

    Jennifer - Have you tried it? Even if you delete it, it's an interesting exercise.

    Border Explorer - Not you, too!

    Mauigirl - That husband of yours is too funny! We have two cats who fight at every meal. They were on their best behavior when I made the video, of course.

    Hart - I'll tell Ivy that you're a kindred spirit. She'll like that. She's very human.

    Susan Tiner - Those kitties! And I love what you're doing on your blog. Your new purple shirt is really pretty. I love it that you're making your own clothes.

    teri - ouch indeed. You should see me scramble with the hairbrush and the lipstick when one of my friends suggests a skype chat with video. And thanks on the title. It's true on so many levels.

    Meleah - I think this hating on ourselves in video explains why so many of us haven't pursued our true calling - acting.

  19. You're the least vain person I know, so you're just having a bad day. Try again tomorrow. Here's a trick a yoga instructor taught me: if you want a temporary face lift, hang upside down for a while. If you can't do a headstand, just lay on the bed with your head hanging off the edge for a while. Report back to me.

  20. Video is just something I DON'T do. Audio is fine -- I have experience hosting podcasts -- but is still not as ideal as the written word. Just the thought of video, though, makes me cringe.

    Cat videos always = win, though.


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