Jenny: Photo Booth Therapy

I have enormous respect for Krissie for putting up those Photo Booth photos every day.  I think it’s a great idea, but Photo Booth makes most people look like Night of the Living Dead, so I have said, “No, thanks.”   But tonight, still coming back from bad stuff, I thought, “If she can do it, I can do it.”  (Krissie gets me in a lot of trouble that way.) It’s ten o’clock, I have no make-up on and I haven’t combed my hair, just tied it in a knot on my neck to get it out of the way while I type, but it’s not like I’m ever not tired, made-up, or coifed, so what the hell.   And I’m behind about forty pictures so it’s time I got started.

I took the first one and looked at it and thought, “Dear God, am I that depressed?”

Well, yes.  The photo does not lie.  While I can argue that I don’t look like this (I’d lose but I could argue it), I can’t argue that that’s where I am right now. So I tried again.  “Go for chipper,” I told myself.  And got this:

So chipper is not an option.  Well, I knew that.  Lani got all the chipper in Squalor on the River, I’m holding down biting and sardonic.  Maybe if I got my chin off my hand which I now realize is how I read the computer screen. I tried that and got a series of pictures in which I looked exactly like my mom or my dad.  How is it as we get older and become more ourselves that we begin to look more and more like them?    Never mind, try again.  Pull your hair out of that knot.  Maybe if you don’t look so much like a prison warden . . .

Great.  Now I look like the slut of the retirement home.  Which is probably what I’d be, come to think of it.  I’m beginning to think that Photobooth may be a window into the soul.   You sure as hell can’t hide anything from it.  Oh, wait, sure you can.  You can use Effects.

Here’s the thing about Effects: They make you somebody else.  While you’re fruiting around with them–and they are, for the most part, completely useless–you forget you’re taking your picture because it distorts your face so much you could be somebody else:


I particularly like the way all the effects wipe away wrinkles.  Kind of pares you down you to your essense.  At least photo below does (I’m pretty sure this is what everybody who’s ever annoyed me has seen coming at them):















But the effects are good fantasy, too.  Like a black and white head shot from when I was a 30s movie star.  I would have gotten that His Girl Friday role if Roz Russell hadn’t been so much younger than me.  And combed her hair.
















The wiggiest one turned out to be the clouds background.  I actually smiled goofing around with that one:

But my fave effect is the pencil.  Makes me look like a truck draft: It can be published if I get hit by a truck.  Although you can really see that droopy eye fron that car accident when I was eighteen.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll put on some make-up and try again.  Krissie, are we allowed to use make-up?

I know I’m not caught up with Krissie yet, but I am cheered up.  Photo Booth Therapy: Who knew?  Now all I have to do is find an Effects program for my life, and everything will be just FINE.

90 thoughts on “Jenny: Photo Booth Therapy

  1. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Great, I have to go to a meeting in 10 minutes and BEHAVE myself, when all I want to do is split a gut at this point. Aaaaahhahaahahhhaaaaaaaaaa! Too funny!!!

  2. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Oh, yeah, and I forgot — you didn’t look like the slut of the retirement home in the photo, you looked, well, like you were sending me the evil eye. You know, kind of, well, powerful and “don’t fuck with me or else”…


  3. What fun!

    I love the ones with your hair down – slut of the retirement home indeed. They wouldn’t let you in – you look far too young!

    The pencil effect one is great, but combined with the intense look on your face the first photo made me think of The Ring for some reason!

  4. Ylva Hedin says:

    You look amazing!!

    I got a comment when I took a pic late in the evening without makeup: you look like Pete Doherty… I didnt take that in a good way… 😉

  5. Just think how happy you’d make all the men in the retirement home if they got a shot at an awesome, fab woman like you!

    “Shuffle your way down to my room, fella. I’ll assist your living in ways you’ll actually remember!”

  6. Stephanie says:

    I’m sitting at the car dealer waiting for the shuttle that may never arrive to take me to work. I’ve had a great laugh – as has the woman looking over my shoulder 🙂
    Seriously though – I’m glad photo booth brought a smile to your face … As well as soapy others.

  7. The blue one made me think of Janis Joplin. It has a bluesy, groovy vibe.

    I have seen my reflection in the computer screen and commented that it would make the most realistic book jacket photo–me, unwashed, chin in hand, staring at the words.

  8. To me you look less like the Slut of the Retirement Home and more like the Wicked Witch of Ohio. Mind you, coming from me, that’s a good thing 🙂

    Loved this. I’ve never heard of Photobooth. What is it?

  9. Now these are fabulous! I like them all, but especially the pencil ones. A group of three of those would make for fun wall art. And you look amazing, and I’m jealous.

    Had to send a photo to RWA yesterday and I sent one unretouched. Just because. You should have seen the crows feet. Ha ha. But ya know, I’m at an age now where I don’t care as much. So. No photoshop.

  10. Pencil is great. I also love the storybook effect of the 1st cloud picture.

    Usually, Jenny, I looked very much like your first picture. Though, I use a pencil to secure my knot. What do you use?

  11. Jenny, I can’t believe someone else sits at the computer with her chin in her palm. For a second, I thought you’d somehow gotten into my monitor and taken a picture of me! Hair pulled back, chin in hand, staring at…well, for me, it’s the fascinating copyedit I’m currently working on. I like the effects–how fun! And I think I’m totally into the slut of the retirement home concept–there’s a book in there somewhere…

  12. I like that last picture with the pencil effect. Makes you look very thoughtful. You should put that on the book jacket when you publish your first tome of philosophical essays: “I crochet, therefore I am” or “The Portrait of the Artist as a Furniture Reupholsterer” or “The Kale Drinking Society and its Enemies”.

  13. Kieran says:

    You’re so funny–you made me laugh out loud. Thanks! And you’ve got incredible bone structure.


  14. Photobooth is a program on Mac’s. Just a couple of clicks and you can take your photo.
    I’m gonna have to play with effects. I didn’t know about some of them.

  15. I’m glad Photobooth made you smile. I forget to use the effects and instead just get peeved by the colors being off.

    I especially like the pencil – effect pics. They make you look like someone Not To Be Messed With. And beautiful. Once you started smiling, even the regular photo of you inside the effects transformed into beautiful Jenny.

  16. Love the pencil effect. As for the slut in the retirement home…. well, you wouldn’t be the goodie-two-shoes in the retirement home. We know that.
    Don’t we all hope if we end up there, we’re at least a little bit bad and still having fun?

  17. Terri Osburn says:

    Your hair is so long! (Says the girl who had the Beibs haircut last fall. Not on purpose.) I love that you ladies are willing to share these pictures. I’m the least photogenic person you’ll ever meet and now have until Apr 9th to get a picture to RWA that I’m willing to see splashed on a jumbotron.

    I’m feeling nauseous just thinking about it.

  18. Sharon Bates says:

    You look amazing-those beautiful, big blue eyes and all that wonderful hair. You skin just glows!

  19. Maine Betty says:

    I take these kinds of pix for friends sometimes, so some advice to be taken for what it’s worth…
    Make sure that you are photographed slightly from above, wear makeup, more than you may usually wear, especially mascara.
    Wear a darkish solid top, with a V neck if possible.
    Outside light, or from all sides, to negate shadows.
    Have the photographer give you a count-down, 3 2 1 click, for shots, so you don’t get the rictus smile from waiting, and can throw out the ‘tude when needed.


  20. Terri Osburn says:

    Thank you! I had a plan and good to know I was on the right track. Kiddo got a new camera for Christmas so we’re headed down to the beach for some good natural light and a pretty background. Definitely with me looking up since my neck is huge and I don’t have a chin.

    V-neck is my favorite but didn’t think of the dark color. Got it. And pile on the make up. THAT I can do! You’re a life saver.

  21. AuntieJB says:

    You’re post this morning has inspired me to finally use Photobooth. I may even start a daily journal and include daily photos like Krissie does here. However, no posting on the internet for me!

    I couldn’t find the effects tool in my version of Photobooth (it updated this morning when I opened it…) Any suggestions on where to look? The effects options in iPhoto don’t have the fun ones you used. But I know they were on my Mac at somepoint…

  22. Actually like the first set, but the effects are fun too. Particularly like the pixelated-looking one and the pencil version.

    Got an iPhone? You might like the results with that better. Hubby’s been taking some pics using his that are as good quality or better than the digital camera. I hate having my picture taken (my mom says this is from trauma when I was two and my aunt’s wedding photographer chased me around and tried to handle me like a doll but I digress), but I used one of hubby’s iPhone pics of me for my author photo on my blog. It’s a simple shot with me just sitting on our stairs so no fancy background, but it didn’t distort anything like some lenses do. Plus, the pic was square. Leave it to Apple to find a way to take a pic of me that I don’t hate.

    Like Krissie’s photo diary idea & think it has real value. One day, when I’m as brave as her, I might give it a try:)

  23. Robin S. says:

    “I’m pretty sure this is what everybody who’s ever annoyed me has seen coming at them.” I howled. Thanks for the laugh.

    And is that your “wall” for writing behind you?

    (And how come you’re older than me and have way fewer wrinkles?)

  24. It’s long enough that I just twist it and tie it in a knot. I have a couple of really beautiful picks that I use when they’re at hand, but just tying it in a knot works fine.

  25. Look under the “View” menu for “Show Effects.” There are three pages of them, I think, and then a page where you can upload your own backgrounds.

  26. The bonus to PhotoBooth is that it’s right there when you sit down at the computer every morning. No finding the phone, finding somebody to hold the phone, finding the cord to download, downloading . . . You just open Photo Booth and push the button, and it’s in your computer. Plus you can take it at the same place and time every day for a real record like Krissie’s.

  27. Gwendolyn says:

    Okay, I’m in a filthy mood today so I’ll just say it. What the heck have you got to be depressed about … you are Jennifer Crusie! Yes, yes yes you have health issues but it seems to me everybody who comes to this website has serious health issues. But for crying out loud, you are Jennifer Crusie a person who has brought laughter to millions, a person whose creations are read over and over and over and then when books are falling apart and begging for the relief of an ash can people buy the same book again because you are Jennifer Crusie! You drag people kicking and screaming out of episodes of dark despair with your wit and your biting humour and your way of bringing people alive with snarky comments and a dose of realism and ways looking at things that just isn’t …. er normal! It’s fantastic! You are Jennifer Crusie idol of millions. Stop being depressed, wallow in your adulation!

    Oh, and the photo essay, another Jennifer Crusie creation exciting laughter and envy.

  28. This is for all you chin in palm people (me included). I just got back from PT for my pitiful neck and was told to check my posture very often and sit up straight. It’s very hard on your neck to let your head project forward like that. Although, maybe now that I think about it, if you’re holding your head in your hand at least you aren’t straining your neck. So you non head holders may need to check your posture even more often than the head holders.

    The other thing I’m supposed to do is put my keyboard in my lap, but that’s because of the injuries. I need to take the strain off my sholders as well as my neck. TMI?

    Well that’s my PSA for the day.

  29. German Chocolate Betty says:

    If that’s your “come hither” look, you might wanna consider getting some facial coaching. (haha)

    Of course, there ARE guys who want a powerful, “don’t fuck with me” kinda gal.

    But they’re probably not your kinda guy.

    Which, of course, also explains a lot…

    (Don’t mind me, a couple of hours ago I quite vehemently and publicly, in front of our institute’s director and personnel director, a ppt presentation about an in-house “worker satisfaction” survey. It was poorly done, it was not properly evaluated, the young guy who presented tried to defend the fact that 25% of the people didn’t answer the questions aboutg their bosses as “well sometimes people just don’t mark them” instead of facing up to the fact that they perhaps didn’t trust the anonymity and were worried about repercussions, which I deem too important a result to ignore. Oh, well, after I blew off, some other folks did too, and at least now our institute director will know who I am. However, my career chances and a lot of other people’s depends on an appropriate and well-thought-through evaluation, not just carpola bar charts. As you can tell, I am still steaming and will continue to steam for a while… So I am pickin’ nits today — and just have to keep reminding myself, only four more days and I get my furbaby, everuthing else is unimportant!)

  30. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Ooops. The missing word in the first line of the rant was “criticized” — or possibly more accurate “ripped that sucker to bits…”

    I gotta go get another glass of wine. My husband met me at the door with one, I need another….

  31. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Yeah, seriously, good on ya.

    When are we all going to realize that perfection is anonymous –it’s the slight imperfections that turn a pretty woman into a memorable one. Even those we admire are recognizable and striking BECAUSE of the variances from the ideal (would Julia Roberts be Julia Roberts without her most definitely oversized mouth — imagine her with a perfect “average” one…) Without this imperfection she would probably still be pretty but definitely not as memorable. We’re gorgeous BECAUSE of our crow’s feet, not in spite of them.

    I would like people to say, that’s a good, honest, lived-in face. I”m happy with that!

  32. Yeah, the convenience factor is a definite plus.

    Really, Apple’s good like that. We’ve had an embarrassing amount of Mac products over the years. Just added Appletv this week, too. Which is just wrong. Also convenient–so much so that I watched a movie the other day when I should have been writing. Cute, fun movie so no regrets there & the unit is awesome, but it’s a tempting little devil.

    Fact is, Apple had me at hello and I’ve been hooked ever since.

  33. See, that’s what people don’t get. “Idol of millions” is an abstract (and an exaggeration). I’m thrilled people like my books, but that has nothing to do with my life. I’m under some major money pressures here that are greater because I’m responsible for a lot of people, my puppy died, and I’m going blind. Sometimes, it gets to be too much. And then I get up and go on because that’s what human beings do, but sometimes you have to say, “I’m scared about making the mortgage next month, I miss Lyle every day and every night, and I wake wondering every day if this is the day I’ll see the black splotches that mean my AMD is in the last stage.” I think it’s a good thing to acknowledge the reality you’re facing, and sometimes you hit the wall and have to sit down and take care of yourself instead of singing, “I’m Jennifer Goddamn Crusie and I can do anything.” Because I can’t bring Lyle back and I can’t stop the AMD. I can do something about money, though, so I’m back on that. Nothing but good times ahead.

  34. Caryn says:

    You made me snarf with the Slut of the Retirement Home line. You’re wonderful.

    If you change the Display to a quick-calibrated Warm version, the light on your face will be more flattering than the True Color (blue) version. Found out by accident and thought I’d share.

  35. Jen Wyatt says:

    Oh Jenny,
    I’m so sorry about Lyle. We need all the unconditional love we can get in this world and those dear little friends can never be replaced.
    You look better now than when I saw you in Atlanta about ten years ago, so I think if I see you in another ten I may have to hate you.
    Yes, those good times are rapidly approaching.

  36. Gwendolyn says:

    I’m sorry about your dog. That alone could bring anyone even Jennifer Crusie low. And as for the AMD I can only tell you what the doctors always tell me. Medical breakthroughs are being made daily. Where there is life there is hope. Not much comfort, I know. And in spite of my earlier rant I also know that you and everyone else has the right to grieve and be brought low. Without those lows we wouldn’t appreciate the highs so very much. Anyway, I apologise for taking my disappointment at not being able to go to Newfoundland on you and everyone else today.

  37. Babe, you can always share disappointment here. You just have share the disappointment, not translate it into something else.
    But I do know what it’s like to want to be somewhere else, to have looked forward to something and then just not have the cash to do it. I think looking forward to something is such a great thing, and it’s harder and harder to do as you get older, too, so much of thrill of anticipation goes after awhile, so when you do have something you really want to do and you just can’t, it hurts. I’m really sorry you can’t make that trip; it would have been wonderful.

  38. It’s really tough because you keep thinking, “It’s just a dog.” But it’s never just a dog. I just cleaned out the last of his medication today, and now that part of the counter is completely empty. So I cried and ate bacon. It seemed like what Lyle would have wanted me to do.

  39. Yes, 1980s for me too when I worked on a newspaper. It was THE system in publishing then. Think I had the Mac Plus, the one with the tiny screen. Interesting times because we also had these mammoth computers that required their own room for proper temp control–not quite “Desk Set” big, but so big the operator seat was built-in. Plus we had traditional paste-up too. I was the lucky gal with the fab newer computer that was cute for its time. Love at first sight. And first type–the command button for shortcuts made life a lot easier. Simple design, simple operation. And still making ’em that way today. And way cuter to boot.

  40. Absolutely.
    I still miss my Nikki and she passed in August of last year. My kids often tell me I loved the dog more than them. I agree. I told them it’s because the dog never talked back except to give love. : )

  41. romney says:

    I’ve been reading Nora Ephron recently and she has a thing about how no matter what work you have done, you can always tell someones age from their neck because there is nothing you can do about it. Anyhoo, thats a roundabout way of saying you have an incredibly young looking neck. Does that count as a compliment?

  42. Gaffney sent me an article from the Washington Post that pointed out that we interact with our dogs more than our families (once the kids are grown) and that creates an incredible bond. With Lyle, we were working with him every day, feeding him special food, giving him sub-q (that’s how Lani and Alastair kept him alive) and cuddling him after. That constant physical affection is hard to deal with when it goes.

  43. My first one was a Mac Plus, too. People made fun because there was a trashcan on the desktop to delete files instead of typing the code for delete. Fools.

  44. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Ooooh! My first Mac was a “fat Mac” — a whole 256K of memory. I had to UPGRADE to get to a Mac Plus.

    Nyah-nyah-ner-nyah-nayh! (giggle)

  45. German Chocolate Betty says:

    It’s NEVER “just a dog”… Here my DH and I differ. He just couldn’t understand that my grief could be so deep and so prolonged for “just a dog.” My Daisy has been gone since January, her medication is still here, her ashes still sit on the fireplace mantle, her photo with a sprig of rosemary (for remembrance) on the table in the entryway. I still cry. BTU…her old bed (the cheap one that she like but my husband found “ugly”) will soon go to the Humane Society, and the food bin is filled with pupy chow, and finally, after nearly three months, her picture on my computer desktop has been replaced by a photo of the new pup. Who won’t replace Daisy, she’ll only distract me from Daisy’s absence. I know how you feel.

    (At least you had other dogs to cuddle with — I’ve gone three months without a wagging tail when I came home, and that was PURE HELL!)

  46. molly says:

    To warm your display color: Open System Preferences. Click Displays. Click Calibrate. Click Continue until you get to “Select a target white point” and choose Warm Yellowish White or Neutral White. Give that profile a name (ie. ReFabPicDisplay), then you’ll be able to choose it from the list you see under Displays in the System Preferences.

    It’s not good for other work, as it makes the screen dingy (to me, anyway).

    I hadn’t realized it would affect photo booth pics. Cool.

    ALSO: the photo booth filters work in video iChat. I was playing with them while chatting with my sister and we laughed until we cried.

  47. molly says:

    Also– now that you are playing with Photoshop, note how overexposing the image is an automatic wrinkle reducer. There’s a reason they always overexpose older actresses who are selling cosmetics. It’s magic.

  48. Early adopter. You guys take the fun out of everything.
    My fave thing about the MacPlus is the cartoons from Bloom County with the MacPlus with feet.

  49. I worked with Macs beginning in 1985 and actually started out on an Apple Lisa. Nyah! Moving up to the Mac was a huge upgrade. I also wired our AppleTalk network, too. 🙂

  50. Kelly S. says:

    I totally saw the come hither look and not a Don’t fuck me look in photo 3. The men in the home will be happy to have you there. I really like the 3rd effect photo & your smile! Great cheeks!

  51. Oh honey, they’re never JUST dogs. And Lyle was so much more than JUST anything. He defied death and description, remember?

    I’m so sorry you’re so blue. Hopefully the warm filter will boost your self-perception a bit once you play around for a while. You are still gorgeous, even depressed.

    Hugs and smooches to you!

  52. Off to yoga class, but must comment: couple of those black-and-whites are seriously fine for a suspense series, say four-parts, each named for a color. Looks like one heckuva suspense writer you’ve got going there.

  53. Love the Other Doggies and trust the doctors who are working day and night – I know they are, I see them – to help with your AMD.

  54. I thought my family was nuts when they told me to keep my dog’s ashes. But after i picked up her ashes, when I got into the car and put the box on the seat next to me, I swear my first thought was “oh good! Going for a car ride with the dog again.”
    Even I don’t understand why that made a difference, but it really did.

  55. So true. My last cat went two years ago now & I’m still dealing. Same as with Lyle, she was sick and needed care for months before she went. Our bond was strong before & all her little habits and scheduling hard wired into the family, but the intensity of all the caring & knowing it was on borrowed time really amps things.

    Truthfully, I don’t know how you’ve functioned so well. It took me a week after my cat went just to get dressed.

  56. I have my pets cremated and keep the ashes now too, Merry. In fab urns. Does make me feel better. I’ve had lots of pets in my life, and I’m fortunate that most lived to ripe old ages. But in the old days, the custom was to bury them in the backyard when they went. Every time I had to move, I felt like I was leaving them behind. Not anymore:)

  57. Maine Betty says:

    From his picture, he was quite the expansive character, so he was bound to leave a big hole in your life. He looked pretty jaunty, and we get so used to the exact noises they make, it’s such an absence. Stoicism in this circumstance is over-rated.

  58. He used to climb up on the pillows I was leaning against while I read, and put his chin on my shoulder or, if the pillows were high enough, on the top of my head. And then he’d go to sleep. I’m cleaning out the kitchen now, and I keep finding things that are his. He was a good, good dog.

  59. RedwoodKim says:

    The line my husband well and truly hooked me with:
    “There is nothing “just” about a dog.” I think it is one of life’s cruelest jokes that these animals who give us so much love and joy have such incredibly short life spans. It ain’t right, at all.

  60. RedwoodKim says:

    Six years now, still miss my Rosie every day. By the time I felt like a new dog wouldn’t be the not-Rosie dog, the babies started coming, and I could only deal with that much neediness from one species at a time. This summer, I hope.

  61. Gina says:

    Our dog died last August and the entire family still misses him terribly. He was a little over 14 1/2. We brought the dog home when he was 9 months old, our son was 10 months old and we didn’t even have our daughter yet. They all grew up together. It has been really rough.

    Each of us still have “Tony moments” when for some reason we have an acute moment of missing him.

    I feel for you so much.

  62. Maine Betty says:

    Oh my God, what a sweetie. I still describe our Golden, Maggie, that way. “She was a good dog.” and smile. And SHE died in1987. I only stopped comparing all Goldens I would see to her some time in the 2000s. She won, of course.

  63. Micki says:

    You are a beautiful woman, but there was definitely something Gertrude Steinish about those first photos. Loved to see the progression to happiness.

    PhotoBooth Effects for Life . . . . OK, well, there’s sex, drugs and rock and roll, but there is also doing something you love . . . . So many waves in life, and you just have to roll with it until you come back up to the peak again, I think.

  64. Maine Betty says:

    Really, (excuse my assvice) I don’t think you’re depressed so much as you’re sad. You’ve lost a friend, and are facing a big loss, and that is sad. You’ve taken all the actions you could for Lyle, and for your health, and now it’s time for grieving. And in a while, you’ll find more action, and figure more things out. But for now, it’s sad.

  65. Lisa in Atlanta says:

    Lyle wasn’t just a dog.
    In the past 9 months, my mother died, my cat died my mentor died and my sister died. I find myself crying more about the loss of Harry, the cat, because he was my daily comforter and laugh inducer.

  66. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Oh. Lisa, I sooooo understand. In less than two years, my husband died, my father-in-law died, my mother-inlaw died (in that order) between the first and second death I changed jobs and continents… For two years I had almost no time or energy to cry. And then, I (almost) lost my job (due to downsizing, but after 18 months of sweating blood, I kept it), I was stalked and then one of my dogs died. It was the dog that pushed me over the edge.

    Sigh. Furbabies. Nothing like ’em. Three more days and I get my new baby.

  67. Lisa in Atlanta says:

    Yay to new furbabies! They balance add such great positive energy.

    I have two joining me on April 23.

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