Oscar Schmoscar
Monday, February 28, 2005
I'm too tired to really think about a clever post today. I do feel, however, that I would be remiss NOT to quickly cover my thoughts on last night's Academy Awards.

Chris Rock was hilarious, Hilary Swank's dress was unbelievably gorgeous, Antonio Banderas looked like a homeless man with greasy hair, and this guy was caught nodding off during a close-up on the person sitting adjacent to him. Bad form, I think, falling asleep at the Oscars.

I did find it somewhat unfortunate that the general public doesn't seem to have caught and/or appreciated the sarcasm of the whole thing-- the opening monologue, the shtick between Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, and all the fabulous (and true) one-liners. I was listening to the radio this morning, and everyone seems to think that the CLEARLY organized bits were actually accidental, such as the Short Film nominee who was "sleeping," and the absence of Catherine Zeta Jones. Please, people. Did you really buy that?

As Michael Kors would say, "I was underwhelmed."

Judging Jamie
Friday, February 25, 2005
This weekend, I'll be judging an IHSDTA competition in Crawfordsville, Indiana. I am excited because the people associated with IHSDTA are amazing and wonderful to work with. I've never judged in this part of the state before, so I'm sure to see new stuff from a lot of teams I've never worked with before. I'm also SURE that I'll have a good story or two to share when I return. Have a great weekend!

What the hell is going on here?

Photo Caption Contest
I know I 86'ed the whole caption contest thing, but I saw this photo and just HAD to resurrect it. All captions due by end of business (Central) on Monday. The winner will receive a super fun gift.

First Rate Turd
Thursday, February 24, 2005
I'm writing this post about Veiled Conceit, one of my favorite blogs. JH turned me onto it -- she is LONG overdue for her own blog, by the way. Anyone who uses the word "tootsie" on a semi-regular basis should have a blog. But, I digress.

Recently one of the beloved cast of Law & Order: SVU got married to a famous chef. Well let's put it this way-- I knew exactly who she is, but had never even heard of him. Apparently he's an enormous jackass, according to the comments here.

I've never heard anyone so opinionated about a chef! I love the internet! But mostly I just wanted to have a posting entitled "First Rate Turd." Hehe.

Hooray for Jay! I shrieked (literally) when Heidi-Hodee-Howdy made the announcement that Jay had won the Project Runway competition.

Congrats, you crazy lug of a chain smoker, you!

Scarier than a clown
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
I'm killing time before the season finale of Project Runway (T-minus 10 minutes and counting), so I decided to take another test off of SimilarMinds. It's a test where you mark certain, and apparently telling, distances on your face...then answer a series of questions. The test then tells you, based on your facial proportions and answers, about all the facets of your personality.

I learned two things in doing this test:

1. My most dominant and least dominant facial features are the width and length of my nose, respectively. Gee, thanks for restating the obvious. I didn't need a computer to remind me that where others have a cute, perky sniffer, I have a doorknob.

2. It listed a personality snapshot of characteristics, ALL OF WHICH WERE SO COMPLETELY ACCURATE I ALMOST CRAPPED MY PANTS, PEOPLE. Read 'em and weep - here's my personality in a nutshell:

"clean, self revealing, open, organized, outgoing, social, enjoys leadership and managing others, dominant, makes friends easily, does not like to be alone, assertive, hard working, finisher, optimistic, positive, likes to stand out, likes large parties, respects authority, practical, high self esteem, perfectionist, dislikes chaos, busy, not familiar with the dark side of life, controlling, high self control, traditional, tough, likes to fit in, conforming, brutally honest, takes precautions"

I'm officially frightened by the accuracy of this test. Do this test and report back as to whether it was as spot-on for you, as it was for me.

My favorite dog on my favorite couch
Behold, the head of the house! Here's a recent photo of my dog Doc, doing what he does best-- eating the fuzz off of tennis balls. You think I'm kidding...


Total Accuracy
THanks to P, I'm now engrossed with this self-quizzing website called "Similar Minds." Below, you'll see the breakdown of a recent quiz that I took. It's not the prettiest graphic, but it's dead-on. I would like to think that I'm not really that aggressive, but I suppose aggression takes on many different forms.

Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||||||| 80%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||||| 60%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||| 50%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity |||||| 28%
Type 5 Detachment |||||||||| 34%
Type 6 Anxiety |||||||||| 37%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||| 40%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||| 44%
Your main type is 1
Your variant is social
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Check out the site! It's such a time waster - I love it!

50 Things I Love
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Yet another list, I've ripped from someone else's blog. This idea came from Caroline, one of the blogs I've recently been enjoying.

50 THINGS I LOVE (in random order)

1. Sweatpants
2. Old, homemade christmas ornaments
3. My dog
4. Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" (esp. winter)
5. Fabric band-aids
6. The Container Store
7. The internet
8. Chicken fried rice with extra soy sauce
9. Project Runway
10. Indestructible plastic milk crates
11. My family
12. Venti Skim/no-whip mochas
13. My grey slippers recycled from authentic German lederhosen
14. Traveling
15. Dancing
16. Shout Wipes
17. The couch in the front room
18. Paintings by Jack Vettriano
19. The Cars
20. My book club
21. White holiday lights
22. Honest people
23. Bags
24. Maruchen Ramen Noodles (chicken flavor)
25. Eric & Kathy in the mornings
26. Any movie with Meg Ryan
27. SMD
28. Scrabble
29. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
30. Men in uniform
31. The Beth Hart Band
32. Lint rollers
33. My friends
34. Organizing my closet
35. Potbelly's tuna-no-cheese-on-wheat-please
36. Daydreaming
37. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
38. 24-hour laundromats
39. Wrigley Field
40. Reading my blog roll every day
41. Constructive criticism
42. Being productive
43. Fun smelling beauty products
44. Shoes
45. Email
46. The City of Chicago
47. The smell of the air the first time you open your windows in the Spring
48. Writing letters
49. Diet Coke
50. My blue fleece jacket

The appeal of violence - Short story Long
Snapshot of my mornings: park car. enter through rear dock door. walk through steel shop, past wet saws. walk through packing area, try not to trip over boxes and large chunks of foam. pick up paperwork in factory floor office, trying not to attract attention from any number of workers since i don't speak spanish and can't understand what they're saying as i walk past them. up a long flight of metal stairs. past a smelly bathroom, and down another long storage hallway. enter main office, walk into my office.

This routine is pretty standard for every morning I am here, with the exception of this morning. When I arrived, I noticed that everyone who works on the floor was standing around, outside of the warehouse office. This is unusual, as breaks are usually spent eating and smoking outside. Apparently a fistfight broke out during the morning break, and the guys were all just hanging out, waiting to see what happens to the participants.

What is it about violence that is so thrilling to men? I may as well have been standing on the blacktop of a junior high playground...that's what they looked like. Boys waiting around after recess to see who gets suspended. I don't get it. If I have ANY male readers, can somebody please enlighten me as to what is so appealing about this situation?

Random Observations
Monday, February 21, 2005
I spent last weekend in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, working the WACPC dance team championships. I haven't really been active in the Wisco Pom World in awhile, so I was surprised and entertained by several things...

1. Apparently the pop remix trend has yet to pass through this area of the Midwest. EVERY SINGLE ROUTINE was set to music that consisted of a classic song with a heinous thumping beat on top of the notes. It was like a 80's-only deejay had taken every song and turned it into a euro-beated, club mixed, booming bass nightmare. Songs overheard: "I Feel the Earth Move" by Carly Simon, "I Want to Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston, 89 different versions of the ever popular "Sandstorm" by Durade, and the always rocking "Orbital B-Bop" off of the Girls Just Want to Have Fun soundtrack.

2. When the going gets rough, where do dance team parents go? Apparently, they go to the hotel bar for a couple cocktails. My hotel was across the street from the convention center, and every time I went downstairs...let's just say that their spirit didn't come from the heart, it came from Eddie, the bartender. I guess you have to fuel the fire within if you really want to go the distance when cheering on your team.

3. Is there a secret sign for snow in Wisconsin? I caught the weather update on the evening news right after I'd left the facility (in the middle of the awards ceremony)...and by the time I had taken my shoes off and washed my face, the first flakes were falling. It was like the natives could smell the snow, and the impending doom it would have on their evenings. I sat at my window in awe, watching teams exit the building single-file. I've never seen such organized chaos- coaches were doing frantic headcounts as all the little bunheads got onto the busses, dads were scraping off cars at raceway speeds, and the entire place was empty and dark in less than 30 minutes. NO LIE, PEOPLE. THE ENTIRE CONVENTION CENTER- EVEN THE CUSTODIAL STAFF. When it comes to a potential snowstorm, these cheeseheads aren't messing around.

Weekend Update with Jamie Jamerkins
Friday, February 18, 2005
Well I'm off to the hinterlands of Wisconsin for the weekend. LaCrosse, to be precise, to judge the State Dance Team Championships. Should be interesting, considering I've worked dance camps in Wisconsin, but not in a LOOOOOONG time. What an adventure it will be!

Must-haves for the 2005 Dance season: bad hand technique, shimmery jazz tights, and as MUCH unnecessary fringe as possible. You heard it here first.

I'm back on Sunday, when I can share my insight and experiences with the internet at large.

Book Club Archive
Thursday, February 17, 2005
It occurred to me that one may be interested in what we have read since we first begun our crazy adventure. Roll call!

Lovely Bones / Alice Sebold*
Henry's List of Wrongs / John Scott Shepherd*
The Nanny Diaries / Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
The Dive from Clausen's Pier / Ann Packer*
The Secret Life of Bees / Sue Monk Kidd
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency / Alexander McCall Smith
The DaVinci Code / Dan Brown
Three Junes / Julia Glass
The 5 People You Meet in Heaven / Mitch Albom
Five Fortunes / Beth McGutcheon*
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn / Betty Smith
Midwives / Chris Bohjalian
Step Ball Change / Jeanne Ray
The Seduction of Water / Carol Goodman
My Sister's Keeper / Jodi Picoult*
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons / Lorna Landvik
What to Keep / Jennifer Cline
Bastard Out of Carolina / Dorothy Allison
What was She Thinking? / Zoe Heller

* denotes my personal top 5

Update: As a group, we generally do not recommend "What was She Thinking" to ANYONE. We're not slamming it, per se, but it left very little to discussion since we all pretty much agree that the main topic of the book is GROSS/SICK/DISGUSTING (read: icky). Meetings aren't any fun if everyone agrees!

That Damn Book Club
As some of you may know, I am a member of a book club. It's a small grouping of my friends and their mothers (mad props to HeatherW and Susan W for the idea). It wasn't started as a mother-daughter book club, but morphed into one a couple of meetings into our existence. We actually try and discuss the book, eat some tasty food, and maintain a monthly schedule. Every holiday, we get together for dinner and a gift exchange (providing that the gift is a book, of course). Whether or not they're aware of it, I consider my book club to be highly valuable to me, my sanity, and my literary awareness.

I've decided that each month, following our book club meeting, I am going to blog about it. Predictable...yes. Potentially boring...yes. Do I care?...No. I encourage anyone who reads my blog to read the books we choose each month - we're a diverse group with diverse tastes, so each month should be interesting at the VERY least.

Up next: "Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guterson. (We're also going to be watching the film version at our next meeting)

I have a window in my office which allows me to keep up to date with the weather conditions outside. (A bonus, when you consider that I'm generally accustomed being seated at a bland, interior cubicle desk) Granted, it has security bars over it because my office is at roof level, and our factory is in one of the most dangerous sections of west Chicago...but I digress.

Today, through my window, the weather looked absolutely beautiful! Sunny, crisp, clear, dry, and breezy. Then I ran out to my car to grab something and about lost all my limbs to frostbite. HOW CAN SUCH BEAUTIFUL WEATHER BE SO DAMN COLD?! Seriously, it was a shock to the system -- like when you're a kid on vacation at a hotel, and decide to jump right into the pool after spending 10 minutes in the hot tub. Brr! Give me goosebumps just thinking about it.

Makes me want to curl up in the sunshine (indoors) with a Hot Toddy and a good book.

Da-Da-Da, Da, Duh, Dum.......CHARGE!
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Recently I got my very first credit card. One might ask, "Jamie, at 25, you never had a credit card before?!" And I would respond, "Yes, dear reader, that is correct." My parents were always adamant about de-mystifying the idea of money as we were growing up -- explaining to us why things cost what they do, communicating the concept of financial self-discipline and deferred gratification (which I never really absorbed), trying to give us examples of why we couldn't buy rollerblades with the chore money we got from raking the lawn, etc. When my sister and I went off to college, we were instructed NEVER to apply for a credit card from those random kiosks (or on the UIUC campus, card tables on every corner on campus) giving away free t-shirts in exchange for financial information.

So, like the good little girl that I was, I obeyed. Then I graduated college and couldn't get a credit card. WHUH?! I was told that my lack of a credit history (albeit not BAD credit, but the absence of credit altogether) was hurting my ability to establish a credit record. Kind of a viscious cycle, if you really think about it.

So the arrival of my new credit card a month or so ago prompted the age old question...How quickly can I get to a mall?! (just kidding...that's the second most prominent question, duh) I asked myself, what is really worth this ridiculous interest rate? Vacation? Car maintenance emergencies? The annual, massive sale at my favorite boutique? (Turns out the answer to that question was a resounding YES) Medical emergencies?

All these questions, and no good answers. I suppose I'll just have to be responsible, which is no fun at all. Thank you, credit card company, for believing in my ability to manage my own finances, and thereby prompting me to question every purchase I make. Being an adult blows.

Gratuitous Dog Pic
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Warning: Doc, my beloved pup, is apparently an exhibitionist. While selecting the photo that I would post today, it occurred to me that I don't have ANY photos of him where he's not deliberately exposing himself to the camera. Someday I will compile all the photos into one slideshow for your viewing enjoyment- Canine Wiener: An Expose. Fortunately for him, he is well-endowed where it matters most, if you catch my drift.

Here's lookin' at you, Kid.

I personally focus on his adorable little goatee of white hair- eee! Stop me before I launch into baby talk drivel over how cute this dog is!

Do me a Favor
Monday, February 14, 2005
I know that there are a lot of important political initiatives out there, that desperately need our support - like supporting a woman's right to exercise her reproductive rights, supporting people in marriage (regardless of their sexual orientation), and supporting my right to shop wherever, whenever I want to...but this issue hits home for me, as a dog owner, advocate, and friend.

Please take time to click on this link and send a simple letter to your state representative (if you're not from IL, you can link-surf around to find your state's reps). Click Here

Today is one of those luscious, semi-gloomy, faux spring days that make me want to crawl back into bed with a good book and a warm puppy. Especially after such a fun weekend! Even though it's gloomy outside, I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Valentine's Day!

(I think Merry fits the holiday more than Happy. And it rhymes with very. I've never heard anyone say "Have a crappy Happy Valentine's Day!" and I think we all know why)

* Urp *
Friday, February 11, 2005

I changed her hair color, obviously, to look more like myself. See how royal I could be? (Photo courtesy of Darryn Reeds)

Last night, JH and I decided that we were going to make our stressful weeks disappear by having some Chardonnay and a nice dinner of gourmet pizza and salad. 9000 glasses of wine (of all kinds, might I add) later, I was plowed. More drunk than I have been in quite some time. Sometimes my body acts strangely under the influence - I have left Cubs games stone cold sober before, and then other times, I can have 2 glasses of wine and be completely down for the count. It's odd, really, and unpredictable.

To make a long, disgusting story short, I ended up ill. Bowing to the porcelain throne, etc. etc. Blah-bitty blah blah, you get my point. Halfway through the night, when I was still sick, I realized it had to be food poisoning. This morning, when I drove my zombie-self to work, I figured if I could NOT vomit for the 1/2 hour trip into the office, I could manage at least part of a day of work. I was right, and now my own self-discipline is making me sick.

I think I'm becoming an adult.

This one goes out to KL and JW
Thursday, February 10, 2005

Anybody wanna peanut?

Well color me happy, there's a sofa in here for 2!
Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I love the movie Pretty Woman. Not because of Richard Gere, or because it's a predictable romantic comedy...but because it's FICTION, people. It's totally unbelievable. It's an escape from reality. If the plot of that movie happened in real life, it would be on the cover of every tabloid as a cover up for one of the participant's real gender preference, and sexually transmitted diseases advocates everywhere would have a field day with the possible hygienic messages it sends. Who on EARTH really believes that this movie is about love?

Isn't true love supposed to be about holding someone's hair back, ignoring their cellulite, eating their poorly-cooked meals, and having pointless bickering matches? Nothing says "I Love You" like a scary looking homemade card, cleaning up after yourself, or taking the dog out when it's 6:30 am and freezing cold outside.

No wonder so many women have issues with romance. They're all waiting around for Mr. Rich and Dashing Man to pull up in a white limo and climb the fire escape.

In your opinion, what constitutes true love? (no Princess Bride quotes, please)

How to be Your Own Therapist
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
- Preheat oven to 5000 degrees
- Take one crazy girl and marinate in 1 unit of very bad day.
- Mix with 1 loudly barking dog, 1 days worth of gloomy weather, and 1 bitter disposition.
- Bring to a rolling, rapid boil.
- Turn down heat temporarily and allow to simmer for 1-2 hours.
- Pour girl mixture into pot and place in oven with 1 cell phone.
- Check occasionally
- When mixture appears to be on edge of explosion, remove from oven.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes
- Sprinkle liberally with Supportive Roommate Powder

In the past few days, I have been greatly distracted by some difficult things going on in my life. I would like to extend my apologies to EVERYONE whom I tangled up in my whining, complaining, and general unhappiness. There are times when I just can't suck it up, and need to let it all hang loose. (even I cannot be composed all the time) I truly appreciate all the patience these people have displayed with me, when I was at my absolute worst. I consider myself a pretty levelheaded, grounded person, so when you see me freaking out...well let's just say that forewarned is fairwarned.

Thank you to KMS, SMD, JKJ, and God for helping me dig myself out of the rut.

Monday, February 07, 2005
Oh manic Monday morning, how I hate thee with the rage of a thousand fires...Hark! Is that the ringing of church bells that I hear? Nay, it is my telephone, leaving only my ears to ring with the painful cacophony that is yet another upset client. Alas, I am weakened by my sweet, endearing nature to make promises that mine own factory floor cannot accomodate. I fear my only purpose in life is to talk yon retailers down from yon ledges. How I wish I could escape into the foggy distance in search of rest and a poultice to heal my rising blood pressure.

45 minutes of my life that I will never get back
Friday, February 04, 2005
I'm stuck on the phone (yes, that's right...I'm still on hold) trying to pick up the pieces of a shipment gone awry. And whose fault is it? Oh, THE CLIENT.


There's a reason that was all in caps. That's how annoyed I am right now.

I miss working downtown. I don't necessarily miss my old job that much, although I do very much miss the people and the company. I like my new job and my coworkers as well. But I think what I miss MOST OF ALL is the eL. Driving to work has its own unique challenges, unpredictability being one of them.

Sure, CTA has its ups and downs, delays, and occasional subway fires...but I really miss being able to just jump on the train. There's no scraping of ice involved, no freezing cold steering wheel in the morning, and no stopping at gas stations.

This morning on my way into work, I realized that I drive through some pretty rough areas of Chicago on my way to the office. Often times I'll see cars parked on the side of the road, riddled with broken glass and bullet holes. Add to that a quick trip through the Lathrop Homes Housing Project, and having to dodge large, tricked out conversion vans with tinted windows and oversize wheels. It's like they think they're the only ones on the road, I swear.

Also seen this morning, courtesy of the intersection of North Ave and Kimball Street: a woman drove her car into the front wall of a diner. I didn't see it, I only heard it. Scary stuff - she had a toddler in her car at the time, and there was no apparent reason for her...detour.

Oh, how I miss the much more tame urban jungle of North Michigan Avenue!

Beauty Blunder?
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
This past weekend, my older sister and her husband took my niece to a baby beauty contest, I suppose you could call it. Not really sure if it was a pageant, but definitely resembled one. We have all been telling Jo that she needed to enroll Bri in baby modeling, maybe to start earning money to invest in college savings, or some such intelligent investment. After all, she is ONE CUTE BABY.

Enjoy all the photos that my sister sent me from the day-- you can see that the judges agreed with our family. Bri took home 4 trophies, some in her age bracket, and the big one is for the "Highest Point Total Overall" award. Phew, talk about pressure to perform! At first I felt like perhaps we were all getting ourselves into a JonBenet Ramsey situation, you know, when pageantry goes awry. But then it occurred to me that my sister and brother-in-law are not crazy, psychotic, or deluded about their child and her looks and/or abilities.

What it really comes down to is that we all love her dearly, and she holds a special place in our hearts and lives, no matter how many trophies there are to be had.

Reunited, and it feels so GOOD
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
After I had my teeth done, I had to eat all white and/or clear foods for 24 hours. This is no picnic for someone who is accustomed to consuming a constant stream of caffeine, in the fabulous form of Diet Coke.

I just had my first Diet Coke since the procedure, and DAMN, does that taste good.

DAMN. Makes me want to sing Peaches & Herb at the top of my lungs...

Reunited 'cuz we underSTOOD...