Sick on a Sunday

Things I Think When I Eat Salad

Posted in Uncategorized by jamie on January 17, 2011

1. This salad could use more bacon.
2. This salad could use more cheese.
3. There are too many green leafy things in this salad.
4. OH FUCK TOMATOES.
5. I can has moar bacon?

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A Long Story About Falling Down. In Spain.

Posted in Geography, Random Rants by jamie on December 29, 2010

The summer between 11th and 12th grade, I participated in a student exchange program and spent five weeks in Spain.  I stayed with a (fantastic, loving, generous) family in a small beach town called Cullera, about 30 km outside of Valencia for the majority of my stay.  The first and last few days, however, were spent just outside Madrid at youth camps with other American students in the program and a few chaperones.

We were all good kids on paper – the exchange program had fairly stringent standards and we’d all been accepted not only based on academic performance, but on personal recommendations as well.  With few exceptions, we were good kids IRL as well, and therefore weren’t exactly given strict boundaries by our chaperones.  Between meeting a chaperone at the Madrid train station and going back to the airport for our flights home, we were spending the night reunited with each other at one of those camps. We were permitted to leave camp, unaccompanied, to go find ice cream.  Or whatever.  We didn’t have any “lights out” time or anything like that.

Spain is fucking fantastic all around, but one of my favorite things about it is that you can’t go anywhere without being within walking proximity to both an heladeria (ice cream parlor, more or less) and a bar (that’s Spanish for “bar”).  One of my favorite things about Spain when I was 17, however, was that the drinking age was 16 (technically, it’s 16 for wine and beer, and it’s 18 for hard liquor, but I never saw the hard liquor law enforced).

Our plane back to the States was leaving early in the morning, and our trip took us from Madrid to Zurich to JFK.  From JFK, we’d all go our separate ways, and I was flying into Long Beach.  That’s a 2 hour flight, a 7 hour flight, and a 5 hour flight in 4 different time zones with hours-long layovers in every city.

And so, we decided to blow off sleeping the night before in order to go find a bar.

A group of about 6 of us had noticed a group of buildings a few hundred yards in the distance, down an old road. Despite the fact that the buildings looked like warehouses, I’m still pretty sure there’s some zoning law in Spain that requires at least one bar per three buildings, thus three warehouses = one bar.

The camp was surrounded by a not-very-well-maintained chain-link fence, and outside was pretty much nothing.  Just fields. We found a hole in the fence and squeezed through.  The road looked like it had been paved some time ago, but the old school way where they just stuck little rocks to the ground with tar.  They had obviously not maintained this road, and the little pebbles were all loose. In fact, the road was completely abandoned – it was hardly wide enough for two cars, let alone parking, and there were neither moving nor parked cars

About halfway to our destination, we came across an unoccupied, seemingly abandoned car parked in the middle of the road: a single lone car in the middle of an old, empty road. As we got closer, we noticed that there was a small, strange red light blinking inside the car.

Hesitantly, we pressed on despite being totally creeped out. When we were within, oh, 15 feet of the car, we heard the car ticking.  NO SHIT, TICKING.

Tck tck tck tck tck.

We all exchange glances and someone (all of us?) yelled, “RUN!!!” And we all turned around and ran as fast as we could away from what could only have been a time/car bomb.

Except me.  I turned as fast as I could, took two steps, and fell face first into the road.

I fell, while sprinting, face first into an unpaved road scattered with pebbles while a car bomb was waiting to go off, in a foreign country, outside of the very clear boundary of where I was supposed to be.  This is terrifying and stupid, but also hilarious.

My friends kept running until they heard me laughing.  A few turned around to come get me and they helped me to my feet.  My knees stung and I had tweaked my hip, but in our haste to get away from the ticking car, I just ran/limped until we got back to camp.

Once we were back in the light, I realized my jeans were completely destroyed at the knees and I was covered in blood.  But still, hilarious.  Seriously, it’s okay to laugh.  I was laughing, my friends were laughing.

But despite the humor, my friends realized that maybe I was in need of medical attention, or at least first aid.  My knee was completely split open and if there had been any skin left, I would have probably required stitches.  But we really didn’t want to wake up Fernando, our chaperone, since we’d obviously been fucking around and been where we weren’t supposed to.

Instead, my friends decide to wake up this girl we (affectionately, although behind her back) referred to as “Mom” (because she acted like one), because we knew she’d have first aid supplies.  Which, of course, she did.

My memory gets sort of fuzzy here, and I can’t remember if we decided we needed to wake up Fernando because my knee was full of rocks and Mom’s first aid supplies proved to be insufficient, or if Fernando just caught on to the commotion and came outside to tend to it.  But point is, Fernando came outside to help.  I did not get in trouble (unless you count almost seriously injuring myself).

Fernando was very proficient in English, but struggled a little with medical terminology.  And the first thing he did when he saw my knee was stick his fingers in the open wound and move them around.  This is when everything stopped being hilarious and really started to hurt.  However, it was necessary because he did manage to get the rocks out, pour peroxide on my leg, and apply a large band-aid.

A few hours later, I had 3 international flights to catch over a 2-day period.  If this were today, and not 2002, someone would probably have an iPhone video of me hobbling around airports trying to make my flights, and it would be awesome.

Have you ever let an open wound sort of just hide under jeans while you’re walking around airports and riding planes for 2 days?  It was yellow and oozing pus through the bandage and through my jeans by the time I got home.  Fortunately, my dad fancies himself an EMT, so with his medical attention I did not lose my leg.  However, I totally get why all those amputations were necessary before the days of readily-available peroxide and sterile band-aids.

8 1/2 years later, I still have a pretty visible scar on my left knee.  As well as a hell of a story about falling down.

Pet Stores: the new farmers’ market?

Posted in Random Rants, The Ladies by jamie on December 15, 2010

Bruce lets me know that his hay is so insufficient that he will only rest his feet on soft towels.

I sent the boyfriend to Centinela the other night for bunny pellets and hay.

He came back thrilled because women talked to him, and thus “totally hit on” him.

It sounded like another customer noticed him with her eyes and the clerk asked him friendly questions about his rabbit.  His storytelling sounded like normal, friendly pet store banter to me.

Are pet stores the new farmers’ market when it comes to picking up harmless men?

(Incidentally, I had a male employee from that same Centinela insist on carrying the hay I’d just purchased to my car once.  Figured it was store policy or something.)

Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time: Dumb

Posted in Entertainment, Random Rants, Things That Don't Own by jamie on December 15, 2010

I like Nick Swardson, more or less, so when his show came on after the Colbert Report last night, I left it on.

It was dumb.  And not just, like, not funny.  It was like the show’s writers didn’t really know what they were talking about and didn’t bother to fact-check.  I get that it’s a sketch comedy show, but for me to be correcting really stupid things that I’m not an expert on is just sloppy television.

This came up in a Google image search for "archaeologist". The guy in the sketch was wearing this same hat.

 

 

For example, they reenact the discovery of King Tut’s tomb and someone says something along the lines of, “I didn’t get into anthropology for this!”

Anthropology? I may have an advantage discerning the differences between anthropology and archaeology, having taken Anthropology 2* in college, but it only takes one viewing of Indiana Jones to be able to identify an archeologist.

 

 

 

Example two, which is a bit more serious: Guy goes into the Amazon and learns about voodoo.

Funny, because voodoo was brought to the Caribbean and French diaspora by West African slaves.  I’m no cartographer, but I’m pretty sure the Amazon is in South America.  I did, however, take a “Francophone Narrative” class in college where, oddly, I learned about this stuff. (And what the word “diaspora” means.)

Even without a Comparative Literature college minor (because why else would you take a class called Francophone Narrative?), the writing staff probably could have figured out the basics with their available resources.  Like, I dunno, Google. Or Wikipedia.  In fact, a Wikipedia search for “voodoo” produces these results:

Pretty sure “Amazonian Voodoo” is not an option.  And it’s not like the actual people of the Amazon aren’t pretty prevalent in the news and a frequently studied group of people (hey! this is where anthropology comes in!). This would almost be racist if it weren’t so willfully ignorant and lazy.

And on top of it all, the show is boring and not funny.  Sorry Nick, better luck next time.

*UC’s denote lower-division classes as single-digit numbers, instead of 100-level classes like most other schools I’m aware of.

Distant Relatives & Christmas Cards

Posted in Geography by jamiemarie on December 2, 2010

It’s that time of year again and I’m sending Christmas cards. This is one of the few opportunities I don’t feel uncomfortable reaching out to people I haven’t seen in a gajillion years, particularly my extended family. Everyone likes getting real, physical mail with a pleasant message.  And it’s a nice reminder that I still exist.

I emailed my mom for some of her siblings’ addresses.  Apparently her youngest brother has not only a physical address, but a PO Box as well. I was thrown off at first, but hell, they live in Tennessee.  I thought maybe it was just a rural area so they have to be very specific as to the location of the PO Box. So I google mapped it the city.

Trade, TN

rivers > roads

Basically, they live in a wishbone.  There are more rivers than roads! I wonder if my cousins have to take boats to school.  Or they have electricity.

Just to put things in perspective, here’s a map of my city, at equal zoom.

Redondo Beach, CA

ocean > land

Guess I’m gonna have to pay Uncle Rich a visit! I should probably bring an oil lamp and telegraph machine.

Grandma goes to the Getty

Posted in Random Rants by jamie on November 24, 2010

Getty MuseumA few years ago, my grandmother came from New Jersey to visit us in California. I had her to myself one day, and decided to take her to the Getty Museum, where their traveling exhibition was Rembrant’s Late Religious Portraits. I thought, “This is great! My Irish-Catholic grandmother will love this!”

She spent a significant amount of time at each portrait.  About half an hour into it, I really thought she was enjoying it. I stood next to her while she stood between two of the portraits.  I asked her, “What do you think, Grandma?”

In a huffy voice, “Well, I’ve never heard of this saint.”  Yeah, Grandma, I’m sure Rembrant just made up a saint.

Then later, “Why is this one’s frame so much bigger?!”

And again, “Why is this frame gold?!”

That was all she had to say.  I took her to see a renowned artist’s religious work, and all Grandma could comment on were the frames.

 

Thanksgiving is boring

Posted in Random Rants by jamie on November 24, 2010

A turkey thanks President Bush for the pardonTomorrow is Thanksgiving, and as it approaches, my RSS feed is clogged with holiday horror stories, guides to surviving your family, awkward moments with the in-laws, lists of typical arguments, etc. And you know what?  I’m frankly disappointed in my family.

I have three branches of families with which I spend at least some part of the Thanksgiving holiday. They are all drama-free, relaxed, competent chefs, and relatively local.

To top off their laid-back attitudes, the farthest I have to travel is the 45 miles. And not, like, 45 minutes on the Wednesday before through a snowstorm, but 45 miles in LA on a holiday morning. It will take us maybe an hour to get there. This means no stopping and roadside diners for makeshift Thanksgiving dinner while we wait for a blizzard to pass; no delayed flights, no terrible layovers, and no TSA pat downs.

Both of my parents make an awesome Thanksgiving dinner.  Both my parents like cooking and do it often, so they’re familiar with their kitchens and appliances.  As far as the meal goes, very little changes year-to-year.  Consequently, there are no kitchen mishaps like trying to deep fry a frozen turkey or something not cooking all the way through.  In fact, my single mother has been successfully serving a full Thanksgiving dinner on her own for 15 years.

Furthermore, I have no local extended family, save for two third-cousins who are gracious, fun, and as laid-back as everyone else. And even my family was local, there is a serious lack of crazy racists, bitter old maids and cat ladies, drug addicts, fighters, or anyone else who might spice things up, despite being mostly Irish-Catholic.  We are an embarrassment to our heritage.  My grandmother, despite not being quite all there, will likely spend the day pouring herself high balls and making harmless, inane commentary.

My sister is a college sophomore, and my brother is just finishing up his college applications.  No one got knocked up, failed any classes, picked up a drug addiction, or anything interesting!  And on top of that, we all get along.  I’d even go as far as saying we enjoy each other’s company.

Having finished college, held a decent job for 3 years, and lived with my boyfriend for over a year; you may expect some “what’s next” sort of questioning.  However, my parents are divorced which absolves me of any marriage and children questions or pressure.  My parents love me and are proud of me and are nothing but supportive of my decisions these days; and same goes for my siblings.

Tomorrow, my boyfriend and I will wake up at an entirely reasonable hour, grab the food I’ll make tonight, and head to my mom’s.  We will spend the day watching the Macy’s parade, dog shows, football, and Harry Potter with my mom and my sister.  The four of us will have a delicious meal and return to the couch in tryptofan-and-wine-induced comas, until my sister’s boyfriend comes by, and later, my third-cousins.  We’ll all have dessert together.  Then we’ll go home.  Life is so hard sometimes!

Basically, I’m grateful 364 days of the year for the wonderful qualities of my family and friends that allow holidays to be so stress-free.  Except on Thanksgiving, when they’re boring.  Step up your game, guys. ❤

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I went to the 2010 Women’s Conference and all I got was this giant bag of free shit

Posted in Random Rants, The Ladies by jamie on October 29, 2010

Every year, the company I work for attends the California Women’s Conference in Long Beach, put on by the First Lady of California.  Since we’re California, our First Lady is Maria Shriver and boy-oh-boy does that lady have connections.  The following is an email I wrote to my mom, in response to, “How was the conference?”

It was long and crowded!  But some great, high-profile speakers.

I guess this is sort of demeaning, but Justice Ginsberg and Justice O’Connor are such cute little old ladies!  I mean, their discussion (with Diane Sawyer) was great and they had a lot of interesting things to say – but Justice Ginsberg even had gloves on!  And they both came on stage with their purses!  It was so cute.  They seem like the nicest people and they had nothing but nice things to say about their colleagues.  They had a video of Justices Kagan and Sotomayor thanking them and sharing their experiences with the first two Supreme Court ladies, it was really nice.

Michelle Obama was boring, frankly.  She gave the same speech she gives everywhere and after the terribly organized two-tiered security, just wasn’t worth it.  If you were in a section close to the stage, you had to go through Secret Service!  They had ONE metal detector for a few thousand people.  Took me over an hour to get to my seat.  Standing in a big crowd for an hour made me go, “Well, I’m not a security threat now… but I’m about to be.”

Dr. Jill Biden was more interesting, and said a wider variety of stuff.  I didn’t expect to see her speak, but I was glad she did.

Laura Bush was surprisingly really entertaining.  She was really witty and self-deprecating, and her speech wasn’t at all politically charged.  She was lighthearted and it was clear she didn’t take herself so seriously, which wasn’t at all what I expected because she looks like a Stepford Wife.  I’ve always been sort of terrified of her.

Oprah got super preachy, especially to a group of middle-aged white women.  Although I suppose that’s her audience.  It was a nice intro to her history and all the good stuff she’s done for communities and in South Africa (you know, minus those teachers who were molesting the girls, but they didn’t mention that).  But when she got into saying things like, “When you ask God for a miracle, and you do see one, readjust your perception!”  Yeah, Oprah, tell that to Africa.  I was also disappointed I wasn’t given a free car or anything.

Brian Williams was really funny, but the dudes he spoke with – the president (founder?) of Nike, the CEO (founder?) of Starbucks, and Nick Kristof (NYT reporter) – were sorta weird.  Well, except Nick Kristof, who had genuinely interesting things to say.  The other two were just there for PR coverage and were obviously sort of uncomfortable about it.

Eve Ensler (a poet, and the author of the Vagina Monologues) sort of just shouted at us for 30 minutes about cancer and rape, so that was fun.  She was there last year before she was diagnosed with cancer, and she sort of just shouted at us for 30 minutes about her vagina.  Like, I get that these are important topics, and appreciate the courage it takes to talk to 14,000 people about it, and I understand what she’s trying to do.  But does she have to be so shouty?

Mary Olliver, another poet, read some poems and was just another super cute old lady.  I don’t really like poems, but hers were more or less straightforward and still beautifully written, with subject matter everyone can relate to.  And she had a poem about her dog eating a book, so that was nice.  Maria Shriver said in her introduction that she’d been trying to get Mary Olliver there since the very first conference, but she’d never shown.  When she got up, she said something to the effect of, “What Maria doesn’t know is that I’ve always intended on coming.  I’ve just been walking.”

Oh my, and then the big to-do.  First, Matt Lauer spoke alone with the current governor.  Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose last name my boss recently misspelled “Swartznigger” – as if he’s a black jew) is obviously comfortable in front of a lot of people, and he’s incredibly articulate about how he felt now that he’s about to leave office.  He talked about his approach to politics, his commitment to bipartisanship, and what he did and didn’t accomplish.  He seemed very passionate.

Then Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown joined the conversation.  Matt Lauer was very clear from the beginning that it wasn’t a debate, they weren’t here to really discuss the campaign, but it was more of a discussion about California and its future.  This apparently did not register to either candidate, although Jerry Brown came off a lot more fluidly and congenially.  But then again, he’s like the Joe Biden of state politics: an old man who just doesn’t give a shit what he says anymore (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Joe Biden, and I love crazy old men who just don’t give shits).  Meg Whitman sort of just spouted campaign points, which was boring, and which we’ve all heard before.

[Before I go on, I should say that while I’m voting for Jerry Brown, it’s only because Meg Whitman is a real shit.  I don’t particularly like him, but she’s way worse.  I mean, I’ve been voting longer than she has, and she’s old enough to by my mom.  I’d like a governor who cared a little more about politics, thankyouverymuch.]

Then it got interesting when Matt Lauer was like, “There’s been a lot of negativity throughout this campaign season, you’ve got 6 more days until election day, would you be willing to take down all your negative ads?”  Brown was basically like, “I will if she will.”  And Whitman was like, “WAAAAHHHH MY FEELINGS ARE HURT!” But neither really answered the question.  I got the impression that Whitman couldn’t commit to anything without the advice of her campaign manager.  But eventually, she kept trying to weasel her way out of it, saying things like, “Well, I’ll pull anything that could even remotely be construed as a personal attack, but I think it’s important that people know Jerry Brown’s record, blah blah blah.”

Then the ladies in the audience got pissed.  Like, really pissed.  They booed her and I was genuinely concerned they were going to riot.  Then, a crazy lady sitting somewhere behind me (in the nosebleeds) shouted, “GET BACK TO THE WOMEN, WE DON’T CARE ABOUT POLITICS.”  Which (1) shut up lady, I care about politics, and (2) implies she doesn’t think women really have a place in politics.  The general anger in the room after Whitman refused is the part you probably missed in any of the coverage.

And on a personal note, it seems unfair for Whitman to be all “but his record must be shown!” when she has no record to speak of.  If he could do the same – and just run ads that feature her history, he couldn’t, because she has none.  So that’s totally not a compromise.   Not interested in politicians who are incapable of coming to a fair(ish) compromise.

Brown even tried to convince her, saying, “I have an ad where I just look at the camera and say what I intend to do.  You have a very nice ad where you do the same thing.  Let’s pull the others and just run those.”  But no dice.  She has since released a statement saying she will not pull any ads.  Arnold did a very nice job closing the conversation by saying very nice things about each candidate – that if she was elected, she’d be the first woman, and that if he was elected we could use his experience.  Or something like that, but it was very nice and he made a very good mediator.

Anyway, those were all the notable speakers.  My “breakout conversation” sessions weren’t that interesting and I only remember about half the people on any of the panels.  Rosario Dawson dropped an f-bomb, but that’s what stands out the most.

That’s about it! I got a lot of free stuff.  Do you need any reusable grocery bags?  How about a tape measure keychain?  Or a keychain that’s a compass, a whistle, and a light?  No, just kidding, I want that one.

Maybe if I’m not feeling so lazy later, I’ll update with photos.

“Do you ever feel like an adult?”

Posted in Uncategorized by jamie on September 30, 2010

A friend just turned 26, and at his birthday party he asked no one in particular, “Do you ever feel like an adult?”

The unanimous answer was “Just when I pay bills.”

This works for me.

What Pandora thinks my life is like

Posted in Random Rants by jamiemarie on September 30, 2010

The last few days, I’ve been getting ads from Pandora (streaming music) that have sort of made me go “whaaaaaa?”  When I registered, I probably had to tell them my age (25), gender (female), and where I live (Redondo Beach, CA), so I suppose these ads are targeted to whatever my demographic is.  And apparently, my demographic wants to get married.

Here are some samples of what 25-year-old women in Los Angeles want.

#1: TwoOfUs.org

two of us?

About the ad: TwoOfUs.org.  Based on this ad, it looks like they cater to young, married couples and give them tips about married life.  I guess this makes sense,  because if you’re a young, married couple, it’s likely most of your friends aren’t, and therefore you may need outside help on marital issues.  On the other hand, it’s totally ridiculous.  This is my favorite, it popped up yesterday, and that’s when I started paying attention.

What this says about me:  I am already married.  Bbeing married gives me a sense of “now what?”  I do not know any grown-ups I trust enough to have a conversation about the first stages of marriage with.  I like men who wear ugly, ribbed, pastel turtlenecks.  I probably did not live with my now-husband before, because otherwise, would this really seem like something new?

In real life: I’m not married.  I am, however, living in sin with my boyfriend.  And you know what?  They’re right: the only thing “keep[ing] our relationship fresh” is the anticipation of marriage.  Oh wait, no.  Not at all.  In fact, I’m totally happy with my current situation.  When my relationship starts feeling stale (i.e. the opposite of “fresh”), we just get drunk.  Problem solved.

#2: Jared Jewelry Galleria

About the ad: Jared is a jewelry store chain with the most annoying theme song and TV commercials ever.  The one with the girl doing the crossword puzzle: “What’s a 13-letter-world for true love?” (or something equally stupid) “He. Went. To. Jared. ZOMGMARRIEDZOMGWTFILUIRLZOMG.”

What this says about me: I am not married.  But I want to be.  Desperately.  And my boyfriend is only worth as much as the jewelry he buys me.  Otherwise, my girlfriends will be seriously disappointed.

In real life: Well, I do like shiny things, so they’re on to something there.  However, I’m not responsible enough for expensive jewelry.  As I mentioned before, I am in no rush to get married.  And finally, my jewelry best come from Tiffany’s, bitch.

#3: Nuva Ring

About the ad: Nuva Ring is a form of birth control.  The ad itself is pink and purple (natch!), but mostly looks like the side of a medicine bottle.

What this says about me: NO BABIES NO BABIES NO BABIES.

In real life: NO BABIES NO BABIES NO BABIES.  They’ve pretty much nailed it this time.

#4: Ford

FordAbout the ad: Just a big Ford logo.  To be honest, I’m impressed that Ford would advertised to me as I don’t think I have ever in my life seen Ford advertise to women.  It’s always big trucks and manly shit.  Because girls are dainty and can’t drive cars and don’t watch sports.  Incidentally, I’ve been driving a GMC Sierra around recently and remarkably (to Ford’s advertising team) haven’t crashed it.

What this says about me: I need a new car.  I have money to spend on a new car.

In real life: Actually, they’re right.  I do need a new car.  My car – a Chevy, ironically enough – died in the middle of the 405 this past Saturday.  How do they know these things?! I do not, however, have money to spend on a new car.

In summary: I am constantly consumed with thoughts of marriage – but not children! – and I am wealthy enough for a car payment.  The only people I know who fit that description live with their parents or their in-laws.  AWKWARD.

Things they should advertise to me: Well, they’re right on with the birth control, ’cause let me tell you, I am a fan.  I would also respond well to ads for fancy cheeses, microbrews, discount DVDs, flip flops, and nerdy genre TV shows.

So take note, advertisers!  Now I’m going to go browse the message boards at twoofus.org because I enjoy judging people.