Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Top Films of 2009

I think I realized upon making this list that I enjoy films with true innovation incorporated; a non-tired formula, a breathtaking frame, something that might have looked crazy on paper but perfect on film, etc. I liked a lot of movies this year, and it was probably the hardest time I've had narrowing this list down - I had to cut some films I thought were near perfect like Bright Star and Precious because I so enjoyed another film even more. That's hard to say for many other years of movie-going; I had to add a second half of the list enumerating those who were also top ten material, and perhaps in another year could have been numero uno. What are your top ten movies?





01 Star Trek

I was surprised myself when I learned that Star Trek was my favourite film this year. Perhaps I shouldn't have, as I saw it FOUR TIMES in the theaters. But when putting this list together I'd face two movies against each other and ask myself which one I liked more. Star Trek won every time! JJ Abrams delivered such an original take on the old (boring!) franchise and added in some fresh talent (Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana) to a truly captivating and smart story. I never thought I'd say I liked Star Trek, but here I am, and Abrams has been entertaining me for years!

02 Broken Embraces

I am in love with every single frame of this film. I think ENTHRALLED is the word. While watching I wanted to scream, "TE AMO ALMODOVAR" from my seat: it's all so beautiful even in tragedy. Penelope Cruz was mesmerizing, as she always is when working in one of his films. As a film lover, there was almost nothing better than this ode to art and filmmaking.

03 The Hurt Locker

I wasn't sure what to expect from this war film, but I was completely captivated from the start. The movie is tense and introspective; it's not a typical war movie driven by politics. It's almost a character study of a man as soldier, and the changing effects of war on his person. The movie has action and director Kathryn Bigelow certainly knows action (she directed Point Break), but there's also a level of intimacy here that draws you in more than any explosion.

04 District 9

With Star Trek, 2009 was a banner year in science fiction film. (Remember how last year ended with the dismally awful The Day the Earth Stood Still?!) In the same way that sci-fi movies/literature used to be (is it still?) powerful in their metaphors-as-commentary, District 9 hit the scene in Orwellian tradition. Not only did I enjoy the film on an intellectual level, but it was packed with action, emotion, great special effects, and a lead character you cheered for. Sharlto Copley wins for best debut acting I've seen this year.

05 UP

Just when I thought Pixar couldn't top Wall-E comes this lovely, tragic, and hilarious gem. I saw it twice in the theaters and cried both times. I may even tear up thinking about it now (what a loser). It looked amazing and the story was near-perfect in it's unfolding; I always feel insanely happy after watching it.

06 Inglourious Basterds

I can't deny how much I enjoyed Tarantino's WWII let's-rewrite-history extravaganza. I was most skeptical when it was in production: Tarantino's doing a movie about Nazis? But, it proved to be the least jumpy film he's made in the last few years, with wonderfully paced scenes and brilliant acting. I don't know if anyone can beat Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa; perhaps my favourite character of all the movies I've seen this year. Not to mention Melanie Laurent as Shoshana and the rest of an fantastic ensemble cast. Well done indeed, Mr. Tarantino.

07 I Love You, Man

I was so surprised. I seriously love this movie though.......man. It was probably my least favourite theater-going experience ever, but I still laughed to the brink of crying and did so again when I watched it on a plane a few months later. Comedies these days tend to rely on old tricks of the trade over and over and over again: let's be grosser, sexier, more outlandish. There was some heart here with minimal stupidity and just straight up comedy. It didn't do what most comedies have done to me in the past few years: offend me or my brain. And for that, I love it. I was surprised, also, to learn that Entertainment Weekly bestowed it as the #4 movie on their year-end list and to wit - "Hamburg crams I Love You, Man with gags as wild as anything in The Hangover (only far better executed). Yet what makes the film a keeper is its understanding that a strong friendship can be as complicated as a romance because it is a romance." Agreed!

08 The Fantastic Mr. Fox

What can I say? I love Wes Anderson, but his movies tend to be too cartoony for the stories he's telling (not a fan of The Life Aquatic or Darjeeling Limited), and with this film all I can say is: you've found your medium, Wes! Go for it! The film made me laugh with the characters, get sad with the characters, and want to dance around with FURRY ANIMATED CHARACTERS. I love you, Mr. Fox.

09 500 Days of Summer

I am going to refer to a section of the post I wrote when I first saw the movie:

[500 Days of Summer] could be a little heartwrenching at times, but it was mostly funny. As much as it reminds you of the crap parts of relationships, it also reminds you of the good stuff. The feeling of a mutual smile or thought, the feeling of requiting a crush, or the feeling of keeping a good moment always.

It's still true and you can read the rest of it which includes praising the GREAT performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel right HERE.

10 Whip It

I really, truly fell in love with this movie. Maybe I feel this way because I've always been obsessed with film, but Whip It is probably similar to the movie I would make if I were a filmmaker. I totally got director Drew Barrymore's thinking through the entire movie: there's far too many films with girls as wilting flowers, with girls who don't get along with other girls, with girls whose aspirations amount to "have a boyfriend" or "be a sexpot." Perhaps it navigated too many of these themes and could seem a bit cluttered, what with the sport and the interesting plotline of a daughter's relationship with her mother, among others - but it was FUN and well-acted and relatable and hilarious. And it made me super excited to see what Drew will cook up next.

Ah, the rest of my list, all who were serious contenders for top ten placement (but here in no particular order) - the whys and whynots:

An Education
Why: a story with nuances rarely played out well on the big screen, fine cast and great acting
Why not: gah, it was so hard not to put this in my top ten!

Bright Star
Why: Campion's one of my favourite directors and she doesn't disappoint here - the beauty of this film is in its subtleties, and I was in a trance watching
Why not: again - it was so hard not to put this in my top ten

Jennifer's Body
Why: because it was hilarious, smart, had the power to make me not hate Megan Fox, and it featured many a Motion City Soundtrack poster
Why not: a decent but flawed movie in a sea of big contenders

Sunshine Cleaning
Why: great ensemble; was in step with all of the characters and loved the humor
Why not: sometimes fell flat

Avatar
Why: made me a believer in whatever technology Cameron cooked up to make it look the way it did - those landscapes and animals and people were lovely to watch
Why not: the story was a bit predictable

Precious
Why: probably the most dramatic film I saw this year, full of sadness and tension
Why not: little too real, too sad to truly say I "enjoyed" it, though it's a great, great film

The Hangover
Why: LAUGH RIOT, and Galiafinakis' character alone
Why not: uses some of those old comedy standbys that are funny, but not innovative in any way

Big Fan
Why: quite an original film to be sure, and had the power to make me feel uneasy
Why not: that feeling of uneasiness can't be enjoyed over and over again

The Road
Why: great book, wonderful translation of it to screen
Why not: that book was so depressing in itself that I don't think I needed the visuals, it was almost scarring to watch

Away We Go
Why: I'm a huge Sam Mendes fan and there was some real hilarious truths within the film
Why not: got a bit kitschy at times

Good, but not good enough:
Drag Me To Hell
The Brothers Bloom
The September Issue
The Proposal
The Blind Side
Coraline
2012
Sherlock Holmes

Not a fan:
Public Enemies
The Informant!
Watchmen
Bride Wars
The Girlfriend Experience

WORST MOVIES OF THE YEAR:
He's Just Not That Into You
Wolverine


Highly Anticipated in 2010:
Iron Man 2
Inception


And of course, there are those movies I've yet to see, which therefore, I couldn't include on any lists:
Where the Wild Things Are, Up in the Air, Nine, Invictus, A Single Man, A Serious Man, The Lovely Bones, etc.

FYI: I'm actually on my way right now to go see Up in the Air, so some part of this list may change by the end of tonight!

UPDATE: I remembered a few other movies (there are now TWO worst movies of the year!) and also I really liked Up in the Air - but I can't even fathom starting to insert it among this list. It's definitely TOPS material though. I feel like I should give it the same "settling time" I gave to the other films. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Top Albums of 2009

It's here! It's here! My top albums of 2009! Though I had quite a busy year with the wedding and stalled a bit in hearing new music, with the help of my friend Rick I pulled through in the last half of the year and found some GREAT music. Well, great to me!

There is always a disclaimer before such lists, because of how haughty some people get regarding one's own opinion. Just remember that I haven't had a chance to listen to every release of 2009 (i.e., Say Anything), which may be because I don't have lots of time and it's not my job to listen to music all the time. These are my personal favorites of 2009, and I wouldn't expect anybody else's list to look exactly the same - the beauty of differing opinions. What are your top ten releases of this year?


01 fun. / Aim and Ignite
I think anyone who loved The Format has to love this album, and I love love love love it! It makes me laugh and bop my head from side to side. Upon first listen I wasn't sure exactly how I felt, but now I'm obsessed with it! Favourite songs: At Least I'm Not as Sad (As I Used to Be), Be Calm, I Wanna Be the One ($5.99 via Amazon mp3)


02 Metric / Fantasies
A truly fantastic effort; while I've always loved Metric, I think they just 100% proved themselves to be a cornerstone of my music library with Fantasies. This was the hardest album to pick the songs apart, as I love each and every one of them. Favourite songs: Help I'm Alive, Sick Muse, Twilight Galaxy, Gimme Sympathy ($5.99 via Amazon mp3)

03 Florence + the Machine / Lungs
WOAH! was what went through my head after hearing the first song on the album, "Dog Days Are Over," and that sentiment continued throughout. I am in love with this woman's voice and her fun and sometimes kooky sounds. Definitely my fave discovery this year. Favourite songs: Kiss with a Fist, I'm Not Calling You a Liar, Dog Days Are Over ($7.99 on Amazon mp3)

04 St. Vincent / Actor
Again, another album in which I was hooked from the very first sounds. Her voice sounds delicate at times, and her songs are quite mesmerizing. It's interesting, never bland, and always lovely. This album's been on repeat for most of December. Favourite songs: The Strangers, Actor Out of Work, Laughing With a Mouth Full of Blood ($7.99 on Amazon mp3)

05 Paramore / Brand New Eyes
Yes! Finally Paramore grew up a bit and made the album I was hoping for! I liked Riot! okay, but there were only a handful of songs I liked compared to this album where each song sounds full - whether it's full of anger or happiness or vulnerability. There's only one skipper on this one (it has a breakdown and vocals like an Avril Lavigne song); the rest of the songs are a great achievement for this young band. Favourite songs: Misguided Ghosts, Where The Lines Overlap ($7.99 on Amazon mp3)

06 Dashboard Confessional / Alter the Ending
Of course Carrabba's showing up on this list! The guy (and his band) continue to grow; his voice may still be the same, but his themes are getting heavier. With the double-disc full band/acoustic packaging, there are some songs I prefer one way or the other, like I have for most of his discography - and if there's one thing this guy knows, it's his fans. Favourite songs: Get Me Right, Even Now, Water and Bridges, Hell on the Throat ($10.99 on Amazon mp3)

07 The Avett Brothers / I and Love and You
I don't even know what to fully make of these dudes, as I don't know much about them at all, but I do know that their album rules and it's a bit folky but different and it makes me smile a lot. I dare you not to smile during "Kick Drum Heart"! Favourite songs: Kick Drum Heart, January Wedding, The Perfect Space ($9.99 on Amazon mp3)

08 Neko Case / Middle Cyclone
You know how sometimes you like something so much that you know there's no way you'll be able to describe it's amazingness in any way for people to understand it? You have to tell them just to listen? Listen to Neko! This album is an epic beauty. Favourite songs: This Tornado Loves You, Vengeance is Sleeping, Middle Cyclone, Prison Girls ($5.99 on Amazon mp3)

09 Mandy Moore / Amanda Leigh
I had no idea this was going to end up being in my tops when I heard she was coming out with an album! However, upon listening and then getting to meet Mandy, I am a huge fan. Her voice is sweet and not overblown and this was on repeat for a good chunk of my summer! Favourite songs: I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week, Bug ($5.00 on Amazon mp3)

10 Band of Skulls / Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
To be honest, Lily Allen occupied this space for most of the time writing this post. I was wavering between her and Band of Skulls for a while and then I re-listened to them both today...sorry, Lily, I just love this trio's sound! There are some great hip-shaking songs on this album! Favourite songs: I Know What I Am, Honest ($5.99 on Amazon mp3)



Honorable mentions:
Lily Allen / It's Not Me, It's You
Brand New / Daisy
Them Crooked Vultures / Them Crooked Vultures
Yeah Yeah Yeahs / It's Blitz!
500 Days of Summer soundtrack
Phoenix / Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Stars of Track and Field / A Time For Lions
Monsters of Folk / Monsters of Folk
M.Ward / Hold Time

I'm not going to lie, this year some of my favourite musicians put out albums that I just never warmed up to, and felt a bit disappointed by:

Tegan and Sara / Sainthood
Muse / The Resistance

BUT I'M SO EXCITED FOR 2010!! Because I'm highly anticipating:

Motion City Soundtrack / My Dinosaur Life (um, yes, I've heard it, but we're going by release dates! And I'm ridiculously excited for everyone to hear it on January 19th!)
She & Him / Volume Two (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

There it is! Again, I ask, what are your top ten?! Are you totally with me on some of my choices?

Questions 38-42 (That Dude and His Band Edition)

Ah, the questions about Jesse! These were pretty hard to answer. I feel like I could go on and on and on, but I won't!

Were you hesitant to start dating (no less marry) a guy in a band that tours often? How do you deal with his frequent absence from home?

When I first started dating Jesse he was in town recording an album and would be off to Europe for tour within a month. I knew all this but I also knew it was worth a try, given how much I liked him. And there were definitely moments in the beginning that I hesitated diving into it, as he could have been like certain other touring guys out there who aren't particularly great or loyal when they're out of sight. My fears were swiftly squashed as we got to know each other, and I knew that we were on the same page before he left. Since the beginning, we've kept everything very much on the surface - there were no dating games.

Of course, dating and marrying somebody that is on tour is a challenge; but every relationship has challenges and him traveling is pretty routine at this point. I miss him a lot, of course, but I wouldn't change anything about how our relationship has evolved in the past three years. I've developed some pretty good communication skills having moved around all my life and keeping up a lot of long distance friendships and Jesse's the same way. It's almost a non-issue because touring is his job - and I'm obviously supportive of his career, as he would be if I was the one that traveled the world while he worked from an office. We miss each other a lot when he's gone though, that's for sure! And I get the added benefit of visiting him on the road, to cities and places I've never been and we get to explore them together.

Your second question I can answer along with the next one...

How does it feel to be married and have your beau on the road fairly often? How do you cope?

Well, the best thing about the whirlwind that was this year is that I am extremely busy; there's always something going on, some errand to run, some movie I must catch. And my friends are amazing in this city that never sleeps, so I never feel too lonely when he's gone.

Keeping myself busy is key, as well as keeping in touch with him while he's out there. Best thing ever: video chat! Seriously, forget texting, email, and the phone...we have the best conversations when we can see each other while we talk. We make time for each other and put in the effort, because, in case you hadn't noticed, you know, we like each other and we're in love. (Barf.)

That's all I've got: communication is most important, and be clear: it's not a medium in which you can play any guessing games. You've already got tons of white noise going on with the distance and when and how you communicate, it's not wise to waste each other's time dancing around subjects or not telling each other how you feel. And, of course, it's about that word we always hear - trust. Does that make sense? Hope so.

What is the hardest part of having a boyfriend/husband/"other" on tour all the time? How does it feel to be married to one of the members of Motion City Soundtrack? Did you fall in love with his amazing handstand on the moog?

The hardest part, to me, is missing out on something great that he's experiencing, or when I'm having a great time and he can't be right by my side. Like the holiday party - I had a blast, and I only wish Jesse had been there to share it! We have plenty of years and fun times together ahead of us, though.

It feels great to be married! And to a member of one of my favourite bands is cool I guess, but it's weird how I didn't really think about it that much when we started dating. The band stuff kind of all melted away when we began hanging out and getting deep in conversation and having tons of fun. We connected on a personal level that wasn't tied to the band; as much as people are skeptical about guys in bands, some dudes in bands are skeptical on the reason a girl is with him. I don't think Jesse would have proposed if he thought I was in it for free tickets to MCS shows!

His moogstand is quite amazing, but definitely not the reason I fell in love with him!

I have 2 questions! haha

(1) How did you & Jesse meet?

Yay! Easy! I've already written all that out here: PART I & PART II.
(2) Do you ever find it hard to date (and now be married to - congrats btw!) to a guy in a band? I just recently started dating a guy in a band and I'm worried about how it will work when he's on tour and I'm still in school! 

I think I answered this above; I hope it helps a little. Any long distance takes some time to find a rhythm in which you're both comfortable!

Yeah, man. What a jerk that Matt Taylor is! Once I was in the front row and am sure I looked absolutely ridiculous since my life was being completed and all, but that dude had the nerve to actually laugh at me!

And I just wanted to say it makes me REALLY happy that you were a fan of the band before meeting Jesse.

And a question: the other day I was mentioning to a fellow MCS fan how I follow Jesse's wifes's blog and she asked your name. I of course wanted to say Jessica but then I was like, could it really be Jesse and Jessica? And how had I not noticed? Were you called Jessie growing up? Is it ever strange?
 
Ha, great to find this one in my inbox! Yeah, I never hid it, I've always been a fan of the music and the shows. I just wasn't a personal fan of Jesse until much later!

I was not called Jessie growing up by anybody except a relative or two; I don't like the nickname! It's not really "strange" that our names are similar, it's actually just funny. Especially when we're with our parents who have always shortened our names to "Jess" and we both look up. It's been a couple of years but it still happens!

That's what I've got! A couple more question posts are in draft mode right now. And hopefully tonight I'll post my Top Ten Albums of 2009! Got any more questions?

Monday, December 28, 2009

One-thousand...

Um, dear people reading this, NEWS ALERT: this is my ONE THOUSANDTH POST. I know. I KNOW. Wow. I'm not sure how to commemorate it, as I planned to just write the second half of my Chicago trip and then I saw that stat on my dashboard. Maybe I'll re-hash the site a bit? Expect that this week. After spending more than a year with everything purple because of the wedding, I'm done with it! Tried to Live Forever shall be revitalized! Or just the colors will change. TUNE IN FOR THE BIG (or small) REVEAL! And here is me excited to share this news:




He's always popping on my lap when I'm at the computer! What a ham.

Also, expect about ten posts this week, I'm not kidding, my drafts are a pilin' up!

However, I will try to epilogue my adventures in Chicago right now! Where was I?

Saturday night! Motion City was gearing up to play their album COMMIT THIS TO MEMORY! Me being me, I was beyond excited, and my friend Sam was even moreso. As Adam was to put it later: nobody deserved to be there more than Sam that night. Agreed!

I digress.

So when we got to Lincoln Hall, we ate a little dinner with Jesse, and I caught up with Josh's lovely wife Jill for a bit. Then we found our spots on the railing for some more Ultimate Fakebook show. I'm not going to lie, Justin and Matt were totally geeking out to UF; it's always fun to see the people who's music geeks you out geek out themselves. (Did that sentence make sense? I don't care.)

And so the band took the stage for Commit This and I started jumping up and down and singing along to "Attractive Today." Adam was rocking out as well, and by the third song in Sam appeared next to me as she was alongside some not-as-enthusiastic rockers previously and we jumped up and down and screamed together like wee girls and it was most fun. As I've learned from most concerts I've been to, it's always best to be next to someone who is as into the music as you are! In a related note, I dearly missed my friend Katie Brown during "Time Turned Fragile" as we both do a splendiferous job of imitating Tony's drum breakdown and segue into Jesse's keyboard part.

(Yes, I am really this nerdy and into my husband's band. Admitted.)

Afterwards, Sam and I were sweaty and exhilirated with the AMAZING live show. I'm not biased here when I say that MCS puts out a great live show; that's how I first discovered them! When we saw Jesse backstage, we were almost of equal sweat with him. That's gross, I know.

Jesse and some of us were quite famished so after the show we went to a BBQ wings place down the street from the venue. It was delicious, though I really hate wings (I ordered the pulled pork sandwich), and we had an uproarious meal.

"Uproarious," Jessica, really?

YES. Here's why: most everybody except for Adam and I ordered wings, which you can get in a range of probably twenty different flavors/degrees of hotness. Jesse ordered some wings that were the second to most hot flavor. He ate one and telling us about his body's trial in doing so - hot throat, sweating, eyes watering, etc. Sam, I believe, remarked on this description and tried half of one of the hot wings and then Jesse challenged her to eat the rest of it without drinking anything until we paid the bill and got to the next bar for $20. Sam agreed, and I don't know why it was so fascinating and hilarious, but it was. Sam took it like a trooper! She was sitting there as we finished off our beers, as the waitress charged the bill wrong and had to fix it, and for the ten-plus minute walk to the bar in which we got lost several times. She said when she opened her mouth in the cold she thought it would help with the burning feeling in her mouth, but it only made it worse. OWWWWW. BUT SAM MADE IT! We got to the bar, she drank some water, and a milk her boyfriend Jim had purchased for her, and honorably collected her $20.

Bets with hot sauce = far more entertaining than I thought possible. Congratulations, Sam! Bravo!

After a quick jaunt at the bar, we headed back to the hotel in our exhaustion. The next day, Sunday, I'd be flying back to New York, and I was a bit bummed...

HOWEVER, as we got up for the continental breakfast usual, and headed to a nearby sports bar to catch some football, I got an alert on my phone mere minutes before I hopped a cab to the airport: FLIGHT CANCELLED. Now, I had friends flying that day at 3pm and 5pm and 7:30pm. My flight was at 4. My flight, incidentally, was also the only one that was cancelled! What the what? Anyway. It ended up being a blessing in disguise as I got to spend the evening with Adam and Jesse and Jamie and a suprise visit from none other than Sarah who flew in from Detroit. LUFF.

And Motion City Soundtrack was playing EVEN IF IT KILLS ME, their last album and the one they were recording when I met Jesse. Barftime alert, but for real, I was so happy to be able to see them play that album! It's like a live show of my decade nearly - you know how everyone's spouting out these "best of the decade" lists?! All three of their albums would be on mine and they each were the soundtrack to some pretty great years and pivotal events in my life. I was especially looking forward to the band playing the last track, the title track, and I was not disappointed - though I'm a huge "Last Night" fan, hearing "Even If It Kills Me" live was beyond. It was the first time they'd ever played it live. And it was absolutely brilliant.

Jamie from Oh! How Lovely! got to enjoy her first Motion City show and Sarah from Sillygrrl was back! I'd last seen Sarah at Bamboozle two (wow, it was really two!) years ago for Motion City's set. It was fun to hang with the blog friends! I also got to see Ang one more time before I left, as she stopped by my hotel to say bye when my flight was still on time. What a gal!

After the show, Adam, Diaz, Jesse, and I headed to a diner across the street to satiate our appetite (I mean, I'm not bouncing around as much as Jesse, but I do feel tired after jumping and screaming after shows. Ha.) Then we went back to the hotel and I was pooped. POOPED. My flight had been rescheduled for the next morning, so I decided to stay in and sleep since I had to get up at 7am.

I honestly can't believe how jam-packed the weekend was with FUN!! I love my friends, I love Motion City, I love live shows, I love exploring and adventuring, and above all I love my husband. RAD. Two days after I got home, I was off to Massachusetts for Christmas with the family. But that is a story for another time!

Thank you for reading, readers. My 1000th is dedicated to you <3

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Indoor living, lacerated to the bone.

My Chicago weekend marks another great, amazing, splendiferous weekend of 2009! I was sitting at the airport looking back on all the fun I've had this year, and I almost can't believe it. I almost can't believe the year is basically OVER!

Last Wednesday, I met up with Erica after work and we got a car to LaGuardia, an airport inferior to JFK in my opinion. Anyway, we waited at the gate for a while and with minimal delays (besides Erica yelling "Mom" for me from two rows behind - I'm such a mom these days to my friends?!) made it to Chicago. Her dude Diaz picked us up as the kindly gentleman he is, and they dropped me off at the Days Inn in Lincoln Park to meet up with my hotelmate for the evening, Adam.

Jesse and the Motion City dudes wouldn't be arriving from their rehearsals in Minneapolis until the following day, Thursday, so Adam and I had the night to BE ON VACATION. I called up Ang, who lives in Chicago and blogs at Loud & Proud, and apparently could get to the area quickly - she took us to a little bar with cheap sangria and we had a lovely evening! She's completely adorable and hilarious and our collective sangria conversation didn't end until around two in the morning, and Adam and I were so surprised how late we were up! But, time, flies, fun, etc.



Angie!

On Thursday morning, Adam and I made the most of the free continental breakfast and woke up at 10:30. Well, actually, I was up at 10am and then tried getting Adam up at 10:30 with a quiet "Adam?" at which he practically bounded out of bed, ready to shower and eat. Just learning each other's habits!




And I tell you what: that breakfast was delicious. Adam here just scored some donuts, but I remember having a smorgasbord of cereal, donut, toast, fruit, and coffee. You could also make your own waffles. And it's all free! (Everyday we woke up in time to get to breakfast before the 11am shutdown time.) These type of things excite me, and thus, I blog them.




After breakfast, we walked to the brown line of the El and met up with our friends Jim & Sam who were also in Chicago for the marvelous shows.




We had a plan: Art Institute to see um, art, and because it was where the friends go in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Yes. Then eats, then Millenium Park, some minimal shopping, etc.




Grabbed this shot of Adam and Sam taking in some pieces.




Adam got this shot of me looking at Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande JatteVery Cameron, you see. This whole area of the museum kept in step with my reading of Madame Bovary, so that's probably what I was thinking of in this picture. The rest of his fabulous photos from the entire weekend are on his flickr HERE.



We saw some great and sometimes weird art, and then we looked for somewhere to eat. We found a restaurant called Midtown and settled in. I'm not afraid to say that I had the best sandwich of my entire life there - a roasted pear, brie, and turkey sandwich. Holy majoly, I devoured it. With a desert pear margarita. Reasonably priced and delicious - I'm sitting her typing and drooling just thinking about it.

Then, of course, we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts because Jim simply CANNOT LIVE without the chain. (True story: Jesse made me take a picture of him next to the Dunkin' in Aruba on our Honeymoon FOR JIM.) Also, Sam conquered her fear of revolving doors (finger accident as a kid) since every building in Chicago has one. We stopped at one of the millions of popcorn stores downtown for Sam, and then at a beauty supply store for me since I am a sucker for nail polish (duhhh). I also totally forgot my makeup bag for the trip, so I look very pale and monotone in all pics of me. But I didn't get makeup, who cares.

Then we headed to Millenium Park to see the mirror bean thing among the other sites:




I think you can tell that we were having an incredibly fun day - and my friends, if I haven't mentioned it before, RULE! They are THE BEST! We wandered away from the bean to see the ice skaters below and decided that we should attempt to ice skate! Jim and Adam were skating pros, given their hockey backgrounds, but Sam and I hadn't ice skated in quite a while. They also gave me hockey ice skates since they were out of figure skates in my size, so I was at an added disadvantage at never using hockey skates before!

However, damn my ankles, it was so much fun! Sam and I would hold on to each other, the dudes, if a precarious moment ever arrived, and neither of us fell on our asses! (A tragedy I kept on imagining in my head.) The rink was playing holiday music over the loudspeaker and we couldn't help but feel festive and sing along as our cheeks reddened in the cool weather. I truly loved it.

Then Erica and Diaz showed up for a hot minute to say hello and check in on our whereabouts before heading off to a dinner together!



Sam gives an enthusiastic thumbs up!

After returning our rental skates, we headed back to our hotel in Lincoln Park to await the impending arrival of my husband and friends. During the day, Jesse had been texting me from their eight hour journey, which stretched to longer when they blew a tire on the road. Sadface.
But not to worry! They all arrived in merry spirits and we told them about that sangria place around the corner and decided to eat and drink there for the evening (thanks, Ang!) and this time the sangria was only $2 a glass. Actually, everything on the drink menu was half-off! That's what I call vacation money-savvy. Or something. Ang rejoined us that night, along with Erica and Diaz.

The next day I made Jesse get up for the continental breakfast OF COURSE, and then he was off to interviews and rehearsals at the venue for the imminent I AM THE MOVIE show that night. Adam, Jim, Sam, Erica and I then decided to walk to the nearby Wrigley Field where the Cubs play. We were blown away by all the rooftop seating for games we saw on nearby apartment buildings! Amazing! The stadium and area also reminded me a lot of Fenway Park in Boston, as both are situated in the city without giant parking lots surrounding it like the majority of stadiums.

We ate at some placed called the Cubby Bear or Bar or something, I don't even know. It was a giant multi-floor bar that...on that Friday in the off season was...you guessed it, completely empty. But they did have a really funny playlist playing basically every pop-punk act that was popular from 2001-2003. Mainly Taking Back Sunday, I'm not kidding. Weird.

On the way back to the hotel, we passed by some sweet shops, like a vintage place where I bought a couple of sweet rings and the boys got shorts and stirrups that matched the shirts of their favourite hockey teams. Guess what they wore under their clothes that night for the show:




Precious, no? We got to the venue and caught up with the dudes for some food and pre-show hangs. I also checked in with some people who came to the show - Dan and lovely reader Brittany! Then I settled in the balcony to watch Ultimate Fakebook, who are definitely amazing and should definitely be checked out!! Then I got really stoked because Motion City was about to play their entire album I AM THE MOVIE from start to finish!
 

Erica and I in the bar at Lincoln Hall before the show! (via Sam!)

Remember, I've been a fan of Motion City before I met Jesse, and it was with this album and...actually, before Epitaph even released this album. I sang and rocked along and it felt like 2003 and I was SO HAPPY. Everybody was really belting it out that night and I was caught up in the excitement generated by that crowd. Also, loved hearing "Shiver" and "Red Dress" and "Perfect Teeth" and hey oh, hows about everything?

Jesse was a bit nervous leading up to the shows, as they had some intense rehearsals for some songs they had NEVER played live before. Each night they played at least one b-side and/or one song they had never played before to an audience. However, after the show, Jesse and the dudes had the biggest smiles on their faces and I'm sure they felt quite accomplished with having conquered that feat. I was so proud of Jesse, and it was so fun to rock out with a room full of people who all loved their first album.

Afterwards, we went to a karaoke place Diaz recommended which was pretty fun, but Jesse and I were starving! (By the way, when we entered, Diaz was singing Hole's "Celebrity Skin.") Jesse and I got some foods and returned to the bar only to be faced with a wall of people who would hardly budge for us to get to the back. After some futile attempts and rude people, we decided to head back to the hotel - and Jesse was already exhausted from the evening's show! I mean, here's a picture from that night:


Yeah, we're kinda nuts. (Via Sam!)

On Saturday, after the requisite breakfast haul, Jim, Sam, Adam, Jesse and I went to a local games store that sold old gaming systems and technology. Jesse got really excited about this, of course, and he bought an Intellivision. Yeah. And games. Then we settled in at Noodles, which is one of Jesse's favourite places to eat, and it was soooo yummy. After a walk in the rain, we were happy to be warm and eating mac'n'cheese and tomato soup together.

The dudes then decided to try to hook up this new (old) gaming system, and the girls and I got manicures! I finally found a place (called, no kidding, Nail.com - no, it's not the address of their website, either!) that carried Essie's Mint Candy Apple color that I've been loving. It was a fabulous treatment for a reasonable price, PLUS they had free wine AND a parting gift of three pairs of socks all wrapped up like a a gift. I mean, amazing, am I right??



My manicure, and those rings I bought the day before!

And that night was when Motion City would be playing their second album COMMIT THIS TO MEMORY------

To be continued...it's time for me to start my journey to Massachusetts for the holidays!
A quick preview: some awesome bloggers came out to the show on Sunday night!!! -


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Questions 33-37 (My Friends Rule)

Here are some questions I got about friends...and I'm sure some are actually from the friends in question.

How did you and Erica meet?

Erica went to school at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and was friends with a bunch of people that grew up with my ex-boyfriend, Steve. I believe it was the summer before my senior year of college and Steve and I went to a party at his friend Nick's place, where Erica also lived. There, we met, played flip cup til the wee hours, and became fast friends. When I moved there the following summer after graduation, we hung out a ton more!

CIRCA 2005:





What is your favorite part of living with Erica Dagley?

When we're watching trash tv, Erica and I usually have the same exact thought on the couch and say it aloud simultaneously. It's like the fibers of the blue side and red side connect our brains.

Do you have friendships with all the members of Jesse's band?

Sure. I mean, that's what Facebook proves, right? Just kidding. Yeah - they're all good dudes and easy to fall into conversation with. When I visit Jesse on the road, being in a tiny front lounge with everybody on the bus kind of facilitates the whole getting-to-know-eachother process. They've all been part of Jesse's life for the better part of the past decade - a family, if you will - and so it's always like hanging with friends. Plus, their own plus ones are pretty rad, too.

But that Matt Taylor dude, man, what a jerk.

Describe why Amber (Bamala, Bambo, Bams, Bambi) is your most favorite friend. Examples please.

Okay, only Amber would know all of her own nicknames, so HIYA Amber! You're my most favourite friend because we bonded over such activities as "playing dead at parties" and "Jessica drives while Amber moons people" and "feminism" together.

CIRCA 2003:





(Here's us playing dead - yes, Amber's legs were in the air. We weren't too technical.)




And I got this comment from an anonymous friend the day of the holiday party:

How awesome is this party gonna be?... I know it's 4 years strong. but this is my first... I'm gonna rage it

Later that night:

Jon Cheese: Yeah, so, I hear this party is four year strong?
Me (lightbulb): IT WAS YOUUUUUU!!!!
Jon Cheese: OH MAN! Crap! I wasn't going to say anything!!

I win.

Question 30-32 (Back to the Books Edition)

And I'm back! I'll try to post all the fun stuff from this past Chicago weekend tonight (plus maybe some video from the holiday party?? Some video from the shows??) and answer some more questions.

In other bloggin' news, expect my year-end faves lists next week! I've been cultivating them for weeks now...and luckily, my friend Rick started recommending me music and sending me albums after my post about not having time to listen to music this year - so I definitely have ten top albums...not just three and one that doesn't really exist yet. And with films, I thought this was a decent year of them and I still have three or four I need to see before really making my list (Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Nine, Invictus, Up in the Air).

So here are some questions regarding BOOKS again! I got some more after I last posted about the topic, and...drum roll...I FINISHED MY 52ND BOOK OF THE YEAR!!! Madame Bovary c'est termine!


And I loved it. Flaubert's novel has definitely entered into my realm of favourite books of all time. I'll have a huge 52 Book Recap next week, too. (Along with what I'm going to attempt in 2010...) Can you believe 2009 is about to END?

Onto the questions...

Do you keep all of the books you've read, or only some of them? I personally can't bear to part with books I've read, as I feel that they have become a small part of me in a way. That and I like to display them!

I tend to keep the books, because, yes, like you, I can't let go of something that really got to me. And I love displaying my books - in the future, I want to dedicate one room of our (not yet existent) house as a private little library or study with books lining the entire room. This may have been one of the first things I told Jesse in terms of how I see our future, ha.

Also, I love to display my books because it's my favourite part of going to someone else's place for he first time. I love reading what's on their shelves. And while I don't base my entire opinion of the person on their books, I do love a good book-bond - "Oh, you read this? It's the BEST, let's get some coffee and talk about it for hours!" (Or, in the case of Zan and Anna Karenina, let's get some martinis...)

It's not like I ever walked out of a date's place because all he had was Catcher in the Rye on his shelf... actually, that book was definitely a dealbreaker in my dating days if it was the ONLY book you owned and you were a dude over the age of 16.

This will be difficult to articulate--but what sort of theme do you look for when you pick up a book? Do you prefer classics (looks like it! :D), or do you like to try something that looks interesting and just read it?

I don't actually look for a theme! I do kind of have a need to read books I've heard of over and over again in reference, like classics, so I gravitate to those, though I really despise some classics like Nathaniel Hawthorne (so boring). I tend to read things people/lists recommend to me and avoid things I probably wouldn't like - male coming-of-age tripe, something too chick-lit'y (I gave up on the genre when I read The Devil Wears Prada on vacation in college and it was seriously some of the worst writing, ever. Movie was SO much better.), and things that are too hyped (I think this is the reason I really can't get into Klosterman, I end up disappointed). Otherwise, I'm pretty open-minded about genres.

What does draw me in? A great first line. I don't judge books by their cover, I judge them by their first lines.

Did you buy or borrow most of your books for the book challenge?

I actually own most of the books I read this year, mainly because I have some great girlfriends who gave me books as part of my literature-themed bridal shower in June! I owned several books in the beginning of the year already (last Christmas I got a slew, and there are many books that have been sitting on my shelves for years unread). I only borrowed a few reads this year from friends who highly recommended a few reads (great ones, for sure - my friends know me well). If I didn't have all these books on my shelves, I would definitely be making use of the library. I get stuck in book stores wanting too many books and I just can't do it budget-wise! Though if I love a book, I will buy it - and my favourite places are used book stores.

That's what I've got! Any more questions? (Seriously all the other questions I have yet to answer are set up in posts, I just have to get around to typing out the answers and posting them! Gracias for your patience.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CHICAGO !

I'm heading to Chicago - walking out the door of my office in 10 minutes!

There I'll be seeing the husband, hanging with friends, meeting up with awesome bloggers, and seeing Motion City Soundtrack play their discography!

Updates to come - though, per usual, on-the-go blogging is much easier via my tumblr!

Questions 24-29 (Material Girl Edition)

Hey Jessica, you have such awesome style, what are some of your favorite brands and stores?

Thank you! I think it's pretty obvious I'm a huge fan of Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. line, and her own personal style. And there are many brands I love that I can't afford. So, for the most part, I shop everywhere. There's usually something I like in every store - Urban Outfitters, H&M, Macy's, Gap, vintage stores in New York, Target, TJ Maxx, etc., etc., etc. I'm also obsessed with online shopping: daily Sale Mails (to let me know of sales across the internets, e-mail me if you want an invite!), high-end sales on Hautelook, ideeli, and Gilt Groupe (e-mail me if you want invites), and also if I'm in the market for something specific I love ShopStyle.com.

However, for work I've fallen absolutely in love with J.Crew. Such a surprise to me, since I wouldn't have been caught dead in that brand in high school or college. It's moved elegantly from preppy sporty bro to "librarian chic" (my term). Also, I re-discovered the brand when I was online shopping for honeymoon clothes. I tell you what: they have the cutest swimsuits and coverups (I got a retro navy with white polkadots bikini and several soft pullover coverups). Also, they have the only shorts I deign to wear (why do stores think I want daisy duke booty shorts? J.Crew's five-inchers are my faves.) It's still a bit on the expensive side, but their online sales are AMAZING.




I have the skirt above in that pink and also a dark purple/red. I bought them full price - that's how much I LOVE this skirt. (As seen in this post! - also sporting a J.Crew cardigan there.) It's wooly and I match them with so many odd colors to pull a look together. Especially great in the winter with bright-color tights.



Also for work and play I've been into the Gap - re-discovered back in July when Brand About Town PR reached out to me about hosting a Gap party for their Born to Fit jeans launch in return for blog coverage re: truthful opinions of the jeans. (That covers all I need it to for the full disclosure thing, right? I don't get anything else free for this blog besides whatever Gap sends me, FYI.) Also, I like more than just Gap's jeans! They have some real nice fitting khaki work pants, adorable sweaters, and tights!

And finally, I really love Ralph Lauren's Rugby line. Again, expensive, but I get a great discount and there are some really sweet pieces! Their oxfords fit me perfect and next on my list is one of their amazing blazers.

Any hair tips? I love how you blow-dry your hair. Two, do you ever go curly/wavy?

Hm, I'm one to always be asking for hair tips and buying whatever my stylist just used in my hair to create the same look. I'd say my most treasured hair product is my blowdryer. I always get one with an ionic/ceramic setting on it. It helps with frizz! I'm also an expert blowdryer at this point in my life, with my kind of hair.

And yes, ocassionally I do go curly/wavy! My hair is naturally wavy, so during the summer when my hair was long I wouldn't want to stand in the bathroom and blowdry my hair, so I'd let it air-dry. Sometimes I'd split my hair into two sections when it was wet and twist them and pin them to my head to sleep on. The next day I'd have really nice curls. With my short hair I also let it airdry sometimes but I usually use some anti-frizz product so my head isn't a big poofball. I also curled my short hair for the holiday party, which you can see in a post below! (More pictures to come of that night, lo prometo.)

Also, I found another Jessica - Jessica Stroup, who stars as Silver on 90210. She also cut her hair from last season into something akin to my own cut, and she also styled her hair curly for HER holiday dance (on the show):




I think I'm inclined to like her! Add her to the list. (Also, my apologies to people that think this is in poor taste, but how good is this 90210 redux?? I take back my apology - it's that good. Runner up to Parks & Recreation for most improved show in its second season.)

What are your best features?

Um, I really like my wrists. And fingernails?

What do you think of boys wearing nail polish?

Since I used to date a guy that would wear my black nail polish on his pinky finger sometimes, I would say it's not necessarily a dealbreaker. It IS a dealbreaker when you're Jared Leto.

Give me your personal rundown of top five food you actually crave right now.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Sweet Emily's cheesecake empanadas, my mom's flank steak, mango curry thai food with mock dock, and La Palapa's quesadillas.

Hey Jessica, it's aliceintumblerland. can we trade nail polish like we're in the 6th grade? I've been looking for that light blue shade everywhere, and all i find is metallic junk. thanks.

Hey Kaleigh! I was on the search for that light blue forever as well! Until I stumbled into a nail joint that had the Essie brand color - I forget it's name though! :( However, Essie has plenty of lovely blue-hued non-metallic colors! The best ones can be found at nail salons (though I still check the Duane Reade around the corner every day for cool Essie colors) - check the Essie site for exactly where in your city or town! I guess, for the record, Essie is my favourite nail polish brand. And they usually have my favourite names. I'm currently keeping my eye out for their Mint Candy Apple color. Desperately wanting!

Got any more questions?! Still more answers on the way...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Question 23 (Movies Edition)

These questions were all from one person! And we all know I love movies.

First of all, I just want to say that for about a year I've adored your blog and tumblr. I'm in college now and it's nice to see someone who has the same kind of outlook and interests doing so well in the "adult world". Hope that isn't weird!


Thanks - and I've come to understand so far that there really isn't an "adult world" in terms of outlook and interests. You don't have to drop liking teen novels just because you're no longer a teen. You can still believe in romantic love after you've graduated college. I know I'm part idealist; it hasn't hampered me in the least. Even when it comes to the actual "adult world" concerning responsibilities and accountability, that's where the so-called "growing up" comes into play. I'm maneuvering myself into a comfortable spot within that realm.

Anyway, I have a few movie related questions!

What is your favorite Robert Downey Jr. movie?

Difficult question - but I really loved Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It's because I'm also a sucker for modern noir films. If I had to say my favourite character, it'd be his character Larry on Ally McBeal. I remember that being the only reason I tuned into that show.

What are your favorite foreign films?

I love foreign films! My favourites are probably Almodovar's Volver and Todo Sobre Mi Madre.  But I can't forget Amelie. I also really loved The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Most anticipated movies of 2010?

Hm, I'm trying to think of previews I've seen recently...well, I did see a picture in a magazine of RDJ filming his new movie with Zach Galifianakis and the creators of The Hangover; I'm interested! Because obviously those guys do comedy well, but add RDJ into the mix?! Sold. Movie is called: Due Date.

Some others: Salt (sometimes I like a kickass action movie!), Date Night (I will see anything Tina Fey is in), I Love You Phillip Morris (Ewan MacGregor and Jim Carrey as gay lovers in a movie produced by Luc Besson? I am all curiosity), and while it doesn't exactly look great, I'm always up for watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt run around New York in Uncertainty.

I TOTALLY FORGOT: IRON MAN 2! Definitely my #1 movie I'm looking forward to in 2010.

Least looking forward to: Valentine's Day. A re-hash of He's Just Not That Into You, I really can't stand by and pretend to want to see something that is based on probably the worst movie I saw this year. Even if my fave Jennifer Garner stars. And so does Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel - NEED I SAY MORE? I will: their mere-seconds performances in the trailer were easily the worst of the whole thing (really? alone on Valentine's Day? We're going to base our movie on that? Have Biel eating chocolate and crying to her boss about it?!?!?!?!?!) --- that is, except for Ashton Kutcher. Stab my eyes out now, please. Thanks!

RAGE RAGE RAGE/endrage. Thanks for letting me vent.

If you had to choose between the two, would you rather see Sherlock Holmes or Nine with Daniel Day Lewis (AND Marion Colltiard! LOVE HER.)


Oh you clever, clever anon! MUST I CHOOSE?! I will go with Sherlock Holmes simply because Nine is brought down by the fact that it co-stars Fergie, Kate Hudson (um, she sings?), and the ridiculous non-dancer Nicole Kidman. I give Kidman props, but have you seen Moulin Rouge? It's one of my favourite movies ever (yeah, I said it), but she's the stiffest person in the joint. She has no grace and I'm sorry, her vocals are shrill. However, yes, I will see it because how am I to resist the rest of the cast? Penelope Cruz and Sofia Loren and Marion Cotilliard and yes, oh yes, Daniel Day Lewis.

And how good does Sherlock Holmes look? I think it could really boost Guy Ritchie's flailing career. Hurrah!

Thank you, anon, for your movie questions! Anybody have any more? You know where to ask!

Here's some of my favourite recent RDJ pics, how can these not make you smile? You could totally LOLcat caption them, too.




Question 21-22 (From Other Jessicas Edition)

I really slacked on answering questions this weekend - hopefully to be taken care of today and tomorrow! It was an incredibly busy weekend, however, and FUN FUN FUN. Here's a summary to later be expanded on: Friday night Dashboard Confessional with Kells & Colleen, Saturday night was our apartment's FOURTH Annual Holiday Party and another rousing success, and Sunday was a day of clean-up, rest, and seeing The Road with Amber! But now to the questions....

My name is Jessica too, and maybe because it's so common, I can hardly stand it. My family rarely calls me Jessica too, so i have all sorts of nicknames. And maybe it's just me, but a lot of characters named Jessica in movies are really annoying. Guess I'm just weird. Anyway, how do you feel about the name?

THIS MAY BE MY FAVOURITE QUESTION. Because, yes, I totally understand where you're coming from - I've struggled with my name. (Not a depressive, inner struggle, mind you - more like, "man, that blows, but it's also kinda funny, anyway..." struggle). I depise nicknames for Jessica. I forbade my parents to ever call me "Jessie" and only allowed such an atrocity to my name be used by my grandmother who also called me "Heart" (way cooler, btw, and she's the only one that made Jessie sound cool). I give allowance for "Jess," but still, hardly anybody calls me that because I prefer all three syllables of my name to be pronounced.

"Jessie" is so grating that once in 1st grade the bus had to be pulled over because I erupted into screams at a boy who had been nagging from the seat behind me, telling me I was most likely a boy because there was a boy on our bus named Jesse and my name was also Jessie. Bus driver Bob told me to sit down and shut up and that memory is still as clear as day to me.

And yeah, Jessicas in fictional portrayal are the worst! It's the reason I'm so scared to watch the movie with my own namesake - Logan's Run. My father named me after a character named "Jessica Six" and it's a sci-fi movie so I'm sure it's super-nerdy and her whole name sounds cool, but given all the other examples of Jessica in film, I feel it's a risk.

When Erica and I started watching Heroes in its first season and Ali Larter's character Nikki has an evil alterego, CONVENIENTLY NAMED JESSICA, I was like "This is no surprise, OF COURSE her evil side goes by JESSICA. Of course!"

Fictional Jessicas:

Jessica Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) - Because when the movie came out when I was five years old, I really wanted to be associated with the sexpot?



Jessica Wakefield - she was the mean twin! She always got into trouble, and Elizabeth always looked like the angel compared to her. But I was always on her side because of her name. She was like bad-girl-cool from my perspective (though most other people thought she sucked.)

Jessica Sanders (Heroes) - see above.

Jessica (Twilight) - oh, the annoying, dumb friend that is just so shallow and doesn't get Bella because she's so vapid (and another generation is ingrained with dismal Jessica connotations!)

Jessica (Sleepless in Seattle) - played by Gaby Hoffman, this little girl connived to get her friend Sam a cross-country plane ticket even though he was only like eight years old. I personally give the character props for her computer and manipulating skills at such a young age. However, again, manipulative.

Jessica (True Blood) - how annoying was the new vampire in the beginning? Ugh. Now she's kind of better, and I'm definitely rooting for her. Save the name?

And the variations: Jessie Spano from Saved by the Bell (aggressive, speed-taker who was always protrayed as way uptight and not as cool as Lisa Turtle, Kelly Kapowski, and even Tory) and Jessi Ramsey (Babysitter's Club JUNIOR member - so lame, reading those books I didn't want to be associated with a junior member! However, Jessi was not lamer than Mallory, let's be honest.)

And here's a bevy of famous Jessicas that tarnish the name: Jessica Simpson, Jessica Biel, Jessica Seinfeld (plagiarized her last book), Jessica Alba, Jessica Sierra (jailed American Idol contestant), ETC.

Jezebel even wrote an article called "Jessicas Are All Pretty Bitches." This, I believe, has to do with the fact that there are simply SO many Jessicas and when you have a giant population, there are the bad apples, and those are the ones with lasting impressions, no? It was a top baby name in the 80s and holy crap if there wasn't at least another Jessica in all of my classes growing up. Pretty much every guy I've dated has dated another Jessica.

However, I still like my name. It's still MINE. And people who know me know that I'm no manipulative crazyperson. AND, lemme tell you, there are some awesome Jessicas:

Jessica Stein (character from Kissing Jessica Stein) - she was uber-neurotic but she was also funny, written three-dimensional, and sweet.



Jessica Joffe - model, sometimes writer, girl-about-town, and former Ryan Adams girlfriend (the one he attributes to helping him kick drinking)



Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) - DUH. Angela Lansbury is awesome; the only Jessica I liked growing up.

Also, Shakespeare invented the name "Jessica" for his play The Merchant of Venice - and that's a fact I absolutely LOVE about my name.

One more thing: my maiden name. Parker. Jessica Parker. Thus, with my marriage, I abolished having to hear every cashier, office receptionist, customer service representative, or work colleague reference Sarah Jessica Parker and/or Sex & The City. For one regular week I decided to count how many call outs I got regarding my name from strangers - average of one per day! (May be upped from the fact that I live in New York City, too.) Now that's all done, and it makes me just a little bit happier.

Anybody else have "Jessica" examples in pop culture? I'm obviously invested in this topic.

[Sidenote: Mom & Dad - I really do love my name, do not worry about this venting!]

Hey Jessica! I am just a mcs super fan here. I like to read your blog hoping to catch any mcs news, but also realized you are a really awesome person, in the process. Anyway, I remember reading somewhere (amidst my lurkings) that you once lived in Carlisle, PA? Are you familiar with Shippensburg, PA? That is where I grew up, and still visit family there, frequently. I currently live in Reading, PA though. I was just wondering about your experiences there. Also, do you know of Visual Addiction tattoo shop, in Carlisle? That is where I get all of my work done. Have a great day! -Jessica (that's my name too)

Jessica, thanks for reading!! Yes, I lived in Carlisle, PA for about ten months. My family and I moved there for my senior year of high school. And yes, I'm familiar with Shippensberg!

Well, my experiences in Carlisle are definitely some of the best or most memorable of my life: though I knew Amber beforehand we only became best friends when I moved to Carlisle, I met my best friends Kelly and Christy (both of whom grew up there), I had my first real relationship (and while absolutely horrible, I have to credit it for teaching me about relationships), I got my drivers license (um, yes it was late but you try dealing with "the system" and moving nearly every year of high school), and I graduated high school! I really liked Carlisle, compared to the other places I'd gone to high school. It was definitely a "turning point" year in my life! The places I remember most from Carlisle, besides the high school, are Mandy's (which I'm not sure is there anymore - but my friends and I always went to the open mic nights) and Letort Park.

Unfortunately, I don't know Visual Addiction - me, and most of my friends, were under 18 when I lived there so I didn't seek out any tattoo shops! Hope you're having a good Monday, yourself!

So I've got some more questions to answer...but you can also keep them coming!