December & 2009 Goals Update

It's the last day of the year!  I have enjoyed this year and look forward to enjoying next year even more!  I did my update of my resolutions a few weeks ago but did actually turn some things around: I worked on my film more, celebrated the one-year anniversary of starting my locks (celebrate is a strong word... lol; I remembered it-- December 26th), I worked out A LOT more but back slid a bit on the procrastination tip.  Overall, though, I'm proud of the improvements this year and look forward to setting and achieving more goals in the next year!

So, for the end of the year, here are the goals I set in December and how I fared.

1) Try new recipe twice a week. Seeing as I now subscribe to Every Day with Rachael Ray AND Food Network magazine (which has a ridiculous amount of recipes!!) I should really put those to use. I also have a ridiculous number of RR cookbooks with a new one out this month... I should use this stuff!!!
*If I didn't make it one week, I more than made up with it the week of Christmas, trying 4 new recipes that week!  I enjoy this goal a lot and will continue in the new year.

2) Try new ingredient, spice or dish once a month. I like being adventurous! Since sometimes it's difficult for me to get out of Gainesville, I can at least travel via food.
*I definitely did this!  And relished it!

3) Eat out no more than 3xs/week (4 on Rashan visits). This probably sounds like a lot to y'all. It does to me, too but when I was in class for hours and hours on end and didn't get home until 8 or 9, I didn't feel like cooking. Now that our classes are cut down so we can work on our films, I bet I can do even better than 3-4xs a week but I wanted to give myself a doable goal.
*I paid no attention to this goal this month.  Ridiculous, I know.

4) Work out 3xs/week. It is so irritating to me that I have let this go! It's insane! The gym is ridiculously close. I can and will do better. 
Very hit or miss with this but this month, I'm joining Liz in the fitness challenge!  You should, too!  Together we'll:
a) weigh ourselves on December 1st so that despite holiday binge eating (ahem Rashan... lololol) we will weigh the same OR LESS (my personal goal) on January 1st! 
b) Exercise 30 minutes a day (I totally tried to get out of this!! Lol. But I'll give it a try whether a walk, a class, the elliptical, that doggone Jillian "Murder" Michaels.)  You can also break this into 30 minute increments.
c) Keep a food journal.  You definitely eat better when you have to write down that you had 9 tacos, a burrito & 2 orders of chips and salsa.  I've never done this but read about it and contemplated it. Starting today, I do it!
* Ooh!  I actually did really well with this this month because of the challenge!  Though I definitely didn't work out daily, I DID work out 4-5xs a week which is more than I've EVER consistently done, lost 5 pounds, got my workout mojo back AND got Rashan to join me in the challenge!  I think he's worked out more days this month than I did!  For once, I'm excited about him 'beating' me in something.  The food journal I could not do.  I did it for the first few days and then it just became too tedious.  I was still more aware of my eating habits than usual, though.

5) Dedicate time for spiritual growth.
*I did better but I could do better.

6) Catch up on movies.
*By the end of TODAY, I will be finished!!!!  As of 3:49 am I only have 4 more to watch!! SCORE!!

7) Use a budget. Ahem. Yeah.
*Though I still didn't use a budget this month, I was much more conscious of my spending which means I spent a lot less money than I would have expected, especially going home.  But I also got some income with Christmas gifts from my dad and godmother.



Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Lame Lamp

Remember the lamp from the Christmas party?  I forgot we took a picture of it.  Guess the price on this!


Late to Bed, Early to Rise Makes Jameil CRAZY

My father...

Dude.  Why did this man call me at 8:46 am yesterday?  Not cute.  Call ignored.  You know I don't do mornings.  Did you really call me at a time where an 8 was in the number?  If the little hand is anywhere near the 8, don't bother me, please.  Thanks.  I called him back around 11:30 and he was on his way somewhere.  I called him back after hanging with Classy Jojo (Hampton homie) at 6:30... why was this dude asleep?  And said, "Early to bed, early to rise makes me healthy, wealthy and wise."  Well let me hold some money, rich man.  Anyway we said we'd go to breakfast today, call him when I wake up... hmmm... okay... whatever, D.

This morning he called me at count it! 7. 5.2!!!!!!  7:52!?!?!  In the morning!??!? ???  ????????  Is that a real time?  I didn't know that time happened twice a day.  OMG dad.  Whyyyyyy??  We agreed to meet for breakfast in an hour.  Bollocks.  Cracker Barrel it is.  Self, drag.  Afterward we go to the movies to see Sherlock Holmes (me, dad, sister) which I enjoyed.  Robert Downey, Jr. is pretty hot.  But he's got nothing on Cary Grant.

Anyway right now I'm supposed to be packing my cooler and car so I can get on the road to go back to Atlanta.  Rashan said he'd be okay with me coming back tomorrow but it's so hard.   Both are hard.  Leaving Charlotte, leaving Atlanta, not seeing my mom, not seeing Rashan.  It's a win, lose.  A happy sad.  Bittersweet.  You know my favorite time?  Having Rashan, Stacey & Mom with me at the same time.  I like to sit them next to each other and lay across them.  Okay that's a lie but just having them in the same house at the same time makes me overjoyed!  My three favorite people!!  YAY!!  Anyway now I have to get myself together to get out of the house.  :(  :)  See what I mean?  Conflicted.


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 29

1) One time one of my old coworkers from Express told me grey wasn't my color.  (batch)  Guess who doesn't care?  I LOVE GREY!  And I love to spell it like that, too.
2) If I had to go north, why couldn't it be for fall instead of winter?  Fall is so much prettier and after seeing it on a film I'm kind of sad I missed it.  Fall was always my favorite season growing up because the weather was so pleasant and it was pretty.  Living in Pittsburgh, summer was my favorite hands down!  Not hot at all and every other season was way colder than I thought it should be.  Lol.
3) I really don't think this year was any worse for celebrities than any other year.  We're just more aware of it w/twitter and every website and the world going on and on about it.  Plus this year people we grew up with and some who weren't that much older than us have died.  There's nothing new under the sun.  Let's all calm down now.  And I said this BEFORE CNN wrote an article about it.  Y'all go crazy every time, though!
4) But my mom says she feels like people rush to die before the end of the year.  Lol.  She said since she was a young adult she's noticed the spate of deaths in the last few weeks of the year.  HiIarious.  Esp. since I noticed it, too!  I used to love when CBS This Morning did a look back at the year's deaths.  Yes, I was a very death aware child.  Remember my softball coach (trucking accident, fell asleep at the wheel), grandma (sick most of her life), uncle (renal failure) & grandpa (old, possibly lonely) all died within 18 months of each other when I was 7 or so.  And my sister's best friend got hit and killed by a car about a year before that.
5) I don't mind having fresh food but I don't want to pick out non-produce minus seafood.  Seafood I don't really care except fish.  I don't think I could look a fish in the eye and say, "I'M GONNA EAT YOU, NEMO!"  And picking out my own turkey, chicken, lamb, etc.?  I saw Anthony Bourdain pick out his own turkey on a farm to have slaughtered on No Reservations: Holiday.  My dude held it, practically cradled it before handing it over!  Whoa.  I'm a pretty dedicated meat-eater and I'm gonna have to pass.  Just pick one for me.  Thanks.  That said, I never feel terribly conflicted about the other crazy things he does on that show. 
6) I think it's weird when vegans & vegetarians say they won't eat anything that has a soul.  What if we find out plants have souls?  Then what on earth will you eat??!!   I mean, they are alive, too.  I say this partly smugly and tongue in cheek but in part seriously because I think sometimes the vegetarian/vegan movement gets a little out of hand.  Oh boy.  I can only imagine the delightful responses I'll get with this one.
7) Dude... do you even understand that by the end of this week I will have met my goal or failed at it?  Failure is not an option so MET!!  I'll have watched 750 films in ONE YEAR!!
8) My sister was a crazy sports player in middle and high school (and a little in college).  She did track, basketball, cheerleading.  I feel like I'm missing something but basically she was never home after school... I LOVED IT!  Anyway in middle school she stopped playing basketball because people used to ask her if she was g.ay.   Even then I thought that was ridiculous.  Do you like to play?  Then do it!  But that's probably because I WASN'T BEING BULLIED BY ANYBODY!!!  Say what?  You want to step to me?  I got somethin' for you.  Not like I was a fighter, but I was always confident and stuck up for myself and others.  I defended the nerdy from bullies on more than one occasion.  Let those people be who they are and leave them alone!  Maybe that was her excuse because she didn't like it anymore.  It's not like my mom would've said no you can't quit because you don't like it anymore.
9) I get a little sad for people when they say they don't like mushrooms.  I used to have that affliction but now love them!  LOVE!  Heeeey mushrooms.  *Joey voice*  #Howyoudoin?  More for me!
10) Let's say you write a status & it's misspelled, or you send it before you completed it.  Let's say you also post the status again... corrected.  Why don't you delete the messed up one???  Too lazy?  Not coordinated enough??  Haven't spent enough time working on Jameil's pet peeves this week??  The last one?  Thought so.
11) You know how people say you're supposed to try recipes on your own before you spring them on others?  I never do that.  You all will be my guinea pigs and you will like it.  Or not.  That's okay, too.  I like or love you.  You're welcome.
12) Why is your smiley face dyslexic? (:  That doesn't look foolish to you?
13) Because I love my own birthday, I love being the first person to tell people happy birthday!!  And since I'm ALWAYS up at midnight (minus those Wednesdays I was on campus for 12 hours straight and came home and collapsed this semester lol), I usually win!!  FIRST!!  (Dumbest blog comment ever)
14) Oh and I got my grades: 3.74 cumulative gpa!


Crazy Movie Lady 48

December 20- 26, 2009
Of course Christmas threw this week completely and totally off.  My mom was supposed to be helping me watch movies but we were decorating and cooking.  I had fun!  But this week?  HOME STRETCH!!  I gotta buckle down.  19 movies in 5 days.  Yikes.
714. Paper Moon.  Ryan & Tatum O'Neal star as swindlers-- a bible salesman takes an orphan on the road as she helps him get over on people.  Umm... I can see why people were so up in arms about a father allowing his daughter to play a role in this film.  Despite that questionable decision, I mostly enjoyed this movie.  4 stars
715. Carefree. 1938 musical starring Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers.  The amount of dance numbers is shockingly sparse in this film.  Surely they had complaints about that which is why their other films were packed.  This worked better actually.  They could've stood maybe one more dance.  Still cute.  A lot of old musicals skimped on story lines for dance numbers.  This one had a nice balance.  4 stars
716. Jazz Baroness.  HBO documentary about jazz great Thelonious Monk's friend, a rich English woman from the famous Rothschild family.  The film is made by her great-niece who unnecessarily insinuates herself into the film.  Both Monk and Pannonica (the friend, also known as Nica) were dead by the time the film was made.  Monk Jr. provided a bit in the film but nothing earth-shattering.  Nica's 5 children declined to participate.  A semi-interesting start that quickly unraveled.  It really veered off course, away from the relationship between Nica and Monk to the history of the time, which is the much less interesting and unusual, untold story.  The timeline was very difficult to follow as it jumped all over.  Some crazy bad shots in the interviews including lighting, framing and angle issues.  It seemed like there were a couple of pictures and short video clips that included both of them and were used repeatedly.  Far longer than it needed to be with the lack of information and interviews from either party and lots of unanswered questions even things as basic as the nature of their relationship.  2.4 stars
717. Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven.  HBO documentary about the famous NY restaurant and his three sons who have followed him into the family business.  Interesting profile-type film as they close the original Le Cirque and open a new one.  Some great access to the family.  I enjoyed seeing some chefs I watch as judges on Top Chef appear but the restaurant and ideas seemed as antiquated as the first NYT review in the film made it sound.  I did not want to go there.  The best scene in the film was probably the one of the sons in a very familiar and unexpected eating establishment.  Hilariously strange.  The music was a bit odd but worked.  3.4 stars
718. In the Cool of the Night.  Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury.  A man's attempts to fix a failing marriage turn into infidelity.  Titular song sung by Nat King Cole.  I'm glad studios have mostly stopped with the titular songs.  They were too often really really bad.  The film itself was pretty boring.  Lansbury was crazy young and still like 40!  Lol.  It did make me want to go to Greece, though!
719.  Elevator to the Gallows.  1957 French film about a couple who commits the perfect murder of the woman's husband until there's an elevator issue.  Awesome jazz and an interesting story line.  Loved it!  4.6 stars
720. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.  Don Knotts stars in a kids movie with a supporting role from Dick Sargent about an aspiring reporter but bumbling idiot in Kansas who hopes to get the scoop on ghosts in a so-called haunted house.  Pretty corny at first but it actually got better toward the end.  Then it slipped back to corny.  I can see kids liking this movie.  3.2 stars
721. Champion.  Documentary about the actor Danny Trejo, of the "checkered past."  Interesting story with absolutely no reason for the interviewers to be in the movie so much.  They were a distraction and too amazed by his life.  They needed some detachment.  It was a string of interview clips strung together with almost no archival footage which because of the lack of audio blending became difficult to watch at times.  The story line pattern became repetitive and almost boring if not for the actual interviews from Trejo's life.  Eventually you needed a break from the endless interviews.  There were some really cool interview setups sometimes though.  3 stars
722. Ballad of a Soldier.  Russian film about a brave soldier who goes on leave and helps people along the way.  This girl looks like Jessica Alba when she has her mouth closed.  Cute story in a stark Russian sort of way.  Lol.  The music was a little ridiculous sometimes.  And the story line as a whole got a bit heavy-handed at the end.  3.9 stars
723. Lilies of the Field.  Sidney Poitier stars in the classic film about a black man who by chance begins to work for a group of German nuns.  The music is a bit ridiculous.  Fun and amusing film.  I was not expecting that at all based on the title.  4 stars
724. The Miracle Worker.  Classic story of Helen Keller and the woman, Anne Sullivan, who helped her communicate though deaf and blind.  Anne Bancroft & Patty Duke both won Oscars for their roles in this film.  And both more than deserved it.  WOW!!  This movie made me wonder why I hadn't seen it yet and for the first time made me feel slightly betrayed by my mother for not exposing us to good movies.  Great books, yes.  Great movies?  No.  Anne Bancroft was a g.  As was Anne Sullivan.   Unequivocal 5 stars
725. (500) Days of Summer.  Zooey Deschanel is the atypical girl (doesn't want a relationship) to Joseph Gordon Levitt's atypical guy (desperately wants a forever relationship).  Both are cute & cute together.  The narrator was funny.  I had this feeling that it was going to stop being quirky and do some predictable things.  It did but not many.  The ending was kind of lame thought.  Decent movie.  3.9 stars
726. All About Steve.  Sandra Bullock movie about a goofy stalker.  Really bad.  2.3 stars
727. Conflict. Humphrey Bogart film about a man who wants to murder his wife to get with her sister.  Of course things get all turned around.  Some fun and interesting suspense.  3.9 stars
728. For Me and My Gal.  Judy Garland and Gene Kelly (in his screen debut).  Sounds like a great combo.  Individually they were great and together on stage, but as a love connection a bit flat.  The story line wasn't terribly good either.  3.2 stars
729. The Natural History of the Chicken.  PBS documentary about people who love chicken, but not necessarily to eat... as pets.  Hilarious start!  I didn't know what to expect watching this but I was immediately sucked in.  Then it got cheesy with this recreations.  Obvious recreations but still ridiculous.  Oh Lord.  When they go into the chicken factory I KNOW the animal rights people lost it!!  I can't say I loved it.  Sends a definitive message via showing the chickens in the factories and with text on screen.  The text is almost heavy-handed.  The music is silly and the title is misleading.  Some hilarious moments in the film.  The effects took away from that a bit but some very creative story telling.  The first woman is the documentarian's DREAM.  I love her.  Some serious hilarity.  A fun watch.  The corniness of the effects and music (to say nothing of the poor title choice) keeps this film at just 3.7 stars.  Still worth watching.
730. Christmas in Connecticut.  1945 film in which Barbara Stanwyck stars as a magazine writer pretending to be a married mother who cooks fabulous meals except she's none of those.  That poses a problem when her publisher comes calling on Christmas.  Cute and funny.  3.9 stars
731. 400 Years of the Telescope.  PBS documentary with a really boring title.  But the last doc I watched with a really boring title was actually interesting and amusing so I decided to give this one a try.  Not the case.  I wish these types of films were under an educational category rather than documentary on Netflix.  The narration put it squarely in the staid educational, belongs in a science class when there's a sub, category.  I disliked it from the start.  And there was really a much heavier focus on the advances in the last 25 or so years for more than half of the film so the title could've stood to be more accurate.  2 stars


You Can't Play Anymore

Every year at the annual family breakfast (menu to come), my dad's siblings and their children and grandchildren (if applicable) come together at someone's house to hang out, eat, listen to Christmas music, etc.  Every year, we play the 'White Elephant' game.  You bring a wrapped (or bagged) $20 gift, everyone gets a number, when your number comes up, you pick a gift.  The next person can either take your gift (forcing you to steal someone else's) or select a new gift.

Everyone does awesome gifts they might want to take home themselves (coffee maker, gift card, money, popular cd(s), electric griddle) ... except the twins.  Last year they brought TWO hideous "fragrance lamps".  Excuse me, why do you think it's okay to bring two of the same crappy gift?  Every other couple who plays brings 2 different things.  You bring two of THE SAME CRAPPY GIFT.  Not cool.  This year one of the twins did the shopping so her, her husband, her twin & her twin's friend could play.  Four identically-sized & identically wrapped presents.  Everyone avoided them like the plague until it was no longer possible.

EVEN UGLIER FRAGRANCE LAMP.  Pissed is an understatement.  My mom and I had talked about their crappy gifts and how we were glad they weren't there to play... they walked in after only the 2nd person had gone.  Oh even better Rashan had seen those ugly lamps in CVS/Walgreens/Family Dollar for $9.99.  So you left here with a griddle, a food processor and $20 and three people left with your cheap, ugly fragrance lamp.  *One cousin's friend had the last number and got stuck with that ugly lamp-- SERVES YOU RIGHT*  You're 34 years old.  You know you're wrong.  I said, "Next year you can't bring the same gift."  My aunt and cousin were quick to jump in and agree.  Then gifts kept being stolen and one my cousins started going in about those terrible lamps.  AWKWARD.  But true.  My mom said we should've made them leave with their own crappy gifts.  If you can't afford to play, don't play.  We won't hold it against you.  We'll be very happy if you don't.  Now there's talk of not playing next year because of their crappy gifts.  Ugh!!!!  So irritating.


De-Lurking Day!

I stole this from Blogger 1969 while I'm Christmasing it up today AND SO WHAT?!  I can do that.  I've always been intrigued by lurkers.  You know, those shadowy people in Idaho or Wyoming (I have never even (knowingly) met anyone who lived in either of those states, let alone was from there!) who stay on your blog for 96 minutes a day, leaving their desk and coming back to re-read your latest post for the 7th time because the last 6 times provided a whole new perspective!  Lolol.  See what happens when you leave me to my own devices?  I make up crazy things about you.  So, dear lurkers, in honor of my favorite musically-inclined holiday!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!, what is your name, what's your favorite post that I've written and why?

Now I will get you started, but I must warn you, as egotistical as it sounds, I have a lot of faves among my own posts.  What?  If you can't make yourself laugh, you probably can't make anybody laugh!  Lol.  My name is Jameil and (one of) my favorite post(s) is The Attack of the Christmas Sweaters.  Tres appropos for today, n'est-ce pas?  Let's pray today is the last day we have to see those for another year!!  I would post another one but it is seriously a Jameil from another time!  It's funny and almost shocking to see stuff I wrote when I first started this blog because I have really evolved.  I could delete the old posts and/or start a new blog but I pretty much think of this like a journal that I happen to let you people read.  I would feel almost like I was getting rid of my past when it made me who I am today.  But since you are so NOSY (Lol), return the favor!  Let me be nosy with you and tell me who you are and your favorite post of mine.


Holiday Hatin!

Okay we break from your regularly scheduled food blogging for this mini-rant.  I'm calling out my aunt.  So check it.  You know my mom, sister and I are hosting the annual family Christmas breakfast at my mom's house, right?  So check it, the cousins used to all get together on Christmas Eve to have a younger, cooler Christmas gathering, then the aunts decided they wanted in on it.  Lol.  Anyway so now everyone comes to Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  That's fine.  We actually haven't done Eve in a while.

Except this year my aunt is hosting it at her house and asking everyone to bring their favorite holiday dish.  SKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKRRRRRRRRRRR!!  I'm sorry.  Are we hosting breakfast for all Christmas morning and no one's bringing anything but you can more than afford it and asking everybody to bring a covered dish?  This ain't no Christmas Eve potluck!  Not cool.  AND she sent out the invite on SUNDAY.  Bad taste, I hate last minute.  AND yesterday sent an additional email that said, "Don't forget your dish.  We need more meat."  Hold up.  WHAT ARE YOU PROVIDING?  A location?  That's not good enough.  Get outta here with that.  We need more meat.  GO BUY SOME.  I'm supposed to bring Christmas dinner to your house, then have it at mine the next day IN ADDITION TO BREAKFAST?  Glad I didn't invite her over for Christmas dinner, either!  Hot mess.  I'm gonna tell my daddy to get his sister, too!!  My mom said, "I'm not going and if I do, I'm not bringing anything."  I know that's right!!  I was like, "I'm going!"  And I was gonna bring cookies.  But not only do I not want to go after the meat mess, if I go and she asks where's my dish, I'll say, "At my mom's house.  Come get it tomorrow."  The aunts like to be treated like the cousins so THERE YOU GO.  Ugh.

Going to get me some coffee spiked with egg nog.  Please excuse me.

Chicken & Spinach Tortilla Bake

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 chicken cutlets (about 1 pound)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups store-bought salsa verde
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 large flour tortillas, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups baby spinach (about 1/4 pound)
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
Swap in 3 cups crushed tortilla chips for the flour tortillas for added crunch.
Try monterey jack instead of pepper jack cheese for a mild, less spicy dish.
Use a 15-ounce can of your favorite beans in place of the chicken for vegetarians.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then shred the meat.
  2. Whisk together the salsa verde and ricotta; season with salt and pepper. In a greased 9-inch square baking dish, layer one-third of the salsa mixture, tortillas, chicken, onion, spinach and pepper jack; repeat twice. Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Everyday with Rachael Ray

Results:  I sauteed the onion with the chicken when I flipped it and added garlic, too.  I also put cumin & coriander on the chicken.  I swapped crushed hard tacos and LOVED the crunch.  I don't think I'll ever make this with tortillas!  Yum!  Rashan and I loved this!  We might even like a little more heat.  The next morning I added sriracha (hot sauce) to the bake and used it as a side to my eggs over medium. MMMM!  Loved it!!

**Tonight my aunt's hosting a Christmas Eve dinner... potluck.  How lazy!  We're cooking all the food for breakfast tomorrow.  Hmph.


The Week in Food

Rashan and I are serious about the food.  Since he's joined me in the December fitness challenge (brat), he's getting hungrier more often!  Yay!  He'll always eat with me but he's rarely hungry.  We'll fix that right on up!  Anyway, so since I've been here we've tried 2 new restaurants.  One was a Mexican restaurant, Los Bravos (okay salsa, good chile relleno, pretty good fish taco, yummy margarita).  So aside from the things I've cooked, for which there are posts, here is a look at the yummy food we've eaten in just the last week together.

We also had fried dill pickle spears with jalapeno ranch dipping sauce from Vortex.  AWESOME!  We've had fried pickles before and I really almost think we enjoy them more every time we have them!

For our burgers, Rashan got the Hell burger... yeah... I clearly wanted no parts of that.  I want some heat, not fire and brimstone.  Look at that toasted jalapeno on top.  No.  I got the big blue buffalo turkey burger.  Basically this burger was smothered in their hot wing sauce and topped with blue cheese spread.  YUMMMM!!  We have tried almost every burger on their menu.  No, Aretha, I'm not down with the Elvis burger with bacon, peanut butter & banana because I'm adventurous about meats, spices and other cultures.  That just sounds like crazy.  If someone else got it, I'd try it but to get an entire thing?  I'm gonna pass on that.

(L) Hell burger, (R) Normal burger

And for our 2nd new restaurant, the much-talked about Fellini's Pizza (AMAZING spinach, mushroom, fresh garlic & extra cheese pizza... A.MA.ZING. So good Rashan declined to complain about the lack of meat! Lol).  That joint smelled DELICIOUS and it was!  Mmmmm.  Did I make you hungry?  I hope to make you even hungrier later this week when I post my Christmas breakfast menu (after the breakfast in case any of my cousins are reading).


Cheddar & Chile Egg Casserole

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • One 4-ounce can diced green chilies
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, chiles, flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Pour into the prepared dish and bake until set, about 35 minutes.
Recipe from Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Result: So I might not have liked this as much because I forgot to put the butter inside AND used ricotta instead of cottage cheese so it was a little wetter.  It was more like a souffle.  Rashan liked it, though.  Oh and instead of cheddar & chiles I used pepper jack cheese.  I served it with a side of bacon.  This serves 4 so I just halved the recipe (using 3 eggs instead of 2.5 lol).


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 28

1) Sometimes soggy bread on a sandwich is enough to make me not want to eat another bite.  YUCK.  I don't care if it's because it's a warm sandwich, I can't abide soggy bread.  FIREHOUSE.  Especially when it's so wet it basically disintegrates?  *gag*
2) Confession: I know we have a lot of student-run media on campus but I seriously CANNOT STAND all of the Tim T.ebow fawning.  You are a (student) journalist.  Hold yourself together.  You can be super fan (if you're not covering him) but not on the clock.  How can you claim impartiality when you're crying at his last game as you interview people?  That last sentence is an exaggeration but not terribly far off.
3) Can we please stop using red as a wedding color?  It's abrasive.
4) Sometimes 'Happy Holidays' seems so standoffish next to 'Merry Christmas.'  And sometimes, I feel bad saying 'Merry Christmas' because I'm around people of such varied celebrations on a regular basis.
5) Have I ever told you I don't like candy canes?  Especially not peppermint ones.  Yuck.  I think they look cute on trees but please don't offer me any and take as many as you want to eat if they're on my own tree.
6) Did you say 'announciate'?  Enunciate?  Pronounce?  Articulate?  Which one?
7) Rashan usually calls me on a break and/or his lunch.  I like the breaks better b/c at lunch, I'm just getting wound up at 30 minutes and then he has to go.  We make up for it with 4+ hours every night, though.
8) Another irritating spelling error?  Ect.  It's etc.  The full word is et cetera.  And it's actually two words that I'm not asking you to learn how to spell.  Etc.  Thanks.
9) I am a conundrum.  Shocked you didn't I!?  I like to teach people things but frequently scoff, "I can't believe he/she didn't know that!"  Not at the same time.  I realized it's mostly when people act like they're dropping some profound knowledge.  And also when it's really old news.  If you would bother to read even just the headlines of news websites a couple of times a week you might know more!  Says the news junkie who reads pieces of 7 or 8 papers a week.  My main obsession though is with the NYT & CNN.  I click through both a minimum of 3xs a day.
10) Rachael Ray's magazine website drives me crazy with the same popup EVERY SINGLE TIME I close the page to subscribe.  I'M ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER!!  LEAVE ME ALONE!!!  CAN YOU ISOLATE NON-UNIQUE VISITORS ALREADY!?!?!  UGH!!
11) If you could only have 3 stations, what would yours be?  Mine would be Food Network, Style Network & TBS.  Clearly the 3rd one was my wild card.  Lol.  I've started watching Travel Channel more b/c they have multiple food shows.
12) I was a super snotty child.  My parents had pet names for the plethora of tissues I amassed.  Mom- snot balls.  Dad- snot rags.  The latter while sneering.  Lol.  I kind of want to leave one next to each of them this Christmas to get that old time holiday feel!  Merry Christmas to me!  :) 
13) Wow... I just realized I haven't seen my dad in a year.  That's crazy.   He's in Pittsburgh, I'm in Florida and we meet in Charlotte for Christmas.  I'll see him at graduation, too in May!  Coo cooooo!  (Do the response)


Crazy Movie Lady 47

December 13-19, 2009
Now that I'm in the 700s it's REALLY crazy to me that I'm SOCLOSE to completing this GOAL!!  I am seriously going to do whatever it takes to complete it!  I watched so many movies this week because they're shorter than 2 hours, some an hour and 10 minutes.  Most in the 90 minute range.  Some good some bad.
694. Stand By Me.  Rob Reiner movie about 4 kids who go camping in the woods on an adventure to find the body of a dead kid.  It started out as a cute coming of age movie with roles from River Phoenix & a young butterball Jerry O'Connell.  Some very adult concepts for little kids to deal with which would explain some of the terrible acting.  The end was a bit lame but overall the movie was still cute and engaging.  3.7 stars
695. Following.  Black and white British film about a man who follows people.  Seems to be trying to hard to be strange and different in just the first 2:30.  The chronology is ridiculous as the main character seemingly indiscriminately switches battle wounds, clothing, hair length and scruffiness from scene to scene, looking like an unemployed potential beggar then a still slightly sketchy unemployed person looking for a job wearing a cheap suit.  Pretty disturbing when it all unfolded and mildly interesting.  3.4 stars
696. Royal Wedding.  Fred Astaire & Jane Powell are a brother/sister dancing duo who go to England in advance of a royal wedding.  There were some horrid gags, bad dialogue and uncomfortable moments when the supposed brother & sister looked a little too intimate.  Of course the dancing was fun but the plot was pretty bad.  Rarely is the focus on plot in an Astaire flick, but this one was ridiculous.  The film felt like it would never end.  Don't feel bad about skipping it unless you have a burning desire to watch any and every thing Astaire.  2.9 stars
697. Wall-E.  Futuristic animated film about what happens when all the people leave earth because there's too much trash.  They're also too fat and into digital so much they're completely unaware of their surroundings.  Kind of depressing when you think about it.  Very little dialogue and still a robot love story.  Lol.  Then it's time for the robots to help save the world.  The roach story line = yuck.  Made me itch.  I just liked this movie okay.  I really hope we're not dumb enough for something like this to happen.  3.4 stars
698. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  Gene Tierney plays a widow who refuses to be frightened or intimidated by a sea captain ghost.  Very interesting and amusing at times but dragged on about 10 minutes too long.  I enjoyed the end especially.  3.4 stars
699. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.  Cary Grant and Myrna Loy? YES!!  Except Loy wasn't utilized very much.  This movie looks like the classic version of why America's economy is where it is right now.  Much more boring than I expected. 3.3 stars
700. El Mariachi.  Mexican film about a musician who finds himself on the run from gangsters when he's mistaken for another gangster who carries his guns in a guitar case.  Hot mess of English voiceovers provided by Netflix rather than subtitles.   NOT COOL.  Looks pretty low budget.  And judging by the music, it is.  Pretty bad technically though still mildly entertaining.  The comedic parts were the worst.  2.2 stars
701. The Great Ecstasy of the Sculptor Steiner.  Werner Herzog documentary (in German) about an awesome ski flier from Switzerland.  Is the title to suggest Steiner sculpts the air?  Because there's not enough of him sculpting pottery to really justify that title.  I have no clue but it's easy to see why Herzog chose this film.  Allows for the sweeping vistas and dramatic slo-mo shots under emphatic music he so loves.  Some great suspense built into the film, maybe too much considering what happens.  I'm glad Herzog now does only voice over narration and no longer appears on cam because that was incredibly awkward.  Pretty interesting doc and I enjoyed the sparsity of the narration.  Just enough to keep the story moving without being overly obtrusive.  3.6 stars
702. Four Christmases.  Vince Vaughn.  Reese Witherspoon in a rom com about a couple who will do anything to get out of holidays with the family.  It works until this year!  Now they have to go to the homes of each of their divorced parents.  RW & VV were very cute together.  Great start.  Really funny and strange for the first hour or so.  Then it kind of disintegrated.  3.5 stars
703. House on Haunted Hill.  Original classic version of a horror film about a millionaire who offers people $10,000 to stay one night in his haunted home.  I loved the opening screams!  There was a little too much talking at the outset, though.  And wow cheesy effects and music!  Lol.  Laughably campy and bad.  2.4 stars
704. The Headless Woman.  Argentinean film about a woman who loses it when she gets in a serious accident.  Very ambiguous plot in the first third of the film.  I had no clue what was happening for the first half hour.  Very frustrating.  It got better and I might watch this again.  Interesting ending I suppose.  Wandering would be the perfect adjective for this film.  3.3 stars
705. H.eidi F.leiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal.  HBO documentary portrait of the Hollywood M.adam as she was trying to get her b.rothel for men off the ground.  I know.  It's kind of shocking to me that I'm watching it, too.  But subject matter and some (surprisingly sparse) gratuitous images aside, this film is pretty nicely arranged for the first half hour.  I know you're saying, it's about a madam!  How could it be gratuitous?  The story really wasn't about that.  There's some good drama but then it starts to unravel, I'm assuming as a parallel to her life.  Riveting at times.  The text cards became oppressive as a means of advancing the story because there were so many.  The film was actually kind of sad.  4 stars
706. The Atom Smashers.  Documentary about Fermilab-- home of the  U.S. atom smasher.  There was a lot of history of the atom smasher early on and some really complex ideas.  Nice use of graphics to explain it... but can you imagine the blank stares in the scientific discussion?  And then you put it in a documentary?  Umm...  Too many talking heads.  They probably should've started with the machine instead of all the talking.  Scientists and probably science teachers would love this.  Maybe science nerds.  Simply people who like to learn might struggle with this.  See: me.  I wanted to say, whatever you're searching for won't be the answer because you'll find something else.  That doesn't mean don't search but they're so crazily excited about it and for some sure it will change life as we know it.  It's kind of cute.  The budget discussion felt interminable and ultimately was.  I struggled to care which was probably more about the length of the film, story organization and the style of production.  I definitely cared more at the end than at the beginning but that does not mean I enjoyed the experience it took to get there.  3.2 stars
707. The Fly.  Classic 1958 horror film about a man who develops a machine to switch atoms of matter.  Things go awry when a fly goes into the machine with him.  Some awesome clothes.  The part to explain what happened takes too long.  Way too much build up.  Pretty funny, though.  Even if it's not meant to be.  Lol.  3 stars
708. Yours, Mine, Ours.  Original version of this film with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda who have billions of kids each (8 and 10 respectively) when they meet and fall in love.  This version is much better than the newer one.  MUCH until you get to the end when it's tied up too neatly and has a beautiful bow attached in a way that could only happen in a time prior to this one.  Still pretty cute.  3.4 stars
709. Ghost Town. Ricky Gervais, Kristen Wiig (SNL), Tea Leoni, Greg Kinnear.  RG is dismayed to learn he can see dead people who all want something from him.  Kind of hilarious at times but the story line drags a bit.  And boy what a shark-jumping end.  Sigh.  Such a waste of an interesting plot.  3.4 stars
710. Boudu Saved From Drowning.  1932 French film about a homeless man who tries to commit suicide in the Seine River but is saved by a do-gooder (to his chagrin of course).  Netflix had a horrible print of this film-- crushed blacks, difficult to read subtitles.  Really bad.  Boudu was mildly interesting but the rest of the characters essentially just existed.  Pretty boring as a whole.  2.8 stars
711. Meet Me in St. Louis.  Judy Garland stars in this classic musical about a family with three courting teenagers living in St. Louis in the buildup to the World's Fair.  I've wanted to see this movie for at least a year!  Happy Christmas scenes?  Score!  Starts out with them making ketchup?  Sounds GREAT to me!  I really enjoyed this film!  So cute!  I could watch this regularly!  4.3 stars
712. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Classic musical about a man who marries, inspiring his six wild brothers to also seek brides.  AWESOME barn-raising dance sequence!  Loved it!  Very fun film.  4 stars
713. George Washington Slept Here.  Jack Benny & Ann Sheridan star in a comedy with Hattie McDaniel (my soror) about a couple who buy a house because the first president slept in a bed their home.  Of course McDaniel's role was degrading.  Reminiscent of 'Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House' in 2 city-dwellers buying a ramshackle house and having to spent an inordinate amount to fix it up.  3.2 stars


Sun-dried Tomato, Spinach, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Pasta

1 pound penne, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water
1 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, cut in julienne
1 cup shitake mushrooms, stems removed and cut in julienne slices
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups fresh *arugula, cut into thin julienne
3 ounces Redwood Hill Farm Chevre (I used crumbled goat cheese)
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain tomatoes reserving oil, cut into julienne if necessary. Add enough olive oil to the reserved oil to make 1/4 cup. In a large frying pan sauté the tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly cooked, be careful not to burn the garlic. Add wine and reduce by half. Add chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes longer. Meanwhile cook the penne according to package directions for al dente. Remove the sauce from the heat and add goat cheese, mixing until well combined. Add the drained pasta and arugula and mix until well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce seems a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water, about 1/4 cup at a time until sauce is moist and creamy.

* Spinach can be substituted for the arugula. You can also alter the taste by substituting 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil for the 2 cups of other greens

Recipe from Redwood Hill Farm

Result: I used spinach instead of arugula and fettucine instead of penne and it was delicious!  I also always use more garlic than the recipe calls for (6 cloves this time rather than 4 and I could've used even more!)  Rashan LOVED this recipe!  It was my first time using sun dried tomatoes in a recipe.  Very easy to work with.  I didn't need the reserved pasta water though I usually like my pastas with more sauce.  I would add oregano and/or basil next time.  The pictures in order are sun dried tomatoes on the cutting board; mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, wine in the skillet together (everybody in the pool!); then the spinach and pasta together, then the finished product!  Mmmm!


Lessons in Film Viewing Pt. I

I embarked on this quest to watch 750 films this year because I knew there were an enormous number of films out there which as a film student, I should have seen, both documentaries and fiction, and I had a lot of ground to recover.  I've always been more of a book reader than movie watcher (and suspect I will fix that inadequacy because I've now flipped to the other extreme this year).  This wasn't  a problem until I realized I wanted to make films of my own and there were issues of structure which existed but were much more difficult to comprehend without more movie-watching. 

I originally focused on docs, but as docs are becoming increasingly cinematic, on the advice of my professors, and also partly just out of curiosity for seeing so many of these movies my classmates and thousands of other people had been talking about for years  I knew I wanted to and COULD watch 2 movies a day.  Except... that number wasn't pretty enough so I decided on 750 just to make it nice and round but still doable.  When I arrived at UF, I quickly realized my classmates had seen hundreds more movies than I had.  Some of them had probably seen more movies in a year than I'd seen in my lifetime.  My mother didn't encourage watching movies.  I don't blame her.  I love how I grew up.  And I just got used to not watching movies.  So anyway, the point of this exercise was to not only watch more movies, but to learn.  Most of you have at one point probably asked yourself what I really learned from all this so I decided to share.  This will take at least 4 posts to complete.  Here is part one.

1) As cliche as it sounds, I really like a lot more indie movies than I would've expected because they're so often less predictable.  There are absolutely some great big budget films but far too often people waste money on films without a decent non-predictable script.  That said, there are indie movie clichés that are horrible to watch.  Being indie doesn't automatically make a film good.
2) Structure is every bit as important as my professors say.  I'm sure they'd be overjoyed to read that one!  If a film is loosely organized, it's more difficult to watch because you can't figure out who the characters are, what they're doing & their motivation for doing it.  And then what is the point?
3) I already knew movies, like books, were SO subjective but it's definitely become even more apparent.  I am better at discerning which types of movies Rashan will like.  I think Stace is near impossible to figure out mostly because she doesn't really like movies.  I can't understand for the life of me why people want to angrily argue me down about a film I don't like and they love.  We can talk about it but if you want to get really upset about it (and this really applies to anything) let's not bother.  In the end, guess what, it's just a movie.  Yep, I said it.
4) Comedies and docs should not be more than 90 minutes.  I'm sure exceptions to the rule exist but in general it is ridiculous to expect someone to want to participate in that type of film for long than an hour and a half.  I'm kind of scared that when I watch "When Harry Met Sally" again for the first time in a year that I'll think it's too long.  As a matter of fact, I'm almost positive I will.
5) I like the font for closed captioning better than subtitles.  Odd thing to learn.
6) If you can allow biopics and films taken from books poetic license, it makes watching them much more enjoyable.  You can't hold them precisely to history or the book its based upon.  Look at it almost as its own entity.
7) Biopics bring out the historian/documentarian in me.  I then want to learn more and more about the subject's actual lives and how true to reality the film is.
8) I don't like 2 hour movies.  It's less about my attention span and more about the fact that 2-hour films ordinarily need to be edited with a heavier hand.  And over 2 hours?  Sigh.  Why?  2.5 hours?  I get pissed.  And avoid.  Lol.  I can and have watched and enjoyed 2+ hour movies.  But in general movies around the 2-hour mark are belaboring the point.
9) It wouldn't hurt me to have thought of movies more like an experience than a chore.  That's much more difficult when you have this pressure of needing to watch more and more movies.  I still enjoyed a lot of movies this year!
10) I'm much more critical of documentaries than feature films.  This is obviously directly related to my desire to be a documentary filmmaker.  I want to learn something from every single doc I watch and re-inforce the lessons I've already learned.  And I absolutely do.  Sometimes more from the bad ones than the good ones.
11) I can now recognize the ability of people other than the actors and directors in films and that excites me. :)  Lol.
12) I'm incredibly annoyed by reviews that can't be honest about a serious or controversial topic.  Wait.  You're going to pretend that film wasn't fraught with fatal flaws because you generally like the topic?  You should be even more irritated.  I am.  That said, it's sometimes hard for me to give a negative review to something about black struggles.  I STILL DO IT.


Big Plans

Yeah buddy!  Thinkin like a big shot!  That's me!  Oh the PLANS that I have made for this break!  I had a post all mentally arranged called the "no break break."  Yeah... about that... Now that I have awakened at 1 p.m. after packing a ridiculous amount of stuff (almost as much as I had when I moved in... seriously) into my car yesterday, washing the dishes (no small task since I can't stand washing dishes... although it's really the idea of washing dishes that irritates me more than washing them... washing them is actually kind of therapeutic because of the monotony and yesterday I had a new Christmas cd!), taking a small break from packing and standing, then getting in the car for a 5 hour drive (with a stop en route for some BOJANGLES!!!!) to Atlanta.  

So that we have enough seating at the breakfast for 15-20, I brought my kitchen table and chairs.  I brought my Christmas decorations so we have something for the breakfast.  I also brought a portion of my kitchen including my big knife, cutting board, big pot, mixing bowl and on and on with various utensils.  We're also doing dinner (much smaller with just me, mom, sister & Rashan) though since I've taken on a large part of breakfast I am SO tempted to let mom handle dinner.  But I'm not!  I'm gonna be a good girl!  :)

Can I tell you I am no longer equipped for cold.  OMG!!!!!  It was 34 when I got here at 1 this morning and when I tell you I was FUH-REEEEZING I'm not kidding.  You would've thought I was originally from Florida and hadn't lived in Pittsburgh for 3 years where this time of year 34 is most certainly not the low and is closer to the high!  Right now?  29 in Pittsburgh.  I. CAN'T!!  The high is 32, low 27.  WHY EVEN HAVE A HIGH IF IT'S THAT CLOSE TO THE LOW!?!  I have totally blocked out the weather for my time there other than to know it's cold.  Do you understand that 25 hours before I got to ATL I was wearing flip flops & a tank top at midnight.  Yeah...  It was like 65 degrees and I was giddy about it!  Lol.  It was in the 80s twice this week.  IN DECEMBER.  That is still not normal to me but I told Rashan I won't complain about the winter warmth there anymore!  Now March, I make no guarantees.  Lol.

Four of my presents from Rashan are under the tree making me all giddy!  Lololol.  LOVE IT!!  I keep sneaking excited peeks at them around my computer.  Lol.  If you're not done shopping and like to do it online, today is generally the last day you can expect to get free shipping (yesterday for some retailers) so get busy!!

Oh yeah, the point of this post!  I don't know how much I'm going to get accomplished as far as work to prepare for next semester since I still have 46 films to watch by 11:59 p.m. on December 31st.  (And as far as motivation.  I deserve to relax!!!)  That's a little over 3 per day.  Very doable to me.  I want to see if I can watch at least 12 more by the end of Saturday.  4 a day!  Guess I better go start today's set!


Chitlins: A Christmas Story*

So one year more than a decade ago, my mom decided she wanted to learn how to cook chitlins.  YES.  Chitterlings.  Pig intestines.  I was wary because they sound so scary!!  I'd been around them at random times but never during the cleaning... until this night.  My friend's grandma and mom came over with a bucket 'o chitlins.  (I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to use entire words fo' anything concernin' chitlins... see what I mean?)

Anyway so they come over with this bucket and I'm thinking, "One day I might want to be one of those Southern moms who can cook all the best down home foods so I better get in that kitchen and learn, too!  And since my mom will be making it, this may be my first time eating it!"  Until they opened that bucket.   


Sweet 6 lb. 7 oz. baby Jesus!  I KNOW you didn't live and die for us to eat such foolishness on your birthday!!!!!!!  Why did it smell like straight up, not rinsed, pure-tee PIG FECES in my momma's kitchen!?!!  And not so slowly the smell spread through the entire first floor of the house.  SKRRRRRRR! U-TURN!!!  I can't.  I can't and I won't.  I ran upstairs to my room to escape the horrific things happening in there.  And almost didn't want to eat anything else to come out of that kitchen that night... but I was hungry... and the rest of it was still my momma's food and therefore awesome.  Did I mention the fact that they didn't smell that much better cooked?

WHY WOULD YOU EAT THIS IF YOU'RE NOT A SLAVE?????????????  You'd better believe I was not havin' ONE DROP of those chitlins.  You go THAT WAY with that plate of poo.  *shudder*  I'm getting all grossed out again just thinking about it and still have never tried a chitlin.  And I'm so straight on it.  EW!!  And it didn't help hearing the tale of someone's grandfather saying, "Chitlins ain't no good unless they got a little bit of boo boo in 'em!"  *PROJECTILE VOMIT*  I can't for the life of me remember whose grandpa that was so I'm going to just steer clear of funky food.

*Okay full disclosure, I can't remember which holiday it was for.  All I know is there were a lot of people at my mom's house.  I was too scarred by what followed to remember the details.



My mom says I overdo everything.  I say, go hard or go home.  The conversation started when she saw my giant family-sized container of grits.  (Rashan said the same thing.  Well, he also remarked on the craziness of that amount of grits.)  The price per ounce was so low!  But I now realize that makes no sense when you can't use the item by the use by date!  Don't worry, those grits won't go to waste.  I'm bringing them home for Christmas breakfast (menu to come)! 

Now at first when my mom used my spice rack as proof that I overdo everything, I just gave her the stone face.  She said, "How are you gonna use all those spices?  You don't cook that much."  CHALLENGE!!  To me, that was her saying I need to use every single one of those spices at least once in the next month.  LET'S GET IT!!  Now though I feel challenged, I can kind of see her point.  Don't you dare tell her or I will deny it!!  I felt almost overwhelmed looking at all of them!  But we all know I love a good challenge!

For the record, I bought all of those spices in the small tubs because they were insanely cheap at the Dekalb World Market (also known as the love of my life).  Why would I not buy curry for $.46?  Rosemary for $.33?  Cayenne pepper for $.73?  Coriander for $.56?  And some of them bought the day after the spices were packed.  Of all the spices I got from there, the most expensive was the nutmeg and that was still only $1.72.  That's a small fraction of the price I paid for those spices in the back from Publix.  So I know you're wondering, WHAT ON EARTH DOES SHE HAVE BACK THERE!?!?  (I was kind of curious myself!  Sometimes I forget!)  I will tell you, starting with the regular store products: grill seasoning, basil, oregano, cajun seasoning*, seasoning salt (which I have seriously not used in more than a year because none of my food network recipes ever call for it), cinnamon, cumin & crushed red pepper flake.

Now for the farmer's market (deep breath): whole thyme, ground sage, ground cloves, nutmeg, allspice, tarragon, ground ginger, black pepper, chili powder, herbes de provence* (only $1.08 but a good $5 at a regular store), turmeric*, fennel seed*, poultry seasoning*, curry, gumbo file, caraway seed*, whole cardamom, cayenne pepper, rosemary & coriander.  The asterisks are by all the spices I haven't cooked with before.  I bought all of them because I read recipes I wanted to try but skipped or modified if they called for those spices.  I made chicken provençal w/o the herbes de provence!  Never again!  Woohooooo!!  I can't wait to get up in my spice rack again.  And I think I'm going to take all of it with me on break.  Even if I don't use it all, I can at least use some!  Oh and here's something you probably thought wasn't possible... I still need marjoram.  LOLOL!!  My mom would say, "Don't buy another spice!!"


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 27

1) I seriously have to stop reading this blog where the (male) author says ridiculous things and the (mostly female) commenters giggle and tell him how right it is.  THEN when one person dissents, everyone else jumps on that person.  Are you serious with that?  I can't.
2) I'm really tired of the celeb gossip all over twitter.  I work really hard to stay out of those people's business.  I don't know them and I don't want to know them or intimate details of their lives.  My tweeps are trying to drag me into it.  Sometimes I don't bother to read old tweets when I see crap like that in the first two.
3) At Quizno's the other day as a man orders a salad.
Worker: What kind of dressing would you like?
Man: No dressing.
Worker: So you don't want any caesar, honey mustard, italian or ranch?
Man: No.
Me (thinking): Why on earth would you run down the entire list when he said he didn't want dressing?
Worker: So you don't want any dressing?
Me(thinking): WHAT ON EARTH!??!
Man: I mean, it comes with dressing doesn't it?
Worker: Yes, but sometimes people don't like it so I ask.
Man: OHHH! Yeah, yeah I'll just take the dressing that comes with it.
Me (thinking):  See.  I was on your side.  NOT ANYMORE.  This is totally your fault.  People like you are the reason she asks the same question 3xs.  This is why I can't work in food service.  Just one of the many reasons.
4) I don't eat krab.  You know, imitation crab meat.  I don't want any fake meat!  That's gross!  So if you don't have crab, I'm going with something else.  Sushi or whatever.  Don't put krab in my food.
5) Why are pepperonis bunched together on frozen pizzas?  So annoying and yes I like frozen pizza.  Probably partly because I never had them as a kid.
6) Not to pull the black card or anything, but I'm seriously about to ask one of my classmates why he only asks me about black movies.  Really P.recious, G.ood Hair, and T.YLERPERRY!?!?!  You're a jerk.  And really, if you were going to bombard me with every black movie with wide release in the last 6 months, you could have at least asked me about "The Princess and the Frog."
6) Rashan's mom has said nothing to me since we became FB friends... That makes me ALMOST more nervous than I would be if she was commenting on everything I posted.  Like is she going to one day ambush me with a whole bunch of things I once said???  Lololol.
7)  Guess who's way too future-focused right now?  That would be the woman who has almost written 2010 for the date about 7xs (at least!!) in the last week.  Also known as me.  Uhhh.... what??
8) People who write 'congrads' are the e-equivalent of thousands of nails on chalkboards to me.  *shudder*
9) I love watching my reviewer rank rise on Netflix!  It's like watching my stock rise!  The more movies I rate & review, the higher Netflix ranks me.  Since Rashan has watched 900 more tv series & movies than me, yes you read that number right!!, he's significantly higher than me.  I'm doing my best to fix that!!
10) Wow... it's been a REALLY bad season for the Panthers.  They fall to 5-8 after their most recent loss.  Even w/o Jake Delhomme who seriously should've been gone at least 3 seasons ago.  Can you please tell me what other quarterback gets that many chances?
11) Guess who tried 0 new recipes last week?  That would be me.  I couldn't muster up the gusto to cook or subsequently wash dishes.
12) I like my ketchup cold.  Unless it comes in those little packets.  And then I need it to be room temperature.  It seems thicker and gloopier when it's cold in packets and that won't do.


Crazy Movie Lady 46

December 6-12, 2009
684. 12 Men of Christmas.  I watched this because of Kristin Chenowish (of Pushing Daisy).  When her character breaks up with her fiancé and quits her job right before Christmas, she gets on a plan to get a new job.  The Lifetime movie-ness of this movie makes it take some predictably bad turns and plot contrivances.  She moves to a small town and experiences culture shock after living the high-powered NY life.  Then she gets an education in small town values and meets a cute guy with whom she butts heads.  And she finds a way to turn the struggling town around.  Typical.  And she manages to move to a small town full of hot guys.  Of course they bond in a way they didn't know they could.  This doesn't count as a spoiler because it's so predictable.  It actually got worse the longer it lasted.  2.3 stars
685. To Have and To Have Not.  Bogey and Bacall in the film based on Ernest Hemingway's work, screenplay by William Faulkner.  "You know how to whistle, don't you?  Just put your lips together and blow."  I could've done without most of the musical numbers.  I must say I wasn't terribly into this film.   An outfit repeat!  How quaint!  Lol.  This movie was interesting enough I suppose.  3.3 stars
686. Buena Vista Social Club.  Documentary about a group of the best musicians in Cuba.  Some awesome music as you would imagine.  The opening credits were interminable.  All the interesting shots last for two long which diminishes the interest.  I got dizzy during the spinning shot.  One giant concert... with a few anecdotes sprinkled in.  Visually the production quality wasn't great either in the concert.  26 minutes in it's still not particularly clear who these people were and why we should care about them.  Way too long (by at least 20 minutes) for there to be no discernible story line.  More than 2/3 of the way in, you finally find out some reasons.  Too much knowledge of the musicians  is assumed by the filmmakers.  3 stars
687. Funny Face.  Audrey Hepburn! And Fred Astaire... but Audrey!  :)  Lol.  And music by George & Ira Gershwin?  Delightful in theory.  In practice whimsically silly... but not in a derogatory way.  I've definitely seen that strange all black but the white socks dance before.  Even funnier in context.  The Givenchy clothes?  DIVINE!!  I loved the song and dance of a regular girl transformed into a fashion model.  5 stars
688. Beautiful Losers.  Documentary about awkward/indie/non-mainstream artists who became mainstream artists.  Basically the obscure-ish people people like to say they love because they know a lot of people don't know about them.  Creative opening credits, though overly long.  I would like to own some of this art.  It takes a creative mind to also get a lot of the engaging shots in this film.  The incorporation of the interviews became very predictable and a bit boring after a while.  Interview, art, interview, art, lather, rinse, repeat.  Interesting at first.  It would've been more effective if it ended at 30 or 40 minutes instead of an hour and 30 minutes.  A lot of people will love this movie and that's great.  I'm just not one of them.  2.9 stars
689. Desk Set. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy star in a film about a woman who heads a department being automated by a computer built by the latter.  Hepburn is AWESOME!  Witty, well-timed line delivery.  And a Christmas scene to boot?  YAY!!  The end began to feel stilted and awkward on the part of some supporting characters.  Still pretty cute.  3.9 stars
690. Date Movie.  Lol.  Very silly movie that's basically a mash up of every romantic comedy you've ever seen.  It was most amusing to pick out the films.  This film was what it was.  Alyson Hannigan was hilarious.  3.2 stars
691. No Reservations.  Katherine Zeta-Jones, Abigail Breslin.  The controlling chef aunt who takes care of her orphaned niece.  Predictable.  Not bad, just nothing you haven't seen before.  3 stars.
692. The Dinner Game.  French film about a group of intellectuals who gather for dinner every Wednesday and must bring an idiot.  Familiar story except one guy bringing an idiot throws out his back and ends up with an idiot for a nursemaid.  Hilarious.  At one point I got slightly obsessed about an omelette that supposedly tasted amazing because it had a few drops of beer in the eggs!  Mmm!  Anyway this film is so funny!!  All of the twists were so unexpected!  The end almost partly ruined it but recovered nicely.  4.8 stars
693. The Third Man. Orson Welles stars in a noir film set in Austria about a man who arrives to visit a friend who died just before he arrived.  He encounters multiple obstacles as he tries to solve what he believes is a murder.  Some strange derby-style music.  Irritating and didn't fit the plot.  The murder was never explained and the end was dissatisfying.  3.2 stars



Dude.  Y'all are making me COLD on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger!  Talking about snow and bitterly cold temperatures!  I don't want to see or hear anything about the 20s right now!  Florida is so weird.  I'm still not used to rarely needing to think about wearing or bringing a coat.  Last night I had on a thin sweater and walked out of the house without a coat.  Once I was outside I said, "Oh!  I forgot my coat... ehhh... I don't need it."  That's how not cold it was outside.  Crazy.  You're probably saying, "It's Florida, what do you expect??"  Yeah I'm in north Florida.  That means it gets colder here than say Stace face down in South Florida which is tropical year round.  She brings out the Northface when it hits 60!  Lolol. It doesn't feel or look like Christmas around here considering a lot of trees are still covered in leaves and yesterday it was pretty cold, high 51, low 44.  That's bitter for here!  Today it's just Gainesville cold which means 63 at 8 p.m.  Someone, a lot of someones probably, is wearing a scarf & a coat and complaining about the cold.

My body temperature has adjusted to being warm, though so I'm a little frightened of what's going to happen to me when I head up to Atlanta, then Charlotte.  It's supposed to be 82 here tomorrow, low is 64 (yes, I'm slightly bragging) and when I get to Atlanta, the high is in the lower 50s... low? 32.  BRRRR!  I'm mentally shuddering just thinking about it.  I do have lots of cute coats, scarves, gloves & ear muffs I never get to wear so I suppose I can bear the chill if it means I can break out some of my cuteness!  I was kind of hoping for a cool day before classes ended so I could wear a sweater since I think I've had one day to wear a sweater to class all semester.  I wanted to be able to break out some stuff they'd never seen!  I think I still did but who knows?

Here are some Christmas party photos!  I loved the look of the lit garland wrapped around the exposed beams!  Very festive and fun!  And since it was at a house with a barn attached, they also had 3 horses!  Look at my homie Monty chilling with me!  He is totally posing!


Christmas Party!!

I just almost got beat on a technicality! I forgot I hadn't posted today!  Do you know who loves Christmas?!?!?  MEEEEEE!!  I'm sitting here listening to my Christmas faves.  I've been rocking Christmas music almost full time since November 1st.  OH YEAH!!  I almost made a giant piece of bendy Christmas ribbon my belt for a Christmas party I'm headed to.  I was too lazy to make an appetizer.  And so what?!?!  Lol.  I was working on my film and watching a movie.  This movie watching and blogging is really cramping my style as I get closer to getting out of this city.  I AIN'T GOT TIME FOR ALL THAT!!  LOL.  Back to the party... I'm bringing beer in a festive bag instead! 

Oh and for Christmas, my mom, sister and I are collaborating on dinner!  I'm really excited!  I'm frying oysters since we've never done that in my mom's house, everyone loves oysters (actually I have no idea if my sister does but me, mom & Rah do!), and it'll be much less labor intensive with just a few people instead of oysters for 20 like Thanksgiving!  Rashan's meeting my sister for the first time in person though they've met on facebook.  Cool!  I almost forget they haven't met because he's met my mom, dad, brother (those last two are a small miracle since a lot of my friends I've known for a long time haven't even met them!), an aunt and a cousin.  My sister was working in eastern PA when Rashan met mom, dad & brother.  My brother's coming for Christmas breakfast which means I need to double what I was going to make!!  Lol.  I'm doing my Christmas meal shopping at the farmer's market in ATL.  Alright my ride's here!  Ho, ho, holla!!



This last week has been awesome in the production of my thesis film!  I got 3 interviews, some good b-roll (which is essentially footage that doesn't necessarily portray main action and may be used to cover track or interviews) and additional photographs all on Saturday.  Tuesday we got some leads on where we can get some more archival footage.  Today we found some photos!  Yes!

So I suppose this is where I tell you what my thesis film is about, huh?  It's about the effect of the Civil Rights Movement on two black sisters who were active in Tallahassee and two white brothers who were active in Gainesville.  Both sets of siblings were college students at the time.

I have two more assignments due: a complete rough draft of our script (about 40 pages) and a preview tape which will give our professors an idea of where the story's going.  And I still need to organize my house before I desert it.  And don't even get me started on how BADLY the movie-watching is going!!!  Too bad I can't give up this daily blogging thing.  To quote the great poet Jigga, "I WILL NOT LOSE."


Wait... What Happens on Wednesday?

This semester Wednesday was my busy day.  I was in class 9:30-12:30, 1:55- 3:45 and 5:10- 8:00 for the weeks until our independent studies began.  It then moved to just the 1:55 class, which is the one I assist as T.A.  Don't ask me why UF has such stupid start and end times because I don't know!  Anyway today is the last day of the semester!!!  YAY!!  I still have some grading to finish up and 2 HUGE assignments due next week but I don't have to attend class anymore!!!  SCORE!!!  Oh AND when the professor told the students I would be TAing with her in the spring and some of them are in the class, I heard a, "YAY!!"  LOL!  So cute!  And thanks!  That really makes me feel like I made a difference!

Anyway, the point of this post is to talk about my brattiness.  Yes, I'm admitting it and shut up Stace.  Rashan is off on Wednesdays and has been since August.  And yet... every Tuesday night I'm like, "Oh yeah... you don't have to work tomorrow."  And every Wednesday I wait for him to call me on his breaks like I do on other days of the week.  And then I realize... I'm the busy one today and I should all him... EVERY WEDNESDAY.

Now for most people this might not be that bad.  But we all know what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot, right?  HADES WOULD BE IN RASHAN'S LIVING ROOM!!  I would be so evil!  Like, "REALLY!??! EVERY WEEK you ask me my schedule???  What is the deal??"  "Write it down!  That's not that hard!"  Know how I know?  Because I've done it before.  As recently as last semester.  My schedule is crazier this semester so I've been way more lenient.  Lol.  And he has done nothing to shame me.  So generous, that one.  That's love!  Lololol.

For the record, today is also auspicious because it is the season finale of Top Chef and the last new episode of Glee until APRIL!!  AHHHHH!!  How will I live?!?!  Bravo is doing yet another fashion show...  I don't think I'll bother.


Semester's End Inspiration!

I have no idea what it is about the end of the semester that makes me suddenly and without fail ready to conquer my life.  UHHHH... dude... You want to come up with the perfect schedule to get everything done NOW?  You now know how to make everything in your life come together perfectly because you have 7 assignments due in the next 3 weeks, each worth at least 30% of your grade?  Yeah... about that.  You should get it together EARLIER.  Lol.  BUT because my thesis partner and I were in the car for hours traveling on shoots we got a lot of work done in the car.  You know what that is?  Awesome. 

But my house is a wreck and I'm leaving it in a little over a week so that's not cute.  I have projects to finish grading today for my graduate assistantship.  Did I tell you guys I will have a job in the spring because the professor I'm working with fought to keep me?  AWESOME!  She also wrote me a glowing recommendation for my assistantship file.  I have more big news but I'll announce that in January.  About a month from now.  No, I'm not engaged or pregnant so if that's what you're thinking, calm down.  Guess what I'm doing right now?  Procrastinating.  I got two assignments done before their due dates and now it's like I can't focus.  I also need to be watching movies.  I'm going to wreck shop on this schedule though!  But can I get a maid?  And someone to put together the shelf I've had for at least 6 weeks?  I finally opened the box.  Baby steps.

Also since I'm the experimental one, I'm the one in charge of the menu for our Christmas brunch.  And there are some things I need to bring home with me.  Gotta make that list.  I love lists.  Oh yeah I need to water my plant.  It's probably thirsty.  I forget about it.  My mom brought it with her when she came to visit me.  It sits in the corner near my tv.  I also have fallen off the exercise wagon temporarily.  Busy busy busy.   Maybe while I'm watching this next movie.  This post sounds crazy doesn't it?  I felt crazy writing it...


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 26

1) The day after Thanksgiving.  Wake up, eat some cinnamon toast crunch, then tell Rashan, "I'm going to take a nap."
Him: A nap!?  You just woke up!
Me: (blank stare, thinking) an hour ago... or 2. Clearly Thanksgiving is about waking up to eat, going to sleep, then waking up again... someone should really tell him that...
2) Rashan fell asleep in literally 10 seconds the other day.
R: Alright baby.  (Alright is our code for I'm bout to get off the phone.)
J: I love you.
R: (pause) ... I love you, too.
J: What took you so long to answer?
R: I fell asleep.
J: ROTFL!!!!!!!
3) Wanna know something I love about Rashan?  That we can read crazy (and possibly salacious) news stories to each other for a good portion of our conversations.  Very important for someone who reads the NYT slightly obsessively!
4) I had a crossaint with eggs, ham & brie the other day & the brie was AWESOME!!  So yummy & gooey & melty.  And the whole thing was HUGE!  Wasn't expecting that at all!
5) I'm so glad Rashan's mom had wi-fi.  Thanksgiving would've been a much sadder, more boring time.  And however would I have made it through those awkward moments??? http://rashanjamal.blogspot.com/2009/11/i-once-had-awkward-moment-just-to-see.html
6) I don't understand the problem (mostly old) people have with people saying, "No problem!"  It sounds cute and friendly to me but apparently people take it grouchily and respond, "Why would it be a problem?!?!"  Stank.
7) My line sister called me the black Rachael Ray!!  I LOVE HER!!! LOVE!!!!!
8) Dude.  The sense of entitlement people have over the lives of celebrities SLAYS me!!  Seriously?  You don't DESERVE to know anything about why that man or that woman did whatever he or she did in the privacy of his or her home (or neighbor's yard).  Why do you even care?  Eye roll.
9) If I ever have a restaurant, I'm omitting canteloupe & honeydew from the fruit salad.  I hate honeydew (flavorless) & canteloupe is too often not ripe enough
10) Rashan's mom added me on facebook........................ First my own mom... now my boyfriend's mom.  I can at least be myself around MY mom!!  Though Rashan was acting up and I was getting on him in front of his mom.  Being myself.  Our usual banter.  He was shocked & I was like uhhhh... just because your mom's here I'm supposed to stand here and take your lip?  #idontthinkso!!  And she loved me for it!  Lol.  That does not mean I didn't edit myself yesterday b/c I knew she'd be reading.  BOLLOCKS!!
11) I love garlic!  When I have children I might bathe them in it.  It will make me love them more.
12) I met a woman this weekend who after listening to her child and nieces and nephews run and scream around said, "Don't be in a rush to have children.  I'm just saying.  It's wonderful, but all consuming.  It never stops."  GOT IT!  Lol.


Crazy Movie Lady 45

November 29- December 5, 2009
We're so close to the end I can almost taste it!  About 2.5 films to watch per day but the amount of transcription I have to do is about to go through the roof!  Yikes!  Last week of class this week!  Yay!
668. The Fugitive.  Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward take this thriller about a doctor wrongly convicted of murdering his wife to awesome heights.  Very very thrilling.  I loved almost every minute.  The music right before the credits rolled was lame, though.  4.8 stars
669. Life and Debt.  Documentary about the negative effect of the International Monetary Fund & international money & banks on Jamaica's economy.  Some beautiful scenery in contrast to the hardship.  I can see people liking this film as a sort of privileged guilt.  Some very complex concepts were covered with mixed results, sometimes well, sometimes poorly.   It would have helped to re-identify the main speakers throughout the film.  The mix of black and white and color shooting current video was seemed haphazard.  There was some great material here.  The best sections of the film were the ones talking to actual people impacted like the dairy farmer.  Because the early part of the film was heavy on tourist guilt, some of the best material was buried too far in.  3.4 stars
670. Final Destination.  Devon Sawa, Ali Later star in this horror movie about a group of people who cheat death because of one guy's premonitions but then find themselves having to constantly outrun death as a result.  I'm gonna have to call that the best bus accident EVER!!!  Lolol.  Hilarious.  There were some very cheesy things in this movie but I loved the skipping around killings.  2.9 stars
671. Love Affair. Classic film about a famous man and an engaged woman who meet on a cruise ship and fall in love.  When they disembark, they decide to meet back in 6 months to see if they still feel the same.  This movie has been done many times.  The female lead is amusing and engaging (Irene Dunne) but the male lead (Charles Boyer) is less so though it's not really fair to compare him against Cary Grant in "An Affair to Remember."  The words are almost exactly the same in both movies so deja vu is the order of the day.  4 stars
672. Arthur.  Oh bad 80s music, will you never stop?  An irritating drunk playboy (Dudley Moore) gets enamored with a poor girl played by Liza Minelli.  I was surprised to be amused throughout.  Moore made me giggle.  The end was pretty badly predictable, though.  Bah humbug.  3.4 stars
673. The Business of Being Born.  Scary documentary about midwifery executive produced by Ricki Lake.  I'm so terrified to possibly ever have a child now!  Lol.  Haha nervous laughter.  Don't get any illusions that this film is not heavy on midwifery propaganda.  There were lots of women who were very upset about their birthing processes.  The production values left something to be desired particularly the music.  There was some good info absolutely, but the film needed some balance.   It would've helped the film to hear from people who had positive and negative experiences in home birth and hospital birth instead of all glowing reports from the home birth side and negative on the hospital side.  The first home birth was cool to see.  The director entered the film when she got pregnant... she didn't really seem to add anything in the first third of the film or even the second third.  She really worked in the last act. 3.3 stars
674. Laura.  Film noir classic starring Gene Tierney (glaaaaam!) & Clifton Webb & directed by Otto Preminger.  Awesome plot and story line.  Every 20 seconds I was changing my idea of who I thought the murderer was.  LOVED IT!  5 stars
675. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  Marilyn Monroe stars in a musical about a show girl engaged to a rich man.  She goes on a cruise with a chaperone (Jane Russell) who's her flirtatious friend.  The friend ends up attracting the attention of a detective hired to watch Monroe's character.  Some awesome clothes in this film!!  I loved the music, too!  Mr. Spofford is HILARIOUS!  "Square cut or pear cut these rocks don't lose their shape!"  I know that's right, girl!  Lol.  Cute.  4 stars
676. Paper Heart.  Part documentary, part scripted comedy about love featuring comedienne Charlyne Yi, who's dating Michael Cera.  Both are in the movie as themselves.  It's cute and funny.  Avocados were 3/$.99 Guess who's jealous?  But the ending?  Left a little to be desired.  3.6 stars
677. The Adventures of Robin Hood.  Errol Flynn stars in the classic version of this film.  Lots of music-only fight scenes.  They made me want to learn how to fence!  3.4 stars
678. Love Me If You Dare.  French film starring Marion Cotillard about two kids who constantly one up each other getting in trouble to trade a toy back and forth.  Funny.  Then things change when they grow up.  Has a sort of 'Amelie' look and feel.  I was amused that La Vie En Rose was the principle song and that's the role she's most famous for.  I'm really not sure how to feel about that ending... Still 4.1 stars
679. Feast of Love. Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman, Selma Blair.  There was some completely unnecessary nudity.  The intertwining of the lives at the end was strange and not needed.  Another film where the ending was disappointingly underwhelming.  And primarily because the events leading to it didn't progress properly.  There will be people who will love this film.  The characters were likable, their roles for the most part well-acted.  But everything concluded too neatly even if somewhat sadly for some.  Strong start, weak meandering end.  3.3 stars
680. Duck Soup.  Classic Marx Brothers comedy about a nut job who finds himself the head of a country.  Hijinks ensue.  Some funny moments but decidedly not my kind of movie.  3 stars
681. Beyond Belief.  Documentary about two 9/11 widows who were pregnant at the time and are now trying to help Afghan war widows.  The dramatic music and lack of on camera presence was unnecessarily dramatized.  The subject is dramatic without making it cheap.  Really depressing at times.  The women's stories were very interesting, more interesting than what they were actually doing at some times.  That was partially because the film took too much time building to the trip to Afghanistan.  There was some cultural ignorance I wished they had overcome at least a little of before they went there.  3.4 stars
682. The Shop Around the Corner. Margaret Sullivan & James Stewart are shop keepers who can't stand each other in person but are beginning to fall in love as pen pals.  The film upon which 'You've Got Mail' was based.  Cute.  I enjoyed it.  4 stars
683. The Good Son. Young Macaulay Culkin & Elijah Wood are cousins and one of them is absolutely a bad seed.  WOW!  I loved the end.  The narration was pretty lame and unnecessary but still a great thriller.  4.7 stars