Thinking Aloud...

I missed Monday Mindspacing so you're welcome for today.

1) I hate seeing people gathered for national blog events and there are 0 non-white faces. Alllll of the bloggers in the U.S. and you can't diversify AT ALL?? When it's a big company, I write them to complain.
2) Remember how I JUST talked about the show 3 Days to Open? Why did I read that he only did 6 episodes and he won't do any more because they're too exhausting? WHY, BOBBY?? WHY?! Tease.
3) Rashan was off for my birthday...  FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK!! It was glorious! Here we are at Tuesday of the next week and I'm still not ready to relinquish him to the world. I love our cocoon. The fact that we have a ball with just the two of us at the house? Awesome. For now, let's pretend I'll do a birthday recap of all celebrations...
4) The worst thing about mommy bloggers is their guilt and over-analyzing when they're doing NOTHING WRONG. Make the best choices for your family. Don't apologize. Eliminate those unnecessary people who make you feel guilty.
5) Do you guys watch the Tia & Tamera reality show? We love it! It also makes me want twins even more one day! I've wanted them since I was 9!
6) At my family reunion I found out my grandma really wanted twins. She didn't get them. But her son had twin girls (my first cousins). One first cousin has twin sons. Another first cousin has twin grandsons. GIMME MY TWINS!!
7) R.I.P. to my 2nd toenail on my right foot. It has succumbed to running. Slamming my toe into my shoe over hundreds of miles this year is the culprit. It turned black first. When the replacement nail finished growing in, the other one fell off. Since I kept it painted, it wasn't terribly noticeable. The replacement nail is raggedy, though. Immediately painted.
8) I ORDERED NEW RUNNING SHOES!!! YAY!! Thanks to my mom for the birthday money!
9) I've been furiously applying for jobs. I get these flurries of inspiration and do a bunch of them at once. The most annoying thing is that most of them are with colleges or universities and they all have similar application systems requesting the same information over and over with no overlap. I can't just my resume and cover letter. I have to also type in my employment & education history with descriptions and dates and times and people ad nauseum. Let's end this by getting me a fantastic job by the end of the month, mmkay? Thanks, God!
10) I'm supposed to be doing something for someone else... they dragged their feet and now I don't feel like it anymore...
11) There is so much mundanity on twitter, an overabundance of stupid picture quotes on facebook and proselytizing on both. Thank God for the unsubscribe button on facebook. If there would be no bad blood, I would follow 17 people on twitter (instead of 75) and friend 8 people on facebook (instead of 450 or so). Those might be slight exaggerations but go with that. I don't even want to hear the opinions on every topic of the people I love most let alone X person's (usually ill-informed) chatter. Have a seat! *steps down from soapbox*
12) Why can't I stop myself from checking stacks of books out from the library? Because I get absorbed into browsing the stacks (judging books by their covers) and pick up everything that looks interesting. I always have to literally shake myself, say "OKAY!," close my eyes, point my body toward the exit and walk to stop grabbing books. My current faves are memoirs. Can't get enough! They're like extended blogs!



I'M 30!!!! My mom would tell you I'm not here yet since I was born at 11:04 p.m. To this I say PSHAW! Welcome to the world, baby Jameil! :) I'll have more on this later!


A "3 Days to Open" Review... Of Sorts

It's no secret that I'm quite addicted to food television. I like competitions [Iron Chef, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Around the World in 80 Plates (this one could have been better), Next Food Network Star, Next Iron Chef, Throwdown]. I like narrative stories (Fat Chef). I like makeovers & takeovers (more on that in a minute). I like travel shows (Diners, Drive-ins & Dives; Man vs. Food; Heat Seekers). It's pretty nuts. The thing that keeps my addiction in check is that I can't watch any of them on an empty stomach or I will eat us out of house and home.

Shockingly, though this addiction started with cooking shows (Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Tyler's Ultimate, Boy Meets Grill, Barefoot Contessa), I don't actually watch many of them anymore. I don't have the patience to sit through the half hour when I could just get the recipe and make it myself. They share good tips on the show that you won't get with the recipe but ehhh... it hasn't been worth it to me lately.

So my latest obsession is "3 Days to Open." I've come to the conclusion that every consecutive Bobby Flay endeavor will only serve to make me like him more. How awesome is he!?!? Very! The premise of this show is a struggling restaurant is opening in three days but is a complete and utter mess. He comes in to tell them all of the things they're doing that will lead to certain failure, then show them how to fix them. Pretty awesome. You can see how generous he is. These restaurants have many many things in common. Some of these things are so basic that the fact that they've missed them makes you think these people have probably never cooked for someone before, let alone eaten in a restaurant. It's so baffling that Mrs. Count (tumbleweed over there...) and I had a lengthy twitter conversation about how it would go if we had 3 Days to Open. It started with a basic, nay, obvious (?) statement and devolved from there. LOL

Mrs. C: Let me get this straight, your restaurant opens in 3 days and you haven't tested the menu yet? What exactly have you been doing?
Logic will get you NOWHERE! IF they have a menu, sometimes they don't have recipes or don't know how to cook, or have a chef, or...

Mrs. C: I think I'll open a nacho stand. In the mall. Next Friday. I'll start planning tomorrow.
Jameil: Okay... but don't research which mall until Tuesday. Forget to arrange care for [your one-year-old son] Judah, too.
These people always forget or completely ignore some basic details. Procrastination is awesome!

Mrs. C: And I'll get my parents to empty their retirement to fund my dreams! This is such a great plan!
Jameil: LOL! Don't forget to make your sister do all the work for free, without thanks.
There is a heavy reliance on other people. Of COURSE you need help from your family/friends but they are often asking way, WAY too much. There's also always at least one person working at the restaurant (usually for free) who has no idea what his/her role is. These poor people wander around wringing their hands and worrying over your poor planning. Select this person as the one you treat the worst. They can take it. After all, you're probably related! Family has to love you even when you show your entire backside, don't they? At the very least, you have carnal knowledge of the other person and that can usually get you pretty far in any business, yes? Yes? Someone say yes. It must be true because I've seen it on tv!

Jameil: Before I sanction this, I need to make sure you're not working with anyone with any restaurant experience. Not so much as McD's.
Mrs. C: Not at all. My 10-year-old niece wants to be a chef. Can I get her to help me after school?
They never have restaurant experience and sometimes "hire" (remember to use this word loosely!) a bunch of other people who don't have restaurant experience.

Jameil: Yes! Make sure you mention this as part of your business plan!
Mrs. C: Business plan? I don't know what you mean.
Jameil: It's that napkin you wrote your restaurant ideas down on last night.
Mrs. C: Oh, I had to use that to wipe Judah's hands. I think I remember most of it anyway.
Jameil: No big deal. No one reads them anyway. Especially with your parents' money!
Unlike housing, it must still be really easy to get business loans. There is often little evidence that anyone has ever even heard of a business plan, let alone had to create one.

You would think knowing this formula, the show would be less interesting. IT NEVER IS. I have loved every episode for the crazy of the "restauranteurs" and the awesome of Bobby. And can you believe it? I still want most of them to succeed.


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 147

If you're tired of hearing about sports or the Olympics, you may want to skip this post... or skip around in this post. It's sport-heavy! :)

1) It turns out I care a lot less about the men's marathon than the women's marathon. I found myself fast-forwarding through large swaths of the men's whereas with the women's I was glued to the screen! The men's race didn't get truly interesting for me until the last few miles. No matter the sport, it's sad to see people lead the entire race and drop back to third or worse.
2) For over a month I've really, really, REALLY wanted some Ethiopian food... but the closest restaurants are an hour and a half away. :*(((( SO MEAN!
3) I don't want to get to the point in my running where I care more about not stopping than not peeing on myself. You'll pee on yourself while running TO NOT STOP!??! And these are even people who don't have a hope of winning the race!! Yeah... I'm not about that life.
4) Another Olympics development: I still love synchronized swimming. The difference between the top and bottom is amazing! I'm no longer quite so generous in my feelings toward rhythmic gymnastics. The ribbon? Amazing! All the rest of it? Ehhh. The team competition (which I didn't even know existed before last week) is like watching a circus performance. Too much going on.
5) I'm shocked that I'll be 30 in less than 2 weeks. It's so weird. I went browsing at the mall with Rashan. He said one shirt looked young, "That doesn't look 30." That made me sad. I definitely think there are things I'm too old to wear but a shirt!? Jesus wept. Then at Banana Republic, he said another dress looked "like something Blanche Devereaux would wear." WHY WON'T HE LET ME BE GREAT!?!
6) I blocked, unfriended, hid or unfollowed everyone on twitter and facebook who spoiled some part of the Olympics for me. It's been a wonderfully quiet few weeks. Many of them were long overdue for a separation and won't return. I feel much better!
7) Olympics announcers are so annoying. I will never ever see a "bad" start in track or swimming unless someone starts a full second after the gun or straight up falls. Showing it 700 times from 800 angles isn't going to change that fact. One thing they got right? 4th place is the worst place to finish at the games. So close! Yet so far away...
8) You'll be happy to know my sister-in-law finally posted a picture of the kids! Her self-portraits still outweigh kid pics 10 to 1 but I'll take whatever scraps I can get since that's obviously the best I can hope for.
9) If you want a controversy to go away, you should probably do your part and stop talking about it.
10) Rashan is definitely an introvert while I'm wholeheartedly an extrovert but he gets much more restless from sitting in the house. This makes no sense to me.
11) I enjoy Jimmy Fallon immensely. I need him to let his 50Shades jokes go. Daily for months? That's enough.
12) Did you watch the preview of the new show "Animal Practice"? Terrrrible.

Happy Monday!


Movies 2012: Weeks 29-31

All caught up on my movie posts!

Week 29: July 15-21, 2012
100) This Is Not A Robbery. A documentary about an elderly man who robs banks for fun. Extra nutty. Full of his own storytelling and anecdotes from people who knew him and witnessed his robberies. The bouncing in the story line was a little confusing at times toward the end and the actual end was a bit repetitive. I definitely didn't feel like we needed to hear a wrap up from every person we'd already seen. But still a great watch. 3.9 stars
101) The Baby Dance. Lara Dern plays a married woman pregnant with her fifth child, forced by poverty to give it away. She was good as was the girl playing her daughter. Stockard Channing as the adoptive mother was also good. The men were annoying periphery. Melancholy film but it did a good job of holding my attention. 3.4 stars
102) One Day. Anne Hathaway stars in this film about the relationship between a working-class girl and a rich guy on the same day year after year. Interesting enough, harmless movie. Patricia Clarkson takes a sweet role as the cad's mother. Hathaway's British accent, though? Wretched. 3.4 stars
103) Friends with Kids. Lots of stars dot this movie about unattached best friends who decide to have a child together after seeing the wrecks children made of their friends' marriages. It shows the back and forth of their relationship over the years. Enjoyable if at times predictable. 3.9 stars

Week 30: July 22-28, 2012
104) Little Children. Kate Winslett stars as a bored suburban mother who begins an affair to spice up her life. It also follows her lover and assorted other characters in their neighborhood. I loved the omnipotent narrator. More than watchable film. I enjoyed it. 4 stars
105) The First Year. A documentary about first year teachers at in a Los Angeles school district. I love/hate how naive they all are. I love that they have the optimism, hate that by now they're probably no longer teaching or are seriously jaded. I'd love an update. This film focused on problems with students which made me a little uncomfortable. They used full names. There wasn't any blurring of faces. I wonder what privacy discussions the filmmakers had. I can't say I loved this film. 2.4 stars

Week 31: July 29- August 4, 2012
106) Man on a Ledge. A film about a cop who goes out on a ledge to prove his innocence. Meh. Action-esque and mildly interesting but full of overacting which ultimately detracted from the total impact. 2.9 stars
107) Chocolat. A film about a woman who moves to a small French town with her daughter, turning it upside down. Too precious. It tried far too hard to be fanciful which gave it an air of desperation. It almost felt like a Disney movie. 2.9 stars
108) The Big Year. Jack Black, Owen Wilson & Steve Martin play three birders who are all looking to have a "big year" -- a year where one man sights more birds than any other man. Surprisingly amusing. I watched this on a lark (LOL) and just happened to enjoy it. 3.7 stars
109) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law star as Sherlock Holmes and his best friend Dr. Watson off to solve another case. Amusing but I had difficulty paying attention. I loved RDJ's character, though. 3 stars
110) Grease. Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta star in this musical about teenagers who fall in love over the summer and the circumstances that bring them together and push them apart. Cute. A lot more vulgar than I expected. I was a little surprised how many of the songs I recognized. I can't get "Summer Lovin" out of my head now! 3.8 stars


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 146

1) Rashan compliments my ... sweeping. Like the hardwood floors. Really? Sweeping? I feel some sort of way about that. And not good.
2) This week's 2 a.m. baking yielded cinnamon cayenne butterscotch brownies. I took this basic recipe (leave out the 2nd set of ingredients... frosting... YUCK) and added cinnamon, cayenne and butterscotch chips. Sounds like kind of a lot, right? It worked! The you didn't taste the cayenne until you finished chewing. It hit you on the finish. I've heard about the interplay of chocolate and spice many times on food shows but experiencing it at my own hand? Pretty cool!
3) Have you guys watched "3 Days to Open" with Bobby Flay? That man is AWESOME! Every show he appears in makes me love him a little more. Spoiler alert: This chick opening a LOUNGE wanting to serve vodka & cranberry? VODKA & CRANBERRY??? I can mix that up standing outside of the liquor store. (LOL... envision your above average, fit, college-educated woman standing outside the liquor store mixing the most basic drink ever... what a vision!) But really, why would I need to go to a lounge for that???
4) I haven't gotten enough quality runs in lately. That changes Tuesday! AKA tomorrow! Can't wait!
5) I need a big juicy burger at least twice a week. Cooked medium, cheese required! The rest of the ingredients are wide open!
6) I'm getting a little burned out from the Olympics. Watching 4 hours per night MINIMUM (probably 6 hours throughout yesterday) will do that to you. The women's marathon was AWESOME! I'm definitely doing a marathon next year! But sheesh. I need a break... after I watch Gabby on uneven bars tomorrow night. My current fave gymnast on my fave apparatus. I'm there! Seven million qualifying rounds and any team sport i.e. basketball, beach or indoor volleyball or soccer? Miss me. I could really do a whole post on my Olympics proclivities...
7) I really hate Olympics spoilers. The tape delay is our reality. I  know social media exists but I still want to be able to enjoy the races in prime time. I've unfollowed, hidden or unfriended all spoiler-y people on twitter and facebook. I'll be back after the Olympics... maybe... if I remember.
8) Some people really abuse the retweet function of twitter. I really don't need to see every irrelevant conversation. Along that vein, if you're sharing other people's ideas more than 20xs per day, maybe you need to find a way to make gossip your profession. Ouch. That was way harsh, Tai.
9) I haven't gotten my "do something drastic/crazy" desire out. I don't know what will make that go away but it hasn't happened yet.
10) My secret obsession? Googling half marathon race recap. I do it at least once a week and read all about the races of people I will likely never meet running in places I will likely never run. I love it! ... Except when I happen upon the blog of someone who rarely or never runs or runs a distance I've worked really hard at and they casually throw out a first time finishing time I will have to TRAIN LIKE MY LIFE DEPENDS UP ON IT to even approach. SOMEBODY'S LYING! BUT... If you're going to be that good on your first try, please, please do me a favor and don't treat it like it's not a big deal. If it really didn't matter to you, you probably wouldn't bother mentioning what you have to know is a good time.
11) I'm the head person for my local running group... which leaves me with a ton of facebook friends I don't want to have. Coming to a run once doesn't mean we should be facebook friends. Can we not? But I don't know how to say this without coming off rude or standoffish. I'm glad you're enthusiastic! But I don't feel like my life should be an open book to you because I was recruited volunteered to lead a running group.
12) The last couple of weeks have presented runs with some sort of torture. When I had an AMAZING run in Charlotte (finally averaging under 11 minute miles - 10:44 - on a 3-mile course that compared to where I usually run felt flat), I smelled Krispy Kreme doughnuts (yes, SPECIFICALLY them!) at the start and finish!! A week ago, I smelled bacon rounding into mile 6. I almost ate one of my running partners! Then Sunday, someone was grilling burgers. These are not phantom smells! You should have heard us exclaiming each day. LOLOL


Movies 2012: Weeks 23-28

My goodness! I can't even tell you how I got so behind in posting these!

Week 23: June 3-9, 2012
84) The Facts of Life. Lucille Ball and Bob Hope star in this 1960 film about a couple having an affair when they're both married to other people. Funny at times but mostly meh. 3.3 stars
85) The Full Monty. A group of unemployed British men decide to raise money by baring all in a revue for their town. Cute and amusing if at times unnecessarily round about. 3.6 stars
86) Le Divorce. A young American (Kate Hudson) travels to Paris to visit her expat sister (Naomi Watts), who's in the midst of a messy divorce. It floats back and forth between French and English. Horrible, horrible acting all around. Matthew Modine makes an appearance as a distraught man in a role that makes absolutely no sense. Just a horrible mess. The cap was the floating purse scene at the end. Horrid. 2 stars
87) We Were Here. A documentary film about how the AIDS epidemic ransacked San Francisco's gay community with interviews from leading activists, clinicians and gays. Some really heart-wrenching stories of people losing all of the friends they'd made in their first years in the city. It went back to back from riveting to dragging. The beginning was one of those dragging times. It also felt like a "very special episode" at times, something that was exacerbated by poor musical choices. There were moments where they pulled back on the emotion or cut off emotional moments in a way that truncated some of the power. I'm sure it was a conscious decision on the part of the filmmakers. Maybe so it didn't feel like one endless crying jag but it was a detriment at times. There was also extreme overuse of fade outs, dissolves and slowing of frames as a transition between stories. There were some great characters hampered at times by the storytelling and editing. 2.5 stars

Week 24: June 10-16, 2012
88) Man on Fire. Denzel Washington stars as the bodyguard for a Mexico City girl (Dakota Fanning) who gets kidnapped, sparking his crazy revenge plot. Pretty awesome! I love crazy, honey badger don't care Denzel. 3.7 stars
89) A Little Bit of Heaven. Is the opening credits too soon to declare a movie stupid? Kate Hudson stars a movie that shoves a whole whole lot of cliches before the credits fully began to roll. Maybe it's not so much the number but the eye-rolling nature. The voice over as you lay in bed. The OMG I'M LATE jump from bed. The best friend who's probably too hot to be anything but gay. The bumbling mess. It's not like I went into this expecting a masterpiece but being able to predict lines? AND it was way, way, WAY too long! Aye. 2 stars
90) The Debt. Helen Mirren stars as the female member of a trio who took down a vicious Nazi scientist and the debt she was forced to pay decades later. Kind of interesting but far too long. 3.2 stars

Week 25: June 17-23, 2012
91) Jeff Who Lives at Home. Jason Segel and Ed Helms star in this comedy about two brothers, one who's slightly successful and the other who lives at home. The stay-at-home brother (LOL) spends this movie on his date with destiny, searching for meaning behind a seemingly insignificant event. Very fun watch. It was a bit ridiculous at times but I was okay with that. 4 stars
92) Cinema Verité. This film is a fictional take on the PBS documentary "An American Family," widely recognized as the first reality tv family. It covers the messy struggle between the filmmaker and the family and the aftermath of the show's airing. That struggle and the aftermath really made this film. 4 stars
93) Red Tails. The fictionalized story of the all-black WWII air escort pilots who had to fight racism at home, then abroad just to get into the air. Horrible, HORRIBLE acting. So horrible and over the top that it was impossible to watch for enjoyment. A true disappointment in telling a great story. 2 stars
94) The Grey. Liam Neesson stars in this film about a group of oil riggers who survive a crash in the Alaskan wilderness only to be attacked by a band of huge wolves who see them as a threat. Ugh. Way way too long and worst of all, the least satisfying end I've seen in months. 2 stars
95) New Year's Eve. Let's throw 900 stars in one film. The most cliché film to come out this year. You could predict the end of the film from the beginning of each character group's scene. The only "surprises" were which stars were connected to each other in the film. 2 stars

Week 26: June 24-30, 2012
96) Teen Witch. Horrrrrible 1989 film about a girl who finds out she's a teenage witch and uses that to get the star athlete. Wow. I wondered if I would've liked this as a kid but it was really, REALLY bad. 2 stars

Week 27: July 1-7, 2012
97) Flipped. Rob Reiner directs the story of a kiddie love story set in the mid-20th century. Boring. Devoid of color in the roles of its actors. 2 stars

Week 28: July 8-14, 2012
98) The Help. Emma Stone plays the author of a book about domestic help in Jackson, Mississippi. I could not believe her as a Southerner because of her other roles and distraction from that awful wig. Viola Davis stars as the first maid to join the book in an Oscar-nominated role. Though Davis showed a "quiet strength," I can see why she didn't win. I thought throughout, she's getting typecast. The strong, matronly, long-suffering mother. I can see more of why Octavia Spencer won a best supporting actress award for her role as the cantankerous maid but still a rather stereotypical role. I enjoyed the book. The movie was fine. 3 stars
99) Safe House. Denzel Washington stars as a rogue former CIA agent who shows up at the U.S. consulate in South Africa after a decade off the grid. Ryan Reynolds becomes the man who has to guard him. Oh Reynolds. So laughable in this role. At no moment did I believe he was a capable or even really passable match. Not even when he was somewhat of a match in the script. I couldn't stop seeing him in "Just Friends." If you've seen this movie, where he fat suits it up in his love for a girl, you understand why the idea of him as a match for bad Denzel is hilarious. Rashan said he could only thing of his show, "Two Guys." LOL Poor Ryan. This film was too long at nearly two hours. There were too many action scenes with little to advance the plot. I know what you're saying, "Too many action scenes in an action movie???" Just make something happen with the plot during or afterwards. 3 stars


Birth Month!!


August 23 is the day the world changed forever! You're welcome!

Y'all know I LOVE my birthday so let's begin the celebration today! Know how I've already started? Applying for two more jobs. Operation employed by 30: Let's go!