Monday Mindspacing Vol. 158

1) I'm having the hardest time caring about blogging so I decided to just go with it. I still like reading other people's blogs but things have been quiet here as far as conversations between me and commenters for about a year now so I just haven't really seen a reason to post. 2013 may be different but we shall see.
2) I also decided to stop writing my thoughts on every film I see. I've been doing that since 2009and my goodness! 4 straight years of writing thoughts on every single film has finally becoming exhausting to the point that I've skipped the last 10-20 films I've seen. Liberating!
3) Rashan has the instant Netfix queue, I have the DVD one. The split is most annoying when I can't ever find out when a movie I want to see is coming to instant. So I'lll get a DVD and it's on instant a week later. Even checking his account doesn't help because there's no list telling you 'coming soon' on instant.
4) Speaking of Netflix. They are on my LIST!! I haven't regularly gotten two-day turnaround (one day there, one day back) on my DVDs since SEPTEMBER!! Two calls yielded nothing. You can't email headquarters or fax or call so I had to write a letter. I hope they didn't think that would stop me. This thing has escalated so much that nothing short of free service for at least the length of time my DVDs have been late will make me happy.
5) Rashan and I are chillin at el cribo for NYE. We haven't done anything on NYE in a few years. Maybe next year? My mom is on her 3rd year of a party with my aunt and her friends in Hilton Head. I see you, old people! My aunt is many years retired and living THE LIFE! Lots of travel, 20-30 minutes from the beach. I so need this!
6) I registered for my next half marathon!!!! It's in April! :) I also have a 10K in March and a 5K in April. The half was super cheap, the 10K and 5K are FREE! POW!
7) Christmas was AWESOME! For breakfast, my extended family always gathers at someone's house. I saw lots of cousins, including one I haven't seen in a decade or more. Really cool! Then my mom and I cooked dinner (ribs, bbq baked beans, brussels sprouts), we all watched Christmas movies (I argued (and won) that "When Harry Met Sally" is a Christmas movie because they celebrate it 3xs... LOL), then Rashan and I came home.
8) I think I want some meatloaf. I'm constantly putting a new meatloaf recipe into the mix. That and a new burger recipe. And I don't discriminate on burger meat. I've tried turkey, chicken, pork, lamb, shrimp & salmon. All magnificent! Not every recipe of course, but every meat has had a delicious variation. Chicken was the driest. Rashan LOVED the shrimp burger.
9) I'm not ready to take down my Christmas decorations! Happens every year but I'm still never ready!
10) I haven't settled on my 2013 goals but you know they're coming!
11) Jameil fact: I'm so future-focused that I always write the next year for most of December. I've been writing 2013 on stuff for weeks. And I don't usually have issues writing the previous year until maybe February. WEIRDO.

Happy New Year!


Race Recap: Mistletoe Half Marathon


Two days before the half, I picked up my packet. I knew in advance the packets would be paperless e-packets and I was really just picking up my race bib (number) and shirt. I did not know the e-packet would be lame. For instance, a free Chick-fil-a sandwich with your bib! Yay! But race day only. At one Chick-fil-a. Go get it. What.the.FUDGE. Not a question. I won't hold you in suspense, it was IN.SANE in there. But I'm getting ahead of myself. May we talk about the shirts? I ordered an adult medium. I did not know it would be a dress. I went down to an adult small. Still.a.dress. And a short-sleeved dress. When I tell you I was swimming in it and it looked no smaller than the medium? Horrible. I can't do anything with that shirt.

The day before the half, I did my best to relax but I was also still a little in denial about the fact that I was FINALLY running a half marathon! I'd basically been planning this since MAY!! And it was finally here!

Race morning, I had a bowl of oatmeal with molasses, a little sugar and raisins. I slept? Not one lick. Couldn't sleep. At all. Know why? I'd dropped my phone IN THE SINK. WITH THE WATER RUNNING. AT FULL BLAST. My phone with my alarm and Runkeeper. I put it in rice then next to a portable heater.

Rashan set the clock alarm in the bedroom. The alarm I never use. I don't like change!! And certainly not on race day! My alarm!?!? Why??? The bedroom clock? Did not allay my fears that I would sleep through my half. I eventually did a factory reset on my phone, re-downloaded my apps and re-synced them.

I drove myself and had no trouble parking. Yay! They arranged so many parking lots and harped on parking so much that they made it seem like you would not be able to park within a mile of the start/finish line without arriving 3 hours before the start. LOL Tisn't true. When I arrived? SO AMPED!!! I took a bunch of pictures with my running group. YAY! Used a portable toilet for the 2nd time at a race-- again, not bad at all! No lines, there was toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Wins all around!

When it was time to start, I made myself focus on maintaining a steady, slow enough pace. I got choked up because I was finally doing it! I was running my first half marathon! One of my group co-ambassadors was hanging back and chatting with her was helping me stay calm. I was proud of our first mile. I had no idea we would but we ended up staying together for the first 8 miles. She REPEATEDLY tried to slow me down. REPEATEDLY. Couldn't do it. Such a mess. I did exactly what I knew I wasn't supposed to do. EXACTLY. Got caught up in the feel of the race and couldn't slow down. I felt A.MA.ZING! My goal pace for the early miles was 12:30. Please look at this.

Mile 3?????? As a matter of fact, look at all those sub-12 miles. Why, Jameil? Why??? My sub-12 miles weren't supposed to come until mile 10. Oh the best-laid plans. Mile 3 is always one of my best miles. No matter how far I'm running. It's crazy. I knew a huge series of evil hills was coming in miles 7-10 so part of me was okay with banking some time. The rest of me was saying SLOW DOWN YOU CRAZY NUT!!

You see who won out. You can also see mile 9 is where the death march started. I dropped my phone at 8.56 miles. It broke apart. That was the end of me having any clue about how much time had elapsed in the race and what I needed to do to finish at my goal time of 2:40 to 2:45. I walked for the first time in mile 10 and it was so SO hard to start back up again.... just like I knew it would be. Then it was hard to stop myself from walking again. I'm very VERY familiar with this area. Around mile 11, I started talking myself out of cutting through the park. I KNOW!! I was in such a dark place. I just wanted it to be OVER! At some point in this last 5K, I told myself to just finish. That's supposed to be your main goal for your first race at any distance: finish. So I would finish. It didn't have to be pretty but I had to finish.

I saw some members of my running group just before the 12-mile marker where they snapped this picture. I couldn't even muster up anything more than a wave. Oh I wanted it to be OVER!!!

One of them said, "Smile, Jameil!" That is the only reason you have this picture to the left. Shortly after that fake smile, I went back to scowling. Then I saw the 12 mile marker and told myself to run the rest of the way in.  
Less than half a mile later I saw more people from my running group. Oh the pain! I didn't even attempt to smile. No laughter. No anything. Just take my picture. Thanks for coming. I'm actually so amazed everyone took such great pictures! I look serious and awesome. LOL If I do say so myself.  

And then I walked again. I was KICKING myself. Oh I was SO disappointed!! Then I heard footsteps coming behind me... fast. I was going to let whoever this jerk was pass me. (It is not jerky to pass people. Again. I was in a really bad place.)

I'd already passed 10+ people in the last few miles. Fine. If she wanted to pass me, she could have it. Go forth, speed racer. But then. I thought, "NO. I will not be passed in the last half mile of the race. If she wants to pass me, she has to earn it. Plus, she's right, the faster we run, the faster we're done and GOD I WANT TO BE DONE!!!"

She'd passed me by a few steps but we were on a downhill so I picked up the pace relatively easily. Ha! Easy... It wasn't easy but I was determined. I picked up the pace, then fell into step. Then she dropped back. I so badly wanted to encourage her, "Come on! Let's finish this thing together!" I couldn't get my mouth to work. I was that tired. I felt bad about it but the finish was SO. CLOSE. It was around two corners so I couldn't see it but I knew it was there and I WANTED IT!!

 After I rounded the first corner, I could see and hear more people from my running group. They.were.AWESOME!! I knew I had to look strong. Fake it until I could make it if you will. They snapped this picture. Know what else they said, "I knew it was you. I'd know that run anywhere!" How sweet! :)

But I was still not yet in my happy place. One. more. corner. Actually that picture at left is just before the last corner I'd round to my right. Torture. TORTURE. And so emotional. I started tearing up again. I was doing it! I was finishing my first half marathon!

Then I heard the next group screaming for me at mile marker 13. Man did they pump me up! Oh it was REAL now! Let's go! I pulled out a gear I didn't even know I had left when I heard those screams! I threw down my water belt and BOOKED IT to the finish!

I LOVE this picture of me half out of the frame! It shows every bit of the intensity I felt at this moment... Less than a tenth of a mile away... I can do anything for a tenth of a mile... less than one tenth and you're DONE! YOUR FIRST HALF!

The first face I saw at the end? Rashan's. I felt into his arms and cried. I DID IT!!
My official time was 2:45:50. 
I'll count it as a win. And within 10-20 minutes, I felt good enough to take this picture-- my favorite of the day :)

In a lot of my first or second times racing at a distance I've been at or near the bottom of my age group and even near the end of all competitors. I don't know why that matters to me but it does. I truly do believe I have to run my own race while I'm running it (no matter how often I lost sight of that during this race) but I don't want to be last. This time I finished before 91 other people overall and 8 people in my age group.

But most of all? I'm really, really proud that I finished so strong. I know what I did wrong and that this was a learning experience. I'm already looking for my next half so I can show this distance who's boss! And 2013? The year of the marathon!


Christmas Workout Playlist!

You all know I'm a Christmas NUT! Slow, fast, in between. When I came up with a Christmas playlist last year, I quickly realized, my Christmas needs are NOT all-purpose. I absolutely cannot listen to any slow music while I run or workout. I start matching my pace to the tempo and next thing you know I'm barely moving! Before my race, I spent over an hour on Spotify finding more Christmas music. It's ridiculously difficult! If you are like me and need a frenetic pace to workout, here's my list!

All I Need is Love - CeeLo Green f/the Muppets
All I Want for Christmas (SuperFestive!) - Justin Bieber & Mariah Carey
Christmas in Hollis - Run-DMC
Christmas Tree - Lady Gaga
Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas) - The Weather Girls (ROTFL!!!!!!)
Drummer Boy - Justin Bieber f/Busta Rhymes
Jingle Bells - Michael Bublé
Jingle Bells - Natalie Cole
Joy to the World - Natalie Cole (upbeat!)
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Ella Fitzgerald
Merry X-mas Everybody - Steps
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Ella Fitzgerald
Run Rudolph Run - CeeLo Green
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town - Mariah Carey
Sleigh Ride - fun.
Step Into Christmas - Elton John
Up on the Housetop - The Jackson 5
What Christmas Means to Me - Stevie Wonder


*Peeks In*

Did you guys miss me??? I accidentally left my computer in Winston-Salem when I went to New York! Sorry about the radio silence! I'll be back with my RACE RECAP(!!!) and deets of my NY trip! I also owe you some Thanksgiving stuff, don't I? The good thing is that my best recipes will also work for Christmas! :) Want my favorite picture from race day?


Movies 2012: Weeks 44-46

Week 44: October 28- November 3, 2012
141) Brokeback Mountain. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star as Wyoming sheep herders who meet and fall in love and carry out a decades-long secret affair. Sweet at times but mostly really sad. My heart ached for them. Excellent film. 4.2 stars
142) Vegucated. A documentary about veganism. She wanted multiple people to try veganism. The filmmaker's narration? Sigh. Way too jolly and silly. And the heavy-handed animal torture videos? Covered no new ground. If the purpose of this film had been to watch the veganization (New word! LOL) of three people, it would have been a lot more interesting. But it took these detours that were less interesting and even almost boring. It also only followed the vegan testers for 6 weeks. How much can you learn in that time? A little. But I felt like not enough. 2 stars
143) Take This Waltz. The story of a married woman (Michelle Williams) who finds herself wanting another man and the trouble that struggle creates. Ridiculous gratuitous nudity. A meandering story line. Too much effort-filled understatement. 2 stars
144) Safety Not Guaranteed. Aubrey Plaza (April from "Parks and Rec") and Jake Johnson (Nick from "New Girl") star in this film about a journalist and his interns who use a time-travel want ad to go inside a story. Things get stranger when they meet the man behind the ad and one of the interns gets the dirt. Strange. You kept wondering what would happen next. Then the end just ruined a lot of the progress. Weird. But I'd watch it again. 3.3 stars

Week 45: November 4-10, 2012
145) Monsieur Lazhar. A French film about an Algerian man who moves to Canada and, while teaching, helps children cope with the suicide of their well-loved teacher. A quiet but enjoyable film with moments of sadness, but not overwhelmingly so. 3.6 stars
146) The More the Merrier. Jean Arthur stars as a Washington woman who decides to do her part to help with the housing shortage during WWII but gets more than she bargained for. A sweet love story with some mad cap (but not too mad cap) activity. 3.6 stars
147) The Giant Mechanical Man. A street performer (giant mechanical man) who and another lost soul (Pam from "The Office") find their lives intersecting in an "unexpected" way. Kind of predictable in the most unnecessary way. Random moments of useless dialogue that did nothing to advance the plot. Then it just ended. ? 2.2 stars
148) The Amazing Spider-Man. The beginning of Spider-Man in the 2012 reboot starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. It shows a high school Peter Parker learning to deal with his new powers, falling in love and facing a nemesis. Enjoyable though a good 20 minutes too long. 3.3 stars

Week 46: November 11-17, 2012
149) The Queen of Versailles. The behind the family building the largest home in America-- 90,000 square feet, $100 million-- who in the process of the market collapse lost hundreds of millions of dollars. You do not go into this film expecting to feel anything toward these people who in every way live a life of excess and yet... The filmmaker does an excellent job of humanizing the family and making a sympathetic character, in particular, of the mother. Are you still scandalized by some of their behavior, past and present? Absolutely but you kind of like some of them in the process. This film should definitely be nominated for an Oscar. 4.2 stars
150) Moonrise Kingdom. Pre-teens in love abscond away throwing their tiny island into a tizzy. Amusing enough, cute. A little young for my taste. 3.3 stars
151) 2 Days in New York. Chris Rock stars in a film about a couple who have to deal with the female half's visiting French relatives. Way too much back and forth between French and English. It was difficult to transition so frequently between the languages. If the movie had been entirely in French, it probably would've been a better film. The English portions felt lackluster while the French portions were vivid. Disappointing. 3 stars


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 157

1) My first half marathon is in the books! It was extremely tiring but I'm already looking forward to the next one. Full recap coming later in the week. You know what I need other than new toenails and a massage (oh my legs!!)? A race sponsor. For real!
2) Due to a generous benefactor (LOL) I'm going to New York THURSDAY to see my BFF! Yay!! I love that I have such awesomeness in three consecutive weekends! Thanksgiving, race, NYC/Connecticut! We're going to Connecticut Saturday for our friend's dinner party, coming back Sunday.
3) Yes, I've already mapped out running routes in NY and Connecticut. LOL! I wanted to run with groups there but it doesn't look like it's gonna happen. No matter. By this time next week I'll have run in 3 states in 6 days. How cool is that??
4) Y'all... I'm newly re-crazy over this chipotle salsa from TJs. It's almost like I remembered, forgot and now I'm remembering again how awesome it is. I want to eat it on EVERYTHING!! And by itself! I'm sure this is a cry for help.
5) I'm trying edamame tonight for the 2nd time. I wasn't impressed the first time. This will be my first time cooking it, though. I'm doing a duo - a crunchy, oven-baked appetizer and a garlicky puree. Can't wait!
6) A girl in my running group is pregnant with baby number 5! We announced it dramatically to the group with a riddle I penned. "Oh yes it's true! No if, and or maybe! One of your leaders is having a baby!" Oh the speculation! Almost EVERYBODY thought it was me. One girl went so far as to say, "I knew it wouldn't be long!" Ma'am... Get your money back from Miss Cleo! Twas hilarious!
7) I've been having a hard time limiting myself to two eggs per day lately. My appetite for eggs is currently INSATIABLE!! They're just so gooooood!
8) Rashan has been sick for a good week. I do not like it! Not one bit! I finally convinced him to stay home from work on Thursday and he started feeling better after an uncharacteristic 4-hour nap.
9) It's supposed to be 70 today! 69 tomorrow! Excitement!! I wish I could run! (Addict. My running addiction is WAY worse than my TJs addiction... as evidence by every post for the last year!)
10) Did I tell you about my neighbor who likes to have ragers that start at 4 a.m.? He's restarted after a layoff period. He's way too old for this behavior. He's at least 50. Sir... Having your homies over at 4 a.m. on a Thursday, blasting music with their smoke filtering into my apartment? So beyond not awesome.
11) In related news, I applied for 4 promising positions last week. Lord PLEASE let one (or more) of them pan out! How is that related? It will allow us to MOVE!! Keep praying, peeps.



Movies 2012: Weeks 41-43

I was happy to get in a good amount of docs as well as some fiction films I really enjoyed. Yay!

Week 41: October 7-13, 2012
129) Lola Versus. An independent film about a woman dealing with upheaval in her love life and other relationships. I found the story line meandering but Rashan enjoyed it. 2.5 stars
130) Cowboy Del Amor. A documentary about a Texas man who connects American men with Mexican wives. Amusing at the beginning, the film lost some of its luster the more we got to know more about the go between's ridiculous ideas of womanhood. The film also began to drag in the last 20 minutes as it took too long to reach a conclusion. 3.2 stars
131) My Perestroika. A Russian film about a group of school mates who grew up in the Soviet Union and the adjustments they had to make as young adults when the union was dissolved. Interesting look at massive upheaval on a group. 3.4 stars
132) Snow White and the Huntsman. Charlize Theron stars as the evil stepmother leading a crusade against Snow White (Kristin Stewart). Theron is absolutely amazing! The story proceeds so amazingly that you forget this is a fairy tale usually told to children. And the visuals. Oh the visuals!! The dark look, the cinematography, the costume design, the effects. I was absolutely mesmerized. Fun watch. 4 stars

Week 42: October 14-20, 2012
133) Cabin in the Woods. InSANE horror flick with the most unconventional plot I've ever seen. Really really awesome! I had no idea where this film was going... over and over! They even had me fooled at the end! Of course there were a few things I didn't like but they were outweighed by the mystery throughout. I'd definitely watch this one again. 3.8 stars
134) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A group of elderly Brits (played by some of the most recognizable elderly Brit actors & actresses) head to India to save money and for adventure living in a lovely resort hotel... that they realize is rather ramshackle. Amusing and interesting as they deal with living in a mostly unfamiliar, and for some overwhelming, country. There were even several love stories at different stages of life throughout. 4 stars
135) Small and Beautifully Moving Parts. An indie film about a pregnant woman unmoored and in search of herself as well as her estranged mother. Meandering film with characters that flit in and out. I guess you could call this a journey film. I didn't particularly connect with any of the characters, though. 3 stars
136) Senna. The story of the Formula One champion Aryton Senna. You knew the entire film that Senna was going to die young so there was a natural tension. Every race I was on edge. The film was constructed entirely from archival footage and interviews. It was strange not seeing any current sit-down interviews but it worked. I didn't like how they made a competitor the villain. I know you need a rooting interest but it felt unnecessarily manipulative. This film also felt way too long. 3.3 stars
137) Think Like a Man. The feature film based on the best-selling book by Steve Harvey with tons of celebrity cameos. Too many to count. You saw the love issues of the commitment-phobe, single mom, independent woman, player, mama's boy, etc. from the man and woman's perspective. I was surprised to find it amusing. Much better than two other celeb vomit films I can think of: Valentine's Day and New Year's Day. Celeb vomit. adj. a film that crams in as many recognizable faces as possible. Origin: Jameil. Is it a great film? No. Is it a terrible film? No. 3.3 stars

Week 43: October 21-27, 2012
138) More Than a Game. The story of Lebron James' AAU and high school teams in Akron Ohio and the bond between the "Fab 4" turned "Fab 5." Mostly typical uplifting sports story. I wasn't particularly in the mood for a sports doc but as they go, this one was well done. 3.2 stars
139) The Bigamist. Insane film starring Joan Fontaine about a man who is secretly married to two women. His life begins to unravel when he goes to adopt a child and is investigated by a worker at the adoption agency. Crazy proceedings and justifications led to an unsatisfactory "conclusion." Use the term conclusion loosely. Let's say end. 2.9 stars
140) Donkey in Lahore. An Australian man meets and falls in love with a Pakistani woman while performing a puppet show in her country. Deciding to marry is one thing, converting to Islam, getting her family to agree to marriage and all of its changes is another. Wearying film in part because it was unnecessarily long. The process itself took years. Great conflict but too much time was spent showing the struggle. Still a worthwhile film. 3.6 stars