Week 13 done

This morning I ran 18 miles to close out week 13 of my marathon training plan. It was my longest run ever. Somehow I completed those 18 miles at an average pace of 11:19 min/mile, which is probably faster than I should have run (surprisingly, only a tiny bit slower than my half marathon PR time from last month). Those last two miles were really rough! I got up later than I originally planned this morning so I didn’t start running until right around sunrise (6:45 AM). This meant that I spent a lot of time out there while the sun was high up in the sky. Thankfully it was a lovely LA winter day with a high only in the 60s, but the sun still warmed me up considerably. I was running along the San Gabriel River so shade was hard to come by a majority the time. But I successfully completed my 18-mile run with minimal problems (thanks to my twice-repaired orthotics that I picked up from my podiatrist on Friday), and now I am much more confident that I’ll be able to cross the Disney World Marathon finish line without passing out. I have the Holiday Half Marathon next weekend with my running buddies, and then my last long run will be 20 miles the weekend after that. I am cautiously optimistic that I will finish this 18-week training plan and be completely prepared for the marathon in January!

P.S. My holiday celebratory activity today was fairly subdued – I watched last year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song,” while ordering some presents online. The presents were mostly for other people, but I also got some running pants from Lululemon for myself! I intended to put up my Christmas tree this afternoon, but I didn’t have enough energy after my 18-mile run. While lounging on my couch I should have worked on my Christmas cards, but that didn’t happen either. I’d better get my rear in gear soon because time is running out!

Technology trials

Written on my flight from Miami to Tallahassee on 11/22/16:

I love technology. How else could I have written and published a blog post while on an airplane today? I also found some potential Thanksgiving vegetable recipes and emailed them to my mom, as well as chatted with some friends on Facebook Messenger. It’s truly amazing. I’m anxiously awaiting the day when inflight wifi has enough bandwidth to stream Netflix and Amazon Prime content. That will make traveling infinitely more entertaining. Speaking of Amazon Prime, I am hoping to have a chance to watch the first episode of “The Grand Tour,” the new motoring show with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, while I’m in Tallahassee. I’ve been looking forward to it for months.

In a similar vein, Run Disney published the registration dates for all of their late 2017 through early 2018 races this morning and everyone is a bit baffled. Usually registration for these races opens around seven or eight months before the race date. And you usually have to sign up immediately since you never know how quickly a race will sell out. (It varies from within 30 minutes to never, and it’s impossible to predict.) However, it looks like the lead time for upcoming Run Disney races has increased to nine or ten months now. In fact, my friends and I have to register for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend in about two weeks! So much for waiting to recoup some of my holiday spending before giving hundreds of dollars to the Disney Corporation.

Speaking of giving money to Disney (one of my favorite pastimes), the other day I got wind of an email that had supposedly been sent to all of the 2016 Avengers Half Marathon Weekend participants inviting them to pre-register for next year at a discount. This is unheard of for Run Disney! My biggest gripe is that even as an incredibly loyal participant who ran all three Avengers races in 2016 I didn’t receive this fabled email! With a desire to maintain my legacy status for the fourth year I would most definitely jump at the chance to sign up for 2017 now before the official registration begins. But for some reason I was left off that particular mailing list. I was so disappointed! Luckily one of the members of my Galloway running group was kind enough to share the link with me today so I should be able to pre-register after all. Thank goodness for understanding runner friends!

Notes as of 11/29/16:

I have now finished watching the first episode of “The Grand Tour” and it was amazing! I was only able to watch the first half of it while I was in Florida because I had to get my parent’s TV to connect to Amazon Prime first. This required ordering a Roku streaming stick which only arrived on Saturday afternoon. Also, I did successfully sign up for the 2017 Avengers Half Marathon Weekend last Tuesday so that’s one Disney race registration that I have out of the way. The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend registration is coming up next Thursday so I’m going to have one hefty credit card bill coming in December!

Kickstarter rewards #1

I planned to use some of my free time after the Avengers Half Marathon today to write a comprehensive blog post about my weekend, but my brain just wasn’t up to it. After exhausting my body running this morning all I wanted to do was watch TV and zone out on the couch. So that’s what I did! But in order to continue fulfilling my NaBloPoMo commitment I need to write at least a little something today. Here it is!

When I got home from Anaheim this morning there was a package on my doorstep. I wasn’t expecting anything so I was intrigued. When I sliced open the envelope two t-shirts fell out and I was pleasantly surprised. They were my backer reward shirts for supporting the RiffTrax Live MST3K Reunion Show Kickstarter campaign! The campaign was launched in March and given my love of both RiffTrax and MST3K I couldn’t resist pledging some money. The reunion show itself was in theaters back in July and I attended it with a good friend. It was a lot of fun. But before I discovered those t-shirts on my porch this morning I had completely forgotten that I was owed them! That’s what happens when it takes four months after the actual event is over for the merchandise to arrive. I won’t complain about awesome new shirts, though! I wore one of them to see “Doctor Strange” tonight. (Great movie! I highly recommend it!) Now I’m just waiting for my backer reward shirt from the Bring Back Mystery Science Theater Kickstarter that I contributed to last Thanksgiving. Believe it or not, it’s been almost a year! But if this is the price I have to pay for new MST3K shows I’ll gladly accept it!

Cutting back

“I was fooling myself if I thought I could easily abandon anything superhero-related.”
10/16/16 webpage post

Right now I’m sitting on my couch watching an episode of “Arrow” that’s been languishing on my DVR for almost a month. And I started the evening with an equally ancient episode of “The Flash.” It’s safe to say that despite what I wrote last month I haven’t been keeping up with all the superhero shows I record each week. None of the others either, come to think of it. I haven’t even watched “Once Upon A Time” in three weeks and it’s my favorite! Between work and my strict exercise regimen I just don’t have time to devote to television these days. As much as I’d like to veg out sometimes. This probably explains why my DVR was almost full when I got back from Arkansas on Monday. I needed to take drastic action! The first show on the chopping block was “Supergirl.” Even though it is part of the suite of superhero programming on the CW I haven’t even caught up on season 1 on Netflix yet. And barring something that sidelines me for a while, like a week-long illness, I have no chance of being ready to watch the current season’s episodes anytime soon. So “Supergirl” is toast. Next up was “Elementary.” I’m a huge fan of everything related to Sherlock Holmes, but this is one of the shows at the bottom of my priority list. I figured that with all of the other programs out there to entertain myself I wouldn’t even miss my weekly dose of the British detective. I’d much rather wait for the return of “Sherlock” on PBS in January anyway! So that’s two shows stricken from the record. After that I realized I had freed up a decent amount of space on my DVR so further cuts weren’t necessary. Yet. We’ll see how far behind on my TV watching I get over the holidays. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to watch an episode of “Legends of Tomorrow” before I go to bed!

Fall television

“I’ve been under a lot of pressure at work lately and watching TV when I get home each evening helps me unwind. Unfortunately it also keeps me from getting an optimal number of chores done around the house, but it’s a small price to pay for stress relief.”
11/17/15 webpage post

It’s no secret that I love television. (Over just the past year I’ve written posts about X-Files, MST:3K, Doctor Who, and Once Upon A Time. It’s enough to make me think I need to pick up another hobby.) But after the spring finales of my favorite shows earlier this year I didn’t have much to watch. That turned out to be a good thing. I was running several times a week and going to the gym just as often so there wasn’t a lot of time left over for zoning out in front of the TV. In the evenings I often turned on episodes of the Simpsons on FXX, but even then I was busy doing other things around the house at the same time. There was very little parking myself on the couch and focusing all of my attention on some show or another. And it was a great summer because of that. I just didn’t know what was going to happen when the fall premieres rolled around. At first I was determined to reduce the number of shows that I record and watch every week. Without a new season of Doctor Who until next spring (except the Christmas special which I am anxiously awaiting), I have very few must-watch programs. In fact, Once Upon A Time is just about the only one. Weeknights always seem so short so it’s nice to not feel like I don’t have any more demands on my time and energy. So my first thought as the fall season started was to stop recording all of the CW DC Comics shows – all four of them! It’s not like I’m all that invested in any of the story lines, and freeing up four hours per week was a nice bonus. Too bad I never followed through. So far I’ve been saving the new episodes of Flash, Arrow, Supergirl (I’m still catching up on season 1 on Netflix), and Legends of Tomorrow for weekend viewing. They are the perfect entertainment while I’m recuperating from a long run, like the Long Beach half marathon last weekend or Surf City 10 this morning. I was fooling myself if I thought I could easily abandon anything superhero-related. I’d like to respectfully request that none of the networks launch any new shows in that genre any time soon. I know it’s wishful thinking given the popularity these days, but I don’t need to watch any more TV than I already do!

X-Files is back!

“Pretty much anything in the X-Files universe is fine by me. And besides just crossing all of my fingers and toes to help this effort, I wrote a tweet with the #XFiles2015 hashtag tonight. New X-Files must happen!”
1/25/15 webpage post

One year ago today I posted the following on Twitter – “#XFiles2015 must happen!!!” It was such an exciting prospect that one of my all-time favorite television shows might be back on the air and I wanted to do everything I could to help make it happen. (Granted, I didn’t quite go to the extreme of contribute to a Kickstarter like I did for Mystery Science Theater 3000, but at the time tweeting was all I really could do.) And somehow, with an enormous wave of popular support that started from a single podcast, Fox decided to make all of our nerdiest dreams come true. Mulder and Scully were coming back to the small screen! Rejoice! It’s just for six episodes, more like a mini-series, but I’ll take what I can get. Finally, after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the premiere of this monumental event aired last night. Due to my own craziness, I DVRed it while I was out running and didn’t get to watch it before I went to bed. Much to my despair, I had read some unfavorable reviews of the first episode, and some of my co-workers weren’t all that fond of it either. But I watched it when I got home from work tonight and I thought it was awesome! I’m not sure what all the complaining was about. I’m a big fan already and I can’t wait to see more!

Christmas television

The first paragraph of this post was written while waiting to board my flight to Tallahassee on December 22nd, but my in-flight seating arrangements were so uncomfortable I never finished it during the many hours I spent on the plane. (Instead I read a book and watched Star Wars movies on my iPad.) And of course I was far too busy to crack open my laptop at all while I was in Florida for Christmas. Too many entertaining things to do instead! But now that I’m back home it’s time to start blogging again. 2016 will be here in a few days!

I have about a dozen different Christmas TV shows and movies on my DVR right now. I’d like to blame that backlog on the hectic nature of the holiday season, but the truth is that I’ve spent the majority of my screen time this month binge watching other things instead! A lot of shows have big winter finales in December and I wanted to catch up on all of my favorite series in time to see the mid-season finales before leaving town for Christmas. I have priorities, after all. (I didn’t say they were good priorities!) “Arrow” and “Once Upon A Time” were great, “Agents of SHIELD” was pretty good, and “Doctor Who” is always my main priority. So despite missing the initial airings of perennial Christmas specials I still watched a lot of TV while saving the seasonal content for future consumption. I plan to watch it when I get back from Florida next week. After all, the holidays aren’t over until I have to go back to work, and this year that isn’t until January 4th! As I walked out of my house on my way to the airport this morning I took one final look at my pretty little Christmas tree. It won’t be long before I’ll be putting it away for another year, and I’m going to need some uplifting programming to accompany that least favorite of all holiday activities.

Now that Christmas is over and I’m back in California with six glorious days before I have to go drag myself to work again, it’s time to start making a dent in the many hours of holiday television that are taking up space on my DVR. So far today I’ve watched quite a few Christmas episodes of “The Simpsons, “Family Guy,” and “Teen Titans Go!” It’s a lovely way to spend a cold Los Angeles day (at least compared to Florida right now) while I’m trying to unpack my suitcase and readjust to Pacific Time. I can’t say I’ve accomplished much else today, but at least I’ve free up DVR space for all of the spring premieres that are coming in January. Hooray! On second thought, maybe I should make a New Year’s Resolution to watch less TV instead. We’ll see!

#BringBackMST3K

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. When I was in college I used to get up early on Saturdays and watch the new episodes on the Sci-Fi Channel (now called SyFy) while my sorority sisters were sleeping off their hangovers. (This was when we had only two communal cable-equipped TVs in the house. The demand for screen time was basically nonexistent on weekend mornings.) I was so disappointed when MST3K was cancelled in 1999, but the reruns kept me laughing every weekend through graduation. The good news is that these days just about every episode is available on YouTube. There’s even a website that will tell you exactly where to find all of them – MST3K A Day. It certainly saves me a lot of money on DVDs! Not that I need to watch any more television than I already do, but sometimes only an episode of Mystery Science Theater is just what the doctor ordered.

On November 10th Joel Hodgson started a Kickstarter campaign called Bring Back MST3K. I discovered it a few days later and immediately made a small pledge. I had no idea if the project would get any traction, but I was willing to help out if there was any chance to get new episodes. Then on Thanksgiving as I was binge watching Mystery Science Theater online during the Turkey Day Marathon I saw just how popular the campaign was becoming. So many people love the show and want to see it return. So I decided that this year my Christmas present to myself was going to be contributing to the Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter. I increased my pledge quite a bit because what could be a better gift than new episodes of one of my favorite TV shows? Luckily a lot of other people felt the same way because as of the deadline last night the campaign raised more than enough money to fund 14 new episodes! It turned out to be more than $6 million. Wow! I’ll have to wait until sometime next year for Santa to deliver this particular present, but it will be worth the wait.

Once Upon A Time (season 5)

When “Once Upon A Time” started back in 2011 I absolutely loved it. That first season was so much fun. I loved the heroes and I loved the villains (Regina aka the Evil Queen is awesome). Unfortunately seasons 2 and 3 weren’t quite as enchanting, but I kept watching in the hopes that the show would recapture that spark that made it so enjoyable in the beginning. I rarely give up on shows after I’ve gotten invested in them, even when I probably should. There have been exceptions, of course, but I generally soldier on until the show is cancelled and finally put out of its misery. Luckily everything started to turn back around in season 4 of “Once Upon A Time”. The first half of the season included characters from “Frozen” which was just OK, but the second half of the season revolved around the villains. That’s when it got fun again. And season 5 has been great so far. It’s definitely one of my favorite shows this year (probably second to “Doctor Who,” but I’m sure that’s not a surprise). I’ve just got my fingers crossed that “Once Upon A Time” continues to be so entertaining.

As a side note, the actor and actress that play Snow White and Prince Charming on “Once Upon A Time” are also off-screen husband and wife. I read somewhere that they are big Disney fans, which I greatly admired. Then one day this spring I saw them at Disneyland with their new baby! I was star struck, but I didn’t want to bother them by being a fangirl. So I just watched as they walked past me. Imagine seeing Snow White and Prince Charming at Disneyland!