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    Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - (K) Humorous and thorough history and science behind ultrarunners and long-distance running
    *****
    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela - (K) An autobiography covering his childhood, years as a freedom fighter and incarceration. Inspiring and informative
    *****
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - (K&T) A mystery set in Barcelona involving an old book, a failed writer and murder
    *****
    Lush Life by Richard Price - A Lower East Side tale of cops, drugs and drinking
    ***
    The Chinese by Jesper Becker - (K&T) Modern history of my peeps, from the cultural revolution to the many failed economic and social attempts to move the country forward
    ***
    Setting the Table by Danny Meyer - A "how-to" on hospitality and business acumen by the restaurateur behind such NY institutions as the Shake Shack and Union Square Grill
    ***
    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama - Obama lays out what is wrong with the current government and how, vaguely, to change it.
    **

OMG! Gossip Girl – Part 2

David is moving back to Seattle.  He’s saying good-bye to NY.  He’s saying good-bye to all his fave NY restaurants, visiting one of them everyday.  Saturday was supposed to be his last meal at Shake Shack.

It was not an usual Shack Shack kind of day.  It was drizzling.  The line was unusually short (but hey, nobody was complaining).

We got a table and started our delicious meal.  And then I saw him.  Somebody who looked familiar in a movie star kinda way.  “Isnt’ that guy kinda famous?” I asked our table.  Oddly enough, it was Glenn, a Microsoftee in his 40s who was quick to point out that “He is the guy from ‘Gossip Girl'”  OMG!  And indeed ’twas.  There was Penn Badgley, sitting literally at the table behind ours.   Diesel even exchanged some words with him (basically he said “excuse me” while going through the chairs around his table).

(Penn, sitting right behind Molly–you can see her quilted jacket in the pic)

A few people approached him and asked him if he was Penn Badgley, in a very nonchallant, NY kinda way.  But I’m not from NY.  So I just stared.  Shamelessly stared.  When Diesel came back to our table I tried to whisper as subtly as possible that he had just talked to a celebrity, but because he is hearing-impaired (when he was a kid in AL, some kid launched a rocket that landed and exploded behind his ear), he was like:  What?  WHAT? WHAAAAAAAT?

His very loud questioning caused Penn to switch chairs, making sure that his back was turned to our table.  Still, I was able to make an inventory of his meal (1 double Shack burger, a small chocolate shake, fries and bottled water), and his fabulous skin.  Just like Chace Crawford, whom we saw during the Gossip Girl taping in our hood, Penn Badgley was smaller than I imagined.  Very cute and very gracious.  He waited in line like everybody else and kept a low profile.

I Miss You Diesel

Have fun in Australia.  Learn some Chinese (with the $16 book you got in Chinatown with my mom).  Don’t eat too much. Run like the wind at the 8k.

Mom and Me on TV

My mom is visiting for a week.  She is fine hanging out and eating with Dies and me, but today I thought it would be fun to go to the Today Show, so we headed over to Rockerfeller Center.

My dream has come true.  I was on TV!  I was in the audience and only actually on TV for like 3 sec, but thank you guys who thought I was actually one of the show’s guest.  Your support for my useless ambition is invaluable.

(on TV!  I wore the bright red shirt on purpose.  Look at my “hi Diesel, Sales + Greiners” sign)

and…I got a pic with Ann Curry, who is a very pretty and lovely lady.

Queens Half-Marathon: Worst Race EVER

Top 10 reasons why this is the worst race EVER (in pics)

1)  It’s hella far:  got up at 4am, on the F train by 4:30, on 7 train at 5, in Queens at 5:30, on race bus after that, at McNeil Park where the race started at 6ish.  Waited about an hour for race to start.

2)  Horrible weather:  87% humidity!

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OMG! Gossip Girl

On Friday night, after my long run, Diesel and I laid low and had a quiet dinner.  We went to Brick Lane, one of he nicer Indian restaurant in Little India, which boasts a more Anglosized menu.  You do pay extra for the white linens and decor, but the food is great.

Anyhow, we were walking home and there it was:  trailers, lights, cameras…and this:

YES, you read it right.  They were taping “Gossip Girl” in our ‘hood.  For all the anticipation that was building up, the actual event was less than than impressive.  We heard from some other spectators that most of the show stars had shot their scenes earlier that morning, and only Chace Crawford was going to make an appearance.

There he was.  Smaller than I thought.  Honestly, if I saw Chase on the street, I wouldn’t have recognize him.  Well, it was somewhat exciting nevertheless.  Here’s a blurry pic I was able to take of the filming:


Still Alive Despite Ignorance

Since David and I are running the Queens Half-Marathon (part of the NY RoadRunners “5 Boroughs Challenge” series), I had to change my running schedule a bit and do my long run today, so that I could rest on Saturday and wake up at the ungodly hour of 4am to make the trek to Queens on Sunday.

But I digress.

Anyhow, I got up at 5:30ish and was out the door by 6am.  This time, I was wearing my Forerunner to make sure I did the 18 miler I was supposed to.

The weather in NY has been absolutely perfect for running (low-mid 70s), so it was actually a very pleasant run.  I ran about 0.6 miles to the East River Park (ERP) and then went uptown for about 2.5 miles and back.  So by the time I got back to where I started running at ERP to go downtown towards the Financial District, it had been about 6 miles.  So in my head, I started doing the math to figure out where exactly I was supposed to turn around, so I started doing the math on my head, subtracting the 0.6 miles from the stretch before the park, adding some more, etc.  I thought I had it all figured out.  I decided my turning point would be somewhere along the Chelsea Piers.

So imagine my surprise when at mile 14 I realized that I was not going to be that close to my house by the time I finished my run.  In fact, I ran as much as a could (18.5 miles) and was still TWO miles from home.  Now you say, “Well, 2 miles is like nothing.”  But I was SO, SO TIRED.  I was tempted to resort to the $10 dollars I keep in my pocket when I do long runs (in case something tragic happens and I have to take a cab home), but I decided to suck it up.  And so I did.  Miraculously, I made it home.  Hooray for me despite my math inability.


Only in NY (and the Middle/Far East): Eyebrow Threading

After a couple of days sick, I made it out of the apartment to get some fruit and get my eyebrows waxed.  But alas, my 5-dollar waxing place was closed today, so I went across the street to a place that was advertising “waxing” and “threading.”  Since I’ve moved to this city, I’ve wondered what the heck threading was all about, as many salons feature this service.

I was greeted by some Bollywood song that was playing on the TV and noticed the three Indian ladies with long threads (one end in their mouth, mind you), deftly manicuring the eyebrows of three customers.  I stood there, fascinated by this technique.  I decided to give threading a shot.  I told the lady I had never done it, so she was very accommodating of me every time I cringed.

The truth is, threading hurts way less than waxing, as it is supposedly a more natural, less harsh way to get those eyebrows looking good.  I was very happy with the results and would go back.  For a mere 12 bucks I was able to get both my brows and upper lip threaded.  Here’s a clip of this fascinating technique: