Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,
Ellen
ennienyc

Haystack (sort of) and chick lit

Last year at this time I participated in the Haystack puzzle event. The puzzles were ingenious and the company was good, but the day was just too exhausting. I'm not up to running around Manhattan in August weather; I wasn't even sure I'd make it the short distance back from Columbia the other day. So I decided to sit this one out.

My teammates were up for another try (except Dean, who broke his foot), with Jeffurry going with Hathor's eventual winning team, and Treacle and Badir forming a new team with Kray, Ed and Badir's friend. Sorry to cop out on everyone. (This team was also my Puzzle Boat team. We solved a significant amount, and I still have printouts of the puzzles piled up, to be looked at again someday.)

I still wanted to see everyone, including several Krewe in from Boston, so obtained the top secret ending restaurant location from the organizers. I offered to help too, but they didn't take me up on that. It had started raining when I left home, and was still raining as I walked from the subway to the top secret location... oh, it doesn't matter anymore, it's the Malibu Diner on W. 23rd St. Not a pouring, awful rain, but still not great when doing an outdoor hunt.

Although it was early, two NPL teams were already in the back room of the diner, finishing the final phase which looked like a sudoku. I didn't want to disturb them so chatted with Hathor a bit and then moved over to the Eric Berlin team table. There were 17 teams of up to 5 people, and the restaurant was filling up, soon spilling out of the back room. I felt slightly guilty for taking up space, but my one seat would not have made room for a whole other team.

I like diner food, and had spinach pie which came with salad (which I ceded to my famished tablemates) and soup. I tore off some pita, which might have really been Nancy's. Everyone was tired but happy. The events were all below 23rd St., but it still sounded like I made the right decision to spend a sedentary day at home. The puzzles are now online and maybe one day I'll even do them. Jon mentioned checking out the MIT Hunt puzzles online, and having no clue what to do on most of them; I've been meaning to do that, but if Jon had trouble this does not bode well for my ever participating in that event.

While spending a sedentary day at home, I finished "Slightly Single" by Wendy Markham, amusing chick lit about a Manhattan woman whose boyfriend is away doing summer stock, while she hangs out with a new gay male friend who (oops!) isn't gay, endures indignities at an entry-level advertising job, diets, smokes too much (ick!), and is basically Bridget Jones in New York.

I also recently read "Loose Lips" by Claire Berlinski, about a recent Ph.D. in Sanskrit studies who for lack of other prospects, joins the CIA. The details of training seemed to have an insider's touch, and true or not, this part of the book was very interesting. It fell down toward the end, where I wasn't sure who was trustworthy and what really happened; maybe that was the point.

I have four magazines going instead of one (a current entertainment mag, and old issues of New York, New Yorker and Newsweek), but I think that's defeating the purpose in that it will take me that much longer to finish than reading them one at a time. At least I can skip the "Buy? Sell? How to Invest Now" cover story in the 1997 Newsweek.
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