mabfan and gnomi were visiting, and last Sunday I met them in person for the first time (as well as some friends of theirs) -- and felt completely at ease. We had lunch at Mr. Broadway and I tried shwarma, which is something like what I used to get from the halal cart. The shredded chicken and lamb in pita (with white sauce) couldn't be lifted neatly, so I used a knife and fork.
On Monday, neighbor J invited me to the SAG-WGA showing of Spike Lee's "Miracle at St. Anna." This long movie reminded me of "Saving Private Ryan" and "Days of Glory," with soldiers in Europe holing up in a picturesque town and suffering casualties. Parts of the story were very touching.
On Wednesday, I had a pass to "Eagle Eye" at AMC 34th. The line moved slowly, and M and I were among the last to get in and had to sit close to the front. This made the whiz-bang chases and high-tech effects more in-your-face, though the movie is visually dazzling in any case. Good story, which may have holes on closer examination. Featuring the crossword-friendly SHIA LeBeouf. It would be a spoiler to say what movie this reminded me of.
Sunday was the NPL minicon. I arrived just as the formal program was starting. The first game was a crossword construction game I never liked. Can't win 'em all. tmcay came all the way from Denver with Google image charades. I was not very good at piecing together the answers, but it was fun and ingeniously done. Then Noam presented Beat the Champ, with a Bingo element. Manx at one point faced 6 challengers, and I managed to be a short-lived champ twice (somehow noticing that the brand Budweiser contains the word beer).
It was raining when I left for the con, so I wasn't sure if the Housing Works book sale postponed from Saturday was still on. Borrowing N's phone during a break, I called and found it was. So I left around 4:45 in search of book bargains. The U-shaped tables with boxes of books were more cramped than in previous sales, probably so the books could be fully under the tents out of the rain. This and the crowds made it harder to browse thoroughly, so I just piled books haphazardly. I was offered a box but it seemed even more unwieldy (plus the box was a little wet), so abandoned that.
At 5:30, they announced that books would go for $5 a box, so I got a new (dry) box and dumped books in. I ended up with 17 items, including 2 S&S crossword collections and 2 books on my wishlist. I could have fit 4-5 more books, not to mention audio CD's, but the box was heavy as it was, and there just wasn't time. I lugged the thing back home on the subway, and found later when I catalogued the contents, that I already had 2 of the books. Oops, the print on my "already have" list was small and I didn't notice (they will go up for trade). Still, quite a deal.
It was about 6:30 and I considered trying to see if people from the minicon were gathering for dinner, but was tired from all the book carrying and thought it best to stay home.
Last week I finished:
"The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan - while the story that starts and ends the book is very powerful, I was disappointed in the rest. I read several books and magazines at once, and every time I came back to this, I kept confusing and forgetting the characters.
"Summer Blowout" by Claire Cook - I should have known that the author of "Must Love Dogs" would include a dog in the plot, which is a big minus. Besides the dog, the book featured a family of Boston-area beauticians.