the day before thanksgiving, naturally i had a hard time concentrating on work. i did some but left a little for the 4 day weekend, burned my code after work onto a multi-sessioned cd to be taken home.

during lunch i ran in 34 degrees weather. dressed in my winter running gear, i hardly felt cold at all, and when i started running, i really didn't feel it. the charles river was very empty. a combination of the cold weather (fair weather runners, blah!) and the fact that today was the day before thanksgiving meant a low turnout on the river. that was very nice, felt like it was my own private racetrack. in all, i probably only saw two dozen runners. once again a difficult run, but not as bad as the past few times i've gone running. no craps, and i wasn't that tired, although i really felt like just stopping and walking, but i stuck it out and ran the whole 3 miles non-stop. i'm not sure where i'm getting this endurance from, when i didn't really have any breakfast or lunch before running. i've come a long way. i remember when i first started running back in late spring, i could hardly do a mile without stopping and walking the rest of the way. now, even when i'm totally exhausted, i still have the stamina to keep on going and finish the entire course running. the first third of the river course is always the toughest. i can see the bridge, and the return path, and it just looks so darn long and daunting, no way could i run it all the way. across the bridge is hard too, but that's where the run is at its most scenic with a great view of boston, and usually there's a nice breeze going over the bridge. i also like watching the occasional seagull riding the wind, sort of just floating motionless in the air. the final third of the run is the easiest, and the farther i go, the easier it becomes. for me, it almost feels like running downhill. it's also hard running alone. running with a partner, we can pace ourselves. however, i am less self-conscious when i run solo, and i definitely make more exhausting gasping and panting noises. sometimes i find myself almost moaning because it feels like my lungs are about to burst and my legs will splinter like toothpicks. my dream is to slowly bring up my running to 5 miles instead of just 3 miles. i couldn't run a 10 minute mile though, i'd have to improve to 7 minutes in order to run 5 miles and make it back to the office in under an hour.

what's with the sudden interest in running? well, i've been running all summer, and i never really gave it up, just that i got really busy and didn't have time to go running. now that my schedule is a lot less hectic, i can fit running into my life again. i like it because it gives me an excuse to get out of the office, to take a break from work. i also like it because without running, i wouldn't get any exercise. with my high blood pressure, i can't afford to not run and stay nonactive. days that i don't run, i feel like i probably have 10-20 years left on my bum ticker. days that i do run, i feel like i'll probably live forever.

after work i was to meet alex wong in harvard square for dinner. when i arrived at the station i gave him a call on his cellphone to see where he was. the payphone i used connected me but then returned my change. is this a conspiracy? this is the second time recently that i've had that happen, the other being when i called julie from the mfa school in boston. hey, i'm not complaining though! just making an observation.

we rendezvous'd at wordsworth. i browsed the aisles looking for an illustrated medical dictionary to replace the really good one i had (can't remember the publisher) but mysteriously disappeared. no luck. to make up for it though, we did see an ass reader. this man was kneeling on the ground on all fours, butt sticking up in the air, reading a book. it had photo-op written all over it. then this mother-daughter came into the store, and the mother asked the info desk, "do you have any harry potter books?" to which the info man replied, "yeah, we might have a few left over there - " then suddenly a loud squeal from the little girl as she screamed out "i see them! i see them! they're over there!" harry potter fever grips the nation. i feel so sorry for any parents with harry potter reading age children, i really do.

pho pasteur
(harvard square)
(basement room)

view outside
our window

alex wong

no.16 ($6.75)

benji waiting
in the car
(very obedient

benji (detail)

we ate at pho pasteur. it was okay. i definitely noticed that the menu items are more expensive than the pho in chinatown. they also don't have the different sizes of pho like they do at other places. it's a just one-size-fits-all portion, which is this gigantic bowl that i couldn't finish. plus, the selection at pho pasteur is very limited. for my money, to chau is still king. the ambiance was good though, and we had a great view, right next to a window. while we were well fed and warm inside, people were walking around cold and hungry outside. i felt so bourgeois! our dinner conversation included the harry potter phenomenon and what alex was doing earlier during the day (some conference with japanese housewives of mit professors).

after dinner, we browsed tokyo kid and that scifi/fantasy bookstore. there was a big crowd of young people waiting to get their tattoos at the parlor right next to the bookstore. i chuckled to myself. nothing like that pre-thanksgiving tattoo to sort of add some spice to the dinner table conversation! i know i usually like to get cut right before the holidays, puts me in a festive mood through and through!

the place where i wait for my bus to take my home was empty. i actually did a doubletake, thinking that maybe they moved the stop somewhere else. usually around this time, the place is packed with people on their way home. tonight however, it was a ghost town. i think that's when it hit me that tomorrow's thanksgiving. that, plus how there was nobody along the charles river.

and finally, when i get a little depressed (holidays, especially around this time of the year, always tend to bring me down), i like to treat myself to some online shopping to get me out of my funk. i went on amazon.com and ordered up some books:

shanghai : the rise and fall
of a decadent city 1842-1949
by stella dong
gideon's spies : the secret
history of the mossad
by gordon thomas
the descent by jeff long
the cambridge factfinder, 4th edition
edited by david crystal

a chinese history book, a spy book, a horror novel, and a reference book.