Abra Goes

on theatre, running, writing, and looking up

Archive for May 2008

Baby girl on her way, guard all wallets

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I am bound for baby town tonight, a.k.a. Baby’s R’Us. In about a month and a half I will be the much idolized favorite aunt of a baby girl named Dylan Grace.

It’s not that I’m scared of babies. It’s that they’re weird. In my adult life, I’ve spent zero time around them, unless you count the babies I back away from on the subway. Still, I want to be the Dylan’s favorite aunt and step one is to buy it something.

Fortunately, my sister did a registry to eliminate the guessing. Somehow the little thing is already burning a hole in my wallet. For instance: car seats. There’s a perfectly functional car seat for $40. And then there’s an awesome, stylish car seat for $140,000,000. And I feel guilty not emptying my bank account for the better seat.

Thanks, Dylan.

To make up for it, I’m going to buy her baby running shoes and take her running. Just as soon as she gets born.


Written by abragoes

May 29, 2008 at 6:05 pm

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Mind your step in Coney Island

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45 minutes of the past three sunny days is the total duration my skin was exposed to the sun without protection. Unfortunately, those 45 minutes involved running on the boardwalk in Coney Island during late morning with the sun doing double time bouncing off of the Ocean.

To compensate, I slathered layer upon layer of sunscreen on after. After my shoulders were red and cheeks a burning. Why don’t they make retroactive sunscreen? Why?

Oh well. I pray that RA will have mercy on me this one time.

And note to self: invent running shoes with a little drawer in the heal for storing sunscreen, and keys. And a banana.

And Dear Coney Island,

Why don’t you take better care of the boards on your walk? A Brooklynite for 6 years, I love Coney Island. But the boardwalk along Coney and Brighton Beach just don’t compare to Jersey’s. I felt like I was running hurdles again, boards were loose, sometimes missing, sometimes replaced with cardboard that’s been bolted down, nails were popping out…Then again, the runners on Coney’s boardwalk were tough and could probably step on a nail without much grief. One fellow, older, Russian and running shirtless with sunglasses materialized just as I was starting to walk because the heat was beating me.

‘Don’t stop. Keep going.’ He said so matter-of-factly, no judgement, no sympathy. It’s simple after all: running hurts. It hurts when you run in the heat with the sun in your eyes, but were it not for running, I wouldn’t have been on the boardwalk by the Ocean on a quiet Monday morning as Coney Island rose for another Memorial Day and little boys from the upper West Side got off at the end of the F line and laid eyes on the classy ‘Shoot the Freak’ for the first time and stared in first awe then fear at the wooden Cyclone coaster when grandpa said through a mouth full of Nathan’s hot dog, “We’re gonna ride that later.”

I’ll post the route later today. If you run the whole boardwalk from one end to the other and back, it’s about 5 miles – not a bad run if you hit it early.



Hit my 42 miles, and I’m on track to do 500 in 2008. No major injuries yet!

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May 27, 2008 at 1:53 pm

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He can see you, but can you

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spot the savage beast in this picture?


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May 22, 2008 at 2:03 am

Posted in looking up

How not to design biz cards

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It is almost irresistible, the temptation to design my own business cards. My website is coming together. And by ‘coming together’, I mean ‘I’m working on it…get off my back, boss.”

Still shooting to go live by the end of May. Business cards are absolutely ‘doable’ in the next week or so. Once I have a design that is. I’m thinking: Pizazz. I want my audience to pick up my business card and commit my number to memory for fear dropping my card or mistaking it for a tissue and losing my contact information forever.

Wiser freelancers than I advise me to Keep It Simple.


I want to use paste. I do. At the moment, I’m most tempted to do life-size cut outs of my profile, folded down into the size of a business card. I realize this would be annoying because there’s nothing special about my head. I would simply be proving to people that I have a head, and possible calling attention to how unspectacular said head is…

Old fashioned as they may seem, I know I flip through my rolodex frequently when a friend asks if I know any designers or I have an idea to pitch…so I may as well make every effort to get myself in other people’s business rolodex.

I’ve come across a few memorable business cards. And have associated that person with style, creativity, good taste, putting in that extra effort. And I want that association.

Too bad I haven’t actually saved any of these supposedly memorable cards.

How ’bout it? What strikes you in a business card? Or do you prefer clean and basic?

Help an ordinary head out. I’ve consulted small businesses on their business cards, branding, etc, but like writing, I don’t think I’m objective enough to go with my first impulses when it’s my own business.

Written by abragoes

May 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm

200 Miles

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Cheers to me. I broke 200 miles recently. That’s 200+ miles ran thus far in 2008.

To put it in perspective:

The Earth’s diameter is 8000 miles. So if I run what I’ve already ran this year 40 more times, I’ll have run the earth’s diameter.

Since January, I’ve logged as many miles as two Ultra-marathoners. But I prefer to equate my strides to about 64.5 5ks.

Is it a runner-thing to count miles? Cyclists I know pat themselves on the back when they do 40 miles here, 20 miles there…but I don’t know any who keep a running tally. Perhaps it’s a runner/writer thing? Counting words, counting miles- it means something to the do-er. Assuring there is substance to the ground beneath my feet.

The sum may not reflect the ultimate question of craft that never really stops tapping behind the eyeballs: Am I getting any better?

The sum does report effort. Gives you marks to celebrate and numbers to rattle off when family wonders why you never call.

I was running 200 miles. Hello?

All but 6 of these miles were ran in NYC – Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the handy, boring treadmill. Very little hill training so far, but I am mastering running along the Hudson River without falling in.

Written by abragoes

May 20, 2008 at 4:36 pm

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The list goes on

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There’s something quite satisfying in creating lists, perhaps because it helps you pull all of those fragments, those ‘note to selves’ & scribbles on napkins, into one place. Title your list and print it out and every bullet of intention becomes final – something you are committed to doing if for no better reason than to cross it off the list.

My almost-daily runs afford me the time and patience to massage problems. Even when I’m not consciously trying to come up with a solution, running puts things in perspective so worries get to breathe.

Because of running I: breathe better, eat healthier, get sick less … and write more. The obsessive tendencies of writing are also driving my running. When running, I’m thinking about running- conditioning, finishing marathons, seeing the world on foot- and putting this all into lists.

New-ish runners focused on building endurance ought to try making lists while running. It forces your mind into repetition. I find that my breathing syncs with my body best when my mind is preoccupied. Just don’t fool yourself into delusions of multi-tasking. At the end of the run, most of these lists are useless. The 25 Worst Books I ever read, for instance, did nothing for me.

My list of the moment is vague and open to suggestions. (Hoping to find some great runs mentioned in First Marathons):

Favorite Places To-Run

  1. Pacific North West (Haven’t been yet, but I want to run every inch of this region)
  2. Grand Canyon (Haven’t been yet, but I will. Oh yes)
  3. Jersey Shore (I’ve only ran Ocean City’s so far)
  4. Manhattan Waterfront (My favorite paths so far include 125th down the west side, along the southern tip, and up to the Brooklyn Bridge)
  5. Boston through Charles River Park (been here, but haven’t ran it yet)

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May 19, 2008 at 7:33 pm

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Get out of my head, you

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In less than a month I’m off into a void… losing sleep watching the clock. And it seems like everyone else in the world knows where they’re going.

Running is keeping me sane. It’s not getting me anywhere, but it’s keeping me sane. I’m burning off the nervous energy, which replenishes itself in full each morning. My distance has plateau-ed at about 15-20 miles/ week, for now. Once I get past the turbulence of going from full time employment to freelance, I plan to step up my training and actually follow a program. I’m not sure when it happened, but running is essential.

Pictures from Ocean City are on their way. You know how unreliable these digital cameras are- always late on delivery.

Written by abragoes

May 15, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Posted in freelance life, running