Off Day Odds and Ends
After some mild slacking off in the first half of November, I've been running a bit more of late. In fact, since Thanksgiving I've logged just under 70 unique miles, and I'm going to try to squeeze in another 70 or 80 before I head out to California to see my sister at Christmas (including travel days, it looks like I'll be missing about 10 days of running). The goal now is to hit the halfway point -- 871 unique miles -- by January 15th. This should keep me on pace to have the whole borough wrapped up by August 1st. Anyway, since I'm taking a day off today, I wanted to briefly (or, given my natural tendency toward prolixity, maybe not so briefly) touch on a few things that I've meaning to mention but which haven't found their way into my regular posts. Here goes.
- From the Runs Brooklyn Pharmaceutical Desk
Actually, it's none of these. But I have discovered naproxen, the active ingredient in Aleve (though the generic version from my local Eckerd is half the price of the name-brand stuff). It's both an analgesic and a very effective anti-inflammatory, and – for me, at least – seems to be much more effective than ibuprofen. So if I'm not going to take better care of myself, I can at least subvert my body's natural warnings and make it hurt less by stuffing it full of pills. That'll teach it.
- Photographic Update
- Retreating Across the River
- Will Self Walks Brooklyn
On the other hand, Self's new novel, The Book of Dave, was published just three weeks ago (to mostly positive reviews), and the cynic in me can't help but sniff at what is obviously a publicity stunt (unless, of course, the author just happened to run into a reporter and photographer from the Times out on Conduit Boulevard somewhere). Self's semi-pretentious and somewhat self-congratulatory proclamations on issues like race and urban geography are certainly entertaining enough (sample: "In the post-industrial age, this is the only form of real exploration left. Anyone can go and see the Ituri pygmy, but how many people have walked all the way from the airport to the city?"), though not as much as the reporter's admiration of the fact that Self actually walked (and against Rick Moody's advice, too!) through East New York and Brownsville. This shouldn't really be too surprising, since the author has a history of media-savvy self-promotion designed to draw attention to him at publication time. Right around the release of 1997's Great Apes, for instance, Self got himself kicked off British Prime Minister John Major's airplane for allegedly shooting heroin in the loo, which precipitated a field day among the UK's tabloids -- the clippings of which were thoughtfully included by his publicists in the novel's press kit.
Bottom line: The walk itself was a pretty cool thing to do. Brooklyn is huge, and dense with people and buildings and all kinds of things to look at and think about. And seeing it on your feet is indeed a wonderful way to experience it, especially those neighborhoods which many in the media (and blog world*) regularly ignore. But Self should be wary of appearing a bit full of himself – there are, after all, thousands of walkers, cyclists, joggers, part-time historians, parrot-watchers, street artists, amateur geographers, urban explorers of various stripes, and yes, runners, that already know this.
(That said, I'll also include a sheepish confession: as publicity stunts go this one's apparently quite effective – I kind of want to read his book now. Seriously, after reading the article and a few reviews, I have to admit I'm intrigued. I'll probably wait for the paperback, however.)
*I refuse to use the word "blogosphere," simply on principle.
Okay, enough of my thoughts. Instead, I'll move right on to a few bonus pictures from the last week's runs:
Church on Farragut Road (the same one from yesterday's post, actually)
55th Street and 5th Avenue in Sunset Park
Old advertisement on Flatbush Avenue