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Howdy, pilgrim! No ads — you're in the ^zhurnal (that's Russian for "journal") — see ZhurnalyWiki for a Wiki edition of individual items; see Zhurnal and Zhurnaly for quick clues as to what this is all about; see Random for a random page. Briefly, this is the diary of ^z = Mark Zimmermann ... previous volume = 0.9938 ... complete list at bottom of page ... send comments & suggestions to "z (at) his (dot) com" ... click on a title link to go to that item in the ZhurnalyWiki where you can edit or comment on it ... thank you!

Attention Means Attention

From Charlotte Joko Beck's talk "Attention Means Attention", quoted from Nothing Special: Living Zen in Tricycle magazine Fall 1993:

... every moment in life is absolute in itself. That's all there is. There is nothing other than this present moment; there is no past, there is no future; there is nothing but this. So when we don't pay attention to each little this, we miss the whole thing. And the contents of this can be anything. This can be straightening our sitting mats, chopping an onion, visiting someone we don't want to visit. It doesn't matter what the contents of the moment are; each moment is absolute. That's all there is, and all there ever will be. If we could totally pay attention, we would never be upset. If we're upset, it's axiomatic that we're not paying attention. If we miss not just one moment, but one moment after another, we're in trouble. ...

(cf This (2013-03-09), Listen to the Traffic (2014-11-12), No Drama (2015-01-16), Attention (2015-03-03), Mantra - Attention, Attention, Attention (2017-05-27), This Moment (2019-01-09), ...)

- Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 04:40:27 (EDT)

2019-08-30 - Spiderweb Safari

~4.4 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"He's an idiot!" Keymaster objectively and critically evaluates a celebrity socio-linguistic-evolutionary-psychological popularizer's research and publications. "Hinky and sexist!" A carotene sunrise brightens the horizon; we scan for new planets but find none. Roadkill feels vertigo, or perhaps is just dizzy with the joy of an early run? K2 waves hands, casting a "dispel cobwebs" enchantment as she leads Dawn Patrol's return from its quest for caffeine.


- Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 06:00:06 (EDT)


Dan Pink's book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us is another brick in the thick genre-wall of business-motivational tomes. It features some modern psychology and neuroscience — along with a lot of feel-good self-justification aimed at managers and executives. No need to pay people (beyond a fuzzily-undefined baseline); just give them "Autonomy" and "Purpose", let them seek and achieve "Mastery", and they will work hard for you. No need to cite evidence that disagrees with your hypothesis. No need for nuance.

That's a caricature of Drive, and it's unfortunately accurate. Pink focuses on folks who are successful, celebrities, the winners of the race, those who are already living in the nice neighborhood with the multi-car garage. There's not much thought given to those who fell short, and why they failed. Not much about assisting one another over rough patches, or about the need that everyone has for help when young or aged, ill or injured. We're all broken at one time or another, all need patching. There's not much charity or love in Drive.

And alas, there's the attempt to define new jargon, in the apparent hope that it will catch on and give the author a bit of extra stickiness, some enduring fame in the meme-o-sphere. Pink's proposed terminology isn't worth mentioning; it's derivative and unnecessary. For better science, try Ariely and Kahneman et al.

- Monday, September 16, 2019 at 06:19:12 (EDT)

2019-08-28 - Less New

~4.3 mi @ ~15.5 min/mi

"What's the minimum change needed to get a novel result?" Keymaster wonders - not just the smallest quantum of publishability, but something new and worthwhile? Hard to know, especially in a field that evolves as fast as machine learning. Dawn Patrol discovers a new cut-through between Westbranch and Galleria, greets a tiny dog, and discusses natural-language processing. Roadkill forgets his phone this morning and enjoys app-free coffee all the more when someone else pays.


- Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 06:19:29 (EDT)

2019-08-26 - Thanks, Sherlock

~4.4 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Elementary, my dear Roadkill!" replies Keymaster, to a question about the type of school that Liz, his Significant Other, now works at. A waning crescent moon peeks through clouds as Dawn Patrol trots via headlamp-glow in search of caffeine. GPS glitching adds a bogus half-mile inside Starbucks, where the cashier flaunts dramatic double-cat-tail eyeliner and the iced coffee now comes with a sippy-cup lid to obviate the need for a straw.


- Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 05:38:07 (EDT)

Personal Decision-Making Principles

From Noam Shpancer's blog in Psychology Today, a February 2019 post "Decision-Making for Sound Mental Health: 3 Useful Principles":

... wise strategies!

- Friday, September 13, 2019 at 04:41:39 (EDT)

2019-08-25 - Be Still and Know

~9.6 mi @ ~13.5 min/mi

Be Still and Know Labyrinth"Be Still and Know" says the stone at the middle of the labyrinth. Instructions posted nearby suggest:
  * Prepare - take a moment to pause and reflect
  * Journey In - release concerns and quiet the mind
  * The Center - receive what this moment has to offer
  * Journey Out - review and reflect
  * Exit - carry the experience into your day

Half a dozen miles later another spirited front yard, far more active, proclaims itself "K-Town Meditation Beach". It features bright signs: Push the Wheel - Trust - Be Who You Wanna Be - Kindness - B Awake - You R Your Choices and concludes with Just 4 Today ❤️ Everyone. A cheery footnote adds "Thank you for the paint!"
On a cool Sunday morning G-ji hikes with poles and heavy backpack, prep for a pilgrimage. Roadkill escorts her for half a mile along Rock Creek Trail. A cat poses by the sidewalk, then ambles off. Lovely lawn sculptures decorate the trek — gnomes, rabbits, angels, fairies, frogs, dogs, and an elephant. Newborn-adult Venus stands pensive in alabaster astride her shell, draped in flowing hair and beauty. Cut-throughs lead through hidden corners of the 'hood. A lawn sculpture shows a fairy, lips pursed, blowing across a flower in an open shell. Signs near her say "Create" and "Grow". Rocks by her feet are labeled "Happiness" and "Joy".Create - Grow - Happiness _ Joy


- Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 05:29:37 (EDT)

2019-08-24 - Chakra Balancing

~8.1 mi @ ~13.4 min/mi

Chakra Balancing Kensington"Chakra Balancing" reads the sign on a spiritual reader shop, next door to the auto maintenance and quick-oil-change garage. What other psychic repair services do they offer, Roadkill wonders? He's on the way to Ken-Gar to meet Ken & Gar (aka Danger Man) on a pleasantly cool morning. A scary-faced scarecrow dances joyously in a Kensington front yard. Runner training groups dash past along Rock Creek Trail.


- Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 04:41:56 (EDT)


Momo (1973) is an extended parable about time and mindfulness by Michael Ende, author of The Neverending Story. The title character is a little homeless girl whose superpower is listening — and her listening catalyzes awakening for those around her. In the original German its full name is Momo oder Die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte, which translates into English as, "Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves and the child who brought the stolen time back to the people".

Evil cigar-smoking Grey Men take away time from human victims, who are left in helter-skelter unhappy busy-ness. With the help of a communicative tortoise and a mysterious time-master, Momo saves the world. It's a sweet story, allegorical and kind-hearted, rather preachy in places, rather important in its sermon. The translation is by J. Maxwell Brownjohn. In Chapter 12 ("Nowhere House") there's a lyrical passage that D B Davis on the discussion group rec.arts.sf.movies quotes as his favorite. It's the heart of Momo:

Everything was bathed in a sort of golden twilight.

When her eyes became accustomed to it, Momo saw that she was standing beneath a mighty dome as big as the vault of heaven itself, or so it seemed to her, and that the whole of this dome was made of the purest gold.

High overhead, in the very centre of the dome, was a circular opening through which a shaft of light fell straight on to an equally circular lake whose dark, smooth waters resembled a jet-black mirror.

Just above the surface, glittering in the shaft of light with the brilliance of a star, something was slowly and majestically moving back and forth. Momo saw that it was a gigantic pendulum, but one with no visible means of support. Apparently weightless, it soared and swooped above the mirror-smooth water with birdlike ease.

As the glittering pendulum slowly neared the edge of the lake, an enormous waterlily bud emerged from its dark depths. The closer the pendulum came, the wider it opened, until at last it lay full-blown on the surface.

Momo had never seen so exquisite a flower. It was composed of all the colours in the spectrum — brilliant colours such as Momo had never dreamed of. While the pendulum hovered above it, she became so absorbed in the spectacle that she forgot everything else. The scent alone seemed something she had always craved without knowing what it was.

But then, very slowly, the pendulum swung back, and as it did so Momo saw to her dismay that the glorious flower was beginning to wilt. Petal after petal dropped off and sank into the blackness below. To Momo, it was as if something unutterably dear to her were vanishing beyond recall.

By the time the pendulum reached the centre of the lake, the flower had completely disintegrated. At the moment, however, a new bud arose near the opposite shore, and as the pendulum drew nearer Momo saw that an even lovelier blossom was beginning to unfold. She walked around the lake to inspect it more closely.

This new flower was altogether different from its predecessor. Momo had never seen such colours before, but these colours seemed richer and more exquisite by far. The petals, too, gave off a different and far more delicious scent, and the longer Momo studied them the more marvelous in every detail she found them.

But again the glittering pendulum swung back, and as it did so the glorious blossom withered and sank, petal by petal, into the dark and unfathomable depths of the lake.

Slowly, very slowly, the pendulum proceeded on its way, but not to exactly the same place as before. This time it checked its swing a little way further along the shore, and there, one pace from where it had previously paused, another bud arose and unfolded.

To Momo this seemed the loveliest lily of all, the flower of flowers — a positive miracle. She could have wept aloud when this perfect blossom, too, began to fade and subside into the depths, but she remembered her promise to Professor Hora and uttered no sound.

Meanwhile, the pendulum had returned to the opposite shore, another pace further along, and a fresh bud broke the glassy surface.

As time went by, it dawned on Momo that each new blossom differed entirely from those that had gone before, and that it always seemed the most beautiful of all. She wandered around the lake watching flower after flower unfold and die.

Although she felt she would never tire of this spectacle, she gradually became aware of another marvel — one that had escaped her till now: she could not only see the shaft of light that streamed down from the centre of the dome; she could hear it as well.

At first it reminded her of wind whistling in distant treetops, but the sound swelled until it resembled the roar of a waterfall or the thunder of waves breaking on a rocky shore.

More and more clearly, Momo perceived that this mighty sound consisted of innumerable notes whose constant changes of pitch were forever weaving different harmonies. It was music, yet it was also something else. All at once, she recognized it as the faraway music she had sometimes faintly heard while listening to the silence of a starry night. ...

... a dreamlike vision of Life, unique and precious, transient and immortal.

(cf "Why a Classic German Children's Tale Is Ripe for Revisiting" by Giulia Pines in The Atlantic (2018-03-12), ...)

- Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 06:07:14 (EDT)

2019-08-23 - Not a Way Nottoway

~4.1 mi @ ~12.0 min/mi

"Doesn't look good!" admits Roadkill, as the path through brushy weeds becomes increasing narrow, boggy, and overgrown. Dawn Patrol turns back, bushwhacks along a faint deer track, and emerges at the Nottoway Park community gardens. We proceed south past the Vienna Metro Station and return via Nutley Street.

"It does text-to-speech synthesis, with a slider to vary the pronunciation across regions!" Keymaster explains. A turkey vulture stands statue-like atop the roof ridge of a small neighborhood home, surveying its domain. Fried Friday morning commuters honk at jaywalkers.


- Sunday, September 08, 2019 at 04:39:34 (EDT)

2019-08-21 - Red Fox Pink Sunrise

~3.6 mi @ ~12.7 min/mi

"If they're talking about work too long, just ask a food question!" Roadkill faux-whispers to Keymaster. K-Rex shifts gears and describes the gourmet breakfast that her son and daughter recently prepared. "They belong on MasterChef!" Dawn Patrol agrees. A big red fox finishes his snack and dashes away at our approach. A doe and her fawn cross the street ahead. Sunrise pinks the eastern horizon.

"Teach them Category Theory!" advises Keymaster, as a way to help those who want to spur innovation in their organizations. K2 recommends creative colleagues who can catalyze change. We finish the run early to make morning meetings.


- Saturday, September 07, 2019 at 05:46:30 (EDT)

Metacognitive Classroom

From August 2019's "5 ways to develop metacognition in your classroom" by Dr Tony Cotton:

  1. Generalize Narrow-Specific Questions: Understand the possibilities for learning: plan learning objectives that provide a range of possibilities for learning. Use "develop my understanding of equivalent fractions", rather than "write down 5 equivalent fractions for ¼ and ½."
  2. Link to Past Knowledge: Draw on prior knowledge: open lessons with activities that get students thinking and talking about what they already know. Ask them to work in pairs to find out what students know about a new topic before you start teaching it. Use this prior knowledge to plan next steps for learning.
  3. Be Open & Flexible During Learning: Monitor learning continually: limit the amount of time you spend talking to maximise students' time for discussion. Ask open questions to get extended responses and monitor these discussions for evidence of learning. For example, are they demonstrating critical questioning? Use this evidence to plan what comes next.
  4. Summarize What Was Learned at the End: Reflect on the learning that has taken place: don't just ask for answers, ask students to reflect on the learning process they took to come to their conclusions. Ask what they already knew and what they found challenging. Explore ways that students will be able to draw on this learning in the future.
  5. Capture Results: Develop a self-regulating classroom: use learning journals to support students in becoming independent, reflective learners. Ask them to write about what they've learnt. What did they find easy and what was challenging? What did they do when they were stuck? What helped them learn?

... and to eat our own cooking and be meta-meta, can we ask ourselves to execute the above 5 steps on this very discussion?

  1. how can we develop our understanding of metacognitive learning strategies?
  2. what do we already know about teaching metacognition?
  3. can we design adaptive real-time strategies to teach metacognition more effectively? (e.g., can the instructor practice constant systems-thinking during the learning-teaching process?)
  4. what have we now learned about teaching metacognition?
  5. how can we find this again some day?

(rather obviously for #5: write a ZhurnalyWiki page "Metacognitive Classroom"!)

(cf Reflective Students (2004-03-17), Thinking in Systems (2017-11-03), Teach Yourself How to Learn (2018-03-05), Metacognitive Awareness (2018-05-19), ...)

- Friday, September 06, 2019 at 04:51:37 (EDT)

2019-08-17 - Habanero Hundred 10k

~6.2 mi @ ~14.5 min/mi

before the start of the Habanero Hundred"You look like the kind of person who would do this crazy thing!" says a fellow runner at high noon with temps in the upper-90s & lower-100s. We're about to start the Habanero Hundred in east central Texas - though note that Roadkill is just doing the 10k single-lap option. Thank goodness, given mega-sunburn within 90 minutes!
After the first mile reality sets in and pace slows to a walk for most of the journey, with a faux-sprint to the finish line when people are watching. Eye-catching Texas flag gear abounds. The course meanders along horse trails through scrub brush land of the 7iL Ranch near Cat Spring. The owner, Faye, is friendly and helpful. She's in her 70s and tells of a Swiss "Zimmermann" great-grandparent. Since her father had only daughters, she got to do the herding, branding, castrating, etc.

Mega-kudos to DD/Keith & DSiL/Rita for cheering (and enabling) this humbling experiment in high heat and humidity; hats-off to Trail Racing Over Texas for its great management and attitude. Official 10k results: 25th place of 85 finishers, 90.1 minutes, first (and last!) over age 65, first (of 2!) from outside Texas.
TROT official photo fr


- Thursday, September 05, 2019 at 05:52:03 (EDT)

2019-08-14 - Pink Floyd Tribute

~4.6 mi @ ~11.5 min/mi

"Australian Pink Floyd?" With a tribute band concert to attend in a few days, and feeling comfortably numb without morning coffee, K2 and Roadkill open the gates of Dawn Patrol and wish you were here. Time is tight before early meetings, so it's run like hell to put another brick in the wall of training for upcoming fall marathons. Hey you!


- Wednesday, September 04, 2019 at 04:35:42 (EDT)

Three Things Tactic

Describing data, concepts, or strategies in terms of Three Things often offers a fun, fertile framework for better thought:

... and when feasible, alliteration is also always appropriate!

(cf Triple Thrills (2003-01-11), ...)

- Tuesday, September 03, 2019 at 06:36:59 (EDT)

2019-08-12 - Flight Plans

~4.2 mi @ ~14.1 min/mi

"Mr Lou Diamond Phillips, please feel free to incline your seat farther - I can squeeze down some more!" Dawn Patrol debates what to say when a star travels coach class in the row just ahead of you. Keymaster prepares to jet west to teach a class; K2 has just flown back from the north; Roadkill reports on unwise "fly and die" pacing at yesterday's cross-country race. Tiny dogs in McLean Central Park are super-cute. Sunrise comes 1 minute later every day this season, and soon headlamps will be needed.


- Monday, September 02, 2019 at 04:38:25 (EDT)

2019-08-11 - очень холодно

~4.0 mi @ ~9.8 min/mi

"очень холодно!" Igor tries to teach Roadkill how to say "very cold" in Russian before the "Groovin' Woodstock" cross-country race on a cool August morn. Steep hills are a delight to dash down but daunting to ascend. The course circles corn and soybean fields, meanders through dense woods, skirts grassy meadows. Along the horse trails the hoof-torn ground is a chaotic jumble. At mile 1 Roadkill survives a minor ankle roll; at mile 3 he gets a boost of adrenaline by almost falling in a ditch, then surrenders to the inevitable and speed-walks the next climb. Yesterday's run is no excuse: more hill-work needed, STAT! Post race brownies, in the '60s theme, feature green leaves. "This is a salad, no?"

Result: 47th of 82 finishers in 39:41, 2nd of 3 in the male 65-69 group.


- Sunday, September 01, 2019 at 06:42:11 (EDT)

More Meta

Can some of the fundamental approaches to helping people think better be applied to themselves, and used to invent new "Think Better" methods? What, specifically, would that mean? For example, does the trio:

suggest some ways to improve the data-knowledge-wisdom cycle? And likewise, do the pattern transformations:

imply additional novel devices to transform and discover new relationships? If so, what? (besides "Be More Meta"!)

(cf Data vs Program (1999-05-01), Do Meta (1999-05-08), Key to the Treasure (2004-04-23), Greatest Inventions (2011-06-09), Applied Category Theory (2019-04-24), ...)

- Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 07:54:26 (EDT)

2019-08-10 - Sam's Potty

~20.3 mi @ ~14.2 min/mi

"Sam's Potty — looks highly readable!" Roadkill pauses to browse in a curbside Little Free Library and finds a book appropriate to his level. Danger Man leads the duo westward, chasing long sunrise shadows. A mailbox features a side porch where Yoda and Rosie the Riveter lounge and a cat cavorts. Electric-violet flowers nearby open their mouths and recite Sharon Olds' poem "My Mother's Pansies".

"Wait! I think I went the wrong way!" Sakurako starts early from KenGar and texts she is heading south, but in fact goes north along Rock Creek Trail. A few miles later R2 and Danger Man figure it out, and send Roadkill dashing ahead to turn Ken and Emaad around. Soon we rendezvous and all's well.

"K2 is far deadlier than Everest!" Ken analyzes fatality ratios for climbers on both mountains. We take the Matthew Henson Trail to Connecticut Avenue, where curvy stone sculptures feature giant knots. Along the way friends Alice Franks and Butch Britton run by and salute; the driver of a passing car rolls down his window to shout greetings. Big Gulp cola from the Kensington 7-11 helps hydration in the final miles. Roadkill regrets not taking enough electrolytes, and not greasing enough to preempt chafing in delicate unmentionable areas.


- Friday, August 30, 2019 at 04:45:13 (EDT)

2019-08-09 - Four Squares Suffice

~5.3 mi @ ~11.4 min/mi

"Cobwebby Day!" says Keymaster as we sweep the path clean. Dawn Patrol hasn't ventured westward yet from Samson's new doghouse, so today commences a survey. "Dead End" claims the sign at Five Oaks Road.

"Do you really believe that?" asks ever-optimistic Roadkill. So begins the adventure to discover new cut-throughs. A big deer feeds, then dashes away; a lovely lawn angel blesses a garden. A woman walking her reluctant-to-trot dog confesses that she's thinking about doing a marathon in Maine, and suggests that there might be a trail along Rocky Run, behind the houses at the next cul-de-sac. Follow it, cross the creek at a narrow spot, and find a way to where a gravel road dips by a flood gauge. Trail talk includes the proof that any positive integer is the sum of four squares, how to transliterate Korean using finite state automata, and the risks of blow-drying a wet furry dog. And we're back in time for morning meetings!
garden angel


- Thursday, August 29, 2019 at 05:55:47 (EDT)

Mathematics, Physics, Computing

From a Y Combinator discussion "Monads as a Programming Pattern" earlier this month, in a comment by "fizixer":

... Physics, Computing, and Mathematics are the holy trinity of the reality that we live in. You have to give each of the three the respect they deserve, and only try to make connections between the three, and NOT try to make any of them a subset of the other. ...

... though one might argue that "Computing" (or at least Computer Science) is mainly the mathematics of process and information ...

(cf Thinking Tools Examples (1999-04-08), No Concepts At All (2001-02-22), Painfully Difficult Beautiful Ideas (2019-08-06), ...)

- Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at 04:46:17 (EDT)

2019-08-05 - Battle of Alesia

~5.7 mi @ ~12.7 min/mi

"Jump!" Roadkill directs the big deer behind the hedge, and points the camera. Alas, before making the leap she dashes farther down Jones Branch Drive. A flock of geese feeds nearby.

"A language is a dialect with an army and a navy!" Keymaster quotes the aphorism, then describes Caesar's siege warfare at the Battle of Alesia, 52 BCE, where Julius built a circumvallation and a countervallation to protect his troops from both inside and outside. "Sounds like a donut!" notes Roadkill, hungrily. Trail talk turns to cognitive levels and the value of zooming to understand a system. From galaxies to electrons, and from metalinguistic abstractions to NAND gates: reframe the problem!


- Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at 05:22:01 (EDT)

2019-08-04 - Robot Flood Gauge

~4.9 mi @ ~16.9 min/mi

"... the perfect photo - if only somebody were doing push-ups in the middle of that wet field," comments Roadkill, as sunbeams slant across the foggy Ken-Gar Park meadow.

"How about crab-walking?" asks Danger Man. We meet R2 and ramble upstream a mile. Two spotted fawns and a mama deer pick their way through the brush beside Rock Creek Trail. Puddles remain from last night's thunderstorms. G-ji joins us and Roadkill walks with her as the others run ahead. On the way home a new robotic-looking flood sensor glitters in a field.


- Monday, August 26, 2019 at 04:45:35 (EDT)



In more detail, three thinking tools for mindful metacognition:

... and then review and regroup ...

(cf Do Meta (1999-05-08), Top Down Bottom Up (1999-05-16), Pyramid Building (2004-02-21), Key to the Treasure (2004-04-23), Greatest Inventions (2011-06-09), Category Theory Concepts (2016-04-25), Yoneda Perspective (2018-10-03), If You Need a Theorem (2018-11-08), ...)

- Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 07:37:17 (EDT)

2019-08-03 - Georgetown Murals

~17.4 mi @ ~13.6 min/mi

"Hi, Roadkill!" says Vixen as she dashes by. Small world, esp. on Saturday mornings when long training runs converge on the Georgetown DC waterfront. From Lock #10 on the C&O Canal, 0600 sharp, at K2's suggestion Dawn Patrol commences a quest for coffee. The towpath leads us downstream past deer, turtles, spiderwebs, great blue herons, ducks and ducklings, cardinals, and birds with scary-long-sharp beaks (a variety of heron?). The bright new mural on Water Street features JFK's "Ich bin ein Berliner" as well as "Liebe" (German for "Love") framed in roses.Georgetown mural Kennedy
Georgetown mural Kennedy"Today it's my turn to crash and burn!" Roadkill suffers (dehydration? old age? excess weight? can't be aftereffects of last night's track meet!) and is thankful for kind companions who tolerate his ever-lengthening walk breaks. Runners in a 5k race flow past. At Starbucks all call for tall iced - Coffee, Pink-Drink, and White-Tea-Guava-Lemonade - then share a fresh croissant. Très bien! Under the Whitehurst Freeway a lithe young runner stretches eye-catchingly; miles later, Roadkill blushes to remember. We analyze the recovery-meal merits of pizza vs ramen vs crayfish - not to mention Violet Crumbles!

"You may have just solved my problem!" At mile 14 K2 dictates a text message to her DH re the potential answer to an upholstery challenge. Keymaster tiptoes into new distance territory as his training ramps up toward an October marathon.


- Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 06:17:53 (EDT)

2019-08-02 - MCRRC Going Green 2 Miler

2.0 miles @ ~7:54 min/mi

MCRRC Going Green track meet - photo by Dan Reichmann"Thank you!" gasps the fast runner, surprised that Roadkill moves out to Lane 2 to let her pass on the inside. This evening's 2 mile race at Gaithersburg High School is slower than 2009-2012 (13:42 + 13:53 + 14:31 + 14:30) but faster than 2018 (16:08) — official time 15:48, good for 3rd of 5 in the male 65-69 age group, and overall 84th of 125 finishers. If 20 pounds lighter, would Roadkill be 80 seconds faster?

Friendly arch-rivals Tom & Igor opt for earlier & later heats, respectively. Photos by the inimitable Reichmanns; finger positions by Roadkill encode in binary the lap count.


- Friday, August 23, 2019 at 04:47:50 (EDT)

Photographic Composition

What makes a great picture? Elements include:

And then there's the content ...

(cf Conversations in Paint (2000-08-18), Mirror Art (2001-12-27), Walking the Line (2007-08-23), Photo Finish (2008-05-25), Cult of Leica (2013-11-15), ...)

- Thursday, August 22, 2019 at 05:20:43 (EDT)

2019-08-02 - Change for the Better

~5.7 mi @ ~14.1 min/mi

"Your cooking has begun to get better!" K-Rex recounts her son's latest compliment. Lightning flickers behind clouds in the west. "Ask him whether the cooking has changed, or if he has?" suggests Roadkill. Dawn Patrol dashes south to Starbucks on a warm and humid morning.

"After almost every acronym, they pause to ask 'Do you know what that means?'" K2 is happy that people briefing her are confident (and wise) enough to check. Raindrops begin to fall. Keymaster reports that he is mentoring a new young person. Roadkill approves: "You will learn much from her!"


- Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 04:40:52 (EDT)

2019-07-31 - Shiva Stories

~5.1 mi @ ~14.6 min/mi

"Don't worry, I know where the 30 horses are!" says somebody who comes to console a friend of Dawn Patrol sitting shiva. Apparently the recently-departed had a secret business — in fact, more than one. "Don't worry, I know where the meat truck is!" says another mourner. And separately from yet another visitor, "Don't worry, I'm the truck driver!" Perhaps life really is like the films Death at a Funeral and Eulogy? A humid morning sky is pumpkin-tinged as we take cut-throughs to Starbucks, quaff caffeine, and close the loop in time for early meetings.


- Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at 05:51:39 (EDT)

Philosophy Now

The magazine "Philosophy Now" seems by turns provocative, silly, and deep; it features diverse, short, highly-readable articles with cute, mostly-relevant illustrations. Particularly valuable are essays that explore useful terms for important concepts (e.g, "promiscuous realism" in an interview with John Dupré, and the unfolding of theodicy in "The Good, The Bad and Theodicy"). Philosophy Now helps readers think, and especially to:

Ask Better

(cf Good Mistakes (1999-09-06), No Dogs or Philosophers Allowed (2003-10-13), Question Answers (2016-10-09), Think Better - Three Keys (2019-06-05), ...)

- Sunday, August 18, 2019 at 07:37:55 (EDT)

2019-07-29 - Leave No One Behind

~5.1 mi @ ~13.4 min/mi

"Abandon you? What do you mean? This is Dawn Patrol — we leave no one behind!" Yeah, somebody's sick, got no sleep last night, has a long day ahead, and then apologizes for cutting today's trek slightly short? No way! "Next time tell us right at the start — so we can mock you for the entire run, not just the final mile!"

"You want a tall hot blonde?" At Starbucks Roadkill confirms Keymaster's coffee order; K2 opts for iced. We circle Tysons, consider drawing a GPS trackfile image of spectacles or a bow tie, but defer that until another day. Reports of weekend activities include upholstering a headboard and showing tourist attractions to out-of-town friends. And, of course, running ...


- Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 06:12:51 (EDT)

2019-07-28 - Riley's Rumble Half Marathon

~13.1 mi @ ~9.6 min/mi

happy ice water at mile 10 - photo by Bridget Fox"Must ... resist ... temptation ...", says Roadkill at mile ~3 where runners turn back for the 8k option. Butterflies flit among flowers; corn stands tall in the fields. Temperatures are in the 70s, unusually cool for the Riley's Rumble half marathon.

"Go Roadkill!" Vixen cheers. Her photo at the mile 10 aid station captures a moment of joy, as runners sips ice water before facing the final climbs on a hilly course.

Preliminary results: 217th place of 506 finishers, 5th of 14 in the 65-69 year old male cohort, chip time 2:05:24 (gun time 2:05:40). Mile splits, roughly corrected for GPS error: 8.5 + 9.2 + 9.3 + 9.3 + 10.0 + 9.6 + 9.6 + 10.4 + 9.9 + 9.4 + 9.6 + 10.4 + 10.3 minutes, plus a sprint for the final fraction.

Riley's Rumble Results:


- Friday, August 16, 2019 at 09:10:32 (EDT)


Prof Mary Beard's history S. P. Q. R., offers a well-written large-scale systems view of ancient Rome that refuses to be distracted by ephemeral events, crazy-Emperor anecdotes, or just-so storytelling. Beard frames her analysis with discussions of citizenship and how it grew to finally include all residents in the territories controlled by the Empire. She turns a critical eye toward ambiguous evidence and presents alternative explanations when appropriate — a multidimensional view of a civilization, unlike the monocular squint that some of her critics offer. SPQR is especially valuable for the concepts and metaphors it offers, many of which illuminate other societies including our own.

(cf Gibbon - Table of Contents, ...)

- Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 22:42:57 (EDT)

2019-07-27 - Les Macarons

~4.9 @ 13.1 min/mi

"And I didn't say a word to him for two days!" K2 tells of an expired-passport misadventure that, in retrospect 25 years later, turned out ok. R2 describes law students in panic mode about upcoming bar exams. Sakurako explains the black compression apparatus around her legs after last weekend's run. We loop through downtown Bethesda, then take an out-and-back along the Capital Crescent Trail. Upon return Roadkill passes the torch to Danger Man. At Paul, the French bakery, les macarons sont exquis.


- Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 04:45:11 (EDT)

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