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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 = 0.9931 ... 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!

2018-06-09 - Free Weights

~10.0 mi @ ~14.6 min/mi

"Free Weights!" puns Barry at the sight of a barbell and iron discs by the road in front of a sign indicating that they need a new home. "Shall we carry them from here onward?" Hmmmm, maybe not — but post-run we drive back for them. Already: "Feelin' Stronger Every Day". Maybe they work magic even if one doesn't lift them?

"Quick, hold this baggie for me!" Roadkill requests as a police car drives by. It's a humid-warm morning, with walk breaks early and often. Two front-yard rabbits monitor the corner of Kent and Wake. We divert past Cait's home, thank her for a glass of cool water, and miles later regret not accepting her kind offer of breakfast.

"St. Elmo's Street Fire: Feel the Burn!" In downtown Bethesda we pause for pics at Mile Zero of the Trolley Trail, and again at a Boxing & Kickboxing studio. Take lessons? Maybe another day ...


- Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 05:15:45 (EDT)

Mantra - Check the Strong

Check on
the Strong

... keep an eye on friends, colleagues, acquaintances — reach out to them, talk to them, watch for for signs of depression or sorrow, for hints that all is not right, for clues that suggest stress, illness, grief — and then ask, listen, help. As Aicha Ayana said, it's especially important to watch "... the ones who are strong, who seem like they have it all together, or the ones who are healers. No one checks on us because everyone assumes we're good. We're not. We often pour [out] our cup [for] others and leave none for ourself. We suffer in silence afraid to burden anyone. We break and can't fix our cracks. ..."

(cf. TAIL (2009-09-26), Cara Golias Graffiti Memorial (2016-04-10), ...)

- Friday, June 22, 2018 at 04:36:39 (EDT)

2018-06-04 - Tire Swing

~4.5 mi @ ~11.9 min/mi

"We'll get you back in time to do your homework!" Early meetings and pre-class assignments make for a brisk pace and abridged Dawn Patrol. K-Rex leads Roadkill and K2 along park paths and hidden cut-throughs. Cool weather is a sudden change from weekend storms. We plan what to do with the HGTV Dream Home when we win it in this year's drawing. ("Their choice of wall art? Throw it out!") A horse-shaped swing made out of an old tire dangles from a tree.


- Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 04:53:44 (EDT)

In Fog, Two Children Walk

In fog, two children walk along the shore,
Laughing as they pick up stones and shells, and
Show them to each other.

They share their secret prayers and hopes and dreams,
Their fears and triumphs, sadnesses and joys,
In quiet conversation.

And all the while the waves, invisible,
Rumble and fade. The kelp-smell drifts across the sand.
The haze lifts for a moment.

They glimpse the ocean, stretching gray and vast —
Infinity, before them. And then, the fog returns.
Their fingers touch ...

- Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 04:45:49 (EDT)

2018-06-03 - Chickens and Eggs

~6.0 mi @ ~13.7 min/mi

"The eggs came out soft!" Gayatri reminisces to Cait about watching hens lay. Backyard chickens huddle under a tree as drizzle grows into torrential downpour. Ken and Rebecca take the lead; Barry trots behind. "Chalo chale!" is Hindi for "Let's go!" We sprint up The Silencer, a steep hill at mile 3.5. Puddles deepen across Rock Creek Trail. Packs of runners from training groups dash past.


- Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 05:48:56 (EDT)

2018-06-02 - Ran It with Janet 50k

~31.9 mi @ ~15.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/RIwJ_downhill_z_2018-06-02_t.jpg"DEET-Man!" Insect repellent is the potion-of-the-day at the fourth annual "Ran It with Janet" 50k. Every year the trails in Manassas National Battlefield Park get more lovely, with their turtles and thistles, snakes and millipedes, butterflies and dragonflies. Race organizers and volunteers are enthusiastic and helpful. What's not to love? Winner Mariska Kramer flies past, many miles ahead of everybody else. Awesome athlete!
Bull Run's greatest challenges this year are heat and humidity, as forecast heavy rains fail to materialize, clouds are intermittent, breezes weak and sporadic. Laps decelerate: ~2.5 --> ~2.7 --> ~2.8 hours. Hydration and electrolyte management are essential. Dr Merle magically materializes midrace with an icy drink. (Thank you, Sir!)

(photo by Jon Jester)
Turtle at Manassas National Battlefield ParkAt the Stone Bridge aid station kind Jon and Lolita ignore official cutoffs and keep runners moving; ditto Sean & Co. at the Unfinished Railway depot. RD Janet, with Lucas and friends, make sure runners fly in and out of the start-finish pavilion efficiently.
See past RIwJ photos & reports at 2015-06-06 - Ran It with Janet 50k-ish + 2016-06-04 - Ran It with Janet 50k 2016 + 2017-06-03 - Ran It with Janet 50kThistles at Manassas National Battlefield Park


- Monday, June 18, 2018 at 04:57:28 (EDT)

Hmmmmm Scale

Expressions of bemusement, skepticism, and disbelief:

... worth quantifying? — perhaps begin ~1:1 for "Hmm", falling by a factor of 2 or 4 for each additional "m"?

(cf Classy People (2000-04-01), ...)

- Sunday, June 17, 2018 at 06:44:16 (EDT)

2018-06-01 - Steamy Week

~18.3 mi @ ~14.6 min/mi

Vienna Community Center book art"STEAM WEEK!" says the sign in front of Spring Hill Elementary School. True today — though it's humidity and heat rather than Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics that STEAM represents. Dawn Patrol rambles long on a pre-summery "National Donut Day". K-Rex and Roadkill reminisce about their youthful work in the retail food sector; Slow Twitch snags a toroidal bagel while K2 enjoys iced coffee.

"Is that a missile?" asks K-Rex. Indeed it is, painted red-white-blue at American Legion Post 180. We loop around the 'hood while waiting for Whole Foods to open. A few steps farther down the W&OD Trail a bronze girl takes flight from the pages of a book in front of the newly-remodeled Vienna Community Center.

"Private Driveway!" warns the sign, although the map shows an open pedestrian pathway through Ash Grove Historic Park. "I'll just 'Ask Directions'," says Roadkill, venturing ahead. And in fact it is a public right-of-way, leading over a flooded stream where a big turtle perches on a sandbar, then plunges into the water. We meander through the gated townhouse community. "When I get old I'd like to live somewhere like this," says Slow Twitch. The Ash Grove 18th century plantation house stands nearby.

"I wanna glide down over Mulholland / I wanna write her name in the sky / I'm gonna free fall out into nothin' / Gonna leave this world for a while." Slow Twitch and Roadkill sing along with Tom Petty during the drive home. Cool-down time — we earned it!


- Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 05:38:47 (EDT)

Family Narratives

Histories can build strength. In an essay "The Stories That Bind Us" Bruce Feiler suggests three "family narratives:

First, the ascending family narrative: "Son, when we came to this country, we had nothing. Our family worked. We opened a store. Your grandfather went to high school. Your father went to college. And now you. ..."

Second is the descending narrative: "Sweetheart, we used to have it all. Then we lost everything."

The most healthful narrative ... is the third one. It's called the oscillating family narrative: "Dear, let me tell you, we've had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was a pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. You had an uncle who was once arrested. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened, we always stuck together as a family."

Feiler says that psychologists have found positive family traditions, especially involving shared recovery from hard times, help people be more resilient and happy. Ditto for office departments, military units, and other groups. Hmmmm ...

(cf Optimist Creed (1999-04-16), ...)

- Friday, June 15, 2018 at 04:51:20 (EDT)

2018-05-28 - MCRRC Memorial Day 4 Miler

~4.0 mi @ ~8.3 min/mi

"Cindy! Beard!" Elite runners Cindy Conant and Wayne Breslyn get shout-outs from a fan as they blast past. The MCRRC Memorial Day 4 Miler begins on a misty morning with a solemn circle of remembrance, names of fallen soldiers, and the national anthem. Downhill hyper-optimistic start soon meets reality, with GPS mile splits 7.7 + 8.3 + 8.3 + 8.7 — 134th place of 316 finishers, behind 102 men and 31 women, 1st of 14 in the 65-69 year-old male bracket.

Historical performances at this race:
    34:11 - 2002
    45:51 - 2006
    41:36 - 2007
    44:27 - 2008
    46:15 - 2009
    31:04 - 2010
    32:07 - 2012
    30:36 - 2014
    32:59 - 2016
    33:32 - 2018
MCRRC Memorial Day 4 Miler - by Dan Reichmann


- Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 05:24:56 (EDT)

Mindfulness in Three Words

(cf Core Buddhism (2011-11-17), 01 (2013-11-05), 0-1 (2014-08-29), ...)

- Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 04:47:38 (EDT)

2018-05-27 - Chale Chalo

~11.9 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"Gunflowers Consignment Boutique", or so the store sign seems to read at first glance. On the way to rendezvous at Ken-Gar a brave front-yard rabbit poses and a Kensington antique store window features fascinating art. Awesome-fast elite runner Cindy Conant walks her dog and modestly dismisses praise from a fan who recognizes her.

"Chale chalo!" announces Gayatri — "Let's go!" in Hindi. Barry and Win join her southbound along Rock Creek Trail; Don and Rebecca and a visiting friend walk along behind, at a pace brisk enough to catch up when others pause. Heat and humidity are oppressive.

"Mountain Oysters?" Barry and Win plan to run the Missoula Marathon/Half-Marathon this year, which brings to mind the Montana Testy Fest. Little do we know that the event has been canceled after chaos last year.

"The wheels fell off!" After chasing Win and her friends in the MCRRC Sunday run group for a fast mile, exhaustion sets in and much walking commences. Weight at the end is down 4 (four!) pounds — more than 2%. Dehydration and low sodium-potassium clearly need to be recognized and dealt with sooner!


- Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 05:46:07 (EDT)

Om - With Dignity

Be Open
... stand, sit, live:
in worthiness, honor,
self-respect, and mindful awareness ...
With Dignity

(cf. With Dignity (2010-12-04), Mantra - With Dignity (2015-12-26), ...)

- Monday, June 11, 2018 at 04:47:27 (EDT)

2018-05-26 - Druid Drive Hills

~4.8 mi @ ~15.5 min/mi

"Beware brain freeze!" warns Barry as, Slurpees from 7-11 in hand, we trek. After a quick visit with Stephanie's dear dog Betzee (whose Rapper Name is "Bet-Z") we greet Rebecca's pup Oreo, then attack the dreaded Druid Drive hills, meander past the Garrett Park train station, and climb the steep path to Ken-Gar. Heat and humidity are hyper-oppressive. Good training for soon-to-come summer runs!


- Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 05:31:53 (EDT)

Superfluid Intelligence

"Fluid Intelligence", according to some theories, is "... the capacity to reason and solve novel problems, independent of any knowledge from the past ... pattern recognition, abstract reasoning, and problem-solving ...".

"Superfluidity" is a quantum state of matter with zero viscosity, a liquid that can flow without resistance through tiny pores and around barriers.

A very few people seem to have "Superfluid Intelligence" — an uncanny ability that combines creativity, insight, and metacognitive awareness. They understand situations almost effortlessly, recognize deep structural analogies between disparate problem spaces, and leap to answers. They're often also "super-explainers" who can convey information with grace and efficiency.

How can such geniuses be identified? How can superfluid intelligence be taught, and increased?

(cf. Genius and Complexity (1999-05-25), Characteristics of Superforecasters (2015-11-21), Learning vs Performing (2016-02-08), Superforecasting (2016-02-21), ...)

- Saturday, June 09, 2018 at 06:40:37 (EDT)

2018-05-26 - Scorpions on Sticks

~8.0 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Fried scorpions, on sticks!" Gayatri describes exotic Chinese food seen-but-not-tasted. With Ken she leads the way into Rock Creek Park on a muggy morning. We turn back at the DANGER sign where road construction begins. Friendly cyclists swoop past.

"How many animals can we recognize from their sounds?" asks Barry. Suddenly a big red-headed woodpecker jackhammers nearby. "That's one!"


- Friday, June 08, 2018 at 05:30:34 (EDT)

Nothing, Sacred

"Vast emptiness. Nothing sacred." — legendary response by Bodhidharma (aka "Daruma", fifth-century Zen monk) when asked by the Chinese emperor for the most important principle of Buddhism. But maybe the punctuation-translation is garbled? Try:

Vast Emptiness.

... the void that defines everything — the profane that's infinitely profound — the negative-space that is the is ...

Yes, and it's all holy ...

(cf No Concepts At All (2001-02-22), Dalai Lama Birthday Gift (2004-08-24), Nothingness Shows Through (2005-12-06), Between (2009-12-10), This (2013-03-19), Space Between (2013-10-15), Betwixt (2015-07-04), Much Ado about Nothing (2016-12-25), Mantra - Hold More Space (2017-06-12), Mantra - Unself Together (2018-03-30), ...)

- Thursday, June 07, 2018 at 06:09:44 (EDT)

2018-05-25 - Ferris Mewler

~6.8 mi @ ~11.4 min/mi

"Ferris Mewler!" laughs K-Rex, reading the name on a Lost Cat sign posted at the corner. Pastel blue fascinator crowns golden-pink horizon; choruses of birds sing behind orchestras of flowers in bloom. Houses-of-straw particle-board mini-mansions under construction contrast with old brick-solid homes and a lovely lavender bungalow. Long shadows run ahead of us on the path. "You need to take CPR lessons — I'm about to keel over!" says Roadkill, badly winded.


- Wednesday, June 06, 2018 at 05:14:36 (EDT)

Epistemic Virtuosity

A small flock of words associated with good thinking and the pursuit of truth:

objective benevolent creative skeptical mindful
curious tolerant discreet sensitive independent
honest humble imaginative clear critical
perceptive rigorous insightful attentive coherent
aware discerning prudent tenacious empathetic

... inspired by bits of "Epistemic Virtue", itself a fragment-in-search-of ... structure? What is the nature of valid thought, anyway? Is it to be found in lists of synonyms, or in syllogisms, or similes, or ... perhaps poems and pictures?

Some short terms that may say more than the polysyllabic ones:

open soft meta wise kind

(cf Think Again (2002-08-29), Picky about Facts (2003-03-11), Problems of Knowledge (2010-07-29), Thinker's Guide to Scientific Thinking (2010-09-01), Concept Arbitraging (2012-12-15), ...)

- Tuesday, June 05, 2018 at 05:46:25 (EDT)

2018-05-21 - Bye-Bye Butterfly

~4.4 mi @ ~12.1 min/mi

"Bye-bye, Butterfly! Send me a postcard!" K-Rex's daughter recently raised five caterpillars through the pupal stage, and over the weekend all of them successfully got their wings and flew away. Nice!

Three big deer pause from munching mansion front-yard grass to stare at Dawn Patrol as we pass through their 'hood. K2 describes plans for the coming Memorial Day weekend, and points out flag holders already installed in the ground at the local Masonic Lodge. A peachy sunrise brightens over the Beltway sound barrier.


- Monday, June 04, 2018 at 04:35:18 (EDT)

Feynman on Good Stuff

A sweet Feynman anecdote, told by his friend and colleague Danny Hillis ("Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine" in Physics Today, February 1989):

I remember a conversation we had a year or so before his death, walking in the hills above Pasadena. We were exploring an unfamiliar trail and Richard, recovering from a major operation for the cancer, was walking more slowly than usual. He was telling a long and funny story about how he had been reading up on his disease and surprising his doctors by predicting their diagnosis and his chances of survival. I was hearing for the first time how far his cancer had progressed, so the jokes did not seem so funny. He must have noticed my mood, because he suddenly stopped the story and asked, "Hey, what's the matter?"

I hesitated. "I'm sad because you're going to die."

"Yeah," he sighed, "that bugs me sometimes too. But not so much as you think." And after a few more steps, "When you get as old as I am, you start to realize that you've told most of the good stuff you know to other people anyway."

We walked along in silence for a few minutes. Then we came to a place where another trail crossed and Richard stopped to look around at the surroundings. Suddenly a grin lit up his face. "Hey," he said, all trace of sadness forgotten, "I bet I can show you a better way home."

And so he did.

(cf Fractal Feynman (2003-01-30), Feynman Lectures (2006-11-26), Feynman on Poetry and Science (2015-11-03), Symmetry in Physical Laws (2015-12-12), Alternative Paths (2017-01-15), ...)

- Sunday, June 03, 2018 at 05:59:37 (EDT)

2018-05-19 - MMT Pacer for Sirisha

~9.2 mi @ ~25 min/mi

sunrise over Shenandoah ridge"Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will!" As Sirisha Golla climbs the 12%-grade Habron Gap Trail an Eastern Whippoorwill shouts its name. The sun has just set at mile 54 of her first Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 miler, on a super-hilly course that this year features heavy rains, flood-stage stream crossings, shoe-sucking mud, and treacherous rocky slopes. Sirisha meets her husband Ramesh at Aid Station #9. It's my honor to accompany her for the next stage of the race.

"Hey! Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me / I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to." Sirisha sets a brisk pace; I stumble along behind. After a few miles she reminds me of a foolish promise to sing Classic Rock songs to help keep her awake and lift her spirits. Somehow every one that comes to mind relates perfectly to our current situation: "Let's Dance" ("If you say 'run' / I'll run with you"); "A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall" ("I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains"); "Bad Moon Rising" ("I fear rivers overflowing"); "Red Rubber Ball" ("And I think it's gonna be all right / Yeah, the worst is over now"); "The Times They Are A-Changin'" ("And admit that the waters / Around you have grown"); "Close Your Eyes" ("Well the sun is surely sinking down / But the moon is slowly rising"); "Here Comes the Sun" ("... and I say / It's all right"); and many more. Sirisha kindly forgives an off-key voice and frequently-garbled lyrics.

At 12:16am we reach mile ~64, Camp Roosevelt, where we exchange fist-bump salutes and Sirisha's next pacer, Elsa Araujo, takes over. After showering off mud and changing clothes it's time to proceed to Aid Station #14 (mile ~88) and help Jon Jester and his crew of energetic volunteers for a few hours. On the way home a superheroic sunrise heralds the awesome new day. Whatever happens: It's All Right!


- Saturday, June 02, 2018 at 03:58:56 (EDT)

Om - No Problems

Be Meta
... challenges,

No Problems!

(cf: Softening into Experience (2012-11-12), Being Zen (2014-05-26), Mantra - Yes, and... (2016-01-30), Mantra - No Problems (2018-03-15), ...)

- Friday, June 01, 2018 at 03:54:14 (EDT)

2018-05-18 - Lewinsville Church Cemetery

~4.6 mi @ ~14.1 min/mi

"Aaaaagggggghhhhhhh!" says K2, when garbage-day stench rises up to attack as she opens a streetside bin to discard an empty iced-coffee cup. Showers pause long enough for a quick Dawn Patrol circuit of McLean. We dance around puddles, duck below low-hanging soggy branches, and admire ornate iron gates that block mansion driveways. K-Rex leads us past the Lewinsville Church cemetery, a meditative moment beside a path between major streets. At the end of the run raindrops fall on the smartphone screen; it takes half a dozen tries to enter a password, unlock, and stop the GPS. Hmmmmmm, maybe we're not quite as slow as the trackfile suggests!


- Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 05:12:35 (EDT)


From Neal Stephenson's 1992 sf novel Snow Crash (Chapter 21), elderly Uncle Enzo is speaking to young-thing character Y.T.:

"You don't respect those people very much, Y.T., because you're young and arrogant.
But I don't respect them much either, because I'm old and wise."

... a clever double-reverse logic-linguistic-literary move — and perhaps sometimes real-world true!

And, in a larger context, the passage means even more — as one person recognizes quality in another, and offers a helping hand:

"Sometimes I wonder who'll come after me," he says. "Oh, we have plenty of excellent people in the next generation. But after that — well, I don't know. I guess all old people feel like the world is coming to an end."

"You got millions of those Young Mafia types," Y.T. says.

"All destined to wear blazers and shuffle papers in suburbia. You don't respect those people very much, Y.T., because you're young and arrogant. But I don't respect them much either, because I'm old and wise."

This is a fairly shocking thing for Uncle Enzo to be saying, but Y.T. doesn't feel shocked. It just seems like a reasonable statement coming from her reasonable pal, Uncle Enzo.

"None of them would ever volunteer to go get his legs shot off in the jungle, just to piss off his old man. They lack a certain fiber. They are lifeless and beaten down."

"That's sad," Y.T. says. It feels better to say this than to trash them, which was her first inclination.

"Well," says Uncle Enzo. It is the "well" that begins the end of a conversation. "I was going to send you some roses, but you wouldn't really be interested in that, would you?"

"Oh, I wouldn't mind," she says, sounding pathetically weak to herself.

"Here's something better, since we are comrades in arms," he says. He loosens his tie and collar, reaches down into his shirt, pulls out an amazingly cheap steel chain with a couple of stamped silver tags dangling from it. "These are my old dog tags," he says. "Been carrying them around for years, just for the hell of it. I would be amused if you would wear them."

Trying to keep her knees steady, she puts the dog tags on. They dangle down onto her coverall.

"Better put them inside," Uncle Enzo says.

She drops them down into the secret place between her breasts. They are still warm from Uncle Enzo.


"It's just for fun," he says, "but if you ever get into trouble, and you show those dog tags to whoever it is that's giving you a bad time, then things will probably change very quickly."

"Thanks, Uncle Enzo."

"Take care of yourself. Be good to your mother. She loves you."

... a lovely gift, and wise counsel!

- Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 05:51:13 (EDT)

2018-05-16 - Thanksgiving in May

~4.4 mi @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Privileged!" is the Dawn Patrol Word o' the Day, as we give thanks for safe neighborhoods, good health, ample food, meaningful jobs, solid shelter, and fine families. Drizzle pauses for most of today's warm and humid trek. A chipmunk huddles under the bushes, then scampers away. Trail talk shares stories of less-lucky people who have a hard time finding time to finish tasks, file taxes, or in general figure out their lives. How fortunate we are!


- Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 05:02:49 (EDT)

Om - Attention, Attention, Attention

Be Meta
giving up thoughts
  giving up goals
    giving up motion
      simply being

(cf Mantra - Attention, Attention, Attention (2017-05-27), ...)

- Monday, May 28, 2018 at 06:20:41 (EDT)


~4.4 mi @ ~11.6 min/mi

"Up! Up! Up!" K-Rex chants encouragement as Roadkill runs ahead to practice his hillwork. On a foggy-moist morning a bunny scampers for cover beneath a motorcycle parked in a Pimmit Hills driveway. Spring arrives: Dawn Patrol abandons headlamps and blinky lights. Early morning meetings mandate a short, brisk circuit.


- Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 05:37:28 (EDT)

Less "I"

Hard not to say: "I like ...", or "I want ...", or "I did ...", or "I must ...". Who's the center of the universe, after all?

Worthwhile: constant awareness of first-person singular pronoun usage, and maybe avoidance of too much self. An "I", especially at the beginning of a sentence, is often a sign of excess ego.

Try: instead of "I like that picture!", consider "That picture is beautiful!" — or even more specific, why it's beautiful. Instead of "I ran this morning and saw five ...", consider, "During this morning's run, five ...".

Play the Unselfing Game: see how often no "I" is needed to tell the story. Let things be what they are, without a protagonist-hero-viewpoint.

(cf Unselfing (2009-01-14), Unselfing Again (2009-11-01), 2015-10-07 - Everybody But (2015-10-21), Mantra - It Is What It Is (2016-03-06), Mantra - As It Is (2016-06-18), Mantra - No Self (2016-10-25), Mantra - Unself Together (2018-03-30), ...)

- Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 18:43:13 (EDT)

Reflected in Reflections

Reflected in
Reflections in our eyes
The dead arise

(cf Indra's Net (2009-06-21), ...)

- Friday, May 25, 2018 at 04:49:58 (EDT)

Language, Science, Art

Some thoughts by Ernie Lepore and Matthew Stone, from an essay "Philosophy and the Poetic Imagination" [1] published in 2012:

... part of what makes language artistic is that we have to explore it actively in order to appreciate it. We may have to look beneath the surface, and think harder about what images the author has used, who the author purports to be, and even how the language is organized. These efforts can lead to new insights, new perspectives and new experiences.

Poetry is a form in which this reader engagement is particularly striking and important. It's a good illustration of the way philosophical work can help awaken us to the richness of the language that surrounds us, even in the seeming cacophony of the digital age.


How do we cultivate the poetic imagination? We must attune ourselves, however we see fit, to the features we notice in a poem, as a prompt to experience its language more deeply. This search for significance can target any noticeable feature of the poem—regardless of the meaning, if any, the feature might literally encode. We can listen to the sounds and rhythm of the poem. We can feel its syntax and structure. We can even attend to its visual shape and layout before us, as the poet e. e. cummings often invited his readers to do.

However, even when we explore the familiar domains of sound, meter, rhyme and line, we must be prepared to explore the variable and open-ended significance of each observation. ... There is no one meaning or effect for parsing lines; for annotating lines; or in juxtaposing the two. What we find in all these cases is just a formal contrast, an echo of further differences, which we can appreciate more deeply only by probing the poem further. This variability underscores the creativity poets and readers bring to their art.

... and go beyond the viewpoint of the reader of a written poem: think about the creators of any works of art — and especially about the mutual framing of beauty and importance by minds in the universe ...

(cf Reader as Performer (1999-06-10), Awaitingness (2000-11-14), Lying Verses (2001-03-15), Dream Bird (2001-01-16), Nimbus, Halo, Glory, Aureole (2001-11-15), By Heart (2001-11-28), Inspiration Prayer (2003-04-10), EternalInstant (2004-04-11), Birdless Silence (2004-06-05), Break, Blow, Burn (2005-05-11), Globe of Life (2005-06-25), Poetic Credo (2006-03-10), Smell of Good Prose (2006-07-03), Card that Poet (2006-08-24), Poetic Lines (2007-07-12), Full Moon Metaphors (2007-10-29), Conceptual Metaphor (2012-06-19), At the Rim of the Cave (2015-10-18), Babel-17 (2015-10-20), So I Will See (2016-03-27), No Watcher, Only Watching (2016-10-07), Mantra - Attention, Attention, Attention (2017-05-27), All the Light We Cannot See (2017-06-09), ...)

- Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 06:12:32 (EDT)

2018-05-09 - Spiders and Stick Shifts

~4.8 mi @ ~13.3 min/mi

"Cobwebs! Did ...?" asks K2.

"Yep - me too!" replies K-Rex, as the Dawn Patrol clears a pathway beneath the trees of McLean Central Park. Blood-orange sunrise ripens in the east; iced coffee from Starbucks counters a humid morning. We commiserate over the challenge of finding a stick-shift car to rent nowadays.


- Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 04:45:14 (EDT)

Om - How Deep Is The Yes

Be Open
... emptying,
embracing ...
How Deep is
the Yes?

(cf Yes, and... (2012-11-14), Mantra - How Deep is the Yes (2018-02-15), ...)

- Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 05:00:21 (EDT)

2018-05-05 - Kensington Ramble

~11 miles @ ~15.9 min/mi

Kensington Childrens Library wood carving owl"I'll try a 100 miler, but you have to run it with me!" Last week's C&O Canal 100 by Dr Stephanie inspires others to ponder the distance. "Or maybe first do a 100k? Hmmmm, have you run your age in miles yet?" Gayatri and Barry smile at babies in prams, hug friends whom we meet, and admire cute dogs. Emaad and Rebecca dash ahead.

"OK to touch?" Somebody's back itches, but before scratching a friend it's always good to confirm permission. Experiments with a stick find it insufficient. An explosion of flowers line Rock Creek Trail today, perhaps provoking allergic reactions. Late-season cherry blossoms blanket the ground.

"And I was at least 5 minutes ahead of the cutoffs!" Barry reports on the Big Sur marathon last Sunday. At the base of the Mormon Temple Hill a large faux rock is padlocked to the ground. The Temple itself is closed for construction. A direct route leads back to KenGar, past the Noyes Childrens Library owl carving and kitschy antique store window cat-and-vase displays.


- Monday, May 21, 2018 at 04:29:58 (EDT)

Metacognitive Awareness

Fully Present by Susan Smalley and Diana Winston is a fun and fuzzy book that sporadically shifts gears between neuroscience and mysticism. From Chapter 6 ("Feeling Bad: Dealing with Negative Emotions"):

... Meta-cognitive awareness refers to a de-centered relationship of self to thoughts and feelings—the idea that you can be a neutral observer of your own experiences, whether these are sensory experiences or thoughts or feelings. Many terms are used to describe this meta-cognitive stance. We have already used the words "de-linking" and "disidentification"; others use terms such as "reperceiving," "de-centering," "defusion," and "distancing." Still others use terms such as "detached discerning ability." More descriptive terms for the attentional stance of a person witnessing his or her own experiences include "impartial spectator," ... and "unentangled participation" ....

Oops! — lots of jargon there ... but perhaps, with a bit of structure and sensibility, it might become part of a useful lexicon of metacognitive mental modeling — and maybe, with a dash of humor, be a finger pointing toward zen master Ikkyu's Mantra - Attention, Attention, Attention!

(for other quotes from Smalley & Winston see Rebalancing Doing and Being (2011-02-28), Breath and Awareness (2011-03-12), Come SAIL Away (2011-11-26), Models of Happiness (2012-01-05), Equanimity (2012-02-01), Emotional States (2012-04-26), ...)

- Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 06:25:34 (EDT)

2018-05-02 - Scotts Run Run

~5.6 mi @ ~13.4 min/mi

"... He submits to pain, because it is inevitable, to bereavement, because it is irreparable, and to death, because it is his destiny ...", as Cardinal Newman says in "The Idea of a University". K2 leads the Dawn Patrol duo quietly through Scotts Run Nature Preserve, down the Woodland Trail, across stepping-stones on the River Trail to the Potomac. Sunlight glitters; blue flowers bloom; a waterfall splashes; an ancient stone chimney abides. Two big deer pause on the pathway, then step aside. It's a meditative morning, as we cherish friends and family.


- Friday, May 18, 2018 at 04:55:28 (EDT)

Mantra - More Choosing, Less Doing

More Choosing,
    Less Doing!

... decide to pause, notice the beauty, cherish the freedom, be the now — and let go of hustle-busy-panic-action ...

(thoughts thanks to comrade KD; cf. Knowing, Choosing, Doing (1999-05-29), Mantra - I Choose (2016-06-06), Mantra - Refuse to Be Busy (2018-02-24), ...)

- Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 04:59:28 (EDT)

2018-04-25 - Sophia's Cafe

~3.9 mi @ ~12.0 min/mi

"Probably a dead end - but there might be a cut-through!" On a drizzly-warm morning K-Rex explores Corporate Ridge, a street leading into an McLean office complex just inside the Capital Beltway. Fences block access to the apartments/condos nearby, alas, and muddy paths between parking garages lead nowhere. So go back, past Sophia's Café to the main road. Birds chirp loudly, as if in a tropical rainforest.


- Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 04:36:42 (EDT)

2018-04-23 - Text Messages Chirp

~6.5 mi @ ~11.2 min/mi

"Pick up your pace!" Joe, a Dear Boss of 15 years ago, rolls down the car window as he drives by and shouts words of encouragement to Dawn Patrol. We climb a hill and admire an eastern sky, glistening pinks above clouds, somber blues below. At McLean High School the gate to the track is closed. Feet lead through quiet neighborhoods, past tulips, cherry trees, hyacinths. Text messages bring news of traffic and family: Mom has fallen and broken a hip. In the condo complex a sign warns, "Speed Limit 9 1/2". K-Rex spies a red fox.


- Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 04:30:11 (EDT)

Go Quotes

The ancient game of Go is awesome in the simplicity of its rules and the complexity of its strategy. A few comments about it, from [1] and [2]:

(cf Complexity from Simplicity (1999-08-05), Go Words (1999-08-29), Zar Story (2000-01-16), War and Checkers (2005-05-25), Thinking in Systems (2017-11-03), ...)

- Monday, May 14, 2018 at 04:49:24 (EDT)

Om - Let the Mind Pass By

Be Open
... nothing special,
nothing to analyze,
no success or failure,
no concentration,
no forcing or fighting,
nothing to attain ...
Let the Mind
Pass By

(cf Mantra - Let the Mind Pass By (2016-09-17), ...)

- Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 07:08:24 (EDT)

2018-04-22 - Pushing Hands

~4.0 mi @ ~11.2 min/mi

"Happy Earth Day! May I make a video?" Two men practicing Taiji pushing-hands in Sligo Creek Park kindly give permission. It's a 20 second detour during a run with a Mission: turn in a library book that's due tomorrow! En route, compliment an elderly lady on the street-side book-exchange in front of her home. "Not mine," she demurs. "My daughter likes to freecycle!" After turning in the book enjoy lunch with daughter Robin on her way to a DC meeting, then walk home rather than await a bus. Spy a striking "Purpleleaf Sand Cherry" in bloom on the way. What a lovely day!


- Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 06:07:08 (EDT)

2018-04-21 - Rock Creek Cave and Chickens

~10.2 mi @ ~13.6 min/mi

"June 26th - which happens to be ...", Dr Fonda tells of an ultrarunner friend who light-heartedly inserts his birthday into conversation, to help others remember it. In downtown Garrett Park we investigate a nature trail, then ramble upstream along Rock Creek. Cyclists pile their bikes in a mound at a rest stop. In a back yard fluffy white Silkies scratch the soil, along with other exotic chicken breeds.

Mindful trail talk includes The Fifth Discipline (by Peter Senge: systems thinking, mental modeling, team learning, shared vision, and personal mastery), another five dimensions of Awesomeness (aka "BadAssery"), and insights from The Talented Mr Ripley.
Back yard chickens by Rock Creek Trail near Dewey Park
Stephanie at mini-cavernWe smile together at how great it feels when the Universe "lobs you some easy ones" for a change, and recount recent joys, frustrations, accomplishments, aspirations. This world is an awesome happy place, especially when one finds kind friends who care for and help one another! ("June 26th - hmmmm, maybe somebody should jot that down somehow.")

"Where does that lead?" Near Veirs Mill Road a side path beckons. From it, Stephanie spies a narrow cave opening high on a steep hillside above the stream. With only a few muddy stumble-slip-slides, up we go. "It's a magical world ... let's go exploring!"


- Friday, May 11, 2018 at 04:32:40 (EDT)

Splunk Tag Lines

Splunk, a big data analysis corporation, uses some geeky-funny slogans:

But the super-fave, which also appears on a Splunk t-shirt that kind friend MC gifted long ago:

Because Ninjas
  Are Too Busy

(cf [1], [2], [3], [4], ...)

- Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 05:31:17 (EDT)

2018-04-21 - Capital for a Day 5k Race

~3.1 mi @ ~8.1 min/mi

"Your race is about to start!" says Tom Young, pointing to a dozen tiny people getting ready for their kids-on-the-run dash. If only! Today's MCRRC "Capital for a Day" 5k is a good challenge, with gentle hills and perfect weather. Exchange fist-bumps with fast graybeard Wayne Breslyn and Race Director Keith Evans, line up, and go!

"Where did he come from?" A 10-year-old blasts past in the home stretch. Compared to previous times on this course (2011 = 22:19 and 2012 = 22:33) the effects of 5 years and 15 lbs show clearly: official result is 24:49, good for 2nd place among 7 in the 65-69 year male group, 75th of 171 men, 93rd of 298 overall. Rough GPS splits: 7.7 + 7.8 + 8.6 with 8.0 min/mi for the final fraction.


- Wednesday, May 09, 2018 at 04:47:09 (EDT)

Om - Safety, Health, Insight, Peace

Be Soft
... free from
strife ...
Safety * Health * Insight * Peace

(cf Mantra - Safety, Health, Insight, Peace (2015-10-30), ...)

- Tuesday, May 08, 2018 at 05:30:29 (EDT)

2018-04-16 - Fortunate Flood

~5.9 mi @ ~12.0 min/mi

"You've got a pen and paper? You can write the Dawn Patrol log report during the run!" K-Rex is amused to hear that somebody forgot to empty his pockets and carries, in addition to note-taking materials, wallet and reading glasses. Fog glows in headlamp lights. K2 finds the way to a narrow pedestrian cut-through between neighborhoods where Melrose Drive has a 100-foot gap. Puddles decorate the pathway after overnight thunderstorms.

"This morning's forecast was for heavy rain and strong winds. We're lucky!" Then at mile 5 the deluge hits. Pause to put on windbreakers — then shiver and seek shelter from the storm. We are so fortunate indeed!

(trackfile, Mantra - So Fortunate (2018-04-25), ...)

- Monday, May 07, 2018 at 05:52:12 (EDT)

2018-04-15 - Cherry Blossom Shadow

~4.6 mi @ ~14.6 min/mi

"It just is!" Rebecca remembers an argument between a runner and an Aid Station volunteer over how far the finish line is from that point. "It just is whatever it is!" With Caitlin and Gayatri we enjoy a Sunday morning meander through the quiet streets of Kenwood, a Chevy Chase neighborhood. Cherry blossoms float down like pink and white snowflakes and drift across the streets. A stream is strewn so thickly with flowers that in places the water becomes a pastel pathway. We seek the corner of Sunset and Shadow but fail to find it.

(trackfile; cf 2016-10-22 - Patapsco 50k with Stephanie, ...)

- Sunday, May 06, 2018 at 03:07:22 (EDT)

Don't Call Me Ishmael

Michael Bauer's young-person's novel Don't Call Me Ishmael is childish and crude, witty and fun. Its ninth grade Australian protagonist, Ishmael Lesueur, makes friends and struggles with shyness. He yearns for a girl. Comeuppance comes to a cliché of a class bully. A plot arches, not unpredictably. After 50 short chapters, good triumphs.

Yet magically, buried within this competently-written boy's book, Don't Call Me Ishmael paints a scene of extraordinary insight. Chapter 27 has Our Hero talking on the phone to his debate team leader James Scobie, the New Kid who's nerdy-weird-twitchy, a survivor of brain surgery that he claims has left him neurologically unable to experience fear. Ishmael asks:

"Scobie ... you know that story ... about the tumor and the operation and everything ... and about never being afraid? Is it really true?"

A long silence followed. I pictured Scobie's face frozen mid-twist. Finally I heard his voice. It seemed different somehow.

"Sort of ... the tumor, the operation ... they're true. The other thing ... not being afraid ... well, it depends on how you look at it. Maybe it wasn't a scalpel that did it. Maybe ... when you're lying in an operating room and someone is cutting into your brain ... and you don't know whether you're going to ..."

For a few seconds all I could hear was Scobie breathing. When he continued it was almost in a whisper.

"Well ... maybe there's just so much fear you can have ... and in that one moment you use up all the fear you were ever supposed to feel ... and it's the fear that cuts you ... and it cuts you so deep that you just decide that nothing else is worth being afraid of ... and that nothing is going to scare you any more ... because you just won't let it."

Yes ...

- Saturday, May 05, 2018 at 06:06:52 (EDT)

2018-04-14 - Kenwood Hanami

~8.8 mi @ ~14.1 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Kenwood_cherry_blossoms_k2_z_2018-04-14_t.jpg"Culpable malpractice? Probably not," says the doctor, after listening to Roadkill's lungs for post-flu post-marathon wheezing and rales. Yay! — it's license to join K2, Rebecca, Ken, and Barry for a hanami ramble in Bethesda, where 1,000+ cherry trees are at peak bloom. Ladies in kimonos pose under parasols for photos. Cardinals swoop across the street. Pink sakura petals rain down when the wind gusts and when friends throw them at each other.
"It's fun to run with someone even more OCD than I am!" Fearless Leader, who shall remain nameless, chooses a route to maximize coverage of Kenwood neighborhood lanes. After an hour the group heads back. Some depart, others add a couple of brisk bonus miles.

"Here's to the one part of your body that doesn't hate you right now — your heart!" Rebecca quotes a Flora (London Marathon sponsor) commercial devoted to post-run aches and pains. Cute!


- Friday, May 04, 2018 at 04:38:36 (EDT)

Mantra - Everything Has Beauty


Notice it — in Nature, in Art, in Others, in Self — everywhere and always!
  ... in the emptiness between the obvious ...
    ... in the softness inside the frame ...
      ... in the love within the pain ...

(quote often attributed to "Confucius" without a real source-reference; cf Find the Beauty (2011-04-03), Ordinary Beauty (2015-12-20), Mantra - Stop, Notice, Appreciate (2016-04-03), ...)

- Thursday, May 03, 2018 at 04:58:28 (EDT)

2018-04-11 - Series of Unfortunate Events

~4.9 mi @ ~11.2 min/mi

"Mark, with you it's always 'What you See is What you Get'!" says Aaron, a senior manager, upon spying somebody wearing running clothes to work today.

"Thank you, Sir!" — the right reply to feedback. This morning's Dawn Patrol checks out Pimmit Hills and finds no signs of civil disorder or alien occupation. K-Rex chooses the course and pushes the pace, between Roadkill's post-flu coughing fits. Birds chirp from flowering trees. Cars idle in driveways. Gray skies brighten to the aroma of breakfast cooking.

Then commences a series of unfortunate events. Discover that the bag with office clothes and shoes was forgotten at home. Oops! Ponder driving back and forth through morning rush hour traffic. Place car keys carefully by towel on the front seat, close that door before opening another, and find all doors now are locked. Oops!

And it's a beautiful day — no worries! Call the auto club, and while waiting go into the locker room, shower, dry off with paper towels, and put jogging gear back on. Meet the locksmith and get back into the car. Work a normal day, and laugh with kind colleagues. Give thanks for the wonderful world we live in. All is well ...


- Wednesday, May 02, 2018 at 04:34:18 (EDT)

2018-04-08 - B&A Marathon

~26.2 miles @ ~11.4 min/mi

"Those calves look like they're going to rub against each other!" The runner ahead of us has amazing muscle definition on his lower legs. Others display noteworthy hair, silly headgear, and raw speed. And everybody is cheerfully polite at the B&A Marathon and Half Marathon today, including racers, aid station volunteers, spectators, crosswalk guards, passing cyclists, and dogs that we meet along the course. It's a beautiful day, temps rising from the mid-30s, gusty north winds, lovely scenery.

"That officer has real bullets in his gun. You'd better stop walking and run to the finish line, Sir!" We help a half-marathoner trying to get her companion to start his kick with half a mile to go. After 400+ competitors turn aside at mile ~13 things get quiet for the 200+ remaining. A bridge takes the trail over a beautiful stream decorated with four grocery carts. Approaching the northern turnaround we enter a "Planet Walk", a scale-model of the Solar System over 4.6 miles. Neat!

"Kerry is holding me back, and I'm holding Kerry back!" It all balances out: one of us is woefully undertrained; the other is recovering from illness. Our pace for each 5-mile segment is fairly steady after an initial warmup: 10.8 + 11.2 + 11.6 + 11.4 + 11.6 min/mi with a similar speed in the last bit. We finish with the official clock reading 5:01, but our chip times are under 4:59:30 - another ~9 minutes off Kerry's Personal Best - yay!


- Tuesday, May 01, 2018 at 09:05:00 (EDT)

For back issues of the ^zhurnal see Volumes v.01 (April-May 1999), v.02 (May-July 1999), v.03 (July-September 1999), v.04 (September-November 1999), v.05 (November 1999 - January 2000), v.06 (January-March 2000), v.07 (March-May 2000), v.08 (May-June 2000), v.09 (June-July 2000), v.10 (August-October 2000), v.11 (October-December 2000), v.12 (December 2000 - February 2001), v.13 (February-April 2001), v.14 (April-June 2001), 0.15 (June-August 2001), 0.16 (August-September 2001), 0.17 (September-November 2001), 0.18 (November-December 2001), 0.19 (December 2001 - February 2002), 0.20 (February-April 2002), 0.21 (April-May 2002), 0.22 (May-July 2002), 0.23 (July-September 2002), 0.24 (September-October 2002), 0.25 (October-November 2002), 0.26 (November 2002 - January 2003), 0.27 (January-February 2003), 0.28 (February-April 2003), 0.29 (April-June 2003), 0.30 (June-July 2003), 0.31 (July-September 2003), 0.32 (September-October 2003), 0.33 (October-November 2003), 0.34 (November 2003 - January 2004), 0.35 (January-February 2004), 0.36 (February-March 2004), 0.37 (March-April 2004), 0.38 (April-June 2004), 0.39 (June-July 2004), 0.40 (July-August 2004), 0.41 (August-September 2004), 0.42 (September-November 2004), 0.43 (November-December 2004), 0.44 (December 2004 - February 2005), 0.45 (February-March 2005), 0.46 (March-May 2005), 0.47 (May-June 2005), 0.48 (June-August 2005), 0.49 (August-September 2005), 0.50 (September-November 2005), 0.51 (November 2005 - January 2006), 0.52 (January-February 2006), 0.53 (February-April 2006), 0.54 (April-June 2006), 0.55 (June-July 2006), 0.56 (July-September 2006), 0.57 (September-November 2006), 0.58 (November-December 2006), 0.59 (December 2006 - February 2007), 0.60 (February-May 2007), 0.61 (April-May 2007), 0.62 (May-July 2007), 0.63 (July-September 2007), 0.64 (September-November 2007), 0.65 (November 2007 - January 2008), 0.66 (January-March 2008), 0.67 (March-April 2008), 0.68 (April-June 2008), 0.69 (July-August 2008), 0.70 (August-September 2008), 0.71 (September-October 2008), 0.72 (October-November 2008), 0.73 (November 2008 - January 2009), 0.74 (January-February 2009), 0.75 (February-April 2009), 0.76 (April-June 2009), 0.77 (June-August 2009), 0.78 (August-September 2009), 0.79 (September-November 2009), 0.80 (November-December 2009), 0.81 (December 2009 - February 2010), 0.82 (February-April 2010), 0.83 (April-May 2010), 0.84 (May-July 2010), 0.85 (July-September 2010), 0.86 (September-October 2010), 0.87 (October-December 2010), 0.88 (December 2010 - February 2011), 0.89 (February-April 2011), 0.90 (April-June 2011), 0.91 (June-August 2011), 0.92 (August-October 2011), 0.93 (October-December 2011), 0.94 (December 2011-January 2012), 0.95 (January-March 2012), 0.96 (March-April 2012), 0.97 (April-June 2012), 0.98 (June-September 2012), 0.99 (September-November 2012), 0.9901 (November-December 2012), 0.9902 (December 2012-February 2013), 0.9903 (February-March 2013), 0.9904 (March-May 2013), 0.9905 (May-July 2013), 0.9906 (July-September 2013), 0.9907 (September-October 2013), 0.9908 (October-December 2013), 0.9909 (December 2013-February 2014), 0.9910 (February-May 2014), 0.9911 (May-July 2014), 0.9912 (July-August 2014), 0.9913 (August-October 2014), 0.9914 (November 2014-January 2015), 0.9915 (January-April 2015), 0.9916 (April-July 2015), 0.9917 (July-September 2015), 0.9918 (September-November 2015), 0.9919 (November 2015-January 2016), 0.9920 (January-April 2016), 0.9921 (April-June 2016), 0.9922 (June-July 2016), 0.9923 (July-September 2016), 0.9924 (October-December 2016), 0.9925 (January-February 2017), 0.9926 (March-April 2017), 0.9927 (May-June 2017), 0.9928 (June-October 2017), 0.9929 (October-December 2017), 0.9930 (December 2017-March 2018), 0.9931 (March-April 2018), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2018 by Mark Zimmermann.)

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