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2015-03-22 - Long 5k with CM

~4.1 miles @ ~12.0 min/mi

"5k, eh?" says Cara Marie Manlandro, when the GPS announces that we've just passed mile 4. "I've gotta turn off that speech feature," I reply. "It spoils my sandbagging!" We're out on an impromptu Sunday afternoon trot around the 'hood, when CM finds herself with an hour free between appointments and decides to make the most of it. Her pace is already a minute/mile faster than last week. Watch out!


- Friday, April 17, 2015 at 05:08:23 (EDT)

Baseball Expected Runs

From my son Robin Zimmermann's derivation "Baseball", a clever rule-of-thumb for how many runs to expect will score in a given situation, depending on how many outs there are in the inning and where the runners are:

Summarizing in a chart, and rounding:


This results in a prediction that roughly concurs, according to Robin, with a Baseball Prospectus article tabulation of average runs scored depending on where the runners are and the number of outs. That data changes over time, and of course varies wildly among teams and with specific baserunning and hitting and pitching and fielding abilities of the players on any given day. But for a "ballpark estimate" (<groan!>) it's not bad. Many thanks, Robin!

(cf. SquareRootOfBaseball (2005-05-13), InTheBigInning (2006-01-31), BaseballOdds (2007-04-21), ...)

- Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 05:53:44 (EDT)

2015-03-21 - Seneca Creek Sweeping with Rebecca

~12.9 miles @ ~18.4 min/mi

"Loopy and Knotty!" We assign names to the unknown volunteers who tie blue ribbons on trees to mark the route for today's Seneca Creek Greenway Trail Marathon & 50k. Rebecca Rosenberg and I are sweepers, trekking the middle segment of the course in search of lost or injured runners. None found, so we focus on our other duties: picking up trash and taking down marker ribbons. "Loopy" uses beautiful slip-knot loops that come off with a light tug. "Knotty", on the other hand, makes square knots that have to be picked at or torn apart. We rescue a lawn ornament flamingo left by the trail with an encouraging sign tied around its neck.

And in addition to the fun of trail clean-up, it's simply a beautiful afternoon for a walk/run in the woods. Frogs in bogs croak in chorus. Vultures circle overhead. Conversation covers dialogue-dense movies, upcoming race plans, work and family news, injury avoidance, favorite household phrases, stress management, and a host of other themes. Even occasional thorn bushes and muddy patches are ok. Neither of us slips or trips or falls. Such a great day!


- Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 05:04:23 (EDT)

Emotional Intelligence

From the New York Times, "How to Be Emotionally Intelligent" by Daniel Goleman (2015-04-07) discusses factors that help someone be a great leader. Summarized:

  1. SELF-AWARENESS: Realistic self-confidence + Emotional insight
  2. SELF-MANAGEMENT: Resilience + Emotional balance + Self-motivation
  3. EMPATHY: Cognitive and emotional empathy + Good listening
  4. RELATIONSHIP SKILLS: Compelling communication + Team playing

... and the expanded version:





(cf. FifthDisciplinarians (2000-09-10), QuietingReflex (2006-02-07), ...)

- Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 05:31:30 (EDT)

2015-03-16 - Amber Is Back

~7.3 miles @ ~12.0 min/mi

After a tough winter with much preemption by family and work duties, Amber rejoins the Dawn Patrol and — despite dreams of abandonment plus fretfulness about not being in shape — easily hangs with Kristin & Kerry & me as we do a faster-than-average trot around neighborhoods south of the office. The waning crescent moon peeks through clouds as we begin. A meandering route revisits the grizzly bear statue carved from a front yard tree stump. On the W&OD Trail hints of sunrise begin in front of us, and by the last mile the eastern sky is luminous with pinks and lavenders. Then, as if a switch flips on, the world suddenly is full of light!


- Monday, April 13, 2015 at 04:33:03 (EDT)

Stoner, by John Williams

The 1965 novel Stoner, by John Edward Williams (1922-1994), is almost perfectly gray. Not too meaningless, but not too full of ideas. Not too depressing, but not too cheerful either. Not at all badly written, but far from distractingly poetic. It's ... just gray.

The book is currently enjoying a surge of popularity. Its protagonist, William Stoner, is an English professor at a midwestern university. He escapes from a poor farm life, goes to college, discovers the joys of the mind, has a mediocre career, enters an unhappy marriage, has a love affair that ends sadly, and dies (1891-1956 in the story). A typical snippet, from Chapter 1, immediately after sophomore student Stoner suddenly sees that he could become a teacher:

It was as simple as that. He was aware that he nodded to Sloane and said something inconsequential. Then he was walking out of the office. His lips were tingling and his fingertips were numb; he walked as if he were asleep, yet he was intensely aware of his surroundings. He brushed against the polished wooden walls in the corridor, and he thought he could feel the warmth and age of the wood; he went slowly down the stairs and wondered at the veined cold marble that seemed to slip a little beneath his feet. In the halls the voices of the students became distinct and individual out of the hushed murmur, and their faces were close and strange and familiar. He went out of Jesse Hall into the morning, and the grayness no longer seemed to oppress the campus; it led his eyes outward and upward into the sky, where he looked as if toward a possibility for which he had no name.

Luminous, meticulous, aware — like some of Tolstoy's scenes in War and Peace (cf. InfiniteSky, IrresistibleAttraction, UntutoredVoice, ...). If only the rest of Stoner glowed as brightly ...

- Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 10:24:32 (EDT)

2015-03-15 - CM Remembers

~4.9 miles @ ~12.8 min/mi

Sunday afternoon Cara Marie Manlandro and I take a ramble down memory lane. "Recall how you almost puked here?" and "This is that hill we barely made it up on your first 16 mile day!" and "Here's where you first did a sub-8 minute mile." Wind gusts almost blow us off the bridge, and walk breaks are interspersed with too-fast sprints. Great to run with you again, CM!


- Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 03:40:38 (EDT)

2015-03-15 - Chandler Wobble

~14 miles @ ~11.7 min/mi

With Ken Swab and Rebecca Rosenberg it's 14 miles of Sunday morning improv and banter along Rock Creek, from Ken-Gar to Lake Needwood and back. Matthew Henson and the trail named for him leads to discussion of North Pole expeditions and the Chandler Wobble of Earth's axis. "How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb?" (The answer depends on breed.) Air travel on antique planes, squirrel-zapping bird feeders, Kenneth Branaugh's version of HENRY V, icy drives home during the blizzard two weeks ago, Tony Bennett's singing testimony at a Congressional hearing, a friend's thrill-packed visit to Topeka Kansas, ... and more! Not to mention mega-puddles on the path, framed by muddy bogs on each side. Plus the usual comparison of injuries. Today's trek is prep for diverse marathons and longer runs in weeks to come. Brisk winds bring shivers when the sun plays peek-a-boo behind clouds.


- Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 03:38:30 (EDT)

Living Lightly

From a talk by Stephen Batchelor, On the Far Shore, at the Upaya Zen Center — thoughts on not-clinging to doctrine, law, or revealed-teachings:

... the Buddha concludes by saying, "So, I have shown you how the Dhamma is similar to a raft, being for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of grasping." I think there's a strong message here, a strong signal against the tendency towards any kinds of sectarianism, any kind of privileging any aspect of the Dhamma over all others. It's also suggesting how we need to learn to live with the practice and the philosophy of Buddhism much more lightly. That doesn't mean in a casual, trivial way, but carrying our understandings, our experience, without great fanfare, without great display, but simply being able to drop what has helped us in a particular day in our life and encountering the challenges of the next day with a freshness, with an openness, with an un-encumbered-ness, so that we can greet that new situation from an openness of mind, hopefully, a sensitivity, a kindness, a compassion. And when we are called upon to act, we're able as intuitively, as spontaneously as we can, to respond in the appropriate way. ...

(cf. Buddhism Without Beliefs (2008-09-19), Yes, and... (2012-11-14), Transient, Unreliable, Contingent (2013-06-14), ...)

- Friday, April 10, 2015 at 05:03:37 (EDT)

2015-03-14 - WTF

~9.9 miles @ ~10.1 min/mi

"Hi, Rebecca!" I shout from the Capital Crescent Trail observation deck on the trestle high above Rock Creek. My eyes aren't good enough to actually recognize the figure 70+ feet below, but sky blue cap and style of stride match mental profile for friend Rebecca Rosenberg. When she stops and swivels her head in search of the mysterious voice, the guess is confirmed. "Look up!" She spots me, we wave wildly, then both go back to running along our perpendicular paths. Small world!

It's Saturday afternoon, the rain has stopped, I'm home after some hours of work, and it's time to stretch the legs and rest the mind. Showers start again after half an hour, just strong enough to wash salty sweat into the eyes. The loop around Kensington and Wheaton includes a pause at an ATM in front of the credit union that, a few years ago, changed its name for some reason from Washington Telephone Federal. WTF?!


- Thursday, April 09, 2015 at 04:20:06 (EDT)

Wisdom, Love, Life

A poetic sentiment from the essay "Pure Gold and Sweet Cream: Bodhidharma's True Meaning" by Amy Hollowell of the Wild Flower Zen Sangha:

When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that's wisdom.
When I look outside and see that I am everything, that's love.
Between the two is where my life turns.

Awesome echoes of Rumi, eh?! The words are attributed to "Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Vedantist guru who lived in India in the mid-20th century". In Wikiquote there's an interestingly analytic long version:

I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at, and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing. I call this capacity of entering other focal points of consciousness, love; you may give it any name you like. Love says 'I am everything'. Wisdom says "I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.

It's from the book I Am That by Nisargadatta (1897-1981), as translated by Maurice Frydman.

(cf. Zen Soup (2012-02-09), Ceaseless Society (2012-05-10), Heartfulness and Mindfulness (2014-12-15), No Expectation (2015-01-02), ...)

- Wednesday, April 08, 2015 at 04:58:29 (EDT)

2015-03-13 - Kent Gardens Ramble

~7.5 miles @ ~12.5 min/mi

Frost on parked car windshields confirms the bank thermometer's 30 degree reading, as we meander down cup-de-sacs and repeatedly miss turns trying to find our way around the Kent Gardens Park neighborhood on the return trek. Both Kerry and Kristin have morning meetings, and both are kind and forgiving when my map-reading skills are tested and found wanting. Therapeutic trail talk, shared gratitude, and a beautiful pink sunrise compensate for a 20% overshoot in distance. Fire trucks blast down the road, lights blinding, sirens deafening. Kerry spots a clementine lodged in a tree. I restrain myself from plucking it; Kristin chuckles.


- Tuesday, April 07, 2015 at 04:17:10 (EDT)

Fail Interestingly

From Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry Into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life by Robert Rosen, in Chapter 10:

"... Ideas do not have to be correct in order to be good; it is only necessary that, if they do fail, they do so in an interesting way. ..."

(cf. OnFailure (1999-07-03), SeizeTheCarp (2005-07-02), ...)

- Monday, April 06, 2015 at 04:25:33 (EDT)

2015-03-11 - Hot Yoga

~7.2 miles @ ~12.2 min/mi

"Go ahead, do the bridge!" Kristin offers permission. She knows that the yoga studio's picture window is calling me. "Thank you, but no," I reply, "I'll use my imagination today." We're on the clock, with morning meetings and papers to write. Kerry is recovering from a horrible cold, and Kristin hasn't had a chance to run for a week, with non-stop work and home duties. So we do a brisk pre-sunrise health loop, cutting short the segment along the W&OD Trail.

A rabbit scampers safely across Great Falls St in front of us. Ice is mostly melted from the sidewalks, but patches remain. On behalf of Kerry's son we discuss college selection factors, among which undergrad gender ratio looms larger than location. Rain has stopped and a huge crowd of kids await their school bus as dawn lightens the east.


- Sunday, April 05, 2015 at 16:06:33 (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), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2015 by Mark Zimmermann.)