Howdy, pilgrim! No ads — you're in volume 0.80 of 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 = 0.79 ... 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 ...
Two sad endings: last Sunday the final Angus Phillips column ran in the Washington Post ; yesterday Peter Seinfels announced that the next "Beliefs" column in the New York Times will be the last. Both men write extraordinarily well. For 35 years Phillips explored the outdoor worlds of hunting, fishing, sailing, etc. For 20 years Steinfels explored the interior worlds of religious philosophy. As he said in his penultimate essay, "In Tapestry of Columns, a Search for Threads" :
... intelligence and critical reasoning are essential to adult approaches to faith. In short, theology matters. It is curious that so many otherwise thoughtful people imagine that what they learned about religion by age 13, or perhaps 18, will suffice for the rest of their lives. They would never make the same assumption about science, economics, art, sex or love.
The same applies to Nature—one can always learn more. Both Steinfels and Phillips introduced me to new ideas and experiences, concepts and challenges I had never imagined. Perhaps their articles will be anthologized, so I can read them in years to come ...
(cf. Where Was God (2002-09-14), Angus Phillips (2007-11-26), Secular Conscience (2009-02-17), ...)
- Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 12:45:16 (EST)
Tired-feeling legs for the journey out to the jogging path, but when a big doe startles me just past the three-quarters mile mark of my first circuit I feel suddenly energized. The next time around I'm looking for her, and I see two deer there. Will there be three on my final lap? Yes! A medium-sized fawn is now eyeing the crazy runner in shorts and gloves as he attempts to accelerate his pace. Miles by the painted lines are 9:51, 8:50, and a startling 7:26. Only one other person is out in this upper-30s weather, skin of ice remaining on puddles, fallen pine cones littering the asphalt.
- Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 09:27:45 (EST)
Friend Caren Jew recently shared with me a race report by Sophie Speidel, who finished the aptly-named Hellgate 100k this month in under 15 hours. That report in turn led to an article by Eric Doehrman titled "Refine Your Mental Flexibility by Making the Most of Your Pain Cave". It offers a metaphorical step-by-step guide to feeling more at home in one's head during hard physical activity:
1. Find the address. You have to figure out where uncomfortable starts.
2. Stop by and stare in the window. Spend a few minutes there at first.
3. Step inside for a bit. Look around and know that you can leave at any time.
4. Decorate a bit. Find the cues that signal when you are at threshold and use them to decorate. Your rapid heart beat can represent a wall hanging and the burning in your legs could indicate that you have taken to the stairs. Take the discomfort that you feel and make it your own — by doing so you have taken control. When you are in control you can push harder in your sets and reach heights that you never thought possible.
5. Get some furniture. Find positive motivating thoughts (furniture) that you can use while you are there to make your stay more comfortable. An athlete that is in control and who is comfortable pushing themselves to the limit will develop an instinct for maximum performance.
6. Paint the walls. Focus on a color that soothes you and helps you get through your set. The ability to control your focus during threshold sets is the key to success in every workout that you do.
7. Leave on your own accord. You are now in control of the Pain Cave and you can feel free to call it your "Happy Place" if you like.
Doehrman cautions that it takes time, and practice, to move down this list. I'm definitely still in the first few baby steps of the journey; I've only recently begun to push significantly beyond my comfort zone when running, thanks to encouragement by comrades such as CM Manlandro. The mental experience is a fascinating one, with connections perhaps to Buddhist mindfulness meditation techniques. I'm learning, slowly, about separating physical feelings from the me who observes them. Hmmm ...
(cf. Lorraine Moller (2009-12-12), ...)
- Friday, December 18, 2009 at 04:49:49 (EST)
It's Diane Pham's first race, and she has picked a fine day for it: temps in the mid-30's, rain that chills to the bone, slippery leaves, and monster puddles. "You're lucky," I tell her, "since now all your later races will seem easy!"
The "Bread Run" is a traditional DC Road Runners Club event with a friendly theme: bring a loaf of homemade bread, and get in free! Donated breads are given out as door prizes at the end, and almost everybody who runs and waits around gets something. Christina Caravoulias and I ran the 2007 Bread Run, so when I learn that Diane had signed up for it I decide to run it with her, to help make sure her experience is a good one.
Diane gets lost on the way to the race's start/finish in Glen Echo, but I talk her in and she arrives with 5 minutes to spare. I tear a plastic trash bag with my teeth to make an impromptu rain shield; Diane dons a Mickey Mouse poncho. We lurk in the back of the pack and cross the starting line 8 seconds after the "Go!" Steady trotting ensues, with splits of 10:36 + 10:45 + 11:33 + 11:04 + 10:47 + 11:38 and a final fraction of 1:52 for a total of 1:08:24. The slower miles correspond to hillier course segments. The official record shows us at 1:08:25, 77th and 78th place of 105 finishers.
Cheerful Clare Storck of Cheverly runs with us most of the race; she's doing it to raise funds for a friend in need, and hasn't run much for a few years. Diane claims to have only been training for a few weeks, mainly on treadmill, but she's clearly fit and confesses to have cycled some years ago along the C&O Canal towpath part of the race route. Near mile 4 we have a pleasant surprise when Diane's husband Matt and her two sons materialize to take photos and cheer her along. I entertain Clare and Diane with anecdotes and advice as we trot along.
After we finish we go into a Glen Echo park building, drink hot apple cider and hot chocolate, eat cheese and bread and jam, applaud the winners as they are announced, and—as I predicted—all get to take home a loaf of bread. Brava to Diane on her initial outing!
- Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 04:43:11 (EST)
In June 2008 a thoughtful article by Jan Hoffman appeared in the New York Times. It was titled "When Thumbs Up Is No Comfort" and discussed how metaphors for illness can be helpful or the opposite. I shared it with two friends who were suffering from cancer. One is still alive; the other, Bo Leuf, died earlier this year. A key point that Hoffman makes is that violent conflict is often not a good image for a cancer victim's situation:
Dr. Gary M. Reisfield, a palliative care specialist at the University of Florida, Jacksonville, believes that the language used by cancer patients and their supporters can galvanize or constrain them. Over the last 40 years, war has become the most common metaphor, with patients girding themselves against the enemy, doctors as generals, medicines as weapons. When the news broke about Senator Kennedy, he was ubiquitously described as a fighter. While the metaphor may be apt for some, said Dr. Reisfield, who has written about cancer metaphors, it may be a poor choice for others.
"Metaphors don't just describe reality, they create reality," he said. "You think you have to fight this war, and people expect you to fight." But many patients must balance arduous, often ineffective therapy with quality-of-life issues. The war metaphor, he said, places them in retreat, or as losing a battle, when, in fact, they may have made peace with their decisions.
To describe a patient's process through illness, he prefers the more richly ambiguous metaphor of a journey: its byways, crossroads, U-turns; its changing destinations; its absence of win, lose or fail.
And likewise so with life—another journey that none of us gets out of alive ...
- Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 04:44:03 (EST)
In Walden (chapter "The Village") Henry David Thoreau tells of navigating through the darkness, in itself and as a metaphor for life:
It was very pleasant, when I stayed late in town, to launch myself into the night, especially if it was dark and tempestuous, and set sail from some bright village parlor or lecture room, with a bag of rye or Indian meal upon my shoulder, for my snug harbor in the woods, having made all tight without and withdrawn under hatches with a merry crew of thoughts, leaving only my outer man at the helm, or even tying up the helm when it was plain sailing. I had many a genial thought by the cabin fire "as I sailed." I was never cast away nor distressed in any weather, though I encountered some severe storms. It is darker in the woods, even in common nights, than most suppose. I frequently had to look up at the opening between the trees above the path in order to learn my route, and, where there was no cart-path, to feel with my feet the faint track which I had worn, or steer by the known relation of particular trees which I felt with my hands, passing between two pines for instance, not more than eighteen inches apart, in the midst of the woods, invariably, in the darkest night. Sometimes, after coming home thus late in a dark and muggy night, when my feet felt the path which my eyes could not see, dreaming and absent-minded all the way, until I was aroused by having to raise my hand to lift the latch, I have not been able to recall a single step of my walk, and I have thought that perhaps my body would find its way home if its master should forsake it, as the hand finds its way to the mouth without assistance. Several times, when a visitor chanced to stay into evening, and it proved a dark night, I was obliged to conduct him to the cart-path in the rear of the house, and then point out to him the direction he was to pursue, and in keeping which he was to be guided rather by his feet than his eyes. One very dark night I directed thus on their way two young men who had been fishing in the pond. They lived about a mile off through the woods, and were quite used to the route. A day or two after one of them told me that they wandered about the greater part of the night, close by their own premises, and did not get home till toward morning, by which time, as there had been several heavy showers in the meanwhile, and the leaves were very wet, they were drenched to their skins. I have heard of many going astray even in the village streets, when the darkness was so thick that you could cut it with a knife, as the saying is. Some who live in the outskirts, having come to town a-shopping in their wagons, have been obliged to put up for the night; and gentlemen and ladies making a call have gone half a mile out of their way, feeling the sidewalk only with their feet, and not knowing when they turned. It is a surprising and memorable, as well as valuable experience, to be lost in the woods any time. Often in a snow-storm, even by day, one will come out upon a well-known road and yet find it impossible to tell which way leads to the village. Though he knows that he has travelled it a thousand times, he cannot recognize a feature in it, but it is as strange to him as if it were a road in Siberia. By night, of course, the perplexity is infinitely greater. In our most trivial walks, we are constantly, though unconsciously, steering like pilots by certain well-known beacons and headlands, and if we go beyond our usual course we still carry in our minds the bearing of some neighboring cape; and not till we are completely lost, or turned round—for a man needs only to be turned round once with his eyes shut in this world to be lost—do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of nature. Every man has to learn the points of compass again as often as be awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction. Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.
- Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 05:26:15 (EST)
|"And that reminds me of the NCT marathon ..." — "Well, when I did the NCT marathon, it seemed to me that ..." — "My NCT result suggests ..." — etc., etc.|
Yes, it's a fortnight after the Northern Central Trail Marathon, and at least once every mile today I manage to work it into the conversation (or rather, my monologue). Apparently it was a peak experience of my lifetime. As the day goes on my obsession becomes something of a running joke (pun intended). Kate Abbott kindly puts up with me, but I notice that she seems to go a little faster every time I say the letters "NCT". Coincidence?
And did I mention that I finished in 4:01:06 at the NCT last month, a 24-minute improvement in my marathon PR?
The VHTRC's Magnus Gluteus Maximus is a low-key go-as-you-please event. In 2006 I did ~21 miles of the MGM with friend Caren Jew, and in 2007 managed ~10 miles with new trail runner comrades Kabrena Rodda and Kevin Lee. Today Kate Abbott and I hope to go a bit farther, but we also have a significant schedule constraint: the party this afternoon for Kate's eldest son's 11th birthday.
So half an hour early we start down the southern pink-horseshoe-blazed trail, saving a mile from the regular route. Downstream on the Bull Run Trail to the Marina we go, where we discover an aid station set up but unmanned. We snag a handful of munchies (including greasy-salty fried-corn cheesy-balls), drink a few sips of Coke, and trek onward. The fastest runners from the official 8am start begin to pass us about half a dozen miles into our journey, and thereafter we've got company much of the time.
The hose from my hydration backpack freezes solid and I'm without water for the first couple of hours. Eventually I figure out that I can tuck it inside my shirt and thaw it, and after that I'm fine. Kate reveals that she's been doing that all along. "Why didn't you tell me?" I ask.
Before we start Kate gives me a baggie of tasty peanut-butter M&M candies and Utz mini cheddar-cheese cracker-sandwiches. I nibble on the contents all day and finish during the final mile. I'm grossly overprepared and never need to eat any of my candy bars, energy bars, etc. ("You're a mobile candy store!" Kate exclaims when she looks inside my pack.) But better to be ready than the opposite. I don't need any of my pills today either; the only twinges are the usual ones in the left foot metatarsal bones.
At Fountainhead helpful volunteers tell us which way to proceed, and though I pay them no attention Kate is listening. A few lost runners are wandering the parking lot, so after getting them back on course Kate and I trot along to the next aid station where we drink soda water and continue. A wag has posted a sign that says "NICE RACK" on a tree that we pass. Gary Knipling, never inhibited, quotes it with a twinkle in his eye as he catches up with us. "There's a lady present, Gary!" I sternly admonish him. "This is the 21st Century—you're not too old to learn some manners!" He cheerfully ignores me.
The clock is ticking toward our deadline, so at 10:56am we tag the marker post and turn tail at the entrance of the infamous "Do Loop", rather than attempt the 3 mile circuit. Back at the aid station we top up Kate's Camelbak and my Nathan vest-pack. I dig through the box of snack-size bags of chips and in the bottom find the last one of crunchy Cheetos—woot! (Kate located one earlier there, and I'm inspired by her example.) The tasty combination of grease and salt stains my gloves and reinvigorates me. I take the lead for a while, then give it back to Kate who has a perfect sense of pace. Our legs are a bit tired now, after her triumphant JFK 50 miler and my NCT.
We chat with each other as we run, about fitness, family, friends, fun, and frustrations. Other runners continue to pass and I overhear good stories about ultramarathon experiences they've had. Just after the Marina we pause to read the text of a small memorial to a girl who died here 22 years ago.
A fast racer, Perry, from southern Maryland catches up with us as we're approaching the soccer fields. He stumbles but avoids a fall. I quote the second stanza of my comic verse Face Plant, much to Perry's amusement. Kate explains that I burst into spontaneous poetry recitations during long runs. The performance usually succeed in driving away anyone within earshot, Kate adds. Perry makes his excuses and heads onward soon thereafter.
When we reach Bull Run Trail milepost 10 we're at the bottom of the horse path that we decended almost seven hours ago. Kate and I check our watches and see that there's ample time for an extra mile, so upstream we head along the Bull Run Run course past BRT milepost 11. Along the way another runner catches up with us, but at our advice she takes a short cut upward. We follow the traditional steep northernmost trail up to the Hemlock Overlook lodge, running as much as we can at this point. We both need the experience on rocks and hills for next year's races.
Black truly has a slimming effect. When elite ultrarunner Michelle Harmon sees me post-run she exclaims, "Mark, you're only a shadow of your former self!" I gently disagree. Credit goes to my ninja-like costume today: sable tights, shorts, and long-sleeved shirt.
Kate and I snag slices of pizza and head for home, Kate to manage her son's birthday party, I to rest and recuperate. We've both entered the lottery to get into the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 miler to be held in May 2010. Kate claims not to have heard me months ago when I told her that MMT is one of the toughest races in the East. She's already in; I'm #87 on the waiting list. My fingers are crossed ...
- Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 20:10:06 (EST)
The December 2009 issue of Running Times has an interesting set of mini-interviews titled "Pain: How Top Athletes Manage the Mental Stress of Racing" by Sarah Barker. The most sensible and inspirational commments are by Lorraine Moller, a New Zealander who's almost as old as I am and who won the Boston Marathon (1984) and took bronze in an Olympic Games marathon (1992). Moller observes:
I never thought about pain as a force to be reckoned with. Pain was a danger signal and I heeded it well, thus remaining mostly injury-free.
I don't like the word 'pain' to describe running. Pain is a completely different thing from being out of your comfort level, which most top runners relish and distinguishes them from less competitive people.
I spent more time carefully planning what I would do to combat self-sabotage than I ever did planning a strategy against a rival. Ultimately, the only rival is oneself anyhow.
In training, I would practice threshold runs with a heart rate monitor and, once I was going at maximum, I would scout for areas of tension in my body and see if I could relax them. Most often I could increase my pace by a few seconds without any increase in heart rate just by letting go. We think that faster means more effort. My intention was to go faster with less effort.
I've used tons of mental strategies, lots of games, like bargaining with myself—I'm gong to go 10 more lampposts and see how I feel—breaking the race into small, doable segments.
The thought that's in your mind is immediately reflected in the body, and since the conscious mind can only attend to one thought at a time, I try to make that a positive one. In the Barcelona Olympics [bronze medal performance] I reached a point where I wanted to drop back from the pack. A negative thought. Instead, I ran to the front of the pack, just a few steps, and thought, 'Look, I'm winning.' I immediately felt better and stayed with the pack.
I just love that: Look, I'm winning!
(cf. Inventing a Running Machine (2008-03-06), ...)
- Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 05:27:06 (EST)
What to say about a 1961 "cult classic" sf novel that I read multiple times in the late 60's and early 70's? Reopening Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land now, so much of it is still familiar that it must have lodged deeper than I realized. Flaws are evident, as are strengths. Heinlein's dialogue is smooth—but almost all the characters speak with his own voice, sometimes so like one another that it's hard to tell them apart. His roller-coaster plot swerves and lurches but never quite flies off the tracks; coincidence goes beyond Dickensian. Sexuality is treated with arch humor, politely and analytically—but by today's standards there's heavy-handed sexism in many areas.
Overall, though, Stranger still reads splendidly. The legendary competence of virutally everyone in Heinlein's universe is fun, if hard to believe at times. The clever mix of fantasy, religion, and science somehow works. "Grok" and "Thou art God" aren't clichés. Jubal Harshaw, elder demigod of the story, is easier for me to identify with now that I'm 40 years older than I was last time I cracked the book. And the "lessons" brought back from Mars by protagonist Valentine Michael Smith—patience, objectivity, joy, fearless love—yet remain. A book worth cherishing, not worshiping.
(cf. MarryTheOne (2005-05-20), Hurry Patiently (2008-12-14), ...)
- Friday, December 11, 2009 at 05:13:31 (EST)
|The Massanutten Trail is built of gaps:|
Shawl Gap; Veach Gap; Sherman, Milford, Habron Gap,
Notches in a ridge line, spaces, voids,
Emptiness where valley touches hill,
Clefts where saddles bridge the land and sky ...
Pits and crevasses, outlines, silhouettes,
Miles to walk until the next crossroads,
- Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 04:35:39 (EST)
Salt crystals crunch under my shoes—the concrete is encrusted with leftover halite from anti-ice treatment of a few days ago. Temps in the mid-40s and a north breeze make for a comfortable trio of loops around the parking lots in early afternoon, accelerating from about 10 to 9 to 8 min/mi pace. (Raw times by my watch = 15:02, 13:12, 11:36) I zig-zag to take sidewalks rather than my usual route along the side of the road or the grassy/muddy shoulder.
- Wednesday, December 09, 2009 at 04:47:09 (EST)
Simon Blackburn's Being Good: A short introduction to ethics is a cute little philosophy book that, not surprisingly, raises more questions than it answers. Along the way it offers a host of interesting thoughts and anecdotes. For example, in section 2 ("Relativism") Blackburn highlights the line between imposing one's moral standards and refusing to support evil:
... [This] counteracts the idea that we are just 'imposing' parochial, western standards when, in the name of universal human rights, we oppose oppressions of people on the grounds of gender, caste, race, or religion. Partly, we can say that it is usually not a question of imposing anything. It is a question of cooperating with the oppressed and supporting their emancipation. More importantly, it is usually not at all certain that the values we are upholding are so very alien to the others (this is one of the places where we are let down by thinking simplistically of hermetically sealed cultures: them and us). After all, it is typically only the oppressors who are spokespersons for theirculture or their ways of doing it. It is not the slaves who value slavery, or the women who value the fact that they may not take employment, or the young girls who value disfigurement. It is the brahmins, mullahs, priests, and elders who hold themselves to be spokesmen for their culture. What the rest think about it all too often goes unrecorded. Just as victors write the history, so it is those on top who write their justification for the top being where it is. THose on the bottom don't get to say anything.
In section 3 ("Egoism") Blackburn talks about knowledge and proof and close-mindedness:
... The philosopher Karl Popper (1902-94) told a story about describing a case to the psychoanalyst Alfred Adler. Adler listened to the description, and unhesitatingly pronounced castration anxiety, father jealousy, desire to sleep with the mother, or whatever it was. When he had finished, Popper asked him how he knew. 'Because of my thousand-fold experience,' came the reply. 'And with this new case,' said Popper, according to his own report, 'I suppose your experience has become a thousand-and-one-fold.' ...
The final paragraph of Being Good offers a guardedly-cheerful view of the state of the world:
But if we reflect on an increased sensitivity to the environment, to sexual difference, to gender, to people different from ourselves in a whole variety of ways, we can see small, hard-won, fragile, but undeniable causes of pride. If we are careful, and mature, and imaginative, and fair, and nice, and lucky, the moral mirror in which we gaze at ourselves may not show us saints. But it need not show us monsters, either.
(cf. HumanNature (1999-12-05), ThinkAgain (2002-08-29), ...)
- Tuesday, December 08, 2009 at 04:42:41 (EST)
Snow on Saturday turns to ice overnight and helps CM Manlandro sensibly to decide not to run with me at sunrise on Sunday morning. So Caren Jew, recovering from calf muscle strain, introduces me to the trails of Sugarloaf Mountain. The main parking lot is full; Caren drives down Mount Ephraim Rd until we find a pull-off at the Yellow Trail crossing. We trek clockwise along that trail, hiking not running, and soon meet a VHTRC crew finishing their ramble: Joe Clapper, Michelle Harmon, and Nathan Soules. Greetings, a couple of quick photos, then the discovery that Joe's foot is mysteriously bleeding. Onward: across small streams that wet our feet, over hills that offer lovely vistas, and down rutted fire roads. After a couple of hours of excellent conversation—dream descriptions, family gossip, future races to do together, etc.— we spy Caren's car ahead. Caren insists on running the final stretch.
- Monday, December 07, 2009 at 05:54:04 (EST)
An aphorism from Robin Zimmermann that I've not been able to find anywhere on the 'Net:
|Attack before you're ready!|
... meaning, I suspect:
And perhaps it has several other interpretations, depending on the situation—that's what makes a good maxim, eh?
(cf. BeUnprepared (2004-11-09), Five Minutes Early (2009-05-14), ...)
- Sunday, December 06, 2009 at 09:30:50 (EST)
I like Australians. Well, OK, I like almost everybody—but somehow I really like Australians. Maybe it's their clichéd national characteristics: practical, proud, yet self-deprecating. The song "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba—even though it's British—has that feel in its refrain: "I get knocked down / But I get up again / 'Cause you're never gonna keep me down ...".
So creeping slowly toward the point: on the new-book shelf at the local public library the book Finding the Quiet catches my eye. The author's name, Paul Wilson, reminds me of F. Paul Wilson, a science-fiction writer I remember from decades ago. So down take I the book. Paul Wilson is an Aussie, not an sf writer, who calls himself "The Guru of Calm". Ugh! The beginning of his book is extraordinarily off-putting—full of "I" this and "me" that. Double-ugh! After dithering and almost returning it to the shelf, finally I check it out. I expect to skim and then return it in a few days.
But after that distressingly boastful preface, Finding the Quiet shifts gears and becomes, for the most part, something rather close to the Engineer's Guide to Enlightenment that I imagined more than a decade ago. Yes, it's far from perfect. In fact Part B falls into the "F'ing Ineffable" pit of mysticism that, in my present state of unenlightenment, is seriously annoying. Maybe some day it will make sense, though somehow I hope not.
But for ~160 pages Paul Wilson does a solid job of categorizing and analyzing the major varieties of mindfulness meditation. He gives a neat taxonomy, a roadmap of three paths that he identifies as:
In other words, Reflection vs. Projection vs. Now.
Wilson's suggested practice of what he terms "The Quiet" begins with what he calls CenterWidenListen+Observe: center (take a breath, notice what's supporting you, straighten your spine); widen (broaden your attention to include peripheral vision); and listen (sense your breath and the subtler sounds around you). As Wilson says, this is "more of an attitude than a function" and eventually becomes "a state of not doing anything, but doing it with attentiveness." Then observe: move into one of the three practices, deep or directed or aware.
The down-to-earth nature of Paul Wilson's prose is charmingly captured in a remark he makes in passing. While discussing meditative hand positions (aka "mudras") and the virtue of the simplest one, he says, "There are many others, but their subtlety eludes me and I've yet to meet anyone who will attest to their usefulness."
I love it! Wilson's gentle dismissal—"... their subtlety eludes me ..."—applies to a boatload of mystical frou-frou. Let's throw it all overboard and get back to now ...
(cf. Wherever You Go, There You Are (2008-10-26), Meditation Made Easy (2008-11-01), Coming to Our Senses (2009-01-01), ...)
- Saturday, December 05, 2009 at 19:23:48 (EST)
Bus-commute acquaintance Lorraine and another lady are wearing parkas and hoods against the chill northwest breezes as I run past them, sweating, in shorts and short-sleeved shirt. It's the first run after Saturday's marathon, and I stretch the old legs with an early-afternoon trio of laps around the hilly jogging path. No animals are seen in the woods, but there are plenty of pine cones and decaying leaves on the ground. A seed pod spirals down and hits me in the eye. A runner going in the "wrong" direction on the trail greets me. As planned my miles accelerate: 9:21 to 8:11 to 7:24, that last at near-top-speed. One sock develops a hole in the heel and I throw it away when I get back to the dressing room.
- Friday, December 04, 2009 at 04:43:07 (EST)
A little booklet called "The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools" fell into my hands recently. It's by Richard Paul and Linda Elder of the self-styled Foundation for Critical Thinking. Among the ideas it offers is a list of "Essential Intellectual Traits":
OK, there's redundancy in the list of attributes, the prose isn't golden, and the origin and completeness of the criteria could be questioned (I'm criticizing!) ... but overall, it's a cute catalog of ideals to strive for, eh?
- Thursday, December 03, 2009 at 04:50:46 (EST)
Recently the comic newspaper The Onion ran a delightful-mindful-philosophical article titled "December Named National Awareness Month". It begins:
In an effort to combat what organizers are calling "our current epidemic of complete and utter obliviousness," the American Foundation for Paying Attention to Things has declared December "National Awareness Month."
"All across the country, millions of men and women are dangerously unaware," AFPAT spokesperson Karen Teeling said during a press conference Monday. "What's worse, the vast majority of those suffering from this debilitating state of mind don't even know it."
"That's why this December we're asking that all Americans stop whatever it is they're doing, and take a moment to open their eyes for once—just once—in their lives," Teeling added. "It'll make all the difference in the world."
(cf. Shake the Pillars (2008-09-02), ...)
- Wednesday, December 02, 2009 at 04:38:30 (EST)
"I don't know," is my only honest response to a host of questions involving tough trade-offs, where multiple good things come into conflict. A few examples:
Rush Kidder mused about these conflicts and various ways to resolve them—Utilitarianism vs. Golden Rule vs. Categorical Imperative vs. etc.—but I don't remember a satisfactory conclusion to that discussion. Maybe there isn't a simple answer ... which takes me back to something posted here in May 1999, a Tom Toles "Curious Avenue" comic strip from a few years before that:
One character says, "Maybe you're just looking for simple answers. Maybe there are no simple answers. Problems require thought and dedication."
The other character replies, "But there are simple answers. There are just no good answers. --- Although that one was pretty good."
- Tuesday, December 01, 2009 at 04:58:58 (EST)
|The planets are clearly in alignment this month. Comrades Kate Abbott and Ken Swab improve their JFK 50 miler time by a massive 50 minutes over last year's results. At the Northern Central Trail Marathon on the Saturday after Thanksgiving I knock 24 minutes off a PR set just last month at the Marine Corps Marathon. Official time: 4:01:06.|
So Sub-4 remains a goal, if the stars line up again. Maybe with a friend!
The NCTM, aka the Northern Central Rail Trail Marathon (NCRTM), is predominantly a fast, flat, out-and-back along what was once the Northern Central Railway right-of-way. Hilly rural roads for the first and last couple of miles connect the crushed-stone trail to the start/finish at an elementary school in Sparks MD, north of Baltimore.
At mile 1 a runner near me breaks away from the pack to cross the road and kiss his girlfriend. "I'll see you at Mile 9," she tells him.
"Hey, what about me?" I ask. "Don't I get one?"
They both laugh. "We're just keeping it real," the man tells me as we run along together.
Today's conversations are all that brief: instead of a long chatty ramble with buddies I'm trying to see how fast I can solo. I remind myself along the way of strategic admonitions from friends: Ken Swab's "Run like a dog" mantra; CM Manlandro's "Fly & Die" motto; Steve Adams's "Gut it out" rule.
It's a near-perfect day for a speed test, sunny with temperatures starting in the lower 40s and rising to the upper 40s. Gusty west winds are only occasionally an impediment on the mainly north-south course through scenic Gunpowder Falls State Park. After a couple of miles I roll up my sleeves and get to work. But first ...
Doug Sullivan and his friends in the Howard County Striders have arranged to carpool to the NCTM and kindly invite me along. At 0645 I meet Doug at the Park-and-Ride lot in Columbia and we cruise uneventfully. Nick Del Grosso and Hafiz Shaikh ride up in Doug's car. We compare notes on various races and discuss training, injuries, etc. During the return journey Greg Lepore, an archivist, chats with me about his information technology work at the National Archives.
Packet pickup is swift in the Sparks Elementary School auditorium. Before and after the race I see Jeanne Larrison, who's doing the relay. Ed Schultze and I sit together on the steps in front of the school stage. We pin on our numbers and attach timing chips to our shoes. Ed has had some major knee surgeries within the past few years, and this is his first attempt at the marathon distance since then.
Standing in line for the porta-johns, I entertain a nearby runner when I tell Nick that Kate Abbott and I had hoped to be pacers for the last 60 miles of Massanutten, then correct myself to say last 40 miles. "What?!" the eavesdropper exclaims. "Last 40 miles!?" We laugh together; it puts the upcoming 26.2 miles into perspective.
Bundled head-to-foot against the weather, Betty Smith greets me at the start. We talk about her Chi Running, Vibram Five Fingers shoes, etc. I expect to find CM Manlandro, who last summer had hoped to do the NCTM. But she was a bit injured after the New York City marathon, hasn't run much for the past month, and decides to skip the NCT, in spite of promising me she would run it with me back in June. (Yes, I plan to taunt her mercilessly about that!) A young lady doing her first marathon is nervous. We talk together for a minute, and then it's time to roll.
While waiting in the school I drink a cup of coffee and eat a Snickers candy bar. During the NCTM I fuel aggressively: a package of gummy-lump Clif Shot Bloks, 5 energy gels (many thanks to the volunteer who gives me two samples), and half a dozen Succeed! electrolyte capsules. Between aid stations I sip from a squeeze bottle of salted tea mixed up this morning. I quaff a cup of Gatorade at every opportunity.
After half a dozen miles of cruising at ~8:50 min/mi my legs start to get fatigued. I tell myself, "It's OK to feel tired!" and carry on. I reach the half-marathon point at about 1:56, continuing at the same speed.
On the way back I can't help but slow down; mile 18 is the last sub-9 that I log. About mile 20 the left leg suddenly feels weak; for a while I fear a fall. From mile 21 onward the old hamstrings and calves tighten and I'm on the edge of cramping. I pop S! e-caps aggressively and take 30-45 second walk breaks about every five minutes. At this point I compute that if I can maintain ~10 min/mi I've still got a chance to finish in four hours.
During the race I experiment with "watching my breath" in Buddhist mindfulness-meditation fashion: paying attention, deliberately and nonjudgmentally, to the present moment and all that it contains. I observe my tiredness and crampiness objectively. Does it help? Hard to say ... but I do more-or-less persuade myself to enjoy whatever happens. The waterfalls and old stone buildings and rocky cliffs are lovely sights; so are the other runners whom I follow and occasionally pass, or who pass me.
"6:55? That can't be right!" I comment to racers near me as we zip by the first mile marker of the NCTM. It's far too soon for us to have gone that far. Several runners with GPS units confirm that "Mile 1" was more than 0.1 mi short. Other markers along the course are similarly incorrect, according to GPS. It's a certified course, but only after the race do I discover the official map and belatedly read the hand-printed annotation:
First mile is 601 ft short. The last two-tenths of a mile is 601 ft long. All other timing points are correct distance.
Well, duh! It would have been kind to tell competitors before they discover during the race, as I did, that their pace calculations are going to be seriously in error, especially near the end.
When the course leaves the NCR Trail and proceeds up Lower Glencoe Rd, volunteers tell us, "Only 1.7 miles to go!" My watch says 3h37m and I think I'm still roughly on schedule to beat 4 hours. But there are actually 2+ miles remaining, with hills to climb along the way. Not that it matters: I'm going as fast as I can while trying not to cramp up or fall down.
Mile marker 25 goes by at about 3h48m on my watch. Pushing hard now I pass Ed Schultze, doing great on his first post-surgery marathon. I compliment him on his speed, since he has been ahead of me all this way—and then he reveals that he started half an hour early! We cheer each other and I continue to "run" along the shoulder of the road, trying not to bump into orange traffic cones.
Mile marker 26: 3h59m, still no end in sight. Here's where advance notice of 601 extra feet in the last 0.2 mile would have been comforting, though it wouldn't have changed my result.
Finally I see the inflated balloon-arch above the finish line mat. Doug Sullivan is there, applauding and taking photos. I sprint across the sensor mat. My watch reads 4:01:07; the official clock says 4:01:20, but subtracting 14 seconds after the gun to reach the starting line gives me a chip time of 4:01:06, an average pace of 9:13 min/mi. First half ~1:56, second half ~2:05. Could I have beaten 4 hours with better pacing? Who cares? As Caren Jew says, "It's all good!"
- Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 17:22:38 (EST)
It's handy to look at big complex systems in terms of layers—so convenient, in fact, that's there's an "Open Systems Interconnection" international standard hierarchy of levels. It runs all the way from the highest "Application" level, which the user sees, down to the lowest nitty-gritty "Physical" level of voltages and cables and device pin assignments. In a sense that's where the real work gets done; without it none of the higher levels could function or even exist.
So what's below the physical level? Maybe there's a level of Law—the fundamental rules of nature that the physical level entities obey. And below that? Logic, math, ...
(cf. OSI Model; see also OnSomethingness (2000-01-17), No Concepts At All (2001-02-22), ApprovedMethods (2005-11-12), ...)
- Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 05:21:28 (EST)
In the chapter of Walden titled "Reading" Henry David Thoreau discusses how the classics should be approached:
... Men sometimes speak as if the study of the classics would at length make way for more modern and practical studies; but the adventurous student will always study classics, in whatever language they may be written and however ancient they may be. For what are the classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man? They are the only oracles which are not decayed, and there are such answers to the most modern inquiry in them as Delphi and Dodona never gave. We might as well omit to study Nature because she is old. To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written. ...
- Friday, November 27, 2009 at 04:49:59 (EST)
Caren Jew is a few minutes early, but I anticipate that and almost have my shoes tied when she arrives at my home about 0440. Stars glitter like diamonds in the crisp night sky as we trot to the CCT and proceed west, dodging ruts and muddy patches thanks to headlamp and flashlight. I point out how the three stars of Orion's Belt point to Sirius, the Dog Star, brightest in the sky.
We review observations we made at the JFK 50 miler yesterday. Caren and her daughters were at Weverton; Kate Abbott's sons and I drove along later segments of the course. As the CCT takes us through the Columbia Country Club I reminisce about the hornet stings that Caren and I acquired there exactly three months ago. We progress six miles, to milepost 5.5, and turn back then at the 75 minute point. We're right on target to get Caren home by 8am. Her husband Walter's tee time is early today. Dawn arrives and we turn off our lights.
This morning is colder than I expected; my thumbs become numb. (Another delicate area feels OK for a change, perhaps because of the relatively thick shorts I'm wearing.) When we get back to the high trestle over Rock Creek we pause, at Caren's smart suggestion, to admire the scenery. My feet slip on the wood. I scrape it with my fingernails and show Caren a trace of the frost that has formed there. Back at my home my hands are so weak that I need to use both of them just to turn the key in the front door. The car thermometer says temperatures are in the mid-30s—brrrrr!
- Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 15:44:23 (EST)
Problem solved! Thanks to helpful advice from Alex Schröder, primary creator of the Oddmuse wiki engine that drives the ZhurnalyWiki, the issue described in ZhurnalyWiki Surge Control is fixed, or so I believe. It wasn't evil SpamBots pretending to be Google's web crawler. In brief, it was a glitch in the interaction between the zhurnaly.com web server (Apache) and the ZhurnalyWiki perl script (Oddmuse) which occurred on certain pages that had spaces or other unconventional characters in their names. As the Oddmuse documentation describes it:
[$ScriptName] is determined automatically by the CGI module and used for all the links within the site. You only need to set this if the autodetection is not working. This happens on some systems but the cause remains unknown. In the mean time, just set this option to the correct value in your config file ...
So I've set $ScriptName to the value 'http://zhurnaly.com/cgi-bin/wiki' and now the links to internal wiki pages no longer accumulate clutter and grow limitlessly. Googlebot and other crawlers no longer see an ever-lengthening variety of URLs. Within a few days, I hope, as their caches clear they will stop hitting the zhurnaly.com server with redundant page requests, and my excessive bandwidth usage will cease. Thanks, Alex!
- Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 20:38:18 (EST)
A few days ago I received a warning notice from my ISP, reporting that zhurnaly.com usage statistics have shot up in recent months. Already in November 2009 the volume of pages served has gone above 10 GB. This is unhappy, since my current service plan gives me only 10 GB before surcharges begin. More than half the bandwidth has been used by hosts identifying themselves as "crawl-66-249-65-187.googlebot.com", "crawl-66-249-71-245.googlebot.com", "crawl-66-249-65-186.googlebot.com", and "crawl-66-249-65-129.googlebot.com". These could be normal Google web-crawler robots, I suppose, or perhaps imposters attempting to insert spam in the wiki.
It's unclear what I should do. For the moment, I've set the "surge protection" on the wiki engine to a stricter level, 4 pages per 20 seconds, instead of the default 10 per 20. This shouldn't affect most human users, I think, but if you find it annoying please contact me (email z "at-sign" his "dot" com) and I'll try to tune it better.
Any other suggestions? The log files show entries like this:
184.108.40.206 - - [23/Nov/2009:22:21:31 -0500] "GET /cgi-bin/wiki/HAT%20Run%202008/HomePage/Zhurnal_and_Zhurnaly/TopicLanguage/ConfoundedConflation/TopicLanguage/DangerousLiterature/ChekhovOnTolstoy/GlobeOfLife/TruthInBattle HTTP/1.1" 200 11759 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)"
220.127.116.11 - - [23/Nov/2009:22:21:32 -0500] "GET /cgi-bin/wiki/HAT%20Run%202008/SigilOfPower/TopicLanguage/JournalBearing/ReadLikely/TopicHumor/ConfoundedConflation/LaterDude/TopicPersonalHistory/LongDistanceFriendliness/Comments_on_LongDistanceFriendliness HTTP/1.1" 404 8175 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)"
18.104.22.168 - - [23/Nov/2009:22:21:32 -0500] "GET /cgi-bin/wiki/2004-08-07_-_Robert_Frost_Trail_(northeast)/HomePage/Bo_Leuf,_R.I.P./In_Memoriam/HighTension/TopicScience/MardiGras/Comments_on_MardiGras HTTP/1.1" 404 7234 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)"
22.214.171.124 - - [23/Nov/2009:22:21:33 -0500] "GET /cgi-bin/wiki/HAT%20Run%202008/HatRun2004/TopicRunning/HandicapJogging/TopicScience/HansBethe/TopicPersonalHistory/IntestinalInfortitude/2006-08-12_-_Iwo_Jima_Jog/HomePage/Comments_on_HomePage HTTP/1.1" 503 1894 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)"
... that is, a GET command every second or so for ill-formed URLs with lots of ZhurnalyWiki page names separated by slashes. I don't fully understand these log entries, but perhaps it's part of an automated out-of-control system not actually coming from Google? Or is Google just merrily crawling my pages?
This is another thing that I wish I didn't have to think about! Do I have to turn off the public ZhurnalyWiki entirely and only offer non-interactive pages? Or should I be cheerful that my pages are getting indexed in Google?
(cf. WebLogAnalysis (2001-06-02), VisitorStats (2003-10-17), ...)
- Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 20:42:12 (EST)
A proverb heard today:
|You get what you INspect, not what you EXpect.|
It reminds me of another business-world aphorism encountered years ago: "Beware what you measure—you'll get it!"
- Monday, November 23, 2009 at 22:07:15 (EST)
I've got a mid-afternoon meeting, so Stephanie meets me at 1:45pm and off we go. The weather is pleasant and as we follow the Georgetown Pike pathway we chatter about Stephanie's 10th high school reunion this evening and the Dallas-Washington football game this Sunday. Stephanie is running well and we trot along faster than we did earlier this week. The day's classes are finishing at Langley High School; our digression through the parking lots toward the track requires zigging and zagging. A game is underway on the field, so we abandon my idea of running laps. Back on Georgetown Pike we carry on until Mackall Av, then turn back. We dodge cars as students flee campus, ignoring stop signs in their haste.
- Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 18:06:17 (EST)
From Chapter Four ("The Pebble") of The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh (translated by Mobi Ho):
The mind is like a monkey swinging from branch to branch through a forest, says the Sutra. In order not to lose sight of the monkey by some sudden movement, we must watch the monkey constantly and even to be one with it. The Sutra says to be one with it. Mind contemplating mind is like an object and its shadow—the object cannot shake the shadow off. The two are one. Wherever the mind goes, it still lies in the harness of the mind. The Sutra sometimes uses the expression "Bind the monkey" to refer to taking hold of the mind. But the monkey image is only a means of expression. Once the mind is directly and continually aware of itself, it is no longer like a monkey. There are not two minds, one which swings from branch to branch and another which follows after to bind it with a piece of rope.
- Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 02:26:45 (EST)
"I'll be wearing lime green," Stephanie writes, "you can't miss me!" And indeed, there she is at 2:15pm. Stephanie is young and new to running, eager to get some experience. We jog to the paved path through the woods and run two loops at a nice, steady pace of a bit under 3 minutes per quarter mile marker. I chatter away about family and running issues—training, racing, winter gear, etc. Hope I haven't scared her off from the sport!
- Friday, November 20, 2009 at 04:43:51 (EST)
At the library used-book sale recently appeared a $1 gem: a tiny, yellowed 1964 hardback copy of Zen Telegrams by Paul Reps. It's an cheerful collection of 79 wee poem-drawings, Chinese ink-brush style—"weightless gifts", the author calls them in the foreword by editor Meredith Weatherby. Many miss the mark: they're trite, or pointless. But as Reps warns, "Any one is for one person. Like intimate conversation, it is not meant to be seen-heard by others. ... Perhaps then, only perhaps, one of these is for you. Should this be so, you are welcome to take it out of the book and hang it on your wall, knowing it was done for you with delight."
Words from some samples that spoke, for whatever reason, to me:
O do not hasten
Others work but only in the presence of the drawings that they accompany. Others don't. Hmpf!
- Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 06:16:05 (EST)
Waiting at 8am at the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda, I phone Emaad Burki—he's on his way, but late—and then Ken Swab—who turns out to be standing a few dozen yards away, looking for Emaad and me. Soon we're all together, trotting down the path from milepost 3.5. Emaad's friend Alyssa meets us en route. She's already done half a dozen miles with others, and reverses course to accompany us back to Fletchers Boathouse and our turnaround at milepost 8.5.
I feel an urge to accelerate and a mile farther down ask, and receive, permission from Ken. Soon thereafter, as I run under a tall tree, a splash-splatter of what looks like white paint cascades down noisily next to me. I turn my head skyward and see a pair of big turkey vultures launch themselves into space. Fortunately their shower misses me by a couple of feet!
The final four miles are fast at 8:20 + 8:27 + 8:30 + 8:08. On the way home I pick up bagels and bialys at Goldberg's Bakery in Rockville.
- Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 04:48:42 (EST)
Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyam Trungpa (1939-1987) gave a series of lectures in the early 1970s which turned into the book The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation. It caught my eye at a library recently, but as I realized when I tried to read it the mysticism level was much too high. On the other hand, occasional metaphors leaped out of the muddy waters. From the chapter "Mindfulness and Awareness", for instance:
... Meditation is giving a huge, luscious meadow to a restless cow. The cow might be restless for a while in its huge meadow, but at some stage, because there is so much space, the restlessness becomes irrelevant. So the cow eats and eats and eats and relaxes and falls asleep. ...
... Mindfulness is like a microscope: it is neither an offensive nor a defensive weapon in relation to the germs we observe through it. ...
The first chapter ("Fantasy and Reality") offers a nice summary, perhaps, of the entire enterprise:
... Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss or tranquility, nor is it attempting to become a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes. We provide space through the simple discipline of doing nothing. Actually, doing nothing is very difficult. At first, we must begin by approximating doing nothing, and gradually our practice will develop. So meditation is a way of churning out the neuroses of mind and using them as part of our practice. Like manure, we do not throw our neuroses away, but we spread them on our garden; they become part of our richness.
That chapter concludes:
... The whole approach of Buddhism is to develop transcendental common sense, seeing things as they are, without magnifying what is or dreaming about what we would like to be.
- Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 05:02:11 (EST)
Emaad Burki wimps out, CM Manlandro's husband is sick, but Ken Swab and I meet at 0805 at the Capital Crescent Trail in downtown Bethesda. Also present is Emaad's high school classmate Matt, who runs with us down the CCT from milepost 3.5 to 6.5 and back. It's a damp morning, slight drizzle, moderate temperature. Ken and I banter about ultrarunning to amuse Matt. I'm suffering from an aching wisdom tooth and something like a bad cold, but the run helps clear my head.
- Monday, November 16, 2009 at 04:45:05 (EST)
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), 0.87 (October-December 2010), 0.88 (December 2010 - February 2011), 0.89 (February-April 2011), 0.90 (April-June 2011), 0.92 (August-October 2011), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2011 by Mark Zimmermann.)