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^zhurnaly v.9930

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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 = 0.9929 ... 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!



2018-02-10 - Dawn Patrol on Maryland Heights with Brie and Jennifer

~5.3 mi @ ~28.5 min/mi

Maryland Heights - Brie, Jennifer, Kerry, and Molly"I'm totally kinky!" Brie comments, as she untangles the hose from her hydration backpack. Jennifer leads up the super-steep Stone Fort Trail on the northwestern side of Maryland Heights. Kerry and Molly trek behind.
"Let's take the Hard Way!" Jen suggests. That turns out to be wise: sheets of ice on the shady side of the ridge cause first one bruising fall, then another. The path would be far more dangerous if we were going downward.Maryland Heights - Brie Jennifer Kerry and Molly
Maryland Heights - Kerry and MollyFast runners pass us, then turn back. We sit and slide, crunch across leaves, clamber over fallen trees, and cling to bramble bushes.
"The ice machine ran overtime!" The top of the hill is covered with uniformly-shaped finger-length cylinders of ice. We pause at the crest for photos, then descend on the safer sunny south side.Maryland Heights - Brie, Jennifer, Kerry, Molly
Maryland Heights overlook - Kerry and zThe Overlook Cliff Trail rewards us with awesome views of Harpers Ferry and the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Jennifer and Brie explore a side trail, then catch up and proceed onward. On the trip down raindrops begin to fall. We spy Merle approaching along the C&O Canal towpath and wave. Adventure run completed!

(trackfile)

- Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 19:55:00 (EST)


2018-02-09 - Fishbowls

~4.4 mi @ ~12.0 min/mi

"Fishbowl families!" Dr Kristin describes folks who leave window shades up and lights on in early morning. The Dawn Patrol treads quietly as a gray moon fades and a rosy sunrise blossoms. Temps in the mid-20s make for a brisk pace. Eight pairs of beetle-green eyes glitter in headlamp glow as a herd of deer nibble grass on the McLean High School soccer field; crunchy noises suggest at least one more is feeding on the other side of the hedge. #blessed

(trackfile)

- Friday, March 09, 2018 at 05:16:57 (EST)


Mantra - Complement

Complement!

... and as per Keith Johnstone: reverse the opposite, invert the negative, create the positive, and say "Yes, and..." — to everything!

(cf. Take It Up (2011-05-13), Category Theory Concepts (2016-04-25), ...)

- Thursday, March 08, 2018 at 04:45:23 (EST)


2018-02-05 - All About Balance

~2.5 mi @ ~19.9 min/mi

"It's all about balance!" Kristin says, as the Dawn Patrol skates across an icy sidewalk and clings to the fence nearby. Overnight rain freezes into a clear glaze, reminiscent of scary winter races. (cf. 2016-12-17 - Devil Dog 100 Miler DNF & Seneca Creek Greenway Trail Marathon 2007) Kerry reports spinning tires as she tries to drive up a tiny hill in her 'hood. We tread cautiously, running on grass beside paths, holding on to wooden bridge railings, stepping gingerly over slick stripes painted on the road. After a mile of death-dodging near misses we concur: Starbucks isn't worth it this morning! A near-last-quarter moon shines on our return trip. Nobody falls. Balance!

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, March 07, 2018 at 05:30:08 (EST)


2018-02-04 - Slippery Speedwork Sunday Graffiti

~7.9 mi @ ~11.5 min/mi

Not for Nothing graffiti selfie"Stay upright!" advises the elderly cyclist on Sligo Creek Trail. Snow flurries sting eyes, then turn into sleety pellets that knock on noggin. Paths and sidewalks become slippery-slick until precipitation changes to chilly drizzle. "Ring of Fire" (Social Distortion's version) repeats on the mental MP0 player.
"Speedwork Sunday!" At the local track roll up sleeves, unzip jacket, and sprint four laps with recovery walks between (1:54 + 1:52 + 1:55 + 1:50). Too slow - more intervals needed, Dr Zed!Ashes graffiti
graffitiTrot to the local library, pick up two hardbacks from the hold lockers, and add more gravity to prior ~15 pound overweight encumbrance. Pause on the way home to photograph bright graffiti art on the backside of Jack's Roofing by the train tracks. "Not 4 Nothing!"

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, March 06, 2018 at 04:39:48 (EST)


Teach Yourself How to Learn

Fast, friendly, first-person: Saundra Yancy McGuire's book(2018, with her daughter Stephanie McGuire), Teach Yourself How to Learn: Strategies You Can Use to Ace Any Course at Any Level, is aimed at new college students who desperately need help. It's chatty and a bit chaotic, frequently interrupts itself with anecdotes, and lacks a solid structure. But for many readers, especially those who haven't thought much about how to study effectively, Teach Yourself ... could be extraordinarily useful. After some scene-setting stories in the first two chapters, Chapter 3 ("Metacognition"), gets to the heart of the matter. Metacognition is defined as the ability to:

All good! And after more stories and some audience-participation puzzles, McGuire discusses the "Bloom's Taxonomy" cognitive hierarchy: remembering → understanding → applying → analyzing → evaluating → creating. Then come a few real-world study tips, steps which aren't obvious to some:

  1. Preview
  2. Attend class
  3. Review
  4. Do intensive study sessions
  5. Assess

The rest of Teach Yourself ... gives specific examples, more explicit suggestions, and explains the difference that an open and optimistic attitude can make via Carol Dweck's work on "mindsets:"

Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset
Leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to ...Leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to ...
... avoid challenges ... embrace challenges
... give up easily ... persist in the face of setbacks
... see effort as fruitless or worse ... see effort as the path to mastery
... ignore useful negative feedback ... learn from criticism
... feel threatened by the success of others ... find lessons and inspiration in the success of others

Further valuable suggestions ensue on time management, activity prioritization, note-taking, and the like. Again, all good! If only the book had:

All good — and could have been better.

(cf. Ein Ben Stein (2002-09-19), Reflective Students (2004-03-17), How to Succeed (2005-03-11), Staying the Course (2005-07-11), Great Thoughts Time (2013-11-29), Metacognitive Banter (2014-02-04), Body Learning (2015-06-19), Metacognition and Open Mindedness (2015-11-15), How to Do a PhD (2016-03-25), ...)

- Monday, March 05, 2018 at 04:38:34 (EST)


2018-02-03 - MD-WV-VA Trifecta

~22.0 miles @ ~22.6 min/mi

Dipak and Sirisha and z - photo by Merle"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service is joy." Dr Dipak quotes Rabindranath Tagore as he and Sirisha trek along the Appalachian Trail. The day begins with temps in the teens. Merle drives to Weverton and sets off along the C&O Canal towpath toward Harpers Ferry. After a brisk hike up the cliffs we follow him. Icicles cling to shaded rocks. Puddles are slippery skating rinks.

"No goals!" says Sirisha wisely, about her upcoming ultra-tough ultramarathons. Today's hillwork will pay dividends in months ahead. We climb steep Maryland Heights, diverting to a scenic overlook. Jennifer's friend Brie greets us, wearing a Yeti scarf and running with super-fast Kurt on his way to doing five repeats. We tour cannon emplacements, then trot down and cross the river into Harpers Ferry.

"Up this way!" Brie reappears and directs us to the AT's route through West Virginia. Past Jefferson Rock, over the Shenandoah River into Virginia, and up Loudoun Heights. Deja vu, remembering Dr Stephanie's Run of Legend (2017-03-04 - Loudoun Heights and Maryland Heights with Stephanie). No luck finding the path that led down the other side of the mountain during a race here 7+ years ago (2010-10-23 - Quad State Quad Buster).

"My front was too cold and my back was too hot!" We meet a lady wearing her jacket backwards on both Maryland Heights and Loudoun heights. Sirisha tells of wearing her hydration vest similarly. At the overlook somebody is having a Bad Hair Day.

bad hair day on Maryland Heights
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Weverton_Cliffs_Maryland_Heights_Loudoun_Heights_map_2018-02-03.jpg"So let's walk-run to Weverton!" Merle appears at mile 18 and provides an instant aid station when we decide to continue on foot rather than accept his kind offer of a lift. Locks with lovers' names decorate the pedestrian bridge over the Potomac. Sirisha and I admire Dipak's bright green jacket, after he fishes for compliments. At our starting point we fist-bump and declare victory. We've finished what Brie calls the "Trif*ckta" — yay!

(trackfile)

- Sunday, March 04, 2018 at 08:31:14 (EST)


2018-02-02 - Catching Crabs

~4.3 mi @ ~10.0 min/mi

"Erin caught a crab. It broke her nose and knocked her unconscious!" Cait explains more rowing language as we sprint down the long hill at mile 3. "Catching a crab" refers to getting an oar caught in the water, sometimes with dire results. In this case it happened to a comrade in the boat during a race - and no, they did not go on to win. And yes, sometimes an entire crew catches crabs! Temps fall from the mid-30s to below freezing as a squall line brings eye-watering gusty northwest winds.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, March 03, 2018 at 09:03:49 (EST)


Nine Beliefs for Success

Another self-help list, arguable and redundant and egoistic and nonetheless inspirational: "9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People". It's by Jeff Haden (Inc., June 2012):

  1. Time doesn't fill me. I fill time. — "Forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity. Tasks should only take as long as they need to take. Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then use your 'free' time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively."
  2. The people around me are the people I chose. — "Think about the type of people you want to work with. Think about the types of customers you would enjoy serving. Think about the friends you want to have. Then change what you do so you can start attracting those people."
  3. I have never paid my dues. — "No matter what you've done or accomplished in the past, you're never too good to roll up your sleeves, get dirty, and do the grunt work. No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring."
  4. Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything. — "Successful people don't need to describe themselves using hyperbolic adjectives like passionate, innovative, driven, etc. They can just describe, hopefully in a humble way, what they've done."
  5. Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn't just happen to me. — "Every successful person has failed. Numerous times. Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. That's why they're successful now. Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently."
  6. Volunteers always win. — "Success is based on action. The more you volunteer, the more you get to act. Successful people step forward to create opportunities."
  7. As long as I'm paid well, it's all good. — "Only do what you want to do and you might build an okay business. Be willing to do what customers want you to do and you can build a successful business. Be willing to do even more and you can build a remarkable business."
  8. People who pay me always have the right to tell me what to do. — "Instead of complaining, work to align what you like to do with what the people who pay you want you to do."
  9. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland. — "Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment. Don't wait to be asked; offer. Don't just tell employees what to do—show them what to do and work beside them."

... maybe, sometimes? ... plus perhaps opening and softening and looking at life from a higher level than simply "succeeding" ... and helping others do well, too? ... hmmmmmm! ...

(cf. Practical Productivity (2004-01-20), How to Succeed (2005-03-11), How to Win Friends and Influence People (2008-05-17), Tough-Minded Optimists (2009-12-22), Take It Up (2011-05-13), How to Be an Optimist (2011-08-24), Action to Raise Trust (2015-09-05), Principles of Trust-Building (2015-09-23), Mental Toughness (2015-12-06), How to Master Any Game (2016-02-18), How Full Is Your Bucket (2016-09-13), ...)

- Friday, March 02, 2018 at 05:02:34 (EST)


2018-01-31 - Partial Eclipse

~4.2 mi @ ~11.8 min/mi

"Is that ice on your beard, or ...?" asks Cait, peering at a shiny chin. West winds with temps falling into the upper teens make for chilly body parts, both mentionable and un. Kristin leads the Dawn Patrol on a frosty loop around Pimmit Hills. A full moon glimmers like a pearl, entering the Earth's shadow as it sets behind thin clouds.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, March 01, 2018 at 04:36:41 (EST)


Efficiency and Niceness

A thoughtful essay in 2012 by Adam Gopnik , "Barack, Mitt, and Adam Smith", muses about Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and observes that to be healthy a society must address:

... questions of what we can only call the common emotional tone that lets prosperity happen. As Emma Rothschild writes in "Economic Sentiments," her matchless 2001 study of Smith's thought, it depends on what might be called niceness: Smith's "faith ... is in the mildness and thoughtfulness of most individual men and women. He is induced thereby to believe that they will usually not pursue their interests in grossly oppressive ways, and that they will usually wish to live in a society in which other people are not grossly oppressed or deprived." Even if more money can be made by the producer by enclosing the land the peasant's animals grazed on or by hiring child labor—or by looting someone's pension funds—a decent concern for the opinions of mankind will stop the wise producer from doing these things, because he will know that they will break the bonds of common sympathy, the sense that we're all in this together, on which the producers—or the equity manager's—well-being ultimately depends.

It's always easy, Smith knew, to provoke a cycle of exploitation, rage, and revolution; that's what most of history has been. What's hard is to replace it with one of "mildness"—of public decency, progressive reform, and shared prosperity. You couldn't have a free market unless you had all the institutions of trust in place that only a sovereign state can guarantee. (If you want to know what capitalism looks like without those institutions, think of words like "Russia," "oligarchs," and "kleptocracy.") Everything we mean by a free market depends on a functioning, sympathetic state—a state rooted not in selfish individualism but in a social sympathy so broadly articulated and institutionalized that every man is confident that he can make an honest deal with his fellow man. ...

(cf. Upheavals of Thought (2002-06-29), Tools to Make the Tools to Make (2005-03-26), ...)

- Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 04:58:20 (EST)


2018-01-29 - ASL Trash Talk

~5.3 mi @ ~13.3 min/mi

"Trash talk — in sign language!" A recent friendly basketball game witnesses crude banter in ASL, all in good fun and recounted in embarrassing detail. Further musings re hearing and vision impairment lead to thoughts on how to teach Better Thinking via physical artifacts. Bayesian bracelets or bangles, with sliding beads for belief updates? A metacognitive Tarot card deck? Hmmmm!

Dawn Patrol Duo takes a cut-through to Benjamin St, then meanders as feet lead to Starbucks where, on a hyper-humid morning, iced coffee appeals. Dr Kerry knows her 'hood, even in the dark. A new home construction site is littered with chain-sawed tree trunk segments and signs that warn of video surveillance. Don't steal the logs!

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 05:31:28 (EST)


2018-01-28 - Tenores de Aterue

~5.5 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"Is everyone at your company so intellectual?" asks Barry, after Molly is safely out of earshot. We listen to the Tenores de Aterúe sing traditional Sardinian four-voice harmony on my phone's speaker while we run a few hill repeats. The Tenores themselves held a concert at Molly's home last night! She meets us at Sligo-Dennis Park and does the middle 3.5 miles with us of a damp afternoon trek. We divert from Sligo Creek Trail to visit tiny Colt Terrace Neighborhood Park and perform feats of strength on the kids playground equipment. And no injuries, yay!

(trackfile)

- Monday, February 26, 2018 at 06:11:49 (EST)


2018-01-28 - The Curmudegons

~5 mi @ ~8.6 min/mi

"Curmudgeons" reads the shirt of the runner ahead of me, worn by Mansur Femi Mustapha. He tells me it's from his soccer team and, when I offer to fight him for it, kindly says he'll give me one instead. Thank you, Femi!

The MCRRC Country Road Run is a hilly 5 miler. Light drizzle and a temperature of ~50 °F keeps down the numbers or racers this year. Pushing hard the whole way yields first place among 6 in my age/sex group, a gun time 43:21, behind 21 women and 72 men; a 12-year-old and a 73-year-old finish faster. Comrade Don Libes runs with his arm in a sling, protection while a strain heals, or maybe just a bid for the sympathy vote?

(trackfile)

- Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 05:27:54 (EST)


Mantra - Refuse to Be Busy

Refuse
  to Be
    Busy

... as suggested by K J Dell'Antonia in her New York Times essay "I Refuse to Be Busy":

... Busy implies a rushed sense of cheery urgency, a churning motion, a certain measure of impending chaos, all of which make me anxious. Busy is being in one place doing one thing with the nagging sense you that you ought to be somewhere else doing something different. I like to be calm. I like to have nothing in particular to do and nowhere in particular to be. And as often as I can — even when I'm dropping a child off here or there, or running an errand, or waving in the carpool line — I don't think of myself as busy. I'm where I need to be, doing, for the most part, what I want to do. ...

... and even when doing many things, try softening and, in the moment, choosing not to feel "busy" ...

(cf. All Caught Up Now (2006-07-31), a Rose Is Rose comic strip in which the central character is hurrying and thinking "Somebody please stop the world until I catch up! I have so many things to do, I ...", then catches sight of a fawn, stops and watches it — and in the final panel thinks, "Thank you. All caught up now. Way ahead, actually.")

- Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 04:49:48 (EST)


2018-01-27 - Slow French News

~8.3 mi @ ~14.8 min/mi

"Drugs help!" says Barry, re hip twinges. We join Rebecca at Candy Cane City and ramble down Rock Creek into DC on Beach Dr, returning via the Valley Trail and other side paths through the woods. Fast runners zoom by as we quote fragments from Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Shakespeare in Love. At benches in the woods we pause to read memorial plaques.

"Leonberger!" replies a walker when asked what breed his giant dog is, though it could also be a good name for a fast food chain. "Gen-11 was on the Science Friday NPR podcast," it sounds like Barry says. He's referring, however, to Janna Levin, cosmologist. We discuss black holes and the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the physical sciences. "Galileo didn't actually drop apples onto Newton's head from the leaning tower in Pisa; he rolled objects down inclined planes ..." is followed by an analysis of acceleration and how 1+3 is the square of two, 1+3+5 is the square of three, etc.

"Slow French News!" Rebecca describes a language-learning broadcast. We tutor each other in bad French, then return to philosophy. Amy, recovering from 'flu, texts her greetings.

(trackfile)

- Friday, February 23, 2018 at 04:31:11 (EST)


2018-01-26 - Spelunkers

~8.4 mi @ ~12.9 min/mi

"Hot Buns"? "Toasty Tail"? With temps in the mid-20s the Dawn Patrol ponders what to name an invention to keep the glute zone from freezing. And would our employer own the Intellectual Property Rights to any such? Tough questions. Colleague Doug zips by us on his morning run.

"K-Rex"? "K2"? Candidate trail names provoke a lecture on The Belay, a famous mountaineering event on K2 (see Pete Schoening, The Belay). We circle back through Pimmit Hills, drop off Kristin, and head east. Sunrise shades from gray into deep crimson.

"Do you explore caves?" asks the barista at Starbucks, admiring Kerry's headlamp. Return via McLean High School, where the Langley HS girls basketball team won last night in overtime. Kerry averts a stumble over a deer carcass on the shoulder of Chain Bridge Road.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 05:31:30 (EST)


Mantra - Not to My Taste

It Is Not
  to My Taste
    Right Now

... a soft way to refuse something, with less judging and less clinging to the decision — from a preschool child who learned to say that instead of "No!"

... and next, can the "My" also fade away?

(cf. Not to My Taste (2014-08-24), ...)

- Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 04:43:28 (EST)


2018-01-22 - Thrasher and Thrasher

~5.4 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"Ice cream and a pop-tart!" Dawn Patrol sips iced coffee and shakes heads at what their kids report having for breakfast and lunch. Spring-like weather with temps near 50 °F leaves streets damp from melted weekend ice and overnight drizzle. Dr Kerry has early meetings and breaks off at mile ~4. Dr Kristin leads a supplemental loop past the unique corner where Thrasher Rd meets Thrasher Rd. Afterwards, Lyin' Scale in the men's locker room is down a pound, to 156. Perhaps gigantic salads did neutralize the calories from half a pizza, french fries, milkshake, ...?

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 05:20:28 (EST)


2018-01-21 - Rock Creek Free Association

~14.6 mi @ ~13.2 min/mi

"Flips and Tubes!" KEN mentions numismatic lingo, as we discuss a column about legal language - "You contumacious rat!" - that Barry shared from a recent American Bar Association journal. At Candy Cane City early arrival Santa Steve offers exonumia before his run.

"Vermeer? Didn't he pitch a perfect game?" - "Uh, no, you're thinking of Johnny Vander Meer, and he threw two consecutive no-hitters!" Ken has to cut today's run short so he and his DW can catch the last day of a Dutch Golden Age exhibit at the National Gallery. We speculate that with the US government shutdown there may not be any guards.

"It's an honor system: take one, leave one, like at a little free library. The Vermeers that you have hanging on the walls at your home have been there so long that one hardly notices them any more. Change would be good!" Stephanie suggests a study of "Dogs of the Old Masters"; she and her daughter noted many cute pups in those paintings. Good topic for her second doctorate? William Wegman photos of his Weimaraner named Man Ray come to mind.

We trot downstream into Rock Creek Park. Gayatri and Stephanie explain sari size and style, then free-associate about film directors Akira Kurosawa vs Satyajit Ray, and work of Kazuo Ishiguro. We catch up with Santa Steve and comrade Joyce, temporarily forming a band of 7. Barry hums the theme from "The Magnificent Seven" movie. Did the "Seven Samurai" have a theme song?

Back at Candy Cane the group splits up. Stephanie and Gayatri add extra mileage, meandering by Meadowbrook Stables where horses kiss and whinny. A final ramble homeward goes via National Park Seminary, past caryatids, weathered statues, and the pagoda.

(trackfile)

- Monday, February 19, 2018 at 04:45:08 (EST)


Not All About Me

From a quietly poignant essay by young Max Edwards, "I'm 16. Five months ago, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer" (The Guardian, 2016-03-19):

 it's not
all about
    me

Mr Edwards writes, in mature and thoughtful fashion, about how the news of his imminent death " ...doesn't really change anything important ..." and hasn't altered him as a person. After surgery and treatment he lost significant amounts of mobility, which is an inconvenience and irksome but not fundamental. He's not religious, he's not particularly scared, and he calmly recommends stoicism and selflessness:

... I am sure the expectation of death is worse than death itself. True, they say death is the worst single thing that can happen to you, and given that I can't trick myself into believing there is an afterlife, I imagine it leads only to an empty void, but I've found ways to accept such an idea. First, I look on my life, which I believe has been a modest success, and remember that it could not have occurred in any other way. The only possible way I could have had my unique set of experiences is by living my life as it is, and that means dying when I die. ...

I also remind myself that the experience of dying is not unique to me. Whether it happens aged 16 or 95, experiencing the end of everything you know is the same process — it's just that I and those around me are forced to come to terms with this fact prematurely.

Finally, I feel it has helped to process the whole issue selflessly. Some people might find it helpful to know that they are loved, that people care about them and that they won't be forgotten when they die. I can understand this and I see how it's comforting, but I also find it consoling to take the opposing view: stop dwelling on personal suffering and carry on as before.

This approach seems to help deflate the hype that terminal diagnoses carry. Pity, grief and sympathy are all natural emotions, and they certainly have their place, but I've found the message of "Stop whining and get on with it" far more effective. Stoicism, I feel, is more effective than grief: a simple reality-check helps to set my perspectives in place. ...

Mr Edwards died on 26 March 2016 ...

(cf. Unselfing (2009-01-14), Unselfing Again (2009-11-01), Jack Smart (2013-04-13), Mantra - No Self (2016-10-25), Nobody Home (2016-11-13), ...)

- Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 07:06:28 (EST)


2018-01-20 - Seamus

~20.8 mi @ ~14.5 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Aspen_Hill_seamus-dog_Stephanie_Fonda_2018-01-20.jpg"Never takes forever to be true," observes Stephanie, crossing a bridge on Rock Creek Trail. Today is a day of remembrance and sharing. We talk about self-care, forgiveness, letting-go, and the paradox of blessings that misfortune can bring. We think of dear kind late little Louis ze French Bulldog, his lovely life and all the joy he shared and experienced.

Stephanie is giving Seamus, new foster dog she first met yesterday, a long run-walk. He's a German shorthair pointer, extraordinarily intelligent and quickly learning to obey — but still tugging hard on the leash when squirrels scamper nearby in the woods. Icy patches make shaded slopes and boardwalks super-slippery as temps rise from the upper 20s.

"We get the Vasco da Gama Navigation Award!" From the bus stop in Stephanie's neighborhood we ramble through Garrett Park and upstream along Rock Creek, then take local streets past friend Mike's home to the Matthew Henson Trail. Seamus works mindfully on his self-control, a tough challenge for all beings. A big herd of deer provides a test, and he passes — albeit only with a Gentleman's C this time. Maybe tomorrow his grade will improve!?

Quiet roads on the western side of the stream take us back to Stephanie's 'hood. After bidding Seamus good-bye at mile 15+ the solo trip home is sweaty, with midday temperatures zooming into the 50s. Quite a contrast from beardcicles this morning!

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Matthew_Henson_Trail_seamus-dog_z_2018-01-20.jpg

(trackfile)

- Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 07:09:58 (EST)


2018-01-19 - Waggaman Circle

~6.9 mi @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Chocolate Festival!" reads the sign at the entrance to McLean High School. "But is it dark?" asks Dr Kristin. Dawn Patrol duo meanders east, treading carefully over refrozen icy patches on the sidewalks. A hill on Waggaman Circle seems never to have been properly cleared from recent snows. Christmas lights cycle through the spectrum in a front yard, like a rainbow imprisoned in a cedar.

"That's what rain is for!" Car-wash removal of road salt is a first-world luxury. From the airport on the way to Florida a comrade texts us, requesting a few bonus miles in her absence. We comply. Sunrise rings horizon with fuchsia clouds.

(trackfile)

- Friday, February 16, 2018 at 04:29:45 (EST)


Mantra - How Deep is the Yes

How Deep
      is
  the Yes?

... say "Yes!" — and then, as it echoes, ask how deep it can go — look for a chance to add "and ..." to the Yes — and then to accept and embrace whatever emerges!

(from dear BB-bff-KS, who credits Tara Brach; cf. Not Always So (2009-07-04), Yes, and... (2012-11-14), ...)

- Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 05:45:49 (EST)


2018-01-17 - Roadkill

~4.9 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"Roadkill!" suggests Dr Kerry, as a trail name for someone who edges into the crosswalk at Georgetown Pike in hopes that passing cars will pause. (They don't.) Snowflakes glitter in headlamp-glow as temps fall into the lower 20s and westerly winds gust. Dawn Patrol loops through Langley, discussing intellectual property (a current New Yorker article compares Barbie v Bratz to Jarndyce v Jarndyce), body image issues, and whether a blonde roast makes any sense for an espresso coffee bean.

"Footprints!" Dr Kristin deduces that a woman, about 5'4" tall, ran north on Balls Hill Road and returned about 20 minutes later. "There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps." (Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet) We examine tracks left in the snow by squirrels, dogs, deer. Post-run an evil scale reads 11.3 stone.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 05:06:21 (EST)


2018-01-15 - Millennium Trail

~10.7 mi @ ~9.5 min/mi

"Soften!" is the Word of the Day, as left hip adductor begins to twinge after 7 brisk miles on the Rockville Carl Henn Millennium Trail. Midday temps rise toward the mid-20s. Crows flock. A tiny chihuahua peers up and takes a tentative step forward. Traffic lights fortunately conspire to minimize crosswalk delays. Scattered sticks decorate the path after recent gales.

"You too!" responds the lady in a lavender quilted coat to "G'day!" Splits by GPS = 9.1 + 9.2 + 9.4 + 9.6 + 10.2 + 9.8 + 8.9 + 9.2 + 10.0 + 9.5 plus 9.6 min/mi final fraction. Pause for a Mile 0.0 selfie in honor of a warmer run in the opposite direction last August. (cf. 2017-08-05 - Rockville Millennium Trail with Stephanie ) Net pace is ~30 sec/mi slower than 6 years ago, perhaps due to carrying ~15 extra pounds. Can't possibly be explained by age! (cf. 2011-12-26 - Rockville Millennium Trail Loop )

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 05:38:06 (EST)


2018-01-14 - Rock Creek Chills

~16.9 mi @ ~14.5 min/mi

"Urushov's Gambit!" Win describes one of her preferred chess openings. After beginning a game "blindfold" (i.e., without using a board, not with eyes covered) we agree to an early draw. Temps begin ~16 F and rise gradually to the lower 20s. Gatorade in the backpack, shaken-not-stirred, turns into a perfect slushie. The parking lot at Ken-Gar is packed with early arrivals for a winter half marathon training program. Someone locks keys in car, but after a few phone calls the problem is solved.

"Is it pronounced GOON-ter or GUN-ther?", we wonder, re the rescue dog running with us. "He's bilingual - answers to both!" After a quick stop for photos at Garrett Park Rd, Kerry, Gayatri, Stephanie, Gunther, Ken, and Win reverse course to meet Barry on Rock Creek Trail. We ramble downstream, split up, reunite, and eventually find our way back.

"Birth of Venus - it's not naughty, it's art!" Kerry and I spy a lawn sculpture on our way to a new pedestrian cut-through. Reward for bonus miles: a Starbucks stop. Many thanks for the coffee, Dr K2!

(trackfile)

- Monday, February 12, 2018 at 04:50:26 (EST)


Aqyn

In Dungeons & Dragons the Bard is a fascinating character class. Bards use song and story to encourage their friends, and can also cast spells and fight. In Kazakh and Kyrgyz culture, akyns (or aqyns) are "... poets and singers ... [who] improvise in the form of a song-like recitative ... expressing people's thoughts and feelings, exposing social vices, and glorifying heroes." In an interview a few years ago, an akyn said that they should act "... almost like a journalist, creating a political dialogue for the public and keeping lawmakers in check. If one akyn is promoting the government or some leader, the second akyn should take the opposite point of view ...".

Aqyns sound quite bardic — maybe we should all write more poems about daily events? Or at least speak more allusively and metaphorically, shining light into the shadows where evil lurks ...

(cf. Nine Layers of Sky (2008-04-10), ...)

- Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 08:09:03 (EST)


2018-01-13 - Gunther's Run

~17.8 mi @ ~13.9 min/mi

"America is an idea, not a race!" US Senator Lindsay Graham says recently. As we ramble down Beach Drive into Rock Creek Park, Barry & Kerry & Rebecca chat about politics, TV series "marathons", past & future running plans, local trails, and the Disneyworld "Dopey" series of events. Temps plunge into the low 30's, with gusty north winds. Kerry & Barry visit the northernmost point of the DC diamond to inspect the boundary stone placed there in 1792. Stephanie brings foster dog Gunther who runs ahead with her, Ken, and Emaad.

"They said a Wendy's Frosty is a healthy meal, so I drank a LOT of them!" and "When the vet told me that eating rice wouldn't give my dog enough calories, I figured it didn't have too many calories for me either!" We analyze dietary myths and legends, then turn to current speech-recognition technology. How much of what is said near Alexa, Siri, etc. gets sent to marketers? The answer could be scary.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 05:08:17 (EST)


2018-01-12 - Strong and Chiseled

~5.6 mi @ ~13.9 min/mi

"Sculpt or Strength?" Kristin asks. "Both!" is the immediate answer. Dr K prescribes many reps of light weights versus few of heavy weights, depending on the goal. Drizzle pauses and restarts as the Dawn Patrol trots to Starbucks. Despite the season, "Tall iced coffee!" = the beverage of choice. Temps are in the low 60s; fog reflects headlamps along the woodsy trail by Dead Run.

"Executive comfort animals?" We speculate about the benefits of bringing cuddly creatures to senior Board of Directors meetings. Could they improve decision making by reducing stress? Kerry reports that one of her kids at college pets puppies during breaks between classes. Not a bad idea!

(trackfile)

- Friday, February 09, 2018 at 04:49:30 (EST)


Mantra - Different and Better

Different —
      and Better

... the loving-kind-wise answer of a dear friend who, when facing huge challenges, finds a third way to emerge beyond ...

(thanks always to smBFF; cf. Mantra - Different, and Good (2014-12-11), Mantra - Good but Different (2016-06-21), Mantra - We've Fallen (2017-08-11), ...)

- Thursday, February 08, 2018 at 05:11:01 (EST)


2018-01-10 - Minions Meet Hello Kitty

~7.1 mi @ ~12.5 min/mi

"Knock, knock! - It's the Dawn Patrol, Ma'am - we need you to turn on your Christmas lights, so we can inspect them!" Most front yards are dark, but a few displays remain active. One features a flock of inflatables, including multiple Minions (one dynamically popping out from a tree), Hello Kitty * 2, and Queen Elsa of "Frozen". Photo op! Kristin leads the way through a forgotten McLean neighborhood. New bike lanes on a resurfaced road add an extra safety buffer. Crimson clouds reflect the rising sun's glow.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Dawn_Patrol_McLean_XMAS_front_yard_2018-01-10a.jpg

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, February 07, 2018 at 05:43:58 (EST)


2018-01-08 - Pimmit Hills Awakening

~4.4 mi @ ~12.9 min/mi

"A sunrise so beautiful I want to hug it!" starts with the faintest scarlet tinge on the horizon, deepens to a smoldering cherry glow, then in a few minutes breaks into fiery crimson glints on the underside of slate-gray clouds. Dawn Patrol walks backwards up a hill to admire. Mars and Jupiter dance in conjunction, temps in the upper teens. Kristin tells of owls and dogs and robots. We compare notes on home-schooling reviews, speculate about the afternoon storm forecast, and thank each other for company on a chill morning!

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, February 06, 2018 at 05:21:46 (EST)


Aging Brain

From notes-to-smBFF in late 2016, re worries about mental fades:

(cf Mantra - Do Less, Better (2016-12-14), ...)

- Monday, February 05, 2018 at 04:32:32 (EST)


2018-01-07 - Couth and Gruntled

~9.8 mi @ ~12.2 min/mi

"Couth!" Rebecca cites a long-ago humorous essay featuring unpaired-word usage: chalant, gruntled, consolate, wieldy, kempt, etc. Memory like elephant! ("How I Met My Wife" by Jack Winter, in the 1994-07-25 New Yorker) Late morning temps hover in the high teens as we trot down Rock Creek under azure skies and a brilliant sun. Doff layers when winds pause, don them when it resumes. Knees freeze.

"They claim it's a trademark - so do we really have to say 'neck gaiter' or 'tube scarf' instead of 'buff'?" Nuances of intellectual property laws join films, foods, friends, and future fun race events as topics for conversation. Winter woodland scenery is lovely - as is a free ride home in a kind buddy's warm car!

(trackfile)

- Sunday, February 04, 2018 at 08:54:58 (EST)


2018-01-06 - Solo Silver Spring Saunter

~10.3 mi @ ~12.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Flower_Avenue_butterfly_mural_z_2018-01-06a.jpg"Yeti magic scarf of Resist Cold!" At 8 °F hands get chilly but head stays warm, thanks to a Yeti Trail Runner tubular bandana that features unicorns, dice, lightning-bolts, aces, golden teeth, skulls, doves, anchors, stars, and words like Hope and Strength - as well as yeti silhouettes, of course. Can't have too many lucky symbols!

"Road Closed" says the barrier at the one-lane wooden bridge over the railroad tracks. Icy random-walk leads to a loop around the boundary stone marking the northernmost point of the DC diamond, then into the rising sun along East-West Highway. Detour to visit the ancient spring in mica-flecked soil that gives Silver Spring its name.

"Whoops!" A leaky fire hydrant creates a surprise glacier across the sidewalk - thankfully, no fall today. Ramble east to Sligo Creek, climb a steep hill, and follow Flower Avenue to a flower-butterfly mural at a Salvadorean restaurant. Find a new cut-through at Indian Spring Park, then sail into the west wind. Temps rise to a sultry 13 °F.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, February 03, 2018 at 05:45:59 (EST)


This Is How It Always Is

A heart-wrenching social theme — a collection of finger-puppets that act a version of the author's own history — a wealthy, well-educated, liberal, loving couple who struggle to deal with their young transgender child's struggles — a parable-lecture with a too-blatant message: This Is How It Always Is, by Laurie Frankel (2017).

Well written? Not really. Far too much clunky language and jarring set-piece scenes and one-dimensional characterizations. Important? Of course. The topic is part of humanity's exploration of what comes next, how to transcend our animal heritage. A novel? Not the best form or forum for this challenge. Better is Frankel's own New York Times Modern Love essay, "From He to She in First Grade". It asks the rich questions:

... Do we love our children best by protecting them at all costs or by supporting them unconditionally? Does love mean saying, "Nothing, not even your happiness, is as important as your safety"? Or does love mean saying, "Be who you are, and I will love that person no matter what"? ...

Unlike This Is How It Always Is: no easy answers ...

- Friday, February 02, 2018 at 05:00:23 (EST)


Tolerate Ambiguity

From Richard Hamming's talk "You and Your Research":

... Most people like to believe something is or is not true. Great scientists tolerate ambiguity very well. They believe the theory enough to go ahead; they doubt it enough to notice the errors and faults so they can step forward and create the new replacement theory. If you believe too much you'll never notice the flaws; if you doubt too much you won't get started. It requires a lovely balance. ...

(cf. Research and Life (2000-09-07), Fifth Gen (2001-01-19), Metacognition and Open Mindedness (2015-11-15), Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet (2016-09-30), Mantra - Doubt (2018-01-14), ...)

- Thursday, February 01, 2018 at 06:15:00 (EST)


2018-01-03 - Snow Queen

~3.4 mi @ ~12.3 min/mi

"People pay real money for that!" Cait compliments Kristin on her frost-tipped eyelashes. "You're the Snow Queen!" And it takes only a few miles of Dawn Patrol with temps at 10 °F. What a deal! The last time with so much free white mascara was almost 3 years ago and 3 degrees warmer (2015-02-06 - Thirteen Degrees).

Kerry's car offers shelter until Caitlin, delayed a few minutes by traffic, arrives. We loop around the office campus, catch up on holiday family news, compare injuries, plan upcoming races, then achieve escape velocity and begin a quick Pimmit Hills survey. Projected images of gingerbread men and Christmas trees drift slowly across a façade; front-yard ornaments are mostly gone. Brisk conditions make for a brisk pace!

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 04:28:15 (EST)


Mantra - Hear, Read, See, Speak

Hear
  Read
    See
      Speak

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." — Goethe

(from book 5 chapter 1 of Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years: "...'Man sollte', sagte er, 'alle Tage wenigstens ein kleines Lied hören, ein gutes Gedicht lesen, ein treffliches Gemälde sehen und, wenn es möglich zu machen wäre, einige vernünftige Worte sprechen.'"; cf. Conversations in Paint (2008-08-18), ...)

- Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 05:36:08 (EST)


2018-01-01 - VHTRC Red Eye 50k

~31.8 mi @ ~15.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Prince_William_Forest_Park_Red_Eye_50k_z_2018-01-01.jpg"It's a Gatorade slushie!" Temperatures at this year's VHTRC "Red Eye 50k" begin near 10 F and creep up to the low 20's. Bottles freeze. Icicles decorate beards. Thank goodness for triple-layer shorts, shirts, and gloves! There's a light dusting of snow and only a few icy patches on the trails. Trees creak and groan as they rub shoulders in the wind.

"Your orange shirt is pulling me along!" Amazing Gretchen Bolton leads the way at mile 10. Earlier Bob Gaylord and his posse set the pace. We pause for photos at a scenic waterfall.

"Mark? I'm Mark!" The fellow who catches up and chats with me at mile 26 is Mark Prescott, friendly fast runner wearing a Bull Run Run shirt. He has 5 BRR finishes some years ago, and is coming back now from injury. Best of luck, Sir!

Bottom line: squeak under the critical 1:30PM cutoff at mile 22 by 6 minutes, and finish DFL (aka Dead Last) by 2 minutes - yay! Results show lap completion times of 2:50 and 5:19, with total of 7:57.

Historical record:
  7:54 - 2008-01-01 - Red Eye 50k
  7:44 - 2015-01-01 - VHTRC Red Eye 50k
  7:43 - 2016-01-01 - VHTRC RedEye 50k
  7:34 - 2017-01-01 - VHTRC Red Eye 50k
  7:57 - 2018-01-01 - VHTRC Red Eye 50k

(trackfile)

- Monday, January 29, 2018 at 04:47:16 (EST)


Zathras Says

Out of context, from a long-ago never-watched sf TV series (1993-1998) called Babylon 5, quotes from a character named Zathras — that might be poetry, or nonsense, or both — from scripts written mainly by J Michael Straczynski:

(cf. The Wisdom of Zathras, ...)

- Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 06:01:54 (EST)


2017-12-30 - Mormon Temple Lights with Barry

~2.2 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"Borrow a Santa cap?" I offer my hat to the father of a couple of young children as he and his wife pose with them in front of the Mormon Temple's Christmas lights. He accepts; the kids love it. Barry and I undertake a chilly ramble around one side of Kensington, pausing to marvel at the displays and take photos.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 06:45:14 (EST)


2017-12-30 - Rock Creek Trails with John and Stephanie

~10.3 mi @ ~17 min/mi

"Integrity, and Competence!" Stephanie highlights two key qualities needed for a person to be worthy. Integrity includes honesty and caring; competence implies responsibility and learning. She and John take turns leading the way over snowy slopes in Rock Creek Park, downstream along the Valley Trail and back via the Western Ridge. Temperatures rise slowly from the low 20s. Rocks are slippery; beards grow icicles. We pause for photos. John spies a red fox. Happy birds chirp.

"No, not all your personal habits are disgusting - a Bayesian might say most, and would update that estimate as new data come in!" Frequentists are mocked, as are those who make all-or-nothing judgments. And that includes self-judging, which all we plead guilty to and vow to reduce. The hyper-ambitious schedule of ultramarathons that one of us proposes is critiqued for its high risk of injury. Two pots call a kettle black!

"Your blockchain is sagging!" - "Yeah, and your elliptic curves are showing!" Crypto-currency jokes abound, as we plan to capture more processors and mine more Bitcoins. Or maybe it's more important to be with friends, listen to each other, and offer support as we all aspire to be a bit better in 2018 ...

(trackfile)

- Friday, January 26, 2018 at 04:31:10 (EST)


Heroes (We Could Be)

An uplifting-popular song from 2014, by Alessandro ("Alesso") Lindblad and Tove Lo, is titled Heroes (We Could Be). It begins:

We go hide away in daylight
We go undercover, wait out the sun
Got a secret side in plain sight
Where the streets are empty
That's where we run

Everyday people do
Everyday things but I
Can't be one of them
I know you hear me now
We are a different kind
We can do anything

We could be heroes
...

... like the Bogatyr of Russian legend, or the modern comic book protagonists Wonder Woman and Superman etc. ... and there's running in the lyrics!

(cf. Nine Layers of Sky (2008-04-10), Aaron's Rod (2009-01-17), Michael Wood on the Buddha (2010-12-22), Kleos (2014-03-18), Legends and Heroes (2014-06-02), Quest of a Lifetime (2014-07-02), 2017-03-11 - Crazy Desert Trail Race (2017-04-07), Stand by You (2017-01-11), ...)

- Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 05:03:56 (EST)


2017-12-29 - Scull or Sweep

~4.8 mi @ ~9.8 min/mi

"Scull or Sweep?" Caitlin asks, re rowing as depicted in the romantic comedy film Must Love Dogs. She explains some of the finer points of crew and racing shells during mile 4 of today's trek. Temps are in the upper teens and our pace is similarly brisk as the Dawn Patrol Duo follows neighborhood streets to the Bethesda Trolley Trail, missing a turn in the dark along the way and circling back.

"Maybe 'Fast' is your trigger word?" After complaining of hamstring twinges somebody says, "So we shouldn't go too fast!" - and then, according to Cait, we speed up. Oops! And later, at the office locker room post-shower he discovers that he's forgotten his pants. Oops! Fortunately black running tights suffice on a pre-holiday Friday. One friend notices, and laughs.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 05:54:19 (EST)


Embassytown

By China Miéville, Embassytown is:

Embassytown — it is, and could have been, much more ...

- Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 05:19:54 (EST)


2017-12-27 - Glove Sisters

~6.5 mi @ ~13.9 min/mi

"Alligator warning signs were up - but he went swimming in the lagoon anyway!" Kerry reports on her dog Sid's love of the water during a recent family visit. The Dawn Patrol does a quick loop, meanders back to pick up a late arrival, then makes a beeline to Starbucks. Holiday lights decorate the 'hood. Temps start at freezing and creep downward. As we begin Molly runs hands-in-pockets, gloves forgotten. Cait immediately peels hers off and offers them, and Kerry gives Molly a couple of iron-oxidation hand-warmers. We always help each other!

"He was 6'9" and she was only 5' tall!" A pair of sousaphone players in the local high school band made an odd couple. Molly remembers that her cello was not easy to march with! During a discussion of coffee grinders and music boxes we invent the ultimate mash-up. Cait promises to "systems-engineer the $#*% out of it!"

(trackfile)

- Monday, January 22, 2018 at 04:42:31 (EST)


Writing vs Good Writing

From what might seem an unlikely place — the Journal of the American Bar Association — a lawyer friend (TY, Barry!) shares a recent essay on style in language by Bryan Garner. Its title: "Writing vs. Good Writing: Make the languorous doldrums of reading disappear". Among the examples of powerful prose that Garner offers and analyzes are two letters by Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943, critic and New Yorker staffer). The first, addressed to his recently-married niece to whom Woollcott had lent some money, is a graceful display of loving-kindness and magnanimity:

Dear Mrs. J.:

I hope that you like your marriage and that I, when our paths cross, shall like your husband.

Let us dispose, for the time being, of your debt to me, which, properly enough, is more on your mind than on mine. I should like to have you pay it back under one of two circumstances: (a) that you do it when, if ever, money is flowing freely in your direction and you can make the repayment without a wrench, or (b) that I myself am in difficulties, in which case I should let out a squawk. If, as seems not unlikely, I should be gathered unto my fathers before either of these contingencies arises, I hope you will regard it as a bequest to you. And if there is any order in your life I wish you would file this letter away as evidence of these testamentary intentions. To this contingent request there is attached not a condition but a suggestion. If I should hurry to my grave before you settle our account, I think you might keep it in mind that I would like to have you make your repayment take the form of putting some other youngster through college someday.

A.W.

... and the second is pure hilarity, offended-grammarian quibbling over Ira Gershwin's use of the word "disinterested" to mean "bored" rather than "impartial":

Ira Gershwin:

Listen, you contumacious rat, don't throw your dreary tomes at me. I'll give you an elegant dinner at a restaurant of your own choosing and sing to you between courses if you can produce one writer or speaker, with an ear for the English language that you genuinely respect, who uses disinterested in the sense you are now trying to bolster up. I did look it up in my own vast Oxford dictionary a few years ago only to be told that it had been obsolete since the 17th century. I haven't looked up the indices in your letter because, after all, my own word in such matters is final. Indeed, current use of the word in the 17th-century sense is a ghetto barbarism I had previously thought confined to the vocabularies of Ben Hecht and Jed Harris. Surely, my child, you must see that if disinterested is, in our time, intended to convey a special shade of the word "unselfish" it is a clumsy business to try to make it also serve another meaning. That would be like the nitwit who uses a razor to sharpen a pencil. The point of the pencil may emerge, but the razor is never good again for its particular purpose.

Hoping you fry in hell, I remain

Yours affectionately,

A.W.

... so delightful! — and by sheer example, a call for others to awaken and write more vivid and precise words.

(cf. Heart of the Order (2002-07-03), Ralph Waldo Emerson (2003-08-05), Dream Songs (2004-02-12), Specificity (2009-05-31), ...)

- Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 06:07:52 (EST)


2017-12-24 - Almost Famous

~5.0 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"I am a Golden God! ... and you can tell Rolling Stone magazine that my last words were ... 'I'm on drugs'!" Barry hasn't seen the film Almost Famous, and he is tapering meds plus ramping up mileage in preparation for the Disney Dopey Challenge in a fortnight. With good pacing and good luck, all will be well. He leads Gayatri and Rebecca up the long hills along Rock Creek. We turn back and greet ultra-man Mike Edwards putting in Christmas Eve mileage with a friend.

"Eight deer! No, nine!" A herd of does and fawns, well-camouflaged, loiter by the trail. Gayatri poses by them. Rebecca analyzes meta-movies. Back at the start we climb a steep side path to KenGar for bonus effort.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 05:34:04 (EST)


Mantra - Not Yet

... Not
  Yet!

... as suggested by Rein Henriches in the interview/podcast Greater than Code #063 ("The Distribution of Brilliance and Opportunity, with Rehema Wachira"):

... whenever you catch yourself making a statement about who you are that comes from a fixed mindset, like "I don't know how to write JavaScript", what you do is, you tack the word "yet" at the end.

The "fixed mindset" refers to the notion that there's only a finite amount of wealth, wisdom, opportunity, etc. in the world. The "growth mindset" in contrast focuses on the chance to improve, discover, maybe even transcend.

We don't know how to escape the box — not yet!

(cf. One Transcend Suffices (2009-10-14), Metacognition and Open Mindedness (2015-11-15), Learning vs Performing (2016-02-08), ...)

- Friday, January 19, 2018 at 05:10:56 (EST)


2017-12-23 - Festivus Friends

~12.7 mi @ ~14.8 min/mi

"Don't quote me!" says Barry, and allows that statement to be quoted. Festivus dawns cloudy and damp. We meet at Candy Cane City and ramble along Rock Creek, taking a detour through Woodend Sanctuary, the Audubon Society's lovely land.

"This is a naturist center, isn't it? Or was that a typo?" Butterflies painted on a bus offer a photo op. Four big deer cross the path back to the trail and eye us warily. We climb up from the valley, meander through neighborhoods, and take a new trail back to Rock Creek.

"Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now." Rebecca joins us and quotes Samuel Beckett on aging. Then it's back to airing grievances. "My main grievance is that you've got far too many grievances!"

(trackfile)

- Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 05:08:58 (EST)


Hanson on Letting Go

Some thoughts by writer-philosopher Rick Hanson on not-clinging:

Keep It Real

You can help yourself let something go by making it concrete. For example, put a small stone or other object in your hand and imagine that it is the thing you've been attached to. Hold onto it hard; let your desires and thoughts about it flow through awareness; feel the costs related to it; and when you're ready, open your hand and drop it - and open as well to any sense of relief, freedom, ease, or insight. You could do a similar practice by writing a note about this attachment, and then tearing it up and letting its pieces fall away. Or you could talk with a trusted being - perhaps a friend or therapist, or in your own kind of prayer - and explore the attachment, communicate your intentions to move on, and let it go.

Move On

You might still have the wish that something work out, but you no longer feel driven, compelled, intense, fixed, caught up, identified, or strongly desirous about it. You have accepted the way it is. You have surrendered; in a healthy sense, you have given up. Make space for the disappointment or grieving that's natural when you let go of something that's been important for you. It's normal to feel sad about a loss. Then after a while, it occupies your mind less and less, and you move on to more fruitful things.

Accept

Let good things come into the space that's been opened up by whatever you've let go. These could be more time, freedom, energy, peace, creativity, or love. Of course, there are many things worth pursuing, including the next breath, but you can make wholesome efforts while simultaneously letting go of attachment to their results. Let yourself be surprised - both by what might replace what you've released, and by the power of letting go in general. ...

Hanson concludes with an aphorism (or perhaps a joke?!) by Ajahn Chah:

(see Hanson's essay at [1], [2], etc.; cf. Without Effort, Analysis, or Expectation (2010-08-04), Just One Thing (2012-12-02), Not Knowing (2013-06-07), Let Go (2013-10-18), 01 (2013-11-05), Mantra - Let It Go (2014-12-27), Radical Acceptance (2015-05-13), Perfect Size for Letting Go (2015-09-14), Stay Right When Wronged (2016-10-05), Ultimate Freedom (2017-06-18), ...)

- Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 04:56:05 (EST)


2017-12-22 - National Institutes of Healthy Sprinting

~4.4 mi @ ~9.3 min/mi

"Would you rather qualify for Boston or be an Ironman?" A rabbit sprints across the Bethesda Trolley Trail in front of Caitlin, caught in headlamp beam. Omen, or portent? The Dawn Patrol Duo dashes around the NIH campus today, dodging sleepy pedestrians doing a zombie march into the Metro station.

"It doesn't get easier - you just get faster!" Yes, and downhill helps, as does reaching major road crossings just as the light turns green. Cait's quick warning precludes a runner-cyclist collision in the gloom. Mile splits by GPS descend: 10.3 + 9.6 + 9.2 + 8.6 and a final fraction at 7.8 min/mi pace. Yow!

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 05:53:19 (EST)


2017-12-20 - Wishing Bowl

~5.5 mi @ ~10.5 min/mi

"WISHING BOWL" says the black container that Cait spies on the ground beside Rock Creek Trail near Garrett Park Road. Darkness pools around us as we pause to point headlamps down. "PLACE A STONE TO LET GO OF A PROBLEM" is printed at one end, and "TAKE A STONE TO MAKE A WISH" at the other. An overflowing box o' rocks suggests that problems cascade in and wishes trickle out. Hmmmmm!

"I must learn to breathe quietly, like you!" The Dawn Patrol Duo tries an exploratory tempo run, pushing splits of 10.6 + 10.4 + 11.2 + 11.5 + 9.7 and a final half-mile pace of 8.2 min/mi. We discover a new cut-through on Kenilworth Ave, and Caitlin glimpses a fox and a rabbit. It's a beautiful morning.

(trackfile)

- Monday, January 15, 2018 at 06:05:40 (EST)


Mantra - Doubt

Doubt

... stay open:

Be a better Bayesian — recognize uncertainty, and adjust belief as new information arrives.

Say "Yes, and ..."

... and empty ...

... and soften ...

("Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one." - Voltaire; cf. Faith to Doubt (2010-03-11), Nothing But Faith in Nothing (2014-09-07), Mantra - Soften Into Experience (2014-11-26), Holding Space (2016-07-22), Mantra - Uncertainty, Kindness, Peace, Hope (2017-06-29), Mantra - Beliefs Are Knobs, Not Switches (2017-07-13), ...)

- Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 06:25:03 (EST)


Magnetic Resonance Imagery

On 2017-11-07, for an hour or so, the spins of some protons in the hydrogen atoms in my brain were aligned, then tickled to make them flip. Magnetic field sensors picked up the weak signals, accumulated them, and made pictures. Here are a few samples. What do they mean? Who knows? Nothing bad, most likely. "No Worries, Mate!" as the Aussies often say.

http://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0002.jpghttp://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0008.jpghttp://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0015.jpg

The MRI was requested after a hearing test picked up some asymmetric loss of sensitivity. Probably a random fluctuation in responses during the exam. Spending some long blocks of time holding still in the midst of noisy machinery was actually fun. And the resulting images are fascinating. A sampling:

http://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0026.jpghttp://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0047.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0070.jpghttp://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0066.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0091.jpghttp://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0105.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0158.jpghttp://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0203.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/B0212.jpghttp://zhurnaly.com/images/MRI/z50018.jpg

The physician-examiner's "findings":

No mass or abnormal enhancement is seen in the cerebellopontine angle cisterns or internal auditory canals. The 7th and 8th cranial nerve complexes appear within normal limits bilaterally.

Ventricles, sulci, and cisterns are age-appropriate in size and configuration. Midline structures including the corpus callosum, pituitary gland, and craniocervical junction are normal. There is no restricted diffusion to suggest acute infarction. Scattered T2/FLAIR hyperintense foci in the periventricular and subcortical white matter, nonspecific, likely representing mild chronic small vessel ischemic changes. A few lacunar infarcts noted in the bilateral anterior periventricular white matter. Prominent perivascular spaces. No mass lesion is identified. No abnormal parenchymal, leptomeningeal or ependymal enhancement following the administration of contrast. Major intracranial flow voids and dural venous sinuses are maintained. Visualized orbits and sinuses are normal. The mastoid air cells are clear. Large arachnoid granulation protruding into the left lateral aspect of the occipital bone.

- Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 19:16:25 (EST)


2017-12-18 - Silver Creek Sprint

~4.3 mi @ ~10.7 min/mi

"Tempo run ... is faster than ... 'conversational' pace ... only can talk ... in short phrases ...". The breathless Dawn Patrol duo blitzes Caitlin's neighborhood, starting off with a shortcut through Cedar Lane Unitarian Church parking lots. Suburban home windows feature wreaths and the occasional menorah.

"We were meant to be here!" Reconnoitering the grounds of the brand-new super-spiffy Silver Creek Middle School, we find an unlocked back gate - yay! Cut through a senior-residence complex, and then via Kensington Parkway to the classic 1891 B&O train station designed by architect Ephraim Francis Baldwin. On the other side of the tracks, sprint to Cait's home via KenGar. Her final final exam of the semester is today - time to hit the books!

(trackfile)

- Friday, January 12, 2018 at 04:52:39 (EST)


2017-12-17 - CJSVT with Gayatri

~5.9 miles @ ~16.9 min/mi

"Caves full of bats!" Gayatri tells of visiting caverns in Jamaica with her husband, and of recently rewatching the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die that had scenes filmed there. In contrast to the Caribbean climate, here temperatures linger below freezing despite Sunday morning sunbeams. Before the run a totem pole in by the playground of Cabin John Regional Park calls for a selfie.

We trek upstream, stepping carefully over icy patches, rocks, and roots. After a detour along the wrong side of the creek we discover the current route of the blue-blazed Cabin John Stream Valley Trail and take it to the northern terminus, first visited more than a decade ago (see 2005-10-30 - Cabin John Trail (North)). Pause for photos, amble south, explore the Gooseneck Trail, meander past ballfields, and return to the start. Trail talk turns to food: dal and pizza and pastries!

(trackfile)

- Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 05:52:32 (EST)


Simple but Not Easy

Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book Wherever You Go, There You Are brings to bear a beautiful collection of words that resonate, sometimes in startling patterns: "Clarity" ... "Moment" ... "Reality" ... "Attention" ... "Sincerity" ... "Awareness" ...

For example, from the chapter "Simple But Not Easy", describing the patient work of "Practice":

It is also enlightening and liberating work. It is enlightening in that it literally allows us to see more clearly, and therefore come to understand more deeply, areas in our lives that we were out of touch with or unwilling to look at. This may include encountering deep emotions — such as grief, sadness, woundedness, anger, and fear — that we might not ordinarily allow ourselves to hold in awareness or express consciously. Mindfulness can also help us to appreciate feelings such as joy, peacefulness, and happiness which often go by fleetingly and unacknowledged. It is liberating in that it leads to new ways of being in our own skin and in the world, which can free us from the ruts we so often fall into. It is empowering as well, because paying attention in this way opens channels to deep reservoirs of creativity, intelligence, imagination, clarity, determination, choice, and wisdom within us.

(cf. Awesomely Simple (2001-01-26), Present-Moment Reality (2008-11-05), Voluntary Simplicity (2008-12-24), Just Sitting (2011-05-21), Just One Thing (2012-12-02), Ground of Being (2013-10-03), Mindfulness Skills (2014-06-24), Wakeful, Open, Tender (2016-08-25), No Watcher, Only Watching (2016-10-07), ...)

- Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 04:54:19 (EST)


2017-12-16 - Rock Creek with Cait and Rebecca

~12.4 miles @ ~12.0 min/mi

"Nice beard!" A costumed Santa on Brookville Rd trades compliments with me. Caitlin and Rebecca arrive at Candy Cane City almost simultaneously. Late morning icy patches linger on Rock Creek Trail, so we trot along Beach Drive, miles 3-9 of the trackfile. Gusty winds send leaves skittering across the road. We discuss college dorm diseases, bad Christmas movies, Disneyworld, marathon plans, and Boston area universities. Leftover bean burrito with green chile sauce = suboptimal pre-run snack.

"Air Five!" says Cait at run's end, and we salute-without-touching to avoid spreading germs. At National Park Seminary an antique statue is bedecked in holiday garb.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, January 09, 2018 at 05:28:51 (EST)


2017-12-13 - Dynamic Dawn Duo

~5.8 mi @ ~11.5 min/mi

"Aerial Yoga!" Kerry explains a new form of an ancient discipline. The Dawn Patrol braves temps in the low 20's and intermittent northwest gusts in the ~30 mi/hr zone, making for single-digit wind chills. A waning Moon rises near Mars and Jupiter. Xmas displays are scarce in the 'hood, or perhaps mostly turned off at this hour? Golden bulbs glow among white lights on front yard bushes. A rustle in the leaves suggests a deer making a hasty retreat. We pass by the Stations of the Cross at St Luke's.

(trackfile)

- Monday, January 08, 2018 at 04:57:11 (EST)


2017-12-11 - Kensington Lightshow Ramble

~4.9 miles @ ~10.7 min/mi

"They're supposed to be falling snowflakes!" A front-yard projector generates white blobs that drift down the façade of a house in Cait's neighborhood. The Dawn Patrol picks a route to maximize Xmas decoration viewing-and-critiquing opportunities. A wooden-frame cone covered with strings of red-and-green bulbs looks ok from a distance but fails upon closer inspection. "Dripping-icicle-effect" white lights dangle weirdly from an overhead wire.

Other arrangements work better. Laser dots slowly coalesce and regroup. An inflated Santa cradles a happy dachshund in his arms. A giant glowing Bible stands open to Luke, Chapter 2. Best of all, in Gerard Manley Hopkins' words, "... morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs...". We sprint to finish together as the sun rises.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, January 07, 2018 at 08:30:04 (EST)


Mantra - Widen the Skirts of Light

Widen the
  Skirts of
    Light

... an image of hope and loving-kindness, from Middlemarch by George Eliot, in Chapter 39 as the protagonist describes her "religion" — a belief that comforts and guides her life:

... That by desiring what is perfectly good, even when we don't quite know what it is and cannot do what we would, we are part of the divine power against evil — widening the skirts of light and making the struggle with darkness narrower ...

... it helps her persevere in the struggle for Good in the world ...

... yes, and somehow it's all good!

(cf. Religion and Reverence (2001-07-08), True Story (2002-11-30), ThreeThoughts (2004-11-21), Big Ideas (2012-05-20), Mantra - Mindfulness, Nonattachment, Oneness (2017-01-25), ...)

- Saturday, January 06, 2018 at 06:16:42 (EST)


2017-12-10 - MCRRC Jingle Bell Jog 8k with Gayatri

~4.9 mi @ ~11.5 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/MCRRC_Jingle_Bell_Jog_by_D-Reichmann_z_2017-12-10b.jpg"That's not Santa — he's too thin!" A race-volunteer-Mom reports that her kids see through my disguise. Oops!

Results from the chilly MCRRC Jingle Bell Jog 8k with Gayatri show us coming in together at 56:31 — Gayatri 7th of 12 in her cohort and me 7th of 8 in mine. We wear "seasonal colors" and trot faster than Gayatri expects. And in spite of slippery-icy patches, nobody falls down!



(photos by Dan Reichmann)

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/MCRRC_Jingle_Bell_Jog_by_D-Reichmann_Gayatri_z_finishing_2017-12-10b.jpg

(trackfile)

- Friday, January 05, 2018 at 05:50:09 (EST)


In Your Light

A Rumi poem as translated-interpreted by Coleman Barks:

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

(cf. Meditation - Sound, Music, Silence (2014-10-06), There's Nothing Ahead (2016-11-06), Be Ground (2016-12-27), ...)

- Thursday, January 04, 2018 at 05:34:31 (EST)


2017-12-09 - VHTRC Magnus Gluteus Maximus

~10.6 mi @ ~19 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Magnus_Gluteus_Maximus_z_2017-12-09.jpgThe VHTRC's Magnus Gluteus Maximus fun run on the Bull Run Trail, in the snow with Barry Smith & ("Fast") Mary Bowman & Sirisha Golla & other trail friends, is a quiet delight, a recovery ramble over the hills and through the woods.
One week ago Sirisha and I did the Devil Dog Race in Prince William Forest Park. We both finished 100 km there, though Iris had hoped to go for 100 miles. Here, in a free ("Fat Ass") event, there are no goals, no prizes, nothing but the pure joy of leaves and rocks and roots and streams and valleys and conversation with friends. It's All Good!http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Magnus_Gluteus_Maximus_Sirisha_z_2017-12-09a.jpg

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, January 03, 2018 at 04:56:17 (EST)


See the Good in Others

A wise suggestion by Rick Hanson: "See the Good in Others", that is, deliberately:

And then, Hansen recommends:

... recognize that the good you see in others is also in you. You couldn't see that good if you did not have an inkling of what it was. You, too, have positive intentions, real abilities, and virtues of mind and heart. Those qualities are a fact, as much a fact as the chair you're sitting on. Take a moment to let that fact sink in. You don't need a halo to be a truly good person. You are a truly good person.

Sweet, useful, and important to remember!

(cf. Just One Thing (2012-12-02), Strong and Lasting (2013-02-02), Stay Right When Wronged (2016-10-05), ...) - ^z

- Tuesday, January 02, 2018 at 05:36:10 (EST)


2017 Long Runs

According to the logbook, in 2017 total distance is ~2300+ miles — amazingly without major injury, astoundingly with two finishes each for 100 mile, 100 km, 50 mile, and 50 km distances, plus three marathons including a pair on a single weekend.

The secret: no secrets, no expectations, no goals. It is as it is. Yes, and it's all good!

Summary, with links to details:

race miles time min/mi comments
2017-01-01 - VHTRC Red Eye 50k~31.67:35~14.4Prince William Forest Park start of the ultra-year
2017-02-19 - GW Birthday Marathon~26.25:09~11.7Happy Birthday, Dr Kerry!
2017-03-11 - Crazy Desert Trail Race~6617:07~15.5first and last place non-Texas finisher for a long "100k"
2017-04-08 - Bull Run Run 50 Miler~4612:39~16.010th BRR finish, never a DNF
2017-04-29 - C and O Canal 100 Miler~10027:54~17first 100M finish, after 7 years and 7 DNFs
2017-06-03 - Ran It with Janet 50k~30.57:17~14.3snaky selfie fun with Jennifer Hotchkiss
2017-09-29 - Yeti 100 Mile Endurance Run~10029:01~17.5start on the 65th birthday, with Dr Stephanie Fonda
2017-10-21 - Baltimore Marathon~26.24:48~11.0solo tour of Charm City
2017-10-22 - Marine Corps Marathon~26.25:56~13.6with Dr Kristin, plus the Kenney-Spargo clan
2017-11-11 - Stone Mill 50 Miler~5116:05~19officially a DNF, missed cutoffs — full distance with Dr Kerry
2017-12-02 - Devil Dog 100k Race~6319:28~19Prince William Forest Park — end of the ultra-year!

- Monday, January 01, 2018 at 04:35:03 (EST)


Eugenia Cheng on Thinking

Some further observations by mathematician, writer, and musician Eugenia Cheng, from the "Greater than Code" series, interview #38:

... math doesn't explain how everything about the world works. What it does is illuminate certain aspects of it. Anything that makes a connection between something and something else is a potential place where math can help because it's really about looking at two different situations and saying what these two situations have in common ...

and

... it's about understanding how to use your brain really well, rather than how to use the theory to solve this particular problem ...

and

... I'm not interested in winning. I'm much more interested in learning and understanding and building things together. Not only I am not that interested in sports, I'm kind of put off by it because the whole idea of beating somebody else is something that I find really distasteful. I would much rather we all built something wonderful together. ...

and

... I say to my students, there are two types of question. There's the type where it trying to show how clever you are and there's a type where you're trying to understand something, and I will not accept the first type and I will accept all of the second type so it doesn't matter. You don't need to think the question is stupid. If you're trying to understand something, it's valid and if you're trying to show how clever you are, it's not valid and I won't have that kind of question. ...

(cf. Cakes, Custard, and Category Theory (2016-02-14), Ingressive vs Congressive (2017-07-08), ...)

- Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 17:32:44 (EST)


2017-12-08 - Hickory Hill Rudolph

~6.9 mi @ ~14.1 min/mi

"Ugly Ornament Exchange!" is a game Cait's extended family plays some holiday seasons. She describes one Christmas tree decoration of two reindeer being, uh, "extremely friendly". The Dawn Patrol has a mini-adventure as we run to the end of Turkey Run Road, then ramble through the woods on the edge of Langley Oaks Park — including an exciting stream crossing via headlamp. And nobody falls in!

"It's Rudolph!" A huge inflated reindeer stands in front of Hickory Hill, the former Kennedy mansion. Kerry discovers another cut-through (is it #18?), this one between Melrose Drive and Pine Hill Road. Temps are in the mid-30s, with thickening clouds portending snow.

(trackfile)

- Friday, December 29, 2017 at 04:57:43 (EST)


Mantra - No Hope

Give
  Up
    Hope

... and, as Charlotte Joko Beck says (in "Giving Up Hope"):

... we have to give up this idea in our heads that somehow, if we could only figure it out, there's some way to have this perfect life that is just right for us. Life is the way it is. And only when we begin to give up those maneuvers does life begin to be more satisfactory.

When I say to give up hope, I don't mean to give up effort. ...

(cf. Without Effort, Analysis, or Expectation (2010-08-04), Expect Nothing (2012-02-20), Aspiration, not Expectation (2014-12-12), No Expectation (2015-01-02), Mantra - Without Effort, Analysis, or Expectation (2015-02-21), Mantra - No Goals (2015-07-26), No Goals (2016-06-08), ...)

- Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 04:57:45 (EST)


2017-12-06 - Lasers and Caffeine

~4.3 mi @ ~13.4 min/mi

"Coffee run!" Dr Kerry summarizes this morning's Dawn Patrol, as gusty 30+ mph winds blow us directly to Starbucks. Temps falling through the low 40s feel much colder. A huge tree sparkles with green Christmas lights laser-projected from below. Is that a hazard to low-flying aircraft?

"We're living in a bubble!" Not everybody in this world is mostly happy, reasonably healthy, ok financially, working at a generally-stable job, mentally kinda-calm, etc. We count our blessings, catch up on family news, and share plans for 2018. Afterwards the lying scale claims I weigh 155 lbs. Better up my mileage!

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 04:23:14 (EST)


Mantra - Grind New Lenses

Grind
  New
    Lenses!

... see everything more sharply: invest in better tools for improved perception and understanding, while recognizing that the lens is not important — awareness is!

(from SMB; cf. Edge of the Universe (1999-06-08), Looking Down (2004-12-06), What We Know (2006-08-15), Infinite in All Directions (2003-12-02), No Beginning, No End (2013-03-24), Mantra - Go for the Moon (2016-07-18), ...)

- Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 04:57:32 (EST)


2017-12-02 - Devil Dog 100k Race

~63 miles @ ~19 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Devil_Dog_100k_pre-race_flags_z_2017-12-02a.jpg"No Sleep Till Brooklyn!" A Beastie Boys song plays on the car radio Saturday morning at 3:30AM — quite an appropriate ultramarathon anthem. Devil Dog Race Director Toni Aurilio laughs and wishes she knew the lyrics. "Devil Dog" is a nickname for a US Marine; her husband is one. She has two big Vizsla hounds, Toofy and Gunny, whose names honor two of the aid stations. Marine Corps Base Quantico is nearby and mid-afternoon we hear the boom of live fire training echo between the hills.

"I'm a hugger!" says Toni, wishing runners success and awarding warm embraces before the start. Her red-white-and-blue flag-theme outfit goes well with patriotic ensigns that decorate the stage. Toni ran the 2013 and 2017 Stone Mill 50 Milers, where in both years our paths crossed near mile 29. Today, she and fellow RD Bob Gaylord are in charge.

"Only the 100k — I am unworthy of the 100 miler!" The 2016 Devil Dog ended in a DNF (Did Not Finish) when a hilly course plus an ice storm proved beyond my feeble abilities. This year's 100 km attempt has a happy ending: at 1:30AM on Sunday morning I cross the line officially in 19:27:45, 79th of 83, not counting 19 who didn't finish and another 19 who didn't start.

It's a long day: Lap 1 takes ~6 hours for the first ~23 miles; lap 2 is another ~6 hours to do the next ~20; and the final lap in the dark is ~7.5 hours. At the end of the first circuit ultra-buddy Stephanie Fonda awards a hug and then efficiently kicks me out of the start/finish area where she's volunteering. Onward!

The woods are beautiful but fallen foliage covers some tricky rocks and roots. At mile ~6 I roll the already-sore right ankle, but fortunately it settles down after a bit of walking. At mile ~15 a fall onto hands results in only minor scrapes. Another fall at mile ~50 decorates the gray beard with brown leaves.

Awesome-mindful Sirisha Golla meets me before the start, and we compare notes on recent races. I remind her to soften, let go of goals, and accept what is. Today she undertakes the 100 miler, but terrain is too tough and she calls it a day at 100 km. Wise decision, Sirisha!

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Devil_Dog_100k_trackfile_map_2017-12-02.png
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Devil_Dog_100k_mile_42_Jennifer_Hotchkiss_z_2017-12-02_t.jpg"Look, a halo around the Moon!" Ultra-kind Jennifer Hotchkiss meets me at Camp Remi just after the sun sets and paces the final 20 mile lap through the woods of Prince William Forest Park. It's her revenge on the Devil Dog last year, when she missed a turn, went miles off course, and DNF'd. As we journey together we're joined at mile ~54 by Dipak Bhattacharyya. He has already run a flock of ultras this year including the 2017-04-29 - C and O Canal 100 Miler. But now he is sick as are others we meet. Perhaps they ate something unfortunate at an aid station?

Emmanuel Odebunmi introduces himself before the start. At mile ~40 as the sun sets he's sitting on a rock without a light, and not feeling well. I lend him a backup flashlight; he makes it safely to the end of his second lap and drops there, leaving the lamp with race officials who return it to me.

"Remember Shelley?" At the mile ~48 aid station happy RD Bob Gaylord chats with me about the 2017-11-11 - Stone Mill 50 Miler where he was a course official. But no time now for long reminisces — Jennifer leads me out to finish today's event.

At 2AM comrade Lucas Moten, just back from Las Vegas on a red-eye flight, relays folks back to their cars in the satellite parking lot. It's a great day and night, and a great ultramarathon with great people and great scenery. Thank you, everyone!

(trackfile)

- Monday, December 25, 2017 at 15:58:07 (EST)


Yin and Yang in the Tao Te Ching

For comparison, half a dozen translations of Chapter 42 from Laozi's Tao Te Ching — and as for what they may mean ...

The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.

The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.
They achieve harmony by combining these forces.

Men hate to be "orphaned," "widowed," or "worthless,"
But this is how kings and lords describe themselves.

For one gains by losing
And loses by gaining.

What others teach, I also teach; that is:
"A violent man will die a violent death!"
This will be the essence of my teaching.


(trans.Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)
The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things.

All things have their backs to the female
and stand facing the male.
When male and female combine,
all things achieve harmony.

Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the Master makes use of it,
embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.


(trans. Stephen Mitchell)
Tao produces one
One produces two
Two produce three
Three produce myriad things
Myriad things, backed by yin and embracing yang
Achieve harmony by integrating their energy
What the people dislike
Are alone, bereft, and unworthy
But the rulers call themselves with these terms
So with all things
Appear to take loss but benefit
Or receive benefit but lose
What the ancients taught
I will also teach
The violent one cannot have a natural death
I will use this as the principal of teachings


(trans. Derek Lin)
The Tao produced One; One produced Two;
Two produced Three; Three produced All.
All the myriad things bear the yin with darkened pall,
They embrace the yang which lights the coming view,
And between the yin that was, and the yang that is to be,
The immaterial breath makes harmony.
Things that men dislike are to be orphans, lonely men,
Unworthy, incomplete, and yet these very things
Are taken for their titles by princes and by kings;
So it is sometimes that losing gains again,
And sometimes that gaining loses in its turn.
I am teaching what, by others taught, I learn;
The violent and aggressive a good death do not die,
And the father of this teaching—it is I.


(trans. I. W. Heysinger )
Tao produces the one,
One produces two,
Two produces three,
And three produces Ten Thousand Things.

All things suffer the negative and embrace the positive.
The union of these is to achieve harmony.

People detest being alone and unworthy,
yet kings and leaders will describe themselves as such.

Sometimes we win when it appears we've lost,
and sometimes we lose when it appears we've won.

What others learn, I also learn.
Violent people die violently.

By understanding this, I receive my greatest teaching.


(trans. Amy Putkonen)
The Way produces one;
one produces two,
two produces three,
three produces all beings:
all beings bear yin and embrace yang,
with a mellowing energy for harmony.
The things people dislike
are only to be alone, lacking, and unworthy;
yet these are what monarchs call themselves.
Therefore people may gain from loss,
and may lose from gain.
What others teach,
I also teach.
The strong cannot master their death:
I take this to be the father of teachings.


(trans. Thomas Cleary)

- Sunday, December 24, 2017 at 13:18:05 (EST)


Mill on Perfectability

John Stuart Mill, in 1828, gave a speech in favor of "Perfectability" — the notion that "mankind [is] capable of great improvement", that Society writ large can get better. In an oft-quoted bit near the beginning he says, "I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large clan of persons as a sage, and wisdom is supposed to consist not in seeing further than other people, but in not seeing so far."

Nicely said! But more important than the humorous mocking of selfish cynics (of which there is much more), Mill's point is that civilization's progress comes from:

And, he notes, we still have a long way to go ...

(cf. "Speech on Perfectability", Human Nature (1999-02-05), Worth of a State (2008-04-02), ...)

- Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 06:03:38 (EST)


2017-11-27 - Hooptie Run

~5.7 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"It's a Hooptie!" Dr Kristin explains the finer points of low-rider style as illustrated by a classic Thunderbird parked on Pimmit Drive. The Dawn Patrol recon run meanders to map out early Xmas displays. One yard has a giant Santa Claus; another features an air-pump inflated snow-globe with flying styrofoam pellets rattling down inside. Green and red laser beams crawl over facades. Kids race to catch school buses.

(trackfile)

- Friday, December 22, 2017 at 04:41:01 (EST)


Left, Right, and Wrong

Almost 6 years ago Thomas Edsall in his essay "What the Right Gets Right" summarizes good and bad thinking on both sides of the political aisle. Removing party labels, there are strong positives:

... and likewise big cognitive-fallacy negatives:

Can these be further summarized and modeled, understood and balanced? Perhaps it's part of the tug-of-war between justice and mercy, conscientiousness and openness, hard vs soft, yang-yin, judgment-love?

Much to ponder ...

(cf. Fair for All (1999-11-28), Ethical Fitness (2000-12-15), ForGreatJustice (2002-12-01), Big Biases (2014-01-09), Cognitive Distortions (2015-09-28), Mirror Fallacy (2016-03-10), Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet (2016-09-30), ...)

- Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 05:19:06 (EST)


2017-11-25 - MCRRC Turkey Burnoff 10 Miler

10 miles @ ~8.7 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/MCRRC_Turkey_Burnoff_10_miler_z_mile_4-5_by_D-Reichmann_2017-11-25_t.jpg"Beard!" Shaggy-gray fast runner Wayne Breslyn and I salute one another whenever our paths cross at the MCRRC "Turkey Burnoff" 10 miler. Brilliant sun glitters off Clopper Lake, roads are lined with crisp leaves, and the Gatorade is strong and sweet. A brisk morning yields a brisker-than-expected pace, chip time 1:26:41 for 1st of 7 in the 65-69 year male cohort. After the finish friendly Igor Lvovskyi checks to make sure we're in different age groups; he's 73. Nutella on chocolate-chip muffins is the recovery food of choice.

Barry drives to Seneca Creek State Park, where we fist-bump Anny warming-up, then greet Ken and Gayatri. Ultra veteran Joe Hanle chats pre-start; he ran the C&O Canal 100 and the Stone Mill 50 with me, and blasts off today to finish far ahead. The old right ankle and left hip twinge; the right heel feels bruised. Good excuses in preparation for next weekend's Devil Dog 100k?! Splits at mile markers: 8.4 + 8.4 + 9.0 + 8.5 + 8.9 + 8.7 + 8.6 + 9.2 + 8.3 + 8.7 minutes.

(photo by Dan Reichmann)

Past results:

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 04:22:16 (EST)


Pearl Harbor - Lessons Learned

From the end of Chapter 7 ("Surprise") of Roberta Wohlstetter's Pearl Harbor:

This study has not been intended as a "how-to-do-it" manual on intelligence, but perhaps one major practical lesson emerges from it. We cannot count on strategic warning. We might get it, and we might be able to take useful preparatory actions that would be impossible without it. We certainly ought to plan to exploit such a possibility should it occur. However, since we cannot rely on strategic warning, our defenses, if we are to have confidence in them, must be designed to function without it. If we accept the fact that the signal picture for impending attacks is almost sure to be ambiguous, we shall prearrange actions that are right and feasible in response to ambiguous signals, including signs of an attack that might be false. We must be capable of reacting repeatedly to false alarms without committing ourselves or the enemy to wage thermonuclear war.

It is only human to want some unique and univocal signal, to want a guarantee from intelligence, an unambiguous substitute for a formal declaration of war. This is surely the unconscious motivation of all the rewriting of Pearl Harbor history, which sees in such wavering and uncertain sources of information as the winds code and all of the various and much-argued MAGIC texts a clear statement of Japanese intent. But we have seen how drastically such an interpretation oversimplifies the task of the analyst and decisionmaker. If the study of Pearl Harbor has anything to offer for the future, it is this: We have to accept the fact of uncertainty and live with it. No magic, in code or otherwise, will provide certainty. Our plans must work without it.

- Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 04:51:32 (EST)


2017-11-23 - Bethesda Trolley Trail Turkey Trot

~6.3 miles @ ~13.7 min/mi

"I made a broom out of a pine tree branch, and my son won a prize for best costume!" Evergreens along Edson Lane remind Gayatri of a Halloween triumph by her eldest a few decades ago. Hoarfrost glitters on parked cars. As the sun rises we pause for selfies after a 1:45 lap around the Tilden Middle School track. The Trolley Trail leads us to the Bethesda YMCA, where runners warm up for today's 10k Turkey Trot and the announcer repeats, "Hello test" on the loudspeakers.

"Look, there's Anny!" Gayatri spies our friend. We pause to give her fist-bumps of encouragement for the race. And as our loop almost closes we meet "Fast Harold" followed by Ken, Rebecca, Barry, Emaad, and Jennifer heading toward the starting line. Run like the wind, comrades!

(trackfile)

- Monday, December 18, 2017 at 04:29:15 (EST)


Mantra - Change a Little

To Change a Lot,
  Change a Little
    Many Times

... from the Greater Than Code interview with Keith Bennett:

... we can hack ourselves — we can change ourselves, and the way to change ourselves a lot, I believe, is to change ourselves a little many times. We can ask ourself in a situation, "How far am I willing to go before I start feeling uncomfortable?" and then ask ourself, "What can I do in addition to that? How much further can I go in addition to that without feeling super-uncomfortable?" and doing that. Once we start exercising that muscle more and more, we can make more progress than we would otherwise. A lot of times we cripple ourselves by just thinking about where it is we want to go and we look at how far that is and we think, "Oh, man. I'm never going to get there so I'm not going to try," and that's unfortunate.

(cf. Changing Selves (1999-05-20), Eating One's Own Cooking (1999-06-17), Mantra - Awareness, Blameless, Change (2014-12-17), ...)

- Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 07:03:10 (EST)


2017-11-22 - Bethesda Sunrise

~5.0 miles @ ~13.4 min/mi

"The sidewalk moved!" Cait reveals how she spotted a front-yard rabbit in the gloom this morning. The Dawn Patrol meanders around her extended Bethesda-Kensington 'hood, pausing to let morning traffic zoom by. We discuss systems engineering ("Nobody really knows what that means!"), music (Molly is transporting a harmonium in her car at the moment), and math. Trail talk includes the inadvisability of talking politics at a Thanksgiving family dinner, encounters with local police ("They forgot to change the alarm for Daylight Saving Time!"), and the exiguous powers wielded by local Library Advisory Committees. And as we close the loop Molly sets a new PB for distance - yay!

(trackfile)

- Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 04:57:01 (EST)


Mentioned in Dispatches

My boss, Dear Leader David, used a new-to-me term yesterday: "Mentioned in Dispatches". It's a traditional British military kudos for "... one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which his or her gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy is described." In this case, a kind after-action report gave a ^z nod for showing up to help at a meeting. And hey, as the proverb says, "If you were in the room when it happened, you get credit for it!"

(cf. Simplicate (2015-08-15), Smartest Person (2017-10-27), ...)

- Friday, December 15, 2017 at 05:15:39 (EST)


2017-11-20 - Ankle Roll

~4.3 mi @ ~12.2 min/mi

"That's red meat!" is the instant response when Caitlin innocently asks, "I wonder where that road goes?" The Dawn Patrol duo swerves past St Luke's Methodist Church, discovers a stairway, connector path, then a road back into Pimmit Hills. Yay! It's a chilly-brisk morning, honey-marigold tints growing on the eastern horizon as sunrise looms.

"Oops!" A stray stone in the road makes a majorly rolled ankle. So at mile ~3.2 we change course, walk a bit, and jog-return to the start. And all's well!

(trackfile)

- Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 04:11:28 (EST)


2017-11-19 - RCT and MHT with RR

~20.2 miles @ ~12.5 min/mi

"Go Santa!" says the lady at mile 15 - the first such greeting this season, and not likely the last! Pause in Kensington to take photos at a new mural by Matt Corrado & Meaghan McNamara on the bank building. Stiff breezes flap flags at the fire station. Arrive early at Ken-Gar and applaud a group of fast runners setting out southward.

"A chicken and a pit bull!" Rebecca describes an odd couple that she and her dog Oreo met during recent walks. We run upstream along Rock Creek Trail until near the Aspen Hill soccer fields the puddles get too big to avoid. "You know, we could turn back here!" So we do, and enjoy a side visit to the Matthew Henson Trail. Chinese-language graffiti decorates pillars under Connecticut Avenue. Deer cross the trail in front of us, and a beaver-chewed sapling lies fallen near Turkey Branch. Trail talk includes mindfulness, stress, and the challenge of putting problems into proper perspective.

Trot home solo, with a small detour to visit the lovely mermaid fountain at National Park Seminary.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 04:58:59 (EST)


Pearl Harbor - Barriers to Warning

From Chapter 7 ("Surprise") of Roberta Wohlstetter's Pearl Harbor:

... The fact of surprise at Pearl Harbor has never been persuasively explained by accusing the participants, individually or in groups, of conspiracy or negligence or stupidity. What these examples illustrate is rather the very human tendency to pay attention to the signals that support current expectations about enemy behavior. If no one is listening for signals of an attack against a highly improbable target, then it is very difficult for the signals to be heard.

For every signal that came into the information net in 1941 there were usually several plausible alternative explanations, and it is nor surprising that our observers and analysts were inclined to select the explanations that fitted the popular hypotheses. They sometimes set down new contradictory evidence side by side with existing hypotheses, and they also sometimes held two contradictory beliefs at the same time. We have seen this happen in G-2 estimates for the fall of 1941. Apparently human beings have a stubborn attachment to old beliefs and an equally stubborn resistance to new material that will upset them

Besides the tendency to select whatever was in accord with one's expectations, there were many other blocks to perception that prevented our analysts from making the correct interpretation. We have just mentioned the masses of conflicting evidence that supported alternative and equally reasonable hypotheses. This is the phenomenon of noise in which a signal is embedded. Even at its normal level, noise presents problems in distraction; but in addition to the natural clatter of useless information and competing signals, in 1941 a number of factors combined to raise the usual noise level. First of all, it had been raised, especially in Honolulu, by the background of previous alert situations and false alarms. Earlier alerts, as we have seen, had centered attention on local sabotage and on signals supporting the hypothesis of a probable Japanese attack on Russia. Second, in both Honolulu and Washington, individual reactions to danger had been numbed, or at least dulled, by the continuous international tension.

A third factor that served to increase the natural noise level was the positive effort made by the enemy to keep the relevant signals quiet. The Japanese security system was an important and successful block to perception. It was able to keep the strictest cloak of secrecy around the Pearl Harbor attack and to limit knowledge only to those closely associated with the details of military and naval planning. In the Japanese Cabinet only the Navy Minister and the Army Minister (who was also Prime Minister) knew of the plan before the task force left its final port of departure.

In addition to keeping certain signals quiet, the enemy tried to create noise, and sent false signals into our information system by carrying on elaborate "spoofs." False radio traffic made us believe that certain ships were maneuvering near the mainland of Japan. The Japanese also sent to individual commanders false war plans for Chinese targets, which were changed only at the last moment to bring them into line with the Southeastern movement.

A fifth barrier to accurate perception was the fact that the relevant signals were subject to change, often very sudden change. ...

Sixth, our own security system sometimes prevented the communication of signals. It confronted our officers with the problem of trying to keep information from the enemy without keeping it from each other, and, as in the case of MAGIC, they were not always successful. ...

To these barriers of noise and security we must add the fact that the necessarily precarious character of intelligence information and predictions was reflected in the wording of instructions to take action. The warning messages were somewhat vague and ambiguous. ... The fact that intelligence predictions must be based on moves that are almost always reversible makes understandable the reluctance of the intelligence analyst to make bold assertions. Even if he is willing to risk his reputation on a firm prediction of attack at a definite time and place, no commander will in turn lightly risk the penalties and costs of a full alert. ...

Last but not least we must also mention the blocks to perception and communication inherent in any large bureaucratic organization, and those that stemmed from intraservice and interservice rivalries. ... A general prejudice against intellectuals and specialists, not confined to the military but unfortunately widely held in America, also made it difficult for intelligence experts to be heard. ...

- Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 04:39:27 (EST)


2017-11-18 - Oregon Trail

~13.8 mi @ ~12.9 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/CCT_Rock_Creek_Trestle_z_2017-12-11a.jpg"The Oregon Trail!" says Gayatri, describing a path that runs along Military Road to Oregon Avenue NW. Huge brown leaves drift down and blanket the earth. Beach Drive is being repaired south of here and is closed to pedestrians; we touch the flagpole at Rock Creek Park Police headquarters and turn west, with a wave at a construction worker.

With pastel pinks and blues, dawn tickles the horizon. A few blocks from the start, realization: no windbreaker - brrrrr! But there's no time to backtrack, so pick up the pace and proceed onward. Gayatri and I arrive at Candy Cane City simultaneously and enjoy ~8 miles together. On the way home, pause for a geometric selfie underneath the high trestle over Rock Creek.

(trackfile)

- Monday, December 11, 2017 at 04:59:02 (EST)


2017-11-17 - Total Volvo

~4.3 mi @ ~15.2 min/mi

"You can't total a VOLVO!" Molly exclaims, disbelievingly, at reports of a colleague's daughter doing precisely that recently. The Dawn Patrol pauses at Starbucks in McLean for the first hot coffee of the season, as Venus twinkles low in the east on a crisp morn. Drs K&K are recovering well from their Stone Mill 50 Miler experiences, modulo normal soreness, back pain, purple toenails, ITB flare-up, hip flexor trauma, etc. after one's first official ultramarathon. Bravi to both! Front yard gardens are trimmed back for the winter. New (from the half-price room at RnJ Sports) "Hoka One One Tor Trafa" shoe-sandal hybrids feel comfy-good on old feet.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 06:40:20 (EST)


Trust-Building Techniques

From the 2013 essay by Charles H. Green, "8 Ways to Make People Believe What You Tell Them", some obvious and redundant and important advice on how, personally and professionally, to connect:

  1. Tell the truth. This is the obvious first point, of course — but it's amazing how the concept gets watered down. For starters, telling the truth is not the same as just not lying. It requires saying something; you can't tell the truth if you don't speak it.
  2. Tell the whole truth. Don't be cutesie and technical. Don't allow people to draw erroneous conclusions based on what you left out. By telling the whole truth, you show people that you have nothing to hide. (Most politicians continually flunk this point).
  3. Don't over-context the truth. The most believable way to say something is to be direct about it. Don't muddy the issue with adjectives, excuses, mitigating circumstances, your preferred spin, and the like. We believe people who state the facts, and let us uncover the context for ourselves.
  4. Freely confess ignorance. If someone asks you a question you don't know the answer to, say, "I don't know." It's one of the most credible things you can say. After all, technical knowledge can always be looked up; personal courage and integrity are in far shorter supply.
  5. First, listen. Nothing makes people pay attention to you more than your having paid attention to them first. They will also be more generous in their interpretation of what you say, because you have shown them the grace and respect of carefully listening to them first. Reciprocity is big with human beings.
  6. It's not the words, it's the intent. You could say, in a monotone voice, "I really care about the work you folks are doing here." And you would be doubted. Or, you could listen, animatedly, leaning in, raising your eyebrows and bestowing the gift of your attention, saying nothing more than, "wow." And people would believe that you care.
  7. Use commonsense anchors. Most of us in business rely on cognitive tools: data, deductive logic, and references. They are not nearly as persuasive as we think. Focus instead more on metaphors, analogies, shared experiences, stories, song lyrics, movies, famous quotations. People are more inclined to believe something if it's familiar, if it fits, or makes sense, within their world view.
  8. Use the language of the other person. If they say "customer," don't you say "client." And vice versa. If they don't swear, don't you dare. If they speak quietly one on one, adopt their style. That way, when you say something, they will not be distracted by your out-of-ordinary approach, and they will intuitively respect that you hear and understand them.

(cf. Trusted Advisor (2012-12-23), Action to Raise Trust (2015-09-05), Principles of Trust-Building (2015-09-23), Three Little Words (2017-04-08), ...)

- Saturday, December 09, 2017 at 05:47:31 (EST)


2017-11-15 - One Lap

~5.4 miles @ ~10.9 min/mi

"I'm happy enough with 1:58!" Caitlin comments as we catch our breath after a brisk lap around the McLean High School track. A waning crescent moon hangs low in the east; Venus glows just above the horizon. Frost glitters like a dusting of diamonds on windshields and sere grass.

"I have 90 minutes to write 3 hours worth of code!" Molly explains why she must stop at 1.5 miles. The Dawn Patrol cuts past baseball fields in Westgate Park to get her back early, then rambles through the gated Evans Farm community, dodging a jet of steam billowing from a dryer vent.

(trackfile)

- Friday, December 08, 2017 at 04:52:36 (EST)


Competence vs Confidence

From an essay by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?", in the Harvard Business Review of 2013-08-22:

There are three popular explanations for the clear under-representation of women in management, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible career barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes, that prevents women from accessing the ranks of power. Conservatives and chauvinists tend to endorse the first; liberals and feminists prefer the third; and those somewhere in the middle are usually drawn to the second. But what if they all missed the big picture?

In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.

This is consistent with the finding that leaderless groups have a natural tendency to elect self-centered, overconfident and narcissistic individuals as leaders, and that these personality characteristics are not equally common in men and women. In line, Freud argued that the psychological process of leadership occurs because a group of people — the followers — have replaced their own narcissistic tendencies with those of the leader, such that their love for the leader is a disguised form of self-love, or a substitute for their inability to love themselves. "Another person's narcissism", he said, "has a great attraction for those who have renounced part of their own ... as if we envied them for maintaining a blissful state of mind."

The truth of the matter is that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they that are much smarter than women. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group. Indeed, whether in sports, politics or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men.

Sadly, "... Most of the character traits that are truly advantageous for effective leadership are predominantly found in those who fail to impress others about their talent for management ...", and "... what it takes to get the job is not just different from, but also the reverse of, what it takes to do the job well. As a result, too many incompetent people are promoted to management jobs, and promoted over more competent people ...".

(cf. Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind (2005-06-03), Thinking v Decisiveness (2014-04-30), ...)

- Thursday, December 07, 2017 at 05:18:29 (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), 0.86 (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), 0.9932 (May-July 2018), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2018 by Mark Zimmermann.)


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