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^zhurnaly v.0.9934

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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 = 0.9933 ... 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!

2018-11-17 - Stone Mill 44 Miler

~44 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"Gratitude!" — the Word-of-the-Day. K2 and Roadkill enjoy almost every step of the Stone Mill 50 miler, über-challenging as it turns out to be. When plans go awry we smile and quote Dr K-Rex: "It is what it is!" We discuss the trio of Attention (mindfulness) and Acceptance (nonattachment) and Affirmation (lovingkindness) along with countless other topics. We stick together, always.

"And I'll limit myself to one 'Thank you!' per mile!" vows K2. She tries ...

(photo by D Reichmann)
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Stone_Mill_mud_Kerry-and-z_2018-11-17_t.jpgMud, Mud, Mud! Scattered snow on the ground melts as the day progresses, and joins runoff from heavy rains earlier in the week. Large segments of the course are slippy-slidey swales. Roadkill quotes his advice from the 2013-10-27 - Fire on the Mountain 50k race with similar conditions: "Just hug the thorn bushes!"

Best Food: toasty-warm guacamole wraps at mile ~20 — yum!

Worst Drink: instant coffee in lukewarm water — yuck!

Newest Comrade: Cathy Rehm, an experienced, funny, tough biologist. We meet at mile ~7 and enjoy her company for for more than a dozen miles. On the C&O Canal Towpath she slows to run with her pacer Tammy Massey (wearing butterfly wings and an animal hoodie), then zooms by at mile ~39.
During mile 1 runners near us comment about Adeline Ntam: "For somebody so fast and strong, how can she be so nice?" K2 and Roadkill get personal hugs from Addie when she passes us at mile ~20. Sweet!

Dr Slow Twitch and Court Jester greet us before the start and again at the mile ~38 aid station, where their hot miso soup is a welcome boost. Thank you!

(photo by Ken Trombatore)
captionThe traditional line of deer skulls await us at mile ~38, wearing witch hats this year. We pause to pose.

Near mile 40 we think we think we hear a faint voice shout "Mark" from across the valley behind us. A few minutes later powerful Sirisha Golla floats by us, wielding her signature trekking poles. Brava!
Near mile 42 K2's left knee abruptly goes Very Bad. She walks stiff-legged for more than half an hour, and it gets worse. Sweepers overtake us, picking up course-marker flags, and take our timing chips. We continue through the darkness. Temperatures plunge.

In Seneca Creek State Park we reach a road crossing and decide to catch a ride to the start/finish area. Holiday decorations are lit for a "Run Under the Lights" race. Back at the car we give thanks for shared adventure and safety, seat heaters and friendship.

Maybe next year!


- Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 13:21:53 (EST)

Trusted Advisor Principles

From a bookmark found in The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook by Charles Green and Andrea Howe, some advice for connecting in a business-world context (and perhaps elsewhere too!):

  1. Show you've done your homework
  2. Take a point of view
  3. Speak the truth ... always
  4. Combine your words with presence
  5. Make lots of small promises
  6. Be on time
  7. Use their terminology
  8. Be willing to name the proverbial elephant in the room
  9. Listen with empathy
  10. Tell them something you appreciate about them
  11. Address people by name
  12. Give away ideas
  13. Build a shared agenda
  14. Steer clear of premature problem-solving
  15. Relax your mind

(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), Trust-Building Techniques (2017-12-09), ...)

- Friday, December 14, 2018 at 04:47:56 (EST)

Level Eleven

From the New Yorker profile of quiet superstars Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat, "The Friendship that Made Google Huge" by James Somers, a hierarchy:

Today, Google's engineers exist in a Great Chain of Being that begins at Level 1. At the bottom are the I.T. support staff. Level 2s are fresh out of college; Level 3s often have master's degrees. Getting to Level 4 takes several years, or a Ph.D. Most progression stops at Level 5. Level 6 engineers—the top ten per cent—are so capable that they could be said to be the reason a project succeeds; Level 7s are Level 6s with a long track record. Principal Engineers, the Level 8s, are associated with a major product or piece of infrastructure. Distinguished Engineers, the Level 9s, are spoken of with reverence. To become a Google Fellow, a Level 10, is to win an honor that will follow you for life. Google Fellows are usually the world's leading experts in their fields. Jeff and Sanjay are Google Senior Fellows—the company's first and only Level 11s.

(cf Classy People (2000-04-01), LensManic (2001-07-16), ExtraOrdinary (2005-04-09), Life Partner Criteria (2014-05-15), ...)

- Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 04:36:09 (EST)

I'll Go With You

A new song of friendship and affirmation and loyalty and love, in an out-of-the-box style — "My Blood" by Twenty One Pilots, with central lines:

When everyone you thought you knew
Deserts your fight, I'll go with you
You're facin' down a dark hall
I'll grab my light
And go with you, I'll go with you
If you find yourself in a lion's den
I'll jump right in and pull my pin
And go with you, I'll go with you ...

(cf At Your Side (2009-05-11), Stand by You (2017-01-11), ...)

- Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 05:36:03 (EST)

Zafu Being

Sitting in the dark on a pillow on the floor:

(cf Core Buddhism (2011-11-17), 01 (2013-11-05), 0-1 (2014-08-29), Mantra - Mindfulness, Nonattachment, Oneness (2017-01-25), Mindfulness in Three Words (2018-06-13), ...)

- Monday, December 10, 2018 at 04:48:42 (EST)

2018-11-12 - Drop Zone Danger

~10.2 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Drop and give me 5!" orders drill sergeant Barry. He's preparing Roadkill for the Disney Marathon, where at mile 23 the green Army man from "Toy Story" promotes discipline. A tree-trimming crew's traffic cone offers the caption: "Drop Zone - Danger!" Today's run meanders around Kensington, as kids amble home from school and Stoneybrook Dr provides a hillwork challenge. Strings of Christmas lights are just being installed on the shrubberies in front of the Mormon Temple. A crossing guard protects us as we dash past a school.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Drop_Zone_Danger_z_by_Barry_2018-11-12_t.jpg


- Sunday, December 09, 2018 at 07:04:37 (EST)

2018-11-11 - Candy Cane 5k

2.1 mi @ ~12.9 min/mi

3.1 mi @ ~8.5 min/mi

2.6 mi @ ~14.5 min/mi

Grief of Cyparissus and z"Let's run this in 16 minutes!" - "Wait, do you mean a 16 minute per mile pace, or a total of 16 minutes for the 5k?" Arch-rivals Tom Young and Roadkill banter before the local MCRRC club race on a frosty November morn. In his high school glory days, Tom says, he was that fast - awesome!

"Let me out!" a caged skeleton says, as Roadkill pauses during his run to the starting line. On the jog home, "My brain hurts!" mirrors the pose of "Grief of Cyparissus", a statue also named "Oh Lord, I Missed the Train" by girls at the Forest Glen Seminary finishing school in the early 1900's: if you could see the train coming when you were at that statue, it was too late to make it to the railway station in time.

(trackfile & trackfile & trackfile)

- Saturday, December 08, 2018 at 06:49:00 (EST)

Bayes vs If

In 2005, Joel Spolsky commented:

... A very senior Microsoft developer who moved to Google told me that Google works and thinks at a higher level of abstraction than Microsoft. "Google uses Bayesian filtering the way Microsoft uses the if statement," he said. That's true. Google also uses full-text-search-of-the-entire-Internet the way Microsoft uses little tables that list what error IDs correspond to which help text. Look at how Google does spell checking: it's not based on dictionaries; it's based on word usage statistics of the entire Internet ...

... yes, and maybe the magic comes from the combination of:

... and of course it's not only Google and not always Google that works at the Venn Diagram intersection of those three zones ...

... and perhaps there's a fourth dimension, involving speed of computation (or number of fundamental information-theoretic operations performed) ...

... and "do less, better" applies here, as it does everywhere in life ...

... and don't forget Category Theory, and Haskell, as in Eric Kidd's 2007 essay "Bayes' rule in Haskell, or why drug tests don't work" that quotes Joel Spolsky ...

(cf "How Do I Love Thee?" (Sonnet 43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Mantra - Be Time (2017-01-07), ...)

- Friday, December 07, 2018 at 04:58:34 (EST)

2018-11-10 - No Sushi Run

~5.8 mi @ ~14.6 min/mi

"I had planned a No Sushi Run today!" Barry remarks, as we pass Merle's favorite Japanese restaurant, SushiJin NextDoor. Maybe another time? Giant dodecahedra decorate the Ellsworth Park playground, good climbing challenges for kids. We ramble on the way to pick up Roadkill's reserved books at the Silver Spring Public Library. Brisk north winds chill exposed legs. On the way back we miss the Alton Parkway path but discover another good cut-through from Midwood Rd-Clement Rd that leads us back to Sligo Creek Trail. A big little free library offers a like-new copy of George Eliot's Middlemarch, described by Virginia Woolf as "... one of the few English novels written for grown-up people".

(trackfile; cf Remember Me (1999-05-21), My Religion (2000-01-06), Terrible Obstacles (2000-01-17), PaintingVersusWriting (2006-03-29), Mantra - Widen the Skirts of Light (2018-01-06), ...)

- Thursday, December 06, 2018 at 05:19:36 (EST)

Book of Why

Boastful! Preachy! Angry! And featuring far too many exclamation marks!

Perhaps The Book of Why should have been titled The Book of Why Not? When a scientist and a science writer get together the ideal result is fine prose that clearly explains a difficult topic in ways that a smart nonspecialist reader can understand and apply. Humorous personal anecdotes and an objective history of the field are bonuses. Alas, the opposite can occur: pedestrian language, impenetrable technical content, arcane-irrelevant examples, vengeful attacks on rivals and their work, poor graphics that contribute little to the audience's understanding, and disorganized-repetitive negative comments on past research. UCLA Professor Judea Pearl is widely recognized as a brilliant computer scientist. Dana Mackenzie is an accomplished writer. Their topic — causal analysis of models using statistical data — is important. The Book of Why could have been much better.

(cf Causal Inference in Statistics (2018-09-16), ...)

- Wednesday, December 05, 2018 at 04:40:10 (EST)

2018-11-09 - Thankfulness Run

~12.3 mi @ ~15.1 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Liberty_K2_K-Rex_2018-11-09b_t.jpg"Спасибо" - "Пожалуйста" - "Gracias" - "谢谢" - "Merci" - "ありがとう" - "Danke" - Dawn Patrol is grateful on a cool ramble through intermittent drizzle. Across the street from K2's first home, where her babies were born, a lawn sign says, "Be Thankful". We obey. "Noisy Slide Park!" Kids would drop handfuls of pebbles down a metal slide. Roadkill's physicist persona launches into a mini-lecture on Shot Noise, a Poisson process. K-Rex tells of her daughter's leaf collection. Halloween witches hold hands in a front-yard circle; one has fallen, and the rest support her. A deer so thin as to look two-dimensional stands in the middle of the road, then retreats toward the woods. Behind a statue of Liberty Enlightening the World two independent ladies raise invisible torches to freedom.


- Monday, December 03, 2018 at 04:31:26 (EST)

2018-11-07 - Coffee with K2

~4.7 mi @ ~14.6 min/mi

" ... 'Cause out on the edge of darkness / There rides a Peace Train / Oh, Peace Train take this country / Come take me home again ...", recites Roadkill, recalling the song that ran through his head during the Ghost Train trail run. This morning he forgets his headlamp. "Things can only get better!" Dawn Patrol treads carefully around puddles and down paths strewn with slippery leaves.

"He's now #2!" says K2. She reports on a Saturday dinner with friends, just before the New York City marathon. At the next table: Dennis Kipruto Kimetto, who held the world marathon record of 2:02:57 from 2014-2018. Kimetto poses for a photo and recommends taking more than one in case the flash fails. Perfectionist!

"Can you make a Pink Drink at this hour?" Indeed Starbucks can, so we snag one to sip. Early morning meetings mandate an early finish. A McLean rabbit dashes along the sidewalk. As the sun rises we share gratitude for good health, good work, good friends. "Come on, now Peace Train!"


- Sunday, December 02, 2018 at 15:11:22 (EST)

Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Unity

Tom Morris, philosopher/writer, in 2009 mapped the financial crisis and auto-making industry problems into the fundamental dimensions of life:

In his words, excerpted from an essay "If Aristotle Ran General Motors":

There are four basic ideas discovered by the great thinkers of the past that undergird any form of human excellence and flourishing, whether in a company like General Motors, or in the country at large. In our families, friendships, neighborhoods, civic organizations, governmental institutions, and business relationships of all kinds, four profound and yet simple foundations — universally accessible, pervasively applicable, and incredibly effective — alone make possible the achievement and reliable propagation of excellence over the long term. They are: truth, beauty, goodness, and unity. These are the four foundations of greatness in any interpersonal context, and they are ignored at our tremendous peril, and always with predictably disastrous results.

No organization can do well in a sustainable way without an abundance of truth flowing freely throughout it. Great businesses rise or fall on how well they adjust and adapt to the realities in which they exist. Executives need to be like intelligence officers, detectives of information, relentless questioners of the world and their markets. ...

And what of beauty? When I was a boy, growing up in the 50s and 60s, the arrival of the new cars each year was a matter for widespread admiration and celebration. ... And there is beauty required in process as well as in results. Empowering employees to create a beautiful solution to a product problem or a client need can invigorate and drive performance. ...

Goodness is important in many forms. An automaker should care about its customers, and design cars for us that are good in many ways — safe, reliable, inexpensive to operate, and well designed to meet our needs. These products should also be good for the environment in which they're used. And the treatment of employees at every level, as well as of all customers — both before, during, and after a sale — should be ethical, moral, and surpassingly good beyond the requirements of the law and the standards we tolerate.

Unity is the last and most comprehensive foundation. Truth, beauty, and goodness well deployed create unity. Without their many benefits, people are disconnected and alienated from their work. ...

From the time we wake up in the morning, until the moment we fall asleep at night, we have four dimensions to our experience of the world. We have an intellectual dimension to our experience that needs truth. We have an aesthetic dimension that needs beauty. We have a moral dimension that needs goodness. And we all have a broadly spiritual dimension that craves a sense of harmony, connectedness, or unity. ...

(cf http://www.tomvmorris.com/, Underappreciated Ideas (1999-07-06), Portrait of the Artist (2007-02-08), Find the Beauty (2011-04-03), Mantra - Mindfulness, Nonattachment, Oneness (2017-01-25), Mantra - Be Meta, Be Open, Be Love (2018-11-11), ...)

- Friday, November 30, 2018 at 04:48:46 (EST)

Light and Warmth

Cheerful thoughts from a New York Times editorial-page essay "When August Was Cold and Dark" (8 Aug 2011):

A century ago this month, three wind-battered, frozen men quietly stepped into a hut on Cape Evans in the shadow of Antarctica's Mount Erebus. They were Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers and Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Their sledge contained a precious cargo: three emperor penguin eggs, the first ever collected. To obtain them, these men — part of Robert Scott's polar expedition — had walked 60 miles to Cape Crozier and back again, dragging a heavy sledge over impossible terrain in the Antarctic winter's nearly complete darkness, howling winds and temperatures as low as 77 below zero.

It was, as Cherry-Garrard later wrote, "the worst journey in the world," a phrase he took as the title for his 1922 narrative of the Scott expedition, one of the greatest books ever written about exploration. Its author was the least likely member of that crew. Cherry-Garrard was nearly blind without his glasses, which he was unable to wear while sledging. He had little scientific training and had never been to the Antarctic. We have his book only because he was not chosen by Scott for the final push to the South Pole, which killed all its members, including Wilson and Bowers.

"And then we heard the Emperors," Cherry-Garrard writes of the climax of their winter journey, "trumpeting with their metallic voices." The contrast between those birds — thoroughly at home on the sea ice — and the men of the Crozier expedition could hardly be greater. They "were already beginning to think of death as a friend." But this month, let us imagine the relief that Wilson, Bowers and Cherry-Garrard must have felt a century ago as they wrestled out of their sledge harnesses and stepped into the light and the warmth of a small wooden hut.

Yes, and let's always remember to be thankful for light, and warmth, and friendship, and health, and food, and safety, and countless other blessings that we have!

(cf Unicorn - Thankful, Thirty Things (2013-10-01), Mantra - It's All Good (2015-01-09), Mantra - Fine and One and Blessed (2016-09-23), Mantra - So Fortunate (2018-04-25), New Superpower (2018-10-27), Mantra - Be Meta, Be Open, Be Love (2018-11-11), ...)

- Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 05:31:46 (EST)

2018-11-04 - Potomac Heritage 40k

~25 mi @ ~18 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Potomac_Heritage_50k_blood_fireball_z_2018-11-04.jpgThe Virginia Happy Trails Running Club is a low-key fun-oriented group, and this year's Potomac Heritage 50k — of which Roadkill does ~40k — is an archetypal VHTRC event. Begin in the center of Washington DC, near the Mount Pleasant home of Race Director Tom McNulty. Run down Rock Creek Trail, then head west through town to the Potomac. Cross into Virginia at Rosslyn and follow the Potomac Heritage Trail ~10 miles to the I-495 Capital Beltway bridge, then return. What could be more fun?

Well, maybe not-falling-down too often? Here, at the Turkey Run aid station, Roadkill looks about before quaffing a Fireball cinnamon-flavored whiskey. A trickle of blood on one arm records several stumbles on technical sections of the trail. Despite some tipsiness (whatever for, one wonders?) the remaining miles turn out OK!
Friends gather before the race to exchange greetings and hugs and fist-bumps, catch up on gossip, and share plans for upcoming races. Indomitable ultrarunners Caroline Williams and James Moore pose with Roadkill. Emaad Burki and Ken Swab are here and anticipate ~20 miles. Steve Gadd goes the whole way.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Potomac_Heritage_50k_Caroline_Williams_James_Moore_z_2018-11-04.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/PHT_50k_start_Sirisha-Golla_z_2018-11-04_t.jpgAwesome Sirisha Golla is at the starting line and kindly pulls Roadkill along for most of his journey today. She sets a brisk pace and we make the cutoffs together, or are close enough to be allowed to continue. Trail talk among good friends is delightful, as always. At one point while leading Sirisha trips on a concealed tree root. A few seconds later, Roadkill hits the same snag and takes an identical fall!
Matchy-matchy! At the American Legion Bridge, Sirisha and Roadkill show off their color-coordinated outfits. Sirisha goes on to finish the entire 50k, in the Position of Honor as dead last after ~9.5 hours among all who do the full distance, according to the official results as posted.

Roadkill is top among those who drop out. He stops at Chain Bridge at ~7.5 hours, helps pack up the aid station there, and hitches a ride back with a helpful volunteer. He's slow and a bit achy today, forgot to bring a flashlight, and fears the dark of the final miles. And by punching out now, he can get home in time for a dinner of TexMex at Chuy's to celebrate with dear friends Jon Jester, Amy Couch, and Stephanie Fonda.

Yes, and it's all good!


- Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 06:28:58 (EST)

Rabbits and Foxes - a Systems Dynamics Model

"Thinking in Systems" uses feedback loops. A classic example is an island of rabbits and foxes. Rabbits breed, and foxes eat them. What could be more obvious? And yet, from the mutual interrelationship emerges some extraordinary behavior. Mathematically, the Lotka-Volterra equations model such a predator-prey system. But they're coupled diffential equations that are complicated to solve and are subject to various problems (e.g., fictional fragments of foxes!).

Better: a simple systems simulation to play on paper or with tokens. Call the number of rabbits "R" and the number of Foxes "F", and discard any fractions that may occur during the calculations. There are two rule-pairs:

Thus, if you begin with 10 Rabbits and 10 Foxes:

rabbits 10101010...
foxes 10101010...

Similarly, if you start with 12 Rabbits and 10 Foxes you get:

rabbits 12121212...
foxes 10111111...

This doesn't seem very exciting so far, but now suppose you begin with 14 Rabbits and 10 Foxes — what do you think happens? Something new! After a temporary Fox population explosion there's a Rabbit near-extinction event, the Fox population drops to only 1 — at which point, alas, there can be no new foxes born — and without any Foxes left, the Rabbits reproduce like bunnies (!) and exponentiate upwards:

rabbits 14141285458153060120240480960...
foxes 10121415129531000000...

Similarly the Rabbits win if we start with 10 Rabbits and 8 Foxes:

rabbits 101215181811311248163264128...
foxes 888101419181152100000...

But paradoxically, beginning with 10 Rabbits and 6 Foxes things are quite different:

rabbits 1014202834210000000000...
foxes 66791530361894210000...

A Fox population boom drives all Rabbits to extinction, after which things also go downhill for the Foxes. Something similar happens starting with 12 and 12 of each. But beginning with 18 Rabbits & 20 Foxes, the Rabbits win; starting at 20 Rabbits & 20 Foxes, the Foxes (temporarily) "win".

Play some other cases and see how it goes!

(cf Forecasting Lessons from Systems Dynamics (2017-07-15), Systems Dynamics Advice (2017-07-12), Thinking in Systems (2017-11-03), ...)

- Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 14:42:54 (EST)

ZhurnalyWiki Random Unicorn Server

Unicorn cards — what could a rational person appreciate about such silly things?

Actually, rather a lot: there's great goodness to be had from nudging a slightly-stuck neural net — aka "mind" — out of an unhappy trap, and a tiny bump can do that. Unicorns as mythical-magical creatures are associated with beauty, power, and love. The 44 "Magical Unicorn Oracle Cards" (created ~2005 by Doreen Virtue) offer relentlessly optimistic words of affirmation and acceptance — gentle perturbations that can catalyze healthier thinking. And they feature pretty pictures from various artists. What's not to like?

Yes, and as with the "ZhurnalyWiki Random Tarot" service and other pseudorandom links, just click on the word "Unicorn" at the top of all ZhurnalyWiki pages to get a chaotically-chosen bit of unicorny advice. Try one a day, and don't cling to what comes or take it too seriously. And note that, like tarot or other artifacts, a deck of physical unicorn cards is fun to shuffle and sort. Consider getting or gifting a set for a friend in need, including one's self ...

(Unicornly URL = "http://zhurnaly.com/dummy.html>")

- Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 06:37:15 (EST)

2018-10-28 - Marine Corps Marathon Plus

12.6 mi @ ~13.7 min/mi

26.2 mi @ ~14.5 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/MCM_santa-steve_z_joyce_2018-10-28_t.jpg "We're all running longer than we slept last night!" says a fellow traveler during mile 2 of the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon. Some rested more than others: for bonus-bragging-mileage Roadkill rose at 0300 and did a quiet solo 12+ miles from his home to the event, setting out at 0415. He takes a few wrong turns but doesn't get too lost along the way. Lovely statues along 16th Street NW in DC glow in spotlight beams. Songs by Peter Gabriel ("In Your Eyes") and Sophie Hawkins ("As I Lay Me Down") and Cat Stevens ("Peace Train") play on his mental Walkman. The flag above the White House is at half-staff.

Drs K-Rex and K2 encounter long delays for the shuttle bus to get them to the race. While Roadkill awaits, who should appear but buddies Santa Steve and Joyful Joyce?!
Dawn Patrol is reunited at the security checkpoint and crosses the starting line ~25 minutes after the MCM howitzer announces the race's beginning. No worries! We dash along briskly, trying to hold back but registering a 9:55 mile #3 and finishing the first 10 miles in ~2 hours. Too fast, as usual! Extended walk breaks begin and we take turns trying to persuade one another to go on ahead. But since "Leave No One Behind!" is Rule #1, that's not a happening thing.

Barry Smith passes us at mile ~12. The "Blue Mile" commemorates military fallen in their country's defense. After mile ~15 crowds begin to thin. The right ITB develops "issues" for all three of us! Knees also begin to ache, and headaches come and go.

And it's All Good!
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/MCM_mile_26_kerry_kristin_z_2018-10-28a_t.jpgYep, it really is all good. We make the cutoffs with 20+ minutes to spare. The weather is great. Roadkill's beard gets countless shout-outs. Spectators give us pretzels, Twizzlers, and orange slices.

To warn runners behind us we signal walk breaks by raising hands. Roadkill sings bits of Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", and a fragment of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" ("I throw my hands up in the air sometimes / Saying Ayo! Gotta let go!'"). Costumed superheroes Mr and Mrs Incredible give runners high-fives and fist-bumps. Nearing the finish line we pause for photos.
With so much to be grateful for we thank each other and smile every mile. Polite, helpful Marines are ubiquitous. Leaves are turning orange and yellow and brown; clouds are dramatic. At mile ~22 we get the great news that Dr Stephanie has just finished the Javalena Jundred 100 miler.

The Dawn Patrol has run more than 2000 miles together, and the past few years have been the happiest of our careers. Such great good in this world!

(trackfile & trackfile)

- Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 19:27:30 (EST)

2018-10-22 - Hilly Hike

~3.8 mi @ ~25 min/mi

Atop Mount Wantastiquet with Dr Mary, awesome views of the Connecticut River and surrounding mountains make it clear that we must come back and run/hike much farther here. So beautiful!


- Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 02:48:50 (EST)

Drunken Master

From "5 for the Day: Fight Scenes" by Matt Zoller Seitz (Slant, 2006-11-10), insightful commentary on Jackie Chan's out-of-the-box choreography in the film Drunken Master (1978):

... Yes, I know, it's difficult—maybe impossible—to single out one Jackie Chan fight scene as his best. But since Chan absolutely must be represented on this list, I'm picking the climactic showdown from the original Drunken Master because it marks the moment when Chan came into his own as a movie star, a fight choreographer, a clown and an icon; which is to say it's the moment when Jackie Chan became Jackie Chan. In this film by director and fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping, Chan's character, a wastrel screwup, flees town to escape his the wrath of his father, the owner of a martial arts gym, and ends up studying with the title character, Sun Hua Chi (Yuen Siu Tien). Sun teaches Wong the building blocks of movie chopsocky—including Tiger, Crane and Monkey style—as well as a demanding, multifaceted fighting technique called "The Eight Drunken Immortals"—one of which, The Drunken Miss Ho, is rejected by Wong on the grounds that it's too sissified. Over time, Wong becomes a skilled fighter, but still gets his ass whipped by the nomadic assassin Thunderfoot (Hwang Jang-Lee). At the master's urging, Wong returns home to reconcile with his dad, who's been hurt in a fight with Thunderfoot, and challenges the assassin to a duel (what else can he do, sue him?).

In the ensuing fight, Wong, who can't seem to land a decent blow on his opponent, jettisons the remnants of his childish pride and improves upon his master's teaching, switching between the all the styles he's learned (particularly seven of the eight Drunken Gods) with such speed and inventiveness that Thunderfoot is surprised and overwhelmed. The turning point comes when he embraces the previously anathema eighth style, The Drunken Miss Ho, with pop-eyed gusto, cooing, mincing, skipping and flouncing while battering Thunderfoot with his fists, fingers, knuckles and feet. The scene's graceful mix of head-to-toe long shots and slingshot zooms showcases the most playful slapstick this side of a Buster Keaton two-reeler. These fighters don't just hover in the air on wires while bloodying each others' scowling faces; they grapple, flip, wriggle, scoot, crabwalk, dive and roll, and allow themselves a whopping double-take when the other guy executes a surprising but effective move. The scene is delightful not just for its dramatic potency, but its evolutionary significance within Chan's career. As the onetime student applies his master's teaching while discovering his own warrior identity, Chan perfects a screen persona that would carry him through the next three decades—a sweet, goofy, machismo-free alternative to the Spartan coolness of China's kung fu standard-bearer, Bruce Lee, who was physically Chan's equal, but would never would have agreed to a fight scene that involved batted eyelashes and teasing pelvic thrusts.

... it's all about letting-go — and saying "Yes, and..."

- Friday, November 16, 2018 at 06:11:23 (EST)

Jimmy Carter on National Strength

From former President Jimmy Carter, in the 1977 collection A Government as Good as Its People:

"... A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It's a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity. ..."

(from a speech "Warm Hearts and Cool Heads" given in New York City on 14 Oct 1976; cf An Hour Before Daylight (2004-05-25), ...)

- Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 05:27:25 (EST)

Humility, Physics, and Philosophy

Useful suggestions from "Physics Vs. Philosophy: Really?" by Marcelo Gleiser (2012), discussion of the ongoing food-fight between philosophers and physicists about the nature of everything and nothing:

... The central dogma of science is that nature is intelligible: with the diligent application of reason we can construct explanations of natural phenomena that can be tested and falsified. Within this framework, no explanation can be deemed final: as concepts and measuring tools evolve, so do our explanations of the world. ...


... we are making enormous progress in our understanding of the universe, and we can even conceive of models where the universe can be explained as a zero-energy fluctuation out of the quantum vacuum. But why not say just that, and not extrapolate this over to the much more ambitious and, as of yet, unjustified claim that science provides a solution to the first cause. Current experimental knowledge of physical processes remains some 15 orders of magnitude below the energies prevalent near the beginning.

Given that there is so much that we don't know, humility is at least advisable. ...

(cf Certainty and Doubt (1999-04-27), Edge of the Universe (1999-06-08), No Concepts At All (2001-02-22), Grand Design (2010-11-26), ...)

- Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 05:04:30 (EST)

2018-10-21 - Recovery Ramble

~2.1 mi @ ~14.0 min/mi

After a post-ultra (2018-10-20 - Ghost Train Trail Race 100k) nap it's time to stretch the old legs and join dear Dr Mary in a tiny trek around her hilly 'hood. Run-walk intervals feel good. We pause to admire front-yard Halloween decorations and lovely scenery.


- Monday, November 12, 2018 at 07:07:33 (EST)

Mantra - Be Meta, Be Open, Be Love

Three tiny thoughts about life and living:

Be Meta
Be Open
Be Love

And at the center of the venn diagram:

no Words
just Being

(cf Core Buddhism (2011-11-17), 01 (2013-11-05), 0-1 (2014-08-29), Mantra - Mindfulness, Nonattachment, Oneness (2017-01-25), Mindfulness in Three Words (2018-06-13), ...)

- Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 18:33:11 (EST)


Gerd Gigerenzer, psychologist, has thought and researched and written about the heuristics of human cognition in real-life situations of uncertainty and risk. Key concepts:

- Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 06:17:59 (EST)

Imagine Meaningless Beauty

    ... meaningless beauty
    ... senseless joy
    ... random love

(cf Debutante Dance (2005-03-22), Portrait of the Artist (2007-02-08), Public Glimpses (2007-03-10), How to Look at Sculpture (2011-12-10), Mindfulness Workshop 2015 (2015-03-19), So I Will See (2016-03-27), ...)

- Friday, November 09, 2018 at 04:44:30 (EST)

If You Need a Theorem

From the transcript of Evelyn Lamb's podcast-interview "Emily Riehl's Favorite Theorem" (Scientific American, May 2018), why Prof Riehl is not going to talk about the (in)famous Yoneda Lemma:

Emily Riehl: So I'm a category theorist, and every category theorist's favorite theorem is the Yoneda Lemma. It says that a mathematical object of some kind is uniquely determined by the relationships that it has to all other objects of the same type. In fact, it's uniquely characterized in two different ways. You can either look at maps from the object you're trying to understand or maps to the object you're trying to understand, and either way suffices to determine it.

This is an amazing theorem. There's a joke in category theory that all proofs are the Yoneda Lemma. I mean, all proofs reduce to the Yoneda Lemma.

The reason I don't want to talk about it today is two-fold. Number one, the discussion might sound a little more philosophical than mathematical, because one thing that the Yoneda Lemma does is that it orients the philosophy of category theory. Secondly, there's this wonderful experience you have as a student when you see the Yoneda Lemma for the first time, because the statement you'll probably see is not the one I just described but sort of a weirder one involving natural transformations from representable functors, and you see it, and you're like, "Okay, I guess that's plausible, but why on earth would anyone care about this?" And then it sort of dawns on you, over however many years, in my case, why it's such a profound and useful observation. So I don't want to ruin that experience for anybody.

(cf Greatest Inventions (2011-06-09), Simplicity via Abstraction (2016-01-07), Cakes, Custard, and Category Theory (2016-02-14), Category Theory Concepts (2016-04-25), Bird's-Eye View (2016-07-20), Category Theory for Programmers (2017-05-12), Ultimate Abstraction (2017-08-24), Put the Vast Storehouse in Order (2017-10-04), Yoneda Perspective (2018-10-03), ...)

- Thursday, November 08, 2018 at 05:22:21 (EST)

2018-10-20 - Ghost Train Trail Race 100k

~62 mi @ ~18 min/mi

Thank you, Dr Mary!


Adventure? "I'm in!" What else could a dear friend say? In Mary's case, "Yes, and I'll crew for you!" How could anyone turn down such an awesome gift?
Dr Mary Ewell on Wantastiquet Mountain NH overlooking Brattleboro VT

Roadkill's latest ultramarathon begins with a text-chat:

            "What do you want for your birthday, Mary?"
            "For you to come visit me again!"

And with that begins a search for trail runs, marathons, ultras, or other "cover for action" to motivate a journey to New Hampshire. The Vermont 100 adventure of July was so much fun together, even with a DNF (Did Not Finish) at mile 30. "Fail. Fail again. Fail better."? — sounds like a plan!

Yes, and Mary crewed for Roadkill there too!

The Ghost Train Trail Race on 20-21 October 2018 is within an hour's drive of Andy & Mary's new home in New Hampshire. It's an out-and-back along a rail-trail, inexpensive, and all entry fees go toward the noble cause of trail conservation. The event's spirit is ultra-low-key. Officially, one cannot DNF ("Did Not Finish") — since the Race Director says that whenever you decide to stop, that's your event distance! What's not to like?

"Repulse Monkey, Return to Mountain" — a Taiji pose at mile 15 — photo by Mary.
Repulse Monkey Return to Mountain - photo
Darryl Hamel - pacer and juggler Snag, as there always is: the Ghost Train ultra is full, and Roadkill joins the Waitlist with ~150 people ahead of him. Odds seem ultra-long against getting in. Hmmmmm ... maybe next year?

Surprise: a week before the event a message — "Congratulations - you have been selected ..." — arrives from the race organizers! Apparently the Waitlist was populated by ghosts?

Scramble: Coordinate with Mary, who instantly volunteers to crew and support, pick up and drop off, host and drive. Confirm with DW/Paulette and the office that nothing fatal will happen during a brief absence. Check train and airline schedules. Make reservations. Pack suitcase full of running gear.

Spirit: As soon as we arrive at the starting line, Mary and Roadkill know that the Ghost Train will be fun. Take Darryl Hamel's outfit ... please!.
The Ghost Train course passes by a big rock. Two kids sit on top of it, blowing a wooden train-whistle. Congenitally hyperoptimistic-hypomanic Roadkill begins to sing, with thanks to Yusuf Islam aka "Cat Stevens":

            Now I've been happy lately
            Thinking about the good things to come
            And I believe it could be
            Something good has begun

            Oh, I've been smiling lately
            Dreaming about the world as one
            And I believe it could be
            Someday it's going to come

            'Cause out on the edge of darkness
            There rides a Peace Train
            Oh, Peace Train take this country
            Come take me home again ...
Roadkill aka Mark Zimmermann - photo by
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Ghost_Train_brookline_nh_by_Mike_Fitzgerald_z_2018-10-20.jpgYes, and so many other wonderful Ghost Train memories!
  * "Orange is transformative!" and "Orange you glad you came?"
  * Joke:
      Son says, "Dad, are we pyromaniacs?"
      Dad replies, "Yes, we are, Son!"
  * New friends Tiffany Fischer and Astrid Hoyt and so many more ...
  * Oreos and Cheetos
  * Sharing naughty jokes in the woods
  * Ghosts marking the course turns
  * Pumpkins carved in diverse patterns, with scented candles
  * Big yellow "K "at the 100 kilometer turn around marker
  * Runner, 7 weeks pregnant, names her baby "Blueberry" for its size!

Roadkill suggests to the RD that next year's Ghost Train theme song should be the classic Beastie Boys piece, slightly modified to read "No Sleep till Brookline!"

Split Data

location miles clock time elapsed time avg pace split pace
Tevya (0)09:01am 00:00:00--:----:--
Milford (1)7.510:45am 01:45:3714:0414:04
Tevya (1)1512:44pm 03:44:2514:5715:50
Milford (2)22.52:49pm 05:49:4015:3216:42
Tevya (2)304:56pm 07:56:4915:5316:57
Milford (3)37.57:05pm 10:05:3416:0817:10
Tevya (3)459:24pm 12:24:5816:3318:35
Milford (4)52.511:43pm 14:43:3516:4918:28
Tevya (4)602:15am 17:15:1917:1520:13
Tevya (end)62+3:05am 18:0417:2924:30


Thank you, Dr Mary!

(trackfile + trackfile)

- Wednesday, November 07, 2018 at 19:53:09 (EST)

Genius at Play

"The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway" — apt subtitle of Siobhan Roberts' portrait Genius at Play. Also apt: the thickness and chaos of the book. Conway (born 1937, still living) was not just a mathematician; he was a polymath, especially in areas involving playful patterns. Not always a nice person, with character flaws hinted at and sometimes exposed by his biographer. Unfaithful to his wives, unreliable to his colleagues, untruthful to his listeners. Full of semi-honest stories, by turns supremely seductive and self-deprecating. Dickensian (cf Harold Skimpole) in irresponsibility about financial matters. Extraordinarily lazy and creative. Pulled countless all-nighters, sometimes productively. Both brilliant and sporadic in his research, suicidal and surreal in his personality. Possibly correct in his proverb, "The day can be saved with 45 minutes of work!" And definitely deeply meta!

(cf Dead Beginnings (2002-09-28), Mind Children (2003-04-17), Pyramid Building (2004-01-21), Perpetual Calendar (2006-01-25), ...)

- Sunday, November 04, 2018 at 05:39:48 (EST)

2018-10-15 - Bulletproof

~4.5 mi @ ~16 min/mi

"They offer you Kevlar blankets at the finish line ... wait, I mean mylar blankets - the Detroit Marathon isn't that tough!" Dawn Patrol treads cautiously in the rain, careful not to slip-trip given major race plans in weeks to come. Three Drowned Rats pause at Starbucks, where a GPS-indoors-glitch awards them a bonus half-mile. K-Rex tells of winning her daughter's help to tote and stack cords of wood over the weekend via the comment: "Exercise will make you healthier!" K2 reports on surviving a scary equestrian near-collision after a big jump over oxers yesterday.


- Saturday, November 03, 2018 at 06:43:53 (EDT)

Amateurs v Professionals

"Farnham Street" seems to be an interesting place where one can read about "...such topics as mental models, decision making, learning, reading, and the art of living." There's self-promotion, yes, and yet there's also self-improvement. And as FS head Shane Parrish said in an interview, "I try to make friends with the eminent dead, like David Foster Wallace, Ben Franklin, Seneca, Cicero, and Marcus Aurelius. There's a lot to be said for also hanging around smart people who are living." From a post last year, "The Difference between Amateurs and Professionals":

... shades of Riot Act and The Fifth Discipline?!

(cf. Common Understanding (1999-10-08), Concept Arbitraging (2012-12-15), How to Explain Anything (2016-01-28), Thinking in Systems (2017-11-03), ...)

- Friday, November 02, 2018 at 05:14:14 (EDT)

2018-10-13 - Seneca Creek Greenway Trail with K2

~19.7 mi @ ~16.3 min/mi

"Like Fight Club without the hitting!" - "Welcome to the Dark Side!" - "I'm in!" - "We get lost, and we find stuff!" - "Leave no one behind!" - "If you say 'Run', we'll run with you!" K2 and Roadkill brainstorm new mottoes for Dawn Patrol as we circle Clopper Lake. A big whitetail dear dances away through the brush, and suddenly ultra-comrade Anton Struntz materializes! Small world: the last time we saw each other was at the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon when he recited the St Crispin's Day speech from Henry V (see 2015-10-25 - Marine Corps Marathon).

"What do you want to do when you grow up?" Trail talk ranges widely today, existential-philosophical to pizza. (Is there a difference?) Beastie Boys' "No Sleep till Brooklyn" plays in Roadkill's mental jukebox; K2 suggests countering it with CCR's "Run through the Jungle". A long freight train rumbles across the high Seneca Aqueduct and we pause for photos beneath it, and at a dramatic outcropping above the stream. Bright new graffiti decorates the underside of MD-355.

"Oxer - it's a type of horse jump with two rails!", K2 explains, and answers naive questions about equestrianism. We arrive back at Sterman Elementary school DFL or nearly so, having added some bonus mileage within Seneca Creek State Park. A Roadkill dizzy spell is quickly cured by a K2 gift of Strawberry-Kiwi gel. Only one fall along the way - it's all good!


- Thursday, November 01, 2018 at 04:45:52 (EDT)

2018-10-12 - Energy Efficient

~5.6 mi @ ~14.7 min/mi

"Worst flight of my life!" says K2 of her wild ride home last night through thunderstorms, as remnants of Hurricane Michael collided with a powerful cold front. Glad she made it back safely! Dawn Patrol zig-zags around puddles and fallen branches on a shivery-brisk trek. Orion stands high in the clear southern sky. Three pairs of shiny eyes peer at us from the underbrush near Dead Run - a raccoon family reunion?!

"It's ... ah ... energy-efficient?" K-Rex strives to find a politely-positive description for nouveau-prison architecture that features slit windows and a sawtooth roof line. Gusty winds have blown down a basketball backboard. Halloween ghosts dangle from trees. A giant spider climbs a cargo-net web to invade the upper story of a home.


- Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 04:36:47 (EDT)

Mantra - Open the Aperture


... zoom out — transcend — cast the net wider — expand the context — remove the blinders — grow into the universe of possibilities — make room — and as Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests:

... sometimes, if you learn how to just stand there, at what the Zen people in the Zen archery world call the point of highest tension — nobody could string or hold back Odysseus's bow except Odysseus, nobody — but when you can stand at the point of highest tension with your thoughts going nowhere and hold it in something bigger, wakefully, not necessarily in a dream, but actually wakefully, interesting connections seem to appear because they're already here.

But we are in some sense blind to them because our thinking itself acts like lenses and prevents us from seeing orthogonal opportunities, opportunities that are rotated in some way in relationship to the passive assumptions, to what's already known. ...

... yes: something bigger ...

(cf Widening the Lens (2015-09-30), Mantra - Grind New Lenses (2017-12-26), ...)

- Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 05:00:37 (EDT)

2018-10-08 - Your Mum

~5.0 miles @ ~15.5 min/mi

"Mom, you ran a long race - you can have my leftovers!" K-Rex recalls her young daughter's kindness after yesterday's Army 10 Miler; the little girl also whispers to her big brother, "Say, 'congratulations'!". So sweet! A pair of rabbits watches Dawn Patrol pass on the way to iced coffee at Starbucks.

"You don't want to know how much those big chrysanthemums cost!" K2 warns as we tour Four Seasons flower market. ("Your Mum!" Roadkill jokes, and explains yesterday's trail humor.) Deep purple pepper plants and diverse gourds look lovely. A relaxed Halloween skeleton peeks over his sunglasses and waves as we pass by.


- Monday, October 29, 2018 at 05:03:18 (EDT)

2018-10-07 - Your Mother

~15.6 mi @ ~14.3 min/mi

"Your Mother!", new punchline to a series of ultrarunning jokes too naughty to repeat here, involving chafing and traveling vast distances. Likewise "Hideous!", a term of judgment re hairstyle. (Don't ask!)

In contrast, far happier characterization of a dear friend's lovely appearance: "Radiant!" Slow-Twitch and J-Bird meet Gayatri and Roadkill for a humid ramble along Rock Creek, walking the hills, exchanging recipes, analyzing politics, sharing plans. In KenGar eponymous Ken greets us, then rematerializes 4 miles later with Rebecca. In between, iced coffee from Java Nation fuels an inspection tour of Kensington homes and carved-stump statuary. A skeletal-hungry Halloween horse reminds us of food.

"We've all got issues." - "No, I don't!" - "Hmmm, maybe THAT is your issue?" Psychoanalysis goes meta and then meta-meta. We exaggerate how much we irritate one another ("You put my utensils away while I was still eating!" - "We need to exit in 3 miles and you're still driving in the wrong lane!" - "You turned the light off while I was in the room!") and vow to help our fellow-travelers work on self-awareness and patience. Feminine charms of Slow-Twitch sit high atop her shoulders today; they turn out to be tasty tangerines, stored in pack pouches. J-Bird massages knots in chiseled calf muscles.

"I ran my best 5k in 1936!" Or did he say "19:36"? Either interpretation is incredible. We share thankfulness for friends, families, fun together, and mutual aid in the quest for enlightenment. ("Your Mother needs more of that!")


- Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 03:06:56 (EDT)

New Superpower

After somebody walks through Hell — survives multiple crises that could have literally killed them or left them a forever-crippled husk — they look around and ask, "Is this all?"

In the growing gaps between feeling infinite gratitude, they're disappointed. Justice demands that they should have gotten something for their escape, some new superpower or magic ring or spiritual revelation or deep wisdom ... or at least major recognition, a medal and a handshake and a round of applause for returning unbroken and sorta-mostly-kinda OK, if not fully recovered.

Instead, they're thrown back into the trenches, sent out to fight again, to punch the clock and earn a living and pay the bills to support their family. Nobody seems to notice. They're penalized for low productivity during the time they were away. They're exhausted, and they still ache from damage that will never heal.

It's unfair, it's undeserved, it's totally tragic.

And what can they do about it? Well, perhaps there's nothing to do, yet three things to be:

Yes, and just be ... and is that the new superpower?

(cf Parachute Color (2011-12-06), Watch the Wound (2015-07-24), Radical Acceptance of Damage (2015-08-26), Mantra - Let Go and Let Be (2015-12-02), Stand by You (2017-01-11), ...)

- Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 06:50:04 (EDT)

2018-10-06 - PBnJ 25k with Amy

~15.4 mi @ ~20.4 min/mi

Prince William Forest Park this way sleepy z"Hyponatremia!" Kase Guevara Orgeron tells of a scary experience at the Boston Marathon some years ago. Tassie and Roadkill are doing one lap of the VHTRC PB&J 50k course in Prince William Forest Park on a humid-warm day. We compare notes re swollen fingers, debate the pronunciation of "Reynaud's Syndrome", analyze electrolyte drinks and capsules, and concur that although everybody is different some common principles commonly apply. Kase and Roadkill ran together almost five years ago (see 2013-11-16 - MCRRC Stone Mill 50 Mile Race) — maybe we will again at an ultra next month?

"The square root of 365 is about 19.1", Will Rohrs declares. We discuss statistical fluctuations and the Birthday Paradox, define "technical trail" (one where you can't eye the lovely scenery as often as the ground in front of your feet), compare injuries, and philosophize about the nature of mind, dementia, and what it means to be human. Will met Roadkill at an ultramarathon ~13.5 years ago (see HAT Run 2005). Small world!
"Look at that toadstool!" Fungi proliferate in the woods, including one scarlet heart-shaped 'shroom. Leaf mold in the air and blister issues slow our pace. We play the "Don't say 'Sorry', say 'Thank You'!" game, and finish cheerfully in time for afternoon pizza with ultra-comrades J-Bird and Slow-Twitch — a happy ending for Tassie's first long trail run!Prince William Forest


- Friday, October 26, 2018 at 05:29:54 (EDT)

2018-10-03 - College Lessons

~7.5 mi @ ~13.2 min/mi

Dr Mandy asks for big lessons-learned from higher education; Drs K2, Roadkill, and K-Rex offer suggestions. A rabbit's eye glints in headlamp's beam as Dawn Patrol trots toward the sunrise. We turn back at Old Dominion Drive, when the combination of no sidewalks and fast traffic get a wee bit scary.

"That house would look better in Malibu!" Hypermodern architecture clashes with classic home design. Inflated Halloween sculptures bring to mind a long-ago near-disastrous fire when decorative spiderweb met decorative candle.


- Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 05:25:35 (EDT)

You ready? I am. Then let's go.

Wonder Woman and Superman "You ready?"

"I am."

"Then let's go."

... art by Tony Daniel for Superman/Wonder Woman, in perhaps the best comic (hmmm, "graphic novel") image ever — evoking partnership and power ... adventure and beauty and courage ... raw grace with delicate strength ... and maybe also love plus letting-go ...

(cf Heroes (We Could Be) (2018-01-25), ...)

- Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 05:08:10 (EDT)

2018-10-01 - Lupine Library Loop

~6.4 mi @ ~14.5 min/mi

"Elbows on the table? Why not?" K-Rex reports her son's skepticism about dining customs. Under Orion and a waning moon, Dawn Patrol cruises the streets of northern McLean and makes plans for next weekend's races (the Army 10 Miler and PB&J 50k). K2 points out the mansion on Lupine Lane that burned on 27 Dec 2014, recently rebuilt and ready for sale. (see 2014-12-31 - Happy Old Year and 2015-01-02 - Lupine Loop for historical observations)

"Halloween is coming!" Decorations have begun to appear, led by front-porch pumpkins. Near the town Library, construction/renovation of the Community Center continues apace. Cool weather brings out dozens of early dog-walkers, cheerful as they and their pups greet us.


- Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 05:29:24 (EDT)

2018-09-30 - F Scott Moonplaster

~17.7 mi @ ~16 min/mi

"Stone Age password generators?" K2 speculates about the function of massive rocks on Fishers Lane with odd word combinations. (MOONPLASTER? STARSAILOR?) We scratch our heads. J-Bird and Slow-Twitch lead the way to famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald's grave. Subsequent discussion of literary-country matters includes libraries, speed-reading, phonics, pop-up books, and Braille. We return K2 to her car after ~9 miles so she can make morning commitments, then continue east into Kensington where we admire cute homes.

"Do nice people tend to become ultrarunners, or does ultrarunning make people nice?" Could the causal relationship flow both ways? We cheer participants in today's "Rock The Creek Relay" and ponder doing the whole 29 miles ourselves, rather than as part of a 6 person team. Hmm!

Back in North Bethesda kind Tassie and her tripod pup Bubba take us to the amazing Grosvenor Market where we buy ice cream and diet soda. Passing Georgetown Prep School loud football-field noises remind Slow-Twitch of similar sounds during the Tesla-Hertz 100 miler on Long Island, and the Bruce Springsteen concert near the Beast of Burden 100 miler course near Buffalo. Such great memories!

GPS glitches inside Starbucks add about half a mile.


- Friday, October 19, 2018 at 04:18:08 (EDT)

Last Last We Go Dey Alright

The New York Times special section "This is 18*" arrives and falls open to the girls-around-the-world slang page to reveal:

"Last Last We
Go Dey Alright

... explained as an "optimistic saying immortalized by the Nigerian rapper Kida Kudz. It means, 'At the end of the day, we will be all right'" according to an 18-year-old young lady named Victory. See also the Kida Kudz video and the essay by Onyl Ukorah "We Go Dey Alright Last Last!" about profound hopefulness — so good!

(cf Underappreciated Ideas (1999-07-06), This Is Equanimity (2015-03-15) Mantra - It Will Be OK (2016-04-30), Mantra - Uncertainty, Kindness, Peace, Hope (2017-06-29), ...)

- Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 21:22:11 (EDT)

2018-09-29 - Birthday Ramble

~20 miles @ ~17 min/mi

"They don't have biometrics for your bum!" We speculate that answering an emergency Call of Nature near a security camera might be anonymous, at least for now. Slow Twitch and Court Jester lead the way down the Bethesda Trolley Trail, detouring to serenade Tassie who can't join us today. At McDonalds we pause for coffee. Today is Roadkill's birthday, and we ramble without plan. Five miles? Ten? Union Station? Rock Creek? Whatever!

"A fox!" K2 points out the creature eyeing us from a ridge above the Capital Crescent Trail. Polite cyclists warn before they pass. The Potomac River is high, flooding the Georgetown waterfront, as trees and debris float in the current. At the National Zoo volunteers lead miniature donkeys through crowds of tourists; a gorilla lolls in the sun on a high platform. At mile ~20 we stop at Starbucks, share Pink Drinks and Dragon Drinks, and declare victory. An Über returns us to the start. GPS glitches in tunnels and restrooms add ~1.8 bonus miles.


- Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 05:18:15 (EDT)

Fierce Courtesy

From Coleman Barks ("The Glance: Songs of Soul-Meeting"), a poem about One and Two:

The connection to the Friend
is secret and very fragile.

The image of that Friendship
is in how you love, the grace

and delicacy, the subtle talking
together, in full prostration,

outside of time. When you're
there, remember the fierce

courtesy of the one with you.

... Yes, and always remember:


... and every other -ness that leads to love ...

(cf There's Nothing Ahead (2016-11-06), Be Ground (2016-12-27), In Your Light (2018-01-04), Friend Sits by Friend (2018-07-04), ...)

- Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 06:21:28 (EDT)

2018-09-24 - Mount Daniel

~7.8 mi @ ~13.3 min/mi

"Cooked peas!" - "Cardamom coffee!" - "Corn not on the cob!" - "Pumpkin beer!" - "Canned green beans!" Dawn Patrol discusses favorite foods and their antitheses. De gustibus, etc. Light rain falls as we ramble to the end of Woodland Drive, where at the summit of majestic Mount Daniel (~460') our way is blocked by a construction site. K-Rex and K2 make inquiries of a local native, who reveals to the explorers a muddy path leading back to civilization, aka the next neighborhood. Half a mile later, the intrepid trio is inside a Starbucks. Whew!

"Maybe we should change our name to 'The Lost and Found Patrol'? We find stuff, and we get lost a lot!" On Route 7 we pass the spot where K2 rescued a dropped drivers license ~3 months ago. K-Rex's kids are already designing their Halloween costumes; one has begun to keep a diary. Fame will soon follow ...


- Monday, October 15, 2018 at 04:21:33 (EDT)

2018-09-23 - Frolic vs Detour

~10.1 mi @ ~13.9 min/mi

Northwood High School sidewalk car"Are we on a frolic or a detour?" Nowhere Man asks. In tort law it makes a difference! (cf Frolic and Detour) Regardless, on a rainy Sunday morning we ramble up Sligo Creek, pausing to photograph miniature garden sculptures. A little old lady ("Shhh - she's a secret ultrarunner!") emerges from a dirt path at one side of a dead-end street. Adventure! The narrow muddy trail leads to Breewood Neighborhood Park, and from there the track at Northwood High School beckons.

"Look Before You Go - Pay Attention as You Cross Road", curbside art admonishes, with a dynamic drawing of a car bursting out from underground. Apparently high school students still need to be reminded! We run a lap in honor of the new World Decathlon Record set a week ago by Kevin Mayer. Another dirty digression gets us to Colt Terrace Neighborhood Park, and then via wet bikepaths and sidewalks back home.


- Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 07:19:11 (EDT)

The World We Truly Want

Beautiful thoughts by John Sterman, professor and leader of the MIT System Dynamics Group:

In my view, the real purpose and real value of a Sloan education is to develop [students'] capabilities as systems thinkers and the leadership abilities to use those capabilities to build the world we truly want. Not for the short run. Not to boost the bottom line, or to pump up the stock price. But to create the world we truly want, for the long run.

... from "The Beer Game" by Peter Dizikes, MIT Technology Review, October 2013.

(cf Transient Behavior (1999-05-11), Fifth Disciplinarians (2000-09-10), Tool Rules (2001-11-10), Forecasting Lessons from Systems Dynamics (2017-07-05), Systems Dynamics Advice (2017-07-12), ...)

- Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 06:03:52 (EDT)

2018-09-22 - Pink Drink

~17.7 mi @ ~16.3 min/mi

"It's the 'Pink Drink' — and you should try the 'Dragon Drink' too!" At Starbucks the lady in front of us picks up a strawberry-açaí coconut-milk refresher; a staffer also recommends the magenta mango-dragonfruit blend. Iced coffee during a morning run feels so pedestrian now!

"You've done your Good Deed for the day!" the Kensington policeman congratulates us. Crabby finds a lost drivers license on the street, and Tassie figures out where the owner's apartment is. We divert to drop it off. Mission accomplished!

"It's a gun shop and a model train store!" somebody notes, and recalls visiting there for one but not the other. Someone else tries to tell a mildly risqué model train joke as we attack the hills of Kensington Heights (or vice versa). Early morning rain leaves puddles and humidity. Time-on-feet is today's sole goal, so we explore new cut-through paths, get lost and found again, backtrack, and pause for selfies by varied sculptures. Trail talk ranges widely over politics and current events, injuries and training, upcoming races and personal plans.

"Does that poison ivy rash itch?" — "Only when you ask about it!" A local 8k race provides an opportunity to applaud passing runners; a chipmunk hesitates, then dashes away. Slurpees from 7-11 are cooling but sit heavy in stomachs. A big buck bends low to rub velvet off his antlers against a fallen tree beside Rock Creek.


- Friday, October 12, 2018 at 04:33:17 (EDT)

2018-09-21 - Upstairs, Downstairs

~5.6 mi @ ~12.4 min/mi

"Those stair lights would be great going down," K-Rex observes. "And they'd be blinding going up!" Friday's Dawn Patrol meanders through Pimmit Hills and critiques the latest trends in suburban architecture. Most mini-mansions under construction seem to devote the majority of their ground floors to multi-car garages. We dodge around kids waiting for school bus rides, cut through a neighborhood park, and admire lawn ornaments.


- Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 05:50:08 (EDT)

Getting Things Done Practices

Suggestions from Mark Volkmann's "Getting Things DONE summary", nicely capturing some of productivity-guru David Allen's recommendations of practices to adopt:

... well, yes — and flossing more often too!

... so yes, perhaps the place to begin is by being kinder to one's self, on the way to getting better-organized — as per Mantra - Love Your Self and Mantra - Be Your Own Best Friend ...

(cf Mind Like Water (2011-12-24), Getting Things Done - Summarized (2012-05-14), Mindless Mind (2012-10-06), David Allen Summarized (2014-04-29), Feel Good about What You Are Doing (2016-05-25), David Allen on Opportunities and Gracefulness (2018-07-02), ...)

- Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 06:09:45 (EDT)

2018-09-19 - Perspectives

~4.6 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"Knows right answer when told!" Dawn Patrol characterizes authorities who are, unfortunately, sometimes more decisive-certain than nuanced-wise. We ramble, sharing without judging, in search of iced coffee. And small-world surprise: chlose cholleague Chiara materializes at Starbucks just as we arrive! Shared laughter ensues. We cut through a nursery and admire the mums and gourds.

"Say 'Experiment', not 'Focus Group', if you want to get approval these days." And so the phrase du jour evolves. Once upon a time it was "catastrophe theory" and "mobile missiles". Now it's "deep learning" and "blockchain". What's next?

"Take a higher perspective!" K-Rex suggests. K2 and Roadkill concur on the value of being more 'meta', and not fretting so much about the small stuff. We're blessed to be out here together — and nobody has fallen down lately, yay!


- Tuesday, October 09, 2018 at 05:29:26 (EDT)

2018-09-16 - Polygamy Porter

~6.5 mi @ ~14 min/mi

"Polygamy Porter — bring some home to the wives!" says the slogan for a Utah brew. Nowhere-Man recalls the "Go West Beer Fest" that he attended with Ken and Emaad, and what happened afterwards. (Trail Talk!) We try to enhance today's trackfile with a loop, fall prey to a dead-end street with no cut-through escape, and have to backtrack. A realistic great blue heron sculpture stands guard in a front-yard garden. Ken and Win meet us in the tunnel under the train tracks. Two big deer amble across Rock Creek Trail.

"Is that a gall?" - "Or a boll?" - "It looks like a giant brain!" We try to remember the term ("burl") for a canker-like growth on the side of a tree. Win discusses plans for playful pranks and wonders about the potential benefits of electrical muscle stimulation for healing injuries. ("Just don't attach the wires to your head!") Ken describes today's "Baldo" Sunday comic strip, with punchline "Libraries are theme parks for the mind!" Nowhere-Man's tie-dye-style skull shirt reads "Run or Die" with subscript "Singletrack Mind".


- Monday, October 08, 2018 at 04:37:18 (EDT)

Mantra - No Watcher, Only Watching

No Watcher,
Only Watching

As Bhante Henepola Gunaratana says:

... You perceive the universe as a great flowing river of experience. ... You stand there transfixed, staring at this incessant activity, and your response is wondrous joy. It's all moving, dancing and full of life. ...

(cf The Watcher (2010-11-15), Mantra - No Self (2016-10-25), Simple but Not Easy (2018-01-10), Mantra - Unself Together (2018-03-30), ...)

- Sunday, October 07, 2018 at 07:18:21 (EDT)

2018-09-15 - You Are Loved

~22 mi @ ~15.5 min/mi

"You Are Loved" - Garrett Park Sidewalk stencil with Caitlin"UR ❤️'D" reads a sweet square sidewalk stencil on Strathmore Avenue. Crabby and Roadkill pause to frame it with their fresh kicks. We're finishing the postscript to a happy humid urban ramble with Tassie and K2 that includes:
- 3 deer, a gaggle of geese, and at least 1 rabbit sighting
- a midcourse ice pop stop at Chateau Spargeaux
- "Cards Against Humanity" vocabulary lessons from the Game Night winner (don't ask!)
- multiple new cut-throughs between neighborhood streets
- Starbucks iced coffee (yay!)
- mitzvah visits to Slow Twitch and Court Jester - the first to console the sick, the second to fetch Tassie's forgotten phone
- helpful tips for newbies attending the upcoming 2019 Dopey Challenge
- a fairy ring featuring an invisible meditative zen fairy seated amidst the mushrooms (and if she was invisible, how do we know she was there? don't ask!)

"She named many religious holidays - but they were all for the wrong religions!" Someone's five-year-old was far too ecumenical for a single-faith summer camp. Trail talk celebrates the growing openness of society in many dimensions of life. A front yard is dense in reflecting globes and other ornaments.

"That cricket is driving me crazy!" Crabby's bête noir is an inch long and lurks outside her bedroom, chirping amorous serenades before sunrise. K2 and Tassie get their 10 mile goal plus a 20% bonus; Crabby likewise overachieves her planned 18 miles. At the end of the trek, Häagen Dazs on a stick gets Roadkill's core temperature down. Thank you, C - and thanks to all for a lovely-therapeutic Saturday morning jaunt with friends!


- Saturday, October 06, 2018 at 04:46:46 (EDT)

2018-09-14 - Heroes

~5.4 mi @ ~12.9 min/mi

"We can do anything!" says K2, ambiguously, as Dawn Patrol pauses at the first corner. Roadkill hears her remark as a delicious allusion to the Alesso song "Heroes (we could be)", with its lyrics about secret superpowers and running as a team through dark empty streets (see below). Or then again, maybe it's just a statement of openness about today's route? K-Rex chooses to turn left. Onward!

"I've stopped caring! Uh, no — I mean, it will turn out OK no matter what." Roadkill backpedals furiously re the latest re-org. We arrive at the Potomac Heritage Trail head and fight temptation to play hooky from morning meetings.

"Welcome! Here's a glass of water and two Tylenol!" K-Rex recalls her Mom's present to her Dad after he took the kids on a fishing expedition. Sometimes little ones are quite a headache; then, there are all the rewards. Final miles bring reminisces about homemade moon pies, chessboards of vanilla and chocolate cookies, and other oven delicacies. Yum!

"Heroes (we could be)" by Alesso

We go hide away in daylight
We go undercover when under 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 ...


- Friday, October 05, 2018 at 05:07:27 (EDT)

2018-09-12 - Ghost

~6.2 mi @ ~13.2 min/mi

"So am I a ghost?" K2 asks, after Mandy and K-Rex run through spiderwebs along the trail while following close behind her. Then we realize that she's wearing Brooks brand "Ghost" shoes. Hmmmm ... could this be the surprise-ending revelation for a thriller?

"Venting? That's exactly what Dawn Patrol is for!" The first week of school brings schedule chaos. Looming hurricane winds threaten to knock down trees, disrupt electricity, flood neighborhoods. We meander by flashlight and headlamp through quiet streets, and spy a deer, a fox, and a rabbit. Humidity is high; light drizzle begins.

"He was playing with my kids, and then walked home. Next thing I knew, fire trucks and ambulances pulled up in front of his house." Hours later Damon, a dear family friend, died. His memorial service was held just a few days ago. We share sorrows and memories, and give thanks for lives rich in love and caring.


- Thursday, October 04, 2018 at 05:50:39 (EDT)

Yoneda Perspective

From "The Yoneda Perspective", a 2017 essay by Tai-Danae Bradley, discussing the Yoneda Lemma of Category Theory:

... mathematical objects are completely determined by their relationships to other objects ...

... and:

... the properties of a mathematical object are more important than its definition ...

... and in the remarks on that essay, a comment by David Roberts:

Q: "What is the Yoneda lemma? And if it's just a lemma then - my gosh - what's the theorem?"

A: "All of them."

(cf Tai-Danae Bradley's blog and her 2018 notes "What is Applied Category Theory?"...)

- Wednesday, October 03, 2018 at 04:46:44 (EDT)

2018-09-10 - Thank You, Mr Rogers

~4.6 mi @ ~14.0 min/mi

"Yes, and...!" Dawn Patrol concurs on the value of a relentlessly positive attitude — in work, life, and everywhere else — during a drizzly-dark ramble featuring midcourse iced coffee from a chatty barista, three deer, a wet rabbit, and a big brown wood frog that hops along the path in McLean Central Park. We catch up on family news (all's well) and vow to practice better self-care. Currently one of us is recovering from a bad cold and one reports twinges in ITB, hip, hamstring, and various other places. Do as we say, not as we do?

"It takes 1 letter to say I, 4 letters to say Love, and 3 letters to say You. That's 143!" K2 recommends the new film "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" and describes Fred Rogers' secret way to say "I Love You". (He also tried to hold his weight at 143 pounds.) "The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they're loved and capable of loving." Radical kindness, and a code language to express the two most important messages in the world: "Thank you." And, "I love you."


- Tuesday, October 02, 2018 at 06:48:35 (EDT)

2018-09-09 - Parks Half Marathon

~13.1 mi @ ~9.0 min/mi

"Prune fingers!" Crabby holds her hands in front of the car heater vents to dry them post-race. Today's Parks Half Marathon is a soggy sprint through heavy showers that flood Rock Creek Trail. We high-step through ankle-deep puddles, splashing and laughing on our mission to get Craberella to the finish line in under 2 hours. And she makes it, for a monster PB improvement - yay!

"Many years ago on a trail run you said, 'Passing on your left, Sir' - and I still remember that!" Richard Szwerc tells Roadkill. Looking back, likely it was the 2011 "MCRRC Piece of Cake" 10k XC race. Today, though, it's Richard who does the passing. Caroline, official 1:55 target time leader, is friendly and establishes a solid pace from the start. Roadkill can't keep up and slips back after ~4 miles; Crabby hangs on longer to finish in an awesome ~1:57 - brava!

"I smell pizza!" Nowhere Man rides with Roadkill to the start and plans begin early for post-race recovery fuel. We thank C's husband Bill, who drives us to the start of the event. Near the finish line C's mom cheers us for the final dash, then takes photos. Crabby displays medals and hats; Roadkill is happy to get an ice pop. Right after finishing his calves cramp up ferociously.

"It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you / There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do / I bless the rains down in Africa ...", plays on the radio as Roadkill parks his car in the dark this morning. It's Weezer's cover of Toto's song "Africa" - and throughout today's rainy race it's on heavy rotation in the mental boom box. Unofficial results: 494th of ~1400 finishers, 349th of ~700 males, 4th of 19 males 65-69 years old, gun time 1:58:58, chip time 1:58:32 - after many years, sub-2 hours one more time!
Parks Half Marathon photo by Zeitvogel


- Monday, October 01, 2018 at 04:28:04 (EDT)

2018-09-08 - Aussie Talk

~8.6 mi @ ~15.2 min/mi

Bethesda hibiscus"And that is Australian slang for ...", Tassie offers Down Under language lessons to Slow Twitch and Roadkill, who true to his trail name jaywalks to show faith in right-of-way regulations. Thankfully, today not fatal! On a cool and humid morning the Bethesda Trolley Trail takes three friends south in search of iced coffee. En route trail talk ensues. We practice role-playing selfish, arrogant, assertive characters - and faux-scold one another when normal self-deprecating and self-sacrificing tendencies surface. It's a day for shameless Mr Hyde, not diffident Dr Jekyll. We offer mutual reassurance that, though times are tough right now, we're all doing our best and the most important things will ultimately turn out OK. Yes!

"Remember crouching behind that wall?" - "There's the security camera I stood in front of!" - "At mile 60 we played the 'Would You Rather ...' game!" - "Do you know the ASL sign for that?" We share memories of local training runs and ultramarathon anecdotes. Slow Twitch recounts tales from last weekend's awesome-tough 71-mile odyssey around The Ring. Hibiscus flowers flaunt their beauty in roadside gardens.

"So do you guys have any info I can read if - hypothetically - I wanted to train for my first ultra? I mean, just for academic purposes?" young Tassie texts a few hours later. Uh-oh!


- Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 05:48:22 (EDT)

Mindless, Rigid, Separated

Opposites of Mindfulness + Nonattachment + Oneness? Inverses of Meta & Soft & Open? How about:

(cf 0-1 (2014-08-29), Mantra - Mindfulness, Nonattachment, Oneness (2017-01-25), ...)

- Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 05:57:58 (EDT)

2018-09-05 - Crickets

~3.7 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Crickets!" notes Dr K-Rex — referring not to silence but to loud insect noises on a humid morn. A shadowy fox slips silently into the bushes. Dawn Patrol cuts through tiny Pimmit View Park and admires glowing blue lawn art as the sky brightens around a waning crescent moon. We mew at a cat watching us from its front porch perch.


- Friday, September 28, 2018 at 05:29:51 (EDT)

2018-09-03 - Woodside

~12.6 mi @ ~13.9 min/mi

"Knight of Pentacles - Slow Down!" Today's tarot card counsels patience, wise advice on a super-humid morning with sunbeams piercing the misty shadows. Hibiscus flowers blossom uninhibited and spiderwebs span Sligo Creek Trail. Today's route meanders through comrade Amy's former 'hood, Woodside, inside the Beltway. A northern flicker (woodpecker) takes wing on Pin Oak Drive; three deer feed at the meadow near a Goose Crossing sign. A painted mini-angel guards a driveway.

"We're oozing energy today!" Nowhere Man notes. Or sweating it out? Four electrolyte caps, a salty gel, a bottle of Gatorade, and three pints of water result in 3+ lbs of weight loss. Rabbit count = 1. In the final mile neighborhood runner Ryan introduces himself as he dashes by.


- Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 06:08:59 (EDT)

2018-09-02 - Gateless Gate

~12.1 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Who's blocking the Gateless Gate?" Roadkill stands athwart the entrance to the Japanese tea house in Brookside Gardens. Is this a Zen riddle? If there's no Self, then who's stopping whom?

"Let's visit the Butterflies!" Nowhere Man suggests. Alas, it's not open until later this morning, so we we walk around the outside of the conservatory and eye the exhibits there. On the way to the park we detour to get bottles of chilled PowerAde, thanks to kind Robin Z. Heat and humidity are oppressive. A deer steps aside for us to pass. We wonder how Slow Twitch and Court Jester can possibly survive The Ring, and learn later that they both somehow finished that 71 mile über-mountainous trail run. Awesome!


- Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 04:46:36 (EDT)

Twilight Sparkle

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Indeed — starting with the My Little Pony universe's "Friendship is Magic" show. Who would have thought of a children's TV series featuring "Five Elements of Friendship" — honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, and loyalty — that combine into a sixth Element, "magic", each one personified by a pastel horse?

And the primary character, "Twilight Sparkle", here drawn featuring the "Yes, and... mantra?

Such a marvelous world we live in!

- Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 05:35:13 (EDT)

2018-09-01 - Turnabout

~16 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Is my face red?!" Barry and Roadkill ask in embarrassment as they discover that they've gotten turned around on the one-dimensional Capital Crescent Trail and have gone half a mile in the wrong direction. Oops! Ken and Emaad finish the run and phone, concerned about the prodigal pair, to find out where we are. We speculate that the trail name "Nowhere Man" could fit Barry.

"Good morning, Mr Bun!" A rabbit scampers into the bushes as Roadkill does a solo preface trot to the group trek. Morning dawns warm and hyper-humid. On the way to Bethesda a florist's delivery van flashes lovely flowers on its flanks, and wooden bears guard a home on hilly Leland Street. Dear friends are in our thoughts as they run The Ring today, a 71-mile mountainous ultra on the Massanutten Trail.


- Monday, September 24, 2018 at 04:34:58 (EDT)

2018-08-31 - Memorial Mosaics

~5.2 mi @ ~13.1 min/mi

Falls Church McLean Childrens Center memorial mosaic"Chorus of crickets!" K-Rex comments, as Dawn Patrol surveys Pimmit Hills on a hyper-humid morning, serenaded by chirps. Headlamp comes out for the first time after a summer of early sunrises. At the Lemon Road Elementary School (Falls Church McLean Childrens Center) we pause at sad-beautiful memorial mosaics to a local child who lived only 2000-2009. A shadowy raccoon dashes across the street; a faster runner clears the cobwebs from the path ahead of us.
"I set that trap to capture your queen!" K-Rex reports on her son's metacognitive commentary during their recent chess games. Zombie-eyed kids shamble toward street corners to await their school buses.Falls Church McLean Childrens Center memorial mosaic


- Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 05:53:25 (EDT)

2018-08-29 - Leadership Training

~6.3 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"And she won her very first marathon!" Mandy tells of her awesome-strong triathlete sister-in-law who broke every rule and yet came out on top. We remind ourselves not to make comparisons with other people, or even with our past selves. Humidity hangs heavy as K-Rex leads the Dawn Patrol east through neighborhoods of hills, mansions, and friendly dog-walkers. We discuss Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership training and other courses aimed at making senior managers better. (Do they? Or do they just sharpen what was already there?) Fog hangs low over the elementary school playground, and dew-drenched grass wets our feet as we cut through to the condo complex. A deer nibbles honeysuckle blossoms at McLean High School.


- Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 04:31:32 (EDT)

Feynman by Ottaviani and Myrick

Graphic novel biography of Nobel-Prize-winning theoretical physicist: what could go wrong? Besides everything? Amazingly, (almost) nothing goes (seriously) wrong. Feynman, by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick, as a comic book flows fast and tells diverse stories about Richard P Feynman (1918-1988). No (significant) new scholarship, lots of diverse classic anecdotes of a fascinating, flawed person.

Freeman Dyson, friend of Feynman and fellow physicist, explains in his review:

... The genre of serious comic-book literature was highly developed in Japan long before it appeared in the West. The Ottaviani-Myrick book is the best example of this genre that I have yet seen with text in English. Some Western readers commonly use the Japanese word manga to mean serious comic-book literature. According to one of my Japanese friends, this usage is wrong. The word manga means "idle picture" and is used in Japan to describe collections of trivial comic-book stories. The correct word for serious comic-book literature is gekiga, meaning "dramatic picture." The Feynman picture-book is a fine example of gekiga for Western readers.

Dyson concludes his essay on a personal note:

... He hated all hierarchies, and wanted no badge of superior academic status to come between him and his younger friends. He considered science to be a collective enterprise in which educating the young was as important as making personal discoveries. He put as much effort into his teaching as into his thinking.

He never showed the slightest resentment when I published some of his ideas before he did. He told me that he avoided disputes about priority in science by following a simple rule: "Always give the bastards more credit than they deserve." I have followed this rule myself. I find it remarkably effective for avoiding quarrels and making friends. A generous sharing of credit is the quickest way to build a healthy scientific community. In the end, Feynman's greatest contribution to science was not any particular discovery. His contribution was the creation of a new way of thinking that enabled a great multitude of students and colleagues, including me, to make their own discoveries.

Feynman wasn't larger-than-life — he fully filled his space-time. R.I.P

(cf Late Physicists (2000-09-24), Fractal Feynman (2003-01-30), Essential Knowledge (2005-06-20), Feynman Lectures (2006-11-26), Feynman on Poetry and Science (2015-11-03), Symmetry in Physical Laws (2015-12-12), Alternative Paths (2017-01-15), Feynman on Good Stuff (2018-06-03), ...)

- Friday, September 21, 2018 at 05:12:32 (EDT)

2018-08-27 - Cobweb Help

~5.5 mi @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Thank you for clearing the spiderwebs for us!" Dawn Patrol salutes a handsome young gentleman who dashes ahead on the path by Georgetown Pike.

"You're welcome," he replies. "Actually I took care of them earlier, outbound." We start in gloom, running by cellphone glow in darker patches under trees.

"That could be a car advertisement!" K-Rex observes as a full moon sets, perfectly placed, above a mansion with a luxury auto parked in front. She and K2 spy three rabbits as we lope along neighborhood lanes.


- Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 05:36:49 (EDT)

Mantra - Gently, Gently, Gently


... and as Bhante Henepola Gunaratana says:

... Mindfulness is cultivated by a gentle effort, by effortless effort. You cultivate mindfulness by constantly reminding yourself in a gentle way to maintain your awareness of whatever is happening right now. Persistence and a light touch are the secrets. Mindfulness is cultivated by constantly pulling oneself back to a state of awareness, gently, gently, gently. ...

(cf Gently, Gently, Gently in Mindfulness in Plain English, Chapter 14 "Mindfulness versus Concentration", ...)

- Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 04:29:21 (EDT)

2018-08-26 - Scooby-Doo

~8.9 mi @ ~15.0 min/mi

"Ruh-Roh!" Barry translates Scooby-Doo dialect for clueless Roadkill. (Uh-Oh!) A speedy 3-year-old kid, chased by his hound, leads us along a narrow trail through the woods near Rock Creek. His father lags far behind shouting, "Romeo, Romeo!" as we add a bit of bonus mileage after a loop around Chevy Chase with Gayatri. On the way to rendezvous, pause for pics of Hello Kitty "Baby on Board" car decals. Give thanks for dawn, for friends, for beauty, for health.


- Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 05:31:15 (EDT)

2018-08-25 - Only Cups

~11.5 mi @ ~14 min/mi

"I'm hungry and they have no food in the house, only cups!" and "I do everything and you do nothing!" Cait and K2 recount complaints by exhausted little kids having meltdowns. Life is so tough sometimes! We join Santa, Ken, and Barry for part of a cool Saturday morning ramble. Plans take shape for the Disney Dopey Challenge race series in January. "What's your favorite Disney movie?" Roadkill names "Fight Club", and vows to be more adventurous, more open, more accepting. He dashes across a street to photograph wall art in downtown Bethesda.

"I started crying within the first 3 minutes and completely lost it by the end!" The new Mr Rogers movie, "Won't You Be My Neighbor", is reviewed and recommended. (Quick, buy stock in tissue companies!) At the opposite end of the nice-naughty spectrum, "DTF" is defined for the more innocent Dawn Patrol members in the context of OkCupid's recent ad campaign. (If you don't know, don't ask!)

"My neighbor's father was her Captain!" The USS Torsk is now a museum submarine in Baltimore's Inner Harbor; K2 saw it and, last weekend, so did Cait's family. Small world! Runkeeper's GPS glitches wildly during the journey through the Dalecarlia tunnel and awards us a bonus 2-minute mile.


- Monday, September 17, 2018 at 05:36:32 (EDT)

Causal Inference in Statistics

Heavy going, marred pedagogically by poor choice of notation, too many typographical errors, and overly-complex examples — yet nonetheless Causal Inference in Statistics: A Primer by Judea Pearl, Madelyn Glymour, and Nicholas Jewell offers an introductory glimpse of how to think about cause and not just correlation in collections of data. Bayesian graphs are Giant Step #1, and midway through the journey, a glimpse:

...There is a powerful symbolic machinery, called the do-calculus, that allows analysis of such intricate structures. In fact, the do-calculus uncovers all causal effects that can be identified from a given graph. Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this book ...

Perhaps there's a gentler pre-primer introduction to this topic? Perhaps it is yet to be written? Or perhaps Robert Tucci's 2013 "Introduction to Judea Pearl's Do-Calculus" is one such gateway, as recommended by Ferenc Huszár's "ML beyond Curve Fitting: An Intro to Causal Inference and do-Calculus" earlier this year?

(cf Statistics - A Bayesian Perspective (2010-08-13), Introduction to Bayesian Statistics (2010-11-20), Doing Bayesian Data Analysis (2013-11-02), Probability Theory, the Logic of Science (2013-11-18), Statistical Hypothesis Inference Testing (2013-12-01), ...)

- Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 13:36:34 (EDT)

2018-08-24 - Cheetos, Chipwich, Sponge Bob

~5.4 mi @ ~14.2 min/mi

"No backsies!" calls K-Rex, when Roadkill tries to retract the word "walk" that, by Dawn Patrol Rule #7, mandates a walk-break. An amazingly cool August morning demands a long ramble. A beer truck makes a super-wide turn that rolls wheels all across the sidewalk.

"Cheetos, Chipwich, or Sponge Bob?" At a gas station convenience store we pause and, to the clerk's amusement, ponder the broad spectrum of salty, sugary, and icy snacks. A Marshall HS five-star logo calls for a selfie. Animal statues adorn a tiny fenced-in parking lot. Fragrant roses bloom. Drs K&K drop sad Roadkill off at a Metro station (alas, he has early meetings) and continue, GPS-less, for another dozen+ miles of adventure and fellowship.


- Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 04:35:47 (EDT)

2018-08-22 - Mudslide

~4.2 mi @ ~12.3 min/mi

"!!!!" Slip-skitter-slithering on a surprise layer of mud, in the dark, crossing under-construction Old Dominion Drive, startled Dawn Patrol members somehow manage not to fall, pause to catch breath, let pounding hearts recover. "Did you take ballet in your youth?" - "No, did you?" - "Maybe T'ai Chi helps balance?" - "Maybe we're just lucky!" We ramble to Starbucks for iced coffee. Trail talk suggests moving family time and self-care higher up on the list of priorities. There's great thankfulness for friendship, sharing-without-judging, and domestic peace as anniversaries loom. Sometimes it's vital just to say, "Yes, Dear!"

"Let's walk when we reach that ..." - "Too late, I heard the word 'walk' and I'm walking already!" Maybe alien-syntax verbs to the end of sentences moved should used be? K2 begins a psyop to get Roadkill to run the Disney Dopey Challenge in January 2019. Perhaps he should take his own advice and say "Yes, and...?"


- Friday, September 14, 2018 at 04:37:28 (EDT)

For back issues of the ^zhurnal see Volumes v.01 (April-May 1999), v.02 (May-July 1999), v.03 (July-September 1999), v.04 (September-November 1999), v.05 (November 1999 - January 2000), v.06 (January-March 2000), v.07 (March-May 2000), v.08 (May-June 2000), v.09 (June-July 2000), v.10 (August-October 2000), v.11 (October-December 2000), v.12 (December 2000 - February 2001), v.13 (February-April 2001), v.14 (April-June 2001), 0.15 (June-August 2001), 0.16 (August-September 2001), 0.17 (September-November 2001), 0.18 (November-December 2001), 0.19 (December 2001 - February 2002), 0.20 (February-April 2002), 0.21 (April-May 2002), 0.22 (May-July 2002), 0.23 (July-September 2002), 0.24 (September-October 2002), 0.25 (October-November 2002), 0.26 (November 2002 - January 2003), 0.27 (January-February 2003), 0.28 (February-April 2003), 0.29 (April-June 2003), 0.30 (June-July 2003), 0.31 (July-September 2003), 0.32 (September-October 2003), 0.33 (October-November 2003), 0.34 (November 2003 - January 2004), 0.35 (January-February 2004), 0.36 (February-March 2004), 0.37 (March-April 2004), 0.38 (April-June 2004), 0.39 (June-July 2004), 0.40 (July-August 2004), 0.41 (August-September 2004), 0.42 (September-November 2004), 0.43 (November-December 2004), 0.44 (December 2004 - February 2005), 0.45 (February-March 2005), 0.46 (March-May 2005), 0.47 (May-June 2005), 0.48 (June-August 2005), 0.49 (August-September 2005), 0.50 (September-November 2005), 0.51 (November 2005 - January 2006), 0.52 (January-February 2006), 0.53 (February-April 2006), 0.54 (April-June 2006), 0.55 (June-July 2006), 0.56 (July-September 2006), 0.57 (September-November 2006), 0.58 (November-December 2006), 0.59 (December 2006 - February 2007), 0.60 (February-May 2007), 0.61 (April-May 2007), 0.62 (May-July 2007), 0.63 (July-September 2007), 0.64 (September-November 2007), 0.65 (November 2007 - January 2008), 0.66 (January-March 2008), 0.67 (March-April 2008), 0.68 (April-June 2008), 0.69 (July-August 2008), 0.70 (August-September 2008), 0.71 (September-October 2008), 0.72 (October-November 2008), 0.73 (November 2008 - January 2009), 0.74 (January-February 2009), 0.75 (February-April 2009), 0.76 (April-June 2009), 0.77 (June-August 2009), 0.78 (August-September 2009), 0.79 (September-November 2009), 0.80 (November-December 2009), 0.81 (December 2009 - February 2010), 0.82 (February-April 2010), 0.83 (April-May 2010), 0.84 (May-July 2010), 0.85 (July-September 2010), 0.86 (September-October 2010), 0.87 (October-December 2010), 0.88 (December 2010 - February 2011), 0.89 (February-April 2011), 0.90 (April-June 2011), 0.91 (June-August 2011), 0.92 (August-October 2011), 0.93 (October-December 2011), 0.94 (December 2011-January 2012), 0.95 (January-March 2012), 0.96 (March-April 2012), 0.97 (April-June 2012), 0.98 (June-September 2012), 0.99 (September-November 2012), 0.9901 (November-December 2012), 0.9902 (December 2012-February 2013), 0.9903 (February-March 2013), 0.9904 (March-May 2013), 0.9905 (May-July 2013), 0.9906 (July-September 2013), 0.9907 (September-October 2013), 0.9908 (October-December 2013), 0.9909 (December 2013-February 2014), 0.9910 (February-May 2014), 0.9911 (May-July 2014), 0.9912 (July-August 2014), 0.9913 (August-October 2014), 0.9914 (November 2014-January 2015), 0.9915 (January-April 2015), 0.9916 (April-July 2015), 0.9917 (July-September 2015), 0.9918 (September-November 2015), 0.9919 (November 2015-January 2016), 0.9920 (January-April 2016), 0.9921 (April-June 2016), 0.9922 (June-July 2016), 0.9923 (July-September 2016), 0.9924 (October-December 2016), 0.9925 (January-February 2017), 0.9926 (March-April 2017), 0.9927 (May-June 2017), 0.9928 (June-October 2017), 0.9929 (October-December 2017), 0.9930 (December 2017-March 2018), 0.9931 (March-April 2018), 0.9932 (May-July 2018), 0.9933 (July-September 2018), 0.9934 (September-December 2018), 0.9935 (December 2018-February 2019), 0.9936 (February-April 2019), 0.9937 (April-July 2019), 0.9938 (July-August 2019),... ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2018 by Mark Zimmermann.)

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