Howdy, pilgrim! No ads — you're in volume 0.9902 of the ^zhurnal (that's Russian for "journal") — see ZhurnalyWiki for a Wiki edition of individual items; see Zhurnal and Zhurnaly for quick clues as to what this is all about; see Random for a random page. Briefly, this is the diary of ^z = Mark Zimmermann ... previous volume = 0.9901 ... 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 ...
(cf. Key Problems (2003-10-11), SevenBasicPlots (2005-05-02), TrainingEffects (2006-11-11), AntiArrogance (2007-12-24), Ten Strategies for Success (2008-08-29), Reinhabit Your Body (2010-10-27), ...)
- Tuesday, February 05, 2013 at 05:20:47 (EST)
|Gollum Enterprises is coming out with a new line of skin-care products — and they've asked me to be their hand model!|
(Contributing factors to a harsh image: age, loss of subcutaneous fat, harsh low-angle lighting, deliberately tense tendons, close cropping, contrast enhancement, ...)
- Monday, February 04, 2013 at 04:10:34 (EST)
How to cause others to appear immediately if you're lost in the woods and haven't seen anyone for miles? Just step off the trail to relieve yourself, and somebody is guaranteed to materialize! Or so it seems at times. The complex maze of trails in this off-road biker's paradise has befuddled me before (cf. 2010-07-19 - Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, 2010-07-20 - Tangle of Trails, and 2012-01-15 - Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park Trail Tangle). Today I meander west, explore the boundaries of the park, follow on a whim "Mark's Art" with its highly banked curves, pause to photograph caliche cliffs and hillsides, and finish up the ~10k trek by sprinting (slowly) the final segment back to the parking lot. Runkeeper estimates the distance ~3% short compared to the Garmin GPS, perhaps because it doesn't resolve all the twists and turns.
(see  for park trail maps ...)
- Sunday, February 03, 2013 at 06:29:33 (EST)
At the end of Chapter 21 ("Find Strength") of the sweet little book on mindfulness Just One Thing, author Rick Hanson offers inspirational thoughts on the value of inner strength, stamina, perseverance, competence — and most importantly, self-realization of one's true power:
Notice how good it feels to be strong. Feel the pleasure in your body, perhaps a quiet fierceness and resolve. Enjoy the confidence that strength brings, the sense of possibility. Appreciate how your strength empowers your caring, protectiveness, and love.
Tell yourself that you are strong. That you can endure, persist, cope, and prevail. That you are strong enough to hold your experience in awareness without being overwhelmed. That the winds of life can blow, and blow hard, but you are a deeply rooted tree, and winds just make you even stronger.
And when they are done, there you still stand. Offering shade and shelter, flowers and fruit. Strong and lasting.
- Saturday, February 02, 2013 at 05:21:19 (EST)
|NO TRESPASSING |
So say the signs (in Spanish and English) around the LBJ High School track. But how can a public school field be "private property"? Nonetheless, I'm nervous as I run around the perimeter of the fence (the hole to get in from Purple Sage Dr has been patched recently) and find my way in. Soccer games are going on at the adjacent field, but I've got the cushioned 400m oval to myself at midday as I commence a ladder: 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 laps. For the first half I'm hoping that no police show up to throw me out; for the second half, I'm praying that The Law does appear to save me from myself.
Splits for the intervals, with a half-lap walk between each dash: 1:52 + 3:44 + 5:41 + 7:40 + 5:47 + 3:42 + 1:40 by my watch. Conscious relaxation, self-observation, non-judgmental awareness, and hands in Parvati-mudra all seem to help keep the pace brisk, possibly the fastest ladder I've done at this track (see references to past ones below). Although the noonday temperature is ~60°F a brisk south wind helps, especially when I strip off the shirt after the first 800m repeat. Garmin GPS and Runkeeper app generally concur on distance and pace. I take the long way home and add a little zig-zag at the end to make the distance exceed 9 miles.
(cf. 2006-07-15 - Final Texas Heatwork, 2009-08-10 - Beep, Beep, Beep, ..., 2010-07-15 - LBJ Ladder, 2010-09-21 - LBJ High School Track, 2012-01-17 - LBJ High School Speedwork, ...)
- Friday, February 01, 2013 at 04:06:22 (EST)
An amazing list of words that Shakespeare used first, by Amanda Mabillard:
academe accused addiction advertising amazement arouse assassination backing bandit bedroom beached besmirch birthplace blanket bloodstained barefaced blushing bet bump buzzer caked cater champion circumstantial cold-blooded compromise courtship countless critic dauntless dawn deafening discontent dishearten drugged dwindle epileptic equivocal elbow excitement exposure eyeball fashionable fixture flawed frugal generous gloomy gnarled gossip green-eyed grovel gust hint hobnob hurried impede impartial invulnerable jaded label lackluster laughable lonely lower luggage lustrous madcap majestic marketable metamorphize mimic monumental moonbeam mountaineer negotiate noiseless obscene obsequiously ode olympian outbreak panders pedant premeditated puking radiance rant remorseless savagery scuffle secure skim milk submerge summit swagger torture tranquil undress unreal varied vaulting worthless zany
(cf. WillInTheWorld (2005-04-20), Bryson on Shakespeare (2010-06-21), ...)
- Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 04:42:41 (EST)
In section 3 of the final chapter of Impro (titled "Masks and Trance") author Keith Johnstone explains the strange power of some simple masks:
Masks seem exotic when you first learn about them, but to my mind Mask acting is no stranger than any other kind: no more weird than the fact that an actor can blush when his character is embarrassed, or turn white with fear, or that a cold will stop for the duration of the performance, and then start streaming again as soon as the curtain falls ... Actors can be possessed by the character they play just as they can be possessed by Masks. ... We find the Mask strange because we don't understand how irrational our responses to the face are anyway, and we don't realise that most of our lives is spent in some form of trance, i.e. absorbed. What we assume to be 'normal consciousness' is comparatively rare ... A Mask is a device for driving the personality out of the body and allowing a spirit to take possession of it.
- Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 04:06:19 (EST)
|Something happens to the brain chemistry after ~16 miles, and for the rest of the run today 50% of the people who pass me on the trail, or whom I catch up with, are amazingly callipygian. Yep, the female half. The first to gain my attention wears an amethyst colored shirt; I play leapfrog with her when she takes walk breaks. A pack of five easy-on-the-eyes ladies walks north on the Congress Av bridge at my mile 19. Alas, after mile 20 I'm at the eastern end of the circuit and there are hardly any other folks out today.|
In Austin Texas I'm visiting family for the extended Inauguration Day weekend. Early Friday morning I decide to atone in advance for all the Tex-Mex food that I'm likely to eat. Nike "Free" minimalistic slipper-shoes are all that I bring along — they're ultra-light in the luggage compared to the usual cushioned trainers. I strive to run gently along the sidewalks and gravel-sand-dirt paths around Lady Bird Lake. Nevertheless, after ~7 miles the left metatarsals begin to ache. Thankfully they don't get too bad, and I practice mindfully observing the pain non-judgmentally and without attachment. At least, so I try!
At 7am it's still dark (official sunrise isn't until 7:28 today) and Venus glows low in the southeast. Crossing Longhorn Dam a scruffy bearded runner in black shirt and black shorts, a younger mirror image, returns my salute as we pass. I deliberately take walk breaks and slow the pace for the first loop, hoping to keep good reserves. My fantasy of doing three laps is downscoped to two, but to add some mileage I decide to make the second a zig-zag braid, crossing every bridge over the river. Some head-scratching and topological visualization — not my strong suit, especially while running — confirms that this will let me see all the trail segments on both banks, provided I don't miss any crossings. As it turns out, there are four pedestrian bridges between the end-connectors: Interstate-35, Congress Avenue, First Street, and the new Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge that parallels Lamar Blvd. The Congress Avenue crossing provides excellent views of the pink granite Texas state capitol building framed by modern high-rise construction.
Temperatures are near freezing at the start, with frost visible on open meadows or ballfields until after 8am. I retract my hands into the long sleeves and try to keep them from going numb. All the water fountains are turned off around the lake, and bear paper signs explaining that they've been shut down for the season. Municipal health regulations, according to the local newspaper, have recently been interpreted to stop running clubs from leaving big jugs of water. By the end of my first lap at mile ~10.4 I'm sucking fumes from a 20 oz. bottle. At my Mom's car I refill it from a liter of water, then carry that big bottle in hand for sipping for the next three miles until it's emptied. My fuel today is a Luna Bar for the first lap and most of a Clif Bar for the second, longer orbit.
At the Zilker Botanical Garden near the west end of my path a huge hot-air balloon is inflating when I first approach about 8am; by the next time I get there, it's gone. Three young crewcut men, running with massive backpacks, play leapfrog with me as they finish what they describe as an 8-mile adventure. GPS-based mile splits: 11:36 + 12:49 + 10:48 + 11:19 + 11:50 + 11:22 + 13:10 (phone calls from DW) + 11:55 + 10:58 + 11:33 + 13:03 (refueling at car) + 11:03 + 11:46 + 12:05 + 11:15 + 11:47 + 11:10 + 10:22 + 11:38 + 11:28 + 11:31 + 11:33 + 9:57 — that last fastest mile the result of pushing hard up the final hills. Runkeeper and Garmin agree on the distance and pace.
(cf. 2011-05-27 - Two Austin Town Lake Loops, 2012-01-14 - Lady Bird Lake Loops, 2012-09-05 - Double Lady Bird Lake Loop - Austin Texas, 2012-09-07 - Zig-Zag Lady Bird Lake Loop - Austin Texas, ...)
- Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 04:05:44 (EST)
On Saturday morning Rebecca Rosenberg and I are running together along Rock Creek. I thank her for her gift, a fortnight ago, of a "Mini Zen Gardening Kit" desk toy that I had idly admired on her bookshelf. "I haven't opened it yet," I tell Rebecca, "but just looking at the box next to my computer screen helps me feel a little calmer."
And then I realize that Rebecca gave herself a far more Zen gift: the emptiness where the box used to sit!
(cf. DalaiLamaBirthdayGift (2004-08-24), Shul (2011-06-11), ...)
- Monday, January 28, 2013 at 04:10:13 (EST)
|A day of acquaintance,|
And then the longer span of custom.
But first —
The hour of astonishment.
That was the mystically-enchanting mantra at the end of the "About" box for Apple's "HyperCard" software, an early programming environment on the Macintosh. Before HTML even existed, HyperCard was an easy way to build collections of pages ("cards"), link them, and respond to user actions. HyperCard was created by genius Apple programmer Bill Atkinson, who had previously developed much of MacPaint and the fundamental "QuickDraw" code that formed the underpinnings of the first MacOS graphical user interface.
HyperCard (1987-2004) will long be remembered, and missed. It was indeed full of astonishment, and for a lot longer than one hour. As Shakespeare said of Cleopatra, "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety ..." — like HyperCard, to a young programmer.
(cf. , , , PersonalProgrammingHistory (2002-04-02), ...)
- Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 06:21:35 (EST)
How tone-rich this world has become in recent years:
... as though there's an invisible orchestra trying to break through from a shadow dimension!
- Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 06:31:16 (EST)
|On Sunday morning a bit after 7am the #5 bus picks me up for a quick ride to Rebecca Rosenberg's neighborhood. I choose a front doorstep to sit on that looks like it might be hers, read the number on the house, and text: "is this your address?" Luckily it is, and she kindly gives me a ride to Carderock, with Mary Chapin Carpenter music playing on the car stereo. As we cruise I check online for status news of friends doing the Disney marathon today: Barry Smith, Stephanie Fonda, Anton Struntz, all doing well.|
We park and join Don Libes, Emaad Burki, and Ken Swab for an out-and-back to milepost 17 of the C&O Canal towpath. The brisk pace is stressful for me after a dozen days of no running. In the final miles Don and Emaad run ahead of Ken and Rebecca and me, until they vanish around the curves.
A different Great Blue Heron poses for us every mile, and I take advantage of the opportunity to take a photo-break. Conversation among us explores dentists, movies, friends who developed bizarre delusions about their spouses and then divorced them, veterinarians, and other assorted topics. Flocks of hikers, bikers, birders, and others are out this foggy morning. At a bridge over the canal Don and I run up and down the stairs to add a little blip to the GPS elevation profile.
- Friday, January 25, 2013 at 04:08:23 (EST)
From Chapter 7 ("Forgive Yourself") of Just One Thing by Rick Hanson, a useful taxonomy to apply to something you feel horrible about:
Sort what happened into three piles: moral faults, unskillfulness, and everything else. Moral faults deserve proportionate guilt, remorse, or shame, but unskillfulness calls for correction, no more. (This point is very important.)
So yes, some things are worth regret; other things really aren't. And when you've categorized events, take responsibility where appropriate, clarify and be relieved for what you're not responsible for, learn from the experience, make amends as needed, and then "actively forgive yourself".
(cf. Homer Simpson Career Advice: "You can't keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once, and move on.")
- Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 04:05:57 (EST)
These are rules posted at Henry's Wrecker Service, an impound lot where illegally-parked cars are towed for storage before being ransomed by their (often angry) owners. Note especially #4:
|Please remember that we are all humans and we will respect you as long as you address us as humans ...|
- Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 04:28:55 (EST)
DW's recumbent stationary bicycle in the basement serves to get the heart rate up, slightly, and the sweat rate up, significantly, when injury preempts the running option. Typically I set it to the half-hour "Program #5" (the hardest) which seems to be the equivalent of doing ~15 min/mi jogging pace, i.e., ~400 kcal/hour. According to my notes I pedaled madly on it a few times in 2011 and more intensively in January 2013 while recovering from foot and hip/ITB injury. Data, including what I watched or read during the spin:
|2011-03-20||60 min||Ironman movie (partial)|
|2011-04-24||60 min||Ironman (remainder)|
|2011-05-17||60 min||Lake Placid 2 movie|
|2013-01-05||60 min||Nine and a Half Weeks|
|2013-01-07||60 min||Marathon & Beyond magazine|
|2013-01-08||60 min||Marathon & Beyond and The Economist|
|2013-01-09||60 min||Truth in Comedy|
|2013-01-10||60 min||The Economist and The New Yorker|
|2013-01-11||60 min||Truth in Comedy and Zen Sex|
|2013-01-12||60 min||Zen Sex and music videos|
(cf. 2011-02 - Stationary Bicycle Pedaling, ...)
- Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 05:43:54 (EST)
KASE, 100.7 MHz, is a country music radio station in Austin Texas. When visiting family in the area I like to listen to it for a glimpse of the Real World, or at least one slice of it that's different. Country songs, if a woman is the lead vocalist, seem to focus on how the singer been wronged by her man (e.g., Taylor Swift's "Mean"). If there's a male lead, however, themes more often revolve around clever double entendres and lyrical reminisces about NASCAR, growing up in the South, etc.
Noteworthy on KASE-FM recently was a commercial for gun sound suppressors, by The Silencer Shop. Their slogan is "Silencer Ownership Simplified" and, according to the advertisement, putting one on your weapon will preserve your hearing and prevent scaring the animals you're shooting at. Sounds like a valuable safety feature!
(cf. Double Shot Liquor and Guns (2010-07-20), 2012-01-14 - Lady Bird Lake Loops, ...)
- Monday, January 21, 2013 at 08:40:34 (EST)
At the end of the chapter "Narrative Skills" Keith Johnstone in his book Impro offers a few simple guidelines for successful improvisational stories:
(cf. AbsurdJuxtaposition (1999-10-21), Yes, and... (2012-11-14), Positive and Obvious (2012-12-12), ...)
- Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 07:23:13 (EST)
Mr. Risk Aversion: that's my alter ego, when I'm not Pollyanna or Mr. Know-It-All. (An odd trio to co-inhabit a single skull, eh?) But I'm trying, mindfully, to be aware of this tendency to fear adventure, and to loosen up. The chorus of Kelly Clarkson's sweet song "Breakaway" advises:
|I'll take a risk |
Take a chance
Make a change
And break away ...
Yes, and it's embarrassing to report that, hitherto, the phrase "take a chance" (or variations thereof) never occurs in the many thousands of ZhurnalyWiki pages I've written. In fact, the only two instances of "take" and "chance" near each other are in race reports posted here on behalf of comrades Kate Abbott and Ken Swab. Even the words "break away" are scandalously scarce.
I shall work on this!
(for some "break away"-related instances see Waking Up to What You Do (2010-03-21), Three Poisons (2011-06-19), Beginner's Guide to Insight Meditation (2011-08-05), ...)
- Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 07:28:49 (EST)
|"Today, programming and running a computer is much easier than actually thinking about a problem ...".|
(Edwin T. Jaynes, "On the Rationale of Maximum-Entropy Methods", Proc. IEEE v.70, n.9, Sep 1982, p.939)
- Friday, January 18, 2013 at 06:35:00 (EST)
|"Your photos are the best!" says Jim Yi Deng to me before today's MCRRC race. When I ask, he clarifies: it's not the pictures that I take, but the ones that ace club volunteer photographers like Ken Trombatore take of me that Jim admires. I confess to keeping an eye out for cameras and smiling and opening my beady eyes at them when possible. Sometimes I even try to comb my beard with my fingers. Every little bit helps, it seems.|
Barry Smith gives me a ride to today's event in Seneca Creek State Park. Comrades including Ken Swab and Christina Caravoulias greet us as we pick up our 2013 bibs and timing chips. Waiting in line ahead of me at the portajohn, a young man asks "Is Robin here today?" I'm obviously puzzled, so he laughs and identifies himself: it's Keane Kaiser, an Eagle Boy Scout friend of my younger son. I haven't seen Keane for a few years and fail to recognize him in his new beard. His mother Kristin is also running today. We chat, and then I head out for a short warmup trot around the parking area.
|The race begins and I give chase to friendly arch-rival young Tom Young for the first mile, then lose sight of him. The morning is chill, and excuses join me as I progress: perhaps longish runs on Saturday and Sunday are not the best taper for a fast Tuesday race; perhaps a breakfast of coffee, banana, and Snickers candy bar is suboptimal; perhaps a sore right-hip ITB and achy right foot hold me back; perhaps the slightly hilly course adds to the challenge, as do crowds for the first tenth of a mile; perhaps weighing ~145 lbs. is too high for me right now.|
But whatever the reasons, today's 5k at 22:48 is slower than hoped but faster than feared. Rough mile splits of 7:03 and 7:08 are close to target, but then a third mile at ~7:32 drops the baton. The final result: 2nd of 22 in my new 60-64 year male age group, 55th overall of 381, behind 49 of 204 men and 5 of 177 women. Keane comes in more than 2 minutes ahead of me. Booooo!
- Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 06:29:36 (EST)
|Odd, I have now a mania for shortness. Whenever I read my own or other people's works it all seems to me not short enough.|
— Anton Chekhov, as quoted in a moderately-long New Yorker essay and with slight variations in many other places, but without specific attribution to its source or translator ...
(cf. ExtractTraction (2002-10-21), ...)
- Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 04:26:38 (EST)
From Chapter 6, "Slow Down", of Rick Hanson's Just One Thing, good thoughts on how to turn down the insane gain control of modern life:
* Do a few things more slowly than usual. Leisurely lift the cup to your lips, don't rush through a meal, let others finish talking before jumping in, or stroll to a meeting instead of racing. ...
* Back off the gas pedal. ...
* When the phone rings, imagine that it is a church or temple bell reminding you to breathe and slow down. ...
* Resist the pressure of others to get things done sooner than you really need to. ...
* Find what's good about this moment as it is, so you'll have less need to zip along to the next thing. ...
... and, perhaps the most important lesson for someone like me who sometimes can't seem to say "no", even when it pushes aside more important things:
Over time, wrap up existing commitments and be careful about taking on new ones. Notice and challenge any internal pressure to be always doing and getting more and more. What's the net bottom-line effect on your quality of life: Does racing about make you happier? Or more stressed and worn out?
All the while, soak in the ease and well-being that come from slowing down—and don't be surprised if people say you look more confident, rested, dignified, and happy.
(cf. With Dignity (2010-12-04), ...)
- Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 04:30:05 (EST)
2 August 1981: I start working for the Federal government. It's in the middle of a two-week pay period, so on 21 August I receive my first paycheck from the US Treasury, for the princely sum of $431.30. (Inflation adjustment: prices have gone up a factor of ~2.5 from 1981 to 2013.) I have accrued no annual leave, no sick leave, no comp time. After 30 years plus one day, on 2 August 2011, I retire from the Civil Service. Perhaps the entry on that initial pay stub labeled "RET", for $41.10, turns out to be the best investment I've ever made ...
- Monday, January 14, 2013 at 04:12:08 (EST)
Not much of either sex or zen: the book Zen Sex by Philip Toshio Sudo is an unfortunate mix of cliché and snigger, pontification and nudge-nudge. It leans heavily on quotations, perhaps poorly-translated, from Ikkyu, a 13th century Japanese monk and rake. Excessive whitespace, large print, fuzzy shunga illustrations, and repetitive text all add up to a taste of weak tea. Sadly, the young author died of stomach cancer only a couple of years after this book was published in 2000.
But amongst the chaff there a few kernels, mainly old parables. The best:
The zen teacher Soen Nakagawa taught this lesson to a student who approached him during a meditation retreat. "I am very discouraged," the student said. "What should I do?"
Soen's reply: "Encourage others."
- Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 18:33:15 (EST)
In his book Impro Keith Johnstone (in the section "Intelligence" of the chapter "Notes on Myself") describes the discovery, in his early 20's, of the fact that cleverness, even intellectual brilliance, is far from the only important human quality. His description of how he came to awareness is in one gloriously detailed, uninhibited paragraph about Alexander Dovzhenko's 1930 film Earth:
... there is a sequence in which the hero, Vassily, walks alone in the twilight. We know he's in danger, and we have just seen him comforting his wife, who rolled her eyes like a frightened animal. There are shots of mist moving eerily on water, and silent horses stretching their necks, and corn-stooks against the dusky sky. Then, amazingly, peasants lying side by side, the men with their hands inside the women's blouses and motionless, with idiotic smiles on their faces as they stare at the twilight. Vassily, dressed in black, walks through the Chagall village, and the dust curls up in little clouds around his feet and he is dark against the moonlit road, and he is filled with the same ecstasy as the peasants. He walks and walks and the film cuts and cuts until he walks out of the frame. Then the camera moves back, and we see him stop. The fact that he walks for so long, and that the image is so beautiful, linked up with my own experience of being alone in twilight—the gap between the worlds. Then Vassily walks again, but after a short time he begins to dance, and the dance is skilled, and like an act of thanksgiving. The dust swirls around his feet, so that he's like an Indian god, like Siva—and with the man dancing alone in the clouds of dust something unlocked in me. In one moment I knew that the valuing of men by their intelligence is crazy, that the peasants watching the night sky might feel more than I feel, that the man who dances might be superior to myself—word-bound and unable to dance. From then on I noticed how warped many people of great intelligence are, and I began to value people for their actions, rather than their thoughts.
... rather like the observation in Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, about people who are too clever by half!
- Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 05:25:06 (EST)
A blustery-cold morning along Rock Creek into DC begins late, with DW and DD occupying both home bathrooms as they prepare for morning outings. I text-message ahead so the usual suspects can, if they wish, meet me en route. On Rock Creek Trail my phone rings as I'm heading downstream toward the trestle. After minor confusion the pack suddenly materializes in front of me: Rebecca Rosenberg, Gayatri Datta, Sara Crum, Barry Smith, and Emaad Burki. When I explain part of the cause of my delay Emaad suggests, "Aren't there plenty of bushes in front of your home?" I contend that there aren't enough leaves, but Emaad comes back with, "You can always use pine cones!" With that, Sara and Rebecca dash away.
The rest of the trek is uneventful. Barry starts early and finishes with Emaad. I follow Gayatri and Sara and Rebecca down Rock Creek to Pearce Mill, where we turn back. When they finish with ~13 miles I decline kind offers of a ride and jog solo home. The Garmin and the Runkeeper log similar miles.
- Friday, January 11, 2013 at 04:07:17 (EST)
From the 2012-10-13 - Matthew Henson Trail with Stephanie run, cheerful graffiti on a freshly-repainted pillar under the Connecticut Avenue bridge:
- Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 04:03:55 (EST)
As we run Stephanie Fonda mentions that she was listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony yesterday. I launch into an impromptu rendition of the final movement's Ode to Joy. "Freude, schöner Göterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium" is as far as I get before mercifully stopping. Later, I tell Stephanie that I wear my belt in opposite directions around my pants, depending on whether the day of the month is odd or even. What further revelations are in store? How about my Memory Palace attempt to learn the US States in alphabetical order, and their capital cities, each associated with quarter-mile points along Rock Creek Trail? Yep, I'm boringly normal.
Hopes of running through a blizzard are disappointed when the day dawns cool, slightly above freezing, and dry. Starting at 7:15am we do ~10 km briskly from near Stephanie's home and proceeding via the Garrett Park train station to join Rock Creek Trail in the upstream direction. Then feet start to ache, a knee gets iffy, and after experimenting with taking inserts out of shoes we decide to call it a day and walk along Avery to Norbeck to Baltimore Rd to the Rockville Metro station for a ride back to close the loop. During the hike I pick up a battered cent and a golf ball. Chill rain begins during the final miles. My ITB-right-hip is getting better, but now a pain develops in the right foot on the outside top where a small bone seems to be sticking up oddly. This has happened sporadically in the past. Hmmmm! Dislocation? Bone spur? Stress fracture? Subluxation? Dysplasia? Tuberosity? Deformity of a metatarsal, cuboid, calcareous, or something else? Garmin GPS and Runkeeper app are reasonably in accord as to distance and pace.
- Wednesday, January 09, 2013 at 04:12:30 (EST)
A poetry book misfiled under "Drama" at the used-book sale: The Blue Swallows by Howard Nemerov, published 1967. I pick it up to move it to the right shelf, open it at random, and my eyes land upon "Grace To Be Said at the Supermarket":
This God of ours, the Great Geometer,
Does something for us here, where He hath put
(if you want to put it that way) things in shape,
Compressing the little lambs into orderly cubes,
Making the roast a decent cylinder,
Fairing the tin ellipsoid of a ham,
Getting the luncheon meat anonymous
In squares and oblongs ...
... from which Nemerov continues to muse about how meats, as sold and bought, are so conceptually divorced from their origins, the animals that "Enter the pure Euclidean kingdom of number, / Free of their bulging and blood-swollen lives ..." so "... That we may look unflinchingly on death ..." — a stark, startling, cogent observation. Vegetarianism, anyone?
(cf. SufferTheAnimals (2000-06-11), RobertNozick (2002-02-02), CompassionateCarnivorism (2002-11-19), Franklin on Vegetarianism (2008-06-17), Omnivore's Dilemma (2009-05-16), No Simple Answers (2009-12-01), Philosophical Vegetarian Issues (2010-07-15), Milligan on Vegetarianism (2012-11-02), ...)
- Tuesday, January 08, 2013 at 04:03:20 (EST)
With the sun in my eyes the object by Rock Creek Trail looks like a gnarly tree stump — but as I approach it turns successively into a totem pole, a statue of a burly man, and finally into a living worker in an orange hard-hat sitting there to catch his breath. Water floods across the bikepath, and a block farther downstream both Christmas afternoon mysteries are explained: a broken pipe under the street is being repaired.
"Nice shorts!" an elderly lady walking along complements me. I'm pushing the pace hard to stay sub-9 min/mi average after a slow start down Hollow Glen Place to find the proper path across the ravine to McKenney Hills Park. Unlike yesterday's trek in the opposite direction (2012-12-23 - Mormon Temple Hill Repeats) this time I use the solid new bridge upstream and climb the still-under-construction stairway to the new school building. Jack and Leslie, family acquaintances, roll down their car window and greet me as I run past their home on Menlo Av. The Garmin GPS records mile splits of 9:36 + 8:50 + 8:01 + 8:28 + 8:51 and 8:31 pace for the final 0.35 mile to get home. Runkeeper measures about 0.1 mile less distance. The right ITB at the hip still aches rather badly.
- Monday, January 07, 2013 at 04:07:41 (EST)
Elizabeth McNeill's novel Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair is an extraordinary, smooth, terrifying work of fiction — or perhaps it really happened. The style is unadorned, the imagery verdant, the plot profoundly disturbing. When it was published in 1978 Christopher Lehmann-Haupt observed in his New York Times review :
What is one to say? That the story is powerful? It is. That it is horrifying? Yes. That it is crafted and skillfully written? It is, it is: cool and ironic and contained and passionate in its restraint. And yes, it is erotic in places—not prurient, but erotic—in the way it leads us to the edge of the abyss and invites us to look where the boundaries of self are obliterated and all things become permissible. ...
Sarah Weinman in her November 2012 New Yorker essay "Who Was the Real Woman Behind 'Nine and a Half Weeks'?"  ranks the movie version of 91⁄2 Weeks "far inferior artistically" to the novel. She comments, "The book is just under a hundred and twenty pages, but its stripped-down presentation of sadomasochism is so vivid, the images so searing, that to draw out its tensions any longer would be more than most readers could bear." Weinman identifies the author as Ingeborg Day, who was born in Austria in 1940, went to college in the USA, married an American, had children, left her husband, and moved to New York City where she worked as an editor for Ms. magazine during the time Nine and a Half Weeks is set. At the end of the book she has a mental breakdown. Thereafter, according to Weinman, in real life Day recovers, remarries, lives a quiet life for decades, and then kills herself in early 2011.
So what about the book? Does it matter if some or all of the events in actually occurred? Does knowing about the author make it different? How can bleak cruelty, fierce dominance, utter submission, and stark pain mix so intimately with calm descriptions of clothing, cooking, shopping? Can punishment be reward? What's the exchange rate between ecstasy and bruises? Should anyone judge anyone else? When does different become unhealthy become sick? If completely voluntary, is anything wrong? Where are the lines? Are there any lines?
- Sunday, January 06, 2013 at 07:45:06 (EST)
Memento mori: a tiny yellow-bellied bird lies toes-up in the middle of the path. I pass it ten times, going down the long hill by the Mormon Temple and climbing back up again. Today's noontime trek begins with a ride, hitched with Paulette and Gray to their friend's house up the road. A cautious quarter-mile scramble along the shoulder of Capitol View Av, stepping aside as cars zoom around the curves, gets to the top of Stoneybrook Dr. Bundled against the elements: assorted dog-walkers, church-goers, and pairs of pedestrians greet me. One asks how many times I'm doing the climb and then exclaims, "God bless you!" Three other runners are out today, but I only see them once each.
Splits for the half mile ~150 foot hill: 4:19↓, 4:39↑, 4:10↓, 4:52↑, 4:21↓, 4:59↑, 4:22↓, 5:01↑, 4:26↓, 4:53↑. The thought crosses my mind — repeatedly! — that I should stop after fewer repeats. "What would Lance do?" is answered by "Ten or twenty!" And after all, this pimple on the earth's surface is nothing compared to Massanutten or other real mountains. Plus which, the scale said 145 lbs this morning. When I get home it's a kilo or so less, from dehydration, in spite of the water bottle I'm carrying and suck dry.
After the final uphill I walk a bit, then jog down Menlo Av past the Ireland's home where Terry and the little dog greet me from the front yard fence. On the other side of the stream at McKenney Hills Park I venture along faint footpaths through the woods. Thanks to the iPhone's map, this time I make the correct turns to get to Hollow Glen Pl — unlike the 2012-10-09 - Lost in the Neighborhood Woods misadventure. On the way I cross a rickety-scary wooden bridge over a small ravine. On the far side there are signs in fluorescent orange paint, facing away from me, that read "CAUTION!" and "BRIDGE CLOSED!" Oops! Runkeeper and Garmin differ by 1% on the total distance.
(cf. 2008-12-24 - Temple Hillwork, 2009-06-18 - Mormon Temple Hillwork, 2009-09-23 - Mormon Temple Hillwork, 2010-12-05 - Mormon Temple Hillwork, 2011-12-21 - Mormon Temple Hillwork, ...)
- Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 07:23:52 (EST)
At the end of the Introduction to Rick Hanson's Just One Thing, encouragement to persevere in mindfulness training:
Again, it's like exercise: if you do it only occasionally, you'll get only a little improvement; on the other hand, if you do it routinely, you'll get a large improvement. I've heard people talk like making efforts inside the mind is some kind of lightweight activity, but in fact it's always a matter of resolve and diligence—and sometimes it's very challenging and uncomfortable. Practice is not for wusses. You will earn its benefits.
So honor yourself for your practice. While it's down-to-earth and ordinary, it's also aspirational and profound. When you practice, you are nourishing, joining with, and uncovering the very best things about you. You are taking the high road, not the low one. You're drawing on sincerity, determination, and grit. You're taming and purifying the unruly mind—and the jungle that is the brain, with its reptile, mammalian, and primate layers. You're offering beautiful gifts to your future self—the one being in the world you have the most power over and therefore the greatest duty to. And the fruits of your practice will ripple outward in widening circles, benefiting others, both known and unknown. Never doubt the power of practice, or how far your own chosen path of practice can take you.
It is, in Jon Kabat-Zinn's words, the "Work of a Lifetime".
(cf. Posture (2009-06-05), ...))
- Friday, January 04, 2013 at 18:30:59 (EST)
"I forgot to wear pants today!" I explain, when somebody notes that I'm one of only a few braving the elements in shorts. (And yes, I do have on two pair.) A strong cold front brings brisk winds from the northwest, 30+ mph gusts that swirl leaves across Beach Drive and trigger twig-cascades down steep nearby slopes. Brilliant red berries dot the street like candy sprinkles. Barry Smith drives the two of us to start ~0715 near Candy Cane City. Then a series of out-and-back treks give time for everyone to converge. The 7:30am batch includes Gayatri Datta, Sam Yerkes, and Rebecca Rosenberg; at 8am Sara Crum and Megan O'Rourke join us. The pack heads downstream, then breaks into sub-clusters, Megan and Rebecca and Sara cruise ahead, Gayatri and Sam follow, and far behind plod Barry and me. Several miles inside Rock Creek Park the first trio turns back and the middle pair trot onward to the National Zoo. Barry and I refill bottles at the park near Peirce Mill before reversing course. We meet Rebecca and Sara again — they've returned to meet us after dropping off Megan — near Wise Rd. The three of us trek back to Candy Cane where we all began. "Your nose is as red as Rebecca's cheeks!" I compliment Sara. I jog home solo via RCT and Walter Reed Annex, and manage to kick out a couple of final miles at ~10 min/mi pace. Runkeeper and Garmin GPS differ by ~0.1 mile.
- Thursday, January 03, 2013 at 04:07:15 (EST)
... an oddly-shaped protuberance on an eggplant that came in the box we get weekly at the Farmers Market ...
- Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 04:09:20 (EST)
Zig vs. Zag decisions don't come easy in the dark with clouds obscuring a first-quarter moon. Apparently my befuddled brain can't accurately compute left vs. right from a map with North at the top: tonight I make multiple wrong turns and repeatedly have to backtrack after leaving the Millennium Trail to explore an East Rockville neighborhood route back. Xmas lights are lovely on dozens of houses: flashing stars, marching ants, polychromatic sprays. Comrade Cara Marie Manlandro can't come out to run this Wednesday evening (family duties preempt her) so as on Monday it's solo trekking time. A mile farther than planned, the final leg of the journey is through Maryvale Park. DB Keith's gift of a new headlamp keeps me on the paved bike paths, mostly. DW Paulette is at the Rockville Library for a board meeting; DS Robin awaits my return there, so we can visit Taco Bell together. Both the Garmin GPS and the Runkeeper app concur on distance and pace. Right-hip-point ITB is still achy.
- Tuesday, January 01, 2013 at 05:24:28 (EST)
A gentle essay by David Singer appeared a few months ago with the title "A Couple of Simple Strategies to Let Others Be Happier". Singer suggests:
Simple indeed, and things I need to practice much more of.
(cf. BennettOnLife (2000-03-09), How to Win Friends and Influence People (2008-05-17), Smile and Listen (2011-08-21), ...)
- Monday, December 31, 2012 at 04:24:44 (EST)
DW Paulette has a Library Board meeting to attend this evening in Rockville. What better way to atone-in-advance for a Taco Bell $2 Value Meal than a quick trek on the Millennium Trail? Comrade Cara Marie Manlandro is back in town but too tired, after months of work finishing her Ph.D. dissertation, to venture out into the damp darkness. Shifting gears too abruptly from driving to running, however, is dangerous: a couple of cars almost hit me at the first street crossing when I don't pause cautiously enough. When I was behind the wheel moments ago, of course, it's the idiot pedestrians who don't properly allow for the difficulty of seeing them in the dark on a drizzly evening. Park at the CVS, head from mile marker 5, down the long hill and up again to cross I-270 and turn around at the 6.5 marker. Brother Keith has sent me a nice new headlamp as an early Xmas gift and I wear it, but lights along the sidewalk are bright enough that it's not really needed. The Garmin GPS is upside down on my wrist, so after I wipe off the drizzle I have to read the digits carefully. The Runkeeper app agrees roughly with it on splits of 9:03 + 8:36 + 7:59. The right-hip-attachment ITB is slightly achy, and as expected gets worse the next day.
- Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 14:18:59 (EST)
Recall how in elementary school the teacher called the roll? You answered "Here!" or, if you were a smarty-pants like me, "Present!" In Impro author/teacher Keith Johnstone (at the beginning of the section "Notes on Myself") observes, "As I grew up, everything started getting grey and dull. I could still remember the amazing intensity of the world I'd lived in as a child, but I thought the dulling of perception was an inevitable consequence of age—just as the lens of the eye is bound gradually to dim. I didn't understand that clarity is in the mind."
Johnstone describes some methods he discovered "that can make the world blaze up again in about fifteen seconds, and the effects last for hours." For instance, he makes his students get out of their comfort zone and "pace about the room shouting out the wrong name for everything their eyes light on." The result is that things change size, become sharper, take on brighter colors, etc. Then he describes, Richard P. Feynman-esque, some experiments he tried on himself, investigating hypnogogic mental images, "the pictures that appear to many people at the threshold of sleep." He discovered that to observe them, "You have to attend to the images without verbalising about them, so I learned to 'hold the mind still' like a hunter waiting in the forest."
Then Johnstone goes on to tell how by attending to other mental images, "... The effect was astounding. They had all sorts of detail that I hadn't known about, and that I certainly hadn't chosen to be there. ... The effect was so interesting that I persisted. I thought of a house, and attended to the image and saw the doors and windows bricked in, but the chimney still smoking (a symbol of my inhibited state at the time?). I thught of another house and saw a terrifying figure in the doorway. I looked in the windows and saw strange rooms in amazing detail."
And then, the Big Insight: "After a lot of practice at attending to the images I conjured up, I belatedly thought of attending to the reality around me. Then the deadness and greyness immediately sloughed off—yet I'd thought I'd never move through a visionary world again, that I'd lost it."
So maybe it's all just about attending ...
(cf. Chuck Norris on Zen (2008-10-12), Mind Over Exercise (2008-10-22), Present-Moment Reality (2008-11-05), Out of Shape (2009-10-06), Kundun (2010-03-31), Attentiveness (2010-11-28), Calm Technique (2011-05-07), Ceaseless Society (2012-05-10), ...)
- Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 05:27:47 (EST)
"So what's your goal in life — to change the world? Or have you already changed the world, and now your goal is to change it back?" Stephanie Fonda laughs at my unpremeditated joke. We're about three miles into the VHTRC's 2012 Magnus Gluteus Maximus fun-run. I make her promise to remember it for me, and an hour later when I've already forgotten it she reminds me. My mission on this planet? I have to scratch my head when challenged to answer that one. (cf. My Religion and Personless Mission Statement and Core Buddhism)
In the predawn darkness at 0615 Stephanie and I are the first to arrive at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park. We need to start and finish early in order to get back to our respective homes in time for afternoon commitments. As we prepare to set out on our journey a couple of other cars arrive. We tell the folks in them that we're aiming just to go to Fountainhead and back. As we proceed down the shorter and less-rocky southern trail they shout at us that we're heading the wrong way. We shout back that it's deliberate.
Fresh batteries make my flashlight beam strong, and assisted by Stephanie's brilliant headlamp we navigate this familiar terrain reasonably safely. I lead us on a slightly incorrect path, down directly to Bull Run instead of along the red-horseshoe-blazed side trail that the official 50 mile Bull Run Run course follows. Plenty of bright blue blazes keep us company. At about 7am the sky begins to lighten and we turn off our headlamps.
|Today Stephanie wears a glucose monitor on her belly as part of an experiment. It continuously samples her blood as we run. Before we begin she pricks her finger with a lancet and calibrates the monitor via a separate sensor. ("Lancet?" I say, "Like the British medical journal? That word must mean 'little lance'. I never realized that!") At intervals during the first few hours of our trek the unit attached to her beeps, indicating low blood sugar. So Stephanie takes an energy gel every half hour, and after four of those the problem goes away — or at least, the annoying chirping stops.|
At the Bull Run Marina there's no aid station where I expect to find it. We proceed under the Old Yates Ford Rd bridge, following the classic BRR route from years past. At Fountainhead the GPS reads 10.0 miles. We visit the portajohn, then chat with Paul Crickard who kindly takes photos of Stephanie and me with my iPhone camera. He also gives us a handful of Ritz crackers — they're all he has available, since the aid station stockpile hasn't arrived yet. (Half a dozen of those crackers are visible in this photograph, tucked into the knot of the windshirt tied around my waist.)
We head back with the water we began with, since in spite of the name there's no functioning fountain at Fountainhead. Fortunately the day is cool, since otherwise 3+ hours unsupported would be far too much for me to survive. When we get back to the Marina, mile ~16, this time we follow the blue-blazed trail uphill instead of cutting under the bridge. We discover the VHTRC aid station — yay! — just on the south side of the road crossing. We drink Coke, eat chips, and refill Stephanie's bottles. I still have enough water in my hydration backpack.
Both Stephanie and I now experience increasing left foot pain, which I diagnose as metatarsalgia, aka "foot pain". I also have continuing low-level twinges of right hip-point ITB. We debate whether some of Stephanie's ache is plantar fasciitis or achilles tendinitis or some other problem in the left heel area. Her right foot is also having blister issues. At the soccer fields we stop, sit down on a stone wall, and take off our shoes. Stephanie changes socks and massages her aching feet. Only after my repeated insistence and semi-taunting does she consent to show me her right foot, where the blister on the fourth toe is showing signs of re-forming and the skin is peeling off the sole. (Looks normal to me!) I remove my left shoe and massage the metatarsals, to little avail.
Near the big meadows north of the soccer fields I find a Jeep key on the ground. On the trail we meet a small group including Anstr Davidson, who tells us about his streak of thirty JFK 50 Milers; he claims that he's not running any more. I remind him that two years ago I told him 28 was a perfect number and a good stopping place. We debate the merits of 29 vs. 31 and whether 1 is or is not a prime. ("Unique factorization!", I tell him, perhaps one of the stranger comments on the Bull Run Trail since when Angelo Witten and I argued moral relativism near here, to the great amusement of Caren Jew during Bull Run Run 2008.). Fusillades of loud gunfire begin at noon. Stephanie looks nervous; I suggest hiding behind a tree.
Then with only a few miles to go we meet Bob Gaylord, who has just been overtaken by a group of ladies. A couple of them give him hugs. "Can I get a hug too?" I ask them — and then I embrace Bob. In turn he compliments Stephanie on her good looks and taunts us both for having taken a short-cut near the start, which he witnessed. We laugh and wish him well.
In the final segment we encounter muddy ground near Bull Run, unlike at dawn when it was frozen solid. Metatarsal pain continues for us both, and we meet more Asian tourist-hikers as we approach Hemlock Overlook. I explain my silly theory for their presence: there must be a secret guidebook that tells them to hike the Bull Run Trail when they visit the DC area.
We touch Stephanie's car and stop the GPS. In the Hemlock Overlook Lodge I record our distance and time and tell the volunteers we're back safely. No pizza has arrived yet, so we settle for Coke Zero and popcorn. I get my pre-run deposit back. Linda Wack tells me where she bought her extremely attractive polychromatic tights. Stephanie discovers that she is already famous: two volunteers from the Stone Mill 50 miler last month recognize her, remember her horrible blister problems there, and ask how she's doing today. A FedEx truck passes us, driving up the hill as we head down, perhaps bringing the belated pizzas. In spite of heavy traffic on the way home we make it back at ~2pm, in plenty of time for Stephanie to catch the train she needs to be on this evening. As always, conversation is splendid throughout the journey, fun "Trail Talk" that can't be repeated. The Garmin GPS and the RunKeeper app concur to within 0.15 miles overall.
(cf. 2006-12-16 - Magnus Gluteus Maximus, 2007-12-15 - Magnus Gluteus Maximus Minimus, 2009-12-12 - Magnus Gluteus Maximus, 2010-12-11 - Magnus Gluteus Maximus 50k, 2011-12-10 - Magnus Gluteus Maximus Minimus, ...)
- Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 04:23:38 (EST)
For back issues of the ^zhurnal see Volumes v.01 (April-May 1999), v.02 (May-July 1999), v.03 (July-September 1999), v.04 (September-November 1999), v.05 (November 1999 - January 2000), v.06 (January-March 2000), v.07 (March-May 2000), v.08 (May-June 2000), v.09 (June-July 2000), v.10 (August-October 2000), v.11 (October-December 2000), v.12 (December 2000 - February 2001), v.13 (February-April 2001), v.14 (April-June 2001), 0.15 (June-August 2001), 0.16 (August-September 2001), 0.17 (September-November 2001), 0.18 (November-December 2001), 0.19 (December 2001 - February 2002), 0.20 (February-April 2002), 0.21 (April-May 2002), 0.22 (May-July 2002), 0.23 (July-September 2002), 0.24 (September-October 2002), 0.25 (October-November 2002), 0.26 (November 2002 - January 2003), 0.27 (January-February 2003), 0.28 (February-April 2003), 0.29 (April-June 2003), 0.30 (June-July 2003), 0.31 (July-September 2003), 0.32 (September-October 2003), 0.33 (October-November 2003), 0.34 (November 2003 - January 2004), 0.35 (January-February 2004), 0.36 (February-March 2004), 0.37 (March-April 2004), 0.38 (April-June 2004), 0.39 (June-July 2004), 0.40 (July-August 2004), 0.41 (August-September 2004), 0.42 (September-November 2004), 0.43 (November-December 2004), 0.44 (December 2004 - February 2005), 0.45 (February-March 2005), 0.46 (March-May 2005), 0.47 (May-June 2005), 0.48 (June-August 2005), 0.49 (August-September 2005), 0.50 (September-November 2005), 0.51 (November 2005 - January 2006), 0.52 (January-February 2006), 0.53 (February-April 2006), 0.54 (April-June 2006), 0.55 (June-July 2006), 0.56 (July-September 2006), 0.57 (September-November 2006), 0.58 (November-December 2006), 0.59 (December 2006 - February 2007), 0.60 (February-May 2007), 0.61 (April-May 2007), 0.62 (May-July 2007), 0.63 (July-September 2007), 0.64 (September-November 2007), 0.65 (November 2007 - January 2008), 0.66 (January-March 2008), 0.67 (March-April 2008), 0.68 (April-June 2008), 0.69 (July-August 2008), 0.70 (August-September 2008), 0.71 (September-October 2008), 0.72 (October-November 2008), 0.73 (November 2008 - January 2009), 0.74 (January-February 2009), 0.75 (February-April 2009), 0.76 (April-June 2009), 0.77 (June-August 2009), 0.78 (August-September 2009), 0.79 (September-November 2009), 0.80 (November-December 2009), 0.81 (December 2009 - February 2010), 0.82 (February-April 2010), 0.83 (April-May 2010), 0.84 (May-July 2010), 0.85 (July-September 2010), 0.86 (September-October 2010), 0.87 (October-December 2010), 0.88 (December 2010 - February 2011), 0.89 (February-April 2011), 0.90 (April-June 2011), 0.91 (June-August 2011), 0.92 (August-October 2011), 0.93 (October-December 2011), 0.94 (December 2011-January 2012), 0.95 (January-March 2012), 0.96 (March-April 2012), 0.97 (April-June 2012), 0.98 (June-September 2012), 0.99 (September-November 2012), 0.9901 (November-December 2012), 0.9902 (December 2012-February 2013), 0.9903 (February-March 2013), 0.9904 (March-May 2013), 0.9905 (May-July 2013), 0.9906 (July-September 2013), 0.9907 (September-October 2013), 0.9908 (October-December 2013), 0.9909 (December 2013-February 2014), 0.9910 (February-May 2014), 0.9911 (May-July 2014), 0.9912 (July-August 2014), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2013 by Mark Zimmermann.)