Monthly Archives: December 2007

Avoiding typing

I’ve been avoiding typing lately, and my shoulders are starting to feel really good. No pain.

I do want to write some longer entries soon, though. This means I’ll probably whip out my microphone and voice recognition software. I feel embarrassed saying certain things aloud, though, which is kind of funny when you consider that this is a public blog which anyone on the internets can see.

Strategic Vision

Games can teach you a lot about life. So can anecdotes. I’m going to give an anecdote about chess and how it illustrated the importance of strategic vision.

In high school, my friend Ryan started becoming interested in chess, so we used to play during the weird extra period at the end of the day. He would always beat me. He then recommended Chess for Dummies, so I picked it up. After I read it, I was finally able to best him. Then, we graduated and I’ve only played chess a few times since.

This year, before leaving home for winter break, I was playing chess against my friend after a raucous game of Risk. It was really frustrating because I knew there were moves I was no longer able to see. I used to have a better sense of the game and its patterns. I resolved to read Chess for Dummies again when I got back home.

I dusted off the book, gave it a quick read-through, and then challenged my sister to a game of chess. I beat her. Now, she wasn’t very good at chess, so my victory does not mean much. What matters is that I saw the game completely differently. I was able to see the game through strategic lenses.

I had some new basic principles in mind to guide me, but most important of all was that I formulated goals to accomplish. At the beginning, I wanted to attack the base of her pawn chain. I accomplished this, and then I started gaining a material advantage. One of my next goals was to start exchanging pieces so that my material advantage would be more pronounced.

This contrasts greatly with the old way I was playing. I just moved pieces around and hoped my opponent made mistakes, which I could exploit. I had no concept of how to attack beyond the basics. I had no idea that I wanted to control certain portions of the board. I just saw pieces which I had to attack. I didn’t realize that there was more to the game than the material. It was all (bad) tactics, and no strategy.

When I felt that something was missing, I was right. In high school, I used to see the game completely differently. I had an over-arching strategy. All movements of the pieces were instrumental to that strategy. When I regained that command of chess, I learned a lesson about strategic vision. If you don’t have a strategy, you’re just moving your pieces around and you’re going to lose. I need to apply this to other aspects of life.

The Temporary Times

We like to believe that memories are better preserved in our paperless times. However, this permanence is a delusion. Our feet lay on shifting sands. Things become obsolete and our data disappears forever.

I remember the old 5.25″ floppies. The old, now unused, computer sitting under my desk doesn’t even have a slot for those. The aging laptop I’m typing on now doesn’t have a slot for the newer 3.5″ floppies. My dad used to work for Syquest, and that aforementioned old computer has a Syquest cartridge in it. Syquest’s biggest competitor was Iomega. Syquest went out of business. Iomega used to make Zip disks. Remember those? Obsolete, now.

We upgrade our computers. We upgrade our cell phones.

The first cell phone I got with a camera built in it has a picture of my friend Kevin. He’s got two balloons under his shirt, making him appear very busty. It was taken at a party, but I don’t even remember whose party it was. I do remember inputting Kevin’s number into my phone. When I upgraded, his number didn’t make it onto my new phone. I haven’t talked to Kevin in who knows how long.

And I wonder when these words too, will disappear.

Sitcom Spin-off Amazement

I learned this the other day and thought that it was the most amazing fact ever:

Did you know that Family Matters is a spin-off of Perfect Strangers?

Even better, the spin-off character is Harriet Winslow.

Also, I was watching Family Matters the other day and the later seasons really, really suck.

Harsh Interrogation

I can’t say that I’m surprised that I saw the phrase “harsh interrogation techniques” show up on Fox News. I also shouldn’t be surprised that I heard Wolf Blitzer say it too, but I am. I am utterly shocked and disgusted that our media can’t figure out what’s going on.

First, it was coercive interrogation. Then, they figured out that that was a little too close to just being a definition of torture. Next, they changed it to enhanced interrogation. That smacked of Orwellianism, and correlated a little to closely to the old German euphemism. Now, they have switched to harsh interrogation. You’d think that someone would notice the trend. You’d think that someone would figure out that something’s a little bit fishy when they keep changing the name.

But no. Our news media is too cowardly to call it what it is: torture.

Disoriented Weekday

On Tuesdays, I have a class at 11 and a class at 2. I just totally skipped my class at 2. Unintentionally. I went through the entire day thinking that I didn’t have class later today, even though I knew it was Tuesday, and didn’t realize it until now.

Then again, I skipped my only class on Monday on purpose because I had to finish an essay. I didn’t go to any class on Monday, so maybe some part of me got mixed up and thought today was Monday.

I’m kind of disoriented right now, which isn’t good because I have to finish ANOTHER DAMN ESSAY TODAY! AAAHHH!

Gloomy Weather

I woke up pretty late today, around 1:30 or 2:00. Still, the sun should be out at that time and it wasn’t. It was raining all day and at around 4:30 the skies were particularly gloomy. I should have done work today, but I couldn’t really do anything because of the weather. I just didn’t feel like the day started because I got no sun.