I enjoyed reading all the April 1 bizarro posts--a few of the folks' bizarro personalities should set up their own LJs, as they would be curious additions to my "friends" list. I like the way that when one writes such a thing, it's almost inevitable to try to place "in jokes" inside--a reference to a Sylvia Plath form here, LJ references there, personal stuff nobody will get over there.
This afternoon I travel to the west coast for a day of meetings followed by a morning court hearing. I must scamper and scurry today to get as much done as I can, before leaving for the airport at 3 o'clock. I'm really in the mood to play in a live chess tournament these days, so I looked at the website for Chess Palace, to see if they have a tournament Thursday night I could play in. It looks as though Chess Palace only has "casual play" that night, though. I may "bop on by" there anyway. I spent last night trying to get refreshed on the rules for directing chess tournaments. I want to take the examination to ascend from "club director" to "local director". The distinction is nearly meaningless, for my purposes, as the "perk" of the higher gradation is merely the right to run larger tournaments, and I am only interested right now in running quite small tournaments. But a "club director" is a temporary designation, while "local director" is renewable, so I guess I have to take the next step up. I'm still awaiting my North Texas Blitz Hegemony club/affiliate papers with the World Blitz Chess Association, to which I mailed an application at the beginning of last week. I guess my little club will also need to join the United States Chess Federation so that it can run rated 10 minute a game tournaments, and perhaps the local state operation so that it can get some publicity for its tournaments. The more this is congealing in my mind, the more I see micro-tournaments as the way to go for this club, although a few large-ish ones might still be fun to run, if they are not much trouble.
I continue, meanwhile, to play blitz chess at the Internet Chess Club. Last night I lost more games than I won, and probably "deserved" to lose more games than I did. My favorite game was the one against a stronger player in which I dropped a piece just out of the opening, and yet tenaciously fought to checkmate the other player despite being material down. As is the way of blitz chess, I did not realize until after the game that what I had deemed to be a "brilliant" chess combination (attack of multiple pieces), a mating net worthy of the former world champion Mikhail Tal, actually should have lost my queen and been squelched, had my opponent only seen the move. This is why blitz chess is not quite the same as chess, though--the two-faced clock overrides judgment, deliberation and common sense. Maybe that's why I like blitz.
Some experienced players debate whether up-and-coming juvenile players should play blitz chess. It's a bit like clove cigarettes, in their view--addictive, a bit aromatic, and a detriment to proper focus, even if not literally hallucenogenic. But I must admit that blitz chess has become a drug of choice for me. I play much better (particularly after 40) at slow time controls, particularly as I play at my best when defending cramped, difficult positions, which require a great deal of time and focus. I am intrigued, by the way, that my chess style probably says a lot about me generally, and wonder about the chicken and egg problem inherent in that. Still, although my blitz rating is much lower than my "slow chess" rating, I like to play blitz best of all now. I suppose it's about time in large measure. I love that idea of playing 5 blitz games in an hour.
I've been working on an appeal brief to send out today, and I'm curious about the aesthetics of the thing. I am on the "Respondent" side, that is, the party who won in the court below and now is being appealed against. The case is pending in California, and the California court rules therefore apply. The rules for briefs in California include an entire coded color chart for the covers of the briefs of each player in the process. The "Respondent's Brief" is assigned the color "yellow". Now yellow is a fine color, a perfectly mellow color, but it does not make the same statement that blue, purple or red makes. The Respondent is arguing for the existing status quo, for the preservation of the way things are. Somehow it troubles me that "yellow" is the symbol for the way things are. I'd much prefer a stark black, or a stunning orange. But my brief will be bound with the requisite yellow color.
Although we have Summer-ish temperatures here, we have Spring-like high winds. The wind chill makes an otherwise warm day seem cold.
The weather last night predicted a weekend of rain. I suspect I won't be doing much in the way of nature walks this weekend.
I received a mailing in response to my "mail poetry call" from honoriartist. I'm glad that the call is getting rolling.
I've had fun publicizing it, getting some encouraging words and some dead silence. I feel as though I need to do more to "get the word out", though, and that's what I plan to do. I've put it up at various mail art places, though I have more to try. But I must work to get it to people who never heard of mail art, and yet get it there "free". I am going to focus on that this weekend.
I am down to a list of three or four undone hobby projects. Maybe this weekend I can catch up. I have two things I need to mail, at least, and I want to clean up my art room. I may use it as a blitz chess room instead. I always am intrigued by the artist Marcel Duchamp, who all but gave up art for chess. But I am nothing like him, in any way--it just seems that "art room", "blitz chess room" and Marcel Duchamp belong in the same paragraph, somehow. I love that one famous Duchamp quote termed chess an "art", while another Duchamp quote denied it was any such thing. To switch the subject, I also liked that exchange of letters between the Catholic theologian Jacques Maritain and the writer Jean Cocteau which were combined in the book "On Art and Religion". Cocteau's comparisons of the ecstasies of religious faith versus the ecstasy of opium is very high-flung, but would seem commonplace to almost any north Louisiana charismatic preacher. Meanwhile, the closest I'm coming today to an artistic expression is when I just cut off the part of my recent woodland picture in which my thumb is clearly visible.
My Thursday meeting ends fairly early; maybe I can take a break from work and go to a public garden. I feel a need for some April flowers, and a moment's peace. Work runs me pretty hard right now, which is a good but demanding thing. My hours were up a good bit last month. Still, compared to the old "workaholic days", I live a pretty charmed life indeed. It's so hard to count one's blessings, even when one has lots of them. I must try to do so, and I'm glad I got that statistical Texas Instruments BA II calculator during K Mart's latest closing sale. Speaking of closing, AMR Corporation's gyrations with American Airlines are big news in its local hub here. I wonder how many airlines will fail in this economic/political climate.
I got an e mail reply from an old college friend with whom I've only kept in desultory contact over the years. It was good to hear from her, as she always amazes me by being somebody who came from relatively humble origins, went on to Harvard Law, and ended up with a rather glamorous international law practice, living in London and helping clients all over the world. It's a contrast for me, as my biggest challenges are replacing my well-worn office chair and putting up a hanging rod outside my window for the two dollar store bird feeders my partner's wife got me months ago.
I am tempted to follow the lead of a number of folks and declare this journal 'war free', but instead I'm going to go get a shower and declare this journal "update journal".