September 21st, 2003

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French Defense

"We could hardly dream of building a kind of Great Wall of France, which would in any case be far too costly. Instead we have forseen powerful but flexible means of organizing defense, based on the dual principle of taking full advantage of the terrain and establishing a continuous line of fire everywhere"--Andre Maginot

When I was in high school, I discovered the French Defense in a classic overview book by I.A. Horowitz entitled "How to Win in the Chess Openings". From almost the beginning of my time as a chessplayer, I have had the dilemma that I am not a particularly gifted attacker, and that I am uncomfortable with wide open spaces on the chess board. In the French Defense, after white moves the king pawn two places forward, black moves the king pawn merely one place forward, intending to set up a closed system for defense against white's on-slaught.

In the French, black is defending rather than trying to immediately counter-attack, but black hopes to lure white to his doom. I like that image of luring opponents to their own doom--it has a nice aikido feel, without all the need for martial arts discipline.

Chess openings for me have always served as kind of a metaphor for personality style--much more reliable than Myer-Briggs, much less expensive than a self-help seminar.

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September days

On both Saturday and Sunday I worked most of the day. Late Saturday afternoon, I took my 5 dollar dollar store 110 camera, the one which is called "jazzphoto" and is translucent purple, to Spring Creek Trail, the wooded riparian trail in Richardson.
The Summer flowers have given way to late Summer/Autumn flowers, flowers from a cooler time, blooming in new yellows. Butterflies flew everywhere, less colorful than in June, and they alighted on trees and spread their wings as if on display. I snapped ten pictures of butterflies, and one of a red flower off in the woods, which had thin, stringlike petals and was the most incredible crimson. In the distance, birdsong rang everywhere. One man read books at a picnic bench in the middle of the woods. Another man just sat at a park bench, bike-winded, and gazed out into the distance.

We took my brother for seafood at Rockfish Grill in honor of his impending birthday. My nephew's birthday also impends--he will be sixteen. He has some traits in common with me; family leaves marks, somehow. I feel a tad older knowing that I have a sixteen year old nephew, but I don't really mind.

As we drove home last night, the balloons hovered in the distance from the Plano balloon festival. As I drove to work this morning, the model airplane flyers stood gathered in their usual Sunday field. I have had enough of work. I must go have fun now.