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November 1st, 2003

actually

Today I noticed that the Wilshire Chess Society's website announced its demise a few months ago. It's another worthy club, a decade old, which bit the dust. I was once the secretary of that club, which was run by a fellow in California. Declining attendance at its monthly tournament ultimately sent it out with a whimper rather than a bang. I sent an e mail to the fellow who ran it, complimenting him on a job well done. Later today, I got a nice e mail back from the fellow. My new club can be a phoenix of sorts, I suppose, but I prefer to think of it as a roadrunner or cuckoo.

I noticed that the US Chess Federation website now allows one to track the cross-tables of tournaments played since 1990. I played in roughly 9 tournaments, which is an average of less than one a year. I directed three. It was interesting to see that in most cases, I beat the people I would, from my rating, be expected to beat, and lost most games that I would be expected from my rating to lose. I wonder how much of that, though, was skill, and how much was self-fulfilling prophecy. I really liked the sense of personal history that looking up my old tournament cross tables gave me, even if it reminded me of a losing streak I went on at the close of the 90s.

I remember playing an "A" player once, using one of my trademark "weird, cautious small center" defenses. The other fellow, knowing he was theoretically "better" than I was, began a massive and not particularly justified pawn storm against my king. He left his own
defenses wide open, and I launched a winning combination. I wonder how much of his loss was because he assumed that since he was higher rated, and my opening was not "book", he "must" be able to attack with impunity. He had psyched himself into an overwhelming attack, which ultimately defeated him.

I caught up with my mother and my sister by telephone today,and did not write a single word of any novel of any kind.We went to Trinity Trail to hike today, but the trail had an ominous temporary sign-with-arrow which said "Trail Ride". As hiking materially diminishes in fun when one is dealing with a "trail ride"'s worth of horses, we drove over to the Heard Natural Science Center instead. Myriads of butterflies of many different species were among the blooms in the native Texas garden. This seemed incongruous but wonderful on November 1. When we got to the pond at the end of the wetlands part of the trail, the pond no longer had lily pads. Instead, we could see the fish as clearly as day--dozens of them, bluegill sunfish and bass. They stood in the clear water, swimming gently, suspended in mid-depth, without fear.

We stopped at a neighborhood place which made a credible French dip, and then we headed for home. I played some blitz chess on-line, again realizing that although I love blitz, it is not really my best chess game. I dropped off dry cleaning, and did some sundry other tasks, but I did not accomplish very much today, really.

We went this evening to Tuppee Tong Thai, where I had the tom yah seafood soup with a Shirley Temple to drink. Then we went to a "sneak preview" of "Love, actually", which was great fun. I have a weakness for feel-good ensemble movies, and witty feel-good ensemble movies really work for me. Celebrations of love are always in order, particularly with a holidays theme, if they are done without undue saccharine. I think this movie will be a big hit, because it has that "see seven times" Big Chill kind of thing going for it. I do like to see studied implausibility return to the screen--this is a Hollywood kind of film, even if it is really Brit in many ways.

Somebody more insightful than I dared to bid for my 10 gallon aquarium with stand and hood on eBay, so I hastened there to up my bid appropriately. I have my back-up plan in place if I do not win, though. Plano Pets has what I need, if I prove to need it. We made it home from the movie just on time for me to see the last 3 overtimes of the Arkansas-Kentucky game, which tied an NCAA record by lasting for 7 overtimes. Arkansas was involved in both 7 overtime games.
They often play with more heart than talent, which I suppose helps account for adrenaline-based overtimes.

Tomorrow I mow for the last time this year. I also get a haircut, sadly, not for the last time this year. The local paper had an article that a school in nearby small town Murphy actually made an 11 year old rinse red hair coloring from her hair. I am perhaps the squarest person on LiveJournal, yet I cannot imagine why schools try to regulate things like hair length and hair coloring.

During the advertising slide show they show now just before the movie preview, they played a homogenized single by Liz Phair. It wasn't bad, but it was pretty radio-ready. It's funny how Chrissie Hynde can be commercial, and nobody minds, but when Liz Phair wants to try to make some money (at 33 with a kid, as the song goes), it's a "sell out". I'd still rather spend a day with Liz Phair than Avril Lavigne, I think. Perhaps a hallmark of age is the stray thought that I might choose a good book over either. But no doubt I'll lose my metaphoric machismo if I admit that.

Just imagine it--85ish degrees today, but in a couple of week the snow cone shops will all be closed.