Man de la Maza

Monday, October 25, 2004

Are you ready for Level 2, Mr. Bond?

Finished the level 10 problems over the weekend and am now in level 20. Noticeable jump up in difficulty. I am glad that the number of problems will be dropping down to 29 come Wednesday. 34 probs is taking me all of 2 hours and I'm only getting 85% right.

I have noticed that sometimes I just don't "have it" when I go to work on the problems. I sat down yesterday morning and slogged through 6 problems before powering down the laptop in disgust. When I went back to it in the evening, it was much easier. Might have been because the kids were running about in the morning, but I don't think so. I tune that stuff out pretty well. (A little too well actually. Sometimes I have to get creative when the Empress de la Maza asks relatively simple questions like "Where are the kids?") It is pretty easy to get sucked into "this is too hard ... I'll never be able to do this" when you hit a few bad ones. When you are tired, have 14 problems to go, and are looking at a postion that is so whacked that it is hard to remember which color you are, it is hard not to listen to the little devil who says, "Go to bed patzer. You suck." There's even a little unreasoned fear that you are breaking a chess taboo by attempting problems over your head. Perhaps the chess authorities will burst through the door and arrest you for "impersonating an class A player", a crime punishable by 10-15 years imprisonment AND a two minute deduction from your clock.

Still, it might be true that I will soon be in over my head. Only one way to find out, I guess.

Digging Ditches
This Saturday I played in my first tournament in a year. Just a little 4 rounder. I was not expecting much as I am just getting into the program. I was viewing it as a baseline which it was since I performed precisely as a class C player should.

Anyway, come Sunday, I was definitely out of spousal points and had to knock a few things off the "honey do" list. Top of the list was installing the drain pipe for the sump pump. Earlier in the fall, hurricaine season turned my basement into an indoor swimming pool, so I installed a sump pump. Ok, I had someone else install I a pump, but I told them I would install the drain to run the water away from the house.

Over the past week and a half I have been to Lowes 47 times to try to get the proper piping to extend the pipe coming out of my basement to the other side of my driveway. I believe I have exchanged the entire pvc inventory twice. Yesterday morning, I decided to bring my six year old daughter along with me. She had a drainage system built in the aisle inside 10 mintues. Finally. I went home, assembled it, buried it and took my daughter next door to play with her friend.

My next door neighboor is a contractor. He politely asked about my drainage system as one might ask a kindergartner about his latest paper mache project. He noted that I seeemed to have dug the ditch several times. With a self-effacing chuckle, I explained that I had a few problems but now that my daughter had bought the right stuff, I was all set.

He paused. He had a question but was hesitating ... "You glued the pipes, didn't you?"

  • Option 1 -- he's pulling my leg. He just wants me to dig up the whole damm thing (again) ... Nope, not his style. He's really too much of a nice guy for that.
  • Option 2 -- Say Yes. Exhume the drainage system under cover of darkeness and glue the pipes. .. No, I don't know what kind of glue to use. Might as well come clean.

"Do I need to?"

[Pause. Neighbor turning over this lovely sarcasm opportunity in his head. Such golden opportunites are rare. One must pull out something that Ocar Wilde himself would have been proud of. But as I said, he's a really nice guy so he simply says...]

"Yes" [though he can't entirely fight off a smirk].

Back to Lowes. "Hi Sherryl. Yes, I'm back again". Get PVC glue. Dig, dig, dig. Glue, glue, glue. Cover, cover, cover.

All things other things being equal, I think the chess probelms are easier.

33 days down, 122 to go
173 probs down, 1036 to go in Circle One


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