Friday, April 11, 2008


My father died three days ago [link to youTube, Johnny Cash song, Hurt , ebedding disabled by request]. He had gone very far down, and as can happen, treatment for cancer of the tongue destorys the cancer, then kills you. His suffering is over. Well into his mid seventies, he could do things physically I cannot do today.

As many of you know, I lost my job the day before Thanksgiving. What a year it has been. While replenishing my income is a real need, more to the point, I never really recovered both spiritually, emotionally, and practically from when I left Wall Street in 2000 [1].

I turned fifty in October, and my job was gone within four weaks. The housing crisis hit building materials retail NOT in September of 2008, but had already arrived in October of 2007, when we saw all the signs. As I said many times, it signified how much value I gave Lowes for being able to keep my job in the next 13 months, under enormous pressure from senior management. But in the end, at my highest pay rate, a red bullseye sat on my forehead, and I challenged management often, go figure. Even if you are supposed to be the best, that has its limits. :) I say this with humor, I hope you all understand.

My oldest friend died of altzheimers two months ago. He was a bridge master, a chess expert, and even played tennis great Rod Laver in rounds at both Wimbelton and The Italian Open, such a talent. He hustled pool, took BASIC programming to its limits early in the day, read Wittgenstein, and was a gourment. He was a spy in Eastern Europe, learning fluent Czech in just three months at the Montery Language School. He had read all of Being and Nothingness as a lad and became president of the American Azalia and Rhodendion Society in his latter years, with the back of his left foot, learning the names of many of the plants in Japanese. It goes without saying, he was among the one or two most brilliant persons I have had the priviledge of ever knowing. He was my first real teacher, and what a teacher he was.

Three days ago, I signed up--after ten years of ardent resistence--for a clinical study in severe depression, with medication provided. All the visits are covered, and the providor is solid, solid, solid [2], all fully monitored, 24 access to Doc with pager... When I got home from my intake visit, the phone rang, and it was news of my dads death.

I have often said how psychic I am. All too true. I feel and see more than most want to receive, and am more sensative than most. Not knowing my dad had his last day, I RAN to the post office the day before he died, having writen him my first letter in four years (he was deaf, we did a LOT of email, but that in the end was beyond his capabilities), and mailed the letter. I got home, and could not stop crying. The phone rings--it's the clinic, and I am invited to come in the next day. I cry off and on all night. Off and on for hours. As I go to bed, I was thinking, 'if only I could have a contract put out on me, get drunk with the door unlocked and get shot in my sleep, it would conveniently be over...' [3]

The next day, I am in the clinic for five hours. I go to Lowes for the first time since November, to research major brands, having decided my only hope is to combine architect and territory sales, product representative roles, by researching major brands, all of which I know quite well, and also went to Home Depot. I can see what outsiders cannot in an hour, mapping major labels [4].

I get home, phone rings, dad is dead.

In one week: decision to go on antidepresents, go back inside Lowes for the first time in four months (another location, for sure, where I am not well known), and dad dies.

I still play chess, six to seven times a week, at FICS, and sometimes Y! or chessCube for minor warm up games, 1700 in latter, but no mental space to join USCF again, still. I finally finished Reifeld's 1001 Sacrfices and Combinations till the binding fully disintegrated, and have just done 1/8th of his 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate. I am annualizing 98.6% at CTS, and soon will hit 90.1% for 50,000 tries, something few in the world have done there. The Polgar project continues, albiet my current state a big hangup. I am starting to develop some blindfold skill, but mostly its in my sleep that I have it, when my heading is swimming in chess positions [5].

I want to write the big ChessBase post, but I have zero extra. My plate is full. Life is hard. Life seems over.

Those of you who are young--don't waste your life. If you see a girl or a boy you like go for her or him. Don't have a job you like--get out. Don't love you wife or husband--end it. Do what you love, take the chances given to you. The journey is a one shot deal. Loyalty, keeping promises, helping others, being authentic. Go to Europe or Asia, learn Arabic of German or Chinese, read the classics, learn to cook. Learn SQL and basic accounting. Learn carpentry and baking and homeopathy and how to cultivate organic vegetables and hydroponics.

Hold hands, hug, kiss, cry, laught, mourn, celebrate. Meditate, pray, share, listen. Like Robert Heinleins list of skills a man needs, go expand you palate to the maximum. Be nice to children and old people and the disabled, feed the homeless and give a bed to someone in need. And go ahead, and play a few wild gambits after drink.

Love dk

[1] Having almost a Senior VP title on your resume from Morgan Stanley THEN working at Lowes for six years after professional architectural practice AFTER living in a Zen Temple in Korea is like being hot iron brandished misfit, as far as the corporate world is concerned. Needle in haystack situation as far getting a 'job'. It like but being a refuge but only you are white middleclass, but might as well be a homeless drug addict felon.

[2] Not all is lost on me. I almost didn't qualify in the subjectivity test, since my physical health is so good, despite a great score on sinking mood. :)

I continue to eat exceedingly healthily, just back from a 36 minute run, including hills five to six days a week....

When the psyhologist saw the numbers, my heart sank, but he left the room to go see the MD's, and said, 'Let me see what I can do'. Clearly, I not only belonged in the study, but could benefit enormously--and he knew it and I knew it. Mercy please, Lord. Yes.

[3] Armchair Doctors of the blogosphere, fear not. I DO WANT to live, but these are what are called feelings, defined in therapy as like/dislike.

[4] So the real rub of the matter is that I need to find a new direction. Technical sales, project management, program management open positions are flooded with applicants, not least of which WAMU, the largest bank bust in US history is from Seattle, so that 'on the margin', odds are 1: 400 or 500 I can find a job on the web. Prospective employers have their pick in detail here, of who they want:

"We need someone who can do Quickbooks, answer four phones, do html, photcopy, mailroom, refill coffee machine, CNC die and toolmaker, knowledge of AutoCAD, SQL, Nissan Factory certified, AND perfect driving record, must be Ivy League, under age fifty, over age twenty-five, provide SS number, detailed references", at Seattle, as much as $11 to 13 per hour by gosh! Wow! Not far from the truth. Fuck that.

[5] Almost doesnt cut it, but dang it, I almost hit 1500 bullet at ICC and then missed it. 1500 bullet generally correlates (not alway, but usually) with a 1600-1700 blitz game and 1800-1850 standard chess. I am still trying... beating 1900's now and again, but also time to time losing to 1300 still, so not quite ready. My win loss ratio at FICS and ICC alike is about 33%, my pride and joy, badge of sustained punishment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wish you the best through this trying time and will say a prayer for you. Please take care of yourself and stay strong.


Sat Apr 11, 02:47:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous CMoB said...

Sorry to hear about your dad. My condolances. But be glad for the time you had with him. Some people live their whole lives without parents. Life is hard, yes. But compared to what?

Sat Apr 11, 02:47:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Glenn Wilson said...

My condolences at the loss of your father.


since feeling is first

Sat Apr 11, 03:04:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

He sounds like a man that was strong in mind and body. I can see a little where you may have gotten it. I'm sorry for your loss.

Sat Apr 11, 03:56:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mark Weeks said...

DK - There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can replace the loss of a parent. Your father's work lives in you and in everyone who remembers him, but the world will never be the same without him. - Mark

Sun Apr 12, 03:24:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your loss.



Sun Apr 12, 06:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger tanc (happyhippo) said...


i'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

pls take care of yourself.

my thots and prayers are with you.

Sun Apr 12, 04:51:00 PM PDT  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

I’ve been remiss. I’ve been thinking about you and not taking action with a call, email or any follow-up. Knowing your are not this “quiet” for so long. Damn! Hiding behind my own trials and putting up a “good show” on the blog at the expense of reaching out and being real to a friend. Knowing, to reach out as such, would actually have mutual benefits, yet disregarded as my own storms were strong. Damn! Life’s struggles and distractions… the dance we all do … I fall prey, damn!
I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like he was your “superman”. If it’s any consolation, you’ve given me a gift of gratitude. I hope that doesn’t sound trite or comes out wrong. But, I think it’s also important to point out some silver linings in such dark clouds. I’ve learned to look for rainbows during turbulent storms. Gratitude comes today as I watch my ailing father, my superman, who’s kryptonite has slowed him down with an immunization disease that is fighting his entire body. I know, one day in the not so distant future, I will be grieving.
Brother, be well.

Sun Apr 12, 07:33:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for about two years when I first discovered it.

I appreciate your quality writing and quality art presentations.

I wish you well in your difficult task of navigating your depression.

no advice
no platitudes
just caring


Mon Apr 13, 07:39:00 AM PDT  
Blogger wang said...

I am very sorry to hear about your loss friend.

Wed Apr 15, 12:26:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Rocky said...

My heart goes out to you and your family.

I don't know if this will comfort you or not, but I strongly believe this life is not the end. We will see and live with our loved ones again. I have full confidence you will see your father again.

Take care and my prayers are with you.


Wed Apr 15, 04:02:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure all of the chess community wishes you the best in this difficult time - hearts go out to you.


Thu Apr 16, 06:01:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Derek said...

Hey David - very sorry to hear the bad news. Condolences - thoughts and prayers are with you.

Thu Apr 16, 06:45:00 AM PDT  
Blogger likesforests said...

David, I'm very sorry for your loss, my condolences. If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask. -- Ron

Thu Apr 16, 08:54:00 AM PDT  
OpenID liquideggproduct said...

Good to hear from you, but unfortunate under such poor conditions. Our thoughts are with you.

Thu Apr 16, 11:10:00 AM PDT  
Blogger wormwood said...

sorry to hear about your dad. I was in the same situation in november with my mom, so I have an idea of what you're going through. there's nothing like losing a parent, no matter how much you thought you had prepared to it. it's like a brick in the face, a lightning from the clear blue sky. it's nothing like any other death we face during life. the child within us never believes what the adult in us knows,that on day our parents will be dead. and regarding our moms & dads we'll always stay as children in a way.

I also know about depression, and antidepressants. my advice is, keep exercising and eating healthy, as I know you do. try not to sink in with chess too much, we all know how we OCD types love to do that to fight anxiety. and you have more than your share of that coming in right now. and of course, whatever you do, stay off the sauce. you know it's just gonna make everything 10x worse. (that's also what got my mom.)

but it'll all blow over, believe me. I've been there. focus on the good things, spring, summer, go out a lot. good food, good friends, that's all you really need. simple pleasures, which are all free. money and material wealth are irrelevant: we come here with nothing, we leave with nothing, the emperors and beggars alike. there are no exceptions.

you're an old fox, and I know you already knew all this. but I also know it sometimes helps to hear someone say them again. just to break you out from the boxes we tend to shut us in losing the bigger picture.

take it easy dk. allow yourself to grieve and be sad, it's perfectly normal. but also have some fun between the tears. it's just life, and it's all good. the old yin and yang, both are needed for balance.


Sat Apr 18, 06:45:00 AM PDT  
Blogger transformation said...

dear chess friends, tommyg, DMoB, GlennW, BDK, mWeeks, Chester, tanc, Blunderprone, annonII, wang, Rocky, Annoniemouse, Derek, liekforests, liquideggProduct, and Wormwood, thank you to each and every one of you.

dad was of course a unique person, but we didn't talk or see each other for sixteen years, before three years ago, when i clearly knew to be there in his last years. things happen, but he more than went out of his way to redress or right any wrongs--as did i.

it was not a bed of roses, that's for sure. we are extremely different people, and his deafness only added to a gigantic limited barrier.

Even well into my forties, life with dad for me was not always smooth, so that when I finally knew that I loved my father, it made it whole again.

i also wish to recognize a few things, briefly but specifically.


GlennW: i especially appreciated the ee commings poem. it took me a week now to catch this, but duly examined the link, just now, and know this poem, and already have the page marked :) thank you!

BDK: i guess the best example was last night seeing five nice Mexican guys (i love Mexicans, the usually the nicest persons i ever met at Lowes ) across the streak quickly but laboriously striping and shingling an entire roof in a few hours. a big boom truck came, and did mechanical delivery of the heavy shingles--then remembered my dads feat.

have any of you ever carried a bundle of shingles? my dad not only shingled his own roof in his mid seventies (seven years ago, lets say), but CARRIED each bundle up a rickety wooden ladder (those depression era types never wasted money or threw pennies around, older among you know). in my life peak fitness and strength four years ago (before my arm surgery 2.3 years ago), i never found it all too easy to lift then move a SINGLE bundle at ground level two feet HORIZONTALLY.

mWeeks: i now recall how you went through the exact same thing, a year ago, round thanksgiving. my heartfelt condolences, again. nice to hear your cyberVoice, again.

Blunderprone, now that's the George I know and adore and confide in, the big shoulder guy, who speaks the truth. thank you. i got your personal email, and appreciated the specific offer to help that you gave. thank you deeply.

wormwood: thank you. we knew well in advance, the end was near, and its good that he is not suffering any more, nor his wife who had to deal with all of it, never complaining.

alcoholism is wide spread on both sides of the family, but more on the Korn side, and i am duly on guard. i didn't drink for 3.5 years ago, till last spring, and when i got that bad rash all over me, tried everything, including some alcohol, to tweak all variables. in the end, its nice now and again to have a drink, but am far better off without it, but glad to have the monkey off my back, so that its not a big deal to have one, as some precious thing now... fortunately, neither my mom or dad or sister drank, so its my older brother who gets to burry his feelings. enough said. :]

as for all those pleasures, well, that's depression where, its not a matter as my closest friend keeps suggesting, 'getting retraining in a new field' but simply being able to leave THE HOUSE or open an envelope, little alone read one!

chess, OCD? i played only for about 18 hours the last three days, trying 'to get my rating back', a nice way to avoid reality.

the hardest part of turning age fifty while single, besides dads death and unemployment, is being invisible to 99% of the opposite sex of interest to me. well, maybe its 98%. very sad to me.


yesterday (what a week its been!), i saw a message on my caller ID, thinking, well, its an employer, this should be good. but it was not.

it was Best Buy, the major consumer electronics retailer, and someone had ordered a $610 TV or such on my credit card (?), so quickly confirmed what they already knew, identity theft.

called my bank, went through all the transactions, major pain in the ass. fortunately i had used it little in the last week, but this idiot thief did three, including what turned out to be the Notebook computer to ARKANSAS, and one in The UK!

they hedged, and said it was very hard to know where it occurred, so i called back in my best DK morgan stanley 'don't even think of fucking with me mode', polite but firm, 'you need to tell me where it occurred, or i will find a lawyer to tell me, and i hold you responsible...'

turns out, yes, it was on line, called the Seattle police, step one, and go from there, and they can get the address.

my friend Dr. Mirsky, the one who played Tal in chess on a train as he was drunk (Tal, not mike), and he said something about AK-47's. i said no, no killing, just a serious maiming, a baseball bat was the image i got.


i need to get a body guard and wear Kevlar vests, full body armor, since monday night, driving to new found weekly OBP chess, almost sideswiped a bus, driving. never saw it. i took it and take it as a stern warning. and this came after. the planets are humming.

love to all of you, dk

Sat Apr 18, 12:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

ID theft egads dude I hope things settle down for you soon.

Thu Apr 23, 09:08:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Pawn Shaman said...

Keep your head up friend. Tough times take a while to get through. Were praying for you.

Fri Apr 24, 11:17:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Hiddenleaf said...


Sorry to hear about your loss, my condolances.

All the best in these hard times and take care.

In thoughts with you,

Mon Apr 27, 10:59:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Waldemar said...

Dear DK,

I'm very sorry to read the news about your father passing away.
My condolances.

I've been through the same process - my father died 21 years ago - and I can tell you it was "challenging" to say the least.

I feel particularly touched by your well meant advice on leading a fulfilling life. I will take it to heart.

Wishing you well and lots of strength,


Tue Apr 28, 05:51:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Reifeld's 1001 Sacrfices and Combinations till the binding fully disintegrated"

I looked at that book without taking it off the shelf at Barnes and Noble and the binding fell apart. What the hell is it with Reinfelds publisher that the binding always falls apart if you breathe hard on it.

(hope this humor made you smile)

Sun May 10, 04:58:00 AM PDT  

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