Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grab Not Grob

Serious chess study is almost an absolute impossibility amidst the shifting sands of life or the churning seas of the ocean.

After years of integration, the miraculous is almost ready to happen: while assisting a customer, two weeks ago, with a routine question easily dismissed as 'not in my area' when the plumbers were otherwise occupied (read mischeduled or 'out to lunch'), I dove in with both feet and insisted on getting his question answered. I called our store in Bellevue. Imagine, you cannot call down the hall but must call another more trusted location: Bellevue in lieu of Seattle, which is, incidentally, not far from Microsoft in Redmond or Medina where no less than Bill Gates Lives.

Long story, fast forward: in the course of quickly giving him outstanding service, just for sport, not for money or honor, as I am want to do, he realized that he knew me. Ken, who I will mention in a second, recalled having invited me to his house four years ago for a New Years Party, all from a deep conversation in my former haunt in flooring which, again at our store, annoyingly included wire shelving: read cut myriads of wire shelving with irritatingly loud and dull phenumatic shears.

I decided upon a second encounter with Ken, not to attend, very deliberately not to attend with a courteous email to count me out. He seemed rambunctious, and I had quit drinking in September of that year, and was in protection mode from all possible or elective disturbance.

So we finally recognize each other, and have a connection which is vivid four years latter again, only he has changed and I have changed. He is present in the moment, as I am... "Gosh, how are you at computing? I am CFO of a start up, and we sure could use a person like you..."

I check the website. Oh my god.... this is it. I email him within 24 hours, and the die is cast. Four rapid emails at 1 am in realtime, and I decide to go for broke and test the waters, and send him a dk-esque email as you can all imagine, with ONE OF MY CRAZY PHOTOS, THINKING 'if this doesn't stop them, then this will be ok and I can be accepted'.

As I drove home, this is the first thing I heard on the Radio!

You know how he responds? "To work at L., you have to be a little bit crazy, and you will fit in perfectly"...

I read the Mezzanene B financing PDF and all kinds of alarm bells are going off in my head... interview set up, hours of preparation, read a 54 page doc, and watch four YouTube promotional videos. This stuff is cool, I am thinking, I cannot sell what I do not believe in. They need a Customer Service Guru and Ken saw me, all while taking care of him at the store, take care of swarms of persons calmly...

Today I had a several hour interview. He hugged me at the door. I used an example of the leasons learned in three marriages (not me = 0) off the top of my head, and he reaches behind him, shows me a photo of his wife, and it is his 'third marriage', yes, I tell him, 'I AM AN INTUITIVE'.

So this ties together architect, financial sales, CRM or customer resource management, buildings, and knowledge managment, project management , and contact management...

First interview with G: "Yes, you were in charge of OEM licensing at Microsoft and program management?" "Yes, HOW did you know that?" "Well, I read the whole report and it is all here", pointing at my head, "I had a photographic memory when I was 18..."

I raise issues about distribution, sub-prime crisis, intellectual property, the works.

I get the tour of the office, I hear Russian. From my job, I can recognize about fifty or more accents, including distinguishing Somali from Eritrian or Etheopian, Persia from Arabic.... we round the corner, and there is a chess position set up at a board, 'to capture the win for everyone'. Bunch of Russian Engineers! Here I am.

I take Ken down the hall, from the stair landing: pointing to the street directional arrows: "Did you ever notice that those match the company logo???!!!" "David, this is why I love creative people"...

I of course memorized the names of all their markets, no mention of Dubai... "Have you guys thougth about Dubai?" "You saw that?" "No, it just came to me now with Japan and Switzerland, Germany..."

The Entropic Break Point of our Planet: Aerial View of Burj Dubai and the Mall underneath

He said that had had other offers to sell and could go public, but prefer to build the company first. I mention Honeywell, Siemens, Motorolla, General Electric, then he says 'those are all obvious ones" but 'what about Microsoft or google?'. They are in wireless home automation...

These guys are grabbing me. Love is like that, business is like that, friendship is like that, the pets that somehow find us are like that, books are like that, spiritual teachers are like that, and even blogs can be like that. :)

I'd be surprised if I didn't get the job, but they must raise another million or two to get to six. Life is amazing. And, guess what? Out of 'the retail environment' I can join the USCF with more weekends free, a lot more in fact, and meet some more of you here, or on the road goodness sake!

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,Craigslist.com 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.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pause then Big Unit, Brain Orgasm IV

I have done a mountain of work beyond the view of most bloggers--hints:

Ten page letter to the Netherlands about a prospective University position;

Six page project planning document about a soon to be announced collaborative project with a leading blogger;

Mutliple tests in holistic mode, whereby despite having a diet in probably in the top 99.5% of white males in my age group, I am at that odd threshold of 'prehypertension' (one step from high blood pressure) where I probably cannot make marginal gains from diet but must do it with lifestyle, and state of mind.

My addiction to being DK what it is, that in my odd 49.55 years easily hundreds have said that I am 'as intense a person as' they 'have ever met'. Damn.

'The Mind Cannot Fix Itself'

'This is the shit' is more meaningful now. Test on stool for specificity on lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance, then four saliva tests, mailed today on adrenals. My holistic doc MD is looking at the big picture, believe you me. Rashes all over my body. High blood pressure: since childhood, but never to excess, but now inexplicably increasing. Terrable rashes as a child, now come to roost at age fifty, tried double rinse wash, new soaps, Aavion oat cry skin rash lotions, castor oil, all of it. Big picture time.

Processing another 1,953 games into my chess database of Classic GM Games, actually comparing them to the preceding 3,278 games, with chessbase, for accuracy, game length. Give me a drink. Chessbase orgasm, explodes through roof. Vertical.

Maybe all those GM games touched are not a complete and utter void? Two nights in a row, guest sessions at CTS: ready for my comeback, as more or greater than ever? 90% tonight at 1600 elo a hint of things burgeoning to come? "Test, test. I repeat", "Testing One, Two, Three".

Taxes done tonight. Talk about the final exam of any trader.

Tehran: Swarms of Humanity Burst Our Planet. The Model does not work any more

At my employer, they finally had the good sense--despite my being senior level but non-managment--to ask me to have a lot more oversight. What is that? Authority comes not from job titles, but the ability to get others to do what needs doing? How true! To get others into correct motion and focus on the right task without the big title takes the ever so important: 'diplomacy".

Modeled from the most esteemed co-blogger Wahrheit, I need to quickly point out some nice leads on the web:

GM Dzindzichashvili vs Rybka, great article, please read to the end [1]!

The ever acerbic Yermolinksy, at his Yermo Diary, also not without controversy, as indicated. Can you imagine trying to please this guy??

Usual same old jack ass anonymous all over, snipping at me. If I am so bad, the why the fuck do you keep paying atttention to me mother fucker? If you are so good, come here and talk to me in the light of day. As the Zen master said, grabbing the student by the throat, shouting, with blood curdling screams in a calculated display of rage to wake the student up: "WHAT CAN YOU DO??!!"

Who has not seen the Charlie Chan, top ten stunts, at youTube??

Props to the old XY, who while nevertheless coming and going from our sphere, hit the ball completely out of the park with this video, 'In Box Zero'.

For those of us caught in the flood ( * me* ) this is THE video. Six-partite quadruple bravo, in the tradition of prescient inteligence cum Peter Norvig, Director or Research at no less than Google?? Ne Plus Ultra indeed.

[1] I've been reading chessville.com for years, not least of which Wit and Wisdom of Nigel Davies but am indebted to the ever particular Dutch Defence Edwin Meyer for the reminder to be reading there again, having momentarily lost touch with them. Cornucopia II indeed!.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Letters to a Young Chess Loser

As is well known, chessLoser wrote a post to which I made a comprehensive comment, which precipitated many other comments, then even an Open Letter to ChessLoser by my very good friend and our most esteemed colleague Phaedrus. I hope that you all read it. Thank you chessLoser and thank you Phaedrus [1].

[1]. I wrote a post almost two years ago called Letters to a Young Blue Devil Knight, which is of course a backhand reference to German Expressionist Poet Rilke, who wrote the magnificient Letters to a Young Poet. It is highly recommended.