Giving Thanks



This post is a result of a conversation I had with Ms. P over last weekend. (So thank you Ms. P!).

While writing this post didn’t take a lot of time, posting it did (think taxes).

And without further delay, …. here is the post.


We don’t give enough credit to ourselves and others for the accomplishments we and they have done.

I remember thanking my grandmother for a dinner. She told me she didn’t deserve the praise; but to thank god for the meal as he provided. I didn’t know what to say, I was too young to say something and definitely not encouraged to question people’s thoughts about god and about life.

But poor woman! For her to know how to cook, put that knowledge to work, and do it over hot stove on a hot August day, and not to accept a thank you, sounds more like someone who would prefer to suffer than to be happy.

Why not take credit for cooking a dinner? I was not saying something that was false, misleading, or exaggerating her contribution to Western Civilization. It was a simple thank from a child (me!) who could cook (yet).

Giving thanks, or maybe NOT giving thanks, comes with other activities.

I have run marathons before. Now I am getting too old (well, I still want to run the LA Marathon, but perhaps that is another story).

Every 26.2 mile run puts a tremendous stress on one’s body and mental strength. People have actually died running such a long, cruel, and merciless course. In fact, the first known person who ran such a distance died at the end. The very first marathon I ever ran, a 50+ year man died on the course.

So why enter, let alone run, such a race?

It’s a challenge. Once the race begins, no one can help you. It is you and you alone that is responsible for the completing (you can insert the word “surviving” here) the run.

Some runners pray to god before the race and some give thanks to him (her?) after the race. They lessen their contribution to such an awesome accomplishment by not acknowledging they did the run all by themselves. No space alien helped them. No person, bird, or god carried them.

Birds, space aliens, and people have their limitations. But god, who despite having the full knowledge of a person running the race, and having both the power and ability to help that runner, has yet to come to the aid of a runner.

No god has ever lifted the legs of a runner, or made the course easier by removing all the pebbles, or magically provided a glass of water during the race to reduce dehydration, or even to shake your hand or offer a hug at the end. Of course, one is sweaty and dirty after a marathon, but such offers are really, really appreciated! =)

In fact, if statistics are worth anything in figuring out if a god intervenes in an activity, it seems that since so many runners have died on a 26.2 mile course, and if god can both prevent or cause these deaths one can reasonably conclude that one has to fight a god in completing a marathon. I don’t think I want to thank any entity who makes my life or activities harder.




Spring Fever



Now that the weather is finally warming up, and it is definitely Spring time, I find my mind gravitating to something that I have not thought of for some time. And that is Baseball.




Ah, yes, the well-known, quintessential American Sport Invention. And it is again vying for the attention of my mind and body.



Why this renaissance?



I used to play it when I was small, skinny kid. Where all I wanted to do was to run, hit and catch a ball, and occasionally get dirty sliding into an unoccupied base. When we kids set all the rules and played according to those rules. It was all our creation. And we loved the fantasy.



Times change. And so do people. But the fever of swinging a bat and hitting a ball as far as you can remains.



One story that remains with me is the theory of the glove. There seems to be an all encompassing conspiracy of the universe that you can’t find a left-handed glove. And if you do find one, it will be the wrong size.



Back in the 70’s my mom found exactly one that fit me. One! I don’t know where she found it. I just remember going to various stores and not finding one. Oh, how I love my new glove and I used and took care of it. I treasured this new left-handed glove as I was convinced it was a one-of-kind. Something unique in the universe.



High School brought its own challenges. But one of them was not worrying about a baseball glove. I had mine. The glove was five years old, dusty and not exactly new. But I had one. And it was all mine. Never shared or lent to anyone.



In college I had to hang up my glove to study technical stuff that I, nor anyone else, ever uses anymore. Does anyone even care about BASIC? How about 2N2222 transistors?




But the fever remained. I find myself going back into time. Ah, the baseball memories of hitting a homerun. Or of sliding into home plate. Or throwing out a runner from the sitting position of a catcher. Or striking out the best batter we ever had.



And the damn difficulty of finding a left-handed glove.



I recently searched at Dickey’s, a sporting goods store here in Huntington Beach. They had a wall of gloves from the small to large sizes. How many of them were for lefties? Two! And I don’t mean two models, I mean exactly two gloves. Out of hundreds of gloves on the wall, just two of them were left-handed. And of course, they were the wrong size.



Last weekend at the Goldenwest College swap meet I did find another left-handed glove. It was a bright pink color. And I might have tried it on, but was made for a little girl. I just had to laugh! It was the universe making fun of my earnest and ultimately futile search.

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Playing With Colour




Enjoy the last few hours of the day (or you can claim a Happy Saint Patrick’s Weekend if you wish).


For me, I just don’t get it. I do think it is fun time, but I don’t exactly celebrate the day (or weekend). And for at least three reasons.


One, I am not Irish. I don’t even look Irish.

I can’t even come close to sounding Irish.

And finally, Green is not my favourite colour. My favourite colour is blue. Green is second. Or even third, if you consider White to be a colour.

My favourite pens are blue. My computer mouse is blue. My shoes, when I wear them, are blue (note here: my shoes tend to last a very long time).



The squares on my chessboards are blue and white. Interesting fact here; when I play blindfolded or analyzing a position on the board, I can’t describe exactly what I am seeing. The pieces don’t have colour, and I can’t tell you if I see them in two- dimensional or three-dimensional.

My umbrella is blue. My two portable alarms clock are blue. My wallet is blue. Most jackets I own are blue. I wear blue jeans. Can you guess what colour is my computer screen? 😉

White goes well with blue. There is not only the previously mentioned two toned chess board, but also blue jeans and white tee-shirts, blue ink on white paper (you can get very creative), blueberries on vanilla ice cream (also tastes good), and even white snow with a clear blue sky behind (it’s a rarity in Southern California, where the snow usually falls when the sky is covered in clouds. Come to think it, it’s probably a rarity anywhere!)

Now, confessions. I do own and use a blue and green backpack. So I am not necessarily adverse to green. But that has to wait for another post.





PI ~

A Silly Sign


Camelot Books, a popular used book store in Southern California, is going out of business.


I have frequented the store many times and personally knew the original owner (I even played a chess match with him about 30 years ago. But this is getting off the point.)




I’ve always loved the English language. I thought I was weird growing up, and it was because I was.


You see, I loved seeing new words; what word games I liked to play. I’m not just talking about Scrabble, but making my own games. For example, I wondered what word might have the most “S”’es.


SASSAFRASES and BUSINESSES with 5 and 4 S’es respectfully, is what I came up with.


Yesterday I visited Camelot to take advantage of their going out of business (see, knowing such words with lots of “S”es in them can be a good thing) sale.


I got there early and remembered that there was restaurant nearby. But I’ve actually never been inside the restaurant. What got my attention was the sign they proudly presented in their window.


It answered my question of, “What is the longest sequence of consonants you can have in a word without any vowels?”


The answer is five, if you misspell the word. See below.


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We’ll save the problem of grammar for another time.

Knott Another Pun


In early January I purchased a season pass for Knott’s Berry Farm (KBF). Yesterday I was finally I was able to use it in the beautiful sunshine of Southern California.


Why did it take me so long to use it? Generally I eschew the rain and avoid the cold. And in January and February we had plenty of both.


Finally the sun decided to smile on us this month and I got to play outside. I say play, because being outside with a warm sun is my favorite place to play. I went on roller coasters and even a water ride, walked around the place, shot some photos, and just soaked up the sun in copious quantities.


But why Knott’s Berry Farm? D-Land, KBF bigger brother up little more north,  is further away, more expensive, more crowded, and more stressful. Plus I like their food more (it’s slightly more healthy).


I got home slightly dirty, very tired, and absolutely happy.


We had some very light rain here in Orange County. It was not even up to the level of a mizzle, but nevertheless, we had some precipitation.


I’m glad I went to Knott’s yesterday!  😉


Here are some photos from Knott’s Berry Farm. And like the lyrics of a well known song; “these are a few of my favorite things”.








Making a mate?



No excuses! I’ve been negligent about blogging on this blog. Forgive me. I am simply writing again.

I am starting two new projects. Both of them have to do with chess.

The first is a book. It’s titled 3000 French Winawer Miniatures and I am doing some research into some old games. As of today I am up to 2,700 games. Just 300 to go before I start formatting the games in a book form!


The second project is I am experimenting with a have new blog. It’s a chess blog, mostly to share games and ideas and occasionally be funny. Below is the link.


As far as this blog goes, I do want to keep blogging on it. Tomorrow I’ll share what I did today. With photos.

I hope you’ll enjoy my little adventure. I did 😉