How's everybody? Once you fall out of the habit of blogging it's hard to get going again. You feel awkward, guilty, hypercritical. So we'll start with someone else's fun: the Detroit Ice House project.
They are spraying an abandoned house with water and letting it freeze to make a frozen house. The idea is to draw attention to the 80,000 houses in the area that are abandoned and dangerous.
The kids are doing well. They won the NYC Elementary and Junior High Championships. Isaac Barayev tied for first (5-0) in the Elementary but lost the blitz playoff. James Black came third with 4.5/5. In the Junior High, Jehron and Nigel tied for first with 4.5/5, but got 3rd and 4th on tiebreaks. The following kids tied for 5th-10th with 4/5: Justus, Azeez, Alexis, James, Shawn, and Miguel.
This week I've been making all my students do tactics packets during class-- I got this amazing book Junior Chess Training: Improve Your Chess by Julian Simpole. I haven't read the text so much, but I was doing the problems lying in bed one night and they were fantastically methodical-- for example, there are maybe 12 examples of when ...Qa5+ picks up a white piece on e5, or how you can play ....e5, forking the Nd4 and the Bf4 and when white plays Bxe5, then ...Qa5+. Great, great stuff. I couldn't wait to get to the photocopier the next morning.
It turns out that making all your students work independantly on tactics during class time (while you circulate, helping kids who get stuck-- this is not slacking time) is a very relaxing way to spend your day, but creates immense amounts of paper-correcting to do at night.
Some more great books I've read recently: Revolutionize Your Chess by Victor Moskalenko, Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. For those of you wondering "What is Elizabeth Vicary's favorite book?" the answer is The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami.
Other things... it's going very well with the boyfriend: he asked me to move in with him and I think I will. I've paid my rent through March, but after that, if it's still going as great as now ... I've lived by myself for six years now and it's lonely. also, I really like him. also, he's healthier than I am, so I'm hoping to become healthier just by hanging around him.
I'm thinking about having a baby as well (!). I had kinda assumed I never would, since I'm 34 and (until recently) was single and incredibly busy and not terribly motherly. But Jonathan wants a family, and I feel like I can't defer the choice much longer. I have no idea what it would be like. On the one hand, I read somewhere that having children lowers your overall happiness. and I'm not sure I have the instinct for it. also, I'm worried about the time/energy factor-- I'm still so into the 318 project: seeing how long I can keep the program going at the level it is now, and I don't want to turn into a bored housewife or a half-assed, distracted teacher. Also, what if the kid is annoying? But pregnancy would be very interesting, and it's not like my current lifestyle makes me so happy. Any thoughts? or better, let's make a poll!
I haven't been playing any chess at all, but I miss it and am very excited about Amateur Team East. After that... I guess I should think about the new Philadelphia exFoxwoods tournament. I'm probably happy about the move, since I have a free place to stay in Philly and I neither gamble nor drive. The only downside is that it's right before junior high nationals, so I might be wanting to work.