Wednesday, June 24, 2009

my name was awesome

What an interesting performance! What do you guys think? Alan thought Sanford's body language suggested he was completely lying/performing.(suspicious behaviors?: shrugging his shoulders, looking down a lot, having his tongue in his mouth) Alan is a big expert on the non verbal cues.
Jesse thought he was apologizing for something he knew his social circle would disapprove of, but that he himself didn't really feel was so wrong. That made a lot of sense to me.

Myself, I think who you are sleeping with is your pretty much entirely your own business, so I felt some initial sympathy for the guy. On the other hand, it's annoying when people only figure out that life is complicated when they themselves fuck up.

(from the NY Times: The governor was not known as a moralist but has frowned on infidelity and as a congressman voted to impeach President Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky affair. “He lied under a different oath, and that’s the oath to his wife,” Mr. Sanford said at the time on CNN. “So it’s got to be taken very, very seriously.”)

Also, I don't know what people even mean to convey when they apologize for something they thought about and decided to do. Sorry how? And these fantastic leaked emails,

("I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night's light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ...")

Jon Stewart's take: "Just another politician with a conservative mind and a liberal penis."

FOX News' take?

He's a Democrat.... (!!)

just like Mark Foley was.

update: (July 6) ok, if I were married to this guy, I would divorce him for being unable to shut up. It feels almost like he's exaggerating his own debasement but allowing himself to hold on to this one, redemptive excuse of love.

Pictures from NY International/ Glowing Rectangles

Irina Krush
Irina Krush, Jesse Kraai
Jesse Kraai Kassa Korley
Jaan Ehlvest and Giorgi Kachiashvili
Giorgi Kachiashvili and Jaan Ehlvest

Sam Shankland

Lev Milman

Alex Ostrovskiy
Adithya Balasubramanian
Jaan Ehlvest
Oliver Barbosa

Alex Lenderman

Giorgi Kacheishvili

PALO ALTO, CA—A new report published this week by researchers at Stanford University suggests that Americans spend the vast majority of each day staring at, interacting with, and deriving satisfaction from glowing rectangles.
Researchers were able to identify nearly 30 varieties of glowing rectangles that play some role throughout the course of each day. Among them: handheld rectangles, music-playing rectangles, mobile communication rectangles, personal work rectangles, and bright alarm cubes, which emit a high-pitched reminder that it's time to rise from one's bed and move toward the rectangles in one's kitchen.

"We discovered in almost all cases that Americans find it enjoyable and rewarding to put their faces in front of glowing rectangles for hours on end," said Howard West, a prominent sociologist on the Stanford team.

"Furthermore, when citizens are not staring slack-jawed at these mesmerizing shapes, many appear to become lost, confused, and unsure of what they should be doing to occupy themselves."

Added West, "Some even become irritated and angry when these rectangles are not around."
On average, Americans interact with anywhere from 53 to 107 pulsating rectangles every week. For many, however, this is simply not enough. Despite having a leisure rectangle in every bedroom, along with multiple work rectangles, a rectangle just for the children, and one or two rectangles that can do the work of several rectangles in one, many citizens admit to being dissatisfied.


"I wish ours was bigger," said Susan Miller, an Iowa homemaker who feels a deep sense of emptiness and fear when not in front of a luminous two-dimensional object. "Our neighbors across the street have one twice the size of ours. Harold, why can't our rectangle be more like their rectangle? Harold, are you listening to me? They seem happier than we are. Why can't we be happy like them? Honey? Are you even home?"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

three houseguests play games

Thanks for all your comments, readers! It warms my heart, really. In return, I will now show you some amusing candid photos of my houseguests:

Jesse Kraai

Alan Stein

Greg Shahade

Greg, Alan, and I are at a wine bar playing High Society, which is a great game.

not to brag or anything, but guess who won?

later that evening:

Jesse shows me online personal ads of weird looking Brooklyn women he might be attracted to. Greg and Alan play blitz incessantly.

Jesse shows us his second round draw against Igor Sorkin.

In other news, I went to see Kooza, the new cirque du soleil show, today, and it's fantastic, and also closing in NY so tickets are half price. go see it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

why do I love you? because I do

The lovelorn graffiti artist has been hard at work:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nigerian spam takes a chess vacation

I got a very weird email this morning:

Greetings!My name is ###### #########. I would be coming into the country with my friends for a one month holiday/vacation. As part of our plan we would be happy if you could organize a one month chess classes for us. We want to enjoy our vacation/game,strengthen our play and deepen our position analysis. What are your charges per session/hour?


Please kindly confirm the booking for 20TH JULY 2009 TO 20TH AUGUST 2009. As soon as I receive your confirmation I will be making a deposit of 1,000 pounds via my credit card details. This is to fully secure the booking with you. Hope you accept credit cards?

Please send a confirmation to this email IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL (NOT as an attachment please).


&*()& &*()^%^&$
Selly Park
B25 3J UK
Phone: 7011121989

At first I thought this was serious, but on rereading, doesn't it sound exactly like the Nigerian Spam? Any thoughts? Real/ Fun? Don't Uk postcodes have more digits than that?? What's the deal with attachments? It was addressed to undisclosed recipients. Did anyone else get it???

On a related subject, I want to discuss something serious with you, Readers. I write this blog so that you can entertain me at work by leaving amusing comments. Why have you all stopped doing that? Are you tired of me? Is it just not the same anymore? Have you all disappeared?

In protest and sadness, I am not relaying any amusing stories about my fascinating, famous, scandalous, gossipy itinerant chess-playing houseguests until you change your lazyass ways.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

advanced chess

So a couple weeks ago, an old friend of mine (and former USATE teammate) Geoffrey Gelman emailed me and asked if I was interested in playing in an "advanced" chess tournament (= you get to use a computer). I couldn't really understand why this would be fun, but it's not like I have better things to do, so I agreed.

You guys might remember these names from scholastic chess in the 90s (80s?)

David Sullivan

John Viloria

Geoffrey Gelman

round one

In fact, the tournament was pretty fun because there is very little stress when you have a computer. It was also amusing because no one there plays much anymore, and so we used tiny drugstore chess sets and the computers didn't have regular programs, just free downloads with names like "Strelka," where you could only see the computer's first choice:

The different lines are the first choice at different search depths.

and the evaluations changed from positive to negative depending on whose turn it was, so -.5 didn't mean black is half a pawn better, it meant whoever is to move is half a pawn worse. (very puzzling before I figured it out) Also one computer didn't work, so players on the left hand board had to share. All in all, it was a satisfyingly comic evening.
Geoffrey Gelman deservedly won with 2.5/3; he had clearly given some thought to advanced chess strategy.

David Sullivan's noncyborg approach: 1. g4 (vs Viloria)

related reading: Everything is Alive: a funny argument from a panpsychic and hylozoist

romance, sarcasm, math, and language


xkcd: A webcomic of romance,sarcasm, math, and language

also: listen to any artist or song you want: songza

not really typical stuff from MIA, but great.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

what cheered me up this morning

I woke up this morning feeling embarrassed because I've been a ridiculous drama queen recently. Then, on the walk between the morning coffee place and work, I pass these two neighboring doors:

and I thought, "ha, I'm the picture of sanity"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Two Funny Positions with GM* Orlando Gonzalez

Orlando Gonzalez is one of my all time favorite kids. He hardly talks, but he plays beautiful, beautiful games. He's moving back to Puerto Rico this summer and I will really miss him. I played a funny game with him two days ago. We got to this position:

and he played maybe the worst move on the board.... can you guess? Have you seen the hilarious section in John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book, "Find the Wrong Move" where you have to guess the plausible-looking but disasterous move that was played in the high level game? Here's an example:

M. Gurevich - San Segundo, New York Open 1998 black to move and lose

picture of Orlando to cover the answers

Gurevich San Segundo

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Bf4 Nf6 5.e3 0–0 6.Nf3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.a3 Nc6 9.Rc1 Re8 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Be2 Be6 12.0–0 Be7 13.Nd4 Rc8?? 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Ba6 Ra8 16.Bb7 Line

he played 33. Rg3? after which 33... Bb4 threatens 34... Bd6# and forces 34. Kf4, which gives me the exchange!!

much later we get here:

and my pawn is attacked, so I innocently played ... c2, which he immediately answers with Nc5 and we both break out laughing because I can't stop Nb7#. The thing which makes me luckiest in my job is that the kids I teach often find chess both beautiful and hysterically funny.

** GM = guessing master. Orlando won the 2009 US Championship Fantasy Contest