Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Night Miscellany

Some kind of critter was out in the yard last night rummaging around for food and was making the strangest kind of noise - it sounded sort of like "CRRAAAAKKKKEEEE" (very loud, or pehaps it just sounded loud because at that time of the early morning there was nothing else out there making noise!); there would be a couple of "crakes" and then silence for a little while, and them more "crakes." It was about 2:39 a.m. I staggered out of bed and peered out of the window but it was too dark to see anything without a moon. So I went around the upstairs and shut the windows so I wouldn't hear the "crake" noise anymore and tried to get back to sleep. I have no idea what it was. There are some juvenile raccoons who hang around, perhaps it was one of them. I figure there must have been some other critter out there rummaging around too, otherwise the first critter would not have been making the loud "crake" noises. Ah, such is life in the suburbs... In the quickest time yet, we already have a review/summary/report or whatever you'd like to call it of our Goddesschess Eighth Anniversary get-together during my recently concluded vacation. To save download time a lot of the pics are done in minis and there is also a separate photo gallery; if you click on a mini pic it turns into a larger photo but hopefully not so large that it will take forever to download on dial-up. Now that vacation is over Random Round-up has been updated and we're back on schedule to update it every Sunday. I don't think I mentioned that I finished David Shenk's "The Immortal Game - A History of Chess" a few weeks ago - what an excellent book, I highly recommend it. It's not dry, dull and boring like HJR Murray's tome on the origins and history of chess - and certainly not 800 plus pages - these days I only read Harry Potter novels that are that long! Shenk hits all the highlights, particularly with respect to the mysteries surrounding the origins of chess and the early days of the game's development. He frames each chapter in the book by a series of moves in the "Immortal Game" between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kierseritsky on June 21, 1851, in London - a game that was a throw-away, a practice game - but it didn't turn out that way... Shenk struck a good balance between writing for a non-chessly audience while providing enough meat for serious chessophiles. Now, onto the spooky and wierdo stuff - what the heck is this I've been reading about "Mothman?" What is Mothman, anyway? Lately over at the Daily Grail there are items that refer to Mothman. At least some bloggers see a connection between this Mothman and bridge collapses (recently occurred in Minnesota and one in China), and other disasters. Is Mothman some kind of omen or harbinger? Check out this headline (in red ink, no less) from the Gulf Daily News: Tissir masters 42 in stimulation chess Oh my! Well, if you live long enough, I guess you'll see just about everything... "It was a really enjoyable event, and I feel that it was very educational for the young and amateur players that took part," Tissir told the GDN afterwards. Double Oh My! Educational, heh? Er, it turns out this was a "simultaneous" game by IM Mohammed Tissar, although it certainly may have been "stimulating!" One of those "lost in translation" things... Ah, Viktor Korchnoi won Banja Luka 2007. I wish he had emigrated to the United States - the history of chess here might have gone a whole different path with such a player "on our side." Chessbase has a nostalgic article about the history of the Banja Luka tournament. Oh, by the way, I don't believe for a single second that the Russian Chess Federation "mistakenly" sent a 16-year old Kasparov to Banja Luka in 1979 under the assumption that it was a "junior" tournament. Ha! What a joke! Okay, that's it for tonight. It's supposed to start raining tomorrow around 4 p.m. so I cut the grass in the backyard tonight after trudging home from a long hard day at the office; since I hadn't cut for nearly 2 weeks it was rather long, with the rain we've had lately. Yes, rain! It seems the drought is over, at least for this area of southeast Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the farmers in the northern part of the state can't say the same, and it's too late for them. We're talking about crop losses in excess of 60-70%. Anyway, since the grass in the back was rather tall, it took more effort than usual, and somewhat longer than usual, to get it cut to my exacting specifications. On the plus side, I got a real good work-out. On the minus side, I'll probably sleep until 7 a.m. tomorrow and blow half the day recuperating from overdoing it today! Tomorrow the plan is to cut the front yard as soon as it's decent enough to rev up the gas power mower without disturbing the neighbors toooo much. I do try to keep the front yard presentable for the neighbors, so it isn't nearly as shaggy and overgrown as the backyard was, as I cut it last week Saturday morning. Then it's party party - my birthday is Sunday and I'm celebrating tomorrow night AND on Sunday, whooppee, while dodging in between thunderstorms. 'night.

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