Post 01 from the Quarantine

Well, I didn’t expect this.

I saw the news stories in February about the Coronoa virus. A co-worker gave me the link to the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Tracker on February 27th and I started tracking it. For a little while I thought it was not going to have much impact. They tell us something is going to kill us damn near every year and I figured this would be the same. But I was wrong. ~Two weeks later I decided on my own to WFH (my employer has always had a liberal work from home policy). The next day most of Philadelphia shut down. Been at home for the most part ever since.

So it’s me, my wife and our three children. Some days are tough just because the kids are stir crazy and we’re trying to figure out how to do the school thing. Kids don’t like being cooped up all day and not getting to see their friends.

“Can we go to the park?” No.

“Can I have a play date?” No.

And so on.

But we’re making it fine. I’m still working full time. I work in streaming video for the most part and that’s one of the few things still in demand. For our family, our week over week finances are better than usual because we mostly eat at home, don’t drive the car much and we’re just not out as much so there are fewer spur of the moment purchases. Doing “just because” purchases right now doesn’t feel good. Those unemployment numbers are rough. We try to support as many local businesses as we can because we’d like them to still be around when this is over plus it’s a beating cooking for 5 three times a day. The prep, the cooking, the meal time bites negotatins, the clean up. I’m allowed to be grateful and exhausted.

As far as chess goes, that’s still a lot of fun. I’m not playing much blitz these days (I did finally make it over 1300 on lichess). Daily works better for me with the current schedule. I’m to the point where I usually see knight forks coming, and some tactics become visible to me as way to attack and things to defend against.

Also, I’m finally starting to understand what “control the middle” means. If I don’t see an obvious move to make, I look to see if I can control more of those four middle squares. Often I can’t see how it benefits me right away, but a few moves later I usually have more options than my opponent.

It’s taken almost 18 months of steady chess play to get to that point. But even with all the improvement I can still make some horrid blunders. It’s a humbling game.

I’ll end with some books, movies & music that I’ve consumed during the quarantine. These are Amazon Links and I intended for these types of links to be the only advertisements on this site. No ad libraries. No google analytics. Just links.

Books:

  1. The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks
    1. I find that books on value investing have lessons beyond the world of investing.
  2. The Illustrated Man Ray Bradbury
    1. Totally watched this based off the radio commercial from Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  3. If It Bleeds by Stephen King
    1. Fans of HBO’s The Outsider will find a story where Holly Gibney is the main character.
    2. Mr. Harrigans phone was my favorite of the four
  4. Gnomon by Nick Harkaway (still reading but loving it)
    1. Woah

Movies:

  1. The Joker - 2019
  2. Dunkirk - 2017
  3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - 2007
  4. Motherless Brooklyn - 2019
  5. Fury - 2014
  6. Uncut Gems - 2019
  7. Friday the 13th Part 1 - 1980
    1. My wife had the great talk back line of the night, “In the FACe! He got it in the face!”
  8. The Lighthouse - 2019

Music:

  1. Float by ocean jams
  2. The Universe Smiles Upon You by Khruangbin
  3. Gigaton by Pearl Jam

Love all three of those albums. Have ‘em on repeat.

Oh! One last thing…

When my daughter was four years old I told her that the first time she beat me in chess, I would pay her $100. I just wanted to keep her interested in the game plus I figured it’d be 10+ years before I had to worry about paying up. But she joined the chess club, played a few tournaments, kept at it and six years later on February 23rd, 2020 I had to pay up. Ra8#

the $100 win