Elbow grease

I am working towards playing 50 simultaneous correspondence style chess games on the Internet. Almost all my opponents are as good as me or better, so I expect lose a lot of games. But my game is stagnating right now. I need to learn by doing rather than by reading chess books, for the book lessons don’t stick when I am the board.

Much of life is about applying good old fashioned elbow grease.

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Nicely on the road

V and I are going to Wisconsin for the weekend. She is going to show me the places where she vacationed with her family. As you can easily guess, I am excited.

That gives rise to what I should pack to read should I get a chance. Some poetry. A chess book. They ought to do nicely. Both are perfect for drifting and dreaming. And you must do that while on the road.

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  

A friend for life

I am giving Ted Kooser’s poetry collection, Delights and Shadows, a slow reading. I am already in thrall to it. The poems trigger memories from my childhood, the days when we lived in small Iowa towns and Galena too.

It is a damned shame more people do not read poetry. I don’t mean for silly reasons such as poetry makes us better people or wiser. When you find a poet you really like, reading the poems are a gentle caress. And poetry can sustain us too. I have turned to poetry several times when my heart was broken and seemed beyond repair.

Find a poet you enjoy and you will have a friend for life.

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 10:33 am  Comments (1)  

Hanging out

I sat in the bar last night between V and my great friend Dan. Dan and I watched the Cubs game and talked baseball and politics, which is always a good time. V talked to Kevin, another good friend, about buildings and architecture.

Nothing fancy, yet for me that is a splendid evening.

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Before dawn

Pushing four AM. She is sleeping soundly in my bed. It comforts and reassures me that some things are right with the world, just the way it should be when I cannot sleep during these dark quiet hours.

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 4:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Talk to me nicely and I’ll listen

I like poetry done in a conversational style such as those written by Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, and Raymond Carver. I don’t mind listening when they take the time to say something well.

I don’t know why this is a poetry day, as was yesterday. Why isn’t it a math, philosophy, or novel day? Everything about my life seems driven by a mood of some sort. That’s about all I can figure. I’m definitely in a listening mood today.

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Not half bad for a draw

I got a draw in a chess game against the highest ranked player I have played so far on my Internet chess site. I almost resigned several times because he was significantly ahead of me in the end game. I decided to make him beat me. I consider it my best game so far because of precisely that.

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Expectations be damned

She makes me too happy. That scares me. Whenever I get too happy, something goes wrong. Like the times my father went to jail because of his drinking problem. Or the time he died just when things were starting to go well. Damn him.

Then there was the two week vacation in Costa Rica I bought for B. and me. When we got there, I quickly realized she no longer loved me as she did before. She would not admit it though. Why she needed to be so dishonest about the obvious still mystifies me. She could not have been so obtuse not to see the damage was already done and my feelings could not be spared.

I learned to set low expectations for happiness from my father. I did alright despite that. Some of the joys of life were too delicious to pass up. Right now, she’s one of them.

So what if she leaves me? I drafted a poem yesterday. I can’t wait to look at it again someday when I no longer recognize it as mine. I’ll tinker with it then. I’ll be happy in a world of my creation if only for a little while. I’ll recall the poem was written during those wonderful days when she loved me and no other.

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  


I’ll admit it. There was a time when I liked drinking alone. I don’t like doing it anymore. I enjoy company when I drink. I only have alcohol at my place because V and I drink here when we are not drinking at the bar.

My father’s favorite drink was a highball made with blended Canadian whiskey and Seven-up. My current favorite drink is a Maker’s Mark and ginger ale highball. I probably would have been a highball drinker sitting in the bar all my life, but I did not want to admit that I was like my father. I now know what was going on during a part of his life he thoroughly enjoyed.

I’m sorry, Dad. I should have been more understanding. It is ironic. One of the last things you said to me was not to let the drinking take over my life as it did yours. I wish there was a god, heaven, and lots of immortal souls populating it, souls such as yours. The thought of you laughing at me as I sit in a dark bar drinking highballs feels good. You deserve some sort of revenge for me being such a bad son. But one of the other things you said shortly before you died was that after this life there was nothing but the grave and oblivion. I agree with that, but I did not learn it from you.

I’d love to be sitting in a dark bar drinking highballs and watching baseball on television with you right now. I’d even tell you I love you, always did, and always will.

Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  


I’m playing chess in the bar. What I am really doing is waiting for V to return from her weekend travels. She walks in the room and sits beside me. Everything seems right with the world again.

Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  

My game sucks

I play chess against the bartender. She says she has not played in years and was never any good to begin with. She destroys me in the first game. She capitalizes on every mistake I make. I resign early. I slowly gain a material advantage in the second game until she resigns. I am up a piece in the third game, but she is in the middle of leaving work. I offer her a draw even though I will beat her. She accepts.

My game sucks. The more I play these days, the worse I get.

Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 8:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Come home soon

V left for the suburbs on Saturday morning. She comes back today. I can hardly wait.

I have almost exclusively played and studied chess since she has been gone. I have played people at the bar and people on the Internet, and I have played many games against the computer too. When I don’t have a game going I have a chess book and my travel chess set in hand. I’ve been having a chess orgy.

Now, I recall what I did just before I met V. I played chess. Writing, reading, and study of any sort took a back seat to chess.

Living without V this weekend has required a strong tonic, but even chess does not come near to fillling the empty space inside me.

Published in: on May 26, 2008 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Loving, smoking, and drinking

V left my place not too long ago to go to work. The grim reality that I will not see her until some time next week settles upon me. Reality sucks.

I wish I had an ashtray with a cigarette burning in it sitting beside me. Any kind of emotional low triggers the craving. Maybe, I am suffering some undetected or unidentified emotional low right now. Would knowing the cause of this craving help me prevent it in the future? I doubt it. My body is a lump of weak flesh. My brain chemistry will have to adjust itself in the basement without conscious help from upstairs.

I left my briefcase at the bar again last night. I will do that once too often and eventually lose it. I hope it isn’t today. I spend too many mornings wondering where I lost things the night before or how I broke something. The drinking life comes with all kinds of costs. Oh well, as I tell my friends at the bar while avoiding talking about my problems: I drink to forget.

Damn, this coffee sure would go well with a cigarette.

Published in: on May 22, 2008 at 9:27 am  Comments (1)  

Beautiful distraction

Of course, just as I think I see a vision of the immediate future, me holding a math book in hand during lunch, I find myself taking up a novel, Europe Central, which I had forsaken for mathematics texts the past week. What does it matter? I’ll be watching the Champions League Final before too long. Plus, V is always on my mind–the most beautiful distraction, ever.

Tell me one more time. What was my life like before I met her? I forget.

Published in: on May 21, 2008 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chelsea vs. Man U

Today is the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United in Moscow. The broadcast on ESPN in the US begins at 1:45 PM Central time.

Man U edged Chelsea for the Premier championship by two points this season. The betting at my sports bookie is Man U at 7 to 10 and Chelsea even money. I bet on Man U.

No matter what, it ought to be a honey of a match.

Published in: on May 21, 2008 at 9:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Don’t leave home without one

I usually take a book with me when I go out unless I absolutely know I will not get a chance to read or that it will be inconvenient toting it around at the place I am going. You never know when the chance may arise for good read even if short.

Now that I have let my mathematics curiosity get the better of me, I vacillate between taking a novel or a math text with me. I suppose if one desires to delight and sharpen the mind’s eye through reading it does not matter as long as the book requires a slow reading and careful study.

I plan on going out for lunch today one way or the other. I predict I will take a mathematics text with me. My mind’s eye sees me slumped over a math book, puzzling over a proof, then staring vacantly off into to space.

The scene makes me feel like a lump of meaningless flesh. Yet I am to harsh with myself. Simple pleasures should not be ignored.

Published in: on May 21, 2008 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  

…, ever

Alone at night, I think of V. The love of my life finally came along when I least expected. I want to think long term, but everything inside me says, give me one more night. She owns me. I love being owned by her.

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just another night

Dear Diary,

My first night without V in four nights. She must be enjoying her time without me. I am such a drag. But we will talk about that later.

I caught a damned cold over the weekend. I do this every year. I forget to wear a sweater or jacket for several of those spring days when it is not all that warm. Bingo, I have a cold.

So, I went to Pippin’s tonight to have some Maker’s shots, hang with my friends, and watch some baseball on TV. That worked out spectacularly well. All my favorite guys were there except one. I drank hard, yet managed to leaver early, get to the store for some food and medicine, then get home in one piece.

I’m watching the Cubs lose to the Astros because of a Hunter Pence grand slam homerun earlier in the game. Damn. But enough of that, except to say the Cubs just lost.

I need to start a project called the Lynn Project. The project’s goal would be to make myself into someone who was worthy of V’s and my friend’s kindness and generosity towards me.

I can’t say anything right tonight. I miss V. The emotion crowds all other thoughts out.



Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Perfect weekend

Dear Diary,

I pretty much had the perfect weekend. First of all, my great friend Dan gave me a surprise birthday on Saturday night. We boarded a trolley with a keg of beer, picked up pizza’s at Piece (Chicago’s premier pizza joint), and drove around the city. Then we went drinking at Pippin’s. Most of all though, I got to hang out with my best friends for one of the most special times of my life.

V and I spent the weekend together too. Except for the party, we did not do much. We read, worked Sudoku, and watched baseball and movies on Sunday.

Like I said, the perfect weekend.

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  

The cycle: quitting, starting, quitting, …

I crave a cigarette as I write these words. I reach for a cigarette burning in an ashtray that is not there beside the computer. Writing may be as strong a trigger point for my smoking as coffee, beer, and whiskey.

Quitting smoking this time is harder than the other times I have quit. The times I quit before, I did it gradually by cutting back the number of cigarettes I smoked to a few each day. This time I went from two to two and a half packs a day down to zero overnight. I will have an extended time where I have to go through the basic craving stage before my mind forgets about nicotine.

The last three times I have quit smoking, I have had girlfriends who encouraged me to do it. The latest is V. If V told me she did not care to see me anymore, I wonder if I would not start smoking again. That would definitely be a powerful trigger point. If I did start smoking again for that reason, it would definitely show a weakness of character on my part. Can anyone really quit an addiction if they are not strong enough to do it on their own and for themselves as the primary beneficiary?

However, this is all idle speculation at this time. I will not smoke cigarettes again, ever.

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 9:43 am  Comments (2)  

Topoi and when I am without her

I woke up yesterday morning with the overwhelming urge to study some mathematics. I resisted the urge until the afternoon. Then I began reading Goldblatt’s Topoi, a book I have been meaning to delve into for sometime.

When I take up a mathematics text, I have several things in mind. I want to learn something new. The subject matter must tweak my curiosity. The text has to be difficult enough to impress my acquaintances, which means it should probably be pitched at the graduate mathematics level. (Yes, I am egotistical when it comes to that.) The text has to be sufficiently interesting to take me to a different place as a good novel takes me to a different world.

I was sitting at the bar with V and friends last night. While they conversed, I read Topoi. I felt perfectly comfortable doing it even though it may have appeared rude to some. So there I was trying to balance my desire for V, my duty to be gregarious, and my curiosity to learn about topoi. I was drinking hard too. Bats were beginning to accumulate in the belfry.

V and I went to my place. Thoughts of topoi disappeared. We watched part of a Battlestar Galactica episode. Then we went to bed.

I have grown accustomed to sleeping with V. I love waking up in the morning with her next to me. The nights when we do not sleep together or when I do not see her at all are rather long and lonely. When she is not here, it is imperative I have something good to read such as Topoi. Books are poor consolation, but nothing else works either when I am without V.

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  


V had never seen any Battlestar Galactica episodes. So we watched the first couple of episodes while lying bed last night. She rested her head on my shoulder. We’ve watched videos that way before. It is the best way to watch them.

Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  


Even though we spend most of our available time together, I want her more each day. My desire grows without limit. I must possess her as much as possible–be completely and totally entangled with her in every conceivable way: physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. She is my love and obsession.

Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 10:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Going to the baseball game

My good friend Dan invited me to White Sox park yesterday for the game against the Twins. We sat in two of the best seats in the park. The weather required a jacket, but we sat in the sun and were very comfortable. The White Sox played a good game and won. Dan knows a lot about baseball, but he is one of the experts on White Sox baseball, so it is always a great time going to the game with him.

V and I are going to the Cubs game this afternoon. Life does not get any better.

Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  


V is bringing a friend to the bar tonight to buy him a drink. He is not supposed to know the true nature of the relationship between V and me for reasons I do not care to get into right now. I do not care who of V’s friends know about us. However, when I thought about that this morning it left me wondering, for the first time, if my attitude was a little perverse. V and I, out of necessity, have to be careful in certain social situations, but shouldn’t I feel some remorse about it?

All the regulars at the bar know about me and V. I wonder if it is possible for me to camouflage my feelings for her when she walks in the room. I suppose it does not matter as long as she can camouflage hers.

At the end of the day, her friend should be the only one in the bar who does not know about me and V. I hope V and I can manipulate that kind of social situation. I’ll let the readers of State Street know tomorrow how it went.

Published in: on May 7, 2008 at 11:19 am  Leave a Comment