Narrating the blog

One of the things I am doing today is creating a narrative that explains my actions and beliefs. I do it each day. The narrative is integral to keeping my sanity. Yet creating this narrative is mundane, for we all do it incessantly as part of our human nature.

Given these ever shifting narratives we make for ourselves, one asks, “where is the border between fact and fiction?” especially on blogs. What I do not say on this blog constitutes fiction as much as fact and reality. I do not want you to know my full story. I want you to fill in the missing pieces. Maybe, you will create something more flattering about me than the reality of the missing pieces.

I have a friend who has asked many times to read my writing. I referred him to this blog. This year he finally read some of it. His comment was that it seemed incoherent and he did not understand what I was talking about. Of course, jumping in at the end of a long narrative that has changed over the many years of writing this blog will seem incoherent. For instance, who would understand my writing about V if they had not read my writing here before I met her?

I am more than condemned to be free (if such I am), I am condemned to narrate regardless of the actual state of my freedom. It comes naturally to me.

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 11:15 am  Comments (4)  

Journeys

The weather has taken a turn toward the spectacular in Chicago. Sunny and warm. That is the way western Europe was when I was traveling there. I did not take a jacket with me on the trip. The first day I spilled coffee on the only sweater I brought. So, I had to buy a jacket in Amsterdam. It was not easy finding a jacket that fit my stunning geezer figure, but I eventually did. It served me well and still does this fall in Chicago.

I did my usual over packing for the trip. I should have taken a better look at the Amsterdam, Bruges, and Brussels guidebook I took on the trip. It had a complete checklist of what to pack for the trip. I could have dispensed with more than half the clothes I took and done laundry along the way, which I did one night in Brussels anyway.

I lost some weight on the trip. Hiking about from early morning until late at night helped, for I certainly was not watching my diet.

One night in Brussels, I was tempted to go to a chess club I found via the Internet. I was tired though, and I felt my game would not be up to par against opponents who would obviously be much better than me. Next time though…

The European TV news during the trip was almost exclusively about the housing and financial panic. Right after I returned home, the markets took their worst tumble. I moved my major retirement savings from stocks to money market funds just before it happened. I am a lucky SOB.

I read Proust on the trip during the early hours of morning and late at night. I read almost the whole of The Captive, the part where the narrator holds Albertine captive in his apartment by his pathological jealousy over and suspicions of her lesbianism. Jealousy was much on mind for other reasons during the trip, so his observations about love and jealousy moved me emotionally more than it might have at other times. Then there are those long elegant Proustian sentences, sentences crammed with so many ideas one gets lost in them until one finds the proper gate to keep pace. It took me a long time to acquire a taste for Proust, but now that I have, I consider him one of my favorite writers, or even philosophers if I might be allowed to place him in that category.

I started writing this morning just before sunrise. The writing felt good as Hemingway might say. As the sky brightened, I thought about how it is better to have loved and lost then not to have loved at all. I sincerely believe it true. Love is often portrayed as a journey. The metaphor is apt in many ways. We never really know where love ends or if it ever ends. Even after we are dead, a loved one may encounter an event that triggers a memory of a good time they had with us. Naturally, as the generations pass on, memories of us pass on with them. However, I take spiritual comfort from knowing that the flames of our candles linger a bit longer beyond the grave. Eternity does not interest me much. It is enough to have been loved along the way.

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 10:36 am  Leave a Comment  

The broken heart as a work of art

La Mort de Marat

When I was in Europe this last time, I went to the Royal Art Museum in Brussels. I ran across David’s Death of Marat. David has always been a favorite of mine, so I was delighted to find the painting in Brussels. I went to the Louvre two afternoons when I was in Paris. Although I had been there twice before, I did not spend a lot of time wandering the rooms then. This time I spent several hours each afternoon immersing myself in the works. Right before I was ready to leave one afternoon, the last large room I came into had several David paintings. I stayed longer than I expected out of admiration for his work, but also because it dispersed some of my more melancholy thoughts.

I wanted my recent trip to sooth the pangs of a broken heart. Certain moments, when I discovered a work of art that jolted me from my lethargy if not my melancholy, I felt that travel was working its magic. However, whenever I was alone, the pangs of unrequited desire attacked me.

My chess addiction has turned into something like that also. I immerse myself in over 30 games in various stages of play, adrenaline takes control, and I feel as though I am participating in the creation of works of art, ones that will achieve a small importance for remaining in an Internet database, or the minds of my opponents, people who some days I see as artists devoted to creating their works.

I create my broken hearts. I am drawn to women who will share their lives with me for a little while, yet their circumstances and how they view me inevitably prove my undoing. All my canvasses are failures. My desires won’t let me get free of their memories.

In chess, I win many times, but the blunders I make in games are what remain in my mind. The games I feel I could of won, but were ruined by a foolish or rash move haunt me. A voice inside me keeps pleading, let me take that one move back.

I’ll always be in love. I’ll always go through hell because of it. Desire cannot be trumped by reason. At least, not mine.

Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  

New chess champion (and challenger)

The 11th game of the WCC between Anand and Kramnik is being played now. My computer chess engine analysis says Kramnik is in trouble, since he is headed for a draw at best and he needs a win today and in the last game. However, my chess engine has a top rating of 2350 and these guys are in the high 2700’s. They could definitely could crush my chess engine.

For a wood pusher like me though, it is interesting to follow the chess engine analysis, for it gives me at least some insight into what must be going through their heads as they play.

…and that’s it. Kramnik offered a draw and Anand accepted to become the new world chess champion. But how good is his game after six shots of whiskey and six beers? Inquiring minds like mine want to know. I challenge him to a match at Pippin’s anytime. I’ll only make him drink four shots and four beers before we start.

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

coffee spill

I spilled coffee on the mighty State Street computer keyboard and now it doesn’t work so well. Darn! Oh, well, I still have the iPhone, which means I can feed my chess adiction.

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 3:51 pm  Comments (2)  

Insomnia, etc.

Not sleeping began with jet lag, but then turned into viscous insomnia after jet lag was gone. I woke in the middle of the night and could not return to sleep. Too exhausted to write, or even read, I played chess on the Internet until long after sunrise. The insomnia, mixed with melancholia caused by a failed romance, and which has not deserted me since the beginning of summer, too much chess, a form of madness, and a cold that will not end, created a toxic low grade depression. Despite that, I did make a momentous change in my life, for which I am grateful.

Last night I woke at 2 AM fully prepared to stay awake the rest of the night. However, my body gave in to sleep from sheer exhaustion. So, now, I am tired, but my mind feels as if it is working better today, or at least it seems fit to do things.

I will start writing a new novel early tomorrow morning instead of playing chess. I have been thinking about this novel since the beginning of the year. It will be a quirky pastiche of many places and people and events, both contemporary and historical. A first person narrator will tell the story.

Tonight, I am going with Luci to see The Glass Menagerie at the Shattered Globe Theater. I’ve been looking forward to it.

And that’s where I have been, at least, as my mind recalls the recent past today.

Published in: on October 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

World Chess Championship

I’m following the second game of the Kramnik vs. Anand world chess championship–live. It is fun trying to guess the player’s next moves. Of course, my score is not very high on that count.

This is exciting stuff if you are a chess bum.

Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  

AM start

Woke before 3 AM. Played chess until I realized it was dawn. Drank coffee since it was too late to go back to bed.. Wrote. Read Sartre. Now, I’m playing chess again on the iPhone and I’m way into.

Published in: on October 14, 2008 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Paul Krugman: Nobel Lauriate in Econ

Yes. And all the right wing dweebs who never even took econ 101 in college are going apoplectic and nuts. More on State Street about this later. Right Wing dweebs, stand the duck bye.

Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Week one (for me anyway)

My first weekend of football wagering. I got a high and tight haircut before the afternoon barely started. I was overly aggressive with my picks.

Hey, they are playing next weekend. I’ll get ’em then. It is sort oI like love.

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Big sigh

Saturday afternoon. Blogging on the iPhone. Alone at the bar drinking hard and watching college football. Tried to wrap my mind around philosophy or what to do next with my life. Couldn’t get into it.

I placed my first wagers for the NFL season on tomorrow’s games. I’m totally stoked.

The global stock markets are on my mind. Have they puked up the last of their guts?

The weather is as perfect as it gets. And there is baseball game on tonight.

Life is good today.

Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bailed out?

The quick and complete unraveling of the financial markets has been painful to watch, yet fatalistically fascinating too. Poor President Bush. This is the second time he has been the doe caught in the headlights of a financial panic. Whether earned or not (and I believe it to be earned) he holds no credibility when it comes to assuring the markets. It is hard to believe he has a Harvard MBA.

Be that as it may, I find it interesting that the latest bailout of unfettered and unregulated companies and the handsome compensation for the executives who ran them out of business has put President Bush and the libertarian crowd in a difficult situation, espousing as they do the notion that the government has no right to your money. Taken to extreme this is anarchy pure and simple, for without taxes there is no government. Of course, there are always cases, several trillion dollars for a convenient war or supporting multimillion dollar bailout packages for CEOs is fine and dandy. Tax dollars for Social Security, health care, and regulating the most the most egregious excesses and abuses of the economic system are not needed. The Invisible Hand will work its magic in those arenas when it comes to the common welfare of all.

However, there is no Invisible Hand. All that exists are the hands and minds of people. Those hands create financial bubbles and pop them too.

So, as the subject of taxes arises during the 2008 election, and you hear, “its your money,” watch your wallet if you have any money left in it. The beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts have been the very rich. You might be a recipient of the trickle down effect from the $700 billion bailout, but you will not need an umbrella to keep you dry.

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Love as measured against analytic number theory

I have a lot of philosophy left to meditate upon, mathematics to comprehend, and novels to read. Today, wondering about love seems a needless distraction from thinking about the things I have at least a chance of comprehending. Analytic number theory seems sexy to me.

Published in: on October 6, 2008 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

One, two, three, etc.

I count: one, two, three, etc. No matter how long I count I can always find a number larger than the last by adding one to it. The whole numbers are infinite in this way. I feel I know all of the whole numbers even though I can never count them all. Explaining this feeling leads to very difficult philosophical problems. From simple experiences, such as counting, arise seemingly intractable philosophical problems. And that is just so amazing to me.

Published in: on October 6, 2008 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Lagging

Went to bed early last night.  Woke before 3 AM.  Played some chess, since I could not get back to sleep.  I’m still jet lagging, I guess.  Today, I’m in an a post-travel depression too.  Some chess moves seem the only moves I feel good about making.  I’ve taken a manuscript from its hiding place, but reading it, trying to discover how to make it better, revolts me.  Life goes on.

Published in: on October 6, 2008 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Goodbye, Albertines, it was nice knowing you

It seems odd not to be searching for art today–art in museums, churches, and old houses–for my days in Europe were filled with that. I have my quiet moment with Proust (The Captive) this morning as I did on my mornings in Europe. I have the narrator’s obsession with Albertine’s stories, whether lies or truth, his confusion about whether he loves her or not, and his jealousy that knows no limits, whether justified or not. I have Proust weaving his intricate philosophy out of a surprising narrative.

I won’t have art today, but I have had a little Proust. I will also possess lovely company today–one last brief spurt of emotion that will surely leave me crestfallen by tomorrow morning at this time when I am alone. But that is OK. This is the year of short intense passions, and then abandonment. I would not trade hopeless desires for a dull placid existence.

The result of our loves are often loneliness, yet loneliness filled with cherished memories that last until the end of our days.

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 8:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Short and instantly

I did not take my computer with me to Europe. Just the iPhone. I found I could do everything I wanted to do on the iPhone. Getting wi-fi service without spending too much money was the challenging part.

And what did I do with the iPhone? Played chess, wrote blog postcards and short emails, fielded text messages, and kept abreast of the news coming out of the US. I observed people in airport terminals, hotel lobbies and lounges, train terminals and trains, and bars and restaurants. They were all on their cell phones doing one thing or another on their cell phones rather than on their laptop computers. This is the age of electronic postcards. We stay in touch or at least try. Whatever grand, lofty, or profound thoughts that may cross our minds stay hidden there, for we cannot express them on a cell phone for the world to inspect.

Typing with my thumbs will never be one of my strong suits. For instance, I have learned not to attempt even a trivial blog post such as this on the iPhone. The WordPress mobile form is not large enough to make it easy to write anything longer than a short paragraph.

Of course, with a cell phone I can instantly tell somebody, “I love you,” no matter where they might be. Then I can instantly go back to wondering if they care.

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

A ripple

I woke early this morning and still on Europe time. The first thing that crossed my mind was where I was going today. But I’m home, sitting in front of the computer, and writing. The city is dark, reasonably silent, and wet from the rain. This scene will reenact itself day after day. Before too long, the trip will will seem like a ripple on a pond.

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 5:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Back in the USA

Landed at Chicago O’Hare at 1247. Now, I’m at Pippin’s drilling down Maker’s and waiting for the Cubs game to start. Golly, things really do tend to even out, or return to a state of inertia.

Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last day in Europe

I’m back in Amsterdam for one evening. I’ve already gotten stoned. Now, I’m eating dinner. The trip was so delightful I can hardly believe two weeks have past in a twinkling.

Published in: on October 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm  Comments (1)