Thursday, August 20, 2020

Lessons Learned from Chess


  • You have to make sacrifices to win.
  • Protect your queen and she'll protect you.
  • Your tribe works best when each member is put in position to do what they do best.
  • Collaboration is more powerful than unilateral action.
  • Weaker individuals can work together to bring down more powerful ones.
  • All the ability in the world doesn't matter if you're in the wrong place.
  • Power is situational and dynamic.
  • Not every person is right for every task.
  • Your tribe works best when you actualize.
  • A situation cannot be fully grasped with only one perspective.
  • Consider the future implications of an action to make better decisions.
  • Understanding rules and boundaries provides creativity and freedom with the system.
  • There is joy in learning.
  • There is joy in playing.
  • Winning and losing can both be fun or frustrating.
  • Appreciate the abilities and limitations of others.
  • Expecting something other than what a person can contribute hurts everyone involved.
  • There are myriad ways of doing things, including winning and losing.
  • Someone else creates the structure and the rules of the game. Your freedom and individuality and power from how you choose to operate within the game.
  • Monday, March 23, 2020

    Pop (He)art

    pop music song
    booming from the windows down
    night to remember

    Saturday, January 4, 2020

    Favorite Books of 2019

    For posterity's sake, here are my favorites I discovered in 2019!

    I'm naturally an avid reader. That's great for personal fulfillment and creativity and awful for my fun money budget, haha.  Since reading is a default hobby for me, my reading goals aren't about reading x number of books or pages. Instead, they center around intentions. In late 2018, in the wake of all of the #metoo revelations, I decided to me more intentional about reading female authors, and also international authors. Roughly half of the books I read were by women and/or international authors. I think my favorites of the year hold that ration, although that's been the case even when I'm not intentional about which authors I'm reading.

    Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino - Amazing collection of essays about identity in 2019. Tolentino is humane, funny, insightful, powerful. It's been fun to see her humble response to this book's reception. I have a feeling she'll be one of my favorite authors all of my life.

    Joyland by Stephen King - Wonderful coming of age story wearing a thriller's leather jacket.
    All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung - A memoir centered about being an adoptee. Required reading for anyone in the adoption triad (biological and adoptive parents and adoptees).

    The Primal Wound
    by Nancy Verrier - A dated but empathetic work giving permission to adoptees to explore their feelings and worth.

    The Crow by James O’Barr - When O'Barr's girlfriend died because of a drunk driver he expressed his grief and anger through this goth comic made all the more famous by the great and tragic movie. 

    Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson - My introduction to contemporary fiction, recommended by amigos Matthew and Brian.

    Microserfs by Douglas Coupland - In the wake of the tv show "Halt and Catch Fire", I wanted to learn more about 1990s tech culture. This book was recommended on a subreddit and I found it humane, interesting, and creative. I haven't read anything like it, although it did feel at home in the 1990s so I guess in a way I have.

    Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami - How can you even explain what this book is about, other than saying "very Murakami"?

    Cork Dork
    by Bianca Bosker - This was the Year I Finally Got Wine, and this book was a big part of why. Bosker embedded herself into a group of NYC sommeliers studying for their big test. Along the way she met all kinds of glorified winos, and it's a fun and funny adventure. My takeaway, whether it's in the book or not, is that elevating every day life by savoring it is kind of the point.

    The Comic Book Story of Beer
    by Jonathan Hennessy - Works very well as a comic (GORGEOUS) and as a beer history for beer beginners and novices.

    HONORABLE MENTION: Witcher series. The first short story collections are the best, but all the books are fun (and now in English). I recommend reading the short stories before watching The Witcher on Netflix.

    Sunday, December 8, 2019


    It's my understanding that yoga can be defined as "union" or "integration" or "oneness". I love practicing yoga and I love practicing my religion, and I find them to be related. Yoga has taught me to be a more patient Christian, I believe. Here is how:

    In life, I often feel pressure to get things done perfectly, to be perfect. Work products must be perfect, interactions with others must be perfect, my daily routines and thoughts must be perfect, etc. Or, at least, excellent.

    In my yoga practice, though, when I fail, I fail spectacularly. And often! By that I mean I fall out of poses and slowly topple to the ground, look ridiculous, or can't even come close to the poses that my teachers or others are in. When I fail epically,  instead of being frustrated, I laugh. I laugh out loud. This isn't some decision I made to grin and bear it - it's just what happens. It's maybe the most naturally joyful I am - failing spectacularly at yoga. I think it's because in yoga I know that falling or not meeting some outside standard isn't the point of the practice at all. It's the doing, the practice, the being. But I don't even think about it that much, to tell the truth. I just fall and laugh.

    This epic failure reminds me, as St. Benedict said, that's we're all just beginners. Maybe "failing" isn't so bad or so serious, and maybe showing grace to myself (and others) is the appropriate way to be.