A Post for The Drabble

“The Drabble” is a popular blog and many people take part in it. Recently, they liked one of my posts/stories as they have, before (“The Story of Mathias Wizandar”). The seemingly most important rule behind a Drabble is to write¬† a story in one hundred words or less. For us lovers of poetry and flash fiction, it is one of those exciting ways/places we can express ourselves efficiently as writers, and prove that it is not so difficult, after all, to write a story that meets literary qualifications in so few words.

I have never submitted a Drabble until now (send one here ūüôā ). I sent the last one-hundred word story I crafted to¬†“Reader’s Digest”. It was not accepted for publication, yet I thought others might find it humorous. It was about a time when I accidentally felt the leg of a woman who I thought was my girlfriend; it was her sister. At any rate, here is a photo of a candle (please, pardon my amateur photography) and a kind of summary of “The Story of Mathias Wizandar” in the form of a semi-poetic Drabble.

To Light A Candle

As a Christian, Mathias endured thoughts of the use of magic for decades. Dedicated to his work, he stayed single yet happened upon a young woman in a bookstore while dreaming of fantastic, goldenly magical, shadowed forest glades. He read a spell book she sold to him and considered its prose, held his hands above a candle while speaking a spell to watch the heat of its light dissipate surrounding shadows.

The rhyming may have seemed cheesy, yet I think the summary was there, and it was fun to do something spur-of-the-whim. “Goldenly” was a quick neologism, I cannot imagine how many words may have been better, yet I sometimes dream of dark forests with trees that drip glowing gold from their leaves and attribute those ideas largely to H. P. Lovecraft, especially if there is a big tomb there with a man reading about fantastic worlds besides a casket.

I usually like to craft a good plot with an outline and re-think it to a more valuable idea, write out a draft and revise it, then polish it until I think an editor somewhere may want it. That all takes time, yet we, as writers, have our hopes and goals. Thank you for reading this post; I hope you enjoyed it. ūüôā

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My First Hip Hop Poem

I totally love music, art, and writing. Even poetry. There is nothing more rewarding than celebrating the beauty our language can posses within our own human limitations and sometimes even otherwise. As a songwriter, I usually enjoy writing heavy metal lyrics, as I am currently attempting to learn to play the guitar better, or more or less, the right way.

I have a couple of friends that spend part of¬†their time attempting to produce music professionally, both can sell tracks and beats to lyricists. While I enjoy rhyming and the common notion of being grateful for being able to, I usually¬†do not ‘wrap’ or ‘flow’ on often occasion, even if I think it is fun to do.

Nevertheless, I good friend of mine in CO who I enjoy playing chess with via the ChessWithFriends phone app, asked me to share with him a hip-hop poem. Six months ago. I told him I had no current song book but was into poetry and meter, ect. Recently, he purchased some new equipment to get his sound lab closer to what he wants it to be, a seemingly costly venture for him during these times. I am happy for him and his new female acquaintance and his dog, Blue, and hope the best for their future. He asked once more for a rhyme, even though he free-flows in front of crowds, DJs, synthesizes and mixes music, ect.

So, here is what I sent him. The shot out is for a female lyricist¬† heard within the Viper 2017 Drum and Bass collection found on Amazon; I like The Chemical Bros and Aphrodite…

“Gotta Love That Drum and Bass”

When I hear a good beat, I let the lyrics flow,
Listen’n ’cause there’s a rhythm, in much of the soul;
Only one way to the top, and it is understood,
cannot keep a man down, when he’s know’n he is good;
goodness to others, and love to all,
leading by principle, to watch the evil fall;
things that made her, passion and persistence,
shot out to her, a master of an instance;
chaotic forms of bedazzlement and light,
can a beat move a soul? there are those who say it might;
hip hop is fun when the gangstas be good,
listen’n to the rhythms, while I stroll through the hood;
love that drum and bass, ’cause the sounds keep me go’n,
movements of this hall always keep our blood-a flow’n.

peace – jcm3blog ūüôā

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A Man at the Bank

There once was a beautiful teller at a bank. She was always presentable and, without a doubt, totally attractive to many. Her name? Forea. Of course, people always asked of the origins of her name; she usually said it was Nordic.

Forea kept considerable track of her customers, not always for her own curiosity, but usually to provide the best banking services for them. Mentioning new account types and investment possibilities usually meant increases in pay for her. These things were routine.

Most of Forea’s customers were overly presentable and cleanly with their fashion. Each with a highly unusual character, they often seemed to her to be what Grammy award winners might look like in person. There was one customer; however, he came in once a month, always on the twentieth.

Mr. Murphy was his name. He often came into the bank in a white, green, dark green, or black suit. If not a suit, he, at least, dressed above “business casual.” She knew he had red hair and pale skin, totally unique attributes that would qualify him for one of her oil painting attempts.

Despite his unique attire, there was one thing that Forea simply could not figure out. All of her customers wore unique attire. Mr. Murphy, however, usually came to the bank for one reason, and that was to trade five golden coins into his USD account. This way his monthly transaction was to convert gold coins to cash. Forea wanted to know why.

She decided to ask him one day. It was the twentieth, she woke up early and got ready for work early and made it on time, as always. About mid-morning, to know surprise, Mr. Murphy walked through the huge glass doors installed in the front of the bank with a white shirt and green silk tie.

Forea gladly accepted the five gold coins and completed the transaction, as always. Barely having the time and the nerve to ask Mr. Murphy a question upon his departure, said Forea, “May I ask you something?” “Well, sure,” replied Mr. Murphy with a grin. There was no aspect of Forea that was not beautiful. “Why do you always come in on the twentieth to change in exactly five golden coins?” she asked. Said Mr. Murphy, “Well, for one, I am a leprechaun.”

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Hobby Photos

I have four photos to share. One is of the chess board I made above. The sixty-four squares are made of poplar wood. The dark squares are dipped in a polyurethane coating I had yet to experiment with. It is not translucent in any way, which I was, in a way, hoping it would be, yet it will surely suffice for the dark squares of the board. The light squares are dipped in clear coat poly. The photo is not actually the final product, as I poured two more coats of clear poly on it. The squares were not totally perfect squares, causing the board to have small gaps. I wanted to fill the few gaps so the top surface would be smooth enough to dust with a microfiber cloth and not to be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.

The base the squares are glued to is made of an inexpensive, thin plywood, yet the surface on the bottom of the board looks very nice, especially for its cost, and was obtained from Home Depot. If you notice the four holes in the corners of the board, they are there for functionality reasons. They look neat, yet I wanted to be able to get the board to a table from a wall and back again in a small amount of time if necessary. I thought the concave curves on the four edges added to the board’s aesthetic value, a sort of alien look, and am glad they came out without much flaw.

It is the first chess board I have made with wooden squares. Not too much of a hassle when compared to other project ideas I have in mind for chess boards. I am happy with the final result, so far. It should be dry within seven days or so, and will be totally dry within forty, in all considered probability.

Though I have a job and attempt to spend time off work reading (about writing and partially for pleasure) and writing and do, I also [at times] work some with wood projects/electronics. Below is an idea I had for someone for Christmas in 2016. Now far enough into 2017 for it to be nowhere near Christmas-time anyway, I still could not get the idea out of my mind, so I went ahead and processed the material. I hope the recipient of the box enjoys it, even if I ‘sort of’ made it to test the dye.The wood is stained with a water-based blue dye obtained from WoodCraft. The wood itself is an inexpensive hobby ‘white-wood’ plywood sold at Walmart for small picture frames and totally useful for most small box projects. In order to get the box looking at least as good as it does, despite the corners having no dove tails, I sanded it and re-coated it more than once. I made sure the corners were rounded, yet I left the lid mostly trapezoidal. The box has eight magnets for the lid to close/open, and I went with two steel wires instead of an actual hobby hinge for functionality reasons.

The lining is an inexpensive fabric I got from Walmart a few years ago for Christmas projects, ect. It is shiny on one side, so I was pleased with being able to use it for the project and think it came out nice enough. I sewed the corners and top of the fabric by hand into seams and used superglue to secure it within the box. I also used superglue for joining the planks of wood together. I have actual wood glue, yet I usually just use superglue. It will¬†dry¬†very quickly and still bonds wood corners with good strength. With wood glue, it is best to clamp pieces together and wait a day or two for the bond to dry. I’m not sure if I would do that, even if I was retired with nothing to do. At all.

The braided wire on the top of the box is a four-braid steel wire idea I chose over a knob, because the little knobs I got for making other boxes had a long screw I was unable to saw in half. I liked the idea and the final looks of the braid, so I was happy with the final result. On top of the dye is clear coat polyurethane to present a gloss finish. I was worried that the poly would turn the dye green, yet it did not, to my joyful surprise. Even if the box carries an amount of character, I was happy with the final result.

Here is a photo of a houseplant I got yesterday.

 

The last thing I needed was another plant to care for, yet this one caught the passionate side of my eye. After looking up “Celosia” on the web, I read that the leaves can be used for stew. I have four grapefruit trees I grew from seed that are over a year and a half old and are almost four inches tall, now, as I have cared for them, and my other house plants, daily. I also have a purple basil plant (in the old photo I still use for the header of jcm3blog), now about three years old. I am happy with it (the basil plant) and surprised I was able to keep it alive this long. The purple basil has one branch that is totally purple, so I think it is pretty impressive. For about four months, it was almost entirely green. I have a dark chili-pepper plant that makes little lavender flowers. It actually somehow was pollinated and I witnessed the development of small, spherical, red chili peppers that will probably fade to black upon their ripening.

Years ago I attempted to force pollination with pumpkin flowers and it did not work out (as I did not choose to use cubiculum, or bee feet), so I was surprised to see little chili peppers with no attempt in trying to pollinate the flowers. I think the process may have occurred from misting the plants.

This year, for Christmas 2016 visitors, I got an evergreen tree/bush. It is about three feet tall and is living, though I have yet to change its 35 some-odd pound soil mixture. Why would I even possibly need another house plant? Well, this about the best time of the year to get one -between now and about ten weeks from now, I think. This plant (the Celosia) caught my eye, as well as did another dozen, yet I chose it and plan to keep it healthy. It is an impressive plant, as its stem is lucid redish-pink in hue, and its flowers look like feathers. One way or another, I hope you like the photo of the Celosia.

Thank you for reading this post. On a personal note, I have been busy reading yet recently did write a sci-fi story after reading Ben Bova’s book on how to and plan to edit it soon enough. I am still working on my fantasy novel and plan to write some other stories and a sci-fi novelette or two as well, soon enough. Click the diamond below to check out one of the world’s best publications of sci-fi and fantasy. Have a nice day. ūüôā

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A Personal Hello

Howdy folks. It has been a while since I posted a personal set of sentences with regards to the on-goings of my current endeavors.

This last year was an exciting one for me, and I hope 2017 will be as rewarding. I am a dishwasher. Though I love cooking and have cooked for restaurants; for now, I wash dishes and help out around and in a kitchen. I know it does not sound too exciting, yet I work with a special group of interesting people, all intriguing in their own way.

So how could I claim to know anything about writing or pursue it, at all? Well, I have always enjoyed a wonderful story. From the first C. S. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien books I read as a child, to the best-sellers full of action, and the classic novels, and importantly, the books on writing, I have enjoyed the consideration of the craft.

Recently, I read that, if we were to all go over to the Smiths, adding an apostrophe to the end of their name would not be necessary. Simple enough; I did not know it, though.

Lately, I have been reading a few grammar books and a few pages of books I read cover to cover on, well, writing. Last year, I wrote 55% of a fantasy novel I plan to continue working on, eventually, and it dawned on me that I was writing with less grammatical authority than I once carelessly played with. Though the novel is important to me and will probably be enjoyed by most who read it (I hope), I put it aside for a few weeks to work on other things.

When I made the shelves you can see here in another post, I had some left-over wood. I thought about making small wooden items and dove into a wood-working hobby. I made a few things I liked. The other items maintained a classic sense of character.

Towards the end of the year, I decided I was rushing the fantasy novel and chose to set it aside to cool off a while. As said, I mad the decision for more than one reason. I wanted to read a little more on writing to improve my technique, yet I also realized I never received publication from anywhere. Sure, I self-published a collection of stories with Amazon, yet I felt as though I would enjoy pursuing becoming a published author another way.

I wrote two stories. One was a fantasy story, and the other one a story with a talking plant and an alien. I liked both of the stories and sent them to a publication that turned them down. No big deal; the stories were not what they were after. I still have both stories and have one of them posted for review in a writing workshop, here. The workshop is great. I can review stories and offer helpful advice, as well as see what others say about what little work I have posted there, so far.

Excited with the extra time it made to set the fantasy novel aside, my mind flooded with many ideas for new stories. I have always liked fantasy the most of the genres of fiction. I liked sci-fi, too. I decided that sci-fi allows for more creativity, and chose it as my favorite genre, because anything can happen anywhere with any kind of being within its realm of consideration.

These things taken into consideration, I remembered a list (here, under qualifying markets) of publications trusted for their publishing history with sci-fi and fantasy. I decided to look into “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction”, as they have been publishing since 1949. I subscribed to their publication after reading the December issue, and the publication¬†impressed¬†me with the quality of¬†its stories. No doubt, it is no easy task to write a story that compares to the ones they choose to publish. I decided to give it a shot, anyway.

I wrote down an outline of what I thought would be a great sci-fi story. I liked the 25,000 word limit. With a novelette, an author can include plenty of description within a story, including characters and setting. As I wrote down the outline for my idea, I watched “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel. It was a re-run, yet I could not help but to consider an intriguing story inspired from the interesting show. I wrote down a quick outline, thinking I would simply write the story out into about 5,000 words, then work on the more important sci-fi novelette.

The next morning I woke up and began writing out the story. 9,000 words into it by the afternoon, I realized I should go ahead and think of it as a novelette, because I had yet to get to the mid-point of the story. The paragraphs near the end were the driving force behind the story, and I eventually was able to include those notions. Four or five days later I finished the novelette, and it contained 22,200 words. A real feat, for me, as my previous word-count record for a single day was about 4,000 words. My goal is usually 2,000 while working on a novel (not that I have ever finished one).

I had the novelette written and another one to do. I spent five weeks re-writing and revising the work. I finally decided it was good enough and submitted it to the publication. They rejected it about ten days later; I may review it a few times and send it elsewhere to attempt its publication. I like the novelette; that is why I spent so much time trying to make its text flawless.

That pretty much brings us to the present with my on-goings. I like my job and love to write. I made a few wooden Christmas gifts this year and people liked them. I am participating with oww to review and post work, and I plan to continue with efforts for completing the fantasy novel as well as my primary sci-fi novelette idea. Though I have still as of yet received publication for a work of fiction; it will be a goal for a while. I have played a bit of chess this year and continue to learn more with how to play the game in a more efficient way.

Thank you for reading. Live long and prosper. ūüôā

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Score Double Oh Won

For the chess lover in all of us, there is the learner, the problem solver, the one who enjoys to win. I have been playing chess since I was around six and have never really mastered the game. I have yet to play in a tournament, yet I love to solve puzzles and love chess, too. Carleson defends his title in NY tomorrow – keep up with the twelve rounds, here on uschess.org.

Recently, I have attempted to better my game in chess. I am pretty good, however when it comes to winning against people with higher e-l-o ratings, such as 1,300 or above, I am usually short a few combinations. Having just won a match on chess.com with a guest account, I was happy to win against stockfish, the strongest chess engine known of, on level five (there are ten levels). I moved first. For anyone who would like to play this match out with algebraic notation, here is the ‘score analysis’ of the game:

Strength White Black
Excellent 23 17
Good 5 6
Inaccuracy (?!) 9 6
Mistake (?) 2 4
Blunder (??) 0 3
Forced 0 2
Avg. Diff 0.84 1.21
1. d4 a6 2. e4

B00: King’s Pawn Opening: St. George Defense, 2.d4

d6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bg4 5. h3 Bxf36. gxf3 Nf6 7. d5 Ne5 8. f4 Ned7 9. e5

INACCURACY (-0.08) A better move was 9. Be3

(9.¬†Be3(+0.69) g6 10.¬†Qd2 Bg7 11.¬†O-O-OO-O 12.¬†Kb1 Rc8 13.¬†Be2 c5)9…¬†Rg8

BLUNDER (+2.93) The best move was 9… dxe5

(9…¬†dxe5(+0.01) 10.¬†Bg2 exf4 11.¬†Bxf4g6 12.¬†O-O Nh5 13.¬†Bd2 Bg7 14.¬†Bf3)10.¬†exf6 h5 11.¬†fxe7 Bxe7

INACCURACY (+4.01) A better move was 11… Qxe7+

(11…¬†Qxe7+(+3.36) 12.¬†Be3 g6 13.¬†Qd2O-O-O 14.¬†O-O-O Bg7 15.¬†Bg2 Kb816.¬†Kb1)12.¬†Be2

INACCURACY (+3.38) A better move was 12. Qe2

(12.¬†Qe2(+3.89) Nf6 13.¬†h4 Kf8 14.¬†Bd2Ng4 15.¬†Ne4 Bxh4 16.¬†O-O-O Nf6)12…¬†Rh8 13.¬†O-O Nb6 14.¬†Re1 Qc8

INACCURACY (+4.44) A better move was 14… Qd7

(14…¬†Qd7(+3.54) 15.¬†Kg2 O-O-O 16.¬†a4Kb8 17.¬†a5 Nc8 18.¬†Bxh5 g6 19.¬†Bg4)15.¬†Bf3

INACCURACY (+3.36) A better move was 15. Kg2

(15.¬†Kg2(+4.44) Kf8 16.¬†Bxh5 g6 17.¬†Bg4f5 18.¬†Qd4 Rh7 19.¬†Bf3 Nd7)15…¬†Kd8

INACCURACY (+4.36) A better move was 15… Qxh3

(15…¬†Qxh3(+3.43) 16.¬†Qe2 Qh4 17.¬†Bd2Kf8 18.¬†Ne4 Bf6 19.¬†Ng5 g6 20.¬†Bc3)16.¬†Bg2 g6 17.¬†Qe2 Bf6 18.¬†Be3

INACCURACY (+3.99) A better move was 18. Ne4

(18.¬†Ne4(+4.72) Qf5 19.¬†Nxf6 Qxf620.¬†Bd2 Na4 21.¬†b3 Nc5 22.¬†Qe3 Rg8)18…¬†Qf5

INACCURACY (+4.79) A better move was 18… Re8

(18…¬†Re8(+3.92) 19.¬†Ne4 Bxb2 20.¬†Rab1Na4 21.¬†c4 f5 22.¬†Rxb2 fxe4 23.¬†Rb3)19.¬†Bxb6

INACCURACY (+4.25) A better move was 19. Ne4

(19.¬†Ne4(+5.49) Na4 20.¬†Nxf6 Qxf621.¬†Qd2 Kc8 22.¬†Bd4 Qd8 23.¬†Bxh8 Qxh8)19…¬†cxb6 20.¬†Ne4 Bh4

MISTAKE (+5.73) The best move was 20… Qxf4

(20…¬†Qxf4(+3.91) 21.¬†Nxf6 Qxf622.¬†Qe3 b5 23.¬†c4 Kc7 24.¬†cxb5 axb525.¬†Qb3)21.¬†Rad1

MISTAKE (+4.03) The best move was 21. Nxd6

(21.¬†Nxd6(+6.17) Qxf4 22.¬†Nxb7+ Kc823.¬†d6 Ra7 24.¬†Red1 Bxf2+ 25.¬†Qxf2Qxf2+)21…¬†Qxf4 22.¬†Ng3

INACCURACY (+2.56) A better move was 22. Rd3

(22.¬†Rd3(+3.42) f5 23.¬†Ng3 Rc8 24.¬†Qe6Kc7 25.¬†Rf3 Qg5 26.¬†Rc3+ Kb8)22…¬†Rc8

MISTAKE (+3.99) The best move was 22… Kc7

(22…¬†Kc7(+2.42) 23.¬†Qd3 Rae8 24.¬†Qc3+Kb8 25.¬†Re4 Qf6 26.¬†Qe3 Qd8 27.¬†Qf4)23.¬†Qd2

MISTAKE (+1.79) The best move was 23. c3

(23.¬†c3(+3.80) Qf6 24.¬†Rd4 Rc7 25.¬†Ne4Re8 26.¬†Qe3 Re5 27.¬†Nxf6 Rxe3)23…¬†Qh6

BLUNDER (+5.21) The best move was 23… Qxd2

(23…¬†Qxd2(+1.71) 24.¬†Rxd2 Re825.¬†Rxe8+ Kxe8 26.¬†Re2+ Kd7 27.¬†c3 b528.¬†a3)24.¬†Qb4 Bxg3 25.¬†fxg3 Qf8 26.¬†Qxb6+ Rc727.¬†a4

INACCURACY (+4.64) A better move was 27. h4

(27.¬†h4(+5.83) Kc8 28.¬†Qa7 Rg8 29.¬†Rd3Qd8 30.¬†Rde3 Rf8 31.¬†Qa8+ Kd7)27…¬†f6

MISTAKE (+5.80) The best move was 27… Kc8

(27…¬†Kc8(+4.22) 28.¬†Qa7 Qd8 29.¬†c4 Re830.¬†Qa8+ Kd7 31.¬†Qa7 Kc8 32.¬†Bf1)28.¬†c4 Rg8

BLUNDER (+9.97) The best move was 28… Kc8

(28…¬†Kc8(+5.72) 29.¬†Re6 Rxc4 30.¬†Rxd6Rc2 31.¬†Rxf6 Qc5+ 32.¬†Qxc5+ Rxc533.¬†d6)29.¬†c5 Qf7

MISTAKE (+19.03) The best move was 29… Kc8

(29…¬†Kc8(+14.40) 30.¬†cxd6 Rd7 31.¬†Rc1+Kb8 32.¬†Rc7 Qc8 33.¬†Re7 Rxe7 34.¬†Rxc8+)30.¬†cxd6 Rf8

INACCURACY (MATE IN 8) A better move was 30… Kc8

(30…¬†Kc8(+24.15) 31.¬†dxc7)31.¬†dxc7+

MISSED MATE (+20.48) Checkmate after 31. Re7

(31.¬†Re7(Mate in 7) Qxe7 32.¬†dxe7+ Ke833.¬†exf8=Q+ Kxf8 34.¬†Qxc7 h4 35.¬†Qxb7Ke8 36.¬†Rc1 hxg3 37.¬†Rc8#)31…¬†Qxc7 32.¬†Qe6

MISSED MATE (+22.20) Checkmate after 32. Qb4

(32.¬†Qb4(Mate in 13) Re8 33.¬†d6 Qc834.¬†Rxe8+ Kxe8 35.¬†Re1+ Kf7 36.¬†Re7+Kg8 37.¬†d7 Qf8 38.¬†Bd5+ Kh8 39.¬†Rh7+Kxh7 40.¬†Qxf8 b6 41.¬†Bg8+ Kh8 42.¬†Qxf6+Kxg8 43.¬†Qxg6+ Kf8 44.¬†d8=Q#)32…¬†Qc5+ 33.¬†Kh2 Qc2

INACCURACY (MATE IN 4) A better move was 33… Kc7

(33…¬†Kc7(+39.51) 34.¬†Rc1 Kb8 35.¬†Rxc5Rh8 36.¬†Qxf6 Rg8 37.¬†Qf7 Ka7 38.¬†Qxg8)34.¬†Qe7+

FASTER MATE (MATE IN 6) A better move was 34. d6

(34.¬†d6(Mate in 4) Qe2 35.¬†Rxe2 f536.¬†Qe7+ Kc8 37.¬†Qc7#)34…¬†Kc8 35.¬†Qxf8+ Kc7 36.¬†d6+

FASTER MATE (MATE IN 6) A better move was 36. a5

(36.¬†a5(Mate in 4) Qe2 37.¬†d6+ Kd738.¬†Rxe2 g5 39.¬†Re7#)36…¬†Kd7 37.¬†Qe7+

FASTER MATE (MATE IN 2) A better move was 37. Re7#

(37.¬†Re7#(Mate in 1))37…¬†Kc8 38.¬†d7+

FASTER MATE (MATE IN 3) A better move was 38. Qe8#

(38.¬†Qe8#(Mate in 1))38…¬†Kc7 39.¬†d8=Q#

Thank you for reading, and go Carleson go! ūüôā

A Chess Photo

About twenty two years ago I read a not-so-lengthy book on playing chess written by Gary Kasparov. I lost the book years ago, yet I think it was titled, “Gambit”. In the book it showed a few opening strategies, one of which I enjoyed learning to use better over the last twenty years while playing chess from time to time. I am an average player, for the most part; I still have a great deal to learn.

I am currently a fan of Magnus Carleson, hope he wins in NY in November.

As I played better and better players online, I started losing more and grew tired of chess about six years ago. These last few weeks I decided to learn to play better and not to worry about winning or losing. I have enjoyed playing the app Chess with Friends,” which can be played on iPhones or Smartphones (and maybe online).

Here is an engine I have yet to win against: nc3bb4.

There are plenty of openings in chess. This one is my favorite for quick moves early in the game, especially for ‘rapid chess’ – if necessary, the center four pawns are sacrificed for position and sometimes an efficient, safe checkmate.

Here is a photo of the goal of my current favorite opening in chess. It is not always easy to accomplish, yet does have its advantages. The four leading pieces are a bishop, two knights, and the other bishop. The queen has yet to move and white has castled. Of course, to get the pieces into this position, plenty of the opposing pieces would not be arranged as seen, as it takes plenty of moves to get the pieces to where they are in the photo. If one manages to get them there, however, again, it can be beneficial for mid and end-game tactics.

chess-glass

I love the game and cannot wait to get better with it. There are plenty of ways to play chess online, here is one (over 15 million players play there).

Thank you for reading and have a nice day. ūüôā

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Shawn Before Dawn, A Story

I rolled over and looked at the alarm clock – it was 4:58 AM. “Today is an important day,” I remembered. I turned off the alarm before it sounded and slammed the four fluid ounces of coffee I sat by it the night before. I went to the restroom, shaved, showered, got ready as quickly as possible making sure I did not forget anything I considered the previous day. Today is important. My boss is buying me lunch and may even further explain why his daughter left me.

The sun was not yet up and the traffic still sparse. I pulled into the gravel drive, as always, and parked in a familiar place. In only fourteen short months I had moved up in the construction company my boss owns and runs from Laborman to Crew Leader Assistant to Crew Leader. My crews always operated in an efficient and timely manner. They ate my egg burritos like Pavlovian study dogs. Recently I was given the responsibility of an entire project and am currently over three crews in the process of demolition and reconstruction of an entire wing of a colossal warehouse facility.

I am minutes early and I know it. I make a habit of it and no one complains or is ever surprised. For this reason I have the key to the trailer office, our companies temporary onsite headquarters. Today would not be so bad. My crew knows how to do what they do well, and we have our goals to meet by the end of the day. I turn the key to open the trailer and it breaks off inside the keyhole. Just what I need. Closed to half an hour until I see a living human and I am stranded with a sack of egg burritos.

I sat on the wooden steps and watched the dark blueish purple misty sky fade into the orange of dawn behind scattered clouds of thin fog. I thought back. Not too long ago I decided to give college a rest for a while and move back in with parents until I found work. I found work and met Mallen. She and I worked for a small restaurant which sold pizza and tacos; she mentioned her dad owned a construction company.

“Damn,” I thought, “Just when there was no chance of moving out.” I enquired of the difficulty or chances of my working for her father and she said I could probably hire in as labor with no experience, that he was hiring about a dozen workers during the next four weeks.

I am not the kind of guy that ignores the chance of love. This time it did not work out, yet I at least gave the woman no cold shoulder. Mallen mentioned she was in nearly my same situation as she was living with her parents and wanted to find a place. She would starve and die before working for her dad, even though he was probably the single most powerful contractor in our city of over 4,000,000 people.

I got a newspaper and road around with Mallen a few afternoons in a row and we found an inexpensive flat and signed a 3-month form. I went to work for her dad and ‘kicked as much ass as possible,’ so to speak, always being on time and getting as much physical labor accomplished as humanly conceivable. I thought she and I got along fine. I never really noticed how intelligent Mallen really was, nor did I notice that she did not speak her thoughts very often.

Our place was fine and included two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study room, four closets, and a small television room with two couches. She moved plenty of stuff in there including kitchenware and plenty of personal belongings. I kept my work clothes, an old radio, an alarm clock, and a few changes of clothes, only. We were never more than companions, if that.

Still on the wooden steps, I cannot help but remember the night Mallen changed the locks. After work I went to a local bookstore and got a coffee and a best seller. Gotta love that John Grisham. It was late in the evening and I went to a bar. I don’t drink, but the sandwiches there are great and only cost a few dollars a piece. The bartender had no problem telling me of his life’s career, and I had no problem eating five sandwiches and enjoying four complimentary iced apple sodas.

It was 1Am by the time I headed back to the flat. I knew Mallen had been looking for a new job and was interviewing with the airport. When I got back, the locks were changed and there was a note on the door: “Got the job – Mallen.” I was confused.

Sleeping in my truck that night to go to work on Saturday morning was no big deal for me. It was the surprise. Was she okay? Did we not even have a chance at this thing called love? Surely there could have been a spark. If nothing else, I could have grown to like her more.

It did not take me but a few days to find a new place. My crew leader at the time helped me find a one-bedroom flat and I signed another form. Then I had no distractions. I could work, work, work, then sleep, eat, and work some more. As happy as I was, I was still confused with Mallen. Again, I just thought we may have been able to grow closer together, somehow.

Only seconds had gone by and I saw my boss pulling up in the glowing dawn of the morning. Before, he simply said, “Like she said, Shawn, she got the job.” Knowing that is all he would probably say again, today, at least I’ll get a nice lunch and a chance to thank the man.

“Good morning Shawn!” hollered Mr. Bruno, “Sleeping on the job?” “I am sorry, sir. I broke my key in the lock.” I stood and removed the broken piece from the lock and he unlocked it. “Just there for a second I bet you thought my daughter got another job,” chuckled¬†Mr. Bruno, and it was hard not to laugh.

We went about our normal routine and my crew got a great deal of work done that day. Noon was approaching. I gave them the burritos and went to find Mr. Bruno. We made our way to a Deli and he got us both a couple of roast beef sandwiches with smoked parmesan and sautéed peppers. Good stuff.

“My apologies for my confusion, Mr. Bruno. Thank you for buying me lunch and, as always, I know you know I am grateful to be able to work for you.”

“I understand your confusion. Mallen wrote a letter for me to read to you when I mentioned you showed concern.”

Mr. Bruno read the letter to me and it was mostly about being career oriented, human dominance and all. She said I was a nice, hard-working fellow and was sure I would find the right woman, eventually. She would be working two jobs for a few weeks and then for the airport on a longterm basis if all went well, that plenty of people seek leaders in the world, and we both are surely ‘doyens of our herds.’

“So she did not think I was moving to fast or not fast enough or that I was cheating on her or anything. This abrupt separation was solely career oriented and had mostly to do with us both being headstrong.”

“I think that about sums it up,” said Mr. Bruno, “And I see you shaking in your boots there, fearless ‘doyen.'”

“How so?”

“Are you not concerned of your performance at work?”

“I planned to enquire nonchalantly.”

“Well, I want you to know that you are one of my best. Keep up the good work and you will have less and less to worry of. I gave you the promotion because of your good work and ability to lead others, to get the job done right and make our customers happy when the situation presented itself. Three weeks from now we are signing a new contract. You will be a part of it, just below the head foreman. As for Mallen I think she will be fine and appreciate your understanding. Everything okay?”

“Yes sir, Mr. Bruno and thank you.”

“No problem.”

We went back to work and all went well. A few weeks flew by and I was on the new jobsite in no time and we all did great. Two years went by and I moved up to foreman, and was responsible for over two hundred workers. I had put Mallen out of mind, completely, bought a small house not too far from the city, and all was well.

Then, I happened to see Mr. Bruno and his wife at the grocery store one evening when I went to get a frozen pizza. A world of words could have come from my mouth… the weather, work, anything, and I heard myself say, “So, how is Mallen?” I felt about as brilliant as a broken lightbulb at midnight. Mr. Bruno’s wife grinned and looked to Mr. Bruno. He said, “She worked six and seven days a week for 22 months for the airport and started her own business in our neighboring state. She would not even let me introduce her to anyone.”

Somehow relieved, I asked, “What kind of business did she start?”

Mr. Bruno said, “A construction firm.”

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··· Post Story Relations ···

The story above is one I enjoyed writing. When reading about writing, we always hear, “Write what you know.” For me, I like to consider what I do not really know much about, research the topic, and go from there with character, setting, and plot development. This time, though, I went with something I am more familiar with. I may not have included very much fancy description and totally refrained from the absence of the passive voice and broke plenty of grammatical rules (hidden verbs included), however I thought the story was fun and hope you enjoyed reading it. I have always found it a difficult thing to write a story in the present while speaking about the past without the infamous passive voice. At least, I hope, it was fun.

I must mention, though, that I wrote this story from an idea from a writing prompt. The real story I submitted to¬†here, was for the Your Story competition held every eight weeks or so by Writer’s Digest. I always check out the contest and read the winners, yet hardly ever make the time to enter. After all, I am working on another book. It is¬†my first full-blown¬†novel. It has been¬†exciting so far, and I hope it will be fun to read for all ages, fantasy. The Your Story prompt this time really sent my thoughts into other universes. It was almost hard to believe that so few words could inspire so much possibility.

My first thought was to go with¬†a discussion between lawyers, then a receptionist speaking with a disgruntled man, then many others. In the story I submitted, which was to be under 700 words, I stuck with dialogue only. After about 550 words I was done, even though I figured I would really have to trim down a first draft to enter. Surprise surprise. I probably could have been more eloquent with the use of our wonderful language – at least I sent them something. In case you have never heard of the word ‘doyen,’ I found it with a thesaurus. I knew it was a rare word for some, the next best thing to a neologism (like jobsite or colloquialisuhm).

As I am not as refined¬†with dialogue stories as many and surely am not the leading master of this planet’s prose, I wanted to write out the story in a fun and rewarding way for my readers and myself as well. I like to use ‘he said’ and ‘she said;’ call me a third grader, but I dislike nothing more than dialogue which confuses the speakers only seven lines into a thirty some-odd line script we commonly see in best-selling novels.

So, I hope you read and enjoyed “Shawn Before Dawn”, and I also hope you take part in Writer’s Digest competitions such as their annual writing competitions and Your Story, no matter your skill level. I plan to become more involved in the world of literary appreciation/presentation, eventually, will die trying if I never meet my goals. I do appreciate you for reading and please, let me know if you entered the Your Story Competition or others. I love feedback and am always happy to hear of others’ attempts in regards to their efforts. ūüôā

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Flowering Purple Basil

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About a year ago, I got a two Purple Basil plants. I am no master gardener, so I have tried to do well with keeping them healthy. I changed the soil out (Miracle Grow) once ever ten weeks or so and keep low-wattage bulbs on them with a timer. I water them only once or twice a day and ‘mist’ them gently with a spray bottle of water. I also give them those little plant food sticks once every two weeks or so.

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As happy as I have been that the plants even stayed living, I was even happier to see them flower. I did not know they could flower and was pretty amazed. So, I took some amateur photos of them to share. I think they are pretty awesome and cannot wait to see if the flowers make seeds. I am pretty sure they will¬†need to be pollinated – we’ll see whether such a notion is even possible.

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Thank you for viewing this post. I was happy to share these photos with you.

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A Day in January

Today has been a wonderful day. The breeze was cool, the sunlight beautiful. This year I am 40. My birthday was last Sunday, and I must say, I plan to live this year to its fullest. I am working on a fantasy novel for an hour or two each day I can, and it is coming along well. On goodreads, I have recently communicated with a few authors I knew, before, and have also encountered many others.

There exists a handful of books I cannot wait to read -have to make time for my writing, too, lest I risk not accomplishing what I hope a reader audience as well as myself will enjoy. I am currently reading a few pages of Stephen King’s “On Writing” every night before I turn in. I was hesitant to read the¬†book, at first, as he is so well-known for horror. I decided to risk the endeavor, however, and have found that his advice on living and writing well are not scary yet valuable. About 170 pages into the book, it is coming along nicely.

It has occurred to me that, while I have studied many grammar books and have read plenty of classics and occasional best-sellers, not to mention a few novels by independent authors, I still have a lot of reading to do. The top ten fantasy/science fiction authors currently in the business have plenty of books available. I have not read 98% of these works, so I definitely have some reading to do.

I am of the mind that the mechanics of a great story involving mystical beings and adventure do not always have to be inspired from what contemporary authors have written, however it will be nice to have read more books once I have. The book I am working on may not even compare to the powerful juggernautic novels currently in the bestsellers lists, however I plan to do all I can for its final text to be something people of all ages will enjoy for many years to come.

To my new followers and people who follow jcm3blog, thank you for reading. I am always a big fan of my audience, as I hope it grows to be a group of admirable thinkers who enjoy reading my writing as much as I do. Study grammar for style – write with your heart. The world will love your every intriguing story. Anytime you would like to contact jcm3blog, send e-mail to admin@jcm3blog.com. We may be low on time, it is only because we try to use it wisely. God bless you and have a wonderful day. ūüôā

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