Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Slapped Around (and Battles with Kushan Part 3)

  Before you start reading this, look into my eyes……I'm feeling something…wait…wait…I’m sensing you are having a conflict with a friend or …possibly a relative. I was right, wasn’t I? I think I may have been born with psychic powers.

  I’m not looking very psychic this week about the Yankees. Rafael Soriano, the former Tampa Bay reliever I had been lusting over since last fall as a possible replacement for the great Rivera, gave up the losing home run in Monday’s game to put the Yankees down 2 games to 1 to the Tigers, just one game from elimination. Taking the hill for the Yankees last night was A.J. Burnett, who I pleaded with Yankee manager Joe Girardi to leave on the bench in my last post. Last night Burnett survived 3 walks in the first inning and held the Tigers off until the Yankees got the bats going to even the series at 2 games apiece and set the stage for tomorrow’s decisive game 5. I super happy the Yankees have lived to fight another day and I hope Nova can continue where he left off in game one of the series. Some person left a comment on my blog calling me ‘a idiot’ (sic). It’s hard to argue that point at the moment. Soriano doesn’t seem to have the right stuff for New York, then Burnett comes up huge in a big spot. I don’t like getting slapped around on my own blog, but it’s not the first slap I’ve taken lately.

  After having my offer of having a chess club at the Salvation Army in downtown Des Moines accepted, I was ready to get started 2 weeks ago. On the day of the first meeting, I emailed my contact to make sure of the time. A reply came back telling me that the Salvation Army didn’t think there was going to be much interest in a chess club, so thanks but no thanks, they were not going to have a club, and they were sorry they didn’t tell me sooner. I resisted the urge to ask when they had planned on telling me, instead saying maybe we could revisit it in a few months. This was a setback of my own making. I should have put up some flyers around the area to see if I could have sparked some interest, which at the least may have committed the Salvation Army to have had the club for a couple of months. When I first started up in Marshalltown, my kids and I spent more than a few evenings staring at each other, but eventually the club caught on. I hope I’ll get another chance at a Salvation Army club in Des Moines, but my experience in these matters is that saying no gets easier the more you do it.

  I had another self-inflicted setback last month. On June 29th, I wrote how I’ve been buying $2,000 of Intel stock when it went down a dollar and then would sell when I could get my money back while keeping 5 shares for myself. In the 3 months since that post, I executed 5 buys and 4 sells and even though the stock was 21.39 on June 29th and was 21.22 at the close yesterday, I’ve accumulated 18 shares of Intel with 2 buys on the table as opposed to 1 buy on the table on June 29th. If I keep 5 shares for each sell and made 4 sells why do I only have 18 shares instead of 20, you may ask? On August 9th, Intel hit 20 so my program buy executed and I added a sell of 21.24 but then Intel went up to 21 2 days later and I put in another program buy for 20. On the 18th the stock hit 20 again, so I now had 2 buys at 20. The sell point went from 21.24 to 21.15 because I would only pay 1 commission on the 2 sells and Intel spent the next month flirting with 19 a share. I had visions of the stock bouncing like a bungee jumper from 21 to 20, triggering more and more buys. I decided to stop the possibility of this vicious cycle by changing the sell point to 20.93, which left me 8 shares instead of 10. On September 14th, Intel hit 20.93, I sold, and Intel spent all day at 20.7. I felt very smart indeed but in the last hour when Intel shot up to 21.40, I felt a lot less smart since I cost myself 2 shares by not following my own system. Yes, small potatoes and it probably means I’ll be eating cat food a week earlier than planned in my old age, but I feel bad that I left something for free on the table.

  2 weeks ago, when I performed my daily task of checking my blogs hits and ad revenue, I received the unwelcome news that Google was not going to advertise on my site anymore because of ‘suspicious click activity’. No other details. I appealed and my appeal was denied. I know that asking my Facebook friends to click on my ads is ‘verbotten’ so I’m not doing that any more, but I’ve written about which ads were the best paying on my blog for quite some time (political and dental) so I don’t know why my number came up 2 weeks ago. For all I know, the increased hits from winning the best blog award triggered the siren alarm. I’ll appeal every month or so the same way Tim Robbins in ‘Shawshank Redemption’ kept asking libraries for donations to the prison, but in the meantime I’ll be auditioning advertisers.

  And I don’t even want to get into how I received a bill last Tuesday for an extra hundred dollars for the room I rented for my chess camp 2 months ago or how I forgot to log out of my computer and thanks to a co-worker came in the next morning to my find my second monitor not working and no icons on my screen and all my shortcuts gone and....wait – I did say I didn’t want to get into it.

  On the chess front, as long as I’m at it, I thought I’d share the worst beatdown I’ve received in a long time. In late July, I was playing chess on the Internet Chess Club and Kushan Tyagi challenged me to a game. Kushan is a chess expert from Ames and currently the 25th ranked 14 year old in the United States. He finished 3rd in this year’s Iowa Chess Championship. I’ve played Kushan 4 times on at the pace of a move every 3 days and won 2 and drew 2 because I was only playing one game while he was playing dozens and got a draw against him in an offhand game at the West Des Moines Chessathon 2 years ago which to my mind was a bigger accomplishment. I had just hit my all time high rating in one-minute chess and Kushan and I stated with a 3 minute game.

  Pretty ugly, but I was happy to get the draw. Little did I know that would be the highlight of this day’s battles with Kushan.

  After those 2 wonderful efforts, we switched to 1 minute chess but it was more of the same:

  I wish I could say it was just a bad day, but since I won 4 of the 5 other games I played on the Internet directly before and after my battles with Kushan, I have to admit I was just outclassed. I had meant to publish these games earlier, but got busy with other topics and since they fit in with my other recent events, I hope Kushan doesn't mind that I was much slower to print my losses than my wins.

  Last Wednesday I came to work all worried about my hundred dollar charge for the chess camp and as I walked from my car to my workplace via the Skywalk, this lady stopped me and asked if I had a spare dollar I could give her. It was the first time I’d been stopped for money in 17 years in Iowa. I reached in my wallet and had no singles. She looked old, scared, homeless, and hungry so I just gave her a five. Maybe she just got a six-pack instead of a 20 ounce Bud or maybe she bought some food. It was none of my business. Once I gave her the money, it wasn't my money anymore and what she did with it was none of my concern. For all I know, I was put into all these difficult situations just to be be in the right mood on this day to give that lady a five-dollar bill. I couldn’t say that was why for sure, but no one else can say that wasn’t why for sure, either. I do know that as soon as I got to the elevator, an email popped up on my amazing iPod (RIP, Steve Jobs) telling me the hundred dollar charge for the chess camp was an error.

  I’ll get more chances to start chess clubs in Des Moines, find advertisers for my blog, profit from Intel stock ups and downs, and if I keep making baseball predictions I’m sure to look like a real psychic one of these years. And as for Kushan, I’ll just wait till HE turns 50 and then sic a grandkid on him!