Tag Archives: time

What is Equality in Chess?

Someone posed a question on my blog asking, “What is equality anyway?”  On one hand, it’s an easy question: if the game is equal, then that’s equality.  If both sides have the same material, the same pieces, no weaknesses, same development, then that’s equality.  That’s obvious, but chess is a deep game, and many positions are far from simple … and yet GMs will still claim that the game is equal.

In this post, I want to discuss some ideas behind equality.  There are quite theoretical, so I don’t expect it to radically change your play, but you might understand chess better afterwards.  First, though, I want to discuss the basic strategic ideas behind the chess game. Continue reading

Running Slower to Run Faster

I’ve always enjoyed running, just never enough to do it consistently. Or with any frequency. Or at all. Maybe I don’t enjoy running, actually. If you give me a random day off and let me do absolutely anything I wanted, running would be very far down the list. You would have to give me about 30 such days before I voluntarily went out to run.

When I say I like running, I mostly mean I like getting to the finish line so I can stop running.

Really, I enjoy the idea of running. Being a good runner is just one of those things that separate the men from the boys, so to speak. We can all do it. Short people can’t jump as high as tall people, and tall people can’t move as quickly with agility as short people. Different bodytypes have different advantages, but when it comes to running, we all have two legs. We can all move them. Anyone can run, and yet so few people get even mediocre at running. Becoming good really puts you in a class of your own. That’s why I run.

For the first time ever, I’ve been approaching my running more systematically this year, and it’s paying off. Over the last three months, I’ve made a big discovery: in order to run faster, you need to run slower. Continue reading

Figuring Out My Life Goals

I’m a fan of goals. They give you direction: they tell you where you are going, and you know exactly when you get there. Those are powerful things. That said, unlike some people, I don’t set many goals. I don’t have a 100-page bucket list. I could probably write all my goals, absolutely all of them, on a single piece of paper.

See? One single page.

Is this the right way to do it? It’s hard to say. It certainly feels the most natural for me. Having too few goals means you risk not doing enough, while having too many can spread you too thin. Heck, at the beginning of the year I set 12 goals of varying importance, only twelve, and those drained me within a week. I operate far better on fewer but more important goals than many superfluous ones. Continue reading

The Strange Appeal of Running

Here’s a philosophical question for you: can you like something you hate? I know, that sounds completely contradictory … but can you? Think about math. Personally, I really like math. Math is awesome. It has a systemic beauty to it, with all the parts fitting together seamlessly. It can grant a feeling of certainty that you cannot get anywhere else in life. The right answer is the right answer, end of story. That’s a powerfully compelling thought.

Anything that creates a Christmas tree can’t be all bad, right?

I really like the idea of math. Actually doing math, though, is a different story. Going back to highschool, sitting quietly at my desk for 75min, trying to decipher inane word-problems that take two pages of calculation to find each variable, and then two more pages to combine the variables together into a final answer? Yeah, I’ll skip that.

So, in a way, I both like and dislike math, and the same is true for running … but stronger, in both directions. It’s not a question of like and dislike but of love and hate. Continue reading

Experiment: How Much Can I Write in 30min?

I am going to do an experiment today: how much can I write in half an hour? I’ve been wondering this for awhile, actually. I track how many words I write each day, and that varies slightly, but I don’t track how long it takes me to write. Some days I’m in and out in under 45min with well over a thousand words, and other times I labour for nearly two hours and barely squeeze out a page. Writing is frustrating that way, but that’s par for the course.

I would say it’s essential.

If you asked me how long it takes to write X number of words, I couldn’t tell you. If you asked me what the fastest is that I’ve ever written, I couldn’t tell you. I want to fix that, or at least get an idea, even only in approximation. That’s where today comes in. I’ve set a timer for 30min and I’m just going to hit it until it rings, and then I can stop and look at the findings. Continue reading

The Trade-off Between Quality, Time and Money

In videogames, it’s common to face certain trade-offs. For instance, you’ll have to chose between having a strong physical character or a magical character. Strength or magic, you can’t have both. More accurately, you can’t excel at both. You are either mediocre at both or you master one at the expense of the other. Some game have a ‘right’ answer, an optimal playstyle, but often it’s just a matter of choice. Which do you prefer, muscles or mana?

In life, there is a similar trade-off in most things we do, though instead of strength or magic it involves quality, time and money. You can define two of these. That is, you can chose a thing’s quality, or how good it is, you can chose the time, or how fast it is, and you can chose money, how much you want to spend … but you can’t pick all three at once. That’s the trade-off.

It even has its own little graphic! The title says graphic design, but it applies to most of life.

Some examples will make it clear. Continue reading

Daylight Savings Time is the Devil

It’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s spring, which means many good things, but also one bad thing, perhaps the only bad thing about spring. I refer to, of course, the most patently absurd idea ever conceived, something we still do despite it making no sense in any way: Daylight Savings Time, or DST.

Truth.

I should probably explain DST here, but that is impossible, because an explanation implies making sense, something DST most definitely does not. Still, some readers may be from some blessed regions of the world that do not observe DST, and I must tell you, if so, you truly do not know how fortunate you are. DST is perhaps the stupidest thing we as a modern society willingly subject ourselves to. Continue reading

Kettles and Quality

I’m not saying I’m cheap, but I’m really good at saving money. It’s basically intuitive at this point, an instinct. In most situations involving money, I automatically, without thought, find the least expensive way to do things. On the whole, this is a good thing; certainly better than wasting money needlessly. However, it also has a rather serious downside.

Perhaps the best example happened back at high school. I drank a lot of pop, at least one a day. If I didn’t bring one from home, I’d have to buy one. There were several vending machines, offering a bottle for $1.50-$2.00, depending on what you wanted. Alternatively, I could walk downtown to Dollarama and pick up a bottle for only $1.00. It’s literally half the cost, so it’s a no-brainer, right?

No brain required, or so I and this image suggests.

Yes, I saved money, but what about time? It took roughly 15min to walk there, plus 15min back. That’s half an hour. To save one dollar, I am spending 30min of my own time. Which is more valuable, do you think? It gets worst, as one time I walked from the library to Dollarama, taking an hour total to make my purchase. I spent an hour to save a dollar. That’s ridiculous. Continue reading

A Beautiful, Glorious Snow Day

Snow Day! Two of the best words ever in the history of the English language. If you don’t live in a Northern climate, you’ve perhaps never heard of or experienced one of these before, in which case you have my sympathy. You’re really missing out.

This images captures it all.

In brief, sometimes it snows, and sometimes it really freakin’ snows. If it snows so much that road conditions deteriorate, schools and businesses start to close for the day. It’s basically an unexpected day off, which, as you can imagine, is awesome. True, if you need to go somewhere or do something, this becomes a huge pain in the ass, but if you’re just having an average day, as most days happen to be, you get a free holiday.

Actually, maybe this image captures it all. This makes it seem far more bleak, though.

Continue reading

Breaking In My New Alarm Clock

I woke up late for the last time. I mentioned the problems of my old alarm clock(s) before, and I had enough. I went to Amazon and searched through literally dozens of clocks before deciding on the one I wanted. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, I get free two-day shipping. Even with Family Day, the Ontario provincial holiday, I got it in two days. Oh boy.

This picture almost makes it look like a phone.

I decided on an Electrohome brand clock, which, hilariously, is the same brand that created my ancient SD TV I keep in my attic. It also has eight-thousand different features, which is nice and all, but as long as it wakes me up I’m pretty stoked. It’s been one day, but so far so good. Continue reading