Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Even my recent readers know about the motorcycle I bought, and the class debacle. My friends were surprised that I had even considered buying a motorcycle, let alone the fact that I actually committed to one because, frankly, it’s out of character for me. What a lot of people do not know are the toys I bought in September.
I fear I’m something of a technophile, and I fell for two devices that required a pre-order. Here we are, about three months later, and neither arrived. But I’m excited to say, one is shipping probably tomorrow, and the other should be shipping in about three weeks. The one shipping tomorrow should actually be arriving I’m guessing on Monday (my posts are a few days ahead of schedule). It’s an automatic chess board. This is a wooden chess board, but it moves by itself (which is actually a fairly old technology for self-playing boards) and links to the internet. What that means is that I can send one of these boards (and I will since I bought a two-pack) to my very good friend in Scotland. I’ll be able to play real time with her and her husband from right here in the US. It also connects with a chess website, so I can play with anybody else and see it on my actual board.
This should be great fun. Her husband is a rated chess player and takes the game very seriously. I know she enjoys chess as well but to the best of my knowledge she is not rated. But the real fun is the ability to actually interact with her through the chess board. I’m guessing we can video-chat simultaneously (if they so desire) which would increase the fun.
I heard from the second toy as well. Unlike the chess board, this one suggested an order of steps before sending the device. The email today said I would get a confirmation email with the shipping address, and a week or so later it’ll ship, and I’ll get a tracking number. This one is a form of a tablet. They claim it’s the thinnest tablet in the world but has very limited capabilities. It’s meant to replace paper tablets. It has a stylus, and can only take notes, convert to pdf and send them. It cannot connect to a web browser, download games or any other distractions, so it should help increase focus and save on paper. So that should arrive sometime before Thanksgiving if my math is correct.
Okay, I’m really having a hard time dealing with the motorcycle failure right now, but to be completely honest and fair, I’m such a geek that I think these new toys will go very far in easing my mind. As far as chess goes, I used to have a great chess program that included a built in coach and analyzer component that would examine each game, talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your moves and suggest alternatives. This was a great program, and I wish I could find something like it today (and have looked quite a bit to no avail). With this program I learned a little bit about actual strategy above and beyond the way the pieces move. This makes me very strong against a player that doesn’t understand strategy, but still moderately weak against serious players.
Isn’t it interesting that toys have such a strong impact on mood? Usually when people make fun of men and their toys, they mean things like motorcycles, ATV’s, boats and things like that. I’m certainly not a normal kind of man; I enjoy things like chess boards and tablets. Still, though, I’m a man and enjoy my toys. Heaven knows I’ll be getting a lot of them soon, too. With my new house, I have no furniture and few decorations, save a few paintings that my aforementioned friend in Scotland painted. I’m also considering installing an upstairs kitchen to increase the sale value so it can be used as a rental property, although I myself have no intention of doing so. I don’t think it would take much to do that.
I’ll be honest, I’m also thinking about doing a few fun things in the house (speaking of toys). For example, I might pick a room and put three padlocks on it, probably near the upstairs bathroom so my guests all know it’s a bedroom, and if anybody asks, I’ll just change the subject. Mess with their minds a bit. I also want to install a bidet, and where the toilet paper should be, I’ll install a small shelf with nothing but three seashells on it. Here’s a pop quiz for you; do you recognize the reference?