I hope you are enjoying Alexandra Quick and the Stars Above. I am, as always, reading all reviews and noting all criticisms. For the most part, I don't comment on the story in progress, even when I really want to say "But, but, but..." because the reaction readers have to the story should be based on what's actually in the text. If the author needs to step in and clarify something while people are still reading it, then the author failed.
Rest assured, I will post author's notes and be willing to discuss, answer questions, and dodge brickbats once the story is finished.
Now, everyone not interested in anything that's not Alexandra Quick or book reviews can tune out...
So, lately, I have been taking up go again. Damn you, Hikaru Shindo.
I'm not telling you which player was me, but it's the one who lost. Badly.
I first learned go in college, and though I enjoyed it and really wanted to be good at it, I didn't have the patience or dedication. And I hated losing. I really, really, really fucking hated losing. The same thing applies to chess (which is another game I am planning to take up again to try to get myself up to a non-embarrassing skill level).
Anyway, over the years I've played a little go off and on and even bought a few books, but never actually progressed beyond rank beginner level. At one point, I downloaded The Many Faces of Go, promptly got my ass whupped over and over again, and gave up.
More recently, I have taken up the hobby again and it's become a sort of mental challenge in more ways than one.
Serious go players draw all kinds of metaphors about go and say it's a way of life, it will make you a better person, etc. I don't know about that, but unless you are the world's best go player, you are going to lose. A lot. And right now, I lose a lot to a stupid computer program.
MFOG on its dumbest setting plays at the 18-kyu rank. When I started playing go, it was regularly trouncing me. Now (according to MFOG) I am ranked at 13-14 kyu. Which means I usually beat it at the 15-kyu level and am occasionally beating it at the 12-kyu level.
(Yes, I sometimes play online against human players too, but it's hard to work your way up on KGS to a level where you can play ranked games against anyone but total beginners. I'm in that intermediate-beginner stage where the robots and beginners are too easy to beat and everyone else is way over my head.)
So, I'm getting better!
But I still make dumb mistakes which really, really piss me off. I have a habit of over-focusing on tactical fights, and then I hear that dreaded crunching sound MFOG makes when stones get captured, and an entire corner will disappear because I didn't notice that one of my "safe" groups had lost all its liberties. F***!F***!F***!F***!F***!F***!F***!
So, my goal is to become good, actually good, at go. And in the process, cultivate calm acceptance of mistakes as learning experiences.
MFOG at its highest setting can supposedly play at the 1-dan level. I've played a couple of games against it at that level, and let me tell you, that was embarrassing....