Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I'm not a very career-driven person. I mean, I'm never going to be someone who is a lazy bum who doesn't want to do some kind of work, but there isn't one thing I want to do all the time and no burning desire to have a prestigious job that will occupy me 80 hours a week. I'm good at my job and value having a stable job, but it's not what I live for - I live for the time off to play a lot of bridge, hang out with the dog a lot, play tennis a little bit, go out to dinner some, and go out for drinks with friends some. Everything in moderation is generally a good rule to live by.

However, the people I have been most attracted to and interested in throughout my life are very career-driven, sometimes to the point where in inhibits their ablity to have a normal social life. Does this make sense?

The TV shows I like all center around characters who work 80 hours a week and wind up having to choose between career and social life - Kate Beckett from Castle, Robin Scherbatsky from HIMYM, Monk, Mary Shannon from In Plain Sight, all the characters from Grey's Anatomy, the detectives on Criminal Minds, all the lawyers from Suits. I admire these people, even if they are made up. Is it because I want that kind of life and that kind of passion for something or is it because I am glad there are other people doing those jobs that are so time-consuming?

In real life, looking back at the ladies I have dated, there's a string of smart career-driven (soon-to-be) doctors and lawyers (with a Math Ph.D. throw in the mix), starting with Kristen in 9th grade.

I read a Dilbert blog post today about becoming an expert. Supposedly it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert, assuming you are practicing the right things and have the right genes. Because bridge is pretty much the only thing that I could potentially have passion to become such an expert on and because this is mostly a blog about bridge, let's see how my bridge experience applies here.

Since I started playing in 2000, I estimate that I've played 1600 sessions of bridge, which is roughly 5600 hours. Time spent in post-mortems, teaching bridge, writing about bridge, and reading about bridge probably brings that up to around 7000 hours, so I have a couple of years to go to reach 10,000. However, the amount of time I spend on bridge has been steadily on the rise since 2008.

Am I practicing the right things? I think so. 95% of the time I play it is with a good partner while paying pretty close attention to things. Playing non-seriously or with a partner you can't trust can be counter-productive to improving because of the need to compensate for partner. Furthermore, more recently my tournaments have included a lot more regionals and bracket 1 knouckouts and fewer mid-bracket knockouts and sectionals and still winning just as much. That's gotta be better for improving one's game. Do I have the right genes? I think so.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Not much bridge for awhile

The "Play lots of bridge" portion of my year has come to a close, with a very fun but not very successful Atlanta NABC. Cristal and I did make the second day, placing in one, of the three Open NABC events we entered. That in itself is something of an accomplishment, given that she had not placed overall in an Open NABC event before and our Swiss team wasn't very impressive. Prior to this NABC, Sean and I had a week in Richmond where we kind of sucked, a week in Greenville, where we played decently, and a week in Reston, VA, where we were excellent.

I know I marked at least 3 boards as blog-worthy and 2 as book-worthy so I hope I find them amongst the 20 scorecards I have.

The post-NABC letdown is here, as it is back to the desk job and struggle finding a social life in Macon/Warner Robins, with no trips longer than a weekend until probably the fall NABC, although a return trip to Seaside is still a possibility. I'm taking one class at Mercer this fall - another statistics class - starting next Monday, so hopefully that will be interesting.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

...from the Atlanta NABC

There are a lot of things I have to complain about and a lot of crap that I've had to deal with during this tournament, mainly arranging teammates, failing at arranging dinner plans, and most recently having a date scheduled and her not showing up or calling. I really could go on and on about those frustrations but this will be a happy post.

The first three days, I played with Jule and Sean and we were 3rd/4th in a KO. It was a pleasant enough time, complicated greatly by bringing my dog with me and driving around Jule and Jim Wall and his wheelchair. I was glad to assist and those three days were actually pretty fun.

Tuesday through Friday, I played with Cristal Nell and it has been rather pleasant. Coming in, I didn't really know what to expect bridge-wise, but she is a fine partner and we got along great. I've found myself trying to be more aggressive than usual because it was immediately clear that she, like me, is typically a conservative bidder. I believe that over 9 sessions there was only 2 bidding misunderstanding both surrounding transfers over doubles. 41st in the Wernher Open Pairs. Tonight someone commented that she keeps moving on to better partners: from Mitch to JDonn to me! I'm sure there will be a repeat, but I am disappointed I didn't get to play an NABC event with Sean, given all of our recent success in regionals.

Today some of my favorite bridge people and Arjun won the 0-5000 spingold - Max Aeschbacher, Alex Dezieck, and Josh Parks. Yay!

While I still think 10:00 is too early to have to be playing bridge, I do really like the bar atmosphere better with these starts. there's a lot more time to relax at dinner without being concerned about having to be back at a particular time and with games ending at 6:30 there's just more time to socialize. with the traditional start times, bridge doesn't finish until 11 pm and if you play midnights, there leaves very little time to chatm find out who won what, and enjoy the hospitality before playing again.

I'm tired and I probably should have gone to sleep hours ago, but it's hard to turn my brain off.