A different place. But not.

We were living south of where we are now, and my office was upstairs. I was puttering around, surfing through the morning on a Tuesday, working on my second cup of coffee, but still not fully present. B. called up to me from downstairs, watching morning news programming and doing her own wake-up routine, to tell me a plane had flown into a building in New York.

I remember calling back to her with the profound comment of, “What?!”

In my head, some dumbass in a Cessna had probably decided to make his personal sendoff a look-at-me, aren’t-I-special Viking funeral. It turned out I was 2/3rds right, or a fractional version of that if you want to nitpick the Viking part.…

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End of Year Re-Crap

Howdy, folks, remember me? My last post was in January. Anything interesting happen in the interim? Yeah.

After making my last post in mid-January, I was prepping for a large production (typically, my largest of the year), scheduled to take place in Santa Clara, CA, in April.

Late February/early March found site visits and preparations proceeding apace. That is, until March 6, when the first Covid-related death was reported in Santa Clara County. (It’s since been learned there were two prior deaths, but at the time March 6 was considered “the beginning” for Silicon Valley.)

Thus began a huge, massive— and I’ve come to hate this word— pivot.…

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Magriel Mega Match Madness Series

This might seem crazy at first. And also, later.

I’ve been casting about for another weapon to add to my “gain experience and get better, faster” arsenal— I study, read, play in both live and online tournaments, Dallas Backgammon League play, timed and un-timed matches of various lengths, play XG and BGBlitz, analyze my games, etc.— but one piece that’s missing, in large part, is playing myself.


Playing yourself in a mind sport is a great way to learn and improve, particularly if you approach the process in a serious and thoughtful way.

Paul Magriel famously took on the player-moniker “X-22” after playing himself, on each side of the board, in a 26-player tournament, where the players were named “X-1” through “X-26.”…

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“It’s closing?! Oh, no! I haven’t been there in forever!”

I have several friends who are restauranteurs, and I enjoy dining out frequently, myself. A frequent traveler, I’m fairly attuned to the comings and goings of promising new establishments, as well as tried-and-true favorites, in places near and far.

I particularly enjoy patronizing my local haunts, the places that recognize me when I walk through the doors, don’t bother handing me a menu (I know it by heart), and turn in my drink order at the bar before I’ve even had a chance to settle in.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s the restaurant business is tough; openings and closings happen daily, and the turnover and churn is crazy.…

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Sunshine and Tears

I find myself in Pensacola this week, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, with my brother.

My brother, who’s over a decade older than I am, spent his formative college years in the 1970s playing the hottest, trendiest game around at the time: backgammon. He was pretty good at it; good enough he would “earn” tuition and beer money playing lesser-skilled fish in the bars of the era.

When both he and I were slightly older, in the 1980s, my parents would pack me off to stay with him for a few weeks during the summer months. He was teaching college courses and had a lighter schedule that would accommodate our having all sorts of adventures, mainly of the sailing sort.…

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