Weekly Progress Report: #02


I am proud to report that I am starting to hit my stride. Not only have I been keeping up my training regimen with little to no effort, but I even increased the minimum requirement because the prior regimen was getting too easy for me to do. Even now I’m considering upping it again, but I’ll stick with it another week and probably start sprinkling in other books in order to keep my interest perked up.

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Go Congress 2014 - Day 2

Prelude - I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - Conclusion

The next day I woke up late. Since I knew that my games took a long time, I figured that it would be best for me to grab breakfast before heading off to the match. After all, the worst thing that would happen is that I would have less time. Right?

When I arrived, I found everyone sitting and playing their matches. As I looked down the pairings list, I noticed that my name was already marked with results. F? My opponent’s name circled? What the heck? Does that mean what I think it means?

As I scanned the list, I saw there were quite a few others as well. So I rushed off to find the tournament director, and sure enough, it was what I feared: forfeit.

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Go Congress 2014 - Day 1

Prelude - I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - Conclusion

The first official day of Go Congress! Woot! Needless to say, I was up bright and early and on my way to the hotel.

The tournament was supposed to start around 9:00am, so I stopped by the hotel cafe to grab a quick breakfast (which ended up being a croissant and an orange juice) since I wanted to make sure I got there on time.

When I arrived, the simuls and events were mostly filled; so I made a mental note to myself to aim to arrive earlier in the future if I wanted to get in a simul game.

As everyone shuffled in, we all waited for the tournament pairings to be put up. And while we were all trying to relax and enjoy simply being at Go Congress, there was definitely a bit of anxiety throughout the air as this was our first match of the tournament. After all, everyone was hoping to start off the tournament with a win.

Before we knew it though, we all went off on our separate ways to find our opponents. My opponent was an Asian girl named Kelly who was probably around fourth or fifth grade. After sitting down and setting up my iPad (for recording the game) and getting my headphones ready, we fiddled around with the clock for a bit to make sure we had the right time settings.

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Go Congress 2014 - Prelude

Prelude - I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - Conclusion

When I woke up that Saturday morning, I was excited that the day had finally come. My first Go Congress ever! Woot!

I had the pleasure of having my little brother come up with me for the first half of the trip. And while packing was more of a hassle than I anticipated, we were on our way before we knew it.

When we arrived in NY, the first thing we did was check-in to our hotel. Though pretty much everyone was staying at the Hotel Pennsylvania, I was staying at a Marriott about two to three blocks away since I had guests coming up to visit. In addition, since I was going to be living there for over a week, I wanted to get a nicer place anyhow since the price wasn’t that much more expensive.

After checking in and unloading my backpack, we went to a nearby Japanese curry shop that was highly rated on Yelp called GoGoCurry.

My brother got the pork katsu while I tried the grand slam (which was everything they had: sausage, chicken, pork, tempura shrimp). And while everything was delicious, I think I’ll opt for one of the regular plates next time since the grand slam was a lot more food than I was bargaining for. (Don’t get me wrong though, it was a fantastic value for the price!)

With our stomachs full of good food, we headed off to check-in at the Go Congress.

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Journal Entry: #03

As I have been working through the various obstacles in order to make progress on go, one of the issues I’ve continually run into is the spurts of motivation followed by a trench of inactivity. To simply write it off as laziness would be the easy thing to do, but I had been unable to put my finger on what it was that I was lacking. It wasn’t until recently that I realized what I was missing: relentless commitment to my goals.

Recently, my girlfriend told me about a book that she was reading: Lone Survivor. For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a story about Operation Redwing (which resulted in “the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history” that is told from the perspective of the only survivor: Marcus Luttrell. And though I’m not even close to finishing it, it already is starting to leave a lasting impact on me.

As I listened to Luttrell talk about his training and what he went through to become a SEAL, I couldn’t help but feel rather pathetic as he described the brutal trials that he had to endure. And we’re not talking about just physical trials, but especially the mental ones as well. And as I reflected on my own life and pursuit of my goals, it dawned on me that my so-called “drive” was pathetic. And I don’t mean this in some sort of self-pitying way, but in a self-enlightened sense where suddenly it was clear where my problem was:_ I quit too easily_.

In the U.S. Navy SEAL’s code, there is an excerpt that particularly resounded with me:

“I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish the mission. I am never out of the fight.”

While my pursuits are not militaristic, there is a lot that I can learn from this mentality. Too often have I resigned games due to feeling overwhelmed against the odds (even though it was not the case). And too many times have I let myself quit or procrastinate because there was no one to tell me not to or encourage me to keep going.

Well screw all of that. I refuse to let a minute go by where I don’t give anything less than my all. And so with that, I’ll commit to the fact that I will have my Go Congress posts finished by this Saturday. No more waiting, it’s getting finished.

Journal Entry: #02

As I started getting back in the swing of things, one of the things I came to realize was that I am reluctant to play any games. I’m not sure as to whether it’s because I’m worried that playing a game will cause me to disappear into another universe where time will fly by, or whether I’m subconsciously afraid of losing. Either way, it’s something I’m wrestling with at the moment.

On a more positive note though, I’ve taken back up a nice study regimen that has proven to be quite easy to maintain over the last week or so. It’s primarily problem solving at the moment, but a single step is better than none! Also, starting this Saturday, you can expect my weekly progress updates to start up again.

Finally, the Go Congress posts are progressing much slower than I originally anticipated; but I have not forgotten about them! It’s been sitting in my backlog, but it’s a burning itch that I’m constantly thinking about. So fear not, I have a plan in motion to get them up and online within the next week or so.

Review: The Divine Move (Movie)

The Divine Movie Post

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, there were two things that I noticed: go and martial arts. And as someone who grew up on kung fu movies and watching subtitled Asian movies, I was sold immediately.

One of my concerns was that I would have to find some bootleg version of the movie online or wait forever to buy the DVD and have it shipped to the U.S. However, fortunately they had a limited theatrical release in the United States and one of the theaters was only about a 35 min drive away from me. Awesome!

In case you’re planning on seeing it soon and don’t want to have any of my opinion impact your viewing of the movie, I will just say that I recommend you check it out. The only word of caution I would advise is for people who are squeamish about blood and violence. It’s not anything horrific or terribly gory (like a horror movie), but it’s certainly not completely sugar coated (like some martial art movies where the people never bleed or have injuries).

If you’d like to hear a bit more opinionated review, read on!

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Journal Entry: #01

You ever have one of those days that you just start to feel like you are making no progress even though you keep trying to put one foot after another? I had one of those days today.

As anyone who has read my blog will tell you, it has slowed down considerably over these past few weeks. I initially blamed it on life getting in the way, but I was forced to take a step back today and re-evaluate whether it is really true or not.

Long story short, I’ve actually missed regularly blogging a lot. And though I set out to straighten out the rest of my life before making my return, I was shaken awake to the fact that it’ll never happen. I shouldn’t set aside things that I enjoy in lieu of trying to take care of things first. There will always be something else to take care of.

So be on the lookout for much more regular blogging as I start piecing back the parts of my life that are important to me and make me happy.

Finally, even though I have clearly been writing journal entries for quite some time, I’ve always felt that there was not enough of a distinction between my journal entries and my posts that were more essay/article-esque. So to help keep this distinction clear, this post will mark the beginning of my Journal Entry series.

Making progress!

If You're Not Moving Forward...

As I’ve been fighting off the onslaught of work and priorities that keep coming my way, I hate to admit that I’ve fallen quite behind on my go studies. In fact, they have become practically non-existent. I think the most exposure I’ve gotten to go is flipping through the new books that have been arriving. However, that cannot even begin to amount to any noteworthy type of study.

And to be honest, it’s not so much that I don’t want to study or play. In fact, I would love nothing more than to dedicate a nice chunk of time each day to my go studies. However, since that has been nearly impossible, I’ve been wracking my brain for ways to make progress before an obscene amount of time has passed since I last studied go.

As I was walking outside this morning, a thought occurred to me, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.” (Of course, one’s progress in go is not even remotely that linear, but you get the idea.) And though this might sound repetitive to some, once again I realized the necessity of taking steps forward. And at this point, it doesn’t even matter what direction I’m taking the step in. As long as I am making efforts to move forward, it will be more valuable than simply waiting for the perfect time for me to pick go back up the way I want to.

So to those who are also caught up in the whirlwind of the responsibilities of adult life and being independent, I challenge you to take the smallest of steps forward (even if it is as simple as doing 10 easy life and death problems a day). For me, I will return to the Jump Level Up series to provide some structure for myself.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted as I begin making my comeback.