Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Chun's Recommendation #6 or, Hawk Hike

I skipped the MGA Handicap Tournament this past Sunday in favor of Chun's Recommendation #6 (meditation), in the form of a Hawk Hike.  Mt Tom in western Massachusetts is supposed to be one of the best places to see the hawk migration.  Unfortunately, on Sunday we were also getting the fringes of Hurricane Matthew, so it was rainy and cloudy and windy and the hawks chose to stay put for the day.

I waited out most of the rain, and then hiked out to Mt Tom in the eerie fog.  It was beautiful.  

At one point, I heard music nearby and some sort of cabin loomed up out of the fog, just off the trail.  I heard voices but never encountered the people.  It felt straight out of Heart of Darkness.  

By the time I got back to the lookout tower at Goat Peak, the fog had cleared, so I had some hope of seeing hawks.  They did not seem to be migrating, but they were definitely hanging out.  I'd look north through my binoculars, wait a beat or two, and see a hawk circling above the trees.

When that hawk landed or flew too far away, I'd turn and look south.

Pause...  then, yep!  Another hawk.  Wait until they fly behind the hill and turn north...  and another!  Often a second would fly into view as I watched.

I don't know hawks well enough to identify them specifically, but I know enough to tell that they were definitely hawks of some sort and (having watched more hours of the Cornell hawk cam than I care to admit) almost definitely not red-tailed hawks.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Year 2: Off to a rough start

Ugh! 0-6 in AYD for this month! The middle of the week evening time is really hard for me, but two of those games I played in the afternoon on the weekend. And my opponents are all playing evening games too, so it seems I should win occasionally, right?

 I think part of what's happening here is this opposite of visualizing success thing that sometimes takes over me. Star athletes are said to use a technique of visualizing success: if you can see yourself making that perfect olympic dive, it will happen. I sometimes end up doing the opposite: I visualize failure in my games and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's not quite conscious, or I would simply stop. I think it is, at least in part, a gender thing. I noticed this same exact phenomenon in one of my student's exams last year. She had failed the exam and brought it to office hours to go over it. The first question on the exam had 4 or 5 parts to it, all of which were variations on basically the same thing (maybe taking derivatives of functions or something like that). Each part was testing slightly different things but, for the most part, if you knew how to do them, you knew how to do all of them. But, looking at my student's exam, she nailed the first few and then bombed the rest. I said to her, "I know what happened here!" and described what happens to me in my Go games. She said, "Yes! That's exactly what happened to me here." Steele doesn't quite address this issue in Whistling Vivaldi, but he talks about similar things. Go is certainly an area in which there is a stereotype of women not doing well, so it makes sense that it would affect me. It's really hard to snap out of that mindset. I don't really have any techniques for doing so, other than waiting for it to go away.

 So, I'm off to D league for October. The bright side of that is that it frees me up for Tuesday music jamming nights. :)

Meanwhile, I utterly failed to meet my goal of 25 games for September, clocking in at a measly 14. Maybe that has something to do with my abysmal performance in AYD too.

On a brighter note, I've started something new! In my 15 years of playing and studying Go, I've never managed to regularly keep up with the latest professional games. I'm a creature of habit, so it needs to be part of my routine or it's not going to happen. So what I've started doing is this: after I read while eating my breakfast in the morning, I take just a few minutes to go through the most recent game posted on It's not the same as keeping up with the latest big tournaments, but it means I get to see lots of very recent pro games. I'm hoping it will help give me new ideas, but it's also fun and inspiring. I think this counts as #5 on Chun's list of recommendations: "Watch games, just watch, download wbaduk app or daily professional games app, Do it when you have 5 minutes free time, on the bus, waiting for coffee etc." (Maybe #6 would help with the visualizing failure problem too...)