Yep, this is going to be a thing.

I wanted to write a longer post this week, but I’m still putting it together in my head (and on paper, and in the conversations L and I have over dinner). It has to do with discipline and specificity and creativity and work and life and love and rest and balance, which probably explains why I haven’t written it yet.

In some ideal world, I’d like to write a longer essay every week, plus these short thoughts every Friday, plus one guest post — but I’m not even sure that’s my ideal world, because if it were, I’d be prioritizing that instead of writing music or putting an extra half hour towards the piano every day, which is what I’ve been doing all of this week.

All of that practice has extremely extremely shaped what I want to write about discipline and creativity (and specificity and work and life and love and rest and balance, and probably earning money in there somewhere too), so it all fits together — the work and the music and the freelancing and the life and everything I’m thinking about right now.

(Also, don’t think that I’m not thinking about our current political situation. L and I devote probably half of our evening dinner conversations to politics, and I can feel all of that current-event-stress taking its bite out of my rest and balance. I have slept, like, terribly all week long.)

Anyway, I have something like FIVE PAGES OF HANDWRITTEN NOTES that I need to shape into a post, which means that I want to shape it into a post but I also feel the time pressure of having to shape it into something coherent by, like, Monday, and at the same time I’m thinking “Take your time with this, my love, it could be your magnum opus.”

Not that calling something your magnum opus reduces ANY of the pressure involved. But I’ve been teasing myself about that, when I talk to L in the evenings. “I think this could be my magnum opus.”

I mean, I think it’s important, and I think it’s somewhere between half and 75-percent baked right now.

So… we’ll see where it goes.

SINCE APPARENTLY SOME OF YOU ARE ANALYZING THE CHESSBOARD IN THE PHOTO AT THE TOP OF THE POST (which you might not be able to see if you get these posts through email or RSS, you’ll have to visit Nicole Dieker Dot Com in person), I should let you know that this is still the same game that you saw last week. We are moving very, very slowly and taking a lot of time to think about and discuss what techniques we’re applying, why we’re making each particular move, why we think that move is the best move, whether either of us sees a potential better move (even for each other), etc. etc. etc.


Last night, we worked through what might happen if L (playing black) pushes the pawn on G5, and it seems like every reasonable scenario (that is, both of us making the best moves available to us) ends in checkmate. Which led to me saying “Am I going to have to resign this game before a single piece has been taken?”

Ah, well.

Let’s take a look at where I got published this week!


Is paying an annual fee worth it? (Sometimes.)

Is a perfect credit score worth it? (Getting your credit score over 800 is worth it, but pushing for that perfect 850 won’t earn you any additional benefits.)

Should I use a personal loan to pay off credit card debt? (There are other, potentially better options.)

Haven Life

How to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder during COVID season (I don’t know about you, but I appreciate every minute of extra daylight we’re getting these days.)

One thought on “Thoughts From My Office

  1. Not sure what you did differently but THIS time what showed up in the RSS feed was the full picture (yay!) and just the first line of text. So I had to click through to read the full article instead of to see the picture.

    Yeah, white’s position has seriously degraded!

    SPOILER ALERT: My first inclination (in regard to black pushing the G pawn) was to trade the knight for the F4 pawn (NxF4) to delay the inevitable but the engine thinks white taking with the F pawn (fxG4) might be *slightly* better? With both sides playing as well as possible either option goes more than 20 moves without a checkmate but white’s in a lot of trouble regardless.

    In vaguely related news, today I got cast for a background role on a TV show (The Equalizer) due to having the special ability “can play/has played tournament chess”. 🙂

    UPDATE: I set the chess engine to “infinite” and let it run for a while; by the time the analysis reached depth=41 it liked the knight move better too. Hah!

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