Archive for August 3rd, 2022

Hot off their stunning opening victory today, Laos face the mighty Mauritius tomorrow. Eventually the result of the match will fade away until its forgotten. Not very soon and not soon either but one day it will, and then it will be gone…are you gone?

The mighty Mark now moves into gear

‘Oh that English fellow on the bike, he’s gone’

‘Gone? What really? That was quick’ he replied more surprised than interested less concerned than curious.

He, in this instance is myself and the dialogue above refers to the time in Laos I put my bike on a bus and went to Ngam Ngum, only to turn around minutes later and cycle back to Vientiane post haste -not tomfoolery at its very worst just abject mindlessness when things were far from okay on all levels psychologically and physically. The mighty Mark, as it says above was not so mighty at all it seems.

In case you don’t know, what happens in life is you remain alive until the day you die but that day can come sooner than expected if you want it to or you push yourself too hard. And it does for a great many all too often. When I decided to cycle back to Vientiane, I was not in good shape mentally and made a fearfully snap decision for all the wrong reasons. But being me I just went for it and did not look back. I was escaping my ensnared self you could say. There was no real why. No why I could justify. Yes it’s true I have bucket loads of stamina but that doesn’t mean you can behave so impulsively and put yourself under such immense strain, especially once it got dark, and dark it got.

Eventually it reached the point where I had absolutely no idea of where I was and how far from the capital I was. The lighting on my bike was really poor and there was no street lighting either. I couldn’t get off the road I was on but wanted to rest up somewhere. It was only when I got much closer to the capital that I found a room but in truth I had no idea of where I was. Someone found it funny that I asked where I could buy chocolate, being out of the city -I was shattered I needed a sugar rush fast. I started the journey off paranoid, weakened and impulsive, ruining the whole experience of spending a relaxing time by the lake.

When I went to sleep I did not move once in the night and woke in the same position. How do I know? To say the body creaked when it stirred is quite an under-statement as all my joints had locked up. Is it okay to make yourself ill? I used to do it all the time because I have always had a certain indestructibility about me, and so much stamina it never can seem to run out. People hurt themselves because they do not love themselves. Before my child was born I had forgotten what love was and years passed by where I was estranged from it. It’s not like that now and in telling you all this I want to reiterate that in life we have to know what we are getting ourselves into if you want to come out of it in one piece. When you enter into the third world, you don’t go hitting 50-60 kms on your bike late in the day, you just don’t do it because the level of risk is far too high, and the problems encountered are so difficult to solve. There is no need to push yourself to the limit, which I did more or less. So do be more circumspect than I was that time and bear in mind you are only human, and born to make mistakes.

Laos has some painful memories because before becoming a father I didn’t care about anything. Still to this day I think I can go anywhere on my bike but with age I know I have to make that untrue. Laos is a third world country, your options are limited by the empty space that is everywhere, and do you know what happens to those who can’t help themselves? They are left to their own devices. Just don’t be like me and make yourself learn things the hard way. The third world requires much more preparation than the first world, and should you go to Laos to marvel at all it is -be more prepared and less impulsive than usual.

You might believe me, or might not when I tell you I have made so many mistakes in my life and done so many stupid things that they can’t be counted, furthermore, under no circumstances whatsoever should I still be alive. Regarding the cycling accidents of 2016 & 2017, if we add broken bones to fractures, to parts of bone missing, to areas of damage to the nervous system, to blood clots, to collapsed veins, to stitches to external injuries, to seizures, we get a mere 286! That is the undeniable truth of the matter and although my own actions are not an anathema to me, upon reflection I am very disappointed with myself over far too much. Did you know that in chess if you can’t learn from your own mistakes, its unlikely that you will ever improve much. Life is like that too. Pattern recognition is essential because being who you are can become a full time job if you’re not careful -and I should know. So managing patterns in your own behaviour helps always.

Do take care of yourself if you do go to Laos. Just say to yourself ‘Now we don’t really want do anything rash or extreme like that Mark’. Also think ‘Having a bicycle does give you greater freedom but even freedom has its limits’, and lastly think, ‘Some people have a talent for survival almost unsurpassable but not everyone does, and you don’t want to find out if you do or do not the hard way do you?’ Just be sensible and don’t be silly like me, yes I have a talent for survival, as so many frequently remind me but so what, everything dies eventually.

Finally, if you go to Laos -play it smart, meet many locals, and enjoy the finer points of travel. Travel can be a great thing if you want it to be, steer well clear of being reckless and you should be quite fine. The moral of the story is: if you go to Laos, avoid shit creek. And now I am rambling… .

Let us return to the hope that hangs above the gloom that Laos will do well in their next match.

Mark. J. McCready

02.57am, 4th of August

a saddened room with an air of being let down somewhat, alongside the A/C

in Laksi, BKK, Thailand

Indo-China Region


*Editors note. Something is wrong with this, who am I actually talking to? Potential future tourists of Laos? Ye is not amused.

I was nowhere near as prepared and just went for it.

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There’s focus, there’s amusement, there’s hilarity, and there’s self-indulgence. I am guilty of all this week but most of all the latter, which you could argue is the sum of the three parts before it. Why? Simply put I can’t express the total amusement I had over the posts regarding shrines a few days back, and in truth I’ve been in love with my blog since then, or at least in love with the idea that more humour would follow on, which it did. Irrespective of how amusing you think I may or may not be, I consider myself to be very funny at times and have been on form all week.

As wonderful and refreshing as that may be, it saddens me as I type, so much so that something has to change with immediate effect for the simple reason that in the past few days I have neglected my daughter, along with everything else in this world. And that is unacceptable because I have very little time left with her before I return to work. It is true that I spoke very little to her today -now that cannot be allowed to go on.

Fewer posts may follow this week or perhaps they won’t. Perhaps the time of writing will change from daylight hours to evening hours, as is the case at this very present. She lies next to me asleep in this cold dark room. Everyone is sleeping except myself. Of the 4 people sharing this space, 2 of them have Covid, it has been confirmed. Inevitably I will pick it up if I haven’t already. Something is wrong already, I can tell but cannot quite tell what it is yet. But that is immaterial… .

A cardinal sin has been committed and I am disappointed with myself for letting it happen. Because of the very nature of who I am, it’s my job to know myself exceptionally well. That I do because I have to. I’ve always been obsessive, today is just one more example of that, and a very cheery one in certain respects, saddening in others. One of hardest things of the job of remaining human and one step ahead of humanity for the most part, is accepting your own values and the vulnerability they bring with them. I love my daughter too much to allow such mistakes to be made and not picked up upon so quickly. Yes it’s not a crime to make yourself happy and love what you do but it is a crime to forget what is most important of all.

Mark: ‘you’re giving me a hard time, what am I supposed to do with a hard time, especially from you?’ You are supposed to remain in love with A Flock of Seagulls playing and stop beating yourself up. No harm has been done, just precious time wasn’t seen as precious. The flip side of all that is you’ve had 6 solid weeks of company and have, in my own little way, grown fond of and very used to it.

What I have to conclude upon is I will forever be an academic with conclusions forefront in my thinking, in addition, I took my love of writing to a new level recently. The content about the guy who smashed up a shrine had me chuckling away for days there. I was entertaining myself like never before and brought many online friends into the humour on different platforms as I could not hide my joy, I really couldn’t. There are no morbid tales here, just a disappointment with myself for allowing priorities to be reordered temporarily. So Grace goes back to being the primary focus, and writing stays secondary. I should not write in the day anymore, that’s her time not my time. Whilst they sleep, well that’s different.

This is what I am supposed to do? The way that you smile reveals a shadow from the past or so the song goes, oh well. What I am supposed to do now is link a song. Can you guess what it is and who it’s by?

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Laos won their first match of the Olympiad today, beating Central African Republic 3-1. That’s a big well done for them.

I hope it brings happiness to whoever follows them back in the capital.

Laos must surely be the freest Communist country in the world.

Many like it because it is so open.

I do too and always go

by bike.

Vang Vieng, so often rained when I was there. Vang Vieng is a very good example of what can happen if law is not enforced and life itself is considered cheap. Those who went there looking for what it had to offer still today constitute the most repulsive bunch of backpackers imaginable. Between 2000-2010, it was one place not to be, and I simply cannot say why on this website. The hardest thing about living in Asia is understanding why they place so little value on life itself, and in Vang Vieng Westerners thrived off the lack of rules there. Truly, truly awful. No one cared about anything except their next drink at the bar, the next high or next thrilling river ride. One Englishman wanting to impress announced how he would be doing back-flips at the bar in one, whilst others just stared at you to decide if you were in with their crowd or not. Too much of a loner and too unpretentious by far, I never got involved, I never gave eye contact, I just fucked off the first chance I got to leave it’s own little crowd alone, trapped in its own little time-warp almost. Perhaps the only danger Laos has is it attracts people you would much rather avoid, and plenty of them too. Pseudo hippy, pseudo cool school wimps I used to knock fuck out of when I was younger. If you don’t dress the part, look cool hanging out, and get excited over river rides, then you aren’t in, and are blanked or snubbed. With nothing ingratiating about your behaviour, you just aren’t in I’m afraid, and so we’re not going to talk to you or even look at you. That is the class of backpacker you will find in Vang Vieng. My advice -don’t fucking go there or if you do just talk with your fists.

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More work needed methinks.

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There will almost certainly be a delay to today’s play at the Olympiad. There’s been an incident involving the Chief Arbiter in the playing hall lavatory. He mistakenly used Walmart toilet cleaning wipes instead of loo paper and has burnt his bum, he’s gone off to hospital to have it inspected.

They are not sure how long it’s going to take but it is not expected for him to return to his duties for today’s play. A deputy is being sought.


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Today’s play is facing a delay. In the city of Chennai, an escaped giant tortoise has been seen entering the playing hall. Big operation there. Once they’ve caught up with it, however long that takes, how are they gonna lift it out of there? Could be a tough one this.

They once had an escaped parrot in the Soviet Championships but I’m guessing the olympiad guys would opt for a giant tortoise over a parrot if it were put to the vote, so maybe the arbiters will just leave it be, unworried about concentration levels being disturbed by squawking, and blunders being made because of it. If we did have an escaped parrot this time, or any other noisy bird disturbing games and making players lose what we most likely will get is, if they couldn’t catch it, Grand masters going on the rampage and trying to burn the place down to get rid of it. And we don’t want a scenario where Grand masters are colluding and committing arson, aided and abetted by IM’s and FM’s in the middle of an event -that’s just unacceptable, so since tortoises are quiet and move slowly, they are easily managed and the arbiters will probably just leave it be, well that’s my take on it.

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I must admit, I am quite good at entertaining myself and would like to add a video on bird wrestling (where two birds wrestle with each other) because I think I am onto something here. If you asked most people what extra things should a chess site include, most would opt for Bird Wrestling for entertainment, and I’ve got a great video where one bird gets stomped on and get’s a claw in the head! It’s a beaut and only one minute long. I could start advertising it and monetise my site. Maybe set up a donations channel where I hunt down similar videos with different types of birds wrestling each other. I could be onto a winner here and may rename my website McCreadyandchessandbirdwrestling

With top notch videos loaded in, there’s big money to be made here I think. The whole thing is just waiting to take off with investment. I could have 5 million in the bank within 3 months…maybe 10 million, who knows?

Serious action here.

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Upon reflection, if I visited a site such as this, I would want to get to know more about the author in some shape or form. Well I do try but I don’t really make that possible because of the lay out style I have chosen (although the side bars are clearly there to offset that). I haven’t made a name for myself in chess so slotting me into the overall scheme of things mean I come out as just another chess enthusiast/addict with a blog all his own. But that simply won’t do as so many are in the same boat, thousands in fact. So I shall break rank and enable you to put a face to the posts, so you can see who is writing (this rubbish) this humorous if often inward looking content. This is an attempt at personification of the site, and you could argue that all sites should show similar intentions now and again. A chess player I may be, and the subject of the site is chess but it is called McCreadyandChess, so pics of my life beyond the board are not beyond the parameters of what it was designed for.

I’ll add some photos from facebook, taken over the years but you should know I used to be a photographer and so some pics reflect the creativity I was once noted for, but only a few. The rest depict the colourful life I have ended up with to some degree but they barely scratch the surface tbh and there’s nothing I can do about that. I put the pics in gallery form, so you can just click on them and scroll along. Maybe they give a clearer sense of who is writing or something. The title of the site does the job here I think.

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A newer update

To restate the obvious, the title of this website is McCreadyandChess. This means you will get my interpretations of chess related content, some of which is factual, or there will be personal stuff, usually chess related although not always. So McCreadyandChess could be thought in those terms and as I have restated enough times I NEVER write to be read. The general shift in direction is towards personal stuff, as I have lead a colourful life and I love to write. Combine the two and the temptation to put pen to paper is always there. Like it says in the side headings, on the whole the site is becoming increasingly more inward looking. You could also argue that I am becoming increasing disappointed with/cynical of both chess journalism and chess theory as a literary genre, so you won’t see much of either of those from now on most likely.

I was thinking of introducing non-chess related content, starting with ‘Bird Wrestling’ but have decided against that as it doesn’t fit into what was said in the previous paragraph but since I am always on-line I cannot promise that things which make me crack up laughing for a good day or two won’t find their way in. We have seen that of late with the guy who visited a shrine and I can’t promise we won’t again but the humour levels will, in my opinion, be way above normal, so I hope for forgiveness, and always hope that whoever comes to my site, their first thoughts are ‘what the bloody hell is all this’ and leave with ‘what was all that about’. Ultimately, if someone leaves with a wry smile -that’s good!

In the months before I temporarily agreed to become a photographer by profession (not recommended) in the UAE, I played about endlessly with Photoshop CS2. Here is a picture of myself from that time.

Sci-fi me from Abu Dhabi
It just so happens that my life online remains dominant over my life offline.

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