I have spent the last few days with little social interaction.

Today when my friend Mara came to my room I started blabbing about a million different things, because I had saved up stuff to talk about.  I must have appeared quite manic.  She seemed OK with it though and manically spoke back so I guess it was fine.

Over the course of the last two days I have decided that the world is starting to fall apart.  Here is my evidence:

  • New Zealand, of all places, caught Israeli spies trying to falsify their passports, and has starting cutting off a lot of the diplomatic ties it has with Israel in response.
  • The police in Palestinian cities have been doing nothing lately, allowing anarchy to run rampant and leading to mob rule, as several of Yasser Arafat’s top deputies resign left and right.
  • The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, informed all Jews in France that they “must” move to Israel to escape French anti-Semitism, which supposedly is on the rise.  France is not happy with these statements.
  • The 9/11 Commission is set to report that Iran was helpful to Al Qaeda prior to the September 11 attacks.
  • Iran has halted the trial of an Iranian intelligence agent who murdered an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, tearing apart whatever diplomatic relations the two nations held.
In addition, I have found myself reading all about Bobby Fischer, perhaps the world’s best chess player ever, and certainly the chess world’s most outspoken anti-Semitic anti-American reclusive nutcase.  Bobby Fischer praised the September 11 attacks on a Philippines radio broadcast and went against a presidential order in 1992 to play a chess game in Yugoslavia.  He was found the other day at Narita International Airport in Japan and is in the process of being extradited to the United States to stand trial.  His website is a hilarious mish-mash of misplaced criticisms and paranoid banter.

But they hauntingly reminded me of the website of a certain Sam Sloan.  Here is a small list of similarities:
  • Both play chess incredibly well.
  • Both have plaintext websites with gobs of links as to why they have been persecuted by forces all over the world.
  • Both scan pictures of checks and all sorts of paper documents as evidence.
  • Both completely reprint news articles to support their causes.
  • Both attempt to completely libel individuals who they believe victimized them.
  • Both have spent time in East Asia fleeing some type of authority figure.
However, Sam Sloan is not a wanted criminal and is instead running for the House of Representatives in the Bronx.  He also is the last person to have represented himself to the Supreme Court.  He won his case 9-0.  By the time the decision was rendered, it seems he was in a prison in Afghanistan, which he escaped from soon thereafter.

Anyway my current theory is that the “savant syndrome”, which I am reading about in my book Phantoms of the Brain by Ramachandran, is at play.  Both of these men are great chess minds, yet both seem horribly paranoid, constantly reinvent their lives, and proselytize their bizarre and specific views through verbose text-based websites.  Socially I think their lives are completely complex messes, and yet they maintain a careful constant determination to succeed in whatever they do above all.

So, yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to.

On Saturday, after a failed attempt by Tucker and Mara to get us Shakespeare in the Park  tickets, I wandered alone through the streets of the Morningside Heights district of Manhattan, between 123rd and 110th Streets.

Mailbox liquor

123rd st park

This view shows the red line of the subway as it becomes an elevated train.  I live on the street right where it comes out.  122nd St. goes over the subway, 124th Street goes under the elevated track, and 123rd St. runs right into the point of intersection and abruptly ends.

Elevated subway

My weekend also involved a lot of reading.  I finished the final half of the Ramachandran book and read some of Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing, which I borrowed from my Biology (and Art) professor Helen Donis-Keller.  This book ties right in with the Ramachandran book, expanding on the cognition of seeing and applying it to the world of art.

I am enrolled in a three student course with Prof. Donis-Keller for this fall semester called The Intersection of Art and Science.  Personally, I cannot wait.  I have always obsessed over the senses and the function of the brain, and the small size of the course means I will get a good chance to explore with a lot of guidance from my professor.  I often disagree with her, both politically and artistically at times, but appreciate her perspective because it often catches me off guard and forces me to reconsider what I am doing.

Tomorrow I go bowling in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Soon I will have an update for the Grant Bowls! page of my sister site Grant Page Central, which is in dire need of an update.  My plan is to convert Grant Page Central into a static content site of my musical works, some writings, and of course bowling scores, while letting this page, Grant Page X, be my blog.

Grant Hutchins @nertzy