The secret to my downfall

I think I figured out why I've been sucking so much at life my past couple years. I obsessed too much over chess-live. I've been trying to quit the past couple months, but I would still log on once every few days when I could have been doing something better, because I was simply too addicted. I just wasted hours tonight aimlessly rushing in standard and playing lots of games of lightning for the sake of messing my my normal thinking and wasting some of the most crucial time of my life, the last days before college applications are due. No more. I requested that my tags be removed in my profile, and am uninstalling the software right now. Chess-live can be considered the root of my downfall.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the server was a bad place. It was simply bad for me, because it became an obsession. For those of you who don't know, I easily obsess over things (for example, this blog right now), but I get over them pretty quickly. Most of my obsessions are in phases. Chess-live was an exception.

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It all started around the beginning of 2005. My life was not perfect, but was managable at that time. I played on chess-live the healthy and intended way before this time; I logged on occasionally to play a few games only for the sake of playing. Playing was fun but my no means addictive. I didn't have many friends on the server, so I was able to log off whenever I felt like it, because I was usually not engaging in a conversation. Anyway, I started to chat and began to like the server around the beginning of 2005. I met Gerard10 (Gerard, I'm not blaming you) and talked to him a little. At first, I thought he was kind of annoying, because he talked to me a bit too much. Before long, I enjoyed chatting and logged on to chat instead of just to play. A couple months later, I met Acerook (I'm not blaming you either). He was kind of annoying too, but we immediately bonded simply because he was also Asian, and we had a couple good starting conversations. Shortly afterwards, I began chatting with just about everyone, and I was hooked.

At the time that I was overly enthusiastic about the server, I decided to apply for staff. Tsgarp agreed to give me SR (Service Representative), and I was thrilled. At around the same time, Gerard got alrightnow to give me TM (Tournament Manager). Boy, two new tags!

I have never been free since I received those tags. When I first got them, I made sure that I was the one who helped every single newbie and answered every single question in the help channels. In fact, I would secretly get a feeling of jealousy inside if some other SR beat me to a question, although I tried not to express it. I became obsessed with tournament making too. I even ran the long and annoying USCF Quick Rated ones often more than once per week.

Here's a little side story: I remember that shortly before I became TM, the required number of managed tournaments to be promoted to level 30 was 30 (Those of you not from chess-live staff are probably lost right now. This isn't important. But then again, I doubt anyone is actually going to read this post). It changed to 100 sometime around the time that I began TM, but dvdlpz (I'm not blaming you either) promoted me to level 30 anyway after I had 30 tournaments. Then, dabigpig (I'm not blaming you either) complained about my promotion, so I was demoted again. I can't believe something this stupid could invoke such strong emotion. I practically cried with anger/I don't know what emotion, because 100 tournaments seemed ridiculous to me at the time. I think the 100 tournament requirement may have been what truly made me addicted. When I was trying to reach that goal, I became obsessed with making tournaments. After I reached it, the obsession continued (if it did not worsen), because logging on and making tournaments became part of my routine.

Although being staff was tedious, I somehow enjoyed it and spent my full afternoons and evenings on the server, often neglecting my homework or studying. I became named SR of the month and TM of the month after my first month of staff. Though these titles truly do not matter much in life, I was ecstatic, because it appeared that I had accomplished something. Having those two titles just made me want to do aimless work even more. On top of that, chatting in channels 5 and 48 (the staff channels) became the highlights of my days. Thus, during the first semester of my junior year (when I first got staff), I wasted valuable studying time in my most important year of high school. I'm blaming chess-live for any grades lower than A that I may have gotten that year.

If I got anything in return, then it would be an attitude adjustment. Before I was addicted to chess-live, I was a pretty ambitious student. I remember that I was able to sit at my desk and study everything step by step until I understood. This has been an impossible task ever since I got my tags. My attention span for anything important has grown short, and I am now incapable of studying. Maybe there is still hope left for me to revert to my old attitude if I quit the server now. It will be a challenge, but I hope that the coming college application deadlines will push me in the right direction.

Here's another side story about how much anger/discomfort something so small could cause me. This happened around 3 months after I became staff. Chesschampion became annoying, because he started making a bunch of Grand Prix tournaments but not watching them. The rest of us TM's we're basically running his tournaments for him, but he was always receiving credit. I have to admit that I was a little bit jealous of all the credit he was receiving, but ask any other TM from that time, and he/she will explain to you how annoying this guy was. I was always irritable online, and even in real life, to some degree. I seriously should have quit staff then. I was angry enough but was also too proud to admit that something like that could make me so angry. If I had quit then, maybe I would still have some hope in life left now.

Around the time of chesschampion being so annoying, the User X fun started. David (user x), you we're pretty cool. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, User X was trying to express some constructive criticism of the server and pointed out the good and bad staff members. That User X idea was definitely entertaining and helped me openly but anonymously express my hate for chesschampion (on the user x freewebs site that later got frozen). Of course David got in trouble after he admitted that he was User X and got himself banned. He was actually the lucky one. At that point again, I was considering quitting. The fun had settled, and the annoying guy was still a highly ranked staff member. I also missed having David on, because he was one of my better friends on the server. I seriously should have quit then. Why didn't I?

Wow, this is one of the most disorganized pieces of writing that I have ever written. I shouldn't care, because I doubt anyone is going to read this far. Ok, going back a little, here's another reason why I was angry with the way I was being treated on the server but decided to stay in hopes that I would be promoted to a level 50 TM. Acerook got level 50 for using freewebs to publish tournament results and other stuff like that. Chesscham pion got level 50 for being the head of Variant Nights. At exactly the same time, I took on the job of head of Sleepy Night Standard. My job was the most time consuming and difficult of the three, but I was the one who couldn't be promoted because there we're supposedly too many people who we're level 50. Maybe the server just hates me. Why didn't I quit then?

Ok, back to the time of the User X thing. User X's idea died around the beginning of 2006, when he got caught, and things we're a little more quiet for a while. I still logged on to chat with my friends such as dabigpig, chessbomber, glorioso, and npb3 (those we're just a few examples. Don't take it personally if I missed you, not that you are reading this). This was the time of the second semester of my junior year. I was still an active staff member but was not as obsessed as I was before. I still wasted enough time to receive less-than-perfect grades and SAT and AP scores that semester. That definitely vitiated my college applications.

During the summer, my addiction began to build up again. My 18th birthday was approaching in the matter of months, and I wanted to build up a good reputation in hopes that I would become an admin. Some part of me still wanted admin the past couple months, so I was still logging on. I'll say this again: I was trying to quit. Well, I don't think I want admin anymore. It would just cost me even more time.

Another side story: The server became messier but quite interesting when alrightnow got busted for cheating at the World Open. His handle was mysteriously deleted or changed, and everyone was wondering why. My buddy npb3, who seems to always know inside information, informed me of the truth. Then, chesschampion tried to re-create the handle alrightnow so that he could have level 75 TM commands (Non-TM people probably don't know what I'm talking about. Again, none of this is important. I just feel like ranting). That got him banned for a month, which made our rawr group (Nick's conference) very happy.

Well, I'm not admin now, and in a way, I'm thankful, because I have no reason to be addicted anymore. I'd better not log on again (or at least not in the near future). This post is only a small portion of my story. If I wanted to, I could write a novel on how this addiction was the bane of my life. It's no better than a drug addiction. Ok, I'm done ranting. It's 2:12 AM, and I'm tired.

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