January 10, 2004

The Promise

Remembering how I missed the first game last time at Bayside, my plan was to drive up to NYC, catch a movie, then camp out until morning and photograph some Starbucks before heading out to Queens. But like a bitch-ass girly-man, I let the reports of zero-degree weather punk me, and cowered under three sets of sheets in my room. Of course I had trouble dragging my ass out of bed in the morning, and I foolishly took time to breakfast and shave (to look good for the Scrabbling hotties), and so I didn't get on the road 'til almost 8:00. I made good time up through Jersey and crossed the Holland Tunnel with no delays. Canal St. threatened to delay me with, so I made an illegal left at 6th Avenue. I spotted a Starbucks on the right, and, not seeing any buses behind me, pulled the car as far forward as I could and sprinted into the store past a couple of cops. The barista didn't seem to notice that I was in a HURRY!!! Sure enough, a couple of buses arrive outside. I grab my sugar and sprint back outside. As I pull out in a hurry, I christen my new jeans with spilled coffee. I think I had them for a total of 17 hours unstained. The Queens-Midtown tunnel, though $4, was the right choice--it put me right on I-495 and I was back on track to arrive right in time. And I remembered that construction blocked the ramp to the Cross-Island Parkway and I need to take I-295. But they switched the ramps!!! AARRGHH!!! I ended up heading south and had to double back! And I had promised Ginger I'd be on time. I stopped the car right in front of the Adria Conference Center and asked Arthur to tell Ginger I had arrived and then went to park my car. Jeez, my hands nearly froze off running from where I parked to the conference room holding my laptop and snacks. Holy smokes! The place was packed. I had never seen so many players at one of these tournaments. Ginger was so busy with preliminaries that she didn't notice I was a few minutes late. I thought I remembered seeing something on the tournament calendar about a 60-player limit for the Bayside tournaments. There was no way 60 players would fit in here. Forty names were up on the posters, and even that number was looking to be a tight squeeze. After I settled in, I noticed my main man Clay "Diggety" Daniel from the Dallas club, only the second Texan I'd seen up here since Chris Cree played Stamford. After much urging from Ginger, everybody finally got settled down and started. Well, not everybody--a couple of lollygaggers were missing board. My first opponent Karen Fishman and I offered up the crappy new Hasbro Deluxe set we had tucked under the table. Beat up and warmed as Karen's old-style deluxe board might have been, at least the tiles didn't slide around, and the board didn't feel flimsy, like it was made of toilet paper. What the heck is Hasbro thinking? wanted to camp, but cold got up late christen pants with coffee holland tunnel to queens mid-town right choice, but south on 295 40 players!!! tight squeeze clay daniels! RESOILED* I WUZ FUCKED!!! I look at my scorecard again and notice that I'm not playing #1 Daniel Kneg. This is a great break, and I see the possibility of actually winning. Then I get totally fucked! I open with MANCE*, which I suspect to be phony, but she lets it go because she has OUTGREW. Then I drew ARSINE+A, and I'm sure there is no bingo, and can't see anything through the open MANTGREW (the T should have been obvious). So I dump the A, and draw into INSANER, and line it up with her BOXED, and then she triple-triples me, LiNGIEST for 140, which I challenge, just because. She leads by about 126, and it's still early enough that the game isn't over, but after she scores 33, 26, 30, and 25, it's clear I'm not going to catch up. Still, I try to cut the spread with RATIONS for 66, and she gets down JISM for 63. And a few turns later, the second blank for PORTLIEr/P and another 80. Final score, 582-353! Where's Franks Nuts? Afterwards, in the lunch room, I can't get Tom Kelly to commiserate. He's like, "That's not getting fucked. That's the game." Is it too much to ask for a shoulder to cry on? More players join us, and one starts to talk about how drunk she was last night as she was driving home. I tell her she was lucky not to get arrested, like my fucking reprobate sister who spent the night in jail for just that, and would deservedly rot in jail if my mother weren't so fucking weak about letting her get away with that shit. Later, the same player makes a comment about people with big boobs, and I can't help myself--I say "Who at this table has big..." and let it drop. But she heard, and becomes irate, taking her jacket as in demontration. Then stating her age as 36D. Who says Scrabblers can't be sexy? Later still, she keeps asking Frank to go get his nuts. I'm not sure what exactly she's talking about but she says she wants them for desert. Hunter S. Thompson comparison. At the end of our game Marie Puma said that I intimidated her. I wonder if she realized that I was shaking like a leaf during our game. Opening up the board cost me against Steve Sikorski. I should have tucked my X away in the corner for 18 points, but instead I played OXO for 20 points and gave him the opening for LINEMEN. And after I was catching up from his opening ZEBUS. I wish I knew what possessed me to leave that opening, especially since once the board started out tight with ZEBUS and ZONED, I thought that I should have an advantage with my knowledge of 4s and 5s. But Steve was drawing what he needed to consistently outscore me, and so I guess I decided if the board stayed tight I was going to lose it. My final game was a real pulse-pounder. Spread. Q After turning in results, I asked her if she understood why I was trying to find those extra points, and she, in a manner that seemed condescending (but might not have been) replied that she didn't care that much. I held back from saying, "Well, why are you here then?" "Why are you doing something you don't care about that much?" Clay won 2nd--texas represent Lady seemed irritated that I hadn't gone back to Texas yet. Syossett On the way to syosset weekend atc, adbusters about anti-consumerism I couldn't work out my new rating accurately because I was waiting for my current rating to be re-computed with the correct ordering, Oshawa, then Farmington, then Parsippany. Depending on the recomputation, I might be as high as 1470-1480, surpassing my peak and well-poised to crack 1500. Otherwise, I'd only be at 1446. At risk of of being thought a heartless bastard, I'm not ashamed to admit that while other drivers may be rubbernecking with prurient interest and perhaps even concern, I'm cursing all the drivers involved. I be like, "You stupid motherfuckers. You can't drive and you fucked up and now you're costing me MY time. I hope you die. I hope at least you break both legs and can't ever drive again." Agozar The Cooler realized she was over time. Break from Scrabble debate whether to play next week House of Sand and Fog attached to possessions. Maggie's eyes fixed on Pietro's muscles as they rippled with every tile he placed on the board. She sat mesmerized, and only after a few seconds did it register that he had played PASSION. Maggie's intellect was on par with her physical statuesque beauty, and she replied with an equally valuable play, ZAFTIG. Pietro nodded his head in agreement, and Maggie wondered if he was acknowledgeing the play alone, or something else.

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