Guess Who's Not Bizack (Yet)

Sunday, January 14, 2006

Sunday morning finally rolled around, and as I listened to the news of the continued storm in the midwest, I decided that no matter the outcome of the touranment, I would consider myself a winner for having stayed right where I was. With hundreds of flights canceled, I imagined that whatever carefully planned-itinerary I would have been shot to hell by the storm.

As usual, I had many new Starbucks to visit in the general area, but unlike past trips, I decided not to cut my arrival so close and had to skip a store. Still, I had to speed up I-95 from Maryland, and as I did so I came to a realization. When Ghostface Killah, on his 2000 album Supreme Clientele sings about "Poughkeepsie crispy chicken", he might have been running two separate ideas together, as he often does. All this time I'd been assuming that there is, or was, at some point, a restaurant in Poughkeepsie that serves really good crispy chicken. But it could very well be that the reference to Poughkeepsie had nothing at all to do with crispy chicken, and that all those nights I spent driving up and down Poughkeepsie's rougher neighborhoods were wasted. Hmmm...

Marlon's choice of football over Scrabble left me at the top of the field, and with Connie Creed's dropping out, a player new to me, Joe Petree was bumped up to the top division to be my first victim in was was a fairly unremarkable game, with the exception of a couple of phonies. First the modest-scoring BA/B(INTI)*, and later PO(D)Y* for 39. I was pretty sure PO(D)Y* was no good, but with just one tile the bag and Joe's having just played for 4 to open a bingo line, I figured he wouldn't risk his last chance at a bingo unless he was absolutely sure. And he evidently wasn't. Sure, some players may bristle at the spread-extending tactic. Others will do so but insincerely apologize. But come on, that's the way the game is played, right? What's the point of achieving a high rating if you're not going to take advantage of weaker opponents.

As expected Flo Spanfelner played me tougher, striking first with MURINES. But after I staged a comeback with Q(U)ITE for 48 followed by SEAWaNT, better middle and endgame tiles aided me to a small win. But after my disappointing exit from the Bay Area, I was looking for any wins I could get.

I had a bad feeling when Mitch drew his tiles, exclaimed, and then accidentally revealed two eses his right hand. His mumbling confirmed that he had a third, and I knew I was in for a rough ride. I favored tile turnover in order to try and get me some, and I did manage to draw the last es, but I was immediately forced to squander it for just 27 points (could have been 32 for SAULT). A few turns later I actually managed a small lead, but Mitch harshed on my brief mellow with TARRIES, and then a couple of turns later bingoed out with TEXtILE. Harsh, dude.

I was outblanked again, by Shahid Malik this time, but finding EQUINES just as I was about to dump the Q got me back into the game after Shahid's BLOATI(N)g, and then his failed attempt at UNgRA(V)ED allowed me to block that final bingo line and win it in the endgame.

During the lunch break I rushed off to Center City to visit a couple of new Starbucks, and on the way, along either Chesnute or Market St, I passed a green van with a sign advertising Caribbean food. I did not have time to stop, but I made a mental note for the future. I suppose now it's a writen note, eh?

Despite my 4-1 record, I had had four games of generally crappy tiles, and I was hoping for a huge comeback, a wealth of tiles with which I could nail my next opponent, Alyssa Faria. Unfortunately, my mighty staff of vengeance turned out to be more like a TWIG. I wasn't too worried when she immediately played FARiNAS, confident that my superior skill would be enough to POUND the luck out of her. But my bravado was short-lived, lasting for the BRIE(F)EST of instants, quickly disappearing as I watched Alyssa play her second bingo to go up over 100. On the inside I was practically MOOI(N)G with discontent. My tile turnover did have some VALUE, yielding an S, and I finally bingoed with SCULLEd, but after Alyssa played (B)LEATERS, I was SOUNdLY defeated, just like the bingo I had missed.

Finally, in game seven, when it hardly mattered, I managed to pull great tiles and outdraw Shahid to win big. I had played quickly, in a rush to get out of there, so I was surprised when I later learned I had posted some really good equity numbers (19.9 points lost total).

I left immediately, and out in the car, XPN had some great bluegrass on, a group called Crooked Still, and I started to feel better. I stopped at Delilah's, where I had not been in a long time, for a few minutes (all it took), and I felt better still.

I drove back up to Princeton with the weight of the big question on my mind--was 5-2 good enough for a ratings boost in that rather weak field?


2.9 AXE 8f  
0 GAE  
0 TIKI  
0 QI  
8.7 TYRE  
1.7 BA/B(INTI)*  
5.5 MEAD  
0 SWO(R)D  
14.9 ZOEA  
1.2 OAF  
4.3 -PUUU  
7.5 (ZOEA)L  
0 UN(I)ON  
0 P(OD)Y*  
0 EELIEr  
0 PEA  
4.4 CU(L)LED  
0 GUV  
8 NOD(A)L weak!!!
0 Q(U)ITE  
4.3 TEW  
11.2 AH KAHU(NA)
7.8 FOH  
2.0 JUGS  
0 RA(D)  
1 WIMP  
0 CECA  
3.5 GRAFTE(D) wanted turnover
3.6 TAIL  
2.8 (P)ONY  
0.8 OHIA  
12 ABOON  
4.7 ZA  
0 -AGOUU  
1.0 E(W)E  
4.3 DINO  
13.2 B(R)ANG BANGE(R)S (wrong choice)
0.9 ALIT  
4.5 (T)WEET  
3.6 LOUPE  
4.6 -IIIOU  
18.2 SEC know Shahid has blank so block line
10.7 (E)X  
4.0 IS  
9.0 ICY  
5.3 OAF  
5.9 LORN  
0 OI  
0 (E)PODE  
0 QADI  
6.1 E(D)IT  
4.6 TU(N)IC  
0 TR(E)Y  
0 CIGA(R) block UNRiPES(T)  
49.1 AW  
0 R(E)N(T)  
0 TWIG  
3.6 WH(I)D  
8.3 POUND  
3.0 MOOI(N)G  
1.0 VALUE  
10.9 (O)XID  
0 ZINC(S)  
29.8 AIR  
0 AYE  
0 ANA  
4.2 TEAT  
4.4 BLE(W)  
9.9 MID  
0 M(A)NNER  
0 OWN  
1 JOUL(E)  
0 HAET  

Average Equity Loss Per Turn (using Quackle 0.93)

1 - 2.9 (46.7)
2 - 8.1 (105.6)
3 - 5.6 (55.9)
4 - 5.2 (78.3)
5 - 14.1 (211.4)
6 - 7.4 (80.9)
7 - 1.7 (19.9)

Avg: 6.4

More Confessional