Last Tango in Bayside

Saturday, February 3, 2006

Friday night's drive was routine and uneventful, save for the fact that I managed to consume half an order of pig feet, beans, rice, and plantains without making a mess of my car. That's not to say I didn't spill any, but I had taken the precaution of setting the trays atop paper and plastic bags, and of taking off my new Starbucking t-shirt to avoid contamination. After visiting a plethora of Starbucks, I ended up in a quiet neighborhood near a new Starbucks in Farmingdale.

Despite the reasonably warm temperature, the lack of distractions, and the relatively small amount of caffeine I had ingested, sleep came not easily. When I got up to kiwi, without having falling asleep yet, and noticed the time was 3:30, my reaction was akin to that of the Home Alone kid when he discovered he had been left. Thankfully I did manage to get some sleep in the next three and a half hours, but I still felt like it was going to be a long, long day.

The Train song "Cab" running through my mind helped wake me up a little, but I was still zombie-like as I gave my spiel at the Starbucks. But outside, while photographing the store, I noticed that the temperature had dropped considerably overnight, and the bitterly cold air on my face and fingers did went a long way towards clearing out the cobwebs.

2 1/2 hours had seemed plenty to get from Farmingdale to Bayport too Northport to Bayside, but a little movie promotion here, a bagel sandwich there, a wrong turn, and it started to look doubtful that I could manage the detour to Northport. This time around, my desire to boost my rating trumped the call of the Starbucks, and I decided to skip it for another time. Then, somehow, I managed to reach the Northern Blvd exit by about 9:17, and I grumbled. And of course the tournament started a little late (just a few minutes)--I could have made it! Marge Grrr...

Inaugural opponent Richard Reiben couldn't seem to get anything going for the first half of the game, and my lead crept up to 168 at one point. But then CONNE(C)TS for 63, JADES for 48, POD for 30, and I started to sweat a little. A couple of turns later he did manage another bingo, LEANERS to get within 21 points, but the only available line opened up dangerous counterplays, and my 54-point p(R)EX (not even the best play) was too much for him.

Came close to blowing it early on against Marjorie Schoneboom when a wild urge to challenge PHONI(E)ST came over me. Thankfully, after a holding a long time, I resisted and made a play. A few turns later I came back with (A)ROMaTIC, and I held a small lead for the rest of the game to win.

Meanwhile, as the battle raged on over the Scrabble tables, a battle raged too in my stomach, and I was forced to commune with the porcelain god for a third time. The residual effects of the pig feet maybe? Anyway, after one or two rounds the bathroom in the playing room was marked out of order (my doing?), and we all had to run over to hotel. Particularly annoying because the hole in the crotch of my jeans (which my grandmother had already repaired once) had grown large enough that I was getting frigid where I should have been rigid.

In all honesty, it would be an egregious act of dishonest to confess anything but a deep sense of satisfaction as I outdrew the fuck out of Alyssa Faria. Admittedly my first reaction was relief, when I scored 98 with DINgLES to give myself a bit of a cushion. Then 39 for WIPE and 50 for (O)X, and I started to pull away. Then, as I held AAILRSV and gazed longingly at the E on the board, Alyssa blocked with FONT, but the T on the triple row gave me a different bingo. I tried my best to surprise the grin that spread across my face when she played that T. Yes, I wanted my sweet, sweet revenge, but I didn't want to be an asshole about it. A couple of turns later, Alyssa slotted the N I needed for REU(N)ITER, and this time I struggled even more not to react because she was holding and I didn't want to discourage her from challenging. But she left it alone and went on to bingo, TANDOOr(I), a couple of turns later, cutting my eventual spread to a mere 208 points. Not the crushing 300-point victory I was hoping for, but I'll take it.

Hot on the heels of having ruined my entire Atlantic City (perhaps an exaggeration), Pesky Polsky deigned to punk me again. We ran even for three turns, and then he busted out with DUR(A)TiON. The N was slotted at O3, but I was stuck with AIIILRN, and the best I could do was play NI(D)I elsewhere for 15, leaving Phil to score 48 with HA(N)K. Then something amazing happened--Phil scored just 18, 14, 11, 14, 12, 19, 8, with many of his plays seeming unwarrantedly defensive. I crept up slowly, and then ELOIGN to the triple for 29 yielded the second blank, and I was sure I could come back. But I drew drek with it, AAIIOT, BEEIOW, EEIIOO. Even without a bingo the blank might have saved me, except Phil drew the critical Z, scored 51 with AZ(O), and that was that. So much for 7-0!

Like PHONI(E)ST, Verna Berg's FATTING looked very dubious to me, and once again I came very close to disaster before deciding to let it go and play my VASTY/(HERB)Y or 49 points to cut her lead. Then she scored off the F, (F)ALCON for 36 to lead by 51, and I worried a little. But a couple of turns later I found double-double DESIGNS I(D)/(N)E/(ZAG)S for 108, and the rest of the game was all me.

Frank and Phil, who had also had 3-1 records, had both lost their games, but I didn't really care. I just wanted the wins, and at Ginger's tournaments spread doesn't matter since she doesn't do king of the hill. Even though our ratings had shifted after TACO, and Marjorie was actually higher than Frank and me, Ginger used the old ratings, which meant I got to face the Tang in the final round to determine first-place--appropriate.

The game must have been frustrating for old El Tang-o there. He bingoed first with SAUCIEr, but I came right back with ALI(E)NORS to take the lead. Then I gave up a turn challenging (S)OYA, but Frank could only play for 18, so I retook the lead with M(A)VIN for 30. Frank then bingoed with the second blank, (D)EmONISE. I had doubts, but I did not even have to make a decision, because I held (A)ZLON for 72!!! Then EQUAT(E) for 48, and the Tang was sweating like a leaky bottle. Three turns later, he bingoed yet again, ENTOI(L)ED, to take a 2-point lead, but I totally stumped his flow with PROTEAS(E). We could have danced that dance all afternoon, but alas (for him), the tiles ran out, and I was able to rush off with grand plans for my $65 winnings!

Thursday, February 8, 2006

Heh. My landlord offered me some of the soup he had prepared, and while serving myself I noticed that the photo depicted on the wall calendar was that of a pufferfish.


7.5 ZA  
0 IVY  
3.4 SOUrING  
1.2 CHIRAL  
3.9 AR(I)D  
0 AI(R)  
23.7 PA(D) (C)RAMPITs
7.0 p(R)EX U(R)tEXT,c(R)UX,b(R)UX
0 (G)IG  
3.1 M(O)LT  
15.3 JI(N)  
5.4 (A)ROMaTIC  
0 BIZON(E)  
0 DAD  
17.4 WOV(E)N(S) VOW(E)L(S)
6.2 GLUG  
9.1 REEF  
1.0 VITA  
0 WIPE  
0 (o)X  
0 BE  
0 JAM  
4.1 (EX)IT  
3.0 LEV  
0 THIN(G)  
1.9 DEED J6  
0 HOE  
6.8 CALQUE  
1.8 NI(D)I  
0 (C)LAMS  
0 WIVER(N)  
0.6 TAI(G)A  
0 WEB  
15.7 (V)IE  
--- (F)OE  
--- T(R)OIkA  
4 ZOO  
0.6 FINE  
2.8 WOE  
0 HERB  
4.1 BOW  
0 XI  
4 POsER  
0 A(V)A  
4.7 YO  
15.4 (B)EEF FIM(B)LE
4.3 DINGS  
0 CL(O)D  
1.3 (C)LEANEST  
4.3 EKE  
10.5 HOG  
14.2 CHI(A)  
7 P(I)  
0 QAT  
0 HAFT  
9.4 KEG  
40.8 lose turn  
2.3 M(A)VIN  
0.6 (A)ZLON  
0 EQUAT(E)  
0 GIG(A)  
0 FIR  
--- VE(R)B  

Average Equity Loss Per Turn (using Quackle 0.93)    

1 - W - 8.5 (119.6)
2 - W - 4.8 (57.8)
3 - W - 0.8 (9.9)
4 - L - 3.0
5 - W - 3.1 (40)
6 - L - 7.9 (95.2)
7 - W - 4.8 (57.7)

Avg: 4.7

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