Thursday, March 1, 2006

Once again, feverish starbucking.

Saturday, March 3, 2006

At 6:36 I gave up, rose from my slumber, and turned on busted out some "Guns n' Razors" to try and get woke the fuck up.

Canadian stores tend to open later, but that's okay because I had plenty of e-mail that had backed up from the previous day. Important e-mails related to promotion--until the film was released I had to stay on top of promotion, promotion, promotion.

Coincidence or conspiracy? I pushed down on the accelerator a little hard, made a quick right, then a left, then another left and saw that I had lost him. Reached the store Queen & Logan right at 7:00 and rushed to the bathroom to wash my hands and face. I instantly felt a pressure in my bowels. But there was no time for that--I had to use an ancient Chinese technique to hold off the avalanhce until I reached Oshawa.

Shuter & Church still under construction, curses. King & York in an office building, not open 'til 8:30 according to the security, more curses!

Dundas & Huron not opening 'til 8:00. Oh for the love of Christ what is this???

Comeonbagelshopcomeonbagelshopcomeonbagelshop, materialize before me!

7:38, King & Shaw, more washing (for the benefit of my opponents). The barista said a bagel shop was a block east of the store, but my Starbucks autopilot kicked in and I headed west. No time to turn around, no time for bagel I guess. Had to settle for an ever-mediocre scone from the 'Bucks.

7:48, Queen & Dovercourt

7:59, College & Dovercourt

AARRGHH, stuck behind a train on Dundas, time ticking away, grrr...

8:15 back to Dundas & Huron, no time for my spiel but the barista notice my t-shirt so I had to tell him about the film... promotion, promotion, promotion!

8:21 back to KIng & York, spiel supervisor so he wouldn't be suspicious about my photographing. He went into the back so it didn't matter anyway, but as I walked upstairs the security guard was walking downstairs. I wondered if he had seen me on video cameras or if the supervisor had reported me. Either way I just kept walking and holding my sample coffee prominently so I'd look like a regular customer (inasmuch as I could do so while wearing a t-shirt with my face on it).

8:33 hit the Gardiner with 39 miles to drive. Don Valley Parkway so curvy, not good for typing or eating yogurt.

After countless tournaments I had finally remembered to pull the director's phone # off the webby site, but it turned out not to be necessary, because once on the 401 I just cruised along like a missle thanks to the fact that speed limits in Toronto seem to be more like "suggestions".

Meanwhile I called around to some stores in North York to try and get some info about a store listed as being in the North York Regional Hospital. The first barista was useless and did not seem to understand me. The second peppered me with questions, like who was I and why was I asking. Jesus, who do you have to fuck to get good intel around here???

Reached Club Caribe at 9:05, and I was mighty irked! 30 minutes too soon!! I could have visited 2-3 more stores!!!

9:32, tournament still not started. Grrr... Every minute that we were delayed would cost me Starbucks later that evening. That is the exact reason I hate to arrive early.

We didn't start 'til 9:55. I could have visited so many Starbucks in that time. Curses, curses, curses!!!

God help me, I just can't help myself. Without even having checked Sal's rating, I threw UPDREW* out there for extra points and hoped for the best. Gave up the equity by challenging RESHAV(E)N, but I went on to draw pretty good.

Once again I taunted Verna before our game, and immediately regretting, figuring I had jinxed myself. But on the contrary I drew another blank, (N)OTATInG to extend the lead I had begun with ATELIER, and Verna was never able to capitalize on the blank she drew. Noteworthy about that game was my decision to pass at this point...

My third game made me feel like was like a mini-version of Sarataga Springs, kind of. I had gotten good tiles against my first two, weaker, opponents, like in the Saratoga Early Bird. Then, against the much stronger Mark Przyb., I watched as he opened with CALMEsT. Then I challenged off his RE(L)IEFED*, but he still had great tiles. I gave him a D to play through to clean out my rack, and I got lucky that he didn't try REDEFIE(D). But my one chance would have been to find ANTA(L)GIC, a word I've never seen.

Besides the general disappointment of losing that game, I had another concern. One player had not shown up, after Round 1 had already started, and so Division A had a bye. Of course, thinking about it, the bye should go to the player with the worst record, and if I was anywhere close to that position I'd have greater worries.

I was not expecting it, but Trevor and company provided lutow. The chili was pretty good, though the dogs left something to be desired. Still, I appreciated the gesture, because otherwise I would have been tempted to try to drive a 70+ miles round-trip to the nearest cluster of unvisited Starbucks. I probably wouldn't have made it.

My game against Tony Leah was one of those I wanted to forget even before I had finished playing. Started off trying WANTEDS*, which really seemed like it should have been good. Tony played FRIGID and I tried to play (F)AWNED, but somehow I left off the E, and I pulled my hand back from the clock too slowly and lost another turn. Then I got it back when Tony tried AIR(R)AIdS*, but I lost it back trying SWA(R)TED*, which I had had zero doubts about. Finally, on my fourth turn, I threw back DW, and I had somehow managed to go four turns without scoring. As the game progress, I would give up equity like a leaky sprocket (does that make sense?). Talk about awful.

David Boys became my third opponent to bingo first with a blank, while I managed to draw AAAAAJS. After my exchange I played (CLOY)ED, leaving AADNS, because I needed the points. I got lucky and drew into V(e)RANDAS, but that was about the extent of my luck. Rest of my racks sucked, and David EpIB(L)AST-ed himself to a huge victory.

Got the tiles, and I was greatly relieved to have won my sixth game, against the Goatherder, to even out my record before I went into a tailspin.

Final game of the day, against Jeremy Hildebrand, was agonizingly cruel. thought it was failure to exchange, but reallly steady stream of suboptimal plays the next morning as I simmed i struggled to figure out how I had missed such obvious plays years of bad decisions, tim mcgraw No bones about it--I truly was playing like

Earlier, when I had arrived at the tournament, the weather had been absolutely beautiful. I had left my coat in the car and pratically skipped into the room with excitement over the strong field and the possibility of getting my rating over 1800. Seven games later, the weather had turned nasty, light snow had fallen, and I was reminded of Storm and the way the weather reflected her moods. At a disastrous 3-4, boosting my rating was no longer a consideration--Sunday would be about hanging on for dear life!!!

on tyonge' needed a break, multiplentious choices, Good Bite

weather Oh, come on!!! It is Saturday night and a store in a mall is closed by 8:00??? On Saturday??? P MIRAGE , Unique experence, actually two If memory served me, my last two runs through Toronto had been so rushed that had not been able to take advantage of the more liberal attitude towards massage parlors and strip clubs. With 24 or 25 new Starbucks in the immediate area keeping me busy, it was looking like this trip was going to be no different. But just a mile before I got back onto the freeway after visiting my last store in Cambridge, I passed a nondescript sign that said girls. The place did have a name, Mirage, or The Mirage, or something like that, but the dancers were nothing to speak of. Still, I had a couple of unusual--no, unique experiences. The most interesting occurred in the bathroom (of course), where I found both toilets clogged. Unfortunately, all the coffee I'd had, plus the chili, had not unexpected effect, and I needed to deal with the issue. I wasn't sure where I'd end up sleeping, and if I couldn't find an open bathroom in the middle of the night I might have had to resort to ape-like behaviour in someone's bushes. I wasn't necessarily opposed to that--a person's gotta do what he's gotta do, but it was frickin' cold. Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet, silently apologize to the poor schmuck who would get stuck cleaning the bathroom, and selected the least disgusting toilet. Unwilling to actually touch the seat, I, for the first time in my life, managed to use my legs to elevate myself above the toilet seat long enough to do the doo. All that running finally came in handy. When I left the bathroom, I had a newfound respect for women, who I imagine have to perform a similar balancing act all the time.

March 4, 2006

6:36 gave up

7:55 when I left the new Missassauga store time, and this created a dilemma--100 miles if I drove to the Newmarket store and then Oshawa, and 100 minutes late start + early arrival the previoius day had a-costed me an hoiur of starbucking road clear, 80 mph hit 400 did cock check--83.7 miles and 85 min to go hwy-law subut=rban, muftakarano 53 miles to go, 52 min, slow 2 freeway 47 min, 50, 404 icier

All my mental preparation seemed for naught as my first game of the day seemed to start slipping away immediately despite my efforts at focusing on the right play. EGJNNNT scored with JE(O)N, but then GLNNRTT catapulted me into neurotic paroxysms of indecision. After Tim blocked GR(A)NT, the rack screamed exchange, but I let the open TWS scare me and made a blocking play for just 8 points. Of course I drew two more consonants, and I was instantly reminded of the disastrous game seven (where exchanging was not the highest simming option). After four years of playing this game, I felt no closer to knowing when to exchange.

With DGLNNRT, I felt sure that playing through the open A was better than exchanging, but I still managed to screw up and play GR(A)ND instead of the superior GL(A)ND. As I looked at the sim, I was again mystified at how I could have missed that, and frustrated because I had no idea how to fix the problem. Was I destined to remain forever mediocre?

Next turn, good tiles, EFLNOTW, but I managed to screw it up again by convicing myself that (GRAND)E* was good. Tim knew better, or was willing to take his chances, and I watched in despair as he played H(O)NOREEs to take an 87-point lead. I quickly played F(R)OWN for 33 to cut his lead, and doing so missed a 42-point play. Tim's play effectively eliminated the only serious bingo line, and I stared at my non-playing AELMOTT with increasing frustration and despair.

My next play didn't suck, but only because the board offered few options. But I immediately returned to my leaky ways, and even though Tim himself gave up two turns, challenging my UNLEAD and then trying MUS(C)S*, I could not make up the deficit. I was able to keep the spread to 38 by hoarding all the vowels, which means that the game was totally winnable in the absence of such horrendous play.

I still had hope that 7-5 would be good enough to avoid dropping too much, but my game against Steve Ozorio was much less one of hope than of dread. After exchanging -HLORUVV and drawing into a bingo I spent the rest of the game waiting for the hammer to come down. I've never watched Dr. Phil, but I'd like to thing that he would say that living in a state of fear is unhealthy, and that the same applies for a game of Scrabble. Anyway, I did win, with the phony CUmERIN* (thought it was good), but my hopes were dashed when I learned that my eight-round loss had earned me the dreaded bye. 6-5 was the best I could do, and that would definitely mean a hefty ratings loss. So with the bye and then lunch, I had a good 90 minutes to two hours to think about how Oshawa had become a bottomless well of sorrow.

My disappointment continued into the lunch hour when it appeared to me that all the sandwiches had mustard or mayonnaise. While I'm sure the preparers were being very generous in donating their time and energy, I couldn't understand how it wasn't obviously a good idea to leave some of the sandwiches plain. At least there was soup, but it was light on the solids, had no rice, and was not going to be nearly sufficient to ward off the green vanilla hunger monster.

During lunch I had a chance to chat with Lloyd a bit, and I continued to be surprised at how softspoken the man is. From his general appearance, especially his photo on cross-tables.com, he looks like a real bulldog, like somebody who would just tear your head off. But in person he seems awfully kind and well-mannered. I think I'd still like it better if he looked like the initial mental image I had when I first saw his name, that of a very skinny man with glasses, a bit like that sleazy mayoral staffer from Spin City but with better hair.

After eating my second helping of soup (with more solids this time), I checked the standings, and it appeared I was not as bad off as I feared, only down 20 points. I wasn't sure if Chew's program accounted for my bye correctly, but I hoped for the best. I went out to my car for my power cord, and I discovered the sun shining. Once again, the weather improved to reflect my mood, hopeful this time. Perhaps those latent mutant powers were finally blossoming after all!

I beat Glenn Dunlop, but despite my hopes to be paired with either John Chew or that guy with the Italian-sounding name, I got a 1601-rated player instead. I figured I'd have an easy win, and I was very hopeful when I found the blank on my opening rack, and then when she held DILAtOR, but she kept finding good-scoring plays, and quickly, and I started to worry when she took the lead with TENDERS.

As soon as I exited the freeway I started looking for a first Latin or Carribean restaurant. JJJ Carribean Restaurant & Bar was the first I saw, and while I waited for my oxtails I finished simming the game. I could have had 33 for SLEUTH instead of 31 if I had not been so focused on hooking ATTACK. Could have been a tie. Why, why, why???

As I continued to sim my games and discover seemingly reasonless errors, my thoughts turned back to another Patty Griffin song I'd been playing. She very proudly sings, "I don't ever give up," and on the face of it the sentiment seems very noble. But looking deeper, how far can a person take determination before it becomes foolhardy. Specifically, once I have analyzed thousands of games and proven beyond a doubt that I have certain weaknesses I cannot overcome, like an inability to see all the plays on the board, or an inability to find all the words in a rack, then what is the point of proceeding? Assuming there is a concrete goal of course, like achieving a certain ranking or qualifying for a certain event. Those who just play Scrabble as a pastime

i don't ever give up


48.1 lose turn  
6.1 TU(T)OYED  
4 ABA  
0* JE(T)  
0 SOOK  
0 FIG  
0 vIRGINs  
20.6 (JET)E  
1 LUX  
4 C(H)I  
0 OE  
4.2 CUP  
35 SIZER RESIZE (missed GAD hook)
0 NAH  
8.1 (RE)IN  
0 (N)OTATInG  
1.1 PRATIN(G)  
0 J(I)VY  
--- (J)OE  
26.8 pas  
0 OY  
0 VE(E)R  
1.1 (C)LUMP  
0.7 DOTY  
0 Q(A)T  
5.8 (C)OVER  
5.4 GU(L)  
0 F(A)WN  
0 AY  
13.3 ZEST  
0 PI(X)  
19.7 lose turn (WANTEDS*)  
26 lose turn ((F)AWND*)  
26 lose turn (SWA(R)TED*)  
12.9 -WD  
3.5 MAC  
9.8 FAT(L)Y  
8.3 (T)AJ  
2.5 NEI(F)  
12.5 -DUVV  
0* ZA  
0 REI(N)  
0 -AAAAJ  
8.7 (CLOY)ED  
0 V(e)RANDAS  
0 YOU  
11.1 OLEU(M)  
0 IF  
1.1 QI(S)  
0 (N)E(V)E  
4.6 MAN  
20.2 (C)OR desperation
6.6 DINES  
22 JAW  
0 X(U)  
0 GOOMbAS*  
2.5 AAH  
0* FANO  
0 QAN(A)T  
2.6 C(A)CA  
0 AUTO  
0 V(E)XT  
14.8 TRI(E)D  
0* (T)AD  
8 FI(X)  
21 TUR(N)ED  
2.7 VITAE  
8.6 WE  
16.9 AEDILE  
8.8 PROG  
9.9 X(U)  
0.4 FROG  
0 (C)UNT  
2.6 NUTS  
0 ZIN  
8.9 WRY  
0 T(ED)  
--- lose turn  
43.7 lose turn ((GRAND)E*) (AQUA)TONE
0 M(O)T  
8 VI(E)D  
0 SWI(V)E  
0 CIAO  
0 KA(E)  
0* (AQUA)E  
20 (Q)I  
0 YO  
0 IRIS  
0 JUN  
1.6 HLORUVV keep R
0.6 ALIEN  
0 WOO  
11.9 A(L)OW  
0 (Q)I  
0 EH  
5 Z(ED)  
0 BOD  
5.3 COZ  
3.0 (B)AGMEN  
0.1 VALE  
7.4 SEEN  
8.8 (C)LON  
0 YEH  
6.6 (Q)I intentionally give up bingo
1.7 SeXTAIN  
0 PRIOR POR(T)RAIT (missed but would have passed anyway)
0 RAT  
0 ATT(A)CK  
4.7 MAUVE  
0* RANGE  
0 (HE)N  

1 - W - 7.7 (115.6)
2 - W - 9.8
3 - L - 6.7 (87.7)
4 - L - 8.5 (136.1)
5 - L - 7.4 (103.6)
6 - W - 6.4 (95.3)
7 - L - 7.7
8 - L - 4.9 (77.6)
9 - W - 2.9 (43)
10 - W - 3.2 (44.7)
11 - L - 10.6 (127.4)

Avg: 6.9

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