DVDs Save My Day

Saturday, May 19, 2007

6:55 in Battle Ground, acually 7:03 by time took photo, pajama-clad to save time. About 100 miles to drive, with a stop in Jackson, and possibly a couple more stops if time. A lengthy one-lane construction zone worried me, but once it cleared I was able to make great speed to Jackson. Good enough that I was able to take some time to freshen up. After 3 1/2 days, my odor meter was hovering somewhere between gamy and ripe. And with Scrabble, it's more noticeable because of the stupid rule that specifies a player has to lift the bag above his eyes to draw tiles. When not playing Scrabble, I can reduce my odor my always keeping my arms pressed tightly against my sides.

As I drove on, I wondered if I should change my briefs, too. On the one hand, I had visited dozens, maybe 100, Starbucks wearing the pair. On the other hand, I had visited dozens, maybe 100, Starbucks wearng the pair, and it was possible that the power of the Siren, the same power that is responsible for Starbucks' success, might have been infused into the briefs.

Fresh socks weren't an issue, because I had discovered that, by employing rapid cycling--that is, swapping pairs every few hours--combined with baking and airing, I was able to keep 2-3 pairs relatively fresh for much longer than science had previously thought possible. Incidentally, "rapid cycling" is a medical term, referring (in at least one context), to bipolar disorder. But I figure that if it's good enough for psychiatry, it's good enough for socks.

I continued to make great time, and I was able to stop in Canton and Westland, so I wouldn't have to backtrack to those stores, but then I screwed up and accidentally deleted the Canton photo--I'd have to go back anyway. Grrr... Doesn't the Nikon D50 have an undelete feature?

9:15 or so, plenty of time, plenty of time. I walked in wearing my Starbucking t-shirt and the DVD around my neck, and Carol offered to allow me to make an announcement. This stands in sharp contrast to a certain other director who would not let a fellow player announce the DVDs on my behalf. It's good to know who your friends, and enemies, are, eh?

As long as we had known each other and even played in some same events, I had never faced Scott Pianowski across the Scrabble board. I started off well, finding BURTONS and then L(E)VANTER (but missing the higher-scoring REL(E)VANT), then scoring well with ETHER (34), UNRE(QUITE)* (36), and WISE(R) (40). Scott managed to stay just under a bingo behind, however, and when my tiles turned sour I knew I had reason to worry. A few turns later, I challenged off his (E)MINAtED*, but I didn't see a good play to take advantage of my extra turn. I exchanged six, keeping the Z, and in fact drew a good rack including the X for 34, but it was the S that I really wanted, because it made it much easier for Scott to bingo, (E)lAPSING, and even with my Z I could score enough to catch up.

Against Jeff Fizzybeans I drew all but one blank, and I don't think he could have done anything. I let him get away with REI(F)IC*, though, which sucks, but on the other hand I found INCRUST and later SNEAP (36), so I think despite my absence from Scrabble I was playing okay.

An early sequence of possible mistakes cost me the game against Elaine Glowniak. Exchanging HIIIINR was a no-brainer, but then from CGRSTW?, and looking at the INDOLES Elaine had just played, my brain froze. W(I)G was no doubt foolish, and I was punished with BCFRST?. Another exchange yielded NRSTTT?, and after four turns I had only scored 7 points!!! Later simulation would say that exchanging was not the play instead of W(I)G--a different play, like GR(E)W, I think, was correct. Very frustrating, my failure to find that play, and the knowledge that I'll probably make similar mistakes in the future. Anyway, I did bingo, ANIMiST for a healthy 82, but Elaine went on to bingo twice more, PERTAiNS immediately followed by DETA(i)NEE, and then 40 for JEU. But other than those plays, she wasn't scoring all the well all the time, and even though I lost by 62, even one play could have put me in the win column. The would have been closer, actually, had I not taken fewer points on my penultimate turn in the hopes of drawing into a bingo. But perhaps the most frustrating part of that game, besides losing to the #8 player, was when I was one tile away from a sweet triple-triple natural, OUT(B)RAVE, that would not only have scored big but sure gotten me an extra turn.

I took no pride in consuming about 45-50 seconds finding the bingo in AEILNOP, but I scored well most of the game and really though I had Stocky. But he also scored well with plays like D(O)ORWAY, NIACInS, and REHEM for 41. Given he drew 8 power tiles and played well, I guess I'm lucky the game was as close as it was, 11 points.

Even though he had a 2-2 record going into our game, I knew full well that I would need serious tiles to beat Chuck Armstrong. At first, it looked like I might get them, with a blank on my opening rack. But nothing in AAIKRW?, then no place for TRoIKAS, then ALQRRS?, and when I finally played HARDAsS, Chuck came back with OX for 55 and the lead! His play opened up a hot spot along row 15, and I was caught flat-footed with BBDHINQ. I blocked with BIND, definitely seeing the possibility of (BIND)ERS to the triple, but Chuck did worse--(BIND)ERY for 49 to go up 52. And I held BHMLORQ. Can't blame the tiles, though--had I found RHOMB(I) instead of exchanging, I might have pulled it out, but I just missed too much for the rest of the game, and Chucky went all Child's Play on me.

During my game with Stev Grob , I did some mental grumbling on a couple of occasions when I found myself short of vowels--that seemed to be the theme of the tournament. But by the middle of the game I knew that Steve was just plain outplaying me, with plays like CODEINS/(ATOMIC)S and then (F)ROGEyED, which I challenged.

Averted complete and total disaster with a second win, against the other Fizsbein, though given the tiles I drew, I wasn't exactly patting myself on the back. Except for PA(R)IETTE*--at least I managed to get another phony down. Completing a Scrabble tournament without playing plenty of phonies is like sex for pay or microwaved eggs--rarely as good.

At least I sold 3 DVDs, a $42 profit, minus the $25 entry fee, left $17, which at least paid for part of the gas I'd spend backtracking to stores I'd skipped. And I needed the practice for Philly anyway. Really didn't want to pass up a Memorial Day Weekend tournament yet again.

Despite my equity loss numbers, which looked than worse than they should have been for the high-1700s that I still thought I deserved, I was heartened by the fact that I had been finding some good bingoes, ones I had never seen played nor played myself. Some of those anagrams I had not seen in many months, so I must still have had a certain level of retention in that rapidly-aging noggin of mine. The fact that I only won two games meant nothing--anything can happen in seven games. The longer Philly tournament would be more of a test of whether I still had some chops.

Aw, cripes!!! I let Alex get away with hooking PARIETTE*! I was hoping from the get-go that he would try to hook it, and when he finally did I blanked. Can't make that mistake in Philly!


2.6 WISE(R)  
15 JA(R) GA(N)J(A)H
0.1 EMIC  
1.9* -DGGILP  
0 X(I)  
0* (T)OG  
10 ZED(S)  
0 OGAM  
0 -EOOOU  
6.4 DEKE  
3.4 AFF  
5.8 ABO(R)T  
0 (E)QUIP  
10.8 VIN(Y)  
0* SNEAP  
8.7 LAX blocks last bingp line
0 SLIp  
5.8 -HIIIINR  
7.7 W(I)G  
14.9 -BCF  
5.9 -RTT  
0 YAY  
0 QUO(D)  
0* K(E)LT  
1.2 OXTERS  
7.3 C(O)PE  
2.6 (E)H (K)HADI
0* UDO  
0 ZIN  
40.9 V(A)UNTY DUVETY(N)S (saw but no idea)
0 AEON  
0 ODE  
5.2 ZE(A)TIN  
0 GRUM  
11.1 FL(I)C CL(I)FT (probably wins game)
3.6 FED  
2.8 VATS  
0 KOBO  
6.8 AW  
6.3 IKAT  
0 -LQR  
7.7 HARDAsS  
0 BIND  
23.4 WR(I)TE worst play of tournament!
20.6 lose turn IRID hook
5.1 BI(L)GE  
18.3 Q(I) CO(WRITE) (worst miss of tournament)
25.7 (D)OC  
15.8 F(I)T  
6.1 ART  
21 (GO)Y  
1 MO(B)  
0 FLEW  
21 -DHKNR  
5 GL(OW)  
1.3 ZA  
6.9 TUN  
3.5 ATOMIC  
0* A(D)IT  
40.9 lose turn  
0 JAY  
0.9 MIDAIR  
0 Z(A)  
6.7 TR(O)W  
2.5 GESTaTE miss PEAG E hook
6.2 OR(E)IDE  
3.8 QA(T)  
10 XENON  
0 (T)UI  

1 - L - 7.4 (103.9)
2 - W - 8.2 (115.3)
3 - L - 3.3 (45.6)
4 - L - 7.8 (94)
5 - L - 10.7 (160)
6 - L - 7.7 (100.6)
7 - W - 5.3

Avg: 7.2

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