Modest Moves


KEYWORD: nozzle

next: where I imply lust for a certain player of Indian descent

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Sacrifice

Left work in West Chester pretty much as planned, at 2:00 PM, but immediately began to lose time. First, I had forgotten my phone charger and had to stop back at the house. Then I needed to buy a lower-wattage power inverter for my car so I could keep LeXpert running during the long drive. Circuit City was out, so I had to go into the Exton Square Mall and find the Radio Shack. Had to get food, too, a not-awful burrito from a shi-shi place called Desert Moon, and finally gas. At the gas station I saw the rarest of creatures--a young woman who was both attractive and soliciting a ride. Her destination was near Conshohocken, the name of which evoked some vivid imagery in my mind, but driving in that direction would delay me by at least an hour. I faced a real dilemma, because from personal experience I'd learned that if a young woman is willing to get into your car in the first place, then there is a good probability that she will be "friendly".

It wasn't easy, but I finally decided that arriving on time to work registration was more important, despite my avowed goal of having as much sex as humanly possible. I surely hope that Mary realizes the sacrifice that I (potentially) made. Ah, those priorities do get in the way.

It was nearly 3:00 when I finally entered the Pennsylvania Turnpike. A short while later I remembered that I was supposed to be trying to catch Stan and Matt, and I called to find out where they were. About 50 miles ahead, crossing the Blue Mountain Tunnel. I calculated that, at best, if I kept doing 80 MPH, I could catch Stan doing 65 in 3 hours. But by the time I reached the tunnel, I was still 50 minutes behind, and it appeared that my manhood was in question.

Feed the Body, Feed the Car, Feed the Laptop

Farther on up the road I remembered that I needed to stop in Somerset anyway to rephotograph the Starbucks, that was more important than the visceral pleasure of blowing past Stan at a 100 MPH. A man's gotta have priorities, and thus I had an excuse for avoiding the shame that comes with losing a road race.

I couldn't just hop off the Turnpike, shoot the picture, gas up, and move on, either. No, because of the royal fucking I had received at Carousel Hyundai, the power outlet in my car was still not working, which meant that both my laptops were soon out of power. Being able to study was important, so I had allocated extra time for this, to hang out at the Starbucks and charge up.

At least there was a restaurant nearby, the Summit Diner (I wasn't counting McDonald's, Ruby Tuesday, or any of that other corporate crap). To save a little time, I took a bit of risk and left my backpack tucked away in a corner with the laptops plugged in while I ordered and picked up my food. The Somerset Starbucks didn't look like it was patronized by shady characters, but really shouldn't do this too often, not with all that I carry in my backpack. Oh, perhaps I really shouldn't write that in a public forum. I'm going to have to keep an even closer eye on my bag from now on.

Meanwhile, the sniffling and sneezing I'd been experiencing all day had gradually reached the fuzzy threshold at which I suspected an illness rather than allergies. Oh, great. That's all I needed, on top of my general lack of enthusiasm and anxiety. I might as well just have a pack of weasels eat my brain for all the hope I had of avoiding disaster at the event.

Meanwhiler, the July 23rd episode of This American Life centred on special education or otherwise developmentally disabled students. They had been given mikes to go out and interview people on the street. The first man interviewed was asked about the last book he read, and he couldn't remember. I wasn't sure who bugged me the most, the ignorant motherfucker who has a brain but doesn't use it, or society's continued tolerance for the weakest among us. Of all humanity's copious flaws, one of the worst might be the positive perception of charity that exists in most societies. Humans are notoriously shortsighted, and they often fail to realize that tolerance of the weak merely perpetuates weakness and prolongs states of vulnerability and suffering.

Yep, definitely sick, I thought, as drops of mucus dripped down onto the carpet while I rushed to take off my headphones and run to the bathroom. I happened to be holding a toothbrush and a fork, and just as I reached for the door I felt a drop starting to fall and was not able to properly catch it on the back of my hand. Instead, it landed on my finger and then ended up on the door handle. I felt a little bad and hoped that the next guy was smart enough to know not to stick his fingers up his nose immediately after opening the bathroom door. There's a German word for this, I think: turschleimnasefingerbesuchen.

August 3, 2007

Despite Mad Locomotion, I Suffer Demotion

At 6:16 I decided it was too early, but I didn't want to oversleep or get swamped in rush hour, so I took half a yellow pill before laying back down. Might have lost consciousness for just an instant, enough to dream about some Indian person (convenience store owner maybe), and enough to feel a little better as I drove into Columbus. The new Starbucks was in the Short North neighborhood, and during my drive down High Street I didn't see any place that was open for breakfast. One of the Starbucks baristas directed me back up a few blocks to the Northstar Cafe, where the biscuit was pretty darn good. But the price--nearly ten bucks for an egg sandwich and fresh-squeezed orange juice!!! I asked the cashier about this, and he explained that the neighborhood was a bit artsy (read: expensive) and they used organic ingredients.

As I neared Dayton I noticed that my shirt was funkier than it should have been. I had pulled it fresh from the closet on Thursday morning, and I had showered right before leaving work that afternoon. According to the Standard Cloth Odor Acquisition Index, factoring in the temperature and length of time wearing, my cotton t-shirt shouldn't have been funky for at least two full days.

I ended up being just a few minutes late by the time I found Mary, but she being the efficient taskmaster that she is (is Rhoades a German name?), assigned my position to others. Dang it, I hate getting fired! To add insult to injury, the invisible parrot on Mary's shoulder stared at me with its beady little parrot eyes and squawked "YOU SNOOZE, YOU LOSE! RRRAWK, RRRAWK!!! YOU SNOOZE, YOU LOSE!" I hate invisible parrots.

Sheepishly, I pleaded for another task, and Mary sent me on a mission to spread stacks of scoresheets around the room. I asked for a restroom past first, though, and Mary said there was no hurry, that I could spent as much time there as possible. Had she noticed, I wondered, that the Convention Center bathrooms featured... yes, the Xlerator! And with most of a day to kill, I had hours of fun ahead of me, if I could figure out how get one of the bathrooms all to myself. I didn't have a key, of course, but I put on my thinking cap and went a-hunting. Bingo! Up on the third floor, in a dark, isolated corner, a bathroom that was locked, but with the door propped open. After checking to make sure that I wouldn't lock myself in (that would be embarassing), I had the place all to myself!!!

I sat down in the lobby so I could pick up Wi-Fi while awaiting any further instructions from Mary. I spotted Pakorn, and, after debating whether it would be insulting to him for me to ask for a game, I went up and said hello. He actually suggested the game, so I didn't feel so much like I was "tainting" him.

Pakorn first went to buy some new tiles, and in the interim Marlon showed up and wanted a rematch after the games they had played on the bus. Ostensibly I was playing Pakorn with Marlon just drawing the tiles, but you can imagine how that went. You can also imagine that, unlike other players who had e-mailed and spoken to me, Marlon made no attempt to boost my reduced confidence. In his eyes, I still can't play. That's okay--Marlon must be Marlon. And maybe he's right--I certainly didn't feel like I could play.

Mr. Hunger finally caught up with me, and I took a rather lengthy walk without seeing anything appealing before finally settle on Smokin Bar-b-que just two blocks from the Convention Center. No fries, but pretty good smoked chips and a decent burger.

Around 3:30 sleep deprivation caught up with me. My first instinct was to crawl under one of the tables in the playing room, but upon closer inspection the only ones that provided privacy were towards the back where Sherrie was. I have not yet managed to discern what mood Sherrie is in (squirrel, blue jay, beagle, polar bear, tiger shark), so I decided not risk that it was polar bear and being dragged out by my ankles.

The parking garage wasn't too bad, though, once I opened the windows a bit. In fact, I was offered a good opportunity for fun when I started hearing people wondering out loud if the walkway led into the Convention Center. Safely hidden in my car, I took delight in changing my voice and shouting "YESSSSSS. YESSSSS IT ISSSSSSS." In a side mirror I could see befuddled Scrabblers turning their heads in puzzlement.

A couple of hours and several false awakenings later (one of which included what felt like a slap on my bottom), I got up a tried to shake the cobwebs out. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement. A wild beast, perhaps? Nope, just Wallace Schultz. I waved, but when he did not notice me (or he was still pissed about our last game), I proceeded to put my pants back on.

Went back to the bathroom on the third floor to wash my face, and even though there was more traffic on the third floor, going to the parking garage, I remained uninterrupted. I think part of the reason was that the bathroom was tucked away in a corner. I, like the great explorers of yore, had been the one to discover it. I started to think of it was my "Fortress of Solitude."

Went back to the lobby, and around dinnertime I spotted Herbie coming down the stairs, a bit morose looking. Though I am not emotionally equipped to sympathize with his plight, I tried to help as best I could.

Because of my nap I wasn't feeling too tired, but at at 11:00 PM everybody was kicked out of the Convention Center, and I went off in search of a campground. Continuing to sleep in the parking garage was not an option. Besides concerns about the overhead lights, lack of fresh air, and the elderly security guard walking around, I did not want to have to dump my kiwi juice on the concrete. On a street is one thing, because the rain will wash it away, but inside the parking garage the smell would accumulate over time, and that would be socially irresponsible.

August 4, 2007

Good thing I looked at the clock, because when I woke up and judged from the degree of light visible that it was only 7:00, I was wrong. It was actually 7:47, and I had to get going right away if I was going to get coffee and breakfast. Finding a locally owned place took me a bit out of my way, but the biscuits from Christopher's were pretty good.

I Was Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

All morning and all the previous day--well, for weeks really--I had been hoping and hoping and hoping that I would have a good first day. At a bare minimum I wanted start off with a win, not like Phoenix and Reno and probably New Orleans. When I saw that my first opponent was Joey Mallick, I commented out loud that I just wanted to start with a win for once! Ron Tiekert replied that it was not entirely out of my control. When I said it was Joey, Ron had to concede that in that case it was much less within my control. And sure, I had opportunities that I missed, but by the time I had my first bingo opportunity, Joey had already bingoed three times to go up 170. I held the blank from turn four, and yes I did miss bingos, but I needed racks like Joey's FIShERY, ANTIGEN(E), TOADISH, and EARN(I)NGS. Instead, I had AELMRU? (missed nUMERAL(S)), ACIOOR? (don't know gRACIO(S)O), IILOPR? (missed PROLIfI(C)).

Losing that game in such a fashion was exactly that wrong way to start off the day. The sense of dread that had abated some on Friday returned in an instant, and I had nothing but trepidation at facing my next opponent, some pyramid-scheme pitching dude from Thailand who I remembered having lost to before. Dread and fear of reaching the point of hopelessness permeated my game with Amunay as I played difficult rack after difficult rack, always afraid that my play was the wrong one, that Amnuay would take advantage and run away with the game. And this despite the fact that I almost always had the lead. Even when I drew the blank and played HOtLINE (unsure of the safe cHOLINE, not seeing pINHOLE), I worried about a big counterplay. Had I not drawn the final blank and powerful Y to hook COZ on the TWS, the game would have been uncertain until the end. I was very glad that my nerves were spared that, at least.

I had the momentum against Webster Phillips, a 40-point lead and a 37-point BIGGER to keep the momentum. But nooooo, I had to go and try BIGGIER*, not only losing my turn but then watching Webster play InLIERS in the same spot. Next thing you know I'm going to lose a game by playing EMBIGGEN*. The rest of the game didn't go horribly, and I managed to tie with ROTUNDA (took me many anagramming iterations to learn that one), but Webster drew a second blank, and I couldn't stop the bingo.

Finally played the infamous Brockmeier, who surprised me by not being Black, and once again I gave up a game despite having the tiles. My fumbled endgame had me so flustered that even as I walked out to my car I had no idea what the winning sequence was, but with the J and both blanks, there must have been one. Oh, and there were other mistakes, like not risking PALLINg (and missing PINbALL) because, after BIGGIER*, I was timid.

For lunch I took my car out this time so I could explore more food options, but I did not actually see some the places that my map showed that were of interest to me, so I just settled on the Spaghetti Warehouse. Perhaps it was because of my 1-3 record and sour mood, but the cashier girl rubbed me the wrong way when she examined my driver license a little too much for my taste. I couldn't help but think that, had I been a middle-aged white female, she would not have given it that much scrutiny. I told her she didn't need to look at it so closely, and I think she snapped at me, but I couldn't be sure, because I had my headphones on.

Meanwhile, all around downtown Dayton I was seeing statues of people in active poses, and I kept being startled when I realized this or that "person" was not real. I don't know whose idea this was, but the statues were creeping me out! This one in particular--I had to get pretty close before I realized it was fake. Fooled other people took, from the looks of it. One guy went up and gentle prodded it with his finger.

Incidentally, the man, like many others milling about downtown, appeared somewhat indigent. I would hear several times that Dayton was a dying city. The PC must have been one of the most exciting things to hit that town since those Bosnian peace talks.

Incidentally, there was something new for me at the tournament, and in fact in my life in the days preceding the tournament. And this time it didn't involve surgery. During my 99-day road trip I had started downloading just about every NPR and PRI news program that piqued my interest. While on the road I had time to listen to them all, but now that I was working, and furthermore unable to run my laptop in the car all the time, the podcasts were piling up. Because of my 35th birthday and incipient mental decline, and with my "heightened" profile due to the release of the Starbucking, I had decided that I needed to devote more time to getting my ideas out there before somebody killed me. So I finally bought an iPod to make use of every spare moment to listen to news. Running around with the iPod required some getting used to, and I was deathly afraid that I would drop the expensive device. Most difficult was relearning how to wipe after a bowel movement--I'll leave it to the imagination to figure out what the issue is there.

Both blanks early for VExATES* (looked good to me) and then FI(L)ARIaE gave me the momentum against Marty Marcus (uncle of actor Marky Mark), and I was confident for the rest of the game. Besides the phony, the really interesting part of that game was that I demonstrated a bit of confidence by challenging VIGERO(N)S* when just playing JUI(C)Y guaranteed a win, while losing the challenge guaranteed a loss. Marty was impressed and said most people wouldn't have challenged, and it was a tough decision for me, but I didn't want to give up the spread. I was 100% sure that VIGERON* is no good, but I wasn't sure that VIGERONS* wasn't some freaky eight-only word like LANCIERS.

My hope of getting to 3-3 were shattered as soon as I saw my next opponent, the unbeatable Joel Sherman. On top of having to play this foul demon of Scrabbabolic detruction, I was further irritated when Sherrie came over to our table and, unbelievably, told me that I was not allowed to use the iPod while playing. Oh... my... god... I thought, I can't believe she's actually telling this to someone who has played over 50, maybe over 100, tournaments. Even Joel was amazed--as if he wouldn't have noticed or minded the headphones. It was almost as if Sherrie had read my earlier paragraph even though I had not yet posted it. Which begged the question--is Sherrie St. John a time traveler?

My bad luck continued into the next round--I was paired against John Luebkemann. Now I was looking at a 2-5 day, lousy for my ratings hopes and lousier still for my mood. And sure enough, the game turned into a train wreck, Colbert/Branson style. Oh, I had the tiles--that wasn't the problem. I could hardly have asked for better tiles. Saw INVOKER immediately (was proud of myself for that), and then scored 34 and then 28 and drew the blank, and I started to have real hope. At the very same time I told myself "don't screw this up, don't screw this up!" And I started to screw it up. The rack CDPRTW? really threw me off rack. Turns out Quackle doesn't think CR(O)WD is too bad, but John scored 40 off it, and I felt I had made a big mistake. Then PO(G)O*, which was just stupid. Was unsure of OUT(CROWDS) and PI(G)OUT, and even missed a POO over lap for 27. I forgive myself for missing LON(G)HAIr and HOoLI(G)AN because I haven't anagrammed those yet. Next play, wasn't sure about AXiLLAR, and LAX scored 41, so I don't feel too bad about that. No bingo next rack, but the following one I saw pURLINE almost immediately but wasn't sure enough to pull the trigger. By this time the combination of holding a blank for 7 turns and John's fast playing had me dangerously low on time, and I was getting really nervous. Next rack, no way would I have found, hELLERI, but how could I play for just 3 points, LE(I)??? I was so scared of drawing yet another rack I couldn't bingo with that I overclung to EILR? even though ELR? would have been just as good. And then, as if my mistakes up to that point hadn't been bad enough, I really topped myself. I layed down CaRLINE, and I called out an A, but I circled a C!!! John asked me what I had called out, and I looked at the slip, and my heart sank. I knew I would lose the game at that point. Perhaps it was the act of circling instead of writing that threw me off, or perhaps it was my nervousness after holding the blank for 9 turns without a bingo, plus the time pressure--whatever the reason, a mistake like that completely destroyed any joy I might have found in the game. And yet it got worse. I still had another place for the bingo, over on the other side of the board in column A, and I missed the hook! I finally did see the spot and bingoed there, sINCERE, but when I drew my final three tiles and saw what was left, AEHRST?, I knew there was no way John would not bingo. And he did. And I lost... by 3. On top of all that, later I would realize that I had let John get away with D(ICY)*--not because I didn't know, but because with all the time pressure and repeated mistakes I didn't even notice. Talk about making every mistake in the book.

As bad as I was feeling before, I might have still managed to let Longbottom drag me to a club, and I might even have had a drink or two (since I only had to drive as far as the nearest side street). But after that final disastrous loss of the day, I was too despondent to have any fun whatsoever. I needed to get away as quickly as possible. I called Woody and traded him a ride back to his faraway motel in exchange for a shower. (That way I didn't feel like I was mooching.) Nor far from the motel was a restaurant, recently-opened, called New Orleans Bistro. Based on the beans and rice, I predict that the restaurant would not be around long. I must, however, give props to their brand of tea, Gold Peak. It's not as good at Tradewinds (of course) but still eminently drinkable.

Back downtown, I passed the ballpark, single A according to Mark Berg, and I wondered if he was at the game.

Back in the lobby, Joel Wapnick and RPG, I mean RPD, walked by. He had said hello to me earlier, and I had just pretended to know him. I finally tired of wondering, and I said, in my most eloquent of manners, "hey dude, what's your name?" Yes, I'd met Wapnick once before (or many more times--who the hell knows given my deteriorating mind (can you say Charlie?)), but I still couldn't get my initial preconception of Joel out of my mind, that he was a rather heavy and sloppy younger man with really dark hair and a moustache. Anyway, he commented that I didn't seem depressed, but he was quite, quite wrong. While I might have not been clinically depressed, I felt pretty damn bad. Maybe not '05 Reno bad, but pretty close.

Anyway, back to Wapnick. The general consensus seems to be that he's a very nice guy. However, if he wanted to be reeeally nice, he would undergo a few minor cosmetic enhancements to bring his appearance more in line with my initial conception of him. A little bit like this guy, but with worse hair.

At least I had one thing going for me, that my trips were usually about more than Scrabble. With one new Starbucks down in Cincy and several to rephotograph, I was able to get my head partially out of the Scrabble space. Even if the whole tournament sucked, as long as I got a few decent photographs the trip wouldn't be a total loss.

August 5, 2007

The Highlight of My Day

6:47, and I very much longed for more sleep. But with light in the sky and few clouds visible, the need to photograph, to record, to document beckoned me hustle. Then, out of nowhere, as I neared the third store... SON OF A BITCH!!!! RAIN!!!. Where did it come from??? Thanks to God (because he really cares about my photographs) the rain did not last, but it did slow down my return to Dayton. I had to call Jim Kille on the way and asked him to relay a message to my opponent, to call me if I needed to bring in equipment.

Speaking of Jim, I was extremely surprised (and impressed) that he had decided to play in Dayton despite not having played a tournament all year. I would also find his presence rather soothing in those first two dark, dark days. There's just something about Jim's generally upbeat attitude that helps ease the rough patches. And I mean that in the completely heterosexual non-homo-gay way.

The rain let up, and I managed to make up enough time that it was only about 8:56 when I turned onto Main St. and headed towards 5th. A couple of players were hurriedly walking along the sidewalk, and one of them called out to me for a ride. Of course, but I only had one open seat, and they were a bit hefty (well, one of them at least), as Scrabble players tend to be (do we need to add a physical element). So I ended up taking one over in front of the Convention Center and then circling around for the other one. No point in showing up early, is there?

As I was walking into the Convention Center a player who seemed to know me (but I failed to recognize) introduced me to her teenage daughter. I wondered what kind of cave this lady had been living in not to know to that I'm the last person she wants to introduce her daughter to.

Odd game against Rose Kreiswerth--I built up a healthy lead without a bingo, but then midgame she scored, 40, 40, and 41 in quick succession with the J, Z, and X, and then 39 for BREW. Only a pair of bingos, HINNiEs following by ANT(I)RIOT, allowed me to win.

The Ghost of Renos Past

Even before I had drawn tiles, I knew that it had been a mistake to play (N)EVE leaving EINR, running the risk of drawing another I. EERN was the correct leave, and sure enough I paid for my mistake, BEIINRU. Had I played (N)EVI, I would have been able to play BE(G)UINE the next turn, much better than BE(G)IN leaving IRU. My next few turns sucked, and by the time I played eRICOID I was still down. Then Steve played AX ro 38 to extend his lead to 72, and that prompted me to try JARLS/(eRICOID)S*. Couldn't recover.

Damn it, damn it, damn it!!! I make my best play of the game, NOODLES overlapping five tiles, when the board was closed and all hope seemed lost, and what does Mike Early have in response? Yes, the X and the crucial vowel needed to score 53 to win by 16. Grrr...

Well, it was bound to happen. Ben Withers is too good a player to lose to me every time. Just I was about to extend my strea, a recount turned the game from a 3-point win to a 2-point loss. Rats! But even despite the pitiful 3-8 record, I felt I was playing a little better at least, and I had hope for the next three games.

Walked halfway down the Oregon District...

...but nothing looked appealing, so I went back to my car and took a driver farther down 5th St. Not that far east from the trendy district was the type of neighborhood where the funny-looking shirtless ass-crack-showing suspicious-of-strangers poor people lived. I guess that's why the East 5th Grill only charged me $2.25 for a hot dog and fries. And to my further surprise, when I commented that the hot dog seemed kinda small and ordered another, the short-order cook gave it to me for free. Not the greatest hot dog, of course, but for that price I'll take it any day.

One early mistake, challenging HEDG(Y), and the quickly-moving-up-on-my-grrr-list Frank Tangredi went on to outdraw me. I was left in a state of disbelief. The tournament was starting to resemble Reno. One notable difference was that, out of 90 players, I kept on being paired with people I did not want to play--Mallick, Sherman, Luebkemann, Brockmeier, Early, and now Tangredi. For the love of Pete, give me some players I can beat!

Finally won my fourth game, but just barely. Despite a favorable draw for me, both blanks, and an extra turn (challenged off EPISTL(E)D*), british visitor Michael Whiteoak found a couple of good bingos, EN(C)HAINS and VENERA(T)E, and then a last minute gift, QU(I)Z for 42 to almost catch me. Had I lost that game, I would have had to spend the next 15 hours worrying about whether I would be getting the dreaded bye. As it was, I expected to get it anyway, but being 3-11 would get me the bye for sure.

On the bright side, I wasn't suicidal like the previous day, and I felt like I could go on an excursion into the Forbbiden forest with the other members of Hornwarts. Unfortunately, Hermione, the good student that she is, decided to back out. That kind of cut down on the fun, because Hermione was always best at potions. That left Longbottom, Ron Weasley, and possibly a new student, Colin Creevey. Longbottom was off at a Quidditch match, though, and Ron and I finally tired of waiting for him and decided to call it a night.

Back to my campground--yay, the van (to draw attention away from my car) was still there!

August 6, 2007

Women of Mass Distress, Son

Woke up at 7:07 feeling pretty crappy and trying to decide if it was sleep deprivation or just the need for coffee. I had been in "bed" for over 8 hours, but I had tossed and turned and sweated for some time. Regardless, I forced myself to get moving and rush over to Stone Street, where the very special 10-hour parking spaces are located. I was surprised to find them almost completely unoccupied, and I decided to take my chances and head over to Christopher's for those yummy biscuits.

My clothes were not that stinky, but I decided to go ahead and change completely, shirt, jeans, socks, and briefs, in the hopes of shedding myself of the metaphoric stink of failure.

Oh, you gotta be kidding me! The Cat in the Hat??? (Photos courtesy of Roger Cullman).


And sure enough, the game went to hell right away, even though I held DEIRRS? on my first rack. The problem was she had opened with ATONIES, slotting the E in the double-double column, and I just couldn't find it. I knew full well that if I didn't find it and lost a close game I would regret it, and I also knew that if I burned too much time I would regret it. But I was trying to play the best I could, and so I tried and tried for that double-double but just couldn't see it (RuD(E)RIES). Finally, with 8 minutes burned, I had to play. And sure enough, Alyssa just started slapping down plays, and I had tough racks like EHPQRWW, EHPRUWW, IKOPRUY, AFFGIOU, and AFIPUU?. I had to play so fast that I screwed up with (L)UFA*, and even though I scored well for the rest of the game, that one lost turn, plus more easy bingoes for my opponent, GALEATE and ESTRONE, killed me.

Michael Baker let my open MULCHeR* go, perhaps because of uncertainty, or perhaps because he had NEUR(U)LAR through it. Fortunately, Michael only scored 6 points his next turn, so when he bingoed again, mAHONIA, I was still within distance. BUILDER for 90 got me back in the game, and from that point on I managed to slowly take the lead and keep it to win by 16. Most interesting play--Michael's SASSY for 49.

Finally, seventeen games into the tournament I managed to win two in a row. I drew both blanks, but for a single bingo, D()AbETEs, and the game continued to be in play until I was faced with a critical decision. Challenge (S)UBARISE* and play (S)TROLLED in its place, or be down 30 points with a limited scoring rack. Fortunately for me, confidence (and the residual effects of anagramming 8s) prevailed. Yeeeeeeeee-haw!!!!

Even if some players may have lost hope, at least the directors hadn't lost faith. Pairing notes up at the table indicated that they still considered our British friend a contender, as he was only 11 games off first place (with 14 to go).

Geez, I can't even describe how badly I wanted to win a third game in a row, but it was pretty fucking tough when Steve Saul was getting down eight power tiles before I ever got down any. After the game he commented that he was trying to keep the board as closed as possible, and I had to resist the urge to mutter, "Well, yeah, that's pretty fucking easy to do when you are drawing the good stuff."

I didn't feel like wasting time on lunch, so I just went back to Smokin Bar-b-que. Wish that same annoying cashier hadn't been there. She was annoying on Friday night, and she was still annoying today. I swear, every time the fucking bitch opened her mouth I just wanted to strangle her. But at least the brisket was good.

Weird Luebkemann moment. An odd look, perhaps accompanied by a comment I couldn't heard (for my headphones). What was that all about?

Jean Carol, or Carol Jean? Regardless, the anamonic for ENTRIES helped me find S(E)RENITY, and a couple of turns later I saw NIDUSES and from that point cruised like everybody's favorite Scientologist in a fighter yet.

Almost won a second second game in a row, but I think I got outdrawn. By which I mean that I gave up virtually zero equity points through the point at which the game was lost. The "mistake" Quackle shows was positioning PEERIES for 81 instead of 83 in order to avoid a big X play, and sure enough Cesar had the X. I think my play was correct. I couldn't feel too bad about it, though, because Cesar de Solar is about one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, and he let me watch Lost at his apartment a few months earlier. Even if I didn't get the win, at least it went to him and would hopefully boost his spirits.

As for my spirits, they were due to take a tanking because of my next opponent. FUCK!!! FUCK!!! FUCK!!! NOT HER NOT HER NOT HER NOT HER!!! Unlike Cesar, I was very much disposed to hating her for outdrawing me again and again and again! I opened with AAEILNT. Exchange A, and I draw QI. I see Q(U)ANTILE through her PUG, but I'm not sure, and it plays right above the TWS anyway--much too dangerous when QI leaves AELNT. I do draw a bingo, INFLATE, but Jan now has NAILSET for a bigger score and the lead. I'm stuck with U(N)AU for 8, but after a few turns I take the lead and Jan exchanges. She exchanges 7, mind you, and I'm faced with this:

Take 19 points and a crappy leave, block the S hook for PUG for just 9 points, or exchange. If I don't play AG, I can expect Jan to score 20 or better in that spot to take the lead. The board is tight, and what are the odds that she had pulled a bingo out of the bag. Well, I take the points, and she had pulled fucking SENECAS out of the bag. Even if I had blocked for 9 points, SAC would have netted her 25 to tie the game, and she would be holding a good leave. How could I win?

Needed a break from dwelling on my mistakes and bad luck, so I chased down Cesar and a couple of Canadians (their names don't matter--all Canadians are the same), and we walked around looking for grub, finally settling on Uno's. Actually, all Canadians are not the same--one of them just happened to be in first place, and I purposefully sat as close to him as possible to try and steal some of his mojo. Let's see how that works out.

Back at the Convention Center, I found the standings with ratings on a table in the playing room, and after 21 games, with a 7-14 record, my rating was unchanged--1629! Wow, I played 21 games for nothing!!!

I gave up on the self-immolation that is Quackle simulating around 10:00 and headed back to my campground, where I immmediately noticed that the van had moved. Well, as they say, no van lasts forever. As I was changing a pair of women walking their dogs passed in front of my car. They did not notice me, but the dog, the larger one, suddenly stopped and stared at me. The women continued walking and pulled the dog along into the parking lot across the street. Once again he stopped and stared right at me. There was no question that he saw me, and I had to wonder if he had a message for me, something I was supposed to keep in mind to help me get through the final 10 games of the tournament.

I probably exaggerate the importance of the van. That street was pretty quiet all around. No, the real concern turned out to be the heat. Earlier in the day I had heard the radio report a high exceeding 100 degrees, but I didn't notice where exactly. Regardless, and even though the sun had been down for several hours, when I reached my car and opened the door I felt a wave of warm air hit me. I knew I was going to be in for a rough time, and sure enough I sweated for many hours, more than I had the previous nights. When I got up to kiwi I could feel that the sheet under me was soaked.

Twitchy girl.

August 7, 2007

Woke up shortly after 7:00 and tried to go back to sleep, but there was a truck doing some type of delivery at that business across the street, and after about 20 minutes I gave up and got ready to get a move-on. Had to wait about five minutes for my windows to defrost because of the heavy amount of humidity in my car due to my sweating.

Beautiful Day

I got my first gift of the tournament, an attempted 3x3 f(R)ONTERS* that I had to challenge. Any other bingo might have won, especially if David drew the final blank, but the triple-triple won for sure. I thought it was good, and I regretted having opened the lane, but I just couldn't figure out how the best block after David played OS(I)ER to create a bingo line. Later I would realize that I, having played D(O)UBTER, had completely missed the R hook to OSIER. I risked the 3x3 for nothing, and had I lost I would have deserved it.

My next opponent was yet another one of those women that I would rather not have played, but I have to admit that of all the women that I'd rather not play, she is the one who I'd least rather not play. I got lucky early, by seeing a four-tile overlap for SEAMEN that scored 38 and also had the effect of cutting off all but one bingo line. I held the Q, and had I not drawn the I (or other tiles to play it), or had she taken the spot to play it, the whole game might have gone differently. As it was, I had a slight lead, the momentum, I kept the board closed, and by the time I challenged off her desperate and screamingly phony VULVI(C)* (for 54), the outcome was hardly in doubt.

Perhaps because the two wins had lifted my mood, I was noticing more and more that teenage daughter who had a new hairdo, a perm I think, and was looking miiiiighty fine. And young as she was, my thinking wasn't deviant by any means--I pointed her out to another male player, and he had to concur. If the girl ever got into the Scrabble scene, she was going to be lusted after by most of the available male players (your time's running out, Phoebe--there's new blood a-coming).

My mood quickly changed to trepidation when I saw who my third opponent of the day would be, Jim Geary. Another player told me that "he's not that good", but I wasn't about to doubt his skills. Still, when I challenged off his MOLTI(N)GS*, I began to have hope. I knew he would bingo with the S, I just wish it hadn't been so soon, right after playing off M(ON)GO. I was still in the game, though, as his ULTIMAS gave me back 41 points for AXE. But his drawing DO(C)TORAl immediately after--that hurt. And then, a few turns later, just as I was about to catch up with DEEENRS, he drew the other blank for SIRLOiN, and the game was over.

I took out my frustration on Keif Smif, though that one win hardly balanced out his overwhelmingly winning head-to-head record against me. I did draw well, but I was pleased with myself nonetheless because I demonstrated great confidence when, rather than blocking his 3x3 line for a few points to guarantee my win, I played the new word HOM(I)E for additional points and a won challenge to go out first and boost my spread to 144. Heck yeah!!!

For once, my lunch destination was definite, the Boulevard Cafe, because it advertised crepes. I had to make a quick detour first, however, because ahead of me on the sidewalk was a young woman wearing a brown top that exposed her shoulders, shoulders that had no bra line. For some reason I found this extremely attractive, and I had to enter the other restaurant after her and pretend to look at the menu so I could get a better look at her. She wore glasses and looked a bit mousy, but she was still plenty attractive. Not bitchy-glamorous attractive, but artsy-intelligent attractive (the best kind). I finally had to walk across the street to order my crepe, and as I waited I saw her sit down next to a scruffy-looking bearded young man wearing John McEnroe hair and a matching headband.

I went back across the street to buy some orange juice, and after waiting about 5 minutes for a barista/cashier to take my order, I had to hand Brian Cappelletto a smackdown for trying to cut in front of me. I may suck at Scrabble, but homey don't play dat.

Stopped back at my car to drop off some items and comb my hair, and a few hundred feet away at the Smokin Bar-be-que I saw a group of Scrabblers approaching. From the distance, the only one I could really recognized was Lipe, and only because of his new hairdo, unmistakable even at that distance.

Back at the Convention Center another daughter, but one that was under my age limit (for now) (I do have boundaries), became curious about my laptop and iPod and started to talk to me. Cecilia walked by and gave me a look, and I quickly assured her that I was not hitting on the girl!

Even though I won my first game after lunch, I couldn't help but feel bad for my opponent who seemed to be having a really tough time of it. He gave up four turns to exchanges and two to challenges, and I had my biggest win of the tournament, 252 points. It actually could have been a higher spread, 300 or better, if I had played VIE instead of VILE at the end, which would not have given him the I to play through (but still the V, with ALNSS??).

And now, ladies and gentlemen, a first in my blog, a guest quote:

"I'm not sure if it's the worst game I've ever played, but I can't remember one worse. In other words, I suck."

After game, I discovered yet another person who had heard about how Looby got D(ICY)* past me. WTF??? Did he post it on YouTube or something???

Keith Cejmer played faster than any other player than I had ever faced, forcing me to defer tracking and abandon the remaining tile count altogether. Had I not had favorable tiles, I might have been in trouble. Keith claims that all those 3 minute games on ISC prepare him to play that fast, but I couldn't help thinking he had to be giving up a ton of equity.

At 5-1 for the way, my mood was considerably lifted, and I began to wonder how high I could take my rating. But my good mood disappeared entirely after my horrendous blunder against Steve Grob. Challenging LUNATIO(N) was bad enough, when I could have played for 27 to 36 to retake the lead, but my next mistake was just ridiculous. I laid down AY/(PI)A/(VAR)Y for 36 points, and then just before I hit the clock I noticed that I could score 3 more points by playing my O before (VAR)Y. The problem was that I played in two directions, and I was not able to come back from those two lost turns.

My rating after 27 had been 1694, and winning that last game would have put me in some great territory. Wow, I really fucked it up that time. Playing in two directions--that's even stupider than misdesignating the blank! But still, I went 5-2, and I was pretty pleased. Perhaps I had actually managed to steal some mojo from James, though as we would all find out, his ability was diminished not a whit, and he went on to take the whole thing. A group of us discussed some of the inbreeding that seems to be prevalent in the Scrabble community, and we agreed that having a high rating helped to get the girl. We wondered how much ass James was going to get if he actually won, and I wondered if the ladies would be nicknaming him "Daddy Leongstroke".

Cesar, Gabriel and I went over to the Therapy Cafe that I'd been wanting to check out since Saturday, and there we found Scott Kitchen's wife at a local knitting club meeting (sure hope she wasn't keeping the knitting a secret). What we didn't find was... food!!! It was amazing to hear, but the kitchen was closed because the cook had not shown up for work. WTF??? Anyway, we were all hungry, which is about the only reason I can imagine going into a place called Wympee Burger. It wasn't an awful burger, but I'd take Smokin Bar-be-que any day.

Meanwhile, I had finally gotten my first in person look at Jesse Day. I took a very small, unscientific, and completely heterosexual poll, and the consensus was that of all the male Scrabble players I can remember seeing, Jesse is the best looking, in the conventional American, Madison Avenue kind of way. And once again I say this in a completely heterosexual, non-gay, purely observational manner. Ladies... discuss.

Back at the Convention Center, I proved that there is no limit to the degree of clumsiness that I can exhibit. Misdesignating the blank, playing in two directions--those blunders paled in comparison to what could have been my most expensive blunder. Don't ask me how, but I actually managed to drop my brand new week-old $264 iPod into the toilet. Forget the ick factor--it's a $264 device!!! AARRGHH!!!

Hunting Squirrels

Meanwhile, a secondary contest had been underway since I had discovered that a certain "squirrel of interest" was in attendance. For days I had been attempting to position myself in such a way as to corner the squirrel, but just like her real-life rodent namesake, she proved an elusive opponent. In all of five days I was able to achieve eye contact but once! I was remind of my childhood days, when I was for a time obsessed with catching the squirrels that ran around our back yard. My mother would look on, in bemusement, I imagine, as I sprinted to and fro without ever coming close to snatching even a tail. When finally, as was inevitable, I ran forehead first into a tree, my enthusiasm for the hunt waned. Sometime later I decided to restrategized, and for months I left the squirrels alone and practiced scrambling up trees as fast as I could. Years later we moved to a different house in a different neighborhood, and once day I decided to put my tree-climbing skills to the test and see if I could surprise these new squirrels who were not yet aware of my determination. I slowly stalked one in the middle of the front yard, creeping slowly, slowly, until I sensed that it had noticed me, and then I sprinted. Sure enough the squirrel went right for the tree, expecting safety no doubt. But I was prepared for that, and with a deft movement I used one foot to boost myself within reach of a branch which I used to pull myself up at an angle and toward the squirrel that was perched at its tip, presumably "thinking" it was out of reach. With no other branch in easy reach, the squirrel hesitated, and by that time I had swung onto the branch and lunged towards the squirrel, actually managing to get my fingers on its tail before... the branch gave way! Oh, shit, I thought (even at that young age, thanks to cable television and potty-mouthed peers), and I fell... right into the bed of a passing truck carrying, luckily for me, a load of hay. But beneath the hay were some logs, and I hit my head and passed out. For whatever reason the truck driver did not notice, and I was out for many hours. Long enough, in fact, for the truck to have reached the highway out of town, and the next thing I knew I woke up in the bed of the truck parked in front of a house in the bustling metropolis of Corrigan, TX. Needless to say, explaning all this to my strict and doubting father turned out to be fairly unpleasant. There's a lesson in all this, I just know it.

Yay, the van was back!!! But the heat was still oppressive.

August 8, 2007

In anticipation of the drive back to PA I tried to sleep as much as possible but had little success between 6:47 and 7:18. I went ahead and got up and used the time to snap some photos, and then I rushed back down to Christopher's where I guess I had become a regular. Got back to Stone St. at 8;24, certain that all the parking spaces had been taken, but, lo, oh miracle of miracles, there was a space. But wait, wait, wait... what's that? The reason the space was not taken, it appeared, was that some heinous evildoer had removed the top of the meter. Perhaps the locals knew that parking was disallowed, or maybe they just didn't want to take a chance, but since I don't live in Ohio and have no intention of paying a ticket if given, I took the spot. The real question was what type of omen this was. Finding that last parking spot the previous day, perhaps aided by the influence of the staring dog, led me to 5 wins. Would a broken parking meter lead me to 3 wins, or 2, or none?

Against Jon Shreve, I was unsure of MATINGS, but with a strong desire to win three games I had to take the chance. I then drew KLMOPV?, and POM yielded DGKLVV?, so my lead was quickly cut to just 13 points before I bingoed again, OUTrATE. Then my next four racks were CEIIPVW, EIORVVW (didn't get the E for the bingo), ADHIVWY, and DDGIIWV. I managed to score with each, but so did Jon, and I did not take a win for granted. Finally, when he opened a spot for my DAWNING (unwilling to risk the higher-scoring WANDING*), I was able to relax, especially after drawing DEEIRS?. With the win assured and plenty of time on my rack, I set out to find the best bingo to increase the spread and get a better board position in the next round. I finally settled on DeSIREE*, hoping to draw the challenge for the extra turn. I was 100%, no, 110% sure that the word was good. But it wasn't, and I looked really good after giving Jon a shit-eating grin when he challenged. I thought I was being sooooo clever. As it turned out, I bingoed anyway, and Jon got stuck with 12 on his rack, so it still worked out for me. Still felt stupid though.

Man, oh, man, did I catch a lucky break against future star of The Bachelor Jesse Day. First of all, I managed to avoid letting myself be distracted by his stunning good looks, and I mean that in the most non-gayest of ways. Second I escaped a couple of potential lost turns because of good counterplays. First, his RECTO set me up for a 56-point JE(E)Z, and then after his bingo (G)ARRETED I had a 42-point GAD(J)E to take a 25-point lead. Then, looking at ACEINRT but no place to play, Jesse played ATOP under (G)ARRETED and gave me the hook, T(ET)/A(DO)/TACRINE. I was still in danger, because he scored 39 with KIF, TACRINE was hanging next to the TWS, and I was holding ENOOORS. My exchange yielded NaTURES, then LASS for 31, and then Jesse bingoed, OUtLINE to come within 31 points. But two good scores, 27 and 37, allowed me to stay ahead of his final out-bingo, FOOTLES.

The one disappointing thing about that game was that, at the end, when Jesse played off O(Y) to set up FOOTLES, I could have hooked B(OY) and blocked it, but I was unwilling to risk giving him some freaky bingo that I was unaware of. I knew he could play through the R, but whether or not he could play through my AMNOU. So I gave up some spread and final-game board position, but locking in that win was more important.

I was pretty dang happy, but when I saw the Round 29 ratings, I saw that I was only up to 1695. I had to hope that, factoring in Jesse's rating and my final opponents, that splitting those two games would keep me above 1700. But really, if the rating was just an estimate, not taking into account the 16/15 split in the calculation, then I was sure to be above 1700 because I had done so much better in the second half.

Squandered Opportunity

When I sat down before my final-round opponent, older, bearded, and scruffy-looking, my first thought was "who the fuck is this loser?" My verbal inquiry was more polite, but it nevertheless prompted Keif Smif, sitting at the next table, to look at me and shake his head, "Winter, Winter, Winter." Turned out my opponent was none other comedian Michael Richards!!! Wait, wait, wait--wrong Kramer. No, my opponent was none other than 2006 national champion Jim Kramer. Basically, I was fucked, I commented. Jim and Keif tried to reassure me that I could always outdraw or outplay my opponent. And guess what--I managed to triple-triple early, RETR(I)ALS, and I held the lead for most of the game. It was sooooo close to being in the bag, and then I choked. First, I should have challenged ALGEsIA*. Or even if I didn't I should have just played off the triple to take a 30-40 point lead. But no, I had to go and try GHERAOS*. And then, when I did play SHEAR for 41, I gave Jim a hook for (RE)FRONTED, and that was the game. Talk about a blown opportunity, to beat the national champion and get my rating close to 1750 instead of 1706, where it ended up.

Oh, well, there would be another tournament in just three days, and, as with the rest of my life, I would continue to just float on.

Putting One EHOS In Front of the Other

There is an expression common among males--"bros before hos". I can relate to the male bonding aspect of that and all, but I also think the rule only applies if you look like Jesse Day and can pick up any woman at the drop of a hat. But if you look like me, Woody, or half the male Scrabblers, you have to take what you can get. Well, by coincidence, a fan had spotted me hanging out at the Centreville store and sent me an e-mail. We arranged a tentative meeting for lunch, and when she called to confirm I had to tell Woody he'd have to make his own way to the airport.

As with many other fan meetings, nothing came it. No chemistry, in no small part because of whats-her-name's very limited descriptive vocabulary--to her, everything was a clipped "awesome". Well, nineteen-year-olds are bound to be hit-or-miss, and this one was definitely a miss. But in all fairness, I was more disappointed by the flautas at the Mexican restaurant, Esla's, that I had chosen at random. I'd have to said they were the worst flautas I had ever tasted, and I left fearing that I would never again be able to attend the Atlantic City tournament without being reminded of the nausea and near-vomiting that I experienced.

One final stop, for groceries (because I hadn't finished the worthless flautas), and to reshoot the Zink store and charge up the laptop, and then I sped eastward. By the time I reached Wheeling I was hungry again, and I decided to take advantage of the necessary stop to try, for a third time, to see if the only strip club in the area, Jill's, was any good. The first time it had been about midday, and the place doesn't open 'til 4:00. The second time it had been about 1:00 AM, and they had decided to shut down early. Well, the third time was far from a charm--it was about 6:30 in the evening, and the only dancer who had arrived was still getting ready while a sorry-looking lot of potential customers waited in the wings. Jeez, what kind of a work ethic do these women have? Doesn't West Virginia have enough of a stigma already without suffering from lazy strippers?

Can You Queer Me Now?

Not far from Jill's was an adult bookstore named Fritz the Cat, and the name alone was enough to prompt me to enter and perform an experiment that had been percolating in the back of my mind for a month or two. The experiment, which I will leave to the imagination, was rather successful. Before I left, however, something rather odd, as in strange, as in queer, occurred. Towards the bottom of the video booth, about knee level, was a rather large hole, large enough performs for a man to stick most of his head through. Perhaps not a bighead like some of our favorite Scrabblers, but someone with a moderately-sized head for sure. I had not been in the booth that long before I heard the door in the adjacent booth open and close, and the next thing I knew there was an old man peering at me through the hole. Though the man whispered, his proposal came through loud and clear and in graphic detail. It was not a difficult decision to decline, though I must stress that I find nothing harmful in what the man was proposing. When that pink-shirted old man finally finds what he was looking for, society will not be harmed--it just won't be with me, that's all. I've no problem with men hooking up, or even with old people hooking up (as long as they aren't my parents, or anybody's parents for that matter). Now if the face peering through the hole had been somebody like Jesse Day, for example it would have been a different matter alltogether (and made for a heck of a more interesting story).

Farther down the same road still I discovered something else that was a bit queer. I ordered a couple of slices of pizza from a place calls DiCarlo's. The slices were square, by which I mean rectangular, but that's not what was queer. No, what was unusual about this place was they put the cheese onto the pizza after removing it from the oven, not before. Unmelted cheese--is that another freaky West Virginia thing, like lazy strippers?

August 13, 2007

I arrived a Scrabble club a bit late and surprised to find a visiting player with a certain teenage daughter in tow. Still unwilling to be sucked into the Scrabble scene (she finds the game "boring"), and prohibited from leaving the playing room, even to use her phone outside, the child was evidencing boredom and pleaded to use my computer. What the heck, I thought--I had not yet load any porn onto it, and there were no incriminating files that could be accessed that I could think of. Not unless you count downloaded episodes of Robot Chicken, which I downloaded just to see if they were any good so I could decide whether to buy a (used) DVD. In between rounds I had a chance to chat with the inquisitive girl, and I found her to be about as interesting as, well, as a fourteen-year-old. This was a bit of a letdown, because in the movies when a young teenage girl interacts with an older man she is usually portrayed to be more mature than her age, with an old soul and a fairly educated and enlightened mind. Take the sixteen-year-old who seduces David Duchovny's character (not hard to do) in the new Showtime series Californication, for example. Well, to be truthful, the actress, is actually 22, which is probably why in the sex scene she revealed breasts that no sixteen-year-old has a right to have. There are just certain "badges of honor" that should be age-restricted, kind of like when I was in karate and they restricted brown belt to the age of sixteen and black belt to the age of seventeen. Yeah, just like that.

August 15, 2007

I finally discovered that our favorite Peruvian Scrabble expert is not, as I had believe, named "de Solar", but instead "del Solar"! I was shocked. And I thought I had gotten to know the young lad so well. It almost was like when you've been married to a person for years and then discover he is, like, a super secret assassin or something like that. Well, maybe not exactly.

August 18, 2007

A certain extremely attractive Scrabble player made a cameo appearance on one of my dreams. Can't remember the context, but I was left wondering if there was any significance to the person's appearance.

August 26, 2007

Another player, not quite as attractive, but still definitely a Hatfield, and also the heiress to one of the 21st centuries preeminent transnational corporations, a made an appearance in my dream. But she is married and out of reach, and I wonder if there was any relation between that and the rather gross images in the dream. I found myself picking my nose and unable to clear out all the chunks. I tried pulling one straight out of a nostril, and I discovered a strand of some material that lengthened as I pulled but would not dislodge from my nose. I went to the bathroom to see what was going on up there, and the pink flesh did not look good. I tried to wash it out, and I ended up spilling a lot of bloody liquid into the sink as the Filipino bathroom attendant cleaned the adjacent sink. I assured her that I would clean up my mess. Jeez, what does all that mean.


1.2 ZA(S)  
0 JO(Y)  
3.2 Q(I)NTAR  
0 VET  
0 (A)VO  
10 OCA  
23.3 CR(U) trying for 3x3
28.9 (C)LIP PROLIfI(C)
32.3 W(E) (T)OILWoRN
6 (T)ROtLINE pROLINE (saw it--no idea why I didn't play)
10 MIRI  
4 OI  
4.2 (F)LAXEN  
1.7 SAW  
0.7 BREW  
11.1 EGOS  
0.7 AERO  
0 BOL(D)ER  
6.9 RA(J)  
28.3 Q(I)  
3.8 GUIRO  
2.8* HOtLINE  
2 MITY  
0 (V)EEp  
10 VETOES (U)  
3.9 lose turn (BIGGIER*)  
2.8 (R)ERIG  
6.3 WE(B)ER  
38.6 AM  
9.4 EX  
7.2 JOB  
6.1 TRAY  
0 OH  
0 BOTT  
0 EFT  
9.2 (C)ODING  
0 HEX  
5.1 Z(I)N  
22.3 W(RE)N  
24 K(I)LTY  
12.4 VExATES*  
0 FI(L)ARIaE  
0 AU(B)ADE  
4.1 QA(ID)  
0 (L)EZ  
3.8 M(O)DI  
0 WEFT  
28.1 SIP UNRIPS (saw but unsure),PURINS,SUP
3.7 JUI(C)Y  
9 EN  
0.6 ALOHA  
1.2 BAUD  
2.2 OPEN  
4.5 T(R)UCK  
0 VA(N)GS  
0 (T)RENDY  
0.2* LINO  
1 WRIT  
1 (L)ITU  
0 R(I)OJA  
4 CR(O)WD  
37.9 lose turn (PO(G)O*) OUT(CROWDS) (saw but unsure),POO/(YE)P/(G)O/(G)O,PI(G)OUT (unsure)
19.3 POUT ditto
18.1 LAX  
8 A(Z)O  
26.7 NU  
32.9 LE(I)  
53.6 CcRLINE*  
26.3 LIN miss other hook
0 H(A)ME  
0 OU(R)ARI  
12.7 NE(R)OLI (no clue what to do, so block)
0 QI  
3.3 EN  
8 V(A)T  
8 DR(I)P  
1 (PE)D  
0 QI  
3.2 (N)EVE  
1.9 AUDIL(E)  
3.7 TWAE  
30.5 lose turn (JARLS/(eRICOID)S*)  
0 RAJ  
12 S(AWE)D  
9.1 E(S)  
11.4* LENO  
0* (FED)S  
7 NA(AN)S  
10 (TO)E  
12 OTI(C)  
2.6 WHO  
0 VIROI(D)  
0 JAM  
0.1 FEVE(R)  
21 H(E)  
15.3 (A)TT  
2.9 UM  
5.8 T(O)DS  
0 PIE(R)  
0 BO(O)  
9.7 DEN  
0.1 TEAsING  
10.9 E(H)  
6.5 RAVER  
2.8 V(A)W  
0 (V)OX  
0 NISI  
3.1 (W)IDEN  
0 WEIR  
0 FUB/U(D)*  
21.8 SCRIED  
0 HILI  
3.3 (R)EATA  
0 OX  
0.7 EGL(A)TeRE  
9 E(N)  
12 QAT  
1 (E)T  
1.6 COBLE  
8.5 BLYPE  
44.5 lose turn (HEDGY)  
5.7 M(O)URN  
7.9 GHAU(R)  
0 (Z)AIRE  
0 MU(R)IN*  
0* GONIF(F)  
4.2 AA  
0 OXO  
0 ATE  
0 FRAG  
0.4 JOK(E)R  
0 PO(L)IO  
1.3 WhIM  
4.5 (BI)TTY  
16.6 G(Y)RI DR(U)gGIST
2.7 SAiNTED  
4.6 ADO  
0 OUTG(O)  
14 DERIv(E)RS  
0 Q(I)  
0 WHEW  
21.1 PORKY PURI (four-tile interlap)
4.9 FOG  
37.7 lose turn ((L)UFA*)  
1.8* FU(N)DI  
4.7 PURE RAZE (that's it--I just can't play this game),PAREU
0 ZUz(I)M  
0* DEX  
0 CEL  
0 VIL(L)  
0 MULCHeR*  
43.3 lose turn (NEURULAR)  
3.8 IODI(N)E  
8.9 UTE  
7.3 VIE(D)  
4.3 PIKE  
4 COX  
3 OOZE  
0 QIS  
--- G(U)V  
6.2 BO D(H)OW,B(E)sTOWeD
17.8 D(H)OW DOWD(I)esT,DOW(N)TroD (unsure)
3.2 D(I)AbETEs missed YECH S hook
3 CARP CA(KEY)/C(AM)/A(GO) (would have been a sweet play)
8.2 VI(E)R block line
7.3 OM block 3x3
37.7 lose turn (GOWD)  
6.4 FE block line
0 A(D)IEU  
0 A(Z)O  
3 OI  
0 GUV  
1.6 WILY  
0 RETE  
0.8 FOUNT  
7.5 PLY  
8.6 BEMA  
1.4 WIN V(A)T/(BEMA)T(A)
0 TAV  
7.8 (A)DD SORDiDL(Y)
5.2 -FGMNQW (E)  
0 P(O)OVE  
0 FUD  
0 HO(V)EL  
2.5 REE(D)  
0 Q(I)  
0 MERE  
4.8 JARS  
0 WO  
--- CARE  
--- PUT  
0 DOW  
0 W(I)Z  
0 ONO  
3 PEERIES defense against big X play
0 (T)HIO  
5.9 (S)ANDER low chances no matter what
0 UP  
19 (GAY)ALL* (trying to cut spread)  
1 (N)UB  
9 D(R)Y  
0 -A (ENTAIL)  
37 QI Q(U)ANTILE (unsure and DANGEROUS)
4.7 UN(A)U  
0 JOY  
0 LORD  
16.2 AG  
4.2 AD  
1.9 AERIE  
0 ZI(N)  
4.8 HE(T)  
6 CHI GHI (too few points!)
12 (F)ORT  
0 GRaM(A)  
0 P(I)GEYE*  
0 WIZ  
9.9 CORDS dangerous to let him have hook
0 Q(I)  
0 MAIR  
0 XU  
0.3 GLOV(E)  
3.9 F(O)VEA  
6.5 HE(MI)N  
27 D(O)UBTER  
0.2 WO  
0 EULO(G)Y  
0 POOF 8G  
1.3 SEAMEN  
0 (A)M(A)S  
8.8 OD(D)  
7.1 (ODD)ER keep board tight
9.7 I(C)H keep board tight
0 NIGH  
4.6 JAT(O)  
26.4 ENU(F)  
10.9 NONYL COYLY (saw but thought it needed to Ls!!!)
0.5 GOB since I know Jim doesn't have A, and I do, this is the play
8.2 RACY MONGO E hook
0 AXE  
9.6 DEGAS  
0 AWA  
0* (C)UTIE  
0 -EIIOU  
0* IF  
0 (B)UT  
0 HIKE  
1.5 (P)IKED  
4.6 FO(R)TE  
0 Q(I)  
16.2 B(L)EATERS BEATERS (4-tile overlap)
0 ZED  
2 OY  
7.1 TRYI(N)G  
19.9 OX  
0 JAI(L)ED  
0 AU(G)MENtS  
0 HOM(I)E  
5 NIP  
0 AZI(D)E  
14 ETA know opp's letters,avoid counterplay
2.1 QIS  
0 (L)UGGED  
4.8 COHO  
0.3 PI(C)KY  
--- (ZAP)PY  
0 MAGE  
0 FUN  
4.1 T(H)EN  
0 OR(D)ER  
12.1 VILE  
2 UN(S)EAT  
1.8 FORTE  
8.9 HAV(O)C  
8.4 RIB miss B(LOT) hook
0 OY  
0 JOE  
10.3 EEK REvOKES,EvOKERS (time pressure),(HAVOC)KER
--- BL(E)EP  
0* LEX  
0 G(A)WD*  
0 M(I)CA  
0.7 AMBiENT  
5.6 NIPA  
42.7 lose turn (LUNATION)  
33.8 lose turn (illegal play)  
2.2 AY  
0* EWE  
8.4 (H)UIC  
0 TOPO  
0* AJEE  
13 MINE  
0 Q(I)  
0 OXO  
5.3 D(EX)IE  
0 POM  
5 PICE  
11 VIREO block
12.2 YAH block
4.7 VID  
1 In(B)REEDS  
0 W(H)INED  
0 QUI(D)  
0.3 A(Y)E  
0 JE(E)Z  
3.2 GAD(*J)E  
0.1 NaTURES  
0.6 MINI BIMA (prefer to keep B for BAM)
49 BAM afraid to block & give letter to play thru
0 JIN  


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