Back to Black

Thursday, December 27, 2007

As I pulled into the parking lot of my final Starbucks of the night, I knew that, even skipping the two in Greenwood, I was going to be in trouble. It was barely 8:00 and I was already feeling fatigued. I knew it!!! I had dawdled too long in Indianapolis, but I couldn't resist. I had discovered two seemingly busty girls on CL offering four-handed massage for just $100. That's extremely cheap. That's like a two-for one sale at Wal-Mart. And believe me, when I met these girls, it was clear that they were totally Wal-Mart types. Still, my goal is to sex up as many womens as possible, so I had to give it the ol' college try. Granted, they were just offering "massage", but I never underestimate the power of positive thinking. Isn't that what all those self-help gurus say?

I definitely did not regret my time well spent with Karma and Passion (aka Ashley and Marie), but I did regret having detoured to Indianapolis in the first place. Actually, I should not have detoured north into Wisconsin at all. I had completely misscheduled the days I had available between Farmington and Albany, and now I was looking at nearly 800 miles to drive in 17 hours. This left enough time to sleep 6 hours, at best. Maybe 7 if I managed to make really good time, but that was not realistic, especially if there was any snow. Since any losses in the Early Bird could be undone in the Main Event, I was not worried about playing on little sleep, but I actually had to reach Albany in one piece in order to play. When I started to feel dizzy not long after getting on the interstate and tearing into my burrito, reaching Albany was looking like less than a guarantee.

Shortly after finishing my burrito my power inverter turned off, from overheating I assumed. I plugged in the iPod and quickly discovered it was out of power. Crap!!! I could have plugged it in at the Motel 6. On the other hand, that would have been a bad idea in case Ashley and Marie were cash-and-dash types. With no music, keeping my eyes on the road was even more difficult now that the dizziness had started. To this day I have not been able to figure out what causes the dizziness, and that night I felt that I was coming much too close to losing control or even consciousness for comfort. All I wanted at that moment was to sleep, sleep, sleep, but I knew full well that if I went to sleep that early, I would never reach Albany in time.

I'm 35 dammit, I should not be getting dizzy like that, so early in the night. I'd never missed a tourmament, except Albany when my car broke down with 2000 miles still to drive, and besides the I'd only forfeited one round in 100+ tournaments. I did not want to give in to my human weakness. Oh, curse this mortal shell that houses me. Why can't I be cybernetic and able to perform for days at a stretch with little or no food or sleep? All these thoughts coursed through my mind as I motivated myself to push on and on and keep that car on the road.

As pressed for time as I was, it was still to my advantage to pull off the interstate and visit the Richmond store. Besides needing to gas up, the process of driving through the city, stopping at the lights, and rushing into the store would help keep me awake.

On top of my fatigue I had another worry. I had crossed the Ohio state line. I had completely forgotten about the fact that I would have to traverse Ohio again, and in a hurry. After already having received a warning, I had to assume if I were pulled over again I'd be ticketed for sure... after a lengthy lecture.

From Richmond it was still quite a distance to Columbus, and that was the hardest part of the drive. Thankfully, my power inverter had cooled off and was again working, and I was able to crank up some tunage. I further kept my mind occupied by diligently counting down the miles to the next rest area. Not that the rest area would help--if the need to pull over came over me, it would probably be sudden, and I would have to take the very next exit out of frightened desperation. When the rest area did come around, I felt okay to continue (still tired and dizzy, but not yet on the verge of passing out), and negotiating the Columbus metroplex with its lights and traffic easier that driving the empty interstate.

Another tough stretch followed, between Columbus and Cleveland, but I was able to distract myself by trying to figure out where the Steelyard store is. Not much of a detour, just a few miles, and the extra caffeine would come in handy anyway. Problem, though--the street where my mapping program had put the store was not called Steelyard Drive. In fact, there was no Steelyard Drive listed anywhere in Cleveland. Son of a monkey biscuit!!! They snookered me again. It was almost midnight, and I could not call for directions, so I had to go on and take I-271 around Cleveland to get to I-90 and the final stretch.

Though I did not notice it on the map, I-271 is actually pretty frickin' long, man. I had probably already driven 10-20 miles and passed up the rest area when I saw a sign advertising I-90 at 32 miles away. Jeepers! There was very little in the way of exits and businesses along that stretch, but I managed to catch that second win and persevere out to I-90. And that's pretty much when I pooped out. Once I saw the Pilot station, about 425 miles from Albany, I decided that I had driven enough. Almost 1:30, nearly five hours from the point when I started feeling dizzy--that was some hard driving, man.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Woke up at 6:26, a little too early than I had hoped. Only 5 hours of sleep, and tough to know whether I could drive 425 miles on such a deficit. But if I tried to go back to sleep until 7:30 and just tossed and turned, the time would be wasted for nothing. So I went into the pilot for a biscuit, shook off the cobwebs, and I started driving. Next to me, C3PO chattered on about how "the probability of successfully navigating 425 miles in 386 minutes on 5 hours of sleep was approximately thousand four hundred and sixty-seven to one." I told him to hush.

I was relieved when I finally crossed from Ohio into Pennsylvania, but I was even more relieved when, at 7:26, I noticed a significantly lightened sky. Light made my drive considerably easier and less dangerous. The longer I could resist pulling over for more sleep, the greater my chances of actually making it.

7:29, hit the New York state line, 357 miles to go.

Made great time for a couple hundred miles, so I pulled off the Thruway in Syracuse for gas, breakfast, and to reshoot a couple stores. All my spare time was used up, but I still hit Albany shortly before 1:00. I found the ballroom and was pleased to see a sign advertising the start time as 1:30. Good for me, because once I put my $30 into Jeremy's grabby hands I was able to rush off and get some food. Actually, I stopped at the front desk first to clarify the parking ticket validation situation. The too-clever-for-his-own-good desk clerk had told me Annette was validating the tickets, and Annette told me the front desk was. Geez, Louise, get things straight, will you people!

Anyway, I talked the clerk into a validation with my puppy-dog eyes, and then I rushed out and around the corner to Pearl Street. I went into the first place I spotted, the Fusion Cafe. Asian fare. I went with some type of beef vegetable soup. Not great, but edible.

Oh, almost forgot, because I was processing sensory input faster than I could log it, but Jill walked up to tell me she did not like what I wrote about her. I had no idea what I had written, but regardless my response would have been the same, that it was true. Jill protested that it wasn't true, that it was my perception. To this I replied, "YES!!!" Exactly. It's a blog, not a newspaper article or an encyclopedia entry. It is totally what I perceive, and to the extent that I am not insane, what I write is entirely true.

Thought my first opponent looks like the seed of Weird Al Yankovic, he pulled out not an accordion but instead a (Z)ITHeRNS for 107 to overtake the lead and momentum I'd spent eight turns building. I hate it when that happens! Despite my uncertainty, I went ahead and played JA(NE) for 44 to retake the lead, but Nigel managed to score 44 with MAQUI to win it. I would quickly see that, had I found and played REVUE instead of DEV, Nigel would not have had his play. Maybe he would have had something else, but still it sucks to have lost by missing such a simple word. Afterwards, in the bathroom, Paul Avrin scoffed with disbelief when I recounted my uncertainty about JA(NE).

During the game I looked across the room and noticed that Doug Brockmeier, not black, whom I had seen earlier, was not playing. I looked around for other division 1 players and realized there were six of them. Doug was, in fact, skipping the Early Bird. What???

Wait. Waitaminute. After discussing the position with Nigel, I realized that there is no way I would have played REVUE because the risk of getting stick with the Q was just too high! Accordingly, I could not have won that game. The Curse of Tedesco, which had cost me ratings points in Lake George and Saratoga Springs, was still in effect!

Next game, John Morse, and the Curse of Tedesco intensified and showed me that it was master of my fate. The fact that I only scored 238 and was beating by a whopping 281 points should tell you just how powerful the curse was.

Meanwhile, some lower-division player managed to score the type of dream play I'd been dreaming about for years--WALTZERS (not sure if there was a blank) for over 300!!! I've said it before and I'll say it again--I would trade any experience, even sex, for a play like that.

The curse yielded momentarily when it mattered most, against Joel Wapnick and David Koenig. I straight-up outdrew Joel, and my only plays of note were F(L)AVoURS and PAPAW(S). But against David I take credit for kickstarting my game with (C)ONIDIAL (after being unsure of PICARO and opening with CARPI instead).

I was relieved to win a second game, but I was dismayed to learn that there was a dinner break, and furthermore a loooong one at that, like 90 minutes. I was struggling on five hours of sleep, and it would have really helped me to be able to play straight through and then go sleepy sleep.

Tim Adamson up first after dinner, and I caught a huge break with FOULING to open. Then, despite mistakes, AGITAtO to stay comfortably ahead and decent tiles to continue scoring towards a third victory!

Bradley Whitmarsh once against busted out with the late sneaky come-from-behind bingo (aka the nutsack), and it looked like I might actually lose the game. I agonized over this play. DHO(O)TIE and HO(O)DIE scored well but risked drawing dreck, while a small play in the lower right minimized my risk of getting stuck with bad tiles but left all those K lines open for Brad. I'm still not sure what the right play is, but I went with the modest score and decent leave. Brad then scored well with WHI(N)GE, and I had to decide whether I could win it with (WHINGE)S/SOW. The problem was if Brad could score more with his GPU? than what I saw, or if there was an error in scoring, I might lose it. I had already lost to Brad in a recount in Lake George, and with the blank in play I couldn't be certain I could find Brad's highest score, so I decided to gamble everything and take a chance on the extra points for (WHINGE)D/DOW. It worked!

Four in a row, man, and I was stoked after that crappy 0-2 opening. If I won a 5th I'd see a sweet ratings boost, maybe even 1800!!! But dammit, with the scores tied on a tight board, Karl Higby had to go and hook E(SQUIRED). Seemed like a good time to try a phony to me, and with the scores tied and plenty of tiles in the back, I still had time to recover if it was no good. But Karl was able to score enough (just 39) with the second blank to threaten to run away with the game, and I was forced into the desperate SORTIN(G)S*. And thus Higby, for the second time, failed to go down. Didn't Higby understand that it was his destiny to go down? Compare the words "Higby Goes Down" with "Higby Goes Up". Seriously, which one flows off the tongue better?

I was okay with 4-3 in that field and was not too disappointed. Besides, I had a much greater concern... SLEEP!!! Downtown Albany appeared to be quiet, and I only had to drive a few short blocks before finding a suitable street where I could pass out.

The night was filled with wacky dreams guest starring well-known Scrabblers. First, poor Cesar--his blog (in my dream) indicated that he had been evicted from his apartment and broken up with his girlfriend. The landlord was medium-brown skinned, African, and had funky hair that I do not know how to describe. Not dreadlocks. Not corn rows. Not exactly like Erica Moore wears her hair. But something wild and sticking out nonetheless.

Next, Jeremy Cahnmann, whom I was playing for money. Like in our Chicago game, he outdrew me, drawing both blanks in both games. Particularly weird was when, as I was still counting up the score of my play, he jumped the gun and made two plays on different parts of the board, scoring 30+ with a power tiles with one and 30+ with a blank with the other. And the blank play had been a phony, but I had not noticed because I was still counting up my play and demoralized at being outdrawn. Later in the game, he played the second blank and Q, and I became upset and let.

Next, Cesar again, and another undetermined player. We were in a shared motel room. Cesar had a bed to himself, and I was sharing the other bed with unknown player. At some point the unknown player began lightly scratching my back. Apparently, when Scrabble players room with each other, they scratch each other's backs. I told him it would be easier for me to sleep without the scratching, and I went back to sleep.

Finally, I think Wapnick was in the mix there somewhere too, but I cannot remember the context.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hearing the rain during the night, I had not expected to see the sun in the morning. But at 8:59 I saw some sunlight reflected off a glass building in the distance, and I decided to see if I could rephotograph some Albany-area stores.

Since I had done okay on Friday, I did not really want to abandon any good luck that my be clinging to my t-shirt. However, I had been wearing the shirt for about seven days, and there was something else clinging to it that other players might not appreciate. And given the number of participants, over a hundred, in the main event, chances were good that Scrabble cuties would be present, and I did not want to give off a potently pungent first impression.

I cruised west on Central Ave in search of grubbins. The area appeared underserved, and most of the restaurants were closed, including a Dominican place. I made a mental note for later. A few miles down I pulled in front of Jack's Diner, a cozy hole-in-the-wall diner, railroad-car appearance and all. I went into the restroom to wash my face and saw just how cozy the place was. The two urinals were squeezed so closely between the walls that the two men using them would have lean away from each other to avoid touching feet. Larry Craig would have loved this place!

My order was taken by one of the most elderliest employees I'd seen at a diner, a dottering old man who could not remember where he put his pad, where he put his pen, and seemed to be generally headed for an Alzheimer's ward somewhere. Thankfully, a younger and spryer lady interceded, turned in the order, and I soon had my breakfast.

Took my basic eggs, toast, bacon, and potatoes, still steaming hot, and rushed over to the Western Ave store for some juice. Looked up my new rating--1776, a boost, excellent. But damn, if I hadn't challenged ESQUIRED I might have been able to win that last game and get back to 1800. Grrr...

The Starbucks was packed. A large group of males had pushed tables together and were bonding, I guess. College youths were studying, or pretending to. Two women, middle-aged but still eminently doable (even the chubby one) chatted in a corner. And off by himself, slumped back in a lounge-type chair, a nerdy looking man, late 30s maybe, still wearing his jacket, looking rather lost and lonely. His nerdiness was emphasized when he pulled off his glasses, pulled out a spray bottle, and began to spray some substance on them for cleaning. Effective, I would agree, but still nerdy as hell. Best money I ever spent was t o have my eyes lasered.

Rephotographed several stores and ended up in Clifton Park where I waited for attractive blonde to exit with her coffee and move her car. While I waited, Woodwind (Woody's given name) called from the train. Oops!!! I had completely forgotten that I had promised to pick him up from the station. Well, this was partly his fault--it had been a couple of weeks since he had asked. There was no way I was going to remember. Regardless, there was no problem. Plenty of time, still, for me to finish taking my photo, stop at the grocery store, and make it down to the station and get Woody over to the hotel.

After dropping off Woody I looked around and realized that, because of something called Winterfest, I would not be able to park on the street. I went into the garage, right behind Joel Horn. Why he passed up this perfectly good space is beyond me. Look, there's plenty of room!!! Parking is just like a Scrabble puzzle--a car is like a tile is like the Q that needs to be fit into a tight spot.

I walked down the block for a lame slice from Pizzeria 54, and on the way I had to squeeze once more (squeezing is fun), past makeshift bleachers on the sidewalk in front of a stunt show. The observants oohed (why aren't OOHED and OOHING good?) and aahed at the sight of a small dog wearing a Superman cape running around to "Kryptonite" and catching (or trying to catch) bright green frisbees. Jeez, these Albanians are easily-amused, I thought. Thus I was surprised, when, upon my returned, I spotted four Scrabblers in the crowd, rapt with attention. And these are four highly-rated players, at that. I guess Scrabble skill does not correlate with taste in entertainment.

I sat in the playing room eating my pizza and finishing simming some games. I watched the room grow more and more crowed, louder and louder. At some point I noticed Doug Brockmeier, still not black, and asked why he had not played the Early Bird. He got all Zen on me and asked me why I had played. My answer was simple--because I want to play as much Scrabble as possible. His response--"I want to win this tournament. I spent the day studying." Sounds fair to me (read: wuss).

Let the games begin.

Whew! A narrow win for me, and a tough, tough loss for Max Panitch. I've had losses like that, and never feel good afterwards. In fact, I have nickname for the way that I won that game.

After he took a 49-point lead late with SMarTIE, and I had no place for AEFINRS, I was pretty worried. But F(a)IR for 30 put me within 20, and I had the case S to hook SMaRTIE for 40+ points. Z and X were still in the bag though, and Max's simple OXO had the effect of blocking that S hook. I had no idea whether to try and shape my rack for a bing through an R or O, or whether to just score and hope for the Z. I went for the points, 28 for (E)YEN and a suboptimal ACSU leave, and I happened to draw into CU(R)TAILS. Max doubtlessly agonized over whether to take 47 for AZOTED or to block that R, and thank heavens for me that he took the points. I felt a little bad that I had won despite being unsure of (R)USTICAL (for a lot more points).

Once again, Higby. Once again, Higby did... not... go... down! Higby, Higby, Higby, what am I going to do with you? Well, for starters, I could have opened with FOB leaving ELNS, not the vastly inferior FOB. Kinda hard to protest Karl's double blanks after opening with such a glaring mistake. Most interesting though was whatever mental process convinced me that PUKY* is good. I was 100% sure it was good. I was 200% sure it was good. In fact, I was praying that Karl would challenge. In fact, as soon as he did challenge I was already mentally composing a witty blog post about how that sucka lost two challenges (the other was BALLSIE(r)).

Towards the end of the game, the entire playing room was disrupted with one of the ugliest outbursts, actually a confrontation between two players, that I had ever seen in my 100+ Scrabble tournaments.

A got another crack at Weird Al, Jr., and perhaps it was he who faced the unwinnable game this time. I bingoed first with RIVETER, and even though I missed ENCAMp(E)D, I managed to score 64 points between AMEN and CADI, and then bingo with sAUTOIR. Nigel, meanwhile, made a much more clever play, the nine-letter PATTERE(RE)rS. I had no idea, but with 34 for CADI, it made sense to let it go. Another fortunate break was not being forced to try to hook PATTERERS, nor to watch Nigel hook it and have to decide if it was good.

Found Cesar for dinner and along with Kenji we just went downstairs to the hotel restaurant, which, like every other hotel restaurant I've ever been too, only offered fountain soft drinks, not the vastly superior canned variety. But that wasn't their greatest sin. Noooo, it was very much the fact that it took an extremely long time to get our food idea. Though the burger and sweet potato fries (a first for me) were delicious, we barely had fifteen minutes to finish our meal. I did not feel under much time pressure, however, because my next opponent Doug Brockmeier, still not black, had returned from his meal to join us at the table. I did not have to worry about having my clock started, but I did have to sit through his wry knowing smile which silently told tales of the indignities that he would heap upon me over the board.

And, as I expected, it turned into an ugly ugly game indeed. I played horribly! A second loss deserved. Here's how not to play!

Up next, my first tournament game against the Brian Bailey. I played a shitty game, but my strategy of pushing him on time worked. Even though I had never played him (in tournament), I had seem him run low on time before, and in fact the game preceiding mine, and I inferred that he was vulnerable to time trouble. Though I won by 55, I suspect it would have been much closer, or even a loss, had he had more time to play the middle and end games.

Final game of the night, Jason Idalsky, a player I'd never heard of, except in whispers. The buzz was he was underrated. Maybe he is, but he let me hook an S to my opening RADIALE without even a hold. He should have at least held. Anyway, I was relieved to draw two additional bingos, LATRIAS and FORGONE, early in the game, thus making the remaing two thirds much easier. This was important because my head was on fire. I had only had one short coffee that day, and this was not nearly enough to stem the withdrawal caused by a week of Starbucking. After the game I could have gone down to the Starbucks for half a cup to ease the pain, but I decided to instead take two pain pills and ride out the withdrawal.

No Scrabble dreams that night, but I think it was a Scrabbler at a bus stop, or getting into a bus, who made a comment either about Jews or about antisemitism. This prompted me to begin to lecture him, always a dicey proposition because the sensitive nature of the Holocaust makes any criticism of Judaism or Israel a dangerous proposition. Google "criticism israel accusation antisemitism", and you will see that critics of Israel are often accused of anti-semitism. This does not concern me so much, since there is no benefit to the world in merely criticizing Israel. Though Israel oppresses the Palestinian people, that oppression is no different than similar oppression happening around the world, including here in the United States. No, the conditions of the poor and vulnerable in America is nowhere close to what the Palestinians are facing, but the U.S. oppresses them nonetheless. Regardless, the weak here, like the weak across the world, are partly to blame for their own vulnerabilty. Rather than helping them, energy is better spent attacking a much more harmful institution, religion. Attacking religion is a perlious endeavor all around, and I worry that, because of the Holocaust, attacking Judaism might be even more perilous.

On a lighter note, there was a dual grill in the playing room, and for some reason I decided to dump a can of soda into one of the holes (don't know why the grill had holes). The grill then exploded. Bad grill.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

As I drove back to Jack's Diner for breakfast I simmed the Nigel game and saw that I had missed ENCAMp(E)D, right before Nigel played the brilliant PATTER(ER)rS. I felt just horrible that I had lost despite that mistake, and I wished that the NSA had some type of policy for petitioning to reverse the results of a game. Let Quackle decide, that's what I say!!!

Going into my game with Cesar, I genuinely felt that even if he won I would not be upset because Cesar is one of the most likeable players in Scrabble. Yet, to feel no discontent as Cesar played four bingos and drew all esses and both blanks--well, that would not be human, would it?

But the worst part of that loss did not become apparent until I went out into the hall to see the pairings. Oh... my... god!!! Fucking Joey Mallick and fucking Joel Sherman in the next three rounds. I was so fucked. I just wanted to get the pain over with, but Joey did not seem too interested in playing me, preferring to chat with others than to find a board. Can't say I really blame him. Compared to his god-like status, I am just a bug.

Well, we finally got started, and I finally drew a blank on my opening rack, but with UW. FUCK!!! I burned a lot of time, but I just couldn't see UNWAxED or UNsAWED!!! STUPID STUPID STUPID! MORON RETARD STUPID!!! So I played WUD and draw AEFOON?. FANE/(F)E gave Joey (FE)Z/ZEST for 56, and I felt the game slipping away. Each rack seemed promising, and I burned a lot of time. Even as I played off (T)EACH (chickening out on (T)HECA), leaving GO?, I suspected I was missing something, and I could not believe I was actually blowing my first chance to beat Joey. My brain was disintegrating. Joey played VIRTU, and I could not remember if it takes an S or not. Then I drew the second blank, and two esses, and I flinched when I saw my full rack--GOSSY??!!! There can't be anything there, can there? Oh, only about a million bingoes! I burned yet more lof my rapidly dwindly minutes and finally saw one, StOGeYS, but I was too chicken to pull the trigger. Then Joey bingoed, LUNARI(A)N, and my desperation grew, nearing the point of panic. Next rack, DSSST??. Only a U to play through, but still a gajillion bingos, and I missed them all, instead making the most astonishing use of two eses and a blank, SuDS for 18. You should have seen the look on Joey's face. Next I drew some tiles I could work with AIPSTV?, but Joey scored 30 with EXC(US)E to take and 87-point lead. (C)APTIVeS scored 92, but slotted the S in the triple column. I felt I need to make the best bingo to win, so I kept looking and saw SPAVIeT to the S for 98! But it doesn't take an S, I learned to my dismay!!! AARRGHH!!! WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE SPAVIET???

So I finally got down the bingo, (C)APTIVeS, and a miracle occurred. I drew ABILNOT to a G slotted in the triple line, for 86 points and the lead!!! Unbelievable! Then 34 for (ZEST)ING and 28 for JA(D)E to block a glaringly dangerous bingo line, and the possibilities of a win started to look good. Just had to keep him from bingoing, and I managed to pull it off!!! I WON I WON I WON I WON!!! FIRST WIN AGAINST JOEY MALLICK!!!

The pancakes from Jack's had been good, but not enough, and I was mighty hungry and glad for the break before facing the Demon. Had to find my phone first, though, so I went back to my car. Oops. No keys. They were in my coat, back in the playing room. Stupidity continued. I put the cup of water I had been carrying under the car, next to a tire, and went back to the hotel. Returned to the car and looked for my phone. Did not find it. Finally looked in my backpack. D'oh, there it was. More stupidity. Had meant to retrieve the cup of water and put in the car. Got distracted and forgot. Walked around the block looking for grub, but only found the Chinese place open. Long line of player, plus the photos on the menu looked decidedly unappetizing. Had not wanted to drive, for the sake of the environment, but hunger trumped my concern. Returned to car. Backed out of the parking space and crushed the cup of water. Was there no end to my stupidity?

Not far away on Central I found El Mariachi. Decent flautas. No canned soda, so I returned to the car to enjoy part of my two remaining bottles of precious Tradewinds tea. I felt I needed the tea's mood-boosting flavor to better compete against the Demon. Suddenly remembered Lost!!! There was a "Missing Piece" episode I had not yet watched! Plus several new episodes of Quarterlife, an excellent series that will be one of the few watchable offerings (besides The Wire and Lost on TV in the coming months).

I waited as long as I could, but I could delay the inevitable no longer. 2:40 arrived, and it was time to once again face the Demon. If he was not the spawn of Satan himself, he was surely the seed of one of the Most Unholy's lesser minions. How else could you explain his ability to quench every ounce of hope that dared to shine within my frail mortal coil.

And there was hope. Against the Demon there is almost always hope, because it is not enough for the Demon to beat me. He has to crush my hope and my spirit as well. When I bingoed first with HAIRN(E)TS and then drew a promising EOOPQRS with plenty of Q spots, I had hope. But that hope last little longer than the morning dew, quickly blown away by the Demon's vACATED immediately followed by ENDORSE. Still holding an S, my last solid hope for a comeback was was to play TUG/(ROQUE)T setting up the S hook. Just one S in the a bag of 32 tiles, and he had it!!! The Demon had the S!!! That was it, game over. Later I would learn that I had only given up 16.4 points of equity. How do you do lose after giving up just 16.4 points??? By playing a Demon, that's how!!! A fiendish Demon from the lowliest Depths of Hell itself!!! Curse you, foul Demon!!!

Outdrew Lisa Slankard. She seemed resigned to her fate, sighing every time I got another big score down. But, to her credit, she played a sweet word, u(N)GULATE. She gets respect for that at least.

That punk Kurt Davies!!! I won, but it could have gone the other way thanks to his phony DUNDERS*. After the game he unapologetically confessed that he had no idea. He just threw that shit down there with no regard for my word knowledge. That's just downright disrespectful.

Final game of the day, Jill Pfeiffer, who looked to repeat her lucky game from New York City by opening with (T)ODDLERS followed by double-double ZAN(I)EST for 64. I managed to keep her from pulling too far ahead with COAX for 65, and a few turns later came a critical play. She attempted REAT(T)IRE(D)*, a fairly unwise play given how high-probability REATTIRE* would be--I had zero doubts that word would have been in the 8s I'd studied. With her good tiles, she did manage to get another bingo down a few turns later, but now I had the momentum and rode it all the way to victory.

A group of players had gathered outside the playing room eagerly awaiting the standings. There was speculation that the third day, seven games, would consist of round-robin pairings, with the division divided into groups of eight. I went back inside and confirmed this with David Goodman, and then I registered my disapproval of the system. It seemed to me, and to other players, that seven games is too long to lock players into a group. If one player does really well, he does not have an opportunity to move up, and if a player is tanking in his group, he is stuck playing competition that he cannot handle. Of course, in the interest of fairness, I should point out that nearly every pairing scheme I have experience has its detractors.

I returned to the top group with guarded optimism that I might have made it into the top group, aka the Murderer's Row. After 12 rounds I was at #11, so it was possible to move up three places, but not likely. When the standings were posted, I found myself at #9... behind Lloyd Mills... due to spread. Ach! All those missed opportunities came back to me! Not playing (R)USTICAL against Max, not seeing HONAN to go out against Lisa, not challenging DUNDERS*. I tempered my disappointment with the recognition that if I could do really well in the second group, I might be better off. No way I was going to kill in the top group. No way at all.

For dinner I joined Richard Popper, Felix, and Jeremy Hall on an expedition to a Vietnamese restaurant. Others were supposed to join us, but they never showed. I guess they didn't think we were cool enough. Man, I'm getting anxious to wrap up this blog. I'll leave it to the reader to ask Richard or the others about the mutant chickens and the surprise appearance by Roberta Borenstein.

Richard dropped me back at my car, and, after rummaging through the mess in the back, I failed to find my coat. Shortly before dinner I had realized that I did not have the coat. After looking around the playing room I assumed I had left it in the car, and I went ahead and went off to dinner. When I failed to find it in the car, I went back to the playing room and looked again. Then I went to the front desk and inquired about a lost and found--perhaps I had left it in the bathroom. Then I remembered that the large toilet stall did not have a coat hook, so I could not easily have left it there. I was truly puzzled, but there was one more possibily, the Mexican restaurant, so I let the matter go for the moment and drove to my parking spot.

Snow fell during the night. Sleeping in a car while it is snowing is one of life's sublime joys. The snow covering the car provides complete privacy, and a person with a vivid imagination like mine can pretend he is in an iglu or a Fortress of Solitude. Additionally, because I ran my engine for a few hours during the night, my windshield never froze over, and there seemed to be less snow accumulating around the perimeter of my car. To further prevent getting stuck I would roll the car forward and backward. As such, I avoided the ice capades that I witnessed other cars going through in the wee hours. The slipping and sliding of the small white sedan was to be expected. He finally gave up trying to drive in the correct direction on Elk (a one-way street) and turned the car around. More interesting was the sanitation truck that became unable to move forward and had to back itself up the length of the street. It was like some kinda reality TV show, and all you suckers who paid for hotel rooms missed it!!!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Unable to sleep past 7:35 because of the dude with the snowblower. Every time he passed by on the sidewalk snow sprayed on my window. Who can sleep through that?

So it was back to Jack's for one final breakfast. I was practically a regular--the waitress knew to not put my order in a plastic bag.

Over to Hannaford to stock up on groceries in anticipation of not being able to get breakfst Tuesday. As I was about to get out of the car I was looking at a sim when a noticed a man in a bright red jacket and carrying a shovel standing outside the car and waving. I lowered my window and he timidly asked if I had 50 cents. "No, sorry," I replied and raised my window. I fucking hate that. He was carrying a shovel, which implied he was out trying to earn money shoveling out cars or sidewalks. That's fine, earning his keep. But asking me for money for no good reason. Fucking drain on society.

Back to the hotel and over to the Starbucks. When I entered I saw Emily and Joel sitting at a table and commented, "You guys have been hanging out at Starbucks more than I have this weekend!" They agreed, professing their devotion, at least during the tournament. I hung out for a while so I could follow them back in and not have to walk around the building. Why? Because it was getting colder, and I was walking sans coat. If I did not find it at El Mariachi, I'd be out of luck until Wednesday.

I had my coffee balanced on my laptop, which was open while downloading podcasts. Not the smartest of plans, but to my credit I made it all the way to within a hundred feet of the playing room before I spilled the coffee... old over Richard Popper's jeans (just below the knees, really). Richard was forgiving enough, but when I returned with a second cup he gave me a cautious eye. A few minutes later he decided that he had come up with a clever new definition for "winterize"--to spill coffee on somebody else's pants. At Richard's repeated, repeated insistence, I share this definition with you. Feel free to compliment Richard on his clever, clever, clever cleverness.

While waiting for my first round opponent I spotted Joey and apologized for winning despite my horrible play. It was the least I could do, short of petitioning the NSA to grant him the win (but only if our other games are normalized for fair tile distribution).

And who did I face first, but the ever-sizzling Robin Pollock Daniel. After the game, she described it as "crazy", and her assessment was spot-on. Her opening LANGUID prompted me to try DOTTI(N)GS*. I had recently looked at that list, but, goddamn it, it's a really long list and hard to remember. Robin challenged in a heartbeat, and then she decided it seemed like a good time to try F(I)TTABLY*. I had no idea, but it seemed less-than-plausible, and if I let it go she would run away with the game. So I got my turn back, and after DIG(I)T (knowing she would play a healthy-scoring FLAB but leavy TTY) I drew into EgESTIO(N). Vowelitis ensued for two turns, and then I caught up with WHAMO for 38. But I got hammered by the draw, DFGKMNS, and though my exchange yielded BRASSI(E)R, Robin had gotten down DONNERT for a lot more points and led by 45.

I still had hope, but that hope pretty much faded when Robin played ADIPIC for 44, and I challenged. I had recently run through the list of six-letter words ending in IC, and that is what prompted me to challenge. That's the danger of incomplete studying. If you run through a list but do not take the time to learn it well, then you can be fall into the trap of a false sense of confidence and a lost challenge. I was down so far that the game was pretty much hopeless, but the craziness continued when Robin decided to try V(E)NENOUS*. I was almost certainly going to lose even if I did challenge, but with a blank, X, and Z, unseen, and not on her rack, and me looking at an AILT leave if I played MOJ(O), all of a sudden it did seem possible to win if I challenged the word off, bingoed, and then either bingoed again scored well with the X and Z. Took me a long time to decide (because the risk was that I would tank my spread), but I challenged it off. And I did draw the blank, but with AAGILT. Robyn of course blocked the obvious line, with just 9 points for UN(R)OVE. I actually had a bingo, but not one I knew, (B)AnGTAIL. After the game Robyn pointed out--waitaminute, why did I all of sudden switch to spelling her name with a Y??? Is it the wine? As I write I'm drinking wine for the first time in years, hoping to catch the eye of the three attractive French-speaking women sitting at the next table. But it couldn't have affect me that quickly. Anyway, Robin pointed out that I should know all the bingos with BANG or TAIL in them. Oh, that Robin, she's so clever!

Next up, Cesar again, and I told him before the game not to pull any of that shit from Sunday. Well, I did bingo first, after exchanging off EEIO (ERT) to draw TRIMERE, but Cesar came right back with CADAS(T)eR. A couple of turns later, he got EMULATE, and my head filled with dark thoughts. I managed to get a couple of high-scoring overlaps, though, TOYON for 31 and PAWER for 44, and I started creeping back up. And then I got a miracle, EILNOR? with a K at N1!!! I played without hesitation, and Cesar held for what seemed like forever. I was reasonably sure I had seen it, but not 100% sure. In the end Cesar let it go, and after my 158-point play on that tight board, he would have needed a miracle of his own to recover.

Only my third or fourth game against Kenji, and I found myself hopeful as I held an early blank. But after playing A(WA) leaving EIIO I found myself holding EIIIINO? just as Kenji played double-double REA(M)ERS. The word did not look at all familar, and I let myself be seduced by all the complaining Kenji had been doing about how he was playing crappy and sick to boot. Had I been able to make a decent-scoring play I would have just let it go, but the combination of crappy rack + overconfidence in my word knowledge cost me the turn. Kenji gradually built up a lead, and then he made what I consider a mistake, playing FADO to the triple line (to rid himself of double Os). I did in fact hold an S, but no vowels!!! AARRGHH!!! I had to burn the blank for 40 points just to avoid being down 100 pts, and from that point on the game fell apart.

Grabbed C-Daddy and K-Spunk and drove over to the Dominican restaurant. Cesar sat in the back (1900s always have shotgun), and because my back seats were down he had to sit cross-legged. When he got in the car he wrinkled his nose and softly whined, "Winter, you're car is gross!" Well, what did he expect from car that's been lived in for over a month. At least he was sitting on the right side, where I put my duffel bag, instead of on the left, where I sleep. I can make no promises as to what "substances" or life forms might or might not be infesting the sheet and blankets. But do not worry for our Peruvian friend--it is extremely unlikely that he could catch any diseases. As long as he washes his clothes (or burns them), he'll be okay.

The Dominican restuarant was closed (bastardos!!!), so we went to El Mariachi. Kenji does not like spicy food, so he travels prepared with a do-it-yourself kit that allows any food to be tested for spiciness. Just put a sample into the test tube and see whether the line turns red or blue.

During lunch, out of the blue, Cesar realized that I had played TRIMERE* instead of TRIREME against. Oops. I was even more relieved to have won that game, and Cesar was mighty miffed. He went on and on and on and on and on and on...

First round after lunch... yet another journey into the Marsh of White. I won again, but that wasn't the interesting part. No, what was exciting was that I finally did it!!! After five years of lusting after a disconnected nine after reading about that kind of play in Word Freak, I finally played one!!! Granted it was a gimme, because VAL(I)DATE through the I is easy to see, and the D just happened to be conveniently placed. It's no AUBERGINE, but I'll take it anyway. I was getting tired of watching lowly players like McCarthy and Jacobson make these plays while I remained the bridesmaid. Heck, I think I even watched some 1200 or 1300 rated player do it in club. I was glad to get that life goal out of the way, and perhaps even gladder about that than drawing just killer tiles against Bradley. And they were pretty killer allright. The pedestrian OU(T)EARNS (through his pedestrian ATONIES), the crazy PUB(I)C for 36 from a rack of BCFMOPU, INFORMS, H(AN)DAXE* for 42, and the final blank which just helped me go out first.

Well, I knew it. As soon as I walked over to Joel Wapnick's table and saw that he had lost 3 of the last four, I knew that I would be the victim of his tile turnaround. The game started off innocently enough. Though Joel bingo-bangoed, GROUPED and ALIENEE, my PUTTeRS hit the triple for 91 to come within 17 points. MEDII for 29 cut Joel's lead some more, but that was as close as I would get. Joel proceeded to explode all over the board, shooting out his verbal spunk like John Holmes on a diet of crossword puzzles. VANISH for 37 set up the E hook on the triple. Only two Es remained, and Joel obviously did not have one. But he drew both, along with J and Z. Joel might have had 99 problems, but scoring wasn't one of them. JEEZ for 97 elicited the expected response from me. After the game I found out he had drawn the blank at the same time, which explains the amused reaction of Robin who was sitting next to him. MUrA(E)NID put Joel up by almost 200 while I struggled with ALRST and ALST without finding a bingo. Final hit 164, and the pattern continued, that every time my spread started to creep up somebody who shoot it all to hell.

Against Stefan Rau it was a hellishly tight board, and the key play might have been this one.

Had I seen and played VERDI(N), Stefan would not have gotten the 58-point X play, and I might have held enough of a lead that I could try to block any possible bingo lines. As it was, down 43, I had to try and score as much as possible, and it was pretty much essential that I drew 2 or more of the remaining S??. Needless to say, Stefan drew all three.

The Unbearable Lipeness of Being

Once more I ended the day with a headache, and the last thing I needed, on the hells of being savaged by Wapnick and double-blanked by Rau, was for fucking Lipe to come along with his ever-present Lipeness and double-blank me too. In both cases the blanks had been used together, but in both cases the boards were so tight that all it took was one big play to win. Fucking Lipe, man--he's like a Ned Flanders to my Homer Simpson.

I suppose I should give a shout-out to Milky Squirrel who won all her games of the day. I would have congratulated her, but she generally ignores me and looks away whenever I try to say something. This was rather disappointing, because I had hoped that four days in Albany would give me ample time to let my charm shine through my rough exterior. Unlike certain other players, I make no effort to present a good first impression, nor to put a shiny coat on my rough patches. Instead, I would rather others, women in particular, see the real me, and that takes time. But it's hard when Milky Squirrel always scurries off. I wish I had some idea of why this happens. What could it possibly be? If only there were some clue out there to help unravel the mystery of the Milky Squirrel.

Continuing the shout-uts, I must give Joe Bihlmeyer credit for attitude. Don't know how he ended the day, but towards the end of the second session he was still stuck at two wins. I was rather impressed with the way he was holding up. From experience I knew that I personally would have been falling apart under those circumstances.

It was my first New Year's tournament, and I think I might have to reconsider the wisdom of playing on the eve of a holiday. There's generally half a chance that I will be saddened by the holiday season, and so it might not be a good idea to add a disappointing tournament into the mix. Starbucking is a during the holidays is a safer bet, because I am so busy running around that I don't have time to feel sad.

While I pondered what to do about dinner David Koenig sat down and commiserated with me. It appeared that our feud had long-since evaporated, and I was fine with that. Plenty of other players still to feud with. Yeah, beeeotch, you know you who are.

I couldn't decide whether I wanted to be alone or if I wanted company. I definitely didn't want the Japanese place or the sushi place. I'm not big on Asian and hadn't really enjoyed the Vietnamese place from the night before. Sure, company can make up for the food, but probably not in the mood I was in. I finally decided I had mulled around enough and just went down to Kelsey's.

As the night passed, my mood seemed to worsen along with my headache. I should have gone out to the car for pills before ordering dinner.

Matters weren't helped any when the waitress brought back a hamburger... without cheese. As far as I can remember, I have not ordered a burger without cheese in 20 or more years. I suppose the only entity that knows for sure what I ordered is that great government satellite in the sky that records every conversation held on the planet, but I think I ordered cheese. Of course putting cheese on the burger was not a problem, but I had to eat my burger worrying about what else the cook or waitress might have done to it. Let's face it--food service is a shitty industry to work in, and we have to expect that employees get their jollies any way they can, at the customer's expense if necessary.

After dinner I decided to look one final time for my coat. Nothing. As I left the playing room, Cesar was sitting with a group of players, and he was still complaining about TRIMERE*.

One bright spot in the entire day, a new Lost "Missing Pieces" episode, and the extended trailer for the return of the series at the end of January. Gave me goosebumps, just watching it.

Despite the Lost trailer and another episode of Quarterlife, my funk persisted. It was early, and it was New Year's Eve, but I just went out to the car. No way was I saying up 'til midnight the way I felt. Around 11:06 Kat called. That was surprising given that she had been so curt when I called her on Christmas Eve. She kept the call short, which was fine with me, since she gave off a flaky vibe, and I went back to sleep.

Some time later, I was woken up again by the voices of several men walking down the street. One loud quote stood out, ""I can't believe those bitches thought they were hotter than us." Once they passed, I hopped to the front of my car to turn on my engine, and I was bit surprised to see that it was 1:11. Midnight had passed me by. And without any gunfire or fanfare. I distinctly remember having been woken up by hooting and hollering, honking, and gunfire, on New Years Eve's past. But, on the bright side, my headache and queasiness had disappeared.

My Scrabble dream of the night involved a talent contest. A long line of Scrabblers waited on a darkened stage for their few minutes of fame. I was treated to Roberta Borenstein doing some kind of break-dancing like stunt. She let it drag on too long, and people began booing. I, meanwhile, was fantasizing about a stunt involving levitation.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

8:23, and I received a double treat. First, a gentle wake-up call courtesy of ice falling from the tree onto the roof of my car. Second, my first exposure to the word OHIA in the wild.

Changed into my third and final fresh shirt, not to escape the stink of human odor (which was getting strong), but to escape the stink of failure that clung to that other shirt. Fresh undies, socks, and even a fresh pair of jeans too--I wanted a fresh start for 08. Ooh, those jeans are cold!!! My sperm will be cool this morning (but no more potent, thank heavens).

Ah, excellent. Starbucks was open, so I could get coffee and also a donut, some carbos to go with my fruit. I hoped that a full stomach plus plenty of sleep might help me beat a hopefully sleep-deprived O'Laughlin. But I'd take both blanks too.

Lucky draw, both blanks against Max Panitch, but I still experienced panick when he scored 93 with STAITHE and almost caught me after I had been fucking around with a 7 and 5 point play trying to bingo with the second blank.

Next up, O'Laughlin. I could still redeem myself if I could get past this guy. But the only way I could beat him is if his racks fizzled. Even if I scored well, as long as John kept scoring I would not have a chance, and as it turned out John only had one bad turn, Q(I)S for 12. Now technically, I did have a chance, when he played the phony (MI)NISTRAL* for a mere 63. But it wasn't much of a chance at all, not when he opens a triple line and I'm sitting with 51 for BANJO in another hot spot. If I lose the challenge, the game is over. If I take the 51 and John can't score well off the triple, I'm back in it. There was no way I could challenge that word. Anyway, John scored 33 with VO(L)VA and then 84 with G(R)APHITE. I was looking at EINUW??, but I was now down 130 points. I wasn't 100% sure of UNWIsEr, but even if I had been I would only have scored 79 along the safe triple column. I could score 84 by hooking GRAPHITE, but that would open up a counterplay. I also saw UNWIt(T)Ed for 70 (or for 72 along a dangerous line). But basically the only way I was going to beat this guy was to get really luck, so I took the 36 for (R)EWINd, kept a blank, and prayed that I could bingo immediately along the triple. Didn't work out, and even if it had John never let up on the scoring.

In sharp contrast to John's NIOBIUM, I felt no heterosexual man-lust this time around. No, I was just irritated by his ceaseless scoring.

This has already been discussed to death on CGP, and I posted my position there, but I experienced first-hand Joe Bilhmeyer's agony at having to decide whether to let Ben Harrison have the win. What I didn't post on CGP, for trying to keep my post brief, is that I emphatically encouraged Joe not to be a sucker (I might have said "schmuck"). Giving up that game would have definitely been a sucker act. Women don't respect suckers. And studies have shown that nice guys really do finish last (I'm not kidding--google this).

Final game of the day, a pretty high-rated Lloyd Mills, and a chance to maybe pick up some points (I was completely unsure of how the math would work out). I did draw extremely well, but I take credit for finding IRITI(C) and B(E)KIsSED. Earlier during the event Cesar had mentioned that he wasn't quackling his games anymore. I told him that what I continually learned was invaluable. IRITI(C), for example. Even though I had seen it while running through IC words, I would never have remembered it had Quackle not shown it to me in the weeks preciding Albany. Regarding BEKISSED, I'm not sure--I might have been Quackle, or it might have been that I ran through 6-letter words containing a K when I was preparing defenses against all of Bihlmeyers high-point tile study.

something about dogs

Before leaving I noticed that the sun was out, so I stopped to take another photo of the downtown Starbucks. I should have taken it before the snow arrived, but at least I got some sunlight. While I stood at the corner and waited for traffic to clear I noticed Lloyd pull up to the light. I waved. He waved back and then turned his head and said something (to Jan, I presume). Maybe he was complimenting me on IRITIC and BEKISSED. Maybe he was complaining about my wildly lucky draw. Or maybe he was just continuing a discussion about the geopolitical ramifications of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Milky Squirrel mentioned this on her blog, that traffic sotuh on I-87 really sucked!!! I don't know what it was, but it was stop and go for miles and miles.

Final Scrabble dream of the tournament, O'Laughlin, after the first game of the final day, decided he needed to leave right away and forfeited the final three games.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

With manager and supervisor still out, thoroughly bored at work, and I suddenly remembered Doug Brockmeier and how he had told me he skipped the Early Bird because he wanted to win the tournament (Main Event). He arrived well in time for the EB, but he chose to spend the day studying. Where did he end up--at 13-11, a couple of spots below me. Given that, he might as well have played. But perhaps he simply doesn't love the game as much as do. I'll choose Scrabble over almost anything, including sex.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

An explosive topic was raised on LiveJournal. Of course 100% of the comments came down on one side of the issue. I had to keep silent. I am unable to address the issue directly because of its emotionally explosive nature. I am committed to learning from the mistakes that other advocates (of any position) have made, and I understand that, while it is important to speak truth, if that truth is so controversial that it causes most people to stop listening, then my ability to further influence people will be severely curtailed. So I have to hold my tongue, until I can figure out how to say what needs to be said.

Wow. I finally added up the amount of equity I gave up against Joey. 363.3 points!!! By far the most I have given up in any game, possibly even 100 points greater than the most I've ever given up (somewhere in the 200s, I think). I hope Joey isn't pissed at me when he finds out.

It was late, really past my bedtime, but I checked the NSA page once more and saw that the ratings finally went up. 1801. Whew! Back in the black. I slept so much better that night.


Feel free to comment, but please use your NSA name. Comments without names might be deleted.

Jeremy Where is my money?? How dare you walk out of our money game??? sexy 4 handed massage!
Peter A. "Towards the end of the game, the entire playing room was disrupted with one of the ugliest outbursts, actually a confrontation between two players, that I had ever seen in my 100+ Scrabble tournaments. " You know it only makes people more curious when
Winter Oops. Apparently phShoutbox was installed with a 255 char limit. I will try to fix this.
Cesar D. haha. sorry about complaining about trimere*. the SuDS segment made me laugh for a minute straight.


Early Bird
0 GOOD(I)E  
0 (G)AIETIEs  
0 OHIA  
2.5 MAC(K) MIC(K) (unsure)
2.2 XI  
9.2 DEV REVUE (which I would not have played)
20.8 (DEV)ILED  
0 P(AWE)R  
4.4 -FIIIMU  
0 LET(T)ED  
12.8 CLEW  
0* GLUME  
3.2 VIT(E)*  
0 DIGI(T)  
3.4* JO  
12 -IPUUV  
3 WOD(G)E  
12.4 T(E)N(A)NT  
0 VU(G)S  
9.7 CLOD best plays assume I had a G which I annotated but don't remember having
0 GADI  
0 F(L)AVoURS  
6 CA(G)IER  
0.1 BOW  
0.2 SaLIENT  
9.6 JET JI(N) (only 20 but leaves AEIPT)
0 PAPAW(S)  
8.4 F(E)M  
0 TO(R)I  
0 GI(N)S  
2.7 CARPI  
0.9 PIX  
5.7 JAG QUA(I)GH (saw word but not the high-scoring spot)
3 QUE(E)N  
0 GAVO(T)  
0 (T)OUCHY YUC(H) (unsure),(H)EUCH (Unsure)
0 BEI(g)E  
0 REM  
8.2 SEL unsure if David has bingo
0 EKES  
0 QI  
15 BATES horrible--completely miss hook!!!
2.1 HAO  
0 DUPE  
15.5 (J)IAO  
5.5 VI(C)E  
0 (D)Y(AD)/(HEMP)Y  
0 FE(Z) but (N)U blocks T and has higher %
9.2 T(E)XT EXSERT (not best)
0 A(V)A  
9.8 KIERS RESEEK (saw but did not compute score)
0 GYVE  
0.6 (Q)UAY  
7 N(E)ON  
1.3 (L)EONE  
13 DOW WO(O)DIES (unsure)
0 SEIS  
14.1 NEW WIG(A)N
6 VIG  
0 DUG  
1.2 D(E)NAR  
0 ZEE  
49.5 lose challenge (E(SQUIRED)  
0 -IUU  
0 IT  
2.6 (X)I  
26.8 lose turn (SORTIN(G)S*)  
0 (ZA)S  
8.8 (TOY)O  
10.4 (FiANCE)S  

1 - L - 4.5 (53.5)
2 - L - 4.9 (63.9)
3 - W - 3.0 (39.6)
4 - W - 1.7 (20.5)
5 - W - 6.6 (85.5)
6 - W - 4.6 (60.1)
7 - W - 7.6 (129.4)

Avg: 4.7

Main Event

0 THUD  
4.9 ARIL  
3.9 GAB  
0 (J)AILOR  
0.2* Q(U)EER  
0 GE(N)II  
2.9 F(a)IR  
0* (E)YEN  
9 FON  
17.5 BALLSIE(R)  
8.9 BL(A)ME  
3.8 (B)AHT  
42.8 lose turn (PUKY*)  
9.8 KEPI  
0 (L)AY  
3.5 (P)REZ  
0 WAE  
0 G(N)AW  
10.7 (Q)U(IT)  
7.1 (V)UG  
6.9 JA(G)  
0.9 DE(RE)  
20 (C)OD  
23 NAN  
0 (T)IE  
0 XU  
0.2 CADI  
0.1 FI(T)CH  
17 KEN(O) SINEW overlap
0 SEW  
0 (Q)IS  
0 OVA  
14 Y(O)D makes bingo almost impossible
3.8 WO(P) have to block ZE(P) or ZA(P)
10 (A)E tried to maximize spread but failed
3 MINI IVY (knew it but ignored)
6.1 OY OP
5.8 RIP  
1.2 B(E)VY  
13.7 CE(L) worst defensive play ever C(UP)EL,miss (KING) prefixes
5 GRAB  
6.2 TO  
11.5 LOO(KING)  
10 WINC(E)D  
8.2 BORK  
10 QUA(R)T  
0 VOW  
7.7 (BE)AD  
0 BAGGAgE(D)*  
11.5 HOLT stupid miss OF hook
9.9 (E)ELS  
6.6 RIF (g)REIGE
5.6 MA(E)  
38.9 JU(N)  
14 AT thought X stick was to my advantage
12 CEE  
1 (QI)S  
0 (PEE)R  
4.8 (T)OUR  
5.8 JOW  
0 CLIMBE(D) CL(A)MBER (unsure)
0 K(E)RN  
6 (K)IER  
0 VOWS  
0 GAL blocks possible AVIDINS
0 HEP  
Del Solar    
0 BR(O)NZE  
4.4 JUN FELON (leaves JU)
8.6 FATE  
1.1 OGEE  
8 COOL  
9.7 QAT  
0* FUMEE*  
7.3* (Q)ADI  
8.8 UM  
10.1 FANE  
13.6 (T)EACH GOuACHE,COwHAGE,(T)HECA (unsure)
39.9 lose turn (SPAVIeT(S)*)  
12.6 JA(D)E block
12 ADO unsure of (EXCUSE)R
21.3 MI weak block--can't empty bag
2.4 ER  
0 LOO  
0 AGEE  
5.1 NEE NE (shoulda kept EILNS)
2.6 OF  
28.9 lose turn ((B)OOLE*) LO(B)ULOsE,tOLUOLE
21.9 LO(C)O  
0.4 (B)EASTIEs  
0 Q(A)T  
1.3 BEZOARs BEZ(O)AR (for 47 but keep blank)
3.1 (Z)ORIL  
23.2 (A)H  
0 GYR(O)  
The Demon    
6.6 ROQ(U)E give up 10 points with QOP(H) to keep EORS???
1.3 FOB FOP/(I)F/(C)O(R)/U(P)O
1.1 JO  
0 TUG  
2.1 FAD  
3 LEX SI(L)EX (come on, way too risky)
2.3* PI(I)NG  
0 ZA  
0 BYS  
0 DEXY  
11.3 FUG  
0 Q(A)I(D)  
0 WEEP  
4.2 O(L)IO  
2.7 MUS(H)  
16.3 A(L)EE  
19.9 SEI didn't see the spot for EMU
19.6 (V)IBE  
0 FIZ  
0 FLY  
1.8 -DDGMTV (S) keep T too
0.2 VAVS  
0 CIST  
0 Q(I)  
6.9 GONE  
0 B(E)T  
0 G(L)INT  
0 ELEcTIO(N)  
2 (E)XiT siX(T)H
16 CHI(S)  
0 COAX  
0 (R)AGGED  
0* VIM  
9.9 BOY BELAY (plus holding on to H for next turn)
9.6 WEN  
1.8 caTLIKE  
0 I(D)YLS  
Pollock Daniel    
38.7 lose turn (DOTTI(N)GS*)  
2.3 DIG(I)T  
0 EgESTIO(N)  
0 O(G)EE  
2.3 AERO  
5.1 WHAMO  
0.2 -DFGKMN  
0.2 BRASSI(E)R  
46.6 lose challenge (ADIPIC)  
6.1 (W)A(D)Y gave up on game just trying to cut spread now
0 MOJ(O)  
11.8* A(M) (B)A,(B)AnGTAIL (lower win %)
46 lose challenge ((UNROVE)N)  
Del Solar    
2.3 -EEIO (ERT) -EEO (EIRT) (don't like to keep I)
0.9 TRIMERE*  
0 HEY  
1.8 (C)ABINED  
0* QUOIT  
0 SO(N)IC  
5.6 MOJO  
12.9 AWA  
43.9 lose challenge (REA(M)ERS)  
7.9 PEH  
3.7 TON(Y)  
6.5 VeRBS  
0 QI  
20.4 lose challenge ((P)EDIcLES)  
7.7 BIG  
1.9* (L)ICK  
10.6 FUD  
6.4 IR(O)N  
2.1 YOWE  
0 Y(E)W  
0 PUB(I)C  
0* H(AN)DAXE* H(AN)DAX (trying to avoid leaving E hook but doesn't take!!!)
15.9 (Z)A RAGOUTs/(INERT)s---takes an S!!!
0 pass to avoid Q  
0 ROUt(E)R  
0 QAT  
0 BEEF  
0.4 EXON  
11.5 FO(P)  
3.9 L(U)T(E) L(U)T(E)AL
10.4 Y(I)RR  
5.1 NA(r)CO  
12 OI  
0 W(Y)TING  
0 JOW  
1.5 M(ON)EY  
0 QI  
0 LIER  
26.3 ET  
3.6 BRAWS didn't hit the double??? WTF???
0 Z(AG)S  
4.8 -FLMRT (ST) keep RST
12.9 PEW(S) (EEST) WE(B) (EEPST)
1.3 DOE  
5.8 Q(A)T ESTATE (five-tile overlap)
0 HAE  
0 P(O)OR  
0 ECRU  
1 NITE  
16.6 V(I)A trying to block F plays at O13 and ended up drawing both Fs!!!
13 FU(J)I  
0 FUM(O)  
0 Q(U)EER  
0 XI  
0 RELATO(R)s  
1.6 (W)EFT (W)AFT (wanted to keep A for ?AP/P(OOH))
0 PA(M)PA  
5.7 N(E)B B(AG)MEN
10.3 (D)UO ONIUM
7.7 MI  
0 K(N)AVE  
0* (A)NA  
0 Cr(AG)GY  
8.2 MIC diff strategy than bingo--set up JA/MIC
0 (Q)UOD  
0 FOX  
25.5 (R)EWINd unsure of UnWIsER so intentionally forgo weaker bingos
10.9 P(I)G GAP/A(BODE)/P(AX)
7.6 AGON  
7.7 B(E)AU  
1 R(AX)  
0 OVEN  
19.6 QI T(U)RQuOIs,Q(U)ITtORs,Q(U)IxOTRy
0.9 aB(E)TTORs Be(E)TROoT
21.7 AXON(E) OXEY(E)
3.2 YE(N) EYE(B)A(R)
10.9 VIA block
23 COPS block
0 D(E)AF  
10 (P)A  
12 GA(T)OR  
12 KUES  
0 I(F)  
0 GOX  
0 I(R)ITIC  
2.6 BENT  
0 IZAR  
0* (H)OLP (s)PLAT,(s)PADO
0.1* AD  
0* EASTERN SERENAT(A) (only 99.99% sure)

1 - W - 3.1 (33.9)
2 - L - 10.2 (163.9)
3 - W - 4.2 (59.2)
4 - L - 5.4 (65.3)
5 - W - 13.6 (213.8)
6 - W - 7.2 (93.1)
7 - L - 4.3 (52)
8 - W - 26.0 (363.3)
9 - L - 7.9 (118.5)
10 - L - 1.5 (16.4)
11 - W - 7.4 (96)
12 - W - 2.2 (30.7)
13 - W - 4.9 (58.7)
14 - L - 10.9 (163.8)
15 - W - 1.3 (15.5)
16 - L - 9.8 (137.5)
17 - W - 8.7 (112.9)
18 - L - 4.3 (43.3)
19 - L - 5.1 (61.7)
20 - L - 3.9 (59)
21 - W - 2.0 (25.4)
22 - L - 5.6 (61.9)
23 - W - 10.3 (154.5)
24 - W - 7.0 (90.4)

Avg: 7.0

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