Jesus Hates Me

Friday, January 4, 2007

First stop was in Bensalem to replendish my supply of precious Tradewinds tea. No meal was the same without Tradewinds, and I was mighty hungry after a 3-mile run and envisioning a paradise of mouth-watering beans, rice, and plantains. The second of two new Starbucks was conveniently located in Elizabeth (a city I never expected to get a Starbucks), in the Jersey Gardens Mall. I scurried in and out of the mall as fast as I could find the store, and then I rushed over to my usual supplier of Latin American food in the area, the Luis Restaurant. The time was fast approaching 10:00 PM, and I felt relief upon seeing the bright pink neon sign reading "OPEN". That relief turned to disappointment, however, when a cook, upon hearing my order, shouted out, "se acabaron los platanos!" NOOOOOO!!! They ran out of plantains! Beans, rice, chicken, I could get anywhere, but fried green plantains, tostones, were hard to find!

I went ahead and ordered the beans and rice, plus some chicken, and went to the bathroom. While holding my yank, I had a sudden realization that the plantains' running out was an omen, an omen portending doom at the tournament. Omens are everywhere around us, you see. God is routinely sending us signals because he cares so much about our lives.

As I walked out, demoralized, I imagined that 15-20 miles away, in the City, David Koenig was engaged in a hunt of his own. Were his efforts to be met with lack of success that night, I was certain that his disappointment could not be greater than mine. Poontang (his word, not mine, for I would never be so vulgar) is easy to find everywhere (except maybe an oil field or other remote work site). Tostones, however, outside a Hispanic neighborhood, are not.

From the restaurant I headed towards Glen Ridge to visit the new store in the morning, as I drove along Broad Street in Newark I remembered I still needed a better photograph of the Starbucks there. I know full well that Broad Street in Newark south of downtown runs through rather sketchy neighborhoods, and I debated whether it would be safe to sleep there. I pulled onto a side street in between two vehicles and began to change. After a few minutes a pair of men walked along the sidewalk towards my car. When the were maybe 100 or 200 feet away, one of the men, for no apparent reason swerved away from his buddy and onto the street and walked right next to the driver side of the car ahead of mine. It was unclear whether he was talking to me, as he wore a hoodie and his eyes were shify, but he was saying something that I could not hear above the podcast of The Diane Rehm Show playing through my speakers. The man passed about as close as he could to my window and continued along.

While I finished changing the car parked behind me left, and I decided to was too exposed. I made a couple of turns and ended up on a street in front of a church, behind a longer line of cars. As long as the cars remained, I felt I would not draw attention to myself. Plus, I was in front of a church--that's gotta be safe, right? On the other hand, given my recent prediliction towards referring to religious believers as "mentally ill", it might not have been a good idea to count on any kind of protection from that God dude.

I sat there thinking about something when around the corner strolled a pair of black felines. If they continued along the sidewalk past my car, I thought, I could grab one of the two and use it for body heat. But, a few hundred feet before reaching me they darted through a hole in a wire fence. One of them, the larger and possibly older one, walked gentle across the grass. The smaller, blacker one seemed to roll around the grass a while. Suddenly it darted across the long, and I was surprised to see that the motion was enough to trigger a light. After a while the smaller cat crossed back through the fence and darted in front of my car and across the street towards the church.

Saturday, January 5, 2007

Up at 7:15, about 15-30 minutes too early, but it was too risky to go back to sleep, so I went ahead and shot the Starbucks and headed over to Glen Ridge.

From Glen Ridge my mapping program said to take the GSP to I-80, but I exited US-46 so I could find breakfast, and I was pleased to discover that by doing that I avoided paying a toll. I love gaming the system!!! Stickin' it to the man, yeah, baby.

Goldberg's Old Time Water Bagels.

Unfortunately, I ended up having to pay an extra toll because the shortest route to Bayside was to cross the GW Bridge ($6 toll) and then the Throg's Neck Bridge ($4.50 toll). Boooooo!!!

On the bright side, I was superearly for the tournament, possibly the earliest I had ever been for a Bayside, and I was able to snap a few shots and catch up with the rest of the nobodies (according to a top expert, "nobody goes to Bayside").

Before going in, however, I stopped to help a woman who was stopped in the right lane just before the entrance to the small parking lot next to the Adria. Northern Blvd is rather heavily trafficked all the time, and having a car stopped there created a risk not only to her but to other drivers. I offered to push her into the parking lot, but it turned out that her car was not stalled. Instead, her front right tire was flat and pretty badly torn up. She was afraid to drive it any further, but I talked her into moving it as far into the parking lot as she could manage, out of the way of traffic.

Speaking of the parking lot, will you take a look at this asshole's car, the silver Honda taking up two of the limited number of parking spaces. Whenever I see that, I do my best to squeeze in as close as possible, just to make the driver have to inspect the side of the car for scratches.

I had not realized until recently that Paul Avrin had a heckuvah winning streak against me. How could I have let it get that bad, I wondered? I resolved to stop the slide before it got worse. Thankfully, despite a stupid stupid phony, C(HOD)*, I managed to get the bingo down first on a tight board. Don't know why I played the phony--as soon as Paul challenged I knew it was no good. I'm sure I knew it was no good even before I hit my clock, but I guess I got caught up in trying to decide between REC and ECU (AELR). Stupid.

In a dramatic reversal, phonies saved my game against Frank Tangredi. Finding myself down 93 points and having just burned an S for 39 points (a decidely questionable play), I decided that ATHELIA* was worth trying. Frank let it go and played for 42 to keep his lead. Next, I could have played LAZE or RAZE for 42 to come within 12 points (or taken the lead by slotting ZEAL above a DWS), but I decided to go for the gusto and tried TEAZEL(E)R* (with the S it's good) for 90. Frank let it go, and my tiles lit up the board for the rest of the game.

Next, another come from behind win. Even without a bingo to my double-blank ReGIMeS, Phil Polsky's tiles just played better on that board, and he had a 60-point lead in the pre-endgame. But then, as I told him after the game, he made a mistake in playing CRI(T) for 7 and LO(R)N for 5 to try and close off bingo lines when there were open letters, G and C, on the other side of the board. Thus, when I bingoed with PLEASIN(G) for just 65, Phil found himself 30 points down when he could have been tied or ahead had he kept scoring. I've noticed that many lower-rated players make this same mistake. Of course I do not know what tiles they hold when they make small blocking plays, but I have to assume that in some of those cases they could have been scoring. Score 30-35 on two successive turns and you have negated the effect of an opponent's bingo.

I finally paid for my phonying ways against Steve Tier when I tried to hook CORFS*, a phony, to (JIGGLE), forming another phony!!! Steve knew them both, that rascal. I still played a decent game from that point, but Steve got down AX for 54, CEN(T)RALS, ZIN for 52, and a double-blank OVATion to easily pummel me.

As nice a guy as he might be, God Boy was starting to piss me off. On the heels of an outdrawing in Manchester, Clay Daniel did the following: VERITAS, ZOEA(E) - 48, OVATION, (RITZ)IEST - 51, JO - 42, W(IN)CE - 20, EXPANSE - 82, HAO - 39, and PLEB - 38. Against that type of scoring I couldn't compete, not even with (D)RAWLINg, phony CHUFFA* for 67, and (R)EhOUSED. The message was clear. God exists, and he is not happy with the preaching that I've been doing against the folly and mental illness that is religion.

After getting lucky our last two games, I expected David Koenig to wail on me, but I managed to get the better draw for a third time. Still, even before I finished that game, I knew that Clay was going to be unbeatable for first, with the 200+ points he had just racked up againt Tangredi. I was so used to winning Bayside that it was rather disappointing to have lost already, but if I could beat Eichenbaum I'd ad least achieve a new peak ranking, if not rating. Most amusing part of that game, though--opening with GIILORU and desperately wanting to pass in the hopes that David would play an A.

My game against David was significant not because I had racked up a 3-4 game winning streak, but because I was overcoming the fear I had of him. He had demonstrated two glaring weaknesses. First, he held GLIA(D)INs and later admitted he did not know the spelling. And towards the end he thought that LEU takes an S. Up until that point, I had taken it for granted that every win I had scored against him was due to luck. But now I think I could beat this guy with a fair draw, depending upon what words come up. If I continue to solidify my recognitio of the top 10,000, I might have an advantage if weird low-prob words don't come up. And he's not the only one--Steve Glass admitted he had was not solid on the top 10,000 7s and 5,000 8s. So how many other 1800 players out there have these weaknesses, I wonder? Hmmm...

As the pummeling was occurring, it appeared that I was being completely outdrawn by the Eichenbaum. However, simming quickly revealed that I made some stupid misses, starting with playing MAZE(d) leaving myself vowelless instead of seeing M(A)TZA leaving ERV. Had I seen the play, I would not have hesitated. But I didn't, and thus I win the putz award for all the bitching and moaning I was doing.

Interestingly enough, none of the top four players, Jack, myself, Frank, and David, did well. Frank and Jack got killed, and I would definitely drop. Koenig hoped to stay even with four wins, though I don't think the math will work out for him.

Afterwards, Los Arrieros, then back east to Flushing to sell my old iPod, and then to the Landmark Sunshine to see The Kite Runner, a movie which makes me worry that the U.S. is going the wake of post-Soviet Afghanistan, with the demented masses of the religious right taking on the role of the Taliban and destroying this country. On the one hand I'm hoping that troglodyte Huckabee (I'm too sophisticated to use the obvious epithet) gets the Republican nomination, taking it on faith that Americans are not so far gone that they would actually elect the dipshit.

Sunday, January 6, 2007

Joe Jr's.


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

Sam Moch We can only hope that there are enough non-creationist s to defeat Huckabee in the general election


9.4 TEED  
2.5* AERO  
31.4 lose turn (C(HOD)*)  
14.7 LUCE  
3.8 FAER(Y)  
0 WIND  
5.2 MI  
0 JUBA  
1.5* R(E)V  
114 P(OW) PENStOC(K)
22 (YOGI)S  
0 TOIT  
7.2 BOW Quackle likes C12 too risky!!!
4.2 CLIM(E)  
0.7* (C)ITE  
17.1 TRIBES (39) BA (21 keeps EIRST)
0 AX  
0 Q(I)  
2.5 aSKS block high-scoring line to guarantee win
0 VEr(T)U  
2.4 WAB  
3.9 (Q)UA  
2.9 GO(L)F  
0 ReGIMEs  
3.8 UTE  
5.6 MI(N)ED  
0 (N)AOI  
0 IS  
4.7 GO  
0 VI(C)AR  
6.9 KAYO  
0 RHEA  
43.2 lose turn (CORFS*/(JIGGLE)R*)  
8.1 WOF(U)L  
0 P(E)RCH  
0 TE(W)  
0.4 AT  
33.2 (A)B BO(N)NIEST/B(ED)/E(N)
11.7 FEU  
38.4 MIB BEGRIM(ED) (saw the bingo thru E but not the ED), BEGIRD(ED)
23.7 L(I)D trying for last-chance bingo
0 (G)REES  
3.6 DIG KID (leave DGGI?)
0 KEDG(E)  
0 RIT(Z)  
9.2 R(A)RING  
14.2 QI missed the good spot
14.6 MA(JO)R  
0 (D)RAWLINg  
0 (R)EhOUSED  
3.6 (S)EL  
0 GLIA(D)InS  
6.9 (G)ITE TOITE(D) (sets up QI)
0 QI  
1.7* DOV(E)  
5.2 ATT(A)INED need win--taking no chances with 3x3
3.9 OMER (blocks lines) MORAE,ROMEO
0.6 EF  
3.4* (R)IOJA  
0* LEU  
7 SP(E)W  
10 AN(I)  
2 (S)EI  
13.2 MAZE(d) M(A)TZA
7.8 W(A)RT  
9.2 -DNV (ENTS)  
15.5 -NNOOUVY  
2.3 -AAAEE  
0* BAN  
6.7 (R)O(L)E  
16.5 (D)OW BROO(KI)E
7 ABO  

1 - W - 14.9 (207.9)
2 - W - 3.6 (47.6)
3 - W - 3.4 (47.7)
4 - L - 12.2 (170.4)
5 - L - 4.3 (51.2)
6 - W - 3.3 (45.7)
7 - L - 7.3 (95.4)

Avg: 7

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