Number Twenty-Five

Friday, January 25, 2007

In anticipation of Philly rush hour and possible Friday-night Atlantic City traffic I had hoped to leave at 4:30 and give myself plenty of time. But after a quick run, I felt compelled to hang around and do some more upper body work, especially pullups. The reason for this was the litany of blog posts by Joe Bihlmeyer that boasted of his increasing fitness level and upper body strength. He claimed that he was could do twelve pullups, while I could muster barely five. Twelve pullups from puny little Bihlmeyer while I can barely do any? Yo, that ain't right, dog. That's retarded! That's the kind of thing that impugns my manhood. It upsets the natural order of the universe.

I suppose one reason for such a revolting state of affairs was disgustingly huge gut. If I could just stop being such a fat fuck and trim those necessary inches off protruding paunch, I'm sure a few more repetitions would come more easily. And maybe the ladies would stop scurrying away from me.

I made good time, so I exited the AC Expressway at Wrangleboro to gas up. Right across from the Wawa was a brightly-lit neon sign that read "ERUPTIONS". A gentleman's club, of course, and I had time to drop in and check it out. First order of business was to find a manager and ask about the club's compelling name. Yep, just as I had suspected, the owner of the club had graduated from the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology. As much as that fact amused me, the club's $35 couch dance fee was more annoying than humorous. I could see that price at an upscale club in a big city like L.A. or New York that featured the best strippers in five states. But a tiny downtrodden dive bar in rural New Jersey (May's Landing)--that's just retarded.

I reached the Clarion with plenty of time to spare, time enough to apprised of the drama that was unfolding regarding division sizes. Division 1 was too small to offer for the prize fund that was advertised based on 30 players, and Esla wanted to move Division 2 players up. I protested, "NOOOOOOOO!!!", and after a while I went up and tried to obtain an explanation and suggest to Esla that the division 1 players would prefer a smaller group.

8:31, still no pairings.

8:52, they took a vote to see who wanted to change the schedule for the evening from 4 games to 3. I voted against. After having played the RedEye, I could have easily played 4, 5, 6, or even more games that night.

9:07, the delay in starting was moving beyond ludicrous to retarded. On the bright side, I wasn't running behind in my blogging.

Finally got started around 9:30, and I thought I might have a chance against Scott Appel when I came back with ANAlYSE(S) to his ToURERS for a 50-point lead. But then I got a really bad break when Scott slotted OV(A) in B. Two Ns in the bag (one on his rack, obviously), and I had no way to block and score. So I hooked GRIM to PRUDE at M11 to set up an E play for myself, but I didn't draw an E. Scott bingoed, of course, and I had no choice but to block the spot I created with MI/(M), leaving AIRVW, and hope for a miracle draw. Never got it, and Scott went on to bingo once more, (T)ROUNCES, appropriately enough.

Another bad break, against Nathan Benedict. I had started off hopeful after finding EYRIR from an otherwise crappy rack (leave IU) and taking Nathan's blank and Z in a two-tile overdraw. But EYRIR yielded EIIIOUW and my exchange yielded AEEEIPT. By the time I drew into LENITES, Nathan had gotten his blank back, bingoed with ErOGEN(I)C to go up 82, and I felt pressure to make the best play. I had S(E)LENITE for 70 at dangerous B2 or safer (r)EENLIST for hardly any points. Against a player of Nathan's calibre I needed every advantage to win, so I had to go for LENITES/(EYRIR)S*. Why did it have to be EYRIR on the board? Well, frankly, because it was the only good play from my EIIRRUY rack. Ironically, finding the correct play on one turn ended up screwing me later.

As I was grumbling (internally) about that bad break, I had further reason to be upset because Nathan had told me that the directors had dropped the 15th game. As bad as the late start was, dropping a game would be an egregious modification, the most retarded mid-tournament alteration in history. Already in a bad mood because of two losses, I was all set to go bananas on the directors when Matt announced that the 15th game had been restored. Clapping resounded throughout the room.

Two losses made me desperate, and against A Nonymous I took a crazy chance on HOOVInG, and it paid off.

I waited for XXX to finish. XXX also tagged along, and we went to XXX. XXX surprised me by giving XXX a XXX. Unlike the previous year, I had use of the XXX with the XXX, and I went to XXX right away. I did not wake up much during the XXX, but at 4:11 I was woken abruptly by a loud XXX. It was XXX's XXX, loudly XXXing over and over. The next morning XXX would explain that the XXX was XXX and had started having XXX XXXs that would make her XXX throughout the XXX.

Saturday, January 26, 2007

I woke up at 8:07 and reset my alarm for 8:40, but less than 120 second passed before I gave up on any more sleep. With the extra time I was able to jump into the XXX. While waiting for XXX I partook of some of the XXX that XXX had left out. I wasn't sure whether I'd have time to for up to XXX for some real XXX after stopping at XXX for XXX.

After stumbling across lucky play after lucky play to beat me by 15, Richard came over to chat about his ABGILR? rack, from which he missed BAtGIRL and LAB(O)RInG. BAtGIRL I can understand, but missing LAB(O)RInG is just retarded! Anyway Richard apparently failed to realize that bragging about his suckitude was not what I wanted to hear after his double-blank win.

My luckless streak continued as lucky-ass Mitchell Brook subjected me to the worst outdrawing in recent memory. Easy-ass shit like WIZEN to open, ERRATIC, RETOTAL, and LUNaTIC. And with the game already over, JOWS for 50 and a final nail in the coffin, QuAHOGS to boost his spread to 272. Ridiculous.

On the heels of this, I was doubly irritated to find that the Round 6 pairings had not been posted. What the hell was taking them so long???

To further sour my mood, I finally met a player who had been sending me -mails for almost a year. Her e-mail conversations had seemed warm and friendly, so it was a surprise that she seemed to be giving me the brush-off in person. It didn't make any sense. She had been reading my blog a long time, and I looked pretty much the same in person as I did in my photographs, so what was so different in the world that she would ignore me like that? That is so retarded.

The impact of Mitchell's beat-down left me so dazed that I walked off with Steve Glass's rack. No idea why. I don't usually walk off with racks. I don't usually get beaten by 272 either.

Keith Cjemer's outdrawing was even more annoying because he tried to play a stupid-ass GEOToNE* early in the game. Just on that basis alone he should have lost, but his lucky ass manages to draw a C bingo, cENOTES, to take the MAGI setup that I had created (holding a C). Then he scores 42, 42, 39, and 42, and a turn later the bingos with other blank. And just to pound my spread further, he tops my overlapping VIEW for 50 with AROINT for 42. My spread goes into the toilet, not that it mattered with a 1-5 record. I was pretty livid by that point.

Worst thing about the game though was that I knew my losses were getting to me and causing me to play poorly. I missed some really basic stuff against Keith, like opening with JANES instead of JEANS. That's just retarded.

Actually, as it turned out, I only gave up 40.9 equity points in that game. Top expert level, as I understand it (40-50). In fact, of the five games I had lost, I gave up 14.5, 47, and 40.9 in three of them. Yeah, 14.5 is what I gave up against Scott Appel! Damn!!! I did not have the numbers at the time, but I suspected that I was getting a raw deal.

Finally managed to pick up a second win, against Stefan, but only with the aid of both blanks and three eses. I have to credit Stefan with the moral victory, however. He had better words, (P)LINTH, INFANT, and JOK(E)Y. But his brilliance, and my lack of board vision, shined in the end game when I failed to see the (INFANT)RIES. I was so proud of myself for having seen (WEB)SITE, completely oblivious to my blunder. That blunder could have cost me the game, too, because Stefan tried a Hail-Mary (INFANT)RIED*. My heart stopped. I worked out the math, and I had to challenge. I was sure it was good. But it wasn't. I was probably more relieved about that challenge than about the results of my last HIV test. After the game I admitted to Stefan he had the moral victory, and I have to concede that he is still the better player. Not retarded at all.

Went back to the Filipino restaurant for lunch and then up to Starbucks for some more joe. When I politely complained to the barista from earlier that morning that she might have given me Yukon instead of Joya del Dia, the retarded little bitch just said "um, okay" and walked away. No apology. No concern for customer service. And people wonder why Starbucks hasn't been doing so well recently.

I returned from lunch to win three more games. To protect the identity of the defeated, the next three games are listed in no particular order.

Double-blank SILIcOn boosted me to a hearty win against A Nonymous, but the game was far from a done deal even towards the end. Despite his fortunes of late, he definitely knows some words.

B Nonymous was the second player to outbingo me 4 to 0. In my opinion two complete blowouts in a fifteen-game tournament was disproportionately unfair.

Drew both blanks against D Nonymous, and though at first I felt irritate that I my luck wasn't more spread out, the endgame turned out to be close, just 30 points. D Nonymous seems to give me more trouble than he should given his style of play and the glaring weaknesses in his game.

Drew both blanks against C Nonymous, and though at first I felt irritate that I my luck wasn't more spread out, the endgame turned out to be close, just 30 points. C Nonymous seems to give me more trouble than he should given his style of play and the glaring weaknesses in his game.

And still the next round was not paired. People were saying they were using TSH, so what was the goddamn problem? This was retarded!!! It was appropriate that Vernon was hidden. Nobody ever understands what the man behind the curtain is doing, and I'm fairly sure that many of the players were feeling completely lost.

Another amusing (and irritating) thing about the languid administration of the even was the posting of these nifty wall charts (generated by TSH, I assumed). It was really nice to see that Vernon was experimenting with cool features of TSH while the standings were generally delayed a couple of rounds.

D Nonymous had me dead to rights. I trailed the entire game, and at the very end the only way I could win was win a bingo. It is understandable that from a tile pool of GOTUUH?, a bingo did not look very likely, but my opponet still should have blocked the only open S hook. He did not, and his jaw dropped when I played OUTsUNG.

After delivering XXX to XXX, I cruised up XXX and down XXX in the hopes of finding a new Latin American XXX, but I had to settle for XXX's suggestion, XXX. This place was not a typical XXX XXX--the XXX included XXX and XXX. I did not have high hopes, so I settled for XXX and XXX. They couldn't really screw that up too bad, could they?

Crazy night in AC. I witnessed cops flying by, lights flashing, on no fewer that four occasions. I've no love for cops, but I've no faith in humanity either, and I was sure there were fools all over town doing retarded shit and causing a ruckus.

Sunday, January 27, 2007

7:51, wished it would have been 8:15. I hoped that having the use of an XXX would help me fall back asleep until 8:40, but I was unable to. I went ahead and got up to give myself time for another Starbucks run, but I later changed my mind and decided to take advantage of the XXX that XXX had prepared. It was not Starbucks quality, but it was still a world better than the swill served at the hotel restaurant in Minneapolis.

All weekend I had tried to avoid complaining to others about my luck. Though griping about luck is and will always be a part of Scrabble, nobody wants to hear it. But in the bathroom, Joe Petree did bring up the issue, saying "you didn't look too happy yesterday." So I recounted how I had gotten outbingoed 4-0 in two games in the same tournament, a rarity for me. I genuinely could not tell whether Joe was being sarcastic wiht his response. I cannot seem to read the intonation in his speech. And speaking of intonation, how is it that that whole tonality in the Chinese language evolve? That is so freaking annoying. I'd like to learn Chinese, since China will only become more dominant in the world in the coming decades, but I cannot handle the difficulty of tonality.

Whew. A narrow escape against Sam Rosin, one of the players who must never beat me, at least until he reaches puberty. Losing to a kid is painful--several others of our community can attest to that. I owe my win to his phony P(R)OOFeRY*. It was a bad time for a phony, since it put me in the position of having to challenge. Early in the tournament, I might have let it go to preserve my spread, but not when I was so far out of contention.

I had my first easy game of the tournament in Round 13, against Erica Norris, who I thought had disappeared from the scene. I started out with ORATION and aMBERIN(A), then ROENTG(E)N a few turns later. I felt a little worry when my racks turned vowel-head in the mid-game, but I still managed to well with the X and Q, and then score 66 with KEYS for 148-point win. Despite that spread, and a 7-6 record, my total spread was still a whopping -316, a glaring sign of how bad I had been outdrawn in some games.

One interesting note about that game is that I let my clock run down while trying to find the best play in my DIGLRT? through a poorly positioned A. I was expecting Erica to go out with her ES, so I was surprised when she just played the S leaving me to make my play with 8 seconds. I quickly played (D)oLT and called out an O, but I circled a G. Erica did not notice. After I turned in the scoresheet Erica was still sitting at the board, so I decided to grab the blank designation slip and dispose of it to avoid any issues. It was only a matter of a 138 spread instead of 148, but why take chances. The situation made me wonder what exactly the ruling would have been given that the odd tally slips did not actually have a place for both players to sign or initial.

My game against Marjorie Schoneboom was tougher. She blocked my TRAWLER with (C)ONNIVeS, forcing me to try WRA(S)TLER*. I was greatly relieved to get it past her, and that emboldened me to hook AEDILES onto it. Marjorie then exchanged while I scored another 31, and the game was looking pretty good. But my next two scores were 14, and then I decided to throw B(Y) out there to fish into an AENRST rack. With two spots, I expected to bingo regardless, and when I drew an I thought I was golden. But Marjorie's play of QUAI not only scored 54, but it appeared to block both my lines. I saw the possibility of a sweet overlap, and I proceeded to try to recall all the solutions to AEINRST. I knew there are nine, but I could only recall eight, and by chance the one I missed, NASTIER, was the only one that fit. Yikes!!! What a revolting development. Fortunately I had TRAN(Q) to hit that Q, and we bounced back and forth for a couple of turns until I played DEIST/(UT)E/(AH)I/(BIO)S/U(T). For some reason Marjorie decided to challenge. I assumed she was challenging DEIST, and suddenly I found myself unsure. I insisted she write down the challenge, and first she said she was going to challenge all of them but then changed her mind and just wrote down UTE. When she got up to the computer she said she was going to challenge DEIST too, and I had to firmly assert "NO!" I didn't want to be a hardass, but rules and rules, and I wasn't going to help her beat me on the off chance that DEIST turned out phony. Though I led for the rest of the game, I made a huge mistake in not being 100% certain that her PIKA play did not take an S hook, or that GOODEST* was a phony. This was a problem because I could have played REFLET to leave one tile on my rack + one in the bag and guarantee a win even if she bingoe, or I could block the PIKA hook and risk looking if she found a bingo ending in O or I or IED. In actual fact, there were no playable bingos in the final 8 tiles, so I was safe regardless, but it would have been better to be certain and play to maximize my spread.

Perhaps it would have been better if my spread had been worse, because my winning three games combined with Lloyd Mills' losing three games put us on a collision course. I could not expect to draw like I had done in Albany, and, as I expected, Lloyd rolled right over me like a Mack truck (or the equivalent Canadian model). But what are you going to do--when your opponent knows words like AM(A)RELlE and (I)NVErITY, you're going to be in for a battle. Heck, LLoyd even knows the other hook for MEDIATOR.

While waiting for my final round I asked XXX if XXX was still dominating in Division XXX. XXX went off into a rant about how XXX had completely bungled the game and allowed XXX to win. XXX was taking much too seriously given the context. Really, Division XXX players cannot be held to the same standard as the real players in Division 1. Of course they are going to screw up games--that's why they are in Division XXX!!! It's cruel to say, but it's true--Division XXX players are retarded.

So I ended up 8-7 and lost a few ratings point. Not big deal, but it was irritating to lose so many games in which I had played like an expert. I had to put that out of my mind though, and focus on the fact and I was improving and was due to kick ass at a big tournament soon, soon, soon.

On the bright side, not winning a prize meant I didn't have to wait around for two hours. Yes, if reports are accurate, the ceremony did not start until 4:40, two hours after I finished up! That's just...

Tuesday, January 29, 2007

On a tangential note, fellow Scrabbler and television fan Ira Freehof pointed me in the direction of an excellent new show on AMC, Breaking Bad. In the second episode, a character runs into a tree. I swear, no matter how many times I see it, it's always funny when a character runs into a tree.

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


1 - Appel    
3.1 FES  
0 NAH  
2.7 GRIM  
0 MI  
0 (K)IWI  
0.5 G(A)TOR  
0 V(E)IL  
7.7 AT  
0 U(S)  
0 OP  
0 (RIF)T + (T)A  
--- (T)A  
0 (BY)E  
0 T(OP)  
2 - Benedict    
1.7 EYRIR  
2.3 PIETA  
34.4 lose turn (LENITES/(EYRIR)S*)  
2.4 LET  
15.1 WIN  
5.2 FES  
17.6 (R)IME HEMIOlI(A)
35.6 BRUI(N) BOURsIN,miss B(LET) hook
21.3 (L)END  
8 oUZOS V(I)ZOrS/(DE)V(A)/(Z)A
3 - Avrin    
0 DAUT  
5.4 ENATE  
30.4 R(E)MAIL QI (intentionally pass up to block 3x3 after Paul exchange)
--- Q(I)  
1.2 EVICTS  
0 HOOVInG*  
0 J(I)BED  
0.1* WAUK  
0 FLED(G)Y  
0.1 zINGIER  
0 ROOF  
8 SEI  
4 - Popper    
0 QUOD  
0 LINT  
5.5 (R)OOKS SOOK/(PELORIA)S (unsure if took S)
2.3 TAV  
3.3 FIG  
13.1 R(O)TI  
0.2 RATLIN(E)S  
8.7 UM  
3 Z(I)NG  
0 D(OXY)  
5 - Brook    
3.8 HIP HUO (leave IIOV instead of IOUV?)
0.2 YOU  
0 (A)BOVE  
0 EX  
0 FOY  
0.6 FEM/(T)E*  
4.1 GRIM  
3.5 RESEND  
0 GA(U)D  
26.6 (I)NN  
22.3 -Q  
3.7 (D)UE  
0 PET  
6 - Cejmer    
3.6 MAGI  
3.8 CUTIE(S)  
4.5 (T)ARRY  
0 BIAL(Y)  
11 W(ANE)D miss (OANE)W hook
9 Z(E)D  
4 HM  
0 VIEW  
0 SCUD  
7 - Rau    
4.6 YAW  
0 rIV((U)LETS  
0.2 (M)OPE  
0 EGO  
12 ZE(R)O  
0.9 AM(A)IN  
0 RIP  
8.1 WO(E)  
0 RU(G)S  
5.9 RESAW (49 pts vs QI for 25)
10.3 QI  
0 J(E)T  
2.8 ERRAND  
5.8 EF  
14.6 -ILTUZ  
5.3 ETIC  
0 GOAT  
0* AB  
0 Z(IN)  
6.6 EAU  
1.5 VOW  
7.9 AZAN  
3.6 FUD  
0 (V)AT  
0 JIN  
5.5 TOIL  
6.2 SILIcOn nOISIly,kOLInS(K)I
0* YE(A)  
0 PEG  
0 MARS  
0 YU(K)  
43.7 GAPE PREAGED (unsure)
3.8 (G)IBERS  
0 (B)IPOD  
7.4* FOUNT Why does Quackle like FUTON better???
9.4 RYA stupid
6 L(I)  
22 (E)R miss J play!!!
0 (RE)V  
0 F(E)  
0 L(OP)  
0 F(ET)  
0 JOY  
0 VEIN  
6.7 CHYL(E)  
1.1 ROAN  
12.5 OES  
0 GNU  
24.1 QUIETs  
15.7 (UN)R(I)P still missing ARF!!!
5.9 TI(P)  
3 (I)F sweet Lord I played (I)F but missed ARF!!!
22 TA  
4 NAp  
0 (GO)D(ET)/(EVITE)D  
12 - Rosin    
0 -LL (ANRST)  
0 (Y)UAN  
2.5 TAXI  
5.5 (R)URAL (R)ULER (AER superior to EER)
3.5 LIER  
0 HIN  
1.3 Q(I) JIBE/(COB)B
11.7 J(O) JIBE/(COB)B
0 BLED  
0 (L)UTEIN  
13 - Norris    
0.4 F(I)LTH  
4.1 VOW  
2 (N)AEVI  
7.5 EX  
8.2 AY AYE (too risky)
11.5 (M)OO block
0 (Q)UALE  
1.5* ID  
5.8 G(A)RDI* missed a billion 24-pt plays
2 (D)oLT  
14 - Schoneboom    
0.1 FOAM  
2.3 GRU(M)P  
42.3 B(Y) BANTERS (wow that's just moronic)
35.2 TRAN(Q)  
1 O(V)A  
2.7 DEIST EDIT/(COD)E/(AMI)D/(L)I/(E)T (saw one sweet overlap but missed the other)
20.8 NIX EX (didn't see it but wouldn't have played anyway to avoid creating line)
9.2 REF unsure if S(PIKA)* was good
15 - Mills    
9.5 WIFE  
0 JI(A)O  
0 VIRAG(O)  
3.9 DHAK  
46.9 lose challenge ((I)NVErITY)  
0* HUP  
--- exch DFNQS + 1 mystery tile  
0 (EX)ONS  
0 QU(O)LL  
9.1 DEF(I) DEF(I)N(E)
26 lose turn (ANNATE*)  

1 - L - 1.0 (14.5)
2 - L - 10.8 (150.8)
3 - W - 4.1
4 - L - 3.6 (47)
5 - L - 5.0 (64.8)
6 - L - 3.2 (40.9)
7 - W - 3.5 (41.5)
8 - W - 4.0 (51.7)
9 - W - 2.9 (40.2)
10 - L - 12.6 (201.8)
11 - W - 6.2 (98.6)
12 - W - 1.8 (24.5)
13 - W - 5.8 (86.5)
14 - W - 9.5 (132.5)
15 - L - 8.7

Avg: 5.5

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