Still No Milkshake

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No delays for once, just a stop in Princeton (not really Princeton, but who can keep track of these NJ townships) at the Whole Foods to return my "very special" orange juice. This juice was so special because, when I purchased it at the Philly store on January 27, the expiration date had already passed... 19 days before! The juice tasted funny, of course, and, after rushing to the bathroom to stick my finger down my throat, I promptly called the Whole Foods to complain (in polite manner, unlike a certain irascible Scrabbler/blogger we know). The employee I spoke to reacted with horror when I said I would save the bottle until I could return it. He told me to throw it away, but I knew better. If I showed up two months later at some Whole Foods with just a receipt and my story, I would certainly be looked at with suspicion. I don't like being suspected. Nobody does. And that'why privacy needs to be eliminated.

Getting back to my special juice, after two months later, the substance (no longer merely "juice") in the back of my car had taken on a very special quality. I think the organism growing inside had evolved into a higher life form and was sending me telepathic messages. When I handed it over to the customer service rep at the Princeton store, she said she would "take care of it". I replied, yes, take care of it, because I think there is a new life form in there. And, like Horton said, "a person is a person, no matter how small." This quote is, of course, a subliminal attempt by Dr. Seuss to subliminally preach against abortion.

No, of course not, but somehow anti-abortion advocates have latched onto this quote from the movie for their purposes, despite the fact that Geisel's widow has stated that Seuss did not want his work hijacked for political purposes. So basically, it's not bad enough that anti-abortionists are so short-sighted that they would, if given total power, derail human evolution, but they apparently have little regard for truth either.

AARRGHH!!! Madness! A 14-player top division, polluted with scrubs aplenty. As I was at the top of the Division (ahead of Koenig by one point (not accounting for my drop in North Salem), my first opponent was the bottom of the barrel, a particularly scruffy scrub by the name of Jeffrey O'Jacobson (in honor of St. Patty's Day). Whether truly Irish or not, O'Jacobson has several times frustrated my tournament success with draws that I, in my most humble of opinions, would deem as "lucky". And so what does he do, right off the bat--SWIVINg! I missed my bingo, GOXEDLy, and by the time I was able to bingo, I had to play the phony NITErIE* so I could hit the double-double and catch up. O'Jacobson then proceeded to score 31, 33, and 36, and that prompted me to fall into the trap of the five-vowel eights.

Oh, those pesky 5-vowel 8s. They have won me many a game, but this time around they almost cost me my first round. DIOICOUS and DIECIOUS are the culprits--they are so freakin' hard to remember. I tried DEICEOU(S)* instead. What saved me was that Jeff worried there might be real a bingo there, and he "blocked" with MU(S) for 6. Later, he made another blocking play for 5. Given the final spread, just 10 points, those two small plays really cost him.

I completely outdrew Shane Tourtellotte, and I wish to formally issue and apology. Not for the outdrawing, mind you, but for the egregious offences of: A) Not seeing EROTICS; and B) Not seeing (E)SOTERIC as the anagram of COT(E)RIES instantly but rather taking several minutes to find it. Oh, and for thinking ALIUNDE looked funny and not seeing its anagram.

Losing my third game by one point hurt pretty bad. First of all, it was against a player who I've never seen in Division 1 before, and who got off easy with stuff like STOrING and ISATINE and ZO(N)aL for 53. Worst part was, had she played STOrING out in the open I would have had plays from EEHIORS, and had ISATINE been shifted one row I would have had RELAX(E)RS. Actually, no, here's the real worst part--after Barbara blocked my bingo in the triple column and forced me to play for just 66 and open a triple myself, she then played BR(A)CING for 45 to pretty much assure her victory. Except... I found UN(BRACING) for 42, and all of a sudden it looked like I was back in the game. But I couldn't find a winning endgame, and in fact there might not be one. But here's the real worst part of the game. On top of drawing easy tiles, Barbara had to further annoy me by humming the melody to her favorite song, an awful-yet-infectuous pop tune from a few years back, one that caused Mattel to sue the group. If I hadn't been distracted by the song I probably would have played perfectly and won. Yeah, that's it.

I still had some Colombian food from the previous night, but my 1-point loss had completely killed my mood and appetite. The leftovers just did not seem appealing, and I needed to get some air, as the disappointment was suffocating me. I needed to be alone and try and find a winning endgame. I don't think there is one.

Annotated Game

First game after lunch, my first real opponent, Steve O'Liger. After I opened with TWEENEr, he surprised the heck out of with SPAVI(E)TS*. Why was I so surprised? Because Joey's challenging that phony was part of my best anecdote from Albany--that was the game in which I played SuDS for 18 and gave up 363 equity points! If I had never played that game, I would not have known that SPAVIET doesn't take an S, so I kind of got a break there. Steve still managed to bingo, a pretty tasty find, S(O)UPLIKE, but I managed to hold the momentum for the rest of the game.

Against Richard Popper I bingoed early, (R)UiNATED, but I missed iN(FAT)UATED--that would have been a sweet find. Nevertheless I was able to keep the board closed and cruise to victory, and I even let Richard have the second blank. Remember this, because Richard was not so magnanimous during our rematch!

Next up, Tim Davis, one of two finally-exited-the-cave surprise entrants (Jim Kille was the other). I missed him in February because I was down South hunting Gibson, but he could not escape my clutches this time. I don't care how good he was--nobody comes back to Scrabble after a four-year absence and beats me. I didn't let Peter Morris do it in Farmington, and I wasn't about to let Tim do it.

Annotated Game

As I alluded to before, I was denied my milkshake by the blank-hogging Richard Popper. Even though I had let him have a blank in our first game, he decided to hog both for himself in our rematch. I managed to come back from his pedestrian LEANESt, but as soon as I did he came out with the utterly stunning AUNTIeS. And then I screwed up. I played BEAMERS* instead of AMBEERS and then let him get away with (T)ARGETER*. Funny thing is, had I played AMBEERS, I would have lost anyway because it would have given Richard GREATER. My only path to victory at that point would have been to play off the B and or M, bingo, and hope that Richard had difficulty with the Q and V which were still in the bag.

Annotated Game

I guess the worst thing about the weekend was that, even if I lost rating, I should have won one or both events. It was already mid-March, and I had only won one tournament for the year. Not good for those year-end stats that everybody is looking forward to.

That loss sapped me of the enthusiasm I usually exhibit for life. No strippers, no movie, no Columbian food. Nothing appealed to me. The world had lost its flavor. There were only one activity that held any promise: sleep, and a coffee date with Ashley Alexandra Dupre. The latter was unrealistic, so I just went home. It was barely 8:30 by the time I returned home, and 9:00 when I got to bed. At least I would be able to sleep a long, long time. And perhaps, dared I hope--forever?

I did not get to bed until 9:00, but I made excellent use of my time there--eleven whole hours of sleep. When I bragged about this the next day at work, a coworker replied "I hate him." Well, that's what he gets for having a wife and three kids. Me, I'll take sleep and the wonderful worlds that it can bring. Sunday night I went back to college. I loved college. A regular offering of college dreams are one of the reasons I love to sleep so much. But I also love the unusual one-of-a-kind dreams. Sunday nights was particularly interesting. I was at a Scrabble tournament, a long one, like the Redeye, but spread across three days. The event was held in a hotel-like environment, except that it was also a strip club. The real interesting part was that part of the tournament involved the female players giving the male players lap dances. Unfortunately, I never got to witness or experience this because just as we were getting started, some bouncer-type came into the room and said we all had to leave. I went to go find a manager and complain (that the organizers had a contract for the entire weekend), and then I woke up. What's even stranger is that, after a trip to the bathroom (in real life), I went back to sleep and reentered the dream! This hardly ever happens. Once I wake up from a particular scenario, that's it. I never get to find out what happens next. But this time, I reentered the dream and went back to the playing room to find people packing up, and I went over to the organizers (Steph Steele?) to ask what had happened. Then I woke up again, and that was it. I couldn't go back to sleep. Bah. I really want to sleep forever and discover what dreams may come.



#1 - Jacobson    
0 (V)OX  
0.7 LEDG(Y)  
0 JOG  
0 FIG  
7.5 PA  
35.7 lose turn  
7.9 COI(N)ED  
5 N(E)NE  
0* SERUM  
8.7 ART(Y)  
3.8 POOFS  
5 (R)OTA  
#2 - Tourtellotte    
0.3 ReDEYES  
0 BY  
9.3 (S)OX FOX(I)NG
4.3 D(R)IP  
0 (K)INA  
12.8 MEN miss 6-letter TWS spot
13.9 REBUT VU(L)TURE (no way--opens a new line!!!)
4.6 VO(L)T  
0 OURS  
#3 - Gindlesperger    
0 DO(V)E  
4.1 WUD  
0 HOI(S)E  
3.6 JEW  
2 FEY  
7.6 BEAR  
0 R(E)LAX  
14.4 L(AG)ER R(OWE)N/(DOVE)N critical mistake
21.1 T(aL)K KI(F) even more critical mistake
0 NAH  
0 (G)RAIL  
#4 - Oliger    
0 YID  
0 YETI  
3.2 FUN(K)  
2.6 MID way more defensive
1.9 THORN again, defense
0 FE  
5.4 DEN (R)ICIN (didn't want to create new lines)
1.5 VOC(AB)  
0 I(L)IA  
0 QUOL(L)  
1 AIRN  
#5 - Popper    
1.3 TURF TUFT (ADR leave better than ADT)
1.6 JE(E) JE(E)D,(FA)NJET (not best)
0 XU  
0 DOZY  
0 D(E)AFEN  
2.4 QA(I)D  
7.1 HENT  
0 M(O)R(A)LS  
5.5 CIG more defensive
0.3 KEY  
#6 - Davis    
0 (Y)AGI  
1.4 GUIRO ROUE (way too risky)
0 EH  
0.7 VANES  
0 (D)EtAINER  
0 (S)AW  
11.6 (P)HI (P)OH (offers no bingos given the tile pool)
0 OE  
#7 - Popper    
0 XI  
7.3 NAN (IN)N (3 pts but leave AILNST)
0 TIC  
0 BY  
2.1 HI(L)I HI(L)I (keep DIOS vs DLOS)
8.1 OPED  
6.1 OHIA  
4.9 GRE(W)  
2 (G)LOZE  
16.7 lose turn (BEAMERS*) AMBEERS (would have lost anyway)
5 QI  
8 L(E)V  

1 - W - 6.8 (94.9)
2 - W - 4.6 (60.4)
3 - L - 3.9 (54.7)
4 - W - 1.3 (17.1)
5 - W - 3.6 (46.2)
6 - W - 2.5 (34.8)
7 - L - 6.7 (101.2)

Avg: 4.2

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