The Waiting

Friday, April 11, 2008

Previously, on "Tilebag Confessional", LiveJournal, and CGP...
Winter attends a tournament in Fort Worth. That night, Winter seeks a suitable place to camp and finds an isolated cul-de-sac along an undeveloped patch of land near a big-box store (Wal-Mart, perhaps). Unbeknownst to Winter, our intrepid young hero has parked dangerously close to an electrical substation. During the night, a freak power surge combined with an unexplained lightning phenomenon creates an electromagnetic pulse that passes through Winter and renders him susceptible, under the right conditions, to a phenomenon known as coming "unstuck in time".

The player formerly known as Patrick Hodges (and is now known by many terms other than his given name) is publicly accused of cheating at a tournament. The discussion spills over from LiveJournal onto CGP and generates waves that reach into the past and dredge up event more grist for the meat grinder that is CGP. Winter, who absolutely hates getting sucked into CGP discussions, is pulled into the raging cyclone and tries to make a point.

Winter meets girl. Winter blogs about girl. Said act of blogging creates a chaotic instability in the interpersonal dynamic between Winter and unsaid girl, in keeping with the phenomenon known as the "observer effect" (often conflated with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle). Winter considers checking himself into a "Bloggers Anonymous" program.

Winter remains true to his nature.

Longtime readers will remember many references to feeling dread and anxiety before a big tournament. Sometimes even before a small tournament, if I was, for example, in a position to cross a ratings boundary or needed to win all my games. Feeling genuine anticipation, however, has been a rare or nonexistent occurrence for me. I rather like it, though.

I left work shortly after 2:00 PM and headed, for no particular reason, to the train station in Paoli. I can't say what motivated me to stop there. Maybe I was hoping to get a glimpse of YT, who lives and works/worked nearby (or at least did, until this blog is published and she goes into hiding). Maybe it was something else. Anyway, it was an amazing coincidence, but who did I spot in the parking lot but Rebecca. She had taken a wrong turn and somehow ended up stranded in Paoli instead of on the correct train to Poughkeepsie. She was so relieved to see me that she didn't even hit me as I had expected.

I then went across the street to the ACME, where I spent about seven minutes buying some foodibles. I was still on schedule to leave Paoli right at 2:30, but, regrettable, was also retarded. It's a good thing I had planned extra time, because I took a wrong turn right away (surprise, surprise), a right onto US-30 from the street next to the Bank of America instead of going straight ahead on PA-252 which would put me on US-202. The delay cost me about 10 minutes, but I made up that time on the Turnpike, and by the time we approached Tenafly to pick up David Koenig, we were well ahead of schedule.

I had forgotten to copy David's phone # into my phone, however (surprise, surprise), so I detoured into Englewood to pick up the Starbucks wi-fi singal and access my e-mail, and also to find a Colombian restaurant I remembered from many years back.

We tried to call David, but got no answer. After Rebecca left a message, she closed up the phone not realizing it was still operating on speaker, and so David got to hear everything we talked about for the next one to two minutes. It's a very good thing we weren't then discussing any of the sensitive topics we had been talking about earlier, or David would have ended up in possession of some really juicy gossip.

David never heard the phone ring, and thus did not listen to our message, so when we arrived he had not yet finished packing. Additionally, I had to offload some of the items in my trunk to make space for David's bag and board. The reason for this is that earlier that morning I had moved out of the room I was renting, and thus all my possessions were in my car. For that reason, picking up David was not all that convenient, but I felt it was a small step I could take to benefit the environment. I wanted to try and carpool more, though this would mean some sacrifices--I had had to skip my Princeton massage in order to take Rebecca, and I would similarly have to skip a post-tournament massage with Elizabeth in Kingston, or Avelia in NYC. You have to understand, these are really painful sacrifices for me. Obtaining a good massage has become increasingly difficult as the zone of Chester county spas from which I have banned continues to expand. I has to occurred to me, of course, whether I could ask one of my passengers to make up for my sacrificed massage, but instances in which I've had a female passenger are rare. On the other hand, there is at least one male player who routinely boasts of his upper-body strength--I bet he would make a good masseur!

By the time we finished packing, it was almost fine. We were cutting it close, but hungry. David was the one most concerned with arriving on time, so I let him decide if it was okay to go over to the Colombian restaurant, La Cumbia. David surprised me by recognizing the place--he had been there before. I was pleased. Any white guy who'll venture into a Colombian restaurant (a real one, not those trendy fusion shi-shi bistros) earns a point in my book. More surprising was the very fact that David and I were sharing a meal, when you consider that just a few years earlier we had been mortal enemies ready to shank each other on sight.

We managed to put away the food relatively quickly, but the waitress was slower than I would have hoped with the check. By the time we left, we were looking at cutting our arrival very close, and we still had to stop at the new Starbucks in Northvale, where David Koenig official became part of the Starbucking Club, the select group of individuals who have accompanied me to a new Starbucks.

As we neared our exit off the Thruway, I had the others call Bihlmeyer for an update on whether the games would be starting on time. Joe reported that they wanted to start on time, but somehow I didn't believe that would happen. Good thing, because I misread my map, and once I hit US-9W, I headed the wrong way!!!

At this point I must commend David on his composure. Earlier in the week he had expressed a desire to arrive on time, yet he did not seem at all flustered when I revealed we had gone astray. He claimed to be calm, feeling good, and ready for the tournament. I was relieved, because I would have felt bad if our late arrival had cost David or Rebecca games.

But we weren't late, not by a long shot, not even at 7:45, nearly an hour after our planned arrival time. Apparently Kath Mulholland (let us all wish her a speedy recovery) was unable to direct as planned, and Cornelia Guest had to fill in. As much experience as Cornelia has, jumping into a large multi-day event at the last minute could not have been easy.

I think it was after 8:00 PM when we finally began, and my first opponent was one I had not faced in a while, The Other Sherman Brother. After a shaky start, I managed to play YUC(K), leave RSTV, and draw into REVOTES. How's that for luck. I then drew a blank, and then another, for inNATEL(Y), and Mr. Sherman found himself thoroughly beglorphed.

Next, Bihlmeyer (pronounced with a feminine first syllable, like Chris Lipe does it). I must confess that I played no phonies. It's a good thing, because Joe was challenging everything. And I do mean everything. First PLInK(I)NG, then TWAT, and finally R(EVERSION). Joe claims he maintains a healthy diet free of pharmaceuticals, but his challenge spree was clearly crack-induced behaviour. Playing next to us were KCF (or is that KFC--I get them confused) and Eric Goldstein, and I think I caught glimpses of uncredulity on their faces every time Joe and I returned from the challenge computer. Joe did get a jab in, however. After losing the TWAT challenge (sounds like a name for a video, I know), he commented "I'm surprised you found it." That clever little motherfucker. How dare he insinuate I would ever have trouble finding that. That's just mean.

In between games (not sure which rounds) I found myself on the receiving end of a piercing glare. I assumed it was just a coincidence, and I said hello to the gentleman. He rather sternly replied "You say hi to me after what you posted on CGP." I was shocked! How could it have been that anything I wrote could have given offence to another player. That's unthinkable!!! Still, the gentleman was upset, and so here is the part of the story where I describe a shouting match in the middle of the playing room. That would be really juicy. Unfortunately, it really happened like this. I explained my position, he explained his, and we walked away with no hard feelings. Boooooring.

My pain-stick fell once more time, with Noel Livermore on the receiving end. Four bingos, DET(E)NTES, GE(L)ATIOn, GRADAB(L)E (the only good one), and ZINC(A)TeS, plus a won challenge, J(A)UPE*, contributed to a 204-victory, and all of a sudden I had a whopping spread. Unfortunately, I lost most of that at the hands of the formerly-dejected Randy Greenspan. He had lost all his games, and thus he must have taken some measure of satisfaction in bingoing three times to my none. I grant you that MYLO(N)ITE was sweet, but I could have lived with his getting down LENTOID... twice. Yes, twice in the same game.

I didn't care though--the field was strong enough that I could judge 3-1 to be a halfway decent start. More importantly, my mind was preoccupied with another, more exciting, development. Through a series of circumstances that are still not entirely clear to me, and possibly of a supernatural nature, I found myself sleeping that night not in my car, but instead in a hotel room at the Courtyard by Marriott. The room had Internet access, but that amenity pales in comparison to the rooms other feature of interest.

It would seem that Room 71 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Poughkeepsie, NY, is a portal into time, space, and experience. Upon entering, I connected to the Internet while waiting for the bathroom, and then I took a shower myself (wow, an actual shower!!!). When I exited the bathroom, I could both see and sense a difference in the air. Objects in the room appeared distorted, in a fashion similar to when the air above a blacktop road in the desert becomes superheated and warps the images passing through it. While I did have a distinct vibe that something usual was afoot, I was also very tired, and so I chalked up what I thought I was seeing to fatigue and crawled into the very comfortable king size bed.

Except I did not end up in that king size bed in Room 71, but rather in a small tent on a sidewalk in front of what appeared to be a large movie theater complex. I looked up and saw a sign that read "Cinemark Legacy". Plano! I was back in Plano, TX. But when? There was something very familiar about the whole scene. I appeared to be in a line of some sort, stretching around the corner of the building, full of individuals or groups of young people, some on lawn chairs, some in tents, some in what were clearly Star Wars costumes. It came to me quickly--I was in the line for Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones! The date was no longer April 11, 2008, but insead May 15, 2002. Though not at the front of the line, I was repeating the same wait for good seats that I had undertaken three years earlier at the other Cinemark multiplex in Plano.

A flood of memories rushed over me. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. How I had anticipated that film, and how it had failed to live up to expectations. Nevertheless, no sooner had we exited that other theater than I began to anticipate the sequel. That anticipation built over the course of three years, and my consciousness, chronally displaced from 2008, clearly remember how excited I was as I waited for Episode II. I remembered, too, wondering if the new film would deliver on its promise or similarly underwhelm (Jar Jar Binks was still in the cast, after all). I need not have worried. Attack of the Clones rocked. I would rank some of the action scenes in the film among the best in the franchise. Critics be damned--there is plenty to praise in that film. The fact that it was shot digitally, for example. The Cinemark Legacy happened to be, back in 2002, one of the few theaters in the country to have a Texas Instruments DLP projector, and the image we saw was crystal clear, smooth as the skin of a fair young maiden.

I experienced a great sense of satisfaction that night. Between friends, Starbucking, friends, and whatever else I was up to in 2002 (no Scrabble yet), my life was still pretty good (except for credit card debt), but still I had not felt complete until that quality Star Wars film was finally released. No matter how well-rounded a man might be, no matter how content with his life, without quality output from Lucasfilm there is something missing.

I do not know how long my consciousness was displayed. Several hours, at least, part of which was spent waiting to enter and part of which was spent watching the movie itself. Then at some point the images on the screen faded away into a blur, and I found myself once again in a hotel room in Poughkeepsie. I looked at the clock, and it was so late. Sleep was going to be in short supply that night, but I would not have traded my fantastic experience for anything.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

After resetting my alarm, I gave up on sleep at 8:41 and quickly headed out for coffee. Lots of coffee. Spotted Linda Oliva at the Starbucks--she was so surprised to find me there she nearly dropped her cup.

I returned to the hotel to find Rebecca a might bit displeased. Yes, the hotel offered breakfast, but surprise, surprise--it was not complimentary. I was glad I had picked up a Top Pot donut from the Starbucks. Why pay for an overpriced hotel breakfast?

Dang--we should have just walked to the hotel from the Courtyard. I didn't realize it was that close, nor that it would take a billion years to negotiate the u-turns on US-9.

Speaking of the actual venue itself, I would do Kevin a disservice if I did not point out that Courtyard was all decorated up for Scrabble--here's a couple of pics.

Man, what a great start, 2nd place behind Koenig. With eight more spread points, I would have been in first place for the after the first night of a 3-day tournament with a strong field, at least as far as I can remember. So of course I had great dreams for the tournament, and I was clueless as to what was going to happen that day.

Unlike in Charleston, it wasn't the lack of sleep. I got pretty decent tiles and felt in control during all three of the games I lost that morning. First up, Marjoie Schoneboom. Despite her drawing both blanks and four eses, and bingoing twice to my none, I still might have won in the endgame.

Annotated Game

My loss to Larry Sherman (yes, a repeat in Round 6), was even closer, just five points. It was a particularly frustrating loss because I managed to triple-triple for 158 points to take the lead after Larry had bingoed three times in a row!!! I then played D(A)NK for 42 to go up a full 68 points--a win seemed a slam dunk. How I lost it has to be seen to be believed.

Annotated Game

A third really hard loss in a row, this time to Lloyd Mills. I went first, AVOIDER, but he came right back with EQuATI(O)N. ZO(u)K, T(R)AITORS, and DADO for 31 gave Lloyd the momentum, but then I played JO, leaving CEEHV, and I willed and A and I into my rack for 94 points. Then a critical play. 46 points for SWANS off FOY, but I wasn't sure. How many times have I made that list of 3s that don't take an ess, and I wasn't sure. That play could make or break, man. I went for it though, and my 72-point was probably a factor in spurring Lloyd to try MELANI(S)E*. A week or two earlier I might have been clueless and just played MILIEU for 31 to keep my lead, but I had just anagrammed the AEIILMNS rack. The AEEILMNS alphagram would have to be there if it were good. The game should have been a lock at that point. I played MILIEU(S), drew the second blank, and then I got PEW for 38 to lead by 91. No way I lose that game, unless... I draw no more vowels at the same time that LLoyd gets RECLINE(S) and then OX for 56. Just one vowel, and I probably would have won. Just one fucking vowel!

Oh, but that wasn't the worst of it. You wanna know the worst of it? No, it wasn't missing W(A)LLOpED--that shit is hard to see, dog. No, the worst part was that Lloyd played (BOW)SER* (unless I mis-annotated). I didn't recognize the word, but he had a plethora of winning plays. Why would he try a phony at that point?

Annotated Game

For all her technological prowess, Kate Stark-Fujikawa, the industrial Heiress, was powerless to fend off my bingo-bango-bongo, DEUTZIA, R(A)VIOLIs, and T(O)USLING. The ratatat of my bingos must have gotten to her, and she softly whimpered "stop bingoiiiing." She did get a couple of jabs in, OUT(S)IDEr, YAWPE(R) for 36 (nice), and N(I)X for 40, and with these she managed to keep my spread at just over 100. She forgave me for the onslaught though, I imagine, because during lunch I went on a coffee run and brought her back a grande mocha frappucino (oops, I hope that's not a secret). On the way to the Starbucks I suddenly realized why I had taken such a hit, losing three close games to drop from 2nd place to who-knew-what depths. It was the magic song, or rather my failure to play it. Just a day or two earlier I had downloaded a few tracks by The Postal Service, and I had played the magic song over and over during the runup to the first session. But I had been so tired on Saturday morning that I had forgotten to play it, and I paid a heavy price for this.

Before I went out for coffee though I actually sat down to finish watching Episode 13 of the first season of The Wire, an HBO television series that I have often heard referred to as the best television show ever. I wanted to finish the DVD so I could let Ira borrow it, as a sort of payment for his turning me on to The Shield and also alerting me to the AMC series Breaking Bad. All of these shows are excellent counterexamples to throw in the faces of all those culture-snobs out there who claim that TV is crap and that there is nothing worth watching.

After lunch, Lloyd Mills. Funny, it seemed like I had played him just two rounds earlier. He got the bingo down first, INFORmE(D), but I got down AVOIDE(R)S followed by double-double ISOLAtE. All those baby bingos must surely have been annoying, and then to enworsen Lloyd's position I got QUO(D)S for 70. Unlike our first game, this time I did not collapse.

Next, Noel Livermore, and this time I was the victim of the bingo-bango, HAUNTER and TINKE(R)ER. Despite my best bingo up to that point, (E)LDRITch, I lost it by 14 in a close game. That made losses of 22, 5, 12, and 14 points!!! I was truly irked. I was racking up a sweet spread with my big wins, but that spread wasn't going to cout for shit if I kept losing these close games.

Annotated Game

Next, Randy Greenspan, #3, and another close loss--18 points! Next would be Rose Kreiswirth, #4, and a 223-point blowout to further boost my meaningless spread. After twelve rounds, I would have faced #s 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 9, 9, and Joe and Marjorie at the bottom. I felt that I was facing a heavier-than-normal lineup, and my record was suffering for it because of all the close losses.

For dinner I was persuaded (I'm easy to persuade, if it's a woman doing the persuading) to accompany a group to an Indian restaurant, Kabab Palace. While we waited for the group to coalesce, I decided to engaged the Mighty Bihlmeyer in some friendly arm-wrestling, hoping that he was in a weakened state after having already wrestled several others. Before we started, I flatly conceded that Joe would win--my goal was to simply keep him from besting me in less than one second. I think I lasted almost 30.

After dinner we returned to the Courtyard where the lobby served as a makeshift after-hours playing room. I would have been happy to go to bed right away, but Rebecca wanted to play some games. Shane Tourtellotte was also set up and eagerly waiting for an opponent, but something motivated me to choose Rebecca. I felt bad for Shane, but he didn't really expect me to choose him over the woman, did he?

While we played I was offered bright yellow jello shot that looked like half a Pac-Man. I found it interesting that the "jello shot mixer" (for lack of a better term) offered me one, given the nature of our last e-mail communication (this would make more sense if I had ever published my Dallas blog). More interesting still, and troubling, was that I could not for the life of me remember if I had ever eaten a jello shot in my life. I couldn't say for sure that I hadn't, but I had a feeling that there was a gap in my memory. Yes, very troubling.

I had to call it a night after two games, and I went up to the room, showered (yay shower!!!) and crawled into bed. After some time I started to drift in and out of sleep, so it's hard to tell what is real and what is not. Did I really hear the door opening? Did I really hear the shower running for what seemed like a ridiculously long time (over 20 minutes)? Or were those just hallucinations brought on by the consciousness-traveling process?

Yes, it was happening again. For a second time, I found the room around me dissolving away. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes in disbelief, and when I opened them again I was no longer in a hotel room, but instead in a warehouse. A warehouse filled with... comic books? This had to be more than 10, perhaps more than 15 years ago, when I still worked at Roy's Collectors Showcase. Though I usually performed my duties inside the store, or on my computer (I maintained the subscription lists), that must have been one of the nights that I was tasked to pick up the new shipment of comic books.

I had only done this a few times, and one such occasion was particularly memorable. I quickly stooped down and opened one of the the boxes at my feet. Yes!!! There it was, the comic book that I had anticipated so much that I had Ernie, the manager at Roy's, order me no fewer than one-hundred copies! I will readily admit now that this was folly, an egregious waste of money--that comic book, X-Men #1 (not to be confused with the 1963 edition), had a print run of seven million. On the basis of volume alone, it could never appreciate in value to any significant degree.

I was so excited about that book that I probably would have read the entire issue in the car before returning to Roy's, had it not been for my sidekick, a young(er) man named Aaron Shagrin. Aaron also worked at Roy's occasionally, and I think I would later later see him around campus at UT Austin. I don't so much remember Aaron as I do his brother Brad, or rather his brother's wallet. I came upon said wallet in front of the store one day, and I promptly and without thinking turned the wallet into Roy. I have a bad habit of doing this. Years later, at the former Caligula XXI, where I would hang out for hours while unemployed for a stretch, and where I might or might not have fathered a child, I found a wallet with a bunch of cash in it. I returned the wallet and the cash, and I later regretted it. I could have used that cash--if its owner was hanging out at a strip club, he could afford to part with it (unless he was unemployed like me). Of course, when I myself lost my wallet, in Miami, during one of my first Starbucking trips, whoever returned it to a nearby police station chose to keep my two-hundred-plus dollars. Given the world we live in, I'm sure there are many who would describe my acts of honesty not with admiration, but rather with a four-letter word beginning with P and ending with Z.

But I appear to have disgressed some. Getting back to X-Men #1, Aaron and I returned to my (father's) car with my hundred copies of the book, plus the rest of Roy's order. No sooner had I jumped into the car than I grabbed a copy and started reading, with almost as much passion as a love-stricken lad grabbing a lass and kissing her, but, as I said before, Aaron compelled me to put the book down and pay attention to my driving.

Back at Roy's, my duties prevented me from reading the book, but that was okay, because by that point I was enjoying the anticipation. A great poet once wrote that "the waiting is the hardest part", but that very same waiting can serve to make the experience that much more the sweet. And sweet indeed it was, later that night when I arrived back home and finally crawled into bed to enjoy X-Men #1 to the fullest.

I attained such great heights of geekiness that night. I took my time reading each page, practically savoring the artwork. I ran my hands delicately over the pages, marveling at the beauty of Jim Lee's pencils and Scott Williams' inks. I beamed with delight as I peeled back each layer of plot to reveal an ever-more intricate story. I very much wanted the experience to go on forever. At that moment, I was the happiest person on the planet. The only thing that could have made the that night better would have been acts that are just not permitted between a boy and his comic book, at least not yet. I could dream, though, couldn't I.

I can't say at what point my consciousness shifted back to the present, but I was once again left with a feeling of satisfaction and completeness that I would not have traded for anything in the world (except maybe Amazing Spider-Man #1).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

As unlikely as Friday and Saturday night's time shifts to the past might seem to the unenlightened reader, Sunday morning's adventure must surely defy belief. Sometime after 8:00 AM, when I was supposed to be getting up early to go seek out a hearty breakfast, I instead experienced my consciousness traveling through time once more--but this time into the future! Regrettably, what will happen/happens in the future is of a sensitive nature. In order to avoid corrupting the time stream, I was made to promise, under penality of severe punishment, that I would not reveal, or even allude to, the events that took place that morning. But believe you me that they were most unexpected.

And then I had to face Lloyd Mills for a third time. I suspect he was not pleased to have me open with GOALIES after having opened with AVOIDER in our first game and then gotten down AVOIDE(R)S early in our second. I admit I was the beneficiary of some lucky tiles against him, but I still managed to fuck it up. INNOOST? for my second rack, and I thought I was so freakin' clever to find NONSTI(C)k (after failing to find the two double-doubles). Lloyd came back with C(O)VARIES and then PLEA(S)URE, which I could have blocked had not made the absolute worst simming play. I was still reeling from PLEA(S)URE when I received another shock--QUAY hooked to NONSTICK for 78 points!!! SONUFABITCH!!! I knew the Y hook, but I just didn't think of it at the time. Spread ended up being just 27 points, so that Y hook really hurt.

Annotated Game

I imagine Lloyd my have felt the same way about my baby bingos (I hate that term, but I give in to the force of the meme) as I felt seeing Rose Krieswirth's sHINNED, TALLIE(R)S, and NEUROSA(L) come down. All of a sudden the morning that had seemed so hopeful was threatening to become a disaster. Oh, well, there are more important things in life that Scrabble, and even if I lost all five games that morning, nothing could take away the deep sense of satisfaction I felt over that morning's trip to the future.

After losing to me in a recount, Larry Sherman would later come over and comment that he had played a horrible game. Letting G(L)OUR* go was a definite blunder, but I expect he had seen other mistakes after the fact. Of course, he couldn't have played any worser than I did. I gave up 162 equity points in what was my worst game of the tournament. Heck, anytime you miss a RETINA bingo (TRANNI(E)S) you can take no pride in the win.

Poor Eric and Stefan--their games get short shrift because I'm anxious to post this blog before BAT.

Since neither Rebecca nor David won money either, I spurred us to leave right. I was hungry as, and I needed to stop at the Poughkeepsie Galleria. I had already "visited" the Starbucks there, to the extent that I had consumed the requisite amount of coffee and take a photograph. But I had arrived after the mall closed and not been able to go inside. It is not clear to me whether the Siren will count that first visit when making her determination as to whether to fullfill the Prophecy, and I don't want to take any chances.

We dropped David off, retrieved my things, and then went back to La Cumbia. During the right back, I for some reason felt much more comfortable giving in to my wild urges without fear of being hit. Funny how things can change in just 48 hours.

Took Rebecca to the 30th Street Station so she could catch the train back to DC. Silly girl, she asked me if I would "mind" waiting with her until her train arrived. Though she might not have realized it at the time, I would have waited with her all night if necessary. Hmm... I guess she'll probably realize that now, eh?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

As I suspected, because of the strong field I faced 9-8 was good enough for a 9-point ratings boost. Analysis revealed I had played a pretty good tournament, too--my average equity loss per turn was 5.0, pretty low for me. Given all those close losses, I winced at the thought of how I could have broken 1800 again if I had just gotten one fewer bad break. Grrr...

John Luebkemann made an appearance at the Wilmington club once again, perhaps to try and reassert the dominance that Jan and I had stolen from him. I don't think he managed to gain any ground on my record, but he did manage to snap my winning streak. I had not been keeping track, but Richard says I had managed 16 or 17 consecutive wins. At one point during my losing game, I was down about 295 points with plenty of tiles still in the bag and bingo lines open--I genuinely thought I might lose by 400 for the first time ever. Fortunately, the pain was over quickly, and we were able to get a second game in, which I won. John still had the moral victory, though--after the game he rattled off about four of the many bingos I had missed in EEHNPT? through the E, O, and R.

But let's get real, eh? Nobody cares about what happens at club. Completely uninteresting. Unless the club happens to be about 112 miles from the Wilmington location. It might have been interesting to be a fly on the wall over there.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The dilemma continued, whether to try and restrain my feelings, or whether to let them flow naturally. The problem with allowing yourself to feel is that feeling leaves you vulnerable to injury. When I struck that fateful bargain so many years ago, I was foolishly unaware that while I would be granted immortality, invulnerability was not part of the package. Most regrettably, I do bleed.

One way to reduce susceptibility to injury, at least of the emotional kind, is to maintain a moderate mood that never reaches extreme highs or lows. It is an interesting thought exercise to contemplate which of the two approaches yields a better life, but it is a different matter altogether when the question moves from the realm of the theoretical into your actual life. Towit: the events of Sunday morning--they raise all sorts of questions. For example, have you ever been so happy that you did not want the feeling to ever end? When it does end, are you sad? Is the degree of sadness commensurate with the degree of your former happiness? Would you forgo the joy if it meant avoiding the sorrow?

I was going to say that Garth Brook's "The Dance" quite succinctly exemplifies these sentiments, but when I located the video online, Mr. Brooks goes and shoots my example all to hell with his introductory comments. Oh, well, it's still a great song.

A related question I must ask myself is what is the effect of going into a joyful situation with a sense of foreboding about how you will feel when the situation ends? Is it better to enter blind and deceive yourself into believing the situation will go on forever? Or should you always bear in mind the possible negative consequences so as to better blunt their effects should they come to pass? Is it possible to be so intelligent and educated that you are unable to deceive yourself?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On the Monday or Tuesday before Poughkeepsie, I felt a pain in my right arm appear out of the blue. I was able to do pullups, but when I tried chinups (palms away from me, right), I felt a sharp pain that caused me to quickly let go of the bar and drop. I left my arms alone for the remainder of the week. During the weekend I continued to feel pain whenever I put pressure on the arm in a certain way, like when I held my heavy duffel bag. Also during that weekend, I received a compliment about my arms, modest though my muscle gains might have been.

That praise made me feel loathe to lose the muscle I had built, so on Thursday I decided to see how my arm felt on the bar. I was able to do pullups with no problem and barely a hint of pain. I also did some work on an weight machine, but I decided to wait until the next week for chinups.

There's nothing like a compliment from a female to completely change a man's outlook.

I must clarify that I have a memory of being complimented on my arms, but I am no longer 100% certain that the memory is accurate. The weekend was such a blur, and so intense, that some events that I think occurred might have only done so in my imagination.

Well, I finally registered for BAT. I had been holding off because I wasn't sure if my job would end this week, at which point I would need to go overseas or start driving south and then west. Since it looks clear that my job will last at least into part of next week, there is no question but that I must go to BAT. Yes, Ottawa would be better from a Starbucking perspective, but there is something in Boston that is more important than Starbucks, or Scrabble for that matter. I've mentioned before that a man cannot go against his nature. I could no sooner forgo traveling to Boston that I could pass by a new Starbucks without going in.

I was a little scared though, that I wouldn't be able to get into BAT. I sent Sherrie an e-mail on Monday or Tuesday asking about post-deadline registration, but I never heard back. For a couple of days there I genuinely feared that she would not allow me to register. When I found out Jesse Matthews was going, I redoubled my efforts (that means I sent a second e-mail and left a message at the house), and I finally heard back on Thursday evening. Whew!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Had this song running through my head all morning, for no reason that I could discern. I wonder what it means?

Monday, April 21, 2008

The excitement over having registered for BAT gave way to eager anticipating. Once again, I had to bear the waiting, the waiting, the waiting.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Left the Starbucks in Exton, PA, with my coffee just as a bright blue Jeep with oversized tires parked next to my car. The goateed young driver did something that made the car appear to lower, and then I noticed the word "RUBICON" written in large white letters on the front driver's side of the chassis. That could not possibly have been a coincidence--that had to be a message for me.


#1 - Sherman    
0 WAW  
5.1 Z(O)A  
10.2 FANO (Z)OO,(Z)OA
6.8 ROUES  
0 YUC(K)  
0 HOT  
0* inNATEL(Y)  
5.5 (F)U(C)I  
0 GOITE(R)  
0 IT  
#2 - Bihlmeyer    
0 QI  
0 PLInK(I)NG  
0 JIG  
9.4 TWAT (avoids E next to TLS) TWEET
0.4 FE  
2.5 (T)ROVE VENO(G)RaM,Man(G)ROVE (not best)
0.6 FA  
0 (H)UMANOiD  
0 NUB  
6.6 RE  
6.2 OD  
5 (V)IRLS  
0 TOR  
#3 - Livermore    
0 QI  
0 DULC(ET)  
--- B(I)RO  
3.5 WOO  
0 (I)XORA  
4.3* ZINC(A)TeS ZINCS (20 less but keep blank),ZINC(I)TES (11 less but safer)
#4 - Greenspan    
3.4 UNRIG  
0 OX(O)  
0 BAI(Z)A  
2.5 WINNER  
8.8 IMI(D)E  
1 HUE  
2.2 GOU(T)  
21.7 FA FACE(A)B(L)E (saw (A)B(L)E) but no idea)
26.7 VIS  
0 OD  
5 S(E)N(T)  
0 (KA)T  
#5 - Schoneboom    
0.6 UNELE(C)T*  
23.4 DIVIN(E)R  
10 (I)TCHY  
4.5 Q(I)  
0* AGO(G) Marge lost turns so don't give her play
4.1 AZAN  
3.2 -LPRRRW (X) PR(O)W(A)R
0 (H)EX  
14.9 GAY  
10.5 JARINA  
15 R(AW) (O)M(E)R (saw but didn't think good)
0 M(Y)  
#6 - Sherman    
0 Q(I)  
0 PROE(M)  
3.9 CONICS  
0 PO(S)TDAtE  
13.5 D(A)NK D(A)IKON
0* BAILOU(t)  
2.8* GU(L)F  
0 DI(N)S  
0 H(U)G  
#7 - Mills    
0 BER(E)FT  
17.3 UNARY  
4.7 PUB  
0 JO  
1.5 SWANS  
4 GL(A)D  
0 GeLT  
#8 - Stark-Fujikawa    
0 (H)ORNY  
0 QIS  
0 FLOE  
0 R(A)VIOLIs  
4.2 GE(N)II  
9.6 F(I)B wrong place
0* DEWS ignore plays that give E b/c of PERM(E)ATE
#9 - Mills    
0 VAW  
0 QUO(D)S  
9.8 B(A)CK BLITE!!!
8.6* GR(I)TTY attempt at defense
0* HM  
0 CO(T)  
#10 - Livermore    
0 JAP(I)NG  
0.9 CAR(T)AGE  
0 WAIF  
0 VU(G)H  
7.8 A(G)AZE z(ARZ(U)ElA
0.2 (E)LDRITch (E)LyTRoID
0 DIDO  
0 YE  
5.6 R(E)NA(L) LI(E)NA(L)
7.2* (AXE)S scoring is critical!!!
8.7 RU(B) LO(B)
4 OI  
0 LE  
#11 - Greenspan    
0 QI  
5.4 pENSION(S)  
6 V(I)RID  
14 (C)AB  
16.8 PA(N)G weak
0 WODG(E)  
3 MOUE  
0 (W)OP  
9.4 T(O)LED  
0 JEW  
1 TU(T)EE  
#12 - Krieswerth    
0 ZAP  
0 UNBA(G)*  
0 BUM  
15.8 Q(U)EY (LUV?) QU(A)Y (ELV?)
0 VOW  
22.4 EAU fLAmEOU(T)/A(VOW),OU(T)LAwEd/E(WE)/d(OR),OU(T)bLEAt/A(WE)/t(OR),OU(T)gLEAm/A(WE)/m(OR),qUO(T)AbLE/E(WE)
0 bOLO(G)nAS  
0 FOND D(I)EOFF (not best)
0 FE  
#13 - Mills    
10 NOB  
0 JA(P)E  
0.6 BET  
1.7 VOW  
0 T(H)EM  
1 FL(ORE)T  
15 D(E)Y fail to block Lloyd's F play
0 G(A)G  
#14 - Krieswirth    
0.8 C(O)MP  
3.7 TREKS  
0 FRO(T)H  
30 (T)ZAR Z(O)EA (critical mistake!!!)
0 YE  
0 JAW  
10.3 VE(R)GE  
0 AI  
0 ISsUE  
#15 - Sherman    
3.5 OW WO
7.7 (T)OXIC  
55.1 lose turn (NAMS*) NANISMS,miss A(MUCK) hook
50.1 M(U)NS  
40.8 N(E) TRANNI(E)S!!!
0* TRANSIt  
0.1 TONIE(R)  
0 IL(K)A  
0 GO(N)E  
0 vERIFIE(R)  
#16 - Goldstein    
2.4 MOW  
0 HURT  
0* YETI  
5.6 DIM(L)Y  
12.5 CR(I)SP ill-advised block
0 Q(A)NAT  
0 KH(I)  
0 (A)X  
29 S(C)UD DOSS plus not 100% on ENLIVENS plus fumble
#17 - Rau (or is it Kang-Rau?)    
0 DO(T)H  
7.1 AIGRETS miss better overlap
0 DAUB(S)  
0 Q(U)EY  
2.1 A(XED)  
18.4 W(I)MP CWM (see the word but not the overlap!!!)
15.2 FO(G)Y CYTON!!!

1 - W - 5.9 (83.2)
2 - W - 2.2 (30.7)
3 - W - 3.3
4 - L - 5.9 (83)
5 - L - 6.4 (89.2)
6 - L - 2.3 (27)
7 - L - 6 (72)
8 - W - 3.9 (47)
9 - W - 2.3 (27.8)
10 - L - 2.4 (33.4)
11 - L - 7.6 (98.3)
12 - W - 3.5 (45.7)
13 - L - 3.4 (43.7)
14 - L - 5.0 (60.5)
15 - W - 12.5 (162.8)
16 - W - 6.1 (79.6)
17 - W - 6.6 (72.8)

Avg: 5.0

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