Viva La Vida

Monday, June 30, 2008

Because my father's surgery turned out more serious than expected, I had to delay my departure for Reno for several days. I waited as long as I could, until my father received confirmation he would be checking out on Monday. When I finally left the H-town crib at 9:14 in the AM, I faced a drive of over 2000 miles and a slew of Starbucks to visit.

Though I had a lot of Starbucking to do, and playing Reno would cause me to detour from an optimal route around the country, I was really looking to the tournament. Besides the opportunity to see Abby again, I was also glad to had a whopping 50 games ahead of me. Given the recent spate of tournaments that I was not allowed to enter, 50 games in Reno would definitely sate my jones.

As I drove the highways, I thought to myself about how different the trip was from my impoverished 2003 adventure. A working car with air conditioning, money in the bank, and a girlfriend to waiting for you all make for a much more pleasant traveling experience.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I checked my e-mail in Santa Fe and received some shocking news, that Starbucks would be closing 600 stores, starting in July. All of a sudden Reno was a problem. I might have dropped out altogether had it not been for Abby. Still, I had to find a compromise, and I dropped out of the Early Bird so I could detour to Colorado and clear out that state just in case any of those stores would be closing.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The time change, combined with the lightened sky (and the fact that my blood was about 17% coffee) allowed me to start driving right at 5:00 AM. With only 250 miles to go, I was probably going to to be uerlgregen. Actually, no. Why would I say something so silly. What the extra hour actually meant was I would have the time to detour to the Fallon store. Had I missed it and had to visit later, it would have been a 106-mile round trip from the Nugget, and that's actually really expensive with these gas prices.

Spent more time than I should have chatting with a fan in Fallon, but I had given myself a cushion by pushing the car to speeds around 90-100 MPH along the flat and desolate US-95. I gave myself an extra cushion by rushing in and out of Fernley without saying anything, and I reached the Nugget with almost 10 minutes to spare. Even with most of that time lost to the simple act of trying to find the playing room, I still arrived in time to avoid embarassment.

Sweet monkey dumplings, I almost lost my first game, to Paula Catanese, she who had ruined one of my North Salem tournaments when visiting the East Coast. Had I not been bold enough to take a wild-ass chance on SCrIVES (and then drawn the H for a 41-point score), I would have lost. With 27 games, an early loss might not seem like a big deal, but as tired as I was, and with the uncertainty of what was going on with Abby, a loss might have put me on a path towards destruction.

Later I learned that TU(T)TI, which I had seen, is in fact good, and would have won Paula the game. Whew!

In sharp contrast to what Paula had done to me, Betty C suffered in her early turns, and this allowed me to build up enough of a lead that I was willing to risk losing a turn to try 3x3 U(R)ETHRAL/(PETTI)T*. A couple more phonies, (WEAK)S* and T(WINCED)*, plus really good tiles, boosted me to a 251 spread, and I started to think big.

As Betty left the table, she told my next opponent Mary Aline Stevens that I had played two phonies. Actually, it had been three, but what was important was that I wasn't going to be able to try anything egregious against Mary. Instead of phonies, then, I tried to draw challenged, like with TrI(L)OBED and RATOON(E)R, but she did not bite. Still, I won by 92 to boost my spread to over 300 and put myself in third. When I opened my next game with FIGMENT and then ZOR(I)L for 48, I started thinking about finishing the first session in first place. Unfortunately, Ruth Hamilton, she who had given me my first loss in Dallas, proved why she likes to play up--she is lucky as hell!!! Had I drawn but one of the esses, I probably would have won. Instead, she zinged me all four eses, fortuitous counterplays, and ERASION. Bravo, clap clap clap for ERASION.

Speaking of playing up, I was so tired that I didn't even realize 'til the third round that Reno offered that unlimited play-up thing. I had assumed that my first two opponents, Paula and Betty, had decent ratings, but the truth was the average rating of my first four opponents sucked. That meant I was probably down in rating at 3-1, even from a starting point of 1729. That sucked.

Rushed off with Abby to the Motel 6 to see if they still had our reservation, and if they had charged my credit card since Abby did not call to say she wasn't going to stay there Wednesday and Thursday. The lady at the counter could not find the reservation, and she was altogether useless. I tried to get online to see if there was a charge on my card, but stupid Motel 6 charges for Internet. That's wack. I mean, 2.99 for 24 hours is not expensive, but it's still wack that they charge.

Finding a room and finding Internet were not the most of my worries, however. Based on the wacked-out manner in which I was driving (credit to Abby for staying calm), it was clear that my mind was melting, and quickly. I still had a DoubleShot to help me survive the afternoon, but since 3-1 was likely to cause me to face tougher opponents, I worried about how I would fare. I caught a break though, in that the first 11 rounds were already paired on some sort of partial round-robin, which meant I did not have to deal with any tough opponents that afternoon.

Yeah, I don't think I could have handled deep thought. Against Cynthia Seales I could feel myself just zoning out and trying to make sense of my racks as my clock ticked perilously down. I was making suboptimal plays. I even challenged T(AXE)R. Despite this, and being outblank, I managed to win it, but against a stronger player I probably wouldn't have survived my poor quality of play.

I boosted my spread to 512 against Rebecca Slivka, but after six scrubs it was time to face a real opponent, Larry Rand. I preferred to stay in the seat where I had won two games, but that posed a bit of a dilemma because that seat was cursed with a view of a sight that I would just as soon not have seen every time I raised my head. I was wise to stay in the seat, though, because you can't get much luckier than drawing three esses into a 2-I leave and just happening to find (M)ISSIONS.

After starting off strong with YODELIN(G), NIPP(L)ES for 44 (my favorite word), and THUYA for 47, phoneys EMERGER* (unsure of REMERGE) and STOR(E)FUL (unsure of FLOUTERS) put me on track for a killer spread. Then I got ZOWIE for 56 and (Z)IBET for 48 while Julia Bogle exchanged twice, and I was on track for a stratospheric spread. There was one little problem though, that L sitting out in the 3x3 column. Given Julia's back-to-back exchanges the possibility of a trip-trip was glaring, but I found myself with DFILVVW and no decent play or block. And sure enough, she gets it, ARtIC(L)ED, and I somehow convince myself that LACERTID had no anagram. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and as a result I only won by 153 and came 24 points short of breaking 600. Some readers might be rolling their eyes at this point, but they fail to understand the three of the leaders in the field had spreads over 800 after seven games. I was barely over 700 after eight. Not good enough, not by a long shot.

July 5, 2008

Delta Cafe, drive-thru bagel shop (actually an espresso shop). Later, at the Starbucks, I was surprised to find their bagels cheaper than those from Delta. I had assumed Starbucks pastries were always cheaper.

Stopped at a grocery store for more vittles, and at the checkout line I wasted my time explaining to the cashier and the bagger about how plastic bags kill animals and about the great swirling mass of plastic and junk that is growing in the Pacific. I don't know why I even bother, when it's fairly clear that most of these wage slaves couldn't give a flip about the environment, or anything beyond their pathetic little lives anyway.

I had been expecting three easy rounds before the start of the pain, so I was truly shocked to find myself facing The Demon in the first round of the day. I was even more shocked when he held AIRSHOW. I myself was not sure if it was good, but because of the particular way that it came to my mind, I believed I had anagrammed it (instead of finding it by separating AIR out from HOSW) before. In my experience, Joel hardly ever holds--he usually challenges immediately. The fact that he held meant he wasn't sure, and that meant he is vulnerable. Anyway, While I went on to draw very well and score DEODARs and ONSTaGE, I still had to fend off his FAILUR(E)S, EN(A)CTIVE, and (P)ERACIDS to win by 41, so I wouldn't exactly say I luckbagged him. I think that was a solid and deserved win.

Annotated Game

Extended my record to 9-1 by beating Michael Baker, but my aggressiveness could have cost me. With a billion bingos in ADEINO? through MOOCH, I decided to go for the gusto with (H)yAENOID*. Later, I timindly tried (D)ESELEcT to avoid slotting the S at O15. And finally, I found myself thinking there was a 0.0001% chance that N(EME)* might be good, so I played GAIN/N(EME)* for some extra points. Could have cost me the game, because Michael actually cried "hold!" when I had two tiles out of the bag already. One second sooner, and I would have lost.

The seven points that could have rocked my world, that's what I'll call them. Just seven more points would have tied Dave Wiegand. That's disappointing, because I definitely could have played a better endgame.

Annotated Game

My worst draw of the first 12 games came at the next-to-worst moment, against #2 Kenji. Oh, I started out with the blank, but with racks that were beyond my skill level, I began to trail quickly, and it only got worse as the game progressed.

Abby hooked up with the young'uns for a trip to In & Out Burger. I went along, but I refused to eat the fast food burgers. Instead I ordered a small pizza from a place nearby called Blind Onion. I found the pizza's crust, very thick and swirl like a bread roll, interesting and tasty, but I was disappointed by the pizza's structural integrity. I ended up making quite a mess.

I blogged too soon, apparently, about my draw against Kenji, and thus jinxed myself. That's the only explanation for the viciously stingy hogging of the power tiles, eight in all, by Keith Smith. I suffered my lowest score to that point, 313, and all of a sudden I had lost three games in a row. The one good thing about that game was that I was able to punk Keith... twice. First, I set up RUCTIO(N) and was able to hook the E on my next turn. Then, when Keith tried to hook an S later, I challenged. Psychologically speaking, that has to be one of the sweetest moves in all of Scrabble.

I recovered in fine fashion, however, against Bennett Jacobstein, to the tune of 295, possibly my highest spread ever (not sure). I continued posting spread against Alan Meyer, another 110 points, but I then had to face a tricky opponent Steve Tier. He had snapped winning streaks and frustrated my tournaments out on the East Coast--did he bring his game West, I wondered. And the answer... possibly, but what Steve did not bring was a healthy fear of the Q. When you forget to fear the Q, it bites you. With the game pretty much won, he gave up his I to block the last bingo line with BRI(E) (and emptied the bag) when all he needed to play was B(E) to keep his I. Without that Q stick, I lose.

Abby was skipping the night event and going to some buffet, so I took off on my own to grab some flautas from El Tacorriendo and head over to Starbucks to upload a two-day backlog of photos and travel blog. I returned from lunch just past 7:30 and jogged into the playing room to find... just a few people waiting for the night event. I looked at one and asked "Is this it?" The reply--"I'm not even playing." I walked over to Keith Smith and asked, "Is this all?" His reply--"I'm not playing." Jeez, Louise, there was nobody of note there! I had really been looking forward to the event, too. Rick asked if I was going to drop out, and I asked how it would be rated. Rick said he would send the results into Edley first, since the event ended on Sunday and the main event lasted 'til Tuesday. That made sense, right? But apparently in 2007 the night event was rated last for some reason. I told Rick I'd play and take my chances, and I asked him to e-mail Edley and explain that this uncertainty about the order of rating, combined with the deficiency in the ratings system, creates a disincentive for high-rated players in situations like this. Why would we want that???

First game was rather wacky. I had to play somebody named Ron Southwick, who apparently is regarded as not being very good. So what am I given to face this bottom player? ALL TEN POWER TILES (and the K). Talk about a bazooka to kill a fly, man? Geez, I could have used those tiles against Kenji, or Keith, or even Wiegand (though I admittedly drew decent against him). I really hoped I wasn't expending all my luck that night.

Despite my double-double WRISTED* for 95 followed by RAZEED for 42, Tobey Roland managed to score well enough that when he played his 97-point HOSTeLS he actually took the lead. I was aghast! The nerve of that Tobey. Troublesome racks had me worried that I might actually lose, but I finally managed to get down the second bingo and, just in case there was anything in AACDNOOR through an E, block that final lane. I was then able to relax, but, really, I should not have had to spend half the game thinking I might lose--that goes against the natural order of things.

Third game, against William Barfuss, and another killer draw--eight power tiles. After finishing the four-bingo, 277-point win, I was truly worried that I was expending all the luck that I would need against the likes of real players like Rafi, Nigel, and Doug.

During that last game I looked around and counted the players. Ten, and with a $50 entry fee, that made a pool of $500, minus the ratings fee. If Rick paid out 100%, as if common with early birds, I was looking at a pretty good payout. That was a benefit, at least. I was putting my rating on the line, but I was in line to pick up some cash. Before I left I asked Rick, and sure enough first was paying $200. I was a little disappointed--I would have like to see it more front-loaded, like $250. But hey, given the field, it was like picking up $200 right off the ground, so I couldn't complain. Outside I saw Rafi, Nigel, and Conrad, and told them they could have had easy money if they had entered.

July 6, 2008

I KNEW IT!!! All those great tiles, completely unnecessary, against the weak-ass Night Event field, killed my luck. As I feared, I showed up Sunday morning to play Rich Moyer, and he pretty much drew the bag. Three bingos in the first eight turns while I was plagued with Is.

Next game, Nick Meyer, and I was given a gift. It wasn't the T for my AEIORSU, and it wasn't the double blanks, with which I only scored 75 (for InLaNDS). No, the gift was Nick's CARE(M)ATE*. The extra turn (well, 16 points for blocking plus Nick's 11-point AE setup) allowed me to stay a step ahead.

Next, #2 Nigel Peltier, who supposedly has mad skills. I did not get to see them, however--all I saw was basic stuff like RO(A)DSTER, (R)EVENGER, and FLIRTi(N)G. Despite this, and despite suffering through vowel-heavy crap like AAIINOW, AEILOOU, AAEIOZ?, and AIIJTUW, I still managed to make a game of it and only lost by 24. The Q made the difference. Not a Q stick, but rather having to burn a turn to play it for 11 points. Had it gone the other way around, I'd probably have won.

Final game of the morning session, #5 Doug Brockmeyer, rounding out a tough morning that included #2, #5, and #6. Doug had stymied me before. What would it be this time? Would the Tile Goods offer me (puppy) love, or (puppy) hate? Well, as it turned out, I was offered so much love that it was practically impossible for me to lose, even though I tried really hard.

First round after lunch, Conrad Bassett-Brouchard, and I benefitted greatly from having studied all the sixes with JKQXZ (spurred on by Bihlmeyer's studying). Conney though he was going punk me with JINX(E)R*, but I knew better, and I slapped that shit off the board. As we walked back to the table, I couldn't help but comment, "that's going to cost you", and I showed him my double blanks. Yea, that was perhaps maybe just a wee bit obnoxious, but really didn't Conrad deserve it? I mean, we've gotta keep these kids in their places, don't we? Anyway, his reply, rather resigned, was "Great, two triple-triples in one day." For there was no question that AELPR?? with the E in the seventh position, perhaps the best position, would yield a plethora of triple-triples. I could not find the optimal play, LApPER(E)d, RApPEL(E)d, but 131 points for RELAPs(E)d, plus TR(I)TOMAS two turns later, was enough to ensure a victory. I blew my chance at a 100-point spread, though, by losing track of the bag and getting stuck with the Q. Felt stupid about that.

Drew both blanks again, against Mark Milan, for (R)ESoNANT and WA(N)DEREd, but he managed a late MEDIATE(D) to put him within 41 points. With just two tiles in the bag, I wasn't really worried, until I saw him make a brilliant setup. (C)O(D)E at 8L to set up a 48-point FRIAR at least. For a moment I thought that I, with my EIIOOUW, might actually lose, but I managed to escape.

There was no escaping Rafi Stern, however. My opening FOLKS gave him what he needed for GEOTAXI(S), and though I had the blank and bingoed a couple of turns later to take the lead, Rafi got down two more bingos, easy ones--(G)REETERs and ISATINE. On top of that, my spread was clobbered by the Q. I (foolishly) thought I could not play it, threw it back, and drew it three turns later for the stick. Lost more spread than in any other game up to that point.

On the heels of that loss, who did I have to face, but, once again, The Demon. No free turns this time. Instead, slightly suboptimal plays on my end that hampered my abilitie to bingo, and in the end I was stuck with a lame blank. Highlight of the game--trying to play (N)a(S)* on my last turn.

Dinner was special, as it was Abby's birthday. We drove down Virginia Avenue (not to the state of Virgina, as Abby initially though) and found a restaurant called La Vecchia. Pricey, but a birthday is a special occasion. And by coincidence, the waitstaff sang happy birthday to not one but two different parties. Regrettably we could not take our time, though, because it had taken so long to find an Italian restaurant that we had less than 30 minutes to eat so I could get back to finish winning my effortless 200 smackers.

Fourth round of the Night Event, Margy Slavin, and she actually scared me for a second, when I challenged M(A)WED. I recovered quickly, with the phoney INT(E)RLIE*, but then later in the game I had doubts as to whether it was really phony, and I let her hook an S for 45 points. I was still in control of the game, but the goof-ups were embarassing.

As Joel put it later, "the bingoes just fell off my rack" during my game against TC Holgate-West. W(A)RSLING got a challenge, later ARANE(I)DS, and later ROTUNDA. I got more extra turns challenging THUGEES*, (WARSLING)S*, and (D)ROSSING*, but the highlight of my game was actually seeing a bingo in OOOTT??. And finally, for some extra spread, going out with FIACRE. Final spread, 314, perhaps my highest, to go up over 1000 points in five games.

TC was the 1500+ player in the field, and the only one who worried me. I felt assured of going 6-0 and no losing rating. Unfortunately, one of the players, a kid, dropped out, and Rick took his place. For the last round, he made the determinating that since Tobey, at 4-1, would need to beat me by over 300 points to win the tournament, I was to be Gibsonized and thus play Rick. The previous day, I had wanted Rick, or another higher rated player in the field, so I could play that person twice. But playing Rick just once, there was a good chance I would lose, and I expected 5-1 in that field to drop me.

And with Joel sitting next to me and laughing/chuckling at some of our plays, my fears were realized. In sharp contrast to all the power tiles and bingos I had pulled against the weak field, I had Rick pull a blank on his second turn. He blew it, though, trying to hook CLOTHEs to OVERT(S)*, and I used the extra turn to trade NN, leave EERNT, and come back with TANKERE(d)* off Rick's CHO(R)TLE(d). I can only imagine what Joel was thinking at that point, especially after I had traded NN instead of just playing N(E)NE (leaving ERNT) as he recommended (after the game). My thinking was that EERNT favors my word knowledge much more than ERNT. Anyway, Rick let TANKERE(d)* go because he had R(E)WAX, and he managed to match me blow-for-blow. I got down CArDIN(G)S, but he got down R(E)CITERS, and at turn 9 we were tied, 297-297, on a tight board. It came down to endgame, and I did not play an optimal one, and I lost. That hurt. Yeah, I was glad for free $200, but it really hurt to lose that game, as it was completely winnable. Sure, I was miffed that I did not get dominating tiles when I needed them, but I knew full well I had gotten enough ammo to win, but I failed to take advantage.

July 7, 2008

Oh, those silly, silly woman. Can't live with 'em, can't yadda yadda yadda. I kept telling Abby 7:00 AM was too early to set the alarm, but she insisted. Sure enough, in the morning, she wanted five more minutes, which turned into ten more, etc.

I was not able to to squander enough time, and as a result we walked into the playing room sooooo early. The sooner for me to have my hopes shattered by the pairings--Brockmeyer and Wiegand. Oh, I was so screwed. Brockmeyer clearly has superior word knowledge--only by outdrawing him, again, could I win. And Wiegand--I would need to completely bag him to have a chance.

Didn't happen. Brockmeyer double-blanked me (what goes around comes around), and I had little chance. And Wiegand, he's just superior, with plays like (H)EXApLAS and the game-winning TRIPE(D)AL. I had chances, but a couple of suboptimal plays in the middle game killed my chances to bingo again. Dave clearly did a better job of balancing his racks.

Annotated Game

Final game, something weird. All three of them, Nigel, Conrad, and Rafi were missing. Rick started clocks. When they finally arrived, Nigel was down to 17:38, and I figured that might give me an advantage. Unfortunately, he got tiles that are a dream anytime, let alone when you are low on time. Yes, PONGIDS was a good find, and I screwed up with COOEEY* instead of COOEY, but Nigel was exceedingly lucky. But the worst part, just when I played NIteRIE to come within 64 with Nigel down to 4 minutes and tiles still in the bag, he triple-tripled!!! NERVI(N)ES for 185!!! AARRGHH!!! Nigel ended up scoring 629 points, killing my spread by over 200--he must have been taking revenge for my Weird-Al Yankovic comments. Well, at least he had taken my implied at vice and cut his hair since Albany.

Headed out quickly so we could have lunch and return for the Late Bird. My original plan was El Pollo Loco, but when we passed an Indian restaurant I decided to defer my craving for Pollo Loco and throw her Indian-loving self a bone. I think I had the same as last time, some kind of lamb cubes in mild sauce, with rice. As long as I did not mix too much of the sauce in with the rice, it was pretty good. And the naan was excellent.

Back at the Nugget, I was once again surprised to find a lower turnout than I expected. I mean, why would people travel all all the way to Reno and not play as much Scrabble as possible? Still, even though we were but sixteen, at least the field was stronger. On the other hand, a stronger field meant a greater threat, especially if my opponents drew like my opponents during the last five games of the main event. And sure enough, right away my opponents drew the good stuff early, and I had to struggle for survival.

First up, Wayne Clifford. The game could have gone wrong so many ways. Fortunately for me, I made a solid find, BEELIN(IN)G and later A(L)IDADES, and thus I was able to withsstand his RaIMEnT and retake the lead with my counterplay. Then I screwed up, big time. Did not have my tracking right, and so I did not notice how short the bag was on vowels. Considering that, OUTATE was a horrible play. I did not draw a single vowel for the rest of the game, and only the fact that Wayne lost a turn trying VER(S)A* saved me.

Next Wallace Schultz, who started off strong with bOLTING. I came back with QU(I)P for 35, but my rack was crap. Wallace, on the other hand, held CEEIRTV. Even if he could not find (O)RECTIVE, he had a pretty big score by hooking QUIP and would have had a solid lead while I held crap. Instead, he tried VERTICE(L)*. The extra turn allowed me to play (Q)UOTH, leave URZ and hope to draw an A. Nope, my ensuing rack was still crap--DORRTUZ. But Wallace wasn't finished with his experiments--he tried VETC(H)IER* next. Off it went, and I was able to ditch my other U with LU(T)Z, leaving a halfway-decent DORR. This time I drew gold, ENS, and when Wally finally played (O)RECTIVE, it didn't matter whether I knew the word or not--I had the 3x3 ENDORS(E)R, and I cruised from that point.

Paul Sidorsky also had the blank-bingo first, the admittedly sweet (F)LOWAGES, but I thankfully managed STR(A)NDED right back. A bit later, ROS(E)lIKE pretty much sealed the deal.

I was surprised and disappointed to learn there was a break after the third round. This was troublesome because Abby and I had plans to get dinner and see WALL-E. After some debate, I decided I'd better get us some food now to save time later, so I rushed off, with not that much time to spare. Rushed back into the room just seconds before Rick was to start my clock, and with my food getting cold, it was doubly sweet that I opened with SALTERS and then the phony DIERI(S)ES* (scored better than SIDERI(T)E) against Rich Moyer, he who had outdrawn me in the main event. Poor Rich just couldn't get it going, and my victory was decisive.

My first game against Siri Tillekeratne (if you can't pronounce it, just say "Siri Tickle-Me-Elmo"), and he played me hard. Three bingos, but I had three bingos of my own, and one of those was the 3x3 U(N)NAiLED. As far as I could remember, that was the first time I had had two triple-triples in the same event (Reno, though not technically the same physical tournament).

Well, Abby was doing well, and the inevitable finally occurred--it was time for us to play. No matter who won, somebody lost, and the bed would not be as warm that night. Well, I'm probably exaggerating a little--Abby seemed to take the crushing defeat that I handed her rather well, and our attention quickly shifted to something I'd been anticipating for over a week... WALL-E!!! It was excellent, easily one of Pixar's best. On a technological level, it was certainly the best--the images are simply beautiful.

We returned to the Motel 6 quickly (after my third nightly Squirt stop) and received quite a shock--all our things were missing!!! I was afraid something like this might happen when Albert the desk attendant agreed to comp us Monday night in exchange for having charged my card for Wednesday (when Rebecca never arrived). I was irritated, but not worried. As expected, our things had not been sold on eBay, merely put into storage. When Albert returned with a big black garbage bag, we found everything present except my Mach 3 razor. Without my even having to suggest it, Albert offered to go buy me a replacement. Days later, I found the razor in my backpack (I think) so I ended up ahead a razor when all was said and done.

July 8, 2008

It finally happened, my tiles were just bad enough that I could not recover. Paul Sidorsky scored early with SILTER, WE(E)PY for 36, and GlUIEST. I came back with RATHO(l)ES and then drew the other blank, but I had to suffer thru AAIIOWZ, AGIIOV, GIIIOT, AAIMOU, and AEIISU before I finally got a bingo rack, AIKSNO. But by then the board was closed, and there was nothing I could do.

Later, I would see that I did have one shot--when Paul played (R)IDGER*, I somehow saw it as (R)IDGIER and let it go. Somehow my brain stuck and extra I in there, and I have no idea how to correct that problem for the future.

My loss to Rich Moyer was incredibly frustrating because of the way it happened. With very close scores in the pre-endgame, I was well aware of the Q and tried not to play too many tiles. I played off ER, then (V)OX, and then WED. Meanwhile, Rich played JAYS, (I)NKER, and with five tiles in the bag, and the Q and virtually automatic loss, ANNA. 80% chance he had of drawing the Q, not to mention the greater chance he had overall from playing 12 tiles to my 6, and it had to be the last one in the bag. Later I would learn I had given up just 6 equity points--AARRGHH!!!

Annotated Game

Rich Moyer for a third time (and our fourth game in as many days), and it was close all the way thru. He scored early with AgAROSE, but I caught a break, KNEE for 54.

As I had hoped, the prize was $300, bringing my total winnings to $500. Not bad, more than 5th place in the main event would have been. In fact, Rick pointed out that I won as much as Sam Kantimati did in Albany. Except I had a much easier time of it, with the exception of Rich Moyer.

Upon receiving my money, I grabbed my things and urged Abby to finish her post-morterm so we could leave. From that moment until Orlando, every second was precious. Every second wasted could mean not reaching one or more Starbucks before they closed down for good.

Just as my drive to Reno had been more pleasant than my 2003 trip, my departure from Reno saw me driving away with much higher spirits. Sure I was disappointed to go from 4th place to losing 5 straight games, but I had still won $500 and in all likelihood boosted my ranking back into the top 100. My car was in fine working order, I still had plenty of cash, and I was hopeful about Orlando. And last but not least, I had sex more than sixty times in nearly five days--does it really get better than that? Viva la vida!

July 14, 2008

Holy cow, is GENII the plural of GENIUS??? I guess if I were one, it wouldn't have taken me 5 1/2 years to realize this.

July 15, 2008

This blog is dedicate to Pookie Bear (whose identity will remain a secret... for now).


#1 - Catanese    
2.9 ODEA  
0 IX(O)RA  
0 AREC(A)  
1.3 KO(R)UN  
5.9 ZAG  
4.3 GAN  
5.2 LOP LO(U)P (unsure)
10 N(I)B  
0 LIR(E)  
1.2 Q(I) saving esses for big score cuz bingo unlikely
0 G(AG)  
#2 - Cornelius    
2.6 TWIRL WILT (leave ERT)
0 YEA  
4.9 AXION  
6.9 (W)EAK  
20.6 NOGS/(WEAK)S*  
7 RUN  
0.3 J(I)VY  
2.5 DOE  
1.4 QU(I)N  
14.1 (QUIN)T/T(WINCED)*  
21 CO(R)F  
0 SEES  
#3 - Stevens    
0 TrI(L)OBED  
0 QA(D)I  
0.7 J(A)WS  
0 W(I)Z  
2.9 N(U)RD  
9.2 GN(U) US/S(UM) (sets her up for possible bingo too)
1 (O)R(DE)R  
#4 - Hamilton    
0* HAY  
0 B(I)P(OD)  
0 JOWA(R)  
6.6 (N)AVAID  
20.9 XI  
8.7 WAN  
0 GREETs  
#5 - Seales    
11.1 ENTRY CRY (leave ENST)
4.1 (T)AJ  
1.3 AXE  
4.6 (WEIRD)OS  
3.3 U(N)WIT  
0 FA(T)E  
5.3 B(OWE)R  
59.9 challenge TAXER  
6.3 QI  
0 BL(A)ND  
0 NEVI  
3 (U)N (HER)N
#6 - Slivka    
1.4 GEE  
0 WI(G)  
0 (H)OURI  
0 FE  
15.2 JE(U)  
5.3 HAFT  
11.9 ZOEA  
2.3 (G)LIB  
14.9 W(A)VY W(A)VILY
0* P(o)M  
9 (I)NURN  
0 (J)OCK  
#7 - Rand    
12.7 (Z)AP  
0 FUG  
0 EQUAl  
7.1 ROOTY  
3.5 J(APE)  
2 V(I)BE  
#8 - Bogle    
7.3 BOG miss (JAG)G hook
1.5 EMERGER* REMERGE(D) (unsure)
10.3 STOR(E)FUL* FLOUT(E)RS (unsure)
0* ZOWIE  
0* (Z)IBET  
0 FL(O)W  
30 challenge ARtIC(L)ED  
--- V(A)V  
0 (N)A  
#9 - Sherman    
0 OUR  
7.9 TWIN  
0 MAZE  
1.5 MIXT  
5.1 DEODARs again, miss that glaring open P!!!
2.1 DON  
1.2 N(O)G  
#10 - Baker    
1.2 DOE  
0 (D)ESELEcT  
0 PLEX  
0 FER  
0 QUA  
1.9 QUA  
2.3 GAIN  
7.2 G(R)EW  
7.8 YA  
9.9 29.6  
7 HI  
0 (R)AFT  
#11 - Wiegand    
0.3 WONT  
0.2 DUI  
0.3 -OUU (AEN?)  
0 ZIN  
10 RICH RUCHE (might have won)
2.4 V(I)VE J(I)VER
12 DRUG weakly hoping to draw blank
0 JE(U)  
0 (b)ATTLERS  
#12 - Matsumoto    
0 OHO  
0 LUNT  
12.9 JO(T) InKJE(T)
7.3 FOE  
0 (F)OLIO  
4.8 CUR(S)E  
7.8* VE(I)NY  
5.2 -AGIIVW  
3.6 AVA  
12.9 W(AR)P  
31.8 Q(U)A  
6 RE(G)  
0 REC  
#13 - Smith    
0 FLAB  
1.4 NOPE  
0 (T)OWING  
0.3 RUCTIO(N)  
14.1 OH(O)  
39.8 lose challenge ((H)UNTeDLY)  
0 W(A)F(T)  
1.3* RI(A)  
0.5* GAG  
13.8 NIEVE  
2 SOAR  
0 (J)O  
#14 - Jacobstein    
2.1 AWEE  
48.3 SONaTIN(A) NONS(EX)IsT (saw but no clue)
5.7 QI  
5.5 VEE  
0 BU(T)ENE  
0 (C)UVEE  
2.8 AGOG  
0 TOASTEr(S)  
0 PORN  
5 FRO  
0 (SO)RB  
#15 - Meyer    
0 U(V)EA  
0 GOT  
0 Q(I)  
27.4 OA(K) JAW
0 JAW  
4.8 LIN(S) block
1 SLA(Y)  
0 iNN  
2 (AL)T  
#16 - Tier    
1.1 -EEIOOW (E)  
0 GORM  
0 OVEN  
0* OI  
12.8 AUREI  
0 JEUX  
30.5 (Z)OIC  
15.3 CAFE  
0 IDLE  
16 VO(E)  
0 TURNs  
#17 - Moyer    
12 GEY GYVE!!!
0 EH  
6.5 -IIORTUU  
0 GAMP  
0 QA(D)I  
0 Z(I)TI  
7.9 (LO)VED need to create second line
2.5* O(PA)L  
33.5 (K)I  
0 (R)EFLY  
#18 - Meyer    
16.9 B(R)OMO wrong spot
11.8 InLANDS  
42.6 VU(M) DIVU(L)ES (was focused on blocking RACE(M)ATE)
0 GIDD(Y)  
0 J(I)G  
6.3 G(I)FT  
0* (U)Q  
40.7 ZIP could have set up PHI(Z)
0 HIN(T)  
#19 - Peltier    
4.3 WAIN  
1.3 OU(T)LIE  
2.5 JUT  
1.3 WADI  
18.4 OF PHLO(X)!!!
14.4 Q(I) Q(O)PH
0 PEH  
#20 - Brockmeyer    
7.5 MICR(O)DOt wrong spot,COMO(R)bID
28 lose turn (SALAP*)  
0 (N)AW  
0 QA(T)  
8.9 FIB(S)  
0* (G)IEN  
0* ALEX(I)NE  
0 G(O)R(E)  
#21 - Basset-Brouchard    
0 YUTZ  
0 (Z)OEAE  
2.6 (S)IBB  
18.6 RELAPs(E)d RApPEL(E)d,LApPER(E)d
--- F(I)ND  
0* COVEY  
0* DANK  
23.6 VIN(A) VAGIN(A)
0 AGIO  
32 GET  
1 N(OM)  
#22 - Milan    
0 GO(L)D  
3.6 TR(Y)  
0 RIT(Z)  
0 (R)ESoNANT  
3 Q(I)  
3.1 (S)ELF  
0.3 WA(N)DEREd  
2.5 A(V)E  
6 WI(T)  
#23 - Stern    
30 LUBE (G)UIdABLE (unsure)
0 (G)RASPInG  
9.6 (P)ANIC (POUFF)E hook
0 WAUL  
1 WO(A)D  
2.7* EDH  
10 -NNQU  
3.4 N(A)VY  
7.6 ZIN horrible!!!
27.4 (N)E E(N)QUIRY
8 YE  
1 (H)I  
4 (M)U  
#24 - Sherman    
0.4 AECIA  
0.6 HEART(E)N  
11.7 VE(I)L  
7.5 BL(A)DE  
5.6 GOERS  
0 Q(I)  
0 AX  
0 FOLD  
10.5 (C)OVIN (N)ONRIVAl (unsure),(N)ONVIRAl,(R)AVIN (unsure)
0.8* F(E)AR  
0 (DOW)NY  
36 aGING/(N)A(S)*  
#25 - Brockmeyer    
2.4 PU(B)  
0 (V)UGH  
1.7 MONE(Y)ED  
0 GOO(P)Y  
5.3 KIR  
9.3 -IOOQR  
0* ZE(E)  
0 B(ALE)R  
0.9* O(W)  
3.5 (PE)T  
2.8* L(ORE)  
#26 - Wiegand    
0 IF  
0 (C)OUGH  
0.3 ZI(p)S  
0 OvER(R)ATE  
14.2 (LOAD)ED  
14.7 GLO(v)ED  
2.3 BRAC(E)  
0 JU(G)  
4.7 VOE  
11.6 OH  
56 challenge TRIPE(D)AL  
7 B(O)P  
#27 - Peltier    
42 lose turn (COOEEY*)  
8 ME  
12 -AIIO  
4.6 (H)AFTER  
6.9 ETH  
19.3 -MQ  
8.1 NIteRIE  
34.1 challenge NERVI(N)ES  
3.3 Q(U)A  
0.4 (F)A  
24.1 VERA  
4 BA  

1 - W - 3.1 (43.4)
2 - W - 5.4 (81)
3 - W - 3.4 (44.2)
4 - L - 10.3 (123)
5 - W - 8.0 (127.7)
6 - W - 7.1 (106.3)
7 - W - 6.0 (72.3)
8 - W - 8.2
9 - W - 5.5 (65.6)
10 - W - 5.7 (79.8)
11 - L - 6.6 (79.2)
12 - L - 11.7 (163.2)
13 - L - 8.8 (131.8)
14 - W - 6.2 (87.3)
15 - W - 3.0 (41.8)
16 - W - 6.3 (75.7)
17 - L - 5.7 (79.5)
18 - W - 11.7 (152.3)
19 - L - 4.4 (52.4)
20 - W - 5.6 (79)
21 - W - 6.5
22 - W - 2.7 (32.2)
23 - L - 9.5 (142.4)
24 - L - 6.5 (84.1)
25 - L - 2.6
26 - L - 9.8 (128)
27 - L - 11.2

Avg: 6.8

#1 - Southwick    
0 QAT  
0 ZAS  
6.6 NEXT  
0 RUNUP*  
4.4 STRIP  
#2 - Roland    
--- HIVE  
6.9 TOPI  
4.5 J(A)B  
0 REC  
1 -FNNR  
0 FOU  
8.2 FAI(L)  
6.1 (A)GGIE  
9 M(I)GA*  
#3 - Barfuss    
0 QI  
2.5 (T)ORII  
0.5 MuRIATE(D)  
0 AXE  
0.9 (B)AYOU  
1.2 CRED  
3.8 FIT(C)H  
14.4 K(E)LLY (FITCH)Y hook
0 SNA(F)U  
0 Z(O)A  
#4 - Slavin    
15.9 SAFER  
25.8 challenge M(A)WED  
0 (N)IXED  
25.5 ZA (Q)UEAZY
0 (Q)UITE  
0 AGA  
3 TOY  
7.1 CAN  
0.2 (V)EINLETs  
0 GOLD  
#5 - Holgate-West    
16.8 ZO(N)AL  
5.6 -DENUU  
4.3 RAX  
1.6 PI(E)  
0 HOVE  
0 QI(S)  
3.5 JA(TO)  
0 LE(Z)  
#6 - Wong    
0 OHM  
0 -NN  
0 TANKERE(d)*  
0 Q(A)T  
10.9 UN(C)OY DUC(H)Y
1.3 Z(I)P P(O)M
12.1 (R)ALE V(I)LE
7.6 (H)M D(O)M
12.4 (RE)VOLTED  
0 J(E)W  

1 - W -
2 - W - 3.4
3 - W - 2.3 (30.1)
4 - W - 6.3
5 - W - 2.5 (37.9)
6 - L - 3.6 (47.3)

Avg: 3.6

#1 - Clifford    
0 AEON  
7.6 V(I)NIC  
10.8 Q(I)  
0 (G)AWK  
1.4 AI  
0.4 BEEF  
12.7 OUTATE  
0 J(O)G  
4.3 TH(E)N  
3.7 (B)R(A)ND  
8 SLY  
0 R(E)S  
#2 - Schultz    
1.5 QU(I)P  
11 (Q)UOTH (QUIP)U hook
13.6 lu(t)z  
0 MEEK  
0 WIF(T)Y  
0* BURGeON  
0.1 RADON  
6.5 FL(I)T  
0 PST  
7.4 YEAN  
10.8 VOX  
0 ADD  
#3 - Sidorsky    
2.9 GOLF  
0 MU(S)HY  
21.6 HU(H) EcHIURO(ID)
4.6 PAL  
4.7 JA(Y)  
0.2 COG  
0* WA(D)I  
#4 - Moyer    
1.7 DIERI(S)ES  
0 VEX  
5.7 HAH  
0 W(I)Z  
5.9 TOLING  
0.7 KRUBI  
2.8 CRO(C)I  
13.3 (P)AWN block
13.6 VENU(E) block
20.4 lose turn ((O)RED*)  
20.3 N(OR) block
9 SEEN  
0 A(G)ON  
#5 - Tillekeratne    
0.1 JAW  
0 (F)EZ  
2.7 BEEDI  
11 EYE(N)  
2.9 PAH  
1* -AAAII  
3.9 -DVV  
21.1 MOD  
6.6 Q(AD)I  
0 (GO)OF  
0 TUX  
#6 - Lambert    
0 JEEZ  
0 DOG  
6.3 OOH  
0.3 VEX  
0 ILEA  
0 (Q)UEA(N)  
11.6 (PEA)KY  
0 (N)IDI  
1.9 RE(D)ROVE  
--- (HADE)R*  
0* (V)AT  
--- OTTO  
--- FiSC  
#7 - Sidorsky    
0 QI  
0 (W)EEN  
0 W(I)Z  
6.9 VA(C)  
0.7 (D)IGIT  
0* (D)OUMA  
0 (L)IEU  
2.2 (T)O(Y) KOS/(S)PILED
1.3 NA  
14.3 SLINK (S)PILED hook
#8 - Moyer    
4 I(D)EA  
0 HO  
0 AGIO  
0 ATT  
0* EGO  
0 OHM  
0 LEZ  
0 RUB  
0 ER  
0 V(OX)  
0 WED  
--- VIN(O) anything else risks V stick
#9 - Moyer    
0 GOX  
3.8 TELOI  
0 FU(R)OR  
0.1 BAD  
0 GOUT  
0 Q(I)  
2.4 LEADI(E)ST  
11 (L)UMP  
0 TIN  

1 - W - 3.7 (54.8)
2 - W - 3.9 (50.9)
3 - W - 3.3 (43)
4 - W - 6.6 (99.50
5 - W - 3.5 (49.3)
6 - W - 6.5
7 - L - 3.5 (42)
8 - L - 0.5 (6.4)
9 - W - 4.1 (53.4)

Avg: 4.0

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