When Good Is Not Enough






Saturday, October 18, 2008

SMFTQGY

I'd set my alarm for 8:50 (yoicks!), but at 8:23 I decided I might as well get up and trying to get coffee and breakfast. The Starbucks at the rest area is, of course, totally fake, and I hate patronizing those fake-ass wannabe stores, but I needed the caffeine. Got a bagel from Panera, and stupid Cranky Panera Woman bolloxed my order... twice. First she rang me up for a bagel with cream cheese, and then when I alerted her to this, she threw away the blueberry bagel (unnecessary and proceeded to toast a plain bagel). I didn't realize this 'til I was driving away, and thus I missed out on the blueberry goodness. For all I know, it was the lack of blueberriness that accounted for my disastrous morning.

Dammit, dammit, dammit!!! I thought I was playing very well against Jason Idalski despite my lack of sleep, but he got just one break too many and edged me out by eleven points. Most disappointing was that I drew the last two eses, and with final tiles of IIMNOS versus IILOORV, Jason had a winning endgame.

Annotated Game


My next game was about as lopsided as it gets. George Viebranz's scores up to the endgame were 34, 34, SIGNIOR, 34, I(N)DULInE (admittedly a great find), VInTAG(E)R, 29, I(X)ORA for 60, and 4. With no bingos, I could not compete.

After my loss to Linda Hoggat I was in disbelief. Linda bingod early with NE(A)TNESS (missing SENNETS), but I was still even after two strong turns. Unfortunately, my rack of GIIITTU yielded only 10 points, and Linda pulled another bingo right out of the bag. Just like SENNETS, her RINgERS was suboptimal--in fact, Quackle ranks it was the worst play (left the B or W hook on the triple row), but she didn't need to play well when she had luck on her side. 44 points for JA(I)LING followed, and two turns later GERANIU(M) (a good food) blocked my AnALOG(U)E. I had to wait one more turn to bingo, a 4-tile overlap GAvOTED*, but I was not destined to win that game. PPRRUWW came out of the bag, and the game was a lost cause.

Annotated Game


FUCK!!! On top of three straight losses, I misread the flyer and thought lunch was after three games, and I left right away to reshoot some Starbucks. If I had not have those stores to shoot, I would have hung around to see who else was going to lunch. Or, if I had turned my phone volume back on, I would have gotten the message from Kevin or from Dallas. But, instead, I did not realize my error 'til I reached the second Starbucks and got online to look up the flyer to see when lunch ended. FUCK!!!

As I expected, when I returned Dallas told me that Steve was willing to make up the game after hours, but that knowledge was not that comforting. Given that I was already hurting from lack of sleep, playing yet another game after the afternoon's four was going to hurt. The next round did not start for an hour, so I crossed my fingers that Steve would return from lunch quickly.

Oh... my... god!!! I could not believe how badly I was being outdrawn. Despite finding SWATHED and winning the challenge, Kelly McKenzie had CREAtIN(E), then (H)AJI for 28, then Q(I) for 31, then YAM for 35, then GITANoS for 75. Then ZIP for 43 and the final ess for 46 points. 7 power tiles thus far--only the X remained, and that was pretty much my only chance to win. Well, Kelly drew the X (of course), but I managed to get an extremely unlikely FANDA(N)GO to go out for the win. My heart had heartly beaten faster than while I was waiting to see if Kelly was going to block the spot, and my relief has hardly been greater than when he did not.

Annotated Game


FINALLY!!! Five games into the tournament, I finally managed a killer draw. TWANGED to open, then FILTRA(T)E two turns later. FOY for 45, and then LIAISES on my rack. Unfortunately, I tried to hook it to Kevin's phony (BEMOAN)ER*, and I lost a turn. Kevin's play gave me a hook for SILESIA, but even though I had seen it while trying to find a place for LIAISES, I somehow lost track of the anagram during the whole challenge process. Luck was on my side, though, and after playing off AIS I drew into I(D)EALESS. Then an exchange yielded CRiSPEN. Usually I might have grumbled about getting such a good draw against the bottom player in the field, but frankly after the day I'd had I was glad for the tiles.

One easy game was all I would get that day. Next up was Dan Stock, and he almost had me. I had to endure several tense minutes in the endgame waiting to see if Dan would find a winning play (there wasn't one). My nerves were pretty frayed already as I sat down to face Brian How-Did-He-Get-That-Rating Bowman, and all I was thinking was that I deserved the better draw after the day I'd had. Nope. Bowman exchanged and quickly bingoed with the double-double for 82, and three turns later got down ALAMOdE to go up 100. Only a 47-point Z play kept me within bingo range, and followed that play with sORDINI. I graduately evened the game, and then I started to take a lead. DECKS for 45 gave me the chance to virtually guarantee a win, but goddamn it I had to draw the Q. Again, I had to endure another long endgame, first determining that my play of JUTE(S) was forced, to block Brian's out, and then waiting to see if Brian would find a winning play.

Annotated Game


As soon as we agreed the score was a tie, I quickly asked Brian if he wanted to accept the tie rather than recount. I emphasized that I was perfectly content to leave it be. With just two wins, I was glad to take a half point against higher-rated Bowman. Good thing I did, because there had indeed been an error. Not in scoring, but in addition... on the last play!!!

Annotated Game


Had Brian not decided against the recount, I would have finished the day at a miserable 2.5 because I got totally sucker-punched by Steve Krieger in our make-up game. After starting off well with FIX and double-double WIGL(E)SS, I felt pretty good about scoring 46 for (Z)EPHYR. Yes, I suspected Steve had good tiles because he had commented to himself about not being able to fit his bingo, but I did not imagine he had both blanks! p(R)ELOAdS for 113 hurt a lot, but I was still almost even after my 36-point KOI play. Had the rest of the game been fair, I'm sure I would have won, but Steve quickly stumbled across a giveaway bingo, ROUTINE(S), and I was not given an equal opportunity until it was too late. Actually, I was not given an equal opportunity at all--I had to find DRACENA. Steve held, so I presume he would not have found it. But was a pattern I'd see the entire tournament--easy bingos for my opponents and harder ones for me.


I was able to sim all my games that night, and I saw that I gave up just 4.8 equity points per turn in those first eight games. Without looking back thru my numbers, I thought was usually good enough to place highly in the tournament. Had I drawn more than four out of 16 blanks, I definitely woul dhave ended up with more than 3.5 wins for the day. Why do I play this game?

Saturday could have been fun because of the location that had been chosen for the tournament. I'd like to think that Pete and/or George had me in mind when the chose a Holiday Inn right next to a strip club, Club 57. Unfortunately, four losses combined with fatigue completely killed my interest. That's a damn shame, that I had to blow an opportunity to continue my strip club research.

At least I was able to find a girl available for massage right away, towards the east, the direction that I needed to head in anyway (destination Cuyahoga Falls). Nearby I found a Chinese restaurant where I was able to satisfy a random craving that was relatively new--egg drop soup and rice. Lucky's Chinese Food in Twin Lakes (WI) served the same for just $2.38, and, for lack of many options in such a remote city, I had gotten into the habit of stopping there two or three times a week for a quick take-out dinner. Tradionally I have not been a fan of Asian food, so I found it amusing that I was patronizing the local Chinese place so much.

Anyway, the real action of the night was at the Wal-Mart in Cuyahoga Falls, across the intersection from the new Starbucks. For only the second time in all my stays at Wal-Mart, a police officer knocked on my window. The first time, in Georgia, the Wal-Mart had asked the police to keep the car clear of cars and trucks overnight (or so he claimed)--that officer just informed me of that and moved on. This Cuyahoga Falls cop, however, was just wasting my time for no legal reason, since this Wal-Mart allowed overmogjt parking. Thought the officer was polite, all his questions were an abuse of authority, and he effectively screwed my night, because once he left all I could think about for an hour or more were various ways of hurting him. I thought about filing a complaint, of course, but that wouldn't do any good. The police and their bosses fundementally do not care about legal rights. They will only realize the error of their ways by being made to pay, either in large sums of money or through violence.

Like Tom Joad said, "...they comes a time when the on'y way a fella can keep his decency is by takin' a sock at a cop." Of course, life is not a movie or TV show, and the likely outcome of trying to exact justice on a police officer would be unpleasant, like in a recent episode of this season's Californication.

By coincidence, I'd seen no fewer than three depictions of citizens trying to fight back against the police that week. Besides Californication, there was True Blood, in which a vampire-blood powered character shoves the cop against the van. Maybe you can get away with that in a small town, but not in the real world, and not if you're dark-skinned.

Then there was the final episode of the first season of The Shield, in which some kids exacted a more drastic type of revenge against the cops. I would never support shooting at a random cop for the transgression of another, but I wholeheartedly support death for any cop that abuses his authority. In fact, the government should go further than just executing bad cops and allow citizens who have been wronged to do it. March bad cops out into the city square on the weekend and allow people to apply to be executioners. Besides getting the cops off the streets, this would have the secondary effect of giving a bit of peace of mind to those citizens who have been abused. I think I would personally benefit from being able to execute a bad cop. If I did so, perhaps I would no longer spend so much of my time thinking of ways to punish the police, and perhaps I would not longer react to the sight any police officer by visualizing shooting him in the head. That can't be healthy for me, to constantly think about shooting cops.



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Holy magnetic monkey nuts!!! I had not thought about setting an alarm, had not thought I needed it, but after losing all that sleep thanks to Officer Fucknuts, I woke up with not much time to spare. Actually, I had so little time that I had to forgo a real breakfast and just eat oatmeal from the Starbucks. It's not bad stuff, and if you google Starbucks oatmeal you'll find articles claiming that the oatmeal will save Starbucks. I wouldn't go that far, but given how much they charge (nearly $2.50), they must be making bank.

First game of the morning, and I outlucked Mr. Lucky. Not much he could have done.

After that good draw, it was back to being outdrawn and outblanked. Steve Krieger again, and he pulled a blank early for HErNIAS. A few turns later, another bingo, (S)HORtENS, while I never saw a bingo the entire game. Things were looking grim enough for me that I played FAUNA just short of the triple column on the hope that Steve didn't know the L hook (I was forgetting the E myself). Later Steve said he did know the hook, and had he seen it to play LITERAL, I would have had no chance. Instead, we played a tense endgame (I was seeing a lot of those), and I managed to do better with the Q than he did with the J.

Annotated Game


I got the best of Dan Stock for a second time, but it could have gone either way. Good thing I ignored what Quackle would have done and played defensive instead, because Dan would have had bingos if I had given him the chance. Quackle is simply not defensive enough, but at the same time I think Kenji is right when he says most players give up too much equity for defense. The trick is knowing when.

Annotated Game


I didn't expect to play Kevin McCarthy again, and though I certainly expected to win, I did not expect to get another killer macktastic draw. I'll concede that it wasn't fair, but I also have to point out that I was fairly irritated by that turn of events. Sure, getting some spread was nice, but, seriously, peep this shit. I was 6/24 on blanks and lost several close games to players I needed to beat. Meanwhile, I was getting my best draws against the bottom player in the division--what the fuck is that??? Were the tile gods just fucking with me?

Annotated Game


The bullshit outdrawing continued for a six point loss to Kelly Let's-See-Him-Try-To-Play-Without-The-Luckbag McKenzie. It was ridiculous, he played QI for 30 at N1, and I have no decent way to block so he gets 71 for INLY and then GrOOVE(R)S for 76. He ended up winning by just six points. Six points!!! All it would have taken was for him to get one fewer lucky break--just one!!!

Finally, in the fourteenth game of the tournament, I got the early blank bingo for the first time. Jason Idalski went on to get two bingos, SALUTER(S) and ATONIES, and he drew the other blank, but fortunately he could not get that third bingo down, and I managed to pull ahead by a lot.

Bowman had just killed Jeff Clark, though, which meant I needed to by around 150 to take the tournament. Given I was at just 8 of 28 blanks, fairness would have me beating Brian by over 200, but I hadsn't seen much fairness in that tournament. My last game was no different. Brian Blowme bingoed early, with the blank, surprise surprise, and I had to play from behind for the duration of the game. Boy, I sure would like to see how that guy does when I get the early momentum!!!

Annotated Game


As I drove away, I was fairly livid. I had the feeling that I had gotten a significantly worse draw than my opponents. The raw numbers later showed that I was absolutely right. I was about even on high-point tiles, but slightly off on esses and significantly off on blanks.

J - 6/15
Q - 8/15
X - 7/15
Z - 8 /15
S - 26/60
? - 9/30

Of course power tiles aren't the whole story. I suffered significantly because my opponents routinely found bingos that, from my perspective, were much easier than mine.

Opponents
ONStAGE
CATERED
SIGNIOR
I(N)DULInE
VInTAGE(R)
NE(A)TNESS
RINgERS
GERNIU(M)
p(R)ELOAdS
ROUTINE(S)
CREAtIN(E)
GITANoS
EQUATIN(G)
AMbITIo(N)
LIT(E)RATE
ALAMOdE
INLACeD
HErNIAS
(S)HORtENS
StONeRS
(F)LOURiNG
AIRLINE(S)
GrOOVE(R)S
SALUTERS
ATONIES
(P)RAISINg


Mine
CYANiTE
GAvOTED*
SWATHED
OVERRAN
FANDA(N)GO
TWANGED
FILTRA(T)E
I(D)EALESS
CRiSPEN
TALKIES
TEQUIL(A)S
sORDINI
LISPING
EMEr(I)TAE
NOTICES
SAUNAED
MOSEYED
BITSIES(T)
DE(N)TINAL
PLATIES
(R)UInATES
ScORIAE
(E)NERvATE


Given the power-tile deficit and my opponent's easy bingos, it is not surprise that giving up just for 4.4 equity points per turn was not enough. But if I read these numbers right, it should have been.

Loss Per TurnRating Change
4.4-12
5.5+39
5.3+10
7.5-27
4.7+6
6.0+35
6.9-45
4.2-5
4.7+32
6.0-56
7.1-23
6.0-9
8.0+41
San Jose-54
4.0+22
3.6-2
6.8+29
8.3-26
4.9-10
Bayside-5
6.4+29
5.1+1
5.9-40
5.0+9
6.1+11
6.8-17
7.9+13
6.8-1
4.2+11
6.4-20
5.4+8
6.1-4
6.7+46
6.8-32
Wilmington club
5.7+29
4.6-7
5.2-11
5.5-5
6.1-45
5.4-11
7-6
7+25
4.7+17
4.7-7
5.5+17
4.0+56
6.8-40
6.4+6
5.3+33
7.8+20
6.7-27
9.2-40
5.6+29
5.0+20
5.1-14
-36
6.7-20
5.9-32
5.6-17
7.3+2
4.8+31
6.5-29
7.1+29
6.3+47
6.3+56
6.2-42
Philadelphia+2
Bayside+9



Analysis

#1 - Idalski    
------------    
0 WINZ(E)D*  
0 JAVA  
5.1 K(E)NAF  
5.9 MU(F)TI (J)UICE
0 (J)AEGER  
3.7 CYANiTE ChANTEY (unsure),CYaNATE
0.6 WET  
2.3 TAG AIGRET
2.4 EYRIE  
3 ALBS  
1 MO(O)N  
     
     
#2 - Viebranz    
-------------    
0 VOLTA  
0 LECH  
5.3 KORA(I)  
18.6 (V)IAND miss (SIGNIOR)I hook
4.8 DEEP ditto
28.7 Q(U)OD ditto
2.1* UNCIAE/(SIGNIOR)E* USANCE,UNCIA/(SIGNIOR)I,(V)ICUNA
3.9 TU(T)U  
0 NA(V)Y  
0 J(I)LTS  
0 FEW  
     
     
#3 - Hoggat    
-----------    
0 COBIA  
0 OUZ(A)  
1.1 HIM  
2 TITI(S) (GIU)  
0 UMIAQ  
1.9 KI(N)O  
0.9 AX leave AAEGL instead of AEGLO???
2.6 OLEA  
0 GAvOTED*  
0 WR(A)P  
0 OW  
16.1* P(ER)E  
8 FUR  
     
     
#4 - Krieger    
------------    
0 FIX  
0 WIGL(E)SS  
2.6 (Z)EPHYR PURE(L)Y,ETHY(L)
0 KOI  
6.6 D(H)UTI T(WIGlESS) hook
4.4 BLAND  
11.5 TAHR  
5.7 V(E)T  
0 NEE  
0 PR(O)G  
0* EN suspect Steve has O
0 DRACENA  
4 M(A)BE  
     
     
#5 - McKenzie    
-------------    
0.1 VIM  
0 SWATHED  
0 (W)OOLIE  
8.3 (D)EEP  
13 (J)E(E) G(E)NE (my brain was dead--I thought of AGENE but not GENE)
5 GENUIN(E)  
4.3 TOUTER OUTRE
28.5 DREK D(I)SLIKER
10.2 FILLS (Q)U(I)LLS/(HAJI)S,FULLS
4.2 (Q)U(I)D  
0 OVERRAN  
0 FANDA(N)GO  
     
     
#6 - McCarthy    
-------------    
0 TWANGED  
1.4 BOITE BI(B)ELOT,BLITE,BOLETI (not best)
0 FILTRA(T)E F(E)ATLIER (not best)
11.5 FOY FOYS (unsure)
16.4 lose turn ((BEMOANER)S*)/LIAISED  
45.3 AIS SILESIA (saw it last turn but then forgot!!!)
0 I(D)EALESS  
11.3 -QUV (CEN?) craving a 4th bingo
25.6 CRiSPEN SPENCeR
1.5 YAH  
2.5 C(LA)VING*  
6 VA(T)U LA(N)UGO
     
     
#7 - Stock    
----------    
2.6 FROND  
1.5 Z(I)T  
0 TALKIES  
0 DOE  
1.7 CEE  
0 TEQUIL(A)S  
2.4 POLLEN BO(A)/(Z)O(O)
2.4 BAGE(L)  
7.9 REGRE(T)  
17.7 X(I) don't want to empty bag  
8 (D)OJO JI(N)NEE
0 (G)ENIE  
     
     
#8 - Bowman    
-----------    
0 WEEDY  
14.4 MIRI MIGG D12 (dangerous!!!)
6.8 (L)OGO GOGO (unsure),(L)OGGIER (unsure)
42.3 GREAT (I)RRIGATE
0 COZ  
0 sORDINI  
8.1 ISLE don't want to give up score and get far behind
2.9 YEN EYEN/(LOO)E(Y)
0.2 SNARF  
0 VOTE  
4.9 DECKS DESK (why?)
0 JUTE(S)  
0 D(A)N  
     
     
#9 - Clark    
----------    
0 FOB  
0 DEFIE(R)S  
6.1 VAGUE VIGIA
1.2 LISPING PILINGS,SLIPING
0.1 ZE(E)  
9.1 TH(A)NK bETHINK,KNI(G)HTEd
7.1 M(A)QUI  
0* EMEr(I)TAE  
0 DELUX(E) LUXE
8.6* (Q)I  
9.2 RO(C)  
12 NOR  
     
     
#10 - Krieger    
-------------    
0 DAB  
4.3* TEINDS make Steve's bingo harder
5.6 (OI)LY ditto
0 EX  
6.1 CIG ICE
0 AERIE  
3.6 FAUNA gambling Steve don't know L hook
0 TR(US)T  
0.8 (T)ZAR  
0 (R)IB B(R)IN
16.1 T(R)OIKA (H)OOK (shuld have saved I for Q),K(R)OONI (not best)
0 M(A)NQUE  
0 OP  
     
     
#11 - Stock    
-----------    
0 CALM  
0.1 BUN  
0 D(U)RN  
0 WIL(T)S  
0 XI  
4.3 HAJI HIJ(R)A
6 LOG(E)  
3.2 -Q -OQ (EINST) (I like EINOST)
0 NOTICES  
13 PERI focus on closing board
0 QU(I)T  
9.7 VOE must block line
0 WAI(V)E  
7.4 VO(E) block possible ELONGAT(E)
17 PHI TOPHI (unsure)
     
     
#12 - McCarthy    
--------------    
5.5 ALA  
0 SAUNAED  
0 FIEF  
0 MOSEYED  
0* CO(M)E  
0 BITSIES(T)  
0.8 WIT  
8.7 AH (PIT)H/(ET)H to leave AEILNT
0.7 DE(N)TINAL  
15.7 (A)ZOIC  
0 AX  
0 VINI(C)  
0 JO  
0 PR(I)G  
0 (FA)VUs  
     
     
#13 - McKenzie    
--------------    
0 (H)OOFED  
2.3 DIZE(N) prefer extra pts for close endgame
5.2 PLATIES STAPELI(A)
0 HAO  
0 BRE(D)E  
2.5* PR(O)W  
32.6 CAM(P)ER O(V)ERCRAM (unsure)
0* ROOD  
0 AB  
5 (M)O(r)A  
0* RUG ARGUSEs,SEvRUGA,(RE)dARGUES
0 (R)E(V)  
0 (R)UInATES  
     
     
#14 - Idalski    
-------------    
0 (J)OULE  
2.8 ScORIAE misjudged position of ERASIOn
0.3 (F)IFTY C(I)TIFY
0 (Q)ADI  
0 MAZE(R)  
0 (L)UV  
40.5 CEP ENDOC(A)RP
0 GR(A)ND  
2.2 AH  
0 BINE  
0.9* OX don't want to empty bag
0 A(Y)  
10 (TA)C(O) CA(NAP)E
0 AE  
0 (ID)IOT  
     
     
#15 - Bowman    
------------    
5.5 DOW DOWED (preferred to keep DEET)
6.7 FA(C)ET  
0 LIPPED  
14.2 YEN NI(DIF)Y,NEO(T)ENY
7.9 QUO(I)N  
7.2 FET F(LIPPED) hook
11.5 VIE(R) VILE(R)
0 MY  
4 LA(M)  
6.4 GIR(T)  
0 (LO)UR  
30 (LAM)B miss A(JEE) hook for ANTBEaR
5.3* (E)NERvATE (Z)ETA
5 BR(E)D  
0 HOVE  


1 - L - 2.2 (24)
2 - L - 5.7 (63.4)
3 - L - 2.3 (6.5 + 24 (game already lost))
4 - L - 2.7 (34.8)
5 - W - 6.1 (73.6)
6 - W - 9.3 (121.5)
7 - W - 3.7 (44.2)
8 - L - 6.1 (79.6)
9 - W - 4.5 (53.4)
10 - W - 2.8 (36.5)
11 - W - 4.0 (60.7)
12 - w - 2.1 (31.4)
13 - L - 3.7 (47.6)
14 - W - 3.5 (56.7)
15 - L - 6.9 (103.7)


Avg: 4.4



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