Why Am I Not a Wuss

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Left the Rocky River tournament as fast as I could. If I was going to detour 180 miles to Beaver and McMurray, PA, and still make it up to Ontario and visit four new stores before playing Guelph, and sleep enough to avoid tanking, time was of the essence.

Because my stupid power inverter (or the car) was not working, again, I had to spend some time charging my laptop in Beaver, and I used that time to find out how to get an estimate of my new rating. 1835--hot damn, a new peak!!!

Of course I thought of Wussy Boy, and how he had hit his own peak and immediately retreated from the tournament scene like a turtle hiding in a shell. Actually, my thoughts were a bit harsher--the word "wussy" was more like "pussy" in my mind. But every time I thought that I had to check myself, because to use the word "pussy" to describe a cowardly man is to imply that females are less brave than men. This is similarly to using the word "gay" to describe something (clothes, music, etc.) in a negative sense. But, in both cases, repeated exposure contaminates my mind, and it takes great effort to think in appropriately inoffensive perjorative terms.

From Beaver I headed south, farther away from Ontario still, to McMurray. There I looked at the field for Guelph and did some calculations of what my rating might be if I won 4, 5, or 6 games. I was mighty tired, and I was 263 miles away from St. Catharines (1st new Starbucks to visit in Ontario), but I could not pass up the opportunity to boost my rating even a few points. Hell, if I did well enough I could even surpass Wussy Boy's rating, but I wasn't considering that a realistic goal. Fact was, given the number of tournaments he had skipped, I doubted too many people considered his rating "real". In fact, if the NSA, or perhaps cross-tables, maintained a policy of deflating ratings by, say, 5 points, for every tournament skipped, my 1835 would already be higher than Wussy Boy's.

I headed north in the hopes of reaching Niagara before the strip clubs closed, but I only made it 88 miles before I pulled into a rest area. Fucking Starbucks! If it hadn't been for there stupid closures and their stupid secrecy about the closures, I would have been able to reach the new store in St. Catharines that night and then headed over to the House of Lancaster. In my opinion, a trip to Ontario that doesn't include a visit to a strip club is a wasted trip.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Made good speed into Canada and was not delayed at the border. I dawdled a bit though, at the Starbucks, while charging my laptop, and by the time it occurred to me to calculate the distance I still had to drive (as far as Oshawa, and then Waterloo before Guelph), it looked like I might be cutting it close. Nuts.

Blazed to Oshawa, and then as I sped westward towards Mississauga I called Andy to see what kind of dinner break we would get, to see if I could fit the trip to Waterlook in that time. Andy said that was unlikely, and further that the tournament might not actually finish 'til 9:30, so I had to try to go even faster so I could make Waterloo. Reached the address in Guelph right around 2:30, but there was a problem--the address was not for an individual business, but a stirp center!!! I did not see anything that looked like a pub or restaurant, and Andy wasn't answering, so I drove around and tried to call somebody to look at the web site for further directions. Turned out not to be necessary, because I finally spotted what appeared to be a restaurant, and then Andy standing outside.

Very interesting, the venue. When I entered, I saw Scrabble players nearly sandwiched in alongside paying customers. Could have been distracting, but after some time other customers left, and only Scrabblers remained in our section. There was still the music, the TVs, and the hustle and bustle of the restaurant. The venue is definitely not for everybody--I'd like to see Joel Sherman or John Luebkemann play there--but those players who can easily get "in the zone" shouldn't have a problem.

Against Allen Pengelly I was set to play THR(I)LLED to take a reasonable lead, but he beat me to the bingo with AZOTISE for 95!!! His big score forced me to take a chance on double-double THR(A)LLING instead, for 98, and it stuck. Later I took another chance, on SC(U)dI/(AZOTISE)d for 43, and that stuck too. I went on to bingo again for a big first win, but I really could have used that ammo in my second game.

Annotated Game

That stupid 2-E thing got me again, so soon after my 1st game of the Redeye. On top of just 2 Es, I drew just 3 As, and few vowels in general. Despite this, I played a good game for ten turns, and then I blanked on Shaun Goatcher's HARPER. Seemed like I should have seen it, and it put him up considerably with me holding crap (FGRSTU?). Still shouldn't have challenged. Should have just played F(R)UG for 30 to leave RST? and hope to draw some vowels.

Annotated Game

Never mind. I missed FLaRING. Even after making the blank an A (the only hook available). I deserved to lose.

Before the game I noticed that tsh had predetermineed that I would start in my first two games and then go second for my next two, against my strongest opponents. I made inquiries about this to Andy, but of course he was not responsible--tsh was. Whether or not the algorithm is fair and correct, having the firsts/seconds predetermined made me feel as if I was being unfairly disadvantaged.

Turns out it was Jason Van der Ubieka who was unfairly disadvantaged, but some of the best tiles I had ever seen. Five bingos in all--I don't think I've ever gotten more. You know the truly amazing thing, though--I didn't break 600!!!

Annotated Game

I wrapped that game up pretty quickly, and with a 45-minutes meal break, I had enough time to fit in the obligatory Ontario strip club experience, at the Body Shoppe, just a few miles away. Unfortunately the information provided on their voice mail line was wrong--they did not open at 4:00, but rather at 6:00. Bah.

OMG, my first rack against Tony Leah made me want to scream!!! GJNRVXZ!!! I played it as best I could--my biggest mistake was missing the T hook for HEY--but I don't think there was really much I could have done.

Annotated Game

Steve Ozorio tried GUI(D)O against me. What the hell??? Denise Mankhen had tried the same thing in Albany--why do they keep thinking that word would be good??? Ozorio did make a pretty good play, though, DEfLE(a)ED--though I was 100% on DEFLEAS, I couldn't remember seeing DEFLEAED. Reason was simple--it's top 20000--lower probability than I would have guessed.

Though stuck 3-2, nobody but Tony had managed 4 wins, and my spread had earned me a rematch (as I expected). I took the early momentum with double-double FR(I)GATE, but Tony stayed with me, and when I chickened out on ARCUA(T)ED and played for just 16 points, he took a small lead. I hated (N)AZI at 2H, and I was sure the IOOV leave was going to kill me. I managed VIA(T)OR (which Tony held) for 26, but since Tony had just played 9 points, I fully expected the bingo to come down. I was surprised when it didn't and I managed to get my own bingo first. I agonized over what to play for a goodly long time, and I finally settled on OUTScO(R)N to try and draw the challenge. OMG--IT WORKED!!! With the extra turn, I could sense the win coming, even if Tony bingoed, but what did I draw? CEMOPQW. Fuck. I really wanted to take that hot spot at N6, but without being able to hit the DWS for 50+ points, playing off the Q was the right play. Had Tony bingoed right away, I think I would have been better off. Instead, his 5-tile play left just 3 in the bag, which meant I could not play the powerful CWM N5. I could only play 2 tiles. I played it perfectly, but it was just my bad luck that the H was in the bag and playable for 19 points. Had Tony been forced to bingo with the H, I would have won.

Annotated Game

With Tony's 1871 in the mix twice, I expected to drop to just 1824 (actually 1823). Disappointing, but not that much so. I'd still stay at a ranking higher than I'd ever had before, and I had demonstrated quite clearly that I deserved my rating. I had not, as a certain somebody was doing, decided to sit on my rating. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am not a wuss.

Oh, and also because I hit Windsor at 1:30 and still popped into a strip club, Studio 4, to check it out, downed my first ever Red Bull, and then managed to drive until 3:30 in morning without falling asleep and crashing. Okay, that may have been just plain stupid, but definitely non-wussy.

Opponents' Bingos

My Bingos

Missed Bingos


#1 - W - Pellengy    
0.5 (T)AU  
0 FOB  
0 L(O)B  
12.9 SC(U)dI a bird in the hand...
0 GURU  
0 WERT  
13.3 NET  
0 EX  
20 challenge (TUT)S  
#2 - L - Goatcher    
0 KI  
0 DAY  
0 OM  
0 QUIT  
0.8 BR(A)NG*  
0.1 JU(G) J(E)U
48.9 challenge HARPER  
0 FUR  
0 GED(S)  
#3 - W - Ubieka    
1.1 SANTOUR 8C  
0 OY  
0 QI  
11.5 REFRACT CRAFTER (missed overlap)
0 (C)HAW  
1.3 OXO  
11 SKUA KAAS (damn--could have hit 600!!!)
#4 - L - Leah    
2.2 V(O)X  
4.7 -LJRT (GNZ)  
0 ZING(S)  
0.3 FIREL(I)T  
11.4 GURU TURGO(R),miss T(HEY) hook
1 BOO M9  
1.8 KAY N8  
2.9 JALA(P) keep missing T(HEY) hook
0 PIED  
0 AWEiNG  
#5 - W - Ozorio    
0 -III (EINS)  
0 JE(T)  
0.5 OF  
2.9 RIP  
3.2 VINO  
1.4 RABIN*  
1.2 TOY  
4.8 AOR(T)A AGORA (miss G(RIP) hook)
3.5 H(O)AX  
0 GUCK  
10 (NO)TE LE(E)T
1 (A)L(A)  
#6 - L - Leah    
4.3 DINT  
0 WAIN  
1.6 FEY  
51.7 CURA(T)ED ARCUA(T)ED (unsure if took D)
2.8 BI(C)ES  
0 (N)AZI  
0 VIA(T)OR  
0.7 OUTScO(R)N  
7 Q(I) CWM
0* MA  
6 POW  

#1 - W - 1469 - 9.6 (134.4)
#2 - L - 1639 - 8.1 (105.4)
#3 - W - 1704 - 4.6 (55.2)
#4 - L - 1871 - 2.0 (24.3)
#5 - W - 1452 - 3.8 (58.8)
#6 - L - 1871 - 6.4 (83.8)

Avg: 5.8

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