Long Time Coming

Friday, May 22, 2009

For the second week in a row, I experienced MTE (Magic Time Evaporation). With the tournament not starting 'til 10:30, and my being just 160 miles away in Houston, I figured I had plenty of time. But all my errands in Houston took longer than expected, and I was not able to beat the rush our out of town. I would have liked to save some time by trying out the new Katy Toll Road, but it, like the Westpark Toll Road, requires a tolltag. I felt a little left out, actually. Kinda like the kid who doesn't get invited to the birthday party.

I-10 was crazy, with slow pockets all the way out to the SR-71 (Austin) exit, after which I was finally able to make some speed. Visited a new Starbucks with the intention of going to sleep right away, but my e-mail contained a Google Alert about the just-published Wall Street Journal article, and of course I had to read it. Not out of ego, mind you (for I am devoid of same)--I just wanted to judge the reporters journalistm skills!!!

I finally put the article away and went over the 24-hr HEB to sleep. I got a bad vibe from the lot though, so I went in search of a good residential parking space. I found what I thought was a good one, but as I changed into my jammies a dog started barking. I finished changing, then drove to the end of the street and back to try and fool the dog. I settled into the back of the car, and all was silent for a while, but before I could fall asleep, the dogs started again.

I moved to a different spot, darker and better actually, but no sooner had I finished surveying the surroundings than a dog started barking! AARRGHH!!! WTF??? Did everybody in that neighborhood own a dog??? So I had to move once again before I was able to sleep, and then later on the middle of the night I moved yet again, in front of a Starbucks, so I could get online.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The upshot of all the night's moving around was a left decifict that I felt immediately upon waking at 7:19. I needed more sleep, but I was already behind schedule--I really need to have started up closer to 7:00 in order to hit the new stores in SA.

To save time, I had planned to have some oatmeal from Starbucks and grab some fruit from a grocery store, but across the street from the new Quarry store I saw a Whole Foods, and I could not resist the hot breakfast they were serving. Neither could several other people, apparently, and my order took much longer than I expected. As I exited, I could already see that the odds of my arriving on time had dropped precipitously, and the poor design of the streets around the quarry helped matters not a whit. I attempted to return to the freeway, US-281, the same way I had come, but there was no ramp for the northbound direction! "Oh, accursed scrotum of an outcast weasel," I thought, and I pulled an awkward u-turn (no thanks to the idiot behind me who chose to ignore my flashing hazard lights and remain right behind me), stopped at the light, and examined my map more closely. I followed the signs toward 281 north, but somehow the crucial sign, the one denoting the turn from Basse Rd to Jones-Maltsberger Rd, was missing (or I missed it). When all was said and done, I had lost about 15 minutes in the Whole Foods and another 7 getting back on the freeway, but on the bright side I was able to enjoy excellent orange goose, pretty good biscuits, potatoes, and eggs, and, later on in the day, some mighty fine yogurt.

Upon leaving the new Wurzbach store I misread my map and headed the wrong way on I-10. Except it was the right way, the shorter way, according to my eyeball calculations, or at least it would have been if the ramp from I-410 to SR-151 had not been closed. Fortunately, I was actually looking at the road (mostly), and I saw the covered-up highway signs that clued me in. While I was able to take an earlier exit and avoid adding distance to my trip, the surface streets out to 1604 were pretty slow.

A bit north of that final store of the morning, Loop 1604 turned into a freeway and speeds picked up, but even though it was still early, around 9:30, traffic was heavy enough to make me hate humanity and its penchant to procreate.

Finally hit I-35 and was able to pick up my speed, and thank heavens I glanced at the map and realized that I might be better off taking 71 out to Mopac rather than staying on I-35. I confirmed this by calling Jim, and it's a good thing I did so right away, because I soon thereafter received a call from a producer for The Today Show. I spent the rest of the drive on the phone with her, and by the time we finished it was time to cut over to Mopac. Hauled ass from that point, and arrived to face John Redding with 17 minutes on my clock. I'd consider that plenty of time no matter who I was facing, and in fact with the tiles I drew, I could have won with less than five.

Sam Dick-Onuoha was a bit more of a challenge. Though I took the initial lead, Sam had the opportunity to overtake me if he had not phonied with UNBARED*. With the psychological edge of the won challenge, and a known weakness in my ability to determine for certain all the spots where my opponent can play a bingo, I decided to block the obvious hook, and score 38 points, with HYCENE*. I kind of like the play because it slotted right next to a DWS, and it looks just enough like an adjective that Sam might have thought I was trying to trick him into hooking the S. Regardless of what he was thinking, he let it go. The play inadvertently gave him URBANEr, which led to a director call. Although Sam did write down the blank, and I saw him do it, I didn't really "see" what he circle and immediately assumed URBANEs*, knew that the correct word is UNBEARS, and challenged. When Sam saw me type the S into the computer, he immediately said "that's an R", and I immediately knew I needed to call over the director. The rule is a bit complicated, because my ability to rescind my challenge hinged on whether the blank was "bound". I'm still not certain that the wording is not ambiguous, but I am confident that in the spirit of the game, Jim was correct in allow me to rescind.

Nary a chance against Keif Smif n Wesson's triple-barrelled opening salvo of WIMPIER (easy), BETAT(R)ON (easy), and SEDIT(I)ON (easy). Here's an interestingquestion though--after Keif's opening bingo, Quackle penalizes me a whopping 11 points for playing MOXA at 7C instead of 7E. Even if I had seen 7E for 4 more points, would it have been correct to block six lines like that (when already down 86 points)?

Mm... mm... mm! DoubleDave's!

Besides yummylicious peproni rolls and a new Starbucks in Pflugerville, my lunchtime priority was to defend the vicious attacks on my character on the Starbucks Gossip site, a reponse to the Wall Street Journal article by crab-niggaz who have nothing better to do than sit at their computers (instead of being out doing stuff) and try to bring others down. I composed as best a reply as I could before rushing back to face a waiting Chris Cree with a look of impatience on his face.

I did my part to make up the lost time by bingoing early, CATIONS, and then PE(D)DLING three turns later. Chris himself bingoed, REREn(T)ED and later scored back-to-back 32 and 57 with the Q and X, but I scored well enough to stay about a bingo ahead the entire game. And so it was that I foundmyself looking at a 62-point lead, a AEIMSTU rack, and EDHLORTS? in the bag with two glaring lines. What to do, what to do???

After I made my play, Chris used up his remaining time, bingoed with (P)ORTHoLE, called out the blank, but hit his clock with 1 second left... without writing down the blank designation. I was pretty certain that he needed to designate the blank on his own time, so I started his clock back and told him this. Chris intially had an issue with this, but after the game he said he was alright with it, perhaps because he could not have both designated his blank and made his out play (after my play) without going over. But now I have doubts about the rule and need to look it up. So many rules to keep track of.

Regardless, I took my win with the feeling that I deserved to have lost for having missed MISEATS and MISSEAT. On the other hand, Chris would have won had he just played his bingo quicker. So I guess we're even.

Annotated Game

Nothing interesting about my win over Matt Dewaelsche, except that I gave up equity for being unsure of (BOCCE)S. Will I ever be able to learn which fives do/don't take an ess, I wonder.

Trailed from the word go against Geoff Thevenot, thank's to his early MEE(R)KATS followed by A(N)ALYSER. I stayed about 30 points away for most of the game, and in the end, holding DEGIOU?, with two tiles in the bag, I went for the bingo setup and gave Geoff ONETImE. Bah.

Annotated Game

Like Pat Barrett said, I got the tiles (all the esses), and I knew what to do with them, to end up at 5-2. No time to think about the next day though, for I had to rush off to visit the new store in Killeen, via Leander. In the same parking lot I found some halfway decent chicken fried rice and egg drop soup from Hu Nan Restaurant and was able to rush off to visit the new Georgetown store before heading back Austin to find a parking space close to the 10th Street studio where I'd be taping my Today Show interview.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

With an early morning interview on The Today Show, for which I was asked to arrive at 6:40, I knew I wasn't going to get eight hours, but I was hoping to get close. Unfortunately, one of the producer called at 5:25 to make sure I was on the way. I had actually just finished moving from a side street off 12th to a spot in front of the studio (1005 Congress), and I hoped to sleep for another hour, but I think the call screwed that up. I couldn't get back asleep. Maybe it was the tournament anxiety too, or a combo of the two. Thankfully I had bucketloads of coffee from the various stores I'd visited.

After the interview I doubted I could go back to sleep, so I just went to visit another store and got caught up in yet more excoriation, on the FARK website this time. Once again I felt compelled to defend my honour, and I was forced to be late for the morning's games. Only this time, Kevin had disappeared too, so my clock had not yet started.

I really thought Kevin Leeds might get the better of me in the first game of the morning, but I got an incredibly lucky break when he played CA(J)OLE to give me the hook for TORMENT. Nothing really interesting about the game, except Co(R)OTATE--I like that word. Not sure why. Not even sure it sounds dirty, but it's still a cool word.

Even though Darrell Day bingoed early with DIsJ(O)INT, and I held the unplayable PAUPERS, it could have been a whole different game if I had thought harder and decided that DISJOINT takes an ess. I then could have played PUPA(S) to tie the game. Instead I decided that PAPURES* was good, lost that turn, and then lost another trying U(N)PAPERS*. I then caught my only real break of the game, when Darrell gave me the hook for my bingo, but his tiles were just good enough for the rest of the game to always stay a step ahead.

Annotated Game

Double-blanked for the second time in a row, by a strong player, Ben Withers, but I managed to keep up, thanks to his FOIBLEs giving me a play for AAEEGIN. When he bingoed with the second blank, (D)EWINESs, I held the case ess and still had hope, but it was a frustrating five-turn ordeal to finally bingo for the win.

Annotated Game

Verily, I was catching some good breaks, and I felt part of the reason had to be my discovery of an effective magic song, a recently purchased track by Dar Williams. I had been playing it over and over for the last two days, and clearly it was working!

Mm... mm... mm! DoubleDave's!

Forwent visiting the new store in Round Rock so I could arrive on time, but I still had to cut it as close as possible so that I could continue reading and answering e-mails. Because of the WSJ article, I was receiving a steady stream of messages. I try to answer every message I get, and I did not want to have a backlog when I left for Europe. I didn't keep Pat waiting too long, however, just a couple of minutes, before giving her an early gift. She played AbATORS, and I saw RAbATORS instantly and thought it didn't have an anagram. But later she gave me the turn back trying RELENDE(D)*--that and another mistake, missing the front hook to EPILATOR for a huge play, allowed me to come back for the win.

Annotated Game

Final two round, paired according to performance, and thus I faced Chris Cree. The game was unusual, because though Chris drew eight power tiles, including both blanks and all four esses, a couple of vowelless racks during the middle game delayed his bingo and allowed me to both build up a lead and then get down O(U)TRIDER. ZAI(R)E for 48 followed and locked down my win.

Annotated Game

Chris again in the final round, and I managed to pull it off!!! PEAK RATING, HERE I COME!!!

Annotated Game

Monday, May 25, 2009

Almost lost it to John Dalton in the first round, but I found NAE(T)HINg right before the board would have shut down, and then I drew gold, BEAKY for... blog interrupted due to overseas Starbucking.

Opponents' Bingos

My Bingos

Missed Bingo Turns


#1 - W - Redding    
0 QI  
0.9 YAR  
0 F(R)OG  
0 C(H)IAO  
0 WAWL  
0.9 XI intentional pass on FOXIEsT
41.3 lose turn (FLaTNO(S)E)  
0 EF  
#2 - W - Dick-Onuoha    
32.1 MEL  
7.9 VENUS  
6.1 PITTA  
0 JO  
3.8 Q(A)DI  
5.4 (O)LEIN  
8.8 AE 1K  
14 NAIRU  
0 NU  
#3 - L - Smith    
11.3 MOXA 7C  
2.1 ZAS  
6.8 (I)K(A)T  
35.5 lose turn (D(A)*)  
0 D(AM)  
6.7 (O)UD getting desperate now
13.6 (G)UL  
0.2 STEeRIN(G)  
0 CAY  
0 G(L)IDE  
10 (C)HIVE  
#4 - W - Cree    
1.7 FOU  
0 OAF  
4.5 AI(D)S AI(D) (I'll take the extra pts on this board, thank u)
1.5 BL(A)CK  
8.2 AIRING (K)I (fuck that I'm not going to give up lead by fishing)
0 HOVE  
2.8 A(Z)O  
2.7 (N)U (FE)U
#5 - W - Dewaelsche    
0 RA(Z)ED  
0 T(I)T  
28.8 WINTLES D8 D5
0 (K)IVA  
0 A(V)O  
0.5 NAE(V)I  
8.6 M(E)SA  
2.6 FE  
7 QU(O)DS unsure of (BOCCE)S hook
0 IRE  
#6 - L - Thevenot    
0 JILT(S)  
0 BURR  
0 AX  
7.5 LING(Y)  
0 VI(N)O  
5.6 WOO  
5.6 MBIR(A)  
5.1 CIT(E)D ChEDITE/(SOP)h,(P)rECITED (unsure),(P)ECTIzED
5.8 TEC(H)  
36.9 (AD)O  
4 (H)IDEOUt  
#7 - W - Barrett    
1.5 BELS  
0 (L)EY  
0 QA(T)  
6.7 WA(U)K (Y)APOK
5.3 AR  
4.2 (M)I  
#8 - W - Leeds    
2.7 OLEO  
0 Co(R)OTATE  
6.1 PIT  
0 JIBE  
7.5 F(O)H  
6.6 Z(O)NA defense
1 BA(H)  
0 (ZONA)E  
0 AX  
19 Q(U)AG  
#9 - L - Day    
0 GAY  
4.3 ODEA  
34.3 lose turn (PAPURES*)  
27.8 lose turn (U(N)PAPERS*)  
3.4 FEW  
0 FUN  
0 MIMI(C)  
4.4 WELL  
13 Q(I)  
0 (D)ACE  
#10 - W - Withers    
0 AGENE(s)IA  
8.3 F(A)CTS  
1.3 B(E)TH  
8.8 AZID(O) D(I)AZIN (unsure)
1 UNW(OR)N  
4.1 PL(A)CER  
0 Q(I)S  
1.6 KENT SKELM (not best)
3.8 MIL LIMO 14K (no way--can't block good lines)
4.9 ARM  
0 TAV  
4.5 U(D)O OU(D) (sets up good line)
0 ATE  
#11 - W - Barrett    
30.8 challenge AbATORS  
0.5 Q(A)T  
0 (S)EXY  
0 HUED  
0 (b)UBU  
2.9 AE  
2 F(A)NCY  
1.9 VUM  
3 V(U)GG  
10.2 H(A)JI set up big F play
10.8 (A)WN  
0* TRICKe(R)  
0 NI(N)E  
#12 - W - Cree    
4.4 MAFIC  
8.8 (M)OULT  
0 WAE  
2.3 NU  
3.8 ANI  
6.4 AH (Y)EAH/(LIP)E/(A)H
8 EAU (A)UREATE (very risky to open up so many lines)
9.5 GA(M)ED (RE)GMA,JAD(E) (would rather save J for JO(B))
0 JO(B)  
#13 - W - Cree    
0 UN(W)IT  
7.1 Q(I) ditching Q will give greater flexibility
5.9 LO(V)ED  
0.4 AlEXINE  
0 (Q)UA  
18 (A)DZ  
20 FON(T)S  

1 - W - 3.4 (43.9)
2 - W - 9.1 (118.1)
3 - L - 8.3 (107.9)
4 - W - 9.6 (124.9)
5 - W - 3.8 (48.3)
6 - L - 5.9 (70.5)
7 - W - 5.4 (80.7)
8 - W - 3.7 (48.4)
9 - L - 7.3 (87.2)
10 - W - 2.8 (38.7)
11 - W - 4.1 (62.1)
12 - W - 4.3 (51.9)
13 - W - 5.1 (66.8)

Avg: 5.6

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