Dull Blade

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wow. I truly am getting old. I arrived at the Round Table Pizza in Mountain View early enough to hang out and notice a reasonably attractive young women walk past our section and to the bathroom. I wondered if she was a Scrabble player, and I went back to my photos. A bit later I heard director John Karris say the name Christiane, and I realized that I had met the woman six years earlier in Reno. That's doubly bad. A) forgetting the face of someone I had met not that long ago; B) forgetting the face of an attractive woman.

On the other hand, age might have worsened my memory, but those six years had given me a world of experience and learning, and one of the most important things I'd learned was that trying to speak to an beautiful woman is just a stupid waste of time. My 31-year-old self had not yet realized, and thus I had wasted time and emotional energy back in Reno. My 37-year-old self now knows better, knows that beautiful women do not interact with men in the same way that normal woman, normal people, do. Beautiful women are conditioned to perceive men in terms of what they can offer, not in terms of who they are. A person like me, who brings neither good looks, wealth, nor charisma to the table simply has no surface qualities to offer a beautiful woman, is basically a ghost to these women--transparent, unseen.

In the interest of not being sexist I should point out that all of the above might just as equally apply to beautiful men, but since I am not attracted to men (except Edward Norton, George Clooney, and certain unnamed Scrabblers), it naturally makes sense that I would rant about women.

I might also point out another way in which I had changed in six years--I just didn't care anymore. My younger self took all this care to come up with cute nicknames for those mentioned in my blog, to avoid embarassment and/or friction. But things have changed, now that I'm nearly 40, nearly an old man, and with the discovery that I have cancer genes on both sides of my family, my father and my maternal grandmother. That means that I'm probably going to get cancer, and without medical insurance or a national healthcare plan, I'm going to die. Well, I'm not actually going to die, as I'm immortal, but I am going to get sick and deteriorate and spend an eternity suffering. Even worse, I'm going to have to spend my days festering because no one will listen to my plan for saving the world, and thus my life will end up being a waste. Bottom line, my life will be hell, and I just don't give a fuck (just like Eminem--he's my role model)). So if you're gonna be miserable anyway, you might as well tell it like it is.

Anyway, while I'd learned to ignore gorgeous women (although not yet to stop being attracted--that requires a higher level of transcendence), ordinary women were still game. So, upon spotting a player named Reena wearing a burnt orange Longhorn t-shirt, I had an excuse to say something to her. The natural question was, of course, "Are you a Longhorn?" She replied that she was, and then she said nothing else. Wow, I can't even win with the non-gorgeous women. You'd think that two people from the same university meeting each other 1500 miles away in a different state would naturally be curious about each other's experience. "When were you there", "what did you study", yadda yadda yadda. But nooo, I am so cursed with the hideousness, with this troll-like visage, that even ordinary women turn away upon hearing my voice (and I haven't even mentioned my voice, for that matter).

Not that it was even a good idea to speak to this player, as she appeared to be of Indian descent. Among the list of curses bestow upon me by a cruel god was a particular attraction to Indian women. This is, of course, a curse for non-Indian men because of the Indian's tendency to want to date within their race, further reinforced by a strong need to obtain parental approval. Sure, with more and more women of Indian descent born and raised in the U.S., that tendency will no doubt decline, but I would say that right now most Indian women that might meet would not even give me a fleeting consideration.

Why do you think I've hardly ever said a word to Dielle, who happens to be both gorgeous and Indian. Furthermore, I strongly suspect that she is supernatural, a shapeshifter, because she seems to look different to me when I have seen her at various tournaments. You might attribute this to my fading memory, but I think that supernatural abilities is the more logical explanation--Occam's Razor and all that. Anyway, here we've got a person who is gorgeous, Indian, and supernatural--that's three degrees of unattainability right there. Faggedaboutit!

Still, it would have been nice to make a little progress with Reena, only to be cruelly shot down at some point, if only so that I could write a blog titled "Reenal Failure". That pun alone might be worth having my heart ripped to shreds.

But, I digress. I think there was some Scrabble too on that Sunday.

After all the time that had passed since my last South Bay tournament, I could hardly believe I once again had to play John Karris in the first round, he who had managed to frustrate so many of my efforts BY GETTING LUCKY!!!. And it sure looked like he was up his old tricks again, after a crazy run of PRINTeD for 67, SOOEY/S(PRINTED) for 44, KE(TO) for 39, ZAN(Y) for 48, and QUE(R)Y for 34. I managed to hang in there, staying around 20-30 points away and slowly cutting the lead, and then I made a solid find, MISVALu(E), to pull the rug from underneath his feet.

I fared no better, tilewise, against Lewis Martinez. Though I got down the first bingo early, DELeTES, I immediately drew OOOPQWW, and Lewis took the lead and momentum while I exchanged. The rest of the game was ugly, and it's one of those that I can't really judge without simming.

And the verdict is... I played like a putz. I was fighting with a truly dull blade in that game, giving up equity left and right. I cannot begrudge Lewis for his eventual tournament victory.

Against the newly de-bachelorized Kevin Fraley I drew the best tiles I could remember having seen in recent memory. I might have had a game or two at my wondrous Austin tournament in which I drew that well, but it had been so long I just couldn't remember. After that game, I felt like my decision to never get married had been validated, because it apparently kills your Scrabble game.

Excellent tiles continued into my game against Edward de Guzman, although I credit myself with finding BITUMEN to open (even if the other experts pooh-pooh that play), and even more with giving WH(I)NNIER a try. That play garnered me an extra turn, and then Edward surprised me by challenging (BUCK)O!!! I couldn't help it--I had to ask to ask poor Ed just who he thought he was playing. No reply was forthcoming, and I suspect Ed did not appreciate my candor. He did get me though, when I got greedy and tried to play R(AWED)* in the endgame.

I thought I was on a hot street as I started off with an early CORELAT(E) against Jerry Lerman followed by OX for 37 and an AILMS leave. Yeah, the game was looking pretty good allright, and just like that, I imploded. Jerry played ANOrTHI(C), and that rack immediately seemed to me like one I should have anagrammed more than once. And certainly I had, but the word had not stuck, and I lost the turn. Then Jerry makes a truly amazing play, (P)RU(R)IENCY, and I can't imagine he has any more idea if it was good than I did. It seemed like a perfect time for him to try the phony, so I challenged again... and lost. The game was by no means over at that point, and if I had just played LAMBIES or ABLEISM instead of hoping that Jerry would open the board with a T or a U, I would have been fine. So much for my anagramming having stuck.

My folly continued. I played M(AT)ZO, hoping to draw into a bingo with my T hook, only to watch Jerry hook an H!!! I had forgotten about that, and I decided I had challenge--otherwise a loss was certain. On top of that, I next let Jerry get away with JE(O)NS*, a word I knew perfecty well was phony. But after losing three challenges, I doubted myself and decided that it was JOLE that doesn't take the S. I daresay that game has to be one of the top games on my list of games in which I clearly had the tiles to win but squandered them.

Final game, I was still looking at the possibility of second place, so I took Edward to school for a second time, challenging off his C(U)LP* to take the momentum. I went onto bingo, but Edward managed to score well enough that when he bingoed back he took the lead. I found myself with a less than optimal rack, AEMSVU?, but I guess all that anagramming that I had done at the beginning of the year had stuck, and I found AMUSiVE to take the lead and hang on to it.

Yay, $14 for second! A four-dollar profit, almost enough to get me from Mountain View to San Francisco. But not in time to get into the O'Farrell Theater before the cover went up, to $40, at 6:00. The show at the O'Farrell is generally better than any I've seen anywhere else, but I still wasn't willing to pay $40 just to get in. I tried to run through that last game as quickly as possible, and I think I myself used less than 10 minutes, maybe less than 9, but Ed took his clock down to the wire. Thanks a lot Ed, for keeping me away from the hot naked chicks.

Opponents' Bingos

My Bingos

Missed Bingo Turns


#1 - W - Karris    
0 WAUL  
8.6 EFT EF N2 (leaves double Ts!!!)
5.2 AXO(N)E OXO (how did I miss???)
0.3 CODED  
3.3 B(L)AH  
0 (Y)INCE  
7.5 BIT  
0 J(A)G  
0 MISVALu(E)  
6 TA(N)GO  
0 E(H)  
#2 - L - Martinez    
12.9 (O)XY ETh(O)XYLS
3.8 DELeTES  
5.8 HET  
3.2 NIT  
3.5 TI(K)I  
0 RODS  
0 OAF  
0 WUD  
18.1 GULS FURLS (critical mistake)
10 OM MO(J)O
3.1 OI  
#3 - W - Fraley    
7.1 -FIIIMO  
0.3 CRaPPER(S)  
6.2 ROBIN  
0 (J)IAO  
0.3 KAE  
0 AYIN  
0 TOTE  
15 (P)EWIT  
0 A(H)I  
#4 - W - De Guzman    
0 DIN(K)Y  
0.5 WH(I)NNIER  
0 OE  
4.8 (F)ICE  
4.9 OW  
0 (G)ROUTIEr  
12 TAP  
0.4 VOI(D)  
3.1 LUN(I)ER  
18.5 PAX  
42 lose turn (R(AWED)*)  
0 SIZE  
#5 - L - Lerman    
0.2 PONDER  
0 OX  
34.6 challenge (P)RU(R)IENCY  
32.7 MI  
44.2 ABLES SALABLE (unsure)
9.3 (P)LINK  
4.4 M(AT)ZO  
39.2 challenge (MATZO)H last chance to win
0 WIT  
13.8 VOLVA(S) assume Jerry has blank, so block
0 GA(L)  
0 B(L)UDGERs  
#6 - W - De Guzman    
6 FON  
3.3 C(U)RB  
0 Y(E)P  
0.2 FOO(L)S  
0 ALI(B)I  
0.4 YE  
4.9 WINO  
0 DEE  
3 ILI(A)  

1 - W - 2.4 (31.5)
2 - L - 7.2 (101.2)
3 - W - 2.7 (34.9)
4 - W - 6.2 (86.2)
5 - L - 15.4 (215.4)
6 - W - 2.3 (29.7)

Avg: 6.0

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