Redemptive Toilet Paper

Saturday, November 7, 2009

6:54, monkey at the door, chicken doing revolutions on the kitchen floor. First thoughts upon waking.

Okay, I must confess those opening sentences are the best part of this blog. The rest is boring. I don't even know why I bothered to finish. I guess because I was almost finished by the time the tournament ended, and I felt that heavenly toilet paper should not go unrecognized. But really, don't bother to read further. If you are that bored and have time to kill, you are better off doing the following:

A) Read Up in the Air by Walter Kirn. So far it's darn good, and I'm expecting the film to be awesome.

B) Watch the Spider-Woman motion comic.

C) Explore the NPR Music website, especially the Song of the Day page.

If you're still reading, you'll surely want to know the first thing I noticed upon waking, and that was the oozing white mess on my dashboard. I had set the bottle atop the dashboard after using it (for my dry skin, of course), and later during the night the cold had prompted me to let the engine run a while. I had no idea the lotion would melt and ooze out.

The occurrence made me realize another benefit of sleeping in the car. It's like a mini science lab. Always something new to be discovered.

I left my campground, near the Humboldt St. exit off the BQE, and I started my hunt for a bagel shop. A few minutes later I remembered I had 2/3 of a piece of cornbread. Given the prices at Whole Foods, I could not afford to waste this. Of all the things I've ever written, people might be most shocked by this fact--I spent $16.59 on lunch at Whole Foods on Friday! A plate, which didn't seem that big, from the hot food bar, some black bean soup, and cornbread. Not that much food, in my opinion. But the price--oy!

Along with a fried egg from a deli I passed, the cornbread made a fine breakfast. Some bacon would have made it even more tasty, but I was increasing my efforts to consume less and less meat. I had no intention of giving up meat, but regular reports about the environmental impact of meat provided a constant reminder that cutting down on meat was the responsible course of action.

Hung out at the Bayside Starbucks, just minutes from the Adria Conference Center, watching the Astoninshing X-Men Motion Comic, Fringe, and downloading Smallville until about 9:10. When I left the Starbucks, I figured I'd walk into the playing room and see an astonished expression on Ginger's face because I was so early. Wrong.

It had been so long that I forgot that Ginger's 8-game tournaments start at 9:00, and I walked in to hear Ginger say, instead, "There he is. Start his clock." (She meant "stop").

Verna Richard Berg was my first opponent, and time mattered not a whit. All that mattered was her bingo-bango, oUTLIV(E)S and ATTACHE(S), combined with a total collapse of my racks for the rest of the game.

Annotated Game

Next game, Frank I-Never-Study Tangredi. But who needs studying with back-to-back WEARIES and eRoTIZE(D) right out of the gate. I tried to stage a comeback with back-to-back SATIRES and LEANING, but Frank NEVER HAD A BAD RACK!!!. My last chance was to challenge (C)OXING, which blocked the last real bingo line, but it turned out to be phony, and I saw a second big loss before I had even recovered from the first.

Annotated Game

The morning was really sucking, and the only relief I found was that the toilet paper in the Adria's bathroom is really, really soft. Heck, I might wipe my ass without needing to just to feel that soft sensation on my tender bottom.

Unfortunately, I was having so much fun that I dropped a pen, a good pen, in the toilet. I'll leave it up to the reader to decide whether I left it there or not.

On an unrelated note, anybody want to buy a pen?

I should have stayed in the bathroom enjoying the toilet paper, because the playing room contained nothing but crapppy luck for me. Easy bingos to Andrew Friedman, GLAIRES and REVOlTS, did me in. I did make a potentially huge mistake, missing the (DITZ)Y hook to score a few more points and create another opening, but it was the bingos that made the difference, and I wasn't seeing enough of them that day.

Annotated Game

I overpowered Glenn Filzer, but I would rather have spread some of that luck across my other games. Granted, my loss to #8 Verna demonstrates that a little luck is necessary, no matter the strength of the opponent, but I would rather get stronger tiles against the likes of Eric and Frank over Glenn.

A months earlier when I had complained about the lunch at Port Jefferson, how the sandwiches were pre-made, it did not occur to me that Bayside had been the same. Thus I was disappointed when I walked into the ballroom with a mighty hunger to find sandwiches oozing with yucky sauces and icky veggies. Anyway, I was fortunate that I had saved leftovers from the previous night's Colombian meal, and that the lady running the kitchen (next to the ballroom) let me use the microwave.

Ira Freehof first after lunch, and I started off down on time after burning nearly ten minutes trying to find a double-double or otherwise best play. I had to start throwing down tiles, and when Ira surged ahead with (E)REcTION I found myself in trouble. I had to take a chance with N(I)COISES*, which I suspected was phony. A few turns later I took advantage of having challenged off Ira's FOI(S)E* to play (WISH)Y/YIDS for 54 points. I was pretty sure, almost certain, it was no good, but the best time to try a phony continues to be after your opponent loses a challenge. The game was still up in the air going into the endgame, and I had to gamble big time on another uncertain word, TRULL. Fortunately it's good, and good enough for the game.

Marge Schoneboom next, after the developments of the fifth round, with Eric and Frank both losing, all of a sudden it appeared that I could recover from my 0-3 start. I took the early lead with phony N(O)NSTATE* (missing STANN(I)TE), and I held the momentum for most of the game, even after Marjorie's SoUPIER. Then I banked everything on a five-tile play, hoping to draw the Z, S, or blank. Instead, I drew the Q. Despite this, I had the win, and I blew it.

Annotated Game

I've blown games before, but this one was particularly frustrating because to go from 0-3 to winning an 8-game tournament would have genuinely redeemed the day. Instead, when all was said and done, all I would have to show for the day were my fond memories of the toilet paper. In fact, before I left, I would stuff as much toilet paper as I could into my backpack, and down my pants. The day was a disaster, but that night my ass was going to party like never before.

Before the next round began, there was a bit of drama. I went outside to check on my download. I had my laptop in the car because there was no signal inside the playing room. I had to leave the key in the ignition to keep the laptop charged (with the car locked, of course), and this is typically not a problem. Unfortunately I had turned the key one slot to the right (required to operate the power windows) and forgotten to turn it back. This drains the battery, and thus I found myself unable to start the car, and with the car in a particularly awkward place, at the bottom of an incline.

I have plenty of experience starting cars by popping the clutch, so all I needed to do was get it up the hill. Easier said that done. It was a big hill, and my first attempt, with Ira, Jeff Goldstein, and another gentleman, Simon Snyder, did not work. We needed more guys, and so we had to wait for Eric to finish. There were a couple of youngsters playing who could have helped, but Ginger did not want to risk their getting injured (waaaay overprotective--kids need to get hurt to grow up right). We got Andrew though, and that was critical, because the six of us were barely able to get the car halfway up the hill. From that point I wasn't going to have much distance in which to build up speed, but Simon helped again by watching for the red light on Northern and then trying to block for me. I was able to get the car going and popped the clutch at just the right instead, right when I hit Northern Boulevard. It was a dicey maneouver, and I didn't think it worked at first, but after a second or two I realized the engine was indeed running. Whew!!!

I gotta hand it to Simon and Jeff for chipping in. It's well known the disdain with which I regard lower-rated players, especially when they beat me. However, I have to say that Jeff and Simon earned a pass from my scorn should they ever manage to get up into Division 1 and draw the bag on me.

Amazingly, despite having lost 4 games, beating Eric Goldstein in the seventh round appeared to give me a shot at second place, if I won big and if Marjorie beat Verna by enough. It was Eric and I again in the final round, and though I lost, I have to say the game was probably the most fair of the tournament. I legitimately screwed up by challenging H(E)RMA, but I had a chance when I bingoed with E(X)TERNAL and then pulled the second blank. I alternated back and forth between WIDgEON and DOWNIEr, and I finally settled on the former because it created two well-separated hot spots, so that I might take one and Eric the other. Unfortunately, Eric just happened to have SIGNETS. Had I played DOWNIEr, he would have played T(r)ESSING*, and, with no choice but to challenge, I would have won the extra turn and probably the game. Ah, that sucks.

Annotated Game

Opponents' Bingos

My Bingos

Missed Bingo Turns


#1 - L - Berg    
0 WAY  
0.4 DAD  
0 -EEEIIU (E)  
3.8 VE(N)A  
0 VIER  
15.9 Q(I) if I throw back and Verna gets, that's 44 points
0 TI(M)E  
0 DIEL  
0 GO(G)O  
46.2 G(O)  
20 NEE  
0 (N)IsEI (N)IxIE
#2 - L - Tangredi    
0 VAMP  
0 PIE  
3.7 W(E)ED  
0.7 (W)OT miss (WEARIES)T hook
0.7 BE  
3.8 TO  
0 OF  
19.7 challenge (C)OXING only chance to win
1.4 OHO  
#3 - L - Friedman    
0 COLE  
4.4 GABBER  
1.8 MOPE  
9.8 QAD(I)  
12.3 YIN  
8.2 CHIDE  
0 ZAS  
1.7 DIT(Z)  
4.2 LU(PI)N  
2.2 D(A)UTY* miss (DITZ)Y hook!!!
24.9 WHE(T)  
0 (W)EEK  
#4 - W - Filzer    
0 lA(M)BASTE  
16 HE(W)ER miss (NIX)E hook
0 IN(J)URY  
0 VAC  
0 -GGLNTV (R)  
9.8 HO(W)  
0 ETUI  
9.2 QI wrong spot
#5 - L - Freehof    
0 YA(K)  
0.6 MAGNET  
8.9 (G)OWAN  
2.1 PEE  
4.3 MIAOU miss (WISH)A hook
13.7 BAG  
0 B(E)  
6.4 T(EWE)D  
0* TRULL  
0 LEVA  
#6 - L - Schoneboom    
0 -GOOPUU (S)  
6.2 (A)IRER  
1.2 MAGI  
2.6 VEG  
0.2 VI(B)E VOI(C)E,keep ignoring that C spot!!!
0* QA(T) missed the hotspot!!!
13 DEN(Y) missed WINNING play!!!
#7 - W - Goldstein    
0.1 KIF  
0 SOD  
8.6 -AEOOU (ES)  
0 WAIR  
13.8 J(A)B block
0 FOX  
1 HOE block
19.4 SLY  
0 (TO)P  
14 TONY too focused on blocking Eric's out
11 (A)G  
#8 - L - Goldstein    
0 YOU  
0 CAIQ(U)E  
0 O(B)IA  
5.4 BE(L)IE (Z)EBU
39.2 challenge HERMA EURIPUS
0 JO  
0 (Q)UA  
7.2 WIDgEON  
17.7 (A)R  
59 lose turn ((PRIMAL)S*) didn't care anymore

1 - L - 6.1 (91.4)
2 - L - 3.9 (50.4)
3 - L - 5.3 (69.5)
4 - W - 1.8 (25)
5 - W - 3.2 (44.2)
6 - L - 3.4 (44.1)
7 - W - 4.6 (72.9)
8 - L - 13.2 (171.3)

Avg: 5.2

More Confessional