Saturday, November 28, 2009

Not much good about the tournament, so I have to amuse myself any way I can. I guess I can think about Saturday night, and a call from Connie. We had been exchanging e-mails regarding whether I was going to play Philly or Rhinebeck plus Northampton, which I had only just discovered on Friday. In her last e-mail Connie asked for my phone number, and I replied that she could just walk downstairs and find me in the parking lot outside her condo, which I had discovered to be a good place to camp out. I was, of course, joking (or was I), but Connie believed me, so she called with a puzzled voice around 10:30 at night. I can only imagine the bemused expression on her face as she pictured me parked in front of her building all night. Who wouldn't find that a soothing thought?

In truthness, I was parked a few blocks from Whole Foods, on 18th Street just south of Callowhill. As I had slowly dirven up the street to find a space, I spotted a bundled up homeless man on the corner of 18th and Carlton. I ended up camping maybe 500 feet from him, and I could not help but think, "dude, you'd be so much warmer in a car." The temperature was surely going to dip below freezing, and I wonder how these people manage to stay alive. I was reminded of an idea I have for solving the problem of homelessness. The government just needs to buy the indigent livable cars and build a lot of parking lots.

Speaking of parking, one of the reasons I was even camping out in Philly instead of just driving back up to Princeton was so I could beat the crowds to the free parking spaces within walking distance of the Bellevue Food Court, the new location Connie had found for the tournament. Well, turns out I had miscalculated. The time to find a parking space was the night before. Sunday morning, I drove around for blocks seeing no spaces, and because it was chances were a lot of cars weren't going anywhere. But then a miracle occurred. Heading south on 12th St, I crossed Spruce just as a minivan happened to be pulling out of a legal space. Many people would have let that space go, but I see driving as a three-dimensional activity, and quickly pulled to the curb, turned on my hazard lights, and backed around the corner and into the space. Qapla'!!!

This is sad, but finding that parking space would turn out to be the best part of my day. Oh, the first game was fine, and fairly well-balanced. Had Dave Englehardt not lost a turn trying BEDREST*, he might very well have won. Despite my two blanks, he definitely had a chance, which is well more than can be said of my second game. Stefan Rau, charmer that he is, treated me to a picture-perfect example of an unwinnable game. Heck, to even call it a game is an overstatement. Stefan wasn't really playing, you see, so much as mindlessly plopping down tiles. At his level, there is no thought required to find these plays: (O)BEISANT, TO(R)OIDaL, LENITIE(S), VAUN(T)ERS, JERKE(D) - 36, FARNEsO(L), and HAPAX for 72. Amazingly, even up to the fifth bingo I was just down 148 and still had a chance if I could have bingoed twice in a row. But after HAPAX, it was all over but the crying. Stefan should almost be ashamed of himself, because some type of deal with a nefarious force had to have been struck to draw tiles like that.

Had a much better draw against Connie Creed, but one critical turn could have done me in. I wasn't sure of BELIERS, but I played it anyway. Had I not, Connie would have played ATTAINS there for more points, I would not have gotten 50 for QI, and Connie might have passed me with her second bingo. Moral--don't be iffy on high-prob sevens!!!

Lunch was blah. You might find it amusing to know that even though were were in a food court, only one restaurant was open, so we had to go foraging for food. I walked down Broad, in the rain, as far as I time permitted, and I finally settled on a cheap and light meal--something called "steamed Thai coconut sticky rice" from a place called Chew Man Chu. Sticky was an understatement. The rice was more of a paste, and I only ate a few bites, enough to keep the hunger pangs away until dinner.

Though at 3-1, I didn't really have a good feeling about the afternoon, and my fourth game was a bad omen of what was to come. Even though I won, I had to find my way back from Ed Stewarts bingo-bango. I'm pretty sure that had he not been fishing and played his tiles better, I would have lost.

There's bad luck in the tiles you draw, which is to be expected in some games, but there's also meta bad luck, which is the luck that affects who you play, and how your good tiles are distributed across games. Through game five, I was having some really bad meta luck, in that I had my worst draws against the two top players. Scott Appel didn't draw nearly as well as Stefan, by any means, but he still got two easy bingos down in the first three turns, while I struggled with vowel-heavy racks.

This game wasn't a lost cause, however. I had a chance to catch up, but I missed PAD(D)LING. Why didn't I see it? I could blame the fact that the D was a blank, but the real reason was the suckitis that had been plaguing my game for weeks.

Meanwhile, in the lone bathroom was was not closed or locked, the toilet overflowed. I had pre-flushed, so there was no real physical reason for the overflow. I think it was a sign from the tile gods telling me what I could expect from my remaining two games.

Two more outdrawings, to luck-ass Joe Petree and bottom-rated Connie, and I left expecting my rating to have dipped below 1700, into an even worse circle of hell. The only good thing about my afternoon was that I found JETSAM for 57. Quackle had showed me that I had missed either JETSAM or JETSOM at least twice, maybe three or four times.

Still, it's pretty hellish to drop under 1700 (or nearly so) despite playing nearly twice as well as I had played the week before. This game sucks.

Opponents' Bingos

My Bingos

Missed Bingo Turns


#1 - W - Engelhardt    
0 DU(L)Y  
0 LEUCi(T)ES  
0 (E)XON  
1.1 OAF  
12.5 JAILE(D)  
0 PI(K)E  
0 RIV(I)NG  
9.1 Q(I) QU(I)Z/U(S)/Z(A)!!!
0 ZI(NE)B  
3 CU(L)T  
#2 - L - Rau    
3.4 WOO  
0 CH(E)WY  
0 CA(P)O  
0 (K)IDDO  
1.8 GUI(D)  
0 (E)Q(U)INE  
0 (L)OAF  
#3 - W - Creed    
0 (C)OZ  
6.5 (U)VEA  
0 XI  
0 PAR(V)O  
0 JI(S)M  
1.5 MARC  
0 TOWE(R)iNG  
7 (U)RARI A(I)RER/A(I)/(A)R(T)/(P)E/(E)R
0 QI  
22 DAG failed to block WED(G)Y
0 L(EX)  
#4 - W - Stewart    
0 VIBE  
0.5 PI(L)EATED  
0 QA(T)  
0 GOBO  
0 (H)UED  
0 L(A)R  
0 F(E)H  
6.1 TRET Ed is fishing so block best line
4.5 WA(B) block
1.2 DELL  
0 Z(I)N  
0 MM  
18.5 VARA empty bag by mistake!!!
0 (A)XONE  
0 ORS  
#5 - L - Appel    
0 HEX  
1.9 (L)OUIE  
1.1 -OOO (AES?)  
0 SAY  
6.3 O(U)TDATEd  
0 S(I)DLE  
50.5 PAG(O)D PAD(d)LING!!!
0 NAZI  
0 JI(V)E  
#6 - L - Petree    
0 (H)OODIE  
0 KENO  
10.9 CL(O)WNS CWM (always miss that one!!!)
0.4 GIFT  
3.9 DUI  
6.4 AI  
0 COVI(N)  
4.3 (W)OT  
0 F(E)  
0 RAZ(O)R  
#7 - L - Creed    
0 R(I)TZY  
5.9 NIMBI  
3.3 NIMBI  
0 YU(A)NS  
2.4 OLIU(M)*  
3.2 QI  
2.6 LAV(I)NG  
1 (W)ORK  
3.4 RITE  
33 lose turn C(LAVING)* C(RANKLE)

1 - W - 4.3 (51.8)
2 - L - 1.0 (10.2)
3 - W - 4.5 (62.4)
4 - W - 3.2 (54.1)
5 - L - 6.0 (72.3)
6 - L - 2.4 (28.4)
7 - L - 4.6 (54.8)

Avg: 3.7

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