BY3 - No Streak For Me

Saturday, January 23, 2010

They say once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. I think I've heard the same about cocaine addiction. In fact, I've heard that the site of something associated with cocaine, like a 20-dollar bill, can trigger an addictive response. Well, for me, just seeing an area on a map where there are Yuck-fil-a store can trigger the craving. As I neared Hudson, I sensed that the Yuck was nearby, and I gave in to its power.

Excellent (or so it seemed at the time). I guess after my post to CGP, Brian Bowman and Pete Ziegler could not let me go unchallenged, and they decided to play.

Bogus. Connie Breitbeil could have beaten me had she managed a late bingo with her blank.

Excellent. Against Heather Steffy I played EUROPI(U)M for the first time and won the challenge.

Bogus. Frank Lee totally had the tiles to beat me, but he decided to try RE(A)RISES* against me, and that derailed his game. That particular phony is an inflection of a phony I got down myself once. There was a time when I was unclear on which was the good anagram, but I've long since sorted that out.

AARRGHH!!! Double-bogus! If the pairings had just kept me away from lucky-ass Bowman for another two rounds, I could have broken my streak and hit 10 wins in a row. But no, I get paired with the strongest player, and he opens with an easy bingo, and another one two turns later!!! Still wai'ing'to see that skill, baby, still wai'in'. Anyway, I managed to come back with a late bingo, but drawing EIOOSUV out of the bag, instead of the X, killed me.

Excellent. After just a few minutes of wondering whether I should have gone with the others to some Mongolian barbecue place, I remembered I had Caribbean leftovers. Coincidentally enough, the nearest gas station, where I heated up my leftovers, happened to be across the street from the barbecue. I thought about going in and saying hi, but I needed some time to contemplate.

Bogus. Two to three days. That's how long I (on and off) planned my video (actually videos, but only because the camcorder did not seem to have a pause feature, and I did not have time edit the separate files together). On top of that, I spent quite a bit of time coming up with the blog passages that served as the introduction to the video. After all that effort, I was hoping that I least one person would appreciate what I was trying to accomplish (regardless of whether I actually succeeded).

Instead, what did I get? A stream of "are you alright" and "I'm really worried about you" questions. Ugh. Frankly, I found the questions insulting. After all the work I've put into blogging over the years, to have so many people completely fail to understand what I was trying to do to the extent that they started freaking out with worry--that's really frustration, and insulting, and it demonstrates a lack of respect for me as a competent individual who can take care of himself.

Heck, I might have been happy if somebody had thought to ask "are you feeling better", because that would have at least meant the person had a clue that I was trying to accomplish something positive with my video.

I would have been happier still if anybody, even if just one person, had managed to see the goodness in what I was trying to do. Would have been nice to get a pat on the back for finding a creative solution to a difficult problem, or at least for thinking outside the box, even if that involved a box cutter. Really, given the extent of the damage that has been done with box cutters in the last decade, you'd think somebody would have appreciated that a box cutter can be--rather creatively, in my opinion--put to really good use (besides for opening boxes, I mean).

That might be what bugs me the most, that nobody even pointed out just how far outside the box I had managed to think. The world really needs more creative, lateral, unlimited thinking. So much damage caused by two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and it the collective world mind fails to realize that all this damage could have been avoided with some really creative thinking, with a paradigm shift. The world seems to assume that just because Iraq and Afghanistan have existed (for decades at least), that they should continue to exist. This represents a huge flaw in global thinking. Consider how many lives and been lost and destroyed in these countries in nearly 10 years. Now, without having to do research or perform calculations, is it not obvious that with much less effort, the U.S. and its allies could have simply evacuated the entire population (at least those concentrated in cities) of each country and dispersed them across the globe to form Iraqi and Afghani communties in a host of different countries. So long as Iraqi and Afghani culture (the good parts, not the oppressive and backwards parts) are preserved, their is not need for these countries to actually exist. Once cleared of population, it would have been much easier for the U.S. and its allies to go in and build infrastructure and then slowly repopulate the livable areas with a strong multi-cultural base. Oh, it's heartbreaking to think of what the U.S. could have accomplished were its government not stuck in all these old, backwards, ways of thinking. Regrettably, many of my associates in the Scrabbling community (and outside too, because apparently many non-Scrabblers saw the video) suffer from these same mental limitations.

Take Control of Your Pain. I'd be really surprised if a book hasn't already been written with that tile. If it hasn't, there's a glaring opportunity out there for somebody to flesh out a new philosophy for how to cope with hurt. If you really think about it, other people can only hurt you if you let them. This is less true of physical damage than psychological (because it's hard not to be hurt by a gunshot), but ultimately pain is all in the mind, and the mind can only focus on one pain at a time. So by taking control of your pain, and making the proactive choice of how you are going to be hurt, you can blunt pain that originates from an external source.

I sure would like to think, given the level of intellect in the Scrabble community, that I would have gotten a more intellectual reaction than "are you alright". Whether or not you agree with my viewpoints, it would be insulting and disrespectful to ignore the fact that I was trying to accomplish something, to say something, to say many things, actually. Issues of alienation (not Marx's theory), the hierarchy of needs, methods of coping, the lengths one can go to for the sake of art, inequality, the purpose of life. It's almost stunning that with some or all these issues in play, the most that people can think to say is "are you alright" or "I'm worried about you".

Jeez Louise, it... doesn't... matter! It simply doesn't matter whether I'm "alright" or not, whatever that means. It's just not important. Ideas. That's important. Creativity. That's important. Execution. That's important. Degree of success. That's important. But whether I'm "alright"??? That is so not important, and so meaningless. Nothing remains. Everybody dies, and everything crumbles to dust (towit: Ozymandias), but stories remain. Telling a good story. That's what matters. Maybe I told a good story, and maybe I didn't. Maybe I suck as a storyteller. At least give me some credit for trying, and respect me enough to realize that I know what I'm doing.

To be fair, one person did point out that my videos needed to be shorter. Spot on. I knew that before I posted them, but it was late and I lacked the time to edit.

But, I digress, just as I did on Saturday night, and arrived back at the hotel moments before the start of the round. This prompted Daniel Stock to make the best joke of the weekend, inadvertently, when he said I was lucky I had arrived when I did, and then further explained that a bit longer and I would have had 10 minutes off my clock. "And that's suppost to scare," me, I retorted??? Jeez, speedwise or skillwise, I'm know I'm not good enough to wipe the sweat of Kenji or Matt Graham's nuts (this is an actual porn-industry job, believe it or not--pays well, too), but the day I worry about losing 10, 15, even 20 minutes off my clock against a sub-1800 player is the day I quit Scrabble.

Excellent. Stocky almost had me, but I drew the critical Z for 63 points in the pre-endgame to take the lead, and then tiles good enough to hang on for the win.

Bogus!!! Don't know how it happened. I didn't make any major mistakes. I guess allah must have been on the Zig-zag-zig's side (say that three times fast) that night, and Pete's sword managed to slice up my lead to allow him an 11-point win. All of a sudden I was looking at the very real possibility of not making the top two in Hudson for the first time, as far as I could remember!!!

Excellent! Kevin McCarthy did me a solid by beating Ziggy, and I managed to post enough spread aganst Pat Hardwick (thanks in part to BIOSPOR(E)*) to pass him up.

Bogus. My memory is really suffering. I've played Hudson four times, at least, and each time I arrive thinking that we are going to play seven straight games and then be done for the night. After learning of the long dinner break, I realized that there was not going to be a point in driving up to Cleveland to visit the new (relocated) Cleveland Clinic store. I was better off taking advantage of Dallas' generous offer of a room to crash in, and perhaps with the extra sleep having a better chance of fending off the arrows from Brian's Bow, man. Yes, I know this makes me look weak, because real men sleep out in the wild. No doubt Brian was off in a tent somewhere, planning all the ways in which he was going to ruin my Sunday.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bogus. I think I managed eight hours, but I anxiety prevented me from really sleeping past 6:35. No, Brian I wasn't worrying about you that whole time--other things on my mind.

Bogus. Overcast and rainy. I had hoped for sunny skies for the photography I planned to do that morning. Could have been worse--at least I wasn't getting arrested like that the lady about an eighth of a mile shy of my exit off I-77 to the Rockside Corners store. As bad as my day was going to be, hers was probably going to be worse.

Bogus!!! I cannot even quantificate the degree to which I fucked up my first game against Brian. Okay, let me get this out of the way. Brian has superior word knowledge, and he is probably a (slightly) better player (tactically) than me, but that doesn't mean he isn't also one lucky sunvabitch. First of all, AVI(D)ITY. He held for a looooong time, and under different circumstances he might have challenged--but not with a 69-point Q(A)iD counterplay. Tough decision, eh? That play, plus three other power tiles within 6 turns, put him ahead enough that I felt I needed to take a chance on ENF(U)SE*, and this one he decides to challenge. I eventually manage to take the lead with INSNARE(R), and then my game falls apart. I let him get away with (I)NDEBT*, in large part because I thought I had a bingo. I did, (A)VIARIsT, but I fucked up and played A(R)RIVIsT* instead. Not only does Brian challenge it off, but he then gets buck-wild and trots out a completely ridiculous word, (N)UBILOSE. That is just fucked up. The word looked made up as all hell, so of course I had to challenge. That effectively lost me the game, because lucy-ass Brian pulled UNITAGE right out of the bag, and I never got another chance to bingo.

Annotated Game

No chance at all in the second game.

Annotated Game

If you want proof-positive that Brian keeps magic dust in that little bottle of his, our third game is all the proof you need. Before we started, I commented that, if life were fair, I would get the blank down first. Well, I did, REMOvES to open, but my play was immediately negated by I(M)ITATED. That was just like not having drawn the blank at all!!! I still managed to take the momentum, and then put myself decisively ahead with LAGOONS/(FJELD)S for 91, on a closed boared, but Brian's luck just could not be defeated. His drawing the other blank I could have survived. A bingo I could have survived. A 90-point bingo, I could have survived. And even a 90-point bingo that I didn't know, I could have survived. But Brian had one extra factor on his side, the fact that RETWIsT was slotted just left of a TWS, with two eses unseen. So now I was looking at a 39 to 48 point play (more with the Z), plus the possibility of losing a turn if I played the S hook and the word was no good. Faced with that, I challenged, hoping that my 31-point lead on a relatively-closed board would be enough to withstand a lost turn. Might have been, but not after Brian scored 72 with PLAZA!!! I'M ASKING YOU, IS THAT MOTHERFUCKER LUCKY OR WHAT!!! Yes, yes, he has superior word knowledge, I already stipulated that, and he deserved to win the tournament, but he would not, I repeat, not, have swept me without getting seriously lucky, yo.

Annotated Game

Losing that match was disappointing for several reasons--money, rating, pride, disrupting my streak of winning Hudson, but the main reason is less obvious. See, as far I as I can remember, my trips to Hudson have always seen me, the lone colored person, facing a field of all-white peoples. Even if it is not explicitly stated, you cannot put a colored man in a room full of white people without creating racial tension. It's just a truthity of the human condition. Also, of the fact that nothing is literal, and everything is a metaphor. Three times prior I had defended my peoples against the white man, in a sort-of recreation of the anti-colonialist struggle, kind of like in Avatar, but this fourth time I let my people down (sorry Cesar, sorry Art). It's ass if I had gotten myself killed by the Toruk and thus failed to protect the Na'vi. Man, that's hard to live down.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I fear that the effective of the video may have been short-lived. For over four days, my reflecting upon the video and its external effects kept my mind occupied and my emotions in check. Unfortunately, like a drug, the effect began to wear off, and the bluesy feeling started to creep back in. Unlike a drug, however, I don't think I can simply pick up the box cutter or the cigs again and reproduce the effect. I need a new solution.

Opponents' Bingos

My Bingos

Missed Bingo Turns


#1 - W - Breitbeil    
0 EAU  
0 HIVE  
4.3 QAT(S)  
0 (T)ERROR  
0 NIN(ES)  
1.8 DA(K)  
0 J(AN)E  
0 BOT  
3 W(I)N  
14.3 (E)RR SUR(LI)L(Y)
1.8 US UN
0 G(ABY)  
56.7 pass (fear to empty bag)  
0 (N)OIL  
0 yUAN  
#2 - W - Steffy    
0 OUT  
3.3 (U)T  
2.3 (H)EFT  
1 QI  
2.2 A(L)LUDE  
0 WIGG(E)D  
0 I(C)KIE(R)  
10 CO(U)NTER  
#3 - W - Lee    
0 TAX  
0 D(U)G  
16.1 (T)AW WA(K)AME
16 GA(U)M (K)NOW
3.4 OWN  
8.3 (W)IFE ()f
7.9 BR(A)VI  
18.8 JE(E)  
1.6 H(I)M  
8 (Q)UITE  
0 (P)LUG  
#4 - L - Bowman    
7.5 WEB  
0 RID  
0.4 HYP  
13.9 (BE)VOR  
0 BI(D)  
20.2 (O)I EN(TI)TLINg
11.6 LE(K) EN(TI)TLINg
4 WA(IF) AW(I)NG (risky!!!)
0 ENA(C)TiNG  
0 OVI(N)E  
0 (L)OU(T)S  
#5 - W - Stock    
0 HEATeD(L)Y  
0 E(N)VOYED*  
8.1 (D)AFT FAN(T)OM (barely sure)
9.2 M(U)TON  
0 A(N)TENnAE  
8.9 OP(S)  
6.8 BA(R)BE  
2.8 J(e)E  
0 CO(N)I  
0 LEZ  
0 PUNA  
0 (O)RS  
0 UN  
0 (A)S  
#6 - L - Ziegler    
0 QUAK(Y)  
0 (R)AZOR  
3 WOG WO (keep the G to go with IN!!!)
8 H(I)NT  
3.9 THIRL  
4.9 (H)OB  
1.9 JOE  
1 C(L)ANG  
11 DUO  
#7 - W - Hardwick    
4.4 (X)I  
5.9 WHE(E)  
12.3 J(A)B  
1.7 (HA)FT  
0 WR(I)T  
0.7 (O)DIC  
0 QA(T)  
27.8 LIES unsure of (PARING)S hook for ETOILES
#8 - L - Bowman    
6 OWE  
8.6 RAMJET  
0 (C)OO  
2.9 AERO  
3.4 AAR(G)H  
3.8 KEY  
34.2 lose turn (ENF(U)SE*)  
0 F(U)N  
39.2 lose turn (A(R)RIVIsT*)  
#9 - L - Bowman    
0 YAH  
0 JO(E)  
14.6 BRIN INBORN (unsure),RONION
1.4 VINE  
0.4 -AIOOO (ES)  
9.7 BIKE  
0 (BA)A  
3.9 CUIFS  
0 Q(I)  
9.8 DRaWS  
0 W(I)G  
#10 - L - Bowman    
0.8 REMOvES  
0 FEME  
3.1 PIU  
0.9 DIE  
2.8 AH(I)  
32.2 challenge RETWIsT  
9.3 INV(AR)  
4.1 ANN(AL)  
13 (SI)TE trying for BEKNOTS
4 KNO(T)  
0 (K)ETOL  

1 - W - 4.3 (81.9)
2 - W - 4.9 (59.2)
3 - W - 9.0 (134.7)
4 - L - 5.5 (71.1)
5 - W - 2.6 (36.8)
6 - L - 3.7 (44.9)
7 - W - 6.1 (78.8)
8 - L - 5.6 (84.3)
9 - L - 3.1 (39.8)
10 - L - 5.2 (72.8)

Avg: 5

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