BY4 - The Right Side of That Line


KEYWORD: Faraday

next: where I point out the resemblance between a certain player and Clark Kent

Monday, February 9, 1998

I can't remember how long I'd been thinking about it, but at some point in the wee hours of the morning, maybe 3:00 AM, I decided to look for a cheap flight to Europe, and I found a $482.36 flight Milan. Yes, I know that $482.36 isn't that cheap, but that the first flight to Europe I'd ever bought, and I didn't know any better. I quickly threw some things into a suitcase (or duffel bag), set my alarm, and tried to get some sleep before leaving for the airport at 9:00 AM. If you're thinking this sounds like manic behaviour, you might be right--at the time I might still have been experiencing that hypomania (alternated with depression) that fortunately went away not long after I quit my job to become a contractor, and which, even more fortunately, has never returned since.

After a couple of interesting days in Milan, during which I enjoyed a very nice dinner with an American from Indiana (this was a time before I became invisible and/or loathsome to females), I took a train to Rome, where I spent several days in a coed dorm room at a hostel, my first such experience. There I met a young Frenchwoman name Sophie Parron, and we chatted occasionally when I was not away seeing sights (no Starbucks in Italy, neither back then nor today). I don't remember thinking we hit it off that well, although she did seem tickled pink on the evening of February 14 when I gave her, along with all the other girls in the (small) hostel, a rose, as I had nobody back in the States to give anything to. Another reason for my generosity was that this was a period on my life when I seemed to derive satisfaction from the mere act of spending money freely, even money that I didn't have (thus leading to a credit card debt that eventually reaching shocking heights).

Before I checked out of the hostel to head to Naples, Sophie and I exhanged e-mail addresses. We stayed in touch over the course of a year, and when I visited London in May of 1999 (one day after the long-awaited release of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (not a coincidence)), she invited me to fly over to Madrid and stay with her for a couple of days. We managed to get a little romance going there, and we stayed in constant contact over the course of the next year, but eventually I fucked it up, like I always do.

Monday, February 9, 1998

I can't remember how long I'd been thinking about it, but at some point in the wee hours of the morning, maybe 3:00 AM, I decided to look for a cheap flight to Europe, and I found a $482.36 flight Milan. Yes, I know that $482.36 isn't that cheap, but that the first flight to Europe I'd ever bought, and I didn't know any better. I quickly threw some things into a suitcase (or duffel bag), set my alarm, and tried to get some sleep before I had to leave for the airport at 9:00 AM. I was so excited about my trip though, that I couldn't sleep, and I instead jumped in the shower, dressed, grabbed my bags, and left the house. No point in arrive at the airport that early, so I headed down to Harry Hines to see if I could find myself a little somethin' somethin' from the hookers who, unlike everywhere else in the world, do not walk the streets but rather ride around in cars and honk at prospective customers. The only other place I know of where the hookers don't walk or stand on the corners is Winnipeg, Manitoba, where many hookers hang out at a KFC on Sherbrook. If you want a hooker there, you order an extra biscuit with your meal, and you say it really loud. This is a cue to one of the girls to follow you out to your car when you leave.

Much has been made of Tiger Woods' recent troubles, and of his sighting at a sex addiction clinic. There have been other high-profile cases in the recent past, such as Eliot Spitzer, and David Duchovny some time before that. But these guys had nothing on me. Shit, it's well known that Duchovny has a massive collection of pornography, and that is an indication that he had not reached the ultimate level of sex addiction, the point at which porn and masturbation don't do anything for you, and only actual physical contact, whether legal or illegal, consenting or forced, with a human or otherwise, will satisfy your craving. That's how bad I had it, and I'm amazed it went on as long as it did. Given that I went out in search of sex nearly every night of the week, spending thousands of dollars a month on drinks, gifts, and the occasional illicit drug or two, on prospective bedmates, or on hookers if I couldn't find anybody at the clubs and bars, or on phone sex if I couldn't find a hooker, it was only a matter of time before I got myself into trouble. Geez, and I'm not even counting the fact that I was fired from the first job I ever had, at Macromedia, and from two other successive jobs, for sexual harassment, before I decided to become a contractor so I wouldn't be at any one site long enough to establish any kind of noticeable pattern.

When I followed the girl who honked me that night, Paprika, driving the dark green Honda Element, to the back of a warehouse, I was, of course, cautious, as I always was, that she might be a cop. She quoted the usual price for the street at that time, $120, and, since she had the Element with the window tint, was willing to do it in the back of the car, unlike most of the other girls who insisted on going to a room. I didn't want to stay in the back of that warehouse, because it would be obvious to any cop passing by, and I suggested driving to a nearby residential area. She followed me, and even though I saw her on her iPhone in the rearview mirror, it never occurred to me that she might be reporting our location to her coworkers.

Well, not her coworker, because she turned out not to be a cop, because female cops cannot actually engage in sexual acts during a sting, but rather a decoy working with the cops, and she had in fact reported our location. Once we got into it, I forgot about the danger, and then next thing I knew there was a loud knock on the Element's door, and a few moments later I was in handcuffs.

I can't really say the Dallas county criminal court system did not give me a chance. I was given a suspended sentence and enrolled in a sex addiction program, but even under those circumstances I could not control myself, and I was kicked out of the program for "inappropriate behavior". I was told that this would be reported to the court, but that my lawyer might be able to get me a second chance, but I never reached that point because I was still out on the streets every night, and before long I was busted again. This time I was sentence to six months in prison, down in Huntsville, TX, and that's when I knew I had hit rock bottom.

I'm sure you've heard about what goes on in prison. Maybe you've seen Oz. Well, let me assure you that it's all true, and that every man who has been kept away from women for a long enough time, whether in prison, the military, or Division 1 competitive Scrabble, eventually loses any homophobic inhibitions. You'd think that, for a hardcore sex addict, prison would be great, because what else is there to do than have sex all the time. Thing of it is, when the sex is forced, it's not so great. I guess one way of looking at it is that all that rape eventually cured me of my sex addiction, to the point that it took me ten years to feel the desire to have sex again. That's one way in which prison was the best thing to ever happen to me.

But perhaps the most imporant effect of prison came about on that day in the library when I saw a very old copy of Rolling Stone, in which the second album by the Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Forever. Was reviewed. The writer spoke so highly of the album's production and vocal talent that I, upon my release a few weeks later, soon went over to Barnes & Noble to buy the discs, and I soon became a hardcore fan of all things Wu. As I listened to the dozens of Wu-affiliated albums over and over, and I began to absorb the jewels of knowledge that the Clan had been dropping for the latter half of the 90s, and my entire philosophy of life was changed. It was as if for most of my post-college life I had been trapped on an island of self-destruction, until the Wu-Tang Clan showed me the path off that island, and I left, never to return.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Granted, I was pushing it with my schedule anyway, but I still would have arrived early had it not been for a crazy anomaly. Rather than taking the AC Expressway from Route 42, I took the Black Horse Pike instead (the scenic route) so I could find something appealing for lunch, or a late breakfast. At some point I decided I wanted a bagel, and by the time I reached Atlantic City that I had not seen a single bagel shop along that highway. I was stunned. Felt a little sideways, actually. I had been my understanding that bagels grow on trees in New Jersey, and I think I even heard that the state constitution mandates that there be a bagel shop within a certain number of feet of any given point in the state. Yeah, that's weird, but the NJ constituion has all sorts of weird clauses, like mandating the minimum percentage of Italians in the population.

Reached the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino about 5 minutes after the noon hour, and I felt I was okay, especially since these tournaments never start on time. Unfortunately I had failed to account for the fact that Trump Plaza is larger than the hotels where I had previously attended AC events, and I had assumed that parking would be free. Foolish.

Upon seeing the garage tariff listed at $10, I felt a little violated, and I decided I'd take the minuts off my clock and went to find street parking. Just $1 per hour at a nearby meter, albeit with a 2-hour limit which meant I'd have to keep running out to the car. Later my mother would chuckle at me and say that I was definitely my grandmother's grandson, in that we are both cheap.

Probably 12:15 or 12:20 when I finally found the room, and the first round had not started. Lucky. But actually what was really lucky was that the snow had not come down earlier. I had checked the weather report for Princeton, and, seeing clear skies, I had not expected snow. Over the course of the afternoon it came down pretty hard and fast in AC, though, and just had it been just one hour earlier I might have been really late.

Three rounds before lunch, and I made short work of Mitchell Brook, John Kopp, and tournamistress Conelicca Creed herself. Plays of note: O(V)ERCOOL (won challenge), CODeA(B)LE*, VI(C)TUAL, and HAK(E)D*. Wackiest play--Kopp's trying INACtOR* out of desperation. I describe it with a term I learned from Jason Keller--"instachallenge".

My mornings food hunt had been predicated on my belief that we were going to play six or seven games straight thru. Not so--there was a break. AARGH. Yes, yes, I know--I could simply have looked at the schedule flyer. But really, how can anybody be reasonably expected to look at the flyer. Who looks at the flyer???

I guess I brought it on myself. No fewer than three or four players had asked me during the lunch break how I was doing (imagine that), and I foolishly complained that I was drawing too well against the weaker players. I expressed concern that I was using up the luck I would need against the stronger player. Well, of course the Tile Gods could hear my folly, and they responded accordingly. Thing of it was, I had not paid attention to the pairings--turned out I was playing weaker players through six or seven rounds, and Pat Gaboury was next. I had forgotten that she used to get lucky against me at the Bowie club, but I remember full well now, after what she did.

Thanks to my jinxing myself, she bingoed four times in a row, something I, with all my tournament games and superior (I assume) word knowledge, have never managed to do. Amazing. All easy bingos too (of course), except maybe SPORRAN, which was low-probability enough that I was shaky enough to challenge. Maybe also because every time I've anagrammed the rack I've, for some inexplicable reason, thought of PARRONS*. I don't blame the challenge for losing the game--seriously, four bingos in row plus one later, did I really have a chance? Oof course not. Did I feel violated? You betcha! @#$%^&!!!

There was one good thing about that game, though. I played ET(H)iCALS for 185 points, possibly my highest-scoring play ever. I know I played BEREAVES or BEREAVES once, and that was my previous highest, but without the B or V on the double, the score couldn't have been as much.

Meanwhile, I marvelled at the stupidity of humanity. This instance's blunder, the inability of the hotel to do something so simple as unlock a pair of doors that led out to the bathrooms so that players would not have to take the longer route back into room. Connie was clearly frustrated, and I suspect this was not the only irritation that the Trump Plaza caused for her. Why? Because The Man simply doesn't care!

Back and forth against Vince, tough to hang on despite a couple of 80-point bingos. Thankfully the Q, Z, and S at the end saved me.

Next game, a nice bingo, BUTANO(N)E, to counter Thomas Hall's PANDOrE. No more bingos that game, but better tiles, even without blanks, good enough to survive despite a HUGE blunder. Struggling score while keep the board closed with clunky vowel-heavy racks, I played URI(C), forgetting that it has a hook!!! Seven years into this, I still haven't managed to figure out how to see the hooks even when I know the words.

Still, I ended up at 5-1 up, well towards the top of the standings, but I considered that record meaningless until I started facing the big dogs. And there were some heavies in the field, some serious trouble bussed in from out of state, even as far as Florida.

Continuing the series of violations that would plague me that weekend, I was forced to do something rather distasteful that evening. I wanted a strong wi-fi signal so I could finally watch the first episode of Kings, a now-cancelled series from mid-09 that I had overlooked. As I had suspected, from earlier visits to AC, there was no parking close to the Starbucks, and the snow discouraged me from walking so I went over to the McDonald's. I tried sitting in my car for a while, so I wouldn't taint myself, when the signal weakened for some reason I went inside, where the disgusting McDonald's molecules came into contact with my body. I've gone nine or ten days without showering during my travels, and I never wanted a shower so much as I did that night.

While there, I half-heartedly looked around for a massage, not really expecting to find somebody decent working so late on a Saturday. At this point, those of you who have been to Atlantic City might be wondering why I would be looking online when there seem to be massage parlors every three or four storefronts in that city. Well, the chances of getting a decent massage at one of those places is pretty slim, if this site is to be believed.

When I ran out of battery and went back out to the car I did something I'd hardly done for years, I looked in the back of the physical, print edition of Atlantic City Weekly. It was pretty darn late, nearly 10 PM, and I did not expect anybody decent to answer, but amazingly, the very person I called picked up, and was willing to go to her office if I was willing to make the drive (just 11 miles away, but in the snow). Moreover, while I did have concerns about why anybody would want to take an appointment that late, finding her blog reassured me that she probably wasn't crazy or monstrously hideous. Wow, I thought--beat the snow to the tournament, finished the day at 5-1, and found a massage--it was really a lucky day for me. But I was premature in my assessment.

The parking lot was covered in snow, and despite my care as I backed out to avoid any cars coming thru the lot, I did not see the a car that was stopped, positioned just so that I hit its bumper with mine. Crap!!! The driver got out of the car, a young man, maybe a little hood. He did not seem angry, but he was very businesslike with his phone, immediately photographing my car. The damage to his bumper seemed slight, but he wanted a police report anyway. I gave him my insurance information, and he asked me to call while he took down my info. I didn't really want to get the police involved, but not acceding to his request would upset him and lessen the chances of resolving the situation without involving the insurance company.

I called 911, and then I asked the young man if he knew about cars, and how much he thought it might cost to fix the bumper. $400, he said. I told him to hang on a moment, and I went over to my car. I had the $400, but I took out $300, went back to him, and asked if $300 cash would take care of it. Right now, no need to wait, no need to deal with insurance. He went for it, as I expected. Cash in hand often has that effect.

The previous year, during a crossing into Canada, a border agent, dumbfuck that he was, asked why I had "so much" cash (over $500-1000, I think, maybe more). I said it wasn't that much cash if the ATMs failed, but it was clear he didn't get it. Mindless automatons, most of those types. Fucking hate the whole concept of borders. Stupid. Primitive.

Anyway, besides the issue of ATMs failing (think about the great East Coast blackout of '03), it's just handy to have a lot of cash in case you need it immediately. Those $300 I paid might have saved me a lot more if the car went to a body shop for an estimate, plus the possibility of a ticket from the AC cops, if they were in a sour mood. The Wu-Tang Clan, the greatest philosophers of the 90s, had it absolutely right when they sang "cash rules everything around me." As I said before, I've patterned my post-prison life on the teachings of the Wu, and once again their philosophy worked out for me.

Below is just a small sampling of what I have learned from the Wu:

"protect ya neck" - (probably not a reference to sunscreen)

"I watch my back like I'm locked down" - (I should know)

"life as a shorty shouldn't be so tough"

"unnecessary beef is more cows to breed" (but don't mistake me for a PETA member--they're crazy)

"cash rules everything around me"

"watch out for Haiti bitches--I heard they throw hex" (particularly relevant now that there is an 18-month moratorium on deportations)

"life is like video footage" - (I think Joe took that advice)

"Cash rules, still don't nothing move but the money"

"The hard-headed never learn"

"You might hear me but you don't listen"

"Scared money don't make money, throw ya guns in"

"Ox tails chopped up in Caribbean spots" - (yum)

"Get my dick sucked on the roof of the projects" - (oh, wait, that was my pre-prison philosophy)

"Cruising on the interstate, just follow while I innovate" - (where I do my best writing and studying)

"I left my chick for cheating on me, now that bitch is miserable" - (you know who you are, bitch, fuck you)

"Can't nothing harm me, yo"

"Kill enemies by mailing them the poising glue postage"

"Many may come but few are chosen" - (Sherrie follows this model for the BAT Premier)

"Walk a road the great length you find too long to measure"

"Never tell a lie, like George with the cherry tree"

"fake niggaz don't get turns"

"Don't play me like I got a flowerpot head kid"

"break the mirror that remind you of your ugliness" - (I suppose that would have been easier)

Okay, time for another contest!!! The first person to identify all the quotes will win a chance to perform a verse on the hip hop album that I hope to eventually record, now that I've finally been to prison and have street credit. BUT NO GOOGLING!!! That's cheating, and every time you cheat god kills a masturbator.

It was pretty late when Brenda finished up with me, but I made the drink back into the city anyway in case there was more snow that night. Also, it's very easy to find places to park in AC, especially when it's snowing. Moreover, the snow meant that I was treated to something very special that night, the gentle rocking and splashing of snowplows driving past my car and blowing snow against my door. I've always said that sleeping bundled up in a car when it's cold is just like being in a mother's womb. Well, this was like being in her womb at a sidewalk corner on a rainy day when a bus passed and splashed her with rainwater. Sucked for her, but I was safe and sound in her belly, just like I was safe and sound in my car. Again, I felt sorry for those who had to stay in hotel rooms and avoid all the fun that was to be had on the snowy Atlantic City streets.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Slept as much as I could, no time for breakfast, just coffee, and oatmeal from the Starbucks, and then a rush to the hotel to face Sam Hollington. He was just a step ahead most of the game, without a bingo, but with the S and a blank towards the end, a win seemed possible. Had I used that S to block on turn 12, I might have won. Was that the play? What a dilemma.

Annotated Game

Against Evans Clinchy, aDNOUNS followed by NOVELLA for 91 put me far enough ahead against Evans that, once I drew the other blank, I was confident I would win, even after losing a turn to GUARInI*. Yes, he was on American Idol, but that wasn't the wackiest part of the game. No, it was when Evans put down AQUAM(A)N*, then a few seconds later chattered "that's not a word!" and picked it back up. I had to crack up, so much so that some guy at the next table (Glenn Filzer maybe, not sure) told us to pipe down. Hey, there might be no crying in Scrabble, but there sure as heck is laughter!

Speaking of Evans, I had been thinking for a while that I was glad when he showed up at tournaments, because I was no longer the only one with the laptop in the corner. Along with Brad Whitmarsh, also tucked away in that same corner between rounds, we had created for ourselves a real geekiest-of-the-geeky section. I'll count KFC in the group, as I several times saw her sitting in that corner with her iPod. Plus she wears glasses and is Japanese. As you know, all Japanese are automatically born with a certain amount of geek cred, and if they develop a need to wear glasses, that geek cred is doubled.

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, another player several urinals down asked me what Evans and I had been laughing about. AQUAM(A)N*, I explained. Suddenly, a voice emanated from one of the stalls, "SUPERMAN is also good." The voice chattered on, and I felt a little violated. There's just something gross about somebody in a toilet stall engaging you in conversation. It's not logical, and it's similar to my distaste when a person on the other end of a phone is in the bathroom, especially the toilet.

Bingo-bango again, FiNALIZ(E) followed by G(L)ACIERS, against the just-resurfaced Dominic Grillo, and I started to feel pretty good about my chances. If I could just get thru Stefan Rau.

AARRGHH!!! MOTHERFUCKER!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE HE DID IT AGAIN. Back in Philadelphia, December, Stefan had opened with four *PEDESTRIAN* bingos, plus another easy one later, effectively making the contest a nongame. Well, I looked forward to getting even AC, of course. I mean, he couldn't possibly draw like that again, could he? Well, it appears that Mr. Rau, like the Haitians, consorts with the Devil!!! Three easy bingoes in a row, unbelievable, and then the other blank for FOGlESS to pound my spread into the dust. I felt violated.

As we finished that 10th-round game, Jason Keller announced that some players were just starting. Odd, and the effect was that he pushed our post-lunch resumption back to 3:45. That gave me two whole hours, and I used the time to drive around the city looking for a Latin American restaurant that was not Mexica. KFC had commented on her blog about a branch of Cuba Libre in AC, and I took a look at their menu online and then gave them a call. As I suspected, the place was far, far from authentic. I didn't even have to see the restaurant. The mere fact that beans and rice were not on the lunch menu was enough.

Just as I was about to give up and settle for Mexican, I stumbled across Senor Limon, on Fairmount, a Peruvian joint. Excellent meal of pork loin, rice, and a type of bean I was unfamiliar with, called "canary beans". Moreover, the owner/manager agreed to substitute yucca for the French fries. And to top it off, when I asked if his was the only non-Mexican Latin restaurant in town, he told me about a Dominican place on Ventnor.

Alas, it wasn't to be, the upset against Ian Weinstein that I was hoping for. Though I drew both blanks, they came too late, after Ian had brought out the big guns, scoring 63, 45, 68, and 48 in quick succession.

I had expected to face the remaing strong players that day, but instead I got a reprieve and faced #28 Cynthia Seales. Well, at least that's what I was thinking before she decided to bust me on (E)YNA*. I knew it was no good, but I needed to test her. I fully expect to be able to win despite a lost turn against the bottom-seeded player, but every now and again a scrub gets lucky. That's the way it looked until I drew another bingo-bango, EXACTEd and SADIrON, and then I took control of the game.

Ah, sometimes an expert's gotta do employ some of that Jedi mind trickery. #25 Mandelbrot Seth was next after #28 Cynthia, and just like Cynthia he started off lucky. I tied the game with (R)AISONnE, but he surged ahead with double-double DIE(S)TERs followed by QA(n)AT for 33. I held ADCEHNX and was faced with a critical decision on turn 6.

Annotated Game

I passed up higher scores and ended up going with X(I) for 25 and the better leave, and I drew an E with an open S on the board. I felt I need an advantage beyond the bingo, so I employed some sneaky psychology. First I put down CHA(S)ED for 26 and looked at it a while. I then picked it up and put down ACHENE for 47. Again, I looked at it for a while and picked it up. Then I put down CHA(S)ED again, and ooked at it some more. Finally I put down the EN, announced up the score, and quickly reached for the tile bag. Sure enough, Seth held, chattered a bit to himself, and a few seconds later went for the challenge.

Game wasn't over by any means. I sacrificed points with FIG to for the better leave, DPSU, and I ended up drawing AUW. Had to burn a turn with WUD and let Seth take the lead, but I managed to pull (B)REAKUPS (which I probably saw thanks to the Method Man song "Breakup 2 Make Up"--again, the Wu saves me). Had I not done so, Seth's R(E)LATIONS would have won it and put my tournament chances in real danger. Damn, you just cannot turn your back on a scrub, because next thing you know he'll shiv you with a bingo.

Or he'll hog the power tiles, which is exactly what Dan Milton did, to fuck up my chances of winning or placing on Sunday. Having to fight off three lucky scrubs in a row, and failing against one, I walked away feeling really violated.

Incidentally, that last game was a textbook example of how, despite all my protestations of outdrawings by evil power-tile hogging scrub-scum, perfect play could still have defeated the miserable draw, by either taking advantage of some heavy-duty bingo opportunities( PRO(C)HAIN and ZINGANO) or by making better decisions (like OI on turn 6). Peep the folly.

Annotated Game

I'd thought about doing some gambling, but I needed to catch up on sleep. I went back to the place of death (McDonald's) and finished doing my simming, and it was still pretty early when I wrapped it up. Good thing I was tired, because the last thing I needed was idle time. Idle time allows the demons to penetrate my mind, and that was most certainly the last thing I needed when I was still in contention. I needed to maintain focus, and that meant avoiding thinking about anything but Scrabble!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feeling a little murschpurkelt upon waking, and not quite sure why. According to the clock, I'd slept enough, so I got a-moving. I drove off in search of proper breakfast, although I stopped at Starbucks first, not just for coffee, but for the Odwalla orange juice. It's not my favorite, but it's better than what I expected to find at the only grocery store I'd seen in the town, the IGA on Atlantic Avenue (if I'm wrong, please correct me).

I was sure I had seen a restaurant advertising breakfast on that street, but I must have missed it. When I reached Albany Street, US-40, which turns into the Black Rock Pike, I decided I'd just head up to Deli on the Square, the restaurant I'd stopped at a few times on the occassions I'd stayed in a room at Bernadette's (in exchange for rides to the tournament). Like I've complained about more and more, my memory is not what it used to be, and I though the deli was much closer to the city than it ended up being. I was wrong, and by the time I spotted the shopping center I was way out in Pleasantville. Of course my unenvironmental gas wastage was unintentional, unlike the act of that whore of a waitress. Huge-ass paper bag that she used to pack my breakfast was completely unnecessary, and when I returned it to her, she crumpled it up and threw it away instead of neatly folding it and reusing it. Fucking eco-terrorist bitch! Oh, and I asked for no butter on the pancakes, and she put a container of butter in their anyway. More waste!!!

Ach! All the spare time I had was disappearing. Instead of heading out to the AC boonies for food, I needed to be out on the boardwalk, where the players were doubtlessly getting ready for a fight. That top group was tight enough that, with five games to, it was anybody's tournament.

Oh, snap!!! On Georgia Ave, just a street over from Trump Plaza, there is a row of free 3-hour parking that I had not discovered. I could saved myself $6.75 I had spent already!!! $6.75 man, that's, like a hearty meal at a mom-n-pop Latin restaurant!

Hmm... very, very, interesting. When I sat down to face Marjorie Schoneboom, she reported she had only six first, the same as me. If I lost the draw, which I did, I would be going second for the 4th time in a row. I felt this put me at a disadvantage, and I wondered if this was mathematically possible. Does anybody know?

Regardless, my actual tile draw finally came correct after three games, and I got the early bingo down, and the momentum. Managed to hang on for the win, but my spread was still in the toilet.

Annotated Game

Having just six seconds though, I was hopeful that this would give me an advantage going into the last four games. In fact, if I one of those others who cheat, I could have tried to ensure an advantage by faking my total against Seth Mandel in order to try and go second, thus practically guaranteeing three 1st in the final games. I guess it's a good thing I'm not one of them, huh? You guys got any milk?

My opponent actually turned out to be Steve Tier (I had misread the pairings chart... again)--so much for an easy game. An early (F)ERULING (unsure, but inferred from FERULED) helped, but Steve came back with BaRETTe*. I hated it, but with those two blanks it seemed he had to have a ton of bingos--why would he fuck up and play the phony. Well, maybe for the same reason he challenged DAHL. With the extra turn on top of SEROSAE, I was pretty much able to cruise.

Frank Tangredi next, he who was of the bad habit of beating me at the most inconvenient moments. That Monday morning, with prize money and an 1800+ rating in the balance, would have been an unquestionably inconvenient. When I spotted the blank on my opening rack, I thought, "hah, I have you now, you trickster", but my eagerness was premature. I did bingo the next turn, HESSIAn, but I burned a lot of time trying to first find the double-double and then a safer play. I failed on both counts, and I was quite dismayed when Frank immediately countered with ATTAInS for almost as many points. I regained my hope when I looked at my tiles and saw the Q and X, with the possibility of 70-80 points to score, and that hope was just as quickly dashed when Frank played COZ for 65. I went on to trail slightly for the rest of the game, and as my clock speeding towards 0:00 I felt Frank's momentum increasing. I drew the final ess and might have been able to use it to score well and gain the mometum, but I was so low on time I had to burn it for 27 points. Finally, despite my fears (and against Quackle's eventual evaluation), I made a six-tile play, GINGER that slotted the G at 11A. I fully expected Frank to zing me with a huge play, but all he managed was 15 for LIN(G). Meanwhile, I had drawn the remainder of the intermediate-point tiles, and that allowed me to outscore him in the endgame and pull out the win. What relief!!!

Annotated Game

The lunch break was just 30 minutes, and I rushed off to find that Dominican restaurant I'd been told about. I found it, the Latin House, on Ventnor as promised, but the trip ended up being more or less a waste. Either the cook got the order wrong, or he doesn't know how to prepare tostones. And they put dressing on my salad. Bastards.

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!! Penultimate round, and Frank got the blank down early with double-double OvERW(I)LD* for 94. I was on my third crappy rack, and I didn't want to get hopelessly behind by losing a challenge. I didn't like it, but he had other bingos so I played it safe and let it go. The game ended up being relatively close, so letting that phony go made a huge difference.

Annotated Game

It soon occurred me me, however, that it was just as well I lost that game. Had I won, I would have been paired with Ian for the second-place spot, and what would my chances realistically have been. Instead, it was Frank and I for a third time, and I managed to get the better draw, four bingos, to win third place, $300, and get my rating back above 1800. That isn't the best part, though. No, what I was really greatful for was that cashing, for the the fourth tournament in a row, did not trigger a bout of despair and self-loathing. I'm going to g out on a limb and state that if doing well in a tournament doesn't make me want to kill yourself, my mental health is probably improving.

Besides the win, rating, and cash, I got a kick out the point in that game when I saw EGINNRT thru the O. That's a word that I'd shamefully missed against Geoff Thevenot at the DO, but this time around I saw that bitch immediately. I already knew that repeated anagramming, even if it was not frequent, was paying off in terms of long-term anagram recollection, but it help to have concrete examples like that to boost my confidence. Hell, I'll take anything to boost my confidence (even Viagra, or X) at this point, cuz I'm certainly not going to get that type of encouragement from other people.

Opponents' Bingos

My Bingos

Missed Bingo Turns
(C)ALAMITE (unsure)
(D)ESIRInG,G(A)SIfIER (unsure),G(R)ISlIER,(T)IGERISh,(R)ERISInG (unsure)


#1 - W - Brook    
12.9 -GKPV (ENX) PEK(E) (unsure)
6.4 NIX(E)  
0 FUZ(E)  
0 ENEM(Y)  
45.5 lose turn ((U)NSOMBER*)  
3.7 MOB  
4.3 P(E)ND  
0 J(A)Y  
35.9 PEE unsure of (TUT)S hook for SPEEDER
22 A(G)UE  
0 (OR)C  
0 US  
0 (IF)s  
#2 - W - Kopp    
0.8 PENGO  
2.6 WAT  
0 CODeA(B)LE*  
0 ZA  
9.3 YOU  
0 WAUL  
0 VIMS  
0 DU(H)  
31.7 GOR(E)D (blocks several lines)  
0 ON  
#3 - W - Creed    
3.6 PIA PIU (leave AATV instead of ATUV)
0 JI(V)ED  
0 WI(S)ER  
0 (N)OH  
1.1 FEN  
1.4 Q(I)  
20.1 FAXES  
0 (P)INT  
0 ZOA  
4 TW(IN)  
0 NE(A)R  
#4 - L - Gaboury    
0 ZEDK  
32.1 lose turn ((BAIZE)D*) FLuIDIC,FLuIDI(ZED),DeIFIC(A)L
14.3 (A)LIF  
0 DUI  
0.8 ROW  
6.1 BONE  
44.4 challenge SPORRAN  
0 TWIT  
6.5 VU(G)G  
0 ET(H)iCALS  
0 YO  
#5 - W - Vince Castellano    
0 (A)NTIDoRA  
1.1 JOY  
0 D(O)G  
0 AM(E)ND  
0 BREW  
3.5 (K)IER sets up S
0 TOP  
0 QUA  
#6 - W - Hall    
8.1 WHY  
1.5 CL(O)ZE  
0 MAX  
0 FARE  
7.5 ROVES (Y)O for 6--no way--not fishing to EEORSV
2.9 (R)OTI  
10.3 AD  
5.3 (V)IE (V)OE (why do I make these mistakes???)
2.8 OLEA  
1.4 WARTY YURTA (keep AW instead of AU)
2.1 URI(C) AURI(C)
14.5 UNA(U) (block)  
0* VU(G)GIER  
#7 - L - Hollington    
0 DIF  
0 RI(FE)R  
0.2 PL(Y)  
11.9 UNTO  
2.3 WENT  
0 HM  
3.1 (R)EX  
0* WA(R)K WA(R)KS would have blocked bingo
15 sTO(P)S  
#8 - W - Clinchy    
1.9 BOURG  
1.8 XI  
0 OAF  
42.1 lose turn (GUARInI*)  
0.8 (P)IU  
0.2 HEGIRA  
7 Z(I)T  
5.6 KHIS effectively kills the board
3.2 LO(AM) stupid to get greedy for bingo and risk Evan bingo
0 MIGRaN(T)  
0 SEL  
#9 - W - Grillo    
2.7 VOWER  
0 FiNALIZ(E)  
0 FIRM  
0 EX  
0 YETT  
8.4 JOSH (kills best line)  
14.3 ORA (avoids creating line)  
70 L(I)TE (C)ALAMITE (unsure)
0 O(D)A  
24.7 (Z)A (imperfect word knowledge so I fear empty bag)  
0 IMPI  
#10 - L - Rau    
0 JOB  
0 SEI  
0 VIG(I)A  
0 (R)UMPLE  
12 AI  
52.5 lose turn - WING(M)ATE*  
30.5 lose turn - ANTIW(A)GE*  
3.4 WAG  
0.6 NEE  
0 BOD  
7.4 Q(A)T  
17 (BI)N  
#11 - L - Weinstein    
5.4 TAS  
0.1 K(A)IN  
11.7 YOM unsure of (BEACH)Y and certain that Ian would know
0 GOD  
0 DE  
3 -TTUV  
0 MOBS  
3.3 FIZ (sets up (FE)W) WIZ
0 WAW  
27.4 (D)IRGE (D)ESIRInG,G(A)SIfIER (unsure),G(R)ISlIER,(T)
IGERISh,(R)ERISInG (unsure)    
0 OH  
11.8 (S)IR (DOM)E/(LOAD)ER
#12 - W - Seales    
3.7 QU(O)D  
14.9 FLE(E)TING FE(T)TLING (unsure)
29.8 lose turn (E)YNA* (needed to test Cynthia) (D)YNE
7.7 (E)NVY  
14.2 EXACTEd (E)XECrATE (unsure)
2.3 PA(W)  
15.7 UNTO  
0 IF  
17.9 PA  
2.3 JOE  
15 V(I)NO unsure of (BRAZE)R
#13 - W - Mandel    
0 A(J)EE  
1.7 (R)AISONnE (better if u count it as 77 instead of 74)  
7.5 EF  
0 WA(I)N  
0 X(I)  
0 ENCHA(s)ED  
0 WUD  
17.9 HO(P) RHIZO(M)A
0 (M)AZE  
#14 - L - Milton    
5.3 (KI)VA  
0.1 NEG  
6.7 IOTA  
2.3 LI block b/c Dan telegraphed bingo rack
9.8 -DLRUU (NZ) (need to draw critical S or ?)  
0 PEW  
0 YUAN  
7.3 Y(UM)  
12.5 REC  
27 challenge (DEER)S  
0 E(X)  
#15 - W - Schoneboom    
0 LEK  
0.3 FIDO  
10.9 A(G)ILE AECIdI(A)L (chickened out),CILI(C)E
18.4 T(O)XIC (block lines)  
22.9 BRUMEs ZE(B)Ec!!!
16.7 ZOA  
0 QI  
0 GN(A)W  
0 NA  
#16 - W - Tier    
0.6 I(N)CAGE  
6.8 DAHL  
9.8 VOE (block)  
14.9 (O)F (weak block)  
0 BA(N)TY  
0 Q(U)I(L)T  
7.4 K(A) (block)  
7.6 V(E)T(O)  
13 W(A)G (try to stick Steve with Z)  
0 DENS  
#17 - W - Tangredi    
0 JEE  
0.1 HESSIAn  
2.6 Q(I)  
0 WAX  
7.4 CE(C)A  
8.2 TEO(A) BEM(A) (just ensure enuf 2 chicken out)
0.3 L(A)MB  
4.3 RES(I)N  
9.3 GOT GO(BY)
5.4 GINGER  
4.5 HM  
0 WAN(L)Y  
1 T(R)U(E)D  
0 FRET  
#18 - L - Tangredi    
5.2 FIE 8F  
7.5 ENNUI  
3.5 VUM  
0 AB(Y)ES  
0 YA  
1.7 GIE  
2 (T)WO  
0.7 RA(J)  
2.4 Z(A)  
0 V(AR)  
8 TaG  
#19 - L - Tangredi    
3 FET FETE (risky to give up lone vowel)
0 PEW  
5.2 L(E)Z  
0 (MA)UVE  
0 (B)IRL  
14.3 LI greedy for irrelevant spread  
0 QI  
0 HADR(O)N  

1 - W - 8.6 (146.1)
2 - W - 4.3 (60.4)
3 - W - 2.2 (31.3)
4 - L - 8.0 (104.2)
5 - W - 0.6 (6.6)
6 - W - 4.0 (56.4)
7 - L - 3.5 (45.2)
8 - W - 6.4 (89.9)
9 - W - 8.6 (120.1)
10 - L - 7.9 (103)
11 - L - 4.6 (65)
12 - W - 10.6 (137.8)
13 - W - 3.8 (45.8)
14 - L - 12.7 (202.7)
15 - W - 10.5 (137)
16 - W - 6.5 (97.7)
17 - W - 5.6 (84.6)
18 - L - 3.3 (46.6)
19 - W - 3.4 (4)

Avg: 6.1

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