BY11 - Retcon




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Saturday, March 20, 2010


That's what she said.

Actually, "please reconsider."

Kind of an odd way to phrase her futile request, I thought. Most women, bound like she was, in the middle of the woods, far from help, would not have had that degree of composure. In response I knelt down and slowly whispered in her ear, "it's my birthday", but I'm honestly doubting that my this calmed her down. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Flashing back to a few hours earlier, I lay on a massage table belonging to a busty lovely named Sandra and trying to not think about my 7-5 record. After a 3-1 start, going 4-4 on Saturday, my birthday, I needed to indulge myself. The massage was just the warmup, mind you. Birthdays for me involved an obligatory good meal followed by obligatory sexy time, and the hands of a hot women rubbing all over my body (fix that image in your minds, will you, loyal readers) was a great warmup for both. The icing on the cake would be the roping, but it was much too early for that.

Yeah, getting rubbed was certainly better than losing to Randy Greenspan for the 2nd time, in that final game of the day. Just like in that first game, I had a phony bingo challenged off early, OUTPEER* (confused with OUTPREEN), and Randy then proceeded to bingo five times and beat me by a whopping 354!!! I hadn't been pounded like that since that first that I had been reconfined to prison.

A couple of games before that, I faced the infamous and prolific rapper T-Payne for the first time, and he proved that there was more to him than Auto-Tune. Showing smarts doubtless learned from all his years living on the hard streets of Atlanta, T blocked my S hook setup with EA(T)H, and I fell into his trap!!! I had POWS/(BABU)S for 40, and instead I play the phony for just 4 more points and cost myself the game. Stupid.

Annotated Game

Not that I botched ever game, by any means. I earned my win against Dr. Weinstein, unlike in Charlotte, where I just got lucky. And to think I could have totally screwed the game up if I had opened with FLOUD* to try and draw a challenge so I could get an E for OUTFIELD. Thank heavens I've progressed from those silly days.

Annotated Game

And a couple of games before that I turned a rough start around by getting B(E)HOOD* past Jan Dixon and then playing a nearly perfect game for the win. You'd think that my improved skills and my shiny new rating would have meant I was a lock to finally have a chance with Jan, but it appeared I had missed my window. Or so I told myself, to make myself feel better. In truth, I probably never had a chance, just like I've probably never had a chance with most every woman I've ever met, going all the way back to my childhood.

This season on the ABC network, there is a smart comedy called Modern Family, and one of the characters on that show is a Colombian youngster named Manny who regularly obsesses over this girl or that girl. Though not yet fat, like I am now, I can relate to Manny and his failures with the young ladies. A boy can take only so much before frustration turns to rage, and before that rage boils over.

It was a hot August in Houston, the 15th if I remember correctly in the year of 1980 and 7. I was 14, my manhood was blooming, and I was noticing girls everywhere. I was rather immature, though, and I could not find a girlfriend to save myself. I often retreated into the woods behind our house to escape from my teenage angst--I'm still not sure why Thoreau went, but amongst the trees I lost myself in memories of younger and happier days.

Sometimes I left the woods and went exploring instead in construction zones, typically unfinished neighborhoods. In a child's imagination, the skeletons of unfinished houses and buildings in the night took on an appealingly eerie air. It was in one such house, on that fateful day, that I made a life-altering discovery. It was a windless night, and all I heard were the crickets chirping as I entered the house through its doorless frame and fished my flashlight out of my knapsack. There was no glass on the windows, and one wall was unfinished, and the effect of the open space on the sound inside the house was to confuse me into thinking the music I suddenly heard was coming from somewhere else. After a minute or two, though, it seemed more and more than the music was coming from inside the house, and this both made me nervous and aroused my curiosity. I walked up the wooden stairs and followed the sound of the music to a room where a boy were going at it.

The music, a song by Hall and Oates I think, was not blaring, but it was still loud enough that the couple did not hear my approach. In an instant, my heart filled with rage. The frustration that had been growing along with my budding sexuality finally boiled over, and before I, or the couple, knew it I had pulled the boy off the girl and wrapped one of my ropes around his arms, then another around his feet. By that time the girl had gotten and was shouting at me, and I grabbed a brick that happened to be on the floor and threatened to smash her boyfriend's skull if she didn't quiet down. With this threat I was able to compel the boy to stop struggling, and the girl to sit against a beam so I could tie her up as well.

At this point it occurs to me that I'm probably still getting ahead of myself, because you might be wondering what I was doing with so much rope in my bag. Well, the explanation for that is actually pretty simple. A few years before, after I started collecting comic books, I discovered a local shop called Roy's House of Memories. After visited the shop regularly for a while, the owner happened to ask one day if I wanted some part-time work. My parents were okay with this, and I went on to spend a lot of time in the shop. The owner was a fan of old radio and TV westerns, I was routinely exposed to the stories of Gene Autry, Lash Larue, Whip Wilson, and countless other cowboys who wielded lassos and whips and used them quite effectively. I soon bought some rope of my own and began to practice the art of lassoing. My parents would not let me by a whip, but I bought additional rope and fashion a makeshift whip of my own. I also reconferred with my old Cub Scout master and reconditioned my fading ability to tye knots, something I had excelled in when younger but later forgotten about.

After a couple of years, I was actually pretty good with a rope, and that's how I was able to tie that boy up so quickly, though in truth luck and the elementn of surprise probably had a lot to do with it. And the fact that both the boy and girl were naked. As I would find out time and time again over the course of my life, people are often at their most vulnerable when naked.

The girl, naked and bound, was vulnerably indeed, and oh, so pretty. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted. Actually, I'd be lying if I said I didn't try to have my way with her, but the sad fact is that I was just 14 and inexperienced and scared out of my mind. l could not make anything happen, and after a short while my fear overwhelmed me and I ran away as fast as I could.

After a few days, once I calmed down and decided that I would never be identified or caught, I remembered how exciting it had been to tie up that couple. I started to fancy myself as some type of urban cowboy, and I had visions of myself riding on my bicycle, lasso swinging in the air, and roping some cute young filly. I envisioned her being so impressed with my roping skills that she would fall madly into my arms. As you might imagine, that's not exactly how my roping adventures would turn out.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes, Saturday night, 4-4 record on the day, my birthday, followed a massage from busty Sandra, and then off to El Buen Gusto (in Tamarac), a Colombian restaurant she had suggested. The restaurant was closed, which was odd for a Saturday night around 7:30 PM. I went to plan B and headed out to US-441 and south, and eventually, after passing up the blocks of Asian restaurants and then Caribbean restaurants, I encountered found Los Cobanos, a Salvadoran restaurant. I walked in prepared to settle for fried yucca, but I was surprised to find tostones on the menu. This is atypical of the Salvadoran menus I have seen.

Next, I headed out to a Starbucks in Ft. Lauderdale to get on the interest and look for my sexy time. You'd think, in a place like south Florida, this would be an easy task. But you'd be wrong. Sure, there was no shortage of ads on and Craig's List, but this was misleading. Most of the ads belonged to women who want to rob you, women acting as a front for men who want to rob you, women who are really men, and women who are just plain fugly hiding behind fake ohotos. In short, women out to get you. I mean, all women are ultimately out to get you, if you are a man, but these women are particularly devious about it. Now don't get me wrong--with time and patience, there was genuine sexy time to be had, but I was racing against the clock. Even if it hadn't been late, around 10:00 PM, my threshold of tolerance for fake ads would not have been very high. I had to find the right girl before I was overcome by boredom, and that night I was unsuccessful. This is really sad if you think about it, that a man can't get his sexy time even if he's willing to shell out the cash.

But that's just the way it is with women, isn't it--they exist to make men's lives miserable. Even when things seem like they are going well, they are not going well. Perhaps I am jaded, but not without good reason. As I've already described, my troubles with women started when I was young, and they continued throughout my high school years. It was not until I reached college that I finally found a girlfriend, sort of, and believe it or not that situation ended up screwing me up even worse. It's been a long time, but let me see if I can reconstruct the details.

Her name was Melissa Hubbard, a second year student at the University of Texas at Austen. I lived in an all-male (at the time) residence hall, Brackenridge, and the closest dining hall was in another dorm called Jester, but mid-way through my first year I had learned that the atmosphere was much better across campus in the Andrews dining hall. That's where I met Melissa, and over the course of our second year we became close and went out a few times. At the end of that school year, we became physically intimate for the first time, just one day before Melissa went back to College Station for the summer.

I spent that summer interning at Exxon and eagerly awaiting my return to the university so I could reconnect with Melissa, although that eagerness was tinged with trepidation in the month before our return to school. Melissa had spent most of the summer at some program, and on the day after she was supposed to return home, I waited until the hour seemed reasonable and called her house. I was shocked when her father answered and abruptly told me not to call again. I was shocked and stunned, and a month or so later when I returned to UT, I was hoping more than anything that Melissa's father had simply never given her the message.

Imagine then, how I must have felt when I finally saw Melissa watching TV in the living room and went up to talk to her onlt to have her walk away. I later tried giving her note, but she crumpled it up without looking at it. Think of how cruel this must have seemed to a boy who had never before had a girlfriend, and who had no earthly idea what had gone wrong. I tried finding answers through a mutal friend, to no avail, and later via the head resident--nothing. My attempts finally landed me at the UT Police Station, where a detective named Sawyer coldly explained to me that he chould have chosen to cart me out of the dorm in handcuffs instead of leaving me a message to come in voluntarily. One I agreed not to recontact Melissa, the matter was finished, as far as the University and the police department was concerned, but the scars that incident left would last forever.

Unable to recontact Melissa, I had to deal with my frustration in a different manner. Classes would not start for a few days, and so I took off in the Acura my father had finally allowed me to take, and I sped away from Austin, Depeche Mode blaring on the stereo. It was late, maybe 1:00 AM, when I stopped for gas and food in the small town of Ford, TX. The town wasn't Austen, by any means--there was no place to eat at that hour. In my driving around I got myself a bit lost, and instead of finding my way back to the interstate I ended up heading out of town in a different direction, when walking along the road I spotted a young woman.

Some 17 years later, on Sandra's massage table, she would express surprise that I had just turned 38--she had guessed I was some 10 years younger. Well, at the age of 20 I looked pretty much like a high schooler, if that old, and that's probably why the girl was not scared when I offered her a ride. She had had a falling out with some friends and ended up walking back to her home in Cooper, about 10 miles away. Halfway there I made a fateful decision and made an abrubt turn onto a side rode and floored it until I passed what appeared to be a warehouse and pulled into the back.

The girl, Charlotte, was naturally freaking out, but it was nearly 2:00 in the morning in the middle of nowhere, and there was no one to hear her. Given her panicked state, it was easy to drag her out of the car, slapping her a few times to discourage her struggling, throw her on the ground, and tie her up with the rope I had behind my seat. I had not done much roping, really, since that first time back in '87, just a few practice runs once I got my driver license, but this girl was small and in shock and not really difficult to handle. It would be years before I was able to tackle women who were likely to fight back.

It suppose I should now explain the concept of escalation, for those who are not familiar. You can google this, or watch episodes of Law & Order: SVU (essential a documentary series about sexual crimes)--the topic is not recondite. Basically the idea is that sexual predators often start with minor assaults, maybe not even assaults at all, and gradually progress to more serious crimes. Voyeurism, for example, then exposing themselves, then subway groping, and so on--you get the idea. In the same manner, my roping had become more "serious" with which incident, as I became bolder, and this girl Charlotte did not get off as easy as that original girl had, five years earlier. I won't insult anybody's intelligence by saying she was asking for the rope, but I had to take out my frustrations on somebody. If anybody is to blame, it's Melissa Hubbard.

Well, Melissa Hubbard, countless other women who have recontaminated my heart over the years, and Scrabble. Had I not blown a couple of games on Saturday, and had I been able to add correctly on Friday, I would have been at 9-3 or 10-2 and in a great mood that night. Yes, I said "add". To back up a bit, Friday evening was a bit of a frazzle-fest. Heck, the day had started to go awry as early as 4:03 in the AM, when I realized I must have been tossing and turning for at least an hour. I can't say why my mind wouldn't stop racing. I wasn't nervous about the tournament, not after playing almost 18 weekends in a row. I wasn't nervous about being on the no-fly list--I'd already successfully checked in for my flight. I certainly wasn't nervous about the possibility of a homicide indictment--my narcissism and my belief in the superiority of my genius had me convinced that no police agency could ever link me to any murders. Yes, there were other activities I'd undertaken with a lesser degree of care, activities which might possibily be traced back to me, especially with the increased usage of DNA testing, but I was confident that the authorities were too busy to pursue any given case for more than a few weeks or months. So why couldn't I sleep?

Despite my lack of sleep, I managed to get some "work" done at "the office" before heading to Newark Liberty International Airport. Even after missing the shuttle bus stop for Terminal A and having to take the AirTrain back, I reached the terminal in time to stop by the bookstore. I needed a replacement for Netherland, which I moved from my car up to my "office" after finishing God Is Not Great. I chose John Grisham's The Associate, and before I bought the paperback I skimmed a few pages to make sure I had not already read it. The story began with the main character, Kyle McAvoy, being accosted by a pair of FBI agents who threatened him with a rape indictment. What an interesting coincidence, I thought.

The plane landed at FLL right on time, another disappointment. Once more, my plane had failed to crash. A shocking and puzzling desire, for your, but there is a reason, a way to recontextualize such a dark desire into a positive light, but that's a story for a future blog. I drove out of the rental car center about when I had planned, in a shiny black HHR, great because the back seats fold all the way down. With some padding, the I can essentially reconfigure the HHR, as I do my Honda fit, into a mini hotel. None had been available the last few times I rented, and I'd had to curl up on the back seats--much less comfortable. With the HHR, all I had to do was go over to Wal-Mart for padding and a pillow. For $13.59, I was comfortable enough, and I had to laugh at the folly of people like Sherrie who would have me burn cash on a room. Not only a waste of money, but an ineffective way to make the best use of the 30 feet of rope in my trunk.

I called Milla to reconfirm the appointment we had talked about a day or two earlier. Milla was an massage therapist from Russia who, though older, had great hands. Great enough that when she told me, back in Denver, where I last saw her, that she would be moving to Florida, I made a mental note. A few days before my trip I finally looked up her number, and she said she would be available Friday evening. But when the time came, she said he had gotten booked up, and all of a sudden I was looking at not getting my pre-tournament good-luck massage. I quickly altered my plans, changed direction, and reconsigned myself to a therapist named Michelle at the Wellness Center in Hollywood. I had been frazzled and disappointed when I arrived, but her magic hands managed to reconsole me. But eveen cutting it short I was not able to make it to the Courtyard in Ft. Lauderdale to avoid losing time off my block. I had lost over 8 minutes, and while this usually wouldn't be a problem, not against one of the bottom players in the group, Larry Gradus was drawing like a fiend. So I was not only struggling to make up time, but also to keep up. I managed a 47-point phony, ALCYD*, and I would have won the game on that basis if I not misadded one of Larry's turns. Yes, I was confirming the scores with him, but Larry either made the same mistake or just wasn't paying attention. The upshot was that despite my recounting, twice (during the game and then after), that first game was recorded as a loss by 1 point when it should have been a win! Yes, I reconsulted the rules, but I already knew the score could not be fixed.

Annotated Game

I did manage to win the next three games, though it sure didn't look like it after I lost a turn trying a stupid phony, UNMILLS*, against Robert Kahn. Though his rating might have slipped, I knew full well he had been in the 1800s and was no piker. Fortunately I got the turn back when he challenged (C)ALDRONS, and I ended up with the win.

I tried to play thru that game quickly so I could rush out for food, but the Chinese restaurant (Shue Mei) was farther than I thought, and slow with my order. I had nearly four minutes off my clock against Michael Wolfberg, and my attempt to make up time might have led me to overlook his (TERM)E* phony. Hard to say if I would have challenged anyway given he had his PIOLETS hook elsewhere, but I should have seen the play. I managed to turn the momentum around though and win that game pretty big.

Another big win, against Aldo Cardia (our first tournament game?), and despite his bingoing with GYMNaST(S) for 92 (nice) and cRAFTIN(G) for 86. Almost blew it though, by nearly missing the open E for CAROTEN(E). To that point I was really playing like crap and probably didn't deserve a 3-1 record.

My tournament was still looking pretty good going into Saturday morning, when I managed a win against Ron Tiekert. I got some good tiles, and luckily I did not have to play with any time off my clock, though not for trying. The night before I had rushed off on a 25-mile drive to get close to a pair of new Starbucks in Miami and Miramar, after stops at Wal-Mart, for supplies, and Starbucks, to find a cup that I could reconvert into a portajohn for the night. There's usually cups on the floor or on tables, but it was nearly 11:00 and the store lobby was closed. I actually had to reach into a garbage can to pull out a cup, which turned out to be from Pollo Tropical. Some people might find that gross, but if you'd spent as much time as I had sucking cocke for Scrabble, reaching into a garbage can ain't no thang.

Anyway, it took me a while to find a good parking space that night, and somehow I managed to confuse myself in the middle of the night. I thought I had plenty of time when I left the new store in on Miami Gardens Dr and headed north to the next one. Problem was, I had parked near the wrong store, and I really needed to head south. I had to turn around, and my reaching the Courtyard just minutes after the tournament reconvened was only possible because south Floridians drive crazy fast--85-95 MPH was not uncommon along stretches of interstate.

Annotated Game

My tiles were crazy good against Dennis Taylor , back to back FRAZILS and PrEFERS, then two more bingos late in the game for a huge win, but then I started to run into trouble. With low-rated John Scalzo is was the inevitable scrubbagging, and then against Randy Greenspan I played an absolutely horrible game, starting with missspeling MURANe(I)D*. Despite this I drew the other blank, and all around great tiles, but I managed to fuck up the win in about half a dozen ways.

Annotated Game

Thus you can see why I was so frustrated at the end of Saturday and needing to celebrate and get me some sexy time. After failing on the Internet, my final option was to look up strip clubs in the area. It was time for my annual strip club visit anyway, usually (but not that night) preceded by my monthly shower. After passing up Diamond Dolls because they insisted on charing $5 for parking and a $10 cover which I had to pay before even getting to see the club, I kept driving and found the Booby Trap, where I only paid $1/$5, and where the dances out on the floor were just $10. The girls weren't that pretty--I'd say there wasn't a single 9 or 10 in the joint, but that didn't really matter for what I had in mind.

Now, what I'm about to describe you really shouldn't try, because it is extremely dangerous. Strippers, and the people they work for, are an extremely cautious, often paranoid, lot, because the customers that patronize those type of places can sometimes be creeps, pervents, and even psychopaths. Some like to fall in love with the strippers and persist in trying to date them, and some even go so far as trying to approach them after work. Strippers are ware of this, and they are often escorted out to their cars after their late night shifts. All these factors make the idea of trying to rope a stripper an extremely hazardous proposition, and in truth I had a lot of dangerous encounters, some high-speed car chases even, before I finally managed one. Practice makes perfect, however, and by my 38th birthday I pretty much had my technique down.

One key element was to discreetly observe the strippers at the club to find out which ones seemed least likely to be aggressive and fight back. After that, a part that was particularly tough for me was simply waiting until the club closed, because of that whole boredom thing. I had to make sure, however, to leave the club before it closed, because strippers and bouncers are particularly ware of unknown characters who wait until the end. I couldn't simply leave early and sit in my car either, because that attracted attention. No, I had to find a place where I could park where I could observe the cars leaving the lot, something that is not possible at all clubs. Luck was on my side that night though (if not earlier that day over the Scrabble table), and I found a good vantage point where I was able to get a view of the girls as they drove off and spot one of the likely targets I had identified. Now don't get me wrong--roping a stripper isn't nearly as easy as I'm making it sound. I'd say that 19 out of 20 times the girl I choose to follow never puts herself in a situation in which I can make use of my rope.

That night, however, the stripper, who had gone by the name Zoe in the club, made things really easy for me. When I tapped her rear bumper at a light on a dark stretch of road, she actually got out of the car. Everybody, whether a stripper or a schoolteacher, should know that you never get out of a car in the middle of night to deal with an accident. Unless you are armed, you stay in the car and call the police. But she got out, and next thing she knew she was bound and gagged and lying on the pavement in the parking lot of an industrial park that I had scoped out earlier. Once I looked into her eyes and ensured myself that she understood that I would hurt her if she screamed, I loosed the gag. Okay, she actually did try to scream, but I quickly quieted her and managed to reconvince her that I wasn't playing around.

As I said before, I was surprised by her plea for me to "reconsider", because that's a fairly big word for the typical stripper. She must have been a college student, I figured, and I did feel a little bad (that's how you know I'm not a psychopath, because I actually feel bad), but goddamn it it was my birthday and I was entitled to have a good time!!! Right??? Please agree with me--I need to believe this in order to reconcile my roping with my belief that I'm a good person.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I noticed that Larry Rand continues to post links to external blogs on CGP. When I first saw this weeks earlier, I asked him if Sherrie had said anything to him about this. As I expected, she had not, because of course CGP has no rule about posting links to external content, and of course I was suspended not for breaking a rule because Sherrie doesn't like me. The fact that my suspension happened after a blog in which I expressed my discontent at comments Sherrie was making about me in Charlotte--that can't be a coincidence. Thing is, I doubt Sherrie has time or inclination to read my blog, but there is always some asshole (or, in Terryspeak, ASSHOLE) out there willing to try and stir up trouble by forwarding the contents of blogs to people who would otherwise not see them.

Sherrie's injustice was not what I am really trying to reconvey, however, but rather her inane comments in Charlotte about how I needed to "grow up" and sleep in hotels. Not my car, not even hostels when overseas, but hotels. Besides coming off as smug from somebody who admittedly has a lot of money, her remarks also came off as clueless, because she has no idea just how much more interesting sleeping in a hostel, around other people, or in a car, in some random part of the city, is compared to a boring hotel room. I would expect her, or anybody of any degree of intelligence, to realize this. There is another aspect of my sleeping habits, however, that I would not expect her to guess.

I am often asked in interviews WHY I am trying to visit every Starbucks in the world. I give a variety of answers all related to wanting to do something different, but I can never give the true answer. Yes, it is true that I conceived of my Starbucking project in the summer of 1997, but the idea did not come to me at random. A few weeks earlier, I had suffered a close call during one of my roping expeditions, and I was wracked with nerves. I had not secured one of the knots properly, and the girl had managed to get an arm loose and pull off my ski mask. That meant she could identify me to a police sketch artist, and that meant there was a possibility I could be caught. I resolved to never again rope in the city where I lived, and I brainstormed ideas for how I could embark on extensive cross-country travels without making my friends and family suspicious. Then I dreamed up Starbucking, and my stroke of genius turned out to be the best idea I had ever had, a brilliant reconceptualization of the great American Road Trip, if I do say so myself.

Most criminals are caught because they are stupid, and one glaring manifestation of their stupidity is that they commit crimes in proximity to where they live and work. This makes it infinitely easier for the police to locate and apprehend them. By spreading my roping out across the country, no one police agency had enough information to zero in on me. Of course, if I had been out killing people, local and state agencies would have started sharing information, and the Feds would have gotten involved. But for a crime as minor as roping women, there was no chance that any agency was going to devote much manpower to the case as long as there were no repeats. I'm sure the police feel like they have seen everything, but they really can reconceive roping the way that I have done.

Once I came up with this idea and started traveling and roping, I realized just how foolish I had been a couple of years earlier when I decided to see how many women I could rope in the same night. I had thought myself so clever in driving all the way up to Kansas City and roping women through the night across various cities in the metroplex. A couple of days later, when I saw that the news of my exploits had gone national, and that the police were taking it seriously (geez, why--it's just rope), I genuinely feared I would be caught and reconvicted. Not so with my new Starbucks-fueled modus operandi. To date I've racked up hundreds of ropes across the country, and I have 100% confidence that the police will never catch on.

Anyway, if it isn't clear already, sleeping in the car affords me much more of any opportunity to find victims to rope than sleeping in a hotel would. See, I really, really love to sleep, and once I find myself in a bed, I am loathe to get up. If I have a mild urge to go out and rope in the middle of the night, chances are my desire to stay in bed will overwhelm my darker passions. But if I'm in a car, it's very easy to start driving around and looking for an unsuspecting filly to rope. Heck, sometimes I just hear somebody passing by, or hop to the front seat to kiwi and spot somebody in the distance. Targets of opportunity, they are called, which would not exist were I in a hotel room.

To lighten the mood a little, I should add that sleeping in the car has some more innocent advantages. My lifestyle does not afford me much opportunity to interact with animals, so I get a kick whenever chance puts some woodland creature in my path. Saturday night it was an opossum, shuffling along the sidewalk just after I had pulled into my camping space. Had I not been in my pajamaes, my first instinct would have been to try and catch the creature so I could keep in the car with me that night for company. How would an opossum react to that, I wonder? Perhaps not as well as ducks, which I encountered in the wee hours of Saturday morning when I was parked next to a pond. Around 6:00 AM I peeked my head out and saw a pair, a couple I think (lucky ducks), waddling towards my car. At 7:45 there were six to a dozen of the creatures all around my car! Exciting! I could not help but wonder--was I somehow attuned to ducks on some metaphysical level? Was that the superpower that I'd been waiting all my life to manifest? I focused as hard as I could and tried to get the ducks to land on my car in unison, but all I managed was to give myself a headache.

Shifting tones, there is another, much darker, reason that I avoid sleeping in hotel rooms. While it's true that roping helps me deal with life's frustrations, it's also very exciting, very addictive, and very, very tempting. Especially when I find myself alone with a person. In a hotel room with somebody else who will soon be asleep, I cannot help but feel the pull of the rope that is alwasy in my bag, and I fear that one day I'll give in and tie my roommate up, and then it will all be over for me. That's why I always push for multiple roommates in the occasions when I do share a room. It's not about the money, but about preventing my dark urges from taking over.

The degree of my addiction to roping became evident recently when I entered into a relationship with a woman who confessed to me that she like to be tied up. I very quickly told her I was not interested, because I knew full well what rope does to me. With a rope in my hand, I become a completely different person, psychopathic even. If I had ever tied this person up, no safe word could have kept me in check. Over the course our relationship she continued to bring up the issue of bondage, and I finally had to break up with her because I feared I would give in one night and do something with rope that she would never forgive. People, listen to me. Rope does horrible things to my psyche. It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde up in my noggin. If you ever see me with rope in my hand, RUN!!! Run fast and run hard and don't look back!

Of course, I would not have to rope so many women if things went my way just a little more, if I were a little less frustrated. Though I managed a better record, 5-3 on Friday, I only managed 3rd place and again failed to garner that 1st place in a multi-day event, something I had not done since Austen in May. Yes, I got my rating back to 1930 and cashed, and despite drawing just 4 out of 16 blanks, but that was only because Randy Greenspan blew his endgame against me. Seems fair, though, after I gave him two games as gifts.

Annotated Game

Given my drawing, I had to earn most of my other wins. Given my lack of sleep, I'm amazed I pulled it off, but I guess I really reconcentrated my efforts that day. On top of a late, late, Saturday night, and found myself unable to sleep past 8:04 on Sunday morning. Sure, I was able to use to the time to get breakfast, to rephotograph a Starbucks (Lyons & Wiles), and to arrive at the hotel on time, but I'd rather have slept more and been late. I'd also rather have had some blanks, but it was T-Payne who thugged them both. Had he not challenged UN(W)OOED, I'd have lost.

Annotated Game

I failed to draw any blanks in my next two games, both against Ian. He killed me that first game, but in the second I raised my game by finding NONEL(E)CT and managed to get the breaks I needed for the win.

Annotated Game

Plenty of time for lunch, but not the desire to drive as far south on US-441 as I had done Saturday night. Went with a closer place, the Island Palace Restaurant instead. Haitian, and, as I hoped, tostones were on the menu. Once again I was able to reach the hotel in time for the start of the round, and once again it was T-Payne who was waiting for me. This time, however, he had managed to program the right frequencies into his Auto-Tune, and his game turned out more melodious.

Annotated Game

Ladies & gentlemen, once again, T-Payne!!!, and once again both blanks to him. But I and reconquered the board in the end.

Annotated Game

And then back to Ian, and I while I managed a blank, I would have needed both to defend against his ammo. I was 3/14 on blanks that day, and it was really frustrating. I felt kind of relieved that I had managed four wins despite, but once I finished my analysis the reason would be clear.

In the last seven games of the tournament, I gave up just 2.8 points per turn, possibly the smallest equity loss of any 7 game stretch I had ever played. This even includes my final game, against Jan Dixon, in which I drew killer tiles, the best I'd seen since round 6. Despite just winning 3rd, I still managed to reconstitute my rating back into the top 20, and I was feeling more and more like I deserved to be there.

Monday, March 22, 2010

3:37 AM - Woke up on a side street in Ft. Lauderdale, just miles from the airport.

4:27 - Walked into a bathroom and put my duffel bag down. Its strap caught on my wrist, as if I had been wearing a watch. As far as I can remember, I have not worn a wristwatch since 1995, but all of a sudden I had a memory of walking somewhere, perhaps a foreign land, and noticing that I had a watch on my wrist. Problem is, I couldn't remember if that was a memory of a real even, or a memory of a dream. Is it a sign of insanity when one cannot distinguish "real" life from dreams?


#1 - L - Gradus    
1.4 ANA  
11.6 GEE  
0 W(I)VERN  
4.2 VAC  
14.7 -AGUU (CAL)  
0 ALCYD*  
0 QAT  
8.4 (D)AH  
0 BIRR  
5 NI(M)BUS  
7 EMU  
0 A(G)E(D)  
#2 - W - Kahn    
0 FUG  
0 EAU  
33.9 lose turn (UNMILLS*)  
0 MULL  
1 F(L)IC F(L)OC (unsure)
8 KAT  
6.3 NI(C)AD  
0.2 rESHINES  
5 ION saw NO(R)I but somehow forgot it
#3 - W - Wolfberg    
0 FR(A)Y  
7.6 (T)ERM hoping for big X play
3 GAD  
4.2 GELD  
3.4 (L)OX  
0 ATOM  
0 UR(A)EI  
13.7 INtR(U)DER (G)R(I)D
0 JET  
0 (OP)AL  
#4 - W - Cardia    
2.3 PIA  
0 (J)UGAL  
0 VOLE  
7.3 CAYS I have big X play regardless so block good spot
0 EX  
0* FON kill any bingo chance
0 QIS  
0 WAT  
#5 - W - Tiekert    
0 ZO(A)  
0 EXEC  
0.1 TYPO  
1.9 PINNA  
0 BEG  
11.5 I(N)DRAFTs stupid miss
4 FLYE(R)  
0 DOMIN(G)  
0 EWE  
2 GRIO(T)  
0 (D)EER  
#6 - W - Taylor    
4.2 ADO  
0 QA(ID)  
0 GIG  
0 WOOE(R)  
0.9 I(C)KER  
2 BUNC(O)  
0.7 (BI)TT  
0 TWA  
0 A(B)O  
#7 - L - Scalzo    
0 AX  
0.3 O(G)EE  
0 JIAO  
0 R(O)D  
3.6 (T)RIM  
1.1 BR(I)TT  
13.1 ZIGS  
1.1 OBOL  
1.8 RE(E)F  
15.2 V(A)W demoralized after app 4th bingo
0 DI(N)T  
#8 - L - Greenspan    
0 OBEY  
48.8 lose turn (MURANe(I)D*)  
0.7 DURAMeN  
0.1 Q(U)ICK  
15 VOG(U)ER miss FOVEA overlap
7.1 (K)AY (K)AYO (really missing stuff)
7.4 F(O)RD (C)ORF (wow I'm really sucking)
5.5 OHM  
0 OX  
0 JEEZ  
10.2 VA(T)U (O)U(C)H (that spot is golden and I missed it 4 times!!!)
84 lose turn (WI(T)tLE*)  
#9 - W - Dixon    
4.7 ZI(L)L  
0.9 KNO(B)  
0 CUTO(F)F  
0 B(E)HOOD*  
0 (M)OPE  
0 XI  
2.1 (A)WN  
0 N(U)  
#10 - L - Payne    
0 GR(A)ViDLY  
2.7 BUTT(Y)  
0 (S)ULU  
1.1 W(H)INE  
0 JI(G)  
0 P(I)NY  
2.3 IDES  
0 KEA  
3.2 O(R)A SO(R)A (shoulda burnt the S)
8.9 B(AB)U  
39.8 lose turn ((EATH)S*) WHY DID I TRY IT??? I HAD WOPS FOR 40!!!
0 MOAS  
34.1 (WHINE)R  
0 (J)O  
3 PAW  
#11 - W - Weinstein    
6.8 WONT(E)D  
5.8 WIN(ES)  
11.2 BICEP  
0 PO(L)Y  
35 QAI(D)  
0 (A)X  
0 JE(E)  
#12 - L - Greenspan    
2.5 ZEA(T)IN  
54.8 lose turn (OUTPEER*)  
2.9 RO(Q)UE  
4 W(I)VE  
7.3 POM  
29.8 challenge (BRUCINE)S  
6 LIE(F)  
2.7 AUTO  
0.1 YO  
#13 - W - Payne    
2.4 MEND  
0 GR(AN)NY  
3.7 -DGNTW (ZX)  
13.5 OUZO BIZ!!! (how the fuck did I miss)
4 HA  
8.3 BIT  
0 V(A)RIX  
9.5 QAI(D)  
3.2* W(I)LT  
51.7 (U)SE  
2.4 (F)INK  
#14 - L - Weinstein    
0 QATS  
0 WIG  
3.9 DUO  
0 PON(D)ER  
0 -EEIIIO (E)  
6 PEW  
0.5 (B)A(C)K  
0.5 VIM  
#15 - W - Weinstein    
1.8 AGUE  
0 QUOD  
1.5 AVA  
2 GYM  
3.1 BI(R)KED*  
1 FI(N)O  
3.7 PIA  
3.2 RAX  
0 HIE  
0 YE  
0 MI  
#16 - W - Greenspan    
0 PAX  
2.6 (R)UBEOLA  
0 VEN(O)M  
1.2 FE(U)D  
0 MO(u)LT  
3.3 DR(A)WN  
2.3 (JEER)ED  
0 SKIT  
0* (Z)OONS  
0 BeV(O)R  
#17 - L - Payne    
0.3 TANkARD  
11.2 PUGH  
1.7 H(A)IRDO  
0 QIN(D)AR  
0.7 FL(A)W  
2 FER  
0 (O)X  
4.5 (R)OWEL  
0 (L)EZ  
0 NUT  
3 O(R)T  
0 LEON(E)  
#18 - W - Payne    
4.2 HAIR  
1.2 Q(U)ILL  
2 BOW  
1.8 AFT  
1.6 DIED  
0 DIF  
63.1 U(G)H  
5.5 (C)UE  
9 ION  
23.6 R(AX) Quackle crazy.
4 SIZE  
1 OR  
0 O(I)  
#19 - L - Weinstein    
0 LOX  
0 TUTU  
2.5 WIPE(O)UT  
0 SCaRF(I)NG  
0 A(G)AVE  
35.8 lose turn (SEAW(O)MAN)  
0 MAW  
#20 - W - Dixon    
0.7 HAKI(M)  
17 PF(U)I  
0 VE(XI)L  
0 A(G)LOW  
0 MI(K)E  
0 J(E)T  

1 - L - 4.6 (64)
2 - W - 8.1 (105.1)
3 - W - 2.5 (32.5)
4 - W - 5.4 (70.5)
5 - W - 2.7 (31.9)
6 - W - 1.0 (12.3)
7 - L - 3.0 (36.2)
8 - L - 14.7 (178.8)
9 - W - 0.8 (11.4)
10 - L - 6.3 (95.1)
11 - W - 9.9 (128.7)
12 - L - 9.4 (103.1)
13 - W - 8.0 (111.6)
14 - L - 2.0 (21.7)
15 - W - 1.3 (16.3)
16 - W - 0.9 (9.4)
17 - L - 1.8 (23.4)
18 - W - 8.2 (122.4)
19 - L - 4.3 (43.3)
20 - W - 1.4 (18.2)

Avg: 4.8

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