BY13 - The Wreckage






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Friday, April 2, 2010

I think I have to blame Scott Appel for this one. His play of tITH(A)BLE in the twelfth round of the Princeton Classic really flustered me. I had a distinct memory of having run through the list of 8-letter ABLE and ABLY words just months earlier, but I had no memory of TITHABLE.

I was anagramming that list as I drove up the New Jersey Turnpike--this isn't usually a problem, because I only need to glance at an anagram for less than half a second before returning my eyes to the road. When I hit ABEHILTT, however, I immediately saw the word and thought back to how I had once again failed to win a multi-day event. My eyes lingered a bit too long, and when I looked up I saw myself just a couple of seconds away from crashing into some ASSHOLE who had decided to apply his brakes on the turnpike. YOU NEVER USE YOUR BRAKES ON A FREEWAY, DAMMIT!!!

The situation shouldn't have been a problem, because I have plenty of experience dealing with brake-using assholes, but there just happened to be a DUMBASS to my left, riding my blind spot, something else YOU SHOULD NEVER DO!!! I swerved left, and while it appeared that I would certainly hit the dumbbass car I managed to jerk the wheel back to the right in time. Of course this meant I would have hit the asshole, except that I managed to cut across a lane and a half of traffic quickly enough to avoid that collision as well. No time to feel relieved, however, because to my left there was a crashing sound and behind me there was a loud horn alerting me to the fact that a TRACTOR TRAILER was barrelling towards me. I managed to avoid getting pancakes by continued to cut right across the lanes, and this had the effect of causing a car in the rightmost lane to swerve out of my way and right into the path of the truck, which caught the back corner of the car and caused it to swerve around.

As I drove on, I saw two different collisions in my rearview mirror, one in the left most lane where the dumbass had swerved into the path of some speeding car, and one in the second lane involving the car, the truck, and at least two or three other vehicles that I could see. I however, had not actually hit anybody or been hit, and as far as I was concerned that meant I had no legal obligation to stuck around and get involved in all that wreckage. Plus, I was hungry.


I made my usual stop at La Perrada de Caliche in Elizabeth, and as I walked back to my car a woman, late 20s maybe, asked if she could have a quarter to make a phone call. I offered to let her use my phone instead, but I did so with caution because this girl looked like a bit of a wreck. She was probably only in her early 20s, but her face and body looked like she'd seen a lot of wear and tear. Lots of acne, bruises and scabs on her arms. As soon as I handed her the phone I wondered if that was a good idea, if she'd try to run with it. Ordinarily I wouldn't really be worried about anybody outrunning me, but I had a container of yummy Colombian food in my hands. She didn't run, though, and I retrieved my phone and hoped that whoever she had called wouldn't think to try and call me back later (that's happened before).


I crossed into Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel intending to take the Williamsburg Bridge, but at the last second I changed my mind and continued east on Houston to 1st Avenue and north to the Queensborough Bridge. It's pretty easy to find camping spaces in Brooklyn and Queens regardless, but the process is generally easier coming off the Queensborough Bridge and taking a side street off Northern Boulevard towards the river. I drove for just a couple of minutes before I found a space behind a van that was up on blocks and in front of a building that had been demolished.



Saturday, April 3, 2010

Good thing I didn't arrive at the Adria (too) late, because Ginger was a bit of a wreck due to XXX's (some Filipino dude from Jersey) dropping out because he was stuck in traffic (wuss). She was talking about a bye in the top division, and I quickly persuaded her that it was more common to give the bye to the bottom division. Ginger moved everybody up, and Sue Gable, spurred on by cheering and clapping from her friends, seemed only to happy to be promoted to Division A.

My first game was ridiculous. Steve Tier gave up his second and fifth turns, but he drew like a fiend and was never far away from catching up. On top of this, I missed the hook for GAUZIER, and this forced me into a close endgame that I won by just 12 points. Not a great start.

The top group ended up being 10 players, not 8, and for some reason that screwed up the pairings for me and had me playing Frank Tangredi and Marjorie Schoneboom in rounds 2 and 3. Frank opened with IGNITES and then scored 49 for AX and 40 for MEDIC. His scoring forced me to play two phonies, KAIGHS* and PLA(G)UIER* to keep up, but Frank continued to score like a fiend and wreck my chances of an 8-0 event. All of a sudden I regretted the foolish post I had made to LJ that had encouraged him, Marje, and Eric to play.

I drew better against Marjorie and stayed in the game until the end of the middle, when she got down easy-ass ENTERI(N)G and the better tiles through the end. This, after she had opened with nARRATE and forced me to respond with a much more difficult bingo, INBUILt. Two losses meant meeting my expectation and getting back over 1900 was unlikely, and that meant the tournament would be a wreck even if I won.

I had my only easy game of the tournament against Jack Eichenbaum, although I credit myself for finding cOMAKER to open and later playing through a host of bad racks to finally bingo against with TRA(N)CHeD*.

Fifth game, 1443 Adam Townsend had the chance to turn my tournament into an undisputed train wreck, but he missed the critical bingo.

Annotated Game


Sixth game, 1392 Sue Gable also had a shot. She could have played CANON(I)SE or SONANCE to lead by about 90 points while I held EEENOTW. Instead she gave me an extra turn to play EWE and draw into a bingo, but I played the wrong one, and that allowed Sue to regain the momentum. I pulled it out, but that was a third game that I should have lost.

Annotated Game


Think about that. Had my opponents played their tiles correctly, I could have been at 1-5 in a very weak field. Can you imagine what I wreck I would have been later that night???

Next game, undefeated Eric Goldstein. He was on a tear, and if his opening RESCORE was any indication, he was going to trample over me too. Funny thing is, he misplayed his bingo, hooking my ULU on the wrong side. I grumbled and criticized Eric for this... and then I proceeded to misplay my bingo, not seeing the (RESCORE)D hook for NEEDIER. Wow, how much of a schmuck did I look like after that?

I redeemed myself, however, when I looked at my play of BAY for 28 and decided to take a chance on BAYAMO for an extra 10 points and turnover. I not only picked up a blank for a bingo the next turn, but Eric challenged, and with my newfound momentum I ran away with the game.

Annotated Game


Final round, not enough spread to face Eric again, which was really too bad, because Marjorie had some kind of sick mojo going on against me. Our last three games she'd had much better draws, and that final game was no exception. Sick, just sick.

Thinking back on the way that Frank and Marjorie, and several of the other players actually, had grabbed up most of the good tiles for themselves, without regard for the wreckage that they were making of my rating, my ranking, my emotional state, and my faith in the fairness of the world, I couldn't help but see an analogy between their behaviour and my selfish and reckless days as a drug dealer.

Loyal readers will remember that back in '99 I did a six-month bid in Huntsville for... well, because the state would rather waste countless taxpayer dollars than admit the hypocrisy that is the prohibition against prostitution. Just as much a waste of tax money is the prison system itself, which does little to actually rehabilitate inmates and much to turn them into better criminals.

In my case, all the sexual assaults I suffered while inside, or rather, that the state inflicted upon me by its failure to provide adequate security, turned me into a bitter, bitter person who felt the need to take out his frustrations on weaker victims in most cruel fashion. My prison time also taught me a thing or two about a thing or two, including some tricks of the drug business. As I've explained before, poor lifestyle choices after prison, including the burden of various addictions and child support, all combined to put me in a precarious financial state. It is thus hardly a stretch of the imagination that it would have occurred to me to try and earn some extra income by supplying drugs to the strippers that I routinely patronized.

Get to know a stripper, and there is a fair chance that she will eventually ask you if you have any drugs. I never did, but eventually it occurred to me that their was money to be made there. The girls would of course try to barter first, but there's only so many lap dances a man can handle, and one blowjob a day is really enough (Tiger Woods might disagree).

Thanks to the contacts I had made in Huntsville, I was able to [word that begins with CO and means something like obtain, contract, collect, garner] a supply of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ecstacy. Actually, the latter I obtained through a connection I made on Craig's List, a chemistry student at Rice with too much time on his hands. Turns out much of what is passed off as X on the street is really just a combination of cocaine and other substances.

Selling to strippers and their friends made me enough money to start paying off some bills, and I might have been find if I had stayed with that, but as always, I was undone by the residual effect of the orange ring (see upcoming blog), and I got greedy. No, I didn't try to expand my operation to the Internet, like this guy, but instead I tried to move into the club scene. Back in those years, my wasted years, I used to hang out at bars and clubs to meet women, and it didn't take long for me to try and start moving product in those joints.

Problem was I was horning in on somebody else's territory, in this case an unseen character referred to only as Durand. At first, I had this image of the type of person who dealt in clubs as being fairly unintimidating, probably from some movie I saw. I tried to be more covert, but I continued dealing in the clubs until one night when I was accosted by two men, Omar and Mikhail, who roughed me up pretty hard and made it clear to me that I would be better off getting out of town.

So that's what I did. I started traveling around the country, sometimes taking contract jobs, as a way to continue dealing without doing it so long in any one place that I attracted attention. I have often been asked in interviews why I started my Starbucking project, and my response is typically that I just wanted to do something different. Oh, how all those interviews would have taken a wild turn if I had been able to tell the truth about why I really started my hobby, as a plausible cover for all my traveling.

Unfortunately, I just wasn't very good at the drug game, and no matter where I went I ran into one kind of trouble or another. Eventually I had to give it up, and without that additional income I ended up filing for bankruptcy, and that eventually led to my other, much more succesful, clandestine line of work (discussed in an earlier blog). Still, in the time that I was dealing I probably helped wreck countless lives. Yeah, you can argue that the strippers were going to get the drugs anyway, with or without me, but there were times when I provided encouragement. Same applied to friends of nightclub contacts, people who might otherwise have never tried a drug if I hadn't assured them it was perfectly safe and non-addictive, that all the warnings were just a media conspiracy. But I convinced myself I was doing what I had to do, and I did not think about the wreckage.

So there you have it. Drug dealing. Hogging power tiles. Basically the same thing. Frank and Marjorie might seem like the nicest of persons, but I suspect that beneath their benign facades rests the spirit of Tony Montana!



Sunday, April 4, 2010

On a lighter note, I was asking Keller why he did not want to go to Bayside. He listed off a bunch of reasons, and I responded that the tournament, though disorganized, would at least be a good idea to visit New York.

With my first (weekend) day without Scrabble since January 9, I decided to take in some culture. First I headed over to MoMA. Foremost on my mind was the Tim Burton exhibit, but when I arrived I learned I needed to buy a separate ticket, for a specific time, and the earliest available was 3:00 PM. That was okay, because I still had plenty of other paintings to see, plus a limited photography exhibit. Also, an intriguing piece of performance art called "The Artist Is Present". I don't really understand what artist Marina Abramovic is trying to say, but I found it interesting that so many people were lined up to participate in the exhibit by sitting across from her, for as long as they liked. During my 2-3 hours there, the same red-haired older woman was still sitting there.

I had to take a break from the museum to go over to the Barrymore Theatre to see David Mamet's Race, my third Broadway play. Coincidentally enough, my first every play on Broadway was also by Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross. I enjoyed race, though not as much as I would have hoped. Still, as a movie buff, I find the experience of seeing live theater refreshing.

As soon as the curtain went down I rushed back to the museum for the Burton exhibit, unsure how much I could see in the 30 minutes before the museum closed. While I'm glad I went back, I did not find that I wanted to spend much more than that looking at dozens upon hundreds of Burton drawings and paintings, plus movie memorabilia.

Finally I went to see The High Line park on Manhattan's west side, a park built above ground level on unused railroad tracks. While not spectacular, the view is different, and I'd recommend a walk along the length of the park if you have time to kill in the City on a pretty day.

All in all, a good day, and a reaffirmation of my belief that New York is the greatest city in the world.



Analysis

#1 - W - Tier    
-------------    
5.7 J(A)VA  
0 (J)UPE  
16.2 AMOEB(O)ID  
0 TO(R)OIDAL  
12.3 OW(E)  
4.3 (N)INNIE*  
1.2 OUTED AUTOED
8.5 (O)F ZAF(T)IG
60.1 GAUZIE(R) miss GAUZIER hook
13.9 OH  
23.8 (I)F  
14.6 (A)G  
0 LIES  
     
     
#2 - L - Tangredi    
-----------------    
0 CLOVE  
10.7 (C)OLZA KAZO(O)
0 KAIGHS*  
0 BO(Y)O  
0 UND(R)APES  
20.4 Q(U)OTA huge miss
1.3 OE  
11.7 YO  
7.4 F(A)G Quacle
17 (D)ENT  
0 DAUN(T)  
     
     
#3 - L - Schoneboom    
-------------------    
3.1 FUZ(E)D  
2.9 PHT  
0 NANCE  
0 INBUILt  
1.6 XE(R)IC  
0 KIVA  
7.3 Q(I)  
0 WAE  
1.2 JO(T)A  
1.9 OLI(O)  
0 (t)OITED  
0 EM  
     
     
#4 - W - Eichenbaum    
-------------------    
0 cOMAKER  
0 WAX  
13.1 BROO FOOTB(OY)
0 FUN  
0 TROT  
0 (A)DZ  
0 GUIL(T)  
0 AVO  
0 TRA(N)CHeD*  
0 (J)OY  
0.1 SANDPIT PANDITS (only 99.9% sure)
0 ANGEL  
0 OM  
     
     
#5 - W - Townsend    
-----------------    
3.9 ZIN UNCIV(I)L
6 V(I)CAR  
0 JUT  
4.9 (P)REFOLD*  
13.5 BAL suck
11.8 EE(R)Y  
3.7 OAK  
2 UM  
9.4 (E)GG  
0 PLEATER  
2 NIGHti(E)S  
     
     
#6 - W - Gable    
--------------    
0.4 IRE  
0 REAR  
2.8 ROVIN(G)  
22.6 U(R)BIA  
14.1 CEE EOCENE
30.1 H(O)E  
21 ENDNOTE TENONED
11.9 W(O)AD  
42.1 DIP D(I)SPIRIT (thought needed 2 eses)
0 TRAGI  
0 STYLIsH  
0 QIs  
0 PEAG  
     
     
#7 - W - Goldstein    
------------------    
0.3 ULU  
7.1 NEEDIER  
0 WAULI(N)G  
0 BAYAMO  
0.1 NOTATeS  
3 WRICK  
9.9 HOES  
0.2 B(O)D  
0 J(E)T  
10.3 DOFF  
0 SETTING  
19 PAGE  
0 N(OD)  
     
     
#8 - L - Schoneboom    
-------------------    
1.1 -BDDQ (NRS)  
0.6 NOR  
1.8 (V)IRION  
0 AWA  
1.7 FAG  
0 COPAY  
5.6 WILD  
18.3 (Q)AID  
0 FOH  
2.4 YE  
2.9 (L)EU  
0 RESTORE  
0 JUKE  


1 - W - 12.4 (160.6)
2 - L - 6.2 (68.5)
3 - L - 1.5 (18)
4 - W - 1.1 (13.2)
5 - W - 5.2 (57.2)
6 - W - 11.2 (145)
7 - W - 3.8 (49.9)
8 - L - 2.6 (34.4)


Avg: 5.5



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