BY15 - Everybody Loves Winter

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Thursday, April 16, 2010

It's not easy being popular.

It's not easy being loved by everybody.

Well, not everybody. Apparently, the tile gods are immune to my charisma. Towit: the box scores from the main event:

Missed Bingo Chances In Games I Lost: 4 (in 2 games) -G(R)AZINGS,(LI)TTORALS,CEL(A)DONS,RAISINS
# Times Opponent Bingoed First: 9
Blanks: 11/30
Power Tiles: 59/150

Clearly, the tile gods had it in for me, and thus does Westford, MA, earn the first every nickname for a tournament city. Henceforth that cesspool of miserable tiles shall be known by the name Assrapistan, because that's how I felt three days and sixty lost rating points later. But that's okay. Doesn't really matter how the tournament went, because no matter how many games I lose... everybody loves Winter!

As a child in a public school, it's not easy being popular if you have money. Though my parents came to this country as relatively poor immigrants and struggled to provide a good living for us, everything changed when they picked the right numbers in the Mega Lotto Jackpot and won $114 million. With a generous allowance and the ability to treat my friends whenever I wanted, I was easily the most popular boy during my middle and high school years.

Of course, money alone doesn't necessarily make one popular. Everybody knows or has heard of the rich kid who is also a jerk. I learned this early, from reading Richie Rich comic books, wherein I adopted Richie's cousin Reggie Van Dough as an example of how *not* to behave. Just the opposite, I tried to be helpful as well as generous, and I looked for every opportunity to provide my friends with what they needed. Usually, my generosity cost me nothing but time (since money was no object), but occassionally I had to give up something, but I did not mind. Fortune had turned me into a child of privilege, and I felt the need to give back.

It was in keeping with my generous nature that I answered John Chew's call for someone to provide a ride to a Thai player, Weera Saengsit (who is lucky he didn't go to high school in America with that name). I did this despite the inconveniences imposed on my schedule. Having to get up early to pick up Weera from his friends' in Brooklyn wouldn't have been a big deal except that Kick-Ass screened at 10:00 PM Thursday night, but the real sacrifice was that I could not stop to see Kathy, a masseuse outside of New Haven who really, really looks forward to my visits, the reason for which will become clear a bit later.

Popularity has its price, however, and I know full well that sacrifices like these have to be made if I am to continue being loved by everybody who meets me. As it turned out, I was regarded as quite the hero for my selflessness. My arrival at any tournament is usually heralded with cheers and applause, but this time I was applauded a second time, after Weera won the early bird, for having allowed such a strong player the opportunity to prove himself. And, at the cost of being pushed down from #24 in North America to #25, after Weera earned an initial rating of 2008. Not that this would matter after my shellacking in the main event.

The early bird could have been more interesting still, had Weera faced me in the final instead of Joel Horn. But sneaky Joel, like the lizard from which his family derives its name, managed to get down the only bingo in our ugly, ugly game, and I have proven to have a poor track record in catching up from deficits in those types of games.

Annotated Game

I ended up barely losing any rating, and I didn't care about the cash, but I wanted another tournament win to pass Bradley. In recent early birds I'd had a lot of trouble racking up spread against the weak opponents, but this time around I put a real hurting on Tim Lutts and Steve Moniz. Barely got past Chris Sinacola, thanks to the back-to-back double blank bingos, but I caught a huge break in the endgame when he tried to play WAU(P)* and let me win. No spread that game, but at 3-0, +351, I would have been in a solid position if Joel hadn't gotten that lead on me.

Nothing interesting about that final game except my challenging LEPT (weird) and the name of my opponent, Elouise Pearl. I misread the board and thought her name was Pearl Elouise, and when I filled out the tally slip I accidentally wrote Pearl [something-else], which I quickly scratched out before Elouise saw it. I take great pains to avoid causing people any embarrassment--that's one of the reason's I'm so beloved.

Oh, almost forgot to mention. Before the event started Sherrie caught up with me and, almost tearful, apologized profusely for her egregious and patently unfair and petty act of suspending me from tears. She almost got down on her knees, but I, gracious that I am, told her that wasn't necessary. She explained that she had not wanted to suspend me, but higher powers who had it in for me had forced her hand. When I asked her to explain further, her expression turned fearful. It was clear that these higher powers, this core of individuals who are somehow immune to my charm, had coerced her into suspending me, and I felt that the decent think to do was to grant my forgiveness. I knew that no matter what she was forced to do, Sherrie loves me just like everybody else.

Nearly three hours 'til the main event started, and that gave me time to find the massage I'd been craving to ease some of the soreness from the fifteen miles I'd run a couple of days earlier. Nobody answered any of the numbers I'd pulled off the Internet, but after stopped at D'Angelo (no R&B playing on the speakers, BTW), I continued east towards Chelmsworth and passed a massage/yoga studio called Take Ten.

A massage from a new therapist is always hit or miss, I just have to take my chances. What is almost inevitable though is that the therapist will usually try to get frisky with me, to a greater or lesser degree. I can't blame them, really. To know me is to love me, and there is hardly a woman on earth who could see me naked and not want to jump my bones. I'm usually more than happy to oblige, but in this case I already had a busy night ahead of me with several of the female Scrabblers. For reasons that I'll explain shortly, every tournament for me is a logistical ordeal of trying to figure out how many of the ladies I can satisfy over the course of a weekend. I had to repeatly apologize to the therapist and gently refocus her onto less intimate parts of my body, and I couldn't help trying to give her hope by promising that I would come back someday when I had more energy to devote to her. Yeah, it's tought being beloved.

Back at the Assrapistan Hotel, the main event started with John O'Laughlin as my first opponent. I saw my chances evaporating immediately as John played VERNiER, because he hadn't given me the T or D that I could have used for my ABENOW?. Yes, I had two bingos, but I missed them and blew a turn. I had to play catchup, but amazingly I turned the game around. Immediately after the win I apologized to John for winning despite my blunder. Graciousness like this is one of the reasons that everybody loves Winter.

Every, except the tile gods, and they were quick to demonstrate their displeasure with me. Jerry bingoed early, and I let this rattle me and played like crap. Then he bingoed again and my game just fell apart.

Chris Cree also bingoed early,a and this would become a pattern that weekend. Every time I thought I was making a comeback, he would bingo again, and I was feeling pretty hopeless. But you know Chris. He's nothing if not the kindest man in Scrabble, and he was quick to apologize for his luck every time he zinged me. Sure, you might thing this unnecessary, as Scrabble is just a game and the tiles fall where they fall, but people love me so much that it's hard for them to outdraw me and not feel guilty.

Besides the tile gods, another rare group that doesn't love me are police. Years of driving and sleeping in my car has tought me this, and I avoid them like the plague. Massachusetts, by coincidence, is the only state where I've been woken up by a cop at a rest area, claiming there was a sign prohibiting overnight parking. That was in 2003 however, and after all that time I decided to pull into the I-495 rest area just north of exit 32 to see if there was actually a sign at this one. There wasn't, and I decided to take my chances. Wasn't bothered. Good to know, future BATters.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My first opponent that morning was Chris Lipe, one of my biggest fans. Every game Lipe plays against me is a huge conflict for me, because he really doesn't want to beat me. When he played DELAINE to take the lead, he sighed wistfully, not because the was slotted next to the triple column, but because he took the lead and feared he might win. And in the endgame, Lipe hesitated for a long time before playing the winning DAIR(Y)MEN, because he was search his soul and determine whether he had a legitimate reason to pass up the bingo and give me a chance to win. Finally, after the game Chris was so upset over having won that he offered me up his girlfriend for the night, as a token a atonement.

Next, Kate Fukawa-Connelly. She drew like gangbusters and acknowledged her luck with soft signs every time she zinged me with an easy play. When I challenged off her PlEBIAN*, the shame on face was quite evident. It was clear to both of us that, with that second blank, she would win, and she felt so bad about it. Yes, that game was a conflict of emotions for poor Kate. As we played I kept glancing into her eyes, and her look made it clear that she was deeply sad that she was in a committed relationship and could not spend any time in my company that weekend.

Readers, don't judge Kate harshly for wanting me. She couldn't help it. Hardly any woman can, not after learning of the rather unique quirk of my physiology that has shaped most of my adult life. It started in college... well, actually, it probably started at puberty, but it wasn't until college that I lost my virginity and started to learn that there was something special about me.

Funny thing is, I might never have discovered that I was so special if it hadn't been for a series of synergistic circumstances. First the fact that the young woman who deflowered me, Rikesha something-or-another, was not herself a virgin. If she had been, she would not have noticed that her orgasms with me were more intense that anything she had ever before experienced.

And if Rikesha had been more of a prude, or if we had gone on to get married, we could have spent a long time thinking it was just something about my technique. One night, however, with not an insubstantial portion of alcohol and Rikesha's roommate thrown into the mix, things got a little wild and I ended up having my first threesome (yes, they are common now, but not so much back then). In the afterglow of the nights wild rumpus, Cassandra (not sure if that was her name) started complimenting me on how intense her orgasm had been, and she and Rikesha started comparing notes and marveling out how they had experienced an intense sensation unlike anything they had felt with any other boy.

One thing led to another. Cassandra told one of her friends, Blythe, and one night she knocked on my dorm room door in the night (I had a room to myself that semester). Just like Rikesha and Cassandra, Blythe too experienced an incredible orgasm, and at that point I started to wonder what I was doing so right.

Girls will talk, you know, and it wasn't long before the dorm was atwitter and I had a full schedule of girls who wanted to try me out. I was exhausted, but didn't mind at all. For reasons I explained in an earlier blog, I was motivated to "collect" as many girls as I could, and besides the ones that came to me on their own, I added to my harem by getting girls to bring me their friends as a condition for a repeat performance.

By chance, one of the young women I cavorted with that year happened to be a biochemistry major, and one day she called me up and said she'd been thinking about the sensation she'd felt when with me and was reminded of the narcotic effect of some of the drugs she'd been experimenting with. She needed to come up with a project for one of her classes, and she had this idea to test my secretions for some kind of unusual substance. Yes, this sounds weird, but Zoe was always a little weird.

I played along and met her at a lab a few weeks later. She had me drop trou, and then she proceeded to arouse me while trying (or pretending to try) to keep it as scientific as possible. I'm sure her methods were not something she learned in class, but then what do I know? I don't want to get too graphic, but the key to my special ability turned out to be a unique secretion. Since I had never been with a man, I had no idea that this was unusual--I thought it was just normal lubricating fluid. And none of the girls I'd been with had exactly been examining me with a scientific eye. But Zoe, she had been with enough boys, and she had studied reproductive biology enough, to know that my penile secretion was not normal.

Zoe took lots of samples, and a few days later she got back to me and reported that her tests had discovered a combination of substances in the secretion, including narcotics, psychotropics, and a substance that had properties resembling that of MDMA. Knowing that, it was obvious why women found sex with me so pleasurable, and it's easy to understand why I've spent most of my adult life being almost irresistible to women.

A couple of good bingos, DoODADS and WAVELET, plus a gimme, RENAMES, allowed me to finally win a second game, against Sam Kantimathi, and I might have been able to pick up another win against another of my big fans, Brian Bowman, but I let him get away with ABATI* and then fucked up the endgame by missing L(E)S to go out. Brian could see my mistake had hit me hard, and he was quick to give me a big hug and console me. Jason Idalski noticed and quickly came over to add his support, and we all hugged it out like it was the 1960s. Geez, I sure do love those guys.

The emotion continued into my next game, which just happened to be against Jason. I took an early lead with RATLINS (yeah, baby, I know), and I extended my lead when Jason tried to hook DIPLOES with E(DAM)*. A couple of turns later he managed to bingo DELOUSE at 10A, but I was still up by 70 points with the X and a blank on my rack. A win was pretty much certain, barring a triple-triple, but what were the chances of that given that Jason had just drawn seven fresh tiles. I had no good blocking play, so I took 56 points for TWIXt and felt confident of the win. But amazingly, Jason got the triple-triple RE(D)IVIdE. You cannot imagine how bad he felt for taking a commanding lead despite his earlier blunder. The lad was quite literally in tears and apologetic as he played the bingo. After the game, more hugging and consolation, because of course what are silly wins and losses compared to the value of personal relationships.

As usual, Joel Sherman double-blanked me and managed to bingo-bango (after an earlier) bingo. Naturally, I begrudged him not a whit for this, as Joel is probably the best player in the world, top 5 at least, and always deserves to win. Nope, never a unkind word have I for Joel, or for any player--just one of the reasons why everybody loves Winter.

Another reason--I always the first to admit my mistakes. Played my worst game of the weekend against Rod MacNeil. Can't even blame the tile gods on that one.

Final game of the day, Joey Mallick. I have a hard time reading him, and I genuinely do not know if he loves me or not. One possible clue, however, is that he always seems to throw me a bone by either playing a phony (in this case, UNHIT*) or letting me get away with a phony (SCA(R)eDLY*). Sometimes I fail to take advantage of these gifts, but that night I managed to not blow it and pick up a third win.

More love awaited me after dinner, when I headed over to Mac's Two, a strip club in an unexpected place, Billerica, not that far from Assrapistan. As usual, all the strippers competed for my attention, and they tried to entice me with special prices and offers of very special treatment. Unfortunately, the club was very well lit and devoid of any private areas, so I had to settle for whisperings in my ear of all the things the dancers wanted to do to me. When all was said and done, I walked away with half a dozen different phone numbers, but there was no way I'd be calling them that night, not with a full schedule of Scrabbling women who wanted my company. Warmed up as I was from Mac's, I think I managed to show three lovely ladies a heck of a good time that night.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another reason that everybody loves Winter is my great capacity for empathy. My first opponent of the morning was Bradley Whitmarsh, and after having beaten him six times in a row, I was sure that he was due for a win. I was truly stunned when I set up an S hook and Brad had to exchange, allowing me to take the lead. I followed that up with (A)CCURATE and solid scoring for the win, and I'm not sure who was more stunned, Brad or myself. As you can imagine, I quickly took steps to reassure Brad that he was the better player, and that I had just gotten lucky. Nobody deserves to lose seven times in a row to an inferior player. In fact, I'd say that the very fact that I felt bad about that win is a good indication that I'm not a psychopath. Not that anybody would every call me that, since everybody loves me.

Scott Appel had too much ammo for me to handle, but I can only blame myself for the loss. Had I played REFOU(N)D along that line, Scott would not have had LUNARIA(N) (an excellent play), and his scoring ability would have been limited. Yep, Scott's definitely the better player, and I feel honored just to sit across the table from him.

Next, Rob Robinsky, formerly a nemesis during a brief period when the influence a certain orange ring overwhelemed my ordinarily copacetic and unflappable manner, but now one of my best buddies after we bonded over our mutual love for Metric. After a strong start, his-back-to-back bingos killed my chances, but I didn't care. When I later found out I had played one of my most perfect games ever, I still didn't mind. Just playing Rob is a pleasure, and I truly hope that if Minnesota ever moves into the 21st century, I'll look forward to being the best man at his wedding.

Final game, Ian Weinstein, a doctor, appropriately enough, because the way he pounded me with bingoes was about as pleasant as being anally probed by space aliens. Can anybody out there anagram AAEPRSS? Heck of a way to end a heck of a lousy tournament, and I couldn't wait to get out of there. I had to wait for Weera though, who had placed in the main event, but the experience wasn't all bad. During the awards ceremony, Sherrie, the angel that she is, took steps to console me by asking for a moment of silence. Isn't she great!!!

Oh, and there was an amusing moment out in the hall while waiting for the awards. An attractive young player, Lauren, walked by on her way to the cafe, and I asked her how she had done. We started talking about Scrabble, and after a minute or two Lauren introduced herself and extended her hand. When I replied with my name, she exclaimed "oh, you're Winter!" Clearly my reputation had preceded me, and I could tell that Lauren was thrilled to have finally met me.

A few minutes later Brian Bowman walked by, and I introduced him to Lauren and made a special note of pointing out that Brian was the superior player. That's another one of the secrets to my popularity, my determination to always compliment my peers on their strengths and avoid pointing out their weaknesses. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all--I live by that rule.

Brian happened to ask if Lauren had read my blog, and I had to chuckle. I pointed out that obviously she had not, because she was still chatting with me from across the hallway. If she had read my blog, she would almost certainly started cozying up to me right away. What can I say--my writing is so fascinating that it makes women want to fuck me, and men want to be me. For my writing, my charm, my psychotropic penis--for so many reasons, now and forever, everybody loves Winter!!!


#1 - W - Lutts    
0 FOP  
4.1 TO(R)II  
0 BLEW  
7.1 BLAZEN*  
0.1 DUO  
3.8 JET  
0.3 DEViOUS  
0 KAGU  
0 V(i)GA  
0 (FRAUD)InG*  
#2 - Sinacola    
0 QI  
0.2 FOP  
6.4 (NE)W  
3 B(A)  
0 ZA  
12.9 Z(A)  
0 (I)VY  
0 ME  
6.8 E(V)E  
3 CR(E)EP  
0 T(I)T  
0 (ZA)X  
#3 - W - Moniz    
0.4 Q(U)A  
35.5 lose turn (OuTLENT*) see TONLETs then don't play for some reason
0 YARD  
0 NIMS  
0 FUB  
2 HE(I)L  
8.8 owe  
#4 - L - Horn    
0 WUD  
3.2 KIF  
0 POW  
6.1 JE(T)ON  
0 RIO(J)A  
0 AGIO  
0 TU(B)AE  
17.3 DE(AR)  
25.1 Q(I)  
14.5 R(ANI)  
5.5 NA  
9.7 GA(L)  
24 (A)V(E)  
0 (POW)s  
0 U(T)  
12 OA(K) OA(T)EN
#5 - W - Elouise    
0 (F)ENCE  
0 NU(c)LEO*  
0 GOB  
0 VAIR  
27.9 challenge LEPT  
2.4 ALOW  
0 (C)R(O)W  
9.4 Q(I)  
15.5 VINY  
0 ZIN  

1 - W - 1.3 (15.4)
2 - W - 2.4 (35.4)
3 - W - 3.8 (49)
4 - L - 6.7 (120.4)
5 - W - 4.2 (55.2)

Avg: 3.7

#1 - W - O'Laughlin    
31.6 lose turn (BONEsAW*) jAWBONE(R),(R)AWBONEd
8.3 BOW  
0 (P)ENDANtS  
1.2 ADZ  
3.9 LAC  
13 B(I)G  
0 YO  
10.2 (AM)RITA  
0 VO(TI)NG  
0 MOUE  
23.5 OW  
9 J(O)T  
25 E(M)  
#2 - L - Lerman    
0.2 QUID  
4.3 HIE  
0 LOUR  
0 VINA  
0 CE(L)T  
5.7 LING  
4.8 RE  
8 (R)ETORT  
14.7 MOW  
0 REX  
0 IVY  
6 CAP  
6 BA  
0 Je(AN)  
#3 - L - Cree    
2.8 GIBLET  
5.5 ZAY(IN)  
6.9 W(A)UL  
0 BO  
8.9 (V)INO  
0.8 RATIfIE(D)  
0 (D)HOW  
5.2 QI  
0 HOD  
#4 - L - Lipe    
0 US(Q)UE  
32.1 Z(A)G G(R)AZINGS (unsure)
2 FETA  
0 WEFT  
0 (K)ANJI  
3.1 WOP  
0 T(O)RR  
6 O(G)IVe  
#5 - L - Fukawa-Connelly    
5.5 JET  
5.5 coz  
0 ODA  
0 GUT(S)  
0 Q(I)  
0 (N)O(TA)L  
0 L(E)ERY  
0.6 O(B)OE  
9.5 NA(K)FA  
17.3 AVO  
8.9 (L)EU  
1.1 CEDIS  
6 BAD  
0 AD(I)T  
#6 - W - Kantimathi    
9.2 ROUEN exch
2.8 LOUVR(E)  
5.2 I(N)HALE  
5.2 JI(G)  
20.3 ARMOIR(E)  
0 Q(A)T  
18.3 LOTA  
17 COPI(N)G  
0 T(I)T  
#7 - L - Bowman    
0 FUB  
0 Z(E)RK  
0 QU(I)R(T)  
6.5 (R)AX  
0.6 -BCDFY (CN)  
0 PIN  
7.5 WORN  
5.1 DAWN  
8.5 (T)IC  
0 CUD  
5 Y(U)P  
12.9 J(UTE)  
0 NO(V)AE  
#8 - L - Idalski    
0 (C)URD  
5.2 (R)ITZ  
0 QUAG  
9.1 JAPE  
10.3 TWIXt  
0 (T)HUMB  
0 (B)O(X)  
0 LATE  
0 (d)OST  
#9 - L - Sherman    
0 (Q)UERN  
2.8 JUG(A)  
0.3 RE(J)OIN  
3.4 VOLT(I) unsure of (RYKE)D
21.3 (A)DZE ditto
9 GA(Z)E  
0 BIBS  
26.8 RENEW WE(B)ER parallel
0 (X)I  
0 HAM  
#10 - L - MacNeil    
3.2 IF  
28.1 DOC CEL(A)DONS!!!
10 YELLS NELLY (flaked)
17.3 -BLKNVY (X)  
0 EX  
40.6 SI/(DEF)S* RAISINS!!!
7.5 LO(UT)  
5.3 (L)O  
5.1 VAR  
5 PHAT  
4.9 (YOWE)D  
7.9 OM  
0 NO  
0 B(E)NE  
#11 - W - Mallick    
0 SCA(R)eDLY*  
0 (L)OUIE  
5 (U)NPLUG  
0 QAN(A)T  
17.9 WOOF  
0 AGAS  
0 PAD  
#12 - W - Whitmarsh    
0.2 UVEA  
1.1 (W)IDOW  
0 YEH  
3.1 UNMAR(R)Ed  
0 GR(U)NT  
0 (HOE)R  
#13 - L - Appel    
0 FETE  
5.1 GAMIC  
3.2 UDDER  
0.2 YEP  
0 EX  
12 J(E)EZ  
0 VI(Z)Or  
#14 - L - Robinsky    
0 VOW  
2.9 DU(E)L RU(E)D (I like INRS better than ILNS)
0 HO(P)ER  
0 AB(L)AUT  
0 YA  
0 T(E)A  
0 CART  
0 (T)EW  
3.5 HE  
0* GIED  
#15 - L - Weinstein    
2.8 QUIN 8F 8E
0 (Z)ILL  
0 OHM  
9.9 LI  
0 WAI(R)ED  
7.3 BOLT  
8.8 P(ER)KED  
0 F(r)AG  
0 (W)E  
6 ANTE  

1 - W - 8.4 (125.7)
2 - L - 3.5 (52.7)
3 - L - 5.7 (63.1)
4 - L - 3.9 (43.3)
5 - L - 3.6 (54.4)
6 - W - 6.5 (78.2)
7 - L - 2.7 (46.1)
8 - L - 2.1 (24.6)
9 - L - 5.3 (63.6)
10 - L - 11.1 (176.8)
11 - W - 3.3 (39.1)
12 - W - 2.7 (34.7)
13 - L - 2.3 (23.3)
14 - L - 0.5 (6.4)
15 - L - 8.2 (98.9)

Avg: 4.7

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