I may have slept nine hours over the course of two days, and am paying for it this week, but it was absolutely worth it for the fabulousness that was this weekend. It started with a meal at the Dairy Bar on UNH's campus, where I sat waiting for the amtrak and played with the new iPod. The train ride was peaceful - I wish I could ride the train for a living, just staring out the window. [livejournal.com profile] crosstables picked me up near North Station and we sat in a cafe and played a game of Scrabble while I ate a cupcake. We picked up [livejournal.com profile] vinylchances and hit the road, stopping first for excellent corned beef sandwiches, and then picking up [livejournal.com profile] magratheazaphod in New Haven.

The tournament itself was better than I could have hoped. When your biggest complaint is that the chair cushions are weird, it must be an excellent tournament. More details will eventually surface on my other journal, but the end result was that I won a board, a third place apple trophy, and I became the highest rated woman in Scrabble by a small margin. Such things are ephemeral, but I'll enjoy that distinction while it lasts. This time last year, I was dreaming of becoming an 1800-rated Scrabble player, and now I am one. I should always play a tourney the first weekend in October - last year, I won $1000 doing so.

Now it's back to the real world, and bringing some order back into my life. I've been unmoored for a year, and am finally feeling ready to concentrate on getting things back together. We've joined a gym and managed to go twice so far (school pays for it if we got 8 times/month, so that's an $80 of savings incentive). The bedroom is more or less put together. Bookcases are in place so that I can start unloading books. I'm getting caught up on Scrabble flashcards. I know that I need to get knitting soon for craft fairs. Meals are planned for the week, knitting is on my priority list, baseball will be quiet for a couple of days so that I can actually get something done... hopefully I'll make some progress, and not spend all the time daydreaming about this past weekend.


Jul. 17th, 2008 10:14 am
Scrabble on nerve. Worlds collide...


Now where's the girl Scrabbler version..?
Part I: seeing [livejournal.com profile] sharkycharming - I stayed at her house, and she graciously drove me all over creation. We had fantastic sushi at Matsuri (warning: annoying website) - I had a sweet potato tempura maki, my standby unagi/cucumber maki, tamago and inari. The rolls were huge compared to what I've grown used to here, and the tamago was perfectly sweet. Saturday, we got one game of Scrabble in, and I got to play DOVEKIE. Sunday, we drove a long, long time into DC but didn't get a chance to really hang out there. All of this was punctuated by Starbucks visits. Spending time with her was a nice counterpoint to the stress of Scrabble.

Part II: doubling my career Scrabble earnings in thirteen easy steps - okay, maybe not that easy, but still a pretty quick turnover for winning such big cash. I went 10-3 at my Scrabble tournament, with one bye (my opponent dropped out at the last minute), which was good enough for second place and $1k. I plan to buy some pants, replace all the semi-matching, old tupperware in my house with new stuff, get a tattoo, and then use the rest to play more Scrabble!

Part III: Crafty Bastards - I joined [livejournal.com profile] woolarina at the fair for a very short time (thanks to the Balt-DC drive taking twice as long as I anticipated). Our yarns and goods went over well, and it was nice to just see all that energy around crafting. I miss it here. I'm not inspired to craft here like I was in Maryland.

In all that excitement, I didn't have time to eat between 9am and 7:30pm on Sunday, save for a bag of almonds I'd picked up at Starbucks, and a few bites of chocolate. By the time I made it to my terminal in the airport, I was pretty light-headed, starving and cranky. The McDonald's I had there was the best I'd had in ages, plus I didn't have to feel guilty for the calories with the lack of food intake over the course of the day. Flight home was uneventful and short, and I slogged through work okay yesterday. It's the slowest time of my academic year (especially since Spring will also bring Tim's job search, and hopefully putting the house on the market and prepping to move), so it's a good time to feed my Scrabble and craft needs.
I changed my closet from summer clothes to winter-ish this weekend. All of the linen is replaced by cashmere. The weather has responded in turn and it's only supposed to be in the sixties today, which means a whole new host of wardrobe choices to consider. The new shorter hair also dries quickly, which means less being chilly after getting out of the shower.

This weekend was packed, especially considering my upset stomach that I had to nurse throughout. I slowly built it up to eating normal food, and didn't die after having Indian buffet on Sunday, so I guess I'm cured for the time being. I wish I didn't have to go back to the germ capsule that is my office -- it seems like everyone has been out sick for at least a day in the past week or so, and I know we'll just keep passing it around all semester.

Saturday there was Scrabble, with a very different group than I usually hang out with, which was fun. It was a good mix, and we played a round robin tournament for fun (and cash prizes). I was a game up on the field at the end, but lost two in a row to come in second. Our grouping of six might have finished in the same order that we were seeded in the field, based on ratings. At the least, 1-3 seeded placed 1-3, respectively. The Scrabble was fun, but the food was even more memorable, and the Sox won for a change.

Sunday we picked up the meat CSA (spare ribs, bacon ends, hot italian sausage, ham, ground beef...), brought it home and threw it in the freezer (less the spare ribs, which I'll braise this week), and then headed back out to Copley. We had free tickets to see a local production of Zanna, Don't! - a show that bills itself as the Gay High School Musical. It was a lot of fun, and I particularly enjoyed the adorable hipster/DJ character. I've been humming the songs ever since. I got some more yarn and roving dyed yesterday evening, had golden fennel pasta and onion foccacia for dinner, and stayed up too late watching the Sox lose.

And now, coffee and half an hour of Scrabble flashcards. I screwed up one of my databases and had to start from scratch, which means an extra 1500 cards on top of what I already had to do. Luckily, I have the flight to St. Louis on Thursday to catch up.
Left for NYC around 4:30pm on Friday with [livejournal.com profile] crosstables, played with GPS, did flashcards, stopped for dinner at a Greek diner.  Arrived around 10, and joined up with [livejournal.com profile] lunatopaz's birthday festivities, which involved a Harry Potter party for grown ups and an independent bookstore.  It was crazy-packed, but our little group carved out a space, and sat and chatted til midnight.  One of the people there is the daughter of a faculty member who has probably taught my sister [livejournal.com profile] u4ic in classes at Columbia. Nifty.  After Rochelle secured her book, we stopped for rice pudding at Rice to Riches, and headed back to her apartment.  It was a good night for roaming the streets.

Saturday, didn't wake up til almost noon, which I never, ever do.  Went out right away for coffee to stave off any headaches, and played a game of Scrabble.  Met up with a friend from Grinnell who I didn't even know lived in NYC, which was a pleasant surprise, and then headed north for the Scrabble tourney.  On a day when I wasn't hauling my Scrabble board, I would've walked up to 45th, but I bused it instead.  Played some games, watched some afterhours games, went back, again asleep around 2.

Sunday, up late, out to Farmer's Market, back for tasty noontime breakfast of chicken sausage, eggs, bread, cheese.  Showering, and then back into the world for more Scrabble, some snacks, and then back home.  Got in around 10, read until the morning.

Took the day off yesterday to recover from the weekend.  And now I'm back at work. I think the tired was as much from so much with-people time and not enough by-myself time as it was staying up all night.  My body craves alone time as much as it does sleep.


Jun. 15th, 2007 12:54 pm
It's been a busy two weeks at work, since I'm headed back to Chicago next week and need to be sure I'm ready.  Had to write my budget, train some writers for the premed letters, have my performance reviewed, answer about 600 questions about the common applications to med/dental school (seriously -- if I counted the emails, I bet the number would be in the mid-hundreds, and that doesnt' count the IMs and phone calls).  I've also played a millionty Scrabble games and am going to a tourney this weekend. 

Today's dictionary wotd is clamber.  It is defined, "to climb with difficulty, or on all fours."  Are these mutually exclusive?  What if you're climbing with difficulty and on all fours? 

Last night's dinner was supposed to be a pizza with a hashbrown crust, but is really more of a hashbrown casserole with pesto, mozzarella and basil on top.  Either way, it's tasty. The farm share also just restarted for the season: bok choy, lettuce, arugula, spinach, scallions, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, and a handful of snap peas, which I picked and then ate raw in the car on the way home from the farm.

My stomach has been butterfly-ful all day.  Much more so than it was for the last tourney. I hope this is a good thing.
I spent much of the weekend sitting in a chair with a box of Kleenex and a cup of orange juice. I went through a full half box of Kleenex. I was on Benadryl, Mucinex, Dayquil and Allegra in various combinations. Whatever this is has passed out of my sinuses, thank goodness, and into my throat. I'm more coughy today, and a little lightheaded. I did finally make the potaje (bacon potato) soup this weekend, and it was a great success, and made me feel a little better.

I also got my haircut. I feel like it looks the same, even though it's probably 2" shorter. And I cleaned the guest room some.

The next two weekends are action-packed: one Scrabble tourney, one conference. I need to start making nightly to-do lists, so I don't just sit in front of Buffy episodes all the time.

Tonight: finish putting away laundry; pack suitcase for tourney; go through pile of paper on guest bed, sort and file; put grey paper in bag to xerox on at work tomorrow; read through three letter words, write out hook 3-to-4s that still aren't 100% clear in brain.
I'm moving my Scrabble content over to [livejournal.com profile] scrabblek8 such that my worlds do not collide and give me headaches. I've written up my first almost-half of the Boston Area Tournament, aka BAT, in case anyone wants to read it.
I can feel my worlds colliding. I swear I barely knew any tourney players with journals, all the scrabble communities were dead, and my livejournal life and Scrabble life were more or less separate until about a month ago, and now poof! Maybe I'm just looking harder in preparation for the Boston tourney (aka BAT), but it seems like more and more scrabblers are here. Do I start a new journal just for Scrabble? Do I filter things in weird ways to keep people in the parts of my head I think they belong in, or do I just let everything leak together? I think I'm too lazy for all but that last one. I do need to get an icon of my board, though, now that I have more room for icons...


Apr. 19th, 2006 10:21 pm
I deleted 387MB from my computer's Temp files tonight. It still seems to run. I don't understand how everything ends up in there. Computers are weird.

I'm starting to wish I'd booked a hotel room for the Friday night of the tourney. I don't think I knew it was 45 minutes away. That's not far, but it's far enough when my brain is all tournament-laden.

I'm studying my threes. I think I know them, so I won't dwell on them. Hopefully 3-to-4 by tomorrow.

I also signed up for the Roto. I tried to do some gender balancing.


Mar. 29th, 2006 08:59 am
I don't know why Shelton took so much out of me, but I've not played a single real life game since the tournament. I did print out the list of four letter words yesterday, though, so I'm easing my way back to studying. Ratings are up from Shelton, and I've popped up to a 1430. Crazy. I was sure I'd never break 1200. I like that I'm at a number divisible by 10. I don't think I'll be able to maintain this rating, though. I'm just not that excited about studying, and I get extra nervous playing people in the 1500s and 1600s.
okay, i'm making up for not posting every day by posting constantly today.

someone from the Brandeis Reporter on-campus newspaper emailed me yesterday with an interest in a little story on me and Scrabble. here are my answers to her questions, in case this is interesting to any of you:

How did you get involved in competitive scrabble?
I used to play for fun with a friend while in high school, and won most of the games that I played. My younger sister, who is a Theater design major at Columbia College, gave me a copy of Stefan Fatsis' book, Wordfreak, when it came out in 2001. This was the first time I'd heard of competitive Scrabble, and I quickly became more interested in learning all the two letter words and developing Scrabble strategy. I was working at Grinnell College at the time, which is in the middle of the cornfields in Iowa, so there was little else to do (I also learned to knit while I was there, which is a persisting hobby of mine - I have a website where I sell yarn). I played a lot of Scrabble, and even taught a mini-class on Scrabble strategy. Upon moving to Maryland in 2003, I played in my first tournament, and I've been addicted ever since. Read more... )


Mar. 17th, 2006 01:04 pm
I'm packing my suitcase for the weekend o'Scrabble (while [livejournal.com profile] vavaverity is about to beat me in a very close scrabble game, assuming she can bingo on this turn). It's always a struggle, what to wear at a tourney. I want to wear something comfy, as we sit in chairs for hours at a time, but I also don't like wearing my old, ratty sweatshirts and such, 'cause then I feel shlumpy, but I also don't want to wear very nice clothes, 'cause it's a scrabble tourney for pete's sake. I had packed two zippy things, and then realized I'd be wearing zippy things for three days in a row, and that might also bother me. Life is hard. I don't know how I manage.
Okay, so I had no idea that my Scrabble class was during the Super Bowl. Hopefully the audiences don't have too much overlap. If any of you want to come over and play, please, please do!

Sunday, 2/5, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Brandeis University
Shapiro Campus Center, room 313

I played with two newcomers to the club last night, and in 2 of the 3 games we played, I drew both blanks and most if not all of the power tiles. I really didn't mean to score 490 and 503 points, but there it was. Ugh. I don't like uneven games, but I also won't play the best play, if I see it. And in one case, my opponent played DOCKER down to the square above a DWS, and I had JAILS on my rack, and could put the J on the TLS and S on the DWS... what else can a competitive person do but play it? I found a couple bingos -- DREA(M)ILy and CHARGE(R)s and maybe others, but mostly, there were just really pretty places open on the board, and I was consistently scoring 30+ points per turn. Oh well. At least I taught them a few new words.
So at least one of the people in my class is hardcore, tournament-bound, so I figured I should provide some info on word study. Below is what I've figured out that I've done (be warned - much geekery follows). Anything any of you would add?

Scrabble Word Study: My Strategy

This is just to give you an idea of one study method. Other people probably do it differently (and much more effectively) than I do. Read more... )
I'm teaching a two-day Scrabble workshop for Brandeis through a non-credit program thingie. I have two sessions, two hours each.

For those of you who play competitive Scrabble: what do you think the most important things to touch on would be, in terms of strategy tips for beginning to get them interested in learning strategy/playing better?

For those of you who don't: what would you want to get out of these sorts of lessons, if you were interested in learning about Scrabble strategy?
I hauled my wordgear out to Starbucks tonight. The OSPD4 (since my OWL2 has yet to arrive), my LeXpert list of top 1000 bingos, and my green word book, whose name I don't actually remember. I'm trying to get through the top 1000 and figuring out which are derived from stems that I think are worth learning, and which are standalone words. I'm also hoping to learn all of the pesky three letter words because it makes me self-conscious not to know them. I can play with people rated in the 1700s and be competitive, until I get to a word that I'm (sometimes irrationally and probably incorrectly) sure the other person knows and I don't know, and then I get flustered. I wish I could get them to stick in my head. There are only 1000. It shouldn't be this hard. Aaaanyway, I scrabblegeeked at Starbucks, over a javachip frappucino, and I know at least some of my students were there, and I was wearing my ratty grey fleece from Miami and jeans, and studying Scrabble. If they didn't think I was a little odd before, they likely do now.
So, I'd been absent from Scrabble club for long enough to get a /A next to my name in the ratings, which was distressing. I aim to make it at least twice in January -- I wrote it in my paper journal, and so it must be. I also wrote that I must walk on the ellipse machine at least twice a week, which means at least once more, for at least 15 minutes, before Sunday. Hm.

Anyway, went to Scrabble. It honestly made me a lot happier than I thought the silly game could make me, to be able to play there again. I still don't really feel like I belong (I've only gone 6 or so times now), but I recognize people, and I get to play, and everyone is fairly friendly in that weird, I'm-a-Scrabble-geek-with-questionable-social-skills, sort of way (hey, I'm one of them, so I can poke fun).

I ended up playing, by means of random draw, three of the top 5 players in the club ratings. Thankfully, I didn't know that two of them were rated that high, or it might've intimidated me. First game, draw was reasonably even, but my tiles played on the board better, and I won (hoorah!) with two bingos (I'll leave them all as anagrams, so y'all can play the unscrambly game): DEIINSR and AAINRST (which is the STRAIN stem + A, for those of you who play with stems). I was somewhere in the 420s that game. Second game, I drew less well, but I found three natural bingos -- EIOPRST (which is probably a stem but I haven't studied it -- oh wait, I have -- TORIES+P -- I just didn't remember it), AEIGNNR (EARING+N) , AEGINRS (EARING+S) through a T on the board. Sadly, he bingoed three times, too, had good tiles, is better than me, and didn't have to exchange twice. My score was in the 390s, and I think he won by around 50. Third game, I drew well, I found stuff, and my opponent's letters were poo, so he had to trade three times. My bingos were ?ABDISY (for which I actually played a phony. oops. but unchallenged), and ?AEIRTW through an S. I was above 400 and won by 50ish, largely because I was stuck with a Q and V in the end and started playing stupid about four turns from the end. I get tired by the end of game three.

So, no more /A next to my name, and my fake club rating will probably go up! Woo! I like being top ten, even though I don't feel like I belong there. No one in the top ten of any competitive Scrabble should be as shaky on three letter words and 3-5 JQXZ words as I am, but I won't tell them that.

The answers to the bingo scrambles above )
In case your curious, my quickly created favorite 26 words, one for each letter, of the 1,333 new eight-letter words:


(the whole list)

Also, I'm very excited that certain 3s have been added to the list, because I accidentally almost play them all the time: AGS, DEF, EEK, FAB, MEG, MIC and UTE.
This is mostly for me to keep it somewhere, but in case any of you are curious...

The following list of new JQXZ words lists them by word length, grouped by letter. Simple -S hooks have been omitted. Words which do not take an -S are marked with asterisks. There are 97 words in this list. Read more... )

I'm pleased to have GYOZA, and how was MIZUNA not on the list before?



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