Thursday, April 17, 2008

Funny things Joel Says

I have yet to come up with a feature for my humble not read Scrabble blog. I correct that oversight now!
The Director of the New York Scrabble club is a dude by the name of Joel Sherman. I'd say he's in his late fifties. He is most surly. And I mean, whatever you think of when I say surly...surlier. Anyway, I've actually come to like him a lot. There's no chitchat with him, he matter of factly says either you suck or you don't. He is slow to compliment and quick to mock. There's no bullshit whatsoever with him and it's a trait I've come to appreciate.

Now, when you deal with lots of different people and you, essentially hate them all, you tend to say things that would make the ordinary person cringe. Like when I told him I played in my first tournament last June, he looked at me and said "that was a stupid way to waste money."

And when my friend told him I won a tournament in Australia he said "I don't doubt it, they have horrible players there."

And now for tonight's gem:

An orthodox woman who plays at the club regularly was doing her usual complaining that all the big tournaments inevitably involve Saturday games which she can't play in because she can't count points or hit the clock or something like that. So, I told her there were monthly Sunday tournaments out in Queens. So, she asks Joel for the contact information. He gives it to her and tells her the next game is Sunday. She again starts to whine because evidently Sunday is Passover. Joel sighs heavily and says "Well, too bad for you. Anyone that keeps the Sabbath is an idiot that is wasting half the weekend for no reason." And then he walked away. I covered my face, but then peeked through my fingers to see her standing there speechless. I wonder if she'll come back.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Not only did I beat Paul last night, I beat him three times!!
This was the first victory:
He challenged Gritters...mostly because when I played it I had that "uh...umm...whatever, I'm behind might as well give it a shot," face on. Turned out it was good. Then I drew both blanks and bingoed with strains...Ah good times. 40 point win for Dawn. Plus I had some nice three/four letter word plays HexFax, Jew/Yaw. Good game by me. He won the first and third, I won the second and fourth. When we were two and two I got all cocky...and then got smooshed in back to back games, but then I won the last game and went home in triumph.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Scrabble is cruel and evil. That is the thing you should know about it. You can play for hours everyday for a month and a half, then you take just a week off to enjoy your other interests and when you go back to Scrabble, you suddenly can't remember what satine + s is or what satire + a makes. You're looking at the rack ovalite and you're playing oval. Instead of the most obvious bingo of all time. Sigh. So, in fact, the Scrapple group did kind of break up over the last uncomfortable outing, which is kind of good so I can stop pretending to like Barbara. I've mostly been playing with this guy Paul. We met up on Wednesday at this cool outdoor "artspace" thing on the East side.
He is much, much, much better than I am. Which, I gotta say, I didn't really know until, he fricking back to back TO BACK bingoed on me, in a disgusting fashion during the first game.
He opened with cluster. I then took a shot with rootiest -- which was, surprisingly, good. Then he played cratonic...or cratoric, I forget what the blank was -- wtf?? and then he played sedating. At this point I was down by three hundred points and had this been a game at my house, I would have so thrown my tiles in and said 'new game.'
Ugh. Then I started to play badly - ion and the like, so anyway, I get destroyed in the first game and he's like "I can play with a time handicap, if you want.'
I glared.
"Or not."
We set up the board for another game, when the security guard came over and was like "no games in here." Paul started to argue with him for a bit, but I was totally psyched. I'm like one of those skater kids being hasseled by the man! Woo hoo!
We ended up going to a bookstore coffeeshop on 3rd ave. We played four more games. I was losing the second game pretty badly, when I missed the entasis play and sent myself on Scrabble tilt for the next two games. (Including one game where I swear I didn't draw a single vowel. I kept turning over my tiles and seeing an endless string of ens and arrs and I was like ARRGGGHHH. And Paul was like, Dawn, you need to work on your drawing. You'll never win a game if you can't manage to pick an a every now and then.)
Finally, FINALLY, I was winning. I had two bingoes, I was scoring a solid 25-40 points a turn, I was in complete and total command. There were no tiles left. He had six on his rack, so I didn't even have to fear him bingoing out on me. I had four tiles left luut. There was nowhere to play ulu, but there was an open z. I should have played lutz. I didn't. Instead I played...i dunno some crap which left me with a u and an l. Paul was, you missed a big play...I might be able to win this.
He put down an s and scored 17 points. He was now still behind by 24. I didn't see how he could win. But he assured me that if I didn't score more than two points on my next play, he would win by 1 point. I had five minutes left on my clock. Up by 24 with two tiles left. I looked and looked and looked. I could only find 2 point plays with either the u or the l, the clock was running down. Finally with ten seconds left, I put down the l to make el for two points. He then played off all his letter for 23 points on a double word square...making the words raggs and ar. (I think it was raggs, anyway, I was pretty much crying in my soup at that point.) And then he got two point for my remaining u. I lost by one. I fricking hate Scrabble. And everything it stands for.