Friday, November 10, 2006

Why my voice is hoarse today

Two reasons, which I shall now elucidate:

1. Yesterday I spoke at the New York State Reading Association (NYSRA) conference, held here in Saratoga Springs at our convention center. I always love it when NYSRA or NYLA (NY Library Assn.) hold their conventions here, because this is a speaking gig I can WALK to! However, the breakout room they had me in was a sectioned off piece of the exhibit hall, i.e. vast, uncarpeted echo chamber. Microphone wasn't working. You get the picture.

2. I competed in a charity Scrabble tournament last night to benefit the Literacy Volunteers in our area. There was a huge turnout of teams of eight. My regular Sunday night Scrabble worthies had urged me to lead them to victory in this competetion when the invites first went out a month or so ago. I thought my gig at the NYSRA convention was at night, so I said I couldn't play. When I realized yesterday that I could, I got on the phone to my crew: James "No Trump" Morrison (my bridge partner), Michael "Homme de Wicker" Belanger, and Rumara "Seven-Letter-Word" Jewett. The evening's festivities were held at a local restaurant/banquet spot, the kind with a koi pond you have to edge past to get to the buffet. We were matched with another half-team, the Junkyard Dogs. The idea is simple: working as a team, we try to maximize the point value of the letters and the board, and the team with the highest point count is the night's winner. Cheating was not only allowed but encouraged -- for a price. We were able to buy additional letters for the point value of the letter (i.e., A = $1, Z = $10). After a practice round we hit upon our brilliant strategy -- to buy up all the available extra S's, because of course the easiest way to recount a word is to add an S and build perpendicular to it. When other teams began trying to buy extra S's they discovered, to their horror, that none were left. Once the real match began the entire room resounded with screaming and yelling as team members shouted such things as, "VORTEX! PUT THE X ON THE TRIPLE LETTER" "DISGORGES! NO! DISGRACES! WHERE'S THE C?" "COUNT IT UP! 24x3x3!"

We came in third. Next year, trust me, we will be #1. We'll have worked out an even more cunning plan. If we have to spend all our money on the extra letters we will. As you might infer, competition is the gasoline that runs this gang's engine. No, I take that back. Not competition, winning.

p.s. after the tournament we came back to my house to play Scrabble... Best Blogger Tips
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