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02 January 2013 @ 09:13 pm
Over the year's end I decided to take the leap and just go for it and jump on in to Collins to see what happens. For most of 2012 I have been watching the development of Collins divisions popping up all over the place with interest, hoping that more people would jump on the bandwagon so that lower rated folks like myself would be able to give it a try without being constantly smooshed by the regulars who were all experts way out of our league. I've been saying for months now that I would move over to Collins either when NASPA made it the official dictionary OR when enough people that were at my level would play as well and not a MINUTE before.

Boy am I glad I didn't listen to myself!

I had SO MUCH FUN playing two Collins Early Birds and a 26 round main event that it's pretty unlikely that I will be playing TWL again, at least not as long as there is a Collins division where I go. If you look at my record for the tournament 10-20, you probably would think I was crazy. If you realized that 5 of those wins were BYE wins, you'd probably think I was certifiable, but please allow me to explain why I would beg to differ.

Over the last week, I have played some of the most interesting Scrabble games of my life. I did not draw very well (15 of 50 possible blanks in total) and I was COMPLETELY outmatched; my opponents were all either experts or already established Collins players and I hadn't even committed all the TWO letter words to memory, but what I found was THAT REALLY DIDN'T MATTER. I held my own against these top rated players, giving almost all of them really good games that were NOT that easy to win. In fact, the best compliment I got was from one of the players telling me "You've been a real pain in the ass to beat all week long." I've never been so happy to be such a pain the ass, let me tell you!

I found that as a lower rated player, I really got by pretty well on my existing word knowledge. In fact, I have a theory that if I had gone into this tournament knowing all the 2's and 3's down cold, and maybe the power tile 4's at the least, that I absolutely would have pulled out several more wins.

Where these expert folks are more used to rack balancing and bingoing and working the magical mathematical calculations in their heads, I was taking all the short words I knew and using the options afforded from the additional letter hooks to SCORE SCORE SCORE. Also, for the most part, they didn't phoney on me because in Collins you do not lose a turn if you call a challenge wrong, you simply give the opponent another 10 points. It's MORE worth it for you to challenge, and LESS worth it for the opponent to phoney.

I also discovered that while I was initially intimidated by some of these players, even the ones that were my friends that I don't usually play because our ratings are so different, every single person I was up against turned out to be just another human being, just like me. Imagine my surprise! They put their pants on one leg at a time as well, and it was REALLY fun to be able to throw down some tiles with them, talk about some cool plays, and be part of something that the rest of the world has known about for years.

I've now come to the mindset that there is room for everyone. NASPA does not have to change their official dictionary, there is plenty of room for everyone where Scrabble is concerned. You might be one of those folks who doesn't like to travel outside the US, or who is set in your ways and never wants to learn another word unless you absolutely have to. In that case, Collins might never be for you, and that's ok. But for those of you who were like ME; thinking about it, watching it develop, and eyeing it like an apple pie, just waiting for others to take a piece first, I hope my experience gives you something to think about and that you just GO FOR IT! You'll be surprised how far your existing word knowledge goes, and of course the more of us that DO play, the less we'll have to repeat against one another, though I will admit that even that wasn't so bad. We just took turns playing each other two times in a row. It was kind of like hanging out with a friend at your kitchen table and playing a couple games, except the coffee was only free until ten.

I'm really looking forward to all the new and exciting words my future holds, and the amazing places I'll be able to go to play them.
27 August 2012 @ 02:30 am
Fellow Scrabblers... if you would like to add your name to a petition to the dictionary committee that asks for the Collins 2s and 3s to be added in the next dictionary update, please comment here or message me privately with your first and last name as it appears on your NASPA membership and I will add your name to the petition. Also feel free to share this post on your own journal or FB page so it gets out to as many folks as possible. Thanks!
Current Mood: happyhappy
07 November 2011 @ 09:12 pm
REALLY? Only 7 people signed up for CSW? I'm gonna have to hop ship back on over to TWL (BLECH) because it really does seem silly for me to throw in for 22 games with those 6 other folks, even if they are, you know, easy to beat nobody n00bs. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

Yeah, I'm all for donating some cash to the cause as evidenced by the Cali Open, but I also like having SOME competition that I have a modicum of hope to beat soooooooo unless that list grows exponentially, and fast, I'm flipping over to TWilL. Booooooo.

I really wish everyone would just play CSW. It's so much more fun.

In other news, how are all you bitches doing these days? Long time, no LJ!
Current Mood: happychill
19 August 2011 @ 02:08 pm
Stan Williams passed away on Sunday. This news makes me so sad. Stan was truly one of "the good guys" in the world, and the world never makes sense to me when we lose one of them.

He always seemed happy and full of positive vibes and attitude whenever I saw him, even if I would trounce him across the board. We always had a good game together, joking around and having fun no matter who was winning.

Outside of Scrabble, I knew him to be the same way; positive and fun, and really a guy with a genuinely good heart. I am deeply saddened by his passing. I hate that life is so finite and death comes so quickly at times. It just makes no sense.
Current Mood: sadsad
15 August 2011 @ 02:46 pm
Hey folks, not sure how many of you are aware, but Chris has started a NASPA yahoogroup. You can send email to naspa-pro-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

The idea is to have a place to discuss only NASPA stuff. Exclusivity, yeah! :D
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
02 August 2011 @ 10:36 pm
THanks to those of you who voted for me for the AB position, and also those of you who said you would have if you could have voted for the east coast representative. The votes and thoughts were much appreciated.

I have no doubt that Jan will do a great job, she has tons of experience and is also a friend of mine so I can't really complain.

Well, I also can't complain because it turns out I still get to sit on the AB after all. Lynda Wise is stepping down and contacted me to ask if she could name me as her successor.

So, there you go - now the AB has 2 new people who hopefully will do some great things in the coming years.


15 July 2011 @ 04:52 pm
Voting for the AB is now open. If you go to scrabbleplayers.org, you can log in and click the vote button. There are four of us running for the eastern AB seat. I hope you'll consider placing your vote for me. (And then voting for me, too ;-)

Really, I'll be happy with any of us four that get the seat, so this is one where you really can't go wrong.
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
09 July 2011 @ 02:24 pm
I'm up for AB membership. Please log in to scrabbleplayers.org and remember to vote later this month. Pick me, pick me, pick me! :D
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
21 June 2011 @ 10:44 am
I never had so much fun dumping so many rating points. Jiminy peak reminded me of my first ever BAT and the Albany tourney where I met Juju in terms of fun factor. Strangely, there was much alcohol involved at all three. Maybe I should say they are the top three boozefest fun weekends, because I can CERTAINLY have plenty of fun WITHOUT booze. If I want to. Just sayin'. Ahem.

You people rule!

Current Mood: sleepysleepy
26 August 2010 @ 11:08 am
For those who wondered about what happened to me and Jason trying to get to Dallas on time, this ought to sum it up. I finally just took the time to write to Delta with my complaint.

My husband and I recently experienced THE worst travel experience of our lives, and this is no exaggeration. On August 6th, we were supposed to travel out of Buffalo, NY on an 11:30 flight. We were told first that this flight had a hydraulic leak, and then that the plain was broken and would not be fixed until after 3:30, so we were rebooked on a 5:30 flight. The booking agent was very helpful. Sadly, that plane also broke and we were unable to get another flight out that night. We were frantic as we were entered to compete in a Nationwide competition for competitive Scrabble with over 400 participants from around the globe meeting in Texas and starting the next morning. The agent we spoke with on the phone was very understanding and sympathetic, and I wish I had gotten her name because this was just about the last time anyone on Delta was going to be nice to us. We managed to get a flight out of Toronto, ON the following morning, putting us in to the airport at the time our competition was to begin. We had to take a taxi to get to the hotel immediately so as not to lose more than one game to a forfeit. Thus far, we were out $50+ for the taxi ride, plus a night's fare at our hotel as we did not arrive on Friday night and it had been pre-paid through Expedia. Incidentally, we were put on American Airlines out of Canada, not Delta, and our luggage was apparently sent to Atlanta, Georgia, so when we arrived we had no luggage, and we were not at the Delta terminal (nor did we have any time as I mentioned) to check on it.

On the way to our hotel, I tried calling Delta and talking to someone about my baggage. When I got ahold of customer service, the lady I spoke to told us that we had to file a claim report with American Airlines. I explained that we had absolutely no way of knowing that when we were at the airport, nor would we have ever thought to talk to them about our baggage, since they never touched our baggage as it never was removed from the first Delta flight (1127) that we were originally scheduled on that broke down. When I explained what had happened to us and said I needed some help, the lady got rude with me, reiterated her statement about a claim form with AA, and when I asked to speak to her Supervisor, she said "I'll transfer you to baggage, hold on" and transferred the phone. I remained on hold for 10 minutes before my cell phone dropped.

I called back and asked to be transferred to baggage and was told "We cannot transfer you, I can give you a number". I told the lady on the phone that someone at that number DID just transfer me (when I asked to speak to her supervisor because she was being rude with her tone) and she got snippy as well and said "Ma'am, if I could transfer you, I would just do it and not argue with you that it couldn't be done". So I asked for the phone number, and I said "Ok thank you, I will call this number but just so you know, someone there DID just transfer me" ... before I could even finish saying this, she spoke over me with a haughty tone "Thank you for calling Delta, have a nice day" and hung up on me.

At this point, I was beyond belief that I was having to deal with this after already being late to our tournament, out a night's hotel fees, and missing luggage, so I decided not to call again until later in the day, so I could get focused.

Throughout the day, I tried calling many times, was on hold for at least 10 minutes, and then had to go as there is only a limited amount of time in between tournament games.

Finally, I got through to someone when the games were over for the day. I held on the phone for another 15 minutes, and got someone whose name I believe was "Wakesha" if I'm not mistaken. I explained our situation to her, and she once again gave me the spiel about needing to file a claim form with American Airlines.

At this point, I was so upset that I actually started to cry. I explained to Wakesha that my luggage contained four separate medications that I needed to take twice daily and had now missed three doses of, that I was in excruciating pain, had spent more than 45 minutes of my day on hold trying to talk to someone, and that I had absolutely no way of getting back to the airport to file a claim form. She actually VERIFIED for me that our luggage was indeed at the airport, in the DELTA TERMINAL, and yet, when I asked if she could please just have it delivered to our hotel, she refused.

Once again, I asked to speak to the Supervisor. I said "this is NOT customer service, there must be SOMETHING you can do in an unusual situation to help a customer". She told me she was the floor supervisor and that there was nobody above her on duty at the moment. When I suggested that there must be someone else I could talk to, she said "Thank you for calling Delta ma'am, I've told you all I can, have a nice day", and SHE HUNG UP THE PHONE ON ME!!

This was now the THIRD time one of your so-called customer service representatives HUNG UP on a rather traumatized customer.

I was so disgusted that I paid yet ANOTHER $50+ to get a taxi to take us back to the airport, where we walked into the Delta terminal, saw our luggage, gave the girl the tickets, and walked out in two minutes.

So why would it have been so damn hard to bring it to our hotel after all the hassle we were caused?

We spent ALL of Friday day and evening in the Buffalo airport, only to get re-routed back to a different airline in a different COUNTRY, have our luggage sent somewhere we were never expected to go, wasted money on cab fares, and a hotel night, not to mention missing the first game of our tournament competition as well as the first evening's festivities since we had to deal with our luggage fiasco ON OUR OWN after having absolutely no help from your company whatsoever. I have NEVER been so disgusted in my entire life. I work in Retail Management and I can tell you if any of my employees, or even me for that matter, EVER treated a customer with even one fraction of the nastiness that your "service professionals" treated me, they would be fired in a heartbeat. I have no idea why people go into customer service if SERVICING the CUSTOMER is not what they want to do.


I then asked how to get reimbursed for our out of pocket costs. It took me two weeks to even take the time to sit down and write this because man, reliving it was really freaking annoying!

Good thing my first round opponent was gracious enough to make up our game during the nice long lunch break, and Jason's division had a bye, so they scheduled that for him first round, so at least none of the games were officially lost, but this airline... I am still dumbfounded at how their service people behaved. Do yourselves a favour... stay away from Delta!
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated