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Archive for January 2011

Sure Cure to Cabin Fever: One of Christopher’s Scrabble Tournaments in Hudson, Ohio (1/22-23/2011)

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The Clarion Inn and Convention Center is where we stay and play in Hudson Ohio. Christopher has a nutzoid system for figuring out winners and losers. It's funlike! Two days. My tone will probably change significantly by tomorrow night, given my proclivity for losing here. CB likes the restaurant's rare hamburgers. I like their brave bulls and blueberry bread pudding. Play starts at noon which is why I have time for this nonsense.

(Saturday 8:30am) Just got a phone call from Elaine Glowniak who has been forced to cancel her Hudson weekend.  No, strangely enough, not by thearctic-like weather in Ortonville, but by a faulty electrical system which keeps the drinking water for her chickens from freezing. “To come to Hudson, attractive as it is, would be a death sentence for my chickens,” she moaned softly. “Oh, darn!”

Scrabble (copyright til you die) standings (for future betting purposes) are carefully copied onto a wallsheet by Chris. (Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

(Sunday 8:43am) 15 hardy souls turned out to compete for a share of the riches of Scrabble (copyright til you die) in Hudson. I should be ashamed of myself for playing so horribly but I was way too busy having fun to notice (yeah, right!) the psychic pain of losing.

The world of Summit Open XXVIII standings after Round 7 according to Dan Stock!
Place. Name (Seed): Won-Lost,Cume — Rating Before ± Change => Estimated
Rating After
1st. Daniel Stock (#2): 5-2,+743 — 1664 + 8 => 1672
2nd. Lou Cornelis (#1): 5-2,+678 — 1888 – 9 => 1879
3rd. Heather Steffy (#4): 5-2,+221 — 1551 + 12 => 1563
4th. Connie Breitbeil (#8): 5-2,-40 — 1262 + 54 => 1316
5th. Lilla Sinanan (#5): 4-3,+407 — 1445 – 14 => 1431
6th. Pat Hardwick (#11): 4-3,+122 — 1155 + 15 => 1170
7th. Walter Konicki (#13): 4-3,+21 — 1115 + 44 => 1159
8th. Pete Zeigler (#3): 4-3,+1 — 1584 – 3 => 1581
9th. Michael Bassett (#10): 4-3,-49 — 1164 + 8 => 1172
10th. Kevin McCarthy (#6): 4-3,-98 — 1433 + 0 => 1433
11th. Terry Oblander (#9): 3-4,+19 — 1261 – 21 => 1240
12th. Joyce Stock (#14): 3-4,-204 — 865 + 10 => 875
13th. Frank Lee (#7): 2.5-4.5,-20 — 1315 – 23 => 1292
14th. Christopher Sheppard (#12): 2-5,-482 — 1117 – 25 => 1092
15th. Drew Perry (#15): 1.5-5.5,-517 — 855 – 17 => 838
16th. Daniel Roll (#16): 0-7,-802 — 495 – 27 => 468

Stocky (Dan Stock) and Missus (Joyce) Stock celebrate jubilantly after receiving a coveted boy/girl scout award (helping hands) from tournament director Chris Sheppard. This award came in the shape of a medium-to-big sized key to the city. I believe the inscription reads "In Stockies we trust." (L-R Drew Perry, Joyce Stock, Dan Stock, fragment of the blue sweater of Walter Konicki). (Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

CB (Connie Breitbeil), brightly colored to match my University of Tennessee board, went 5-2 Saturday to qualify for the 2nd tier playoffs today. Her only regret Saturday was not meeting, greeting and beating my arse, I'm told. Lilla Sinanan and Terrt Oblander in left background) (Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson OH)

Christopher (you can call me Chris) Sheppard, captain of the brave ship Clarion carefully scrutinizes papers of the passengers to ensure that each takes the proper seat and receives fair recompense for her/his day of work. (Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson OH)

Joyce and Michael Bassett were caught surreptitiously flicking these little electronic gadgets out of their pockets for a look-see all day, frantically punching buttons and staring at the glare of screens, then breaking out into big wide grins. If only they could attach them to our brains, they were allegedly heard to say. (L-F Joyce, Michael, back of Lilla Sinanan's head - maroon sweater playing Scrabble (copyright til you die), Pete Zeigler, Pat Hardwick). (Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio).

Daniel Roll, a Hoosier, looks relaxed and confident as he strolls to his next game. While Saturday was a tough day, win and loss - wise, Daniel knows it's only a matter of time. (L-R Drew Perry, Walter Konicki, Daniel Roll, Terry Oblander)(Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

GOOD MORNING, HUDSON!!! Kevin McCarthy imparting a tiny measure of the wisdom he has accumulate through the years. To all who will listen. Listening closely are Drew Perry (partially obscured by chair) Daniel oll and Terry Oblander. Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Nabbed! Joyce checking the fabulous handheld machine that fills her mind with the wonders of the possibilities of our game Scrabble (copyright til you die). (Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Overhearing conversation, a most intense conversation, between Kevin McCarthy and Michael Bassett through the arch of the underarm of Christopher Sheppard. Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Lilla looks on as Chris the controller of Scrabble (copyright til you die) pulls out yet another of his award ribbons to teach us a great lesson: your bountiful rewards are earthly and cometh from Chris Sheppard's footlocker. (Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

In from the cold comes a shivering Drew Perry who drew me to a tie game yesterday. From Seven Hills, Ohio, Drew is seen rushing past Walter Konicki, also from Seven Hills. True warriors they are, in the tradition of their ancestors who descended from the Seven Hills of Rome. Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Heather Steffy gracing me with one of her trademark smiles. Question always is: is the smile full of grace that will cast a star-studded blanket of peace upon my soul for days to come, OR is that a gleam of THE OTHER sort where I'll be lucky to drag my tortured and depressed butt out of bed tomorrow unable to recover from a Heather drubbing the day before, such as that I received from her on January 22, 2011. Never a letdown on the smile; never a letup on the coarsely braided bullwhip. Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Lilla and Lou pause to compare notes of the double whammy of their successes over those crackerbarrel Scrabble (copyright til you die) players in Ohio. Lilla got my number and mangled it almost beyond recognition. Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Pete Zeigler apparently hasn't had nearly enough suffering the last year or two, so he's back in law school, living in its library by night and its classrooms by day. Pete, too, cleaned my clock and taught me not to get too far above my raisin'!. (Note Pete's all "blinged out" for his latest adventure with a solid gold necklace and who knows what all else). Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Lou Cornelis who came slumming down the pike from Hamilton, Ontario, had a great time Saturday and wound up the day in the top two (Dan Stock is the other half) who will duel it out for tourney victor today. Lou is the highest rated player in the tournament. Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

And now, Walter Konicki, march yourself to the rear of the classroom, young man, and SIT for 15 minutes or until you learn to say pleeeaaassse when attempting to bribe a Scrabble (copyright til you die) judge. You also are hereby ordered to forfeit the 27-cents intended for a bribe. (L-R: Daniel oll, Lou Cornelis - back of gray shirt, Walter - walking to back of classroom, Chris Sheppard - barely visible from behind Walter, Connie Breitbeil, CB - far corner, Heather Steffy - talking to CB and Kevin McCarthy, Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Walter, hanging his head in disgust for having gotten caught by the secret Scrabble (copyright til you die) detectives who were imported from Texas to avoid detection. Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

Calling Chris. Hey Chris. Yo Chris. Even heidy-ho Chris. Congratulations on an excellent 1st half of our journey in Scrabble (copyright til you die) Adventure Land. Let's do 'er again today (Sunday). (L-R: Daniel Roll, Lou Cornelis and Christopher Sheppard, pirate captain). Photo by Frankie 1/22/2011 in Hudson, Ohio)

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Written by frankieleeee

January 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Happy Yule; Happy New Year! Happy! Happy! Ever After… Lansing MI. Nov 19, 2010 & Jan 7, 2011.

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Sliding on the ice. Bob (DeTore) woulda fainted slipping and sliding in Tranq the Van from here (Cincinnati) to Michigan and back and or what? FOR WHAT? Scrabble and family and friends; THAT’S WHAT!

Scrabble in Flint, Michigan, in November, 2010. Celebrate yule with fle’s family on the west side in Lansing.

L-R: CB & Connie-doo. “Awww! My favorite. A frog. Thanks, guys, but I ain’t goin’ kiss him just yet. Didn’t you say this is for G audiences only?” (Frog purchased in Rayne, Louisiana, known worldwide as the Frog Capital of the World because of when they claim they used to cut lots and lots of legs off so lots and lots of frogs and send them out to lots and lots of frog leg eaters all over the world). (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

L-R CB & Connie-doo. "What is this, Dad? Something I can open in a crowded restaurant, I presume." (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

L-R Gabi Denton & Jacob Chapman. "It's a back scratcher/hitting stick. Thanks, Dad. Give me back my hittin' stick, Gabi. Gimme! Jacob, watch that magic grog you're drinking; we don't want to see another demonstration of the strange and mystical magic powers it brings out in you. Powers over which you haven't a clue how to control. As I remember, the last time you drank a whole pint of that panther glow (polite speak), you wound up hanging from the eaves trough of our apartment building and we had to call the fire department. Remember that day, son?" (Photo by Frankie 10/11/2010)

Gabi at World Buffet in Lansing. "Who is giving us all these gifts? It's just past Halloween, so it could be the Great Pumpkin, can't it? It's almost Thanksgiving, so could it be the Big Cornucopia? Or Father Winter? Maybe Santa Claus? Whoever it is, let's twist again like this sometimes, like we are doing this winter." (Photo by Frankie 10/11/2010)

L-R Gabi & Jacob. "Yeah, Papa, I know who this is from. How come you wrap all your gifts in newspapers?" murmured Gabi. "Hey, Mom, this backscratcher hitting stick is cool. Can I put it in my bedroom after I finish playing with it?" Jacob. (Photo by Frankie 10/11/2010)

"Hey, I got mine. They're so great and I'm reallllyyyyyy happy. Now can we eat? Santa, for Pete's sake bring me some chow!" (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

An afghan from CB to Connie-doo. Perfect to battle cabin fever. Made colorfully by one of CB's tenants in Cincinnati. (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

From lunch and gifts to the movie house on Lansing's west side. The movie? Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows. I think they slacked off a lot. I'd have been ashamed to foist that crap on a gullible fan base. I'd have been... OH! Did I say everybody else loved it? (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

L-R Unidentified attendant, Connie-doo. The concession counter attendant looked to me exactly like a perfectly cast actor playing the role of a movie theater concession counter attendant in a 40s or 50s black and white movie. She looked too perfect to be real but refused to lend me a body part for examination. (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

Is it illegal to take a picture of Yogi Bear in a movie theatre in a prevue of the next/last big Yogi Bear Picture Show? If so, then here's a fine example of oopsy! (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

Not so bright for my Canon point and shooter inside the theatre, eh? (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

Celebrate yule with Danny Schey at Taqueria La Rosita on McGraw near Danny’s home in Detroit.

Danny Schey & CB anticipating some of the best Mexican food anywhere. Goat. Fried Pork. Chorizo. Tripe. Pig Stomach. Yum. Yum. Mother Earth took pity on my cold nature and permitted me to get through the 22nd of November 2010 without frostbite. (Photo by Frankie 11/22/2010)

Taqueria La Rosita is CB's and my favorite Mexican restaurant in Danny's part of town. Our usual server (Mary or Linda, I forgot which) who is indeed serving Danny his usual steak fajitas. Me? Menudo, most of which I brought home, and a pig stomach burrito. God, I wish they were down the street in Cincinnati. Danny says the cute little yellow sports car that he had expected to be a beautiful corpse, has be resuscitated .. somewhat. His house has been burgled two or three times in the past year. What to do. What to do? (Photo by Frankie 11/22/2010)

CB enjoying her "usual" steak fajitas. Only problem she has with Taqueria La Rosita is unwelcome (to her) noise. Noise from the jukebox; noise from the TVs. Interestingly, I almost never hear the noise/music until she brings it up. I'm about the same way at Scrabble (copyright til you die) tournaments. I almost never notice the noise until some jerk/s start shushing. Did I say shushing and fingernails screeching across a chalkboard affect me about the same.

And so it went, the weekend, November 19, 20, 21, & 22, spent in a state of ecstasy, or was it the state of Michigan?

A few weeks later in January CB and I headed back out of Cincinnati toward New Year’s celebration with my daughter and step-daughter and their families in Lansing, Scrabble (copyright til you die) in Flint and a luncheon visit with Danny in Detroit.

(L-R: Bob Ryan, fle) I had planned to have Friday lunch with my friend Bob Ryan who's been one of my closest friends for decades. Bob spent most of his working life helping people like me, including me, qualify for disability Social Security. My anticipation was dampened a bit when I finally did find him. He recently had his gallbladder taken out, and is currently undergoing oncological tests on his bladder. CB and I found him in a Rehab facility in Holt, Michigan, near Lansing. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/1011)

Jacob Chapman, Connie Lee & Gabi Denton in inside NCG movie theatre lobby in Lansing, Michigan. We came, we saw "Little Fockers" which I liked (almost a lot). First buttered popcorn I'd eaten since the November movie we all saw. Lots of snow between Flint where CB and I were staying for the Scrabble (copyright til you die) tournament and Lansing. And we still beat 'em (Connie-doo, Gabi and Jacob) to the theater. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/2011)

L-R: Jacob, Connie-doo, and Gabi. Same but here you can see the wrinkles. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/2011)

World Buffet, West Saginaw Street, Lansing, Michigan. "The men gathered up their multi-colored robes with a deep plunge of their hands; the women plunged more modestly and gently as they gathered up their sedately-colored skirts. The children ran pellmell over their robes as they lunged into World Buffet, stumpling over themselves and others who were foolish enough to have missed the oncoming onrush of their machine gun-like little feet in their pointee steel-toed shoes and sandals. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/2011)

Our table looks festive bare as it is before staff and management of World Buffet pitched in to make it even more so and such. (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

L-R Connie-doo with her new pigtails (Does she or doesn't she?), Gabi with her new color job, and Jacob looking on with increasing hunger in his eyes, wondering when the feast will begin, waiting for Julie and her brood. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/2011)

Julie and her posse have arrived. Advance trackers report all are hollow whale bellows waiting to be filled with all the krill in the World Buffet Kitchen. (L-R Nikki, Dale, Julie, Brianna's friend and our person who provides pop for tips.) (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Dale and Julie seeing our festively festooned table for the very first time, awe, I think we all agree, was a common reaction! (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Julie The Myrthful jollifying the evening crowd as only Julie can do! (L-R Julie, Julie & Julie) (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Lansing's World Buffet is one of my favorite buffets, probably because I've been there a sufficient number of times to know what I like and pretty much stick to that. I like to go to a buffet and get two bites of everything good, one bite of every dessert and take a nap all night on the cot they keep in reserve for me in the back of the kitchen. Warm as toast. (Grazer unidentified) (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

The Mongolian Barbecue section is my favorite. Except the portions are way too big. Steak and pork chops hot off the grill (chicken breasts, too, if that floats your boat), and a pseudo pad thai filled with with spices, chilies, eggs and noodles and stuff. (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Brianna always with a smile lighting up her face and legs that never stop moving, a lady of constant motion, seems like. She's always a treat. (L-R Julie, Brianna) (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Brianna. "Oh, Papa, sure, you can take my picture. How's this? Or this? This? You're welcome, Papa!"

Nikki's tattoos honor her father Rick who was murdered in Lansing. (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Nikki and Dale. (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Driving down I-75 from Flint to Detroit. The iceman has cometh.

Taqueria La Rosita in Detroit again. Lunch with Danny who's having trouble with his new netbook. Skin a cat. Any cat. Someway. (L-R Danny, CB). (Photo by Frankie 1/10/1011)

Mary's face lit up brightly, quite brightly, when we showed up at her front door. "I've been waiting for 6 weeks," she said. "I'm so glad to see you all again." As she brought the chips and salsa marking the beginning of the goat soup, steak fajitas and pig stomach burritos, not to mention a couple of pretty good Mexican beers. (Photo by Frankie 1/10/1011)

Written by frankieleeee

January 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Flinty it wasn’t! January 8, 2011.

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Eighteen hardy souls ventured out on Michigan snow paths and ice ponds to bang heads 12-14 inches above Scrabble (copyright til you die) boards (especially engineered to pamper faces felled by the sheer weight of the words they support). Flint, Michigan. The Courtyard by Marriott.

Mark Garrod, Janet Gray, Cheryl Melvin and somebody's eye and nose.

Not an easy place to find; not an easy place to leave if you’ve dedicated 2 1/2 decades of your life becoming addicted to a game which, much like other forms of gambling, virtually guarantees loss, heartache and plummeting self-esteem bastioned up very occasionally by victory, victory which the snickering gods of the tilebags hand out knowing the victors do not know that for each victory there shall surely follow 27.231 humiliating defeats.

L-R Carolyn Easter, Mark Sienkowski, Heather Steffy and (mostly hand and arm of) Pat Hardwick.

In any event, we Scrabble (copyright til you die) addicts gathered in a small room and pumped out seven games in two divisions.

Recuperate! Recuperate! L-R: (sweatshirt of) Mark Garrod, Jeff Fiszbein, Steven Grob, (director) Miki Sutherland, Carolyn Easter, Cheryl Melvin, Mark Sienkowski and unknown sweatshirt.

Mark Garrod, wearing his Michigan State sweatshirt and sporting a new near-beard, beat hell out of opponents in the top division (5-2) to take home the money and a grin that will surely last for a while.

Mark Garrod, hero of the heroes, cursed now with "proving" he is a hero again. And again. And again.

Steve Knapp, lately transplanted to Northville MI from the cereal capital of the world, came in 2nd, also with a 5-2.

Steve Knapp almost successfully hid from the camera, but there he is on the extreme right, face kinda hidden, but that's him alright looking at game plans with Mark Garrod. On the left of the picture are Steve Grob and Jeff Fiszbein.

The evil triumvirate. Successful after decades of planning the sweep they savored on Saturday. CB, fle & Elaine.

Over in my own group 2, I was the third-rated player and finished third to the tune of 40 bucks! Of course, I gave away one and lost another (to Mike Stafford) by one point, should have won it all! Should have. 5-2.

Mike Stafford, of Columbus OH, my nemesis for the day: we tied then I lost by one in a recount.

Elaine Glowniak whipped the crowd into blind obedience much like a lion trainer keeping her surly charges in line until Connie Breitbeil (CB) discovered and exploited weaknesses in the 7th and final game, defeating Elaine by more than a hundred points, but Elaine would not be deprived and survived (6-1)  to win a caboodle of cash and 1st prize bragging rights for another moment or two.

Elaine Glowniak cheerleading for everybody now that she's sewed up top place in the littler joint.

The win over Elaine gave CB the number 2 place. She also had 5-2 with a cume of 400 plus.

CB not unhappy to hear her name called to come down for 2nd place check in 2nd division in Flint, Michigan.

Mike Stafford used the tournament to practice his dexterity with the clock, stopping his clock at exactly minus 1:00 in our game, enough to give him, in a recount, a one-point win. He hit the final clock showing EXACTLY plus 1:00 in his game with Pat Hardwick (which he lost by 10 points).

Pat Hardwick sat next to me all day with nary a peep of anger.

Miki Sutherland has become one of my favorite directors. Not only is she meticulous and fun, she provides a helluva picnic lunch at her tournaments of which yesterday was one! Janet Gray, Kathy Washburn, Elaine, CB & I joined Miki for an hour or so of sandwiches and socializing. Elaine introduced us to a new smoked tofu and an incredible liquid sourdough-like drink (you have to save some of it to give birth to the next batch).

 

Miki Sutherland, director and provender provider.

The toughest part of my day was reporting myself for overdrawing AFTER I’d made a 40-something point play. (I played three and discovered I still had 5 tiles on my rack). Lost my points. Lost my turn. Lost the game. Michael Bassett was not sufficiently consoling to make it go away (as if I would have – hee hee). A few games later, I was playing newcomer Mark Sienkowski who had a similar situation. Played VAC. Still had 5 on his rack. I was not sporting enough to make it all go away.

 

Cross-tables demonstrates more starkly than words, the truth of my philosophical meanderings.

As always the few moments between games were filled with catching up on the latest gossip. Divorces. Illnesses. Aggravations. Who’s backing WGPO and who’s solidly behind NASPA. I do like them thar tournaments.

Elaine showing her new board, a gift from Cheryl Melvin to replace Elaine's board which was "lost" at a tournament last year.

Today’s should be interesting. The usual Sunday “open” with 8 or so of us hardy souls in the mix.

Written by frankieleeee

January 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Asian Buffet: Another time; another place

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A year ago the Asian Buffet opened just north of Dayton, not far from a Motel 6, advertising hundreds of gastronimic choices. The Lunchbunch saw and soon sniffed and stuffed our way through 50 or so of those choices.

Forgot outside shot in daylight. Nighttime was better, perhaps even better than the food! If you look real hard, you might see Bob and Willie who are about 3 miles farther east and CB who is yelling at my back "fle, come back, fle, come back," 35 1/2 feet directly back of me.

A month or so ago, the Asian Buffet opened its second smorgasbord of culinary delights on South Gilmore at I-275 in Fairfield in spittin’ distance of the Cincinnati Mall. The Lunchbunch saw. The Lunchbunch saw. The Lunchbunch conquered 60-odd of the endless platters of food, some of which actually looked edible.

Bob assures CB it IS a fact that he's been playing Scrabble (copyright til you die) since he was 8 years old, back in 1952, smackdab in the middle of the Korean Conflict.

1:30 because Bob was delayed by a nooner with his gum trencher. Willie, who had  driven a thousand or more miles back home through hills and dales of snow-white from hell, er… the hills of Vermont. While travelers along her route were falling to the ice and snow monster left and right, Willie and her chaperone, Donna Courtney, escaped the serious stuff, just like Moses was riding his souped up camel clearing the way for them, a way that quickly disappeared after them.

Fighting off a cold, Willie eats an orange wedge as Bob reassures her he HAS been playing Scrabble (copyright til you die) since he was 8 years old. "At about the same time I ate my first Chinese food," he says, "I remember well that very first taste of heaven, "Brown rice and bean sprouts."

The two of them apparently took the two of them on quite the fantastical trip, stopping first in Ontario at Donna’s mom’s home for one last holiday treat, then to East Enosburg, Vermont, site of Willie’s “other” home for Willie’s bi-monthly supervisory cum report card visit, and finally to Albany to Annette Tedesco’s famous New Year’s 3-day Scrabble (copyright til you die) tournament. (Willie had a tough finish of 7-13-1A in the 2nd group; Donna was 11-11 with a minus 136 [almost perfect, Donna; you almost won a prize). Given all that and her marathon coming home party, Willie was first on the scene. Bob was second. CB and I were 3rd, well in advance of 1:30 in a hail of pithy cursing from Bob wondering what the hell we meant coming in late like that disrespecting Willie like that, disrupting the restaurant management’s welcoming ceremony like that and forcing 100 people or more to brave the bitter cold, driving sleet and slithering ice to allow us to enter in at our “proper” place in the line. We apologized profusely before we promptly forgot all about it.

I was in such a hunger – get off my diet – frenzy, I couldn’t wait to get to our table before digging in, so I stopped at the Mongolian Barbecue for some eggs and noodles and hot sauce (even though it sadly turned out to be tasteless – unique in my Mongolian Barbecue life).

The other question is how can a buffet as vast as Asian Buffet afford to sell lunches for less than $7? Our bill often reaches triple digits. Here, for similar variety and quantity we didn't break far at all into the double digits $28.16. Problem with a buffett, especially if you've been to a similar one (Asian Buffet I-75 near I-70 in Dayton), once the initial onrush to sating the hunger is over, the food is mostly mediocre (sorry, Asian Buffet). But the variety is wide: shrimp, hot oil, fried bananas, beef roast (with generous fat), seaweed in deep-fried shell, noodles, garlic toast, hot and sour soup, egg drop soup, won ton soup, pie, cookies, jello, puddings of several sorts, really not very good cantaloupe and honey dews, garlic shrimp, and five times more that I don't remember.

Willie dazzled us with stories of the semi-arctic north as we fed our faces fully and frequently.

Willie, fle and Allan, server of some considerable merit, as we wave goodbye at the camera, middle fingers properly extended but tastefully hidden in the folds of our cllothing. Poor Allan. We kept him hopping for the time we were there! The manager got into the act, brought my Mongolian barbecue to me at our table far far away from the Mongolian cured grill.

Donna and Willie spent New Year’s Eve at an Indian (Native American) powwow held at the hotel where the Scrabble (copyright til you die) tournament was held. “I’d do it again,” said she. Her niece Lindley has eloped, a final decree of divorce from Scrabble (copyright til you die). And Chicago player Jeremy Cahnmann is so pissed at NASPA (the budding civil war between NASPA and WGPO) that he refused to renew his membership, preferring, instead to limit himself to WGPO tournaments. However, as is the case with a lot of us, he didn’t cut off his friendships in the rebellion and so flew from Chicago to Albany to help Annette and her team run the tournament there.

Willie sent back a photo of her newest kitty kat in her Vermont bedroom. You remember, the one that neither intakes nor outtakes but takes good care of her mistress’ mobile needs or superficial and/or more signicant emotional needs.

Willie woke up from Scrabble (copyright til you die) long enough to get the makings for some chicken soup for John who's been under the weather, under the bed, under the apple tree with maladies of late. The fact that we don't use timers gives some of us time between games to get in shopping, shooting practice and the likes.

Willie is quietly sending out requests for people of goodwill to interview for chaperone on Scrabble trips. Pay will be mostly “from the heart,” she says, and benefits that will be derived from her (Willie’s) company. “I need somebody to talk to and to listen to and I don’t think I can do that on the road with my new kitty Lulu,” she moaned bitterly.

Lulu the kitty-kat poses proudly on her new mistress's bed in a place call Ensoburg Falls, Vermont. Looks like she's found a home, folks!

Meantime for one trip anyhow Donna Courtney, worked out well, very well, indeed.

Donna who has not been as busy at tournaments of late as she was in the past felt the shock of the kiddie kings. Playing and losing to 9, 10, and 11 year olds before she found her bearings and her respectable .500 finish.

Willie tipped (to even out the score). CB paid. Bob chose for CB and me (How’d that happen?) Next week is even cheesier. Willie is going to the Reno tournament next Thursday, ergo Lunchbunch must needs be scheduled on Tuesday.  It is Willie’s turn to choose in the Dayton area. BUT Joyce needs the car. SO. Bob worked out a deal with Willie to exchange weeks. SO! SO! We’ll meet at 11 at Mi Camino Real. Play Scrabble (copyright til you die) at a library. THEN CBFL will drive Bob home so hes  doesn’t have to walk or get stuck.

Willie pays. Fle or Bob tips. (will have this figured out by tuesday).

Afterwords for the 2nd consecutive week at Meijer’s on South Gilmore in Fairfield. Willie suggested we leave Asian Buffet and head for Scrabble (copyright til you die) as a means of keeping her awake short of toothpicks. We only played two sets due to ineffectuality of keeping Willie awake. She yawned and she yawned. And won one, despite Bob’s persistent offers to render aid. CB went shopping after one (must have caught some of Willie’s sleeping sickness or was it because she’s a perpetual motion machine?). She won one. After losing them all the previous week, Bob won 3. I won 1. Which is all fair as fair can be, except for BOB who says he’ll be glad to conduct classes on the “proper conductivity” of the game. “Reasonable rates for my friends. Always!”

The very best part of Willie's sojourn into the backwoods behind America's front door was a dancing Santa's hat - battery powered with a mean kick reminds me of the radio music hall kickers. What a gift! She must have known how much I missed my Santa's baseball cap lost after 15 years. Thank you, Willie.

The scene changes... Bob surrenders the picture-taking duties to Willie and rushes over to pose beside the new Santa hat, almost as proud as I!

Written by frankieleeee

January 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Lunchbunch

What a Smoke-in! smoQ BBQ! December 30, 2010

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CB and Bob immediately stuck their noses in the smoQ menu; the question, was, as it often is, which one? In the case of the Lunchbunch the question is often which three? (Photo by fle)

“You’ve reallly underdone yerself this time, mi amigo,” Bob said, “Looks like you’re taking us to a fakey barbecue place, an expensive yuppified barbecue place. I don’t believe this. Gonna be another waste of good money. Can’t you ever get it right? I love you but your taste sucks!”

Open 10 days when we visited, all three of us (Bob, CB and fle) were most pleasantly surprised at how close smoQ BBQ came to its advertised self. Polly Campbell came pretty close, too. (Photo by fle)

I had read a Polly Campbell review of  the place in the Enquirer which assured me SmoQ BBQ would smoke any meat you throw at it and that it would most likely be muy tasty!

You could call the atmosphere inside smoQ semi-relaxed, neither dirt floors nor marble. I loved having all that space to ourselves for lunch before they start to have to beat customers off with a stick. Every table offers three kinds of barbecue sauce: Carolina spicy (more vinegary than spicy, but then I am a fan of Dave's Insanity Sauce), Memphis mild and, I think, Kansas City. In terms of sauce, especially for the pulled pork, I'd say the greatest shortcoming of smoQ is lack of a hot sauce with a bite, you know, like Baird's BBQ hot sauce in my hometown of Puryear, Tennessee, where they warm even the veterans against "extra" hot. (Photo by fle)

Less than a week later at the smoQ BBQ in Springdale, the same Bob greened a tad sheepishly, looked over at me and said, “You do know how to pick ’em, don’t you, mi amigo? Everything we’ve ordered has been excellent. I’m really glad you didn’t let me talk you out of  it. This is some of the best babecue around. When it can compete with Goodies, you know it’s good and Smoq wins the contest in brisket and okra and would whip their butt in fried green tomatoes except Goodies doesn’t have fried green tomatoes.”

(Bob digs up an old Shania Twain story to share with Evan who was far too polite to ask out loud, "WHO?" The star of our smoQ lunch was Evan. As usual we asked dozens of questions and had our server working up quite a sweat with all that running back and forth to the kitchen. No request or comment was too trivial for immediate response. Thank you, Evan. No charge for the boot camp we put you through. Had he been super busy, however, I suspect we would have left a far different taste in his mouth. (Photo by fle)

Evan running another appetizer to our table from the kitchen - he obviously anticipated trouble from us when he seated us just outside the door which expels all the food. (Photo by fle)

(L-R) Evan, server extraordinaire; Pete, who owns the whole pig; and fle, that would be me. (Photo by Bob)

These are our appetizers. Clockwise from the upper righthand corner: chicken and sausage gumbo [excellent, rib tips [very good],  fried okra [excellent], fried green tomatoes [excellent, although they didn’t taste a lot like fried green tomatoes used to taste in West Tennessee when I was a kid], corn chowder [very good], and (in the middle) fried barbecue ribs [excellent – a first for all of us – that Evan brought us a sampling bodes well for future sales as far as I’m concerned]. I suspect servers sometimes weary of bringing the Lunchbunch extra bowls and plates and flatware so we can taste a little of everybody’s everything. (Photo by fle

The entrees of the day: brisket sandwich (Bob) (excellent), buffaloaf [meatloaf made with buffalo – probably bison – meat(fle) (also excellent), and pulled pork (CB) (good). Also shown: beans and rice (Bob) (superb), baked beans (nothing special), mustard coleslaw (mixed results ranging from okay to very good), homemade potato chips (okay). (Photo by fle)”

Bread Pudding was good. (Photo by fle)

Evan whose legs grew very tired during the lunch hour of December 30, 2010; the days poster boy fle; and smoQ manager Chris. (Photo by Bob)

The bill of our lading was not as much as we expected. We three agree the food is definitely worth the price. Next time perhaps chicken and dumplings or shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles or.... (Photo by fle)

Fle’s pick, duh. Fle paid. CB tipped. Next week is Willie’s turn but with all this travel confusion and Bob’s gum doctor appointment and fle and CB’s Scrabble trip to Flint on Thursday, next week has been scheduled for Tuesday (January 4) afternoon at 1:30 at the Asian Buffet outside the Cincinnati Mall. Willie should be back from Enosburg Falls, Vermont and the Albany (NY) New Year’s Tournament in time to make the late date. Then we’ll play Scrabble in the same Meijer we played in this week.

Fle losing to CB again in his hapless journey to salvage some of what's left of his soul. (Photo by Bob)

Where the Meijer employees in Winton Woods go for spectator sports on Thursdays. (Photo by fle)

Bob's favorite section in Meijer! (Photo by fle)

Bob went 3 for 3. CB won 1. Fle was OH for 3. Still a good time was had by all, as is always the case when we discovered a couple of Bob’s “I swear they’re words” are not; and a couple of his “I know they’re phoney words” are not.

Written by frankieleeee

January 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Posted in Lunchbunch

Elitist Scrabbler Keep Detailed Records. 2 Jan 2011

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No sooner had he battered another wannabe Scrabble (copyright til you die) player when the victor whipped out the long thin spiral-bound tablet hanging out of his left back pocket and flipped frantically through the pages until the found the name of his victim, Frank Lee, that ferocious wuss from Cincinnati. “Let’s see, that makes 63 wins for me against yout; 10 wins for you. I’ve played a total of 120 7-letter bingoes against you, 57 8-letter bingoes including “bepainted” in this one; 12 9-letter bingoes and 10 10-letter ones and 5 triple-triples. My winning percentage against you, Frank, is 86.30137, although my calculations are that it should be closer to 91.637 per cent. I average drawing about 1 1/2 blanks against you and 7.7 of the 11 power tiles. I should be doing a lot better against you with that kind of draw luck, although it’s pretty obvious the numbers would be close to these in any case, seeing that my skill level is so much greater than yours. Shouldn’t your rating be higher than 1200 after 25 years of tournament play? Or do your physical disabilities bleed over into your mental faculties? I suppose not; I actually don’t beat you as often as some of the other mediocre players in my book. Where are your records?” – Thoreau Maskin, staff reporter, “The Daily Scrabble Babble.” “Elite players sweep Scrabble (copyright til you die) Tournaments in Flint; Scold their opponents as Lazy & Inept. January 10, 2011.


 

 

Written by frankieleeee

January 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm