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Scrabble October 8, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Now lest any of you non-Berlin readers think we Berliners aren’t cool and funky, even when the sun’s disappeared for the best part of a year and we’re not allowed to sit outdoors and coolly watch football anymore, I’m going to remind you just how cool we are. Or how cool I am, for I suppose I best not speak on behalf of my fellow Berlinobloggers.

I’m so cool I’ve accidentally got addicted to internet scrabble. Utterly addicted. Especially as this version of it panders to all your boyish little desires and gives you a ranking and everything. I see myself as scrabble’s Tim Henman, my ranking fluctuating wildly as I hit highs (beat a Federer-like scrabbler) and lows (lose in straight sets to another British player). But, I tell you, this internet scrabble site is the best thing to come out of Romania since the Dacia.

Actually, internet scrabble is sort of a substitute for blogging. When I should be working – like RIGHT NOW – my little virtual Romanian refuge is as cosy and welcoming as a snug old Berlin flat heated with coal-ovens. (This is the one compensation of the new freezingness. The streets smell of aga again.) But it’s taken on a worrying angle. Apart from the uncoolness, and occasionally being disturbed as the clock’s running down and having to shout frenziedly that I can’t talk now as I’ve still got a q to get rid of, it’s begun to take over. Just as I’d got into reading Nietzsche and thought I was about to turn into an intellectual. (I had even been planning a Nietzscheesque post entitled, “Why I write such a good blog.”) But, alas, no.

I suppose scrabble is poor man’s chess. Whereas I imagine Kasparov divides his time between wondering how to become Russia’s next president and how to perfect his Sicilian defence, I have visions floating around in front of me of how best to place a stubborn q. As Kasparov ponders whether he can conquer a computer that the best human minds have managed to concoct, I am tearing my hair out wondering whether I might beat Doris from Cleethorpes whose profile confides that she is 120 and also enjoys crochet and her Max Bygraves collection. Oh the ignominy! The ignominy! (Mind you, good word if you can get it over two triples with the m on the double letter score. 203. That’d show Doris.)

Game, anyone?



1. pdberger - October 8, 2006

Are you kidding me? I love Scrabble and I’m already a member of ISC.

My login name is: pdberger.

But before we play, you may want to read this.

2. Christina - October 8, 2006

You’ve got a leg up on me. My game is Rummikub. The alte Damen at Reha last summer got me addicted. They tried to get me into alphabetic Rummikub, but I just couldn’t handle getting thoroughly trounced by them every match.

3. BiB - October 8, 2006

Paul, I’ve seen you whoop folk’s asses at chess. Live. And you’ve written about scrabble. Written about it! I’ll have to limber up – I’m on a losing streak from hell – before challenging you to an almighty duel.

Christina, what ON EARTH is Rummikub? Have you made it up, you naughty old trickster?

4. Blonde at Heart - October 9, 2006

Rummilub is an old ladies’ game. I play letter Rummikub with a friend of mine who recently made Aliyah, to practice her Hebrew.
The game is equal to bridge an knitting as a favourite old ladies’ passtime.

5. Bowleserised - October 9, 2006

I don’t know whether to sign up or not. I already waste enough time thinking about hair… On the other hand, it could be seen as a warm up for work.

6. Christina - October 9, 2006

Rummikub is like rummy with tiles. You have number tiles that you need to place in groups of at least three, like 7-7-7 or 2-3-4-5. Alphabetic (or letter) Rummikub is the same but with words. It may be an old lady game, but I bought me a set. Speaking of old lady hobbies, I’ll have you know I was quite the bridge fiend in my teenage years! Okay, actually I sucked pretty bad but it was the “in” game at my high school.

7. leon - October 9, 2006

I can’t say I’m that fond of Scrabble, though a stint working behind a bar in a pub frequented mainly by old men did give me a taste for cribbage.

8. BiB - October 9, 2006

Leon, cribbage. Another game I’ve never understood. But I’d probably get addicted to it anyway. Thank god I’ve never got a taste for gambling, or the national lottery.

Christina, BAH, I was BORN to be an old woman. I must take up rummikub. Can you do it at home alone? I’d hate to have to socialise to do it. It sounds a bit like my old lady friend(95 today)’s anti-Alzheimer’s crossword.

B., be warned. You will never do another full day’s work again. (Luckily, I’m rushed off my feet – he says, blogging happily away – till Wednesday so have to curtail my losing streak till then at least.)

9. Ed Ward - October 9, 2006

Oh, cribbage is indeed addictive. I learned it, appropriately enough, from a sea-captain who was marooned at my aunt’s house on an island off the coast of Maine during a storm which prevented him from getting in his car and driving home. I then went on to beat him soundly over and over, at which point he threw on his coat and said damn the weather and drove home in the rain to get away from the horrible 8-year-old. I’ve since become re-addicted at times, and have two really nice cribbage boards…errr, somewhere in storage in Texas.

10. BiB - October 9, 2006

Ed, nice image. Did he smoke a pipe, have a big, woolly white jumper on and say piratey things? I want to eat a big, hearty, warming summer in your aunt’s house, being lashed by the sea all the while.

11. Wyndham - October 9, 2006

Scrabble? I have enough trouble placing one word in front of the other without adding numbers to the equation. It’s all very vexing – I’ve just written another sheet of A4 on how I should organise myself in order to find a way of earning money and then you provide a link to internet Scrabble! Bah!

12. BiB - October 9, 2006

Wynders, what can you mean? You don’t have any trouble stringing words together. You are a heavenly wordsmith. But didn’t you say there was a twist in the tale of your job-quest? Did the folk say, “We don’t want you for THAT job, but there is THIS position, doing half as much work but paying twelve times more?” (I am slightly living in cloud-cuckoo land. Forgive me. I’m in the pre-deadline, translation-machine zone at the moment.)

13. Christina - October 9, 2006

Unfortunately, Rummikub requires socializing, but there is computer Rummikub!

14. BiB - October 9, 2006

Ed, supper, not summer. I need to do more anti-Alzheimer’s crosswords.

Christina, I don’t know if I dare even look into this. I’ll be addicted before you know it. I came across a Russian version of scrabble, called I can’t remember what, but it was ruined by over-strict rules, like only being able to put down verbs if they were in the first person singular, or something like that. What a pain! Scrabble is happily accommodating of all forms.

15. Mangonel - October 10, 2006

Oh *lots and lots of swear words*! My login name (no surprise) is Mangonel and I just got beaten by kossykossy (the first of many times I am sure) Do you suppose this person maintains an unhealthy interest in australian swimwear? Twice?

16. BiB - October 10, 2006

Hello Mangonel! Hello Buckinghamshire! I feel slightly awful for tempting people towards internet scrabble. You could all be doing something much lovelier instead. Plus, I worry about trying friendships if any of you are beginners. I know all those stupid two-letter, scrabble-only words.

17. Bowleserised - October 10, 2006

I’ve played four times already…

18. BiB - October 10, 2006

B., delete programme, delete programme, before it’s too late! Which I’ve done a couple of times, only to reinstall it later on. I only managed to sneak in a couple of games yesterday, and today ought to be a workathon, so I might not even manage that. But I have been dreaming of scrabble boards lately. Not good.

19. Ed Ward - October 10, 2006

No worries, BiB, but unfortunately my aunt died some years back — and in Arizona, where she’d “retired.”

Vinelhaven Island, though, where she lived when this happened, is still there, with its many lobster fishermen, which is, I think, what this guy must’ve been.

20. BiB - October 10, 2006

Sounds nice, with lots of weather-beaten, huge men hulking about, then drinking themselves silly in the island bar – run by a fearsomely strong and hugely buxom woman – of an evening. Maybe living there wouldn’t be much fun, though trips as a child might have been quite an adventure. Were they? My childhood adventures were to my grandparents’ house, which was in the middle of nowhere and always seemed to be full of daddy-long-legs, regardless of the time of year, which I was petrified of at the time. And my other grandfather lived about 1 street away from us in London, so there was no adventuring to be done there…

21. patroclus - October 10, 2006

I *really* want a go of the internet scrabble, but I fear change. And being beaten.

22. BiB - October 11, 2006

Pats, change from what? From the ‘real’ board version, you mean? This version’s better, as you can set a time limit, ignore your co-player and even make it known if your opponent is trying to put down nonsense words, such as qzwxj. Those Romanians know their stuff…

23. Ed Ward - October 11, 2006

Funny you should mention qzwxj, since that’s one of the signature dishes up there on Vinalhaven. Made with lobstah and, er, something else.

24. BiB - October 11, 2006

Ed, I’ve googled Vinalhaven, and it’s just as I expected. There were even photos of wholesome, almost-Amish-looking women in bonnets carrying wholesome baskets, probably full of wholesome fishy products. I instantly had an urge to visit Finland and jump in a lake.

25. lukeski - October 15, 2006

I have joined the Scrabble world – lukeski is my ‘handle’ in a late 1970’s CB Radio style. You are an inspiration to us all.

26. BiB - October 15, 2006

Lukeski, my apologies for your about-to-be-ruined life. You’ll have to start bunking off work and will never get a peaceful night’s sleep ever again. I’ll log on and find you one day soon…

27. daggi - October 20, 2006

Leon, you worked in THAT pub, too, like the rest of ’em? Was there anyone in that down who didn’t have a stint behind the bar?

28. BiB - October 24, 2006

Daggi, did you and Leon happily play cribbage in a pub together? That’s another nice image for me to conjure with. Was the pub in a windswept and almost-deserted Welsh village near Essex?

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