From the archives: October 2007

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Plagal makes perfect

Tuesday, 16 October 2007 — 5:36am | Jazz, Music, Pianism, Scrabble, Tournament logs

9-8 (+512). This is the third consecutive time I’ve finished the 17-round Western Canadian Scrabble Championship with a 9-8 record in Division 2—an indication of a personal plateau if I’ve ever seen one. Here’s the photographic evidence for your inspiration or mocking amusement, depending on how good you are.

Every year, the month of October hits me upside the head and I come to the sudden and unwelcome realization that I haven’t studied or practised in months. The fact that I’ve been letting my word knowledge atrophy is probably the biggest reason my rating has been hovering around the 1300 zone for years now, and cramming the week or the night or the morning before the tournament doesn’t tend to help—because after all, what should you cram? With this in mind, the preparation I did for the tournament amounted to a lot of sleep, a lot of tea, and several hours at a Yamaha grand.

Did it help?

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The Backlog Driver’s Waltz

Thursday, 11 October 2007 — 4:23pm | Debate

In the absence of any time to write about anything that has occupied my thoughts and adventures over the past fortnight (including but not limited to an afternoon with Derek Walcott, the Edmonton Journal Saturday Serial Thriller, a legendary absorption of the nuances in “Princess Leia’s Theme” one night at the Winspear, the tenuous balance of free exploration and story elements in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Phantom Hourglass, the problem of typographical representation in a harmonic approach to poetry, “Revolution 9” from the White Album, the animated shorts at the Edmonton International Film Festival, Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, and much ado about Michael Chabon—the usual, in short) I place this temporary offering on the sacrificial altar: an ed article by François Marchand on the University of Alberta Debate Society (“Verbal combat”, 5 October 2007).

The article is part of a series on ostensibly nerdy student groups—there’s one about the Comic Book Appreciation Society and Subspace 6-20 (“The nerds’ revenge”, 7 October 2007)—and is at least personally notable for being the second time I’ve been mentioned in ed in conjunction with the great pastime of Scrabble, which is something that interviewers consistently seem to know about me without my having told them beforehand. I recommend the accompanying video under “Related Links”, in which Sharon and Noah engage in a sporting repartee about all the tail debaters aren’t getting in spite of their super-cool sweatpants.

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