Archive for January 19th, 2018

Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament: Session 1, Jan. 13, 2018

January 19, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 17, 2018

I arranged the evening of Friday, Jan. 12, so as to get home and go to bed at a decent hour — and the plan worked out. Unfortunately, my brain and body didn’t cooperate, and it wasn’t until sometime around 5 a.m. that I finally fell asleep. This, alas, was prior to an event for which I needed to get out of bed around 8 a.m.

Despite this, I felt surprisingly normal as I showered, dressed and prepared to head out to the Duke medical facility that serves as the venue for the annual Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament.

I was playing in the lower of two divisions. Our group featured eight players, each of whom would play eight games on Saturday and eight more games on Sunday. Because of the size of the field, we were scheduled to play all seven of our opponents twice — a double round robin format — before games 15 and 16 determined the final standings — a king-of-the-hill format.

The opening contest of the tournament matched me with a very familiar foe: J—, a local resident whom I encounter several times a year in Sunday-afternoon club play. Over the course of 14 official meetings between us, he had an outstanding record of nine victories against five losses, including a six-game winning streak. His rating at the start of the weekend was 1051, markedly higher than my 932.

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Near-miss on the interstate: My close encounter with a wrong-way driver

January 19, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 19, 2018

I narrowly avoided serious injury and possibly death in a high-speed car crash while driving west on Interstate 40 around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18.

As is typical for me on Thursday nights, I was driving back to Durham from Raleigh when the near-miss occurred. Because of Wednesday’s heavy snow, and the inconsistency with which roads are treated following snowfall in North Carolina’s Piedmont, when I first got on the highway, I drove below the posted limit. But the road seemed to be clear of snow and ice, so I gradually pushed up to 65 miles per hour.

The highway has four lanes in each direction for much of Wake County (where the city of Raleigh is located) and Durham County (home, of course, to the city of Durham). At some point as I was approaching or passing Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which is roughly midway between the two cities, I steered into the second lane from the left.

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