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2019 Robb Griffith Memorial Tournament, part 2

October 16, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comOct. 16, 2019 As is customary when we hold Scrabble tournaments at the local mall, I took advantage of the midday break to walk home. After grabbing some lunch, I hopped in my car. I parked in a shady spot — I think the temperature got up to the mid-80s that day — […]

Poker postseason recap, summer 2019

August 11, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comAug. 11, 2019 The six-month-long World Tavern Poker season will conclude this evening. Thus far I’ve collected one prize — or make that two prizes, a plaque-and-medallion two-in-one combination — thanks to my taking the season points championship at the venue where I serve as tournament director on Sunday nights. It’s only my […]

Richard K. Morgan puts his aggressive antihero through physical, emotional and mental wringers in ‘Woken Furies,’ the culmination of his Takeshi Kovacs trilogy

July 12, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com July 12, 2019 At the start of Richard K. Morgan’s 2003 debut novel, Altered Carbon, his narrator’s consciousness was revived in someone else’s body — a “sleeve” — in Bay City, a sprawling metropolis straddling the San Francisco Bay. It was Takeshi Kovacs’s first visit to Earth, a journey arranged by […]

Poker postseason stories, winter 2019: Part 1

February 20, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 20, 2019 I was involved in a remarkable World Tavern Poker hand the other evening. Playing the button — that is, dealing, which puts me last to act after the flop — I saw four players limp into the pot for 400 chips. When I looked at my hole […]

Aug. 25, 2018, mall Scrabble recap, part 3

September 2, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Sept. 2, 2018 I was riding a three-game winning streak going into the seventh round of Saturday’s tournament. The task ahead of me was a rematch against D—, who had narrowly beaten me in the final game of the early session. Playing first, D— got off to a terrific start with […]

Aug. 25, 2018, mall Scrabble recap, part 1

August 30, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Aug. 30, 2018 The opening game of the Aug. 25 Scrabble tournament pitted me against S—, the older North Carolina player who had handed me a 100-point defeat around the start of the summer. I had a modest lead of 64-30 midway through turn 3 when, playing second, S— put […]

Late-bird event, games 4–5, Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, Jan. 15, 2018

February 4, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 4, 2018 My third-round victory in the late-bird tournament left multiple players with two wins and one loss. Due to the spread tie-breaker, K— remained atop the table at plus-263; I was second at plus-22; the tournament organizer, my friend D—, was third at minus-18; and C— was fourth […]

Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament: Session 2, Jan. 13, 2018

January 20, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 20, 2018 I ran a bunch of errands over the lunch break before returning for the second session of the annual Duke PBMT benefit Scrabble tournament. I felt like I’d had a respectable morning overall. Yes, my two losses had been annoying, but to be fair to myself, I’d […]

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

January 19, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com 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. […]

Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 1-2 Stanford

September 20, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Sept. 20, 2017 With Stanford kicking off at 10:30 Saturday evening against San Diego State, I was flying solo for my football-watching this past weekend. I stopped by a downtown Durham barcade, where I chatted and played pinball with my pal D— and his girlfriend; I also set a high […]

Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 2

June 29, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com June 29, 2017 Late Tuesday afternoon, I showered, took the dog outside and set out for Sterling, Va., which is a 20 or 25-minute drive from where I’m staying. I was going to — well, let’s call it Massive Marvin’s, a dining establishment that a pair of Internet websites assured […]

March 25, 2017, mall Scrabble recap, part 3

April 8, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com April 8, 2017 Two straight defeats had dropped my record to an unremarkable 3-3, and my seventh game would hardly be a walk in the park. My opponent was to be K.L., the event’s second-highest-seeded player. Playing first, K.L. began the game with IODINE 16. My response, PEONY, garnered 15 points […]

March 25, 2017, mall Scrabble recap, part 2

April 7, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com April 7, 2017 Coming out of the lunch break, I was pitted against my friend D—, whom I’d beaten 395-344 in Delaware in December. (Our only other previous official encounter had been a 355-310 decision in his favor in September 2012.) Playing second, he took a 51-42 lead in turn […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/28/2016 (finale)

January 5, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 5, 2017 Going into the final round of the Delaware tournament, I had some bad news and some good news. The bad news was three-fold. One, I was not guaranteed to be the division victory; two, in the final round I’d be facing a skilled player; and three, that […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/28/2016 (part 4)

January 5, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 5, 2017 Although it felt as if hours had passed since I’d begun my game against Lady Persistence, I still had two more contests left to play. I convened my seventh-round match against KB, whom I’d beaten by 200 points the afternoon before, as hastily as I could. Although I […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/28/2016 (part 1)

January 2, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 2, 2017 I slept solidly my third night at the hotel, so I was feeling much better at the start of Wednesday’s competition than I had the day before. My goal for the day was to improve on Tuesday’s third-place 5-3 finish, preferably by at least matching the 7-1 second-place showing […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/27/2016 (part 1)

January 1, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Jan. 1, 2017 After our first day at the Delaware Scrabble tournament, D— and I had some more-or-less family-friendly adventures that I may write about in a future post. It was fun, but regrettably, I had a bear of a time falling asleep afterward. I tried going to bed a […]

Delaware Scrabble recap, 12/26/2016 (part 1)

December 30, 2016

Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Dec. 30, 2016 On Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, I did something that I’d never done before in my life: Played in a Scrabble tournament outside of the state of North Carolina. My pal D— and I had decided to attend the last three days in a five-day holiday Scrabble event at […]

Nov. 12, 2016, Scrabble tournament recap: Part 2

November 20, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Nov. 20, 2016 After starting the tournament off with two wins in close games against strong opponents, my third match was a bit of a gimme. My foe this time out was P—, a first-time tournament player who had lost her first two games by large margins. I went ahead from the get-go, playing […]

Small car, small victory

August 24, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Aug. 24, 2016 On Wednesday afternoon, I was walking to my car when I spotted a Mini Cooper that I thought belonged to my friend D—. On a whim, I circled around the automobile, looking for D—’s distinctive license plate. (He’s fond of a particular Scrabble word, naturally.) The car […]

Mall Scrabble: The prologue

April 14, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com April 14, 2016 A helpful thing to do the night before you have a day-long event, especially one that begins in the morning, is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, fall asleep in short order and sleep soundly until it’s time to awaken. I don’t remember what time […]

Notes on the 2016 North Carolina School Scrabble Championship

March 15, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com March 15, 2016 Last weekend, for the second year in a row, I volunteered at the North Carolina school Scrabble championship, a tournament held in a Chapel Hill elementary school that’s organized by my pal, D—. Since I failed to sustain any injuries this time around, I’ll write about the event […]

Games 5 through 8, Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament, Jan. 16, 2016

February 6, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 6, 2016 My opponent in game 5 of the sixth annual Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament was J—, a local player whom I had faced, and lost to, in a June 2015 tournament. He opened turn 5 with NUrTUrE/TOr/FINE 66, which put him up, 137-99. I was behind, 221-172, […]

Spanked and spanked again: Three recent Scrabble games

February 5, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Feb. 5, 2016 Last year, I played in two Scrabble tournaments. I wound up writing more than 20 different posts about my participation in those competitions. Recently, I played in the sixth annual Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program benefit Scrabble tournament; it’s held in January on the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. […]

My root canal!

September 4, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken MEMwrites.wordpress.com Sept. 4, 2015 If I was distressed by the prospect of getting dental work done back in June, it’s fair to say that my emotions were hovering just a smidge under absolutely terrified prior to the root canal that I had Thursday afternoon. (Spoiler alert: Reader, I lived!) A tooth near the back of […]