Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Duel for the Jewel

If the season seems to have flown by, that's because each new season represents an increasingly smaller percentage of the total lifespan (so far) of each individual league follower. On the bright side, each succeeding year flies just a bit less more quickly than the previous one did compared to the one before that. As for the match, a picture is worth a thousand words:
On the other hand, what's a thousand words? My pick is St. Louis (the biggest boom town chess has seen since Chess City, Kalmykia), as I think their advantage on the top boards outweighs their disadvantage on the bottom, and in the event of 2-2, they're an even clearer favorite in the elimination blitz. Btw, you might want to remove that coffee stain from your screen. Be careful not to wet the innards.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Semifinal round

I'm curious about something: Are these drawings saved here in some format other than what you see when you click on "page source"? If Michelangelo were alive today, could he just type a random-looking string of characters on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and be venerated ever after?

By the way, the two this week were drawn on white paper. If I have to guess, it probably came from Staples, so thanks to them. Too bad about the Lakers this year.

St. Louis vs. Miami

I know this blog is titled "USCL predictions" but since I'm drawing these things, to put into words something like "I think St. Louis is the favorite" seems rather heavy-handed and frankly, inelegant. So I'll let the jumble speak.

Dallas vs. New York

Again, what with my official TD duties, to pick a winner in this match would not put hooves on me.

And now, after six or seven years, an innovation, suggested by long-time subscriber Elizabeth Spiegel of Brooklyn, New York: last week's answers! I tried to find a way to include a "spoiler" box but I have failed to find one so far that works in IE, so this time I will hide the answers in the "comments" section of this post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Quarterfinal round

I chose a new canvas this week, the paper tablecloth at this place I'm at. I was unable to find out whom to credit, but the bartender thinks maybe Marcal.

I think I agree with Greg about this being the most exciting week of the season (barring a final that ends in a blitz playoff), just like the NFL conference semi-final week.

Dallas vs. San Francisco:

This jumble includes seven-letter words in the preliminary for, I believe, the first time ever. But after all these years (how many?), I felt it was time to raise the intellectual level.

Rio Grande vs. New York:

I mentioned I've been the official TD at the New York team's matches this year. This can really unbalance one's perspective, because I was unaware of all the other matches each week and I'm not even sure I've heard of the Rio Grande team. How can "Rio Grande" be a team, for that matter? Isn't it a river? I guess it's some sort of unifying, universalist-type idea, as in "Americans and Mexicans may have their differences from time to time, but let us all proud of this wonderful river we share".

I am not going to pick a winner, because maybe I'll have to rule on something. Touch-move, or whatever they argue about today. I don't think I'll pick the other matches, either, beyond what the jumble itself may seem to imply. But maybe you're reading it wrong. Be grateful you were able to read it at all. I will try to upgrade my canvas yet again next week.

St. Louis vs. New Jersey:

Miami vs. Manhattan:

I might still add more and delete this end note and just generally make this post better but I do want to get this post up in case access at home is unavailable, as they are about to close here. It empties out fast on open-mic nights once the microphone is unplugged. I may expand and/or expound more on that phenomenon as well. Later.

(Later)I'm editing now. Mostly to go back and paragraph, having just rediscovered that lost art. Also, I'd like to explain that the preliminary words in each jumble are the only valid ones according to the anagram engine at wordsmith.org . There are always more inclusive dictionaries out there, but if you wish to verify an answer, that is the place.

Btw, I have discovered a supply of plain white, unlined paper at home, so that is what I'll use next week.

FAQ: "Am I going crazy, or is something subtly different from before?" Yes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wildcard round

Hello all (or "both" or "you", as the case may be), this is my first uscl blog post since last season. I seeded myself directly into the postseason last year, and that seemed to work out, so I am doing it again. If further excuse is needed, I have been (sic)working(/sic) at the NY Knights matches this year (providing warm body service), and I didn't want to create a possible conflict of interest.

A word from our sponsors: pen for these jumbles provided by Papermate, napkins by Chalet.

I am writing this on Tuesday night and hope to have it up in time for Wednesday's matches. If not, don't say you heard it here first. I have in fact complete the jumbles and just need to upload them somewhere.

Seattle vs. New Jersey:

San Francisco vs. Connecticut:

This has nothing to do with chess or the league, but just to motivate myself, I want to say here that I pledge to have a rough draft of my twelve-minute playlet, tentatively titled "The Last Horseshoe Repairman on the Lower East Side", ready by the time I go to bed on Wednesday. I have in the past disdained this form of self-motivation, feeling that if one wishes to do something, one should and can simply do it without any such silliness. But at some point in one's life, one must face reality and realize that one is incapable of being self-motivated and must therefore use artificial means or just continue to get old and die and fail to enrich the world as one might have.

Wednesday update: It looks improbable that I will be able to upload these jumbles today, so I guess I'll just put down my picks while hoping a method eventually presents itself--New Jersey and San Francisco. I also hope the napkins stay more or less intact meantime.

Later Wednesday update: I got one up but not the other, either because I stuck it into a different bag yesterday or because I forgot it wasn't just a used napkin like any other. Anyway, I will have it or a replacement up eventually, probably next week.

The following Tuesday night update: I found the other napkin (it was in my bag after all, but hidden between pages of a notebook. Not the notebook I lost; the other one. Also, not a notebook computer). Also, I didn't have that rough draft ready after all, but I did figure out the dramatic climax, which is better than my average daily progress.