I thought I had no good, recent puzzles to do but while going through the "bring puzzles for between rounds" item on my list, I realized I hadn't done most of the BEQs in Time Out NY. In fact, I'd only done 3, so I happily ripped out over 20 puzzle pages. I did a few and they were fun and twisty with unusual letter combinations. I also grabbed a few Merls from AARP magazine and Mauras from New York mag. Just in case this wasn't enough, I also packed a Games World of Puzzles and a really old Dell Champion. It turned out I finished ALL this during the tournament except for the Dell.
Since I'd never seen the ballroom, I brought two different models of Mighty Brite lights (in case the first one failed). A timer and a spare timer in case the first one died. One sharpened brand new pencil for each puzzle, make that more than one in case they broke (so 10 pencils), plus the mechanical Stamford commemorative pencil I don't really like writing with.
I reserved a room at the hotel, so needed to pack. I shaved my legs, and tried on the clothes I usually wear, which fit even though I haven't lost an ounce. Made sure to pack the Trogdor shirt (this was going to be so funny. Couldn't wait!). A WWTBAM tee to sleep in. Reading glasses, must not forget glasses. I checked they were packed about a zillion times. The 4 books I was giving away with a Post-It indicating each recipient. I had recharged the laptop, but it's not the lightest and I decided to leave it home. It all went into the WWTBAM duffel bag. Too bad the WWTBAM jacket never fit, or I could have had a full ensemble (I also have a sweatshirt).
Finally got on the subway, itchy with anticipation. I'd written down walking directions from Jay St.-Boro Hall to the hotel but when I emerged up an escalator to an enclosure with a flaky ceiling, I turned around and saw the hotel bridge I recognized from pictures, right there across the plaza. I don't know why Hopstop wanted me to walk 2 blocks down and turn right. In the door, up the escalator. There!
Said brief hellos, checked in with the friendly desk staff, went to my room on the 20th floor. Niiiice, good view including the bridge, chaise longue. I unpacked and headed back down.
Soon it was time for the Cru Dinner. Last year at Stamford the food was not very good, but that was not the case here. Score one for Brooklyn. Janie came over and said she was only here for Friday because she'd just moved - into my building. Pat identified herself and got her book, and Barry was sitting nearby to get his. I also found Cazique but he didn't want to carry his book just then. No sign of the unknown Jon with shaved head who claimed the last book.
Some people had preplanned teams for Eric Berlin's event, but I didn't want to deal with that. Last year I teamed with the people who happened to be around me and it worked out well. I was even talking to one of them (Pete) just before dinner and thought of reteaming, but decided I'd explore new horizons and take potluck. Entering the really large ballroom, I soon saw Cramerica and he then got Aleph so there was the team.
We were initially in a dark spot (the ballroom seems brighter than Stamford but there are a few black holes), so moved over way right. So many people, and not everyone comes Friday night. Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz and his wife spoke in Brooklyn accents that warmed my heart. Nice of them to come. They inadvertently gave away the answer to the extravaganza, but the puzzles were still lots of fun.
Then outside to have veggies and cheese chunks. Candisse was there looking to improve MGC, and I pointed out ex-contestants who knew just how to do that. I met young constructor Natan Last, found Mr. and Mrs. Tex, talked to Mira for the first time in ages, and realized later I'd missed any announcement of prizes and results. Must have been in another room. I'll assume my team didn't win anything - or did we?
Various pickup games were going on, but I like to stay focused on the contest. I went up around 12:30 and set the alarm. Except I wasn't sure if I screwed up and also reset the clock. That clock was confusing. I had no watch or cell phone or iPod - or laptop - or anything with the time. I turned on the TV hoping to find a station or screen displaying the time, but no luck (it took a while to realize that you don't have to go through the MENU to watch regular TV but can just change the channels after it comes on). I then tried the radio but AM didn't seem to be working (where's 1010 WINS when you need it?). Finally, I called the operator and asked what time it was. It was the time on the clock.
Since I didn't seem to be sleeping, I decided to take a shower. I brought my own soap since I don't trust Marriott citrus aloe. I had washed my hands with it earlier ("maybe it's not that bad") and they turned red. Uh oh. Luckily no full-out hives breakouts. The showerhead was removable, resting in a high slot. I didn't like the spray and took down the nozzle and tried different settings, but I didn't like any of them. Negative points for Brooklyn shower.
I still couldn't sleep. This always happens. I get too keyed up and thoughts won't stop racing through my head. At some point they did stop, and I got about 5 hours.