Scrabble: A Few Points

Scrabble is a couples’ game. By this, I don’t just mean that it’s best as a 2-player game. I mean the sort of thing that 7-how-7 / steve was getting at when he made these scrabble magnets for Valentines day.

It was silly of me to be surprised when I read about how Scrabble games can go on Facebook. I got the tile-trembling truth from an article by Will Doig. It was shared with me by Matthew Gray, who I know from other, more innocent, board-gaming experiences.

Scrabulous, the Facebook application that allows users to play Scrabble against each other online, has turned Hasbro’s slow, stodgy board game for vocabulary enthusiasts into one of the internet’s sleazier pickup joints

It reminded me to nudge my wife to tell her that it’s her turn on the Scrabulous game we started recently. It is so far my only Scrabulous game. But if you would like some good clean scrabbly fun, let me know.

Finally, here’s a scrabbly quote from Kelly Link’s wonderful story, The Faery Handbag.

Zofia and I played Scrabble all the time. Zofia always won, even though her English wasn’t all that great, because we’d decided that she was allowed to use Baldeziwurleki vocabulary. Baldeziwurlekistan is where Zofia was born, over two hundred years ago… Baldeziwurlekistan is also an incredibly valuable word in Scrabble points, even though it doesn’t exactly fit on the board. Zofia put it down the first time we played…

Zofia kept rearranging her letters on her tray. Then she looked over at me, as if daring me to stop her, and put down “eziwurlekistan”, after “bald.” She used “delicious,” “zippery,” “wishes,” “kismet”, and “needle,” and made “to” into “toe”. “Baldeziwurlekistan” went all the way across the board and then trailed off down the righthand side…

“I used up all my letters,” Zofia said. She licked her pencil and started adding up points.

“That’s not a word,” I said. “Baldeziwurlekistan is not a word. Besides, you can’t do that. You can’t put an eighteen letter word on a board that’s fifteen squares across.”

“Why not? It’s a country,” Zofia said. “It’s where I was born, little darling.”

“Challenge,” I said. I went and got the dictionary and looked it up. “There’s no such place”…

“They call it something else now,” Zofia said. “But I think it’s important to remember where we come from. I think it’s only fair that I get to use Baldeziwurleki words. Your English is so much better than me. Promise me something, mouthful of dumpling, a small, small thing. You’ll remember its real name. Baldeziwurlekistan. Now when I add it up, I get three hundred and sixty-eight points. Could that be right?”

Some Zombie Laptop Plans

I have this laptop: a Dell Inspiron 2200. It has no power. By that, I don’t mean that its processor struggles with the tasks I give it.

I mean that it has no electricity. It no longer works off the mains, probably because of the damage done to its power cord. Its battery has run down to the point that, when I try to boot it, it goes right into hibernate mode.

There are some files on the hard drive that I… need is probably too strong a word, that I’m reluctant to abandon. So, what to do? Let’s review.

  1. The best possible fate for an old internal drive is to become a super-handy external drive, advised Alpha Geek Rick at Lifehacker. His post, and the comments on it, make it sound easy and inexpensive.
  2. Buy a new power cord. The advantage is that it would give me back the laptop. But I’m not sure I want a slow, heavy, Windows laptop with a broken DVD/CD drive. And this would be more expensive than (1).
  3. As (2), but install Linux after getting the files off. The laptop would still be heavy, and the DVD drive still broken, but it wouldn’t be Windows and it wouldn’t be as slow.
  4. Borrow a power cord or battery for long enough to get the files off. I’ve already tried this at work, but they don’t have stuff that old.
  5. Forget about it unless and until I really need some of the files. But my home, office, and life are quite cluttered enough without a dormant laptop lying around.

I’m leaning toward (1). I note that Rick recommends NewEgg as a source for the enclosure I’d need. I also note that Rick’s post carries contextual ads, that the first of them points to a handy-looking page at xPCgear, but that recent PriceGrabber ratings of xPCgear tend to include words like worst, suck, and avoid.

I’d be grateful for any advice or other thoughts. I’d be impressed if you recognized the post title’s reference to the Kelly Link story “Some Zombie Contingency Plans,” which is available in the excellent Magic for Beginners collection.