(Have an irritating mosquito around my computer and I forgot that I don't have any insect repellant. So hoping right now that it is not an AEDES sub-species)
Anyway, was invited to TD the Singapore Nationals.
So I tried out the new luxury bus service from Konsortium.
Pretty comfy (double decker, wide seats),
pretty fast (no midpoint rest stop, total travel time 3 hours to JB, according to my watch),
pretty pitiful that I cannot buy a return ticket (Going back by Transnasional, who claim to have upgraded their fleet. We shall see if it is true later)
So arrived in Larkin approximately 3.40am.
Got leftover supper for breakfast while waiting for 1st commuter bus.
Okay SJE at 4.15am for just RM2.40
Board it and breeze through Malaysian immigration checkpoint.
Board same bus and head to the Singapore immigration.
Get off bus and walk straight into ten lines (and counting) of Malaysian and mainly PRC tourist (who were taking forever to get immigration clearance).
Fill out immigration form and went queue hoping (this one shorter, nope that one shorter. Should I gamble on this one opening in the next five minutes or sticking with my slow ploddy one?). Ended up second on a newly opened queue after six attempts. (I got clearance around 5.30am)
Went downstairs, missed my bus. Board the replacement and sat all the way to Bugis (I forgot that Queen Street is near Bugis, was hoping to get off somewhere else like Toa Payoh, Kranji, etc)
Anyway, walk 500m to Bugis MRT station and braved the early morning rush (It was 6am at this point) and managed to arrive at the AMK station 20 minutes later (or 17 minutes if SMRT wants to quibble about their efficiency).
Proceed to cheese Andy and Cheah off about tournament venue and travel options before I realized that the only reliable info I have is the only Scrabbler who has to journey from the farthest reaches of Singapore to play in this competition, ie Boon Lay, hence I called Yen Nee.
Lucky for me that she has all the details, so I managed to make my bus trip in time (to get some savings on the transfer thingy)
Arrived at "the Serangoon (CC)" around 6.45am. Procceed to get completely bored and have breakfast for the next 2 hours.
Thank god Wilson came to open the hall early so that I can discover that Windows 98 doesn't recognize Thumb drives (wow! technology is so obsolete!)
Anyway, even installing it with CD doesn't work.
Andy arrives early enough to troubleshoot all the wordjudge program while I get Wilson to set up a third computer for pairings (and Andy to set up the pairing program).
Thank god only Div A in the morning (at least they have been trained).
Everything went swimmingly in the morning (and I chatted up a wonderful assistant by the name of Serenella, or Seren for abbreviation)
Div B were supposed to report in at 12noon, (I expect quite a few were assuming I would start play at 1pm)
Hurhurhur, I told them to go have lunch and announce that they would start at 12.40pm while I go and have lunch with Div A. Jobeth and EWOK turned up to help, Yes!
So gave Div B their 5 games quota for Day 1 and they wanted more (greedy people, cheah should make them play 21 games next year in two days)
Div A was a headache because I had to schedule 9 games into, but it was pretty interesting to see Goh Jiang Pern running away with it on Day 1 (since he is also the defending champion).
Went for dinner and some miscommunication ended up increasing the cost of dinner (when several people opted out of Chi-Chiak) while Tony, Ricky and I dug into tofu, veggies, chicken and pork that was so tasty it convinced two others to join in (nothing beats watching people drool at what you eat)
Overnight at the Wees was wonderful while watching family antics (they may beg to differ) in between snippets of conversations.
Day Two started out late (probably because I forgot to 'personally' inform Tony that I need to be there early enough to set up the venue and I didn't know that he has going to chauffer three other people, excluding Hubert and Me)
Anyway, was lucky that Cheah was briefed on the new layout of the hall, made it much easier to coralled, erm......actually herd the Div C players between briefing area and playing tables.
Since I wanted silence, I was quite lucky to have printout of the pairings to be posted within 5 minutes of receiving the last result slip.
One problem though, somehow all the divisions became odd today (I blame Div C on Cheah, Div B on Aloysious, Div A on Li Wei's tummy)
Anyway, Jobeth and EWOK both skipped out on me but I still have my trusty Seren to batten down the hatches and Karthik showed up more to observe Div A and Div B rather than run Div C (as I was more incline to sit at my computer today to speed up data entry and pairings rather than run around the tournament venue troubleshooting)
And Ricky went off to get a new haircut and I wanted so much to rub his scalp (stingy tabards was charging S$5 a rub and neglects that I am a poor Malaysian thanks to the exchange 'daylight robbery' rate)
Anyway, Div B was a foregone conclusion, Div C was full of many many comedies of error (In Round 5, I had to reconstruct a game that was disturbed because someone sneezed so hard that the tiles flew off the racks and board in the last 15 minutes before the round ended.) and Div A was so full of drama (I particularly like Cheah's quote: 'it's a conspiracy, I tell you.')
So dinner was on the winner and back-to-back champion, Goh Jiang Pern. And it ended up being Andy's favorite food, Chicken rice since most of the restaurants in Novena were under renovation (and Andy complained about eating Chicken rice for the fourth consecutive time in two days. It's your choice! Andy! Or more correctly, Your Habit!)
Cheah drove me off to catch my commuter bus back across the causeway. Having timed it, I think I can stay until 10pm if my bus leaves at midnight, but that will be for the next trip.
I had fun (screwing as many people as I could but I will not reveal any details), hope you all had fun (not at each other's expenses)