Monthly Archives: April 2021

NYT Spelling Bee 4-30-21 final

Happy Arbor Day and happy Lag BaOmer! They were saying it would be record-breaking temperatures in LA today, and I don’t know yet if records were set, but it’s definitely been hot. Yet tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to drop from today’s almost-90 to almost-70. Drop in 20 degrees day over day. Do I understand? No. Am I appreciative? Very much so!


Meatier Misses

CANTATA: A medium-length narrative piece of music for voices with instrumental accompaniment, typically with solos, chorus, and orchestra.
CATKIN: A flowering spike of trees such as willow and hazel. Catkins are typically downy, pendulous, composed of flowers of a single sex, and wind-pollinated.

As if you needed yet another reason to visit New Hampshire.

Today’s summary

Final score: 47 words for 197 points.
Genius minimum: 197 points.
First word: EXTANT.
Pangram: EXULTANT.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-29-21 final

Today in the Jewish calendar, It’s Lag BaOmer, the day that marks the end of the plague that killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students like 2 millennia ago. In normal times, it’s a celebration. Like a field day. There are bonfires at Dockweiler Beach. It’s pretty fun. Last year we were all locked down. This year, it seemed worth it to wait till next year to start celebrating again.

Now, there’s another tradition for the celebration of Lag BaOmer. From Haaretz:

In the 16th century, Rabbi Isaac Luria (“Ha’Ari”) decided that Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai, who according to (a false) tradition wrote the Kabbalistic book the Zohar, died on Lag Ba’omer, and on his deathbed he revealed to his disciples mystical traditions. From that time, Lag Ba’omer has been marked specially at Mount Meron, where bar Yochai is believed to be buried.

Haaretz: The Real Story of Lag Ba’omer

And tonight, scores are dead after a reported gathering of 100K+ went to celebrate at Mount Meron. They survived covid only to die at a Lag Baomer celebration. It’s very sad.

I kinda don’t even really want to write the rest of the Spelling Bee post, but you probably didn’t want to read the Lag Baomer part, but you did, so it would be wrong of me not to do my part.


Meatier Misses

CAMELLIA: An evergreen eastern Asian shrub related to the tea plant, grown for its showy flowers and shiny leaves.

From the Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center.

HEME: Biochemistry An iron-containing compound of the porphyrin class which forms the nonprotein part of hemoglobin and some other biological molecules.
LAMELLA/LAMELLAE: A thin layer, membrane, or plate of tissue, especially in bone.
LEMMA: A subsidiary or intermediate theorem in an argument or proof.
MALIC: involved in and especially catalyzing a reaction in which malic acid participates

Today’s summary

Final score: 31 words for 189 points.
Genius minimum: 186 points.
First word: TACKING.
Final word: CANTINA.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-28-21 final

First off, with so many games that have finished without me making it to genius level, either I’m getting worse at this game, or there’s been a rejiggering of point requirements.

We finished The Prisoner tonight. Was the ending worth the episodes? Do we know who is Number 1?

Spoiler Alert!

It’s Nelly.


Meatier Misses

LIPOMA: A benign tumor of fatty tissue.
MAILLOT: A pair of tights worn for dancing or gymnastics.
PALATAL: Phonetics (of a speech sound) made by placing the blade of the tongue against or near the hard palate (e.g. y in yes).
PAPILLOMA: A small wartlike growth on the skin or on a mucous membrane, derived from the epidermis and usually benign.
TATAMI: A rush-covered straw mat forming a traditional Japanese floor covering.

Today’s summary

Final score: 34 words for 92 points.
Genius minimum: 109 points..
First word: CHEMICAL.
Pangram: CHEMICAL.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-27-21 final

Well today’s puzzle went kinda poorly? But I got a bunch of words I don’t normally get. I decided to call it quits at 11:49, so I’m writing as fast as I can to get this posted by 11:58. Here’s me now hoping that I didn’t miss a million words that I don’t know yesterday.

We’re about to find out together.

Yesterday I missed CROON, INFRIM, IONIC, MINI, MINIM, MOONROOF, NONCOM, and OMICRON. Wow! and whew!

Meatier Misses

Special Successes


Today’s summary

Final score: 49 words for 157 points.
Genius minimum: 179 points.
First word: MAIL.
Pangram: nope!

Woodworking: First-ever cushions project (Part 5)

I had to find foam and fabric for the cushions. Without foam and fabric, it’s just a wooden seat. Now, we’ve all sat in comfortable wooden seats. Some of the most comfortable seats are just wood–especially if you’ve only had the choice between wooden seats and stone seats. But the comfortable wooden seats are not flat boards. And I just had flat boards.

The old foam from the gross, original seats maxed out at two inches in thickness, so I figured that was the way to go. I looked around for dense foam, but I’d gotten upholstery foam at Jo-Ann before for another project, so I was just comparing everything to Jo-Ann. Also Jo-Ann coupons generally are pretty good, and there’s no real competition anymore on a budget, so that seemed to resolve itself.

A yard of 2″ foam.

There are many methods for cutting foam. There are fewer good methods for cutting foam. Some videos and blogs advise using a razor blade because it’s so easy! Those people live in a universe that isn’t mine. Other people say that using a bread knife or offset serrated knife will do it just fine. I, too, was surprised at how strong the serrated knife lobby is.

Everything I came across on the topic advised to trace the boards first.

The only real thing to use to cut upholstery foam is an electric cutting knife. I’d never used one before, but they’re pretty nifty. I was surprised.

$15 is more than I’d wanted to spend, but meh.

The result looked to be pretty good, too!

The next thing I had to think about was batting. Batting is like mattress material?

Soft and cheap, but it is it worth it?

Since batting is new to me, my mind kept wanting to call it bunting. But bunting is this:

From iAmEricas Flags. iAmericas or I Am Ericas. Great.

Batting is supposed to add more cushion and complement the foam. It’s a nice touch. But it meant more to buy for such little benefit that the neither the original cushions nor the dining room chairs I recently discarded incorporated it. I passed.

Then there was the topic of fabric. More on that topic next week.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-26-21 final

Next month is Thanksgiving! Yay! Last night it rained. As we all know: April showers bring Mayflowers. And the Mayflower brought the pilgrims. And the pilgrims were fed a Thanksgiving feast. And they had marshmallows on their yams. Now I’m headed to the pantry to put some marshmallow fluff on a spoon. To eat. Yum.

Yesterday I missed LOLLYGAGGED? I thought I had gotten the pangram. This has happened before. Doesn’t say much for me, I guess. I also missed DOGLEG, DOGLEGGED, DOODAD, GOGGLY, GOLLY, LOLLYGAG, LOYAL, LOYALLY, and YODELED.

Meatier Misses

ODEA: (especially in ancient Greece or Rome) buildings used for musical performances. It’s more than one odeon. You know, like Loews Cineplex Odeon.
OGEE: Having a double continuous S-shaped curve.

Haha the design looks like like pomegranates.

Today’s summary

Final score: 27 words for 112 points.
Genius minimum: 109 points.
First word: CORN.
Pangram: CONFIRM.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-25-21 final

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been watching The Blacklist. I don’t like the show. I feel like the writing is lacking in inspiration. The plotlines are predictable but not in a fun way. There are so many things that don’t make sense even in the universe of the show. But I watch it anyway. Probably because I like to watch good shows with Calah, and there are so many seasons of this show that I don’t have to find a new one for a while. Why I bring this up today is that I watched an episode and recognized an actor as The Giant in Twin Peaks. And I saw LOGLADY in today’s (properly) omitted word list.

All kinds of Tiwn Peaks stuff here!
Don’t read this if you care about the story. It’s unmistakably Carel Struycken.


Meatier Misses

ABEAM: On a line at right angles to a ship’s or an aircraft’s length. Yet there is no ALEE. OK.
ABETMENT: Assistance to do something sinister.
BATTEMENT: A movement in which one leg is moved outward from the body and in again.

It’s like going deep into a textbook on the first day of class. It’ll either be an adventure or a quick drop.

EMANANT: issuing or flowing forth, emerging from or as if from a source.

Today’s summary

Final score: 53 words for 214 points.
Genius minimum: 210 points.
First word: GOOGOL.
Pangram: DOGGEDLY.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-24-21 final

I didn’t get to genius tonight. I gave up, which you know by now is rare for me. Today I happened upon a plant. I’ll share a picture later.


Meatier Misses

COLCANNON: An Irish and Scottish dish of cabbage and potatoes boiled and pounded.
COLLEEN: An Irish term for a girl or young woman.
COWL: A large loose hood, especially one forming part of a monk’s habit.
WALE: A ridge on a textured woven fabric such as corduroy.

Oh! Remember that post from the other day? WEAL and WALE come from the same thing.

Today’s summary

Final score: 29 words for 108 points.
Genius minimum: 116 points.
First word: MEAN.

Saturday baseball series 4-24-21

Broadcasting baseball at Ceasar Uyesaka Stadium at UCSB in the late-’00s to early-’10s wasn’t the easiest or most convenient thing to do.

Screenshot of current-day Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

I’m not sure how the stadium is now because I haven’t been to it in almost a decade, but at the time, the bathrooms were limited to a porta potty within the gates. Sometimes there was a trailer with fancier bathrooms in the parking lot off the left side of the field.

Rather than a real press box or designated, permanent broadcast area, there was a folding table set up over some benches at the top of the grandstand right in front of the booth that that holds the controls for the scoreboard as well as seats for the media coordinator/official scorer and the microphones for the PA system.

As for the controls for the stadium’s lighting system? Those were nonexistent.

There were no night games because there were no lights.

Games normally were on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. While many schools hold those games when students can attend and root for their team, UCSB was restricted to games that started at noon or 1pm or 2pm.

Who’s going to show up for a game on a Tuesday at 1pm? Who’s awake as early as 1pm on a Tuesday?

Even Wrigley Field in Chicago got stadium lights in August 1988. From what I heard about a decade ago, it would cost about $50,000 to have a good enough lighting system. I don’t know if it’s happened since, but Caesar Uyesaka Stadium was without any such feature during my time there.

The only way to get to the top of the grandstand where we set up the broadcast table was to walk from the entry to the stadium at the bottom of the grandstand up a level and then up the face of the grandstand beyond the blue chairs to the regular bleachers. There’s no shortcut. No direct access to the top with a side staircase.

From the 2009 Media Guide

Rather than solely making for a miserable existence, the lack of features allowed for unusual experiences.

One of the key points to broadcasting is staying hydrated. If you don’t stay hydrated but have to talk for three hours, you’re going to lose your voice.

But we all know what staying hydrated leads to.

Once when I was calling a baseball game with a new member of KCSB Sports staff, I had to talk more, which meant I had to drink more. And we all know what that leads to.

So at the seventh inning stretch, I ran down the grandstand to get to the sole porta potty. I saw there was a line. Yay.

As time grew closer to me having to go back on the air and not leave the new guy unsupported, I found myself one back from the door. I asked the guy in front of me if I could cut him.

At this kind of request, people can be accommodating. Or annoyed. Or incredulous. Or inquisitive. There are a lot of reasons to say no.

This guy was not eager to comply. His response: “Uh, I’m the left fielder.” As though I didn’t know that. For hours.

I wasn’t ready to give up. “Yeah. But I’m the broadcaster.”

“Oh! Yeah, dude. Go for it!”

The game wouldn’t wait for me to get back, but it sure would wait for him. I’m grateful that he allowed me to return to my job in time and, I guess, talk about him to the world.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-23-21 final

I’m glad I wrote my blog yesterday early because at about 11:20pm, Spectrum decided not to work for a little while. It’s annoying that there’s really just a choice between AT&T and Spectrum. I feel that they’re equally terrible. T-Mobile has jumped into the space, and while they claim that everything is great with them and that their service is like a mobile hotspot but for your home with their excess 5G capacity, how willing am I to test it? I guess some willingness? I don’t know, but Spectrum makes me sad too frequently.


Meatier Misses

BOOTEE: Just a dumb spelling of bootie.
EYEBOLT: A bolt or bar with an eye at the end for attaching a hook or ring to.

McMaster Carr is amazing pretty much always.

TOPE: archaic, literary Drink alcohol to excess, especially on a regular basis.

Today’s summary

Final score: 46 words for 155 points.
Genius minimum: 153 points.

Final Score: 47 words for 161 points.
New word: CANOLA.
First word: CLEAN.