Wednesday, July 27, 2005


A big thanks to Julian of The Brooklynite magazine for taking all the photos on this blog thus far, and for allowing us to use them here. Julian actually has blogged about the bee, but it's in German.

Here are a couple more photos (scroll down for the rest):

The winners! Michael in second place, Jonathan in first, and Josh in third. Winner Jonathan Lill will be next bee's guest blogger. The plate Josh is holding is actually his free sandwich voucher, signed by bobbyblue.

Guest blogger and previous winner Megan Rudesill.

Sandwich winner Josh (on the right) and friends.

Bee founder bobbyblue (also a mariachi singer!) and word reader Jennifer Dziura.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Upcoming Dates

There are four more chances to qualify for the finals!

Regular season dates: August 8, August 22, September 19, October 3 (Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer, 7-9pm).

The F-I-N-A-L-S will take place October 17th (look forward to a return of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee theme song, performed by bobbyblue!)

things we learned from this spelling bee

Wow. I am so delighted that we are at the forefront of live blogging. Thanks to Megan Rudesill (at right) for being our very first guest blogger! She was typing with great celerity, and everything is left as she originally blogged it, except the word "spllelled," which I have corrected on her behalf.

When people in the spelling bee say something you know they didn't mean to say -- like a contestant starts spelling "geriatric" with a "j" and then cries "Oh no, can I start over?" -- I often point out that the contestant just made a "verbal typo," and that we all know that he or she actually does know better, and even though the word must be counted as wrong, we are with the contestant in spirit.

Any other spelling mistakes from our live bloggers, we do not want to know about, as that is the charm of live blogging. How many authentic media sources do we have left?

In any case, here are some salient points:
  • To get on the mailing list, email us.

  • In an effort to develop a live blogging editorial style, live posts are written in red and begin with "Live Update" in the subject.

  • Next time, we will bring an extension cord for live blogging purposes, so our blogger does not have to sit way in back of the action due to inadequate iBook battery life.

  • The next bee is Monday, August 8, and this week's winner Jonathan Lill will be our guest blogger.

  • The Brooklynite was in attendance -- look for spelling bee coverage in this free paper "sometime in August or September."

The Brooklynite also had a photographer there who said he'd send me some pictures for this blog, so if you were present this evening, check back sometime and you just might see yourself. Not in that Micheal Jackson "Man in the Mirror" way. Just, you know, literally.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Live Update: Elimination Round (Winners Announced!)

There are enough people with too few outs that we must now do an Elimination Round, where contestants spell as many words as they can until they strike out (whenever they reach 3 outs). Jonathan Lill is now up, he has just misspelled something, but that's only his second out. God, the rich aroma of grilled sandwiches is making me weak. Weak with desire. Whoa, Jonathan Lill has just struck out, but he still has an awful lot of words under his belt. Mark has just got his third strike on his first word of this round. Now we've got Josh, spelling his heart out. In case anybody reading this doesn't realize: the 3 winners are determined by total number of words spelled correctly, so this elimination round is pretty gripping. Even if you go in with 2 strikes, if you can spell enough words before you strike out, you can be Number One! Winner of a $25 bar tab! Ultimate Champion! Poised Contestant Number 4 is reigning the stage with aplomb. Oooo, she just struck out. You know, she looks kinda like a Natalie Merchange/Sigourney Weaver lovechild. Or hybrid, whatevs. John G is onstage, caressing the mic stand. OK, now me!

--Jonathan here, filling in for Megan while she is spelling, except the bar is getting way too loud for me to hear what word she may be spelling or misspelling (did I misspell misspell?). She is still on stage so she must be doing okay. Its the final round as I'm sure she mentioned so the tension is really high, the A/C is starting to lose it's efficacy and everyone is starting to sweat. Megan just spelled out so she's out of the game but maybe still a winner, let's wait and see!

Yeah, I am so not a winner. I misspelled both my words, spelled none right. Number 9 is spelling "tachistoscope." I couldn't hear his word (sitting much nearer the bar part than the spelling part of Pete's, as Jonathan pointed out) but had to do with being "spoon-shaped." Molly's spelling now, somethingerother-osis. The hubbub makes me feel like I have rock'n'roll cotton in my ears. In the crowd, having joined us too late to spell competitively, multiple-winner Tom is looking on.

Holy moley! Sudden death spelling! Jonathan Lill and Number 9 in the camo shorts whose name I never learned are now head to head in Sudden Death Spelling!

Nine missed his word, but now Jonathan needs to spell his right. . . and he did!!
(Editor's Note: the winning word was "otorhinolaryngology").

Jonathan Lill
: Number one, and first place. Famous for having a Steve Buscemi-type appeal, and being an honest-to-goodness librarian.

Michael: Second place, and turns out, famours for being the Dark Horse Contestant I mentioned in Round 1 -- he didn't disappear, he roared into the spotlight. Oops.

Josh: Third place. Famous for being affable and having a lollipop in Round 2.

Thrilling bonus information: the fellas here to cover the bee were from Thrilling New Periodical: The Brooklynite. So, keep your eye on The Brooklynite, and hear what they have to say about this very same event that I just reported on. Plus, unlike this blog, The Brooklynite will probably offer pictures of the spellers.

This concludes my broadcast. It's been a long bee, time for some refreshment. See you next time.

- Megan

Live Update: Round 3

So, J. Lill has just spelled "imprimatur." He now has a really hard French-based garden-related word. Now up: Mark, Number 2. I think I earlier incorrectly referred to him as Michael. Interestingly, the Michael who as at the back of the room, whom I dubbed the Dark Horse Contestant, never actually materialized. Mark is bangin' 'em out. He just correctly spelled some difficult word that had something to do with fire. In color commentary: despite the relatively few contestants, we are now all crowdy because a hefty gaggle has gathered at the back to ogle the spellers. Josh, number 3, misspelled "dynamitard."

OK, a bunch of excitement was missed, not least of which was me running out of laptop-power, and having to try multiple outlets before I got what I needed. Betsy, speller Number 5, struck out. I can't even try to catch up on too much excitement -- right after I got power, I had to spell. I misspelled "mesoseismic," so embarrassing. Reared in CA, and I survived the Great Quake of '89.

Well, the outlet I found is a bit outside the Spelling Arena, which diminishes my ability to hear the excitement. On the other hand, at least I can report what I do hear, whereas without electricity I could not.

We are now a on a "very brief break." I'll go find out which magazine is documenting the bee and get back to you.

- Megan

Live Update: Round 2

Jonathan Lill back onstage. He has correctly spelled "mezzanine." And repeated three zillion times. I'm not sure how to spell his word. A crescent-shaped abnormal red blood cell. " His guess "sicklocyte." I think. Well, whatever he said, it was right. Michael, #2 just spelled "pizzicato." He now must spell a medical word I don't know. Number 3: Josh, enjoying a lollipop. He has just spelled "eucalyptus." Now he has to spell "nyctalopia." Darn it, he misspelled it. Pretty, serene number 4, who looks kind of like Sigourney Weaver. She spelled "pedagogist," but flubbed her second word. Betsey, number 5 must spell "cirrhosis." She has misspelled it, I feel so bad! But on the other hand, I guess she probably has never been close to someone suffering from it, which is awesome. She has just spelled "mosaicist." John G ("h" or no "h" I wonder") just spelled something right, but now has to spell "oxydactyl." He got it right! Yay! Oh, now Kimball, number 7, is here. Since we're doing this Tiger Beat style, I should point out that a friend said he has a serious Keanu-style appeal, but with a less "lachrymose" vibe. (He just forgot the "h" in "lachrymose." He pointed out that he had just missed the "h" in "fahrenheit," it's a theme for him. Drat, I just realized he has 2 outs -- this could be his last! ACK! It was! And now me. Oh, and Bobby is now explaining that the reason the dude in the nice shirt is snapping photos because he's covering the bee for um, a magazine. I forgot which one in the excitement of spelling! I spelled a couple things (correctly, but barely) and Number 7 is now spelling "pyrethrum," correctly. What a star. Now he must spell "spinescent." I hope I just spelled that right. Yay, we both did. Molly, number 11 (because there is no number 10, it's part of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee lore) has just been described by Jen as "the dark horse contestant." It's like she and I share some sort of melodramatic brain part that makes us use that descriptor. (See my Round 1 commentary if this doesn't make sense.) Oooo, she has just misspelled "daiquiri," and a second really hard word that I can't spell either.

We are going directly into Round 3, without a break, I am posting now, Jonathan Lill, contestant Number One is onstage.

- Megan

Live Update: Round 1

Well, this is the first sentence I have ever written as the first guest blogger of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee. We are about to start!! As Jen and Bobby have just pointed out, I could totally pretend that there are 50 people here for spelling, causing a thrilling fire hazard. Instead, I feel obliged to point out that this is the most intimate bee we've had in ages, 10 including me. Last time (2 weeks ago) we had 22 comptetitors. JEN IS TELLING EVERYONE THAT I AM LIVEBLOGGING! I feel so freaking famous. Right now, Bobby is languidly reviewing the rules for everyone, and warning us that we don't always get word origins. I'm taking this rule review moment as an opportunity to explain that I initially argued that I shouldn't spell since I'm providing live color commentary on the event -- wouldn't that be like a sportscaster getting on the field?-- but everyone encouraged me to spell anyway, since it's not like I have to pretend that I am offering objective reportage.

First up: Jonathan Lill, a returning champ with a magnetic Steve Buscemi style sex appeal. He is also a librarian - hott! Darn it, I missed Second Speller's name. He's a guy who is dressed for the beach in a light blue t-shirt, shorts, and brown flip-flops. Oops-- he just misspelled millennium. I hope I haven't just made the same mistake. Number three is an affable looking fellow whose name I missed again. I will start focusing harder on names. My apologies. Oh my! New dark horse contestant, because it is not yet the end of Round 1, a man named Michael standing in the back of the room has just added himself to the list. Michelle, who looks very serene and smart is the Number 4 speller. She has just correctly spelled "maintenance." Betsy is now up, Speller Number 5. If she had to be a character in a book she read as a youth, she would be Mathilda from the Roald Dahl book. Correct spelling, no outs. Speller number 6 is sporting a turquoise polo shirt. Darn it, he forgot the second "e" in "sergeant." Kimball is a returning winner, now putting on his plate (#7). OK, I don't think I can do any better, but I feel bound to acknowledge that my commentary so far sounds like DAMMIT IT'S MY TURN!! Hang on. I spelled "sacrilegious" correctly. Whew. Anyway, I wanted to say that so far my coverage is low-grade Tiger Beat prose (what they wear! Their particular style of appeal!). So, Kimball accidentally left out the first "h" in fahrenheit, and speller number 9 spelled something right, and was wearing a beige tank top and camo shorts, and I got a cherry Blow Pop on my way offstage. Round 1 is now complete, we are on break. I'll try to become a better person and reporter during our very brief break. My resolution for next round: Take note of everybody's names and words.

- Megan

Welcome to the Williamsburg Spelling Blog

This blog was created to post news and recaps from the Williamsburg Spelling Bee at Pete's Candy Store.

The next spelling bee is tonight, July 25, and previous winner Megan Rudesill will be our guest blogger, recording the bee's events as they occur.

I'm Jennifer Dziura, a comedian who reads the words at the bee. My co-emcee, bobbyblue, founded the bee in 2004 and has done amazing things in making it what it is today. I keep some more bee background, plus press info, on my site, which I'll copy over to this blog as things develop.

Viva la spelling,