Monday, August 22, 2005

Liveblog 3, Round 3

Well, we've reduced our numbers by a lot, since so many of our comrades fell in Round 2. Number 1 is named Katie, I think. She did not correctly spell her word, which had to do with a kind of surgical incision. I utterly couldn't spell it either, which is why I haven't tried. Joe #2, has a word "belomancy," (probably spelled wrong by me as well, sorry, the spell check is really not working out for me) that has to do with picking arrows at random out of a, that didn't fly, and neither did his second word, so he has struck out. Number, I totally missed the first word. The second "menticide," having to do with brainwashing or mental torture. That undid her, sadly. Josh, #4, is wearing a nifty stripey shirt and about to spell his second word, "dinurgate," a soldier ant having an unusually large head -- which we BOTH spelled right, how nice. "Monolater," one who worships one god, but doesn't deny the existence of others. He went for the "or," as I did, and we were both wrong. Jonathan Lill, lucky #5, is facing "parabulia." Something about a reversal of one's will. It may be an "e," not an "i," but I just don't know. He went down with "paregoric," which I think I may have spelled wrong as well. Jen has pointed out that the next spelling bee will be the first anniversary of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee. "Perinate" was the undoing of #6. Number 7 is coping with "anosmatic," lacking the ability to smell. Isabelle/Isabel is now onstage, number 8. "Paraclete," an advocate or intercessor, or one called on to help or support. She spelled it with a "peri," which was my instinct as well. "Irreption," a stealthy entrance, or the act of creeping in. She spelled it with an "ere" at the beginning, which I totally sympathize with. Drat! I missed Melissa's last word, which was her strikeout. Malika, of the real rad skirt, #11, is now onstage. "Rutidosis," a wrinkling condition on the cornea. I don't know if I spelled it right, but neither did she -- the end of her role as a competitor. Now Rebecca, #13 is poised to spell. "Navicella," a decorative thingie in the shape of a ship, apparently. Ooo, and that word was her undoing. The people are falling like flies tonight, but this is certainly one of the most demanding bees on record. Oh, whew. I just got back from being onstage (I'm number 15, which is one of my favorite numbers). I spelled three things right! But in all fairness, as you know by now if you've read the other posts, there were definitely tons of words earlier that I couldn't have spelled. Number 16 is now on his 3rd word, and he has just struck out, despite a very good showing. Dilip is back on the scene...Bobby can tell just by looking at him that although this is only his second time, he's clearly a regular at heart, and will be back again and again. He has spelled "skimeister," to delighted cheers, and is now spelling "etiolation." Right again! "Solivagant," one who wanders alone. (Going down the only road they've ever known, no doubt.) Mmm, that one did not work out for him, but he's clearly still in the game. Christina the Cheery must now spell "colonette," which earned her a strike. "Hemiplegia" is her next challenge, which did overpower her. ("Hema" instead of "hemi.") Number 21 is now dealing with "ionosphere," with aplomb. Something to do with a muddy environment, which stumped both her and me, and she is now benched. "Whorliwort" is some sort of medicinal herb which is clearly a pain to spell, for both of us. Oh good grief, final round now, and I'm in it.

The "Elimination Round" has us each spelling up to 8 words to determine our places. A tubular pasta went fine. Now, "punctilear." (Under My Thumb is playing in the background.) He took it on successfully. I am so utterly doomed. He just spelled another right, and is on a new word. Another word conquered by Josh! He says he's been studying real hard. How sweetly humble! "Tongawalla" was no match for Josh, he aptly spelled it. "Grobianism" is now on his plate. However, he mistook the first "i" for an "e." This is his second strike of the game. "Meromictic," something with water. Here I go!

Yeah, I pretty much died in a pool of my own vomit onstage. Which is to say that I rashly got all adventurous and insouciant and mangled a couple words, striking myself immediately into the sandwich zone. Dilip has spelled his first word correctly and is now spelling "metaphrast," something to do with literature I think. He did it! "Interstice," was also beat down by Dilip. "Fluviatile" also proved no match for Dilip Babu. "Pasigraphy" is now staring him down. He added an extra letter, final strike, now he's sitting down behind me again, not reading over my shoulder I hope.

They're doing the add-up. The next bee is September 19th, after Labor Day (so no white shoes!). This will be the big anniversary. There is just so darn much LOVE in the room!

Ok, 'cause I'm so psychic: yeah, I (Megan Rudesill) was the sandwich, Dilip Babu(who I am so proud to be associated with) is in second place, and Josh Malamy (yes, I did ask how to spell his last name, with the hope that someone who has a huge secret crush on him will google him and discover his CHAMPIONSHIP) is our First Place Winner. That's right, sweet, stripey Josh Malamy you are Prom King of the August 22, 2005 Williamsburg Spelling Bee. Go down that drink tab!

Liveblog 3, Round 2

Number 1 has "glissade," and spelled it perfectly. Now: "avifauna," which I initially misspelled, but so did Number One. Number 2: "anisette" and "sollerette." I metal shoe which is a part of a knight's outfit. But that may be an "a" and not an "e." Number 3 has "molinary" and spelled it perfectly. Josh, #4, must spell "lamasery," and spelled it right. "Humifise" went right too. "Palouser" is what #5 must spell, a candle in a can used as an improvised light. He spelled it wrong, but so did I initially. "Solineal" is his next challenge, which he quickly dispatched. Sandra, #6, gets "hamartia," a character defect, especially in a tragic hero. "Femeral" next, she started it incorrectly with a "ph," but hey, so did I. Number 7 is Tim, actually (wrong name on previous post), and is facing "mephitis." I think that's a ph, I didn't hear the correction. (I used the spell check last time, but I think somehow I don't know how to operate it.) "Barbicel," something to do with feathers, stumbled up number 8. Melissa, #9, is facing "frondeur," which went well, and now she's dealing with "farriery" (?) something to do with horseshoes, which did not go so well. Number 11 spelled "beriberi" right (although I may not have) a disease sort of thing, and her next word was spelled incorrectly. Billy is the name of #12, something to do with inducing muscle relaxation with a South American woody vine. "Curarize," which didn't work out for him, and "rasoreal" didn't either....This is very sad, Billy with the snazzy glasses has struck out. The first word for #13 didn't work out, and now she's got "betacism." Michael of the nice argyle, number 14 is staring down "enresol," which he has dispatched. "Acculeate" went wrong by replacing "e" with "i." I just embarrassed myself with "tourelle," but handled "braillist" without further humiliation. "Plaquette" went well for #16, and Dilip is dealing with a word that means "the quality or state of being hunchbacked." "Gibbosity," and he went wrong with the "i," preferring an "e." Oh, such a popular mistake. He totally showed his second word who's boss. Cheery #18 was defeated by her first word, and is now attempting "ascensive," with success. Liz is #19, and contemplating "cadential," having to do with musical cadence. Oh dear, she has started with a "q." She went awry with a soup that starts with "m" and can be served hot or cold. I can't spell it, and she couldn't either, leading to her strikeout. "Lidocaine" (I think I spelled right) but she wasn't able to. She's spelling her second word, which did not work out -- good heavens, another one bites the dust! This has been such a devastating round! Bobby feels that the whole "Hollaback Girl" album is a shameless ripoff of M.I.A. He's not afraid to say it like he sees it. Our buddy #21 earned a strike, but is still in the game. Meredith, #21, has misstepped with "primatial" and "kaiserdome," but she's still in the game --- and BREAK! That's right we're taking a teeny breather, and resuming the spelling slaughter.

Liveblog 3, Round 1

I am taking the opportunity to start before the spelling starts, since despite my best attempts to type speedily, I thought it best to get a head start. Bobby has just reminded us that there are W'burg Spelling Bee t-shirts available for $10, a wise investment if I ever saw one. After polling the crowd, Jen has determined that there's a significant percentage of first-time spellers. Perhaps from her bathroom wall marketing blitz. Reminder of format: First round you spell one word and answer an icebreaker question, second round you spell two words, third round varies based on the number of remaining spellers, sometimes three words, sometimes as many as you can spell until you reach your third strike. First prize: $25 bar tab, second prize: $15 bar tab, third prize: fancy Pete's grilled sandwich.

First contestant, the lovely and charming Candy. If she could make a legal thing illegal thing and vice sketch comedy would become illegal, and flashing at Mardi Gras would become legal. What a woman of the people! Tonight's first round words are coming from the list of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language. She's got "commemorate," and has earned her first strike. Joe is 2nd speller, and he just told Bobby that his tattoo says: "cry for the moon." At least, I think that's what he said. I can't read the tat from here. His word: "handkerchief." Correct! 3rd speller: Kristen. Or maybe Kristin. Or Christin. Or Ckristynn. Who knows? She's wearing a lovely necklace of what seem to be interestingly shaped semiprecious stones...but who knows, plastic? She has earned a strike with "defendant." 4th speller: Josh. What would he do in outerspace that has not yet been done in outerspace. His response; "has anyone ever died in outerspace?" He thinks he'd died of old age there. Renowned is his word....he's spelling....Lucky number 5, superspeller Jonathan Lill. What flavor of licorice should exist, but doesn't. He responds that, rather, licorice flavor itself shouldn't exist. What's with the black licorice haters? I am so alone in loving it -- and I loved it before worked in all those movie theaters, for the record. "Ukulele" went down nice and easy for Jonathan Lill, as expected. Speller 6, Sandra, didn't do as well with "desiccate." Oh my! We have 4 new spellers to add to the roster. Tina, #7, if she could take the place of any '80's hair metal band, she would be. . .Someone has asserted that Def Leppard came from Sheffield, England, but I can't fact check that right now. "Camouflage" is what Tina is up against, and she vanquished it effortlessly. Isabel (Isabelle?) #7, if she had to make a sandwich with metals and plastic. . .would like to be able to add salt. "Broccoli" went down without a fight. Alyssa (I'm totally guessing on name spellings here, as you can imagine) is #9, and now she has to spell "embarrassment," which proved a mite too tricky. Number 11 (yeah, there IS no number 10) is wearing a real cute stripey skirt that Bobby has complimented. Her favorite Latin root: "ex." Carburator defied her grasp, and I suspect, my own. Number 12 thinks the worst name you could give to an infant would be Jezebel. Bobby objects. Daiquiri proved too much, and earned him his first strike. Rebecca is #13, Jen has pointed out that since there is no number 10, all the bad luck of 13 is removed. "Horrific," was handled able by Rebecca. Dude, that is so not Active Voice. That was definitely not Subject, Verb, Object. Number 14 has an excellent argyle shirt. "Labeled" was too tricky. I have spelled "irascible" (thanks Uncle Davbid!). Number 16 has real cute sneakers. "Lieutenant" seems to have been not too challenging for him. I hope that I find out his name next round, I will report it. Dilip, if he had to be a state capital, would be Olympia, WA, and he has spelled "pronunciation" correctly. Number 18 is Christine or Christina. She's facing down "publicly," and knocked it OUT. Number 19, if she could be any character from a now defunct cartoon, she would be Jem of Jem and the Holograms. She earned a strike with "privilege." Number 20, if she had to be a character in any book she read in junior high, would be Bilbo Bagggins. "Relevant" turned out to be a bit much. Number 21 if she had a pair of glasses that had a special feature other than X-Ray vision, they would enable her to read minds, but "supersede" was a setback. Number 22 has spelled "preferable." Oh boy! End of Round One!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

an apposite link

Apparently NYU held a spelling bee! Best quote ever:

"I'm Eurotrash ... I should have known how to spell discotheque."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

regarding the live blogging

Jonathan Lill had some technical trouble last night and lost two of his posts, including the one regarding the all-important final round. He will attempt to reconstruct these posts from memory and we will then post them here.

Officially speaking, Mr. Lill himself and Mr. Greg Hannahs tied for first place, and Matt, a newcomer, came in third. We look forward to repeat showings from Matt, who performed fantastically in his first bee, and a rather frenetic bee at that.

There are three chances left to qualify for the finals on October 17! Come out next time on Monday night, August 22nd (and then September 19th and October 3rd).

And this Wednesday (tomorrow!) come on out to Pete's for the Jenny Vaudeville show, a free variety show featuring ventriloquism, musical comedy, and all manner of weirdness -- this time featuring Adira Amram ("Sometimes Life is Like Mortal Kombat"), Joshua Grosvent ("Touched by an Uncle"), ventriloquist April Brucker, and Onion headline writer Sam Means, who will be performing in public for the first time, reading a list of his rejected Onion headlines. The show also features trivia, spelling, and literary quizzes for the audience, with prizes (CDs, etc.) donated by the performers.

The Jenny Vaudeville Show
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer
Wednesday, August 10
10pm (and done in time to get back on the L by midnight!)
Free! Win Prizes!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Live Update: Round 2!

Due to a technical problem, two thirds of this post was lost before posting. I have only my sweat to show for it. Let's catch up at the end of the round:

.....Kat gets conjunctiva and stumbles to get it wrong. Mike Ray, near the end of the round, spells martyrology right. And his second word is corniculate. And he also gets it right! Almost to the end of the round. #20 has to try stratocracy, it only looks easy on the page. He gets it right! His second word is obsecration and he missteps. Jen H, our next to last speller must spell nitrogation, a tricky pronunciation, she missteps. Her second word is interlludial and runs away with it. Delippe, our final speller of the round, spells extravascate. Impressive! His second word is pluvioscope and again he triumphs. That’s it for round two folks. The sweat is flowing, the competition is heating up. Who will come out on top? Stay tuned.

If you couldn't tell, the second round was giant leap up in difficulty. The crowd swayed and groaned in sympathy with the spellers but hardly anyone is out of the game.


Live Update: Round 1

There is a great mix of regulars and newcomers tonight and a full complement of 21 players; it should be a thrilling contest. I am first on the list and the first to be called up to receive my plate and spell a word. Be right back...
The word was: Ohm. Correct!
Matt is up now; a perennial attendant (I think, I didn't get a good look). His question is whether any particular nonsensical song lyric bothers him. He has no particular answer except thatr any Billy Joel lyric in general is irather irritating. But his word is: Hew, correct!
Nick, is the next contestant. His word is Pica and he got it right.
Christina is number four and wants to go through life with green fingernails. Her word is fain, and she got it incorrect (those darn homonyms). But she's not out of the game yet.
Elissa is next (#5). She would love to Blondie if she had to choose. Her word is writ and once again it is spelled correctly. Josh is up now, another regular, and would love to equip his cell phone with a laser ray (this answer is met with general applause). The word is ante and he got it.
Greg is up; his favorite color is dark green, his word is gout and it's no trouble for the doctor.
The next speller, Michael, would love to be in Iceland if he had to choose and he spells bevy without breaking a sweat.
Tim Moyle would share, rather than horde, his Hershey kisses. And he can spell cowl without blinking.
Jason C, #11, and participated in geography bees as a kid (successfully, it turns out) and he is revenging his tardiness to an elementary school spelling bee. He not only spelled tibia he stood on it.
Michelle came up next and professed the desire to give nicholas cage a supreme makeover (many in the audience think he doesn't need it). She spelled cubit in seconds flat.
Contestant #13 ("Tom") ran through the letters of aphid without taking a breath.
#14 Chris K, recited a his favorite "yo' mama" joke and this led into a small discussion between the emcees. The word fiery was extinguished in due order.
Mark donned his plate and proclaimed the tofu burger as the best possible thing with which to decorate said plate. Bilge was spelled and put to rest.
Brian S., the next contestant, received the charmed "double plate". If forced to wear a mascot costume, he chose a pelican. He spelled privy. The streak is getting pretty long for correct words.
Ben was asked a sports question and had to profess his almost desparate ignorance of the subject (this is a spelling bee after all). he was given the word genus and he hit it out of the park.
Kat (contestant #18) got the favorite three wishes question where every wish myust cost less than $29. She chose parking for a day, a bikini wax and a nail job. Though alcohol would trump any of the other wishes. She got melba and finished it off in a trice.
Mike G., the next to last contestant chose to become Nancy Drew out of all the characters read in high school. He spelled thyme really fast.
Contestant #20 would be Madison, Wisconsin out of all state capitals. And finally, he spelled parry incorrectly.
Jen H., #21, if it were in her power, would invent brain implants. (May it be in her power.) And she sewed up jackal.
Megan, a multi-time winner was called to the stage only to excuse herself in a disgrace.
Her friend Delippe she called in as a replacement. As #22, he is asked what new item he would add to grocery stores. And he completely blanked. But he is from Tacoma! As the last speller in the round, he correctly spelled arcane to a round of applause.
These words were a bit simple and easy. But it is, after all, only round one. Jen warned that the words would ramp up in difficulty. Fore warned is fore armed

After a short break, we'll all be right back for round two!


Jen likes to break the ice by asking each contestant an amusing question. These can be tortuous and hard to transcribe but I shall do my best.

Live Update: Introduction

Date: August 8th, 2005
Location: Pete's Candy Store
Occasion: the biweekly Williamsburgh Spelling Bee
Welcome to all the attendees, competitors, returning participants, friends, supporters and hangers on. The spelling bee is less than a year old and has already garnered significant press attention, crowds of the curious and, perhaps most significantly, that most mysterious hip cachet. No doubt this is due to the tireless efforts of our two masters of cermonies, bobbyblue (any relation to Bobby Blue Bland?) and Jennifer Dziura. Visit their links at the top and you will see that the bee is merely one of their many talents and activities, though their most important one to be sure.

As always tonight's bee will begin with a review of the rules. There will be three rounds of spelling. In the first round, each participant will spell one word. In the second round, everyone must spell two words correctly. In the third round, each contestant spells as many words as they can until they are out. Since every entrant is allowed three wrong words before exiting the competition, everyone will make it at least through the second round. After the third round, the number of correctly spelled words is tallied for each speller and the three winners are declared. Any ties are broken with a spell-off, not an uncommon occurence and a real nail-biter sometimes. The prizes are as follows:

Third Prize: A certificate for a free Pete's Candy Store tasty sandwich
Second Prize: A $15 bar tab entitling you to the libation(s) of your choice.
First Prize: A $25 bar tab; ergo, even more libations.

And let's not forget that each contestant must wear the obligatory paper plate while playing. Since the paper plate must be surrendered upon exiting the contest, the paper plate is usually considered a badge of honor.

Now that we have reviewed the rules and procedures we have only to wait for 7:00 for the bee to begin.

N.b.: Since this blog is being typed with two fingers as fast as humanly possible in the semi-darkness with all the concomitant distractionattendant to a bee in a bar, any person who peruses this blog within the first twenty-four hours will have to turn a blind eye to typos, misspellings and any other egregious errors. They are all solely mine, your narrator,

Jonathan Lill