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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Extreme Vacations for Wordsmiths

Tired of word games at home? Do you need to spice up your literary life, recharge your repartée? Ellipses Guiding Services offers the finest in extreme literary entertainment. In addition to our old favorites, the Jack London Disappointment Peak Climb and Hemingway’s Hunting Haunts, we are excited to announce new offerings for 2005. Note: due to mounting liability costs, the Drink Like A Fitz(gerald) Weekend has been suspended.


Your old favorite in a new country: Scrabble in Colombia! You and three friends will fly into the cartel-controlled death factory of Medellin, and then will be escorted into a remote jungle village for a week of margaritas and triple word scores under armed supervision. Compete against the mysterious and erudite Commandante Palabra in an attempt to win your freedom. Although you’ll be tempted to spell FARC—the name of the leftwing guerrillas who hold you for ransom—sorry, but that’s an acronym! Advanced players may request a version of the game using the Spanish alphabet. Kidnapping insurance not included.


It’s a ten-letter word for extreme fun! Ellipses Guiding Services now provides helicopter service to remote living rooms in the mountains of Alaska, where you can solve the Sunday crossword puzzle in peace and frigid tranquility. Our guides have scoured the north reaches to find ideal living rooms with rustic appeal—comfortable couches, good lighting, and nary a child or utility bill in sight. Weekend Word Warriors need not apply—your vacation home has no dictionaries, nor phone service to call in for clues. Your pilot will only return when the puzzle is complete, unless you require food drops. Cabins include two-way radio to listen to NPR and report grizzly attacks.

Rhymin’ and Stealin’

Struggling with your iambic pentameter? Did you know you can substitute ‘bitch’ with ‘beeyatch’? Even Illin’ William Shakespeare would admit that today’s best poets are often found in our crumbling inner cities, penning rhymes and laying down fat tracks in the rap scene. In our weekend workshop, you’ll be bussed into Redhook, Brooklyn, to study hip-hop poetics. You and other hardened wordbangers will work with renowned M.C. $3 Kill to sharpen your rhymes and attain mad meter. Morning share sessions lead to afternoon brawls, then evening cocktails with 40s and the chronic. Just after one session, most students notice that their verse is increasingly ‘street’. Lucky alumni fondly recall experiencing drug deals go wrong, and nightly gunplay. Ellipses Guiding Services will provide you with appropriate, gang-friendly clothing.

Wordsearch and Rescue

Alumni only—this training program is for anyone who wishes to become an Ellipses Guide. You’ll be airlifted into America’s heartland—the Mall—where English vocabulary narrows every day. The search for lost words delves into the most unlikely places—the snappy dialogue of teen movies, and the hidden literature section of the chain bookstore. (Hint: look behind the dog calendars.) Newly found words will be resuscitated and checked for misuse (irony, “however”, etc.) and returned to common speech, usually at informal education sessions at the food court. Students who learn the most definitions are awarded free piercings.

DubCrawl (replaces our Drink Like A Fitz Weekend)

Spend four days and four nights in Dublin, literary capital of Ireland! In this fast-paced urban challenge, you’ll hit all the famous pubs, drinking hard and reading harder! Teams will compete to read and accurately summarize Finnegan’s Wake while forcing down draughts of Guinness at every pub. Local bartenders will provide additional competitions, such as strength and fitness demonstrations with stacks of Ulysses, Thomas Pynchon, and William Gaddis novels. Disclaimer: you may be filmed as part of a new, inadvertent reality show.


In our extreme championship, it’s a race against time and tide. Try to surf the dreaded Mavericks wave just off Half Moon Bay while you race to build as many words as you can on top of your giant BoggleBoard. Those who finish each round advance, vying for the BoggleSurf crown. Eliminated participants are provided a moving burial at sea. Cosponsored by Merriam-Webster and Red Bull.

G. Xavier Robillard lives with his family in Oregon. For a living, he programs man-eating robots. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, both in print and online. His lifelong goal is to collect every color of guayabera. You can see more of his work at All Day Coffee.