Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What is the perfect cue?

The perfect cue is one that works for and with you. I have always believed that it is not the cue that makes the player, but a good cue lets the true player come to the surface.

Oh my, in my eyes, the LE11 is my vision of perfection.

Captivating Appearance. Quiet Beauty. Screaming Performance. – That’s a Predator Cue.

This limited edition [LE11] became available in September of this year (2005).
Predator has never offered so much performance, luxury, and elegance combined in one superbly balanced cue package. The Limited Edition 11, designed by Predator founder Allan McCarty and constructed by Mezz connects you with the game like few other cues can. The are only 175, each uniquely numbered, of these in the world – it’s an extraordinary cue.

Hard part is finding one of these for sale. The cost of this cue – almost 1500.00

I have the Predator 314 shaft on my Lucasi and I love it. It made a difference in my game. The Predator shaft wants to go through the cue ball, while I found the other shaft had me forcing the cue through the stroke.

The LE11 cue will definitely be an investment, guess I better start saving and searching for one of these beauties *smiles*.

Monday, November 14, 2005

She's hooked


Just found out Laura (who fell asleep initially) watched the rest of Grave of the Fireflies. She enjoyed it, but did find it sad - I agree with her. It's difficult to make it through one sitting. There's several pivotal scenes that are emotional. If you haven't seen this movie, take the time to rent it.

The movie is definitely suited for animation. If we would use real actors, it would be hard to envision this story. It's realistic, but in the sense that Van Gogh and Coltrane is real. With its warm humanity, you feel emotions pulled out of you that you never knew you had.

Fireflies is full of moments of serene beauty, scenes of peaceful vitality. Visually, this is a beautiful movie. Everything is drawn in lush, vivid watercolors; the greens and blues of the lake, the saturated reds of a devastated Kobe, even the smoke from the bombers looks poetic.

HEB Plus has a Poker Aisle!

There are poker tables, nice clay poker chips, poker pictures, poker shirts, poker cards, poker books, and poker dishware!

First things first, I’m not so keen on the “Plus”. I will prolly be calling the 1-800-HEB-PLUS line to suggest a possible name change. I wonder how many calls they get a day on their hotline number and what they do when they are not getting calls.

My suggestions:

HEB Ultimate
HEB 9th Degree (rhymes)
HEB Extra
HEB Gargantuan
HEB Mungo
HEB Planetary (love the rhyming)
HEB Colossal

For those of you that know me, you know I would never step into a grocery store at my own will. I have always supported the local restaurant community and do my part to eat out as much as possible. Some call me lazy since I never cook, I say it’s efficient.

I get an IM at 8:45pm from Laura. She asked me what I’m doing on a Saturday night, and I think for a moment and then reply, “not sure yet, but leaving work in 15 minutes.” She replies back and invites me to go to HEB Plus. I’m assuming she detected a bit of hesitation in my reply, so she tells me, “It will be just like Wally World!” Well, walking into a grocery store at 9:30pm at night sounds like an adventure for me, so why not. Yes, she sold me…I’m sold!

So Laura, Jeremy and me hop in his car and we take a road trip to HEB Plus on Hwy 79 and IH35 at 9:56pm. Jeremy is driving prolly 93 miles an hour. Obviously, he was the most excited of us three to get there. We get there in 6 minutes flat when it’s a 14 minute drive. Amazing. Here’s where it gets good. We pull up to this 19,000 square ft bldg at 10:02pm and the parking lot is FULL! What no lifers are hanging out in a grocery store at 10:00pm on a Saturday night. I just didn’t get it.

This place is grand! It has everything under one roof. Let’s wander over to each section of the store.

Produce:
The produce section is massive. They even had grapples. For those who know what grapples are, you understand my excitement right now. I haven’t even seen most of the produce and fruit before – they are from another world.

Seafood:
The gentlemen behind the seafood counter have wireless mics on, so everyone can hear them talk about the fish they have for sale. This mungo, ultimate king crab is tossed in the air - $107.00 bucks and the crab is ours. Gonna pass this time – don’t have the pot to cook that thing. Then they show everyone this colossal fish that has teeth. Alright, we loose are appetite to see a fish with teeth staring at us. Let’s move on.

Olive and Cheese section (It’s own little area):
I hate olives – yelch. But Laura and Jeremy like olives and they know everything about olives. I say they are round things that taste like rubber. They pick up a fancy little container and put in 9 garlic olives and seal. Moving on….

Meat Section:
Ok, looks like the normal meat area. While they are checking out the red meat, I wonder over to the next aisle. Whoa! Vitamins galore to the 9th degree – I pick up some healthy, natural pills that are to be chewed…hmm…prolly not very tasty. But whalaa…it’s in liquid form. Don’t really need it, but i’m getting it. Moving on….

Normal aisles:
Typical grocery items, but an excessive variety of everything. If you are a cookie lover, there are prolly 4,000 different kinds to choose from. I kid you not.

We peek around a corner after trotting up and down aisles and see a glowing area. Yep, this ultimate array of video games, movies, and dvds. It’s a mini blockbuster, but instead it’s an HEB buster.
Ooooh, anime movies right up front. I pick up three of them and Laura finds Pretty in Pink also! We go to check out (you must check out those items in the back area) and her movie is 5.99. Mine totaled 59.00 bucks. What the heck – Anime needs to go down in price! Grrrrrrrrr. They are worth it though. My thought, Laura’s gonna have to sit through an hour and ½ anime flick! Ha!

Next Area – Books:
Oodlees and oodle of books. Some at 50% off, some at 25% off - oodles of books. I find a great little treasure of a book for $1.99 + it had an extra 25% off sticker which only made this rare find $1.59. *winks*

Um, Gotta back up to the Jelly Bellys area:
Every flavor you can think of. It takes time to find the perfect mix of Jelly Bellys. So here I go, sampling all of em’. Mmmmm…*rubs tummy*. I get ½ lb and Laura and Jer get ¼ lb. I prolly at ½ lb while I was in there too. Shhhh. But if you do go there, help yourself to tasting each one – they aren’t watching you and the mark up on those jelly beans account for people like us dabbling and sampling. *giggles*

Cosmetic Area:
Typical stuff that I won’t bore you with. Ok, I’m still looking for the rides like Wally World and I see nothing. Think I have been conned here. Just as that though crossed my mind, I looked over and see a blood pressure machine. A brand new one, not one that millions of people have used – this smells new. We all take our blood pressure – how exciting is this. Ok, that was fun. We stroll over to this planetary aisle across the way from the blood pressure machine. I can’t really say what items were in aisle, but let me tell you that you will never have to walk into an adult toy store ever again. It’s all right there! Note to manager: Put up a “Must be over 18 sign”.

Ok, let’s keep walking. There’s a mini furniture section. They sell beds, bunk beds, living room sets (just one choice though), chairs, end tables…you name it. Look to your right, and there is a complete home d├ęcor section. You can find bedding, normal pillows, wall paintings, lamps, lighting fixtures, soooooft fluffy pillows….etc.

It’s now midnight. We have been walking around for two hours and haven’t even been down all the aisles. I gotta go back. BTW: They have this new HEB Points Club Card where you get points for every dollar you spend. Each quarter they will send you cash redeemers that you can use to buy groceries, gas, or whatever you desire. You get 5,000 points just for signing up! The low down, for every 1,000 points you get 1.00 back. So just for signing up, you have accrued 5 bucks. I’m going back in 3 months to redeem my 5 bucks on more Jelly Bellys.

I was pleasantly surprised with the overall experience. Thanks Laura for planning this excursion for us! Whew, we are exhausted and pop in the pizza and sit down to watch Grave of the Fireflies. (Laura’s first anime experience…*smiles*). I look over 22 minutes later, she’s out cold. She missed the movie! It’s still sitting in the DVD player for her to enjoy later.

I even bought some groceries and kept the receipt to prove it.

My Groceries:
Jelly Bellys - .60lb
HEB Cool Wave Fruit Punch
Strawberry Cheese Coffee Cake
Digiorno Spinach Mushroom High Rising Pizza
Chocolate Cake with a light Mousse Topping
Moisturizer
Bargain Book about Poker
Shimmer lip coffee color lip gloss
That liquid vitamin stuff (cool bottle)
One Emery Board
Sandies Fruit Delight Strawberry cookies

Final comment: HEB Plus doesn’t really have a poker section. They should think about having one *winks*

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Billiards the next Poker?


Will Billiards be the next Poker?

Heh – prolly not. Us passionate billiard players can definitely make a case though.

When poker first started airing on television, you were not able to view the “hole” cards of the players since the mini cams were not set up on the poker tables. Watching poker, well – it was ok. Once the cameras were installed, the glitzy backgrounds, intense music, the beautiful hostess, and the great commentators were melted together – it took off! ESPN makes billiards look pretty dry when you are watching it and the commentators speak in monotone. Add that to billiards – it’s gotta take off! It would be great to add the heart monitors to see how it escalates or remains level. That would be a great feature to billiards or poker. ESPN – think about it.

There are several television shows released about billiards, as there should be *smiles*. The WPBA matches are always on ESPN2 and there is a new show called Ballbreakers on the Game Show Network (Yesyes, you need cable). The show is billed as TVs first regular series featuring the popular world of billiards. That might not sound thrilling, but the hustle aspect of the show is! Each episode will feature four players playing 9-Ball for a chance to win $20,000. Each player starts with a $5,000 bankroll, and they challenge other players to matches for a $1,000 minimum, putting their money where their mouth is. The players outside the match can even engage in side bets as to who wins or loses the match.

And for you guys out there, they’ve thrown in Adrienne Curry, winner of the first season of Americas Top Model, as the Rack Girl.

Billiards has > 40 million active players shooting the game. We only need corporate sponsorship and the right connections to make it happen.

I play with an organization called APA (American Poolplayers Association) and it has over 250,000 members. I believe pool already is poker and much more. The Riviera Hotel in Vegas is what Binion's Horseshoe is for the poker game. The vintage hotels keep bringing both games every year having an exponential rise.

The APA’s singles championships and team championships draw more than 10,000 billiard gurus from all over North America every year. Of course Amber Bock is one of the APA's sponsors – just like poker! Coincidence…hmm…

The APA championships held every year in August is the climax of the hard work teams compete for all year. You have to win your local division’s play offs to advance to the Vegas National Tournament. It’s hard work – but once you are there, you realize your team worked hard to make it that far. Each player/team takes it just as serious as the “Phils” of poker take the WSOP events. The APA Nationals is a HUGE event – Our team made it there in 2002 and it was one of the best weeks of my life. The energy, team passion, the excitement of Vegas, and the drive to be the winning team and take that tournament down, all bundled up – wow, it’s amazing.

Why I think billiards will (or should) be the next poker? Poker is a mental game just as billiards is. It’s a great combination of a game and a sport – it’s beautiful. When I sit down to a poker table, my heart races every minutes. When I step up to a billiard table – I experience that same heart racing feeling. Watching billiards may not be as exciting as watching poker – but I think we watch poker on television to watch the “bad beats”. Our heart feels bad for those players – and it would for the “bad beats” of billiards. You can be on the perfect run in billiards, and one mistake or one bad roll – you are out. It’s a ton of work to let some anomaly take you out of the game. Heart drops….my dones anyway.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Brenham - What do people do in Brenham?

Repeated Action – Jen doesn’t post for a very long time.

I’m going to start out be admitting what a slacker I am. Everyday I make some sort of small mental note that I will update my blog, and of course the days turn into weeks – which turn into months. *Dust off keyboard*

Poker front:

I’ve been spending more time in the poker arena. I play at a few regular games and got back in to the online poker play as well. I took a hiatus from online poker since my computer’s memory board got toasted a month and ½ ago during a storm that lasted approximately 1 hour. I started to smell something burning and when I removed the case on the computer…there was a steady stream of smoke flying up from the motherboard. It died…sucks. I now have a computer thanks to a good friend, Phil, who hooked me up with a great system. Thanks Phil!

The 2005/2006 WSOP Circuit started in August. I am going to head to Caesars Indiana – Oct. 19-Nov. 2, 2005. There are a couple of events I want to play – the LIPS Ladies No Limit Hold’em Event and one of the NL events that are the lower buy ins ~ 500.00 or 1,000.00. The payouts are nice if you place in the money for your investment. I might even be able to get into those events for a smaller investment through satellites. It’s still a month and a week away, so have practice time to tune up my tournament play.

I’ll admit, I probably have no chance at placing in the money – but I think my chances are the highest in Indiana compared to the Vegas or Atlantic city circuit events. I mean, “Who plays poker in Indiana?”

Come on’ poker gods….keep me safe.

My friend, Michelle, is going on vacation to see her parents in Indiana, so she'll be at the circuit event as well. I hope I don't have to play at her table though - the last tournament we play at in Austin, she took me out. We both flopped the same set - my kicker sucked. She flopped a boat (little did I know). Mental note: Never play with crap kickers...and I deserved being eliminated for playing that crap. Michelle won the tourney - she deserved my chips.

Hmm, I just thought of something. I remember getting knocked out of a tournament with another girlfriend of mine a few months ago. Her name is Kat and she did awesome and placed in the money! She deserved my chips as well.

We need more female players in Poker. Kat should be back here in Austin dominating the poker scene. Hmmm, she should also be playing in the circuit event in Indiana....Kat, "Get back to Austin!"

Billiard front:

I’ve decided that I want to move to another level in Billiards. I’ve been playing in two leagues the past couple of years and I’m at a point where I either need to focus on improving my game or give it up. I choose, focusing on my game! I’m a nervous player – let the mental part of the game interfere. I’m trying to overcome that fear, just can’t figure out how. I was speaking to a girlfriend of mine and she said, “Jennefer, you need to start playing larger tournaments.” I have played the smaller local tournaments in Austin and it’s time for me to branch out to something larger.

Ok, I’ll try it – prolly get spanked royally my first few, err, 100 times. We are going to play in the HUNTER CLASSICS AMATEUR WOMEN'S TOUR

Sept. 24-25
Legend’s Billiards and Grill
Brenham, Texas • (979) 251-7665

It’s a 30.00 investment there will be about 60 – 80 female players. Most of them are amazing shots and my goal = not to be the first person out. The most amazing part of this is that The Hunter Classics Tour is a stepping stone to the WPBA.

The tournament format is race to 7. True double elimination (ie: race to 7 in semi-final and if necessary two races to 7 in the finals. Saturday is alternating break and Sunday is winner break.

I’m looking forward to the event – Christy, Michelle and I are going to drive up Saturday morning ~ 3 hours. We are going to stay overnight to play in the 2nd chance tournament on Sunday if we get eliminated from the main event. It gives us the opportunity to redeem ourselves. Christy and Michelle are both amazing shots and I learn from watching them. Hopefully their skills will rub off on me. 3 Girls from Austin hitting the big ol’ town of Brenham. What does Brenham have in store for us? *shrugs*

Well, since the population of Brenham is , 15K - I can't imagine there being a ton of attractions. The only thing I know: Blue Bell Creamery - um, wait nevermind - only have weekday tours. Ugh.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

This has nothing to do with poker or pool, but his speech made a huge impact and made me realize that I made one of the best decisions (toughest) of my life this week. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005 at Stanford.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Five Hundred and Twenty Six

526: Yep, that is the record for Willie Mosconi in 1954. He pocketed 526 balls continuously before missing a shot.

Straight Pool - this has become one of my favorite forms of pool. I went up to a local pool hall last night just to shoot some balls around. A player came up to me and asked if I wanted to shoot a game and said it would be my choice of game.

I thought about it for a second and asked if he shot straight pool? He looked at me and said, "don't we all". This was the first time in over 5 months that I had the opportunity to shoot this game. This is one of my favorite forms of pool, "straight pool", in which the player can shoot at any ball he likes. Once 14 (of the 15) ball are made, a new frame begins. To keep a run going, you have to make your shot and attempt to break the balls open with the cue ball breaking up the rack. Most of the skill in straight pool is selecting the order of balls to play, leaving a good break shot, and most importantly playing a safety shot with there is no attractive shot.

He dominated the table. It was pretty discouraging, but as Mosconi once said, "Don't waste time. Only play people that play better than you play."

So, gotta practice gotta practice gotta practice - then maybe I won't always have to be the onlooker. *filed to myself* Get the hunger back Jen!

Playing Pool with God

Let's talk about some pool. This is one of my favorite pictures...I've always said that if there isn't a pool hall in heaven, i'm not going. As you can see, there is is a table.

I was shooting the other night before a match and my cue was on auto pilot. The cue ball rolled perfectly on the green and all I had to do with my cue was point and shoot. (note: she is a female cue). This is shooting under no pressure - just fun. Now the turning point for me....

It was my turn to shoot a match, and all of a sudden I couldn't make a ball no matter how hard I tried. I couldn't even vision the balls making it to the pocket. I stood up, walked away as my opponent shot and took a deep breath. I realize the mental part of the game had taken over - worst part, is I let it.

My weaknessness range from facing a difficult shot, to dealing with an opponent's good fortune, to playing a player much better than myself, to playing in front of an audience --

How each situation affects you is really up to yourself. If I let myself get discouraged when the opponent gets more than his/her fair share of rolls (due to the pool gods), nobody but myself is to blame when it adversely affects my concentration for the rest of the game or match.

Another common mental barrier experienced by myself is getting nervous when playing before an audience or playing an important match against a much stronger opponent. I know we all get nervous -- even the best in the world. What separates the winners from the losers is that the winners handle that nervousness to the extent that it is no longer a barrier in their way to success.

To wrap it up, I blew the most important game of the season at Slick Willies. Not only did I let myself down, I let down the people that are the most important to me in my billiard world, my teammates [Dave, Patrick, Clay, Michael, Scott, Ronnie & Phil - without you guys, the league wouldn't be as fun or challenging]. I made horrible decisions, didn't shoot with confidence and doubted every single shot. It is okay to feel edgy before or during an important match, as long as you still perform well under those circumstances. This I failed to do. This was our playoff match to make it to regionals. It was the rubber match and the hill game. I had no doubt that we would dominate at regionals if we got there.

I made a promise to myself to never play like that again and let them down a second time. Getting over that mental barrier...that my friends, I need to learn.

I'm really back this time....


Jen's back...

Sorry I have been so out of touch. I've been working on a couple of projects in my world and put everything else on hold. Now back to reality and I plan to post regularly from here forward. I'm notorious for falling of the earth, but know that I always come back.

Friday, January 28, 2005

It's been awhile

It's been a long time since I've posted and my apologies for being disconnected. I plan to start posting on a more regular basis starting in February of 2005.