Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Drinking while playing pool

I was talking to a friend today about the mental part of billiards and having confidence. This has always been my most difficult part of the game which I have never seem to overcome. It holds me back and keeps me from getting to the next level. It's a strange, but exciting feeling when I walk up to a table to play a match. My heart starts pounding lightly and I get really excited about getting up to the table.

My weakness falls here, I get so nervous with shots and worrying about if I am making the correct shot decision, if I'm hitting it right, the right speed, right english, etc. So many factors to make sure you pocket the ball and get your next shot. This is just within me! Now, toss into the mix these extra pressures: your stronger opponent, the pool room (music, lighting, smoke) and your current state of mind (stressful day, lack of sleep, etc).

I've heard a few different tactics for keeping calm or being about to play stronger during the match. Here they are:

1. Take a deep breath between each shot.
2. Don't think about your opponent, and just play your game.
3. Play with confidence, look confident, even if you know you cannot make a shot.
4. Practice drills before your match - get comfortable with the table speed and your stroke.
5. Have a few drinks

Ok, #5 is the one I have always wondered about. I often hear other players saying a drink or two increases their confidence level and they shoot better pool. Is that true? Or is playing pool just a reason to take a drink? (The social aspect)

I can see how a drink can relax you and make your stroke more fluid, instead of a jerky stroke which leaves you with no control over your shotmaking. I've never drank during a match because I think it would impair my game even more;).

Alcohol impairs your concentration and I would imagine it makes your line of sight a bit blurry. Even your stance would be a little off. Still, I see players shoot lights out when they have a couple of drinks vs. having none.

I can't ever see myself being able to take those couple of drinks and playing my best. I don't think liquid confidence can ever substitute for true confidence which comes with dedication and practice of the game.

You know, when you see someone walk up to a table with natural confidence - that's very intimidating and they have an advantage from the start. I guess it doesn't matter how you get it - with liquid or mental, it works the same.

Monday, July 30, 2007

It's close to midnight and something evils lurking in the dark...

Just got home about an hour ago since I tend to roam around Austin late at night. Seems like I do my best thinking and get the most accomplished when there is no traffic or people crowding the stores. I can go to a Walmart and have the store to my entire self...pretty nice. I can drive on the streets and not get stuck in traffic or have to step out into the blazing sun (get's warm here).

We all have things that are routine for us. Mine is opening the door to find 3 cutie pies waiting for me. Of course they are just hungry, so when they see me, they think "FOOD". Yes, Boomer, Jordan and Pumpkin - you are just using me for food. No, not true -- they are very loving and always brighten my day/evening.

Where am I going with this...Oh, yes, well as part of my evening routine, I feed the gang, take my shoes off, get a diet coke and start browsing the internet. Tonight, I was searching for some songs and then thought about finding some songs about billiards. Never really heard a "billiards" tune. I've got some good poker songs, but billiards, nada.

Well, I found a parody about billiards to the tune of Micheal Jackson's, Thriller. It's awesome! I even found some balls with monsters on them just to enhance this song *smiles*. Here goes ladies and gents:

It's time to chalk cues
And set the balls up, now it's time to play
Will not lose to you
Don't think so, no sir, no losing today

You try to aim
But sweat will make you miss the ball completely
May be a game
That doesn't mean I'll play a bit more fair
No need to swear

We're playin' billiards
Chalk your cue
And if you sink the black ball 'fore the rest
That's when you lose
I'm lovin' billiards
And I'll bet
That if I'm six ahead
I'll get to take your, eat your French fries!

I love the sound of
The plop that balls make when you sink them in
And there's the snap from
Your mind exploding when you know I'll win

You wince your eyes
Because you've just set me up for the 5 ball
You realize
That it was not so smart to challenge me
Now for the 3

I rule at billiards!
All the time
You've still got seven balls or so to sink
I'm on the 9
I've won at billiards
Once again
You almost sunk the 10
But I still owned you, p4wn3d U, tonight!

Nine balls are sunk
And you've still got all your balls on the table
There's no surrender or the throwing in of the towel
(Time's run out)
You have to play, can't step down!

I can't belive you
You wanna play again? You've lost your mind
Prepare to lose, fool
You shouldn't mess with the skills that are mine
The time has come
For you to stop playing me 'cause I'm better
Again I've won
Should save yourself from copping all this crap
Like you're on crack

You've lost at billiards
No sunk balls
Although you've beat the rest, up against me
You lose them all
Man, this is billiards
Not ping-pong
Just stop smoking your bong
And just start winning, owning,
Singing, grinning here tonight!

You sick of billiards?
Well, no duh
If I kept losing to some stuck-up prat
I'd quit for sure
Want some more?
I'm starting to get bored
'Cause I keep bragging, taunting

Let's play some billiards tonight!

("Rap" by the poor sod who keeps getting 0wn3d)
All my balls are on the felt
They're never sunk, my heart it melts
Backspins, jumps and other tricks
Employed by him, it makes me sick

All who face him always lose
Some turn to drugs, some turn to booze
Some stand and say that he's a prick
He says "I know" and pulls his stick

The men defeated hang around
To see who'll try to take him down
And fools who bet on who will win
Will lose their food, their drinks in tins

And though some try to kick his ass
We need some kind of wizard
For no mere mortal can defeat
The master of the billiards

(Sound of another game starting,with the laughter of the master, and
the soft music played to ease the uncomforting silence)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The grandest ever?

Regardless of the sport, the easiest way to stir up a heated discussion is to pose the question, "Who was the greatest ever?"

In pocket billiards, that question is still cause for great debate. The general consensus is that the finalist are William Mosconi and Ralph Greenleaf. Greenleaf, a child prodigy from Illinois, reigned over the pocket billiard world from 1919 - 1938. During that time, the classy showman won 14 world pocket billiard titles. Mosconi won the first of his 15 world championships in 1941 and simple dominated the sport until is retirement in 1957.

Although their careers intertwined only briefly in the late thirties, Greenleafand Mosconi did spend the summer of 1934 together, touring the South. Greenleaf, 38 at the time, won the majority of the early matches against his 21 year old opponent, but Mosconi held is own in the later exhibitions. After 107 matches, Greenleaf had won 57 to Mosconi's 50.

Perhaps the greatest legacy of Mosconi's career are his high runs. The Philadelphia native still holds the recognized mark of 526 balls in a competition in Springfield, Ohio, in 1954. He did this remarkable run on a 4 x 8 ft table.

I can only imagine what the matches looked like back them, but I can see the gentlemen dressing up in black suits and a tie just to compete. Can't really seeing them drinking beers, but something like martinis. Who knows, I wasn't there, but I like to visualize;).

Greenleaf never matched Mosconi's high runs, but exhibition wasn't really his style. Greenleaf was flamboyant and a great admirer of the good life. It's been said that Greenleaf, a natural talent, never practiced a day in his life. He indeed was the "Babe Ruth" of pocket billiards.

I think it's pretty amazing that both men are still strong legends in your local pool hall. Mention either name - and you know who they were. I often wonder who the "Legends" are from Austin. There's some remarkable players here and I believe a couple of them will be a future name in the billiard world.

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's rubbin' off on me now...

Wayne starting doing the cat captions like LOLcats has and I've fallen into the same path of starting to create these. They definitely make me giggle.

Mini controller for Guitar Hero

Ok, Are there times you want to play Guitar Hero at your friend's place on their PS2? You can pack up the game and a couple of guitars and lug over there....or....

You can get a couple of these babies and toss them in your deep pant pockets. Yep, they are mini guitar that let you play GH on a pint sized version of the controller (it's about half the size of the original plastic ones) . The XFPS Mini Guitar has all the same controls as the life size version. Even cooler, it's made out of wood, just like a real geeeeetaaaaaaaar. It's got a pretty strudy metal whammy bar and there are led lights on the neck of the guitar.

They aren't cheap - they run about 70.00, but it looks pretty darn cool and so I think they are worth it. Cool = Always worth it.

Also, for you Xboxers...you can use it with that console, but you'll need to get an adaptor. Interested in buying one or two of these, you can at Play-Asia.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ronnie O'Sullivan is simply Amazing

I've always been a sucker for good pool players and prolly always will be. What is even more impressive is a great snooker player.

The game of Snooker is a cue sport that is played on a table that is 12 ft x 6 ft and is played using a cue ball, 15 red balls (value of 1 point each), and 6 different balls with numbers (value of 2 - 7 points). Most people play eachother and choose a set number of frames and whoever has the highest points is the winner.

There are two snooker tables that I know of in Austin. One is at the Warehouse and the other one is at Eric's Billiards. I've enjoyed playing at the Warehouse because there are two guys that I usually see at the table and they are very open about teaching and playing the game with you. Both are strong players and play a pretty mean game.

Snooker is a popular game in Europe and just has never really taken off here in the States. It's bout' time that it does!

The highest score you can get in a game of Snooker is 147. Ronnie O'Sullivan holds the record for shooting a 147 break in 5 minutes and 20 seconds. If you have never seen a snooker game, I've posted a video of his game. It's one of the most amazing videos I've seen in a long time (in a billiards way). I know there a better videos in general about more important things *smiles*.

As you watch this video, he makes it seem like it's an easy game. If you ever get the opportunity to play on a snooker table, it's one the most difficult cue games I've ever played. You'll see why if you step up to that table. Promise. Why is it harder than billiards?

1. Pool balls are 2 1/4", Snooker balls are 2 1/8"
2. Billard tables range from 6ft - 8ft, Snookers range from 10ft - 12ft
3. Billiard tips range from 11mm - 14mm, Snooker tips range from 9mm - 11mm
4. Snooker pockers are much more narrow - poker lead-in curved (there is no forgiveness)

Someone once said, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." There's many things to do, life is shot, and you need to hustle (make things happen). Rack up those pool balls, and play on.

Thanks Mr. Lincoln.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

There's not much in life that makes me sad...

I just got home from pool league tonight and that seems to be the game that can make me pretty sad (when I lose). It's just a game of course, and we are all playing in league for fun -- there's just something about walking away from the end of the match with a firm handshake and saying "good game", and all the while your heart is crumbling.

It's all mental. The game of billiards get my heart beating and brings me face to face with myself, bringing out both my strengths and weakness in the same game.

It's funny - winning your match is the best feeling in the world. For me it's the following reasons.

1. You helped your team by adding a "win" point to your standings. Good feeling.
2. It's always nice to win - you feel accomplished.
3. I make a promise to myself to play just a little bit better with every stroke of the cue. If I show .0000000005% improvement, I feel I've improved.

Losing your match just stinks.

1. I feel like you have let your team down.
2. I feel like I should of made different shot choices, played a safety, taking that extra 2 - 3 seconds to line up that crucial shot...
3. Again, my heart hurts.

Tonight, I played a very strong "5". The race was 4/3. He had to win 4 before I won three. He won the first three games. I then won the next two, so we were double hill. The games that I did win was in 1 inning and the other was 3 innings, so we both played well. The last game we both had one ball left on the table + the eight ball. There was two options for me at this point: Go for the win and make my object ball or play a safety and get ball in hand for better position. I went for the safety and that was actually the wrong decision because he was able to play a perfect safety on me where I was not able to hit my object ball, and even if I did - he had a run out. My last shot is shown below with the red arrows and my opponents is with the orange arrows. As you see, the cue ball landed behind the 8 ball on his shot and I was not able to kick at my object ball, giving him ball and hand for the win.

I should of just gone for the win and let the Pool Gods control my destiny. It hard to know if you should go for it or just play safe. As you see here, playing it safe was wrong.

I love the game, so don't think I'll ever stop playing. I love watching great players shot - they amaze me and I strive to be at their level. My goal is to become a great player that just get's better. All great players do *smiles*.

Actually, I have always believed the Pool Gods want the player who had the worst day out of the two people to win. So, I am thankful that I had a pretty good day over all compare to his *smiles*.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Don't ask why...

See what happens in the middle of the night when it's quiet and I'm just finding random things that have no real purpose. It my mind, it's pretty entertaining. Press PLAY! (If you want to see a cross-eyed girl, put your mouse on her nose)

Graphical Representation of Poolgods

I found this cool little utility on a friend's blog, whall.org. It takes a graphical representation of your blog or website and creates a really beautiful picture. I just did mine and here was the output:

What do the colors mean?

blue: for links (the A tag)

red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)

green: for the DIV tagviolet: for images (the IMG tag)

yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)

orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)

black: the HTML tag, the root node

gray: all other tags
Credits and Kudos go to Sala, the programmer of this HTML Graph Applet.

Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy Release 20th Anniversary Edition

This is pretty awesome. As most know, in 1984 - Douglas Adams released the Hitchhiker's text based version of the game and it was one of those games that could keep you glued to your Commodore 64 for days. Back in my day, computer games were text based. No sound, no graphics, just text. This kept me busy for many hours because I could control the game by simply typing text of what I wanted my character to do (and hope I didn't die). Thank goodness for floppy disk and saving the game each time I got to my next check point. This was the very first game I got for my Commodore 64 and what initially got me interested in the gaming world. Wow, then I was introduced to Bulletin Boards - and the rest is history.

BBC has laughed the 20th Anniversary Edition. *Drum roll* It has graphics!

How is this different? Well, it's very sweet. They've launched two editions with graphics - both are the same game, just a different look and feel. The cool part is if you don't want to register, you can easily save and restore your game at anytime. When you save, it stores your game in a shared directory (you create a folder name). If you want, you can even switch from edition one to edition two in the middle of a game.

Check out this new release of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. if you have some free time - and remember to always save periodically. Otherwise you'll end up back in the bedroom.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The 2007 Enjoypool.com Championship

It's just around the corner, the airing of the 2007 Enjoypoll.com Championship that was in May. It is the finals - Karen Corr vs. Allison Fisher. If you want to record or watch it on Monday, it's airing on ESPN at 2:30AM EST.

I'm not telling you who won, so don't ruin it by googling it either. Just enjoy the great match.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Head blasting...in a couple of ways

Last night I starting getting a migraine - one of those headaches that you just don't want to move and you don't want anything in the room moving or any sounds. Anything that falls into one of those categories just made it worse. I took aspirin before I laid down, but it just continued and woke up with the headache that never went away. I took more pain medicine, then laid back down since I didn't go to work. The only thing I wanted to do was cover my head with the pillow and be knocked out. Didn't quite happen that way since it's hard to go to sleep with a throbbing headache. Not sure how to get rid of it - but I know it has to go away.

I had the exact same thing this past Saturday and couldn't even get out of bed to move. It went away by Sunday afternoon, so something cured it!

Anyway, I laid down this morning and let Boomer lay next to me since he still does that piercing whine when I crate him and that was making me want to lock myself up in a padded, white room. He did sweetly lay next to me and I saw his eyes doze off. "Perfect," I thought.

Jordan was laying down next to the sofa, Pumpkin was laying at the head of the sofa, and Boomer was laying right next to me with his paw on my arm and head against my shoulder.

Okay, I guess I should let you know I took 2 more Advil and a cold tablet just in case I was getting some sort of Summer cold (my body has some aches too, so wanted to nip this).

I shut my eyes and all I remember is waking up and seeing Boomer on the floor chewing on something. I look down and he has taking a liking to the wonderful world of telecommunications. Yep, he has seen me use the cell phone before and I guess he wanted to try it out. Perhaps he couldn't figure out how to open the phone to dial, so he just thought he'd open it with his pretty, pretty, sharp, sharp teeth. Battery is missing - assuming it's tucked somewhere in his stomach. The phone now looks like crumpled tin foil.

Lesson number #49: Never leave your cell phone near you when you go to sleep. [I left it tucked under the sofa just in case anyone was trying to reach me for anything urgent so I would hear it]

I had it about 9 inches tucked under the sofa. Not sure how his radar found it. I'm going to have to conclude that Boomer is really a Cylon, like my friend told me. There is no way that a human dog could swallow a cell phone battery and think that chewing on a metal phone taste good.

Yes Wayne, you were right. Boomer is a Cylon. You know everything...

With all of this, the headache still has just been amplified. Oh, and no one call me...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Battle Angel Hand Painted Pieces

In the night's drifting waves,
As we stand immersed in the flow,
Heaven relases its pouring rains,
Turning my heart into a block of ice.
The warm glow of your body's fire,
Draws my cold lips to yours,
but...I don't feel the heat.
Oh, just once...I'm promising you,
You'll see your heart's secret coming true.
Oh, just once,
In the sea of the sky,
I'd give up my eternal soul to the winds,
should I fail you...I'm an INSIGNIFICANT girl.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Thinking about a pet?

I was reading about one of our endangered species, the Ocelot, in today's newspaper. I was flipping through the paper and what caught my attention was a striking photo of this beautiful cat. They are about twice the size of the average household cat. They are sleek, powerful, gorgeous and get to be about 30lbs once they reach adulthood.

They mainly live under the leafy canopies of South American rain forests, but can also be found in Southern Texas.

They feed primarily on rodents, but also on other small prey such as fish, snakes, lizards and insects. These cute little guys are active for about 12 - 14 hours a day, so you better be ready to play! They are primarily nocturnal, guessing they do their best thinking at night. *smiles*

Unfortunately they are becoming extinct and unless mankind can help them, they will eventually no longer exist. Most mothers can only produce 1 - 2 kittens per litter, so the it's becoming more and more difficult to protect this beautiful cat.

So you want one for a pet now? Well, they are not the easiest wild cats to raise. Owning an ocelot puts limitations in your life that differs from owning a domestic cat. A commitment to raising and breeding an ocelot cannot be taken lightly. As kittens, they are like the normal domesticated kitten, they like to play and keep near the owners. They sometimes throw their own temper tantrums if left alone to play independently. They even whine.

A carefully raised ocelot can be a very affectionate animal. They will play ball or rope with you...Some just want to suck on your fingers and sit in your lap and purr. They are content with that. (They are also usually bottle fed as babies)

Ok, the breeding part - be aware. Once they are paired up with a mate, they become less interested in their human owner. Once the female is in heat, they growl, roll, become more affectionate, and call loudly in search of their mate. They don't necessarily become more aggressive, but they might become more stand-offish.

You'll need to keep them in a cage if you cannot watch them. If you leave them in your backyard, expected climbing and digging. If you train them young, you can let them have free roam of the house too. They love water, and diving for toys in the water - so kiddy pools are perfect for them. You need to make sure what kind of toys you are tossing since they tend to swallow small things like tennis balls, legos, kongs, etc. So perhaps a few more trips to the vet's office than normal;).

Researching a wild cat is always a good idea and more importantly, hands on work to see if you are able to raise a wild cat before you take one it. It's not just taking care of the ocelot when it's a baby, it's a lifetime of 14 years that you need to dedicate to it.

Hmmm, I want one, err two.

They grow up to be beautiful as you see in the photo below:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Twist & Treat

Just got in from getting myself spanked at pool. *sigh* Just one of those nights where the pool gods predetermined my path for the evening. I can't argue with them - I just have to roll with em'.
But, it was an overall great evening at the ol' Slick Willies. Laura, brought me two great gifts for Boomer. Boomer loves his Aunt Laura - she's the gift master! She brought this cute little gadget called a Twist & Treat. The name says it all -- it's a durable rubber toy that untwist and you fill it with treats.

You then twist it back together and it's ready for Boomer to do his magic to get to the treats. Hmmm, wonder if he's going to figure out how to twist it open with his paws and mouth. It's kinda like the Rubix cube for adults. You remember those things?

The first thing I did tonight was filling that up with treats and tossed it to Boomer. He LOVED it and started rolling it around. He's in doggy wonderland right now. He's still trying to figure out how to open it - pretty darn cute. She also gave him a nice little chewing rope that is good for his teeth. He is chewing on that too! He's got a little toys-r-us for puppies round here.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Animated world: Pets

These are the guys that make my world great.

Animated World: Pool Hall

Why can't we live in an animated world - it would just be fun. Plain, simple, fun.

Everyone is doing it.

Billiards...it's a sport anyone or any animal (heh) can play. I came across this picture during my nightly quiet time on the web. It's pretty cute and I can easily see something like this at my house if:

1. I had a pool table
2. I had two kittens
3. I had batteries in my camera to take pictures
I just wonder what these two kittens are thinking? Maybe, "These balls remind us of our squeaky toys, but they don't squeak!" or "Where are the purr-ple balls?" or "Let's count the balls, one, mew, three..." or "Let's play some purrrr-fect pool." or "Is that wooden stick a log? If so, then what do you get if you cross a cat with a log? A cat-a-logue!" or "Have you heard the mews? We have to play eachother next." or "Why are you rolling the ball the same way as me...you are a copy cat!" or "Let's play a race to 5, whoever wins get's a chocolate mouse!" or "You just ran the table for a purrrr-fect score. Do you want a treat or some catnip?"
Whatever they are thinking, I'm sure it's pretty funny. Still can't get over how adorable this picture is. I must try and duplicate this one day. *writes note to myself as goal*