Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oh yeah, I still have a blog

A lot has happened in the past few months...

Marriage, Baby, Puppy, League Play Offs, Tournaments, Business travels, where to begin...

I went to Ohio for about a week at a time once a month since July 1st.
Ohio is a nice place... at least they have hills... aka moguls. I have to admit, it's a bit refreshing that you have to step on the gas for a reason other than passing someone or because the light turning green.

my tuesday night team had the pleasure of pulling the wild card for the league playoffs this past session.
We arrived, practice, and our player played the first match... winning.
I played the 2nd match. Doing well in practice I was confident going into the match...
Missing 2 hanging 8's gave me the loss...
Ended up creating a snowball effect for the entire team, and once again... we didn't proceed past playoffs.

I joined a new team in a completely different league and location (same rules though and same night)
It's not for the reason some might expect...
It's not because we lost.
It's not because I'm tired of losing against players that are better than me.
It's not because the distance is too far.

It's because I feel I've grown complacent. I've played everyone there, and I know what they expect of me.
I'm tired of playing like shit.
I've learned that when I get a coach the result isn't going to be me learning something... it's going to be deciding the best shot for this exact layout... but there is no why, there is no what if. Just do this, and if it doesn't work it'll be dealt with.
I'm a great player, but every time I play a league match my game goes to crap and I miss easy straight in shots... why?
Not sure... most of the time it's because I over think the shot and the table and everything... and stop thinking about the shot at hand.
How to stop thinking too much? Not sure yet.

So I decided to remove myself from that environment and look at things from a different perspective.
Maybe being with players that I've only seen stalking the table in the past, I'll learn something from those that I've never spoke to before.

I joined a league with people that speak my language.
See... I'm a geek/nerd... self admited, yeah... but seriously... I troll sites such as,, and of course My spare time is spent researching quantum mechanics and thinking of how I can turn a bucket into a water collection when it rains so I can spend less on bills and more on pool. I'm a DIY (do it yourself) nerd...
Generally the people I'm playing with and against are notoriously smart individuals. I've heard the term genious mentioned more than once in reference to this group.
My point is... I speak geek, and so do they.
Being on the same level it might be easier to pull something out of the matches played... or watched.

in any case... I'm thinking that these people over think things as much as I do from time to time. And there's bound to be great players... and if those great players over think things... maybe they can explain how they've over come over thinking.

Short synopsys
The league started 2 weeks ago... they have a test of various shots. Depending on how well you do during this test you're rated between 1-100. Apparently I scored well because my first match I had a decent handicap.
I was spotting 4 games in a race to 7.

That's a decent hill. Something I could gracifully ride on a snowboard.

So the match starts, we lag... I win with inches to spare.
I break... not a thing drops.
The break is random anyhow... so whatever.

After letting my opponent know the table is wide open, getting back to my seat, and letting him look at the green for a good 60 seconds he goes back to his seat and sits down.
Without shooting. Turns out I made the 9ball on the break and didn't even notice it.

so I get up to shoot the stripes and end up running down to 1 ball plus the 8. I miss the safe and think to myself I should have safed sooner... but too late now.
He shoots, misses, and I win.
the next 2 racks he and I both get down to the 8 ball and bouce it around the table for a good 28 innings before it finally drops... 3-0 and all I know is I've got a hill to climb.
4th game I win again with a good safe that gives ball in hand, and I ran 2 or 3 to get out.

Then the 5th game I realize that my endurance is starting to slip, my focus with it... so I concentrate harder and make sure that I take the hard shots first, leaving the ducks/easy shots last.
But since I missed the hard shots... he won
next game I missed position on a ball... attempted a safe and ended up scratching
with BIH he wins

I'm not keeping any sort of track in my mind of what the score is... so I ask, just to find out he's on the hill... and I need 3.
sweet green apples.

it's an awkward break... he doesn't make anything, but there's a nice strong cluster of about 8 balls where the rack used to be.
Theres 3 solids, the 8, and 2 stripes. I choose stripes because there's less clustered, and there's a ball in key position to be made... and break out the cluster.

I play down to the key ball and then realize my mistake.

the 3-8 are wired to the corner pocket. If I make this ball, break this cluster, I'm losing this rack.
So I hit a ball out of the stack and leave only 1 in the cluster...
we go back and forth a couple of innings, eventually I get stuck and am left something to this effect

I can barely see the 13... but if I get a good hit... it's not solid enough to move the cueball with draw and I'll scratch. If He runs 4, game over.
I'm blocked from everything else that's mine.
I decide to take the hit and foul on purpose, creating this...

I look at the table, giving him ball in hand... I see only 1 out.
1 out that includes 2 banks from weird angles. I'm expecting a safe, and returning to the table.

His first shot:

His next shot

final shot

But he decides to play the 8 in the corner... instead of the side
misses, but leaves me without a simple out.

I elect safe, but it's the wrong safe, and I leave him the win

a good match... and I'm not sad I lost. A rarity lately
but I'm not upset because I actually played well, I played to my potential.
I didn't feel nervous, awkward or anything other than "I'm here to win"

apparently the 8 ball didn't get my memo

Monday, September 1, 2008

Scrabble Victory (hints and tips)

What I reference:

I know there's a lot of scrabble players out there. I personally don't play all that often, but I know there's actual organized leagues of scrabble games. When I heard that I didn't freak out, I didn't think "WHY?!"
I thought to myself... interesting. We're all geeks, just some of us are a different kind of geek. Pool geek, History geek, Computer geek, Word geek.

Here's a post about 10 handy words that will help you out if you come across a bunch of letters that don't make very much sense.
A few other tips too