D I A R Y
of a

P O O L    S H O O T E R

The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.




Monday, May 30, 2005

An Experiment in Communication

I'd like to show you what El Maestro was teaching me on Saturday. A picture would help, so I found an Interactive Web Pool Table.

To illustrate the shot that El Maestro was teaching me on Saturday, first highlight and copy this string into your clipboard (Ctrl-C):

START(
%Hr5J9%Ip0L2%Po4I4%Qs5[5
%WC9H4%Xs2H8%Yr5I5%Zo3I4%[s6[4%\r4K1
%]n4G8%^B9G4%eB4`3
)END

then open this link in a new browser window
http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/~wei/pool/pooltable2.html

then click "Paste" and answer the prompt in the affirmative.

This will arrange the balls on the table. And you are looking at what I was dealing with.

The shot is to cut the 8 ball almost 90 degrees to the right into pocket A, and bring the cue ball two lengths of the table for position on the 9 ball.

El Maestro's special techniques used in this shot: "aim to miss", stay down, follow through, english: top with the smallest amount of left, and keep the cue out of the way of the rebounding cue ball.

Enjoy!

For an interactive pool table that uses lasers, click here!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Winner and Still #1

Last night I played Pat B.
in the Triple Play (Masters) format,

a mix of 8 ball and 9 ball games in a race to 7 wins.

I was nervous at first, realizing that a loss
would drop me from the #1 position.
But I followed Tony's Pre-Game checklist,
and settled down and got off to a good start.

As you would expect, Fast Mikie ruled the day, 7-2.


I made some mistakes, however.

I usually do.
In fact, before the match,
I jokingly apoligised to Tony, in advance,

for all of the mistakes that I was surely going to make.
This seemed theraputic, actually,
as it released me to play
a more fluid game.
There was less anguish over decision-making,
knowing that I had already dealt with
the apology for my stupidity.


About two months ago,
I played Pat B. in another match
and won 7-0,
so it looks like Pat is getting better!


One memorable shot in the match required
hitting hard into
a cluster to sink a ball,
and then the 9 ball went in for the win,

completely by accident,
but while I was enjoying the moment,

the cue ball continued another 3 cushions
and scratched, for the loss.

A lot of emotion in just a few seconds!

It seems that I am still #1 in this tournament,
with a perfect record of 7 matches and 7 wins,
but with a slim lead (click here for details).
Didn't I just learn about the fragility of slim leads?

El Maestro, Tony Sorto was there for my match,
and here is his morning-after email:

Everything positive from now on.
You played good last night
including recognising situations,
got to become more fluid.
It was good to see you stayed confident
during the whole match
as this plays a very important part
in your opponent's psychology.

There is still so much to learn.
Back to the practice table...


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sweet Straight

Last night I played "Malve", here at the Fun House.
We started with a race to 10 in 9 ball.
(Fast Mikie wins again 10-3)
Then got down to two games of straight pool.
The first game went to 100 points,
and I won with a comfortable lead.
The second game went to only 50 points,
and again, our hero Fast Mikie, was the victor.

The best part was that I was really enjoying it.
My stroke was smooth and my play just flowed.
There was very little Think Time, and a whole
lot of Play Time.
I was "seeing" shots easily.
I could find the combo or carom or kiss
hidden deep inside clusters,
and then use them to open the mess like a flower.

Two such shots sank several balls with one stroke,
and there is extra fun in the bonus.

I was confident of making every shot.
Fearless.

I love straight pool because it is without
the limitations of other games.
The end of the game isn't at the end of the rack,
or after only 9 balls, but it continues on and on...
Championship games are played to 150 balls.
Some few pros have run the entire 150 in a match.

If I could run 150 balls I would be ecstatic!
I live for that day...


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Why I Quit APA Team Pool


Last night marked the end of APA team pool for me.
I'll play out the city championships for 8 and 9 ball,
and the remainder of the session of Triple Play format,
as a courtesty to my team mates,
but after that, I'm done with playing on APA teams.

This has been coming for a while,
and I actually quit once before,
but just when I thought I was free,
I let myself get pulled me back in...

Last night was a real good example,
of why I'm leaving the APA.

I drive through the last of rush hour traffic,
to be on time for the start of team play at 7pm.
And my match started at midnight!

Jeff needed 10 points and I needed only 2,
but he safed me good for ball in hand,
and ran 10 points out for a well-deserved win.
Lesson of the evening:
The fragility of a slim lead.


So bottom line on APA team pool:
It is a sub-optimal use of my time.
Last night, including travel,
I invested 7 hours of my life
to play pool for one hour.
And I spent those 7 hours
in a VERY sub-optimal environment.
A smoky, over/under-airconditioned,
dirty, LOUD bar without food.

More reasons? the tables are
undersized, poorly maintained,
and the balls are a joke!

I can get my pool groove on elsewhere,
at far less cost in time,
in MY CHOICE of location
at MY CHOICE of time
with MY CHOICE of opponents.

The APA offers a social environment
"where everyone can play, and anyone can win"
as they say in their ads.
Well, I'd prefer to avoid that social experience.
My goals go beyond meeting new people and having fun.
I shoot pool to learn the art of pool.
To learn the secrets of life through pool.
To create a thing of beauty through pool.
To be the best pool shooter possible.
And I want to do it on my terms.

As you can see plainly from the last sentence
in the previous paragraph, I am a soloist.
The APA is all about teams.

Team members count on you to win,
to show up according to schedule,
(a commitment!)
at the start of every match,
whether they actually play you or not,
to be available to play at a moment's notice,
to keep score for other players' matches,
to stay interested and focused on the
play in progress,
and to coach when/if needed.
That's a lot of baggage I prefer to do without.
I prefer to eliminate the extra pressure of team play.
I just want to shoot pool.

Hey, it's right there on my home page:
plain as day: "hermit".

Now let me be perfectly clear:
Brian and Jill do a great job
running the local APA franchise.
They get high marks from most players.
And the APA is a great format for most players,
as their rapid growth has surely proven.
They do a great job of introducing new players to the game.
And I wish them the very best of continued success.

I enjoyed meeting
the many colorful characters of the APA.
It has been an extraordinary rush of sensations for me.

In my future solitude,
on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights,
I will, from time to time,
think of all of you and smile, and wish you well.

Thanks for the memories...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Public Humiliation

Aaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhh!
Oh, the agony of public humiliation!
Even worse, it was self inflicted.

This past weekend I played in the APA 8 Ball Blast,
and lost 2 out of 3 matches.
The one match that I did not lose
was only because the opponent finally hit the wall,
at around midnight, after having been in the competition
starting at 9am.
I didn't start until 5pm,
so I was feeling relatively fresh at midnight.
It wasn't so much that I won,
it was that my opponent lost.

I was such a mess that I lost a game
because I neglected to mark the pocket for the 8 ball.
Where was my mind?

The $50 I won goes to charity,
as is the Fast Mikie policy with all pool winnings.

It is now Monday, and my email to El Maestro
was as follows:

"Maestro... It is amazing how fragile my human nature is.
A couple of days of public humiliation has brought me down from the clouds of an engorged self-image, puffed up with my own delusions of superior pool playing.

How can i play at such a low level at the 8 Ball Blast,
and then come back here to the Fun House and utterly destroy Kevin Jensen in multiple games of straight pool?

How? Why? What do I do about it, Master?"

El Maestro answered:

I have been talking to you for a long time about the singing frog that just would not sing in public. You have to pay more attention to what I`m saying. A while back I told you that your problem was not about making balls anymore.
When I saw you play on Saturday you completely forgot your ritual, the routine that you are supposed to follow before every match,you looked nervous, out of sorts, not confident at all. Your opponent picked up on that and we know the rest.
We will have to go through the pre-game ritual again and I may have to read it to you before you play your next match so that you start to see the difference.
T.

And so it goes. Two steps forward, one step back. I must go back and relearn some early lessons. That's ok. It's not like I expected to be world class overnight. It will take time...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Day Without Pool?

Upon waking up, my routine includes a quick check of my online calendar.
How sweet it is: empty.
A blank canvas upon which I may paint my Destiny.
It is even empty of pool.
A day off, pregnant with promise.

As surely as it starts with a shower and a Starbucks,
it will include a walk on the beach.

I think I'll do that right now...

-------

An hour later, my soul is refreshed.
The eternal sea. Fresh air from far away.
(Last breathed by a Polynesian princess,
most likely topless, wafting a kiss to me,
set upon the ocean breeze, a third of a world away,
from her beach to mine...
I can sense these things, trust me.)

Breakfast: Fresh Naked
blueberry juice with Jay Robb protein powder, then a steaming bowl of McCann's Irish oatmeal with Pavich raisens, sweetened with pure maple syrup. Aye, matey, you can't have a better breakfast on this planet.

--------------

Another shower! One of my favorite things to do!
(Where is that Polynesian princess when you need her?)

--------------

And some time in my hammock
is a good way to build a perfect day.
Warm sun, cool breeze.
This is where I do some of my best thinking.
Scheming my plot to rule the world.
Ooops! Didn't want to give that away!
But there is a fatal flaw in my plan for Global Domination:
I'm lazy. I prefer my hammock.

-------------

Mid-day meal. My favorite. Another pillar of the perfect day.
And, eating slowly, I watch the 1993 Pro Tour semi final
with Strickland and Ellin 9-8, on TiVo.

I can do what they can do.
It's just pokin' a ball with a stick!

--------------

I have been working on a cunning plan
which will pay huge dividends.
I need a treadmill,
so I can exercise whenever I want.
Treadmills are perfect for hermits!
Mine will be turbo-boosted with tech,
and include TV & PC & DVD so I can
watch pool instruction and matches
while I get stronger in body and mind.
Today, on my Day of Destiny, I put the plan into action,
and order the treadmill for delivery tomorrow.
(Imagine an evil laugh here,
or click here if you can't imagine it.)

-----------

That was good work.
Now a nap...
over there, where the sun is shining through the window.
I'll leave the door open to the sound of the surf.

-----------

After the nap, then yoga at sunset!

-----------

I can live a day without pool.
It's not that bad.
I went all through the day and night,
and never stroked my cue.
But I thought about it constantly...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Sweet victory!

Mike B. is one of the top players in our league.
His skill level is 8. I'm a 7.
In our APA 9ball match tonight,
he needed to get 65 points, I needed 55.
The final score was 55-26.

What made this victory so sweet is that
Mike B. beat me once before.
I was looking forward to playing him.
I wanted revenge.
I felt strong after a good straight pool win against Miltonio.
just a few hours before.

Immediately after I dropped my final ball,
he said "Lucky bastard!" and then:
"How many times did you get accidentally safe?"

I bought him a drink and we talked about it,
and he did concede that I shot good.
But he figured I had lucky breaks.

I remember one shot that was extraordinary.
A very close range draw/semi-masse "tweak-shot"
that was almost 90 degrees to the pocket.
With shape.

I was close to In The Zone
during parts of the match.

We may meet again in the Masters Triple Play tournament.
I willl look forward to that...

New Improved Fun House Guest Shooter Benefits

Miltonio stopped by today to discuss making a new cue for me, and of course we played some pool. He suggested One Pocket. I played One Pocket only once, with champion Cecil Tugwell at Hard Times. Needless to say, Cecil won. And so did Miltonio. I should listen to my gut. I really didn't want to play One Pocket because it's not my game, but in deference to a guest in my home, I consented. He's good! And I'm not. Score 8-1 Miltonio. We just played the one rack. Then I switched the game to straight pool. And we had a whole different result. 50 to 26, Fast Mikie. And I made a few sweet shots.

In line with our Fun House policy of Continuous Improvement, I started a new service for guest pool shooters. Generations will have Miltonio to thank for it. I noticed that while he was sitting there waiting for me to run the balls, he was having a lot less fun than I was. I like to see everybody happy, so I brought out an aviation newsletter (he's a Korean war Corsair fighter pilot), so he could read something interesting while he waited for me.

Now that's the kind of people we are here at the Fun House. So if you have a match scheduled for Mikie's Fun House, please let us know in advance what your interests are, and we will try to have something for you to read during those long waits for your turn at the table.

;-)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Look away... I'm Hideous!

What a curious disease I have.
I am addicted to poking a ball with a stick.

Oh, Lordy, devil Pool has got a hold on me!
I am not free.

In darkened places I fill my needs.
I feed off the misfortune of others,
giving them what they intend for me.

Look away. I'm hideous! (*)

And so it is when trapped in a Zero-sum game.

I must leave a different legacy.
I will change the paradigm of pool forever.
I will remove all negativity
from winning or losing when I play.

Pool for me will be
an ever-changing, inspired and fun performance
with a foregone conclusion (I win).


Now THAT's the spirit!

Ok, now I can go back to the table,
and live out my Destiny.

I shoot pool, therefore I am.



---------------------------------

(*) "Look away... I'm hideous!" these are the words of Kramer in the Seinfeld TV show, when Jerry busts him for his cigarette smoking and his disgusting brown teeth. Read the entire script!



Saturday, May 14, 2005

Happy Birthday, Rob!

Rob Clark
Student #5-14-05

Rob Clark is a genius (research chemist) and pool addict. I owe him a special debt of gratitude because he is the guy who accepted me on to his 9 ball team when I was a completely unknown quantity of a pool shooter. It was about a year and a half ago, when I decided to venture out into the world to see how good a shooter I was. I hadn't played serious pool for 40 years (college days).

It was that very team ("Dead Weight") which I lucked onto, which went on to win the city championships and gave me the opportunity to compete in Las Vegas. If Rob hadn't taken me on to his team, I might not have had the chance to know El Maestro, who has taught me so much about the game.

Thank you, Rob. And thank you for teaching me so much about pool. The rules, mostly. Rob knows all the rules. And team strategy. He's a good chess player, you can tell.

Anyway, Rob was on his way back from the Nine Ball Blast, where he captained his team but didn't play, so he was really itching to shoot some pool. On his way home, he stopped here at Mikie's Fun House to try his luck on the green. Rob has won a few games from me in the past, but I'm feeling that I have moved on up from those days.

He did not get the birthday present he might have hoped for. The score was 5-3, Fast Mikie. I made some nice shots. One was a wide-angle cut using inside english draw-follow
to go three cushions to perfect position. It was the first time I used such a shot successfully in competition. Another beauty was a draw-follow going two rails through close traffic, for perfect position. I'll remember those sweet shots for a long time.

Happy Birthday, Rob.

And thank you for the lesson I learned: to always mark my own score. And, when in doubt about the score, don't ask, just announce the score I think it is, and let the other guy challenge it if it's wrong.

El Maestro Tony Sorto, who witnessed the match, had this post-event advice for me: "Don't let people get to you. Just smile and let it go."

I love this game. There's always something to learn!


Friday, May 13, 2005

On any given Friday the Thirteenth

Paul Potier
Student 5-13-05

Thirteen is one of my lucky numbers. Here's an example:

This afternoon I had a 4 hour lesson with Paul Potier, the Canadian pro. He is on an 8,500 mile road trip with his enchanting new bride Akio. And then on to the World Games in Germany. In addition to competing in the major tournaments all over the world, he runs a "Pool School In Paradise" with Mike Massey, Allison Fisher and Gerda Hofstatter in his home town of Vancouver. I haven't been to Vancouver, but it's the only place in Canada I hear anything good about. It's probably nice there in the summer.

Back to pool...

Paul gets me back to the basics.
He re-engineers my break and for 3 racks in a row the 1 ball goes straight in the side. Heavy emphasis on keeping cue level, aiming lower, choking up on the cue (don't hold it so far back), slow deliberate backswing, pause at end of backswing, etc. The focus is on technique rather than force.

Then we turn attention to my draw shot, which it seems is completely inoperative all of a sudden. Paul has me doing the pause at the end of the backswing and it gives me so much time to think about what I'm doing that my accustomed rhythm is completely off, and I miscue every time.

Very frustrating. I'm envisioning a long time before this feels natural.

He reveals that a secret of his effectiveness and accuracy is that 80% of his shots use NO ENGLISH. That sounds like the best of advice. My game lately has involved english on most shots, and even relying on some impulsive english to throw balls into the pocket, to offset the faulty stance or line up, or last second inspiration on position. I am realizing that my game is very un-disciplined. And I am convinced that more structure would be a good thing. But I love it "fast and loose". What will I do? Oh, what will I do...

At the end of my lessons, Paul announces "Nine Ball. Race to Five." As if I had a chance against this guy! That's a laugh. But what else am I going to do. Gotta go for it. I streaked to a 3-1 lead, but he battled back to hill-hill. He kicked at a five-nine combo and it went in (un-freaking-believable!), but then the cue ball kept going around the table and scratched. Un-double-freaking-believable! I now had ball in hand with 5 balls to sink before vicory.

I am most pleased to report that on this day, Friday the Thirteenth, I, Fast Mikie, did win a race to 5 with Paul Potier, Canadian champion, professional tour player, road player, exhibition and trick shot entertainer, and master instructor.

Go figure. Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you.

He was not really happy about this, of course, but I was, understandably, ecstatic. I am an, um, enthusiastic winner, and sometimes this could be seen as gloating, but that's in my Philadelphia traditions, so please understand Paul, it's nothing nasty, it's just my way of having a bit of fun. I mentioned my new tradition of taking a photo of those who have lost their match with me at the Fun House. Paul's a good sport.

Later we went to dinner, and returned to the Fun House for some Scotch Doubles with Akio and Tina. Tina and Paul teamed up against Akio and me. For the second time on Friday the Thirteenth, Paul's luck was running low. We took more pictures of ourselves having fun.


Paul, Akio, Tina, Fast

Where's Bill?

Bill was the captain of my 8 ball and 9 ball teams. Several weeks ago he just went missing. None of the players, or anyone else who knew him, had any idea where he went, or why. Today the story is published. And it all becomes clear.
Click to read the story

Sweet Victory

Last night: APA league 8 Ball match.

My opponent Harry B. was on the hill,
needing only one more game to win the match.
I was scoreless, and needed 5 straight games to win.

I won.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Effortless Poetry of "El Maestro"


"El Maestro"

My Triple Play team had a "bye" tonight. So I'm working on my short-range pop-kill-throw shot when the phone rings...

Tony calls and wants to shoot some pool, wants to get in some strokes before the 9 Ball Blast this weekend. So he passes closer pool halls, and comes all the way to Del Mar, to shoot some balls on my funny-rolling table. I'm honored. Maybe I'll learn something...

What I learn is that I have so much to learn that it sometimes seems hopeless that I could ever learn it all, that I would need another lifetime to achieve the skill of The Master.

I have had the privilege of watching Tony shoot pool about once a week, at least, for the past year and a half. You would think it would be a yawn by now. But it remains one of life's most fascinating experiences to me, and to many others.

When Tony is on (and he is rarely "off"), the balls literally melt their way off the table. It appears so smoothly, so swiftly, so naturally, so beautifully. And this happens rack after rack, without even the slightest appearance of trouble. What 99% of us would consider a difficult, or even impossible shot, he finds the pocket we never thought about. His cue ball seems to have a small motor in it, and it motors its way to the perfect place for the next shot, the only place on the table which will allow him to get in shape for the 3rd shot down the line, and for every shot next in the rack. He sees it all in advance, and he plays out the rack as if in a movie of his own creation.

The technical skill with which the shots are executed is without flaw, of course. What elevates Tony's performance at the table is the creativity he displays. Sometimes he will take a perfectly simple straight in stop shot and instead make the cue ball travel three cushions to get the same position, just so that he doesn't have to walk around the other side of the table for his next shot. Most shots have plenty of options for how a shooter could do it, and Tony seems to have them all in his head simultaneously, and his computer is always balancing effectiveness, efficiency, safety, and playful artwork! And all this stuff is going on in his head, his expression never changes, and he never slows down, and all the balls just melt off the table.

Most people miss the subtle things that happen when Tony shoots pool. I'm just starting to pick up on some of it. It goes deep.

It just doesn't seem possible that someone could be that good at pool. I have seen professionals shoot pool, up close. Tony makes them look like amateurs. While we are struggling with the elements of reading and writing, Tony is creating effortless and beautiful poetry.

And yet, this a man who is trying to teach a pig to sing. You would think he has more intelligence than to try such a thing. But the pig appeared before him one day, and expressed with all his heart that he wanted to sing. Is it really possible to teach a pig to sing? El Maestro knew that he must attempt this great challenge.

I am that pig. I want to sing pool.

The writer in me will write the song into this journal.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Afternoon lessons

In the afternoon, the stroke comes on strong.
A lot of feel is developed at this time, for me.
I'm practicing a draw pop kill shot
with maximum throw on the object ball.
It feels great to just let my analytic mind go away,
not even line the shots up, but to feel the angle,
and feel the stroke, and feel how much english.
When I let go like this, I come very close to The Zone.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

No Sniveling

Our policy here at Diary of a Pool Shooter is "No Sniveling". That means "Fair and Balanced" reporting, and when the balls do not roll favorably, then it will reported as such.

Last night: APA league 9 ball team match. Our team had a "bye" for this week, until a last minute (about two hours before match time) phone call announced that a new team had formed out of the ether and now want to fill the bye with a match. After some discussion amongst our team, via phone, we decided to give it a go. My vote was that we should play a make-up match at an agreeable future date. I felt that our energy as a team who was NOT expecting to play and who then was expected to change their spirit to a warrior spirit with so little notice... well, that was a recipe for loss. It is an Unsettled Spirit. The spirit of the other team was one of the Warrior, because they had just recently put their team together, and was looking forward eagerly to playing their first match. In our team, we thought our first match was still a week away, and we were then struck with The Element of Surprise.

I did not get my way. The team voted to play. I had to support them.

I expected a challenging test from an experienced and highly skilled player, the captain of the other team. In another surprise, they put up a player of a lower skill level. I won against her 7-0 in a different format (8 and 9 ball, not handicapped) a few weeks earlier. This is a handicapped match, so I had to get 55, and she had to get only 25 points. I was at 40 when her last ball found a pocket.

It was agreed by onlookers that it seemed as if a substantial percentage of my turns at the table I was presented with either a snookered cue ball, or some other very low percentage shot and/or safety. I agree with the onlookers. Additional comments by onlookers revealed that my worthy opponent's turns at the table were presented with either ball in hand, or some easy shots, or even something horrible was turned into a very fortunate outcome. Luck favored the lady tonight.

Again, No Sniveling here, just honest reporting.
I was the guy with the stick in his hand. I'm the one who missed more than one opportunity. It was my unsettled spirit.


In this match, I was the student. What can I learn from this? Go with my gut when answering a challenge. I should be the one to choose the time and place.
Let there be no random events. Overcome the effects of the Element of Surprise. (Must ask the Master: "How"?)

Every match is a learning opportunity.
Thank you, Fiona, for your lessons.


PS: for those who enjoy good excuses, Click Here for an audio of John Belushi in the movie "Blues Brothers" explaining to his former bride-to-be why he left her at the altar!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Joey Pool



Student 5-7-05c (center)

Last night, Joey stopped by the Fun House with a six-pack of Guinness long neck bottles, which disappeared along with a few cans of Murphys and Guinness from my own stash. Joey is a rather active invidual so it wasn't long before he suggested a game of pool, which I seldom refuse anyone.

Joey lines up fast, if at all, shoots fast, and shoots hard. Position of the cue ball after the shot is of no consequence to him. If he gets ball-in-hand, he simply shoots from where the cue ball stopped, or from in front of the pocket where it dropped. That saves a lot of time thinking, and gets right to the shooting. Sometimes he makes some absolutely incredble shots. But most of the time he will miss, even very easy shots. His attention is constantly wandering from the game. He talks non-stop on several subjects at once, loses track of where he put his stick, knocks it over, forgets to chalk, has to ask if he has stripes or solids... It's really a fascinating experience when playing Joey in pool. But then, Joey is a true perpetual motion machine. You never know what's going to happen next when Joey is around. I guess that's one reason we have been friends these past 20+ years.

In the photo above, that's Joey in the center of things, naturally, with me on the left and Peter Green on the right. This was the party celebrating the 25th anniversary of my 25th birthday. That same day, our soccer team won the season championship, hence the trophy. There was much Guinness consumed that evening. In fact, Joey is holding a pint in his right hand (over my head), and the trophy is filled with Guinness.



Morning Balls

The first balls of the day are important.
Before my morning coffee jolts me out of my half-asleep state, I take short, easy shots and focus on the quality of the hit, giving it the least possible energy and still have the object ball drop.

It's beautiful to watch the slow motions...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Miltonio, the cue maker


Students #5-7-05a and #5-7-05b

This past Saturday afternoon found me making the pilgrimage to Miltonio, the cue maker, to discuss having a cue made for me. He's the handsome fellow on the left. On the right is Ashi, a Miltonio customer, fan, and builder of the Miltonio web site. On my way to Miltonio's home/shop, I picked up my instructor, Tony Sorto, to get his read on Miltonio.

Four pool shooters in one room, and a nice 9' table next to Miltonio's shop. Of course there were a few games, strictly for bragging rights. Those fellows chose to be a team and play Sorto and me in 9 ball Scotch Doubles. As it is said by the monk in the Indiana Jones movie: "He chose poorly". It could also be said that any team with Sorto on it will be close to invincible. Of course, we won. Did they really have a chance? It was a purely social game, and it would be good to play again.

Miltonio makes some seriously fine cues. He is an artist first, so he makes what he wants to make, the way he wants to make it. I was thinking that what I wanted was to have some input into the design and execution. Can the Miltonio way merge with the way of Fast Mikie? Stay tuned...Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

Cue Search

My current playing cue is a Predator with Z-shaft and Limbsaver. Was intended to be a temporary piece to bridge the transition between my 47 year old Willie Hoppe cue and my "Ultimate Cue". That's the one I'm looking for now, a cue of my own design, most likely. I feel ok about the way the Predator cue hits, but I haven't experienced a lot of different cues to really know that much about them.

I have been thinking of getting the newest SE5 Special Edition Predator, built by Samsara, in a limited edition of 100 pieces. I like the Zen theme. I would like to bring that to my game.

Maybe Miltonio could build one for me. I like his spirit. And he was a Corsair pilot in Korea. How awesome is that! We should be able to share some flying stories.

I'm thinking I would want to migrate to a wider diameter shaft. Now using 11.75 mm. Would like to cut a 314 shaft down to 12.25 and finish it with a Moori soft.

There are many new technologies, electronic, harmonic, and mechanical, which can be applied to pool cues, and I look forward to experimenting with various innovations.



My current break cue is the Predator BK, with 314 shaft, and Limbsaver. Some weight was removed from this cue. It uses a Moori hard tip. I get an ok break in 9 ball. I'm learning 8 ball breaks.

Given these two sticks as a baseline, what suggestions would you have to evolve to the Ultimate cues?


The Case for Straight Pool

Straight pool (14.1 "continuous") is the purest form of the game. Nine Ball and Eight Ball are greed-based mutations of the game, designed to earn the most money for room operators and TV producers.

However, straight pool allows players to continue shooting balls without missing, for long runs and challenges that exceed what most players today have experienced.

Straight pool is a gentle game, without the violence of smashing breaks inherent in 8 and 9 ball. And it is usually accompanied by more civilized music, or none at all, rather than the abusive racket usually found in poolrooms and bars.

Straight pool is a game of intellect, patience, focus.

Where are all the straight pool players?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ten Games Down looks like this


Student #5-5-05

This is what it looks like to be Ten Games Down in 9 Ball. Notice the white beads (ten of them). Notice, also, that there are 11 beads at the 10th bead marker, but that is just an anomaly. Notice the brave face despite having to sit still for a photo which he himself suggested, when the score showed him only 3 down. What could he have been thinking!? That's just the sort of challenge that gets me all fired up with a spirit-crushing persona which makes me invincible.

This man was trounced. And yet he calls back today and wants another go! What a dreamer! I need to savor the joy of the win for some time before I win again. If we were to play again so soon, another thumping might break his spirit forever. I wouldn't want to be responsible for that. Let's wait a while for your wounds to heal.

I was going to wait until I got PhotoShop fired up so that I could put one of those perp bars across the eyes, to protect victims. That gives me an idea: I'll have to start a collection of photos of those who have had a lesson in humility with my instruction. This is where the evil laugh should start, but instead we have this goofy little logo that won't go away.
>>> Posted by Hello

It's good thing that nobody knows about this blog, which I just started a few days ago. If I were this man above, I sure wouldn't want any of my friends to see this or I'd hear about it forever! Hey, it's all just good clean fun anyway, right? I mean, he'd do the same thing if he won, I'm totally sure.

Ten Ahead 9 Ball

Tonight's match wanted to play 9 ball, and keep score by how many games ahead rather than total games won for each player. When I got 3 ahead on him, he bravely suggested that I should take a photo of the scoring beads, because that was as far ahead as I would ever get on him. I immediately agreed on the condition that he stand in the photo with an appropriate expression.

I now have a full set of photos, from 3 ahead all the way through TEN ahead, and he's looking appropriately sad in all of them. I told him I'd sell him the photos anytime. I'll publish them here, but I have to use Photo Shop to put a black bar over his face. We gotta protect the identities of victims...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Masters Triple Play Tournament

Played the Masters Triple Play match tonight. Won 7-4. Solidly in first place for the next couple of weeks at least. Time to bask in the glory of victory. I love being me!

It is also a time for humility, but basking in glory is more fun.
For current details showing the entire Player Performance List, click here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Welcome

This blog is all about shooting pool, hosted by "Fast Mikie" McCafferty, a shooter who lives in SoCal when he's not on a road trip in the Jag. Fast Mikie likes pool. Mostly, he likes shooting pool, real quiet-like, late at night when all the other sounds are gone from the day, not even any music playing, just pure silence, except for the click of the balls, and the clack as they drop. It is music to Fast Mikie's ears. He lives for the ecstacy of the moment when the table top becomes his entire universe, and it behaves as he wishes. His intention is made real by a sense of touch which, at times, can appear beyond what a mere mortal should be able to do... it is almost surreal.

He also likes to write about pool, as if you can't guess from the previous paragraph, and about his personal relationship with pool. There may be others like Fast Mikie. Maybe they will find this Diary. Maybe they like to write too...

Go to top of this blog

© Copyright 2004-2011, All rights reserved.