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, December 31, 2007

For Sale

Only one of each item.
Subject to prior sale.
Proceeds go to this charity.

Item #1 Sold

Chameleon Rack - 10 bucks + shipping
used, good condition

Item #2
Sold
Tim White DVD series, 10 DVDs, 10 bucks + shipping
used, good condition

Item #3
Sold
Breakrak, 10 bucks + shipping
used, good condition

Item #4
Sold
Can you imagine shooting pool in a place
where you want to keep a low profile?
Yeah, me too.
I've been in a few of those places.

It may be a good idea to leave your favorite cue at home.

For occasions such as this,
you can not find a better instrument than this:


The Warrior Spirit #1, far left.

Predator P2,basic black, with black leather wrap,
no points, no markings.
Predator 314 shaft (29"), Moori medium tip.
Overall weight 18.7 oz.
Good condition.

Price $US 395.oo
Includes Certificate of Provenance by FastMikie.
Free shipping in USA.
PayPal accepted.
Proceeds go to this charity.

This is the first cue I bought at the end of the
Forty Years of The Dark Ages of No Pool.
I wanted to take advantage of the new low deflection technology.
I was using this cue when our team won
the City Championships, 9-ball, in 2004.
I also used this cue to go
undefeated in the US Amateur championships in 2004.

This cue has the spirit of a warrior.

Why would I sell such a cue?
It is The Way of The Cue
to be not attached to the things of this world.
As Miyamoto Musashi said,
in his 21 Precepts,
" Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons
beyond what is useful."

The spirit of this cue
needs to be set free in competition
in the hands of a worthy warrior.

Are you that warrior?


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Saturday, December 29, 2007

WPA: New Rules & Regulations

Here are the new rules for the world of pool
as compiled by the
World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA)
for the next 5 years,
starting January 1, 2008:

WPA Rules

Included are general rules,
rules for 9-ball, 8-ball and straight pool.

And here's more, but they are called "regulations".

WPA Regulations



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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Straight Pool Video: Ortmann vs. Mizerak


Ortmann vs. Mizerak


at

Amsterdam Billiard Club, NYC, 1993

Ortmann puts on a show,
demonstrating straight pool as it should be played.

Enjoy!



Painting on Green Canvas

Painting on Green Canvas
by
Bob Watson

With such a poetic title,
maybe I was expecting too much,
but this book left me wanting more...

First off, it is fiction,
and I like stuff that is real.
I want facts.
I want to learn.

But there are lots of people who shoot pool
who are completely different than me,
so if you're one of them,
you will probably really enjoy this story
of a college freshman who finds a pool mentor
in his first week at school.
He also finds a girl, gets in a tournament,
and... well, you can probably see it coming
even if I don't tell you the ending.

It's a fast, rather enjoyable read,
with some good pool bits.
I found myself underlining some of the
things he learns from his mentor.

Good gift item for the pool shooter who reads.

Click here to buy it at Amazon.com
Amazon.com readers give it 5 stars.


Click here for the rest of the books, DVDs, etc
in my billiard library.



Sunday, December 23, 2007

Billiards Ad Infinitum



More experimenting with the camera...
I found a new angle on the table,
looking through only one pane of the balcony window.
The table seems to be an integral part of
the continuum to infinity.

Photo taken at sunset today,
the last full moon of 2007.

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Seeing Ghosts




I was experimenting with my pocket camera
(Canon 950, 12.1 megapixel)
set it on self-timer, 10 seconds,
set up an easy 9 in the corner
and stroked slowly through the shot.

After a few tries,
which digital photography encourages for free,
I got the shot above,
clearly showing the trails of the overhead lights
following the cue ball on the tangent line,
and very faintly, the 9 ball into the pocket.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Truth and Beauty: found at last!

Those visitors who have paid any attention
to the sub-headline on this home page
may have wondered about my
search for "Truth and Beauty" in this game.
(Many, if not most, pool players seek money
or domination, or even social success)

Here's an example of what I had in mind:
(click the play button to start the video)



Got it?


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Monday, December 17, 2007

8 ball stout, the pool shooter's brew

When Dan showed up yesterday to shoot pool,
he came bearing a seasonal gift:
A six-pack of 8 Ball Stout,
made by the Lost Coast Brewery
in Humboldt Nation, CA

I guess he was hoping to get me off my game
by tempting me with the booze,
but I held off until today,
and the report is good.

Here's what one guy had to say about it
at RateBeer.com

"Excellent.
Uber roasted aroma, body tastes heavily of toffee and chocolate.
Very sweet beer with a nice mouth presence."


-----------

Thank you, Dan. Good stuff.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Good news, bad news

First, let's get the very bad news out of the way:
Dan drove down from Orange County,
and proceeded to destroy me in straight pool,
by a score of 100 to a number that is
so humiliating that I will not repeat it here.

It seemed I could just not get going.
He would run a rack and play me safe,
and repeat, ad nauseum.

He played well. I didn't.

So we took a break for food,
then played on,
and that's where the good news started.
(couldn't have gotten any worse!)

In nine ball, I won 7-5,
and then eight ball, I won 3-0,
and then he had to drive back home.
Needless to say, I was playing a LOT better
after getting some food.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas at Mikie's Fun House



Nothing says Christmas like stringing lights outside
to try to convince the world I'm not the Scrooge
they think I am.

It probably doesn't work,
but I like the lights anyway,
and I may just keep them up all year.

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The IPT tries a comeback

The International Pool Tour (IPT) is back?
Who woulda thunk it?

Check out the revamped website
and the free videos of tournament 8-ball.
Free! Last year you had to pay a membership fee.

And even more free:
A live, online challenge match between
Johnny Archer and Earl Strickland
on December 19, 5pm Pacific time.
Grady Matthews and Mike Sigel
will do the commentary.
If this actually happens,
it will be a must-see.

How can they do it?
I guess one way is to not pay the prize money
earned by the tour players...
Oh, wait, they already tried that!
I guess we'll just have to wait and see
what Kevin Trudeau has up his sleeve this time.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Book: Kid Delicious

Running the Table: The Legend of Kid
Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler


The book is very well written,
but suffers from some errors of fact,
and less than perfect editing.
Just one example:

"...the hall had...a few seven-foot co-op seven-by-seven
barboxes, the seven-foot tables."

Say what? Shouldn't a pool player edit a book on pool?
(By the way, all those sevens are on page seven!)

Even with the excellent writing,
I just can not see what all the buzz is about.
If you want to learn how to improve your pool skills,
there is nothing in the book to help you.
It's just a bunch of mini-stories about how KD beat so-and-so
for how much money in some dive joint,
in some one-horse town,
doing drugs, crashing in cheap motels...
However, it might make a good Christmas present
for that overweight, drug addicted, depressed
pool hustler on your gift list.

Instead of buying the book,
Check out the interview at this link
with Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim,
the author of the book mentioned above.

The piece looks at today's game -- why women draw more
interest than men, if the popularity of billiards is
decreasing and some funny stories from the road.
He says his book is currently being reworked as a screenplay and
should be in theaters sometime in the near future.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Never seen while shooting pool

Here is something you will never see
while standing around a pool table,
except at FastMikie's Fun House.



Panoramic 180 degree view of the ocean front,
beach and surf, at low tide, full moon, sunset.
Video recorded in front of FastMikie's Fun House, Del Mar, CA


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Friday, December 07, 2007

Run out of tape


Another clip from Wednesday night straight pool match:

(Video link)

Opponent plays safe, but leaves the 8 barely exposed
for a shot into the side pocket,
which is an extremely small opening at this angle,
but I love these shots.
They require a confident follow through,
and good pre-shot, including breathing
slowly out before stroking.
It's a great looking shot.



After the 8, I could have taken the 12 for the easy shot,
but that would have put me down-table from the rack
and no way to break the pack, so the 5 is the better shot.
But I hit it way to hard to get shape on the 12 for the break,
and got lucky by bumping the 12 instead.

If I hit the 12 directly into the right side pocket,
it would have given me a low quality break,
so I opted for the cross-side bank which
gives the cue ball a better angle into the pack.

The 1 ball break into the bottom of the pack
turned out lucky with the 6 ball exposed for my only shot.
I was unhappy with the shot because I wanted
to glance off the rack not get welded to it.

The rack has a nice almost-dead cluster
giving the 10 ball into the bottom left corner,
so I work around getting a clear shot on it.

The tape ends as I'm down on the 9 ball,
but I remember sinking it,
and the next two for a run of 14.

Some things I'm learning from these videos:
1. I should get a higher camera angle.
2. Use a more solid bridge, heel of hand to table.
3. High Definition video is the way to go. Soon.

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Short side shape going 3 rails w/ rev. eng.

Wednesday night's straight pool match:
there was this little run of only 12 balls,
but I spent most of it trying to
dislodge a 13-14 cluster
and nothing seemed to work
until I gave up trying to break it up,
and finally decided to
use sacrifice my ideal break ball, the 6, and
go 3 rails to get short side shape.

(Video link)

Opponent pockets the 4 but goes around the rack
without breaking a ball out,
then plays safe on the rack.

My only shot is the 10 to get out of jail.
Then use the 8 to break the rack some more.
And get more breakage with the 9, drawing into the 13,
but that's the start of my trouble...
I use the 15 in a botched attempt
to break the cluster, and only make it worse.

In the next shot, on the 3 ball,
I try to get short side shape on the 13-14 cluster,
but fall too high on the 13 and I get so frustrated
I poke the 5 ball with a one-handed air shot
instead of using the bridge.
Totally stupid, but it went in, only to leave me with
a low percentage combination 11 into the 7 in the side.
Then the 11 in the side to drop down on the 2
so I can break the cluster but I
gave it too much right hand english.

In my last attempt to get the cluster,
I abandon the idea of breaking them up and
decide to use my break ball, the 6,
to go three rails using inside (right) english,
and it works like a charm. Finally!!

What an absolutely pretty shot,
even if I do have to say so myself.
And fun, too!!

Now, sinking the trouble balls is easy,
but unfortunately, I get a little too straight on the 1 ball
so I have to really smack it in order to get shape
on the final ball, the 12, for the break shot,
and to continue my run.

As with all great runs, it ends badly.



What a pretty shot!
And I owe it all to El Maestro, Tony Sorto,
for showing me what the rails are for,
and for teaching me how to stroke
with high inside english.

It used to seem impossible,
but now it's as natural as breathing,
(almost).

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Getting back into stroke

One of my sparring partners (Malve)
emailed me to see if I was ready to
get back into the game.

I felt that I should give my injured shoulder
some more time to heal before I
gave it the kind of workout that a
serious match of several hours would bring.
I really needed some pool.
You know the feeling.

So, yesterday, for some 5 hours,
we shot some straight pool matches, to 100,
and I remained undefeated.

At first, my play was awful,
with 4-ball runs as the best I could do.
But then my stroke-memory kicked it,
and I actually ran a rack!
Woohoo!

FastMikie is back!

That's the good news,
but the bad news is that I was wiped out.
My back was killing me after four hours.
I need to work on stamina.

The entire session was videotaped,
so a couple of interesting shots
may soon appear here.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Zen Pool



"Zen Pool"

by

Max Eberle


is an excellent book
offering new insights into the mental game.

I gave it 4 stars out of 5
and I don't give out stars very easily.

Click here to buy it at Amazon.com

See what else is in my pool library
with this link


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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Where have all the pool bloggers gone?

Some of my favorites have gone quiet,
but their blogs are still on the web,
like some sort of digital archaeological artifacts.
Did they say all they have to say?
Are they ok?
Do they still shoot pool?


Robert Johnson,
8 ball in the corner pocket,
May 2006 to December 2006
Robert is a frequent commenter on my blog,
but we miss his thorough, analytical approach.


Anonymous,
BilliardsBlogger,
October 2006 to March 2007
The readers of this blog were so astute as to
vote my blog the best on the web!
We need more smart people in pool...


CueLad,
Adventures of a Northern Snooker Hero
,
July 2006 to August 2006
I really enjoyed CueLad's irreverent approach.
Aye, we miss you, CueLaddie. Have a pint!


And, here's a whole slew of them at
AZ Billiards listing of pro blogs.
Notice the most current blog date for the list.

Where have all the bloggers gone?
And why?

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Website Improvements

You may notice some new and interesting behavior
on this website starting today.

As before,
links to other webpages are colored light blue.
Starting today, you can hover your cursor
over the link and a box will appear
that shows you what you will see if you click it.

For instance, if I were to show you a link
for an interesting 9-ball safety battle
"Long Dong vs. The Three Foul Rule"
you could simply hover over the link,
and the video clip will appear,
right here, so you never leave this webpage.

Or, for example, if I said that our website policy
of continuous improvement is known
in Japanese as "kaizen",
you could simply hover over "kaizen"
and the Wikipedia article appears, right here!

Or, if I were to mention that there is
a movie actor named Michael McCafferty,
you could hover over that link above,
and it would show you his profile
in the International Movie Data Base.

I haven't activated all the links on this website
with this new feature,
especially if they are links to other pages on this site.
But you can have fun discovering which ones work.
If you click in the box, you will leave this website
and go directly to the new site,
and then just click the "Back" button to come home.

Let me know how it works for you.
Enjoy!

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