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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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...
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!
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.