Gold Crown IV

Gold Crown IV
FastMikie's Fun House, Del Mar, California

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Game Called Three Thirty Eight (3-38)

Judd visited the Fun House today,
to check out the spectacular new front door!
(see post & photo below)

He showed me this game he calls Three Thirty Eight.
It's a great combination of pool and billiards.
The rules are simple enough:

Start with 3 object balls on the table.
One on the head spot, one on the foot spot,
and the other on the center spot.
Taking ball in hand on the first shot (lag for first shot),
from behind the head string, attempt to score as follows:

One point for each ball pocketed.
Three points for cue ball hitting two object balls.
Six points for cue ball hitting all three object balls.

If a ball is sunk, it is spotted immediately
to the spot closest to the pocket where it went in.
If that spot is occupied,
the ball stays down until the spot is open.

Continue to shoot, and accumulate points,
until you miss or scratch.
Scratch, and you lose all points accumulated in that inning,
the next player gets ball in hand behind the head string,
and can only shoot forward of the head string.
There is no such thing as a table scratch
(you do not have to hit a ball and a rail on each shot).

Play until you reach 38 points, which you must hit exactly.
If you go over 38 points, you get busted back to 20 points.

And, as a final twist, your final shot must be a scratch
(with 38 points accumulated).

With so few balls on the table, and extra points for billiards,
it is a real test of long distance multi-rail shot making.

And a lot of fun!

New Front Door at Mikie's Fun House

(That's my old Waco biplane, "The Spirit of Adventure", flying over the beach in Del Mar)

You know how condo associations are real restrictive
on what you can/cannot do when you remodel,
especially if it effects the common areas?
Well, one of the big things that you can not do,
is to change your front door in any way.
Everyone's front door must look exactly the same.

Now that kinda irks an oversized ego such as mine.
I figure a guy's front door should be special,
after all, it is the entrance to his castle!

After much thought, and years of planning,
my cunning scheme has borne fruit.

My original front door remains intact,
just as the condo association would want.
However, I have constructed an additional front door,
inside the original front door.

When I am expecting guests
I will leave the original front door open.
The space between the two doors, an area of about 5'x8',
creates a nice vestibule to welcome those
people who are privileged to be invited to the Fun House.

The image is a custom original design by Tamara
at Cast Glass Images of San Marcos, CA
and perfectly crafted by Michael,
the owner and artisan extraordinaire.

The door itself is made of solid cherry,
and a one-of-a-kind creation by the awesome craftsmen
at MZ3D Custom Furniture Design & Production Inc.,
with special thanks to the owner Roberto Mendez,
whose extraordinary skill is at the highest level.

It's a "Dutch" door, whereby the bottom and top halves
are operable independently,
so the bottom can stay closed while the top remains open.
Notice also the transom which gives extra flow through ventilation,
while retaining privacy.

All things considered, it is spectacular!
It is, quite possibly, the finest front door of any pool room.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pool Room with a View

(recent sunset from the pool room at Mikie's Fun House)

Looking west, from the lower right corner pocket,
past the head spot, and out over the Pacific ocean.

It's a bit distracting at times,
but I guess it's ok to take a break and enjoy life,
every once in a while...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

New Cue Case Has Magical Powers!

I just got my new custom cue case made by Jim Murnak
and not only is it awesome looking and extremely well made,
(see photos in post below)
it is also MAGICAL! At least the one he made for me is magical.

I got the case yesterday, and really excited to check it out.
Last night I transferred the cues and stuff from my old case.
This morning I woke up and figured I'd take another try at
a drill that has bugged me for a long time.
I call it The Sorto String,
named after the deviant (my instructor Tony Sorto)
who challenged me with it.
I've been close, but never did it,
and I've tried probably north of 100 times.

So the next morning,
I take my same old cue out of my brand new Jim Murnak case,
warm up with a couple of wimpy tries at the Sorto String,
and then turn on my camcorder and record the next 10 tries.
I guess I felt something good might happen.

Sure enough, on the 5th try, I finally beat the devil!
It must have been the case. Had to be. Only makes sense.

(I wish I had that case last weekend,
for the US Amateur Championships,California preliminaries.)

Since that morning-after magic,
I have completed the Sorto String to the 9-ball three times.
Yesterday, El Maestro saw the videos for proof,
(click here for the video on
and, as my reward, he added 6 more balls to the drill.
As I said, he's truly deviant!

Just to show him I was serious,
I got to the 11. His best effort was the 12.

Watch out, Tony! I'm right behind you!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Jim Murnak Custom Cue Case!

I am sooooo stylin' with my new Jim Murnak case!
If I had this baby with me last weekend,
I would have won the tournament, for sure!

Jim Murnak custom cue case, built for Fast Mikie

Notice the Fast Mikie. Duh, how could you miss it?

Jim Murnak custom cue case, built for Fast Mikie

Notice the SIX POCKETS!!!

Jim Murnak custom cue case, built for Fast Mikie

Notice that Jim Murnak signs his work.
And what a beautiful piece of work it is!
The finest leather, for sure, and built by an artist!

Thanks Jim!

Let Jim build one for you.
Check his website at

Now all I need is a stick or two from Miltonio,
and I'll have no excuses left.

The Sorto String, Revisited

(the setup)

This is one darn challenging drill.
You try it and let me know how you do with it.
And if you can do it, let me know your secret.

Line the balls from the center of the foot rail
right through the foot spot, and a bit beyond.
I usually have the 9 ball located at about the foot spot.
The space between the balls increases slightly with the 7 - 9.
Start with ball in hand,
and run them all into the corner pocket.
You must hit the foot rail on each shot,
but no other rails, or another ball.

This morning I got them all up to and including the 7,
but lost out on position on the 8.
Can anyone, except El Maestro, get them all?

Follow-up entry:
I finally did achieve this exercise.
Click here to play the video.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Girl Pool

When I was hanging out in Denver
I had the great pleasure to meet and shoot pool
with Sammantha Diep, the owner of
which sells some interesting and useful pool products.
(Check it out!)
And check out her pool blog!

Samm is an excellent player, and the first thing I noticed
is that her pre-shot routine is flawless.
She approaches every shot with the same high intensity
and total focus. Every move is choreographed.
It was very intimidating for me,
because my style is more toward the "fast and loose"
end of the spectrum.
Ok, maybe slow and loose would be more truthful...

We played at a pool hall in Boulder.
The tables were pure garbage.
The cloth was stained and ripped and loose.
What a mess!
But they can't all be as classy as Mikie's Fun House,
and you have to take your pool as it comes...

Samm had some tough rolls,
and I had some good ones.
If it weren't for that,
I would have been in serious trouble,
and had to report that I lost to a pretty girl.
That's the problem with shooting pool with girls:
You might lose!


But Samm is no ordinary pretty pool shooter.
She's also a sharp businesswoman, and an author.
Check out her new book:
"You Might Be A D Player If..."
which will keep you laughing (sometimes at yourself!).
Click on the link, and buy a bunch for gifts,
and save money on the pre-publication price!

And tell Samm that "Fast Mikie" sent you.

Pocket Billiards in Russia

Scott R. is a good friend of mine,
the guy who owns the cabin in the Rockies (see below),
and he also owns a software company in Russia.
After his latest trip there, he sent me this note
about his pool playing experience:

Played "Russian Pool" in Moscow this last trip
and almost won our in house tournament.
The table is two feet longer and two feet wider than my table.
The balls are the size of tennis balls....bigger, and all white.
The holes are smaller and not flared:
there is only half an inch clearance
on each side of the ball to fit in the pocket.
And the biggest difference is there is no cue ball.
You can hit any ball with any other ball!
Wow....that really blew my strategic gaming thinking
into a different paradigm!
I ended up in third place
and all were impressed with my ability at the new game.

It sounds like Yankee Imperialist pool
is better than Commie pool...

I'll post a photo of Russian pool
as soon as he gets back from his next trip.

Here's a link I found with the Russian Rules: