Gold Crown IV

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

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Road Player: The Danny Diliberto Story

Did you ever want to be a road player?
I did, a long time ago.

Check out this new pool book:
Road Player: The Danny Diliberto Story
by Jerry Forsyth.

Good reading.
Couldn't put it down.
But when I did,
I was glad I never became a road player!

Available now from
Bebob Publishing
(click on "more books")
Only 19.95, and you can't get it
any cheaper at!


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Saturday, December 23, 2006

More on: Knickerless Pool

I didn't mean to bring this subject up,
it was just something that happened.
I mean, it was a new personal best high run for me,
and I even got it on video,
but the bad news is that I wasn't wearing pants.

Now I want to be perfectly clear that I did
not intentionally start out to make a video of
me shooting pool, without pants.
Absolutely not.

I was simply video-taping my practice session.
Of course I started out wearing pants,
but it was late at night,
in the privacy of my home,
the fireplace was putting out a lot of heat,
and I kinda forgot about the camcorder running,
and the next thing you know my knickers are off,
and I'm running balls like it's a walk in the park!

It hardly seems appropriate for the Holiday Season,
and I'm sure you would prefer to have other images
in your mind, rather than the one of me shooting pool
without pants.

Heck, even I don't want to be thinking about me
on video, shooting pool, junk in the wind.
It's the video thing that I would object to.
I just wouldn't want a video of it on the internet.
Call me old-fashioned.

However, there are people of the YouTube generation
who might enthusiastically share their
world record high run attempts, without pants...

Well, one thing lead to another, and
a meeting was held here at the offices of
Diary of a Pool Shooter
and there was compiled a short list of people
we would like to see do a video attempt
at a world record high run, without pants:

1. Jennifer Barretta
2. Jennifer Chen
3. Jennifer Barretta AND Jennifer Chen

I'm not sure how this got into the Official Rules,
but it seems that there is extra credit for wearing pigtails.

From my limited personal exposure
(excuse the unintentional pun)
with the subject
I judge it to be easier to set a record high run
shooting pool whilst knickerless
because a person would be more relaxed and comfortable,
and endurance would be increased.

This could be the next big thing in pool.
You heard it here first.

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43 Balls, No Pants

Late last night, well past midnight,
I had just finished a session of creative writing
for a new project in my plan for Global Domination.
I needed a break,
so I started to hit some balls...

I rigged myself up with my new iPod Shuffle Gen 2,
loaded with some easy blues by Corinne Bailey Rae.

My focus was on my stroke,
the quality of the hit,
and how light and easy and balanced the cue felt.
Soon enough I was hitting them pretty good,
so I turned on the video camera...

Toward the end of the hour-long tape,
I wasn't counting,
but it seemed as if I had a decent run
so I stopped to review what I had.

To my surprise, a new personal best:
a run of 43, setting up for the break shot
at the end of each rack.

My previous high run was 35,
but that was many years ago, in college.
The best part is that, this time,
I have proof on video tape.
(When I was in college, video tape didn't exist.)

I'd give you a link to view the tape,
but I wasn't wearing pants at the time,
and this is a G-rated website...

Next time, I'll see how good I can do with pants.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Alive!

Many times in our practice sessions,
when the occasion called for it,
El Maestro would encourage me to use my left hand,
instead of a bridge,
but every time I would pass on that,
explaining that my left hand was
completely useless, unfeeling, inert, uncoordinated.

And besides...
(my father, a wise man in such matters,
says that a person's real reason
always comes after "...and besides...")
I would be mighty embarrassed
to miss a feeble
lefthanded poke.

The Irish have this saying:
"Tis better the devil you know,
than the devil you don't know."

I prefer to use a bridge,
than to expand my skills?
Doesn't make sense does it?
For 3 years I never even tried.

But a few months ago,
in the privacy of my solo practice,
I actually tried a left handed shot,
and it went in.
Of course it was a very straight, short shot.
And it felt really strange.
But it went in.

Over some weeks,
I found a new freedom from the bridge
and learned to focus and trust my left hand.

About a month ago,
in a match with El Maestro,
and in a public pool hall,
for all the world to see,
I took a left handed shot,
made it,
and got position.

Now, don't get me wrong,
there is still much work that I can do
to get a natural, fluid stroke with the left.

But I am On The Path...

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I have discovered a stroke!

Lately, I have been getting the feeling that
I have finally developed a stroke.

This is a major breakthrough for me,
because for the last 3 years I have felt that
I did not have anything close to what could be called a stroke.

What I have been searching for is a stroke that is
smooth, flowing, reliable, confident, accurate, and
above all, looks and feels good.

I have this theory that if a thing looks and feels good,
that it is probably natural and effective.

Recently I have discovered what it means to have a stroke.
I am getting a new feeling as I follow through.
Confidence, definitely.
But the feel is something else.
A lightness in the cue,
as if it floats and slides easily in my right hand.
Almost weightless.

I am thinking that I am experiencing what
is said about "letting the cue do the work".
And that other famous quote about a stroke being
"a beautiful throwing motion".

The best stroke I have ever seen was
during my Road Trip, in Aurora, Colorado,
at a place called the Rack 'em Cue Club.
The shooter was a black dude called "Georgia Boy".
He was a road player and a hustler,
and called New York City his home.
Had been playing the game for over 50 years,
and his stroke was such a thing of beauty
that it is almost impossible to describe.

The thing that struck me the most was
how the cue almost danced in his hands
with what is known as a slip-stroke,
whereby the forward (hit) motion of the cue
was actually completely un-gripped.
His stroking hand was not touching the cue
in any way.
Rather it had been thrown forward at the
beginning of the stroke,
and was caught at the end of the stroke.
His wrist was extremely light and flexible,
almost whippy (although not as much as Bustamante).

It was totally mesmerizing.
He wouldn't let me videotape his stroke,
but I have it clearly imprinted on my mind.

It could be that meditating on his stroke
has caused mine to become more like his,
or, rather more like a true stroke
which is personalized to me.

It is the job of the stroke to deliver
a variable amount of energy
along a variable longitudinal plane
along a variable vertical deviation from the horizontal
and have the cue tip delivered
to a variable place on the cue ball,
and to continue to follow-thru after the hit
either on the same or different
variable energy, plane, etc.

The stroke, or the forward motion of the cue,
guided by the hand/wrist/forearm/arm,
is what delivers all the above variables.

The evolution of my stroke made a major step forward
when I started to deliver a full stroke
whenever possible.
A full stroke is a confident stroke
and it delivers consistent, known results.

I have learned that it is better to deliver a full stroke
and adjust with english/throw/draw/follow than it is to
vary the speed of the stroke, especially at the low end
where table anomalies are more influential.

Although I have heard these things for almost 3 years
from El Maestro himself,
and from reading,
but some things can only be learned by doing,
over and over and over.
Time and attention are the keys to learning.

I'm sure there were many times when El Maestro
must have thought I was a complete dunce, but I knew that
"I will persist until I succeed".
One of my favorite sayings is:
"The ox is slow, but the earth is patient."

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Practice, Perseverance, Passion.

For more on this topic,
see this post at my biz-blog called
The Art and Science of Success in Business.

Success in pool follows the same rules
as success in anything.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shootin' with Sidewinder John

It was a perfectly awesome Saturday afternoon
the weather was clear and warm,
and I just got the car washed.
After a week of hermit-like cave dwelling,
I had a hankerin' to get out among the populace,
so I called El Maestro and offered to drive north
to Oceanside and shoot some pool on substandard tables.

It was a great drive.
Top down, of course, stereo blasting,
soaking up the fresh air and sunshine.
(I really should get out more often!)

It's important to get on other tables occasionally
so that I can test my ability to adjust to
changing conditions and other players.

Tony and I got into some 8-ball right off,
until "Sidewinder John" showed up to say hello.
Tony told me that Sidewinder has been an "A" player
for a long time, and that he has been shooting a lot
of carom billiards lately and figured we should
match up for a race to 7 in 9-ball.

That's when I saw how he got his nickname.
He's got a sidearm stroke way more pronounced
than pro shooter Keith McCready.
But it must work for him because he shoots good.
And, with his carom experience, he sure knows
his way around the rails.

We traded games until we got to 2-2,
then he squirted ahead to 4-2,
but I came back to get the score 6-6,
and that's when Tony stepped in to stop the action.
What a bummer!
I was looking forward to a come-back win,
but it wasn't going to happen.

He said it was because he just wanted to see
if I could get to the hill with John,
(which he said he figured I could)
and that's all that really mattered.

I'm looking forward to a re-match!

Later, El Maestro and I shot some more 8-ball,
and I was doing a lot better this time,
in the lead this time at around 5-4
or something similar, when he stops the set again
for me to play some guy Jeremy for a couple of games.

I'm sure there's a lesson in all this for me somewhere.
Tony says I need to always be matching up against
different players on the road to pool excellence.

I guess that's more important,
in my stage of development, than who wins.
And he's the boss, so how can I argue?
I need to take my ego out of it, right?
The Zen approach would be to
let go of attachment to the outcome.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Straight pool mystery

El Maestro himself appeared at Mikie's Fun House yesterday
and we got right into some 8-ball.
He won all 3 races-to-7 by a wide margin.

With half an hour remaining before he had to leave,
I suggested we play some straight pool.

He broke, and I ran 15.
He ran 14.
Then I ran 25.
And then it was time for him to leave.

On his way out, he was still wondering why
I can be so good at straight pool
and have such trouble with 8-ball.

Truly a mystery...

Could it be simply because I enjoy straight pool
more than I like playing 8-ball?
That's probably one good reason.

One thing I like about straight pool is the freedom.
I can shoot any ball,
rather than being limited to stripes or solids.

Also, position is easier because I don't need
to pick my way around balls that are not in play.

And, I like that it is a longer game than 8-ball.
I like the idea of the potential for long runs
rather than being limited to 8 maximum.

Another thing about straight pool:
there is none of that macho breaking action.
I like the gentle nature of straight pool
where clusters are broken up with quiet precision
rather than a Big Bang.
And, because of the break in 8-ball,
Luck plays a big role in the outcome of a short game.
Skill, and endurance, takes a bigger role in straight pool.

I'll bet Efren likes straight pool better than 8...

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Monday, November 06, 2006

New Photo

Yes, there has been some monkeying around
with the photo at the top of this blog...

The current photo features the sunset from last night.
Additionally, this photo was taken in natural light
whereas the previous photos used flash.

I like this new one a lot better.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Yes, Pool Nirvana

The definition of Nirvana:

in Hindu theory, a state of supreme contentment,
with no desires for worldly things,
reached by meditation and right action.

In consideration of the matter of whether
I have achieved pool Nirvana,
I submit the following:

1. Pool on demand. I work at home, just a few feet away from the pool table. If I need a break from sitting at the computer, I can unwind by hitting a few balls, anytime. If I'm on the phone and somebody puts me on hold, I just put the call on the speakerphone and hit some balls until they decide to answer.

2. Quality pool. There aren't ANY better places to shoot some pool than at Mikie's Fun House. Oceanfront. Great music. Excellent food. First class table. Clean restrooms! No drunks. No distractions (no kids, no dogs, no wife).

3. My kind of pool. I really enjoy solo pool. For me, solo pool is a meditation. I get completely lost in the visuals, feelings, and sounds. I don't have a need for competition because, with me, pool is all about the beauty of it, not crushing an opponent. I enjoy pool with others as if I were giving a performance. That's one of the reasons I don't gamble with pool. I'm not trying to get over on somebody, but rather intending to share my art, my experience, and to learn from them as well.

4. Skill. I have shown to be able to sink challenging shots in stressful situations, and to do it enough to win against strong competition. And I keep getting better. I know I have not reached Perfection, but if that were to happen I would probably vaporize, so that would not be a good thing. The key is that Nirvana can happen, I believe, in a place that is not absolute Perfection, but in a place on the path to Perfection, where the Ultimate can be perceived, and appreciated, and in moments of brilliance and privilege, can actually be experienced. In this regard, I do claim to have had such moments, and with relaxation and quiet circumstances, I can go there pretty much at will.

5. Knowledge. I have learned from El Maestro himself. There may be one secret he is keeping to himself, but for the most part he has revealed the secrets of the game, the stroke, the spin, the cushions, the strategy, the mind, and more.

6. Creativity. The best part of all. All of the preceding conditions are fertile breeding ground for some shots which are pure fantasy, and then they actually work! I prefer to try some off-the-wall shot out of curiosity to see if it can happen, rather than to take a shot I know I can make. This is where the "performance art" part of the game comes in. This is the spontaneous, unexpected, completely delightful motion of the balls, creating a moment to remember.

So, El Maestro, you have your answer.
According to the definition of Nirvana, I'm there!

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pool Nirvana?

My esteemed instructor, El Maestro Tony Sorto,
asked me recently, via email,
if I had attained pool Nirvana yet.

What a great question!
Surely one which requires great depth of thought.
So I rolled it around in my mind for several days,
and then for several more days,
and off and on I would hit some balls
while thinking deeply on this question...

Just now, I answered his email,
saying Yes, I had indeed achieved pool Nirvana.
But I did not go on to explain in detail,
which is something I would like to do in this space.

But not right this minute.
This post is simply to get the topic on the table,
and to pose the same question to you, dear reader:

Have you reached YOUR pool Nirvana?

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Friday, October 20, 2006


It seems my Epic Road Trip caught the attention
of a new friend in Switzerland
who recommended a most excellent little book

Zen in the Martial Arts

If you read this book,
you may get some very good insights
which could lead to better pool
and a better Life.

Click the link to check it out at
and scan some of the pages.
Every time you see "karate" or "aikido"
just think "pool".
You will be amazed at the similarities.

It's all in the mind.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Time Away

Time away from the table.
No competition.
No practice.
Just play.
Just for the fun of it.

I like the feel of the hit.
How each hit can be different.
Force and spin and follow through
all combine for unlimited possibilities.

I like to invent shots in the very
last seconds before I take them,
after I'm down over the shot,
with an approximate stance,
with approximate alignment,
and do all the adjustment
with last split-second spin or speed to
get to a certain precision place for the next shot.

When they go, you are in the Zone.
When they don't go, it's time to slow down.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

I like to watch...

So, I became a member of the IPT.
If you like to watch,
and you click the box below to join
then that would be a good thing.
The commission I get goes directly, 100%
to spinal cord injury research.

And that's probably a lot better than what
the IPT would do with it if you signed up
directly on their website.

Click the box!
And enjoy all the benefits of membership.
(click the box)

Join the IPT Membership Club

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

8-ball prescription

El Maestro honored me with a visit.
We shot some 8-ball for a couple of hours.

He says he can't figure it out.
He says when I shoot straight pool,
I play well, making the right choices.
But when I shoot 8-ball,
I have a challenge with strategy.

And my 9-ball game is strong.
So what's going on with my 8-ball game?

El Maestro gives me something to try.
I'll let you know if it works.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Waste of Intelligence

I ran across this quote today:

"Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence
as you can find outside an advertising agency."

(Raymond Chandler)

I then made the leap to shooting pool...

But I think there is more artistry and poetry in pool
and certainly more fun,
so I guess I don't mind
wasting some extra intelligence on pool.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Patience, grasshopper...

I have recently become more aware
of the essential nature of Patience.

If I wait, wait, wait...
until I get that special feeling,
in my body, when I'm taking warm up strokes
and seeing in my mind where I want the balls to go,
and sensing the weight and balance of the cue in my hands,
and sensing the speed with which
I need to deliver the cue
to the cue ball,
and with what spin,
and with what draw/follow,
and with what follow-through,
so that the cue ball goes there
(and maybe after going several rails to get there)...
that perfect place on the table so that
the next shot is easy.

When I get that special feeling,
I almost always make the shot,
and get shape on the next shot.

The problem is that I get greedy,
I want that feeling sooner than it wants to be there...

That special feeling comes to a quiet mind.
A confident mind.
A relaxed mind.

Patience, grasshopper.

This feeling in the body may be
the elusive "rhythm" which El Maestro revealed to me,
but which I have seldom attained.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Look what I won!

Look what I won!

The US Amateur Championships
(California Preliminaries)
was held this weekend
and I won a really neat patch,
with an official APA US Amateur Championship logo,
commemorating my "Break and Run in 9-ball".

What it doesn't tell you is that
my opponent was on the hill at the time!
Talk about clutch play!
Way to go Mikie!!

And, it also doesn't tell you that while
my opponent was on the hill
when I popped a break and run on his
out-of-town pool playing self,

I was headed for a complete wipeout!
Nothing could be more humiliating!

At around 4-0 I started to think
I couldn't shoot pool at all,
that everything up to now has been a hallucination.

What was I thinking? Check this:
We lag for the call (break or game).
He wins by a half-roll,
and chooses to have the break,
and then I call 8-ball...
What was I thinking?
8-ball is my weaker game, by far.
And this fact has been pounded into me
several times over the last few weeks.

I always choose 9-ball first,
but for some reason decided to choose 8 this time.
He won all 5 games of 8-ball,
and then had me one down in the 9-ball segment!
Six to zero!
One more game to complete annihilation!

Where does a man have to go inside
to recover from such a situation?
Is it even possible to recover?
All things are possible.

He missed a shot, and opened the door for me.
That's when I discovered my stroke,
and starting sinking balls and getting shape.
Six - One.
And then I popped the break and run. Six - Two.
And I won the next. Six - Three.

And then he won that last game, and the set,
with an excellent offensive safety.

Analysis: My mojo was late at the gate.
Gotta work on that.

The next set we play 9-ball first.
I won handily at 7-2.
Case closed.
And I made some really nice shots.
That was fun.

That was the end of Saturday's play.
Gotta be back Sunday morning for match at 10am.
How civilized... I was outta there by 7:30pm,
and now I can go home and eat a decent meal,
and relax for the next day.

I check my email.
Lowell Williams,
one of my best friends,
is dead.

This is the man who taught me to fly.
A true American Hero,
a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot in WW II...
He and I had many flying adventures together.
Worth a book...
Now he's gone.
(more about Lowell Williams, click here)

Sunday morning always comes earlier than you want,
so when I get there at 9:30am
it's precious few strokes for me.

This morning we're playing 9-ball first,
and after 8 games of 9-ball
Fast Mikie (that's me) is ahead 5-3,
and we head into the 8-ball format,
and all I need is two games, he needs 4 in a row.
He got 4 in a row,
and now I get to go home and
think about why I am such an idiot at 8-ball.

I'm making shots ok.
It's strategy that's killing me.
Gotta work on that.

I have an entire year to prepare for
the next US Amateur Championships.
I'll be a lot better by then!

Congratulations to the lucky ones:

Men's US Amateur qualifiers:

John Troy (San Diego)
James DeCicco (San Diego)
Chuck Jacques (Orange County)
David Deninno (Orange County)
Brian Parks (Bakersfield)

Ladies US Amateur qualifiers:

Shar Young (San Diego)
Luz De Lira (San Diego)

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Friday, September 08, 2006

I can't wait until tomorrow...

Because I get better at this game every day!

I'm taking a break from practice right now,
but about half an hour ago, when I was shooting,
it kept occurring to me that my skill level
is so much better than it was a year ago.
I am hitting the ball with much more authority.
I have so much more confidence.
My position play is so much more accurate.
Strategy is at a much higher level.

Imagine how much better I'll be next year,
and the year after, and the year after that!

All of this is just a preface to the real story
I have been trying for a week to put into words...

El Maestro came by Mikie's Fun House last Friday,
his day off from work, and the first chance to
check out my game since I returned from my Road Trip,
to see if there was any improvement in my game.

We shot a couple of sets of 9-ball, races to 7.
He won the first, I took the second.
We took a break for some coffee,
and it was then that he said that he was done with me,
that I had learned all he could teach me,
and now it was up to me to execute.

We both knew it was coming for some time,
and we had several times talked about it coming,
but now that the end of an era has come to pass,
it will have a major positive effect on my game.

I feel a lot like I did when I was learning to fly,
and after many lessons on the ground and in the air,
on one fine day of take-offs and landings,
my flight instructor had me pull over
to the side of the taxiway, then he jumped out and said:
"Ok, you're ready to solo!"

It's a very liberating feeling,
and at the same time a little bit scary,
to be up there all alone for the first time.
(The consequences for screwing up are a lot greater
in the air than they are when you miss the 9-ball!)
Although a pilot's first solo is a major milestone event,
it certainly doesn't mean you have all the answers,
because that will never happen, not in this life.
It simply means that you know enough to solo,
and you can now spend the rest of your aviation life
continuing the endless pursuit of the aviator.

In the immortal words of Lao Tsu:
"The greater the island of knowledge,
the greater the shoreline of wondering."

And so it is with pool.
El Maestro has set me free,
given me my solo wings,
but more than anything has given me the
insight into how to think about pool
from the perspective of a great player.
He has taught me how to learn,
how to continue my search for perfect control,
and the confidence that I am on the Path.

It has been a most memorable two and a half years,
during which El Maestro has come every Saturday
to teach me secrets he has never told any other person.

I don't know how I got so lucky to be his student.
What could he have seen in me that would make him
change from his long standing refusal
to take on any student?
I guess it doesn't matter, the reasons why.
It happened. He taught. I learned. It is over.
Life goes on.

It was a great privilege, Tony.
Thank you.


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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

OnCue 9-4-06

As an eternal optimist, I can feel good that
I won two matches last night
(compared to winning only one last week),
but the realist in me must admit that it was not pretty.

I lost my first match to some guy who made it thru
to the quarter finals.
He played well, and I didn't.

In the second match, I was down two games (race to 3)
after missing a very easy 9-ball in game one,
and, in the other game I missed a
very easy 8-ball for very easy shape on the 9.
It was disgustingly, embarrassingly humiliating,
and at that moment I actually had the thought of
giving up the game of pool for good,
but instead I just dug down deep and resolved to play on.

Thankfully, I won the next 3 games in a row,
and the match.

And then I won the next match 3-1.
But lost focus in the last match and
joined the ranks of the spectators.

There are some seriously good players at this tournament.
I'm looking forward to the day when I win it all!


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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

OnCue 8-28-2006

Still fried from the marathon drive home yesterday,
I wanted to get some good competiton so I hit On Cue in La Mesa
and it seemed there were a lot of familiar faces there.
I only won one match.
Here's how it ended up:

Ray Lorenzo
Dave Sparks (won my first match)
Dave Nakano
Chris Rose
Sam Manolo
Jesse Garcia
Steve Long (won my 3rd match)

I'm going to have to bear down!

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New Interactive Pool Table

Check out the upgrade for the Wei Table
with many more bells and whistles:

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Home, Sweet Home

Back in Del Mar after 54 days and 5,000+ miles
"on the road" shooting pool.
Fast Mikie's Epic Road Trip has come to an end.

I think I know how Clark (of Lewis & Clark expedition) felt
when he wrote in his diary after 4000+ miles of journey:
"Ocean in view. Oh, the joy!"

It is "indescribably delicious" to be in my own space again.
My own bed, my shower, my towels, my hammock, my ocean,
my food, my pool table, my family and friends.

Incredibly, it now feels like I never left,
but I know from past experiences like this,
that the benefits realized are a delayed reaction.

I'm looking forward to seeing what I have learned!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You Want a Piece of Me?

Think you can win?

1. Click Here to Check My Calendar

2. Choose day/time.

3. Then e-mail me!

I need some serious competition.
I'm spending too much time in my hammock!

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

New Predator 314

The new Predator 314 #2 series shafts are shipping now.
Just ordered mine from Seybert's.
Supposed to be even less deflection, better feel.
Experiment: 30" shaft (one inch longer)

(blog top)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Chess and Billiards

(click to BIGGIFY)

Chess and billiards are two of my favorite games.

New furniture delivered to the Fun House this week
significantly upgrades these facilities.
The table is the "Del Mar" model by Darafeev,
and has an inlaid chess board in the surface.
The chairs swivel, of course, and are ideal for
my opponents in billiards, who must endure long
periods of waiting for their turn, while
I run rack after rack after rack...
(it's a fantasy I have).

The new chairs, with arms and backs,
replace the armless, backless stools which
were quite uncivilized for the spectators.

Furniture purchased from Billiards and Barstools
in San Marcos, who also supplied the
Brunswick Gold Crown IV pool table
which I had recovered and releveled when they
deliviered the furniture.
They are a first class company to deal with.
Good people.

(blog top)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Sweet New Simonis 860, and victory

Yesterday afternoon the Gold Crown IV table
was recoverd in new Simonis 860 cloth,
and releveled to be P E R F E C T.
How sweet it is!
I just love playing on new cloth.
Today I had a chance to really get into it
with a challenge match with the guy who
knocked me out of a tournament two years ago.

We played the Masters format,
both 8 and 9 ball, in a race to 7.
I won the first set 7-3, and was doing great
after winning the first 5 games in the second set.
I guess I lost focus because he came roaring back
to win the next 6 games in a row to get on the hill.

But I "stayed in the game" and ran the next two
racks of 8 ball to eke out the win for two sets to zip.
Dave is a serious competitor.
That second set could have gone either way.

I think the reason I won is because
I was focused on El Maestro's advice:

Because wining and losing is so important to you
try not to look at these matches
as a win/lose situation
as this adds unnecessary pressure on you.
Use them to test yourself to see if you can
approach every shot
with the same importance and intensity,
finding a comfortable rhythm and
maintaining a constant positive feedback
throughout the whole match.
Once you master this,
you will have conquered your demons.

He is truly a wise man.
I am fortunate to be his student.

Gracias, El Maestro!

(blog top)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Progress is not linear.
It comes in fits and starts.
Two steps forward, one step back...

Over the past couple of weeks,
my challenge matches have been mostly victorious.
Occasionally, I have a "learning experience".

It is said that we
learn more from our setbacks
than we do from our successes.

I try to learn from all experiences,
every shot,
every game,
every match,
every opponent,
every day.

(blog top)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Major table improvements

Last week it all came together...
I have been planning
major improvements for some time.

For starters, I have wanted to
reduce the clanging noises
created by the metal hangars
for the bridges and rack.
What a racket they make!

So I removed the bridge hangars entirely.
And store the bridges on the wall.
What a relief!

The rack hangar
was a more interesting challenge.
First of all, I needed a way to store
both the wood rack, and the Sardo rack,
and to keep noise to a minimum.
This was accomplished with a custom
Fast Mikie design which works very well.
See photo below.

(click to BIGGIFY)

The inside of the wood rack area
is lined with rubber,
which deadens all sound.
The brackets for the Sardo rack
are also lined with rubber.
The entire unit is attached using existing holes
that were for the old metal rack hanger.
This way the table remains completely unmodified
and can be fully restored to original.

Now, for the piece d'resistance!
My ever-growing library of pool books & DVDs
was stored under the pool table, on the floor,
but it was constantly getting disorganized,
and was a bear to vacuum around the mess.
So my solution was to design another
Fast Mikie exclusive.

(click to BIGGIFY)

These shelves are completely detatched
from the pool table itself,
and hang suspended from the major
cross-beams on the Gold Crown IV.
There are no screws or nails anywhere.
Nothing has been done to defile the table.
Notice that pool racks are used as shelf supports!
One shelf on each side gives perfect balance.

The shelf shown holds my instructional books.
The shelf on the other side holds
fiction, biographies, DVDs, other trophies, etc.

All the woodwork was done by friend Walter Lilly.
Let me know if you want to contact him...

The trophies shown include:
Right side:
APA 8 and 9-ball team Division 1st.
Left side:
2004 California US Amateur championships (undefeated)
2005 APA Masters Division Triple Play MVP (undefeated)

(blog top)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Victory has a sweet and lingering aftertaste

Victory has a sweet and lingering aftertaste.

Sleep is peaceful
after a battle well fought and won.
And the morning after brings
increased strength and confidence.

I could get addicted to this...

(blog top)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Longest Game

Today was a challenge match
in preparation for the US Amateurs.
The format is both 8-ball and 9-ball.
Winner of the lag calls the game,
or gets to break first.
I lost the lag, he chose the break.
I chose 8-ball.

That first game of 8-ball was a killer.
We played more consecutive safeties
than I can remember ever playing.
El Maestro was watching,
and he said it was 27 safeties,
and he could be right.
It felt like a hundred.

My head was completely gone,
because on one safety,
I hit the 8-ball first,
Of course, that's about the stupidest
thing I could do,
because it gives up ball-in-hand.

I don't even remember who won that game.
I was just happy it finally ended.

I did go on to win the match 7-3.
But I need a lot more practice!

(blog top)

Monday, May 01, 2006

New Balls

Brunswick Centennial vs. Aramith Super Pro

With nothing better to do on a Sunday,
I wandered into my local billiard supply store
(Billiards and Barstools)
and bought myself a new set of balls.

I had been using the Aramith Super Pro balls,
and the "measles" cue ball
for the last couple of years.
Needless to say, they have been
getting pretty banged up and grungy
and were way overdue for a serious cleaning.
But even a day without my balls
would leave me feeling like something
was missing...

And, I've been wondering if
there is any difference
between the Aramith and Brunswick product.

So, before I started playing with
my new Brunswick balls,
I completely vacuumed the table,
and cleaned it with Quick-Clean.

Then I got down to weighing each ball
and found that eight balls weigh 169 grams each
seven balls weigh 168 grams each
and one ball was 167 grams.
Not exactly the kind of quality control
I would have expected!

Next, I got down to some shooting.
The Brunswick balls seemed heavier,
more sluggish than the Aramiths,
but that could just be an illusion.
"Feelings" are not very scientific.
Maybe I was just looking for a difference.
Was it the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?
Who knows!
And isn't that what the Principle is all about?

What I do know is that
the Centennials have richer colors,
especially the 7-ball...
but, again, that's a personal opinion
and nothing scientific.

Something I did notice that was interesting:
The numbers on the Brunswicks stripes are in the white
but the numbers on the Aramith stripes are in the color.

On to the micrometer test...
The Brunswicks seem a smidge fatter.
A "smidge" is not exactly measurable
using my micrometer,
but it's significant,
especially considering that I'm
measuring dirty Aramiths.
I'll have to redo this test
after I get the Aramiths cleaned.

More later...

(blog top)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Allison Fisher bows to El Maestro!

In the pro-am challenge matches
the night before the Viejas WPBA tournament,
Tony Sorto went up against Allison Fisher,
the undisputed #1 woman professional
pool player in the world...
and beat her like a red-headed stepchild.
(skunked her 2-zip)

Actually, Allison was more of a spectator
than a competitor.
But, truth be told,
Allison seemed to be mesmerized
(one might even say smitten)
by El Maestro's talents on the table.

(blog top)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Renewed Dedication

Circumstances have conspired
to keep me away from the pool table
for more than a week.

Today I played for seven hours...

Over the past two years of part-time focus
I have achieved a winning record
against strong competition.

And I know I can go so much deeper!

I have superior knowledge, creativity, strategy.
I continue to learn and practice and improve.
And, I have a Goal.

I have FIVE MONTHS to prepare for the test.
What will I do to achieve my goal?
What price will I pay,
with no Guarantee of Reward?
What number of hours will I work?
What other challenges will I endure?
How bad do I want it?

I can not know what will happen.
But I know what I have done in the past.
I know what I can do.
I have very good judgment.

In the past I have achieved other great Goals.
Some of them requiring exceptional focus,
and creativity, sense of touch, skill, practice,
high intelligence, judgment...

So, the signs are favorable.
Victory is possible.

I will enjoy that moment!

(blog top)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

2006 US Amateur Championships

Skill - Determination - Endurance - Prestige

Today I completed my application to compete
in the 2006 US Amateur Championships.

In 2004, I won at the state level (CA),
(click here to read that story)
and competed in the nationals,
but fell short.
In 2005, another setback.

These learning experiences
have made me a better competitor.

There is no money involved,
only a trophy which is butt-ugly,
and a jacket, which they do not show,
and a free ticket to compete in a 2007 Pro event.
Guess which one I'm going for!

(blog top)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In search of perfection...

In the never ending pursuit of perfection,
last night I went back to basics:
Here's how the logic works:
Pool is 90% mental
(and the other half is all in your head)

And your mind lives on oxygen
(it requires 90% more oxygen than other organs)
the critical path of pool perfection
must optimize oxygen delivery to the brain.
And so you have it,
the reason why I tried
the portable, personal oxygen delivery system.
This product was brought to my attention
by a good friend and business partner
who lives in Australia.
I heard about it a couple of months ago
but it has taken a while to get hold of a sample.
I figured I'd try it in the presence of others
so they would rush me of the hospital
if my brain exploded
(I hate when that happens).

Heck, I was concerned that
maybe the oxygen bottle might explode!

Nothing exploded.
I opened it,
pushed a button,
and breathed through my mouth.
No "rush" was sensed,
and in fact it seemed like an irrelevant event,
so much so that
I was not curious to do more.
One, maybe two quick breaths.

I had been shooting pool before and after
those insignificant breaths.
I won the first race to 5 in 8-ball.
But it was not my opponent's best game.

Next we played straight pool, which he prefers.
I won the first match to 100 points
by more than 50 balls,
which is good, for me.

It was sometime during that game to 100
that I inhaled Oxia for the first time.
I didn't notice anything different,
but my opponent,
who by that time was
looking for any excuse,
did remark that perhaps that oxygen
was having a beneficial effect to my game.
I think his exact remark was
"You're shooting good, maybe it's the oxygen."

I continued shooting good thru the end.
And then we shot another game to 100.
This time I lost by 4 balls,
and there is no question in my mind why.
In the beginning of the second game
I started to yawn, a lot.
I was feeling tired
and started to slouch.
I was not feeling as alert.

Would another shot of oxygen
at that first yawn
have changed the outcome?
Did I get tired because of
a sort of chocolate high, then crash,
sort of effect?

Obviously more experimentation is needed.
However, be warned...
If it does what I think it can do,
it will be worth every penny.

As I mentioned,
Oxia is the product of my Australia friends
so if you want to experiment on your own
tell them "Fast Mikie sent me",
and maybe,
if there's enough interest
we can get them to stock some
here in San Diego.
(Mine was shipped in from Las Vegas).


Remember, tell 'em Fast Mikie sent you!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Where Custom Cues Come From

I happened to be checking out some wood
for a custom-built seating area
next to the pool table,
and I was tipped to go look at
Exotic Hardwoods in Carlsbad.
(click on image above)

They've got some serious wood!

There was cocobolo all over the place,
and when I mentioned that I have
a cue made out of that stuff,
they told me that they supply ALL
of the custom cue makers,
and then rattled off a list of names
that was a Who's Who of the best.

Who'da thunk it?
Right in my own back yard!

Of course, I was way out of my league...
I know nothing about these exotic woods,
but I know what I like!
They sure have some beautiful stuff.

So, now you know.
Looking for some awesome material
for your next cue?
Check this place out,
and while you are in town,
stop by Mikie's Fun House
and shoot some pool...

(blog top)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Getting The Breaks

Today's practice session with El Maestro
produced some extraordinary results.
We played several races to 7 in 9-ball.
He always spots me the break shot
because my break shot is so weak
and inconsistent that I need the practice.

But today, all the planets aligned,
and I must have been doing something right.

I sunk the 9 on the break a LOT.
Tony figures it was 7 times!
That sure is an easy way to win...

Also, I was getting balls on the break,
many times multiple balls,
and giving myself a good chance for
a break and run.

Late in the practice session
I asked him if he could figure out
why I was getting so "lucky" on the break.
He said it might have something to do
with the conditions of the table.
The door was open and the air
was cooler than normal, 50-52 degrees,
and humidity between 40-60%.
And, the table had been re-leveled
just the day before.

What I noticed is that I was
much more focused on hitting the cue ball
in exactly the right place,
really burning my eyes into a very
specific spot on the cue ball
just before the break shot.

Today's lesson proved beyond a doubt
just how important a strong break shot is.
I won 3 out of 5 races to 7.

I still have work to do
with cue ball control on the break.
My tendency is to hit the ball too high
and it spins forward instead of
stopping in the center of the table.

(blog top)

Friday, March 03, 2006

What does Losing feel like?

Note to "Malve":

I started feeling quite strange last night
and again this morning...
it's something very different,
and I've been giving it a lot of thought,
and have come to the conclusion that
it must be what Losing feels like.


Congrats on your wins.
I promise it will not be so easy next time...


(blog top)

Monday, February 20, 2006



Racking made easy.
A first class product
with a high end price.


Quick-Clean Table Cloth Cleaner

David Hodges' Pool Table Cleaner


I use it.
It does a good job.

(blog top)

The Perfector - review

I have been using The Perfector
for a couple of months
and find it to be effective,
but improvements are possible.

Click here for my original blog on this item
Click here for product website

Suggestions for Improvement:
I would like the sleeve to be half as long.
The plastic is ok,
but I'd like to see leather, or silk,
or even cotton...
some natural material.

(blog top)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Suggestions for the IPT

The online reporting of the
tournament in progress
for the LosAngeles IPT Tour Qualifier
has been very well done.

Here's a few improvements
to look forward to:
Audible announcement of Updates
as well as easy to see, changeable banner,
so pool hall players can easily see
on the wide computer screen
from across the room that
the latest news is in.

This is only a substitute until we have
online video for all the matches.
It's coming,
faster than we might think!

(blog top)

When did we start spelling it like "Q-ball"?

This Professional on-the-scene reporting
of the IPT tournament at Hard Times in LA
spells it "Q-ball" for the white ball.
When did
that start?
Who says?
Hasn't it been "cue ball" for 400 years?

The author is an Editor at Inside Pool Magazine
If you do a search on "Q-ball" there
only 2 results come up,
both for a website by that name,
but when searching for "cue ball"
there are 25 results.
So that tells me it should be
"cue ball" and not "Q-ball".

I don't get it...

(blog top)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

IPT Tour Qualifier at Hard Times

Sensory Overload!
75 hotshots paid $2,000 each
for a chance at only 2 IPT Tour cards.

I was there!
Got up at 5:30 AM
to drive thru rush hour traffic in LA
and be there early for the 9:30 AM
players' meeting
conducted by Kevin Trudeau himself
(IPT Tour founder).

I tried to imagine what it would be like
to compete at this gathering of eagles.
All I could see is me as a bag of meat
for these carnivores.
Good God! Even Wu was there!
(16 year old Tokyo world champion)
And Oliver Ortman (Mosconi Cup captain)
and CJ Riley, and Dominguez (father & son)
and Moro, and Sambajon
and Mike Sigel...
and of course, some unknown
hopeful but hopeless bags of meat.

Refereed by "Sensei" Roy Yamane
and Ken J.

Some new prizes were announced:
bank the 8 ball and win $1,000
break and run 6 games wins $5,000...
the meat-eaters were foaming at the mouth.

I grabbed a seat in the bleachers
to sweat the first round action:
Dave Hemmah, house pro at Hard Times
is matched against CJ Riley
on the table right in front of me.
And on a table just beyond,
Sambajon is up against some guy Runco.

CJ Riley misses ball in hand...
Sambajon banks the 8 for a grand.
CJ Riley table scratches on straight in...
Sambajon banks another 8 for another grand...
Oscar Dominguez folds in first match.
CJ Riley implodes, and loses.
Sambajon wins easily.

The slow cloth is pilling like a cheap sweater.

I'm on the road back to Del Mar
to beat the rush hour traffic,
contemplating what skill is required
to face such awesome competition...

I need a lot more work!

(for online real-time results, click here)

(blog top)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And now for a bit of humility...

On the great rollercoaster of Life,
it is good to remember
that downs invariably follow ups.

In a tournament last night,
humility came quickly
in a 0-2 barbecue.

There's a much higher caliber of player
in this tournament
than at the one I won last week.
I guess I'll just have to keep improving!


(blog top)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Big Win

I had a big win this past Wednesday night.
It was a 9-ball tournament.
Although the prize money was only 100 bucks,
(which goes to charity of course)
what happened during the match
was extraordinary.
(for me)

The whole story can be read
at this link.

(blog top)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Turning Fear into Fun

Here's a shot I have missed so many times
I cringe whenever I get something like it.

The cue ball is frozen to the side rail.
The 8-ball is just off the foot rail.
In order to get the cue ball to come back
for a shot on the 9,
it needs left english.
Since only top spin is available (frozen to rail)
and hitting down with top left
will cause the cue ball to curve
it's a real judgement shot as to how much curve.

Last night, after one more painful miss
in the presence of El Maestro,
he forced me to look deeply into this shot.
I must have tried it 50 times
before I started to "see" the shot,
and sense the curve.

An alternate way to shoot this is with top right
and come off 2, 3 or 4 rails
for shape on the nine,
but that would violate the rule to
"minimize cue ball movement".

I have committed to practice this shot
until all fear is gone,
and until, when I see this shot in a match,
I smile with anticipation of the win!

(blog top)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Reviewing the Misses

Over the past year I have kept a "Game Log"
which includes some of my more memorable misses.
El Maestro showed me how to make these shots,
and I kept notes on the details.
So far, so good...

What I didn't do is to go back and practice them!
And so, in the fullness of time,
El Maestro finally requested a demonstration.
One by one, we went through the list.
And we worked on each shot until I had it down.

Nine hours later, my right shoulder was numb.
But I was done with the list.

Tony sensed my weakness
and challenged me to a race to 9 in 9-ball,
and a game of straight to 100.
I could barely laugh,
and dropped to the floor in exhaustion.

I guess I need more treadmill time!

You can get your Game Log at
Samm's Side Pocket.
But be sure to Practice what you log!

(blog top)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Combo or Carom?

At last night's nine-ball tournament,
the good news is that I won a couple of matches,
one of which was against an A+ player.
The bad news is that I lost two matches,
and in double-elimination format,
that's all you get...

The ugliest part of the night was my last shot.
I missed an easy 7-9 combination for the win
because I chose to shoot it as a carom.
It was a stupid thing to do (in retrospect)
because the carom was impossibly thin.
Why did I choose to play it as a carom?
Because the combination reminded me
of a much more difficult 2-9 combo that
I missed in another recent match with DC
that cost me the game/match.
There was fear in my heart,
and what can be expected of a fearful shot?

When I missed the shot,
I left an even easier combo,
so easy a child could make it.
In fact, a child did make it.
My opponent was very young,
(a level "C" player).

Isn't there a curfew for kids today?
Do his parents know he shooting pool
and terrorizing adults
so late at night?

My ignominious defeat,
due to my own stupidity, and
at the hands of a child,
was made even more humiliating
because El Maestro was watching in total disbelief.

Needless to say, I endured much ribbing for it.
So why do I bring more shame on myself
by going public with my stupidity?
To burn this moment, and this shot,
into my memory so it never happens again.

To me, or to you!

(blog top)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Tip Shape Tip

Yesterday at the Nine Ball Blast,
Tony introduced me to Jim DeCicco ("DC")
and suggested that we would make a good match.
He was right!

We played for about 6 hours today,
starting off with a race to 9 in 9-ball.
I came from behind to make it hill-hill
and then lost with a miss on a 2-9 combo
that was no cinch by any means,
but I just didn't see any alternative.

Next we played straight pool to 50,
and it was close all the way,
but I squeaked out a victory by 2 balls.

With such close matches,
it was obvious that Tony had our speed figured.
We could have called it quits at 1 match each,
but I think we both wanted to see if
we could earn a convincing win,
so we launched another 9-ball match,
this time a race to 7.

I guess I got lucky.
The match ended at 7-2.

Jim's a real good shooter,
and has an encyclopedic knowledge of
the San Diego pool scene
and kept me entertained with stories.
I'm sure we'll have a re-match soon.
Time well spent.
Thanks, Jim!

During the first two matches,
I had several nasty miscues, which I seldom do.
It occurred to me that I had my shaft
worked on yesterday,
and David Whitsell trimmed the tip down a bit,
and then I noticed that he also rounded it to dime shape,
but I prefer to play with a nickel shaped tip.
So toward the end of the straight pool match,
I ground the tip down to nickel shape,
and that was the end of the miscues!

(blog top)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

9 Ball Blast

Instead of my normal Saturday lesson with El Maestro,
today I became a spectator
(or a "sweator" in pool lingo)
and watched Tony do his magic
at the APA 9-Ball Blast.
This is the playoffs to determine
which teams get into the City Championships.
As always, the host location was
The Hungry Stick.

Tony's first opponent was David Couch
(who eliminated me in last year's Swanee tournament)
and David started out hot,
but Tony cooled him off fast with
some tight safeties
and then ran 50 points to Dave's one point.
It was an amazing sight.
Dave and I talked after the match,
and agreed that we would play again someday soon
so I could get another chance with him.

In the second match of the day,
Tony was up against a guy who was banging
them in with reckless abandon.
It seemed like there was no way to safe him!
At the finish, they both needed only 2 points each.
It was a real squeaker, but El Maestro won!
Of course.

That was the Good part.
Now for The Bad and the Ugly.
The pool tables were pure garbage.
The cloth needed to be replaced 10 years ago!
It was revolting.
Whoever owns that pool room
is sure milking the place.
I haven't seen a dime spent on maintenance,
and it has been that way for 28 years!
Why does the APA continue to play there?

Between Tony's matches,
I got my new modified Predator 314 shaft
(look it up!)
by David Whitsell
who was on site for repairs and cue sales.
Check out his Quality Billiards website.

(blog top)


Dan S. again made the long drive
to Mikie's Fun House
for some Friday night pool
but this time I had a special surprise for him:
El Maestro himself!

Instead of the three of us playing 9 ball,
which would have been Dan and I alternating
while Tony kept possession of the table,
we were treated to some of the games
Tony played while growing up in Honduras.

First on the list was "chibollita"
(pill pool for the rest of us)
where you draw a numbered pill from the bottle
and try to sink that ball to win.
The kink in this game is that
you must hit the closest ball to the cue ball first.
Try it, you'll like it!

After a dozen games of chibollita,
we played the Honduran version of pool.
According to Tony,
it's really the only thing they play.
It's 15 ball rotation,
but instead of starting with the balls racked,
the one ball goes on the foot spot
the two ball on the foot rail inline with the one,
and the 3 thru 15 on the rails
frozen at the diamonds, like this:

This is a seriously challenging game!
Safety not allowed. No ball in hand.
Play fouls where they lie.
Scratches get ball in hand behind headstring,
and must shoot forward.
If you hit a ball out of rotation,
you get "bad points" equal to the ball you hit.
Same penalty for missing the lowest ball.

I should take a line or two to thank Dan.
He always brings some tasty treat
that goes perfectly with a coffee break
midway thru the session.
In addition, this time he brought a book
for me to read.
It's a non-fiction thriller 628 pages long.
It didn't take me long to see thru that gambit.
If I'm spending my time reading,
I can't be practicing my pool game!
Dan's cunning plan will never work.
All I read is pool books.

(blog top)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Aye, 'twas a good day at The Fun House!

El Maestro showed up around 1 in the afternoon
(after putting in 8 hours at work)
to get me in stroke for my match with Ken K.

You don't get any warmup shots with Tony.
He racks them right away and says
"Nine Ball. Race to 7."

Somehow, I got off to a great start.
I was up 4-0, and then
he started chewing away at my lead.
But I still won 7-6.
Yeah, I don't believe it either,
but it's true.

We start right into another match
and we played to an identical result.

How may people do you know
who beat El Maestro 7-6
two matches in a row?

I think he was getting my confidence up,
in preparation for my match with Ken K.

Ken shows up at 4:30
and we start into a game of straight pool.
He said he didn't want to keep score,
but I wouldn't let him get away with that!
Tony was the official scorekeeper and referee,
and that freed my mind to focus on the game,
which I won, 75-63.
The score doesn't tell the whole story.
Ken had one run of at least 18 balls
and made some excellent break shots
so he's a dangerous player.
I had to play him real tight.

In summary, it was a very good day.
Undefeated against 2 excellent players.

Yay, Mikie!

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Favorite Strokes

I have been developing two favorite strokes.

The strong shot has maximum confidence.
Hit hard enough to go about 3 lengths without opposition.
Usually with low english, or stop, or float.
I like the sound of a clean hit at that speed.

The other favorite is the finesse shot.
Usually with follow,
and sometimes with english enough to throw the object ball,
arriving with just enough energy to drop,
fully spent,
into the pocket.
There is peace and beauty in slow motion.
Elegance through Simplicity.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Shoot With Confidence

During a time many months ago,
when I was shooting poorly,
El Maestro told me: "Shoot With Confidence".

Of course I wanted to shoot with confidence,
but how do I do that if
I have been missing shots frequently,
and I am not sure the shot will work as needed?

I had learned this lesson many years ago.
At that time the lesson was in a business setting, not pool.
I didn't think to apply this truth to my game.
I just needed El Maestro's reminder.

The amazing answer is to just do it.
Shoot "as if" you were shooting with confidence!

A confident stroke will follow through.
A confident stroke will be natural.
A confident stroke is a thing of beauty.

Even if you are not confident,
act as if you are!

The results are truly magical.

"The result cannot be achieved
unless the experiment is made."
(Paramahansa Yogananda)

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Google Video - Huge Business Opportunity

As reported on this blog earlier,
Google is now in the video business.

They offer unlimited, free
storage, indexing, and downloading of video.

For all of Internet History,
the big drawback to the growth of video
is the cost of bandwidth used to deliver the stuff.
Now those handcuffs are off.

The business opportunity for the pool industry,
is to take Google up on their offer and to
store and distribute the enormous amount of
pool videos now in existence
and the ever growing rate of new pool video
with content from tournaments, exhibitions,
product demonstrations, interviews,
in one simple step.

Google will pay your operating expenses of
warehousing and distributing your product
and will even handle the transaction of
collecting pay per view, if needed.
All for free.

Google will also index your videos
with keywords you select
and your videos are featured
in relevant search results.
So they are doing the advertising for you too!

The marginal cost of distributing video product is zero.
Which means pure 100% profit on every additional sale after breakeven point.

Google is paying the storage and shipping costs
for everything video sold.
This creates an enormous opportunity,
especially right NOW.

Check right now
search on "billiards",
and there is a virtual vacuum begging for content.
Of course, it will be growing at a rapid rate,
so get in on the ground floor now.

Good luck!

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Sorto String - Proof

El Maestro and I got to talking the other day
about the fact that all my problems are in my head,
that I have the ability to make the shots,
and I have the knowledge to win,
but that I need to learn to control my mind and emotions.
In making his point,
he mentioned that I am the only person he has ever seen
successfully complete "The Sorto String" challenge
(other than himself).
Click Here for Sorto String challenge rules.

Today I got to thinking about that,
and realized that I never posted PROOF of it here,
which seems like a major oversight on my part.

So, better late than never, I offer you the proof.
Click here for the video file on
showing my run from the 1 through the 9.

It was several days after this video was taken (9/22/2005),
that Tony came by the Fun House,
and I showed him the video,
but he wanted to see me do it with his own eyes,
and like the trained seal that I am,
I did it again, and even went beyond the 9
into the advanced section (not shown), through the 11.

He says that there have been one or two people
who have claimed to have done it to the 9,
but when Tony was there watching,
they couldn't get very far with it.

The reason for posting this now is because
I was doing some further reflection on my
pool achievements during 2005,
some of which, like this one, were not in my original Goals.

It was a good feeling to have conquered this challenge.
It was the result of persistence, focus, study, experimentiation...
It did not come easy.
Now that it has come,
it is almost effortless.

It reminds me of
when I was learning to do a headstand in yoga.
When I finally got it,
after sweating bullets in
a bunch of training sessions,
it became effortless.

It was a discovery
more than an achievement.

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New Year, New Goals

Looking back at 2005,
I made some notes on my goals and achievements and
what needs to be done to continue to improve.
Click here for 2005.

Looking forward to 2006,
I am shooting for the stars,
and improved the plan to get there.
Click here for 2006.

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