Gold Crown IV

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

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cloudy Thinking

Recent storms are passing by the front window
here at my seaside Fortress of Solitude.

It reminded me of my days
flying an open cockpit biplane through the Alps.
(see story)

It's one of those great times
to sit back, relax, and
watch the clouds.

I am convinced that time spent watching clouds
is added back to your life on earth.
That must be why there are sunny days,
to keep us from living forever.

Cloudy days are great for thinking.
Today I got to thinking about Practice.

Sometimes, when I have a bit of free time,
I'll go to the table and run the first rack, easily.
And then it might take me 4 or 5 innings
to get through the second rack.

I'm thinking that the first rack
benefits from greater focus and concentration,
and that after demonstrating perfection,
my attention wanes.

In the second rack, I make mistakes
that I wouldn't make in a competition.
I'll take on shots that are interesting
but low percentage.

I'm playing, not practicing.

Making the shot is no longer the priority.
It becomes more of a curiosity thing:
("I wonder if I can...")

This sort of activity is Fun,
but sub-optimal
as a way to improve my game.

Naturally, this leads me to want
to discover/design the Optimal Practice Routine.

Recent posts have mentioned the
Billiard Practice Assistant
job opportunity,
and described the general flow of
a Focused Practice Session (with assistant).

What needs clarification is the
selection of the drills
and the structure of how they progress
during the session.

For example,
the session might begin with
cue ball only, warm up stroke routines,
such as lag shots and other speed controls,
kicks, english, etc.
Next might come specific drills,
and although I have not selected them yet,
I'm thinking that most drills in the
known billiard universe are not designed
to take advantage of a
Billiards Practice Assistant.
So I'll probably be
doing some inventing in this area.

At the very end of the practice session,
I'm thinking there might be a set up table
which would have a wide variety of shots,
stop, draw, follow, english, fast/slow, etc.
and flow from one to the other in rotation
(possibly like the Honduran game of pool).

Of course detailed records would be kept,
including video.

I'm envisioning almost a
Standardized Practice Routine
so that one student's routine could be
compared to another's,
rated and ranked,
and even critiqued by an instructor
who could watch the video.

Such a Standardized Practice Routine
would be a more consistent method
for determining the skill level of a student
than competitions in 8 or 9 ball
which have such elements of luck
and environmental variables.

I'm heading into unknown territory.
Should be interesting.

Straight Pool Video: Mosconi vs. Caras

Willie Mosconi vs. Jimmy Caras
1963, Chicago
National Invitational
Pocket Billiards Championship

Willie like you will seldom see him!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Virgin Pockets: The DVD

There have been some ads running lately trying to sell a two-DVD set of the movie "Virgin Pockets".

I'm an easy mark for a pool movie, so I went for the deal, (only 10 bucks) and spent the last two sessions on the treadmill watching this pool-shooting epic.

The good news is that I got a decent workout.
The bad news is that I watched the movie.

I would recommend that you save your 10 bucks. It features two babes in pool-land and they are absolutely AWFUL shooters. Seriously bad pool playing in this movie. Really, really bad.

And the camera work (in and out of focus, shaky, etc) could give you nausea.

Caveat emptor.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Practice Routine, part 2

Further development of the
Practice Session, with Assistant.

The Practice Session
is a highly focused,

What follows is a general description,
but this will be much more clarified
as actual sessions provide feedback for improvement.

Because the session will be recorded
(in High Definition video)
the entire process proceeds in Silence,
except where noted, IN RED.

The Practice Session

The Student and the Assistant
begin the Practice Session
with a greeting
in the appropriate manner,
without speaking,
a slight bow with the hands folded
at the forehead,
in the way of the yoga greeting "Namaste'"
except in this case the spoken word
is assumed.

The Assistant
then moves to his/her private area
to prepare for the session.
Changes into all black clothing,
removes jewelry, washes hands,
and exits the private area.

The Assistant moves to the pool table area,
turns on the overhead table lights,
and proceeds to brush the cloth
in the approved manner,
while the billiard balls are run through
the BallStar 2000 ball cleaning machine.
Next, the assistant prepares the logbooks,
and the practice materials,
including the list of drills to be performed
in this session.

The Assistant proceeds with
video camera preparation.
Set up the tripod, mount the camera,
turn it on, aim, focus,
make sure all the settings are proper

The Student,
fter greeting the Assistant,
moves to the seating area
opens his case,
removes the playing cue handle (butt),

moves to the head of the table,
and starts the Pre-Session Stretching exercise.
This is a slightly modified version of
the yoga sun salutation,
and in this case is done with
both hands holding the cue butt.

During the stretching exercise,
the Student listens to a recording
(Personalized Practice Session Preparation Audio)
via earphones attached to iPod worn in the pocket.

After stretching exercises,
the Student moves back to the seating area,
assembles the playing cue, takes a seat,
and waits for the assistant to finish.

When the Assistant is ready to proceed,
The Student moves to the table,
the Assistant sets up the drill
which the Student then performs.

Each drill is video recorded.
The camera is started and stopped
for each drill so that clips are short
and easy to find for later processing.

The result of each drill is also written in the logbook.
Each session starts with a new page,
and this page headed up with the date/time
and name of Student and Assistant.
New personal best records are
noted at the moment by the Assistant,
and circled in the logbook.

The session continues until the drills are done,
about 2 to 3 hours, at the most,
The Assistant then executes the Table Cleaning routine,
retrieves personal effects,
and exits.

The Student then spends some time
in private reflection,
and makes summary notes in the logbook,
turns out the table lights,
and exits.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Building a Better Practice Routine

I'm lazy.
I avoid work whenever possible.
That's why my practice routine suffers.

And even when I do get to the table,
I am not at all disciplined.
Most of the time I'll just "pile rocks",
with no real focus,
and no time commitment,
no record keeping,
and therefore no way of knowing
if my practice is doing me any good.
So why bother?

That kind of sub-optimal activity (process)
will almost certainly produce sub-optimal results.
Well, I need to do better than that.
And that's one of the reasons for the
Billiard Practice Assistant.

It is intended that having such an assistant
will help in several ways:

1. Time commitment and schedule.
If I hire someone to show up
at a certain time, and to
put me through a series of drills,
then it is CERTAIN
that I will practice more hours.

2. Quality of practice will improve.
The assistant will keep records,
so I will have something to shoot for,
some specific goal for each drill.
This is CERTAIN to improve my skills.

3. M
uscle memory will be improved
because more balls will be hit.
Allen Hopkins says that you need to
hit 2 million balls to achieve
championship level skill.
So, the more balls I can hit per hour
of practice, the faster I can
win the US Amateur championship.

It's all about numbers.
Time spent, balls hit, records kept.
And persistence.

I watched the Mike Sigel training DVD
(Mike Sigel's Perfect Pool Disk #1)
which is available free online at the IPT site.
It's unfortunate that you have to endure
the drivel that goes on between Mike The Mouth
and his criminal sidekick Kevin Trudeau
before you get to the good stuff
you expect from a legend such as Sigel.

This DVD is very basic,
but it teaches some drills that are excellent.

One of the key fundamentals is
the progressive nature of the drills.
I have seen this with the
Progressive Practice Drills
(click for .pdf document showing drills)
offered by Bob Jewett's

Jewett adds another requirement
that the drills be easily quantified
for record keeping
so you can see your progress easily.

These two elements
progressive and quantifiable
will be part of the new practice routine
and subsequent DVD.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Break in the Inaction

Shot some pool yesterday with Mike R.
and won both sets:
9 ball 7-5, and
8 ball 7-6.

Mike's game has improved a lot
since we last played.
He's taking more time,
walking around the table,
and has an improved pre-shot routine.

I recorded the entire session on video,
but since nothing extraordinary happened,
I won't be using any of the recordings.

This was my first competition in at least a month.
I did not play particularly well,
probably because I have not been practicing.

I have not been practicing because
I have been looking for a Practice Assistant.

Where is this Practice Assistant?
The overwhelming response to the ad
forced me to hire an assistant to find the assistant.
The applicants are being processed,
and we are close to the interview stage.

It should be soon,
and then I will be practicing a lot.
At least, that's my story,
and I'm stickin' to it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Global Control Center

Further camera experiments turned the lens toward a recent project that has come to a most excellent development. I have been putting the finishing touches on my new Global Control Center for FastMikie InterGalactic Enterprises.

The blog you read comes to you from this chair, this computer. Just a couple of feet away from the pool table. FastMikie's Fun House has it all, except space. That's at a real premium. Every inch must do double duty, at least.

(Click here for the video)
best viewed full screen

When I put this little corner together, I challenged myself to put together a very small collection of books, the ones which have had the greatest effect on me.

The biographies (books) shown are:
Enzo Ferrari
Law of Success, by Napoleon Hill

The music is Thus Spake Zarathustra, which played prominently in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. That movie is also the source for the tongue-in-cheek intro to this blog "Everything is going extremely well" which the infallible computer HAL-9000 speaks just prior to going bonkers. Don't ever trust a computer. I have spent almost a half a century with computers, so I have learned to make allowances for their eventual failures.

The bookcases are from I'm a big fan of their "tools for serious readers".

The computer is a MacBookPro.
The monitor is a Dell 30".
Wireless Mac keyboard.
Wireless MX Revolution mouse by Logitech.
Water by Fiji.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Alternate uses for a pool table

This just came in,
from a curiously curious reader
with the screen name "Kathleen":
"have you ever slept on your pool table or
eaten jed clampet style around it?
enquiring mind wants to know."

Let's take the easy one:
No eating near, and definitely not ON the table.
No way. Period.

Now about sleeping on the table?
First, that's just weird.
And second...
after I got thinking about it,
it wasn't so weird any more,
but I figured I would rather sleep under it.
I can not imagine a harder sleeping surface
than a pool table.
Count me out.

That got me wondering what Other uses
could be found for a pool table
and then I remembered this neat photo:

(I am not above using repetition, for the fun of it.)

Insert here a long pause,
while I search for the courage to go on.
I guess this had to come out sooner or later.

Meet Susie's feet.

It was summer, 2007,
and it was her last night on this continent.
In the morning she would be
on the way to freakin' Samoa.
You can't go farther away than Samoa.

Great friend, Susie.
Her feet were looking fine that night.
(I am fond of the forms of female feet and footwear.)
(aka "foot fetish" in other zip codes)

Imagine: a pool addict with a foot fetish.
It's sad.

The red of her newly pedicured toe nail polish
would go great with the tournament green Simonis 860
on my Gold Crown IV...

Another Kodak moment!

So now I'm standing on the pool table,
shooting down at Susie's feet,
thinking I am a sick and disgusting pervert.
But not really, because it's legal, isn't it?
Am I talking too much here?

And then I think we're gonna die,
the floor will not hold all this weight.

It's madness...
Too much information?
Or not enough?
You be the judge.
That's what the "Comment" feature is for...

Ok, back to Kathleen's question.
Next, purely in the spirit of research,
I did climb up on the table,
and lay down on it,
and, as expected,
I did not find it sleep-able.
As I think back on that experience,
I didn't spend much time trying
to get used to it,
didn't even use the "cushions" to find comfort,
I just wanted to get offa there.

However, a curious thing did occur
when I was getting on and off the table,
right at the point where one leg is up on the table
and one foot on the floor.
In that stance/resting position,
almost a gravity free zone,
I noticed I had a perfect view
of a cloudless night sky,
a moonlit Pacific ocean,
with a large ocean liner on the horizon.

Only in that position
were all other light-pollution sources blocked out
and only in that position
was the scene perfectly framed.

So, thank you Kathleen for your enquiry.
Were it not for your strange curiosity,
I would not have enjoyed that view.

As for the alternate uses for a pool table?
Not for eating. Not for sleeping.
But it's a great backdrop for some pretty feet,
which right now are playing on a sandy Samoan beach.

I feel certain we have not explored
all of the potential uses for a pool table...

But for now, and for me, it's
back to the practice table.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

There's more to life than pool: Home

It was just over 4 years ago
that I got serious about pool.
I let a lot of other things go,
and focused on pool.
It seems I've competed a lot,
and practiced a lot less than I should.
I'm lazy, but that's another story.

This is about not doing pool.
So then what do you do?

Well, in the last 3 months that
I have not been competing,
I have discovered all kinds of other
ways to pass the time of day.

One of the most rewarding of all these,
is my home.
I really enjoy working on my home,
making it a better place to live.
And I really enjoy spending time here.
Sometimes I even hit a few racks.
But it's not about the pool, it's about home.
Even though the pool table takes up
half the space of this little condo,
the pool table is not the only reason to be here.

I call my home
"Mikie's Fun House"
because I want to enjoy every minute I'm here.
And, because I enjoy spending time here,
I spend a lot of time here.
It makes it easy being a hermit.

Back to home.
Since I've been so focused on pool
for the last 4 years,
I haven't spent much time taking care of my home.
Projects were put off.
I was falling behind in my home plans.
But now, with the pool injury layoff,
I have accomplished several major home goals
and a bunch of minor ones.

So I'm thinking that makes Home
an essential part of a balanced life.

Preferably, Home with pool table, of course.

The moral of this story is to
Beware the addictive power of pool,
that it grows in you like a parasite
until your whole life is taken over by it,
even your home is second to it,
and one day you're living under a bridge.

This is not a good thing.
So, would it kill you to stay home
one night a week?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Project HD: First videos

Continued extensive experimentation
with the new HiDefinition video recorder.

During daylight hours
I did ocean videos and
learned about the cloudy setting,
and the manual focus setting,
and the need for a polarizing lens,
and the need for a microphone,
and I figured out a neat way to
house an outdoor webcam.

During the early evening hours
I tackled the pool table video,
and learned about tungsten lighting,
auto focus, camera angles,
better sound and lighting,
and I also learned that
I gotta kick up my energy level.
I get bored looking at myself shoot pool.
That's bad.
Maybe I could try to
chalk and walk at the same time!
Definitely should keep chalk on me
(use a pocket chalker).
I have wanted to change
my entire chalking routine
and today's videos have convinced me of it.

I should also keep moving.
It's just too slow.

I know exactly what will help me with that:
The Billiard Practice Assistant
who is currently in hiding
(See Help Wanted Ad)
but is expected to show his/her face soon.
I hope.

More stuff to learn and do:
Add music.
Intro and Credits.

Ok, bad as they are,
here are today's videos,
but I wasn't really trying,
just getting the hang of the camera...

8 ball runout

8 ball runout, almost

There's more to life than pool: Surf

Experiments continue
with the new HiDefinition video camera,
getting familiar with all the settings.

I found a spot on my book case,
right by my easy chair,
where I set up the camera
to look thru the window, across the balcony,
then thru the uprights of the balcony railing,
across the parking lot, and driveway,
and another driveway and parking lot,
past the cliff, the railroad tracks,
more cliff, then the surf...
What an excellent telephoto on this box!

I was expecting nothing special,
just experimenting with light settings,
and after about 20 minutes,
a little slice of life happens...

(click here for 10 second surf video)

So there's one more thing about life beyond pool,
the surf,
that magical foamy place
where sea and land come together,
under a common sky.

And when all this happens,
and the sun is setting,
it's great to be alive.

Too often I never see a sunset
because I am so into the game.
My focus is complete.

These last few months
while recovering from my shoulder injury,
and not shooting much pool,
I have noticed that my life is somehow more full,
or at least it seems that way,
because I'm getting more done,
my life is more organized,
I am less stressed,
and I spend more time on the beach,
and see more sunsets.

It seems that there should be more balance
in my life.

Is there a way to have pool,
and the surf, sunsets, beach...
(I want it all)
and a Ferrari too, ok?

Friday, January 11, 2008

There's more to life than pool: Ferrari

The season is upon us.
Ferrari has unveiled the new F1 car.

click the photo for flash videos
and more features.

OK, now that we're on the subject (Ferrari),
check this out:

Shown below is the
12 year old Ferrari I was driving 30 years ago.
That would have been my mid-life crisis.
I was 16 years out of high school,
and it would be another 16 years
until all the work was done.

Photo taken somewhere south of Big Sur, CA.
I had been living in California for about a year.
After having endured 3 Chicago winters.

The car is a 1966 Ferrari model #275 GTB,
12 cylinders of pure sex on wheels.
They made about 300 of these.
Beautiful burgundy color, black leather interior.
Wire wheels.
It had a physical presence.

I bought this cheap
because it was 12 years old,
very near its all time low price.
I drove it every day for 2+ years,
and sold it for the same amount I paid.

I sold it because I was going bankrupt.
My business went bust.
I had hit bottom for the first time.

But things eventually got back on track,
I worked harder and smarter,
and got lucky too, of course,
and soon enough, there were more Ferraris to come...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Help Wanted: Billiards Practice Assistant

The following ad is currently running in
Craigslist, San Diego, North County:

Help Wanted

Billiards Practice Assistant

No experience necessary.
Set up shots, keep records, operate video camera.
Earn while you learn.

$10 per hour. Part time. Del Mar.
Must be over 21, no criminal record, drug free,
have good manual dexterity,
read/write English fluently,
and want to work in a
clean, quiet
and smoke-free environment.

Email your resume'.

Below is the First letter to those who
reply to the ad in Craigslist:

Thank you for your interest in this unique opportunity to be a Billiards Practice Assistant.

You would be working for an equal opportunity company that gives all profits to a worthy cause. So if you’re looking to get rich quick, it would be best to keep looking elsewhere. This job pays only $10 per hour to start, and out of that you have to pay your own taxes, but at least it’s better than minimum wage.

And at least you’ll be working inside, out of the rain and cold of night and heat of day. In fact, the location is Del Mar, with an ocean view, so the job has some benefits.

But first, are you at least 21 years old, in good physical condition, a non-smoker, with no criminal record, drug free, have your own transportation to/from Del Mar area, and checkable references?

And, you’re a team player, and eager to learn?

Here are some of the Benefits: You earn a little extra money as a sideline, you learn some things you never knew about the game of billiards, you get access to an extensive billiards library of books and DVDs, and your hands might even get in a High Definition video DVD or YouTube video clip (General Audiences). And, the best part: it’s all for a worthy cause.

Here are more details:

* part-time work, afternoons and/or evenings, cannot guarantee hours, but 15 hrs/wk is estimated

* will learn to operate a High Definition video camcorder,

* perform basic record keeping, keep a log book of drills, setups, performance stats, etc.

* possess manual dexterity, speed and efficiency in setting up billiard balls in various arrangements on the table

* as the environment is a very quiet and meditative one, there will be limited talking and no ipods or phone calls during work hours

If you are qualified please send the following information:

  1. which shift are you applying for (1pm-4pm, M-F or 6pm - 9pm, M-F)
  2. your name/address/home phone, cell phone, work phone, website (personal, work, other)
  3. a personal statement as to why you feel that you would be right for this opportunity
  4. provide references of persons you have worked for (bosses only, not peers), and/or the name of your school
  5. provide details of your billiards experience and manual dexterity
  6. provide resume' of work experience including dates, company name, type of work and reason for leaving

Thank you,

To deal with inquiries and
to keep track of all the information and details,
I have contracted with Jane Guthrie,
who is an exceptionally efficient person.
She will go through all the information
and if it's all good then Jane will
schedule first a phone call,
then possibly an interview.

In the interview, the candidate
will be evaluated in these areas:

1. Hands - will be in some video, so candidates will have extra credit for attractive hands, clean, nails neatly trimmed, no tattoos.
2. Face - ditto, although the face will not at all be a focus of the video, the assistant's face may enter the video area in some shots, so it should be allowed for in the selection process. No facial hair (beard, moustache, muttonchops, Elvis sideburns, soul patch, etc).
3. Voice - the voice of the applicant is not expected to be recorded, therefore it is not a matter for consideration at this time, but it could come in to play later, so it should not be ruled out altogether.
4. Evidence of manual dexterity, ability to juggle a major plus, card dealer in a casino, bass player, piano/keyboard player, freestyle frisbee player, yo-yo artist, puppeteer, magician, or other skills demonstrating manual dexterity and thereby giving some indication of success in this unique job opportunity.
5. Quiet demeanor - quiet, comfortable, confident, not hyperactive or overly talkative. Allow for nervousness in initial interview.
6. Scent. Eliminate gum and tobacco chewers, or if they smell like smoke or are heavily scented with perfumes or other agents (including BO).
7. Eye contact. Look for signs of attention, interest, intelligence, humor, compassion,
8. Body Language. Calm, comfortable, confident, secure, peaceful, interested, moves with assurance and balance.
9. Handwriting. Must be legible, clear.

When Jane has narrowed the search
to 3 Finalists, then she will make those 3 recommendations to me,
and then I get to meet all three,
and then hopefully select one lucky Winner!

Good Luck!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Moon, New Project

I like it when new projects start on a New Moon.
It's like they are Destined to go well.

UPS delivered my Christmas present
late this afternoon.
It's a present from me, to me.

My new toy is the
Canon HG10
HiDefinition camcorder
From now on, all videos will be HiDef.

It took only a couple of hours
to get it up and running and talking to the Mac
and a test clip into iMovie 08
and from there to youTube.

Although youTube doesn't show HiDef
all videos from now on will be recorded
in HiDef for eventual selective publishing on DVD.

The truly excellent thing about this device
aside from HiDef
is that there are no tapes to deal with,
all video is stored on a 40 GB hard disk
which gives me many hours of non-stop recording.

Can you imagine being
a few balls short of your high run,
and getting distracted by having to change the tape?
I hate that when that happens...
But not with this camera!

The transfer to computer, processing,
and uploading are still painfully slow.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Traffic check: 60 days

In the last 60 days,*

this site has had:

9,612 visitors,

from 1679 cities,

in 85 countries.

*This site has been online for more than
4 years,
but traffic counts started only 60 days ago.


A reader inquired about my use of hypnosis
for pre-match preparation.

This is a topic I have not covered before
because I wanted to keep it as
one of my private secrets to success.
So now, for the first time ever,
here's my take on hypnosis:

Up until I started using Self-Hypnosis for pool,
about 4 years ago,
my estimation of it was that while
it may be an interesting thing for some people,
it wasn't the sort of thing I wanted to try.
I don't like anybody having control over me,
make me act like a chicken,
or leaving little messages in my head,
telling me to jump off a roof.

But when I started to realize just how much
the game of billiards is Mental,
that's when I started giving serious consideration
to Self-Hypnosis.

I was lucky to have a trusted guide,
a good friend who just happens to be
a highly entertaining comedy stage hypnotist,
Barry Jones.
I had hired Barry a long time ago to perform
for the customers at my software company's
annual conference.
It was amazing! He got to talking
and within minutes he had virtually everyone
in the audience in a trance!

Of course, I had to stay "normal",
I couldn't let myself go
in front of all my customers!
So, until just a couple of years ago,
I refused and rejected hypnosis.

But, again, if pool is so much mental,
then hypnosis, which is all mental,
might be of some use, right?
And, if it's Self-hypnosis,
and I know what I'm telling myself,
then, it might be worth a try.

I started with a visit with Barry.
He told me all about the process.
And gave me a book,
I think it was "Hypnosis for Dummies".

I took a week or so to do research,
and feel comfortable with the idea,
then had another meeting with him
to go through the process,
to see if I could be hypnotized
(not for everyone, it seems).

We discussed some of the things
that I wanted out of the process.
I think I told him I wanted reduced stress,
that I wanted to eliminate the nervousness,
that sort of thing.

Then he went through the process,
talking me into a very relaxed state,
then moving into talking about pool,
and how I would feel while playing,
and then he started to bring me out of it.
It was all over in what seemed to
be about 20 minutes.
I didn't feel as if I had been hypnotized.
He said that's how you're supposed to feel.
Strange stuff.

Ok, so now that I had the general idea,
it was time for me to move on into

This is simply doing the same things,
but you record your voice,
and play it back on your iPod (or whatever).

I wrote a script,
so I would know I covered all the bases,
then sent it to Barry for approval,
which he gave,
and then I recorded it.

I then used that same recording for the
next couple of years.
I played it at night
just before sleep.
Many times I would be asleep
before the end of the 11 minute recording.
I would also play it before a match,
and in some cases between matches
in a long tournament.

About a year ago
I experimented with a product on the market
that I found at Bebob Publishing
a site where I buy some pool books and DVDs.

The product comes in two sets of CDs:

Overcoming Contenderosis (5 CDs)
The Dead Stroke Tapes (6 CDs)

I finally settled on 1 or 2 sessions
out of the 22 sessions on the CDs
that reflected what I wanted to work on.
I used these sessions
during my last undefeated run last summer.

In summary,
I think it can help.
It works because we give it the power to work.

I'll mention more about
and how I used it to succeed in billiards
The Book,
which is now in development.
Stay tuned...

Doc says I gotta shoot more pool

True Story:

I went back to the doc
for what I thought would be
my last appointment,
but no...

I thought my shoulder was all recovered,
but the doc says she wants to see me
one more time, in two weeks.
And in the meantime,
she wants me to shoot more pool.

Something about that
kinda makes me smile.
If I had a wife,
I'm sure she would never believe it.

"Really honey, the doc says
I gotta go out every night for the next 2 weeks,
and stay out late shooting pool."

Or, try telling the other boss:

"Can't work overtime, chief...
doctor's orders, I gotta shoot more pool."

Yeah, right!

But, that's what the doc told me today.
Shoot more pool.
Could it get any better than this?
I'm saying "Yes".
So stay tuned...


A Wise Man Knows His Limitations

The selection process for hiring the new

Billiards Practice Assistant

has been vastly improved.

I have delegated the entire screening process
to Jane Guthrie,
a woman of extraordinary capabilities
when it comes to administrative details.

If you have expressed an interest in this job,
Jane will be contacting you shortly.

Anyone who wants to learn more about this job,
please email Jane.

Thank You!

To help Jane find the perfect candidate quickly
I put together this 7 step process
for her to follow:

1. Process inquiries.

A. Describe the kind of person we are looking for:

  • equal opportunity.
  • must be 21 or older, good physical condition, eager to learn, easy to get along with,
  • no smokers, no criminal record, checkable references
  • $10/hr, independent contractor (1099), have transportation (Del Mar area),
B. Describe the job:
  • part time work, afternoons or evenings, can not guarantee any hours but 15 hrs/wk is estimated,
  • learn to operate a camcorder (on tripod), basic operations only (play/pause/rewind, etc)
  • basic record keeping, log book of drills, setups, performance stats, etc.
  • manual dexterity required to set up billiard balls in various arrangements on the table, fast and efficient
  • very quiet, meditative environment, no ipods, no phone calls, limited talking
  • (practice sessions will be recorded (High Defiinition video/audio)
  • benefits: learn pool/billiards, access to extensive billiards library of books, DVDs, etc, possible video appearances

2. Get more information:
  • which shift are they applying for (1pm-4pm, M-F or 6pm - 9pm, M-F)
  • name/address/home phone, cell phone, work phone, website (personal, work, other),
  • personal statement why they feel they would be right for this opportunity
  • references of people they have worked for (bosses only, not peers), and/or where they go to school
  • details of their billiards experience.
  • get signed model release, candidate may appear on one or more video clips which may be put on website/DVD/etc.
  • (this is NOT an acting opportunity, no lines to read/memorize, candidate will be background only, no acting experience needed)

3. Check references

4. Interviews (first phone, then in person, at starbucks, comes after all else is ok)

5. Select 3 Finalist Candidates. After judging based on going through the above filters, 3 Finalist candidates are selected.

6. Select the winner. After interview with FastMikie, at Mikie's Fun House, in beautiful Del Mar, California. Winner will be notified directly and announced on the website.

7. Celebration, welcome lunch, training begins!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Derby City Action Room: Live Free Video

Click Here

for the

Derby City Action Room

Live, Free Streaming Video

compliments of

Winter planning session

Outside, in the real world,
just 10 feet from
the serenity of my pool table,
the first storm of winter rages on...
The windows rattle, the wind whistles,
and the rain brings life to the earth.

Soon enough, calm comes to the sea,
the wind subsides,
and a thick fog rolls in.

It is Winter, again.
An opportunity to rest,
and to prepare for the coming Spring.

Winter is an ideal time
to go Inside,
and Imagine.

To Imagine how life would be
at the point where my maximum enjoyment
and my maximum contribution coincide.
And then try to Imagine how shooting pool
figures into that equation.

Now is the ideal time to
update my Plan for Excellence, 2008 edition.

The first thing that comes to mind
is that the past 4 versions of this plan
2004 thru 2007
were very Outcome-focused.
The plan for 2008 will be more Process-focused.

The Process creates the Results.

Friday, January 04, 2008


P o o l S t u f f
(commissions support a worthy cause)

The symbols: Eat, Sleep, Billiards

Iraq, you Break

Life is Simple: Eat, Sleep, Billiards

Why I rarely clean my pool table

Don't get me wrong,
I'm not a pig.
Quite the opposite, actually.

I'm one of the cleanest people I know.
I'm a real Virgo:
meticulous to a fault,
a "clean freak", almost a germophobe.

So why not clean the table?
Because it turns into such a Project!

Take today, for example.
I finally couldn't take it any longer,
the table was looking totally disgusting.
Something had to be done.

1. remove all the balls
2. brush the table
3. spray clean the table
(using Quick-Clean)
4. damp-wipe the pocket insides
5. Pledge the rails
6. clean the balls
(using the Ball Star)

So far, so good,
and now I'm on a roll...
My "clean jones" is on high alert,
and I notice that the carpet needs vacuuming.
But of course I can't just vacuum one room,
so I gotta do the kitchen, and the bedroom,
and the hall...

And when I put the vac back,
now I gotta rearrange the hall closet.
See what I mean?
A real Project.

And when I finally stop cleaning,
hours later,
I'm too wasted to practice pool.
How crazy is that?

But man is this place lookin' good!!

Straight Pool Video: Ortmann vs. Lehman

Seventy six minutes of excellent pool
with Oliver Ortmann vs. Herb Lehman...
Herb who?
Although the name is not familiar to me,
Googling reveals that in 1994 he was inducted into
the New England Pool & Billiards Hall of Fame.
And he makes some really nice shots in this video.

Click here for the video.

These videos are great learning tools.
What I'm seeing is that straight pool
has ALL the shots,
and especially precision position shots
and shots where the cue ball is very close
to the object ball.
These are things I am working on.

These recent straight pool videos
are from the 1983 Straight Pool Championship
at Amsterdam Billiards in NYC.
I really need to play there on my next trip east.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Straight Pool Video: Ortmann vs. Sigel

Oliver Ortmann vs. Mike Sigel
at the Amsterdam Billiards Club, NYC, 1993.

Ortmann started out looking invincible,
but then Sigel gets in stroke,
and Ortmann gets a bad roll.

Good safety play,
a real chess match,
but still only 75 minutes.

Click here for the video

It's reassuring to see such great pros miss.
I'll still feel bad when I miss,
but I'll know I'm in good company!


Straight Pool Video: Matthews vs. Martin

If you liked the Ortmann - Mizerak video,
you might get bored watching this one:

"Cool Cat" Ray Martin
"The Professor" Grady Matthews

because it is so much slower.
Whereas the Ortmann game is 41 minutes,
this one is 2+ hours
but I learned some stuff from the safeties.

Click here for Part One

Click here for Part Two

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Pool Fuel

One of my favorite pool bloggers
of the female persuasion
(I won't say who, but her initials are Samm Diep)
seems to feel the need to blog about food.

Food is good stuff,
but pool is better,
and I have not strayed from pool herein...

But a few days ago,
I was taking a break from the practice table,
and got groovy with some tostadas
that were totally blogworthy.

As exhibit A, may I present:

Tortilla, refried beans, grated cheeses (4), guacamole,
salsa, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream...

Once I got started,
I wolfed down 3 of these critters,
stopping only when the fixin's were gone.

By the way, isn't all Mexican food
really all the same stuff
put together differently and called something else?

Anyway, after going majorly Glutton,
I couldn't move, let along play any more pool,
so I fell into bed for a siesta,
and didn't eat anything else for 20 hours.

Isn't this ridiculous, all this food talk?
This is a pool blog, right?
OK, I swear this is my last food blog.
Want more, go to the links above.

But now that I'm on the subject,
here's my favorite breakfast:

(Click photo for the story: "Great Moments in Pancake History")

I have been refining the art of food
for the last 22 years.
That's how long I have had the good fortune
to have the same cook,
and, working together,
we have developed some of the
finest vegetarian cuisine on this planet.

About 2 years ago,
I put together some of our best recipes
into a book and put it on the internet
as a public service to all mankind.
I am convinced that this food
will stop wars, cure disease,
and guarantee eternal bliss.

Consider the fact that I have
been eating this food for the last 4 years
and gone from a D player to an A.

Click here for the recipe book.

OK, I'm done.
That's all I'm going to say about food.