Gold Crown IV

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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thinking Body, Dancing Mind

Monica Webb read this book and recently won back to back WPBA pro pool tournaments, her first wins in 10 years of trying. I'm thinking that maybe something in this book might have been a key in her success.

Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: 

Taosports for Extraordinary Performance 

in Athletics, Business, and Life

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Super Aramith TV Pro-Cup balls

After 5 years of beating up my set of Brunswick Centennial balls, I splurged on a new set of Super Aramith TV Pro-Cup balls. The first thing I did was weigh each ball, twice, right after unpacking, so there would be no chalk or other schmutz on them to interfere with accuracy. Here are the results:

Weights (using digital scale):

One ball is 168 grams
Eleven balls are 169 grams each (includes the "measle" cue ball)
Four balls are 170 grams each

Yo, Aramith! We can put a man on the moon (so I'm told), but can't make billiard balls of consistent weight? What's up with that?

The best bridge?

A Facebook friend from a land far away asked my thoughts on Larry Keller's Pro Justa-Bridge, so I figured I'd share it here:

About a year ago, I bought one of these Pro Justa-Bridges and like it a lot. However, some guest players who have never used one would get freaked-out with it and ask if I had a "normal" bridge that they are used to.

One disadvantage is that they are not flat, and it is difficult to fit it in a typically crowded cue case, but that's not that big a deal as you'll be carrying other stuff that won't fit in a cue case.

The final analysis: Excellent product, well built and well designed.

I got mine at (click here for price/info/buy)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Video experiments - Shooter's Point of View

I got to fiddling with my new micro-sized Flip Hi-Def video camera and it struck me that I might be able to rig it so that I could do videos of some of my practice routines, from the point of view of the shooter (me). I think I have never seen such videos, so I decided to experiment with the idea.

When I get to inventing, the first thing I do is a prototype. It's not supposed to be be flawless, or elegant, just a proof-of-concept. The guidelines are simplicity, modular, easy to assemble/disassemble, and using materials at hand. This prototype was very simple and I was so proud that I didn't resort to duct tape! It included a baseball cap, the camera attached to a Gorilla tripod, and a necktie to hold the camera/tripod onto the hat. That's all. I was happy that it didn't feel overly heavy and didn't seem to bother me when shooting. Although the setup was totally idiotic looking, I wasn't trying to make a fashion statement

Two things need to be changed:
1. The focal length of the camera lens didn't give the right sight picture. It needs to be more wide-angle.
2. The camera would be more properly mounted closer to eye level.

One interesting benefit that I didn't expect: When you play back the video you can very clearly see when you moved during the shot.

I'll post a short POV video, soon, if I can get over a persistent case of laziness.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fresh Balls are happy, perky balls!

When I got to playing some carom with those 3 fresh balls, I noticed that the behavior seemed different, and I couldn't quite figure it out.

One thing that was throwing me off was that I was using mis-matched balls. The red and yellow are from a set designed for European 8-ball, which are about 4 grams lighter than the measle cue ball. The hit sounded wrong, so I replaced the measle cue ball with the cue ball that comes with the set of mustard & ketchup balls.

Wow! The lighter cue ball really makes a big difference in how far I can draw the ball. Now I want to use it all the time!

Another observation: This set of balls was virtually brand new although I have had them for a couple of years. I think I had never used the cue ball that came with the set. A brand new set of balls plays real nice. Fresh balls are happy, perky balls!

Monday, May 04, 2009

3 Cushion!

A funny thing happened today. Not funny ha-ha, funny strange.
I was hitting some balls, experimenting with cuts, and I drifted into focusing on position, and then the position I was aiming at was another object ball, and all of a sudden I was playing 3 cushion billiards and it was fun, so I broke out a fresh measle cue ball, and a fresh red and a fresh yellow, just to make it look more like 3-cushion.

Then it hit me: this is the first time I ever actually shot 3-cushion billiards. And it surprised me that in the last five-plus years of pool, there has been no carom and no snooker, even though I have always wanted to shoot some carom.

I can't even think of where there might be a carom table in San Diego. There was one table at Family Billiards in Oceanside, but they just closed.

First thing I noticed is that carom billiards requires more brain power. It's a rare thing in pocket billiards that you have to hit 3 cushions for shape, but in carom it's every shot. And the more complex shots require more skill with a cue. I'm impressed, totally.

I did make two points in probably twenty tries, but those two points seemed to give more pleasure, more outright satisfaction, than if I ran 20 into pockets.

Other observations: the first object ball seems to come into play when least expected, such as double hits, or when playing on a pool table, falling into a pocket, and while on the subject of pockets, I found myself not being able to shoot a few shots because the pockets were in the way. Also, the larger balls used in carom would take more english and travel farther with a given stroke, so it seems that would contribute to a more pleasurable experience.

Someday, when I can afford a large house on the oceanfront, I will be sure to have room for a carom table, a snooker table, and a pool table.

And a ping pong table. Oh yeah!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Another one bites the dust - Family Billiards, Oceanside

After 18 years in business, Family Billiards Center in Oceanside has sold all the stuff and closed the doors for good, just this past Wednesday.

This was where I first won money in a pool tournament. I got 30 bucks for third place, the first time I entered the tournament. I was a "C" player then, in May 2004. Good times! Click here for the story.

And, I also won that tournament, in February 2006, as an "A" player, a few weeks after David Nakano told me I was no "A" player. Click here for the story.

I'm sure they held on as long as possible, but increased rent finally did the place in.

Good luck, Buddy (the owner). Thanks for the memories!