I need asylum myself
a plain hotdog
great memories, Crown & Seven 🙂
getting this damn bet over with
seriously, I think you CAN play too much pool
100 days of pool : 8 days left
I’m almost there, beeyotches!
I know what you’re thinking… “But, you went on vacation? Surely you did not play pool ALL those days–did you?” Don’t count your money just yet.
Dahlings, I am a masochist. Even when I go on vacation, it’s never a real vacation. It’s generally pool-related. This is why I went to Las Vegas for a week where, COINCIDENTALLY, the American Poolplayers Association (APA) was having their National Team Championships.
Yeah. I play APA. And I love it. I’m a total hackety-hack-hack and as much as league pool frustrates me, it’s still a great opportunity for play and competition, and, dare I even say it–making friends.
Were there shenanigans at the National Team Championships? Let me tippity-tap-tap out what happened and let YOU decide…
 : Friday, August 17, 2007
Whee! Once I got out of work, I hightailed it home and then to my local bar where I played a few giddy racks of eight-ball and then ran back home to clean house. I clean my apartment before leaving on extended trips. I like to come back to a clean apartment.
I’M OFFICIALLY ON VACATION!
 : Saturday, August 18, 2007
I did laundry and had a nice session of barbox eight-ball during the dying daylight hours. Once it hit 8:30 p.m., Alice picked me up and we were off to meet the rest of our Vegas caravan, Pooh Bear and Cinderella.
We must have hauled ass because we rolled into vegas at about 1:00 a.m. Alice and I, possessed by the giddy excitement (and possibly fueled by gasoline fumes) over an impending pool tournament, headed straight for the tournament room to play some pool. (That takes care of pool for Sunday, too! Ahahahaha! Just kidding. I played both days. Damn masochism.)
We batted balls around while we chatted with our league operator who is a fine player (really, he is). Alice broke one game and jumped the cue ball off the table. Luckily, there weren’t many people in the room at this late hour–maybe about four or five other than ourselves–so no one got beaned. A large, spherical man picked up the cue ball and handed it to Alice, but sneakily caressed and fondled her hand while doing so, and also made some–inappropriate–noises.
It’s 3:00 in the morning, we’ve been in Vegas less than two hours, and CRAP IS ALREADY HAPPENING? Goddam. OMGWTF, This Is Your Life.
Men, This Is Your Species.
After being thoroughly disgusted by Spherical Pervert with Covert Hand Fondling feature, Alice and I resumed our play.
One game Alice and I played was particularly ugly. I broke and made four or five balls, but the remaining balls on the table arranged themselves into inconvenient clusters and there were very few free balls to allow for break-out shots. After a few innings, Alice’s set of solids was sitting a tad worse than my set of stripes. She didn’t have much of a shot, and pretty much any shot she made, whether an attempt to make a ball, a safety attempt, or intentional foul was going to leave me a chance at running out. Alice asked me what she ought to do. I looked at the table for a few minutes and told her I really didn’t know what the right shot was. I asked our league operator, and he came over to the table for a few minutes. He agreed that there wasn’t much Alice could do in this situation. Shot, safety, or foul, the results were not going to be good. We continued to look at possible options.
While we were all having a good discussion about the options available and their consequences, another large man–we’ll name him Butt-In–proceeds to come up to the table, puff out his chest and say authoratively to Alice, “Girl, it’s time to learn how to play safe.”
Who THE F— says this s— to people they don’t know?! Our league operator turned around immediately to hide a smile, and I did the same. Alice, meanwhile, was not amused.
“Oh yeah? Then YOU tell me how to play safe here.”
“Just hide the cue ball somewhere.”
“I CAN’T. I’m stuck. And if I miss, OMGWTF’s going to run out.”
“Really? What is she? Some sort of good player?”
“Yeah, she runs out. So YOU get over here and YOU point to where I should leave the cue ball.”
Somewhat taken aback at Alice’s strongly worded request, Butt-In walked over to the table and hemmed and hawed and finally pointed to a spot on the table.
“Yeah. Just leave the cue ball here.”
“Why? OMGWTF’s going to have a shot.”
“She’s not capable of running out.”
Unfortunately, Butt-In was right. I couldn’t run out–but I very nearly did–and I played some spectacular shots enroute to the end. Of course, since I couldn’t run out that complicated-ass layout, I was not a good player. But, you already knew this.
Butt-In asked my league operator if I was a good player. My league operator said I wasn’t bad.
Butt-In asked me what my skill level was. I said it was quite obvious I was a Skill Level 2, since it is well-known that women can’t play worth a s— and ALWAYS need SOME man to tell us how to play. Butt-In then informed me that my league operator had already told him what my actual Skill Level was, which was a level higher than his. Skill levels don’t mean jack, but, in the APA, depending on who you talk to, it could be all you’re worth.
“So you might be some sort of player, then!”
“It doesn’t matter. Women can’t play pool anyway, right? We can only play when there are guys like you supervising us. We can’t play on our own. “
“Oooh, you’re a FEISTY one!”
“I won’t take s— from anyone. Least of all you. “
Men, This Is Your Species.
Alice, a little heated after this incident, proceeded to ask if anyone in the damn room would like to play the next game. (Wow, I wasn’t aware Alice could EVER get angry. I’d only seen it once in action–it was a supernova. Explosive, awe-inspiring, and rare.) In particular, she directed her question at a surly group of boys in the corner who had made several unwelcome remarks earlier.
They asked to play doubles and Alice gave them an emphatic, “NO”. She said she was here to practice, and wanted to play individual games. Their first player–I shall name him Coconut–stepped up to the plate.
I had seen this group of boys before at other tournaments, and I knew they were good players. I broke, and didn’t make anything, and Coconut proceeded to run out. It was some nice, textbook eight-ball for the first three or four shots, but then Coconut decided to use some flashy and ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY masse, jump, and extreme draw on straight-in, routine shots. You could have ran the table exclusively with stop shots, if you had chosen the right pattern.
You know, Coconut, if you had run out plain and simple, I’d have more respect for you. If you insist carrying out this jackassery, I have no choice but to dislike you and label you Jackass Showboater For Life.
Coconut seemed a tad surprised at the silence from Alice and me. He kept looking over at us and smiling after every shot, and we just sat there, waiting. I guess Alice and I should have been stumbling over a kiddie-pool full of Jell-O in bikinis in order to beat each other to worship at his feet the moment he proved he could draw the cue ball. Alice and I have both watched the greatest pool players in the world. We KNOW what unbelievably awesome talent is out there in the world, and none of it needs to show off like Coconut. Hell, we come from an area where cranky old white men in their sixties who have worked for NASA could whack Coconut’s ego into pieces so small ants would bypass the shrapnel.
But, of course, Coconut had NO IDEA that we were aware there were players in the world better than he. To him, he was our entire world. An entire pool playing world in a tiny, goddam coconut. He was most likely not aware that we did not find his showboating endearing. All the same, he was a good player, and had good game. Eh. Whatever. It would still be a good practice session for me and Alice to play with better players, jackassery or no.
Then, Coconut opened his mouth. “Oh, I’m sorry, did you want to shoot balls?”
I thought for a second, and said calmly, evenly, “No. And that’s a very condescending thing for you to say.” There was a nice, awkward pause. Perhaps Coconut wanted me to ooh-and-ahh over his greatness. Yeah… no. “And it won’t get you laid.”
Alice played Coconut next, and I’ll be damned if she didn’t almost run out on him. She had a difficult shot the ball before the eight and missed. Coconut should have ran the table out. However, he utilized his draw stroke in all its untamed magnificence to run the cue ball all over the table. The result? He ran into a lot of balls on the table (mostly his own set), got out of line a lot, and created a few clusters.
Alice played some excellent defensive shots, and fought hard to win the game. As she was playing, Coconut’s companion–let’s name him Nutjob–sashayed over to her. He leaned down towards Alice in her chair and said, very ominously, “You’re in trouble.”
WTF? I looked at Alice. Alice looked at me. “What do you mean we’re in trouble?”
“Maybe,” Nutjob continued in the same, slowly threatening voice, “you don’t understand what I’m saying. I said, ‘You’re in trouble.”‘
“No, I DON’T understand what you’re saying. Why are we in trouble?”
“Is this a normal thing for you to go around telling random people they’re in trouble?”
“Yeah, what the f— do you mean?”
“You guys are in trouble. That’s all you need to know.”
Ok, I’m done with this bulls—. Obviously, these guys were high on something other than life. Enough was enough. Alice and I packed up and left. I looked over at our league operator, “You men pool players are really a prize-winning lot.”
Men, This Is Your Species.
 : Sunday, August 19, 2007
We all woke up today with one thought on our minds. What to eat for dinner? What a great question to spend a whole day contemplating.
After a leisurely afternoon of sleep, drinking, and pool, my team decided we’d go to Isla, at the Treasure Island, for dinner. It was an excellent choice.
Isla is well-known for its tequila bar which features a dizzying assortment of this liquor.
The Blackberry Margaritas were F—ing AWESOME. We only ordered one pitcher. I could easily have had a whole pitcher myself. In addition, the salsa and chips were excellent and made the perfect accompaniment to the margaritas.
My lovely chicken enchilada. All the food was delicious, and made in the most authentic manner. The mole sauce was pretty damn cool as an intriguing mix of chocolate, spices, and hot peppers. Tasty!
After dinner, it was time to work off the calories.
The rest of the night was spent playing pool at Pool Sharks, and drinking and dancing at Body English, the uber-trendy club at the Hard Rock Hotel. We had a lot of fun.
No, I’m not going to post any pictures of it.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
 : Monday, August 20, 2007
My team had a bye, and we didn’t play until early Tuesday morning, so I thought I’d keep my skills sharp by playing in a mini-tournament today.
As I was turning in the scoresheet for one of my matches, I was approached by an Unfamiliar Dude. I don’t think I had ever seen him before. Here is the conversation that ensued.
“Hi! How are you?”
“Where’s the guy you were with at BCA?” [BCA was back in May 2007]
“Oh, I broke up with him a while ago.”
“Did you? I’m sorry to hear.”
“Yeah, he lived a bit far, anyways.”
“Oh, wait, I thought you guys lived kind of close?”
“Oh, no. He was from out-of-state.”
“I thought he lived in the same city as you.”
“What? No, he didn’t. Wait a minute, are we talking about the same guy?”
“I think so. He was with you at BCA.”
“Tall, real quiet, plays good pool? His name was [OMGWTF’s XBF’s name]?”
“No, no, no. I’m talking about the chubby kid with curly hair. I think his name was SAPP Donkey?”
“WHAT? You’re talking about f—ing SAPP DONKEY?!”
“Yeah, SAPP Donkey.”
“My God. He’s a piece of s— and needs to die in a fire.”
SAPP Donkey, really? Were you spreading these godforsaken rumors all the way back then, even? You’re a piece of work, I tell you. I relayed this to my team and informed them I was completely prepared to kick you in the balls. The universe demanded it. I could leave town, do the deed, and be back in time for our first match. They convinced me otherwise with an irrefutable argument.
You have no balls, so what good would it do?
Men, This Is Your Species.
I did well in my mini-tournament, and after it concluded, I got a text message from Pooh Bear and Lucille to come join them on Table 86. I arrived to find everyone in a nice mood, the best kind of mood, usually brought about by Jaeger & Red Bull. I sat and chatted a bit with Pooh Bear and Lucille. They asked me if I wanted to get into the rotation and play a little. They said the guys they were playing with were from New York, and seemed friendly. I said all right.
I played one game, and after that game, I noticed the men were having a team huddle. Hmm. Interesting. After their huddle, they asked what Skill Level (SL) I was.
Hold on for a second, here.
Let me tell you all RIGHT NOW that I GREATLY, GREATLY dislike discussions about skill levels in the APA.
I feel that having a long, drawn-out conversation about it is somewhat rude. I see it as the same as asking someone how much money they make for a living. Yeah, you clean toilets at Merrill Lynch and I clean toilets at Charles Schwab, but I make ten cents an hour more than you do. Why? I don’t know and *I* don’t care. We both still clean toilets.
Yeah, you’re a 5 and I’m a 5. Who the hell cares?! We’re both hacks. Neither of us is a world champion so neither of us plays good enough. Quit whining about sandbagging, you moron. Skill levels in the APA vary from state to state, region to region, league to league, and player to player. This is not news. Just because we’re the same number for a skill level doesn’t mean we play the same. Skill level ain’t nuthin’ but a numbah.
I said, “I’m a 5.”
More huddled discussion. I waited to play the next person in line. They sent up someone I shall name Mad Straw Hatter. He leaned in and whispered confidentially to me, “You don’t have to go easy on me–I’m a 6.”
Really, f—er? Thanks for your f—ing permission, jackoff.
I have a dream, that one day, throughout the great sport of billiards, men will understand that I, as a woman and a pool player, have NO DESIRE TO GO EASY ON ANYONE. I have a dream, that one day, men will realize that many, many women want to beat you down in pool as much as you want to get them drunk and into a hotel room. I have a dream, that one day, my male opponent will know, even in the very marrow of his bones, that I came to play, I came to win, and I want to win decisively, by the greatest margin possible.
I have a dream, that one day, I will no longer have to think silently, “Go easy on you? Bitch, please.”
I lost the game, and I shook hands. Mad Straw Hatter, no doubt misinterpreting my untimely scratch before the eight-ball as a signal that his debonair personality and disarming wittiness was making me melt for him like a snowball in hell, came over and insisted that we carry out the following ginormous waste of oxygen:
“So, you’re a 5?”
“You’re a sandbagger, aren’t you?” [if this is a compliment, it’s backhanded, and a real s—ty compliment]
“No. I’m a chick. I want to beat everyone in the world. I don’t sandbag.”
“I don’t know how you’re a 5. Anywhere else in the country and you’d be a 6.”
“Not in my league. My league has some tough players. Everyone plays well.”
“Oh, really? What kind of players do you have?”
“Well, let’s see. If you’re a 6 in my league, that means you can break and run two in a row, easy.”
“Oh, wow. So… You’re saying I wouldn’t be a 6 in your league?”
“Yes, sir. You would not be a 6.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m nothing in my league. You wouldn’t be much more.”
Apparently undeterred in the least by rolling thunderclouds and lightning, Mad Straw Hatter looks through the sleet at the forty-foot waves and decides it’s a FABULOUS day to go sailing. Without men like him, I suppose Columbus would never have discovered America, humanity would never have known the deliciousness of raw oysters, and Jackass: The Movie would have had only very limited success. Not every man can be a hero. Most have to settle for being dorkwads.
“I have a question for you and I want an honest answer.” [SAPP Alert at Red-Orange]
“Okay.” [all systems go, arming missile… now]
“Now, do you think you’re a 5 because you’re a girl?” [target sighted]
“Umm… I’m not sure what you’re asking.” [hold for orders]
“Well, don’t you think that maybe the APA keeps you a level lower than you should be because you’re a girl?” [target approaching]
“So, you’re saying that the APA feels like I automatically don’t play well because I’m a chick. And that’s why I’m a 5 instead of a 6.” [do you have a lock on target]
“Yes. I mean, if you were a guy, I’m CERTAIN you’d be a 6.” [negative, trying to get better position]
“You think the APA is more lenient with chicks because we’re not expected to play well?” [almost in crosshairs]
“Yes.” [locked on target]
“No, I don’t think being a girl has anything to do with me being a 5. I suspect I’m a 5 because I play like a 5 and I suck at this game. I also suspect that is why you are a 6 in your league.” [hold for orders]
“Because I play like a 6?” [fire]
“No, because you play like a 5 and you suck at this game.” [target destroyed]
Men, This Is Your Species.
Of course, after that lovely and unforgettable encounter with such a fine example of the male species, I was driven to drink.
Lucille and I had been in search of Jaeger & Red Bull earlier, but the bar in the tournament room had run out of Jaeger. So sad. Lucille, Pooh Bear, and I subsequently drifted over to the bar directly outside the tournament room. The bartender must have REALLY liked Lucille (and she really works that 1950s-style glam) because we walked away with double, maybe even triple, shots of Jaeger & Red Bull.
We were chatting in the hallway and having a good time when I got a call from our teammate Alice. I knew immediately that it was something important. Not because I’m psychic, although after that much Red Bull I could pretty much see through time, but because I’m not very good with phone calls. I prefer text messages. I’m socially awkward that way. My team knows this. I knew Alice was playing a mini-tournament in the very next room, so I couldn’t imagine what could have happened other than she had snapped the tournament off. That would be awesome.
I answered immediately, and it was Alice, indeed, but she was hysterical. The few phrases I gleaned from the rush of words included “total asshole”, “going to kill this f—er”, “so angry I’m shaking”, “ohmigod, how the hell”, and “why are people like this”. I said to hold on and I would be right there. I told Pooh Bear and Lucille we had to go see Alice right away–and don’t spill the drinks, she might need one of them.
When we met Alice, she was on the verge of tears, she was so frustrated. Apparently, what had happened was this: she was playing a match in the mini-tournament and her opponent started to slowplay her. No big deal. She had dealt with this before. Her opponent gets a group of his friends together to watch the match and they begin to heckle her. She gets a little flustered by this, and her opponent, seeing her frustration, and starts to heckle her, too.
You must understand, Alice doesn’t merit ANY of this treatment. I’m an abrasive bitch and I get into tiffs all the time, but Alice is one of the nicest, bubbliest, happiest pool players you could ever meet. She loves playing pool and really is just a doll. For someone to drive her to the verge of tears over POOL, that person would have to be a Royal Asshole.
The match between Alice and Royal Asshole went hill-hill, but she won in the end. She shook his hand (I find this amazing–I’d be incapable of any courtesy at this point except a complimentary bitch-slap or perhaps a chalk shoved up his nose), and took the scoresheet up to the tournament desk. Royal Asshole followed her and proceeds to tell her in front of everyone that she’s a bitch and shouldn’t take pool so seriously.
Well, Royal Asshole, if pool is just a game and one shouldn’t take it so seriously, why don’t you just forfeit, you ball-less bag of methane? And, if you don’t give a damn about losing, because, after all, pool is *just* a game, why call a girl a bitch because she beat you? You wanted to make a girl cry because she won? Yeah, that’s REAL nice and VERY gentlemanly of you, f—tard.
I was very, very sorry to see Alice so upset. I wish I had been there to stop the s— from flying. I’m used to this kind of treatment from guys and I’ve learned to deal with it. If you fire, I’ll fire back. Alice, on the other hand, is just a damn nice person and couldn’t be mean to you if she tried. It disturbs me greatly to see any girl have to take s— from some butt-hurt egomaniac because she can play pool well. And men wonder why more women don’t play pool.
Men, This Is Your Species.
If you EVER call any of my friends a bitch because you can’t take it that she castrated you on a pool table in spite of your most thorough sharking attempts, know this: I WILL BEAT YOUR ASS (and those of your friends, as well, if applicable) DOWN SO FAR IT MIGHT MEET UP WITH WHAT’S LEFT OF YOUR HEAD, ASSUMING YOU HAD ONE IN THE FIRST PLACE. I already have an excellent bailbonds person lined up and I am prepared to accept the consequences of my words and actions.
 : Tuesday, August 21, 2007
My team’s first match was at 8:00 a.m. Totally brutal. We were up and at ’em by 6:00, and off to the tournament room at 7:15.
We played a team of boys from… I want to say Oklahoma. It probably was Oklahoma. They were quite nice. They were so nice, in fact, that they offered to take our entire team out to dinner, win or lose.
I won my match, but we still lost, 3-1.
All right, everyone, let’s get something straight. In case you haven’t figured it out yet (and I can’t imagine you haven’t figured it out), I HATE LOSING. Yes. I do. I take any loss very badly. I always have, and I always will. Tel est ma vie.
With the team’s loss, I felt like I had lost all three matches myself. To say I was mildly irritated and ever-so-slightly depressed would be a massive understatement. However, I did a fairly good job of containing the monster, probably due to the initial shock of losing, and as our teams shook hands, the very nice team captain of the opposing team, Johnny, I believe his name was, asked me for a hug. A hug? ARE YOU F—ING SERIOUS?!
I rarely hug people (I’m not touchy-feely that way, as you can imagine, being mostly pins, needles, and napalm) and I certainly don’t hug strangers.
My teammates, to their credit, immediately stepped in between and said, “OMGWTF does not do hugs.” Johnny, in that uncomprehensive, dense and hazy state of joy that sometimes afflicts those who have just won, said, “Why, not? It’s just a hug!” My teammates asked him to give me a moment, at least, and reminded him that I did not do hugs.
I shook Johnny’s hand and said, “I don’t do hugs. Thank you, sir, and good luck.” Sir Johnny, you got away with seeing me on my absolutest, bestest behaviour. Take that memory, and RUN.
After the requisite hand-shaking, my team convened in the spectator seating area, and discussed what had happened in the match and what we could have done better. While we were talking, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned, and found Johnny there.
“Yes? Can I help you?”
“Are you serious that I can’t get a hug?”
“Yes, I am serious. No, you cannot get a hug.”
“Aww, c’mon. Why not?”
“Look, I’m the biggest bitch in the whole wide world after I lose, okay? I don’t do hugs, and I definitely don’t do hugs after I lose.”
“I don’t think you’re the biggest bitch in the world.”
“That’s real nice of you but I’m a little sad right now. Don’t make me prove that I am the biggest bitch in the world.”
At this point, his charming appeal took my team over, and they told me I should hug him, since he was so nice, and so cute.
Uh, how about… NO.
Yes, he’s very nice. Yes, he’s rather cute. But, no. I’m F—ING PISSED that I just suffered a loss, and if I could have a few moments to grieve over the chance for greatness lost, that’d be real swell.
In a tournament, I’m a pool player first, and a girl second. DO NOT flirt with me until my sorry hackety-hack-hack pool player ass has been completely knocked out of the tournament. Hell, you shouldn’t flirt with me after that, either. How about this: you wait til *I* hit on *YOU* and we’ll go from there. I know what I like, and if I want it, I’ll do something about it. If you don’t happen to like me (because you don’t happen to like pins, needles, and napalm–totally understandable), it’s no big deal. In the meantime, please leave me the f— alone and if you have to ASK me for a hug, you should know you automatically ain’t gettin’ one.
Men, This Is Your Species.
As I was walking back to my room later that afternoon Lucille was on the phone with Cinderella.
“Hey, OMGWTF, it’s Cinderella on the phone. She wants to know if you’re going to dinner with the other team tonight. They need a head count for the limo and the restaurant.”
“Lucille, you know the answer to that.”
“What do I tell her?”
“Hey, Cinderella, OMGWTF says, ‘It’s OMGWTF.'” A small pause. “Yeah, I think that means, “no”, too.”
By all accounts, the Oklahoma boys did a good job. They picked up my teammates in a limousine and took them out to a very good dinner. A merry time was had by all.
Oklahoma Boys, I apologize for not attending, but it would have been awkward for me. We would have sat there, with nothing to talk about except pool, and I would still have the memory of a loss fresh in my mind. I wouldn’t have been able to feel that the dinner was anything other than a pity party. I don’t do well with hugs and I don’t do well with pity. Actually, I don’t do well with anything, which is probably why prefer to be alone after I lose while I come to terms with my mediocrity.
Thank you, OK Boys, all the same, for treating my teammates so well.
Men, This Is *Also* Your Species.
While my teammates were joyriding in a car with an extended body, I ran into a friend, Foster, who I hadn’t seen in a long time. He had flown in just to play the mini-tournaments and was buying up spots like they were Beanie Babies in 1996. See the receipts below. (Some of you may recognize him. Now you know where he went and why he didn’t call you back!) Apparently, Foster’s rather particular about his chalk. He had a NEW piece of chalk when he arrived a day or two ago. As you can see, it’s already being worn down at a good pace.
 : Wednesday, August 22, 2007
At 8 a.m., sharp, we were back in the tournament room for another shot at history. Unfortunately, we fell heartbreakingly short, and lost 3-2. Sigh. Some of you know I’ve gone through A LOT of ridiculous physical pain in the past year or so, but, let me tell you, if going through all that again would have gotten my team just to the next round, I’d say yes in less than a heartbeat. I wanted my team to win that bad.
After the loss, I was feeling very blah. I decided I would see about getting in a mini-tournament or two to keep my mind occupied. The best way to get over a tournament is to get into another one.
I floated around the registration desk. I couldn’t get into any individual events, but I did have a doubles mini-tournament in a few hours. I was tired, but I didn’t feel like going all the way back to my room to take a nap. I dragged a chair over to a corner and figured I’d get a catnap in before I had to play.
I woke up with a start and found a guy in a wheelchair-type thing staring at me and thisclose to my face. “Whoa,” I said. “What the hell?” After scrutinizing my face for another two seconds, he began to ask me all sorts of questions about my team, who was the best player, what were everyone’s skill levels, how old they were. Eww! I extricated myself with some difficulty from the corner, blocked in as I was by that terrible vehicle and skedaddled my way back to the registration desk. Once there, I found another chair, and, after making sure I could escape from any angle, I plopped down to try and relax. I still had about an hour or two before I had to play.
I had been sitting for five or six minutes with my iPod on and was just getting back into a mode where I felt tolerant of all humanity when a Random Dude sat down next to me and started talking. He started off by telling me how great he was doing in the mini-tournaments and how he’d won almost a thousand dollars and how he was the best player in his area and how he was the crucial lynchpin in his team and how everyone on his team asked him for advice all the time even though he wasn’t the highest skill level and how he was an all around great pool player and how he didn’t just play great eight-ball he played everything else great too.
That’s… just… great.
As he prattled on, I realized I was faced with a terrible dilemma. I was very, very tired. And bummed out from the loss. The tournament room was RIDICULOUSLY cold, chairs were scarce, and I was sitting in the best spot possible for keeping an eye on what mini-tournament spots might become available. Do I a). give up my coffee-stained polyestor cushion of prime real-estate or b). stop the early death of billions of my brain cells caused by this inane chatter by leaving the room? Laziness won the day and I did my best to put my brain on powersave mode as I curled into a little pool player ball on my chair.
Random Dude continued his pontifications and I responded from time to time with a non-committal grunt or a nod.
At one point he said, “I saw you shooting over there a little while ago. You’re not bad.”
I don’t take compliments well, mostly because I know where I stand in world of pool, and I’m about knee-high to a grasshopper. However, I was too tired to be a real bitch, so all I managed to say was, “Thanks.”
“You know,” Random dude continued, “I was worried there for a second I might meet up with you in my last mini-tournament. Hahahahahahahaha!”
I gave a non-committal grunt.
“I was thinking, ‘If I run into her in the finals, I’ll split the first-second money.'”
Sigh. “I don’t think that would have happened.”
“No? You wouldn’t split or no you wouldn’t have made it to the finals?”
Remember how I hate talking about Skill Levels? Yeah. “No, I couldn’t play in your last mini-tournament. It was restricted to two skill levels only, yours and the one below.”
“So? I think you might do pretty well.”
“I’m not in that bracket. I’m one skill level above you. I’m not allowed in that tournament.”
Next followed one of the more amusingly awkward five-minute silences in my life as Random Dude tried to find something to talk about.
“Well. Hmm. Good luck to you then! Bye!” Random Dude gave me a punch in the arm and hightailed it out of the area.
Men, This Is Your Species.
The bulletin board in the Mini-Tournament Room. I found that I needed to reference the “This Is Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Etc.” sign more and more often. Vegas screws with your sense of time. And money. I got an update on the state of Foster’s chalk.
 : Thursday, August 23, 2007
When I’m at a pool tournament in Vegas, I generally have bad eating habits. I eat whatever’s open and close by to the tournament room when I have free time. As a result, I don’t do all the buffet-hopping I should. That’s probably why I’m skinny and full of angst.
Since I was out of the main event, my friends Big Buddha, Mongry, and Patrón convinced me to go to the World Buffet at the Rio Hotel. I wasn’t in full eating mode, but I had a good time.
I discovered the crab legs on my second run. Since I had a mini-tournament later that evening, I thought I’d eat about half of what I’d normally eat.
Behold, my unparalleled crab-peeling skilz.
After I got knocked out of the mini-tournament, I was still in a good mood. This is largely due to the influence of the food I ate earlier. I had a few drinks and went to take a look at this famed annual APA event known as “Poolapalooza”. Although it was a party for adults, by adults, with adult beverages, the party had to end at 11:00 p.m. Lame. What is this, high school?
Here is a picture of the dance floor.
APA, This Is Your Species.
 : Friday, August 24, 2007
I woke up in time this morning to watch one of Foster’s mini-tournaments. I was INCREDIBLY sleepy, but I managed to drag myself to the tournament room to try and do my spectator duty. I hit some balls to try and stay awake, but it was in vain. I told Foster, “Dude, I hope you win, but I gotta go sleep. Good luck, man.”
And then I spent a few more hours in glorious snoozedom. Here is a picture of his chalk.
Here’s a lovely light fixture from the Venetian. Each of the amber-colored hanging crystals costs about $48. If you’re bored, count ’em and let me know how much the whole thing costs.
Anyways… Moving on…
Here is the daily menu from Delmonico’s. If you’re not scared of prices slightly higher than those at Denny’s, you can click on the two photos below for larger versions. I apologize for the poor quality of some of the photographs. I didn’t want to disturb the other diners with the camera flash.
The amuse-bouche from the chef was a creamy lobster mousse served on a tiny round of puff pastry. Amuse-bouche translates to “mouth-amuser” in French, and are tiny bite-sized morsels served before the hors d’œuvre or first course of a meal. This one was badass. That is an adult beverage in the background. On the right we have Emeril’s BBQ Shrimp appetizer.
A closeup of a delectable BBQ shrimp. Brutal, isn’t it? Please don’t salivate on your computer screens. It was so very, very tasty. Mmm mmm good.
I followed this appetizer with the Sliced Tomato Salad (with Shaved Red Onions, Bleu Cheese, and Herb Vinaigrette). I’m generally skeptical of the quality of bleu cheeses at anywhere except the finest restaurants–so it was nice that Delmonico’s was one of the finest restaurants and the bleu cheese was F—ing Awesome.
Patrón had the French Onion Soup, which was also F—ing Awesome.
The Caesar Salad was made fresh, tableside. The lettuce leaves were kept wrapped in linen and unwrapped just after the dressing (made fresh tableside from lemon juice, eggs, garlic, oil, black pepper, and anchovies) was made. A few grinds of fresh black pepper was placed on each plate prior to plating the salad. This was a neat technique I had never seen before.
Finally, the meat.
Big Buddha and Patrón ordered the chateaubriand (a fancy way of saying Giant Tenderloin). Mongry ordered the filet.
I had the bone-in ribeye. Anything less would have ruined my reputation as a steak connoisseur. It had been wet-aged four weeks and dry-aged four weeks, for a total of eight weeks of tenderizing. That’s a two-month steak. The razor-sharp steak knife at this point was a mere formality. The butter knife cut the steak just as well.
Sides included the bestest broccoli I have ever eaten, Smashed Potatoes with garlic, and Blue Crab Risotto which came in their own cast-iron casseroles. All were F—ing Awesome.
No, I’m sorry, the torture does not end here. I couldn’t let you off that easy. For dessert, we had Emeril’s signature Banana Cream Pie. That was the absolute nuts.
Thank you, Big Buddha and Mongry, for your incomparable roulette skilz that made dinner possible. Thank you, also, Patrón–and also the guy that bought your cue case–for your generosity. I bow down in unworthiness to Your Greatnesses.
 : Saturday, August 25, 2007
After I hit a few balls this morning, it was time to head home. On my way out of the Riviera convention center, I passed this little dude:
I’ve seen him at his post for many, many years now. He is ever-vigilant, and never runs out of batteries. I bet you all have seen him, too. 🙂
 : Sunday, August 26, 2007
Well, I’m back home and completely, thoroughly, done with barbox pool. But, wait. I’m a masochist. And I’m lazy. That means I walked to my neighborhood bar where I played a lame-ass game of eight-ball, and went home.
 : Monday, August 27, 2007
I played a few games at lunch today, and found that yes, I am still completely and thoroughly done with barbox pool. But, I’m still too lazy to go all the way to a pool hall and shoot some on a full-size table.
An anorexic breadstick. And, would you like some bread with your butter?
One of my all-time favorites. CARPACCIO! Damn, that stuff is good. I’m always sad when it comes down to the last bite.
Our lovely Alaskan Black Cod entree. Simple and delicious.
And tiramisu to top it all off. It was a lot of tiramisu. We admitted defeat.
 : Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I played very well (even by my standards) at league today. This is probably due to residual crankiness of having lost in Las Vegas. Oh, well. Thems the breaks, kiddo. 😉
My drinking team was back to dealing with their pool problem. Random men were back to being retards. In particular, one guy who wasn’t involved in the match we were playing (he was just an innocent bystander) insisted on finding out who the best player on our team was because he wanted to see if he could beat that person. He pestered us nonstop about this.
Go woof at Mr. Van Boening if you want to find your bar-balls. Leave us small fry the f— alone. We just want to eat, drink, and play pool. We’re not interested in having a dick-fencing duel with you, because, you might have noticed, we don’t have dicks to defend–and that’s a lot more dick than you have.
That is all.
This is quite possibly the longest blog post I have ever written. I was up all night writing this, and frankly, I’m amazed at the crap my team went through. If you enjoy it, please consider making a donation so that I can feel this writing is worth something and buy my friends some alcohol-based therapy.