interesting articles & websites
because it’s Monday and you don’t believe it
|Ancient tribe becomes extinct as last member dies|
|The last member of an ancient tribe that has inhabited an Indian island chain for around 65,000 years has died, a group that campaigns for the protection of indigenous peoples has said.
|Hello Botox, Bye-Bye Sadness—But Not for the Reasons You Think|
|Paralyzing the “frown” muscles also inhibits the ability to understand anger and sadness.
if you keep making that face it’ll stay that way forever...
|The New Math on Campus|
|Another ladies’ night, not by choice.|
|pool has the opposite situation|
|British researcher asks: How many friends can you have?|
|The magic number is 150.
that’s about ten times more than I can handle
|Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord|
|Filipinos, who pride themselves on their singing, may have a lower tolerance for bad singers.
the New York Times did this story… really
bartender I really did it this time
broke my parole to have a good time
My New Year’s Resolution did not include a provision to play more pool. This is because I knew the factors that determine whether or not I play more pool are not necessarily in my hands. I haven’t been able to play more than once a week at the moment thanks to people at my work deciding to have babies all at the same time. It is unfortunate that they could not tailor their babymaking schedule around my tournament schedule, but there you have it. Such is life.
The rarity of practice time for me, of course, makes it now that much more valuable and like all valuable things, I protect it that much more.
Not too long ago, I had a rare chance to go practice. When I got to the pool room after work, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were a few tables open. In particular, all the tables on the left side of the room had been taken. I was very happy to take a table on the right, deserted side of the room. I did not need company. I needed quality practice time.
I started by throwing the balls out on the table and enjoying the relaxation of pocketing balls — I would start the drills that make up the bulk of my practice session in a little while. I usually ended my practice session with running balls, but today, I felt like sneaking dessert before dinner. I had only batted balls around for maybe twenty minutes or so when the table next to me was rented out to two younger dudes, one in a striped shirt (what is it with dudes and striped shirts) and the other in a beret. Yes. A beret. While I found it odd that these two obviously social players had decided to take a table in the darkest corner of the pool room, I figured there was plenty of space for all of us and didn’t think too much of it.
Soon, I had to think a bit about it.
Although I had my iPod on as usual, I was still very aware of the players on the other table. I tried to avoid bumping into them. I made sure to stay out of their way as much as possible when they were shooting, and if they were in my way when I was going to shoot a shot, I would simply select another shot to shoot. I knew I couldn’t depend on other people to stay out of my way, so I tried, as much as possible, to stay out of theirs.
As conscientious as I was, I seemed to constantly be in the way of the Striped Shirt Guy — or, he seemed to constantly be in my way. It seemed that when I wanted to shoot a shot from the side both tables adjoined, he’d immediately want to shoot a shot on that side as well. Okay. I would then move to the other side of the table. Then, he needed to borrow the bridge from my table — which happened to be on the side I was on. I silently pointed out to him that there was a bridge under his table. Then, he needed to borrow the rack from my table. Once again, I wordlessly pointed out that there was a rack hanging under his table as well and he had no need to borrow mine. He would absent-mindedly take chalk from my table and move it to his. I’d move the chalk back when he wasn’t looking. In addition to all this, he kept trying to make eye contact which I stubbornly refused to make. Finally, he resorted to laughing EXTREMELY loudly. I mean, REDONKULOUSLY loud. I merely turned up the volume on my iPod in response, without casting a glance in his direction. I bore all this patiently because a). I have to, in this pool room, and b). I believed Striped Shirt Guy was drunk and as long as he didn’t directly interfere with me or my game, I’d let his weak-ass passive-aggressive ignorance pass.
Finally, I got tired of that infernal ballet of avoidance. I stopped running balls and reverted to drills, which was probably a better practice move for me, anyways. The drills I liked to do keep me at the foot of the table where the ball return is. This setup allowed me to shoot a shot as many times as I liked without having to move from my spot very much. Thus, I was out of the way of the people next to me and vice versa. Striped Shirt Guy continued his LOUD laughing and was still trying to make eye contact but it was now much easier for me to ignore him.
This is me avoiding confrontation.
This is me doing the right thing.
Soon, I was completely absorbed in my drills and the new playlist I had assembled. I was very, very much enjoying myself. After a long week of extra hours for less pay, this was the moment I had been waiting for — the time that made my sometimes crappy job worth going to. I could tell I was rusty from lack of practice but this gave me a reason to bear down and focus all the more. I was shooting a very thin middle of the table cut shot when something seemed to fall on the table behind the object ball. The object looked to be a big fuzzy ball. I blinked several times to clear my vision.
It was a human head.
Unfortunately, it was still attached to a human body.
Correction: it was attached to some idiot slapdick.
The mass of gray and brown hair raised itself from the table and revealed the sunburnt face of an older man who was clearly very buzzed, if not outright drunk. I frowned sternly at him. He straightened up and I could see that he was rather portly, not very tall, and wearing a rainbow plaid shirt. He indicated with his hands that I should continue to shoot. I shook my head. He backed off a step or two and indicated again with his hands that I should continue to shoot. I shook my head and leaned against the table, indicating that if he wanted a staring contest, I was more than willing to oblige — but I was not going to continue shooting while he remained close to the table. I glared at him for a good while before he seemed to get the message. He shrugged his shoulders, made a motion of surrender with his hands, and backed away. I kept my eye on him until he was back to his own table at the far end of the room. Only then did I resume practice.
Another twenty minutes or went by and I had moved on to shooting a forcefollow shot where the object ball is frozen on the side rail. It’s not a difficult shot, but it is by no means an easy shot. I was having some problems with it and the object ball would rattle in the pocket, but wouldn’t go in. I became thoroughly engrossed in this drill and was making observations and minor adjustments with each new attempt. Suddenly, that same giant fuzzy ball as before descended on the rail in front of the object ball. I was very taken off guard and I yelped. It was Rainbow Plaid, again. He raised his head from the rail and grinned at me.
I was furious.
He pointed at the object ball stuck on the rail and shook his head slowly from side to side while clicking his tongue, as if to indicate that it was a very difficult shot. Although I was supremely pissed off at this point, I still refused to speak. In my experience, talking to idiots only served to encourage further idiocy. I preferred to save my words for when they were absolutely necessary. Again, I glared at him and shook my head. He smiled at me. When he saw that I was not going to smile back, his smiled disappeared. When he saw that the look of unmistakable hatred in my eyes was truly hatred and truly unmistakable, he straightened up, shrugged as he did before, and turned to walk away. I stepped warily towards the table, ready to resume practice.
Rainbow plaid took a step away, then turned back, moved the object ball off the rail with his finger, and then began walking away while chuckling to himself.
I don’t know if he thought he was being cute (which he wasn’t — his face looked like something Jabba the Hutt regurgitated in the throes of stomach flu), doing me favor (“here little girl, you should try shooting the ball off the rail — it’ll be easier!”), or simply being jerk (ding ding ding — we have a winner) by that little stunt.
Rainbow Plaid was trying to provoke a reaction out of me. Specifically, he wanted some sort of interaction besides the stone-silent glaring contests we had been having. He wanted me to engage him in conversation, even if the conversation would be mostly composed of me spitting profanities at him. He was headed for the nearby restroom and I knew that once he got there, he’d have asylum. Because, really, who the f— is going to instigate any sort of confrontation with a dude headed to the s—ter? Once he got into his porcelain palace, he could chuckle to himself that he’d pissed me off and escaped to laugh about it. Meanwhile, all I would be able to do was be pissed off and helpless.
Annoying, isn’t it?
To have your hands tied, figuratively speaking?
At least my hands weren’t tied, literally speaking.
I was pretty much at the point of slugging Rainbow Plaid in the face. Think about it. I have a whole week’s worth of stress and work banked up. All I want to do is play a little pool to release that stress a little at a time. This f—ing slapdick is taking away the only thing I’ve looked forward to all week and pretty much the only thing that could make me happy. Oh yes, he was incredibly worthy of a right hook.
However, there was one problem: he was definitely beyond arm-length, and by the time he got out of the can, my initial reactionary fury would have no doubt subsided to be replaced by the much cooler, legally-friendly entity known as Reason. I watched Rainbow Plaid walk away and knew that in a few seconds, he’d close that restroom door and I’d be s— out of luck (no pun intended). There was no way I could vault over the table and make up that distance in those few seconds. And, no doubt, a dickless wonder like him would retreat screaming into the bathroom if he heard me running after him.
You do what you can, with what you have, when you have it.
I wound up and launched the cube of chalk in my hand.
This is me not avoiding confrontation.
This is me not doing the right thing.
The cube of chalk hit Rainbow Plaid square in the back of the head with a crisp “doink!” right before he made it to the restroom. He looked up and around as if he thought something had dropped from the ceiling to hit him in the back of the head. Hilarity.
This is me feeling a lot better.
While Rainbow Plaid was in the can, Reason returned as the dominant force governing my actions and I went to enlist the help of the (rather large) security guard. I told him what Rainbow Plaid had been doing and emphasized that I had tried to avoid confrontation. The security guard seemed a bit unsure and said he would wait and see what Rainbow Plaid would do once he came out of the restroom.
I was back at the foot of the table setting up a shot when Rainbow Plaid walked out of the restroom, belt-hitching and all. I stood at the foot of the table, staring impassively at the shot. Rainbow Plaid sidled up to my left and said in a sleazy voice, “What’s your name, sweetie?” I turned to the right and looked at the security guard. I waved him over. Meanwhile, Rainbow Plaid was making kissing noises. Gross. What a total f—tard. I remained expressionless.
The security guard came over, and said, “Hey. Hey! She doesn’t want to talk to you, okay?”
Rainbow Plaid continued murmuring unintelligibly, oblivious to everything.
“Hey, man! She doesn’t want to talk to you!”
Rainbow Plaid seemed to notice for the first time that a VERY large man was standing next to me yelling at him. He flinched and, hilariously, halfway put his hands up before realizing that a). the security guard was not the police, and b). the security guard wasn’t even wearing a uniform. This realization didn’t change the fact that the security guard was still a very large man. Rainbow Plaid squeaked an apology and left.
After thanking the security guard, I turned back to my table with much relief. I noticed it was rather quiet. I looked to my right and saw that Striped Shirt Guy and the beret-wearer were standing very still and looking at me with wide eyes. They had seen the whole incident. Striped Shirt Guy didn’t seem so drunk now. As I reached for a cube of chalk, he jumped and ran behind a cocktail table.
For the rest of my practice session, Striped Shirt Guy was quiet, gave me plenty of room, and when he wasn’t shooting, he sat behind the cocktail table.
All in all, it was a pleasant evening.
but what you really want to know is
How much are those danged mugs?!
After taking all the averages of the votes, the final price you, the blog-reading public, have settled on is… $23.
Shipping for one mug will be $5, two to four will be $10. If you are planning to get more than two, you should wait until I have all of your requests done so I can ship them all at once. If you’re in Los Angeles, we can figure out a place for you to pick them up, if you like.
Each order will take about two weeks, depending on my workload, pool schedule (if I am so lucky), and the studio which fires the mugs. The absolute fastest I could produce a mug and send it to your doorstep (if you are in dire need of one for yourself or as a gift), would be a week and I would charge extra for the rush order.
Your current options are (you’ll have to use your imagination with the unfired mugs — I’ll update the photographs as soon as I get new ones):
|Nice Big Cup of STFU
The original Sarcastic Ceramic, and #1 in the Critter Collection.
|You Make My Day When You Go Away
#2 in the Critter Collection.
It works on so many levels. 8-Ball version will also be available.
Email me what you’d like and I’ll get crackin’ on it this Wednesday.