stuff that has recently made me happy
money cannot buy happiness, but it can, however, rent it
Food: Gold Raisins
I like these better than the dark ones and I don’t know why.
People: Animal Rescuers
You may remember the ethereal kitty, Her Royal Highness Princess Allie Kat, from last week’s post.
Here are a few words from her rescuer:
Allie Kat is such an affectionate kitty, and I’m glad we captured her after she was abandoned when she was 6 months old. She’s now almost 5 years. I encourage everyone everywhere to take in abandoned animals through shelters or just because of negligence. They love you so much in return!!
And there you have it, folks. If you are feeling unloved by the pool gods (as I am), get yourself a case of the warm fuzzies and adopt a pet from a shelter.
Now if only someone would adopt me, feed me, and let me do nothing but snooze in sunbeams all day…
Check out the video below that my friend Selyem sent me. Highly amusing.
Uncategorized: Being Lazy
That’s what I was yesterday, and that’s why you’re reading this today.
It is by the grace of chocolate and caffeine that you are reading this today, and not tomorrow.
Poll: The Silver Bullet
Vote and give me something to think about, which could lead to something for me to rant about, which ultimately means you shall somehow be entertained…
the good, the bad, & the ugly
blondie, angel eyes, & tuco
I hopped on a plane at 11:00 p.m. Thursday night. Three-and-a-half hours later, I landed in peachy-keen Atlanta, Georgia. Two hours after that, I was back on a (alarmingly rickety) plane. And one-and-a-half hours after that, this is what I saw from my window:
Land of cream cheese, cheesesteaks, brotherly love, and next-door neighbor to the Super Billiards Expo at the Valley Forge Convention Center.
None of my planes were late (or crashed, yippee), so I got in at 11:00 a.m. EST. Half the battle for me is making it to the tournament, y’know? After a long wait, I got on a shuttle and was plodding towards the clusterf—ed triad of the Scanticon, the Radisson, and the Valley Forge Convention Center.
At the hotel, I changed out of my traveling clothes and found out that a bottle of perfume (no idea why I brought it, I don’t wear perfume) I had packed had been damaged during the flight. So, if I smelled like a little old lady wearing too much perfume when I met you — it’s because that’s what I am.
According to my reconnaissance team which had arrived days before, I had drawn a bye in the first round and matches were set to begin at 7:00 p.m. The flights hadn’t been terrible (although I couldn’t remember if I slept or not) so I decided I would rather play slightly tired instead of taking a nap and risk playing sluggishly (or missing the match by oversleeping) later on. Besides, there were a lot of people at this event that I only met once a year and I had precious few hours to see them.
I stopped by the SpiderTAR booth (a joint venture between The Action Report and Dave Segal) and you may or may not have heard me blathering on about nothing of importance on the stream. In my semi-fatigued state, I forgot to take pictures of the setup. It was a nice little nook, with a Diamond barbox (on free play, mind you) and cameras for the online streaming.
At the SpiderTAR booth, I also met G and her husband, Mr. G, both extremely nice people. G is super-skilled in the craftiness department and she made me a quilt and two bowls made from the quilting fabric! Her ninja mastery of the needle and thread knows no bounds. I cannot adequately describe the coolness of these items in words, so just look at (and click on) the photographs below:
Confronted with this peerless display of homemaking hustlage, I could only humbly proffer my thanks in the form of a teensy little crystal pendant I had made in G’s favorite colors using my considerably less ninja crafty skills:
It is woefully inadequate when compared to a handmade quilt and its lifesaving properties to cold-blooded animals such as myself. I have already spent many moments wrapped up like a burrito in its bright embrace as I meditated upon the frustrations of pool and formulated plans on how to defeat the game.
Thanks so much, G and Mr. G!
While the first-round matches for the women’s tournament were all scheduled for 7:00 p.m., there was no information about when the second-round matches would be. I milled about aimlessly for a while and checked frequently, but no one had any idea of the time frame for the matches. Finally, after a few hours, it was announced that the second round would be at 9:00 p.m. By that time, it was already 7:00 p.m.
Two hours in a tournament environment is very little time for me. There was no time to eat and digest, or take a nap. I got some coffee and tried to stay awake.
Finally, it was time to play…
Why, that would be the way I played.
My opponent was Brittany Bryant, of WPBA, World Junior Championships, and Canadian(-eh?) fame. The format of the women’s tournament was single-elimination, best two out of three races, and races to four, alternating break.
I don’t remember much, but then, one wouldn’t expect to remember much after being hit by a truck, no? Other than one (1) nice carom, and one (1) super-spiffy ball-spinning safety, I can’t remember playing well at all. The match went by very quickly and I lost both sets 4-2. Since the tournament was single-elimination, once I was out, I was out for good.
A few weeks ago, I took a bus 75 miles, one way, to go 0-2. This time, I took a plane 2,607 miles, one way, to go 0-1. Continuing with this theme, I feel now that I should travel to Antarctica, march with the penguins on their annual migration, and then forfeit an imaginary match due to hypothermic oversleeping.
As crappy as all this was, this match had a redeeming factor…
the surprisingly nice
Ms. Bryant had a good number of supporters loudly cheering her on at the match. At one point, they began to cheer my scratches and my misses. This was nothing new to me. In my lifetime, I have been (and still am) widely unpopular and similar (and much worse) shenanigans have taken place at many matches I have played. This was not so bad — I saw the pooligans more as cheering on their friend rather than actively willing me to lose. It was mildly unpleasant, but it was part of the game.
Thus, it was with some surprise that I heard Ms. Bryant tell the band of merry men to stop cheering the scratches and misses.
I’ve been in situations like this before, but my opponent has never asked his or her supporters to desist from cheering my scratches and misses. At best, my opponents in those cases have looked slightly embarassed and might surreptitiously apologize after the match. At worst, they’ve actively participated in the pooliganism themselves.
Thank you, Ms. Bryant for your sportsmanship.
Well, that was the end of my tournament and now, it was time to soothe the battered soul with alcohol. As some of you may have heard, there is an annual private party at Valley Forge that is a lot of fun. There is a lot of alcohol and it is a great chance to catch up with pool players from across the country. Sometimes, there are party crashers, but they have all been “dealt with”.
This year, the Radisson offered the party organizers one of their famous themed room. The prehistoric room was chosen and dubbed “The Cave”.
Here is a photograph of the party in full swing. See if you can recognize anyone. 🙂
I found a bottle of Skyy grape-infused vodka. Curious, I opened it and took a sniff. Yuck. It smelled just like Dimetapp, that artifically-grape-flavored cough syrup. I let my better half take a whiff, and yuck, he agreed it smelled like Dimetapp.
Of course, we then had to see if it actually tasted like Dime-A-Crapp.
I felt that opening a (free) bottle of liquor, saying, “yuck”, then tasting it and saying, “blech”, was a tad ungrateful. I put my mad scientist hat on and combined the grape-infused vodka with the closest mixer at hand — cranberry juice.
The concoction was surprisingly tasty and no longer had the cough-syrup taste. It was even better over ice. You could definitely get messed up quick on this stuff. Since vodka and cranberry juice is universally known as a “Cape Cod”, I decided to name this drink “Grape Cod”. Here is the formula:
As I drank my Grape Cod, I received yet more gifts.
I got a large bag of Barbara’s famous cinnamon pecans, also known as “The Nutz”. The Nutz are made from a secret recipe closely guarded by a pack of rottweilers, Colonel Sanders’ ghost, and a leprechaun.
Heater gave me a Jaw Jacker made from a polymer.
The Action Report also gave me a copy of the 2009 DCC Efren Reyes vs SVB match.
Thank you all so much.
Here is a picture of Dennis Dieckman with:
- a box of salad
- a serving of “brown liquor”
- a plastic knife in his ear
I took the picture to make sure the Grape Cod wasn’t making me hallucinate. It wasn’t.
After a few hours of socializing, I was feeling tired so we said adios to The Cave and headed back to our room. Along the way, I got the bright idea of seeing what the action area looked like.
As you can see, it was a recycler’s paradise. I noticed this fine gentleman nodding off and I wondered what he might be dreaming about. I drew a thought bubble to illustrate my guess. If I am wrong, contact me and I’ll fix it.
Naturally, I then looked up to see what was boring this man to zzz’s.
It was a match between John and the Puerto Rican Coalition.
They were playing race for $10,000. Throughout the whole event, John had been the center of the major action, either playing the Puerto Rican Coalition himself or backing Jeanette “The Black Widow” Lee against their agents.
RUMOR ALSO HAS IT that Pamela Cimarelli played Shane Van Boening for a good size chunk of dough getting the breaks and the five-out on a bar table. An EVEN MORE RUMOROUS RUMOR (i.e., this is NOT verified to be true, it is just HEARSAY) has it that Ms. Cimarelli gave birth to a child and then proceeded directly to Valley Forge and jumped in on the action.
As you may have guessed by now, I don’t publish everything that I see or hear. I don’t really want to turn into a billiards tabloid. But, if this bit of info is true, that’s dedication on a level I don’t think anyone can match and I just HAD to mention it.
So much for guys and their “Got balls?” shirts. Women should start wearing shirts that say, “Got uterus?”
I stayed a long time watching the action and by the time I left, it was almost dawn. I had been awake for over 24 hours and it was time to crash.
Surprisingly, I slept for only a short time. I got up in time for breakfast and dragged my better half off to the cafe for fooding fun. The cafe’s main draw was the breakfast buffet but I didn’t feel like having food that had been sitting in a spotlight for a few eons.
I got my favorite, corned beef hash.
My better half got eggs Benedict.
Both were quite tasty.
After breakfast, we returned to the action area where my better half played on some of the tables and I just sat around being lazy.
At one point, an Asian guy began woofing at the entire room to play. This culminated in a few people getting together to flip coins for a thousand or two each flip. This, naturally, led to more woofage and offers of
- fighting for money
- armwrestling for money
- thumbwrestling for money
I took the picture below when the insults began to fly about certain peoples’ thumbwrestling skills.
Neither the fighting, armwrestling, or thumbwrestling developed into anything special so all parties involved turned instead to rolling dice. This went on for a few minutes until security came to break up the dice game.
I can’t remember when I left the action area since being down there is not unlike being in a casino. You lose sense of time because there are no windows. Or clocks.
When I did go to sleep, I slept for a very long time.
Regrettably, it was Sunday and almost time for me to leave when I woke up. I spent the last couple of hours poking around the vendors. I went to see Jack Justis, one of the greatest casemakers of our time.
When he saw me, Mr. Justis simply pointed at me and said, “Hack.”
As you may or may not know, I own one of Mr. Justis’ custom cases as a result of internet warfare. Here are some photographs of this magnificent case. (You can click on the photographs for larger versions.)
That shiny beaded strip on the back of the case is stingray skin. I had a pleasant discussion with Mr. Justis about the case. He said that while he was working on this case, he told himself that he’d never work with stingray again. In the course of making my case he broke over a dozen needles and some cutters because stingray skin is not so much leather as it is armor. Those little beads are little beads of bone. Sewing it was not unlike trying to sew sheet metal. The beauty of this case is a testament to Mr. Justis’ skill and perseverance, and I *HIGHLY* recommend getting a custom case from him. It is worth the wait and it is worth the money (whether the money is yours or someone else’s, hee hee hee).
Thank you, Mr. Justis for making me the greatest case ever!
This case is a 1 of 1 and if anyone out there wants it, you can pry it from my cold, dead polymer Jaw Jacked hands. And if you do, my ghost will come and haunt you. And pelt you with chalk whenever you play pool.
If you’d like one of my HACK t-shirts, click here. They are available in several different colors as well as black so go nutz! 🙂
Just before I left, I was able to get this fabulous photograph of Sarah “Heartbreaker” Rousey with her eyes open!
The dude on the right is some pool player named Mika “Iceman” Immonen. I think he’s practicing to be a catalogue model.
I didn’t have the time or the inclination to pay the admission fees to catch the professional events so no reports on the highest echelons of pool. Also, I didn’t know there was even a women’s event! OMG! WTF? In the future, I’ll ask for a press pass and if they feel it proper to bestow said pass on this lowly blogger, then I will be able to continue observing the professionals in their natural habitat.
Before I shot out the door, I snagged a new 1 x 1 case to replace my old case, which is now broken beyond repair. My old case was given to me years ago when I was at a tournament in Arizona. At that time, I didn’t have a case at all and kept my cue together with rubber bands. A spectator in the tournament gave me the case free of charge. As a result, it has ever been known as the Charity Case. It’s been to multiple tournaments and multiple states. The lining has fallen apart and it is now not much more than a plastic tube with a strap. The bottom has been repaired repeatedly with packing tape and duct tape, as fashion trends allow. The little tag on the zipper isn’t gold anymore, but it still boldly says “Action”. It’s been through much and has finally given up the ghost.
So long, old pal.
I regret not having the time to talk to or meet everyone and hopefully, we shall all meet again in the future. My two-and-a-half days at Valley Forge were all too short (not unlike myself) and I will try to make it for the full duration next year.
Upon reflection, I felt like there were more people at the event this year than last year, even with the crappy economy. However, I think less of them gambled high or bought things from the vendors, and probably just stuck to the tournaments. Regardless, I hope everyone did well and enjoyed themselves.
The next Super Billiards Expo will be held March 18-21, 2010.
See you then.