|in this issue of OMGWTFcritterific fruit & food tour
a new sibling
weekly reading assortment
takin’ it easy
a highly indecent proposal
Things That Have Recently Made Me Happy
I am surprisingly optimistic in person
Nature & Food: Fruit trees
This past weekend, Iron Chef and his fiancee Allie Kat of the West were nice enough to whisk me out of the City for a day while I took a teensy break from pool. We went up the coast to visit IronChef’s parents. I had been to Casa de Iron Chef before, but had never really paid attention the trees around their house. I examined them more closely this time and was thrilled to find that it was basically a miniature orchard.
Critter shall take you on the tour.
Here we have some unripe persimmons.
On the left, we have the last loquats of the season. On the right, we have limes.
An absolutely huge avocado tree was another tenant of the grounds as well.
Allie Kat’s favorite was the fig tree, currently completely loaded with ripening figs.
The mango on the left was a gift from a neighbor, and that particular variety has been deemed the best. A nice little harvest of tomatoes cheers up Critter on the right.
There were also orange, lemon, and peach trees that I was not able to get good pictures of due to a recent storm that had blown off the flowers and thus, there was no fruit. 🙁 All the same, I am completely amazed (and extremely jealous) of the mini organic orchard they have.
People & Food: Asian moms feeding their kids’ stray friends
It’s no surprise that one of the standard Chinese greetings is, “Did you eat yet?”. Iron Chef, his mother, his father, and Allie Kat all combined forces to produce a delish dinner. The kitchen only comfortably fit four people so I just stayed the hell out of the way.
These are sauteed pea sprouts, definitely one of my favorite vegetable dishes. For an added kick, Iron Chef’s mom added… BACON BITS! That’s fusion cooking at its finest.
This is a stirfry of bean sprouts, celery, and enoki mushrooms.
Another stirfry, this time of cabbage, pork, and rice noodles. It is flavored generously with cracked black pepper. Yummers. This closely resembles the Filipino dish known as “pancit”.
Here we have fish fillets braised in a sauce of spicy beans, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and green onions. It is served over a bed of noodles. Ridiculously awesome.
And finally, steamed striped bass with a light sauce of ginger, green onions, and soy sauce. This is a standard Chinese method of cooking fish and it really highlights the fresh flavor and texture of good fish — assuming you have good, fresh fish, of course.
I am hungry now.
That is all.
Random: New sibling
No, not a human one, but a feathered one. My mom just got a new pet (this is amazing — she has never had anything besides fish, really), a tiny (for the moment) yellow parakeet. Ever since my brother and I grew up (using the terms loosely — I am obviously quite juvenile in my behavior and rants) and moved out, my mom has had the house all to her neat-as-a-pin self. Now, there’s a new kid on the block.
Here he is, caught in the act of munching on my mom’s Christmas cactus, his favorite (and forbidden) snack!
According to my brother, this lil dude is pretty smart. He knows how to get out of his cage, and will do so when bored. He’ll explore the house, nibble on the plants, and generally just have a ball flying here and there. When he gets hungry, he sneaks back into his cage to be fed.
Random: Interesting articles to pass the day
The Only Big Mouths Were the Fish
My short, bewildering seasons covering the professional bass circuit.
Powerful Ideas: Fungus Sex Forced for Fuel
Helping a fungus have sex could lead to better ways of making biofuels, scientists now suggest.
Researchers Identify Cells That Say ‘Scratch Me’
Got an itch to scratch? Scientists have pinpointed a key group of cells that sends itch-alerts to the brain.
My Father The Dope Dealer
When I was young, we lived the high life. Then it all went up in smoke.
Drives of a Lifetime
Sometimes it’s the journey, sometimes it’s the destination—and sometimes, it’s both. National Geographic Traveler has scoured the globe for the world’s most beautiful, interesting, and off-beat road trips.
TAR XVI: Godzilla vs CanuckGodzilla
just kidding, it’s really Oscar Dominguez [USA] vs John Morra [CAN]
When it comes to big matches streamed live, no one does it better than The Action Report (TAR). This year alone they’ve brought us the likes of Darren Appleton, Dennis Hatch, Chris Bartram, John Schmidt, Rodney Morris, Shane Van Boening, and Scott Frost — and those are just the formal matches. They’ve also covered impromptu action at events across the country such as the Derby City Classic and the BCAPL National 8-Ball Championships.
At the BCAPL National 8-Ball Championships this year, Oscar Dominguez and John Morra were one of the impromptu action matches TAR streamed live (and for free, mind you) over the internet. These two had matched up for thousand-dollar races to eleven 10-ball, freeze up two thousand. Mr. Morra came out the winner of that session, with the final set going hill-hill. It was an excellent, edge-of-your-seat match.
Some of you may remember I had the privilege of watching that match from the best seat in the house — the commentator’s booth. 😉
And now… Round Two!
|OB Cues and TheActionReport.comTAR 16: Morra vs Dominguez
On the weekend of September 25-27 at Hard Times Billards in Bellflower California two of the best young lions in the pool world will face off in a $20,000 winner take all challenge match.
Hometown favorite Oscar Dominguez has made a charge up the pro rankings this year while keeping a busy schedule of college courses and work with his father Ernesto, one of the most well renowned table mechanics in the country.
|His opponent John Morra hails from Canada and is a TAR match veteran. John has been on the road this summer doing very well in action matches all over the United States. He is coming into Los Angeles on a mission to take down the local favorite.The match is Ten Ball, winner breaks, race to one hundred games over three days. The match begins Friday September 25 with the players racing to thirty five. Play continues on Saturday with the competitors playing until one reaches seventy total victories. The final day of the match is Sunday when the player will play until one reaches one hundred total wins and claims the $20,000 winner take all prize. Play begins at 8 PM Eastern Time all three days.
This young guns clash will be available to watch LIVE via online pay per view streaming on www.theactionreport.com. Pricing for the stream is $25 for all three days, $20 for the final two days only and $15 for the final day only. The match will feature three camera coverage and commentary along with live scoring and player interviews.
We would like to thank our match sponsors OB Cues, CSI (CueSports International) which is the parent group of BCA Pool Leagues and the new USA Pool League, AZ Billiards the best online pool site for news and information about the game and Diamond Billiard Products makers of the finest pool tables and equipment in the world. The Action Report is proud to be supported by these fine companies and we thank them for all of their help. Please support the companies that support the game.
For any questions about the pay per view or the match please contact:
takin’ it easy
my life is average
I have decided to cut back a on the traveling and take a little vacation, if only for this month. Apologies are in order since I won’t be going on any road trips or attending any big-ass billiards events for now.
Q & A
the OMG mystique
I only got one lonely piece of mail in the inbox for this Q&A. I had better responses in a previous episode, but I think that was due to the fact that my identity hadn’t been “outed” yet. If you read my blog regularly, you probably know me better than I know myself by now.
Today’s inquiry is from reader P.H.
please, PLEASE get yourself a driver’s license. it seems u get more s*** riding on buses than anything else. while i enjoy ur blog, i don’t think my selfish entertainment, or anyone else’s, is worth your personal well being. plus, traveling long hours on a bus no doubt can fatigue you and hurt your performance at tournaments or matches. not to mention the mental drainage, since you have to be on guard while riding the bus.
yes, a car is expensive, but it’s worth it in the long run. please give this some serious consideration. at least try to get rides for tournaments. i patiently await your response in your upcoming post.
I guess this is not so much of a question as it is a request. Let me respond to the best of my ability.
I’m in no hurry to get a driver’s license because I am in no hurry to get a car. They are expensive, as is the maintenance, insurance, and fuel costs associated with them. However, it would probably amuse you that one of the top reasons for not having a vehicle out here is the lack of parking. It is so horribly crowded on my side of town that one can circle for hours looking for parking in the evenings if one is not lucky enough to have parking at home or at the apartment. Parking, then, comes at a ridiculously premium price. That is yet another added cost.
I would say that I feel quite safe on the bus. There have been incidents and skirmishes, but overall, I do not feel threatened and being vigilant has contributed to my well-being.
Speaking of vigilance, you mention that being perpetually on guard is mentally draining. I don’t disagree with this. Traveling long hours does also fatigue me sometimes, but I already know that is a consequence of taking the bus. I understand that when I arrive at a tournament, I will most likely be mentally and physically tired, but it doesn’t bother me. It is part of the price I pay in order to play in the tournament — no different than an entry fee to me — so I am fine with that. The alternative is to be rested, stay home, and not play pool. That is not an option.
I do occasionally get rides to and/or from tournaments. However, I do not like inconveniencing other people so unless it is absolutely the last resort, I will not ask for a ride. If I really want to make it to a tournament, there will always be a way to get there myself. If, indeed, it is too difficult to get there via bus, train, airplane, bicycle, Conestoga wagon, liferaft, dogsled or foot — then staying home and not playing pool finally does become an option.
I do not like to impose on people and I feel that if I can do it myself, I should. While many people see this as unnecessarily handicapping myself, please rest assured that I see it as no such thing. If I can train myself to play well under such circumstances, then when I have the luxury of time, comfort, and a rested mind, what might I achieve then?
a highly indecent proposal
the last topic segues nicely into this one…
Since I have decided to stay local in regards to pool for this month, the only tournament have played in so far and will be able to play in for the time being, are local tournaments.
If you have been keeping up with the recent posts, you may remember that I am now regularly playing in a local ladies’ eight-ball tournament. It is a brand-new tournament, held every other week, and the fields have so far been small. It is a race to 2 on the winner’s side, race to 1 on the loser’s side, loser breaks, with a low entry fee. The inaugural tournament had a nice-sized field — thirteen players total, I believe. The second tournament had less players — about nine or ten. Mind you there are some STRONG women players in this city (professional speed), but for some reason, they didn’t come to these first two tournaments. As a result, I was lucky enough to win both.
Earlier this week, an interesting message was tactfully (or, perhaps, untactfully) relayed to me from another pool room regular via one of my friends. My friend told me about the conversation and the included message. It went something like this:
“So, I see she’s won the tournament twice now.”
“Yes, she has.”
“You know, you’d better tell her to take it easy.”
“Take it easy? What do you mean?”
“You know, take a week off or something.”
“What do you mean ‘take a week off’?”
“You know, maybe she shouldn’t play the next one. Let someone else win for a change.”
“Why should she do that?”
“If she doesn’t, the girls will stop showing up because they can’t win.”
You know, I was thinking I wouldn’t have anything to talk/discuss/rant about this week — but damn — the Pool and Blog Gods must be in collusion to make sure I’m never bored or at a loss for conversation.
First, I found this exchange to be rather alarmist on the part of the individual concerned with the fragile hearts of the other women players. Let’s face it: me winning this tournament is hardly anything to get this man’s panties in a bunch. This is not a professional tournament. It is not even a regional tournament. Hell, it is not even a weekly tournament yet. It’s a fledgling tournament that hopes to give women players a venue for competition and enjoyment amongst themselves.
Second, this is a small tournament and I have only won it twice. That is hardly a sign of domination. The fields were small and I will say that out of all the players, in both cases, I had the best chance to win it.
Third, I won the tournaments because I was, most likely, the best player present on that day. Let me now analyze why I was “the best player present”. This analysis shall be addressed to the pool room regular who thought I should “take it easy”, but that doesn’t mean the rest of you can’t come along for the ride, err — rant.
Mr. Tinman — for that is what I shall call you as you remind me so much of that Wizard Of Oz character and his litany of “If I only had a heart.” And, indeed, sir, IF YOU ONLY HAD A GODDAM HEART you might see the injustice of what it is you ask of me.
Mr. Tinman, you know me quite well.
Perhaps I should rephrase that, for you obviously don’t know me well enough to not make asinine statements, but you do know me well enough to know that you shouldn’t make those asinine statements to my face, but rather employ the services of an intermediary. Good call. I shall say then, that you are (or should be) well-acquainted with my pool persona as you have seen me regularly at this pool room from the first day I set foot in here, perhaps ten years ago.
You have watched my game progress from horrendous-hack-with-a-glittery-Cuetec to tolerable-hack-with-a-variety-of-excellent-custom-cues. That’s ten f—ing years you’ve watched me so you ought to have noted the ever-so-slight progress in my game and the increasing levels of my determination to become the best in the world.
Oh, I am sorry.
It just occured to me that you may not have been paying attention to my game as I have heard, on more than one occasion, your remarks upon my rear end and other physical attributes. While your remarks may have been complimentary, they do not exonerate you of the guilt of being a f—ing disgusting pervert.
But, I digress.
Let me then, assume that you have not kept up to date with my progress in pool since you are otherwise engrossed in how well my pants show off my backside. Allow me to enlighten you. My game has improved quite a bit since I first began playing a decade ago. I regret that yours has not. Although you practice everyday and you even occasionally take the one-pocket race-to-three for $10 flutter (how does your heart stand the strain of so high a wager — oh wait — you DON’T HAVE ONE), I must say your game has gone stale. The only difference I have seen in you and your game is the simultaneous recession of your hairline and the advancement of your nose- and eair-hairs.
But, I digress.
As of this moment, I am no champion. I am not a professional player. I would not even be considered a top regional player. I am, however, incredibly dedicated to my cause and my dedication pays off every now and then when I have a great practice session, I win a tough match, or I happen to win a small tournament such as the one that has caused you such agitation. You would save these beginning lady players from suffering the feelings of defeat and inadequacy. You would have me refrain from playing so that they may know what it is like to win a few dollars.
I ask you, who would save me from the same?
Have you not considered what it has cost me to even rise to my current level of mediocrity?
I have paid tens of thousands of dollars in table time. I have paid almost as many thousands to travel as cheaply as possible to as many tournaments as I can possibly go to without going broke or being fired. I have taken public transit for hours and for hundreds of mile each week to play in leagues and to go local tournaments as well as major ones. When there are no buses, I have walked many miles. I have walked in desert heat and I have walked in freezing cold — often while carrying my luggage. I have done all that, sometimes, to go to tournaments where I go two-and-out. I have been beaten, blitzed, and blanked in countless matches. Sometimes, my opponents were professionals — and I wasn’t supposed to win. Sometimes, I was supposed to win — but I lost. And all those losses were my own fault. And after I had lost, there was no one to comfort me — no one to tell those big, bad players to “take a week off”. I had to sit there and know that I had fallen short on skill, on mental toughness, and that I had been, totally and utterly, beat.
When I look at all the money and effort spent for nothing more than heartbreak, I sometimes become depressed and disillusioned — but never discouraged. I go back, and I practice. I go back, and I work. It is then only a question of time before I have enough barrels to fire again in a bid for glory and excellence.
Am I still digressing?
I don’t know and I don’t give a s—.
There is a reason why I won those two tournaments and that reason is that I was the best player there that day. I have paid my f—ing dues, you f—ing moron, and now, I am enjoying the fruits of my labor. These women are beginners and I know what it is like to be in their shoes (heels and all, of course). I was a beginner once, and I suffered defeat after defeat after defeat. But then, there came a day when I lost a little less, when I went one-and-two in a tournament. More practice and soon, I could go two-and-two. But, it will take eons before I might consistently win tournaments and not just random tournaments, but the world-level tournaments I aspire to play in.
The other players in this tournament, as nice as they are, as sweet as they are, and as much as you love staring at their butts and boobs — are still paying their dues to this game. I wager that, even all together, they have not spent half of what I have already spent, whether it be time, money, or life. Even if I were to sit out and one of those girls won, would it mean she has now become an elite player, a champion? If yes, a champion of what? A zip code? A city block? An insignificant pool room? I suppose it depends on perspective, but how much is that really worth? And how long will it be before another high-level player comes to this tournament and wins it? What will you do? Ask her to sit out as well?
You are not helping these beginners become champions, if that is your intent. Let me relate a small anecdote to you.
Once, back in the glory days of my Cuetec, I went to play in a race-to-one eight-ball tournament at a bar. When I arrived, I found a lady there practicing on one of the tables. She was there for the tournament and asked me if I wanted to warm up by playing a few racks with her. We began to play. We were both terrible players, but I was slightly better and won the majority of the games. When we stopped for a break, this is the conversation we had:
“So, you must be a pro or something.”
“What? A pro? Oh HELL no. I’m not even a considered a good amateur player.”
“Uh, no. I wish I was, but I’m not. There’s tons of good women players out there.”
“Like how many.”
“Well, a lot.”
“I mean, like, in this city.”
“I don’t know how many women play pool in this city, but there are at least four or five women professionals. There’s probably a lot of women who are almost professionals too, so — I guess I could be really generous to myself and say there are only 20 women who would totally kick my butt.”
She looked shocked and there was a silence between us. “And that’s just this city.”
“Just this city, yes.”
She considered this. “What about in the state?”
“Oh, there must be many more. I know of at least ten women in the Bay Area that play extremely well.”
She considered this as well. “So… what do you think… about… the whole… country?”
“Well, let’s see. California is a really big state, so maybe we have more pool players. I guess if there were only ten women in each state — and I’m really sure there’s a lot more than that — that’s still, what, like at least another four-hundred and ninety players that are ahead of me? That’s probably about right. And then there’s the rest of the world, too. A lot of Asian and European players are really good.”
She seemed troubled by this statistic, as unscientific as it was, and she fell silent for the remainder of the evening. The tournament started and she went two-and-out and left almost immediately after. I thought nothing of this for several weeks until I found out through a mutual acquaintance who she was.
This lady had thought herself ready to play on the women’s professional tour. I had, inadvertently, given her a fairly harsh dose of reality. I don’t know what happened to her dreams of professional pool after that, but I do know this same lady continued to play for at least several years. Had she quit the game because of my (purely unscientific) statistics, I should not feel sorry at all. I had only told her what I thought it took to become a champion at this game and if she was daunted by or unwilling to do the amount of work required to achieve that goal, she would never become a champion, anyway.
And so, Mr. Tinman, you are encouraging a false sense of excellence amongst these players if you ask me to refrain from playing.
Perhaps that is not such a bad thing — maybe that is all they aspire to in their billiards existence. Perhaps all they really want is to be the best in their circle of friends. Perhaps they favor the idea of a world where there are no winners and losers, nobody keeps score, and everyone gets a shiny f—ing trophy at the end of the season. Perhaps, in their eyes, finishing second in a tournament of only two players would be something to boast about. It is not so with me.
Until they bar me from this tournament, I will continue to play. I have already let the organizers know that I would be more than willing to spot the players games on the wire, at their discretion. I wouldn’t mind this at all. It would only make me a tougher player and, in the end, I would probably still win a good portion of the time.
It is no surprise that there are only a few top players and a s—load of average players. Those that rise to the top work harder and sacrifice more than those below them. I bet you think it is awfully petty of me to play in this tournament and win the few dollars. I don’t think so. I have done the work. I have made the sacrifices. I have paid the price for success and I will pay the price to stay successful. I don’t know how many of these beginning players will become champions but they need to understand that they, too, must work for those victories. No one is going to give it to them. They will lose and lose and lose, but if they can stay tough and work hard, they will eventually win. I know my eloquence on this subject is limited and it is quite possible that you won’t listen to a chick, so allow me to offer you the following quote from none other than that manly-man movie, Rocky Balboa:
You, me or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life. But ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits.
Before you can win, you must be willing to lose.
It is highly improbable, but possible, that this tournament will fade into the sunset because I happened to win it again. This is your chief fear (for then you would have no one to ogle except ugly old men such as yourself) and it is not without its miniscule merit. If it happens, then we know none of those players were cut out to be competitors and, if they can’t take the hits — like I had to — they don’t deserve to win. I can’t win this tournament forever, but you can bet your sorry rusty ass that I will do my damndest to try.
So, Mr. Tinman, I hope you now have an inkling of how much I have invested in this game. If you do, you must agree that the $100 or so I have won from this tournament is a REALLY S—TY rate of return for what I have invested in it. I don’t even keep my winnings — I give that money right back to the pool room in the form of paying for table time. This, in turn, contributes to the pool room’s economic well-being. The pool room’s economic well-being is surely in your interest because where else would you go to be your pervy self while pontificating with false authority about s— you are completely unqualified to comment upon?
Thank you for listening and now you may go die in a fire.
I know you won’t die of a heart attack.