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verklempt

Posted 06-17-2009 at 06:06 PM by omgwtf
Updated 06-17-2009 at 10:39 PM by omgwtf
Tags omgwtf

stuff that has recently made me happy
silver linings, rainbows & all


Internet: You Gotta Be Tough If You're Gonna Be Stupid
Justin Collett, one of the large halves of The Action Report, has started a blog. Since he has access to most of pool's most colorful characters (with or without substantial bankrolls), you can only imagine the stories he has to tell and the photographs he's taken. Here's to more posts in the future, Justin!
theactionreport.blogspot.com

Food: Sugar Cookies
Simple cookies that smell good while they're baking and taste great when they're done.

Nature: Honduran White Bats
"The Honduran white bat (Ectophylla alba) has snow white fur and a yellow nose and ears. It is tiny, only 37-47 mm long."



They look like -- and are the same size as -- cottonballs! They live in leaf tents! ^__^
Honduran White Bats @ Wikipedia

Nature: Peacock Spiders
Continuing with adorable creepy-crawlies, we have the Peacock Spider next.

"The Peacock spider or Gliding spider (Maratus volans) is a species of jumping spider. The red, blue and black colored males have flap-like extensions of the abdomen with white hairs that can be folded down. They are used for display during mating: the male raises his abdomen, then expands and raises the flaps so that the abdomen forms a white-fringed, circular field of color. The species, and indeed the whole genus Maratus have been compared to peacocks in this respect. The third pair of legs is also raised for display, showing a brush of black hairs and white tips. While approaching the female, the male will then vibrate raised legs and tail, and dance from side to side."

The colors and moves of this highly self-confident and showy critter would not be out of place at the trendiest Vegas nightclubs...



...and just to make it extra amusing, click here for a final pic of our debonair arachnid.

Food: Nothing Salves The Soul Like Cholesterol
So, I was pretty bummed [massive understatement right there] that I didn't do better at the BCAPL 8-Ball Championships. It was very generous of my friend Selyem to help me get over this gloominess with excellent foods. Behold, my consolation prizes...




I also lost about ten pounds during the tournament and this series of food helped me get four of them back.

Thanks, dude!

Internet: My Milk Toof
Bizarrely charming.

The Story

When I was young, I placed my baby teeth under my pillow and when I woke up I'd find a shiny new quarter. But whatever happened to those little teeth? Where did they go? Would I ever see them again?

Many years later, a little tooth was standing at my door. It looked familiar. It's name was ickle. Welcome home, my milk toof!


If you have young kids, they will love it. Heck, you might love it. I'm a stone-hearted biatch and I love it.
mymilktoof.blogspot.com

Food: Kurzweil's Country Meats
The Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst owns my soul.
www.kurzweilscountrymeats.com




realign all the stars above my head
a little bit south & a little bit east

Occasionally, I like to compete in pool.

The biggest local tournament in my area comes around at the beginning of each month. I hadn't played in this event for many, many moons. I think the last time I played, the Edsel was unveiled as the stylish car of the future. I cannot remember the last time I didn't go two-and-out in this particular tournament. Maybe when Grady Mathews was considered a young whippersnapper or Buddy Hall was about my size. In any case, I'm used to losing enough that another two-and-out doesn't faze me an iota.

On a fabulously sunny Sunday morning which would have been ideal for surfing, running, walking around an outdoor mall with friends, reading a book whilst outside a coffee shop, or other equally pleasant and productive social and individual activities, I decided I would like nothing more than to throw another $30 fastball at the At Least It's Good Experience Fund and spend my entire day in a dank, irritatingly hot and humid pool room with other like-minded individuals...


[8:00a]
No rest for the wicked. I get up and put my things in order. People like to poke fun at my giant handbag by saying, "What? Do you, like, live in there or something?" Why, yes. Yes, I do. I pack some Triscuits (yum), a bottle of water, maps, public transit timetables, and a book or two. I bring all my small electronics (by which this blog is written) and the chargers for those as well.

[8:50a]
I'm off to the bus stop where I wait for the #720. Traffic is light this early, so that means it won't take me more than 45 minutes or so to get downtown. During rush hour on a weekday, this same trip can take upwards of two hours.

[9:01a]
The bus is on time -- and away we go!

[9:43a]
The 720 drops me off downtown and I head over to the train station to catch the Blue Line south. All the train stations feature artwork. Here you can see the surreal painted tiles that decorate this particular station. I've always been amused by this...



...if only because it features a totally random eight-ball floating in space. :-)



[9:52a]
After I buy my ticket, I make a mad dash for the platform since I can hear a waiting train. Reduced service for all public transit systems on the weekends means I have to be extra careful in my travel planning. If I miss this train, I'll have to wait a half-hour for the next one. It would also mean I would miss the next bus I have to take which would then result in me not making it in time for the tournament.

[9:56a]
I make it to the train right before it takes off. This is after running up and down four flights of stairs. In heels. It's good exercise.

[10:00a]
The train leaves the station.

[10:18a]
I pass through South Central, Florence, Watts, and Willowbrook before arriving in Compton. These are not the best neighborhoods (most famous for the 1965 and 1992 riots). I didn't take any photographs to avoid attracting undue attention.

[10:28a]
I arrive at Artesia station in the city of Compton. Freight trains run alongside the city train here and, despite warnings to cross only when safe, people cross whenever they danged well please. I don't normally have patience but when it comes to life or death -- hell yes, I do.



[10:57a]
I have my iPod on and I'm sitting down, reading a book and trying to get my meager allowance of vitamin D via sunshine when a strange man waves a hand in my face.

"What." I don't even look up.

"You like reading?"

"Yes. It keeps me from having to talk to people I don't know."

"Oh. That a good book?"

"Yes."

"Ray Bradbury, huh? You know I was just watching a documentary on him this morning."

I don't answer. Don't feed the bears. This tactic seems to work and the strange man retreats to the other side of the bench. Satisfied that I made my point, I go back to reading.

Out of nowhere, a phone is shoved between my face and my book. This time I have to look up. It's the same f---ing idiot. "My name is Cedric, what's your name?" He says this a little loudly and it piques the interest of other people waiting for the bus. He makes a big show of sticking out his hand for a handshake. I look at his grimy hands. Yuck.

"No."

"No?"

"No."

"You ain't gonna tell me yo' name?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"No."

The strange man is at an impasse. He ponders the situation. I close my book, put it in my bag, and put my hands in my jacket pockets which house my JawJacker (thanks Heath!) and my Emerson. Although I'm quite sure I won't have to bring my two semi-deadly friends to this party, I certainly am not adverse to it. The more the merrier.

The strange man slides over towards me on the bench. I stand up with my hands in my pockets. Unsure of what is going on and now very aware that he was being watched by the crowd, he stammers, "Oh, uh, so... you... ain't gonna give me yo' number?"

"F---. NO." Laughter ensues.

Realizing that he's in a losing battle, the strange man leans back and puts on an air of exaggerated relaxation. "Oh, I know you just think I'm hitting on you, but no, I ain't hittin' on you, I just want get to know you better, is all." Uh... I believe that is the definition of hitting on someone, twerp. "It's okay, I ain't mad at you, even though you won't tell me your name. Now how about we get to know each other better?" He throws an arm out in an expansive gesture and looks around at the crowd for what I can only guess is support.

"How about... NO." The crowd snickers some more and the strange man is now ill at ease -- and his options for making a dignified exit are dwindling.

"Well, well, well. Okay, I git you. I unnastan." He makes a show of wounded pride, with his hand on his heart. "It's a fine, fine day and I was just thinkin' it'd be nice to get to know a pretty lady. Spend a lil time, a lil money on her, you know? Now what's a man like me gonna do now wit' the time and money?"

To my infinite relief, I could see my bus rounding the corner. I relaxed a little and I must have inadvertently smiled, as the strange man took hope and moved closer. "What's a man like me gonna do wit all this time and money on this nice day?"

"Go f--- himself?"

[11:08a]
I board my last bus, the 130 heading east, and leave a vehemently cursing man stewing in the sunshine. On this nice day.

[11:36a]
I arrive at the pool room. The tournament is supposed to start at 1:00 p.m. so I'm quite early. I sit down to read some more.

[during the next 8 hours]
I win my first match 5-1. A race to 5 is short. Anyone can win a race to 5. However, my victory is still considered an upset as my opponent is a well-known as an up-and-coming player in the area. Every dog has its day and I guess my day is today.



My opponent in my second match is a player that used to be considered a professional. He used to have to spot everyone (except other professionals) a game on the wire. On the tournament chart, professionals have their names written in blue, C-players and below have their names in red, and everyone else in between has their name written in black. This player's name is still written in blue so I assume I still get the one game on the wire. I find out that I don't.

So I ask, "If he's not spotting the field any more, why is his name still in blue?"

"Well, there's an 'in-between' level now," I'm told.

"WTF? Either his name is in blue and he spots a game or he's the same as the rest of us and his name is in black."

"Well, he's like... like... a semi-professional."

I will say this again as I have said before: being a professonal pool player is like being pregnant. Either you are a professional or you are not. You cannot be semi-pregnant. You cannot be a semi-professional.

Regardless of my philosophy, I lose 5-1.

I do notice during the match that my opponent does not play at the same level he used to, so by the end of the match, I feel that him playing even with the majority of the field is probably fair.



The losers' side matches are a race to 4. I win my next match 4-0. This is a rather nice win as I am allowed to play on the tournament side of the pool room where the tables have much tighter pockets. It makes me feel less like I'm cheating because of big pockets.



I win the next match 4-2.



I lose the next match 4-2, to my dependable nemesis, SAPP Donkey and I end up in the "one-outta" spot I am so familiar with -- out of of the money. Still, 3-2 is a good record for me for this tournament and I stay after my losses to watch some more of the tournament. At this point, the usual professional suspects are the ones left in the tournament and it's some good pool to watch.

[12:45a]
I get back home somewhere around this time. It was a good day. :-)



warning signs travel far
a bit further south & a tiny bit further east

Occasionally, I feel a need to travel.

Last week, I decided (somewhat last-minute) to do the Blue Cannonball Run which I haven't done in a while. The Blue Cannonball is my term for a weekend trip from Los Angeles, CA to Phoenix, AZ via Greyhound in the name of a tournament.

On Friday, my work was actually letting out early for an event. I could leave at 2:00 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m. Now, the usual bus I take to Phoenix doesn't leave until 11:30 p.m. When I take this bus, I can sleep on the way and save myself a night of hotel expenses. Cheap, but effective. Since I had the whole afternoon free, I figured I'd go practice a little, then go home and nap until it was time to head to Skid Row, where the main Greyhound station is located.

S--- doesn't always work out the way you think it will. Sometimes for the better.

At the pool room, I budgeted for about an hour-and-a-half of practice. Some of you may have noticed that I am playing with a different cue nowadays. This cue plays very different from my previous cues -- it plays FREAKING AWESOME! It brought my game up by at least two balls (the balls a lot of men are missing). It's a great cue, but I still have to adjust a little to get used to it. During the drills portion of my practice, I stumbled upon why I had been missing a certain shot. I worked on this bit of information for the next three hours. By the end of my practice, I was playing much better -- but it was now too late to take a nap. No worries, I thought, I'll still get a solid six or seven hours aboard Greyhound. I hurried home.

Back at home, I packed lightly and quickly. I then cleaned my room. I'm one of those people that cleans before I go on trips. There's something nice about coming back to a clean room after a trip. Very peaceful and comfy.

[10:00p]
I headed out to the bus stop up the street. It's time for another ride on the 720 to downtown.

[10:45p]
I get off the bus about a half-mile away from the Greyhound station. I'm currently in Skid Row, which is home to one of the largest stable populations of homeless persons in the United States. In recent years, the levels of crime have dropped out here but that doesn't mean I'm going to whistle a cheery tune and skip down the streets.

[11:00p]
I walk into the Greyhound station at 11:00 p.m. sharp and I realize I've dogged it.

The station is absolutely packed. Luckily, I purchased a will-call ticket, so I can skip the amusement-park style line for ticket purchases and just pick up my ticket at a window. It's almost time to board my bus and I realize that I've still dogged it. The line for my bus is longer than even the ticket line. It's safe to estimate there is over 150 people waiting to get on that bus.

Each Greyhound bus only accomodates 55 people.

It is quite possible that I will miss this bus. If I do, it is likely that I won't make it to the tournament as the next bus doesn't leave until 7:00 a.m. -- and I wouldn't arrive in Phoenix until 3:25 p.m., long after the tournament has started.

Well, I get in line and just hope.

[12:20a]
Hope wins out as two more buses are added and I get on the last bus. We leave almost an hour behind schedule, but these late-night schedules generally have no problem making up the lost time since there is little to no traffic on the way. Here's my view leaving Los Angeles:



[the next few hours]
Sweet. I'm on a bus and I'm going to make it to Phoenix on time. The thought of an upcoming tournament makes me happy.

S--- doesn't always work out the way you think it will. Sometimes for the worse.

The particular bus I'm on has something wrong with the restroom at the back. No words can describe the horrific stench that wafts throughout the bus and finds its way into every nostril. In addition, the air conditioning on the bus is faulty and the temperature on the bus is consistently below 40 degrees, which would be great if I was a can of Coke, but I'm not.

I can't sleep when I'm cold.

This sucks.

[4:15a]
We pull into Quartzsite, AZ and everyone rushes off for a smoke break. The other two buses stop here as well and it's kind of amusing to see the giant cloud of smoke rising from a hundred people puffing away in the darkness.



The lights of the gas station attract insects and, in turn, large bats that wheel around chasing these insects. It's eerie to watch these big leathery critters turn on a dime in mid-air and attack things -- all in complete silence.

After fifteen minutes, we are on the road again.

[4:35a]
Light touches the horizon as daylight approaches.





While admiring the scenery, I finally fall asleep...

[6:30a]
The bus arrives on time in Phoenix. I still have about two hours before I need to catch a ride on the Phoenix public transit system to the pool room. I sit down in one of many efficiently uncomfortable seats in the station and try to doze.

I guess this must be how a steak feels like on a grill, minus the heat.



I can't sleep so I plug in up my phone and iPod and read while they charge up.

[8:50a]
I leave the station and walk across the street to the bus stop. Here's a view of the Phoenix Greyhound station.



[9:00a]
I've always liked the design of this bus stop. I know all the bus stops in Phoenix don't look like this so I can only imagine they keep the ones around the airport looking artsy so as to make a good first impression on visitors. The river rocks behind the rusted metal give it a nice antique Old West look.



[9:15a]
The 13 going west arrives and I hop on.

[9:40a]
I'm dropped off at 35th & Buckeye and I go over to another bus stop where I will catch the 35 heading north. It's early but the air is already heating up. After all those hours on a Greyhound that must have been smuggling ice cubes, the heat is most welcome.

[9:55a]
The 35 arrives and I'm now on the last leg of my journey.

[10:45a]
I get off at 35th & Peoria. A short walk later, I'm at the pool room. I go change into nicer clothes that don't smell of cesspools and cigarettes and I'm ready to play. Whee!

[12:00p]
The entries are closed, the draw is done, and so it begins.

[the next few hours]
My first match is against a super-cute blonde girl with the most charming Alabama accent. She plays very well, and successfully three-fouls me to win a game. I can't remember the last time I tried to three-foul someone. I make a mental note of it and also make a note to bear down more and not be lazy. I manage to win this match, 7-3.



My next match is against an older woman who looks like a female version of the animated grumpy old man in Disney-Pixar's Up movie.

Let's call her Carl.

Carl is a very, very good shotmaker with a strong stroke. I miss once in the first rack and she runs out to win the first game. She breaks in the second rack and doesn't make a ball. I run out. This is going to be a good match. I'm beginning to fade from fatigue and lack of food, but I know my opponent will force me to bear down in spite of it all.

In the third game, I break, but the balls don't spread very well and there are some clusters. I make the one, and don't get good shape on the two-ball. I play a safe and leave her a tough shot. She tries to cut the two but whiffs it completely and gives me ball-in-hand. I try to make the two and break up the three and four which are stuck together on the bottom rail. I break up the cluster, but the balls don't separate the way I thought they would. I make the three but there is no good shot on the four. I play a safe by tucking the cue ball behind the nine-ball.

Carl gives me a dirty look and snorts.

It's a good safe and she doesn't hit the four. Unfortunately, in her wild swing at the four, she manages to hit a few of the remaining balls on the table and more clusters arise. In particular, the five-ball and the seven-ball tie up together in the middle of the table. I make the four-ball and I am hoping to be able to cut the five into the side pocket. The five is frozen to the seven, but I think it can still be cut in the side. I'm not sure though, and I look at it for several moments. I try a slow kill-shot with some sidespin to cut the five-ball. I end up hitting the five so badly, bordering on a miscue, that the cue ball stops and the five ball hits just above the point of the side pocket.

Bummer.

S--- doesn't always work out the way you think it will. Sometimes for absolutely hilarious reasons.

The cue ball ended up behind the seven, the five pinged uptable -- and I had inadvertently safed Carl.

Carl looked at me with pure hatred and said, "You don't have to play chicken-sh*t pool you know."

"What?"

"Oh, I see what you're doing. You're just going to bump the balls. You're not going to shoot any of them because you're not good enough to run out."

"Huh? I was trying to cut the five. I dogged it."

"Oh no, I know what you were trying. You were trying to three-foul me. I know you were."

I chuckled a little at this. Well, I hadn't been trying to three-foul her, but it looked like it was going to happen, anyways. As most of you know, I have a highly aggressive game. I always believe that the prime purpose in pool is to put the ball in the pocket. As a result, I favor shotmaking over all other philosophies. Of course, I had also put together some nice runs already, so it was pretty obvious I could run out. Carl missed the kick and the game was over.

As I racked the balls (it was alternate-break format), Carl continued muttering obscenities. I finished racking and said kindly, "You know, you can three-foul, too. No one says you can't do it. The last girl three-fouled me and she played it well."

"Oh no, I'm not going to do that. I'm old school. I play with HONOR."

I had to laugh. I think I pitied this grumpy old woman with permafrown. She was obviously quite a pool player, but she was also bitter and unhappy. I'd been like that before in my life, but I'd learned life doesn't always have to be like that.

"I see." Carl broke the rack and starting hitting the balls at a hundred miles an hour. "I guess there are worse things to be than young and dishonorable." I regret that Carl probably did not hear my last statement. It would have started a parking-lot fight for sure. But then again, I am trying to be less assholic these days.

So, in the name of less assholity, I did something I should have never done -- I fought Carl on her own turf.

I played pure shotmaking pool in all its glory. I felt no fear, only mild amusement. I was playing pool the way I loved to play with a big stroke, multiple-rail position, and balls hitting the back of the pocket liners with authority. Earl Strickland would have been proud.

In one of the games, the six and seven ended up quite close to one another on the rail, with the seven a little in front of the six. I could see a good portion of the six and thought about the possibility of banking the six into the seven into the side pocket. Carl told me she wanted to call someone to watch the hit. I had no problems with this. I waved at the tournament desk but the ladies could not see me. Carl started walking toward the tournament desk. One of the ladies got up and headed toward our table and she got there first.

I told the referee that I was thinking of banking the six ball. I thought about it again, and said, no, I wasn't going to make the six, I was just going to hit it. She looked at the layout and nodded. Since Carl wasn't at the table yet, I didn't shoot. Carl hurried over and said sharply, "What was that whispering? Was she complaining before I could hear her?"

We both looked at her in surprise. "No," I said. "I was telling her that I wasn't going try and make the six ball."

"And I was telling her I was waiting for you before I made the call."

Carl looked at us suspiciously and said, "She wasn't complaining about me?"

"No, we were just waiting for you."

GodDAAAAMN! Carl is one bitter, BITTER pool player! I seriously thought I had the title of Biggest ***** In Pool sewn up for life, but I must concede my tiara and sash in the presence of such true greatness. I couldn't help it, I laughed some more. I'm sure it did nothing to endear me to Carl. Regardless, I made a good hit and the battle continued.

I soon reached the hill and it was my break. Carl had been racking the balls poorly throughout the whole*match but her irateness had so tickled my funnybone that I had said nothing and merely smashed loose rack after loose rack. I looked at the final rack and I could see, even as far back as I was, that the rack was loose again. I smiled and said to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice to pop in that nine-ball right about now? That would be the ultimate offensive shot."

I let loose one of the better breaks in my life on that rack. I could feel the shock of the hit all the way up my arm and into my shoulder blade. The rack had been slugged well, however, and despite the nuclear force of my break, all the balls seemed merely to crowd towards the bottom of the table like a flock of panicked chickens with a lone ball here and there making it to the side rail in the confusion.

The four darted into the lower left corner pocket, followed by the six, which was then followed by the nine-ball, which had been herded in by the seven which had been bumped by the three.

Carl looked wide-eyed at the table and then at me. I shrugged and said placidly, "S--- happens."



By now, I was really beginning to feel the effects of exhaustion. I struggled to maintain focus in my next match. I was behind early on to the tune of 4-0. Somewhere along the way, I vaguely remember finding my stroke and running out a lot of balls -- probably three racks' worth. It was a heroic effort, but I still lost 7-5.



On the losers' side, I drew the eventual winner of the tournament and she played perfect. I learned a lot about pool en route to being blitzed 7-1.

And so ended my tournament.

[5:00p]
Since my tournament was over, I called to cancel my hotel reservation as I planned to head back home that same night. After cancelling my hotel, I looked at my ticket and noticed something I had never seen before on a Greyhound ticket, the words: "Restricted to schedule."

S---.

In all the years I have used Greyhound, one of the best perks has been the ability to catch whatever bus, regardless of which schedule was originally purchased. I called and unfortunately, the ticket was right. Greyhound had recently started offering deals on tickets and some of these tickets had restrictions that they actually stuck to. Arrgh. I wasn't really well-funded enough to buy a new, last-minute ticket home, but if I didn't, that meant I couldn't leave until 10:35 p.m. the next day.

I sat down to contemplate what I should do. And also to charge up my phone and iPod again. In the end, I figured I'd just stay in town until it was time to go. Pool in Phoenix is a hell of a lot cheaper than pool in Los Angeles, so I would take advantage of it. I had nowhere to stay, so I decided I'd just stay awake. I was already sleep-deprived, but as I've said before -- there's no rest for the wicked.

[6:00p]
As I sat there watching TV with unfocused eyes, I was met by none other than BVal. He seemed surprised that the tournament was already done for the day, but I informed him there had only been 18 players -- and they were bringing the top eight back tomorrow. I, unfortunately, was already out and now I was just killing time.

Mr. Val was nice enough to tell me about a handicapped barbox nine-ball tournament in the area. Would I be interested in playing?

Hell yes.

[6:30p]
I was now at another pool room waiting for another tournament. No place else I'd rather be... There was a couch in a niche near the bar tables and I gladly made camp there. Soon, AzHousePro joined us and the ongoing epic battle between him and BVal was on.

BVal had a good start...



...which AzHousePro negated once he started concentrating...



read the rest of this adventure at
http://massiveunderstatement.blogspo...verklempt.html
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    mamono's Avatar
    Cool avatar, you and my friend both have similarly cool AZB handles!
    Posted 06-17-2009 at 06:52 PM by mamono mamono is offline
  2. Old Comment
    mamono's Avatar
    Wow, I just read your entire blog entry... um... wow, very entertaining, that was some weekend! Good job on the 2nd place win with a plastic cue! That was cool!

    Was the first tournament in this post at HardTimes? I don't know of any other places around LA that have a separate Tournament area. Was just thinking about that... Nice that I can actually see the pictures now while at home since work had them blocked for some reason...

    The food looks delicious! Oh, cool... I see a Totoro!
    Posted 06-17-2009 at 08:01 PM by mamono mamono is offline
    Updated 06-18-2009 at 02:22 AM by mamono
 


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