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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

Jaden, my adorable* and talented co-star on the DITL‘s (3-minute video blogs) so many of you know and love, started his pool lessons yesterday.  And by “pool” I mean billiards.

Here’s a shot of him more than two years ago practicing in Grandma’s garage:

He was only four years old, yet he already knew to have his head down, get a bridge close to the ball, and make sure you look tan and muscled whenever someone takes an impromptu photo of you shooting pool.

There’s a fellow pool player we know named Gaines Jonakin who runs a kids instruction league.  Gaines is a Recognized BCA Instructor and a fabulous teacher.  My wife chauffered Jaden to his first “league week” and I’ll probably take him to future ones.  We plan on practicing tonight, in fact.

Jaden did great!  He listened when he needed to listened, and did what he was told.  He picked up some great tips, and was as excited as you can guess a 6yr old to be.  While he hasn’t mastered all the rules yet (for example, he’s still a little confused as to when he gets ball-in-hand), he’s doing mighty fine and most importantly, he’s having fun.

Tips he’s picking up:

  • Be nice to people when you beat them so bad they start crying.  Help them rake in the balls you sunk while they cowered in the corner in a whimpering fetal position.
  • Give people a full 30 minutes to pay up on their debts.  Don’t “enable” the weak to go too long without paying.  
  • Be willing to take a finger or a toe in lieu of large lump sum payments.
  • Always leave a sucker rent money.  
  • Don’t get caught slicking up the solids and chalking up the stripes.  It just ain’t worth it.

When we were pregnant w/Jaden, another pool friend of ours made a custom cue for him as a baby shower gift – one that comes apart in three pieces.  With the back piece off, the cue is just long enough for him at his height.  As he gets older, he can put the back piece back on.

I’m sure one of the future DITL’s will have some footage of Jaden wiping the table with his old man – he played his instructor in a 9-ball race and won! (Jaden was so pumped up! don’t tell him that it was a 4-90 race, where Jaden had to sink 4 balls and the instructor had to sink 90).

I think my proudest moment was when my wife got home and relayed the following: when Gaines was playing his “match” with Jaden, he performed a very solid shot on a ball that was all the way on the other side of the table.  When Gaines made the shot, Jaden gasped.  My wife asked “What?” and Jaden whispered “He’s as good as daddy!

Content sigh.

What tips would you give Jaden?

* it’s ok to call him adorable because he’s currently 6 years old.  About the time he gets to be 8 or 9, I’ll call him “strapping” or “strong young man” or even “handsome”.

December
13
2007
3:30 pm
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I’m super swamped at work.  I have no time for anything.

Except sadness.

I’m no longer a seven.

Update:

As of this week (12/16/2007), I’m back to being a seven!  YAY!

steely duran skill levels

There are a few magic things about the number seven.

There are seven stars in the big dipper:

big dipper

There are seven days in a week:

7 days in a week

There are seven notes in an octave:

musical scale seven notes in an octave

There are seven spots on a ladybug:

seven spots on a lady bug 

 And now, I’m ranked a “7” in 9-ball according to APA Handicap rules!  YAY!

steely duran apa team shooters

See that “7”.  That’s right baby, I’m back to a 7.  I’m no longer a 6; no way.  I’m now a SEVEN.

I’m a “10” if you’re counting in a septenary system.

What does being a “7” mean?  It means I’m a bad-ass.  Don’t try to play pool against me because I’ll wipe the felt with you.  It means I only have “8” and “9” left to go before I conquer the world with my billiard geniusity.

The skill levels go from 1-9 – the handicap is in place so that anyone can win.  Anyone except people who play against me, that is.

Whew, I feel better after that bragathon.  Tomorrow maybe I won’t be so full of hubris.

November
15
2007
10:06 am
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Wow, 3 days of no posts.  I think that’s the longest I’ve gone since I really started blogging some time back.  I have been SWAMPED at work with our remodeling project and SWAMPED at home with Math homework mentoring, band stuff and a kagillion things going on.

But you didn’t tune in just to hear how busy I am.  You tuned in to hear how AWESOME I am!

First, some history.  I loves me my 9-ball.  It’s my favorite billiard game of all time. Even when I’m not playing so hot, I still love playing.  I think I’m better at 9-ball than the other games, and my current theory is that since part of the rules dictate what the next ball will be, I’m more disciplined in my shot-making, so I achieve better position play.  In contrast, with 8-ball there are multiple next balls, so I just shoot and since I don’t have a specific ball in mind, I’m taking a shotgun approach.

I’m hoping someday to inspire my little buddy.  He’s already half-way there – just LOOK at how far down he is on his shot!  This guy is going to be a pro!

jaden playing pool

Second, the environment.  We play league every week, and we play 8-ball and 9-ball.  The league is a sanctioned get together by the APA.

apa logo

We only have six (6) teams in our division, so most of us know the rest of us pretty well since we’ve been playing together for a while.  It’s a fun setup where the top team goes to a local Tri-Cup, and the top teams from that go to a Regional, and the winners at Regional get a paid trip to Vegas to compete Nationally.  All for doing something we already love doing!

Third, the challenge.  There’s this guy who’s considered by many to be one of the absolute top players around Austin.  He’s actually 4th in money earnings in the Texas 9-ball tournament for last year, and he placed pretty well this year too:

alan mason

The word is, he just doesn’t get beat.  On a scale from 1 to 9 in 9-ball, he’s a 9.  On a scale from 2 to 7 in 8-ball, he’s a 7.   Top skill level you can reach.  The guy walks up to the table on just about every shot with this nonchalant attitude, not stressed at all, and even looks like maybe he’s just shooting balls around and not planning anything or concentrating.  But his shots are pure dead stroke ON.  He gets near-perfect position on every shot and makes some incredible plays like they were nothing.  He’s calculating, accurate and consistent.

The guy is just.  plain.  GOOD.

And I beat him last night.

(applause)

tee-hee. 

I also heard last night that he’s never lost a 9-ball league match before.  I feel honored.  I was just plain ON with my shooting.  I’m currently ranked a 6 (I move between 6 and 7 regularly, altho I haven’t been a 7 in a while) and since league play is handicapped, I don’t need to sink in as many balls.  He has to sink in 75 and I have to sink in 46.  Each ball is one point and the 9-ball is two points.  But the cool thing is, I was dead-even with him in ball count throughout the match, or ahead, so by the time I won, we had near the same ball count without the handicap.

It almost makes me losing to him in 8-ball all the more bearable.  8-ball is also handicapped, and in this instance he had to win 5 games and I had to win 4.  I ended up winning 2, but the real challenge was that he won the lag, so he got to break.  Winner breaks after each game.  So for the first game, he sinks the 8-ball on the break (which is a win), and then he breaks-and-runs the second game (which is a win) and meanwhile I haven’t been able to shoot a single shot.  Then the next game I do get a shot and after a couple balls, scratch because I’m stoooopid.  But I was able to win two games and I’m proud of that.

If I didn’t have to make money for a living, I’d go play pool all the time.

August
30
2007
9:17 am
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Hi.  This is Wayne’s Blog.  I need to talk to you for a second while Wayne is away from his computer.  I need to be quick, so if he comes back, just minimize your browser or press Windows-D if you’re on a Windows machine.  We don’t want him seeing this.

Can I tug on your heartstrings for just a moment?

Right now, there’s a handsome, young man in our community who needs your help.  This person simply beams with potential and displays such a sweetness and innocence that you can barely keep a smile contained when you’re with him.  In only a few moments in his presence, you can’t help but get an incredible sense of “I would do anything for that young man” flowing through your soul.  Charity, goodwill and harmony follow him everywhere.  Like a welcome breeze on a hot day, he’s just what you need, right when you need it.

You know that Carpenters song that starts off with something like “why do birds, suddenly appear… every time, you are near?”  Well with him it’s like “why do things, suddenly go great… every time, Wayne plays 8?” (as in 8-ball).

But he has a disability.  One that you might not pick up on immediately, but it’s there, just the same.  It’s the kind of disability not often discussed in public, and due to this, it frequently debilitates people without their foreknowledge.  There are people suffering right now and a lot of the time they don’t even know it.  Until it’s too late.

The young man I’m speaking of is Wayne Hall, my owner.  *smiles*

You know him as a fun-loving, intelligent, funny person who spends a good bit of attention on me.  I like that, I really do.  But his secret handicap really hit him hard last night at pool.  That’s why I wanted to send out a beacon – a distress signal, so to speak – and call a different kind of attention to Wayne.

I want to bring attention to Wayne’s inability to do remedial math.

Remedial Math

Won’t you join me in supporting him to get the resources and training he needs to do simple math?

He’s long had a problem with normal calculations.  You know how sometimes two and two don’t add up?  Ever hear that saying?  Well, for Wayne it’s all the time.  They never add up.  He sits there and looks at them.  Two.  and Two.  Sometimes he sees twenty-two.  Yes, it’s that bad.

Last night was the worst I’ve seen him.  He plays on this APA Pool league, right?  Well, the whole point of APA is that it’s amateur.  Anyone can win.  You get a skill level, and that way someone who’s not so great actually has a chance at beating someone who is that great.

They have these guidelines on not “stacking a team” by putting a whole bunch of good people on the same team.  Each person can be ranked between 2 (low) and 7 (high).  So they have this thing called a “skill level limit” of 23, meaning out of the five people who play in a given night, their skill levels cannot be higher than 23.

Last night, Wayne’s team had to forfeit their tie-breaking match because the five people who were present added up to 24.  Wayne should have caught it much earlier in the night so something could have been done.  But he didn’t.  He failed to add up the numbers correctly.  I guess he was still seeing twenty-two.

This is huge because it was Playoff’s.  Yes, the playoff match.  The team worked hard for a long 13-week session, got into 2nd place, and if they won last night, they would have advanced to the regional Tri-Cup tournament, but NOOOOOOO.  He had to FAIL at remedial math.

Maybe this guy isn’t so sweet after all.  Now that I think about it, he’s been failing a lot.  I mean, sure, he WON his 8-ball match against his opponent, but how do you think that made his opponent feel?  He trounced on him, beating him 5-1, the poor guy.  Doesn’t Wayne have any compassion?  And how do you think the rest of his team felt, knowing that if one more of them had won, they had gone?  That’s unfair!

What a jerk.  Now his team’s hopes of a paid Las Vegas trip are DOWN THE TUBES and he’s not even here to blog about it!  I think we should get together and make a little logo for him and his precious billiard league.

HERE YOU GO WAYNE!  JUST FOR YOU! 

YOU……

FAIL!

YOU FAIL billiard balls pool


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