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Welcome to The blog of whall

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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.


wayne's 3-minute ditl day in the life
(DITL = Day In The Life)

Merry Christmas to all you awesome people!  I know it’s been 2 months since my last DITL, so I put in a little extra boredom and geek stuff at the end.  However, the DITL is still just 3 minutes.  It’s the bonus time that makes seem long and boring.

I thought about skipping #13 in the counting order like buildings and Presidents do, but what can I say? I’m a rebel that likes to live dangerously.

Wayne’s 3-minute DITL #13 from whall on Vimeo.

(Direct Youtube link)


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”.

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.

9:17 am
Post Meta :

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.




YOU FAIL billiard balls pool

3:42 pm
Post Meta :

Our APA team is so awesome.  We took 1st place in our 8-ball division and 2nd place in 9-ball division in the regular season, and last night marked the first night of playoff’s.  The top 3 teams in the division make it to playoffs, plus a wild-card.  1st plays wild card and 2nd plays 3rd.  Then the winners get together the following week to determine first place of the division.

So we ended up winning both 8-ball and 9-ball last night, meaning we get to go ahead to next week for the division championship.  This is so great!  All our team members are really good, and give one for the team.

Also, as a nice high-note (no pun intended), we won the APA High Point Team Award for in 8-ball.  64 points!  Each person on the team got this little cool pin:

     APA high point award

I’m quite the manly guy, so I don’t even pin it to my shirt.  I pin it directly to my chest.  I’m a hardcore pool player, you see. 

Special recognition goes to Shawna, who pulled out an amazing win for our team in 8-ball against an incredibly talented opponent (I can say that because the opponent is my wife).  Kristen kicked ass, Mike won solidly, Ren won but his skill level went up, and Peter won in 9-ball to close out the 4th match.   In fact, everyone won at least once!

Of course, I love our team whether we win or lose.  But winning is so awesome!  If we had lost, I’d say we’re all still winners, but it’s much more fun to just plain win and leave it at that.  Doncha think?

1:21 pm
Post Meta :

I’m on an awesome pool team called “Steely Duran”.  We play Wednesday nights at Shooter’s up in NW Austin and we have tons of fun.  It’s an APA league, which means we get a chance to go to Vegas and compete at a national level.

     Steely Duran group photo

Our team is made up of (L-to-R) Ronnie, Peter, Jennefer, Shawna, me, Kristen, Ren and Mike.

What makes our team so awesome?  Well let me tell you

  1. Wide variety of skill levels.  We’ve got ’em all up and down the scale, and we always play well.  Since the APA requires a ceiling of cumulative skill levels, you can’t stack a team with all high-skill players.  It’s an amateur league and we need to mix it up.
  2. We have lots of fun.  Whether we drink, do little parties here and there, pose for pictures (notice the drinks), practice pool, order more drinks, listen to great music on the internet jukebox, make jokes, drink jokes, coach each other, flirt and drink, it doesn’t matter.  We always have fun.
  3. We’re all incredibly good-looking.  I mean, damn.
  4. We’re good.  We’re in, like 1st place an all!  I mean, damn.
  5. Did I mention how hot we are?  Damn!

I’m also on a little bit of a billiard high because I got two (2) nine-on-the-break’s.  In a row!  How lucky is that?!?!?!?!

9:52 pm
Post Meta :

My pool instructor uses the above site to graphically represent a shot on a pool table. My hat’s off to the author – I think it’s an awesome idea. So awesome in fact that I’m writing a wrapper tool for it so that people can login, configure a table, save it and name it, identify the color, write up a long HTML-based description, and then share it with others. It will be a place where anyone can go to see other’s setups, manage their own, and have a link to a specific table config that they can call their own.

And here’s my rough draft at the page I’m writing:

My first perl-based site is working, but it’s just a proof of concept and doesn’t reflect the above link at all. I just needed to figure out how to pass macromedia shockwave object the right info to draw the table and store info in a file. The one I’m working on now is php-based, stores all of it’s info in a MySQL database, allows for user self-registration and logins, and will have all the cool features I imagine. If you have comments on what you think it should have, let me know, but here’s my short list for now.

  • Ability to display a specific table via a link (for email, blogs, forums, etc). The idea is that anyone can right-click on a table link, copy shortcut and email or otherwise reference a specific table set for use forever.
  • User self-registration and login, and remembers you for a specified period of time via cookies.
  • Everything’s stored in mySql (coolness factor)
  • Users can add their own tables and mark them private or public
  • Each table configuration saved can have the table info, a title, the author, a category, multiple attributes, and a full HTML description by author to go with the table layout
  • Attributes will be checkboxes on the config that allow specification of multiple charactistics or features that the configuration has… ie, a single table config might involve draw, or be useful for 8-ball, or be a good drill, and involve throw or squirt or masse, etc. This allows the author to associate the config to multiple attributes without sticking to a specific category.
  • Ability for registered users to make comments on the table and rate the table.
  • Side items showing top rated tables, most recent, most active users, and “My tables”
  • Selection page showing a list of tables to filter from — ie, clicking on an author’s name gives a selection list of all the tables that author has created… clicking on a category shows you all the tables from that category, etc.
  • The table list will be available as an RSS feed so that people can subscribe and be notified of new tables added.

Let me know if you have any other better ideas to add to this — I’m having a blast learning php, mySQL, and general web application development and what better way than to use something I’m passionate about.

4:33 pm
Post Meta :

I’ve had a good run recently, with one “bad” set of 7.x there at the end. I say bad because really, 7 is not too bad. But after getting a taste of a couple 9+’s and one 10+ I’m much more eager to be able to consistently play sets of 10+. I know if I just got rid of the 0’s and 1’s it would happen.

One interesting fact – in 9 of the last 10 sets, I’ve had at least one perfect game of 20. In two of those sets I had two 20’s. Getting the 20 is especially rewarding because it means 1) I ran 15 balls and 2) I was able to play enough position and utilize strategy to work the last 5 in the pockets in order. Out of 250 actual games (25 sets of 10) I’ve had 19 perfect games of 20. That’s less than 10% so my next goal is to consistently average one 20 per set so that I’m at 10%. From there I’ll work up by quarter points.

I need to figure out how to analyze and find groupings of scores — ie, how many are 0-3, 3-6, 7-9, 10-12, 13-17, 18-20. I’m sure excel can do that. Anyone who has a tip, fire a comment here.

12:57 am
Post Meta :

Yes, I’m now taking pool lessons. A couple friends of ours gave Christy and I 3 lessons each from Rod Gustafson, Certified BCA pool instructor. I had my first lesson Friday the 30th and my next one is Tuesday the 3rd.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a pool lesson — I mean, do we work on standing for an hour? The bridge and placement of my fingers on the cue? Where my eyes are looking? or do we actually get to shoot pool and I learn tips here and there? I truly was lost as to what would come my way.

So what did happen? We worked on fundamentals first, consisting of stroke and aim. Some follow, some draw, and finding out where I am in terms of being able to hit the ball in the center and hit where I aim. I have a bunch of work to do in both of these areas, so that’s what I practiced today at Shooter’s. During the lesson we also did some talking at the dining table vs the pool table, to discuss certain philosophies and theories about practice, what to work on, and what’s worth spending time on at the pool table. We ended the session with some actual game playing (8- and 9-ball) and he threw in a “toolbox tip”, as he calls it. I know I’m going to enjoy the rest of the lessons and if I get as much out of them as I did the first, I’ll continue getting lessons as I can afford.

So what did I practice today at Shooters? Rod gave me some homework and I did everything in the list, starting with a specific kind of warm-up, a stop shot progressive drill, a draw progressive drill and a follow progressive drill. That took about an hour. I happen to know that the Q-drills game I’ve been playing takes about 30 minutes for a 10-game set. I only had 1.5 hours to practice so I started on the game and started off GREAT but then finished with some horrible scores. Just take a look at the scores for this set:

Quote :

9 12 8 20 12 4 2 8 -1 10

Ugh! The first 5 games averaged a great score of 12, but the 2nd 5 games averaged only 5, giving a total of 8.4. Still 8.4 is higher than my running average so far, which is 7.6, so I guess I’m improving.

Since my last update, I’ve played 5 sets, scoring 7.5, 7.0, 8.3, 9.3, and 8.4. My latest trending and itemized lines are below for my pleasure:

For my next lesson, tangent lines are on the agenda. I’m sure we’ll review how I did with my homework, and Rod also said he’d customize some stuff based on our first session together. Like I said, I’m excited about improving my game because with just one lesson, I think I learned enough to be able to improve my game a lot. The toolbox tip alone was worth the lesson, so I figure everything else I got is just great icing.

See you at the tables,

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