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By p00lriah. Posted in misc.

a bunch of reviews

it’s been a long while since i posted anything, so here are some stuff for your perusal.

friend of mine treated me to some ocean delicacy.  behold its glory.

uni

uni closeup

it is sea urchin.  or uni if you’re japanese, or a sushi lover, or a japanese sushi lover.  what, you think all japanese folks are sushi lovers?  you racist bastard.

aaanyway.

for those who love sushi, you’ve probably had uni before (and maybe paid a pretty penny for it).  but it is quite an experience to eat it fresh.  i’ve often heard of food shows talking about getting closer to the source, or having more affinity for your food by gathering it yourself.  for me, a total city boy with no outdoor genes whatsoever, this is darn close to catching then eating something with my own hands.  i can see why people would want to catch and eat a fish, instead of buying one from a market.  it is that understanding of what you’re putting in your mouth that brings you closer to what you eat.

maybe this is a sign that i should go kill something.  that will please some vegans.

the flavor of the uni is pretty hard to describe.  it started salty and slightly briny, but much less than i had anticipated.  about two to five minutes after i ate a piece, a sweet flavor emerged.  even from all that sea water loaded with salt, i still tasted a sweetness similar to crab meat, except deeper.  umami is an overused word now, but in this case the word describes the uni flavor quite well.  it’s just one of those thing you have to experience yourself, because no two people would get the same sensation from uni.  at least that’s what i think.  btw, the uni roe is the reproductive organ of the sea urchin, in case you’re not already grossed out.  just here to help.

on the pool front, i’ve recently had a chance to try out the poison vx break/jump cue.  here’s a picture i snagged from the poison cue website.

poison vx break jump cue

poison vx break/jump cue. image retrieved from http://poisonbilliards.com/.

the vx break/jump cue comes with a phenolic tip as standard equipment.  i think the basic gist of the cue is to give you a more efficient way of transferring power to the cueball.  the hard phenolic surface offers almost no shock absorption, so whatever energy you generate will go into the cueball with minimal loss.  i don’t know the weight of this particular break cue, but it feels quite light in my hands.  unfortunately, this break/jump cue did not immediately give me a magical break, so i declare this product a failure.

all kidding aside, i had to really practice my break to get a feel for this cue.  the phenolic tip worked great for transferring energy, but it was also more prone to miscue than leather tips.  i found that concentration was the key to break well with this cue; when i focused on hitting the center of the cueball, the break worked very well.  when i didn’t, i’d miscue like a total amateur.  wait, i AM a total amateur.  never mind.

just like any equipment i’ve ever used, practice is the key.  no cue will give you a magic break/stroke, and this cue is no exception.  but it does work well when you figure out how to use it.  as far as jump shots, i did find it easier to jump due to the phenolic tip.  maybe that’s cheating, but i like that it made things easier for this lazy azz.

players cues makes the HXTP1 pure x break/jump cue.  the pure x breaks down into four pieces, which gives you more configurations.  if you focus a lot on your jump shots, the pure x may work for you since you can customize the length of your jump cue.  i haven’t used it yet so i can’t say how well it works, but the pure x does look like a neat concept.  try them all out for yourself is all i can say.

aside from work, i’ve had a chance to watch a few movies.  Runner Runner is a movie about online gambling, starring ben affleck and justin timberlake.  the movie was panned by most critics, but i thought it was entertaining.  it’s no oscars effort, but i didn’t think it was that bad.  just don’t buy the dvd.

Seeking a friend for the end of the world is a movie about two people connecting right before a giant asteroid is about to strike the earth.  steve carell and keira knightley headline the flick.  the movie surprised me.  the bond between carell’s and knightley’s characters were very sweet and moving.  if you didn’t watch it yet i think you’d be pleasantly surprised.

i also watched R.I.P.D.  i know, dumb show, but i liked it.  the movie made me laugh, so i don’t care.  at least i didn’t watch Twilight.

that’s it for now.  until next time, folks.

question everything

grip:

“Wrong—the ‘butterfly!’”

“Wrong—the rigid clench”

- Ray Martin & Rosser Reeves, The 99 Critical Shots in Pool

why?

stance:

Lay the cue over the rail . . . Now, drop your right foot back until the toe is about in the middle of your left foot, at the same time turning the toe of your right foot slightly to the right (roughly 30º).  Now bend forward at the hips, which means bending your left leg—but keep your right leg straight.  As you bend and shift the center of gravity forward, you will find that to be comfortable you will also be turning your left foot slightly to the right.  You are now bending forward with your weight evenly distributed on both feet, and you can lean forward into the stroke.

As you lean forward, however, keep your weight on both feet.  If you shift it too much to the front leg, which is bent, then big muscles must support you.  If you shift too much to the back leg, you will feel a strain coming straight up into the pelvis.  On both feet, however, you are in an easy and solid position.

- Ray Martin & Rosser Reeves, The 99 Critical Shots in Pool

Face the shot.  Before you even bend over to shoot, there is a line up of three points—the chin, the cue ball and the exact place you want the cue ball to go.  Turn your body slightly to the right without your chin is leaving the point of line up [sic].  Bend over at the waist, put your bridge hand down 7 to 10 inches from the cue ball so that your chin is 2 to 8 inches directly above the cue stick.  Adjust your feet to distribute your body weight approximately 50/50 . . . A generally accepted stance when you are in your shooting position is to have the tip of the right toe directly under the line of the cue and the left toe slightly to the left side of the line of the cue.  This should allow a 4 to 6 inch gap between the hip and the cue for freedom of movement.

A common mistake made by beginners in their shooting position is to have the shoulders and chest facing the cue ball.  A preferred technique is to turn the left shoulder out in front and the right shoulder back thus turning the chest more to the right.  This makes a better body alignment . . .

- BCA, Billiards: The official Rules and Records Book

why?

solicitation is illegal is some states

as i mentioned previously, i just recently started playing again.  it’s a little sad in some ways, because all the same people are still there and playing at the same level.  it’s as if no one cares about improving themselves; they are content just batting balls around all day.  sometimes i wonder if they have life outside of the pool hall.  do they dine out with friends?  spend time with family?  read?

none of my business, i guess.

now that i’m playing again, some folks at the pool hall had asked where i’ve been.  it feels nice to have people ask about you. strangely, no one related my absence to work. i honestly thought they would think that i was busy working.  perhaps working is a foreign concept at the pool hall.  i sometimes think that people become pool players to avoid working a job.  i’ve talked to some players who would flat out confess that to you.  “f~* work,” they would say.  the downside is a lack of health insurance, 401k, and a steady source of income.  but pool players seem to get around those societal constraints somehow.

anyway, i saw a sprinkling of new faces at the pool hall.  this one dude was practicing near me.  he seemed to have a decent stroke and solid techniques, and was pocketing balls just fine.  then along came moe.

moe (not his real name) is one of the regulars at the pool hall.  he plays a decent game, and is fairly respected in the pool circle for having been around a long time.  many consider him to be semi-pro.  so moe spotted the young’un and right away introduced hisself first thing.  the second thing that came out of moe’s mouth was to inquire the youngster if he ever took pool lessons.

a little context here.  i don’t really know what moe does for a living.  from what i hear, moe does the occasional cue repair, sells them if he can, and gives lessons when he can wrangle up a few suckers customers.  so pool lessons is one way he gets that bread & buttuh.

gee, you’re awfully mean, poolriah.  maybe so.  the thing is, if someone pitches me pool lessons, or any lesson, there will be several things running through my mind.  is he any good?  can he teach?  will his playing style jive with mine?  has anyone heard of this person?  why is he so interested in giving me lessons?

you get the gist.

i understand that moe has to eat.  i don’t begrudge him of that.  i am wondering what criteria do we use when it comes to pool instructors.  if you’re new to pool, how would you know which teacher you can trust?  are you paying too much and learning too little?  maybe your instructor’s style just doesn’t work with you, either physically or mentally.  who do you ask?

after moe made his pitch, he started giving pointers to the young’un, telling to play shape this way and that.  from what i could see, the young’un seemed to play worse the more tips moe gave.

*cue the captain picard face palm meme*

another one bites the dust.

here is an unrelated thought.  i think you can have tremendous power but very little stroke.  i’ve observed many players who could hit the ball with bunker buster force but do very little with the cueball.  it’s as if the atomic power that struck the ball just dissipated immediately after the collision, leaving nothing to move the cueball.  a very strange phenomenon.

’til next time, gentle readers.