if you’re looking for a decent rack, omg has a limited number of magic racks for sale, as well as her usual keychains and t-shirts. (to buy the magic rack, go to omg’s blog and look for magic rack’s paypal link on the upper right hand corner of the home page.) the magic rack works pretty well, especially if the table consistently racks s~*y and you’re tired of trying to tap the balls into place. the sales link to the magic rack was still up the last time i checked, so i’m guessing she still has some left. you buy now!
maybe i’m the last one to know, but the price for the kamui chalk at seybert’s has gone up. it is now $27.95, and they don’t have it in stock (of course). the retail price is now $30, according to the chalk’s facebook page. so for the price of four kamui chalks, you can buy a box of 50 blue diamonds with some cash left, or 720 master chalks (again with leftover change). seriously, this kamui chalk thing is out of control. for me, chalks are consumables, meaning they wear out and need to be replaced periodically. although blue diamonds are expensive, they do a great job, wear out slowly, and won’t break the bank, even at around $4 a cube. i chalk pretty frequently, and i just can’t bring myself to buy the kamui for $30 knowing it is a consumable. i think i’ll stick with the blue diamonds for awhile. anyway, moving on.
cues are a basic tool for pool players. without a cue, you cannot play the game of pool. now if you’re skilled enough, cue choice will mean nothing to you; you’ll be able to pick up a crappy house cue and run a few racks with it. (just ask busti). if you’re not a demigod but a lesser-skilled mortal, then a choice cue may help you play better. (notice i said “help you play better”, not “will make you play better”.) based on my own personal experience, a good cue will provide a solid hit and provide feedback about the collision to your hand, then to your brain. your brain will store that info away for future analyses and comparison. since that info is very much interpretive in nature, it is difficult to have only one cue for everybody. as a result, the market offers multiple types of cues available for players of different styles and abilities.
unfortunately for those who enjoy shortcuts, you have to go out and hit with many different combinations of cues, shafts, and tips to figure out exactly what will suit your style of play. (basically, this means no short cuts.) should i spend some good cash on that szamboti? perhaps a fancy new tad with a predator shaft? what will happen if i stick a sniper tip on there? the combination goes on and on. there are literally tens of thousands of combinations out there, and testing all those combinations is literally an impossible task, since most players don’t play professionally. so what to do?
well, i think the process starts off with the player’s character. lemme ‘splain. the player has to be as genuine as respectful as possible. this way, he or she will be able to make some honest friends who will steer them the right way. of course, you should always be on guard for scam artists who will sell your granny for a buck. if someone is trying to sell you something, that’s a warning sign. be very careful around that person.
anyway, after you have some good, honest friends, ask to hit with their cues. it goes without saying that you should treat their equipments with respect. don’t bang the frigging table and balls with their cues, and don’t slam it down; treat their stuff like your own newborn baby. with the proper attitude in mind, put each cue through the paces by hitting some different shots, e.g., center ball, spin, draw, etc. really pay attention to what each cue feels like in your hand. then ask yourself if you like the hit of each cue. now file all that info away.
if your friend has four cues, and you like all their hits, chances are that you and your friend have similar tastes in cues/shafts/tips, or a certain combination of the three. in the future, if your friend tells you that a cue hits good, then it may be worth your time to check the cue out, since you both have similar tastes in cues. conversely, if you hated every single one of those cues, be honest but respectful with that information. when your friend tells you that a cue hits good, then you know that cue probably isn’t for you. the more people you know, the more you’ll be exposed to different types of cues. if you’re nice enough a person, you can approach strangers also and ask to hit with their cues. this can backfire of course, so ask only if you take rejection well.
there’s of course cue shops you can go to check out different cues. if you do, again be respectful of their merchandise and don’t abuse their cues when you test them out. if you like the shop, build up a rapport with the owner/manager so you can do business in the future. if you have a good relationship with a shop, you’re more likely to get honest advice as well as possible discounts. also, once the shop people get to know your preference in cues and tips, they’ll likely steer you the right way when new products come out.
because of today’s marketplace, hitting with every single cue out there is simply not feasible. with the help of some friends, you can narrow down the choices by getting some hands-on eval. but be careful around people who are pompous ashholes or really rough on the equipment; they will ding up/abuse people’s cue and not say a word of apology. in that case, don’t ask to shoot with their cues, and don’t let them touch your stuff. you can be friendly, but you should not be a fool.