yes, i’m neglecting my blogging duties. on purpose. :)

what can i say?  i’m greatly enjoying my hiatus.  not saying i hate blogging; not at all.  but i am enjoying my extra free time, which is spent by hanging out with friends, reading, and just relaxing.  i must say, it’s kinda nice.  eventually i’ll go back to blogging more regularly, but for now, i want to stop and enjoy the scenery.

i’m taking a break from pool as well.  i actually missed the swannee tournament a few weeks ago; i only watched about 15 minutes of it online, and that was it.  i heard the finals was quite epic, but oh well.  after watching pool for so many years, sometimes i feel like all the matches are blurred together, a sign of me turning indifferent.  better i take a break.

for some reason, i’m slowly getting back to playing video games.  i don’t play nearly as much as when i was younger, but i am picking it back up.  speaking of which, the playstation vita just came out.

i had a very brief hands-on at a game store.  as far as the hardware goes, it’s pure geek candy.  the five-inch OLED screen is big and bright, and sports 960 x 544 resolution.  the control scheme is quite trippy, however.  it has the usual playstation buttons: your start/select/home, the directional pad, two baby analog sticks, four face buttons, and two shoulder buttons.  but it also has a touch screen, and a big touch pad on the back of the machine.

the touch pad changes function depending on the game.  i played the soccer demo, and the touch pad was used to aim your shot.  pretty weird.  with so many controls, i felt like i needed ten extra fingers to utilize all the functions.  my gripe with the vita, however, is that the machine is pretty flat, meaning it doesn’t conform to your hands.  so with the touch pad on the back, you’ll accidentally hit the pad and make unintentional moves.  on top of all that, the machine is quite heavy for a handheld.  the result?  uncomfortable gaming experience.  so the vita is total eye candy, but it has a lot of rough edges.  i think it’s actually more comfortable to play games on my phone, which is not saying much at all.  for now, it’s a pass.

a hiatus is not complete without food.  so i tried another ramen shop.  below is the pork-broth ramen, or tonkotsu ramen in the native tongue.

i ordered the spicy pork ramen just to give it a try.  basically, it’s the pork ramen finished by adding a ladle (or two or three) of chili oil.  (the chili oil is the red stuff in the above picture.)  you mix up the oil with the broth, and you have the spicy ramen.  the pork broth itself was quite good: thick and rich with piggy flavor.  the abysmal amount of pork slices was laughable, but at least the flavor was quite right.  this shop served thin ramen noodles, which i liked.  there was the standard soft-yolk egg, a must in my opinion.  the chili oil at this shop had a sour kick to it, which i found pleasing.  it helped to cut through the heavy broth, and provided heat at the same time.

normally, a spicy dish in a japanese restaurant is not spicy at all.  but this particular ramen actually had decent heat to it.  it’s not quite like this . . .

 . . . but the heat was satisfying without being painful.  note to self: perfect winter dish.  eat when weather is cold.  (btw, i don’t recommend orochon.  the shop discovered a gimmick and became famous for it, but the ramen itself is average at best.)

my combo came with pan fried pork dumplings, also known as gyoza.  i was quite shocked at how good they were.  these weren’t headliners, but they stole the show.  the texture of the wrapper was a perfect chewy softness.  the filling was porky and meaty without overplaying its role.  the whole thing tasted like soft pillowy clouds of porky perfection.  the texture is such that i think it is mandatory to eat these gyozas right after they come off the griddle.  this is not a dish you eat cold.

as far as the portion goes, the combo is pretty filling.  next time i’ll try the ramen by itself with the extra noodle option.  i’ll continue to take it easy on the blogging front, and put up random posts in between.  until next time, gentle readers.



as was stated in my earlier post, i’m taking it easy on the blogging front.  just want to take it easy for awhile.  sad to say, i don’t have any new to report.  just enjoying the downtime.

like anything in life, blogging can consume your time just as quickly as any activity or addictive substances.  in some ways, i envy pool minnow’s decision to quit blogging.  must have been quite liberating.  i haven’t quite reached that point, and i don’t want to be (yet), so i’m giving myself some space to avoid burnout.  anyway, just gonna do some random rambling here.

as you’ve no doubt heard by now, the seminole tribe of florida has ceased to operate the seminole pro tour.  it’s an unfortunate turn of events, but i can’t help but think what the pool community really have to offer the tribe.  in order for this tour to become a successful venture, it’ll either have to be profitable, or offer something in return, like media exposure, or an increase in business for the tribe-owned enterprises.  i’m not involved in the tour in any capacity, but my guess is that the tribe is not getting a whole lot in return.  the tribe may make good money in their casinos, but in this economy, i can hardly blame them for pulling the plug.  i still believe that pool needs to be self-sufficient in order to become successful, but i don’t have any good ideas on how to achieve self-sufficiency.  at this time, we’re looking at independent events and individual challenge matches ala TAR.  sure, there are the u.s. opens and derby city, but the big tournaments are few and far in between.  for pro players who are making money strictly on pool, i think asia or europe are the better places to go, unless you’re just going to gamble all the time.  at least they have some big tournaments you can play in.  of course, you can always try your hand at poker; risky, but there’s more money.

there’s an article on mental_floss about names.  i can never understand why certain parents decide to give the most exotic name they could think of to their precious child.  (audio science?  rumer scout?  wtf, really?)  do they want their child to be ridiculed in school?  is this their way to torture their kids because they secretly hate children?  i just don’t get it.  the lakers’ forward ron artest recently renamed himself metta world peace, but hey, at least he did it to himself and not his children.  however, any parent who tries to name a child metta world peace should be jailed and left to rot.  that’s just cruel punishment on a hapless kid.

speaking of names, i recently watched the swedish film let the right one in.  (it was free.)  one of the actor’s name is ragnar.  i think that’s an awesome name.

you: hey man! what’s going on?  *turning to your friend* here’s my classmate i’ve told you about.
classmate: *extending his hand to your friend* hi, my name is ragnar åskväder.  what’s your name?
your friend: uh, hi.  my name is bob.

to borrow a line from dave chappelle, ragnar just put your friend on the spot with his super-cool name.  suddenly, bob just doesn’t feel good enough.

tournament director: here’s the result for today’s tournament.  first place: ragnar åskväder.  second place: bob.

i’d hate to be bob at that point.

and now, a bit of random weirdness.

i enjoy reading books.  i was more of a magazine guy than a book guy, but that has changed.  now i enjoy both equally.  some time ago i was reading this novel series, and one of the themes of the series dealt with locking onto one possibility at the expense of all others.  i think that applies to pool.  in the beginning of any player’s path, he or she watches someone plays pool, or perhaps gets a coach/teacher to learn the game.  it is a necessary step, but the person risks getting locked into one particular style of play, a style not his or her own.  i’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but there’s always the chance that the style may not be the best for that person.  if the player never ventures beyond the style that was taught to him/her, then the player is, in a sense, trapped into one perspective of the game.

personally, i think it’s a good idea to explore and observe as many different styles and techniques as you can.  when i think of distinct styles of play, i think of mike davis with his almost stiff-armed stroke.  there is no textbook (as far as i know) that will even mention mike’s form.  it’s a style of davis’ own creation, and it works for him.  could he force himself to play with the conventional form found in countless numbers of instructional books?  i’m sure he can, but he doesn’t.  he’s found something he could call his own.  to me, that’s being bold and fearless––marching to your own drum beat and be fine in your own skin.  i believe in finding your unique form.  whatever people say, you can at least call it your own.  better than slavishly following what everyone else is doing, i think.

anyway, gonna continue to chill out & take blogging easy.  if i see anything unusual or cool i’ll write a post.  happy playing.


no post this week folks.  in the meantime, check out killing lincoln by bill o’reilly and martin dugard.

it’s a historical account of the assassination of president lincoln, written in the style of a thriller.  if you’re a history buff you’ll love this book.  currently it’s available in hardcover as well as most major e-book formats (iOS, nook, kindle).  if you’re broke check it out from the local library, but there may be a wait list for this book.  happy reading.