Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Because Samm Made Me.....

Well its obvious I suck at this blogging thing. At this pace I may get six or so done this year. I will be honest and admit the only reason this one is getting typed out at the very last second possible before the deadline is because one of the heavy hitters in the industry made it known in no uncertain terms that it would be in my best interest to just shut up and do this shit. Who wields such power ? Who intimidates men with but a few polite words ? Behold......


Ms. Samm Diep ladies and gentlemen. Don't be fooled by the sweet smiling face. Samm is a gangster. Ok..not really but Samm is really sweet and when she asked me to write something for this months PoolSynergy how could I refuse? I just had to remember my damn log in for this thing. On to this months topic...."Whats in your case and why?"

I should start out by admitting that I am a gear queer. Doesn't matter if it's IPSC shooting, photography, video or pool. I like nice gear and I like trying all different kinds of things to see if there something out there I like better. This means I have owned, tried, bought, sold and traded ridiculous amounts of cues and cases. I have ran the gamut from hauling around a 3x6 Justis full of crap that weighed as much as a Hyundai to a 1x2 Ron Thomas with one cue for everything. After years of switching constantly I have finally settled down a bit and have used mostly the same set up for about the last year or so.

In my old age I have taken on a bit of a minimalist outlook on things. This is shown in the case that I have been using for the last couple of years. It is a custom 2x4 made by IMO the best case maker in the world Mr. Jack Justis. I called Jack and asked him if he would make me a case with no pockets. I had never seen one of his 2x4's without pockets and thought it would have a nice clean look to it. There was a practical consideration as well. When I travel I put my case in the bottom of a duffel bag to check it. This means pockets get crushed because there is often a lot of crap on top of the case. I invariably lose any pool gadget in my possession anyway so there is no reason to carry a bunch of crap I will just end up leaving on a table at the Riv, Derby City or some pool room somewhere in the country never to be seen again. Besides when you play as bad as I do you dont really need a bunch of extra crap. My Justis:


Jack did a fantastic job on the case. He lasered the TAR logo and "" on for me as well as making a nameplate with my internet handle on the lid. The JCIN was something I came up by combining my initials with my location at the time I created it which was Indiana. It is also a play on the fact that for most of my life half the people who see me everyday call me Jason anyway. There must be an innate need in peoples minds to convert Justin to Jason for some reason so I decided to just give them a good excuse.

I have a few cues that I rotate through depending on my moods. One of my favorites is made by Steve Lomax. It is a Nigerian ebony cue with double silver rings and a pimptastic genuine Ring Tail Lizard wrap. IMO you have to be careful with wraps as blingy as a Ring Tail. If you put them on a really fancy cue it can take it from cool to something that looks like you swiped it out of Kanye West's game room. For me the simple ebony cue balances it out nicely. The shaft has an ivory ferrule with a Kamui Black Super Soft tip and a taper that would make Earl proud. The cue plays great and is one that I will not be letting go of.


I also have one of Steve's famous jump cues but mine comes with extra bad assedness added. Steve made this as a special 1 of 1 for us to raffle off at the Derby last year. It has a custom logo we designed together by combining his logo with ours. It is also signed and dated one of one by Steve. Everyday at Derby I looked at the thing and lamented the fact that the one person who had no chance to own it was me. A fine gentleman named Bill Trimble won the cue and because he saw the lust in my eyes for it he was kind enough to work out a trade deal with me. So thanks to Steve and Bill I have the jump cue that John Wayne would of used.


One of the other cues that sees a lot of use is a slick little sneaky made by my buddy Eric Crisp of Sugar Tree Cues. He made it from a Dufferin blank and added one of his signature "Razor Wire" rings to the but and some extra crispy brown phenolic at the joint and butt cap. The main feature of the cue is one of Eric's amazing shafts. I asked him what the ferrule was and he said "I don't know. Some dude sent me stuff to try and thats whats on here." So I just tell everyone its made out of a mysterious substance called Unobtanium. It has a Triangle tip on it and plays amazing. I have been working on a design for my dream cue for Eric for about a year now and finally have it figured out. My first concept cue. Till that one gets done I will be able to get my Sugar fix with this bad boy. Sorry for the horrid pic I was up against the deadline as usual and dogged it.


The final cue that I have been playing around with for the last 5 or 6 months is, hold in your gasps of horror.......a production cue. But it isnt your dads production cue. It is a very simple wrapless Mezz EC-7 with the WD-700 shaft. My friends Caroline Pao and Mika Immonen own Mezz USA and I was hanging out in their booth last year at the APA Nationals in Vegas just looking at their wares and shooting the shit. As I handled the cues I was amazed at the quality and feel of them. To me it is better than many custom cues I have handled. The shaft taper on the WD-700 shaft is perfect for me and the fit and finish overall is outstanding. Fast forward a few months and I had pestered Caroline enough that she sold me this cue. I like straight forward players cues and this one is just that. I tell everyone that will listen about Mezz and the quality product they make. Their EC-7 line is a tremendous value and they are sold by some of the best people in the game.


I will be packing up the Justis along with five tons of TAR gear in a few weeks and heading out for what I think will be one of the best matches we have ever done. On October 12-14 TAR 19 will feature Mika Immonen vs Shane Van Boening in a $10,000 entry winner take all 10 ball race to 100. The match is at Amsterdam Billiards in NYC. We have two of the biggest players going head to head in New York City. I am all jacked up for this one. If you are interested in watching the match in person or online via PPV streaming more info is available at

a_TAR19 copy_800

Thanks to Samm for getting me off my ass and resurrecting this thing again. I plan to do a few more during the lead up to TAR 19. But we all know how that has worked out in the past....we'll see.

What I am listening to: Jamey Johnson's new album The Guitar Song just dropped and if you like old school, drink Jack till you cant see and go shoot stop signs country music it is the absolute mortal nuts. Here is a cut from the new release.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why Pool Doesn't Suck.

Damn. This thing is still here. Looks like that whole daily series thing from Florida didn't work out after all. My bad yo.

Well I have decided to bring this thing back from the dead. Since everyone's favorite cupcake the PCN dude (or as I call him the heartless fag who likes to make the fat jokes behind a keyboard) has decided to pussy out and quit the blogging game due to a little heat from a fellow fat man I see an open niche for a blog with a high asshole content. Right up my alley. So here we go.....

A lot has happened since I last posted here. This is where I am supposed to tell you how jacked up the pool world is, how horrible a future this game has and how the people all blow cancerous rhino dick.....but I won't. "But why?" you ask oh intrepid reader of pool blogs? Because while pool can suck at a high level for those trying to make their living in and around the game it really is not that bad when viewed with what I believe is the proper perspective.

To make my point let me tell you about what I used to do. I used to work for Ford Motor Company as an hourly Union employee. (UAW Local 1111 RULEZ!!!). Did it for 9 years. Made about $3o an hour plus full benefits. Sounds good so far right? Except I was completely and 100% miserable. Hated it. It really was no one's fault but my own I guess but then I got a roll. In December 2006 I took a buyout offer that allowed me a little freedom. For the first time in my life I did not have to worry about a weekly paycheck and could look around and see what I wanted to do. That is how TAR was born with the help of some other people.

Fast forward to today. I just got back from one of the best trips I have ever been on. The reason it was so good was because of the people I was with. Every single one of them I have met through pool. In this blog I want to introduce you to some of them. Cue travel log portion of blog in 3...2...1...

The trip started out with that orgy of pool known as The Super Billiard Expo in Valley Forge, PA. Allen Hopkins and crew nutted it again this year. Last year TAR had a booth and did well but this year things just didn't go right in order for us to do it again. (AKA I am a procrastinating dis-organized dumb ass who didn't get the TAR shit ordered in time.)This year my plan was to go and film the annual American Cuemakers Association dinner and to generally make contacts and enjoy myself. All of which I accomplished.

Many of the people I mentioned enjoying the company of happen to be cuemakers. In my experience they are a special breed especially the great ones. John Showman and his wife Merylane Showman are proof positive of that. I met John through TAR and I am very fortunate have become friends with him. John is a guy who LOVES the game of pool and holds the giants of cuemaking who came before him in the highest regard. It is always a true pleasure to talk cues with a maker of his status and he shares his knowledge and experience freely and in most cases with a heavy dose of humor and a pinch of sarcasm. My kind of guy.

This year John and Merylane built a TAR cue and case to help us out. They know TAR is far from lucrative and they went out of their way to create something to help us out because they believe what we are doing is good for the game. Words can not describe what it means to me personally. I am serious. It is not a money thing. That means something too of course but to me the thing that really gets me is that a master of his craft took the time create a cue, his wife created a case and together they said "We like what you do, this is for you". When TAR is long gone, somewhere in a cue collection there will be that cue and case because he made it. A guy will pick it up to show someone and say "Let me tell you about this cue. John made it for The Action Report" That means more to me than I will ever be able to express. Thank you to John and Merylane for such a special gift. I met these people through pool.

While I was at Valley Forge and in the days after I got to hang out with one of my favorite people on earth. I guess technically she is only really half a people but the size of her heart makes up for small stature. Ms. Sarah Rousey inspires me. No bullshit. Real talk. Aside from being one of the people on this earth who can induce tears rolling down the cheeks laughter from me with a single comment she is a remarkable young lady. She has a great talent for the game but it is not the talent that seems to come so easy to a few. Sarah works hard for everything and when you get to know her that is something that sticks with you.

She works a full time job when not on the road for pool in order to maintain medical benefits that she must have. For such a young lady she has a great deal of experience in how things work in the pool world. Her mix of enthusiasm and almost road weary cynicism is something I enjoy greatly. You see IMO Sarah gets it when it comes to being a pro player. She markets herself and does things proactively to to help herself. Many players can learn a lot from her in this department.

I hung out with Sarah and her boyfriend Jason "The Canadian" Klatt for a couple of days in New York after the SBE. It was a redonkulously fun time. I am actually laughing now as I write this. Just a short story to illustrate the fun factor of these two. It was about 4 AM and we were on the way back to the home we were staying in. In the car was Sarah, Jason, myself and the lovely Ms. Caroline Pao our guide through the jungle that is NYC. We decide to eat and go to some late night joint in the city. They seat us next to a table of about 8 no shit real deal cross dressing "IT"S FABULOUS!!!!" trannies. I mean these guys were all in. Sequined evening gowns, high heels, some with wigs on some with wigs off. You could tell they had just had one hell of a night of trannieing and were taking the edge off.

Caroline being a native New Yorker doesn't give it a second look and sits down as if it is a normal everyday occurrence to be seated next to a basketball team in evening gowns. Did I mention one of these dudes was about 6'8" ? Swear to God. Sarah being from the midwest like me was a little hesitant but we both rolled with it. "The Canadian" on the other hand....let's just say that based on his reaction if we ever have to invade Canada we should lead off with a massive airborne operation of trannies. We won't have to fire a shot. Poor jason was so uncomfortable I could not help but laugh uncontrollably at him. Sarah being a supportive partner joined in with me. Below is a pic of said discomfort. I could tell a hundred more stories that bring a smile to my face involving Ms. Sarah Rousey. I met her through pool.

While in New York I had the great pleasure to hang out with the coolest couple of the interweb pool world Pool Monkey and Brooklyn Jay. I met these two through the online pool forums (those of you who get that joke appreciate it) and consider myself very lucky to have done so. It is a blast to hang out with them as being New Yorkers their ability to cut through the bullshit is remarkable. I enjoy that very much. The fact that they double as a comedy team is a bonus. To illustrate that fact here is a short story from the now legendary JimboArmy party room at this years SBE.

CKurzweil of the JimboArmy forum brought various and sundry meat products for everyone to snack on at the party. (You da man sir!) He makes these products at a company he owns and does a damn fine job of it. One of the things he brought was this mouth watering ass burning Hell Jerky. He told the story of a guy asking for hot jerky and then coming back saying it wasnt that hot. Then he said "After the next batch he never said it wasn't hot enough again". That is the shit we are talking about here. It seems Jay is like me in that he prefers to not sweat and cry while eating so super hot shit is not an everyday thing for him. Below is the story in pictures of what happened.

Once again I could tell a hundred stories involving these two that make me smile whenever I think of them. I met them through pool.

One person who I admire for many reasons is a young lady who most of you know as a pro pool player. Ms. Caroline Pao is that and much more. Lets face it, there are some players who NEED the game because due to circumstance or personal choice they have no other real marketable skill. Caroline is not one of those people. She has a Masters degree from NYU was at one time a working pastry chef in New York City and is one of the most all around talented and hard working people I have met. She is also quite possibly the nicest person walking the face of the planet today. Actually the window is open. It's a mortal lock. Nuns and social workers get the 6 out.

Aside from playing the WPBA tour Caroline runs not one but two companies with help from her partners. Those companies are Mezz USA and Billiard Life. Take it from a guy involved in one pool company who cant play a lick, playing at the highest level while trying to keep two businesses straight is nuts. Caroline does it with style and grace.

She also is funny as hell. Case in point: It was another late night in NYC and we were making our way back to New Jersey (Base Camp for the assault on NYC) Sarah Rousey is piloting the return flight with Jason and Caroline in the back, me riding shotgun (one of the only benefits of being the size of an adolescent elephant is that you generally get shotgun by default). Jason had long since fell asleep and Caroline was giving directions. It was late and we all were tired. No crazy drinking stories here just a long night of eating, laughing and a long day before it.

Well I am talking to Sarah and we notice that we have not received any instructions lately on where we are supposed to navigate to. For those who have never driven in NYC it is very difficult to describe. If you are a male take out your junk and slam it in the car door. This will give you the starting level of anxiety you feel while driving in the most fucked up road system this side of Bangladesh. This is what Sarah is dealing with and unbelievably well I might add. I look back to determine the problem with our faithful navigator and see it right away. I turn to Sarah and say "She is asleep". At which point she looks at me like I have a dick growing out of my forehead and says "Well then...wake her up." Never one to disobey a direct order from a legal midget I tap Caroline on the leg and say "Caroline wake up...which way do we have to go." She promptly opens one eye for a tenth of a second and says "Go straight."

Since this is a viable option at this point in the journey Sarah looks somewhat skeptical but holds course based on our updated information. Five minutes later Sarah somewhat urgently says "I have to make a turn....wake her up and find out which way." Once again I tap our fearless leader on the leg and say "Sarah has to turn ...which way?" At which point Caroline, very suspiciously in my eyes, does the same eyeblink and responds in a very groggy almost dreamlike voice "Go straight." At this point I realize that our human GPS has fallen into an endless loop and the directions are not to be trusted. I admit that at this point Sarah and I are laughing our asses off but we do have that turn to make. So instead of the gentle leg tap for a direction I give her the "Wake the fuck up before we drive into a river" shake. Caroline being Caroline wakes up realizes what has happened and immediately apologizes for failing to do less than her absolute best at the duty at hand. I could go on for twenty pages about things that make me smile or laugh when it comes to Caroline. I met her through pool.

I realize that this manifesto length blog post may be more than you signed on for but I wrote it all to make my point stated above. You see for a long time I was a guy in a factory standing in front of a machine thinking to myself that out there somewhere were people doing what they wanted to do and enjoying life. I know now I was right about that because I am one of those people now and it is because of pool. More specifically it is because of the people in pool. The ones I mentioned above all hold a special place in my heart but there are many more out there. So whenever you get down on the game remember that it isn't really that bad and that some amazing people are in there with you.

Thanks for reading and I will do my best to try and keep this thing somewhat current.

COMING UP ON TAR: TAR 18 Bartram vs Appleton May 24-25

Stay tuned kids.

What I am listening to:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TAR Florida Swing Daily Blog: Day 1

Andy Chen and I came down to Clearwater Florida last week to do TAR 17 Mills vs Van Boening. We had planned to go back this morning but Corey Deuel asked us if we could work something out to stay and stream his event in a couple weeks. With the help of Simonis, Erry Forsythe of AZ Billiards, OB Cues and Delta 13 we figured out a way to get it done.

So we bumped our flights and decided to hang around Florida. Today I spoke with Jerry Forsythe and he mentioned that the streamer of the Seminole Mizerak event had pulled out due to health reasons so I called Corey and he put me with the right guy at the Seminole Media group and we scored that event too.

So now we are on a little Florida swing in the winter time. Which is nice except it is 80's and sunny where Andy and I live (L.A. and Vegas) and shitty and nasty here because a huricane is out in the gulf. But that is ok because last I checked the Hard Rock and Innisbrook are water proof and the hurricane should just be some rainstorms by the time it gets anywhere near.

Florida has a metric shit ton of pool going on down here. You cant swing a dead cat without hitting a pool room or pool tour not to mention cue makers like Showman, Searing and Tucker along with casemaker Jack Justis calling the state home. I like it.

Tomorrow we head down to Hollywood and start the set up after the WPBA pro-am at about 10 pm. Then the event and stream start the next day. It will be fun to see some friends and all my WPBA player buddies like Sarah "The grumpy munchkin" Rousey and Caroline "Capao" Pao. The Hard Rock is an awesome venue. I will add pics as necessary and try to post here each day we have left in Florida.

Lesson learned #112: Going to strip clubs with people that do not drink is not as fun as going with Easy E and 3 girls from Oregon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Galveston- F.I.D.O.

Well I dogged the whole five blogs in five days thing. Shit happens. That is my new outlook on the pool world as a whole. Amused detachment. Because if I actually spend too much time thinking about the state of the game I get too pissed off and cynical. Take for example this past Saturday. I am in Galveston for this end all be all million dollar extravaganza trying like hell to keep an open mind. I had spent all day and most of the night in the tournament room on Friday so I was unusually tired Saturday. I was looking at some of the reaction online to the fact that all of the pre event bullshit about $50,000 first places and other failed promises seemed to not bother anyone in the least. Or at best a very few.

So I started thinking about things and kept reading the responses some of them by people who's opinion I give some weight to. I started to get mad. I mean pissed. What the fuck is wrong with people in this industry? In my entire life I have never seen a more ethically challenged business and lower expectations from customers and people involved. I really started to get worked up and started to seriously ask myself some hard questions. Is this what I want to invest my life in? Do you really want to be in a business where the bar is set so low that flat out misinformation is accepted and overlooked? In a business where a little bit of money spread around can absolve any and all past transgressions because every one is so hungry for any scrap they can get?

I had a long talk with myself and I didn't like what I was coming up with. Then I kind of calmed down and realized that despite the metric tons of bullshit that seems to cover the ground everywhere you look in this industry there are some very bright points and even some inspiration. I also realized that pool is no different than any other business when you get right down to it. If you look hard enough in any business you will find the bullshit and less than ethical behavior. It just seems to be so readily accepted in pool and that is what really bothers me. I believe we get the game we deserve, If we do not mind bullshit falsehoods and inflated claims then guess what? That is exactly what we will get until everyone makes up their mind that it has to stop.

For anyone who has not been keeping up with the latest AZ Billiards Forums hot topic (how dare you fail to be hardwired into the pool intarweb!!!) The World Classic in Galveston promised $50,000 for first place in the Open 10 Ball event and the Amateur 8 Ball Team event. The way they presented it on their website was that the entry fees would be used to payout the fields while the top heavy first prizes would just magically be there. Anyone who asked the rather simple question of "How?" was branded a naysayer and too negative. Well fuck that. It is a logical question and one that evidently the promoters couldn't come up with a viable answer for because guess what? Those $50,000 guaranteed first places turned into a $22,000 added 10 ball tournament and $9000 for first place for the team events. The ten ball event is bullshit but I can almost stomach it. It is a respectable added money event. What puts me on mega-head spinning-puppy kicking-TILT is how in the fuck do you explain going from $50,000 guaranteed first place to $9,000 in the team event????

Yes the promoters put on an event. Yes they lost an asinine amount of money to do it. Yes it was probably the best one pocket field in the last 10 years. They deserve credit for all of those things. They also need to explain beyond "At least we did something" why after 6 months of non stop hype when the rubber met the road shit changed drastically at the last minute. If they don't at least address it then I will never support another one of their events. I am sure that will not keep them up at night but you know what? It will allow me to sleep a little better knowing that I at least put my money where my mouth is. I passed by the promoters in person a couple times in Galveston and debated just asking them "WTF?" but in my state of mind I would not have done any good. I don't really care why they didn't pay. They didn't seem to care about all the people trying to figure out how it would work so the hell with it. It's their chicken they can fuck it anyway they want to.

The spin has already started and the "At least they are doing something" crowd is going to win the day and sometime in the near future a bunch of pool players and fans are going to go to another bigger than life event and get one broke off in them just like always. You know why? Because at least they are doing something.

In this my hopefully last Galveston themed blog post I would like to share the conclusion that I came to that Saturday in my hotel room. I realized that while the industry is fucked up like Channel 4 (you know that one channel you had when you were a kid that would never come in right? The one with Super Friends on and you never could get that shit to tune in) it also is what I love to do and has let me meet some amazing people and do some awesome things. I realized that as bad as things sometimes seem they are not pull the pin and see what's next bad. There are some wonderful honorable people in this business. Whenever I get down about this industry and lately it has been a lot I have to remind myself how lucky I am. Then I refer to my time tested personal motto that has carried me through many things more jacked up than anything the pool world can throw at me and that is: F.I.D.O.

Fuck It Drive On.

Ok. Now that I have all the maudlin shit out of the way time for some funny road stories from the event.

Friday finds me back in the bleachers with my main sweating buddy at this event Bill "If you don't play 14.1 you can kiss my ass" Maropolis . Somehow the topic of total spectator capacity came up and we figured it to be about 1800 give or take. Then Bill went on to compare the events VIP spectator amenities to other events. You see Bill is the Efren Reyes of pool spectating. Its not even close. The rest of the world gets 9-7. Bill has a collection of VIP passes going back to the 70's. He has been to more events than Simonis 860. So he knows what a good VIP seating arrangement is supposed to be like.

He begins to pontificate on the situation: "Well the bleachers are pretty high to start with but the biggest problem is I don't have a table. How can it be VIP without a table? Where am I supposed to eat my chicken strips? Where am I supposed to set my Taco Bell?" all very valid and hilarious points. He then mentions that he feels a little silly for firing $200 at the "PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE" when there is often no one even looking at the passes to begin with. I agree with him that this would cause me some annoyance would I too have donked off a similar two bills. I joke that he was probably the only guy who sprung for the entire event PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE. I joked that he probably had number 001 on his badge. We laughed and then he said through the chuckles "You know what....when I went to pick up my badge at registration I told them my name and that I was here to pick up my PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE and they said " you are the one. We have been waiting for you." I literally cried laughing.

So naturally I asked Bill to see this now mythical and certainly one of its kind credential. He pulled it out (I thought heard some faint noise in the background...almost like angels singing) and showed it to me. It was beautiful in all its majesty. Then I noticed something at the bottom. It was a number. That number? 101. I told him that I bet they started the numbers at 100 like checks. Bill agreed. We both cried laughing.

Some pics of Bill and the only known Galveston World Classic PLATINUM VIP SEATING BADGE in the known universe.

Right after the above gutbusting laughter session happened I overheard this little exchange that I can only describe as hilarious and somewhat typical:

Pool Player: "Hey Alex. I got a story for you. I get busted last night and pawn my cues for $500. Then I get in a game for $500. Win that and then get in another one and win two sets at $500 each. So in a few hours I go from being broke and pawning my cues to being up a $1000. What do you think of that?"

Alex Pagulayan: "Can I borrow $500?"

A pic of Alex and Scooter. This is the picture in the dictionary under both action and donkey.

Sunday I went out to dinner with Shane and out of the blue he says "You know how many guys have won the US Open more than once?" I started naming names but he knew exactly who had done it. Me thinks the kid has his sights set on Virginia. Shane is one of those guys I mentioned earlier who is one of the good guys. He is a hell of a champion and a great person for the game. Kid is pretty funny too.

Off to L.A. tomorrow for TAR 16 Dominguez vs Morra.

What I am listening to:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Galveston Thursday- These Bleachers Suck

Just to get everyone up to speed I am a vampire. Not the suave blood sucking prince of darkness bad ass kind. Just the kind that has managed to create a schedule where any exposure to sunlight makes me curl up in the fetal position and scream. Said schedule, while good for Wal Mart shopping and getting things done on your own, does not mesh well with pool tournament match scheduling.

I would give you a time breakdown on yesterday but I am so mixed up I am not sure it would make sense. But I will try it anyway.

2:00 AM Thursday: Leave tournament room and go to hotel. Work on blog entry and photos.

6:00 AM Thursday: Post blog and pictures. Surf net, read AZ and Facebook while attempting to fall asleep

9:48 Am Thursday: Enter into Galveston Challenge Match thread on AZ. Instantly know I will regret it. Continue trying to fall asleep.

10:30ish AM Thursday: Realize I am a complete failure at one of natures most basic tasks. That is falling asleep. Decide to go to the tournament room and see if the players have burned said room down upon finding out the first place money for the team event was cut by $41,000.

10:45 AM Thursday: Arrive on site to find that all is in good order at said tournament room. I see no signs of spent torches or bent and bloody pitch forks anywhere. Seems the villagers are at peace in the land. I am strangely disappointed. But hey...whats 41 dimes here or there. Besides I didnt have a dog in the fight but I find it telling that all the noise made by certain cheerleaders and self appointed representatives of the organizers has grown suddenly quiet. The silence about the dirty business of actually carrying through on bigger than life pay out promises is deafening. More on this later.

11:20 AM Thursday: I engage in the mandatory tribe sanctioned practice of sampling the host venues concession stand fair. Being a very health conscious man and always treating my body like the temple it is I only order from three of the basic food groups: The Hot Dog group, The Coke group and The Hershey Chocolate Bar group. It's not easy keeping this physique. It takes true discipline.Total cost for this feast: $8.00.

11:23 AM Thursday: Consume said hot dog and attempt to rate it on the pool tournament hot dog continuum. It falls somewhere between Derby City 2006 and Valley Forge 2008. Not a bad dog.

Noonish Thursday: I check out the charts to see who is playing in the next round. See there are some good matches in the 8 ball division. Corey vs Archer and Alex "The Greatest Karaoke Singer Who Has Ever Won The US Open" Pagulayan vs Lee Van Corteza. I am a happy camper and proceed into the mountain range of bleachers to find a spot to sweat and shoot photos.

12:15 PM Thursday: I run into my buddy Bill "All Games But 14.1 Blow Dog" Maropolis in the bleachers. Bill is one of my favorite dudes because no matter what he always finds a way to crack me up and today would be no different.

12:30 PM Thursday: Match play begins. I notice that while looking very impressive in both size and quantity these bleachers suck for actually watching matches. There is a railing to keep people from going over the front edge and falling 120 feet to their death.(You will notice that I use a little artistic license from time to time. This is one of those times.) That rail is at the perfect height so that when you sit in the front row with your buddy Maropolis it cuts across the view of the tables perfectly so you have to hunch down to see under it. After the first 90 seconds this begins to suck.

My options were to move up and farther away from the tables or keep working on my new spine curvature. Instead I just shot the shit with Bill about all things pool. While we engaged in laughing our ass off at various things and people in the pool world we heard what sounded like some one doing body work on a 1978 Ford LTD. Metal on metal banging. Loud. We were not the only ones to notice this because Gabe Owen looked up after a shot with that "WTF?!??" look on his face and I don't blame him. He came to a pool tournament and an auto body class broke out. I would be a bit miffed as well.

Being the intrepid and fearless soul that I am I decided to investigate this hellish noise by walking fifteen feet up to the top of the bleachers and looking into the feature table pit from where it was emanating from. It was only then that it all made sense, for there 1500 feet below me (there's that artistic license thing again), were four men working on long heavy aluminum trussing. I am assuming they were working on putting up some lighting for the feature table in an attempt to fix the FUBAR situation that had been in place previously.

Bill came up to see what was going on as well and we began chatting about the course of events that were ongoing at this tournament. It was quite a good conversation and we laughed and talked while watch the men below beat and bang on the trussing without a care in the world. I know there is not much they could do about the noise. Their job was to get the job done. It was whoever scheduled a construction project in the middle of a $600 entry fee tournament who fucked up.

So Bill and I continue having a great conversation until I think of something and start cracking up. I say to Bill" Do you realize that we are each about a 1000 miles from home for the sole purpose of coming to a pool tournament as spectators, we have the best players in the world playing down there and we are standing here at the top of the bleachers watching four guys put together a giant erector set?" Bill LOL'ed.

After our revelation we went back down and took our seats to watch the matches. Sure enough after the first 90 seconds of hunching to see under that fucking rail the bleachers started to suck again. By this time I had gotten a little sleepy and figured I would head back to the room and catch a nap then come back for the one pocket finals.

3PM Thursday: Get back to the hotel and as I inevitably always do, decide to check on AZ for all the latest scoop. Low and behold I find that one lady on line is convinced that TAR is the expletive spewing demon spawn of the pool streaming world. Well when someone is wrong on the internet you can't just let that shit slide.

4:21 PM Thursday: Finally decide that sometimes when someone is wrong on the internet it is best to just let them live on in their happy little universe where horse racing is the moral benchmark by which all other endeavors are measured.

4:22 PM: Thursday: Pass the fuck out.

6:00 PM: Sleep through Efren vs Cliff

9:00 PM: Sleep through Efren vs Shannon

11:00 PM: Sleep through Efren bitching to his close friends about having $10,000 taken out of his fucking first place money to spread among the players because no one figured out that if you promise $25,000 for first and dont add any more money to the entry fees then there is going to be a large disparity between first and the rest of the field. (Maybe I was dreaming this part. Efren is such a gentleman I doubt he would say a word. But I sure as hell would if I was him.)

2:30 AM Friday: Awaken to realize that I had slept through most of one day at the very tournament I had traveled to see. Kick self repeatedly in ass. Resume online scanning to see what I missed.

3:30 AM: Begin Facebook chatting with Sarah Rousey and Derek Disco. Begin laughing.

4:30 AM: Sarah and Disco log off. Stop laughing.

6:00 AM Friday: Begin working on this blog.

10:00 AM Friday: Finish this long ass blog entry and realize telling the world how much of a dumb fuck you are may not be the best thing. Oh well. Good news is I am refreshed and ready to roll all day and night tonight. I will be heading to the tournament venue shortly to catch a full schedule of matches if I can find a way to outsmart those ass breaking, spine curling bleachers from hell.

Tune in next time kids for some exciting news about the new Team CSI as well as updates from my daily jackassery. I also want to send a shout out to my favorite WPBA players in Colorado: Sarah "The Grumpy Munchkin" Rousey, Caroline "Dont call me Capao" Pao, Ga Young "I only wish Justin would move to Korea so we could be together" Kim and Angel "Insert witty nickname here" Paglia. Good luck to one and all.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Galveston Wednesday- Nice joint.

Made it to Galveston without any big travel hassles which is always nice. Why you hold a tournament an hour away from the nearest major airport will always be a mystery to me but after I saw the layout at Moody Gardens I can see how a good argument could be made.The place is nice.

Talked to some of the vendors and they all pretty much are doing the same thing. Standing around looking at each other wondering if anyone is going to show up and buy something. It don't look good. The funny thing is the people that are walking around are the who's who of pool players in the world. In the first hour I said hello to probably 5 of the top ten players in the world. The talent here is amazing.

I walked around and checked out the venue. Based on what I was told by staff they have 40 bar tables and 40 big tables set up in the main tournament room with 10 or so mixed tables in a green room down a hallway. Evidently there are about 100 bar tables sitting in trailers that never got unloaded. Due to a scheduling glitch with the hotel the tables were not able to get set up till Monday and by then they didnt really need them so in the trucks they sit.

The floor plan is bit hinky IMO. They have the vendors kind of scattered willy nilly amongst the the bar tables and it makes for some goofy traffic patterns. But seeing as the turnout is small I guess it doesnt matter too much. Basically it looks like what it is; a first time effort. The room itself is one of the nicer ones I have been to and they spared no expense when it came to seating for spectators. They went CRAZY with bleacher seating for the pro arena and feature table pit. I have no idea what the capacity is but it is more than anything I have ever seen with maybe the exception of the US Open. Optimistic is a good word to describe it. For anyone who has never priced setting up bleachers in a hotel it would probably give you a heart attack what they had to spend on this. They didnt scrimp thats for sure.

I checked out the now somewhat infamous streaming set up and was shocked at the lighting set up. They are using spot lights suspended over the table instead of the standard set up ESPN and Matchroom use which is fluorescent Kinoflow type lights which provide a soft even light instead of the harsh hot light they have here. More than one person said the lighting "sucks" for the players with harsh shadows on the table and balls. Supposedly they were working to change somethings but it was basically the same when I left. The one camera I saw was the overhead view and it was something I had never seen before which means it is either some high speed broadcast unit or what it looked like to me which is something from about 10 years ago. Overall the set up looks impressive on site but the end result for the online viewer frankly sucks for what was supposed to be something special. I have my thoughts on why that is but for now I will just keep my mouth shut.

I was wore out from traveling and being on a vampire schedule the previous week so I went back to the hotel about 6PM and crashed out till midnight. I went back to the event center and walked around looking for something to get into. I ran into Joey "GO GALVESTON !!!" Aguzin and Boradriver from the AZ forums. We drank a beer together and shot the shit. I mentioned to Joey that I had seen people online were not happy with the Gabe/Scott exhibition and he agreed that they basically were just shooting at their hole nonstop. I slept through the whole thing so I have no opinion.

As I was talking to Joey Mark Griffin walked up and I immediatly started talking shit to him about how bad i would thrash him on the pool table were he impetuous enough to try me some. Ten minutes later we were on one of the nine footers in the pro arena locked in mortal one pocket combat. I promptly thrashed him 8 to 1 in the first game. That is the good news. The bad news is I think he got used to cue I loaned him cause I didnt win another game. My story is that since he is at such an advanced age I felt it would only be right to show him the proper respect by easing up on him. Hey...its my story and I am sticking to it. Mark called it quits and took off for his room and I hung out and knocked some balls around for awhile and then took off myself.

It is now 3:30 AM local as I write this and the one thing am curious to see tomorrow is the reaction to the news that the $50,000 guaranteed first place in the amateur open 8 ball teams event has been reduced to $9,000. Oh yeah, me thinks some shit will be stirred up with that one. Or maybe not. I can't figure the pool world out. People get bat shit crazy about trivial things like phenolic tips and don't even bat an eye when prize funds change or don't add up at events all over the country. So I expect something between a full out revolt and no change whatsoever tomorrow.

Overall first day impressions:

1. Nice place to hold a tournament

2. Best field in the U.S. this year Pro wise.

3. These guys are gonna lose their ass on this deal. (General peanut gallery consensus $300,000- $500,000 loss)

4. I am glad I came and look forward to seeing some awesome ten ball this week.

More to follow tomorrow. I was gonna post pics here but it is easier to just do a picture thread on AZ Billiards forums so that is where you can see them. Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Galveston - 4 hours to take off.

I have severely neglected my blogging duties in the last month and ...well I forget how long its been. Since the Shane vs Frost match I know. Shit has been busy. We had an awesome future match up in October blow up in our face only to maybe have a shot at doing it if 2000 things fall into place. That's always nice.

I went to the APA Nationals at the Riv and hung out with all the uber cool peeps at he Mezz / Billiard Life booth along with TAR sponsors Royce and Jessica of OB Cues. Always nice to see friends from all over the country in one place. We are a scattered tribe.

Eric Crisp of SugarTree cues was able to make into Vegas for a few days. We joked about some IMO unwarranted heat he was getting in an AZ thread. I told him he should adopt a motto that a bar manager friend of mine used to use on shall we say undesirable or unruly hooligans. The name of the place was Kip's so when someone acted stupid or overly entitled my man Jim would tell nicely to "Fuck off" But this was just the set up. When they invariably went on the "I am the customer and you are here to serve me..." spiel he would drop punch line. With a big bright shining smile and murder in his eyes he would say "Welcome to Kips! We put the FUCK YOU!! in customer service." Everyone around died laughing and the target usually stumbled drunkenly on his way. Sadly Jim no longer works at Kip's.

Since Eric is not a complete donkey like myself he decided (wrongly IMO) not to adopt Jim's customer service motto. Damn shame if you ask me. Just for the record there isnt a better dude out there than Eric Crisp. All haters can suck a bag of dicks. Hey this is my blog I can be the asshole here if I want.

I also hung out and shot the shit with two of my favorite cue repairmen/comedians Joe Blackburn and Steve Lomax. I had a an old sneaky that needed a tip and ferrule that I had stashed away until these guys rolled back into town. Thats right I actually wait as long as it takes to see theses guys for a tip and ferrule. I have had too many experiences with hacks and would rather shelve a cue and wait than deal with the bullshit of a guy learning his trade on my dime. Before you fire off the emails I know there are a ton of great repairmen out there. I just dont feel like finding them . I know how it is going to turn out when I hand these guys a cue.

Next big thing was the International Cue Collectors Show in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was the second time we were invited to this show and it is one of my favorite things to do all year. Some of the rarest and most interesting cues in the world are on display. For a cue nut like me it is Disneyland. I was able to meet all of the displaying collectors and to a man they were friendly and very hospitable in sharing their collections. No matter what the type of collection it was cool to see the passion these guys had for the cues.

I got to meet a guy I have had a few run ins with online as well. I met Mr. John Barton of JB Cases. Despite some of the theories online he was not retarded nor did he have horns growing out of head while wiping his ass with the flag. In all seriousness John was a gentleman and very helpful in explaining some vintage cases from the Glenn Collection as well as some of his own creations. On some things we will never see eye to eye on and that is fine. I look forward to the next time we meet so I can learn some more about his craft. Things can take on a tone and life of their own online that never seems to carry over in real life face to face meetings. Every once in awhile I am reminded of this and this was one of those times.

I could go on forever about random stuff and maybe in the future I will write down some funny stories I have left out. But I am here to return to blogging with a vengeance and I will tell you why. There is a little tournament down in Galveston that you may have heard of. It seems the best players in the world have descended on this small island to play tournaments and action matches. It also seems that the only information coming out of this island is via a stream of varying quality (I already used up all my asshole allowance for this post) and the tournament brackets posted by Bad Boys Billiard Productions. There have been a few random updates on AZ as well but those have trickled off it seems.

So my goal is this....wait for blog post a day complete with pictures from Galveston. Tournament, Action, Funny Shit, Bull Shit whatever will be included. I will probably go heavy on the photos since so far I have yet to see one from the venue. That is fucking nuts. Maybe I just don't look in the right places I don't know. I had my issues with this event and I am happy to say on some things I was wrong. Most of the things I thought would cause problems did (Come on its my blog I get an I told you so.)

The thing that gives me real hope and makes we want to help in any way I can is that people I know there say these guys are dead serious and making changes when they can. Changes that benefit the players. So I want to go see what its all about and try to get involved for the next one....and from what I hear they are saying there will be a next one. But even if there isn't these guys deserve a lot of respect for actually doing this thing. I think financially they are gonna lose their entire ass on the deal and they could see that in the final days going into this thing. But they didn't pull the plug, didn't cut and run and for that I give them mad props. It is a simple thing but sometimes a rare one in this upside down pool world. is 4:30 AM as I write this in a laundromat across from UNLV in the Vegas hood. Yes I am a big believer in procrastination. But hey I am the only guy here so is the big winner? My plane leaves at 7:45AM for Houston and then on to Moody Gardens to see what all the hub bub is about. I will be there till the bitter end or someone kicks me out one or the other. Check back in 24 hours.......