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 "Oh..so 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 it....one 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.

So...it 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.......

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I can't wait to get on the road again....

It has been what seems like forever since I have been on the road anywhere and I am getting antsy. One of my favorite things about doing this TAR thing is traveling and seeing different parts of the country and all the different pool rooms, casinos, hotels and whatever else that is out there. I really enjoy it.

Moving to Vegas has been fun and kept me busy but I am ready to go somewhere and do some shit. Luckily for me TAR is going to be busier than a one legged man at an ass kicking contest for the next few months. It all starts about a couple weeks from now when we go to Big Dog Billiards in Des Moines, Iowa for the Frost vs Van Boening bar table rumble. I am jacked up for this one. All the boys are coming out from all over to sweat, bet, eat, drink, tell lies and in general have a hell of a time.

Here is an interview Mike Howerton of AZ Billiards did with Scott about the upcoming match. Thanks Mike. You da man.

When Chad and I started this thing we talked about how cool it would be if these matches started to become gatherings of players, backers, sweaters, and fans. Basically like a mini jamboree of pool and action people. Over the last couple of years this has slowly begun to happen and it is awesome. These matches really are cool to watch and the best part is all of the different characters who come out to be a part of it in one form or another. I think Iowa is going to be one the biggest and best yet. I can't wait.

Something else I am excited about in regards to Iowa is that it will be the first event that we have a new TAR crew member with us. His name is Andy Chen. We met Andy at the BCAPL Nationals this year in Vegas where he was shooting footage for Inside Pool. Andy just graduated from film school in L.A. and has a great deal of technical skill and knowledge in that field. He is also a pool junky like the rest of us so we hit it off great. I am really excited to have Andy working with us and can't wait to see some of the ideas he comes up with. Now we just got to figure out a way to pay him.....shit...did I say that out loud? :D

A pic of Andy rocking the TAR patch. All the cool kids got 'em.

I started looking at our upcoming schedule and realized my ass is gonna be in hotels a lot for the foreseeable future. Which is how I like it. A quick little peek at the schedule:

July 22: Fly to Omaha, drive to Des Moines (Southwest don't go to Des Moines and I fly with so much gear any other airline is out of the question)

July 27: From Omaha back to Vegas.

August 12: Fly from Vegas to Reno for the first Shootout at The Sands. Fuck driving through Nevada in August. My luck the car would break and I would cook to death just north of Hotasballs, NV. I have a love hate thing going on with Reno. I love to go there and always have a good time but we have had some bad problems with the internet connection there. On at least 100 occasions I have said "Never again. Never again will I come to this life sucking bitch of a stone age place that can't keep a fucking 1 MB connection running" Naturally we always go back because they swear it is better now. It is pretty similar to Charlie Brown always trying one more time to kick the football Lucy is holding, the whole time knowing damn well he is gonna end up on his ass....but maybe this time it will work. They swear up and down they installed a new high speed hard line so what the hell, my ass is fat, it will cushion the fall. Plus I know it will be a good time and the Sands Regency keeps putting money into pool the least we can do is keep trying to stream it.

August 24: Fly back to Vegas

September 2: Setup at the Golden Nugget for the NCS 9 and 10 Ball Finals. Best tournament venue I have ever been to bar none. Love this place and can't wait for this one. Yes I stay in the hotel because it is very convenient,their rooms are the nuts....and they comp it. Sometimes you get a roll.

September 7: Break down all the gear at the Nugget.

September 23: Drive to L.A. for Oscar Dominguez vs. John Morra in the Young Guns 2 match at Hard Times Billiards. That's right faithful blog readers you just got the inside scoop on an as yet unannounced match. See, reading this stuff has it's perks. We are super pumped about this one. Both of these guys are red hot right now and the future of pro pool in North America for years to come. Two young hungry lions going head to head in one of the most legendary rooms in the country. Going to be very cool. Big action is coming back to L.A. More details will be out soon.

September 28ish: Back to Vegas. I may stay in L.A. for a day or two if I can line up some interviews I am thinking about. Would love to go see Ernie again and maybe just maybe if the planets align I can sit down and talk to Ed Prewitt about his amazing work. Plus on the night of the 28th a band I have been listening to lately is playing in L.A. maybe I can get some of my west coast peeps to go sweat it with me. The bands name is Back Door Slam and it features a young dude named Davy Knowles on vocals and guitar. Guy is wicked sick.

We are working on a bunch of cool stuff for the end of the year. One I look forward to the most is Dan Tull's Ring Game event. This year will be the third annual. Haven't got the definite details but it is always a total blast and I can't wait for it this year. We will let everyone know what's up when we get the scoop.

I have recently started using Twitter. Mostly just random shit, which I guess is the point. I think it will be cool when matches are going on or I am at events. Check it out here if you feel like it. I am really buying into this whole social networking thing. Facebook, Twitter, Blog.....if you ever see me drinking a latte you have my permission to hit me with a bat.

Till next time I leave you with one of the best opening scenes of any movie ever.

way of the gun

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Action and the Expo

It has been a minute since I posted here so I have a bunch of shit to talk about. Most important is our latest challenge match between Scott Frost and Shane Van Boening at Big Dog Billiards in Des Moines, Iowa July 31- August 2. Chad and I have been working on this one for awhile.

One of the bigger misconceptions about TAR is that we have some sort of magical power to snap our fingers and make a match appear. Nothing is further from the truth.Putting these things together is fucking hard. LOL....no other way to say it. The only way we are able to do it is because the players and backers want it as much as we do and they know we won't fuck them.

One thing the players get out of it besides the money we pay them is that they know they are getting good action on good equipment in a safe environment without any of the bullshit that usually goes along with setting up and playing a big set. Every player I have talked to who played one of our matches really likes knowing all they have to do is show up and play at the appointed time and place with no worries of someone pulling out or changing shit at the last minute. There have been a few bumps along the way but it has all pretty much been refined to a smooth process once the match is finally made.

The upcoming Frost vs SVB match is a good example of what happens when something goes right. Both guys have played in our matches before and both guys are friends of ours so we are really going to enjoy this one. I expect this to be the most offensively explosive match we have ever done. These guys are going to show what true elite players can do playing rack your own 9 ball on the small track. It is going to be epic. Quote me on that shit.

Last weekend was another one of those times where living in Vegas is a big positive. The BCA Trade Expo was in town at the Sands Convention center. I have never been to one before because I either wasn't involved in the industry or couldn't justify the cost to just go walk around what to me is essentially a small version of Hopkins Expo. This year I was in the right place at the right time and was able to go sweat it.

The first thing I noticed was that they did a great job on picking the venue. It was very nice even if a hot dog and coke did cost $9. I was able to see some of my friends and shoot the shit with all kinds of people about all kinds of things. Most of the exhibitors I talked with were pleasantly surprised with the activity at the show. One of the biggest told me they were happy but that was mainly because there expectations were for such a dismal show that anything positive was a real treat. This economy really has people spinning. One thing they all said was what I have always heard: They should keep the Expo in Vegas. Period. Full stop. Do not fix what isn't broken. We will see if the powers that be have finally slammed their collective heads into the wall enough to realize this. I say it is 50/50 at best.

One thing I really wish is that the BCA would get off this trade show promotion shit and do what every pool player and fan in this country really needs and that is lead. Pool in America is a rudderless ship and I am afraid without some form of real leadership it will never achieve it's potential. The BCA is uniquely placed to provide that and time and again they refuse to accept the challenge. Instead they have tied their wagon to promoting a dieing trade show. Hint to the BCA: Make the game bigger and you will have more people to sell booth space to. I know that this horse has been beaten to a bloody pulp and what I am asking is about is as easy as putting a man on Mars but shit, at least make an effort. I would be glad to help in any way possible just as numerous others would. We just need some leadership by an organization that is in touch with what is really going on in the game. A bunch of guys in suits looks nice but if all they do is jack each other off about demographics and cheesy marketing seminars while pool rooms die in droves they will be soon to follow. Fuck it. Maybe that is what we need. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

The biggest positive for me about the show was getting to hang out with friends I don't see very often. I hung out with Royce Bunnell of OB Cues at his booth for awhile and played some pool on his demo table. I also saw the newest member of the OB team Grace Nokomura at the show. Grace has so much enthusiasm and energy she is like a force of nature. LOL. She will be a great addition to to already excellent team. OB Cues has been one of TAR's biggest supporters and we are very lucky to have Royce and his crew on our side. They are great people and truly love the game. If you are in the market for a new cue or shaft give them a look. They make good stuff and they provide outstanding service.

Here is a short interview with Royce:

I was able to go out to dinner with all the guys from Diamond Billiard Products one night and had a ball. Greg Sullivan of Diamond has been behind TAR since our first event. He had a Diamond Pro/Am shipped and set up to a room in Sioux Falls at no cost to us because we said the guys wanted to play on a Diamond. He said "When do you need it." Greg is a bad motherfucker. All the evidence you need to prove it is that he is the dude responsible for the Derby City Classic. My head hurts when I think about what it must have been like getting that off the ground. Oh yeah, and the whole "I have an idea....I am gonna make pool tables and take on Brunswick" thing. I know for a fact he has gone into his pocket to help guys out and make things happen that he would have no direct benefit from. Just because he felt it was the right thing to do. Sounds simple but in my experience it is rare in this industry. Once again TAR shit out and got lucky to be involved with someone like Greg.

Here is a shot of Greg with the VP of Diamond Chad Scharlow:

I have only met one other guy who is as passionate about the game and creating opportunities for players and I am lucky enough to call them both friends. The other guy is Greg's partner in Diamond and that is Mark Griffin. I personally wish Mark would just run pool in the United States. I know that will piss some people off but guess what? Without someone doing it we ain't ever going anywhere but down. If you look at all the successful games and sports we all talk about wanting to be like almost all of them have one thing in common and that is a strong central organization. Most of those start by one or two guys stepping up and taking charge. Pool's problem is that in the recent past all the guys who stood up were either crooks or incompetent. Mark is as far from either of those as you can get. I could tell you about all the things Mark has done and continues to do for players but I don't feel like typing for hours. One thing that I can say is that few times in my life have I found someone I trust or believe in as much as Mark. Hopefully he will get the support from players and make some positive things happen. I know he will hold up his end.

Here is a short interview I did with Mark at the show:

I was able to hang with my buddies Caroline Pao and Mika Immonen of Mezz Cues USA and Billiard Life. One of the highlights of the weekend was when Mika and Caroline showed up at Pool Sharks to hang out a little one night after the show. I was hitting balls with Shane Van Boening and in no time I had given up my spot to Mika just I could sweat them practicing together. I am a devious bastard like that. I really really really want to get Mika in one of our matches. Maybe against Shane, or even cooler Johnny Archer. A guy can dream.

A pic of Caroline working the booth. That handsome gentleman taking a rest on the floor is AZ Billiard's own Jerry Forsythe.

A note about Shane and his new deal with Cuetec. I was able to hit balls with his new cue and I am happy to report it hits about 300% better than the janky old Schon he won seemingly everything with. Seriously. That Schon hit like refried dog shit (I still love it though). His new cue is about as subtle as a sucking chest wound but who gives a shit if he shoots the worlds nuts in with it. He is genuinely pumped about it and I think that is cool as hell. Cuetec got a great deal when they signed Shane. He is as good as it gets.

Couple of pics of Shane and his new weapon along with a video interview about the cue and his upcoming match.

While at the show I ran into Miss Brittany Bryant from somewhere in the great white north. That snow covered place on top of America on all the maps. Canada I think it's called. Brittany is one of the up and coming young stars in the pool world. She just turned 18 and is already competing in WPBA events. I hadn't heard about it but she was just signed to a sponsorship deal with Olhausen Billiards. It is very cool to see a company getting behind a young talent such as Brittany. I suspect we will see great things from this young lady.

Brittany Bryant at the Olhausen booth.

I was lucky enough to hang out with Miss Angel Paglia of WPBA fame. I went with her and her business partner to dinner at the Bellagio Buffet on Saturday night. I figured we would have no shot at getting seated on a Saturday night at 8 o'clock without a crazy wait. I met them in line and about 5 minutes later a dude comes out and asks if there is a party of 2 or 3 who would like to sit at the bar. FUCK YES !!!. No two hour wait for us suckers !! Dude whisks us past about a 150 people waiting in line and they were all looking at us like "Who the hell is that and why are they getting to the good crab legs?" I got a little taste of what those dudes who drop thousands in the casino must feel like when they get all the perks, only without the aching pain in my ass from having the casino give me a free meal I just paid $10K for. Needless to say the buffet was the nuts. It is pretty easy to enjoy yourself hanging out with Angel too. She has been working hard on her game lately and I expect she will do very well in the future.

Shit I almost forgot the biggest part of the weekend at least for me. For the last couple of weeks I have been getting headaches. Not just headaches but blindingly painful head exploding headaches. I had never felt anything like this. When I would get them I couldn't do anything. Couldn't sleep, couldn't think, I was just fucked.I was popping Tylenol PM like Elvis. It started off bad and then got worse as time passed by. I knew what the cause was and that was a fucked up tooth. Thats right. I am that much of a pussy that I would rather feel like someone was driving a railroad spike up my nose with a jack hammer than go to the dentist. Finally Wednesday and Thursday before the show it got so bad that I couldn't go to sleep after eating enough Tylenol PM to kill a bull elephant. I was actually pacing back and forth in my apartment because if I sat still the pain got so bad I thought I was gong to die. That is truly fucked up if you think about it.

I called Mark and asked him if he knew a dentist and he hooked me up. I went to the place Friday about 11 AM and they sat me down in the chair took an X-Ray and sure enough it was that fucked up tooth that I had broken off a piece of god knows when. They asked me what I wanted to do, save it with a root canal and crown or yank the son of a bitch out and roll around with a new hole in my head. I asked what the price was for each option. To save it would cost $2500, to yank it would cost $250. I thought "Fuck it, I can always use another hole in my head"..... yank away dear dentist. So she proceeds to tell me that the tooth has three roots and they are in there good and tight. Awesome, just what I wanted to hear. But the good news was she was going to cut my tooth into three pieces, while it was still in my head, and pull them out one by one. Talk about running bad.

At this point I knew nothing she could do to me would be as bad as what I had been living with so I told her to have at it. Fifteen minutes and 6 Novocaine shots later she was chopping up the offending tooth and sending it to the hellish end it deserved. Actually didn't hurt much at all. But felt weird when pieces of tooth kept falling on my tongue. I left there feeling like a million bucks and have ever since. Amazing how much nicer life is without feeling like you have midgets in your head doing road work. Just goes to show that the title of this blog is accurate. I was too stupid to just go get the damn thing fixed when I should of and had to let it get to the point where I thought I was gonna die before I did something about it. I am a donkey. Next time I will be smarter. I hope.

Shit, I didn't mean to write a book but there it is. I will be back with more stuff as we run up to the Frost vs SVB match. You can also follow what is going with me and and the shit I get into on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/TheActionReport

What I am listening to: North Mississippi All Stars

Later kids. Have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Got Mule?

After the negative vibe of the whole UPA shenanigans I thought I would write about something that brings me great joy. That is the music of Gov't Mule. My all time favorite band and IMO the Efren Reyes of blues/rock bands. They kick copious amounts of ass.

A Dead Head friend of mine turned me onto the Allman Brothers about seven years ago. I had heard them before of course but only the stuff on the radio. He showed me concert DVD's and I really got into it. The improvisational nature of their stuff as well as the eclectic mix of songs worked for me. My buddy told me "You should check out Gov't Mule if you like that"

I did and I have been a Mule junky ever since. The front man for Gov't Mule is Warren Haynes. A stone musical genius who has one of the most soulful voices I have ever heard . He is also a legendary guitar talent. The real hook for me with this guy is that he writes some of the most amazing songs. Just knock out stuff. You can read about the history of them here.

In some TAR matches we have to supply the background music. Most guys want something playing so that there is not complete silence and the tension that goes with it plus the background noise tends to drown out the expert in the second row who likes to tell the guy next to him how Alex played that position wrong. :D

Gov't Mule usually is on in the background at some point during those occasions. I have had more than a few people ask me "Who is that? I like that music." They are the nuts. Here is a little YouTube clip to sweat if you like:

The really cool thing about these guys is they do their own amazing original work and some wildly varied covers. Everything from Black Sabbath to James Brown and it is all awesome. Warren Haynes plays with damn near everyone it seems. From Dave Mathews to the Grateful Dead and many people I had never heard of. I use Mule and Haynes as kind of a guide to new interesting music. One of the newest groups I found is Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I saw her in a YouTube video performing with Mule. This chick is amazing. Check her out:

Another kick ass site for music lovers is Sugarmegs. This is a site for tape traders and was mainly a Dead thing. It has since exploded into all types of music. It is thousands of recordings of live concerts. All of the bands in the list allow tapers so it is legal. The quality ranges from bad to perfect but there is an unreal variety of music to listen to for free. If you like Mule, Allman Brothers, The Dead or just about any Jam Band they are there. Plus some crazy stuff like concerts from the 60's and 70's that are pretty cool.

Check out Gov't Mule. If you like them buy their shit, it is well worth it. I recommend The Deepest End concert set that includes a three hour DVD.

A bit from one of my favorite Waren Haynes creations:

"Time drags by
When you're boring
Don't care what you do care what you say
There comes a time
When you got to let the monster inside you
Let him come on out, come on out and play

Step right back and watch me now
I'll show you how it's done
Stay right here with me now
Till the damage is done"

~Thorazine Shuffle by Gov't Mule

Random life observation: Why is it that the hotness of a chick is in direct proportion to how crazy she is ?

Till next time.....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why the UPA is Stupid

This is a post I made on AZ Billiards Forums. It goes with my previous post so I copied it here.

I am a little pissed right now so let me preface this by saying this post is strictly my opinion and has nothing to do with TAR. That said, check this crap out.

I am all pumped up to go to the UPA event here in Vegas to hang out and watch some of my friends play, take photos and I was planning on texting some match updates. I get to the "arena" and ask the lady at the door how much. It is $10 for the 10am-4pm session $15 for the late session. $25 a day seems a little high but oh well. I ask how much for the whole event. She says $60, so I say "Ok, I will do that." Then she asks if I am an ACS member to which I reply honestly "No." She then informs me it will be $75 for the whole thing.

I'm sorry but $75 to watch a 31 man field with only 1 or 2 of the top ten players is just nuts. So I calm my inner nit and just pay $10 for the morning session figuring I will shoot some pics and see how the event goes.

I get into the "arena" and I am carrying my camera gear in a backpack. I set the back pack on a chair out of the way and start to put my kit together. A lady in a referee shirt comes up and says "Are you involved with this event?". I was a little weirded out by the question and wanted to respond "Not if you paid me." But I just asked her what she meant. She replies "Are you a player in the event?" I say "No." She then proceeds to tell me that you have to pay to be able to watch this tournament at which time I raise my right arm and put the little paper wristband right at her eye level.

She says she is sorry she didn't see the wristband and that not only is she the only referee for this professional event this session she has to watch the door too in order to make sure no one gets in without paying. I tell her "No worries." and go about my business.

I get my stuff put together and go sit down in the stands away from everyone else and take some photos of Josh Ulrich and John Morra playing their matches. John finishes his and comes over, sits down and we talk about the event. As we are doing this I am shooting pictures.

Frank Alverez enters the "Arena" and makes a bee line straight toward me. At this point I say to myself "Self, this is gonna get weird." I was right.

Frank: "I am Frank Alverez President of the UPA. Who are you shooting pictures for?"

Me: "Just for myself really."

Frank: "Who are you with? What media?"

Me: "The Action Report"

Frank: "The Action Report? Whats that?"

Me: "You have never heard of The Action Report? Really?"

Frank: "Well yes but I don't know who you are affiliated with"

Me: "Uhhhhh....what do you mean?"

Frank: At this point he mumbled something about BCA or...I am not sure probably because I was a little freaked out at this point with the interrogation.

Me: "There are people who want to know about this event and I was going to tell them about it. That's all."

Frank: "Well you can shoot pictures if you give us copies of them."

Me: "I am not going to do that."

Frank: "Why not?"

Me: "Because I do not do that. If you want me to stop shooting pictures of your event so I can tell people about it at no cost to you then that is just fine with me."

At this point I think it set in on him how terrible he was coming across because he mumbled some more and said "Well....let me get you a media pass...and...."

By this time I had time to think about totally absurd and stupid this whole thing was and I was pissed so I just broke my stuff down, set it beside me and said "Don't worry about it." Then he just walked away.

Keep in mind, we are at an event with 31 players and five of them are players anyone has heard of. I swear I was the only paying spectator because the only people were there with players. I am shooting pictures with a $4000 camera rig minding my own business and I get the third degree from the owner and president and basically shaken down for the ability to take photos.

I always try and see the other guys point of view but in this case I keep coming back to the same thing. If a promoter is this bloody stupid and short sited then screw him. Here we are at a so called professional event with a referee/bouncer and the biggest concern of the president is that god forbid someone may actually give a sh!t about his event. The same guy who sanctioned a tournament that aired the top finishers and then all he could do was shrug his shoulders. It pisses me off.

Never mind that the company I work for has put more money in players pockets over the last few years than his whole pseudo organization. I am probably still a little pissed so I may be being too hard on the guy but no matter which way you cut it is just dumb.

What if they held a tournament and no one came?

One of the benefits of living in Vegas is that I get to go to things that I otherwise would never travel for. This weeks example is the Diamond World Summit of Pool produced and promoted by the UPA. It is being held in conjunction with the ACS nationals at the Riv. I have to say that anyone who would actually fork out the dough to come just as a spectator would be really disappointed.

I was at the Riv on Monday the 1st to sweat my man John Morra playing a little snooker in the Can-Am challenge:

This pits four Americans vs. four Canadians in a snooker battle royale. It was fun just to watch the guys walk around the 6x12 football fields they call snooker tables. Needless to say Team Canada was whipping that USA ass. After sweating the snooker (or as Allison Fisher calls it: Snu-kahhh. God I love that word when an English female says it) I walked my nosy self on over to see how the pro set up was coming for this weeks event.

Here it is in the early stages:

The layout is simple and a bit optimistic as far as spectator seating but overall I like it. I like it much better than the clusterfuck that was the Predator World 10 Ball set up during the BCAPL nationals. That is the worst layout ever. Ever. After scoping it out I started looking for guys who would actually play the event. Aside from John and hearing that Rodney was in the house I was thinking we might just have the worlds smallest $20K added event.

Yesterday (Tuesday the 2nd) I went back to sweat the Pro-Am (whatever the hell that was supposed to be) which the UPA site said started at 8 PM with the player meeting starting an hour earlier. I get there at 7 when the player meeting was supposed to start figuring I could just wait if the meeting was closed. Imagine my surprise when I walk in and see Rodney hitting balls with 3 random fans in the stands watching and a few people at the TD's desk. That's it. I was like WTF??? To quote a friend of mine "I have been to 4 State Fairs, 3 goat ropings, and a donkey show but I ain't never seen no shit like this."

I talked to Rodney for awhile and shot some pics of his new John Showman cue. The cue is the triple nuts. John's work is just perfect, really no other word for it. Plus he is a big fat fucker just like me which really makes him cool in my eyes.

This is supposed to be a major event. Where is everyone? I know most of the guys are in Manila with an event coming up in China but I figured they would get at least 40 players here. I figured most guys were probably just late or blowing off the meeting so I went to eat. After dinner I walked back and ran ito this guy practicing:

Mr. Stevie Moore is in the hizzy. Shit was looking up.

Stevie is one of my favorite dudes. He is hilarious and is a true killer when he is in the box or playing a tournament match as well as being a complete and total gentleman win or lose. After we caught up a little bit I put him on the spot:

Me: "When are you gonna get your ass back in action?"

Stevie: "Soon. Them motherfuckers won't know what hit 'em"

Like I said, a killer. Love that dude.

We started breaking down who was there and he said the last he heard there were 31 paid entries and they were doing the draw as we were speaking. First round the next day was at 10 A.M. and Stevie didn't like that one bit. LOL He said "Hell, we only got 30 players. Why start so damn early. Who the hell is gonna be here to watch at 10 A.M. ?" I agreed whole heartedly. But what are you gonna do?

Oh yeah, that "Pro-AM"....never happened. I guess you need both Pros and Ams for that and both were in short supply. I want to say that I am happy to see anyone doing a $20K added event but I just wish it could have been scheduled better not to mention promoted better. Getting a $20K chunk of money invested is a big deal and to see it basically just put off in the corner as a side show to a minor league nationals event really sucks.

This is the first UPA event in 14 months. The last one was the star crossed Phoenix event where the top players got air barreled. Which I never did understand. The UPA is charging a $125 tour fee on top of the $300 entry for this event. What the fuck good is it to pay a $125 tour fee to an organization that can't guarantee you will get paid at one of their sanctioned events? But you do get a t-shirt and patch. The good news is I hear that no such bullshit will plague this event. The money is there. The fact that we even have to talk about it pisses me off though.

Fuck it. It beats nothing at all. At least some of the guys will get a payday even if it is in a gaffy format that gets drug out over 4 days. Oh yeah the format, 9 ball, race to 13, double elimination which is all cool. Here is where it goes off the rails: ALL BALLS MADE ON THE BREAK IN THE RACK END POCKETS SPOT BACK UP.( Got clarification on the corner pocket thing. It is just the 9 ball that spots if made in the top two pockets on the break) Three balls must go past the side pockets on the break. It makes my head hurt just thinking about all the bullshit that will come from this. Best part? The Diamonds they are playing on are ball return tables. No way to just reach in the corner pocket and pull out which ball went where. Someone will have watch which ball goes in the corners. It will be a goat fuck unless I miss my guess.

Of course the easy way to fix the wing ball going in every time in 9 ball is do what everyone else on the planet is doing: Play 10 ball. Fuck that. Makes way too much sense.

So I am going to go sweat the 10 A.M. round. It has been awhile since I could just sweat matches and shoot pictures and I plan on enjoying it to the fullest over the next couple days. Despite all the holes I can poke in the event and format at least Frank Alverez and company are doing something and that deserves some support and recognition.

My pick to win is Stevie or this guy:

Extra points for you if you know who he is. I will post more about this extravaganza later.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How does this thing work?

After several people telling me I should start a blog I figured why the hell not? This will be the place where I post all the goofy shit that happens to me in my travels with The Action Report. I am always saying to myself "Why didn't you write that funny story down BEFORE you drank the 10th Makers and Coke?" Now maybe I will. Just a quick warning: Since this is just some random ramblings of mine this blog is uncensored. If four letter words bother you just go ahead skip this whole thing.

My biggest influence is the same as every other person who has started a blog with anything to do with pool: The legendary OMGWTF. I am very lucky to call Miss WTF a friend and fellow traveler of the often absurd and always fun pool road. Yes OMG I am gonna do my best to be the 110th unimaginative jack off to try rip you off. No need to thank me.

The title of the blog comes from a bumper sticker a buddy of mine I used to work with had on his tool box. The fact that the bumper sticker was for a dive shop just made it even more special. It pretty much sums up where I am in my life. Despite all the dumb shit I have done in my life I have a great job with some great partners and it allows me to do some really cool stuff. So far I have been tough enough to fade some of the dumber decisions.

This blog is meant to be a kind of unofficial TAR thing. It is just my personal musings on different things and should not be taken as a reflection of anybodies opinions but mine. I will post some pictures that do not go up anywhere else and just basically write down whatever crosses my mind about hopefully more than just pool.

Just to see if I can post pics, here is one right out of the Twilight Zone that is Las Vegas during pool tournament season.

Yes ladies and gentlemen that is future world beater Johnny Morra.

In a blonde wig.

Getting kissed by a strange hawt chick with a flower in her hair.

That's just how we roll.

I could tell you more about this night but I do not want to get into the full on self incrimination thing in the very first post. Suffice it to say a good time was had by all. Sometimes I really like living in Vegas. Random shit just seems to happen. Sometimes it is even good. Like last weekend.

I just want to say right up front that Joe Rogan is the coolest motherfucker in the history of cool motherfuckers. If there was a Mt.Rushmore of cool motherfuckers Joe would be right up there next to John Wayne, Alex Pagulayan and Warren Haynes (I have eclectic taste in cool motherfuckers).

I met Joe through TAR. He is a very knowledgeable pool guy and knows his shit about high end cues as well. When I moved to Vegas I finally met him in person and have hung out a few times playing pool when he was in town for the UFC.
Last Thursday I knew he had a fight and a stand up show that weekend in town so I called him to see if he wanted to hit some balls. He was busy but offered to hook a brother up with some seats to his stand up show at the House of Blues the next night and mentioned he might have a ticket to the fight as well on Saturday. My weekend suddenly looked pretty damn cool.

Friday night I went to the Mandalay Bay with Mark Griffin to sweat Joe in action. I have only been to one other comedy show and it was a local thing in Indy that was cool but didn't really blow my hair back. I had seen a bunch of Joe's stuff on Youtube and his site and knew this was going to be on a whole other level. Man was I right.

The show opened up with Joey Diaz. He came out and grabbed the crowd by the throat and didn't let go. He was hilarious. A rough quote from Joey:

"I hate you 23 year old bitches. Give a 23 year old a shot to kidneys and call her a dirty whore she is calling 911. Grab a 40 year old by the hair and call her a dirty whore and she will look at you and say "How did you know?"

Up next was Ari Shaffir. I had hung out with Ari a few times playing pool and he was always a pretty quiet and reserved dude. His stand up is less aggressive than Joey's but just as hilarious. He had the whole crowd rolling. It was really cool to see a guy I had met in "real life" doing something as hard as standing up in front of a room full of strangers and keeping them laughing for an entire set. Stand up really is an art IMO. The timing, originality and just plain balls it takes is impressive to say the least.

After Ari finished his set he introduced Joe and the place went nuts. After about 10 minutes I was literally hurting from laughing so much. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard for that long. Joe told a story about him, Mark Coleman and a couple of single A league strippers in Georgia that had me crying. There was so much great shit in his set I wish I could have recorded it just so I could go back and crack up all over again. Joe has a
comedy special on Spike airing on June 20th. It is the first one Spike has ever done and they could not have picked a better guy. Watch that shit.

Oh yeah...the coolest part of the night? Joe gives me a shout out right on stage during his set. Absofuckinglutely awesome. It was one of the most fun nights I have had in a long time. It was matched only by the next night, again thanks to Joe. He hooked me up with two seats to UFC 98. I need to make this clear, these weren't just seats. These were SEATS. Fucking big baller Jay-Z and Diddy on a 48 hour Vegas coke bender seats. 6th row on the floor in the MGM Grand Garden arena with 18,000 crazy ass fight fans going batshit.

Like I said, when they build that cool motherfucker Mt. Rushmore Joe's place is secure. Thanks for an awesome weekend I will never forget Joe.

I will post some more stuff later. I think I might dig this blog thing.