Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hurt My League Goal Chances

Well, wanting to be in the top 10 on my B league might have got shot by my bad play last Tuesday. I won only 1 out of 5 games. I could have one all 5, should have won at least 3. :(

I don't know now if it's even possible to get back near the top 10 after that terrible night. :(

Friday, December 26, 2008

Earl Strickland Wing Shots Video

At the pool school with Johnny Archer and Earl Strickland I went to in Oct in Dallas, during the session with Earl, one of my classmates, Juan, video taped Earl shooting wing shots. Check it out for yourself - awesome!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm just a girl that plays pool

I went to the pool room I always go to, this time on a Saturday morning at 11am (right when the doors opened). I have been there on a Saturday before, several times actually, but usually I only go to the pool room a half dozen times during the week, at night/per month.

I put my ipod on, throw out ten balls, and start working on conditioning my pre shot routine and stroke.

After about 30 minutes, this gentlemen comes in and chooses one of the 8 foots tables cati-corner to my 9-foot. He's a skinny fellow, and although looks younger than he is, he's still prolly in his 50s or so.

After about 15 minutes, he interrupts Chris Brown on my ipod to tell me I play really good, and that he's never seen a girl play as well as I. I respond with a laugh, "well, thanks, but there's a lot more female players that play better than I do."

I put my earbud back in my ear and proceed to hit more balls and he interrupts me again after about 15 more minutes and he says with a smile, "have you see this?" He's holding towards me a "frequent player" card of the pool room - the card is worth a free hour of pool. I reply with, "Yes, I have many of those."

I think he nods or something and he realizes I actually play there often and I realize he thinks this is my first time in there. Although I appreciate the offer of the card and the compliment, I'd really like to just work on my game.

Eventually he leaves and I spend another hour conditioning with no more interruptions.

After that, I play one pocket for three hours.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Was Awarded

As a Board Member of the OB Cues Ladies 9-Ball Tour, I knew ahead of time who the board decided would win the Most Improved Player Award. We look at all the stats of the candidates - those who have rose in the rankings from previous years, number of events attended, and high finishes. Turns out this year we looked at three players, and I was one of them. It's very weird to look at your own stats for a potential award, and I fully admit I was very uncomfortable. However, looking at the figures, it turns out I would get the MIP Award over the other two candidates, but of course I couldn't tell anyone... so I kept the big news quiet.

I picked up the plaque of the MIP and Tour Champion on the way to the final stop of 2008 of the OB Cues Ladies 9-Ball Tour, as fellow board member and I, Julie Stephenson, headed to Legend's Billiards in League City, Texas.

Monica Anderson, the other Board Member, and I had already discussed that I would run the Player's Meeting but when it came time to award MIP and the Delta-13 Rack that was engraved "Tour's Most Loyalist Member," that she would give out the awards.

Tracie Voelkering was surprised to win the Loyalist Award (our first time to give it out) and the Tour Champion award wasn't decided until Sunday afternoon when Lisa Marr earned enough points to claim the title.

When it came time to give out the Most Improved Player Award, I thought Monica would just say, "she moved from 9th last year to 5th this year," but she said more, and it moved me to tears. She said that although I had won this already back in 1998, the competition nowadays was tougher, but more importantly, I moved up in the rankings and improved all the while enduring a tough year. I teared up, she teared up, and I accepted the award with downright shock with her words - I didn't expect all that at all!

Monica would remind me later I also moved up in the rankings all the while also being a busy Board Member.

I knew I had been doing well - a 4th place finish and two 5th place finishes this year, but when Monica mentioned I was not only improving "in general," but amidst a rough year, it made the award that much more meaningful to me.

I weird as it sounds, I didn't realize that.

As the one who endured the year, I don't realize sometimes I lost my Dad, got divorced and moved my Mom up here so we could live together because she is disabled. I use my passion (pool) as my outlet - still practice once a week, still work on pool websites, still help run the OB Cues Ladies Tour, still provide media coverage and photos at a few other events, etc.

On Sunday, fellow player, Jillian Martinez, stopped me and congratulated me. That meant so much to me b/c only moving up from 9th to 5th place doesn't seem that much, but she said it was obvious I should have won the Most Improved Player award. Her words meant the world to me.

Thanks to Monica for the moving speech and to my Mom who supports me practicing every week. Below is me with my new, proud, MIP plaque!

It's very weird to win this award in 1998 and now again in 2008. Some players on the tour don't realize I used to be able to play some! When they started on the tour, I wasn't playing well so the have no idea I played "okay" in the late 90s and early 2000's. LOL! I stopped regularly practicing around 2001/2002 and it really showed in my finishes.

In Aug 2006, I decided to start diligently practicing again once a week, but had too take some weeks off in 2007 due to my Mom almost passing away and then my Dad passing away. In 2008, I would do my weekly routine of 1-3 hours of me-only practicing whenever I could and I guess it paid off!

My friend at the pool room, Steve Game, was SO happy for me when I told him I won MIP. He expressed to me that indeed I had improved - he had really noticed my improvements on the table but didn't want to tell me before the final event because he didn't want me to play too loose. He says he will keep helping me, too. :)

I want to keep up the practice and maybe even practice additionally - I did add a Saturday session if I was not out of town and I want to keep that up.

I am very happy and honored to win Most Improved Player. My game has so much more matured than when I won it back in 1998. I have so much more knowledge in the fundamentals, it's amazing I even won that award back then, LOL.

Trigger Talk with Shayla Neris

I've always wanted to do interviews, and I'm finally starting!

I am proud of my first interviewee, my dear friend, Shayla Neris, from Austin, Texas, who just won the 2008 Houston Open the weekend of November 8th at Legend's Billiards in League City, Texas.

Shayla has been playing pool for 15 years, almost as long as I have known her, and is also a budding photographer. I caught up with her after her first-ever tournament win to ask her questions for a new section of my blog, dedicated to interviews, called "Trigger Talk":

How does it feel to win the Houston Open?

It feels pretty good, actually. I still can't believe it because there was so much talent at that tournament. I played some tough players and had three hill-hill matches. A couple of my opponents had some unfortunate rolls, and I felt bad about that, but I just reminded myself that I still had to work to be on the hill to take advantage of that.

Shayla in Austin 2007 where she placed 3rd at the Hunter event.

Did you think about what was on the line during the finals?

Funny you should ask that. The Houston Open always gets a huge turn-out for the men's and the women's event. Because of all the people, its always jam packed around the tournament table. So, after I won my first couple of matches, all I could do was go up and report my win and score to the tournament director. I could never get close enough to see who I was playing next or what the payouts were. So, when I realized I was playing for the hot-seat, I decided I would just keep that going and not look to see what were the payouts. So, during the finals, I actually did wonder to myself how much 1st and 2nd place were because I was getting really tired. The other thing I was thinking about was how late it would be when I got home. I thought about that more and more with every game my opponent won in that final match. I really didn't want it to go two sets mostly because it would put me home that much later. I guess I was just so tired that I didn't even give much thought to the fact that I was actually playing in the finals of a big tournament! Thank goodness, too, because I'm sure I would have managed to psych myself out at that point.

You didn't sleep at all that night? Why?

I woke up about 9am on Sunday and made it to the pool hall at 11am. Play didn't start until about 1pm and I wasn't done until right around 3am! I had to work Monday morning, so we made the 3 hour and 15 minute drive in a little over 2 and a half hours! Since my husband, Corey, was up all day too, there was no way I could sleep in the car on the way home knowing he was just as tired as I was. So, I stayed awake while he drove. I got home with enough time to hop in the shower, and be at work by 7am. I think it was all the excitement that was keeping me awake. I was pretty delirious at work because my officemate kept commenting on all the goofy things I was saying. I don't really like to talk about pool much at work, but I had to tell my coworkers I won the tournament and hadn't slept so they'd know why I was acting weird. I also told my manager. They were all genuinely happy for me and my manager was nice enough to let me go home at 1pm. I stopped to get something to eat on the way home and took a nap. I had been up for almost 30 hours! I hadn't done that in almost 10 years! And, if anyone really knows me, knows that my normal bedtime is 9pm.

Where are you going to place your trophy?

Well, I didn't get a trophy, but if I had, it would go in my office next to my other BCA trophies.

Has it sunk in yet that you won?

Its just now sinking in almost 2 weeks later. I'm still getting congratulations from my friends. An announcement was made at G-Cue Billiards on our league night since both winners of the Houston Open play in the same league. That truly was awesome. All of my friends have been great. I think my friends have way more confidence in my game than I do. Its like they all knew I was capable of winning, except for me.

Who did you tell first (that wasn't at the tournament)?

Well, since Corey and my good friend, Heather Lloyd were actually there to witness the win, two of the three people I would call already knew. My other good friend, Melinda (hey! thats you!), would have been the other person I wanted to tell right away, but since it was 3am, I waited anxiously until the next morning. I called my mom that afternoon, and she was happy for me, but she just doesn't quite get it, I don't think. She always asks how many people were in the tournament, and this time she asked me if Heather wasn't there. Once she knew Heather played in the tournament, too, she understood the importance of the win. If only she knew of all the other tough players that were also in the tournament. She cracks me up!

How did you prepare for the tournament?
I haven't prepared for a tournament in way over a year. I lost interest in playing pool back in mid-2007. I had just gotten engaged and was starting to plan a wedding and my other hobbies were really taking up a lot of my time. The only time I was playing pool was at the OB Tour stops. I would just go from tournament to tournament, and sometimes I'd actually have to remind myself not to forget my cue. But the Wednesday before the Houston Open, I received my brand new OB-2 shaft. Friday night we arrived at the Houston Open and I played the most pool at one time than I had the whole year before for about 3 hours or so. It was the first time playing with the OB-2 shaft and I was in love. Its like I couldn't miss a ball. So those 3 hours was really the only preparation I had done. Oh, and Sunday morning I played a few games on the Megatouch with James Davis, Sr. We both felt like we were half asleep, so we decided the Megatouch would be a good way to wake up our brains. Turns out James Davis, Sr. ended up winning the men's side of the tournament, too. :)

Do you have any pool goals you'd like to share?
I didn't have any goals this year since I really wasn't in the mood to play pool. I haven't really set any goals for next year, yet, but I would like to play more pool. I'm thinking about giving my home table a tune-up so to speak, so maybe I'll get back in to taking my game a little more seriously.

I heard you almost didn't play in the tournament? Can you tell us about that?

I had been fighting off a sinus infection the week before and was on anti-biotics and taking 4 other medications at the same time. I also had a terrible cough and Saturday night I wasn't feeling too hot, so I went to bed early. I got up Sunday morning and still felt crappy and couldn't decide if I wanted to play or not. We had to go back to the pool hall because Corey was still in the main event. It wasn't until I walked in the door that I decided to play. The deciding factor was the entry fee. It was $25, which was much lower than I expected it to be, so I figured for $25, I could forfeit without feeling guilty if I started to feel worse throughout the tournament. Well, after the player auction, the possibility of forfeiting went out the window since someone bought me for $70. The highest I've ever gone for, I think. I couldn't possibly forfeit when someone else's money was at stake. So, I just played one match at a time.

- Interview conducted November 18, 2008 -

Congratulations, Shayla!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mid Nov Update

I took a few weeks off from playing pool - I had won that tournament in Temple, Texas (I'm still excited and shocked!) and went out of town for work for a week and then just relaxed and ate good food (LOL) for the next two weeks. I did go to league once or twice I think, but didn't hit balls once/per/week for 1-3 hours like I normally do for my routine practice sessions. I did get a lot done around the house, on websites, and ran a lot of errands, but otherwise I just relaxed and took a nice chill break. Not like me, but I didn't have a tournament for 5 weeks after my last tournament, so I guess I slacked off! But, I finally got my butt out of the house and practiced 10-ball for 3 hours on Veterans Day (a day off of work for me). I practiced okay (surprisingly) but I also gambled at one pocket (yay!) for about 2 hours before I had to run to league that evening.

I had talked to a really good, local, road player about helping me with one-pocket. We discussed the best way for him to teach me was for me to play someone but he coaches me. So a friend of mine, Terry, let him coach me this night while we played for $.50 a game. We adjusted down from the normal weight of 13-5 b/c I was getting coached, but I proceeded to lose the first two games so we stopped 12-6 and went back to 13-5. I won some games and we adjusted again back to 12-6. I had to leave when I was up two games but thoroughly enjoyed myself! My OPC (one-pocket coach) said I did good and Terry was so gracious to let us do that. It truly is a great way to learn one pocket, I agree! I then practiced the next Saturday by myself, working on my pre-shot routine for about two hours playing 10ball and then I played some more one pocket, this time against a guy named Joe who was waiting for his normal Saturday one pocket game (a good friend of mine named Steve). Steve came in during the first game and then I was able to ask him questions about what I should shoot and how (and why). Joe and I played three games 10-6 and I won two out of three games, with the help of Steve. Steve knows a lot about the game and I was honored he helped me! Steve said I played well and tight and I wish I had my OPC's phone number so I could call him and tell him. I am so excited. :)

So, two practice sessions under my belt before I play this weekend, but I am out of town for work again and wont be able to practice this week but I brought a few pool videos to watch at night - one is my FAVORITE!! Buddy Hall and Grady Matthews self-commentating a great Reno Open match.

I don't know how I will do this weekend... still ranked 6th on the tour and would love to end the year ranked 6th but we will see what happens if I keep that rank. The two players below me play well and could pass me up if they place well (and if I don't), in this event.

Until the Next Time.....

League is Surprising Me

I guess I better bite my tongue - I have enjoyed league this season! I really like my B league - guess because I have more of a chance to possibly do well in the rankings - LOL! There are still some A's and many tough B+ players, but it's still been a lot of fun. I have been carpooling with a few team mates and that has been a lot of fun as well. I have made a little goal to try to get in the top ten in this league - it's gonna be tough to do, but it is a "do-able" goal!

The last time we played, we played the number one team and we lost by one game, but most of the guys on the other team were not rude and even complimentary if we would win a game against their teammates -they were genuinely happy if we made a good run. It was a nice change!

On the A/Master league I am on, I enjoy carpooling with fellow board member Julie (of the OB Cues Ladies Tour) and also enjoy meeting up with friends in this league too, but the competition is very tough so I watch and learn a lot, LOL! I need to step up my game in this league and play really, really smart. These are the type of players you can't leave any shot because they can get out with nice break outs, excellent shot making, and tough runs.

I have a little competition thing going on with two teammates on the B team and we try to out do each other to see who gets the higher score that night. I'm also now competing with a friend of mine from Austin but he doesn't know it. ;) But, we share our stats and now I am trying to out-score him.

I need a little goal for the A/Master league but I am not sure what it would be right now. hmm...

Either way, I am enjoying league this season!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Break Contest Videos

As I wrote in August, there is a HUGE Break Contest going on at Rusty's Billiards in Fort Worth, Texas that is $500 a ball! To read all the rules, go to the link above and check out the specs.

So, I start to show up on Tuesday nights to check it out and to try and be cool and video tape the break contest with my camera phone to capture the action (or mis-action) for my blog (this one you are reading, silly!). I caught three no-wins, my camera ran out of juice another no-win night, and I missed several other no wins. Then one guy got drawn one week and won $1,000 or so and then got drawn again the VERY next Tuesday and won I think $1,000 again! I missed the video opportunity! :(

So, I show up the second Tuesday in October (finally) just in time for the break contest after stupid league and caught a run of the entire rack and saw someone win $4,000! Ahhh... worth the wait!

My first youtube experience and sound doesn't get converted from my camera phone, so I overwrote the screeching noise with funky music available from youtube and so no "cheers" or "ooooh's" can be heard, which really makes the video! Dag nab it!

Anyhow, here are the videos:

First video (below) - scratch on the break by TJ:

Second video (below) - Corey doesn't make a ball on the break:

Third video (below) - scratch on the break by Jose:

Fourth video (below) - TJ makes a ball on the break and runs out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

SWAT #2 of 2008

I had been waiting for this tournament for so many months. This is the tournament I won back in February - my first 2-day tournament win ever. :) They had to cancel the July stop but held onto the October date and after a few changes, it was luckily still held but in a new pool room instead of a convention center. I was happy they still held the tournament, coming up with alternative solutions instead of canceling it again.

I didn't think too much about the tournament - mentioned to only a couple of people I could win the scotch and singles division, but never once thought to myself I was the "defending champ" or that I should win. Just that I could.... but that was all the thought I gave it, knowing that there was really no telling how I would do but didn't want to put pressure on myself to do well, like I did for BCA State back in March.

I met with THE 8ball player of Fort Worth, Jose Zaragosa, on the Sunday afternoon before, for a 2.5 hour session of racing to 5 eightball. He won 5-3, 5-2, 5-3. I saw how delicately he separated balls, saw some clever safes and I had a few good runs of my own. We would talk about my options, why he shot certain things, or how I could have played something different. I would hope this would be good for me for my tourney!

I go to league on Tuesday feeling pumped up but only win 3 out of 5 games against players I should run over. Ugh! Damn..... but, that helps set the tone - not to take people for granted in the weekend coming up.

Diamond 7foot tables, 8 ball. What a beautiful scene at The Green Room in Temple, Texas!

I arrive Thursday evening, get plenty of rest for the 9am Friday morning start time for our first scotch match which leads to a 5-0 win. We played well together, even though I don't believe in practicing together. LOL. Mike lives in another city anyway but we play well together most of the time. We won the next match 5-0 also. :) The next match we play really well the first two games but somehow the tides start turning and we are faced with a 3-5 loss as we shake our heads walking away wondering wtf just happened? They didn't outplay us, but a few key shots cost us. We then play our next match and these opponents are much more competition. They run out from a scratch on the break and then break and run. They are up 0-2. A few mistakes by us and they are up 4-1 in a race to 5! We come back and tie it easily 4-4 once we finally get going and playing like we did earlier in the day. However... I shoot the wrong shot on the second ball on the hill-hill game, but we still run out to the 8.... but I leave Mike too long and tough with too much traffic around and he misses. They get out with two beautiful banks on the their last two balls to win 4-5. I am SICK. We get 5th out of about 20 teams and no money and I am really upset.

I get up the next morning, know my match is at 1030am and am ready to play after some breakfast tacos. :)

I won 5-0 against a really nice girl from Oklahoma (after a bye). I played pretty good I thought; got out well and such. I don't have to play until 5pm so a sweet nap is in order and I crash in front of the tv back at the hotel while everyone else hangs around the pool room. I don't get online and instead sleep for about two hours. It felt great to get rest but I was a little groggy from too much sleep as I walked in to play my second opponent late that afternoon. I play a really nice young girl who wants to do really well in the tournament (she told me earlier in the day). I think she got a little nervous as I was allowed back to the table more than I should and I won 5-2 or 5-3. I then don't have to play until 9am but I hang around to watch my friend Bonnie and hang out with friends Ray, Monica and Tracie. Then head to dinner at Texas RoadHouse - yummy!

Bonnie and I Saturday morning being funny
(I had to photoshop what the sign really said due to language - LOL).

I get up about 7am for my 9am match Sunday, recognizing from past learning experiences that being awake two hours before a match is always more beneficial for my shotmaking ability than just waking up in time to get to my match. I even have time for breakfast tacos and hit a few racks. I play my good friend Monica Anderson first and win 5-3. She played really well and I like her shape and choices at the table. I then have to play Kim Pierce next and I get a little nervous playing for the hotseat - not as bad as my previous tournament in Arlington, Texas, but enough to where I am playing timid and trying more safes instead of taking chances and shooting. She gets out on some really tough outs - ones I didn't think were runable - but she made some great shots and break-out shots to win 5-3 the hotseat match.

I then decide I am satisfied with my tournament so far but would love to still win. I.e., no pressure.

I play quite strong my next match and even surprised myself with some great shots! I won decisively 5-1. I then play Kim in the finals and she is playing the same style of running tough racks, but this time not getting out every time... plus, I am playing like I can/should play and played pretty sporty to win 5-2. This means a second set is in order. I try not to think about her son watching her play in the finals, or that I might win another tournament by dipping in the finals (like this very previous event in Feb). I tried not to think ahead and instead simply played pool. I played a tricky safe to get up 3-0 and then broke and ran nicely for a 4-0 score. At this point, someone asks me the score and it finally dons on me I might win! One more game to go. I stop that train of thought and don't think ahead, though, knowing anything can happen and knowing Kim can tie it up easily at any moment. I try to run out the next game but worry about scratching off a ball before the 8 and miss. She gets out beautifully and with authority. I win the next game though and win the second set 5-1 for the tournament win!

Bonnie Plowman just won the Open (men's side) and she high fives me and my scotch partner is still there and I hug him because he helps me with my game. He showed me a few shots afterwards I could have done differently but also tells me I impressed him. :)

The winners, Bonnie Plowman and I
(photo taken at a previous tournament).

I went home and as I drove the (luckily) only two hour drive I called my friends to share the news and even got to have a quick celebratory dinner at a Fast Food restaurant on the way home with my friend Ray to celebrate (even tho he made me buy, lol). Monica tells me,"I think you are the only one surprised." Well, I was. I still am!

$360 richer and possibly a new phone is in order now with my winnings. :)

I specifically called one more person on the way home and say to my sparring 8ball partner, Jose Zaragosa:, "I owe you a beer" and he replies excitedly, "Why? Did you win?" I said, "I did!" I could hear his smile on the other end and he congratulated me and said he was proud and very happy for me. :)

As I wrote in Feb about my other win, I was shocked. And this time, I am shocked as well. But very, very happy. One word description: amazed.

Sept '08 OB Ladies Tour Stop

This particular OB Cues Ladies 9Ball Tour stop was less than 15 minutes from my house - WHAT A TREAT!

The night before, I meet up with friends for dinner. Didn't like the food too much but the company was great. While others went back to the pool room to watch some challenge matches, I headed home to sit in my comfy chair in front of the tv in my own abode. I got some slack for leaving, but I take tournaments seriously and sleep is more important than sitting in a smokey pool room. I also knew I was high in the ranks and a good finish in this tournament would help my standings so I didn't want to take things for granted and instead wanted to prepare wisely for my tournament.

Rusty's Billiards!

I got to the 24-hour pool room, Rusty's, in Arlington, Texas on time Saturday morning ready to set up the tournament brackets, take pictures and run the Player's Meeting. I seemed to run this Player's Meeting without much thought or preparations and made some jokes for the regulars and some 10 new members to the tour. I always try to make it enjoyable, but it's tough to keep everyone's attention when they just want to play pool! lol. But, I enjoyed running the meeting and then it was down to competing!

Wouldn't be a tournament without an "arm-reached-photo"!
Spetty, Amanda and Me

I got a bye my first match but heard my future opponent say, "I have to play Melinda next." I stood a little taller overhearing that and when we finally played, a few mistakes on her part and good control of the cueball on my part led to a 7-2 win in my favor. My next match would ironically be with another teammate, just like in my first match. She played very well and I got quite worried as she ran a few racks after my mistakes. I found myself trying to catch up to her score but I capitalized on her mistakes toward the end of the match and won 7-5. It was a really good match for both us and she played beautifully and I was proud for her shooting so well because I know that had to feel good to her.

I then had to play a good friend of mine who usually walks all over me - has no fear against me and just free strokes against me. It's nice to see someone running racks, but tough when it's against you. LOL. I just accepted that was gonna happen again today. But for some reason on this day, though, she was timid, tired and not playing like herself. I didn't quite capitalize on her mistakes in the first two racks but managed to still tie the match 1-1. But I then saw more and more opportunities and next thing you know I am up 5-1! I was shocked. I prolly got a little comfy with my lead but still wanted to finish it off but kept making mistakes! I messed up a 1-9 combo to get on the hill and she gets to 2. I then miss an out because I am too worried about shape for the 8ball and she gets out. 5-3. I then worry too much about scratching on the 8ball in the next game and miss. 5-4. I miss another 7 trying to get shape and it's tied 5-5. She takes a bathroom break and so do I.

As I wait my turn in the bathroom, I have a little minor confrontation in the bathroom and have words with someone, with my opponent overhearing. I know part of my remarks are b/c I'm so pissed I haven't sealed the damn set yet, but I think I still would have had words either way. I walk to the table and try and force myself to not worry about the confrontation that is now eating at me nor that my opponent may be wondering what the hell that was all about in the bathroom. LOL. I win the next game by getting out well but she returns the favor to tie it and now it's hill-hill. I have to roll out and she decides not to take the shot. I play safe and it executes much better than I even imagined. She didn't hit the 1ball and I get ball in hand. Before I run out I see the 4ball can't go in too many pockets and the 9ball is near it. I get on the wrong side of the 3ball but decide instead of playing a risky shot for "hopeful" shape, to instead just set up for the 4-9combo. I study it for a while and decide in my mind, "if I miss, I miss... you will be okay, now just bear down on the shot." Ironically, my opponent is the one that has told me in the past to bear down on combos. I shoot the shot and make it! I can't believe it! I am on the winner's side until Sunday AND helping my rankings in the standings for being guaranteed 5th. :)

I pick up Whataburger on the way home and eat in front of the tv and am quite happy to again be at home.

I run a little late Sunday morning and am disappointed I am ten minutes late to help the other board members - my nice breakfast wasn't worth the guilt I felt for running a little behind.

A couple of friends showed up to watch me in the winner's side match and I got extremely nervous! I hadn't been that nervous in a long time and then became very embarrassed b/c I was playing so badly in front of them. I tried to shake the feeling, tried to breathe right, think positive, all the tricks I knew. However, knowing this win would mean it would be my highest finish yet on the tour (guaranteed 3rd) really screwed with my head all the while I didn't focus on the game in front of me and instead I had wobbly arms because I was so nervous. Too many thoughts in my head EXCEPT pool! Ugh! I made a 9ball on the break (luckily) and won one game that led to a 2-7 score/loss. My opponent, Cristina De La Garza, played really well and although I had chances in the beginning, I just didn't show up and she played better as the match went on. I am glad she played well and was proud of her - she won her next match, too, to win the hotseat and the WPBA Qualifier!!

Samm Diep (Second Chance winner), Me, and Cristina De La Garza (WPBA Qualifier winner) on Saturday

I then play Tour veteran and great player Lisa Marr for 5th. She handily outplayed me as I still was trying to shake the nerves. I did break and run and also made a 9ball on the break to only lose 2-7 but really fell on my face again.

But, I did get 5th, the tournament overall ran smoothly (we had 51 players!), and I remained high in the standings on the tour. But because I was so nervous which resulted in embarrassment and bad play, it took me a while to write this recap. I don't even know how to describe the weekend in one word. Happy about Saturday, yet disappointed about Sunday. I suppose: challenged?

Also, all 280 photos were online with captions within days of the tournament: Click here.

Me, watching the finals and getting caught by the camera. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

League Season

League Season is upon us - it's the Fall.

This means I am working on trying to figure out what team/league I need to play in to qualify for the Women's Team Event in Vegas:
And what team/league to play in to qualify for Scotch Doubles in Vegas:

I admit it, I would enjoy league a lot more if it was closer to me. I have to drive 50 minutes there AND back to get to/from my league night destination. It's worth it in the long run (experience, trying to beat the guys, and most importantly: qualifying for BCAPL Nationals in Vegas in May and also all the end of Season tournaments), but I can already sense my body and mind getting tired/exhausted from the late nights... and the first league night isn't even here yet! Maybe if my body could handle staying out late often like it used to, I wouldn't have this attitude!? LOL. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

San Antonio Sept Tourney

The Fast Eddie's Tour had another stop - this time in San Antonio, my hometown, the weekend of September 19-20.

It was bitter sweet going "home." I visited the house I grew up in, that my Mom and I just sold in April. It was still on the market (we sold it to a "flipper") and I talked to some neighbors as I spent my Saturday afternoon in the area. Saturday morning was taken up by my Movie Scene - read all about it here.

Joe Santos (producer/director) and myself after the movie shoot.

I got some sleep finally and woke up rested and ready to play Sunday morning. No rushing necessary and start time was 11am, so that's a beautiful way to start my day. I said hi to some friends and then attended the Player's Meeting.

29 women and no bye for me this time. I played Summer in my first match and she played good at first and I was rough on the edges, but finally kicked in staying down and following through and won 7-3.

I played Nina Almarez next. She is now a beautiful woman - whereas when I knew her before she was just a girlie teenager! And.... her game has really improved! Luckily I was playing well, but she was also playing really well and it got a little close for comfort for me. We talked a little bit to each other and I know, I shouldn't have, but she was a little nervous toward the end of her match when her Dad started watching and so it made her feel better as I was talking b/c I was a little nervous myself b/c she was playing well. I got on the hill first but she got to five games and then I caromed the 9ball by accident to win 7-5. I really was VERY impressed with her game. She lives in San Francisco now and is a fashion designer!

I then played Heather Lloyd - one of the favorites in the tournament but I didn't let it get to me - I knew I was playing well. She broke dry the first game and I ran out! Nice way to make my opening statement. :) She won the next game, I won the next. She won another game and it's tied 3-3. She leaves me safe on the 7 but I bank it in. I hit the 8 REALLY bad and leave a bank on the 9 which I make, also. I am up 4-3.

In the next game, we both fight ourselves about what we are going to do about an 8ball that is nestled on the point of the side pocket. We play safe on the 6 and 7 back and forth and I finally decide to go for something with the 8ball but stop the cueball on the 7ball instead of moving it forward like I wanted to. I play safe from that position, but instead of separating the 8ball and cueball, it leaves her straight in.

Before the Safe (above).
I put right on the cueball.

After the (un)Safe, LOL.
The tit caught the 8 ball and instead of going down table, it landed in the middle AND my cueball didn't come back down the other end of the table like I wanted/planned.

She ties it 4-4. I still don't give up and am ready to fight more - I want to stay on the winner's side - I want to get in the money and that means getting 5th place AT LEAST. This loss would set me in position for 9th-12th place (I know, I shouldn't be thinking of this during my match, lol). The next game I scratch on a 7 ball b/c instead of moving forward slightly, I moved forward an inch too slightly and left a scratch shot which I "hoped" wasn't a scratch shot. LOL. She goes up 5-4. She plays safe on the 6ball the next game but I can see it well and I am so excited, that after make the 6 ball, I shoot the 7ball too fast and titty hook myself on the side pocket for the 8ball! OMG. So, she gets ball in hand and gets out. She's 6-4. She gets out nicely the next game and wins 7-4. I felt like had been kicked in the stomach. I was no longer the happy-me that walked in the door two hours earlier. I couldn't smile and was down right disappointed and deflated.

I then played Nancy French Mason who I defeated at the Texas Open a few weeks ago. I knew the adrenaline in my veins was already slowing down but I wasn't sure how I would play since I wasn't smiling and not in a "good" mood. But, I played really, really well and won 5-2.

I then played Michelle Abernathy and she beat me last time we played at the Texas Open... but on this day I played better and won 5-3. So, I met my goal of "getting in the money"! Whew. But, I didn't want to settle for 5th and "just in" the money.

I play Cristina Dela Garza next and we are both on our game. I play real good the first game then got really, really tired and she gets up 3-1. I decide I need to do something to wake up and remember I have gum in my purse. Hopefully that will wake me up a little bit. It works and I win a few games even though I'm still mentally and physically tired. It goes hill-hill and she has to jump for the 2ball. I thought to myself, "she should kick it, she might sell out like her other jump." Well, that was an INCORRECT thought - she made the 2ball and ran out the very tough table to win the set 5-4! It truly was a tough rack to run hill-hill but she ran it like it wasn't hill-hill. She made a really tough shot on the 7ball to stay in the game and her three-balls-ahead shape was very effective.

So, 5th place, $80, a visit to my home town, a movie shoot, and a 4 hour drive home. It was a good weekend and even though I originally didn't want to go, I am SO glad I did - the weekend away was a nice treat for myself as I sang to the radio and listened to the Cowboys win on the radio for the ride back.

Description of tournament.. hmm... reaching my goal, playing well but still felt like I got punched in the stomach, overall good weekend.... better.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Well, I didn't sleep all too well but knew I'd still be okay this morning for my "movie role" in Pool Hall Master as the three alarms I had set starting going off roughly about 8am. As I curled the ends of my hair, I decided to wear it down. I put on foundation (hadn't worn that in over a year and almost forgot how to use the darn Bare Minerals brush, lol). I put on the outfit I had decided to wear from my "try outs" on Thursday night and away I went - still out the door ten minutes later than I wanted to.

I head down 410, get behind some construction trucks and then see a sign too late that says "freeway closed ahead." So, I'm REALLY cutting my time short to get their by 9am. I zoom up Nacogdoches Rd (luckily I'm from San Antonio and so I know the city well) and I take a short cut to the pool room. I get there right at 9am and only the "waitress" is there. Turns out I think she really is a waitress. She was reading a Playboy magazine in her car while I listened to the radio in mine while we waited. The Director/Producer, Joe Santos, calls and says he's on his way. Sylver Ochoa, "Michael," shows up at the same time Joe does and the camera man is there. Breakfast tacos are bought, and the scene is set up with cameras and lights. Sylver, 2007 Texas Open Champion, and the main character in the movie, sits with me at a table and we shoot the fat about all sorts of things while we wait. Eventually he sees a vending machine and grabs some CornNuts (Chili Picante flavor) and I slyly say, "good thing we don't have a kissing scene." lol! Although I've known Sylver for ever it seems, we only briefly talked before this and so we were getting comfortable with each other... which would prove very helpful to me for when we shot the scenes.

Here is Rich, our awesome camera man.

Here I am toward the end of the shoot.

About 10am, Joe calls us over and the camera guy, Rich, shoots me shooting a few games of pool while they shoot "Michael" coming in to the pool room while the "waitress" checks his ID. I play pretty good for a camera on me and feel pretty comfortable.

Here I am watching the first scene - "Michael" getting his ID checked.

"Michael" and I then talk about our first scene together and then we shoot it three or four times. This is the pattern for the next two hours or so: We talk about the scene, shoot the scene, talk about what we could/should change, then shoot the scene two or three more times and then move on.

"Michael" and I talking about our first scene.

Most of the lines I practiced do not get in the scenes. Joe forgot to bring the "Laser Rack" and so I didn't have a line about that and we decide not to talk about One Pocket like we were going to. It was a lot of ad-libbing.... and that's what probably made it comfortable as well. We changed lines to things that seemed more like what we would do (in real life) if him and I really did meet in a pool hall for the first time - me knowing the players and him looking for action.

I got very comfortable and I didn't giggle at all like I thought I might! Sylver is actually a very good actor and so it was easy to play my part. At the beginning of the very first scene I thought a giggle was coming on, but Sylver was so serious, so it didn't happen - I was glad!

Laughing again.

There, more serious!

Another shot we were discussing.

This is the scene where I rack the balls, Joe is showing me where one of the cameras will be.

Joe (on right) putting the microphone on the pocket.

And here I am laughing again.

So, all in all it was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed working with Joe, Rich and Sylver and appreciated a local player, Ryan, taking photos with my camera so I could add these photos for the blog writeup.

I found myself laughing a lot which is a good sign for me - means I'm comfortable. I also know from experience (I give a lot of presentations for work) that I don't do well memorizing lines so I just reviewed the script and then I was in my element quite easily. Although I laughed a lot, that was between takes. I can look too serious when I am not smiling, so I am hoping I don't come across to "mean" looking in the scenes because there wasnt't a lot of lines to smile to. lol

As I left, Joe and Sylver gave me a hug as they shot a few more scenes they needed with "Michael" and I said good bye to the camera man, Rich, and immediately got on the phone to my agent/acting coach (Mom) and told her all about it. My Mom was tickled when I told her my photo would be added to the back of the DVD cover and also to the poster. I kind of smiled myself when I heard that. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pool Movie Extra

I heard about this pool movie being made in San Antonio with the likes of Gabe Owen, Sylver Ochoa, Rafael Martinez, and Corey Duel. My friend Heather Lloyd also shot a scene in it and my friend (and regular with me at Rusty's Billiards), Robert Newkirk, is also in it.

The movie is called Pool Hall Master. Here is the website:

I met Joe Santos, the Producer/Director, at the Texas Open. I'm not sure how we actually met - if he came over to the "internet booth" on his own or if someone sent him over. Either way, I was delighted to meet him - I had heard a lot about the movie.
I made some comment, like, "if you ever need someone in a scene, let me know" as he left his business card and a shirt! I was proud that I got a shirt and not shy about being a ham. :)

He asked me a couple of weeks later if I was going to the Fast Eddie's tournament in San Antonio coming up September 21-22. I wasn't sure if I was going or not but my plans came into place and I was going to go after all, and I let him know. We chatted a little on the phone and he said he had a part for me with Sylver (one of the main characters). It was also one of Joe's last scenes to shoot for his movie. I was excited and very interested and so he asked a few more questions ("Do what to use your real name or not?" "Can you shoot the scene Saturday morning?" etc.). The answer to the first question was no, the second was yes.

He said he'd send me the script for my part. I am thinking, "This is pretty cool. I'll probably shoot a few balls with Sylver and if the scene doesn't get cut, I might be in a movie!" I have been interviewed by TV broadcasters and been on radio interviews (for my real job), but those don't last long enough to even know I'm on. LOL.

I get the script on Wednesday morning (we shoot the scene this Saturday) and I am surprised and excited - I have TEN lines! T E N. Wow! I immediately try the lines out at my desk at work. Then I take the script home with me and my Mom helps me go over the lines as we drive 30 minutes to the place we get our hair highlighted/cut. We try the scene one more time while our hair is drying at the salon and then we try two more times Thursday night.

I don't care that it's a straight-to-DVD movie, I'm excited!

Well, I'm in San Antonio as I type this. I shoot tomorrow morning. Tomorrow! I tried on about 15 different shirts/pant combinations last night to try and figure out what to wear for the scene. Do I wear my hair up or down? Do I wear it wavy or straight? All the important things to a chick! LOL. The camera adds ten pounds - I am well aware my weight loss from last year wont shine through on the screen and I may look pretty heavy, lol, but I more so hope to be able to not giggle as I say my lines to Sylver. Luckily I know him and he has already shot most of the movie so he should feel comfortable and so hopefully that will help me. We only have two hours to shoot the scene. I feel confident in my lines, but not sure I can keep a straight face when I look Sylver in the eye and "act."

Act? Wow....

I'm excited but hope I don't waste anyone's time.

I wanted to write this now before I shoot the scene so I could share my untainted thoughts before hand. I will try and get some photos tomorrow morning of what the atmosphere looks like and then post again.

Camera Lights Action - here I come. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Custom Cue's

I have custom designed four cues so far in my life. What does "custom" mean? I picked the cue maker, the wood, custom designed the forearm, rings, and butt sleeve, then choose the wrap, weight, and joint to design a "custom cue."

Let me say up front that each of these cues have an amazing hit!

The first was a Jim Buss with beautiful Birds Eye Maple forearm and brass rings with cocobola. It was my first design, ever! Everyone always thought it was a Southwest. It was beautiful! Jim also made me a sister jump/break cue but I eventually sold it b/c I never learned how to jump. LOL. Here are the pics of the Jim Buss, which I currently use as my break cue:
Jim Buss
1st design, forearm

Jim Buss
1st design, joint

Jim Buss
1st design, butt sleeve

My second custom design was for a Jacoby. I tried to design it with points this time in the forearm and some windows in the butt sleeve. I love diamonds and I put them in the points and butt. As you see, I stayed with Birds Eye Maple, checkered rings, and a leather wrap. This one had a steel joint:
2nd design, butt sleeve
2nd design, forearm

My third custom design was for another Jacoby. I tried to design it with more of what I had been envisioning. Although I liked the other design, I was looking for a more feminine looking cue and also one that reminded me of a Jim Buss that Jim made for Jeremy Jones in the 90s. Unfortunately, it got stolen and was never recovered (well, the second time it was stolen - long story) but I loved the look so much. This time I wanted even more points in the forearm, lighter checkered rings, and a different butt sleeve that showed the beautiful Birds Eye Maple. Again, I stayed with a leather wrap (I will always have a leather wrap). This one also had a steel joint:
3rd design, butt sleeve
3rd design, forearm
3rd design, joint and close-up of rings

My fourth custom design was for another Jim Buss! I really loved my Jacoby, but also loved my original Jim Buss. Plus, it was obvious by now I loved to design cues!

I tried to get close to what I thought that Jim Buss owned by Jeremy Jones looked like. I called Jeremy and Jim to try and figure out if they could remember the cue specs. That cue had cocobola, but I wanted a lighter wood in the points. This design was much closer to what I had envisioned, but I hadn't thought enough about the joint and after I received it, I didn't like the joint colors. Everyone else liked it, but I did not. Also, the wood we used in the points and butt sleeve had too much of a reddish tint/tone to it and I wanted more of a light brown/tan color. Otherwise, the design was perfect! I especially loved the 4 white diamonds in the butt that made a bigger diamond! But, alas, I had to send it back and he is working on a new one for me. Again, I stayed with Birds Eye Maple, checkered rings, and a leather wrap. This one I asked for a wood joint:
Jim Buss
4th design, forearmJim Buss,
4th design, butt sleeve

Jim Buss
4th design, joint

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Scotch Anyone?

Well, I had been trying for over a year or more to play in a Scotch Doubles tournament with a really good local player named Jose Zaragosa. Then he became a Master player in Vegas in May (good for him, bad for us, LOL) so that limited the tournaments we could play in together. :(

We had looked into a few scotch tournaments but were always turned away because of his "status."

Jose is one of the quietest guys I've ever met in a pool room. He's unassuming and you'd never know when he walked into the room he's probably one of the favorites. But, he plays really, really good and after this night, I found out he has a lot of great gambling stories in his back pocket.

I happened to hear of a Friday night scotch doubles tournament at the Gold Nugget about 30 minutes from my house in Arlington, TX. I immediately called Jose who responded, "okay, see if we can play." (He's so funny, he always says, "we").

Jose Zaragosa
(photo from a tournament this Summer)

I called TWICE to ask if a Master player could play and each time someone at the bar said the flyer didn't list a stipulation.

So, we show up Friday night (Sept 12th) and there's like only two other teams at 7pm. Yikes! Was nervous there wouldn't even be a tournament. Turns out, though, you could call in as long as you arrived by 730pm. So, when the metal hand on the wall reached the half hour mark, ten full teams had arrived and were ready to get down on it.

The smoke got pretty bad in there - I'm not a smoker but hardly ever complain or even notice too much smoke, but for some reason it bothered me this night. And, the juke box music, although GREAT and hip, kept getting louder and louder, which made it difficult to hear all the cool stories from my partner. I have known him for years, but this is the most we have ever talked before. So, the loud music was a little bit of a damper.

Entry was $20 a team.

The first three matches we win each of them 2-0. Now, Jose and I had never played together before, but that doesn't mean we don't know 8ball. :) And, there's a reason why I wanted to play with him so badly (because he's damn good!). I have to admit our opponents weren't even B players, so that helped us get back to the table after our safes.

We then play a good husband-and-wife team and it goes 1-1 before we get out nicely to win 2-1. Whew. Got by that one.

This means we wait to see who we play in the finals. It's getting later and later, people are getting more drunk, play is taking longer, smoke is getting worse, and the music is shaking the walls (practically).

We finally find out our opponents in the finals will be the husband-and-wife team <-- the other really good team in the tournament. The husband asked if we wanted to split 1st/2nd and I say out loud, "Ive stayed this long..." We win 2-0. No double dipping going on this night! We won $150... not too bad for a Friday evening playing great 8ball with a fantastic player! Wow - he plays so good! I learned several key things from him that night and can't wait to see if we get to either play in future tournaments together or maybe even practice together for Vegas next year. I enjoyed the night and absorbed the win proudly. :)

My Dad passed away a year ago this day. It was bitter sweet winning the tournament this day. I Love and Miss you Dad. The win is for you, in your honor.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day Three - End of the 2008 Texas Open

I woke up earlier than my alarm clock on Monday morning, Labor Day, and wondered what time it was for a long time before the alarm made its obnoxious noise and finally made me jump out of bed. I get ready pretty quickly and packed everything up - Amanda and I had to check out of the hotel this day. I ran to Taco Cabana for us and also tried to check out. It took so long to try and check out (it was a fiasco!), that I tripped into the pool room at 8:56am! Wow - cutting it close for my 9am match. Eeeek!

My opponent, Nancy French, asked if I wanted to hit balls. "No," was my indifferent reply. She made some mistakes in the beginning and so I went ahead 3-1 I think, but once she put her ipod on, she was on fire! I was all of a sudden a little put back and shocked about her runouts. I started missing and even from my early misses she would get out from what seemed like a tough table to run. I finally got my head out of my a$$ and started playing well again. But I still missed a few key balls and next thing you know it went hill-hill. She scratched on the break and I saw an easy safe to hide the one ball. But wait! I also saw I could not only play safe, but leave the one in front of the 9. I executed the cueball well, but even though I hit the one ball softly, it still rolled too far for a 9ball combo, but still enough to leave her hooked (the tables were slippery little boogers). She missed the kick and I debated on the run, the tough combo or the safe. I decided to try the safe b/c she was on two and b/c there was a pretty good chance at success on executing the safety, compared to the lower percentage of me running out the way the balls were positioned. Luckily, the fast tables allowed for the one ball to hit a rail and hid her behind two balls. She missed the kick and I won by three foul 7-6.

Kim, Me and Linda Sunday night.

I then play Cristina Dela Garza, who beat me the last time we played. I played MUCH better this time and had some REALLY nice outs. Up 3-0, I got a little over confident and started missing a little and she capitalized but I also capitalized on her mistakes as well. I almost let the match get away from me, but I did play some good shots to win. That felt great b/c I not only played well in front of the crowd, I was guaranteed "in the money." :)

I then played Michelle Abernathy next and she was staying down well and getting out. I missed a few key shots again (boy, do I need to make my often-missed-shots my favorite shots so I stop dogging certain shots!) and pretty much handed the match to her at 3-7. I played terrible, BUT felt good about my finish (and the previous two wins). I wish I knew why I didn't play well that match and what was going on - I can normally figure it out, but not this time. I just know I missed more than I should have but to her credit, she made a lot of tough shots.

So, 5th place at the 2008 Texas State Open out of 28 women. And, $160 richer for my pains. LOL!

How would I describe this tournament? Enduring.

I took more photos on Day Three. You can see them all here. I am honestly mentally and physically exhausted from helping run the tournament, taking photos, updating the forums, uploading and labeling all the photos, schmoozing, updating the brackets, oh and playing pool! However, I would take none of it back - I love helping out and getting my hands in the mix for the fans of the lovely sport we call: billiards!

Amanda won the tournament, Bonnie placed 2nd and Heather placed 3rd. Shane Van Boeing won the men's side, with Gabe Own coming in 2nd and Shawn Putnam in 3rd.

Here's another one of my fav photos I captured:

Gabe Owen

Day Two,Texas Open

Sunday (of the three-day Texas Open event in Round Rock, Texas Labor Day weekend) and I slept in a little bit, then got some Taco Cabana potato and egg breakfast tacos (yummy) and then raced up to the pool room to take photos of a player who I will be making a website for. He played at 11am and so I made it in time AND got to sleep in. :) whew!

I took more photos and updated the brackets all day and even though I wanted to go to the room and rest before my tough 9pm match, there were too many things I wanted to do around here for the tournament/fans.

Photos from Day Two:

Open Brackets:

Women's Brackets:

I happened to have an extra shirt with me in my computer bag (in case they didn't let me wear what I wore for my match on Saturday night) and so luckily I was able to change into that b/c it was REALLY hot all day and needed a fresh feel. I played my roadie, great friend, and great player Amanda Lampert. I felt pretty good going into the match as we walked to the table and got our groove on.

I was running out the first game and didn't hit the 8 hard enough and missed the 9. Next game I missed a 3 or 4 in the side and she got out. Next game I OVER hit the 8 this time and had to back bank the 9 and missed. I was pretty ticked and made a comment to her because I was pissed at myself which prolly sharked her. She missed the 9 and I apologized. A few games later I am down in the match but get to shoot and I got bad shape again from the 8 and missed the 9ball! Granted it wasn't easy, but I didn't bear down and wasn't thinking about the shot in front of me. She said something to me but I was so bothered already by stupid things and I was therefore pretty upset. I was not capitalizing at all and that was extremely frustrating. She had some really nice outs after that and I even had a few good runs but she out played me. :(

It was a very emotional match and I have to say that I think it's finally sunk in that I need to keep my mouth shut even if I am playing a friend and feel comfortable with them, no matter how pissed I get at myself. I used to not say anything, so I'm not sure where this is all coming from. LOL.

I also need to continue to work on my fundamentals. :) But, I admit I was a little nervous so that makes getting shape tougher and my brain kind of gets stunned with what I should do at times for some reason. lol.

So, off to bed I went, even though it took me a while to fall asleep cuz I was thinking about the match.

Here are a couple of the photos I took (I kind a like how these came out):

Sunday, August 31, 2008

End of Day One, Texas Open

Well, the end of Day One came and went. There were a LOT of matches all day long! Whew. I also was able to put some of the photos online finally. Here are two sets:

Photos most of Day One:

End of Day One and this afternoon:

I played my 11pm match (yes, that's not a typo, Eleven PM). Before hand, I went back to the room and rested in front of the tube. I had a bad headache from the smoke (I think) or because I was online all day updating things (LOL) but I took some Aleve, rested my little head, changed into cooler clothes and headed back to the tournament to face my competitor.

Me working on the laptop.

I played Jennifer Kraber that night. She's a really good friend of mine, but she put on her ipod and I put on my mental toughness hat, and we got to business.

I played okay at first, but got out of line a lot, but then had chances to get back to the table and capitalized. I finally beared down and started playing well the last two or three games. In the middle, I had some chances from her scratches and such, and also made two 9-ball combos. So, I guess you could say I got the rolls.

I then updated the brackets, took a few more photos, got me some yummy Burger King, and then climbed into the cool sheets of the bad hotel. I drank some Alka Seltzer Plus and boy did I go to sleep!

I am here now again at the tournament, taking photos and updating the brackets and meeting new friends. I want to go rest again before I play at 9pm, but many good matches are coming up that I want to take photos of for the pool fans. We'll see what happens.

I do have a tough match ahead of me. I hope I play well - not too much to ask for but will it happen? My opponent (Amanda Lampert) is also my great friend and road partner, but she is playing well and just won her last match to zero. IF I get chances from her, I hope to play the shots well. I need to remember to have fun! I just remembered that - how funny. LOL

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Texas Open, Middle of Day One

We made it safely. 35th Annual Texas Open. Whew! History is being made! Got checked in and then headed to the pool hall. I called in all 128 players of the Open event to my partner, Mike Howeton, on Friday night. Check them out! OMG that's a lot of names to spell!

Paul Blank and Lewis Jones are running a good tournament for the owner's of G Cue Billiards, Gary and Kevin Welling. Of course, I'm also trying to give them all a hard time and make their jobs tougher! :)

There's a thread going on the forums of by Ray Hanson - kind of like a blog of his trip to and during the event. Check it out here.

The Player's Meeting ended about midnight or so and then I played two races, one to 7 and the other to 3, to get used to the fast 9foot tables. I lost 5-7 and then won 3-1. I feel good about the tables, but I still need to SHOW UP to my matches and maybe even have a little lady luck on my side for the draw. Can someone pull BYE for me?! LOL

The Player's Meeting for the Ladies will be within an hour. Eek, scared! I get a little nervous in tournaments with "titles" attached to them. lol!

Here are some photos to enjoy:

Amanda ("the Natural") and Tara ("Fire Cracker")

Viet My and Chen!

Me ("akatrigger"), taken by Amanda

Players at the tournament chart.

Friday, August 29, 2008

On my way to the Texas Open

G Cue Billiards, host of the Texas Open, Labor Day Weekend 2008, in Round Rock, Texas

Amanda Lampert and I will be heading down to the Texas Open later this afternoon. She's driving; I'm scared!

I am finishing things up at work, my hands and arms match (LOL!), I watched a little of the AWESOME Player Review Match between Buddy Hall and Grady Matthews last night, and although apprehensive about how I might play the game I love this weekend, am excited to get out of town for a few days and hang out with friends I haven't seen in a while.

Me and Amanda

I believe I will be putting the brackets online (at, so when they are up, I will post again... which may not be until Saturday morning. I also plan to take photos. When will I have time to play in the women's division? lol.