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: http://www.poolhallmaster.com/

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: http://www.melindaswindow.com/TexasO...os3/index.html

Open Brackets: http://www.azbilliards.com/brackets/...urneynum=31101

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):