Monday’s Snooker Session

February 27, 2007

Laurence got off to a blinding start last night with a beauty of a 62 break – the highest of the night – and set the general tone for the evening. The first two best-of-sevens were the highlight of the evening with both of us playing fairly consistently. Generally the breaks broke down due to bad positional play as opposed to missed easy pots, which is a step in the right direction (from my point of view). Laurence ‘lost it’ a bit later on in the evening and admitted that it was because he felt he kept leaving me easy ones when he missed. My guess is this angered/frustrated him slightly which made him lose some determination, which in turn meant he lost the focus he had when he started the session. I then had a bit of a rough patch later on in the evening and put it down to me getting annoyed with the loud music that came on half-way through the session (excuses excuses). All in all though, we had a good night and enjoyed our games:

Me 4-2 Laurence

2-63 (62), 65-26 (41), 68-18 (39), 33-75 (42), 68-40, 69-5 (36)

Me 4-3 Laurence

56-48 (33 [jimbo]), 27-52 (39), 74-5 (41, 33), 62-34, 26-67, 40-54, 44-42

Me 4-0 Laurence

98-8 (39, 58), 51-23, 51-23, 55-36

Me 2-1 Laurence

59-53, 57-34, 29-56 (32)

Session stats:

Frames: 20

Time Taken: 4.75 hrs

Average Frame Time: 14.25 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 14-6 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 41, 39, 36, 33, 41, 33, 39, 58, (8 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 62, 42, 39, 32, (6 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 6/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 6/10

Well this is certainly the best I’ve played for a few weeks… although I still feel I can do much better. The two practice sessions I had during the week helped a lot I think. I’m trying to lick 2 things at the moment: getting down on the shot correctly, and keeping my head still on the shot. After videoing myself practicing I noticed that on 99% of shots I raise up and forward slightly as I push the cue through, so I’ve made a promise to myself to practice keeping my head perfectly still on the shot until it becomes ‘grooved’ and I don’t have to think about it. I think my consistency and my game in general will improve leaps and bounds if I can get this one thing licked. It certainly helped last night – especially in my long potting.

One thing I learned from this session is that you can lose your focus by getting irritated or angry at something. My reckoning is that if you get angry/frustrated with something, you begin to lose your determination, which in turn makes you lose focus. To be focused on something you need to be concentrating on it, but you can only really concentrate on something you are sincerely interested in, which you aren’t if you’ve lost your determination. So to put it simply: Anger/frustration leads to loss of determination, which leads to loss of focus, which leads to the dark side!

We did actually video the first 6 or so frames, but it was using my mobile phone and the quality is crap. I need to ask my friend Tony if he can lend me his video camera, since you can’t really see anything of value using my mobile.

One other thing: Laurence mentioned that he sometimes doesn’t get enough reaction when playing with top-spin on the ball. Larry has a very loose grip and I reckon if he gripped *slightly* tighter on the cue when attempting to ‘top’ the ball he might get a bit more of a reaction. When playing back-spin the white is sort of kick-started by the ‘rebound’ off the object ball, so in a way it is helped along. With top however, you have to work against the rebound, and get the white moving forward again, so you have to give it a *bit* more power. That’s my theory anyway! 🙂


Is it all over for the Wii?

February 22, 2007

Some guy on Slashdot posted a link to an article that says the Wii has dominated next-gen console sales so far. This may be the case but I’m a bit skeptical about the future of Nintendo’s console. Alright so its only been out a couple of months but so far, apart from Wii Sports and Zelda, where are the decent games? I’ve not even heard of any good ones coming out in the near future! The current line up of available titles from my point of view are pretty poor. Where’s Wii MarioKart? I can’t find a mention of it anywhere! Even Warioware Smooth Moves wasn’t as good as I’d expected: no simultaneous play in the mini-games, you can only use one controller, crap multiplayer games (where’s the cool othello game that the GC version sported?), you have to finish the entire single player game first to unlock multiplayer (!), you can only store 12 or so player profiles on there (maybe Nintendo thinks nobody who plays their games has more than 12 friends?). Gimme the GameCube version any day of the week. I wanna see some decent games in the pipeline… stuff comparable to Zelda and Resident Evil 4, and some good serious sports sims (this is exactly what the Wii would be great at!). Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit here, afterall its early days, but I’ve nearly beaten Zelda and I’m looking for my next game… but can’t really see any I fancy. Just check the lineup on metacritic.com – those scores speak for themselves.


A few of my old computer tunes

February 20, 2007

Was digging around my hard drive tonight and came across these old gems from the 80’s (I use the word *gems* in the loosest sense of the word). These are a few of my old computer game music tracks written using SoundTracker on the Commodore Amiga. Unfortunately they were recorded to mp3 format from a tape recorder, so the quality ain’t too great, but they’re still listenable. Kate thinks they are twiddly, but personally I think it shows what a musical genius I am… 😉

A Herd of Bees (1:29)
Crazy little ditty this. Named after a famous quote by Sally Cowell (an old friend from my snooker past): “That motorbike sounded just like a herd of bees.” The song actually sounds nothing like a herd of bees.

Frantic (1:01)
This tune’s main chord sequence is from a song from Les Miserables. Ooh I feel so naughty.

Sesame Street Tune (1:20)
Remember those bits in Sesame Street where they’d show a corny video clip of some animals grazing to crappy cheesy music? Well that was the inspiration for this piece!

Silly Tune (1:05)
Short and twiddly. I quite like this one!

Listening to these again brought back a lot of fond memories and has made me want to plug in the old keyboard again and try composing some new stuff.


Monday’s Snooker Session

February 20, 2007

Strange evening really. I started out much more confident than usual after having a great practice session at the weekend, and I played well for the first two best of sevens. No massive breaks but I hit over ten 20+ breaks in a short time. The run of the balls was terrible – bad pack splits, nasty cannons, you name it, it happened. Had the run been a bit better I think I could have had a few fiftys at least. Laurence played pretty poorly (he’d probably agree with me) and struggled to find any form all evening. He had a couple of good frames later on in the session but overall I think his mind was elsewhere, which I could tell as he kept miscounting my breaks (something I do myself when my head is all over the place).

Me 4-1 Laurence

67-60, 57-47, 64-19 (35), 41-57, 79-27

Me 4-2 Laurence

59-68, 73-40 (46), 60-18, 48-58, 64-53 (48 [jimbo]) 50-12

Me 3-4 Laurence

71-16, 48-25, 17-51, 30-54, 30-57, 76-33 (37, 33 [jimbo]), 46-69

Session stats:

Frames:18

Time Taken: 4.5 hrs

Average Frame Time: 15 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 11-7 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 35, 46, 48, 37, 33 (10 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: (7 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 5/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 3/10

Laurence and I have decided to try and video one or two of our practice sessions. We think this will help us to analyse what we’re doing when we are playing well. We’ll be able to watch our pace, technique and the all-crucial timing of our shots. Hopefully this will give us some insight into how we might become more consistent. On the flip side, videoing us playing bad will give us something visual to compare against when we are playing well. It will be interesting to see the differences in posture, speed, shot approach, timing and general attitude when playing bad vs playing great. When we’ve got some good clips, I’ll post them here on Jimbozone with an indepth analysis.


Renewed Self Confidence!

February 19, 2007

I had a great 45 mins snooker practice at the Riley’s club in Folkestone on Saturday, and its given me a new self-belief in my own ability. Recently I’ve been playing pretty poorly but I think its been down to a combination of having a new cue-tip and trying too hard/getting frustrated. I was beginning to lose confidence in myself but in this fairly quick practice session I decided to just try and concentrate *only* on pushing my hand through to the object ball and nothing else. What happened? I buzzed like a buzzard that’s what happened! First visit to the table I cleared the table down to the final pink ball from a lineup (I got the wrong side of the blue and went out of position). I was playing at a fluency that I haven’t felt in years. It felt wonderful, so easy, as though I couldn’t miss. I was actually playing very fast, which may or may not be a good thing, but it has massively restored my self-confidence in my own ability, and now I *know* I still have it in me to make consistent century breaks again. Whenever I’m playing badly or getting frustrated from now on I’m going to look back at this practice session for inspiration and draw some confidence from it. This is even more proof for me that playing good snooker is all in the mind. Let’s see how I get on tonight against Larry!


Richard Branson’s Autobiography

February 19, 2007

Losing My VirginityJust finished reading Richard Branson’s Autobiography. Its a detailed account of his life from early childhood right up to late 2005. I really enjoyed the book, especially the accounts of his balloon trips around the world. This guy really has lived life to the fullest, but has risked it all on numerous occasions (nearly being killed on his balloon trips and being on the brink of financial ruin time after time). I have to admire his determination for success, but the main thing I realised from the book is that he’s actually a genuinely nice bloke. It was interesting reading about BA’s “nasty trick’s” campaign against him and Virgin Atlantic, about CocaCola’s evil antics to stomp out Virgin Cola, and also about all the charitable stuff he did during the Gulf war. There’s stuff in there about Camelot and the National Lottery takeover bid, and the full story of how Virgin Music got started (with Mike Oldfield). A real eye-opener and inspiring account of his life and the Virgin empire – definitely worth a read!


Zelda Twilight Princess Progress

February 17, 2007

Got a bit further on Twilight Princess. Finished off the Snowpeak ruins and the Temple of Time, and got to the City in the Sky dungeon. The Temple of Time was pretty cool – some good puzzles in there where you have to move some robots into certain positions to solve things. The boss was easy in this dungeon too. Just shoot the eye till it falls down then bash it with the statues (once you locked on to them):

Moving Statues Spider Boss

Then it was on to the next dungeon. You have to do a fair bit first though because your staff that controls the statues breaks and you gotta fix it, then get hold of a book that contains a magic chant or something to open up a door that leads you to a massive cannon (which then rockets you up to the City in the Sky Dungeon). There was a really cool bit in this part of the game where you have to shoot a load of enemies with your bow without them seeing you, i.e. in stealth. It was in an old hidden village that was like an old cowboy western town (complete with western music). For a minute there I felt just like Clint Eastwood:

Western Village Showdown Repairing the Canon

The City in the Sky dungeon so far is a real pain in the neck. You get another clawshot in this dungeon, and the whole thing is basically you swinging from wall to wall trying not to fall off (and dying). I don’t think I’ve got far to go now in this one, but I’ll be glad when its over:

Wall to wall swinging! More wall to wall swinging! Swinging across revolving fans.