Reggae Reggae Sauce

March 26, 2007

I have just discovered the thing that goes best with Reggae Reggae Sauce. It’s Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’ Mustard Sausages! OMG it was absolutely gorgeous… I ended up having 4 sausages and wished there were more! I can’t wait to try Mr. Levi Roots’ sauce on barbecued burgers and sausages when the weather gets a little hotter. Mmmmm….


Monday’s Snooker Session

March 20, 2007

Mixed feelings about this week’s snooker session. Larry started off well (yet again) with a 56 break, but neither of us really got off the mark all evening (except a determined 62 break from me – see below). The jukebox was on again at the club and the volume was ridiculous for most of the night, so much so that we moved table (to a worse one) so that we were a bit further away from the thumping speakers.

Me 4-1 Laurence

15-65 (56), 67-53 (32 [jimbo]), 60-59, 56-17, 66-46 (33 [jimbo])

Me 3-4 Laurence

40-52, 57-16, 52-38, 28-51 (31), 53-14 (31), 27-58, 16-53

Me 4-1 Laurence

54-64 (32 [laurence]), 65-23 (39), 65-14 (62), 56-28, 56-36

Me 1-0 Laurence

60-50

Session Stats:

Frames:18

Time Taken: 4.5 hrs

Average Frame Time: 15 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 12-6 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 32, 33, 31, 39, 62, (6 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 56, 31, 32, (4 x 20+ breaks)

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

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

After the table swap, things started looking up a little and we got the desire to play again. We found out that they can turn off the speakers near the snooker tables so next time we’ll ask them to do this as soon as they pump up the volume.ย  Normally I don’t like to complain since as there are loads of people up there us few snooker players are probably in a minority. That said however we’re still members and its not like we’re asking for them to turn the music off or anything – we just want it toned down a ‘bit’.

The biggest plus point for me during the evening was my 62 break. As I was a little disinterested (due to the noise/distractions) I was playing a bit quicker and a bit more carelessly than normal, so I purposefully slowed down a lot and tried to focus my head. I played some great shots in the break, including 2 plants (one 4-ball reverse-plant that I had to make). There *was* a ton on, but with 2 reds left I potted the blue into the green pocket and tried to deep-screw back for the next red into the center. I cued it delightfully but unfortunately kissed the red and stuck it against the cushion. I then continued to jaw the red in the center pocket whilst attempting the double. Shame. Still, slowing down a lot helped me get some timing back, and got me cueing smoothly. I wasn’t really taking much longer down on the shot, but I was walking around the table more slowly and taking a little longer on shot decision and thinking about position. I think sometimes if you do this you can almost go into a ‘trance’ like state, similar to what some people refer to as ‘dead stroke’.

It may seem like we’re using the loud music as an excuse for not playing well, but honestly its so loud sometimes that you can’t even hear yourself think, and you end up getting so frustrated and angry at it that you’re not really in the mood to play anymore. Still, now we know we can ask the staff to turn off the speakers near the snooker tables, perhaps it won’t affect us as much in forthcoming sessions. We live in hope! ๐Ÿ™‚


Kate’s Party and a Vegetable Curry Recipe

March 18, 2007

Had 13 people over for Kate’s birthday party last night, so I had to cook for 15 people: Me, Kate, Andy, Marie, Tim, Cassie, Nick, Karen, Rob, Letitia, Hew, Hannah, Spencer, Julia and Martin! It was a really enjoyable evening and I ended up cooking 3 curries (a korma, a vindaloo, and a veg curry), some tarka dal, and rice. Had a great chat with Rob and Nick about astronomy and telescopes etc, and as a result I’ve signed up to the New Scientist newsletter. Hopefully next time we’re round Nick’s house, if its a clear night he’ll let us take a peek through his telescope at the moon… and with any luck Saturn.

The vegetable curry I cooked was adapted up from a recipe I found for Marrakesh Vegetable Curry on allrecipes.com. It was quite spicy but really delicious, and it was dead easy to make too: –

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 green pepper, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 courgette, chopped

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons sultanas

1/4 cup flaked almonds

1 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cinammon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Fry up the sweet potato, carrots, onion and peppers in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, in a big pan, for 5 minutes, on a medium heat.

In a medium saucepan place the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, turmeric, curry powder, cinammon, salt and cayenne pepper, and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Pour the garlic & spice mixture into the big pan with all the vegetables in it. Add the almonds, sultanas, courgette and orange juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, covered.

I ended up adding a little more orange juice and a bit of water, since I used quite a large sweet potato. You can always vary the amount of spices to taste, too.


It’s Kate’s Birthday!

March 14, 2007

Happy Birthday honey! ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought her the K-PAX Trilogy to read and we’re going out to Bella Pasta tonight for a nice meal, which I’m really looking forward to. I just hope I can hold the fork after cutting my hand earlier!


Arrgh I Cut My Hand!!!

March 14, 2007

I’m actually typing this one-handed since I just cut my left hand while doing the washing up. I was trying to push the sponge padย into a glass to clean the inside of it and WHAM the pain hit me! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The rim of the glass had a chip in it and sliced (quite deeply) right between my 4th and little fingers. So after about 10 mins of mopping up blood I now have a plaster on it. It’s a really nasty inconvenient place to get a cut since you move those 2 fingers all the time… which means its gonna take ages to heal properly.ย  Lets hope it doesn’t affect my snooker too much!


Monday’s Snooker Session

March 13, 2007

That’s more like it! This is the best session we’ve had for a while. The tempo was quick, the frustration kept to a minimum, the music wasn’t too loud, and we both really enjoyed it. Highlight of my night was a 97 clearance (shame there wasn’t more on!). I feel a century on its way real soon! ๐Ÿ™‚ Larry played pretty well, and could have had many more breaks but for a bit of carelessness on some crucial balls. To only lose by 2 frames tho with me playing like I did speaks for itself. Nice one Larry.

Me 4-3 Laurence

81-22 (51), 77-24 (40), 19-57, 7-54, 69-24 (54), 35-58, 60-53

Me 4-3 Laurence

88-2 (51, 32), 116-22 (97), 36-60, 50-73 (38 [laurence]), 28-55 (41), 60-30, 49-8 (47)

Me 4-1 Laurence

71-20 (55), 65-58 (respotted black), 63-10 (48), 12-64 (46), 73-44 (33 [laurence])

Me 0-3 Laurence

58-59 (37 [jimbo]), 46-16, 40-58 (34 [laurence])

Session stats:

Frames: 22

Time Taken: 4.75 hrs

Average Frame Time: 13 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 12-10 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 51, 40, 54, 51, 32, 97, 47, 55, 48, 37, (10 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 38, 41, 46, 33, 34, (13 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 7/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 7/10

Ever since I’ve started playing again after years away from the game, I’ve been trying to consciously control my shots in one way or another: some games I’d try and keep my head still, some games I’d try and walk into the shot correctly, some games I’d try to force myself to look at the object ball as I strike the cueball, etc.. I’ve actually noticed that in an effort to get back to my old best I’ve not been letting my ‘old best’ come out. Let me explain… Years ago, when playing the best snooker of my life, I didn’t care one bit about stance, head, alignment, cue-action, sighting and all that bollocks. I just got down and tried to pot the balls. What seems to have happened is that after my 10 year break from the game, I expected to be able to play just as well as I used to, but in reality I couldn’t, so I started to think there must be something wrong with my technique (well, not necessarily wrong, but in need of improvement). The problem is that during the last few months I’ve become obsessed with ‘getting things right’, to the extent that I was concentrating more on that than actually trying to pot the balls! How are you supposed to give each shot 100% attention if you have 90% of it on something like keeping your head still? Well, basically, you can’t.

Last night I just couldn’t be bothered with all that conscious control and just wanted to play freely and naturally. I just tried to pot the balls and get position, like I used to, and the results were pleasantly surprising! As well as playing better than I have for ages, I actually enjoyed the freedom of letting my body do what it wanted to do on the shot. I realised that my natural stance is different to what I’ve been *forcing* my body to do, and my natural speed is different to what I’ve been *forcing* by speed to be. It may be less technically correct, but it was *way* more fun, and actually improved my results.

So for now my plan is to keep all conscious controlling thoughts for the practice table when I play on my own, and just play freely and naturally in my games, and just try to pot the balls like I used to (and enjoy it).

I’ll probably change my mind again next week. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Monday’s Snooker Session

March 7, 2007

Well, trying to keep my head still seemed difficult tonight. I was ok to start with but as the evening went on I got more and more concerned with (a) the music being so loud, (b) the fight that nearly broke out on another table, and (c) the bar girl who kept walking past us all the time! By the end of the evening I didn’t really care too much about snooker… I just wanted to go home. Oh, and I had a stiff neck too. And I was tired. Want any more excuses?

Me 4-2 Laurence

49-34, 29-75, 3-82 (48), 52-27, 43-18, 81-15 (34)

Me 4-3 Laurence

55-65, 20-71, 53-3, 71-21 (38), 44-64, 59-53, 59-29 (30)

Me 0-3 Laurence

24-65 (31), 57-61, 40-45

Session stats:

Frames: 16

Time Taken: 4.5 hrs

Average Frame Time: 17 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 8-8 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 34, 38, 30, (4 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 48, 31, (6 x 20+ breaks)

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

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 4/10

Laurence didn’t play too great tonight either, and I honestly think we can put it down to the loud music and general atmosphere in the club. I mean, do pros have to deal with this level of distraction? It makes me wonder how well we’d play under ideal conditions. Larry suggested we try ear-plugs next time… haha I guess we’ll be telling each other’s scores in sign-language.

On a plus note, I think I hit upon something good during the session, which, if I’d have been more motivated, I believe would have got me playing a lot better… Instead of talking to myself on every shot like I sometimes do (“keep your head still, look at the object ball, slowly back…” etc.) I just looked at the balls in front of me and visualised how I’d play the shot, but I’d really try to *feel* what it would be like to actually play the shot perfectly. I’d really try to feel the sensations happening in my hands/arms etc, then I’d get down on the shot with a much better feel for it… almost as if I’d only just done it. I think this sort of “feel-visualisation” could really help as it de-clutters the mind and lets you get much more of a natural feel for a shot. I figure it also helps since you give your mind a much clearer image of what you want to achieve. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and in this instance I can see where they’re coming from.