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Ah, this Sunday was the Colorado State Games and I played three events in Table Tennis: Open Doubles, Open Singles, and the U2000 tournement. The day started at 8am for warm-ups with my doubles partner Tulio. I had not slept well Saturday night. To amped up for some fun Descent:RtL and jitters for the tournie. Still, good warm up.

We started doubles at 9am with a pretty easy match against two lower rated players. Good thing too, because I needed to work out the jitters in that match. The next match was against much tougher oppenents that were closely rated to Tulio and I. This match was independantly ref'd and the team we play was called at least 5 times through the three games for not serving correctly. This was as a big help in letting us win as Tulio was having trouble locking in his loop. We won in three and moved on the the semi-finals. Here we played the #2 seated team (one used short pips and long pips, excellent player, the other stick on both sides). Great match, we lost the first two games, but came back to win the next two. We started picking on the sticky rubber guy with our serves because he was having trouble with them, We were leading 6-4 or 8-6 in the last gam, but then they took over and won at 11-8. Still, felt real good after that match. We played in the bronse match and was crushed, nuts.

The next event was the Open Singles, I played a person rated 1750. He was decent but had no clue how to return one of my serves. The first game he returned none, the second I think one, and the last games he might have returned half. I beat him in three. The next match was against one of the two 2200 player there (I have a 1850 rating). My first two games against him were pretty good, I still lost at nine each game. The third game I lost at four, but all in all it was fun.

My last event was the under 2000 tournie. This has a round robin to start (four players and you play the other three) The one that has the best record move on to single elimination  for the medals. I thought I was not going to make it out of the round robin early as I face a hard bat player (short pips, not sponge). I could not adjust my game to play all the dead ball he kept sending me. In the end I beat myself with ball after ball off the table. Sigh, I lose in four (he was rated 1700). My next match is against a 20 year old that was under rated at 1533. He was quite good and surprised me the first game and was winning at 10-4. I then suck it up and rattle off 8 straight points an, somehow win that game (I should have lost it). That broke his spirit a bit and I won the next two much easier. That was much harder than I thought it should of been. I feel like I am playing like crap. My third game was against a guy that was me lose to the hard bat player and decided he would face me with hard bat too.... Fucking asshole. That really pissed me off and I crushed him. The first game was very close, but I won in deuce at 15-13, the next at 6 and the last at 3. DO NOT BRING THAT BULLSHIT!!! I felt a little redeemed after that. Now I needed the kid to crush the DOB (Dirty Old Bastard) with the hard bat.... And he does, easily! I squeak my way into the finals.

I receive a bye in the first round because the player I was to face had to leave. Too bad, he used to play in our club before moving to Denver and we had good matches. He was a 1600 player at the time, but was now rated 1919. I would have loved to see how much he had improved. I my next match is against a guy from North Carolina. He was a 1932 rated player, but had a great day. He had already beeten both of the 2200 players! He has also almost beaten a couple of 2100 players. He has sticky rubber on one side and long pips on the other. He win the first game in deuce 14-12. The next two I win at 8 and 6. Then he rallies and wins the fourth game at 6. The final game I put to rest quickly and beat him 11-2. Long pips can be tough for most offensive players because they can return the loop very easily and it does crazy things to the spin. I understand how long pips work and there weaknesses. Long pips do not handle dead balls very well unless you REALLY know what you are doing, and dead chops are even more difficult. I kept popping him up and smashing the ball where he was not. It worked well. I am in the finals!

My opponent is a 1893 play that had an epic semi final match where his opponent ran him all around the table for five games and the last in deuce. He was wiped. He needed some rest and took about ten minutes to eat something and recoupe some. Techincally I could have been a jerk and told him he had to play in three mintues. That is the regulation for once a match is called, but come on. The match start and he is off. I have played him once before and won but it was very hard fought. I beat him at 4 the first game. The next one is not much better and I beat him at 6. The final game he starts strong with a 3-0 lead, but then fades as I come back to 5-3. One of his friends calls a time out to talk to him. He then take the next to points and is trying to pump himself up between points, but it is not enough. I take the next two and he fades again and I win off of an awsome smash at 11-5. I win gold in the under 2000!!!!!!!! Wooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is now 8:30 in the evenning.

I am writing this from home, because I think I made myself physically ill. I feel awful today. Sigh, no good win goes unpunished

Table Tennis Tuesday 6/30/09

This is much harder to write when I suck. The last three weeks I have been in a slump. My rating has gome from the mid 1900s to the mid 1800s. Tonight I lose for the second time ever to Jan. He is an offensive player and normally I have no problems with him. He hates the spin I put on the ball. Tonight it was no problem for him and he beats me three straight. Dang I suck. I also lose to Dave, but that is no surpise with me not playing well. He is tough on a good day. I do beat Tulio, but more because he is sucking more than me rather than me playing well.

So, the question I am dealing with is how do you get over a slump? Do you try to push through it or take a little time off and try to refocus? My personality is one to try the later. I can use the excuse that my right wrist has been sore for almost two months now and does not seem to be getting better. Maybe a break will help heal it. Still, I think trying to push through it would be better, clean up down stairs and do some practice. Time will tell how motivated I am... I also have the state games coming up in August and I would like to be on an up swing by then.

This is a good time to talk about ratings. Ratings are done by comparing your current rating to the ratings of the people you beat or lose to. TT rating are between 500 - 3000 The higher the rating the better.You gain more points from a person who's rating is high than you do from one that is lower. Also, you lose more points if you lose to a lower player than to a higher player. So, a few examples, if I beat a player that is my same rating, I gain 8 points to my current rating and he loses 8 points. If I beat a player with a rating 250 points higher than me, then I gain 50 points and he loses 50 points. If the high player had beaten me as he was supposed to, I would have lost only 1 point and he would have gained only 1 points as well.

Table Tenis Tuesday

What is it with Mondays? For the last three, four weeks they have just sucked at work. Tuesday came and so did TT. Thing started out as normal with my warm up with Tulio. We had a real good one though my back hand chops hurt a little. For a few week now my right wrist has been sore and then this weekend I queeked it  more while fixing my deck. Sigh.

I look for the sheet showing my opponents and I see we a doing a snake tournie. I have three much lower leve players to face. My first match is aginst Richard. He has reall yubber on one side and anti on the other. He like to smash and pick the ball to win his points. I match very well against him and he has never come close to beating me.... until tonight. The first match goes as planned and I win easily at 5. For some reason Richard has never gotten in a grove playing offense against me. Tonight he does not even try and I am the one looping, smashing, and picking. After the first game those shot abandon me and I lose the next two games. I am about to lose 50 points to a guy I never lose to.... I suck it up and barely win the next game at 9. At one point he was leading 7-3 and I was ablt to come back from it. The last game he was beating me 8-5 and the 10-7, but I make it to duece and some how pull off the win. Holy crap that was close and I am playing like pure, grade A shit.

My next opponent is Gokal, he has anti on both side and is a chopper like me. Normally this mean I can read his chops well, but he cannot put his own spin on the ball, so all I have to do is pay attention to the spinniness of my own loops and I am fine. I have never come close to losing to Gokal.... untl tonight. I straight up lose the first two games 7 and 5. I cannot figure out the spin I am putting on my own bal and my offense is staying at grade A levels. Lordy this sucks. I squeak out a win in the next game at 9 (he was leadin 7-5 at one point). Then put together a decent game and beat him at 7, never trailing. Then thing go down the crapperr again in the fitfth and I am losing 10-8. I somehow manage two poitn and make duece, then we go back and forth until I am up 14-13. Then I dink one off the net and win the match. Holy crap I am playing worse than pure, grade A shit...

Thirs oppoenent is Dave T ( he is filling in because the normal person was a no show). It is not worth mentioning this game I pulled a win for one game, but lose badly the rest. Neither he or I had fun.

This put me in the B bracket for the second part of the tournie. Oddly, it was a night of upsets and Tulio lost a match and is with me in the B braket, so is Gary G who upset two people to be in this bracket. I play Gary first and trounce him (even playing like crap) 4, 3, 5. Sometimes Gary can be tough for me and I was expecting a dog fight and did not get it. Thank goodness.

Now Tulio and I play and it is a game of who can suck the most and throw the game for the other person. Tulio sucks the most and I beat him. Neither he or I had fun for the game which is too bad, because we often have fun ones.

I have mentioned different types of tournies so I will explain them now. There are two main types. The normal format is to make brackets of four people and then those people play each of the others in their bravcket for the evenning. The normal tournie looks at how well you did last week and puts you in the A, B, C or D bracket for this week. The A brackethas the highest (best) players in it from the week before and D has the worst ( I normally stay in A). The other type of tournie is done when we do not have 16 player and it is the Snake. The top three players (by rating) fill out the top seats in the A, B, and C brackets then the next three highest the fill out the next lowest seats in each bracket and so on until all four spots in the three brackets are filled out. This system has very low level player playing the high level players. After you play the four three game the new seating is picked by who won and lost the most. So, the person that won all their matches in a bracket are the A seat, and so on. This is done in each of the three brackets and then the A seats will face off in single elimination, B seat face each other, etc.

I hope I play better next week..... I got of very easy and lucky this week.

For whom the (kettle)bell tolls

Last night was week #2 doing keetlebell work outs. You know you are in trouble when the training teaches you how to get of your lazy ass....

The name was something like Turkish Situps, but I really do not remember. In the end, you lie down on the floorlift a kettlebel up in the air with one arm and get yourself to a standing position. That simple but there are a bunch of steps to do it. It the end it was not as much of a work out as the week before, but it was still nice and it worked out a pain in my left knee, which was very nice. By this point Perrin has had his fun meter pegged and it is time to go home. Next week Carol is taknig Perrin up to visit friends so I will be all on my own (I hope I still remember how to feed myself).
Lord I feel old. Monday night my left hip is really bothering me, then today my right is sore (most likely from over compensation). I get to TT and start warming up with Tulio. We have a decent warm up but nothing spectaular. By the end of the warm up my right hip is throbbing, great....

My first match is against Jiafung. He is a major looper using a penholder grip, real rubber on both sides. Jiafung is a total offensive player, mostly loops and smashes. I eat player like this for lunch. He just cannot handle the backspin on my chops. I beat him easily 7, 1 ,4.  My leg throbs even more.

My next opponent is Dave T with his Seymiller grip. I win the first game at 7 my loop, smash really on. I lose the next two matches. As I have mentioned before Dave is a blocker, normally I can get in a rythm, but Dave changes things up and starts punch blocking. A punch block is a stronger type of block. Normally on a block you just intercept the ball with the paddle and let the energy from your opponent's top spin shot to send the ball back over the net. A punch block does that too, but adds a small forward motion (like a really short jab from the hip) as you contact the ball. This increases the speed at which the ball comes back and often distrupts the timing of the other person. I am that other person and it works. I lose at 9 and 7. The next match I start making my first loop a little faster and Dave finds he cannot punch block any more. I get back into rythm with the loop, smash combo and win the next two 8 and 9. At this point my leg is numb.

Next I play Tom. There are no problems today. I got the loop, smash working against Dave and it continues into this match. I dominate and win 3, 6, and 5. Playing well and leg still numb.

My last match is against Tulio. First game goes very well as I beat him at 2, but one of the pointsTulio won was an angle shot to my far right and in trying to get to it, I tweaked the leg against, ouch. The next game I lose at 2. Sigh, I am suddenly inconsistant, a few really good shots, but then missing easy stuff. The third game I win at 8, and now Tulio is being as inconsistant as I am. Lose the fouth at 8 and it is down to who can string the most good point before blowing some easy shots. AI lose the last game at 7, double sigh. Completely unsatisfying game. Never had a good feel after the first game and while there where flashes of brilance, there were more moments of , "How the hell did I miss that shot?!?"

Few more terms:

Penholder - This is a way to grip the paddle where you make your index finger and thumb touch (kinda like when you hold a pen to write with) and then you place the handle of the racket through the circle those finger's create. This is more commonly seen by Asian players and Jiafung is Asian. I have never seen a defensive player use this grip.

Shakehands -  This is the most common way to hold a paddle. Place the paddle in your palm at a sight angle towards your fingers. Close the all but your index finger around the handle and place your thumb and index finger on the sides of the paddle (almost like when you shake someone's hand).

Seymiller Grip -  Uncommon paddle holding style name after a World Champion who used it. Think of holding a big lollipop, now take your index finger and place it in the middle of the lollipop and turn the flat facing away from you and the side with your index finger on it facing you. Most player with this grip only use one side of their paddle on either the fore hand shots or the back hands. I have seen this grip from mostly blocker (like Dave), but you can have other styles with it.

Dreaming of Bygone Days


Dreaming of Bygone Days

 

I have no idea if other vampires dream, but I do not care. I often dream in dormancy and tonight is no exception.

 

I can tell it is a dream as I always dream in washed out colors. Well, except for the amulet I found in my master’s hidden room when I awoke to my second life It always comes in with the most precise detail, making seem to almost glow in a chamber of drab colors.

 

It is the early 1790’s by people’s attire and there are over a hundred people dancing in the ball room. I am dancing with a beautiful blond haired woman and positively reeks of wealth. We are dancing simply wonderful when I notice her dress is turning from a drab grayish yellow dress to a dark, vibrant red dress. I then notice two small puncture wounds on her neck. I wonder when I took a sample and look around to make sure no one else sees the blemishes.

 

I view to my  right and I see Cassius. He is dressed in one of the servant’s dress outfits, yet even from here I can see the blood stains and tear in uniform. He is carrying a tray of sparkling white champagne glasses. Cassius snatches one and takes a long drink. His backwash tinges the champagne a light pink. He takes another pull and the backwash tinges it a deeper shade. By the time Cassius is through, he puts down a nice deep red glass of wine.

 

I look away, not wanting to be associated with Cassius, and see Issac perched on one of the chandeliers. Is back is turned to me, but as I stare a bit longer he feels my gaze and turns around. He has on a mask like the Phantom of the Opera. Though the bottom half of the mask, and his face, is covered in blood. He turns around even more and I see he is clutching a small black girl in his hands, her throat torn out. What a waste of good blood.

 

I turn away so that no one else see Issac feeding and see TJ sucking in the corner. She is wearing a green tank top and cut off jean shorts. And she is upset that no one is paying attention to her. As if there is any wonder why.  She finally is fed up with it and grab the nearest dancer and tears into his neck. Everyone studiously ignores her.

 

I look past her quickly not wanting to be the only one watching her when the dance floor bucks like an earth quake has hit the area. People start streaming out of the ballroom, screaming. I follow and check to see if Cassius, Issac and TJ are following the crowd out, but I lose sight on them in the falling dust and darkness.

 

I look up as I leave the ballroom and I see that it was in the Eiffel Tower and the tower is on fire. It looks like a bomb went of in it… wait it looks like some debris of a plane is scattered across the Tower. In the distance I see another plane closing in. What are planes doing in the 1790’s???

 

And then I wake up.

Got my (kettle)bell rung

I did something new yesterday. teh_cassius asked if I wanted to do some kettlebell training. My first though was, "What the hell is kettle bell training?" My second thought was, "I have Perrin for the evenning, so I will not be able to try it." Richard was fine with me bringing Perrin over, so in the end I gave it a try.

So, what is kettle bell training you ask? The best way I can give you a visual on this is to think back to the days when you did not know how to bowl. You took the ball in both hands, squatted down, sent the ball between your legs, rocked forward an sent the ball down the lane. Now replace the bowling ball with a 35 pound metal weigh, do not let go, bring yourself up to standing straight, and do a bucket load of reps. Very interesting and very good cardio and weight training on the legs and hip area (and for me because I probably was not doing it right, the lower back). There are plenty of other moves, but this is the basic one and what I did for the evenning.

Perrin was not happy through most of it though and I spent time calming him down. Probably a good thing since I am quite sore today. I fell like I rode a horse for two days straight... Definitely what to go again, as long as teh_cassius and Paul does not mind Perrin around (Wednesday night is Carol's night out). I plan to be better prepared for next time and bring his play mat along. Hopely he will do better.

Table Tennis Tuesday 5/26/09

Real depressing day. Had manditory finiance trainng and career developement day and all it really told me was, "You need to be will to move, if you want to advance." Sigh. Table tennis starts very well. Tulio and I have a great warm up everything is working. Chopping, looping, counter loops, everything. That normally means I will suck in the games......

Find out that there are only twelve player so we are doing a snake tourney (three groups of four,each top player being in different groups and the lower players fill the rest, will go into more detail in later posts). Then we have a cross over with the winner of the groups playing each other. I am the top player in the A group, and the rest of the group is pretty weak. My first match is against Dave H. He is a 60+ year old man that is a chopper like me and uses sticky rubber on both slides, but not nearly as good. Dave annoys me, he reminds me of a used car or snake oil sales man. All through the games he is just gushing about how X shot would have won the point against everyone else, but I am sooooo great that it comes back. Maybe I do not take compliments well, but it start to bother me after a while. I beat Dave 6, 8, 3. My next opponent is Lee, an 86 (not kidding) year old man, he uses junk rubber (short pips). It always amazes me how well Lee can play. I hope I am half as good at 86. I beat him 8, 7, 5. My last opponent is Tisoy, he uses real rubber (sticky) and is an offensive player with lots of loops and a good pick. I match very good against him though and he is the easiest of my matches. I beat him 6, 6, 3. I then wait for the winners of the other two groups to play and Dave T beats Tulio. Dave T is the blocker I talked about in the first week. He has sticky rubber on one side and long pips on the other. Loves to switch between them and it can confuse you. I lose the first two games to him 7 and 8. Thing just are not working. My loop is okay, but the smash I use after Dave blocks the ball back just is not on. The third game I am able to get it to deuce, Dave goes up 11-10 and I dink one off the net to tie it back up and then rattle off two more points for the win. The fourth game my loop smash combo starts to work and I beat Dave at 7 and I did not look back and beat Dave at 5 in the last games. Yeah! Good night.

Okay, more terms:

Junk rubber - sheets of rubber that are not smooth and sticky (easily create and react to spin)

Anti - Junk rubber that is smooth, but has little to no fricktion to it. A ping pong ball will easily slide across it and not roll. In game this causes the to either lose the spin you put on it with real sticky rubber or keep the same amount of spin that you put on it. Just depends on the stroke used.

Short pips - think of astroturf that is cut to a couple of millimeters.That is short pips. This rubber is good at deadenning the spin it receives and allows for a lot of errors. It still reacts similar to real rubber, but just not as much spin.

Long pips- same as short pips but the pips are smaller in circumfrence and the pips are long enough to bend as the ball hits the paddle. This is the real crazy stuff. Depending on how hard you hit the ball determines the returning spin. If you graze the ball and do not let the pips bend much, this stuff acts like anti. If you hit the ball harder and cause the pips to bend, the spin reverses and you have a very difficult time figuring out what is on it. Lots of people hate playing against this crud.

"real" rubber - smooth rubber that is sticky to the touch. Place a ping pong ball on it and it does not side, it rolls. Some of the stickiest stuff will hold a ping pong ball so that you can lift it off the table, hanging the ball upside down.