Accountability Blog – September

If you’ll remember, I ended my August write-up with “I’m going to try a renewed dedication to this quest in September”. So, did I?

In a word, no. There was a pretty decent excuse in that I traveled a ton this month with two camping trips and a week on the east coast for a disc golf tournament. Travel tends to mean worse habits, and boy did I live up to that.

DIET

Crap food – I had two crap lunches and one crap breakfast. It’s close to my goal, but not quite there. I’m okay with this given my travel schedule and how easy it is to just grab crap fast food when you’re away from home. Grade: 3.

Vegetables – There appeared to only be two days without veggies, which is a nice improvement. It’s again close to my goal, but not quite there. Grade: 3.5.

Sodas – There’s two ways to look at this. I had 10 sodas, which is not great. But the other way to look at this is to include energy drinks (which I really should), which brings this embarrassing total up to 15 for the month. An unequivocal failure. And I can only blame travel so much. See, when I know I’ve failed something, I don’t try to salvage, I just go off the deep end. I stopped holding myself responsible and just drank soda like it was going out of style. Grade: 1.

Overall diet grade: 2.5. This is not trending in the right direction.

WORKING OUT

Well, it couldn’t get worse than August, when I did not work out at all. September saw me work out… well, my calendar says twice but I’m fairly certain I worked out about four times. Let’s call it 3 since I am not very good at even keeping this damn log. Still, it falls well below the 8 I hoped to do. Grade: 2.

MEDITATION

I meditated six times, which is acceptable, though well below my goal of 12-15. I’m too cheap to pay for the upgraded service, so I’ll be going through the same 10 routines ad nauseam. But in the times where I don’t fall asleep, it does help center me a bit. Grade: 2.5.

DISC GOLF

Rehashing this will hurt my soul. If I had gotten even a bogey 5 on my final hole of the 72-hole tournament, this would have been graded a 5 since I would have cashed and left $200+ richer. Instead, I took a 7 and was one stroke out of the cash. I want to grade it a zero (even though I typically don’t grade disc golf), but the truth is I played pretty well for about 70 of those holes. Grade: 3

CREATIVE WRITING

2500 words in a month was my goal. Bear in mind, I have not done this more than once (when I was writing sketches last summer for The Untamed) since 2012. Here, I wrote two sketches and started work on The Great Depression: The Musical (even if it was literally only one stanza). Total word count is just a little above 700 words, but I don’t consider it only a 30% success. I actually wrote creatively for the first time in a while. I’m going to give myself half a pass this month. 2500 might difficult to hit with any regularity (ignoring the fact that I’ve already written 500 words in this blog alone) but it’s a fun challenge. Grade: 3.

SEPTEMBER OVERALL: 2.5 – When I failed, I failed big, but a few other goals were pretty decently followed.

I’m adding one new addition for October only, at least for the month starting after today. In looking at my budget, I’ve spent way too much the last two months on my “vices” – booze, cannabis, and soda. Like way way too much. I’m not as concerned that I’m drinking too much, but I’m completely obliterating my monthly spending goals. So Danielle and I are cutting out all booze and pot for the month (except if there’s a party we’re attending which, at this time, we have none that we know of). It’s more for financial reasons, but a pause will have a number of other good effects.

And more importantly, and this I’m excited for, I’m *actually* going to commit this time. No excuses of travel, no seeing that I’m going to fail so throwing in the towel. I’m going to try to hit every damn goal at least once in a month.

Accountability Blog – August

DIET

Crap food – Well, for the first time since starting this blog, I hit this goal. I had one crap breakfast (on the 2nd of the month) and one crap lunch (on the 7th) but held off the rest of the month. Sure, I had Jack in the Box once for dinner this month, but there were extenuating circumstances and I cleverly put no restrictions on this whatsoever. Grade: 4.

Vegetables – Looking at my calendar, it looks like I had four days without veggies this month. Admittedly at least one of those days I didn’t really have the option to get something with veggies, but still a pretty bad fail. Grade: 2.5.

Sodas – 11. Ouch, that’s nearly double my goal. It’s probably still *slightly* better than I did before this challenge, but it’s still pretty lousy. Grade: 2.

Overall diet grade: 3.

WORKING OUT

Zero times. Not once did I work out. That’s terrible. Sure, it was a busy month and I always tend to work out more in the winter than in the summer, but this is pretty inexcusable, especially on the heels of the past two months where I only worked out 4 times total. Grade: 1.

MEDITATION

I only decided I would add this goal halfway through the month. I finished the month out with 5 in the final two weeks. Considering my monthly goal was 12-15, my prorated total would put me at around 11 or 12. So we’re gonna call this a success. Grade: 4.

DISC GOLF

I played 12 holes of practice early in the month with someone from work and bookended August with about 24 holes on the last day of the month. I’m trying to get my body ready for next week when I anticipate playing no less than 6 rounds in 5 days (possibly 7 rounds). I think 36 holes in the prior 2+ months satisfies that criteria, right? Grade: N/A

CREATIVE WRITING

I only decided I would attempt this at the very end of the month, and I’m okay with not having succeeded because of that. What’s more, I have some gift cards coming my way and I plan to buy a laptop with those. I am infinitely more likely to write on a laptop than I am while sitting at my not very comfortable computer desk. After all, I have a bed that can sit all the way up. 🙂 Grade: N/A.

JUNE OVERALL: 2.5. Still not great, all things considered. I’m going to try a renewed dedication to this quest in September and I hope to hit each one of these targets.

Spoiler alert: I had two sodas on the very first day of September. So there’s that.

Accountability – June & July

So I have not actually written an accountability blog in several months which, I imagine, is not good in terms of holding myself accountable. So I’ll compensate by adding a gratuitous grading scale.

5 – Not only did I hit my goals, I exceeded them.

4 – I hit my goals.

3 – I came close, but did not hit my goals.

2 – Not only did I not hit my goals, I basically was as unhealthy as I was before these resolutions.

1 – I failed on every level.

JUNE

DIET

To refresh your memory, three are three sub-goals here.

Fast food/crap food: my goal was to have no more than one junk food lunch and one junk food breakfast a month. In June, I had three crap breakfasts and two crap lunches.

Vegetables: There were four days I did not eat vegetables at all, much less than the zero I hoped for.

Sodas: I had nine sodas, not six.

Overall, I’ll grade my diet a 2 for June.

WORKING OUT

Recall that I hoped to work out twice a week for a total of 8 to 10 times a month. Looking back at my accountability calendar, I see I fell just short, having not worked out at all. Okay, that’s more than falling short, that is quite literally the least I could do. Grade: 1.

DISC GOLF

I started off the month as hot as you could, but winning my second tournament of the year (this one at one of my all time favorite courses, Turtle Rock). Like my other Masters wins, this was a wire-to-wire win, resulting in a 4-stroke victory and my biggest payday to date. I followed this tournament up with a pretty sub-standard showing at King of the Lake, but I did manage to sneak into a tie for last cash. While this was disappointing, it was the *first* odd-numbered year that I ever cashed in the King, so there’s that. We’re going a full 5 for this grade.

JUNE OVERALL: 2.

JULY

DIET

I had a whopping four crap lunches (I realize I eat crap lunches when I am having a bad day – it’s my comfort food – and I had no shortage of bad days in July). I had one crap breakfast and at least two days without vegetables. Maybe a slight leg up from June? Well, I had the chance to improve on nine sodas in June, but I didn’t. I had 9. I’ll grade this month a generous 3.

WORKING OUT

I worked out four days this month, a couple of those also working on my shoulder. I’m hoping to get it back to competition form by the first week of September when I have my biggest tournament of the year. While four is well short of my goal, it’s better than I’d done in a couple of months. So…. yay? I’m gonna grade this a 2.5, though. It’s still well short of my very reachable target.

DISC GOLF

I did not touch a disc for the entire month. Grade: N/A.

JULY OVERALL: Given that this was a very trying month on a number of levels, I fared sorta kinda okay I guess? We’ll keep it at a 2.5, though.

 

RANDOM NOTES:

  • First off, you’ll notice I’ve yet to hit basically any of my goals in any single month. And spoiler alert, I won’t in August either. Well that’s disappointing. However, here’s hoping I get a renewed push going into September and actually try to hold myself accountable more than just saying “shucks” when I miss a goal.
  • Also, I can’t actually “grade” disc golf since I’m not setting a goal. I mean, I did grade June because I won a tournament, but I don’t think I’ll actually my disc golf grade in my overall grade because, with no measurable goal, it’s a totally arbitrary number.
  • I will be adding two categories starting next month. The first is “creative writing” because I’ve been saying for YEARS I want to write more and I’ve had tons of friends very disappointed that I have basically not written. This blog and work stuff don’t count: creative writing only, preferably one of my two novels I’ve started, but I’ll take working on sketches or anything that gets the creative juices flowing. My goal? 2,500 words a month. I know that’s peanuts, but if I start crushing it (like all the other goals I’m hitting routinely) I’ll increase that number.
  • The second addition will be meditation at the urging of my therapist. I’ve tried meditation in the past and not gotten much out of it, but I also recognize that I don’t handle stress as well as I thought I did. He recommends 10 minutes a day. I’ll say let’s do 10 minutes three times a week. So on a per month basis, that’s 12-15 times.

Accountability Update – Stupid, stupid May

So, how’s that accountability thing going? Let’s find out:

DIET

I think I’m like most people. When I make goals for myself, I set out earnestly to hit those goals. But once it becomes clear I am not going to hit them, not only do I stop trying, I basically take it in the opposite direction to see how spectacularly I can fail. I had 8 sodas, not 6. And while that may not seem like much, each sized soda was considerably larger than I normally get, so those 8 were more like 10 or 12. I also had two crappy Jack-in-the-Box lunches this month. Again, it’s only one more than my goal, but it’s also double my goal. I missed veggies again one day. I failed pretty hard in May. Especially when you compound my eating habits with:

WORKING OUT

…which I essentially did not do. I worked out a grand total of one time, and considering my goal was 8-10, I came up juuuuuuuuuust a bit short. I want to be able to place the blame elsewhere, but simply I got obsessed with War and Order, a handheld strategy game. Why work out when I can loot castles and kill soldiers, am I right? I hold out hope that June will be different, but it’s a flimsy sort of hope.

DISC GOLF

Here’s where things get funky. I started out my disc golf month at a one-day tournament at a new course (I’d only played once the week before at doubles). And I did what I’ve done all year, sucked. This tournament featured a) my third (3RD) sub-900 rated round this year and b) my SECOND DFL (dead f’n last) finish this year.

Apparently, the bursitis in my throwing shoulder is causing me more problems than I thought, especially when putting. So I did what any rational person would do, decided to play out the tournaments I’ve already signed up for then hang up the discs for the rest of the year to recover. I emailed my ex to change my schedule with the boys because of it. Then what happened?

Oh yeah, I started kicking ass. I won Duel at Dayton by four strokes, playing good golf the entire weekend. As a comparison, in the 9 tournament rounds before Dayton, I reached my player rating only once. Dayton featured 3 rounds in a row above my rating, something I tend not to do very much. Also, SPOILER ALERT, June started off pretty well too.

THE REST OF MY LIFE

The boys are done with school, in more ways than one. We’re moving them from their current school back to the public school they are zoned for. There are many reasons for this move, but it’s definitely the right one. It’ll be a sharp change (and for L, his third school in four years). They have mixed feelings about it, but have spent the last few days getting phone numbers for the parents of many of their friends. So there will be play dates a’plenty.

My girlfriend has had some medical issues resulting in surprise surgery (which is, as you know, the worst kind), so it’s been a pretty rough, tiring month. She’s on the mend, at least until the next, bigger surgery (less surprise, but no less sucky). We will get a nice excursion next weekend when we attend the wedding of some longtime friends of hers.

May was a weird month financially, too. Twice each year I get three paychecks (I get paid bi-weekly, not semi-monthly), and May was one of those months. Plus I got my small tax rebate. Plus my second-biggest disc golf payday ever. So I’ve been able to pocket a little money to spend on a trip later this year with the boys.

Oh, and I we interviewed for and selected my third employee! She starts on July 1 and I’m SUPER excited a) because we desperately need a third person and b) because she’s awesome.

Onto June…

April Update

So, how’s that accountability thing going? Let’s find out:

DIET

You may remember in this blog post, I made a resolution to eat better because I was working out more. So how’d it go? I missed two days of veggies in May, one of which was because I was out playing disc golf for a good portion of the day and had plans at night. In general, I’m having more than one serving of veggies a day, but at least I’m basically hitting the lower bar each day. It helps to have a girlfriend who enjoys cooking (healthy!)

WORKING OUT

I worked out four times last month. If you’re good at math, or even just barely passable, you’ll realize that that’s not 2x a week. Unless April only had one week which, after thorough research, I concluded it didn’t. Of course it’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of priorities. Let’s see if I can change that in May, during which I’ve already worked out (checks calendar) zero times.

DISC GOLF

I played two days of golf the entire month, both doubles. I played exceptionally mediocre in both of them, missing cash each time (in one I was playing with a total newbie so it was basically a solo round). So far for 2019, I’ve made $0 in disc in 2019. Too bad I haven’t spent $0.

THE REST OF MY LIFE

The boys are doing great. They’ve taken up reading as a legitimate hobby, spending most of each car ride (to and from school) silently reading. For Landen it’s usually Calvin and Hobbes. Duncan switches between that and other books. School’s been going well for them too. I unfortunately won’t be able to take them on large vacations like I’d hoped (definitely rethinking the custody arrangement I agreed to based on things that have not transpired as discussed), but I’m making it work as best as I can.

Work is finally slowing down and I’m able to concentrate on process improvement and a backlog of old projects. This is actually exciting news, as these are the real things I intended to do in this position.

My body is rapidly falling apart – herniated disc in the back, bursitis in the right (throwing) shoulder, and arthritis in the left foot. Yeah yeah, I know, working out would help some of these.

Let’s see how May goes.

Updates – March

So, how’s that accountability thing going? Let’s find out

DIET

You may remember in this blog post, I made a resolution to eat better because I was working out more. So how’d it go? I’m not going to pretend the bar was set super high – it was only three goals – but I did very well. I had my full allotment of six sodas (I had the last one around the 20th of the month), I only had my two fast food jaunts (Jack in the Box for lunch once and a fatty bagel once for breakfast), and I ate veggies every day but one. Most days I had multiple veggies, so I feel good. That’s, like, a 98% success rate or something for month one.

ABOUT THAT WORKING OUT THING

Well, this isn’t going as well, but I didn’t set a clear goal. I think a reasonable goal would be two sessions a week. That’s vague on purpose – it can be going to the gym and using the elliptical and/or weights, or doing yoga or pilates or other core work at home. I haven’t done two sessions a week in a month or two, and I probably did a total of about 5 total sessions in March. No bueno.

DISC GOLF

Remember a few months ago when a doe-eyed man with a bag full of big dreams set up a bunch of goals for the year? I haven’t had the cajones to reread that blog, but suffice to say this has been a historically bad start to the year. I mean historically. Put it this way, since 2010, I have not had a sub-900-rated round. And the one I had then was because of a severe injury. You’d have to go back to 2009 to get a legit sub-900 round. This year? Yup, already had two.

I know it’s altitude. I know it I know it I know it. But I keep going back. Why do I keep going back? Let’s do some research. Since moving west at the end of 2007, I’ve played 262 tournament rounds. 175 of them were above 4000′ in elevation (almost exactly 2/3). Here are my findings:

Average round rating below 4000′: 950.56

# of 1000-rated rounds below 4000′: 5 (~5.7%)

# of sub-930 rounds below 4000′: 17 (~20%)

Average round rating above 4000′: 965.01

# of 1000-rated rounds above 4000′: 16 (~9.1%)

# of sub-930 rounds above 4000′: 13 (~7.4%)

I used to think it had to do with playing early in the year, but I now think that’s crap. The few rounds I played in Reno (above 4000′) after a two-month layoff and dealing with bursitis in my throwing shoulder were actually quite good (I took home the 1-tag in the opener!) Then I go down to sea level and throw my first 8 rounds well below my rating (only one round so far is unofficially rated above 950). Oh well, onward and upward. Literally, upward. I need higher elevation.

THE REST OF MY LIFE

This one is murkier. The internet isn’t the forum for airing dirty laundry, so let’s say say specters from my past are making my life in the present very challenging. And they’re inevitably affecting my relationship with my boys and even the amount of time I get to spend with them. Personal choices obviously have a say in that as well (I played several tournaments in March, for instance), but there are extenuating circumstances.

The boys are doing well in general. I just had parent teacher conferences with both teachers and, while L’s reading scores have me more than a bit concerned, they’re both prospering in various areas. I can only imagine how hard it is to try to learn anything at school while dealing with two separate homes and lifestyles. Fortunately, my parents’ divorce happened when I was in college, and even THAT had its own challenges. It must be 1000x harder for kids.

However my girlfriend Danielle has been a nice pillar of support in all of this, as have a few friends I’ve opened up to. I had the chance to see Corey and Matt in their adorable place in Oakland. Got to perform with my improv troupe, The Comedy Collective (and will again this coming Friday!), and partook in some shenanigans. All in all, a mixed bag.

 

I anticipate doing this sort of review monthly. It’s good cheap therapy content.

 

Health Accountability

Spoiler alert: I’m 40 and my body is 612. My metabolism isn’t what it used to be. And I’m woefully out of shape.

Thankfully, my apartment complex has a gym and I’ve downloaded a few yoga/pilates videos that focus on core strength, which is clearly my issue. But this blog isn’t about that, it’s about three health/eating resolutions I made for the start of February and hope to continue the rest of the year. I’m posting them because public shame is a viable motivator.

  1. No more than 6 sodas a month. I’m not a fan of cutting out entirely, and though I can (I recently gave up soda for two months on a dare with my son), this isn’t about total exclusion, it’s about moderation. So I’m allowing only 6 sodas each month. So far I’ve had one in February and plan to have another later today. If I use up my allotment by the middle of the months, sucks for me.
  2. Only one “fast food lunch” and one “fast food breakfast” a month. Because I forgot to pack lunch today, I will exercise my lunch token today.
  3. Have one serving of vegetables a day. I know, I know, you’re supposed to have like 40 every day. But clearly if I’m resolving to have at least one, it should be clear that that’s a goal I’m not currently hitting. So far in February, I’m 5 for 5.

That’s it. I’m starting small. Let’s see how long I can keep this up. Now to share on Twitter so I can further keep myself accountable/shame-ready.

2019 Disc Golf Goals

It’s time once again to write something long that only I read and it’s tl;dr for everyone else: my disc golf goals! You’ll remember last year I managed to hit 10 of my 21 lofty goals, but oddly I hit some of the ones I considered long shots and missed others I thought were pretty safe. Can I do better without lowering my bar? Let’s see. Those observant enough to care will notice I’m recycling many of last year’s goals. So what? It’s my bloggy and I’ll do what I wanna. 

1) Win more than 800 points in Masters.

Last year I didn’t even get 600, but that was largely due to poor attendance in my division throughout the Sierra Tahoe series. While I don’t expect that to change that much, I’m planning to do more traveling/big tournaments, so hopefully a few good showings will do me just right.

2) Cash in 2/3 of my events.

I missed this last year by some margin, but had I done a single stroke better a round in 6 of my tournaments, I would have cashed in all but two events for the entire year. But… well… I didn’t.

3) Cash in the St. Patrick’s Classic or the Tim Selinski US Masters.

I’ve played St. Patty’s twice. The first time I threw my highest rated round (1025) at the time and still came considerably out of the cash after following it up with two lousy rounds. Last year I played in Masters and limped my way to the first spot out of cash. Third time’s a charm, right?

I’ve never played a Masters event as big as the US Masters, and right now it’s full at a field of 60 (I’m gonna guess that’ll go up as some of the more esoteric fields don’t fill). And, while Maple Hill is one of my all-time favorite courses, I’ve yet to throw a single good round there. Both tournaments will be a challenge, but here’s hoping I can get one of them. Hell, maybe even both!

4) Cash in every PDGA event.

This is one of two least likely goals for me to achieve. But let’s keep it here because I’m nothing if not ambitious. It’ll REQUIRE me to cash at both A Tier/Major tournaments, which will be no small feat in and of itself.

5) Win enough cash to pay for my entry fees.

This is one I squeaked by last year, but I think it’s a good measure of a successful year for me. Last year I rode the success of two large cashes (a win and a 2nd place finish in the most populous tournament). Let’s see if I can duplicate it, hopefully this time with more consistent cash.

6) Win enough cash to pay for ALL my disc golf expenditures.

This one might be harder than cashing in every event and basically I’ll need to do that one to have a shot at this one. I’m already buying a new bag this year (~$100) and doing some heavy traveling including a three-night stay at an AirBNB. There’s PIE! And it’s in the SKY!

7) Finish every PDGA tournament I start. 

Ah, the dreaded DNF (did not finish). I’ve not had to succumb to that for 17 straight years but every year it gets harder. And truth be told, if I had driven my own car to the Tahoe Vista Finals last year, I would not have achieved this goal then. Here’s hoping for some luck.

8) Never finish in the bottom third of a tournament with a field of more than seven players.

I achieved this one last year without the 7+ player caveat, but I’m adding that because my area seems to have tournaments with very few old guys. I could easily see myself being in a 6 person field, shooting 4 strokes off the leader, and still coming in 5th just because of some clumping. Hence the caveat.

9) Don’t throw lower than 940 in the first round of any tournament.

I’m striving to not make goals that are subjective, like last year’s “don’t take myself out of contention” goal. I shot myself in the foot four times last year by digging too great a hole to come back. So here’s hoping I can at least start strong in every tournament, or at least not suckyass weak.

10) Don’t lose a playoff in a PDGA event.

I’ve already lost one dubs playoff and squandered a two-stroke lead with three holes to play in dubs, but neither of those count. I’m talking PDGA events here, and if I’m playing for a trophy, that means I did something right.

11) Throw three or more 1000-rated rounds. 

Even though I doubled this goal last year, it marked only the third year where I accomplished the goal in 17 years. I think it’s pretty fair to keep it as is.

12) Don’t follow up a 1000-rated round with anything below my rating.

I have 25 1000-rated rounds but 9 of them were during the final round of a tournament, so I’m ruling those out. Here’s how I followed the rest of those rounds where I had at least one more round to play:

1004 – 944

1000 – 933

1010 – 991

1004 – 1006

1006 – 949

1000 – 898

1025 – 933

1003 – 964

1010 – 976

1004 – 969

1000 – 987

1025 – 992

1003 – 972

1012 – 962

1014 – 984

1030 – 981

Okay, so admittedly, this hasn’t been as big a problem as in the past – it’s only happened twice since 2010 – but nothing kills a tournament like taking the air out of your own tires.

13) Throw at least 1 round over 1010.

I’ve done this 8 times in my career, but inexplicably seven of those were in the last two years. Still a lofty goal.

 

14) Beat Robert Bainbridge in a tournament.

There are any number of good Masters players in my area, but he’s one of the best who plays the Tahoe area regularly (Patrick Brown is better but he tends to tour and there are a handful of others around Bainbridge’s skill level that don’t play Tahoe often). Now, I’ve beaten Robert in rounds. Hell, two of the three times we played on the same card I beat him. But I haven’t beaten him in a tournament, which makes sense since he’s a 1000-rated player. I came *so* close during last year’s King of the Lake, losing my tie with him on the last hole. But I imagine I’ll have a few chances this year.

15) No rounds below a 925 rating.

I’m too lazy to do the research, but I imagine there haven’t been many years I’ve accomplished this. Here’s hoping 2019 is one of them. 

16) Have more rounds over my rating than below my rating. A tie counts a victory considering I’m starting the year at a very high 972 rating.

I sorta suspect I won’t make this one based on the fact that I’m starting high and tend to play crappy until about June.

17) Keep my rating 965 or higher the entire year.

I usually aim to hit a specific high, but since I’m at 972, which I’m comfortable with, I’m changing it up this year. Don’t drop below 965. When was the last year I’ve done this? Well, never. Never is the last time I’ve done this.

18) Hit a tournament ace or eagle. A dubs ace with a pot over $100 counts.

I did this in dubs in 2017, but it’s been a while in a tournament.

 

19) Play at least 20 “casual” rounds.

I’m at the exact same place I was last year (3 rounds in January) but last year I dropped off quickly, much like I do every other year. Having Saturdays free will help, but having a thousand other responsibilities won’t.

 20) Break the King of the Lake “Odd Year Curse”

I chronicled this at length here, but basically I suck every odd year – I have never even cashed. So this year, I wanna cash at the King. That’s all. That simple. I can do this!

21) Win 1 tournament.

This will be on my to-do list basically every year for the rest of my career now that I can hide with the old guys. Here’s hoping to make it 2 for 2.

See you on the course!

White Christmases Redux

As you’ll recall, in 2012 I wrote about having White Christmases in Reno. People think that, since I’m in a desert, I don’t see snow. Hell, ask people FROM Reno and they say it never snows and it’s never a White Christmas. Well, at that time, 4 of the 6 years I’d been in Reno featured some white during the special day.

I suppose I need to define White Christmas again. To qualify as a White Christmas it must either a) feature some actual snow falling at some point during the day, at least a few flurries, or b) feature some snow existing on the ground at some point during the day. So let’s break it down since then:

2007 – We had a little patch of snow in our lawn. Ash’s folks’ house (where we celebrated Christmas) had only a tiny patch where there was the remnants of a shovel-job. Pretty technical in its assertion as being a “white” Christmas.

2008 – We had a decent snowfall on Christmas itself – Ash’s folks’ backyard probably got 5? on Christmas itself. A TRUE white Christmas.

2009 – We had a big snowfall on 12/7 that year, but I’m not sure that any remained by Christmas.

2010 – We had our own tiny patch in the shade. Ash’s folks had none. VERY technically a white Christmas.

2011 – No snow at all for basically the entire winter.

2012 – I thought this would be another technical white Christmas, as our both our front and back yards had a few patches here and there with snow and ice. But then in the evening it started snowing and we got a good two inches when all was said and done.

2013 – I’m not going to count this year, which is surprising because it featured something far cooler than snow. It featured pogonip. This was far from the best pogonip I’ve seen, it happened on X-mas. So I’ll stick to my technical definition of White Christmas and disqualify this year, but it still stands out as being pretty cool.

 

2014 – While I won’t pretend this was a record-breaking year, it did feature a little snow on the ground from a few days prior and a little light snowfall in the a.m. hours. Not what you’d see in a Hallmark movie for a White Christmas, but it counts nonetheless.

 

2015 – This was probably one of the better years for snowfall. We got a few inches the day of, as evident in this photo. I think this was the truest definition since 2008.

 

2016 – It looks, based on photographic evidence, which, after 40 years, is the only way I’m able remember anything, that we got a nice little dusting of fresh snow on Christmas morning. So far, it looks like we’re debunking the crap out of this whole ‘I live in a desert’ thing.

 

2017 – So purists who believe White Christmases have to include fresh-fallen snow would not include 2017 in their count. Hell, people who lived any lower in elevation than us would not count it either. But as you can clearly tell, there are patches of residual snow, so it’s a *technical* success.

 

2018 – Oddly enough, those same purists *would* count 2018 since it snowed a pleasant dusting in the dark a.m. hours. Not enough to stick around throughout the day but enough to qualify it as a White Christmas.

 

So where does that put us? I’ve been in Reno for 12 Christmases and 9 of them have, by my definition, been white. Even if you were to strip the cheap “existing snow on the ground” provision, it’s been half White Christmases. So when someone tells you they’re moving to desert, don’t believe them. I feel like I’ve gotten more White Christmases here than in Jersey, which was at exactly the same latitude.

Maybe I’ll keep this series going in the future years.

Disc Golf Review – 2018

As we bid adieu to 2018, let’s reflect on this tumultuous roller-coaster of a year. It featured a divorce, a move back into an apartment, the immediate aftermath of my mother’s death, and more than a fair share of social/personal drama, but also a higher concentration of time with my boys, a promotion, a reunion with many of my old friends and family, and financial comfort for the first time in a long time.

And that roller-coaster reflected itself on the course as well, which we shall soon see. I made 21 goals at the start of the year, some of which were admittedly loftier than others. It’s also a tale of two halves – if I were to have written this up before King of the Lake this year, my results would have been drastically different.

Also, since this is already tl;dr, suffice to say this will be a whopper with a numbing amount of statistics. So, my two readers, buckle in, let’s see how I did.

1) Gain enough PDGA points to qualify for Masters Worlds in 2019.

In my goal-setting blog, I pegged 600 points as the magic number. I actually think that number might be lower than what will actually be needed, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t hit it. What I didn’t account for is a sudden, inexplicable drop in Masters turnouts. Of the 10 tournaments I played in, only three of them featured fields larger than 12 and several featured fields smaller than 7. Hard to make up points like that, especially when they count for less than they do in Open. In all I garnered 588 points, which was good enough to put me second in the STATE in points for my division. Still not enough to make my goal.

VERDICT: FAIL, but just barely

2) Cash in 2/3 of my events.

Sadly, I did not even cash in 1/2 of my events, taking home money just four times in ten tries. However, these numbers are again deceiving. Let’s look at the six tournaments I did not cash in and where I placed.

 

EVENT Where placed How many they paid
St. Patrick’s Classic 19th of 45 18
Legend of Lizard Peak 4th of 8 3
Frying Pan 6th of 9 4
Tahoe Pro/Am 7th of 15 6
Mountain Mayhem 4th of 8 3
Tahoe Mountain Sports 5th of 7 3

That’s right, in each of these six, I was within two places of cash, and in four of them I was the bubble boy. And that’s not even the craziest thing. THIS is:

 

Tourney 2017 Master Bottom Cash Level 2018 What I averaged
Lizard Peak 962.5 976.5 968
Duel in Dayton 940.6666667 960.6666667 960.6666667
Sierra College 950.3333333 964.3333333 964.3333333
Bijou 952.3333333 965.6666667 958.6666667
Mountain Mayhem 958.6666667 981 966.3333333
King of the Lake 960.5 967.6666667 1007.666667
Nevada State Championships 955.6666667 974 986.3333333
Sierra Series Finals 972 981.3333333 973.6666667

These are the 8 Sierra Series tournaments (plus Lizard Peak). Just one year ago, my 2018 scores (in terms of ratings) would have cashed in every one of these tournaments, meaning my only two missed cashes would have been at sea-level tournaments. Why is this? It’s a combination of two things: better competition (more pros turning old like me) and smaller fields (equaling shallower payouts). So even though I played better than last year when I was cashing regularly in a “tougher” division, I cashed much less often this year.

VERDICT: FAIL

3) Cash in every PDGA event.

Well, um, this clearly didn’t happen. See my exasperated explanation above.

 VERDICT: FAIL

 4) Cash in an A-Tier event.

I did only play in one A-tier this year, The St. Patrick’s Classic, and my failure to cash was chronicled in depth here. I absolutely should have cashed here but didn’t, and it was simply my fault. However, I did learn something pretty important this year about playing at sea level. I used to think my problem was that I over-compensated for the loss of altitude by automatically throwing things with more hyzer (to negate the effects of my discs flipping) and that’s why my discs would inexplicably be too overstable at low elevations. But this year I learned that’s not – it’s that I take a considerable amount off my throws. Like, I throw at 75% at sea level. Hopefully knowing this will help me compete at sea level going forward, because I tend to have better aim when I throw 100% versus a controlled throw. Go figure.

VERDICT: FAIL

For those of you keeping score at home, I’m off to a terrible start.

5) Win enough cash to pay for my entry fees.

So this one is a bit tricky to calculate, mainly because my divorce came in the middle of the year and it’s a little tricky to figure out since I got new bank accounts, new credit cards, and a new Quicken account. Calculating what I *estimate* the entry fees to be, I spent probably around $1000 for tournaments and dubs. I won $950 in PDGA winnings and just over $100 in dubs and miscellaneous disc golf winning. So, by that rough metric, I succeeded. Woo!

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

6) Win enough cash to pay for ALL my disc golf expenditures.

This one is far easier to calculate, because I spent more than $50 in all other disc golf expenses. Hell, I spent more than that on disc golf socks. So yeah, this one would have been tough no matter what, but I didn’t even come close.

VERDICT: FAIL

7) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. 

I did manage to keep this one alive, but truthfully, I shouldn’t have, and it was only because of a confluence of very strange factors that I did. My back, as a whole, behaved most of the year. I was in bad shape after King of the Lake, and I dealt with it on and off for the year, but that wasn’t what did it. In my last tournament of the year, I managed to slam my knee into a trailer hitch about 5 minutes before we were sent to our holes to start the tournament. My knee swelled up immediately. I managed to finish the round, but throw a <910 rated round. I couldn’t rotate my knee or push off it, thus basically limiting every throw and putt I made.

I actually would have gone home if I could have. The problem was it was one of very few rounds this year that I carpooled to, and I didn’t have my car. So I was forced to stay for the entire day no matter if I played or not. Fortunately, I had brought along my pain pills in case my back flared up, so taking one of those made me able to even get through the day.

It also resulted in something pretty amazing, which I will detail below.

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

8) Never finish in the bottom third of a tournament.

Here’s another indicator as to what a weird year this was. I succeeded in this, yet didn’t cash in the majority of the tournaments I played. When I didn’t crush it, I played mediocre. I didn’t have a single tournament where I sucked from wire to wire. So, I guess I got that going for me.

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

9) Don’t ever take myself out of contention in the first round.

Oh boy, how do I begin with this one? In short, I did take myself out of contention 3 times in the first round, based on the definition of “no more than five strokes off the cash line”.

Mountain Mayhem: 924-rated round, 5 strokes off the cash line

Sierra College Pro-Am: 920-rated round, 5 strokes off the cash line

Tahoe Mountain Sports: 910-rated round (w/ injury), 9 strokes off the cash line

So, fail, right? Well, yes, by the way I phrased the goal, it was. And I’ll mark it as such. BUT, after each of these three rounds, my second round was over 1000 and, in each tournament, I was very much IN competition after two rounds.

Mountain Mayhem: tied for 3rd (tied for last cash)

Sierra College: 5th (in the cash), and I would end up cashing in the event

Tahoe Mountain Sports: 4th, 1 stroke off tie for last cash

So did that first round truly take me out of contention? No, but really only because I throw some killer 2nd rounds this year. I will begrudgingly give this one up because I follow my own rules.

VERDICT: PEDANTIC FAIL

10) Don’t lose a playoff in a PDGA event.

Didn’t play in one, didn’t lose one. I get a cheap victory back!

 

VERDICT: SUCCESS 

11) Throw three or more 1000-rated rounds. 

As I mentioned when I came up with this goal, it was a little pie-in-the-sky, having only ever done it twice before (2009 & 2017). And somehow, I managed to obliterate it. I managed to get SIX 1000-rated rounds in one year. That was almost 50% of my previous CUMULATIVE total. In more than one instance, the round was either tied for or was the best round shot amongst all the divisions. When I was on, there was no stopping me.

VERDICT: RIDICULOUS SUCCESS

12) Throw at least 1 round over 1010.

Before 2017, I’d only done this one with my career-high 1025 round at St. Patty’s Classic a decade ago. Last year I did it three times. So I felt it was quite a challenge to try to do it again. Somehow, I not only did it, I managed to beat my total last year, throwing four rounds above 1010. And, crazily enough, not one of these was a “perfect” round (meaning there was at least one shot that was a mistake or a miss, and often times a few). Guess it means I can accomplish more if I get some good breaks.

VERDICT: ROUSING SUCCESS

13) Beat my all-time highest-rated round of 1025.

Now here’s where things get funky. I crushed King of the Lake, averaging over 1005 EACH ROUND. And it started off with a great round which rated… 1025. The way I phrased my goal meant this wouldn’t count. It was a phenomenal round and it set the table for the best tournament play of my life (with one hole left, I was tied with the division leader and only 2 strokes behind the overall “King” in the Open division), but it wouldn’t count for this goal.

So, remember that round earlier where I bashed my knee against a trailer hitch? I pretty much assumed that took the rest of my season out of the equation. But, knowing I was safely in last place and barely walking, I popped a pain pill and figured I’d get my entry fee’s worth. And somehow, I turned in an eye-popping -10, which ended up being rated 1030. I don’t know how I did it and I don’t care. I beat a goal I never thought I would beat, especially as I got older and more decrepit. w00t!

VERDICT: SUCCESS, BITCHES!

14) No rounds below a 930 rating.

I already spoiled this one. I had four rounds below 930 at four courses, three of which started off tournaments. (I also shot a 930 exactly, which was the round that cost me from cashing at St. Patty’s.) So, yeah, big time fail.

VERDICT: SUPER FAIL

15) Have more rounds over my rating than below my rating. 

 Grrr, another one that, because of phrasing alone, I did not complete. I threw exactly the same number of rounds above as below. This is the first time I’ve done that since 2013, so it was an achievement, but still not a success.

 VERDICT: BEGRUDGING FAIL

16) Have my rating be over 970 for one or more ratings updates in 2018.

After more than 40 straight ratings updates dating back to 2013, I finally cracked the 970 barrier, ending the year with a 972 rating. So that’s another weird fluke – I didn’t throw more rounds above than below, but because I crushed so many rounds, I ended up with a net +56 ratings points at the end of the year. Go figure.

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

17) Hit a tournament ace or eagle.

Nope, not even any metal. *shrug*

 

VERDICT: FAIL

18) Hit metal on hole that’s more than 300’.

You’ll remember when I wrote this goal, I had just played a tournament where I think I hit metal on a hole longer than 300’, but I specified I wouldn’t count that. And, yeah, I probably should have counted that.

VERDICT: FAIL

 19) Play at least 25 “casual” rounds.

I played 16. Last time I checked, 16 was not greater than 25.

 

VERDICT: FAIL

20) Play at least two courses I’ve never played before.

I had played Oak Grove Park in Stockton once before, but only 18 holes. This year I played the Frying Pan, which featured two 18 hole courses. So there’s one. And the other was a small 9-holer which I used for practice before St. Patty’s Classic. It ain’t pretty, but it’s achieved.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

21) Win 1 tournament.

YES! I got the phantom fourth win, my first in five years. Better yet, it was a wire-to-wire win, although I went into round 3 with a 5-stroke lead and give up 4 of them in the first 9 holes. However, I kept it together and took home the W.

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

What an odd year this was. The highs were high but the lows were low. I had thought I would steamroll my division but that simply didn’t happen for two reasons: 1) only two tournaments did I play well from start to finish, and 2) on average it was 1-3 strokes PER ROUND harder to cash than it was last year. I imagine that will continue as long as this area doesn’t have large pro fields.

I’m proud of how I did, hitting some goals that I never thought I had a chance to achieve and missing other “shoo-ins” by a country mile.

FINAL SCORE: I made 10 of my 21 goals, but 4 of my “fails” were so close and I probably could have called them successes without even stretching too much.

I’ll save the detailed stats for another day when I have more concentration to break it all down for you. Until later…

 

December 28, 2018

Be amazed by the overnight success of “Woofer!” How, even, did anyone hear about this as your first Bark is still being driven across country in the slowest and cheapest shipping possible? Nevertheless, send out a new Bark to all of your sign-ups thanking them. Note 1: You will need about 100,000 poodles and strips of Velcro. Note 2: Barks should be no longer than can be fit on an average poodle – no images are allowed at this time.

December 27, 2018

Wake up one morning and realize you’ve been a terrible friend. Decide that this is because of social media and the digital age. Vow to fix this by promoting your new platform, “Woofer!” which actually physically exists so it’s much more difficult to forget. Post your first Bark by velcroing an apology to a poodle and then shipping it across the country to your friend.

December 24, 2018

Not many people know this, but Christmas Eve was named after the biblical Eve. Christmas Adam is the day where Christmas blames Christmas Eve for being disappointing. Prepare yourself for this by covering yourself in Velcro and making a poodle coat. You can’t be disappointed in someone wearing that many live dogs. I mean, unless that person is Cruella Deville. Are you? Take a good look at yourself. Write an essay, hand it in by 5. Your grade depends on it.