Professional and Personal Catch-22

So here’s the Catch-22 I’ve noticed about my life.  I’m single for much of it.  That’s nothing new – my friends have even taken it upon themselves to often remind me how single, exactly, I am.  But as for my writing, I’ve said for years (since high school) that I do my best writing when I am happy – not sad.  I am, as I have coined, the anti-poet.  And it’s not just happy writing either – I write my best sad or dark stuff when I am in a truly great mood. 

And I figured out today why – I just don’t feel like writing when I’m depressed or in a bad mood.  If I’m depressed, I’ll play piano over just about anything else.  So the impetus to create is more or less gone when I’m sad.

Now, this isn’t to say that I’m depressed every time I’m single – in fact I am someone who is very (perhaps too) comfortable left alone.  But living on my own without roommates for the first time has made me become aware that I would like to be single on my own terms, and not from lack of options (as is now the case). 

So, for the unobservant, where is the aforementioned Catch-22?  When I’m dating, it eliminates nearly all of my free time, as I like to spend most of it with my girlfriend (this isn’t as impressive as it sounds – my ‘vast’ free time usually still falls well short of female expectations).  But I am generally happy in a relationship, and that often makes we want to write, or produce my writing, or just create in general.  So then when I am dating, I often spend much of my free time writing, because the ideas are floating and the ambition comes back. 

And that often causes a rift in the relationship, which sours, and I’m left alone again.  For a brief time after the break-up, I write like a fiend, still inspired.  Then it fades, and the apathy settles back in, and I get really good at All-Star Baseball 2005 once again. 

But it’s been a year – I want to get off the Bachelor Train and get happy again – and since professional happiness is still also out of reach, I would love to try for personal happiness (it could have something to do with the FIVE sets of friends who have announced their engagment in the last 3 months – Congrats JMar and Jen!!).  As my good friend Jaclyn says, “You’ve just had bad luck with women since [2002], haven’t you?”  I cause alot of that luck, but yup, it’s been an impressive streak so far. 

And I want to want to write again.

Contest time (take 2)

So a week ago, I put a new contest up for captioning a photo – due to an underwhelming response (I assume because I picked a bad picture) I’m abandoning that picture and putting up a brand new one. Same contest, different picture: caption this sucker. There’s an esoderek.com bumper sticker in it for the winner. Enter as often as you’d like (and you can even write it as a “comment” if you want everyone to see your submission, or you can click here to submit it in private for consideration.

Good luck!

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Pinot Grigio #3 and Pinot Noir #1

Vampire Pinot Noir (A Transylvania Import) – I deliberately copied off the bottle with that parenthetical so you could see that I wasn’t trying to be funny – clearly it was they who were trying to be funny. Anyway, this was a Halloween purchase for about $9 that was interesting. First off, it came with a plastic cork – never trust a plastic cork. If it can’t disintegrate into your glass, then what’s the point? The first glass was actually pretty good – I didn’t know if I would like Pinot Noirs, since I was so obsessed with the other pinot veriatal. It was a decent drinkable wine. Then, since I don’t have one of those miraculous suction devices that allows you to keep wine for millenia without going bad, I refrigerated it, and after that, it went downhill. Fast. I had a glass two days later and it was a frosty shell of its former self. Tough to rate. Warm: 6/10, chilled: 3/10.

Echelon Pinot Grigio 2005 – I happen to really like the word Echelon, so I picked up this $10 bottle from the Esperanza Vineyard. Actually, I only went to Clifton to get it – they did the legwork by getting it all the way over here from Esperanza. This had the opposite effect as the pinot noir. My first glass wasn’t quite chilled enough (I’m impatient, what can I say) and it satisfactory at best. Then when I let it chill a little longer (as I’m told you’re supposed to) it was a very very good pinot for such an affordable bottle. The best I’ve tried so far – of three. Not the best I’ve ever had, but more than agreeable for $10. Hell, that’s how much it costs to see The Santa Clause 3, and really, which would result in a better time? Seriously… Rating: 8/10.

Corey-nanigans

So Corey came all the way from San Francisco, and I’m going to pretend it was just to hang out with me. Too much happened in our one day, so let me summarize with bullets and pictures.

  • Watching Shaun of the Dead
  • Getting told by a door-to-door Cablevision-saleswoman to call her “when I got serious”. She told me this several times.
  • Finding out that a “Bus the Tables” spell would be very practical in the diner RPG.
  • The Dialing 911 RPG, however, wouldn’t be nearly as fun.
  • Corey and I do a kick-ass version of 4 Non Blondes “What’s Up?”
  • Tequila still is the most vile liquid ever made. And I drank Petron, which is supposed to be the good stuff.
  • Corey has unusual fashion sense. (see below)

corey_hat2_thumb.jpg Both our heads hurt
corey_hat3_thumb.jpg “Can I leave the house like this?”

And then add some Jackie for some Jackienanigans. A good time was had.

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Oh yeah, and this one.

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Just another day at work…

So I thought it would be interesting to give everyone a perspective as to what I do at work, because it is not like your typical office job which many who read my blog might have (warning: this blog entry contains nudity). Most people begin their day, I would assume, getting a cup of coffee and going to their computer to check their to-do list, and probably their email (and hopefully this site). I start my day by watching a woman have a few martinis and attempt to swim on the floor.

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At this point, I imagine many workers would diligently begin their work, trying to get as much done before lunch. It’s no different at my job, except instead of diligently working, we wait for a ghostly apparition to come and spill four gallons of olive oil onto our workspace.

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This always increases productivity, our bosses have found. With the olive oil pouring down, the ghostly apparition usually will completely disrobe and sit in the olive oil. Why the apparition does this, nobody can ever be certain. But like clockwork, she’s there every day.

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It kinda creeps us out, to be sure. So while we’re taking our mid-morning break, our friend is usually flailing about, still completely naked. Let me tell you, that leads to an interesting water-cooler conversation or two.

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Still confused and, quite frankly, experiencing that midday lull in productivity while waiting for lunch, it becomes obvious that our “apparition” is nothing more than Selma from R&D. Every office has one of those practical jokers. How do we know it’s Selma? Well, Selma only eats olives for lunch. Off the floor. Very peculiar woman, that Selma. Here is a shot of her engorging herself on floor-olives.

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With lunch over, Selma usually goes away, and that’s when the real work starts. Now filled with energy, that’s when we start doing the coke. With as productive an outfit as we hope to run, we usually put out some BIG lines. See below.

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Like all offices, though, mistakes are bound to happen. Today, Mike made an error, and instead of the three burlap sacks of coke he was supposed to bring, he brought three burlap sacks of sawdust. No problem – any good organization can turn an error into a profit, and we are no exception. So at a typical day, we then begin to sweep the sawdust around, naturally.  And as a security device to make sure we complete our work, our employers have installed tazers on overhead strings to give inspiration to work if needed.
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So far, we’ve worked pretty hard and our bosses feel it’s time to augment company morale, so they have arranged today for us to take part in Gladiator Wars – those are always fun. Today, it looks like Jeff with his zamboni is taking on Rob with just an ordinary pushbroom.

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And Rob wins. He’s undefeated with that broom. Anyway, with our morale now at a daily high, it’s time to get back to work. This time, it’s not sawdust, it’s kitty litter. So we spill out bags of kitty litter. But we don’t like to do thing twice at work, we like to do them smart. So instead of immediately sweeping the kitty litter up, we decide to comb it, as any good employee would.

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Well, with the final whistle about to blow, it’s time to blow off a little steam after a long, productive day at work. Many people will do one final email check, while some will cut out ten minutes early to hit Happy Hour. At our job, we have Frogger races.

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Jeff stakes himself to an early lead, but loses to Jackie in the end because he falls asleep halfway through the race. Looks like it’s not Jeff’s day!
So there you have it. Just another day at work. How was your day?

Malbec #1

Trapiche Malbec 2005 – If you’re like me, well, quite frankly, I’m sorry. But you would also look at this strange wine and say, “Malbec? I’ve never heard of that. I’ve heard of Merlot… it has the same amount of letters…” Stephanie brought this over as a housewarming gift, so we gave it a try. And before I get into it, I need an aside.

I just recently found out that they are no longer making my beloved “Undead Red”, meaning the two bottles I have left are IT. But alas, I may not need them, thanks to Malbec! I don’t know how all Malbec’s taste, but this one was just like Undead Red, if not slightly less sweet. A perfectly palatable wine. Hell, it’s really good. I imagine it will be hard to come by – though it’s made in a few places, nearly all Malbecs come from Argentina. Doing some research, it is “one of the Bordeaux varietals”, and it supposed to have “characteristic notes of plum and anise”. But since this is MY wine review, and not a real one, I’m gonna say it kinda tastes like an angel – heavenly.

Now, rating this becomes tricky because I’ve never had another to compare it to. But it gets a solid 9/10, and a new place in the wine rack (i.e. wine small cabinet above the refridgerator)

EDIT: (11/22) I bought a second bottle and it wasn’t quite a 9.  It was an 8.5/10.  Still darn good wine.

Shiraz #1

Nine Stones Melaren Vale Shiraz 2003 – Yes, this complexly labelled wine was a purchase more for Susan than myself.  I had stolen some white zin from her a while ago, and she liked shiraz, so I bought this to make up for it.  I don’t have much reference in terms of shiraz as I don’t often drink it, and I’m not all that big a fan of reds.  Let’s also point out that I was eating Taco Bell while I was drinking this wine, so it’s entirely possible it could have been the best stuff ever, but there’s something to be said about proper mixers.  Anyway, this was entirely a drinkable wine, with nothing particularly standout.  It was a rich flavor that I didn’t entirely like, but also one that didn’t put me off.  An absolutely average wine.  But I give you warning: it was the most expensive wine I’ve bought so far in this adventure ($12.99) and it came with a screw-cap and not a cork.  Always be wary of screw caps.  They’re “not classy”.  5/10

Celebrity Sightings

So I went to a premier of My Name is Rachel Corrie.  The play itself was blah – not really holding my interest much (it was a one-woman show dealing primarily with Israeli-Palestinian issues, and we all know how much I hate one-person shows)  However, of note were the various celebrities that were there: Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Sigorney Weaver, Marisa Tomei, and Michael Moore.  And to think, I brought my camera in case there were celebrities, and when they were there, I thought, “This was stupid.  Why did I bring my camera?  I don’t particularly care about celebrities.”

CNY Championships

So good golfer and good guy John DeBois (aka JDB aka ManMittenz aka Bizzle) asks if I want to go to the Syracuse area for a small C tier event. I say sure, as it’s one of the few days I don’t actually have to work. So we leave Friday in hopes to get to the course, play a round, and experience some shenanigans. We get to the course at around 4:30 with just enough time to see the course, and it was a good thing. The Oxbow Falls Disc Golf Course is one of the shortest I’ve ever played, at only 4400 feet, but it contains almost every shot in the bag. I used a backhand roller, forehand roller, backhand throw, thumber, flick, turbo putts. Almost every hole is birdie-able, but what makes the course challenging is if you are off the fairway, you are in impenetrable jail. You’ll be praying for a 5′ gap to try to hit with a blind thumber of desperation. But the fall foliage was in full splendor, so it was a great time to play. Here is JDB throwing on a few of the holes (as always, click to enlarge).

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So we play practice, throwing many shots on each hole to try to figure out some of the best routes. I think I shot around a +9, which is downright unacceptable. We go to the hotel and try to wrangle up some shenanigans.

Despite only being 20 miles from Syracuse, a big college town, youthful shenanigans are impossible to come by in Canastota NY. The Italian place we went to, while having great pork chops and one of the best Pinot’s I’ve ever had, seemed to harbor shenanigans for disgruntled married women in their late 40’s. So we retired to our hotel to watch the Mets lose a heartbreaker to the Cardinals.

The tournament comes and JDB and I are starting on hole 1. I par this very easy hole. Hole 2 (my favorite because it’s a great backhand roller hole) I take a SIX on!!! From that minute, I had to play Tourniquet Golf: cutting the bleeding. After that, I took another bogey and one birdie. The front 9, by the way, is markedly easier than the back (so say the course locals). I threw +3 on the front. So we get to the tougher back, and I start playing well – parring the tough long woods holes, and getting my birdies on the tougher easy holes (completely missing the little must-deuce dinkers in the process) I manage to pull my score back to even by finishing with two birdies, finishing -3 on the supposedly tougher back 9. It wasn’t great, but I ended up feeling good because it ended well (an estimated 979 rated round). I was only 4 strokes off the lead, and I was right on the cash bubble.

I had some lunch and the weather turned ugly. Heavy winds picked up, the skies got overcast, and the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees. We head out, and I was in 6th place of 17. I start on hole 2, my nemesis, and I threw a BLOODY FOUR! It’s an easy three hole and a tough deuce, but certainly not worthy of 10 strokes on the day. I then bogey the next EXTREMELY easy deuce hole. So I’m +2 after two easy front-9 holes. I pull out a birdie or two here and there, and then card a 5 (on the toughest hole on the course, but I had 3’d it the first round) Oh, and did I mention I missed FOUR putts within 20′? Yeah, those really hurt.

We get to the final hole (hole 1) and it’s a very easy deuce, so I was hoping to pull my score back to +1 with a birdie. All of the sudden, as the guy before me steps up to the tee, a blizzard literally tore across the area. Tremendous, swirling winds, hail, and bitter cold literally swept through. Here’s a pic:

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So I throw a perfect drive and the wind just smacked the disc down, and I take a 3, finishing at +2 for the round and the tournament. Not as good as I wanted, but my putting failed me completely. I missed 6 gimmie putts, and only hit two outside the circle (although one was a 50′ downhill putt), which would have tied me for the lead. But I still managed to sneak into the cash, thanks in part to a deep payout. But it’s my second PDGA cash in a row, so that’s a good way to end your PDGA year.

Oh, and how did Mr. Bizzle do?  JDB, who woke up early, telling me, “I got a tournament to go win today”, took home 1st place.  He captured his 2nd ever PDGA C-tier championship.  Good job, Bizzle.  I was rooting for you the whole time.

Out with the old

The thing I’ve looked forward to LEAST about moving for the billionth time is not, incidentally, physically moving everything I own 4 miles. While I don’t exactly relish the task, it doesn’t pain me as much as the following: repainting my old room. For those who didn’t see it, it was a thing of beauty, painted by the brilliant set designer Jessica Parks. Here are some pictures I took today before I started slopping primer everywhere (including, to a small extent, the walls and ceiling)

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Not only did I have to paint over this, I had to take down my stars. I had arranged them as they might appear in May (if the stars decided, of their own volition, to be especially blacklight-receptive).

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Notice Sagittarius in the bottom right corner. I mean, do those randomly-placed stars resemble a constellation? Wow, what a coincidence!

One more look:

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Derek’s Childlike Room: 2004-2006

(Oh, and before anyone posts, here’s my admission – the reason I resisted getting a digital camera all these years is because I CAN’T TAKE INDOOR PICTURES WITHOUT THEM BEING BLURRY! I simply can’t. These were the best 4 out of maybe a dozen pictures I tried before getting frustrated and giving up.)

Lighting problems

So apparently when my old landlord said, “I pretty much have buyers – I’m just running a credit check on them”, she meant, “I will still need to show this apartment to dozens of people.”  Not being able to read women whatsoever, I turned the power off at my old place, thinking I was more or less done with it (and whatever I needed to do still I could do during the day)  Ha.  Boy, she’s not very happy with me.

Anyone know how to light an entire apartment without ANY power (or any ability to run power from the downstairs neighbor, who is having a large dinner party?)  Looks like I’m buying some candles, and pronto.

Pinot Grigio #2

Bianco Pinot Grigio 2004 – This one starts off with “Francis Coppola presents”, and has a picture of a very demure woman with white gloves pouring herself a glass of Bianco. And really, if an award-winning filmmaker knows anything, it’s how to get drunk. So I gave this California wine a try. Let me tell you, this was definitely a smooth wine, and by smooth, I of course mean it doesn’t have little bits of cork floating in it, which seems to be prevalent in many of the wines I sample. Maybe I need to refine my corkscrew skills. Anyhow, this was a delightful wine with a soft initial taste and a pleasant residual taste. While slightly tart (if that’s the right word – I mean it kinda hits you in the jowels) it is still a solid wine. I think it’s around a $10 bottle of wine, which I got for 20% off because I, for some reason, joined for free a wine store member’s club a while back. I was satisfied with this one. 7/10

Pinot Grigio #1

Now I’m gonna be biased – I like Pinot Grigio. It’s “my wine”. There’s very few I’ve disliked, so my reviews of Pinot’s are gonna be a bit biased and numerically might have trouble standing up to other wines. Disclaimer out of the way, let me say that yesterday I tried a new one.

Barefoot Pinot Grigio – based out of California, this company manufactures a large array of wines, one or two I’ve tried before, but never my favorite. Odd, considering how inexpensive it is ($5.99) It was actually bought for me as a gift for doing my downstairs roommate a big favor. So what’s the verdict? The wine has an overpowering and rather acrid initial flavor, and not in a good way at all. Oddly, though, when the initial bang goes away, the aftertaste is actually fairly pleasant. The only comparison I can think of is this: imagine getting punched in the neck. Not fun at all, and it stings. But imagine a punch where, after the initial pain fades, it feels rather like a massage. That’s what this wine is like. But I put this to you: is it worth being punched in the neck? I think not. 4/10

Personal record

So, in trying to shake off some of my disc golf rust (I haven’t thrown a round in 5 weeks), I went out to beautiful Warwick with Steve Vann to get my act together for a tournament next week. We first started playing the easy short-short layout. Typically, I’m the better golfer, but Steve usually beats me on short layouts. Today was no exception: he beat me with his impressive -1 (to my even). Impressive is typed with the utmost sarcasm. Someone of my rating should throw a -5 or -6, and the course record is a -14. I was rough indeed.

So we moved onto the short-long layout, which is the second-hardest layout on the course. My personal best had been 59, which I’d shot a few times. I start out taking a 3 on the easy hole 1, and figure I’m in for a long day. Then I put my hat back on and switched minis, and that made all the difference. I birdied the next three holes, followed up by a tough 5. A few pars, then two more birdies. After 9 holes, I was -3 on this tough tough layout. On the back nine, I threw one bogie, and that was all (two if you assume that the 2-meter rule is in effect, which in general it isn’t). A -2 would easily be a 1020+ rated round (which would be my best round ever, if in tournament)

That’s right, I did better on the second-hardest layout than on the easiest one. That’s the way I roll. Steve is uber-pissed because he’s now seen me play my two best rounds ever at Warwick: the -2 on Silver/Blue and an even on Blue/Silver. It’s too bad I can’t do well on Silver/Silver when he’s around.

A new recurring blog series

My ex-girlfriend Jessica, while certainly worthy of blogging about various parts of our tumultuous relationship and ultimately inexplicable and exhausting break-up, needs to be brought up for a reason. Before her, I didn’t drink wine. Or barely. At Thanksgiving growing up, we’d all be treated to modest amounts of whatever inexpensive house red wine my father happened to open up that day. Other than that, my knowledge of wine was limited. Jessica introduced me to a whole new array of alcoholism: wine. While between us she was certainly the pro in that department (on two distinct levels), it did open up an entire genre of opinionatedness that I feel I need to share with the world.

With vodka, there are only so many brands, and of them, there are only so many flavors. Admittedly, they are getting more creative (and often disturbing) with their Tim Burtonesque flavor combinations, but it’s still quite limited. Wine is seemingly boundless, and the unexpected boon after Sideways has only furthered this love of the fermented grape juice.

So I plan on giving my own wine criticisims here on my blog, mainly because I don’t want 80% of my blogs to be about disc golf. Now, I am by no means an “expert” Hell, I still think Chablis is pretty good. In fact, here are some terms you will likely not ever see in one of my reviews: “full-bodied”, “a fine vintage”, “Chardonnay” or “wafted the succulent aromas of the valleys of the Southern Napa Vinelands” You might hear terms like “this stuff sucks” and “Tim Burtonesque flavor combinations”. Since I haven’t had any wine today, I will start my reviews with two that I have very distinct memories about.

Undead Red – This is a gimmicky bottle of wine out of the Rivendell Winery in New York State. It is also only available during the month of October. And believe me, it is well worth it. It is a sweet red wine that doesn’t make you need to eat saltines just to balance the overpowering sweetness. I traditionally like sweeter tasting wines rather than dry ones. If I wanted to put a liquid in my mouth that made me thirsty, I’d drink more Mountain Dew. Not only is it frightfully inexpensive ($8.99 a bottle) but it has fake blood dripping from the cork. Seriously, name something better. 9/10
Cheap White Wine – This is literally the name of this wine. It comes in a large bottle with these letters on it, and there is a companion, “Cheap Red Wine”. I figured it was blunt enough to earn my $6. I bought it. It wasn’t very good. Like at all. I didn’t finish the bottle and ended up pouring a good deal of it out. And believe me, I hate to waste things like that. It was tart and sorta tasted like sucking on a sponge that had, maybe a while ago, cleaned up some wine. Kudos for the proper advertising, but boo to the wine. 3/10
Two wines down, billions left to go.

I’m becoming a man

No, this isn’t a blog entry about sex. I am trying to get into writing non-fiction after all. Heh, I still got it.

So this morning, I awoke to go to a TOOL SALE with a couple of buddies from work. Yup, somewhere along the line, I managed to find a flyer for a tool sale right up the street from me. I don’t know who put this on my couch (I’m inclined to think it was Aaron, but would he have that kind of foresight to place a flyer for a tool show, something I would desperately be interested in, in sight where I’d see it?) but it was a godsend. I actually had trouble sleeping (because I was excited, not simply to enter a new realm of masculinity, but also because I was planning on staying in the new place the following day)

So what did I buy, and for what amazing prices did I receive these amazing tools? I’m glad I forced you to ask. I bought a Ryobi drill (corded), a 100-piece set of drill bits, a 45-piece allen wrench set (two portable sets – one metric and one SAE as well as identical loose units), a claw hammer (another term for just an absolutely regular hammer), a 25′ tape measure, a long-range lighter (think for lighting grills), a tiny keychain level, and a laser pointer that for some inexplicable reason makes noise whenever you activate it. Now, I haven’t done the official research, but I think these things would come to a pretty penny – maybe even a ravishing penny. But I paid just a hair over $50 for these things. While the tools look slightly used (my hammer already had slight chips on it – but hey, it’s a HAMMER right?), most of the things I purchased came with lifetime warranties.

And, not to brag, I actually now have the storage for these things. My new place is, as was deduced by a private panel of informed voters, the bomb.

I just reread this journal entry. I’m becoming alarmingly influenced by the writing style of Bill Bryson. I don’t think that’s bad thing.

Some random thoughts

And here come the bullets:

  • I’m moving starting this week. It’s a kick-ass 2BR place in Elmwood Park, above Susan. Sure, it’s more than I *should* be affording, but it’s simply too good to pass up. I’m thinking living alone will either make me very productive, lonelier, or likely both. Which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily.
  • I really like brunettes. As in REALLY like them. I noticed this when I combed through my MySpace, and changed my top 12 people to girl friends I thought had hot pics. They were ALL brunettes, and one redhead just got knocked off the list. Blondes, prove me wrong!
  • Now that I’m packing up, I’m finding great things that would be prizes for new contests on esoderek.com. I just gotta think up a cool contest now. Coming soon!
  • My visits-per-day has been going down. I really need to get Flash Dash up and running. Here’s the annoying thing – since Jay has been working out of sheer kindness, it’s hard to press him to work harder, you know? If anyone out there is ESPECIALLY computer-savvy and can create a program that can accomodate Flash Dash, or at least has interest in trying, let me know.
  • The Donator’s Tour II is in jeopardy this summer without sponsorship. I’m going to see what I can do to get myself sponsored, so that I can get out there for a few weeks again. It helped my game, and it was just plain fun.
  • I want to get a cat. Will I just kill a defenseless animal if I do? (I’m not home an awful lot)
  • Seriously, blondes, do something about Bullet #2.
  • I dislike Yankees fans greatly. Even my friends that are Yankees fans. I’m sorry, guys, but you just went down a notch in coolness. If a Subway Series happens, I think I’m secluding myself in my house and watching the games alone, with my phone off.
  • I own too many CDs, and I’m going to buy more next month. Someone help me.

West Virginia Open – Day 4

I love the fact that I bought an expensive digital camera specifically for this blog, and yet I seem to go out of my way to not take any pictures with it under any circumstances. I’ll just pretend that there’s nothing interesting to photograph at Paw Paw (a grotesque lie).

So with only one round left and a Super-tour A-tier event, I was on the third card sitting pretty in 13th place out of 45. I just didn’t want a first-out-of-cash (I have taken 5 already this year). We were playing the course that normally bites me in the tuckus, but I managed to school the first round in the rain. I started decently enough, but playing a bit more like my average self (missing putts high and left and not getting the good luck), but I was definitely holding it together. I was taking mostly 4’s through the tough holes, with some threes scattered about.

Then came the worst roll-away I’ve ever heard of (it rolled too far away for me to see). I threw a hole that requires a little left-to-right throw to land it on the top of a hill that slopes left. I threw and it nicked some leaves and caused it to hyzer to the left. Being on that slope is bad but not unmanageable. But apparently, if you PASS the ridge in the slope and then start to roll, it actually is more like a ravine than a slope. And if your disc rolls 300′ (no exaggeration, according to the spotter) you have nothing. True, I was only about 350′ from the basket on the drive, but it was going up a 45 degree slope with no discernable fairway. In short, I was screwed.

With some good throws, I managed to 7 the hole, but it put a dent in my decent (but not stellar) round. I was only one or two off the first time playing it (which I was happy with) before that round. I managed to pull myself together and finish off the round strong, including a 2 on the very tough hole 16 (only a 15′ putt too!) and ending the round on the hardest hole on the course, hole 2, with a 4. Very happy. I ended with a 68 – not as good as the rain-round, but certainly better than expected especially with the bad luck I got.

Where did that put me? Right on the cash bubble. I just saw another first-out-of-cash to add to my list. But when it was announced, I crept into the cash as last-cash. Now, that might not sound like much, but we’re talking an A-Tier event featuring 10 1000 rated players (who should, if the ratings were 100% accurate, beat me by 6 or 7 strokes A ROUND). I even ended up taking out J.G. and Bryan Gawler, who are both past winners and usually in the fray of it.

In all, I took home $110, but that really was nothing compared to finally cashing at a pro event, and at a tournament as fun as WVO and at a course as humbling and difficult as Paw Paw. It felt like a win, to be sure. There are rough unofficial round ratings in, and I apparently shot 1011 (my highest ever), 983, and 962.  Those seemed accurate.  I don’t think they’ve vary much.

In general, there were two aspects of my game that saved me: my putt (surprisingly) and my backhand roller (which seems to have solidified itself as the best shot in my bag).  The luck petered out, but I’d still say I was “lucky” over “unlucky” for this tournament.  I always say, if you play well, you’ll get the good breaks.
The WVO atmosphere this year was not like in past – the partying was minimal before Sunday with the miserable weather taking precedence. I was supposed to play some music, and when I went up on the stage to play, one of the guys jamming told me I was “totally ruining the groove.” It just left me with a weird sour taste. I seem to only like the WVO party atmosphere if I myself am getting wasted, which I wasn’t. We ended up taking an early leave at 11pm and got home just before 4am (not a smart idea, by the way)

But the cabin and the people there made the trip great, as well as some good golf, and a good cheer when I went up to accept my first pro money. Whether or not they are all my friends, there’s no doubt that the disc golf community is certainly very supportive of me.
That might be the end of disc golf for me for a while, with work kicking into full gear tomorrow. As always, we’ll have to see.

West Virginia Open – Day 3

As some back story, last year I played Paw Paw as a pro and came in 4th from the bottom. One of the courses, The Whipping Post (the slightly harder course), resulted in me not throwing a single par – I threw two birdies and the rest were 4’s or worse (I think the final score was a 73). And this was where I started. I played my card with none of the top pros, and several people I didn’t know. Turned out to be a nice group. We start on the very difficult hole 9, a long winding wooded hole and a tough three. And I 3 it. Okay, the curse was broken.

In fact, I damn near destroyed that curse. My putting was IMPECCABLE. I did not miss a single putt the whole round, including a few beyond 30’. And this was considering we had steady cold rainfall the entire round. My drives were on, my game was rock solid, and I even took a flukey circle 6 on a hole. I ended up carding a fantastic 65, a good seven strokes better than my best score ever on the course. It was good enough to put me on second card in pro. That’s right, top ten in pro in an A-tier event. I beat Mitch, as well as several top pros. It was like I stepped in awesome juice.

After a quick nervous lunch, I step out with Bob Graham, Mike Hofmann, Tyler Horne, and Shawn Breske – all golfers who are much better than me. My goal was simply not to embarrass myself. And after six holes, I was beating everyone on the card. Again, it was the putting – EN FUEGO. Still hadn’t missed. In fact, I didn’t miss a putt until the 9th hole of the second round, where I dinked a 20 footer. By now, the weather had warmed up 20 degrees and it was sunny. Perfect disc golf weather. I had let a few strokes slip, but I was still hanging with the big boys. My backhand roller game was top notch, and my putting was strong. I had a bad hole or two near the end, and ended up carding a respectable 66. (Our card shot 63, 64, 65, 66 and 80). So that means I’m still in this thing. Mitch ended up coming ahead of me, but I’m still likely going to be third card or so. My surprisingly good play has resulted in me going back to the cabin tonight and getting a good night’s sleep. I’ve got to play well tomorrow, after all.

Not much drinking, and I’ll be sleepin’ like a baby. Like a narcoleptic baby.