Mountain Mayhem recap

It’s been a while, so it’s time to do a brief run-down from this weekend’s tournament. You’ll see by the end why I’m picking this one to review Heh heh.

Round 1 – Kirkwood – I’d only played Kirkwood once, two weeks ago. I shot a par then (one birdie, one bogey, a crapton of pars). In fact, I feel the course is largely a par course. There are birdies to get, but only a few of them are really must-deuce holes. A few holes are tough threes, but certainly not par 3.5s. It’s a par course. So how did I do in round 1? Why, par of course! I shot three birdies and three bogeys. My putter was stone cold and I couldn’t throw an up-shot to save my life (all three bogeys were caused by mis-executed up shots followed by missed putts). I wasn’t pissed off, but I definitely was disappointed. It was “mediocre” as I put it later that night. After one round, I was right in the middle of the pack (they were paying 6 out of 15 and I was in 7th).

Round 2 – Kirkwood – My back started seizing up at lunch, so I downed a pain pill and a 5-hour energy and headed out to Round 2. It was basically a carbon copy of round 1, only more roller-coastery. I managed to snag five birdies on the 19-hole layout, but also took five bogeys. Of those bogeys, three were caused by mis-executed up-shots followed up by not converting my putts. I now have a fear of 100′ approach shots. If there’s a person there, I can put the disc right next to them every time. As soon as it’s a basket? I throw it 30′ short. Huh.

This round seemed more disappointing, though really, it was equally mediocre (both rated in the mid 950s, or roughly one stroke worse than my ‘average’ round). So yeah, Mediocre City.

After round 2, my back was in bad shape. I rode home, took a muscle relaxer, then had trouble sleeping. I managed probably about five hours, but not the full eight I was hoping for.

I show up and see I’m in 9th place, only two strokes from the cash line but also only two strokes from 13th out of 15. We played Turtle Rock, my favorite course out west and one I realized I tend to shoot pretty well at (I average two strokes over my rating a round there).

Round 3 – Turtle Rock – I started out with an anti-inflammatory, a pain pill, and a five-hour energy drink. In practice, I’m feeling pretty good. Let’s hope it translates. I start out with a drop-in deuce on hole 3, a par (on the tough hole 4), and then two tough-luck pars. Still, I’m in decent shape at this point. Then I start to dial it up. A 30′ birdie putt on hole 7 for deuce. Hole 8 is a 350′ anhyzer shot. Paavo in my group steps up and clanks off the cage for an incredible ace run. How am I supposed to follow that up? By throwing an identical shot and hitting the post, that’s how. Deuce on 8. Par on the difficult hole 9. Drop-in birdie on 10. At this point, I’m feeling really good.

Hole 11 is ~777′ and it is tightly wooded the whole way. I throw a killer drive and a decent up. My third shot I forehand straight into a tree in front of me (one of my few missed forehands this tournament). I throw a pretty good recovery Buzzz shot to put me around 30′. This is to keep my bogey-free round alive. And I hit it. Next hole is my nemesis, and true to form I miss my line and it puts me in a bad location. Bad upshot leaves me 50′ out. BAM, hit it. At this point, I say to myself “I’m invincible. Let’s attack the rest of this round”. Hole 13 is a toughie, I par. Drop in deuces on 14 and 15. Par on 16. 17 is an easy par 4, and I throw a great drive and a pretty good up, leaving me 23′ to clean up. I miss a little low. My first missed putt of the round from inside the circle. Hole 1 I give myself a 40′ look for birdie, just bounce out. Hole 2 I have another drop-in deuce.

When all is said and done, I ended up shooting a 50, eight under par. It felt great, and sure enough, it was the hot round of the day (there were a couple of 51s). That round is unofficially rated a 1019, my second-highest ever. I propelled me from 9th to 5th, and in the cash.

It was an uneven weekend, truthfully. My first round I couldn’t putt and my ups were lousy. Second round my ups were horrid and my putting was mediocre (my drives for the two rounds were above average, all things considered). Third round – everything clicked. I hit huge out-of-the-circle putts, had incredible drives, and my up game was solid (and thankfully not all that necessary).

My back feels better than I expected it to. It actually hurt more two weeks ago after playing at the flat Bijou course (though I did play 81 holes compared to 56 this weekend).

KING OF THE LAKE IS IN TWO WEEKS! Woo!

2017 Disc Golf Goals

After last year’s success (I hit 9 of my 15 goals which were, in truth, not exactly reach-for-the-sky goals), I’m going to try to top that this year. 2017 will be my last year playing Open (the regular professional division) because in 2018 I will be able to move to the Masters (old dudes) division where I hope to have better success. So does that mean this is a transition year?

Well, hopefully not. For the last two years I’ve played quite a bit until King of the Lake then basically stopped playing all year. One of my goals is obviously not to do that, but for a special reason. What is that reason? Read on to find out!

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1) Gain enough PDGA points to qualify for Masters Worlds in 2018. 

This is the aforementioned reason why I want to play the whole season out. It looks like I need 600 points to qualify for 2018 Worlds (the location of which has not yet been announced). In the off chance it’s somewhere accessible to me, I’d like to qualify outright instead of hoping to get in when registration opens up to the public. My pro points WILL count for Masters totals, though, so that’s nice. How often have I hit 600 points in a season? Since moving west in 2008, I’ve hit 600 points 7 out of the 9 years. That sounds like a shoo-in until you realize that I was only over 800 points in one of those years, and quite a few were just barely over 600. It’ll mean playing many tournaments that are well populated by open players and beating some of them.

basket2) Break the odd-year curse by cashing in at least 1/4 of my events. 

Last year I lowered my bar so much it was a tripwire – I hoped to just cash at all. This year I’m going to raise the bar to a difficult be achievable goal: making money back at least 25% of the time. This is something I’ve done about half the years I’ve been a pro, but those tend to be the years I play fewer tournaments. We’ll see if I can have sustained success over a year where I hope to play quite a bit.

basket3) Cash at King of the Lake

I’m not sure if this will be easier or harder this year. The King will be a smaller tournament than in past (2 days instead of 3) so it may not attract quite the large fields it has in the past. While that seems to make it easier, it might just mean that more of the top “local” pros show up and raise the cash bar comparatively. I’ve cashed in half the KotLs I’ve played (3 of 6).

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4) “Make” more than $700 in Masters

Clearly, I’m not playing in Masters so I can’t make money in Masters. But making the logical assumption that I would have finished with the same overall score as I did in pro, I want to find out how much I *would* have made in Masters. Take 2015 for example. I made $0, not cashing once in Open. Had I been in Masters and played the exact same, I would have cleared almost $1000. Last year I made $345 but would have made $470 in Masters.

basket5) Play every event at the Sierra Series FINALLY.

I’ve never done this, though it’s been a goal of mine every year. It’s comprised of seven tournaments this year and it includes (and removes) a few traditional courses, so it’ll be a pretty interesting year. Dayton is in for a 2 day tourney (never been done before I don’t think) and Truckee Regional is out (yay because I don’t like the course, boo because I tend to shoot it well). Kirkwood is in, which is cool as I’ve never played there.

basket6) No DFL (dead f’n last) finishes.

I wasn’t going to include this again this year as it is a pretty easy goal to hit (I’ve only DFL’ed 3x since moving west, and two of those were technically ties so they weren’t DEAD last). I *am* including it mainly because I’m starting my tournament season next week after having taken the last six months off. Seriously, I’ve thrown maybe 50 holes since last June. And I’m playing at a course I’ve always done poorly – Auburn, where I’ve only beat my rating once and have averaged 15 points worse than my average). Plus I may hit up some other tournaments pre-May when I historically do very poorly.

basket7) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round.

Last year I tied him twice. This will be the year, I can feel it (provided we even play at the same tournaments this year – he hardly played any Sierra Series events).

basket8) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. 

With my back getting worse annually, this one is more and more difficult, but so far I’m perfect with it.

basket9) Throw two or more 1000-rated rounds

In my 13 years of playing disc golf, I’ve only achieved this three times: 2006, 2009, and 2013. If my math is correct (3 years between the first two times, four between, the second) it won’t be until 2018 until it happens again. But hey, dreamers can dream, can’t they?

basket10) At least 1 round over 1010.

It’s looking less and less likely every year, but I’m gonna keep throwing this one out there.

basket11) No more than 3 rounds below 940

I originally set the goal as no more than 2 rounds below 940, but changed my mind. Since 2008, I’ve achieved my initial goal only in 2009 and 2011, both years I played fewer than normal rounds. Giving myself one extra bad round opens up a few additional years where I achieved the goal, or about 1/2 the time.

basket12) Have my rating go over 965 at some point this year during an update.

Though I’ve hovered around here forever (my rating has been between 958 and 969 since August of 2012), it hasn’t been over 965 since August of 2014.

basket13) Hit an ace or an eagle. 

I’ve averaged one ace a year my whole career but didn’t have one last year. I’m due. (I added the ‘eagle’ a bit because I think I’ve only ever eagled a hole once – hole 4 long at the Ranch, which I’ve seen someone have a 70′ putt at. I guess this gives me a *slightly* easier chance at achieving this goal.)

basket14) Play more casual golf, either alone or with the boys. 

Disc golfer Matt called me up recently just to see how I’m doing and tell me that he’s game to play anytime, even if it’s just at the pitch-and-putt. Paul called me up within a week to basically have the same conversation. I played so little last year because of many factors but I really want to get out and play more “fun” golf this year. Casual rounds, kids rounds, dubs, tags, whatever. I want to get out of this habit of just playing one time the week of a tournament to “get my arm ready”. I want to be playing consistently all year, and I want some of those rounds to not be just to prepare, but just to have fun.

basket15) No missed putts within 15′.

I’m not going to bring a tape measure out with me on the course, but I tend to remember those missed putts pretty well, even if they were 16′. I’ll know which ones I’m talking about.

basketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasket

 

 

It’s an odd numbered year so I want to break my ridiculous streak of sucking in these years, both skill-wise and goal-wise. Other than that, the season starts soon; one week to get my body in shape and there’s snow everywhere in Reno. LET’S BRING IT!

2016 Disc Golf Goals

It’s that time of year again, the time of year where I optimistically (foolishly) believe I have a chance to be World Champion, and I will have 100 aces, and I will finally beat Jere Eshelman in a round. Then May comes, my back goes out, I stop practicing altogether, and in rare instances (last year), I don’t make a single dollar playing disc golf all year. I do this every year. Seriously, every year. So let’s do it again!

You’ll notice if you clicked on the last two years’ results above that I make pretty modest goals and then fail to meet even them (in 2014, I reached 3 of my 13 goals, in 2015 only 2 of 15). So this year, having experienced major surgery (and likely a second surgery) and a back that continues to give me periodic problems, I’m not holding out hope for a bounceback season. I *have* been practicing once or twice a week for the last month, so I’m not totally out of it, but I have to realize that my body just isn’t what it was when I was actually (barely) contending in the open division.

Well now, that was a depressing opening. Let’s get to it!

1) Play in enough tourneys to justify the $75 PDGA fee. So I need 8 tournaments. I was originally going to specify something about the Sierra Series, but for now, let’s just stick to any 8.

2) Cash in a tournament. At all. Last year was my first year since turning pro in 2005 that I didn’t cash. What’s more I only even sniffed it once or twice. I just want to not have all my competing be in vain. Still 2 years until Master!

3) Top 3 at either Sun Valley tournament. As of now there are only 4 players signed up for the one in 10 days, so I like my odds.

4) Cash for the first time in the Sierra Series. I’m going to be optimistic that I will play most of the events and give myself a shot at cashing, but truthfully, it’s going to come down to a good showing at King of the Lake, where most of the points are given out.

5) No DFL (dead f’n last) finishes. Yeah, it’s that bad where not sucking the most has become the bar to beat.

6) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round. Still hasn’t happened.

7) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. This one seems to be getting more and more difficult every year.

8) At least 1 1000-rated roundI average almost 1.5 a year, so this is certainly do-able, though I should note I’ve only thrown 1 since 5/6/2013.

9) At least 1 round over 1010. Only ever done once, but an old guy can hope, can’t he?

10) No more than 1 round below 930I’m reluctantly coming to grips with the fact that I will suck at least one round every year, especially in the early months. So I’m lowering my basement to 930 (it used to be 940) and allowing myself one stinker. I’ve had 3 years since moving west where I accomplished this.

11) Have my rating at some point this year move out of the 959-969 rangeI’ve had an impressive 22 ratings update streak of this rating going (dating back to 9/2012). I’m okay if it drops below, honestly, as long as it changes. This is a pretty monotonous streak.

12) Hit one ace. I average one a year, helped in large part by a 3-ace 2013. So what’s one more?

13) Camp out and actually have the “fun” experience at one of the Turtle Rock tourneys. Recently I have placed too much importance on cashing (for a guy who doesn’t practice). I want to go back to why I play, to have fun. The camp-out experience helps this a great deal, even if it means sleeping on the ground and drinking – essentially giving myself a fast track to playing poorly the following day. I suppose it could be any tourney, not just Markleeville; it just makes the most sense there.

14) Play dubs at least 5 times this year.

15) Try to have fun. Last year I got burned out, partially because of my back, but partially because I just wasn’t actually enjoying myself. Two years of disappointing play has something to do with that, I’m sure, but really, if I’m not enjoying myself, why am I doing it?

There you have it. The bar keeps getting lower. Hopefully I decide whether I’m supposed to vault over it or limbo under it. Knowing me, I’ll probably just run headlong into it.

Day 30: 3rd Follow-Up Appointment

Ultra-Myspace shot

This appointment was definitely the middle child of appointments. I didn’t get the freedom of the first child (my splint doesn’t come out until my next visit on 2/9), and I didn’t get coddled like the last child (I didn’t even get my teeth brushed this time!) However, it was a pretty informative visit.

He took another X-ray that showed the changes in my airway. Before, the narrowest part of my airway was just more than 3mm (it’s supposed to be 10-12mm). Now, the narrowest part was just over 7mm, with two other parts he measured being between 7-9mm. Nobody, including the surgeon, expected me to go from 3mm to 12mm. It’s not realistic, no matter how much he reshuffled my jaws. So he was quite happy with this result, especially when you bear in mind that once the splint comes out, my lower jaw will actually go even further up to touch my upper teeth. That will cause a slight increase in the airway.

He was happy with how I looked, how wide I could open, my speech, just about everything. Then he asked me to try to jut my lower jaw out. I don’t think I moved it even a nanometer. It was a weird feeling not really being able to move my jaw in a certain way when my brain was like, “hey, dumb jaw, I’m sending you some damn signals! Turn your ringer on!” It’s good to have specific stuff to work on.

He then mentioned a procedure I could opt to undergo (after maybe 6 more months) that would increase my airway even a little more, though it’s largely a cosmetic procedure. It would give me a chin, which I haven’t had since I was a kid. Basically, he would make a lateral cut in my chin and pull out the jaw/chin about 5mm. This is attached to several muscles, which would in turn pull my airway open a little more. Plus, I would admittedly like my profile more.

This came with a # of caveats. First, he wants to see how I’ll look in 6 months with (theoretically) no swelling and my face as it will basically look forever. I imagine he’ll take more X-rays to gauge my airway width. Of course, this being a largely cosmetic procedure means I’ll have to pay out of pocket, and while he could do it in his office (no hospital costs), it’s no small chunk of change. I think the procedure will be too expensive to consider (at least this year). It’s something to think about, though, and ask if there’s a certain window where this procedure would need to be done during – can it wait 2 years? Food for thought.

After my appointment I had a couple of hours to kill before grabbing my son so I went and did something crazy, I played some disc golf. It was my first time touching a disc since November. I bumped into a guy I knew and told him I’d play, but he’d have to go pretty slow for me. I throw at around 60% power (anything more than that jarred my jaw a little) and played just the flat holes. I shot an even on a pretty easy layout with no real wind. Any other day I’d be pretty upset with that score, but yesterday it felt so good to just be out and active that I will say it was a phenomenal round, especially since I couldn’t throw more than 250′.

I clocked over 8k steps yesterday, by far my most since the surgery. It wore me out, playing just 11 holes of pretty short golf, but today I don’t have any repercussions other than a pretty sore pectoral (standard for my first day of throwing after any long layoff). I don’t know when I’ll be in tournament shape (certainly not anytime soon), but suffice to say I should be back sooner than I thought.

Oh, and today I had MAC AND CHEESE FOR LUNCH! That’s apparently my threshold, less so for the chewing (it was pretty soft) and more so because I can’t fit anything larger than a shell into my mouth right now.

PAIN: 1

INCONVENIENCE: 4

REGRET FACTOR: 1

Day 14: On My Own

I’d say we’re hitting the home stretch, but in terms of the actual distance of recovery, it’s more like I just got out of the starting gate. That starting gate, though… it’s loaded with moguls, glue manufacturers, assassins, and C4. So yeah, getting past that is a pretty big deal.

If I could go back in time, I think I’d amend all of my ratings for those first two days. From what I’d read, I wasn’t too worried about the first two days because I’d have the hospital staff to help, plus Ash would be there for much of it. Turns out those were REALLY scary days. No sleep at all, extremely difficult to breathe, blood coming out of my mouth, nose, and even a tiny bit from my ears, having no energy, trying desperately not to throw up for legitimate fear of my life (see John Bonham’s death). As far as my recovery itself, day three (the maximum swelling day) was the big hill to get past. Now I’m traveling downhill, even if it’s another 103598 miles to the finish line.

I’m looking more normal. Just a little bit of swelling, and you’d probably have to know me pretty well to see that. My skin is finally calming the hell down. And so I had to capitalize on this by taking a glorious bathroom selfie, like ya do. They say Henry VIII was big into the bathroom selfie. At least before he married it and almost immediately try to have it decapitated. I’m even attempting a closed mouth smile (without my bands, I can even do something more closely resembling a smile).

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Whole lotta smirkin’ going on

I slept very poorly last night – this time on the chair. I did NOT resort to using pain meds. Basically I have trouble sleeping with my head straight up and down, which of course is how my jaws are happiest. On the chair, I can turn about halfway, thus giving myself half a chance of sleeping with only half the full amount of pain. There was much tossing and turning, but I finally did manage to go to sleep.

However, it was probably around 3 that I turned my alarm off for today. It was supposed to go off at 8:30, and I just needed more sleep than that. No excuses tonight, I’m getting up at 8:30 tomorrow! I have things to do!

It was a fairly inactive day, though I tried to get up around the house and take care of business (dishwasher unloaded). Tomorrow my hope is to go through the Xmas tub and get rid of decorations we just don’t like/use and leave more room for the myriad other festive knickknacks we need to store. BIG thanks to Tee-Tee for taking down the tree and ornaments and storing that!

However, as you can see by the chart below, according to my phone I have made pretty steady increases in each of the last three weeks in terms of steps taken which, while expected, is still a little heartening at least. With how much I’m able to physically get back on the horse, it makes me wonder if I’ll be able to play disc golf sooner than expected (I basically expected to take the year off). I probably won’t be good to go for March, but I wonder if I’ll be able to play around May or June when the season really kicks off?

Don't judge my pre-surgery #s please
Don’t judge my pre-surgery #s please

Anyway, life alone was fine. I had 3 or 4 glasses of water (probably as much as the last few days, if not more), two Boosts, and a LARGE cup of broccoli cheese soup* that Ash made (my favorite meal so far post-surgery). I’m looking forward to dinner where I plan on eating more, along with cherry yogurt and maybe a green smoothie for fiber. I’d totally be one of those Instagrammers posting pictures of my dinner, except it would just be different cups of green/brown liquids. You can see the same thing just by buying baby food.

* note that I originally typed broccoli cheese coup, which might be my favorite insurrection of all time. Certainly better than the Star Trek one.

Zero jaw pain during the day. Now only if I could carry that through to sleeping!

PAIN: 0 , 3 (time of day dependent)

INCONVENIENCE: 5

REGRET FACTOR: 3

The most recent ortho pictures EVER!? I couldn’t believe #9!!!!

Just because *I’ve* made it a rule never to click on click-baiting headlines like this doesn’t mean nobody else does. So yeah, it may not be Buzzfeed worthy, but check out what’s going on with my teeth. First, a comparison of where we’re at from the inside:


Xray1 2014-05-07Xray1 2015-10-07

 

Xray2 2014-05-07 Xray2 2015-10-07

The change is pretty astounding. My teeth have undergone a pretty crazy transformation already, and I haven’t even gotten to the major stuff (except, perhaps, that I have 8 fewer teeth than when I started).

What they’re working on now is two things – the major one is that the top teeth need to be angled a little different, a little away from the bottom teeth (which is funny since up until now, everything they did were to rein those top teeth in). This is really the major thing that *could* push back the surgery date. The other thing they’re working on is rotating one of my lower back teeth. This isn’t necessary for the surgery, but will have to get done anyway, and they can do it concurrently with torquing the top teeth, so why not?

Today the surgeon Dr. M will be getting molds and will be performing “mold surgery” on them to see if all the jigsaw pieces will fit like he hopes. So, I had hoped to get confirmation today that Dec. 21 will be the surgery date, and I do not have that confirmation yet.

However, I have the ortho Dr. O extremely happy with my progress. He seems optimistic about the Dec 21 date, but really, he doesn’t have final say. The surgeon does. Here’s a picture of how far one set of my teeth has come in exactly 17 months, which also provides a glimpse into what it’s like to be missing a whole bunch of teeth:

Teeth5 2014-05-07Teeth5 2015-10-07

 

Also pretty amazing. It’s contrasting pictures like this that make me happy I’m doing this procedure. If nothing else, I’ve actually started using my front teeth to chew a little bit, and this isn’t even where my teeth will end up.

But now I feel like we’re racing against the clock. Why am I so insistent on a December surgery? Two reasons, really:

1) Ash has her winter break for 3 weeks starting on that day. Since we won’t be able to have my family in town to help, it’s going to be a brutal recovery and Ash will be as worn down as me, probably more. If she weren’t on break, it really wouldn’t be feasible for a typical recovery as I will need someone by my side, at least for the first week. So without her break, she’d have to take a few weeks off of work, which we don’t really want for a myriad of reasons.

2) I found out last week that Dr. M the surgeon is retiring at the end of December. So if I go on as scheduled, I’ll be one of the last, if not the last, patient he performs this procedure on. The surgeon isn’t really old – I’d peg him as maybe 60, but he’s been doing this for 30-35 years or so. It’s good that he’s retiring, but NOT BEFORE HE WORKS ON ME! Part of why I agreed to this procedure is because I liked and trusted him so much. Yes, he has a partner that is probably also very good, but there’s no doubt I want M to do the procedure, and Dr. O today also confirmed that would definitely prefer that I have Dr. M do it as well.

So the nerves continue. And also, I see pictures like this:

 

Face3 2014-05-07Face3 2015-10-07

Wow, my teeth are definitely looking pretty great right now. So why do I even bring up this comparison? Well, this is the first time I’ve really noticed just how much weight I’ve put on in the last 17 months. It’s been something I’m consciously doing in preparation for the surgery. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself. I totally abandoned my work-out regiment at the start of the year, have been eating pretty crappily ever since and not working it off. I’ve more or less stopped playing disc golf (my only real regular exercise) and have been going to PT for my back.

Suffice to say I’m not exactly happy with how I look in this picture. The double-chin I’m less concerned about, because actually I really don’t have a first chin (you can’t see it with this picture, but my profile pictures show that I really don’t have a chin). I’m *hoping* that the surgery will correct this a little. I don’t have unrealistic expectations – I’ve noticed in my research that underbites tend to see a pretty significant aesthetic difference after the surgery, whereas overbites are far more subtle. I’ll have a little more of a chin, but without him putting an implant there, it isn’t going to look a whole lot different.

So this parlays into how I feel about myself going into this. I’m not doing it for aesthetics, but I don’t like my look in profile. I DO like my smile more now than before, but I realized the crookedness of my teeth had less to do with my image issues than the shape of my jaw and chin in profile. I’m also not happy about letting myself get really out of shape.

Starting November 1, I’m going to cut out soda (again), cut out fast food (again), try to eat better (again), and try to work out more (again). I’m not setting rigid goals like in the beginning of the year, b/c once I broke the first one of those, I allowed myself to waterfall in breaking all the other ones. Just general health goals. I don’t like flabby me as much as less-flabby me.

I also had my very first dream, or even part of a dream, about my surgery. I was looking at a grainy album cover that had some poor sap with a huge round wedge in his mouth, unconscious. Then it sorta morphed into a video of the same, and someone squeezing a flat tube above the wedge. I was told it was how that person was able to breathe. I, in the dream, did a “gasp for air” that I do in real life when demonstrating why it is I’m having this procedure done. I wonder if I actually did gasp for air in real life. I’ll have to ask the missus. It wasn’t a particularly bad or scary dream, but I imagine they will be coming with more frequency.

I *should* find out anywhere from tomorrow to next week if I’m going to hit the Dec 21 window for surgery. Keep some body parts crossed, especially if they’re fun parts to cross. Let’s do this!

Disc Golf Goals – How’d I do? (spoiler alert: crappy)

You know it’s not good when it’s October and I’m already going over my year-end goals. This is because… well, I’m on a disc golf hiatus. I’ll explain more later. But suffice to say, this is going to be a truly humbling exercise.

1) Play in the entire Sierra Series, the GCC, and maybe one tourney at a course I’ve never played.

NO – I played the GCC (did poorly), and then played the first 3 events of the series. After a truly disappointing showing at King of the Lake (where I was in the top 10 through two rounds, including a 1000+ rated round a Bijou, I proceeded to throw my worst-ever rounds at both Sierra College and Tahoe Vista. I went from top 10 to bottom third.

I DID play a tourney at course I’ve never played – Oroville – which saw my lowest two combined scores (ratings) in years. I have NO idea why I even wanted to do that. Playing a course blind and – worse yet – playing two courses that DON’T HAVE DISTANCES MARKED blind – is just stupidity. My new resolution is to never play a course that doesn’t have accurate distances on their signs.

2) Cash at either of the A tiers I’m playing (GCC and King of the Lake). 

I did not cash at all. Not once. For the first time in my life, I did not cash at a PDGA event in a calendar year. Worse yet, despite playing basically my exact rating all year, I only sniffed cash once (and I played myself out of it by one stroke b/c of what I now realize was heatstroke). It was really frustrating. At my local course, I played toe-to-toe with some of Norcals best, but lost by 4 because I missed 11 putts! ELEVEN putts! At Turtle Rock I went-bogey free on the toughest round yet lost strokes on many of the pros because I hardly got birdies. And then, of course, KotL where I was on pace to have a great tourney, then just sucked it up big time.

3) Cash in at least 1/2 the Series tournaments I play.

Close. 0%. That’s almost half, right?

4) Top 25% or better of a B Tier. 

Ugh. This isn’t getting any better.

5) Top 3 at the Sun Valley tournament.

Had I converted HALF of my missed putts, I would have. Instead, I finished in 8th (of 15).

6) Cash for the first time in the Sierra Series. 

Nope nope nope.

7) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round.

I think this is the one that bugs me most. In that same Lizard Peak tourney where 11 putts over two rounds cost me 12 strokes, Jere beat me by 3 strokes and1 stroke respectively. Again, at Turtle rock, he beat me by 1 (on my bogey-free round). And on my 1000+ rated round at Bijou during KotL? He beat me by two. SON OF A…

8) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing a tournament alive.

I did drop out of a tournament due to injury, but it was before the tourney started, so I consider my streak still active.

9) At least 3 1000-rated rounds

I had a 1004 at Bijou. My next best was 982. *sigh*

10) At least 1 round over 1010. 

Nope. I’m adding to my collection of rounds between 1000-1010 (13 and counting, compared to just one over that).

11) No rounds below 940. 

Truly embarrassing. I had FIVE, including two that were below 905 (but at least above 900!) When I was off this year, I was truly off.

12) End up with a rating over 975.

Again, no such luck. Instead, I’m kinda rocking a pretty impressive streak of consistency – twenty straight ratings updates with a rating between 959-969. I’m nothing if not consistent (except, of course, for my actual playing time, which is painfully inconsistent).

13) Hit a dubs ace or a tourney ace.

I did manage to snag an ace, but it was a few days before a tourney. In fact, I was practicing one of the Lizard Peak holes in a position I’d never seen, and I threw a great anhyzer with my FIGHTER Buzzz 343′ downhill for the ace. It was so windy that I barely heard any chains.

14) Play at least 3 new courses this year.

I ACCOMPLISHED ONE OF MY GOALS! I actually played 5 new courses this year, including one in a new state (UT!) That brings my total to 140 courses in 29 states.

15) Continue playing dubs/tags during tournament season.

Ha ha ha! Ha ha! Whew. *wipes tears from eyes* Heh, that’s a good one.

16) Stop talking about myself so much during the tournaments.

Gotta be honest, I don’t know if I did this. I was conscientious of this all year, and I took my iPod out more often than I had in past, so I think I was sorta good at it. But it’s also one of my inherent flaws. I’m gonna keep working on it.

Actually, I may not need to. As I stated, I’m on something of a hiatus. I feel really frustrated with where in the country I live. I have to average 970-980 golf to even scrape last cash at a tournament. Nowhere else in the country is that the case (for B Tiers at least). I looked around, and in many places, a 950 or 960 would get me there.

I simply have too many other balls in the air to actually practice like I would need to to be competitive. And being close to 40, but not actually being 40, doesn’t help. If I were 40 (or even 39 turning 40), I’d be able to play Masters, an age-protected division. If I were to have done that this year, instead of cashing in 0 tournaments (out of 7), I would have cashed in 5 (coming in 3rd, 4th, 8th, 1st, and 1st). I didn’t crunch the math, but that’s probably a different of about $800.

I’m also just not having fun. Knowing that I have to play the best golf I’ve played in years to even scrape bottom of the barrel just isn’t fun. Halfway thru events I was looking forward more to going home than finishing playing.

With surgery scheduled next year, I’m likely going to be missing most of next year. I’ll try to play King of the Lake if possible b/c it’s my favorite, even though I will NOT be hoping to compete (with such little practice and a likely atrophied body, I don’t hold false hope for success). Maybe I’ll make next year (and possibly the year after) where I really take the boys to play often. Landen’s getting old enough where he could start playing tourneys (only if he wanted to!) but we’d have to see if it’s worth it.

Anyway, yay disc golf!

The Final Day of Oral Freedom

Tomorrow I go to my orthodontist Dr. O to get my braces put on. I personally don’t care about aesthetics all that much (though when I look at the pictures taken in-office of my teeth from the underside, I find that this is not at all true), but I did opt to get the clear braces instead of the “normal” ones. First, they weren’t any different in price. Also, I want to make some of these transitions easier for my kids. They don’t like change all that much, and considering how much change I’ll be going through in the next year, if I can ease them into things, it’ll be better for everyone involved.

Braces aren’t a big deal – it seems like half the kids in the country have them when they’re growing up and they do just fine. However, in trying to actually make this entire process a truly healthy one for my face/teeth/jaw, I’m likely going to cut out soda. I was initially going to say for the entire duration, but I’m going to be realistic – especially since my boss was nice enough to buy me 2 large cases of Dew when I moved into my new office a couple of weeks ago. But the plan is to cut it out nonetheless because soda + braces = not a good combination down the line. I will also probably enjoy AT LEAST two pouches of microwaved popcorn tonight while I still don’t have to pick out the remnants later.

Truth be told, I’d been on the verge of cutting it soda (again) anyway. On the way home from my San Francisco trip with Landen, I bought a 1L bottle of Dew, and by the time I’d finished, my stomach was just miserable. I know, I know, moderation. But I used to have more than that every day with no ill effects. I guess a lifetime of not giving a crap about my insides has caught up to me. So the soda will be gone for at least a while – if all goes well through it will be through this summer.

Then we play the waiting game – see just when I’ll have to have my teeth removed to create more room for pulling/tugging, etc. There’ll be some flexibility with time, which is a good thing as I have a couple of MAJOR disc golf tournaments coming up (a 3-day A tier right in Tahoe at the end of June, and Worlds in August) and I’d rather not be dealing with extreme mouth pain during those events. As it is I’ll be dealing with the fact that I’ve become terribly out of shape.

I will take some “before” pictures of my mouth/face (in addition to the ones I’d already taken in Dr. O’s office) and probably post them. I am less sure about posting pictures of my recovery after surgery. a) they won’t be pretty and b) as was evidence by my ill-fated “DPOD” experiment, when I put a daily responsibility on myself, I fail, and that’s without coughing up blood every day. But three years from now, it’ll be nice to look at a before/after comparison.

So yeah, let’s roll. Feel free to comment along with these posts. When it comes to surgery time, I’ll appreciate the banter, even if it’s Aaron saying I have a dumb choice of something or other (pain meds?)

ROAB: Day 4 (GCC day 3)

If you want to save time and not read this blog entry in its entirety, then I suggest reading about yesterday’s round because they’re waaaay too close for comfort. But know that I CASHED IN AN A-TIER BABY!

As I said, this round was uncannily similar to yesterday’s. The wind was a little worse, but not much. The gusts were stronger, but the actual wind was about on par with yesterday. I started with two bogeys (one of which was an OB stroke), but after 10 holes, I was plus 1. Same as yesterday. Yesterday, this is where the wheels fell off. BUT TODAY….. it was still where the wheels fell off. I went OB on 11 and carded a double-bogey (my only one of the tourney), and then took a dumb 4 on the following hole (slipped on the teepad). So on holes 11 and 12 for this tournament, I was +6. SON. OF. A. BITCH!!

Then on the par 5 (which I had previously birdied and bogeyed), I threw a great drive, an unfortunate second shot that landed me plum behind a tree, and even though my up shot was decent and put me at the circle’s edge, I just missed the putt and got a par. Threw a birdie next (so I was now one stroke better than yesterday). On the long par 4 hole 15, which I had 4’d and 5’d, I throw a very good drive, a good up (which unfortunately clips the farthest-out branch which KILLS the flight), a GREAT 250’+ up which skips in the circle, and then have a nasty spitout on the putt. So I took a bogey without really a bad shot. I par 16. With two holes left, I’m one better than yesterday, but still feeling disappointed.

Then I throw a great drive on 17 (the only hole I birdied two other times) and proceed to miss the 25′ putt for birdie. D’oh! Then hole 18, where I’d birdied and bogeyed. Now, for most of this round, the wind was a non factor. I had two putts that WOULD have gone in if there hadn’t been wind, but really, I should have putted differently to make them. But on 18, I threw a shot that, out of my hand, I assumed was a park job. Good angle, good height, good speed. Then all of the sudden, the crossbreeze (which normally lifts discs) smacked mine down and I hit the hay bales guarding the island green for an OB. I take my 4, but seriously, that was a bit of bad luck away from being a drop-in deuce. So I finish my round 3 strokes worse than I really should have.

I figured that would take me out of the cash, but it seems like other people had issues with the wind. I managed second-to-last cash (and my third or fourth cash in an A-Tier in my life). That makes 7 events so far in 2013 out of 7 where I’ve cashed (4 doubles, 2 monthlies, and now a PDGA event). If I make it 8 in a row, I’d be pretty stoked as it would be an NT, and I’ve never done better than about 10 strokes out of cash in either NT I’ve played.

Onward and upward!

OB woes (Somerset monthly)

I took part in a monthly tournament at a ball golf course that had 18 temp holes set up. All greens and bunkers were OB (as they should be on a ball golf course). It was open, not very breezy – good conditions to practice for the GCC and the Memorial. So what happened?

MY FIRST THROW WENT OB. I knew when I threw it it didn’t have the distance to carry the bunker, and sure enough I was dead center. It’s okay, I followed it up by very nearly acing the next hole (which was probably about 400+ downhill). Bleeding stopped, right?

Well, after an uneven bunch of holes, I throw ANOTHER OB. This one was not user error. I threw it very well, put it about 40 behind the basket (and well over the nearby green), but it kicked up, rolled down the hill (back the way it had come), and onto said green. So I was safe by about 50′ and still went OB. Again, I followed up with a great birdie on the next hole, but still!

Oh, and that’s not it. I threw a third OB later in the round. It was TOTALLY a dumb through. I just put nothing behind it, no anhyzer (on later introspection, I plum picked a wrong disc). Never had a chance. I followed that up with a birdie too.

But seriously, OBs are becoming a problem, and that is BAD NEWS for these next two tourneys, where just about every hole will be laced with OB rope everywhere. I came in tied for 4th or 5th, but had I not thrown those 3 OBs, I would have been in 2nd alone. That is uber frustrating.

I will pride myself on not letting a bad shot throw me off. Each of my OBs was followed by a birdie. All in all, considering I really didn’t have my best stuff out there – my distance was sorely lacking though my putting was pretty good) – I guess I did okay. However, “average” will just not cut it this week.

15 years in under 600 words

I started writing a letter to a very old friend who I had lost contact with shortly after high school. I wanted to catch her up to where I am at and how I got there, so I decided to catch her up on 15 years of my life, with the superfluous caveat that I would only allow myself 40 words per year. It was pretty tough, but somewhat rewarding. Interesting to see what sticks out in my memory (my first draft omitted that I graduated from college.) Here’s the result:

1998: spent much of year dressing poorly, being anti-social, and wishing I majored in writing – was put on wrong campus but became good friends with a few non-actors – dated a girl that went nuts – co-founded a multi-medium entertainment company Prometheus Productions

1999: finally started establishing friendship network and enjoying school a bit – wrote my first ever play that later debuted with Prometheus and won award – romantic scene barren – parents divorced after 33 years

2000: made resolution to date girl I’d liked for 2 years – got surprising amount of acting work –2nd play I wrote for Prometheus got award – spent semester in London, hated it (but Edinburgh was awesome) – on 12/28, started dating that girl

2001: dated girl entire year – graduated college and took road trips – Prometheus performed last shows – was introduced to disc golf – my acting showcase (to attract agents) interrupted by 9/11, lost interest in acting after that – got new job at office-type company

2002: worked way up company ladder, soon helmed broker department – moved out of folks’ house for first time – broke up with girl for several reasons – had first liquor at 23 years old, started to make up for lost time – started website

2003: got jealous that old girlfriend moved on, got back together with her – it didn’t last – by end of year, moved in with her (as friends) – worked fine for a few months but seeds were sown for problems

2004: social implosion as friends and exes started hooking up, dishonesty and bullshittery abounded – became pretty reclusive – moved in with longtime friend where stupidity commenced and pretended to live a college-esque existence – increased disc golf activity

2005: made NYC debut as a playwright with two shows – social life rebuilt painfully slowly – started playing disc golf professionally, made $0 – quit longtime office job over increased loathing of it, worked freelance theatre lighting by year’s end

2006: released comedy music CD – toured as disc golf pro for 5 weeks, finally cashed – moved for fourth time – met no-expectations pen pal on dating site OkCupid – freelance work dried up, got job in old industry but better company

2007: fell in love with supposed no-expectations girl after several visits – first full-length musical debuted in NYC at Fringe Festival to emphatic end-of-spectrum reviews, convinced boss at relatively new job to let me move to Nevada and keep job – headed west

2008: bought 2nd car – found out girlfriend was pregnant five days later, we got new larger apartment together – wedding plans discussed – tried to play as much disc golf as possible – finished my first novel – last year I got sleep

2009: son Landen born in January, had a “weddingish” ceremony for friends/family in May, had legal proceedings in August – after a two-month nightmare, bought our first house – spent year adapting to budgeting and selflessness with varied success

2010: Just existed happily for much of it – started small home projects – apparently played much disc golf, video games, and online poker – started reading much more frequently – company announced it could shut down close soon – panic ensued

2011: became an uncle for the first time – wife enrolled in school to get her degree – got promotion to A.V.P. at company which was now stable – welcomed second child Duncan – finished 2nd at tournament, highest finish as a pro

2012: started short story writing project with friend – entire family traveled east to visit good friends who lost their toddler – otherwise lived life contentedly as father, husband, homeowner, professional athlete, artist, and frequent sweet potato fry chef