Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chalk Up Another Trial

My daughter had a hair appointment today - way up on the other side of town at Platinum Hair Studio. Great place, friends with the owner, blah, blah... but it is a long drive! She had a ride up there, but the deal was I'd go pick her up.

No problem.

Let's see... between here and there happens to be The Riviera. At The Riviera happens to be the 2011 APA Team Nationals. At the 2011 APA Team Nationals happens to be several pool vendors selling cool pool gear.

Yes!!! I'll be happy to head up that way to pick her up!

Parking at The Riv was seriously weird because what used to be the entrance to the self park garage at The Riviera is now a wall. WTF? I've been parking there for years! It's gotten so automatic that I damn near turned and ran into the new wall! I'm halfway ashamed to say that I had to circle the building twice just to figure out what was going on and how to get in! The old exit is now the entrance. The old entrance is now a wall. The new exit is around the corner from the old entrance (the new wall). Whatever.

This is the second time in less than a week that my feeble brain has been messed with like this. Earlier in the week I had APA 8-ball league playoff matches at Blue Hawk Tavern. It's never been a 'home bar' for me, but I've had numerous matches there so it's a very familiar place. Got there Wednesday night early to warm up... reached down to get balls out of the table... and saw nothing but the side of the table. WTF? They turned the tables 180 degrees around!!

I thought to myself: OK, I guess they decided they preferred us breaking towards the stained glass windows over launching cue balls into the people space of the bar below (which made me recall an incident when yours truly hit a Blue Hawk waitress in the ankle with a cue ball last year). So it made sense... kind of. I reached for balls on the wrong side of the table several times that night, but it made sense.

But here's the kicker - the very next night, they turned the tables around again!!! Oy! And this time they (whomever 'they' are) were clearly conflicted. The tables were physically rotated 180 degrees back to the original direction they had been for years. But... it appeared that they still wanted us to break towards the stained glass windows, because they moved the spot to the head of the table - haha! Whatever. Anyone with a quarter of a brain would know that the simple act of moving the spot sticker is not going to change where we break on a ball return type table. Fail.

But it didn't fail to get me reaching down on the wrong side of the table again after finally getting myself adapted to the other orientation the previous night - LOL!

Their mind games didn't work. I won and we won both nights... taking first place in the division Wednesday night and third place in Thursday night's division.

Anyway, back to something more important - cool pool vendors at The Riv. My list was simple (but rarely stays that way). Joint protectors for my shiny new Venom VX Blackbelt Jump Cue was the #1 priority. If I happened to see it, I figured I'd grab a copy of the new Mastering the Jump Shot DVD that Bebob Publishing sent me an email about a few days ago. That was it. Honest!

The joint protectors were easy. I dropped by the Predator booth with sad puppy dog eyes and bam they hooked me up with freebie leftover Predator Air joint protectors. Check.

No luck with the DVD. Didn't see it at any of the general cue stuff peddlers like Pooldawg, Omega, Mueller... and didn't see a Bebob booth. OK, struck out on the DVD.

Then I found myself face-to-face with Kamui's John Bertone, who had set up a somewhat make-shift looking shop at the far corner of Lucasi's booth. Below the Kamui banner, he was armed with a lone display stand loaded with product and brochures and his iPad 2 point-of-sale device. Oh, and he was wearing an official looking Kamui shirt.

I thought to myself that I'd be doing the world an injustice if I didn't give him crap about the price of their chalk. But then I decided to ask if he had a way to let me compare the Kamui Black Soft tip (which I'm using) to the Black Super Soft. I wanted to get the more important question (to me) out of the way first. Unfortunately, he didn't have any cues or shafts set up with the different tips like I hoped he might.

So I gave him crap about the price of their chalk... and he took it in stride (gee, maybe he's heard that one before?) He asked me to get my cue out of the case and proceeded to give it the Gator Grip treatment. Then, he chalked it up and told me to go run a rack of balls without any more chalking.

And so I did. I actually ran two racks.

I had great cue ball control throughout the shooting, all the way to the end. Not a single miscue. In fact, I got more than table length of draw on the very last shot of those two racks. Looking at my tip, there was still chalk on it after running two full racks! And with me, that's more than 30 shots - ha! Actually, I only missed a couple shots out of the two racks, and I believe I can attribute that to having better control over the cue ball which gave me more confidence... which, well you know.

You probably know where this is headed, don't you?

Yeah, I ended up getting some Kamui chalk. I still don't like the price, but I'll give it a try for awhile. It's definitely different than any chalk I've used before, and I believe I've tried all of the others at one time or another.

I'll keep you posted!

Oh, and now for an exclusive KBCNC newsflash: If you want the ebony version of the Kamui Gator Grip, get one now from whatever source you can find. Supposedly the price of ebony has gone up dramatically, so I'm guessing Kamui will either raise the price or drop the item altogether. John was only selling the boxwood version. It looks like some online suppliers still have them in stock at this point.


  1. Yeah, I ended up getting some Kamui chalk.

    i still like the blue diamonds. *in borat's voice* it's a very nice!

    but dude, how many is some kamui chalk? you're scaring me a little bit . . .

  2. Haha! "Some" in this case was only one cube. I've got to eat too, yanno!