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8 Wins – 2 Losses!! August 25, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Yeah Baby!  Yeaaahhh!!

Not only that, but we won as a team too!  Our first victory – no doubt the start to our inevitable meteoric rise to the top of the league!  WHOOT!

Yes, okay I suppose I should mention that two of their best players didn’t show up tonight and had to forfeit all of their games to us.  Technicalities.  I’m sure the results would not have been too different if they did.

Alas, this time three members of our team didn’t show up.  Two of them have been no-shows at least twice now and it’s pretty safe to say they won’t be back.  The other guy who didn’t show up is our best player though.  Fortunately the people who run the place were able to recruit a stand-in from one of the other 8-ball league nights to shoot for us tonight and once again one of them took another spot and shot for us too.  Dang, maybe we should change our name to Scabs.  I dunno if the first guy is going to be back – he took off before I could thank him and ask.  We did meet up with another fellow who says he is going to join our team next time though.  He’s a real friendly guy and he seems to know his way around the table.  Next Monday is Labor Day and league play is taking that day off so it will be a while for the next update.

5 Wins, 5 Losses August 19, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Eh, 50% isn’t great, but it’s better than last week and one game I lost out of sheer sloppiness.  Plus this round we faced the toughest team in the league, so there’s that.  Another one of our members didn’t show up last night and the guy who subbed for our previously missing member didn’t show either.  The guy who runs the pool hall stood in for one of our members and we each filled in on two games for the other (as a ghost player).  I split my ghost session games with my opponent so I actually won 6 games last night. 

Getting better!

I Think I Unsucked Myself August 16, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Science & Technology.
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I went down to the pool hall after work yesterday and I finally started playing again like I used to which is MUCH better than I have been doing lately. Lately? Hell, the last several for many years really. I was a lot more consistent in my play and making shots that I should have been making all along. To make sure that this wasn’t a one-off kinda night I went back today and played a couple hours on one of the larger 9-foot tables they have instead of the 8-footers we use for league play and that I’ve been messing around on.

There’s no doubt about it. I’m back. And I figured out what I was doing wrong.

Still Sucking… August 12, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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As a pool player and blogger. I won only 3 out of 10 games last night. Utterly maddening since I wasn’t actually playing badly – just getting bad rolls at the worst times that handed games away on silver platters. Grrr. I thought I was going to have a good night too during practice. I had some runs where I could almost see the lines drawn on the table just like the Old Days, and I even made the 9-ball on the break once. But, it was not to be. Overall the team lost again too. Oh, and we lost one of our members it seems. She didn’t show up at any rate so one of the guys on the opposing team called around and found a friend of his to show up and substitute for her. He didn’t do too badly and even stopped one of them from going 10-0 against us. Hopefully he’ll decide to come back.

Sticks & Steaks August 5, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home, Politics, Science & Technology.
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It’s time for a general update of things around here, and also since Lemur King asked for it – how I cook my steaks.

First up – my new pool cue addition and the new 9-ball league! I started going to the pool hall for an hour or so every night after work when I got my Predator shaft last week. The first few nights I had an instantly notacable improvement in accuracy and ball control. I was dropping shots that I was consistantly missing just a couple days before. Needless to say I was very well pleased with my purchase. The last couple of times over the weekend and last night particularly my performance started to sink back to my previous frustratingly inconsistent levels. Grrrrr!

Last night was the official start of league play and we were formed into five teams of five members each. Every Monday night two teams will be matched against each other and every member of each team will play two games against the other members of the opposing team. So everyone plays 10 games for a total of 50. We got creamed: 18 to 32. I didn’t do very well at all and only won 4 out of my 10 and two of those were out of dumb luck against a guy who was playing much better than I was. My last match was kinda heartening though. It was against our toughest opponent who’d only lost one game against all the other members of my team. He blew me away on the first game, but I hung with him on the second to get the last three balls on the rack with a clutch bank shot on the 9 to win.

I’ll detail a bit more about the teams and my observations about the members a bit later, but I think we started things off in an interesting manner via team names we picked for ourselves. My team is “Comic Relief” (not my suggeston). Our opponents last night decided on “The Champions”. No kidding.

Since I live all by my selfish I don’t have a grill. It never made sense to me to go through all the trouble of grilling food just for myself so I’ve never grilled a steak on an outdoor BBQ. If I want good outdoor grilled food I go to my parent’s house. Last weekend Dad grilled wild salmon and it was absolutely delicious.

Anyway. There is a very good way to to cook a perfect steak inside without all that other stuff. The secret is a nice big cast iron skillet. Right off the bat here let me give credit where it is properly due: Steve Graham over at Hog On Ice. I started reading his stuff regularly and he described how he cooked his steaks outside on a cast iron griddle. He does it at a really high temperature that produces a lot of smoke. I do it inside at a lower temperature where the range hood can handle the little bit of smoke it produces. Other than that it’s the same and I’ve never cooked better steaks.

First, you take out and salt the steak on both sides. Steve says something along the lines of “salt it more than you think you should, and then a little bit more.” Really rub it in. The steak should feel uniformly gritty. Next, give it time to warm up to room temperature. This is going to take about three hours. Four is probably better. I stick mine in a turned offf oven to make sure the cat doesn’t get to it. Steve doesn’t say so but I think this gives a more even and faster cooking, plus time for that salt to dissolve and get absorbed into the meat.

When you’re ready to cook put your seasoned cast iron skillet on the range set the burner to medium high heat. When my skillet starts to smoke a little I know it’s ready for the steak. The idea is to quickly sear the steak to seal in the juices. Two minutes on each side seem to do that nicely. The rest of the time depends on the thickness of the steak and doneness you want. I like medium-rare. For a boneless inch-thick ribeye a total cook time of 8 minutes is perfect, flipped every two minutes. A slightly thicker bone-in ribeye at 12 minutes slightly overshot perfect medium-rare. Remember to cook both sides equally. All of the steaks I’ve cooked this way were juicy and delicious, and each bite perfectly salted without touching the salt shaker again. And not just on top, but throughout each bite of the meat. There is a difference and it is amazing.

Steve does this one better and makes up some garlic butter for his steaks and pours it all over them. I did that for my first steak cooked this way. One word: WOW. It’s impossibly rich, but you have to do this at least once in your lifetime. Butter. Your. Steak. Do it. You’ll thank me later.

That’s it for now. I’ll type at you later.