Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Nearly Perfect Robin Hood

I've hit enough robin hoods now that they have lost their novelty, and I almost didn't bother taking a picture of this one. But then I noticed that this particular robin hood appears to be perfectly straight and the point split the flight of the blocking dart so perfectly that you can actually see the point of the dart from both sides. The only improvement I could imagine for this robin hood would be if the wings of the flights lined up as well, so that they were on the same plane.

The number ring is up in this pic which is a departure from normalcy. When I do put it up though I usually hold it with three spare darts. In case you are wondering, I missed the double with the third dart too.

As always, click the image for a larger picture.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Discontent and the Opposible Thumb

I once had a professor in college who claimed that the two contributing factors that most accounted for homo sapien's rise to the top of the food chain were the opposible thumb, and discontent. He was one of those charismatic professors whose popularity propelled him to blowhard-dom and somewhere along the line he lost the respect of most serious students.

As it happens I think he was dead on regarding this particular theory, and I think these two things also account for most of darting in the modern world. The opposible thumb because, hey, who can throw a dart without one, and discontent because no likes a score of 26, or 41, or 41's equally miserable cousin, 45. Discontent also accounts for the predicament I find myself in now with my GT3's.

The set of GT3's pictured above were bought on the cheap, about $30, recently and from a bar owner in Seattle who didn't want them anymore. I wanted them, though, but knew I'd have to modify them before they became good darts, and I set about doing so. First let me say this: The GT series' darts of the era predating the screw in shafts had a couple of major flaws and a few minor ones (strictly my opinion). The first flaw was that they came MP only. Not much can be done about that. The second was that the shaft end of the barrel had a smooth threadless hole to accommodate their push-in shaft system, which left much to be desired. However, with the advent of their new screw in shafts they started threading those holes. Good move. But the GT3's I bought second hand were the earlier kind, and so I asked a friend to tap them with the proper thread size, so I could use the new shafts with them. In the picture below you can see the GT3's above the GT's each with the different shaaft systems. The GT is a much more solid dart to throw since the shaft can be screwed in with a drop of lok-tite. If I could do the same thing with the GT3's I'd be much happier throwing them.

Oops! As you can see in the pic below, the tap broke off in the first dart he was working on and he couldn't get the tap end back out. So now, the entire set is screwed until I find a replacement for the third dart, or figure out how to get that tap end out of there. What I'd really like to do is just have a full set made, fixed point this time, but somebody with a lathe. So if anyone has an idea how to get that tap out of there, or would like to make a set of similar darts for me, please let me know! It should be known, btw, that I do not have any hard feelings toward my friend at all in this mess. He was doing me a huge favor by attempting to tap them out in the first place.

Click to embiggen.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sixth Ton-80

This is my sixth lifetime Ton-80 and my first with these new darts. They are now officially broken in. This shot occurred tonight during a practice routine which also happens to be the now infamous 10 Game Challenge (XGC for short) on www.paulwilliamsdarts.co.uk. The way it works is this: You play 10 games of 501 on Dartpro and then post your score and notes in the Challenges thread. Tonight I did better than I normally do and had a few noteworth occurences.

First, the Ton 80. That is obvious, but also the round after the Ton-80 my first dart hit the triple 20 again, and I do believe that is the first time in my life I have hit four trip 20's in a row. Unfortunately the next two produced single fives for a score of 70 in that round.

Second, I had a feel good out. That is I had 90 left and three darts to get it with. I figured I'd go triple 18 double 18 and leave a dart in my hand. The first dart missed into the single one, but then I hit triple 19 double 16 for the out and I really enjoyed that.

Third, mid way through the 10 game set I happened on a slightly different throw. It worked well enough to generate good score, many trip 20s and I had tight groupings. But by the time I finished the set I'd lost the new throw!! How do you explain that?

As always, click the image for a larger picture.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Mouse for My Skill

This is the fruit of my darting toils.

My girlfriend and I attended a Fourth of July celebration at the Point, which is a very nice State Park just off downtown Pittsburgh. The crowds were insane but it was a good day all around and we even were able to catch a Pirates game. In addition to the numerous vendor booths, military recruiting stations and munchies, there were a few carnival style games. One of which, was a darts game!

Now, I have a pretty cynical opinion of carnival games. I figure the ones that are not rigged are money sinks and only those suffering from high jubilation play them. Take the dart game for instance. For the price of $2 you get a single dart. For $5 you get three. This seems like a high price to me to play a game that doesn't give out very big prizes. You have to accumulate many wins (12 or so) to upgrade to a medium sized stuffed animal. On top of this, the darts themselves are tiny, light, and dull, and the balloons are underinflated so that the darts are as likely to bounce off them as they are to pop them.

This was certainly the case at the point. After the ball game I wandered over to take a toss or two at the dart booth. Afterall, I just got out of a ball game, it was a beautiful evening and I was suffering from all sorts of high jubilation. Conditions were ripe for losing money at a carnival game. There was a line which I didn't expect, and the guy at the front of the line was apparently doing pretty well. I watched him for a while. This guy slapped down money fistfulls at a time. His throw was less than studied, and it appeared that his philosophy was that this was more or less a numbers game. Throw enough darts and eventually he'd end up with the prize he wanted, regardless of cost. So I watched as he chucked dart after dart at the under inflated balloons. About a third of his darts popped a ballon, another third bounced off the balloons and a full third missed altogether. The crowd behind him was growing restless and it appeared the attendant was perfectlt happy to keep trading darts for dollars unitl he had no choice but to move on. I headed back to our blanket since the fireworks were about to start.

As always, click the image for a larger picture.

But fate was not done with me yet. Just today my girlfriend and I went into Squirrel Hill to run an errand and found all the streeets blocked off for the street fair. Lo and behold, the booth blocking Murry was none other than the very same dart game I saw a couple of weeks ago at the point. I walked right up to the booth, slapped down a fiver and said, "I would like three darts, please." The darts were smaller than I remembered and lighter than they looked. The points were dull too, as I suspected, but nonetheless I squared up and went set. I examined the balloons. They were not inflated evenly, and not all the same size. I could tell which were better for the popping because they were shinier and more transparent, wheras most were duller and more opaque. I found two that looked pretty full, right next to each other and half way up the wall, right where the double three would be if it were a board. The first dart found it's mark. Pop! The second dart did as well. Pop! But what to do with the third dart? There was one more well inflated balloon on the bottom row and way off to my right. I decide to go for three in a row so the third dart went to a balloon that was right next to the first two.

Bad decision. Sure enough, the dart hit the balloon, more or less dead on, but bounced off anyway. The balloon won that battle and survived to see another darter. So for two out of three balloons popped, I earned a small stuffed animal or an inflatable baseball bat. You can see my choice above. I turned to my girlfriend and offered her the mouse and she was genuinely happy. I immediately understood why the guy at the Point was so willing to part with his hard earned money.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Nice Finish

The other night I was running through some practice rounds and I ended up with a 74 out shot. I took a shot at the triple 18 and hit it, then hit the double ten for the game. It is nice when the darts go where you ask them to. I was left holding a dart so I decided to throw it at the double bull and voila, there it went. I noticed lately that I feel 'on' more and more often and that I am hitting the trip 20 with greater frequency. This is a nice feeling considering that my score have been stagnating after my initial improvement spurt that occurred during the first year of playing. I feel I am ready to move on to the next level of play but I do not know how to get there. So this new trend of hitting the trip 20 more often is more than encouraging.

As always, click the image for a larger picture.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Down with Beer Fingers

A bar player's hazard.

As always, click the image for a larger picture.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Whole Blue Attitude

No I have not become a Dodgers fan. The new darts have already given me a few B Grade gems. Here is my first Ton-40 with them. I have not Ton-80'd yet but that is rare for me anyway, and I certainly get excited by anything over 100.

And here is my first Almost Deadeye. This is the second five count I have thrown in the bulls that I remember, and it is the closest I have ever come to a deadeye (except another five count several months ago). As you can see for the two photos in this post and the photos in the previous post I have been playing around with shaft and flight combos. The blue aluminum shafts with the shiny eagle flights is a nice combo. It has a bright esthetic appeal and it flies well. I have tried the short nylon shafts on these darts with standard flights but that is not a good combo (I think the barrels are too short). Someone needs to make a better in between length nylon shaft.

As always, click the image for a larger picture.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

First Robin Hood with New Darts

Well here is my first Robin Hood with the new darts. This hood had a very curious sound to it. Despite the flight absorbing all the damage, there was a very solid think to it as if it had been thrown into sound board. No ripping or tearing sounds as you might expect. Just a resounding, dull *Thud*.

A close up of the penetrated flight is below. Be sure to click on the photo to embiggen it. You can see how the point of the incming dart splits the mylar just barely off center.

As always, click the image for a larger picture.

New Darts!

Got some new darts today. Actually my girlfriend got them for me as a gift from a lady selling at a fair. She came down over ten dollars on the price so they were a good deal. They are FP 23 Gram County Corks by GLD. They feel nice and throw well.

Here they are in the package. She threw in a set of flights and I chose the Eagles.

As always, click the image for a larger picture.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Know When To Quit

Sometimes it's over before it begins. These days I have been practicing by playing several games of 501 on DartPro. I aim for ten games but sometimes it is fewer and sometimes more. Anyway, I very often switch between darts when I practice and when I do so, I afford myself three warm up rounds to get accustomed to the new darts. I always throw those practice darts in this order (but I usually miss): Double Bull, Triple 20, Double 16. Today I hit it. What a nice feeling. So being a person who knows when to quit, I am going to have some beers and watch some baseball. The darts can stay on the wall.

Here is another shot of the hit, but from a slightly broader perspective. I cannot remember the last time I had my number ring on, and I quite like having it off. My board has looked like this for a while so perhaps it is time to rotate.

As always, click the image for a larger picture.