Sunday, September 28, 2008

The "Shoot It Forward" Campaign

I am thinking of a big idea. Today I was throwing some of the lighter sets in my collection and these include the Imagination darts from the German company Evolution. They were generous enough to send me a set of darts hoping to spread their brand name around the states some since they are less well known here. I have sent them my thoughts on the darts but I want to continue helping them by allowing other dedicated dart geeks the chance to throw them for a while and then send them to someone else, furthering the cause of helping this company. These are the darts of which I speak:

So here is my idea for a "Shoot it Forward" campaign. If you would like to participate, on a first come first serve basis, post a comment here, or on SEWA, and we'll try to get the darts to everyone who would like to give them a try. However, if you participate, you pledge to the following:
  • Once you have thrown them enough to formulate an opinion, you will email your comments to the Evolution company.
  • You will also send me your thoughts, and hopefully a picture so that I can post them here on The Dart Indoors.
  • You will not keep them too long (I am thinking a couple weeks or so should be enough time for a fair evaluation).
  • When done shooting with them, you will send them to the next person in line.
A couple of courtesy items come to mind. One, if you do not like the darts, please do not publicly trash them. Remember that this company was being very generous in sending out free darts for people to try them and I think it would be too unkind to post negative reviews around. So please send your frank and honest opinions to the company but try to find some positive things to say too.

I am sincerely hoping that no one will get selfish and keep the darts without forwarding them on to the next darter. So I am thinking about requiring some form of integrity check before you can participate. Something like a certain number of posts on SEWA. 50 post or more, that kind of thing. I would also like to eventually get them to Tommo and Nick Williams over in England too, so SEWA cannot be the only metric.

When it comes to mail, things DO get lost from time to time so I am thinking we should always send the darts with Delivery Confirmation. That way they are more trackable. Also, Evo sent me a bunch of flights too, so once you have sent the darts on to the next person, I would like to mail you a set of flights as a fun thank you for participating. I hope at least a few other people can get excitied about this idea.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Best of 14: Mike Baxter

This is an interview with Mike Baxter for publication in the ECDO Newsletter. The name of the column is "Best of 14" because the idea is to conduct the interview while playing a best of 14 match with the interviewee. Unfortunately we only had time for ten games, and we split them, 5 to 5.

Name: Mike Baxter
City, St: Auburn WA

Where were you born and raised? I was born in Fairfield California in Travis Air Force Base. Your father was in the air force? Yes, and I was raised in Tacoma.

How long have you been playing darts?
Since December of 2006. And before that you'd never played darts? I played for a few months in college. My roommate had a dartboard, and we played cricket. I didn't even play 01 until I started playing with the league but um, yeah, we just screwed around. I don't know what got him to buy a board but he got a board and tungsten darts and the whole deal and instead of sitting on the couch watching the game we'd play darts and watch the game on television. So fewer than two years? Yeah. But you've picked up a tremendous amount of skill in that time. I guess so (chuckles).

You play Super A?
Yeah, my first season wasn't as successful as I would have liked it. But uh, first season in Super A anyways. You've never played B League? No, my first league was A, spring of 2007.

Whose responsible for getting you into darts? Id have to say, what happened was, in December 2006 we had a big wind storm and my power was knocked out for a couple days and I was looking for something to do. For whatever reason I thought of my darts, I still had my darts which in my junk drawer and I don't know how I ended up at Murphy's but I ended up at Murphy's. I think maybe it was the closest place off the freeway that had steel tip darts or something. And uh, so it turned out that that Friday night the power was out on University way and the Friday night dart crowd ended up at Murphy's where I was. And I remember Paul and Elisa, uh, and it was just you know when anybody new shows up at a shoot everybody is very inviting and wants you to keep coming back. I did. you know I always liked throwing darts before and I just found everybody to be friendly and inviting. I would say its probably that Friday night crowd that hangs out at the Knarr.

Do you still have those darts? No, no I loaned them to a girl and she subsequently lost them. Do you remember what kid of darts they were? Yeah, they were 19 gram Maverick Wrangler darts and they had a scallop in the middle. I don't throw scalloped darts anymore though.

Would you say that you play for fun or do you play to win?
Um I'll say winning is fun. No, other than that there were plenty of nights at the Knarr where I had to play for fun, out of not winning. Do you still have fun even if you don't win? Yeah I do, honestly I do but it is very fun to win. Have you every played and your performance was so poor that you just felt disgusted and you just didn't wanna play darts anymore? No. I would say there re some nights where I question why I play darts but it has never been an issue of I wanna quit darts.

What kind of darts do you use?
Phil Taylor 24 gram Purists. How do you configure them? Medium stem? Nylon stem? Um, an extra long aluminum shaft and slim flights. Did you play around with different configurations before you settled on that or did you choose that for a reason? No not really, um, of course the other thing that kinda got me hooked on darts, you know after playing for a few months I found all sorts of dart videos on youtube and there was a match, there was a world championship final between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld and that was kinda my first introduction to Phil Taylor. And I thought well if this guy is such a champ 13 times over I just wanna experience the dart he throws to see what it is, you know of course its not the dart its the dart player, but I was curious to see what he threw and so I bought a set and they worked for me and I have not really deviated or changed since.

Have you ever used any other darts than those? Yeah. I mean not on a regular basis but I tinkered. I uh, I got a set of hand me down Black Widows from my step dad, the Fansteels that I keep forgetting to bring and I received a couple of sets of darts from Glen Huff. Hammerheads. Bottelsen Hammerheads and uh Harrows Eric Bristows. But I always come back to the Taylors.

How many nights a week do you play darts competitively?
Did you say competitively? During the fall I would say three: Tuesday singles in Tacoma, ECDO on Thursday, and of course the Knarr blind draw on Friday. How many nights a week do you play just for practice? Not counting?... Lets see I got four days... I try to do two or three of these days and I like to do four but... So the only two leagues you participate in are the Tacoma singles and the ECDO? Yeah, SSDA is the South Sound Dart Association. How would you compare SSDA to ECDO? Its uh... SSDA is more, obviously SSDA is more singles oriented. They only do singles and doubles and so I view that as being more competitive whereas ECDO, 4 to 6 person team is more of a social activity. I mean its competitive, people want to win, but there's a lot more BS'ing, joking around.

Do you have any heroes in the dart world?
Phil Taylor. Anybody else? No, but I like James Wade I think he's the next big thing in darts. What do you like about Phil Taylor so much? Why is he your hero of darts? Because he is head and shoulders above everybody else. We have guys at the local level who are really good shots and win most of the time, but there's not the one guy who wins everything. But Phil Taylor wins everything at the highest level. Why do you think James Wade is the next big thing in darts? Because of his age. He's what? 24? 25? Something like that and um he's already, the last three majors, he's finished runner up to Phil Taylor and so if not for Phil Taylor he would have had three more majors under his belt. So just the fact that he's sso young and he's got 20 years ahead of him.

As far as your own game goes, what do you feel could use the most improvement? My scoring. More tons. So you feel like your doubles are better than your high shots? I feel my finishing game is better than my scoring game. Too inconsistent on the scoring, a little more consistent on the finishing.

What is your practice philosophy?
Um, try to do something everyday. Even if its just a few darts at the 20. Even if thats all that time allows you, and then if you do have time for practice then try to do it uninterrupted. So in other words, don't let people or your dog interrupt you kind thing? Well you know, don't be doing the wash or laundry or something so you have these intermittent breaks every so often or something. Just section off a block of time where you can turn up some tunes and throw some darts. So you listen to music while you practice? Yeah, just for background and you know it's, uh, what the atmosphere is in the bar.

Lets say its a Wednesday night and you've got nothing at all that you need to do so you can dedicate yourself to practice. How much time do you spend and what is your routine? I would say 2 to 4 hours, depending on how early I start. Sometimes I get a later start but uh, I try to hit every segment on the board once a day so I go fat singles, skinny singles, doubles, and triples. And I am shooting bull in between each of those. How many shots at the bull in between? Until i hit it. I move on when I hit what I am shooting at. When you say bull do you mean double bull or any bull? Uh, well like when I am doing my round of singles, fat singles and skinny singles, I try to hit single bull but if I'm doing doubles and triples I try to hit a double bull before I move on. If after a round of fat singles and you are trying for a single bull but you hit a double bull, do you keep trying till you hit the single bull? No, most times when your throwing at bull in competition, unless you're finishing, its like your percentage of hitting the single is greater.

Why do you practice the skinny singles? Do you ever throw at the skinny singles in competition? No, so I can hit whatever I want to on the board, that's basically it. You never are shooting at the skinny singles but if you want to have command of the board you should be able to hit every segment if you want. So anyways, that's kind of like the leg work or heavy lifting. For practice, like routines, I'll do the practice games on SEWA. 100 darts at the 20, 50 darts at the bull, or Bob Anderson's doubles game so on and so forth.

How much time do you spend online? Do you consider yourself to be a part of the online dart community? Yes, on SEWA, I'd say I check in at least once a day and uh maybe I spend like 30 minutes to half an hour at a time checking out posts. if there's nothing new or interesting you know... Do you go to any other forums other than SEWA? I drop in on Superstars of Darts every once in a while but other than that no. Like I never even posted to Superstars. It is the SEWA equivalent over in England. Do you have your own dart website? or dart blog? No.

What is your general philosophy toward the game and toward other players?
Um, well, as Bob Ross says it really is just a stupid bar game, and so I try to keep that in mind. I try not to take it too seriously but at the same time we go to tournaments and we take part in league because we all have some competitive thing to feed. So I try not to take it too seriously but I apply myself enough to where I can be as good a player as I can anyway.

Who are your favorite partners for league play and tournaments?
Id' have to say Brian Smith because we've won two tournaments. We won the South Sound Winter Open cricket doubles, and we won the Tacoma Open. That was 2008 I think. Uh, boy you know that was last year 2007. The South Sound Winter Open. But then you won just recently at the Tacoma Open? Yeah, that was July of this year. Was that also Cricket? No, 501. Open Doubles.

How do you spend your time away from darts?
I just keep up on current events. I've played guitar off and on for ten years. When the urge hits me I try to exercise, but that has been too few and far between. And then I teach skiing at Snoqualmie in the winter. Alpine skiing.

What would you say is your greatest achievement in darts?
Well I haven't achieved anything as far as singles go. I have not won any tournaments, so I'd have to day that first doubles win with Brian. Have you ever hit a Ton-80? Yeah. How often? Depends, maybe a handful a week on my betters weeks. If I am having an off week maybe less than that. Have you ever hit a dead eye? Once. I never thought I would. You know is a lot harder, you have a lot less space to work with. Was it a cricket match? No just at home throwing at the board.

Whats the furthest you've ever traveled for darts?
The uh, either, I don't know the distances. Either Tri-Cities, Vancouver or Portland, take your pick. I don't know which one's furthest.

Do you have any closing statements or have anything you want to say?
No, I just appreciate the league for what it is and the friendships that come about I can easily say that prior to playing darts to now I have fifty-plus new acquaintances. Friends and acquaintances.

Dart Bloat

I have seen many impressive collections of darts online recently, especially this one: Bilbo's Darts (link stopped working). For those folks who enjoy collecting darts, and wish to amass a large quantity of sets, more power to them. I am not one of these people yet I have over 60 sets. How is that possible? I am an unintentional collector. I gathered these sets mostly by accident and it is high time I purge out the sets I neither like nor want.

There are many that fit that description. I imagine I will keep most of my custom sets, all the sets which were gifts, most of my GTish sets, and one or two that I do really well with. But the rest I am certain should not be cluttering my already too cluttered life. It is high time for a return to simplicity. Time to re-embrace the minimalism of possession that I valued so highly in my more transient youth. I think I'll take this opportunity to list my current dart collection:

  1. 40g brass bombers, make unknown
  2. 28g smooth black GT's
  3. 26g freeflight (?) mavericks (?)
  4. 26g ct's
  5. 24g 20/20's
  6. 23g gt-pluses
  7. 23g dynadags
  8. 23g county corks
  9. 22g halex tungstens
  10. 21g voks raptors
  11. 21g harrows magnums
  12. 21g unicorn brass
  13. 21g harrows rhinos
  14. 21g datadart steve "magic" cootes
  15. 20g pickup customs
  16. 20g halex tungstens
  17. 20g halex nickel-silvers
  18. 19g voks nobus
  19. 18g kort haus mavericks
  20. 18g wazza customs
  21. 16g radarts
  22. 26g unknown ringed hammerheads
  23. 24g dart freaks
  24. 22g unicron latinum colin lloyds
  25. 20g puma kings
  26. 25g accudart penetrators
  27. 24g copper tungsten bullets

That's about it. For the record, I am starting with 70 sets on September 26th, 2008. I'll try to turn each of these list items into links so more details on the sets can be viewed. To my recollection, these are the sets of darts which I have owned in the past which I have sold or traded away:

  1. 28g laserdarts smooth black widows, traded to JME in July 08 for the gt-pluses
  2. 27g gt3's, traded to crashfromboston for the new world darts
  3. 24g bottelsens, traded to griff for the target sports
  4. 23g unicorn john part latinums, traded to sleepykramer for the accudart penetrators
  5. 24g Harrows Powerpoint Dimplex, traded to bret23 for the unknown bottelsens
  6. 24g laserdart kc's traded to griff for the fixed point gt's
  7. 23g Harrows Magnums, traded to ??? for the Lewis' and the V-wings
  8. 24g Unicorn F136's (gifted to my friend Glen for his birthday)
  9. 19g halex hawkeyes (ebayed for a pittance)
  10. 25g black "edge" great whites (ebayed for a fair price)
  11. 30g smooth original hammerheads (ebayed for a fair price)
  12. 25g crossfires (ebayed for a fair price)
  13. 26g ringed generics (ebayed for a pittance)
  14. 26g nodors (ebayed for a pittance)
  15. 10g unicorn bantams (sold to Barry Leigh for a fair price)
  16. 24g scoundrels (sold to Mick in Canada for a fair price)
  17. 26g Unicorn Bullets (ebayed to a guy in Spain)
  18. 12g harrows crown jewels (ebayed)
  19. 14g college darts (ebayed)
  20. 21g Harrows V-Wing (ebayed)
  21. 27g harrows axis (ebayed)
  22. 20g accudart 501's nickel-silver (ebayed)
  23. 17g halex silversofts (ebayed)
  24. 21g adrian lewis (sold to delfam on SEWA)
  25. 23g unicorn hustlers (sent to Bilbo as a Thank you for the 21 gram Unknowns)
  26. 17g chrome plated brass (ebayed)
  27. 21g harrows assassins (sold to finderne of SEWA)
  28. 18g halex brass (ebayed)
  29. 16g Unicorn dum dums (gifted to my good buddy Glen Huff)
  30. 10g rubber ringers (ebayed)
  31. 22g harrows dimplex (sent off to Vasco Roque in Portugal)
  32. Accudart Variants (gifted to my friend Byron (but he doesn't know it yet))
  33. 24g mega thrusts (sold to same said friend for a fair price)
  34. 22g fixed point megathrusts (sold to D. Griffin in NS for a fair price)
  35. 22g spectacular 1989's (ebayed for a small amount)
  36. 24g stt-900's (ebayed)
  37. 15g reddragon featherlights (sold to Ron Whittle for a fair price)
  38. 17g reddragon featherlights (sold to Jester (of SEWA) for a fair price)
  39. 24g piranhas (sold on eBay)
  40. 26g accudart fastbacks (gifted to mcvickj)
  41. 25g accudart 301's (gifted to mcvickj)
  42. 24g dagnabits (sold to mcvickj)
  43. 24g new world darts (to be gifted to my good buddy Glen this summer (2011))
  44. 25g NT's (pickup customs) (sold)
  45. 19g harrows tigers (traded to a teammate)
  46. 16g black gt3s (sold to RodmanRodman)
  47. 20 gram Co Stompe's (sold to RodmanRodman)
  48. 7g Unicorn Extralights (gifted to my good buddy Glen)
  49. 23g warriors (traded to littleman124)
  50. 22g orion vector smart darts (ebayed for a pittance)
  51. 24g bombs (sold on eBay)
  52. 25g target sports (sold on eBay)
  53. 21g Unknowns (these are lost!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Uber Tonnage

This is my third Ton-80 in as many days, abd it iss my 38th lifetime. This came off my Dynadags which is a dart I do not show case nearly enough.

This is how they are currently configured:

I think this just might be the besst possible configuration for them although I admit that I am thinking about sending them back to Jeff Pickup to have them drilled out for Bottelsen GT stems. I am over the Dynastar thing I was into years ago when I had these made. I want a non-moving dart!

37 on 25's

These darts are really special and they have a very weird rattle-thunk when they hit the board that is way unlike any other dart I have ever thrown. They are old Accudart Penetrator's that have removable graphite points. The rattle comes from the fact that the graphite points are held in with collars as if they were hammerhead style moving points, but there is not back and forth movement. They spin certinly, but no jackhammer type movement. The thunk is different because the graphite points are pretty thick all the way down to the beveled point. You can see a better pic here.

The darts in this pic aree configured with medium length scalloped nylon stems and standard dimplex flights. I have been moving more and more to this kind of setup.


So here is my 36th maximum:

It isn't really special but it is one of those that come off rarely thrown darts. These are my mystery Bottelsen's which I am sure are relatively vintage since you never see them on ebay and no one ever seems to know what they are. I have sent emails to that company before but they do not respond very often to emails and certainly not to this one.

Lately I have been "playing" with my dart collection. not playing in the sense of throwing games but rather in just messing around with the darts. I have been re-organizing them in order of weight starting from 40 grams on down, and obviously these cam up quickly in that process since they are 26's. This was probably my first or second toss with them in months. Now they are back in the cabinet displayed with the rest of the 26's and I'll likely not throw them again for months.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

35th Lifetime Ton-80

I am not sure when I will finally stop being excited about hitting a max. Hopefully never even though any pros who happen to read this will likely think it laughable that I take pictures of each one.

Perhaps when I finally hit one in competiton will I let up already and just keep track of the number... nah... gotta have something to blog about right?

Again this is the Medium Snow White stem and Slim dimplex flight combo I have been partial to.

Maximum 34

Another off the backs of the Nobu's which occurred during a five minute "lunchtime" session today:

The configuration seen on these Nobu's is something I have adopted for several sets of darts lately and seems to be edging it's way to being my CPC. The set up is medium Snow White stems and slim bluish dimplex flights.

Non-trivial Tonage (#33)

Oddly, and partly infuriatingly, I have hit four ton-80's in the last two days. Two yesterday and two today. This one occurred quite happily yesterday during a fairly long practice session. The session itself consisted of "Choosing Darts", which is a habit I have gotten into in the last several years when I am not sure what darts I want to throw. I line six or seven sets up on my work bench and takes turns throwing games of DD 301 until I am fully practiced.

Since two of my recent maximums have come on these darts with this configuration, I am going to stick with them ;)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

32nd Max

This was a one off. I picked 'em up and this happened on the second toss: