Monday, December 26, 2005

Xmas Spoils

I had a very darty Christmas this year. In addition to a couple more pairs of my favorite jeans I ended up with some very nice dart related items. Take a look:

First, I scored a brand new Unicorn Eclipse dartboaard. It didn't have the white blades I was expecting, but it is a very nice dartboard. I threw on a DMI Bandit for several years and I still think it has a few years left in it before it is completely kaput, but I asked for a new dartboard anyway. The Unicorn Eclipse is the premium offering from Unicorn and a direct competitor with the Bandit. I wanted it mostly because the Bandit was getting really beat up on the blades and the reason I didn't go with another bandit is because I wanted to have a chance to compare the premium boards over a long period of time. This time next year I'll be able to provide a definitive "which is better" declaration.

Four new sets of darts. In order from top to bottom: 20 gram black GT2's wearing Spinpactor points and black aluminum GT screw-in shafts with black poly pears. This is a nice dart. It throws pretty consistently despite the fact that it is a very light dart. The nice taper on it is the redeeming factor, of ocurse. A good forward weighting will make grammage nearly irrelevant. The second dart is a 21 gram fixed point Steve Coote Signature Datadart. Also a terrific dart with a nice feel. The third dart is a 21 gram brass dart that came free with the Eclipse dart board. They are massive compared to what I am used to, but I like them a great deal. They are quite long and so I have to use an extra-short nylon to get the dart to the length I like. All of these darts, by the way, are wearing my CPF's. The Brass Biggies (as I call them) hang from the board at a slight down angle like the Vectors used to before I removed the ADM mechanism. I can still hit ton-40's with them though. The last dart is the Orion Vector Smart Dart properly configured. The ADM was too heavy for the dart and once replaced with a medium nylon stem, the dart flies like a dream!!

My buddy in Seattle came to the same conclusion on his own. He took the ADM off as well but still likes the dart for its grip.

Dart ornament and keychain-mini-frame: These are both quite nice. Every year my girlfriend and I exchange one ornament for the tree and this year she got me the little pueter dartboard. The little dart picture frame/keychain it pretty neat. I have been toying about using it for toting around a picture of my dog but since I don't really use a ketchain at all anyway I will probably just come up with picture of my dart team.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Steve 'Magic' Coote Signature Datadarts

I was please and surprised to find on my doorstep yesterday a set of darts which were sent to me from England. I am a participant on Steve Coote's dart forum over at Steve Coote is a well ranked PDC dart player who has earned his own signature dart from Datadarts:

Steve was kind enough to send me a set of his signature darts and they are terrific. They are a 21 gram skinny pencil style fixed point dart whose texture is achieved with evenly spaced grooves. They throw quite well, and when they hit the board they do not produce the same kind thunk the heavier darts do. instead they slide into the sisal silently, and just stop; as if rigged with Dr. Who's Inertia Absorber.

The case they came in is very nice. At first glance it appears to be the standard small plastic case that the Halex darts come in but upon closer examination you can see that it opens from both sides. On one side is the compartment for the darts as well as a slot for some flights and on the other side, extra tips, stems and flights can fit in there as well.

If Steve's photo flights had been pear shaped I would have been tempted to use them but since 1., I only have one set of Steve's flights, and 2., the black poly pear is my CPF, I figured I'd preserve the Coote flights and configure the darts right from the getgo. The stems that come with the darts are unique as well. They are an in-between length I have never seen before, measuring 1.75". Also notice there is writing in the space between the grooves. It says: MAGIC. Which is Steve Coote's darts nickname.

Very classy gift Steve. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Case for Micros

From top to bottom you aare seeing three different configurations of the Vector Darts. The very top is how they came in the box, with the extra short aluminum shafts and gold tips. This is a decent configuration but it is just a tad long. The next dart below that also has an extra short aluminum shaft but sports my CPF. This is a minor change as the pear shaped flights are only slightly smaller in surface area than the standard shaped flights.

The last dart in the top photo has extra short nylon stem. Tht was the only further change I made for the first few hours of throwing. I found this was almost as good as it gets for this dart. The extra short nylon stems are, surprisingly, quite a bit shorter than the extra short aluminums. This is good to know. After an hour or so throwing these darts and watching them land half hanging down out of the board I remembered that I own an even shorter shaft. The Micros! Now I have experimented with the micro aluminums before but I never really found any darts that they "belong" on. Now I have.

This is the configuration that I have found that works best for the OV Smarts. The micro aluminums provide an overall dart length that I feel meets my criteria for a well configured dart. The black micros with the black poly pears make for a subtle sleek appearance. The only other problem to correct was the gold colored points. Not only did they not match the rest of the dart, they are not very good points. So I replaced them with some Pickup Points. The Pickup Points match the dart's color scheme and are a superior design.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New Darts: Orion Vectors

So my new tradition is to buy a new set of darts for a good buddy of mine who is also into darts and who was on my old dart teams when I played in Seattle. He's a damn good shot as is evidenced by the 141-Out he hit in practice last night. Anyway I try to get him stuff he wouldn't get for himself and since he is a good friend I do not mind dropping a pretty penny on the good stuff. The other route I go is to get something unique.

And of course, I usually get a set for myself in the process ;)

This year I got him some "Vector Smart Darts with ADM" from Orion Vector. I'd seen these darts a long time ago and have always been intrigued. Everytime I go dart surfing I hit the Orion Vector site just for the sake of it. The guy there has some good stuff. He's got some nice looking reversable darts (which is just another way of saying it is 2ba threaded on both sides) which I breifly considered getting. But the Vector Smarts are the unique set.

They have an undeniably great grip but they throw really weird. The steel section screwed into the back of the barrel that has the swivel makes the whole dart very long. So even if you use very short shafts you end up with an odd balance. Steel may be lighter than tungsten but it is not lighter than nylon or aluminum so you end up with the equivalent of a very heavy shaft. I use micro length aluminum stems on mine but the darts still end up leaning down in the board after a hit. As you can see from the photo below, extra short aluminum shafts are included, but extra short is still too long in my opinion.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

9th Lifetime Ton-80 (and 8th!)

Well I did it again, this time though it was quite special in more than one way. I have only had the darts for less than a day and had not thrown them at all until just a bit ago. I tossed a few at the bull, and a few doubles, etc. Then, believe it or not I decided to try for the triple 20 and hit the ton-80 in my first ever attempt with these darts! That's gotta be a good omen. I have not decided how I feel about the darts yet, but this sudden bout of performance is certainly warming me up to them.

About an hour after the first Ton-80 occurred I got up to practice again. This time I hit another Ton-80 followed immediately by a ton-20 and a seven count in the 15s. This is the first time I have ever hit two max's in one day. These darts are really something special. I have modified them somewhat though. I put shorter shafts on them, my CPFs and also swapped out the points that came with them for Pickup points. Below is a pic of the First Ton-80 (8th lifetime) (the second Ton-80 is the pic in the post (above)).

8th Maximum

The Split Atom

This is a new creation from Jeff Pickup. It is a dart that comes apart in the middle of the barrel to allow the insertion of a moving point. Thus the name the "Split Atom". The idea is quite revolutionary and from just looking at the first picture here it appears to be a fixed point dart and there is no indication that the point moves. It is a very clever idea.

This picture sort of shows the dart barrel and point disassembled. You can see that the point is quite long with a knob, or stopper, on the butt end and that the pieces of the dart are split more or less in the middle so that when the point strikes back upon contact with the dartboard, it is slamming into solid tungsten, and not the top of some stem.

And as you can tell from this picture, once the dart is assembled, it is quite hard to locate the seam in the barrel. I am fairly certain that Jeff is using Lock-Tite to hold the pieces together.

If you think you might like to order any of these darts or anything else Jeff Pickup has pics of on this blog, but sure to leave a comment with your contact information and I'd be happy to pass it along. If you contact him directly, please be sure to let him know you saw his stuff on my blog. Cheers! Assembled with Pickup Stems:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Home Made Dart Pouch

Here is my latest project:

I am making my own dart pouch out of some scrape leather I bought. The idea was to come up with a pouch just big enough to hold everything I need for a nights play in the bar without having to carry around a dart case, or anything else so big that you have to leave it on the table or bar. So the dart pouch I am making will have two sides. One side, as you can see from the first pic is three cylinders to hold the darts fully assembled and ready for action (as opposed to fully assembled and stowed like the Dartmaster). So for this to be useful I will have to find a way to keep it on my body during the night. I have two ideas in mind, one is for my team to have shirted pockets, and the other is to have a leather cord attached to both upper corners so I can wear it around my neck. I think I will go with the cord. and wear it. My team doesn't have shirts yet and it is unlikely they will be anything other than a tee shirt.

The flip side, or probably for purposes of hanging the back side, is a deerskin pouch (as you can see form the second pic). Right now the pouch exists and the flap is big enough to close but I do not have the tiny snaps I need for use with deerskin (which is thin and elastic compared to the leather I used on the other side). The pouch I wanted to be big enough to hold a few extra flights and a few extra stems but so big that it gets bulky. I mean, how much do you really need on league night. I might find some way to attach the dart sharpener but beyond that you really don't need much. If you use nylon stems and fixed points you do not need a "tool" although most dart tools will be small and flat enough to go in the pouch no prob.

As you can see from the profile view in the third pic it is really a pretty streamlined pouch. Most of the thickness comes from a combination of the leather on the cylinder side and whatever is in the pouch. This should make it pretty easy and undistracting to wear around the neck. I might also try something different. SInce the darts fit in the cylinders pretty snuggly. I might attach a metal loop through one corner and then attach a clip to it and I have have it hanging from a belt loop or something like that. At any rate it seems like a really good alternative to leaving your stuff on a table in a crowded bar.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Second Try

I'm not addicted. I can quit whenever I want. I'm gonna quit right after this pack.. I mean throw.. I mean.. whatever. I'm not addicted I swear. SO I had a little relapse. No big deal, right? Tonight I will dedicate myself to other pursuits and hope for a new board for Christmas.

A Pretty Slick Stick

Kudos to Unicorn for making a pretty slick product and kudos to SeaHag for suggesting I try them. I am talking of course about Slik-Stiks, which, if you have never heard of them is a stem designed to hold a flight securely by slipping the flight into it and then providing a built in flight ptotector to boot. I picked these up a long time ago and then stuck them in my dart box and promptly forgot about them for a long time. I rediscovered them tonight and decided it was time to give them a toss. As you can see in the photo below I have the short MX version which is still a little bit longer than a short nylon stem.

I threw a few practice games with them tonight and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by them. I had some ill concieved preconcieved notions which prejudiced me against them for a long time. Now tyhat I have tried them I can say they are a pretty good product. I bought the nylon version since I prefer nylon these days but I am aware that they are done in aluminum as well for you aluminum afficionados.

One thing that worried me about them is that they are a one sslot device which made me think there would be nothing keeping the flight square (flight wings at a 90 degree angle to each other) and that the flights would have a tendency to be flat. Well as it turns out this is not the case and since flights are sold completely flat, the trick is to use the single slot to your advantage. It is done like this: in most flights you get thye phenomenon where two sides of the flight are about 95 degrees open and the other two about 85. Just squeeze the wider side together and slip it into the Slik-Stik and this will help keep the flight more square.

Another notion I had was that the slik-stik would be too long for my favorite flights (pear shaped) but this turns out to not be true either. I guess flights all come in a very standardized length (which is a good thing I guess). At any rate there was only one flight I could find that did not fit in the Slik-Stik. But since it is aa flight I am not tht fond of I really don't care.

One thing I can say about the slik-stiks is that with the exception of nylon flights, flights load into them very easily. In fact, I can see where this would be a hge advantage later in the evening when most of us are slightly less sober. Another apparent advantage would be that it seems like it would be really difficult to robin hood these stems. There is nothing for the incoming dart to really catch on.

I also thought that the single slot aspect of these stems could be a potential solution to the nylon flight problem. And that problem, as anyone who uses nylon flights is aware, is that they are almost impossible to keep square!! They are already almost too thick to be used in aluminum stems and once you squeeze them in the aluminum shafts will only keep one end square. And have you ever tried to get a flight protector on the nylon flights? Slik-stiks do solve this problem. It is aa little bit hard to jimmy the nylon flights into the Slik-Stiks but one you have them in there straight (as you can see form the photo below) they stay very very square. I could not fit the standard shape nylon flight into the slik-stik though. It was too tall by a micron.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

36 Meter Hurdles

Oops, I mean 36-Out Hurdles. Tonight while practicing I was left with a 36 out. I missed wide with the first dart, and then the second dart ended up in a really odd angle cutting across the double 18 also at an odd angle. So the third dart had little access to the double. I decided to try to sneak it over the top of the angled dart and voila! Nailed it. Not a spectacular out numbers-wise but it was certainly the feel good out of the evening. The darts, in case you are wondering, are 24 gram fixed point Penetrators (when I bought them they were called Dart Freaks), wearing short Rev-Grip nylon stems and my CPF's.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Creative Containing: Little Stuff

What have we all found to keep our miscellaneous dart stuff in? I like to keep and gather miscellaneous small containers of all shaps and sizes to keep stuff in. The little stuff in darts is especially receptive this sort of container. Next time you are in the grocery store, waiting for the person in front of you to finish scanning and paying

etc, take a look at the impulse-buy shelves. You will see a myriad of mints, candies, gums, and whatnot all in their own littl plastic homes. The little stuff I am taling about is the flight protectors, o-rings, stem springs, crowns, etc. I used to use a very small Altoids tin for these items but I have found a better, see through container.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Spinning Out of Control

Before I start comparing my spinners, let me say this: the Dynastar spinning flight system is far and away the best system I have seen. Nothing else compares. Having made such a broad sweeping statement, let me also say this: dynastar is a such a free spinning system that sometimes I think they spin too much. You can hold the dart in front of your face and give it a slight blow and the flight becomes a spinning blur. So if you like a free spinning flight this is the system you are looking for. You can get them in nylon or aluminum.

The next best spinner in terms of how freely it spins is the Spinster shaft. I do not personally own the entire shaft but I own a very unique set of darts that use the Spinster tops only for stems. One season I threw in Seattle a teammate showed up one night with spinster shafts on his darts. I remember being very impressed with how well they spun under the slightest breath. They are good looking and well made. They only come in aluminum, however.

Other spinners I have that have a good spin to them but are unfortunately less attractive are the spinners that came with my Harrows Piranhas. They are a good short length, though. I believe they are called Top Spin. I would say that the spinners that came with my Great Whites also fall into the catagory of good spin but bad esthetic. Equally mediochre are the medium all aluminum all black spinners, and while these are plenty sleek the spin is a little tight. My worst spinners are those that are nylon or plastic with attempts at spinning tops. This is not to say that all nylon spinners are bad but mine surely are. They stay on the dart but do not spin freely in the least. If you want the benefits of nylon in your stems but want the spinning action get the nylon Dynastars and ignore the rest.

Free spinning can be bad. I have talked to guys that want the dart to be more or less stable and non-moving until such time as there is a flight collision and they want the flight of the first dart to spin out of the way. They don't want it spinning in the air, in other words. To me this is not an issue which is why I like the Dynastars. In fact, I like the Dynastars so much I actually modified a set to fit my GTs:

Dynastars have other qualities that should not be overlooked. For example, Dynastars cannot be robin hooded. The flights are a molded plastic so there are no mylar layers to separate. Also the stem part of the system doesn't have anything for an incoming dart to catch on and thus robin hoods are not an issue there either. Also, perhaps thanks to their method of having such a freely spinning flight, the Dynastar flights pop off quite well so between the spinning action, the easy popcorning, and the molded plastic, the flights last a long time.

Of course now is when I remind you that I don't use spinners of any sort anymore unless on a whim. I use ordinary short or in-between static nylon stems these days and do not feel the need for spinnners. But if you are into spinners, have a blast.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Favorite Stem

My favorite stem is vary hard to find.

I do not treat aluminum vs. nylon as some sort of holy war. I use stems made from both materials and I like them both and recognize the pros and cons of both. For example, on my 16 gram Radarts that I used all last season I will only use short aluminum shafts. The in-between nylon shafts will work on them length wise but they have a dramatically different feel and thus do not work over all. Thus there are some darts in my collection that will only take an aluminum shaft. The reverse is not true. While on many of my darts I actually prefer to use an in-between or short nylon stem I can use an in-between or short aluminum shaft just as happily. I have many many many different types of shafts and stems of all lengths and materials. Perhaps some day I'll compare the pros and cons of the whole range but today I am just getting to a particular point and that is:

My Favorite Stem is Hard To Find!

Take a look at the stems in the photo below. The three stems are all similar in some regard. All plain black, which is an advantage because it detracts from any flashiness in the darts. Flashiness is bad but that is a discussion for another post.

The top shaft is a standard in-between length aluminum shaft. Plain as can be this is actually my prefered aluminum shaft when I use them. It has one main pro and one main con. The pro is that its shape provides a nice feel to the dart when thrown and is more attractive aesthetically. The main con is that you have to use rubber o-rings to keep them from unscrewing on their own. It doesn't bother me all that much to have to use o-rings, but some darts are machined more intelligently than others. On the poorer darts, when you tighten a shaft that is o-ring equiped it will smash the o-ring outward so that either it slips out of the dart altogether, or just creates a little bulge sticking out from the joint between the barrel and the shaft. The better machined darts provide a slight groove or inward angle so that when the shaft is tightened it squeezes the o-ring in towards the threading.

The bottom shaft is your standard medium length nylon shaft. The main pro is that it will stay tight on its own, the main con is that it is a dumpy looking shaft. The mediums are too long for my taste, and for the barrels I typically use. I will soon be trying some 44 mm length barrels at the suggestion of Taechon and the mediums may work better on those but that remains to be seen. I use springs sometimes. But not because they keep the flight on tighter. I actually prefer that the flights pop off easily and thus the springs will interfere with that. Another benefit of using the springs is that when you robin hood the stem (as opposed to robin hooding the flight) the spring will prevent the stem from breaking, thus preserving the stem for you. So, when I am running low on the stems (which has been true for the last eight months) I will use the springs to keep from having to buy more stems too soon.

The middle shaft shares the pros from both of the other two shafts and is MY FAVORITE SHAFT. It is a shapely beautiful stem that looks good on any dart, AND it is nylon so it doesn't require an 0-ring to keep it on tight. This stem has other benefits. It is flexible in the middle and will easily bend out of the way of incoming darts. Also, you can still use springs on these stems to keep the flight from coming off if you like (and the springs are extremely effective). The only downside that I am aware of (other than their apparent scarcity) is that they will snap more easily than other stems making them more disposible than others. But if I could find them in good supply this would not bother me in the slightest. Above is a pic of them with a spring in place.

So, does anyone know where I can find them in a variety of colors and lengths? I have seen similar ones on Unicorn's website but only in white, and to be honest they weren't as nice looking (too angular and not curvy enough). Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How To Order Pickups:

Howdy Ynz. I'd like to draw your attention to the new sidebar on the right side of this blog page: =====>

This is a section of quicklinks related to Jeff Pickup and some of the work he has done. People very often ask me how they can get the darts they see in the blog and if Jeff can do this, or Jeff can do that. The answer is always yes, of course.

If you like the darts you see and want to buy some please let Jeff know what you are looking for, what changes you'd prefer on the darts (he doesn't make it till you order it - and all sets are somewhat unique). Just make sure he knows you saw his stuff on my blog. Thanks!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Making Good

The winter break between league seasons is a good time to make good. Make good on promises, that is. And I have a couple that I need to enforce. I promised myself I would take a break from darts and as you can see from the pic to the right this is exactly what I am doing. In fact, I am enforcing that promise by removing my dartboard from the wall for a while.

But there is another reason to remove the dartboard from my backboard other than to remove the temptation to pick up a dart and throw it. Indeed, I have hinted to someone special to me that I would like a new dartboard for christmas. So if this comes to pass then I will have a good excuse to put a board back up. Otherwise, I have a different timeline in mind. You see, there is another non-dart related promise I have been thinking about.

I have been working with linux for a few years now and I have decided it is high time to get some sort of certification to prove I am proficient and wise in the ways of linux. Doing so will (should) improve my standing at work as well as provide a bit of satisfaction. SO if that Unicorn Eclipse doesn't find its way down my chimney this year, the board will stay down long enough to study up for an exam or two.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Whimper.. Whimper.. Gone

Well last night was the last league match for the season and while me and my team had a great deal of fun we lost again in a spectacular way. We lost 15-4 to the only team we'd beaten this year. I started the night strong but finished with a whimper hitting very little of note in the last few games I played in. There were a few highlights to mention, one of which was quite a good come back in DIDO 301.

I played one doubles cricket match, which we won mostly because my partner couldn't miss the triples. But I contributed with several bulls in that game so I am happy about it. The best of the night for me came in my singles 'best of three' match which I won 2-0. We started with 501 which I won in a non-spectacular manner. I hit my out before he did. Then we played DIDO 301. He got on first round and I couldn't hit my double all of a sudden. It looked like I was going to be skunked. After everytime he reduced his score I would miss my double in by a wider and wider margin! But, when he had only 98 left, I got on with a double 8, and finished the game 16 darts later. I am proud to say that not once in that game did I ever give up. Somehow I just knew I'd have my chance at an out shot. Anyway, my opponent was visibly crushed and disgusted. Which is too bad, I know the feeling for sure.

I stuck with my 16 gram Radarts last night, as I have used them for almost ever match played this season. I don't think I will use them next February though so I am going to start practicing with a different set immediately (okay not immediately - I need a break from this wicked and cruel game). In fact, I think I am going to take down the dartboard for a while if for no other reason than to remove the temptation to throw.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tonight's Feel Good Out

Well when is 5 a good score? The answer is that it is a good score when you aim for a triple, and hit it, and then aim for a double, and hit it, and not need to throw your third dart at all. That will make 5 a good score any day of the week. This is what happened to me in practice and it left me feeling pretty good. The odd thing is this. If I had performed this same feat just one wedge to the left, it would be a 100 out and thus note worthy. Doing the same thing in the ones doesn't get the glory even though it is no less difficult.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Reduction Begins

There is a Canadian who goes by the online moniker of Dax. He is always giving me terrific advice on how to become a good dart player, how to improve and especially about the mental aspect of the game. His most consistent advice to me (and this has come from other people as well) is to stick with a single set of darts. That is very hard to do as I really like all of my darts. It is like giving someone a huge satellite Tv package and telling them never to turn the channel. How can I never throw the Widows again? Or the Rhinos or the Warriors or the... You get the idea. Realistically, I have become so enamored to the 16 Gram Radarts that they are all I really throw much these days anyway. So it will not be so hard to not throw the others. I can always break them out between seasons for fun, or during parties when there are a lot of people throwing. So I have actually gone through the trouble of packing up the darts I don't use that much, boxing them, and sticking them in the attic. I only have three sets of darts near my board now, and stick to those only. Here they are:

Also. I am going to reduce these to only two sets soon. The top two have something in common and the bottom two have some thing in common. The top two darts are both GT3's by Bottelsen and I like the feel of them as well as the fact that they wear similar clothes. Since this photo was taken I have tried a few different points on the 16 gram GT3's (middle set) but now they are wearing hammerhead points just like the 27 gram set (top). Oops, in the picture the top set is wearing the Pickup Points. Now they are both wearing HH points.

The bottom two sets are both 16 gram. I have been gravitating to lower weights lately and the 27 gram GT3's are likely to me the next to be pruned from my throw set. But for some reason the 16g Radarts (bottom) have a dramatically differnt feel to them and throw much better than the GT3's of the same weight. This may also be a factor in the decision. I may even demote both GT3's and call up some other dart from the collection to serve as the second set. Remains to be seen. League ends on Tuesday so I may even take a closer look at the LCT (Less Commonly Thrown) darts to see if there are any overlooked gems in there given my reduction in weight preference recently.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dart Swap

Some of the folks over at Sewa Darts came up with the idea of a dart swap. A good way to trade those iffy purchases for something you'd rather have. All of the darts below are darts that I like, but either 1. have some element to them that I'd prefer to change, or 2. are darts that I have more than one set of. So here are the first offerings with a description as well as the reason they are for trade. Also, I am willing to trade them as pictured, barrel only, or with just about any other combination of stem and flight.

Top to Bottom descriptions for the photo immediately above:

1. 28 gram fixed point smooth blask widows. Slightly worn. I'd prefer to trade these for either lighter black widows or black eagles. The only reason I am willing to trade these is because 28 grams is too heavy for my taste. If no one wants them I will likely have Jeff Pickup "illusion taper" them.

2. 25 gram fixed point black "edge grip" Great Whites from Bottelsen. Hardly used. I'd prefer to trade these for other bottelsens, possibly Hammerheads. I like the grip on these darts pretty well but something about them doesn't fir my throw. Perhaps they are too fat (9/32" barrel) or slightly too heavy.

3. 24 gram Powerpoint Dimplex. As is. I'd prefer to trade for other powerpoints but I guess I am open to almost anything. I like the grip on these darts but I wish they were thinner and longer.

1. 20 gram fixed point Halex Tungstens. These are in very good condition and the only reason I got them in the first place is so I could have a backup set for the darts my girlfriend got me one Christmas. The trouble with them is that they are 20 grams whereas my originals are 22. Thus they are not really backups.

2. 20 gram fixed point Halex Nickel-Silvers. These are probably the first set of steel tips I ever bought. I like them okay but I don't use them much anymore so I am willing to trade them.

3. 18 gram fixed point Halex Brass. As brass darts go these are gems. I have three sets of them though so losing one set is no big deal to me.

1. 27 gram fixed point Harrows Axis. When I first got these darts I liked them quite a bit and threw with them fairly often but I have migrated to the lighter weights and so do not use them much anymore. The grip is very unique. They are very slightly front loaded but I consider them middle weighted darts.

2. 19 gram moving point "Hawkeyes". These may be Halex darts but I am not sure. I cannot remember where I got them and their case is long gone. As pictured they are wearing hammer head points and dyna-star stems. Be warned though, if you want the hammerhead points you can but one is bent a little and I have never bothered to straighten it out. I bought them that way from a store in Elizabeth, PA, and didn't notice at the time.

3. 17 gram fixed point who knows what they are darts. These darts are terrific. I have two sets otherwise they would not be up for trade. I have no idea what material they are made of. They are mostly smooth darts but they have very slight rings in the barrel, just enough to give them an "almost texture." The threading in the back for the stem is 1/4" and I have bought 1/4" aluminum stems for them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Almost Okay

Last night's match was a nother defeat for my team but good times were had by all. At least this week my team didn't have to completely carry me like they did last week! In fact I did almost okay last night.

My first match was a doubles cricket which we won. My partner was hitting her trips and I hit three bulls in the last two rounds for the win. In fact that was a close one! In our opponents last round they hit a solid hat trick to bring themselves within 10 points of us, but I hit that last needed bull with my last dart. The next match was a doubles DIDO 401. I had the same partner and we won again. I doubled in on the 8 in the first round and took an 8 out for the win.

My singles match was very well played by both me and my opponent but he got the best of me. He was far and away their best darter so I am happy I gave him a run for his money. He won the first game, cricket, because I couldn't hit my bulls at all. Otherwise that game would have been mine. Next game was DIDO 301 which went well for me. I hit a 92 in on my first round and finished the game in 19 darts, 4 of which were misses at the double out, and one of which was wasted in the single bull for the very first dart of the game. The tie breaker was a SIDO 501. It was tight, but he hit his double before I hit mine, although I had at least ten darts at the out before I lost. All I could do that game was whittle it down to bones.

These are the darts I used last night. They are 24 gram Piranhas by Harrows. FP with in-between leangth nylon shafts and black poly pear flights. They are a good dart. I have been leaning lighter lately though.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pickup Points

Here are some GT3's with Pickup points rather than the HH points I bought to go with them. I did not put the Pickup points in there on purpose necessarily, I just decided to take off the Fixed Point conversions for a while in favor of moving points and these were closest to my hand. Er.. wait.. perhaps the HH Spinpactors are locktighted into some other darts. Not sure. Nonetheless, someone asked me about them recently so I thought I'd show what they look like in GTs.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Pickup Original

While I was doing business with Jeff Pickup and describing to him what I wanted in my Dagnabits, he was kind enough to send me a sample dart of what he usually does. It is an original design with him and has some very nice features. He only sent me one however, and so I do not have a full set of them. From time to time I pick it up (perhaps I should say: from time to time I 'Pickup' the dart - haha) and give it a few throws. It feels great. It is about 19 grams and has a nice grip to it. Here it is:

I have in the past several months come to appreciate a lighter dart. In fact I have a set of 16 gram darts that I use almost every week at league and every time I pickup this lone dart I keep thinking boy, it sure would be nice to have a couple more like it. Anyway.. a poster over at Sewadarts had asked me about it so I wanted to blog it for his benefit. I took another pic of it by a metric ruler too, so he could see it is NOT, unfortunately for him, exactly 44 mm long. but rather a healthy 51 or 52.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Robbed At Dart Point

This was very nearly another Deadeye and should have been. The first two darts nailed the double bull and the third dart was in there. It was heading for the very center right between the first two but then deflected into the single bull. Agonizingly close to my second Deadeye. A five count is still pretty nice, though!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Real Poke in the Eye

So the cosmic forces have aligned to poke me in the eye. I have not thrown a dart since our loss on Tuesday. I picked them up today, just now, and threw the hat trick pictured to the right. No darts in two days and what a way to start. Juergen is right. There must be a flaw in my mental game. But perhaps it is just that I throw on my practice board at home so often, and I have hit so many great shots, that my confidence on this board in particular is rock solid. Whereas when I get to the bar, with different lighting, different board quality (wires and staples there vs. blades at home), different air (smokey-chokey there vs. clean at home), etc., it is different enough that home practice counts for not very much. What makes this all the more cruel is that on Tuesday, the second match I was in was cricket. And we had them under our thumb right down to the very end and then I couldn't hit the bull. They in turn punded the bull and killed us. It was a bloddy mess. Since when can I not hit the bulls? That is one of my strongest targets normally. And before the match on Tuesday I hit my first Deadeye, hit several hat tricks in warm up too.

This mystery remains to be solved.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Don't Understand

How can I have incredible practice rounds all day and then hit absolutely nothing at all during league? I had the worst night of darts I have ever had (at least within memory). With the exception of a couple mid-fifties outs, I hit squat for the entire duration of the match. My team lost 16-3. Ouch. That is our most crushing defeat to date. And although my people were joking at the bar afterwards, I can't help but feel they were discouraged. None of them had any interest in throwing more darts!

Of the 3 points we did win, one point came in a doubles 501 game that my partner and I won. I hit a 58 out in that game for the win. The other two points were from a singles Chicago match that I won (I won the cricket game we opened with, and then hit a 50 out (s18, s8, d12) for a quick 2-0 win in that match). Other than these two wins we lost everything else. And the worst part is that I was on fire all day during practice, and then on fire during the hour warm up before league play started. On fire to the point that my teammates were commenting on it. I could not miss the bulls, nor my doubles. And then like magic the league play starts and my fire is doused with 1's and 5's.

Anyway. Enough dwelling. I look forward to the next match. We have a bye next week and then we play against Nicos the week after. They are formidable opponents to say the least and they trounced us when we first encountered them. Nonetheless, I am certain we will beat them this time!

Here is a completely random pic from a long time ago. It has nothing to do with last night's defeat or this post.

First Ever Deadeye

This shot made me happier than just about any shot I have ever made. Even more so than my first Ton-80. I had only ever seen this done once. My good friend and teammate in Seattle pulled one off in practice before a consolation tournament a few years back.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Seventh Lifetime Ton-80

It has been since July 15 since I have last hit a "max". So this was just the shot I needed to bring myself out of a rut in dart playing. But in all fairness I haven't been in a slump necessarily, just a rut. I have been doing decently in league but not spectacular. I have hit several Ton-40's and Hat Tricks, several other low tons, etc. but not consistently. So I have been shooting above average, just not at the level I desire.

My accuracy with the darts pictured above surprised me a little. I have been in the mindset lately that 24 grams is pretty much the perfect weight for a dart. Depending on the dart of course. Front loaded darts have a wider range of acceptable weights. For example I have been throwing my 27 gram GT3's lately with pretty good accuracy and not suffering due to the extra grammage. So when I picked up the 16 gram darts (in the picture) and started hitting things I was surprised. I put a slightly smaller flight on them (pears) and found they flew pretty much straight and with a good flat trajectory. I did notice that I throw these darts harder. I think this is in response to their lighter weight, and according to a book I am reading (How to Master the Sport of Darts) throwing harder is a more accurate style than lobbing high-arced trajectories. Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hot and Cold, Hot and Cold

The bad news is we lost our match last night 13-6. The good news is that we did better this week than two weeks ago and my teammates were pumped even at the end when the match was over. Despite back to back stompings my team is happy and looking forward to the next match! No morale boosting necessary for my troops. Talking to them each after the night they all felt that they were throwing well and that each game they had a fair chance to win. And I am certain they did! In one singles match my teammate took out 88 by going 20, 18, double Bull. I was terrifically impressed. I advised him on the round as such: first dart goes to the trip 20. (He missed into the single.) 68 remained with two darts. Second dart goes to the trip 18. (He missed into the single.) 50 remained with one dart and he nailed the double bull. In the end he missed his intended mark with the first two darts and still took out the 88 for the win.

I personally did both quite well and quite poorly. In cricket especially. In my first cricket doubles game in my last round I hit 15, bull, double bull to win. That was exciting. But in my only singles cricket match I allowed myself to be demolished. It was not a lack of strategy either, it was a lack of accuracy. I hit squat that game. But in the next doubles cricket game I hit 5 bulls in the last couple of rounds to come back from behind and win it for us. Fun times.

In the '01 games I did manage to take out 4 once for a win. Other than that I had a poor night. No tons, nor many trip 20s at all. Perhaps next week... By the way the pic has nothing to do with last nights match. I just thought it made a nice visual.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

First Double Bull Out

I had a terrific night last night. Our team had a bye so we gathered at the home pub for some much needed practice and chemistry building and I had a terrific night. The others did well too, and I feel we are gaining momentum in the categories of team chemistry and confidence. Next week we play a team that by all reports (okay only one person told us this) should be in the Super division but have decided to play B League this season. So I hope that our momentum stays and does not crumble. So what made my night so good? These things:

1. An exciting finish in a singles 501 game.
2. Two 135's scored.
3. Multiple Tons (did not keep track).
4. Dominated Cricket all night.

So here is how that exciting finish went down: I had 85 left with three darts in hand and decided to go bull with the first dart. This would leave me either 35 (less likely) or 60 (more likely) with two darts and I'd be happy with that. Well I missed. I hit the single 15 and had 70 left with two darts. Then I decided to try something I'd been thinking about. I decided to go triple 20, double 5 with the last two darts so that if I were to miss into the single 20, I'd still have an out with my last dart. I missed into the single 20. I had one dart left and 50 points to go. I squared up and shot with confidence and voila. Double Bull for game.

The sweetness of that win lasted all night.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pickup Your Game

For those who have asked who made my new darts and where they can also get some like them, and for those who have PM'd me or posted comments on the last entry about the darts pictured there, I am posting the contact information of the gentleman who made mine. And here it is:

Jeff Pickup
145 Rembrandt Pl
London, ON N6C 5G9
(519) 686-6659

The last two lines are his email address, just stick an @ between them. I did it this way to spare him any spam that might be generated otherwise.

He made mine to exact specifications. I described them as I wanted them, detailing barrel length, weight, texture, nose shape, taper points, everything. He delivered precisely what I asked for and I am very please with the darts.

He has a unique MP system. His moving points are excellent and I use them on both my sets of GTs now. You can see a cross section of one that he'd cut in half for demonstration purposes. He uses an o-ring to slow and stabalize the movement of the point. His collars are also very low profile, similar to the GT collars.

He also has a unique stem system. And it may be the most clever stem system I have ever seen on a dart. He use a section of a Q-tip stem as a spacer to hold in the rod and top of a titanium shaft. Good stuff. Perhaps he'll log in and leave a comment.

Please let him know you heard of him through Zeeple at The Dart Indoors. Cheers folks and good darting!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Darts For Sale

These are not my darts, but they are for sale. They were designed and lathed by the same guy who made my new set of darts. They are quite nice looking, in my humble opinion, and have the kind of strong taper found darts like the GT which are moving point darts (only). The darts pictured are 22.5 grams in weight and are fixed point, but I think he'd be willing to do the same dart in moving point if that is your preference. In fact his moving points are also quite special. They are his own design.