Wednesday, December 13, 2006

First Ton-80 with Winter Line Up (22 Total)

This is the first maximum I have hit with my new winter league darts. I have three new sets of darts that I will be using in the new league I joined and they are all unified in stems and flights. More on that later. In the meantime, here is my 22nd lifetime ton-80.

The config: 22 gram fixed point Harrows Dimplex barrels with short Ti (titanium) stems from Unicorn and slim "Rising Sun" flights.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Twenty One and Counting

Here is my 21st Maximum:

The set up: 24 gram Pirhana II's with short black aluminum stems and poly slims. Cheers.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dart Collections Online

Just wanted to bring your attention to a few different dart collections I have seen out there. The first collection belongs to Juergen who is a frequent commenter on this blog (and who also keeps track of his maximums). He has some really stunning darts and he apparently has quite a good camera. As you can see from his collection, too, he has a tendency to stick with the basic barrel designs that work for him, whereas I do not. Which may be why he has 115 Ton-80's this year and I only have 20!! Click the picture below to go to his page:

The other collection belongs to a darts enthusiast who also has quite a good board collection as well. In fact his dartboard collection is surely the envy of every dart collector out there with the possible exceptions of Christian and Beni Petris. However, this post is about dart collections so I will not link to his boards just yet. Alan has a really nice collection of antique darts, unusual darts as well as the occasional modern dart that he throws in competition. Again, click on the picture to go to his collection:

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Brave New World

These darts are my newest addition and I got them in a trade with crashfromboston. I sent him my 27 gram GT3's and he sent me these. Unlike my temporary exchange with mcvickj, however, this is a permanent trade. I encouraged him many times to consider carefully if he really wanted to make the trade as these darts seem to be a bit rare and definitely unique but he pushed for the trade and assured me that if he ever wanted to have some New World Darts back in his collection he knew where he could get some. So HURRAY!! I love my new darts!

Seen above are the darts in my Initial Preferred Configuration. They came with some longer stems and a triangular tube of other bits and pieces but I like my Dynastuff so I decided to go with these first. I might play around a bit with them before I settle into a config though. The throw a bit awkward to be honest but I think for people who grip a dart more forward on the barrel than I do they would do quite well. They have that mid barrel depression that invites a couple of fingers but I cannot grip a dart like that comfortably so I have my index finger and thumb on the back flutage and my middle finger on the forward flutage. This is how I grip all darts though despite my many different barrel styles.

The story of these darts is a good one and I hope I get it right. And if I do not I hope crash logs in and leaves some comments to correct my version of these unique darts. Apparently there was a guy in Massachusetts who wanted to start a dart making company and called it New World Dart Co. as seen in the label below. He attempted to patent many of his ideas but met with little success as the many of his ideas have been already patented by other entities. But his ideas were definitely unique and I have never ever seen any darts like these before. The label you see below is on the front of the large case that darts came in.

As you can see from the picture below the darts are designed with a brass outer sleeve that have 2ba threading on the stem end and different threading up front. The point is attached to a tungsten insert that slides into the brass sleeve and then screws into place. Oddly, though he did not make this 2ba. Nor is it 1/4" threading. If he had made the forward threading either of these sizes he could have made this a convertible dart. A light brass soft tip dart or, a steel tip dart with a tungsten insert to make it just a little bit heavier for steel tip play. Unfortunately this is not the case and so the darts are a fixed 22 grams and steel tip only. I am willing to bet that if his fledgling company had survived the first frost he would have eventually adapted his design to accommodate both dart worlds. The key you see below, is an old Ford truck key he converted to a point chuck. Very inventive!

Seen below is the original configuration of the darts as they came to me. I have no idea how they were sold new or even how much they cost. But the medium stems are hard to use for most barrels. Only the shortest barrels can take a medium stem and I have never seen a good occasion to use a long stem. Thus, I did not keep this config.

The case is huge for a single set of darts and yet it is another instance of the creativity that went into his whole enterprise. It is a converted gun case. He cut the foam to take the three fully assembled darts, extra flight and stem combos and then there are holes for stems only, a long triangular tube. some slots for some unopened flights, and the place where he put the ford key-chuck. I of course will preserve this as is with all of the contents because it is now a piece of darting history. But the darts themselves, will likely live in a little wooden stand near my dartboard for casual throwing.

All in all I am very happy with this trade and I wish I could make similar trades with some of the darts I have that I do not like as much. That was not my feeling with the GT3's though. Those GT3's really held a very special place in my heart as they were purchased used, and modified by Jeff Pickup to take a screw in stem. I really liked those GT3's. Also, they threw extremely well. I never ton-80'd with them but I have lots of good games with them all the same.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dardi, chiunque?

Wow. Dart blogs are popping up all over the internet and the latest look about reveals a few that I would like to point out for everyone's benefit. "Dardi, chiunque?", according to my very good friend Google Translation, means "Darts, anyone?" in Italian... Yep you guessed it: time to brush up on your Italian reading skills so you can enjoy the following dart blog:

This blog, as soon as I saw it went straight to the top of my dart blogs bookmarks. Looks like this blogger posts some really good content including some videos. I look forward to similar quality content in the future. The only catch is that I do not speak Italian. But I speak Spanish, so I am confident that I can pick up written Italian in no time at all. After all, I already know the subject matter, right?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

First SEWA Ton-80: 20th Lifetime

This is the first Ton-80 I have hit with any darts wearing my new Team SEWA flights (and my 20th lifetime maximum to date). For give the funky camera angle I wanted to make sure the Team SEWA flights were prominently displayed. It really is the 20 bed and not the 12 bed:

I am quite happy about it. The story of how I got the Team SEWA flights is a nice one too, but is best reserved for a future post. Cheers!

Nineteen's a Pretty Number

Or maybe it's just the darts that are pretty. I hit Ton-40's galore this last week while I was visiting Seattle, more than I remember ever hitting in a single week. I wish I'd kept count. Monday through Friday I was using my friend's darts and was doing well no matter what I was throwing. But it wasn't until I was back home that I hit my nineteenth ton-80:

These darts are 30 gram Bottelsen Original Hammerheads. I bought them mid way through a Luck from a bar owner in Seattle and unfortunately didn't win a single game after that! What was I thinking??? This is what I was thinking: Once I picked them up I immediately threw a Ton-40. Then another. Then I told the bar owner I would buy them (committed) and I threw three more Ton-40's while we were waiting for the other half of the luck to finish up their games. It was like I couldn't miss.

I don't know where my ton-plus scores went after the luck entered the final-four stage (we ended up taking fourth) but the darts seems to still be working for me. When I was evaluating the darts, I knew immediately what they were model-wise. After all I've seen the Hammerhead originals on the internet hundreds of times and I knew I liked Hammerhead darts and I think Bottelsen is a terrific dart maker. I casually glanced at the model number and saw it started with 23... which means the darts were supposed to be 23 grams. Since this put them within my acceptable grammage I decided that maybe I would buy them. When I got home I found that they were 30 grams! Whoa! Wait a minute. I have firmly believed for some time now that anything over 24 grams was not likely to provide sustainable performance but here I am throwing my 19th lifetime Ton-80 with a whopping 30 gram set of darts.

Whodathunkit? So 19 is definitely a pretty number. Here's a thought: perhaps it is good I did not count my ton-40's in Seattle. This way I can assume I tossed 19 of them.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

DynaDag Reconfiguration

After a couple of weeks of playing with the DynaDags and have mostly mediocre success, I have decided to make a few changes to them. I have swapped out the really long points Jeff Pickup put on them with some really short ones I bought a while back from somewhere online. I then put on some longer Proline stems and changed from the Pear shaped flights to the slightly smaller Slim Flights, otherwise known as "Coal Cracker". Check them out:

I had had some minor success with the other config as well but I think the longer points and the shorter stems reduced the forward weightedness of the dart too much. I found myself lobbing the darts instead pushing them and they started ending up with a high up angle in the board. Despite all the talk of the longer points benefiting the hitting of the triple ring I think I prefer shorter points for my tapered darts. I shall test that, anyway, in the weeks to come. If I change my mind I can always pout different points in them as that is easy to do.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Keyless Conversion

No, that's not an SSH option.

Rather, it is a method of converting your MP darts to FP without anyone being the wiser.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The DynaDag

My newest creation, implemented by the talented Jeff Pickup in Canada's Ontario Province, is officially dubbed the DynaDag. "Dyna" because it was designed for exclusive use with Dynastar flights, and "Dag" because it is a member of the Dagnabit family of darts.

Here they are pictured with the short Proline stems and red pear shaped Dynastar flights. The points are longer than I normally wear them and I am considering swapping them out for some short points but I wanted to give these a go for a few league nights to see how they perform. There is a lot of talk on the forums about longer points and how they can help you squeeze more darts into the trebles (as if I need help with that! Sheesh!).

The barrels themselves are 75% Copper Tungsten which took a long time for Jeff to get but was well worth it. The lower tungsten percentage allows for a fuller body without making the dart too heavy. It is completely smooth with just a friction-fit hole to take a fixed point and a tiny threaded hole designed for the Proline stems. The Barrel is 2" long and 9/32" wide at its widest point.

The stems you can buy anywhere but I got them from, which is where I buy most of my darts supplies. They are designed for Pro-Line's line of soft tip darts but they sell 2ba adapters for them as well. The flights are Dynastar, and you can get those absoultely anywhere. I hope the new owners of the line do not do anything bad with them, if so I will have to stock up!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First 9 Count with DynaDags

Doing a round of triples practice I aimed for, and hit, three triple 19s:

Normally such a shot includes at least one lucky slop shot but not this time. This is a true to like round of nine. Now.. On to the 18s...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Was the Geek (18th Max)

Tonight in league I personally did so-so but during warm up I did hit my 18th lifetime Ton-80. I was very happy about it for a couple reasons but first, if you are wondering how I got this shot of it...

Yes, I was the geek taking a picture of the dartboard!

So what were the cool things about this particular ton-80? Well for starters, I ton-80'd with this very set of darts, configured for soft tip, so that make it the only set of darts I have ever maximumed with on both steel tip and plastic tip boards. I don't know why that is significant. It just feels significant. But also, most of my maximums have been at home practicing alone and with no witnesses. It feels nice to be able to point to the boards and say "Hey. Look what I did."

I hope next time the Ton-80 comes in an actual match.

Also tonight I doubled in on the double bull in a DIDO 401 game. We lost the game but the 85-in on the DB sure felt nice.

Monday, October 16, 2006

17th Ton-80

Next year's new years resolution is gonna be a toughy.

These are the Dags wearing short nylons with Pear shaped dimplex flights. I was just gonna throw one of them cause it was on top of something I wanted. But when it hit the Sweet Spot I dug out the other two darts to see what would happen.

Ha! Look what happened!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

16th Lifetime Ton-80

With this hit I have accomplished my first new years resolution and considering the season I better get a move on with the other ones!!

Just some sloppy practice to wind down after the final game of the Cards Padres series. I hit some scattered crap preceeding this and slowly started to zero in on the prize. These are the 16 gram Radarts I used in League so much last year and I also used them in league last Tuesday as well. I used these darts to beat the other teams best guy in a singles Chicago match.

It felt good.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My New Accudart 301's

These are some seriously sweet darts. I have been throwing them and from the get go they have been completely brilliant. The very first time I threw em I hit a double bull. (That happens to me often. I can count at least three other times in bars where I have picked up someone's darts and hit the dead center of the board. Uncanny.)

As you can see I have already configured them to my own sense of style and function. A shorter dart is better and a bigger flight for the heavier barrel. There are a couple of things I like about these darts. The first and foremost is that they were a gift from Mcvickj, with whom I trade darts occasionally. The second is that they are big thick barrels that have some real heft to em. I have been leaning toward more fuller bodied darts lately and these really fit that bill. Thirdly, take a look at the barrels. Tungsten up front Brass in the rear. That reminds me of a hair cut...

Business up front, party in the rear. Who can name that doo?

Another interesting aspect of these darts is that they are threaded 1/4" and so my stem selection is limited to what few of those I have. These black aluminum 1/4" stems work nicely however and so there is no need to fret on that one. I plan on using these in league this year. I have already hit some pretty good numbers with them in practice and the way I hold them really makes me point them at the board. I feel a little bit of the old spin creeping back into the throw too. Can't wait to see how that pans out.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

F136 Darts from Unicorn

These darts disappeared from the catalogs in 1971, and the 1970 catalog has them marked as 'deleted'. There are in the earliest catalogs too, so these darts could be anywhere from 55 to 35 years old, I'd say, or older.

The Barrels are interesting. They are hexagonal, which prevent the darts from "rolling" in your hand and enforces your grip to some small degree. Here is a closeup of the Barrels.

Once I get some new feather flights for them I'll comment on how they throw...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Tiny Piece of History

These are my new 7 gram Unicorn Extralites. New to me that is, as I bought them off ebay and that disappear out of the Unicorn cataloges sometimes in the 60's. In fact in the Unicorn online Hertiage section you can look through a lot of the old catalogs and these are in the earliest four, from 1950 to 1965. After that they disappear. Even the 1950 catalog says they have been in demand for years so I would presume they were made in the 40's and maybe 30's as well.

They are a lot lot tinier than I imagined. When I saw them on ebay it was hard to gauge the size of them properly and I figured they much bigger than they are. The below pic shows a comparison shot of one of the Extralites next to a typical modern brass dart of 21 grams. Despite the small size of them though they seem to throw pretty well so I can see why the early catalogs said they were in great demand. I have hit some good numbers with them already, missing a maximum by a wire, and cleanly hitting lots of doubles as well. Like any light dart they have a tendency to drift in flight just a bit but not so much that it is debilitating. I think these darts will make an appearance at league!

They are definitely showing their age. The flights are in _superb_ condition despite being 50 years old. The points are a bit oxidized which I am sure will be plenty correctible with sand paper, and the front of the brass barrels show some tarnishing. I am tempted to research how to clean or restor brass so I can take care of that. I am not a finger licker so I am not concerned with an lead that may be in the darts. The stem was a bit hesitant to come out so I didn't try to hard. The last thing I wanna do is snap them off inside the barrels. At least not until I get some extras. The stem threading is very very small, at 3BA, which is quite a bit smaller than the standard of the day which is 2BA. When I finally start making my own darts I may aim for such a threading.

One of my favorite things about this dart is the flight. Here is a close up shot of the flight. The design of the old style plastic flights is terrific. A single molded piece of plastic. Nothing to robin hood, the flights do not crumble and separate from the mylar like modern flights, they are durable and always square. Could you ask for more? As you can see from the pic below (and don't forget you can click on the image for a bigger version) the fins are so thin they are nearly translucent and you can see swirls of the red in the plastic. Very cool. In some of the pictures the flights seem to come out pinkish, but they are red in real life. This may be a fault of my camera.

The box was nearly destroying in shipping but I doubt it was in that good a shape to be gin with. Here are some shots of the inside of it. I wish they had dated their old products somehow. When I start to make my own I will definitely date them somehow. So 50 years from now, or 100 years from now, people will say "See this little mark? That means these darts were made in 2007 by the Master Darts Craftsman Zeeple." Hahahaha. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Robin Wood

What a Robin Hood called when done with wooden darts? A 'Robin Wood' of course! The odd thing about this is there is nothing for a tip to get stuck in like on a regular dart. With these widdies the stem and barrel are all one piece. nonetheless, the points were sharp enough that one of them found purchase. This is by far the most unusual Robin Wood I have ever hit.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sliced Bread

The Winmau Wall Clamp is the world of darts' version of Sliced Bread. It is seriously that awesome. I can swap between dartboard in a snap:

Here you can see it with the Unicorn Surround applied over the board. The device is so streamlined that the surround goes on without so much as a whimper.

Here is a close up of the Clamp/Surround combo.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Raymond van Barneveld Triple B Darts

Going on the recommendation of Wazza180 I decided to purchase a set of Raymond van Barneveld Triple B darts. I placed an order with and they were at my door step exactly one week from the date of purchase.

When I opened up my package I was pleasantly surprised to find just more than my darts inside. 9dartshop also included two sets of flights and a Unicorn Checkout card. Certainly not expensive items but it is the little things like this that brings customers back. Nice touch. :)

The Triple B darts come with long nylon shafts, 1 set of flights and a plastic slim case. The barrel isn't as agressive as I would like but there is a nice feel to them. The length is about 1.8 inches long.

For the first few throws I decided to keep the long shafts on. Add a set of standard Ruthless RX4 flights and I was off to the board. The Triple B flew great with the long shafts. Landed in the board at a perfect angle. The only problem I ran into was the jabbing of myself in the cheek. The shafts are just too long for my throw and when I would hit my cheek the dart would slip changing my finger placement on the barrel.

Here is an upclose picture of the Triple B barrel.

Friday, August 11, 2006

15th Lifetime Ton-80

With yesterday's hit not only did I get my 15th ton-80 under my belt, I also tied my ton-80 number for last year at 6. So one more and I will have accomplished my first new years resolution for this year (to hit more ton-80's this year than last).

My favorite aspect of this particular maximum though is the fact that it came on the back of my newly discovered Unicorn Big Brass Beauties, as I am calling them. Not only did I squeeze them all in the treble but if you'll notice, there is plenty of room left over for more. In fact nearly half the treble is unobstructed. I could hit a symetrical ton-80 into the other half! (Well, okay maybe I couldn't but Steve "Magic" Coote or Paul Williams could.) I have been told by so many people that they wish their darts were skinnier or that they were looking for some skinnier darts so that they could fit in the triple 20 better. In fact it is a commonly held belief that skinnier darts have the effect of improving your average over the course of game for this reason.

I cannot help but to balk at that a little.

Afterall, the Late Great Jim Pike probably never threw a tungsten dart in his life yet he is credited with darts feats the current msters could only dream of. If it is so hard to fit modern brass darts into a treble how could he have become the legend that he is? Have you seen the darts that were commonly used in that era? There are huge by comparison yet modern brass darts still have the stigma of being too big. Listen to this story:

When I was in league in Seattle during my last season there some of our teammates did not show up for the match. One because he was mad at another teammate, one because he was lacking in the commitment department, and one because of I cannot remember. So our captain runs accross the street to a different bar to try and find a sub (we were in the Knarr). He comes back with a guy who normally plays A League, but was not on a team that season (which is the only reason he could sub). He has no darts with him so we offer to loan him some for the evening. I had my Rhino's with me, but I was using my Widows. I offer him the Rhinos (brass darts with a tungsten tip) and he looks at me like I am crazy, and says:

"No way I am not throwing those, they are way too fat."

There was no way in heck I was going to give up my Widows to this guy so someone else lent him darts, and he proceeded to throw rubbish all night, whereas I had a good evening. I cannot remember if we won or not. But I do remember that while he could not hit the red side of a barn, he did allow us to not have to forfeit, for which I am certainly grateful. However this is how I wish it had played out in hindsight, afterall my game was on, and his was off:

"No way I am not throwing those, they are way too fat." (him)
"Okay, no worries. Throw these Widows and I'll throw the Brass. Lets play a quick game to warm up." (me)

I am certain I'd have beat him. I think that the thickness of a dart may have some minor effect on hitting your triples but not that much. I'd say that nailing a Maximum is 99% ability, and maybe 1% real estate. If that. Anyway, after the match that night I hit my first ever White Horse in a game against a teammate. I was definitly on.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

For those who love Accudart...

During my never ending search to find a set of Accudart Pro-Line Masters I stumbled across an Accudart lot on eBay. I’ve always been interested in anything related to Accudart. The price was right so I placed a bid on the auction. A few days later I received an e-mail saying I won the bid. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

As you can see this was a pretty nice find. I received
  • 2 - Series 301 Tungsten-Brass Darts
  • 2 - Series 650 Brass Darts
  • 1 - Series 501 Nickel-Silver Darts
  • 1 - Series 501 Brass Darts
  • 1 - Tun 80 Tungsten Alloy Darts
  • 1 - The Variant Tungsten Adjustable Weight Darts
  • 4 - Spare feather flights

Here is a picture of the Accudart Variant. Perhaps an idea way ahead of its time. A fun set to toss. Ideal for the tinkerer in all of us. There are 36 different ways that you can configure the weight of these darts. From 12.5 grams all the way up to 28 grams.

Here is a picture of the Accudart Tun 80. The weight is 24 grams and they are fuzz under 2 inches long. These darts fly nicely using the long shafts provided with standard flights.

More pictures of the entire Accudart package can be found on my gallery.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Earning a Trip to League Night

Tonight is my first team practice in anticipation of the next league season and I am quite excited about it. Playing darts at home is fun enough when I occationally do it but there is nothing like pounding your teammates (and getting pounded lol). So in prep I decided to take a look at what darts I would bring with me tonight. I have lots to choose from and I figured I would end up going with something forward weighted, something maybe mostly smooth like the GT's perhaps. I might even have broken out the old 16 grammer converts I was so fond of last season. Regardless, the underlying assumption was that the darts would be tungsten.

The above Hat Trick +1 was scored last night in casual tossing and it struck me how nicely these big old at brass beauties from unicorn threw. They feel really good in the hand especially compared to some of the skinnier tungsten darts I have been tossing lately. So I played with them all night last night and Gosh Darn!! (excuse the language) I was hitting everything I aimed at! Tons of 60's (that's easily my favorite dart pun), I was nailing the doubles first or second dart etc.

So if the quality of a dart were measured in cubic yardage, these massive brass beauties would take the first prize. They are easily the largest non-wooden dart I own and yet they throw so surprisingly well. I guess it is important to note I did not hit any maximums with them last night but this was not due to the barrels being too big to all fit in the treble, it was an aiming issue, a PEBHAD issue, really. I did hit lots of tons and lots of 120+ scores so I think these darts are the winners. They have earned a place in my arsenal for tonight and they will enjoy the glory of crushing my dart enemies. Well, my dart teammates, really.

FAST FORWARD:: Well, last night's team practice came and went and I really enjoyed getting out and tossing again. I took the brass darts like I said I would and as I expected I only dropped two legs out of the entire three hours I was playing. Once cause I couldn't hit the double four to save my life (although when I started at it I had a 150+ point lead) and once against some guy that was in there shooting with his wife. I played him a best of three and did well. I lost the first cricket game to him, but then cam back in a 501 game and hit several tons, and won by a landslide. Infact, not only did he have about 250 points remaining, but I hit my out quickly. I took out a 39 s19, s10, d5. Then we decided to tie break with another game of cricket and I won with lots of good darts. The best highlight of the night though, was hitting a hat trick to win a cricket game against one of my teammates. That always feels good.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sweeps Treats

The second Paul Williams Darts Sweepstakes has come to a close and once again this time around I have won some very awesome prizes from the sponsors. The first is a Unicorn dart surround, and for those of you American darters who are not sure what that is, the Brits have an alternative method to the backboard which is the most common wall protecting device used in America (well... maybe the cabinet is the most common). See this pic:

The surround, or at least the idea behind it is significantly different than the backboard. I like my backboard quite a bit I think I did a good job on it, and I like the idea of mounting my dartboard directly to it. I think it also protect a huge area of wall, and since it has a thin commercial grade carpet on it, no holes show when I hit it. I don't know if that will be true with the surround. I am told they last for years but if the rubber that is used is self healing is another matter entirely. The idea behind the surround is that you attach your dartboard directly to the wall, and then place the tight fitting surround around the board. I think when we move back to Seattle I will try the Unicorn Surround instead of the backboard but for now I will stick with my current method. This is nothing against the brits or the surround of course, it is just I have the backboard up already.

Nonetheless, thanks a million to Unicorn for the awesome donation to the Sweeps prizes!!

The second Item I got was a Tee-Shirt from Gazza at GSDarts is the sponsor of Paul Williams and is a terrific place to buy your darts supplies for several reasons. The first and foremost of which is that his shipping rates to the United States are absolutely terrific. He doesn't try to make a profit on the shipping and the shipping rates and speed of delivery is better than many of the big online darts suppliers in the united states.

As you can see from the above pic I got a tee shirt (scroll down to the bottom) from him but also I got a Winmau Dartboard Wall Clamp! (again, scroll down most of the page) I am very excited about it and I hope to install it today in fact. The tee-shirt was a large, which was a nice surprise. Usually give away tee shirts are extra large (or larger) because they don't wanna have to have multiple sizes. Once I submitted a pretty good tip to a computer related site (I'd just gotten my first MCSE or something and was excited about it) and they sent me this tee shirt which was huger than huge. Seriously. But on the upside, I used that shirt to wash my car for years. The 3inabed tee-shirt actually fits me.

Thanks a million Gazza!!

The sweeps themselves are quite a lot of fun. The fact that prizes come along with it is just icing on the cake. The fact is I have gotten a tremendous amount of joy from it and the sweeps have really opened my eyes to the wider world of darts. I now know who the big names are in the sport and I have an interest in watching the player in action, in Blackpool or anywhere else. I still like baseball better as a spectator sport, but then they don't show that much darts on TV in the US. But baseball.. I can watch my choice of ten or more games everyday.

Nonetheless, I find myself following the Unicorn sponsored players and the british darts tournaments and I have Unicorn and GSDarts to thank for that, at least in part. So for them to donate these prizes to the Paul Williams Sweeps is quite a boon to the sport as a whole.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

27 gram GT3's - TRADED!!

These are nice darts. Great feel nice throw and one day, if I ever start to prefer heavier darts again, I will throw them more often and practice with them. They are 27 gram moving point GT3's by Bottelsen, with the black coating. The coating hasn't worn off as much as they have on my GTs, but with use I am sure it will. Exact same size and shape as the GT's but with three sets of angled grooves in the barrel for texture, and likely that is where that extra gram went. I bought these darts for $30 from a bar owner in Seattle. A long time ago he offered to sell me them for $30 and I declined, then a year later he tried again but for $50. I reminded him of the $30 offer and bought them. I am glad I did.

He must haave bought these before Bottelsen started threading the back end of the barrels. When I bought them they were completely smooth (inside) and would only take a puch-in type stem. So I borrowed them to aa friend who broke off a tap inside one trying to thread them for me. I figured they were a lost cause at that point so forgot about them. Then one day I decided to see if Jeff Pickup could make a duplicate to replace the one that had a tap stuck in it. He did me one better. He bore out the tap and then threaded them for me!

Here is the break down of them as pictured:

Points: Standard Hammerhead MPs
Barrels: 27 gram GT3's with Black Coating
Stems: Black Medium GT Screw-in
Flights: Black Poly Pears

Darts Policy: OOoOO

OOoOO stands for: Odd Out on Odd Only.

Most people I know and with or against whom I play league matches will take a shot at any double for the out regardless of the wedge they are shooting at and regardless of the number of darts they have left. They figure, you have a chance to win, so take it. I agree with them in part that if you CAN win in that round you SHOULD, but not in a reckless manner, and not in such a way that you are left with an odd number, holding a single dart. See below for details.

The above pic tells a story, and outlines what I consider to be a good darts throwing policy. Funny that this policy should be acronymizable into a string of O's. O's play an important role in our language and literary history, as well as in software.

In the realm of software for instance there is a really awesome and full featured office suite (doc writer, spreadsheets, etc) called which is often shortened to OO.o. This program is completely free and allows you to not have to shell out hundreds of your pretol dollars for expensive software. It is far better to be able to drive around your ridiculously large SUV and have enough money to feed it.

Another interesting significance rendered by the letter O is the possible discovery of the real author of the Shakespeare plays. There is a scholar out of the University of Washington that has used linguistic analysis to discover that the real author of the bards plays is none other than the little know Edward de Vere. Don't ask me the role that O plays in this discovery. Rather just trust me on it.

And even more interesting is that the letter 'O' is homyniminous to the utterance that escapes the lungs of us who are slow to understand, "oh". And this brings us full circle to the idea that you shouldn't shoot your second dart at an odd numbered wedge for the out because, when I am looking at an 18 out (double 9) and I am standing there at the line with a single dart in each hand, I think: "Oh." And I step back for a second and reconsider my options. If I miss into the fat single I am left with an odd number (9), a lonely single dart to do it with, and that is just impossible. Better to spend that second dart setting up a better out. Look at the picture above again and I will tell you how it came to pass. I was looking at a 32 out with three darts in hand. I shot the first at the double 16 and missed into the double 7. Ouch. This left me with 18 and two darts. If I were to have shot the second dart at the double 9 and missed into the single I would not have been able to go out that round, so what I decided to do was to shoot my second dart at the blade between the single 6 and the single 10, knowing that either result would leave me with a decent out. I hit the single 10, and so with my last dart I was able to take out the 8 by hitting the double 4. Long winded but easy to follow I hope.

So what does odd out on odd only mean? Well, if I am looking at an out that requires hitting the double of an odd numbered wedge, I will only shoot at it if I am holding an odd number of darts (1 or 3), and not an even number of darts (2). If I have 18 left with three darts, sure, take the shot. If you miss inside then you have two darts to take out 9. If you miss outside then you have to move on to a different out strategy. And like wise, if you are holding a single dart in your hand and you can win by hitting any double on the board, then shoot with confidence. You should always always take the shot regardless of the wedge. So this is the essence of my policy I call OOoOO (pronounced "Oooh.").

And guess what? As you can see from the above pic, I hit my out so it paid off. As fate would have it, just a few hours later I was again looking at 32 out, and missed into the double 7. What are the chances? I again hit the single ten, and again hit my double 4 out to finish. Here is the second occurance:

Your friend….the Bullseye!

The bull can be a powerful ally or a ruthless enemy. Being able to hit the bullseye on command is very important. Each match is started off with a diddle. The player closest to the DB wins and gets to decide on the start of the match.

Shooting at the bull early in a Cricket match can be a huge confidence builder. If I have the darts at the start of a match and hit the T20 with the first dart I might consider going after the bull. If I was able to hit DB, SB with the remaining two darts I am now in control of the two largest scoring sections per dart on the board.

Inexperienced players leave the bull as the last option in a Cricket match and loose because they fall behind in the points and can’t recover. I’ve lost count at the number of games I lost because my opponent was a better bull shooter than myself. This was one of the things I knew I had to work on to improve my game.

The practice game I’ve been using is 100@BULL. You throw 100 darts at the bullseye and keep track of the number of times you hit the SB, DB and MISS. My personal best is slowly increasing. Right now it is at 54. With the amount of practice I’ve been putting in my confidence has grown about hitting the bull when I need too. I use VBA’s Excel program to keep track of the darts. You can find a link to the file in the Downloads section on

Pictured is a 6 BULL I hit during a practice game of 100@BULL. Throughout the course of the day I played this practice game 6 times. This was during my 5th game. The darts pictured are a set of w-grip’s from Atlanta Darts. Configured with short nylon shafts with rings and white Ruthless RX4 flights.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Not For Lack of Space

Last night during 60s practice I hit this nice shot. It was two darts in the 60's with one dart in hand, but the two that were already in there were very nicely aligned. Not only were the first two darts stacked vertically on the far left of the treble, right just inside the wire, but they were also leaning out just a little bit, so their flights were not obstructing the treble at all! What a great set up for a Ton-80!! How could I miss, the treble was wide open!?!

I missed. The shot turned out to be a ton-40. Still a good score but I would have dearly loved for that to be my fifteenth ton-80. In fact the third dart hit the twenty bed just under the treble so I removed it for this shot to be taken. Its flight was completely obscuring the triple and I felt the blog would be better served with it out of there. It seems I have been hitting better over all scores lately ever since I decided the first practice priority (see this post) should be the Sweet Spot. So I don't even bother with doubles now until I have hit my 20 60s for the day. If I have time for doubles then great otherwise no worries I'll get em sometime. In fact I started in on the Paul Williams Challenge yesterday and found that I was hitting my doubles within the first three darts, so despite the shift in focus, my doubles do not seem to be suffering.

There is a concept in sports called 'Training to Specificity'. This basically means that the best way to train for a sport (any sport) is to play that sport. If you wanna become a better mountian climber you have to climb mountains. Pumping iron in the gym may be good for you and increase your strength and metabolism, but it is not good training for climbing mountains. If we were to apply this concept to darts then it would stand to reason that the best way to train for darts is to play actual games of darts against actual opponents. If this is true then I am doomed of course and all my practice routines and priorities are right out the window. But I can easily see how it would be. I think it is also important to train to the various levels of pressure in darts as well. For example, playing against your buddy whom you've beaten a gazillion times is not the same as playing against that one sandbagger in league who is known to be almost unbeatable. So you have to find a way to train for that. Playing against a superior, unknown opponent would be a good way to do it, but how? Travel the bars seeking out games? Most of the bar players out there barely know the rules. I think the best way to get better at darts when you are new is to play in leagues because then you have a wealth of people who care about their dart game to play against. And then once you have risin to the top 10% in B League, move on to A League. (This is what I plan to do. If my former teammates do not wanna have a B team again this year I am going to try to find my way onto an A League team.)

So what if an A League player wants to train for tournaments? My best guess is that the best way to train for that higher level of pressure, which is generated in part by a higher level of play as well as in part by a higher level of spectation, is to attend as many LotD's as possible, and hopefully as many tournaments as possible. Of course this is all speculation. I am still a lowly B Leaguer thinking forward. Somday perhaps through you may see me on TV! Haha until then cheers and hasta verte christo mio.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The One That Got Away

This one is for kdog.

Sunday night and I am just hanging with the dog and grooving on this here Johnny Cash.

John Henry said to his captain, A man ain't nothin' but a man.
But if you'll bring that steam drill round, I'll beat it fair and honest.
I'll die with my hammer in my hand but I'll be laughing
'Cuz you can't replace a steel driven man.

Flipping through some old pics I saw on that reminded me of kdog's last comment. This pic is how I think of his balancing act shot that 'got away'. I have had this shot for a long time. I do not remember when I had this happen but I stashed it away in a folder somewhere and just figured I'd blog it eventually. I have a lot of shots like that. The longer I wait though the less topical they become and the less I remember the circumstances or why I took the shot in the first place.

The pic above for example. I don't shoot with the GT's as much as I used to. They go in and out of fashion and these days I mostly shoot with my 16 grammers but I have had out my 12 gram darts in the last few days. Another clue that really dates that photo is the Sprialine flights. I used to be really hot on the Spiraline flights but not so much anymore. Perhaps I will get back into them someday but for now I am stuck on my Dynastar system. I sent some Spiralines to my buddy Barn in Seattle and he ended up wanting more of them (at the time - not sure about now) and just a few weeks ago I sent some to mcvickj. I am anxious to see his opinion of them.

Also take a look at the board. That is my old bandit. I hang an Eclipse now. Take a look at the bullseye in this secong pic. You can really seee the wear in it. The Eclipse is quite pristine compared to it.

This is a nice picture though. A good tight grouping in which one dart slips off the others and is caught by the flight. Just hanging there not wanting to fall to the floor. As if it were afraid of the certain death the distant floor represents.

John Henry told the captain, Tell the kind folks don't worry.
That ain't nothin' but my hammer suckin' wind! (It keeps me breathing.)
A steel driver's muscle I intend.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Well Balanced Dart

Tossing 60s practice I hit one of these "Balancing Acts" which for me are far more rare than even a robin hood. You can aim for a previously thrown dart, afterall, but you cannot aim for a balancing act.

These are my 24 gram Mega-Thrusts from Bottelsen, with standard hammerhead points and a Dynastar back end. I am still waiting for my low profile conversion points so I can make these fixed point without them being ugly. I am infinitely patient. I guess.