What One Season of Darts Has Taught Me

 
My first season of darts is over and I see a need to reflect on it.  There were highs and lows, and some genuinely warm moments.  I decided to play darts in February after watching it on TV.  I joined two leagues and three months later, my latest obsession is still going strong.

Apparently there are two seasons of darts.  Fall through spring, and summer.  As you might guess, the summer season is only about half as long as the other season.  I guess lots of people go on holiday in the summer, so I don’t expect the shortened season to be as serious, or as well attended.

What I have learned:

Ø      Darts, like many other activities, gets better with practice.  In the past few weeks my three dart average has increased, and my ability to hit doubles and triples has gotten better.

Ø      Competition makes you better.  Despite not being that competitive, wanting to win makes me a better player.  Unlike some, I don’t get down on other players, and try not to let my performance get to me.

Ø      With any activity there is a whole new lexicon to learn.  Without knowing it, I have added a lot of dart related words to my vocabulary, much to the chagrin of my coworkers.  Of course, they use a lot of ESL related vocabulary that other people in their lives don’t understand….so it’s pretty much a wash.  I throw around words and phrases like treble, three in a bed, checkout, double out, oche, flights, sisal, double bull, 9-darter and so many others. 

Ø      Leagues only work because so many people put in a lot of work.  Casual or not, a lot of organization and stats keeping is needed to keep the league going.  It seems like a lot of the people who I play with are retired, but it still requires a lot of their time.  Thanks.

Ø      The temptation to buy lots of equipment exists whenever you start a new hobby or pastime.  Fortunately, I have resisted the urge to spend a lot of money.  I’ve got some darts, a board at home, a small case for the darts, and a few extra parts.  Most people I have seen have several sets of darts, a rather large executive case, a large number of spare parts, and various tools.  Knowing me the way I do, I am sure I will get there, but for now, I am keeping it simple.

Ø      There are a variety of people and people types involved.  While most of my experiences have been good, some have been bad, and I have to accept that clashes will happen in the future.  Hopefully calm heads and rational thinking will prevail.

Ø      There is a huge world of darts out there.  There are professional leagues and huge tournaments.  I have only encountered the tip of the iceberg.  I may or may not make that big jump in the next year. While being a professional anything appeals to me, I know there are drawbacks to taking something you enjoy to a level like that.  Friendly competition is good, but intense competition may not be so great.

I have enjoyed darts, and I will be playing summer darts.  I will let you know how that goes.

The Age of Superheroes

 

I went to see the second Captain America movie the other day, and I must admit, being a comic book nerd who has read too many comic books lately, this is a great time for Superhero movies.  The technology has caught up with our imagination, allowing for some pretty amazing scenes.  It is certainly a far cry from when I was young.

I grew up watching the campy  Adam West Batman series.  I enjoyed it then, and have a deeper appreciation for it now.  It certainly can’t compare to what we’ve been treated to lately, but it managed to work in a low tech era.  Not forgetting of course that Julie Newmar was a fantastic Catwoman. (Anne Hathaway looks great too.)

Other attempts to bring the heroes to the big or small screen were less successful.  Those Captain America movies were pretty bad.  The Spiderman TV series was…. well, let’s just say I can’t watch them again.

Animation did a much better job of capturing my heroes than live action film did.  Though looking back on it, sometimes the effort just wasn’t there.  I guess most network executives were trying to sell toys and sugary cereals rather than bring the best to Saturday morning television.

 
I have enjoyed most of the recent comic book movies.  Green Lantern didn’t really work for me, but I have a special fondness for that character that is often disappointed.  I guess I just like science fiction concepts too much, and can’t bear it when they just aren’t treated as reverently as I would like.  There is so much potential….. but I guess that’s all that it really is.

Like most “nerds” out there, I am eagerly anticipating the next Avengers movie.  It’s going to be more than a year away, but at least I have the next Xmen movie to tide me over. 

Reading Can Be Hard

 
 
 
What makes a book a hard read?

With some books I just blast through them like a manta ray cutting through the water.  Other times, I am a salmon swimming upstream.  Some books are gone in a day or two while others take weeks.  In the following paragraphs, I consider some of the obstacles to fast reading.

Physical Characteristics

Some books are just longer.  Dickens couldn’t seem to write anything shorter than a phone book.  His shortest novel probably still comes in at over 700 pages.  Granted, he was selling his stuff one or two newspaper pages at a time.  Whatever the case may be, some books are longer, so they take longer to get through.

Some fonts are hard to read.  You know how most books these days contain a little blurb about the typeface.  They all glamorize their choice of typeface, but that doesn’t mean they are perfect.  Some are just plain difficult to read.  They look dense and really clutter up the page.

Dialogue versus Description

Dialogue is much easier to read than long paragraphs of explanation and description.  I imagine a 300 page novel that is all dialogue probably won’t take more than an hour and a half to read.  This is especially true when they stop writing the he said, she said parts and just have the people ping pong back and forth.

Depth

A deep book.  A book with a lot of meaning and symbolism, as well as self referencing will require slower reading.  The book I am currently reading (Ghostwritten by Mitchell)  is a book like that.  All the stories are connected, but only with great subtlety.  It requires careful reading, and re-reading.  One does not always want to miss what’s going on.

The Reader

I have been horribly sick, and concentration has been hard to come by.  I should have read two or three books in the time I took on the last one.  I blame the cold.  On some days, I just didn’t want to read.  I was too busy hacking and coughing (not to mention shaking and sweating).

The State of my Hobbies (part one)

 
 
I don’t want to jinx it, but it certainly seems like spring is underway.  The snow is almost gone and things are looking up.  The only question for this blog is to address the hobbies.  We will call this part one–because I am sure I will miss something.

Darts

This is going well.  I have progressed well and I have several playoff games upcoming.  I have most enjoyed my darts season and will definitely continue it.  My biggest obstacle is that I don’t have my board up yet.  I am wavering between installation methods, causing a complete lack of home progress.

Nanoblocks/Loz blocks

There are a few kits I have my eyes on, but I haven’t stepped up and got them yet.  My display space is pretty much taken up.  Until I do some reorganizing, this may stay on hold.  Of course this would change if Toys R Us carried more of these kits.  I am much more likely to buy on impulse when I am out than when I am surfing the web.

Trains

I have lots of train projects on the go, just nothing completed.  I had big plans for this weekend before illness caused me to slow down–don’t worry, I’ve just got a cold and don’t have the energy to concentrate on stuff.  Even writing this short blog requires frequent rests.

Reading

I have decided to try reading some harder books.  What I mean by that is I am trying to read some more challenging books.  I am on pace to read about 60 books this year.  I decided that I would try and read some Pulitzer or Man Booker prize winners.  It would be great if I could read them all, and I might make that a goal next year.  The current book I am reading is Ghost Written by David Mitchell.  It is very well done and I recommend that anyone looking for a good book to read it.

Puzzles

I still do the crossword puzzle every day, but the one I am doing is only challenging because they have a lot of geographical clues and modern music clues that I have no idea about.  I can usually solve it, but I get frustrated at some of the “cheap” clues they give.  I haven’t done any Sudoku puzzles lately, nor any logic puzzles.  Maybe spring will reawaken these pursuits.

Writing

I am hoping to do more of this.  I still harbour the dream of being novelist/writer.  What I have learned is that it really depends on me and my discipline.  Of course I could say that about a lot of things.  I won’t let go of this dream.

Blogging

This is something I enjoy a lot.  The truth is, I haven’t written as much as I would have liked.  My students seem to enjoy my English teaching blog.  Unfortunately, I have to spend a bit of time reminding them to read it on Facebook. I will need to find ways to attract more people to this blog.  Maybe I will have to write about more controversial topics…..or Justin Bieber.

Gardening Landscaping

Though this may be a hobby for some, it really means work for me.  I have at least a week or two before I need to start on this, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to start getting the supplies.  I cut the grass far less than I had to shovel snow, so this really isn’t a problem.