Sharpen the Points

sharpening

That’s right.  It’s time to sharpen the points because summer darts season starts tonight.  For some of you that might not sound so colossal, but it sounds great to me.  I like darts and I like the friendly competition that goes with it.  I like the dim lights of the Legion and the reasonably priced beer that goes with it.

The winter season did not go horribly well for me.  I was firmly at the bottom of the league rankings.  Whenever I won, the people above me did to and I couldn’t move up.  My game was less than stellar until the very last weeks.  Unfortunately, ground lost was hard to make up.darts

This represents a new start.  I haven’t picked up a dart in about a month, so I don’t expect Phil Taylor or Michael Van Gerwin kind of genius.  I’d settle for not getting my ass kicked.

For those of you out there who’ve seen the hard to quantify spectacle on television, my league isn’t like that at all.  No models walk us to the line, no fans watch dressed in costume and 180’s, while not unheard of, are far from the norm.  If you’ve got a spare evening, I would suggest you take it up.

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.

LOZ Tokyo Skytree…Unboxing and Comparing

 
 
I received an interesting gift today.  It was the LOZ “Micro Blocks” version of the Tokyo Skytree.  There are several things I should say.

First off, I have been calling them Micro Blocks, mostly because that is how they are listed on Amazon.  However, nowhere on the box is that written.  I guess I should call them LOZ Blocks.

I liked the way the box opened.  It opened like a book.  This seems quite comfortable and more useful than the standard Nanoblock box.  It isn’t a big thing, but we usually appreciate the little things.

Someone is sending me the Nanoblock Tokyo Skytree, and when that happens, I will build it and do a side by side comparison.  Until that day, you just have to make do with my impressions of the kit.  Of course, if you want to see it, please click on the link to my YouTube video below.  I unbox the Skytree and compare some of the blocks.  I should probably do a more in depth comparison, but this should be useful in the meantime.

The kit has some uniquely shaped pieces that I am interested in.  I hope there are extra ones so I can combine them with my stash of leftover Nanoblock pieces.  Yes, they are compatible.  That was one of the first things I checked.  This will definitely be a plus for the creative people out there.  I expect there are already some fantastic creations out there.

 
 
I haven’t worked with the pieces yet, but they seem quite similar in style and quality to Nanoblocks.  Once I put this together, I will have a better idea.
 

Competition Has Arrived

 

I would have to say it is official.  Nanoblocks have become a force to be reckoned with.  Why do I say that?  Surprisingly, it is not because there is a big push on them for the Christmas rush–though I did see them available at a store that had never had them before.  Instead, I give them credit because they have inspired some competition.

Micro Blocks, produce by a company called Loz, are now available.  They don’t seem to be available here in Canadayet.  This might have something to do with a bit of a conflict with the people who brought you Mega Blocks.  This company (based in Canada I believe) uses the name Micro Blocks for the blocks that share the same size with Lego.  Sounds complicated doesn’t it?

They seem to be competing in the same space as Nanoblocks.  They offer lots of architectural themed kits of world famous buildings.  This should appeal to adult builders as well as kids.  It also seems to have a broad international scope, so it should be easy to spread.

I am all for competition.  More tiny blocks equals more fun.  The other thing is that more block producers mean more designs and creative ideas.  It might also mean more interesting pieces.  I wonder if the two sets are compatible.

I don’t know if either Nanoblock, or this new Micro Blocks company will every dominate the space that Lego has, but I am interested nonetheless.  I know as a Canadian I will have to wait a long time before I see them, at least I can think good things about 2014.