Posted by: robinmasters | February 18, 2010

be warned Bilodeau, this guy’s coming for you

i normally don’t get super into the olympic frenzy, but lately i’m feeling a little frenzied up. it all started when my bro, who found himself with an extra olympic ticket, called me up to go with him to see some ladies’* freestyle skiing mogul action. little did he know at the time, that this happens to be my favorite event (non gender specific), and the one event i had always wanted to see in person – that’s right hockey fans, in comparison to the fearless, high speed mogul charge and glorious aerials, your sport sucks! i jumped at that chance and 24 hours later got to see Jen Heil lay down her silver medal run – i don’t know how Heil felt, but it felt pretty frickin’ good to me.(thanks R & J)
Since then i’ve rewatched both the ladies and the men’s freestyle moguls and come to the conclusion that i need to be on skis, trickin’ it out, soaring magnificently through the air, through some majestic, powdered heaven. you got it boarders, i’m going back to the sticks.
Realizing this is both exciting and a bit unnerving, since i a) stopped skiing for a reason (bum knees), and b) am more fragile than i’d like to admit. although obstacle a) is going to be the toughest to overcome, b) is a bit of a competitor itself. this has been evidenced by my torn rectus femoris (quad muscle) last summer and the more recent injuries of the past four weeks, wherin i’ve thrown my back out wii boxing (seriously! that bastard cartoon trainer wouldn’t let up and ended up couch parking me for days) and broken a rib courtesy of some impromptu greco-roman wrestling – this seems to require more of an explanation… but i’m not gonna give it so you’ll just have to make something up. but i will say “damn you S! damn you and your superior natural wrestling ability!”
i tell myself that all these things can be surpassed by an increase in exercise (from zero to some) and flexibility… wha? cardio? pffft, i’m not running a marathon! i’m sliding down a hill, that’s what gravity’s for. either way, my goal is to pick up some planks and be in tip top for next winter. and as long as we get some snow, i’ll be all set… i should probably start stocking up on the robaxacet as well.
*ladies is used here not in the Emily Howard kinda way, but against my better judgment and for the sake of olympic accuracy – i haven’t quite figured out ioc’s system for determining when to use the term “lady” and when to use “woman” but i would guess it’s a feminist issue. sounds like a job for facebook – how about: will more than a million agree the term lady, as  used in the 2010 olympics, is a derogatory tool of patriarchy.
Posted by: robinmasters | March 14, 2009

G’s revenge

sad-tennis-playerWell, BG completely annihilated me with a score of 6 to 2 – we didn’t have time for a full match, so i’m told that’s not technically a victory and should be marked down as an I.M (incomplete match), but i can’t help but feel a little lessened. it didn’t help that BG brought the whole G family to cheer him on (actually the cheering was mainly in my favour, but they were pitty cheers which is the worst kind) and witness my destruction. i realize now why i lost – you might be thinking it had to do with my tennis skills or their  lacking, but no, it had nothing to do with that whatsoever, it was all due to the pre-game coffees , which i stupidly provided, and which just happens to be BG’s life nectar, and gave him the super-human boost he needed. so, next time i’ll have to bring along some booze, and drop some roofies in, then we’ll see who’s doing the pitty cheers.

Posted by: robinmasters | February 15, 2009


GrouseI’m gonna go ahead and admit something here, that’s kinda hard for me to say: i’m a pretty awful snowboarder. i can get down the hill okay, but don’t expect  me to do any jumps or tricks or turn heel-side, which makes me pretty lamo as far as snowboarders go. also i’m generally pretty physically awkward, i think it’s cause i grew like a foot back  in grade 11 and i still haven’t figured out how to deal with my lankiness, which makes me fall a lot more than i should on the slopes, and makes getting up from said falls a bit of a spectacle – bringing  me to my story. after finishing my lunch, (pictured above) and feeling pretty damn cool for eating it on the hill (no fireplace chalet lunch for me thanks, i’m hardcore) i hopped up for some more action. but i only hopped up a couple of inches and then fell back on my ass. as i began to slide down the hill it took me two more attempts before i finally got up in time to hear some visiting olympians laughing it up behind me. isuppose i can’t blame them (even though i do, bastard olympians- see if i cheer for you, well, considering i’m pretty sure you were german or austrian i wouldn’t have cheered for you anyways, but still, booooo) since i imagine i looked kinda like a dog doing the cross carpet ass scoot – why do they always do that weird smiley wheezy breathy thing, creeps me out. anyway, i’m pretty committed to getting some air this season, so stay tuned for pics of my cast leg/arm.

For some Grouse news – 1. on friday they started the 48 hours of winter event, allowing you to buy a ticket on friday and ski/board until close on sunday, a possible 61 hours for the price of a day pass. this does you no good now, but you’ll know for next year. if it makes you feel any better, i only stayed for like 3 hours – see lamo comment above. 2. i hear the y2play passes are going on sale next week. they sold out in about 10 days last year, so be quick.

Posted by: robinmasters | February 12, 2009

board games are cool… and not for losers at all

giant-dominoOn the suggestion of an unnamed thoughtful spaz, here’s my top 15 board games OF ALL TIME!

15. Checkers – it’s true, this game does suck… now. but think about when you were a kid and you really wanted to play cool boardgames but all you knew how to play was this, then it was kinda fun wasn’t it? yeah, i thought so.

14.  Snakes and Ladders– even though they were seen as evil, i used to love the snakey slides – weeee… oh crap!

13. Monopoly – hours and hours of my life was wasted (that’s right wasted) on this one, which has to stand for something.

12. Clue – it was me and my stepdad, in the dining room, with the clue – we tend to get a bit riled up during boardgames sometimes, due to the competitiveness thing, and it just so happened that clue was there for one of the most dramatic… ahhh, good times. i’m still pretty sure i was right about that one.

11. Cranium – yeah, yeah, i know you’ve played this one so many times that the mere mention of the name makes you yawn, but this is the game that made board gaming cool as an adult (that’s right you fantasy role-playing gamers, magic and d&d did not make board gaming cool, and in fact it is the tarnish us actual gamers have to endure. i applaud the imaginative skills involved and thank you for the video games you’ve designed as a result of this practice, i even enjoy thoughts of alternate realities myself, but really, these are not games. they are shared daydreams)

10. Chess – it’s not the party/multiplayer game i prefer these days, but it’s the best strategy game there is. can’t argue with that can you? and don’t try and tell me go has more strategy, cause nobody believes that

9. Go – although i haven’t been able to play it much (since my wife likes to toy with my emotions by gifting me games and then never, ever playing them with me) it’s still pretty darn cool

8. Backgammon – the dumb person’s chess or the smart person’s checkers, good times either way (for those of you keeping track, notice i didn’t use the androcentric phraseology – see, i’m not all bad)

7. Therapy – it’s a bit obscure, but it’s a great way to find out what others really think of you, for better or worse

5. Risk – that’s right, i’ve officially outed myself as a nerdy board gamer

4. Settlers of catan – and if you know this one, that makes you a nerdy board gamer too

3. Balderdash – it’s an oldy but a goody – there’s something about lying and trying to make people believe it that’s fun

2. Quelph – cranium on steroids –  it also includes a kings element for those of you who know the drinking game.

1. Catch phrase – if you don’t like this game you are not human. that’s right, i think it’s the best. what are you gonna do, cast a “magic” spell on me?

that’s me, if you don’t like it, tell me what your top board games are.

Posted by: robinmasters | February 11, 2009

suckit, babolat and B takes a beating

ty champSo, after watching nadal defeat federer after a 5+ hour match semi final with verdasco, i was pulled toward the babolat racquets – but it turns out they’re crap. i just got back from playing with the pure drive plus, *if racquet deets don’t turn your crank, feel free to skip the green text* which adds an extra 1/5 inch to the length to make a 27.5 inch stick. the idea is to bring you more power, which i felt like i needed after playing with head’s extreme pro, but it turns out this beast is too damn unwieldy for me. it’s stiff, twangy and i’ll admit it, too much stick for me to handle. granted, i’m pretty sure nadal uses an aero drive, but i’m satisfied with omitting babolat in futre demos due to the fact that i just don’t like the woofer system.
I also demoed the Prince O3 speedport black today, which i enjoyed a damn lot – mainly because it helped me win, what i think was my first victory against B , and i’m chalking at least a bit of that at up to the speedport. the craptastic pure drive plus left me dangling in a possible shutout of 0 to 4 before i switched back to the speedportand pounded B with a 5 game streak. we ended the set with a respectable 8 to 6 and 2 and 0 for the match. that’s right B, i just published your loss – muhaha. and no,  when if you win next time i will not likely blog  it… unless i do something cool in the match.

Posted by: robinmasters | February 8, 2009

indoor tennis court bullcrap

sky-court1After getting pretty fed up with trying to get an indoor court at ubc and grant connell and getting beat out by the pass card holders each time, i looked more into the outdoor court situation and stumbled onto a pretty incredible resource. vancouver parks and recreation has a fantastic section on their site which allows you to search for facilities matching whatever sport you’re interested in in all of the public parks. you can set the search to include only the neighbourhoods you’re interested in as well. when searching for tennis courts i’m given the park name, address, number of courts, and the added super bonus of whether there’s a practice wall or not. this practice wall bit is the wickedest. before finding this site, i knew of  only two practice walls, both of which are nowhere near me.
I’m pretty excited about checking out a supposed rooftop tennis court in fairview – seems too cool to be public.

Posted by: robinmasters | February 7, 2009

racquet obsession

So, one of the biggest reasons i had for starting this blog, is to save my poor patient partner from my relentless blathering on about whatever current obsession i have – right now that obsessions is tennis, and specifically a new racquet. so you, lucky dog, get to hear it instead. *note to wife: this doesn’t mean i’ll be able to stop talking tennis to you completely – don’t hold me to that, i never said that*.

I picked up my current racquet at least 10 years ago I’d guess, by popping into a sport store, grabbing one, taking a couple of swings and feeling pretty satisfied, taking it home.

current racquet specs:
wilson sting tour lite – steffi graf high beam series
head size = 100 sq inches
length = i’d eyeball about 25 inches
weight = feels like between 10 and 11 oz
balance = no idea

That is correct, I play with a woman’s racquet, and it’s cool damnit! i transcend gender! – also i didn’t realize i had bought a woman’s racquet for a good year or two after, until someone else pointed that out for me. he wasn’t very complimentary about it either, now that i recall – bastard.
The old racquet is making a twangy sound now though, which probably means it just needs new strings, but seeing as how tennis is my new obsession, to me this means i need a new racquet.  on the advice of a tennis playing superior, i’ve been demoing 3 racquets from a local tennis shop:

prospective racquet #1 specs:
head microgel extreme pro – mid plus
head size = 100 sq inches
length = 27 inches
weight = 11.1 oz (unstrung)
balance = 6 pts head-light
swingweight = 338
stiffness = 69

prospective racquet #2 specs:
head microgel extreme team – oversize
head size = 107 sq inches
length = 27 inces
weight = 9.5 oz (unstrung)
balance = 3 pts Head Light
swingweight = 301
stiffness = 57

prospective racquet #3 specs:
babolat pure drive standard cortex
head size = 100 sq inches
length = 27 inches
weight = 10.6 oz (unstrung)
balance = 5 pts head light
swingweight = 325
stiffness = 70

The biggest difference i’ve found with how i hit with each has to do with their weight stiffness and control. the head extreme pro and babolat pure drive racquets are very similar as far as specs go, both of them being heavier and smaller in head size, offering more control than the head extreme team racquet. i think i naturally favour the lighter, larger head size racquet – it’s more maneuverable and less cumbersome, i can send faster serves and forehand smashes over the net and it’s a virtual wall with the massive headsize. but, i’ve learned through some racquet research, that lighter isn’t always better. at first it can be great, but with time, the lack of stopping power can send increased stress to your elbow and shoulder, increasing the chances of tennis elbow and other  joint injuries. that sounds sucky – then i’d have to obsess about some non racquet activity – boo. also, there’s the noticeable control issue, something that will make difficult my love for smashing serves and forehands into the net, out-of-bounds and on lucky occasions inside the baseline.
That drops the lighter racquets out of the running. so, it looks like i’ll have to build up some more shoulder and forearm muscles – believe it or not, those extra 2 oz. are felt pretty quickly on the court, although i’m not sure B believed me when i kept whining about that the other day – it’s true damnit, my arm still hurts!
This is a pretty long post! if you’re still reading, so far the head extreme pro is in the lead. although the babolat is only marginally stiffer and has a woofer, a type of shock system for vibration reduction, i find it less comfortable and stiffer than the extreme pro. so, now that i know what  i’m looking for: 100sq in. 11 – 12 oz, standard length, balance – no idea, stiffness – around 69 (whatever that means) i think i’ll go back to the shop for some more demos.
If anyone knows anything about the balance point system, feel free to let me know.

Posted by: robinmasters | February 6, 2009

women can play stuff too

Having already changed my blog title a few times, i should probably give  a quick etymology: the original, Gentleman’s Gaming Club, was concocted when B, B and I (all guys) realized we were lacking some serious gaming opportunities in our lives, and wanted to start a club to change that. i think our original plans only included table games, namely poker and risk, but was later expanded to include billiards (usually to be combined with cigar smoking –  pretty damn cool, but tricky to find places that still allow you to hasten your death, in a small glassed in smoking room, by weeks a at a time), tennis, baseball and sports in general, and now really anything that’s fun and considered an activity. the definition of activity may be used a bit loosely here, but don’t worry, you’ll know it’s an activity because i’ll be blogging about it.
Immediately after naming the club we realized we were being a bit (alright a lot) exclusionary, but decided on keeping the name cause it sounded cool, and because it made us seem exclusive, but women are just as welcome to GGC events.

So far the title for this blog has changed from Gentleman’s Gaming Club, to Gentlefolk’s Gaming Club, to Gentlepeep’s Gaming Club, to Gentleman’s (and women’s) Gaming Club. there’s also the possible Gentlemen/women’s Gaming Club. Vote for your favorite below… or above, i’m not sure where the comments thing is on this yet, but if you can find it, you can lock in your vote now.

I didn’t talk about nadal and federer, but i figured you might expect some activity related content by now, so there’s a non-sexual male embrace to tide you over.

Posted by: robinmasters | February 6, 2009

blog plans – less is more

This is my second attempt at blogging – my first failed horribly after i made two or three posts and then let it wither and die. perhaps you’re thinking you should stop wasting your time with a proven blogger failure, and i can’t argue with that reasoning, but,  my forgotten blog was work-based, and i think that’s where the trouble began. it was always a bit of a chore to make a post on it – researching, fact checking, proof reading, editing – no more i say! that’s right, you lucky anonomous folks who mistakenly wondered onto this blog will not be subject to nuisance of time wasted perfection. who’s the failure now? huh?