The Mr. Bean Games Blog
The Mr. Bean Games Blog

Don’t leave the dock without it

When you pack your gear bag, your checklist probably includes the usual gear and emergency equipment, mask, fins, regulator and one of those kits with a few extra o-rings, neoprene patches and regulator mouthpieces. Here are a few extra things that you can throw into your gear bag that will make your dive more comfortable, confident, and safe.

Citrus beverages

When I surface, the first thing I want to do is get the taste of ocean out of my mouth. As much as I appreciate the smell of the sea and the salty air, I’m not so enthusiastic about having it on my tongue. Water is refreshing, but I find that I can drink a few liters of bottled water and still taste the remnants of the sea in my mouth.

After experimenting with dozens of beverage candidates, I find that Five Alive is hands-down the best cure for oceanmouth. Other citrus juices are good, but none are quite as effective as Five Alive. The better ones were those that contain acidic juices like pineapple and grapefruit.

The juice serves another purpose: rehydration. It seems counterintuitive that spending an hour submerged in water can cause dehydration, but it’s true. The air in your tanks is very dry – necessarily so, since moisture in a tank will rust it from the inside. Just breathing in that dry air for an hour will silently dehydrate you. Drink something when you get back to the boat and you can avoid the symptoms of dehydration such as headache, nausea and dizziness.

Long-sleeved rashgard or cotton shirt

Did you know that the chemicals in sunscreen are poisonous to reef-dwelling marine life? You need to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation, but you don’t want to slather on the SPF lotion before your dive. Cover up the old fashioned way with a cotton shirt or a long-sleeved rashguard.

Laminated Dive Table Chart

Are you dependent on your computer? Go back and review your certification training and learn how to calculate your residual nitrogen using tables. Computers are great tools, but it behooves every diver to remember how to manage their nitrogen levels without gadgetry.

A “dry bag”

A dry bag needn’t be anything fancy – inexpensive bags with resealable flaps are available at most camping or marine supply stores. They don’t need to be watertight to 100 ft – since you leave them on the boat in your gear bag. My favorite is a bright yellow, rubber bag with a top that folds over three times and tucks into itself for an easy watertight seal. Many divers on a budget will use a variety of disposable resealable freezer bags.

In my dry bag, I keep:

•    Tissues – a necessity. After purging my mask a few times, my sinuses get rebellious.
•    Cotton Swabs – some gentle attention to get the water out of my ears.
•    A photocopy of my identification & passport – just in case
•    Band-aids – because I stub my toes on boats
•    Everything that was in my pockets – Before donning my wetsuit, my dry bag (by virtue of its sealability) is a good place to keep a cell phone, camera, wallet, jewelry, car keys, etc.
Tell someone where you are going and who you’re with.
Make this a habit, so you don’t need to be concerned when an emergency arises.

First, make sure the dive operator knows who you are, where you are staying, and who to contact in case of an emergency. If you are injured during a dive, the dive operators might whisk you directly to the nearest hospital, medical clinic or decompression chamber. If the medical staff can’t determine your identity, it can complicate your medical attention.

Second, tell someone who isn’t diving with you where you are going. That could be others in your party, the hotel concierge, or a phone call to a relative back home. Tell them the name of the dive shop, your destination, the departure time and estimated return time for your dive excursion. If you know it, include the names of the boat, its captain, and divemaster. If you are traveling alone or diving in a group, write the information down and leave it with the hotel office. If your hotel is near a popular diving spot, they will be used to that sort of thing.

I’ve got a confession to make. I play basketball. I play it very poorly and can’t make very many of the shots that I shoot at the basketball hoop. I have a feeling that I am not alone in the world at being a rather poor basketball player. However, one thing that I’m not bad at is comparison shopping. I’ve mastered the ancient art of comparing prices between merchants and can usually ferret out a fairly good deal with a little bit of leg work. Basketball hoops are no different than other items when it comes to shopping for them. There are some tips you should know before embarking on your journey to shop for a basketball hoop.

1)New or Used. You really might consider buying a used basketball hoop if you are interested in value. However, make sure you are buying one that hasn’t been banged up too bad. Years of basketball practice can only make your rim bent and dirty. Ebay can be a great place to buy used equipment and basketball hoops are regularly for sale on Ebay.

2)Do your homework by comparing different merchant offers on different search engines and different websites. Just because something is advertised for sale on Google doesn’t mean its also advertised for sale on Yahoo. Some merchants advertise their good strictly through the Amazon partners program and don’t do any other advertising anywhere else. Price vary drastically and the only way you will know that you are getting a good deal is to examine what the different people are selling the same goods for on different websites. Basketball hoops are no exception.

3)Learn about the different types and styles of basketball hoops. Without the knowledge of what you are buying, points #1 and #2 are nearly worthless. Buy your hoop the right way and get a great deal on one by being an informed consumer. Learn how to buy a basketball hoop and you can guarantee that you got a better deal than everyone else.

Prior to the All Star break the Baltimore Orioles were playing like they were destined for one of those dream seasons. On June 21, Baltimore held a two-game lead over the division rival Boston Red Sox and had assembled an impressive 42-28 record. The Orioles were also just 24 days away from celebrating Rafael Palmeiro’s 3,000th career hit and were 4th in the American League with a .278 team batting average. But after June 22nd Baltimore’s dream season quickly faded. The Orioles would lose their next six games and win only 32 of their final 92 games (just under 35%).  Rafael Palmeiro would be suspended for steroid use on Aug. 2, and second-year manager Lee Mazzilli would be fired just two days after Palmeiro’s suspension.

The three offensive bright spots in 2005 were shortstop Miguel Tejada (.304 36 98) 3rd baseman Melvin Mora (.283 27 88) and outfielder Jay Gibbons (.277 26 79). On the downside, 1st baseman Rafael Palmeiro (.266 18 60) appeared in only 100 games and the off season acquisition of Sammy Sosa (.221 14 45) proved to be a wasted gamble.  As far as pitching, only starters Rodrigo Lopez (15-12 4.90), Bruce Chen (13-10 3.83) and closer B.J Ryan (36 saves in 41 opportunities) proved reliable. The Orioles ended their season with a disappointing 74-88 record, 21 games behind the division-leading Yankees and Red Sox.

Off Season Moves:

After Free Agent Closer B.J Ryan signed with the division rival Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore quickly traded Steve Kline to Giants for RHP LaTroy Hawkins (2-8 3.83 6 saves in 2005, 25 saves in 2004 for the Chicago Cubs). The Orioles also added Free Agent catcher Ramon Hernandez (.290 12 58)  and 1st Base/ Outfielder Jeff Conine (.304 3 33) as well as former Red Sox Kevin Millar (.272 9 50) hoping to supplement the loss of Rafael Palmeiro as an offensive force in the everyday lineup. Baltimore also traded SS Nate Spears and LHP Carlos Perez to the Cubs for Corey Patterson (.215 13 34) in order to better jumpstart their offensive production in 2006. To address their starting pitching problems the Orioles traded  with the Mets for RHP Kris Benson (10-8 4.13) in exchange for relief pitcher Jorge Julio.

2014 Analysis:

Expect the offensive additions to help better protect Tejada and Mora. The newly acquired Millar and Conine will probably split time between 1B, outfield and DH. The starting five appear at this point to be Lopez, Erik Bedard  (6-8 4.00), Daniel Cabrera (10-13 4.52), Chen and John Maine (2-3 6.30) plus newcomer Kris Benson who is expected to bump Chen or Maine to the bullpen. Although the addition of Benson will help, the starting rotation doesn’t quite offer enough to seriously contend against Toronto, Boston and New York. The departure of lefty closer B.J Ryan will clearly be missed.  The Orioles are keeping their fingers crossed that LaTroy Hawkins can once again close games like he did in 2004. Relievers Eric DuBose (2-3 5.52), Chris Ray (1-3 2.66), Tim Byrdak (0-1 4.05) and Todd Williams (5-5 3.30) complete the Oriole bullpen. Javy Lopez will most likely DH this year with the acquisition of Free Agent catcher Ramon Hernandez joining the club.

While the mention of scuba diving generally brings to mind the image of some exotic tropical dive locale, the United Kingdom has a number of exciting dive spots just waiting to be explored by divers like you.  If you have no issues with cold water diving, the following destinations will leave you breathless.  Or something like that…

One of the best dive sites in the U.K. is located in Scotland, in the Sound of Mull.  The Sound of Mull is located between the Isle of Mull and the Morven Peninsula.  It is an extremely popular destination for U.K. divers because it offers an unparalleled range of diving in very reasonable conditions.  The area is cursed with bad weather, which has resulted in countless shipwrecks over the years.  Most dives in the area are launched from Tobermory, Lochaline, or Oban.  The Hispania is, by far, one of the most popular wrecks in the area, due to the fact that it is still relatively intact and awash in marine life.  It is shallow enough to get a good long dive, and visibility is generally very good.

Another phenomenal dive spot is located on the south coast of England, in the waters of Sussex.  The Alaunia, a steamship sunk by a German mine in 1916, is one of the more popular diving destinations on the south coast.  Although the wreck is considerably broken up, there are still significant parts of the ship left intact.  Be on the lookout for a series of portholes to help navigate the site.  If you can manage to find the bridge area, you will undoubtedly be pleased to find the anchor still hanging from its chain.  The size of the wreck is overwhelming to some degree, and it would take a few separate dives to explore the entire ship.  Shoals of bib, spider crabs, and massive lobsters are sure to keep you entertained.  See if you can spot a dead man’s fingers while you are down there.

Another extremely popular dive is located near Plymouth, where the wreck of the steamship Maine found its final resting place.  It can be found approximately a mile off Bolt Head.  It was highly noticeable for a number of years, as the masts of the ship broke the surface of the water.  The wreck has since been cleared of its mast, with most of the debris swept to its port side.  It rests in water that is approximately 30 meters deep.  The ship was torpedoed in March of 1917 and, after a noble rescue effort, came to rest in waters within easy reach from Salcombe.  While this would be an amazing exploration for any diver, it is not recommended for novice divers due to the strong current.  There is a good representation of undersea life, and this destination is sure please anyone who visits.

It is a strike, when all of the pins are knocked down “on the first ball of a frame.”

Every bowler would like to hit a strike and score big to win with this action, but it is not merely a stroke of luck. Bowlers who want to make it big by hitting strikes more often than not have to work at it.

Like in any sport, great action comes in small packages, where the attention is focused on the techniques learned and used by that player. It is important for every player to know how to hone his or her skills to win the game.

So for those who wish to make a strike or a spare in order to win a match, here are three bowling techniques that they can use:

1. Spinner

This technique refers to the way of delivering a shot with the intention that no more than a minor part of the ball touches contacts the lane. This technique promotes less friction between the ball and the lane, not considering the “oiling pattern” of that lane. As a result the ball glides practically in a straight line down the lane.

Experts contend, however, that this kind of shot is not very successful in that it does not attempt to take full advantage of the dragging the power of the bowler.

2. Stroker

With this kind of technique, the bowler relies more on precision than strength. This technique is characterized by employing the “by the book” style of playing that entails the proper execution of even movements, keeping square shoulders to the target all the way through the release of the ball, and maintaining an on-time move at the “foul line.”

This is the “classic” technique of most bowlers because it employs smooth and controlled movements and lessens the possibility of injuries.

3. Cranker

This is the kind of technique that is being employed by a bowler who relies more on his strength to deliver a good shot rather than accuracy. It is like ‘hitting hard’ when a bowler uses this technique.

The skill involves more adrenaline that constitutes the bowler’s drive to win.

Usually, crankers use “late timing”, they do not slide, attempt to get to the “foul line” earlier than the ball, and they bend their elbows to keep their hands at the back and beneath the ball.

There are no perfect techniques, but there is a particular technique for every player. The important thing is to create a strike or even a spare.

Since its inception, bowling has consistently obtained and retained its recognition in the sports category. In the United States alone, there are 50 million people that participate in the sport.

Because of its extreme popularity, the fascination for bowling has reached all classes of society, including musicians. Yes, the concept of bowling is so popular that even musicians or band members have used bowling terms when naming their bands. Bowling for Soup coined their band name from the sport.

Bowling for Soup is an all-male band that engages in “pop-punk” music. Originally from Wichita Falls, Texas; this band was recognized for its hit singles like “Girl All the Bad Guys Want” that was released in 2002. Their newest hits were “Almost” and “1985.”

The band’s popularity soars as they continue to create songs that are widely accepted by the “pre-teen” group.

For those who are not yet familiar with the band, here are five amazing facts:

1. The band got its name from “Bowling for Shit,” a routine from Steve Martin’s comedy album, “Wild and Crazy Guy,” that was released in 1978.

2. They are known as “musical heavyweights” and drunk-rockers. But all of that changed when they were nominated for the 2003 Grammy Award for their category, “Best Performance Pop, By a Duo or Group.”

Since then, they are no longer known as the “fat guys” from Texas. After the Grammy’s, they now acclaim themselves as the “Grammy-nominated fat guys from Texas.”

3. Their name has nothing to do with the sport of bowling, but they do bowl; they are not “true-blue bowlers” which is what they call themselves. Jaret Riddick, the band’s lead vocalist and lead guitarist has stated that they play “badly” when it comes to bowling. They participated in a bowling event known as a “Bowl-a-thon,” where Chris Burney, their bassist and vocalist, was able to score a “scorching” 70.

On the other hand, the term “soup” has nothing to do with edible soup either – the fact is that Riddick admitted that he is not a “soup eater.”

Given all of the above, this band has made a great impact on the entertainment scene. They are very popular even if they are not into the sport of bowling. Whether it has been a strike or a spare, they have hit their way to fame.

To begin the game an ante is first placed on the table by every player. Remember, usually the amount is only a fraction of a bet that is set by the card room. The dealer then deals 2 cards – 1 hole card and 1 door card – starting with the player on their left and continuing clockwise round the table. The player who has the lowest card showing on the table must place the bring-in bet, which is equal to half of the lower level bet.

In the first betting round each player, with the possible exception of the bring-in player who has already contributed the bring-in amount, may either choose to fold (quit the game), call (meet the bet) or raise, increasing the bring-in to a full bet. If players still left in the round choose to only call the bring-in amount, then the player who originally contributed the bring-in is the only player who has the option to check their own amount.

During the second betting round, the game really starts to take shape as each player is dealt one more door card. Now with 2 cards showing, players have a better idea of not only the potential of their own hand, but also what winning advantages their other opponents have.

Strategies begin taking effect as the player with the highest card value begins the round of betting. The highest card value includes all cards exposed, and could consist of the highest card, pair and so on. If in the event two hands prove to be of equal value, the betting is then commenced by the player who is the closet to the dealer’s left.

The player with the highest showing hand begins the betting round, and they may either check, fold or raise. If this player chooses to check or fold, the remaining players, following clockwise from that players left may check until a raise has been made.

The dealer deals a 3rd door card to each player, and the excitement continues its climb, as each players exposed hand reveals more details to their opponents at what potential their hidden card could have.

Then the final round of betting where the last door card is dealt by the dealer, giving players a pretty good idea if luck has run out for them or their opponents, or if they have instead hit the jackpot, is performed.

Finally, the single hole card and 4 door cards of the remaining players are revealed as each player left in the hand show their cards, beginning with the last player to bet and continuing in that pattern. During the showdown players may also choose to “muck” (fold out of the game, without showing their cards) their hand. The winner naturally takes the pot.

If in the event, a player wins by default, which means that every other player in the hand folded, no showdown will occur.

Among the many sports that man has ever played, perhaps, bowling is the most popular among all. With over 50 million players in the United States alone, bowling is definitely one sport that is a cut above the rest.

Among the many reasons this particular sport has remained at top of is the fact that it is a highly flexible sport. It promotes easy adjustment methods that are why many children and adults alike can take part in this remarkable game.

About 95% of bowlers consider bowling as a sport that can be exploited as a recreation, a form of relaxation, a societal factor, and a competitive nature as far as sportsmanship is concerned.

The simplicity of the game contributes to its adaptability. Because its rules are easier to understand, more and more people are engaging in this sport, not because of competition but basically because they want to enjoy the time with their friends or family.

With all these advantages, many people are still not aware of the health benefits that bowling can provide. They just thought that the activity could promote physical vigor and it stopped there. What they do not know is that the health benefits of bowling is more than just building stamina and releasing energy.

So for those who are not yet aware of these benefits, here is a list that you should know:

1. Promotes good muscle exercises

Merely walking along the lane, while attempting to make a strike or a spare, is enough to exercise the muscles in your legs. It resembles that of the “walking exercise” that most health buffs do; the only difference is that there is more weight involved. This is because in bowling, your hands are holding the bowling ball.

Consequently, as you swing around to hit the pins, the flexing and stretching provides adequate exercise for your tendons, joints, ligaments, and muscles in the arms.

2. Fat burning

As your muscles flex, turn, and twist in every swinging motion that you make while playing bowling, these moves can actually promote the burning of some accumulated body fat.

3. Builds friendships

One of the health benefits that can be derived in bowling is based on the kind of relationship that is being built with your friends or family. As some psychologists contend, building social relationships can actually promote better performance of the heart muscles. Emotional stress can shorten the lifespan of an average person.

Indeed, there can be no better or enjoyable way to live a healthy life than bowling can.

Let’s face it… Learning to use those “dots on the rails” can be daunting at times, and other times down right frightening.

In this short article, I’ll give the beginner to amateur level player a few tips to follow in their quest to become proficient in the pool and billiards diamond system.

Tip #1: Master the fundamentals of the game first

Like in any other skills it’s always easier to learn the correct way at the beginning than try to unlearn bad habits after they have been acquired. You may have heard the saying, “Bend the tree while it is still young”.

The point here is that if you develop bad techniques and mechanics when first learning pool this could adversely affect your effectiveness later in using diamond systems. Also there is little use in tackling ‘Pool 202’ when you haven’t mastered ‘Pool 101’.

Tip #2: Using diamond systems can enhance natural instinct

There are many pool players who will argue that all you need is a ‘feel’ for the ball and you can forget any math or physics as applied to the game. These players can apparently make their shots without reverting to any ‘diamond systems’ and calculation and so experience is more important than learning some ‘trick’.

The only problem with this approach is that when such players are having a bad day then they have nothing to resort to.

This is not to say that feel and intuition have no part in the game, but pool follows physical laws that the systems try to simplify for the pool player. Terms such as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’, ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ are of course imprecise and would mean different actual speeds (meters per second) for different players.

Tip #3: Take 5 minutes and learn the table in front of you

As mentioned before, because diamond systems by their very nature are more involved, you want to have a perfect and predictable table as possible. Unfortunately, each table will have their own particularities that you must compensate for in your shots.

This takes us back to the argument of intuition versus systems because if you’ve practiced all your game on one table you may have problems with your shots just being a little off on another table. Your ‘feel’ may be on spot but the table is not being kind to you.

You must then carry out some simple exercises to test the rubber, cushion, level of table, bad spots and whether the table is playing long or short. Simple things such as if the cue ball is dirty or new can significantly affect your game.

If there is any inconsistency in the table then small mistakes will become magnified and your shots will be off.

Tip #4: Learn the proper english to use with diamond systems

English is often defined in tips, such as in ‘one tip of running english’. The only problem here is that different cues have different sizes and curvature of tips; so one tip to the left of center for a 13mm cue tip will be very different for a 12mm tip.

The point here is that ‘tip’ is not a fair measurement against the cue ball because different cue sticks have different size tips.

Tip #5: Learn the right speed to use with diamond systems.

In simple optics, the angle that light strikes a plane (flat) mirror at is the same angle that it will reflect at. In pool a rebounding ball approaches this same principle (assuming no spin) except that whereas the light doesn’t physically affect the mirror the ball compresses the cushion adding another factor to take into consideration.

As a rule of thumb the faster the ball hits the cushion the [smaller] the angle that it leaves the cushion. To get a feel for how this changes with speed of the ball will require constant practice.

This behavior of the ball is a little counter-intuitive so it takes some ‘getting use to’ which is the whole purpose of trying different speeds of the ball off the cushion and experiencing for yourself the difference in the rebound track line.

Now that was some food for thought.

In my next article I’ll share with you an additional series of tips, that if studied further will guide you to a greater understanding of using diamond systems in pool and billiards.

There are 2 occasions where you can get the ball off the bounce: when you are on the offense and when you are on the defense. Either way, you need to learn these lessons to become an overall rebounder of your team:

1.    Rebounding is making the right body position.

Your coach always yells “rebound!” and you are getting sick of it because no matter how high you jump, your opponent is still able to grab the ball away from you. If this is your problem, then you might not be placing yourself in the right rebounding position. Remember this: rebounding doesn’t start when you get the ball on its way down, it starts on the ground. Thus, knowing where to place your body to get the perfect position is one key to grabbing the ball. (I say one key because you have to understand the second lesson.)

The ideal position is placing your body between your opponent and the ball. Take note that not all rebounds come from the rim or the board, so positioning your body between the opponent and the basket isn’t always possible.

2.    Rebounding is anticipating where the ball will land.

You know the right position but it is useless if you don’t know how to anticipate where the ball is going to go. This requires common sense. For example, if the ball is taken in the perimeter, it is likely that the ball will bounce off strong. A short shot may yield an opposite result. What you should do is to always put your eye on the ball and the moment the player taking the shot. Predict where the ball will land and position yourself right away taking into consideration lesson number 1. Take note that you can’t always guess the position of where the ball will land but knowing this will increase your chances of placing yourself in the right position to get the rebound.

3.    Rebounding is all about attitude.

As said by many, rebounding isn’t about who jumps high or who stands tall; it is about who wants the ball more. This is the third lesson you have to learn. The attitude is all it takes to become a good rebounder. You may know how to position before rebounding and you may know how to anticipate where the ball will land, but if you don’t want it, you won’t get it.

Know the right position, anticipate where the ball will land, and wanting the ball more are the 3 main factors to become a good rebounder. Learn these and you’ll be controlling the board.