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2008 Blogs

12/27/08 Comments Section Color Scheme
Hope everyone had a nice and safe Holiday. Been working on my comments component for my website. Pretty much have the databases down, the options I want to include, and the how it's going to look on the website. One thing needs work and that's the color scheme. I've tried a bunch of colors and kinda settled on a light cyan. Pretty soon I'll start the fun part which is coding. The idea here is to make a nice framework I can use for other projects.

Guess I'm afraid no one is going to use it and I just spent a lot of time developing something for nothing. I just need to focus on getting it done for other reasons. There's more I want to offer people to help promote the sport and generate some income, but it needs to start here with something I can get my hands on.

Tomorrow is my 37th Birthday and the Wii I got my wife for Christmas said my Wii Age is 44. Ouch. Now I have computers telling me to hit the gym. Anyway just wamted to give people a heads up. Boys are doing fine (getting over colds) and Matt's gaining weight like crazy.

Jason and my Trophies12/14/08 The First Born, Jason.
A lot of people have come over so far and even more have asked to see pictures of Matthew. Today I saw Jason bring out his toys and talk a lot more than he usually does to people. He tries so hard to be noticed and helpful. He's a pretty good big brother and always full of energy even when he's running on empty. To get him to pee, I normally tell him I need to go pee-pee first and he suddenly has to be the first to the bowl. He has a lot of drive, often independent, and can be very stubborn.

He hasn't shown much jealousy of his younger brother and has been a little more destructive and disobedient than usual, but we still play a lot and I make sure he has his stories and slowly integrating Matthew into it. Today he wanted all three of us to watch Robotboy. So I think he'll be good.

Last month, he took a fascination with my small collection of Racquetball Trophies and I'm guilty of using material objects to get him potty-trained or to try something new. So he can be driven to win, but I'm more concerned with his capacity to lose and to learn from his mistakes. He sometimes has a big time tantrum when things don't go his way. His brother seems a lot calmer even at thirteen days old. What a fire and ice pair I have on my hands. Anyway I wanted to drop a note about my big boy, Jason, and how proud I am of him.

12/14/08 Blog Watch: Sandbagging Battle.
Well it's not really a battle, but might as well have fun with the title. Mike Grab wrote a series of posts about his first tournament experience at the NJO. One of them was about Sandbagging. Then about two weeks later Jon Panno chimed in from a more tournament staff perspective. Interesting to see a player and a staff perspective, but to break the tie. There's some serious problems with sandbagging at every event.

I think the problem with two fold. One, I haven't see any real guidelines for clubs from state organizations to follow. Two, new players are often taken at face value and a good majority of them are either playing their first tournament and want to start at the bottom, some play with their peers, and some are probably really sandbagging. I normally play with my peers and stay out of D's. I agree with Jon that people do improve, but sometimes they could have "improved" in a higher division.

Improvement to me would mean I started at the bottom of the draw and during the course of tournaments and my online ranking I start to move up in the draw. Then I can eventually win the division and move on to the bottom of the next division, but to come in and win two divisions that's a little suspicious. Ultimately we need someone to be accountable (AMPro Certified) and sign-off on a player's skiill level. I remember on one of Tom Koeh's Applications a space for a skill certification signature. It would take longer, but I think would add some credability to more of the draws and bring in some money to more instructors.

12/08/08 0.54% (Yes, that's half a percent.)
No, that's not the chance of me playing racquetball again after two kids. It's my weatlh ratio from Rich Dad/Poor Dad's Book Retire Young, Retire Rich Book. It's a simple ratio (passive income/total expenses) that shows you how much wealth you have. Passive income is stock dividends, interest, and cashflow from a business or investment property. If I started subtracting credit card and mortage interest then I'll be way in the negative. A lot of things with the Rich Dad/Poor Dad Books and Cashflow 101 have been difficult to swallow.

For example, I worked since I was sixteen and all I have to show is a lousey 0.54%! While I help my wife and family get adjusted to a new addition. I really need to make a dent in my company and really need to plan the next tweleve months. My wife got her first disability check and it's about half her regular paycheck so the belts going to be tight until she goes back to work and then it gets even worse with two kids in Day Care.

I have a pretty good idea for this page and will hopefully get it done by January 1st.

11/21/08 Blog Watch.
The Racquetball Blog has a pretty interesting post about ranking systems. Splatshot (Mike Grab) talks about his first real tournament experience at the NJO. Takes a couple of tournaments to really get your Sea-legs going and not tank. Anyway offer your words of wisdom to Mike, he's a good friend of mine. Panno's blog has been dormant for a while just like his return of phone calls. Lastly Double Donut has some pictures from another photographer. Some are nice, but looks like the photographer needs to read Double D's Racquetball Photography Guide! Seems to be focused too much on one player and doesn't capture the action in racquetball.

11/20/08 SSL...that was easy.
I added the SSL option to my web host account, updated some Domain Name Server Info, dropped $99, and now we have a secure connection to offer our users. I changed the Member Area to use the new connection, but will need to rework the Player Registry to make it work. Anyway need to calm down with all the start-up purchases lately and remember I have another kid to care for in the near future.

The overall idea of the SSL is to allow secure access to users and increase the professional features of the site while keeping it within a pretty tight budget. Can purchase some pretty hefty SSL Certificates, but I got one from Comodo and we'll see how it works for $100 per year.

11/18/08 Bored and More Bored.
Things have been really boring around here lately. I'm itching to get something new going and push the boundaries of the site a little. Think my company, Enchanted Quill Press, LLC. is flying on it's own power now. I need to go back over my project plan and make sure everything is crossed off. One of the next things I plan on getting is an SSL Certificate, so I can offer secure connections in a cleaner way than shared SSL.

Anyway been taking things real slow around here lately. My wife is about two weeks out from her C-Section for our second boy--Matthew. So a lot of stuff to clean up and make ready in addition to the regular stuff. I'm going to draft a Business Plan for my LLC and see what I can offer customers. Can't wait to push things around here and make a dent in some cool projects.

I played about three to four games of Singles on Monday and my knee survived pretty well. Need to get back into stretching every day that along with my wife's therapy has helped keep me in the game.

11/14/08 Better, thanks to my Super PT Wife!
Thanked my wife tonight with a big kiss. I played a few games and was able to move a lot better to most shots. Still a little hesitant, but I'm gaining some confidence with running to the ball and putting more pressure on my knee. Going to keep the brace and it's nice to have the heat and support it offers. Also thankful to One Lee who was patient with me. Fore/backhand were better and I also was able to win my games tonight.

My wife stopped working yesterday and her Doctor moved up the C-Section to 12/1, so got less time to make sure everything is ready. I'm very happy to be feeling better, but I'm going to skip the NJO there's just too much to do around here and I want to rev-up my training before jumping into another tourney. Last thing I want to do is to have a repeat of State Doubles.

11/11/08 What's the matter with you?
Well...I'm fighting the urge to go into a whole Rocky III segment, not sure I'll win though. Anyway played last Friday against One Lee and lost two back to back games which lead One Lee to ask "What's the matter with you?" I was pretty tired but I think more importantly I was scared about hurting my leg and going back to limping all over the place. Last State Doubles was the first real time I got hurt at a tourney and I'm still recovering from it, but can't enjoy racquetball in this half existence either. Losing doesn't matter much, lately I've been fighting harder to win and it does hurt more than quitting, but I wasn't prepared for dealing with the physical injury that really affects everything--mental and physical.

I don't have a lot of time this morning, but didn't want to lose the topic later either. My wife has been working on my leg the past two nights and she says it wasn't as bad as she thought. I just sprained a tendon and she's been working it back into shape. Yesterday was the first time I took two stairs at a time in a while. I didn't even think about it until after. So glad my wife is a damn good PT and I love her for a lot of things, but I'm glad she's helping me get back to the sport I love so much. I know she's not overly fond of all the time it takes, but she knows how much it means to me.

11/05/08 "Good Evening Class." "Good Evening Mr. Delgado."
Been ironing out the details with the Rutgers Cook/Douglas Rec Center about joining their Dollar Menu Curriculum in February 2009. Basically students sign-up for a dollar and have a two hour session on Racquetball on my dime. Basically Paul called me out of the blue and asked if I was interested. I filled out a form and traded a couple of emails with someone else and boom, done.

I've worked with Rutgers Students before and the general idea is not to overwhelm them, break them up into small groups, and get them hooked on racquetball. Then I can switch them up, talk about some more rules, and wrap it up with a private game with me to ask questions. Simple and keeps me from talking the whole time.

Been kicking myself that I didn't even try to go for AMPro when it was in my backyard, but oh well. I missed it and didn't have the cash to commit. I tried doing free lessons before and even had a sign up, but a lot of people thought it was just for Intramurals and I think I had like two or three people sign-up by mistake. So to have some additional marketing and exposure for my class seems like a better setup. Just gotta put it away! I'll see if I can bring a Head Demo Bag and promote more Colligate offers. So students can get better equipment, Head can get more exposure, and I can expand my network of players.

11/02/08 Going to Try Network Marketing
I've heard about it from the Rich Dad/Poor Dad series of audio-tapes and books, have seen some videos on how it works and one of the many companies that does it. One of the most interesting aspects is the sales and other training they offer. So if I can build a company based on a proven system, learn about business, and develop the opportunities to get residual income. Then why not? If I can do "A" then "Z" should eventually follow.

Jasom Halloween 200811/01/08 Trick or Treat!
Was able to get out of work a little early and help Jason go Trick or Treating. Poor kid could barely see in his Bumblebee mask, but that didn't keep him playing the part. With the mask on he ceased to be Jason and could only be referred to as Bumblebee. In case you've been under a rock for the past twenty or so years, Bumblebee is a Transformer. A robot that can transform into a vehicle. Of course, Jason said he was stuck in robot mode and couldn't transform.

Anyway was good to walk the neighborhood and see neighbors and other kids. had a pretty good haul and went out for a second round after some juice and chocolate.

I didn't even feel bad that I skipped racquetball. Well, I didn't feel terrible about it. Karen came along too and we called her Bulkhead. Jason called me Optimus Prime which is the leader of the (good guys) Autobots. Yes the grass is long and the leaves need to be raked, but I did manage to rearrange Jason's room and get the crib and other stuff into Matt's room. Four weeks and one day to go!

10/30/08 The Usual Mischief.
Caught some heat from not being you know where on you know when for you know what. I apologized to you know who and it doesn't pay much to be honest <jk>, but after putting hours on end making my baby's room ready (C-Section 12/2) while my wife is having a meltdown that everything is mess...doesn't make me feel like running out and getting even more obligations. There's a limit of how much I can accept and start letting people down. I know, I let some people down for you know when, but there's a definite pecking order and it starts from the top. I'm about third, soon to be fourth on that list.

Any spare time has been going to the LLC site. The main page actually has some content and other links. Stopping the DBA and switching to an LLC has been ok and just need to get everything else switched over and establish some credit. Really scared of getting a credit card and having it main lined into my dream. I got in trouble years ago with credit card debt and I'm not looking to repeat the same mistake.

Worked hasn't changed much but has kind of stablized. A good friend of mine got laid off, but I'm pretty sure he'll get a job pretty quick since he's pretty specialized and has a good deal of experience. He's been bouncing between a job outside and this other place where we both started out of school for years. For people like myself that have trouble with authority and have a broad skillset...I'm not so sure. Think there's only one place for me to go and that's Business. *ROTFL*

I got a little overwhelemed last night thinking about everything I need to do, learn, and muddle through to get a business rolling. I noticed that I'm not afraid just get frozen on what to do first. Then the self-esteem tanks because I can't make progress. Anyway, I don't really care about the economy it's really an internal battle right now and I was able to get some momentum just by writiing out a series of steps and taking action on just one step. Learned that from the "The Power of an Hour" and been following it at home ever since I read the book. At work, I'm handling too many little tasks to really focus on anything and while it makes work go fast it doesn't give me any reward at the end of the day. Work is so top heavy with management that nothing can be agreed on without a lot of BS.

10/25/08 Played and Walked Away!
Played a couple of hours of Racquetball last night over a Cook. I started real tentative with One Lee and my brace and we played a few games. Very narrow margins since I wasn't firing the jets, didn't trust my knee, and One Lee was taking it easy on me. By the end of the night, I had some more confidence with it. I noticed it's my backhand that caused the most discomfort. I'm planting my left foot at an odd angle and as I turn my hips...I felt the knee twisting. So that's probably the root cause of my problem.

We had a couple of new people show up (Dan and Warren). Dan (18) walked past us in the hallway and asked, "Are you guys as good as you look?" I replied, "Come on in and find out." During the games, One Lee joked around with the rookie that he found out alright. It was good to have some new blood. We played some doubles with Warren, but he needs more experience in general mechanics and following the ball.

I stopped at 7:30 and then someone was talking my ear off in the locker room about reiki and how it helped his back, etc. In the back of my mind I kept thinking I need to go. I need to go now! But he kept talking and boxing me in. It's interesting but I'm naturally cynical and skeptical about those things. On the way out, I realized I left my cell phone at work and it was now very close to 8:00, so decided to go home and put Jason to bed and skip the NJAR meeting. By the time I would show up they would probably be done with the meeting and playing. Being my first day back, I didn't want to over do it.

Today I feel it, but it's not as bad as it was. I hit the gym twice last week and focused on my abs and legs. Felt really good, so I'll hit the gym three days per week and read the other two. Core and leg strength is the primary focus of my workouts. I plan on adding upper and lower back and to a lesser degree my arms and wrists.

I moved my computer downstairs and found an interesting book I never really read. "The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Racquetball and Squash" by Robert G. Price CPFT. I'll read parts of the book and ask my wife (She's a Dr. of Physical Therapy) which exercises are most important for my goals.

10/22/08 One of the Nicest Compliments I've Ever Received
At work, I saw one of my old Directors--a nice one--we chatted a bit after a presentation. She told me how much she missed me and how the IT guy she had was incapable of doing computer projects I used to do for her all the time. Anyway she also said that she didn't realize how many skills I had. Well after having my ego beaten up on a daily basis it was nice to get something good. I told someone else at work and told me that she said the same thing at a dinner not to long ago.

I know, I'm not the best in any single area, but as a whole...I have a good arsenal of weapons. Just need to use them to create a business. One step at a time. I guess it's like racquetball need to have more than one serve and more than one shot to win the game. There's only one fundamental requirement to winning and that's being in the game in the first place.

Been listening to the Cashflow 202 CDs and one of the speakers said, "Success is the Best Revenge." There's been a lot of negative comments and energy at work and I've been dumping my anger into my determination and my plans. Need to push harder, need to push past my self-imposed limitations. Think I got another idea for an article, self-esteem.

10/21/08 Good Starter Workout on Monday.
Kept my word and went to the gym to work out my legs. I started off real lite and kept doubling the weight. I did squats, leg curls, and abs. Don't know what I was thinking about letting the gym go for so long. Now that I'm playing racquetball less, I need to supplement with lunch drilling and workouts. I'm aching to play racquetball on Friday, but still worried about my knee. The workout really helped it feel better. Plan on hitting the gym tomorrow as well and doing some more leg and ab work.

10/18/08 Enough! I'm playing next Friday!! (2/2)
My knee has gotten a lot better since I injured it at State Doubles, but still hurts when I bend it all the way and still appears a little swollen. Doesn't matter, next week I'm going to the gym to work my legs, I bought a brace, and I'm going to play on Friday before the NJAR meeting. If I wait for it to completely heal, I'll be completely out of the game. So going to work on my physical toughness and start off lite on Friday.

10/18/08 Mike Grab has a Blog! (1/2)
A good friend of mine, Mike Grab, decided to start a blog on blogger. He IM'ed me that he started it blogger just to piss me off...since I wrote about my dislike about having external branding. Anyway he's a good guy, pretty honest, and writes a pretty good blog. He was belly aching about the round robin scoring. Seems like Hillsborough also used a "rally scoring" system--they must have been really busy.

I personally like the idea of scoring on both sides of the rally. Think the server has to be more cautious about the serve since a side out would cost something. I think it also makes for a faster and more exciting game. Since a game point can be on either side. Anyway at first, I thought Mike would be a little too good for B's but he got third. Which is pretty good for his first tourney. Only problem with robin scoring is you often need to be perfect or a sand bagger to be first.

10/16/08 Foot in Mouth?
The owner of the Racquetball Blog emailed me today about what I wrote and to thank me for the link. Anyway I guess my disdain came from using the Blogger tool. I like the flexibility of coding my own pages and not seeing some banner or other branding at the top of my pages. It's very important to me. The site seems to get more hits than I do, so maybe the next go around I'll fall back.

I found out I was #1 by accident and I know I don't follow the racquetball scene like Double Donut, the Racquetball Blog, or even Panno's Panno-Ramic View. So I write about my life, my goals for racquetball and other stuff. I like sharing my life and offering what I can for my friends and the sport.

I firmly believe, now, that the quickest way to lose is to be afraid of losing. Along the same lines, the quickest way to lose a web site is to stop being a resource for others. We all offer information and it's pretty much all free. So why not help each other and grow the sport? Thinking we're in a competition against everyone else is a very lonely and stupid place to be. We all succeed or none of us do.

10/13/08 Look at the #2 Racquetball Blog on Google.
Yep still first, thanks for all the support out there. Anyway here's the second place blog on Google. It's pretty good and follows the Professional Events to a degree. There's only one fundamental problem...the author doesn't really own it. All your effort and someone else profits from it.

10/13/08 Give up on myself?
I've known the answer to that question many times in my life. Sadly it has been "Yes." Time and time again. It's real easy to let go and drown in self-pitty and basically just quit and stop fighting. That's my weakness that's my Achilles' heal when things don't appear to be going right. Just toss my hands up and play a semi-good game until it's over. Well...not this time.

My job likes to indirectly attack my self-esteem and make me feel less capable sometimes. Well I've been out a few times and it's the same old confusion and inexperience all over the place. I can take some sollace in that. I can also accept my support system of customers and friends (pretty much the same thing) and keep going with stringing. Just need a couple of customers to trust me with their web design problems and I'll be good. I like helping people with computers and racquetball. I believe, I can learn to make a great company.

I recently moved my computer downstairs to make room for Matthew in December. Part of my desk is decorated with my trophies. Out of the seven up there...five are second place. Two are first. The two first place don't really mean too much. I remember the lessons the second place trophies taught me a lot more. We're not guarenteed anything in this life. What we want we need to fight for and I think the fight is often against ourselves.

So I took a Sunday afternoon and revamped the core pages of my company's site. For many years it's been a same stupid looking page that would scare off any customers looking to my company for web design.

10/10/08 Hamster Racquetball?
First saw this on Double Donut's Site (has new pictures) and almost fell off on the floor...would have been really bad for my knee. Gearbox has some funny commericals out there. It's not Prime Time per se, but it's out there. Good and relevant use of technology for Marketing and Promoting the sport.

Another company that does a good job is Racquetball Warehouse they have a reality series, how to videos with John Ellis and others, segments about equipment, interviews, and other racquetball content. So it's great to have stuff out there that helps people think of your products first and it contributes something to the community. So good stuff all around.

10/10/08 Patellar Tendinitis? Sure sounds good.
Did a search for leg tendons and came up with this site. I love the first two causes. A rapid increase in intensity. A big capital "YES" on both of those. Trying to go from one day a week to three divisions was a bad idea for me. Almost a week later, my left leg is still swollen compared to my right. So I'm going to be on the shelf for a while. I also went home Tuesday afternoon with the flu and I've been going through that. So a little too much on the agnony of defeat.

10/07/08 New Jersey State Doubles on a Silver Platter
I played three divisions (well kinda) Men's C's with Ben, Mixed Open/A and Mixed B/C with my doubles partner Tina Davitt. Actually Mixed B/C had only one other team and we played the final on Sunday. That's the second time that's happened to me. The first was in Long Island in 2005 during a massive blizzard, so Leigh and I made it to the final for being very, very stupid. Well I can just write brave too, I still remember that tourney not for the racquetball but just for the fun we had and the disappointment of coming in second with a clear shot at first. Can't even say we fought our way through the draw...well we did brave the elements. That doesn't count much on the court.

Men's C with Ben
Men's C's was Pool play. My first thought was WTF is "Pool Play." I asked Joe and he didn't know, eventually we settled on a split round robin, but if that were the case then we should of played two fixed games for a number of points. Anyway Ben and I started the morning...and I can't even remember who we played. It might come back to me later. Don't think we won either. The next round was later in the afternoon and we played Damian and his partner and we had a pretty clean game. I remember getting hit by one of Ben's shots while being too close to the wall and I can almost hear Ben in my head, "stay off the @#$%ing wall!" As he said jokingly to others at Hillsborough. Think that game was a lot closer and went to breaker, but we lost. Tina watched and said she was a little jealous. Men's C's with Ben wasn't my idea. It was Clay's honest.

Mixed Open/A with TIna
Mixed Open/A with Tina was fun. For years, I've made the mistake of taking the game too seriously. So I started to joke around during our two matches. First was against Mike and his partner. Mike is a big guy, who can hit pretty well, and has good experience and shots on the court. So Tina and I started with the whole one point at a time thing. We started with one and then some more, each time I looked at Tina with even more and more shock and surprise. Basically joked around praying for one more point. It was probably viewed as very unprofessional by our opponents, but it kept my fears in check.

If I can go on a side track here. Fear didn't really affect me in Mixed Open/A because I know we were out of our league and it would take an act of God to really break into a trophy position. So can basically play my heart out because there's nothing really on the line. I know what the end result will be. So it doesn't feel like a real test when you know the answers. Not that Tina and I don't play well, but we're not in that category yet.

Tina seemed a little intimidated about being in Open/A and I asked why? Aimee is not in the draw, Sanjay isn't in the draw either. It's just A level players.

Anyway we played Mike and his partner and think we stayed in single digits. Mike argued with the ref' about one point. I joked with him, do you really need to argue it? We were already in the hole. He was very gracious to not slay us out-right.

Jon Clay recorded the next Mixed A/Open vs. Nancy and her partner on court one. In Singles, I hate court 1 because my backhand is on the glass side and it's a mental thing with glass. Panno was messing with Carolyn that people with blue eyes see better on glass, which was total BS. Anyway wasn't sure Tina played on the glass court before, but she did well. We had some fun and both Nancy and Tina were commenting about a get I made. I hope it's caught on tape. An aside to Leigh Marshall, be cool to get a real Double Kill Fist Pump on tape eh? Anyway same thing my fears were in check because I knew the eventual outcome and I kind of broke the tension by creating a virtual ref' and talking with him during the match. So if you see the video and we're looking up...there's no one there.

The Main Event. Mixed B/C with Tina
All weekend came down to this. Well I'll back up to Friday first. I played a couple of games with One Lee and inbetween games went to sit down on the floor as I've done hundreds of times and there was a small pop in my left leg. Immediately I thought, "Oh crap, that's not good." Anyway it didn't bother me all weekend until this match. I had left my gallon of water in the car since I was carrying stuff in and I didn't go out and get it since I was running so late. Both excuses, my wife assures me it wasn't because of the lack of water that I got hurt.

We take game 1 without much trouble...well my leg felt like those scenes in the movies were one critical piece is being held on by a loose screw and the screw keeps shaking and threatening to slip out. It gave out once and it wasn't so bad. I made another get and it failed again. I was kind of limping back to the service box now. Tina said it was a great get or something and I told her, "Yeah, but it cost me." She didn't get it until later when she realized I was hurt.

Then about two points into game two, Tina calls a timeout and says she's not feeling well. Our opponents are gracious enough to let her wait it out. We resume like an hour later. We restart at 2-0. I told Tina to try her drive serve a couple of times and she didn't really do it. Don't know why, but I know I was just a paper weight in the second and third games. I can serve, but wasn't moving well, since one mis-step and my leg would give out. On return of serve, I kept getting hard serves from Walter and I sent too many of them to the ceiling and some even came off the back wall for an easy setup in the front court. I did that way too often and was too afraid to try anything else. Walter's partner was basically a wall flower at this point and he was doing about 90% of the work.

Speaking of wall flowers, Walter was trying to do a splat or something and blasted the ball full force into his partner's leg from about two feet away. I mean, it sounded like it hit the wall. She was pretty tough and didn't scream in agnoy or anything. I think it would be a 12 on a 10 scale. John was ref'ing the rest of the match and said it looked real bad. I looked at it and it was mutli-colored so phew painful!! They...well he finished the second game and the third game and it was over.

Jon Clay took a picture of Tina and me with second place. I did not feel like smiling, so it came out like some smirk thing. I learned I can control my fear to a degree on the court. Normally it's my head that gets in the way, but this time my physical toughness that broke down at a critical time. I think I wrote here a little laziness comes back to haunt you and it did. I've been writing about going back to the gym for years and I just don't make the time. Well now I needed just a little more toughness just a little more play time and we could of had a better chance at first.

10/01/08 "Why is it just me?!"
My friend John exclaimed during cut-throat last night. He was basically complaining that almost all the rallies were long and he running all over the place against One Lee and myself. I thought about it and just said, "It's doubles dude."

One Lee and I have been playing racquetball since we started about seven years ago. Since then we've played a good amount of doubles together. We automatically know what the other partner is going to take, leave, and where the shot is going to go. All that's left is to deal with the ball and the single opponent the rest is covered. We still make mistakes but a lot of the guesswork is gone and we're often a pretty seamless team. So when it was John's turn to serve he had to deal with a pretty united front and that was a lot of pressure.

Not saying that One and I can have a tournamnet career in doubles, he's not into it. It just feels really good to have that flow on the court. I'll take One Lee vs. any 20 something hotshots anyday. Can't put a price tag on a seamless doubles team.

There's been some moments with Tina like that and it amazes me how many rallies we win just because of that trust. Think we need more "yardage" as Joe Camiolo said last time, but we've been down the field a ways now. I'm looking forward to State Doubles this weekend.

9/23/08 Not Pushing Cashflow 101 Anymore
Past couple of months been trying to get a group of people together to play Cashflow 101 and we had one meeting which I thought was going well. I understand people's schedules fill up, but I did this far enough in advance to get on people's schedules. So far only one person RSVP'ed, Marv, and I think we're very alike in our goals. So it wasn't a total loss.

Think it's gotten to the point where it's becoming a negative with some friends who just don't want to learn it and that's fine. It's like tournament racquetball, some people love to play, but when a tournament looms they want no part of it. That's fine, but don't tell me that you want to play tournaments or are having money trouble. It's just in my nature to try to help out my friends.

Guess I'm a little bitter with the whole thing and sorry for dumping it out here. Just need to seek out people more in-line with my goals, but I don't want to lose the friends I do have over a board game. So best to let it fade to black with them.

Jason and Racquetball9/21/08 Jason starts Racquetball Continued...
Since it was short notice, I gave Jason my Head Extreme 190 which is a little too heavy for him. I have an old Head i165, but he'll probably want a red colored racquet. I wasn't looking to have him hit the ball or anything just have fun on the court with his old man. My wife was trying to give me some time to practice and he started to cry pretty bad. So I called him back, put his goggles on, and played around some more.

Been waiting a long time I even menionted it in our video clips my wife and I made before Jason was born. That really seems like a long time ago. I accomplished an important dream today and it wasn't about Cashflow, my company, or anything else trivial.

9/20/08 King Clutter!
A tribute to the
Metallica song. I bought the new album...errr CD and it was ok. Can't really be compared to my favorite Metallica...CD of all time, The Black Album!! But I listen to a few songs. It's just not permantely glued into my CD player like the Black Album was.

Anyway got Jason into a regular sized bed and he was so excited about it. He looks so small in it, funny we said the same thing about three years ago when he was in his crib.

Part of the carpet proejct is done. They put tack strips down over ceramic tiles with Liquid Nails, I asked the sales person a couple of times to just tear up the tile and just clean slate it, but Karen and the guy worked me over and I accepted. Think it'll be a mistake, but what do I know. Since I can remember, I've been cleaning up for this project. I've also cleaned my computer room. All I can write is a little laziness can really add up.

I couldn't pull a double shift this Friday because of Jason's furniture and this carpet non-sense, so I need to stop being lazy during the week and hit the gym for State Doubles. I've been reading "Understanding Financial Statements" by Lynn Fraser. It's a thin book but it's not sinking in. Anyway shows how limited my understanding is when my head hurts in Chapter 1. So slacking on the book and hitting the gym is acceptable.

9/16/08 Teamwork is Working
On Friday, I brought whatever was left to the Hillsborough courts after three hours of games with Mike Grab on Thursday. I'll go off course for a sec., for weeks, we were trading IM's about who's going to win and he was playing it up he wasn't that good. Most of the games had a spread of about five points, but Mike won all the games. Since he likes to check out my blog, thought I would give him some props here. Good stuff. Looking forward to a rematch.

Anyway back to Hillsborough. Tina and I raised the bar a bit on our doubles game. We played Joe Camiolo and Jacob and started a major comeback from 8-13/14 to win. It was pretty exciting to be on the wrong side of 14 and I had to dig deep to get my serves in. Got good vibes from Tina too, so I know she was on her game. We exchanged a couple of times and we chipped away. The best had to be Tina going up to Joe afterward. "So why did you lose?" Think I almost fell on the floor. I know Joe C. wasn't up to par with his shoulder, but still it was a good win. Joe C. said he tried to short hop a ceiling ball and missed and said that was the critical error that cost the game. Also we took out Ben and Jacob. So we had a good night.

Jon Clay asked me if I'm playing State Doubles. I wrote back Tina and I are playing State Doubles and cc'ed Tina on the email. She corrects the email we're "winning State Doubles." So we need a couple of more practice sessions and if we do well, I think we'll be very strong going into State Doubles. Attitude is about 90% of the battle. Need those reserves to draw on when things aren't going well.

Basically my goal for State Doubles is to play a very strong first round, so whatever happens we do our best. Same thing for the next rounds until we walk away with the hardware. We play until we're beaten, but don't want to see us beat ourselves. Another reason I like doubles is that I need to control my attitude and my presense for my partner and vice versa. It becomes like an energy exchange and good attitudes normally equals good results. When everything is flowing and we're in the Zone. It's a great place to be.

9/16/08 Reunion
My good friend, Joe Bockarie, came up from Maryland to play a few games with One Lee and myself on Sunday. Joe and I used to play racquetball, laugh about some of our rallies, and just have fun. One Lee stopped by to play a few games and it really felt like old times. The three of us started playing Racquetball together...I took to Racquetball a little more serious than they did, but still we had some close games and some laughs.

9/16/08 Busy
Lately I've been pretty busy and still putting in more Racquetball than normal, which is good. Been working on the LLC and trying to make sure everything is correct, it would have been nice to hire an accountant but not ready and the forms seemed pretty easy to fill out. I need to open a couple of more things and give up my office for Mathew before December. I also have three racquets to do and we're getting carpet and furniture so a lot of toys and junk to clean up.

There's also things I need to change here, so a lot of things going on.

9/06/08 Seeing the Invisibile in Racquetball
Continued from
home page on 9/6/08.

"Seeing the Invisible" was from the Audio CD that came with the Cashflow 101 game. It got me thinking about the Invisible things that we can or cannot see in life, finance, sports, etc. I think a big one for me is computers. I solve a lot of basic computer problems at work. For me they are basic for the user with the problem it's definitely not. The difference? Through experience, intuition, and knowledge I can fix computer problems they just can't see.

It's the same in racquetball, I wrote on my main page that I played at two clubs on Friday. Rutgers and then Hillsborough. I meet a lot of newbie players in their 20's and some have bigger attitudes than their game permits. One of them is Sherwin, I like him and he's very competitive, a lefty, and has a good deal of speed. He played with One Lee and I played with another new guy. The newbie and me crushed the other team and Sherwin can't understand it. Safe to say I have more experience in the invisible than he does.

Then it was time for humble pie. I go to Hillsborough to play Doubles with Tina for our upcoming tourney. Gloria is still recovering from surgery so she watched. Tina and I played Joe Camiolo and Scott. They were close games but we lost. Afterward, Joe asks Tina, "Why did you lose? What happened when you were up 8-0?" Tina couldn't answer. Joe looked at me and said you should be able to answer it. It's then that I made the connection with invisibility. Gloria and Joe have a very strong doubles game and know each other to a high degree. Tina and I are just starting that journey. Joe sees things I cannot see yet. Just like I can see things that Sherwin can't.

Tina was pretty frustrated that she can't see what Joe can or think the way he does. I admit when Joe said that I should know. I was little frustrated too. Need the habits that make it possible. One point, Tina double faulted and it was my turn to serve. Joe starts trying to psyche me out as well. I just shook my head no, went through my drive serve routine and wailed an Ace to Joe's side that bounced real deep and shot out along the side wall. Said back to Joe, "You called me out man." So it's possible, I remember almost every detail of that serve. We just need the cues to get it stored.

I don't want to store every game of every match, but as Joe put it afterward, "You need to stop the bleeding." They kept exploiting us on passes. I thought too many Tina's returns were going to Scott's forehand as setups. I committed too far forward when Joe was up front so a lot of cheap passes were opened up. Joe said we were working like a team and then we stopped. So we've got some work to do. We'll make it happen.

9/01/08 Would I Read my Blog?
Things kind of slipped during vacation and I'm playing catch up on a few things. Past couple of blog entries have been more Racquetball related which is good, but when I ask myself if I would read it. I'm not sure what the answer is, I guess not. I normally look for information and move on. I'm also a sucker for almost every hero movie out there. So if I'm told a good story, I would probably read it all the time. If I can get both a story and information like the Rich Dad series of books then that's perfect. I might even donate.

It must get kind of old to have some 37 year old guy complain about his dead-end job, medico re racquetball performance, and Business explorations. When Mike asked me to go back and re-read my blogs to see patterns. I was a little embarrassed by the results. Well I can honestly say I have a good blue print of my Finances thanks to Cashflow 101. I also have an interesting strategy to play the Investing game for real. If it works half as good as the game...Heck if it works a fourth...I'm good to go. So next couple of months I will be saving some money for Investing. No longer in a real rush to pay off my bad debt. Just need to control it.

Update my on plan from July. Been real bad on the push-ups after Jon Panno put me through the ringer I stopped doing them. I've also stopped stretching (no room) and I feel tight and terrible most of the time. Not taking caffennie pills (overkill) just rather drink my soda and deal with it. Next week, I should have a major piece of my business plan done. I started an LLC with the help of an Attorney.

There's a couple of reasons I wanted an LLC. First, is to protect my assets. Second, to learn about bigger businesses. Third, to start building a team of Professionals that can help my goals. I have a project cooking on paper and I want to make sure I get a company behind it and some strong legal advice on how to protect my Intellectual Property (asset) before developing it. Lastly, if I can ever afford to buy an Investment property in New Jersey it'll be through my LLC. So it's the foundation to just about everything I want to do.

8/31/08 Shared Holes on Head AMP Series? Why God? Why?
I didn't get my new racquet for next season yet, but I did get my USRSA guide for Fall 2008. I flipped through it and read the AMP instructions...One of the first thing I noticed was "Shared Holes". Since when do Head racquets have shared holes!?!? I've done other racquets with shared holes and I'm sure there's a pretty good reason for it, but Head Racquets looked so clean when I did new strings. Also never having to force an awl into a hole to get a cross string in was always nice.

I've been waiting patiently for my new AMP 185, which five grams lighter than last year's racquet the 190 Extreme. I went lighter to get more speed into the ball and see if I can manuever it a little better. So we'll see State Doubles is coming up soon and I want to be ready for my partner. Hopefully practice next week.

8/30/08 Is Racquetball Any Better?
I read something pretty sad on Double Donuts' Blog about him packing up shop. Here's a guy who goes to all the events has his photography on the USA Racquetball Website and in the Racquetball Magazine on a monthly basis, but he can't draw enough to make a decent living and still has to work a regular job. Got me thinking about Racquetball in general and especially New Jersey.

I'm pretty much the only guy who worked with Bill Serafin and now the new State Organization the NJAR. Bill told me about having a board also and slowly those members dropped off. So we have a pretty good group, but I can see a similar thing happening if we aren't careful. Don't get me wrong the new New Jersey organization brought a lot of life back to racquetball. The NJAR brought a small Pro-Stop, brought in Woodbridge, has given back to the players, and been in racquetball magazine a few times, but I think we need more outside involvement to really make progress.

I've met a good share of people involved in racquetball and it appears to me they are still playing racquetball in business. Someone needs to win and someone needs to lose. Someone needs to make money and someone doesn't. It's been going on for a long, long time and I think that's the death blow for the sport. Ultimately we need co-operation and support not competition. Sure people can argue that no one else is stepping up and that's very true, but no one is going to step up without a support system or even mentoring. So not sure what the answer is.

8/26/08 My First Real Outdoor Experience
Came back from Vacation on Saturday and been getting Jason adjusted to non-Disney life and getting ready for non-Disney life myself when I read an email from Dave about playing outdoors. I haven't played any racquetball for like two weeks!! So I was trying to squeeze it in. Normally it just doesn't work out, but today I was off and he was working from home. So we met up and played a few games. I titled this blog as my first "real" experience because I don't count playing paddleball with my best friend, Otto, when we were kids or the time I played with a co-worker when I first started playing racquetball.

Overall I like outdoor. Can really see how truly bad shots are without a wall. A lot of my serves and down the line shots made the transition to outdoor pretty easy. A couple of times I was waiting for the ball to come off the fence and my feet forgot how to setup for a backhand. Three of the other outdoor courts were being used by Tennis players and they kept hitting balls over the wall. We sailed a racquetball once or twice, but man it was getting annoying.

8/26/08 A Somber Moment in Disney
Disney was a lot of fun for Jason this time around. He was able to go on a lot of the rides like Test Track, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and some others. Overall he did a good job and having fun the whole way through. Think he got a little scared when the big Mac truck came out beeping and flashing on Test Track, but otherwise he was fearless and having fun. I enjoyed watching him have fun, but that Tropical Storm (Fay) was very annoying. A few rain drops weren't going to stop us. Well I wanted to go back on more than one occassion my wife keeps going no matter what.

Anyway we were on the bus going back to our Resort and I'm tickling Jason and he's laughing and having a good time. I'm laughing too and then I catch myself in that moment and think about our future and everything. I start thinking about my health, our financies, and my second son coming in early December. I was getting down on myself for my career and money issues, but then I look down at my boy, smile, and started another tickle round. I'll find a way to be successful for him and my family. Not doing this just for me anymore and I know I got a late start at almost 37, but I'll pass on what I learn to my boys.

8/14/08 I work in a Twilight Zone Episode
I sometimes get sucked into the Twilight Zone Marathons they have every once in a while. Karen loves it and I find a couple interesting. One of them, A Game of Pool, seems very close to my job this week. A new IT guy started, he's my manager, and I've been showing him around this week. We've also talked about history, how things are setup, and of course our co-workers.

Can read about the episode on wikipedia, but for me it's a new hot shot IT guy that wants to prove himself and maybe go head to head a bit. Despite the history and stories (warnings) he seems more determined to make things better. Good. I've already peaked down that road and as I've beaten to death here it's a dead end.

So like "Fats" I'm sweating not because I'm of afriad losing, I'm sweating because I might win. I've chased being the best and I've chased the idea "no one is better than me." I know both are not true. There's only a couple of balls left on the table and I want to go Fishing. I need to really get ready and know where I'm going. My inital guess is either 12/08 or 06/31/09.

Jamesburg Fire Fighters Hang Flag at Middlesex County Fair 08/10/08 Olympics and Racquetball?
Karen and I have been watching the Olympics as I'm sure people all over the World are doing. The Opening Ceremony was just awesome! What an Honor to be there. Been watching Beach Volleyball, Swimming, and some crazy gymnastics. Anyway as you can guess throughout the whole program I'm complaining that there's no racquetball.

It's not like the technology isn't there. If they can slow down some guy whirling and twisting through the air. They can also down a racquetball. I wonder who pissed off the Olympic Committee on Racquetball. Shame too, think USA can put together a great team.

Took my camera to the Middlesex County Fair to take pics of Jason, etc. Saw some of Jamesburg's Bravest mounting a flag, so I thought it'll be a cool shot and appropriate for this entry. Camera is really amazing, those guys were up there! Go World!

08/09/08 Not just belly-aching about Rutgers
A lot of Union people were up in arms at Rutgers this week related to my department. An article published by the Home News Tribune with pictures says more than I ever could.

Before Rutgers I worked for a small company doing similar computer stuff. I remember working on the HR person's computer when the President of the Company came in and told the HR Manager not to let another employee leave for another department. Well the Company and the President eventually went out of business. I really don't get people that think they are above their employees or that people are disposable. Without people running a company, there is no company.

08/05/08 Mental Warfare at Cook
I've been a little merciless at Cook lately every time I step on the court I'm looking for a win. I guess with everything going on with my failing career, my improved business outlook, and going after a financial plan. I have a bit more confidence, don't get me wrong still living paycheck to paycheck which is sad, but at least I know where I am and what I need to do. Same with racquetball I guess, I know what the end result needs to be and as a match progresses I see opportunities to help get there.

Anyway my buddy, One Lee, starting using some mental warfare on me and trying to psyche me out last Friday. It was working pretty well and all of the sudden I felt a shift in my attitude. Suddenly I'm hitting the ball harder, expelling more energy, and getting more nervous. I even admitted after a rally "that was hard!" One Lee was up-front getting to everything and Chris was in the back court getting everything else. I was able to hit one good DTL kill, but it felt like I just climbed a mountain to do it.

Still amazes me how messed up things can get mentally if we let it. So hopefully I can piss-off One Lee to keep doing it until it kind of rolls off.

08/05/08 The "Edge" Comment
Aimee's been keeping one of her butter-knife "edge" blogs again from Ireland. Just kidding Aimee. It's cool that she posts pictures and stuff and it's a glimpse of Racquetball I'll probably never get to experience. Maybe if Jason (3) or Matthew (due in December) get that good to be on a USA Team. I'll be proud of them playing a sport I love so much. I'll never put pressure on them to play racquetball exclusively unless they want to. Whatever they play or do I hope they have the passion and don't waste time second-guessing themselves as their old man has done.

Jason talks about it and we pull out racquets, goggles, and just start throwing balls around. Once it gets cooler I'm taking him Outdoors just to have him run around and maybe start that fore/backhand off right.

Anyway back to Aimee's blogs, I miss the inner-workings (what I called edge) a bit. The feeling of what is going on, basically I want to be told a story. While the text book definition is cute...We all have an audience with expectations. So good luck Aimee and go USA!

07/29/08 Cashflow 101: My Wife got out of the Rat Race!
Yeah I know off mission. We played with my Father-in-Law on Sunday while Jason was taking a nap. It was her second time playing the game and she got out of the Rat Race after me. I think I was more excited than she was and she was pretty happy about it. My Father-in-Law well...didn't have a chance really. Besides not having many opportunities, the chances he had were squandered buying ten shares of stock here, buying a stock at high price, and paying off debt instead of savings for investments. So it was an eye-opener for me...the game is not always easy and reflects how we deal with money in real life. He never liked Investing and neither did his Accounting mentor.

After the game, he said now you can tell people you beat a CPA. That's never been the point of the game. The point is to gain some understanding about investing and help each other. I'm ecstatic my wife was able to maange her own financial statement and get out of the Rat Race. I'm starting to feel we can move in the same direction in real life, since she knows what I want to do and I can have her support.

07/26/08 My Mission Statement for Joe's New Jersey Racquetball
Been dying for some focus around here lately. I came across an old page that I took down. It covered everything and I thought WTF is this! I searched my whole site and it was linked on one page and not even racquetball. I needed something short that I can follow. Anyway I played racquetball last night (my first time all week) and saw my friend, One Lee, doing the things I used to do. Getting more students involved in the sport.

So I played with a Student who moved pretty well but had zero backhand understandable since he's only been playing a month. Then I played doubles with another student and she was also pretty new. She was pretty quick and can handle some hard shots. She just needs to learn more patience and more mechanics.

It doesn't matter how new they are or how good, they both had a passion to play the game. So that's what this Mission and site need to be about. Brining people to the game and keeping that inital passion alive. Once it goes out, it doesn't come back.

It's real easy to get caught up and write about other things in my life here (not saying I won't), but first and foremost I need to focus on other people's passion for the game and express my own to make a difference, to follow my goals, and to follow my mission.

07/23/08 Wrong Direction
Read about Mission Statements yesterday and their importance and the spirit of an entrepreneur...and pretty sure I'm heading away from all those good things. It's real easy to get focused on money. Need to keep it, need to earn it, need to make it. Instead of the challenges of building a business. That's something over the years I've lost and the answer has been right in front of my face! I don't play racquetball for the money!! I play it for the challenge. To challenge myself, my opponent, my partner. To prove I can do it with enough hard work and effort. Why not embrace the same idea for business?

"With out passion you don't have energy, with out energy you have nothing." Donald Trump.

It's been a long time that I've been passioniate about business or even to a degree racquetball. It's easy to get lost without a plan. Don't get me wrong, I still need to make assets or I'm dead in the water. It's just my focus that's been terribly wrong. Following money is not going to make me successful. Following my passions for computers, writing, and racquetball just might. A public speaking Professor at DeVRY once told me I should combine Computers and Dungeons and Dragons. Good advice to merge multiple passions together, I think they grow in intensity that way.

Bill Serafin and Mike Grab have told me that making money with racquetball is a dead-end. Well maybe and racquetball is not going to be my only business pursuit, but let's just say I like a challenge. Racquetball deserves more.

07/20/08 Developing Real Assets
Been thinking a lot about my assets both in racquetball and in business. Jon Panno stopped by Cook on Friday night to give me a couple of games. God I was thankful, since I normally don't get to play people way outside of my range. Not that some of the guys on Cook aren't any good, but there's a definite switch that gets tripped when I'm playing someone really tough and Jon is one of those people.

Jon was giving me some good advice mostly getting to center court after my serve and other stuff. After a while, he started to tell himself to shut-up. Anyway trying to focus on what he said and trying to do my own analysis took a lot of resources. One Lee and Joe were watching most of the games and Jon was showing off a little diving for some serve returns. Anyway Jon said my drive serve is pretty damn good, is varied and masked pretty well. So like a financial asset it helps put points in my pocket. Bill always said my serve was a strong A level even years ago. Jacob from Hillsborough also gave me a lot of props. So I love my drive serve but I need a few more assets out there. Relocation is a serious liability. Early Racquet Prep probably another but Jon was able to hit too many easy shots that exploited my position. So relocation is my new focus.

As for business, yeah my websites are still financial liabilities. My poetry book is probably not going to go anywhere. I love some poetry but it was my first book and my first series of poems. So hard to really believe in them, I know it's not a masterpiece or anything. It's still an asset, it represents a very personal and very important accomplishment for me both spritually and in business. My websites provide information, but are still pretty low and a far cry from Face Book, My Space, or other sites that made their owners millionaries.

So building an asset is going to be my focus well into next year. I've seen some sites offering racquetball league services for free and I'm definitely not interested in that--been there done that for over ten years. I need to create assets that generate income so I can support my family, spend my time going after dreams, and give back to racquetball and my community. I believe being rich would just be a by-product of working the right plan, investing, and building a business.

07/17/08 From all Sides
Last night, Jon Panno left me a voice mail pretending to be Robert Kiyosaki (the creator of Cashflow 101 and Author of the Rich Dad/Poor Dad) it was pretty funny. Sure he was calling to catch up and tell me about his latest blog entry about lefties. To be listed along side Cliff Swain in anything is an honor dude. Anyway, my wife in a less humorous tone says, "You think you're going to get rich playing Monopoly and Cashflow." Yeah I think Cashflow 101 will definitely show me the path. Money is just a game like everything else in life. It's kind of like doing my daily push-ups when I first started I suffered doing five. Now I'm suffering doing 14. I will learn how to use money and build a business, but like money I need to learn how to play the business game.

I reached out to Randy Harmon, a friend and former co-worker, about building a business and he gave me a bunch of resources and sites to look into. I found a PDF about building businesses in New Jersey. So need more education to put things into real action. Of course, need money and thanks to Cashflow 101 I have my own Income Statement and Balance Sheet in order. I'm also starting to have a plan. Part 1 is done which is document my current financial situation. Part 2, payoff my credit card debt (12/31/08). Part 3, Invest and increase payments on my long-term debt. Part 4, build a business. Part 5, buy rental property. Repeat process.

07/13/08 Cashflow 101 Friday
Can call it my Poker Night. Chris and Marv came over to play Cashflow 101 and we had a good time with Chinese Food and Domino's Pizza. Chris had the Airline Pilot Character, Marv a Teacher, and I had a Mechanic. Marv drew the $1 stock and took advantage with a big time purchase. Chris and I had trouble, but I was dead last in any deals and income. I started paying off debt and just bought a three bedroom two bath house to just get something going. I sold the house for a big profit in the market and was able to get out the Rat Race by buying a Arcade.

For a while, I just sulked about missing the $1 opportunity...afterward, I was glad I missed it. I found another way out of the Rat Race. Chris had one of the toughest characters and was downsized about three times. Marv got divorced like twice (lost all of his cash) on the Fast Track. I could have bought my dream and won, but bought a business instead. It was interesting and we had a good time playing. We setup another time for early August. Marv won the game.

07/09/08 ELO Calculator Posted
Well it's announced all over the place, so I won't beat it to death here. Posted my ELO Calculator today after writing it up and testing it for a few days. Originally I wanted to develop this big system around it, but realized that's going to take a while. I can work on each piece and slowly bring them all together. Getting it done and posted was most important.

07/07/08 Reflections
Traded a bunch of IM's with my friend, Mike Grab, close to the weekend. One of the things he asked me to do was go back over my blogs and see a pattern. I did and I can see a couple of reoccurring themes with my failed attempts to hit the gym (my weight), my mental toughness breakdowns, and being all over the place with technology. He also suggested I make a plan for each and be more loving and supportive of my wife. All valid points. So based on that "Power of an Hour" here's my first actions to get started now.

  • My Weight
    If I take my lunch hour to hit a gym, it's mostly going to be to drill racquetball. Frank Letter told me a while back that two days is not going to cut it, but I need some core and weight training. Even though I always hated push-ups. I've been doing them since Friday. I can do them anywhere with a floor, they don't take long, and don't require equipment. I'm up to about seven. I've been increasing by one each day. Working to keep my back straight and I can probably do more, but I want to do the same amount everyday. My wife said there was a better way to do crunches, but I'll wait until she feels better.

    Figured I can cut about 1,200 grams of sugar by getting rid of my Pepsi in the morning and just taking a caffeine pill. Besides the boost, it helps me sleep more soundly for some reason. Also want to cut back on soda at dinner so my son doesn't want to keep drinking it.

  • My Toughness
    Not getting the promotion at work cut me pretty deep, it sucks that I devoted nine years of my life to a dead-end job. It really has galvanized my desire to do my own business, but Rich Dad/Poor Dad really showed me something. There was a story in one of the books about two business people that wanted to provide water to a village. One guy brought buckets all day long. The other guy developed a business, gathered investors, developed a pipeline to the village. In short, I don't want to haul virtual buckets. Also realize there's a lot to learn.

    So what does that have to do with toughness? Everything. Think we carry ourselves around in everything we do, the risks we take, the things we learn. I'm pretty tired of living paycheck to paycheck and not making any real progress with my life. How can I possibly get on a court and expect to win there if I don't expect to win in other parts of my life. Mike wrote that I was very competitive true. I don't like to quit. I also don't find many people that enjoy losing, but it's through losing that I've made my greatest progress. So keep it coming.

    My plan? Keep moving forward on things and start writing to guide people to a decision about my products and services. People are not going to buy my products and services unless I believe in them and ask for a commitment. I'm not going to get a commitment unless I take the risk and ask. Not going to ask if I don't have the toughness to apply and fail.

  • Technology Focus
    Over the years there's been a battle between ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, and Flash on my site. The battle is settled with PHP and MySQL winning the match, but there's been times that PHP could not do something I needed. ASP and ASP.NET are great working with XML. PHP is great for working with HTML and a MySQL database. AJAX is another piece of the puzzle since it can cross the boundary between a user's browser and the server. JavaScript can help with just about everything. Last but not least, Flash can do just about anything.

    My plan? Focus on projects that add value and keep people coming back. A lot of things on my site are so antiquated that they aren't worth fixing. I started a member area a while back and it had no substance. Login and Logout. So I would like to develop something for people to do here. Of course, there's my site, but I'm not quite ready with Flash yet. Still a little weak on XML and how to create dynamic text and other features I want.

  • My Finances
    Running out of time this morning, so my wife and I need to curb our eating out expenses. So I'll need to learn how to Cook. One Lee, friend at work, told me it's easy. Perhaps, but I want to learn the basics. It's easy to blame my wife saying going out to eat is the problem, but it comes down a sloppy home. Clean clothes pile up and aren't put away. Dirty dishes crowd the kitchen. Efficiency is the key to anything and if starting something becomes more work than the actual project there's a problem. It's another process and I'm guilty of sneaking more computer time than actual housework and Lord knows my wife has her own excuses even before #2.

    Also been trying to end the petty arguments and work on finding solutions and being a more caring husband. Hard sometimes since we all develop habits in dealing with people. I know I have a lot of bad habits to break.

    Oh the plan, clean up, throw out, and organize about ten minutes a day. It used to be 45, but it was too much to stick to. Ten will add up. Five hours a month. Also get one of those "Cooking for Dummies" books. Normally refuse to buy them for computers, but for Cooking...Yes I'm a big dummy.

Thanks for reading and thanks Mike. Let me know if I missed anything.

07/03/08 ELO Framework (2/2)
I have the main code done for posting an ELO Calculator on my site and been fighting the urge to rush and post it. Having people enter the rankings for their players each time will get tedious very quick. So been mapping out a better way for people to login and create players, etc. It will also help with my leagues, it's easy to get impatient, but I want to do it right and expand the site.

07/03/08 Joe's Racquetball 2.0 is Getting Old (1/2)
Learned a bunch of new stuff since I created this 2,0 version, so every time I work on the site I'm kind of bored with it. There's more things it can be doing, but not sure it's worth rebuilding everything from scratch or just taking some of the new ideas to my derelict site. I'm itching for that one too, but I got one chance to start off right. I want it to be Web 2.0 from day one. Web 2.0 just means more interactive with more community content.

07/01/08 Leverage (3/3)
Leverage has been a word mentioned more than once in the series of books I've been reading lately. I've also seen both sides of financial leverage, mostly the negative side of consumer debt and thanks to Cashflow I can see the leverage of good debt working for me. Bad debt is simply taking money from your pocket and good debt helps put money in. I also see the wisdom in not going for it alone. I've been keeping score and going for it alone is not working. I'm weak in a lot of areas essential to business. I'm also weak in a lot of areas in racquetball. So need to stop being stupid and work with people that can fill in the gaps. I know I can fill in the technical gaps for others as well.

Like I noticed Tina finishing a lot of third shots in our games that's a good compliment since my serve can often force a weak return that she can put away.

07/01/08 Slump or Overweight? (2/3)
Last couple of times on the court have been complete washes. I mean Hillsborough practice with Tina was off. I thought it was too much yard work or taking the liner out my dead pool that did me in, but later that week at Rutgers...ooof just sucked. I spilled my guts to Chris in the parking lot about my job and a close call my wife and I had with her pregnancy. Yep we're expecting #2 around Thanksgiving. So reading Rich Dad/Poor Dad and playing Cashflow is showing me how addicted I am to my paycheck, a questionable paycheck at best. My other income prospects aren't turning out so good. So been a little preoccupied, I suppose. So when Mike Grab asked me what happened to my blog...I thought might as well dump.

Don't have a scale, but I know I'm a little too heavy and eating M&Ms and other crap because I'm burning the candle at both ends is adding up. Also playing racquetball once a week is setting up a downward spiral I need to break before the season starts.

07/01/08 Cashflow 101 2nd Round (1/3)
I had to pull out all the stops to get my wife to play Cashflow with me. At first, she didn't want to play. Then she started to like it, but she had some bad luck and got downsized a couple of times and wasn't prepared. She also kept taking loans from the bank to float her along. Meanwhile, I kept some money aside and found the $1 stock card, bought about 2,000 shares, and it went to $40. Sold, paid off some debt, bought some property, and bought a big deal that put my passive income over the top. I played the Teacher and got out a lot easier than the first time.

Personally been mapping out my Income Statement and Balance Sheet for my own finances and we can be doing so much better than we are. Going out to eat or ordering food is crushing us. So been trying to curb that. Been looking at some investments, been making some mistakes, and learning as much as I can. Mistakes and Risks I can do all day. Eventually I'll minimize both.

06/24/08 Scaling Back
I've been pushing a little too much lately with Cashflow 101, my Web Design, Storms of a Soul, work, and even Racquetball. I guess I'm panicking about my job coming to an end. Nothing has been said or anything, but too many people (5) have been eliminated from my Department. So I do my job, get paid, reduce expenses, and save, and look to expand my means elsewhere. Getting all worked up and writing about it on my sites is not helping me achieve my goals and probably scaring a lot of people off. What will happen at Rutgers is out of my control and has been decided about a year ago. It'll just be a question of who hits the button first.

Not long ago, Racquetball at Rutgers was my primary reason for staying there. Silly huh? I guess, I could have been in a better spot if that was really what I wanted. I know what I want and it hasn't changed since 1995. My regret is that I didn't know the things I know now back then. I read a lot of books back then too, but they didn't sink in. Back then I hardly internalized anything and was more focused on self-help books than business. I also didn't have the means to make it happen either, still don't. Broke is broke regardless of the age, but I think I've gained some financial intelligence and wisdom since then.

06/24/08 Bad Doubles Practice on Saturday
I brought what was left of me on Sunday to Hillsborough for some doubles practice with Tina. I cut my lawn and took a Pool liner out of my Pool, so I was pretty wiped on Saturday from the heat. Anyway it was pretty sad and I need to dedicate some more time during the week to practice and work out instead of reading books. I'm really torn between two passions. I want to read Rich Dad/Poor Dad and I want to practice and work out. Anyway played the best I could, but I knew I wasn't moving or swinging right.

06/21/08 Played Cashflow 101 all the way through
Played Cashflow by myself this afternoon think it took at least four hours to play and I was stuck in the Rat Race for a long time. My character, a Doctor, started off with a good salary but some pretty steep debt. A mortgage, a school loan, a car payment, and even some credit card debt. It got worst before it got better. I was downsized three times, bought a damn boat, and went bankrupt. I was able to sell some rental properties and survive until my next paycheck.

After the downturn things started to get a whole lot better. I had like nine rental properties, a bed and breakfast, apartments, and a car wash when I escaped the Rat Race. On the fast track, I purchased a few more businesses, got two law suits, a divorce, and made a killing on a stock (rolled a six). I eventually landed on and bought my dream to play (racquetball) all over the world. OK it was Golf and not racquetball, but let's be serious. Racquetball is it.

I couple of things I noticed playing the game. I noticed I jumped into too many deals at first and looked into too many "Big Deals" without a realistic amount of cash saved up. The second time I was downsized I didn't have enough cash that sent a wake up call me about my current real-life situation. I also dropped a lot of money just like real life. I bought a lot of properties with some cash flow, but could have sold them and finished the game a lot faster.

The game was a lot of fun and not as hard as I thought it would be.

Storms of a Soul by Joseph Delgado06/19/08 Finally Did It! Storms of a Soul!!
I had to get my wife's car fixed for A/C and pickup a construction permit for a water heater, so I had one more AL day to burn before the end of the year and I took it. So I really pushed this morning and most of the afternoon to finally create a section for my poetry book. Yes, I wrote a poetry book back in 1995, lost about 400 of them due to a flood, and I'm seeing if there's any interest for the last fifty and future printings.

Made excuses for a very long time and it's been bugging me for a long time to get something done. Since I started expanding my site, I needed to include my little poetry book. It's also some of my best Flash to date.

Normally I would still be stuck, but since I'm using PayPal and their basic shopping cart. I can open for business. I'm not going to spoil any surprises by writing about the book yet again, but this book helped save my life. I also wouldn't have the guts to do it if it wasn't for racquetball. Anyway gotta see about taking down a Pool. Joy.

06/18/08 I'm getting a Camera!!
I got money for Father's Day under the condition I buy the camera I wanted. Yeah I know it's a doodad, but if I want to expand my Web Design business I'm going to need more than a 3 mega pixel crap camera. The salesperson talked me out of getting one of the short distance primes that Double Donut recommended. If I take the Camera on a trip and take bad pictures I'm dead after explaining oh, I bought the lens for shooting racquetball from the sidewall...*wack-attack* I also need to learn to shoot first. So baby steps. I got a Nikon D40, which is the camera I always wanted. Thanks for the gift Karen and Jason too, I love you.

06/14/08 Don't know what's Harder...Getting people to play Racquetball or Cashflow 101?
I've approached three people for racquetball and four people for Cashflow 101 this week. The three people for racquetball made excuses. Three of the four for Cashflow made excuses. So maybe if I went after one more person for racquetball it would have been tied, but still it's like pulling teeth.

For Cashflow I approached friends that I've known for a long time to play I was surprised to hear excuses for not playing the game. After all, it's just a game about money. Get some drinks, some pizza, and play the game. For Racquetball, it's excuses I've heard a million times before and they all fall under Fear, fear of looking bad or fear of losing. If you're new to racquetball both are automatic, get over it.

One guy I've known for a long time said he has to go practice alone first. I offered to help him start on the right foot, but nope wants to go practice by himself first so he's not embarrassed when he plays with us. I felt like saying, "After all the opponents I've faced, I want to beat up on a complete and utter newbie." Anyway we learn this, since Toddlers don't have this fear. If they did we all be crawling.

"One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning." -- James Russel Lowell

Approaching the two groups showed me something. It's often the same root fear that prevents us from playing racquetball, asking someone for a date, playing Cashflow, going after a promotion, etc. Sometimes we will look bad doing each of those things. Going through it grants that one thing called experience and experience makes it all easier next time.

06/06/08 Hillsborough Doubles Practice Video
Joe and Tina vs. Ben and MarkUploaded all the videos to Veoh. I don't have time to get a thumbnail from each one or even watch it yet. Both Tina and I are going to compare notes and improve our game. Thanks to Ben, Mark, and the other people who helped us practice for next season. Can watch the video by clicking on the picture or here.

Overall we played a good game. I think I'm boxing Tina out of center court and Tina could be on the sidewall too much, but Tina did put away a lot of third shots. Basically I served, they made a return, and Tina killed the third. To really break down what we do consistently and what we need to work on is going to take some time.

06/02/08 God I Hate Tape! (2/2)
As I wrote, I shot some video at Hillsborough and a couple of times I ran out of Tape in the middle of a match. The best setup I had was at the NJO last year. Since I had my laptop everything from the camcorder was converted on the fly to a file. No tape and seven hours of capacity. Pretty damn sweet. Sorry I cut some of the videos, I'm uploading them now and they should be up by tomorrow or Wednesday.

06/02/08 Leigh Marshall Blog (1/2)
My old doubles partner, Leigh Marshall, started up a blog about his life in Taiwan teaching English. When he first went out there, I thought he was a little nuts, but he seems to be making it work and making a bigger difference than he did in the States. So hope things keep going well and he keeps updating his blog.

05/30/08 #1 Racquetball Blog? (1/3)
I had someone contact me a while back and he really wanted a reciprocal link on this page at first I was like my blog page? Hmm, ok. Then I did a Google search and I saw that I was in first place out of 212,000 hits. I'm also top on Ask and Yahoo, but out of the top ten on MSN...After twelve or so years of being online (six for racquetball) to be the top of anything online is a big accomplishment for me and thanks for your support getting me there.

It's been on my mind for a couple of days, so better to write it out, get it out of my head, and get back to racquetball. I know lately my thoughts have been on work, my son, or money, but the blog helps to hold me accountable for things and in a way it helps me plan.

I guess knowing about being #1 is a little tougher than not knowing. Instantly thoughts about how to keep it come to mind and that sucks. Just want to keep doing the same thing, make the site better, and help promote the sport. If I get knocked out, I hope it's by a blog doing the same thing and the 212,000 becomes 500,000 or more.

05/30/08 Doubles Practice at Hillsborough (2/3)
Tomorrow morning I'm headed over to Hillsborough to practice some doubles with my partner, Tina. Also got the video camera charged up and I should have enough tape to record a match or two. Maybe we'll have the guts to post it here. It's been a while since I recorded myself, hope I'm doing some of the things I set out to improve upon and not get caught up on being video taped.

05/30/08 Blasts from the Past (3/3)
It's funny and I guess it's pretty common, but I feel like I go back in time with people I haven't played in a while. I was playing Tuesday and I was losing. It took me a while, why am I losing? When I was getting ready, I watched him play someone else and I thought ok nothing to worry about. I get on and I start trailing by like five points. Then he's in double digits and I'm not, but it was more than underestimating my opponent. I felt...reduced. I finally snapped out of it and took advantage of him not relocating to center court and watching the ball with low risk ceiling shots. On the serve I took more risks on the forehand side. I eventually won the game, but man what I hole I dug for myself. I was not playing my current game.

Speaking of blasts from the past, my friend Marv is supposed to come out and play tonight. It's been a while, so need to help him get some of the rust off. I also invited him to play that Cashflow 101 game I wrote about. There's four more spots, so I'll ask Nick and Alex. Maybe some other guys from the league. Be good to have a mix of people and learn how they manage money.

05/28/08 A Pretty Dumb Move
About December of last year, I setup a login system and I emailed everyone on the listserv offering them an account. I thought it was great to be able to login and have all the accounts and stuff, but like that little old lady in the Wendy's commercials..."Where's the Beef?" There was no beef, no content, no purpose for people to login. So I totally dropped the ball. So going to improve my login framework, develop some member content, and try again.

05/24/08 Player Nick Names
Jon Panno called me tonight on my way home from my parents asking if I saw his blog yet. He was at a party and it was pretty hard to hear him. Anyway after everything was settled at home I creeped online and saw a massive list of player nick names. Some were pretty funny. Check it out at the Panno-Ramic View. Sincerely Joe "The Wizard" Delgado.

05/22/08 Better to be Prepared...
My Spidey-Sense has been going haywire at work lately, it's been going off for about a year, but it's deafening now. I asked my wife to look at benefits at her job and how long they would need to kick in. I wrote a while back that things were "OK", but OK is no longer good enough. There's a lot of things I could write about and maybe even a couple of choice words about the situation, but better to remain professional, do my job, and quickly lay the ground work for a better choice.

I've always wanted my own computer-related business, never had the guts to really follow through. Half-assed is just half an effort. I may not have a choice soon. I can definitely do it, just need to force through my own self-esteem, create systems, build connections, learn...well learn a lot, and make something happen. One of my favorite movies is Cinderella Man, I love the part when the reporters ask Braddock why is he fighting? He simply answers "Milk." So why do I want a business? Freedom and Milk. I can do a lot more than what I'm doing and it feels like a prison day in and day out, because I'm not involved anymore.

05/18/08 Almost made the same old bad decision...
Sure everyone has heard or has received their economic stimulus check. That $1,500 was sure burning a whole in my pocket and I quickly found myself on a Camera web site punching up a Nikon D40 with a lens that Geoff Thomsen mentions in his Definitive Guide for Racquetball Photography, a memory card, and some filters. I came real close to pushing the button.

Then I started to think about what I read in Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. There was also another book, Why We Want You To Be Rich, by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki that I read a while back. See a pattern? So these books have done nothing else than give me some hunger for more Financial Intelligence instead of more gadgets and liabilities. Instead of a new Camera, I ordered a $200 board game (training) called Cash Flow 101 and some more Flash Training from and left the camera for another time. When I have some real assets to support it.

If anyone wants to play the game with me let me know.

Jason 3rd Birthday05/13/08 Happy Birthday (3) Jason!
We had a pretty big party on Saturday for Jason and most of our family and friends came over to celebrate. I didn't take any pictures since I was either fetching this, getting that, playing with the kids, and maybe stealing a conversation with some guests. I want to thank Karissa, Karen's best friend, for all of her help, renting and running the grill, and for buying the portable bouncy gym or whatever it is--the kids had a blast.

Some of the stuff Jason says really cracks me up and his observations about things and people surprises me. His favorite thing in the morning is "Need to go to work. To make money." Seems to be stuck. I'll try and take care of the money part and hopefully all that work means to you is more play. Love ya Son. Carpe Diem!

05/08/08 The Panno-Ramic View
One of the blogs I find myself checking out is Jon Panno's (NJAR) Panno-Ramic View. I've known Jon for a long time and he can vary between silly and very serious on the court. Often when he's being silly he's setting people up, so that's when I find him the most dangerous, but I often can't play with him that way since I often can't focus on my game. Anyway...I like reading Jon's blog since he tells it how it is from his point of view.

Aimee Ruiz had a pretty good blog going, but there's a blog here and there for each event. She also seems to have lost some edge to her writing. I really enjoyed her first blog after that I think the censor came out or it just got too long to read. I've noticed my own censors once in a while and some topics I just don't write about anymore. Which leads to some boring writing.

05/06/08 Good to See Jeff on the Court
Jeff DeLorenzo and Ronny Choy came to play last Friday. I wrote about Jeff before, he's like the only other Rutgers guy I see at Tournaments nowadays and it's even better that he's a student. Anyway we played a couple of cut-throat games and I spotted a couple of repetitive weaknesses in his game. Not watching his opponents shot--yes I know Panno Pot calling the Kettle black--not relocating to center court after his serve, and pinning himself on one side of the court. Otherwise he has ok mechanics and he hit one or two shots pretty solid. I asked him, "Where did that come from?" Other than a few basic strategy mistakes, he can do well with some good guidance and practice. Hope he keeps showing up.

Ronny plays a pretty good game of cut-throat and doubles. I'm still very surprised he didn't do better in the League. After playing, both of them admitted that mental toughness was holding them back. Yeah me too. Admitting that something is a problem is the first step toward fixing it. Most people would gloss over it with an excuse, so good job stepping up guys. Welcome to the club.

04/30/08 The Finals on 46...Too Soon!
I decided a while back I wasn't going to enter another tournament until I fixed some stuff with my game. I know Tina, my doubles partner, was pretty eager to jump into another tourney. That's cool. I like that enthusiasm, but we've actually been practicing and looking to record our games in the near future.

I looked over the participants and it looks pretty good. I even see Felix Ruiz, my former partner, on the list for Doubles. We kind of let things fade to black, I kind of joked around when I saw him playing with Joe Camiolo at State Singles. Shame they lost in the first round. Tina and I advanced in the Mixed. Later his new partner came up to me to say he's going to play with Felix from now on. I was like ok, no sweat. Can I introduce you to Tina? <jk>.

Don't get me wrong I think Felix is a nice guy, knows every body, and is very supportive of his wife Aimee...but we're not a good fit for doubles. We don't get to practice, we don't email or talk doubles, the couple of times we played it was more of surviving the match than winning, and finally we don't have Chemistry. So we limped a long for a while, but it needed to stop. The best part it appears mutual. I wish Felix good luck in the tourney and I'll be watching to see how the draw unfolds. He's a lot better than he thinks he is and glad he stepped down to C.

Looking forward to working with Tina and forming a good partnership on the courts. We talk doubles, played a couple of times at Hillsborough already with more sessions on the way, we move pretty well, and she can be pretty spicy. She might even be more level headed than Leigh. Sorry dude.

04/30/08 Player Profiles Return!
I can't remember the last time the Player Profiles actually worked, it used to work in a very inefficient way. Every time I recorded a match my program wrote everything for everyone. Thankfully by using XML/XSLT I can just upload one file and pull what I need for profiles, rankings, and other stuff. My database still does the work, but one file is a lot easier to manage than hundreds.

It's still the old profiles, it even has my old logo at the top. Ultimately it's ok for now and it was pretty cool to play with C# another programming language from Microsoft. Sometimes it's too easy to grind away at something and forget to have fun. I used to do C++ programming all the time and was having a great time developing a game that had all sorts of objects for stuff. So making the profiles work again was fun, a lot of fun.

04/23/08 Time for some AJAX and JavaScript (Geeky)
For a long time, I've ignored JavaScript (a programming language that works in your browser) on most of my pages because it could be disabled and then I have to write more code to handle "possible" problems, but I recently started playing with AJAX. Not the cleanser but another geeky term Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. I think they just shoved XML in there to make the acronym work. Anyway with AJAX only parts of the page can pulled from the server which makes it easier for people to use a site. If you ever used the Google Toolbar whenever it starts to suggest search topics...well's that some AJAX in action.

I've run the full gambit planning my profiles section. I started with Flash and have that as an option using my existing setup, but I feel it's going to take a lot more work than just outputting a page using XML and XSLT. So I'll use some AJAX and hopefully be able to add some cool features like viewing two profiles side by side, ELO and Other Calculators.

Jason Focused04/13/08 Jason and Racquetball
Between playing Cars and Cooking Food there's been a couple of times when Jason has wanted to put on a pair of goggles, grab a racquet with the wrist lacer on, and bounce the ball around with his old man in the house. He's going to be three soon,so I plan on letting him run around on a outdoor court. Not sure I can get him to play at Rutgers or even Hillsborough yet, but he sure does love running around and trying to bounce the ball on my racquet.

About fifty times at day, I wonder if I'm raising him right and sometimes I think I spoil him. So I worry about his future toughness and then I see his natural ability to run around and throw himself on the floor or jump into the air and I see potential to far exceed my meager ability. He also has a pretty good hot streak when he's denied something. He also likes my trophies, so who knows. All I can be is supportive and love him as much as I can. Funny to think how much my life has changed in a short time. "No baby, I'm a boy!" Jason says when my wife calls him a baby.

04/08/08 Rutgers OK
I had a difficult meeting with my bosses' boss yesterday. There's been some issues and I just really wanted to know where things were going and where I stood. So without going into a lot of details. I got some reassurance about my position and a possible future. I came really close to just putting my house in order and leaving, but there's a part of me that likes what I do at Rutgers.

After I sent the email for the meeting on Friday, I went to the courts and saw four guys just whacking a ball around in a court trying to play doubles. I knocked on the door and said, "What's going on here?" They laughed and I showed them how to play the basics. Afterward, I felt kind of sad to think this could go away. So it was good to air out the dirty laundry and get some reassurance that what I'm doing for Rutgers is good. Ultimately I would like to do my own thing, but I need to be able to consistently pay one bill first. Right now...maybe my website every three months.

03/15/08 Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.
Been home since Wednesday with a Virus and a Sinus Infection, so had three days without work and not a shred of energy or motivation to work on my home projects. That really sucks. Anyway little things like checking my email and updating my blog are ok. I often spend the rest of the time in bed just watching TV. Karen thinks it's not the flu, since she says I wouldn't be able to move. Anyway just want the bug dead, so I can get back to full strength.

I guess one good thing came out of this, I dropped my caffeine habit again. Last Saturday, at NJ State Singles, it got a little out of hand. I think I had about three Pepsi/Cokes that day. Messy stuff.

03/05/08 On the Way to Happy Feet!
Finally got my orthodics today. What a big difference from the OTC junk I had to endure. My feet started to hurt before I even put my feet on the ground, which is a good thing. So can't wait to break them in and get everything lined up again. Don't get me wrong the OTC inserts were a life saver compared to not wearing anything, but having a real arch should help with my occasional knee pain and running.

03/02/08 Not much Different.
State Singles is less than a week away and I did not make any progress on my homework from the end of January. I knew a couple of months wasn't going to make a big deal of difference and I would be seriously confused going into one of the major tournaments of the year. So I got busy with my league and other stuff, but I promise to put the work in after this Season is over. I don't use the "P" word too often, so I better make this one stick.

02/24/08 "Am I ready for my first tournament?"
A friend of mine asked me that question not too long ago. I didn't know how to answer. From my own experience, I know I jumped in ahead of my instructor (Bill Serafin's) expectations. Since then I've played a good deal of tournaments. I've had my good and bad moments and I've learned a lot about the sport and met some great people. So for me, I'm glad I jumped in the pool and got wet.

It's like a lot of things in life. We put off things we should do or want. If only I had this...I can get that. Or if I knew how to do this, I could get that. In the end, it's stepping into the lion's den and getting clawed, mangled, and chewed up. It's pretty easy to procrastinate and make excuses, what's the worst that can happen? You lose. What's the worst if you don't...Theodore Roosevelt said it best:

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt.

I would recommend newcomers attend a Hillsborough Tournament. It's a round robin format so you're not dropping more than $35 for a whole day of games against different players and you don't have to commit to a USAR membership either. It's a great group of players, some good competition, and a cool shirt and theme. For a novice there's nothing better, well my league is pretty good too.

02/09/08 Target Practice
Last Wednesday, after a couple of doubles games. I asked my friend Bert if I could have his old Wilson racquet cover since it was broken. I only had one ball, so I propped up the case against the front wall. Lined myself up about three feet from the back wall and started my drop and hit drill. I stuck with 10 reps per set just so I can keep track easier. First couple of sets were nothing, I was totally off.

Then during one set I hit the mark three times. After a few more sets I was missing but the ball was within a foot of the mark and was hitting it at least once per set. Leigh Marshall, my Doubles Partner who's across the globe, said it was important and after Fred Letter told me my shots were going to the middle of the court. I needed to do something.

I'm very happy with the drill, but I need a lot more practice. It's just been a long time since I practiced by myself and it shows every where. I can't break down mechanically at tournaments anymore. Still haven't managed to hit the gym or drill during lunch time, but I just need to get into the habit.

02/03/08 Good and Bad of Automatic Scheduling
One of the things I hate most about the league is setting up the schedule. Over the years I've developed Access forms that display peoples' available times with multiple calendar displays, but probably the greatest innovation was this series of functions that automates most of the schedule based on days I want the league to run. It does a pretty good job, but it doesn't really care about the difficulty of the players and since I play multiple matches it can easily put a couple of hard players back to back. Oh well, it's fair and saves me the chance of playing favorites or being influenced by what I consider hard and easy matches.

01/28/08 Sad, sad, sad C Division
I was incredibly disappointed after another first round C loss. It was against Lee Abraham. Maybe all of two serves did not go to my forehand, I even shaded over, and couldn't do much with the serve. Think I made him work for the win, but mechanically I couldn't do anything with the ball. That's twice my forehand has let me down. Once was at the NJO in the doubles game. Now a whole match in C's. Not sure Lee had a right sided serve or he just realized it's his best serve and he's getting good results from it, so why change it?

This all goes back to Fred's advice about not playing enough. All this advice is good, but without application it doesn't mean anything. I want to put the work in to make the people proud of giving me the advice in the first place. To show them that I listened and found valuable what they had to say to me as a friend.

I love racquetball, but I'm never going to get all that I want from it without some real hard work and not this lip-service or half-hearted effort.

01/28/08 More Player Advice
Thinking about this has reminded me of some more players who gave me advice. Real and straight-forward advice is hard to come by and very valuable. I remember one time at Classic, John Patric told me to follow him on to a court and showed me how to hit a forehand and backhand and had me do it a couple of times until I got it somewhat right. Not sure I'm following this one and it's tough to remember exactly the movements, but I appreciated the advice. It definitely hurt, but sometimes the best medicine doesn't taste good.

Aimee Ruiz during the last Head Demo at Rutgers told me to pick a spot on the wall for my lob serve and to take a deep breath before serving. Pretty sure I didn't follow this one and really need to integrate it into my game. Not taking a moment and thinking leads right smack into some advice I received this weekend.

Fred Letter was kind enough to watch twenty minutes of my Doubles game with Felix Ruiz at the Garden State Games this past weekend. He told me 80 to 90% of my shots were being hit to the middle of the court so two opponents where covering the ball instead of one. He also said I have the power, but that I'm not thinking about my shots. Very true, most of my shots are just reactive. I wish they were like Eddie Ortiz's forehand, him and his partner John, crushed us the second round in doubles. Just kept on rolling out that forehand. (Sorry about the cross court shot that hit you in the back Eddie.)

Think Wayne Suggs also said I need to let the ball drop more, so I can hit lower. Also Felix Ruiz reminded me in our first round doubles to keep bending my knees. Not sure that I was totally, but I was trying to take a bigger stride which forced my knees to bend. My serve was on that game and we squeaked out a win. I implored him that maybe we're not B's, but he shrugged it off saying our execution was bad.

01/23/08 Player Advice (Updated 11 PM EST)
I often ask for advice, but most of the time it's in and out of head in a day or two. I thought about making a "Homework" section, but decided it would take up too much space and conflict with the blog, so might as well put it here.

Probably the oldest advice comes from Bill Serafin. Mostly about bending my knees and getting lower to the ball, but he knew I wasn't going to bend my knees anytime soon. I'm trying Bill. Just always think it's going to hurt when I straighten up. Also learned from him to stay off the wall in Doubles and the cross court shot is often the most effective shot in Doubles.

Edurado Mancheno, from Classic, also told me to get lower to the ball and showed me the importance of moving my feet before hitting my shot. Not sure I'm following this one.

Last year, Jon Panno from Woodbridge told me to look at my opponent. I was surprised since I believe that I do look, but it may not be enough to get the max information from my opponent's shot. Anyway I'm working on it and sometimes I start to move my feet in anticipation. Compared to some of the people I play with who stay locked on the front wall, I always thought I was better at this.

Wayne Suggs, not sure if it's Eclipse or another club, but he told me once at Busch to start moving and put some H in the word hustle and stop moving so casually. He also showed me his way of hitting a pinch, by setting up in that direction. A big red flag went up since it violates the teachings of Fran Davis, but I can see his point of view also. It just eliminates all deception, but if you hit the shot right it doesn't matter.

Nancy Luyando from Middlesex asked me after she ref'ed a match if I had any video of myself. You know it's never good when someone asks you that! She didn't want to mess me up during the match, but she wants me to work on my Early Racquet Prep. Whenever I play recreationally I remind myself to at least make the attempt.

Fred Letter at the Gladiatorial Games at Hillsborough asked me how many times I was playing per week. I told him about twice. Monday and Friday. He said that's not enough to get better. You'll need at least three. Fred is an awesome player. Wayne Suggs told me that Fred knows where the ball is going to wind up before his opponent hits the ball. So any advice he gives me ranks high on my list.

01/21/08 The Agony of Da Feet
I have Flat Feet and I'm not writing a little flat. Flatter than a pancake. Wearing custom orthodics has been a life saver, but over the years I wore them to the plastic, I even tried to put mole skin to put off replacing them as a long as possible, eventually I just threw them away. Playing racquetball since has been rough and playing the New Jersey Open sure caused me some soreness afterward.

Anyway I couldn't take it any more and bought some Over the Counter gel inserts that helped, but still I need my custom orthodics and looks like they are not going to be ready until after the Garden State Games. Should be able to make due. It's everything else that needs to be stretched out.

01/16/08 Goodbye Ashaway!
Jason Mannino posted on Meet and Play that Technifibre 505 Bi-phase string was the best string. It's also what Aimee Ruiz uses all the time, so I bought myself a set. From a stringing standpoint it was so easy to use. It had very little coil memory and almost glided into place. Performance wise, since both mains and crosses were 17 gauge, I had a lot more power and the racquet felt more comfortable at the end of the Gladiatorial Games at Hillsborough.

Of course, I'm going to be greedy and find an 18 gauge string and see how that works, but I definitely would install Technifibre 505 again. Shame it's kind of pricey, but you get what you pay for.

01/10/08 Happy New Year!
Probably a little too late to write "Happy New Year" to people, but how else can I start a new year off?

Glad I finally started the audit and it's been going a long with my expectations. Maybe about forty people have answered back so far and I expect more once students come back from break.

I started a league at Cook again with eleven people and it gives me the responsibility to make sure my site is working again. I looked at some of my old code for running the leagues and some of it is pretty out dated.

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