7.26.2008

Special Guests

Toasti is back in Florida and has been practicing and working out a lot since his arrival. Four !!! Straight Pool tournaments are coming up in the next two month and I am very excited about that. The Lucasi Hybrid Invitational Classic here in Jax first, then the European Championship in Willingen/Germany, next the New Jersey State Straight Pool Championship in Parsippany/New Jersey and finally the World Straight Pool Championship in East Brunswick/New Jersey. Time for some serious Straight Pool practice...

Yesterday I had some very special guests visiting me here at the crazy Dome, Jeanette Lee and Rolando Aravena.

In February at his farewell party at Amsterdam Billiards in NY I told my friend Rolando I would be one of the first to visit him in his new home. Back then I didn't know that he would be the one to visit ME first.



I had my table recovered by the Billiard Factory, Jacksonville. Great job ! I'm all ready for some crazy highruns... LOL

7.22.2008

Fulda !

I know it has been a while but I simply enjoyed my given time in Germany. Fortunately I spent a lot of time with my coach/friend/psycho-uncle Michael Wahl. He always finds something about my game.


"Thorsten, you changed your stance. Thorsten, you twist your wrist and come out with your ellbow. Thorsten, you set up your bridge to much to the left on certain shots and more. So, that's what we were working on. Take a look at his "desk" during a typical hour with him




Twice we drove to south of our state in Hessen to spend half a day practicing there with the youth selection team in the nice club of Astoria Walldorf. It also gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of good old friends. The following week this youth group came to Fulda for an eight hour workshop every day. Some very talented young kids and all of them a lot of fun.



For all of you who don't know one of the best custom cue makers, here he is - Michael Vollmer from Rohrbach. I used to play his cue for many years. For example I won the World 9-Ball Championship, the BCA Open and ran my 404 in straight pool with his piece of art. He is celebrating his 15th anniversary this year and made an especially brutal monster cue. Check it out on his website...
On the picture in the middle you see my old beloved Vollmer Cue !

www.vollmercue.de



What is Germany without it's fantastic food ? The first thing I did when I arrived was to eat a schnitzel with green sauce and potatoes in Frankfurt with my friends Wolfgang and Carola. This should be symptomatic for my Germany trip. I basically ate every hour. Half way through my stay I told my mom "Okay mom, from tomorrow on I have to be on a diet. Only salats, vegetables, fruits and healthy stuff." She nodded and the next day she said: "Thorsten, I have potatoe dumplings in a bacon sauce." I could not resist and ate three of them...



When you live in the States for so long and come back after 1 1/2 years you see your city with different eyes. For the first time I realized how beautiful my tiny little Fulda is. Even an ordinary street with trees seems so unique and picturesque. Here a bunch of pictures of Fulda !









One of my personal highlights was, of course my 29th birthday on July 14th. I took my friends to dinner in a very traditional German restaurant on the evening of the 13th. Afterwards we went to the trendy Havanna cocktailbar where we celebrated into my 29th. As prophesied I had my very first German beer at midnight. More food battles on the 14th with family of course !



But every good thing comes to an end. And my visit was limited. With a crying eye I had to leave my Fulda, but I know I will return on August 6th ! Summary: I spent time with my family and friends, had some quality practice with my coach Michael, got a new tip on my cue, grew another grey hair, got physically back in shape and ate too much good good food. Can't beat that !

7.07.2008

Back to the roots...

After 1 1/2 years of Germany abstinence I finally returned to my home town Fulda. Well, actually I was here for Christmas and my mommy´s birthday last year, but without counting that, it has really been that long...

I have two weeks here in Fulda, were everything (Pool) started for me in 1992. I will spend some time with my family and friends, celebrate my birthday on the 14th, having my very first German beer and go back to the roots by practicing and working out with my coach and mentor Michael Wahl.



Now I realized how beautiful Fulda is. Like one of those snow globe cities you shake and just stare at. So cute, small and pretty.
My mission is to take a lot of pictures and post them on here, so the whole world can get an impression of this wonderful place, German culture, food, architecture and my loved ones...

I will also write some lines about my tournament in Qatar, but in the meantime I will enjoy home for a little bit.

There is no place like home...

6.24.2008

Puerto Princesa Mayor's Cup

Just about one month after my last Philippine visit it was my pleasure to travel to my favorite country again. There is so much Pool going on in Asia, it would almost make sense to move here. The Philippine tourneys, the Korean tournaments, the Japanese, the Taiwanese and more and more... Unfortunately the Guiness 9-Ball Tour is exclusively only for Asians and I chose Florida as my home of choice for now...



The second leg of the Philippine 10-Ball Tour started with a welcome party and a presentation about the city of Puerto Princesa by the Mayor himself, Mayor Hagedorn. I heard so many good stories about Palawan, how clean it is, how beautiful. So was pretty excited to get an impression myself.

To promote the event we went on a car parade through the streets of Puerto Princesa. I felt like the pope cruising on the back of a pick-up truck waving at the locals. A lot of fun though and a brilliant idea...



A brief player meeting was held in the morning at the very nice city coliseum.



The official opening ceremony was quite impressive. I have never seen so many people attending a pool event like in Puerto Princesa. It seemed every high school in Palwan was present. I think the organizer promised each student a yum burger from Jollybee for who would show up...



I counted 3000 spectators, but I could be wrong. The pictures clearly show the major effort of the organizers of the event !





Here is a video of an attempt by the Pinoys to do the Mexican La Ola wave...

video

For this second edition of the Philippine 10-Ball tour more foreign players had committed to show up, such as Ralf Souquet, Wu Chia Ching, Ko Pin Yi, Chang Jun-Lin and more. I never could get my game going and lost my opening match against the in Thailand residing Courtney Symons, originally from the UK.

After winning my loser round match Jonathan Corpus from the Philippines I had another tough loss against Cebu residing Augusto Boots.

Guiness tour dominator Chang Jun-Lin got knocked out the same round but the favorites came through.

In the final it was double World Champion Wu Cha Ching to claim the title against Filipino Junior Champion Jerico Banares with 11:9. Third places went to Ralf Souquet and Marlon Manalo.

Puerto Princesa is a very clean city. You will find many trash bins on the streets and you won't find garbage lying around. The protection of the environment is a common goal and mangrove tree planting is custom. Here some pics of Toasti and friends planting mangroves...


There was a taifun devastating parts of the Philippines. Many people died. Luckily Palawan hasn't been hit in decades but what we got was plenty of rain showers during my stay. I did not get to see as much of the island as I had hoped, like the beaches, the diversed islands, but on our last day in Palawan the city office had planned a trip to the Underground River, the longest in the world. To get there was a hardcore bumpy trip through forest and mud. Enjoy the picture documentation:









Inside the cave. At least three million bats... :-)







Boat Trip going to the cave...

video


I had a great time in Palawan, even though I didn't do as well as I did in the first tour stop. August will be pretty busy for me in Europe (European Championship) and USA (World Straight Pool Championship) so I probably will miss the next tour stop here in the Philippines.

Puerto Princesa has left a very nice impression for me and for sure I will return to the city in the forest...