memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
This was the first tournament I've shot since June of 2008. After that I was figuring out life in a new city and a new social group, scheduling life around work, and archery pretty much fell off the map. Then, two months ago (give or take) I saw a tournament coming up, put on by some familiar names, and decided it was time to fit shooting back into my life. The main victim here, of course, was your friends pages, until I got bored of Loudtwittering everything.

Two weeks in, the beard had to go. Because really? Ow.

Honestly? I didn't practice as much as I should. I did manage to get up for it most mornings, but only made it over to Morley once and Claremont once for any sort of distance practice. Turns out that the difference in angle between a 90-meter shot and a downward 7-meter shot is substantial, and actually affects draw length. I've got a very good, very steady rhythm in the driveway; on the field I end up holding and shaking until I'm out of breath. Fortunately, one thing I've learned rock climbing is to keep going through discomfort, get the job done, and complain about it later.

This is not a sustainable long-term way of doing things, but got me through the weekend.

I came in looking for at least a four-digit weekend. 90 was nicely on track for that - I'm somehow at the lowest sight marks I've ever had in a tournament, but still aiming at the target instead of the flag above it - and I went into lunch pretty pleased.

Then 70 happened. The wind was low and steady to the left, it took me one end to lock in and everything fell together. Despite the shaking I was consistent and clean, and just kept finding the target. I shot a 294 - only four points below the best 70 round I've ever shot, which was on my way to a personal best 1165.

50 has always been a relatively good distance for me, but this Sunday just didn't click as well as Saturday. Even still, I shot comfortably better than I had been expecting to, and finished with a 1095. I'm especially pleased about that given that my last three tournaments of 2008 scored 1025, 969, and 926 ... in that order. Whatever was killing me then seems to have passed, and I still have plenty of room for improvement.

From here on is indoor season, though, and really ... I'm not as much a fan. I actually think I'd rather take my time, slowly shoot and climb and spin, get everything nicely in tune for outdoor season next spring. One more thing (ok, lots more things) to cram into the travel budget!

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Not to be outdone, the universe has thrown little opportunities in front of my insane ideas. The Blue Heron tournament is in nine weeks - October 24-25 at Woodley Park, in Van Nuys. I think that two months is enough to get back into shape for a FITA, if I really make sure I get stuck to it. I just need a way to stick to it.

Step one: Shoot every day. This means shooting before work, this means getting up somewhat earlier than usual. I've been able to do this before, certainly, I just need to make sure to get to bed earlier as well - and not give up on it. So I'll be loud-tweeting my arrow counts and you all get to hold me responsible for them.

Step two: Equipment maintenance. Melody is horribly out of tune, my fletching is crinkly, and I can single out at least three pieces that need out-and-out replacing. One thing I can do, though, is make a backup string and get it started stretching out.

Step three: Find my freaking sight marks again. I'm kinda scared of how far off they may be. Even worse, I don't really trust the distance markers at the Morley Field range (never mind that it doesn't technically go to 90m). So this means finding some weekend when I can take a road trip, either to El Dorado in Long Beach or to Claremont (or even to Woodley, for that matter) and nailing them in.

Step four: Show up and shoot. It'll be fun.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
I seem to get a little stir-crazy doing the same stuff for forty hours each week after week after week. It's fun stuff, absolutely, don't get me wrong. I'm thoroughly enjoying Android wrangling, but apparently I need more. I want real physical activity, I want consistent sunlight and fresh air. This will become much, much more of a problem in a couple months, when I start getting home after dark, and even worse a couple months after that when I'm leaving the office after dark.

I would love to be doing that part-time. Two or three days a week, or that many hours worth, I would do Android integration, porting, makefile ninjaing, and all that stuff. With support from that, I want to get my archery chops back up. Get back to shooting a thousand arrows a week, climb in the name of training, go to the gym for reals, tune myself back up. Convince my employer that it's good publicity to give me classy logowear and pay my travel expenses to tournaments. Oh, and keep my health insurance going at least until I can sign on to the public plan. If it helps, I'd be willing to be featured in a marketing campaign around the deal ... I'm not sure what it takes to be an Official Sponsor Of USA Archery but it sure sounds good.

I would also get back into the archery teaching, because I like teaching fun things and it's a great way to get free range time. It's funny, I have found no age of child - everywhere from eight years old all the way through puberty and high school, even in mixed groups - that does not pay attention to you when you have an easy supply of weapons and demonstrable skills with them. And are happily showing them how to use said weapons.

I don't know how possible any of this is ... implementation details are still fuzzy at best. I'd probably have to shave my beard, or at the very very least trim it even further than mere polite-company levels. Hair in bowstring = PAIN.

memnus: Dave Davenport and Lovelace with quotes from Alice In Wonderland (We're All Mad Here (Narbonic))
I seem to have fallen behind on my Livejournal posting. It seems like I don't have a lot to blather about besides work, though, lately, which is really a shame.

My supply of strenuous physical activity these days seems to begin and end with trips to the climbing gym. On the one hand, this keeps my upper body strength in at least a passable state, and is somewhat more of a balanced (no pun intended) exercise than archery, it doesn't do much for the cardiovascular endurance. Finally getting into lead climbing may do a little for that; actually doing something silly like "getting a bike" would be much better.

Speaking of archery, I haven't been. Like, at all. I have a target in my driveway, and my bow strung in my closet, and will go out and shoot 30-50 arrows maybe once every other week. By the end of that, the skin on my fingertips is extremely unhappy. Competing is out of the question, I'd have a solid week of tuning and hardware fixes ahead of me if I wanted to, and new arrows probably wouldn't hurt either. But unless I figure out a better motivation for it, archery will remain a footnote.

I'm going to San Francisco for GDC next week! It's looking like I'll be able to get evenings free to do whatever, so if you're up for dinner or hanging out I'm absolutely interested. I'll be staying downtown and happy to hop a train to wherever. I'll be in town from Sunday morning to Saturday afternoon (slight change of plans from the original, on account of unexpected San Diego events). My schedule's open unless otherwise noted.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Tournament report: 2008 California State Outdoor Championships

I've now managed to set three personal worst scores in a row. It's extremely, extremely frustrating when, as far as you can tell, you're doing everything you used to but it's just. not. working.

Of course, that's not strictly true. I'm not practicing enough, I've got heavier limbs, I fucked up my tuning, I'm getting rust spots in my rest and plunger, I desperately need to make a new string. But I didn't think that all of that could make things this bad. I don't know if it's better or worse that I recovered long enough for one single spectacular end, an X-X-10 in the late afternoon. It's a reminder that there's still a good archer in me, somewhere. Hiding.

I have until September, at least, to bring it out. There's the California Cup in July that I sure as hell don't want to go to Sacramento for; there's Target Nationals in August that would involve a full week off from work (ow). Maybe by Pac Coast I can be on my game again.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Tournament report: 2008 USIAC

There has still not been a year when I improved fro mWesterns to USIACs, and considering this is the last time I'll shoot either, there won't be such a year. I couldn't get my release under control, my string was acting up, and my hands were swelling up.

Oh, and long distances were shot in anything from drizzle to pouring rain, with an inch of standing water on the shooting line. Final score was comparable to two years ago at UCLA.

I want to blame someone besides me. I suppose I could blame my borrowed limbs, since they're all chipped up. I suppose I could blame my string or my increasingly battered arrows. But none of that is fair when I was simply not shooting well, at all.

I did go to the banquet though, and was glad I did. Apparently there's now sponsorship for Academic All-American, something I earned despite a lackluster showing at national indoors. I can pick up top-of-the-line arrows and stabilizers at dealer prices, target mats for shipping only, and certain other deals. More money to spend this summer (and have to by the end, being all graduated and stuff), but I can finally take my chance to pick up x-10s.

I need to figure out a good plan for keeping up on practice while working full-time and maintaining a social life. It's very much not going to be easy, but it needs to happen, or else I'm out of the sport -- not something I want to accept. Maybe there's a coach in San Diego somewhere besides the OTC that I could work with a couple times a month?

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Made it safe into Philadelphia, drove into New Jersey, and we're now chillin' at the hotel waiting for official practice tomorrow. Going from west to east is fine if you're doing late-night things (*ahem*) but terribly awkward if you're doing morning things.

Shooting starts at 8 on Friday. Hoo boy.

memnus: Cartoon kitten after being sprayed with water (Angry kitten (QoW))
Just when I'm having a pretty difficult time finding things to really bitch about, the world goes and drops one in my face. I was at a dinner party last night, and when I came out to go home there was silly string all over my car and a glow stick on the ground underneath it.

I think utter bewilderment defeated the fuming rage that was my other option. I mean ... the hell? I didn't think that it was a neighborhood where this sort of thing might happen. The glow stick adds one more layer of wtf. We got what we could off, considering it was after midnight, and then this morning I think I got the rest off. It didn't seem to be a staining sort of thing.

Do new cars just attract this sort or shenanigan? Had the Subaru's protective layer of dirt and dents shielded me all these years? Did I just get unlucky? And what about the glow stick?

Then I went shooting today, and the serving on my string broke. At least that I can just replace without building a new string.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Tournament report: CAP Western Regional Championships, 2008

No excuses.

I had everything going for me. Experience, recognition, hardware, even a team. The wind was big, but not insurmountable. I've been sleeping. It just took me until noon on Sunday to show up.

I was shaky, I was out of focus, I had no attention span. I was shooting like a Michael Bay film. Well, nothing exploded. But I almost might as well have. I simply could not find the target, could not keep my sight there, and could not release clean. After Saturday, I was something like a hundred and twenty points behind where I should be. Fifty meters was not spectacular -- though after Easton Cup, my standards for it are raised -- but I did correct a nock point problem, which probably helped a lot. Thirty was no worse than ever (I can shoot 320 on a bad day, there), so I don't have to cry myself completely to sleep. But my FITA score was downright shameful. I had no spectacular moments in the ORs either, and was eliminated in the quarterfinals as the day drew on.

It was a good weekend for the team, though, bringing in 6th-7th-8th place in the FITAs and a bronze medal after ORs. We're definitely on the radar now. USIACs is on the horizon, and we'll have three solid weeks with nothing to do but practice. And I absolutely have to use them. Practice, or the lack thereof, killed me this weekend. I don't want to make that mistake again.

I also don't want to try to coordinate travel with someone that insists on flying standby again, but may not have a choice.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Tournament report: 2008 Easton Cup
STAR FITA, round robin and elimination rounds

I was shooting this tournament almost on a whim, but I'm really, really glad I did. Otherwise, Westerns would have been my first tournament of the season, and then all this crap could have gone wrong sometime it matters more to me. Or maybe it could hvae gone wrong in practice, and I would have gotten the "what, again?" looks from the regulars. But here's the bottom line: I did particularly well, under the circumstances.

Long, gruesome descriptions )

So Tuesday, it's back to the string jig, this time with long enough and with thicker serving. With three weeks to westerns, I want to not have this many issues; I just want to walk in and take the division by storm. I'm feeling more and more like I can do it in spite of everything.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
For the tournament this weekend, I'm getting HUGE mixed messages. First of all, word on the street is that all tournaments this year will be Olympic rounds only: all 70m, all the time. Naturally, this is all I have a sight setting for. The info online, though, claims that this weekend is a full 90-70-50-30 FITA round. Second, and even weirder, everything I've found claims that the first three distances are on Saturday, and the fourth on Sunday -- according to others, this is simply not allowed for an Official Tournament. It's not just a field I've never shot at, it's an airport I've never flown through. On top of all that, I've having serious string issues, and practice simply hasn't been up to snuff for a while. I'm calling this a dry run for the next couple ... and I'll be back to the string jig, over and over and over again. Ugh.

Weirder dreams than usual, last night, or more explicit anyway. There were people staying somewhere with pretty much a no-visitors policy, but I was there anyway; there was someone else in the room but there was still the start of a menage a trois. We were found and I was sent out, or at least downstairs; I was going to go to sleep but it was games night. I had Munchkin, or Fluxx, but the box actually contained a Magic deck. I headed outside, and it was 3 in the morning but still light and warm. It had something to do with the moon being destroyed, or something. The particularly odd thing was that most of the people were actually people I know, instead of the usual generic human entities I dream about...

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Tournament report: 2008 NAA National Indoor Championships
Two-day indoor FITA: 120 arrows

I was doing so well a week ago. Less than that, actually. Monday and Tuesday it was looking like I could be a serious contender.

Then this weekend came around. If I'd had nothing else to do, I might have kept with it. But life has gone into overdrive, suddenly, and as much as I project a zen-like calm it's all just an act. My mind was in hyperthreaded overdrive and I could just not focus. Saturday I was thirty points behind my goal; Sunday was even worse. I ended up with a *worse* score than last year, despite superior equipment, training, and (I thought) preparation.

Live and learn, though. I don't think I'm in the runing for All-American after this, but I can get plenty psyched up for outdoor season. The next tournament is the last weekend of March in Van Nuys, and I think I might have to shoot it to make up for this shitty weekend. It's nothing but 70 meter ends, too; nothing but the fun part. Transportation and lodging will be the pain in the ass for that one, though.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Tournament report: Utah Open 2007

I don't like the Vegas round. It's more crowded on the line (this may be as much of a product of Salt Lake Archery), not the rhythm I'm used to, and the promise of a monetary reward puts an unwelcome tension in the air. That said, this tournament was nothing important to me. Count me out of the cash divisions, and the only other competition in collgiate was Terry.

None of this is an excuse for my performance. My shooting should have been much better, with distressing numbers of 26-or-worse ends. Only the occasional 29 saved my ass and put me to scores that, while I'm not thrilled about, I don't have to cry myself to sleep over. I hace a lot of work left before February - the next anything-at-all - but I think the majority of what I need is more time, and motivation, to practice. The difference between four hundred arrows and a thousand arrows each week is huge. never mind that I need to find a way to practice over break while out of town...

memnus: Cartoon kitten after being sprayed with water (Angry kitten (QoW))
I officially work in retail now! Well, at the archery range anyway. I'm the one holding down the register 12-6 on Sundays. All you local folks should come rent bows and stuff from me. :-) (And no, I don't work on commission. Sundays are apparently really slow days all the time. Yesterday there were all of ten people between noon and four, then no one for an hour. Just as we finished closing up the cash register, a crowd of eight piled down the stairs, with half an hour until closing. Never mind that Larry has a bus to catch...

I dropped my bus pass somewhere as I was running around today. Since I checked the lab spaces where I was sitting, that means it either fell out on the bus itself, or as I was walking across campus ... neither of which bodes well for getting the damn thing back. I got it replaced, and if it does turn up after all I can get a refund, but arg. Not making me happy, that. That and trying to build a UI in Matlab (that's right) have made for a tear-your-hair-out day, even though I spent the whole time convinced it was Tuesday. No such luck, apparently.

We're down to four weeks of classes. I have the Matlab UI and related stuff (though the group has left the coding to me), the Fleck model (for which I finally have a face template), and in theory some geometry homework (which will be scheduled exctly backward - written work this weekend, programming over Thanksgiving). No finals, and three assignments and a midterm to grade. That doesn't seem like much, at all.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
The crazy going, let me show you it.

Actually, I'm not going to. It'd be too pointless. Instead I have a new toy to show off.
Meet Melody )

No more time to chat, my students are clamoring for aid.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Tournament report: Desert Open 2007
Single FITA

There's a strange impression that I'm starting to get about archery people, at least the Powers That Be: they seem to fetishize The Rules, even moreso than most of the fetishists I know. As such, the USC star that put on a surprisingly good show at the olympic trials last week was not considered a college division archer.

He was a hundred points ahead of me, while I was another hundred points ahead of the official second-place finisher.

Despite the silly little belt buckle I now have (belt buckle? the hell?), I don't want to consider this a competive victory. Rather, I hit some important personal milestones, and hardly noticed them until they'd passed. I opened up scoring with an X at 90 meters, anchoring a 51, and followed that up with a 48. Things were downhill from there, but the resulting 250 will be my new standard for that distance. 70 started off iffy, but I pulled it together at the end. The next day I set my goals high and nearly had them: only one point from my personal best prat 50, and five at thirty. Grand total came to 1148, only twelve points below the personal best that felt so astounding at the time and that I'd previously not come close to matching. If that doesn't even feel like a spectacular day anymore, I must be getting better without really noticing. From here it's a matter of:
  • Equipment upgrades. I need a new cushion tip on my plunger at the very least, and probably a new v-bar block. New strings would be nice; I've also been offered a new riser, which would be the ultimate big change.
  • Wind practice. This is awkward, because it's going on winter season, and starting to snow in Utah.
  • Fine-tuning my grip. Since I stopped shooting with a glove, there's been a spot on my handle that can press into my palm painfully. I either need to file that off, or just get that new riser.
  • Poundage increase. This will also help with wind.
  • More tournaments. The next one in SoCal is November 10th, in Van Nuys, which is not particularly accessible from anywhere I've previously stayed. From there it's solidly into indoor season, with the Utah Open in December.
I'm now in San Diego for the week, but with homework and without a car, so not looking too hard for anything to do.

memnus: Stepmania "hold" arrows and the phrase "HOLD ME". (Hold me.)
It's the last week of school before fall break. Somehow, I don't have any major homework - just a meeting after HCI today to hammer through the latest assignment in that class - but I feel antsy to Do Something. I want to go climbing, I think. Or I want to throw some rope, tie something up. Or I want to take down the new riser I've had my eyes on and start setting it up (nothing like being told a week before a tournament that your hardware needs replacing). Something, anything but sitting around school all day.

Office hours are going to be crazy busy today. Not only do people have their first threads assignment (with STL thrown in for the hell of it) due tomorrow, but they also have a midterm on Thursday to add to the panic! I might also have a midterm of my own coming up; I honestly don't know. Would be good to be warned about it.

I'll be in the LA area next weekend. Anyone going to be bored?


Word is in

Sep. 18th, 2007 07:29 pm
memnus: Pink cat face jumping out of a toaster, animated (Toast! Animated! (S*P))
College division registrar says... )

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Pacific Coast Championship 2007: Single FITA

On a bright enough day, the sun shines on the targets so strongly that you step off the line, close your eyes, and still see rows of circles. When you're really in the zone, you can see the echo of your sight and your bow as well, and the whole picture pulses and flashes with every sound you hear.

I hit that stride after lunch on Sunday, despite some unwelcome (but not unexpected) protests from my muscles.

It was one bright spot in an otherwise mediocre weekend. I've had few to no chances to practice outside, and especially my long distances are distressingly weak. I was also sleeping on the floor at night, which was allegedly not much different from the beds, but couldn't have been good for my hips and shoulders.

i need to shoot more, I need to turn up my draw weight another five pounds, and I need to very much build up my general strength and endurance. Even as I fell into the right mental space, each shot was a strain, pulled through on sheer willpower and stubbornness. More than once I was only saved by my new ability to recognize a bad shot setup, and my willingness to let it down and start over. This kepy me on the line until the yellow light more than once, but time has never been an issue yet and I'm not worried.

I'm holding off on talk about results until official standings are released, later this week. There was some confusion about who belonged in what divisions, and people that nobody'd heard of and didn't show up for awards. Suffice it to say that I'm suddenly much more interested in the Desert Open, less than two weeks away.

memnus: Me with my bow at full draw, with quote "Just Dynamic Tension" (Dynamic Tension)
Tournament report: 123rd National Target Championships
Double FITA + ORs

This tournament was huge. There were well over 400 archers there, and you just have to look at the name to figure out why. I'd had some internal arguments about whether it was out of my league or not, but "what the hell" won out and here I am. Surrounded by big names, a few blocks from the Olympic Training Center (strangely, not the one that does archery), my only goal was not to make a fool of myself. Unfortunately, I peaked on Wednesday (day 2 of 5) and delivered only mediocre performance otherwise. An acceptable (for me) first FITA of 1117 was followed by a meltdown in the long distances (dammit I need to learn to cope with wind) and a second FITA of 1044, my worst all year. That left me with an 88th seed in the elimination rounds - thankfully, they'd opened up to include all archers, instead of the top 64 - and a first-round no-show got me to the second round. Mentally I was in the right place, but the middle finger of my left hand was quickly starting to develop a nasty blister, and covering it with athletic tape only helped so much. A decent group on the first end was sadly followed by five sevens, so I packed up.

I don't feel bad. By the time I'd left, the guy who beat me - one of the Olympic Training Center's resident athletes - was being eliminated in the 1/8th finals.

So, a week before classes. I hope to do as little as possible.



memnus: A stylized galaxy image, with the quote "Eternity lies ahead of us - and behind. Have you drunk your fill?" (Default)

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