10 Reasons Why Billiards Is More Than Just A Bar Game

10 Reasons Why Billiards Is More Than Just A Bar Game

Billiards: alcohol not required.

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Billiards, known also as pool, has been known as a bar or pub game for years alongside darts, foosball, table tennis bowling... Pretty much any game where you're encouraged to grab a cheap beer and hit things. To be fair, it's earned the right to be considered a bar game; after a quick "pool hall" Google search, eight of the ten results were bars—and one of the two that weren't bars belonged to the local college's games center. Because of this, people have begun viewing billiards a game to play only when at the bar.

But the truth is a bit different; just like darts and bowling, playing a game of pool can be as challenging (and rewarding) as you make it. Ranging from health benefits to daily pleasure, billiards is far more than just a bar game.

1. Stretching: vital to both the game and your daily life

Stretching is vital for flexibility, injury prevention, and mental health, but people nowadays rarely stretch enough. By stretching over the table and changing positions for different shots, an hour of pool can increase your flexibility and overall health.

2. Focusing on that one shot can help you focus on the bigger things as well

Ask anyone who's tried to win a game of nine ball: trying to focus solely on one ball is a challenge, especially if you're in a loud room or you don't have a straight shot. Distractions in pool often turn into botched shots, just like distractions in life can turn into big mistakes. By learning how to focus solely on your goal in pool, you can apply that knowledge to your daily life and learn how to reach your goals quickly and effectively.

3. Who doesn't want to improve their test scores?

While pool isn't as simple as people may think, it's not a mystical thing, either. In all reality, pool is just a game of physics and geometry. If you can successfully master one, the other will be much easier.

4. Stress becomes a thing of the past

There's no cure all for stress and anxiety, but many people, including myself, have found that exercises like billiards, golf, and bowling can help significantly reduce anxiety.

5. Lonely? Not anymore 

Pool isn't a one- or two-person activity as a general rule. Some people use billiards and billiards competitions to help alleviate and combat their social anxiety, while others use them as a way to meet new people.

6. Disrespect is a thing that's quickly taken care of

Contrary to popular belief, most people are very polite when playing. Players will often be called out if they don't follow the PBIA's etiquette code, so both professionals and new players can feel calm and respected during a game.

7. Unlike your standard sport, people of all ages can participate

Unfortunately, most people can't participate in professional sports into their forties and fifties because their bodies can't keep up. After all, when do you ever see a 99 year-old football player? Meanwhile, 99 year-old Wesley Walker was still competing (and winning) back in 2001!

8. For the elderly, billiards may be an excellent low-intensity exercise

Or rather, an excellent way to maintain "active aging." One study found that men ages 70 to 95 who bowled four times a week were healthier than their counterparts.

9. Whether you're a new player or a pro, billiards isn't hard to get into

Despite all the trick shots and illegal jump shots on television, you don't need a master's degree to get started. With a quick YouTube tutorial, friend, or even kind stranger's help, you can be playing in no time.

10. Whether you're nursing a whiskey or chugging a Juicy Juice, it's always enjoyable

Take it from the girl whose purse can easily be identified as the one next to the juice box: you don't need to be drunk to have fun playing pool.

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11 Great Books For People Who Don't Like Reading

If you don't like to read, this is the article for you.
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I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I am no reader. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a huge curly-q bookworm.

I always see her flying through novels for pure pleasure. I'll be honest, the sight of it makes me cringe. My body won't stay still after I get through 20 pages (unless I'm hooked). You can consider me the girl who doesn't finish anything (like Professor Calamitous in Jimmy Neutron...I even have the short stature down).

Maybe my dislike of reading stems from teachers force feeding us excruciatingly boring summer assignments.

1984? Straight up diarrhea

Fahrenheit? Vomit vomit vomit.

Animal Farm? Excruciatingly yuck.

The only thing I enjoyed about Animal Farm was laughing at how awful the movie was. On the other hand, give me a young adult novel, and you can count me in. I guess I have Vikas Turakhia to thank for introducing me to J.D Salinger and provoking my drive to become a better writer--after he made me cry and gave me a B- for a report regarding a book about Polenta. High-School was a time... amiright?

Anyway, even though I am not a big reader, there are still a few books that have stuck with me throughout the years. Here is a list of novels I highly recommend to those who associate reading with chores...this time it won't have to be.

1. Looking for Alaska

"Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps." -JohnGreenBooks.com

2. Eleanor and Park

"Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try." -Goodreads.com

3. City of Thieves

Written by the writer and producer of Game of Thrones... enough said. Another book that I was forced to read thanks to Vikas Turakhia and one I will never put down.

4. Paper Towns

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew." -Johngreenbooks.com

5. Franny and Zooey

"FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locations, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill." -Salinger

6. The Catcher in the Rye

"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain too, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read." -Goodreads.com

7. The Westing Games

"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!" -Goodreads.com

8. Milk and Honey

"milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. " -Goodreads.com

9. Room

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another." -Goodreads.com







10. Replica

"Two Girls, Two Stories, One Book"- Goodreads.com

11. Mother, Can You Not?

"In Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate Siegel pays tribute to the woman whose helicopter parenting may make your mom look like Mother Teresa. From embarrassing moments (like her mother’s surprise early morning visit, catching Kate in bed with her crush) to outrageous stories (such as the time she moved cross country to be near Kate’s college) to hilarious mantras (“NO STD TEST, YOU WON’T BE GETTING SEXED!”), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process)." -kateesiegel.com
Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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A Breakdown Of 'The Despair Event Horizon'

A powerful trope that I use frequently in fiction.

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The Despair Event Horizon is a very vivid phrase that tells you what it means to some degree. An event horizon refers to the point of a black hole that once crossed, there is no chance of escape. Anything reaching this threshold is forever trapped in the gravity well. The Despair Event Horizon is quite similar.

This is the point that once crossed, there is no chance of recovery. This does not just refer to a character that is depressed or upset over something. The Despair Event Horizon is when something so traumatic happens that the victim of circumstance gives up completely.

There are a few ways of establishing this break. Most of them involve extremely gruesome circumstances. Remember this is breaking a person beyond repair. To a sadistic author such as myself, this is a very enjoyable experience. To a reader, this is the moment where they are likely to feel emotions towards the poor character.

One other trope that tends to come into play with this one is the "Hope Spot." This, in conjunction with the other trope, means that you give the poor character in question a moment where it looks like things will turn out just fine for them. Then the twist occurs. One of the most well-known examples of this happening in fiction is William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Both Romeo and Juliet are both driven across the line and then quickly are driven to suicide as a result.

However, there are other ways to employ this trope other than suicide. Think about it. In the mind of this character, his or her life is over. Everything is ruined; there is no hope. Now let's imagine how entertaining such a story development can be. A heroic character driven over the Despair Event Horizon might become a villain and begin causing horror upon the world that they have cursed. Another possibility is this despair being weaponized by another being. A God intentionally causing despair in mortals for a sinister purpose is a very common and effective means of creating a Cosmic Horror Story.

In my own works of fiction, I use this trope relentlessly. I am currently writing a story where basically the entire cast crosses the Despair Event Horizon to showcase just how cruel a world they live in. Characters who fall to such extreme despair make for Anti Heroes that are such a joy to write. Villains pushed to the brink no longer are held back by whatever morality they might have clung to.

This is a fantastic opportunity to make use of the Power of Hate and how it contrasts with the Power of Love. As a Deconstruction Dark Fantasy Writer, having hatred prevail in the face of love is one of my favorite past times. Writing downer endings to stories is my muse. For those looking to try something different and admittedly shocking for a story, why not give this trope a spin?

Just beware. Once you cross the Despair Event Horizon, there is no coming back...

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