Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#DolfApproved - Stephen Merritt "I Don't Want To Get Over You"

A great version of one of my favorite songs. I just wish someone would remove that Clay-Aiken look-alike that's annoyingly in frame for most of the song!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Toyota Quality? Toyota Safety? I Don't Think So...

I have a little over 100,00 miles on my Toyota Camry XLE and I have had five power door lock failures and one dead alternator (see photo). The sun roof also doesn't close properly. I'm sure there are some other things I'm leaving out, but let's just go with those for now.

The reason I bought a Toyota was not for excitement. I wanted a car that I didn't have to think about. I wanted a car that wouldn't hit me with a deluge of nagging repairs, things like malfunctioning power door locks and windows.

I found out the hard way that Toyota is NOT that car. 

I have had several cars and Toyota is by far the least reliable and most trouble-prone car I have owned. 

If you think Toyota means quality, reliability, and safety, then think again. 

To quote the great Kanye West, "Do anybody make real shit anymore?" Well Kanye, maybe there are a few companies that do, but I know Toyota certainly doesn't!

I will update this post with all of my upcoming adventures. I'm sure there is plenty of excitement to come. 

Re-enable Safari's Pinch to Zoom in iOS!

Here is a quick code snippet to override the moronic web developers who see fit to disable Pinch to Zoom in iOS. 

Create a bookmark from any page. Rename it "Zoom" or something appropriate. Save the bookmark. Go back and edit the bookmark. Find the address field and replace the URL with: 
Whenever you come across a page that has disabled Pinch to Zoom simply tap the newly created bookmarklet and you are good to go.

Besides being very useful in general, Pinch to Zoom is an Accessibility feature used by people with poor vision. Purposely disabling it is idiotic.

Thursday, April 04, 2013


... you can feel it in the air's very ions: Darrell Hall is going to get laid before the night's over. --DFW 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Dunlop Grand Prix / Worst Tennis Ball Ever!

“a tennis ball is the ultimate body. Perfectly round. Even distribution of mass. But empty inside, utterly, a vacuum. Susceptible to whim, spin, to force—used well or poorly. It will reflect your own character. Characterless itself. Pure potential.” -- David Foster Wallace

Part 1. October 6, 2012. "Storm Warning" 

The Greater Cincinnati Indoor Tennis Association ("G.C.I.T.A.") recently adopted the Dunlop Grand Prix as the official ball of the 2012/13 Interclub season.

The Dunlop Grand Prix is hard, heavy, dense, and quick-to-fuzz-up. These unfortunate characteristics make for a very unenjoyable game of tennis no matter what level you play. I have been playing tennis for a long time and the Grand Prix is the worst ball I have ever put a racket to.

A 5.0 former college player on my Interclub team commented on how many times his forehand hit the tape due to the "heaviness" of the ball. I find the Grand Prix particularly unpleasant when serving. A powerful service swing is met time and again with shoulder-jarring impact, almost as if you were striking a baseball or a large rock.

Besides negatively impacting play, I believe these balls can lead to injury for some types of players. The weight, density, and "fuzziness" are a recipe for shoulder, arm, and elbow pain.

I suffered a severe shoulder injury earlier this year and worked for several months to get back to the Show. By the end of the summer, I was just about back to normal. Around this time, the Grand Prix's made their debut at my Tuesday night doubles group. Everyone immediately noticed how heavy the balls felt. By the end of the first set, many players were complaining about the fuzziness and hardness of the balls. The next day my shoulder felt like someone had put a blowtorch to it.

If you dislike these balls as much as I do, please send an email to the G.C.I.T.A. at gcita@inbox.com and request a change. While you are at it, stop by @DunlopSport on Twitter and let them know what you think about these balls.

In my opinion, Wilson U.S. Open (@WilsonTennis) and Penn Championship balls are superb. Perfect weight, density, and no fuzziness! It seems the G.C.I.T.A. must have gotten a sweet deal and saved a few pennies per can on the dismal Dunlops that they are forcing upon players.

Part 2. March 27, 2013. "The Agony and the Agony..." 
After taking a month off from Interclub singles play for my fatherly responsibilities, I returned to action on Saturday, March 16. Towards the end of the first set of play I could feel my arm breaking down. Perhaps my four week absence had caused me to lose all of the "Dunlop Immunity" I had built up. By the end of the match, I was serving at 50% speed. My forearm and elbow were on fire. This searing pain lasted for several days. I haven't played tennis (singles or doubles) since that match. It seems as though the prediction I made in October has come true!

"Besides negatively impacting play, I believe these balls can lead to injury for some types of players. The weight, density, and "fuzziness" are a recipe for shoulder, arm, and elbow pain."

I have decided that as long as Dunlop Grand Prix balls are The Official Ball of the G.C.I.T.A., I will no longer play Interclub singles. This also means I will be stepping down as Team Captain; a postion I have held for 13 years or so. I will try to play doubles next session. Since the serving rotation is one in  every four (instead of one in every two), my arm and shoulder might be able to withstand the Dunlop assault. I am thoroughly convinced that Dunlop Grand Prix balls lead to shoulder and arm injuries, especially for players who use stiff rackets and polyester strings like myself. Play with these balls at your own peril.

Part 3. July 1, 2013. "Dunlop Grand Prix, Lateral Epicondylitis, and Me" 
Dunlop-induced Lateral epicondylitis (aka "Tennis Elbow") has continued to keep me on the sidelines. I have been performing stretching and strengthening exercises on a daily basis. Despite time and rehab, I am still experiencing a fair amount of pain. I hit a few serves and hit against a backboard yesterday and as a result my arm feels slightly worse than usual. This is actually a good sign as I expected the pain to be much more severe. It's possible I could return to the court on 7/9 or 7/16. If my return is on 7/16 it will be a nice and tidy FOUR month absence thanks to Dunlop. The moral of my story? Simple. Avoid Dunlop Grand Prix!

Part 4. July 16, 2013. "Do You Believe in Miracles?" 
[Dirty Dozen Doubles, Harpers Point Outdoor Clay, 7pm, Temperature ~93 degrees, Heat Index ~100 degrees] After exactly FOUR months off the circuit I wasn't expecting much, nobody was… All I was realistically hoping for was to hold a couple serves and escape the evening without debilitating pain. I should have known better…

After two hours of sweltering conditions, I nearly swept all three sets (7-6, 6-4, 5-7) and put on a performance that can best be described as a Miracle. It's as if I had never stopped playing. And before some wise ass accuses me of competing against grade school children, I can assure you that the competition was stiff with a capital S. 

My court mates included co-worker Brian Telintelo, Judge Brad Greenberg, and some guy named Dave, not a bad player in the bunch. The first set back was particularly satisfying and will forever be synaptically committed. The Judge and I found ourselves down most of the set to the hard-hitting youngster Telintelo and his partner Dave; 2-4 and 3-5 in the set, and 0-3 in the tie-breaker. However, we somehow found a way to win and pulled off a 7-6 (7-5) victory that was instantly recognized as a Dirty Dozen Classic ("DDC").

After more than two hours on court, I can confidently say that my arm feels no worse than before. Thousands of reps with various grip strengthening devices over the past four months have apparently paid off. 

Is this over? Not by a long shot. I will not rest until the Dunlop Grand Prix is excised from the G.C.I.T.A. equipment list. Stay tuned...

Part 5.  August 23, 2013. "The 59 gram Scourge" 
Since my triumphant return on July 16, 2013, I have played doubles four more times and have performed well. There is still some lingering pain, but all appears to be well. G.C.I.T.A. Interclub starts on Sept 7 and I will once again have to deal with the 59 gram rock-hard scourge known as the Dunlop Grand Prix. Will my arm and shoulder survive? Only the tennis gods know for certain. Be sure to check back for more updates.

Part 6. August 20, 2014. "Redemption" or "The Ball Remains The Same" 
Nearly a year after my last update, Dunlop remains but so do I. The past year has seen injury-free (and winning) sessions of both Interclub and Dirty Dozen. I have lowered the tension of my Babolat Pure Drive Plus' ALU Rough strings down to the mid 40's. This seems to have alleviated some of my issues. I will continue to lobby against the  Dunlop Grand Prix. Perhaps one day it will be nothing more than a bad memory, occasionally showing up as an old practice ball in a pro's shopping cart, its lettering barely visible.