For deyaniera, who's just told me that she's trying to learn Bridge, I'll give the details of the hand I mentioned above. I was holding S A-x-x-x H K-x-x-x-x D 4 C A-x-x or so, which is 11 High-Card Points (HCP) with an extra for the fifth heart. The opponents were vulnerable and we weren't, so I fudged my power a little and opened 1H. Steve, to my left, passed, and Keith, my partner, supported me with 2H, promising at least 6 HCP and three hearts. Bruce, to my right, bid 3D, and because we needed to make a game to win the rubber and it was our last hand, I jumped right to 4H. I don't think it was a horrible bid in any case, because my distribution makes my hand look a lot more powerful. Steve led a diamond, naturally, and Keith laid down his hand: S Q H A-Q-10-x-x D 10-x C Q-10-9-8-x. Bruce took the first trick with the ace of diamonds and led the king of diamonds, which I ruffed low. I pulled trump in two rounds, starting with my king and crossing to the board's ace. Then, in an attempt to set up the long clubs, I led the ten. Bruce surprised me by playing the king, so I covered with the ace and led a low one to the nine. That left Steve with only the jack, so I cashed the queen, giving me two good clubs on the board, not that I needed them - I could cash my good ace of spades and finish with a crossruff, as the board was left with two clubs and three hearts, while my hand had three spades and two hearts.
Today's Golf: Mom couldn't make it due to program issues, so shachihoko and I played nine shuffled holes of Blue Water. I think I made all of my long putt attempts, while he had some difficulty with several of them. However, I think this was the first time when I really felt like a winner. As I said at the end of the game, I think I'm finally getting used to thinking of myself as a good player. I don't spend my opponents' turns hoping that they'll screw up horribly. Instead, I feel more excited when they make great shots, because it means a tougher competition. My toughest opponents seem to take quite a few risks that don't always pan out, while I'm more careful - I use trick shots when I can, but I try to arrange things to mitigate the impact of a failure - like avoiding Tomahawks if a normal Powershot won't quite span the gap. Landing in the rough is fine, but falling out of bounds is a waste of two strokes and a powershot. And my putting technique still has one hole in it, but I think I've figured out the formula for accounting for most elevation conditions, and the lateral slopes are a matter of judgment. Things I keep in mind - in addition to downhill slopes affecting the curvature of the ball's path more than uphill slopes, the slope near the ball affects its path much more than the slope near the green. If it slopes a bit to the left first, then gently to the right for a long stretch, it's going to go more left than right. Also, with the exception of long putts on icy greens (this kills me in Ice Cannon), the change in force is approximately 5 times the elevation. It's easily calculated by moving the decimal point to the right one place and dividing by two. So if the hole is .16 m above you, add about .8 yd to the power. If it's .35 m below you, subtract about 1.7 yd. I round up just a bit in most cases just to make sure I don't stop short. More so in stormy conditions, where the ball doesn't roll as far (despite the supposed 100% power indicator). For long putts on ice, you need to subtract an additional factor regardless of the elevation, but I haven't figured out what that is just yet. I'm working on it. I keep forgetting it and skipping the cup by about 4 yd, so I'm thinking it should be around that much for a 30+ yd putt.
I'm back to work on that Snape scene I posted a few weeks ago... I have almost a month to post it before it's worthless. I'll get there. It's just sort of anathema to me to post a J.K. Rowling-style explanation in kids-won't-understand-this-unless-I-spel