Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hi everyone, my name is Jacob. It doesn't say, though...

Introductions are in order, I guess...

I live in Kansas, far away from much of the yo-yoing community. This isn't so bad, with the Internet and all, but I also think isolation is important in coming up with original trick ideas. I have not won any yo-yo contests, but I scored well enough to get my name mentioned. I made a couple of videos, but they were not a big investment compared to Sector_Y stuff and some of the newer stuff coming out. Can't Stop took six hours to film and edit, and then a bit to export and upload. String Appreciation (funny how that I did that a year ago, now) is another noteworthy video. It also acts a monument to the first time I took an idea and just sprint forward with it. I got a lot of really great feedback on it, which gave me the courage to make progress on being who I wanted to become in a wider scope than just concerning yo-yoing. Oh yeah, and if you ever got fresh-brewed tea from somebody at a yo-yo contest, it's good to see you again.

But onto the subject of this blog: as soon as I heard about Project: Cones to Balls, I was intrigued. I was looking forward to following the posts and seeing some of the journey these men were going on. I then heard that I was being invited to go along with these esteemed fellows on the same journey that already had me hooked... heavens, what karma did I cash in on to deserve this!?! I told everyone I thought would care about the great news, and soon made plans to give away remnants of my bundles of pre-twisted string to some friends. I didn’t want unnecessary temptation later (now), and I who doesn’t like receiving gifts?

At the same time I was basking in my good fortune, I also found myself asking "why me?". I really don't know what Steve and Ed were thinking when my name came up. Sure glad it happened, but I'm still unsure as to why. I'm really not anybody special. I was asked, seemingly out of the blue, by Steve to join Ed and himself (two very influential and “famous” people in yo-yoing). They have lives, kids, careers, and a history of making yo-yoing cool. Me, I’m a kid with a cat, half a college degree, the same part-time job for five years, and little (if any) “public recognition” in the yo-yo world. And I got asked to do this wonderful project?! Simply flabbergasted.

I have been wondering what I would do if making my own string becomes too tedious. I couldn’t think of much else that I liked to do. I would either be bored, or be studying. I guess that makes me lame.

I have a strategy to enjoy this cone to it's fullest: dual yo-yo play. I have dabbled in 3A, and I already jumped the first big hurdles of 2A. I intend to be able to do Warp Drive consistently, develop better transitions, and get comfortable with cross-handed loops and punching bags. I am not merely wanting to blow through this whole cone really quickly. One of the reasons I want to play two yo-yos at once is that I find I am focused more, and I am always pushing the limits of what I can do. I feel like I really do learn something with every individual throw, two at a time. I believe this echos the intention of making "every throw count", just like the project is supposed to do.

Two strings were made by me today (visible above, along with other string I took off of my yo-yos): one full-length for 1A, and another string (that I split into two) for 2A. Thus far, this string is what I have been wanting to play for years. Soft, thick enough to offset the enormous gaps in yo-yos today, boring-white colored, and I even get to put my own personal touch into each and every one. The 2A string(s) are about six inches too short, and have little kinks that probably mean I twisted the string too tightly to start with. They have mellowed out in an hour of play, and these cotton strings are stiff and sturdy enough to last for a good, long time. And I have a whole cone of them waiting for me!? (squeak!)

I expect the tricks I choose to do will change towards harder, and paradoxically less-complex tricks, much like Ed has alluded to before. I think Steve really liked my Punt Start, and that is kinda where I want some of my tricks to keep going towards. I also do some hubstack-freehand tricks, for which Steve is unrivaled. More of those would be fun.

I will be updating with my thoughts on this journey, and keeping in touch with Steve and Ed better than I could have ever imagined.


Jacob Deffenbaugh

Jacob Deffenbaugh is our Third Man for the Cones To Balls project!

He received his cone today, and will be starting shortly.

I've been waiting to start until Jacob got his cone so I'll be starting mine, officially, today. Ed is already rolling with his.

This should be interesting. ;)

Monday, October 12, 2009

what i ate yesterday

yep. i'ma tell you.
first, you should know that i don't always eat this ridiculously badly. i mean i'm 5'10, 203, so it's not like i'm wasting away on rice cakes or anything... but yesterday was pretty crazy.

i don't count calories; don't keep track of what i eat. that's part of why i composed this list, which accounts for everything i ingested yesterday in order. i also did it because it occurs to me that, as a society, we rarely consider where our food comes from. how many people in the developed world hunt for their food? how many are subsistence farmers, or grow even a substantial portion of what they consume. where did your lunch come from? most people couldn't tell you. i'm conflicted as to whether i think that's a 'huge problem', but this blog is kind of about metacognition; about questioning the processes we take for granted, whether they pertain to pulling string from a skein or the way we live our lives in general.

so here you go... yesterday i ate:
• 8:15 am: half a chiquita banana
• 8:15 am: the last 6 oz. of a minute maid orange juice carton (no pulp)
• 9:00 am: toast with honey from a bee farm (do they call them 'bee farms'?)
• 11:45 am: a shit-ton of nacho cheese doritos dipped in tostitos queso 'cheese sauce'
• 11:45 am: carolina blonde ale
• 12:19 pm: marshmallows and graham crackers in chocolate fondue
• 12:37 pm: another carolina blonde
• 1:45 pm: a nathan's hot dog
• 4:49 pm: a reg. jersey mike's roast beef sub
• 4:49 pm: a tall glass of water
• 8:18 pm: a giant margarita

... you know... in text, that isn't nearly as bad as i thought. the queso and fondue back to back was decidedly NOT a winning combination, but i actually expected it to be worse. of those items, i have a pretty good idea where the banana, the honey, the beer, the chocolate, and the water come from. the other stuff (especially the "cheese", the hot dog stuff, and the doritos)... i have no idea. it's hard to eat something with reverence and gratitude if you have no idea where it comes from, you know? when i eat an animal, silly and antiquated though it may sound, i try to 'thank' the animal. i feel uneasy when i eat a nathan's hot dog, not because it's gross or anything (it's delicious)... but because what am i thanking? 12 animals? for bits of their feet or eyes or intestines?

i LIKE that when i twist a string, i know i pulled the thread off the spool, and that the thread was made ages ago from cotton fibers. i like that it's simple, and i can trace it to the earth in just a step or two, unlike most processed foods where the effort feels like the 'kevin bacon' game. i really don't know how to connect the Disodium Guanylate in my doritos to the earth, or to anything more simple. and yet, i love me some doritos.

since this project started for me 2 weeks ago, i've spent 4 strings. 4. never in my life have i gone through strings so slowly, and i don't think it's the inconvenience that's doing it. i think just the simple knowledge that i'm TRYING to make them last - that that's the POINT - has made it much easier. when they get too gross, i discard them (i guess i could launder them), but the standard of 'too gross' has definitely started to shift, and it occurs to me again that i'm gonna be on this journey for a good, long time.