Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Order Becomes Disorder

i talked to j-def last week.
he was saying his ball is about the width of his cone.

... i got ball envy.

i guess i'm almost there, and it must just mean i go through string a little slower. i have zero idea how many i've used. maybe 120? more than ever before in my 'yo-yo life', i take my sweet time with string, but not because the twisting is inconvenient.

it occurred to me as i was twisting a string yesterday that at this point (6 months in), it doesn't feel weird or inconvenient at all. i can pull a string from the cone and have it twisted and playing great in about 30 seconds. my hands naturally lift the spool, i step on an inch of untwisted string with my big toe, placing the yo-yo another inch or so in front. to measure, i lift the spool as high as i can with both hands, then reach to my back-right pocket for my balisong and cut (quick and clean to keep the ends from fraying).

the whole process has become less 'exotic' and more of a simple concentration on daily routine. it's like a tiny prayer. it matters. being involved in the birth of each string straight through to its demise, when i bury it in the ball with its peers, reveals an interesting metaphor. inanimate though the string may be, the simple state of being cognisant of it throughout its 'life-cycle' has added a dimension to the way i interpret playing yo-yo. more and more, i recognize that when i'm out (as i will inevitably be)... i'm going to miss this process.

when i flick the yo-yo clockwise and twist the string, i work my way down every inch of the string. every twist is impregnated with my sweat and oil before i even throw. and since i'm invested in the method, every string is absolutely perfect (7 twists per inch, always). i can't imagine casually pulling a string out of a skein, ignoring its specific characteristics before playing it. admittedly, that has its own ritual, but it's one that is easily ignored, which probably accounts for peoples' tendency to throw string away if they get a kink or knot. there are no knots in this ball. i get plenty of them, but i work em all out. the strings in the ball have all met 'natural' deaths.

i find it amusing to regard the cone and ball beside each other. before it's put into play, the string is so beautiful. the ordered, overlapping triangles on the spool make for a mesmerizing little tapestry in themselves. then, after they're life is spent and they're tied back onto the ball, the strings appear thoroughly disheveled, with long expanses discolored by grease, dirt, and use; a gordian tangle, devoid of any discernible order.

it's not unlike our own lives. as we start out, the world feels clear and calm. we assume that all of our schemes and dreams will manifest themselves as planned, and that our path through life will be 'straight' or 'make sense'. as we grow, however, we begin to realize that the path has the unmistakable taste of chaos. it changes us; becomes a part of us. for a time, this truth might be upsetting as it erodes the mechanics of our precious assumptions; the sense of order upon which we've relied. however, a mature person will look at their path through life and recognize that order and disorder are just mutually relative illusions. we don't do all that we planned to do, and we do much that we would never have planned or wished, but those truths are far from unfortunate. the tone of our lives often feels less like a victorian garden and more like the amazon, but the disorder is ok - because it's home.

similarly, though the sum of the strings' experiences thoroughly destroys the appearance of order, it is no less beautiful in the end.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Doing an ed

I have found a couple of old yo-yos that, although they do not have desirable traits for high performance (like bad wiggle, the tendency to fall apart, really soft plastic, etc...), they still are mounds of fun to play with. Kinda like ed's No-Jives.

These are the yo-yos I have been carrying lately.

The 80's Butterfly has a Team Losi bearing. Same size as the Yomega bearing that is not used in any modern yo-yos (to my knowledge). OK, it's about the same size as the Peterfish ones available at work (Walgreens)... The spacers DO in fact stick out further than the plastic. This causes a string-centering effect, and does away with the string slipping into the side of the yo-yo with the 5x10x4 bearing it was modded to take. This yo-yo fell apart while doing a 3D Eli Hop, because it does not twist together very tightly. I lost one of the spacers, but thankfully I (by way of sacrificing dozens of yo-yos I don't even remember having) had a spare.

The Team Losi 'da Bombs are what I have been using to loop. Finding a pair of loopers and keeping them tuned properly is by far the most difficult part of this entire project. I found (in the same vial of yo-yo guts as the replacement spacer) wider wood axles to go in them, which is evidently exactly what I needed. They work wonderfully, even with the huge gap that is needed for the thicker strings. I can almost do Tangler with them.

Speaking of, I also broke a string at the axle-side (like ed did) trying to do Tangler. I have broken dozens of strings at the finger-loop, but this is the first one that went KABLOOEY like ed's [soul] around the axle. You can see the charred end of the string against my forearm, and I will tell you it still smells good.

Just like the strings, the yo-yos will wear out and become un-useable soon. Team Losi's are know to have the starbursts wear out after just moderate use. They also have some cracking happening around the hex nut and bot that keeps them together, another strike against them. The 80's butterfly is modded to have a silicone groove on the side that has the logo, so it is more protected from wear. I have to thoroughly enjoy these yo-yos while I can, because I will only have memories of them soon enough.

I did a trick that Justin Weber would do with the Butterfly. I don't have a name for it. But the sound effect that goes along with this (all of Justin's tricks have a sound effect) is:
whip bom babom, shoo

We have not forgotten about this blog, nor the string, nor you. Thanks for keeping up with us. More content is coming along with the "yo-yo" season, where kids are out of school. I know for certain that I will have my freestyle I have been practicing for MOYO coming after the weekend of the 24th.

'till later.