what is it with yo-yo players and ukuleles?
there's me, drew tetz, steve brown, josh root... who else... it seems like everybody plays ukulele.
at one point in 2005, josh root posted a b/s/t thread about procuring interesting stringed instruments in exchange for yo-yo's. josh is 1/2 of the crime-fighting duo, the diss kings (the other half being jack ringca), which is sort of a "team" that exists solely to mock the considerable inanity of the yo-yo world. josh is a good yo-yo player, but his claim to fame is probably his powder coating, which for awhile in 2005 was "all the rage". everyone and their mom was getting their bare aluminum difs and phis coated in technicolor-sparkly-rainbow hues, and josh was making about $40 a pop.
i offered him the two instruments i had available: a hilo baritone ukulele that i had drawn all over, and a bizarre old balalaika-looking instrument called a strumstick which played like a dulcimer, but sounded like a banjo. he offered me his services on my phi, which i had long wanted "ectoplasm green", as well as a cold fusion gt in any color i wanted. i chose red, and he made it so red, it became the basis for my definition of the color. i later ditched the phi, which always kind of played like balls. evidently, the uke played like balls, too, because josh traded it to steve brown, and now i think it sits over his bass rack.
this yo-yo is remarkable in that i've never "pimped out" another to the same degree. xzibit would be proud. what once was a cold fusion gt is now... a glossy red powdercoated, large konkave spr'd, black hubstacked cold fusion gt. it's pretty crazy, but even crazier is the fact that i never really dug it all that much. i traded it at one point for an mg (though i later traded back for it). i probably offered it to 10 different people who never wanted it (though it plays as well as anything).
i didn't actually learn to love it until this summer. i was hired by a local filmaker as a "yo-yo stunt double" for a short film about a toy store owner on a secret quest to develop a yo-yo that never stops spinning. i drove over to wilmington in mid-june to shoot, and was greeted by 100+ degree temperatures. the issue was compounded by the fact that they were shooting in the top story of an old warehouse, which was humid as the day is long. i heard one of the grips say that it got up to 130 inside. since i have some tattoos on my hand/wrist (and to make me look old and weathered like the actor i was doubling) i had to do about an hour of makeup, which was melting against my sweat even as it was applied.
once i looked the part, the director asked if i had a red yo-yo. although i had brought my big case, and probably 60+ yo-yo's, the only red one i had was the pimped cfgt. interestingly enough, the yo-yo they had been using in all of the shots was a red-dyed turbo bumblebee gt without the caps (essentially a plastic version of this yo-yo). that thing was trashed, and had no guts or response, so i was glad to have an alternative. we shot for about 5 hours in increasing heat and humidity, and although the 1st hour left my hands stringburned and bloody (with no trace of the carefully applied makeup remaining), i actually came to appreciate the yo-yo, itself. string notwithstanding, it really held up and played great, and since then i've enjoyed it, though it's just too pretty to seriously beat on.
eventually, i got a copy of that film on dvd. it's cute and a little cheesy, and the old guy who plays the owner looks absolutely nothing like me. you really have to suspend your disbelief when they cut to me yo-yoing in the workshop. they didn't pick my "best yo-yoing" (SURE, they didn't), but they picked stuff that "worked". it's a good little flick, and a real good little yo-yo.
i have no idea whether or where the film is available. i have it on my computer, but i'd feel bad sharing it.
you can see the yo-yo part here: http://www.vimeo.com/1817814