Sunday, February 22, 2009
yo-yo #27: born crucial milk
my memories and experiences with this yo-yo are as pure and clear as its aesthetic.
i bought the born crucial milk the day it came out. a creation of the multi-faceted 3a demigod paul yath, there was considerable buzz surrounding its release. my friend josh had procured a pre-production model, and both he and steve brown had given me their reviews in the weeks prior to the drop. both of said reviews were brief, along the lines of "get one!"
i did, and immediately understood. before the milk, the divide between the perceived quality of metal and of plastic yo-yo's was substantial. the idea of a plastic yo-yo outplaying a metal was generally not accepted. when i first played yath's milk though, it was immediately clear to me that this yo-yo played as true and as well as any i had played, of any material. i didn't regret shelling out for my magnesium freehand afterwards, but neither would i try to argue that it was naturally a "better" yo-yo than the milk.
the milk is unique in its construction. yath had aluminum versions of the older brass "spr kits" machined to fit into a recess in the delrin body. these discs held the aluminum bearing seats, but unlike the old, flat spr disc though, these were deep enough to accomodate a groove of flowable silicone. at this time, recessed silicone response was still gaining a groundswell of support, and was not yet "the rule" as it would become in a year or so (due in part to the success of yo-yo's like the milk). the yo-yo also featured a cleverly hidden rubber o-ring to dampen vibrations, a simplified take on the brilliantly conceived oxy iv yo-yo (perhaps STILL the most technologically-advanced yo-yo).
the yo-yo's body was made of machined delrin (very similar to the popular, near-indestructable celcon). one of the advantages offered by its being machined rather than molded (like most plastic yo-yo's) was the lip. the milk's lip was fully undercut, providing a better rim-weight ratio, and allowing for inner-ring grind tricks which were still very popular at the time. the delrin body is also described as "self-lubricating", providing a smooth, low-friction surface, excellent for palm and finger grinds. add to this one of the most massive playable gaps ever, and it makes for a pretty popular offering. i'm not sure how long it was on sale, but i was lucky to snag one for sure.
this was the main yo-yo i brought with me to worlds 07.
i recall my solo drive down to orlando with the utmost fondness. i left my in-laws in nc at around 4am (unable to sleep). i watched "l.a. story" and "the princess bride" on my ipod on the road. i ate at the GREASIEST burger king i have ever confronted (near jacksonville). i think i remember it so vividly because i had so much to be excited for. not only was i going to worlds (which would obviously be epic)... i was going to DISNEY WORLD, too! if you read three blogs ago, you know i'm all about some disney. on paper, worlds followed by a week at the vacation kingdom looks like a solid 10-day trip. i think it worked out to be about the best i've ever taken.
when i got to the rosen, i was gratified to find out the milk was the ONLY yo-yo that my aforementioned pal josh brought down. (i always think it's cool when someone brings one yo-yo to a yo-yo contest. it kind of underscores how the whole thing is about the people and the experience, as opposed to the material shwag.) i actually used it to win the old-guy ladder (or semi-old-guy, as there is actually an "ancient" divisiont at worlds). i found it pretty hilarious, but they actually called me out on stage and gave me a medal... for ladder. cool! i had the legendary dennis mcbride as my judge, and i remember wondering whether he could do (or recognize) "black hops". i had the distinct impression that when i missed one of the late tricks, i could have carried it off if i hadn't looked totally dejected. anyway, i think i made it through kamikaze (i was not then the unstoppable old-guy-ladder force that i am now).
after the 4-day tour de force that is the world yo-yo contest, i was pretty tired of yo-yo's. the milk was the only yo-yo i even wanted to look at. i left the contest shortly after watching yuuki get hoisted up on the shoulders of the finalists having unseated mickey as 1a champ, and i fought traffic until that happiest of roads, world pkwy, and made my way to the port orleans resort complex. i woke up next to my wife and we hit the parks in her typically unrelenting (but pleasant) style. our daughter was 4 and up to doing it all. my milk was on a fresh f.a.s.t. leash ben mcphee had graciously tossed me. it was all roses.
at some point that first morning, i was walking to get a fastpass for some ride (maybe splash mountain), and i was idly yo-yoing. one of the cast members in libert square spotted me and said "that's pretty cool". although i was on a mission (and stacy might have killed me if i failed), my ego won out. i turned on the spot, got into a conversation, and demonstrated a few tricks (everyone has a story like this, right?). the cast member was thrilled, and to my surprise and delight, happened to be one of disney's secret "dream team" agents. after she was satisfied with my performance, she presented me with "dream fastpasses" for me and the fam, which we could use all day on all of the attractions! score! this may be the best compensation i've ever received for yo-yoing.
the trip turned bittersweet at this point, as my grandfather passed away (my father's father), and i had to leave disney briefly to fly up to massachusetts for the funeral. he had been sick a long time, and we had all been prepared. he had lived a full, wonderful life, and touched many people, so his passing was more a cause for rejoicing his life than lamenting his death. i played with my milk in the airport and thought of him fondly. it was in my pocket while i helped carry his casket, and when we laid him to rest. and when i returned to the magic kingdom, i remember playing it as i walked to frontierland, where i met my wife and daughter at the electric light parade.
i used that yo-yo throughout the week, and though i've played it tons since then, i'll always primarily associate it with the painful and wonderful experiences that composed that epic trip.