Friday, June 19, 2009

yo-yo #'s 43 & 44: Laminated No-Jives

when i determined to begin this blog, i told myself i wasn't going to worry too much about it. if i felt like putting something down, i'd put something down. if i had nothing to say, i'd say nothing (and not in the john cage "4'33" way either).

i scored these two yo-yo's within a week of each other. laminated no jives are among the hardest to find. there were never many of them (and they sure aren't making more), and due to their legendary play and unique look, they're pretty well sought-after by collectors. while part of me cringes at the thought of taking a chunk out of either, another part (the better one i think) says "screw it. play em hard." after all, LIFE takes a chunk out of everyone; disfigures everyone... or maybe just redraws us into images that best fit our most honest selves. i'm not proud of my scars, but neither am i ashamed of them.

the rainbow was the generous gift of one brad countryman. brad has effectively run tom kuhn yo-yo's since the 90's and has been very good to me.

the purple one i scored in a great trade to wayne in the uk. i think i relinquished an 888 and got a trio of gorgeous 3-in-1's.

these are EASILY the best playing butterfly no jives i've played. they're so ridiculously good that it feels like cheating. you know... when i eat a hamburger (especially from like a fast food-type place), i always wonder to myself just how many different individual cows i'm eating bits of. when i have a steak, it's clearly just the one. with these yo-yo's, which are made of bits of wood that have been compressed and glued together in to a dense laminate, i wonder how many trees were involved. it's a very different feel from a regular everyday 3-in-1.

they're also just really striking. the purple one is one of my favorite colorways of any yo-yo. nifty and complex. i used it quite a lot in THIS video. both yo-yo's feature a spangly holographic-foil stamp with the standard "special" logo (well, the rainbow one says "rainbow"). since grade school, i've always had an aversion to rainbows (aesthetically, not homophobically). in 1st grade i used to design superheroes on graph paper, and one of the dynamic duos i came up with was comprised of "rain man" (this was before the movie), who shot... wait for it... RAIN out of his hands, and "rainbow man", who shot rainbows. really, they were rainbow lasers or something - all of the heroes i designed basically just shot shit out of their hands. i'm still waiting for marvel to call. anyway, i maxed out on it and sometime thereafter, i started to find rainbows really garish and overwhelming. BUT, this rainbow no jive looks SOOOO rad when spinning. it ceases to show a distinct rainbow, the colors mottling together into a pearlescant brown tone. gorgeous.

the play too, is undeniably wonderful. since these bad boys are heavy (i'd put them around 61g), they really NEED some kind of friction sticker for consistent response. and since they need the sticker, it helps to shim them a bit, which has been tricky. the axle wells on these are deeper than most, so my normal methods for shimming gaps were all off and i had to experiment. they also require type 8 cotton (6 will not respond well, and will burn through QUICK - what a difference 6 grams makes!). once i got them dialed though, bliss.

anyhow, if someone with a big gun accosted me and said "quick. hit x, y, and z on fixed axle to save your own life RIGHT NOW!", i'd reach for one of these guys automatically. fortunately, no one has done this yet... but it's nice to know that when and if they do... i'm equipped.

in truth though, while i lift some no jives and think immediately of thrown gauntlets and challenges, when i play these yo-yo's, my mind drifts inexorably toward summer and warmth and easy grace. i like throwing trapeze with them and just grooving in it until they spin out, watching as the colors reorganize themselves into lines. a lot of people are totally different when busy and active compared with how they act in repose. these yo-yo's appear comfortable and beautiful either way, and at all stages in between.

1 comment:

Chuck Short said...

those are sick. why don't I have those too? whyyyyyyyy. I wouldn't have cared so much about them back in the day because they would have looped like rocks, but I really want one now.