Thursday, July 2, 2009

yo-yo #45: steve brown/jason tracy tung-oiled clean machine

that was a mouthful.

do you have a yo-yo that just always seems to play amazingly? whatever you do to it? no?
though you might need night goggles, a pickaxe, and a compass to find one, i recommend you give it a shot.

this yo-yo has a seriously amazing pedigree (at least it did before it got to me). the yo-yo world appears to have forgotten '97 world champ and tom kuhn/bc wood thrower, jason tracy, who originally got this yo-yo from its maker, brad countryman. he gave it to steve brown, whose legend is obviously undiminished. i have another jason tracy clean machine that's quite a lot like it. i received this one from steve some time in 2007 (he basically said 'pay me what you think it's worth whenever you can' - i think i sent him $50 at one point, but i'm still in the hole for the other $999,950.)

unlike my other jason tracy clean machine, this one isn't actually 'clean' (i guess neither is the other technically). like my other example, it's got a printed 'special' logo on one side and the 'custom yo-yo's' logo on the reverse. UNlike its counterpart, however, jason applied a generous tung-oil finish to this one. i don't know much about the virtues of tung-oil finish (i remember i used to want a carvin bass with it though), but it sure is beautiful. and since the finish isn't really raised off the wood at all (as on a regular laquer-finished no jive), you still get all the benefits of a clean machine. maple is a very underrated response mechanism.

since i got it, i've pretty much only played this yo-yo in imperial. it's really lovely, and i never thought i'd want to risk hurt to it by playing it hard. now i have like 30 no jives though, and among those are a great deal that i find it easy to keep pristine. the other day i was playing the aforementioned jason tracy no jive 'a', and i realized "damn... this thing plays perfect every time, and needs way less fussing than my laiminates or my #1. if only i had another one like it." and after 2 years or something, it occurred to me that... i do. i'd still rather not fling it against the asphalt, but i think steve and jason would both appreciate the value of a yo-yo played more than that of one shelved.

i gave it the same rough setup as its brother (shimmed out the gap a tad, added one dead duncan sticker and type 8 string), and behold, it plays just as wonderfully. i hit my benchmark 3-in-1 trick, 'spirit bomb' with it on each of my first 3 tries (a feat i've never done on another wood axle yo-yo).

on an epic tangent, i want to quickly document the 'no jive spirit bomb club'. it's getting kinda big, and i feel like i should record the names of the members someplace so i can remember later. (basically, the "njsbc" is just a silly little club for people who've hit spirit bomb on a no jive. to be in the club, you have to do it in front of one of the existing members. it's a totally informal thing that was started at iyyo last year (i think red came up with the idea for a 'club'?)) anyway, the members (in order of induction) are: brandon jackson, adam brewster, joey fleshman, red (1st try), yuuki spencer (1st try), tyler severance (1st try), me (200th try), samm scott, andre boulay, sebastian brock. if i missed you, remind me.

anyhow, i don't know what it is/was about jason, but both of the yo-yo's i have that were formerly his just seem to play awesome of their own accord. like i CAN'T set them up poorly. some other no jives you have to be ginger with and really struggle to get in tune, but this one and its bro just seem to say, "you want to yo-yo? right on! let's yo-yo amazing, just 'cause!" it ALWAYS seems to spin true, which is impressive when you consider that the vast majority of it is stuff that used to be alive... and maybe it still is in some way.

this yo-yo is just always in harmony, which is kind of where i want to be, as a person and as a yo-yoer. i want my yo-yoing (and my surfing, and my aikido, and my skating, and my music, and my stay-at-home-dadding) to be truly Appropriate. i want my actions to really suit the circumstances. i want to stop forcing my self and the weight of my will upon the world. i just want to spin true.

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