Monday, August 24, 2009
yo-yo #56: the cream (kind of)
people keep asking me if worlds was fun. i have a hard time answering them without being sarcastic, but it's like... it's the world yo-yo contest! can you imagine something MORE fun? ok... you probably could, but it would probably be really dirty and unmentionable... because that's just your way, and everyone knows it.
anyway, among the reasons for its excellence were all the crazy yo-yo's people gave me. i already mentioned seth's decade-old sb-2. in the final minutes of finals on saturday, paul yath spotted me and said "hey hey!" and handed me this yo-yo. (months ago, we had vaguely discussed the idea of my testing the cream, but since it's totally finished, and getting glowing reviews all over the place, i'd have assumed that my input was no longer relevant anyway.) he actually apologized for giving me one that was half black, as that was all he had left, but i LOVE yin-yang colorways. i actually bought a 2nd run black milk to match with my 1st run white, and was dismayed when i learned that the runs were slightly different.
the yo-yo is pretty flawless; a different feeling from the original milk, but just as wonderful. the new blue o-rings manage the ginormous gap perfectly. i have no idea when it will be out, but you should buy one when you have the means.
tangential to the cream and its virtues, i thought i'd post some pictures from worlds. it was a memorable trip for certain.
within 10 minutes of arriving, i was immersed in a surreal gathering of some of my closest yo-yo friends. it seemed like they were the only people there. i've hung out with sebby any number of times, but had never actually met abe. brandon jackson originally described him as "intense", and that would be the first word i would use, as well, meant in the best sense possible.
we immediately went to johnny rocket's, which is a worlds tradition, if only due to its proximity. this was my only trip there this time, and i didn't get to eat my cheese fries because i had to leave to pick up steve buffel at the airport. before leaving though, i got to watch one of my yo-yo heroes, john bot, considering his chocolate dr. pepper... which was actually not as repellant as it sounds.
drew tetz has become a force of nature, and i love his yo-yoing. i almost never saw him playing this, his "trademark" green capless zero. i gave him a long overdue clean machine, and he just rocked the hell out of it for the next 3 days. he also designed the best contest format i've ever experienced for the fixed axle breakout, and went on to win it. world fixed axle champion, and well deserved it was!
the "small one" is actually chandler, but everyone is always shocked by his resemblence to jeff coons of duncan crew. both are extremely cool, and great yo-yo players, which evidently, is genetic.
i have the chronology of this one all messed up i think. one night, i went out to dinner with abe and john-bot, and it turned into abe, john-bot, drew, shawn fumo, joey fleshman, seth peterson, and french nat'l champion hadrien bennaceur (we all crammed into my honda element). we tried to go to bahama breeze, but the wait was :30, so we went next door to cattleman's. cattleman's is a pretty nice steakhouse (we realized this AFTER sitting down) and is really expensive, which is at odds with the usual worlds experience. after our refined dinner, we felt the need to unwind. so we went to walgreens and purchased some "food items" that are "distinctly american", so that we could provide hadrien with a fuller understanding of our culture. we bought "circus peanuts" candies, root beer, pork rinds, and the tour de force (pun), easy cheese. hadrien's initial response to the easy cheese is captured above. later, a number of people partook of the "screaming eagle", which is a pork rind/easy cheese/circus peanut sandwich. i politely abstained.
john bot insisted that "all brazilians hate root beer", but bazani disproved the stereotype by just looking "meh" about it. he then popped an enormous shove-it over the bottle, as if to further diminish the root beer's ability to hold any sway over him.
the next morning, i went swimming with my good friend, the yo-yo entrepreneur/world-dominator, f. pat cuartero. pat can now do 100 push-ups in a row (82 if he observes proper form). caribou lodge was impressed with his physique, and both chris and boyd were unabashed in their desire to "look at the work". boyd effectively demonstrated that his beard has the power to exponentially amplify the creepiness of any expression.
thursday night was, of course, wheel of penalty. by virtue of his canadianness, my friend and sponsor, steve was required to drop his pants and "feel the breeze". i'm not certain that he wears canadian themed boxers every day.
this worlds was my first contest where i was "part of a team", which is a strange experience. i feel a little hypocritical being ON a team, but not concerned with "winning", but i've come to understand that not all teams are about that. i can really get behind what steve does. he's picked three totally different players so far, which indicates that he doesn't just value yo-yoing along one direction. in the case of jon rob and myself, he took a big risk in making yo-yo's for us that were either "not easy" or "not what the market generally prefers". spyy is an easy entity to represent and support.
i'm also really lucky in that i actually LIKE my teammates. it is kind of strange being the "weak link" by virtually any quantifiable standard (though fortunately, yo-yoing can always be argued to be devoid of quantifiable standards - see my last post). jon rob and guy are way more awesome yo-yoers than i am, admittedly, but just like it's best to NOT have the most expensive house on your block, i'd rather be the poorest player in an amzing group than the best player in a poor group... if that makes sense. i love watching these guys play yo-yo, or just talk.
joe mitchell won a well-deserved lifetime achievement award. despite his youthful appearance, joe has been around the epicenter of yo-yoing since the last boom. such a great guy, and not just because he gave me a beer. but mostly. i love dave schulte's expression in this pic. dazzling as ever.
speaking of beer:
this is the only other picture i feel compelled to post of myself. it was taken by red, one of my favorite photographers and yo-yo players, and i can only PRAY that he does ANOTHER 500 days. in the interest of full disclosure, i did NOT actually shatter this bottle. abe did it whilst trying to open it on a velvet rope-post. i did however, drink it.
at one point, i left my camera in my bag, and seth sequestered it for his own personal use. he and dave (save deth) had the brilliant idea to buy a futon/frame from wal-mart, set up their booth around it (complete with a tv/dvd/super-nintendo and clothing rack), and then return said futon following the contest. a lot of players owe them thanks for the opportunity to watch the event unfold in comfort and high style.
i took this photo of joey fleshman during one of the rare moments when he was playing an unresponsive yo-yo. when i first arrived, he was playing a flying v (yay!), and i was embarassed by the quizzical expression he gave me when he noticed that mine was set up unresponsive. prior to worlds, i had been dividing my time evenly between the slim and fat bearings. since the contest, and mostly due to joey's influence, i think i've spent at most 20 minutes with the latter. he also asked me to carve his clean machine for him, which was a strange honor. i hope i did it ok.
a few of us went to "the largest checkers in the world" (you can sit down in it), and while there, sid put on a show. one simply cannot watch sid yo-yo and not WANT to yo-yo oneself, so it kind of devolved into yo-yo chaos. sid's tricks are, by and large, harder, weirder, and yet cleaner than pretty much anything else i've seen. i ate a "big bluford" burger, which was pretty delicious... however, i felt like a place like checkers should really have crushed ice. i'll think stick with cook-out.
anyhow... i realize that the cream (which is, again, incredible - thanks paul!) was only the jumping-off point for this post. there are probably a thousand other moments from worlds that i could go on and on about, but these are the ones that occurred to me here and now. only about 354 days until the next one!
... oh and i don't know what the cream has to do with the game of go.