Thursday, February 26, 2009
i picked my friend samm up in danville on the way to va states. he had just been involved in a major auto accident, totaling his focus, and he needed a ride. samm's forged himself into an extremely successful competitor, and was seeking his 1st state championship (which he was destined to win). i was going up to judge freestyles. we were headed up to richmond, where we were to stay with the contest organizer, tony basch, a lanky and brilliant lawyer/runner/yo-yoer whose name is a perennial fixture in the list of most beloved community members. tony and i are pals, but, being of comparable age (read: older than dirt, at least relative to most yo-yoers) as well as skill, we also have a bit of friendly competition over the "old guy ladder".
at any given contest, the sport ladder is generally viewed nowawdays as the territory of the newbies. the great players freestyle, and the weak or recently initiated do ladder, so that they can still participate and not feel totally embarassed. (i don't like this outlook, but it certainly prevails.) when it comes to the elderly, however, it's another matter. the old guys take the ladder seriously (some of them even PRACTICE it, for god's sake!) and the "senior division" is therefore frequently awarded a substantial prize for 1st place. tony, himself has been instrumental in this trend, admittedly because he wants to take home the goods.
when we pulled up to tony's house, it was cold; like antarctica cold. however, having been cramped in the element on the banal drive up (punctuated by the steady stream of non sequiters that any drive with samm implies), we wanted to stretch our legs and throw yo-yo. we froze for a few minutes until t showed up. he produced a distraught andré boulay from his car (he's got an element, too). andré had just arrived and the airline had lost his luggage. local 2a player, kyle maxwell was also with them. we warmed up in tony's impressive yo-yo room and engaged in the jovial small talk typical of yo-yo friends getting to hang out and throw after a long lapse. just before heading out to what would be a phenomenal vietnamese dinner, tony revealed the revered "old guy" prize to me.
last year, he had secured a custom eric wolff yo-yo. knowing my penchant for fine wood, he actually called me out on the boards saying i had to come up and meet the challenge. however, i had just been up to delaware for ecc, and my wife was at that point 8.5 months pregnant, so no dice. i had to watch online as the beautiful yo-yo was won by andy brant. THIS year though, it was even better. since eric had been unable to complete a custom yo-yo in time, the prize was a note from him guaranteeing the winner a TRULY customized wood yo-yo to be collaboratively planned, following the contest. wood, response, weight, bearing, details... every aspect of the yo-yo was up for discussion, and anyone who knows eric knows that he's up to virtually any challenge.
tony ran sport ladder in a weird way. you still had just two misses... but you were allowed to jump around through the tricks and hit the ones you want in your own order. most contests rigidly follow the trick list in descending order. doing it tony's way [hypothetically] allows participants to showcase more of what they know. i mostly did the list in order. i think i delayed iron whip until after spirit bomb (which proved to be my last trick). in retrospect i really should have put throwhand grind (the easiest trick on the back half) earlier. on the 2a list, i sucked it up and only made 11 tricks, so i was sweating a bit. tom connolly was also there, and i knew that he had consistent 2a. in the end, it worked out for me, and i won, and though a number of the freestylers earned some gorgeous clyw jawbreaker peaks, i knew that i had lucked into the best prize possible (at least for me).
later that week i was contacted by eric (we spoke while i was at the zoo with my kids). over a surprisingly short phone call, we went through every aspect of what i wanted. because i wanted something more rounded, eric suggested the hspin "good & evil" shape (or "wood & evil" in this case). i was thrilled that he had a nice stock of cocobolo, which is my favorite wood for yo-yo's. at first i considered asking for a fixed axle... but this is eric wolff. his bread and butter is making incredibly progressive-playing bearing yo-yo's out of elegant wood. i wanted to use his gifts to their maximum potential, so i decided to ask for a bearing yo-yo; large konkave. at the end of our conversation, eric said "ok. give me a few weeks, and then watch your mailbox."
i literally did that for the last week.
the yo-yo came today, and it surpasses any expectations or hopes i may have secretly harbored. it worked out to be the single most beautiful yo-yo that i think i have ever seen (shinobu's "nostalgia" and "revolver" are right up there, but hey, i'm a wood guy.) the perfectly symmetrical grain just POPS when the yo-yo is brought outside, in a way that cannot be captured by my photographic ineptitude. every ray of sunlight seems at once embraced and reflected by the dark wood, and it shimmers like it's composed of a million smoldering embers. you can't look at it and imagine the color gray. this yo-yo kills winter.
it weighs in at about 69g, a hair heavier than i asked for, but it plays with agility and ease. now that i have 3 eric wolff's (how many people can even say that), i can safely say that his yo-yo's have a signature "feel". although they hum, being made of wood, they are so expertly turned and tuned that they're far smoother in spin than many of my metal yo-yo's. the "wood & evil" came with extra fine 100% poly string in a bright purple (though generally i just prefer the organic feel of cotton with wood yo-yo's; even bearing ones). eric installed one silicone sticker in the deep recess, and left the other side blank. as such, it's brilliantly unresponsive in play.
during our conversation, i told eric that i really wanted a great player. with a pair of his "art yo-yo's" to my name already, i wanted something that i'd feel i could use (if not "beat") every day. he did NOT entirely follow this instruction. oh sure, it's a player. i don't have any tricks that this thing can't handle. but the grain is so ridiculously perfect and positively glowing that yet again, i have an eric wolff masterpiece that i will be nervous to throw. i try to be above materialism, and i frequently chastise kids who are nervous about dinging their bvm's. i genuinely feel that yo-yo's are meant to be played; that they WANT to be played, and with abandon.
but i won't pretend there isn't a part of me that looks at this yo-yo and thinks "could i live with myself if i defaced this piece of art by snapping a string?" ... out of sincere respect for eric, and his ability to bring to life the most precious AND functional yo-yo's i've seen... i hope the answer's yes. because i'm taking it out to play in the dying sunlight right now.
i'm slightly dismayed by the fact that i simply do not deserve to have a yo-yo this excellent... but simultaneously encouraged because... who the hell DOES?
Sunday, February 22, 2009
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.
i am only going to discuss this yo-yo obliquely. i hope that's ok.
i used to like jazz. i used to like it so much, i'd think to myself "i wish i were born in 1928... in harlem... i wish i could have had that perspective."
there are all sorts of jazz muscians... but really there are only two. the ones who die young and the ones who grow old. of all of the great icons, my favorite was the alto-sax player, charlie parker (or "bird"). so intricate were his melodies, they literally danced circles around the song's harmonic sturcture; always acknowleging its existence without needing to pander or conform to it. he reset all the bars and rewrote all the rules, and in his wake, a sea of imitators groped for some fragment of his image to be reclothed in themselves. i'm sure it revolted him.
he was a god, but he was dying.
he did so much damage to his body that when he died, the coroner estimated his age between 50 and 60 years old... when in fact, he was 35. he was estranged from his family and loved ones because he was so unpredictable. his addictions to substance (and to stardom) were an inextricable aspect of his persona. it is impossible to separate charlie parker from them and examine who he would have been as an artist "in a vacuum" (it's so with all artists, right?). were the aspects of his personality that drove him to self-destruction and those that made him so incredibly gifted, in fact the same?
meanwhile, one of his few friends, dizzy gillespie was no less gifted as a trumpeter... but was somehow built to withstand the temptations of those years and live to 76. he was never perceived in the same way as his counterpart, but he didn't need to be. he seemed to be comfortable "as a mortal" in a way that bird just never was.
there are artists who are consumed... by their art, by themselves, by the world that holds them up. they burn white-hot for a brief moment and reveal the potential of their passion, and then are gone (and reveal, in relief, the darkness of a world without them)... who, just as icarus, fly too close to that great source of heat and light. and so must fall.
there are artists who temper their passion, who take measured steps toward iconic greatness, who in time build toward a slow crescendo and take their places in the same pantheon as their peers... but were they ever "on fire"?
as a yo-yoer, are you so consumed with your art or with the way you're perceived that it kills you (metaphorically, if not literally). are you burning out? are you still doing it for yourself? are you escaping to it... or from it? do you take joy and meaning from it? do you want to put it down? and could you?
we're not jazz musicians, but we deify creativity just the same. we're not all smack-addicts, but playing obsessively becomes a sort of narcotic. we become addicted, and the nature of addiction is inherently destructive...
yo-yo's remind me of youth. all yo-yo's do. they're things... kids play with, right? i'm not a kid now, but i remember being one. i can still feel the fireflies banging together inside the jar. i can still smell the ballpark the way it was when the world was new and huge and terrifying.
i used to play this yo-yo when i was still a "kid". i had this yo-yo in my pocket as i took the steps from adolescence into adulthood. this is the yo-yo (or one of them) that i threw as i "became a man".
i have made choices NOT to be consumed by myself. in music and art, in budo... and in yo-yoing. i can remember situations in which i chose consciously NOT to burn too brightly, NOT to take it too seriously, to withhold some ember of myself. i have taken measured steps as an artist, and i have considered things with care. maybe holding art at a distance makes is poor form. maybe the fact that my passion is held ever in check diminishes me as an artist... but then, perhaps living so hard as to destroy the aspects of myself that are compelled to make art... would do just the same.
i'm in no position to chastise the people who live their lives hard, or who are compelled to see life through the prism of their art at every moment. i have no right to direct anyone to take themselves more or (or less) seriously. when i listen to charlie parker now, 50+ years after his death, i'm still amazed by his prodigious skill... but i also grieve for the promise he left unfulfilled. yo-yoing is art, as surely as is jazz. but yo-yoing is also playing with toys. it's something we do as we're growing up.
and we hang so very much on it sometimes.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
i bought this yo-yo from one of the yo-yo "mall carts" that were ubiquitous at the end of the great boom of the 90's. i'm not sure if the cart was actually called "yo momma", but i like to remember it that way. this was my first metal yo-yo.
actually that's not accurate.
my first metal yo-yo predated this one by about 16 hours.
the year was 1999. the great pendulum of the yo-yo craze had almost completed its momentous swing, and was preparing to recede into oblivion. i was a ymca camp director, and preparing to enter my first year as a 6th grade teacher. yo-yoing definitely possessed a childlike energy that i felt i could harness and manipulate to gain the trust or interest of my future students. however, it would take me years to learn how to do that effectively.
around this time, i remember rediscovering the punk bands to which my friend hilary had exposed me during college. i was living alone in a gutter of an apartment called "the arbors", where i courted my fiancée (living with her parents), and my most constant companion was a psycho-kitty named emiko. my parents had just moved to baltimore, where my dad would occupy a prestigious-but-frustrating position at johns hopkins, leaving me alone in winston-salem (the city of my birth). i was in my final (and most serious) year of studying korean tae kwon do, and on the many days that i was too injured to go to class, i'd frequent hanes mall for an orange julius or to blow the money i didn't have at the food court, being at the time a thoroughly worthless cook. directly adjacent to the food court was the ever-lively yo-yo cart.
on one particular late summer day, the denizens of the mall-cart scene seemed more than ever to sense that the boom was waning, and though the little mall courtyard was abuzz as ever with yo-yo players debating the mount for hydrogen bomb, there was a palpable air of anxious energy. a number of the more popular players in town had already abdicated their thrones for other up-and-coming trends (like soap shoes... wow). the owners had already started to slash prices, in part because everyone who frequented the cart had already acquired product that was more than capable of the highest standard of play, and sales had begun to taper. as such, the cold fusions and silver bullets that normally cost over $100 were now available for [a still ridiculous $75]. (a month later, sb2's would be available at "hobby lobby" for $27. it was not entirely unlike the present economic downturn.)
at the time, paying so much for a yo-yo just seemed ludicrous. how perspectives change. the one metal yo-yo brand that seemed at once reasonably priced without sacrificing much in the way of quality was the custom line. custom yo-yo was a brand from mesa, arizona. their most popular model was the undersized "reactor". although this had previously been a rare aluminum/wood axle yo-yo (a la the silver bullet 1), it had recently been upgraded with a ball bearing axle, making it competitive with the other popular "throws du jour". later, they would become embroiled in a well-known lawsuit with playmaxx for patent infringement (due to their use of "performance rings" friction stickers. this would come to effectively bankrupt custom, which fully ceased their yoyo production.
at the suggestion of the lanky clerk i most trusted, i bought the reactor.
i drove back to the mall later that evening because i HATED the feeling of the white plastic "performance rings". talking to another guy who worked the cart, he brought my attention to another of custom's flagships; the mag series. these yo-yo's were carefully machined to resemble fancy car-wheels, and they had all sorts of styles. although some of them were, imo, totally overdone and gaudy, my eyes fell upon one incredible model that i still feel comes off as one of the best looking yo-yo's ever made: the custom mag predator.
the predator had 4 rotationally symmetric cuts into it giving it a deep, swirling motif. so much of the aluminum was removed that it felt amazingly light, and as it spun, the cuts moved so much air that a graceful "whoosh" was produced. the thing looked fast just sitting on the shelf in the box, and best of all, it had no "performance rings", whatsoever. rather, the response was simply a tapered gap, allowing the friction of the string on the wall of the yo-yo halves to cause the yo-yo to bind and return. back then, tug-response was still ideal, so i was thrilled to have a hassle-free option that wouldn't degenerate over time. this would be my pocket yo-yo... for the next 3 years.
sometime after buying the mag and starting work... i effectively gave up learning tricks. i had learned a lot of the stuff on ken's world (the only online trick website i knew of at the time), and that was more than enough to impress everyone i knew. i thought i was pretty progressive, but with the scene basically drying up (and i guess, my own passion for it doing so, as well), it never occurred to me to learn otherwise. i became complacent, and the degree to which this stunted my growth as a player represents my biggest - my ONLY - regret in yo-yoing.
a couple years later, i would discover the superyo renegade, and my passion would be momentarily rekindled, but i'm still plagued by the question of what my yo-yoing would be like now if i had not given up the ghost in y2k. it's easy enough to take respite in the knowlege that during this interim, i got married, took up aikido, learned to surf, immersed myself in ditch and hill skating, and was blessed with my first-born. it's not as though those were wasted years.
nowadays, the mag resides in my metal collection. needless to say, i'll never trade it. sometime around 2004, i beefcaked it to make it unresponsive. it sports a dif pad and a carbon fiber sticker to accomodate the ridiculous gap. i satined out the rims which were riddled with jagged dings. though it's a "modified" shape, and can't compete with its modern wide-butterfly counterparts in terms of ease-of-use... there's no 1a trick i know that i can't hit on it. amazingly, it's still among the smoothest yo-yo's i've ever played.
the "whoosh" sound it makes is only ever satisfying, and instantly transports me to a time when yo-yoing (and my adult life) still felt new, unknowably vast, and thoroughly exciting.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
WALT DISNEY WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
as steve martin said (in reference to anaheim, ca's disneyLAND), "disneyland was my versailles."
well, i'm not going to california. i'm going to orlando (i always go to orlando; maybe one day i'll try "the other one"). i've been a lot of times... i think this trip will make 17 (really), and i've never lived less than 700 miles from it. this will be the 6th disney vacation for my 6-year-old daughter (REALLY). and yet, my wife's worse. not only has she gone more than i have, she's a total disney world addict. she visits disney touring websites and forums daily. she's up on all the new openings, closings, remodelings, and menu-changes. 99 days before any given trip, we have to do the "double-digit dance". she puts WAY more time into planning the trip than the trip ever actually takes up. but she likes it that way, and i won't lie; she's a pro. we never wait in line. she has a positively superhuman ability to organize a trip based on crowd patterns and havy/light days at each park, and though we do it all, the longest we've waited in line in the past 7 years has been about 20 minutes.
among my most indelible memories are these:
• being cathartically soaked by a torrential downpour after the illuminations laser/fireworks show at epcot when i was 14.
• getting totally barftastically sick when i was 12, and staying in the hotel most of the week. ugh.
• the first time i took my daughter (then age 3) to the princess breakfast in the castle. (certainly among my most joyful days ever).
• breaking the peter pan ride with my wife when we were 18 and still in high school by pulling too hard on the exposed conveyor belt attached to the ride's drive mechanism.
• almost getting thrown out of epcot for faking a series of fistfights with my brother on the imagination ride at the moment it snaps and projects the picture of the car.
• taking the picture below during the pirates & princesses party fireworks in 06.
since i see so much of life through the lovel prism of yoyoing, i tend to remember trips based on what yo-yo i bring with me. on recent disney trips, i've brought a luke vader zero, a milk (more on that one someday soon), and a pair of fh2's. this is my first trip in 18 months (18 WHOLE MONTHS!!!), and i've been seriously deliberating on which yo-yo's should make the trip. i've decided on 3:
• my "number 1" no jive 3-in-1 yo-yo (see the blog for "yo-yo #1"): this was a no brainer. it goes virtually everywhere with me. obvious.
• a red schmooved/silicone-recessed freehand zero with cut-to-flush throw down weight rings (that was a mouthful): originally, when i intended to bring a bearing yo-yo in case i feel like playing with a bearing (unlikely, but possible), i assumed i'd bring one of my throw down ronin prototypes (more on those someday soon). however, much like its cousin the luchador, the ronin is bare aluminum and looks like it could (and would like to) kill someone. it's one of a very few yo-yo's i'm honestly not sure i could talk past airport security. the uninitiated would give it a glance and, if they previously did NOT believe the myth about yo-yo's originating as weapons (they did NOT), they would upon meeting the ronin.
since i didn't feel like mailing it home in one of those airport baggy-mailers they give you (which they did me on the time that i waltzed into security wearing a butterfly knife - dumbass), i picked another yo-yo. i settled on one of my eric wolff wooden yo-yo's (see the blog for yo-yo #'s 2 & 3). i was going to bring the small bearing one and have a lovely all-wooden time of it, but talking to my pal brandon, i was advised NOT to do so. although i have 2 (and another on the way), eric wolff yo-yo's are rare, valuable, and not to be blithely paraded down main street, u.s.a., as anything could happen to it, and i would be most sad. he suggested i take a zero instead (big surprise there).
so i am. the zero i'm taking i got from a guy i don't know well at all, but it plays like the absolute dickens, and i'm reasonably sure that it looks "yo-yo" enough to not be mistaken for any kind of obect of destruction (like, for example, gel insoles or a bottle of water). i know that, in the event that i choose to rock a bearing, i'm covered.
• a "clean machine" no jive 3-in-1 yo-yo that i received from 1997 world champion jason tracy: this is the yo-yo that i've been playing more than any other in recent weeks. although my #1 is still my "#1", this one has made it into my pocket more and more on account of its dazzling play. i received this yo-yo from jason (out of the goodness of his heart) in late 2007.
i had never played a clean machine (an uncoated no jive), and i was shocked at how well it performed. at that time i was even more of a purist and wouldn't have dreamed of flipping it butterfly, but nowadays, that's how i rock it. it was on this yo-yo that i discovered i was able to hit kamikaze and pure 143 a few weeks ago (2 tricks i thought i'd never land on a no jive), and it's occupied a more special place in my heart since. this is also the yo-yo that my young friend (and another world champion) tyler severence dinged the ever-loving crap out of when he snapped a string and sent it caroming off of his house's outer wall at last year's east coast classic.
although i have no idea what gives it such incredible qualities, it is a truly special player, and seems to take into consideration the desires of the person throwing it more than any yo-yo i've played.
the nice thing about playing uncoated wood, too, is the response. this clean machine can go from dead unresponsive, requiring a bind to finger-smashing, loop-happy tug-response solely by adjusting string tension. it's actually really annoying until you get the hang of it, but once you do, it's incredibly cool to have a yo-yo that can handle kamikaze (albeit barely) and then vertical punches on the next throw. this is the yo-yo that i plan on playing most on this trip, and the one that i imagine i'll come to associate with it when i reflect on it afterwards.
apologies for the awful photo booth pictures. my camera is packed away, and i'm out the door!!!