Friday, October 30, 2009
i was kinda conflicted about which blog to put this in... i guess such is the dilemma for one who maintains two separate 'yo-yo metaphysics' blogs.
i recieved a truly enormous package of old wood yo-yo's the other day. it's almost an anticlimax, because as soon as you open something like that, you think "well, i guess i have enough yo-yo's for forever now." funny the way we fool ourselves into believing stuff like that for a minute or two. the box was mostly full of old hummingbirds, which was the company run by brad countryman BEFORE he ran bc yo-yo's (which of course, was the company he ran BEFORE switching to run tom kuhn yo-yo's). when my friend kevin asked what kind of yo-yo's i'd like, i said "matched sets", since i've been enjoying a lot of [really] simple wood 2-handed lately. he went "batshit-crazy" and put more absolutely gorgeous sets of tricksters, bc's, and old genuines in the box than i know how to shake a stick at, and i'll be working my way through them for a LONG time.
i started with this set, because... well, look at em. they're BEAUTIFUL.
the hummingbird genuine was not a regular production release. it was pretty limited even in its heyday (the 80's), and since the liquidation of the arcade, ny hummingbird factory, is downright tough to find. this pearlescent white with blue stripe version just has a gorgeous, classic appeal. and they play wonderfully, even for someone with mediocre looping ability like myself. playing older yo-yo's makes me want to do older tricks. i don't know a lot of older tricks, really. i wish i did. i tend to do the same ones that i love over and over.
i had a brief "conversation" with one of my "friends". i use the quotes to emphasize that said dialog did NOT actually take place in person, NOR have i ever actually met the other participant. i'd like to though. we were talking about yo-yo tricks; how they're learned and how they're taught. it really got me thinking ("a dangerous pastime - i KNOW"... beauty & the beast fans? no? ok.). basically, someone was asking for an in-depth tutorial for a trick called "chinese cradle", a weird little decades-old picture trick, and the question was... should they get it?
this particular trick came out of the duncan demonstrator crew of the 1950's. dale oliver tells me that it predates him, and that originally, it was called "chinese puzzle". the cradle part was added on later. ironically, i first saw it done by dale on a tiny, scratchy internet video. since the trick is pretty small and complicated, it was completely impossible to discern what he was doing in the vid, or even what the finished product should look like. maybe that contributed to its intrigue and mystique.
years later, i asked steve brown to teach it to me in virginia, and once he had dug the thing out of the attic of his memory, he obliged. he said something about it having been a "special" trick which, in years past, wasn't taught casually to just anyone. i think i was almost more fascinated by this fact than by the trick itself. this was the first time i had ever heard of a trick that had been "exclusive" in any respect besides its own inherent difficulty to perform. evidently, in the years of the traveling demonstrators, certain tricks were identified as "calling cards". as such, they were more preciously guarded, much like a magician guards his secrets. it kind of makes sense in the context of the giant fad-eras of the 50's and 60's. it just wouldn't do for a demonstrator to pull up at toy store "x" and throw a bunch of tricks that everybody already knew. a degree of exclusivity would have been essential.
nowadays, there are more tricks; more directions from which to amaze an audience. the technology has rendered much of the past's yo-yoing 'antiquated', but the sheer volume of a modern demonstrator's repertoire should be more than enough to flabbergast any audience. 50 years ago, the number of individual 'tricks' out there was comparatively limited. there are infinite ways to loop, infinite ways to stylistically alter 'rock the baby'... but any yo-yo performer of the modern era or the golden age would agree that you HAVE to have the ability to show em something truly crazy - something they've never seen.
anyway, the question i was left with was "SHOULD there be a quality online tutorial for a trick like 'chinese cradle'?" and the answer i've gravitated to is "no."
i don't think that tricks should be withheld by anyone on the basis of who is "worthy", but i DO think there should be some tricks that AREN'T accessible via the internet. we live in an era of instant gratification. if you want something, and you've got internet and paypal - BLAM! "bad credit? no credit? NO PROBLEM! CONGRATS! YOU'RE PRE-APPROVED!!!" as a society, we've started to feel entitled to things like food and shelter. and while, i agree, it's good to have these things available to people... we need to recognize that NONE of them are things that "just happen" to us. i think that we should work for things, or at least viscerally recognize the work that goes into them, regardless of whether it's our own. if you want to eat a cheeseburger, i think you should be willing to slaughter a cow yourself. period. i don't think it's necessary to kill one every time you order a #12 from McD's (ew), but knowing what it means to kill something, prepare it, and eat it - how messy it is, how wasteful, all the emotions involved - it helps you to truly value what you take from the world. it helps you to be thankful. if you want to live in a house, i think you should be willing to help build one - to learn about the different skills and efforts that have to come together to enable your "dream kitchen". it goes without saying that we can't DO all this stuff. the functions of our society are so refined and technical that no lay-person will be capable of coming to understand all of the arts. still, it's the attitude - the work ethic - that matters. lunch, indoor plumbing, quality health care... whether you should be entitled to these things or not, they don't just happen to you. they're born of effort - always. what are you working for? and where does your work go?
if you want to learn a yo-yo trick, i think you should learn it. and if it isn't on youtube or kwos or sector_y or yoyoexpert... you should get out of your house and seek it out. maybe that means harassing someone at your local club or maybe it means traveling around the world. maybe it will involve some waiting, during which you get to experience "not knowing" it. in the end, when you do learn it... it'll be worth EXACTLY what it took to obtain it. lately, i think some things should be harder to obtain.
i allude to the martial arts all the time. in budo, we have something called kuden, which are, in effect, glorified secrets - secrets of training or secret applications of technique that have developed within different schools over millennia. the defining characteristic of these secrets is that they're only ever taught to people who are worth a damn - who have proven their loyalty to the school and the system. just like demonstrators withholding this or that trick from potential competitors, if you teach the wrong sword technique to the wrong person... it could be employed against you. it's not all paranoia either. having a technique that belongs to someone only if they make a legitimate contribution might inspire that person to contribute... whereas making said trick available on the internet primarily inspires acquisition (which leads to the compulsive need for MORE acquisition). it might seem like a trivial distinction, but you'll remember from my last post - ain't nothing trivial to me. there's something valuable in learning a trick from a human being, with no intermediary 1's and 0's.
should every trick be common knowledge (or at least commonly and easily accessible)? should one's ability be the only factor that mitigates the dissemination of information. i don't believe in withholding things arbitrarily. i don't think it's valuable to say "nah. i'm not teaching you THIS trick cause you're not in The Cool Guy Club." that's not it. at the same time, "chinese cradle" is an old trick, and it belongs to way more than just me. steve taught it to me, and he learned it from dale. if either of those guys would prefer that i carefully consider those the manner by which i share such a trick... i'd be inclined to respect that (and honestly, even if they don't give a crap... maybe i should). dale told me that he, for one, doesn't really believe in "trick exclusivity"; that if someone asks him, his response is "i learned this trick from a champion, and it's my responsibility to teach someone else." i agree, but at the same time, i'd rather teach someone who DOES ask, as opposed to someone who just happens upon it whilst searching for "darth vader". fortunately, it's a self-governing principle, seeing as the number of people who really want to learn "chinese cradle" (or really any old trick i can imagine) would probably number around a dozen or so, at most. i'm certainly not going to be met with throngs of kids asking for help with it, nor would i look sideways at someone who asked, in effort to size them up or gauge their commitment to our "sacred art". pretending at exclusivity in such a teeny niche community is pretty stupid. seeking knowledge out is enough all the accreditation you should require ... but if you want it, be willing to really seek it. there's not enough seeking in yo-yoing; not enough patience. maybe that's true of modern humanity in general.
the trick itself is perfectly irrelevant. this is not about "chinese cradle" at all, so much as it's about learning to feel less entitled. in our world, which every day, seems to become more digital, there's some real value in learning a trick from a master; in seeking one out, in looking into his eyes, and in valuing the lifetime of work that's gone into the trick he teaches you. i've learned a lot from online tutorials, and i'm certainly not trying to diminish the efforts of guys like gabe, whose sector_y (as i've previously stated) represent one of the main reasons i'm any kind of yo-yoer at all. that said, i care about yo-yoing. though i've been exploring it for what feels like a long time now, i kind of want it to withhold some secrets. rather than just picking what i want from a silver cyber-platter, i want to have to work to uncover some of its gems. rather than be told the secrets that i've yet to understand, i want (in time) to deserve to know.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
there's no such thing as a 'save deth freehand', strictly speaking. for awhile, the proprietors of that most 'now' of yo-yo lifestyle companies (big pond, there), seth peterson and dave poyzer, were selling little vinyl decals with their logo. although the circular decals could be used for any number of purposes, they were made to fit perfectly upon the caps of the ever-popular duncan freehand. ironically, the decals were printed and cut by none other than brandon jackson, then-graphic-design-guru and NOW, the head of marketing for duncan toys.
i first saw the decals at ecc in 2008, where dave gave me a pair of the purple ones. that contest also marked the first time i saw an enyo freehand, which had just been released as a collaboration between duncan and yoyonation. i'd heard people begging for a freehand made from the super-hard and super-sparkly enyo plastic for years, and was psyched to finally score one at the contest. when i got home, i dot-3'd the caps (brake fluid is the best way to remove the printed logos from fh caps, if you were wondering) and applied the decals. one of them went on perfectly, the next i stuck on just a bit off-center. the issue with 'a bit off-center' with spinning objects is that they end up looking 'really off-center'. perfectionist (psycho) that i am, i ripped the errantly-placed decal off angrily, replacing it with a tiny green triangle project sticker, which also looked egregiously dumb.
i liked it ok at the time though, and i sent the zero off to my pal chris hicks, who was modding everything not nailed-down. chris had done some very consistent (if simple) work for me in the past, but he had grown into his lathe pretty well and i was just asking for a silicone job. when i got the zero back, i was in utter shock. it was (and remains) the single best-playing freehand zero i've ever used. chris ended up doing a silicone-schmoove job, cutting the schmoove rings super-shallow compared to the inner silicone-ring. though simple, it was just a flawless job; pristine. and when, a few months later, seth sent me a set of green decals with a shirt i'd ordered (and i actually stuck em both on RIGHT)... i was in freehand zero heaven.
it's a funny thing about freehands; some seem to play better than any yo-yo out there... and some are total lemons. i'm not sure if it has to do with the tolerance of the plastic or the axle or the spacer set-up or what. a few months ago, i received a white 'duncan boy' zero in a trade (no idea for what). it looks totally ordinary (or it did), and yet, as some zeros just seem wont to do... it outplays almost anything. it's just a fricking MACHINE, and it doesn't even seem to care what bearing i toss in. like it's aforementioned brother, it was the beneficiary of the least complicated mod imaginable. and yet it was just perfectly executed, enabling this little hunk of plastic to manifest its highest level of play. you know, it might piss me off that there's such inconsistency from one duncan yo-yo to another... if i didn't have a few that are just completely perfect.
it was so good that i wanted it to match the aesthetic of my other super-zero... so when i snagged yet another pair of decals from seth at indy this year (pink ones - the last he had), i knew right where they needed to go. i always kinda found those duncan boy caps (and the duncan boy mascot in general, now that i think on it) to be pretty friggin' lame - a poor successor to either the original circle-headed duncan or the weird little cartoon bell-hop, both of which have a simplistic, classic feel. anyway, i stuck the decals on some sparkle blue caps with the kind of accuracy that experience alone can yield, held my breath when i clicked them in (cause wonky caps can upset an otherwise-perfect freehand)... and yet again, i had a zero that qualified as 'functional art'.
every time i pick these yo-yo's up, i'm reminded of a virtue that has seemed to apply every meaningful endeavor i've encountered: do a small thing well.
i'll relate one of my favorite stories surrounding the swordman, musashi miyamoto, a hero of mine (inasmuch as legends CAN be heroes). musashi was bathing and relaxing in the fief of the renowned swordsman, yagyu munetoshi, who had secluded himself in the mountains and taken to delighting in the simple pleasures of gardening and the tea ceremony. like musashi, a group of burly samurai from kyoto had come to the fief to test their skills in fighting the old master. politely declining to meet with these challengers, munetoshi sent a single white peony from his garden, along with a message intimating that he no longer had any interest in teaching or in fighting. the samurai scoffed at the peony and left in a huff. out of kindness, munetoshi's courier then delivered the peony to musashi's room, who, upon seeing it drew out his short sword and cut the stem in two. picking up the fallen piece while the terrified courier collected herself, musashi compared the two cuts at either end of the stem. from the angle and smoothness of the original cut, he deduced that the peony could only have been sliced by a sword, and that his own stroke was decidedly inferior. upon learning that the peony was cut by lord munetoshi, himself, musashi arrived at the conclusion that he was not yet ready to challenge such a master.
of his performing career, steve martin said "being great is easy. every performer can count on nights when the stars align and everything goes to plan. nights like that are statistical, but being good - every night - is difficult." similarly, when i was growing up, i confided to the poet maya angelou, a family friend, that i wanted to grow up to be a great man. her response was that "the world is too full of great men as it is. be a good man, which is rare." while throughout my youth, i was awed by every sort of flamboyant virtuosity... in my adult life, i have come to respect consistency, simplicity, and and sincerity above all else. it might seem like hyperbole, but a carefully-siliconed freehand reflects these principles as well as anything. nothing you do - not the way you cut a peony, the way you perform on stage, or the way you silicone a freehand - is ever trivial.
i play these guys more than any other zeros, probably; even more than my mg's. partly on account of their anomalously wonderful play; partly due to the fact that i think save deth remains one of the coolest entities in yo-yoing. sure, they're sparkly, but their real value lies beneath the caps. like expert flower-arrangers, their respective modders found the way to bring out the best in these yo-yo's, either by diligent practice or serendipity. playing them reminds me to try to 'do a simple thing well' in the context of my own life...
every simple thing.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
awhile back, for no good reason at all, i put together an incomplete list of tricks i'd learned. it was fairly substantial, and mostly composed of ridiculously simple stuff culled from now-outmoded (if not defunct) sites.
for years, the only site i learned from was 'ken's world on a string'. hallmarked by simple text and illustrations, kwos is one of the few instructional tools left over from its era, and i still find myself going back to it to check this or that, or to remember old, beloved tricks that i once treasured.
years after i stopped visiting kwos, i stumbled upon the mark hayward/harper reed collaboration, 'howtoyoyo.com'. this may have been the first organized video catalog that i encountered, full of treasures filmed at contests in the early 2000's. i still remember some great, 8-second 5a trick-tutorials by steve filmed in a dark parking lot and performed with laser-cut precision. trying to learn them, i'd have to watch the clip over and over dozens of times. the real cache, though, for me, was the list of picture tricks. performed by dale oliver, bill deboisblanc, dale myrberg, cappy, john bot, and others... it's a trove. and i don't throw that word around (although... who does?). the videos are ridiculously hard to see, but bits can be deciphered.
going through the list i had composed, i ran into a trick from said collection that i had TOTALLY forgotten. buried in the list is a phenomenal trick by bill deblah entiteled 'flower'. upon seeing it in type, i flashed immediately back to a day in 2005, when i sat in my empty classroom until dusk trying to get it wired. i never really did, and abandoned it in frustration. however, when i looked the trick up yesterday, i understood it immediately. i picked up this yo-yo, a gorgeous eric wolff-turned tulipwood butterfly, which i scored last year at nc states, and had it first try. funny how the mind changes. with yo-yoing, it's not like you develop crazy abs or cauliflower ears, or any outward sign that you're 'developing'. but the more you yo-yo, the easier it is to make connections. you really feel how you've grown when you re-approach a concept that seemed difficult or impossible years ago.
anyway, i think it's a cool trick; it feels 'cutesy' and old-fashioned. it got me thinking about the way we create and retain tricks. obviously, they aren't something that you can hold. they aren't objects that can be manipulated whenever, or stored away. and yet, we tend to treat them as possessions; as if we 'pay' for them through the process of learning them, and after we can do them, they become 'acquisitions'. i wasn't thinking about it in such explicit terms when i composed that list years ago, but that's the attitude from which it surely sprang. these here are the tricks that 'belong to me'.
the sticky point is that when you acquire something, it becomes your responsibility; such is the nature of acquisition. if you buy an old pick-up trick, it's yours - you CAN do what you want with it. but if you let it sit stagnant in your front lawn while weeds and shrubs grow through it until it becomes a rusty, dilapidated eyesore, then your negligence has expanded to affect the landscape and community. everything you own, everything you have is, implicitly a BURDEN upon you. some burdens are heavier than others, and the more you've got, the more you're responsible for. we can try to get around it with slippery ideologies and/or ignorance, but it's pretty straight-forward. you've committed to bringing certain things into the fold of your life; into the realm of your 'control'. whether that's a car, a bonsai tree, or a work of art like this yo-yo - or even something intangible, like knowledge or a certain trick, then doing so makes you responsible. whether you mean to or not, the things you HAVE are things to which you tie a piece of yourself. as such, none of the things we acquire should be perceived as trivial.
if, whether tacitly or explicitly you decide, 'i know this yo-yo trick - it's mine,' then caring for it becomes a kind of duty (like changing your cat's litter box, only less gross). how do you care for a yo-yo trick? the same way you care for any artistic element: by doing it right. if you've learned kamikaze, then you should do it correctly, using the elements paul uncovered. if you mean to do something different with it, then you're changing the trick. that's ok, but don't do so casually, just because you have trouble with 'magic drop' or something. when you teach it, teach it right. you're passing it on. you're proliferating a piece of yo-yoing's living tapestry. don't muck it up.
awhile back, jon rob made a good analogy, comparing yo-yo tricks to undiscovered land. the tricks are all there, waiting to be found. you may uncover them, present them, or learn them... but they don't really belong to you, alone. no one can really steal 'your' tricks, and the tricks you learn aren't really 'yours' either (that said, there's nothing cool or interesting about doing a derivative freestyle that people will have seen before). you may have exposed the thing, but once it's out in the open, it kind of belongs to everyone, and everyone who learns it must share the duty.
it's the same with any art. it's not really a question of whether or not i CAN copy picasso's bull sketches... it's more a question of 'what would be the point?' artistically, the moment those pictures have made the journey from picasso's hand to the page, they no longer belong to him. 'intellectual property' lawsuits notwithstanding, the moment an idea or emotion is expressed, it's no longer really within our jurisdiction or control. picasso discovered some incredible ways of drawing a bull. now everyone can do it. but... why would they? spencer berry discovered the movements that compose 'breath'. now everyone can do it (i mean, kind of). but... why would they?
cause it's nice to make pretty pictures? cause 'breath' is a fun yo-yo trick?
why DO we do any tricks that have already been discovered? obviously, in the beginning we have no choice. we perceive yo-yoing to simply be a collection of tricks that we have to learn. by now, i really shouldn't be so perplexed when i happen upon the question 'do you guys make up your own tricks?'... i mean... after a few years, what else is there to do? realistically though, what we'd call 'new' aren't even our own tricks; when viewed close up, the 1a tricks we do are composed of the same underpasses, pops, and landings that have been popular for the past decade. a 'new trick' may be composed of less than 1% innovative material. and when viewed from afar, the tricks we do melt into the landscape of the freestyle or session. a doctor cannot understand the human body without understanding cells. a yo-yoer cannot understand the nature of yo-yoing without a sense for 'tricks'... and yet, just as with the body... it's the WHOLE that really matters.
and that whole must always belong to everyone. no one (not yuuki or shinji or the eternal spirit of pedro flores) is big enough to throw the whole thing.
each of our string hits represents a brushstroke in the painting of our trick, each trick a brush stroke in the painting of our combo, each combo a brushstroke in the painting of our session, and each session a brushstroke in the painting of our life. however we wish to divide it, however we try to stake it off and claim it, yo-yoing is really just one trick, and that's what we have to take care of. though we may reveal this or that fraction thereof... no particle will ever be the exclusive province of any one of us. all of it belongs to all of us, and as such, taking care of it becomes our collective responsibility. nobody gets into yo-yoing for the responsibility. some people see it as a 'bad word', and would certainly rather not associate things like that with yo-yoing. but that's what caring about something boils down to... and if you want to take anything from yo-yoing (or give anything to it)... there's really no escaping the burden.
do it right. have pride. represent.
Friday, October 2, 2009
my family and i were at target last week (or tar-jay, because we're high-fashion french-types). we were meandering through the toy section, idly discussing the bike that everyone knew we were planning to buy caitie for her 7th birthday. we had straight-up SOLD her bike at our yard sale the week before to an adorable 4 year-old, and cait had watched it go with a degree of nostalgic sadness. she could barely fit on the thing though; it was time for an upgrade.
i asked cait what she wanted besides the bicycle, and was surprised by her response: "a yo-yo... a nice one like yours". my daughter has never really paid any attention to my yo-yoing. sometimes she jokes that it's an embarrassment at the bus stop or imitates her mom in rolling her eyes when i play in the department store. lately though, she's asked to play quite a lot. she has several yo-yo's, most of them cheap party favors that she prizes not for their play, but for their depiction of favorite cartoon characters. i gave her a mosquito awhile back when she asked to learn the basics, and chris allen kindly sent her a yellow proyo awhile back, cause he's nice.
now, however, she was intimating that she wanted a "nice one". part of me fell into the mode of thinking that i experienced as a teacher whenever a kid asked me about buying an expensive yo-yo. "you don't need one. play what you've got, learn to love it and ask me again in a few years." the father in me though, was busy thinking "she's interested in what i'm interested in? seriously? where's my credit card??"
somewhere in between, it occurred to me that i really do have a lot of yo-yo's... probably an unhealthy amount. and lately, i only really play my no jives, my flying v's, and a few others with any regularity. it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to buy a 7 year-old a brand new fancy yo-yo. i don't want her to feel tied to it; she's 7! at that age, one's hobbies should be as fluid as water. you feel like yo-yoing today? play your yo-yo. tomorrow you want to bury your yo-yo in the sandbox? knock yourself out. i'm not one of those parents that expects my kids to take their pastimes very seriously, but neither am i one to deny a birthday wish.
i decided to channel mr. miyagi, and asked her to choose. my wife suggested that i give her 3 options that i wouldn't mind losing, but i had other ideas. i don't like to be too attached to things, and when i get attached, i sometimes need to find a way to let go of the object(s) in question. i don't want to be the kind of person who would hesitate for an INSTANT if my kid asks me for something i can easily give them on their birthday. when my wife suggested i put limitations on what my daughter can have, my immediate reaction was "oh yeah, good idea". however, THAT VERY REACTION indicated a problem. that was really only my reaction because i'd be AFRAID that she'd pick one of my most prized toys. and THAT... is inherently lame; no getting around it.
to my daughter, all of the yo-yo's on the wall of the 'yo-yo room' are toys. as such, she has a much more accurate and unclouded understanding of them than i do. i equate them with 'value'; either monetary value or sentimental value. this is a problem, because my attachment to them obstructs my ability to see them for what they fundamentally are: playthings.
i gave my daughter an unlimited choice. from the 100's of yo-yo's in the room, which cost anywhere between $1 and around $450 (and several of which i would truly call 'priceless'), i said "pick any one you want". i did this for ME; not for her. i did this because the moment i said it, i was giving EVERY yo-yo in there to her. i was offering EVERY one up, and in so doing, i was severing the connections i had with each of them.
what if she picked the mg??? PICK the mg! TAKE IT. i'll set it up so it's tug-responsive and i'll smile when you do 'creeper' on the driveway. what if she picked an eric wolff??? PICK an eric wolff! i've enjoyed them all. and while i view them as high art, they play AWESOME... and i firmly believe that no yo-yo - NO yo-yo can 'do better' for itself than by being played and adored by a child. if it could talk, the yo-yo that shinya used to win worlds this year might say it's pretty happy... but i'd wager its joy would be NOTHING next to the one that any 4th grader uses to make his first loop-the-loop. and what if she picked "no jive #1"??? how could i give away my favorite yo-yo of all time? PICK #1!!! i'm always saying that playing that yo-yo taught me humility. i say it taught me that i don't need anything fancy to amaze myself, and that 'it's not the yo-yo that matters'... if i'm not prepared to give it to my kid, then i'm full of shit. and playing it hasn't taught me anything at all.
i think you need to be hard on yourself sometimes. i often make little challenges to myself and hold myself to them really strictly. some of them are relatively silly and easy like this, and others are harder. i don't want to be the kind of man who says one thing and does another. i'm truly more afraid of finding myself to be a hypocrite than anything else. some days i wonder if there's anything else to really be afraid of. guns and monsters and root canals... you can find the strength to face any kind of terror in this life. but looking at yourself honestly and recognizing your own hypocrisy? that's a whole different kind of scary.
caitie walked around the room a little bit, and then picked this yo-yo. a 2003 tom kuhn rd-1. made of purple, green, and blue laminated wood. it plays just fine. nice and smooth, not too heavy, and it responds well. this will be a good yo-yo for her to learn with, at whatever speed she wants. she's not really ready for a big gap, and i'm glad that she didn't choose one... but i'm glad for HER, and not for myself. i'm happy she picked the rd-1, because it was the one she liked, but i'm also happy because i passed the test i gave myself. it occurs to me that i'm relieved that i WASN'T relieved; that i could have handed any of those damn yo-yo's over to her with a smile. for a minute there, i was worried that it would be tough to do so, but i know better now.
happy birthday caitlyn. how time flies.