A couple of things to start off with. Stuff I’ve been struggling with. Of course, I could just shut up and nobody would be the wiser
My interest in skill toys is fairly low. Ever since BAC, it’s been in decline. You could say “just try another style”, but honestly, I’m not interested. Maybe try spin tops? No, don’t feel like it. Diabolo? Ain’t feeling it. Learn to juggle? Can’t be bothered. I got other stuff but I simply am not interested. I’ve not learned anything new in months. Yes, I have still been buying stuff. I know this is a phase. It will pass. When will it pass? I don’t know. I can fake it pretty good for short periods of time. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed meeting all of you at Nationals that I met.
However, that decline isn’t exactly a bad thing. I’ve been neglecting my sound company since I started this whole yoyo adventure. This isn’t a bad thing. My company was well built up and it’s not like I neede to get anything, so there was no negative. After CalStates 2013, running 2 stages wasn’t really a big deal, but I found weaknesses in the system. I’ve been working a lot with theroybit(another forum user here) and we’ve been reconfiguring the company a little bit to better handle yoyo contests by integrating some DJ type gear. Some of these changes were seen at BAC 2013(the pad for rapid playback was one of the many upgrades, as well as the mixer user for the prelims area). We’re not talking about just little tweaks, but sufficient inclusions of equipment to ensure rock-solid, redundant and over-engineered solutions to ensure the event runs without incident. The best part is that it’s not terribly expensive! I mean, if I really look at the budget, we’re talking under $3000 in total investment in equipment, which isn’t really big dollars in the world of live sound. Heck, ONE of my speakers that I used for mains at CalStates/BAC costs more than that!
With SacAnime in late August, it became apparent that I needed to move from large format analog to mid-format digital. I spent most of my time between May and mid September researching digital consoles from a wide array of vendors. I won’t go into workflow, logistics and configuration issues, but my research pointed to a Behringer X32. I purchased and received one in mid September and was out gigging with it 3 days after I got it, and I’ve since done several large events with it. You’ll see me using it at CalStates and BAC in 2014. I still feel my large format analog desk sounds much better.
Despite the major decline in skill toy interest, I have been throwing a bit. Mostly, my throwing has been on the walk to and from my kid’s school and while I wait for the teachers to bring them in or take them out. It’s mostly just a way to kill time, nothing more.
Now, let’s back this up to nearly a week ago, but the story goes back to CalStates 2012, but the details are minor and will be filled in.
I’m in Sacramento. I got a gig in Bakersfield. 5 hours of drive. It was worth it. Got to use the X32 for my first “band” event with a band I am very familiar with, on a board I’m no feeling 100% with, and the band was willing to go in-ears for the first time, so lots of risk with lots of trust involved on both sides. Let’s just say the show was a success. I kicked butt with the X32. The band, Akai Sky, was awesome as always, and my crew and the band shined.
One of my crew is theroybit. We did pack “essentials”, which means “yoyos and other skill toys”. We passed idle time with various skill toys. 1 of my crew was given a Lyn Fury at CalStates 2012(see, I filled in the detail) but he hasn’t been able to use it. Well, him and a new crew member can now bind. The other new guy hadn’t really thrown a yoyo before, but once I corrected a few issues(like the string was under instead of over), his binds came together. He was using one of my Classics. The other crew member(who has the Lyn Fury) was using my Rally. Not only did I get him binding, but he managed to get plastic whip down, and was using that to bind. I can’t claim sole credit. theroybit was just as much to credit as I am. Of course, now we have the issue of “we need to get them into yoyos they can use”. Nothing wrong with the Lyn Fury, but I gotta hot rod it. The new guy, well, I need to get him something.
I will say it feels good to get two more people into this. Teaching and mentoring them in live sound and skill toys might be the thing I need to break this downward spiral I’ve had on skill toys.
In the meantime, jumping back a couple of weeks, I picked up 2 new clients thanks to the audio work. I am going to be doing more focus on audio these days. With a near disaster at a not so distant event, I have been going over how to deal with recovery issues. We had the main computer decide to NOT send timecode to the lighting computer, so automation failed. I had to go into manual over-ride. On top of that, manual spot calls were tricky and icky, so having my lighting director being able to control stuff more is a solution I’m looking into. The audience had no clue, we did recover at intermission, but even so, the spotlights were under-utilized.
On Sunday, November 10, I will be heading to one of the nearby YoLex meets. The weekend after, I will try to run one of my own meets. I think trying to be more active will help me fully break this phase I’m in. I think about quitting every day. Just toss it all into the recycle bin and walk away. However, this is just the depression talking. A short term stop-gap reaction to a problem that will eventually go away is not a proper solution.
In the meantime, as I’m still buying stuff, I’m figuring out my next YYE purchase, as well as stuff from other skill toy retailers. This phase will break and I’ll be able to better enjoy stuff again. Now, keep in mind kids, there’s the Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up. YYE has a reputation of doing some AMAZING sales during this period. If YYF does the Mystery Boxes again, those are fantastic values from what I hear, but I’ve never bought one myself. If you’ve got something outrageously expensive in your acquisition sights, I strongly suggest you hold off a bit and wait because your patience will be rewarded. My issue right now is “do I just go ahead and buy, or do I hold off”. I can go either way.
In the meantime, I am planning for my vacation. What “essentials” do I bring… Considering I may be running into people I got started into yoyo a couple of years ago, I may be doing more teaching sessions.