Daggers and Rocking Babies

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29th, 2009 by Jack Ringca

I think it’s time that I admit that I want Austin, TX to be my new surrogate home. I have had great times here. I have great friends here and quite frankly, it has become one of my top 5 favourite places on earth in less than 24 hours.

We had an unexpected morning off. I would like to take a moment to wish all the health, happiness and speediest of recoveries to the patients at the Dell Childrens’ Hospital here in Austin. Due to concerns involving their health and welfare, we were unable to perform for them today. But, my hope is that after the flu season is over and infections are at a bare minimum, we can come back to Austin and bring a little more happiness into their days.

I instead found myself with a few hours to commune with my new home away from home. Of course, the thing I had to absorb with urgency was the music culture of the city. I was suggested by many to visit the Waterloo record shop. My friends here are the best and they didn’t let me down. Not only was the staff at Waterloo super knowledgeable, they were also hyper friendly. They have records, they have live music and the best part is it’s a record store that also, stocks Duncan Yoyos. It’s enough to make me melt. How many places on earth can you have a conversation about Son House and by a good yoyo? One that I know of. Big points won there.

I then stopped by South Austin Music because it’s hard to resist going into a guitar shop with a 4 meter tall Gretsch Chet Atkins model outside. Seriously, one of the coolest guitars the world has ever seen taller than you’ve ever seen it. Again, I was taken by the friendliness of the people of Austin. I can get picky and particular when it comes to things like this and the guys at South Austin Music were just pleasant as pie when I would have been annoyed by me. I also suppose that the friendliness of Austin rubbed off on Hank and Seth. They didn’t mind weathering my quirky requests and watching me play guitars and shop for records. I couldn’t ask to be on the road with two better people. They will be great friends of mine for life.

We then collectively decided that it was time to take the culture of Austin in a different way, we ate it up….literally! Over on South Congress Avenue, there is a three block section with cool Airstream trailers outfitted to be fantastic restaurants. If you get a chance, we ate at Hudson’s Mega Cone and we all highly recommend it. Besides, if you have a sweet tooth, Big Top Candy Store is right across the street and they are fantastic AND stock Duncan yoyos to boot. I am starting to think this town loves us as much as we have come to love it.

Eventually, we tore ourselves from the joys of Austin city culture and cool and got ourselves to a great gig at Terra Toys. Remalda runs the place and that lady has one great family working along side her. I had already made friends with some of them months ago, they made it feel like I was just visiting home. Honestly, I love them and I refuse to ever stop. Then, just when you think it can’t get more fun, KEYE news stops by and we do a live news spot right here to let the city know that we’re still here and still rocking the house.
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Speaking of rocking the house years later, This demo yielded even more surprises and history. The kids and families were a fantastic audience. I am still constantly floored by how easily the kids pick up on intermediate level tricks. And only to sweeten the deal, we got further proof that it sticks with you forever. We met a regional sculptor and artists named Bob Wade. He is from Austin and shared some of his art from his 40 year old body of work. What makes him even more relevant? In the 1960’s Bob was a Duncan junior instructor. He can still bang out the basic ten and beyond. The guy is a regional treasure and it was so nice talking to him and hearing his stories of the “old school” of touring, instruction and yoyo demonstration. I hope I have kind of atmosphere about me 40 years from now.
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As a major aside, we also were blessed to see Elliot Pemberton and his daughter Siri. Elliot is an employee of Duncan’s parent company, Flambeau. This only proves that there really is a family behind this thing. We might not be blood but, we are family. Elliot, you have a beautiful family.
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After a while, the demo wrapped but, we just weren’t ready to leave our new family. So, we did a little shopping in Terra Toys, and tried out some of there more exotic toys. From there we went off to have drinks and dinner with Sam, Asia and Amy whom all work at the shop. How do they reward us? They took us to what was easily my favourite eatery of the entire year. Conan’s Pizza! Seriously, how can any human being not be excited, intrigued or both by a dining establishment that is entirely Conan the Barbarian themed. Holy Cow Times Ten! We swapped war stories of the toy trade and bonded over our inner nerds. D&D, comic books, cartoons, toys, video games and more were on the agenda. Of course, this meant that we needed to go to a legendary video arcade to end one heck of a day.

We rolled over to the UFO arcade and it was like walking deeper into some fantastic dream I have yet to have. Me, the boys and the Terra Toys gals all played some fighting games, some dance games, some tetris battle and had a great time. If you’ve seen videos from previous tours, you know that I fancy myself a good gamer, especially in fighting games. It is my pleasure to say that on this outing, I was humbled by the skills of another yoyo player and fellow gamer. Jonathan Begnaud, your kung fu is strong and I promise to practice hard until next we meet.

All in all, Austin now owns a big part of me and I hope we did it proud and can take a little of its good will with us. We’re moving on to Houston and beyond. I am sure that the rest of the tour with be beautiful but, Austin sets a very high bar for the rest of North America to rise to. All my thanks will never be enough.

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you guys wanna see a trick?

Posted in Adventures, Daily Post, Events, Media, Update, Yo-yos, crew on October 29th, 2009 by Jack Ringca

VIVA AUSTIN! Every place on the planet earth should be this cool(to be fair, some of them are). We started out our first full day here with a morning show appearance on KTBC channel 7. Of course, being on TV is always pretty cool but, this one had a little extra cool to it. When we got there, the first thing that hit me was that they have a really interesting green room. The entire room was set up with Japanese horror movie posters and post cards. I super love Japanese horror films and so, it was more like what I want my bedroom to look like than being in a green room for a TV studio. As for on air, the post shows all the details. Definitely check it out. Joe and Katherine were awesome.

After that, me and the boys went over to Toy Joy and it is everything I imagine a toy store is as an adult child. This is a must see place here in Austin. The outside of the store alone, is a sight to behold. The place is covered in really cool paint and murals and has a stock of some of the quirkiest import toys from around the world. They also have a fantastic staff and a sull service vegan ice cream and soda shop. So hip it hurts and it hurts SO GOOD! Some great kids and adults alike, came out to see the demo and learn a few tricks. On top of all of that Seth fell in love and I got a new best friend. Unfortunately, we had to hustle on out of there to the next demo. I would have liked to spend more time with the staff and store. I intend to make it out there again just to hang out.
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Then it was off to a suburb of Austin with perhaps the coolest name I have ever heard: Bee Cave, Texas. The name alone makes me want to move there. It sounds so fancy and dangerous. Holy cow! I had no idea that there were this many kids around that are committed to the idea of learning to play yoyo. The demo was super crowded and we had so many players that wanted to learn that we were short a few yoyos. A big thanks goes out to everyone that had the patience to share and learn together. This is definitely what the spirit of yoyo play is all about and what we want to see in a community. What a successful demo and what an inspiring crowd of young kids. So much fun to be had. It really was over too soon. Thanks goes to Mike and Lisa Schlageter.
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CBS KEYE Austin – News Spot

Posted in Events, Media, Uncategorized, Yo-yos, crew on October 29th, 2009 by Brandon Jackson

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KTBC Fox 7 New Spot

Posted in Daily Post, Media, Uncategorized, Update, crew on October 27th, 2009 by Seth Peterson

This morning we had a great news spot on KTBC Fox 7. Check out the video!

Austin: live music capital of the universe

Posted in Adventures, Daily Post, Media, Uncategorized, Yo-yos, crew, reflections on October 27th, 2009 by Jack Ringca

Austin, Texas is a musical mecca. So much of what is modern american music owes it’s life to what happens here.  Not only is it the place where so many greats have come to make their name but, it is a place that many come just to be inspired. From country, hip hop, bluegrass, and metal to indie rock, this city is a big part of it all. It really is the live music capital of the world.

Drawing on that and feeling good about touring the USA as a part of this brand, I’ve been thinking more and more about what feels uniquely “american”. I settled on the blues and I couldn’t help but come up with an arrangement  of  “throw duncan” that felt at home here in Austin and like a true extension of the tour. I hope I can do the heritage of this city proud and I hope you can dig it.

“Throw Duncan!”:

You can also download the original here.

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Rolling with the Gossip

Posted in Daily Post, Events, Media, Yo-yos, crew on October 26th, 2009 by Jack Ringca

If ever there was a day that the media smiled on our tour, today was the day. Bright and early, we wrapped up our time in Dallas with a stop at WFAA channel 8 for an interview on “Good Morning Texas”. They put together a variety of pieces for us to be a part of. In addition to our interview and yoyo demonstration, they also featured country singer, Granger Smith and the Leeland High School Wranglers dance group. Rob and Paige greeted us and were fun people to guide us through our on air time. After we were done, it was revealed to us that the entire thing was shown on the huge screens attached to the American Airlines Center. The flattering moments out here just don’t seem to stop. Some days, you just feel hip.

Next up, we planned to drive straight on down to Waco for our next shows but, I just had to have the guys stop by a western wear outlet. It’s not every day that we are in Texas and the Wranglers just inspired me to want fancy cowboy shirts. So, I had Seth and Hank hang out whilst I tried on and subsequently purchased some SERIOUSLY cool cowboy threads. They really know how to embroider a shirt in Texas. So cool. So Texas.
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Eventually, I was torn from the draw of hip western wear and we were off to our next shows in Waco. This is where things got a little interesting. It turned out that we were scheduled for a demo at Toys R Us and an on air appearance on Waco’s KWTX 10 at the same time. So, I opted to handle the show in the studio and meet up with the other fellas just after at the Toys R Us. The KWTX crew was fantastic. KC was cool enough to give me a ride to the studio and show me around and it seemed the entire staff was buzzing about the fact that I was there. I had no less than ten visitors to the green room to see me do a mini demo BEFORE I went on air to tell the entire Waco metropolitan area about the demo at Toys R Us. And the on air experience at KWTX was really cool. I had an interview with Gordon and he was just the coolest guy. He even took the time to rap with me a little about spin tops and juggling gear after the interview was wrapped. Talking with him and Megan really made me feel like they care about their stories and the people behind them.
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I finished up with the studio and hustled on over to the Toys R Us where I found the demo picking up steam nicely. Department manager, Glynn, was helping hype the crowd and even getting involved himself by learning a few tricks himself. It was cool to see him show serious interest in the products/event and even have a little fun with it. There is just no way that working in a toy store can be all business all the time and Glynn definitely makes for a fun atmosphere in his store. We had some younger kids out there and it seemed they were all super committed to learning to throw. If Bradon, Jonathan(thanks for bringing him, Marie) and Hayden stick with it, Waco will have a solid yoyo scene in no time flat. We saw some evidence that at one point, Waco already did have a powerhouse yoyo scene. Hayden’s grandfather, Steven Uphair, came out and threw both bearing and fixed axle yoyos like an old pro. It was awesome. He said that he hadn’t played in years or decades but, he just drilled through the basic ten tricks as if he had practiced them for 10 hours yesterday. He learned a few newer moves from us and this only goes to show, you may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks but, Nobody Has To Be An Old Dog! You too can have fun forever and show the youngsters a thing or two at any age. So inspiring, So Texas!
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Duncan Crew and a Half

Posted in Clubs, Daily Post, Events, Media, Players, crew on October 25th, 2009 by Jack Ringca

Looks like our last full day in Dallas turned out to be just another awesome day to be on tour. Our first stop for the day was at Puzzle Zoo(Dallas). It’s hard to say how good it feels to roll up to a demo only to find an entire birthday party packed up and waiting just to see you. It’s one of those times when yoyoing is everything kids dream it is. This demo definitely made Hank, Seth and myself rockstar superheroes and then some.
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Not only was this demo a great chance to get in contact with more Dallas players and fans, It turned out to be a full on show. We even had members of the older generations of players come out and show us that they still have it. During the portions of the demo where we taught tricks and tips we had even the staff at Puzzle Zoo learning to play and getting inspired. A big shout goes to Mayra and Laura for leading the way there. I am sure they will take it to the next level and will be teaching others in no time.
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For lunch we ate in a different place than I thought I would find myself in Texas. Wild About Harry’s on Knox ave is a lot like a burger and dogs place you would find in southern California. Lots of different styles of food and toppings represented and some of the brightest green relish ever seen on the planet Earth. If you get a chance to check it out, it’s worth the stop.

After that, we headed to yet another really cool demo. Froggie 5 & 10 is one cool spot! So many cool toys and candies in one place and such a relaxed atmosphere. Chase and the rest of the crew there know how to make you feel like you belong there instantly. There is a lot to be said for that sort of spirit. It lends itself to really fun demos and a mindset for learning and teaching. We had a few people we met at other demos come out to this one as well. It’s encouraging to see that people just can’t seem to get enough of the tour.

At this demo, we also met a guy who knocked our socks off. Stan Light came in and showed us a huge slice of history. He had FOUR mint in package Duncan Tournaments(crossed flags) from the late 1950’s. His parents had bought remaining stock from a shop that closed in the early 1960’s and he held on to those very cool classic yoyos all these years only to find himself in a position to share them with us. You just never know what you’re going to see out here on the road and this was super cool, super classy surprise. We can’t thank Stan enough for thinking of us enough to come out and be a part of it.
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privacy locks are a must and more life lessons

Posted in Daily Post, Events, Players, Yo-yos, crew on October 25th, 2009 by Jack Ringca

There is nothing like cramming a tons of really fun experiences into a single day. Today started out with a good breakfast and heading out to Toy Maven here in Dallas. The crew at Toy Maven is one of the most giving groups of people i have run into anywhere. The demo was well attended, well organized and straight up cool. All of the kids in attendance were super excited about learning more about yoyos and it seemed that the time just flew by. We even spent a little time after the demo to have a little lunch with the staff at Toy Maven. A very special word of thanks goes out to them and our new best friend, Harrison. He has only been playing for a little over a year but, he has come a seriously long way and will be a force to reckon with in the future yoyo scene.
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Later this afternoon, we went on over to the Learning Express(Dallas) and that was a demonstration full of one exciting moment after another. At first, we were slightly overwhelmed with how well attended it was. So many people stopped by and learned from us, it was hard to take it all in. It was definitely great to see so many people from so many walks of life coming to a show and getting involved. Men and women, boys and girls from all ages, there were there and they were hyped up on yoyos. And just when you think things had hit a  fever pitch, the current USA National FH Yoyo champion shows up and lends a hand. Miguel Correa is one of the coolest guys around and it was cool to see him interacting with yoyo fans at our demo. He was definitely an inspiration to a lot of the youngsters who came out.
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With so much momentum built up around us, we couldn’t end our day just because we had finished up our demos. We had a quick snack and Miguel showed us some of the sights of Dallas. As it turns out, I have a fascination with records and CDs so, Miguel took us to his favourite record store, Good Records, and I found some things I had been on the lookout for. Of course, we cause a bit of a ruckus everywhere we go so, the trip to the record store becomes a mini in store appearance. Then, on our way out, we meet up with some artists who just happen to be painting a mural across the street(stainless studios). They fell in love with the art that Whip! did on the van and so, we filled them in on everything there was to know about his art and the tour and yoyos in general. Naturally, this also becomes a impromptu demo and it’s just fun. From there, we decided to do a little clothing shopping at the local Buffalo Exchange before dinner. Yet again, we cause a ruckus just by being us and the staff at the exchange has us doing yet another impromptu demo. They ended up taking our picture for the store and telling us that us being there was heaps cooler than any of the “rockstar visits” they’d had. It feels pretty good to be told that you are ten times cooler than the killers. After all of that, we head off for dinner.

What better way to cap off the day than to add yet another yoyo champion to the mix. We met up with Yuuki Spencer(3 time USA national Champ/2 time World champ 1A) and have a pleasant evening of dinner, trading tricks and conversations about the history of yoyo. Did you know that the yoyo that Yuuki used to win the world yoyo contest in 2002 was a 1st generation bionic Freehand? That made me even more excited to have special edition bionic Freehand Zeros available on this tour. What a cool way to give a nod to the history that we’re all a part of. With 5 taste makers of the world yoyo scene sitting around a dinner table discussing what we’re all a part of, not only do we stand on the shoulders of a strong history, it seems that we are still in the process of writing it.

On days like these, it is very clear that we are nothing but lucky for being ourselves.

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More First Impressions.

Posted in Daily Post, Events, Yo-yos, juggling, reflections on October 23rd, 2009 by Jack Ringca

Jack Ringca is on the scene! Let me start by saying that the first day out here was the very best trip I ever had to New Mexico. Nothing beats stepping off of a flight and immediately hearing a gospel choir sing “oh happy day”. LITERALLY! That is definitely a great way to end up in a great mood. Seeing Hank and Seth is the perfect way to follow that up and riding in the coolest tour van the planet has ever seen also doesn’t hurt. Basically, a huge thanks and showering of love goes out to my day #1 on this tour. I can’t wait to see what we all do to step up the rest of it. Also, a huge thanks for everyone who made it to the Toys R  Us demo in Albuquerque. Great times were had by all and some people went home with their first yoyos.
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Like a super one two punch, the second day of the tour has bveenjust as fantastic. We had a demo at the US Army base at Fort Bliss. This started out as a more formal demo and quickly escalated into one of the most fun demos of my life. Not only was everyone way super attentive to the demo, EVERYONE took this as the perfect chance to learn to yoyo, spin tops, juggle and diabolo.  It’s really cool to see an entire room of soldiers and family members alike energized by the joy that these simple skills and toys can bring. The crowd at Fort Bliss was full of great learners and determined students of good times. If every demo was like this, the world would be a much happier and peaceful place.
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Now we’re on the hefty drive through West Texas. It’s a huge expanse that could pretty easily change your perspective on the world. Beautiful and sun drenched during the day and a little lonely during the night. either way you look at it, the desert has a lot of lessons to teach us and we’ve had great conversations on that, here in the van  over the miles so far. If you haven’t been on tour, you need to get out there and see as much as you can.  There is nothing like it. besides,  the stars at night really ARE big and bright deep int he heart of Texas.

On the Road Again

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22nd, 2009 by Seth Peterson

Today has been a long one.

It started out at 7am this morning as Hank and I hit the road from Phoenix, AZ to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The drive is around 6 hours, but we lost an hour due to time zones. We hit Albuquerque and picked up Jack Ringca at the airport, then headed straight to the Toys R Us demo we had. We didn’t know what to expect when we got there, but we where greeted by a group of yo-yoers.

After the demo we grabbed a bite to eat and hit the road again, this time to Fort Bliss, Texas. After Ft. Bliss we make the 10 trek to Dallas. I’m actually looking forward to driving in the west Texas desert.

Can’t wait to see the TX crew!