(disclaimer: no dolphins were hurt in the making of this blog post).
We've all done it. Got excited about Astrojax, wanted to share it with someone in the world. You've practiced your wording (see: orbit skill toy), how to describe them. And then, the moment of truth. The moment that decides your fate, whether you live or die;
You hand over your set of Astrojax to the noob!
This is a critical moment. This is where the words start flying. This is life or death. Why? You're about to teach a fresh face how to vertical orbit and you already know the ten ways it can go wrong.
You've done everything to prepare them (and yourself). You've shown them what a vertical orbit looks like. You've exaggerated the orbiting motion your hand does but that you don't see. You've used very precise and exaggerated words that "when you do it, you are NOT gonna rotate your hand this big. It doesn't take very much energy. Your hand orbits need to be so small I cannot see them. DO NOT DO BIG HAND ORBITS!!!"
Yeah, you yelled at them.
Because you know.
We all know.
Once they drop the ball from their non-dominant hand, all... chaos breaks loose.
Because what they did was get excited. What they heard was pieces of what you said ("...do... big... hand... orbits!")
And what they do next is... well, I think you know. And there's no stopping them (it's easier to punch a dolphin in the nose than try to stop them). They're gonna huge-hand-orbit regardless of their IQ level and how much you explained not to. They're gonna rubber-neck so as to avoid a small dent in their cranium (see: Astrojax Plus). You're gonna dive behind the nearest sofa or bush or ottoman because you were standing too close even though you knew better! You too want to live and not become another victim of the mistress we call Chaos. But alas.
Your fate is sealed.
Teaching a noob, any noob means abandoning all safety because in Astrojax, there are no guarantees. Especially when it comes to noobs. I have yet to meet the noob that can accurately vertical orbit on their first try. Show me a noob that can orbit like that and I'll show you a man with a furrowed eyebrow of distrust. Because I don't believe they exist. I think it's the natural evolution of anyone who has ever picked up a set of Astrojax.
But alas, you were brave. You sacrificed your well-being for a greater cause. You taught someone new how to start playing Astrojax. You laughed with them as a smile spread across their face at the sheer craziness of their first chaotic orbit. And who knows? This sacrifice may lead to something grand. Sure, they may never buy or play with a set again. On the other hand, your commitment and sacrifice to that one individual may bring forth destiny. Destiny of a person who, after they take their first vertical orbit, becomes addicted and an avid Astrojax player and contributor to our community.
Worth it? You bet it is.
Just remember, once they release that first ball, run!
Hey all! OceanJax here.
It's summer and when I think of summer, I think of... well, a lot of things. Hot dogs. Especially hot dogs... mmmmmmm, hot dogs....
But when it comes to summer and skill toys, I can't think of two concepts that go better together (except for maybe hot dogs and summer, but I think we've covered that). The days are warm. The nights are cool. The hot dogs are fresh (why are we still mentioning hot dogs...)
What that all means is: It's time to play!
You already know that USAstrojax is your head-quarters for a vast array of skill toy fun, and I'm sure you are more than familiar with your favorite daytime skill toy. But have you had a chance to light up the night? And I don't mean with the midnight grilling of hot dogs (DOH!).
What I am talking about are light-up skill toys. Yes, USAstrojax has those too! From Boing balls to Saturns to Aqua Glows, you are sure to find the perfect nighttime companion to your skill toy repertoire.
My favorite? The Saturn Astrojax. The beauty of the Saturn series is three-fold:
This is a game you can play with the Lolly move. If you are not familiar with the lolly, check out this video to learn how (it's easy to learn, takes some time to gain complete control):
Ok, so you have your astrojax, your have your friends, and now you need some items you can knock down: bottles, cans, antique collectibles (ESPECIALLY those).
Set up the knockdown-ables, say on a fence or a wall. First player then proceeds to try to knock down all the targets as quick as possible. Person with the quickest time wins.
Or, set a (quick) time limit and see how many a player can knock down in the allotted time. Person that knocks down the most, wins.
Those are some suggestions. Got any ideas of your own? Be sure to share them in the comments. We'd love to hear them!
~~ OceanJax :)
Ok, so. You may be asking yourself why are we talking about vertical orbits? Do vertical orbits even matter?
This was a topic that was brought up by the father of Astrojax, Larry Shaw, one day at AP-Club. We had an in-depth discussion about the weight of vertical orbits as it relates to AJ play and for some reason, this topic has seemed to stick out in my mind above any other. And while the unanimous answer was "Yes, they matter!", the question still lingered (longer) in my mind.
If you were to know anything about me (besides my affinity for rambling and using the word "avid"), you would know that I'm very much the deep-minded thinker type (whatever that means). Basically, AJ play is more than just play. It's a lifestyle. It's a form of meditation. And simply, it is indeed play. But when you combine all those aspects into one, you start to ponder things like "do vertical orbits matter" at a deep level that would make Ghandi say "whoa". I mean, seriously. We're talking the equivalent of asking a yo-yo player "does it matter if the yoyo spins at the rate of a ga-gillion miles per hour in order to do your awesome tricks?"
Vertical orbits matter.
And I think the reason I have pondered this for so long is because of the question. You know the question all you Jaxologists out there. The one that makes you stumble over your words and go, "well, uh..."
The question: "What are those things?"
If you're prone to busting out your AJ's in public, you're guaranteed this question. The simple answer, "Oh, these? These are Astrojax!", leads to the inevitable follow-up.
"So, what are they?" (yeah, pretty much the same question as the first one because they want an explanation).
And begins the stuttering.
"So, these... uh... Astrojax are... uh... three balls... on a string. Are you following me. And you sort of do this... (here you show them some amazing trick like a reverse fabulous that you NAILED over and over again in solo practice but cannot seem to pull off fluidly when it counts)."
"It's like a yo-yo..." (I think that's how I've started over 99% of this conversation - it's nothing like a yoyo really). "Do you know what a skill toy is..."
And on and on. Looking for the words. Coming up short. What do you say? "I'm controlling the chaos, MAN!" That doesn't go over to well.
So, after many attempts at coming up with the perfect words, I found the key word.
We orbit. We spin. 99% of the tricks we do involve orbiting in some fashion. You think this would pretty obvious (it wasn't to me), with tricks like vertical ORBIT, horizontal ORBIT, butterfly ORBIT,... you get my drift. Larry gave us the answer from the get-go. Now I know that the latest Astrojax, the MX, is marketed as "the free-dimensional swinging ball toy", but to say this is an orbiting skill toy is so much shorter and has some punch just by using that word orbit. You say orbit, you think something grand, something colossal like what planets do. You say swing, you think, kids swinging at the park. It just didn't feel right constantly saying "I'm just swinging my balls around" (See: parents rushing their children away from questionable skill toy weirdo).
All joking aside, at the heart of the matter, we orbit. Take some time when you play next and consider each trick you do. Observe how each trick contains some form of an orbit. Even lollies, though they look like they're shooting straight out in any which way, have quick quarter or half orbits.
So why am I saying all this? Why all the hubbub about orbits and if they matter? Because they do. It gives us a powerful word to extend our Astrojax community to potential new members. To market to them, yes, but to let people know what we do.
As far as vertical orbits? Well, when you start stringing tricks together, weaving from one trick to another, a good percentage of the time you will end up in some variation of a vertical orbit. It's the easiest orbit to drop into. It's the equivalent of the yo-yo player's sleeper. It's the first trick you learn and the one trick that quickly becomes your foundation.
So consider it. Learn it. Master it. Blend it. Weave it. Make it your own. And make the word orbit become powerful prose in your conversation with others when they ask, "what are those things?"