Ah summer- nowhere in the world does it hold the enticing allure of pool parties, lemonade, and baseball the way it does right here in the U.S.A. That's why, in celebration of childrens' exodus from public education all over the country and in honor of our Independence Day (must...refrain...from making Will Smith reference), we're releasing not one, but TWO new, specially tuned sets of astrojax for the months of July and August!
What are they, you ask? Well, we're not quite ready to let the eagle out of the bag, but we will show you this black & white photo that will allow you to ponder the possibilities. So make sure you're checking back and stay tuned (pun intend), because a new color will be revealed each day over the next 3 days! And when it is? You'd better act fast because we're relegating these models to the vault at the end of August. We should mention our actual vault is located in Fort Knox and unless you've got Nicolas Cage on your side to hunt it down, these particular National treasures will be forever lost to the annals of history!
Tell us that doesn't put a horrifying T. Roosevelt smile on your face!
Personally I'm a huge fan of our more recently released Phoenix Jax. NO, it's not just because of all of the Avengers vs. X-Men hoopla lately and the return of The Phoenix….ahem, mostly, but they're just a great looking set of Jax.
Ask the Reader is a new, ongoing series where we'll be prompting you to respond and tell us what your opinion is on anything and everything skill-toy. Sometimes it'll be related to your favorite tricks or methods, and other times we're asking because our previously mentioned team of robot monkeys enjoy the validation of knowing the latest and greatest creeping out of our laboratory is on par with what you're looking for.
So, let's start simple and we'd like to know in no uncertain terms (meaning don't answer in binary, nerds) what types of custom-tuned color combinations would you like to see? We've got an amazing lineup, but to be fair there are millions of combinations out there and if the community calls for it, then by golly we'll create every single one of them!*
*Editor's Note: Josh, this is absolutely infeasible, remove this part of the post IMMEDIATELY. It doesn't even make sense accidentally and you're hurting the bottom line when you make outlandish promises that we can't deliver on or that, in this case, are literally impossible. Besides, you know how over-worked the monkeys already are.
**Supreme Writer of Awesomeness: Jim, I will not stand idly by while you trample on my dream of owning cornflower blue Astrojax. Unless you fire me. Then I will stand idly by while you trample my dreams.
It's plain to see we have a certain fondness for Astrojax, but that doesn't mean we can ignore our roots. Innovation is innovation whether that's from your favorite tech company or your favorite toys. With that in mind, it wouldn't behoove us at all to forget our roots and where our passion was born. That's why this post will provide you a light overview of what it took to get from there to here aaaaand back again. (Couldn't help it, too excited for The Hobbit) So without further adieu, here are 5 things you probably didn't know about the Yo-Yo.
No, you didn't read that wrong, the earliest known instance of someone playing with a Yo-Yo is from Greece where a painted vase dated from around this period that depicted a boy playing with one.
While historians still debate fiercely whether the boy was indeed walking the dog, the smug look on his face leads many to believe that he was performing something far fiercer, no doubt to entertain the throngs of smoking hot greek ladies cheering him on. To be fair, toys were often gifted to the gods back then ceremonially at certain ages so it's likely at least at that point that it was used less as a toy and more as an indicator of maturity.
Certain tricks require that a Yo-Yo remain spinning freely at the end of its string like the absolute rebel boss that it is. However, what allows a Yo-Yo to return when given that slight tug isn't magic or some bizarre human/object peer pressure, but rather that for the brief instant the string is tugged, friction increases between the string and the axel which causes it to pop back up to your hand.
I know right? Your head just exploded. But, I'm not going to make it any easier on you because the actual science behind how what began as a string and a terra cotta disk operates is pretty astounding. It's a delicate balance between potential energy (whereby the yo-yo can fall to the ground or spin as it travels down the string and unwinds) and the kinetic energy generated by the gyroscopic stability of the action. Or, more simply, science makes you look like an honest-to-goodness wizard as you get better and better so hooray!
No joke. I'm not just talking about who has yo-yoed the longest or has done the most consecutive loop the loops, but insane records like this dapper gentleman:
Ah yes, another day, another challenge! This time though, we wanna see your personal astrojax stomping ground. Do you throw your lollys in Bali? How about a Turbune in Irvine? So you do the Charleston in...uh, Charleston?
Wherever it is that you let your inner jaxogist conduct mad experiments, we don't want to hear about it- we want to see it!
Here's the deal (which, if you were already subscribed to our fabulous newsletter you'd already know, but we're not judging- honest.)
Photos will be judged based on quality, creativity, and of course, location. Three photos will be selected to receive gift certificates redeemable at www.USAstrojax.com.
1st place winner receives $50.
2nd place winner receives $35.
3rd place winner receives $25.
4th place winner gets nothing! Good DAY, sir!
Additional details our lawyers make us put in:
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 :)
Time for another showcase of just how dazzlingly spectacular a true Jaxologist can be. Chris has been a player since as early as 2002 and it shows. Even back then he had a natural intuition and and flawless form, seamlessly transitioning from one trick to the next. Check it out here!
Our team of old-timey researchers were as stunned as you are by this development. Where did it come from? What is it for? At first our curiousity was equalled only by our undeniable disappointment once we discerned it could not be eaten. But just then, something happened. A world of possibility opened up before us in a comically-timed eureka moment and Xa was assimilated into the USAstrojax collective!
Let's start with the obvious- what can you do with Xa? Well, my dear scholar that is where it gets interesting. Though we haven't quite cobbled together a lightbox that displays (I swear it by Odin's raven) moving pictures, Jimothy assures me such a device will allow us to provide you a far more wondrous and ocularly pleasing demonstration within a fortnight.
Until then, here are some of the particulars we've come to adore about the gelatinous little fellow:
weight: 34 Grams
diameter: 70mm in diameter
taste: absolute rubbish
component materials: An apparent thermal plastic resin harmoniously blended into a tri-woven alien polymer so as to sustain the unicorn dreams within it.*
Researcher's Note: (That last part is merely a theory of Sir Jason, but I've had no occasion to doubt his idiosyncratic ravings and to be fair it would explain the holes.)
So what can one do with Xa? Well, for starters:
Now that I've had a spell to ponder the particulars of this advancement whilst satiating my palate with tasty vittles from the corner delectables shoppe, I've decided that perhaps you'd best take a crack at it. We (and our dapper moustaches) have been at this for weeks and frankly we're about to crinkle our cravats at all of the maddening possibilities!
If you'd care to investigate the device and report your OWN findings back to us, provided you can pay the shipping from our meager (though still secret) laboratory you can procure one of our native samples for your own experimentation and together? Why we'll show that Tesla fool yet!
And who knows? Perhaps one who can unravel its secrets might be rewarded handsomely from our lab in some way?
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?"
Allow myself to introduce... myself.
My name is OceanJax, contributing writer to the Jaxology blog and avid Astrojax player. And when I say avid, I mean as in "showing great enthusiasm for".
I want to say hello and let you know that I'll be dropping by quite often to post some Jaxology tips, tricks, and probably some wackiness too. We'll also be talking about other skill toys that I may or may not be good at :/
But alas! It will be fun, informative, and spelled correctly (I'm also a word nerd and Anti-Word-Spelled-Wrong-on-Websites Activist or AWSWOWA for short... I wouldn't say I'm an "avid" AWSWOWA-ist, but I'm pretty into it).
Also, I'm into these things:
And these are things I'd like to be into:
So yeah. If you don't hate me by now after reading all that drivel (see above), leave comments. Ask questions. And let's have fun!