Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Type of Player Are You?

by Crazy Ivan

First of all, I should apologize for getting to the blog so late today.  I'd love to have a solid story about how I was off rescuing orphans from a burning bus with no breaks that couldn't go below 60 mph or it would explode... but alas, it's just really nice out and I've been outside playing all day.

So I apologize if I left anyone feeling neglected.  Sometimes, you just have to get on your unicycle and go.

But as I was one-wheeling my way around the neighborhood today, I was reflecting on the growth and evolution of the game over the last 6 years.  Back in the day there were so few people in the game that it didn't make much sense to break them down into categories.  If you were specific at all, there would only be 2 or 3 people in each category.

That's not to say that we didn't break them down.  We did, it's just that it was essentially pointless.

The big dividing line back then was between the "athletic" player and the "skill-toy" player.  We noticed early on that people who played a lot of team sports and really athletic games usually took to the toss and catch aspect of the game but were slower to pick up on the tricks.  People who did a lot of skill toy stuff like yo-yo, hacky sack or juggling usually took to the tricks aspect really quick but were slower to learn the toss and catch.

These days, most people fall more into the "tricks" side rather than the "catch' side.  There are still plenty of athletic Myachi players, but most of them still spend the bulk of their Myachi efforts on tricks.

But there's also been a big shift toward other games in Myachi.  When we first started noticing the difference, the only Myachi games we regularly played were MYACH and Golf.  MYACH was the trickster game and Golf was the athletic game (not that it's particularly athletic, but it does require a different type of skill than MYACH).

Today people play a lot less Myachi Golf and instead they play a lot more Fu, Net, Chaos and Table Pong.  In addition, there are a few more "trick" games that we play as well.  MYACH is still the king of the castle but it has a few competitors like Chain and Tricktionary.

If we wanted to, I suppose we could break Myachi players down into a dozen categories, but the old school dichotomy of athletic/skill toy or external (tossing back and forth, playing with someone else, tossing into a target) and internal (learning new tricks, inventing moves, setting records).  of course, nobody is all of one or all the other.  Pretty much all of us have elements of both, but generally you'll be more internal or more external as you play more and more.

A third category should really be added these days, though.  For some people it's not about learning tricks or competing in games, but rather the purpose of Myachi is social: STWAKOJ, collecting, trading, interacting with the online community... for many Myachi Maniacs, this is a far bigger part of the game than anything that involves actually playing Myachi.

So which are you?  The easiest way is to imagine that you're in a situation where you're hanging out with a bunch of great Myachi players.  Maybe add a few Myachi Masters into the mix.  Everybody brought their collection.  Everybody has mad skills.  And everybody has to leave in about 20 minutes.  Suddenly, everybody turns to you and asks you to decide what to do with that time.

You have three choices:
  1. Big game of MYACH
  2. Big game of Fu
  3. Make some trades
So which are you?  Give it some thought and leave your answer in the comments section below...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Why Did We Make the Vette?

by Crazy Ivan

I got this question the other day at HQ and it wasn't the first time I'd heard it: "Why did you guys even make the Vette?"

For those who aren't in the know on this one, the Vette was a stiff, notoriously difficult jammer that came out in series 4.1.  Of course, when I hear this question, it's not only about the Vette.  The Vette might be the toughest jammer of all time, but it has some competition.  Before the Vette came out, the question was "Why did you guys make the Zoot Suit?", and before that it was "Why did you guys make the Candy Corn?" and way back when I first started with Myachi, it was "Why did you guys make the Neo?"

As much as it pains me to admit it, these are all legitimate questions.  Why would we purposely make Myachis that were tougher to jam with than they needed to be?

The answer, of course, is that we wouldn't.  We would never purposely make a Myachi that was tough to jam with, but on occasion, we've been guilty of accidentally doing so.

I think that we can all agree that the majority of sacks are great jammers (especially if you compare them to the Vette), so the percentages of tough fabrics is really low.  But they're still out there and that often leads people to wonder why we don't just stick to the proven fabrics like corduroy and suede.

The interesting thing is that if we were inclined to take that advice, we never would have known that corduroy and soft-suede could be such good jammers.

Back when I first started with Myachi, the model "bad Myachi" was the water proof Neo.  It was a terrible jammer unless it was drenched so a lot of people wondered why we didn't just stick to the proven fabrics like microsuede.  At the time, I was too new to the game to know the answer myself, so I asked Myachi Man.

He explained then that the only way to get better was to evolve.  We have to experiment with fabrics or we'll never find the great ones.  When we find one that stinks, we can cross it off the list and never use it again, but once in a while you find a diamond in the rough.

I don't believe that this answer satisfied me at the time, but over the years it's come to make a lot more sense.  The first corduroy that I can recall was the Fudge Stripe.  It was an awesome sack but it wasn't a great jammer.  When we went back to the corduroy for the Fire Flower, I had my doubts.

Of course, this turned out to be arguably the best fabric of all time and now the vast majority of new series sacks are made from it.  The introduction of that fabric back in 07 changed the game.  And had we been of less adventurous spirit, we might have started using nothing but corduroy from that point forward.  After all, it was a proven fabric that game in a gazillion designs.

And if we'd done that we never would have found the soft-suede that Pakisacks made famous.

In retrospect, an occasional Vette is a small price to pay for discovery.

What I Do For a Living

by Crazy Ivan

The longer i work for Myachi, the harder it gets to answer the question "What do you do for a living?"

This seemingly innocuous inquiry can usually be satisfied with a few words.  Some proffessions are lucky enough to dispatch it with a few syllables; doctor, lawyer, pastor, cab driver, waitress.  Others require a couple of words but remain relatively simple; I work IT for an employment service, for example.

But not so for Myachi Masters.  Even in my earliest days with the company the question was tough to answer.  When people asked I would tell them that I demonstrated a toy at Dollywood.  This was never the end of the conversation, of course, since I would then have to explain which toy, which would lead to me showing the person what a Myachi is and teaching them a few tricks.

I guess I have one of the few jobs that you have to start doing as soon as people ask you what you do.

Over the years my job description has expanded.  Instead of simply demonstrating at Dollywood, I started to demonstrate all over the country.  But in addition to demonstration I also started doing private events like birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs.  I also started doing school assemblies and trade shows.  At that point, "I demonstrate a toy" was no longer sufficient to explain what I did.

By then I'd taken to simply saying "I play with toys" in response.  This would always lead to a long conversation where I'd get as in depth about Myachi as the inquisitor cared to go.  Turns out that it was usually pretty far.

I was reminded today how much tougher it keeps getting.  Over the last few years the company has expanded quite a bit and I've found a number of new responsibilities falling in my lap.  My job description has now swelled to include things like writing this blog, filming the trick of the day, maintaining the warehouse, human resources, R&D, artwork consultation, copy-writing (not copyrighting) and, of course, all the other stuff I used to do as well.

I love the job, but describing it has gotten so difficult that when people ask me what I do, I feel like I should start by saying "Chapter One: The Game"...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reasons Why I Love My Job #63

by Crazy Ivan

I'm sweating like crazy and I'm not looking forward to how I'm going to smell on the drive home, but it was well worth it.

If you've ever hung out at Myachi HQ, you're familiar with the target we use for our golf tournaments.  It's essentially like an archery target; a bulls eye in the middle and a few larger target circles around it.  Normally, when we play Myachi Golf, the bulls eye is three points, the next ring is two points and the outermost ring is worth one.

To keep the floor clear, we hung the target up on one of the walls so it was only a matter of time before we started playing a version of basketball with it.  I just stepped out to make a phone call and when I came back in, I suddenly found myself in the midst of a 2 on 2 game of exactly that.  Two maniacs, Landslide and Zach (who is considering the Myachi name "Bunnicula") were playing with Monk and their dad.

Myachi basketball is a lot of fun as Fresh has demonstrated a number of times in the past.  As fun as the game is, it is not the #63 reason why I love my job.  That's actually a reference to the fact that dad was playing, too.

No surprise that a guy dad's age would want to play Myachi.  After all, their dad is about 19 months older than me so definitely still in his Myachi prime.  But I love the fact that Myachi offers a game that father and son can play together (or, in this case, a game that father and son and son and Monk can play together).

When I was growing up, there were two distinct classes of game; traditional sports that my dad would play with me and everything else.  When I got into Transformers or Pogs as a kid, I couldn't exactly expect my dad to play along.  As I got older, my favorite toys changed to things like skateboards and bikes, but still it wasn't something my dad was going to play along with.  He's a pretty skilled dude, but there was no way I was going to teach him to ollie.

But I have to think that if I'd gotten into Myachi at the age of 12, my dad would have been just like the dad out in the gameroom right now.  He's be playing until he dropped.  I would teach him new moves, he would invent his own combos and when the weather was nice, we'd be outside doing some long distance passing.

The best possible thing a game can do is bring people together.  It feels really good to go home at the end of the night knowing that you've helped to strengthen the bonds of a family.

I'd continue to spout sentimentality, but as I write this, I'm missing some serious Myachi basketball...

Riding a Myachi

by Crazy Ivan

Like most of the tricks in Myachi, the skate tricks grew organically from the larger movement.  We started off doing them accidentally; a toss almost always includes some kind of flip or spin to the Myachi.  It wasn't until we'd been doing it for some time that people started to point out that we were doing "skate tricks" with them.  With fingerboards just becoming popular, we cashed in on this angle and added dozens of skate-based spins and flips (along with adding the Half Pipe to tie them all together).

Shove-its, Kick-Flips, Heel-Flips, Hard-Flips, Tail Grabs, Caspers, Tre Flips, Manuals (which are as hard as you think they'd be) and Impossibles all grew from this initial inspiration.

Of course, unlike a Tech-Deck, there are no fingers riding your Myachi.  It makes all of these tricks far easier (especially since you don't have to worry about landing wheels down) so most people could pick up a repertoire of skate tricks in no time.

The drawback to moves that are easy to learn, however, is that they're not much fun to do.  It's the challenge that makes Myachi moves so fun, so once you've mastered the basic skate tricks, you don't really get much use out of them.

In an effort to add a new challenge to that genre, I conceived of a quick and easy twenty-five cent solution.  You deck just needs a passenger:

By dropping a quarter onto the Myachi, you've completely changed the game.  Go ahead and try it.  Put a Myachi in Lotus Position, drop a quarter on top of it and then try to do a 180 degree Shove-It without letting the quarter fly off.

You'll get it, and you might even get it on your first try, but you'll see the challenge as well.  This requires much more precise movements than traditional skate tricks.  If the Shove-It isn't tough enough for you, try getting a full 360 degree spin out of it.  Obviously, you can just keep adding half spins until you reach your limit.

But there's a lot more to it than that.  You can also do Kick-Flips and Heel-Flips like that.  For those, you have to go true skate-style; the quarter will have to pop off the Myachi and then land back on it after the trick.

For that, you'll need to worry about the starting position.  For the Kick Flip, you'll want to start with the quarter hanging off the wrist-side edge of the Myachi like so:

From this position, a Kick Flip will launch the quarter up and if you do it with enough control, you'll have a great shot at catching it again.  The Heel Flip is essentially the same, though you'll be doing it with the quarter hanging off the opposite side of the sack:

The key on these moves is control.  If you were just doing a Kick-Flip sans quarter, you'd probably put a ton of spin on it and actually end up with a quadruple Kick-Flip or more.  Without a quarter-rider, doing a quadruple Kick-Flip isn't much tougher than doing a single.  But when you add the passenger, things get a lot tougher.

There's no reason to stop there.  One of the coolest looking variations on this comes from the Tail Grab.  For this one, you'll need the quarter way out toward your index finger like so:

From there you can pop the Myachi up, to the Tail Grab, flip the Myachi back into position and catch the quarter.

There are a lot more tricks that can be done here.  It's extremely difficult, but you can even manage an Impossible by starting with the Myachi in the position shown above (except that you wouldn't have your pinky over top of the Myachi).  Like any new genre of tricks, the key is to get creative.  Look at the various skate moves and ask yourself how you could add a rider to them.

A word of warning, though.  Make sure you don't really need that quarter for something else.  I've lost a few bucks worth of quarters learning these tricks already.  Turns out that when you miss, that quarter doesn't like to stay put.  I've had them roll off into gutters, fly off into corners never to be seen again and bounce into bushes and disappear.  I wouldn't worry about that too much, though, as money doesn't go as far as it did back then.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

E-Bay and the Price of Myachis

by Crazy Ivan

Right now, if you go to E-Bay and search Myachi you'll find a few gems.  There's a mint condition Black Belt, a Made in Mexico Zebra, a Dodge still in the blister and even a three pack that includes a PS2, a Sobe Flames and a Black Butter (with a Myachi wristband thrown in for good measure).  There's also plenty of commons and NBAs offered from the various E-Bay stores that carry Myachi.

I'm sure a lot of people go to E-Bay for their regular Myachi purchases.  If not, these "E-Bay Stores" wouldn't keep reordering.  But that's not what this article is about.  This one isn't about the commons on there, but rather the rares.  And more specifically, the uber-rares.

See, there was a time when if you wanted any particular Myachi bad enough, all you had to do was ask Myachi Man for it enough times.  Heck, Pinky managed to talk him into giving me an Iridescent Rainbow (although it took her about 3 years).  But now Myachi Man's supply of ubers is too small to risk giving any more away and most of the paper tags that are still in circulation have found their way into the hands of some really tight-fisted collectors.

The result, as the rules of supply and demand would predict, is that you end up with Myachis going for extremely inflated prices.  Right now, the mint condition Black Belt on there is sitting at $51 with 3 days left on the auction and only 2 bids.  If it went for under $80 it would be cheaper than the last Black Belt I saw on E-Bay and if it goes for under $125 it won't be the most expensive Black Belt I've seen on E-Bay.

On one hand, this is a sure sign of the continued success of the company.  Myachi doesn't sell rare Myachis on E-Bay so we never see any of that money, but the fact that there is a demand for long retired sacks is a positive commentary on the increasing popularity of the game.

But on the other hand, it means that a lot of collectors and Myachi fanatics find themselves priced out of the game altogether.  While some collectors clearly have the desire and means to pay upwards of $100 (and on a few occasions upwards of $500) for a single Myachi, most don't.  Most collectors are kids who are relying on the generosity of their parents or their summer-job savings to pick up new Myachis and if they're faced with buying one sack for $50 or 10 sacks for $50, they'll most often take the latter.

Understandably, a lot of Myachi Maniacs have been frustrated by the outrageous inflation in collectible Myachi prices that we've seen over the last 4 or 5 years.  It all but guarantees that they will never get their hands on the really rare Myachis that they want for their collection.  Even those of us within the company feel that.  I know that my paper tag collection isn't going to get much bigger as long as a paper tag Myachi can fetch $200+ on E-Bay.

But there's another angle to this, of course.  The people who are frustrated are on the "wanting" end of the equation.  This means that the people on the "having" side of the equals sign are smiling from ear to ear.  Keep in mind that the dude who is auctioning off the Black Belt probably didn't pay more than $10 for it.  Heck, they might not have paid for it at all since most of the Belts were given away rather than sold.

So if you find yourself frustrated by the continued growth in the price of collectible sacks, comfort yourself by looking at the Myachis in your collection.  As you watch them, they are slowly growing in value.  What you can buy today for $5, you might be able to sell in five years for $100.  That's a pretty good investment (which might be a good way to talk your folks into buying you more Myachis).  In fact, consider this:

Cost of a Black Belt in 2006: $10
Cost of a Black Belt in 2011: <$51

That's a five year increase of over 500%

All I'm saying is that if the stock prices for your Fortune 500 companies had done the same thing, we wouldn't be dealing with any economic crisis.

Friday, May 27, 2011

How to do a 360, 720, 1080 and More...

by Crazy Ivan

It's among the first moves we teach in the world of Myachi.  It's one of the most familiar and most recognizable moves in the game.  It's one of the most common moves that you'll see done and it's also one of the most common moves you'll see done incorrectly.

The 360 is a relatively simple move to learn if you know how to do it.  Adding rotations is one of the most common and rewarding challenges in the game and it's also a great way to master your split second catch as well as building up some incredible hand speed.

But it's also really easy to do this move incorrectly.  Far too few people just toss the Myachi up in the air, swing their hand in a quick circle and then catch it, calling the move they just did a 360.

But for a true 360, your hand must go around the Myachi.  It's not enough just to move your hand in a tight circle as the Myachi is in the air; your hand must actually orbit around the sack so that it is left of, above, right of and finally below the Myachi.

So let's start with the basics.  Begin with the Myachi in Lotus Position on your strong hand.  Toss the Myachi about a foot to eighteen inches in the air and be careful to make sure that throw goes straight up and comes straight back down.  Just try that a few times, trying to keep the toss at the same height every time.

Once you're getting that consistently, you're ready to do the actual 360.  The key on this move, more than any other, is to separate the motions.  Toss up just like you did before and make sure that Myachi is going straight up before you circle around it.

Notice the arrow there.  It goes up a bit and then makes the circular motion.  That is exactly what you want your hand to do.  You want it to go straight up (the throw) and then around (the 360).  You should have more than enough time to get around the sack and be ready for the catch.

It's important to separate these motions as well.  In all there are three steps to the 360 and they should all be done consecutively (and separately):
  1. The Throw
  2. The Circle
  3. The Catch
For many people, the hardest part of this move is slowing their hand down for the catch.  Your hand will have to be moving quickly to get around in time, but you'll want it to be moving nice and slow as you make the catch.  This transition between fast and slow is the most common stumbling block in this move.

But that's pretty easy.  Heck, you could probably learn that move and have it mastered in the time it took me to write the first part of this article.  The real trick is when you start pushing it for multiple rotations.  For most people the 360 is pretty easy.  The 720 is pretty tough.  The 1080 is super tough.  Anything higher will require some serious effort and practice.

Again, remember that your hand must completely circle the Myachi in every rotation.  A 720 with a brief wiggle of the wrist at the end is not a 1080.  You must get a full orbit on every circle for the move to count.

The first thing you'll need to do is maximize the time you get in the toss.  Normally, you could just toss higher if you needed more time for a move, but since your hand has to move over the top of the Myachi in this trick that option is off the table.  If you throw too high, you won't be able to circle it at all.

Instead, you'll want to add height to the bottom of the toss.  That might sound ridiculous at first, but the picture below will show you exactly what I mean:

Notice that in this pic my hand is only about 6 or 8 inches off the ground.  For a 360 I would just throw from waist high, but for the higher rotation moves I have to start and end really close to the ground.  This allows for a lot more time going around the Myachi.  Obviously if you're throwing from a few feet lower, you have that much more time to circle the Myachi.

When I go for high rotations, I lock my wrist and spin at the elbow, but many players have more luck by keeping their wrists loose and using them to augment the circular motion.  Try this both ways and see what works for you.  Just remember, if there's any question in your mind as to whether or not you got all the way around the Myachi, odds are that you didn't.

You'll want to move through the ranks in order.  No reason to try a 1440 before you've hit the 720.  So as soon as you master one move, it's time to work on the next one.  Got the 720?  Time to work the 1080.  Got the 1080?  Time to work on that 1440.  Got the 1440?  Ice down that arm and get ready for the 1800.

Remember that height does really come into play on this move.  It's all but impossible to do a 1440 if you're under five feet tall.  Somebody who is Kid Myach sized (really tall) will have more time to make their rotations than somebody Pinky sized (really small).  The important thing when you go for the high numbers is to fully extend your arm at the top of the throw.

That being said, I have no doubt that eventually someone will crack the 2160 barrier and hopefully someday 8 or even 9 rotations will be commonplace amongst experienced jammers.  Until that day, focus on crisp, quick motions.

And like every move, you need to learn this one on both hands.  It will also help to learn to go clockwise and counterclockwise with both hands.  A person who has mastered the 720 both ways with both hands has opened up at least 26 tricks that I can think of:
  1. The 360
  2. Reverse 360
  3. Weak hand 360
  4. Weak hand Reverse 360
  5. 720
  6. Reverse 720
  7. Weak Hand 720
  8. Reverse Weak Hand 720
  9. Wolverine
  10. Double Wolverine
  11. Reverse Wolverine
  12. Double Reverse Wolverine
  13. Sonic
  14. Double Sonic
  15. Reverse Sonic
  16. Double Reverse Sonic
  17. Butterfly
  18. Reverse Butterfly
  19. Double Butterfly
  20. Double Reverse Butterfly
  21. Alternating 360s (Strong -> Weak)
  22. Alternating 360s (Weak -> Strong)
  23. 360 Rewind
  24. Reverse 360 Rewind
  25. Weak-Hand 360 Rewind
  26. Reverse Weak-Hand 360 Rewind
...not bad for a days work.

PS If you think of any other derivatives of these moves, leave them in the comments section and I'll add them to the list.  Thanks!

10 Days Left!

by Crazy Ivan

Just a quick reminder about the YouTube Trick of the Day Video Contest (man, this thing needs a shorter name).  There are still 10 days left to enter your video to win.

Keep in mind that I've added several new Clipper variations since Mantis put up his video of 68 tricks (which still holds the lead).  The list on the original post about this contest has been updated with all the tricks from this week so there are a total of 93 tricks that you could now do in your video.

I should note that Mantis has all but guaranteed himself the win for one of the prizes.  One prize, of course, goes to the person who has the most tricks on a single, unedited video by the time the contest ends on June 7th (at midnight plus a minute).  The other will go to the person who leads for the longest period during the contest.

For a while it looked like Max might walk away with that one after he held the lead for 7 straight days (a lead he took from Mantis, by the way).  Mantis took the lead back a week later and has held it ever since.  This means that he has held the lead for a total of 9 days now compared to Max's 7.  Max could take the lead back now and really give him a rund for his money, but there's also time for a newcomer to sneak in and dominate the whole competition.  Holding the lead from now until the contests end would be just enough to knock Mantis out of the running.

Of course, that will take some considerable skill.  This week's Trick of the Day theme was a tough one, but next week we'll be doing some pretty basic elbow stalls and variations so it should be easy to pump up your total by a bit once these tricks start coming about.

So if you think you've got what it takes to earn two of the best jammers in my personal collection, by all means, click the link above, film your video and get in!  Remember, for your video to ocunt you MUST send me a link.  You can send it to me via email (crazyivan@myachi.com) or you can send it to me via pm on the Myachi Forum.

Good luck!

A Safe Way to Mail Trade

by Crazy Ivan

Kid Myach is fond of saying that Myachi is all about looking good and having fun, but there's a lot more to it than that.  Of the many other things that Myachi is about, one of my favorites is the way that Myachi builds communities and makes friends.  I can't tell you how many times I've watched people from different parts of the country (or the world) become fast friends over a few Myachi trades or a quick Behind the Back tutorial.

Of course, as a company we try to foster this aspect fo the game through our online forum, our Facebook page, this blog and many of our other cyber-tendrils.  I've made Myachi friends on five continents through our online outreach.  I've also watched as friendships have been forged between the many Myachi Maniacs.  I can only imagine how much fun it would be if we were somehow able to orchestrate a "forum meetup" somewhere where all the forum regulars could meet in meatspace.

One of the consequences of having the movement so spread out is that we wind up having people in different parts of the country making trades.  Trading has become as integral a part of Myachi Mania as playing Fu or making shred videos, so it's to be expected.  And luckily for us, the USPS is there to facilitate the trades and make them relatively cheap.

The first time I participated in a mail trade was in 2006 and I traded a few Myachis with a former forum frequenter in Ireland.  Since then I've made mail trades with people in Asia, Europe, Australia and, of course, plenty in North America as well.  I can't imagine how one would calculate the total number of Myachi mail-trades that have gone on nationwide, but I think it's fair to estimate that there have been at least several hundred.

Inevitably, some of the trades have gone wrong.  While the vast majority have ended with both parties happy, I've heard of a few occasions where one half of a mail trade was less than honest and didn't send out their half of the trade.

Understandably, when moving into one's first mail trade, a lot of people are nervous.  After all, you might feel like you know somebody online, but you've never actually met them and for all you know they were just stringing you along so they could lie to you about a mail trade.  I know that this is the exception, but when you're doing a mail trade you're going on blind faith that the other person will send you their half of the trade.  Otherwise you'll end up simply giving away a Myachi or two.

Knowing this, Pinky has generously offered to help anyone out who is looking for a safe way to mail-trade.  The Myachi HQ will be happy to act as a layover station for mail trades under a few select conditions (listed below).

The advantages are obvious.  Instead of Adam mailing a Myachi to Bill and Bill mailing a Myachi to Adam, both Adam and Bill mail their Myachis to Myachi HQ.  Pinky then mails Bill's to Adam and Adam's to Bill, but only once both Myachis have come in.  This way if Bill never sends his half of the trade, Pinky can just send Adam back his Myachi and nobody gets ripped off.

There are, of course, a few rules on this.  We can't afford to ship all over the country (and the world) on our dime, so to do this, you'll have to provide enough postage to either (a) mail the Myachi on to the person you are trading with or (b) mail it back to you.  To keep things all legal and on the up and up, you will need to basically package the Myachi to ship out, complete with postage (but don't attach the postage to the envelope yet!) and the recipients address and then put that package into another package.  You address that package with Myachi's mailing address:

PO Box 324, Glenwood Landing, NY

Inside the package that has the other package in it, leave a note telling Pinky who the trade is with and what you're trading so she'll know when to ship it out.  Also let her know how long you're willing to wait for the other person's half of the trade to come in.  So a sample letter might look something like this:

Dear Pinky, in all your wonderful awesomeness (salutation optional)
Enclosed is a self addressed stamped envelope with a Black Beard and a Dreamcoat inside.  It is for a trade with Bill.  He will be sending you a PS2 for me.  If the PS2 doesn't arrive within 2 weeks of when you get this, please mail back my Myachis.
Thanks you, you're awesome.

Now, you remember earlier when I said not to attach the postage to the inner package?  That's because if we have to mail it back to you, we're going to need to repackage it and use those stamps to send it back. 

I know this sounds confusing, but that's just because it's early, I'm tired and I'm being really specific on the details.  Essentially you're just sticking a Myachi in an envelope, addressing the envelope, sticking that in another envelope (with a note and some postage) and sending that to Pinky.  And you're done.

There are, of course, a few disadvantages to doing things this way:
  • Because of the layover, doing mail-trades through Myachi HQ will take longer than mailing them directly.
  • It will cost a little more because you will have to pay for postage to ship the package twice (once to HQ and again to the recipient).
  • IMPORTANT: If you do not send sufficient postage to either mail the trade on to the recipient or mail it back to you, we cannot guarantee it will be returned.
Because of all these things, weigh your options on this thing.  If you feel confident that you trust the person you're trading with, feel free to mail trade with them directly.  But to be 100% safe, this is probably your best option.  It doesn't much matter if you're trading relatively common Myachis, but since E-Bay has driven the value of some sacks to well over $100, there are some trades where you definitely want to take advantage of this deal.

... Oh, and don't forget to tell Pinky how awesome she is!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Myachi Fresh - Episode 16

by Crazy Ivan

It's a bit late, but this time it's not my fault!  It's Fresh's school's fault.

The Progression of a Calvin

by Crazy Ivan

If you know Myachi at all, you know that the longer you use a Myachi, the better it gets.  This is a process that we call "breaking in" or, occasionally, "yummification".  Some Myachis start off pretty good and get great.  Others start out pretty slippery and only get grippy and yummy after some serious use.

Perhaps no Myachi more aptly demonstrates this phenomena than the Calvin.  My personal favorite Myachi, the Calvin starts off as a very nondescript denim sack that few people would describe as yummy.  It's kind of stiff and the fabric is a bit slick, so jamming with a brand new Calvin can be something of a chore.

The Calvin, stage one... just opened the package.
When the Calvin first came out it was considered something of a dud.  Surrounded by the bright, vibrant colors of the 1.0 series, this Myachi was overlooked as being boring or unexceptional.  There were other dull, patternless sacks in that series, of course.  The Black Butter and the Dawg Diggity sat on the shelves beside it, but unlike the Calvin, they were also spectacular jammers fresh out of the pack.

Because of this, few people realized the extreme jammability of the Calvin when it was first released.  We assumed that with a bit of break-in time it would get yummier, but we didn't anticipate that it would also gain grip as it got some mileage under it.

The Calvin, stage two... a couple of days of use.
You can hardly see it in the picture, but the denim fabric naps out pretty quickly and coats the Myachi with a fine shell of catchability.  You can see from the difference in the two pictures that the color of the sack has already faded a bit and the shape itself has widened a bit.

But at this point, say a couple of days after you open it, the Calvin is inferior to a similarly jammed with Black Butter or Diggity.  If you jammed equally with all 3 sacks, the Butter and Diggity would be nearing their maximum level of yumminess by then.  The Calvin, on the other hand, is just getting warmed up.

The Calvin, stage three... a few weeks of use.
If you look closely, you can all but see the grip in the photo above.  The little pieces of fuzz that are standing up along its surface are almost like hand-velcro at this stage making the Myachi remarkably easy to catch from a long distance throw.  Close up jams are quick and confident at this point and by now the owner of this Calvin is starting to realize that they've got one of the best jammers of all time.

You'll also note that as the Calvin gets more broken in, the color gets lighter and lighter.  This is a relatively minor advantage, but it does make a broken in Calvin easier to see than a new one, which slightly accelerates its trip towards uber-yummy.

But there is still another stage of development that a truly SUMPOY Calvin will go through.

The Calvin, final stage... almost does tricks by itself.
At a certain point, the Calvin will break in like your favorite pair of jeans.  It will mold to the contours of your body instantly.  It will stay put if you catch it on a pencil tip.  It will sink into your hand from a ten story drop and through it all it will still be slick enough to pull off grind moves.

The Calvin is truly a Myachi that rewards its owner.  You can use the traditional methods to speed up the break in time of a Calvin and you might just get your way all the way to stage 3 without really jamming it up.  But the same methods of wetting, soaping, heating and drying that will cheat you to stage 3 pretty much guarantee that the sack will never reach stage 4.  The only way to get there is to earn it from day one.

The Evolution of a Calvin

A Sad, Sad Sight

by Crazy Ivan

I should admit that since we got word that the Myachigon was coming down, this blog has taken a decidedly depressing turn and way too many of my entries over the last few days have been lamentations about the greatest sales display that ever was.  It's been a common thread through so many entries now that I hesitate to bring it up again, lest I just turn the whole tone of this blog.

But I had to share these pics.

Today was the first day that I've been back in the office since we broke the Gon down Monday night.  I had not properly prepared myself for the shock of walking in and seeing her lying around in bits all over the HQ.

I knew it was going to be here and I was actually kind of excited to see it.  Had it not been for an awkward automotive situation yesterday, I would have done the brawl last night with the pieces of the Myachigon sitting around in the background.  I even considered using it for the background on my trick of the day video, though after seeing how depressing it all looks, I'm having second thoughts.

There's also the issue of room.  It turns out that the Myachigon takes up a lot more room when it's not set up.  With all the constituent parts lying around the office it takes up almost twice as much room as the actual assembled Gon.

Piles of steel trussing stand in your way as you move toward the supply closet, giant diamond plated half walls block you as you try to restock the Coke cooler.  And forget about playing any ping pong today...

But, of course, not everything here is bad news.  All this stuff will look really cool once we get it set up around HQ.  Looks like we've got more than enough Myachi-related awesomeness to polish the look of the whole place.  And if nothing else, we've also got these hanging around:

Probably took you a second because you're looking at the backs and they still have the braces attached, but yeah... those are the six big screen TVs that were hanging around the Gon.  Like I said... it's not all bad news.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Brawl Has Moved

by Crazy Ivan

For those of you who regularly attend our Wednesday Night Brawls, you've likely noticed that as they've gotten more popular they've become the increasing target of trolls and spammers. A few weeks ago we actually had to shut down the brawl altogether because of the overwhelming troll-presence.

This is to be expected, of course.  One drawback to getting popular on the internet is that you just become a magnet for a certain bread of loser.  To combat this, we've set up a new chatroom for the Wednesday Night Brawls:


This will be our chatroom going forward every Wednesday so change your 'favorites'.

Oh, and for those who don't regularly attend our Wednesday Night Brawls, you should.  We get together a bunch of maniacs from all over the country and play MYACH, make trades, teach and learn new tricks and just jam out.  Webcam helps but you don't need one.  You're more than welcome to show up on a text only basis.  It's a lot of fun, with the exception of the aforementioned trolls.

This has already been mentioned on Facebook and on the Forum, but for those people who get the bulk of their Myachi info from the blog, I wanted to make sure we were covering all of our bases.  See you in about an hour!

Prize Announcement

by Crazy Ivan

When I announced the Myachigon Tribute Contest, I left the question of the prize for it pretty wide open.  I was hoping that we would find a treasure trove of lost and forgotten Myachis in the legs of the gon but as it turned out, remarkably few were found.  In fact, to my knowledge we only found one; my beloved Black Beard.

Now, I have 4 possible theories regarding why we didn't uncover a lot more Myachis when we did the break down:
  1. There was only one Myachi down there to begin with: A lot of people told me that they'd lost Myachis down in the legs of the gon, but there was only one that I actually saw drop down there with my own eyes and that was the one Black Beard that we found.  It's possible that some of the other ones we expected to find were either stolen (hey dude, I just dropped your Myachi down there... now there's no way to get it back!) or lost in another way (when I did my Flying Clipper, it went over this way and now I can't find it... must have gone down in the legs).
  2. There were some sticky fingers at the break down: I doubt this very much, but it's possible that between all the Myachi Masters and Maniacs who were there somebody just found a yummy sack and didn't know where it came from.  If somebody pocketed a groovy Myachi because of the break down, they certainly earned it (it was hard work) so I won't begrudge them that.  That being said, I really don't think this is what happened at all.
  3. Time Travellers: It's possible that in the distant future, people need Myachis for some reason.  They have to come back to the present to get them but they can't just go swiping Myachis that would be missed, otherwise they could create a butterfly-effect style timequake.  So they use their high tech gadgetry to extract the Myachis that were down there without leaving any sign.  They don't take the Black Beard, of course, since it would be missed.
  4. Smurfs stole them: Some of you might not know this, but during our time at FAO, they filmed a portion of the upcoming live action smurf movie.  They did the majority of the filming overnight so they wouldn't interrupt the flow of the store's traffic, which means that for several nights there were smurfs hanging out in that store and they were likely largely unsupervised.  They could easily fit down into the legs and crawl down the scaffolding to nab a wayward Myachi or two.
Anyway, it seems that I'm getting distracted from the actual purpose of this blogpost; namely, telling you what we're using as the prize.

This was a tough call to make.  I really dig Black Beards and it's so cool that I got this one back after years of missing it.  But eventually it would just become another sack in my collection.  The story of that Myachi is way better if in the end it goes to the person who presents the best tribute to the Gon.

So winner gets a pretty yummy 3.1 Black Beard (which is redundant since the Black Beard was only offered in the 3.1 series) that spent a couple of years chilling at the bottom of the pillars of the Gon.  It's a Myachi with a storied history and one I'd hope any Myachi Maniac would be proud to add to their collection.

Myachi Master Shred Contest: GO!

by Crazy Ivan

First a quick thanks to Draco for bringing this up on the forum the other day and inadvertently lighting a fire under my butt to get this thing rocking and rolling.

Had a meeting with all the Myachi Masters last night and I simply asked, "By a show of hands, how many people want in on the Myachi Master Shred video contest?" And within about 4 seconds, every hand was raised.

Here are the rules that we agreed on:
  • Videos must be between 3 and 4 minutes.
  • Each video must contain at least 60 seconds of unedited shredding.
  • Videos must be completed and uploaded by June 7th
  • Videos cannot be uploaded before June 7th.
  • Videos must be worthy of the title "Myachi Master"
That's pretty much it.  We've given the masters free licence to do whatever they want.  Noodles had some pretty cool ideas of doing some "So You Think You Can Dance?" type stuff to make it tougher but we decided that maybe we'd do that for our next video competition.

Of course, the loyal reader has a part to play in this as well.  The videos will all be up by Tuesday, June 7th.  Voting will open up on Wednesday, early in the morning.  We will be asking Myachi Maniacs to vote for their favorite and the winner will have bragging rights amongst the various Myachi Masters.

In order to be eligible to vote for this contest, you will have to be registered on the Myachi Forums.  Accounts registered after June 1st will not be eligible for voting so if you want in on this you have to register soon.  We also ask that before you vote you watch all the videos.  It wouldn't be fair to all of the contestants if you voted after only watching the 2 or 3 from your favorite Myachi Masters.

And there will be several videos to watch.  The field of participating Myachi Masters are:
  • Animal
  • Bamboo
  • Bones
  • Crazy Ivan
  • Maverick
  • Monk
  • Noodles
No word yet on if we're going to talk Pinky or Kid Myach into throwing up a video, but I honestly think that it wouldn't be fair for us if Pinky got to do one... who wouldn't vote for Pinky?

I also feel like I should tackle this one before hand as well: Mantis isn't in on this one.  I know that at least a few people will ask me that, but this is a contest amongst the Myachi Masters and one of the benefits is that we will be able to trash talk if we win.  Trash talking Mantis is no fun.

However, if Mantis should decide to put up a video of 3 to 4 minutes with at least 60 seconds of unedited shredding on June 7th just to show us all up, well, I guess there's not much I could do about that...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Want More Contests?

by Crazy Ivan

As anyone who spends any amount of time at all on this blog knows, we do a lot of contests.  The "topic cloud" along the side will show you that the "contest" tag is, by far, the most popular tag on my entries here.  It beats out the nearest competitors by nearly two to one.

Even now we have 2 contests going; the You-Tube Trick of the Day contest (with two extremely yummy prizes) and the Myachigon Send-Off contest I announced yesterday.  But even with all the contests we do, I know a lot of you are interested in winning even more Myachis, even more often.

Well, you're in luck.  As it happens, a lot of Myachi Maniacs host contests of their own as well.  The first Myachi You-Tube contests were started by fans of the game, not the company.  Heck, nothing I've done on this blog wasn't first done by one of Myachi's loyal fanatics.

So where do you find out about all these chances at Myachi glory (and free stuff)?  Your best friend in that department resides right over on the Myachi Forum.  There's a section you can reach from the homepage called "Myachi Tournaments & Contests" and that's where the skinny is on all the Maniac sponsored contests.

These contests are much like the ones I run on the blog.  Some of them are video contests, some are trivia contests, some are creative contests like art or writing and some are skill based.  There have even been "decathlon" tournaments where competitors are pitted against one another in 10 different disciplines.

Even now a quick glance at the "Tournaments & Contests" section of the forum reveals that Kickstand has a You-Tube video contest (which he recently extended).  Final Cut is also hosting a similar YouTube contest and is actively seeking more contestants.  Blue Samurai has a fun and cool creativity contest.

These contests are fun and they usually have a bit less competition than the contests that I host here so you usually have a better chance to win.  Plus you know that you're helping to support the movement and encouraging the hosts to hold new contests in the future so even if you don't win, there's still a benefit to entering.

Now, there are some downsides to Maniac-hosted contests.  Myachi isn't involved so we make no guarantees that every entry will be judged fairly or that prizes will go out on time or be consistent with the promised prize.  You take a chance when you enter a Maniac-sponsored contest, but you can almost always count on being treated fairly by a veteran member of the forum.

So if you don't feel like you have too many Myachis, check out Kickstand, Final Cut and Blue Samurai's contests and get in on them!  But don't forget to also get your entry in for the Myachigon Send Off contest...

Myachi Fresh - Episode 15

by Crazy Ivan

It's been way too long since the last episode, but now Fresh is back with a vengeance.  Check out his latest episode to see what's going on in the Myachi world.  And don't forget to subscribe!

Dismantling the Gon

by Crazy Ivan

I think we all knew it would be hard.

I likened it to retiring Big Momma.  The Myachi Mobile was the single most visible and recognizable symbol of Myachi Mania in the world.  It was one of my first impressions of the game and it seemed to exemplify everything that the game, the company and the movement was all about.  The RV was unique, cool, hard to look away from and, just like Myachi, it started slow and took a while to get up to speed, but once she was going it was a chore to stop her.

When we retired the Myachi Mobile, I was heart broken.  It had been my ride, my home, my office and my refuge for years by then.  It had come to symbolize the nomadic lifestyle of the Myachi Master and it was hard to imagine that the company could carry on without her.  It really hit me on an emotional level when I knew I'd never take another trip in Big Momma's Brick House.

And last night I felt that same thing.

Bones was working that day so he was the first one there, but I arrived second.  Two Maniacs were hanging out to see the Myachigon off (and big shout out to Slimjim and Smooth for all their help last night).  When I got there I took a long look at the Gon, taking in every line and every angle as I approached.  It was such a familiar scene that it was hard to believe that it was ever going to change.

But it did.  The very first thing I did was disconnect the jamcams.  I figured if it was heartbreaking for me to watch it was probably best not to broadcast it online.  I went to work disconnecting the bazillion cords and cables that controlled out TVs, the cams, the computers, the router, the wireless mics, the DVD player and the Bluray.

While I was doing that, Myachi Man and Kid showed up and got to work with Bones, Smooth and Slimjim pulling the product off the shelves and boxing it to go to our new spot upstairs.  Before I knew it, I glanced up and Animal, Monk and Mav were there as well.  We all acknowledged each other, but we weren't talking much.  The task was a bit too dismal for chatter.

Once the product was down and the wires were disconnected it was time to take down the 6 big screen TVs.  That was actually much easier than I expected, but the difficulty of wrapping the 14 miles of cables that were running through that steel trussing was tough enough to make up for it.  Once we got that taken care of, we took her hat off.  Myachi Man, Kid, Monk and Animal each got on one pillar, we pulled a bunch of pins and then took the whole top of the Myachigon off completely.

In all, it took us about 3 and a half hours to deconstruct the Myachigon.  The only real highlight of the night for me was that I did actually get one of my Black Beards back.  I also got whacked in the knee, funny bone, head, hand, finger and shin at various points in the night, but that's to be expected when you've got so many people all working so close together.

We took the last piece out to the truck, one of the sections of the rear computer cabinet, and hefted it on to the liftgate of Kid's rented Penske.  I wandered back inside to wash my hands and grab my jacket and as I did, I walked the same route I'd walked when I first arrived.  I cam upstairs from the basement and instead of seeing the Myachigon as I had for the last 3 years, instead I saw a big empty space with Myachi Man standing in the middle looking disheveled and forlorn.

And I thought of the Myachi Mobile.  When we retired her it seemed like the end of an era and I wondered if the movement could even carry on.  I feared that it was a sign of the Myachi-pocalypse.  It seemed back then that the Myachi Mobile was too big a part of the company for us to carry on without her.

Of course, we did carry on.  Not only did we carry on, but we thrived.  We've had the best 3 year run in the company's history and last year we smashed all our worldwide sales records.  We're in five times as many countries as we were the day the Myachi Mobile retired.  Half of the Myachis ever made were made after the Myachi Mobile retired.  Most of the people who've ever played the game learned it after the Myachi Mobile retired.

Make no mistake, the end of the Gon is the end of an era, but it is not the end of Myachi.  Not by a long shot.  As hard as it seems now, we'll carry on and we'll get stronger and stronger.  The store felt so bad about us having to take down the Gon that they're compensating us with a much cooler spot over at Toys R Us Timesquare so odds are that in the end we'll actually do better now than we did before in those stores.

I will miss the Myachigon.  I will look upon the old video of the Myachigon with fond memories, the same as I look at footage of the old Myachi Mobile.  And I wonder, now that the Gon is gone, what will come to symbolize us next?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Myachi Man Sighting

by Crazy Ivan

It often surprises people when they find out that Myachi Man doesn't live in New York.  After all, his company is headquartered in New York, the biggest contingent of Myachi Mania is in New York, his parent live here and this is where he was born.

But it's not where Myachi was born.  That happened at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, which is where Myachi Man currently resides.  He, his wife and his dog have a nice little house outside of the world capital of country music.  The basement of that house was once the official Myachi HQ, but of course, we've upgraded since then.

Myachi Man still gets his mail in Tennessee, but he spends enough time in NYC that he's actually got a small apartment here as well.  With all the meetings, R&D sessions, media appearances and hob-nobbing that his position requires, he winds up spending almost as much time in New York as he spends at home.  But tell this to Myachi Maniac who is trying to get his autograph and they might doubt you.

That's because even when you're in the same state as Myachi Man, he can be pretty hard to find.  His schedule is 90 miles per hour, all day, every day.  When he is in the city he usually tries to get 12 days worth of work done in 6 days so that he can feel guilt free for the first 6 days he spends back home.  That means that he's never in one place any longer than he has to be and there are always a few things on his itinerary that he can't fit in before he has to head home.

Which is why it struck me as blog-worthy when I actually managed to pin down a when and a where for the dude.  He's actually going to be at Myachi HQ at 3:30 this Wednesday afternoon.  I'm not sure how long he'll be sticking around, but he will definitely be there for a little while between 3:30 and question mark.

I've already heard from a number of jammers that live near HQ that they'll be swinging by that afternoon and I've even heard about a couple of Manhattan jammers that are trying to talk their parents into letting them leave school early to catch him (no word yet on what the parents say, but I think we can guess).

So if you're dying to meet Myachi Man and you're going to be anywhere near Roslyn, NY on Wednesday, I strongly urge you to come out, say hi, get an autograph and hear countless stories of the early days of the Myachi movement.  It's pretty rare that anyone's able to pin him down like this, so take advantage while you can!

Myachigon Tribute Contest

by Crazy Ivan

As many of you know, today is the last day that the Myachigon will grace the floors of FAO Shwarz.  Kid, Myachi Man, Monk, Mav, Animal, Bones, Noodles and I will be disassembling her this evening and taking her constituent parts to Myachi HQ and a few other places.  Gone will be her 6 big screen TVs, gone will be the jamcams, gone will be the altar of Myachi Mania that has graced 5th Avenue for more that 2 years.

It will be a labor of love tonight and I should admit that it's going to break my heart taking her down.  I just have too many memories there for me not to feel pretty nostalgic about the whole ordeal.  What's more is that I think my emotions about this probably reflect the emotions of most everyone in the Myachi universe.

So I thought we should have a little contest as a tribute to the Myachigon.  I thought about it last night and at first I was thinking it should be a poetry contest; everyone write a poem about how they'll miss the Myachigon and vote on the best one.  But then I thought about the fact that some people probably stink at writing poetry so I figured maybe it would be a poetry or prose contest.  But of course, many of our readers are more visually creative so I also considered doing an art contest.  While I was arguing with myself about that, I thought of all the people who've taken video at the Gon and wondered if maybe we should have a video contest instead.

What I finally settled on was simple a "creativity" contest.  So here's the concept:

Make a tribute to the Myachigon.  It can be anything you want.  It could be a drawing, a poem, a photoshop, a true story, a fictional story, a collage, a sculpture... whatever you want.  There is no limit to your creativity here.  You could even do a combination of the above (for example, a video slideshow where each picture corresponds to a different line of your poem).  The key is to do what you're best at and be as creative as possible.

The winner will be the most original entry.

There will be a prize for the first place winner only in this contest (sorry, I'm over budget on prize sacks).  It will be a semi-rare sack that will be either (a) a 4.0 Myachi in Blister since that's the series we had on the shelves when we opened the Myachigon or (b) a really cool Myachi or two that we find under the pillars when we break down the Myachigon.

I'll fill you in on the prizes tomorrow, but for now, here are the rules:
  • Entries must be received by the 2nd of June, so the cut off is midnight the night of the 1st.
  • You can submit your entry in a number of ways. Entries can be emailed to crazyivan@myachi.com, they can be sent to me via pm on the Myachi Forum or, in the case of videos, etc., you can simply upload them to a sharing site and email or pm me the link.  If you have an entry that can't be submitted in one of those ways, email or pm me and we'll figure out how to get your entry counted.
  • You can enter multiple times.  Limit of 5 entries per person, but if you do a really great job with 1 entry, that probably gives you better odds of winning than doing a half-hearted job on 5 entries.
  • Entries will be judged on creativity and quality by a panel of Myachi Masters.  Judges decisions are final.
  • The winner will be announced by 6 pm on June 3rd.  There will only be a prize for the top winner, but I will probably publish the best runners up as well.
If you have any questions about the contest, feel free to contact me or just leave your question in the comments section below.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trading at HQ

by Crazy Ivan
Yet another sick day at HQ today.  Started off playing a few games of ping-pong with Monk and catching up on my blogging/social networking.  Looked for a moment like it was going to be a slow day but then Final Cut and Gold showed up and changed everything.

Luckily I had a few tradables with me because (of course) they brought some sick collectables along and were looking to make some trades.  Monk traded away a couple of his legendary TJPs for a handful of jammers from Gold.  I turned down several solid offers on my new Calvin and a Yellow Jacket.  We played a 4 way game of MYACH, some Myachi Ping Pong and a game of HORSE (you can't always play Myachi, after all) and just generally had a really good time.

While they were here, a couple of the local maniacs came in with their collections.

I always love to see Myachi Maniacs from different areas meet up.  None of these guys had ever met before, of course, but united by their love of rare Myachis you'd never have known they hadn't been friends for years.  Within five minutes, the scene looked like this:

Shown here are four partial collections, along with a few Myachis that Monk had brought along for trades.  The row of sacks at the bottom (the Delta Force, Candy Corn, Zoot Suit, Twilight, Dragstrip, Bubble Wrapped, Commando and... whatever that top one is) were all a proposed trade for a Tie-Dye Snakeskin.  After much brokering, the trade deal fell through, though several other big trades were finalized shortly after I snapped this picture.

Not sure what the point of this is except to say that if you ever make it to Myachi HQ, be sure to bring your tradables.  You never know who might show up with a tradable Black Belt.

The Last Days of the Myachigon

by Crazy Ivan
When we first opened the Myachigon back in 2008, it was supposed to be a one year thing.  Fao Shwarz liked to rotate out the "pole position" in their store and since Myachi was their top seller it seemed only natural that it was time for us to rotate in.  We opened late in the year so that we would be front and center through Christmas.  At the time they said they might swap something a bit more "summery" into that location in March, but we were pretty confident that we would do so good that they would let us stay there for the whole year.

We did not expect was that they would leave us there for two and a half years.  I guess we kind of hoped they would but considering what they told us at the beginning, we didn't expect that would be a possibility.

But of course, like all good things, the Myachigon must come to an end.  We've managed to maintain the most coveted toy-retail location in the world for far longer than any other toy in history so we're not exactly going to hang our heads now that the run is over.

But I will miss the Myachigon.

We're breaking it down Monday night.  I feel less like a Myachi Master and more like a pall bearer.  We've rented a massive truck to take all the legs and big screen TVs away.  They've set us up with two locations in the store to continue to rock it out so we'll be moving all the product to those spots.  Myachi Man, Kid, Monk, Animal, Mav, Bones, Noodles and I will give the old girl the send off that she deserves.

That means, of course, that if you want to visit the Myachigon one last time, you have a very short time to do it.  It'll be open today and all day tomorrow, but if you come into FAO on Tuesday it will be but a memory.

I'll admit that it feels like the end of an era in a sense, but ultimately there's a lot of good news that goes with it.  Not the least of which is the fact that I can finally get those two Black Beards I dropped into the pillars back in 2008.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Forum Leaders

by Crazy Ivan

If you're a member of our forum, you already know this, but as of today we are welcoming two new moderators to our online message board.  Two very dedicated and deserving members of the forum, Rotscale and DGH, have graciously stepped up and offered their help in keeping our forum clean and running smooth.

Much like my recent 5000th post, this landmark has left me thinking about how far the forum has come in the years we've operated it.  There was a time in recent memory when it was relatively easy to moderate the forum by myself (or with occasional help from Kid Myach).  Now I can't imagine biting off that sizable task alone.

But it's also cool to reflect on the individual journeys from fresh faced Myachi maniac to ful blown forum leader.  rotscale has been in the game for a long while and though his forum presence has had its peaks and troughs, he's been a stalwart for years.  He's always been quick to diffuse the tension when things get heated and he's always been a bastion of maturity when things start to get out of hand.

DGH has not been on the forum as long, but I think most of us recognized right away that this dude was destined for high ranks.  He joined the forum a little over a year ago after meeting Bones at TRU and to this day Bones considers teaching DGH to be one of his proudest moments in Myachi.  DGH quickly became an integral part of our community and has repeatedly taken on obligations above and beyond the duty of the typical forum-ite.

But of course, as with any promotion, there are other, equally deserving names that had to be passed over.  It's the sad truth that whenever you promote one person you have to choose them over another.  The honest truth is that there are at least 3 other members who have really earned a place as Forum Leader as well.  We couldn't promote everyone who deserved it, of course, or we'd end up with a village full of chiefs and no indians, but I'm sure that comes as a small consolation to those who were overlooked for the promotion.

To those people I urge patience.  It's never long before we need to add more muscle to our enforcement team so I'm sure that the other names that were floated will earn their stripes soon.  Until then I simply ask that they remind us how much we want to promote them by taking the disappointment with maturity and supporting our new leaders with the kind of respect that they would want if/when they get a similar promotion.

The forum is one of the most tangible ways that I measure Myachi's growth over the years and if it's any indicator, Myachi has shifted into high gear.  Hopefully, with the help of these two new leaders and our accomplished team of veteran mods that we can continue to make the Myachi Forum a fun and inviting place for every new member that arrives.

... assuming we can all agree on the lolcats.

Prepping for the Party

by Crazy Ivan
Munching a quick egg and cheese on a roll at HQ.  Mav and I are hanging out all day but we've got a pretty massive birthday party starting in about an hour and a half.  Nearly 30 Maniacs are going to fill up the headquarters and we'll be going loud for a couple of hours.

Of all the things we do as Myachi Masters, birthday parties are one of my favorites.  Unlike demonstrating in the stores there's no pressure to sell anything so you don't have to worry about hitting a number.  Unlike schools there's no pressure to teach anyone because everybody already knows how to play.  Unlike after-school clubs there's no limit to how crazy you can get because there are no teachers poking their heads into the room and telling you to quiet down.

And unlike virtually everything else we do, parties are only a couple of hours long.  If I'm gonna do 8 or 10 hours on the sales floor, I'll be giving it about 90% all day.  Sure, when things really pick up I'll ramp up my efforts, but it would be all but impossible to rock it out 100% all day.  I'd burn out halfway through the shift and be worthless by the end of the day.

But at a birthday party I can be all energy.  It's okay if I'm beat at the end.  I mean, sure, I'll still be at the office with Mav for the next four and a half hours, but the most stressful thing I'll do for the rest of my workday is play a game of ping-pong or two.

So what does that mean in practical terms?  It means that whatever anybody wants, I can pretty much give them.  Wanna do some trades?  You bet.  Game of MYACH?  No problem.  Golf contest?  You got it.  Big air?  Line it up.  Game of Fu?  Sure thing.  Give you all my rares?  Give me a break.

Most of the time I have to say no to some things.  If I'm at the Myachigon I usually have to turn down a game of Fu (unless it's a really slow time of year).  If I'm at a school club I might not be able to do a big air contest.  If I'm at a bar mitzvah I'm probably not going to be able to play a game of Fu.  If I'm at a theme park, I probably didn't bring my tradables.

The only thing I worry about during a Myachi birthday party is that I don't have too much fun.  If I'm not careful, I might have more fun than the birthday boy/girl and that's no good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Yet Again, the Lead Changes

by Crazy Ivan
The You-Tube contest just keeps getting tougher.  After a solid week of Max dominating the competition I was starting to wonder if we'd already crowned our champion.

But the Mantis had something to say about it.  He uploaded a video late yesterday where he narrowly edged out Max's record of 60 consecutive "Tricks of the Day".  He upped the bar to 66 tricks with this video (he actually does 67 but the "Upper Cut" is not done to our exacting Myachi-specifications) which means that the contest has been blown wide open.

Now we don't want this contest to just be a one on one match between Max and Mantis.  Gold and Kickstand had some early submissions at the beginning of the contest, but I know there are still plenty of Maniacs out there that can best this video by Mantis.

Let's not go making it easy on him or anything!

The One You've Been Waiting For...

by Crazy Ivan
A delivery truck pulled up to HQ this morning and we got excited.

Delivery trucks show up here all the time, of course.  We have office equipment, computer equipment, promotional materials and stationary showing up all the time so normally it's no big deal.  But this wasn't a UPS truck and it wasn't a FedEx truck.  This was a DHL truck.  And the only people who ship to us via DHL come out of Pakistan.

We crowded around the box like kids at Christmas as Kid Myach broke it open.  And it was exactly what we were hoping to see.

The Forums Myachi:

Of course, as many of you recall, we all pretty much agreed right away about the design for the front of the sack.  There was a bit of contention, however, as to the back of the Myachi.  Somepeople were set on the word "jred" (the domain name of our forum) while others wanted "STWAKOJ" (our favorite acronym).

There was a debate that got heated at times, but I think ultimately it was for the best because after taking a look at the back side of the sack I figured we'd clearly made the right decision in the end:

Just seeing it was enough to wake me right up sans-caffeine today, but of course, I didn't want to just look at it, I wanted to jam with it.  So I pulled one out, popped the booklet off and got to jamming.  As you can see from the picture above, it wideboarded with a minimal amount of effort.  The fabric is almost exactly the same as the TJP13 so you know it's a good jammer.

What you might not expect was how quickly it was a great jammer.  I would have been really disappointed if this sack had been anything shy of a superb jammer and I suspect I would not be alone in my disappointment.  Luckily, that was not a concern.  This sack is as jammable as any Myachi I've ever seen fresh out of the diaper.

I freely admit that I have a tendency to get excited about new Myachis and have, in the past, been guilty of overselling a particular Myachi.  Perhaps once or twice before I've declared something to be the "best ever" only to find a few weeks later that my excitement had gotten the best of me.  So, as tempting as it is to say that this is the all-time most jammable sack ever, I'm not going to make that claim.

Instead, I'm just going to show you what happened when I took a brand new one out of the diaper, stretched it wide and crumbled it up like a bad poem:

...and I'll leave it to you to decide how jammable it is.

PS We still have not met the $ minimum to ship these sacks out.  I will get the details from Pinky and post a thread on the forum to bring everyone up to speed on when these will be shipped out.  All I'm going to say here is that if you wanted in and haven't gotten your money to Pinky yet, get on that.  Once people see how jammable they are, they'll go quick.

As the Day Draws Nearer

by Crazy Ivan
Pinky and I are less than a month from the big trip.  We're heading down to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for a few months to rock it out at Dollywood Theme Park.  I'm beginning to feel that familiar feeling in my gut, that sudden shifting of gears when a future obligation goes from the distant horizon to right around the corner.

There's a lot to do, of course.  I've got to get packed, I've got to get somebody to babysit my felines, I've got to set someone up to do my share of the office work, I've got to finalize all the stuff for our cabin... and I've got to figure out what I'm doing here on the blog.

See, I'll still be able to blog when I'm in Tennessee, but I'll be working about 10 hours a day about 6 days a week so there's no question in my mind that I won't be able to find quite as much time to blog.  My thought is that I'll just have to write a couple of blogs each night and schedule them to publish throughout the day.

But that's going to darn hard to do after working in the sun for 10 hours at a stretch.

I'll be getting some help.  Monk and Animal have both agreed to help me out by throwing down a few contributions in my absence.  But if we want to keep this blog rocking and rolling throughout the summer, it might take more than that.

Which brings me to you.

Some of my favorite articles on this blog are contributions made by our readers and loyal Myachi Maniacs.  Guest blogs are going to make my life way easier going forward so I'm putting out a call for as many as I can get.  Starting on June 15th I'll be on the road/at the park for almost 10 weeks so in that time I'll be opening my inbox everyday with hopes of finding a few solid guest blogs to publish.

But don't worry.  No matter what happens you can expect new, interesting, fun content on the blog all summer.  You might not get it, but you can certainly expect it.  We'll still be doing contests, we'll still be doing give-aways and I'll still be keeping you up to speed on all the latest goings on.

I'll also still be doing a Trick of the Day everyday, though the schedule might change a bit on that.  I have a feeling I'll start uploading the trick the day before or right after midnight since I won't have any free time during the day.

Theme parks are fun work but they're really demanding.  I'll do my best to see to it that this assignment doesn't cause any noticeable hiccup on the blog, the FB page, our You-Tube channel, the forum, the brawl or the Twitter feed.

...man, it's gonna be a tiring summer!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Worse, The Better

by Crazy Ivan
It's funny how knowledge changes your perception.  I had a really interesting experience about an hour ago that perfectly demonstrates this fact as it pertains to Myachi.

Had a couple of maniacs come into HQ with one of their moms.  They wanted to play a little Myachi Golf and learn some new tricks, but mostly they were here because they wanted to make some trades.  Unfortunately for them, I didn't bring many tradables with me today so I kind of disappointed them.

So, as is typical in those situations, they started making offers on the sacks I did have... the ones I just told them weren't up for trades.  Among the four I had with me today were the Yellow Jacket and Oaxaca that I've got up as prizes for the You-Tube contest.

I turned down a couple of trade offers for my Yellow Jacket and before long I had one dude offering me four Myachis for it.  I told him that I appreciated the offer, but since I'd already promised to give that Myachi to the prize winner it wouldn't be fair for me to trade it away now.

And then mom spoke up.

"Why would you want such a ratty old Myachi anyway?" she asked.

And her son laughed.  I was polite enough to hold back the chuckle that tried to escape.  When she saw my Yellow Jacket and Oaxaca, she just saw two really beat up Myachis:

Pictured (left to right): Really Yummy and Really, Really Yummy.
Now, if you're not a Myachi Maniac, you would probably look at those two sacks and say "who would want those beat up old things?" but if you're a fan of the game, you're more likely saying "I want them, I want them, I want them!"

To the layperson, something that is beat up and worn in is less valuable than something that is brand new and pristine.  Mom looked at them in the same way one might examine a collectable comic book or a piece of antique furniture.  The closer it is to mint condition, the more valuable it is to a collector.

This is occasionally true of a Myachi.  A mint Black Belt is super hard to find and many people would value that higher than a broken in Black Belt.  The same would be true for a number of paper tags and older sacks.  But in Myachi, this is hardly a universal truth.  The vast majority of Myachis are worth a lot more if they're not in good condition.

You already know why, of course.  The more broken in a Myachi is, the easier it is to jam with.  The absolute best Myachis are always the most ratty looking ones.  Monk's favorite jammers all look like they're about to fall apart (don't worry, they're not), but any fan of Myachi knows they are the best of the best.  The very fact that they're so beat up is what makes them the best.

I explained that to the dude's mom, but she didn't get it.  She couldn't understand why her son would want to trade a pristine and unused Bedrock Red for my beat up and dirty Yellow Jacket.  I even went as far as showing her exactly how yummy they were and why yumminess was so important to a Myachi player.

Still, she was unconvinced.  I kind of got the vibe that she thought I was trying to rip her son off, though that was odd considering that I was telling him I wouldn't make that trade.  Odd way of ripping someone off... by refusing the trade he offered.

Anyway, thought it was kind of funny.  I told the maniac in question that I would let his mom come in one day with his collection and we could make a few trades.  He laughed but he looked nervous enough that he might have thought I was serious.  I'm sure mom would make the worst trades imaginable.  She would happily trade his yummified Blue Beard for my unopened Vette.  She would trade his SUMPOY Sammy for my mint condition Dribbl.  She might trade away his wideboarded Reuben's for my brand-new Zoot Suit...

The moral of the story is to never let your mom broker your trades.

My 5000th Post

by Crazy Ivan

We started Jred.net (the Myachi Forum) back in 2006.  For years before that we'd operated a free forum but that one was getting thick with advertisements and spam so in 06 we decided it was time to upgrade and pay for an ad free forum.  We talked Butter into putting it together for us and ever since it opened, it has been the backbone of Myachi's online community.

Pictured above: A cyber-spine.
I was the 25th person to sign up way back on July 5th of 2006.  Coincidentally, that was almost exactly 2 years after I started working for Myachi so every year I celebrate my Myachi anniversary and my forum anniversary on about the same day.  Actually, I don't generally celebrate either, but if I did, I could probably get it done with a single cake.

Anyway, a bit later today I'll be making my 5000th post.  Now, as any seasoned forum member knows, post count doesn't mean much on Jred.  If somebody wanted 5000 posts they could just go to the forum games section and rack them up in a few weeks.  That would be meaningless, of course.  It would be like stealing an Olympic Medal and saying you won.  But when you earn it the hard way, getting to arbitrary milestones like 5000 feels like a really big deal.

Pictured Above: Not really winning.

As I was reflecting on this last night, I did a little math that I thought I'd share.  I've been on for 1809 days, which means that on the average I'm making a little under 3 posts a day (2.79).  I'll be the 4th person to break the 5000 post mark (assuming Champ doesn't post 800 times before I post twice).  Paving the way before me were Myachi Forum Stalwart MMFL, Missouri's favorite Maniac Downtown and the Under 18 World MYACH Champion (assumed), Mantis.  MMFL leads the pack with over 7000 posts, DT is just over 6200 and Mantis is slightly edging me out with a tad bit over 5000 posts.

The Myachi Master with the next highest post count is Pinky with over 1400, followed by Animal with just over 1000 (despite having been the 2nd person to sign up with the forum and having a 4 day head start on me).

In the time that the forum has been around we've had 932 members that have signed up and left at least one post.  There have been a total of 174,926 posts (though that will change before I can publish this) which means that on the average, each member posts about 187 times so far.  As a percentage, very few stick around long enough to crack the 1000 post mark.

Of all the members we've seen, only 48 have more than 1000 posts.  That's about 5% of all members.  Far fewer stick around long enough to pick up that second thousand post mark.  Of the 48 that have cracked 1000, only 16 have gone on to post more than 2000 times.  That's closer to 1.7%.  And of course, only 3 (and about to be 4) have gone on to 5000 posts, which is about 0.43%.

As you can see from the chart, blue is getting
it's hat handed to it by yellow.

The forum has been a really big part of my life for the last half decade and, as we saw this week, not all the forum memories are happy ones.  There have been plenty of darker periods, plenty of in-fighting, plenty of hurt feelings, plenty of knock-down-drag-out arguments, but through it all, the forum has remained strong.  There have been times when I felt like I was going to rip my hair out over the spammers.  There have been times when I felt like Sisyphus as I tried to smooth over bruised egos and flame wars.  There have been times when I wondered if the time I put in to it was even worth it.

But far more often were the times when the forum came to my rescue.  Whenever the job started to get me down (which admittedly doesn't happen often) the forum members are always happy to pick me back up.  Whenever I need help with a new idea or Myachi concept, the forum is always where I turn for ideas.  Whenever I need a friendly voice, that's as far as I have to go.

This week the forum has been something of a pain.  We've had what Mantis aptly dubbed the "LolCatastrophe" and I can't pretend like there wasn't a headache or two associated with it.  But for all the bad times there are a thousand good times.  As I sat there yesterday scrolling through the expansive member's list and counting up the 1000+ and 2000+ posters, it was like looking through an old photo album and seeing friends I'd all but forgotten.

Nobody can say what the future holds for our forum.  All I can say is that I hope that someday I'm writing something like this about my 10,000th post as well.

In closing, I thought I'd share one of my first posts.  This was actually the 5th post I made, but it was the "Introduction" I left on my first day on the forum.  Surprisingly little has changed since then.  I still have the same favorite Myachi, favorite Trick, favorite Myachi Moment and the same real name...

My real name is Aaron Davies, got the handle Crazy Ivan from the Myachi Man because he really dug my Toe to Toe transfer.

Favorite Sack: A well worked Calvin

Favorite Trick: Currently the Jedi

Been Jammin' a little over four years now and most of that time I've been doing it professionally.  I have represented Myachi in 11 states so far and have 39 to go. 

Other Hobbies include Juggling, Devil Sticks, Diabolo, Poi, Footbag, Martial Arts, Contact Juggling, Piano, Guitar, Writing, Yoga and frequenting the Myachi Forum.

Greatest Myachi Moment: Got to play Myachi for the legendary and incomparable George Lucas at Universal Studios, Orlando (He said it was cool.  He was right, of course)

The only changes I'd have to make to put up that post today (other than the # of years I've been jamming) is the number of States I've Myachied in (now 32), I'd have to add a dozen or so new hobbies and I'd probably have to add another dozen contenders for my favorite Myachi Moment.