Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Other End of the Age Spectrum

by Crazy Ivan

The other day I wrote a blog titled "Why Golf?" where I recounted an awesome story of a grandmother who whooped both her grand kids (and everyone else) in a golf contest at Dollywood.  It was so much fun to be a part of that I doubted any other golf tournament this year would compare to it.

And I continued to think that all the way up to about 11:08 this morning.

We do our first golf contest at 11 in the morning and usually it's the smallest contest we do all day.  We've had some days where only 6 or 7 people show up and a few slower days where we actually cancel the first contest because there aren't enough contestants.  We have a minimum of 5 people before we'll actually hold a contest so most mornings we find ourselves in a desperate scramble to find a few willing participants.

That was not the case this morning.  Kore, Rush and I opened up and right away we could tell it was going to be a fun day.  By 11 o' clock we had some 30 kids lined up and waiting.  Several of them were people who'd been in the contests yesterday or the day before so we had a few real ringers, including two previous champions.  It was so big that I felt sorry for the newer kids because I figured they wouldn't stand a chance against so many experienced Myachi golfers.

Normally, I host the tournament and while I'm rocking that out, all the other masters are fishing; tossing in people as they walk by and trying to get them to join in.  We accept new contestants all the way through the first round.  The final entrants before we moved on to the second round were two little kids (a 5 year old girl and her 3 year old brother) that Kore roped in.

For the littler guys, we always let them stand a little bit closer, but even then, they never really compete with the older and more coordinated kids.  True to form, the little girl took two shots, missed the goal on both tries and got knocked out.  Her brother fared a little better and made it to round two.  A lucky shot got him into the second round and an opening bull's eye got him all the way to the final round.

You've probably guessed by now that this little dude actually managed to win the whole thing.  A spotty performance on a few of our returning champions left things wide open for him at the end, but it wouldn't have mattered.  He got a bull's eye and two yellows (7 total points) and smoked the competition by a full two points.

He was so young that he barely even knew what had happened when he won, but when the whole crowd erupted to cheer for him, he beamed as genuine a smile as I've ever seen.  His mom was more excited than him (even though she knew that she would then have to buy another Myachi for his sister) but he was pretty fired up and felt like a winner.

I just felt like I had to share that.  In the (less than) two weeks that we've been running these contests, our winners have ranged in age from 3 to 72.  That alone should be the only sell line we ever need for Myachi.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My E-Mail Situation

by Crazy Ivan

As you may know by now, I'm not particularly computer-friendly.  I love computers and the incredible changes they've made in the world.  I love having an infinite resource of information (some of which is accurate) at my finger tips at all times.  I love never having to suffer through the "what else have I seen that actor in?" headaches that plagued me as a youth.  I love being a quick Googling away from settling virtually any argument.

But I still find myself constantly grumbling "I hate computers..."

I'm not very technically inclined when it comes to these suckers.  I got my first computer when I was 11 years old, but all the training on a Commodore 64 doesn't come in handy very often on the computers of the day.

Somewhat primitive compared to Windows7

Which means that when I have problems with my e-mail, I lack the vocabulary and knowledge to even explain exactly what the problem is.  I've been unable to check my e-mail since I got to Tennessee and after talking to my tech-buddy in NYC it's sounding increasingly like I won't be able to check it until I get back.

That's gonna mess things up for me 100 different ways, of course, but for the purposes of the blog, it puts me in a pretty awkward position for anyone who e-mailed me pics for the outdoor photo contest.  Anything that was transmitted by e-mail will be condemned to float in the purgatory of cyberspace for the next month and a half while I'm down here in the mountains.

Which means that if you sent a pic, you'll have to find another way to get it to me.  Facebook is the first and best choice, but you could also send it to me on the forum (once we get the forum back up and running).  Barring that you can leave the photobucket of flickr (or whatever) link in the comments section below.  The contest isn't scheduled to end until the 29th, so there's still plenty of time to get your pics in. 

So far the field is pretty narrow, but if it's anything like the previous photo contests we've done, most of the entries will come in the next 48 hours.  Got my fingers crossed that there are some awesome ones yet to be seen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reinforcements Arrive

by Crazy Ivan

There was a time when I was invincible.  I was impervious to injury, tireless in my efforts and resilient to any malady.  I shrugged off illness, I laughed off pain and I tackled every passion with an almost singular focus.  There was a time when I was, in a word, indefatigable.

That time was called "young", and it is a seemingly distant memory.  Don't get me wrong, I was young pretty recently.  I'm even now just learning that I'm no longer young.  As Gallagher once said, "we spend half of our lives learning to do stuff and the other half realizing we can do that stuff anymore."

My recent trip to Dollywood has been rapidly showing me just how many things are falling into that latter category.  I did this exact same assignment with a much smaller and less experienced team when I was, myself, far less experienced.  I worked open to close and didn't take a single day off in 57 days.  I took a half day once when Myachi Man was here and I hiked up a two mile, 1800 foot trail in the Smokie Mountains.

And that was when I was young.

Now I'm a mere 10 days into this stint and the 13 hour days are starting to take a toll on me.  I'm actually going to be taking a day off tomorrow, a scant 130 hours of labor from the start.  My body is sore, my brain hurts and anybody who follows the trick of the day videos knows that my voice has all but given out on me.  I still managed to massage my old guy pride with the fact that I outlasted the younger guys when it came to needing a day off, but I didn't come close to my goal of making it all the way through the summer like I used to.

Since I'd overestimated my youthful invincibility, this realization also comes with the side effect that we don't have enough help to cover Dollywood.  If my oldness is going to have me doing crazy things like "days off" (whatever that means), we realized that we were going to need more help at the Wood.

The first thing we did was stuck Rush on a plane.  I'm not sure exactly why Myachi Man chose Rush, but perhaps he got a deal on passenger per pound and simply chose the lightest guy.  But that wasn't quite going to do the trick.  We needed a genuine Myachi Master to replace a Myachi Master, and while I have faith that Rush will one day earn his way into the fourth generation of Myachi Masters, he's not there yet.  He still has much to learn and being at Dollywood will certainly speed up the rate of his progress, but it wasn't enough.

This put us in an awkward position because Animal, Monk, Maverick and Noodles are needed in New York.  Not only do we have the two biggest toy stores in the country to worry about, but we also have a few summer camps we're doing this year, a bunch of special events and the typical Myachi amount of birthday parties, Mitzvahs, graduation parties, etc.  We couldn't afford to deplete our resources there.  And it's not like there are any Myachi Masters just lying around.

Or perhaps there was...

In addition to Rush, we also welcomed Kore back to the ranks today.  He'd been in Florida for the last few months and had been all but cut off from the Myachi world, but when he saw the Myachi symbol in the sky and heard the Myachi communicator crackle to life, he answered the call.  He knew that a Myachi Master was needed, so he came to the rescue as one would expect from any legitimate superhero.

So the team at the Wood grew, I get to rest my voice for a day (as well as this ridiculously old ankle of mine), we have Kore's sense of humor at the Cabin of Skills and we have Rush's youthful enthusiasm to young up the crowd and fire up the rest of the team.  What was looking like a great summer keeps getting all kinds of better.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why Golf?

by Crazy Ivan

When people ask what Myachi is, I hesitate to say that it's a game.  After all, a ball is used in a number of games, but it is not a game by itself.  Myachi is a game-facilitator, but it isn't really a game in and of itself.  There are a number of Myachi games, which I blog about constantly, but there is no one "game" called "Myachi".

So when we to tournaments and contests (in person as opposed to on this blog), we're left with a number of great options of exactly what game to play.  A contest could be a best trick competition, a MYACH game, a game of Fu, a big air contest or any number of other crazy games we've come up with over the years.  But in places like Dollywood, almost all of our contests turn out being Myachi Golf contests.

People often ask me, "Why golf?  Why not do a competition that involves tricks or catches or something a little more... Myachi-ish.  After all, Myachi is very rarely a game about accurate tossing over a distance, so why focus on Golf so heavily when you do tournaments?"

Actually, come to think of it, people don't often ask me that.  I've been asked similar things here and there in the past, but nobody's ever asked me the exact paragraph above.  But I'm going to answer it anyway.

Golf is the only test of Myachi skills that we've come up with that doesn't require any real familiarity with Myachi.  You don't have to know any tricks or even be able to catch so anybody who wants to step into the game is able to do it and the person who is best at Myachi doesn't always win.

Now, in some ways this is a bad thing.  You obviously want some competitions to favor the person who has earned their expertise through long and arduous practice.  That's why when we first crown a world champion of Myachi, it won't be because they won the most Golf contests.  But for competitions like the ones we do at theme parks, the whole point is to demonstrate the fact that everybody can play the game.

If we held a big air contest, we couldn't exactly get the 4 year olds into the game along with the rest of the group.  We couldn't get grandma into a best trick competition.  We couldn't even accommodate a relatively skilled person who had never played Myachi.

But Myachi Golf is a perfect game for exactly that.  Everybody can play Myachi Golf.  It doesn't matter their age or their familiarity with the game.  Sure, I let the little kids stand a lot closer than the others, but after that there's really very little advantage in being older or better at Myachi (unless, of course, you play a lot of Myachi Golf).  This fact was demonstrated in dramatic fashion this evening in our final tournament of the day today.

We hold 5 contests a day at Dollywood.  They tend to get bigger as the day goes because people come back for several of them once they get fired up about the game.  That means that usually the last contest is huge and awesome.  That was certainly the case today.

Our contests go in four rounds.  For those who haven't seen it, we use a goal with three concentric rings.  The bulls-eye is a three pointer, the next ring out is 2 points and the outermost ring is a single point.  Anyway, in the first round every contestant gets one shot and all they have to do is get the Myachi to land anywhere in the target.  In the second round they have 2 shots to get 3 points.  In the third round they get 2 shots to make 4 points and those lucky few who make it through all of that duke it out at the end by taking 3 shots.  Whoever gets the most points wins.

And yes, all that set up was important.

At the end of the first round of the tournament, we give a last call.  Anyone who wants to get in on the game has to join in before we move on to round two.  So I usually try to coax as many people in as possible at that point, including all the moms, dads, grandpas and grandmas that are sitting around watching.

So in this particular contest, a couple of the contestants talked their grandma into stepping into the game at the very end.  She was the last person to step up before we moved on to round two.  She makes it into the second round and then the real fun starts.

In the second round she hits a bull's eye on her first shot.  She's got to be in her sixties and she's as fired up as any of the kids that are standing around.  So in the third round she shanks her first shot and only gets one point.  That means, of course, that she needs to hit another bull's eye again to move on.  And she does.

By the finals, it's her and 4 kids, including one of her own grand kids.  All the others had been in several contests that day and had been practicing up beforehand so things didn't get any easier for her.  But a funny thing happened.  It usually takes at least 7 or 8 points to win that last round, but the first couple shooters had bad luck and only got 4 points a piece.  Then my ringer, the dude who had already won one contest that day and taken 2nd place in another had a terrible run of luck and only got 5 points.

Grandma shot last.  She only needed 6 points to win it all and she started with a bull's eye.  Her 2nd shot was a two pointer, which tied her for the lead.  All she needed to do with her final shot was get a single point.  By that point quite a crowd had gathered around and she was visibly nervous.  She lined up her shot, took a deep breath and won it all.

And that's why we do golf tournaments.  Heck, I didn't even mention the 4 year old who hit a bull's eye to get in to round 3.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hanging Out With Myachi Masters

by Crazy Ivan

One of the coolest things about being in Pigeon Forge is seeing familiar faces.  Pinky and I actually lived in the area for several years before I met Myachi Man and took to the whirlwind adventure that has been the past 8 years.  We have a number of old friends that live nearby and there are plenty of Myachi Maniacs in the area that I'm just as stoked to see.

Among the many I've seen is our good friend Digit.  He's a guy I met at Dollywood when he was 13 and he was already a skill toy protege.  He was a performing magician already and he was pretty proficient with devil sticks and knew a bit of diabolo.  There was no question at the time that he was a Myachi player in the waiting.

He got hooked on the game back in 04 and we've stayed in touch ever since.  He came to NYC a year ago and we all hung out at the House of Skills for a bit and now I've had a chance to return the favor.  We're in his home town so he hung at the cabin with us tonight.

While we were hanging out it became very obvious that there are certain things about hanging out with a Myachi Master that are different than just hanging out with normal people.  The foremost of them is the fact that when any object has to be transferred from one place to another, it is thrown (unless it's value it above $400).  We don't hand things in Myachi, we throw them.  And we don't just throw them, we throw them in creative ways such as under the leg, blind behind the neck, out of a slingshot, etc.  What's more is that we expect them to be caught in a similar manner.

Another nuance that one picks up on quickly when chilling with Myachi Masters is that everything becomes a challenge.  At one point tonight, Bones does some weird trick with a roll of paper towels so we all immediately had to try and see who could do the coolest variation of what Bones did.  Every time someone would mention a possible trick with anything, we will all start trying to do it.  And because there was an extra diabolo and set of devil sticks in the house, the skill challenges ranged well beyond Myachi.

And lastly, one of the things people have to get used to about hanging out with Myachi Masters is that we're pretty much always working... or at least as much as one can apply the word "work" to a profession that consist mainly of playing with toys.  While Digit was here I had to film and edit the Trick of the Day, check my emails, finalize everything with Rush's twice delayed and once cancelled flight in from NYC, check Myachi's YouTube inbox and update Myachi Man on today's sales.  Basically, the whole time he was here I was on the computer or the phone... but it didn't stop me from doing some cool stuff with the paper towels.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why I Haven't Blogged

by Crazy Ivan

Alright, so I'm sure somebody noticed that it's been almost two days since the last blog post went up on this site and I felt that I owed everyone an explanation.  Now, I'm not going to come on here and just tell you that I'm tired after 13 hours at Dollywood and another hour or so of work on the computer every night.  I'm not going to say that the blog got pushed to the back burner last night in favor of things like lounging in the hot tub and sleeping.  That's true, but I'm not going to tell you that.

Instead, I'm going to concoct a nonsensical excuse that is far grander in scale:

Wednesday morning I was abducted by aliens.  A nearly perfect cyborg replacement was left in my stead so that my absence would go unnoticed and while it had plenty of Myachi skills to pull off being Crazy Ivan, a critical programming error left it unable to blog.  Something in the spontaneous creativity drive, I'm sure.

While this robotic replacement (which I affectionately refer to as "robo-me") was hanging out at Dollywood and giving me a much needed break, I was whisked away to a dying world in another dimension where time passes very differently.  I was there for years by the standards of the aliens that lived there, but when I returned to earth, only a day had passed.

I arrived understandably disoriented and was immediately put before their king.  The creatures, which called themselves "Gandalgoids", were squat, green and nearly perfectly rounded with a caterpillar like row of legs which they used for locomotion.  They also had three upper appendages which I can only describe as clawed tentacles, though that hardly does their utility justice.

The Gandalgoids were a dying race.  Their home world of Zerblaxia was being invaded my a malicious force of interdimensional property developers and the Gandalgoids had become lazy through generations of dependance on technology.  Their's was an almost sedentary lifestyle and with robots to tackle every menial task and necessary function of existence, they had all but entertained themselves to death.  This had served them well for centuries, but it left them too slothful to fight off the invading army.

After an exhaustive search of the various inhabited worlds in the multiverse, they happened upon Myachi and saw it as their only chance at salvation.  For a little over three years I trained them in the ways of Myachi Fu and slowly came to understand their language and customs.  By the time their army was ready to fight, the real-estate developers had taken over more than three quarters of their world, including all the beach front property.

When the time came for them to do battle, I was sent back to my homeworld.  It pains me not to know how my students fared, but given the difference in time between our dimensions, by now the war is long over and I can only hope that they successfully defended their planet.  I will never know for certain, of course, so all I can do is trust in the powers of Myachi.

Long Live Zerblaxia!

And in case and Gandalgoids are somehow able to read this in their dimension, Urpa gadthal cor gadas, zeblo calleen demsacto!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bones' First Myachi Trip

by Bones

There are probably not enough words in the English dictionary to express the excitement I felt when Crazy Ivan told me Bamboo and I were going to Tennessee to play in one of Myachis first homes, Dollywood. He told me "Its going to be terrible, long days, sun overhead all day on black top, no fun at all" I said I was in with no hesitation. I passed the phone to Bamboo and he had the same response.

The wait until we started our journey flew by and before we knew it, it was 6AM and we were on our way. I rode with Kid Myach which was epic in its own right but that's a different story. I was a maniac before I became a Myachi Master so I had read all there was on the Internet about Myachi. The big three in Myachi, Myachi man, Kid Myach, and Crazy Ivan were all my inspiration once I discovered Myachi. Not just because they have the coolest job in the world but because they worked hard for what they believe in. I remember meeting Crazy Ivan and actually being star struck. Kind of silly, I know, but you have to be silly when your going to play with a toy for 10 hours. Everyone thinks the motto for Myachi is " It's all about looking good and having fun." In reality it's "Good things come to those who work hard."

So now I am miles away from home far up in the Smokey Mountains, away from everything I've ever known, ready to work hard. I am not sure why because I can't imagine anything better than this but Myachi always finds a way to surprise me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Quick Reminder

by Crazy Ivan

Just wanted to remind everyone of a great chance to win a free Pakisack.  Many of you are already aware (and eligible), but it occurs to me that it's been a long time since I mentioned it.

When we first started this blog, I announced a contest for a free Pakisack.  The only thing you had to do to win is to sign up to follow this blog.  The first 50 followers are eligible to win and thus far we've only got 42 followers.

As big a fan of the number 42 as I am (read Douglas Adams if you don't know why), we still want to get to that 50.  Now, based on the number of daily views that the blog gets, there are a lot more than 42 people reading this on a daily basis, which means that there are still plenty of people who could be getting in on this opportunity who haven't.

So if you want your chance to win, just sign up to follow us.  You'll need a Google account, but then again, who doesn't need a Google account anyway?  You'll know you're in on the contest as soon as you see yourself listed on the right side of the page there under "followers".

Remember, some of the people who've signed up did this months and months ago, knowing that as soon as we hit 50 followers we'd be giving out a free Myachi, so if nothing else, do it for them!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Three Generations of Myachi Master

by Crazy Ivan

It often strikes me how easily the Myachi Masters divide by generation.  We often refer to ourselves as "gen one", "gen two" and "gen three", and there are actually substantial differences between the generations.  From different tricks to different styles of play to different styles of teaching, one can quickly see a clear demarcation between the groups.

Gen One:

Generation one consists of Myachi Man, Kid Myach and myself.  The distinguishing factor that connects more than any other is that we're the only people still involved with the company that ever lived on the Myachi Mobile for an extended period of time.  Animal nearly crosses into this generation, since he was actually working for Myachi before I was and did spend a summer on the Myachi Mobile with me, but since he was not a full time member of the company until much later (and because he's at least a decade younger than any of the rest of us) pushes him into generation two.

Style: Generation one is marked by a style that seems almost simplistic by modern standards.  If there is a common thread that connects the three Myachi Masters in style, it is a reliance on large motions and exagerated motions on fairly basic tricks.
Tricks:The typical holding patterns for gen one Masters are Fu and Fusion and the vast majority of their (our) shreds are upper body.  Many basic moves that you'll catch in a gen one shred are absent in the later generations, as so many more moves existed by the time the other members came on board.
Games: The primary Myachi game for generation one is simple toss and catch or group chaos, though gen one players also tend to play a lot more Myachi Golf than members of the other generations.
Technique: The eldest Myachi Masters are very alike in teaching technique and rely on the big four (Half-Pipe, Cold Fusion, Under the Leg, 360) far more than later generations.

Gen Two:

Generation two consists of Animal, Monk and Maverick.  The distinguishing factor that connects them is that when they began full time, we were almost exclusively working NYC.  They all came on board before we had the House of Skills or the Myachigon, so they connect to a much earlier time in the company.  Another major factor that helps define generation two is that by the time they came on board we were living in homes and getting paychecks.

Style: Generation two is marked by a much more fluid style with far more fast hand exchanges.  While this style was already presaged by Crazy Ivan (who like to write about himself in the third person), members of the second generation took this to a whole new level.  They're shreds are much more often marked by prolonged foot trick sequences.
Tricks: The holding patterns for gen two players are typically more complex than those of gen one.  Instead of one-two patterns like Fu and Fusion, these Masters tend to rely on patterns of 4 to 6 motions and do a lot of "Falling Leaf" style tricks in between their major moves and combos.  Gen two players tend to use arm tricks, two sack tricks and tiger-fist moves far more often than the prime generation.
Games: The primary game for generation two is definitely MYACH.  Before the advent of the new skill that generation two brought, there were far too few talented Myachi players to make for very interesting MYACH battles so it was by necessity that this was not the primary game earlier.  Gen two players also play a lot more cross-athletic types of Myachi games such as Myachi Net and Pong.
Technique: The teaching technique doesn't vary much between gen one and gen two, though gen two Masters are much mroe likely to use the SlingShot and the Trampoline early in their tutelage.

Gen Three:

Generation three consists of Bones, Noodles and now Bamboo (who is in the process of officially earning the title of Myachi Master and will receive it on August 8th... assuming he survives the Wood).  The distinguishing factor in this group is the fact that they all came on board after the Myachigon was built and they were the first generation of Myachi Masters that didn't have to move to a new city to do the job.  We met and trained all of these guys in NYC so they were the first Myachi Masters that just went home after the day was done.  The rest of us came into a job that, in many senses, was a 24 hour a day ordeal.

Style: Generation three is markedly different than gen two when it comes to style.  Gen three Masters rely less on the big, flashy tricks that we see in the prior generation so in a sense they harken back to gen one.  They rely much more on fluid, whole-body motions and prolonged sequences of intermediate tricks that become expert moves because of their combinations.
Tricks: The tricks typical of gen three is largely created by the fact that this was the first generation that learned their tricks with MYACH in mind, so a lot of crazy ambidextrous combinations show up in their shreds than those of earlier generations.  They're shreds are so involved that it's hard to say there really is a holding pattern for this generation.
Games: Although all three members of gen three were big MYACH players early and often in their careers, it is quickly being replaced as their primary game by Myachi Fu.  The yet-to-be-satisfactorily-named cross of Myachi and Lacrosse is also a popular one with gen three.
Technique: Faceplant and the Neo to the early portion of their lessons.

Gen Four:

That actually takes care of all the people who have earned the title "Myachi Master", so little can be said of generation four.  There are a number of contenders, including Unknown, Rush, Skratch, Prime, Metal and Strike, but it would be premature to try to guess who in that group will rise to the rank of Master next.  It's entirely possible that one or more members of gen four will be people we've not yet met.  It's entirely possible, in fact, that one of them is reading this blog right now and will help determine what the style, tricks, games and techniques will be. 

(I mean you, in case you didn't catch that)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This Is Not a Blog Post

by Crazy Ivan

This is not a blog post.  I know that it has many of the features of a blog post.  It contains words and punctuation marks and those words and those punctuation marks are organized into coherent sentences, which are further divided into paragraphs.  That, when combined with the fact that it is posted on a blog, would lead the untrained eye to whole-heartedly accept that this was, in fact, a blog post.

The reason that I know that it's not a blog post is that I know for a fact that I'm too tired to write a blog post. Every muscle in my body is aching and there are muscles that I was unaware of altogether that have chosen to make their existence known to me for the first time.  My ischiocrurale and my flexor retinaculum are sore.  Who even knew such muscles existed?  And what's more, how could a person with a sore flexor reinaculum possibly type out a blog post?

So despite the illusory blog post like nature of this collection of letters, I can say with certainty that in my expert opinion, this is not a blog post.  This does, of course, leave an open question as to what, exactly, this is.

There are a few likely candidates.  It could be an exercise in automatic writing.  It could be the free exchange of information through some heretofore undiscovered medium.  It could be that a spontaneous moment of insanity left you in a trance like state in which you hallucinated the existence of a blog post where none actually existed.

It's also possible, I suppose, that this is something entirely new to the universe.  It is something that is not a blog post despite appearing in so many ways to be a blog post.  Perhaps there is not yet a term in any language for what this is, as it is a phenomena unique to the world, a contrivance too rare and fleeting to deserve an appellation.

To be sure, I fully expect a blog post to appear in the near future.  It will have a point and everything.  And I'll restrict my vocabulary a bit and probably write about Myachi.  And if I don't write about Myachi, I'll at least talk about something.  Between now and then, I sleep.

Filming the Trick of the Day

by Crazy Ivan

So on yesterday's trick of the day video I kind of broke the illusion.  If you never went by anything but what you saw on You-Tube, you'd think I never dropped.  Of course, I figure most people know that this is the byproduct of me refilming the video if and when I drop.  But even if you know that, the illusion is still (more or less) there.

But on last night's video I messed up in the editing.  You don't actually see a drop, but at the very beginning of the video you hear me telling Pinky to "just keep rolling", which is clearly because I screwed up the last one.

We were doing a mad tough video and it actually took me four tries to get it.  Even when I did it was a pretty hum-drum catch I made, but we were too busy for me to try it again.  Then I got home after 13 hours of work and set to editing it.  To be perfectly honest, I was just trying to get it done as quickly as possible so that I could go to bed.  When I saw that the editing was less than perfect, I just shrugged and said "whatever".

I'm reminded of a recent TOTD video I did where Shadow guest starred (the Stiff Arm).  He watched me filming the intro and the first time around I dropped in my little intro shred.  He was blown away.  He'd never seen a Myachi Master drop before.  What was sad about the whole ordeal is that I dropped on something super easy at the time.  Can't recall what it was, but anyone who watches the Trick of the Day knows that my little intro shreds never contain really tough tricks... or at least, almost never.

So I figure it's time to fess up.  Yes.  I drop.  What's more, all the Myachi Masters drop.  And I'd hate for it to be any other way.  The reason it feels good to hit a hard trick is because of the long string of drops behind it.  It would be no fun to play the game if you hit every trick every time.  Sure, you'd never lose at MYACH, but you'd also never feel like you'd really accomplished anything.

As we're fond of saying in Myachi, dropping is a sign of learning.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Promise Not to Post About DollyWood Tomorrow

by Crazy Ivan

Alright, so I'm willing to admit that over the last few weeks I've spent way too much time on this blog waxing nostalgic about the good ol' days at Dollywood.  It's gotten to the point where I'm sure most of you are sick of hearing about how happy I am to be headed back there.  I told myself last night that I should find something other than that park to blog about tonight.

But then I got there and we rocked it out just like the good ol' days and I was flooded with nostalgia like I hadn't been since I knew we were coming.  It was exactly how I remember it.  A long, grueling, hot day littered with the coolest, salt of the earth people that you can ever hope to meet.  I saw a few old friends (I did live in the area for two years before joining Myachi) and I saw a couple of maniacs.

Keep in mind that it's been six years since I've been here, so the kids I met when they were 12 back then are going into college in the fall.  The kids I met when they were sixteen are taking their kids to the park.  As you can imagine, it was pretty surreal.

I spent all day being reminded why I fell in love with this job all those years ago.  Don't get me wrong... it was really, really hard work today.  My body is aching from head to toe and the sunburn doesn't help matters.  But there are so many people to play with and they're all so ready to play.  We meet so many awesome maniacs (shout out to Allison and her whole mission trip, Tom and his cousins from Indiana, David and Brian and the Barnett family from Florida) and we get to see them over and over through the day, so what starts as a quick sale in the morning turns into a kid coming back 9 times through the day and hanging out for an hour and a half the last time.

Bones and Bamboo had a great time.  They were walking out of there saying "I can't believe we just worked 13 hours and I'm not tired".  They were full of energy all day despite playing some 30 games of Fu a piece out in the sun on the black top.  I swear, there were times when Bones was sweating so bad I wondered if he would wind up nothing but a puddle by day's end.  They were busy for about 90% of the day, but we did find time to get them a few free minutes to ride one of the world's best wooden roller coasters.  They also got to see Dolly Parton herself at the tail end of the Kid's Fest Kick Off Parade.

Pinky also had a blast, though she was so busy cashing out customers that she barely got to play at all.  Kid Myach was in classic Kid Myach form so nobody got by him all day.  There were times when he was teaching so many people that Bones, Bamboo, Pinky and I were struggling to find somebody that Kid wasn't already playing with.

The people that run the park and the people that work at it are some of the nicest and most considerate people in the world and I forgot how friendly people are down south (easy to new when you live in New York City).  All in all, despite how sore I am, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the summer and I regret that it has to end in less than two months.  Not sure how many 13 hour days it's going to take to knock that out of me...

Alright.  So I'll totally blog about something other than how glad I am to be at Dollywood tomorrow.  I'll teach a new trick or talk about something collecting-related or explain some weird nuance of MYACH.  I promise.

Dollywood, Day One

by Crazy Ivan

So here it is, quarter after seven in the morning and time to get this show on the road.  I don't have time to write much.  Bamboo and Bones are still getting ready and in a few minutes, we'll be heading out to the kick off of Kid's Fest.

I'm mad fired up about it, though it doesn't look like the weather is going to be too accomodating.  Half of me is fired up and excited and the other half of me is reminding itself that we're in for a really long summer.  13 hour days of STWAKOJ for the next two months will no doubt take their toll.  It's been half a decade since I've done an assignment like this and I made the mistake of getting five years older in the last five years.

We went in last night to set everything up and I found myself way more nostalgic about the place than I expected.  It was almost like a family reunion.  They gave us a spectacular spot right near the entrance so we'll see everybody who wanders in.  Should be a crushing year.

The unfortunate side effect of working for 13 hours is, of course, that there won't be many updates on the blog today.  I'll get back to the cabin at about 9:30 tonight and I'll provide a rundown of the day's highlights.  I'll also be getting the Trick of the Day up mad late, though if I have a chance, I'll film it in the park.  If it was possible, I'd film it from aboard the Thunderhead Roller Coaster.

Anyway, gotta grab a bite while I still can.  I'll have time to elaborate a bit more tonight.  If you just haven't gotten enough of my random rambling, feel free to come visit me at Dollywood and I promise to ramble until you get bored with it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Cabin of Skills

by Crazy Ivan

Alright, so we're all rested up and relaxing for the day.  We set up our tent at Dollywood tonight so today's all about getting our cabin stocked up and getting comfy.  We won't have a lot of time to enjoy the ammenities this summer and we'll be worn out like crazy so today we're getting the most out of it.

I don't have much time to blog at the moment, though.  Spent way too much time hiking the wilds around our cabin this morning and still have a Trick of the Day to film so rather than trying to describe how awesome our place is, I figured it would be easier just to show you:

Oh, and sorry I'm getting this to you so late.  I filmed it early and had no end of trouble uploading it to YouTube... That's also why it's taking so long to get the Trick of the Day video up.  Starting to hate the connection we have out here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What a Long Day...

by Crazy Ivan

On most nights, the House of Skills quiets down pretty early.  Animal is usually in bed by eleven and by then Kid's already asleep as often as not.  Mav's usually holed up for the night by midnight.  Monk stays up all night, but he's usually in his room, maticulously studying fantasy baseball stats or whatever he does.

This is good for Pinky and I since we usually stay up late and live in the basement.  It's an old house so every time somebody crosses the dining room or the living room, the creeking floor echoes through our room.  In fact, you might have heard how creeky that floor is on some of the Trick of the Day videos I've done there.

Anyway, normally the floor quiets down by 11 or so.  But for the odd midnight snack from Mav or Monk, my room is usually comfortably quiet.  But not last night.  Animal's girlfriend was out of town for the weekend and got home late, so she came to see Animal at about 11.  Mav had a buddy over.  Bones and Bamboo were crashing there so that they could leave early with us, but instead of getting some sleep, they stayed up until 2 in the morning playing Magick with Monk.

Needless to say, my room was far from quiet.  I was tossing and turning and wishing for industrial strength earplugs until after 2.  Of course, 1 or 2 in the morning is when I usually get to sleep, but I usually try to get up earlier when I have to wake up at 4 in the morning.

So I get up this morning on less than two hours of sleep.  And then I drove for 13 and a half hours.  And now I'm at the cabin and I'm about to edit the Trick of the Day video...

Basically, this is all a really long explanation of why I can't write a very long blog post today.  I can barely keep my eyes open at this point and I still need to shove some food into my head before I pass out.  So I promise something with a little more detail tomorrow (including a quick video tour of our new cabin), but for tonight this is all I can manage...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hitting the Road Early...

by Crazy Ivan

Just a word of warning everyone.  It's 11:00 now, which means I'm already up later than I meant to be tonight.  Getting up at 4:00 and hitting the road at 5:00 for the 12 hour trip to Dollywood.  Bones and Bamboo are already upstairs getting ready to pass out, the car is loaded up, the van is full of product and we're almost ready to depart.

But first the fitful sleep.  It's like that Christmas Eve sleep... you know, the sleep where you're so excited about what you're doing tomorrow you barely sleep at all?  That's what I have to look forward to for the next 5 hours.

The road trip should be fun.  Never traveled with Bones or Bamboo before and we're caravaning down with Kid driving up in the van.  With a little luck on traffic, we'll be there in time to catch game 7.

The downside is that I won't be able to update the blog at all tomorrow.  I'll get on in the evening once we're checked into the cabin and give everyone a little update on how the trip went.  If I have time, maybe we can put together a video tour of our summer home, which we have already dubbed "The Cabin of Skills"... because we're way too predictable.

The Trick of the Day will also be getting to you late and I might be deliriously tired when I do it, but as long as we don't have trouble getting Internet access the first night, it will be uploaded before midnight.  Now let's see if I can manage any sleep...

Jam With Everything

by Crazy Ivan

I've talked before on the blog about jamming with odd objects.  It's kind of a natural progression of Myachi Mania that once you get good with a Myachi, you wind up testing your skills with anything vaguely Myachi shaped that you come across.  From ketchup packets to matchbooks to candy bars, everything starts looking like a Myachi after a while.

One of the most common (and most dangerous) manifestations of this tendency is the "phone jam".  As often as I warn people not to do it, I constantly see people jamming with their cell phones.  Now, under certain circumstances, it's okay to jam with your phone.  I jam with my phone all the time because I meet the 3 primary phone-jamming criteria:
  • I paid for my own phone,
  • It's a cheap piece of junk and
  • I'm a Myachi Master.
I wouldn't recommend doing any phone jamming if you can't honestly claim at least two of those three things.  Much better than jamming with your own phone and suffering through the inevitable heart-attack when you drop, it's much better to just watch somebody else do it:

And before you ask, yes... Mav dropped an iPhone during the filming there.  He also dropped an iTouch.  And the other iPhone.

The point is that no matter how good you are, when you start jamming with odd objects, you have to count on the idea that occasionally you're going to drop them.  If it's too valuable to break, it's too valuable to jam with.  Dropping something like a packet of mayo or a box of Nerds isn't going to get you grounded.  And even if you're not in danger of getting grounded, you're at least in danger of not having a phone.

So, as we often say in Myachi, just because you see us doing it doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Still Looking for Outdoors Pics

by Crazy Ivan

Just so everyone knows, I still haven't started seeing the entries rolling in for the summer photo contest.  We're looking for pics of you jamming with your Myachi outdoors with the beauty of mother nature in the background.

Obviously there's still plenty of time to get it done.  The contest runs through June 29th so there are still more than two weeks to go before the deadline.  That should give you plenty of time to take dozens of great pics.  Just remember, the more you enter, the better your chances to win.

It it's anything like the last few photo contests, the majority of the pics will come at the last minute and we'll get a gazillion pictures posted in the final 24 hours or so.  That being said, you still have a much better chance to win if you start getting your pics in early.  Okay, you don't, but at the very least people will have a lot more time to appreciate them.

And remember, the only rules for the pics are:
  • They have to be outdoors,
  • They have to show someone jamming with a Myachi.
It doesn't have to be you and it doesn't have to be just one person.  Get creative and try to think of something that nobody else will do.  In this contest, the clearest path to victory is a unique one.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Codifying Commons

by Crazy Ivan

Got a PM on the forum today about a particular sack.  I get these pretty often where people will name a Myachi and ask me "Is this one rare?"

Well, of course, "rare" is not a specific state so it can be kind of hard to answer that question.  In a sense, all Myachis are rare because we make them in remarkably small numbers, but obviously that's not what I was being asked.

Basically, what people want to know when they ask me something like this is, "would this Myachi be considered rare or common for the purposes of trading?" Even this question is hard to answer with any specificity.  Again, there's never been a clear demarcation between rare and common.  Sure, a Yellow Cat is rare and a Tidal Wave Blue is common.  We can all agree on that, but exactly how far back do you have to go before common turns to rare?

I've personally been guilty of muddying the waters on this one with terms like "semi-common" and "uber-rare", so I figured it was high time we got to deciding exactly what we mean when we say a Myachi is "rare" or "semi-rare".

The starting point is the graph below, though I'm certainly open to suggestions.  It wouldn't seem right to ramrod a definition through without any open discussion.  This is generally what I think of when I say "semi-common", but that doesn't mean it's what everyone thinks of.

So in the chart below, the first row has the various terms we would use.  The second row tells you the range of series that covers and the final row tells you which series, as of this moment, would fall into each category:

The idea here, of course, is that each time a new series comes out, things get bumped up.  So when the 5.1 series comes out, the 4.5s will become Semi-Common, the 4.3s Semi-Rare, the 4.0s rare, the 3.0s Ultra Rare and so on.

Obviously, this system is not perfect.  3.0 and 3.1 came out together, so if one of those is rare, so is the other.  It also doesn't take into account the fact that series get bigger as they go, so several series from now, tens of thousands of sacks would suddenly be in the Uber-Rare category.

It also doesn't help us out much when it comes to classifying promotional or special events sacks.  These suckers probably start out as semi-rares and just move up from there.  A separate system would probably be needed to truly capture the relative rarity of promo sacks, but it could also be a simple extension of this system; for example, another column that has how many years ago each promo was made.

Like I said, I want this to be the beginning of this discussion rather than the end, so feel free to voice your opinions in the comments section below.

The Limits of Trade Value

by Crazy Ivan

Last year, we unveiled the "Sackthology" in the Hall of Fame section of our website.  This index represented almost 5 years of painstaking compilation and calculation.  Endless days were spent digging through old receipts, invoices and payment records.  Hundreds of hours were spent checking and rechecking the numbers.  Whole years were spent tracking down paperwork and cross referencing the findings.

The end result is a compendium of every Myachi ever made along with all the particulars.  The Sackthology lists the series, year, number made, fabric, sister sack and more.  But the most important figure for each sack was a number that we assigned as we were compiling the list; the Trade Value.

The Trade Value was included in an attempt to keep newer collectors from getting ripped off in trades.  The Sackthology gives the relative value of every Myachi ever made so that a collector can quickly judge the value of their Myachis and decide whether or not a given trade is fair.

But the Trade Value can tell you only so much.  There are clear weaknesses to the system and no matter how specific we get, it will never be perfect.

The reason is that the value of a given Myachi can bounce around quite a bit between collectors.  The Trade Value was calculated using 5 variables: How long ago the sack was made, how many were made, how widely distributed they were, how long were they available in stores and "relative coolness".

I'll admit that the "coolness" factor was pretty arbitrary, but it was also necessary.  It primarily effected custom sacks, though it did enter into a few series Myachis such as the Beards, the Blue Dragon and the Fireball.  Mostly it served to distinguish between a promotional sack from a company everyone knows (like Dunkin Donuts, Sobe, PS2, etc.) and one that few people would care about (like a Bar Mitzvah sack or customized birthday party sack).

The end result is a number between 5 and 500.  If a sack has a Trade value of 20, it's worth twice as much as a sack with a Trade Value of 10.  That would mean that in a trade, a 20 would be worth two 10s.  In the real world, it works out more like this:

I have a Bubbalicious (TV=24) and my buddy's trying to get it from me in a trade.  At first he offers a Dreamcoat, but when I check the Sackthology I see that it only has a TV of 12.  He ups the offer to add a GridIron Blue, which has a Trade Value of 11.  This makes it a pretty even trade since the Dreamcoat and the GridIron Blue have a combined value of 23 and my Bubbalicious has a 24.

This was a huge improvement over the previous method of determining the fairness of a trade, which was to e-mail me or Pinky or Kid and say "Hey, is a Bubbalicious fair for a Dreamcoat?"

That being said, the Trade Value system is far from perfect.  One thing that it does not and cannot figure in is how much a Myachi might mean to someone personally.

For example, if that Bubbalicious was the first Myachi you ever got or it was a prize you won in a contest or it was a personal gift from Animal, it might be way more valuable to you.  The Trade Value on the Sackthology would still be 24, but for you personally, it would be worth a lot more.

The reason I bring it up is because I've been getting a lot of Trade offers that are fair by the TV system, but aren't trades I'd want to make.  For example, people can technically assemble a fair trade, for a Black Belt (TV=84) just by putting together an offer of 17 commons.  The commons are valued at 5 per, so if somebody offered me the whole 5.0 series and 5 4.5s, the value would come out to 85 and it would technically be a fair trade for my Black Belt.

But, of course, nobody in their right mind would trade away a Black Belt for any number of commons.  Not only is the Black Belt really hard to come by these days, but my personal Black Belt is one of my best jammers and it's set a few records in it's day.  It's definitely not something I'd want to trade away at any price.

So keep in mind when you're making trades that Trade Value is not the only factor you need to consider.  It offers you a good starting point and it's really helpful for newbs that are trading with unscrupulous veterans, but it's not the final word on a trade.  The final word is yours.  You can use the TV system to calculate and make sure you wouldn't be getting ripped off in a trade, but it can't tell you if you want to make the trade or not.

By all means, use the Sackthology.  Figure out the value of the trade and decided who is getting the better end of it, but don't let that be the whole process.  The final word has to come from the inside.  Once you've found a "fair" trade, look at the sack(s) you'd be giving up and the sack(s) you'd be getting and ask yourself, "do I want to make this trade?"

If you don't, you don't owe anybody an explanation or an apology.  If they point out that you would actually be getting the better deal or that the Trade Value is even, tell them you know, but you'd still rather not trade.  Ultimately, it's all up to you.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sometimes I can't Believe They Pay Me...

by Crazy Ivan

When the only part of your workday that stinks is the commute, you know you've got a pretty cool job.

That was certainly the case today.  Kid Myach and I did a party out in Jersey today.  The party was about 2 and a half hours but the drive home was about 3.  A good hour of that was spent creeping along at the speed of touch on our way into the Lincoln Tunnel.

But why focus on the bad part when there was so much good part?  The party itself was as awesome as any Myachi party I've ever done.  The whole family was awesome, all the kids there were cool (and had sick skills), there was plenty of room to play and there was free Mountain Dew.  Anybody who knows me probably knows that I'd have done the party just for the free Dew.

So first let me set the stage.  The kids whose party it was had met a couple of the Myachi Masters in the Toys R Us in Totowa a while back.  I believe they'd met Bones and Bamboo and at least one of the party-goers had met Animal, Noodles and Mav as well.  But most of what they know about the game they know from the various tentacles of our online outreach.

Anyway, Kid and I show up mad early (traffic was easy on us on the way out) and when we drive up to the house we see 15 dudes in the drive way all playing MYACH and Fu.  Four of them are already wearing Myachi shirts and before we can even get out of the car we're getting surrounded.

So after a brief barrage of "can you show me this trick?", "how much is this Myachi worth?", "is there a name for this trick?", "you have anything to trade for this?", "which Myachi Master is the best at ...?" and "what am I doing wrong on this trick?" type questions, we got the party started.

Now, honestly, it was fun enough that I could give a play by play account of every contest without running out of stuff to say, but there was one moment that stood out like no other, and I think it typified what an awesome day it was.

Among the many games we played was a 7 on 7 Fu battle with Kid Myach leading one team and me leading the other.  We were playing where everyone had a Myachi and only one life.  Once all the members of one team were out, the other team won.  The idea was that we would do best 2 out of 3.  My team all wore Myachi beanies (so we were the "Beanies") and Kid's team went hatless ("Team Beast" for some reason).

Kid's team marched all over us in the first round and were poised to do it again in the second.  In the second round i got knocked out pretty early and my teammates were dropping like flies.  After a few minutes we paused the game for a second and realized that only one member of our team remained.  Kid's team still had 4 players, including Kid Myach.  Kid has a bit of an advantage, of course, since he's at least two and a half feet taller than anyone else there.

So this dude (Rex) is surrounded.  4 players against one and they still had 2 of their 3 best strikers on the floor (not including Kid).  So Rex goes into full-on berserker mode and blows up with a rampage that would make Wolverine jealous.  He fakes left, spins right, cuts behind Kid Myach and takes out one member of their team.  Before he can turn back, his own brother (who was on Kid's team) grabs hold of him and yanks him back, knocking the Myachi off his hand.

But the game isn't over.  It was clearly an illegal tackle so Rex gets to pick his Myachi back up and the tackler has to do 30 seconds in the penalty box.  This makes it a two on one game and by now that seems easy to this guy.  He held off 4 players long enough that nobody thought he was at a disadvantage when he only had to face two.

Not surprisingly, he took one of them out quick.  That left him facing off one on one against Kid Myach... and the clock was ticking.  By that time his brother only had about 12 seconds left on his penalty so if he couldn't take Kid out quickly it would be two against one again... and it would be the two best Fu players at the party that weren't him.

The one on one was classic.  Kid was doing a lot of high throw defenses and eventually that did him in.  He went to toss the sack from right hand back to left and Rex cut in between, altered the angle of the Myachi and took Kid out with only seconds left on the penalty.  Then we were treated to another one on one match up as his bro came out of penalty.

I can't possibly explain how good these guys are at Fu, but they've clearly played each other plenty of times before.  The final match was amazing and despite the fact that Rex had been giving it his all for the last 30 seconds while his opponent was resting in the penalty box gave him a clear disadvantage.  Despite that, he eventually managed a total victory and kept our team alive.

So, to sum all that up, this dude was taking on 4 players, including one Myachi Master (and one of the tall ones at that) and won.  It was the biggest Fu comeback I've ever witnessed.

that Yellow Jacket.

There were a lot of other games and a lot of other great moments, including several other heroic saves and incredible tricks from a number of the party-goers, but I figured if I was going to share one that was the one to share.  So if you guys are reading this, thanks for having Kid and I out for the party.  It was way more fun than anyone should be paid to have.

My Adoring Fans

by Crazy Ivan

In about 20 minutes, I'll be taking off with Kid Myach and heading into the Garden State for a birthday party.  Should be fun... as long as it doesn't rain the whole time.

I'm kind of flattered by the whole thing.  The kid whose party we're doing has never met any of the Myachi Masters, but apparently they specifically requested that I be at their party.  I suppose that makes sense.  If all your familiarity with Myachi is online, I'm probably the most visible Myachi Master... what with all the Trick of the Day videos.  And of course, I also write a blog you might have heard of.

Now, it would be kind of sad and egotistical for me to hop on here just to tell you that, but there was kind of a funny moment that went with it.  Pinky booked the party and then Kid Myach e-mailed the dude to confirm it.  The dad e-mails back and asks which Myachi Masters will be at the party.

Kid sends back confirmation and tells them that it will be Kid Myach and Crazy Ivan.

The guy sends back an e-mail:

Excellent.  The kids are really looking forward to seeing Crazy Ivan.
...poor Kid.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Going Back

by Crazy Ivan

Alright, so if you're sick of hearing about how excited I am that I'm going back to Dollywood, you can go ahead and skip this post and I'll see you next time.  Don't worry, I totally understand.

Kid and I are getting a lot of the last minute stuff set up.  We're dusting off our displays, making sure we have enough pegs, rounding up all the product we'll need and finalizing our travel plans.  Pinky is verifying our reservations and Bones and Bamboo are packing up.  We're only days away from the trip and as we draw ever closer my mind hovers on it for longer and longer periods.

And for some reason, today it's seized on a memory from my teenage years.

I used to sing a lot.  I still do, but these days it's mostly confined to the shower or singing along to the radio in the car.  But back in my youth I sang for several different bands.  I played a little bit of keyboard and a little bit of guitar (and by that I mean I could follow along with a song without screwing it up), but I wasn't very good.

And I wasn't a very good singer either, at least not at first.  I can still recall the feeling in my stomach the first time I ever took the microphone on stage.  I'd only been with this band for a week and a half and we'd only had a couple of practices.  The other members of the band had been playing together for a while, but their singer had moved away and I stepped in kind of last second.

I'd never sung in front of an audience before and when the music hit and my cue came, I must admit that it was probably really obvious I'd never sang before an audience before.  I was terrible.  I clammed up, I got nervous, my voice cracked, I forgot the lyrics and I found myself counting the seconds until I could run away and hide.

I made it through the four song set and by the end of it I was doing better, but it was still an awful and thoroughly embarrassing experience.  By the end of it, I think most of the audience just felt sorry for me.  The other members of the band looked horribly disappointed and, no great surprise, they went out the next day and found themselves a new singer.

Now, that might have been the end of my singing career.  My guess is that if anyone who was in the audience that night was asked, they would say that it should have been the end of my singing career.  I wasn't sure why I'd sung so poorly that night.  I'd done way better in practice and normally I could at least carry a tune.  But I'd underestimated the effect the crowd would have on my nerves.

But I'm not much on the whole quitting thing, so a few months later, a friend and I started another band.  We did a softer type of music (the first band was more heavy metal, this one a bit more early 90s alternative) so it was a little more in keeping with my vocal strengths.  But more importantly, I'd learned exactly how bad it felt to screw up on stage and was determined not to do it again.

We played a few small shows while I built up my confidence and after a few months we were playing all over the place.  About a year after my first disastrous performance, we found ourselves booked at a teen club playing alongside the band that I sang for before.  Well... the one I attempted to sing for before.  There were six bands playing that night but we were billed right before them and they were closing the show that night.

And I was determined to give the performance of my life.  It wasn't just about winning a competition, it was about proving to the band that I let down that I'd gotten better.

Well, we didn't win the competition but I did sing a lot better.  It was a big enough improvement that all my old bandmates congratulated me on the show.  The band I was singing for at the time disbanded shortly thereafter and it would be years before I found myself on stage again.  By the time I did, I'd traded the microphone for a set of flaming torches and the act was way different.

So the $64,000 question is, what the heck does any of this have to do with Dollywood or Myachi?

Well, Dollywood was by debut as a Myachi Master in training.  I was brand new to the game and when I started with Myachi if I wanted to impress someone, the best thing I could do was turn my hands over and juggle 3 or 4 of them in my palms.  I guess I was okay back then, but I was no Myachi Master.

Going back this year feels a lot like going to that battle of the bands.  I was substandard last time I was at Dollywood and now I feel like I'm at the top of my game.  I can't wait to go back and show everyone how much better I got.

And I bet you can't wait for me to get there either... so I'll start blogging about something else!

Go Mavericks!

by Crazy Ivan

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a big basketball fan.  And when I am, I'm certainly not a Mavericks fan.  I grew up in Detroit so I root for the Pistons.  I lived in Illinois during MJ's heyday so I occasionally root for the Bulls.  If I had to pick a favorite NBA player it would probably be Dwayne Wade.  And if I had to pick a least favorite city when it comes to sports teams, Dallas would be right behind Boston (sorry Dallas readers, but I hate the Cowboys!).

So why am I rooting for the Mavericks?  Why did I go nuts when they won last night?  Why do I go into game 6 with my fingers crossed and Nowitzki's name on my lips?

Well, it's a simple business issue.  See, if the Heat win, we're going to run out of Heat Myachis.  They've been popular sellers all year and we're already having trouble keeping the Lebron ones in stock.  Dallas, not so much.

Not many people were picking the Mavs as a favorite to go all the way today, but Kid Myach knows his basketball.  When we were deciding which teams and players to order during the off season last year, Kid was careful to include a Dallas sack and a Nowitzki sack.  I asked him why.  He said "Because they've got a real shot this year."

Keep in mind that if the Mavericks win, most every vendor of NBA licenced merch will probably be running out immediately after.  You just don't make a lot of product for a team that you don't expect to win.  It'll be like trying to find Giants swag after they took out the Patriots in Superbowl XLII (and let's take a moment to appreciate what an awesome moment that was).  If you recall, in the days following their Cinderella victory, it was all but impossible to find hats or shirts with the G-Men logo.

Of course, where there's a will there's a way so within a few days, shirt and hat manufacturers step up production and get merchandise back on the shelves, but when you have to make something quick, it costs a lot of money.  This means that they end up making less and less money on each shirt they sell.

Unless, of course, they have a precognitive basketball fan like Kid Myach on their payroll, in which case they'd be sitting on a stockpile of Nowitzki stuff all ready to go.

So if you're not a big basketball fan or at least not a big Heat fan, help out the movement.  Root for Dallas!

Excuses, Excuses...

by Crazy Ivan

Normally, I'm a pretty punctual guy.  I hate being late for stuff so I always leave way early and end up milling around for a while.  I'm always an hour early to Bar Mitzvahs, I never show up late to the office and when there's any chance of me being late, I start to break out into a cold sweat.

And then I started this blog.

Now I'm late getting contest announcements up, I'm late getting Wednesday quizzes up, I'm late getting prizes mailed out, I'm late getting break-in tests done and I'm late, unfortunately, getting Myachi Master Shred Videos orchestrated.  I can offer as an excuse that getting Myachi Masters on the same page can be like herding cats sometimes, but that's just an excuse.  In truth, we got so caught up playing Fu at the meeting the other night we barely even brought it up.  So no, sorry if you were waiting with bated breath for videos from Mav, Animal, Monk, Noodles, Bones, Unknown, Rush or myself that were supposed to debut today.

It all started so simple.  I pointed out on the blog that I've still never put up a shred video in all my years with Myachi.  I mentioned it and set a date to rectify the situation.  Then Bones brought up a Myachi Master Shred Contest, which seemed like such a good idea that I couldn't pass up on it.

I mentioned it to all the guys and they got fired up and excited, and then promptly forgot all about it until I reminded them the other day.  But as of today it looks like some of the guys haven't even filmed anything yet and others haven't even started editing.  In my attempt to organize a Myach Master shred video, I have failed...  At least for the time being.

But all is not yet lost.  While we can't necessarily get all the Myachi Masters to post videos at the same time and get a whole vote thing going, that doesn't mean that we can't all still post those videos we were working on (or in the planning stages of).

And 1,000 apologies for getting everybody fired up about it.  And 1,000 more for letting my own shred video get so infinitely delayed because of it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Thursday Edition of the Wednesday Quiz

by Crazy Ivan

The fact that you're taking this quiz on the blog already means that you're probably going to do better than most.  So just how much do you know about our efforts to infect every corner of the internet with Myachi madness?  Find out below:

Raring to Go

by Crazy Ivan

To be perfectly honest, I'm doing all I can not to just write about going to Dollywood every day on this blog.  It's all that's on my mind.  I'm so fired up about going back to my roots, seeing some old friends, hiking some familiar trails, hooking back up with veteran jammers and sweating about 3 gallons a day for two months plus.

More than that, I'm looking forward to taking Bones and Bamboo through Myachi boot camp.  I'm looking forward to expanding their experience with Myachi and helping them to take their Myachi Mastery to the next level.  I'm looking forward to watching them learn this venue the same way I learned it.

And I'm looking forward to living in a cabin with a hot tub and a pool table for a couple months.  That's pretty cool, too.

But, on the other hand, there are a lot of things in NYC that I'm not looking forward to doing without for a month.  Most of it is personal stuff... you know, my bed, my cats, my guitar, my collection (which is definitely not coming).  But there are also all the people that I'll be missing for two months.  And all the general awesome New Yorkiness of the summer.  And the slackline... which would be awesome to have in Tennessee.

Anyway, the next few days will be a crazy, chaotic scramble to get everything in order before we ship out.  Pinky has to get all her office work covered for a couple of months and I've gotta figure out how I'm going to do stuff like shipping out contest prizes and getting the trick of the day video up.  And don't worry, I'll still be blogging when I get down there.  I'll probably try to write a couple things every night and set them to drop at different times since I won't be able to write during the day.

Hopefully I'll see some of you guys there...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Announcing Another Give-Away!

by Crazy Ivan

Sorry I didn't have this up earlier guys and gals.  Yesterday I was just so busy I could hardly blog.  Today it was an issue with my internet connection.

I promised another contest this afternoon so hope you don't mind that I'm getting it to you this evening instead.

Given the weather over the past few days (and I'm not just talking about the weather here in New York), I figured the next contest should be one that absolutely cannot be done from indoors.  So as a part of Myachi's ongoing effort to get people off the couch and moving, we're going to have a strictly outdoors contest.

So here's the deal.  It's a photography contest so you'll need a camera and you might just need a second person.  Why a second person?  Well, because you're going to be in the picture.

That's the contest.  We want to see you in the great outdoors, jamming with a Myachi.  If possible, we'd love to see some nature in the background, but for those of you stuck in the 5 boroughs it might be pretty tough to find any nature, so we'll accept the outside of a building if that's the best you can do.

We'll be giving out 3 prizes on this one with each winner getting a 5.0 of their choice.  One prize will be given for the best looking photograph (one with the coolest background, pose, etc.), one for the most creative picture (coolest concept for a picture) and one randomly selected (seriously... we'll just pick one out of a hat).  You can enter as many times as you'd like so the more pics you take, the more likely you are to win.  The more the better.

Remember, every picture has to show 3 things:
  • The outdoors,
  • A Myachi and
  • Somebody jamming with that Myachi.
I understand that some people's parents won't let them put their face in a picture on the internet and that's fine.  If you need a neck down pic to keep mom and dad happy, that's cool.  If you have to, a picture just of a Myachi on your hand with the outdoors in the background would be acceptable.

So here's the nitty gritty rule stuff:
  1. All Pics have to be in by June 29th at 11:59 pm.  That means you have three weeks and a few hours to get this done.  The deadline WILL NOT be extended on this one unless there are unforeseen problems like my email going down.
  2. You can submit your pictures in three ways:
    1. You can post them on our Facebook Page (preferred)
    2. You can post them on Photobucket or Flickr and leave the link in the comments section of this blog entry
    3. You can e-mail them to me at
  3. A panel of Myachi Masters will determine the winners.  Winners will be announced no later than July 1st at 10 pm Eastern Time (US).  All judges decisions are final.
  4. All photos become property of Myachi
  5. We will not accept any photos with obscene or offensive images.
  6. Dates may be amended with or without cause by Myachi or Myachi's representatives.
So good luck, have fun and get outside and play!

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.  You can also email me your questions at, but if you have a question, odds are pretty good somebody else will have the same question and it might be easier to keep it all in one place so everyone can see the answers.

First Large Scale Test

by Crazy Ivan

Got our first chance to really try the 3 on 3 version of the Fu game last night and I have to say that the game passed the test with flying colors.  If you don't know the game I'm talking about, you can read all about it at this link.  I'd advise it since a lot of what follows won't make much sense if you don't know the game.

To be clear, we'd played before, but this was the first time where we had enough Myachi Masters around to (a) field multiple teams and (b) still have people left over to referee.  The game is remarkably exhausting so we were playing first team to 3 points and then we were swapping out teammates here and there and giving a few people a rest.

Myachi Man, Kid, Monk, Animal, Bones, Bamboo, Rush, Unknown, Strike*, Metal* and myself all got in on the game and we had some epic battles.  Kid got a bit of video on his phone so hopefully we'll have some evidence of the awesomeness of the game before long, but for now you'll just have to trust my testimonial (or ask Myachi Man, Kid, Monk, Animal, Bones, Bamboo, Rush, Unknown, Strike* or Metal*).

(* Myachi Masters in Training)

We didn't have enough room to really play the way we'd want to.  We were playing in the driveway at the House of Skills so it was relatively easy to corner the defender and 6 people in such a small arena made it really hard to pass.  By and large one player defended each team's Myachi throughout each round.  There were a couple of passes, but generally speaking you'd have one guy defending the Myachi, another guy defending him and a third guy attacking the other team's Myachi.

That changed from time to time, of course.  Sometimes one team would double team on attack and leave one guy to defend the Myachi by himself.  That tended to work alright as long as the other team didn't decide to double team at the same time.  Then it often turned into a race against the clock.

The game went, in a lot of ways, exactly how I hoped it would.  The gameplay was fast, intense and filled with highlights.  One thing that surprised me was exactly how many elements of different sports we brought into the game.  Strike and Monk are pretty good basketball players and they were using a lot of their basketball skills when they defended.  Unknown plays offensive line so when he was protecting the primary defender (the dude with the Myachi) he created a wall.  There were also heavy elements of lacrosse, soccer, ultimate, footbag, hockey and, of course, martial arts.

There were also a few huge highlights, though I don't think I could do them justice just by describing them.  One of my teams scored short handed while I was in the penalty box (accidentally hit Bones in the head) and that was pretty cool to watch.  At one point when Bones had his team's Myachi he went on the offensive and suddenly there were three guys attacking Monk.  He weaved his way out of it like nobody's business.  At one point Bamboo got in trouble, outran the Myachi and had to kick it to Rush to keep the game going.  At one point I had Metal all over me like Velcro and had to make about 4 saves in a row to give my team time to score.

Next time we play, we'll have multiple cameras.  I can't wait to see this thing presented like a genuine sport.  Unfortunately, this probably won't happen until Bones, Bamboo, Pinky and I get back from Tennessee (in August), but the good news is that we'll have a lot of time to practice up and get our strategies in order.

In fact, I'm even willing to lay down the gauntlet against Monk, Mav and Animal.  Each team gets a few months to practice up and draw up crazy plays and then we duke it out for world domination at the end of the summer... I'm liking the sound of that...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sorry It Took So Long!!

by Crazy Ivan

I suppose there are some people who have nice, relaxing days off.  I wonder what that's like...

Today has been crazy for me.  Technically I'm off today but there's a big bonus program for the Myachi Masters that we're rolling out at a meeting tonight and I've spent most of the day working on that.  It's been so crazy that it's 5 o' clock and I'm only just getting my first chance to write an entry for the blog.

So as many of you had long ago predicted, it looks like Mantis took the Trick of the Day Video Contest.  The only real hope on that one was that he would be too busy to enter, but once he got involved I think most of the other contenders realized they were outmatched.

So congratulations to Mantis for dominating yet another competition of skills.  You managed to take two of my favorite jammers... I hope you're happy.

Thanks to everyone who got involved and sorry if your hopes and dreams were dashed by Mantis' unrivaled expertise.  I'll be announcing the start of another contest tomorrow so be prepared.  And this one is going to be a creative contest, so perhaps it will be a bit tougher for one person to skyrocket to victory in this one.

Also, let me apologize for neglecting the blog all day.  Super busy and I hate that something this important wound up getting pushed to the back burner.  Promise to be more punctual tomorrow!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Top 10 Uses for the Backyard at the House of Skills

by Crazy Ivan

A lot of people have requested more info about home life at the House of Skills, so I decided to start a new series of articles on the various usages for the various parts of our humble abode.  I'll eventually try to write a top 10 for every room in the house with the exception of the bathroom... I don't think anyone wants to read that one.

But I'm going to start where I am right now.  I would think that more than any other segment of the House of Skills, the backyard really defines what this place is all about.  So, bearing in mind that I'm just randomly estimating what we actually spend more time doing, here is my educated estimation of the top 10 uses we get out of the backyard:

 #10 General Backyard Stuff  

I kind of had to have a category for stuff like laying out in the sun and reading a book or warming up for a jog.  While we do find some better uses for out backyard, a certain amount of the time we spend out here is for mundane stuff like mowing the grass, raking leaves or writing blogposts.

 #9 Setting Stuff on Fire  

I should start this off with the standard "DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME" warning, but several of us at the House of Skills are trained professionals in the arts of fire manipulation and we can't exactly practice fire poi, fire devil sticks, torch juggling or fire Myachi in the living room.  When we find the need to test the limits of our intelligence and start tempting fire to burn us, we always do it in the backyard.

 #8 Slack Lining  

The Slack-Line hasn't been up for a few days which means we really need to put it back up tomorrow.  We've had the badminton net up for too long now and I'd really like to move slack-lining up the list a bit.  Because it's still a pretty new skill toy for us, it hasn't managed to log enough time to be higher than 8th in my current estimation.

 #7 Practicing New Myachi Tricks  

For those of you wondering when Myachi was going to show up on this list, I should remind you that I'm going least to most.  Myachi will show up a few more times as we get closer to the top uses, but I feel like I have to include it here as well.  We practice new tricks in every part of the house, including both yards, so you'll see this one showing up on virtually every list in this forthcoming series.

The backyard is a particularly good spot for practicing new tricks since when one person starts practicing a new trick, everyone starts wanting to practice new tricks and most of the other spots we could practice would run out of room pretty quick.

 #6 Playing Net Games  

There are several net games we play here so this earns a spot pretty high on the list.  We play a lot of Myachi-Net (with and without paddles) but we also play a lot of badminton, takraw and footbag net.  We are also known to make up random games using whatever we have handy so sometimes we find novel uses for the net.

 #5 Playing Hacky Sack  

There's a limit to how many people can play hacky-sack in the living room (six, for the record) so whenever we have a few friends or other masters over, we often find the game getting too big to hold indoors.  Virtually everyone involved in Myachi has a pre-existing love for footbag when they got into the game so it's only natural that we would stay true to our roots.

 #4 Practicing With Skill Toys too Big for the Living Room  

Most of our stuff can be done with very little room.  There's no need to go outside to practice with juggling balls or Astrojax, but things like meteor, lasso and poi require a bit more free space than the living room offers.  For some tricks, devil sticks and diabolo insist on wide open spaces, as do the more complex tricks with juggling clubs.  To be fair, most of the time stuff that requires high throws gets practiced in the front yard, since a low hanging tree inhibits it in the back.

 #3 Playing Myachi Fu  

Of all the games in Myachi, the one that is fastest growing in popularity is Myachi Fu.  In the past year, this has gone from an obscure off shoot of the game to one of the games most popular and might even unseat MYACH as our most played variation.  To keep up with the kids that are getting scary good at it, the Myachi Masters often find themselves in the backyard training.

 #2 Improvised Sports  

I would not have been at all surprised if when I'd walked outside to write this I saw Monk and Maverick playing a game that involved a Nerf gun, a lacrosse stick, a juggling ring and the balance board.  One of our favorite pastimes here is inventing new games and random challenges so this might actually be the top use we find for the backyard.  There's really only one thing that could conceivably compete with it.

 #1 Playing MYACH

Fu might have the potential to bypass MYACH as the most popular game in the movement, but it hasn't gotten there yet.  Right now, MYACH is the number one way of pitting Myachi skill against Myachi skill and thus it is the most important one for the Masters to train in.  It is also something of a badge of honor for the younger Masters to defeat the veterans in games of MYACH

A Predictable Delay

by Crazy Ivan

If you've been paying close attention to this blog over the last couple of days, you might have anticipated this announcement.  Looks like we're going to have to extend the deadline on the Myachi Master Shred Video contest.  I've been asking the guys about it and with one exception (and I'm not going to name names here), nobody is prepared and there's only one day left in this thing.

So to be fair not only to the Masters, but also to those people who are looking forward to the outcome, we'll be adding a few days to the deadline.  The new date will be this Friday.  We'll drop the videos on Friday and give everyone the weekend to vote on them.  We'll announce the winning video on Monday at 6 pm and that person will maintain bragging rights until we can organize another contest like this one.

And for those of you who expressed concern following my post on Saturday, don't worry... I never had any intention of not reminding everyone.  The point of this contest is to entertain the Myachi fans of the world and get some really cool videos on YouTube.  I guess I could have conned my way into a pretty likely victory, but there's not much point in winning if you don't win honestly.  Besides, it's not like everyone put up a rare Myachi for this or anything...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sometimes I Wonder...

by Crazy Ivan

So Monk and I are chilling at HQ, watching the French Open finals and I find myself pondering.  I wonder if the guy who invented tennis felt the same way about his game as we feel about ours.

You figure that if you traced it back far enough, there would have had to have been a first person to ever play tennis... well, actually, a first two people ever to play.  I would imagine that the game they were playing back then was a long ways off of the game I'm watching Federer and Nadal play now, but they probably had a net and some rackets and some kind of sheep-gut type thing that they made into a ball.  I imagine the rules were about the same, though I would assume that at first the scoring made a lot more sense.

I think about that a lot, actually.  Whenever I encounter a game or sport, I find myself thinking about the person who invented it.  In some instances you know, of course.  With basketball, you can read all about it's history from conception to the modern NBA.  In other instances, the actual history might be lost, but you can easily see how the sport was invented.  Take soccer as an example.  Nobody knows who played soccer first, but it's pretty easy to imagine how it got started.

But there are some games that really leave a person scratching their head.  Think about billiards.  Somebody had to be the first person to come up with that idea and that person would have needed billiard balls, cues and a very specifically designed table.  It's hard to believe that a person would have gone to all that trouble without already knowing how fun billiards was.

But the other thing I always wonder is that these people thought.  Did they foresee the future of their sport?  Did the first tennis players ever imagine a worldwide spectacle like the French Open?  Did they ever imagine that their sport would revolutionize, for instance, footwear?  Did they think about the hundreds of thousands of school teams that would litter the world?

In truth, it's hard to imagine that any of these inventors saw what was coming.  They might have seen some of it.  They might have had grand plans for the future of their games and sports, but odds are their vision didn't exactly match up with reality.  The sports might even have gotten bigger than they ever predicted, though they likely went in unexpected directions along the way.

Which, of course, brings us back around to Myachi.  We have all kinds of grand notions about what the future of Myachi holds, but there's no way of knowing which are right, which are wrong and what craziness awaits that we never could have imagined.

All I'm saying now is that I can't wait for the day when somebody's sitting around in France watching the US Open of MYACH and thinking about the game that they invented.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Dilemma (or What would Monk do?)

by Crazy Ivan

If I had to describe Monk in one word I would say "winner".  I don't know that I've ever met a person who so easily steps up to the challenge when a competition is offered.  The ice water seems to flow through his veins when most of us would be buckling under the pressure and the more important the moment, the better he is.

And he plays dirty.

I feel alright saying that because in a lot of ways, I think Monk is pretty proud of that fact.  He might deny that he "plays dirty", but that's only semantic.  He would agree with me if I were to say it another way, for example, "Monk takes every tactical advantage imaginable, including some that others might reject out of a sense of civility".

To give you an example of what I mean, we had to enact certain rules in MYACH because Monk got so good at figuring out ways to do the move you described in a way that was far easier than the way you did them.  If you neglected to call something like "from the back of your hand", he might do the same move with his finger (way easier on flexibility moves) and leave you facepalming as you saw him defend a tough move with an easy variation.

If you asked Monk, I think he'd simply say he does what he has to do to win.

So now I find myself in a situation where I'm wondering whether to do the same.  As many of you know, I recently challenged all the Myachi Masters to a shred-video contest.  We talked about it a few times and finalized everything at our meeting a week and a half ago.  We all agreed on the rules and we all agreed on the date.  Videos had to be in by Tuesday the 7th.

Well, here it is only a few days shy of that date and I'm starting to think most (if not all) of the guys have forgotten all about it.  Nobody's mentioned it and I haven't seen anyone working on a video.  If I had to guess, I'd assume Bones was all over this because he's been wanting to do a Shred-Video contest for a while, but I'm starting to wonder if anyone else remembered that we were supposed to have them in by Tuesday.

And therein lies my dilemma.  I could remind everyone today and give them a few days to put something together...

But I don't think that's what Monk would do.  I think he would remind everyone on Monday evening after he finished polishing off the editing of his own video.  I think he would give everybody just enough time to put together a video, but not enough time to put together a video as good as his.

So what should I do?  Well, the fact that I'm writing this says a lot.  I know Animal, Bones and a couple of the other guys read it regularly, so I'm tipping my hand to them a bit.  Obviously the idea here isn't so much to win as it is to make sure that the coolest possible videos get posted for the sake of our loyal subscribers.  But all that being said, I still want to win.

So what would Monk do?