Old and Busted Juggling Balls

As you may know, I started juggling in mid-October. The Learn to Juggle kit came with 3 balls. After practicing for over a month and a half, they are old and busted.

The seams are splitting and the granules are flying out, as they smack my hands or hit the floor, computer, walls, and other objects. I hope I got most of them vacuumed up.

The old and busted juggling balls are retired now. For now, I practice with sticky ornamental balls that are not meant for juggling, but which will serve in a pinch.

Amaryllis Bending at Will?

The Amaryllis Star of Holland is starting to act a little strange. Last Friday night it bent way over, seemingly away from the ceramic space heater in the sun room. I had turned it on for a half hour before going in and kept it on for about 15 minutes before turning it off—out of concern that the plant was reacting adversely to the heat. The next day it straightened up.

Friday night I was listening to the blues on the radio. Was it leaning toward the music?

And then it started bending back and forth, seemingly without rhyme or reason. It doesn’t consistently bend right or left based on heat, light, or sounds.

Maybe it’s exercising. I wonder if an extraterrestrial is bending it to its will. I would think the plant is big enough to defend itself. It’s a little over 17 inches tall now. I wonder if it’ll get tough and demand that we feed it raw meat, like something out of Little Shop of Horrors?

More Ugly Juggling!

I know you’ve been waiting for more ugly juggling and I’ve got it for you right here. I have been struggling with doing the under the leg toss trick and the reverse cascade as well for days.

Both are extremely ugly, but I’m giving myself credit because I’m a geezer past his mid-sixties who just started juggling in mid-October.

I generally tend to practice in my office where my computer and webcam are. It’s not unusual for me to drop a ball or two on the keyboard. Sometimes when I do that, a couple of extraterrestrials materialize and try to sell me real estate somewhere on the outer rings of Saturn. I don’t worry about them because I just accidentally hit the keys again by dropping another juggling ball on the keyboard and they dematerialize.

I thought I would never get the under the leg trick. I have watched that trick done by several pro jugglers who make YouTubes out of their skills and try to teach others. What often happens is that I keep trying and fail so much that I just figure I’ll never get the hang of something.

And then one day, I just start doing a trick more often than I fail. I keep at it until I complete it more than I miss. That’s how it was with the under the leg.

Don’t get me wrong. My under the leg juggling trick is really ugly. But it’s my kind of ugly.

One of the key things for me is getting my right leg up just before I throw the ball under it. This is vital, because if I don’t stand on my left leg long enough to stick with the cascade pattern, I end up flinging the ball into the computer, the wall, or on my head.

Another key factor is to throw the third ball up high enough so that I have time to pitch the under my leg and also throw that one high enough to get back in the cascade. I start my count out loud when I throw the third ball. It’s hard to believe how much more focused I get when I count the throws out loud.

I can’t throw them so high they bounce off the ceiling. They just have to be high enough to get back into the cascade.

I really think my practicing the one leg stand on both legs (one minute on both the right and left legs) for the last few months has helped me get into shape to do the under the leg trick.

In my ugly juggling video, I made one clip of the under the leg throw in slow motion.

The reverse cascade is another trick I am struggling to learn. My reverse cascade sequences are very, very short. That’s about all I can say about it so far.

But they might get better.

Jokers Wild in Cribbage!

We tried out using jokers wild in cribbage yesterday. Sena won best of 3 games, even though I was dealt the joker the most times. I had the joker at least 4 or 5 times. On the last hand of the third deal, she won because she had a joker.

What do I have to do?

Playing cribbage with jokers wild might increase the chances of getting a 29 hand. It would be a quest, similar to playing Seven Card Cribbage to see if I could again make myself believe I could score 19, which is normally equal to zero in regular cribbage because 19 is impossible to score.

Impossible. I’ll tell you what’s impossible; it’s impossible to win any cribbage game with Sena. Therefore, my quest will be to win. I will be the Don Quixote of cribbage with Sena.

Fun Cribbage Variations!

We’re trying out some cribbage variations. One of them is the old 5-card variant that was probably the original version of cribbage. That makes it historically important. I think it might still be the preferred version in some regions of Britain and Australia. It’s simpler to play and is faster. You play to 6, but pegging stops every time you get a 31 or a GO. The non-dealer gets to peg 3 points at the first deal.

We also played seven card cribbage, which presents a ton of opportunities for scoring. I know that every expert says there is no way to score 19 (or 25, 26, or 27) in cribbage, but both Sena and I thought I got a hand score of 19. We counted it three times. Could one more card make that possible? The highest possible score is 46! The rules are outlined here.

Did you know there’s a song about cribbage? I didn’t either until yesterday. I hear one line in the song, “19 in the box.” I looked up “in the box” and it means generally to be in a bad situation. That makes sense because that essentially means you got zero points in your hand. Maybe I’m making a mondegreen out of it.

Announcements!

Hey, I got best 2 out of 3 cribbage games last night. Sena got skunked! That is rare.

Our Sasquatch cribbage board just shipped yesterday. It’ll arrive in a few days!

The Amaryllis Star of Holland grows by about a half inch or more a day. It’s now almost 14 inches tall!

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Stanley Museum of Art in Iowa City

We visited the Stanley Museum of Art, which opened in August. One piece impressed us even before we entered the museum. One of our favorites is “Two Lines Oblique” by George Rickey. It’s a huge mobile outside the entrance.

The mural “Surroundings” by Odila Donald Odita is striking. Odita says it’s his answer to “Mural” by Jackson Pollock. I don’t even know the question posed by Pollock’s huge work. I guess some see a dancer in motion.

Sena’s favorites were the mobile and the painting “Spring Embraces Yellow” by Alma Thomas. I initially missed the point of “Heeler III” which Sena got immediately. It’s one of those platform high heel shoes, dang! I guess the platform is back in style, according to a few recent fashion web articles. I guess I’ll wait on putting in my order.

Some pieces of art might be a little hard to say we “like” per se, because they convey a sense of violence or tragedy. I think “Red April” by Sam Gilliam is one of those, because it originated from the grief and horror after Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in April of 1963.

The photos of downtown Iowa City are a kind of walk down memory lane for us. It’s been years since we’ve visited the place. In some ways, it hasn’t changed much. On the other hand, the “Writers in a Café” monument with the quote by Marvin Bell in the ped mall was new to us.

The Iowa Avenue Literary Walk has been around for ages, but Kurt Vonnegut’s quote about “What we pretend to be” was unfamiliar. It seemed like a fresh insight into human nature, but one which we probably already knew.

We don’t pretend to be art critics, but I think we can say we’re art enthusiasts. We’re not pretending that.

Ugly Juggling Tricks Now!

I’m learning juggling tricks. Uglier than ever, lucky for you! The 1 UP 2 UP is really tough to do. You have to toss up one ball and immediately toss up the other two while the one is hurtling back down like a meteor.

As usual, I’m reeling, rocking, and rolling all over the place.

The half shower is throwing one ball over the other two in one direction. That changes to jugglers’ tennis when you send one ball both ways. If you use a ball that’s a different color than the other two, it looks like tennis.

I have only one set of non-juggler balls with one yellow ball. They stick to each other and to my hands, so they’re hard to control.

But I do have a dryer ball.

The Anti-Peloton Exercise Bicycle

Sena bought me an exercise bicycle about 3 years ago. I use it nearly every day as part of my fitness routine. Yesterday, I thought it needed a little squirt of oil for a squeaking noise I thought was around the pedal crank.

We both looked it over carefully. She suggested I readjust the seat, which I did. That took care of the noise and prevented an oil spill on the carpet.

The bicycle is made by Xterra. It is the FB150 model. I call it the Anti-Peloton for obvious reasons. It cost a little over $100. It weighs about 30 pounds. The digital “computer” for monitoring my performance and fitness level never worked. I inquired about it, but I think the support agent was an extraterrestrial. He threatened to abduct me and perform various examinations involving probes if I escalated the matter to management. I didn’t return the bike.

There are a few differences between the Xterra FB150 Anti-Peloton and the Peloton. According to a recent review, the Peloton price will set you back $2,000—for the first year. After that, it’ll cost you $500 every year before you finally decide to return it because you have to hock all your possessions to keep it.

The Peloton has a Wi-Fi-enabled 21.5-inch touchscreen tablet that “live-screams” fitness classes led by instructors who are drill sergeants and scream at you and other hapless unfit persons as a side hustle.

The Anti-Peloton has a “computer” which is nonfunctional and is used just for decoration.

The Peloton weighs approximately 5 tons and is assembled in your home by 5 computer technology experts who will require the use of your kitchen to prepare their gourmet luncheons using whatever is in your pantry plus the items you’ll need to purchase from specialty delicacy shops. The set up takes about 3 weeks and the technicians will need you to move into a hotel while they rebuild your house or apartment so that it will meet the exacting standards you will need to rent the product for the rest of your natural life, according to the contract you must sign in blood. This will, of course, also entail daily worship rituals involving small animal sacrifices at the cultured marble alter that is custom designed for your special Peloton. It’s a little like a wedding.

The Xterra FB150 Anti-Peloton, as noted above, weighs approximately 30 pounds, folds easily for moving it to a comfortable viewing position in front of the TV to watch your favorite shows while you munch on snack bars, cycling slowly so as not to raise blisters on your feet from the straps fitted to the pedals.

The Peloton saddle is small and is just the right size for skinny extraterrestrials who were probably involved in the manufacture of the product.

The Xterra FB150 Anti-Peloton has a very large padded oversize seat which can accommodate the butt of any creature including a bull elephant.

You can choose the Peloton or the Anti-Peloton. The choice is yours, and it depends only on whether or not you are independently wealthy enough to employ Elon Musk to replace urinal deodorant cakes in any of the bathrooms of your umpteen mansions.

You’re welcome.

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