Juggling and The Wings of Change!

The other day we were at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area mainly to see how juggling goes outdoors for me. We filmed the event for posterity.

It turns out that “wings” had a lot to do with it. I juggled next to Hilde DeBruyn’s sculpture “Winds of Change.” It’s my favorite sculpture, although the winds of change are dictating that the Iowa City Parks Dept. is again going to accept new sculptures for this year which will replace all of those currently on display.

Wings figured in a different way and you can tell by how I react to the bugs flying around. We picked a nice spring day when all the winged insects were buzzing around in my face.

The level of juggling difficulty goes way up when gnats are zipping up my nose, my ears, my mouth, etc.

Always Wear Safety Glasses When Claw Juggling!

I just got a new eyeglass prescription a few days ago. I figured a year was long enough to wait after my surgery for an acute on chronic retinal detachment of my right eye. My vision in that eye has changed quite a bit, but I think new glasses will help a lot.

My old pair of eyeglasses is pretty beat up. Juggling has not helped. I’ve knocked them off my head a couple of times lately. That has not helped the poor fit.

I’m also practicing a new juggling trick called the claw. The throw and catch techniques are very different. You have to claw catch the balls from the top. I end up slamming them on the floor or off my groin. Juggling takes dedication and sacrifice—but there’s a limit.

I think I need safety equipment. I’ll be getting new eyeglasses, but it might be a good idea to get a pair of safety glasses. I just happen to have an old pair of plastic safety glasses from the time Sena bought me a battery-powered pole saw for tree trimming in the back yard a few years ago. Talk about safety. It takes at least as much agility and coordination to dodge a heavy falling tree limb as it does to dodge a juggling ball.

The claw trick puts a vicious spin on the ball and it can fly anywhere at meteoric speed. Controlling the arc and direction to fit the cascade pattern is quite a challenge. Balls frequently ricochet off each other, which is why I don’t drink my coffee during juggling practice. Practicing the claw reminds me that juggling is great exercise. I’m flying all over the place, lunging, leaning, and ducking.

But I might need a helmet.

Sena Letting Juggling Balls Sleep

Sena has been letting her juggling balls take a nap lately. The reason is that she has been very busy in her garden. The balls are either on the floor where she drops them—or placed neatly on a footstool.

I left my assistant coach to encourage her to practice. Unfortunately, he’s been sleeping on the job.

However, last night she practiced because I could hear balls dropping!

Claw Catch Circus Juggle

I found another juggling trick I might be able to handle. It’s the claw catch. I saw a number of YouTube demonstrations. As usual, I tend to confuse them.

I slapped the balls down instead of catching them. And I think I’m going to need safety goggles or just quit wearing my eyeglasses when I juggle. I miss a few throws and the ones I do get look pretty wild. That’s how I get my exercise.

The claw catch really does look better if you use both left- and right-hand throws. I hope my left shoulder holds up. Being ambidextrous will help me do continuous right and left claw catches—maybe.

Thoughts on Gaming Disorder

I just read an interesting article in the latest print issue of Clinical Psychiatry News, Vol. 51, No. 5, May 2023: “Gaming Disorder: New insights into a growing problem.”

This is news to me. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual lists it as an addiction associated with the internet primarily. It can cause social and occupational dysfunction, and was added to the DSM-5-TR in 2013 according to my search of the web. I’m not sure why I never heard of it. Or maybe I did and just failed to pay much attention to it.

There are studies about treatment of the disorder, although most of them are not founded in the concept of recovery. The research focus seems be on deficits. One commenter, David Greenfield, MD, founder and medical director of the Connecticut-based Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, said that thirty years ago, there was almost no research on the disorder. His remark about the lack of focus on recovery was simple but enlightening, “Recovery means meaningful life away from the screen.”

Amen to that.

That reminded me about the digital entertainment available thirty years ago. In 1993, the PC game Myst was released. Sena and I played it and were mesmerized by this simple, point and click adventure game with intricate puzzles.

Of course, that was prior to the gradual evolution of computer gaming into massive multiplayer online role-playing and first-person shooters and the like. It sounds like betting is a feature of some of these games, which tends to increase the addictive potential.

Sena plays an old time Scrabble game on her PC and other almost vintage age games. I have a cribbage game I could play on my PC, but I never do. I much prefer playing real cribbage with Sena on a board with pegs and a deck of cards. We also have a real Scrabble game and we enjoy it a lot. She wins most of the time.

This is in contrast to what I did many years ago. I had a PlayStation and spent a lot of time on it. But I lost interest in it after a while. I don’t play online games of any kind. I’m a little like Agent K on Men in Black II when Agent J was unsuccessfully trying to teach him how to navigate a space ship by using a thing which resembled a PlayStation controller:

Agent J: Didn’t your mother ever give you a Game Boy?

Agent K: WHAT is a Game Boy?

Nowadays, I get a big kick out of learning to juggle. You can’t do that on the web. I like to pick up the balls, clown around, and toss them high, which occasionally leads to knocking my eyeglasses off my head. I usually catch them.

Juggling is a lot more fun than playing Myst. I would prefer it to any massive multiplayer online game. I never had a Game Boy.

Off The Head Juggle Trick So Wrong but My Way

My take on the off the head juggle trick is that I have to do it wrong, otherwise I just drop all the balls. It was Juggle Man who said “Doing it wrong makes you an artist.”

I have to take my eyeglasses off for this trick. I knocked them off my head the other day and they don’t fit well enough to even stay on my head too well.

I think, with more practice, I can mix up the off the head variations to make it interesting, as long as you don’t look too closely.

I can always say I did it my way.

Sena Making Progress in Juggling

This is a progress report on Sena’s progress in juggling. She has been dedicated to practicing 2 or 3 minutes every other day. Frankly, she does more than that on some days.

She has been trying to move up to doing a 4-ball toss and catch. She thought she got it yesterday, and for a while so did I, even as I filmed it. The practice routine is to toss the balls 1-2-3-4 and catch. We thought she nailed it.

Then I looked at the video clips in slow motion. She wasn’t getting to 4 but she was getting to 3 more consistently. And part of what fooled us is that she’s now beginning to be ambidextrous. She can start the cascade from both her right and left side now!

Sena suggests I change the title of my YouTube section on juggling. As of yesterday, I changed it from Ugly Juggling to Ordinary Juggling. This distinguishes it from all the jugglers from whose videos I learn so much. They are extraordinary.

Off the Head Juggling Trick is Off the Wall

I saw the off the head juggling trick on the Juggle Man YouTube. This maneuver is off the wall. I looked at a couple of other videos because I just could not get the hang of it. One juggling teacher says it’s an “easy” trick. After fumbling a couple hundred times, I’m wondering why I’m hitting this wall with it.

I got the pattern wrong to start off—but that was the only way I could do it at all. When I started getting the pattern right, I was even more impressed with the jugglers who can make it look easy.

The two-ball practice I saw on one juggler’s video was painful. If you’re a guy and you’re doing the claw catch as instructed by some teachers, watch out. You can see what I mean in the video, and I’m not acting in that clip!

And once again, I’m having trouble letting go of a key ball that would allow me to finish the trick by smoothly moving back into the cascade.

I’ll keep you posted.

My Right-Hand Juggle Tricks Lefty

I’ve been working on my juggle tricks using my non-dominant side and it’s a little easier than I thought it would be. It didn’t take nearly as long to train my left side to handle the right-side tricks compared to the right.

I’m not sure I how to explain that. Those who teach juggling usually advise practicing with your non-dominant side at the same time you train your dominant side. I didn’t start until after about seven months.

A while ago, I tried doing the behind the back trick on the left. I felt a sudden muscle spasm in the left side of my neck. I told myself I was too old to switch sides and left it at that. But then I discovered later there were certain tricks I couldn’t do unless somehow, I got ambidextrous.

It took me less than a day to teach my left side to do the right-side tricks like behind the back, under the leg, and the finger plex.

I still don’t know how the finger plex trick got its name.

Flipping Out on Ambidexterity in Juggling

I’ve been trying to learn a new juggling trick and found out there was a prerequisite—which is that I practice some skills I’ve ignored until now. One is trying the two in one trick which is juggling two balls with one hand. The other is trying tricks on both the left and right side of my body. Ambidexterity is a plus in juggling.

That’s a tall order, at least for me. But if I’m going to move forward, I guess I have to try it.

I remember the problems I had learning the under the leg on my right side. The same problems occurred on the left, no surprise. I had trouble letting go of the ball, I threw the balls way out of the pane of glass juggle space, and I’m lunging all over the room.

But I got further than I thought I would, and I was able to at least do the trick after only a few tries. The left side under the leg is pretty ugly right now, which is normal for me anyway.

The left side two ball juggle with one hand was also difficult. I don’t know why I had a claw posture in my right hand.

Paradoxically, I’ve noticed lately that I have more trouble with the half shower on the right side than the left.

The only other time I had to make do with my left hand was when I was a kid. I broke my right wrist when I fell from the top floor of the garage. It was built like a barn and the only way up to the loft was a wooden ladder nailed flush and vertical with wall up to a sort of attic hatch. It was a good thing it was over summer vacation from school. I tried to learn how to write with my left hand, but all I did was scribble.

Juggling on my non-dominant side is like scribbling with my non-dominant hand.

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