Ugly Juggling Hits the Shower

OK, I’ve found out that there’s more than one way to hit the shower pertaining to the juggling trick called “The Shower.”

As usual, my form is ugly because I’m in the early practice phase of trying to learn the shower. But then, even when I think I’ve got a trick down—it’s always ugly.

Anyway, different experts have different instructions for the shower trick. A couple of them tell you to throw the two balls in your dominant hand one right after the other. “Go for it” the guy says, who wrote the Learn to Juggle manual I still use. A YouTuber also tells you to just throw the two balls up there. Another expert doesn’t suggest that—but I can’t do it at all unless I toss two balls up sequentially.

I keep my two hands two close together and too high for the “slap” part of the pattern, which is tossing a ball straight across from my nondominant hand to my dominant hand. I also throw a ball too far out from the pane of glass (which is a pain in the ass!).

As usual, you can see all my mistakes in my ugly juggling on my own YouTube video, which you should not use as an example of anything but the wrong way to learn the shower.

By the way, Sena is making progress learning to juggle!

Sena Learning How to Juggle!

Big news flash—Sena is learning how to juggle. She just started doing the single and two-ball practice throws on the way to learning how to do the 3-ball cascade, just like I did about 5 months ago.

Just like she heard me dropping balls—now I hear her doing it. It’s a gas! It’s fascinating to watch her gradually improve.

On the other hand, I’m trying to learn how to do another juggling trick called the shower. If you look this up on the web, you’ll find a comical entry that reads “How do you juggle 3 balls in the shower?”

It’s not a trick you do in the shower.

The shower is what some call an intermediate level trick which, I think, historically was how everyone started learning to juggle. Instead of learning the cascade, you started by learning the shower. The way the balls fly, they sort of look like they’re raining. And it’s a lot harder than the cascade.

There’s a half shower trick that I learned pretty quickly. And I can sort of handle the two-ball practice for the shower. I’m stuck when I add the 3rd ball, sort of how I got stuck learning the behind the back throw. You have to throw two balls up from your dominant hand in perfect arcs just before throwing one ball across from your non-dominant hand to the dominant hand. Catch them all. Right.

You can find YouTube videos of this that make it look easy. But that’s only because the teachers are very well practiced!

More On Taming the Juggling Balls

I’ve been juggling for about 5 months now and reflecting on my progress. I think I’m doing OK for a geezer. Sena would call me a hot dog although I would still call it ugly juggling by any standard.

What’s striking, at least to me, is the little bit of science I can find on the web about juggling. I hear the term “muscle memory” when it comes to learning juggling. Actually, there’s some truth to that. There are different kinds of memory. For example, most of us know about declarative memory, which about memorizing facts, because we use it to prepare for exams. Those of us who went to medical school remember the agony of taking tests for the basic sciences.

But so-called muscle memory, or the memory for learning new skills like juggling, takes place in the brain. There was a study published in 2009 which found changes in both gray and white matter of subjects before and after learning to juggle (Scholz J, Klein MC, Behrens TE, Johansen-Berg H. Training induces changes in white-matter architecture. Nat Neurosci. 2009;12(11):1370-1371. doi:10.1038/nn.2412).

The study about correlation of the inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds with higher mortality in older patients, which I relate to the ability to do the under the leg juggling trick, was published last year (Araujo CG, de Souza e Silva CG, Laukkanen JA, et al. Successful 10-second one-legged stance performance predicts survival in middle-aged and older individuals. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2022; 56:975-980.)

I talk a lot about juggling as though I’m a teacher. I’m not a juggling instructor by any means. You can find better juggling teachers on the web. But my approach to talking about juggling in terms of it being a hobby for me is really not different from how I talked about consultation-liaison psychiatry before and after I retired. I’m still a teacher—just evolving in retirement.

However, you can find much better resources for learning how to juggle at the following websites:

Have fun!

Lost Juggling Ball Found!

I lost one of my new juggling balls temporarily this morning while trying the behind the back throw. OK, so I dramatized the video a little. That’s because I got interrupted in the search to help Sena hang our new wall clock.

I had no idea where that ball was. I even considered a wormhole vortex opened up in my office—briefly.

But the place I finally found it was just where I’ve dropped juggling balls before—on one of my bookshelves.

New 12 Panel Juggling Balls!

I got one of the two new sets of juggling balls today. They are the Zeekio 12 panel, 67 mm, 130 gm balls, which are noticeably heavier and a little harder to do certain tricks with-like the behind the back throw.

I dropped them several times, so they are getting broken in very well!

Terry Trueblood Outing Today or How to Find Hearts Needing a Home

We had enough of bad news on the web, so we went out to Terry Trueblood Recreation Area today. Good things are happening around here, including what we found at Trueblood. Sena ordered some items last week. One is a clock, which we’ll hang somewhere and then not look at. Another is a chair that I will put together, and which will probably give me a reason to use up at least some of the oversupply of band aids.

The best deliveries, in my humble opinion, will be a couple of brand-new sets of juggling balls. One reason for buying them is that my other juggling balls are already starting to leak their millet fillings.

Millet is bird seed. I first noticed it on my hands, and then saw it on book shelves and my chair. I practice juggling every day, and see to it that they get banged up as much as possible, even if that happens to involve impacts with my head. Many juggling balls are stuffed with something: plastic pellets, sand, dandruff from extraterrestrials—no reason to avoid millet.

The new juggling balls will be bigger and heavier: a little over 2.5 inches in diameter and around 130 grams. I’ll probably knock myself unconscious dropping them on my head. One set of 3 will be as close to Iowa Hawkeye colors as I can get: black and yellow (which is what black and gold usually look like to me). The other set will be multicolored and have 12 panels. Balls covered with leather or other material have to be sewn shut and some say that the more panels, the more the impact will be spread, possibly reducing the risk for breakage. On the other hand, I can’t help wondering if there are more seams, wouldn’t it be more likely they’d be split when (not if) I drop them?

I’ll think about that later. We had the best time today at Trueblood. In fact, a lot of people were having a great time out there. The weather was fantastic; the temperature was in the fifties. One trail walker claimed she saw 16 bald eagles! I took this with a grain of salt, but then we saw at least a half dozen, though they were flying too high to get good photos. There were plenty of shore birds.

The best sightings were the quilted hearts hung on several trees. They are from an organization called “I Found A Quilted Heart” and you can learn more about the people who got this started at their web site Volunteers place the small quilted hearts in various places, often local parks. The sole purpose is to brighten your day. That beats the daily news any time.

What we didn’t know was that we could keep the quilted hearts we found. We saw 4 of them. We’re going to let others find them and share the joy.

Ugly Juggling So Far

I thought I’d make a video on the progress I’ve made so far in the last 4 months with ugly juggling. Man, it’s ugly; I’m still lunging and grabbing and making faces. But I’m also getting a real good workout.

Psychiatric Times recorded my After Hours video via Zoom this morning. It won’t look like my progress YouTube show at all, but it was a lot of fun. They’ll need to edit the thing because I talk too much. It’ll have to go in a queue after that, so I have no idea when it’ll be available.

I’ll keep you posted.

Big Wet Heavy Snow for Epic Snow Juggling!

Well, today’s snowstorm was a mix of fluffy as well as wet and heavy. The latter made for pretty good snowballs, which led to epic juggling on a windy day, snow blowing in my face while I juggled.

We had to clear the sidewalks and driveway first. I’m sure we got over half a foot of snow.

Sena shot the video while I tried to increase my throw count, which meant I had to make a lot of snowballs.

One clip showed a group of deer across the street. Neither one of us noticed them. I didn’t see them because I had my back to them and was concentrating on my juggling. What’s surprising is that Sena didn’t notice them either, even though they were clearly in the shot, trotting across the neighbor’s yard and across the street.

She was focused on my juggling too.

We made the YouTube video without music because we want you to count the throws along with me and hear our reactions.

Snowstorm Today Perfect for Deer Zoomies and Snowball Juggling!

Today we got a fair amount of snow dumped on us. It gave the deer the zoomies. They ran around in it like they were having a lot of fun.

It was a heavy, wet snow. So, we took some time out from shoveling so I could make some snowballs and try juggling them. It didn’t work so well about a month ago when the snow was in brittle clumps. Today it worked pretty well, after I got the hang of shaping the snowballs.

We made videos. Enjoy!

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