Recent trip to STL


As most of you know, Shannon and I went to Saint Louis over a week ago. We left on a Thursday and I haven’t slept in San Francisco in 9 days. It’s been terrible, I’m so pissy. Seriously, I was feeling crazy homesick from the second I got off of the BART. I was going to try to do a video blog, but I’ve been crazy busy. Now I’m stuck in east bay traffic, so it seems like a good time to blog.

I went to Saint Louis to judge the Missouri State Yo-Yo Contest. I tend to get hassled by security whenever I fly, so I’m always very diligent about what I bring with me when I travel. I had some liquids and stuff that I had to bring to STL so I checked my luggage with all of that stuff. The security line was crazy long and after I made it through the xray the airport security guards pulled me aside and asked if I was aware that I had a knife in my bag. The knife was a gift from my grandpa. It was his pocketknife, and I have no idea how it managed to get into my bag.

I had to run to another terminal and grab an envelope and a stamp to mail my knife to my home address, then wait in line again. After getting cleared to enter the airport I ran to our gate without even stopping to put my shoes back on. I made it there two minutes before our flight was due to leave. It turns out the flight was half an hour delayed.

We boarded, there was tons of turbulence we arrived at Las Vegas with only a few minutes to run to our transferring flight. Again we ran to the next gate and again the flight was delayed. This time by an hour.

Finally we boarded, more turbulence, then we arrive. Of course my checked baggage was lost. It turns out everyone flying from Oakland had their luggage lost.

I should note that the only yo-yo I brought with me on my carry on luggage was a piece of shit Duncan Freehand Keychain yo-yo. A little novelty yo-yo that I had recently modded for better play, but still… It was a sucky yo-yo to be stuck with for a few days.

We stayed at some friends of Shan’s new house. They had big dogs and tiny pillows. I barely slept. In the morning I met with Chris, the organizer of the yo-yo contest. I told him I barely slept a wink and was stuck with old stinky clothes. I asked him if I could just rest, but he wanted to go to the riverfront and film.

The good parts of the trip involved hanging out with old friends (Josh, Hank Freeman, Rick Wyatt, Takeshi, etc) and anytime spent at the City Museum (the greatest place on earth!). The bad parts were any thing that involved traveling or sleeping or “seeing St. Louis”. Luckily we spent a few hours on Friday climbing around the City Museum.

I don’t remember much about Friday night, a few of us went to a place called “Grille” though. It was a bar with a big restaurant attached to it, but all the lights where off in the restaurant. They assured us they were in fact open, and they even turned some of the lights on for us. It was a fun intimate get together and I got to talk a bit with Russ Andert.

Russ is the guy that makes a yo-yo called the Dert. He’s holy revered man by most Midwesterners and totally a friendly humble guy. He just recently started making a new yo-yo called the Baby Dert which is one of the best playing mini yo-yos I’ve ever played. I’ve got two of them now.

Saturday started early, the judges and organizers got started at around 8am and spent the entire day running the event (until 6pm). Chris had asked me to do a Drown Radio set, which I was really against but did anyway. It was terrible, one of the most awkward shows I’ve ever done, it couldn’t have ended soon enough. It would be nice to do a proper show in an STL club sometime though.

The contestants were great. It’s no surprise that there was tons of talent there. It used to be that only a few cities produced good yo-yoers, but it seems like every contest you go to now, no matter how small, will have at least 5 great yo-yoers that seem to have come out of nowhere.

After the event we spent more time climbing and exploring the City Museum then I headed off to do an interview with Bill Streeter from LoFi Saint Louis. Plans were being made for clubs to hang out at in STL, but then somebody told us that the City Museum was open until 1am on Saturday nights! I lived in there for a year and never realized that the City Museum was open late! We had a blast. Tons of fun. The museum has grown so much over the past 7 years. The was the best night of the trip. Tons of hanging out with old friends and climbing really really dangerous things.

I mentioned I used to live near Saint Louis. It was the worst year of my life. Absolutely, no doubt. Since then, everything that has ever involved STL has been cursed. Flying from SFO to JFK once involved a 30 minute layover in STL that of course turned in to a 10 our delay. Etc.

We spent another day in STL, climbed in the museum more, and pretty much spent the day hanging out with yo-yoers and teaching/learning tricks. Another great memory.

We flew back to Oakland on Monday, more delayed flights more crazy stuff.

When we made it back to the Bay Area, we didn’t head straight home. Instead, Shannon and I had to house site this in-law hippy apartment in Berkeley for 4 days. That sucked.