One of my most cherished possessions is my collection of “Yo-Yo Physics: An Engineer’s Notebook” books by Don “Captain Yo” Watson. Don is often cited as the creator of the modern yo-yo. His rim-weighted design changed the game with the Silver Bullet, then again with the Silver Bullet 2 when he created one of the first ball-bearing yo-yos.
Don is a charming fellow, often seen wearing a bolo tie and cowboy hat. I seem to remember Don having a curly handle bar mustache when I met him at the 2000 National Yo-Yo Contest, but my mind could be playing tricks on me.
Don was a retired engineer before he got into yo-yoing, but it’s clear that he never fully retired. He applied his love of math and physics to yo-yos to create radical new yo-yo designs along with Dr. Tom Kuhn, founder of Tom Kuhn Yo-Yos. Later, he started documenting what he learned in a series of engineer’s notebooks called Yo-Yo Physics. Each of these handwritten notebooks covered a different yo-yo topic, like the Radius of Gyration or Yo-Yo RPM, and explained them using complicated diagrams and mathematical formulations.
The hand-drawn art and fun details really clicked with me because I had been making and collecting zines for many years. So these yo-yo books fit nicely with the punk rock, cooking, DIY, and personal story zines in my collection.