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The PopCast yo-yo vlog is back!

After ten long years, PopCast is back! PopCast is my yo-yo vlog (video blog) that I started running in 2007. Looking back at all the old episodes, I felt really proud of how fun and entertaining they were. So I decided it was time to start making them again. Here is the first new episode:

I’d like to keep making these videos and, over time, improve the production quality with better lenses and gear. Running a small yo-yo shop doesn’t quite cover that, so I’ve decided to launch a Patreon page where people can help support the videos and get special deals and offers from DoctorPopular.com

Become a Patron!

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The First Production Photos Of The Bolt Part 2!

I just received the first pictures from the factory of the Bolt Part 2 yo-yos. The Kickstarter, which ended a month ago, only showed 3 color options, but I decided to add an ALL BLACK Bolt yo-yo to the line up as a surprise to my backers. They seem to like it so far.

The Bolt Part 2 is expected to ship to backers in 3 weeks, then be available on this site shortly after that.

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How I got into yo-yoing 20 years ago

Today is my 20th anniversary of yo-yoing, so I wanted to share this story of how I got into the hobby and the strange ways it has changed my life.

On March 3rd, 1998 I flew out to Seattle with dreams of getting signed to a record label. It was a week before my 21st birthday. I was living in Lewisburg, TN and had been communicating with someone at K Records about my music. I sent them some tapes and they said “These are great, you should come visit us sometime.” I took that as “Come get signed to our label!”.

My plan was to spend most of my stay in Olympia, but the first thing I did when I arrived in Seattle was head straight to the top of the Space Needle. I was a big World’s Fair nerd at the time, and was trying to visit all of the old fairgrounds in the US. After enjoying the view, I stopped by the Space Needle’s gift shop to buy a little souvenier for my collection.

A Space Needle yo-yo was $1.49. A Space Needle snow globe was $1.99. So I went with the cheaper option.

During my week in Olympia I carried my new yo-yo everywhere. I was terrible and the yo-yo was just a cheap wooden yo-yo, but it kept me busy as I walked around town each day.

I obviously didn’t get signed to K Records. I met with the dude, who just worked in shipping or whatever, and we just chatted. He played in Godspeed Ye Black Emperror half the year, and worked the warehouse the other half. I met several folks just like him. Folks that I idolized for their art, zines, and/or music. Many of whom were homeless. Well technically homeless. Some lived in vans, or couch surfed, and just made albums and played shows all the time.

I realized on that trip that there were many super talented people out there who were just more passionate about making music than I was. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I love having a place to stay too. The nomadic lifestyle was just not something I was interested in.

I left Tennessee with dreams of getting signed. When I came back I decided what I really wanted was just to find some job I didn’t hate, so I could afford to make my own music at night. A big change, but it probably made me a happier person in the end.

On the day I came back from Seattle, the day after my 21st birthday, I made a quick stop at Cool Springs Mall for a quick bite to eat before I headed back to my small town. The mall was just opening and I noticed a man opening a brand new kiosk called “Yo Momma’s Yo-Yo Store”. As he was opening up shop for his first day, I walked up and asked if I could try one of his toys. He handed me a Yomega Fireball, which was one of the new wave of trans-axle yo-yos that were just catching on in Hawaii and California.

Impressed with my skills (and the fact that there weren’t any other 21 year-olds who carried a yo-yo with them) he offered me a job. A month later a huge yo-yo boom hit the nation and we could barely keep them in stock. 3 months later he was opening his second shop and made me a manager of the Cool Springs location. 6 months later I was the regional manager, traveling to new cities to hire and train staff for his growing empire. 12 months later I entered the World Yo-Yo Contest and got 3rd place. I was lucky enough to there right before the yo-yo boom and it was just the beginning.

I moved to Virginia, then Chattanooga, then bought the business and opened my final store in St. Louis. When the dust settled down, I moved to Minneapolis to manage a toy store in the Mall of America. I lived there for about 4 years when I was asked by a friend to to do one quick show in San Francisco, where I fell in love with the town (and weather) and decided never to leave. I met Christine here, made some video games and a bunch of art, and kept making music in spare time, just like I decided to do 20 years ago.

All those cities I lived in, people I met, opportunities I had, all came down to a little green souvenir I bought in Seattle right before my 21st birthday. Sometimes I wonder how completely different my life would be right now if that snow globe had been 50 cents cheaper.

space needles

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It’s the Bolt Part 2, You Need To Buy It!

The Bolt Part 2 just launched on Kickstarter and I’m so excited! Many of y’all have been asking me if I’ll ever have more Bolt Yo-Yos in stock and this is the final result. An updated version of a classic yo-yo.

What’s a Bolt?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Bolt, it was a signature yo-yo I made with the folks at YoYoJam 16 or 17 years ago. It was well loved by modders and had a great shape and feel that many newer yo-yos lack. YYJ has closed their business, so I teamed up with my buddy Hadrien and the folks at C3 Yo-Yo Design to make something that felt new and old-school at the same time.

I’ve either made the greatest Kickstarter video of all time… or the worst.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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The History Of The Executive Yo-Yo

On July 5th 2016, Ernest Kahn and I launched a Kickstarter for the original Executive Yo-Yo, a highly enjoyable aluminum yo-yo that was small enough to fit in your coin pocket.

The original idea was inspired by a modded version of the Ace Yo-Yo by ProYo. The Ace was the perfect shape, but I never really loved the response and gap in it. I asked my friend Nick Corea if he could remove the center of the Ace with the center of a Bolt Yo-Yo (my favorite plastic yo-yo). The result was… sexy!

Nick with my modded yo-yos

What I learned was a) small yo-yos could be more than just a novelty and b) I prefered the lighter feel. Most manufacturers had made an undersized yo-yo at some point or another, but they often felt the need to make up for size by increasing the weight. Despite being 20% smaller in size, some mini-yo-yos weighed 2 to 5 grams heavier than their full sized counterpart.

All of this was on my mind for years, so when I randomly bumped into Ernest on the street in San Francisco and we started talked about our dream yo-yos, it was the first thing that came to my mind. We both decided it would be awesome to do Kickstarters for our dream-yos and The Executive was born.

The name, The Executive, was inspired by a wave of cheesy “executive yo-yos” from back in the 70s (ebay link). I think the joke was that executives had way too much time on their hands, so they just played with fancy toys all day. So chrome plated yo-yos were created as gag gifts. The imagery really stuck with me, so I always imagined this mini yo-yo as something you’d find in a fancy box on some corporate bigwigs desk. Next to a Newton’s Cradle and some pics of their kids playing baseball.

I had done a few signature yo-yos with companies before, but never imagined manufacturing a run on my own. That’s were Ernest really took the lead. He put us in contact with the team at One Drop Design, a yo-yo manufacturer out of Eugene Oregon, and really got the ball running. Without Ernest, The Executive never would have been more than a pipe dream. He really had the vision to just make it happen, which I thought was really inspirational.

I took a train to Eugene to hang with the One Drop crew, and we made a few prototypes overnight. Here’s an interview I shot with Shawn Nelson at the time:

The Kickstarter was a huge success and we manufactured nearly 400 yo-yos. The Executive yo-yo was the 2nd highest yo-yo project in Kickstarter’s history and I’ve carried one with me nearly everyday since then. Despite the success, we never released a follow up batch.

My favorite aspect of the Executive yo-yo project was that it got me to start playing yo-yo again. I mean, I never stopped, but as yo-yos kept getting wider and wider (and pants getting skinnier and skinnier) I just didn’t carry around a yo-yo as much as I used to. Having a fun yo-yo that I could always have with me, pulled me back into the hobby!

Recently, I told Ernest that I wanted to start my own toys and games company, and that I wanted The Executive to be part of that. We decided to split up the colors, so we could each manufacture our own Executives. So if you missed the original release, I’m pleased to say we have a couple drops coming your way next week!

The first drop will be a small batch of nickel plated Executives on DoctorPopular.com on Tuesday January 23rd at noon pst. The second drop will be some gorgeous Executives in purple or orange on Ernest’s site, yoyosf.bigcartel.com, on January 26th at noon.

I’m so happy to finally be releasing more Executive Yo-Yos in the world, and can’t think of a better way to kick off Doc Pop Toys & Games!

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Going to MoYo, Bringing 25 Blue Bolts With Me

I’m so stoked about going to MoYo States this weekend in St. Louis! I was hoping to have DoctorPopular.com finished by then, but I’m going to have to wait until after the weekend. I have been getting a lot of emails about Blue Bolts, so I have decided to bring 25 Blue Bolts with me to sell at Missouri States.

These limited edition Bolts will be siliconed and bearing-cleaned for non-responsive play. There are less than 100 of them, and sell for $30. The rest of the Blue Bolts will go for sale once the site is finished.

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Spotlighted on Youtube

This morning, I discovered that PopCast is one of the videos featured in YouTube’s “Spotlight” section (on the top of most YouTube search pages). I’m getting a lot of video views, comments, and positive ratings which is all very appreciated.

Although it does motivate me to want to work on the next PopCast episode, two things are preventing me from doing so at the moment; I’m way too busy with other big projects, my computer is too full to work on anything at the moment.

Still, I do hope to have somethings to show you guys soon.

BTW, March 10th is Whitey Day (Doc Pop’s birfday). Dia do Branquelo. If any local yo-yo clubs are doing something special for this great event, let me know asap! I’m planning on relaunching DoctorPopular.com with a new store and other stuff for Whitey Day.

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XXXXL’s “Green Tea Edition” by Werrd

While on a recent trip to the U.S., Stu (from Australia’s Werrd Yo-Yos) flew into the Bay Area to hang out with some of the local yo-yoers. He was a real swell guy, who carried a big metal box of yo-yos everywhere he went. I had previously played with the Two Fat Ladies “Groovy Edition”, a beefcaked aluminum yo-yo that I really enjoyed, so it was great to see what else Werrd had to offer.

I’m a big fan of Werrd’s newest yo-yo, the QuadrupleExtraLarge (or XXXXL… or 4XL). Like the TFL, the XXXXL is an aluminum yo-yo with a beefcaked bearing set up, but it also has bearings on the sides of the yo-yo for hubstacks (similar to YoYoFactory’s set up). The name, XXXXL, comes from the number of bearings it uses (4).

I had been waiting a long time for a good hubstacked yo-yo, but never found one that I liked until the XXXXL. Although it played well with it’s original hubstacks, I switched mine out with a pair of YoYoFactory Z Stacks (custom painted by John Higby). The wider surface area of the Z-Stacks make the yo-yo much easier to grab, but it does also add a noticeable difference of additional friction to the yo-yos spin. Every time you grab the discs, then let go, it takes energy to get them to start spinning again. I can really feel the difference in spin between my TFL and my XXXXL with Z Stacks. I’m wondering if 888’s suffer the same hubstack drag effect as the XXXXL does.

Like I said, I had been waiting for a while for a hubstack yo-yo that I liked, and now that I have one, I think it’s going to be my carry around yo-yo for a while.

One other note, although the XXXXL is available at most online stores, the one pictured here features a special finish called “GreenTea”. From Stu;

“They come in two finishes – Naked (raw billet) and
DeLorean (Satin) but the one you received from me is
called GreenT or GreenTea. It is a special coating or
finish done to the yoyo using little green triangle –
I kid you not – little green triangles. The one you
have takes about 24hours in the GreenTea machine.”

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“Peeeace!”

This morning I was surfing some international yo-yo blogs when I stumbled upon this video I made with Alexander Maness from Current TV.

Alex came to Chico last year and followed me around as I told him about our humble hobbie. I hadn’t heard anything since the trip, so I just figured the whole documentary got trashed. Needless to say, I’m delighted to see that it did get finished and I think it looks great.

Speaking of blogs, my new friend Cate Corbitt recently posted a picture (shown below) from yesterday’s photo-shoot on her blog, SFFaces.com. The shoot was an potpourri mix of music publicity shots (for my band Drown Radio), product shots (for my new craft line), and a few yo-yo shots for Cate’s blog. SFFaces.com documents a portion of the Bay Area’s eclectic individuals.