A friend talks about how people should take drugs to experience alternate perspectives. Then she says that I don’t need to because I’m already there.
Still don’t know how I feel about that. I’ve had people tell me, “You think too much.” And if I’m not careful, there are times when I spend more time explaining myself than I do talking. It’s especially bad when I’m tired or just plain out of it: that’s when it’s too much work to do the translation.
(goes meta) Huh. Complaining about the difficulty of translating to a “normal” perspective while out of it. Meanwhile, having a celiac episode while doing so. Figures.
(infinite regress) Ah the hell with it. Why do I want to write about tertiary, quaternary thought echoes anyways? It just starts to look like turbulence.
Consider the difference between “dumbing down” and “leaving out irrelevant context”. They look a alike. However, the difference is in what matters to the person you are talking to.
When you “dumb something down” (also known as simplifying), you leave out complicated but relevant information. The details get in the way because the person you are talking to does not (yet?) have the experience/mentalÂ scaffolding. Take, for example, the art of enjoying a fine wine. Try to discuss with a neophyte the subtleties of scent and flavor that give each wine its distinct character, or how soil, climate, and a myriad of other conditions affect the grapes that go into each wine. Before you can even talk about it, you have to teach it. Such an education can easily take months to years, and we’re just talking about wine.
When you “leave out irrelevant context”, you leave out complicated information because it doesn’t matter. Sticking with the wine metaphor, when an unskilled wine drinker asks, “What drink goes best with this dish?”, that person may not care at all about the subtleties required to answerÂ the question as long as the meal has a good glass of wine to go with it.
This is the challenge of every expert. When talking to someone who is not already skilled in the art, there are times when the details matter. Then you will have to find the balance between teaching and “dumbing down” (simplifying) that gets the idea across. When the details don’t matter, the challenge is to figure out which details don’t matter and to leave them outÂ as needless chatter.
I struggle with this art, sometimes daily. Sometimes I succeed.
It was such a beautiful day today that I had to pull out my orange shirt and my orange contact juggling ball. I know. Acrylics. I have a few 76mm’s lying about somewhere in my overstuffed bedroom. Oh my. The bedroom. It is so very full of things, like the Earth in Katamari. Must fix.
I don’t so much contact juggling as play with the ball, occasionally rolling it across my arms as if I were a real contact juggler. 😉
Anyhow. For the three people who actually frequent this blog (I wonder who the other two are?), that’s me in a hat, holding an orange practice ball with a beautiful blue sky in the background.
I started working on staff last year as part of my transition from “I only do cane.” to “Learn all the props!”. It’s been slow going. Fire cane is, after all, my first love and my most practiced prop. After yesterdays (OMG I love this prop) meteor session, I had a strong desire to get back to my staff practice. And it felt good. Today’s practice gave me a solid glimpse into the flow to come with this deceptively simple prop. (A staff’s just a big baton. Right?) I didn’t do anything particularly fancy. Just the usual spins, conveyors, angel rolls, etc. And my technique is still in the mess…
What I did differently this time was to start rolling the staff along its center of balance. That center is not just the balance point, it’s a dynamic balance that is intimately connected to the prop’s momentum. While it is a rather ponderous prop, the staff (especially contact staff) has that same feel to it. And that’s how I found one of my favorite points of play while spinning staff today.
A good way to get weird looks at a diner is to try to work out the hand motions for spinning a meteor while waiting for lunch. My first week with meteor is coming to a close. While the forward spin is coming along nicely, that reverse spin is a brain teaser. Also, that “spin like a staff” thing is just a wee too fast for me to keep up. Definitely the perfect prop to alternate with staff. Working with the staff should remind you of how the meteor is supposed to move. And working with the meteor should tighten up your staff technique.
I really must take more video of what I do. For example, today I was practicing a back-pass that goes like this:
Balance the cane (parallel to the ground) on your hand in front of you, foot pointing away from your body.
Slide the cane from your hand to the crook of your elbow, keeping it centered.
Allow the outside end of the cane to gently lean down.
Just as the cane is about to fall, bring your arm behind your back, allowing the center of the cane to slide back into your hand.
In the middle of your back, pass the cane to your opposite hand (palm forward).
Bring your cane (now in the opposite hand) back to the front, stopping with the cane parallel to the ground and the foot pointed away from your body.
Gets the point across, but can you picture it? Probably not without a lot of thought.
Speaking of back passes, that’s a really fun one. And if you keep your palms up, it’s nice and easy. Next time I work on the… er… sliding back pass, I should try it palms down. That would make it even more contact style.
I’m just out of it today. I’m out of it physically from last night’s spin jam. I’m out of it mentally for… well… I’m not sure why. And I’m out of it emotionally. A guy that I’ve known since college just died last night. He’d just made it past the one year point with his new cafe, the Albany Sunspot, and I’d just started bringing my fiddle to his open mic, as much to connect with him as for any other reason. And now? Motorcycle accident.
So instead of exploring the meteor today (day 4!!!), I pulled out my single-cane and tossed it about absent mindedly. It’s rather shocking how comfortable I am with this prop. It practically flies from hand to hand of its own will. I wasn’t trying to do anything. I was just trying to move, to clear my head.