gold star

Kendama Skill Toy

Kendama is a skill toy with 3 different cups, a spike, and a ball on a string.  It belongs to the family of catch-the-thing dexterity toys like ball-and-cup or ring-and-spike toys.  However, this example is much more involved.  Watch closely and you will see that every part of it is carefully engineered.  The ridges and hollows aren't idle decoration; they allow a skilled user to catch and twirl the toy or catch the ball in less-obvious places.  The thing is perfectly balanced too.  It takes a lot of thoughtful refinement to make a gizmo this good. 

Accessibility: This toy comes strung for right-handed use.  It can be restrung for left-handed use.  A better design would accommodate both in the same mode, because this version cannot support ambidextrous use the way a butterfly knife can.  Likely the handness relies on whether the string is S-wound or Z-wound.  I would therefore look into using a round-woven cord or a solid polymer cord to avoid that limitation.

If you're looking for a large-motion fidget, a kinetic toy, a hand-arm flow exercise tool, a dexterity therapy tool that isn't boring, or something that uses similar manipulation skills as a butterfly knife but isn't sharp, this looks like a good choice.  Also worth considering if you have tribal or other ethnic friends whose traditional toys include catch-the-thing toys as many do; they might be intrigued by a more complex version.


Today is partly cloudy and mild.

I fed the birds.  I've seen house finches and a squirrel.

I finished planting the grape hyacinths.  There were enough large ones left to complete the circle and enough tiny ones to make a second inner circle. 

EDIT 10/20/21 -- I planted all 25 of "2 Months of Alliums" in the purple-and-white garden.  I really like Breck's 2 Months, SuperSak, naturalizing, and other assortments.  Their individual varieties tend to be expensive enough that I don't get many, but the bundles are almost always a damn good bargain and a gorgeous selection of flowers.  :D


Today is mostly sunny and warm.

I fed the birds.  I've seen house finches, cardinals, and a squirrel.

I planted 25 of 50 "2 Months of Grape Hyacinths" along the stump garden in the yard by the house. 

EDIT 10/19/21 -- I planted 15 more grape hyacinths by the stump garden and 25 around the corkscrew willow.  There are still a bunch in the bag, I ran out of energy and daylight before I could finish.

Half-Price Sale in the Bear Tunnels

This week, the poetry of the Bear Tunnels is on sale for half price from Monday, October 18 through Sunday, September 24. This series is time travel science fiction. It features themes of ethnic studies, history, heroism, ethics, diversity, friendship, technological development, and cultural engineering. Sale prices range from $40 to $160, so hopefully there will be something for everyone.

There is no quarter-price option this time, given the modest size of this series.

The poems in the Bear Tunnels need to be published in series-chronological order. They can be sponsored at any time, just might have to wait for publication until something else gets posted first.

Linkback perk: The followingpoems have verses left to reveal. Boost the signal for this half-price sale andtell me which poem you want to extend.
"Spirit of Truth"
"Everything That Blooms"
"In the Shade of the Mighty Oak"
"Let the Children Lead Us"
"Autumn's Palette"
"Pumpkin Spice Prosperity"
"Delight in Another"
"A Sense of Weather Changes"
"Ouroboros Insects"
"The Loving Embrace of Night"
"Generations of Cooks Past"
"Begin to Understand Ourselves"

About characters and storylines: The storylines feature multiple characters, so if you want poems about ONE specific character, look closely. The thumbnail descriptions here give some indication who features in each poem. If you need more than what's already visible, you can ask me.

About timing: If you want maximum choice, shop early. We usually send a batch of things to my parents near the end of a sale, and those poems will be posted as I have time.

Before placing your order, please check this sale page to see what is still unsold! I will try to update the page as things sell, and it's likely to be the case that some poems will be marked SOLD before appearing in posts. People often buy things in batches, which means that selling gets ahead of posting. Also sometimes people ask for the same thing at the same time, so that not all overlaps are preventable. If you have alternate instructions in case you request something that has just sold, please include that in your message; otherwise I'll email you back and ask what you want to do.

Currently available are the following poems.

6 poems, $966 ÷ 2 = $483
prices from $40 to $160

"The Seeds of Civilization"
Story Date: April 2019
Summary: Using their professional expertise and research, Emma and Jesse work out what it would take to cultivate a civilization.
166 lines, was $83, sale price $41.50

"Beads and Mirrors"
Story Date: May 1628
Summary: Emma and Jesse make their first foray into colonial Massachusetts.
320 lines, was $320, sale price $160
(Double price for research)

"The Eyes of All People"
Story Date: June 1630
Summary: An encounter in colonial Plymouth urges Emma and Jesse to make new plans.
330 lines, was $165, sale price $82.50

"Just Starting Down This Path"
Story Date: August 1630
Summary: Emma and Jesse talk about horses and genetics.
160 lines, was $80, sale price $40

"The Pequot War"
Story Date: 1635
Summary: Changes already underway result in sudden shifts of expected events.
427 lines, was $214, sale price $107

"In Any Great Undertaking"
Story Date: 1636
Summary: Still uneasy with leadership, Emma and Jesse choose new apprentices to teach how to lead their people. Everyone looks up to them anyway.
207 lines, was $104, sale price $52