Entries tagged with “toys”.

I love hanging out with spin-top people. It’s always a ton of fun, and at MadFest this year we had a ridiculously good time.

Eric Wolff with his 11″ diameter top. The largest he’s ever made… so far.

For the average person, the phrase “spin-top people” is not one that is heard very often. Of all the very small social groups I belong to, the top-spinners are one of the smallest; I think only “paddleballers” are fewer in number. At the MadFest Juggling Convention this year we had a really good showing of spin-top people… and that means that there were 7 of us. Eric and Noah Wolff, Alan and Robert Gray, Chris Mulhall, Steve Brown and me.

The normal progression of events when top-spinners get together is:

  1. Show off new tops. This rarely takes very long since there are virtually no mass-produced tops, so it’s really a question of who had the time to make some themselves.
  2. Show off new tricks. This also rarely takes long since there are very few new tricks developed each year.
  3. Play Battle Top.
  4. Continue playing Battle Top until it degenerates into a different game that is way more fun.


Lenore and I went to a really fun barbeque today. There was all the fun stuff that you could want, volleyball, badminton, boche ball, drinks, food, a potato cannon, and fireworks. But what really added to it is that Dave has a collection of tin wind-up toys from the 1950s (which was really fun), as well as a bunch of little mechanical toys. All sorts of little widgets, mostly made of wood, that do cool stuff when you turn a crank.

The simplest of them was just a head that turns to try to see a butterfly that is always flying just out of sight, and one of the most complex was a guy who is very unhappy to be getting a tooth pulled in a dentist chair. Aside from working well, these things are really beautiful and fun. For some examples check out my friend Don Olney’s site.