I can’t recall the first trick or magician I had seen, but I do have vague memories of being a volunteer for a magic show performed by…the Burger King. Yup, the Burger King. I must have been about 11 or so and I had to pop balloons with my pointed fingers (in the shape of a gun), and then a dove appeared. Ooo.
I like 2 kinds of card decks: Bicycle and Aviator. Occasionally, I might use a Hoyle deck. Everything else looks odd to me. Now, I’ll work with a borrowed deck that isn’t these brands, but these brands are common and no one ever suspects there’s anything wrong with them should I choose to use a gaffed card (rare). More often than not, gaffs are made using Bicycle cards (if it’s a quality trick, otherwise, it’s some generic deck). Actually, nobody ever suspects the deck when I don’t use gaffed cards, either.
Anyway, when searching the web for tricks, you may have seen a strange looking black deck with a tiger on it sold by a popular online magic site. I don’t know about you, but the deck just screams “there’s something wrong with me”. If you really think spectators look at the deck, and see you see something that seems impossible, don’t suspect the deck, you’re way off the mark. Maybe I just don’t understand the purpose of using cards like that (can someone enlighten me), but I’m in this business to show that I can create amazing bits of magic and not here so I can show off a really cool deck of cards that has special magical properties.
On the flip side, when I was younger I sold Svengali decks to kids and adults all day long, and they were some generic deck, which was even bridge size! (Real magic dudes use poker size decks, because they’re man sized – bridge is for the ladies). No one ever claimed the wouldn’t buy a deck because it didn’t match their Bicycle deck at home. No, I’m not going to tell you what a Svengali deck is or how it works…
So if you can shed some light on this as either a performer or a lay person, please do so, I’d love to hear from you.
I was out with a singles group through meetup.com recently and a guy I was talking to asked me if it was my first meetup, and I said no, but it was my first with that group and that I ran my own group. He asked what group, and I told him the boardgame group and his response was something akin to recognition (“Oh, right”). Now, I know I have the only real & successful boardgame group in the area, but he doesn’t belong to it, and I doubt he was truly familiar with it (because the name of the group isn’t boardgames). But I found it interested that he seems to feign recognition, probably to help with our male bonding or something.
A few nights ago, I was out with some friends and one of them was describing some place she used to go to to another friend who apparently lived close to there. Anyway, the description got to a point where the friend receiving the description agreed she knew where something being described was. Yet, I don’t think she did know. But I believe that in doing so, she “moved the story along”. Otherwise, there would have been this continued “you know where that X is, you know, behind X shop” [on a side note, if you lived in Rhode Island, you tend to give directions based on where something used to be].
Anyway, just found it interesting how people simple want to admit being in the know on something, even if their not. I’ll have to pay attention the next time someone asks me something similar and I don’t really know what they’re talking about.
The other night, I went out to the Waterfires in Providence (Rhode Island). My brother was visiting from CA, and I was meeting some friends. Anyway, as we were standing around, this guy came up and asked us if we wanted to see a magic trick, it was “kind of like practice” was the claim.
Of course, I say “sure” and he asks if I’d like to help. What reason would I have to deny the magician a volunteer. So he did a basic card switch (swapped the card in my hand with the card in his). Someone mentioned I was a magician, and he asked if I would do a trick so I did Daley’s Last trick, but flubbed the beginning. It turned out OK, i just hate when I do that. From there, the “pro” did another trick which was actually very interesting (gaffed cards and he repeated the “effect” a couple more times than he should have, but it still was a nifty idea).
So whenever someone shows me a trick, I do tend to look at how they present it, how they do or hide their moves, sometimes even what they say (although I tend to watch more than listen, as it’s not important what a magician says). And I always tend to see if they’re performance is better or worse than mine. Now, admittedly, I’m good. When I practice, anyway. But it’s not just because I do the moves well or something, it’s because I try to understand how a move looks. If it looks too “magicky” (that’s not a real word, FYI), then I try to “dumb it down”. Unfortunately, most other magicians don’t. They look at a move as a move.
So after someone has done a trick in front of me, I do sometimes get the question “was he good, can you do better”, etc. In most cases, it’s yes. But to a normal spectator’s view, the trick may look very much the same (assuming they didn’t see both me and the other person perform the exact same trick). But, I’d like to think, that had someone watched me without prior knowledge of another magician doing the same trick, my performance seems a bit more impossible, but that feeling would be un-explainable as to why it exists.
For me, it’s not just practicing a trick, but understanding how it fits together, understanding what people see, and understanding what they’re expected to see. Without those 3 elements, then you’re just learning a trick.
EDIT: I remember he also did another “classic” called the Ambitious Card where the card continually jumps from the middle of the deck to the top. Interestingly, he did the 1st version of this routine I was taught. I’ve tried to manipulate and tweak the version I use, but I don’t always use it because I do find it gets repetitive. One good purpose of the routine is to give away the signed card to the spectator, who will then always remember you from that card (and, yes, the magician gave his business card to one of the guys there who had kids, because he does shows professionally for money).
I’m 205.2 pounds (plus or minus .2). There, I said it. And to keep it in perspective, I’m 5’8″-ish. I won’t tell you how off that is from where I likely should be, you can do the math. Overall, it’s really not terrible, but I want to lose about 20 pounds. Not all in a week, or anything, but in a few months. My initial goal is just to get below 200, which I haven’t been in several years.
You know how they say that someone’s handwriting tells you something about them? Well, how about how someone writes out their phone number? I was just going through and updating my contacts, some of whom are on Facebook, and I realized how many different ways there are to write a phone number:
This is how I write phone numbers, the “proper” method as I like to call it:
The no separation method:
The spaces for separation method:
555 123 4567
The all dashes method:
The periods method:
And not to confuse things, but don’t forget those that add the 1 before the area code (and not to mention people outside of the US who have a whole slew of numbers we don’t want to mess with).
That’s pretty much the lot of them – which kind of person are you?
I find fascination in what people say, and phrases people use. One of the sets of phrases I find interesting are as follows:
- “The truth is”
- “To tell you the truth”
- “To be honest”
The thing about these statements is that they seem to imply that the person speaking might usually lie when they speak, but in this one instance, they’re ready to be honest in what they say. It’s a useless addition to any conversation, but I guess people use it to attempt to make a point. Usually, people use this as part of a response to a question – but if I asked you a question, I expect to get the truth.
Anyway, I just hate the use of it. People, please stop. I mean, honestly…