Friday, July 31, 2015

$100 deck of cards.

Now I've paid a lot to get a deck but never more than $20. And I know that some limited decks can sell for a $60+ online but usually those are decks that you can't buy anymore. But Ellusionist has a deck that is listed for $100 reading the page maybe you can get for $25 but that seems like alot considering you have to have their $150 membership.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thoth's 27 Messengers by Craig Browning

Thoth's 27 messengers

So full disclosure, while I find no fault with the author from a technical stand point I do feel strongly about him as a person. So my review may be harsher than it needs to be. If not for the supplier I trust, the booklet, and the mention of Philmon Vanderbeck being the inspiration I would not have purchased this item.

So lets get right down to it, this is a reading method jazzed up with 21 card trick. And it is good. But it was good the first time I read it in the supplemental OORT. More on that in a second. There is also some fascinating history about the 21 card trick, from the introduction of 7*7*7. In fact pages 6 - 18 (more than half the actual content) seems to be entirely from other works. The details of the actual method matches my supplemental OORT word for word. The difference is one of formatting. The issue I have is I was promised a work based on an idea of Philmons not an exact copy of his work.

As for the actual works of the effect, theres a small fib on the ad copy for that as well. It says it uses just the major arcana but in actuality you also need 4 aces and a blank card. (I've never had a tarot deck that came with a blank card so their existence was news to me) So its a 27 card trick. One of the things I'd liked to have seen included is a way to scale it down. Its a math trick and should be work able with any multiples of three.

As for the bits of this tome not penned by others we have most of that space filled with a sample reading. Which I found to be well worth the page space. There's also a bit on what to do if the wrong card comes up or if a dark card is the one picked.

There is also one page devoted to the booklet. The booklet is a great idea in theory, but what you're given needs a lot of work before it looks professional enough to hand out to people paying for your services.

I'm not unhappy with my purchase, I've paid more for less. In the end I feel that you're better off spending a few bucks more on The supplemental OORT which has the exact method plus so much more.

If you found this review helpful or thought it sucked let me know in the comments.

Edit to add, I've been informed that the reason it has to be 27 and not something smaller like 12 or 9 is because that is the amount that will let you spell out any name.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Slate Killers by Bob Cassidy

I'll come right out and say that I don't think this was worth $20. I think you can tell Penguin thinks so too otherwise why tie on some unrelated info to the end, more on that later.

It opens with a performance, pretty strait forward. Bob opens on the history of the items as legit tools. Then he has a participant hold the slates while another person picks a word out of the dictionary. That takes the first 10 minutes out of 50.

Then cut to Bob alone at a table. He start by explaining how to justify the use of slates. Then he shows several ways to prove the slates blank and a few sample routines including how to to properly Hindu force. Here and there he sort of mentions other idea and methods without to much detail. Then he says his good byes and the screen goes black. This is at about thirty minutes. The last twenty minutes are about a threaded dictionary and a peek wallet.

It's good info but it could have been more rather easily. I think penguin realized that it was a little on the light side info wise for the price point or why add the threaded dictionary and wallet part. The threaded dictionary is a dictionary that lets you open it to the same place a participant did. Which in this context is kind of useless. Slates are not really a find out what the participant picked and mark it up that way kind of tool. It can be done and how to do it is sort of mentioned offhandedly but they definitely couldn't say they taught how to mark the slates after you know what spectator chose.

I think I would have appreciated him showing us how to make the slates, he just says to cut them out of DVD cases about playing card size. So making nice slates takes trial and error. His look really nice, the one's I've made so far are no where near as nice or as uniform. And so far I've ruined three cases. Just finding case that I could use was a pain. Most had that recycle symbol punched into them. I also would have like more info on handlings I thought of a few obvious options watching it that could have been added. I would also have like to see some info on presenting them as spirit contact tool seance style. You know actually delivering a message. The video really just shows them a reveal for standard mentalism.

If you found this review helpful or thought it sucked let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

French Postcards by Chris Philpott Highbrow or Sleazy

I logged into the The Magic Cafe to find some spam hawking French Postcards by Chris Philpott, first I want to say any Out of this World without playing cards is already better than the original but that's not what I want to talk about. And this seems like an effect I wouldn't object to myself. This effect uses post cards that contain "tasteful" nudity and is basically can you predict which ones are dirty. Now a while ago a set of effects called Tricks against humanity came out. And I recall that a lot of people thought it was the worst thing ever. I remember reading how decent magicians would never have a use for it and the audience wouldn't accept it. But with this post card thing few seem to have that complaint in fact most of the complaining I saw was more to do with the sexism of the cards being all but one female. I can definitely see that last complaint as valid especially if the one male card is played in a homophobic manner.

It's just I fail to see why this effect should be ok while tricks against was not, to me all that is different is the boldness of the crassness. I'll be honest and say that the black pool prediction is one of my favorite effects and has never been ill received mostly cause I can tell when not to do it. I has a friend that knows I can do way more impressive things but he requests I show that one more than anything. I usually just pass him the cards and let him cause he enjoys doing it 100% more than I ever will.

A post I wrote about character on some forum

If you are a performer especially if you are paid to perform then it is of the utmost importance that you know all about your character. Notice how I say 'know your character' instead of 'have a character'. If you are a performer then you have a character and it's important to know who it is even if the character is just yourself.

Knowing your character is important because you need to be able to answer the five w's in relation to your character. The five w's being; who, what, when, where, why, and sometimes how. I suppose if you twisted my arm I would say that three of those are more important for the spinner than the others. At the very least take a look at your act and say "Who am I, What am I doing, Why am I doing it?"

Knowing the answer to these helps you know what sort of story you're telling. Human's are a story telling creature it's part of who we are. If you think that you're not telling a story that you are just doing an exhibition of moves then you are telling a story proclaiming to the world "Hey look how great I am". Knowing the answers to these question can help you with everything from choreographing your set down to the outfit you wear.

I'm going to answer some of these questions for my self to better illustrate my point.

  • Who am I? I am Magnus, a wizard with my stave(s) at my side.
  • What am I doing? Engaging in battle against my foes.
  • Why am I do it? For Glory

These are the things I think about when I spin. I use the w's even deeper in relation to those answers. For example spinning a single stave in a buzzsaw I think what does this move do? My answer in context is that it provides a magical barrier as long as I'm spinning it. So the why am I doing it becomes because the enemy has launched an attack. The next question becomes what is the result of that attack? Did I successfully resist or did it have an effect? What does that look like?

The answers to these questions might change dramatically act to act or not. But a serious performer can't afford to ignore them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Keyword Searches and huge downloads.

One of the stats blogger tracks is what words were googled that brings people to the site. The only one I can see for the last month is "penguin magic torrent" I can't help but wonder if the person who google that and came to my site was dissapointed. If you don't want to read the relevant post, I was basically complaining about the download options for files larger than a quarter of a gigabyte that there needs to be alternate download methods.

I live in a rural location that means I'm lucky to not have dial-up. I have the slowest DSL possible with no options other than costly satellite based internet. I've called my ISP cause I needed just a few extra megs upload to qualify for a job and they told me that I was at the limit of the technology in my area. I called their competitor to find out they don't have the lines ran in my area to provide service and told me that there were not enough people in my area to justify running lines. If I don't use my internet at all a gigabyte download takes over an hour, it'll take even more if I try to use the net and that's if it doesn't drop the connect. I can not imagine that I in the minority net wise. I feel that penguin should code alternative sizes of their videos something I often have to do anyway so I can put them on my phone without wasting space and/or provide a torrent link to the larger files. Though I can understand their reasoning for not doing so.

Brian Brushwood on Penn and Teller Fool us.

I think he's taught several different parts of this on his scam school either way awesome act.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blood every where.

I was doing an effect at some bar and as I was getting my cards out of my steel card clip I cut open the knuckle of my thumb. And it was a bleeder, luckily it didn't ruin the effect but it did get on a few cards. Had to wrap my thumb in a napkin after though.

Daemon Tarot Review

So I was in the Bsarnes and Noble and I saw the Daemon Tarot, which is an excessively misleading name. For while it and tarot are both decks of cards there the similarity ends. So instead of being the tarot with demon pictures and symbololgy added it is instead a deck of cards depicting daemons from a very old book called The Infernal Dictionary. It comes with a book that is sparse on info but does offer some interesting information on all things depicted and offers an interesting spread. The real question is how were the cards, well keep in mind that this is just my opinion of one deck, but they sucked. Forgetting the fact that you can expect playing card quality from a tarot deck. The cards I revived seem to be from different production run. Half the cards are shorter than the other half. Which can has it uses. But still not happy about it also I don't think they match in tone like I think half of them are subtly lighter. Also my biggest issue is the printing on each card what is basically the text you would find in the book on that card. To be honest if the cards did not have the text under the images I think they still would have had potential. And it still probably good from a reading stand point, the few reading I did with it went well. But it just going to be gathering dust now.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Inspire Friday

“The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens (‘wise man’). In any case it’s an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.” Terry Pratchett

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Switchcraft Version 34

It's been over two years since I bought Switchcraft but I got an email today about an updated version and I guess a few emails must of went to spam because this is 4 versions past the last update I got. I've not read it yet but I know it'll be good. I just feel like mentioning this cause nothing else I've bought in all my magic time gets free upgrades like this. It's approaching 800 pages and it would have been all too easy for Elliott J. Bresler to release all this work as 4 separate books at $25 a piece. This work is way past being a good value for the price and would hurt no ones collection.