Sunday, January 29, 2006

When is a magician not a magician

Sound like a riddle or a Zen koan, huh? But the answer is: me. I call myself magician but I haven't been performing and I haven't been practicing and I haven't been developing new material.

Today changes that. I pulled out a book by one of my influences in magic, Paul Harris, and found something that really suits my performing style. I'm going to work it up, hone it to performance readiness, then perform it enough to really polish it. In short, I'm going to become a magician again.

When I developed severe osteoarthritis I had to give up competitive table tennis. Heck, I had to give up recreational table tennis. That had been a part of my life for more than 30 years and it was strange and a little painful to have to reinvent myself and remove "table tennis player" from my definition of who I was. I don't want to remove "magician" too.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Welcome to the 21st century - please watch your step

I now have a MySpace space. It has some of the same ups and downs as the rest of the world (cyber and otherwise):
  • I have run across some great music there. Three bands that invited me to be their MySpace friends - MAKAR, EyeKnife, and LiSA & KMP - ended up being incredibly good, and some others that I found just wandering - Libbie Schrader, sunshine apparatus, LEO - are equally interesting.
  • Magicians on MySpace are idiots too. I was asked to give away the secret to a commercial effect (Daniel Garcia's brilliant Torn) and when I politely declined I was called names. (Could I use passive voice any more in that previous sentence?)
  • I (sort of) reconnected with my table tennis past. Some MySpace table tennis players, nationally ranked, requested to be my MySpace friends. This started me reminiscing. I had actually played a couple of them in tournaments. That whole thing is kind of bittersweet since I can no longer play, even recreationally.

Anyway, stop by, leave a comment, maybe catch some interesting new music.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sticks and stones

I just got through a bout of kidney stones and their associated removal. Not anything I'd wish on my worst enemy.

I'm still feeling a little out of sorts but I'm a whole lot better than I was when the stone was still there.

Getting older sucks

but I guess it beats the alternative

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Monty Python notwithstanding...

...I hate spam. Let me say it again:
I. Hate. Spam.
So when I received an unsolicited advertisement from James George I was a little miffed.

(For the uninitiated, James George is the inventor of the ITR, mini ITR, micro ITR, ITR in pen, ITR in briefcase, ITR in ham sandwich, ITR in small mammal, ITR in rectal cavity, ITR in...Well, you get the picture. He's a veritable font of creativity - if it involves an ITR.)

I emailed him expressing my displeasure that I had received an unsolicited ad (because, remember, I. Hate. Spam.). I also noted that, because he spammed me I would not buy anything from his company or anything produced by him.

He responded thusly:

Well I didn't sign you up!

But suit yourself, we will note your name and never allow you to buy products from our site.

We are the company that invented the Invisible Thread Reel. Just so you know, many of our new inventions are exclusive to us and not available anywhere else.
Consider yourself black balled from our site.


James George
CEO Sorcery

P.s. Add yourself to our Newsletter at MyITR.Com right now, and receive a FREE E-book on Invisible Thread and the ITR. This includes ten fantastic effects that are professional quality, these are routines that you will use, no pipe dreams. One of them, you make a borrowed ring float through the air and into a spectator's hand and you walk away clean.

Consider myself black balled? First of all it's one word - "blackballed", second, hardly a threat since I had already "black balled" myself from his site and his products. Thirdly, and he knows this as well as I do, nobody signed me up. He harvested my email address from some magic web site and doesn't want to 'fess up to it.

Oh, and the first email wasn't enough so he sent a "P.S.:"

Oh and

Get a Life!

Had he not added that little bon mot I would have let the whole thing go. But hey, "Get a life?" I'm betting his magic performances are as original as his insults. In any event I emailed him congratulating him on his continued good PR and explained that I would be sharing it with my magical friends. His response (and yes, he continues to respond, Lord knows why):

Like I said,
Bug off and get a life.

I am sure someone who was pissed off at you signed you up. I can see why they would do this, you are both petty and boring.
Notice that (A) He repeats the dubious claim that someone signed me up for his site, and (B) He actually understands that being signed up for his site is a punishment.

I continue my relatively polite responses (I've signed off every one with "Have a nice day"), this time only thanking him for his continued responses and urging him to continue to do so.

His response:

I tried to respond with this:

You haven't figured it out yet, so I'll spell it out, using small words so you'll understand: I have only responded to emails you send. If you don't send one, I don't respond. Hasn't happened yet, won't happen. You're the spammer here, I'm just responding. If this is boring you, then quit, spammer.

Have a nice day.

But it was rejected because

User unknown

He's blocked my address. Finally. First sensible thing he's done in this whole exchange.

Damn spammers.