tricks of the mind: my love of the wonder of magic!

Paul-Daniels-Magic-SetAnyone that grew up in my generation especially in Britain would be aware of the wonder of magic,  since 1979 the Paul Daniels magic show has wowed generations with tricks, segments ,as well as how he managed to marry a girl that is 20 years younger than him! If you’d seen him you’d understand this point, and if you ever seen the mrs merton sketch with his wife you’d understand the line of ‘so why did you marry the millionare Paul Daniels?’ I aint judging, but come on! shes clearly under no illusion there!….thank you one person.

In all seriousness, for us here in britain it lead to mainstream attention towards towards magic and for a little kid like me who saw it towards the end of the shows run, I was intrigued by the very idea of tricking people into believing you had magical powers, until the master of trickery Sarah Palin came along oblaine-street-magicbviously. I like the idea that Oscar Wilde regarded magic as kind of ‘revenge of the nerd’ as in even when some bully beats you up, occasionally you’d get one over on them by making them go ‘who what, how the hell you do that?’ ok they may then beat you up afterwards, but at least you have the last laugh. once Daniels left our screens into oblivion, the thing that most enticed me was David Blaines special street magic in 1997. Ok, I hear you before it enters your mind, and the answer is yes, before he did ridiculous over the top tricks and endurance events. Although I did like the things us Brits did when he lived in a box hanging above the Thames  such as a hamburger attached to a remote controlled helicopter, or trying to hit the box by playing golf. Aren’t we adorable?

Anyway , the street magic show Blaine did was brilliant, and it still gets repeated to this day on tv, you really do know when you’ve hit a great magic show when other great magicians say its good, like Penn and Teller did when it was first realised. I still remember us as a family gathering around watching him throw a card into the panes of a car window, levitating or moving a circle on a dollar bill. I was roughly 10 years old, and really wanted to make things disappear like he did, mainly bullies, my siblings, girls, well, pretty much everyone. You see this is why you never see any children magicians, it would just be chaos, no one would survive! although, having thought about that idea, they would only be children around then, pretty awesome! the world as a giant ball pit!

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There’s actually two reasons I owe David Blaine for my love of magic. the fact that channel 4 picked up his series to show here in the UK meant that I got to see his work, and got channel 4 interested in magic in the first plac. That’s the reason channel 4 took a punt on Derren Brown, who is the best illusionist/magician to this day on British TV. I love love love Derren browns earlier work since he started in year 2000, mind control has some brilliant tricks and manipulation in, and I really love trick of the mind as the celebrity trick angle I really enjoyed! the whisk trick with martin kemp is awesome(where he gets blindfolded and predicts what item martin will pick out of 50 items). My theory on how he did it was somehow suggesting to him which item to pick before the trick even began, other than that I have no idea. But I never do, thats exactly whats great about magicians as I said earlier, they known, but chances are you don’t.

That leads me to something I think is key, I really don’t think it matters how tricks are done, I really don’t spend much time at all wondering how they did it, I just love the fct that they are able to trick me and many other minds. That’s what makes the wonder of magic enjoyable and I never understand why critics go, ‘well its so easy to know how he did it’, so what? most magicians I see do variations of a trick I’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean I then go, hang on, this is the same thing, screw them and their new variations! if that was the case for music, no one would be allowed to listen to anything because everything stemmed from rhythm and blues? I can take magic now with a pinch of salt and watch a 10 minute video, go wow that was cool and then get on with my life, I really have never seen magic as something to mule over for days trying to figure it out. The key word is entertainment, why do you think magicians stay in vegas all the time? because as dull as I hear vegas can be, people go there knowing what to expect, they see a 2 hour show then go do something else. Thats what entertainment is, and the mere idea of a trick is not to take it too seriously in the first place.

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The reason I wanted to write this blog is to admit, the last few days as taking breaks from writing, I’ve been watching loads of youtube video’s of magic tricks, David Blaine, derren brown, jamy ian swiss, lance burton, penn and teller, I just think they are brilliant, Id love to go to magic castle and hang out, I think magicians, illusions, whatever you want to call them are important, because its the art of understanding how the human mind works, and that is always important.

heres some videos that are awesome if you like magic! craig ferguson makes an appearnce in some of these as he does magic week on his show, he is also brilliant!

next blog will be red dwarf convention 🙂

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the beauty of gaming, the life of a gamer part 2

part 2 team gamers unite! 🙂

land of the geeks

gamingI wrote a post a week or so go where I talked about the value of gaming and I had a lot to say about the influence, joy and importance it has had over my life. I then sat down, after playing several different games the last few days, that I barely scratched the service on other games that I play or have played.

I also missed a couple of really important points in regards to my gaming life, the influence of my family. Every family has something that binds them together, something that gathers dust until family members gather round and becomes the family tie of bonding everyone together. There was two things that did that for my family, The TV series red dwarf and games,  in particular card games.

Some of my earliest memories involve the family gathering round to watch series 6 of red dwarf,one of the few tv shows we…

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The beauty of gaming: a life of a gamer

I really like this particular blog, so I wanted to repost this, because if I can in anyway show how great games are then i consider this an achievement unlocked, I’m off to play team fortress!

land of the geeks

gaming

It’s funny, I have been a gamer for most of my life, and it was only on a recent podcast I did with the lovely Viv Wiggins that I started reminiscing about my life as a gamer.  Even after the podcast, Viv and I talked about the value of games, and I became to realise the value and thread it has had in my life that I’ve never really realised until now.

I suppose I just never looked at it in reference to my experience playing games, but I am always interested and engaged in seeing how people use games or even value games at face value. When I worked in a local school the other day for example my colleague was trying to get the kids to play the monopoly app and it bored them senseless. Now, on face value, you can say that was unsuccessful and that games…

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‘just how much of a Geek are you’ by guest blogger Wayne Madden

geek ideaSomeone once asked me, “Just how much of a Geek are you?” and I think that’s a good way to begin my introduction to you on this site. It’s an interesting question because, in one sentence, you’re almost forced to come up with a rationale for your entire being – a kind of “Here’s why you should hire me” type response. I often compare questions like those, and job interviews, with Dating Websites. Through a series of unfortunate, and perhaps some fortunate, events in my life I’m currently in the unenviable position of having to use both of these kinds of sites.

And, OK, not everyone has to use a dating or a job seeking website, but let’s face facts, if you want to meet people and you want to do things then money is something you should be looking for – and the best way to get money, outside having Dale Winton write you a cheque, is to get a job – and equally, while it can be very difficult, actually make that very difficult to find a perspective partner, it can also be equally rewarding when you do find someone that you can spend time with.

So, here I am, registering my profile on the dating website and answering the questions there. One of my friends has told me this site is for getting a woman into bed, and regardless of anything else, I should be able to accomplish this with relative ease. It might involve me buying her a few drinks, taking her for a nice meal (not unpleasant), but in the end if I’m after sex (and that’s the only thing I’m after) this is apparently the site for me. However, my other friend tells me this is the site where he met his girlfriend, it’s a long lasting connection and he knows that if I want a dedicated and committed relationship then this is the site to be on. Google tells me the site is popular, and so I’m drawn to agree with them both in a manner of speaking, knowing that my body and my brain will tell me two different things anyway and that it’s always going to be based on who you meet and what you do and where it goes. I’m confused enough as it is and I haven’t entered my email address.

Now, as me, I tend to put myself on the line – I throw myself and my heart into things and I expect to reap the rewards. I don’t. About 30% of the time I reap the rewards and on the other occasions I’m left counting the change. It’s the same on a dating website. You put in the information, put your photo up there and contact a few people and you hope it goes well. When someone writes back insulting you for even contacting them it can be pretty damaging and leave you feeling a bit hurt. However, and this is where the Geek comes in, I’m also a little quirky and eccentric and I find myself using words and language that most people find rather bold and brash. In some cases I tone down the language, but I guess I’m a believer that if I’m truthful and honest from the start (that is, I don’t pretend to be anyone but who I am) I will eventually find someone that will accept me for me.

This tends to be the same criteria when applying for a Job. Recently made redundant, I went to my local Job Centre and registered, to which I was informed the new process of finding work from a prospective employer in the UK. Register your details, upload your CV and apply, not too bad for a computer savvy person like myself. The Geek in me certainly learned nothing new but had everything to gain from the experience. But that’s when it hit me, since all I had to do to apply was upload a CV, a one page document selling who I was and hit apply. No long winded applications, no cover letter, no supporting documentation or evidence, no references….nothing other than my CV….leaving me wondering just how many Geeks and Journalists (perhaps the same thing) were able to do the same. How much I actually stood out when all they took into account was actual work experience and basic fact.

So on the one hand, I dreaded answering the questions of the Dating website and yet I was reluctant to send off my CV without answering any on the other. I think that’s part of what makes me a Geek, because it’s the realisation that sometimes these kinds of questions are necessary, sometimes they (like everything else in the world) have their place and justification. If you don’t answer life’s questions and give more information than the basic facts, you’re not going to get anywhere, and that’s a universal president – not something solely confined to this website. The difference in “Geek Dom” (if I’ve just, according to Microsoft Word, invented a phrase) is that one takes pride in those things which make them slightly abnormal, indeed, better to have lived interesting than have simply lived.

But just who was the Geeks of yesterday? Before the arrival of mainstream comic books (some formed from Political opposition and concern about the threat of Nuclear War) we had Hippie’s, who spread free love and free thinking. But what of before that? Maybe the inventors of Industry and Technology, like Alexander Graham Bell, or the magicians and entertainers of their day like Houndi? Both these men, by their example, lived an interesting and extraordinary life. They contributed to society and left their mark upon the world. They were as much Geek’s, extra-terrestrial’s (which literally means outwards earthly) as you can get, moving beyond their realm and creating something the world had never seen. When Gaelio died the Spanish Inquisition by calling the world round, was he perhaps the Geek?

The next time someone asks me the question “Just how much of a Geek are you?” I think I’m going to ignore them and try and concentrate on doing something else. That might seem evasive, rude even, but the fact that we’re just like everyone else in the world means there shouldn’t be a distinction or labels attached. We are one. We are human. We are the collective. Maybe that’s me showing my Geek side, right?

ignorance is a powerful enemy

ignorantIsn’t it such a shame that we live in a world where there are so many people that think they are in the right to say what they want, do what they like, without any consequences? without thinking twice about what they are doing? I write this on a day where after watching the football derby between Newcastle United and Sunderland, that not only that we(Newcastle) lost but that the match has been completely forgotten by uncaring, couldn’t give a fuck about football barely human beings who choose to attack Sunderland fans after the game.

Now I’m sure that there is another angle about the story that the news has probably overlooked, and I’m sure those involved will try and blame it by the usual 10 year old excuse of ‘well he/she/they started it) frankly, I couldn’t care less, because that is fundamentally not what the problem is. The problem is the sheer ignorance and malcontent of this whole situation that really makes me question the world we live in. The sheer fact that someone wishes to harm someone else over losing a football match I find unbelievable. The reason being? It has absolutely nothing to do with football. Many hooligans use this as an excuse to fight knowing fully we’ll that most often than not it’s harder to get caught or arrested when there’s hundreds of you as opposed to two drunken idiots on a random night out fighting over ‘looking at my girlfriend funny’. If this was a game where 50,000 people were watching two penguins trying to mate, there would still be these people using this as an excuse by saying, ‘I wanted the one with the bigger flippers to win, I’m gonna punch you in the face!’

I say that knowing the serious of the situation, but I say this as a Newcastle fan, yes I was gutted and pissed off by the way we played, but at no point did I think the Sunderland fans were to blame and that violence was the answer to my disappointment. you know why? because Its just a game, yes it matters to people and it always will, but the problem is that they think it matters after the game ends. And that’s because these pricks are going out and causing the trouble because they are so ignorant about the subject, so unable to look at themselves and go, ‘I really should deal with my violent nature’ , that They should realise its built in that person to behave that way when they don’t get their way. that’s exactly why violence is used by these fuck wits  to manipulate and punish someone who doesn’t agree with what you want or think should happen.They are too ignorant to realise that they should blame, if they really care about football, how shit our team played, and then once that feeling ends naturally to get on with their life. the phrase ‘I live and breathe football’ should never be used as a term, because frankly, there is millions  of other things you should also be interested in, and one ultimately should be that there is far more important things in life ahead of how your sport teams doing that you should be concentrating on.

There’s also a level of ignorance that’s going to be hit at us Geordie’s now that I implore everyone who thinks this to reconsider: which is blaming every Geordie as violent, drunken fools who go looking for trouble. This is something that really is being promoted by irresponsible journalism and productions that promote stereotypes and put a minority into a majority representation of a society that simply isn’t realistic or balanced. This will be and already has been promoted in the sense of ‘geordies at it again’ when we already have the indignity of shows like Geordie shore that promote us in completely a bad light. Just as it is ignorant for people to say all Newcastle football fans are hooligans, I’m not ignorant to say there aren’t people like this out there, but just as geordie shore puts geordie in the title and claims thats what they are, is just like putting football in front of hooligans. they are hooligans and are outside of football, and they don’t belong anywhere in society not just being banned from getting into a football stadium.

I’ve been a fan of football as long as I can remember, but it would be ignorant of me to think football is blameless and heres why.If you look at football as a whole, it does have a lot to answer in terms of way it represents itself. players get more more per week then some people do in their entire lifetime, and club now builds up millions and millions of pounds worth of debt and still survive every year exempt from economic crisis, and most players who get the limelight are adultery ridden, air rifle shooting, prostitute shagging idiots. Football in general really needs to have a serious look at itself in the multi million pound mirror and do more in creating a good example for the people that watch it. The example that always springs to mind was we had two people at our club years ago that were on the same team fought on the pitch (all that was missing was the handbags). Now because it was on the pitch no action was taken against them, but if it was off the pitch they surely would have been arrested? or the air rifle shooting where a famous player shot a student at a training ground and it was laughed off as ‘footballers, aren’t they a laugh?!’. The same idiots that are being violent are the same ones that are looking at footballers who are get away with it and are probably thinking ‘well if they can get away with it, so can we!’ Also, if you look at some of the tackling that’s in the game at the moment, some of the players are becoming irresponsible and violent in their two footed lunges that could potentially harm the other player that it’s getting harder and harder to like the game any more.  Also,  more often than not these type of things don’t get the attention of ‘we need to do something about this for the integrity of the game’ by the people who can do something bout it……not mentioning any names…..fifa! Fa! Shit! me and my mouth!

Now I’ve seen a lot of people saying that, ‘I can’t believe people would do this, there will be children there’ which of course is not nice at all, but really I think there’s  much larger point to be made. Society in general needs to start respecting human beings again, whether they are old,young, mature, thick or thin, mario or luigi..Its a bit like people who has baby on board stickers at the back of their car, like the person behind will say ‘well I won’t ram into the back of that car then’ . Or that if its your grandma they’d  say ‘well I can ram into the back of that car because…its only grandma!’. grandma, child or any other human life is just as important, and we are all in this society together so we all have to make that more conservative effort to respect everyone and get the respect back.. I’m a libertarian in that I believe you can do what you want, providing you don’t inhibit someone else or hurt anyone else to do so. violence has no place in this world, if you can’t handle somebody being different, whether its looks, interests, appearance, opinions, that you feel the need to attack them for it, you have no rights at all to be respected. because you clearly don’t respect anyone else.

As I started the blog I said ‘Isn’t it such a shame that we live in a world where there are so many people that think they are in the right to say what they want, do what they like, without any consequences? without thinking twice about what they are doing?’ you can do what you like and say what you want in society as long as you think of the consequences, and if it hurts someone, you don’t do it. But that requires two thoughts, therefore I’m not sure these thugs can handle it.

all that remains to say is even though hooligans are just hooligans, it seems football is not a funny game anymore, and I find myself once again disappointed by that.

wrestlemania 29 review: predetermined predictable

wrestlemania mainso another Wrestlemania has left us, where undertaker wins, a career is saved and a once in a lifetime match is….erm done again? now I could just leave the review at that, but anyone that knows me knows that I literally can’t do that. So here’s my review of Wrestlemania 29, does anyone else want to shout like JR right now? ‘there’s pandemonium right now!’ pandemonium was probably an idea for a wrestler in the early 90’s too. anything’s better than the gobbledy gooker right?

I suppose the best place to start would be the build up to Wrestlemania, and hope its nowhere near as disappointing as the road to Wrestlemania in any of the video games (sorry THQ but there’s a reason no one liked the games). I have to say ,in regards to undertakers build up this year, they got an unlikely bit of help by the unfortunate death of Paul Bearer. Now, I know that WWE gets deundertaker cm punkstroyed whenever they take advantage of real life events, but if you listen to CM punk for example in out of character interviews, this is what the industry has always been like.

As CM punk said on the Nerdist podcast, if the horrible thing that happened to Jerry Lawler was during his Memphis Wrestling’s day’s then they’d be making it out that CM punk poisoned him or something. Now it does bother me slightly when they use that to their advantage, but that’s the point of being a bad guy is to piss people off and be disrespectful. now in that character they wouldn’t be thinking, ‘Am I going too far?’ so in that sense i totally get why they decide to do that. The thing that also confuses me, is the same people who think WWE is too PG are the ones that’s saying these kind of things are too much. They can’t have it both ways, so in a weird fooked up sense it makes sense to be controversial in that way while staying true to their established PG format. I miss Stone cold too guys, the shattered glass, but its gone, least in the long term. damn you memories!

What seems bad though, is I generally believe that they had no idea how to build up CM punk vs Undertaker as it just seemed to be, ‘everyone else wm 29is set, lets just put a good match together’. Not that I’m complaining, cos even though they massage and wheel out undertaker every year for Wrestlemania, he still has it and CM Punk is the best thing about the company. I’m not a consistant viewer anymore, but I do go back and watch CM Punks matches on raw because I generally think he cares about how all his matches look. In fairness to Cena (who I’m not the biggest fan off), their number one contenders to decide whose facing the rock I thought was superb, roughly a half an hour match that felt very watchable right to the end. I just think the writers have it all too easy and Wrestlemania proved that with the lack of risk involved in majority of the story lines. To rely on horrible circumstance to make storylines makes you wonder how any of the writers earn their money anymore.

so to Wrestlemania and sticking with Undertaker vs CM Punk, It was again top of the pile match wise just like all the undertaker matches  were in recent Wrestlemania matches. having said that, his recent competition has been excellent, being Shawn Michaels twice and Triple H twice being much better than giant gonzalez or a train for example. I thought the urn was an interesting idea, again very similar to triple H’s sledgehammer as in, he must use it to beat the undertaker. but in all honesty, this is all irrelevant as there was no chance in hell (no pun intended) of CM Punk winning it, as it just wouldn’t make sense for him to win such a prestigious win at this time. I think that undertaker will probably carry on till around 25th win and call it a day,or maybe next year at 30th Wrestlemania? I would love if Sting would do a Wrestlemania, considering I’m such a huge fan and it almost happened a few years ago. Either way, It’ll have to be someone legendary, as long as its not Rick Flair (you said you’d retire Rick, So leave it….ok?)

triple hthe match that surprised me was triple H vs Brock, I thought it was fairly watch able.  I really didn’t think that it would be very good, it just seemed a shame that the crowd  weren’t interested probably due to undertaker cm punk match being on before  I really think they should of pushed these matches out, I would of had this match on first or second, simply cos having undertaker, then this match ,then Rock vs Cena, I just think the fans didn’t care as much after the great match before. I liked the idea a couple of years ago to have the world title on first, because you want a good start to kind of start the momentum. the first match of Sheamus, Randy Orton and big show versus the shield was a bit too much of an obvious start, because the Shield were clearly going to win. the reason being: they’ve built this group up for ages and they are facing three well established stars= piss boring match. The idea is they get quicker credibility and the three well known guys get a good payday. Check please! someone get my accountant!

rybackthey then had Mark Henry and Goldberg sorry Ryback(a cheap shot is still a shot) which for some reason I thought was a good idea, although I had no idea why they let mark henry win it. But it was ok, I like Ryback so I hope he doesn’t end up disappearing and being a one time Wrestlemania guy, but we will see what happens. I think if they were going to put a lesser match on first I really think they should of had  Team Hell no Tag team match on first. Although it wasn’t  too long there was enough there to make it all guns blazing. I really like Kofi Kingston, I hope they use him and he doesn’t end up leaving the company like John Morrison. I’ve loved the stuff between Kane and Bryan, it’s nice to have some comedy in the show I think a lot of the shows I’ve watched are far too serious. Which is why I was gutted CM punk turned face because I loved him dissing people. Again though, you can’t have it all, but something different would be nice! burn number one accomplished. (it’s probably way more than one but I’m not counting)

Jericho, as much as I think he is prick, he is still good, and I firmly believe he was theswagger del rio king when he arrived in WWE in 2000 in terms of ability. I really couldn’t care less about fandango (is Michael Hayes watching dancing with the stars or something? ll the characters these days dance). Again another win I don’t think made any sense, is Del Rio keeping the title but I found out swagger is getting suspended. So he has kind of ruined his own momentum. Apparently he had weed in his car, so that might explain why he looks so dull and uninterested. the reason I say that is i think this was his time to go up the next level and del rios run with edge meant he could of took a loss here. but hey, swaggers a tool. simply put.

WM29_Photo_195so the once in a lifetime match, happened again, Cena versus Rock again, I predicted Cena to win, because it made absolutely no sense if rock won. being that it would mean he would of had to give up the title if he wanted to go of and make movies, this way he can disappear and all is forgiven for hardly being around. As much as I like Rock, its a bit like watching a dinosaur to skate, in that he just fecking huge now he isn’t as fast as before and looks more likely to fall down in tiredness than anything else. Cena as much as you can hate him, its born out of frustration, cos he can wrestle, its like he chooses not to because he is comfortable in the company. It started unbelievably slow, but it was ok, not as good as last year but I think the spectacle of last year made it automatically better.  I thought the ending sucked, it was a bit like the awkward moment after a one night stand. whose going to leave first? It always irritates me that they never seems to be a great like holy shit moment at the end that makes you think. Instead it was, ‘we are all friends now, yay! great for us!’

so the show ended and the whole thing felt predictable, which disappoints me because they are always going to sell the tickets, why not try? I left the whole event feeling like a one stand actually, misled, frustrated, half wishing I hadn’t of done it. But it was bearable. now where have we heard that before?

sting for wrestlemania 30! 🙂

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