Tag Archives: piff

Magic Monday ~ Something Fishy

MagicMonday

I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature. I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.

I figured since it’s Lent…

SmallAce

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

TerritoryI finished both The Rosie Project and Mrs. Houdini last week. I’ll have a review of the former tomorrow and the latter closer to its publication date. Since I’m a good two months away from the next ARC pub date and a few weeks out from Outlandish Lit’s Weirdathon, I decided to reach for a book from my own damn shelves.

According to Amazon, I purchased Territory in 2013. So far, the fantasy elements are light and the depiction of Tombstone, AZ is grimy and good.

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

What Am I Writing?

Added front and back matter to Bounded in a Nutshell and the table of contents. I thought I had some issue with how I did the table of contents for The Martian Engineer’s Notebook, Compiled, but I don’t see what it was now. This week, I need to put together a cover, a blurb, and keywords. Shooting for a 2/29 release.

Magic Monday ~ Sponge Bunnies!

MagicMonday

I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature.  I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.

Sponge bunnies are a magic prop similar to classic red sponge balls. They’re handy for palming (ha, ha), but with the added fun of bunny-ness. A perfunctory search didn’t turn up much in the way of the history of sponge bunnies, but they’ve been used since at least the late 60s, early 70s. The advantage of bunnies versus balls is that they can easily be anthropomorphized. Sponge bunnies can “help” in other tricks (for example, “if the card selected does not end in the desired position, you can ‘walk’ the sponge bunny over the cards so he can ‘smell’ the correct card”1) or be used to ramp up into something more spectacular like a live rabbit production.

My favorite sponge bunny routine is the one done by the magic dragon:

1 de Pazos, Luciano, “Luciano’s Flip Out,” M-U-M, August 1975, Vol. 65, pg. 25

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What Am I Reading?

Didn’t get much reading done last week. I’m still working on Dead Wake by Erik Larson. This week I’ll also be reading:

  • “The Old Nurse’s Story” by Elizabeth Gaskell (with a review of it on Thursday)
  • The February 1905 issue of The Sphinx (for next Monday)
  • “The Man of the Crowd” by Edgar Allan Poe for Deal Me In (on Saturday/Sunday)

 

Magic Monday ~ Zig-Zag Girl

MagicMonday

I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature.  I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.

Some illusions are so popular that they feel like they’ve been around forever. One such is Zig-Zag Girl. If you’ve watched a few TV magic specials in the past 50 years, you’ve seen it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if television is a major contributor to its popularity. It is a very visual trick. Smaller magic gets lost on television, even in the age of high-def. Zig-Zag Girl allows for a visual prop that is isn’t overwhelmingly complex and is still interesting when shot uncut with one camera angle.

The trick was innovated by Robert Harbin in the mid-1960s. To “protect” his invention, Harbin published it in a special edition book and only sold it to fellow magicians willing to sign a sort of non-disclosure agreement. The document stated that the purchaser would not reveal the secret to anyone else and only build the apparatus for personal use. Regardless, the illusion is in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the most copied. (via MagicPedia)

Below is Zig-Zag Girl performed by its creator, Robert Harbin, and a more modern rendition by Piff the Magic Dragon.

SmallAce

What Am I Reading?

cover58952-smallThe Hound of the Baskervilles is going much slower than I expected, especially for a reread. I don’t remember the story being this long. Maybe it just seems that way since I’m reading on my Kindle from a “complete works” collection. The percentage finished number rarely moves. Next up The Magician’s Daughter by Judith Janeway and probably The Writing Dead by Thomas Fahy. Both are ARCs, the only two I have from NetGalley at the moment.

What Am I Writing?

Last week, Eric took a look at the first 43K of In Need of Luck. We’ve nailed down a few plot points which require a little rewriting in a few earlier scenes. Our process isn’t to write a fast first draft beginning to end. Instead, we continually re-evaluate what’s going on and what needs improvement. Eric’s also been writing a scientific guide to Andy Wier’s book, The Martian, and we’ll do the editing and formatting on that this week.

On the Blog

  • Review of The Castle of Otranto for the Gothic Reading Challenge. If I finish it by then, I might include a gothic look at The Hound of the Baskervilles.
  • This weekend is the Book Vixen’s monthly Review-a-thon and I have a few things that need getting done.
  • And, I finally get to dip into Thrilling Tales for Deal Me In.