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33 entries from April 2007

Why Internet Banking Sucks

UsacomplaintsThey say internet banking is a marvellous thing, perhaps it is, maybe it's just the mistakes people make while using it that make it such a pain.

Sure, I have friends who've had their internet bank accounts hacked and have lost thousands of dollars they simply can't get back. (Back in the old days of manual banking, my "manager" at the time deposited about $10,000 of cheques made out to me into HIS account. Even though the bank slipped up allowing him to do that, he spent the money and I never saw it again!)

However, I now have to check my internet banking account almost daily. Why? Am I afraid someone will steal from it? No, quite the opposite.

Last week I discovered two payments both over $500 deposited into my account. I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out where they came from (often clients will pay us electronically... but not tell us they have). I couldn't figure this one out though, so I called the bank.

The nice man at VTU explained that it was my salary. I explained to him that I don't receive a salary and he told me that I do. Eventually, he realised that it was a salary, just not mine, and so the payment was reversed. I told him that I was very concerned that someone else's wage could end up in my account because that meant that my deposits could just as easily end up in someone else's account and I would never know.

He either didn't get it or didn't care.

Back in February Eastern Plant Hire deposited $561 in my account. I called them and asked what it was for. They apologised and said it was supposed to go into someone else's account and I thought the matter was over. Until today when I received a threatening letter demanding I repay them the money immediately. I called Eastern Plant Hire and explained that I had done the right thing back in February and was offended at the tone of their letter. Her response "Well what do you want me to say?"

So, if you keep a "tight ship" accounts-wise like I try to do, keep checking your bank statements every day. Thankfully, it's not such a big issue, but imagine if you only had a balance of $300 and someone demanded repayment of $600 immediately after they accidentally slipped $600 unnoticed into your account months ago.


Australia's Got Talent - Bonnie Anderson

Just as I predicted last week, the 12 year old "little girl with the big voice" Bonnie Anderson took out the title and $250,000 grand prize. (I was surprised to see 'Soul Mystique' out so quickly though).

I'm now available for psychic readings, premonitions, and fortune telling. ;)

Oh, and just to put things in perspective, now you've seen Bonnie, here's Dannii Minogue in her final appearance on Young Talent Time:

It was good to see young magician Zac Wood in action too. We'll definitely be seeing him on the Australian magic scene for many years to come. Here are some clips of him in earlier episodes of the show:


Magic on Radio

3aw I just got back from doing a spot on radio 3AW with Tony Leonard, Trevor Marmalade and Dr Turf on the show 'Glossing Over'. Their producer had contacted me last week after hearing about POKER IN THE FACE so it was fun to say hi to the guys again. I did a few tricks in the studio with them and we chatted about some of the legends of poker (Trevor seems to have an encyclopedic memory for almost everything!) and they gave the show a good plug too.

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Just in case you missed it, we have put on ONE MORE NIGHT of POKER IN THE FACE. This Thursday 7pm and 9pm at Trick or Treat Magic Cafe, 237 Waterdale Rd, Ivanhoe. Bookins essential and you can book online by CLICKING HERE.

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While on the subject of plugs, if you'd like to catch ELLIS & WEBSTER LIVE! in our 90 minute stage illusion show, it's on THIS WEDNESDAY at St Catherine's School in Toorak. You can book HERE or simply turn up on the night, tickets will be on sale at the door for only $20. (If you've seen us before, you won't BELIEVE what we're wearing for the Sub Trunk in this show!!!)

If you could spread the word about these two dates we'd really appreciate it. They'll be our last public show for a few months, after that we go back behind the closed doors of corporate shows...


Movie Update

It's a bit dull in the cinemas at the moment... nothing to blog on about.

We just saw SUNSHINE and it's so-so. Passes the time but doesn't excite.

DISTURBIA is a modern update of Hitchcock's classic REAR WINDOW, but you'll forget about it pretty soon after you leave the theatre (and there are a few plot-holes you could drive a truck through if you take it too seriously.

MEET THE ROBINSONS was a surprisingly good film (especially in 3D). I went with our 4 year old niece and she did have a bit of trouble following the whole time-travel aspect of the plot, but she sat through it all and seemed to enjoy the colorful characters. (We could have done without the Chip'n'Dale pre-show cartoon, though).

300 is an absolute must-see. Astonishing looking film with an equally unbelievable story.

But come May and we have about a dozen blockbusters to look forward to including: Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Live Free or Die Hard, Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, Shrek the Third, Transformers, and The Simpsons Movie (here's some goss on that one!)

Plus, keep your eyes out for magic-themed movies NEXT, DEATH DEFYING ACTS and THE MAGICIANS, plus Eric Bana as a pro-poker player in LUCKY YOU. (And, if you enjoyed the Russian film NIGHT WATCH, DAY WATCH is finally heading our way!)

Finally THIS is the most unexpected film of the year in my books.


Poker tonight!

It's been quite a severe learning curve doing the POKER IN THE FACE! show.

First was researching and writing the show, tracking down poker anecdotes and folklore and deciding what would be included and what would be left out.

The same process was used to select the right tricks - tricks that would progress the story and not detract from it (and boy, I had to leave a lot of good tricks out... "You must kill your babies!" as Gaston says).

Then there was the technical side - learning the card skills needed to actually do the tricks!

Finally the show got off the blocks and we actually got some great reviews (just got another one at www.PretendPaper.com ) and every show has been completely different!

For example, tonight at the 7pm show, we had a lot of laughter, applause and general giggling throughout the show (which was great!) and the 9pm crowd was so sombre and serious it put me off to some extent... yet speaking to them afterwards they seemed to love the show as much (if not more) than the first group. One guy said "I didn't want to listen to your stories because I knew you were trying to distract me, so I just focused on your hands." He loved the show, but it really put me off...

I guess, in a large group you don't really notice people 'burning' you as much, but we've refined the seating for this show so we have just two rows of people seating at the poker table with me... and the second row is elevated so I can see every single person's face. I can see who is laughing, who is staring at my hands, who is looking bored, who is looking at their watch... it's quite a different dynamic to do what is, essentially, a theatre show under those conditions. (No wonder actors prefer the audience to be in the dark!)

Regarding the watch bit, Brendan Croft came to the show last week that he said that he looked at his watch during the show (I didn't notice) but he wanted to see how much more of the show was left because he was hoping it wasn't going to end too soon.

I guess I've got to stop being so negative in my assumptions.

Anyway, regardless of whether they applauded all throughout the show, or sat in stunned silence, everyone said they really enjoyed it AND we sold out of CUNNING STUNTS DVDs.