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17 entries from December 2009

MidCity TV - it goes on... and on...

Okay... according to Peter Mainstone-Mitchell:

"...you are quite unwilling to accept any viewpoint that is remotely positive towards Midcity TV and will use your control of your blog to enforce this. Those are the actions of a bully and, at heart, the actions of a coward."

In his email to me he goes on to explain:

"In addition, should I ever be in the position of hiring entertainers neither you nor your agency will be considered and similarly, should I ever find myself being in control of a venue that has already engaged you then your contract would be cancelled and paid out."

Why? Because I didn't approve his email where he gives his positive experience of dealing with MidCity TV Repairs. 

In summary, he called them to fix his TV, they went all the way down to Mt Eliza to pick up his TV, did an excellent repair and he loved their service so much that he even bought another TV from them. Great stuff.

Yes, I didn't approve his comment. Why? Because it was positive and I'm just a coward and bully using my immense power to victimise the poor folk at MidCity TV Repairs?

No. 

I also didn't approve a number of extremely negative comments about MidCity TV Repairs either. I felt it was best to leave the topic to die.

However, out of respect to Peter and his desire to see Midcity TV Repairs painted in a better, "more balanced" light, I'll approve all comments about them - good or bad - made at this post.

Okay?

You know my experience with them. I wash my hands of the matter and leave it up to you readers to fight it out amongst yourselves.

Mid 

http://www.midcitytelevision.com.au/
 


Magic's Most Amazing Stories

One of the book's I'm enjoying over Christmas is Ivan Amoedi's new collection: 'Magic's Most Amazing Stories - A collection of incredible stories from World Famous Magicians'.

Book-art
 

Now it's not just because one of my stories is in the book that I'm enjoying it, it's truly a fascinating, entertaining and often hilarious read.

You can get your own copy (and even preview a few of the stories) at the official website here and, just to wrap 2009 up with a smile, here are a few of my stories that didn't find their way into the book:

FLASHY SHOW

When I was just starting off as a young magician, we cut our teeth doing group shows in shopping centres. I remember one performance where an audience member came up to us afterwards and said “That was quite a show!” We were really proud of ourselves until he pointed up above the stage to a mirror in the ceiling that was showing everyone getting changed in the dressing room


FLASHY POT

Andrew Gill, is a great friend but has been the source of many funny moments. I remember setting up a flashpot on stage before the audience came in and instructing Andrew what I wanted him to do to set it off. “Just touch this wire to the battery.” “Like this?” POOF! “…. Never mind…”

BEST. TRICK. EVER.

He booked me to entertain kids in the toy section of a department store once. As the climax to my egg bag routine I say I’ll make the egg vanish in mid-air and I toss it high so it hits the ceiling where it explodes (it’s a confetti filled eggshell) and it makes a great finish. Andrew watched my first performance of the day and, when I announced the egg would vanish in mid air and tossed it out a miracle occurred. The egg hit a ceiling tile, which opened up, the egg went inside the ceiling, and the tile closed again all before the kids eyes could follow the path of the flying egg. The kids were amazed and clapped enthusiastically. Andrew was at the back of the room, on the floor, doubled-up with laughter.

WHAT A STINK

Performing with Christof!! and Peter Gray at the Darwin Casino many, many years ago, I got really badly sunburned during the day and one of the guys in the crew told me the best thing to stop the pain was yoghurt. So I went out and bought several tubs of strawberry yoghurt and covered myself with it. The guys thought this was hilarious (apparently flavored yoghurt doesn’t have the same effect), but the laughter soon subsided as the stench of sour milk lingered for days no matter how many showers I took.


MidCity TV - it goes on...

Over the last month or so I have been receiving a steady flow of comments about MidCity TV Repairs. 

You may recall the original post which documented a company who claimed they could repair our plasma TV for a certain price within a certain time frame. The price kept going up, the time went on and on, and in the end the repair was never done and I left the TV with them (it's probably been sold by now) and bought a new one from Harvey Norman.

All of the comments re MidCity TV Repairs have been very "anti" - so much so that the last batch (about a dozen) were so nasty and angry I decided not to approve anymore comments and let the matter rest.

Then I received a "positive" comment from a satisfied customer.

Before I even got a chance to approve it or not, I received a second comment from the same customer saying:

"I see that you have deleted my post that was favourable to Midcity TV without even doing me the courtesy of an email to verify the facts as I stated them."

Now, do I publish his comment, which tells of his good experience with the company, and the last dozen as well?

Should I be suspicious as to why a satisfied customer should be so adamant his comment be published?

Or should I just let it rest and leave it to the various factions involved in MidCity TV (which includes disgruntled ex-employees who've started their own repair businesses) sort it out themselves?


2009 - As seen by this blog

JANUARY 

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

  • 'The Melbourne Magic Festival' was the big news at the stat of this month, with Sue-Anne and I premiering three new shows: Ellis in Wonderland, Jeannie Tribute Show and AspyCadabra.
  • Anthony DeMasi, Lee Cohen and Simon Coronel appeared on FOX FM to promote the festival.
  • Geoffrey Rush was spotted at The Melbourne Magic Festival.
  • Sue-Anne and I performed for the 125th anniversary of VicDeaf.
  • Another Australian magician faced child sex charges...
  • Sue-Anne and I headed to Beijing China for the FISM World Championships of Magic where I was again on the Jury. The blog was filled with daily reports from FISM, some good, some bad, but overall it was a big success - especially for Simon Coronel sharing third prize in Micro Magic! Congratulations.
  • Blackpool was awarded the 2012 FISM and immediately announced they expected 3,500 registrants.
  • We got to enjoy FISM combined with Engrish in the daily newsletter here.

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

  • The 'Best Australian Magicians' were announced, with as much credibility as 'Gold Award winner of Australian Magician of the Year'
  • We also discussed the "flexibility" of some performer's fees, and some agent's commissions.


Something to seriously think about

Last month I spoke about the horrors under which caged eggs are produced.

Here are some facts (from another website) about caged (battery) eggs compared with barn laid and free range eggs:

Meet the Hens Who Lay Your Eggs


Battery Eggs

  • Debeaked without anaesthetic
  • Crammed into tiny cages with 7 other hens, in sheds of around 60,000 birds 
  • Because they have to lay so many eggs, they suffer calcium depletion (hypocalcaemia) so up to 90% of birds have broken bones
  • Dead hens get canabalised by other hens
  • The lighting is controlled to stimulate the hens to lay more eggs
  • They can't stretch or flap their wings, dust-bathe, or see the sunlight
  • There is nothing for the hens to look at - ever
  • Some hens fall through gaps in the cages to the manure pits below, where they get stuck in hardened manure and die a slow death without food or water
  • Baby male chicks are of no use for laying eggs, so they're thrown into industrial blenders and mashed
  • Sick and dying hens are often left for days rotting in the cages while other birds are forced to live with the corpse

 

Barnlaid / Free-range

  • Many people think it's ok to buy eggs as long as they're free-range or barn-laid, but the hens still get killed after 2 years when their egg-production decreases
  • Barnlaid hens are still kept in huge, windowless sheds crammed with thousands of other birds, just like broiler birds
  • And most supposedly free-range systems are the same - huge windowless sheds, except with the addition of a few small hole-ways that the birds lucky enough to notice can go through into small outdoor pens. Often more aggressive birds 'guard' the holeways and prevent others going through. 
  • Just like in the battery egg system, the male chicks get dumped into industrial blenders and are liquefied because they are of no use to the egg industry - that's half of all hatchlings in the egg industry or approximately twelve million male chicks each year. In smaller operations male chicks are drowned or suffocated in plastic bags
  • Many eggs labelled as free-range are cage-eggs purposely mis-labelled. The Australian Bureau of Statistics calculated that it was impossible for the number of free-range hens in Australia to provide the amount of free-range eggs sold in Australia, and therefore a large number are illegally labelled
  • The only way to be sure you are not contributing to terrible cruelty is to not eat eggs at all. It's easy to replace eggs in cooking, and anyway, they're loaded with cholesterol and fat

Oh, and for those who think "They're only chickens..." take a look here and you'll see the same thing is now being done to rabbits as well.

Rabbit01 

Rabbits_in_cages_at_rabbit_fur_farm_in_portugal_c_animal_01 

Rabbit_fur_farm_portugal_battery_cage_system_c_animal_03
 
 
 


Quick trick reviews

Last night at AIM we were looking at a few new tricks.. there are SO MANY being released on the market every week now (and so few are actually new).

So for those readers who are interested in such things:

STATIC by David Jade $US20 - An effect where a selected card literally jumps out of a tabled deck after a weird 'Haunted Deck' style movement. Looks nice, and a few of the AIMers were quite impressed, but the reality is it's Henry Evans Rising Card done horizontally instead of vertically.

Henry's trick is $US13.50 and comes with a ready made gimmick, Static comes with a DVD and what you need to make quite a few gimmicks.

NINJA + by Matthew Garrett at $US70 - Essentially an add on to your Ninja Rings routine. A nice addition... maybe... if it suits your routine, but to justify and extra $70... perhaps not.

TITAN'S FINGER by Titanus $US34.95 - An effect I'd heard so much about, and was so bitterly disappointed. Now people on the internet forums are saying "It's a great quick trick to do between two other tricks." I can't say I'd even squeeze it in there. I have no idea how they get it to look this nice in the video, but in real life it was definitely a let down.




Not wanting to sound entirely negative, let me close by saying the marketing for all three of these tricks is excellent.


Bicycib

Kolisar sent in this for Magic Fakers, but it made me laugh so much I had to share it with you here.

He was given a deck of cards purchased in China. Click here to see them. 

For less than $8 you get a complete deck with a rip-off version of 'Hovercard' built in.

"Amazing float card hover card make our eyes nearly popped out."

Not only that, but take a look at the back design of these 'Bicycib' playing cards. According the the blurb they are "rider backs", but as they've replaced the bikes with little cars, perhaps they should be renamed "driver backs"

"Great choice and make for fun."

Bic
Bicycib Rider Back Poker Playing Cards 

  • Get your own deck of bicyclb playing cards, the brand that sets the standard
  • Guaranteed for quality, this is the preferred playing card at tables all over the country
  • New sealed deck of cards
  • These cards are slightly narrower than poker-sized cards
  • They are ideal for the serious Bridge players who prefer a geometric design rather than a 
  • distracting pictorial design
  • Standard size bicyclb playing cards, for all your card magic needs
  • It is easy to shuffle, deal, hold
  • This deck consists of 48 cards including 2 each of all cards from 9's to aces - 9 spot low
  • This deck is ideal for serious euchre players