A time to share

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Still Learning!

I performed last night on Mercer Island for about 110 people. Ages ranging from 2 to 60... It was a gig handed off to me by a friend who couldn't perform as he was enjoying himself at the magic castle in L.A.
Mercer Island Beach Club. A beautiful setting on Lake Washington. Mt. Rainier standing tall and majestic in the distance, I hope someone sends me some pictures!

I am still learning my craft and need to start asking more questions before I arrive. I try to tailor each show to the intended audience. I was told that about 75 of them would be kids, about 45 would be 14 and 15 year olds( a tough age to entertain) and that would mean about 25 would be younger than that. The rest being adults.
My mistake was assuming (Yes I know, ASSUME means U make an ass out of U and me)that the "adults" would want to enjoy my performance too.
They lined all the children up sitting on the floor and then I was to start, The adults stood all around behind the younger children and continued to talk to each other as if I wasn't even there. This made for a constant "buzz" of conversation that I had to talk over. I did bring my microphone set up so it wasn't really hard to be loud enough, I just thought it was inconsiderate not only to me but to the people that were trying to enjoy the show. Weird in a way, they are paying me to entertain, and then don't respect there own money and get value for it.
I have found that adults really enjoy my magic too. There is this mind set out there that magic is just for kids. I hear this all the time from adults. "The kids really loved your magic." I have found that there is a "kid" in most adults if they give themselves half a chance to reunite themselves with it.
My best performances are when there is a nice mix of children and adults. The children's spontaneous laughter infects the adults and the adults response with clapping infects the children while at the same time teaching them how and when to clap.
I hope this post doesn't come off like sour grapes. The show was really good. The teenagers that eventually wandered over were astonished by many of the effects, Chinese sticks, acrobatic knot, cut and restored rope, and lassoing a card brought many an astonished look and a few gasps too. The adults that were watching enjoyed all this too.

What would I have done differently? I wouldn't have opened with Mathnasium,(Way over the kids heads) I would have not even done the torn and restored newspaper to end my set.
I might have done a few more "children's" effects, which I have found also fool most adults.
I also learned that I need to bring my dress shirt separate and maybe put it on just before my show. it was very hot out today and well.... you get the picture!:)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5 Pounds

Broke the 188 pound barrier today!
That means I have lost approximately five pounds.
Of course that was when I got out of bed this afternoon, but what is amazing to me is that I haven't worked out for four days because of going to family camp.
And I ate some great food at camp!
Am interested in seeing what being a 180 pound man would do for my knees?! Especially if I pack on some nice muscle and lose some gut!
Tonight at 8;30, Joan and I worked out to "sculpt" 3/4. It was a good 40 minute work out. Joan keeps up nicely!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Family Camp

Memorial Day Weekend finds us again trekking to Lost Lake in Shelton Washington. Also known as Camp Bishop.
Our church has been attending family camp at Camp Bishop for 35 years. Wow!
My immediate family has been going for about 17 years on and off...
Family camp, what does that mean?
This is a getaway weekend from Friday to Monday, some attend one day, some all four and some like mine just two, Saturday and Sunday.
Family camp, a time for families to get away and let their hair down, to make amends, to unite to even argue if needed. I saw all these things happening this weekend! A time for healing, growing, and bonding. The family of God gets together and we swim, relax in the sun, (this year!) roast hot dogs, and marsh mellows, play volley ball, Ultimate Frisbee, Wake board, Bicycling, and so much more. Laughter and tears (mostly the tears are from children that don't get their way)...
Great food prepared by every member of the family.
A new rock climbing wall was added to Camp Bishop this year.
Every year brings something new!
Young and old come to family camp, a different flavor every year as some can make it different years while others invite members of their family who might just happen to be in town.
This year was especially nice for many reasons, the sun was out every day! This is a rarity for family camp. Also, our church building has been sold, so much of the stress and tension from the last several months has been lifted!
I think we had well over 60 people this year!
I attempted to wake board but was unable to get up on the board via the rope. I had success several years ago, so figured I could do it. The people who own the boat had a nice bar sticking out from the side of their boat to help people learn the mechanics. The water was exceptionally cold, and I had a cold as well. It wasn't the best idea for me to even be in the water, but you know, sometimes we never grow up....
Sunday was a beautiful day as well. We held service in the outdoor chapel after breakfast.
I had agreed to perform a magic act at 8 pm Sunday night. I was beginning to wonder if this was a wise idea as I was sick, and hadn't slept the night before. Being a third shift worker has some disadvantages...
I took a nap around 3pm, got up at 4pm and ran thru the set I was planning. 5:30 rolled around and it was time for dinner, Camp Bishop's and our church's famous Tri Tip steak meal! Awesome!
At 7pm I began to set up my props. Jay Brunner offered to help and he was invaluable to me as we set up the room to seat about 60 people. At 7:30 I retired to brush my teeth and spruce myself up.
Butterflies took over, and it was tough getting them to fly in formation. What I am trying to say is... I almost puked as I was brushing my teeth.
I stepped outside on the deck area and prayed for help! Really, I asked god to sustain me thru the show and to allow His love and light to shine thru me!
8 O'clock and people arrived, the room filled up fast, and I started on time with a faux pas right off the bat! I had planned to blow up a balloon and toss it into the audience and have them bat it around. The third person to bat it was to choose a number. Well, before I could even tie the balloon and toss it out into the audience, I popped it! I had one balloon left and it was back in my room! I was planning on using the balloon later in the show for an effect known as "Needle Thru Balloon."
I had a friend go get my last balloon but went ahead with the first effect which was a new one for me, a warm up if you will. It is a math effect and it went very well!
Stunned them you might say! By this time the balloon had arrived and I didn't need it til later, but on we go...
I performed a nice card effect with some newspaper cut outs to predict their (3) selected cards. It went very well and created the needed momentum and laughter for the rest of the show, I was on a roll.
Next I performed a stunning silk vanish mystery with a nice silk color change with a kicker ending where the first silk appears directly out of the second silk.
Time for some kid magic with my rabbit puppet in the hat and some sponge carrot work. I had originally decided to eliminate this effect because the show was very long, and I was tired, but it's funny how things work sometimes... Just before the show I ran into a woman and she mentioned if I was going to pull a rabbit out of my hat?
I am asked this question often, in fact this is the reason I bought the puppet.
So, I figured it must be an omen and back in the show it went.
It is an endearing piece of magic and I let the young children pet my rabbit Harriet.
This gets a lot of the adults melting as their children are engaged!
So, now it was time for the needle thru balloon. I really like this mystery. It is quick and visual. People cover their ears and I build it up. If you have never seen it, it is pretty cool. I leave a red ribbon on my needle, and slowly pull it thru the balloon just before tossing it in the air and popping it with the point of the needle!
Funny but this little piece of magic gets some nice ooh's and ahh's.
I continued with some kid magic with a nice prediction effect with some jumbo cards and a child, A tomato magically appears and I throw it against a window, splatting it there for a startling ending!
Acrobatic knot was next. I have performed several times for many of these people. It is getting comical to me because I am getting requests for certain pieces. This is one of them. I think maybe they think that they will have an opportunity to figure the trick out if they see it again, maybe not?
After this I performed a wonderful effect I call change tubes. I have a child come up and help. We had an eight year old girl whose birthday it happened to be, so naturally, I had her assist! Four silks change into one and then into a long rainbow streamer, which then turns into a roll of Lifesavers which then changes back into the rainbow silk, she did all the magic! Wonder where that roll of Lifesavers went?
I then broke stride and ventured out into the audience to perform card on ceiling.
The ceiling in the room we were in is vaulted. There are a couple of beams that are 6X 12 I think. This gave me a surface area about 5 1/2 inches to hit. Not only that but it was probably 15 to 20 feet up above me.
I had practiced hitting the beam earlier in the day with a deck of cards in it's box. I hit it three times in a row.
Well, it was now or never, I had a card signed, lost in the deck and rubber banded the deck together. I mentioned that if I blow this, we will be playing fifty two card pick up! Up went the deck... down came the deck... and... low and behold... is that your signed card stuck up there?!
The reaction was tremendous. It started out from the center of the audience where I was and emanated in both directions. The applause was tremendous. My daughter and some of her friends who didn't attend the magic show were outside near the beach and she told me they could hear the laughter and applause way out there!!!
I really didn't know how to react, I suppose I could have done the Tiger Woods fist pump when he makes a spectacular putt! Cuz that is what this was akin too! Although I don't want to get to cocky, as you can see from the pictures, I got a little bit lucky as the card is sticking out from the beam a little! Rather be lucky than good!
I then went into another requested effect, the Legend of the Five Mystic Rings, with poetic patter of Edgar Allen Poe.
I had originally decided to cut this out of the show too, but I had just purchased a wonderful set of linking rings on eBay and this would be their first performance. I'm glad I did too, because I aced it!
Several people came up after the show and commented on it. One woman in particular said she really loved it, especially the poem that goes with it(Thanks Tom!)
I mentioned that she has seen it before, she responded that she must not have heard it.
Anyway, it was fantastic!
A little comedy was due next so I performed Vanishing Bandanna, Another requested piece that always cracks everyone up. This time I cracked up too, as I looked over the audience during this piece, I noticed so many people laughing, that I was was filled with extreme pleasure. I looked over at my friend Carrie, she has seen this at least four times and she was laughing so hard that I broke character and laughed out loud too!
Followed that up with my grandfathers bag trick, (the egg bag) and got lucky with a wonderful participant. A shy little girl that had everyone in stitches.
I normally end with the cups and balls and that is what was next.
There were many new people in the audience, friends and relatives of church members.
They were enthralled and this effect brought the house down!
I had one more piece of magic using a "Dove Pan."
I had the birthday girl return and we made some candy together. We mixed Karo Syrup, sugar, sprinkles and a mashed up candy cane into the pan. We used some lighter fluid to cook the candy, and using a break away fan we cooled the whole concoction down. When we lifted the lid off... the pan was full of individually wrapped Lifesavers!
I had her hand them out to anyone that wanted some!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Sweet course and the price was right! Free!
Aldarra is a top of the line private golf club here in our state. My friend Mike worked em for a sweet deal.
The weather was perfect even if the golf wasn't always, but there were those awesome moments of greatness!
The average score at Aldarra is 105.
I golfed today with a man from work named Daryl, and the Aldarra golf pro.
Daryl is a wild free swinger like me, man he can hit a golf ball a long way, his short game can use some work however. (Can't all of ours?)
I shot a 95, yes I spray the ball a bit too much, I haven't been playing as much golf the last several years. I used to play every week, did that for almost 7 years straight, but magic got me and now I don't have the same passion for golf that I used to...
It was however a special treat to play at Aldarra today. I had two birdies. One on a par four,hole number eight in this picture! and one on a par five. The greens were fast and true. I putted really well. It's my driver and my approach shots that get me into trouble, mostly the driver, although I bombed some really nice ones as I warmed up. I think the course was intimidating because of what we had heard and read. After lightening up on myself, I had a good run of holes near the end of the first nine, and into the back nine.

I got caught up in traffic on the way to my bible study after the round, I wasn't happy about being about 15 minutes late.
We have some new guys in the study that are really quite new to the bible. It has created some friction. Some of us older bible studiers need to have a little more humility about where we were and where we have grown from, and the new guys need to grow so they can fit in and understand where we are coming from at the same time.
I am the "leader" of our group of guys and I realized tonight that I need to beware of what I ask God for. I have been asking Him to teach me patience and I think He is smiling as I learn to deal with some really ignorant people as far as Christ is concerned. Not that I am the be all and end all of Christians or all that knowledgeable in scripture, just that it is funny to see myself in these men as I was 20 or so years ago as I began to learn to walk with Christ.
Great things are happening in our study, we are growing, not just in numbers, but in our knowledge. People are excited to be there and are enjoying the spiritual food.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Liinking them Rings!

I purchased some Owen's linking rings from a fellow on Ebay about a week ago.
They arrived today.
These are supposedly the finest Linking Rings on the market.
They are 12 inches in diameter and are hollow stainless steel.
Gonna give em a test run today, ooh!!!
Hope they are SWEET!

Well, now I have played with them, they are sweet!
Don't know if I can truly justify the exorbitant cost of them though, and I got them at a lot less than when sold by the dealer, and still I paid a pretty penny, or tow, or three!!!
Man, hope I don't drop them, oops, just did...
Sometimes hobbies can be expensive you know!?
Did I need this set of linking rings? Probably not, but you gotta know, you know!
I used the money from the boat gig last week to help purchase them, heck, we are all going to pass away, and I sure wouldn't want to leave a bunch of money for my children or for the government to get a hold of!
So, how many golf club sets do you need? Or how about hose guitars you have, do you really need all of them?! :)

Sunday Sun Day!

Wow, got up to about 76 degrees today, went to church, enjoyed a nice sermon and then spent time in Tacoma at our adopt a street quarterly clean up. Took about an hour and a half to clean up all the garbage, but spent about an hour and a half at McDonalds afterward with Janey and Pennie, two clowns from our alley. We went over some magic. It was a good time of fellowship with these two wonderful givers!
BBq'd some chicken breasts later in the evening, seems like everyone BBQ'd...
You could smell burning meat all over the neighborhood!

Clown Alley, the eyes have it!

The eyes have it....

Tuesday the 12th. Monthly clown alley meeting!
Balloon jam at 6:30 to 7 pm...
business stuff for the upcoming Northwest Festival of clowns which our alley is hosting, Lot's of info...
Then Michael Velling took over and taught how to draw eyes on the balloon animals that all clowns make.
Really a nice session!
I had a whale of a time as you can see by this whale balloon! No, I did not make it.... I have "played around with balloon animals on several occasions, but haven't decided to lock the information into my mind... Guess it's something one needs to do over and over again, like learning a new magic effect, if I don't have a need or use for it... I don't lock it in.
But still, this was a fun, entertaining, and enjoyable session!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Magic and Mom's day

The Deaf carnival was a hoot!
I arrived at 5pm and got right to work performing walk around magic, I used larger facial expressions as I had trouble communicating with them, can't do magic with my hands, and sign language at the same time... I stayed for two hours, I found it interesting that most of the people were not deaf, lots of friends, family and volunteers...I tried some larger magic as I drew a crowd.
I did linking rings twice, and cut and restored rope, but they didn't seem to be as well received as some of the more intimate close up magic.
Everyone treated me nice, and enjoyed the magic! It is fun to hear ooh's and aah's!

It is all a learning experience with me, as is life!

Saturday I took my wife on the Royal Argosy out on Elliot Bay as I was performing walk around magic for U.S. Oil Trading LLC. The tug boat races were going on and U.S. Oil Trading takes theri employees out for this event every year. A friend of mine handed me this gig becasue he moved to Kansas last year!
A paid gig and Salmon dinner too!I didn't actually spend much time with my wife because I began performing for the many people enjoying a nice break from reality! We can all use that now and again!
A one man musician was singing and playing guitar as I did magic at tables on the second deck of the ship.I was so busy and having fun I forgot to eat my Salmon meal... There was free open bar and I didn't realize it til I was finished with my three hours... I took two breaks, but mostly just kept on going from table to table enthralling people.
Mostly card magic, but some nice silk magic, and I finally broke into some nice coin magic near the end.
Coin magic is kind of scary for me. I am told I'm good at it, but performing for magicians, and their "eagle" eyes kind of makes you wonder.It was great to perform for non magicians and get some great "Wow!" reactions!
I'll find out how well I did if I get invited back for next years shindig.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Take me out

to the ball game...
Like I said, Eric and katie went to the M's game on Monday, just thought I'd share some pics for the faithful 3 1/2 who actually read this blog... you know who you are!smoking pepperoni sticks?goof ballin around!
hopefully making a memory to cherish and enjoy!


Katie likes her small milk glass with dinner filled just to the middle line on the glass(click pic to enlarge), at last nights dinner, Eric filled her glass ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP! Just messin' with his little sis!
Having fun!
Today we cooked up some Razor clams that a friend gave us because he wanted to give something to Eric because he loves us and is appreciative of Eric's service to our country. His name is Sandy Holt, I work with him and also went to high school with him, he is now a member of our men's group bible study, any way, we cooked up them clams today, they sure are tasty!"

The first time I ever ate deep fried clams was when I was seventeen adn working at Ivar's fish bar on the Seattle waterfront. Had some great times and memories from those days! We were quite wild, we would throw ketchup and tartar sauce "dippin bowls" at the trains traveling by. I got burned by a street performer who was scamming people with the three shell and the pea game...I lost 40 bucks in a matter of minutes, 40 bucks in 1976 was a big thing to me. I learned later that he used a "shill" in the audience, letting him win money on the same shell I would have picked.
Learned a lesson that day, but it is a lesson that we all must learn...
If it's too good to be true, it probably is!
Thanks Sandy!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Just talkin'

Slept in today as it is Monday, I was up early Sunday at about 6:30 am. worked at our new church facility and attended our first service there. Had to stick around til late in the day to help tear down and put stuff away. Since I had to work Sunday night, it was a long haul to sleep on Monday morning, so I slept in til about 3:30 pm. Wanted to work out but didn't want to too! Ha!
Eric arrived home today from a four day visit with his brother Ryan, they took no pictures or I would post one or two here... Anyway, we talked about going to the Mariners game tonight, I didn't want to go, so I suggested that Eric take his sister Katie, they went and I'm sure had a great time! M's lost 6-5 to Texas, close game all the way.
At about 6pm I decided to drag my butt into the work out room and go for it, I completed the 40 minute "sweat" work out. I have now done it twice and it is getting easier, I mean to say that I am getting more comfortable doing some of the moves. I have a limited space, but still it was a good work out, guess what... I sweated!
As Joan was cooking dinner, around 7:30 pm, we had a power failure! Candle light dinner anyone! Actually I had to fire up the BBQ to finish cooking the meal, poor me, lol... finally got to eat about 9 pm.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Party Crasher

Last Monday, while waiting for a friend at Maple Wood golf course, I noticed a post card beneath the truck parked next to me... It had a picture of a man sitting cross legged straddling the 50 yard line. I picked it up and turned it over, it was an actual post card addressed to someone in the Renton area.
Here is where it got interesting...
It was an invitation to a man named Larry's 50th birthday party, held at the home of the Hoffmans... I know this guy I thought, I'm going to crash this party!
Our children went to school together, Both our boys had Larry's children in their grades. What are the odds of this happening?
Larry and I went all the way from Kindergarten to graduating High School together.
I went to his childhood home as a Webelo Scout in about 4th or 5th grade, are you kidding me!?
How cool is this, you bet I crashed the party! Larry and his wife Mary, whom I also went to high school with live about three miles from my home, haha!
I shocked them! It was all good, they were all having a great time with lots of friends and family, some other people I knew and hadn't seen in thirty years, Larry's sister Mary, and some other high school friends.
Bummer was that Larry had to go to bed early, about 8:30 pm. He has Diabetis. He was pretty warn out. The party continued without him as many friends and family members were there.
I did eventually perform some great magic for some of the guests. Eventually I performed something I have recently added to my repertoire, I call id vanishing and reappearing silks> It is a rally pretty effect and I was planning on performing it for children, but recently found out that adults are going nuts over it too!
Several of the guests know Tobias Pascia, a local magician that also worked at Costco. Everyone had a great time and the magician, (me) blew their minds!


Opening day at our new church facility...
Actually an elementary school in Kent Wa. Named Sunrise Elementary.
We spent six hours Saturday setting up, and opening up all the new equipment we purchased and getting to know the area we will be worshiping in.
It was a long day, getting ready for Sunday service.
The band took several hours adjusting things and unpacking, I know what a "Roadie" feels like now!One of our drummers was excited by all the new equipment!
Sunday rolled around and we set up in about an hour and everyone was early and excited.
We still have several "bugs" to work out but all in all, things went really well!