Why Penn and Teller are the greatest magicians in history.

Magic is an art form, one of the finest art forms that you will ever come across. It has the great power of suspending reality and making you transport your mind, no matter how briefly, into a world where anything is possible. The clue is in the name, it is truly magical.

I’ve loved magic since as far back as I can remember. When I was around 4 or 5 I had one of those children’s magazines, I think it was ‘Rainbow’ (the one where bungle went tap dancing if I remember correctly) and the back page taught you how to make a coin disappear. I practiced and practiced so much but I’m not going to lie, I was awful. My gran and my parents were kind enough to make me believe that I had tricked them and I felt like a true magician. I can do tricks to this day, some are pretty spectacular and watching the reaction from people when you pull one of is what makes it so great.

Great magicians are everywhere, up until recently I worked with one of the best in Scotland. You can find magicians no matter where you go, in bars, at theme parks, anywhere that they can hone their craft. Then you have the obvious ones such as David Blaine and Dynamo, they’re great sure but I’ve never wanted to be them, I’ve always wanted to be Penn and Teller.

When I first came across Penn and Teller they weren’t performing magic or giving an interview, they were acting in a show called ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ I didn’t know who they were but all I could think was “This guy is really loud”

Over the years I started to notice them more and more, they were magicians but they weren’t glamorous or over the top showy, they were real. There wasn’t the aura of “we have superhuman powers” about them, they have been always been two guys who have passion for what they do and that comes across in everything that they do.

Being from Scotland, it’s not a simple case of travelling down the road to see them perform so growing up I had to make do with VHS recordings and watching them on television. Nowadays it’s YouTube and still watching them on television, that was until last Thursday night. I finally realised my dream of seeing Penn and Teller perform live at Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo and without a doubt it is a memory that I will cherish.

You see what makes Penn and Teller great isn’t just the magic, it isn’t just the humour or the ability to captivate an audience with something as simple as playing a guitar while throwing cards away. It’s their ability to be relatable. “If we had real magic powers we wouldn’t be performing magic tricks, we would be solving the big issues” are words or something very similar to what Penn said while on stage. They give and give and always they let you know that they appreciate it.

After the show in Glasgow they stood in the bar area for what must have been almost three hours, meeting fans, taking photographs and signing autographs. At no point did they look agitated or fed up. They were welcoming and really made what was already a great night even better. They were in Scotland so naturally (as most people do when they come here) there was a bit of an accent problem but they made it work. One guy asking Penn to record a video with him and Penn replying “What? It’s OK I’ve had you translated”

I can’t really tell you what Teller says because obviously he doesn’t talk, but I imagine his inner monologue is just as warm and welcoming as Penns’ outer monologue.

I could sit here and write for days about how their tricks are the greatest I’ve seen, how they are the pinnacle of magic or how when watching them you’re scared to blink in case you miss something truly great. The truth is that what makes Penn and Teller magic is how they treat their fans, how they welcome you like an old friend and can give you a one night memory that will last for eternity.

I know that I’m basically writing some sort of love letter here and I get that but since I was the height of nothing I’ve dreamed about seeing Penn and Teller, for it to finally happen and leave the building that night feeling like I was on a cloud. I shook Penns hand, his magic hand dammit!

They say don’t ever meet your heroes, I met mine and it was magic.

Welcome to Earth…Population: 0

I once saw a television show named “Life After People” where scientists, structural engineers, and other experts speculate about what could possible become of Earth should we face human extinction.

The premise of the show was that only humanity vanished from the planet, everything else remained the same. It’s important to note that unlike most post-apocalyptic shows that “Life After People” steered clear of what wiped out humanity in the first place.

The show focused on examples of urban and biological decay, the collapsing of cities and bridges. The show focused on various points after humanity vanished – one day, one week, one year, 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, 50 years, 100 years, 200 years right through to 100 million years in the future. It predicted so many changes and a vast difference even within a matter of years.

The first thing to happen would apparently be the disappearance of power, with nobody to control the power plants the would shut themselves down in to safe modes. All except power stations that run on water, those would keep going.

Within 36 hours major cities would start to flood due to nobody being around to control drains and sewers.

Within 10 days those dogs out of 400 million that have survived starvation will have to find ways to escape their homes and start scavenging for food.

Within 6 months rodents will have decreased in numbers, without humans they’ll have to return to the wild where they become easy prey. Eventually larger carnivores start to roam our streets and homes where we once lived.

After about a year weeds and grass start breaking through pavements and roads as the planet slowly starts to return to its natural green state.

Forest fires which were once controllable are now raging their way through woodlands and abandoned cities, destroying everything in it’s path. Rome once again burns to the ground as the ash replenishes the soil.

5 years on and many of the worlds most famous landmarks are overrun with vines and weeds. Steel becomes weak and structures that were once strong are now crumbling.

Natures revenge is hard and relentless, it’s taking back it’s world.

That Martin Show

Recently I’ve delved back into That 70’s Show. For all the years I watched it as it aired, then the numerous times I’ve dived back into it and caught random repeats on various channels, it just never gets old.

I often watch television series’ or films and compare myself and my friends to characters, who they act like, what habits they share, the types of things they say and their methods of dealing with certain scenarios.

With that 70’s show I find myself in the unique position of being able to identify myself with most of the main characters. Obviously I’m better looking than Kelso so that’s one comparison we can all skip.

I’m a nerd or a geek or a weird little man (not so little) with a fascination with Star Wars, I always make situations worse when I think I’m going to make them better and strangely it’s almost always in a comical fashion. In that respect I’m Eric.

I’m rude, harsh, honest and have no fear in saying what I think no matter how it offends or insults. I almost always try and lead my friends down the path of some sort of path that I would never go down myself but I know it will give me amusement watching them do it. In that respect I’m Hyde.

I say the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times. Sometimes I say them for comical effect, sometimes I say them without thinking not realising how inappropriate it actually is. In that respect I’m Fez.

I am incredibly impatient, with no tact and will almost always complain about anything and everything. Sometimes I just want a quiet life, a life of no annoying kids running around the streets, people leaving my beer alone and not having to help people out because it’s just an inconvenience. In that respect I’m Red.

That 70’s Show is an outstanding piece of comedy TV in which it relates to almost everyone at some point in their life. 8 seasons of this show and I guarantee I will never get tired of watching it over and over again.

For those who haven’t yet seen it, I won’t spoil anything but as I currently watch it again I’m nearing the end of Season Seven, an ending which changes the show for its last season. I can’t lie, Season Eight isn’t the same as the rest of the seasons but it still rounds the show off nicely.

It’s also amazing to see how far those actors came since being on a show that nobody knew would get past the first season. Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace just to name a few.

It might have been a modern show set in the past but it was way ahead of its time. 506b9f116e6340e7e5eeaa916

 

812 Days

It’s hard to believe that this blog was my daily output, my safe space, my place where I would go constantly to release my inner thoughts and share them with the world. It’s hard to believe all of that when it has been 812 days since I last posted.

812 days is a long time, a day is a long time on some occasions. There’s two options I faced when logging back in, I could write down all the main points from the past two years or I could just continue as though nothing had happened and there had been no hiatus.

When I looked through my past posts it became apparent how much things changed. There were posts about TV shows that are no longer here, undefeated fighters who are now defeated, a YouTube channel that fell by the wayside and so much more. I think that’s the wonderful thing about having this page to look back on, it really opens your eyes to how much things are changing even when you don’t realise it.

Two years ago I had just gotten a new job, was single, living in my own wee flat which wasn’t the nicest place and spent much of time gaming and blogging. These days I share a beautiful seaside flat with my amazing other half (she puts up with so much nonsense I’m surprised she’s lasted this long) I’ve left that job for reasons that I cannot disclose and I spend much of my time…gaming and thinking about blogging. So most things have changed if not all.

In August of this year I’m hoping to study Media Analysis, I say hoping because I still have the interview stage to get past which is next Wednesday. I think that finally I can study something that I really want to do and hopefully progress in a career which involves writing and media and just bring together most of the things that I’m passionate about.

On a completely unrelated note, last night I went to see Penn and Teller live and it blew me away. I also met Penn so here’s a cheeky selfie

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As for this here blog…

I’m back, and I don’t plan on going away anytime soon.

 

M

Growing up, Yellow, Fatigue and the Stinger….

I grew up, well sort of. I figured that it was time to get what my mother calls a “real job” and from Monday that entails me wearing a shirt and tie, something which I’m really not looking forward to.

I’m not sure what has come over me this year. I think it’s a mix of getting older and realising that there’s only so long you can live off of unstable work and also the fact that I really need more money in my life.

So from Monday, I’m a suit. While that will make my writing lifestyle take more of a backseat, it certainly won’t end it. I’m hoping that if anything it makes it slightly easier. Rather than laboriously working for hours at a time, I’ll take an hour or two here and there and it might not feel quite as intense.

On another, completely unrelated note, today I’m wearing yellow and I hope you all are too.

#WearYellowForSeth

I really try and avoid social media trends and everything that goes with them, but the sickness of any child is a horrible thing  that this world dishes out. This isn’t your typical trend either, this isn’t to “raise awareness” or “raise money” or whatever else. This is simply to show support to a small child with no immune system, to put a smile on his face. So even if you have yellow socks, wear them today and join in the love on Twitter and Instagram.

If I can do it with messy hair and an uncombed beard then I’m sure you can all join in too.

If you’ve been following my other blog about my journey to a healthier life then you’ll know that I lost almost 5lbs in two weeks. I was extremely happy with myself. I don’t know how I’ll fair at next weeks weigh in because I’ve been ill for the past few days after catching a bug from my nephew. My exercise routine has been virtually non existent and my appetite pretty much disappeared aside from some chicken cooked in soy sauce and rapeseed oil and brown rice two days ago. If my result next week isn’t as good as it should be then at least I know it was down to illness and not laziness. I did try to get some exercise done but my body was so fatigued and I struggled to breath with my swollen glands and agonising sore throat.

Yesterday I had to go and get a new photo taken for my driving license. I hated it. I hate those photos, you have to just look at the camera, and not use any muscles in your face. It’s like that look that you give someone when they say something that only they find funny.

Finally, it’s WrestleMania weekend. My favourite weekend of the year, being the big geek that I am. Next year I shall be in attendance once again but this year I’m watching from the comfort of my own home. There’s nothing like WrestleMania, whether or not the card itself is good, there’s still such a hype about it that you can’t help but get excited.

Sting has his first ever WWE match this year, and for the 12 year old child in me, that is the most exciting thing ever. Needless to say I will be giddy as hell come Sunday. Whether or not I actually manage to watch the event live is another question. It starts at midnight here and ends at 4am and as I said earlier, I grew up and got a real job and that starts at 9am.

My Journey

I’m on a journey, not one to self enlightenment or anything like that, but one that will benefit how I live my life.
To track it, I’ve started a new blog so that I don’t clutter up this one with my posts about it.

You can read and follow the blog by clicking right HERE

14 Seconds

Completely disregard the fact that I am in love with Ronda Rousey (I mean look at her, who wouldn’t be) for just a few moments.

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Last night at UFC 184, she faced off against arguably the second greatest Women’s Mixed Martial Artist in the world right now: Cat Zingano. It should have been a slog for both competitors, it should probably have gone for the full 5 rounds but instead Rousey asserted her dominance, not only in the first round but in the first 14 seconds. A 14 second victory, in a championship fight against the person who is as close to your equal as possible? That’s impressive. Last year her TKO of Alexis Davis in 16 seconds showed just how dominant she is in the octagon but for anyone who doubted that assertion, last night is sure to put those doubts to rest.

Both competitors went into last nights fight with undefeated streaks and ultimately only one was going to leave with that streak still in tact. An arm-bar followed a great transition from a counter take down to have Zingano tapping out almost instantly.

Personally, at this moment in time I don’t see anyone walking out with a win over Rousey, at least not in the near future. Last night Holly Holm looked impressive in her UFC debut so pitting her against Rousey is definitely something I’d like to see in the future.

Overall last nights UFC was a fairly decent event. Coscheck foaming at the mouth after a fight in which he looked dazed for the majority was a highlight. For me though, Rousey just stole the show again.

I wonder if she’d accept my marriage proposal? I can definitely promise her that I last longer in bed than her matches do.

Friendship

“It is impossible to ostracize a lone wolf.” Joseph Annaruma

For all intents and purposes, I am a loner. Granted, since a young age, my personality has been able to adapt to my surroundings and the people around me and I can interact easily. I can be the life and soul of the party if I have to be but on the inside I hate it. I hate people, I hate social interactions and I hate the pretense of friendship. My entire life, I have never truly had a “friend” in the conventional sense. I have had many acquaintances and many of those have been fun and of a stature that perhaps the other person thinks of it as a true friendship. The truth is, I get bored. I get bored of peoples company, I get bored of their inability to realise that I don’t care for any of the things that they say. I can pretend that I care, sure, but I just can’t.

I don’t know what type of person that makes me, it’s not like I deliberately go out of my way to not care about friendships. I just find it emotionally impossible. Sometimes I feel like narcissism is my only true friend but to be a narcissist you have to have an egotistical preoccupation with yourself and that’s something that I don’t think that I have.

I think I just prefer solitude now that I think about it. There are two main types of solitude, there is voluntary solitude and there is solitude which is forced upon you. Mine is completely voluntary. Some people think that loneliness is a horrible thing but when you choose loneliness and you’re happy with it, then is it really a bad thing?

I have a tendency to push people away when they get too close to becoming a friend. It’s like a natural instinct kicks in to go on this path of destruction and I know no limits. I don’t want friends, so why should I try and keep some around? One of my biggest hates is that contacts on Facebook are called “friends” because they’re not, they’re people I know and some of them are my family, I don’t call my brother or sisters my friend.

I know people will read this and think I’m a horrible person, and you’re entitled to your opinion. Lets remember that I’m entitled to mine too. There will also be people who read this who become baffled because they thought they were my friend. You’re an acquaintance at best. I can’t help the way I feel about people.

I have no filter either, which makes me highly unlikable apparently. The upside of that is that I don’t care.

I don’t care about peoples problems but yet people seem to keep telling me about their day and about their money worries and about all the shit that goes on in their lives. When I tell them that I don’t care, they laugh it off and continue to tell me…….fuck off.

People ask me if I’ve missed them if they’ve been away……….I tell them no, they get upset. Am I supposed to lie about it just to satisfy your ego?………..fuck off.

People tell me and send me photos or videos of their animals doing tricks or funny things, then ask me “how funny is that?” to which I tell them it’s not funny and I don’t care………….seriously, fuck off.

I don’t care and it seems like the more I say it the more people think that they can make me care.

If I do something to annoy you, I don’t give a shit. If you do something to annoy me……..fuck off.

I care about myself and my family and that’s pretty much it. I’m quite happy just getting on with life on my own. Getting on with life without a support network of friends makes you (I believe) more resilient, more self-sufficient, definitely more self-aware and far more likely to pay attention to the world around you, to soak in the culture and educate yourself without distraction.

Over the years the word “loner” has developed a strange stigma and that’s quite irritating. There seems to be some misconception about a psychological link to people who society considers as “loners”. I like to think that I, and probably a million others, are proof that it is just a misconception.

When Jodi Picoult wrote “My Sisters Keeper” she wrote;

“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”

I would go out of my way to say that the statement is incorrect with the exception of the last few words. I do find people a disappointment. I find the entire human race a disappointment. When I look at the destruction that man has caused on this earth, then yes I’d say that people are a disappointment.

“Does that mean you’re an animal lover then”………..before anyone asks that question, no it does not. I hate animals too.

Barry Eisler wrote in “A Clean Kill in Tokyo”;

“I wandered the earth a mercenary, daring the gods to kill me but surviving because part of me was already dead.”

That’s the perfect way to sum me up. I don’t look at “part of me being dead” as a bad thing. I look at it as a great thing, that part of me that should crave for friendship and acceptance probably wasn’t even alive at any point so it’s not a death that I mourn.

This is who I am, I’ve come to accept it and I’m happy with who I am. I don’t give a shit if anyone else accepts me for who I am. I wrote this because I just want a place of reference to send people to from now on instead of repeating myself.

I’m Martin, you’re not my friend and I don’t give a shit about your life.

New Territory

I have recently ventured in to new territory, it’s dark and treacherous but it’s fun…..yes…….I’m talking about YouTube.

I finally caved and bought myself an Xbox One, which was a great decision. I put it off for so long, convincing myself that it wasn’t worth the money and that I should wait for a year or two but the gamer inside me was leaning more and more towards the dark side.

With the Xbox One comes unlimited potential for making videos, with the built in “Game DVR”, the “Upload Studio” and the ability to broadcast live on “Twitch”, the possibilities are endless.

So, for the past few days I’ve been using all of the above along with some computer software to try and make some entertaining videos.
While my YouTube channel is still in it’s infancy, I feel like the potential is there to produce some quality videos.

Anyway guys, if you want to check some of my stuff out it would be greatly appreciated.

If you have a YouTube account yourself, subscribing to my channel would mean a lot.

A year of beard

Over the past month I decided to let my beard grow out. There was no real reason for my decision other than I wanted a change in look and that I was bored of the “rough stubble” look. In the space of a month, I managed to grow a beard that was rather substantial in size and strangely comfortable to wear on my face.

Exhibit A

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As the recent days have passed and the idea of removing the chin warmer entered my mind, I felt sadness at the thought of separation. So, with much excitement, I announced to my family on Christmas that I was not going to shave the beard until, at the very least, December 25th 2015.

If nothing else, I really want to know how large of a beard I can grow in a year. Granted, I’ll have to maintain some sort of shape to it, otherwise it’ll just end up a fuzzy mess but aside from trimming it into shape, it will remain untouched.

For the next twelve months, I imagine that my chances of finding a woman, a “real job” as my family call it and the opportunity of being given social responsibilities will be slimmer than ever……..