Tag Archives: Funny

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.

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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.

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.

The anger within

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” –Mark Twain

I have turned into one of “them” and by “them” I mean an angry gamer.

If you read my blog a couple of months ago called “Goodbye old addiction, hello new addiction” then you will know the story of how video games recently came into my life.  At first it was only really Grand Theft Auto but about a month ago I took the dangerous path into the world of Call of Duty.

At first it was just the zombies side of the game, I could handle that. My sister recently got her Xbox Live Account back up and running and so we would hit up a few games each night and shoot some zombies. After a while, I ventured into the realm of the real online multi-player.  You know the one? Where adults are actually children and children try to act as though they are adults.

As the games progressed each day I found myself getting shot A LOT and dying A LOT. It’s all par for the course, I’m a novice. However, it’s only a game and so I didn’t get angry, occasionally I would question how something was possible but never angry.

I don’t do anger, not anymore. After years of anger causing me too many problems I started to channel it in other ways. With this, it was only a game and so anger shouldn’t even exist when I play it.

A few weeks passed and still I got killed a lot. The more I played, the little my skills seemed to progress. I was averaging 6 kills to every 17/18 deaths per match. If I was one of those serious gamer types then I would be an embarrassment to the gaming community. However, I play games for fun, not competition.

Today things changed. I came across what I can only describe as the grand-master of COD. Every time I turned round, he was there. Every time he was there, I was killed. He didn’t seem to want to kill anyone else, he just seemed to follow me around. Me, little old me with no prestige and a gun that isn’t even at its highest potential.

I cracked, I punched the arm of my chair, spat out some vulgarities and switched off the Xbox. I had turned, I had gone over to the dark side. For a moment I was engulfed in red mist, all caused by one game and one player.

Afterwards I sat and was more annoyed with myself for getting angry. A game is a game and it’s meant to be fun.

I shall now go and give myself a good talking to in the mirror.

 

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The Little Tramp

Throughout history I don’t think there has ever been a more creative genius than Charlie Chaplin.

Ever since I was 6 or 7 and I sat hidden on the stairs, looking through the holes and watching “Chaplin” with Robert Downey Jr as my parents watching it, I’ve been fascinated by him. His films, his creativeness, his personal life and all the controversy surrounding him. That little tramp character that he brought so much life to still intrigues me to this day and finding out more and more about what he went through. The story of him being kicked out of America and the sad story of Hetty Kelly who Charlie fell in love with in England and sadly died while he was in America, of course she had since married someone else which just makes it even more heart wrenching.

Charlies enduring love for film and entertainment is evident in everything that he touched. From his silent beginnings through to The Great Dictator and Limelight. He worked tirelessly to make sure his movies were perfect, he wrote the scripts, the scores and took control of the editing. Charlie Chaplin put everything he had into entertaining millions. That aspect inspires me, especially when I watch his work. Almost 100 years on and it’s still as funny today as was back then.

Charlie was also loyal, he kept Edna Purviance on his payroll for the rest of her life even after she couldn’t land any more film roles. A mark of a man who knew that (to some extent) the people around him were important, even if he didn’t always make it clear.

Of course there controversies galore. J Edgar Hoover seemed to have a personal vendetta against him, naming him a Communist Sympathiser which eventually led to him being banned from re-entering the USA when he was touring the UK to promote his latest film. Then there were the divorces and the blood test controversies.

Every idol has their flaws and Charlie Chaplin sure had his.

When I lived in Switzerland in 2005 I remember jumping on a train for almost two hours to go to Vevey just to try and get a peek at his home (all I managed to see was a gate and trees) but just being that close to such a place was strangely fulfilling. In 2015 his home will be opened as a museum and will be open to the public, so perhaps I’ll get my chance to walk those hallways.
If you’ve never watched a Charlie Chaplin film, I suggest you do so immediately.

 

 

Damn Forms

Today I took the first step in achieving one of my life goals, I got the registration forms through for my creative writing university course. Of course as always things are never simple, I actually think whoever designed the registration form took creative writing too far. It’s a bunch of boxes and words grouped together that actually make no sense, perhaps it’s a test to see if I am clever enough to study? Or perhaps people who design forms just don’t care.

I’m currently trying to wrap my head around it before I start filling it in. Perhaps I should just write them a story? I’ve been accepted anyway, this is just the formalities of actually paying for the course. In my mind I know that this is important but at the same time I’m looking at it and thinking it’s a hell of a lot of work that my brain can’t handle. I absolutely love to write, but ask me to fill in a form and I will try and avoid it for as long as possible. I think the only document I have ever been in a rush to fill in was the registration form when my daughter was born, that’s it. Anything else………paaah it can wait. Although at the very top of this form in massive type it says “RETURN THIS AGREEMENT BY 26/11/2013” so not only are they asking me to fill in a form but they’re putting a time limit on it? I suppose it’s good practice for the actual course. I’ve never been one for working to deadlines, my old Editor at the newspaper used to have to chase me three or four times and more often than not my work would reach her inbox bang on when the deadline was. Hey, at least I got it completed on time right?

I’m looking forward to this course, hopefully it will reach into my untapped creative side and train me in the ways of the Jedi. I shall be a padawan in the ways of creative writing, learning with my mind and bringing it to it’s full potential. Who knows, perhaps one day I shall write the worlds greatest novel, of course it would be science fiction. 

Speaking of which, we’re just over a month away from the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, I don’t know about you but my nipples are rock solid at the thought of it. Of course I have immersed myself in a number of debates on Gallifrey Base which is both satisfying and frustrating at the same time. For those of you who don’t know Gallifrey Base is the internets top hangout site for Doctor Who nutters such as myself. You can often find me getting annoyed at people who make assumptions and then get mad at their own assumptions on there. It’s quite entertaining. If you are on there, hit me up my name is Valeyard87.

I guess it’s time for me to get back to trying to decipher this form and then to read the latest Superior Spider-man issue.

 

 

Sorting out my collection…

Over the last couple of days I’ve decided to sort out my DVD collection. It was on the shelves and it was just a mess, nothing was in order and I didn’t know what I had and what I didn’t have.  I’ve been building my collection for quite some time so I felt that I should give it some sort of love and devotion. 

My original plan was to go through it all and try and clear it out, get rid of some awful DVDs and make it look much neater……….that however, did not turn out to be the case.

As I sat in the middle of my living room floor I found myself surrounded by endless DVDs and try as I might I just couldn’t deal with the idea of parting with any of them. After the first few hours I had finally categorised and alphabetised the television side of the collection. It was at this point I noticed that I didn’t have certain box sets that I thought I did have. So naturally, as this was a DVD clear out, I took myself to Amazon and purchased the missing box sets. Instead of whittling down my collection, here I was adding to it.

The exact same thing happened when I got around to the film side of the collection. I didn’t have full trilogies or origin stories and so I just had to take myself to Amazon and add these as well.

My DVD spring clean turned into an expansion of the collection and a shrinkage of my bank balance. As I sit here now, typing this, I am awaiting the postman to come and hand me the boxes of DVD’s that I’ve ordered whilst he gives me that “do you have order so much from one place and make me carry it” look that he so often sends my way.

At least I know that tonight I will be able to sit down with a chilled can of lager and watch “Watchmen –Tales of the Black Freighter” content in the knowledge that the Watchmen section of my collection is now complete. Then tomorrow when I wake up I will go to the shelf and realise that I’m missing something important and no doubt end up back on Amazon. 

 

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Is it funny?

I don’t know if any of you have ever heard of Tucker Max? If you’ve ever watched the film “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell” then you would have. That film is basically based on his life and his stories are on his website and they’re hilarious. I showed them to a friend recently and they suggested I start writing down stories from my past, just for them to read basically. I had a think about it and decided “why the hell not”.

I figured I could give it a test run here and give a sneak preview of it. So here is a snippet from Chapter Three of my life story.

“Place yourself in my situation for a moment. Here I was in the garden next to my parents house, tied up in rope, inside a greenhouse, on my own, no way of getting out and only a leg available. What would you do? Of course, you would use the leg to slide open the door and attempt to hop over to your own garden where one of your parents could untie you, everyone could laugh and “boys will be boys” right? Wrong!! I kicked the windows in the greenhouse until they smashed, got covered in glass and screamed for my mum who ultimately ran out of the house having witnessed the whole thing, dragged me home, untied me, smacked my arse and sent me to bed. Grounded for two weeks I was. I had lost contact with my new friends within three days of meeting them. This woman couldn’t do this to me! I was a master villain, moments ago I had attempted to destroy the population and take over the world. I was a nemesis to the worlds greatest superheroes, who did she think she was? I wasn’t standing for it! I stormed out of my room, threw open the front door and gallantly walked out of it. Standing on my front door step smiling and pleased with my apparent victory I felt indestructible. Seconds later I got pulled back in the door, skelped again and sent to my bed without dinner. The life of a master villain eh?”

I love reading stuff by Tucker Max and so when the film came out I instantly had to see it. It came out in 2009 and it still stands up as one of my favourites so if you haven’t watched it yet then you should go and find it. I know it’s on LoveFilm so that’s a good place to start.

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