Tag Archives: Social Media

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.

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.

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……..

The Rucksack Project

Every year thousands of people are out on the streets, sleeping rough and struggling to eat. It’s a sad part of life and one that no matter how hard we try, it’s never really going to go away. What we can do however, is make a small difference to the lives of those who are affected by it.

The Rucksack Project was set up in November 2009 when founder Matthew White saw that the season of goodwill was more centred on people stressing and worrying about the unimportant stuff.

“We have really lost the meaning of Christmas, so I did something in 2009 that was so simple and anyone can do and it will make a real difference to peoples lives.”

The Rucksack Project is a project that takes place on different dates, in different cities throughout the United Kingdom. The aim is to pack a bag of warm clothing, food, a flask, books and any other items that can make a difference to those living on the streets.

Making up these rucksacks and taking them out to give to the homeless is not only a good way of doing something helpful but you’re also making a huge difference to someone’s life. It’s hard enough for someone living out in the streets during the warm months of the year but to live out in the street during the winter months is an entirely different situation.

While the rucksack project isn’t a long term solution to helping these people, it does make a difference and you are helping to keep them warm and give them something good in their lives, even if it only last a short time.

I don’t ever use this blog as a means to promote charity and perhaps I should do it more often, however this is one that I do feel strongly about.

If you want to get involved then please visit http://www.rucksackproject.org/ to find out where your local event is taking place and for help in what to donate.

We made it to one year.

Happy Anniversary to me, well more specifically this blog.

A year ago when I first started this, I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out. This wasn’t my usual template for journeying into the blogsphere. I had always been a person who specialised in music blogs so taking the leap and trying something else was an interesting choice and one which could have landed right on its face. Fortunately it turned out pretty well and a lot of you are still reading, or so my stats say anyway.

I know I don’t post as much as I used to or as much as I should but in the last few months things have just became so busy that trying to find the time to sit down and put words down is hard.

Not once did I truly envision that this blog would make it to be one year old and still be getting hits. That’s a testament not to me but to the patience of you the reader, the people who have waited for the latest post and then made the effort to read it. For that I thank you.

If we make it to a second birthday then I will reward you all with cake.

Back to Normal

It’s time to take this blog back to some normality. The referendum for Scottish Independence is now over and I realise that my last few posts were all about that. For Scotland and myself, the fight continues but for this blog, it’s time to move on.

This is the time of year that every television fan gets excited about, it’s the new TV season. Old shows return and new ones make their presence felt in an attempt to make an impact. For me, having a subscription to USTVnow is such a relief, it means that even though I start having really late nights, I also get to stream the shows as they air across the pond.

Every year I have my calendar set up, each show is anticipated greatly and I love sitting down with a cup of tea to watch them. This year there’s a notable absence of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ ‘The Tomorrow People’  and ‘Dexter’ which makes me sad. It feels like over the past few years I’ve lost so many great shows from my planner and so far not many new shows have lived up to them. While there are other shows which gradually over time I’ve just lost interest in i.e. ‘Two and a Half Men’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’

I will get around to start posting on the shows which I’m enjoying. As time goes on I’m sure opinions will change and shows will get dropped from the planner.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D deserves a quick mention here, mainly because something has perplexed and shocked me. (SPOILERS BELOW)

Why kill off Lucy Lawless in her first episode? Was this supposed to set the stage for the rest of season and make the audience realise that nobody is safe? Or was it simply a bit of stunt casting?

I have to say that I was so happy to see The Absorbing Man added to AoS. It’s about time that the show had a real villain, hopefully they make the most out of him and this years season is a great ride to be on.

Also a quick mention to ‘Gotham’, I surely can’t be the only person who felt that there was no need to rehash the Waynes death yet again? I will get around to writing up a full review but I need to watch it again because after seeing that alleyway scene played out for the 100th time, all I could think about was how fed up I was of seeing it.

I’m nervous, are you?

As we all take our places, on this the eve of what will be the most important day in Scottish history, I wish each and every one  of my fellow Scots all the best. Whatever you mark down on that ballot paper, I hope that you base it off of what you truly believe is right for this country.

Make not your decision based on having had a bad interaction with an overly aggressive campaigner. Don’t vote “No” simply because you don’t like Mr Salmond and don’t vote “Yes” simply because you don’t like the Tories. Vote for what you see as the best possible future for you, for your children and for your grandchildren.

If you vote “Yes” then fantastic, if you vote “No” then that’s entirely up to you, it’s your decision and nobody has the right to belittle you for it. The most important thing is that we all vote and that we all vote for what we believe is the best option based on our own views and what reliable information we can get. 

With such a short time to go until we make our final decision and cement it in history, I’m nervous. I’m more nervous than I’ve ever been regarding anything politically related. Whatever we do tomorrow, it can’t be undone.

“I am keiching ma scants.”