Still More Coin to Glass Action…

For a while I’ve been dinking around with a coins to glass routine. Here’s an early version of it:

The problem with the early version of the trick is that it needs some specific lighting. That’s not a problem for virtual venues, but I’m hoping this is something that could transition to my in person shows via video projection or in a some specific cabaret settings.

A couple of weeks ago I did it at the Mostly Magicians Virtual Open Mic and got some great feedback that had me start to explore ways to do the trick that relied a lot less on the lighting. I remembered going to a Tom Stone lecture a few years ago and some of the things he talked about helped me solve the problem.

Here’s what I the current version of the trick looks like:

Would this version hold up to repeated viewings as a stand alone social media video?

Probably not, but that’s not the intention. It’s for live performances, whether it’s in person or virtual and I think it fits the bill. The nice thing is that now I’m working on a trick that has a bigger life than just a virtual show!

Garbage In…Garbage Out

People love to crowd source information on the internet. The problem is that you don’t know the quality of the information you are getting back. Recently someone posted a picture of a prop they had acquired, but didn’t know what it did. It was a dice cup with a hole in the back, four dice and a jumbo die.

The misinformation starts when people don’t know what they are talking about start it tell the person what the cup is for. Here’s the first couple of responses:

Then a couple of people took the dice stacking suggesting a bit further and said you could look through the hole to see the number on the top die. Let’s start with that idea of using it to see the number on the top of the top die. Learning to stack the dice is hard…once you can do that, knowing what number is on top of the stack without a gimmicked cup is VERY EASY. It makes no sense to make the stacking aspect harder without make knowing the number uppermost easier.

Now let’s look at the props. You have regular game dice, where any marketed dice stacking set would come with casino dice which are the standard for people who stack dice. In the picture below, the casino die is on the right.

Yes, I’m aware you can stack game dice, however it’s much harder than on casino dice due to their size, rounded edges, and lack of consistent 90 degree angles. I learned to dice stack with a drinking glass and game dice, so I know it can be done, I also know who much easier it got when I had proper tools.

Next if you look at the cup, it tapers and is not straight sided. Some people stack with dice like this, however most people use straight sided dice cups. On it’s own the tapered cup wouldn’t say it’s not for dice stacking, but then you look at the height of the cup in relation to the dice. Once you get them in the up and ready to stack, they have a long way to fall, which is where you will give you trouble.

Looking at the whole picture, the style of dice and style of cup, I’m 99% sure it’s not for dice stacking. I’m leaving 1% as it’s some strange homemade prop that was never marketed.

I made a quick replica of the props shown and here’s the style of routine that I think the props are for:

The internet is a great way to crowd source answers, but the problem is that it’s hard know the quality of those answers.

Holy Grail of Props…

For years I’ve wanted a Himber Pail. I think it’s one of the coolest props. If you don’t know what it is, here’s a video:

I’ve missed them at auctions due to internet or time issues on multiple occasions. The prop has been just out of my reach for years. Recently Stevens Magic Emporium had some made and I jumped at the chance to get one.

Here’s the problem, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. How am I going to frame it from a presentation stand point. I could just play some music and do it, but I think it needs more than that. Once I figure out the hook, everything else gets easier.

Brand New…From the Past

About five years ago I started contributing magic tricks and routines to Vanish Magazine. In that time I’ve published over 60 items in that magazine! Only once (that I’m aware of) that I recreated something that already had been done. The exception to this would be the new routines I published for standard magic tricks.

A new trick was just put out called Impress by Kevin Li and Hanson Chien which is very similar to something I published over a year ago (you can read a blog post about it here).
Here’s the trailer for it:

The trick referenced in that blog post from Feb 2019 ended up being published in the September 2019 issue of Vanish Magazine under the title of Second Impression. Here’s the write up of my trick as a .pdf:

I’m curious if they were aware of what I published and gave me a credit?

The idea of making a blister change isn’t a huge leap from making the blister appear. I honestly don’t think my idea was soo novel that no one else could possibly think of it. I do think I was the first person to actually make a working gimmick for it.

Am I upset if I’m not credited?

Nope.

If they legitimately were unaware of my trick, then it’s all good. However if there were aware, then a credit should be given. There are soo many outlets for people to publish magic, many behind a paywall (in something that you have to purchase like a book, membership to a website, etc) that it’s impossible to know everything that’s out there.

I will 100% say that moving the impression to the person’s palm versus the fingertip big step forward that I couldn’t do with a key. It allows you to hide the altered impression on their hand better than on the finger tip. So it is a step further than what I was doing.

The 5th Shuffle

A few weeks ago I posted about a Quad-Triumph routine. It’s a triumph style effect that used four shuffles. Then about a week later, I came up with a kicker where the deck starts and ends in red/black order. I liked the idea of this kicker, but didn’t like that to accomplish it I had to do a straight cut. My Goal was to only have shuffles.

After a bit more work, I “cracked the code” by adding a fifth shuffle. The fifth shuffle was the key to making this work without a cut. Here’s a quick practice video of the sequence.

I think I should restate that this isn’t as good as the standard triumph routine with one shuffle, cutting at the natural break and flipping that half over. That standard way is much more direct. This initially was a fun challenge as I was trying to get the deck into a specific order. I wanted the deck to go face down card, rest of deck face up with the selection face down within the face up deck. That was for a reveal that I wanted to do, but then this kinda grew out of that.

It was fun to figure out, but I’ll probably never do it in a performance.

Corkage Fee Transpo!

Yesterday I wrote about a Cork To Coin effect (read it here) and I’ve taken it a bit further than a simple 2 second trick. It’s not gone much further, but here’s where it’s at:

I like the idea of a transposition between the cork and the coin. It adds a layer of less obviousness to how the trick works. I think I may flesh it out a bit more and rerecord it with better lighting and put it out as a social media video.

Adding a Line…

Recently I got to try out the “Free Picture of Beer” gag on a couple of different people. It got the desired laugh, so that’s good.

I also got to try to follow up trick where the full pitcher of beer becomes empty. I’m using the Out to Lunch principle to do the switch. The first time, they didn’t really notice the change. I think this is because they looked at the card and it registered in their brain as just a pitcher of beer, not a FULL pitcher of beer. It’s like showing someone a two of spades, but the spades are red. The average person won’t notice it’s the wrong color until you point it out to them.

The second time I added a little line which made the trick work much better. Once I got the laugh, I asked them, “what kind of beer do you think that is?” This question makes their brain actually process what they are looking at. That made the change at the end a lot more amazing!

I’m glad I got to try out the trick, and glad that I noticed what I needed to change!

Test Pickle Matrix

Yesterday I wrote about an idea of doing a matrix with pickles on the bun of a hamburger. I made some mock up bun shapes out of cardboard and gimmicked some pickles and worked out the trick.

Here’s it in its proof concept video:

Obviously it’s still got a long way to go. Figuring out a way to make the bun rigid will be my next challenge. I also need to buy or make some fake pickles that are all uniform in shape. Those are the next two challenges (that I’m aware of).

Routining The Writing…

The last couple of days I’ve been writing about putting together a script for the Ring on Rubber Band trick that I’ve been working on. Yesterday I wrote a bunch of jokes, and today I’m going to try to put them together in some sort of a logical way.


“This is the most expensive trick I do. The rubber band cost me 37 cents, but the ring cost me half of everything I own. The ring represents the 18 years I’ve been married and the a rubber band which memorializes the one time I bought broccoli

Show ring and rubber band. The rubber band is around your left index and thumb. Point to the sides of the rubber band as you say:

“This rubber band has two sides, just like congress…a left side and tea party”

“I will push the ring through each side of the rubber band defying the restraining order from the laws of physics.”


Push the ring through the first side of the rubber band

“Through one side…that’s the easy side. It’s the bunny slope of the rubber band. The second side is the double black diamond. Three men have died trying this next part, but they all had preexisting conditions… and latex allergies.”

Push the ring through the second side of the rubber band.

Pull the ring off the rubber band one side at a time.

“and that’s how I wrote my wedding off on my taxes!”


Alright the routine looks like more of a routine now, and not a bunch of random jokes. The routine now runs about a minute. That’s way better than the 12-15 seconds before I started writing for it.

The jokes still need some tweaking. The congress joke needs a better punchline, and the double black diamond needs a better word/name in its place. I also need something in between the the two penetration phases, where the ring is over both sides of the rubber band, but before I pull it off.

Cocktail Demo…

On Monday night I was a guest on the IBM’s facebook live where I played some online games with Billy Hsueh and Amy Nichols. Before the game, I did a cocktail demo. You can watch it here:

There’s a couple of magic tricks in the demo. I like using a loaded cloth to produce a bottle that’s not loaded in the cloth, then producing the bottle in the cloth and finally producing a third bottle, that’s not in the cloth. All three bottles use different methods, and it’s a fun little sequence.

After having done a few of these demos I’m starting to have little tricks that I like and keep falling back on. I think it’s good to have my “go to” tricks, but I still need to be creating new stuff for them.