Thursday, August 28, 2008

53 And Counting

It seems like only a few months ago, I was dreading my 52nd birthday. Well, all that's passed and here we are at 53. I still have a few days, though as September 1st is the official day. Rather than dreading it as I did so last year, I'm actually looking forward to it. In all honesty, I've never felt better in my life than I do right now, so what's to dread? After all; it's all in your head, they say, and I feel like I'm in my 30s, so that's how old I am. My hair may be grayer, and there may be less of it, but I still refuse to wear bifocals (1 pair to see and 1 pair to read, and I plan on keeping it that way for as long as I can).

My sons, Cole and Max, surprised me with a couple of early birthday presents this year: a pair of gargoyle garden sconces, which we promptly hung up in our garden outside, and a brand new tool/garden shed, complete with electricity. I can't tell you how much I will use this to save trips from walking back and forth to the garage to the garden. Now everything will be in one place just steps away. They did an outstanding job right down to the ornate door knocker.

My new tool shed, thanks to Cole and Max

As many of you know, my yard is my hobby, and it helps me keep my sanity. I spend hours each weekend and every evening working on it to make it my little piece of paradise. The photos below are just some of the areas you might like to see:

One view next to the pool

A wider view

By the patio

The patio

Hammock Hut

Bird Houses and a miniature well fountain

A tribute to Alice in Wonderland

Topiary and fountains by the bird aviary

Betty's potting shed

Koi Pond

Another view of Betty's potting shed

Bird aviary and more topiary

Fountain and flowers

The Secret Garden

Fountain & entrance to the Secret Garden

Lion's head fountain that Cole and I built

Just a small sampling of some of the photos taken of my back yard. I can't wait to visit again this evening.

Other cool birthday gifts included a special machine-engraved photo plaque from Jay Leslie. I'll try to explain how cool this thing is: This is a flat piece of Plexiglas with my image carved into it. Looking at it, it looks like a plain piece of Plexi with a negative image of my face, however, when backlit, it becomes an actual photograph, complete with the shadows, darks, lights, and all details. It looks like a black and white photograph -- truly magical! It is based on a centuries-old principle of carving into marble, and it was very thoughtful of Jay to send this to me on my birthday. If you are interested in this and other things Jay works on, I urge you to visit his new web site at:

There, you will see many stock images available as well as custom work that can be done. This is the perfect gift or a great addition to your desk or magic room. Check it out.

Who's the new guy?

This is the question we seem to get a lot here lately. If you've called over the last couple of weeks, you've no doubt spoken to our good friend, Tim Mannix. Tim is a very well-known and successful full-time magician currently living in North Hollywood. The last few times we have been dealers at the Magic Castle Dealer's Day, Tim has always graciously volunteered to help us. Tim has been such an asset that he's come here to give us a test drive and possibly make a change. We've definitely enjoyed our time with Tim while he's been here, and we hope that our working relationship prospers further. Tim would be a fantastic addition to Hocus Pocus and its customers due to his vast knowlege of magic and his enthusiastic approach to learning and sharing. His years of performing enable him to give seasoned advice for all those looking for an honest-to-goodness opinion. So, like us, keep your fingers crossed that Tim decides to make the move. We'll keep you posted.

Back to the Magic Land of Allakazam

As many of you know, the first project with Mark & Nani Wilson was the Allakazam Hat. This beautiful limited edition reproduction of the original Allakazam Hat, built by Jay Leslie and fully authorized by Mark and Nani was only limited to 50 ever made. These sold out completely, and are now resting comfortably in their new homes to all the lucky magicians who obtained them. So successful was this project, that Mark and Nani graciously granted Hocus Pocus the permission of releasing the next Allakazam exclusive. In its final production stages, all I can tell you is this is a classic of magic that Mark has honed to perfection. Originally performed on the Magic Land of Allakazam and then on the Magic Circus, and on various appearances on the Johnny Carson Show, Merv Griffin Show, etc., I promise that this is something for every type of performer, complete with everything you'll need to perform, including a DVD that not only highlights performances and explanations, but Mark's very career. Here is your opportunity to purchase a time-tested, audience-approved routine from magic's greatest performer. Stay tuned to the web site for the final reveal. It won't be long now.

So as we wind down, the big Labor Day Weekend starts for me this afternoon. I'm going to leave a little early and not come back until next Tuesday. Time to work in the yard, rest a little, and who knows what else. All I know is, I'm looking forward to the next 4 days and hope that you and your family have a safe and relaxing Labor Day Holiday as well.

Until next time,


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