Sleight of Mind

It’s always been my dream to perform in a proper theatre, and a few years ago I did this at the Playhouse Theatre in Norwich.

Boy it was hard work. Not doing the show, but the promotion of it! Not being a household name like Derren Brown or Dynamo meant that I had to work really hard to promote the event but it was worth the effort! Having said that, despite being asked to do another show I always declined due to this heavy promotional work.

St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth however has just been renovated and is my local theatre so I’ve took the plunge and booked the 28 June 2013 to perform my “Sleight of Mind” show. OMG, I hope someone turns up!!!

It’ll be fun. Relaxed thought prevoking magic of the mind suitable for all the family. Tickets aren’t available yet but are likely to be Β£10, Β£8 concessions and Β£25 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) so hopefully we”ll have a full house.

I’m hoping to get a local celebrity involved in the closing effect which should be fab – watch this space!

Anyway I’ll keep you informed on the progress as it happens. Bring on 2013πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

Another website designed

Following on from my last blog, the first bit of work was a website. Of course I could employ the services of professions but decided to suffer the pain myself! Done a few in my time but thought I’d share my thoughts for anyone foolish enough to do the same.

Key Words

First thing for me was to list some key words which described my business.

Domain Name

Picked a domain name which is easy to remember and also included major key words.

Meta Tags

Although not as important now, they still help with google rankings. Key words is one, description is another good one. Your description should also include key words and obviously describe your site! I’ve also got a revisit tag which tells the search engine robots to check my site on a regular basis.

Active content

Google loves websites that change! Active content such as adding a twitter/Facebook/blog live feed will be fab!!! Haven’t added this yet but have set up Twitter and Facebook accounts in preparation for official launch.

Google Analytics

You can add a little code to your site which lets Google track page visits plus much more. Very useful. Like a hit counter on steroids!!!

Site structure

Decide how many pages you need and what you want to call them. Do include a links page. Google loves links particularly ones coming into your site – more on this later.

I use Adobe Go Live which is a really old program but let’s me easily design web pages. There are lots of freebies out there so have a surf.

I use HTML as the basic “language” for my pages but this is limited in terms of making the pages looking pretty. Using Stylesheets (CSS cascading style sheets) is a fab way to make things look great. I have one stylesheet which links to each of my pages so one change to this sheet will effect how each page looks. Cool.

There are lots of free CSS templates available online so just surf around and pick one to suit.

Pics

If you want to add photos etc to your pages make sure they have been optimised for the web. I use Photoshop but most photo editing program’s will be fine for most basic needs. The main thing to optimise is the file size. Although most people have broadband it’s still good to make sure your images aren’t in Mega Bytes but Kilo Bytes. Check the resolution of the photo – no need for 300 dpi as the computer screen is much lower resolution so I use 72 dpi. Now check the dimensions of your image. I use jpg format for photos and gif for logos.

Link and image tags

Where you have page links and images on your site always include a descriptive tag to them. When someone moves the mouse over them, a short description will pop up. Make this description informative and if possible also include your key words again. Great for Google!

Promote

You need to add your site to search engines and get people to link to you. Google is the most important and it should happen automatically but I always submit it manually as well!

Reciprocal links are good but make sure they are relevant to you!

I’m no expert in web design but I hope some of this jibberish helps!!!!!

Creative Christmas

Funny how chance meetings can potentially lead to exciting opportunities. Sitting next to this chap at a dinner and it transpires that he has set up a very successful events business built around crime scene investigation CSI. Very unusual but very inspirational.

Anyway we met up on Friday and Mr Magic’s brain has been buzzing thereafter! Funny how you forget about things you’ve done in the past only for someone else to rattle your cage and make you revise your actions.

Can’t say too much but I’m now working on a fab project which I hope to launch early 2013. Watch is space!

In conclusion rather than looking at doing something new, take a step back and look at what you’ve done well in the past. Lesson learnt.

Solar Panels

On the same day it was announced that the Electricity companies were raising prices again (greedy ……), then Mr Magic has Solar Panels installed!

Why bother?

Well firstly it reduces how much electricity you draw from the electricity companies. Of course over time the unit cost of electricity will only increase so happy days! Secondly you are also paid for the electricity that you generate – 16p per unit at the moment. This price is index linked and guaranteed for 20 years. Thirdly your EPC (energy performance certificate) rating improves – good news if you did consider selling in the future. And of course you are being Eco friendly!

Is it expensive?

When Solar PV first emerged it was expensive to install. Now prices have plummeted so it’s much more cost effective. My system is a baby 2kW job and cost under Β£3k with a payback of around 5 years expected.

How quick was it installed?

It took just a day. Jamie and Tony from Green Solar Footprint were superb! No mess no stress! 8 x 250 watt panels on the roof, inverter popped in the loft job done!

I can monitor how much electricity it is producing on my PC and also on my iPhone via a free app – cool πŸ˜„

Laura was worried how they would look but she was pleasantly surprised. The panels are all black so don’t stand out like a sore thumb!

So it’s a big thumbs up for Solar PV and a big two fingers to Scottish Power LOL.

Mrs Magic’s iPad

So on Friday Mrs Magic brings home an iPad, wrapped in a cute green folder. Ahhhhh. So what’s Mr Magic’s opinion of this super trendy piece of tech? Read on!

Firstly I must stress this is an impartial view. I possess an iPhone and a couple of PCs so have a foot in both camps.

What’s good then? Well it is cool. If you wanna be cool too then this is a definite fashion accessory. Slim and simple, unlike me! The display is superb as is the ease of scrolling around with just your finger. The cat has eaten the mouse! 🐹 Those who already have an iPhone or iPad will immediately feel at home as the apps are the same as is the simple navigation system.

Web browsing is a breeze and apps are fast to load and use. Great for viewing pictures and videos too due to the fab display.

Shall I stop there?

No.

So what about the negatives?

PRICE. It’s expensive to be cool but I guess designer clothes prove that sometimes price simply isn’t an issue for many people. When you compare the performance of a simple netbook that costs around Β£200 to our funky iPad there is no contest sorry. But the netbook isn’t cool. It’s small sure but not cool. But it is under half the price!

Of course the iPad is limited to Apple authorised apps but there are lots of them.

You can’t Bluetooth to non apple devices.

You can’t plug in USB devices unless you buy a USB conversion cable.

You have to iTunes for transferring everything which is a pain. Can’t just plug in a USB memory stick and drag and drop stuff like on a PC. No no no. A real challenge.

And therefore all your music has to be downloaded via iTunes. Don’t even think about filesharing!

So in summary. It’s great for surfing the web, getting emails, playing games, watching videos (not via external USB DVD drive though!) and above all looking cool.

But a netbook does this and more!

I guess an iPad is like owning a Mini. A Mini is cool but expensive for what you get. A bit like popstars wearing shades when there’s no sun out – pointless but it’s all about being cool.

Happy swinger!

No this isn’t a post about chucking car keys on the table! I guess many will now stop reading!

Had my first round of golf the other day for at least three months and was expecting the worst. At least the sun was shining at Dunstan Hall and I had a fab price of just Β£12.50 for the round so things looked good.

Managed to actually hit the first tee shot in a straight line and it went forward, but sadly in the wrong direction. Not too bad though and ended up with a bogey 5.

It felt good to be striding up the fairway again – the sun on my back and the ball going roughly where it was being told to go.

Amazingly I managed 3 birdies which is a record for me! Golf is a funny game isn’t it. We always focus on the positives in golf, unlike most situations in life.

The negatives? Well yes there were a few but who cares! It was great to be out making all the rabbits scramble for cover.

Next is Barnham Broom for a posh celebrity golf day. Should be fun. Hope the sun shines again and the putter performs some more magic πŸ˜„

FORE!!!!

An interesting dog walk!

It’s funny when lightbulb moments happen. A couple of days ago whilst walking with my excitable dog Hamish (he’s a cross between a Jack Russell and a Westie) I had a lightbulb moment.

Tick Tock is a routine which I currently perform and sell. It’s fab but is similar to other routines so it couldn’t be sold commercially. The sight of Hamish cocking his leg clearly got me thinking outside the box!

Can’t say too much about this new creation but I think it will do even better than my first creation Genetics.

Keelan from Magic Tricks will be coming down at the end of September to shoot the video so I’ll keep you posted so maybe you can pop along at the shoot!

Maybe Hamish can feature in it too!