The Jerx 2017 Gift Taking Guide, Part Three

This is the third and final part of the Jerx guide for magic adjacent gifts you may want to ask for this Christmas.

Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer

This printer is about the size of a cell phone and it's something I've used quite frequently in the past in magic tricks, see The Look of Love and Variations on the Konami Code.

There are undoubtedly other small printers that are on the market now that I don't know about as I've just been using this one for a few years now. I'm sure any of those would work just as well. The only thing I might be concerned about with a different printer is that it might not be as quiet as this one, which would make it not quite as good for use in a covert sense. 

I've found tricks incorporating photographs to play extremely well. Photographs have always had an emotional resonance with people. And with actual physical pictures being less and less common, I think that's even more true now. These types of portable printers are great for creating these tricks and moments on the fly.

Puzzle Boxes


I've just linked to an example, but there are all sorts of different types of puzzle boxes to be found out there. You can find some that take dozens of steps to open. 

What to do with them? 

Well, I just think they add a general air of mystery to the proceedings. If you want to pull out some strange artifact, it becomes even stranger if it's stored in this box. Or if you keep a prediction in there, it makes the prediction somewhat more intriguing than if it's just in an envelope or something. You could have the steps to open the box written on different cards, have them mixed and laid out in a row by the spectator and it turns they've somehow placed out the cards in the order required to open the box.

Or just stick your weed in it, you fucking burnout.

Optical Illusion Cards

For a long time I thought of optical illusions as things that 10-year-old boys liked and no one else really cared about. But in recent months I've been working on a number of pieces where I transition from an optical illusion into a magic trick and I've found it remarkably easy to not only make that transition in a seamless way, but to capture people's interest in the first place with an optical illusion. The key is to look for illusions that retain some element of surprise in them. The ones where it's like, "Which line is longer? Actually they're the same size," are so well known that nobody really cares.

Having a deck of cards like this has been useful for me both in generating ideas for effects and also as a Hook that can be left out on an end-table to capture the unsuspecting little minnows who pick it up.

App Store and iTunes Gift Cards

Gift cards are a bit of a cheat. I mean, as a gift it's pretty lazy. And maybe it's even a bit of a cheat for me to include them on this list. But there's no denying that they fall into the category of being a not overtly magical gift that you can easily use in your practice of magic. 

The obvious manner to do this is, of course, with magic apps. I recommend Marc Kerstein's apps, just because those are the ones I'm most familiar with and actually use. I know there are other great apps out there but I just haven't played around with them enough to recommend them. 

Another app I'd recommend that isn't a magic app, but I use it all the time to help in keeping my magic repertoire orgainzed, is called Tap Forms. It's a personal database that lets you track pretty much anything. I have two main databases that I keep in this.

The first is for people I meet. My lifestyle has me coming into contact with new people almost daily. You may think it's creepy or nerdy to create a database of people like this, but whatever, it's pretty much a necessity for me. It's nothing weird. It's not like, "Karen: The redhead. Her boobies are a 10. But her face is just a 5." I'm not an asshole. I'm just keeping track of people's names, where we met, when we met, their birthday, their job, if they're married and/or have kids (and the names of those family members). This is all stuff I find out from them directly, I don't do research behind their back. And it's all the sort of thing that I think most people would hope people would remember about them.

I also keep track of the tricks I've performed for them.

And that is the second major database I keep in this app, the tricks in my repertoire. I keep track of: the name of the effect, where it can be found, who created it, what the requirements are, how long it takes to perform, when I've performed it, the reactions it got, and so on.

So now I can search for any combination of things in regards to the tricks in my repertoire. I can look for what tricks are impromptu and coin tricks, for example. I can look for the ones I haven't performed in over two years. I can look for the ones that consistently don't seem to get the reaction I would expect and either modify them or ditch them altogether. Or I can look up a particular person and see exactly what tricks I've performed for them and which type of trick seemed to generate the strongest reaction from them.

Tracking people and tricks like this may seem excessive, I get that. But if you're performing a lot and meeting a lot of new people it won't feel that way. And this database app has been the easiest way I've found to keep track of it all.

The Lollipopter

This is a piece of "playable art" that goes from a helix form to a burst form with a twist.


I think it's just generally a neat little thing. But I have also used it in a magic context as an Imp. Essentially as a form of a magic wand that is visually representing the "magic" that is happening. Think of any trick where something goes from chaos to order, like a shuffled deck returning to new deck order (via a double indexed deck). I spread the cards, showing a mixed up deck, then square them. Then I twist the "lollipopter" making it go from spread out to the helix form. Then I spread the deck and now it's in new deck order.

If you had two of these and two double indexed decks, you could do a transposition where the shuffled deck follows the "shuffled" lollipopter.

GLOMM "Elite" Level Membership Kit

I know I mentioned just a week or two ago that I don't ever believe in lowering the prices on things because I think it screws over the people who've supported this site early on. However I have made an exception here. You can direct your loved one to this page on the GLOMM site and they can purchase a GLOMM Membership Kit as a gift for you for one penny less than it normally sells. And the kit will arrive with one piece of tinsel.