Gardyloo #67

Back in the day, The Magic Cafe was my source for some of the most compelling literature available. A lot of people see it as a place to get information about new products or complain about jack-shit. But at its best, its a place to watch stories unfold in real time. I feel this used to happen much more frequently (or it may be the fact that I used to spend more time there so I noticed it more). You would have these 40-page threads where, say, a new product would be announced. And time would pass and there would be all sorts of speculation about the product; and the creator would make wild claims about what it could do; and there would be all sorts of delays and issues with the manufacturers; and people would start questioning whether it even existed; then a bunch of new, obviously fake, accounts would pop up to say, like, "No, I saw this, and it's very real"; then the creator would disappear and stop commenting. And back and forth it would go for months. 

I find it a very interesting way to consume a story: in little bits over time. It's like reading The Pickwick Papers or some other Charles Dickens serialized novel in the 1800s. In fact, I don't think any serious authority on literature would deny the probability that, in the future, our greatest works will probably be released one post at a time on The Magic Cafe.

Another good story was released their recently. It's called Compromised/Breached. I don't want to spoil it for you, but the basic plot is that some guy released a trick that allows you to know stuff that was done on someone's phone (who they text and what they text them) without you seeing anything. And all it requires is 30-60 seconds of fiddling with their phone beforehand and a total invasion of their privacy. 

Lots of good characters, twists and turns, sketchy justifications, and at least one totally obvious sock-puppet account. Check it out.  It's the beach read of the summer!

Some quick thoughts on the Compromised/Breached thread.

1. If someone asks you to pay via the friends and family option on paypal, their intention is to rip you off. It's the only reason to do that. But, Andy, he just wants to avoid paypal fees. Well then he should raise his asking price the amount to cover the paypal fees and let people retain the buyer protection that paypal offers. Problem solved.

2. You will be a much happier person if you stick to the zillion other tricks in magic and mentalism without methods that aren't, at best, ethically ambiguous. You don't have to wonder, "Hey, I think I might be a total creep who will do anything as long as it potentially gains me the attention and validation I crave," when you do a center tear.

3. My favorite part of the thread is when people are like, "You only need to mess with their phone for 30 seconds to a minute." Oh gee, is that all? You mean you only need to hide what you're doing on their unlocked phone from them for a minute? Why, that's hardly any time at all for a friend or stranger to have access to all their personal conversations, private photos and videos, emails, contacts, search history, financial information, and personal notes. Let's be honest, one minute is certainly not enough time to look through all of that, so what's the issue?

4. I don't want to be seen as a naysayer. So let me offer another trick for people who like this method. You walk up to someone on the street and ask her to think about what color underwear she's wearing, then you're able to name it with no fishing. The secret? Drill a hole into her bedroom wall and watch her get dressed in the morning. You have to promise not to watch her naked, though, because that would be wrong. You promise, right? Okay, well as long as you promise.

5. The people who defend this trick will say, "But if you just temporarily hack into their phone and the delete the access you have on your phone after the fact, and if you only use it to get the information that you told them you would get, then there's nothing ethically wrong about it." I'm not quite sure that's the case.

First, even with the best of intentions, you may stumble on something personal.

Second, someone giving you "consent" to try and use your mental powers to determine who they texted and what they texted is not the same as someone giving you consent to gain access to all their private text conversations. If I go up to someone and ask them if I can use my psychic powers to tell them what they did yesterday and the say, "Ok," that's not consent for me to break into their house and read their diary. Even if I only stick to the last page, the information they "consented" for me to have.

And finally I feel like the people who look at this method and don't see it as at least invasive (if not illegal) are the same people who would just keep access to the spectator's texts on their phone and look through their private messages and pictures. Like I don't think that's a Venn diagram. I just think it's a circle.

Most optical illusions I will become immune to after a period of time, but this one still blows my mind every time I look at it. The chess pieces on the top and bottom are exactly the same color. Exactly the same goddamn color!

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 2.22.02 PM.png

It gets me every time. Maybe i'm just particularly susceptible to this illusion for some reason. I still have to prove it to myself from time to time by taking the picture apart in photoshop.


The temptation is to build a trick around this optical illusion, but I think the reality is probably more interesting than a trick using this as a method would be.

JJ bragging about his attention to detail. Even the custom butt-plug that he sits on between tricks in his new show has the show's logo on it. "Nobody will even know it's there," people tell him. "But I will," Josh says with a smile. What a weirdo.