Last week we got a decent amount of snow in a single day here. Winters, where I live, either don't get snow or we get one or two days of snow tops. So far, we had one and in that one day my area received about 6 inches I'd say? Didn't actually measure or pay attention to the news, but it was deep enough to cancel school and cause power outages, so we'll call it 6 inches. The weather report's calling for more snow this coming weekend too. My neighbor's probably getting irked that I keep borrowing his snow shovel but hey, as long as he lets me... I'll keep asking!
During their Black Friday sale I had signed up for Vanishing Inc's VI+ membership. I've been avoiding it for a long time because at $50 a month, I really didn't think I'd use it to warrant it I mean, it's just a new "Masterclass" video per month and that's very much not worth $50 (okay, some of them might be).
But, there's free shipping on anything and everything if you're a member. Also, there's a new "VI Studio" of other free videos too. And, you can pause or cancel at any time so I figured why the hell not, let's give it a go. And yeah, I signed up.
I think I had just renewed for the 3rd month now and based on the number of things I've ordered, my shipping costs have broken even. I've skimmed a few videos but honestly, I just don't have enough time to go through everything.
In the VI Studio, there are currently 19 videos. I know for a fact that two of them were there when I signed up but the others, I'm not sure. This gets me wondering whether they refresh these videos too and if so, maybe I should be downloading them. If I don't save them for later and I can only actually watch one a month (not including the Masterclasses), and now that my post-holiday purchase extravaganza has dwindled, that $50 per month is looking awfully expensive again.
What is nice about it though is that I will get to keep access to the Masterclasses that were live during the months I was a member, if I decide to cancel. You know what would be a really great perk though, one that would definitely get me to spend more money, is if they offered a (nice) discount on previous Masterclasses. They're all sitting at $75 per individual Masterclass -- do you know how many decks I could buy for that?! Less than half of an IAOCPv2, that's how many! =P
Speaking of Vanishing Inc., I've recently ordered a few new books. I haven't added them to the site yet, but just you wait until I've actually read them!
I picked up Theseus by Nathan Colwell which, I have to say, I love the actual design of the book cover itself. I think that, based on the comments and reviews, it's a single-trick theme (torn-and-restored) book but it looks like it has something good to offer so we'll give it a shot.
I also snagged Secrets of Gambling by Hugh Miller. I'm not actually sure why I bought that one, and I'm really not sure if I received a copy that's been sitting out in the sun or not -- it was "new" from Vanishing, but the dust jacket's faded pink when it should be bright red and has a few slight tears. $15 with free shipping though, pretty much the lowest price on eBay but from a more reliable vendor. I've skimmed through it a little already and may have buyer's remorse. I haven't given it an actual "read" yet, but from what I've seen it looks like Miller just wanted to write a book to call out some fun and eccentric cheating methods. I'll 100% give this a proper review once I've read it, I don't want to discount it just from a quick skim.
Oh I also ordered Volumes 2 - 5 of Bruce Cervon's Castle Notebooks -- but that's a story for a different day. Hopefully I'll find a good deal on Volume 1 to complete the set, but we'll see.
I haven't been practicing much the past week or two. I have had a cold for a few days now, didn't even get out of bed on Monday my fever was so bad. It isn't the 'vid, it's definitely just a cold but sheesh it's a doozy. I'm on the mend now and cards are back in my hands but I really hate when I go through those lulls of not practicing.
However -- yeah, always a however -- I have noticed years ago that after even a small break of a day or two, let alone a week, I'm better at sleights I was practicing before the break. It's really hard to remember that your hands, specifically the fingers, are muscles that need a break too. If you go the gym and lift weights, you're not going to work the same muscle group tomorrow or maybe not even the next day because they need time to rest and recover. Same goes for your fingers.
I remember when I was learning one-handed cuts for the first time. I couldn't for the life of me do a Scissor Cut. My hand just wouldn't. Who's thumb could possibly go that far?! For days I practiced, at least an hour at a time. My hand was sore. Actual physical pain sore, so I took a break. I moved on to something else (probably double lifts). A few days later, I tried it again and on my first try, I did it perfectly. A perfect Scissor Cut after not being able to do a good one for days. And then I did it again, and again. That memory has stuck with me for everything that I try to practice that I can't do well. Keep practicing and once I've practiced "enough" for a certain amount of time, take a break for a day and come back to it. It's amazing how well that really works. Now, it hasn't made me an expert handler for anything -- but it's gotten me past the barrier of "not being able to do it" many times now.
What am I practicing right now you're wondering? Savant by Dennis Kim (and Xavior Spade) -- it's a quick multi-phase color change that utilizes a lot of stuff in your off-hand. Fun fact, I can now do Undertow better in my left hand than my right! Go figure...
So, what are you practicing?