Monday Mail Call #18

It's Monday and you know what that means... Monday Mail Call!

Each Monday (give or take), I use this feature to highlight a few of the things that have made their way in over the past week or so. Packages, purchases, and emails -- oh my!

I was away, taking a much-needed vacation last week and ended up getting more exhausted than relaxed. Funny how that happens, right? But that didn't stop deliveries from piling up on my doorstep =]

Up first, one physical and two digital magazines. August's issue of Genii came in and features Ionia on the front. Ionia, Secrets of the Princess Unlocked is the main feature. Are the secrets unlocked, or are we learning secrets of someone nicknamed "Princess Unlocked"? I wish I was kidding, but I really don't know which version I'm supposed to read it as. I haven't had time to flip through the magazine yet -- it's on my list for tomorrow morning's coffee, so I'll find out then.

August's cover of Genii, The Conjurors' Magazine
Secrets of the Princess, Unlocked. Or Secrets of the "Princess Unlocked". Your choice!

It looks like it'll be a good issue though. This Ionia is unknown to me, so I'll learn something new. The other feature of this issue is House of Cards, which sounds like an intriguing title. We also get another episode of The River with Joshua Jay and I've liked this column so far. But yeah, it's packed like usual, and I will be flipping through it soon enough.

I didn't receive the copy of Genii until I was back home, of course. But The Hermit and Love Letters, both being digital magazines, were waiting for me in my email inbox right on August 1st. Nice!

Cover of August, 2022's issue of The Hermit Magic Magazine.
This month's issue of The Hermit is packed full of magic effects. 

Coming in at a solid 48 pages, this issue hosts 6 effects from different magicians and a list of tips for public speaking by Jay Sankey.

Kicking it off, Scott Baird brings us some card magic, and palming, with Lean Travellers. Then, we travel over to ACME Corp... wait, no, we learn a card trick named ACME -- A Cartoon Magic Effect -- by Kyle Leon. It's pretty neat and teaches how to make a highly visual gimmick. Boyet Vargas gives us a little card break and takes us into a two-phase mentalism routine named All Four Two. It uses four objects and a bit of mind reading. I'm thinking of using it while out at a restaurant with friends or family, the objects just being things on the table because why not?

Patrik Kuffs slaps with a short signed card trick he calls Poketus Subterfuge. Can you guess where the card is, based on the name? It actually reads like a good presentation though; my only issue is that it's really hot outside and the last thing I want to do is where a jacket, let alone a shirt with pockets. Scott Baird tosses in another effect to the issue, A Tune Ahead. This is a mentalism routine that uses the assistant on your phone. I haven't gone through this whole routine yet so I'm not 100% on the details, but maybe I can ask Google to summarize it for me.

Wrapping up the effects list in this issue is When Two Minds Meet, by John Carey. This routine is also in John's book named Me, My Cards, and I -- I hadn't heard of the book myself and upon searching, I'm not coming up with much other than PDFs, but I'll look more later for certain.

The last two months' issues had a fun challenge of taking a picture of "an impossible thing." I had my photo idea lined up and was going to shoot it while away on vacation... and forgot the stuff at home. Whelp, I didn't win that challenge! I'll still do the shot though because I think it's a cool idea. This month features a new challenge too, one where you have to roll dice under certain conditions. I've already thought of a way to roll the dice under the necessary conditions but getting them to equal a certain amount isn't factored into the equation quite yet. Maybe I'll just film it enough times until it works. That counts, right? =P

Issue No. 3, August 2022 of the Love Letters newsletter.
August 2022's issue of the Lover Letters newsletter, so romantic!

I haven't read through this month's issue of Love Letters yet, but the email highlights state that it covers an ESP card trick, a visual version of a classic effect that uses a gimmick, and a billet-based mind-reading effect. The highlights are just enough to tease, but not enough to let you really know what's there, so I'll have to scroll through to really find out!

Back to physical items, I just had to be a sucker for nostalgia. Specifically, 90's Nickelodeon cartoons. Any guesses as to what it is? Well, if you've scrolled down even slightly, you'll already know:

Side view of all 7 Fontaine decks, spelling NICKELODEON
When lined up on their sides, the 7 deck spines spell out Nickelodeon!

That's right folks, we have cartoon decks! Featuring Rocko's Modern Life, The Wild Thornberrys, Rugrats, Hey Arnold, AAAHH!!!! Real Monsters, Ren & Stimpy, and CatDog. Not pictured here, since it's technically not in the set but I did get it in, is a Spongebob Squarepants Fontaine deck too. It's also a Nickelodeon show, also made into a deck by Fontaine, but... not part of their Nickelodeon set. Not sure why... maybe it was a deck to test the waters first?

All 7 Fontaine Nickelodeon decks.

Normally, I don't buy Fontaine decks. They're very over-hyped, the designs aren't really my style, and they're expensive. However, I grew up watching and loving all these shows. Except Ren & Stimpy. I've watched it, but I didn't care for it too much. The style was meh. I did watch it though, and I quote it still today, so it does hold a special spot there somewhere. And that's why I decided to pay aftermarket prices for this set -- unlike all these other fancy, custom artwork designed decks, these have memories attached to them and have become worth collecting.

Interestingly enough, and I didn't know this until I started looking to buy them, but apparently these decks were sold in individually sealed bags that made it impossible for the purchaser to know what deck was being bought. If you look on eBay, you can still grab one of the unopened bags today too. You might be lucky(?) enough to open one with a gilded deck, which are being listed on the auction site for hundreds of dollars apiece. Holy hell. Again, if it's a collector's deck and you're never going to open it, why pay the extra money for it to be gilded?

Last up, let's go back to digital real quick. I did an impulse purchase of Bounce by Juan Luis Rubiales on Vanishing Inc. It was announced last week, I happened to be reading my email at the time and saw it and thought to myself "I want this." And so, I bought it.

The premise is pretty straightforward: you make cards appear on a table by bouncing a ball. When would you use that? Likely, never. Or, maybe at a kid's party or something. Given I don't perform at kid parties, we're back to that "likely, never" scenario. However, I do like the concept and wanted to see the handling better. I have been working on a billiard ball routine where a card turns into a billiard ball, but it'd be neat to make it appear as if the card was hidden "inside" the ball itself. Granted, I wouldn't try to bounce an 8-ball on a table, but I think the idea can easily work on the palm of someone's hand too.

Well, there we have it. A mix of digital and physical goods this Monday. A couple of magazines, a video, and a bunch of decks to take us down memory lane =]

Stay tuned for the next iteration of Monday Mail Call, there's a lot more to come!

Oh also, if you'd like to offer suggestions for books, tricks, decks or if you have questions about magic (performing, routines, sleights, etc.), just reach out here.

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