J Bov Explodes Rhetorically

On The Whys and Wherefores of my Love of Magic

I love magic. I love seeing it, I love performing it and I love the idea behind it.

The above is a small selection of tricks I’ve managed to learn, ones that I could perform in front of my laptop camera at short notice, but you get the idea.

I’ve been a fan of magic since I was very young, when I was around six I was bought one of those all-in-one boxes “50 tricks for you to perform” type of deal. I learned them all and spent a lot of my time showing them to people, trying to make them seem as natural and easy as possible. Unfortunately I mislaid my box of tricks (PUN!) around the time I became interested in videogames (my love of videogames can be explained with one word ‘escapism’) and haven’t bothered with the all-in-one sets since. Partly because I have no money and secondly because I lost interest.

Just recently I began to feel the urge to learn some bar tricks (Hell, I can go to the pub now, so why not?) and from that stemmed an urge to learn some coin manipulations.
After several years off I was hooked again. I had to watch every magic special on TV, I began to realise that David Blaine is a twat who dresses up cheap tricks and shows them to idiots, I went looking for gimmicks to buy and lamented the lack of a good magic shop near my home (although I hear there’s one in Wakefield).

Now I suppose some people might consider magic tricks to be a childish pastime, brightly coloured toys and flashy movements and I can see why they would. I like to call these people ‘Dead Inside’. The majority of the time these folk will try their damndest not to smile or react in any way besides a derisive snort or sneer even if they’re genuinely impressed. I feel bad for these people. “It’s all just tricks, sleight of hand, magic’s not real.” No, it isn’t, that’s not the point; I’m not trying to make you think I have real magical powers, I just want to impress and shock and engage people with an art form older than balet and almost as skillful. I want people to suspend their disbelief as one would for a film or play and think ‘Wow! That’s impossible!’

Then there are others, the people you want to perform for, the people for whom you begin to get into magic. They will go along with anything, believe any slick talk and hold any object (real or not) just for a chance to be amazed. These people’s faces light up when you vanish a coin, when you make a card explode in front of them, when their initials are on THAT VERY COIN OH MY GOD! Those people are why we learn difficult manipulations, sleights and gimmicks. Those people are why we even exist. If the naysayers had their way magicians would be burned at the stake.

I love magic because of the look on people’s faces when something unexpected and exciting happens. I love magic because no matter how impossible a trick looks it usually has a deceptively simple solution. I love magic because it’s technical AND whimsical.

I love magic because it adds something to the grey drudgery and depressing monotony of our lives. It adds some brightly coloured toys and flashy hand movements. Why do you think juggling has survived so long?

So I write humourous pieces, I make music, I try to make jokes, I juggle and I learn magic tricks. I do these things so I have some ammo in the war against mediocrity, so I have a way of making some people smile, so I can fight off sadness, should the need arrise.

I don’t do it so I have something I can keep from people; I’ve told many people how I do some of the tricks in the video above. I like people to appreciate the practicle side as well as the effect. I don’t do it to be different, hundreds of people enjoy magic. My driving instructor was/is a magician of great skill, a man who owns a restaurant near my home sometimes does tricks at people’s tables for his own amusement.

I love magic because it makes people smile. I love magic because it accessible to almost everyone.
I love magic because it makes you, for a few seconds or a few minutes, forget that the world hates you. Makes you forget bills, accidents, terrorists, CCTV and the fact that you are constantly watched and judged and evaluated on your actions. It allows you to step away from the evils of the world and exist in the moment.

I love magic because it falls into the category of selfless action.
That’s the only heroism left in this world.

I love magic because I like other people to love something.

But most of all, I love magic because there is nothing more fulfilling than making someone smile.


Found Some Lost Pages (Poetry)
21/04/2009, 4:58 AM
Filed under: Arty-Type Stuff, People, Philosophical Bollocks, Writing

Found four sheets of paper under my bed from a while ago when I attempted a spot of poetry. Beat poetry, I suppose. I haven’t tried reciting it over jazz yet but whatever. Still, here it is. Speaks for itself really.

Today, read Ginsberg over a cigarette,
looking for truth and beauty – false legacy of the beat generation.
Visions of grand happiness – deluded by alcoholic, manic-depressive Dharma bums
on the road.
Found a tired old man, sad, missing his mother,
missing his friends,
missing his country.
Confused, indecisive basketcase communist
How I love him.

Sad, read Kaddish (Paris Dec. ’57 – NY ’59)
on verge of tears,
unsmoked stub lay forgotten
on dark slabs outside 11
the Bowie house.
No magic or majesty lost.

Beat poetry –
Beatnik –
Beat Generation –
No ecstacy here, nothing grand.
Sad men and women missing themselves,
looking for happiness not forthcoming.
Angry at the world – disappointed optimists, all.

Perhaps they didn’t realise –
Perhaps they didn’t want to realise
that nothing grand is truth and beauty?
Perhaps it broke them –
mad, gibbering in dark rooms and the endless universe, most,
the rest dead, ungrateful.

Broken by Allen’s sadness
to see the joy anew.
It’s nice to know the universe wastes nothing.
I am point something percent the atoms of him,
as I am of Hitler, of Ghandi, of my ancestors.

Every seven years, every cell in the body is replaced,
I have only been three different people so far.

Explore with pen.
Ink safari, ye faithless.
In jungles of us, you, me,
Savana of humanity, bare on barren page. Who are we?

Those who scorn with pain filled eyes.
Those who, cynical still, encourage.
Those who see and who don’t –
Those who speak and who don’t –
Those who rise and who fall to rise once more.

Those who quit and who fail.
Who are we?

Wait A Second, Youtube…
20/04/2009, 1:30 AM
Filed under: Angry Slurred Shouting, Arty-Type Stuff, Gibberish

Today I made that biggest of Youtube mistakes; I clicked on something in the ‘Related Videos’ box.

This one was entitled ‘How to Become a Youtube Partner‘. I was interested, ok? I’d like to do something in the Youtube community that amounts to more than complaining about it. I’d like to customise my profile more than I already can, because basic stuff annoys me a little, that’s why I switched from Blogspot to WordPress among other things. Also, making a small amount of money is always fun because it’s nice to know my work is actually worth something.

Thing is, there are some stipulations to becoming a Youtube partner, which I’ve pulled, unedited, from their website:

To become a YouTube Partner, you must meet these minimum requirements:

  • You create original videos suitable for online streaming.
  • You own or have express permission to use and monetize all audio and video content that you upload — no exceptions.
  • You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users.

Seems ok, right? Let’s break it down;

You create original videos suitable for online streaming.

Fair enough, no porn, no (real) gore. If not a “U” rating then at least cap it at an “18”. No “R” or “X”. We can all appreciate that some people choose to shelter themselves from reality and that’s fine. Next.

You own or have express permission to use and monetize all audio and video content that you upload — no exceptions.

Copyright became a huge issue on Youtube after the Google buyout (to the outrage of many Yu Gi Oh and Naruto and whatever else spam-posters who would upload someone else’s work to get themselves internet recognition, which is the only reason anything is done on the internet, but we’ll come to that).

Youtube stipulate that to be a partner you must own or have permission to use any and all video and audio content, that includes sound effects ripped from games. No copyright infringement, for the TL;DR crowd. Ok, Next.

You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users.

Wait, what? I have to have THOUSANDS of views on a regular basis? My most popular video was a one-off shoot short film, rather than an endlessly repeated video blog and it has 2,398 views. Ok, bad example, that video is sweet. My second most popular is also a one-off, it has 1,344 views. Again, not great to illustrate my point, since my short films are great, but the rest of my videos, the video blogging kind all have viewcounts in the low hundreds. The most popular thing I’ve ever been involved with is Truancy, which many of you will remember and possibly still own on stolen poundshop rewritable DVD, it has a little under 4,500 views.

The only way to regularly post videos is to do video blogging or podcasting, and getting thousands of views on them is nigh impossible for someone like me. Because I can’t sit and spout inane bullshit at a camera in a way that is compelling unless I’m in a very particular mood. This is rare.

Which means I’ll never get to be a partner, because I have a little bit more of a nack for filmmaking than putting a camera on a tripod, hitting record and talking about the fucking minutiae of my day. Srsly. Don’t click that unless boredom is totally your deal.

That’s my main qualm; the fact that in order to become a partner and have my videos seen more and rewarded and appreciated I have to change the way I make them, the way I am in them, the way they ARE. If I want to make a video blog I’ll do one that I’ve tried to make interesting, or I’ll do another Ask Bov or I’ll keep uploading short films that require a little work to make.

I’m not going to sit down, turn on a camera and spout pop-culture bullshit to get viewcounts. I don’t want to give anyone my opinion on Miley Cyrus’ new dress (Miley Cyrus is disney’s Hannah Montana. There are nude pictures of this oh-so-innocent teen starlet on the internet and she’s a bitch according to sources, who also say she drinks and is dating an underwear model. Not exactly a perfect role model. Best of all; at some award ceremony she demanded the chance to meet Radiohead, as though she deserved it. They declined politely to meet her because they’re real musicians who are good. In an interview later she vented her outrage saying, and I quote; ‘Stupid Radioheads(sic), I’ll ruin them.’ Miley ‘who-the-hell-is-she?’ Cyrus is going to ruin Radiohead. Radiohead. RADIOHEAD. Let it sink in. I’m not even going to qualify it with ‘The band who…’. Watch out Mr. Yorke and pals, Hannah Montana is gunning for your jobs).

I don’t want to be a gibbering idiot like a lot of the ‘vloggers’ you see, who get eleven million hits because they blog in a bikini and the sweaty nerds who subscribed totally would, despite the fact the only woman who has or will ever touch them is their mother, and in a completely maternal way. I don’t want to spend 5 minutes chattering like I’m a monkey on prozac with a boner and an itch. The majority of times all these people are saying is ‘Today I met Tyler in the classroom and I said ‘I want you to dominate me sexually!’ and he said ‘Fuck off, you annoying ugly whore.’ and I was fucking ecstatic because he spoke to me which means I’m online buying the whips right now. And a ball-gag. That still wouldn’t shut me up though! Please shoot my face!” That took me fifteen seconds to re-read, just to prove a point.

Then the man on the video said if I wanted to be a partner I’d need to have hundreds of subscribers. I’ve got about seven. To get hundreds of subscribers I’d have to do the above too.

I’m just annoyed because I’ll never get to be a Youtube partner, since the videos I make aren’t seen by many people and don’t have sex appeal and don’t pander to people going ‘Duh Ashton Kutcher is dah orsum!!!11!1!!!!’ (He’s still current, right?)

Then I got a little bit of info; you have to REQUEST ads for your video as a partner. Yes, you have to ask nicely for Google to put an intrusive banner in and a huge square of shit beside your video. So you can make pittance a go for a short amount of time.

The only type of video those ads would work on are video blogs, because nothing is happening below the person’s head, because god forbid they might do something interesting with their hands or something in front of them, HOLY CRAP they might demonstrate something! NO!!!

I like to frame my shots well. If not well then at least interestingly. In my videos, more often than not, something will be happening lower down than the top third of the screen. I know for a FACT that right when something important/interesting/funny is happening down there, the ad will pop up and cover it. Yes, you can immediately get rid of it, but you shouldn’t have to. Stick an ad at the end, after it finishes, if it must be in the video. You’ve got the side bar, isn’t that enough? Nobody ever fucking reads them anyway. “Ooh! This video blog is about how this student couldn’t afford a sandwich so they ate some sorrel leaves they found in the woods instead. Wait, I must buy the new Landrover!”

They claim the ads match the content of the video because Google invented a system which can apparently analyse the video contents and match an advert to it entirely devoid of human intervention at any point. Overall then, Google claim to have invented TRUE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. You know, the holy grail of robotics engineering? The endpoint for all electronic intelligence research being done? That thing top scientists are multiple decades away from achieving? Google have that.

Except it’s rebelling. Because the ads very rarely match the content. Often I’ve seen ads pop up that seem like a cruel joke. The ‘sorrel-landrover’ thing is exaggerated anecdotal evidence of what I mean. So they’ve developed true AI which has the ability to rebel and as such is essentially the epitome of all science ever and renders most philosophers gibbering idiots or hilarious historical relics. Or they’ve invented a broken system that doesn’t work because it doesn’t have the ability to judge relevance beyond percentage of keywords matched. As much as I wish it were the former, it’s actually the latter.

The Youtube partner system is a big pile of elitist dogshit (how can these morons claim to be the elite when intelligent people are better than them in every way? Because they’re in a club with a ‘no clevurs aloud’ sign on the door).

I hate advertising anyway, so I’d be constantly pissed off if I did get in.

I’m not jealous.

J Bov.

Edit: P.S.

I just noticed WordPress has put links to ‘similar articles’ at the bottom of this which also completely miss THE FUCKING POINT!!! Damnit, where’s the option to turn that off? Bloody internet.

Damn Your Short Attention Spans!
16/04/2009, 3:27 AM
Filed under: Gibberish, Philosophical Bollocks, SCIENCE!

I realise my momentary shoelace related mania in my last post may have been a little dull for some, as such I’ve copy-pasted the second half, which actually is interesting, into a new blog.

Here, you fickle fiends:

I was thinking about Mind-Uploading today (here’s a Wiki-link, it’s a fascinating concept).

I was thinking that using certain methods, such as rebuilding the brain in a computer and switching it on would create an entirely different entity. One that thinks, feels and acts exactly the same as the original, but entirely separate from it. Two identical entities existing at once.

This would lead to some interesting outcomes, for example, after the procedure the replacement robot-mind (which we’ll assume was the designed outcome of the experiment, perhaps to gain a semblance of immortality) might decide the human mind was no longer necessary. Is it murder? Is it suicide? Is it the same as throwing out an old t-shirt? I think given the choice my robot replacement mind would want to kill me as a symbolic gesture of the improvement.

As such, it wouldn’t be the subject living forever, but the replicant mind. Which by the nature of existance, as soon as it becomes active, begins to experience the world differently and as such is a different entity entirely to the original. All you’ve achieved there is making an intelligent robot.

Another method is gradual cyborging; the patient is anaesthetised and a part of their brain is replaced by a machine that replicates it’s function exactly. After which the patient is woken up to ensure there’s no problems and then put back under and this carries on until the entire brain is replaced. This method still means the original being dies, as it’s brain is carved up and replaced. The question becomes, if it happened to me, would I wake up? It’s likely that something exactly like me would wake up, confirm perfect function then be killed and a new entity exactly like me would wake up until eventually a robot being, exactly the same as me in almost every way would wake up and confirm it was working correctly. I’d be out the instant they cut my brain.

So that’s not immortality either. Well, not for the original patient, anyway. They wouldn’t be experiencing the rest of the cyborg’s existance, the cyborg would.

The only method that would work, the most feasible one anyway, is a slow and steady replacement of each individual neuron by nanites.

Nanites would enter the brain, scan the surrounding neurons and adopt their exact function. Once they were working correctly they would replace the neurons in that part of the brain and more nanites would scan the next set of neurons, and on in that fashion until the entire brain is nanotech.

The brain, and as such the human, can survive the loss of a few neurons with no ill effect. If they are then immediately replaced by the exact same thing (only in the form of a microscopic robot) then there’s litterally no harm done.

This method would ensure the ongoing experience of the original and would not create a new entity by replacing large chunks and killing the patient or digitising the original and both existing at once to experience things differently, which would bring the philosophy of AI into question as to whether it can be classed as simply a replacement or a new, identical, being.

This leads me to my next point which is equally interesting; using the nanite-replacement method one could also ‘back-up’ one’s mind outside the body for use as ‘insurance’ if the host body was to die (or critically malfunction, I for one am not staying in a flawed biological body when I have a computer brain, and prosthetics are at tops ten years away from being better than organic limbs). The back-up could be inserted into a new robotic body and the entity could keep on living. Especially if the back-up is constantly updated via the acive mind so it would have the same experiences from the same viewpoint and as such would be precisely the same entity that was taken out of commision somehow. (It would of course then experience the world for itself and would not be the original entity, but hell, it’s a step in the right direction.) Or if the body malfunctions, get a new one. Easy as. I intend to have three. One that looks similar to me, albeit more toned and… metallic. One that looks just like a T-800 endoskeleton and one that’s 60-foot tall and has ‘The Peasant Crusher’ written on it’s chest. I’ll explain why in a second.

I’d also think it’d be possible to exist in a virtual environment by simply uploading yourself into it, which would be cool. Think The Matirx, but we choose to exist in it rather than being forced.

Now, certain people (religious people, mainly) would object to having a tech-brain and body and would remain ‘Bio-Humans’ (as opposed to us ‘Tech-Humans’ or Homo Technologicals) and they would give up most technology and become simple farm-folk, living off the land because in an entirely Tech dominated world there would be no need for us to consume anything other than sustainable power-sources. I say more power to ’em, I can see some of us Techs helping them out; I would. But there are always narrow-minded idiots or extreme zealots who I imagine would actively seek to fight and destroy Tech-Humans. These people more often than not seem to be able to influence people and would gain followers in their essentially racist crusade, despite the fact that we just want to get on with our endless (if we should so choose) lives of metallic joy.

In the ensuing ‘war’ (or ‘massacre’, which seems more apt) the Bio-Humans would be wiped-out. I’m not one for fighting, but if someone tried to disable my motor-functions and shut me down just because I chose to transend my ridiculously frail and short-lived biological form, I would have to crush them to dust like an errant fly.

Hence ‘The Peasant Crusher’. Nobody argues with a 60-foot, metal peasant crusher. Not for long, anyway.

J Bov mk. 1