Weekly Update: Playing Cards and Audio Dramas

A few months ago, a very strange man came into the furniture store we work at. He wanted to see a certain wooden sculpture we had, one that he had seen in our store years before. A carving of a log going into a machine of some sort, and coming out the other side a fully formed rolltop desk. The desk was contorted, like it was being squeezed out of a toothpaste tube. And some of the drawers could be opened! It was given to us by one of our builders and not for sale.

I went in the back room and brought it out. This man was obsessed with it. He turned it every which way, running his hand along the edges and snapping pictures, all the while clicking his tongue. At one point I offered to sell it to him, but he declined, saying he wish he was younger and could take me up on my offer.

Before he left, he pulled out a pocket knife and did a magic trick for me. It was kind of cringy, but also charming in it’s own way. (He came back a few weeks later, and went through the same thing with a coworker – fawning over the carving, the magic trick.)

I wanted to know how he did the trick, so I went on YouTube. It was easy to find. I fell into a hole of watching people explain magic tricks. I noticed the deck of cards they were using were pretty cool looking. I started to look up the cards. I found a playing card sub-reddit. So many cool designs! Some were so expensive too. There’s a hype behind certain decks, limited drops, resales, artist collabs – a whole market not unlike sneakers.

I bought some. At first I just learned some solitaire and I would play instead of going on my phone. A nice activity. (My favorite solitaire game I’ve found so far is called The Bogey.)

Eventually I tried learning some card tricks and I’m hooked. I’m not really performing them for people (just my kids), nor do I necessarily want to, but it’s really fun to learn the moves and see the brilliant ways people design tricks.

The most fun part though is just learning different moves, because they keep my hands busy while doing other things. Instead of messing with my phone, I can do some one-handed cuts, or manipulate cards around the deck, that type of thing. Then there’s the whole world of cardistry, which is just doing cool flourishes with the cards.

In other news, I like listening to Old Time Radio shows. I decided to see if there were any new audio dramas in podcast form, and of course there are a million. I tried one that got some good buzz called “The Left-Right Game”. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan. The acting wasn’t great, the sound design was over the top, and the it didn’t have a satisfying ending. I’ll be trying more, but part of me wonders, is this a lost art? Radio dramas used to be HUGE. Like, a big portion of the country would listen to a single show. Audiences that any TV show would kill for today. They had amazing actors, sound effects, great scripts. Maybe there just isn’t many people skilled in that medium anymore. Well, I’ll try some more and report back.

Music log:
Acetone (90s Slowcore) Very cool band. I picked up a book about the band called Hadley Lee Lightcap and it’s pretty good so far. Discovered via the hipinion forums.
Tiny Mouse (Comfy synth) Discovered via the Comfy Synth YouTube channel.

Hadley Lee Lightcap
50 Art Ideas You Really Need To Know