Archive for July, 2009

ATLANTIC CITY

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Cindy and I took most of the day on Thursday to make the leisurely drive from home to Atlantic City.  It’s been several years since we’ve been up here so we thought we’d take a weekend trip.

Wow – Atlantic City has really changed since the last time we were here!  I was most impressed by the Boardwalk – filled with families, great music, push-taxi’s, and fascinating people.  We walked through Caesar’s, played Putt-Putt on the Boardwalk, and I blew $5 on a fortune teller to see what she could see in the palm of my hand.  Yup, as I suspected she wanted to up-sell me on her other services.  A quick glance at my palm promised business success, a happy relationship, and a steady cash flow.  BUT for $20 she could give me more detail!  Hmmm, I wanted to keep that steady cash flow in my life so I passed.

Today should be another fun day.  We’re going to explore the shopping, spend time with some friends, and catch a show tonight.  Everybody have a great weekend!

NEWSLETTER UPDATE

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

First I want to apologize that it has taken me so long to get our first newsletter out.  Many of you signed up several months ago and probably thought I was never going to send anything.  Our Summer 2009 Newsletter just dropped on Monday.  So, thank you for hanging in there!

Second, I’m not going to be sending the newsletter every month.  I hope to have updates to you quarterly and encourage you to read the BLOG for the most current information about the tour and what the Spencer team is up to.  Another great way to stay connected is through our FACEBOOK page or following us on TWITTER. I am also hoping to start a Video Blog soon – so keep your eyes open for that!

If you’re not on our newsletter list, just go to the home page and click the link to be added.

COMMENTS ARE OPEN

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

“In an age of unlimited memory, the most important act is remembering not to remember.”

I recently read a great article in WIRED (August 2009) – Forgetful by Design, by Clive Thompson. In the feature, he makes the point that technology has made us more cautious, less willing to take risks for fear that our potential failures will never be forgotten. And, to quote the author, “Society suffers when people stop taking risks.”

All of us are faced with decisions that are filled with risk, many times influenced by circumstances that are beyond our control. Generally speaking, walking into unchartered territory involves crisis, opportunity, often failure, generally fear, sometimes suffering, always the call to a task that is seemingly too big for us.  The great adventure begins with our willingness to face risk head on.

Risk always holds the possibility of failure, but it also holds the potential for great success. What we must remember is the simple truth that failure does not shape us; the way we respond to failure shapes us.

I am often overwhelmed by the number of tasks that I want to get done, usually within an unreasonable time frame.  I get excited over each project, envisioning the potential but realizing the possibility of failure as well.  Those who know me well would say I’m a bit “hands-on” or, in their words, “controlling.”  I want to control the outcome, to do everything I can to guarantee success (however that is determined with each project).  I can put way too much pressure on myself leading to STRESS that’s more destructive than beneficial.

I guess I’m mostly writing to myself here and realizing that I need to re-evaluate some of the projects on my desk, organize my plans, and revise my deadlines.  Hmmm, I think I’ll get right on that.

And, by the way, in an effort to build a more connected community, I’m throwing spammers to the wind and have decided to open the Comments on my blog.  I hope I hear from you…I know, it’s risky!

PASSION AND PURPOSE

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Summer is always a challenging time for me – a struggle between “relaxation and rejuvenation” and diving head first into the deep waters of the “project list.”  And I have a very long project list.

Some of the people who know me think I have a list just to stay busy, to have something to do during my down time.  I look at these tasks as something more, something bigger than just “staying busy.”  My faith teaches me that you only get out of life what you put into it.  It’s a principle found in natural science as well as the letter to the Galatians in the Bible – “You reap what you sow.”  Or, in the more modern translation of THE MESSAGE, “What a person plants, he will harvest.”  That tells me that, whatever I do with my life, however I spend my time, will have a long-lasting impact.

I’m a strong believer in the “pebble theory.”  Each of us is writing a story with our lives.  We are pebbles on the bank of the waters of human history. And when we toss ourselves – by our decisions and actions – into the waters, the ripples concentrically impact our reality…and the reality of others.

The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Galatians:

“Live creatively, friends.  Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don’t be impressed with yourself.  Don’t compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

In the insanity of the business of entertainment, it is easy to get caught up in whatever success one might achieve.  The bigger picture – at least for me – means using my talents in a positive way that will impact the lives of those who come into contact with “my ripples.”  It means being more than a performer or entertainer.  It means being a contributing member of humanity, living creatively, and exploring fully the possibilities that are often hidden under the surface (and sometimes much deeper).

So, my “project list” is much more than something to keep me busy.  It is one of my attempts to live life to its fullest…and, hopefully, positively impact the lives of others along the way.

WSET STORY – FOLLOW UP

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I just got an email from the guys over at WSET.  The news story aired last night on the 11pm news.  If you missed it, here’s the link to the story and the video. Hopefully, I’ll get it posted on FaceBook sometime today as well.

For now, I have to finish some of the Hocus Focus lessons!

TELEVISION INTERVIEW – WSET

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I think I got a few things done today in the office.  I managed to finish up a new flyer and get it to the printer as well as the Registration Form for the upcoming Healing of Magic/Hocus Focus educational workshops this fall.

About 10:15am, we got a call from the local ABC affiliate about doing a quick interview for the evening news.  Josh Farmer – the reporter – wanted to do a brief feature on the Merlin Award we received earlier this month.  Story can be found here.  Cindy snapped this picture for the blog.

OFFICE TIME

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I’m back home after a busy and productive weekend in New York City.  I have a lot to get done this week as the summer starts to slip away.  I’m praying that each day will last a little longer, feel a little longer, and that these last few weeks at home won’t go so quickly.

I have a full week of projects and appointments…so I guess I better get started!

NEW YORK CITY

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

It seems like I’ve been traveling a lot this summer in spite of the fact that this is supposed to be my “time off.” I was in Vegas a couple of weeks ago taping the Hocus Focus curriculum DVD; then off to Burbank and Ventura before flying back to Virginia.  The first part of July found us very busy working with our illusion director on some new effects for the show.  And now, I’m in New York City taking a class.

I arrived in the City yesterday and first stop was the Apple Store on 5th Avenue – what a place and open 24 hours!

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After running back and forth between AT&T and Apple, I finally managed to buy the new iPhone 3GS and get it set up.  It’s a very cool phone and I’m sure I’ll be addicted before it’s all over.

It is “restaurant week” in NYC so there are hundreds of incredible restaurants providing the opportunity for people to experience their cuisine for a fraction of the cost.  I went to the The Water Club last night with friends and the food was amazing – she crab soup, fresh cod, and a delicious (that’s an understatement) chocolate cake with coffee mousse.  I was back at the hotel, in the shower, and in the bed before midnight.

This morning, I was up early to get ready for class.  I caught a taxi to the East Village to meet up with my instructor – Rick, for a one-on-one training session on Final Cut Pro.  This is a “crash course” about 6-7 hours long with intensive training.

Lunch break found me at the “best burgers in New York” just around the corner.  I have to admit, they were great burgers (though not to be compared with In-n-Out).

I’m sure I’ll be exhausted tonight…but that’s okay.  My head will be full of useful knowledge, right?

2009 INTERNATIONAL MAGICIAN OF THE YEAR

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

INDEPENDENCE DAY 2009

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

We had a very relaxing day enjoying the festivities of this July 4.  We started off by heading to downtown Lynchburg and checking out a couple of estate sales at Estate Specialists.  They had a HUGE sale today in a very cool part of town.  It was a fun morning!

Afterwards, we drove over to Poplar Forest – Thomas Jefferson’s second home.  They were a full day of activities there.  We arrived and walked around the grounds.  It’s a beautiful place and has been under renovations for many years, including an archeological dig by UVA on the property.

Around 1pm, the fife and drum guys started up the festivities in front of the main house.  We found a place to sit (I grabbed a huge bag of Kettle Korn) and waited for the “big event” – the reading of the Declaration of Independence.

It was very cool to listen to someone read the Declaration just as it might have been delivered by Thomas Jefferson some 233 years ago.  I couldn’t help but make comparisons to what is happening in today’s government – taxation without representative, oppression by the “governing elite,” and the forcing of ideas on the people that undermine our personal liberties and independence.

I can only hope – and pray – that there will be a return to a balance of power in the Congress and that the recklessness (irresponsible spending, ridiculous taxation, passing legislation without reading it first, controlling the press, etc.)  that is so prevalent in the current administration will be tempered before the America will now know no longer exists.