writing

Baby, you can drive my car

I think I’m comfortable enough now to tell you all about my magic car. No, it doesn’t fly, although it really should. Seriously — look at the advances in technology: smart phones, high-def flat screen TVs the size of a football field and games that allow me to bowl in my own living room, minus the ugly shoes. Why don’t our cars fly yet?!

But I digress. I have a magic car and her name is Snowbell.

Snowbell is cleverly disguised as a 10-year-old POS to avoid rampant magic car theft in the region.

My daughter and I named her as a show of gratitude for years of reliable service and minimal repairs. Maybe if we personalize her, she’ll hang in there for another few years. One can hope (with all my heart and crappy credit score) that will happen.

Durable Honda genes aside, Snowbell’s magic is a little less tangible than a well-built transmission. Looking at the photo you’re probably not impressed by the white sedan that looks like it hasn’t been washed in the past year. Can I help it if my favorite parking spot at work is near a tree full of angry little birds with questionable digestive issues?

Underneath the dents, scratches, wonky driver-side wiper and copious amounts of bird shit, the car is magic. Behold:

I have a typical crazy morning getting my willful child ready for school before dropping her off with an air kiss and a sigh of relief. My drive to work is only ten or fifteen minutes but in that time my mind clicks into problem-solving mode. With laser focus, I prioritize my agenda for the day and easily visualize the tasks being knocked down like bowling pins. (Again, minus the shoes.)

The months I spent writing my first (un-publishable) novel were some of the most energized I’ve ever had and many, many hours were spent in the car — the magic car — solving plot knots or adding new threads of the story. Passersby undoubtedly enjoyed watching the wild woman bouncing in her seat, slapping the steering wheel with literary inspiration.

After a long day at work I find myself cataloguing all the chores waiting at home. Willful child’s homework, dinner, leftover deadline writing for work. I am empowered with the determination to walk in the door and get it all done (without drama) and hit the sack in plenty of time to achieve those desired seven hours of sleep.

[Insert fist pump here]

The problem with a magic car is you have to leave it eventually. Often, actually. And when I step out of the car the magic goes the way of the exhaust coming out of her butt and into the atmosphere. I walk into work and find my schedule has been blown to hell and I promptly forget the first three items on my to-do list because I just want my coffee.

The mind-bending idea I had for my current Great American Novel eludes me when I sit to write it down. Texting-while-driving is illegal in Colorado so I assume fine-tuning-witty-dialog-while-driving is also frowned upon. The state patrol doesn’t recognize magic cars.

When I pull into the driveway, still full of ambition for the night ahead, a resigned part of my brain knows what will happen when I open the door. So I hand the house key to my kid and just sit there in my magic car for a few minutes, knowing I’m about to forget how productive I planned to be in the coming hours.

So what good is my magic car if I can’t capture those bursts of brilliance and motivation after I’ve closed the door and hit the remote-lock that only works on three of the four doors? Maybe that’s why some people live in their cars — they’re clinging to that mystical power of productivity!

Okay maybe not, but I have thought a lot about this (clearly) and I think I’ve hit upon the solution: I need a driver. If someone drove me around in my magic car I could sit in the back and write down every brainstorm as it hits, catch up on emails, work my social networking to an extent heretofore unexplored.

Let’s face it people, I could probably come up with a cure for cancer if I had a driver on a cross-country road trip.

Like the Beatles, I can’t actually afford to pay anyone to drive me around yet, but I’d definitely ante up a percentage of the Nobel prize I’m bound to win for that cancer thing. Serious applicants only need apply.

Art and Culture · beet street · Reviews · writing

He’s a Magic Man

I can already tell you, I have no idea.
Reposted with permission of beet street, Fort Collins

When you describe someone as manipulative, it’s not usually a glowing compliment, however Dan Jaspersen’s ability to manipulate what you see and believe is not only a source of pride, it’s his livelihood. This month’s Art Cafe – Mentalist, Manipulator, Magician – is presented by the man, who also answers to Dan J.

Jaspersen taught himself to juggle – with one broken arm, no less – at an early age, then picked up a deck of cards in college, ultimately paying rent with his sleight of hand skills. After acquiring his degree in business communications, he was soon employed in Japan working in the field of international relations. But in his heart, he’s always been a performance artist, and less than two years ago his magic act became his regular gig.

“I design experiences for people,” he said, explaining his unique art form.

Unlike the glittery illusionists on television or children’s entertainers who pull rabbits out of hats, Dan has worked hard to create a new style from old school.

“What I love to do is go back into the really old books, tricks and ideas,” he said, adding that even science magazines from the 1950s provide inspiration.

Although Dan’s act is family friendly, he stresses that his primary audience is adult, setting him farther apart from the stereotype magician. His performance is classy, elegant and more thought-provoking, making him a popular draw for private parties, corporate events and education venues. His clientele includes everyone from Colorado State University, to the Rotary club, to Nonesuch Theater. The type of audience often determines what tricks he’ll pull out of his bag.

The Minnesota native now lives in Cheyenne with his family, but with wife Andi’s roots in Loveland, Dan is well-connected and sought out through the Wyoming and Northern Colorado region.

Dan Jaspersen’s program at Avo’s this Wednesday, Feb. 23, begins at 5:30 and he promises to combine some magic with a little behind-the-scenes look at the mentalist’s mindset.

Dan Jaspersen knows your card.

“I believe in magic, but I know better,” he said enigmatically. As a magician, he strives to reconcile the contradiction of magic and the laws of science. “It’s a tricky thing.”

He paraphrased his favorite magician, Banachek, saying, “I like to take five senses and make it appear there’s a sixth.” In fact, Dan admits to mixing psychology and sleight of hand, mining the secrets of mediums and charlatans from a bygone era.

Fortunately for us – his delighted marks – he uses his powers for good, not evil. Bring all of your available senses this week and enjoy Dan J., Magician@Play.