Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hypno-Clinic & REVIEW: The Nomad Pad

Heyyyy Everybody!

OK, so the extra "y"'s at the end weren't enough to add variety to my standard greeting! Before I get too far, let me point out that it's only been a few days since my last review, of Paul Romhany's Dream Prediction Lite. I'm ahead of schedule this week (I usually post later in the week) but because my traveling this week will be horrendus, I'm writing early so I don't fall behind!

First, the quick news: The latest issue of "Cause & Effects" will be going out TONIGHT! Today is the first day of the month and the ezine is actually going out the same day! My list of magic goodies for sale is still available. Shoot me an email at crisjohnsoninfo@verizon.net.

Okay, on to the bigger news in my life...my fledgling hypno-clinic is gaining steam! I think I've got a place to ply my trade. I've also lined up a couple of talks to get bodies in the door and I even have my first session lined up: two people who want to quit smoking and two people who want some weight management.

On a personal level, I find this unbelievably exciting because I myself know the benefits of hypnosis and my life has greatly improved because of a direct result of hypnosis.

If I'm starting to sound like a cult leader, forgive me.:)

On to this week's review: It's The Nomad Pad by Nikola Pelletier. It's available for $98.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=13965

EFFECT: Limited by your imagination, this is an impression device built into an everyday-looking spiral bound notepad, approximately 3" x 5". Great for drawing duplications, pre-show, etc., this is more of a tool and not a fully formed routine, though a few simple bare-boned routines are explained to familiarize purchasers with the handling.

WHAT YOU GET: You get the Nomad Pad itself, along with a book of refill pages, enabling you to use the pro 240 times before you need to buy refills. You also get a the special marker, an attractive instruction booklet and a link to online tutorials.

QUALITY OF PROPS: I feel the Nomad Pad is first-rate. It's well built and I can tell a lot of care went into this. The packaging and the instruction booklet are both first-rate in terms of attractiveness. The Nomad Marker looks fine, though there is a slight 'bump' along one side that runs vertically along the pen. This serves a purpose as it is used to 're-set' the gimmicked pad. I can't imagine anyone would notice this, but it is there.

DIFFICULTY: I feel like a broken record for saying this all the time, but this, like so much of mentalism, is REALLY easy to use from a technical sense. Easily a 1 out of 10. The prop is a cinch to use, but like anything in performing, a familiarity of the handling will be necessary in order to allow your acting to come off as natural.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: This gets a solid 8 out of 10 from me. The descriptions are bare-boned but more than adequate. I freely admit that because the written instructions were so well-thought out that I haven't bothered, yet, to check out the online tutorials. If they are half as well-produced as the ad/demo video selling the prop, I'm sure they're worth it. Still, the written instructions are more than adequate.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE PROP: First, this thing handles like a dream. It functions exactly as it's supposed to and it looks natural. The actions in the handling all make sense - to me, no unusual or unnecessary movements. The impression itself is a tad blurry, meaning you may not want to use this for very detailed drawings - simple shapes, large-print numbers or letters in a word, etc.

I certainly don't have a problem with such restrictions. Compared to most impression devices, this is a god-send. The marker's size helps eliminate the idea of really tiny drawings and details. The impression itself is a nice bright beacon when you look at it...and it's reliable!

Years ago, I bought James Biss' Impressionable Mindboard and threw it away after 6 performances because the impression only revealed around 20% of the drawing. It was horrible. At times, I've also used the old-school carbon paper in a myriad of different forms and products and found carbon paper to be very unreliable...plus it's not normally good for real-time stage work!

I think this is what I like most about this product...it's versatility! You can use it live in a show and have instant access to the information in a way that makes sense, especially if you take a couple of seconds to prepare the pad for a "live" performance.

That being said, it's also suitable for pre-show work, too. Of course, with a device like this, a big question is...

"Is it examinable?"

My feeling is it is not, but then again, I feel if a performer has confidence and a relaxed attitude and a command of performance, people will not want to examine anything. In close-up, I do a version of Rising Card in which a spectator's signed card rises out of a deck that they shuffled...It's amazing and quite honestly, most of the time when I invite the person to shuffle the deck, they neglect to do so. My acting does not raise their suspicions and cause them to want to examine anything!

Same deal with this prop. It's nothing but a notepad, just like people see by the dozens when they're in Office Depot.

About the only thing I would change with this is make the pad bigger, so I could do a drawing dupe on stage. The person draws their drawing and takes the paper. I then draw my drawing. We hold up our drawings side by side and they closely match.

The size of the pad prevents this from being used on stage in such a clean manner, but it's a minor gripe.

I give this a rock-solid 8 out of 10. The impression, though incredibly reliable, is a tad blurry and I wish the prop was bigger, but overall, I REALLY love this.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Oh, did you really think I was going to review the Nomad Pad and NOT address the controversial ad video?

I'll give my 'nutshell' view and then expand on it.

In a nutshell...I don't give a crap about the video and neither should you.

To expand...it seems everyone in magic-dom has been screaming bloody murder about what a "stupid" (their words, not mine) idea it was to put that video out, "exposing" the product for everyone to see.

Are you friggin' kidding me??

First of all, the device is built into an innocent 3" x 5" notepad. It's meant to be invisible. Millions of notepads (normal ones) are in use every day. To hear people screaming about this - to me - means that from now til the end of time, anytime a mentalist takes out a notepad (of any kind) they are apparently in danger of someone, a lay person, having stumbled upon the Nomad Pad video online, and then, during the show, deducing that the little pad the mentalist is using is not in fact one of millions of pads on peoples' desks all over the world BUT in fact it MUST be one of the insidious Secret Magic Pads EXPOSED online.

What crap.

And the funny thing is, most of those people are not bemoaning the fact that magic dealers and companies sell thumb tips (one of the greatest inventions in all of magic history) in toy stores!

QUICK story...I was doing a middle school show. Teens. After the show, a teen comes up, raves about my show, and tells me he does magic and in fact, uses a thumb tip, but he's afraid of getting 'caught.' I told him to practice thoroughly and not to worry about it...and I used a thumb tip twice in my show.

When I told him that, it floored him because he couldn't believe I used thumbtips.

Enough on that track....here's track number two...magicians scream bloody murder over 'deceptive' ad copy and 'vague' videos...and now someone gives us the inside scoop so we can make an informed decision and what happens?

The same magicians call for the guy's head.


Save me your hate-emails. If you don't want to use the Nomad Pad because of that video, so be it. I used it the other day for a paid gig and everyone was floored by the effect.

Is there a chance someone could stumble across it and then say to me they saw something online that gave him the inside scoop on one of my tricks?

It's possible but I'm sure as hell not going to lose sleep over it.

NEXT WEEK: I take on Russian Roulette by Larry Becker.

Until next time,



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