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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Brick 93 and one half (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

mplegare
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A little story, with a brick, for your edification. This is intended to be a portable sort of effect...

The old gentleman overheard us talking about taking the cable cars in San Francisco out to Fisherman's Wharf, and rolling past Lombard Street. When he chuckled, one of our group asked him what was so funny.

"Lombard Street... is considered one of the crookedest streets in the world, you know... it's that crooked because the hillside is so steep. If they straightened it out, people would careen down the slope and not be able to stop... but that's not what I was laughing about."

Just another barfly out to cadge a drink, says my friend Jim into my ear. But I'm a sucker for a good story, so I prompted him...

"What I was laughing about is that they paved that one stretch with bricks, over a thousand of 'em. And every time they do any road repair, or have to replace a pipe, they pull up the bricks, one by one, and replace 'em. They've numbered them all, you see, so they can put each one back into it's official historical location."

The old man reached a hand into is old trenchcoat and came up with a dark, reddish cube. "Except this one. When they redid the street in 1988... there was one brick that wouldn't fit back into place." He set it down on the bar with a *thump*. "Well, a half-brick, as you see. And some wag numbered it Ninety-three... and a half."

Sure enough, in big black numbers someone had written 93 1/2 on what looked like the 'bottom' or the brick. "According to the foreman, wherever this came from, it didn't go back into that spot when they put the street back together... mind you... there haven't been as many accidents on Lombard since that time..."

Jill's the 'believer' in our group. A little prompting from her made the old man size her up appraisingly. "Well... according to the survey team... it just didn't fit anymore. Some folks say the bricks on Lombard come from the old buildings that went down in the great quake of '02..." He pulled something else out of his other pocket, a little box which he set down on the bar next to the brick and opened. "This is my oldest tool, a plumb bob. See, I used to be a surveyor for the City back before I was an old man..."

(continued)

He pulled it out and showed us the old brass 'plumb' and a length of stained cord. "Just a weight on a cord... but when I tried, just on a whim, to check the 'pumb' on brick ninety-trhee and a half..."

He held his arm out, the plumb dangling from the cord, looking for all the world like an anthropomorphic building crane, "Here... tripods need three legs. You..." he pointed at Jill, then at me, "and you, hold on to my wrist. Now watch the bob..."

After a little shifting around we got the brass weight pointed, more or less, at the middle of the brick. Then... it started to twitch... "Restless energy in that thing..." the old man said, his arm steady as a rock, especially with our hands holding on to it. "Restless energy." The plumb swung in gradually increasing circles... "Street's better off with out that brick..."


---

Again, the method's simple for those with eyes that see, but I've also wondered... what if you could make the bob swing out to the edge of the brick... and *stay* there...

What do you think, sirs?
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Jonathan Townsend
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Great story/presentation.

Regarding that last question... it's been my experience that unlike the standard pendulum swing phenomenon, when it 'stays' there... something about the inverse cube law in action points folks (laymen) in the right direction.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
mplegare
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Indeed. That thought wandered into my head when I started looking at the 'magnetic pendulum' kits available at some of the local Discovery / Cool Science Toys shops...
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Gordon
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I agree that the "stuck" pendulum might not be very mysterious. But I love the story you've created, and it leaves me wanting to see a manifestation of the energy in the brick -- more so than just the "measurement" of it with the bob.

A devil's crystal teardrop comes to mind. Show the hard glass drop, use the handy brick to show that it can't be broken with force, yet as you gently hold the tear in your first (to protect yourself and others) and move it over the brick -- it shatters into pieces.
Nicholas
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Wow!! I love it!!! Smile
Lee Darrow
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Well, one could always try to move the plum off center and the pointer stays put... especially daunting with a brass plum bob.

Just a sneaky idea that would probably make an interesting dealer's item...

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
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http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
mplegare
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Wow... thanks for the brainstorming - this could build up into a nice little effect all right. I wouldn't have thought of the 'tears' at all (never having played with 'em myself). This is turning into a mini-show.

Another thought that came to mind would be the venerable tip-over block - after all, we're talking about earthquakes and 'restless energy' here...

Of course, as someone in this forum is fond of saying, any trick can be improved with a Glorpy.

*ducks and runs for cover!*
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Gordon
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If teardrops don't fit the bill, perhaps a keybending or PK effect that is "caused" by the restless energy in the brick.

Just more brainstorming...
mplegare
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A bending *something* would be a nice effect... maybe not a key... in keeping with the theme.. possibly a screwdriver?

Wait! Speaking of keys... wouldn't this make for a good place to break out Ye Olde Haunted Key?
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Gordon
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Hmmm. Perhaps the key could be tied in with the concept of the keystone of an archway. Brick, stone, see where I'm going?
mplegare
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Indeed. In fact... having gotten my hands on Docc Hilford's "Sign of Four", I'm pondering the potential of an imp bottle... if you can believe that Smile
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Lee Darrow
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Imp bottle... interesting idea, especially if done with one of the PK versions, where nothing needs to be added or taken away... maybe wrapped in leather, like an antique flagon...

Oh, mymymy! That has some sersiou possibilities!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
mplegare
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Forest Grove, Oregon
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*minor breakthrough* Ok. Taking a page for Docc Hilford's "Sign of Four", consider making a pendulum or 'plumb bob' out of an imp bottle.

Mind you, it lacks... pointiness. But ...
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
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