Northern California - United States
Posted: Oct 31, 2005 04:27AM
About Al Schneider
I live in Hopkins, MN, which is essentially in Minneapolis, MN. I am now 61 years old.
As a child, magic had not entered my life but for one event. At the age of 9, my mother took me and my brother to see Blackstone. I remember seeing all of those classics that magicians talk about today. This included the card productions, the cigarette productions, floating a woman, the floating light bulb, the dancing handkerchief and many more popular items. Past that, I thought little of magic.
At the age of 11, I liked to go to the library and get books. These included books about UFO's, World War I airplanes and physics. One of my favorite books was the ABC's of Relativity by Bertram Russell. At this age I was very conversant about Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. I was fascinated with nuclear reactors, rocket engines and anything that produced motion.
In general, school was a disaster. I was a poor student spending a lot of my time building and flying model airplanes. I was barely an average student. Even then I focused on college preparatory classes, for I felt I would go on to college. My family and those I knew urged me to take more general education classes. For some reason I always took on the tough stuff even though I rarely excelled. This meant I took classes like trig, geometry, chemistry and physics. Curiously, most classes were difficult except geometry and physics. I blew through those as if they were nothing. During high school I was also very active in the Civil Air Patrol. In my senior year I took a class called International Relations. Warren Stephens taught that class. He was a magician.
The magic began
Very near the end of the school year and shortly before graduating from high school, Warren performed a card trick for the class. He did a version of Gambler vs. Magician utilizing the glide. The next day I approached him about how the trick worked. He invited me after school to talk more about it. Eventually he invited me over to his house to talk magic. He loaned me some books on magic. From that point forward I was hooked on magic.
At the end of high school I wanted to go into the Air Force and become a pilot. This meant going to college and taking something like aeronautical engineering. When the moment came to decide on what action to take, I thought about me being in a uniform. That just did not make sense. I decided to get a degree in Physics.
As my grades were bad, I started going to a Junior College. I graduated from there and went on to a major university in downtown Detroit. All through my college days I practiced magic. After 10 years went by I had a B. S. in Physics degree. I also had a lot of experience at a wide variety of odd jobs. I paid my own way through school without borrowing money. I had cut grass, worked in a drug laboratory, substitute taught and was a carpenter among many other kinds of jobs.
During my first year of Junior College I was a caddy when I invented Matrix.
My first job after college was with Uniroyal as a tire engineer. While there I started programming computers. That essentially was to be my life long career. From then until now I have had many jobs programming computers. Quickly I became a consultant working on short projects for a variety of customers. My life consisted of working for some company from three months to a year. Then taking a long break of three months to a year. Often people noticed that I would be floating around magic circles for awhile and then vanish. The time between contracts allowed me to practice magic a lot. Then I would get a contract, during which I would be tied up 12 hours a day, almost every day of the week. The work could be very demanding. However, I was rewarded well for the time I put in.
During all of this time I was constantly buying computers as it aided my professional career. Heath Kit had sold a computer based on the Z80. I built that computer and wrote a word processor. I bought a printer that printed solid characters. With these two items I started publishing magic books. As the technology advanced I kept up with it buying a computer about every 4 years. Eventually, I decided to get on to the Internet. I felt I needed to do that to keep up with technology. Then I discovered how to get a domain name. At that point I decided to begin the World Magic Center web site.
About the Site
I dreamt of a site to which magicians could go and view a large volume of magic. At the time I had written a book on magic theory. I did not think a book on theory would be a good seller and, unless one is dedicated to selling many books, selling a book is not profitable. With the desire for a comprehensive web site and this book in hand, I created the World Magic Center web site. The idea was to start with several clips of magic and the book. My belief was that the material in the book was a neucleus for good magic. I intended to surround that material with magic that demonstrated the concepts in the book. Then as time passed the goal was to add to the site to make it a real showpiece in the world of magic. Hence the name.
The site was initially developed during one of my long breaks between jobs. Then contracts appeared and work on the site stopped. Periodically, between contracts, I would add to the site.
Right now, the computer business has taken a big hit and I have been unemployed for several years. I am also 61 years old and my employment prospects suffer because of that as well. I have had to sell a few books on the Internet to pay the rent.
The only reason I started selling things on the net is because my girl friend wanted to do some work for me. I suggested she enter Al Schneider On Coins into the computer. Well, she did. Then, since I had it in the computer, I captured the pictures electronically and put the book up for sale. Many of you bought it. It remains my best seller. I am not sure why.
An effort has been made here to open my doors and invite you to see what I am about and what I am doing. If you are curious about any of this I welcome your questions and perhaps the answer to a question will need to be put into this discussion.
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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