Of books, ebooks, and the best of both worlds

I’m getting older. I know that I am getting older, due in large part, because people feel the need to remind me that I am getting older. I’m not sure why they feel the need to share that bit of information with me, but for some reason they do. At any rate, I am a books over ebook man.

It’s not that I dislike ebooks or ebook readers, but I prefer the look and feel of a book — or am I just old? I read ebooks all of the time on my computer so it really isn’t a technology thing. It’s just an old man’s preferance of books over ebooks.

Yes ebooks have their place, my favorite ebook program is Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/)  not just because it is free (yes, I am a cheap old man too) but it is an excellent program. In addition to Calibre, I use the Chrome addon to read my Amazon ebooks in the cloud. Having said all of that, I’ve spent enough time in Hospital waiting-rooms recently to see the advantage of an ebook reader.  So maybe this year?

After looking at this ebook cover, maybe carrying an ebook reader around wont be so bad. I really love this Verso Prologue Cover for Kindle. An ebook reader that looks like a book — who knew?

Review: Tarot for Beginners

Tarot for Beginners: A Guide to Psychic Tarot Reading, Real Tarot Card Meanings,and Simple Tarot Spreads
by Lisa Chamberlain

File Size: 1975 KB
Print Length: 138 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Wicca Shorts (January 28, 2015)
Publication Date: January 28, 2015

(Barry’s score 4 out of 5 stars)

Product description:

Everything You Need to Know about Reading Tarot Cards

Do you want to enhance your life by tapping into the wisdom of the Universe and your own intuition?

For centuries, Tarot cards have been used as a method of divination by those seeking guidance and direction. The cards have the power to offer hope, reassurance, and support to readers as they meander through the ups and downs of life. In fact, the Tarot have even been known to trigger previously unknown solutions to major dilemmas – whether you consider the message to have come from your own intuition, or more mystical sources.

Contrary to the popular myth, you don’t need psychic powers to read Tarot. All you need is a willingness to learn, time to practice, and the ability to hone and trust your natural intuition. Reading the Tarot is a combination of skills born from following instructions, listening to intuition, and making educated leaps of thought.

As complicated as it may seem at first, it’s actually a relatively simple process. Seasoned Tarot readers would say that it’s a natural habit – something that comes like second nature to them. You too can reach that level of experience and comfort with the Tarot, through practice and patience.

Tarot for Beginners

Tarot for Beginners was created to teach regular people how to work with the mystical Tarot cards and change their life for the better – not to mention starting a fascinating new hobby, and having fun while doing it!

This guide will provide you with everything a beginner needs to know about Tarot, including the most popular card meanings to get you started. Whether you’re using a “traditional” deck like Waite-Smith or the Tarot of Marseille, or a more specialist deck, the definitions included in this guide are relevant, and a solid starting point for a skill that you can carry with you for a lifetime.

Remember, though: nothing is set in stone with Tarot. Reading Tarot involves listening to your intuition; as you become a skilled reader, the card meanings might evolve into something more personal to you. That is the beauty of Tarot, as different readers interpret things in their own unique style. If you’re just starting out, though, this book is the perfect first step on your journey!

We will also dive deeper into the Tarot: you will learn about the history of Tarot, the Major and Minor Arcana, and the positions and meanings of the cards in some of the world’s most popular Tarot spreads.

In other words, Tarot for Beginners will teach you everything you need to start reading Tarot, today!

My thoughts:

It is what it it and it does it well….

Tarot for Beginners is just that, it is a simple ebook designed to give the novice a basic knowledge of Tarot. There is a step-by-step description of the card layouts and the card meanings. Chamberlain teaches in a warm, easy to understand fashion.

Tarot is an art, not a science.

She takes away a lot of the stress and confusing symbolism found in other books on the subject. “Remember to trust your intuition along the way. Don’t approach your reading  the way you’d approach a book report in school.”

By the way, she provides a link to download a pdf of Wiccan spells as a free bonus.

All in all, it is an excellent little ebook on the subject of Tarot. It is an ideal starter book for beginners and I highly recommend it. I give Tarot for Beginners 4 stars out of 5.

Something to get you in the Halloween mood from Schiffer Publishing

Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area

Pamela K. Kinney

Travel to Petersburg, Virginia, and the surrounding areas of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Prince George, Dinwiddie, and nearby Ettrick-Matoaca, Enon, and Chester to discover what spirits, monsters, UFOs, and legends await the unwary. Why are the Union and Confederate spirits still fighting the Civil War in the battlefields? Who is the lady in blue who haunts Weston Plantation House? Learn what the phantoms at Peter Jones Trading Post will do to keep from being photographed. Drink tea with runaway slaves still hiding on the top floor above the Blue Willow Tea Room. Are Edgar Allan Poe and his bride still on their honeymoon at Hiram Haines Coffee and Ale House? Why does the Goatman stalk young lovers? Meet the ghosts of Violet Bank Museum that greet guests at the house. Hauntingly active as they share space with the living, the dead refuse to give up their undead residency.

Size: 6″ x 9″ | 58 color images | Index | 192 pp
ISBN13: 9780764349423 | Binding: soft cover

Ghost Hunting in Michigan

Bradley P. Mikulka

Follow along with one of the oldest ghost-hunting groups in Michigan: the SouthEast Michigan Ghost Hunters Society (SEMGHS). Journey through 13 investigations of cemeteries, a comedy club, library, business, hotel, theater, private home, and an old prison. Find out what it’s like to have a ghost follow you home. Meet the spirits at the Purple Rose Theater and discover why they never left. Consider what is growling at Blood Cemetery and run with a black form seen at the Durand Union Station. If you have ever wanted to go on a ghost hunt, but found that you were too afraid, it’s time to put yourself right in the middle of some of the most haunted locations in Michigan. Read this book if you dare, but do so with the lights on!

Size: 6″ x 9″ | 28 b/w photos | 128 pp
ISBN13: 9780764349416 | Binding: soft cover

Seeking Bigfoot

By Michael Newton

Journey with cryptozoologist Michael Newton as he seeks Bigfoot in North America. BHMs (“Big Hairy Monsters”) have been called Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Oh-Mah, Skookum, Momo, Skunk Ape, and more throughout history, and the quest for these elusive beings has been reported and pursued from time immemorial. Read seven classic cases that put Bigfoot “on the map” and established the riddle of its existence in public consciousness. Then wander through 47 states and 6 Canadian provinces where there have been sightings since the year 2000. Meet Bigfoot hunters and learn methods employed in ongoing quests. Examine details of the debate considering whether Bigfoot should be killed (to prove the species exists) or if conclusive evidence may be obtained by other means. Discover physical evidence for Bigfoot’s existence, ranging from footprints to DNA sampling. Read about hoaxes and the creature’s portrayal in modern media and advertising.

Size: 6″ x 9″ | 82 b/w and color photos | 176 pp
ISBN13: 9780764348433 | Binding: hard cover

Vampire Evolution: From Myth to Modern Day

By E.R. “Corvis Nocturnum” Vernor & L. E. Carruba

Vampires are beings of myth: folkloric creatures who live off the blood of the living and have been recorded in nearly every culture around the world since the beginning of man. This work traces the evolution of the vampire, from its roots in ancient mythology to obscure folk tales and legends, leading up to when these foul beings transformed into the suave Byronic heroes that continue to influence the world’s view of the vampire today. It also examines key individuals in history involved in reshaping our concept of the creature. Popular culture is explored, along with the development of the vampire into the protagonist in plays and poems and novels. Sixty-one frightening images bring the topic right to your front door. Will you invite the visitor in?

Size: 6″ x 9″ | 61 b/w & color images | 144 pp
ISBN13: 9780764348419 | Binding: hard cover

Strange West Virginia Monsters

By Michael Newton

Join the search to examine reports of unidentified and misplaced creatures—known as “cryptids”—throughout the Mountain State, from its earliest history to present day. Included are such famous unknowns as Bigfoot; Mothman, harbinger of disaster; giant birds and snakes unrecognized by modern science; anomalous huge human remains unearthed statewide since the 19th century; “extinct” cougars that refuse to die; animals alien to North America, including lions, tigers, black panthers, kangaroos, and piranha; the ferocious “Dogman” and woolly, horned “Sheepsquatch”; freshwater cephalopods; and other creatures that defy classification. Wherever you reside or visit in West Virginia, phantom cryptids have been seen near your location—terrifying witnesses, baffling investigators, and monsters sometimes leave evidence behind to mark their passing through our world. Happy hunting!

Size: 6″ x 9″ | 82 b/w and color photos | 192 pp
ISBN13: 9780764349461 | Binding: soft cover


Strange days have found us

Strange days have found us
Strange days have tracked us down

Strange days indeed …

walkingamongus085515I neglected to post my latest “In my mailbox”. I received a copy of “Walking Among Us: The Alien Plan to Control Humanity” by David M. Jacobs PhD. That makes three books this month from publishers Weiser/Disinformation, and Pyr. I want to thank those publishers who were kind enough to send me something. Sometimes it feels like Christmas just walking to the mailbox — except for the damn Florida humidity.

I had an offer of a free t-shirt to talk about a smartphone app that deals with weight-loss. I replied to his email that I didn’t feel as though I could give a review of his app since I don’t own a smart phone (yes, I am the last person on Earth without one.) and I haven’t heard from him since. I guess that means no free t-shirt for me. I also received an email from Ted Cruz (one of his minions or spambots) offering to sell me an autographed copy of his book — no Ted — just no.

Mom has some surgery scheduled for Tuesday, next week. I feel like I have that hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles. I can’t seem to sleep perhaps due in part to that, but it is also August and I do not sleep well in the Summer. The Fall can not come soon enough for me.

Willy starts his Fall semester next week. He spent almost $500 on textbooks. Damn, that’s ridiculous. Gulf Coast State College should be ashamed of themselves for price gouging on textbooks.

There you have it, a little bit of rant, a weekly wrap-up, and an “in my mailbox”, all in one post. Have a safe weekend everyone.

As we run from the day
To a strange night of stone

In my mailbox: Supersymmetry … and more

supersymmetry081715The mailman was very kind to me today. He managed to jam two books into my mailbox (you know he isn’t going to walk to the door in the rain.) Last week, my neighbors held a yard-sale and the people who stopped blocked my mailbox. Needless to say, my mailman flew pass my box.  I can almost imagine him laughing as he drove pass. At any rate, I finally received my books.

The first in the batch is Supersymmetry by David Walton and published by the good folks at Pyr. This one will roll out September 1st in the States.

Ryan Oronzi is a paranoid, neurotic, and brilliant physicist who has developed a quantum military technology that could make soldiers nearly invincible in the field. The technology, however, gives power to the quantum creature known as the varcolac, which slowly begins to manipulate Dr. Oronzi and take over his mind. Oronzi eventually becomes the unwilling pawn of the varcolac in its bid to control the world.

The creature immediately starts attacking those responsible for defeating it fifteen years earlier, including Sandra and Alex Kelley—the two versions of Alessandra Kelley who are still living as separate people. The two young women must fight the varcolac, despite the fact that defeating it may mean resolving once again into a single person.

lovercraft081715I’m really in the mood for a good mystery. Let’s hope that this is something special. The other book is published by Weiser Books and written by John L. Steadman, “H. P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition: The Master of Horror’s Influence on Modern Occultism”. Sounds delightful! This one will also hit the bookshelves on September 1st.

Modern practicing occultists have argued that renowned horror writer H. P. Lovecraft was in possession of in-depth knowledge of black magick. Literary scholars claim that he was a master of his genre and craft, and his findings are purely psychological, nothing more. Was Lovecraft a practitioner of the dark arts himself? Was he privileged to knowledge that cannot be otherwise explained?

Weaving the life story of Lovecraft in and out of an analysis of various modern magickal systems, scholar John L. Steadman has found direct and concrete examples that demonstrate that Lovecraft’s works and specifically his Cthulhu Mythos and his creation of the Necronomicon are a legitimate basis for a working magickal system.

Whether you believe Lovecraft had supernatural powers or not, no one can argue against Lovecraft’s profound influence on many modern black arts and the darker currents of western occultism.

I am really looking forward to digging into these books.

That was what was in in mailbox … have a great day everyone!

Windows 10 will sniff for illegal games on your computer

When I became a “Windows Insider”, I knew that I was giving up a lot of privacy on my Windows 10 rig. However, many of you who have just clicked through your EULA may not know that you have given Microsoft an “in” to access your computer, sniff through your files, and block certain (pirated)  games. In addition to that, Microsoft can block certain hardware that it considers “unauthorized”.

Will they actually do it? I don’t know. I could see something like this as a PR nightmare for Microsoft.

Just a heads-up when you store a naughty pic, receive a game from a friend, or plug-in that turbo-powered cheating joystick, someone is watching you.

Living with Linux

Darth-Vader-PenguinOkay Linux-lovers and those interested in NOT-Windows, let me draw your attention to something that I think needs to be addressed. As some of you may know, Adobe Flash has some serious safety issues and I believe that it is something that needs to be removed from your computer. That being said, I would suggest the same thing to Windows users.

For Lubuntu key in …

Linux Lubuntu: sudo apt-get remove pepperflashplugin-nonfree

In addition to the removal of Flash, I thought that this would be a perfect time to post some of the linux pages that I enjoy. First, a couple of Facebook pages that I find both entertaining and informative:

In addition to these Facebook groups, I enjoy several Youtube pages:

Linux Help Guy: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZJGcgeKADhL0uVscQ25Sxg
AJ Reissig: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvmDAc3nDHJI8a6HrLG2NUw
Matthew Moore: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVTl…
Quidsup: https://www.youtube.com/user/quidsup
Infinite Galactic: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3jS…
Charlie Henson: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNP_…
Tostoday: https://www.youtube.com/user/tostoday
TheFrugalComputerGuy: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbZ8…
Ghost Sixtyseven: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCglk…

If you have a few Linux sites that you enjoy, please add them to the comments — I’d enjoy checking them out.

Exodus 16-19: A Stiff-Necked People

I’m really becoming a fan of Nina Paley’s work. Expect to see more of her work on Gnostalgia or click here (link) and visit her website for yourself.

Music: “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops
Animation, design, direction, everything else: Nina Paley

Exodus 16: 1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.