You might have thought I forgot, but here it is! For the first time in video, I share with you my favorite things from 2013 as well as a few surprises.
I am a possessed, obsessed. I’m being tortured, haunted. When I close my eyes, it’s there. My friends, I’ve discovered TeeFury.
Each day they offer a t-shirt for 24 hours. Not just any t-shirt. No! T-shirts with amazing, creative artwork that more often than not takes on some geek favorites. There are SO many “Firefly” themed t-shirts that have rolled through there, and “Doctor Who”, tons of “Who”. Of course “Star Wars” has been there and even some “Monty Python”.
There’s the 24 hour shirt, then there is a small gallery of t-shirts available that have been brought back by votes. However, in order for that to be available, you have to see all the shirts you missed. Oh the stabbing pain as t-shirt after gorgeous t-shirt scrolls past. What could have been. And then there is the matter of not being able to afford to buy a shirt every day, let alone play catch up in the gallery!
How cruel the fates have been! Can’t the universe show me any mercy? Alas no. Once you have seen TeeFury you are trapped in its vicious, addictive, 100% cotton web.
Here’s how TeeFury makes their daily tees.
To learn more, to love, to shop; visit TeeFury!
“Magical Times: Empowerment Cards” by Jody Bergsma are simply magical. First I admired the box. It’s beautiful, made out of sturdy cardboard, and it has a hinged top that makes getting the cards in and out a breeze. Then there are the cards themselves. Bergsma’s art is fantastic. Her art is fantasy oriented and whimsical. It reminds me of one of my favorites, NeNe Thomas. Of course there is the empowerment part. The messages Bergsma imparts through her “Magical Times” cards are wonderful. They inspire but many of them also make you consider the future.
The book that comes with the deck includes a few spreads you can try with the cards. I keep the deck next to my lighted make up mirror. Each morning when I sit down to put on my lotion I shuffle and pull a card off of the deck. I try to keep its message in mind throughout the day. I would highly recommend the deck and this method of using it.
The “Magical Times: Empowerment Cards” by Jody Bergsma are a wonderful tool. A fun and beautiful deck that can easily be incorporated into your daily life.
A couple of friends of mine took me on a birthday field trip to Northshire Books in Manchester, VT. While there I found a hidden gem; a used copy of “Goddess Guide Me: The Oracle That Answers Questions of the Heart” by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber. It was published in 1992 by Fireside Books, a subsidiary of Simon and Schuster.
This is a truly unique oracle compared to others I’ve seen. It’s a cardboard book and each page is divided into three parts; a top, middle, and bottom. When the pages are together, they form beautiful images of goddesses from around the globe. That’s thanks to Amy Zerner who is known for her fabric paintings.
The divided page represents Head, Heart, and Home. There’s text on each section. The head is about mental qualities attributed to each goddess. The heart focuses on purely emotional qualities attributed to each goddess. The home section focuses on the type of physical actions associated with each goddess and reminds you that emulating those actions can help you attain your goal.
So here’s what you do. “Goddess Guide Me” comes with three 12 sided dice. A purple one for head, a blue for heart, and a black one for home. You roll them and the number tells you how many pages to flip in the book. If you roll a 5 on the purple (head) die, you turn five head pages. In this case, it gets the goddess Freyja. A 9 on the blue (heart) die gets Lakshmi. An 11 on the black (home) die gets Atlantia. That’s totally neat, right?
There is a companion book that comes with it that gives you instructions on using the oracle, insight into the goddesses, and rituals.
“Goddess Guide Me” is an amazing tool that seems as relevant today as I’m sure it was when it was published in 1992. What publisher is going to step up and help make this fantastic oracle set available again?
Some of you may remember that back in December 2011 I reviewed the unique divinatory set Tokens of Light by Orna Ben-Shoshan. I’m happy to say she’s back with “The AlphaBet for Lovers: Insights, Advice & Prophecies about Love and Relationships According to the Hebrew Alphabet”. If you were intrigued by “Tokens of Light”, you’re going to LOVE “The AlphaBet for Lovers”.
“The AlphaBet for Lovers” is a set of 72 small (when compared to tarot) heart-shaped cards. Each card has a letter of the Hebrew alphabet on it and according to Ben-Shoshan the Kabbalah attributes more meaning to these letters. A heart will have a beautiful piece of Orna Ben-Shoshan’s art on one side along with a number and the other side will have a short phrase that is associated with the Hebrew letter that is on the back. The set comes in a box designed to look like a book and with a pretty bag to carry the heart cards in.
Although the name says “Lovers”, “The AlphaBet for Lovers” is designed for examining relationships in general. Relationships between co-workers, parent and child, etc. are all fair game for examination. Readings are relatively straight forward. You reach your hand into the bag and mix the hearts while focusing on your question. Once you feel your hand is drawn to a heart, you select it, and by using the number on the front of the heart you can easily look it up in the companion book and learn its meaning.
And not too sound like an infomercial, but wait! There’s still more! If you go to her site you can also check out “The 9 Blessings: For Love, Health, and Success”. These are 9 Kabbilistic amulets on cards conveniently sized to carry in your wallet or purse. You could easily carry them in your pocket as long as you think you could remember to take it out before washing your clothes!
Once again Orna Ben-Shoshan has created an enchanting and unique divinatory set. To learn more, you can visit her site.
Since I just got done reviewing “The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: From Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations” by Claude Lecouteux I thought now would be the perfect time to take a look at “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” by Lisa Hunt. I know I seem to be near pants wetting excited over every tarot deck I review, but seriously you guys, “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” is incredibly impressive. How impressive? Incredibly.
I have to say, I think the masterful Mr. Claude Lecouteux himself would be impressed with the amount of work Lisa Hunt put into “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” because what you have here is a tarot deck where each card depicts a different spirit, ghost, or liaison between the earthly and spiritual realms from folklore and legend. So yes Lecouteux fans, all the subjects of his books that have been reviewed here on The Buffet are represented in this deck: The Wild Hunt (The Chariot), Vampire (The Hanged Man), Revenants (Six of Cups), and yes party people, even the Poltergeists from the last review (Ace of Swords).
I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I tell you that I would gasp with surprise and glee with each page turn of the booklet as a treasure trove of creatures and characters were revealed. La Llorona! The Flying Dutchman! Headless Horseman! White Ladies! Each entry has a brief description and bit of context along with a divinatory meaning.
The artwork is perfectly suited to the subject matter and despite the obvious darkness implied, Hunt brings beauty to most of the cards despite the specter of death the hangs around ghosts and spirits. I’m a fan of the Day of the Dead and I became quite smitten with Hunt’s rendering of it for the Ten of Cups.
And I was swept up by The High Priestess, who in the “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” is an Enchantress/Sibyl. Hunt’s text brings perfect understanding to what we see in the card.
The most famous oracle of Greek/Roman legend, the Sibyl of Cumae (Italy) guided Aeneus through the land of the dead and enabled him to return to the living. The Sibyl interweaves the energies of past lives and future events. She illuminates the scene where dream-like specters mingle with relics of the past. A pathway provides a passage to clarity and higher understanding. The sparkles indicate a divine presence.
What else can I say to convince you that “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” by Lisa Hunt is 100% amazing? How about even though I received a free copy to review I went ahead and bought a second copy so I could get it signed by the artist? Did I mention I found this deck incredibly impressive?
By JB Sanders
April showers bring …
So this guy works in his family’s used book store, and comes across the strangest things people have stuck in between the pages of the books. As the site puts it: “It’s happened to all of us: we’re reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover.” Fun and weird site.
With sunlight! They pipe it in.
Leonardo Da Vinci: Still the Man
There’s a new exhibition of Leonardo’s anatomy drawings going up this week, and it led to discussions of how accurate those drawings are, 500 years later. The answer? Pretty damned accurate. As one professor of clinical anatomy put it: “Leonardo’s image is as accurate as anything that can be produced by scientific artists working today.” See comparisons of Leonardo’s drawings vs computer renderings of 3D CAT scans.
Cool Things to do With Sand
And a Kinect 3D camera and a projector. The setup uses the Kinect camera to detect the height of the sand, and then calculates and projects a topographic map right on the landscape. Plus you can add in virtual water features, as well. Worth the watch.
Testing Mars in an Ice Cave
An Austrian ice cave, to be specific. Scientists tested a variety of things, including walk-about suits, robots and 3D cameras.
Now That’s a Ring
So this guy, a man who should be inducted into the Geek Hall of Fame, forges his own wedding ring. Sure, that’s fine, you say, nice craft skills. The guy has a forge in his own garage, cool. Now, for the Hall of Fame part: he forges his own wedding ring — out of a meteorite.
Bionic Eye Powered by Light
Who needs those nuclear-powered bionic eyes? This one is powered by light! Extra-clever bit: natural light isn’t powerful enough to drive the eye, so they use “eyeglasses” as light-concentrators to boost the power.
Wi-Fi Blocking Wallpaper
So French researchers have come up with a wallpaper that, with conductive ink using silver crystals, blocks wi-fi and only wi-fi signals — cell phones and other radio waves are fine.
2D Printed Loudspeakers
That’s right — not 3D, but 2D. Speakers which are printed using special inks onto paper. The uses are cool and terrifying (as with all good new scifi innovations): newspapers that shout at you, or wallpaper that plays soothing symphonic tunes. You want surround sound? How about the wallpaper IS your speakers?
You have to be a real astronomy nut to blow $400 on a moonscape-themed throw blanket, but man, it does look really cool. (Tip o’the Hat to the Bad Astronomer for posting this link & photo.)
Monolithic LEGO iPhone Charger
Fan-made 2001: A Space Oddyssey diorama and iPhone charger. Yes.
Kid in Germany solves centuries-old problem posed by Isaac Newton, the one about figuring out the path of a projectile under the effects of gravity — including air resistance. Yup! No frictionless void for this kid.
Zombie-Proof Condos Sell Out
Yes, that’s the exact headline of this article. Isn’t that just exactly the headline you want to read? These former nuclear missile silos have been converted into luxury condos, with a pool, movie theater, library, fitness room and their own independent power (solar and wind!). For only $2M, they were a steal, too.
Be sure to poke around their website and see conceptual drawings, debris-cleaning photos and some of the amenities planned.
Ice Berg Flips
Not a sight you see every day, unless you live in the right places, I guess.
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog: http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com
“The Hobbit Tarot” that is. Come on, stick around, the tarot is totally worth reading a few minutes more.
Now let’s get to the main event, “The Hobbit Tarot” by Peter Pracownik and Terry Donaldson. Readers may remember that all the way back in 2010 I was fortunate enough to review the “Imperial Dragon Oracle” that was done by Peter Pracownik and Andy Baggot. I spent some serious time lavishing praise on the art done by Peter Pracownik and mentioning that he did all the fantastic art for the collectible card game “Wyvern”. (You know, like I just mentioned here.) That trend of praise will continue.
Pracownik’s art is so enchanting that I had difficulty picking just a few cards that he illustrated to share. Believe me, it look serious work to narrow it down to five, which may be the most cards I’ve ever scanned to share for a tarot deck ever! I couldn’t help myself! Look at “The Sun”. What a beautiful, darling landscape.
Or what about the battle scene depicted on “Judgment”? It looks like it is right out of an ancient book of tales. I mean, if you imagined opening up an old, weathered, leather bound book of ancient tales of yore, that’s absolutely the illustration you would expect to see. Am I right, or am I right?
Along those same lines, say hello to the “Knight of Swords”. He would be the hero in the before mentioned illustrated book of ancient tales.
Now you can’t have Pracownik do art for you without there being a dragon! Thankfully “The Hobbit” has one.
My repeated commenting on how the artist could be illustrating a book of old tales leads me to believe that obviously this is why Pracownik is the perfect choice to do the art for “The Hobbit Tarot”. Tolkien’s work is essentially ancient tales.
Terry Donaldson drew on the rich mythology of “The Hobbit” when writing the accompanying booklet for “The Hobbit Tarot”. For instance “The Sun” isn’t just some random scene, here’s Donaldson’s thoughts on the card:
The road of life leads each of us through our respective Wilderlands. We see Mirkwood in the distance. The forest is where our Companions receive their initiations, teachings, and new skills; where they all become heroes of a sort, by confronting their fears and limitations. On the surface, everything looks so peaceful and welcoming. But we must be ready for the challenges and contradictions that life may throw at us as we move along the road that is our life journey!
Donaldson finds spiritual insight in “The Hobbit” that tarot lovers and Tolkien fans alike should appreciate.
Speaking of fans, I happen to love Wargs, the oversized wolves that appear in Tolkien’s work. So I couldn’t help sharing/boasting that there are two cards featuring Wargs in “The Hobbit Tarot”.
And just to prove I’m not a liar, here is a sneak peak at the movie “The Hobbit”.
I am so super fortunate and blessed to have received a review copy of “Playing Card Oracles Divination Deck” by Ana Cortez and C.J. Freeman from U.S. Game Systems.
As the name implies we’re not dealing with a tarot deck here, this deck is a standard deck of playing cards. I should probably go ahead and talk about C.J. Freeman’s art first because when you get the deck it is undoubtedly the first thing you’re going to notice. This is certainly the most beautiful deck of playing cards I’ve ever handled. I honestly find myself at a loss for words as to how to describe them. Freeman’s art draws me in and I find myself genuinely touched by the imagery of many of the cards. Although I have trouble articulating it, there is something in the symbolism that I find in some of the cards that seems to speak to me on some level, and obviously the beauty of many of the cards moves me. I find myself terribly sad that Freeman is referred to in the past tense on the bio card, since that means he is no longer with us. I felt real sorrow to discover his magical work and lose him at the same time. Let’s take a look at the magical art of C.J. Freeman.
With such rich artwork it could be easy to overlook the work of author Ana Cortez, but that would be a huge mistake. For as fantastical of a world Freeman created with the art on the playing cards, Cortez has woven an equally grand fascinating tale for the cards to tell. The suits each represent an element and have key concepts, the court cards represent people who play out events revealed by the pips (cards ace through nine), and each individual card has its own meaning. I wouldn’t call it easy or intuitive, but I would call it intriguing and beguiling. The companion booklet also includes a few different spreads to try with the cards.
With the deck came a card explaining that Ana Cortez has also written a full length source book called “The Playing Card Oracles” that serves as an excellent companion to the deck, and is illustrated by C.J. Freeman. That bad boy is already added to my Amazon.com Wish List.
I just realized how I can kind of explain my experience with Cortez and Freeman’s “Playing Card Oracles Divination Deck”. Remember the very first time you opened up your first deck of Rider-Waite Tarot Cards and thumbed through them? That feeling of glimpsing something truly mystical and unknown? That sudden feeling of boundless potential? That’s what I felt when I first open and sorted through the “Playing Card Oracles Divination Deck”. There is real magic in those cards, for those who take the time to learn to use them.
Not too long ago I received an email promoting several products, one of which immediately caught my eye. After visiting the company’s website I was convinced that this product’s creator was a freakin’ genius. Maybe not whoever first thought to put spiced rum in ginger beer level of genius, but still, pretty high up on the list.
I’m talking about FortuneKeeper. What is a FortuneKeeper you ask? Let me ask you this. How many of you have gone out to eat Chinese food, or had Chinese take-out or delivery, and after having your fortune cookie have found yourself with a fortune that you really liked and wanted to keep? And how many of you soon after, despite your best intentions, have lost those fortunes, or had them mangled in your pockets or purses? Yep, that would be me. Well FortuneKeepers are these fantastic looking necklaces, keychains, and zipper pulls designed to hold a fortune from a fortune cookie in a manner where it’s protected and you can read it! Genius!
Better still is the variety of designs. The looks range from feminine to masculine, elegant to casual, the kind of Asian designs you’d expect to street graffiti styles. Most of them cost $20 to $24. If anyone wanted to go shopping for me….
To get an idea of how the fortune is kept and displayed, they have this handy “how to” video on their website.
I just thought these were totally clever and really beautiful and/or cute depending on design so I thought I’d take moment to mention them to you guys and see what you thought. To learn more about FortuneKeeper you can visit their website.