Archive for the Reviews and Previews Category

In The Beginning

Posted in Bookworm Tales, Call Me The Seeker, Doodle-a-day-oh!, It's In The Cards, My Inspirations, Reviews and Previews, Tarot Journey with tags , , , , , on 08/08/2010 by gwenguin1

In the beginning, when everyone had a Dreamtime, man was given the power of choice.  How wonderful this magic was!  A man could choose to hunt or not to hunt; a woman could choose to cook or not to cook.  Children could choose whether or not to obey their parents’ words.

Soon, everything was in chaos, for no one chose to hunt, cook or obey. The People everywhere were starving, naked, and wandering around lost to the power of choosing.

The Great Spirit looked down, and was sad.  This was not what He had imagined for his people.  He chose ones who had continued to choose to do what must be done, and He gifted them with understanding of the true power of choice. 

They were given pictures to help tell the tales, beginning with the fan.  Such a simple picture, to tell so much!

 Avery choice a destiny

 

Yes, this was influenced by Aboriginal Dreamtime images.

 

The fan is the beginning, when we are first gifted with the power of choice, but have not gained the wisdom of our choices yet. 

The Africans gifted us with this fan shaped destiny, at the end of every choice is a destiny, borne out by the choices that came before, and the lessons we have learned.

And so it is that all Tarot decks are about our choices; good, bad, or indifferent.  The choices we make, and the choices we do not make will all have an impact on our destiny.

The Major Arcana are the ‘big’ choices we make, and the Minor Arcana is the small everyday choices. 

In the Major Arcana we have the choice between love and lust (The Lovers and The Devil), self-destruction or self-loving care (Death), to follow ‘the way it has always been done’, or strike out on our own (The Hierophant), and to learn from our mistakes or not (The World and The Fool).

My Sister-Witch Melanie once said that everyone has 44 lives they live.  I commented that that is exactly the number of meanings to the Major Arcana; 22 cards X2 meanings (upright and reversed).

 

Old English Tarot

I feel as though I ought to hear "Greensleeves" being srummed on a lute!

 Now, as if I needed more, I have bought the Old English Tarot, which is a charming variant of the Rider-Waite, and the one that I sounded about 35 years younger than I really am when I saw it…

With a gasp and a “I must have them!!  I’ll worry about the bills later…” I held this new deck in my hands, and feasted my eyes on the cover of “Oracle of the Dreamtime”!

 

Way, way too cool!

Designed, illustrated by, and based on Oz’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Dreamtime the deck is a feast for any artist’s eyes, and the accompanying book is full of tales from the Dreamtime. 

Mum and I spent over an hour just filling ourselves with Dreamtime tales in the book; soon I’ll sit down and really explore this delightful addition.  And for anyone who is interested… this is deck number 55!

Living History

Posted in Everday Living, Old Deep Roots, Reviews and Previews, Stuff And Nonsense, You can do these! with tags , , , , , , , on 13/05/2010 by gwenguin1

 Below is a taste of living history- 2010 is the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express here in the US.

I  read a book many years ago, and many times called “Mustang-Wild Spirit of the West” , in the book “Wild Horse Annie” testifies before the US Supreme Court, that the Mustang, then being hunted for meat, was the only horse the Pony Express would use for the very difficult mountain terrain. 

The wiry, compactly tough little mustang was a descendant of the Andalusian horses brought here  by the Conquistadores, and then bred with horses that escaped or were ‘borrowed’ from white settlers during the days of the Wild West.

 
 

 
St. Joseph, Missouri - Where the Pony Express Began and Jesse James Ended.


 
 


Pony Express
Pony Experss
 

 


Relive the Excitement! Witness the 150th Pony Express Re-Ride.

If you missed the April 3, 2010, 150th celebration of the launch of the Pony Express, you won’t want to miss the National Pony Express Association’s Annual Re-Ride over the 1,966 mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from California, through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas to Missouri, June 6 to 26, 2010. The event commemorates the Pony Express of 1860-1861. This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Pony Express. The Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company carried letters and telegrams for 19 months to prove the Central Route through Salt Lake passable year round. The owners hoped to win a federal mail contract on that route. Pony Express history is preserved in the federally designated Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, in museums, Pony Rider monuments, books, and the annual re-creations by the NPEA.

Normally, this Re-Ride is a 10-day, 24-hour a day, non-stop event by over 500 riders and horses. In 2010 the Annual Re-Ride will divert to all daytime hours in most places. This gives the Divisions and other entities/communities a chance to hold a celebration. The mail will be carried by rivercraft from San Francisco to Sacramento before the start of the re-ride .

Each of the eight “Pony Express” states (California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri) will also celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Pony Express with events of their own, as well as, creating their own souvenirs.

The Re-Ride concludes on Saturday, June 26, 2010, at the Patee House Museum. In honor of the conclusion of the National Pony Express Association’s annual re-ride, at 10 a.m. the Missouri chapter of the NPEA will hold a colorful circa-1860 procession from the foot of Francis Street at the St. Joseph riverfront through downtown St. Joseph, past the famed Pony Express statue and original stables at the Pony Express Museum…ending with the arrival of the horses and mochila (mail bag) at the Patee House Museum, site of the original Pony Express headquarters. In a moving ceremony, commemorative letters carried from California will be turned over to the US Postal Service for delivery in St. Joseph-just like in the days of the Pony Express! Admission to the Patee House is $5 for adults and $3 for students; Admission to the Jesse James Home is $3 for adults and $1.50 for students, www.ponyexpressjessejames.com; (816) 232-8206.
 
St. Joseph, MO, has created a PX150 Sesquicentennial Facebook Page full of information happening around St. Joseph during 2010 for this anniversary year. Click HERE for additional information about the history of the Pony Express, 2010 Pony Express Sesquecentennial Event Calendar, and FREE downloads for your mobile phone.

 

 

 

Quick Link

 

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Deja-Voo-Doo-wop

Posted in Everday Living, Family History, Hestia's Hearth, Misspent Youth, My Inspirations, Old Deep Roots, Reviews and Previews, The Moversd and the Shapers with tags , , , , , , , , , on 03/05/2010 by gwenguin1

My brother Matt and I went shopping this weeekend, off to the record and junk stores.  We always have so much fun doing this, showing one another weird vinyl we thought had died a well-deserved death many moons ago.

This time, however it was all cool stuff we found.  I only bought 1 new album, but I bought almost a dozen albums.  The one I clasped to my chest, ready to race home that very minute and play it, loud, on my stereo; and to he-double-toothpicks with anyone else’s feelings.

I know Mum wouldn’t mind, and I soon discovered that Matt got excited about it too.  He said he has never seenh it in all of his years of music shopping, and this was the first time I’d seen it.  I kept looking at the album again, so afraid it wasn’t what it was.  Finally, 36 hours later, I sat down to play and record it. 

Not more than three bars into the first side I was covered in gooseflesh, caught in a flashback to childhood that is still so clear. 

Mom and I went to the movies, just her and I, it was a special treat because of the orthopaedic shoes, leg braces, and spacer bar I was required to wear all the time.  This was supposed to treat the too-short muscles in my feet and the pigeon-toe’d-ness.

We sat almost in the very fromt, and there weren’t a lot of people at the theatre, but there were enough to make me more uncomfortable than I already was, on a picky, smelly theatre seat.  I was settled like a wee Princess with a small soda and candy, and my legs straight out in front of me wearing a dress of all things!!

At  last, the previews had finished and the lights faded completely away as “Fantasia” began.  I was so lost in the music and animation that I forgot my soda and candy, I forgot having to wear a dress, and I even forgot the leg braces and other equipages holding me still.

Most of the animation was so right, even the “Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor” by J. S. Bach, the free-form, pre-LSD trip psychedelia had me enthralled.  I fell in love with the centaurs and dancing crocodiles, and delighted in the dancing thistles, and the slow grace of Walt Disney’s fish.  To this day, I doodle my version of those fish, and don’t really think about it when I do it.

Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”  was well paired with Disney’s animation for it, and almost impossible to look away from.

My two top clips were “Night on Bald Mountain” by Moussourgsky, I thought the devil was nicely scary, yet a devil that wouldn’t give us chillens bad dreams.

My #1 All-Time favourite was “The Sorceror’s Apprentice, but, as charming as Mickey was, and as delightful as the tale was, that wasn’t what I saw, then and to this day.  I see bears, of all kinds, brown, black, polar, grizzly; adult and cub romp in my imagination.

The most awesome thing about listening to part of “Fantasia” was that I remebered what wonder felt like, and how from the first time I saw this film my most secret dream was to create my own  version of this film, I have the story, the music, the desire, the only thing I don’t have is the eyesight.

There isn’t a durn thinag I can do about the eyesight, I’m so blind I don’t dare drive.  BUT>>> I am not going to sit around feeling sorry for myself, I can still doodle, read and write (which I was never supposed to be able to do), sew, crochet, embroider, many other things that bring me joy.

What I can do with that dream is see it in my mind, and then write it down, and hope that one day a patient artist will make this dream a reality.  So that I can sit in another theatre, chair, world, and see my dream up on the big screen, and feel that same sense of wonder.

A Film Worth Seeing

Posted in Everday Living, Reviews and Previews, Scaddy Kiddies, Stuff And Nonsense with tags , , , , , , , on 20/03/2010 by gwenguin1

Last Friday I saw a film on the Chiller Channell  that I spent the next four days raving to Mum about.  The day after that Matt found it at Bookmans’ and had them hold it until we had the money to buy it.  We paid what we felt was a tad much for a used DVD, $12 US.  It is worth every penny though. 

The story was chilling, the sets and costumes were perfect for the era, 1928-32,  I fell in love with the cars and the sets.  All those high-ceilinged rooms, with ice boxes, hand-tatted lace and those beautiful old radios.

The characters were all believable, and so three dimenbsional, from the main character- the infamous child-killer and cannibal, Albert Fish, to the police officers at the missing persons bureau.  The actor who portrayed Albert Fish was amazing, he could say something as simple as “I’m starving.” and send chills down your spine.

Individual scenes stand out, like the one when Albert Fish kidnaps Grace Budd, everything else, people, clothes, buildings, streets, even the light seems greyed and dirty, except for the ill-fated Grace, clad in her snowy, pristine Confirmation Dress, with perfectly white hat, gloves, stockings and shoes.

Later, Albert is seen cutting a piece of meat from Grace’s remains and sniffs it in a transport of gustatory delight.   The actor portraying Albert Fish manages to make a cheerful old man whstling as he worked as a labourer, and buying candy for neighbours’ children someone utterly terrifying, to the point his voice alone can send chills down your spine.

Everyone from the producers to the behind-the-scenes-that-aren’t-listed people did excellent jobs.  This is a film that can be watched more than once and you will see things with subsequent viewings that you missed before that  make the film one worth buying.

I Have Found My Way In!

Posted in Blogging Memes, Bookworm Tales, Call Me The Seeker, Hestia's Hearth, It's In The Cards, My Inspirations, Reviews and Previews, Soul Food Cafe Fun, You can do these! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 06/03/2010 by gwenguin1

Having learned from previous Journeys with Mme. La Enchanteur that doorways to Lemuria lie somewhere between the subconscious mind and the imagination (shades of “The Twilight Zone”!) I closed my eyes to find my doorway. I fell asleep and my doorway opened wide, to a High-Def, Wide screen vista of Lemuria and her history.

I dreamt of a small village, a few talented, hardy individuals carving out a niche in Cyberspace for themselves. The first tenuous strands attached to the World Wide Web, and sent out more tendrils. Other, like-minded adventurers follower the connexions to their source, and the village grew.

More Webs stretched ‘round the globe, and now connected hearts, minds and Spirits. The village planted Dream Seeds, and grew Secret Gardens to rival the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The villagers each built their own Castles in the Air and saw their dreams gain substance. Soon the village began to have a tourist trade, with people from the world over coming to see the wonders in the village and carry the word of the village further.

I came to join this village and wondered what my place in this magick should be. No sooner had I thought this than I saw a place, from deep within the fertile earth of my imagination, a place of birth and immortality. The village gathered round this place of sunlight, constant blossoms, and the smell of ripening fruit. Each member had their own time of labouring, and giving birth to children of great beauty. As each new life was begun, so many members of the village cheered and exclaimed with joy, that soon the village was a bustling city and still growing.

My place in the village, and one purpose of the village was that, to be a nursery to talent, ideas, and growth, not only of mind and imagination, but also of Spirit and ideals. The village is also a place of great change, new members would stagger in, sore wounded and weary of Spirit and discovered that there would be support and guidance through every step they would make from now forward.

How we each make the journey along our healing road is different for every person, as it ought to be; yet we all know that others have been there and others will follow behind us. We have been gifted with the most precious knowledge of all. We are not alone!!

I hold the bag Mme. La Enchanteur has gifted me with, it has such weight, and the energy contained in such a wee package, pulsing with the life of creativity. In it are so many tiny tools to use in my travels. And a deck of Tarot Cards, unlike any other deck I had in my collection.  The Packet of Dream Seeds I return to Mme. La Enchanteur, I have been in the village long enough to have my own Dream Seeds to carry with me.

“The Rumi Tarot” created by Nigel Jackson, based upon the teachings of the Sufi scholar Rumi, full of mysticism, deep wisdom and ageless beauty. The Fool is, of course the beginning, and he is an innocent young man, unprepared for, and unaware of the dangers ahead of him on his journey.

At The Baginning

"Be foolish, so that your heart may know peace."

The inscription at the bottom intrigued me, “Be foolish, so that your heart may know peace.” Foolish, the word has so many negative connotations. Someone that is stupid, naive, unaware of what greases the wheels of the world.

Having done the Tarot for over 35 years (O My Gods!!) I know that none of those are what the Tarot’s Fool is made of. In the Tarot the Fool is someone who is innocent, and does not look either backwards or forwards, someone overflowing with trust and optimism.

Here a leopard accompanies the Fool. Instead of asking why not a dog, like so many other Fool Cards in the Tarot, I asked why a leopard. My first thought came from the Queen of Wands in the Thoth-Crowley Tarot Deck.

The Queen wears flowing locks of reddish brown hair and is accompanied by a leopard. Legend has it that once upon a time the Queen wore long shining black hair and her companion was a panther. They were purified by their troubles and travels and the queen had flowing golden locks and her panther became a lioness.

The Queen looked back over the path she had travelled and her heart was so moved by those people that were still struggling that she chose to remain where she was instead of continuing on her path, so!  her hair became reddish brown and her constant companion wore the dark spots of a leopard as it too chose to stay and help.

Perhaps this is why the leopard instead of the dog is by the side of the Fool, to be a helper and guide to the Fool.  Or perhaps the Leopard is A Fool from a Previous Journey, who joyously partners the fool.  Together they may symbolise that we are at once The Fool and The World. 

Hrmmmnnnnhhhhh… that sounds like a whole ‘nother post, for another day, perhaps even an author other than myself!!

My Shopping List of Art Supplies

Posted in Blogging Memes, Doodle-a-day-oh!, Everday Living, Reviews and Previews, Stuff And Nonsense with tags , , , , , , , , on 29/01/2010 by gwenguin1

I get to go shopping for new art supplies next week and I would like to know what kind of colored penciles art the best.  I have used prisims, are there better ones out there?  What is the best kind of markers?  Where is the best place to buy these? I do mostly odd, unusual type stuff, especially faces, but not real-looking,  more cartoony.  I mostly have sharpies and cheap markers.  What else can you not live without for drawing supplies?  What about watercolor penciles.?

Thanks for the help,

Carolyn H.

One of the ladies from Soul Food sent out these questions earlier today, and I thought the wisest answer would be on my blog, so she can add it to her favourites amd refer to it at any time.

First, I am partial to the Prismacolors for sharp-edged colouring, they hold the point well, and the colour can be applied evenly, and will blend a bit with application of a blending stick.  Granted the less ‘forgiving’ a medium is the more I like it.  The Crayola coloured pencils are good for laying down a base colour layer to put your details over.  And I would recommend a can of Workable fixatif, as well as some fine sandpaper to keep your Blending Sticks clean and pointed.

Markers are sadly, limited and limiting.  Because they dry so quickly, they don’t make a uniform layer without a great deal of poring over, and working in a demented degree of pointillism; there  is not much ‘blending’ that happens, just some bleary mushy-paperness.  They could work well with a dry-paper watercolour work.

I have Sharpies, and they are as good of a watercolour pen as your going buy.   They have a lovely shelf life, as well as tons of tint, and blend well with other media, i.e. watercolour and pen-and-ink.  Again we’re talking about the dry paper watercolour work.

I keep a range of charcoal and graphite pencils, there don’t seem to be too many producers of quality ones out there, I have been using  General’s ‘Kimberly’  for over 30 years and I have very little problem getting what I want out of them.  I also keep a broad selection of coloured chalk, the wee pillars of charcoal in all of the  B values, lots of black and white charcoal, and the graphites in a range of H values.  Again, blending sticks, sandpaper, and Workable Fixatif is a must.  That gives you a non-smudge base for adding details.  When I do pencil work I add a spray of fixatif up to five or six times before I say, “Enough.”

My #1 tool for drawing is my Conté coloured charcoal pencils.  They are a tad delicate so I don’t consider them portable, but they can stay home and keep on doing what they’re wonderful for, detail work on a coloured chalk base.

Watercolour pencils… Watercolour is actually my favourite media.  I have played with watercolours for over 35 years and I am totally committed to Rexel Derwent watercolour pencils.  They’re pricey, but the investment shows in the quality of your finished product.  They work excellently with the tubes of watercolour paint, and have the most amazing colour, not smudgy or murky, but clear and consistently the same colour.  I have been using my present set for about 20 years, and I only need to replace two or three of them.

One thing to never skimp on, what you are putting your artwork on.  Your work won’t looks its best if it is on corasible bond typing paper.  I like a softly ‘toothed’ watercolour paper for watercolours and acrylics, and real canvases for oils.  Nothing else has the right feel for me.

Ialso keep an old fashioned fountain pen with a variety of nibs in sizes from Crowquill to Extra-Bold Calligrapher’s and a bottle of India Ink.  I enjopy the confidence one must have to work in ink.  Good ink does not erase or get covered over well, if at all.

As far as where to buy them, any art supply or crafting store should carry all of these goodies.  I have found a few gently-used goodies at second-hand stores, but not enough to count on it as a source.  I have found the drawing charcoals, charcoal pencils, and coloured charcoals at Wal-Mart, and I’m sure it could be found in most of the department Stores.

A New Way to Listen

Posted in Everday Living, Misspent Youth, Reviews and Previews, Stuff And Nonsense, The Soundtrack Of My Life with tags , , , , , , , , , on 12/12/2009 by gwenguin1

I know Christmas hasn’t arrived yet, but my Mum has given me one of my gifts early, actually my brother and I both got the same gift, and we got it early.  Anyone who has read my babbles for any time knows that my family are audio-and-videophiles, Matt and I have walls in our room that are pretty much filled by our stereo and television systems, which are hooked together via our DVD players.

The gift we both got was a new turntable for enjoying our vintage and new vinyl, this one however connects to a pc as well as to a component stereo system; I can hardly wait to do that- be connected to both!  

We got our hands on the Ion TTUSB10 from Costco.  This is the second time we have found a technical toy at Costco about two years before it is advertised to the general market.

I first checked the sound reproduction through my pc, and that is surprisingly good, and full of the depth and breadth usually reserved for CD players or turntables connected to stereos.  Granted my pc has a pair of Altec Lansing speakers for pc with a subwoofer connected to it. 

The Ion turntable’s performance and sound quality is close to the same as my other turntable, a Technics SL-Q200 that has been my workhorse from the early 80’s through today.

I have been favourably impressed by my new turntable’s ease of use and installation.  Less than an hour from the time I opened the box, I had it connected to my system and ready to go.  Unfortunately the hour had already grown too late to play with settings, so the next day I went at it again, with a refreshed mind, and changed the necessary settings. 

I then took the time to register the turntable and software, which includes I-Tunes. And found that the only way you will get left and right sides when you record is to register the software.  So… fully registered, and working in stereo I spun my first platter.

What did it sound like?  Matt popped his head in my room and went to Mum to tell her, “It sounds like a stereo Ma!!  Yeah, that’s from Gwen’s computer!!”.  I was sitting there with shivers on my arms because the sound wasn’t at all expected.

I had heard that the pc turntables offered near-Mp3 sound quality.   The sound quality I got was closer to DBx sound reduction to a metal cassette. The I-Tunes software converted all of my music to their format, and that improved the sound quality of all previously recorded music whether in Mp3 or WAV format.

Now, I’ve already talked about vinyl being back into vogue, and the difference in sound, so we don’t need to cover that ground again.  What I do want to talk about is where I get some of my best vinyl from, there is a series of stores across the Valley and beyond that sell quality new and used vinyl, CDs and DVD’s as well as some of the neatest extra goodies you’d want to find.

That is Zia  Records, with locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.  The Zia we visit regularly is at Dobson Rd. and Chandler Blvd..  Of all of the record stores we frequent, this store and location boasts the friendliest staff, the widest selection, and great offers.  They also have an E-Zine that I subscribe to.

They have in stock, replicas of the Leg Lamp from “A Christmas Story”, posters, books on music, and exotic incenses to match your every mood, and gifts for music lovers of all ages.  I think they are the only place that one can find Beeman’s Gum (remember that one kiddie-ohs?).

So, if you’re in the Valley of the Sun, and you are looking for some awesome vinyl, or CDs hit your nearest Zia records to find what you’re looking for and more.