Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Classic Cartoons - This Has Got To Be Somebody's Drug-Fueled Nightmare

"Swing You Sinners!" made by Fleischer Studios in 1930.

There's an interesting sketchy vibe to this one that I didn't expect to see.  But then, it's not a surprise that it wasn't more polished, as it comes across like they made it while on a seriously bad trip.

Enjoy?






Monday, September 17, 2012

Flowers of Love

Lo Scarabeo's Flowers of Love cards cover a cross-section of flower meanings and symbolism from cultures all over the world:  Ancient Greece, Northern Europe, Eastern Asia, etc.  I was given this deck as a gift, and was excited to have it, because I thought it would be a handy reference tool for flower symbolism.  But unfortunately, no.  It's still pretty cool, but really, some of the references are so obscure or plain not-that-useful that I'll still go online to look up flower meanings when I need them.   For example, the meaning given for the peony is "Forbidden Thrills"...




...based on a Chinese legend about the peony defying an empress who ordered all the flowers to bloom on her birthday.  So according to the card, the peony represents rebellion and exciting defiance.  But this reference is so out-there, even when I looked up Chinese peony symbolism, it's rarely mentioned at all.  A lot of the other cards have similarly baffling legends associated with them, like the columbine card....




...which references what appears to be an Italian legend revolving around a couple named Teodogene and Rutibrando, who were part of a Germanic group that settled in Italy in the Middle Ages.  Wow.  See what I mean?  The very definition of "obscure".

Some of the other cards:






I imagine that this deck wasn't meant to be used for anything other than the specific sort of divination made up by the authors, as the included booklet gives detailed instructions on how to do readings with the cards.  But, personally, it's hard for me to see real meaning in cards that describe things that have almost nothing to do with anything I can actually connect to or have even ever heard of.  Also, the Victorian Language of Flowers is so well-known and entrenched, if you were to use this deck as a tool to help you choose which flowers to give to someone, you could run into trouble.  For example, the most common symbolism for orchids is based around purity, refinement, and luxury, which is why it's usually considered a nice one to give to your mother.  According to the card above, though, giving someone an orchid basically means "I wanna sex you up!"

Sooo....yeah.  Anyway.  If you'd like to use this deck to do readings with, and are happy to follow the exact meanings and instructions given in the included booklet, then you're good.  As always, these are only my personal opinions, and your mileage may vary.  It's not that I think this deck shouldn't exist or anything, I just think I'll go look up a reliable Victorian Language of Flowers reference and be on my merry way.


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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A Justice League For People Who Aren't Into Superheroes

I spend every Friday night at the local comic shop, hanging out while my son and boyfriend play in a weekly Magic: The Gathering tournament.  (For long-time readers, yes, I quit playing months ago.  I still think it's great, but every new set release drives the game into more and more ridiculously complicated territory.  I still have no idea what the hell "cloud shift" does.)  Anyway, as long as you're a person who enjoys bright colors and fantasy themes, and who isn't, you'll never be bored in a comic shop.  Lately, while the boys play in the tournament, I've been particularly distracted by the DC rack, as there is a lot of interesting stuff happening there these days:  good art, good story ideas, and good writing.  I'm already religiously following the Before Watchmen collection of titles. All of the controversy should be put to rest on that front, in my opinion, by the way.  Every title in that group is excellently done.  The only one that seems kind of pointless is Dr. Manhattan, because his backstory was already thoroughly covered in the original.  But anyway....

Last Friday night, I decided to try Justice League Dark.  I've been eyeing that title for months.  At first, what I could glean from the covers alone kind of confused me.  I assumed from the name that it must be an offshoot of Justice League, probably involving peripheral superheroes who never came out from under the looming shadows of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc...  I was sort of close.  Justice League Dark involves a group of established DC characters, some of which have, indeed, been involved with the Justice League, who have been commissioned by the government to deal with paranormal issues that fall outside of the realm of expertise of the average superhero.  The team is made up of magicians and sorcerers, a ghost, a vampire, a shapeshifter....and the stories involve ancient magical objects, demons and tree gods etc, and lots and lots of magic-based battling.

If you're interested in getting started with this title, an excellent place to begin is Issue #9:




At this point in the series, a new story arc begins, and new team members are introduced.  You don't have to go back to #1 to understand what's happening.  This particular story (which is still ongoing) has pedigree, as well:  Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic series is directly referenced.  The plot revolves around it, in fact.

Justice League Dark's artwork is very high-quality, at least for this story arc, anyway.  I hope it stays that way.  Mikel Janin has a talent for facial expressions that especially stands out.  My favorite example of this is Doctor Mist, whose face beautifully broadcasts the sadness and loss driving every decision he makes.  The layouts are also amazing:


Click to embiggen!

Click to embiggen!

I'd love to see more people get into this comic, if only so that DC doesn't cancel it and make it impossible for me to collect it long-term.  Comics are awesome, people!  Just as good as regular books, and a whole hell of a lot more colorful!  Support your local comic shop!


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Royo Dark Tarot





Another excellent Royo deck, though I wouldn't dare use it for one of my Tarot Days.  It's pretty deliciously risque.  Some of the cards are even kind of shocking.  Definitely a deck for grown-ass adults. If you like the darker aesthetic, this deck is for you.  It's full of demons and vampires and such, and some of them are doing things with big-boobied ladies that you sure as hell don't see in everyday society....

Yet again, the cards are flimsier than I'd like, but oh well.  The artwork is worth it.  Royo does things with costumes, tattoos/body paint, jewelry, and color scheme that proves he deserves his top dog status.  He seriously blows Frazetta out of the water.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Steampunk Tarot

I've finally got it in my hot little hands!  The Steampunk Tarot!






This is a fabulous deck on some fronts, not so fabulous on others.  The high-quality artwork, coherent theme, and coppery colors are all beautiful, but the common problem of too-thin paper and too-slippery laminate rears it's ugly head here.  I'm afraid to properly shuffle these cards, should they end up chipping and peeling along the edges.

Oh well.  It's still one of the best decks out there right now, art-wise.  Highly recommended for collectors!


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

101 Songs - Get Away, Run Away, Fly Away!

I could not get into Nightwish when I first heard them, but they grew on me over time.  Especially this track.  Fourteen minutes of pure insane epic wild Finnish orchestral metal!  This song can only be properly played VERY VERY VERY LOUDLY.

Nightwish - "The Poet And The Pendulum"



Monday, August 06, 2012

Superhero Dodecahedron

I run a blog for my local comic shop, and while trying to think of something to post today, came up with this:


Click to embiggen!


Classic comic heroes of DC and Marvel!  Instructions for building (with photos!) are over at the blog linked above.

Enjoy!

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Thursday, August 02, 2012

August 2012 Desktop Calendar

This month's desktop calendar, featuring The Wanton, from Edward Gorey's The Fatal Lozenge.  Enjoy!


Click to embiggen!

August Full Moon - Sturgeon And Blue

I'm running behind this month!  Last night was August's Sturgeon Moon, so named because the northern tribes were able to catch sturgeon in the Great Lakes most easily during this time of year.




Luckily for me and my tardiness, August has two full moons this year.  On the 31st, we'll have a Blue Moon!




Here's a link to an explanation of the Blue Moon and how we came to use the phrase:

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/when-is-the-next-blue-moon


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Monday, July 02, 2012

July Full Moon - Buck and Thunder

July's full moon is going be tomorrow night (July 3rd).  It's referred to as the Buck Moon, because this is the time of year when the antlers of male deer start to push through their foreheads.




This month's full moon is also referred to as the Thunder Moon, because of the frequency of thunderstorms this time of year.



Queen of Cups

Just some cool Queen of Cups cards:


Lord of the Rings Tarot

Tarot of Durer

Halloween Tarot

La Corte Dei Tarocchi

Kat Black Golden Tarot

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Queen of Wands

Just some cool Queen of Wands cards:

Tarot of Mermaids

Renaissance Tarot

Labyrinth Tarot

Vaudeville Tarot

Celtic Tarot

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Monday, June 18, 2012

July 2012 Desktop Calendar

A bright, sunny desktop calendar for July!  Enjoy!


Click to embiggen!

The Robin Wood Tarot

The Robin Wood Tarot is a popular deck.  My first exposure to it was in the pages of the excellent "Tarot Spells" by Janina Renee.  It's a good deck...very solid...but I run really hot and cold on it.

On one hand, I find the images colorful, and full of woodsy mysticism.  But, on the other hand, I find the figures lifeless.  A lot of them look as if someone took photographs and then roughly sketched over them, which would be fine except for the faces.

I have to say, though, the Robin Wood deck does have my favorite representation of The Magician that I've seen so far:


That manly beard!  Those manly antlers!  The pillar candles, the dagger, the wand....everything in this picture screams "TESTOSTERONE!"  The only thing that would make it more male-centric would be to have the dagger depicted sitting inside the cup.

The rest of the deck is made up mostly of near-identical rehashes of Rider-Waite cards, but some of the Robin Wood ones look better than the originals:



I will also give this deck props for taking a different path on the Death card:



The Robin Wood Tarot is a perfectly good beginner deck, and a good deck for anyone who's looking for an earthier, more colorful version of the Rider-Waite.  There aren't many original ideas in the images, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, I suppose.

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The Labyrinth Tarot

Here's a look at Luis Royo's Labyrinth Tarot.  I tend to like most of Royo's work, so this one is an automatic win for me, but I also like the dark, mysterious tone.  This is a great deck for doing spooky readings by candlelight....a good one for Halloween, now that I think of it:





The Labyrinth Tarot is as easy to use as any other Waite-Smith style deck.  It's plenty sturdy, as well, so shuffling it with gusto isn't likely to rip the corners or put creases in it.  I especially like the Strength card in this deck.  So many decks don't represent Strength very well, with images of women standing quietly next to docile lions, or reaching happily into a lion's mouth as if they're checking its teeth for cavities.  The Labyrinth Tarot shows a woman actually getting into it like she's going to rip that lion's jaw off.

Here's a link to a site that shows off a lot of images from this deck, as well as other work by Luis Royo:

http://www.luisroyofantasy.com/en/index.php?page=home


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Sunday, June 03, 2012

June Full Moon - Strawberry


June's full moon will be Monday the 4th this year.  It's pretty universally referred to as the Strawberry Moon (in North America, anyway), because, simply, June is the month for strawberries.


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Friday, May 11, 2012

The Astrological Oracle

I don't tend to collect oracle cards, but this set was too beautiful to pass up.  I'm going to give anything published by Lo Scarabeo a chance, one way or the other, anyway.  Their taste in material is stellar.

This deck is called "The Astrological Oracle" and it features artwork by Antonella Castelli in the art nouveau style.  Here are the cards.  It covers the planets, the zodiac, and the moon and sun:







You're supposed to lay out the cards in a circle, and use the included instruction booklet to learn what each planet or sign of the zodiac will mean in regard to your situation.  It gets pretty technical....you have to figure out which influences matter in accordance with the way the cards are laid out, and there's all kinds of stuff with houses, and symbols, and planetary positions....  Way too complicated for me.  People are always surprised when they find out I'm a tarot reader who doesn't cotton to astrology.  All I know is if you have to do math to figure it out, it's no fun.

I'd recommend these cards if you like to collect decks.  They are truly beautiful, and oversized cards are always neat to have.  And if you like astrology, I'd definitely recommend them.

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Friday, May 04, 2012

May Full Moon - Flower


May's full moon is called the Flower Moon for obvious reasons.  April showers bring May flowers.

This month's full moon is sometimes also referred to as the Full Corn Planting Moon, and also the Milk Moon.

Tomorrow night is going to be extra special because it'll be 2012's "Super Moon", the biggest and brightest full moon of the year.  Hopefully it won't be cloudy!


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Monday, April 30, 2012

May 2012 Desktop Calendar

I've been invisible for awhile, I know.  I'm working to remedy that.  Gonna try and post more often again...

Anyway, here's the desktop calendar for May.  Enjoy!


Click to embiggen!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Psychic Sunday Sunday SUNDAY!!!

I'll be participating in a joint event with psychic/medium Glenn White at Marjim Manor on June 24th.  Readings are 20 bucks across the board!



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