Posted in DIY & How To, Nonfiction

Making Christmas

The holiday season is revving up, admittedly a bit different than in previous years. Favorite traditions may not be possible this year and, gift budgets may be tight, so why not considering making ornaments for your tree or others. I found a few relevant books, and I’ve included their descriptions from their publishers.

Christmas Ornaments: A Collection of 25 Projects to Make and Cherish by Carolyn Vosburg Hall

“Author Carolyn Vosburg Hall presents 25 projects for beautiful and decorative ornaments to adorn Christmas trees and the home for the holiday season. Each project includes detailed, step-by-step instructions, as well as colorful photographs. The ornaments can be made using common craft supplies such as polymer clay, paper, embroidery floss, beads, and glue, and are suitable for all skill levels.”

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Posted in Film, Games, Horror, Science Fiction

Spooky Scary

It’s finally October! Start carving your pumpkins. Pick up a bag of your favorite candy. And put something scary on the TV because there’s not much else to do with the pandemic still going on. Like last year, I’ve written up a list of a few of my favorite horror movies.

Crowley

Crowley is not a good movie. It’s one of those movies that’s so bad it’s good. The premise itself is fairly outrageous, a guy using virtual reality gets possessed by the ghost of Aleister Crowley via the internet. The actors chew up the scenery. Crowley’s antics lean more towards raunchy than evil. The music is the one genuinely good part since it’s handled by Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden.

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Posted in Adult

What Have I Done?!

Back in 2018, or at least that’s when I created the recordset, I did a book display on quarter-life crises. A quarter-life crisis is when a person gets racked with anxiety about where their life is going. Essentially, a quarter-life crisis is a midlife crisis, but in your mid-twenties to early thirties. If you want to restart your work-life, these books should help you get started. As with my other list posts, I’ve included a summary of the book from its publisher.

The Quarter-Life Breakthrough by Adam Smiley Poswolsky

“How do you actually find meaning in the workplace? How do you find work that makes your heart sing, creates impact, and pays your rent?

After realizing that his well-paying, prestigious job was actually making him miserable, Adam “Smiley” Poswolsky started asking these big questions. The Quarter-Life Breakthrough provides fresh, honest, counterintuitive, and inspiring career advice for anyone stuck in a quarter-life crisis (or third-life crisis), trying to figure out what to do with your life. Smiley shares the stories of many twenty- and thirty-somethings who are discovering how to work with purpose (and still pay the bills).

Brimming with practical exercises and advice, this book is essential reading for millennial career changers and anyone passionate about getting unstuck, pursuing work that matters, and changing the world.”

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Posted in Fantasy, Games, Horror

Roll for Adventure

Dungeons and Dragons is a fun game, whether as a player or a dungeon master. Being the dungeon master can be difficult, though. It’s part memorizing rules, acting, writing, and people wrangling. Writing an adventure or an entire campaign setting can sometimes be the most difficult part of being a dungeon master. That’s why this week’s blog post is all pre-written adventures, it won’t help with rule memorization or the voice acting, but I can’t do everything for you.

Curse of Strahd

Ravenloft has been a part of Dungeons and Dragons since the very first edition. Curse of Strahd is the fifth edition’s return to the lands that the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich rules over with an iron fist. This adventure has more of a gothic horror taste than the usual D&D adventure. The part that got this one on my radar was that it has rules for using a Tarokka deck, a pseudo-tarot deck, to influence where monsters and artifacts will show up in the adventure. I can’t promise that your party will survive Strahd once they enter Castle Ravenloft, though.

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Posted in Biography & Memoir, DIY & How To, Nonfiction

Write Your Story

Pandemic journaling has become a bit of a fad these days. There’s no reason that you just have to write about your life during the pandemic, though! You could draw. Perhaps write about how nature is reacting to people running around less. (I for one recently found out that I had raccoons living in the storm drain near my home during a particularly hard rain.) Or maybe dive into Bullet Journaling to get more organized. I’ve included the description from the publishers for each of the listed books.

Creative Journal Writing: The Art and Heart of Reflection by Stephanie Dowrick

“In this exceptionally positive and encouraging book, Dr Stephanie Dowrick frees the journal writer she believes is in virtually everyone, showing through stories and highly engaging examples that a genuine sense of possibility can be revived on every page.

Creative journal writing goes way beyond just recording events on paper. Without needing any rigid formula to gain success, it is the companion that supports but does not judge. It can be a place of unparalleled discovery and a creative playground where the everyday rules no longer count. Proven benefits of journal writing include reduced stress and anxiety, increased self-awareness, sharpened mental skills, genuine psychological insight, creative inspiration and motivation, strengthened ability to cope during difficult times, and overall physical and emotional well-being.

Combining a rich choice of ideas with wonderful stories, quotes, and her refreshingly intimate thoughts gained through a lifetime of professional and creative writing, Dowrick’s insights and confidence in the process make journal writing irresistible. She also makes your own experiences and life far more enchanting. Included in Creative Journal Writing are:

True stories of how people have used journal writing to transform their lives;

· inspirational instructions, guidelines, and quotes;
· key principles, practical suggestions, and helpful hints;
· 125 starter topics, designed to help even the most reluctant journal writer;
· more than forty powerful exercises;
· and much more!”

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Posted in Nonfiction, Science

Epidemiology: Containing What Ails Us

Epidemiology has been pushed to the forefront of conversations since the coronavirus pandemic began. Epidemiologists identify emerging diseases, how they spread, and how best to prevent people from getting ill. For my blog post this week, I’ve found some books that cover how epidemiologists work and about past pandemics. As with my other list posts, I’ve included a summary of the book from its publisher.

Epidemiology: A Very Short Introduction by Rodolfo Saracci

“Epidemiology plays an all-important role in many areas of medicine, from discovering the relationship between tobacco smoking and lung cancer, to documenting the impact of diet, the environment, and exercise on general health, to tracking the origin and spread of new epidemics such as Swine Flu. It is truly a vital field, central to the health of society, but it is often poorly understood, largely due to misrepresentations in the media. In this Very Short Introduction, an internationally recognized authority on epidemiology, Dr. Rodolfo Saracci, provides a wealth of information on this key field, dispelling some of the myths surrounding the study of epidemiology, and explaining what epidemiology is and how vital it is to the discovery, control, and prevention of disease in world populations. Dr. Saracci provides a general explanation of the principles behind clinical trials, and explains the nature of basic statistics concerning disease. He also looks at the ethical and political issues related to obtaining and using information concerning patients, and trials involving placebos.”

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Posted in Fantasy, Film, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Science Fiction

With Great Power…

With Comic-Con@Home starting today, I thought I would share some of my favorite movies based on comics. As with my other list posts, I’ve included the description from the catalog of each film under their listing.

Iron Man

“A wealthy industrialist is held captive in enemy territory and escapes by building a high-tech suit made of armor. When he returns home, he decides to use his money, talents, and suit to save the world.”

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Posted in Adult, Nonfiction, Science

It’s alive!

My last blog post inspired me to write up a post about science books. I’ve tracked down a list of new or upcoming books on topics ranging from pandemics to mycology. I’ve included the publisher’s description of the book under each listing.

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COVID-19: The Pandemic That Never Should Have Happened and How to Stop the Next One by Debora Mackenzie

“Over the last 30 years of epidemics and pandemics, we learned nearly every lesson needed to stop this coronavirus outbreak in its tracks. We heeded almost none of them. The result is a pandemic on a scale never before seen in our lifetimes. In this captivating, authoritative, and eye-opening book, science journalist Debora MacKenzie lays out the full story of how and why it happened: the previous viruses that should have prepared us, the shocking public health failures that paved the way, the failure to contain the outbreak, and most importantly, what we must do to prevent future pandemics.

Debora MacKenzie has been reporting on emerging diseases for more than three decades, and she draws on that experience to explain how COVID-19 went from a potentially manageable outbreak to a global pandemic. Offering a compelling history of the most significant recent outbreaks, including SARS, MERS, H1N1, Zika, and Ebola, she gives a crash course in Epidemiology 101–how viruses spread and how pandemics end–and outlines the lessons we failed to learn from each past crisis. In vivid detail, she takes us through the arrival and spread of COVID-19, making clear the steps that governments knew they could have taken to prevent or at least prepare for this. Looking forward, MacKenzie makes a bold, optimistic argument: this pandemic might finally galvanize the world to take viruses seriously. Fighting this pandemic and preventing the next one will take political action of all kinds, globally, from governments, the scientific community, and individuals–but it is possible.”

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Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, eBooks & eAudio, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Horror, Science, Science Fiction

A Dive into the Reading Pile

My social life has taken a pretty sharp decline since I’ve gone into quarantine. Being home more has given me a bit of a push to reevaluate my reading pile. I’ve sifted through the books that have piled up around my home to find some that I thought others might be interested in as well.

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A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer was one of the authors that I read for a few classes at university. He’s a writer that can take relatively dry science topics, like evolution, and make them engaging for every degree of reader. Near the end of my undergraduate education, I found an interest in virus-host coevolution and tried to find books on viruses. I stupidly didn’t take a microbiology class due to initially thinking microbes were boring. I need to note that this particular book has been in my pile for a few years, but it has taken on new relevance.

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Posted in DIY & How To, eBooks & eAudio

Eat Your Veggies

I’m not what most would call a “healthy” person. For years, I was told that my palate would change as I got older. Well, here we are, and I still can’t eat peas without turning my nose up. Honestly, it’s tough for me to stand a vast number of vegetables. In the last couple of months, I swear it has nothing to do with me gaining weight during the quarantine, I’ve decided to try to eat healthier. Vegetarian cookbooks seemed like a good idea to get me to eat more veggies. As with my other quarantine posts, I’ve included the book’s description under each of the book’s listing.

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The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson (Hoopla/Monarch)

“Erin Gleeson made her dream a reality when she left New York City and moved into a tiny cabin in a California forest in order to be closer to nature. The natural beauty of her surroundings and the abundance of local produce serve as the inspiration for The Forest Feast, based on her popular blog. Most of the book’s 100 wholly vegetarian recipes call for only three or four ingredients and require very few steps, resulting in dishes that are fresh, wholesome, delicious, and stunning. Among the delightful recipes are eggplant tacos with brie and cilantro, rosemary shortbread, and blackberry negroni. Vibrant photographs, complemented by Erin’s own fanciful watercolor illustrations and hand lettering, showcase the rustic simplicity of the dishes. Part cookbook, part art book, The Forest Feast will be as comfortable in the kitchen as on the coffee table.”

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