Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Happy bookish birthdays (September 21) to…

September 21, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (September 21) to…

First time I’m trying this…let me know if you like it. 🙂

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amaz on site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

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It’s National Book Lovers Day: five ways to share the love (and a giveaway)

August 9, 2017

It’s National Book Lovers Day: five ways to share the love (and a giveaway)

August 9th is National Book Lovers Day!

A bit of research hasn’t told me exactly why, though. 🙂 I didn’t see any special birthdays or anniversaries that would relate right offhand.

I think one of the best things about being a book lover is sharing your love of books (both generally and specifically) with others. I’ve been doing that for a very long time. Back in high school, I was the “librarian” for our science fiction club. We were actually given the use of a very small room for it, and people could check out books. I’ve also been the Education Director for a non-profit, which included digitizing public domain books to give away online. I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore. I’m coming up on eight (!) years of writing this blog.

I used to buy pretty much every used paperback of the first Doc Savage novel I saw, so I would have copies to give people to get them started with Doc (even though that first one is atypical, it’s part of Doc’s development and important to understanding what one of my fictional heroes becomes).

Amazon gives us several ways to share our love of (Kindle) books with others, and I thought I’d list five.

  1. Give someone the book! Barnes & Noble had gifting of e-books before Amazon, and people talked about that a lot. It was something people definitely wanted to do, and I’ve given many books to people over the years…it’s definitely one of my favorite things to do. Since we got that ability on November 19, 2010 (three years to the day after the Kindle was released), the ability to do it has expanded. There are still (understandably, in my mind) some limitations (geographical, primarily), but it’s really quite easy. You can gift a book from the book’s Amazon product page, but a fairly recent and welcome addition is the ability to do it from the MYCD (Manage Your Content and Devices), formerly MYK (Manage Your Kindle) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) page. Yep, find the book there, click/tap/eye gaze (although I haven’t actually tried this specific thing in Virtual Reality, I know I can buy books from Amazon there) the Actions ellipsis (…) and you’ll see a choice to “Gift Now”. You can also now delay the delivery of  gift, or print it out to give whenever you want…that lets you take advantage of the constant sales at Amazon to get something at a discount
  2. Loan someone the book…this is quite limited, and up to the publishers. Not all books can be loaned, and when they are loaned, it is only for fourteen days (and you can only loan any given book once…ever. Not once to two different people)
  3. Review/rate the book: you can do this on the book’s Amazon product page, at the Amazon-owned Goodreads, or even from within the book itself when you are finishing it. This is an extremely powerful way to aid a book’s audience growth. It’s so powerful that people cheat, and they get caught at it. I used to write some reviews in this blog, but after polling my readers, I’ve largely stopped doing that. I do review books at Goodreads, but quite inconsistently. I read several books at once, and I may finish one while I am out. I just don’t find it convenient to review every single book I finish…and honestly, I don’t always think it’s useful for me to do. When I write a review, I want it to be good writing, not just an opinion. I want it to give an insight into the book. It’s not something I just dash off without thinking, and I don’t prioritize writing them very highly, compared to other writing I’m doing. Perhaps I should…
  4. Share that you are reading/have finished/have bought a book: while you can add a comment, that’s more of just a statement of fact. 🙂 It does, though, really encourage other people. When we are eventually shopping in virtual bookstores, it will still have a very big impact on people to see others’ avatars buying a book. One new way Amazon has made that available is through Amazon Spark: Amazon Spark: a new social network (and product discovery) for iOS. It’s sort of like Instagram for Amazon products. I’ve dabbled, but it’s too limited for me to use it much at this point
  5. Amazon Giveaways: this is different from giving a gift to a particular person…it’s more like having a lottery, although there are several ways to structure it: Amazon Giveaways: so fun I’m running four (update: 5!) right now 🙂. I was doing these a lot and enjoying it. Personal circumstances have me not doing it the same way right now, but I highly recommend it if you can and you want to promote (that doesn’t have to mean for financial gain) a book. Just make sure to make the giveaway public, so people can discover it

Even though that’s already five, I’ll also mention Amazon Gift Cards. That lets you share your love of books (as would gifting Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)) in a more general way. 🙂 What I’m going to do next is an example of a way to use gift cards.

I’m going to give a $5 Amazon gift card to someone who comments on this post today (by 11:59 PM Eastern time)…I’d like you to mention the title of a book, but I won’t require that. If you don’t want the gift card, please mention that. I’ll randomly select someone (not including people who say they don’t want it) from commenters on this post during that period. I will use the e-mail address you use to post, which won’t be public to anyone else…don’t include your e-mail address in your comment. 🙂 Just my way of sharing the love of books with book lovers.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Happy Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!) KDD and a new Amazon Giveaway!

May 4, 2017

Happy Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!) KDD and a new Amazon Giveaway!

Today is

Star Wars Day

which really just came about from the pun, “May the Fourth be with you” (because today is May 4th…).

There are lots of things tying into it, including charitable events…and sales.

The

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

includes a number of Star Wars items…mostly comics, but other things as well.

I wanted to celebrate…so I’m doing a new Amazon Giveaway!

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

My other current Amazon Giveaways:

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

1 winner

Requirements for participation:

  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (you’ll be notified when future books are added to Amazon…I think that’s the only contact you get, although I’m not positive)

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/ffab73bbd6512571 

Start:Apr 30, 2017 9:46 AM PDT
End:May 7, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

LAST DAY TO ENTER!

Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature by Loren Coleman (at AmazonSmile*)

Note: this is the paperback. For some reason, I couldn’t make the Kindle book for this one public (like I could with Kris’ book). I really wanted this one to be public, because the whole goal is to promote Loren Coleman’s medical expense fund GoFundMe campaign. I’ve never met Loren personally, and we have no shared business interests, although we have had some correspondence. I’ve read Loren’s books for decades, and admire how the cryptozoologist/Fortean helps others, including being the Director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine (although in so many smaller ways, too). It’s sad to me that someone who has done so much is having trouble dealing with medical expense (due to multiple operations). That didn’t stop Loren from going to the Bigfoot festival in Willow Creek, California recently, but for people who have enjoyed and benefited from Loren’s work, the medical expenses fund is an opportunity to do a thank you. Over 500 people have entered and they’ve all tweeted (as a requirement to entry) a link to the fund’s page. I do not ask people to endorse the fund or to ask other people to contribute (or for them to contribute themselves)…I’m just hoping to raise the profile so people who might want to contribute and don’t know about it get the word. Unfortunately, no one has donated yet as a result of this, but it could still happen…

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/303e4f5c496116a2

Start:Apr 27, 2017 9:45 AM PDT
End:May 4, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Happy World Book Day, UK and Ireland!

March 2, 2017

Happy World Book Day, UK and Ireland!

While I know this blog tends to focus on the USA (since that’s where I live, I have most access to that information), I do have readers around the world…including the UK and Ireland.

The first Thursday in March is celebrated there as

World Book Day

Booklovers around the world can love this event!

It really celebrates reading, and in fun ways!

Kids dress up as book characters…they would say “fancy dress”, in the USA we would say they come “in costume”.

Every kid in school (as I understand it) gets a one pound certificate (that would be like a kid in the USA getting a $1 gift certificate…although it’s really about a buck and a quarter (($1.25)) exchange right now with the British pound. In Ireland, they get €1.50). That certificate, or token, can be exchanged for a book. This year, there are ten specially produced books on the list, with well known characters (Horrid Henry, Where’s Wally ((the equivalent of Where’s Waldo)), the Famous Five).

What’s really cool is that they get those books at a local bookstore…so that gets them to go there.

Oh, and in case you might think there would be concerns about which books are produced for WBD, students can alternatively use the token for a discount on any full-priced book (it needs to be a minimum of £2.99 (or €3.99 in Ireland…and it’s worth €1.50 there).

While today is World Book Day in the UK and Ireland, the international one is on Miguel Cervantes’ birthday (April 23rd). The UK and Ireland do World Book Night on that date, but there were conflicts that made it not make sense to have the school day celebration on April 23rd (it has a conflict with other holidays, including St. George’s Day).

Check out the site! It’s a lot of fun, and I think well produced. One thing you can do there is listen to audio excerpts of books read by celebrities (Joanna Lumley, Isla Fisher, David Tennant…):

http://www.worldbookday.com/world-of-stories/

I don’t think we do as big a thing with this in the USA on April 23rd (although I did see that one city, Kensington, Maryland, has a street festival).

Here, I see more coverage for

Free Comic Book Day

which has some similarities (specially produced comics are given away), although not the same government involvement.

Coincidentally, today (March 2nd) is Dr. Seuss’ birthday!

Dr. Seuss Kindle books in the USA store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There doesn’t appear to be a special sale today (the least expensive Kindle edition I’m seeing is $7.99), but it’s still worth noting! I know of at least one pediatric department when employees are wearing Seussian garb today…which is a bit like World Book Day!

Cheers to the UK and Ireland for encouraging reading!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Leading by reading: Presidents and books

February 20, 2017

Leading by reading: Presidents and books

“Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.”
–Arthur C. Clarke

In the USA, today is “Presidents’ Day”. I would guess most kids today see it as a celebration of all of our Presidents, although that’s certainly a recent interpretation. There had been separate holidays for Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday, and they used to be celebrated on their actual birthdays. Since my birthday happens to be the same as Lincoln’s (February 12th), that meant that as a kid, I got my birthday off from school…which meant I could have well-attended parties. 😉 I felt a little cheated when they combined things into one day…and also put it on a specific Monday (the third), which happens to mean that it doesn’t fall on any President’s actual birthday, I believe.

Actually, it’s all a lot more complicated than that. Officially, nationally, it is still Washington’s birthday, and then different states do different things. However, I think it’s reasonable to think of it as Presidents’ Day….and it gives me more latitude for the post. 😉

Lots of Presidents have written books, but what I’m concerned with here is the books they read…or at least, that they appear to read. 🙂 Some Presidents have had public statements made about what they read, or what books they buy…in other cases, it’s just come out from what they have said.

My first thought is of Abraham Lincoln walking three miles (and there probably weren’t sidewalks and streetlights!) to borrow a book from the library..but I actually don’t even know if that’s true! I took a look online and saw it asserted, but not in a way that seemed anything but anecdotal. However, I have found many references to books Lincoln read…and found comments the 16th President reportedly made about some of them.

Then, I found this scholarly work by Robert Bray, which analyzes all of the reported Lincoln books and assigns a probability that the President actually had them…with the highest level being Lincoln referring to them.

What Abraham Lincoln Read— An Evaluative and Annotated List

Looking at the list of those (not counting individual poems, and skipping textbooks), they include:

  • The Bible
  • Speeches by Henry Clay
  • Journal and Debates of the Federal Constitution by Jonathan Elliott
  • History of Illinois by Thomas Ford
  • The poet FitzGreene Halleck
  • The Impending Crisis of the South by Hinton Helper
  • Lives by Plutarch
  • Scrap Book on Law and Politics, Men and Times by George Robertson
  • Several works by William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear…)

I’ve seen a quotation attributed to Lincoln commenting on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar which would be intriguing due to the assassination…but didn’t see it verified. I also saw that Lincoln had read Aesop’s Fables (which is logical, I’d say), but it wasn’t on Bray’s list.

My second thought on Presidents and books is John F. Kennedy supposedly making James Bond (Original Series) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) popular in the United States. The JFK Library does list From Russia with Love as one of JFK’s favorite books:

https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/JFK-Fast-Facts/Favorite-Books.aspx

On a separate page, they list the President’s favorite books as a child.

I’m comfortable with feeling that Lincoln and Kennedy were both “serious readers” (before the Presidency…it might be hard to read much that isn’t for work as President).

Then, of course, there was Thomas Jefferson (who reportedly said, “I cannot live without books”). Jefferson supposedly had the nicest personal library in the country, and after the collection of the Library of Congress was burned during the War of 1812 (with the British), Jefferson as an ex-President used that personal library to help re-build the Library of Congress (selling them, not donating them as I understand it), and greatly expanding the scope of the collection.

Theodore Roosevelt is another President I think of as a major reader (in addition to being at home in the outdoors…people sometimes see those as contradictory). This quotation is attributed to TR:

“Books are almost as individual as friends. There is no earthly use in laying down general laws about them. Some meet the needs of one person, and some of another; and each person should beware of the booklover’s besetting sin, of what Mr. Edgar Allan Poe calls ‘the mad pride of intellectuality,’ taking the shape of arrogant pity for the man who does not like the same kind of books.”

This

article at The Art of Manliness by Jeremy Anderberg

has a list of books TR sent to a friend, even saying that the President has read many of them multiple times.

Authors on the list of more than fifty titles include Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens.

More than once, President Barack Obama published a “Summer Reading List”. Obama was sometimes called the “Geek-in-Chief” (liking comic books and science fiction), and the 2016 list included Neal Stephenson:

The President’s Summer Reading List by Melanie Garunay at ObamaWhiteHouseArchives.org

I would expect most Presidents to be readers, in part because of the type of background that has in the past led to the Presidency.

BuzzFeed listed a favorite book for the 44 Presidents there had been by 2014. Note that Buzzfeed may have pictures and stories around the main story which would arguably NSFW (Not Safe For Work). There was one there today which could, for example, get me in trouble if someone saw it over my shoulder at my work…

BuzzFeed article by Dave Odegard

Let me ask this:

Supposed you could create a recommended reading list for any future President (not just for any specific one, including the current President). What would be on it?

I’m going to make some suggestions, and then I’ll see what you say by commenting on the post. If I get at least twenty suggestions (including my own), and they come from at least five people (including me), I’ll do a poll to let people vote on which ones they would most recommend.

Off the top of my head, I think I’d suggest these:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by Daniel Kahneman
  • Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales (although it currently has text-to-speech access blocked by the publisher…while that’s the case, I couldn’t put it on the list)
  • The Book of the D*mned by Charles Fort
  • Whole Grains: a Book of Quotations by Art Spiegelman and Bob Schneider (although I might go with another book of quotations)

Hm…I want to add some fiction, for sure, but I’m going to hold off on that. 1984 seems like a choice, but I don’t think that’s quite it. I also would consider having on the list something like Mein Kampf. As you can tell, I would assume, my thought is to open a potential President’s mine and at the same time to make them more mindful. Culturally, though, I think a knowledge of socially impactful fiction would be important.

Let’s just leave it there for now, and I’ll be interested to see what you say…

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

A giveaway for Valentine’s Day (my sibling’s book, One Murder More)

February 14, 2017

A giveaway for Valentine’s Day (my sibling’s book, One Murder More)

Regular readers have been following the story (so to speak) of my sibling Kris Calvin’s first novel:

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They’ve seen it from its first release to winning three prestigious Silver Falchion awards. At time of writing, it’s rated 4.6 out of 5 stars with 102 customer reviews on Amazon, and it was featured in Amazon’s first physical bookstore (I’ll be interested to see if it’s in the rumored new Amazon bookstore in Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, California, which is in my area…no word on when it might open).

Kris wanted to share enthusiasm for a podcast with you, and to do a tie-in giveaway through ILMK:

Kris said:

WriterTypes is a great new podcast for #writers & #readers in which established and debut authors share  their deepest thoughts & funniest secrets! I’d like to see it get the exposure it deserves, and if you listen once you might be hooked on the series (like me)! As a small incentive (& a Valentine’s Day gift!) use link below to Episode #2, and message me** when you discover the topic of my cameo (Patience, although everything that comes before is worth it!), include your  email (for ebook) or snail mail and I’ll send you a copy of One Murder More (signed if hardcover), my Sacramento based mystery-thriller that won the Silver Falchion Best First Novel 2016. If you already have it (thank you!) you can gift the copy, let me know who to send it to on your behalf. 1st ten “right answers” for topic of my cameo receive free signed book! Happy Listening!

https://soundcloud.com/user-910265603/writer-types-episode-2-joe-r-lansdale-jess-lourey-reed-farrel-coleman

** Rather than messaging Kris, if you would like one, comment on this post. I will keep any contact information you give private. The first ten with the “secret word” (I feel like George Fenneman, but that’s a really old reference…and 25 trivia points to you if you know without looking it up) will get one.

Enjoy, and good luck!

Oh, note that to get the e-book, you may need to be in a place that can get a gift from Amazon.com in the USA.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Happy my birthday, 2017!

February 12, 2017

Happy my birthday, 2017!

February 12th is my birthday, and continuing a tradition, I’m giving you presents!

This is to thank you for making another year of my life richer. I have a lot of fun writing this blog, and I sometimes get to help people…and what could be better than that?

Part of KDP Select (the program through which users of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing make books available for eligible Prime members to borrow through the KOLL…Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) is the ability to make books free for five days (they need not be consecutive) in a ninety-day period.

Please check that a title is free for you before buying it.

I have asked Amazon to make them free on February 12, but I can’t say exactly when it will happen. I think they may also only be free to customers in the USA.

Some might be fun to give as a little Valentine’s Day present…for somebody on your account. I am updating this post because I suggested you could buy them for other people, but that appears to not be the case when the books are on this 1-day free promotion.

So, you can click on the titles before, but please make sure it is free when you click the 1-click buy button.

The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When this one was first published in December of 2012, it was the number one bestselling book of quotations at Amazon…including paper! That didn’t last long, but it was fun while it did. :)

Love Your First Generation Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet (at AmazonSmile*)

This one has been a bestseller. It was written before the Kindle Fire HDs and HDXs, so it doesn’t match up exactly with those. If you do have the first generation Fire, though, I think you’ll find it useful.

The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle (at AmazonSmile*)

This one combines the three below into one volume:

* ILMK! (I Love My Kindle): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor
* Free Books for Your Kindle
* Frequently Asked Kindle Questions

ILMK! (I Love My Kindle!): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor (Revised Edition)(at AmazonSmile*)

This has some fun stuff…and other things that are out of date. If you want The Happy Little Bookworm, this one has it. :)

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile*)

This is the first 101 posts in this blog. :) I did 101 posts so I wouldn’t cut off Doctor Watson’s Blog: A Kindle Abandoned (which is a four-part story). I’m still working, off and on, on a “best of” book. I’ll include posts that are less time-dependent…if you have any opinions on ones that you remember, feel free to let me know. I don’t know when that book will happen…as I mentioned last year on

My February 5th interview on The Kindle Chronicles

I’m guessing it might happen before it grows into the best of the first ten years, but we’ll see. 😉 I’m not really actively working on a book right now, although I always have ideas on that. 🙂 This blog is my main focus on writing currently, although I’m also doing quite a bit of writing in The Measured Circle blog, including coverage of Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality. I’m also working on  The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip : there have been some real improvements at The History Project since I started it almost a year ago, and I’m pleased with what’s there (although it is certainly still growing). It hasn’t taken off yet, but I still think it might…maybe this year. Oh, and I do think I have a good idea for an app…I could write the content, but I’d rather sell it to some studio than program and market it myself. If you know someone who does that, they can certainly contact me by commenting (I can keep it private) on this post.

One other thing: if you, or someone you know, would like to make predictions about next week’s Oscar winners, or just see what my group of players is saying, I’ve done BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness…more than two decades old, and last year, we were 90% accurate) a Google form this year to make it simpler:

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

That’s where I’ve been creatively recently (outside of my “day job”…I do get to do some writing there as well, although that’s not my main job description).

Remember, double-check that the books are free to make sure before buying.

Happy birthday! ;)

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday at Amazon

November 25, 2016

Black Friday and Cyber Monday at Amazon

We love Black Friday!

My Significant Other and I consider it our best date of the year. 🙂

I know that sounds funny, but it’s not about us finding gifts for family and friends or fighting the crowds to get the best bargains.

We set ourselves a budget, and then shop for

Toys for Tots

We have some goals and guidelines:

  • I especially want to get some things with well-known characters. Just because a child isn’t in a home with a TV or going out to the movies doesn’t mean that they don’t know about Frozen, Minions, and superheroes. I think it makes them feel “normal” to have those things, and that’s important
  • We try to avoid things with batteries or too many pieces. We picture kids who are in insecure living environments, who may need to take one or two things from home to home. Books, of course, are great for that
  • We want a mix of appeal…arts and crafts, geeky things, sporty things, and especially want to include things for older children (teenagers). Toys and games are important at any age, but we think a high percentage of Toys for Tots donations are geared for kids ten and under
  • We also like having traditional and nostalgic toys! We waited at Toys R Us for them to bring out more Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for $10. Wooden alphabet puzzles, shape sorters, all that sort of thing
  • I also like to picture what I would have wanted and what might change somebody’s life. This year, for example, we a harmonica and a book on how to play, a little magic set…and a wall map of the world. I can imagine each f those eventually being cited by someone in a biography 🙂

After we buy them, we load up the car (and yes, pose them a bit):

Back seat filled with toys and games, including two very large teddy bears seated as if they were passengers, Star Wars Game, Elmo  "Way back" filled with games, toys, and puzzles, including a precariously balanced Jenga

and take them to our local firehouse. When we ring the bell, they may come out a bit trepidatiously…there are some hard reasons why people might ring that bell. Once they see what we have and bring it in (they’ll help), it’s so great!

Scene in the firehouse with Toys for Tots barrel and overlow

In terms of actual shopping for family and friends, it’s most Amazon, although we do buy from some other sites (I like Brad’s Deals, Pulse TV, Buy Dig, and iTech Deals as four sources). For Black Friday information, we use

https://www.blackfriday.fm/

It’s pretty well organized, and there is an app for it as well. You can see what hours stores are open, search for types of items, specific items, and more.

So, Amazon online…you can start here:

Amazon Black Friday deals (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s the one with frequently changing deals which may sell out and which may only last for a limited time.

If you have an Alexa-enabled device, check these deals:

http://www.amazon.com/alexadeals (at AmazonSmile*)

You have to order it via voice through your device, but you can see them there. Those haven’t been changing that often. At time of writing, you get a $10 gift card with a purchase of $20 more of one of Alexa’s Best Deals (you do have to be a Prime member).

This Monday, November 28, is “Cyber Monday”. It’s interesting to me that it’s still an “observed” and growing holiday. It really happened initially because people had better internet access at work than they did at home, so they would find their bargains after the weekend. I would guess for many people their internet is now faster (and more available) at home…and with the growing amount of shopping being done on phones and tablets, it’s less relevant. Of course, we still vote on Tuesday to give farmers time to travel into town in time to vote, so some things stick around. 😉

This is where the deals will be:

Amazon Cyber Monday deals (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon has announced a number of their Cyber Monday deals in this

press release

Here are some of the deals in the press release:

  • Dash Buttons, .99 cents to buy and $4.99 credit back after your first purchase
  • Save $40 on Amazon Echo, only $139.99
  • Save $10 on Echo Dot, only $39.99
  • Save $40 on Amazon Tap, only $89.99
  • Fire tablet, only $33.33
  • Save $25 on Fire Kids Edition tablet, only $74.99
  • Save $30 on Fire HD 8, only $59.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle, only $49.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle for Kids Bundle, only $69.99
  • Save $20 on Kindle Paperwhite, only $99.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle Voyage, only $169.99
  • Save $15 on Amazon Fire TV, only $74.99
  • Save $10 on Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, only $29.99
  • Save up to 85% on select Kindle books, including best-sellers like Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, and The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Remember that you can buy Kindle books as a gift and delay the delivery date until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print out something you can wrap and give later.

Two other tips:

You can install the free

Amazon Assistant (at AmazonSmile*)

to use in your browser on your computer, and the

Amazon Shopping app (at AmazonSmile*)

to use on your phone.

Both of them will help you with your shopping, alerting you to deals and such.

However, as I was installing the Assistant for this story, I have to say…it wanted a lot of permissions! I’ll have to check it out more before I turn it on.

I hope you had a wonderful time yesterday, and are looking forward to the days and weeks ahead!

One last picture…this was in Target, and it shows the presence of Amazon devices:

Amazon device display at Target shoing Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks

Enjoy!

If you have at special deals to which you want to alert me and my readers, or other thoughts, feel free to let us know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

A Halloween classic to read aloud

October 31, 2016

A Halloween classic to read aloud

This is one of the classic horror stories.  It was first published in 1843 and written by Edgar Allan Poe, who died in 1849.   The story should be in the public domain everywhere.  As a Halloween treat, you may want to read it to each other out loud.  You can take turns, or one person can read it all.  You could let your Kindle take a turn…but that won’t be the same.  This shows the advantage of free distribution of the classics that e-books facilitates.  Be prepared, though…it’s scary!   It should take about fifteen minutes…hokey Halloween voices optional.  Parents, be advised…this could cause nightmares.

Enjoy?  Or at least…experience.  I now present…

THE TELL-TALE HEART (by Edgar Allan Poe)

TRUE!–nervous–very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily–how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture–a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees–very gradually–I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded–with what caution–with what foresight–with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it–oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly–very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously–cautiously (for the hinges creaked)–I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights–every night just at midnight–but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers–of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back–but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out–“Who’s there?”

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening;–just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief–oh, no!–it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself–“It is nothing but the wind in the chimney–it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” or “It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel–although he neither saw nor heard–to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little–a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it–you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily–until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open–wide, wide open–and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness–all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense?–now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eve. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment!–do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me–the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once–once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye–not even his–could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out–no stain of any kind–no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all–ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o’clock–still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart,–for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled,–for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search–search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct:–It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness–until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I now grew _very_ pale;–but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased–and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound–much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath–and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly–more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men–but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed–I raved–I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder–louder–louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God!–no, no! They heard!–they suspected!–they knew!–they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now–again!–hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed!–tear up the planks! here, here!–It is the beating of his hideous heart!”

Bonus: Quoth My Kindle

I originally published Quoth My Kindle (with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe) in this thread in the Amazon Kindle forum.   It is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem, The Raven.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
As I reached to slide to sleep mode, suddenly I found my hand slowed
As if driving up a steep road, driving with a heavy load
“I can’t seem to move it forward, as if some Kowboy had ‘whoa’d,
It’s a fluke and nothing more.”

Suddenly, a wheel was spinning, a face appeared, and it was grinning
I gasped and nearly dropped my m-edge, dropped it on the hardwood floor
I shook my head, I couldn’t take it; wasn’t sure if I would make it
Then that voice: speakers of portent – portent I would know the score
Then the robot quirkily intoned words that shook me to the core
Quoth my Kindle: “READ SOME MORE.”

“I need sleep!” I firmly stated, yet I found I hesitated
Reading – reading how it drew me like it never had before
So I sat there, pushing buttons, appetite of sev’ral gluttons
Bestsellers, public domain, ’til I think I filled up my brain
“Tis some magazine I’ve never even purchased at the store”
“I need to get up early!” I heard myself again implore
Quoth my Kindle: “READ SOME MORE.”

My eyes opened and I woke up; knew I dreamt my Kindle spoke up
So I dragged myself off to what had become my bedtime chore,
Although fact is what it did seem, I knew it was just a weird dream
So as I brushed my teeth, I felt safe behind my bathroom door
I kept my head beneath my covers, as I sailed to Morpheus’ shore…
Quoth my Kindle: “READ SOME MORE.”

For more Edgar Allan Poe, try this search (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for Poe freebies in the Kindle store. If you want to keep it simple, you can get this collection (at AmazonSmile*), which has an interactive table of contents.

Some of you may have recognized this post from previous years…yeah, ILMK has been around long enough to have annual traditions.  😉

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

“Decoration Day” [Memorial Day] by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1882)

May 30, 2016

“Decoration Day” [Memorial Day] by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1882)

Decoration Day
Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!
Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.
But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.
All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!
Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.
Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :)  This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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