Windows Walk Away

despair nytimes

All the love that you had for Windows, got you in a downward spiral of betrayal? Are you so spent having your every second watched and followed and sold that you dread logging on? Does the mere thought of going online make you cringe? We all know that Windows is not the only “eyes” watching our every move, but when you have to have/use a Microsoft Account Login to even set up your new laptop, it does put Windows at the top of the Most Dreaded List for most users. In addition, their change in their Terms Of Service (TOS) policy that states they will restrict or freeze your account if they do not like or agree with things that you say online, is about as Orwellian as you can get. So much for free speech!

Of course the best step is to not have a Microsoft Account, however, if you really need one for your work or Skype or gaming, then the next best thing is to limit you dependency to only those required apps and use non-Microsoft services and programs for as much other stuff as possible. Previously, we have discussed the first-step away from Microsoft via the use of Open Source Programs. And I really encourage you to explore any of the Open Source options that you might need to accomplish your same daily grind in a more relaxed and private environment. Yes, there will be a learning curve; but first, anything worth having requires work and second, how many times have you had to relearn your go to Microsoft program because some update changed everything on you?

Somethings that you need to keep in mind, especially if you try out some of these programs while still using Windows….the layouts might be different once you switch to Linux, but you will in almost all cases (I cannot think of any that do not apply) have all the same things, and the big plus is that you can change and modify and tweak your options and layouts and tool bars to suit you personally!
Another thing to keep in mind, is that Linux has some options, such as WINE and Play On Linux, for setting up a virtual space to run Windows programs, however, it might not be easier than learning an open source version or you might be reverting to an older version of a program to have success.

I confess, that I personally do not have any luck with using any of the virtual Windows options on Linux distros. That being said there are lots of users that use them daily. For my part, while there are like maybe 3 programs that there is not true matches to my liking in Open Source offerings, those 3 programs are not important enough to me on an often enough basis for me to put the effort into figuring out how to make them work.

To share, they are OneNote, which I do really miss and really wish that there was a true ‘copy’ version in Linux. Linux does have a couple really good note-taking options, that are not geared towards devs, so do not restrict their ‘pages’ to using markdown, but are instead WYSIWYG UIs. CherryTree is probably the most popular or best known option. However, there is always new code being written and someone wanting something different or better and thus you can always find new stuff. When I was first looking, BasKet was the actual closest Linux version of OneNote that I could find, however, it does not appear that BasKet is being maintained anymore. That is another issue that you need to be aware of, making sure that programs are still being supported. In spite of that, like I said there are always options to try out such as those listed here, one of my go to sources for finding new options for old habits! Furthermore, OneNote does have a browser option, I did consider this, however, I had been using, if memory serves, the last stand alone version of the program, before it went into Office/Cloud only subscription basis, and my old notes would not upload into the browser version, no matter how I tried, as I had back-up of my notebooks in all formats available.

Another program that I really liked was PhotoScape. I used it to make really quick and easy collages. There are versions that do work in some of the ‘Windows on Linux’ programs, however, they were older than the one that used and so not as fast and easy as what I had been using. All that being said, I can, absolutely, use other programs to do the same thing, in most cases with more options and features and versions to create much higher quality output, thus, I am fine without PhotoScape. As, it really was a quick and easy version to throw some images together without any effort.

As we move forward in our journey, I will share my experiences and thoughts on my individual searches for specific replacement programs, what I was looking for, what was more important to me, and how the options stacked up with those goals. Finding all your individual best fits is probably the best and worst thing about making the switch to Linux.
The best, you do have the option to find the program/option that works best for you.
The worst, you have to find that bast option by searching all the available options that Linux has to offer, which is quite literally, on par with searching for the perfect piece of straw in a haystack!

Fear not, it can be done and you are not alone in your journey! If I, just another ordinary her in the world looking for techno utopia can do it, so can you! And to make sure that you can, I am here to help you along the way.

Photo Credit: NY Times

Birthday Bogus

birthdaySo last week was B’s birthday. I have to admit that I am not big on birthdays; I do try to do my best to do something special for those I love on their special day, but, I also try to make sure that I respect the fact that it is their special day and so if they would prefer to spend it with others or alone or doing something else with someone else, then I step back.
I also tend to be the one that no one knows for sure, if at all, when my birthday is. It is not information that I tend to share with others. Personally, I do not see the need. I have no desire to obligate others to behave in some socially dictated way on a specific day towards me that they would have no desire to do on any ordinary day.

Thus, those that know me, know that “no one knows my birthday”, not even most family, the plus side is that no one tends to know my age either, not for sure anyway. The plus there is more of a double edged sword, people treat you either by the age they think you are based on their view of you or they treat you the age they assume people must be to have reached or accomplished certain milestones in life. Thus, there are some that would probably be very surprised to know my age is so “high” or “low” depending on their point of view.

Here’s my issue with society being so focused on birthdays and ages. Birthdays are used to market more consumerism to people. Society implies that we are supposed to party it up on our birthday. Society also stresses the importance of buying and giving gifts on birthdays. In addition, as the numbers increase with each of these celebrations, we are judged by societal milestone beliefs.

You are expected to get your driver’s license on your 16th celebration and there will be questions if you do not.
A lot is made of one’s 18th celebration as well….on that one you are supposed to have the rest of your life planned out.
For your 21st, it is all about being able to legally drink!
Wait a minute, this is your 30th and you are single with no kids?!?!
What is wrong with you??? What are you waiting for??? You do know that your life is over with, right?
Just wait, now it’s your 40th and you are either still single or you a got married to get everyone off your back, so they would think that you really are successful or a normal adult! And that worked so well, that you are now one of the “normal” divorced “middle-agers”!

Usually between that dreaded 40th and or 50th, most people have been judged so much that they question everything about themselves and enter that proverbial “mid-life crisis”! Everyone and their mother has been telling “you” how to live your life and what you should do and what makes you happy so much so, that usually depending on the “you” that you are,
you lose it!

You snap! 

You rebel!

And you start looking for things that actually make you happy or truly excite you and these things make others mad or crazy or upset, but you don’t care, cause you have spent the last “lifetime” caring too much about what others think and even actually believing them that they know best or better or even that they know you, for that matter!
But No More!

What’s the point?
You spent so much energy trying to be part of the rat race.
Worse you have made yourself unhealthy by trying to win a race that is designed to keep you always in the back of the pack.
And now at that time in your life when you should be able to reflect on your accomplishments and take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you are stressing about how you will cover the costs of your retirement, at this point you are well aware of the fact that none of the things that you gave the best of your life to are giving any of it back to you.

Your parents and grandparents worked the same job for their whole ‘careers’ and for their loyalty they got a decent retirement and were able to enjoy their golden years. Then those companies that were built on that loyalty, decided that it was the ‘share-holders’ and not the workers that made the company. The truth was lost to the profit margin! Dividends became the focus instead of the product or service that the company supposedly provided. So much so that we have companies today that make billions and they produce nothing, they sell nothing, they provide no service, yet they make billions. And the workers, they cannot even count on being able to retire, while trust-fund brats from share-holder robbery have never known a day of labor their whole lives.

And there’s your life!
There is where all those “birthdays” got you!
“Another day older and deeper in debt.”

Photo Credit: animatedimages.org

Today Wasn’t It

Triple Chocolate Chip Muffin batter pan
Triple Chocolate Muffins Ready For The Oven

So what do you do when your head hurts too much for you to focus on writing?!?!
If you are me, today…..you Bake!!!

Like a lot of people I suffer from a couple different types of headaches. During season changes I can get sinus headaches from my allergies and I also suffer from migraines.
If you are a fellow migraine suffer then you know that you can actually have what I refer to as levels of migraines….usually, two of them…the ones that you can try to ignore and work through, but you really aren’t…and the full-blown ones, that put you in the quietest, darkest place you can find curled up in a ball, hoping for sleep to cover up the pain and outlast the attack so that you can wake-up and pretend it didn’t happen and hopefully not miss too much in the day or two that you were hiding!

So, today, for me, is one of those days where the pain isn’t enough to make me hide away, but, it is the constant pain that is enough to keep me from being able to focus on anything truly mental. Partly, cause while light and sound is not unbearable it is unpleasant to say the least; thus, staring at a computer screen to write is more than I truly want to endure.  For example this article has taken me several starts and stops, as well as, straight-up breaks and we are only 3 paragraphs in. But, it isn’t only the light of the screen that is an issue, it is that the pain in my brain causes it to just stop thinking. I can be in the middle of writing and it just stops, the thought(s) is gone and nothing replaces it. Neither is good for writing or meeting a deadline!

Triple Chocolate Chip Muffins Baked
Fresh from the oven!

At least we have Triple Chocolate Muffins to console us! Or so I am claiming. I mean we do have them and I am using it to console myself for not starting on the next article for Random Thought, but, I will still need to catch-up in the next 36 hours. Such is the life of migraine sufferers.

And we all find ways to deal with our own issues and quirks and that is a good thing. Sometimes, it can be hard to remember that we all have our own quirks from dealing with our own issues and thus we are not always so ready to make allowances for others, mostly cause we do not stop to think that maybe this is their quirk, we just assume that others are “normal”, whatever that is and have no quirks cause they have no issues. But, we all have own issues!

First Step – – Open Source

Open Source Logos

I know that one of the hardest challenges to dumping Windows is the fear of not having what you are used to anymore. The fear of the unknown and the fear of thinking that you are going to lose everything that you have can be paralyzing. But, we are going to help you with that aspect too.

We all have our favorite go-to programs and apps that we do not know what we would do without. I completely understand that. So let’s look at some of the most common types of software and apps that we use daily. But, before we do that, let me introduce you to the 2 broad types of software and apps.

The 2 basic types of software:
1) Closed Source or Proprietary software; think of them as high-end brand names. Microsoft and Apple are the largest, they keep their code ‘secret’, another words it is not readily or openly available to other programmers and coders.
2) Open Source; think of these as the upstart and generic brands. And just like with other industries, if you are willing to take the chance you find out that most of these products are as good as if not better than the big boys. These programs have ‘open’ code, another words the companies and writers using Open Source make their code readily available to everyone.
And as we go on you might be surprised at the number of Open Source companies and products you are already loyal to.

Why might knowing about Open Source companies and products matter for ditching Windows, cause chances are you will find that at least some if not all of your favorite apps can go with you! You might recognize some of the logos in the picture above, but, did you know that all those companies and more are Open Source and can go with you to Linux!?!

Let us briefly list some of the most common Open Source products out there;
Browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Vivaldi, Yandex, Opera, Pale Moon, and Epic, just to name a few off the top of my head. And for every one that I did name there are a dozen more that I did not.
Office Suites: By far, the top two are Open Office and Libre Office. The former was my first step away from MS Office, however, the later is my long time favorite! Again there are others and some distros are creating their own in-house suites.
Mail Clients: Thunderbird, Mailspring, Claws and Geary are probably the most common but several of the Open Source browsers have their own as well. For example Thunderbird is part of the Firefox services from Mozilla and SeaMonkey has a whole range of products in addition to their browser.
Audio/Video: Most of us have heard of Audacity, and VLC, there is also Blender, OpenShot, Clementine, Audacious, and many others depending on your needs, from listening to mixxing to creating/composing. As with Microsoft and Apple most distros have a music/video/media player included.
Graphics/Publishing: Here we have GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, and Scribus. Plus tons more for specialized needs from artist sketching to scientific publishing and everything in between. There really are too many to mention here, especially since most are niche focused. The ones I have included are standouts in their respective areas. In addition some of the suites and browsers have applications that cover basic needs.

If eBooks are your thing how bout Calibre. Into gaming, you will not lose Discord and Steam has its own Linux OS. Into communicating 20 different ways there is Slack and Franz and Rambox, along with lots of linux versions of common VoIPs such as Skype and Viber and IRCs too.

So as you can see there is absolutely no shortage of cross-over programs and there are a multitude of Linux specific programs that will seriously meet all your needs. As a matter of fact, the sheer volume of Linux options can be downright overwhelming. Not to worry, H and I have sifted through most of them for you already in our own journey. Part of the reason that we are here, to help you transition more easily.

Photo Credit: via linuxrocksonline

 

Where Do I Start?

No-Windows-10

So you are fed up with Windows?!?
Take heart! You are not alone! So many others, including my boyfriend and myself, have been exactly where you are!

Updates dropping our favorite features!
Options we used all the time, gone!
Programs we relied on daily being dropped!
Or worse, everything is a “Cloud Only” Subscription!
Instead of Opt In you have to find the secret location to Opt Out!
Privacy is now a joke!

You have thought about switching to Mac….but, there isn’t much difference. Apple was the proto-model for cloud only storage, and the price of iAnything is the top end of the retail market!

The only other option you have heard of is the mysterious Linux. But, isn’t that only for computer hackers and tech geeks?
It’s complicated and you have to type commands and such!

What if I told you that is not the case any more, or at least not the whole truth of Linux today!
Today there are lots of different Linux distros for the non-tech savvy user to choose from. Matter of fact, most new to Linux refugees find the number of options to be daunting and overwhelming!

Fear not we are here to help you navigate and understand the options.

First there are two major styles of Linux; debian and arch.

For most of us ordinary users debian will be our choice. But, that being said, do not totally discount arch! (We will surprise you in a future article)
So let’s talk a little bit about debian.

While, Debian is a distro in its own right, it is more commonly a term to lump all the distros that are built on debian together. What that means is that most of the distros that you will consider have taken the debian foundation and built on to it and packaged it with different features and options to focus on differing priorities.

It is basically the same thing that Microsoft did with DOS and Windows. DOS was the structure and Windows was the facade or decoration that you saw, used and interacted with.

In addition, the debian tree has several large branches that split off and have many smaller branches sprouting from their larger branches all the way down to individual leaves or versions of distros.

Feeling overwhelmed yet, trust me, H and I know just how you feel. Being a man, H was less concerned with knowing if he got the perfect distro right off the bat. I on the other hand, read and read and Googled and watched more videos than I had watched movies and TV in the same amount of time and still was not truly sure of my choice.

Solution: “Babe, make a few LiveUSBs and test them out and then go with the one you like. And if you change your mind in the future, switch!” He’s great! And correct!

That is the best advice that you can be given when it comes to wading into the waters of Linux. Don’t worry we are going to give you some help and our opinions and advice about different distros and where to start in future articles, but, it is best with Linux, to create a few LiveUSBs and really test them out, get a feel for them and see if you like them at all.

There were several that upon reading all about them, I LOVED! Then I tried them and guess what….. not so much love all the way to hated it!
That being said, there is a distro for everyone and we will help you find your perfect match!

Photo Credit: via Calibre Computer Solutions

Questions Most Pondered

Top-10As I stated in my previous post, I have always had questions about the facts that have been taught and that have been repeated over and over again for decades. Facts that didn’t seem to make sense when combined with other facts. Or anomalies that got rejected for no other reason than at the time of discovery they were singular or supposedly singular finds. Add to this the arrogance with which modern scholars dismiss past stories as the ignorant imaginings of lesser men, judged such for no other reason than being from an earlier time. Coupled with the dismissing of oral histories and traditions simply because they are oral. And the dismissing of heroes and demi-gods and or times of gods living among men as not factual, more so based on our use and concept of those words than on any true evidence.

So as the title implies, I am going to share with you some of my most pondered questions. They are not in any specific order. For I believe that they are all, in their own way, of equal importance to our understanding of our past and our hope for our future.

Why are their 2 distinct construction designs visible at Giza if everything was built during the same dynasty?
If you observe closely all the structures of Giza, you will notice that a handful of structures are constructed using blocks that are much larger than even the 2 to 5 ton blocks that comprise a majority of the construction of the plateau.

Machu_Picchu_PeruWhy do scholars refuse to believe the stories of ancient indigenous peoples who claim that they did not build certain places that they occupy?

One of the most widely known cases of scholars consistently giving credit to peoples that straight out said was not their’s to take are that of the Incas. There are numerous early sources that include statements of verifiable Inca nobility and religious sects that deny their people’s construction of all or parts of places like Cusco and Machu Pichu.

How knowledgeable and intelligent were past peoples, such as the Neanderthals and Denisovans?
There are theories that propose that Neanderthals were the primary artists of a majority of European cave art and that Denisovans were the constructors of Gobekli Tepe. One of the newest theories that has been years in the making is that they were also accomplished astronomers and may have used those skills to date specific times, possibly as a method of recording historic events.

Mapa_de_Borgia_XV
Africa is at the top.

Why did ancient cultures with geography skills and knowledge orient to South and today we orient to North?
In addition to this tidbit, there are also references to a singular ocean or sea, which when you view the Earth from the South Pole as opposed to the North, is a very accurate statement.

Does coming from Orion or Sirius or Pleiades mean coming from the stars or merely refer to celestial navigational points?
The least hi-tech method of navigation is celestial. To use the placement of the stars and constellations along with the rising and setting of the Sun and or Moon to track one’s course. Something that the ancients did very well and with high specificity.

Why do scholars hold so tight to the Out Of Africa theory, preaching it as fact?
While it can be supported that Africa has a very rich evolutionary history, we do not know for certain that it is the only such place or that it is as completely the whole of homo sapiens sapiens origins as scholars claim. If for no other reason than that we have not put one-quarter the effort into looking in any other location for the evidence that we have in Africa.

Gobekli Tepe Enclosures via aa com ti
Gobekli Tepe

Why did pre-historic cultures, supposedly with primitive rudimentary tools work with such complex layouts and gigantic stones in their buildings?
If you have watched any of the documentaries on the construction of any ancient structures of note, such as the Pyramids of Giza or Stonehenge or Gobekli Tepe, you will hear that it was all done with the most rudimentary tools and or pure hard-labor of man. Another comment that you might hear is from construction experts of our time that claim that such undertakings are basically impossible with all our machines and technology today. Forgetting all that, what logic made working with 2- to 10- to 40-tons plus blocks of stone necessary?

Linear_A_cup
Linear A 

Why do scholars limit civilization’s history to the last ~5000 years denying and even ridiculing the mere mention of things like Atlantis?
If you listen to the ancients that are given status and credit by the scholars, all of them speak of epochs of time before them that were of greatness in terms of the feats of men and the standards of living of the peoples of those long ago eras. Yet, scholar after scholar refuses to even consider that there has to be some truth to their stories.

When, where and why did writing begin?
We define writing as the systematic use of symbols to convey our thoughts and ideas and information without the use of oral expression. But, what really makes up a writing system? And with all the unknowns how do scholars decide that one set of symbols is absolutely writing and other symbols are not. Especially, if their only rebuttal is that some symbols predate the labeled fact of writing originating in Sumeria around 5000YAG.

How much truth and historic fact can really be found in the lines of myths?
Many a child has been so lured by the lines of a story as to become obsessed with proving that it is a real story. That very obsession is how we discovered Troy. So why not put more faith in the reality of our ancients histories by remembering that absence of proof is not proof of absence.

These and more are the questions that feed my curiosity and kindle my desire to know more. It is the desire to find the truth of our history and the journey of our ancestors that inspires me to write this blog. It is my hope that at least one of my articles inspires you to begin or continue your own curious journey for the truth.

Photo Credit: via workplacelanguages.com
via en.wikipedia.org
via wikimedia commons

Dear Windows, Good-Bye, Without Love

goodbye microsoft love linux with heart

Hi, my name is Cassi and I am a Windows survivor! In the beginning Windows seemed so perfect. It made my life easier and gave me an easy to use interface so that I could be more productive without having to be a programmer.  And it even still gave me my DOS command window. It allowed me to organize and tweak my OS environment to suit my needs and my skill level. So as we progressed, we settled into a normal regular routine.

Oh, sure we had our ups and downs I mean, all relationships do. I don’t think ours was any worse or more than anyone else’s. I still remember when Mac, the new guy in town showed up. Oh, he was a slick one, turning heads and promising everything Windows had, only newer and cooler and stronger! And I admit that Mac got one of his new friends to try to show me how cool he was; but, while his looks were impressive, I was comfortable with my own Windows, besides, if it ain’t broke why fix it, right.

To make matters worse, how was I to know that my beloved Windows would go through a mid-life crisis with the turning of the century and never come out of it!

First he, decided that he needed a new look and then he needed a new title and couldn’t settle on one…are you 2000 or Me? Do you even know who you are or what you want anymore? Why are you changing? What was wrong with the way we were? I was happy! Oh, sure I changed the desktop and background from time to time, but, I didn’t get all mid-life crisis on you just cause the 1900’s became the 2000’s! Oh, no you had to go and throw it all away! All the hard work and the building up and the years of ups and downs. So I let you have your wild ride for a few years until you stopped supporting my (XP)memories of the way things used to be!

Then you got all security conscious and protective with your Vista! So we did nothing but fight. I begged and pleaded and finally you said you saw the light and gave me 7! I could see the effort (at least I thought it was sincere at the time) and compromised that while it was not my beloved XP, it at least was not Vista. So we created a fragile balance of co-existence until you decided that we need a WHOLE NEW EVERYTHING!

So what do you do…..BOOM here’s 8, slamming through the fragile peace like Johnny through the bathroom door! I cannot find anything! I cannot change much of anything! All my favorite parts are gone and nothing is the way I like it! What happened to the WE in this relationship…..when did it become all about YOU!!! Oh, that’s right way back when you bullied all the hardware makers to ONLY load your OS on their mass produced products and I didn’t balk cause I was happy back then and I trusted you to like me happy! Instead I now have a tyrant telling me that I am happy cause you say so! NO! NO! NO! I am NOT happy!

So I pack my bags and hand you divorce papers and what do you do…..you promise me to make it all right and to do it for FREE! For my loyalty you give me 10! You tell me that you have super improved it for my ease of use and syncing and that EVERYTHING you do, you do for ME and my joy! But, what you have done is built me a golden cage! You track my every move! You watch my every moment! You force updates and installs against my will! With you No doesn’t mean no, it doesn’t even mean wait, stop, think about it, promise me more….it means yes to you. No matter how much I screamed NO! DON’T! STOP! You are killing us! You kept right on……

but, I had heard rumors of a hero in the night….

I dug in my memories for those whispers in the dark. Those breathy comments by the rebels of the web! Linux was the name….but, it seemed so strange and foreign, it looked so alien and complex. What was a girl to do?

I decided it couldn’t hurt to look, right? I mean I was in a broken relationship with NO hope, the worst place I could be, so what did I have to lose? Besides, I had always had that part of me that walked on the darkside; just cause I had been a longtime Windows OS girl didn’t mean that I was a total Microsoft mistress. No, in fact, I had always loved those Open Source guys! They knew how to give a girl what she wanted and more and usually always for FREE!

So I took a walk down Linux lane looking for my new beau and what did I find??? I found more options than I could count and more looks and styles than a 5th Ave Fashion Week! WOW! What had I been missing? How do you pick? How do you choose? I was dizzy from all the options; but, I was determined cause once a girl looses hope in her guy…..she has no option but to find a new hero! So I read and read and read some more….

I read and watched more reviews and compares and contrasts than there are sports teams in the US! And slowly and surely I weeded out the ones too techy for me and the ones too Mac’y for me. I listed all my must haves and then the extras that would melt my heart…..so my short list came down to finally 2 ……. Mint and Zorin……and I will give each their due coming up……. see who wins my heart and who gets my system for keeps or at least for right now!

Where A Book Can Lead

Voices Of The Rocks SchochI have just finished reading a couple of books, one was actually a reread, well really it was a re-re-re-reread, but you get the point and it provoked some random thoughts. What books? Voices of the Rocks and Fingerprints of the Gods, respectively.

The first edition of Fingerprints of the Gods, was the first book that showed me that there were in fact real and serious people asking some of the same questions that I had always wondered and researching some of the same things that interested me. Reading that work opened up a whole new world to me, in terms of research and learning and growing. And I was hooked.

Fingerprints of the Gods 2002ed HancockI started looking for other such books, but only those that I believed were properly researched and truly passionate intellectual works. Ones that were not looking for proof of their desired whims and wishes, but those that noticed the textbook versions didn’t answer all the questions and even seemed to make no sense with the questions they did answer.

Seriously, given all the true examples of royal burials in Egypt, how to you claim that the great pyramids of Giza are tombs at all, much less only tombs with a straight face and any sense of truthfulness. The 3 great pyramids stand out like a sore thumb. It is like lining up all the breeds of cats in the world and at some random spot inserting 3 dogs and claiming cause they have 4 legs and fur and eat meat they are cats too!

And lots of academics, especially, anthropologists and archaeologists, are consistent in rejecting all differences as single exceptions or anomalies without considering the reality that all the single exceptions and anomalies actually create a larger body of evidence than the accepted pool of their textbook fact supporting evidence.

The other absurdity is that if you do not have hard evidence then it doesn’t exist. The fallacy in that is that an absence of proof does not prove absence. More importantly ignoring evidence does not mean the evidence is lacking. Denying evidence does not mean that the evidence is lacking.

Now you might wonder what any of this means regarding the aforementioned books. Both books discuss very well documented and accepted means of destruction of parts of the earth’s land areas. Some of those destructive means include massive flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes and land-slides; however, there are other means of destruction as well, natural and man-made from impact events and tsunamis to intentional destruction from razing and rebuilding conquered lands to scorched earth campaigns.

Logically, it is very possible to accept the likely probability that there are whole societies and complete civilizations that have quite literally been erased from history and existence. It is also, completely logical and probable to presume that evidence has been misinterpreted and misunderstood and thus mislabeled and misidentified and used to create or support an erroneous narrative.

The hypocrisy is in the scholars and experts that will say one thing in their textbooks and classrooms, such as how important water is to human existence and advancement and then deny that humans mastered water travel tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago. Logic would dictate that if something is so important to a group that the group would learn and master all uses that would benefit the group.For example, hunting, we did not just hunt for food, we learned how to utilize the whole animal for everything from food to adornment to clothing and tools and shelter; yet, we would not have used water for all its benefits?

New Things For A New Year-You-Life

Building-something-newWith the New Year, there are lots of opportunities to start new things and or to restart old things and or to change old things into something new. Currently, I am in the process of doing all three.

First, as you know, I am changing this old blog into something different if not new. I am going to be more open about posts and in doing so maybe provide insight and company where it might not have existed before and enrich it where it was a faint glimmer already.

Secondly, I am rebranding, in a manner of speaking my blog and podcast that focuses on ancient history and other topics that I feel are closely related to my interests in ancient history. That is a slower work in progress. I am still sorting out the hows and whats and whens and wheres. Taking it slow is okay, as the saying goes any step forward is still forward movement.

Lastly, kinda, sort-of, maybe……is the starting of a new blog in the tech area, but for ordinary people and the studying of or improvement of a natural skill set to possibly lead to a new professional adventure. As well as a couple more personal ‘new’ adventures, which I will share at a later date.

Each of us can take each new beginning, whether it be a New Year or new circumstances in life or just a new week or day and make it our new thing, whatever we want that to be. No matter our age or experience or circumstance, we all have the power to make changes, however small they might be at first, that will lead to new things and give us the ability to make more changes leading to more new things.

There are lots of little things that can lead to big changes in our lives that we do have power over. We may not be able to buy the house we want to day, but, we can make a change in the house we have to make it feel new or different. Something that we can all do in that regard is to donate or throw away or sell the things that no longer benefit us. Another easy way to feel like our space is new, is to simply rearrange the things that we have to create a different point of view or flow of energy.

You might be thinking how can that benefit me on a larger scale. Well, having fewer things and letting go of the things that no longer benefit us actually lighten our mental and emotional loads and thus can greatly improve our physical loads, both figuratively and literally. In addition, giving ourselves a new perspective or flow can continue the impact beyond our room or home out into the real world or at least into our outside worlds.

Make very small changes in how you engage the world around you. Take one whole second when you step outside to just stop and breathe in deeply. And then continue one your day. Or take a few extra seconds to just look at the world around you and really see it. This simple gesture will make you more aware of your surroundings and more present in each moment.

Park an extra row out or get off the bus or sub one stop early or ditch the cab one block away and walk those extra steps. Walking provides many benefits to all parts of our self. And will expand our world and provide us with more opportunities and experiences. We might meet new people, find new shops or cafes, see new environments. We will learn something more about places we frequent or work or live by seeing past just their part in our lives and seeing them in their place in their world.

Put your phone on silent or do not disturb for a half an hour or even a whole hour and do something or nothing that does not require that addiction to your phone. Just sit on a park bench or take a nap or go for a walk or read a real book or doodle on real paper with a real pen or pen a real letter. All these things require us to engage different parts of our brain and our bodies and require different muscles and coordination be used to accomplish.

If you pick even just one of these things to accomplish, you will see a much larger difference in your life and world that you can imagine and that will lead to other changes and improvements.

Yes, it can be hard to make even the smallest change, but remember, nothing great comes without some risk and courage. Be we all have that courage to take the risk in us, we just have to dig down into the core of our soul and find it. And take each step, one step at a time. And be proud of each step that you take.

arrows black on whiteIf you have to lighten you load by only letting go of one thing at a time, that is fine, you are still letting go. If you can only walk one extra parking spot, instead of a whole row, fine that is still 10 extra feet. And you can get to a whole row, one spot at a time. And ask for a partner in this. Ask a living companion to also let go and or help you let go. Ask a co worker to walk that extra stop or block with you. Ask friend or family member to be the “no phone” time with you.

Don’t worry about doing it The Right Way, however, you accomplish it is YOUR Right Way!

Photo Credit:    Chicago Agent Magazine
Olivia and Poppy Wallpaper

It’s Okay To Be Okay With Saying No

Yes-No-Okay-MaybeSo I have this, usually not very good for me, habit that I am trying to work on reining in some. And today, I did manage, with the help of my totally amazing and completely supportive partner, to make the choice to not save the world by killing myself and more importantly, being okay with the choice.

See, I think sometimes when we are trying to change or balance some aspect of ourselves, what makes the changes so hard is not the logic or reason behind needing to change, nor is it always about making and following through with the choice. Most of the times what sabotages us is the emotional weight after making and or following through with the better choice.

It is that emotional weight that prevents us from staying the course of making the change that will eventually make us happier and healthier. And while it is not really ourselves not wanting what is best for us, it is about the habit or normalness of what we have been doing for so long to not risk being unhappy because others are unhappy with us.

From birth we have all the outsiders that tell us what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, and even what is best for us. In addition some of these people constantly convince us to change our minds by manipulating us into believing that they know more or better what will make us happier and better people.  Most of the time they are not right, at least not completely and sometimes they are flat out wrong. Now, I am not blaming our loved ones for being bad or mean or anything negative. In most cases, they are merely following the example that they grew up with. Their thought process is that it is the adults’ job to tell the child what to do and how to do and even why to do’ in addition, a lot of times they are also telling the child how to feel about things. And that is the grossest error!

The result is that we grow up and some of us still allow everyone else to tell us how we feel and what we should do to make others happy and how that will supposedly make us happy. The reality is that most of the time it doesn’t make us happy at all, it usually makes us very unhappy.

In general, I think that we are all generous souls. We are after all a very social pack animal. It is one of the reasons that dog is man’s best friend, we are both pack animals and we, at our core, rely on that packness for everything. Thus, I do not think that we need to tell each other how much to give in order to be happy and instead we need to accept what others are willing and able to give and be grateful. And we need to be able to do and give what we are able to in the way that is best for us and others accept that from us.

We need to allow ourselves and others to say No! and we need to be okay and even happy with ourselves and each other when we say No. We need to, also, understand and accept that a single No or even a dozen Noes is not the end of the world. Nor does saying No once or twice or a dozen times make us a bad person.

It really is okay to be okay with saying No.

Photo Credit: tinybuddha.com

Ooo, Let’s Try Something New!

83105023_2563771643902506_1073600154503741440_o
Sunset on the Danube – Daniel De Jan

I know that I have not posted much over the last who knows how long, but maybe that should change! I think that it is time to get back in the swing of things and even to try some new things! Those of you that do know me, know that I do have other blogs of different topics and no, I have not been active on them either; again, let’s see about changing things!
So what do I mean, change things, I mean to do different things and see where they lead us. I have tried to keep this area personal, however due to me being a private person, I have been very specific about what I have shared here. Maybe, it is time for something of a change. No, I will not suddenly start reveling ALL, just being more balanced in sharing different parts of my world, so that there is a more complete image.

What that means is that some days might be cooking and others are you serious that’s a thing rants and others will be sharing my subjection of the latest occupation of time that my baby has discovered and insists on sharing with me; misery, loveth camaraderie! And lots of things in between.

I hope that you are interested in the new tales that will be spun here and the adventures or misventures as the cases may be! And I hope to be more active on some of my other venues as well and I am even really considering giving you guys something differently new as well. We will see how much time and energy I can manage, in addition to 4 courses, right now that is, and starting a new biz or two, too! Whew! What am I thinking!?!?!?

Witching Badness

Bad Witch
Only Bad Witches Are Ugly

We have given you some background about witches and witch hunting, now let’s travel into the darker spaces.
Witches are people just like you and me. Thus, witches just like any other group of people have good people and bad people and people that might be good and do a bad thing or bad people that might do a good thing.
While most modern witches will tell you that all real witches are good witches, that is not, nor has it always been the truth. The kind of witch you are is completely self-determined.
Most witches do use their knowledge and craft for good and fully believe that they are only to do good and help those in need and to never bring harm. There are, however, others that use their skills to gain revenge or self-advantage or to acquire power or fame or just sell their skill for a price without any thought to its use.

So let’s take a look at some of the real witches that have given the Dark Side the limelight!

Let’s start with some that have certainly gone down in history as being mean, vengeful, vile or downright evil;
(Remembering that we do not have 100% proof of any of the accuracies of the stories)

Rasputin
Rasputin, The Mad Monk. Wikipedia Commons

1: Let’s begin with one of the most notorious evil figures of history, albeit it a modern one, that of Rasputin, The Mad Monk. Grigori Rasputin was a self-proclaimed Holy Man and close to the wife of the last Russian Czar, Nicholas Romanov II. Rasputin gained his status with Czarina Alexandra by ‘saving her son Alexi’. Due to his closeness to the royal family and what most saw as the tyrannical and backwardness of Czar Nicholas, Rasputin had many enemies and was accused of everything from Black Magic and witchcraft, to controlling the Czar through magic and witchcraft. Some of the stories supporting the claim that he was a witch and powerful in the ways of magic and evil, regard the tales of him surviving assassination attempts, the first in 1914 and then again in 1916, though eventually he did end up dead.

The second and final attempt to murder Rasputin was organized and probably carried out by conspirators that included the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and Prince Felix Yusupov. Their original plan was to poison him with cyanide laced dink and food, supposedly enough to kill 5 grown men. When the poison failed to have any effect, the men repeatedly beat Rasputin, surviving the onslaught, he was finally shot in the back. The story then goes, that Rasputin jumped up or got up violently and was shot 3 more times including in the head. Thinking they had succeeded in their murder, Rasputin was wrapped in some sheet or rug or such and thrown into the Neva river. Ironically, when his body was pulled from the river a couple days later, it was determined that he had been still alive upon entry into the water and that he showed signs of trying to claw or break his way out of the icy water and his actual cause of death was either drowning or hypothermia.

It is believed that Rasputin told the Czar, “If I am killed by common men, you and your children will rule Russia for centuries to come; if I am killed by one of your stock, you and your family will be killed by the Russian people.

Dame Alice Kyteler By Paddy Shaw
Dame Alice Kyteler by Paddy Shaw

2: Now let’s venture to the other side of Europe, all the way to Ireland, for our next lister! Scotland and Ireland both were less hysterical about witches than the rest of Europe, probably cause they took to Christianity in a little different way. However, in 1324 Dame Alice Kyteler, became Ireland’s first charged witch. Dame Alice was a wealthy moneylender whom had the unfortunate habit of outliving her husbands, all 4 of them. When her 4th husband began to fall ill, his children insisted that something was amiss.
The Church put Dame Alice Kyteler on trail for leading a secret society of heretical sorcerers. Not only was she the first witch to be accused in Ireland, she was also the first to be accused of relations with an incubus. Due to her allies in important positions or her black magic, she stayed ahead of her tormentors, even evading her death sentence by disappearing the night before. Never to be seen again.

witch-and-her-cat3: In 1566, on July 29th, Agnus Waterhouse became the first woman executed for the crime of witchcraft, in England. Agnus was one of 3 women charged with witchcraft crimes, one of the others being her daughter Joan. It was Joan’s testimony in part that led to the conviction of the other 2 women. It is said that Agnus did confess her crimes and claimed her familiar a cat turned toad, named Satan as her means of doing harm to others.

One of the unusual aspects of Agnus’ case is that The Church was not involved in her case. The investigation and trail were a secular matter, brought on by the charge that she did through the use of Black Magic cause illness to a certain William Fynne, who died on 1 November 1565. In spite of seeming to willing and openly confess to all of her witching deeds, it is reported that she broke down upon arriving at the gallows and even begged God for forgiveness.

George_Pickingill,_Cunning_Man
George Pickingill via Wikipedia

4: Cunning folk, was another term for wise men and women and healers and other helpers of life in the village that were outside the normal polite society tea invites. They provided potions and predictions and other help for those in need. There has been and will always be debate about whether cunning folk are helpers or cons and this is definitely arguable for our next lister. George Pickingill, whom was the self-declared ‘oldest man in England’ was rumored to have been a cunning man in Essex. He was remembered as providing healing assistance to some and coercing drinks and assistance from others under threat of cursing.

It is documented that he was not as old as his claims, and it is reported that he remarked once that it was easier for older people to get parish charity, something that we know he did receive. Some of the rumors claim that George in addition to being a cunning man, was also the leader of a coven of 9 witches of the Dark Arts. There has been no proof of this, that being said, it would be logical that if he coerced others into ‘helping’ him, he may have used the threat or implication that he had witches under his control. It was his “old man” claim that got him known across England, and only later through the research of an Eric Maple into the folk lore and magical/witch stories of Essex that George came to light as a sometimes respected and other times feared cunning man of note.

Tituba-Longfellow-Corey
Tituba via Wikipedia

5: Across the pond we jump to find one of the most famous of the witches from America’s most famous Witch Trial. In Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams began acting strangely. The doctor determined that it was the Devil’s work. Upon questioning, the girls accused 3 women that were considered lesser members of the community, an old lady, a beggar, and the first accused, tried and convicted, a slave named Tituba. Tituba was the slave of Rev. Samuel Parris, father of Elizabeth, and believed to have come from the island of Barbados.

Initially, Tituba denied all charges, then she claimed only to work protection spells, after breaking, however, she confessed to having dealings with the Devil and she named other witches in the town. Her confessions and testimony was bizarre and frightening to those who heard it, and thus began the hysteria that would lead to more than 200 accusations of witchcraft and the execution of at least 19 men and women, and the deaths during jailing of even more.

However, Tituba was fortunate, while she was indeed imprisoned for over a year, she escaped execution for her accused crimes. In 1693, an unknown person paid her jail fees, which the Rev. Parris had refused to pay, thus in essence purchasing her and upon her release she disappears from history.

la voisin
La Voisin by Antoine Coypel via metmuseum.org

6: Our last witch is La Voisin or Catherine Monvisin of France. She lived in France in the mid-1600’s with her husband, a jeweler, whose business went bankrupt. Possibly, through her husband’s customers, she gained some note for her premonitions. To make ends meet after her husband’s failure, she sold love potions, healing drugs, abortion drugs and even poisons. She also practised midwifery and arranged black masses where clients could confer with the Devil. In addition she was supposedly one of the leaders of the affaire des poisons, a cult that poisoned many members of the French aristocracy.

There were many nobles among her clients, the most famous one being Madame de Montespan, the King’s mistress.
In the 1670’s fear of witchcraft reached a fever pitch in Paris and La Voisin, along with her daughter and many others were accused and arrested. In 1680, she was burned at the stake at Place de Grieve. After her execution, it became known that her daughter revealed a series of secrets at the High Court, including the plot to poison the King. It was supposedly for Madame de Montespan that La Voisin attempted to poison the King for infidelity.

While this is the end of our list we do have some Honorable Mentions, more to give you something to ponder until the next article!

Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII. As Queen of England, Anne became an educated, extremely intelligent woman of power. She was believed to employ magical advisers and engaged in mystical practises. In spite of accusations of treason, adultery, incest and witchcraft, resulting in her execution by beheading, she is known as one of the most influential queens in history.

Angele de la Barthe, was a wealthy, noble woman of Toulouse, France, who lived between 1230 and 1275. She was an adept of Catharism, and thus deemed a heretic by The Church. She was accused of being a witch after the supposed disappearance of several babies in the area. After severe torture by the Inquisition, Angele confessed to sexual intercourse with the Devil, and producing a half-man, wolf-snake son, who feed on babies. She is presumed to be the first witch executed during the Medieval Witch Hunt.

Leonardtown, Maryland has a tale that some say is more lore and legend than fact, but is it?
Moll Dyer lived in the area in the late 1600’s and for whatever reasons, maybe cause she lived alone, her fellow townspeople accused her of witchcraft. As such a group of men chased her out of her own home one winter night and her body was found days later frozen to a large stone.

Theirs are just a few of the tells of the witches among us and we will be sharing more during the rest of the month.