Thursday, 5 June 2014

Book Review: Silver Ninja - Indoctrination by Wilmar Luna.

enjoyed this book.
You can tell because I finished it (I make a point of never reading a book I don't enjoy to the end) and I finished it in a short amount of time (again one of the things I use to measure my enjoyment of a book).

Indoctrination is the second book in the Silver Ninja series, but knowledge of the first book is not necessarily required to enjoy it. I, at the time of writing this review, have not read the first Silver Ninja book and did not find this a problem at all - though I will be checking the first book out in the very near future and I believe that I would have enjoyed it even more had I read it first.

The story is set in a near-future/alternate present America, it's familiar yet original, and has an imaginative use of technology as part of it's narrative.

I found Wilmar's writing style to be accessible and clear. The book avoids the trap of info-dumping yet always manages to ensure the reader isn't missing information needed to understand the setting and the characters in it.
The story flows nicely, fast paced but not rushed. The characters feel real, the dialogue natural and the actions of the stories protagonists are believable without being predictable.

I found it fun to read, enjoying the ride it takes you on. The book makes you think whilst it entertains you, without sacrificing it's story to do so.

A key point is that I want to read more about the characters and the world around them.

My grumbles in relation to the book are, I believe, down to me not reading book 1 first, as I personally would have loved to know more about the whys and wherefores of the world the story is set in. I expect to get this information when I read the first book.
I have a habit of reading series of books out of order, I have comes across the problem before and it is mostly my problem and not the authors ;-).

I'd give the book a solid 7/10.

This is the first book review I have done in a long long time, I hope you find it useful and I hope you enjoy Silver Ninja Indoctrination when you read it.

Monday, 26 May 2014

A man in a room.

There is a man in a room.
The room is dimly lit and not a nice place to be.
In the wall opposite where the man sits is a door.
This door leads to a better place.
Light creeps through the gaps between the door and the frame,hinting at what the man knows is a better place to be.
The door is not locked.
It never has been.
The man knows this.
The man knows all he has to do is get up, walk across the room, open the door and walk through it.
He's opened the door before.
He's stepped through the door before but somehow ended up back here.
He has paced this floor,getting close to the door but keeps finding himself unable to pass thorough.
The thing that stops him be knows well, but that is not of much help right now.
It's black tendrils, like smoke,flow around him.
The man fights a battle he might not win.
The man is me.

An original piece by me.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

My beliefs - a post made in clarity.

In recent weeks, months even, those of you that a friends with me on Facebook or follow me on twitter will have seen posts/tweets from me that have been to do with my beliefs.
My OCD has a particular element to it ( it's not all of it but it is part of it) called scrupulosity, which takes different forms for different people and part of mine is to do with my spiritual beliefs.

Today, thanks to the support of my amazing wife,and the tools my many therapy sessions have equipped me with over the years, I have reached a mental clarity and calmness that has eluded me for a long time.

I have to write this as being open about this is important to me.
I am a pagan, heathen, polytheist.
I have been now for longer than I have been anything else.
I enjoy church sometimes but my beliefs are my own and wouldn't call them christian.
I practice rune craft and I carry out my beliefs in my own, tolerant way.

I'm aware that some people might feel misled by me recently. Please understand that it was something beyond my control at the time.

I know that I'm not meeting any standard of anyone else, only my own.
I know that someone somewhere will look at me, what I have written, what I say, what I do and pretty much anything else and disapprove, condemn or  disagree with me.

And that no longer worries me.

So what?

I do not look at them that way and, even if I did, they wouldn't change their way of living.

I am, for the first time in a long time, happy with me and my beliefs.

Long may this continue.


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Auditory Processing Disorder

Until 6 years, or so, ago I never knew Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) existed.
I was diagnosed after to going for a hearing test. My youngest son was diagnosed with it, following thorough testing, a few years later.
In hindsight, I have had it all my life but never had a name for it.
The good news it isn't life threatening*.
But it makes a big difference in lots of little ways.

So what is it?
Well as the NHS says ( ) it is a hearing and listening problem.
To put it in simple terms, it is the inability to process sounds normally. The range of frequency effected includes the human voice - typical eh? The ways it manifests itself is summed up in this list:
I can tick all these.
The condition can make you seem stupid ("can't remember simple instructions , "always needs things repeating", "how can he have misunderstood that) and it leads to mistakes and misunderstandings .
It can also mean that people think you ignorant or that you just weren't listening.

Now don't get me wrong, sometimes I don't listen to people - I'm no angel - but when I do and people think I don't it bugs me.

I also find that, when my APD causes an issue (even a small one) then when I say to people "I'm sorry, but you know I have this hearing thing" they look at you like you're making an excuse.

I don't want to have this wrong with me, neither does my son, but we do.

For all the crap side of it, it leads to some genuinely funny moments.
The things I think people say, when I question it with them, often makes them and me smile.
Conversations between my son and I are often full of misheard words leading to laughter.

It is a disability, it's invisible, and some people probably think I just need to pay more attention but hey ho, what can you do.

* it's not life threatening unless you don't hear someone shouting "mind that bus" or "don't press that button". ;)

Monday, 3 March 2014

A conclusion

I have spent a large amount of the last 24 years of my life reading about, looking up and looking into different religions, their view points, origins, similarities and differences. 
All of this has been rooted, to some degree, in trying to find something that I can stand before myself in the mirror and declare "I believe this...".
The thing is, I have never found that something.
Well not in anything I have ever found written down or spoken apart from one thing.
That one thing is the quote by Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor during the 1st century CE.:

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.  If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.  If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid." 

That pretty much sums it up for me. I've tried to find "more" than that but for me there doesn't seem to anything more than than to it.

So I'm going to stop searching and get on with living.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Clarity, sweet clarity

For a while now, I've not been myself.
This afternoon I realised that.
Don't worry, my not being myself has hurt nobody other than myself - and that hurt has been emotional but not physical and no lies have been told to anyone.
What's happened has been a symptom of my OCD.
It got under my radar, through my defenses by a back door that I was sure I had locked and barred, and it played a very smart game.... And it nearly won.
But today it lost.

You see, what had happened is that I had, over the last 6-8 months (maybe even longer) I have been obsessively focused on a part of my life that up until then had really been a more minor aspect of my life's interest. That is sport, mostly rugby. 
Now I have always liked sport, especially rugby, and there have been plenty of times in my life that it has played an important role and it has been at the forefront of things.
But never really at the expense of the other interests in my life to this degree (or maybe it has and I've never realised).

Now it is important at this stage to say that what I am writing about here has had no negative impact on my wife and children - they have not been neglected as a result if this. I feel that is very very important - as they are top of my list every single time. :-)

What has happened is that, over time, OCD has used sport has slowly pushed out music and reading (and watching films/tv) out of my day to day life and has replaced it with obsessive action and endless ponderings based around sport. This has lead to a lot of unhappiness as the sports I care about can be quite frustrating in their politics and that has proved to be a massive problem for me.
I just hadn't realised it before today.
I knew I was unhappy but the cause had hidden itself well.

The change started last night, following some news about a rugby team that has always been close to my heart upset me way more than it should.
This set of a thought process that blossomed in to clarity.
The realisation I had was that when I have been at my happiest (within myself - with who I am) is when I have been much less of an ardent sports fan and much more a metal head,a music lover, a reader and a writer (the bit I do) who has an interest in sport.

That is what I'm going back to as of now.

That makes me happy.

That Removes the root of much of my angst and anger and removes the fuel for my self hate.

Of course, first and foremost, I am a husband, father and a friend - it's just that the stuff that sits below those is getting out back in proper order.


Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - The Review thingy

Well 2013 is nearly done, and I won't miss it- although it's made sure that it won't be forgotten until the autumn at the earliest.

It's not been all bad, but it's been harsh and hard, and I have no desire to repeat it.

I started the year in a house that had been broken into, causing psychological issues throughout the family that linger to this day, and in a job that was draining the joy from my soul.

We are still in the same house ( we don't do running away ) and I am thankfully in a different job. 

We are all doing more than ok, something that I am very thankful for, and I am lucky to have a great many good people in my life ( some physically, others over the web ).

In a few of the previous years I have written a "thanks" list to acknowledge the people in my life but this year, I believe that they know who they are and I'm just going to say : thank you.

My wife, Su, and my two sons need a mention because without them I would be nothing - thank you, I love you with all my heart and soul.

So, 2013 has done enough to mean that 2014 isn't going to be easy as it could have been ( I won't go into details) but having got through 2013 I have a good feeling about 2014....bring it on!