Tag Archives: war

Researching religion to its core

In my previous post I mentioned a book that I am reading called “A History of Judaism” and some of you may be curious as to why I am reading such a book?  There are in fact two major reasons for me reading this book and both are to do with simple research.

Firstly I wanted to get to grips in understanding Judaism from its core because of a couple of specific themes I want to write and I don’t like to be ignorant when I am writing about culture.

Secondly, I want to find out why my ancestors left Judaism at the turn of the twentieth century just a decade before the Second World War.  Why some of the very oldest members of my family admit they were originally Jewish, but get rather aggressive about it and somewhat evasive.  I am also interested in finding any new books regarding this subject but set in Italy and Italian Jewish history in particular.

My son Henry absolutely loves learning anything at all about his family history and he has become less afraid of R.E at school since we have been learning the differences between what we know to be Evangelism, J-Witness and Judaism.  My family became Catholic and Evangelists when they left Judaism and part of that branch that left Judaism, also became J-Witnesses.

Part of my problems growing up was the cultural confusion my extended family had on supposed opposing ideas and therefore my understanding of religion was warped over the years; as literally my family would rage war on each other over their beliefs.  According to my grandmother, my great grandmother’s sister reacted so violently against her leaving Judaism for a Catholic man that she threw her into the fireplace and she escaped barely scarred.  Another incidence was that I was reminding an anti-Semitic evangelical relative of mine about how Jesus was a Jew and their response was to slap me across the face!

It astounds me how so many religions are at odds with each other when they all share the same core, corrupt the word of the core and kill each other in the name of the God that is the mainstay of the core.

However, as I am teaching my son, I am reminding him that you cannot hate anyone regarding this, because you cannot blame them for their ignorance.  Most people simply do not have the time on their hands to research as much as we do and therefore, you must always react to their violence with kindness if at all those people could make it possible for us to remain passive and kind that is.  Self-preservation kicks in for us all eventually.

The crucial thing to understand about all religions and cultures is that most people do not have time, they are too busy, they have other priorities and over the years many people have surrendered their personal research to trusted authoritive individuals who may or may not be corrupt within themselves, with the aims of controlling their particular congregations etc.  To be fair, everybody wants to try and honour their ancestors by keeping to what their parents believe and it wasn’t until the last century or so, that humanity in general were largely uneducated due to class differentiation and lack of opportunities.

There will be many updates in the future of my reading lists and there will be many different types of cultures and religions I will be study over the course of my life, because I have an insatiable yearning to understand humanity.  In fact in 2009 I signed up to the OU to do a Social Science degree, but I couldn’t cope with the demands of a new-born baby and running a house so went on extended leave, which is still ongoing!  The OU is lovely in that they have still left it opened for me to return whenever I want to, and I may eventually, as I miss it.

I feel I must apologise to some readers who may have found the tone of this post offensive, because no doubt, there are some who do.  But it is by no means an attack on religion, simply a passive eye opening, hoping that, with the tools of the modern age, that you will find time to research the roots of your beliefs to the very core and not just what your local parish tells you.

Thank you for reading.

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Gaming Phases Sims 4

I think I mentioned in a recent post that I go into bursts and phases of doing certain things for a few weeks or even months at a time?  Well for the past month I have been over indulging in my love of the Sims 4 for the first time in 3yrs, but this time I am actually actively keeping an eye on the fan base and professional simmers social media timelines, even if I am not actively talking with them myself.  I am more of a reader of social media, than an active participant.

Recently there has been a lot of debate about whether or not the Sims 4 team is bringing out a major pack, be it werewolves or farming or the most hoped for of all by most simmers, generations Sims 4.  I personally like to play farming and homesteading type Sims as well as doctors or inventors.  So I am really hoping for farming with more animal and food options and larger plots. 

I also hope for more historical packs, those which will give the Sims more of an old fashioned feel to them, longer skirts and dresses and Edwardian style clothing.  I would also like for them to produce a gypsy pack, so we can have gypsy fashion and Sims who do not live in a set household, but are nomadic in nature, with moveable housing such as caravans, yurts and vardos.

I think there should be more toy and ornament options too for children and toddlers and babies should do more than just lay in a cradle all day too.  There should be strollers and things like that, I know you can get mods for all of this, but I hate downloading mods and I have no custom content on my game whatsoever, so I am missing a lot in comparison to what social media “professional” simmers have.

I currently have five families in five separate games I am playing between.  One major one that I love is a rags to riches challenge called The McNally’s, where I used a cheat to start her (Corinne McNally) off with absolutely no money whatsoever.  She is a freegan, dumpster diving, defiant which only four days into sim time, found two money tree seeds in a dumpster and has a daily income source from just that of 33k per day now.  From what I observe on YouTube nobody else has stumbled across the money tree seeds in a dumpster, so I am wondering about that!  My sim has the Mansion Baron aspiration and she is nearly on level 3 of that.  I fed her husband to a cowplant because he was annoying me with his endless hugging of random garbage he stored in his pockets (inventory), so she is now a widow, with one teenage daughter.  She had a young adult son, but he was squeamish about dumpster diving and had regular bouts of depression over the fact I won’t let him have any romantic interactions, so I killed him via lightning bolt. 

Her adopted daughter Fatima is a high achiever at school and is gaining skills unusually fast for a sim, she doesn’t seem to pine for too much social interaction and she loves garbage, but thankfully not as much as her late adopted father!  I have big plans for this character!

The other family I mainly play besides The McNally’s are a large extended family called The Podmore’s (name based off my great grandmother’s maiden family name).  They are country folk, gardeners and farmers and are nearly 30 strong in family members across the Sim World now; I am in their 4th generation already!

I love building family trees in the Sims and I find it really boring that I can’t have more Sims living on the same plot, there is a limit to only 8 and that includes cats and dogs!  There should be no limit to pets on the plots and they should allow for multi-generational and multi-family options for housing.  I want to build my own apartment blocks or annexes to houses, where the individuals can be controlled but have separate lives.  I want to recreate my family on the Sims.  My paternal grandmother has a cousin in Ireland who is 1 of 17 children and she too had 17 children when she grew up.  My grandmother was one of 12 children, my father was one of 7 and this is pretty common worldwide, so why not in the sims?  Along with this you will get grandparents and uncles and aunts and grandchildren living in the same house.  I have known personally, someone who managed to cram 24 people into a 5 bedroom 3 reception house with a 2 bed annexe, it can be done!

So therefore I think a household limit should be 25 and an apartment plot option for 100.  You should be able to switch on and off autonomy on individual people during gameplay without having to go back to the settings menu.

I also feel as god of that world, I should be able to choose what kind of weather they get and how mild or violent it gets too, I should also have the ability to make the sims die of any cause I desire as per the storyline requires.  There should be disease packs with the options of survive this or die from it.

I also find it annoying that all my sims are mostly reclusive because when a friend phones for you to hang out with them, they leave the house and so do you, in order to control the socialising sim whether you want to or not.  They should be able to do as they do when they go to work, should they go alone or will you go with them?  Also what kind of relationship do you want to build with this sim when they are away?

There is a lot I am hoping for regarding the sims.  I hope they improve a lot by my birthday because it is very likely that I will drop the sims 4 again soon, for another game that has been remastered recently – Rome Total War… back in the original game of this, I was 4th best general in the whole world in the multi-player option online.

So Rome Total War gamers, beware, TheRavenWarrior is coming back!

I love the game so much; it is this original game that I owe to my vast knowledge of ancient warfare!

Until next time, happy reading!

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Reading, Writing and Psychotic Creators

I am most unusual for a fantasy, sci-fi and horror fans for the fact that I don’t actually read or watch much of the big famous stuff like Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Angel, Being Human, 24, etc.

I don’t do it on purpose, it is almost always accidental or because something has got into the way of me being able to watch or read it, finances or simply not having access to a certain television channel or the time to watch copious amounts of TV in general.  I am also unusual for modern humanity in general, I watch approximately six hours of television a week and that is about it, unless of course it is a special occasion, such as Spring Watch and the other Watch programs or the BBC Proms, Crufts or the RHS shows.  Then you have to consider I don’t watch a lot of what I want to watch because I sometimes lose my hearing completely due to an ear disease I have and regular infections.

I am also an extremely slow reader.  An average reader reads at the rate of 250 words a minute, I can barely read 180 words a minute, 150 words a minute ensures I comprehend at least 73% of what I’ve read and can relay it, and I’ve done an online test for that.  http://www.readingsoft.com/index.html#results

All of this is strange because when I read non-fiction I must faster and I have a better comprehension rate, I can read about 300 words per minute with a comprehension of 84%, but I can understand it – when I read fiction I visualise too much, like I am watching a movie, I read it with a voice in my head; when I read non-fiction the voice goes and I more or less skim read but I actually remember what I am reading more.

Anyway the cusp of the subject for this post is that I am not well versed in the subjects I love the most simply because I don’t read as much as the average fan of those genres, or at least what I do read are very obscure to present fans of those genres because they are from authors who are hardly known or were a big thing in the Victorian age or the 60s, 70s and 80s. 

I tend to stumble upon movies and forgotten television series that had flopped, sank or got axed due to lack of interest from the public or were simply rated as B movies.  So after talking to several fans of these genres about what I love the most, they often say to me “So you really love crap then huh”?  This hurts, because I find those so called B movies more diverse and fresh than the big stuff.  OK the acting is often poor along with the special effects but the imagination for bigger things is there, but the average observer doesn’t see that, especially if they are not creatively inclined.

For me, a lot of my ideas come from these forgotten (or tucked away in shame) shores.  Told this, those people who know me can’t understand how my work is as good as it is, they say to me “but surely if you fill your brain with such rubbish you will produce rubbish, I think you should lay off these things in case it starts polluting away your actual talent”.  I feel flattered for that, but I also feel that if I started to read and watch the more popular big stuff, then I will start to look like everyone else and I won’t come across as fresh.

Now, I have had almost an instinctive inclination to NEVER read or watch certain fantasies especially.  I never knew why my instinct acts up whenever I try to read a handful of the big stuff, but it became clear to me in the last couple of days when I actually ignored this instinct and decided to read the first book in The Game of Thrones.  I am only 76 pages in and I have almost lost the will to continue the 2 fantasy novel ideas I had because there are 7 major things in this book that matches exactly what I have been writing for the last decade, even down to names and clothing descriptions.  Now I am trying to sit myself down and talk to my inner creator rationally about how it is not such a big thing because those are just names and names of events etc. the actual idea is not going to be copyright invasion because it is going to be a very different story, but my inner creator hasn’t stopped whining about this yet.  My inner creator was sure that I may have accidentally slipped up online a few years ago about my plans, but I had to remind my inner creator that this book was published when we were 17 and we only started on our idea when we was around 21.  I do have to treat my creator self as though I am a separate person because this is how I cope with it all, so excuse me if I sound a little you know… psychotic. 

I have an idea so far into the book that is a similar story to the war of the roses but with a fantasy twist, this is how Game of Thrones looks to me so far.  My story isn’t like that, my story is much different, yes there are royals and there is war, but the factions are not warring against themselves, families are not warring with each other if they are blood related, there is a different factor.  I am also trying to tell my inner creator the idea of the 12 banners I had can still be effective, because in ancient Earth cultures every clan had a war banner, this is not going to harm my novel or our reputation at all.  But she still panics.

When you want to be a writer you have to separate yourself from your work to maintain some sort of sanity and control over your initial tantrums, your initial emotions, you have to sort of step outside of yourself and talk to yourself like you are somebody else.  If you struggle in doing this, then these sorts of things will consistently stop you from writing and you will not finish anything; because you throw your novel across the room in a fit of rage about the unfairness of the world and sulk for the rest of your life about it, whereas it is totally unnecessary because your book will be very different.  If you sit back and view the whole situation as a second person, you will rationalise it all and be able to continue the work you love.

I have had such irrational things spout out of my inner creators mouth that I had to more or less act like a patient psychiatrist to my inner creator and say to them… “Look, how can this be so?  The author who has stolen your BIG idea died in 1886” see how irrational your inner creator can get sometimes?

Just write whatever you want to, don’t worry about copying someone else or having someone else copy you, because you need to get over this first draft, then you can weed these similarities out.  The first draft doesn’t really matter that much, because there will be many, many drafts after it before it is polished.  That is how you can write and finish your book.

Also, if you need more convincing on this matter please read this book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I consider her a genius on this kind of stuff.  Elizabeth Gilbert tells us that ideas are alive, they have a spirit of their own, they go from person to person looking for someone to write about them but sometimes the ideas are not happy with the result so they go on and on until they feel perfected by someone and oftentimes many people will get the same idea at the same time, but all of them with their individualities will be slightly different to each other.  No one can be 100% identical in the way you write, what you write, how you write it, how the ideas came to you and how others are going to feel about the work. 

Yes there are coincidences in the world, this is a world of constant coincidences and that is all it is “Coincidence”, synchronising a little from other brain waves, but never being 100% the same, just similar and you can’t get sued for being a little bit similar, unless of course you have copious amounts of sentences in your book which matches people identically, but that’s a different subject for a different time.

So stop procrastinating by reading this post and get on with your work.

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The Mysterious Toothpicks

There has been a great mystery stirring in my house in the last few days. Several toothpicks have been discovered on the floor by my desk in the living room and on the bookshelves in my bedroom and over the floor. The number of available toothpicks has been decimated each time I observe their little jars; one jar resides in the living room at my desk, the other in the bedroom on the lower middle bookshelf and the third in the bathroom up high above the medicine cabinet. The bathroom toothpicks are unaffected in this mystery.
I have come to the conclusion since my husband and child’s denial on the matter, that the culprit must be tiny human beings approximately an inch tall that currently have a wartime emergency and are using the toothpicks to become phalanx mercenaries in some sort of odd tribal warfare.
That is a sensible conclusion, given the evidence.

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Fragile Sphere

The world is but a fragile sphere floating in the endless black sea of space
More fragile than the thinnest glass when it has been knocked out of place
Yet within this fragile sphere of ours, we are set spinning into space
With no inclination of how we float, we just do and in such grace
Every mortal life is precious
Every mortal life unique
Every mortal life is special and their life’s end is always bleak
Yet we keep on spinning, in the airless space
We keep on turning with such gentle grace
And we keep on believing
That we know nothing of what we are
Yet we keep on invading
Shouting truth to justify our war
And we sometimes die for nothing
But some they die in just
And some they keep on believing
Because they simply must
That there is meaning to all of this
This fragility in which we live
But no one has an answer
No one has one to give
So we keep on spinning, up there in the blackened space
We keep on hoping that our life will not be erased
And we keep on dreaming of things we do not understand
And we keep on searching, because that’s the way of man

 

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Hatred needs to die

Intolerance needs to be shaken out of this world
Hatred needs to die
People need to stop being perfect and living the perfect lies
There is no one more beautiful than another
There is no one too ugly to see
There is only in this world and the next – personality
Ugliness is an illusion, of which you must overcome
Don’t carry on in your life hating, because that is very dumb
Why do you think you are perfect?
Why do you think you are grand?
Why do you think another, needs a violent hand?
What makes you so righteous, what makes you so mean?
Has the deceiver taken charge of your mind? Is that why you are undisciplined?
You pray to God on Sundays, you promise him a pack of lies
You hate your fellow neighbour
You live your life in pride
You don’t see yourself in this manner
You don’t see your hypocrisy
But if there is hate in your heart for another
Then you are blind and you do not see
You are contributing to the evil of this world
And that is as evil as can be
So take the time to change your mind about your fellow man
Take the charge of your thoughts and be kind
Help others all you can
Live your life in a non-judgemental way and you will know that love is out there
And it is yours
Just be kind and open the door
Live in kindness – always

 

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Follow the path of the dove

I am floundering in a world that’s diverse
But the diversity is a mess
People hate each other even at their best
No one realises that they are the same
No one sees the similarities
It’s insane
It hurts my brain
I know religions and I study them all well
I follow none, on me; they do not cast their spell
But many are enchanted by their promises and their hopes
But I do not follow them; I see it worse than dope
And many do attack me, for my flimsy and secular ways
They think I don’t believe in god and that he creates
But I do, but I won’t name god and I won’t give him a sex
I do not know if they are male or female and I don’t know if our behaviour they even check
Do they care about our ways, whether we are good or if we’re bad?
Do they think there’s a code to life we must follow to be glad?
I don’t know and neither do you, so why do you follow texts?
Texts that are written by other men to control their nations via pretext
Oh I see the spell that you are under
I see it all too clear
But to tell you all, you won’t have it
At me you will snipe and jeer
Yet you will kill for your god and your ways
Though your texts they tell you don’t
You do so anyway because…?
You know not do you? You don’t!
So tell me why you’re so enchanted, when religion causes war?
When your own texts tell you not to and you do so because the law…
Why do you stand for murder when your beliefs are threatened so?
Why do you argue with your brother because he is different? Lo…
Can’t you see the mess you’re in? Can’t you see the spell?
Can’t you see it’s not just you, but other beliefs as well?
It is better not to label oneself, for the good of all mankind
It is better to live together in peace, be good and happy and kind
Keep away from the toxic faiths that turn you from other men
Turn away from those paths and then…
You will see such happy times, of peace and love and compassion
You will know then what heaven is, if you forget your violent passions
You cannot be a good spirit, if your heart is full of hate
You need to think another way, do not be afraid to cross that gate
I think you will see it is a blessed life, when you turn your hate into love
I think this is what you need to do to follow the path of the dove

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Vlad Dracula III

Since the 2nd January I have been slowly reading a history book with a fine comb called “Dracula, Prince of many faces; his life and his times”. I am reading this because I have never sat down at length and read an autobiography of the real legendary hero of Romania outside of short documentaries, articles and mentions in other history books.
So, because a lot of the things I knew about Vlad Dracula before I read this book seem to come from so many other sources, I feel that they are perhaps more accurate than this book. I know you probably think I am wrong to state that because the person who wrote the book was a historian, though I dispute it nonetheless; on the ground that according to my research the Florescu family were well known to be enemies of the Dracula’s and this book was no less written by Radu Florescu, possibly a descendant from those enemies.
I found the historian to be a sympathiser of the Turks and the Ottoman empire despite his apparent heritage; he also doesn’t view Dracula in the same light as other historians and other sources that I have read and he seems to have altered certain facts of major events within his life to make Dracula come across as an unstable tyrant who was unpopular from the start; quite the contrary to the fact. OK, I grant you it is tyrannical to go around killing people in the manner that he did, but by and large he is a much loved hero in Romanian culture, not something a lot of tyrants can proclaim.
So, it makes me wonder, if a lot of Romanians hold Dracula up in a favourable light, whether or not Dracula was as bad as this historian claims he was?
Obviously taking his executions into account they were evil and sadistic, but then again the same could be said for a lot of other cultures in the world at those times. He especially learned his techniques in every manner from the decade or so he was held prisoner and educated by the Turks themselves, so, he is as he was nurtured and the Turks certainly did nurture him ultimately for their own gain. They wanted money, horses, food and a certain amount of young boys integrated into the Ottoman empire to form part of their expanding armies as a sort of security against any Wallachian response and allowed Dracula to govern Wallachia for them, something of which didn’t last long once Vlad Dracula established himself back on his home soil; Dracula rightfully denied the payment and tried to juggle diplomacy between the Turks and the Hungarians for a long time, though eventually it was decided that the Turks were taking too much advantage of their supposed alliance and Dracula dealt with them promptly and harshly as would any other good ruler of the times.
The attack on German immigrants however, is a new thing that I’ve learned about him from this book. Because it is the first I have heard of these events, I cannot dispute it as a legitimate fact.
Many of the things I have learned about Vlad Dracula have made me feel in awe of his cleverness in these very tricky treaties and wars. He was very canny and wasn’t easily duped.
His reactions against the Turks taking possession of his land was by poisoning everything valuable such as wells and damaging his own crops and livestock; he also built dams to mire the edges of the Danube to protect his people from the canon fire from the Turks and then ensuring that his own people moved to safer places away from the invaders leading up to the famous “night of attack” was a very admirable feat, and showed how benevolent he was towards his people despite claims from German sources; He was also incredibly lucky, as six years before this event he was in a war where only 8000 Romanian peasants armed with only pitchforks and scythes, ousted 24000 Turkish professional troops, how he mustered that I have no idea, but to me it shows me how great he actually was, I am very taken by the history of this great and unappreciated man!
I am not taking for granted that things within this book are fact – due to the other sources I’ve learned from. I cannot vouch for whom or where those other sources came from, but I do know one of them was about the legend of Dracula in both media, fiction and fact in one of Jonathan Ross’s specials where a baroness spoke of how great a hero Vlad Dracula actually was and how rightfully offended she was of various inaccuracies and the fact that this great man was turned into a successful horror story.
Some of the events in Draculas life seems more altered in this book than from the other sources too, for example, the incident where he killed a man’s wife and replaced her – from other sources it was said that she didn’t iron his clothes properly and that he was a soldier in Dracula’s army, this book claims he was a normal peasant and his wife got the length of the shirt wrong – so there are some questions about who is right or not.
I have no formal qualifications in anything of which I am saying, but I have read a lot and watched a lot of documentaries over the years about this great prince; I am also an amateur genealogist. I like reading books about wars and royal classes from the 11th to the 17th century and all over the world not just limited to Europe. I read and study these independently to assist me to write such things accurately in any fiction I write, I write a lot containing feudalism generally in many of my fantasy works.
I also educate myself on all kinds of superstitions around the world and so-called heathen beliefs, to again, make my worlds seem more real. I have studied the social sciences to help me further, though I gave up my undergraduate qualification when I found my illness and having a toddler very difficult to juggle with university studies.
By and large I try hard to learn about all things cultural and I think if you are making worlds that aren’t based on Earth or are based on an earlier time on Earth, you need to do the same thing too, otherwise everything will seem unreal to the reader.

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We all fall down

Nation against nation a war has begun, people prepare with their bullets and guns.

Soldiers are ready at the foot of the brawl, women weep as their children fall.

Many are mane and many die many scream and many cry all live in hope for the war to end

please not let a war come again.

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Cold war brings cold bodies

Since childhood we both would sit underneath this tree, reading books and singing songs and running away from bees.

When we were grown we made love together each and everyday.

But then a war was broken and it’s taken you away.

So long I’ve loved you, so long you had fought.

Many years you had been gone, I grew even more distraught.

Then one day they found you, dead and all alone.

The war had took you swiftly, and away from me and home.

Life is nothing without your love, to hold me, it’s so cold.

The torture I have lived with each day, is more than can be told.

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