Book Review – Unfu*k Yourself – Gary John Bishop

Hi Readers,

I occasionally trawl the bookstands, and this one jumped out at me purely because of the title. The first time I saw it I thought it looked good, but it was a little ‘gimicky’ and I didn’t want to part with the cash at that time.

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So on a recent two-leg plane journey I caved in and bought it, as I was mostly done reading my other books I have at the moment.

In summary, I’d say that this is a good book. The author is really trying to shake us out of our slumber. Without going into verbatim, I will summarise some of the key messages, that really stuck out with me. I took a pen and made notes after each chapter:

  1. You mind is always talking to you, constantly, and if that dialogue is full of negative bullshit then your subconscious is putting this stuff out or receiving it or whatever and you essentially become the negative portrayal of your thoughts, so become aware of that dialogue, turn that dialogue around and empower yourself to change the message you are giving, er, receiving, to, er, yourself. I know seems crazy but I get it. Try it, please. Try it now!
  2. You have the life that you are willing to put up with. Whether that’s a shitty relationship, no money, stalled career, DUI charge or whatever, you’re there because you are willing to put up with it. The trick is to say I am Unwilling to live with this situation therefore I must change it. Are you willing to change?
  3. Take action, do something, just do it. Thoughts are thoughts, and if you just think about doing stuff, you are going nowhere. Also, do something different. Challenge yourself. Go another route home or eat something different or meet new people. Just take action on something.
  4. Whatever shit storm you are facing, you will get through it. You have before.
  5. Disappointment and upset is often a product of failing to meet expectations. The expectations you had in others, situations you are in, or endeavours that you have started. If you don’t have expectations, you won’t be so disappointed. Doesn’t meet you have to accept shit or abuse, it does mean that without expectations you are free to deal with issues as they come up. You can still plan, you can still hold people accountable, but without expectations, you can experience a situation and deal with it differently.
  6. Success is born out of discomfort, uncertainty and risk. Nothing is certain, so be ok with that.

Anyway its not my objective to reproduce the book! I just think that this guy’s got some really good points. I’m glad I bought the book, and I will keep it for reference, or hand it to someone who I think could benefit from it.

I give this book 4.5 unf*cks out of 5!

 

 

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Unflinching – The Making of a Canadian Sniper – Jody Mitic – Book Review

Hi Bloggers, I got through another book this week. It took me about 3 sittings to get it all read. This is the autobiography of Jody Mitic. Jody is a regular guy who grew up between Kitchener, Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Brampton, Ontario. He used to enjoy playing with guns, and it seems that he was probably destined for some sort of career in the military.

There were some tough knocks in his early training as a career soldier – including times when he was told he wasn’t going to make it, and was almost cast out due to an association with a colleague who was convicted of a drug charge (our Jody maintains that he was not party to the drug activities). It does speak to his resolve and tenacity to keep on going when the going gets tough. Image result for unflinching the making of a canadian sniper

After a bunch of training and development, he finds himself on a peace keeping mission in Kosovo, which was apparently lacking in the real soldier-combat action that he was hoping for. All that changed when terrorists flew some planes into major US landmarks, and the war on terror was on. Our friends in the States rallied the support of many nations – Canada being one of them. Jody was deployed to Afghanistan where his skills as a trained sniper and combat soldier were tested and honed.

Without giving too much away, Jody has an unfortunate run in with a landmine that leaves him with amputated feet. He makes the best of his return to civilian life and struggles with depression and addiction. He finds a woman to love and sets himself up in a regular routine kind of life, except that he becomes a role model, a leader of sorts and becomes an advocate for injured returning service people, and a politician who gets elected to local government. Image result for unflinching the making of a canadian sniper

I take my hat off to Jody, and others like him who put aside personal endeavours for something much larger.

This book gets 4.5 Canadian salutes out of 5!

 

Book Review – Wild By Nature by Sarah Marquis

Hi Bloggers, another book review for you. This one is by an amazing and inspiring woman who walked from Siberia to Australia over 3 years. Sounds crazy right? Yeah, I agree, but this lady gets FULL credit for having the er, balls?? um, no guts and determination and endurance and vision and all of that.

A lot of the book seems to be centred on her time in Mongolia. It does of course explore the other geographies but I think Mongolia was a significant part of the story.  Lots of open spaces, deserts with blistering heat, and frigid sub freezing temperatures. Lots of cultural learnings along the way. She has a few run ins with nomads and misfits too, but thankfully a mix of courage, bravado and maybe luck sees our girl get the trip done without major incident. Image result for wild by nature book

I really give her kudos for being brave enough to step out into the big wide world. She exposed herself to the potential of disease, thirst, getting lost, robbed, assaulted, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been being out there in a tent surrounded by wilderness, or perhaps worse people who come by in the night with who knows what intentions?

A bit of an eye-opener was that some people were not necessarily welcoming or kind. That of course was balanced with people who took her in, looked out for her and gave her shelter, food and water. I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than providing her assistance if I came across such a brave and intrepid adventurer.

Great read, great story, I give this book 4.5 yaks out of 5.

 

Book Review – It’s On The Meter – Paul Archer and Johno Ellison

Hi Bloggers, I’ve been busy consuming books lately. I tend to read more than I find time to blog about. This book is a great read. Three English lads get a crazy idea – to drive a London taxi from London to Australia, and actually get it done, then extend their trip with a little jaunt across America.

I give the boys full credit for bravery, imagination and well, stupid naivety, but it all comes together in a fun and easily readable way. One author will describe a passage, or part of a story from his perspective, then the other author gives an alternate point of view.

They take you right through from the start where they procure an old taxi (on Ebay I think!) before doing a bunch of fixes and modifications, before setting off. They ‘do’ Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, China, South East Asia, and on to my old home country, Australia.

I for one, can really appreciate the adventurous spirit and guts it took to get this thing off the ground and get it done. What a journey!

The stories are told with that quintessential Brit humour. There’s plenty of upsets and bumps and bruises along the way, too. These were young guys of about 20, who have no issue letting you know that they didn’t have a fucking clue what they were getting into – and there in lies the charm.

I’m so impressed, I give this book 5 out of 5 London taxis. The book practically read itself!

If you are interested, here’s the web link. http://itsonthemeter.com/

 

Book Review – The Urban Monk, by Pedram Shojai

Hi Bloggers, I finished The Urban Monk. Since starting to read it I picked up two other books, and read them, I suppose I needed a little break from the Monk wisdom along the way.

I’m going to keep this opening statement simple. If your life is kind of even slightly fucked up in any way, PLEASE GO AND READ THIS BOOK! I borrowed a copy from my library, so you don’t have to spend any money, ok?

So what can I say about this book? It’s ground breaking, its unapologetically real, while at the same time full of stuff that could be seen as a bit cosmic and out there for most people in the modern world. But I like it.

Firstly, the author is quite blunt, but in a good way. He refers to modern life and society as a COMPLETE SHIT SHOW. I reckon he’s got that right. Have a think about it for a minute. We often work jobs we hate, have stupid conflicts with colleagues and bosses, spend too much time commuting, eat shit diets, have problems with money, health problems associated with all of above, relationships that are falling apart (sometimes) and are almost completely disconnected with nature. Sound familiar?

Yet our author is a realist. He’s not telling us to spend our days in a Buddhist retreat. He’s just saying that a lot of us need some significant but achievable adjustments in our daily life to facilitate better outcomes.

Here’s a few things that he recommends, that I am incorporating in my life:

  • Eat a healthy diet. I’m changing things up and there is more fruit and vegetables in my diet now, and I feel great for it. I still enjoy ‘treats’ but this is the exception.
  • Meditate. I have been doing this for a few years now and I cannot emphasise enough the positive benefits for managing stress, anxiety, and seeing things with more clarity.
  • Yoga. Yes, do yoga.
  • Money – we are often over extended. The author emphasises living within means, and using money wisely. He describes it as energy that has a flow. Simple, good advice.
  • Get back to nature – walks, camping, back country adventures.
  • Work out. Do weights, do martial arts, whatever turns you on. Just don’t be sedentary.
  • Reduce your screen time – esp in the evenings. He even suggests going by candle light in the evening. I’m not there yet but I do tend to limit my exposure to garbage TV and social media feeds that is just toxic shit for your brain.

So that’s it in a nutshell. Its a good book. Some of the concepts are a bit left-field for me but I can take the essence of the message and tailor that to my lifestyle.

I give this book 4 monks out of 5. 😉

Namaste.

 

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I think we should all read this book!!!!

 

Sweet Caroline – a book review. Author Christopher Anderson

Hi Bloggers, during my time in Tumbler Ridge I picked up a book that was on the free book exchange shelves. The book was Sweet Caroline. The book is about the daughter of John F Kennedy. Image result for sweet caroline book

So firstly, I’m not American, I’m not that into politics, and I really couldn’t imagine myself getting into a book that was related to this subject – its just too ‘peripheral’ to snag my interest. In this case, I just started reading a free book. The writing was pretty good and soon enough I was quite entertained and interested by the story.

Source – Wikipedia

 

 

 

So I suppose its worth saying, I went to the Kennedy memorial location when I was in Dallas, TX some years ago. Why was that something I wanted to see? Well, as a young lad growing up in Australia, JFK, America and all of that seemed so surreal and distant that it was a curiosity, a point of vague interest. Something really significant happened in a distant land before I was even born. I do recall however watching a documentary, and having my dad comment on whether there was some conspiracy, I even remember seeing the footage of the shooting, and the subsequent shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald.

https://www.jfk.org/the-museum/ Here’s the link to the Dallas museum. Worth a look for sure.

So of course the story was well known around the world. Going to the Texas School Book Repository building, from which JFK was allegedly shot, was a must do in my mind. Now days its a museum and it contains a very good display of JFK’s history, family life, politics and significant events. There is also a large cement structure nearby that serves as a memorial. On the roadway where he was shot, there are two X marks on the pavement. These are the locations where he was actually shot. We dodged traffic to get a photo when we were there, standing on the X or whatever.

Ok, back to the book. Its a good read. Much of the focus early on is about JFK and Jackie Kennedy. The nanny, the kids, the numerous affairs that JFK was supposed to have had. The Kennedy family, the rich kid playground of Martha’s Vineyard, and Hyannis Port. The Kennedy family had its share of fortune and plenty of tragedy too. It seems as if being a Kennedy could amount to some sort of curse based on the things that went on. She was especially close to her brother John, who’s plane crashed at sea in about 1999. I remember being in Australia and getting the news. It was a bit peripheral, and I had no idea which Kennedy had died, or even that it was JFK’s son.

It seems as if Caroline is a very decent person, with a family of her own, and numerous charitable endeavours, as well as being the US ambassador to Japan. I can certainly appreciate why she would be considered very dear in the hearts of many Americans.

I would say this book is really worth a read.

Book Review – A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson

Hi bloggers, I haven’t done a book review in a little while. So I bought this book a little while ago – more on that in a minute. It turned up on the kitchen counter tonight. I asked the ex if she had read it, and she said yes, she has. She then said that she gave it to her mum to take back to Australia when she last visited. Seems the my ex-mum in law thought we needed it so she posted it back!

So, how did I come across this book? Well, I was in the States, travelling for work, on a training trip. I travelled to Atlanta, Georgia for the training. It was actually in a small town about an hour out of Atlanta. It was my first time in GA, so that was kind of exciting. I picked the book up at the Atlanta airport. I needed something to read on the way home to Canada.

What I do remember from that trip is that I picked up a nasty, nasty stomach bug. Here’s how it went down: We went out one night, to this swishy wine makers estate. There was some appetizers, and a nice meal in a really fancy setting. The place was about an hours bus ride from the place we were staying. Image result for a walk in the woods book

On the way back, I had a terribly uncomfortable full feeling. It was somewhere between ‘I ate too much’ and ‘I need to potty’ and ‘I don’t feel quite right’. But never the less, all I could do was ride the bus and get back to the hotel. Some people in the group actually went out that night to continue to enjoy drinks or whatever. I was not feeling up to it. I will spare you the details, but lets just say I practically exploded. Both ends. I was very ill. Seemed like a lot of the others on that trip ended up with the same bug.

Anyway, I survived, and I’m here to write about it.

Ok, the book. Its a good read. The guy has a genuinely good sense of humour. Well written, he seems like a really average guy who took on a pretty major undertaking. As most would know now the book is a movie. In any case, I recommend it and I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Book Review – Trespassing Across America by Ken Ilgunas

Hi Bloggers, if you’ve been following anything I’ve blogged about, you know I like to read books. I literally inhaled a couple over my long weekend. I read Trespassing Across America over a couple of days. It’s a great read.

First thing I’ll say about this is that the author is most definitely a poet. His words roll off the pages, like a grassy undulating field on the wide big sky prairie that he is trundling across. With aching hips, and blistered toes, every step is a challenge in this man’s quest for, I don’t know exactly what. There! Did you see how I did that – made the start of this paragraph poetic? That’s what this author does, but its just magic. I read a couple of paragraphs to a friend and it was sure appreciated.

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Anyway, the book is based on the author’s experience which starts in a dishwashing job in the middle of the north slope, Alaska, on an oil field camp. He describes it as shitty, because, well, it is. But that sets his mind in motion, and provides him with enough of a disdain for the oil industry that he’s ready to get out and make a kind of a statement-slash-personal journey of it.

What I like about the read is his endearing honesty. He’s no super hero, athlete, enviro-warrior or whatever, he’s just a regular guy with a half-baked idea, and is told by a lot of people how it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, and he gets off his arse, and gets it done. I think that’s awesome. Really. Along the way he meets a ton of people, gets interviewed by CBC, and a number of other media outlets, runs a blog from his I-pad, and gets a bunch of help along the way. He even ended up on one of those late night talk shows.

I really appreciate his writing style, and sense of humour, and really think that this is a great read. I don’t do stars, but if I did, this would get 4 and 1/2, no bullshit.

Enjoy this book if you can get your mitts on it!

 

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Book Review – The Taliban Don’t Wave by Robert Semrau

Hi Bloggers,

I’m excited to bring you this book review, because this is a really good book, its also written by a Canadian infantryman who was serving in Afghanistan. Further to that, the author comes from Saskatchewan, Canada, which is now my home province. He talks about Moose Jaw/Saskatoon and other Sasky stuff that I can kind of relate to.

But first, a weird little side bar. I like to sometimes reach out to authors on Facebook or whatever. So I went and looked for Robert Semrau, just to say ‘hi’ and that I liked his book and appreciate his service to country. So I did just that, and I was kind of excited when, some days after I found him, I sent him a friend request, and I got a message.

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So this is cool right? I am on Facebook messaging back and forth with this person, and soon he’s telling me that he’s in Yemen, and in hospital after a car crash, and he needs $1200 for treatment, and the Canadian Gov’t wouldn’t help him out. So, rather than reaching for my non-existent cheque book in my non existent bank account with non-existent wads of cash, I put a few questions to him. Questions that any Sask lad could easily pull out of their arse, such as ‘what was the name of your hockey team when you were growing up’, and ‘what school did you go to, and what is the mascot?’ Well readers, very soon the person went off line. Fucking scammers. Like really? Imagine trying to make a buck out of the story of someone else who has put everything on the line?

Ok, back to the book. The story is really about how Captain Semrau was charged with a mercy killing on the battlefield. The wounded Taliban soldier was apparently full of holes and death was inevitable, and it would appear that morally, this was probably the right thing to do. I’m not judging, I’ve never been to war, never served in the military, never been shot at or seen my friends shot to bits. I won’t give the story away, but my personal thoughts are that while there should be due process, it seems slightly redundant to me that someone should be held to account to this degree (murder charge), while others are being actively praised for battlefield kills as snipers or infantry or whatever. Again, not judging, its just not my thing.

While I thought that there would be more lengthy discussion on the court case, the time waiting for a verdict, the unbearable stress of having a possible life sentence over his head (there were these things), I was glad to read that the story was much more about the experience of being in Afghanistan, as a soldier deployed to assist in training the Afghanistan national army. In fact, the book was almost all about the events leading up to that point, which made for great reading.

There are plenty of laughs along the way too, it would seem that the Captain has a good sense of humour and that really makes for an entertaining read. I picked the book up at the airport on a trip recently and I had it read pretty much by the time I had returned home. Captain Semrau, I salute you.

Book Review – Its Only the Himalayas by S. Bedford

Hi Bloggers, I picked up this book at the library, and I think I had it read after about only 4 sittings.

* Shit I just had to grab the pizza out of the oven, I was so busy blogging that I could smell it but kind of forgot about it, so its kinda well done around the edges. *

Ok back to the book review. Ok, so there’s this chick from Toronto who’s a waitress and she has this friend who has just finished uni as a Nurse and they decide to set off on an around the world trip as backpackers. Firstly, I think this is absolutely awesome, and I’ll be letting my kids know when they are old enough that there is no experience like travel and I will encourage them to do the same. I think it takes an amount of guts and a sense of adventure for a couple of young Canuck gals to disappear into the very bowels of continents like Africa and Asia. Good job ladies.

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So the book is the first publication by this author, which I also think is awesome. A young person getting it done. The book is not too thick (pages wise) so I think this is a good thing too. I like a good quick read similar to how I like a good quick *** stops to cut the pizza up *** .

Ok so the writer takes on a journey that includes adventures such as camping in Africa, visiting a Buddhist monastery in Tibet, consuming a magic mushroom shake in Thailand, having more alcohol than what is really safe or necessary, indulging in airplane sex, getting into a messy threesome, ladies that shoot things out of their pussies, and a bunch of other stuff that kept me snickering along through the story.

I like how the author displays a sense of irreverence, (kinda like me really). She’s a skeptic, she’s a smartarse, and she’s searching for her inner peace, or sense of self, or a pair of dry socks after a rain shower. I also like that the author is Canadian, like me!