Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

Yes, I’ve finally finished a book. I really couldn’t put it down at all and am wondering why the hell I hadn’t read Palahniuk’s Fight Club before because it’s so close to what I want in a story.

It’s gritty and absurd nature makes you totally unable to look away. It’s almost poetic in its cultishness, with the repetitive phrases. For those that haven’t come across the book (or movie), Fight Club is about Tyler Durden, an absurd character with streaks of nihilism and anarchism running right through him. It’s also about Fight Club, where every night mean gather in bar basements to get a little bit of power back. Workers fight to feel alive.

I really think one theme to come out of this book is alienation. These men that come to the Fight Club are looking for some escape from their boring and wasteful jobs. The Project Mayhem they enter into is about gaining some power back.

The best line is when Tyler’s literally got one of the police commissioners by the balls and he says,

“Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we drive your ambulances. We connect your calls, we guard you while you sleep. Do not fuck with us.”

Overall, Fight Club is fast paced, well written, with an insane plot and it makes for the best novel I’ve read this year by far. Not like this is some ground-breaking statement considering I think I’m the last person amongst my group of friends to read it.

[rating:5]

Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk, book, review, nihilism

One week until NaNoWriMo!

A day or two ago, this would have sent me through the roof – with excitement. But I didn’t realize NaNoWriMo was so freaking close until about 15 minutes ago; I swear we had another week.

I’ve been getting prepared. I bought No Plot? No Problem! from this cool bookshop called Abbey’s on York Street the other day. I bought a flash drive so I can take my novel between work and home. I’ve been reading Fight Club and reading fiction regularly again has boosted my writing mood.

I’m writing in Courier New to feel more ‘writerly.’ I’ve even been doing the daily prompts on the NaNo forum to get me used to writing – and I’ve been enjoying them.

I’ve done everything except actually plan the freaking novel. And coming up I have a 21st Birthday party, a reading group on Saturday, the National Novel Writing kick-off party and I’m totally stacked with actual work to do at work.

One bit of really cool news is that my housemate is going to be doing it too. He’s going to write a cyber-punk novel in the reduced target of 25,000 words, so I feel really sorry for the other housemates because there will not one, but two, caffeine induced novel-writing recluses lurking around in November.

Hopefully he’ll give me the boost I need. I’ve made this challenge too public to back down; and I guess that was the whole plan.

NaNoWriMo, writing, Fight Club, No Plot? No Problem!, planning,

What's Howard's tax cut mean to me? Fuck all compared to what Allan Moss is getting

The Herald sent me this email just now regarding a calculator to work out how much extra I’d be getting out of Howard’s proposed tax cuts. Of course, the tax cuts are really for the rich because I’m just a lazy worker who can continue to live in comparative poverty because those hard working corporate assholes really need any more money.

Under Howard’s new plan I’ll get an extra $17 a week (on $36,000 per year) and Allan Moss, CEO of Macquarie Bank will get $19,000 a week EXTRA (on $33,000,000 per year!) – and that’s not counting the amount of tax the bastard will undoubtedly dodge.

So Howard’s trying to buy votes and he’s not even giving the money to us. The election is in full swing and we have the choice between two douche-bags, Howard and Rudd but you’ll be sure Howard’s going out the door come the end of November because the thing Rudd’s got going for him is he’s not Howard no matter how much he tried to be.

Howard, election, tax, Allan Moss

Bit of nostalgia

I’ve been chatting with some of the Absolute Write members about NaNoWriMo this year, and the question was posed, “When and how did you first hear about NaNoWriMo?” I was stumped.

My first NaNoWriMo was in 2004, the year I finished my HSC and due to this, it was a bomb. I wrote like 2,000 words that whole month and was just getting introduced to socialist politics so a lot was going on. And as I’ve realized, a lot has happened since then. I still couldn’t remember how I’d found NaNo.

Well, the best way to work this out was to search through my old blog‘s archives at the time. I worked out that I must’ve come across the program from some other bloggers, most notably, The Scribe.

And then I just got to flicking through all of the blog posts at the time and went back a little. It’s kind of interesting to see how much my blogging style has changed since then. It’s much more formal, but it seems I used to be far more anecdotal; I was happy to just write observations of what happened and quick rants of outrage at what was going on in the world. I can see the benefits of what I did then, and how I changed.

I think the thrill of NaNoWriMo was much more profound, and in a sense, naive then now. Writing seems to be more work than it was then and I kind of liked reading my observations then so I could relive that feeling of writing just being fun and free, mainly because it was so counterposed to boring school. I have decided to do NaNoWriMo this year – and the whole bloody thing. There’s no fear of burnout because I really can’t write any less than I am now.

50,000 words here I come!

NaNoWriMo, writing, blogging, HSC

Who's to blame for fucking the environment?

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

I wasn’t going to post for Blog Action Day; to be honest, I was a little skeptical about the allusions in what this day could achieve.

I guess I still am. Everyone blogging about the environment isn’t going to convince assholes like George Bush and John Howard to become card-carrying greenies, although it’s pretty sickening to see these two pose as wanting to do something about the environment.

But I think the benefit of everyone blogging at once about the environment is the strength in numbers. It’d be great to saturate the internet and the Blogosphere with some fucking politics. But the problem with online activism has always been that it stops online. You can’t change the world from your computer. They key is to use this momentum as a driving force and get out and do something! And I will come to this later.

But firstly, my motivation for posting today is the need to say what most other environmentalists will not say. There is a need to place the blame for fucking the environment squarly at the feet of big business and the whole capitalist system. The reason the environment is going the way it is, is because we live in a system where the rich assholes that rule us only care about making profits.

The state of the environment is not due to too many people, apathetic people or greedy people. In fact, workers are the key to saving the environment and it isn’t through taking shorter showers. Greens leader, Bob Brown, summmed up the position of most environmentalists when he spoke at the Walk Against Warming rally in Sydney last year. He said we need to tighten our belts. He said ordinary people need to use less and pay more and that is the solution. He blamed ordinary people from ruining the environment. And this is where the environmental movement fails.

The majority of waste and destruction is due to big business and industry. Shorter showers means nothing when Roxby Downs Uranium mine in South Australia uses 30 million litres of water a day. And to add insult to injury, the government has not only exempted them from water restrictions, but this water is free. In the midst of a drought, they make us use less to look like they’re taking some action, but of course, all the important stuff like Uranium keeps on raking in the mega-bucks.

Oh, and their solution to energy? Nuclear power. Sure, an energy source reliant on high amounts of water, uses more carbon emissions during contruction than it reduces, and as an added bonus, they get to use the waste to make more bombs. Wow, Howard sure is loving the environment.

And where do the Liberals and Labor stand on the Tasmanian pulp mill? They’re with it all the way. Nothing to do with Gunns donating lots of money to their parties of course, or just the fact that they’re running the system for companies like Gunns. You just have to have witnessed Peter Garrets shift since he joined the ALP. It seems a career in the Labor party comes before values.

But how do we actually fix the environment then? Well, there a numerous examples of workers actually forcing change onto governments. Howard and Rudd can’t be convinced to support fixing the environment because it’s not in their interests because it’s stopping them from making uber-profits. As the mining workers in the 60s showed, workers can force change through their labour power.

Transport workers refused to load the carriages of Uranium, Construction workers refused to build the infrastructure to get the mining towns running, and wharfies refused to transport or move it on the docks. I’d like to see the executives of BHP and Rio Tinto try and do all of that themselves. Those execs want to ruin the environment so they could make a heap of money off of uranium mining but the point is they couldn’t because workers do action to stop it. This isn’t something you can do from your computer.

Blog Action Day represents this growing outrage at what is happening the environment, whether it be Global Warming, Nuclear power and weapons or in Australia, the water crisis. Thanks to blogging, ordinary people have a medium to express their own thoughts on this and not just the thoughts of the established media, who are on the wrong side of capitalism. Rupert Murdoch is no greenie, that’s for sure.

But we need to go beyond rants on our blogs. We need to take action. And for Australians, we’re heading towards an opportunity to do just that. Howard’s going down in the election in 5-6 weeks time and two weeks before the election on November 11, is Walk Against Warming. Not only is it a chance to get out and protest about the environment and global warming, but everything Howard stands for. So, don’t just blog, protest!

Blog Action Day, Walk Against Warming, Environment, Global Warming, Nuclear, Water, capitalism

Private armies a law unto themselves

From smh.com.au

AN AUSTRALIAN security firm has sparked outrage in Iraq after its contractors killed two Iraqi women and injured two others in an attack on a car in a busy Baghdad street.

And this is following the outrageous actions of the US mercenary corporation, Blackwater which is part of this push to corporatize Imperialist adventures because the main issue is these people aren’t accountable at all. They can’t be tried to the Iraqi government or their home countries. They occupy this legal grey area, which I can assure you was no oversight.

This is all in the face of the unpopularity of the war in both the U.S. and Australia; These corporations are removed from the political accountability of the mass of people that were forced to vote in the assholes officially rampaging around the Middle-East. These corporations can’t be voted out, but really this is the least the government could be worried about. But the government can use this groups, like Blackwater, to do all the really dirty work and expect to have clean hands from this. This is why we need a huge anti-war movement that can make real demands, including repealing funding to private armies, after all, it’s our money they’re using to slaughter Iraqi civilians.

And this opposition is boiling over and it’s crying for some kind leadership to build a movement. Of course, the Democrats and the ALP are not going to lead the anti-movement we want, which is troops out now! And not some psuedo-anti-war policy of staged withdrawals and movements to other ‘theatres’ to appear to be anti-war.

This movement can only come from the ground. This war has gone on for far too long, but it’s getting worse. Private armies rampaging around doing what they like and we just had a soldier killed in Afghanistan. We bloody need to fight to get rid of this.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Bush, Howard, Blackwater, antiwar

Absolute Write flash fiction carnival I

Those who remember Tastes of the Darkness will know that I’m quite fond of flash fiction blog carnivals. This time, I’ve organised one that isn’t confined to genre and instead is made up of members of the Absolute Write forums, and most particularly those that hang out in the blogging section.

The theme of this edition’s carnival is ‘beginnings’ inspired by this being the beginning of this series of flash fiction carnivals. It’s a fairly broad theme and I thought it would allow for a lot of people to participate. Some did comment on it being hard, but what I have to present to you today is seven pieces of flash fiction that are all unique in their approach to the theme…

Please take some time to read the pieces, and certainly leave your comments. We hope that writers are able to find an outlet to do more writing and get read through this and we hope that readers enjoy the writing from writers in the Blogosphere.

flash fiction, blog carnival, writing