Children of Men

Damn. That was awesome. Definitely see it. Worthwhile on the big screen, too. They’ve obviously thought about every detail in the background and it is all worth noting.

Between that and V for Vendetta, this has been a pretty good year for British styled subversion in film.

Actually, you’d probably have to go back to ’98, and the Fight Club + Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas double whammy, to find me happier with a couple of new films.

Never Get Busted Again

A retired senior narcotics officer has prepared a DVD for sale explaining to people how to avoid getting caught with drugs, beat drug tests, and so on, specifically focussing on marijuana, which he believes the persecution of is counterproductive, rather than harder drugs.

“When I was raiding houses and destroying families, my conscience was telling me it was wrong, but my need for power, fame and peer acceptance overshadowed my good conscience.”

Now that is some turning of the tide.

Uh, merry, y'know

merry cthulhu


shouldn't the water be warm by midsummer?

The wanderer decided upon his return home to leap into the harbour.
The wanderer was warned that the wind blew vicious and cold from the South.
It must be done, txted the wanderer.
Verily, they kicked the ball on the beach, and, duly warmed, leapt screaming into the frigid waves.
Beer was drunk, and all was well.
Later on, they got a curry.

"The End" vers 1.0

This morning I got to write “the end”, after 215 pages and 93000 words, of the rough first draft of my new novel, The United States of Dave.

these guys know how to have fun

Chechen Sufis perform zikr

I’ve fixed the links. Really check out the first one. It will blow your mind. The second one even more so, to be honest.

short and wild

long and circular


The emptiness of Christmas

A week ’til Christmas and I couldn’t care less.

The modern symbol is completely empty to me. The corporate rape of the Christian holy day is complete – and I was never taught to believe in that holy day anyway.

If I had kids, I don’t think I’d lie to them about Santa. If I couldn’t make beautiful, joyous occasions for them without lying, there would be something wrong with me as a parent.

I prefer to buy gifts at random when I find something someone would actually want or need that they would otherwise never find for themself, not because of some externally applied commercial frenzy.

Celebrations, giving gifts, gathering together and acknowledging bonds of family, love and friendship… this is all fine. But I don’t get what it has to do with Christmas Day any more than any other day.

prophet hicks

Got the Bill Hicks DVD out of the library at the moment to convert some new flatmates. On rediscovering him myself, I am struck by just how much I agree with him at times. Seems a fine time to post some words of the great man.

“Folks: It’s time to evolve ideas. You know, evolution didn’t end with us growing thumbs. You do know that, right? Didn’t end there. We’re at the point, now, where we’re going to have to evolve ideas. The reason the world is so fucked up is we’re undergoing evolution. And the reason our institutions, our traditional religions, are all crumbling, is because… they’re no longer relevant. They’re no longer relevant. So it’s time for us to create a new philosophy and perhaps even a new religion, you see. And that’s OK ’cause that’s our right, ’cause we are free children of God with minds who can imagine anything, and that’s kind of our role.”

“Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.”

“The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: Is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, ‘Hey – don’t worry, don’t be afraid ever, because this is just a ride …’ And we … kill those people. Ha ha, ‘Shut him up. We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real.’ It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter, because – it’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.

all we are saying

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

-Siddhārtha Gautama

Advice on writing a novel, part four

Beyond a certain point writing is so individual – the strengths and weaknesses of an author so divergent – that I don’t think I am qualified (or willing) to set out general “rules” for how to write. (Other than: tell a good story, with interesting characters, in excellent prose. Easy 😉 ) Especially since there is so much latitiude in what a good novel can be: the styles of, say, Hemingway, Rushdie, and Burroughs diverge greatly, but they are united by the indefinable essence of being good.

If it works, it works. Good writing justifies itself. You have to figure out what that is for yourself, and the main way is by reading good books.

Reading is the often invisible counterpoint to writing. Good writers must also be good readers, requiring a very fine sense of discrimination, an intuitive sense of how words work, and how people read and experience books.

You need to be able to read back what you have done and understand its effect on someone who hasn’t written it. What does what is on the page do to the reader? It can be difficult to get this distance once you have carved each word from the silence of the page, and know what has been left on the floor among the mute shavings of possibility. (This is why at a certain point you will need to get feedback from people whose opinion you trust.)

This all relates to the point in part three of this series – only when you have a complete draft can you read it and understand what it is trying to do, what it is doing, and where it is succeeding and failing. While built from words, sentences and paragraphs, the natural unit of the novel is the whole. A novel is more than the sum of its parts, and therein lies the art. And the magic is elicited by skilled reading.

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