Thursday, June 30, 2005

Just a quote

I'm busy writing an essay that is due tomorrow, because I've spent that last week pottering around it without getting into the meat. So I thought I'd leave you with a quote, from yes I'm afraid so, Stephen King, 'the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.' It has some sort of truth with myself.

"People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk." - Stephen King

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A boost back to blogging

chilout : children out of detention

I told you all about my article a few weeks ago that was published in 'The Rights of Man' Quarterly. Well it was mentioned at the above link on For those who do not who ChilOut are, they are a major advocacy group for refugee rights and to be added to their articles archive is a very big deal. After Brad's post I wasn't feeling too good, but after this and a call from my aunty about how much she loved my website I'm feeling much better.

Tonight I registered my domain name and have begun to think about the redesign for the new site.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Blogger in Limbo

In light of last weeks post at Blog'd, I've been taking a break from Blogging. In response to claims that I cannot handle criticism, let me say this. Brad's post was not criticism but nothing more than cheap slander that hides his own insecurities as a person. Honestly, I've been hurt by this.

I may or may not return to blogging, but for now I'd rather not.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Hawthorne Manor

Hawthorne Manor

Warning: This topic may be limited to the realm of the nerds

I found this site last night after reading an article for university about text-based role play games and the relation to the idea of the self. I was curious, as a writer, to find out how I might come across such a game and found this place. You create a 'character' and describe your interactions with other characters through words and it is an extremely good exercise for creative minds. This role-play is based in a haunted house. If you're not too ashamed at entering the realm of the nerds than go check it out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Vote for my new domain

Thank you to The Scribe for recommending @smartartist as an Australian web server that can be paid monthly by cheque and accomodates for wordpress.

Now for the domain name. I have put a poll to the right with the choices I have, please make other suggestions if need be.

A .net/.com without the f***ing credit card

Again I have brought my mind back to the subject of buying .com and some paid web space with no ads and no pop-up and it will be all mine. I occasionally browse the web and have found some great prices for domain names and hosting. The domain names I am after are available and quite accessible. But there is a fucking problem. I cannot get a domain or hosting package because I don’t have a ‘debt collector’ i.e. a fucking credit card. I have the money to pay for this because of the great prices going around at the moment, but cannot pay for it without some stupid bit of plastic that I can’t get and I don’t want.

If someone could find me, or knows of a hosting/domain company that…
- Is preferably Australian
- Has a hosting package that can be used with wordpress
- Doesn’t have to pay via credit card
- Can be paid monthly, preferably

Is it that hard?

VSU to be crushed by defectors.

Student union bill in peril as Nats defy PM - National -

The watertight destruction of the working class in the bloody hands of John Howard has seemed to spring some leaks. First there were reports that a Queensland Nation senator may cross the floor on Howard’s attempt to destroy unions, and destroy the rights of workers.

Now, another two more senators from the National party, with many more to follow, may block another one of Howard’s attacks, the removal of Student unionism. Student Unionism which is the basis of extra curricular funding, student’s rights and the political voice of students would be removed under the new legislation and replaced by a controversial voluntary system which would see the decline of the student voice. This sign that VSU (Voluntary Student Unionism) and the destruction of unions will not go ahead due to defecting senators is very promising, and we can, in part, thank to people who have lobbied for these causes, just like the refugee activists have.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Why I hate McDonalds

I’ve done a complete boycott of McDonalds and have adamantly opposed their stores because of various issues. I just watched the documentary on the McLibel case and thought it the appropriate time to state my case.

McDonalds exploits workers, the environment and burrows into people’s minds, especially children with their dishonest forms of advertising. For some people these points are blatantly obvious for others you either don’t care or refuse to see it.

The majority of McDonalds workers are kids. As kids are the targets of much of this giant’s advertising it’s quite logical that their workforce consists of children sucked in by their propaganda. Their pay is abhorrent, they have no conditions and they are basically disposable workers because they have no access to unions and, as casual workers, have no protection against unfair dismissal.

The environment is a major casualty because of the ethics, or lack of therefore, from McDonalds. The amount of packaging that they produce is disturbing. For every customer that ‘eats in,’ the cashier places a piece of paper that covers the tray, this piece of paper is not used except for advertising and is thrown out after consumption. This is to avoid washing up, which means less workload, less employees, more profit. Even more so disturbing is the clearing of rainforests from contractors to McDonalds. This company is the biggest producer of beef products in the world, and in order to accommodate they clear rainforests in poor South American countries to produce more beef for a cheap price and more profit and at a huge cost to our environment.

It is now certain that through hit documentaries such as ‘Super size me’ that McDonalds is bad for you, but McDonalds advertising does not reflect this. The subliminal message of McDonalds sponsoring children’s sporting events and having big name sports stars in their advertising campaign misleads the consumer into believing it’s ok and healthy to eat McDonalds.

Now after stating my argument against McDonalds I would like to make it clear that it’s not just McDonalds who are responsible for bad practices in the interest of profits. Most, if not all, major fast food companies employ these abhorrent tactics. It is because McDonalds heads this assault and it’s major influence that it is targeted and not unfairly in the least.


Coming home from Tafe on the train I was reading ‘IT,’ by Stephen King. At the current chapter, Ben Hanscom was in the library and Pennywise the clown has confronted him. Pennywise was standing at the top of some iron steps with blood dripping in pools down to the bottom. I came home and opened the fridge to be greeted by a pool of blood. Freaky? Some meat in a plastic bag had leaked and left it everywhere much to my amusement, but weird all the same.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Joker woman needs to get a life

Woman sues Stephen King over Misery character - Books - Entertainment

A woman claims she is Stephen King's inspiration for the sadistic nurse from 'Misery.' The suit is a hoax as she has not stated how he allegedly pilfered her personal diaries to create the character. Its a bit of a laugh because in 1991 the same woman claimed King stole manuscripts from her and her brother.

The problem with elitist reviews

I just bought ‘Foo Fighters – In your honor’ and ‘Element Eighty’ yesterday before the protest for World Refugee Day. I thought I’d review them here but first I decided I’d check out how some of the pros review albums and I was once again hit with disappointment. Why are reviewers so damn picky?

This does not limit itself to music, but to movies as well. I enjoyed ‘In your honor,’ and the guy at HMV agreed, saying ‘It’s really really good!’ But ‘Rolling Stone’ mocked it, making childish comments about being too cliché with ‘The Foo fighters’ grungy style. It really pisses me off when you can like something and then the reviewers rip it to shit. They rarely give good reviews and seem to live in this elitist culture that never seems to reflect the masses.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

PM caves in, but the policy still remains

Rebel lib admits defeat on core demand - National -

Refugee advocates have welcomed the Prime Minister's changes to the policy of mandatory detention, but we are not happy with the way things have turned out as this may have an effect to quiet the issue down. Rebel backbencher, Petro Georgiou admitted defeat, abeit the changes, because the system of mandatory detention still remained. Senator Bob Brown called the changes 'crumbs,' and he said it did not lessen the need for the bills to be passed - despite Georgiou backing down.

As activists we cannot spit on the changes but also the policy is still there. People are still being locked up and the changes are just a means to shut us up, and unfortunatly for Mr. Howard this will not happen.

The idea that children are being released into the community is a falacy. They will be placed into a hostel environment and these children and their families will still be in a detention environment, with constant monitoring from immigration guards.

The problem with the changes is the effect it will have on public opinion. People may now gain the impression that the problem is over, but it is far from it. On Sunday, there will be a protest to mark world refugee day at Hyde park - stay tuned for a report on this.

Friday, June 17, 2005

10,000 visitors

source: screenshot courtesy of myself Posted by Hello

10,000 visitors to my blog since August 28, 2004!!!

I would just like thank everyone who visited my site, including all the guys from BlogExplosion

Novel Update: First Draft - Chapter Ten

Word Count: 23,525

I managed to get in a few word tonight, about 300. It’s amazing how in some parts you can ramble for thousands of words and the story doesn’t turn (this is not necessarily a bad thing) and then one paragraph can you lead you in an unexpected direction. Well, I’m still working on the synopsis so I didn’t exactly know where I was heading – now I do – for the moment. Also I have worked an opportunity for a complex part of my character’s personality to become severely apparent, this is real exciting.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Who isn't willing to negotiate?

Australian hostage, Douglas Wood is free from his Iraqi captors and he is in good health, this may be due to the captors responding to negotiations with a Muslim cleric to medicate him.

Now at the beginning of this ordeal, Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr 'Dumb-ass' Downer said that these kinds of people do not respond to negotiations, but Prime Minister Howard, Downer's party leader won't allow his own party to have a free vote on the mandatory detention policy.

So, who's willing to negotiate?


from “To be that self which one truly is”: A therapist’s view of personal goals.

...Ernest Hemingway was surely aware that "good writers do not write like this," But fortunately he moved toward being Hemingway, being himself, rather than some one else's conception of a good writer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New Forum topics

Well, the forum is fairly empty at the moment. So I've posted some new topics to get people going. Remember you do not need to be a member to post something, only to start threads and be heaps cooler than other people , so pop over to and say something.

New topics include:
  • What are you writing?
  • What blogging platform do you use
  • A debate thread for the refugee issue and
  • 'Too chessy' in the romance section

A human being or an economic relationship?

China interrogated detainees - National -

The corruption and lies from the immigration department continue to worsen. There are now strong reports that the department put many Chinese asylum seekers into isolation and allowed Chinese officials to interrogate them. The Chinese* are well known for their terrible human rights record and these people have fled that, and for the government to allow Chinese officials to interrogate them, gaining information such as family, is a gross neglect of our duty of care to Asylum seekers.

This once again proves that our regard for human beings is much lower than the regard for economic relationships, and it adds to the furore of the Chen Asylum case where the government have discouraged Chen from seeking his right to political Asylum in Australia. We cannot leave these people out in the dark, they want democracy and so they are coming here. We see politicians ramble on about so-called freedom and democracy in Iraq, and then they turn their back on people who really need our help.

*China is not Communist or Socialist, it is state-capitalist and a police state.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Shoutbox Wisdom

I just became a member of ‘Shout Box wisdom’ a blog from users of the BlogExplosion ‘shout box,’ basically a little chat feature. So pop over and check out some rants from bloggers -

Monday, June 13, 2005


I have spoken before on the problem of writer’s block and it is because I am stressed in some other area of my life. I have hit a dry patch once again and it relates to study. I think it all comes to down to balancing your lives, which is something some of my readings have touched on tonight in a fair bit of depth. I had concerns at the beginning that related to my commitment to study and I have evaluated to reasons for poor study. If I cannot fully grasp an idea I am less likely to be motivated. I need to break up my tasks as not to become overwhelmed by what is ahead of me, interchange between activities such as reading and then writing.

Concentration has been a big factor. I live in a reasonably loud house with my parents and three sisters. My room can only shut out the noise so much and music can just become a different distraction if it is something that is exciting. Coldplay is very relaxing music that keeps my mind on the task ahead.

Exercise is needed to break up the mental work in which I am doing constantly. Everything for me is mental, writing, study, politics and I need time to exercise my body and switch my mind off for a while.

These ideas are all well and good written down, I need to put them into practice and work harder, and I am sure once I am at peace with my study, my writing will pick up.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Howard makes concessions, but the problem is still there.

Detention report pressures Howard - National -

The Prime Minister, Johnny “Steal from the poor and give to rich” Howard has made some concessions to his abhorrent immigration detention system prior to a commissioner’s report on the detention centres. Howard has shut down the controversial isolation unit at Baxter detention centre, and will increase psychiatric care at the centres, plus other minor changes. If these people were not locked up they wouldn’t need psychiatric care. Though they are improving conditions in the hellholes, the evil fundamentals are still there. These people, who have done nothing wrong, are still being locked up. I suspect Howard doesn’t care at all for these people, but instead is making concessions to shut up the media and the activist groups who see this policy as one that will be looked back on with shame, similar to the way The Stolen generation and the white Australia policy was seen. I’ve got news for you Mr. Howard we will not shut up until the system of mandatory detention is abolished, completely.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Novel Update: Planning

I’ve been working one a one-page synopsis for my novel tonight. This a way to get the main story out in the open, so I know where it’s going and it will iron out any holes in the story. I’ve done about ¼ of a page, which is ok. It might be over a page, but it’s ok.

People have asked me to publish the synopsis on here. I’m sorry but the short answer is no. Although, I would like to show some of the interested readers what I’m writing, it’s just too risky. Anyone could come perusing through here and think, ‘hey that’s a great idea,’ and take it. I will show some of close friends, but it’s not up for public show.

Also I’ve given the Novel a working title – Hadeon. Its a Ukrainian name meaning destroyer and it's also the name of one of my main characters. I came up with it when I was dreaming of having my novel published and that’s what it was called. Though, it wasn’t a good dream. I only published the first draft and was worried that it would be crap. Weird.

Better get back to work.

Enough is Enough!

On June 10 last year the Human rights commission released a report titled ‘A last resort,’ it spanned over 1000 pages of evidence about the conditions inside these vile prisons in which we lock men, women and children for the crime of seeking help from our ‘decent and compassionate country.’ The report called for immediate release of all children from immigration detention for fears it could inflict irreversible mental and psychical harm. The government’s response was a one-page press release and a kick in the guts for morality in this country.

One year on and there are still children in detention. Some children have lived there their whole lives and never seen outside these cages. Yesterday, ChilOut with hundreds of concerned citizens gathered at Martin place to mark one year of the government doing nothing. John Howard claims that the election victory is founded on the policy of keeping children locked up for the purposes of deterring people from seeking Asylum, so Australia can chicken out of fulfilling its obligations as a respectable international citizen. Merlin Luck MC’d the protest and it was great to see Naomi and her mother there in support only out of detention for a few short weeks. The message was clear and with all the recent media push to overhaul a horrible system it seems that the efforts from concerned Australians is getting through

So one year one we say: Enough is enough!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Novel Update: First draft - Chapter Ten

Word Count: 23,204

I wrote about 900 words tonight, it was a vital scene that needed a lot of emotion and it was a turning point. The main character’s girlfriend dies and he also has to move on with the story. I’m still going with it but to give it it’s full depth I need to go back towards the start and add another scene between them that is more intimate. I’m not the best at romance so I might have a look tomorrow at how some other writer’s have done it.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Novel Update: Planning and Research

Right after I published that blog post last night I got into a discussion with a writing friend of mine. I told him how I was going with the planning and stuff. The benefit of having some regular writing friends is someone to bounce ideas off and have moral support, and with his assistance I managed to develop an idea for a new character and more in depth strand into the last half of the novel. I thought, ‘geez, that’s alright, I’m all set,’

Little did I know what would happen this afternoon. I was perusing through a writer’s group and there was a topic on Chernobyl and it gave a link to this site about a woman who travelled through the disaster zone and took photos for us. With the second half of my novel being set in the Ukraine, this sent my head soaring and I came up with another little element to the relationship with the character I had just created the night before.

The bad news is, I will have to replan the rest of my novel, but the good news is that the novel has a heap more depth in the story.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Novel Update: Planning

Today was yet again full of frustrating procrastination. We still have not got our log in details to contact our tutors.

But I did decide that something else needed to get done, my novel. I didn’t write but was intent on planning the remainder of the main plot. After much worrying and thinking I sat down and watch Law and Order: SVU. I find that a period of stimulation such as a movie or TV show followed by a quiet period, such as during a shower encourages ideas. It worked a treat. I sat down – straight after my shower and planned the rest in four loose and rough pages, and it was done in about 10 minutes.

I looked back and the ending is what I wanted, not the immediate end, which may need work, but the basis of the ending theme. I was worried about length and want to add a subplot or two, which is hard seeing there are only two main characters. I was thinking of introducing another character, but it needs more thought. It’s interesting to see how the story has evolved but I am worried I have put my character’s in a situation that they can’t sustain unless I add some other element to it – needs more thought I guess.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I haven’t done much writing lately partly due to uni. Though, the amount of time not writing hasn’t all been uni and it’s been bludging and procrastinating. I have this dumb idea that if I write I’m should be studying and I don’t seem to recognise other time wasting. But then later I think, I could have written chapter ten, or, I could have planned chapters eleven and twelve. But I don’t. The man concern with uni for me was not doing the work. I do want to do that work, but I stop and start bludging when I hit a hole. I have lately realized that instead of staring mindlessly at a textbook not knowing what to do and waiting for a response from the discussion board, I could read a chapter of one of the books or do a reading or something else, and if not – write something.

Tonight I hit a hole in an exercise, but the board is not help because we all have the same problem and don’t have access to our tutors/teachers until they send us the log in details. So tonight I wrote about two sentences of my novel (the document is still open) then went and did some planning and now I’m reading a chapter of a book for uni. I have not gotten anywhere further on the exercise, but I feel better - because I’m doing something. Maybe alternating between activities is helpful because people get bored doing one thing at a time.

I congratulate those find bloggers/readers that made it to the end of my mindless rant because whether or not you read this, I feel a shit load better.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Rights of Man

I would like to present to you, The Rights of Man, an Ezine produced by Mick Arran. It features an article by myself on the refugee issue. Check it out!
The Rights of Man

Outside Villawood detention centre
Welcome to Australia
Prime Minister John Howard's government herds refugees into pens like this one. Their crime? Running away from persecution makes them 'illegal immigrants'.

A Question of Decency

by Benjamin Solah, Benjamin Solah's Blog
Photos by Benjamin Harris

Conditions of the refugees include mental illness, self-harm, violence, children’s exposure to self-harm and violence, lack of education, lack of health care, and ill-assessed claims. The amount of depression and hopelessness is evident in a lot of the detainees. One Afghan boy said, "…if I had stayed in Afghanistan of course they would have killed me, maybe in an hour or two, but I ended up in here so physically they are keeping me alive but emotionally and spiritually they are killing me."

Mailing List

For those who frequent my main website (not many) I have added a mailing list so people can be updated on when I put new stories/poems/articles on there, I might even publish a newsletter, but it would only be infrequent.

Visit Benjamin Solah’s Writing Corner @

Sunday, June 05, 2005

I got a bottom tooth pulled out on Saturday, it really hurt. For those who think like my sister, no that is not a really big tooth, most of it is the root and it really hurt. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Make Poverty History

"In the developing world, more than 1.2 billion people currently live below the international poverty line, earning less than $1 per day."

"153 million children under 5 in the developing world are underweight. Worse yet, 11 million children younger than 5 die every year, more than half from hunger-related causes."

- Bread for the world institute

Study and my lifestyle

I’m into my fourth day of uni and things seem…’interesting,’ Something’s don’t make much sense and some tasks seem pointless. It just as well we don’t have to do all the tasks, if we don’t see fit.

Apart from the fact that the work may be a challenge, there are some factors with myself that may need adjustment. I need to keep myself motivated and do the work I can, I need to wake up and a ‘normal’ time and eat a proper breakfast. I need to work!

It all sounds really hard, but there are some good things. I have to keep a ‘learning log,’ which involves reflecting on learning itself. It should be interesting.

So back to work.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Tonight was spent printing out all the stories and poems and other stuff I had written since I started writing properly in 2004. There was a fair bit and I stuck it into one nice looking portfolio as a way of having my work all together in one hard copy. I’ll add to it as I finish pieces and I’m waiting on my article in ‘The Treadmill’ to be published soon, so I can add that.

And my Grandparents took me out today and bought me a brand new suit. They wanted me to look flash for any job interviews, and I do look 'flash.' Damn, I love my grandparents, not just because they buy me stuff, but because they are doing nice stuff for people. They don't read this blog, they don't have a computer, but thanks Nan and Farvie.

Anti-youth sentiment - a disturbing trend in the media

I can’t help but feeling bitter about the report on ‘A current affair’ tonight about making juvenile criminals wear shirts of shame. The idea is coming from the middle ages and I find it quite scary to believe people, including my parents, would think this as a viable way of punishing someone. It adds to thoughts I’ve been having about youth not having much of a political opinion and I was thinking that the negativity shown towards youth in the media might have something to do with it. These are just ideas, but there is a lot of coverage concerning P plate drivers and the Macquarie fields riots were portrayed so unfairly that it has created a negative image against youth that could have negative effects in the future. Youth will not be youth their whole lives and will one day grow to lead this country, if you shun them and portray them in a negative light it could have disastrous effect.

What are your thoughts on this?