Wednesday, December 29, 2004

MY DARLING AND CRICKET

There's an advert showing during the current test, for a brand of mobile phone. Glen McGrath walks so far back in his run up that he's forced to ring the batsman and say "I'm coming" to let him know to take guard.

Luscious sees this advert for the first time this morning, and remarks "You know, it's different to when Shane Warne rings someone and says "I'm coming..." "

Monday, December 27, 2004

GIVING INTO TEMPTATION

All right then, everyone else seems to have had a crack at this 2004 list. Here's mine.


1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Get nominated for an Aurealis Award. Witnessed natural childbirth.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I set some writing and personal goals, and achieved more than half, so for me that’s a win. I don’t so resolutions, but I do set personal and professional goals each year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
You mean apart from Luscious? J
Lyn’s brother Ray and his partner Donna had a baby girl, Grace, about 2 months before us.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My maternal grandfather, Eddie. We hadn’t been close for a few years, but he played a role in my childhood and taught me the only card trick I’ve ever learnt.

5. What countries did you visit?
Kidding, right? Much domestic travel but nothing overseas this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
A feeling of professional success. A contract for a short story collection or novel wouldn’t hurt.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
23rd January. Finally managed to extricate myself from the soul-hell that is the Australian Public Service.
26th November. Our son Connor was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Apart from Connor, and surviving the pregnancy with my nerves intact, probably getting out of the APS. My KSP residency was successful for the most part, too.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not completing the novel in the time frame I set myself.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not myself, but Lyn had enough problems with the pregnancy for both of us. I continued to carry the neck and back problems that have dogged me for the last 3 years.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Time with a chiropractor. I’ve had back neck problems since a car accident in late 2001, and by my first appointment could not turn my head to see my shoulders. Now I am able to do all sorts of groovy things people take for granted, like gardening, and seeing my shoulders.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Luscious Lyn, for facing a painful and horrible pregnancy with faith and determination, and the first weeks of Connor’s life with unparalleled love.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Some people in my private life, particularly one friend of Lyn’s who has since moved.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Into creating a lifestyle for my family.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My son. Having the kids over when they came for their weekends.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
I rediscovered a lot of music this year. None really stand out as indicative of the year. I had my mind on other things, and frankly most current music is appaling shite.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Happier, more settled.
ii. thinner or fatter?
Fatter, but don’t tell my doctor.
iii. richer or poorer?
Richer, both financially and spiritually.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing, selling.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Being afraid of the pregnancy.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas morning opening presents with Lyn & the kids, then we’re going over to Ray & Donna’s for lunch and swimming in the pool. The kids go back to their father’s in the evening. Boxing Day my side of the family is coming over for lunch and more prezzies!

21. Who did you meet for the first time?
Not for the first time, but get a lot closer to the Sunday Night Crew, much to my benefit: Callisto Shampoo, Cheshire, Splanky, Mynxii, Kaneda, Sheldon, PRK & Torrie.

Also met the fabulous KA and Michelle Bedford, & the equally groovy Geoff and Diana Maloney, as well as some of the Vision crowd who came out to dinner with us during our abortive Brisbane holiday.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
Too late: I already am.

23. How many one-night stands?
None.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Battlefield Detectives. The English Premier League. (Hell, I bought cable just so I could continue to watch it.) Invader Zim. Mythbusters.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Compulsive Spike Milligan, complied by Norma Farnes.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Coin Operated Boy by The Dresden Dolls, and my stepdaughter Cassie’s musical taste.

28. What did you want and get?
Name Of The Rose on DVD.

29. What did you want and not get?
To get to Canberra for tha National SF Convention. To travel more, and get to more Cons.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Nothing really stands out.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
34. Spent it with the family.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To have finished the novel or sold the collection.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Sartorial Dyslexia.

34. What kept you sane?
Luscious.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Meh. Silly question. Move along.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Whilst it would horrify many of my peers, I really don’t give a rat’s arse about politics. I’m sure many of my colleagues would think me na├»ve, but I consider their passionate declaration for one clan over another the same way.

37. Who did you miss?
My pals from the Eastern States. I was very much looking forward to seeing them at Conflux, but events conspired against us. Hopefully one of my bestest pals will be coming over next year as Guest of Honour for one of the local cons, so I’m happily looking forward to catching up with him then. Also my mother, Monica Nelson, who died last year, and who deserved to see me reach some sort of happiness, and to meet her grandson.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Met a bunch of new people, all of whom were groovy. I shan’t pick between them.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.
Don’t get distracted. Only one person will be to blame if you don’t achieve your goals. The speed of light may be the fastest speed in the Universe, but the speed of litigation is the slowest.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
When I get home from work, I want to wrap myself around you,
I want to hug you and squeeze you until the passion starts to rise.
If I could take you to heaven, that would make my day complete.

You and me ain’t no superstars,
What we are is what we are.
We share a bed, some loving, and TV.
That’s enough for a working man,
What I am is what I am.
I tell you sweetheart, that’s good enough for me.
-You and Me, Alice Cooper.

ON SETTING GOALS, AND THEN WHISTLING HAPPILY AS THEY SPEED BY...

So with only 4 1/2 days left in the yera, and with no chance of me clearing any more goals off my to-do list, let's have a look at what I set myself way back in January, and whether I did in fact get through them.

1. Complete and send out 12+ short stories, including 2 new Father Muerte tales (and especially including the much-talked-about-to-anyone-who'll-listen-but-not-actually-started-yet Father Muerte & The Flesh)

We'll halve this one. I completed the 12 short stories, but as of writing have only written one Muerte story (although it is And The Flesh), which I'll be sending out in the next week or so.

2. The spine of the Napoleon novel worked out by 31st March. An actual title beyond The Napoleon Novel might be good, too.

Yup. Got this down.

3. Said spine fully fleshed out, with detailed character run-downs and plot twists engaged, by 30th June.

Yup. In fact, started writing earlier than anticipated.

4. 10 000 words of the novel written by the time I start the residency on 15th August.

Fell slightly behind with this one, but more than made up for it whilst at the residency, so that was okay.

5. 10 000 words of the novel completed during each week of the residency.

With ease :) In the end I managed 50 000 words in the 4 weeks I was there, plus 5 short stories.

6. Complete enough of the novel by 31st December to enable me to start contacting agents and publishers.

Ummmmm........ lot of weather we're having, isn't it? Hey, isn't that Elvis?
FX: Footsteps running off into distance.

7. As part of my desire to start making my name overseas, send stories to the following magazines: F&SF; Asimov's; Sci-fi.com; Chi-Zine; Oceans Of The Mind; Leading Edge; Gothic.net; Interzone; The Third Alternative; Strange Horizons; Weird Tales; The Strand; and 3SF.

Close, ever so close. Managed to send stories to all but Gothic.net, leading Edge, the Strand, and Weird Tales, plus managed to send to several new markets not on the list including Argosy and Brutarian. Call it a win.

8. Dust off those old comic book ideas I've had kicking in my files for donkey's, and actually send a completed script to DC and/or Marvel

Ah well, can't win 'em all.

All in all, I'll accept it as a reasonable year, especially as the pregnancy derailed many career-based plans that Luscious and I had for ourselves.

SO TO 2005

Now, next year's goals:

1. Finish Nouvelle Hollande and sell

2. Write and sell my second novel. The idea is in place, along with a tentative title of Lethologica.

3. Sell a short story collection, just in case the current publisher doesn't pick it up.

4. 500 words every day of the year

5. Sell 10 short stories.

6. Hey, rememebr those comic book ideas you had?

Let's see how that goes, shall we?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

PREZZIESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!

Luscious is asleep, the baby is asleep, Erin's happily camped out in front of The Angry Beavers. So:

Christmas Day was a blast. It started early- Luscious went into the living room at quarter to5 to feed Connor, only to find the boys wide awake in front of the cartoons, big grins on their heads. Their reason? "We're excited". And it went uphill from there! Everybody loved their presents, there was much playing and mucking about, and in the afternoon we journeyed to Ray & Donna's place (Lyn's brother and sister-in-law) for a swim in the pool and super-yummo Christmas nosh. Hey, there are definite advantages to having a brother-in-law who's a chef by trade :)

On the present front, my darling presented me with my 2nd favourite movie of all time, Name of The Rose, on DVD (Having already got me my favourite some time ago), we having agreed to call our Albany trip our Chrissie present to each other. And just to prove how sensational my 5 kids are, they gave me a damn cool Dr Karl book, and (gift of gifts!) a 1/10 SCALE POLY RESIN STATUE OF THE TARDIS!!!

They love me :)

Right now it has pride of place on top of my desk next to my Beaker-killer Dalek. (There's a joke behind Beaker, involving my introduction to Lyn's family, and the nickname Ray and his brothers had for someone. Email me for details :) ) For my birthday I'm hoping to get a 1/10th scale BBC quarry to put them all in...

Friday, December 24, 2004

WOOHOO AND A HOLIDAY TO BOOT

Received news during the week that my story Tales of Nireym that appeared in Orb #6 has made the shortlist for this year's Aurealis Awards. Suppose I'll have to rewrite that question in the quiz now...

Anyway, apart from the coolness of being shortlisted, it's meant that we've had to cancel our Albany holiday with the kids in January. Awwww. But only so we can replace it with a Brisbane holiday with the kids. Wheeee!

TALKING OF ALBANY

Luscious and I took the opportunity of a kid-free weekend to head down to our favourite country town for a couple of days and book into the hotel where Connor was conceived. Luscious' idea, and a brilliant one it was too. A couple of days away from the rush and rumble was just what we both needed. I even came away with a story idea or two, so who knows? I might get another story out before I die after all.

4 WEEKS!

Connor is 4 weeks old today, and still beautiful. He was such a long and painful time coming, it's hard to believe 4 weeks have passed already. I can't take my eyes off him.

Which makes driving interesting :)

A SHORT POST BUT...

I was going to put something long and rambling down in which I talked about the year past and the year to come, but in between cleaning the house for Christmas (we're hosting the family on Boxing Day) and shopping and cleaning the house and getting the patio ready and shopping and organising family members and cleaning and not sleeping because of the baby and getting the patio ready and not sleeping again....... I can't be shagged.

Have a fun season, and I'll catch up with you all next year.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

EVERTON 1, LIVERPOOL 0

Yay!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CALLI!

Luscious, Blake and Cassie went out to Callisto Shampoo's birthday party last night. I stayed behind: Aiden had worked himself up to a grounding and we still have that whole 7-bodies-6-car seats thing at the moment. He and I had a good time being boys together, eating chocolate, watching soccer, just hanging out and having fun.

Luscious, on the other hand, had the time of her life. It went off, and she came back and told me all about all the people who attended, what they were talking about, the fun they were having. To quote a certain Prince of a certain British principality, my knees turned green and fell off.

Wish I'd gone. Wish Aiden had been better behaved during the day. Ah well. Happy Birthday, Calli. Hope you had a blast.

LOVE THAT KINKY MUSIC

One of the fabbo things about having a partner who spent much of her adult life in an oppressive religion is that I get to introduce her to stuff I've been having fun with for years.

Such as Kinky Friedman.

Remember a while back I mentioned her reaction to hearing The Cramps for the first time? You should have seen her trying not to start singing along with They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore :)

A FAMILY CHRISTMAS MOMENT

A happy moment this morning- the entire family gathered round the table with magic pens, cardboard, a magazine or two, and glue and made an ornament each to hang from the Christmas tree. It was just such a family moment: each of us signing and dating our ornament and planning to dress the tree this evening. It feels like the start of a family tradition: I can see the point, a few years from now, where the tree will be covered in home-made ornaments, each one representing a treasured time together.

Makes me realise that our blended little family is working, despite the attempts of some others to derail us. Which is a nice thought indeed.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

ALL ZOOED OUT

It was loud, it was expensive, but Erin and her lick-n-stick elephant tattoo covered, hotdog-chip-&-cake filled, personal tour of the zoo with a tame docent treated body feel asleep in the car on the way home with a big smile on her mush, so I guess it was worth it.

I got to try out the new DVD camera with some wonderful footage of happy Triffbatt childer on the Carousel, and a fabulous moment where the 3 year old girl wishes herself Happy Birthday to camera (never too late the set the seeds for an 18th Birthday embarrassofest...), and Erin had a ball on the train (her first journey) and ferry (she LOVES the ferry).

Lyn, Cassie, Blake, and Connor have headed out to Calli's birthday party tonight. Aiden and I are staying behind to babysit sleeping beauty and watch the Merseyside derby on cable. Here's hoping Everton give 'em a spanking. Not that I like the Toffees, but there isn't enough cocaine in the world to make me like bloody Liverpool...

ON WRITING

Thanks Adrian and Martin for the kind words. I only hope you're right.

Friday, December 10, 2004

OW OW OWOWOWOW.......

http://www5.sbs.com.au/europe/index.php3?id=52544

I USED TO BE A WRITER PART TWO...

Stephen Dedman's selling stories. Martin Livings is selling stories. Chris Lawson is selling stories, and he only writes one every second Ice Age! (Hi Chris! Write more! :) ) I, on the other hand, haven't put pen to paper in weeks. (I found out recently that Chris is a fellow They Might Be Giants Fan. Always liked that boy...)

Wanna know my writing tasks this week? I built a strawberry pot hanger, cleaned the patio and shed, and painted a table. With a new baby, a tired partner, a mad toddler, and a house that looks like ground zero which needs to be cleaned up so we can host the family on boxing day, writing has disappeared. I tell people I work from home, but right now it would be more accurate to say I've retrenched myself.

Lyn's determined I'll get back to it next week, but right now, I don't see myself ever resuming.

GOD BLESS YOU MERRY MERCHANTS, MAY YOU MAKE THE YULETIDE PAY.

Went Brianmas shopping yesterday. My wallet hurts. Buying presents for 9 kids is not cheap. We got some damn good stuff, though :) We're gonna make 9 kids well-pleased.

THERE'S ALWAYS SOMEONE WORSE OFF THAN YOURSELF

Amongst my many noble attributes is fandom of the about-to-be-relegated-to-the-bloody-Second-Division-ferchrissakes Nottingham Forest, (Hey, how many European Championships have YOU won, Arsenal supporters?), a former European power crippled by years of mis-management and a plc that should stand for 'pillocks, losers, and cretins'.

My brother Scott and I bought my Dad's Brianmas present on Ebay last night- a Notts County guernsey. That's right, my Dad supports a sadder, more pathetic team than Forest! Sometimes, that's all I have to keep me going...

For the record, my brother supports Man U. Whore! Okay, Luscious supports them too, but she really only supports Ruud Van Nistleroy and Louis Saha's thighs, that's different :)

SWAPPING SHIRTS

I've known for years that Arsenal started by borrowing a set of Forest shirts and ripping the arms off, hence their red chest/white arms guernsey of today. What I didn't know until Dad told me the other day was that the mighty Italian team Juventus started in the same way by borrowing a set of County shirts.

A favourite catch-cry of Forest supporters whenever they play the Gunners is "We want our shirts back." If I were County, I'd be asking Juventus for the shirts and a couple of Juve's pet corrupt referees :)

WOOHOO ZOO

Off to Perth Zoo tomorrow for part two of Erin's birthday, where there will be cake (what did you think they did with all the old animals?) and hotdogs (like, I said...) and funny hats and stuff. I'm really looking forward to the day: I'm a sucker for animals of the Attenborough persuasion, and the zoo is as close as I'm likely to get to many of them. And Erin just loves the place, which is of course why we're going, so there will be at least 2 of us running around like looneys :)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

3 REASONS TO BE A PROUD BONUS DAD

The Bonus Kids had a Friday to be proud of this week (The kids have decided that Bonus Dad is much cooler than Stepdad, so that's what I am, and they're my Bonus Kids).

Blake and Aiden are members of their school choir. The choir held a rendition of Christmas Carols at Morley Galleria in the morning. Blake attended, and sang his heart out. His behaviour and eagerness were a delight to behold, and his sheer joy and enthusiasm at doing something different and exciting was wonderful. I've rarely met a kid so into everything.

The kids used to be part of a religion that does not recognise Christmas. Aiden told his teacher that he was still uncomfortable with the idea of singing carols and did not wish to participate. Despite a lot of pressure and guilt-tripping from the teacher he stood firm, and was eventually excused from attending. For an 11 year old boy, standing out from his peers in such a way is a brave thing to do, and I couldn't have been prouder at the way he stuck to his principles in the face of undue pressure.

Then that evening, Cassie's dance company, The Performance Company, had their yearly performance at the Burswood Theatre. Luscious, Connor, and I attended (Well, and about 1500 other people, but we're the important ones...) Cassie has been dance-obsessed these past few months. It's been impossible to get her to simply walk anywhere. Friday night it paid off: she was fantastic, and we were both struck by just how much of a young woman she is becoming. The heat and noise began to get to the baby before the finale, so we had to leave, which meant missing her in the final number, but what we saw in her performance left us feeling like the bonus-and-birth parents of someone very special.

Then they came over yesterday and played with our magic pens and sent me secret messages telling me I was a dork, so it was back to business as usual :))

CONNOR AT 1 WEEK

Still perfect. Still gorgeous. Only waking up once or twice a night for a feed, and I'm still the most ridiculously goofy man in the Universe.

LYN AT 1 WEEK

Brie, pate, sushi, beer. Smiling.

Seriously: well, active, and happy. She took the baby for a half hour walk today. Lyn loves to exercise, and has been unhappy at her physical limitations these last few months. To see her exercising, and pain free, is a source of great happiness.

3!

It's Erin's 3rd birthday today. In keeping with our respective philosophies of raising girls, Luscious and I gave her a super-cool Buzz Lightyear trike, and her grandparents gave her a Barbie horse. In keeping with her philosophy of being a girl, Erin rode her trike around the house with the Barbie horse tucked under her arm.

I just can't believe she's 3 years old. Her life has been full of tumult and upheaval, and yet she is (within the bounds of being a toddler) a happy, joy-filled little girl. How can I describe what goes through me when she runs the length of the garden shouting "Daddy! Give me a hug!" or gets protective because her baby brother is crying? How can I describe the pain I feel when she cries because her brothers and sister leave her to go back to their father's house, or she's fallen and is bleeding?

I can't. You just have to have one of your own to understand, I think.

Anyway: she had a day filled with family, and toys, and cake, and went to bed a happy girl. Next weekend we have Luscious' kids, and we're taking her to the zoo (the treat to end all treats, as far as she's concerned, particularly when combined with a ride on the ferry across the river to get there.) Can't complain about a week-long birthday, eh?

I USED TO BE A WRITER...

Next week. I promise. Once we've had the kerbside junk collection, and I've finished putting all the pictures up, and the kids have come and had a cool weekend, and we've done the zoo, and I've persuaded Luscious that getting Shaun Tan to paint our fridge would be a really really cool idea (not that Shaun knows about it yet...), and we've finished the Christmas shopping, and made decorations with the kids, and put them up, and all the stuff I haven't mentioned because they're on page 82 of the list...

I'll do some writing. Honest.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

JUST COZ...

It's late, the baby won't go to sleep, and I've done all the other quizzes everyone else has put up, so with nothing left to do, I've done one of my own...

http://www.quizyourfriends.com/yourquiz.php?quizname=041130101520-131404

Friday, November 26, 2004

HELLO, HOORAY!

He's here.

After 9 months, he's finally here.

Connor was born this afternoon, at 5.30pm. We arrived at the hospital at 9.30, and after two different attempts to induce him, a drip was inserted at 2pm and BANG! Game on! A three and a half hour labour is quick, but even so, it was long enough. In the end he arrived quite easily (relatively speaking).

He weighs 3.430kg, or 7lb 9oz in the ancient tongue, is 50 centimetres long, and has a head circumference of 34.5 centimetres. He has my feet, the poor sod, but lacks my distinguished webbed toes or wibbly right earlobe, and he is (and I may be biased here) perfect.

Believe it or not after the last 9 months, but the birth itself went just about as perfectly as a birth can go. Lyn was able to deliver naturally, with only one shot of painkillers to help her over a small rough patch. By the end of it we were tired, teary, deeply in love with each other and our baby boy, and so relieved it was all we could do not to burst into tears at every opportunity.

The main thing is that both Lyn and Connor are healthy and safe. The medical staff at KEMH are aware of our history (and my previous experience), so they're taking extra precautions over everything. A little frustrating at times, but deeply reassuring.

There's probably more, but I'm still just absolutely twizzled at the moment.

He's here. Healthy, safe, and beautiful.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I HATE KING EDWARD MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Spoke too soon: Lyn ended up back at the hospital yesterday. We were booked in for an ultrasound, but Lyn was in so much pain the radiographer rang up to the ward with the intention of getting Lyn induced. So we went up, and we waited, and we waited... after a couple of hours a doctor came by and said, yes, an induction might be a good idea but it's not my decision to make. I'll go and get the ward specialist. It's her decision.

So we waited, and we waited. After another few hours the ward specialist mosied by (maybe she was on a tricky back 9 or something all afternoon) and said yes, an induction might be a good idea, but it's not mydecision to make, especially as it was now evening time (we'd arrived at the hospital at 11.30am, but apparently irony isn't allowed on ward after dinner). The team that's been looking after you is on in the morning, so I'll keep you in here overnight and they can decide.

So Lyn was consigned to a ward for the evening, along with another 3 patients who also hadn't got any sleep in the last 8 months. She's given enough medication so that she wakes up on more than one occasion hallucinating, and everybody's happy. Except Lyn and I, of course, but at King Edward Memorial Hospital the patient doesn't count if you're a doctor and have something better to do. Like your nails or hair. Or finding someone to pass a buck to.

I arrive back at the hospital at 7.30 this morning. The doctor comes round at 7.45. His first words are "What are you back here for this time?"

This does not bode well. At least it wouldn't bode well, if we were given any boding time. Without waiting for an answer to his question he proceeds to tell us that he's not inducing anybody until 38 weeks, and Lyn's problem is she just can't handle pain. You can see the physiotherapist and the psychiatrist, he declares, and sweeps out. Probably had a tricky front 9 to confront or something.

I shan't go into the problems getting a wheelchair so we could leave. Suffice it to say that Lyn cannot walk from our bedroom to our toilet, less than 10 feet away, without assistance. If you understand this at the first attempt, you're overqualified to work at KEMH. We did not stay for the physio, much less the psychiatrist. We have a perfectly good chiropractor, who knows and understands us (and who we were able to get into see with but a phone call), and the last time Lyn saw the hospital Physio she needed a wheelchair. Which was a bitch to get our hands on this morning. See how it all fits together? Unlike Lyn's pelvis, which nobody at the hospital seems to give a rat's arse about. Her pain is physical, not a matter of coming to terms with it psychologically. It needs relief, not "coping strategies". We've got more coping strategies than a citizen of Baghdad. They're not working, which is why Lyn's in pain. See how it all fits together?

I have a couple of friends who are doctors (such as the frabjous Chris Lawson, the best hard SF writer Australia has seen in years, if ever) and I know all doctors are not uncaring, self-absorbed hacks. But the ones at KEMH are.

Don't go there. Find a manger, or a dumpster, or a burnt out car. Anywhere else would be better.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

RELIEF

Lyn's back home, she's okay (although quite tired), and everything's back to normal.

You know: normal for us.

Monday, November 15, 2004

CHINESE CURSE TIME

Interesting times indeed. The more alert amongst you will remember that I agreed to play a bit part in The Angriest Video Store Clerk In The World TV pilot. Shooting was yesterday, which necessitated getting up at 5am to be in North Perth at 6 so I could be shuttled out to the shoot.

So Luscious, Erin, and I roll out of bed at the appointed hour and bundle ourselves into the car for the 45 minute drive to drop me off. Halfway there I notice that the Luscious One isn't looking so well. By the time we're 15 minutes away from our destination I'm so concerned I turn the car around and head home. I ring the Clerk guys and let them know I won't be there, and Lyn heads back to bed for a couple of hours sleep, which seems to do the trick.

The boys have Tae-Kwan-Do in the afternoon, and by the time they're ready to be dropped off Lyn's looking bad again, so I take her down to the maternity hospital for a checkup. We're there for two hours, and it gets serious enough that we organise for the kids to be taken care of by rellies while the nice doctor shoves Lyn full of drips and nausea relief medication. Eventually she improves. We're allowed to leave, and God speed all who sail in us. We head off to get the kids sorted and get on with our evening plans (more down below).

By 7.30 this morning we're back in the hospital. Four and a half hours of tests later, Lyn is full enough of drugs to fall asleep (By which I mean actual sleep, not the doze off-roll over-jerk awake in pain-lie awake for ages-doze off routine she's been in these last 8 months). I decide to leave, because she needs the sleep and if I have to watch her lying there for one more moment without knowing what's going on I'm going to climb the nearest water tower and see how many I can take out before they get me. I do, however, promise to return later with a change of clothes and Erin. Lyn's happy to see the back of me, I think. Obsessively brooding hairy guys probably aren't conducive to the resting process.

The day proceeds to get better: I don't speed. I never speed. I mean, never. People have commented on it. I'm a hairy guy from the Mullet Suburbs. I should speed. And yet I don't. It's an indication of my state of mind, or perhaps just my luck, that I get pinged by a Multanova on the way home. Twice.

Waiting for me in the letterbox is the coroner's report on the cause of Sharon's death. (For those maintaining an interest in that particular matter, the pre-trial conference, which was scheduled for November 5, has been pushed back to January 18. I was originally assured that the whole thing would be over in July of this year. Sharon, you might recall, died in December. 2001. FTL does not stand for Faster Than Litigation...)

When I return to the hospital, just after 5pm, Lyn's looking a lot better. She's eating, which is a vast improvement on the rest of the day. But they're keeping her in overnight, for observation. And they still don't know what the problem is. By this stage she's been throwing up and other delightful things on a regular basis for over 13 hours. When it's time to leave she bursts into uncontrolled crying, and it's all I can do not to lift her out of bed and carry her down to the car. I settle for overcompensating by letting Erin stay up late to watch cartoons. At least I don't encounter any Multanovas on the way home.

It's some ungodly hour of the evening now. I should go to bed: Erin will be up early as usual, and will undoubtedly be cranky due to the late night. But I can't get over how big the bed looks. All we've been told about Lyn's condition is that it's likely to be something viral, and I'll get a ring in the morning when it's time to come pick Lyn up.

I'll be there already.

I've been told, by people who have had them (and by Luscious herself, who's had more than one) that pregnancy is usually a wonderful, beautiful thing. It's a miracle, a blessed event that helps bring a family together in ways no other event can.

Personally, I've never wanted anything to be over more badly in my life.

GO SCOTTIE!

My brother Scott spent the weekend on the Gold Coast at a seminar for his work. Pretty damn cool, if you ask me: I work for myself, and my boss is a tightarse when it comes to sending me places.

I picked him up from the airport last night, after dropping Cassie at her grandparents' and Lyn & Erin at home.

Not enough to get a free four day trip: the firm held a couple of raffles for attendees, and the clever bugger managed to win himself a deep fryer and an $1800 digital video camera!

Lucky lucky jammy lucky jammy jammy lucky.........

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

OKAY, WE'RE IN...

Finally, the move is over, and the cheap-ass, slack as crap, less-brain-cells-than-a-PE-teacher removalists have crawled back under their rock. Hey, they managed to break my computer desk and the Indian pipe Luscious bought me for my birthday last year, so I figure I have shooting rights. This pack of morons had tricks like double-packing the cutlery but not wasting a single piece of paper on wrapping my flat-screen computer monitor, so you know we're not dealing with the deep end of the gene pool here. And they ripped us off, the bastards.

Lucky I'm not bitter about it or anything.

Anyway, we've turned the living room into a big library with a couch and TV, the cable's been connected (spent most of yesterday watching Invader Zim, and Batman:The Animated Series, and Johnny Bravo, and I Am Weasel and Catdog, and... well, you get the idea), the patio guy's working out a quote for hard-roofing the patio, the curtain people are coming later this week... it's all go.

Want to extend a big "Youse is a legend moit" to Sheldon, who came over way early on Saturday morning and worked like a Trojan to help us unpack, and Chesh & Calli who came round a bit later and helped with the mammoth task of emptying the house of a million boxes.

ON THE SUBJECT OF TROJANS

Watched Troy the other night for the first time. Would have thought it impossible to turn The Iliad into a boring pile of crap, but there you go. Never underestimate the powers of Wolfgang Petersen and Brad Pitt when it comes to stinky-toilet cinematic experiences.

I LOVE MY FAMILY!

It's my birthday on Thursday. Luscious and the kids couldn't wait that long to give me my prezzies.

The kids got me a watch. To understand how excited I was by this you have to have been with me when I've taken my phone out for the umpty-thousandth time to check what time it is. I'm a constant time-checker. It's a sickness. Hey, it could be worse. I could work in IT.

Anyway, this watch is beautiful, a magnificent analog (Call me old-fashioned; I prefer hands) in silver and gold. It's far too beautiful to belong on my hairy old wrist.

And Luscious, well, what can I say. A weird and wonderful statue (the present, I swear!) made from nuts, bolts and screws, of two robot-type people wearing glasses and playing soccer. Very hard to describe, but it's odd, disturbing, and impossible to look at without finding something to comment about. In other words, perfect :)

I'm a lucky guy with a great family. And yes, this is an utterly diabetes-inducing post, but hey, it's my birthday :) Well, in two days, but you know...

WHAT, AND LEAVE SHOWBIZ?

Everybody in Perth SF is waiting to see the Angriest Video Store Clerk TV show. Creative force Grant Watson emailed me today and asked me if I wanted a bit part as a light-bulb worshipping Siberian Yak Herder.

How can a guy say no to an offer like that? :)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

COKESPRAY!

Every now and again I have one of those moments where laughing and drinking mix together in an explosive way.

Luscious and I have been watching The Practice recently, mainly due to James Spader's fantastic performances: they've given him all the lines I like to refer to as "Groucho lines". Now they've added William Shatner to the mix, and frankly, it's hilarious. Last night, however, it reached a moment of true comic genius.

To whit: Shatner takes Spader out shooting. He explains to Spader that to help you concentrate, you shout out the name of someone you hate as you pull the trigger, then proceeds to demonstrate, shouting out "Clinton! Bin Laden! Saddam!". Then it's Spader's turn, and we get this exchange--

SPADER: Mother! (shoots, misses clay pigeon by the proverbial country mile.)
SHATNER: I'm sorry, did you just shout 'mother'?
SPADER: (Deader than the deadest deadpan ever deadpanned) I only meant to scare her.

The coke was coming out my nose, out my ears, out my eyes...

OFF FOR A FEW DAYS

The movers are coming this afternoon to pack everything away, and we don't get the phone connected until early next week, so I'll be offline for a few days. I'll leave with you this quote, aimed in my direction earlier this week. A friend discussing my current level of 'fame':

"I knew him when he was just a folk singer. Actually, I knew him when he was just a folk talker..."

See you next week.

Friday, October 29, 2004

ON THE ROAD AGAINNNN...

We're moving house! Coz, you know, being umpty-thousand weeks pregnant and in constant pain, and having a short story collection to pitch and being in constant pain, and all the other stuff Luscious & I have been whining on about in our respective blogs over the last umpty-something weeks just wasn't enough of a challenge.

Anyway, the tenant moved out, and it's stupid for us to be renting when we have an empty house, so we're moving back. Next weekend. No time like the near present and all that.

If you're not one of the million people we've sent an email to with the new address details, and you need them, drop us a line.

WHICH MEANS...

We can get cable. Which means I can watch the Premier League again.

Happy little fat man dancing :)

LIKE DAUGHTER LIKE MOTHER

Cassie's in the car the other day, explaining to me why the name of her jewellery-making company is going to be "Rickie". It's short for Richter, see, as in Richter Scale, as in "Rickie jewellery will shake your world."

Which is pretty clever really. At least, I would have thought it was if I could have heard her over my laughing. Such a simple mistake, really, getting Richter and Rictus mixed up.

Rictus scale. And I think visually...

Then this morning, Luscious and I are talking about Christmas, and my only-one-Christmas-out-of-a-religion-that-doesn't-celebrate-it sweetie is telling me an idea she's had for something we can put in Cassie's stocking.

Only she calls it a doggie bag...

Laugh? I nearly wet myself.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

TIRED

Oh, what a week. The sleeping part of the pregnancy has been over for quite a while, but this week, well, sleeping is just something that happens to other people. Luscious is in horrible pain: the baby's huge, her pelvis is in all sorts of bother, and she has to wear a support belt when she walks. Which doesn't help when she's lying down and can't get comfortable. Or when her hayfever is so bad she can barely breathe.

Given the problems we had early in the pregnancy it seems petty to be whining about hayfever, but we're both so goddamned tired...

Added to which, we spent half of Monday night combing the streets of Morley because one of the kids got into an argument with their father and took off. They ended up safe and sound at a friend's place (said friend being a right prannet decided to try to hide kid from said friend's parents, only exacerbating the situation). Let me tell you, it's bloody cold at 2am in Morley.

Thankfully, errant child was safe and sound, and came out to Lunch with Luscious and I yesterday where we alternated between telling child off and wanting to hug child to death. I love these kids. I've been thrown into teen-parenting many years before I was expecting it, and I've been surprised by how deeply they affect me. It doesn't please Lyn's ex-husband to hear it, because I think he feels I'm trying to usurp his role (nothing could be further from the truth, but it's an emotionally difficult place for a father to be in to see his kids spending time with another man, I know. My own parents split up when I was Cassie's age, and I have distinct memories.) but I love these kids like they were my own. I don't think I breathed properly from the moment we got the call to say errant child was missing until we went to lunch and we could make sure child was really okay with our own eyes.

SPECIAL MENTION TO GEOFF

Want to throw a big vote of thanks in Geoff Maloney's direction. I'm currently assembling a package to pitch a short story collection to a US publisher who might be interested, and Geoff's done a power of work choosing stories, offering opinions, and pretty much reading my entire opus to date in an effort to stop me embarrassing myself. Thanks to him I'm one or two steps away from having a running order worked out and beginning the polishing of stories ready to envelope the whole thing. I've always been a big fan of Geoff's writing (check out his collection Tales From the Crypto-System) but just as rewarding hs been the friendship we've built up over the last year or so.

So far I'm calling the collection Through Soft Air, mainly because Luscious looks at me in a funny way if I mention The Beginner's Guide to Virgin Sacrifice. The project is at the very early stages, but if the publisher buys it, I'll let you know. Oh, how I'll let you know!

LAST OF THE KID-FREE WEEKENDS

If all goes to plan, the kid-free weekend in November will be our last one before Connor comes. Don't ring :)

RECENT ADVENTURES IN THE VIRGIN-SKINNING BUSINESS

It's a more interesting title than "What we've done recently" :)

Bad movie night on Sunday was Hudson Hawk, thanks to Splanky. And bad it was. It's such an odd movie-- filled with so many great little moments it's hard to put your finger on why the whole thing stinks like a month-old nappy. My opinion is that it's the editor's fault: it should be a high-paced farce, but the editing makes everything so excrutiatingly slow that it misses the mark. Of course, there are so many other reasons too... Strangely enough, Luscious says it's the first bad movie night where she's enjoyed the movie. Ooookaaaayyy.........

Saturday night we attended a board games night at Splanky's place. Poor old Luscious' hayfever kicked into overdrive (see above) once the cat came wandering into the room, and we got stuck playing Boggle with a couple whose ideas of Boggle are, well, I wouldn't let the kids get away with it, dig? Pity: I was really looking forward to the night, but in the end we had to leave at just after 9, and chuntered all the way home about the Boggle couple. We finished the night with me showing Lyn the animated Tales From The Darkside, so it wasn't a total loss :)

We both really like Splanky, and feel guilty if we have to cut out of one of her occasions early. Sigh. Maybe next time.

SWANCON THIRTY APPROACHETH

Went to a programming meeting for Swancon on Sunday. To my credit, I only volunteered for 5 panels. I admit it: I'm a panel junkie. It's my only real chance to get in touch with my inner dancing monkey boy. Anyway, despite not being available all day Saturday in preparation for the wedding, and not being available at least Sunday morning because of the wedding night, there's no guarantee I'll only be on 5 panels come the Con. 2003 I volunteered for 6 and was on 15 when I arrived. Of course, this year the programmer is my best man, which might help :)

I'm really looking forward to this Con. Apart from the wedding, it's just shaping up as a hell of a lot of fun. And I get to re-stage the Alternative History Game Show. It was huge success at this year's con- wild and crazy, and the audience was hanging off the rafters. I'm going to have to do something special next year to top it.

I've been dry of ideas so far, but last night I did have an idea about recreating the assassination of Julius Caesar with shaving cream pies...

Friday, October 22, 2004

THE SOUND OF CRACKING BONES

Had an appointment with a chiropractor today, in light of last week's car accident. I went a few days ago and he took some x-rays, but today was the first bone-twirling session. Apparently there isn't a supporting bone between my skull and toes that's where it should be (no surprise to some, I suppose). I'm not so much a body as a partially completed game of Jenga.

I'll need to go twice a week for the next few weeks, then weekly, then... well, it'll depend on how good a Jenga player the chiropractor is, I suppose.

Was this what my Mum meant when she said she wanted me to be comfortable in my own skin?

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION TIME

Tell me which of my stories are your favourites, or if there are any you really hate. I've got a project coming up soon where such information might be very handy indeed. More on this subject in due course.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

CAR CRASH WEIRDNESS

I had a car accident three years ago yesterday. A woman came through a stop sign without, well without, and t-boned the car I was driving, writing off the car and giving me injuries to my back and neck that I'm still having treated three years later.

Three hours short of three years, and it happened again. Not so bad this time (the car is still driveable), but if I were to believe in such things I'd be freaked out by fate around about now.

Here's a hint to all you drivers out there: amber means SLOW DOWN AND PREPARE TO STOP!

DINNER WITH SEAN

Went to dinner at a Thai restaurant last night, a Swancon fundraiser with special guest Sean Williams. It was a delightful night, with articulate, enjoyable conversation, sensational food, and wonderful company.

We had to leave fairly early after dinner, and so couldn't stay for the late-night conversations: my neck was giving me a lot of pain, and Luscious was just about out of energy and needed to sleep, but it was the kind of event we don't attend often enough. A brilliant evening.

WHAT DOES PREGNANCY DO TO THE MIND?

For no reason at all, Luscious turns to me this morning and out of the blue announces "It's a good job I'm not pregnant to The Rock, otherwise this baby would be Third Son From the Rock."

Who are you, and what have you done to my Lyn?

GREATER LOVE HATH NO STEPFATHER

Took Aiden and Blake to see the Yu-Gi-Oh movie today. They've been wanting to go since they heard one was being made, and wanted me to take them. They even put together a card deck for me so that I can duel them, and presented it to me before we went. Then they bounced around like insane happy things all the way to the cinema, while we were buying the tickets, while we were buying the sweeties, while we were finding our seats, while we watched the movie, and all the way to lunch, where they bouned around like insane happy things and told their Mum & sister all about it. I have to learn how to play the damn game so that they can duel me tonight.

The Yu-Gi-Oh movie is really really really bad. The boys loved it. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

AND FROM THE STEPDAUGHTER FILES...

She's 13. She's the coolest creature in the world. The rest of the family are nerds (hey, if the propeller beanie fits...), and she lets us know it in no uncertain terms.

So how much did I laugh this afternoon when Cassie, instructing us in the correct way to pronounce "Bach", told us to say it like we were speaking Klingon? :)

My work here is done...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

WHAT TO DO WITH FIVE MINUTES

Had a few minutes to myself just before going to bed (the house is gently snoring around me...) so filled in the time at Ebay while I was waiting for other stuff to download.

I've just bought a 1977-issue Spiderman comic book and record set for 5 bucks.

No, I don't know why!

Somebody stop me...

MY DAY JUST GETS WEIRDER

One of the last 10 search terms that sent someone to this blog was "should I have a shower with a ferret picture".

I can't think of a single funny thing to say...

Monday, October 11, 2004

WASTELAND

Had a mixed time at this excellently-run Convention. Cheshire and Callisto did a fantastic job, and everyone had a great time. The writing guests were excellent: Sean Williams is genuinely one of the nicest guys I've ever met, and it's always a real pleasure to run into him. Paul Kidd was brilliant: I sat on a panel with him and discovered a real connection of shared humour, irony, and outlook that made it an absolute barrel of laughs. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience every time he was in the room: he's a genuinely funny and engaging man.

On the downside, our Saturday night suffered a major interruption when a tiny kitchen fire prompted hotel staff to evacuate the entire building. Luscious had to drag her heavily pregnant self down three flights of stairs, which caused her to suffer terrible leg cramps, which resulted in her waking twice in agony, screaming and panicky. The night was so bad she had to leave the Con at lunchtime on Sunday in order to come home and get some rest. I dropped her off and returned, but I was so tired and grinchy I don't think I did anything positive for the rest of the day, and left the Con feeling very down and depressed.

But all in all I thought the Con was a good experience. Luscious and I don't get a chance to get out and indulge our fannish sides as often as we'd like, and Cons like this are the perfect opportunity to catch up with people we rarely get to see. Let's hope someone picks up the franchise next year and gives us another gathering of the Clan to attend.

4400 REASONS TO SIGH

The most anticipated television event of the year, huh? Well, maybe if you're not an SF fan. Seen it before. Seen it all before.

THE KIDS ARE BACK!

Woohoo! It's our turn to spend a week with the kids for the second half of the holidays! Fun fun fun fun. We've got some serious fun lined up. The kids belong here, and we belong with them.

MORE EBAY MADNESS

Won me an ancient Greek arrowhead from circa 1000-300 BC today (Nice how they can narrow it down so easily :) ). That should spell the end of my Ebay adventure for a while: I've not got enough of my spending money left to make a tilt for anything impressive. Luscious, on the other hand, decided to have a bit of a search while we were waiting for my bidding to reach the last 15 minutes, and ended up buying a ruby ring for (wait for it)......

A buck.

One dollar. For a ruby ring. And it's a real ruby, nothing cultured or paste.

One buck.

NO, YOU DON'T GET A SHOWBAG

It was Luscious' first ever voting experience on Saturday. She used to be part of a religion who are exempt from voting, and this is the first election since she left.

I'm striding across the carpark to the polling line, eyes front, dismissing the likes of Christian Democrats and Family First lunatics with a curt "No" or "I've decided" whilly nilly. And I realise that the Luscious One has fallen behind.

Because she's merrily accepting how-to-vote cards from all and sundry and getting excited because she didn't realise you got handouts and oh wow these ones are green! and......

I swear, if they had a bumper car stall we'd have been there all day.

ELECTION RESULT

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Fuck!

Friday, October 08, 2004

GOOD COOKIN'!

Have to send a big fat thanks to the ultra-fab Adrian & Michelle, who returned from Worldcon with a fangroovelus gift: I'd asked them to bring me back a "strange book of some description". Oh, and as they were going to Canada on their big trip, a moose :)

Today they presented me with a stuffed moose (I have a 'weird stuffed animals' compulsion: it'll fit nicely with the seahorse, the blue-ringed octopus, the stingray, the thylacine...) and drum rolllllllll Gourmet Style Road Kill Cooking by Jeff Eberbaugh.

It's going to sit beautifully between my Doctor Who Cookbook and Tastes of Wales.

Thanks guys, the gifts are brilliant!

EBAY MADNESS!

Have a bit of money to spend on myself this week, and in a fit of madness decided I'd see what Ebay was all about on the off-chance I might be able to get myself something unusual and funky to sit alongside the ammonite fossils, the talking Dalek, Lyn's chain mail earrings, and all the other flotsam and weirdsam with which we fill Triffbatt House.

At 11pm last night I snared myself a Roman ring from around 100AD.

Now the ring is groovy, and I can't wait to get it in the mail and so on, (and I've subsequently bid on a bunch of other stuff too...) but I can't help thinking that Ebay does remove a bit of the storytelling aspect to hunting down unusual items: "It was a terrible travail, son, to get this ring. I sat on my office chair so long my ass went numb..."

Weird: I actually think Ebay makes it too easy. I'm not sure I'll use it a lot. I like the thrill of the hunt.

Of course, you'll notice I mentioned that I HAVE bid on other stuff...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

MORE WEBPAGEY GOODNESS

My Story Page is up! Snippets from all my sold stories specially handcraved in pleasing shapes to entice you to buy their parent magazines and make us all rich rich RICH!

You can also access this page from my biblio. See, ain't I thoughtful?
SOLD!

Recently I reported that I'd sent out the first of my stories I'd written during the residency at KSP, a horror flash piece entitled Pater Familias, which I sent to Shadowed Realms.

Sold it!

It'll be appearing in an upcoming issue. I'll tell you when they let me know which one.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

BIBLIO BACK!

Hooray, Cute FTP is finally working again, which means I'm able to put webpages back up. My biblio is first.

Monday, September 27, 2004

SOMEONE OUT THERE IS EITHER VERY BRAVE OR VERY TWISTED

It was bad movie night last night, and as always, Luscious and I started our day by popping over to that great repository of audio-visual crap, Blockbuster. Our mission: to secure ourselves a copy of The Pirate Movie, the howlingly awful Christopher Atkins starrer. (Admittedly, the phrase 'awful Christopher Atkins movie' is tautological).

It was out!

Someone in Morley has a bad place in their brain...

BUT WE MANAGED TO CREATE BADNESS NONETHELESS

Blockbuster is the place to find bad bad movies. Within two minutes of being told our movie of choice was out, we found a copy of Breakdance. On DVD no less!

I think we broke everyone's minds. Calli couldn't get over the clarity of the picture; Chesh, Splanky and Luscious fell about at the fashions (My personal favourite: the guy with the red and white checked cowboy shirt tucked into his grey tracky-dacks, which were in turn tucked into his leg warmers. I shit thee not); and funniest of all, Mynxii kept shushing us so she could listen to the dialogue!

If you want to mess with Cheshire's mind over the next week or so, walk up to him and say "Mumble Pants" :)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

BLAKE'S BIRTHDAY BONANZA

Had a great time for Blake's 10th birthday last week. Took he, Aiden, and 5 friends to the Zone 3 laser game parlour for a birthday pizza bash, and in the evening, took both boys (hopped up on pizza, sweeties, and cool drink) to see My Neighbour Totoro at FTI's Miyazaki festival, a wonderful film that we all fell in love with and have made a pact to track down and buy on DVD. Finished the evening with Hungry Jacks on the way home, and arrived back three tired, happy boys.

Blake was thrilled with the giant electronics set we gave him, and with the money and presents he received from his friends. But more on the dosh below, as we take him...

SHOPPING FOR ALIENS

So the B-boy gets his 50 bucks birthday money and we take him to Empire Toys in the city, whereupon he is confronted by 4 walls crammed with everything the young fanboy could want. Will he fuel his Invader Zim obsession with a DVD or plushy, or will the 2 disc Hellboy limited edition set be the prize? But there's a million manga movies... and the My Neighbour Totoro soundtrack... and are they Living Dead Dolls dolls in that corner?... and Futurama stuff... and Lord of The Rings...

So after an HOUR in which he touches absolutely everything in the place, what does our excited junior fanboy come away with?

3 Aliens figurines. Not bad at all, considering I don't think he's seen any of the movies outside of the Aliens Vs Predator preview. And damn cool little things they are too.

We're such proud fanparents :)

ONTO WASTELAND

I've picked up some casual scriptwriting for a video production company (what, and leave showbusiness?) on the side, so Luscious and I will be getting our butts to Wasteland after all. Happy happy happy.

OH GOD. SO VERY VERY BAD.

Last weekend's bad movie night effort was spectacular. Lair Of The White Worm is not only worse than you imagine, it's worse than you can imagine. Not even large quantities of Amanda Donohoe nuddiness saves it. Watch it, and marvel at Hugh Grant having a career afterwards.

What we're going to watch tomorrow night in an effort to top it is beyond me. There may have to be a concerted effort to capture a Steve Reeves movie...

SCHMOOOOOOOOZE

Off to Stephen Dedman's workshop on creating believable alien environments today. I'm at a crossroads in regards to my thinking when it comes to workshops. I do enjoy the chance to get out and schmooze, and knowing pals like Satima Flavell Neist, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, and Stephen himself of course, are going to be there is a big attraction. But it's impossible not to believe that I'm at a point in my career where I should be giving the workshops rather than just attending them.

Today's will be the telling point, I think. If I come away with a bucketload of new information I'll have a rethink, but otherwise it might be time to start working up a heap of proposals and seeing who bites.

COMPETITION

Two entries in to the Katharine Susannah Prichard Short Story Awards this week. The Awards are a more mainstream affair than the SF/F Awards earlier in the year, but I'm a firm believer in not being tied down to genre, so it's worth a go. (As is the 300 bucks first prize :) ) The winners are announced on December 5th, Katharine's birthday, and coincidentally, Erin's as well.

30 WEEKS

I know I've said this a lot before, but we never thought we'd get this far. Luscious reaches the 30th week of her pregnancy this Wednesday. The end is in sight: we're planning to be induced a couple of weeks pre-term due to Lyn's size and some really horrible due dates- depending on which date you look at, Connor is due either on Erin's birthday or the anniversary of Sharons' death. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmno. So we've picked a date just before that and the countdown is definitely on.

I'll be glad when it's over, and we have our baby boy safe and healthy with his safe and healthy mother back from the hospital. I doubt anybody who knows me (with the exception of Luscious, who lives with it every day) understands just how deeply this pregnancy has affected me. For those who came in late, my wife Sharon died 4 days after giving birth to Erin due to criminal negligence on the part of the consulting doctor and hospital (Although I'm probably not supposed to say anything like that until after the compensation case is concluded. Ah well, sue me you fuckers) , and well, stuff like that stays with you.

I've been nowhere near the support Lyn's needed throughout this pregnancy. Everything has been difficult for me, and I know she's felt the withdrawal in me as we get closer to the due date. I can't help it: I want to be a part of this, as it will be our last pregnancy, but sometimes it's more difficult to engage than I can manage.

I just want them both to come home from the hospital safe and healthy and for us to start the life that awaits us on the other side of the birth. That's all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

TEN TODAY!

Happy birthday Blake!

Can't wait to see you and give you your prezzie and have the party!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

ALL OVER, RED ROVER

The residency is over, finished, kaput, kapslurgen, garshnurflen, and when did this turn into a scene from Blazing Saddles?

I think it would be fair to view it as a successful endeavour, at least in terms of word count: I wrote more than 65 000 words in the four weeks of the residency, over 50 000 of which were on Nouvelle Hollande, and the rest comprising 5 completed short stories and 2 half-stories. I have already sent one of those stories out, so I can't complain at all. I had set myself a target of 40 000 words, 10 000 a week, all on the novel. I've exceeded that beyond all my hopes.

So the final tallies:

Novel Words at KSP: 51546
KSP Cumulative Total: 65 433
Novel Cumulative Total: 61 635

That last figure is important, too. Two-thirds of the novel is now under my belt, and if I can get a thousand words a day in from now on I'll have a completed first draft ready by mid-October, plenty of time to achieve my aim of having a package to send to agents and publishers by the end of the year.

BACK TO WORK

On the downside, the end of the residency means I have to get my tubby ass back to some sort of day job. This pleases me not at all, I have to say. I love being a writer, really love it very much. The lifestyle fits me perfectly. 10 hours a day being unsatisfied does not cheer my horizons. Ah well, I'm sure I'll sell the novel for a packet and buy that island I've always wanted...

FEAR, AND MY PLACE WITHIN IT

She claims its spring. I say its nesting. Whatever, I came through from the living room to find Luscious on the bed with a bucket and sponge, cleaning the fan. Then she was wiping the front of the washing machine and commanding me to change the sponge on the mop. Then it was the bathroom...

I'm afraid. Hold me.

MOVIES

Clash of The Titans tonight for bad movies. How can you read the phrase Harry Hamlin is Perseus and not get a fit of the giggles?

And then we have the kids next weekend, and the FTI has that festival of anime from the fellow who did Spirited Away.

Fun fun fun fun fun.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

MY FIRST RESIDENCY COMPLETION

I've written five short stories during my residency at KSP, and the first of them has just had its final draft and been sent away: Pater Familias, a horror flash piece, is now at the mercy of Shadowed Realms.

AN ATTACK OF AGEING

Discovered my first grey chest hair in the shower this morning. First it was my hair, then my beard, now my chest hair.... it's only a matter of time....

Sunday, September 05, 2004

HOW COOL ARE MY KIDS?

I had a surprise Father's Day yesterday. I say surprise because we have Luscious' kids this weekend, and it had been organised that they see their father today for Father's Day, while we caught up with my family. Well: I had a workshop to run at the writer's centre yesterday, and before I went Lyn and the kids made me breakfast, (pancakes with fresh squeezed lemon juice and sugar on top) and the the kids pulled out presents they'd been shopping for, and gave them to me! A leather bound writing journal and They Might Be Giants' latest album The Spine are now my proudest posessions :)

I was flabbergasted, and more than a little teary and touched- not only wasn't I expecting anything (the kids have their own biological father, after all), but the fact they went out with their Mum and made sure to find gifts they knew I would absolutely love was just brilliant. I floated the rest of the day, and am still smiling about it now.

HELLBOY AND ZIM

It's been a boysie weekend this weekend: Friday night we went to see Hellboy at the cinema (Big, dumb fun, and I'm such a fan of the comic books that I happily overlooked the many weaknesses in the film), and last night, while Cassie and Luscious went to see Jersey Girl in order to wash the testosterone out of their eyes, the boys and I stayed at home with crisps in hand and watched the newly-released Invader Zim DVD.

Doom doom doom doom doomie doomie dooommm....

COMPENSATION

The date for the trial over Sharon's death draws nearer: a pre-trial conference is only a few weeks away now, and I spent Friday afternoon in conference with my lawyer. It's been a hard few days, with tension before the meeting and after due to the nature of the proceedings: the doctor who killed Sharon and the Health Department have delayed, prevaricated, and basically done their all to make this a painful and traumatic experience, and I'll be glad to cast their vile shadows from my life.

MY WRITING WEEK

A productive week at the KSP. Apart from yesterday's writing workshop, I ploughed through a significant portion of the novel and am now almost 50 000 words in. I'm aiming for somewhere between 80 and 90 000 words first draft, as I'm sure to be adding words in rather than cutting them out in future drafts, so to be well and truly past halfway is great. I had planned to reach 50 000 words by the end of the residency, so to do it a week early feels like a real achievement. Oh, and I've completed my 5th short story, to boot :)

A real highlight was an engagement at Helena College, a couple of miles down the road from the centre, where I spoke to some creative writing students and ran some writing exercises past them. I spent over an hour with the kids and was delighted at their talent and fearlesness as writers. They even presented me with some gifts at the end- a thank you card, a copy of their yearbook, an Helena College keyring and a matching pen which is my new writing pen!

So, to totals...

Monday 30th August

Novel Words For Day: 2277
Total Words For Day: 2277
Novel Words at KSP: 27 847
KSP Cumulative Total: 36 637
Novel Cumulative Total: 37 936

Tuesday 31st August

Novel Words For Day: 3019
Total Words For Day: 3961
Novel Words At KSP: 30 866
KSP Cumulative Total: 40 598
Novel Cumulative Total: 40 955

Wednesday 1st September

Novel Words For Day: 2642
Word Total For Day: 3221
Novel Words at KSP: 33 508
KSP Cumulative Total: 43 819
Novel Cumulative Total: 43 597

Thursday 2nd September

Novel Words For Day: 2929
Word Total For Day: 4020
Novel Words at KSP: 36 437
KSP Cumulative Total: 47 839
Novel Cumulative Total: 46 526

Friday 3rd September

Novel Words For Day: 2907
Word Total For Day: 4201
Novel Words at KSP: 39 344
KSP Cumulative Total: 52 040
Novel Cumulative Total: 49 433

And the short stories, which are all first drafts at the moment:

Blake The God (Humourous SF) 2533 words
Pater Familas (Horror Flash Story) 810 words
Untitled Piece as Yet (SF) 2056 words
Murderworld (SF) 3960 words
Untitled Piece as Yet (Horror) 3015 words

Sunday, August 29, 2004

ONCE MORE WITH FEELING, FOR CHESHIRE'S BENEFIT...

"Vitamin E cream?"

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPLANKY!

Had a good time at Splanky's birthday party last night, although wan't brave enough to lower my body into the spa: too much me, not enough water. It was great to catch up with people we don't see half enough of, like M-Squared, PRK, & Tori, as well as our usual Sunday night funsters, and even the shy and retiring nocturnal Martin & Isobel came out, much to my delight. Lots of fun sitting round talking the night away and bagging the team rhythmic gymnastics on the TV (What a farce: leaderball set to music...)

And it looks like Sunday night's movie next week (week off this week) may be Clash Of The Titans. It's Harry Hamlicious!

Friday, August 27, 2004

PROOF POSITIVE!

Can we all take notice of my godly superpower, and finally put to rest any arguments on the subject? :)





What kind of God are you?
Name
DOB
Favourite Color
You earthly time was spent Supplanting kingdoms, punishing tyrants and levelling the empires of the wicked with the breath of your nostrils
Your throne is fashioned from thorns and human femurs, surrounded by writhing, howling servants, with a footstool of souls on the sizzling shores of the Lake of Fire
You wear Golden, breathtaking robes, girded in the middle with silver chains
Your Godly superpower is The knowledge of and answer to all questions
This fun quiz by pelagicboreas - Taken 11194 Times.

BEEN A WHILE

Time flies when you're typing: been a week since I updated my novel progress. So very quickly, a blow by blow stats update:

Friday 20th

A surprise visit from Lyn & Erin for lunch today, which was wonderful. We sat round having a picnic on the floor, and then the girls kept me company for a while as I worked.

Novel Total for day: 2899
Word Total for day: 3426
Novel words at KSP: 13073
KSP Cumulative Total: 17 523
Novel Cumulative Total: 23 171
Sunday
Tank Girl for bad movie night tonight! I have such a deep love for this movie. Lori Petty is so cute: what happened? And that Malcolm McDowell stamp of cheesy goodness remains as fresh as ever. Finally, Luscious understands why I shout "Mutant Kangaroo" every time Ice T makes a Law & Order SVU appearance.
Oh, and if you'd come you'd understand why "Vitamin E cream?" is the funniest line in television history...


Monday 23rd

Finished a short story today and started 2 more. Getting a lot of short story work done in between large swodges of novel! Passed 15 000 novel words at KSP and 25 000 overall.

Novel Total for day: 2457
Word Total for Day: 3735
Novel words at KSP: 15 530
KSP Cumulative Total: 21 258
Novel Cumulative Total: 25 628

Tuesday 24th

Busy writing day. Head down, bum up. Nothing of importance to note.

Novel Total for Day: 2266
Word Total for Day: 4040
Novel Words at KSP: 17 796
KSP Cumulative Total: 25 298
Novel Cumulative Total: 27 894

Wednesday 25th

Attended the Karibu Writing Group, which has to be held in the coolest environs I've ever encountered: inside the old court building in the centre of Midland. It was a lovely session- the ladies of the group had little experience of SF and so the visit was a 2 hour Q&A session in which I got to explain why Star Wars and Star Trek were bad SF, the differences between SF, Fantasy, Horror, and all the in-betweens, and about a hundred other questions. I also read out my story A Stone To Mark My Passage, which drew a round of applause. Consider MY ego rubbed :)

I even passed 20 000 novel words at KSP, and 30 000 in total.

Novel Total for Day: 2493
Word Total for Day: 2850
Novel Words at KSP: 20 289
KSP Cumulative Total: 28 148
Novel Cumulative Total: 30 378

And in the evening we met and booked our marriage celebrant, a lovely lady by the name of Dorothy Harrison who is the aunt to Western Australian SF uberguy Grant Stone. Talk about keeping it in the extended family! :)

Thursday 26th

Writing groups ahoy today: attended the Word-Thirst as usual, then also made appearances at the Youth Writing Group and the Thursday Night Group, meaning that it was almost 10pm when I left, a 14 hour work day! Je suis un exhausted little fat writer man by the time I got home. However, despite the time spent consorting, got a lot of work done on the novel, and managed to start another short story, as well as having the joy of Lyn's company for most of the afternoon. Being with Luscious just makes things better. It's not anything tangible, I just feel happier, lighter, when she's with me.

Novel Total for Day: 3027
Word Total for Day: 3714
Novel Words at KSP: 23 316
KSP Cumulative Total: 31 862
Novel Cumulative Total: 33 405

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING THAT MAKES ALL THE ABOVE UTTERLY IRRELEVANT AND INSIGNIFICANT...

I felt Connor moving for the first time last night. I'm still grinning.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

RESIDENCY DAY FOUR

A full day today. Apart from my daily target of 2000 words, I also had appointments with 2 of the writing groups I'm contracted to visit: the Word-Thirst group I attend each Thursday and the Under 13s group the kids attend. While I'd be there normally, that still meant 3 1/2 less hours in which to reach my target.

On the bright side, Luscious stayed with me for a couple of hours after Word Thirst, for lunch and to do some study for her Uni course before she had to pick the kids up from school. Call me a silly old co-dependent if you will (I can hear you from here...) but Lyn's presence gives me such energy and spirit that just being near her helps lift me if I'm flagging. We don't have to talk much (in fact, she even had a short nap today) but just knowing she was there was enough to energise me, and I cranked out my word count with time to spare. I even reached a couple of significant milestones: the 20 000th word of the novel (see) and the 10 000th word of the novel written since the residency started (old) So-

Today's stats:

Words on novel: 2421
Totoal words for the day: 2698
Words on novel while at KSP: 10 174
Cumulative total (all works) at KSP: 14 097
Total novel length: 20 272

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

RESIDENCY DAY THREE

The first official visit of my residency today, with the Writefree Women's group. The group has been meeting for almost 9 years, and puts out an anthology every year: you can't fault them for effort! Spent an enjoyable 90 minutes in the company of this group of largely middle-aged and elderly ladies, before heading back to my room and trying to thrash out my daily dose of 2000 words.

It was tough work today: with an hour to go before I left for home I still only had slightly less than 1500 words down, and had reached a bit of an impasse. The chapter wasn't heading where I wanted it to go, and a key meeting I had scheduled between Napoleone and a major character didn't look like it wanted to happen. Luckily I've built up some confidence in the last two days, so I let the story have its head, managed to build in some necessary backstory and set up my meeting for tomorrow's writing session, and ended up with just over 2500 words written. I was so much ahead of time that I was able to sit down for 20 minutes and pop another 215 words onto my third short story of the residency (as yet unnamed), and left a rather relieved and happy writer fellow. I've gained a belief in my ability to tackle this work, something I was still lacking as I stepped through the door on Monday morning. Problems don't seem insurmountable, and I think I'll be far ahead of my plans by the time I depart.

Yon daily stats:

Words on Novel: 2535
Total words for day: 2750
Words on novel while at KSP: 7753
Cumulative total (all works) at KSP: 11 399
Total novel length: 17 851

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

RESIDENCY DAY TWO

Another good day for writers! Well, me, anyway. Another 2700 + words on Nouvelle Hollande, plus I finished Blake The God, another 700 words bringing it to just over 2500. Emboldened by this miracle of actually-getting-off-my-assness, I wrote an entire 800 word flash story with the intention of sending it to KSP SF pal Shane Jirayia Cummings' new Shadowed Realms ezine, and doodled a 300 word start to a brand new short story while watching the Olympic swimming heats this afternoon.

I've now completed 5100 words on the novel in 2 days, 1100 better than my 2000 word a day target, have the next chapter and a half outlined to keep me going for the next day or two, and am ploughing words into short stories to boot. I'm a rather pleased little writer fellow.

Yon Daily stats:

Words on Novel: 2768
Words for Day: 4382
Words on Novel while at KSP: 5218
KSP words total: 8649
Total Novel Length: 15 307

Monday, August 16, 2004

SO MUCH WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT IT COULD BE

Well, the movie night went off all right. Had visitations from Chesh, Calli, and the newly-returned Splanky, who brought her sick ferret to the accompaniment of much excitement from the boys and a solid 24 hours of asthma from Luscious. Splanky also brought a chocolate mousse that I'm still having to stop Lyn from licking off the inside of the bin 24 hours later...

Hell Comes To Frogtown is not only worse than I remember, it is worse than any movie has a right to be. Despite much giggling at Sandahl Bergman's outfits, everyone else's outfits, the make-up, the special effects, the plot, the fact that it would have been better as a bad porno, pretty much everything else and so on, it was still unanimously decided that I'm not allowed to pick the movies for a while. I did point out that I had mentioned it was a BAD movie night, but as Calli responded, I hadn't pointed out that nobody was allowed to complain... Quote of the evening belongs to Aiden. In response to a comment regarding when the movie would please be over, he said "This movie was over before it began". Chesh had his copy of the new Chances DVD with him, and the fact that we couldn't wait to view an episode after the movie finished and the boys went to bed should let you know how bad we're talking here.

Anyway, next week it's Tank Girl and another episode. 6pm, our place, bring a dish for a pot luck :)

RESIDENCY DAY ONE

Arrived at the KSP at 9am and got straight into it. By lunchtime had banged out 2450 words of Nouvelle Hollande. As I'm aiming for 2000 words a day, was a pretty happy little fat man over lunch. With the Olympics playing silently off to the side of my room (yay, Australian woman can cycle and swim faster than other women, but we're all crap at volleyball...) decided to unwind a bit after lunch by working on a story I'd started yesterday at the KSP SF group called Blake The God (Anybody who's met the B-boy knows: he's petite. So in the story he is worshipped by a bunch of teeeeensy tiny little aliens. Trust me, it works on paper, okay?). And I added another 1800 words on that before home time, for a grand total of 4267 words on the day! Not a bad total, to be sure. Almost KA Bedford like :) The day finished with Luscious, Erin and I attending a cheese and bikkies soiree at 5.30 to officially welcome me, and now Erin's in bed and an exhausted Triff and her exhausted Batt are going to follow her example.

Night all.

Friday, August 13, 2004

BAD MOVIES!!!!!

Huzzah: having some friends over for a bad movie night on Sunday, and have managed to secure a copy of Hell Comes To Frogtown to go with my own copy of They Live. It's a Rowdy Roddy Piper Movie Festival!

You have to love my local alternative video store Planet Video: only they, when faced with someone saying "I'm after this cheesy piece of Z-grade crap from the late 80s starring a second string wrestler that potentially nobody in the entire country has seen and only I am likely to remember" can reply "Yeah, we have two copies."

GOOD DAY

Today has been a good day on the personal front. Nothing worth reporting to the eager masses, really, but just a good day. Lyn's made some important stands in her personal life, and we've done some things together that have helped us feel like our life is moving forward, so there are some positive vibes in Triffbatt House at the moment. Smiles all round. We've even organised an appointment with a marriage celebrant.