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.