Monday, December 24, 2007


Yup, it's that time of year: the point where I trot out the old year-in-review meme and slap down a few answers. To whit:

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? Published a Doctor Who story, volunteered at my daughter’s school, saw publication in the Year’s Best F&H, planted a vegetable garden, mentored a writer online.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No, and no: as per the pirate code, I consider them more like goideloines.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No, but that should change next year, when Lyn’s best friend’s daughter has her baby.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No. I remember the day the music died, but we hadn't spoken for years.

5. What countries did you visit? None. I wanted to visit the country of the blind, and even poked out one eye, but then never got around to it. Should have planned things a bit better, on reflection...

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? Peace. Tranquility. Career advancement.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? None in particular: the year was highlighted only by the change in depth of craptitude.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Sending 14 stories out and selling 7. The Dr Who and Year’s Best publications. Picking and eating home grown tomatoes and strawberries.

9. What was your biggest failure? Cassandra.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? A mystery stomach illness that had me bedridden for nearly a fortnight, a chest infection that never really went away, a lot of physical pain generally.

11. What was the best thing you bought? The solar lights for the patio gardens are beautiful, the fans for the kids bedrooms are doing great work, but the family iPod and its car-player are, perhaps, the best buys this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Lyn, as always: the way she has struggled through depression, harassment, and the emotional bullying her daughter handed out was a source of inspiration. Aiden, also, has blossomed this year, into an amazing young man, with poise, maturity, and self-confidence, and it’s been a joy to be a part of it.\

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Cassandra. A descent into criminality, hatred, and bile that almost spelled ruin for Lyn and I. Last year, I hoped for the return of my favourite Bonus daughter. This year, I have no hope for that at all.

14. Where did most of your money go? The house. Transport to and from work. Lunch.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Not much, really. The continuing refinements to the house and gardens. Losing weight, until that stalled and began to move in the opposite direction again. Seeing my name in a Dr Who book- dorky, I know, but something I wished for as a kid and never seriously thought I’d see

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? “Days” by the Kinks. “Grace Kelly” by Mika. “C is for Cookie” by Cookie Monster- I’ve taken a lot of car trips with the kids this year….

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? Sadder, thinner, richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Writing. Being with my family. Being happy. Ignoring the bloodsuckers and emotional vampires.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Hating. Feeling helpless. Carrying around depression and anger. Failing. Hurting.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? Picking children up, dropping children off.\

21. Who did you meet for the first time? Sally Harding, my new work acquaintances, Mark Smith-Briggs, the 2007 Clarionites, Jasoni and Amazon Kate, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, Gardner Dozois, the lovely people at Queensland Writer’s Centre.

22. Did you fall in love in 2007? Stayed in love.

23. What was your favourite TV program? Neat. The City Gardener. From Junky to Funky. The Family Guy. Time Team. Garden Invaders.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Just myself.

25. What was the best book you read? The Portrait of Mrs Charbaque by Geoffrey Ford, by a street. Also James Tiptree Jr: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips (Proof that one man’s literary hero is another’s egocentric, drug-addled murderer). Special mention to Geoffrey Ryman’s short, Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter which is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read: haunting, beautiful, terrible, perfect.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Richard Cheese was both cool and hilarious. Mika is a lot of fun, especially the high-rotation-at-our-house Grace Kelly. But again, it was a case of what is old is new: A Hot-Fuzz-Soundtrack driven rediscovery of The Kinks and their brilliant back catalogue, especially Days, which I have decided to have played at my funeral, Death of a Clown which inspired a to-be-written-in-2008 novel, and Plastic Man, eternally changed by Erin into ‘The Song With The Plastic Bum’.

27. What was your favourite film of this year? A very thin year for fillums due to lack of opportunity. We just didn’t get out to them. Casino Royale was excellent, as was Hot Fuzz. Howl's Moving Castle, which we saw on DVD, was delightful. The Illusionist was okay, at least better than that over-rated Jackman/Baile one whose name escapes me. Transformers was a laugh, but mainly because I went with the boys. Ratatouille was decent, but nothing more. Must make mention of Bee Movie, however, which walks away with the prize for biggest pile of shit viewed this year. Jerry, if you’re reading, just stop. Please: just stop.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 37. Kept it quiet. Was in the middle of a minicon at the time, so apart from a lovely panel audience rendition of Happy Birthday, led by my good friend Stephen, just cruised through it. Did a panel on Wacky WWII Nazi weapons. As you do.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Happiness. Cassandra joining the decent side of humanity. Advancing my career in a meaningful way.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Same as last year: fat.\

31. What kept you sane? Gardening. Frisbee with the kids. Facebook, to distraction (Oooh, I just thought of New Year’s resolution…), The CI Channel, comfort eating, Lyn Lyn Lyn Lyn LYN.

32. What political issue stirred you the most? Even the Federal election was a humdrum non-event. Hard to care about industrial reform when you’re driving through the night to pick your kid out of gaol.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. Doors are built to keep the world out, and they're not just physical.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I was a, was a kamikaze pilot
They gave me a plane, I couldn’t fly it home.
Taught me how to take off, I didn’t know how to land.
They say it doesn’t matter and I just cannot understand.
-- I was a Kamikaze Pilot, Hoodoo Gurus

So there you go. Same time next year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Friday, December 21, 2007


…….. you don't fit in:

LEE: It's all a matter of what you're willing to sacrifice, and I'd rather sacrifice money than family.
LEE: And, you know, I'd rather sacrifice a goat than a virgin.
REST OF TEAM: ……….. (stares)………….
LEE: (sighs)

Saturday, December 15, 2007


So have a gander and see what the Father-of-nerds found his kids playing with as he wandered through the dining room this morning.

Of course, what was really nerdy was having to explain to them why they weren't for playing with....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


So why, I hear none of you cry, has it been so long, and why, none of you echo, have my messages been so damn depressed-sounding lately?

Three weeks ago, I fell ill. No idea why, really, but it resulted in two weeks off work, and on the 27th, I spent most of my day in hospital being checked out for suspected appendicitis (it wasn't).

The following afternoon, we received a phone call, and spent three hours driving to Bunbury to bail out Darth Barbie, who'd been arrested.

She's been with us since then. To say it has been easy would be... wrong. Normally, I'd be all ranty and get it all off my chest, but this one is different, I think. This girl hs been allowed to go so far off the rails that bringing her back into a normal sphere of thinking is too important, and ultimately, too private. I feel like we're fighting to bring someone back from the precipice, and it's exhausting, it's frequently devastating, and we spend almost the entirety of our time trying to keep our family unity together in the face of a child whose only recourse to dealing with the world is to spit hatred and anger at those trying to save her.

This family is going for a long walk. We may be some time.

You know, and I know, and that guy over there knows, that Christmas carols suck the farts out of dead pigeons. But you know, and I know, that for some reason known only to themselves, shopping centres and every relative you have that holds a party you’re forced to attend despite the fact you’re quite happy with the fact that you haven’t seen them since last Christmas don’t seem to understand the suckage of these vile and saccharine odes to Bing Crosby’s ongoing need to fund his child beating activities. (Heya, Bing. Don’t ever change, you lovable and heart-wearming dead guy, you, dooby-dooby-doo)

So, by way of a public service, and in an effort to get some rock and roll (not to mention discord) into your family drunken-street-cricket shenanigans this year, allow me to present Battersby’s 10 Songs to beat Rudolph to Death With list.

1. Apocalypso- Mental As Anything. Santa gets drunk while the world blows itself up. Yeah, baby!
2. Happy Xmas (War is Over)- John Lennon. So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Got shot? Wow, bummer.
3. Oi To The World- The Vandals. Smelly punks try to be sincere about playing nice at Christmas. Head-bangy and snurky all at once.
4. This is Christmas- Slade. Everybody else gets loaded and shouts Christmas songs at the top of their voice to cover up the fact they don’t remember the lyrics, why shouldn’t Noddy Holder?
5. Santa’s Beard- They Might Be Giants. Someone pretends to be Santa in order to move into the narrator’s house and prong his wife. Sounds like a lot of hard work to me.
6. Do They Know It’s Christmas?- Band Aid. Feed the world and destroy the ozone layer getting your hair ready for the film clip. Here’s a tip on how you can feed Africa- take the buffet table away from Simon Le Bon.
7. Detachable Penis- King Missile. Has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas in any capacity, but just watch Nanna choke on her plum pudding when she realises what it *is* about.
8. Men’s Room, LA- Kinky Friedman. A sensitive, soul-affirming song about a man having a conversation with the picture of Jesus he’s just about to use to wipe his ass. First time I heard it, I laughed an entire Christian out my nose.
9. Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis- Tome Waites. So all-encompassingly depressing it could be a country and western song. Suicides skyrocket during Christmas. Play this for your family and watch them join the statistics.
10. The Little Drummer Boy- Joan Jett. Leather clad lesbian rockers who make songs about innocent boys beating drums give Lee a hardon.

Let me know how you get on...

Congratulations to everyone who copped a mention in the Aurealis Awards shortlist for this year. You can see the full list here. Pats on back and manly hugs especially to pal and fellow West Australian Shane Jiraiya Cummings— a little validation for some struggles in the face thereof, I hope.


Watching the ridiculous amounts of time and effort expended by work acquaintances (I shudder to use the word ‘colleagues’) in putting up acres of christmas decorations over every square inch of ceiling, cubicles, and filing cabinets, can I be the only one tempted to inform management that I’m a Satanist and demand equal representation…?

“Hey! Hey, you! The dumpy middle aged woman in the elf hat! Yeah, you! Find somewhere to hang this upside-down Jesus-taking-it-from-a-goat doll, would you?”

What do you get when your six year old discovers the notion of iPod playlists, and begs for one of her own so she can listen to her favourites on the trip down to Nanna’s house?

In order of “this is my favourite ever!”-ness, the Top 10 Erin Battersby Favourite Songs Of All Time (typically, there are 11):

1. Chicago- Sufjan Stevens
2. Ballroom Blitz- The Sweet
3. Ca Plane Pour Moi- Plastic Bertrand
4. The Distance- Cake
5. Hunting Tigers- The Bonzo the Dog Doo-Dah Band
6. We Will Rock You- Queen
7. Tripping- Robbie Williams
8. The Urban Spaceman- The Bonzos, again
9. Bad Reputation- Half Cocked
10. 500 Miles- The Proclaimers
11. Stop The Cavalry- Jona Lewie

Make of that what you will...
Well, for reasons we'll get into in a moment, it's been a while. Let's start with the positive, shall we?


Happy birthday to our darling daughter Erin, who turned 6 on the 5th, which means that for the first and only time in her life she gets to be twice the age of her younger brother. Next year, of course, she’ll be exactly half as old as her youngest older brother, and the year after that she’ll be exactly half the age of her eldest older brother. Who says math can’t be fun? And, of course, if she’s on a train that leaves at exactly 3 o’clock and travels south at an average of 60 kilometres per hour…...

Having dealt with the carnage created by Connor’s party the previous week, Luscious and I wisely decided to outsource Erin’s party to Dinosaur Jim’s, a playgym warehouse in Joondalup (6 months of begging by said daughter having had nothing to do with the decision….). And a bloody good time was had by all: cake and sweeties-fuelled games and playing, more Bratz/Barbie/fairy/girly merchandising than any pink-stained girlie could dream of, and all the parents sitting sedately in a corner watching someone else deal with it all :)

Next year, we’re just going to kill each kid a week before their birthday…..

Six years old, and beautiful

Some pictures speak for themselves