Sunday, January 10, 2010


To finish the week, a spot of self-indulgence on my behalf. My very very favourite Monkees song.



It started out well: Lyn rang me on Friday afternoon to tell me she was picking me up a couple of train stops early, because she was at our friend Tehani's place and they'd decided to stay for dinner. And a fab evening it was, too: I committed Australian Man Adultery (cooked on another man's barbecue without his consent), we sat and chatted far past the kids' bedtimes, and Tehani let me borrow her copy of X6, Coeur de Lion's collection of novellas by 6 Australian authors. I'd forgotten just how much I love sitting around and jawing about writing and writers. Part of the reason I've yet to really find a village for myself in the writing world-- I'm a writing geek, not an SF geek, when it all comes down to it.

And much satisfaction there has been this weekend. I've completed another 2 cartoons, and sent out another two short stories, as well as inputting line edits for half of a third (dinner calls me, or I'd be finished that one too). I've finally finished chopping down a diseased hedge that's been spoiling our front yard, spent an enjoyable afternoon drawing with the kids, and even managed to fit in a couple of good exercise sessions with the Wii Fit Plus-- love that rhythm karate, folks! Luscious and I even found the time to watch a DVD together without the kids-- looxury, bloody looxury.

The new week starts tomorrow: I intend to lose another 500g, finish another couple of cartoons, and start wading my way through the first round of Corpse-Rat King edits, as well as send out the remaining shorts in my 'In Progress' folder. But for now, it's dinner, relaxing with a nice glass of Myalup Vines Wineries port (okay, my second glass...) and resting my bones before heading into the new week.


Saturday, January 09, 2010


It's been a good start to the year.

  • I've lost just over a kilogram in weight. I set myself a loss of 12 kilos for the year, so this represents a good beginning.
  • I've completed and submitted Plot or Pants?, an article on novel planning to WQ, the monthly magazine of the Queensland Writer's Centre
  • I've line-edited the five stories currently in my 'In Progress' folder and submitted the first of them. My plan is to have all five out in the world by the end of next week. Not a big goal, perhaps, but I only saw print twice last year, while I was focussing on Corpse-Rat King, and that's just not up to my usual standards.
  • I'm up to date with reading for Midnight Echo #4, and about to start filtering the stories I kept for a second stage of reading. If you were thinking of submitting but haven't got around to it, might I suggest you do so soon? I've received 157 submission so far, of which 33 have made it to a second reading. Submissions close 31st of the month.
  • I've completed 2 cartoons of the 24 (minimum) that I plan to complete and submit.

Not bad so far. There's a lot of year left, and some big goals to achieve (2 novels to edit and submit, ya know?). But I'm on the way...


The only known footage of Anne Frank, watching from a window as a wedding procession begins in the summer of 1941. I found it via an article on The Smart Set, which sums it up far more articulately than I am capable of. Much more can be found at the Anne Frank House Museum Amsterdam.

What's always been the defining nature of the tragedy of the Franks, for me, was the ordinary nature of the family: these weren't war heroes or spies or members of the Resistance fighting the brave struggle. They were simple people just trying to keep their heads down and survive an onslaught that was beyond their understanding-- in short, they were me if the same thing happened to my world. Watching this very ordinary footage, with its very ordinary teenager doing what any young girl would do with such an event happening under her window, amplifies that.

Knowing what happens such a short time after this footage was recorded makes it tragic beyond words.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Waiting for Lyn to come back from getting her lunch.

Erin: I spy with my little eye, something beginning with B.
Lee: (makes lots of guesses. Gives up)
Erin: Don't you know the word?
Lee: No.
Erin: Daddy. Everybody knows the bird is the word.

Weird fucking daughter I'm raising.


A final tubery for the old year, the two songs of my year.

No fillum clip can I find for this one, but someone was nice enough to post the song with an image of the album cover:

And the greatest rock band in the world in all their glory:


So that was 2009.


Actually, as years go, 2009 was a pretty good one, a feeling prompted in large part by a massive sea change halfway through the year. 2010 will be the year of completing that sea change, all things being equal, so by the time I turn 40 in November I hope to be facing the last half of my life from a pretty damn good vantage point. However, it being the turn-over of calendars and all that, the Year In Review questionnaire must by needs be posted, so see if you can spot the hidden theme within (hint: it starts with 'Mandurah'....)

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before? Moved to Mandurah; bought a 2-story house

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I have goals, rather than resolutions. I set myself half a dozen goals at year’s start and I achieved four of them, so I’m pleased with that. My big goal for the upcoming year is to lose weight—I’ve got to the stage now where it’s really beginning to affect my ability to do family activities, especially with the kids, and that’s just not good enough.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Right at the end of the year, my good friends Sean & Terri welcomed their new daughter Asha into the world, their fifth consecutive daughter proving once again that Sean has the most feminine sperm in the Universe :)

4. Did anyone close to you die? Nope.

5. What countries did you visit? The country of the blind, where I was proclaimed King, until they realised I wasn’t one-eyed, just short-sighted, so they made me Minister Without Portfolio and set me loose.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? Breakout success.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? May, when we moved from Clarkson to Mandurah. What started out as a decision to escape a suburb that was deteriorating before our eyes has turned into a sea change of life-altering proportions. Everything has been for the better. 14th December, when we learned the depths to which my brother has fallen.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Finishing Corpse-Rat King.

9. What was your biggest failure? My weight.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Stayed injury-free this year, which was a relief after last year’s run.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Our new house.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? My family, for grasping the opportunity afforded by our big move and pushing ahead with their own lives so beautifully. Mandurah City Council, for beginning a domestic green waste recycling program that is simple and workable enough that it should be picked up permanently and should make a big difference to our waste programs.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? My brother, whose behaviour slid from being simply selfish and amoral right into the truly criminal, and whom I now have to cut loose. He’s simply run out of chances, and I cannot expose my family to him any more.

14. Where did most of your money go? The new house.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The move to Mandurah.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? Oh, Hark by Lisa Mitchell. Amazing stuff. Also Baba O’Riley by The Who, a rediscovery that kicked Lyn off onto a big Who jag that shows no sign of ending.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? Happier, fatter, and, if not richer, then at least our poverty is more organised :)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Progressing my work circumstances towards where I want to be, rather than where I need to be just to get by. Put simply, I wish I'd realised sooner that my work no longer fits my life.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Waiting.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Spent it alone with Lyn, while the kids were at relatives’ houses. We all got back together on Boxing Day and did things at our own speed.

21. Who did you meet for the first time? Several new work acquaintances. Big deal.

22. Did you fall in love in 2009? Well, does my new suburb count? Parrots in the backyard, kangaroos hopping down the street at dusk, long sculptued lawns and garden beds I mean, come on!

23. What was your favourite TV program? QI; Dexter season 3; BSG seasons 3 & 4; Serial Killer Sunday; Moral Orel; and bizarrely, televised poker, which we started watching late one night as a laugh and became sadly addicted to for most of the year.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? No, although I do hate what my brother has become.

25. What was the best book you read? Actually, I can’t think of a *really* good book I read in 2009. Most of the books I read by my favourite authors weren’t quite up to their best—I read Snuff & Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk, for example, but neither was as good as Rant; John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Scientists isn’t as good as Hitler’s Pope; it was that kind of year. perhaps the best was Necropolis, by Catharine Arnold- a history of London's cemeteries and funerary practices that suffered from referencing too few sources too repetitively, but at least had a fascinationg central subject.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Lisa Mitchell- an amazing talent for someone so young.

27. What was your favourite film of this year? Where The Wild Things Are; Up; Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs; Battlestar Galactica: The Plan; In Bruges; District Nine. Word to Terminator: Salvation for the Golden Compass Memorial Biggest Piece of Shit of the Year Award.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 39, and it passed by without a blip.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Money in volumes I could swim through.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Fat Guy Casual.

31. What kept you sane? I am sane. It’s the rest of you that are mad. (They think I am crazy, but is it I who am crazy.....)

32. What political issue stirred you the most? I was fairly politics-free this year. My focus was largely on domestica.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. Mandurah kicks Clarkson’s arse.

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

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Though my life was in a rut
‘Til I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" he said
"Grab your things I've come to take you home."

--Solisbury Hill, Peter Gabriel