2008: International Year of Meh.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Have a story podcasted. Nanowrimo. Visited Adelaide. Pitched a television series. Joined Twitter. Joined Kingdom of Loathing.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No. I don’t do resolutions. Too busy running in place just to appear like I’m managing

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Jasoni and Kate, a little baby boy.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Nope.

5. What countries did you visit? Adelaide? No, wait, that’s not another country, is it? What is it again? Oh, that’s right: 1973!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? A novel sale.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Swancon weekend– having it forcefully presented to me how I was perceived by the local SF community enabled me to step back and concentrate on greater goals.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Pushing The Corpse-Rat King past 70 000 words– I think this novel, when it’s finished, will be the one that changes my career in a significant way.

9. What was your biggest failure? Failing to advance on so many fronts: personal, professional, and financial. I’d like to think that 2009 will represent a quantum leap for me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Gout in my right ankle, although this year really was the year of the Connor injury– axe wounds, shovel wounds, underside of bicycle wounds….

11. What was the best thing you bought? Lawn for the backyard, which enabled us to put up a sandpit, and a swing set, and give our kids a proper place to go outside and play. Now the garden looks and feels like a place we want to spend some time around.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Lyn. No matter what fears she may possess, she always faces them head on– witness earlier this month, when my afraid-of-heights wife went abseiling off tall buildings with her work mates. Aiden, as well, for the continuation of his journey towards adulthood. I have never met a 15 year old more ahead of his age in terms of maturity, trust, and comprehension. He makes me immensely proud. Cassie continued her downward spiral for much of the year, only to start December by introducing us to her fiance, with whom she’s in love, and a whole new positive attitude towards her life that provided a cooling tidal wave of relief. My big hope for next year is to see her continue to set her life on the right path. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the American voters, who were at least willing to take a punt on positive change. Fingers crossed it all works out for them.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? The Perth fan who came out of this year’s Mumfan awards and started to openly pimp herself for the award by listing her ‘achievements’ and loudly declaring how much she’d love to win the award some day, thereby pointing out her complete non-understanding of the award, as well as her level of egocentricity and shallowness. Subsequent behaviour has only confirmed it. The members of the local SF community who waited for the perfect opportunity to give me a kicking, then didn’t hold back when it arose.

14. Where did most of your money go? Ummm……. (turns about, looking for money)…. the garden, I guess.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Nothing much. It was a year of steadiness, rather than massive spikes of emotion.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Johnny The Horse, by Madness. Had a big impact on me, as the lyrics and general air of sadness that permeates the song really struck home.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? More content, and happier with my home life, although sadder about many other aspects of my life– work, Perth SF, et al.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Completing novels and pushing my career ahead.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Being distracted from my life goals. Focussing on the weights of the present rather than those aspects of the future for which I’m bearing them.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? All the kids will be at grandparents’ and/or other parents’ houses for Christmas Day, leaving Lyn and I to enjoy the day together. Boxing Day we’ll all be back together.

21. Who did you meet for the first time? The extended Fischerios, and sales staff across the Adelaide area.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008? Possibly developed a slight man-crush on the workshop area of the Adelaide air museum. But, you know, I met the love of my life when I met Lyn, so it’s easy to stay in love.

23. What was your favourite TV program? Top Gear. Blackpool. Dexter. Life on Mars.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Some contempt for certain individuals, but not outright hate. You save that for people who are worth it.

25. What was the best book you read? A toss-up between Happy Like Murderers- The True Story of Fred and Rosemary West and Bind, Torture, Kill- The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door. Both stunning, revelatory works on a subject that abhors and fascinates me in equal measure.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Madness’ 1996 album Wonderful, which is. The Fratellis, whose first two albums have added swagger and bounce to our playlist.

27. What was your favourite film of this year? It’s been a very Hollywood year in the Batthome. Kung Fu Panda was a hoot, as was Iron Man, which wasn’t particularly great as a movie, but was certainly great as an excuse for my inner 8 year old to go utterly spaz. The Dark Knight was mesmerising, especially Heath Ledger’s performance. Special mention to The Golden Compass, which was such a towering pile of shit that it romped in for worst film of the year in January!

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 38, and it was all low key. The kids’ birthdays are the big ticket birthday item round our parts– Lyn doesn’t do birthdays, and I get a lot more excited about the kids’ ones than my own.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Contentment in every direction. 2009 may provide this: 2008 was one of those years where you endure the bumps because you can see past them to the clear, flat plains ahead.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Oh, let’s just accept that I don’t have one and leave it at that.

31. What kept you sane? My family, their belief and love for me, and their delightfully deluded assertion that I know what I’m doing.

32. What political issue stirred you the most? The US election dominated everything, although I was interested to see how much of the supposedly right-on, leftie attention was focussed on Barack Obama’s skin colour. In a truly equitable culture, only his qualifications for the job would matter.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. Don’t mistake a loose collection of people with similar interests for friends.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Well, it hit home hard enough that I place it permanently at the top of this blog, so the choice is farly obvious, in the end:

Would you believe he came out well
He had a bright inquiring mind
His family knew that he’d go far
If he applied his time
But he started out standing on corners
And talking out loud, too loud
You see he couldn’t believe in himself or the world
Or anything he heard
Will you remember his name?

—–Madness, Johnny The Horse