REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL, PART TEN

Over at Facebook, I was tagged in a meme that required me to list three things that made me grateful, every day for three days.

So I thought I’d list them here, too.


  1. I’m grateful for my art. It has provided me with friendships, income, travel opportunities, and was the vehicle by which I escaped the soul-destroying depths off despair I was slowly being crushed by while working in the Public Service. I’ll never be famous, I’ll never be remembered, and I’ll never be considered at even the middle of the tree, but my art has been the thing that has kept me from disappearing into the obscure midst of my mediocre family tree, and I’m grateful.
  2. I’m grateful for a reasonable income. Yes, we struggle, and we juggle finances on a fortnightly basis, but I’m aware that we do so from a level of decent comfort. My children go to a good school, my wife is able to study, essentially, full time, and we have room to both expand our horizons and entertain our hobbies & indulgences. We never suffer, and having both come from backgrounds of grinding poverty, Lyn and I have only ever wanted our children to appreciate a good upbringing.
  3. I’m grateful for the respect of my peers. I get little of it at work, and I rarely feel like an author doing good work, so when a fellow artist expresses their respect or admiration for the work I do then it usually comes as an enormous, and humbling, surprise, because, to be quite honest, I generally don’t know what I do to merit it. I’ve undervalued my work for so long– it’s only in the last fortnight, for example, that I’ve decided to set a minimum fee for appearances, despite doing them regularly for the last 12 years– that I’m always a little stunned when others do value it. And grateful, because sometimes, I doubt I’d go on without it.
  4. I’m grateful for my readers. Despite all the mechanical hoo-ha-ra that goes into writing, ultimately it comes down to entertaining a stranger with the power of your imagination and your words. Anybody who comes back for a second helping, or who picks up my work because they like the cut of my snippets, is someone who has chosen to invest their time and imagination into my maunderings. It’s a weird kind of long-distance love affair of the mind, and I’m thankful to all who take it on.
  5. I’m grateful for my children. As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve read this Facebook page for long enough– by which I mean half a day or more– my kids constantly entertain me, fill me with wonder, and enrich my life by keeping me innocent, impish and focused on doing good for others who need me in their life. Whether it be my naturally-arrived Miss 12 and Master 9, or my inherited bonus kids Cassie, Aiden and Blake, granddaughter Little Miss 2, grandson Little Man
  6. I’m grateful for the quickness of my mind. I’ve mentioned before that my father’s mind is failing, and it’s killing me to watch a charming, erudite, quick-witted man struggle for words and concepts he used to fling about like gossamer. I love being funny, I love being deliberately unfunny to spark a funny exchange, I love to tease, to argue, to explain, to build worlds and concepts out of nothing more than my vocabulary and my ability to knit words into never before-seen shapes and tastes. All my other gifts belong to the people who bestow them upon me. This is the only thing I have going for me that is purely mine. If it ever begins to desert me, I don’t know what I’ll do.
  7. The care and love shown to Master 9 during his illness by people who have no other investment in it than they are his teachers, or our friends. From just-because gifts, to messages of support, to structuring his classroom, people have gathered round him for the 14 months of his illness and provided him with an atmosphere of caring and support that has done wonders for his morale and self-esteem. To Kris, Kim,Grant, Lilysea, Mark and countless others, my gratitude.
  8. Free education. I went to a shitty High school in the 80s, when my pre-Child Support Agency divorced mother raised two teenage boys and covered a mortgage on a single mother’s pension and a $30 a month in child support payments, and thanks to a nominally free education system I still managed to claw my way through 4 years of University. Now, it’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to send my children to a good high school. Much as I would love to do my Master’s degree, I simply can’t afford it. My wife’s attendance at University each semester is a matter of financial negotiation. My eldest sons struggle to hold down shitty part-time jobs and find enough time to attend to their study obligations. If I were starting my educational career today, I’d be working at K-Mart full-time, because that’s the best that people like me could have hoped to afford. I’m grateful that free education enabled me– and subsequently, my children– to escape a lower-class existence through education.
  9. A stable political system. Yes, Tony Abbott and his Ant-Hill Mob of witless cronies are a blight on our culture, and yes, we can argue back and forth about the relative merits of our chosen allegiances until we’re blue in the nads. But nobody shot at me today, and I own my house, and my children are safe and my wife can wear whatever she wants and get herself a tertiary education, and any meal I’ve missed since I was at Uni has been by choice, and I have freedom of travel, speech, religion and thought. And I’m an artist, and a well-paid member of the permanent workforce. I’ve never been conscripted, I’ve never fought in a war, or against my own people. I’ve never been gaoled for my beliefs, tortured, or disappeared. My neighbours don’t spy on me. I’m safe, and warm, and comfortable and educated. And I’m grateful.


And, things being what they are, here’s a little bonus extra grateful content:

10. Above all else, I am grateful for the presence of Luscious Lyn in my life. We have been together almost twelve years now, which boggles me to think of, and in that time we have faced innumerable struggles, traumas and hardships, but throughout it all she has been the pivot around which our family revolves. She has brought me unparallelled joy, belief and support, and whatever happiness I have managed to gather unto myself has been, in large part, because she is beside me, pointing me always towards positivity and joy. I cope, and occasionally flourish, because of her. I am a better person because of her.

And for that we should *all* be grateful.

HELLO? IS IT ME YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?

I’m still alive.

I realise things have been deader then Dannii Minogue’s career around here lately, but things have changed significantly since last I jotted something down in this space. Reality has eaten my life. My new job— Cultural Development Officer at the City of Rockingham — takes up every ounce of my day: it’s been 17 years since I’ve been anything but a Commonwealth Government employee in my day job world, not discounting a couple of years in the middle where I was afforded the luxury of being a stay-at-home Dad. It’s not just that things are done differently in my new environment, it’s that people think differently, even when confronted by situations that are inherently the same. Whilst it’s been an education to learn just how many attitudes and processes I’ve internalised over the years, breaking out of those modes of thought and adapting to a totally new way of doing business, amongst a completely different set of personalities (people’s personalities are defined by their workspace— another adaptation I’m having to learn) is taking time.

To add to the hilarity, we currently have more than a full house—Darth Barbie has been back with us for the last three months, after having left a relationship which went bad in the way that knife fights go bad when you don’t realise the other guy is packing an M-60, and working through the scars of it has been, well, shall we say, hard for all concerned (Not for him, as far as I can tell. Just hard for those of us who give a damn.) And Aiden, whilst still in year 12, has found a steady girlfriend, who is now his fiancé, and is 15, and is pregnant, but not to him…. Oh yes, it’s a simple life we lead.

Somewhere in the haze of get up-go to work-come home-have dinner-take part in the latest crisis-watch the World Cup-snatch a couple of hours sleep-get up that my days have become, there has been writerly stuff. Not actual writing, you understand, that’s just crazy talk, but associated writerly stuff that at least keeps my fingers in the pie. My withdrawal from the writing world, forced and voluntary though various elements of it may be, seems almost complete: I managed to bump into a few old writing colleagues at the WA Museum’s breathtaking A Day in Pompeii exhibit yesterday, and it was pleasant, but hardly the fiery, passionate mental affair of days past. Perhaps I’m just growing up—it’s impossible for me to be interested in writing if I have writers and my family in the same place.

Still, writer-coolness abounds:

­ I’ve just attended my second Writing Race at the AWM Online, a fun online forum where an invited writer hangs out with attendees, swapping tips and anecdotes and writing like a mad thing for an hour, which is always a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

­ I’ve stepped up to the plate and agreed to act as a judge for this year’s Aurealis Awards , in the Graphic Novel category, comics being a long-held love that’s been shunted into the background while the SF thing became established but which is rearing its wonderful head again.

­ The ever-lovely Tehani Wessely has accepted a reprint of Claws of Native Ghosts for the upcoming Australis Imaginarium anthology she’ll be publishing through her bright and shiny new publishing venture, Fablecroft Publishing.

­ I’m involved in developing and pitching an online course in Science Fiction Writing (of which more details when it’s a going concern).

­ And I’ve just received through the mail the podcasting materials for an upcoming episode of Keith Stevenson’s Terra Incognita podcast.

All good, clean fun.

Added to which, there’s some interactive Battcool which you can be a part of: Lyn’s brilliant story of family and loss, The Mikarr Way, has been posted as a free web story over at Electric Velocipede. Go, read, enjoy, marvel at my darling wife’s talent.

Lyn and I will also be appearing at the A Toe in the Ocean Writing Festival, two weeks from now, where we’ll be giving a science fiction writing workshop. If you’re in the area it’ll be well worth coming down and having a look.

And, of course, the biggest writing news item of my day…….. which is the subject of my next post 🙂

PORTRAIT FROM THE ARTIST AS A 17 YEAR OLD GIRL

Cassie’s over, she’s waiting for her fiance to turn up so we can have dinner, she’s doodling idly on a piece of paper.

“Tell me what to draw,” she says.

“A chicken.”

“What, just a chicken?”

“Okay,” I say, kinda concentrating on my own thing and not really paying attention to her. “Solving binomial equations.”

Two minutes later:


This, from the child who will insist she has no appreciable talent whatsoever. Don’t you just want to slap the self-knowledge into her? 🙂

AND THE REST

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.

16? SWEEEEET
Consider us old: my Bonus Daughter Cassie turned 16 on the weekend, which means can officially anticipate grandchildren in any given year from now on (although with no current boyfriend, and a consideration that all the boys she know are “fairly idiots”, the actuality of grandkinder remains blessedly distant).
Still, I’m checking out gun shops in the Northern Suburbs, just in case.
16 is a bloody awful age, imho: you’re pretty much expected to be an adult, yet receive all the privileges and responsibilities accorded a child; half the time you’re so on top of your body that the most complex tasks are like dancing on water, the rest of the time you’re lucky to stand up successfully; you’re not ready for half the stuff you want to try, and more often than not, the stuff that’s forced upon you terrifies you ; everybody around you is more mature, smarter, better around boys (or girls), or just has a clearer idea of what the hell they want to do with themselves…. a pox on it.
Cassie’s as angry as a sixteen year old gets, and defence, for her, is definitely the best form of attack. And much of the time, I just want to peel back her skull and damn well force the understanding in. But there are times when she shows the kind of adult she will be: intelligent, hilariously funny, adept, artistically inspired, and capable of great acts of kindness and caring. It’s been a bumpy ride, no doubt about it, but there’s only adulthood ahead of her now, and I can’t wait to see what she makes of it.
DUCK!
What the hell: it was an excuse to frock up– Luscious and I wandered down to Swancon last night in order to attend the WA Science Fiction Achievement Awards, affectionately (and at least semi-officially) known to all as the Tin Ducks.
There is a reason for the name. I can just never quite remember it.
The Tin Ducks are my favourite awards, for a number of reasons: I’ve never seen a result I’ve wanted to argue with; the voting membership is generally far more au fait with the work they’re judging than with the Ditmars; nine times out of ten, the nominees are people I know and whose work I respect; I’ve never won one, and Lyn’s won two!
And then there’s the Mumfan.
The Mumfan (respectfully, and hardly ever, officially called the Marge Hughes Award) is deeply special– no matter what comes before it, it is the highlight of the award night, a recognition of those fans who work so hard throughout the year to make Perth fandom an amazing place, out of no greater sense of reward than a love of our community and the genre which brings us all together. At it’s simplest, no matter what precedes, the Tin Duck Ceremony ends with a standing ovation for an award for being nice. If the Ditmars are Loves ya, maaaate, the Mumfan is We love you. How can you not enjoy being a part of that?
To all who won last night, my heartiest congratulations, but on a purely personal note, my warmest affections towards Mumfan award winner Sarah Parker and my good buddy Martin Livings, who won Best Long Professional Work for his novel Carnies, consigning me to the runner-up spot. In this case, I can say with not a hint of disingenuity or falseness that I was far more happy to have lost the race than won it. A most apt and deserved recogition for a fine writer with far too much of a low self-image. Told you we all believe in you 🙂
Oh, and the room party afterwards was a bloody larf 🙂

A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A FAT BASTARD

Heh. Typical: every year I say I’m going to lose weight, and it never happens. This year I make no promises to myself, and for no reason I can really pin down, I start eating better, get some concerted exercise into my legs, see the doctor and have all the tests done, get on some helpful medication, and lose 13 kilograms in just on 7 weeks.
I’ve made some big changes this year: withdrawing from much of the inconsequential foo-farah that was clogging up my mental space; concentrating on writing rather than the cat-vacumming aspects of the business (goodbye LJs, goodbye mailing lists, goodbye review sites and message boards, and on and on…); returning my attention to securing our financial health and putting the requirements of the family and house above all other matters; and generally just making a sustained effort to bring a sense of balance into my personal equilibrium.
I’m astonished at how good I feel about life. I have a renewed sense of purpose. I feel inspired. My writing has taken a quantum leap forward- Lyn, my most accurate and uncompromising critic, says the work she’s reading now is by far the best I’ve ever done. I’ve accomplished more around the house this year than I did in the entirety of 2006. And the weight, well, it’s not dropping off. I’m working damn hard– I climb an average of 35 flights of stairs every work day, I walk home from the train station (somewhere between 40 and 45 minutes a day), and I’ve started hitting the gym for a high-cardiac workout a couple of times a week. I’m fitter, I’m faster, I have more energy than I know what to do with… I’m sparking, baby 🙂
I’ve got a long way to go, as the little graph below shows, before I hit my goal weight. But I’ve discovered a determination hiding behind a mental corner I’d overlooked before this. It’s not a matter of if. Just when.
The next SF convention in Perth is, conveniently, on the weekend of my birthday, the 10th and 11th of November.
That’s the goal.
(And just because no petard is worth its weight unless hoisted, let it be known that I, mocker of Big Brother extraordinaire, currently watch The Biggest Loser every night. I choose to call it a spur to inspiration. All those friends with whom I’ve shared BB evenings over the years, you have earned the right to call it payback 🙂 )


A PORTRAIT OF THE WRITER AS A YOUNG BOY

One of the things my mother left mewhen she died was a large plastic bag full of photographs, a companion to the enormous plastic box of photos she left my brother. When we moved to our current house I packed it away, without much of an idea what I was going to do with it other than keep it around to amuse myself with when I needed to bore the kids with stories of my past.

Re-arranging my computer desk last week, I realised that what I really needed to do was to scan them all in, so that I could burn them to CD. Then I could give a copy to my brother, and I’d have an indestructable collection of photos so I could amuse myself when I needed to bore my grandchildren with stories of my past. This was the first photo I pulled out:

Me, aged somewhere between 3 and 5, I’m guessing. Looking at it, I’m struck by how innocent I am, how there’s a look on my face that says I’m just happy to be here, just soaking it all in because everything is wonderful, everything is an adventure and a source of excitement. It’s the same look I see on Connor’s face, that same happiness. Looking at it, I feel old, and broken down, and sad in a way I don’t feel a man with such a happy family life has a right to be. And honestly, I look at myself now: in my mid-30s, in constant pain, with a million responsibilities and a million and one irritants, and I don’t know which urge is strongest– to somehow go back, to put my arm around this little boy and sit him down, tell him of his future and all the pitfalls and pains that will beat him about, and give him the clues and the keys that will turn him into me, mid-30s, pain-free, with the world at my feet and all the power and fearlessness that innocence should become; or to gather my children into one all-embracing hug, look into the innocence and happiness in their faces, and weep for what will become of it.
Or maybe I’m just getting old and mentally flatulent.
And then I do look at the two children I have fathered, and I hear my friends and family telling me how much of me is present in their faces, and I struggle to see it– genuinely, hopefully, I look at their faces and see nothing of myself. And I wonder how much is projection, and how much is hope? And really, in the end, it doesn’t matter. I have 5 children, and only 2 of them have a share in my face. And I would die for the three who have no share in my genetic heritage every bit as much as for those who do. I have 5 children, and I love them all dearly, and as long as I do right by them that is enough.
I should have taken better care of my future, when I was young. At least I have some chance of helping my children do so.

Any Dad in there?

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY BONUS-DAUGHTER?

So Luscious is on the phone while I’m in the shower on Monday night, and as I’m drying myself she sidles up to me and says “Got some news.”

“Oh, yes?”

“Cassie’s coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks. She’s on her way now.”

My part in the kid-decision-making process has been completed- I’ve been informed. Battening of mental hatches commences.

Except since she’s been with us she’s been brilliant: taken part in the family stuff, gone in to her course with Lyn in the mornings, had lunch and girlie chats with her Mum, watched TV with us without complaining (She sat through Time Team and asked interested question, and we even watched The OC with her last night, so the love-fu is going both ways), and when lyn and I rose this mornign we discovered that her last act of the evening was to clean the kitchen from head to toe, just because. We even had a potential flash point over which bed she was going to sleep in for the duration, and how shocked was I when she acquiesced without a struggle?

She’s been fun, and funny, and polite, and interested in being an active part of the family.

Ascribe it to whatever cause you like: the distance from her father’s sorta-parenting-sorta-techniques; a calm before the storm; the rules we laid out before her in a calm manner when she arrived; a gift from the Giant Charlton Heston Impersonator In The Sky- I don’t really care.

This is the Cassie I wanted back when I wrote my big-ass Year in Review meme a couple of days ago.

Long may it last.

ROUNDING UP

WANT A BIT OF PUSSY?

Now, my love of the domestic cat is well known (chokes, gags, tongue strikes cheek at speed and goes straight therough like a chainsaw through a baby’s head…)

However, my love and respect for Grant Watson is also well known. And real. So Grant needs financial help in saving the leg, life, and dancing career of his cat Kris, who was walloped by a car recently and whose medical bills far exceed the capacity of Grant and wife Sonia to pay. Over on his LJ, he’s sent the word out asking for donations. Grant’s between jobs, and Sonia’s disability pension just ain’t gonna cut it. Under normal circumstances, you can imagine my reaction. But friends is different. Friends is important.

Visit Grant’s page and help out. C’mon, I gave. I gave money to save a cat. C’mon, that should count for something, shouldn’t it?…..

THEY TELL ME IT PASSES

Cassandra has rejoined us, and may, in a decade or two, work out what all the fuss was about. In the meantime, it was all my fault, and her stepmother’s fault, and that guy over there’s fault, and your fault, and nobody understands, and it’s all right for us to say……

Oh, and can I download these songs and will you burn them for me, Lee?

Many decisions have been made in the last few days. Many of them are private. But I think it’s fair to say that my relationship with Cassandra has changed. Just how much may take some time to work out.

JOIN NOW, ASK ME HOW

The new AHWA website is up and it looks booodiful. I’ve now received my membership card ( I am the new Number Thirty, in my best Leo McKern voice…) and have wandered round the members-only section fulfilling my weaselly black little heart out.

Join. It’s cool.

READINGS

The Horror Day readings at Fantastic Planet went spiffingly well on Friday night. Many thanks to all who joined us: it was a big crowd, and appreciative, and the vibe was brilliant.

Lyn opened proceedings with her tale Simeon The Monkey, which you can still read for yourselves over at the uber-lovely Anna Tambour’s site right now, in slightly earlier form. Go on. I’ll wait…. tap tap tap tap…. back? Good. Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Carol Ryles joined in before I pranced about reading Never Grow Old, a story about Peter Pan, incest, and the only foolproof way to make sure you never grow up, before Stephen Dedman rounded things off and we all settled in to conversations, book buying, and free champagne. Shane has pictures up, which are worth a look. We have some of our own which I’ll put up as soon as I download them from the camera (it’s been a slack weekend…)

Reading Never Grow Old was a hoot, because it’s a piece that begs a performance reading, rather than a stand-still-and-orate reading. It’s dialogue driven, which means I can use my voice properly. Peter is a fun character to play with. I can use the lightness and immaturity of his voice to counterpoint the darkness of what is actually happening under the childlike conversation he engages in with Sarah, the young girl he meets in the playground of a night-abandoned day care centre. I had a hell of a lot of fun with it, and judging by the comments I received afterwards, it all worked pretty well.

I also enjoy the challenge of performing a new piece at a reading: it’s completely unknown to the audience, so they have to pay attention to find out what’s happening, and can’t coast on the fact that they know what’s coming. It’s the clsoest I’ve come to pure performance since my stand-up comedy days. I miss that buzz, sometimes, the power that comes from needing to work the consciousness of a room as it sits before me. I’ve crashed and burned before, but Friday night was one of the good ones.

Now: let’s see if I can sell it to an editor, non? 🙂

OH, SO VERY RIGHT

Passed on from Jay Lake’s LJ, a quote that strike me right in the ‘truth’ quadrant of my funny bone:

Isn’t it interesting that the same people who laugh at science fiction listen to weather forecasts and economists?

Song of the moment: Who Wants To Live Forever? Queen
Reading: Mojo Stories edited by Nalo Hopkinson

HORROR DAY

So for the next 24 hours, we’re all in a state of horror. Apparently.

Apart from the readings at Fantastic Planet this evening (6pm. Me, Lyn, Stephen Dedman, a bunch of others. Be there. See the post further down the page for details), Martin Livings has created a 24 hour anthology of short stories from contriobutors. It’s only up for the length of the day. Check it out here.

REAL HORROR IS HAVING DAUGHTERS

So apart from spending most of the week dealing with the pain in the arse that is Cassie (refusing to come home from friends’ houses, and generally playing the little runaway like it’s something fucking funny. Check out Lyn’s LJ for how hilarious it’s all been), Erin treated us to the following in the car the other day:

ERIN (Singing): Old MacDonald had a cock…..
FX: Sound of parents screaming, car crashing, flames engulf everybody and they all die.
LYN: Sweety, what was that?
ERIN (Careful explaining voice): Old MacDonald had a cock.
ME: Uh, sweety, do you know what a cock is?
ERIN (Well, Duhhh voice): Yeah.
LYN: What is it?
ERIN: You know. A cockie. It goes “cock, cock”.
FX: Sound of parents weeping with relief

It’s scenes like this that make Honey, We’re Killing The Kids the best comedy show on television.

Song of the moment: Hello Spaceboy David Bowie
Reading: Doom Patrol- Down Paradise Way Grant Morrison

BACK ON TRACK AND CATCHING UP

Been a while, innit? The days have been catching up with me recently, and the old computer has spent the last few days in the shop getting de-scary-sounded. Anyway, on with the show:

NO WAY IS SHE THIS OLD ALREADY?

It was Erin’s first day at kindy last Monday. First day at kindy? But she’s just left the womb started to walk said her first words stopped using her dummy….

She’s four years old, and at kindergarten. And I can’t quite catch up to the idea. But there we were, Luscious and I, walking her through the school grounds, helping her put her bag on its hook and her hat in its box and pinning her badge on and finding her chair…. and taking about a million pictures. All the while the kindy-veteran mothers were looking on with all the indulgence they could muster towards the obviously first time parents (This is Lyn’s 4th experience!).

I was a very sniffly Dad as I walked away with my teary eyed wife. Erin, as is her wont, was right at home and can’t understand why she only gets to go two days a week instead of five like her big brother. She’ll learn….

So grown up, and ready for anything

GROWING UP, PART TWO

Luscious took Darth Barbie out to dinner last week to celebrate Secret Women’s Goings-On. I stayed out of the way as they got themselves ready, but when they sashayed out to show the end results off, I was stunned. I’ve known Cassie for 3 years now, and when did the awkward kid turn into a stunning, confident, creature of such elegance?

Gonna have to start polishing my shotgun…

Babes on film

LYN GOT MEIN KAMPF!

take the WHAT BAD BOOK ARE YOU test.


and go to mewing.net. not as good as reading a good book, but way better than a bad one.

THE DEVIL IN BRISBANE

If you head over to the Prime Books website, you should be able to order a copy of The Devil In Brisbane, edited by Zoran Zivkovic, with stories by the likes of Geoff Maloney, Kirsten Bishop, and Trent Jamieson. All the stories involve Old Horny and a writer, and they are rather a lot of fun. And my story Gunslinger, is amongst them. Go. Buy. Make us all rich and famous.

Are you still here?

GREATER LOVE HATH NO STEPFATHER

Not one, but 2 episodes of The OC I watched because Cassie asked me to.

Where’s my bloody medal?

Song of the moment: California Phantom Planet

SNIFFLES AND SNORTS AND LOTS OF HUGS

My poor darling is sick. Sicker than the job prospects of a man who organises a John Leguizamo film festival.

Lemsip and pumpkin soup and chickflick videos abound.

CASSIE AND THE PUPPET TRAIN

The good scientist advances a theory based only upon the observation of empirical evidence as presented within the frame of reference.

Which is why, until she actually met a train driver during the week, Cassie thought trains were remote controlled via the wires above them 🙂

On the other hand, my brother thought Spinal Tap were a real band for ten years……..

HOW TO SPEAK TEEN (FROM THE GENERATION THAT BROUGHT YOU MINTOX, SPUNKRAT, AND NAFF)

Teen stepdaughter word of the moment: Bomb-diggity. Rough translation: grouse, mintox, tops, spiffing, brill, um, very very good.

For those woefully out of the teenspeak loop, let me show you how it’s done.

Take a noun (bomb), follow it with an action (dig), and ad “ity”.

First stagers will soon find their conversations littered with such cool teen phrases as “nosepickity”, “luncheatity”, and “bumsmackity”. SF fans might like to make special note of such favourites as “Hulksmashity” and the ever popular “rollsixity”.

For the advanced teenspeaker, the object is to mix up the noun and vowel to produce as spectacular a visual image as possible. Try “kittensplattity”, “haircookity” and “labiastompity” out for size, and soon you’ll be as tanklickity as any other parent desperately trying to remain remotely in touch with their teenogre.

Gnarly, eh?

GROWING UP

I enrolled Erin in kindy today. Kindy! But she’s still a baby……….

She’s going to be dating a bass guitarist soon, I just know it.

THEY CALL IT RUBBER SUIT MONSTER LOOOOVVVEEEEEE……..

Lee: Hey boys, what movie do you want to watch this weekend?
Boys: Godzillaaaaaa!!!!!!

Okay, so I might love Godzilla, King of The Monsters, and Godzilla Vs King Kong, but I’m a fat hairy middle-aged nerd. Aiden and Blake are 12 and 10.

We still watched them, though. And laughed our asses off the whole time. GVKK (beats AVP, dunnit?) has to be a top 5 contender for worst movie of all time. If you haven’t watched it, I thoroughly recommend you do so. If I can persuade Grantypoos to sponsor a bad movie night at the FTI, I will get it on the bill, I promise. If nothing else, it contains my new all-time favourite bad SF moment: the eminent scientist explaining to his television audience his theory that Godzilla was the product of interbreeding between a T-Rex and a stegosaurus……. Cokespray like the fountains at Versailles!

And Planet Video have plenty more where they came from 🙂

THE DREAM IS OVER

Last game of the season on Sunday, with everything to play for, and the mighty Bassendean Juniors needing to win to make the finals.

And we lost, 2-1.

I may have cried. It was very dusty, all right?

One thing that hasn’t upset me is the attitude of Aiden. He’s not the quickest runner in the team, nor the best kick, nor the most astute player. But he loves what he’s doing, and he cares so much about playing that he’s always bitterly disappointed if he’s on the bench. Yet he is always eager to get to the game, always happy when he gets a run, and on Sunday, finished the season with his best game yet: 4 kicks, 2 great tackles, and 40 out of 60 minutes on the park. Not bad for a guy with a problem hip who’d never played the game before this season. And while he may have been the team’s least able player at the start of the season, he is by no means in that position now.

I’m very proud of him. Not for playing soccer, although I love watching him play a sport that has been a lifelong love for me. But for his attitude, his enjoyment, and his determination.

And he’s already telling me what he wants to do next season……

Song of the moment: Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead Warren Zevon

THOUGHTS ON A TRIP TO FREMANTLE

Playstation Console, $299. Foxtel, $72 per month. DVDs, anywhere up to $50 a pop.

Eating fresh bananas, chasing seagulls, and playing roly-polies with your daughter? Priceless.

A DEEP EXISTENTIAL QUESTION TO WHICH I HUMBLY REQUEST AN OPINION

So who is the most crap: Godzookie or Scrappy Doo?

DOCTORIN’

I haven’t been this excited about watching a television program since I discovered The Prisoner last year. I haven’t been unable to wait a week to watch the next episode of something since I can’t tell you when. I have to know. I have to know how it all turns out. It was over two hours after last night’s episode before we finally stopped discussing who Bad Wolf might be, and who owned the voice we heard in the preview of next week’s episode. Luscious, myself, and the Triffkids: we couldn’t think of anything else for ages, and even today, L and I still find ourselves going “What if it’s….” at odd moments.

And let’s be honest, the sight of thousands of Daleks screaming “Exterminate” in unison as they rise into the air and exit their motherships into the vacuum of space had my interior child sitting on the edge of his seat whispering “Oh. My. Goddddd….”

For the record, these are our predictions, after having decided to eliminate thge Dalek from Dalek, as we all would have chosen it if allowed… (Those who already know: feel free to laugh, but if you spoil the surprise I’ll fucking kill you)

Lee: The voice is Adam, and Bad Wolf is the Doctor.
Luscious: The voice is either Davros or Adam, and Sarah Jane Smith is Bad Wolf.
Cassie: The voice belongs to either Davros or The Master, and she has no idea who bad Wolf is.
Aiden: Despite getting us really excited with a very well-worked out theory about how the Doctor’s grand-daughter Susan could be Bad Wolf (we spent about 20 minutes working through the repercussions of this one), eventually the A-Boy decided that Sarah Jane Smith or the black journalist from The Long Game was the voice, and the TARDIS was Bad Wolf.
Blake: Davros or the Master for the voice, and the TARDIS or the Doctor for Bad Wolf.

I just can’t wait a bloody week to find out!

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

Lee: What do you want to this evening?
Cassie: We could play Samurai Greg?

After several minutes of not knowing what the heck she’s talking about.

Lee: Do you mean Safari Jack?
Cassie: That’s it!

Close enough…

DON’T LET IT HIT YOU IN THE ARSE ON THE WAY OUT

Sean Connery has been quoted in the press this week as saying he doesn’t care if he never makes another movie again, as he’s sick of the stupidity of movie studios and the crud that comes out of the Hollywood system.

If it means I never have to sit through The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Rock, A Good Man in Africa, Finding Forrester or Entrapment again, I wouldn’t care either. The Hill and The Man Who Would Be King were a long time ago, Sean. A long, long time…..

JUST LET THE BARBIE DREAM DIE, OKAY?

When your daughter starts singing the “Hey Ho, let’s go” refrain from Blitzkreig Bop when you tell her you’re going out for a car trip, you start to realise that all the things you’ve done to circumvent the grandparents’ desire to see her evolve into some Disneybarbie domestic princess are proving successful.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?

I had the most disgusting dream I’ve ever had last night. One of those really vivid dreams, where everything is in bright colour, complete with full-strength smells, sounds, and (as shall prove important to this post), tastes.

Analyse this, my little friends:

A doctor leads me into a room containing a chair and a metal table. Everything is very friendly and cordial, as he gives me some anaesthetic and I sit in the chair. He takes a knife and cuts open the front of my skull. Then he removes my brain, places it on the table, and separates out a few pieces, cutting the whole brain into several large lumps in the process.

That done, he stuffs my head with the dismembered grey matter, and sews me back up. I thank him, and stand. Which is when my brain starts to slither out of the hole at the back of my cranium, down into my mouth, and I have to vomit my own brains out of my mouth so I can breathe.

Told you.

Song of the moment: Blood Makes Noise, Suzanne Vega

HANGIN’ WIF MY PEEPS

What a fun weekend to be out and about with friends and family.

Friday night we shared our recently discovered Curry Restaurant Of Choice with fabbo duo Callisto & Cheshire, in the hopes of a spice-induced entry into the world for little Callicheshbub. No luck, but wine, laughs, conversation, and plate after plate of bloody lovely korma, butter chicken, mango chutney, papadum after papadum….. one day we shall gather you all and crowd out the 16 seat capacity and more.

Finished the night off by coming back to our place and gathering round the table for a game of Give Me The Brain, one of only two Cheapass Games games we own. If there is a funnier game to play in a group, I’ve yet to play it. We spent as much time bent over with our heads on the table, laughing until tears soaked the cards, than we did fighting over who had possession of the ‘brain’. There’s a rumour that the Cheapass Games guys may be coming over for Swancon next year. I hope so. I truly hope so.

Having the three Triffkids with us made the night truly memorable. They love being around our friends: they’ve just never met anybody quite like them, and you can see the kids just soaking up the personality on display. And having a chance to interact in such a wonderfully social atmosphere rewards us all. It doesn’t hurt that the kids themselves are 3 of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and I love hanging round with them.

Then , on Saturday afternoon, we had the utter joy of catching up with Adrian and Michelle Bedford for coffee, where we were able to express our deep envy at the sexiness of Adrian’s new book cover, and listen with unconcealed excitement as he hinted about his big writing news. Adrian has honoured us with a mention in the acknowledgements to his newest novel, and we’re just happy to know that there will be a time when we can tell people “Oh yeah, we knew him when he was just a folk singer…” 🙂

Sometimes you forget how lucky you are to have good friends. It’s people like Calli, Chesh, Adrian and Michelle who remind you.

SO PROFOUND IT SHOULD BE ON A T-SHIRT

So halfway through the card game, apropos of nothing, Oor Cassie drops this into the conversation:

You know, it’s almost impossible to play Cluedo with only two people.

Almost?

DR WHO

Have any aliens sucked as much as the Slitheen? Okay, yes, but have any who sucked as much been given encore screenings, and proven so central to the plot arc of the series?

The Slitheen suck. No more Slitheen. Bring back the bloody Sontarans!

On a sidenote, my personal Badwolf theory: it’s the Doctor, and the whole thing is a setup to haunt him for whatever actions in his past he’s hiding from the others.

HOW THE HELL DO I RECONCILE THIS WITH BEING HAL CLEMENT?

As if you needed any more prove that these memes are retarded: first I’m a hard SF writer, now this?

GenreFantasy
FANTASY! – Mystical, magical mayhem! You feel the
urge to write of fantastic worlds that never
were and the beings that might live there. Are
they Lands of Wonder or adventures of Magical
Folly? JRR Tolkien and Tanith Lee are your
guides.

What Kind of Novel Should I Write?
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A DOCTOR WHO JOKE WITH SPOILERS

Warning: if you’re one of the three people in this country not watching downloaded versions of the new Doctor Who series, look away now.

Thanks to the kindness of friends (and I can’t help but think it was their way of contributing to snapping me out of my depression. If so, it worked) I have a shiny DVD filled with the 1st seven episodes of the new Doctor Who series. We sat down with the kids and watched them on the weekend. We had to: the boys wouldn’t go back to their father’s house until we did 🙂

They’re all pretty damn good, but episode 6, Dalek, is perhaps the best episode of Doctor Who ever made. They’ve done with a single Dalek what nobody in 26 years was able to achieve with whole armies of the buggers: turn it into a genuinely terrifying machine of war. Based loosely on an audio play (I think) called Jubilee, the plot can be narrowed down to Single Dalek stalks entire compound of heavily armed and scared shitless humans. The story is by turns frightening, tense, and filled with such pathos and tenderness that you find yourself with tears in your eyes at the possible fate of a giant pepperpot with a latex muppet inside.

It gives nothing away to tell you that at one stage, in order to gain knowledge of his enemies, the Dalek accesses and downloads the entire internet in less than a minute.

Cassie’s comment? “My God. How much porn must he be watching?”

Dalek Porn. Don’t think visually…

I AM SERIOUS, AND DON’T CALL ME SHIRLEY.

How frustrating! Martin brought the comedy classic Flying High to the Sunday Movie Night (It is a comedy classic! It bloody is!), but the disc went spla part way through and so we didn’t get to see the whole thing. Mind you, as someone pointed out, Martin and I could probably have recreated the rest of the movie in 3D, so constantly were we quoting along with the action 🙂

I was having weird time traveller comedy moments all the way through: laughing at jokes that were 15 minutes away from being on the screen, as my memory ran ahead of what was being shown…

The biggest pain is that I now have to rent it out, and Flying High 2, so I can watch it properly.

THERE IS NO SAVING HER

What’s sadder than watching Big Brother? Watching it on the TV and at the same time having the webpage up on your laptop and scrolling through pages reading about it.

THE BLUE REVOLUTION CONTINUES

A lucky 2-all draw on the weekend, but we’ve got another point in the bag and remain undefeated. The mighty Bassendean Juniors juggernaut rolls on.

Aiden got some quality minutes under his belt, played as a striker in the first half and in central midfield in the second. He even got in a good, crunching tackle and made a header!

You know, the Premier League season has just ended, and clubs will be looking for holding midfielders…

POTATO PROGRESS

The boys and I placed the second tyre on the potatoes on the weekend, leaving a few shoots above the rim as the vaguely-remembered Better Homes & Gardens magazine had advised (I think). I went out to the backyard this morning, and those shoots are already high enough that I could put the third tyre on.

I think I’m raising triffids…

PISS OFF, DOROTHY

A tornado! A frigging tornado! A frigging tornado ran straight through Maddington, turned left, came down our street, destroyed the roof, fence, trees, and backyard of the guy across the street and left us completely alone!

Okay, some tubby girl and her dog knocked on the door and asked us if we’d seen a witch anywhere, but I just gave her 5 bucks and told her to see a counsellor. But a tornado! A frigging tornado!

Un-fucking-believable.

SMOOOOOOOTTTHHHHH….

Had a job interview yesterday, and as we were blacked-out because of the tornado, (A tornado! A frigging tornado!) I wasn’t able to shave, running razors across my face in the dark being one of my least favourite activities. There was only one thing for it: off to the barber’s.

I’ve been married twice, and each time wanted to have a proper shave at a barber’s on the morning, only to find it was unfeasible for various reasons. I tell ya, I was missing out. That shave was smooth, and I got a bit of an understanding as to why women and local gangsters in crappy mafia movies spend so much time and money on getting their hair and faces done. It ain’t cheap (44 bucks for the shave and a haircut) but the sense of confidence it gives you is worth a packet. This self-pampering business is seductive.

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.

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.

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…

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…

NOVEL PROGRESS

Finished chapter 2 today and made it 250 words into chapter 3. It finally feels like I have some ground under my feet. The more I write the more I think I might just be able to do something at novel length. Whether it’ll be any good, of course, remains to be seen, but at least it’s an advancement. I know I need to write novels to have any sort of real career, so it’s just something I have to grit my teeth, roll up my sleeves, do lots of other cliched things, and finish.

THE KIDS ARE BACK IN TOWN

So we’ve finished Big Brother and now American Idol is screeching it’s final episode in the background. Is there a teenage girl in the house? What do you reckon? 🙂