A GIANT IS LOST

Ferenc Puskas is dead.

For those not in the know, Puskas is a footballing legend. “The Galloping Major” was the inspirational leader and talisman of the all-conquering Mighty Magyars, the Hungarian footnall team of the 1950s (How good were they? They did England 6-3. At Wembley. England’s first ever defeat at home. They still talk about it.) . He was the rock behind which the all-conquering Real Madrid of the 1960s stood when they won 5 consecutive La Liga titles and 3 European Cups, a record that stands unequalled today.

How good was he? Puskas was a striker. For a striker, a return of one goal in every three games is considered pretty damn good. The really great ones, they might score once every couple of games over the course of their career.

In 529 games for Real, Puskas scored 512 times. His 84 games in a Hungarian shirt yielded 83 goals.

I have some footage of him in action from his Real days. He is nothing short of mesmerising.

He is, unarguably, one of the 3 or 4 greatest players ever to have lived. He is easily the greatest European ever to play the game.

Football is lessened by his loss.

HANDED IN:

The second draft of The Memory of Breathing, to Producermatt. Now to wait for his Producer’s Notes, and research animal liberationists in preparation for draft number three.

And finally get on to some short stories again!

AS COOL AS PRESENTS GET

Earlier this week, Aiden presented me with a belated birthday present. He’d warned me it would be late– he had to hand it in to his teacher and get it marked first.

If there’s anything cooler than getting something handmade from your kids, I don’t know what it is.

So how great was it to be given this weird and wonderful handmade clay head? Very great indeed.

You talkin’ ta me? You talkin’ ta me?

As befits a present so froody, it was made an immediate addition to my Corner of Cool, that section of the office where I keep all my bits-n-trinkets that capture my imagination. As a Bonus Parent, to receive a gift that a Bonus Child has made specially for me is deeply touching. It’s a sign that, to Aiden, I’m a genuine parent. Pride of place on the corner of the desk for this baby, let me tells ya!

Head and friends

BEING A GRANDFATHER IS HARD WORK

One of the finches escaped on the weekend: I was trying to get their water dish out of the cage, and the little bugger flew straight over my shoulder. We’ve promised Aiden a new one (what else could we do?), and thanks to a trip into Joondalup on Sunday, we know where to get it.

There’s a pet shop next door to Bunnings. And it’s open on Sunday.

And I’m not revelaing who it was that suggested we pop in and do some Christmas shopping. For the Finches.

But it wasn’t me.

All I did was choose the ladder with the rough steps to help them groom their claws. And the straw nesting box. That’s all.

I have no emotional attachment to these birds whatsoever.

CAROLE KING IS NORMAL, HUZZAH!


The ABC’s Articulate column contains an interview with Carole King, who is touring Australia for the first time. I don’t know any of M s King’s music, except for a sneaking memory that she was the one responsible for the inane soundtrack to one of the Winnie The Pooh movies my darling daughter has made me watch over and over and over and over……

However, what pissed me off upon reading the column was that Ms King notes that “her greatest achievements include having a ‘normal life’.”
What the hell? I mean, mad as I may be, surely if you want to live a normal life, why become a fucking artist? It’s not like the lifestyle, or the demands of creativity, are unknown. I mean, surely it doesn’t come as any sort of surprise.
And what is so damn special about a normal life? It’s the norm. It’s the base template from which you deviate to add spice to your existence. As if the ability to get up in the morning, wallow in mundanity, and go to sleep at night is cause for applause.
Jesus. Fuck normal. Celebrate anything but normal. Be a bird and fly.
Of course, not having sold umpty-million albums and not having had a way to avoid a day job since the age of 14, I may be missing the vital ingredient in this argument…

MYSPACE?

A serious question: what’s the attraction with MySpace? A lot of people seem to be signing up, and seem very happy at having done so. I’ve looked at the Home/About pages, and I’m not sure I’m not missing something.

Anyone have a MySpace page? Want to tell me about it? Head to the Message Board so we can have a group back and forth on the subject.

MOOFIES
A quick note regarding some movies Luscious and I have watched recently, in lieu of taking the time to think up proper reviews:
Children of Men: Astonishing SF of a type that rarely makes it screen these days- literate, intelligent, thoughtful, and genuinely moving. The performances are routinely excellent, with the usual exception of Julianne Moore, who is as stagey as ever. See it at the cinema so that the sheer scale and noise of the final third is at its most effective.
Serenity: So, in the aftermath of the Civil War, a disillusioned Confederate Captain leads his ragtag group in a guerilla war against the agents of the Union, having to make a run through vicious tribes of Red Injuns and back to deliver an escaped pair of zzzzzzzzzzzz…… unlikeable characters, nonsensical plotting, cartoon performances…. maybe I had to watch the TV series Firefly to get the full gist of this movie adaptation, but then, if I have to do that just to watch a movie, it’s failed before I even hand over my money. The sort of bad SF I have to keep telling people I don’t write.
Lord of War: A sublime black comedy, unrepentantly amoral, with a sense of irony so thick you could serve it with sauce. As surprised as I was by Keanu Reeves in Constantine, I am more so by the normally terrible Nicholas Cage in the lead role here, although, like Reeves, I shouldn’t have been– if you want oily, insincere, and slick as teflon-coated shit, who better than Cage? It’s a comedy about arms dealers, and the blacker it got, the more I laughed.
Hotel Rwanda: Good God. A movie to watch if you feel like hating everybody, especially your leaders. By turns horrifying and heartbreaking, and the usually underrated and ignored Don Cheadle turns in a performance of astonishing range. An amazing filmic triumph, with performances that mesmerised me, and a level of violence and helplessness I would not have believed if I did not remember the real life footage of the Rwandan conflict.
We’re currently in the middle of Battlestar Galactica Season One, an SF series that surprises me with the solidity of its plotting and intelligence. The original was cheesy fun for a pre-teen in the late 70s, and I really didn’t expect much from this remake/extension, despite the fannish over-excitement from the same people who told me how great Babylon 5 and Serenity were. It’s heights aren’t brilliantly high, but at no stage in the first season does it ever drop to the depths of the first season of Star Trek: TNG. A pleasant surprise, so far.
Song of the moment: Museum of Idiots They Might Be Giants
Reading: Officially between books, as I finished the current one this afternoon.

THE WORDS, THEY FLOW

Added another 1007 words to The Corpse-Rat King over the weekend, breaking the magical 10K barrier and the magical 10% barrier all at the same time. On the Lee Writing Scale, I’ve now reached T2, which airline nuts (there must be one or two of you out there) will know as the point along the runway after which you have no choice: you have to take off. So there’s no turning back: my hero Marius, his compatriot Gerd, the dead King of Scorby and I are together for the next 80K+ words whether we like it or not.

Work also continued apace on the secodn draft of the The Memory of Breathing script. I’ve rejigged four of the eleven scenes that need reworking, and added probably another ten minutes or so to the running time. Producer Matt (and it occurs to me that I’ve never linked to Enchanter Films, the production company that we’re working with, so here you go) has set a deadline of the 19th November to get the draft back to him, so it’s both lobes to the grindstone at the moment. once I’ve got the scenes rewritten I have a pile of character and plot notes to incorporate, so the next two weeks will be busy. Busy busy busy…..

So, words to date on the novel:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,635 / 90,000
(11.0%)

THE WORDS, THEY FLOW NOT SO EASILY

Anybody trying to get hold of me via email: please be patient. For reasons unknown to me, my Outlook and Norton programs aren’t speaking to each other and so Outlook is refusing to work at all. I can still get to new emails via the ISP website, but it’s clunky and annoying, so replies may not be as quick as usual (which is saying something, I know).

There seems to be an internal problem with Norton, but if I simply delete it and reboot from the disc I’ll lose my upgrade subscription. So it’ll be a few days while I contact Symantec and wait for them to tell me they don’t know how to fix it, and I gather up the courage to delete everythind anyway and then abuse them until they gave me my subscription back. At least, that’s today’s plan… 🙂

THE FINCHES HAVE LANDED

So, thanks to Aiden, Lyn and I became grandparents over the weekend.

Don’t panic: we’re a liberal family, but we’re not that liberal. Aiden finally organised to move his five finches from his Dad’s house, is all. So we now have an aviary and occupants on our patio, much to the fascination of Erin and Connor. Indeed, television has been abandoned in favour of the live show.

I’m not sure how much attachment to give to these little birds, given their Daddy calls them (and I quote): “Whitecap, Big One, Little One, Birdy, and the other female.”

And I thought it took us ages to come up with ‘Connor’…..

YOU ARE NOT A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE

It’s my birthday on Saturday. I’ve treated myself to an external hard drive for the computer: when music and video files take up 70% of your memory, it’s time to think about alternative storage solutions. For $150 I picked up a tiny little box that has twice the memory of the big, state-of-the-art computer I had made from scratch three eyars ago. Heh. I am Obsolete Man!

Anyway, I’ve always been the only person I know to be born on the 11th of November. It’s just one of those days that seems to set you apart.

But would you believe it, I’ve discovered that not only am I not unique in regards to people I know, I’m not even unique in regards to Perth SF writers.

So Happy Birthday for Saturday to fellow 11/11 SF writer guy alumni: Perth-based Simon Haynes, and over-east based Chris Barnes.

I’m not my fucking khakis, either…..

Song of the Moment: Eleanor Rigby The Beatles

Reading: The Invisibles- the Invisible Kingdom Grant Morrison and friends