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The Big Catch-Up Post: September 2009

You know, it's amazing how – not addictive, that's not the word I'm looking for – no, how criminally easy Facebooking is. Now, I know all you futureheads out there have probably ditched Facebook like it was MySpace and are tweeting away like crazy or somesuch, but I don't even do any of the funkier stuff like send Facebook posts from my phone and I still feel like I'm blogging without, you know, blogging. It's a good chunk of the reason why my last sizeable post on IMAGinES was, let's see... Yep, around a month and a half ago.

Out of interest, you futureheads, what are you using as your preferred social communication tool nowadays? Is it all about the Twitter? Does Facebook still come in handy for inviting people to parties? Should I have not closed my MySpace down?

Anyway, I'm going to try and bring you folks back up to speed on what's been going on at Chez Serenity lately. (Yes, we call our house Serenity. I have to tame some photos and show you exactly why.) I'll probably have to refer back to my list of Facebook posts as I go.

In a late April posting I mentioned that we'd inherited another granddaughter from down south. I'm glad to report that after a rocky first few months here, Amanda has settled in, is renting a house with some family friends and has at least two jobs in the local hospitality industry. Yes, concurrently. We're pretty darned proud of her. Oh, and we've hipped her to Firefly and (I hope) the new Battlestar Galactica. I'm adding the last half of Season 4 of that show to my Christmas list!

In that same posting I mentioned that Vickie had joined the Biggest Loser Club. I'm glad to report that since then Vickie has lost over twelve kilos and is only four away from her goal weight. She's been pulling clothes she never thought she'd fit into again out o the wardrobe! I've benefited too, having shed seven kilos (putting me below 70 kilos total); Vickie has told me to add some muscle or else. New clothes for both of us! On other health matters, the swine flu plague appears to have passed us and those closest to us by, thankfully, although we've both had the usual run of winter sniffles. Work's had a few down to it, though.

Back in May Vickie and I resurrected the vegetable bed up the back of the garden, and in an effort to keep it safe from lumbering dogs, we put up a fence all the way around it, which was quite exhausting. Vickie has been keeping us supplied with all manner of goodness from it, from tomatoes and chillies through lettuce and celery to basil and parsley. It's doing it a little tough at the moment due to a spell of warm, dry weather, but we're doing our best (okay, Vickie's doing her best) to keep it fruitful (and vegetable-ful).

My last post of any substance was at the end of July. I hadn't mentioned that my birthday had been and gone; fun was had at the Salthouse on the Friday beforehand with a whole heap of people, although the party on the natal day at my place was a bit of a fizzer. My birthday policy from here on in is a night out at a decent bar on the Friday closes to my birthday – probably the Salthouse unless it closes between now and next July, that place is a fantastic venue to hang out and sink a few – and a lunch / dinner with family and close friends on the weekend. Sit-down lunches and dinners with lots of people suck because you can't circulate, and you wind up with people sitting down the other end of the table talking only to each other about their iPhones (yes, Paulie Boy and Jimmy, I refer to your heinous behaviour at Buckin' Mex last year).

Things have got interesting on the literary front. A new cafe opened in the middle of Cairns. It's called the Ever After Cafe Bookstore, and its owner, Nick Roberts, is as keen on hipping people to good literature as he is to selling good coffee; they sell quirkier new release books amidst an eclectic collection of second-hand stuff (to which Vickie and I have contributed). He and his mother Mary also run a book club which meets at the cafe every last Thursday of the month, and Vickie and I have made some great new friends there (here's a shout out to Sophia, Cass and Dan; Sandy and Sam; and, of course, Nick, Mary and me mate from London, Gary). As it's two minutes' walking distance from work, it's become my favourite hangout, not to mention the unofficial client-meeting venue for my colleagues!

In terms of actual reading, I seem to have veered toward the romantic fantasy genre of late. I blame the novel Warsworn by Elizabeth Vaughan, which I reviewed for work; it led me to the first and third books in that trilogy at the library, and I then wound up buying Dagger-Star and White Star -and boy, am I hanging out for the next one, Destiny's Star. At the end of June I paid $4 to borrow Stephenie Meyer's Twilight from the library (one of their Hot Speed Read books; I got through it in a handful of days), then reserved New Moon; a friend loaned me Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Maybe I'm getting all soppy – or maybe I'm just the same old sucker for happy endings I always was. Still, while I liked the Twilight series, they were slow enough that I'm in no hurry to see the movies at all.

Oh, yeah, and I remember making cryptic allusion to a writing endeavour at the end of February. It took me until early August to really start doing something about it, but I'm confident enough in both my work thus far and my future progress to let you know that, yes, I'm writing more Slamdance. I'm working on divorcing it from the world of the original Bubblegum Crisis entirely, and Telstra's pending takedown of all the 10MB personal websites it's hosted since the early 2000s, mine included, may well help there. I'm fiddling with some new ideas and new spins on directions I've wanted to take it in for ages. I circulated a couple of chunks of it amongst friends recently and have been working on incorporating their feedback into a revised short story which I want to have ready to read at the next book club meeting in two weeks (yes, we do the odd bit of reading there, too). Will there be a happy ending for everyone's favourite big red cyborg and those he loves? I certainly hope so.

If you're interested in reading some of it, let me know, but I want feedback from everyone who I send stuff out to, and I'll be keeping the numbers low at first.

Writing, I've discovered, needs discipline, but not just to start; stopping writing can be just as much a problem. Last night I wound up churning out about 2,000 words and as a result spent most of my time in front of the computer and ignoring Vickie. And I was on a roll; had I not needed to sleep I probably could have kept going all night. So I'm hoping the goal of having something ready in two weeks will help me learn how to cut off writing and make enough notes on where I was going to go so that I can pick it up again the next day with little trouble.

August also saw our fifth wedding anniversary. I took the day off work and we had a lovely night out at a restaurant owned by a couple of good mates of ours. It was great! Here's hoping for another fifty more!

And most recently, the Cairns Amateurs, the biggest of Cairns' two Big Annual Race Days (I am, of course, talking about horse racing), rolled around a couple of weeks ago. As they were only serving half-strength drinks (and I was really serious about being able to drive safely home this time) I didn't get anywhere near as hammered as I did last time, but had jut about as much fun. Oh, and check me out. Hot or what? Oh, don't worry; you should see Vickie in the Little Black Dress she bought a few weeks ago – at least, if I can talk her into wearing it again. Wow!

I've got more to blog about, but it's mostly nerd stuff, so I'll put it in another post.

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