Monthly Archives: December 2007

Short story published at Harbinger

December 28, 2007

I’ve had another short story published. Two in one month, a new personal best.

This one is a little bit different, being a non-genre piece. I normally write in the science-fiction, fantasy or horror genre, or some mishmash of all three. This was something written deliberately out of my comfort zone.

I was pleased to have it accepted at Harbinger Journal, which is a relatively new Australian online journal. They are planning to have print ready files available for purchase before long, but that seems to have been delayed at the moment. In the meantime, all the issues are available online. There have only been three so far, but they are doing the right thing and I always like to support Indie press wherever possible.

The cover of Issue 3.

Each issue has a theme and the theme for issue 3 was Secrecy. Every once in a while we writers get lucky and a market pops up for something we have already written. That’s what happened with this one. I had already written the story, Runaway, for a competition, but it didn’t get through that time. As with so many stories, it was shelved awaiting another opportunity. As it was something out of my genre I wasn’t too active in placing it as I usually keep my attention on the writing markets that fit my genre writing. Then I heard about Harbinger Journal with their current Secrecy theme, and it was a perfect fit. Fortunately the editors there liked the story and now it’s published.

So always persevere and don’t give up on anything. Some of my stories have bounced around numerous places before being accepted and many more are still bouncing around, awaiting acceptance somewhere.

If you’re interested to read this story, you can find it at the Harbinger Journal website. Click on Issue 3 and then select the story from the list on the left. Be sure to let me know what you think.


Condensed Lord’s Prayer, txt style

December 27, 2007

I know this is very old news, but I’m still in holiday mode. I came across it again recently anyway, so it’s like fashion – everything old is new again. Back in 2003 (yeah, that old) the satirical Christian online magazine Ship of Fools ran a competition to rewrite the Lord’s Prayer in 160 characters or less. This was based on the concept that text messaging and online chat abbreviations were taking over the modern language. Of course, that debate still rages on and there are people that are convinced that text messaging, sorry txt msg, will take over once today’s teenagers graduate. Of course, there’s a fundamental flaw in that logic, but let’s not all get into a flap about something that’ll never happen. Language continuously evolves, but not at that pace and not driven entirely by teenagers. Even though they’d like to think that they are responsible for everything. But I digress.

The Ship Of Fools competition wanted the Lord’s Prayer in 160 characters or less, as that is the accepted standard maximum for a mobile phone text message. The winner was Matthew Campbell of York University, with the following sterling effort:

dad@hvn, ur spshl. we want wot u want &urth2b like hvn. giv us food & 4giv r sins lyk we 4giv uvaz. don’t test us! save us! bcos we kno ur boss, ur tuf & ur cool 4 eva! ok?


Bible myths at bus stops

December 23, 2007

Twas Christmas Eve morn and all through the streets
Cars queued angrily and folk ground their teeth

On this pagan celebration, by Christians hijacked
Stress levels were soaring and nerves were wracked

When there sat at a bus stop a prophet, all grey
And he shared his message with a sign all day:




Almost has a touch of the haiku about it. Every once in a while he’d turn the board around and written on the other side was ‘EX-FAITH CHRISTIAN’ and his name, which I can’t remember unfortunately. He was very happy, smiling and waving at the cars as they crawled by. Made my morning, that did.


Listen at hospital for the doc’s vernacular

December 23, 2007

I read this in the Sydney Morning Herald today and found it both amusing and informative. Of course, that’s because it all applies to someone (or someones) else. I don’t think it would be so amusing to hear any of this said about myself. Still, it’s the season of goodwill, so I thought I’d share:

Doctors have always used a tribal vocabulary to communicate between themselves but now their secret lingo is being enriched by the electronic media and urban slang, the British Medical Journal has reported.

Paul Keeley, a consultant in the department of palliative medicine at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland, wrote to the weekly BMJ to report a sample of new words British doctors use among themselves. They include:

Disco biscuits: The clubbers’ drug ecstasy. As in: “The man in cubicle three looks like he’s taken one too many disco biscuits.”

Hasselhoff: Term for any patient who shows up in casualty with an injury for which there is a bizarre explanation. Source: Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff, who hit his head on a chandelier while shaving. The broken glass severed four tendons and an artery in his right arm.

Agnostication: A substitute for prognostication. Term used to the describe the usually vain attempt to answer the question: “How long have I got, doc?”

Blamestorming: Apportioning blame after the wrong kidney or leg is removed or some other particularly egregious foul-up.

404 moment: The point in a doctor’s ward round when medical records cannot be located. Comes from the internet error message “404 – document not found”.

Testiculation: Description of a gesture typically used by hospital consultant “when holding forth on subject on which he or she has little knowledge”. Gesture is of an upturned hand with outstretched fingers pointed upwards, clutching an invisible pair of testicles.

Other slang terms used by doctors, according to letters to the BMJ, include UBI (Unexplained Beer Injury), PAFO (Pissed And Fell Over) and Code Brown (a faecal incontinence emergency).

CTD means “Circling The Drain”, GPO signifies “Good for Parts Only” and “Rule of Five” means that if more than five of the patient’s orifices are obscured by tubing, they have no chance.

A patient who is “giving the O-sign” is very sick, lying with his mouth open. This is followed by the “Q-sign”, when the tongue hangs out of the mouth – when the patient becomes terminal.

As for genetic quirks or inbreeding, FLK means “Funny Looking Kid” and NFN signifies “Normal For Norfolk.”

General practitioners may use LOBNH (“Lights On But Nobody Home”) or the impressively bogus Oligoneuronal to mean someone who is thick.

But they also have a somewhat poetic option: “Pumpkin positive”, referring to the idea that the person’s brain is so tiny that a penlight shone into his mouth will make his empty head gleam like a Halloween pumpkin.

The original article can be found here on the Herald website.

Non-denominational salutations to you all

December 22, 2007

Well, I’m returned from my road trip safe and sound. I already miss the open road and wish I was able to continue riding indefinitely. In a country like Australia, that’s almost possible. And now the complete idiocy of this irritating Christian festival is upon us once again. Bah humbug. Anyway, I received this in an email from a friend and thought it was worth sharing:

I wanted to send some sort of Christmas greeting to my friends and colleagues, but it is so difficult in today’s world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So after obtaining legal advice, I wish to say the following:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated 12 months in recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that our country is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her-/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Regardless of the mythology surrounding the magical Jewish zombie that so infuses this time of year, may you all enjoy health and happiness now and for the future.


w00t! It’s word of the year.

December 14, 2007

Still on the road and still enjoying being out and about. We woke up this morning looking forward to riding the Great Ocean Road only to find that it’s pissing with rain. We’re hoping it eases off a bit before we have to leave.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share this with you from The ABC News website.

“w00t,” an expression of joy coined by online gamers, was crowned word of the year on Tuesday by the publisher of a leading US dictionary.

Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster said “w00t”, typically spelled with two zeros, reflects a new direction in the American language led by a generation raised on video games and cell phone text-messaging.

It is like saying “yay,” the dictionary said.

“It could be after a triumph or for no reason at all,” Merriam-Webster said.

Visitors to Merriam-Webster’s website were invited to vote for one of 20 words and phrases culled from the most frequently looked-up words on the site and submitted by readers.

Runner-up was “facebook” as a new verb meaning to add someone to a list of friends on the website or to search for people on the social networking site.

Merriam-Webster president John Morse said “w00t” reflected the growing use of numeric keyboards to type words.

“People look for self-evident numeral-letter substitutions: 0 for O; 3 for E; 7 for T; and 4 for A,” he said. “This is simply a different and more efficient way of representing the alphabetical character.”

One website,, already sells t-shirts with the word “w00t” printed on the front.

“w00t belongs to gamers the world over. It seems to have been derived from the obsolete ‘whoot’ which essentially is another way to say ‘hoot’ which itself is a shout or derisive laugh,” Think Geek said on its website.

“But others maintain that w00t is the sound several players make while jumping like bunnies in Quake III,” it added, referring to a popular video game.

l33t speak
Online gamers often replace numbers and symbols with letters to form what Merriam-Webster calls an “esoteric computer hacker language” known as “l33t speak.” This translates into “leet”, which is short for “elite”.

A separate survey of words used in the media and on the internet by California-based Global Language Monitor produced a different set of winners on Tuesday. “Hybrid” took top honours as word of the year with “climate change” the top phrase.

Global Language Monitor, which uses an algorithm to track words and phrases in the media and on the internet, said “hybrid” had broad connotations of “all things green from biodiesel to wearing clothes made of soy to global warming”.

Runner-up was “surge,” based on the “surge” of 30,000 extra US troops deployed to Iraq since mid-June, followed by the word “Bluetooth,” a technology used to connect electronic devices via radio waves.

“The English language is becoming more and more a globalised language every year,” said Global Language Monitor president Paul Payack, noting that this year’s list included words also culled from India, Singapore, China and Australia.


The open road and funny signs in the country

December 11, 2007

We’ve been largely very fortunate so far with the weather (which is important when you’re touring on a motorcycle) and we’ve been enjoying some fantastic roads and awesome vistas.

We rode down via Murrumbateman into the Snowy Mountains and stayed a few nights at a place about halfway between Thredbo and Jindabyne, then we took a very scenic route down to Eden. We’re off to Melbourne tomorrow.

However, I thought I’d just show you all a couple of thigns I’ve noticed along the way.

Firstly, I spotted this for sale in a road house. Surely there’s been something lost in translation here.



I think they have something a little back to front there.

However, this is definitely my favourite so far this trip. Have you ever been on the road, stopped at a motel and thought to yourself, “You know, I wish I could see more linen while I travelled. I wish bedsheets and pillow cases filled the view all the way to the horizon!”?

Well, wish no more:

Overnight Linen Views

The perfect holiday apartments.

See you further down the road.

The Word hits The Road

December 4, 2007

Things will be a bit quiet around here for the next couple of weeks. We’re packing up the XJR and motorcycling off around New South Wales and Victoria until Xmas. We’ll be heading over the Snowies, down to Eden, then Melbourne, The Otways, The Grampians, up to Mildura and home across the Hay Plains. Bloody marvellous.

I’ll certainly update things here as often as possible during the trip, so check in every now and then. However, realistically, that might mean no new posts at all. We’ll see. Otherwise, I’ll see you all again around Xmas. We must all get together for a drink some time.


Short story now published.

December 1, 2007

You may remember that I recently mentioned that a short story of mine, called The Night Bus, had been accepted for publication at The Harrow: Original Works of Fantasy & Horror. Well, the story has now been published. You can read it at The Harrow website by clicking here.

Be sure to have a look at the other stuff in the current issue and let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy it.

(Image (c) Copyright The


The best shop in the world. Ever.

December 1, 2007

I was walking through Surry Hills yesterday on the way to a class. Idling along, looking in the shop windows, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the greatest thing I have ever seen a shop offer. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a line snaking off down the street, young, eager men just desperate to get in before stocks ran out. Then again, it was quite early in the morning. I’m sure the rush must have happened later in the day.


How will they ever meet demand?



The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Zetetic.

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