'THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE (AND OTHER SHORT STORIES)' is available for purchase! Just follow the link for an on-line shopping experience that will surely blow your mind.  Upon request, Stuart will sign your copy, either with his name or that of somebody else selected by you.  The book was launched on 28 November 2011 at the Wheeler Centre and is now orbiting the third sun of Jupiter.   In doing so, it has become the first collection of short stories to reach a major cellestial body since Max Walker's 'How to Puzzle a Python' was smuggled on board the Soyuz TM-4 Mir Space Station by one of the cosmonauts.  Also, the first chapter of Stuart's upcoming novel 'GOODSIR' is available in a newly released anthology.  It can be downloaded for free from Amazon by using the following address: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Novel-Anthology-2012-ebook/dp/B009YNMPPW  Frankly, it would be cheap at half the price.

Close Encounters of the Rock Star Kind

The moment I enter, I know I don’t belong. Having spent the morning shopping with my nephew we arrive in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, with plastic bags hanging like Christmas ornaments from our wrists. Unwittingly, we have stumbled upon the epicenter of the hipster universe; a place where facial piercings are deliberate as opposed to the legacy of some tragic industrial accident, where man buns roam free. I look hopelessly lost. But, for better or worse, this is the place we’ve agreed to meet friends for lunch.

Frightening the Daylight Savings Out of Me

Thanks goodness that’s over. Goodbye to my least favourite night of the year and the dreadful week that inevitably follows in its wake. Farewell for another twelve months when it will, once more, lob upon the doorstep like a marooned but distantly related backpacker determined to move in and devour the contents of the refrigerator wholesale. But for now I must suffer through the consequences of its most unwelcome arrival. Truth be told, I’m tired, grumpy and for this entire week have felt as though I’m running late. Thanks for nothing, daylight savings.

Practical Tips for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

It’s coming. As surely as Christmas, Sam & Dave, your in-laws and the scratch at the back of your throat that you just know is going to turn into a fully fledged gargantuan head cold; its arrival is both imminent and inevitable. There’s little that any of us can do other than to switch off the lights, barricade the doors and hope against hope for the best. Try as we might, some things can’t be stopped. Deny it all you like, but the zombie apocalypse is on its way, ready or not.

Proudly Losing My Marbles

He tried. That’s the long and the short of it. With great persistence and determination, my father did his utmost to turn me into a well-rounded human being. That I have ended up with more angles than The Yellow Peril can hardly be his fault. Instead of developing an array of hobbies and interests, I succeeded in absorbing the tiny pieces of information that any one else would rightly regard as useless. If you’re heading to a pub trivia night, I’m your guy. But if you’re looking to shoot the breeze with someone who has a catalogue of fascinating pastimes, look elsewhere.

Census Working Overtime

You’re welcome. By all means, send your best wishes by card, email or carrier pigeon but please, no flowers. After all, it truly was my pleasure. In fact, you might even say it was my duty. The weight of personal obligation aside, do spare me a thought when the next school, hospital or sporting stadium pops up in your neck of the woods. For I have done my part to make all these things happen. Granted, mine is a modest contribution, but without it you might have had to settle for a cinder-block bus shelter and a give-way sign. That’s right: I have completed the Census.

A Life Less Travelled: Byron Bay

Relaxercise. Don’t bother looking for it in any dictionary. Despite my letters, emails, postcards and frequently turning up unannounced at the front door at three o’clock in the morning, the people at Macquarie Dictionary are unaccountably reluctant to bathe the term ‘relaxercise’ in the warm glow of recognition. Which, given their willingness to dip their hat in favour of ‘goon bag’ is something of an insult. If you’re not familiar with the term, ‘relaxercise’ refers to the amount of effort required to relax. It has particular meaning to people who are (for want of a more delicate way of putting it) uptight. People just like me.

Farewell to the Snow Globe of my Youth

I’m sure it’s not just me. Even though I’m so far into adulthood that I’m in danger of bursting out the other side, it’s fair to say that I’m yet to move out of my parents’ house. Not completely. Instead, my old bedroom in Tyabb remains a repository of items that I have deemed both too important to throw away and yet not nearly important enough to take with me. They sit on shelves and are stuffed in cupboards, silently waiting for the day when I finally decide their collective fate. As a result, these items have languished for decades.

The Art of Being Arty

It’s a shame. Almost none of the masterpieces I produced as a child have been preserved. This makes the odds of any kind of retrospective exhibition even less likely than would have been the case had they survived. Forget souvenir tea towels emblazoned with my early sketches of ‘Flash Gordon’ (who was, for a time, my muse) or a set of matching coasters featuring my various attempts to replicate the ‘Ghostbusters’ logo. You’ll just have to make do with imagining how awesome it would be to own your very own tote bag displaying these potent images. I could, I suppose, try and recreate these seminal pieces of artwork but, frankly, I haven’t drawn anything more than a conclusion in the past thirty years and I suspect I could be rusty.

The Honda 110: Chariot of the Gods

Farewell, friend. You served me well. Now that it’s over, it’s hard not to look back with fondness at the time we spent together. Deep down, I knew it would come to an end at some point, I just didn’t expect that moment to be now. When I heard the news, it was as if a part of my soul left my body. There will forever more be a small hole in the shape of a three-wheeled motorbike in my heart. So long, Honda 110. You were the best motorbike a young boy could ever want.

Reflections on the Race for the Iron Throne

I couldn’t help myself. I lapped up every second of it even though it meant planting myself in front of the television for ten consecutive hours, breaking only for sustenance. It’s official: I’m hooked. I’m the first to admit that I am addicted, despite having been resistant early on. Now there’s nothing so important to me as finding out who will win the battle to rule the six kingdoms (and two territories) and sit on the Iron Throne. Ser Malcolm or Ser Bill?