1 Dec
          I have to write another evaluation. Something that's only supposed to happen once a year has somehow become a monthly ritual. Honestly evaluating someone can be rather tricky, too. It's not like we are any good at evaluating ourselves. Have you ever had anyone tell you that they stunk at their job? That they were totally lazy and unmotivated, and that the rest of the team was carrying them? Nope, ask most people and they'll tell you that they're the only thing holding the team together. Which is ridicules, because everyone knows that I'm the only one holding the team together. Foolish mortals.

2 Dec
          Christmas exploded all over our living room this morning. When I came downstairs Pen was sitting in the middle of a heap of presents, packages, boxes, bags, and bows. I put up the tree, and the lights, and Pen did the rest. Of course there's still no word yet as to whether the military is actually going to give me Christmas off or not. I only put in my leave pass in October. Unfortunately so did a bazillion others. 
          Maybe it's time for a career change. Something that would make me feel more like a productive member of society--like...um...goat herder. Of course, it someone asked me what I did, and I told them, "I heard goats," they'd probably think I was having aural hallucinations and lock me up. Finding a new job can be tough.

3 Dec
          I'd like to really be Superman. That way when the wife and I had a fight, and she said something like, "I could have married John Smith. He's a big shot lawyer now," I could say, "Hey. Superman here. Remember?" And she'd say, "Oh, yeah. Right. Sorry."
          And explain this, if you can. I recently discovered that while I have a difficult time cranking out five hundred words double-spaced, if I use single space when I write, it's a breeze. Yep, I cranked out 1200 words the other day, bringing my total for my days off to just over 1600. Not quite the 2000 I was shooting for, but now that I know the secret...

5 Dec
          My career mangler tells me I'm not going to be posted in the new year. I think that's good news. I still haven't heard from Baen, the agent I queried, or a couple of short story markets I've submitted to. I think that's bad news. You know your life is messed up when you can't tell the good news from the bad news anymore. I mean, I know the world isn't black and white, but at the very least it should come with a Help Desk. And not one that puts you on hold and plays muzak versions of Black Sabbath either. I hate when that happens.

7 Dec
          There are a lot of reasons why writers write. Dreams of fame and fortune aside, I write because I want to bring a little peace and happiness to others, even if it's only in the form of escapism from a harsh world. I want to in some way better someone's life. But mostly, I want to be remembered for something other than an ability to meet out death and destruction. 
          It's ironic that someone who takes such joy in helping and protecting others, in creating music, and who is never happier than when he's making someone laugh, should have fallen into the life I've led. I have no one to blame but myself, and I reverently hope that my writing will allow me to remedy that.

14 Dec
          I ordered 256M of ram for my laptop. Soon I'll be writing stuff people don't want to read faster than ever. And the speakers on my new computer died. Luckily they were still under warranty, so the company sent me another set of broken ones the very next day. Is that service, or what?

17 Dec
          Another rejection for a short story. Another agent passed on Darkside. Same old tale: We really like your work, but in today's competitive market blah, blah, blah...They did offer to represent me if I managed to sell it myself, which is more than any other agent has done so far. Still, I can't help but think how wonderful it is of them that they'd be willing to share in the profit once I did 98% of the work. They say it's darkest before the dawn, but it's noon now and it's still pitch black out. My life is one big eclipse.

18 Dec
          We achieved a 100% serviceability rate at work the other day. That means every aircraft was ready for deployment. To celebrate, the bosses shut everything down for the afternoon and bought beer at the mess. Everyone was invited: the guys in Flight Safety, Aircraft Records Office, Labs, Training, Command and Control -- everyone except for Snags/Servicing. You know, the ones that actually fix the aircraft. We had to stay and work because we're essential. Like a friend of mine always says: In the military the only reward for good work is more work.

20 Dec
          The slogan for the lottery in my neck of the woods is "Lotto 649 -- imagine the freedom." The implication is that only rich people are truly free. I guess that makes the rest of us slaves. I'm afraid I can't argue with that. Oh well, at least our masters aren't damn, dirty apes.

21 Dec
          I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! First day of leave, and I'm sick. I've got a scratchy throat, a stuffed up nose, and I feel like I'm in a drugged, addle-minded stupor. (Okay, I always feel like I'm in a drugged, addle-minded stupor, except for the stuffed nose and scratchy throat part.) I've got twelve days off, which should be just long enough for this flu to run its course, and then I'll be back to work. (Where being in a drugged, addle-minded stupor is actually a bonus.)

24 Dec
          Everything you do matters. I'm not talking about buying paper or plastic, or deciding whether or not to see Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. I'm talking about how we treat each other. That kid you and your buddies made fun of in school -- how do you think that effected his feelings of self-worth? That underling at work, the one you ragged on because you were having a bad day -- maybe they went home and took it out on their family. Or worse yet, maybe that was the final straw, the one that shoved them over the edge toward suicide. 
          Okay, so what you did today may never have that profound of an effect, but you never know. And maybe, just maybe, that little act of kindness you did today sent someone home a little bit happier, or kept them alive when they felt the world was against them. Little things count, never more so than at this time of the year. So, how would you rather be remembered?
          To anyone who might happen to read these ramblings, I sincerly wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Oh yeah,

L I V E   W E L L,   B E   W E L L.

27 Dec
          Never underestimate the value of a good shower. Pen's talking about buying this nice new showerhead that supposedly feels like light rain in a tropical rainforest. I suppose that's fine and all if you a woman and all you need to do is wash off the glow of perspiration. But if you're a man and you have to sandblast the stench away, it just won't do. That's what I always loved about the shower at my parent's place. That puppy had water pressure that would plaster you up against the back wall, and by the time you managed to fight your way to the front to turn it off, you were clean.

31 Dec
          There may be magic in the world, but if there is it doesn't work for me. Fortunetellers don't even come close, my horoscopes are less accurate than even random chance would allow for, and any spells that I've tried have never come to fruition. Heck, I can't even get my slinky to walk downstairs. And, aside from the fact that it means I have to do everything the hard way, it also means that for me the world is a much duller place. And I hate dull. Oh well, at least I have space aliens to fall back on.