4 Dec
          So much for time off. Cyprus Platoon graduated on Monday, and they left on Tuesday. Today I found out I'm going to take over for one of the D.I.'s in Typhoon Platoon. I start tomorrow. Only 6 months on the job and I've already got a new boss. I must wear 'em out or something.
          Anyway, I'm now I/C of Spitfire Section (well, at least it's an air force theme) and they are already in week 3. Seven weeks until they graduate, then I get--brace yourselves--two weeks off, and I start all over again.
          Oh, yeah, I was in the haunted house again. What, I didn't tell youse about the haunted house? Well, directly behind our offices is the old Officer's Mess. It's condemned now, and apparently haunted by no less than two ghosts. Some of the other guys at BRT have experienced strange things there, and refuse to go back in. Personally, I've been inside a few times now and nadda. I explored it top to bottom one night, and even spent some time in there during a full moon when the spirits are supposedly at their crankiest. Heck, I even wandered around the dank, dark basement today. If there are ghosts, they're obviously ignoring me. Of course I am only a Master Corporal. Typical officers!

10 Dec
          I've got *gasp* two days off. In a row. The platoon is taking first aid for the next two days, so basically they don't need me skulking (writers get to use nifty words like skulking--but shouldn't use words like nifty) around and terrori...um...pestering the recruits. So, in reward for all my hard work, or to keep me out of their hair, my bosses gave me today and tomorrow off, which works out really well because Pen actually happens to have today and tomorrow off. Well, it works out well for me. You'll have to ask Pen how well it works out for her.
          And I've decided to quit wasting my time and sending Darkside off to various agents. That's right, I'm going to send it directly to the publishers so they can reject it first hand. No more second best for me. And a strange thing happened during my social exile from the writing world the last couple of months while I've been working so hard. When I wasn't looking, most of my friends became submission editors/first-readers of various on-line mags. Hopefully that means I'll get personal rejection letters now. "Dear, Steve. How's it going? Are you going to be on AIM tonight? Have you heard from Charlie lately? Oh, btw, about your story. No."

And here's a cool picture someone took of me out in the field, just because I'm so vain:

11 Dec
          Someone asked me the other day that age old question: Why do you write? For me the answer was obvious. I can't draw worth shit. Even my stick figures look like they were filmed by the Blair Witch People (all shaky and blurry, and apt to make you throw up). But I have this wicked cool imagination, and I guess it has to go somewhere.
          Oh, sure, I come up with creative ways to antagonize recruits, like teaching them Mud Puddle Drill. But writing is a more productive form of expression, and the Chief doesn't yell at me for it. 

21 Dec

Christmas Wish List

Publishing Contract
Great Pick-up band
Oceanfront, mountain view home
Jeep Grande Cherokee LTD (RED)
BMW Z4 Roadster (Silver) - for Pen
BMW K1200RS motorcycle (Pacific Blue Metallic)
Roland V-Session Electronic Drums(Purple)

And people say I'm hard to shop for.

22 Dec
          Okay, here's my Christmas present to you: another dumb recruit moment.
          The recruits have to pass a saluting test before they are awarded their cap badges, and before they are allowed to salute. It basically consists of marching and saluting at the same time (more complicated than it sounds, and the real reason, I'm sure, that we're not allowed to chew gum in uniform) and then halting and saluting. Once you're done saluting at the halt, we hold up a few flash cards with rank insignia on them and the recruit has to correctly identify them. If they screw up on any phase of the test, they have to start all over, often going through it several times before finally passing. 
My favourite failure went something like this. The recruit successfully completed the saluting portion, and all he had left to complete was the rank recognition portion.

Petty Officer: What's this rank?
Recruit: Lieutenant, Navy.
Petty Officer: And what would this rank be in the air force?
Recruit: Captain?
Petty Officer: That's very good, son.
Recruit: Thanks, Warrant.
Petty Officer: Arrgghh! I'm a P.O., not a Warrant! Back and do it again. 

23 Dec
          I've gotten used to the occasional brown Christmas, but this green Christmas thing is freaking me out. I mean, it's got to be 8 or 9 degrees Celsius here. Not very Christmasy at all. Thank God there's presents (though doubtfully none of the ones on my list--hey, at least I didn't ask for world peace).
          Pen and I were supposed to see LOTR last night, but her work schedule didn't allow. Now it looks like we'll have to catch it on Christmas day, which is pretty cool, too. Obviously we don't have a big family thing planned because there's just her and I here. 
          Pen's going to fly home to visit on the 28th of December and comes back 1st January, so I'll be alone for New Years. A couple of friends and I are going out to a New Years bash at the Pacific Fleet Club, so it won't be a total waste. One of the guys knows the band that's playing there, and apparently they're looking for a new drummer. Hey, maybe I'll get one of the gifts on my list after all! 

And Amber, here's a list of the movies I've seen this year:
All of them--except the artys-fartsy ones. (Well, okay. Maybe the occasional artsy-fartsy one, but I was coerced, bribed, cajoled--ooh, that's a good one--brainwashed, tricked and/or blackmailed into seeing them--even if I did actually like a few of them, which I'll never admit.)

24 Dec
          I finally got back into the gym yesterday after at least a month away, and I plan on going back today. Why? Because I'm insane, I tell ya, insane! I'm so stiff and sore I can barely move. I feel like the tin man before Dorothy oiled him. (Hmmm, there's an X-rated movie in there somewhere.) 
          So, the plans for today are: go to the gym, assault downtown Victoria and try to get Pen a caramel apple, maybe write a bit, take Pen to Butchart Gardens tonight, and then come home and watch White Christmas. How do I stand the thrill and excitement of it all, you ask? Years of practice and self-denial.
          By the way, Charlie just sold his short story, Pervert, to F&SF, Keri's new book, Chasing the Shadows, is out, Karin's finished Burndive, the sequel to Warchild, Marsha sold two short stories, Sweet Revenge to Fortean Bureau, Staining Snow to Ideomancer, and (I think) Nine Tenths of the Law to Andromeda In Flight Spaceways, Cecelia's The Battle of Evernight is due out in April, , Snagy's fiction editor of Marsdust Online, and Caroline has a film out, called Rachel Sommer presents The Rock: Beneath the Hard Exterior. And me? I plan on washing my socks, and if all goes well, drying, folding, and putting them away--in drawers, even.

25 Dec
          What did you get for Christmas? I got the Major Matt Mason Space Station, and the G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu Grip, and the Space Ghost Secret Decoder Ring...no, wait...that's what I got when I was ten. Damn quirky memory. Pretty soon I'll be able to hide my own Easter eggs.
          This year I got a Sony Clié, a whole mess 'o chocolate (mostly Roger's Chocolate--the really good stuff) and the following DVDs: Spiderman, Mr. Deeds, Resident Evil, Minority Report, Star Wars Attack of the Clones, Small Soldiers, and The Lord of the Rings the Fellowship of the Ring (special edition)--but I'm not spoiled.
          Herbert got some chocolat, too, and a lump of coal. In case you were wondering, Herbert is Pen's bear. Here's a picture of the two of them. (Herbert and Pen, not Herbert and the coal.)

          We never made it to Butchart Gardens last night on account of the rain, so we stayed home and watched The Country Bears. Then, for more traditional fare, White Christmas. During the first scene, where they're holding the little Christmas show for the troops before heading to the front, I couldn't help but notice how they all look mighty clean for guys who'd been in the field for months. Yeah, I know. Pen smacked me too when I mentioned it. Good thing I didn't criticise all their salutes. I mean, I'd have failed them all for sure.
          Tonight we're going to see the new Lord of the Rings at Silver City, which is one of those honking big theatres with stadium seating, an eleventy-four inch screen, and Digital Dolby DTS Googlephonic Supersonic Subharmonic Surround Sound. Mmmmmm....movie goodness.
          And on a writing related note, The Victoria Writer's Society published my short story, The Long Way to Heaven, in their magazine, Write Away. I hear it has a rather large readership--two, maybe three people at least. My story is by far the longest one in it at 3000 words. I thought it kind of funny that in the index they divided the categories into Non-fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction, Poetry and Cartoon. I guess Science Fiction doesn't classify as Fiction, and seeing as mine was the only SF story, it's kind of nice getting a whole category to yourself.

Oh, yeah.  M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S !!!

26 Dec
          I got a rejection today from Fortean Bureau for Shadow Side of God. You should have waited a few more days, Jeremy; you could have been the first one of the New Year. I know, I know. You editors are all anxious to be first, but no jumping the gun. I have to send a few more stories out, and the novel, but I'm running out of American stamps again, and I didn't want to send the stuff out during the big Christmas mail rush. Hey, apparently the postal service could lose my mail even if I was the only one using it.
          I'm heading back to the gym today, seeing as I'm almost to the point where I can actually raise my arms without screaming like a little girl. Then, hopefully, it's home for a bit of writing before Pen gets back from work. Oh, and by the way, it's bright and sunny here today--about 7 degrees Celsius. Take that you big American cry babies. (How do you spell nyah nah na nah na?)

27 Dec
          When I first joined the CF, we used to do house clearing with an SMG. It's basically a metal tube with a spring, and the damn thing was so unreliable that when you pulled the trigger it tended to fire off it's entire clip of thirty 9mm rounds whether you wanted it to or not. That's what made it so great for house clearing. All you did was sidle up next to a door, pull the trigger, and toss the SMG in the room. It would fire off on full auto as it bounced around the room, and by the time it ran out of ammo--presto, no bad guys left.
          Nowadays I prefer the MP5. It's a great little weapon, with it's wide rear aperture sight and two round burst setting, you can pop through the door and double-tap the bad guys lickety-split.
          But trust me, neither of them have anything on Pen. Simply send her into a room with an umbrella and she'll be the only one mobile before you can say, "Argghh! My eye!" We went for a walk downtown in the rain today, and she just about took out this old lady coming out of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, not to mention almost decapitating the poor homeless guy on the corner of Government Street and Yates. All while totally unaware of the havoc she caused. All I can say is I'm glad she's on my side. Now if only she'd use her powers for goodness instead of e-vil. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

29 Dec
          I'm on my own for the next few days. I took Pen to the airport yesterday morning at the ungodly hour (honestly, the airport was full of heathens) of 5:30 AM and she was off to T.O. to visit. She doesn't get back until the more godly hour of 10:00 PM on the 1st of Jan, which means I'm all alone for New Years. Well, not exactly alone, but Pen-less. Not only that, I'm broke. I don't think I could be much more pathetic. No, wait a minute: 

30 Dec
          Okay, what the heck happened to Bill Murray's Scrooged this year? It just ain't Christmas without it. Bill must have pissed someone off real bad, what with getting booted out of Charlie's Angels, and now this. I'm sure Scrooged must have been on somewhere, but heck, I have Satalite TV and I couldn't find it anywhere. Next thing you know they won't be playing Groundhog's Day on...well...Groundhog's Day.
          BTW, I replaced the engine coolant in Pen's car, took down the Christmas tree, cleaned the oven, and went to the gym today. I realised I get a heck of a lot done when Pen's away, mostly because there's not a heck of a lot to do. 
          Of course Herbert hogs the best part of the couch, and he and won't give up the remotes. *Sniff*  It's almost like having Pen here.