7 Feb
          It's been bright and shiny weather all week. Can you tell I'm not out in the field any longer? We practically had monsoon-like conditions our last week in the field. And by the way, you can live on Pop Tarts and Cup-O-Noodles, at least for a week. 
          Anyway, we've spent the last week practicing for the Graduation Parade. Of course, the word parade takes on a whole new meaning when you're in the military--no rose-covered floats, giant balloon characters, and inane banter from smarmy parade marshals. (Well, okay. Maybe we do have inane banter, but it's usually by a French officer who no one can understand anyway, and would ignore even if they did.) Nope, parade practice in the military means reviewing how to stand perfectly still, in line with all your buddies, and only moving when told to, and then only if the proper words of command are given. It's kind of like a masochistic game of Simon Says.

And now, for a Dumb Recruit moment:

Chief: "Did you polish your boots today, Private?"
Private: "No Chief." (What an idiot. Even if you didn't, never admit it!)
Chief: "PRESENT--ARMS." The recruit complies, holding the rifle out in front of him. "Now you just stand there like that until I tell you otherwise."
Private: "Yes, Chief!"
Chief (whispering to me as we walk away): "Master Corporal, don't let me forget I left him there.
Me: "Yes, Chief. How long would you like him to stay that way?"
Chief: "A couple of minutes."
Me: "Roger, Chief."

          And by the way, you know Victoria is a little bit Liberal when the local college offers courses in couples massage, and Intuition 101. (I thought about signing up for Intuition 101, but had a gut feeling it might be a scam.)

10 Feb
          Typhoon Platoon graduated today. By tomorrow at 05:00 they'll all be gone. Whatever shall I do? SLEEP!!!! They had asked if they could buy gifts for the staff and were told it would be inappropriate, so they presented us all with Awards instead. (If nothing else, I taught them to be sneaky--an invaluable trait in today's Canadian military.)
         Hopefully now I can get a whole whack of writing done. (That's a Canadian whack, btw. A whack is a little less than a ton, and a lot more than a bunch.) That's if I can ever pull myself away from the clutches of the damn David Gemmell. I've addicted myself to his Rigante series.

11 Feb 
          The sun was up when I went to work this morning. It was still up when I got home. It's freak'n me out, I tell ya!! One of the recruits asked me yesterday if I was going to show up this morning at 04:00 to see them off. Being the kind, caring Master Corporal that I am, of course I replied: "No F&$@?!g way!!"
          I spent most of today working on recruit files. They may be gone, but the work lingers on. And exactly when did I join the secretarial pool? (Secretarial pool--the reality is nowhere near as nice as the combination of words might suggest. Hey, I wonder if there's a grammatical term for that?)
          Conga Rats (Tm by James Stevens-Arce) to Charlie  for making the Nebula Ballet with THE POLITICAL OFFICER. Congratulating Charlie has become quite tedious, so here's one big Conga Rat to last the year: 

Conga Rat!!! 
          There, that aught to save a whack of time. (The American whack is slightly smaller than the Canadian whack, btw.)
          P.S. Marsha, I've seen Stomp, and trust me, they kick Ballet-Ass any day.

12 Feb
          The company Pen works for has her checking out the Pacific Opera Victoria to see if they might want to become a sponsor. Pen was invited to a working rehearsal, so naturally I tagged along. (First ballet, now opera; what'll all the other mad dog killers think?) 
          I figured a working rehearsal might be fun; I'd get to see all these big fat opera singers make mistakes the average heckler...um...patron doesn't get to see. I was hoping maybe one of them might trip and fall into the orchestra pit, knock over some scenery, or possibly cough up a fur ball during an especially difficult aria, but no such luck. It all went rather smoothly. 
          The opera they're presenting is Wozzeck--probably not the first opera one should see. The music is discordant. Personally, I like a tune I can hum to--like Rock Lobster. Of course, what can you expect from a man whose sole exposure to opera thus far is Bugs Bunny. Kill da Wabbit! Kill da Wabbit!

13 Feb
And the winner is? Ideomancer finally rejected Joy Ride. Thanks for playing.

16 Feb
          I am non-violent by nature, but violent by design. Vengeance may well be the Lord's, but I think he subcontracts. I'm not even sure if those two thoughts are related, but they struck me while reading Amber's post about the Peace Rally, and the news articles about the millions who participated in them all over the world. Do the Americans even realise they have become the Evil Empire? And with disjointed thoughts like that, is it any wonder I can't get published? Blah.
          Even so, I went through all my files yesterday, making sure all the copies (the ones on my desktop, laptop, and disk) were  current and up-to-date. I did some research on a couple of half-written, semi-percolated stories I want to finish, and even wrote a few hundred words on one of them. I guess I just don't know when to quit.

17 Feb
          I was working out down in my basement today, hammering the heavy bag with various strikes, kicks, combos, and yes, even the odd weapon or two. All the while listening to "Your Body is a Wonderland" on the radio. I don't know, it just seemed incongruous to me. Here I am devastating my opponent (well, maybe devastating is a little harsh--the heavy bag is still standing; groggy, but standing) to something as light and airy as YBIAW. Where's Nine Inch Nails when you need 'em.
           My horoscope today read:
          Success in business, perhaps involving writing or speaking, might come your way today. 
          Fortean Bureau just sent me a rejection for JOY RIDE. Well, the horoscope did say might.
          Something else I noted: A few years back when I started this writing thing, after I'd won a couple of Editor's Choices at the old DROWW and Darkside had made to the finals of the Warner's contest, a lot of people thought I was an up-and-coming. Now, a couple of years later and no sales, it's amazing how my opinion has lost value. And not just on writing related topics, either.
Even in the writing world, it's more about what we do than who we are. How sad. Oh well, I finished another 300 words on a short story last night. Who knows, maybe I'll get this one published and become important again.

20 Feb
          I received some junk mail that claimed it could help me stop aging today. Sure, where the hell were they twenty years ago?
          I've been reading a lot about quantum mechanics and alternate reality theories, about how every decision we make and everything that happens to us is responsible for the creation of another universe. Like how whenever I open a letter from a publisher, for one moment, until I actually read it, it could be either a rejection or an acceptance. Once I read what's actually written there I become locked into this reality, and a separate universe is created where another me reads the opposite. So why do I always get stuck in Bogus World?
          I wrote another two or three hundred words on Luck of the Draw, and hopefully I'll write some more once I post this. I'm just starting to get back into the groove of writing, but of course it's back to work on Monday so that should mess things up. 
          I've got the old depression thing happening again which shows in the whiny posts to this journal, but where else am I going to whine? What, you didn't know this was therapeutic? Oh, I know, I know. "Just shut up and entertain us." Maybe tomorrow. 

21 Feb
          Got up, wasted time on the computer responding to frivolous emails from the Workshop (actually, the emails weren't frivolous, but my replies were), decided Netscape 7.02 sucked so I uninstalled it and went back to Netscape 4.79, ate something I didn't really want to, even though I wasn't really hungry anyway, played the drums, skipped rope, did some push-ups, kicked the heavy bag for a bit, did some weapons work, had a shower, put out the garbage, and decided to work on Luck of the Draw some more. Oh, yeah, and I updated the webpage. If I'm really lucky tonight I'll have dinner, and watch TV with Pen for a while.
So what did you do on your vacation? Oh, don't go whining to me about that pesky trip to Mexico, or how someone made you go rock climbing, or scuba diving, or hang gliding, or how your parents forced you to go to Disney World. Sorry, but not everyone can live the life of luxury that I do. It's a gift, I tell ya, a gift. 

22 Feb
          Got up this morning and finished off the box of Honey Nut Cheerios. All that leaves is a box of three-year-old Fruit Loops, and a box of Shreddies. Right, Fruit Loops it is. I queried F&SF as to if they'd received the money order I sent them back in January, tidied up the computer room, then the basement--both Herculean tasks, mind you--then watched Andromeda. The show, not the galaxy. (I don't get the galaxy on my satellite dish--stupid CRTC.) Did the dishes, played drums for a while, worked out on the heavy bag, some weapons training, a little shadow boxing, then it was time for a forty five minute run along the ocean. Lucky me, today there was a strong head wind. (Not sure why they call it a head wind--trust me, it was blowing against my whole body.)
Last but not least, I mowed the lawn, front and back. And not with one of those nancy-boy riding mowers either, nor (how often do you get to say nor?) with one of those poofter gas mowers. Nope, it's an old-fashioned push mower for me. (The scythe was in the shop.)

23 Feb
          I thought I'd try and avoid the headwind that made my run yesterday so difficult, (well, that and the fact that I haven't run regularly in a month or so) so today I ran in the other direction. Unfortunately the headwind deduced my strategy and changed direction as well. Headwind: 2 Steve: 0. Isn't it bad enough that I have to run uphill no matter what? That's right, dopey me has to choose a route that ends with a long, steep hill no matter which direction he runs in. Not only that, but there's a hill in the middle of the route too. 
          So, what's on the agenda for today? Well, first off is a shower. (Pen really appreciates it when I shower after I run--go figure.) Then it's dishes, laundry, and make a roast for supper. Come to think of it, after reading my journal for the past three days I think it's high time I went back to work.

26 Feb
          I picked up Donnie Darko today for $13. (For you Americans that means the store would practically have to pay you to take it.) It must have been a typo or something, because everywhere else I've been they're selling it for at least $30. Later, I bought a new weight lifting bar for $24. I figure it'll only cost me about another $150 to buy al the metal weights I need to replace the crappy plastic ones I have. I saw Caitlin Sweet's new book, A Telling of Stars,  at Chapters, but couldn't afford it--yet. I still have the cool bookmark with the cover imprint she gave me at Ad Astra last year.
          And they opened a new sex store near our place, so naturally I had to check it out. Apparently sex doesn't come cheap in Victoria. I mean, I bought a six foot metal rod for $24 at the sporting goods store, but it would have cost $35 for an eight inch rubber...um...never mind.

28 Feb
          Back when I lived in Trenton there was this tree in my back yard that laughed at my lack of success in writing. See, seasons would pass, and the tree would bloom, the leaves would change colour in the fall, and the tree would be barren throughout winter. (Well, except for the fact that no matter what season it was, when I looked at it at night by the light of the streetlamp it always looked like it was in full bloom, which I thought was rather freaky, but now I wonder if maybe it wasn't symbolic. Now that I think of it, even the band's name was Chasing Trees. But I digress.) Then the cycle would repeat, reminding me that I still hadn't made a sale. Well, I solved that problem; I moved. Now I've been thinking maybe I should have gotten even. I could have uprooted that tree and brought it out here to Victoria with me. The stupid thing would have leaves year round. Take that! 
          Today is Finance Redistribution Day, so I splurged and bought a box of Twinkies. Maybe tomorrow I'll see about buying Caitlin's book, although I'll never understand why my friends can't  publish ten dollar paperbacks like everyone else. Don't they know I'm on a budget here? I mean, just because she got published. Hey, maybe I should send her a picture of the Tree.