2 Feb - 750 Words
          Today's Candlemas, or Imbolc, or for the true heathens among us, Groundhog's Day. It's also my mom's birthday. Mom saw her shadow today and proclaimed there'd be six more weeks of shopping. Dad was unimpressed. Anyway:
H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   M O M!!!
(Not that she reads this. Talk about your pagans. Sheesh!!)

Pen took me out to dinner tonight, and  bought me chocolate, which can only mean one of three things:
1. She really, really loves me;
2. She's trying to fatten me up so no one else will want me;
3. She wanted to go out to dinner, and figured I was too cheap to taker her.

I vote for number one.

3 Feb
          I'm warm. And comfortable. At least according to Pen. I'm thinking of adding that to my resume. 
Interviewer: "Well, Mr. Perry, what special qualities will you bring to your position as Head of Security, should you get the job?"
"Well, I'm warm...and comfortable."
Interviewer, nodding politely: "Impressive."

Overheard at the water cooler:
"Psstt...who's the new guy?"
"That's Steve Perry. I hear he's warm and comfortable."
"Bastard!"

9 Feb
          Since last we chatted:
          I saw my Career Mangler. This one's actually not half-bad. At least he gave me the impression that he really felt guilty for screwing me over. And I'm pretty certain I'm staying here in Esquimalt--unless I'm posted to Borden. I'll know for certain, eventually.
          I still haven't won the lottery, but I heard someone else did, so it's not all bad.
          Pen took me to see the Victoria Ballet's Production of Peter Pan this weekend as an early Valentine's Day Present. Nothing tells a guy you love him like the Ballet. Except maybe the Opera, which we're going to on Valentine's Day. She must really love me.
          In all fairness, the Ballet was pretty cool. Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories, although strangely enough I've never actually read it, but I digress. Strictly speaking it wasn't all Ballet. The Lost Boys, which were all girls, by the way--but I digress--did this hip-hop power number, and the Indians were authentic West Coast First Nations Peoples (now I know why we call the Indians--it's shorter; but I digress) and performed real native dances. The only thing I wasn't impressed by was the music. It sounded like a bargain basement Tangerine Dream clone, and I swear the guy was actually playing it in the basement, on his Casio organ.
          Oh yeah. Pen got a dollar an hour raise that isn't really a dollar an hour. Don't ask.
          Still not published, but I heard someone else is, so it's not all bad.

10 Feb
          I read a report the other day that stated that the reason North Americans are increasingly obese is that the average American eats 165 calories a day more than they did in 2002. This, they informed us, is the equivalent of one chocolate chip cookie a day. Are they trying to tell me that everyone's getting fat from eating one cookie a day? That's some cookie. Personally, I think it's skinny people that are getting ripped off. I mean, let's face it, if you're thin, take a look around you. Someone's been eating your cookie. 
          And I don't know if this is one of Murphy's Laws, but if it isn't, I'm nominating it for inclusion:
   The sun will always shine through your window at that spot just below or between the sun visors on your car.

11 Feb
          The military has a policy...tradition...rule? that says everyone has to look the same. That's why they call it a uniform after all. Of course, the military being what it is, they have to take it just a tad too far. For instance, if one person is wearing gloves, everyone has to wear their gloves. Conversely, if it's absolute zero outside and one chucklehead forgets his gloves, no one can wear their gloves, even if we all get frostbite. An no, I'm not exaggerating. Well, okay, maybe about the absolute zero thing. 
          The policy probably dates all the way back to when Og wanted to wear his loincloth, and everyone else wanted to wear their over-the-shoulder-furry-toga-thingie, but I'm sure it made actual sense at one time. The military excels at that sort of thing. Find a problem, make a policy to cover it, then warp that policy until its intent becomes ludicrous, and then make it a tradition. The thing is, it doesn't matter if you're twenty, or forty, or fifty, and should know well enough for yourself whether you need your gloves or not, the decision is taken away for you, and then everyone else pays for one persons mistake. 
          Heck, it may not even be a mistake. Maybe you've got Nanook in your platoon, who can't understand why everyone's whining about a balmy spell of absolute zero weather. Anyway, I've always railed against this policy, but the truth is, it's much the same in real life.
          Now I've always thought of myself as a rather empathic person. I hate to see anyone else hurting, physically or mentally, whether I know them or not. It really upsets me, but I'm a macho he-man type so I don't usually let it show. It surprises me, therefore, that there are certain people who I would just love to hold down and pummel until their faces are nothing but bloody pulps. Because these people are ruining it for everyone. Either they're some idiot who keeps forgetting their gloves, or they're the jackass that came up with the policy in the first place. 
          So I guess what it all boils down to is, if you don't want me to beat you to a bloody pulp, just leave me alone. I'll wear my gloves if and when I like. Hey, I never said I was concise.

This just in:

Dear Mr. Perry,

Thanks for sending, "Harbinger".  It's not quite what BQ is after.  Good luck placing it
elsewhere.

It's well-written; have you considered expanding this into a novel?  Just a thought.

--Gene Stewart
Associate Editor, BRUTARIAN QUARTERLY

Damn, another nice rejection letter.

13 Feb
          So Pen and I went to the Opera again last night for the gala opening of the Tempest. It wasn't bad, but it's not like it's chock full of little ditties you can hum along to either. And it was long--three hours long, with two intermissions. About halfway through the third act I was tempted to jump from my seat and yell, "Sum up!" Hey, it works for the recruits.
          We arrived a couple of hours before the gala began to set up the jewelry display and stuff. Pen's company sponsors the opera, which is how we get to attend in the first place. Anyway, the theater wasn't fully set up yet either, and I watched as they struggled to hang this twenty-foot banner. I'm assuming they normally have a ladder, but not this time, so they were trying to hang over the balcony and place the end of the rolled up banner in a slot about ten feet out of reach. 
          Well, after the second guy gave up in frustration, I took pity on them and offered to help. I thought they were going to go into shock when I climbed out over the balcony, held on by my finger tips, and perched on a one inch ledge thirty feet up while trying to jam the end of the pole into the appropriate slot. I managed to succeed, and climbed back over the balcony when the manger thanked me, then said rather sheepishly, "Um, there's another one on the other side."
          Anyway, I hung both banners, and the joined the festivities, and at the first intermission I had a chance to meet one of the singers. He was standing there surrounded by a small crowd, when one of the girls pointed to me and said, "Isn't that the psycho that climbed out there and hung those banners?"
          The singer looked at me, grinned, and said, "Sure, twenty years of vocal training, and they go all gaga over the guy that hangs the posters."

17 Feb
          Aaaarrrggghhhh!!!! 
          Nope, still don't feel better. 
          I sent my novel, DARKSIDE, out to BAEN about six months ago. They actually let you submit by email to their slush pile now, and reply with an auto response so you know it arrived for certain. I figured at least this time I'd know they actually received it. Their turn around time is still eight months to a year, though, so I was surprised to hear back from them this quickly. 
          Their response: Sorry, but there was nothing attached to your email.
          Now I'm in a quandary. Should I kill myself, or everyone else? Sure, killing myself is faster, but killing everyone else is more satisfying. And if I just kill off other aspiring writers, I'd no doubt be doing them a favor, thereby incurring some positive karma in the process. *sigh*
          The only positive note is that at least the email address isn't the one for their general slush addy, but to an actual editor/slush reader, so chances are I won't have to wait the interminable year before finding out I'm rejected...er...accepted. 
          Hey, behind every dark cloud...well, there's the cold, dark reaches of space, waiting to chill the marrow in your bones, freeze the blood in your veins, and dry you out like a piece of tough, stringy pemmican. So it isn't all bad.

24 Feb
          I don't know who picks the music they play at the gym I go to, but they other day they were on an old Barry Manilow kick. Not that I have anything against Barry per se, it's just that his music just doesn't motivate you to push for that extra rep. There's nothing like the sight of a bunch of big, macho, muscle bound guys, laying on the bench and sobbing their eyes out. 
          "Mandy. She came, and she gave without taking. And he sent her away. That moron."
          Next thing you know there's a lineup of guys at the payphone all trying to call their moms at the same time. It's pathetic, I tell you.

25 Feb
          Okay, can someone please tell me what the hell this means, because I give up?
          I had a dream the other night that I was in a house--it may have been a house under construction. I walked by a door with a small window in it, and crows where flying up against it and killing themselves. When I looked closer, there was a man's face up against the window trying to get my attention, and yelling in a muffled voice that the fifteen runners were all dead. Sure enough, when I went outside there were fifteen old guys all dressed in spandex lying in disarray in a field outside the house. 
          Just then a foreman appeared and told me that if they he couldn't get any gasoline, his company would go bankrupt. I looked around the field and there were all sorts of gas mains, the kind with meters that you find up against your house. Anyway, I volunteered to help, and next thing I know I'm leaving my parents place in my little Geo Tracker, towing this big rig gasoline tanker. 
          Even in my dream I realized this was a little absurd, but the Tracker seemed up to the task. I remember thinking that I was going to have a trouble negotiating the turn at the end of the street that led to the railway crossing, but I managed it all right only to find that traffic was backed up. I stopped the Tracker just before the railway tracks, and was worried I might not be able to get the rig moving again. I couldn't make out why we were stopped. There wasn't a train coming, and the road seemed clear, but there were hundreds of cars parked in the grass on both sides of the road, and people in bright colours seemed to be milling all about. 
          Suddenly I realized that someone had disconnected the tanker from my car, and were making off with it. I followed the culprits around a corner, where they were unloading red gasoline cans from the back of the tanker, which suddenly had double doors on the back, and looked square, and white--a lot like a truck my dad used to use for work when I was young. (My dad was a building contractor.) The guys all looked like construction workers in jeans, workboots, and plaid shirts. Anyway, I managed to talk them out of stealing the gas by convincing them that they were putting people out of work, and how would they feel if that happened to them. They started replacing the gasoline, and I woke up.
   Isit any wonder I never remember my dreams?

28 Feb
          Conga Rats to my brother James and his wife Kathy, whose son, Andrew William John Perry, was born yesterday at 2:14 PM weighing in at 8 lbs 11 1/2 ounces!!!
(Kathy did all the work, as usual; James just showed up.)