2 Jan
          Happy New Year!!
          I don't know about you, but ours started off pretty great. We went to the Junior Ranks Mess for dinner and dancing. We were a little worried, because when we bought the tickets two days before the deadline, we were given tickets number three and four, but there were at least a hundred people at the party, which was just a nice size crowd for the J.R.
          The meal was nice, and they had a chocolate fountain that ran all night. You just can't beat a six foot fountain that spews melted chocolate, with fresh fruit and cookie wafers. Pen and I didn't know anyone there, but after the meal a couple at one of the other tables invited us to sit with them and their friends. They were good people, and we all had a great time.
          Everyone was given two tickets for a chance to win prizes at the door when we entered, which meant each couple had four chances to win one of the ten or so prizes there. Pen and I won three times: a $200 Ski Package at the local resort; a personal CD/MP3 player; and a basket full of expensive bath products (body wash, rose petal soap, bath salts, body butter--I prefer body gravy myself--slippers, etc.). I think the rest of the crowd wanted to lynch us. To top it off, as we were leaving the DJ told everyone to check under their seats for envelopes they'd hidden under some of them, and Pen won a gift certificate for appetizers at Kelsy's. We got while the getting was good.

          For my New Year's Revolution, I plan on taking over the Canadian Military. How hard can it be; there's only fifty thousand of us? I figure I'll attack at coffee break while everyone is at Tim Horton's having their double double and Tim Bits. That should cut the number on actual active duty to about two. (People, not thousand.) Sure, when they come back from break they'll be all wired on caffeine and white sugar, but by the time they get around to checking their email and realise there's a coup in progress, they'll...
          What?
          Oh. Resolution.
          Never mind.

          We saw  The Aviator today, and it really saddened me. I felt such pity for Howard Hughes. The scene where he sets the airspeed record, and then comes home injured to Kate Hepburn and they're laughing about how he crashed in a beet field, highlighted just how alive he was. Here was this great man, slowly going mad, and he had no one to help him. And the worst thing was, he knew it. 
          When the head of Pan Am comes to see him, and he's locked in his theatre, naked, with his hair grown out, urinating in milk bottles, he knew he couldn't allow the man to see him this way. As they talk through the door, and he starts to obsessively repeat phrases, he bites his hand to stop himself, because he knows. And when he has to appear before the inquiry, he has Ava Gardner come clean him up, because he knows. He knows he's seeing things and people that aren't there, and he knows, and he has no one.
          The damn movie threw me into a funk for the rest of the night. I highly recommend it.

5 Jan
          If I didn't know better, I'd swear I keep getting older every day. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "Who the hell is that, and what's he doing in my clothes?" Luckily, the mirror isn't in the bedroom, or Pen could be in real trouble.
          Oh, yeah. I wrote a whole bunch more words on Darkside: Waking the Dead. Rah, rah, rah.

7 Jan
          Today Pen suggested that I throw out a chocolate bar simply because I'd left it in my pocket and it had melted into a pile of goo. I tell you, sometimes I don't understand that woman at all. I mean, that's like me telling her she doesn't really need those shoes.

10 Jan
          At the Squadron Christmas party, I was informed of a rumor that either myself or another MCpl were getting promoted before the Christmas holidays. Apparently I was the odds on favorite. Well, the last day before holidays arrived, and neither of us was promoted. A few people from other trades, and a bunch of officers, but not us. I just found out tonight that the other guy got it today. And no, this doesn't mean I'll still get promoted later.
          I guess there's nothing left to do now but sit around and wait for that rejection letter from BAEN.

11 Jan
          My Master Warrant Officer had a near-death experience today. He just didn't realize it. When he asked me how I felt after the promotion fiasco, I told him if I were a Postal Worker I'd be shooting up the place right about now. He left me alone after that, which is wear the near-death part comes in.
          And I came up with a new motto for the Canadian Military the other night on IM Chat: The Canadian Forces--Never prepared. Always ready. Of course Jaime said it sounded dirty, but that's just because she's been hanging around Charlie too much.

19 Jan
          I saw my Career Manger today, and yes, he's still alive. They wisely left me until the last appointment--that way if I snuffed him at least everyone else would still know where they stood.
          Amazingly enough, I still didn't make the merit list. (No promotion, in layman's terms.) It wasn't my last unit's fault, though--my overall score on my last evaluation from there was 94%, which is incredibly good. Unfortunately you need a couple of good ones to get you promoted.
          Normally, with a score like that there's no way in hell they'd post you. They'd leave you there until you got a second one, which would guarantee promotion. Posting you basically kills your career. Here's how the conversation went:

Career Manger: "Oh my God! 94%. Why in the hell did they post you?"
Me: "Um…they closed the school down?"
Career Manger: "Oh, yeah. Right."

Then he told me that with a score like that all it would take is a half-descent evaluation from the school I'm at now to put me on the merit list, but of course, I'm the new guy again, so who knows. His plan is to keep me here at Borden for another 4 years, or until I make Sgt. I hope he meant whichever comes first, because if he's waiting for me to make Sgt at this rate I might just retire in Borden.

24 Jan
          So I went to Ebear's book launch at Bakka on Saturday. Bakka advertised it with the slogan, "See Elizabeth Bear and get Hammered!" which was pretty cool, until I realised they meant hammered by the weather. Yep, I travelled from Borden to T.O. in a freaking blizzard, but it was worth it. Not only did Ebear autograph my copy of Hammered, but I got her chocolate thumbprint to boot. (Don't ask.) 
          Oh, yeah: Note to self--never eat a chocolate cookie just before the author is about to do a reading. The damn thing went down the wrong way and I had a coughing fit through at least the first four pages of narrative. Interestingly enough, Ebear didn't even notice. So either she
was engrossed in the moment of reading for her fans, or I'm more expendable than I thought.
          Anyway, I caught up with some old friends, like Helen , and met some I only knew from online, like Leah . The people at Bakka were great too--Chris even added me to the mailing list. We went out for Indian food after, and I just let Ebear and the others order, because hey, I know nothing about Indian food, and I doubt Ebear would poison me (although after the cookie incident I can't be too certain.)
          Then it was another drive through the storm and home again. What with the gas, food, and various other purchases, I figure Ebear's book launch cost me about $80. That's one expensive paper back, but worth every penny.  (And I'm sure the chocolate thumb print only adds to the value.)

26 Jan
   Me: "Hey, Sarge. Sorry, but I won't be making it in to work today."
   Sgt: "Are you coming down with something?"
   Me: "No, just not interested."
          Yeah, that's what I thought. I find lately if I write this stuff down before I actually put it into action, I can save myself a lot of trouble and aggravation. What I should have said was:
          "And I don't think I'll be interested in coming in tomorrow, either."
          Yeah, that's definitely better.

31 Jan
          I can't get the tune to the new movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, out of my head.

Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka
The amazing chocolateer
Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka,
Everybody give a cheer
He's modest, clever and so smart…

          But hey, It's got Johnny Depp in it, so you know I have to see it. Although Johnny's portrayal of him is a little creepy. Willy seems almost Michael Jackson-esque. I read where Johnny channeled Keith Richards for Pirates of the Caribbean, so I can't help but wonder…

          "Hey, Kids. I've invited four young boys to my home at Neverla…er…my chocolate factory."

Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson…