2 Mar
          It occurs to me that we (or at least I) bandy the word friend about too judiciously. And that's strange, because friendship is something I take very seriously. Take Caitlin, for example. In a previous post I called her a friend. Truth is, I hung out with Caitlin and several others while at Ad Astra last year. Does that make her a friend? Probably an acquaintance at best. 
          Pen is my best friend. Then there's my brother (and probably my sister if I pinned her down and twisted her arm) who's always been there for me. And my parents, and last but not least, the brats. But they're family; they have no choice. (Especially Pen, cause I have it in writing somewhere.)
          Other than family, there's Charlie, who's probably one of my closest friends even though we rarely ever see each other, and hardly ever talk. There's the other Sock Monkeys (and lint), and a myriad of on-line friends like E, Tempest, Celia, and Amber. There's my childhood friends. We were inseparable into our twenties, but I rarely talk to them any more. 
          So what exactly is a friend? First off, for me a friend is someone who likes me despite knowing me well. :-) They're someone who's there for you no matter what, despite the fact that there's nothing in it for them. Someone to talk to, lend a hand, or just sit quietly in misery together. They're that safety net; when your life absolutely sucks you can still say, "Someone likes me." (I'd say love, but that's too girly-man.)
          So, although I can never be certain whether I have any friends or not outside of immediate family, there's one thing I know for sure. There are a lot of people who have a friend in me. And they probably don't even know it.

3 Mar
          Gas is 88.5 a litre. That's $3.45 an American gallon. ($4.02 for a Canadian Gallon.) I can see it now: "Sorry, boss, I can't come to work today. I can't afford it." 
          Another rejection letter today. It's getting harder and harder to convince myself to write--or at least submit stuff. Maybe I should just right for myself. The result seems to be the same. Actually, it's not even the rejection; it's the constant dashing of your hopes and dreams.
          And apparently Caitlin is a friend. Yeah, me! (Sheesh, you never know who might be reading your blog!)

6 Mar
          CFB Esquimalt, where I work, is actually a navy base, which explains all the cars with the "GO Navy" bumper stickers. And while I think it's nice to be proud of your job and all, you don't see other professions flaunted in such a manner. I mean, just once I'd like to see a "Go Gynecology" bumper sticker.
          And speaking of work, there's not a lot of it since I don't have a platoon in house. I have a lot of spare time, so I've started going to the gym during the morning hours. The Warrant (my boss) comes with me, and we've been doing some martial arts training. He's done martial arts before, so I'm kind of fine tuning him. The Chief heard about it, and now he wants in on the action two. It's not everyday a guy gets to beat up on his Warrant and his Chief. I know guys who'd pay to be in my position. Of course, these are the guys who decide if I get to go home early on Fridays and stuff...

9 Mar
          It snowed. In Victoria. There's two inches of snow on the ground. It'll probably be gone before noon, but still--cool. Of course, the weenies around here are panicked. Someone told Pen that a couple of years ago it snowed about a foot and a half, and they closed the city down. It was actually illegal to be out on the roads. Nancy-boys, every one of 'em. 
          Then again, have you seen the way people drive out here? I mean, we have bad drivers in Ontario, but at least there it's intentional. Some guy-in-a-hurry in the left lane will signal, cut his car sharply into the just-barely-enough-room spot between you and the driver in front of you, and then curse you and give you the finger. 
          Here on the island they'll just slowly pull over into your lane (it doesn't matter that you're still occupying it), no signal light, no check over the shoulder; nothing. They drive off on they're merry way, totally oblivious to the fact that they've almost run you off the road even after you've cursed them and given them the finger. And Vancouver Island has to be the only place in Canada where the majority drive 5-10 Km below the posted speed limit.

11 Mar
          I was teaching martial arts at the gym today when some guys came over all interested and stuff. I had no problems with that--they seemed like pretty good guys, and what the heck, the more the merrier. Anyway, later when we went down to change, it was remarkable how the attitudes changed when they realised they were officers, and I wasn't. It was like suddenly they acted as though they were better, and smarter than I was. (Hey, at least their attitudes didn't change while we were standing there naked, but only after the uniforms came out.) And the really interesting thing is, it was a senior officer who had been watching us that pointed it out to me.
          And speaking of the gym, the shower has only one setting. Warm. How is that possible? Do they have this huge warm water heater somewhere? And why is it every time I go to take a shower the cleaning guy shows up. Call me crazy, but I tend to get a little nervous when I'm standing there naked and there's this guy with a big, black rubber hose eyeing me suspiciously. 

13 Mar
          I got the self-addressed stamped postcard in the mail today that I'd sent off with Darkside to DAW, so I guess that means they’ve at least received it. And AISM told me Joy Ride has passed first reading. (Submission passed their first, second, and third reading and then they still decided against it, so I'll take that for what it's worth--at minimum, another close-but-no-cigar.) Apparently Realms of Fantasy still hasn’t received Harbinger, (maybe I should have warned them it was coming) even though I mailed it to them back in September, and then again in January. 
          Not only that, I've lost my marbles, misplaced my trust, and flushed my career down the toilet. At least I have my health. Hmmm, I know I left it around here somewhere...*cough*. Aw, nuts.
          And Amber, gas hit 91.5 cents a litre here on Tuesday. Keep up, Girl! 

14 Mar
          Ha! Fooled you. That's two days in a row. And by the way, Claude Lalumière must have one of those new Binford 2000 Slush-disposals. The man can reject a story faster than an Ethiopian racing across the dessert with a Macdonald's coupon. Of course I can submit them almost as quickly. Take that, mon ami. And I've decided that if I'm going to get rejected anyway, I might as well at least have fun with the editors. That's why I addressed my story to him as Claude the French-Editor-Guy. Now all I have to do is send one off to Amber the Sexy-Goth-Broad, Celia: Nearly-Naked-And-Still-Can't-Find-A-Boyfriend, Marsha the Kindergarten-Cop-Lady, and Mr. Gordon Van Gelder, Editor, F&SF. Hey, I'm not a complete idiot.

15 Mar
          That's three days in a row; try and keep up. Claude The Light (think about it) rejected another one. And he was almost nasty this time. I think I'm breaking him down. :-) 
          I'm currently reading Ebear's novel whenever I have the time, and loving it. I just finished Amber's novel with the same result. Heck, with friends like these, who needs Chapters? (That's like Barnes and Noble for you Yanks.) 
          I have two or three short stories that I need to finish up, but then I've decided I'm done with that medium. I think I'll stick with novels--not that I'm having any more success there, but they take a hell of a lot longer to write, so you don't get rejected as often. What? It makes sense to me.

16 Mar
          Me: Hon, why's the computer turned off?
          Pen: (Arches eyebrow) It was bad.
         Me: So you turned it off?
Pen: No, I gave it a Time Out.

          Marsha threatend to make me go stand in the corner if I sent a story to her addressed to Marsha the Kindergarten-Cop-Lady. Editors are so touchy. It's no wonder it's so hard to get published. Then again, she never said she wouldn't publish the story.

17 Mar
          Well, it's official. I just got the nice, polite, standard form letter rejection from DAW for DARKSIDE. What more is there to say?
          Well, there's this:  I swear the world is just trying to fuck me up. It's bad enough that I'm home sick today. I just this morning was chatting with Snagy about DAW and Darkside, and how they publish stuff by Mercedes Lackey, and Tanya Huff, which is similar. And how it would be nice to show up at Torcon with a book deal, or at least have the sequel finished which would make it more attractive to a publisher. 
          And I finally geared myself up to start working on the sequel, and have spent the last few days trying to iron out the plot issues, and doing research, and generally getting cranked up about writing again. And then I get the rejection. I mean, if you believed in signs from God or the Universe or whatever, this would be a big flashing, neon, flaming billboard telling me to quit.   Christ, half of my stuff gets lost in the mail! Hell, I can't even get my friends to publish my work.  If the world were a person right now, I'd slit its throat.
          But I'm not bitter.

18 Mar
          There's a homeless guy who lives under the bridge near our place. I see him there sometimes, with his ground sheet, sleeping bag, and a suitcase that probably holds everything he owns in the world. A jogging path runs under the bridge, and the other day I saw him stretching out his calves up against one of the bridge supports. I didn't think homeless people were that into fitness, but then again what else do they have to do? It just goes to show I don't know everything. Just most things. 
          Anyway, what got me thinking about the homeless guy was that Pen and I had our income tax done today. Who knows, if things don't look up he might have a new workout partner. I hope he has the guest room made up.

19 Mar
          I've come to the conclusion that yes, the universe is out to get me. It's been that way all my life, why should my writing career (or lack of) be any different? Of course that doesn't mean I'm going to just lie down and take it. Oh, sure, the universe may be a gazillion times bigger than 
I am, but everyone says size doesn't matter. (No wait, that's just women, and they're all lying.) Still, I plan on kicking the universe in the ass, providing it's not out around the Andromeda Galaxy or something, then I'll look for a body part closer to home. I'm pretty sure my own hometown of Trenton is near the armpit of the universe, and while the armpit blow is not one of your more common fighting techniques, it's a start. 
          Hey, maybe I should write the most god-awful schlock I can spew out. Knowing the way the universe works there'll probably be a bidding war over it, and it'll get made into a movie starring Ben Afleck, even though the protag is described as a 4' narcoleptic, cross-dressing albino. Come to think of it, Ben would be perfect.
          Anyway, I want to thank everyone who emailed me with their support. (Sock Monkeys Rule!) It helps to take the sting off. It doesn't do anything about the blinding migraine and soul tearing, gut-wrenching despair, mind you, but the sting is gone.

20 Mar
          Ortona platoon graduates this Monday. That means by Tuesday there'll be only one platoon left in house--Cyprus, my old platoon. I suggested that all the remaining instructional staff join them out in the field, and hunt them down. We'd have almost a platoon of staff to take on a platoon of recruits. Of course, after that the recruits would probably need therapy, and we'd probably have to issue them medals. I can see it now, twenty years later:
          "Where'd you get that medal son?"
          "The battle of Albert Head."
          "I hear that was a bad one."
          "The instructors came at us from out of nowhere and hunted us down like rabid animals. Thunderflashes, smoke grenagdes, pushups and latrine duty--they threw everything they had at us. The horror, the horror."

22 Mar
          Pen and I were driving home in the car last night, and I came out with the brilliant statement: If we have any extra money, we should buy a laser printer.
          Extra money? What the hell is that, money you don't need? "Hey, hon, why don't we buy this here printer. I was just going to burn that money anyway." Trust me, all my money is spoken for. Money that I'm likely to earn for the next twenty years is spoken for. But I'm not bitter. *Didn't win the lottery, again*

23 Mar
          The price of gas is down to 88.5 cents a litre, which is a good thing because for a while there it was almost as expensive as water. Let's face it, gas was expensive enough, but now with the Americans and Operation Hostile Takeover...er...Iraqi Freedom, well, let's just say it's a good thing I live downhill from work. That way I can coast most of the way home, just in case.
          I was driving to work the other day and there was this guy sitting at the top of the cliff formed where the highway cut through, and he was playing guitar and singing. Or maybe I was hallucinating. Sometimes it's hard to tell for sure, especially here in Victoria.

27 Mar
          I was Duty NCO last night. Cyprus Platoon is out in the field so there's no one left in-house except for three members of Pat Platoon. I used the time wisely to do some editing on Chapter Twelve of Darkside 2. About the only creative writing I managed was in filling out the Duty Log:

15:00 Picked up Duty Log Book and accoutrements from Chief. Put them back down. Didn't work; still Duty NCO. Must come up with a Plan B for next time.

16:00 Secured Building 1020. Didn't know it was loose, but hey, I just work here.

17:00 Assumed the Mantle of Command. Fits nicely, but a little snug in the shoulders.

18:30 Inspected all three members of Pat Platoon. Was a little winded afterwards. Had to lie down.

19:00 Secured Building 1020--again. Side door was ajar. We loose more buildings that way.

19:30 Was a little disappointed there were no Fire Pickets to brief. Had my speech all ready and everything. Depression has set in.

20:00 Did rounds. Pat Platoon told me they were going to strip and wax the floors. I have no idea why they felt the need to wax the floors in the nude, but hey, I just work here.

22:30 Inspected Pat Platoon again. Had my second wind this time.

23:00 Lites Out (Used American Spelling to show our support for the boys in the Gulf.)

06:00 Opened Building 1020. Luckily, it was right where I left it. 

28 Mar
          It's Pen's birthday tomorrow, and her first one without Chantel. I won't tell you how old she is, but I foresee a lot of hysterics, crying and screaming. I suspect Pen will probably act up, too. Now, where did I leave my dancing shoes again? There they are, with my walking stick, my combat jacket, and my flying suit. Heck, all I need now is a Kung Fu Grip and I could be an action figure. Wait a minute; I have a Kung Fu grip. Nuts. 

29 Mar
          Joy ride didn't pass second reading at ASIM. They gave some comments from their readers, which was kind of cool. Except for the one that said: Aliens have to land their ship on Earth so they can take a leak? A bit silly.
          Well, duh.

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   P O O K I E!!!

Okay, tomorrow it's back to the tough-guy image, honest.