May 2 
          I thought I had a quiet evening to myself the other night.  Pen had to work late (11:00 PM) and there wasn't really anything pressing that I had to do.  I planned to read, watch a little TV, snack.  Pen had other plans.  She decided that I should go pick up the treadmill we'd been thinking of buying.  "It'll only take you a little while."  To pick it up, maybe, but then she'd expect me to have it all put together and ready to go for when she got home.   Of course, she had an answer for that one too.  "It says it's easy to assemble."  What a relief. I was afraid she wanted me to pick up the one that comes with the warning label - Caution: A Real Bitch To Put Together.  
          As luck would have it, our local Canadian tire store didn't have one in stock.  Pen was undaunted.  She called the store in Belleville, a neighboring city, and of course they had one in stock.  So the five minute drive turns into a twenty minute drive (one way.)  The kid at the store was nice enough to wheel the huge box it came in out to the car for me, but of course when I got it home, I was on my own.  I could have used some of that ancient egyptian pyramid technology to drag this huge cardboard slab into the house,  but I managed with only a minor hernia and a few popped blood vessels.  By the time I deciphered the instructions (another place where ancient egyptian would come in handy) and got the thing together, Pen was home.  So much for relaxing.  I got even with her, though.  That huge cardboard box is still kicking around our living room. 
          On a writing related note, Karin commented on her own web page that she didn't know if non writers or actors could understand that it was possible to feel affection for someone who doesn't exit.  Of course they do, Karin.  Fans do it all the time.  Just ask authors who have received pleas, or worse yet, hate mail, demanding that they bring back a character that they've killed off.  Or asking how they could write that Debbie would marry Burt, when Craig was really the guy for her.  It's our job as writers to make sure that readers feel for someone who doesn't exist.  We must create characters that the readers can identify with, love, or hate.  That is probably the most important task that a writer must accomplish in his work.  But then, Karin knows this.  I've read her stuff. 

May 3 
          Why is it that the things that can't be definitively proven one way or another are  the ones we wish to believe in the most?  Things like God, or life after death, UFOs and extra terrestrials, magic and ESP.  It must be a subsection of that same inane universal law that states that anything that tastes good must be fattening, or bad for you.  Of course, that never stopped anyone believing in God, or UFOs, any more than it stops them from eating food that they know is bad for them. 
          You'd think that after a few million years of evolution mankind would have managed to answer at least one of these questions, or developed potato chips that are low in calories and fat, and don't give you the runs when you eat them.  Who knows, maybe the two categories are more closely linked than we think.  I bet you if we created these wonderful new potato chips, aliens would land and buy a couple of bags, thereby proving their existence to mankind as well.  (Sure, they'd probably be fat, overweight aliens, but it's a start.)  And if you could design a Twinkie that was low in fat and sodium, high in protein, and cured baldness--hell, if that ain't magic, I don't know what is.
          Who'd of thunk that junk food cold hold all the answers to the mysteries of the universe.  Cool, eh? 

May 6 
          Pen and I went to the movies last night to see Frequency, with Dennis Quaid--a pretty cool flick, I might add.  Anyway, while we were waiting for the movie to start, I glanced over at Pen and there she was, legs crossed in that way only women seem to be able to manage, and filing away at her fingernails.  When she asked me what I was laughing at, I told her, "No one could ever acuse you of being butch."  So she spit on me.  No, not really.  She just called me a big brute and threatened to take my popcorn away--but I think my version is funnier. 
          By the way, Caroline, my theory on dogs and running still holds up.  The only reason I manage to be "sporty" is because I'm too stuborn to quit when I'm tired, or hurting, or old.  Which, when you come to think of it, really isn't all that bright either. 

May 8 
          Woo hoo!  My web site has had over a thousand visitors as of today.  So what if eleventy-four of them were me.  In a related note, the odometer in my car hit 225,000 kilometres today.  For some odd reason I'm not quite as overjoyed at that milestone. 
          I started to plot out the sequel to Darkside today (tentatively titled Darkside ll--hey, I save the creativity for the important stuff!)  As usual, my plot outlines leave something to be desired.  Just a few ideas jotted down here and there about things that might happen, an overview of the book--okay, a distant overview.  All right, an overview as seen through the Hubbell telescope!  It's not like I ever follow the stupid things anyway.  They're just an excuse to start writing.  I use the outlines to trick myself into thinking that I know what I'm doing, and once I've started the book, it's too late to stop.  Then I'm stuck writing without an outline again, letting the book lead me wherever it wants to.  Heck, why should this book be any different than the other ones! 

May 19 
          I'm getting old.  I've been working out hard this last month, but I seem to be going downhill.  Obviously I'm over-training.  What's the point of being in great shape if you're too tired and sore from your workouts to function?  When I was younger this didn't happen.  Sure, I can still kick butt, except now I need a couple of days to rest and recuperate before, not just after. 
          On the writing front, Warner Aspect requested the rest of Darkside, which means it's made it past the first stage of the competition.  The letter was encouraging--sort of.  It was a form letter, addressed to "Dear Author."  Still, that's the first time anyone ever called me an author before.  I spent most of this week making sure the manuscript was nice and presentable before I mail it out.  I've been trying to plot out the sequel, but so far I've only got a  couple of scenes in mind, and a general idea of what I'm looking at.  Nothing I'm happy with.  Maybe I should just start writing.  That's always worked for me before. 

May 23 
          Okay, it's time for me to pick on the ballet again.  That's part of the agreement I have with my wife.  I'll go with her, but only if I get to make fun of it later.  We went to see Cinderella.  In all fairness it was pretty cool--great sets, great costumes, great athletes.  However... 
          Before the performance began, they announced that instead of the regular dancer,  the title role of Cinderella would be danced by...well, someone I'd never heard of.  (A fact which shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.)  I had to wonder why they just didn't use the other two girls who normally performed the part, but no, they went with a second soloist.  I'm not sure how they decided on who would be playing what part at casting that afternoon, but I got the impression that this girl won it by being the only one without a chair after the music stopped playing. 
          She did do an excellent job though, which leads me to believe that maybe this ballet thing isn't all that tough after all.  I envisioned a dancers strike, where the company brought in replacement dancers, scouring the local ballet schools, discos, and strip bars to fill their quota.  I can see it now.  "The part of Cinderella will be performed tonight by Miss Cherry Forever, who will be signing autographs in the lobby during the first intermission.  Lap dances are extra."  Well, maybe not. 

May 24 
          I think I’ve figured out the secret to fine dining, at least the pricing.  Apparently, the more they can make your salad look like they dug it out of the compost heap or scraped it off the bottom of the lawn mower, the more they can charge you for it.  Anything someone would have to double-dog-dare a kid to eat costs a fortune.  Things like escargot (snails), pate (goose liver), caviar (fish eggs) and lamb fries (sheep’s testicles) comes to mind.  I’d hate to see what the going rate for a plate of worms or bugs is. 
           And it seems that by the time the restaurant has finished paying for those huge, over-sized plates, there’s not much left in the budget for food.  At least that would explain the minuscule portions, though that may be a blessing in disguise.  I mean, who actually wants a heaping plate of fish eggs or sheep’s tesicles? 
          And lobster or crab?  I make it a rule never to eat anything that looks like it would eat me first given the chance.  Though in all fairness, I believe those two crustaceans (even the species name is unappetising) would prefer to feast of my dead carcass rather than my live one.  (Which still doesn’t put the critters on my list of “yummy to eat.”) 

May 28 
          I was watching a program on the Space Channel today about prophetic visions people have had during near death experiences.  And yes, I do have better things to do with my time--just stay off my back!  Anyway, this one woman drowned in a pool while doing backflips, and saw that an uncle of hers would commit suicide.  She was resuscitated, and sure enough, a couple of years later her uncle did.  A short while later she drowned again when she fell out of her inner tube, and saw visions of earthquakes and volcanoes along the Pacific Rim.   If you ask me, this woman should do everyone a favour and just stay out of the water. 
          Why is it that the only people who tend to have these experiences and visions tend to live in trailer parks?  I'd kill (or die) to have something like that happen to me, not that I'm any more of a reliable source, Id guess.  Let's face it, I'm a Speculative Fiction author.  How would you know I didn't just make it up.  Of course, that never stopped Scientologists.   Hey, I could start my own religion.  Rule 1.  Do what you will, just keep your mitts off of my stuff.  2.  Charity starts at home--preferably my home.  3.  Anything good that happens is my doing.  Anything bad is...um...the Back Street Boys. (Always have a fall guy.) 

May 29 
          I started on the sequel to Darkside today.  Not much, just a few hundred words.  I know I said I wasn't going to write until I had the synopsis and query letters complete for Darkside and Naejin, but there's a big difference between rest and recuperation and just plain goofing off.  To be honest, I wasn't getting much done on the synopsis/query letter front anyway.  I have a synopsis for Darkside that I'm happy with, but that's about it.  I'm still not happy with the query letter, and I've made barely a dent in the synopsis for Naejin.  
          I know it really doesn't do me a lot of good to write novels and then keep them to myself.  If I'm ever going to make it as a writer I've got to get them out there.  I just really suck at the salesman end of the business.  I'm a writer damn it, not an ad man!  Charlie said something about being able to boil your book down into one or two sentences.  Hmm.  How about  Interview with a Vampire meets Army of Darkness?  No?  I told you I suck at this. 

May 30 
          I read in an art book yesterday that when drawing older people, you should make the nose and ears a little larger than you normally would.  Apparently, they said, the nose and ears keep growing as you get older.  If there is a God, He/She/It must be one hell of a practical joker.  First, He/She/It designs man so that he'll lose the hair on his head as he gets older, and grow it in weird places like his back, ears, eyebrows and nose.  (Hey, maybe that's why the nose and ears keeps growing.  He/She/It had to make room for all that extra hair.)  Then, as if your head doesn't already look goofy enough,  your nose and ears keep getting bigger.  Let's face it, if something has to keep growing as I get older, my ears and nose would be last on my list.  I'll leave it to you to guess what would be first. 
          On a somewhat happier note, I wrote some more on Darkside 2 today.  Only a couple of pages in, and I've already blown my plot outline out of the water.  I knew that would happen.  Anyway, I guess it's time I get back to my thousand word a day goal.  I'll finish this chapter, then write a chapter of Jinae, then back to Darkside 2, until I'm finished.  At least that's the plan.  That's if something bright and shiney doesn't catch my eye first.