2 May
          I read today that Federal Tax Auditors are pissed off because they've been working for over a year without a contract settlement. In order to put pressure on the government, they've decided that they're going to adopt a "get tough" strategy when negotiating with taxpayers. 
          "It is normal practice for auditors to be flexible in their dealings, as they recognize that the law is extremely complex and cannot adequately address all the possible situations that can arise," the union says. "Auditors have always negotiated with taxpayers to arrive at a reasonable result. After July 1, any adjustment which is or may be technically correct will be made, even if it appears to be a harsh and unintended consequence of the law." 
          Yeah, that'll show the gov't. Let's squeeze every last dollar out of the taxpayers, no matter how unfair, and add to the gov't coffers. If they really wanted to teach the gov't a lesson, they'd find in favour of the taxpayer every single time, no matter how frivolous. When it starts costing the gov't money, then maybe they'll take notice.
          Of course, that would make sense.

4 May
          Pte Doreen Joseph was one of my recruits, a member of Raven Platoon--an all Native American platoon. She was a hard and conscientious worker, keen and eager, bright and with a great sense of humor, caring, always happy, always upbeat, always singing and dancing. She put all those nasty prejudices that many have about Native Americans to shame. 
          She died in a car accident last week. I believe she was twenty-one years old. She will be remembered. 

7 May 
          I need new exercise clothing, but doubt I can afford it. Gone are the days when I could by a T-shirt for five bucks, shorts or track pants for ten, and running shoes for twelve. You know, back when exercise was manly. Somewhere along the line, though, sports clothing became a fashion statement. Now someone slaps a Nike symbol on the same five-dollar T-shirt and suddenly it costs forty bucks. I'm lucky if I can get a half-descent pair of shoes for under a hundred, on sale, if they're a discontinued model. (You'd think they'd charge less if the actual athlete who endorses them is up on rape charges.) 
          I think it all started back in the eighties with Flashdance. Jennifer Beals turned her workout duds into stripwear, and now even torn clothing costs a fortune. Thank God I don't wear leg warmers, as they no doubt have tripled in value, too. (What real man needs leg warmers, unless they're shaving their legs, in which case you should refer back to the first part of this sentence.)
          Of course now sports wear has gone high tech. They have synthetic materials that "allow your skin to breathe while you exercise." Trust me, if I'm breathing through my skin then I'm working way too hard, and someone should be standing by with defibulator paddles. 
          "Oh, but it traps the sweat against your body, keeping you cool," they say. 
          Then what's the freaking point of doing a "warm up"? As if I don't smell bad enough as it is, now I want to trap that aromatic sweetness against my skin. That way I can share it with all my friends. 
          Ah well, the price of staying in shape. You have to look good to look good.

12 May
          I've decided from now on that I'm going to say as little as possible. I won't open my mouth unless I have something insightful, important, or funny to say. Or to order food. 
          Most people aren't really interested in what you have to say anyway. They've already got their minds made up, and use the time that you are speaking to formulate their next thought. Besides, how much of what we say is truly original. Half the time what we're saying is the exact same thing the other guy is saying, just in different words. We're so busy saying what we're saying and not listening to what they're saying, that we don't realize that we're both saying the same thing. 
          And you'd be surprised at how intelligent people assume you are when you don't say anything. I guess they figure that if you're not saying anything, you must be agreeing with them, therefore you just have to be bright. 
          Maybe if I don't speak as much, I'll write more. Hey, it's gotta come out somewhere.

16 May
          Okay, no one else is bothering, so what the heck...
          I realize betrayal may be a rather melodramatic word to use in describing how you feel about a television show, cause let's face it, it's only TV, but that's exactly how I felt when I watched the series finale of Start Trek: Enterprise. Betrayed. Never mind the whole "making the cast and crew play second fiddle on their own show by having Ryker and Troi simulate the whole thing in the Holo deck" debate. It was embarrassing enough trying to pass Frakes and Sirtis off as their much younger selves--enough said. 
          But this wasn't just a series finale, it was, or could be, the end of Star Trek as we know it for years to come. Now I'm not a trekie (treker?), trust me. I don't have the various incarnations of the Enterprise schematics memorized, couldn't tell you the name of a single episode, and have never owned a Starfleet uniform in my life. Still, over the years I've expended a lot of time on Star Trek. It was one of the first shows I remember watching with my dad as a kid, constantly pestering him to explain what was going on. I've seen all the movies, and at least ninety-five percent of all the episodes of each series. And I know for a fact that the franchise has made mega bucks for Paramount. Just visit Canada's Wonderland--half the merchandise and displays are Star Trek related. I just can't believe they treated the franchise so badly when it finally came to an end. No specials, nothing. And to end it all with the most brainless episode ever? Insulting to cast, crew, and fans alike.
          If the message boards are anything to go by, the Enterprise finale has been universally panned as dismal at best. They couldn't have made it worse if they tried. As a matter of fact it's as if they did try, figuring, "What the hell, what are they going to do, fire us?"
          I won't bother regaling you with what it was that made it so dismal, in case you haven't seen it yet, but, come on. Ten years on the first deep space warp drive ship (talk about your high profile job), saving the earth from the Xindi and countless other disasters, and in all that time not a single blessed one of them even gets promoted? If I didn't know better, I'd swear Starfleet resurrected some Canadian Forces Career Managers.
          And don't even get me started on the whole Trip/T'Pol thing.  Or the Trip thing. Or the fact that they didn't tie up any of the ongoing mysteries the series hinted at. When you watch a series for a season, and the finale sucks, it's bad enough. But when you've invested, what? thirty years in a series, and then this? It's enough to put me off TV for life. 
          Or at least until Battlestar Galactica comes back on.

20 May
          So I went for my sizing for the new camouflage pattern combat clothing this morning--the ones we were supposed to get four years ago, and still won't receive until October-ish. I have to admit they're pretty nice, but as they were piling layer upon outer layer of cold weather gear, it occurred to me--shouldn't this stuff be white? Why is our Canadian cold weather gear forest green? (And why do I suddenly feel like Kenny from South Park?)

Random Thoughts: 

1.  I think water softeners are really a secret alien plot to season us before the harvest.

2.  Experience doesn't necessarily equate to competence. Just because we've done something before doesn't mean we're any good at it. I mean, I've played hockey several times, and trust me, I suck.

24 May
          I don't know if any of you know her, but Pat York died in a car accident at 3PM Saturday. She was 57.
          I met Pat York at my first Ad Astra con. I was standing in the elevator when she and Lynn Flewelling entered. Being the total idiot that I am, I had no idea who either of them were at the time, but they struck up a conversation with me, and the next thing I knew I was invited to dinner with the two of them and a group of their writer friends. I only saw Pat on and off after that, whenever we managed to show up at the same con together, but she always treated me like a long lost friend at every occasion. In my opinion, that's class. She will be remembered fondly, which, I suppose, is the most any of us can ask.

25 May
          I'm 44 years old. That's not in dog years either. The reason I mention this is, it's at about this age that men especially begin to understand that they're probably not going to realize their dreams. Odds are I'll never be a movie star, or a rock star, or a pro athlete. I doubt I'll ever make the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition either, and not just because I'm short, but because--let's face it--I'm not a woman. Sure, I was pretty back before I hit puberty--maybe even Michael Jacksonjailbait pretty--but the point is...er...what the hell was my point again?
          Oh well...
          I love lilacs. They're my favorite flower, probably because they grow wild, and you don't have to pamper them and baby them like roses. They're practically a weed. And they're free. You gotta love free flowers. So it should come as no surprise that every freaking house in my neighborhood has a lilac bush--except for ours. Luckily, they're also easy to steal.
          And if I could somehow tie this thread into the previous one, verily, I would be a writer.

30 May
          Pen and I went to Niagara Falls for the day on Saturday as sort of a belated anniversary gift to ourselves. We went to Marine Land and saw killer and beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, walrus-es (walrusi?) deer and bears. They even let us feed them.
          Then we walked down the strip and saw Goths and strippers and bikers and prom queens. We weren't allowed to feed them. I think there's a bi-law. I mean it's one thing if a deer follows you home, but another entirely if a stripper did. 
          For one thing, I'm sure Pen would let me keep the deer.