1 Oct
          Gordon Van Gelder's rejection letter arrived with F&SF's usual promptness. I really didn't think he'd be interested, but I hadn't sent him anything in ages and didn't want him to think I'd given up. ;-)
          BTW, you can throw a Jump Drive in the washer and dryer, and it'll still work.

4 Oct
          I went to Base Transport today to renew my DND 404s (a military driver's license so you can drive staff cars, vans, mules, APCs, tanks...). It's not like it was easy to find, either. Base Transport was hidden on the outskirts of the base, down an alley, out behind the Military Police Academy, with nary a sign to mark it's location. Even the building doesn't say "Base Transport" anywhere on it. 
          Finding the office I needed was just as bad: down three corridors, up a flight of stairs, two right turns and three doors later.  I think if you manage to find the place, they should issue you your 404s and give you your RECCE qualification to boot, or at least make you an honorary Pathfinder or Ranger.
          Of course it's not like they'd actually put something good in your Personnel File; only the bad stuff seems to show up there:

"Hmm...took a bullet for the Queen. Nah. Rescued seven Members of Parliament from shark-infested waters? Nah. Got caught chewing gum on parade--that goes in here for sure!

Darling du Jour: "I may not be able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but I can still climb the stairs all the way to the top."

5 Oct
          I had to renew my passport, and let me tell you the paperwork is a killer. You'd think seeing as I already have one that hasn't expired yet they'd cut me some slack, but noooooo. I guess they want to make sure I'm not a communist synthesizer or something. 
         I mean, honestly, I can state unequivocally that I have never built a communist from scratch in my entire life. A fascist, two socialists and a capitalist, sure, but never a commu....what? Oh, sympathizer.
          Never mind.

Darling du Jour: "All right, but none of that attacking me one at a time crap. I'm in a hurry."

6 Oct
          We were perusing Hurricane names at work the other day after one of the late night talk show hosts remarked that we have to give them scarier names if we expect people to flee in terror when they approach. Let's face it, Hurricane Katrina sounds like a stripper name. 
          I think we should name them after demons. I'm sure people would vacate quickly if they thought Hurricane Damian was coming, or Hurricane Astaroth. I'm sure a couple of names out of the Necromicon would come in handy, too.
          I mean, one of the names chosen for sometime in 2008 is Nana. Can you imagine telling your kids we have to run screaming for the hills because Nana's coming?

Darling du Jour: 

"When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave."
"Okay, sure. But could you make it some spare change instead? That way I can at least grab a coffee on the way out."

7 Oct
          Monday we were told we were being sent to the corners of Canada (well, the edges at least) on a fact finding mission for work. A few of us were going out East, some out west, and I was covering Ontario and Quebec. We scrambled like mad all week trying to make travel arrangements, because this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and we were supposed to leave on Tuesday.
          One of the stops on my trip was to visit a military school that teaches the repair of Night Vision Goggles. We want to check out the course and see how it's run. Well, they called us back and said they couldn't accommodate us next week because they're running a course, and could we reschedule for the following week. (That's right, we can't visit them to check out their course because they're running one, but we can check it out the following week, when they're not.) 
          So in order to accommodate them, my entire trip had to be rescheduled. Everyone else is leaving for their trips next week, and I 'm staying here until they get back. Then I'll leave on mine for a week. 

Darkside: Waking the Dead: 100,022 words

Darling du Jour: 

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."
"Where's Drat?"
"He's gone."
"Wow, that's tough."

10 Oct
          I had one of my rarely remembered dreams last night. I dreamt I found a copy of Darkside in the mass-market paperback section of the supermarket. It had a white cover, and they'd renamed it Breathless (which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever). It had a great review from some big time critic on the cover blurb, and I remember feeling elated that it was published and doing so well. I was a little confused that I'd never signed a contract with DAW. (I actually did send it to them way back when, and they rejected it.) 
          It was then that I began to notice the changes. The troll character was now a young wizard, they'd removed all the humor, and somehow Nicholas Cage had something to do with it. (Not as a writer, but as a character--go figure.) It dawned on me that it was published under someone else's name as well, and I realized I could probably sue and make big bucks, but worst of all I knew my book would never be published now.

          Other than that Thanksgiving was great. Both the one at Pen's parents, and the one at mine. Mmmm....leftovers.

13 Oct
          It's been rainy and damp for the last few days. Neither condition is optimal or conducive to my happiness and well-being, and since I'm prone to depression anyway it isn't helping matters much. The winter blahs never seemed to hit me as hard when we were living in Victoria, but then I suppose winter didn't exactly hit that hard there either. It's strange, but even though Pen and I were born and raised in southern Ontario, nowhere felt as much like home as Victoria did, and we both felt that we were being unfairly punished by being forced to leave there.
          These last serveral years there have only been a few things I've really wanted out of life: my own house, a good band to play in, a promotion, and a publishing contract. So far I'm zero for four despite my best efforts, and things aren't exactly looking up on any count, either. I just had a meeting with my career advisor today, which pretty much confirmed what I'd guessed all along. This last posting screwed me, and I'm at the bottom of the list for promotion again. 
          The band has been in limbo the last several months. We can't find a singer, and no one's really had time for it anyway.
          Writing has been hard. I have to struggle for words, and I can't help wondering why I'm even bothering. Here I am trying to finish the sequel to a novel I can't sell. People just don't seem interested in what I have to offer.
          I make good money, but I don't have any. Something always conspires to make sure of that. Not much chance of getting a house in the near future, and I can't help but feel I'm running out of time if I want to get into the market and be able to pay it off by retirement. I can forget about getting out of the military. Life seems to be about working hard to get nowhere, while watching others coast by me. More and more I'm just going through the motions. I have not desire to do anything. I definitely can't motivate myself to exercise.
          You should all thank your lucky stars that I have Pen, because if something ever happened to her I think I'd be a terror to deal with. Her influence and my thoughts for her well-being are all that keep me in check, that convinces me to conform to society's standards and behave like a good little citizen. Luckily, she loves me, and she's healthy, and by the time either of those conditions change I'll probably be too old to be much of a threat. Unless, of course, I snap. (Although she just called a few moments ago to say that she slammed her finger in the vault at work, and it's bleeding, and probably broken.)
          The only good news I've had lately is that I'll be rooming with Tobias Buckell and Daryl Gregory at the World Fantasy Convention, so at least I'll have a place to stay. I don't know either of those fellows, but friends I trust say they're nice--you know, like John Wayne Gacey and Paul Bernardo.

Darkside: Waking the Dead:
Word Count: 101,000

Darling du Jour:

          My friends formed a line to either side of me, facing off against Azrael and his demons across the hollow. I held Leanne's hand, and gave it a light squeeze.
          "Now that we're all here, we can begin," Azrael said.
          That didn't sound good.
          "Okay, we'll go first," I said. "Red rover, red rover--we call...um...that big warty guy with the horns and goat feet over."

16 Oct
          So I'm off on a tour of Military Training establishments in Ontario and Quebec from Monday to Thursday. It should be fun, but I don't know if I'll be able to update this blog until I get back, or check my email. So if I don't get back to you right away I'm not ignoring you. Well, at least not more so than usual.

Darkside: Waking the Dead

Word Count: 102,000

Darling du Jour:

"I hope you didn't pay good money for that?"
"Of course not. I used that old mildewy money I keep for just such occasions."

24 Oct

          Our computer had been holding us hostage. It shuts down suddenly for no reason, and wonít start again until it feels like it, which lately has been days. You canít start it with a boot disk, eitheróthatís how screwed it is.
          So Pen bought me a new one yesterday, a bright, shiny dual core whatsit with card reader thingies and DVD burner doodads, and Windows XP Media Center bossing all the software about. Of course you canít have a monster machine like that, and view it on an archaic 17 inch CRT behemoth, so she bought me a new 19-inch flat panel monitor because, hey, I guess Iím a good boy.
          The only problem is now I have to wait for the old machine to start up so I can copy all my old files from it to the new one. (I tried slaving the old hard drive to the new machine, but Iíd practically have to strip the new one down to its skivvies to accomplish that, and-- like hey--itís new. So I decided Iíd just transfer it all using my jump drive, and guess what. The jump drive doesnít work anymore. (The one where I store all my writing.) Luckily Iíd backed it up to my laptop, and so only lost about the last 500 words of Darkside 2. Still.
          You know, the only thing I know that can mess with electronics that bad is Pen, when sheís pissed. She says it wasnít her though, and Iím of a mind to believe her, seeing as she just bought me all these new bright, shiny toys.
          And dang, it's speedy!

27 Oct

          I was wrong. I lost about 1500 words when my jump drive gave up the ghost. Well, I didnít really lose them. I know where they are. Theyíre trapped in that @%&* jump drive somewhere, and they wonít come out. I tried coaxing, bribing, threatening, and pleading with them, but nothing. I should have known theyíd be stubborn, seeing as all the trouble I had getting them out and down on pixels in the first place. Of course, I only vaguely remember them now, so I have to start from scratch again. I can only console myself with the lie fact that these new words will probably better than those old ones anyway.

31 Oct

          The human body is a marvel of engineering. I say this because it occurred to me the other day that you can void your bladder without voiding your bowls, but you canít void your bowels without voiding your bladder. Think about it: when was the last time you took a dump, and didnít take a whiz at the same time? But if you had to take a dump every time you took a whizóletís just say it would change the whole bathroom going experience for men, and put the urinal manufacturers out of business.

This comment brought to you by: Just Another Thing Us Writer Types Notice.