I survived four days in the field, no showers, little sleep, day and night
map marches, a 13 Km march, and the Obstacle Course--blistered feet and
all. I'm still digging green and brown camouflage paint out of my ears.
At least I hope its camouflage paint. Luckily, it's all downhill from here.
Actually, it's all down the side of a big freaking cliff--we start rappelling
I spent the last couple of days with Pen at a Latino/Caribbean Festival.
Two days ago I was choking down IMP's (Individual Meal Package, although
Inedible Magma Product seems more appropriate--and they still tasted better
than the hot meals the Mess Hall sent out) and now here I am at Market
Square listening to Salsa, Calypso, and Reggae music. Incidentally, Market
square is an inner courtyard formed by a ring of two-story buildings that
in days gone by teamed with saloons, opium dens, and prostitutes. Now it's
upscale yuppie shops, bistros, and....prostitutes.
Oh, by the way, Ryan won't be reporting to St. Jean until Sept 23 now.
Typical military: hurry up and wait.
fun. I don't care what the rest of the guys say. Except for the part
where the rappel master kept telling me, "Don't look down."
If you don't look down how will you know when to apply the break? What
do you mean you're supposed to break before you reach the bottom?
And I'm going to an
Indian sweat lodge on Thursday. The Sergeant Major tricked me when he asked
if I'd like to go. I thought he said sweet lodge. Damn ears are
still full of camouflage paint.
After weeks of go,
go, go, I'm having trouble dealing with the lull. We graduated yesterday,
and now there's really not much to do until the recruits arrive. Sure,
there's little bits of activity here and there, the odd two or three hour
course, but hardly enough to fill the 14-16 hour days I'd grown accustomed
to. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I guess now that things have settled
down I'm going to have to develop my routine: get back to the gym and back
to my writing. And scheduled naps.
Pen and I went to Butchart Gardens
last night and watched a local Celtic band play. They were great, and by
the time they were finished it was all I could do to stop myself from donning
pistol and rapier. It's a good thing there weren't any coaches along the
highway, or I'd have had all their booty.
Hmm...I just realised that in this day and age those words could conjure
up an entirely different image than the one I intended. Instead of a masked
highwayman robbing stagecoaches and relieving its patrons of their valuables
a la Rob Roy, we now have some nutcase pulling over a minivan carrying
the girl's soccer team and making off with the coach's girlfriend.
Microsoft has a neat little free program that you can download from their
website called Microsoft Reader. It's their version of an E-book reader,
but what's neat about it is that it's also an add-on to MS Word, and will
convert any Word document into an E-book, automatically (including--O
joy, O bliss--a novel). To get it to look just right you have to create
a master document divided into subdocuments for each chapter, and then
create a table of contents, but when you're finished you've got a passable
imitation of a real book. You can highlight text as you read, skip immediately
to any chapter, place bookmarks, add pictures (including your own cover
art)--it'll even read aloud to you providing you don't mind it annunciating
every comma and period.
I know it's just a vanity thing, but there's something about seeing DARKSIDE
in book format that I find encouraging. I guess it makes the dream more
And I never thought I'd say this, but Pen wants to kill Bambi. That's right,
my wife, who wouldn't hurt a fly (she gets me to kill them) wants Bambi
dead. Pen has spent hours and beaucoup de bucks on her little flower garden
at the front of our home. It's beautiful, and, apparently, delicious. The
area where we live is teaming with tiny little deer (my old dog, Bear,
was bigger than most of them) that've decided that Pen's flower garden
is an all-night drive through at MacDonald's or something. I told Pen she
could set the sprinkler up to scare them away, but Claymore mines were
out of the question.
We went back to Butchart Gardens on Sunday night to listen to Odyssey,
a String Quartet. It was interesting because they didn't play in the band
shell, but down in a field in the Sunken Gardens. Garden staff handed out
plastic ground sheets and chequered cloths for patrons to sit on. It was
all I could do to stop myself from stringing my ground sheet up between
two trees to build an improvised shelter, and set up booby traps. Too much
time spent in the field, I guess.
Odyssey played pieces by the classical masters like Bach, Chopin, and Mozart,
as well as more contemporary numbers by Gershwin and Joplin. I had to smile
as an elderly woman behind us sang along in her Snow White soprano, until
I realised that she was probably just reminiscing the songs of her youth.
I can just imagine myself as an old timer, catching the oldies band at
the biodome and warbling along to Rock Lobster while the young whippersnappers
smirk and nod knowingly at the "crazy old coot". Ha! See if I tell them
where the trip wires are.
Pen and I just got back from renting a movie from Blockbuster. They had
MAD MAX on sale in the "Original Australian." Gee, I hope it has subtitles.
We had to go out and buy new envelopes for mailing manuscripts today. I
had originally bought 100. I figure what with the ones I wasted or used
for other purposes, I've probably mailed away at least 60 manuscripts or
query letters, so I did a quick tally: $15 for large envelopes; $15 for
SASE sized envelopes; Average cost of mailing queries or manuscripts--$180
at $3 a piece; $160 for return postage on SASE's; $80 for printer ink;
$30 for paper. That comes to a grand total of about $480. So far I've made
3 sales for a grand total of about $60 Canadian, and all three sales were
made to webzines were I emailed the freaking submission in. Go figure.
We went to Vancouver yesterday. Big city. Nowhere near as nice as Victoria.
It cost $10 to park the car, $37 for the ferry ride, $40 for the bus ride
from the ferry terminal to downtown and back, and about $12 in taxis. Pen
bought some lip-gloss from Holt Renfrew, a pair of shoes, and some body
bath/gel/wash/scrub/perfume guck from H2O. I'm sure everything was on sale,
so it must have been a bargain. I got...um...nothing. Boy, did I
save money there.
First off, I'd like to thank my wife for clearing up my spelling of Holtz
and 02. Hey, if you're going to make fun of someone, you should at least
get the spelling right.
And I'd like to thank Amber for turning me on to Buddha.net. Now I'm more
confused than ever. Okay, I admit maybe all life is suffering, but I don't
think the point is to achieve Nirvana, which is basically the point where
you cease to exist. I might be wrong about that, but I think I'm in the
ballpark. If you ask me that's still a rather selfish goal. Wouldn't it
be better to try to create a Heaven here on Earth, where everyone could
live in peace, harmony, love, and all that crap? It seems a nobler goal.
Then again, if God (if there is a God) wanted that for us, he didn't set
a very good example. I read it in a Robert Sawyer book once (and he told
me he got it from someone else) that very few of God's creatures die peacefully
in their sleep. Most die an agonizing, painful death. Which brings us back
to all life is suffering, and I just don't think that's the way it's supposed
Then again, what do I know? I thought of all this crap after my run, while
I was meditating. You know, where you're supposed to clear your mind of
all extraneous thoughts. Yeah, that worked out really well.
It's Ryan's birthday today.
P P Y B I R T H D A Y R Y A N !!!!
My son is 18 today.
And I thought the one having the birthday was supposed to feel old.
We were walking past one of Pen's favourite little flower shops in the
mall the other day when she asked, "I wonder if I'll get flowers for the
first day of my new job?" Well, she will now. Subtlety is not Pen's
She got kind of uppity when I mentioned that until I threatened to spank
her, to which she replied, "Oh, yeah? You and what army?" That's when I
reminded her that I actually do have my own little army now. 20 soldiers
who will do practically anything I tell them without question. 60, when
I'm instructing the entire platoon. Ha! Take that, wench.
We went on the Ghostly Walks tour of Victoria last night, given by local
historian John Adams. It's a two-hour walk through the Victoria waterfront
area, which is, apparently, the most haunted place in Canada. That's right,
I moved from Trenton, which had the highest concentration of walking deadbeats,
to Victoria, which has the highest concentration of walking dead. It's
like a theme thing.
Tonight we're headed
out the Starlight Cinema 2002. It's an outdoor cinema where they're showing
Look Who's Coming to Dinner. Am I a classy guy or what?