Aug 12
          Okay, I have a minute so I thought I'd update this webpage. Just a minute though, 'cause I am on vacation ya know. First off, I'm still not rich--or published. Both goals are taking a little longer than anticipated--stupid karma. Which got me to thinking. There's this quote from Darkside: "We are not human beings trying to be spiritual, we are spiritual beings trying to be human." 
          The theory is that our higher selves are here to experience all things human, and what's more human than emotion? And then I thought, what if the majority of us experience more negative emotions--sadness, loneliness, anguish, etc., because they're easier than happiness. It takes a lot of work to be happy. That's right, most of us are unhappy because our higher selves are just too damn lazy to get up off our ethereal butts and go for the gourmet food of life. It's easier to hit the MacDonald's Drive through of existence. 
          Then again, maybe I just spent too much time out in the sun. 

Aug 13
          So I wrote this story called Harbinger that I sent of to Black Gate back in April. I still haven't heard back from them, but it's still within their response time window, so I'm not worrying yet.
          Anyway, the reason I mention this is that the other night Pen and I were on our way to her staff party, and I notice the sign for this little sidestreet called Harbinger Street. Now, you have to admit, that's a rather unusual name for a street. And if that were all there was to this, I wouldn't be boring you with this tale. However, I've been looking for a set of weight lifting straps for about a month now. They're rather a common piece of apparatus, but I couldn't find any in Victoria anywhere, and had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to search in Vancouver when Pen and I go there for a few days next week. 
          So Pen and I are wandering around China Block (it's actually called China Town, but who're they trying to kid?) and we decide at the last minute to take a stroll down to the Iron Works. While we're there I notice a Sports Trader shop I never noticed before. Of course we investigate, and the place is great--it has everything, including weight lifting straps. And not just your average, run-of-the-mill weight lifting straps; these ones are padded--and inexpensive. So I buy them. 
          Yesterday, I'm off to the gym to try out my new straps for the first time. I take them out of the box and lo and behold, stitched on the label is the brand logo: HARBINGER. Again, rather an odd choice for a piece of weight lifting apparel, wouldn't you say? 
          Now, if the world works the way it usually does for me--in its synchronistic fashion and all--I should be getting a rejection letter from Black Gate any day now. What? You didn't think this story would have a happy ending, did you?

Aug 15
          When we're out in the field, Topo exercise (short for topography)is where the recruits get to put into practice all the training we've beaten into...er...instilled in them over the past eight weeks. Basically, we give them a set of references and they have to plot a bearing from one point to another and then march on it. It's tougher than it sounds, because even an 8 figure grid reference is only accurate to within 50 meters, and you try fining a little white sign on a specific tree in the middle of thick forest that says, "Topo Point 22." Add to that the difficulty of doing so at night, when you can't see five inches in front of your face, and the knowledge that the staff--namely me--could attack at any moment, and maybe you'll understand why I enjoy this so much.
          The recruits, for their part, get to practice radio procedures, field movements, hand signals, stalking, camouflage and concealment, section attacks, gas drills, how to open cans of spam...well, you get the picture. Hopefully, they don't get to practice first aid. 
          Generally they proceed at night in teams of ten, and will stop occasionally to "count forward." That's where the last person taps the recruit in front of him and counts, to ensure that they haven't lost anyone. My favorite trick is to infiltrate their group as they're moving through the bush, and mess with their count. 
Section Leader: "Count Forward."
Section: One, two, three.....ten, eleven."
Section Leader: "Eleven? Count forward again."
By which time I've clasped my hand over some poor soul's mouth and dragged them off into the underbrush.
Section: "One, two...eight, nine."
Section leader: "Nine? What do you mean, nine?"
          That's usually when I open up on them, and they all scream like little girls. I had a couple of sections so jittery that they actually attacked each other, thinking it was me. I tell you, it makes for some interesting debriefs later on around the fire. 

Aug 22
          Our Division Commander occasionally likes to visit us when we're out in the field. Last time he brought his two little dogs. One of them singled me out amongst the other 48 people there, and began scampering about me wildly and barking furiously, to which I, of course, replied: "What's that girl? Little Timmy's trapped down in a well?" Unfortunately my Division Commander is French, and had no idea what I was talking about.
          Pen and I just got back from three days shopping...er...vacation in Vancouver. Vancouver has at least five different shopping districts all within about a mile of each other. We had a great time, I got some neat stuff, and my feet are sore. Luckily, I still have another weeks vacation to recuperate from this vacation. 
          Pen found me these really neat leather book covers embossed with Celtic designs. I'm going to stick DARKSIDE in one of them. Hey, maybe if I trick the PTB into thinking that I have a real book, they'll act accordingly and conjure up a publishing contract. (Can you say: Grasping at straws?) 
   Oh, yeah: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD AND GRANDMA!!!!
(They're both really old, and probably don't read this new fangled contraption anyway.)

Aug 26
          Yesterday was my son Ryan's birthday. He's a private in the Canadian Military, taking Basic Electronics training in Kingston, Ontario right now. When I called him to wish him a happy birthday, one of his friends came into the room. I heard a couple of loud "Owws" and some cursing, so naturally I asked what was going on. 
          "He stuck one of those little electric shock thingies on my arm, and he's making my fingers twitch," Ryan said. 
          What happened to the good old days when we just gave birthday spankings? Now it's electro-shock torture. I told Ryan it's strictly name, rank and serial number. 
          And "little electric shock thingies?" Nice to know all the in-depth, expensive electronics training isn't going to waste. :-)

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   R Y A N!!!!!!