3 Jan
          New Years Eve was pretty good, considering Pen wasn't here to celebrate it with me. Thank God for friends. I never did talk with the band about the drumming gig. They were a pretty good band and all, but they played all classic seventies tunes and that's not what I'm into right now. I've decided I'll go check out the local music store, though, and see if there are any other possibilities.
          Pen got back 1st Jan. Her flight was delayed a half-hour, and her luggage another forty-five minutes after that. Maybe her luggage ran into bad weather or something.
          I'm still waiting for that first rejection letter of the year, although I'll settle for an acceptance. Good news is that Charlie (that's Charles Coleman Finlay for those of you who don't have the secret decoder ring) has been nominated for a Nebula for his novella, The Political Officer, published in F&SF. We're all rooting for him. (I've personally dug up two potatoes, a carrot and a tuber....what? Oh, rooting. Sorry, I have a cold--again.) 

5 Jan
          Well, it's back to the drudgery. Shoulder to the wheel (makes it damn hard to drive), nose to the grindstone (do-it-yourself rhinoplasty), damn the torpedoes (cruise missiles rule!). I've got nineteen recruit files to do today. Mid-course reports; will the fun never end? 
          Tomorrow's first class is called Remotivational Training. Yeah, sounds fun to me, too. Whose bright idea was it to give the recruits two weeks off right in the middle of basic training? Heck, I'll be surprised if half of them make it back. 
          And I can imagine what kind of shape they'll be in. Two weeks of gluttony, drunkenness and debauchery can really mess with your physical fitness standard, not to mention your military dress, deportment, and attitude. And that's just the staff.

6 Jan
          Major congrats go out to Karin today on her nomination to the Philip K. Dick Award for Warchild. As for me--I have a cold, and this really raspy voice that sounds kinda cool when I yell out drill commands. Well, except for the odd occasion when it sounds like I've finally hit puberty.
          Good news is that apparently we can't do our field phase training at Rocky Pointe any more, and will have to do it at Albert Head. Why is that good news, you ask? Albert Head has showers. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate camping?
          Oh, and another dumb recruit moment:
Recruit: "What's the date today, Master Corporal?"
Me: "Um...your birthday?"
Recruit: "Oh, yeah. Right."
          (I new this because I'd made everyone sing happy birthday to him earlier that morning.)

8 Jan
          Yesterday we taught the recruits how to Ground Arms. Think 300 lunges. Then we gave them Change Parade last night. What's Change Parade? 
          Okay, we have them all stand outside their rooms, then we yell: You have five minutes to change into your CF pants, shirt, tie, tunic, and parade boots and be back out here. MOVE! Of course they can't do it, so we yell some more. Then: You have four minutes to be back out here in your Pt gear. You have three minutes to be back out here in combats. And so on and so on. 
          And when we get tired of that? It's: I want everyone outside their door with all their bed linen. Good, you have five minutes to make your beds. Good. Grab your linen again. You have four minutes. Hey, at least it's fun for us.
          This morning they had Fartlek training for PT. (I think Fartlek is Norwegian for "Run 'till you puke"). Then we taught them Take Up Arms--another 300 lunges. For some reason they seemed really tired today. 
          One of the recruits told me: "I feel like an old man today, Master Corporal." To which I replied: "What do I look like, your pimp?" Think about it. Yeah, I know. It took them a few seconds too, but then they laughed and laughed. I told you they were tired.
   Still no news on the writing front, but I did get to chat with Charlie for a few minuites on AIM, which is always nice. Hey, it's no publishing contract, mind you....

10 Jan
          So I'm printing out The Book to send out to DAW. It's a one in a million shot, even if I did do all the calculations right, remembered to convert from imperial to metric, carry the one--no wait, that's orbital astronomy. Actually, the odds of me sending a satellite into orbit are better than the odds of DAW publishing DARKSIDE. Still, there's a lot of space junk up there...
          I have to work tomorrow. Yeah, I know it's Saturday, but you tell the military that. Not only that but the recruits where bad, so they're all restricted to barracks for the weekend. Think of it as being grounded with no TV or junk food. It's actually kind of awkward. I mean, you try grounding a 47-year-old man. (And yes, we have a 47-year-old recruit.)
          Not only that, but there's a new platoon coming in this Friday, which makes us the senior platoon. The P.O. gave our recruits the speech about how they're not supposed to talk with the newbies and all. Then told them how we're supposed to set the example, and "Show them who we are." Well, I guess we'll have to. After all, apparently we can't tell them. 

13 Jan
          We did a 5Km march today, followed by the obstacle course, and then a practice drill test. I thought the practice drill test went rather well; I managed to bore almost three inches into one of them.
          Actually, the practice drill test is relatively easy. See, first they march up to us, and we call out, "Halt!" If they've been paying attention for the last seven weeks, they do, and they stand really still with their feet together and their hands at their sides. Then we call out, "Stand at--ease." So they stand really still, with their feet shoulder width and their hands behind their back. Then we call out, "Stand--easy." So they stand really still...are you starting to sense a pattern here? Okay, so it's not rocket science.
          Oh yeah, I heard somewhere Janice Joplin's birthday is today, or soon. She would have been sixty years old, and I couldn't help thinking, man, she looked old when she was 20. Can you imagine what she would have looked like now? Admittedly, it's a rather strange thing to be thinking, but hey, I never said I was a rocket scientist either.

14 Jan
          So, I've almost got twenty years in the military now, eleven of those as a Master Corporal. That pretty much makes me a senior Master Corporal. I told the Chief today I'd like to be referred to as Uber Corporal from now on. Sure he laughed, but I think he's warming up to the idea.
          And I queried Realms of Fantasy as to the status of my story, Harbinger, which I submitted to them back in September. They've never heard of it. Why am I not surprised. This is me dying of not surprise. (When I get pissed, I channel the Princess Bride--so sue me.)
          Oh, yeah. I still haven't received that all-important first rejection letter of 2003. Come on, Amber, don't hold back. Ya know ya wanna. :-)

20 Jan
          One of the guys at work was talking about a team he coaches, made up of sixteen year old kids. He was at a coaches seminar which suggested that one of the best sports drinks with the best results was a mixture of 20% orange juice and 80% water. The biggest problem, as they saw it, was in how to convince a bunch of 16 year olds to drink the stuff. Let's face it; does it sound appetizing to you? Anyway, I figured they could solve the problem quite easily. All you have to do is put the stuff in a really cool sports bottle, give it a name like Orange Berry Bone Crusher, and then tell them they're not allowed to have it.
          And for any of my blog fans out there (Mom, are you getting this?) I'm going to be in the field until Friday, so no updates until then. I still haven't figured out the point of teaching Air Force personnel how to survive in the wild. Realistically, we should be teaching them how to use the little magnetic swipe cards to get into their room, the correct phone procedure for ordering room service, and how to get into the mini-bar without paying. You know, stuff they'll really need.

25 Jan
          It's been beautiful here for weeks, and as soon as I go out to the field, it rains. Just like last time. I'm jinxed, I tell ya. I can just see it now-- we're sitting in the office when the Chief's phone rings: "Hello, this is Environment Canada. As you know, the city reservoirs are getting dangerously low again. Do you think you could send Master Corporal Perry out in the field?"
          Okay, so maybe I shouldn't be complaining about the rain and the cold, especially after seeing the pictures Cecilia sent of the fires burning in Canberra (not to mention her incredible descriptive prose) but I don't do cold, wet and miserable well. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate camping?
          And now, for a Recruit moment. The Platoon Senior is the recruit chosen to take charge of the platoon when staff isn't around. He's like the next in command.
          Platoon Senior: "Master Corporal, you said that in effect I have the same authority as the Warrant, right?"
          Me: "Yes."
          Platoon Senior. "Good, then you're on sentry duty tonight." (Quickly runs and hides.)

And

          Platoon Senior: "Master Corporal?"
          Me (looking at the other Master Corporal present.): "Which one?"
          Platoon Senior (thinks for a moment): "How about I ask the question, and whichever one of you knows the answer raises his hand?"
          Maybe I'm setting the wrong example. :-)