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
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.)
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.
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
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.
(I new this because I'd made everyone sing happy birthday to him earlier
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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. :-)
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.
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
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
Platoon Senior: "Master Corporal, you said that in effect I have the same
authority as the Warrant, right?"
Platoon Senior. "Good, then you're on sentry duty tonight." (Quickly runs
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. :-)