11 Jul
          I'm back. Did ya miss me?
          The trip to B.C. was great. We travelled to Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, Kamloops, and then Victoria. We had great weather for most of it. I was worried the road might be washed out between Winnipeg and Regina, but except for about 100 feet of highway where the water had washed up over the road and was about three inches deep, we had no problems.
          We visited Pen's brother in Regina (where we got caught in a deluge that flooded one intersection so badly that the sewers backed up and the water came up almost to the door on our car as we tried to pass) spent a day at the West Edmonton Mall (water park, submarine rides, skating rink, amusement park, dolphin shows--oh yeah, and shopping: what's not to like) we went to the Zoo in Calgary, visited Amber (Pen snail mailed you a picture of you and I, Mek--as soon as I get it scanned I'll post a copy) and Pen's aunt. The drive through the mountains was incredible and we have lots of pictures. We were in Victoria for the long weekend, and saw the fireworks (and Big Sugar) from the parliament lawn there along with 30,000 other people.
          I reported in to work on Tuesday, July 2. At noon, the people who had my furniture called and told me if I couldn't get to my house in 20 minutes they were going to put it in storage. (I'd been trying to get a hold of them all morning, but they weren't answering there phone.) My boss gave me the rest of the day off, and seven days to get the house in order. It's pretty livable now--the pictures are up and everything--and I can see snow-capped mountains from my living room window. My car, which was
supposed to be delivered to my door on Tuesday, didn't show up until Friday--and I had to go pick it up. My internet access, which wasn't supposed to come on line until Monday, was up and running on Saturday, and the guys who were supposed to show up Monday morning to install my satellite dish didn't arrive until 7:00 PM, and then only after repeated phone calls where all we got were busy signals, or put on hold for anhour and a half.
          I reported back to work this morning, did a quick weapons familiarization course (yep, that's a weapon) and tried to finish clearing into the base. Off course, all the offices I went to were either out for a Sports Afternoon, or had closed only minutes before I got there. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.
          I went for my first run since I got here. It was great. At the end of my street (about 100 yards from my house) there's a wooded area with a path through it. Two minutes down the path and you come to the ocean. I ran along a causeway with a spectacular view of those same snow-capped mountains visible across the Strait. Of course, I had no idea where I was going (I brought a compass with me, but it didn't have the names of any of the streets on it, or of the paths through the woods, so it wasn't much help at all) and got lost a few times, but I was headed in the right general direction and after backtracking a occasionally eventually found my way home after about an hour. Now that I know where I'm going (take the trail that runs behind the castle and around the Japanese gardens, not the Italian gardens--seriously--I figure I should be able to do the run in about 45-50 minutes. Oh yeah, I chased down four rabbits and three deer. I felt like freak'n Snow White with all the little woodland creatures around me.

14 Jul
          I start course Monday. I'm off to a great start already. I went to clothing stores and got my issue combat gear and clothing. When I got back to work, apparently I was the only one who got brand-new issue. Everyone else, including the staff, has old, ratty stuff.
          I'm Student Four, Group Two (how's that for personal) and I've been tasked to teach About Turn at the Halt, Saluting on the March, and Plotting Grid Points on a Map. One of my fellow newbies asked Cory (our Staff for this course, but our eventual colleague) if he was going to start yelling at us on Monday. He said he doesn't yell. Sheesh, if he doesn't yell at us, we'll think he doesn't love us or something.
          As we were walking out the door, one of the students said, "I hear our instructor's a mean one," to which I replied, "Yeah, but he's not too bright." Of course, Cory was sitting right there. Monday should be fun. Oh, yeah, I have to do a PT (Physical Training) test on Monday, even thought I'm exempt this year. I guess these people don't know the meaning of the work exempt (and I bet they can't spell it either).

15 Jul
          Well, I got paid today, which is always a good sign. You never know how badly the pay office is going to muck up your docs after a move. First day was...dull. Did my PT test and got exempt again. (Actually only two of us got exempt status--the two oldest of the bunch.) Then I spent the rest of the day learning stuff I already knew: how to prepare a lesson plan; how to teach; how to give drill. Got home, shone my boots (I'm the only one who spit shines his combat boots--a hold over from the special forces days) then prepared my drill lesson for Thursday, and researched my map and compass lesson for Friday. Did some homework and that's about it. Tomorrow I'm Course Senior (why is everybody always picking on me?) 
          I still haven't had time to get those query letters out in the mail, send out the stories I need to, or work on anything new. Maybe this weekend.

23 Jul
          I'm halfway through my second week of course and I've got most of the hard stuff finished. Everything's pretty routine now, which is half the battle. Thursday I have to teach "Take Up Arms." Personally, I'd go with, "Hey, Buddy, would you mind handing me that weapon?" But no! The military has to have a convoluted, regimented, anal-retentive way to do everything. 
          Next week we spend three nights in the field--ha, more like a camping trip for big boys and their toys--and then it's pretty much over. In the last week we do rappelling but it's not really part of the course. By the end of it we should all be qualified rappel supervisors. Then they're going to select a few to train as rappel masters. (Probably the ones they didn't have to push crying and screaming like little girls over the edge of the cliff.)
          I still haven't had time to write anything new, or even send out the stuff I've already written. (Everything I've previously sent out has already been rejected so they're ready for a new go-round. Maybe the new address will bring me luck.) 

29 Jul
          I head out to the field tomorrow until Friday. Happy happy. Joy joy. Just what I always wanted to do--go camping with a bunch of smelly guys with more gas than Exxon. Half of them should be reported to the Environmental Officer for uncontrolled methane emissions. And then there's the night time map and compass march. You're asking a bunch of men who never ask directions in the first place to find there way around in the woods at night. 
          On a sad note (as if my previous comments were a joyous pronouncement) I won't be able to attend ConJose this year. We've got a platoon of new recruits starting 28 Aug, and I won't be able to get away. If all of you who attend this year have half as much fun as I did last year--well, I still will have had twice as much fun as you. Nyah!
          I did manage to get Shadow Side Of God out into the mail to Weird Tales, and Joy Ride to Asimov's. I also sent out queries to 11 agents for Darkside. Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for the offers to roll in. *Snerk*
          And finally, my son, Ryan, found out he'll be reporting to the Recruit School in St. Jean on 17 Sept. Congrats, buddy. (I think.)