We had a Change of Command parade on Thursday. I
currently work at the Canadian Forces School of
Aerospace Technology and Engineering, so think
new principal, or dean. In order to commemorate
this event (some guy I never see is taking over
the job from some other guy I never see), about
two hundred of us "volunteered" to be on parade.
(The Chief asked for volunteers, so our MWO
"volunteered" our section.)
Of course, to make sure
we all looked good out there, we had to have two
"practice" parades before the real event, each
lasting a couple of hours, and mostly on our own
time. God forbid we might have forgotten how to
stand at attention, stand-at-ease, or stand-easy
after 20 odd years in the military. (In truth,
the practices aren't really for the rank and
file--they're for the officers and senior non-comms,
who've forgotten how to tell us to stand at
attention, stand-at-ease, and stand-easy.)
The weather here has been
hot and humid the past few days, which was bad
enough for the parade practices, but the actual
parade was held indoors in a building with
absolutely zero ventilation. It had to be at
least 90 degrees in there, and humid. In their
wisdom, they decided we'd be dressed in the full
bib and tucker: shirt, tie, jacket, pants,
They formed us up at 8:30
for a parade that didn't actually start until
9:30, so we stood there at-ease until 9:55 and
then were marched on. (At-ease, btw, is not as
comfy as it sounds. In the CF, it means standing
perfectly still, feet shoulder-width apart,
hands clasped behind your back, head up,
shoulders back, and looking straight ahead.)
At about 9:45, after we'd
been out in this heat and humidity for about 45
minutes, and in front of all the civilian and
military spectators who were seated for the
ceremony, a private in the front rank thundered
in. (Meaning he passed out.) I couldn't see him
from my vantage point in the ranks, but when
someone faints on parade, it's not the usual
slump-to-the-ground kind of faint. What with
all their joints locked, it's more the
timber! kind of faint, and he crashed
face-first into the concrete floor. I don't know
how badly he was hurt, but the look of shock and
horror on the faces of the spectators, the
chilling sounds of someone who is barely
conscious and in excruciating pain moaning like
a wounded animal, and the guy who ran out with
the bucket and mop to clean up all the blood off
of the parade square after they'd carted the
private away in a stretcher, leads me to believe
it was pretty serious. (Ironically, this added
probably another 20 minutes to the length of the
To give him credit, our
outgoing C.O. looked mortified, and ordered us
to Stand-easy as much as he could get away
with(which is a more relaxed position in that
you can fidget a bit and keep the blood
Still, here I was, 45
years old, with sweat streaming down my face,
back and legs, my right shoulder throbbing, the
small of my back on fire, my heels aching, and
my toes asleep, and I'm wondering what the frack
I'm doing here. No sane person would go through
this, simply because their boss was changing
jobs. Anyone in their right mind would have just
walked off (or would never have been there in
the first place).
These guys aren't
soldiers. They don't train for this everyday.
They're lucky if they get Physical Training
three times a week. They're technicians--hell,
But they're still
that's the reason the young private thundered
in. He takes pride in what he does, and what he
is. Sure, you're allowed to go down on one knee
if you're feeling faint. Someone will come from
the sidelines to lead you off parade. But it's
been drilled into us since boot camp that that's
a sign of weakness. (Some units actually met out
punishment if you go down on one knee--although
that's a lot more rare in the Airforce these
days.) So they hold on until the last possible
moment, and then some, usually until it's too
After the first guy went
down, they were a lot more diligent. If someone
even looked wobbly one of the senior staff in
the audience would come and walk him off. Still,
the parade went on for another hour and
forty-five minutes after that.
And I can't help but
wonder how it was worth this guys face--all for
ceremony and show. He wasn't wounded defending
his position--he was injured so that a couple of
officers can hold their little tradition and
feel good about themselves, while everyone hears
about their career accomplishments and where
they're off to next. It's not like they didn't
see this coming--that's why there are stretcher
bearers and Medics there in the first place.
They expect this.
It's senseless--just like
the rest of the world.
If you are seriously considering taking me on as
a client, now would be a good time. Just saying.
Conversation with the wife:
Pen: Can I buy a pair of Choos?
Me: You mean Jimmy Choos?
Pen: D'oh. How'd you know what they
Me: That's what you get for dragging
me to see The Devil Wears Prada.
Pen: Well, you can't blame a girl for
Me: Just for the record, Blahniks,
Ferragamos and Weitzmans are out, too.
Pen: *Grins evilly*
Me: I forgotten some, haven't I?
Pen: *Whistles innocently.*
Still stuck in limbo. I'm sure there's all sorts
of fun and exciting stuff happening out there,
but I'm not invited. Heck, I'm not even watching
it from the sidelines, because I can't even
see it from here.
What I need to do is
crash the party. Put on my best Herb Tarlek suit
with matching tie and shoes, and intrude. Maybe
show up at one of those trendy sports bars where
everyone is engrossed in World Cup Soccer. "Hey,
what're you guys watching? Mind if I change the
Sometimes you just have
to make your own fun.
The vacation so far:
Saturday: Went to the water park, then
shopping along Wassaga beach. Pen got a bear
claw henna tattoo on her shoulder. I drooled all
over some guy's motorcycle.
Later we saw Pirates of
the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest--loved it to
Sunday: Went shopping at Vaughn Mills
mall. Had Greek food for lunch, then Pen tried
to talk me into buying a pair of Oakley
sunglasses--not that I wouldn't love a pair, but
my current sunglasses cost me $2.
Later we saw Superman
Returns in Imax 3D. Loved it to pieces too. Had
dinner at Alice Fazzooli's. Mmmmmm.
Monday: Stopped in Woodbridge where Pen
bought a pair of Pumas she'd seen the day
before, then went shopping at
Niagara-on-the-Lake. Pen bought girly stuff; I
got fudge. (I definitely got the better of that
We stayed at the Sheraton
Falls View in Niagara Falls, where we stayed on
our honeymoon. The hotel got rid of the
waterfall in the lobby, but otherwise was much
the same. We had a room on the 18th floor
overlooking the falls.
Walked through Casino
Niagara and promptly lost about $30 dollars in
the slots. I don't see the appeal of gambling,
although I suppose if I would have won a grand
or two I might have changed my mind.
Walked from the Casino
down to the Hill and rode the Skyview ferris
wheel thingy. Nice view, especially at night.
Walked down to the falls, bought ice-cream, and
took a cab back to the hotel. The rest of the
night is none of your business.
Tuesday: Had breakfast in the hotel
restaurant overlooking the falls. Pen wondered
if the waitress would mind if she poured herself
another glass of orange juice. (There was a jug
of it right beside our table.) I said seeing as
juice was roughly $4 a glass, I'd be surprised
if sirens didn't go off if she went anywhere
near it. "Whoop-Whoop! The juice perimeter has
been breached. Danger Will Robinson." Whereupon
she would be tackled to the floor by the juice
Walked down by the falls
and took loads of pictures. Pen bought some nice
Drove to Mississauga
Square One and did a lot more shopping. I got a
shirt; Pen got a lot of girly stuff. Ate dinner
at Moxies (Mmmmmm) and then drove home.
We were supposed to take
a cruise from the Toronto Harbor today, but it's
raining like--um--a lot, so we've alternate
plans. That's it for now, but more to come.
-- Vacation Part Deux
Pen didn't let a little thing like rain dampen
our day. Well, okay, it did dampen it, but we
dry quickly. Anyway, we went into T.O. and did
some shopping along the fancy schmancy Bloor and
Bay Street area. We dressed up a bit for it, so
the clerks at Holtz and Prada didn't even follow
me around like they usually do--convinced that
I'm going to steal something.
Pen tried to convince me
to buy a nice pair of Rayban or Oakley
sunglasses, but in the end I couldn't decide if
I wanted them more because I really liked the
way they looked, or because I liked the idea of
owning an expensive pair of sunglasses. (My
current pair I bought for a dollar at the dollar
store.) So I bought four or five pair of cheap
sunglasses. Maybe some day.
We had dinner at this
nice Italian place in the Manual Life Centre,
and then we saw the Blue Man Group, which was a
blast, especially if you like percussion--and
I'm a drummer, so yanno.
The next day was spent at
the water park, and a little more shopping along
I can't remember what we
did Friday, but I think there was a Barrie Rib
Festival involved in there somewhere, and no
Saturday we took the
midland cruise, which is a nice 2 1/2 boat ride
around Georgian Bay where all the stupid rich
people have their cottages and summer homes, any
one of which makes my home look like a bird
Sunday was back to the
water park again (we have a season's pass) and
Monday Pen was back to work.
I have another week off
without her, which gives me a chance to
recuperate from the vacation I had with
So I was reading about how much it actually
costs the police to do an investigation on
stolen property. I mean, just the officer's
salaries run into the thousands of dollars on a
typical case, not to mention any expensive
forensic testing. Anyway, I think I have a
solution. It goes something like this:
Reporter: "How is it that your department
operates at a third of the budget of any other
Police Force in the country, Chief."
Police Chief: "It's quite simple really. We've
stopped investigating stolen goods."
Reporter: "That's outrageous! You mean if I call
and report my car stolen, you don't do a thing
Police Chief. "I didn't say that. We just don't
bother with an expensive investigation. We found
it's much cheaper if we simply went out and
bought the victim a new stereo, TV, jewellery--even
Reporter: "But, but..."
Police Chief: "Oddly enough, no one complains
when we replace their old junk with new stuff.
And our image in the community has never been
better. Hell, we fired our Public
Relations Officer. That alone saved us 80K a
Hey, it's called thinking
outside the box, right?
I had the afternoon off, so I thought I'd do
some work planning out the heroic fantasy I've
decided on for my next project. I thought I'd
map out the landscape using Campaign
Cartographer 2 that a friend gave me.
Unfortunately they forgot to give me the serial
number that the company apparently freaking
emails to you once you buy the software, so,
I've decided I want the
story to take place in a future post apocalyptic
Vancouver Island, because, well, because I fu**ing
well can, so there. So I looked up some maps
online, trying to find relief maps, which took
me, like, an hour or two. I want part of the
area to be desert now--mostly because I have a
funny bit in mind concerning traveling across
the desert--but according to the maps it's not
logical for the area I had in mind. Also, if I
put the desert where I want it, Vancouver Island
isn't an island anymore, and that won't work.
The bastard. So I'll have to think of something
else--maybe put the desert on the island. Or
Anyway, I realized I had
some maps out in the car, and figured I'd get
them when I went to the store for some stuff I
need. So I went to the store, got the mail, came
back inside, and--yep, forgot the maps. Hey,
they're way out in the car. So bite me.
So, all in all, a good
three hours wasted so far, and nothing
I'll never understand these people who'll wait in line for
days, weeks or months to be the first to see a movie. Are
they afraid that between the first screening and the
second that some studio exec will decide he's made a
mistake and edit out all the good stuff? Maybe their
friends are all spoilery, and would ruin the movie for
them if they didn't see it right away. (There's a special
hell reserved for those people, along with the ones who
talk during movies, and people who wear white after Labour
Day.) I could understand maybe if being first meant you
were unique--the one and only--but being the first to do
something that everyone else is going to do whether you do
it or not just seems silly.
If there's any justice in
the universe, when these people die and go to Heaven,
they'll have to wait in line for months to get through the
Pearly Gates. Let's hope they don't find out or they'll
probably off themselves early so they can be first.