Well, I got to the gym yesterday, and should make it there again today.
But it's back to work tomorrow. Four or five times a month at the gym just
isn't cutting it. They're going to change our shift schedule at work again,
but this time to something more reasonable. 2 on, 2 off, 3 on, 2 off, 2
on, 3 off. It's a little confusing, especially when you add in the split
shifts on midnights, but every second weekend will be a long weekend. I
should have a lot more time for the gym, and writing, and family--you know,
a real life. None of this will happen until June or July, though.
Still no word from anyone about anything. I can't make any plans because
I don't know what's happening. Of course, that never stopped the gov't.
Maybe I should run for politics.
First the bad news. I got another rejection for "The Shadow Side of God."
Now the good news. It's official. I received my posting message today,
and will report to the new Recruit School at Albert Head, Vancouver Island,
British Columbia on June 19th. That's right, I'll be making recruit's lives
miserable for the next couple of years. Of course with the Charter of Rights
nowadays, I suppose it won't be all that miserable. More like, "Excuse
me, Recruit, but if you're not too busy, would you mind terribly dropping
and giving me twenty? No? Well, then, I'm afraid I'm going to have to give
you a time out, mister!"
Has anyone seen the commercial where Bill Ford says that if he could have
one car, it would be a red Mustang convertible? I mean, hello? You're Bill
Freak'n Ford! If you can't get one, who can? The bum probably drives a
The woman at the military relocation office called me Monday to set up
an appointment to hammer out the details of my move. She suggested May
27. I laughed at her. So she tried May 16. Wrong again. The poor dear actually
gave up her Administration Time so she could get me in this Thursday at
10:30. (Admin time in the military is kind of like a spare in high school.)
She said she'd do it because I seemed reasonable. I think that's because
I laughed at her, and didn't swear and threaten to burn her house down
and sell her cats to the Chinese restaurant for those little spare ribs.
Okay, that's another story altogether.
I was at the gym this afternoon when about 30 guys in green trooped in
and swamped the place. Apparently they're here on their Jump Course (paratroopers--you
know, the guys who willingly jump out of perfectly serviceable aircraft)
and they were out running. The reason they invaded the gym was...it started
to rain. Canada's freaking elite infantry unit called their run short because
of rain. What kind of wussy military are we training here, anyway?
On the posting front, we saw the woman whose handling our move today and
everything looks good. She's sending us on a house hunting trip. (Do you
use different bait for, say, a bungalow or a townhouse? What calibre rifle
is appropriate?) Anyway, because of the rush we have to leave Monday. Hey,
you try planning a seven-day trip to Victoria with three days notice. Pen
hasn't even decided what teddy bears to bring, never mind what she's going
to wear. (I know I'll pay for that comment later.)
Well, we just got back from Victoria BC, and I have to say we absolutely
loved it. I felt like calling home and telling the base to pack up our
stuff and ship it out; we'd wait for it. The trip out was good, although
I think we spent more time waiting at airports than actually flying. We
left Toronto on an Airbus A20, a nice-sized jet where Pen and I had three
seats to ourselves. We had a stopover in Calgary where we boarded some
tiny thing, barely bigger than one of those Buddy Holly Killers, but the
view over the mountains was spectacular so we barely noticed the cramped
It was raining in Victoria when we got there, but cleared up and was beautiful
for the remainder of our stay, only clouding over again when it was time
for us to leave. The hotel we stayed in was great--centrally located, with
a view of the ocean and the mountains from our balcony. After a day of
exploring the city, or looking for housing, we relaxed in the pool and
the hot tub, and were ready to go the next morning.
We had a woman showing us homes (which are stupidly expensive to the max
to rent or buy) and she actually found us a nice waterfront townhouse at
a reasonable price. Unfortunately, they couldn't guarantee it would be
vacant by July when we are due to arrive, so we had to pass on it. Luckily,
the base called and had housing available. They offered us a story and
a half house identical to the one we're in now (even to the colour) but
with an addition on to the kitchen that made Pen really happy. There's
a wooded area at the end of our street with paths (good for running) that
lead to the ocean only about a five-minute walk away. We even arranged
to have our phone connected, and for high-speed Internet access when we
I found out where I'd be working, and met with the old Navy Chief who'll
be my boss. He seemed like a really nice guy--big relief there. The base
at Esquilmalt is actually spread out around the city, and we had a hell
of a time finding our way around, but the area I'm working out of is--surprise,
surprise--ocean side, and about 5 minutes from downtown Victoria. I'm slated
to start on a mini course July 8 to train us instructors how to instruct.
Everything from teaching Drill (marching, for you non-military types) weapons
training, and map and compass. Ha! Piece of cake.
Victoria itself is a great city. It seems to encompass all of the things
that Pen and I love about our favourite cities in Ontario (Toronto, Ottawa,
Kingston, and Montreal.) We managed to familiarize ourselves with it in
no time, even though the streets have a habit of changing names several
times along their course for no apparent reason. It's got at least three
big shopping malls, but it's the little shops down along the waterfront
that we loved the most. And buskers are everywhere. It's even got one of
those Silver City cinemas (where we saw Attack of the Clones.) It has some
fantastic restaurants. We already found great Italian, Japanese, Greek,
and Chinese places to eat. And we found out that the factory where they
make my favourite chocolates is right there in Victoria. Oh, happy day!
We visited the most amazing botanical gardens, the Royal BC Museum (we
bought season's passes to both) a castle, and plan to go whale watching
when we return. We toured along the coast and saw seaside estates that
almost made us cry. Stupid rich people.
The trip home was relaxing. We took a DC-8 on a quick hop from Victoria
to Vancouver, and then a 747 from Vancouver to Toronto. The 747 was practically
empty, so we could sit anywhere we wanted (well, except for first class).
I actually managed to rework one of my short stories on the flight. By
the time I got home, it was 01:30 Monday morning. Luckily my boss gave
me Monday off, as I was supposed to work it. (Thanks Mike!) I have to go
in Tuesday for one day, and then I'm off for four. I'm hoping to take the
next midnight shift off as well. The Chief at my new job suggested I take
as much leave as possible now, as I probably wouldn't have the opportunity
to take any once I arrived. With any luck, I should only have to work a
few days before we actually move. What a shame.
Andromeda Spaceways finally got around to rejecting my short story, Naejin.
Sorry this took so long to respond on ... it seems to have got lost in
the system. (Story of my life.) This *just* failed to make the cut,
by the narrowest of margins. (See above comment.) Nothing wrong
with it per se, just that we can't print all the stories we'd like to.
I'm sure you'll be able to find a home for it somewhere else. (Ha!
That's what they think.)
I stayed up until 2:00 AM making out a list of seventeen agents to send
Darkside to. Problem is, I don't want to mail them out until after the
move, cause you know everything will get lost in the mail. (My submissions
have a nasty habit of getting lost--even email subs--and I've been at the
same address for five years now.) If none of those seventeen agents bite,
I'll kil...er, ignore them and make out a new list. If Darkside never gets
published, you can't say it was for lack of trying. (Read: pleading, begging,
whinning, threatening, bribing...)
Oh yeah, congrats to Charlie on yet another sale!! I get enough exercise
just jumping up and down at his success that I think soon I'll be able
to skip going to the gym all together. (Which is actually quite different
thean skipping to the gym. The other guys look at you funny. Trust me.)
Congrats to Caroline on the opening of her new play. If you have a few
thousand dollars for airfare to Australia, I heartly recommend you should
run right out and catch it.
And congrats to Keri. Her novels have been racking up all kinds of awards
I've come to the conclusion that the secret to success in life comes from
forcing yourself to do the things you really don't want to do. The things
that take commitment and willpower. Why is it that I have no problem forcing
myself to go to the gym every day, pushing that extra rep or extra mile,
jumping out of aircraft or slogging through the most god-awful terrain
on a search and destroy mission, yet it takes threats, bribery and a hint
of actual physical harm before I'll take out the garbage, mow the lawn,
or send out a bunch of query letters?
I know I have to write everyday to get what I want, but I don't. I know
I have to be a more active member of the writing community, do more crits,
attend more conventions, but I don't. What kind of moron do you have to
be to know exactly what you have to do to be a successes in life, but refuse
to do it? A lazy moron? Nuts! I hate it when I answer my own questions.
I realised today that eventually there's going to come a time when I'm
too old to be me. I'm not there yet--hopefully it's still a ways into the
future--but it has to happen sometime. It kind of freaks me out because
I've managed to be me for quite a while now. When I was twenty, I figured
I'd be lucky if I could still be me by the time I was thirty. But thirty
came and went, and what do you know--still me. I'm forty-one now, and so
far so good, but I have to tell you it's a hell of a lot more work to be
me now than it used to. And to be honest, I'm not quite the me I was. Oh,
in some ways I'm better. Let's face it; age and experience will overcome
youth and exuberance most days, and I've managed to maintain enough of
the latter to stay ahead of the game. And in some ways I'm worse; age and
experience can also make one bitter, cranky, and disillusioned.
Most people spend their youth testing their limits. I never really reached
the boundary of mine. I always figured you were supposed to go out and
explore those boundaries. I never thought you were supposed to wait for
them to shrink until they caught up with you.
Eventually I'm going to have to decide who I want to be when I can't be
who I was. I really don't think people like me are supposed to live long
enough to worry about such things, but I can be pretty stubborn. I know
who I don't want to be; that grumpy old man, living in the past and shaking
his cane at all the young whippersnappers, using phrases like: "In my day..."
and "You should have seen me when..."
So, if any of you have any ideas as to who I should become, feel free to
pass it on. Oh, and try to keep it same sex please. I'm not up for that
of a change.
Men have this etiquette thing happening when they're at a urinal: stare
straight ahead and mind your own business. It's amazing how that etiquette
goes all to pot when there are young children involved, especially behind
the privacy of a washroom stall.
I was...um...relieving myself the other day in the restroom at Sears when
some guy comes in with his kid and proclaims, "You go ahead in that stall,
and I'll be in this one." Things settled down for a bit after that, when
suddenly the kid yells out, "Dad, I'm done pooping!" Well, he was.
Next thing, his dad hollers back, "You wait there and I'll come wipe your
bum. Dad's pooping too." At this point I'm thinking: Too much information.
As if that isn't bad enough, dad starts whistling. Mind you, it was a classical
tune, and rather catchy, but still. After a few refrains, I hear..."Okay,
here comes the bum wiper." Not a job title I want prominently displayed
on my resume.
And I could of done without the play-by-play that followed: "Okay, lean
forward. Hmmm...this is going to take longer than I thought. You've made
quite a mess." And then the whistling again. I guess he figured he should
end on a high note.
I hate running. I also love it (and not because it feels so good when I
stop). I run to music, and sometimes when the music is just right I get
that feeling of euphoria -- you know, the one I could achieve faster and
with less exertion on cheap pharmaceuticals. Some people call it the zone.
I just know that when I'm in it I feel great, powerful, tireless, euphoric,
taller. Okay, maybe not taller. I see my life stretched out before me the
way it should be, the way it could be. And then some sucky song will come
on and I lose it.
I think the music resonates with me. In electronics we're taught that resonance
results when the correct frequency acts on the capacitance, inductance,
and resistance of a circuit so that the impedance, or overall resistance,
becomes minimal, and the power maximum. I can't help but wonder that if
I could find the right music, or frequency of my life, if everything would
come easy. Of course, you can achieve resonance by playing with the other
variables, too. Keep the frequency the same and muck up the capacitance,
and you have a whole new resonant frequency. And maybe that's the trick
to life--be adaptable. Find resonance no matter what changes the world
throws at you. Go with the flow.