8 Sep
          Typhoon Platoon 3 showed up this weekend. I was Duty NCO Saturday, and spent a good 18 hours greeting the new recruits that arrived in dribs and drabs until the wee hours of the morning. I had to clear them into their rooms, assign them meal cards, and give them a basic briefing (don't touch this, don't do that, don't go there) in preparation for the course that officially begun Sunday at 18:00 hrs. Last night I was at work until 22:00 hrs, as they officially met all the platoon staff, and were read all the rules and directives. 
          The first week begins with them getting issued all of their kit, going to medical appoints, and filling out reams of paper work. The really fun stuff doesn't begin until around Thursday. I can hardly wait.

          There's a platoon two weeks ahead of us in-house right now. I had to March them to dinner Saturday night, and of course they wanted to show off for me because I'm not part of their regular platoon staff. So they did their little motivational yell:

"Where are we going to go?"
ALL THE WAY!
"What are we going to do?"
SET THE STANDARD!
"How are we going to get there?"
TEAM WORK!
"When are we going to get there?"
"RIGHT NOW!"

          I remember a few years back when I was training a March and Shoot Team, our team was basically kicking everyone's ass in preliminary competitions. The School Commandant approached me and told me that I was doing an outstanding job, but felt that we should have one of those motiviation yells, because all the other teams did. So, the next day we he arrived to watch us train, I yelled out:

"Where are we going to go?"
"RIGHT HERE!"
"How are we going to get there?"
"STAND STILL AND DON'T FUCK UP!"
"When are we going to get there?"
"REALLY SOON!"

          The Commandant kind of grinned and said, "Point taken. I'll leave you alone and let you carry on with the fine job you're doing training the team."
          I always liked that man.

14 Sep
          So Typhoon 3 showed up last weekend, which is mostly why I've been incommunicado lately. You know, the 5 AM mornings, 16 hour days, and then you have to take work home to stay caught up. I'm sure you can all identify.
          Anyway, this bunch seems like a pretty good lot, other than the fact the a few of them still don't know their right from their left, and that they take us way too literally sometimes. For instance, we spend a lot of the initial indoctrination period stressing the fact that they should do exactly what they're told to do, exactly how we tell them to do it, and exactly when we tell them to get it done. Still, I was a little surprised when after the fitness staff informed them that they would have to climb a fourteen foot rope to the top, one of the recruits put up their hand and asked, "Do we have to climb back down?"
          And, overheard while on their first 3 Km march: Female Recruit: "Oh my God, look at my fingernails. I have the cuticles of a crack whore."

15 Sep
   The CO came in and stood at the back of my class while I was teaching, Maintaining Physical Security. At the end of the lecture, I began the preparation to teach the next class, Canadian Forces Publications, by writing the title on the board.
          "I see they give you all the exciting lessons, Master Corporal," he said.
          "That's what I get for having the nerve to go on leave when they're assigning who teaches what, Sir," I answered.

          And I have to tell you, I love Victoria dearly, but sometimes I long for the days in Ontario. A place where drivers aren't afraid to drive over 50 km an hour for fear of losing control of their vehicles at "those crazy breakneck speeds."  Not to mention the 30 km an hour speed limit in the residential area where I live. It's pretty bad when you're worried about getting a ticket for coasting over the speed limit.

16 Sep
          So I was giving the recruits their security briefing on the care and handling of classified documents, and how the military fills out all its forms in triplicate--you know: one for us; one for them; and one we burn so the Russians don't get it. 
          Anyway, one of the recruits puts up his hand and asked, "Master Corporal, you keep mentioning the Russians. Are they getting uppity again?"
           I just sighed,  shook my head, and answered, "No, I'm just old." 
          Half these guys weren't even born when the Berlin wall came down. Young ingrates.

19 Sep
          I'm not feeling very writerly lately. Actually, I'm not feeling very anything at all. My friends seem to be doing well. Karin's BURNDIVE is out--yeah, Karin!!--and Snagy seems to be having major success with his story, The Hanged Man of Oz--which is only fair because it's a great, and I mean really great, story. Marsha did the whole Clarion thing, Amber is--well, Amber. Her stuff's great, the right people seem interested in it, and of course she's got the whole Ideomancer thing going for her. (Of course, so does Marsha, so that's a double whammy.) And Charlie? Well, enough said. Then of course there's James, and Cecilia, and...oh, never mind. 
          I try to write every day, but so far the average is about three times a week. I haven't sold anything in almost two years, and don't seem likely to in the near future, and no one's even nibbled at DARKSIDE in as long. I've got ideas for at least three more novels percolating right now, and I'll probably actually write them, because hey, why not? 
          Still, I remember when Charlie and I first met at the beginning of this foray. Charlie had given himself a year to "make it", and while I think even he realizes how naive that was now, at least he did make it. It's been at least three years now, and though I seemed to show promise at the beginning, I haven't even come close.
          I found out a couple of weeks ago that they're going to close down the Recruit School here in Victoria in May. That's right, even though they've admitted there's a definite need for a satellite school to handle the overflow of recruits that the school in St. Jean can't handle, and the fact that every other school they tried to stand up failed miserably; even though our school is up and running and fully functioning, and by all accounts puts out a better product than St. Jean, which better trained recruits, a better work environment, and a happier staff--they're shutting us down.
          That means another posting for me, probably to a job I couldn't care less about, where I'll have to start all over at the bottom of the pecking order for promotions again. Of course I don't know where I'll be going, what I'll be doing, where I'll be living, or how any of this will affect my financial situation. My writing, my military career, and my life are all in limbo. Right now I kind of feel like Amber's mouse.
          Oh, yeah, and I still haven't won the lottery yet. Stupid Karma.

21 Sep
          The time is 15:00 hours on a Thursday afternoon. Typhoon Platoon is formed up in three ranks in front of me. They've just finished PT, and are all hot and sweaty in their jogging suits. (It's a shame they're all that uniform gray. What with the haircuts and all, dressed up in colorful jogging suits they'd look like a convention of Goodfellas.) Anyway, I holler at them to steady up, and then tell them, "When I dismiss you, get upstairs, shower, change into your combats, and be out on the floor outside your rooms ready for O Group." (Orders Group--end of the day instructions, in this case.) "Are there any questions?"
          One recruit puts up his hand and asks how much time they have. The rest of them stare daggers at him. See, I made a mistake (no, really--I realize it stretches the bounds of reality, but it happens occasionally) in not giving them a time limit, and if he had kept his mouth shut they could have all had a nice leisurely shower, seeing as dinner wasn't until 17:00.
          So I figure I'll be nice--what the hell, and I tell them they have 20 minutes. We often give them some ridicules time limit like five minutes, which is impossible, just so we can yell at them when they're not ready on time. There's only 8 showers, total--4 for the 7 women in the platoon, and another 4 for the 47 males. 
          Anyway, another recruit puts up his hand and says, "Master Corporal, how do you expect 54 people to all shower in 20 minutes?" (Another recruit that's going to get the snot beat out of him later, no doubt.) 
          I grin at them and say, "That's what teamwork's all about. And now you have 15 minutes. MOVE!"
          Can you believe I get paid for this?

25 Sep
   And just to prove I'm not the only weirdo where I work:
Warrant: I was at the hospital until two-thirty in the morning with one of the recruits last night?
Me: Really? What happened?
Warrant: Apparently he developed a spasm in his urinary tract, couldn't go to the bathroom for a few days, and his system was becoming toxic.
Me: What did they do for him?
Warrant: The doctor massaged his testicles, stuck her finger up his rectum, and eventually he went to the bathroom.
Me (Incredulous): I hope he doesn't expect us to do that for him.
Warrant (grinning): No, but I have an appointment with that doctor tomorrow.

28 Sep
          We gave the recruits the briefing on behavior if and when they managed to get weekend leave at the end of their fourth week. In summation, I told them:
          "If you go downtown, get all drunked up  and get into a fight, we'll find out about it. If you go downtown, get all drunked up and thrown into cells overnight to sober up; we'll find out about it. And if you go downtown and get so pissed out of shape that you accidentally go home with a drag queen; we'll find out about it--and we'll laugh." 

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   A M B E R!!!