Saturday, February 07, 2009

Its Been Awhile.....something something

So it has been quite sometime since I last used this thing. To be honest I ran out of things to say, and the whole blogging thing just fell out of favor with me....but! I've mulled it over for the last few weeks after seeing a rebirth in some other people's blogs, and its time to restart blogging. However I plan on taking it in a slightly different direction then before, whether that happens will be yet to be seen, just as will I make a second post soon after this is yet to be seen. I hope to post about once a week with a little FYI on what I'm up to and some social satire or just sarcastic comments from me. Oh and to all those naysayers that say blogging is for girls and sissies....tell that to Chris Bosh, John Mayer, and Barney Stinson. I personally wouldn't tell a giant basketball player that blogging is for sissies, sure those guys aren't big like football players but they've got a longer reach then I do!

So this one's going to be a long post since it's my first back. Plus I've got a few things to get off my chest. Let me start with Katy Perry's newest music video "Thinking Of You". I can't find the proper relationship to describe my feelings towards it. First of all what's with the theme? I'm not following the obsession with World War 2 themed music videos, though I don't complain when they prance around in those skimpy 40s era clothes or lack of clothes! Now I'm not sure if they hire subject matter experts to advise them on the theme, but if you have watched the video over and over as much as I have you'll notice there's a tractor in the yard of the house she's getting it on in. You may notice there's rubber on the tires which is historically inaccurate!! Everyone knows that in WW2 rubber was needed for the war effort and that tractors produced in this era had all metal tires!! Oh and judging from this video I think I've got a very good shot at dating her. She's in love with a soldier and having extra relations with a farm boy...know anyone fitting both of those descriptions? My last music video I need to talk about is by the band The Veronicas or are they a band since it's just two sisters who sing together are they still considered a band if they're just a duet? All I wanna say is those Aussie twins have a catchy tune and look very relationable.

So what's new with me these days besides my love for Katy Perry and the recurrence of my twin obsession that started with Full House all those years ago. I got my wisdom teeth extracted or possibly butchered out of me by some possibly rookie oral surgeons. I got some good drugs, and a possible dry socket which they packed with puke and burnt rubber or at least that's what the stuff they put in there to fix it tasted like and still sometimes does nearly 6 days later. School is going much better this year, and if luck is on my side I might be 2/3 of the way to being qualified in French....though when it comes to French, I need more then just bonne chance, this prairie boy just can't seem to catch on to it. It almost makes you wonder if I should have chased girls to the west of my house instead of to the east....What else is new? I write memos discussing how I think infrastructure at the college can be's actually a duty I got and thanks to me there will be shoe cleaners to the entrances of the dorms! On Thursday night I partook in the 3rd 24 hour annual snow sculpting contest between Queens, RMC, and this year St. Lawrence College. Unfortunately we couldn't pull off a 3rd victory, and St. Lawrence took the cake. This year we were allowed to use wood to help build the sculpture. St. Lawrence brought what looked like their entire carpentry program, because they were worried we were going to bring in a squadron of engineers with a logistics section, infantry support, artillery, a tank, and close air support. We were fortunate to scrape together 4-5 people for a 4 hour shift. This weekend was also Westpoint Weekend, when we do a weekend exchange with the US Army's equivelant of RMC. I wonder if they call this weekend RMC Weekend? I also thought there's some irony in the fact that we have such an exchange in Kingston which at times in our history has been a bastion in the defense of our fledgling nation against the Americans. Anyways its a good weekend and very interesting to meet some people like myself from south of the border, and its sorta of funny to see them on parade wearing desert camo and fleece in -15 weather. They're dressed for Iraq and we're dressed to sneak up on just below the tree line. One last new thing in my life was that I went and saw illScarlet play a free concert behind city hall lastnight. Anyways home in a week for a week! See you all soon!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Catch Up Time

So I guess I've got two months to catch up on. FYI the second video I mentioned isn't going on the internet, it was just a little to big. It will be brought home to watch at Christmas. Anyways with the video post aside I'll go back to the last week of Second Language Training (SLT) or in some people's case Strenous Liver Testing. Not so much mine, I balanced drinking with fine dining and other adventures (ie. bike trip, Vermont trip, Jazz Fest, etc). So the last week of Language Training proved to be about as exciting as the other 4 and that's it.

After Language Training it was straight into Basic Officer Training Period. To prove the point I'll say we ate lunch in the beautiful officer's mess and ate supper in the less beautiful recruits mess all within the same day. We also gave up our RMC cap badges, our nice name tags, rank slip-ons, etc in exchange for the accroutments officer cadets wear on training at the lovely Mega. Fortunately we got that weekend off and all of the others to follow though we had some close calls. The next 7 weeks consisted of some fairly interesting military training and in my opinion far from grueling training. The course in my opinion was relatively easy and my platoon of 63 had some amazing staff. To skip out on long drawn out descriptions of the entire thing I'll just do a quick overview of everything I learned over the course. The bulk of the course was leadership and battle procedures, which honestly was the only stuff I had a hard time staying awake in this year. Last year everything put us to sleep but we weren't as well conditioned back then. The leadership and battle procedures stuff is pretty self-explanatory. Simply put it's the bread and butter of being an officer in the CF.

The stuff that I definitely didn't fall asleep for and found to be a lot of fun, despite the liters of sweat that came out of me from, was CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) training. Thankfully in the 90 or so years since World War 1, scientists developed gas masks and suits so we didn't have to put urine soaked rags over our faces to go into the gas hut. So what we did for this was about 1 day of classroom stuff, followed by about a day or so of practicing the procedures in suiting up and masking up. Then we spent a morning fully suited up waiting for our turn to go into the gas hut to practice masking up in a gas filled room (don't panic it was just tear gas). I actually had a lot of fun doing it, except for the sweating.

The other fun thing I did was a morning of bayonet fighting. Since it was only an introduction it was only about 2 or 3 hours one morning but it was lots of fun. It was really exhausting and by the end it was hard to stay coordinated with all the different moves. Plus we all lost our voices from the war cries we had to yell out as we pretended to slash and stab our imaginery enemies.

Fortunately drill was pretty much NIL this year. PT was fun and enjoyable for the most part. Weapons training was an hour long refresher. The other classroom stuff was fairly interesting as well.

We had two 5 day excercises in Farnham. The first one being Pre-Vimy. 5 days of living under 3 ground sheets with two girls in my case, learning about how to utilize battle procedures in a field environment. We also learned how to do basic section attacks, patrols, relearned road blocks, etc. It was pretty good with the exception of the extremes in weather. It was either bright and sunny (like the day we did missions in CBRN suits which meant tons of sweating and a feeling of impending fainting) or raining (usually when we had to do something involving hiding in grass or walking through bush). At the end of the excercise there was a pretend attack on our bivouac and we had to defend it. We were each issued 150 rounds of blank ammunition for the week and we didn't have many oppurtunities to fire them all week. When the orders came to fire them all off, they went pretty fast. We finished the week off with a maritime crossing, which equalled to about an hour or so of waiting with a rope tied around your waist and crotch quite firmly, and 30 seconds of sailing across a river on a cable. Lots of fun, but I walked funny for a few hours after getting that rope off.

The following week was Excercise Vimy, the final test of whether we learned anything about the 16 steps of battle procedures. We lived in what is called a Forward Operating Base (FOB). It's supposed to be a simulation of overseas operations. They have them in Afghanistan. It's sort of like a M*A*S*H type setting for those of you who have watched the show. For those of you who have no idea of what a FOB looks like or never watch M*A*S*H, just imagine some green modular tents, a few sea containers, and a watch tower. Take all of this and surround it by concertina wire (aka razor wire), take some people in green walking around with assault rifles, throw in some oil drums, a gatehouse, a flag, and some outhouses. That my friends is a FOB. That was home for about 5 days. The 4 sections of the platoon conducted concurrent 4 hour long missions out of our FOB (FOB Atlantic/Atlantique) for the majority of the week, with one section performing FOB security when the other 3 were out on missions. These missions were non-stop round the clock missions, meaning sleeping and eating had to be done when time was available (usually when the section commander for the mission was taking orders from the platoon commander). I was in charge of FOB security during my tenure as commander of 1 Section, I had to deal with 4 refugees being chased by insurgents. All of the characters in the missions are played by actors and they fit into a peacekeeping story line that we are provided with the week before the excercise to give us the feeling of being on an overseas deployment. Needless to say during my mission some shooting happened in order to protect the refugees and the FOB. On one mission my fireteam and I were tasked with protecting an imbedded journalist who also happened to be a little suicidal. Not only did she annoy us with stupid questions, she ran towards the firefight when our section was engaged. We tried to chase after her but to prevent becoming casualties ourselves we had to give up chase. We later found out that in the 3 years our platoon commander had known this certain actress she had only been prevented from dieing in this scenario once when two guys much bigger then me and definitely bigger then my two lady fireteam partners literally sat on her. So hopefully that gives you a feel for how realistic the scenarios are made. So it was both an exciting and stressful weak, with some laughs and some snapping depending on the occassion. To end the excitment off and finish off the ammunition we'd been issued 3 of the sections attacked my section, while we protected the FOB.

The last week of BOTP was grad week. Lots of drill, one amazing course party, and lots of sitting around to sign paperwork.

The weekends of BOTP, were always enjoyable with at least one birthday party, multiple trips up the road to the Dix Trente in Brossard for a stroll around the shopping center, a weird trip to the Jewish sector of Montreal in search of an English movie theater, and one visit to a cornfield. The exception being the 3 duty shifts I ended up with on 2 Friday nights, and a Saturday. C'est la vie!

Now I'm back in Kingston, and getting excited to start school!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Taste of my Summer in Quebec

Well not sure if anyone still looks at this anymore, because my lacking in Internet connection prevented me from posting. Anyways, don't really have the time to get into long drawn out details of my summer, but I can show you a video of one my weekend adventures on Second Language Training courtesy of my friend Jeremie, he's seen in the video. Stay tuned for more later on this week.....hopefully!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Well it’s Canada Day. I’m sure most of you have noticed the lack of posts on the blog these days. That can be attributed to my lack of internet, and the fact that the little internet I’m capable of accessing blogging is blocked out. Though I do have a secondary source, so I’ve decided to collect up some of my recent thoughts and get them out while I have the chance to utilize my secondary source. Canada Day marks my last statute holiday for a while, and that I have four days left in my stay at the Canadian Forces Language School. On Monday I’ll move from my comfy standard of living to a less comfortable standard when I move back over to the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, to complete part two of my Basic Officer Training Course.
Well I will fill you all in with what I’ve been up to since I last posted. I’ve still been studying French during the week. What I’ve been doing on the weekends has been much more exciting. Well one weekend I ventured down to Vermont with some pals of mine. We visited Burlington, which I’m pretty sure is the capital of Vermont. We gave ourselves a walking tour of the city, and the University of Vermont. The weekend after we decided to bike to Montreal, after the thought was provoked by a Health Day held at the Royal Military College (St. Jean Campus). The ride to Montreal was around 60kms and took us about 3 hours. Getting across the St. Lawrence from Longueuil to Montreal was quite the adventure. Who ever is in charge of building or constructing the numerous bike paths in Quebec did not clearly map or build them across the St. Lawrence. Needless to say we made our away across the Champlain Bridge over top La Ronde (Montreal’s amusement park), and into Montreal. Fortunately we hit Ste. Catherine’s Street, where we found a nice little hamburger shop. After dining on some good eats, we biked through The Village, down into the Old Port, where we biked down cobblestone streets, which needless to say hurt my already sensitive and sore rear. After more pedaling, and a few wrong turns we ended up on the racetrack used for Formula 1 races. After a few more wrong turns, path closures, and a stop at a convenience store for a few litres of Powerade, we got back on the trail and on the way back to St. Jean. Needless to say it was one of the most physically exerting 12 hour periods of my life. This past weekend I ended up in Montreal once again, not on a bicycle this time though. With some friends I attended the Montreal Jazz Festival, which is supposedly the largest outdoors jazz festival in the world.....supposedly. I also had the chance to visit a friend I haven’t seen in quite some time, which was awesome. Stay tuned to Facebook for pictures of most of these adventures.
Happy Canada Day! Stay tuned for more, and don’t worry if there’s large gaps in between posts.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

My Apologies

So it's been over a month since I wrote on here. Partially because I've forgotten to, partially because I've been busy, and partially because I've been lacking an internet connection. Anyways I had a lot of ideas about stuff to talk about, but most of them are out of date. Anyways I'll just sum some stuff up, because if I don't it might be months again before I get internet access that allows me to blog.

-My two weeks of holidays were great with one small exception. Holidays in May?? One of the worst times of the year for someone who originates from a rural community. I was able to see most of the people I was intending on seeing, but as always I miss a few. But seriously holidays in May? Worst time of the year.

-Oh skipping back in time to just before my departure for holidays. I switched academic programs to science. My major being physics. Judging by the course descriptions for the courses I registered in, I think second year will be much more enjoyable and I'll come out in 2011 with a degree that I can use and enjoyed getting. So same job, different degree, but things are looking bright, plus second year should be a lot more stress free.

-Where am I now? In St. Jean sur Richelieu, Quebec once again for hopefully my final stay in the Mega. Let's just say that Mega doesn't mean mega happiness or fun. Though French training isn't so bad. It's just the sitting in a hot class room for 6-7 hours a day that makes it difficult. Oh well on July 7th, I begin my summer long trek to finish part two of my Basic Officer Training Course.

-Where am I actually physically, geographically at the moment? In Ottawa visiting relatives, and cursing out Microsoft for making it so difficult for me to update my computer properly. Then again the slacker salesman who sold the computer a year ago is partially to blame for the troubles.

-What else is new? Well for anyone who hasn't read the newspaper in the past 3 days....they named the new chief of defense staff. I won't spell his name, because I don't like misspelling Ukrainian or Polish names. But we're all happy to see another good general fill the void that will be left when our current CDS stands down. Plus the new CDS is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Need I say more but score 1 for Manitoba!

Anyways that's about all I have for now. If I'm not posting on a regular basis don't panic. I'm still alive, I'm just far away from any form of internet access.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Switchin to glide...

So my exams are all done, for better or worse. What now? EPT.....which for all of you people not attuned to the hundreds of acronyms I spit out means Environmental Physical Training. I fall under the Army category, because I'm a first year going on a course that covers general stuff, which is more applicable to ground operations. So we do a lot of running, and ruck marches. Only another two weeks of it, and parade practices and I'll be home on holidays, and then it's back to French training in St. Jean and Basic after that. Yeah, you read that right holidays. I've got two weeks in May, which will be only holidays until Christmas (Yes, I realize that means 7 months without stepping foot in Manitoba). I'll be taking a little bit of my own medicine and be sucking it up.

Anyways EPT is pretty chill. We get up early and do some activities. The last couple days its been runs and ruck marches. Some fairly easy stuff. On Monday I was the First Aider for the Range Day, which was pretty good because no one got hurt, but also a little crappy, because it was cold and rainy. The rest of the time I've been waking up for my activities and spending my afternoons napping, except on Tuesday, because it was Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's.

What else have I been up to? Well anyone lucky enough to be one of my 645 friends on Facebook (I'm slowly working towards one thousand) has probably viewed my photos of scenic Wolfe Island, where thanks to my friend (thank god he's going to have a GPS in that Hornet if he makes it through PFT) we ended up in the middle of nowhere on a 7 mile by 27 mile island. It got dark, there were thorns, trees, multiple obstructions, my other friend and I decided to wear shorts, and we were a good 5-7 miles away from the car all because he misread or forgot to read the legend on the map. So hopefully that's a lesson to all of you out there. On the bright side we ran into some guys who gave us some brewskies so the story had a happy ending. Read the map or you'll buddy **** your buddies. I also watched the movie Juno......all I can say is that it makes teen pregnancy look acceptable, because if a movie says it'll have a happy ending then there's a good chance it will in real life......not. The new Harold and Kumar movie is better then the first, Street Kings is a fictional account of what it would be like for me to be a cop (shooting the bad guys dead and falsifying the reports, because you know the court system will fail), Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a must see, and I can't remember what other movies I've watched out of boredom in the days following exams.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

And You Thought Your Job Blew

When you're mad about your job and think it blows then read this. In fact this job can literally blow.

Now if that job doesn't take nerves of steel and a great deal of luck then I don't know what does! Hopefully that is both a reminder of how much life in Canada is great and how support of nations in need like that is important!