Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reflections of My Service Prt 1

Now that I'm getting out of the military, I suppose I am reflecting on the experience, and much as I have painted the whole of my experience as bad, it really wasn't. I started my Basic back in February of 2006. Seems like forever ago now. Back then I really didn't know better about what I was getting myself into, and the instructors did nothing to dissuade me of my illusions. In fact, I think they went out of their way to reinforce those illusions of grandeur that I and others like myself probably felt about the military. At the time of my enlistment up until I passed Basic training and seeing my instructors all done up in their uniforms with their medals, I thought how awesome it would be to be like that, to command the respect that they had, to have done things and gone places like they did. Well, three years later and my feelings on the subject have changed.

I won't bash the people who are in the military still, who resigned contracts. They have their reasons for wanting to stay. Some acknowledge that now wouldn't be a prudent time for them to leave the Canadian Forces -- they just don't have the means to support themselves in a civilian job at the moment. I can understand that. Me, though, I've come to realize that the military is no place for me. I've decided to go back to school, get a degree in English. We'll see how that pans out, but I'm hopeful. As for my time in, well, it had its ups and downs.

Like I had said previously, I started my Basic Training back in February of 2006. It was a long course, three months long. I can't remember the exact date I finished, but it was sometime in May. During the course, I had to deal with persons who didn't like me and told me I'd never cut it, told me I should drop out. It's funny because one of my biggest opponents, the man who told me I wouldn't make the cut, ended up being cut only four weeks into the course. Not even a full month in and he was taken off the course. But, through it all, I prevailed. Thinking back, I actually believe Basic to be one of the easiest courses to pass, and the more I think about it, the easier I think it was. I think that were anyone to put their mind to it, they could do it.

My next course was my Soldier Qualification. I started that in July after spending time on PAT (Platoon Awaiting Training). Two months of PAT does things to the mind. It's painful, but then, it's a lot like being in Battalion with my unit -- much the same thing, but I didn't know that at the time. SQ was more difficult than Basic, but that was expected. Only a few people failed off the course. A girl who was dropped on our second day of the seven week course, one other because he didn't want to do it anymore, and a third who ended up having his knees shot to fuck from the severity of the course itself. But in the end, I passed. The last course was my Basic Infantry Qualification, or BIQ. I went through that, and actually found it easier than SQ by a long shot. It was easier -- but I think the reason for that was because the weather made the course more difficult in and of itself. Temperatures that are forty below do enough to make lives miserable, especially out in the field. Staff didn't try to make it worse, was no need. Once that was completed, it was off to Battalion to join my unit. I would become a member of the Second Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry -- 2VP or 2PPCLI for short.

And that was when I began the arduous wake-up call as to what I had really signed on for. You see, courses are a bit of a closed environment. Everything you see, hear and do are regulated for you by your staff. They do this in such a way as to shield you from what military life really is and what it is that you'll really be doing. In all honesty, you're being lied to a little, because you think that Battalion is the greener grass on the other side, but in all honesty, I prefer the regimented lifestyle of being on course, even though it sucks in its own right.

Battalion, yeah, it was something.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On Hobbits and Trolls

Pte. B. Cooper: "So, see any hobbits on your way back?"

Pte. T. Carey: "No, I didn't see any hobbits. And I didn't see any overlarge trolls, either. Probably hiding under a bridge somewhere."

Cpl. J. Hoyle: "What're they talking about?"

Cpl. J. Hunter: "Veltri and Baltzer."

Discussing the whereabouts of Corporal's J. Veltri and D. Baltzer after I had come back from the seeing the company clerk.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Suicide Six

Pte. I. Montgomery: "Why the fuck are we even here so early?"

Pte. T. Carey: "Suicide Six is taking calls."

Pte. D. Bray: "It's sad that we even call ourselves that."

Friday, January 23, 2009

The State of Affairs in RPing

From ysqure3: Most RPers are either pretentious hacks who recognize that they can't write worth dick or pretentious hacks who think that their purple, Tolkien-ripoff prose is the shit. They're all people who come to the table from railroaded JRPGs with magic and bullshit mawkish dialog, and are incapable of writing an original character, so they crib off existing tropes.

I'm wondering what the readership (if I really even have one) thinks about this quote. Thoughts, and do you agree or disagree, and why?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Forum Dueling Basics - How to BE

There are many advantages to be had while dueling. You and your opponent constantly make mistakes while not realizing it, leaving yourself open. For every advantage you think you have, your opponent has five more that they don't know about.

People try all sorts of things thinking they are giving themselves an advantage. Every attack you make leaves you open in some form, even distance attacks. While you might think you have an advantage, you don't. This is how real combat is. Each advantage can also be a disadvantage, so plan wisely. Also, you should try to keep track of EVERY advantage you give your foe, or as many as is possible. Why do this? So you can counter them when he uses them against you, plus it also gives you something to expect. But don't assume that your opponent will always go for an advantage you think you've given him/her. He/she might have seen something you didn't and will use that. Be prepared for anything, as most anything is possible. However, there are sometimes strategies for not only predicting your opponents' move, but forcing them into taking the move you want them to.

But, as with all things, there are things you need to take into account in a duel. Tactical thinking aside, a good strategy is 'to be' a whole number of things in your match all at once, or as much as it possible. They will give credit to your attacks and your ability to overcome your opponents attacks. They include:

  • Be Decisive
    - Never let your opponent have the first move if you can help it. Why would you want the first move? Because then you can throw in a wussy attack and gauge how your opponent reacts. Or you can use a forceful attack off the bat just to set the tone.
  • Be Exploitative
    - Look for weaknesses in your opponents attacks quickly. Look for where your opponent is leaving him/herself open and take advantage of that. Don't sit back throwing punches you know won't hit unless you want to follow it up with something else. You want to win and win fast. The longer and more drawn out a battle becomes, the less of an edge you have--unless you're just that good.
  • Be Flexible
    - Never let yourself be caught stuck in a rut. Be flexible to situational changes in the duel, adapt to the constantly changing environment you are in. Don't be caught out in the rain on an attack, but instead flow with it.
  • Be Quick - Don't let up, ever. Continue attacking. If your opponent stops, they're leaving themselves open - take advantage of this.
  • Be Aggressive
    - You can play a conservative role in your dueling, and throw up a mighty defense, but a defense is just that, a defense. The more you attack your opponent, the more you keep him reeling and off balance the quicker you can deal massive damage.
  • Be Creative - Creativity nearly always trumps any kind of brute force attack. Why is this? If your opponent is trying to beat you to death with some kind of oversized weapon, evading and coming up with inginuitive ways of tiring him/her out and forcing them into a corner will almost always get you a win. Plus inginuitive attacks can throw your opponent off, mess up their timing to the point where you can exploit an advantage.

Then there are things you should take note of:

  • Balance Displacement
    - Keep them off their guard. The more often they don't know what to do and are off balance, the more they slip up and leave themselves open. The best way to do this is to continually do something unexpected, but do it too often and your opponent will begin to see through the tactic.
  • Use the Environment
    - There are many things in the environment that can be exploited at any time, by you or your opponent. Roots, branches, rocks, gas mains, electrical lines, etc. All can be used to cause harm to your opponent if done right. Keep track of this stuff.
  • Running the Distance
    - Don't change the distance to suit your own purposes. This is short sighted and can sometimes make things more difficult for yourself in the end. If you're close, stay close. If you're distant, stay distant. Try and find what works and stick with it. Jumping away simply because your opponent is attacking can leave you open to a much larger attack and is just poor planning to begin with.
  • Jumping
    - Never jump back when you can sidestep. Never sidestep when you can duck. Never duck when you can catch your opponents attack and turn it against them. Parrying blows is often more effective than blocking them; you can turn attacks away to make your opponent leave themselves open. An excellent and useful tactic.
  • Talk is Cheap
    - Don't spend time talking in a duel. It detracts from the realism or immersion. When was the last time you saw a couple cage fighters jump back to exchange verbal garbage before jumping back in at one another to rain blows? Never. You wouldn't have time to do it in reality, so don't do it in a duel.
  • Not an Anime
    - Dueling is not an anime. Throw away everything you see in an anime, from the jumping back to talk about how recklessly awesome and badass you are, to doing it just to charge forward and swing your weapon (if you're using a melee weapon) blindly. It shows bad planning, lack of creativity, poor quality of attack or even writing, no originality, and excessive amounts of stupidity.

Remember, dueling is fighting. If you aren't there to fight, get out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chat - Vol 4

(6:08:43 PM) GuardianAnubite: You get so attached to random shit.

(6:08:48 PM) GuardianAnubite: Like a word magpie.

(6:09:08 PM) GuardianAnubite: You see a 'shiny' word, which could sound cool, funny, whatever, and then you steal it.

(6:09:16 PM) GuardianAnubite: <_<

(6:09:33 PM) Wolf: I suppose that's still better than being attached to random drugs. That could end up really bad.

(6:09:37 PM) GuardianAnubite: xD

Survey's -- Do They Listen To Our Cries?

Did a survey today. It was the third in a series. Had one before deployment, and apparently one during our deployment, but I don't remember it, and one today. The usual rigmarole that you'd expect. A whole plethora of questions with numbers pertaining to "strongly disagreeing", "disagreeing", "neutrality", "agreeing" and "strongly agreeing." It seems you can sum up what a person really thinks with a series of standardized questions. No names affixed, run through a card reader, tally the results, calculate the mean (average) and that's what the troops are thinking. I almost think that nobody will listen. No, wait, I'm sure of it.

The questions asked were about what I thought of my job, about the Canadian Forces, the training leading up to deployment, about my fitness before, during and after deployment, and about leadership. In some cases, we were all given options to add a little extra, vent as it were. Now, much as I wanted to go into a detailed rant about the inanity of the military planning machine and how inadequate it really is, I couldn't. Time restrictions. Right. A survey they want done to completion, but in a specific time frame. It limits your thoughts, however good or bad. Much as I'd like to think positive these days, and I have been making strides to not be that way (although my writing probably doesn't reflect that), I found it impossible to even think well of any of it.

I remember a few of the answers I tossed down in relation to some of the questions. Probably my two favorite ones would be in regards to the pre-deployment exercises. Training in the cold Wainwright is not the same as being in hot Afghanistan. Two or three buildings in the middle of no where is not a built-up area full of people. In fact, often, there weren't any people, let alone civilian actors. The training wasn't good. It didn't address any of the problems we'd face overseas. I learned more one-on-one with my section commander and within my own platoon than I did at the company level. The end result was that I didn't have anything really positive to say about the process, both of work-up training, deployment, being deployed, or re-deploying back to Canada. No, wait, scratch that. I did have on positive thing to tick off. Decompression in Cyprus. It was nice to blow off steam before coming back to Canada to reintegrate, but none of that was in part from staff being there for me.

In the end, I said a lot of bad stuff about work-up training (junk), the realism factor on our training (more junk), certain aspects of my leadership (even more junk), and the entire process and how it was handled (just a shitload of junk).

Yeah, I bet a private could plan this better if he was given the chance.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


(4:41:31 PM) Starry: What do I remind you of, Wolfgang?
(4:44:04 PM) Wolf: Pancakes.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Ever wonder what's talked about in a military workplace? Here's a couple examples. I wish this weren't true, too, but it is.

Scagel: What kind of blade does a nunchuk have?
Palahicky: A nunchuk doesn't have a blade.

Stratile: How many socks are in a pair?
Warawa: Are you stupid?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Enough With the Bullshit Characters

Creativity. I often wonder what it is. People say it means to be original. But originality means one of a kind, and I'm sorry to say, nobody is really that original. Carbon lifeforms being carbon copies. Nothing is ever, truly new, just remade. I've been role playing and dueling for years now. I've tried to make headway in the whole "creative" and "original" department. I use technology as my weapon, usually having some premise based on a simple layman's form of science. But usually it is steeped in some kind of a scientific fact, or at least a theory. It isn't much, but I try.

Well, there are those who don't try. I've found my fair share of sorry, sad, pathetic individuals who think their carbon copy clone of an anime or RPG game character is original. Oh, some of these well-meaning kids might take the time to change the name of the character, maybe even change the name of the flashy, fancy attacks used by the preexisting character, but its the same. These little copies are accepted, given the seal of approval and moved along as if on an assembly line pumping out mediocrity. Dark and brooding anti-heroes; the antagonistic, condescending, arrogant, nihilistic mold is used over and over again, pre-fit for todays characters. It has given me a headache that something so retarded can be given more props than something that was actually crafted or had any kind of hard work put behind it.

Much as I hate to say it, but it pains me so when I see myself barely managing to win a match against a man who used attacks taken from an RPG video game, their description, even their names, and be considering creative. No, I'm sorry, that is quite the opposite. It smacks of laziness and a lack of caring. An inability to be capable of writing anything worthwhile. They lose any kind of credibility at that point. No, you aren't a pretty, pink princess. You aren't a wonderful snowflake, a one-of-a-kind creation. Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars. These atrocities of the role playing community should be shelved. The fact that they're allowed to exist shows nothing but apathy from the community as a whole. It is as if there is no one to help a prospective writers move along and make progress to something better, or better yet, as if nobody truly cares enough. There is no proper, constructive criticism -- all the remains are flame wars where nobody listens.

It should stop now. But it won't.

Much as I want to crusade the point, I don't know whether it'll make a difference. Maybe I should use a little motivation and tenacity to make something happen. Because if no one makes an effort, we give into entropy and apathy, and then nothing happens. It is time to effect change for the better.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Back

The wonderful thing that is "Create-a-Weapon is back! Here's all the wonderful new toys* I've come up based on requests:

  • VTD XS2221 VarG MCS-88 "Windcutter"

    The VarG MCS-88 (Molecular Control System), nicknamed the Windcutter -- it's a bodysuit built of a mesh of polymers and light-weight alloys. It isn't designed to protect the user as it is to affect and charge molecular field states. It is similar in design to the XS2201 GIM41 and XS2205 FMD64, but isn't even capable of what those two weapons can do. Instead, the molecules excited form a coherent matrix. Generally air molecules (Nitrogen, Oxygen), are compressed within a force-field and accelerated toward a specific target. The Windcutter can do this with any loose molecules, air, dirt, sand. Useful, but it lacks the power to keep going after a small number of uses.

  • VTD XS2223 SMW-01 "Cricket"

    The Cricket: it is a small, bladed weapon approximately two feet in length. Designed for general purpose, it has a small control and power unit in the hilt. When the blade is "turned on", it is capable of five-thousand vibrations a second. These vibrations travel along the length of the blade making it capable of cutting through nearly any substance. Assassins have since begun using it, and although it makes for having to get close to a target, it insures death through dismemberment easily. The reason it is called the Cricket, however, is due to the sonic vibrations themselves. When turned on, the unit sounds like a Cricket chirping at a somewhat high speed, although in a subdued tone.

  • TD XS2225 Xin Yao SD20

    The Xin Yao -- it is a weapon designed to use overpressure detonation-style sonic waves as a weapon. It does this by using a specially designed high-yield explosive fired from an specialized assault right. The chambered rounds are similar in size to that of a twelve-gage slug. Each slug contains both an advanced sonic emitter in conjunction with the explosive. Upon reaching a minimum safe distance from the weapon (generally fifteen meters), both the sonic emitter and explosive fire. The shockwave is mostly supported by the exothermic reaction of the shaped charge, with the sonic emitter acting to create an artificial expansion fan that makes the wave front largely self-propagating up to a certain distance until the initial energy is spent; usually a hundred to two hundred meters. The wave front causes an increase in air pressure, temperature and density of flow in the medium used (atmosphere or liquid): essentially it makes an invisible, expanding fist in the air capable of destroying vehicles or buildings, and more than able to kill living creatures. Blast speed has been measured up to 5.2 times the speed of sound, roughly 1,800 m/s.

Note, all these weapons are fictitious.

Monday, January 05, 2009

It's Dead, Jim

When I returned here to lovely Manitoba, I knew that I'd want to head on into town, go buy some stuff. Food and the like. Well, when I made my way out to my truck, put the key in the ignition, turned, and listened to the engine sputter as it turned over twice before going into a series of rapid-fire thrashings that sounded almost like machine gun fire. I knew at once it was something with the battery. My dad had experienced something like it almost a week before with his truck. Same response, the rapid fire sound after two turn-overs of the engine. Well, I got a buddy of mine to jump start my truck with some cables, then went to Canadian Tire to get my own jumper cables. I knew I'd need them. I didn't know how bad my battery was, not yet anyway.

I got the cables and a tarp, then made for my truck. Key in the ignition, two turn overs and then the rapid-fire sputter again.

To say I was frustrated is an understatement. I was livid, if only for a moment, and found myself waiting a moment to cool my head. It was at this point I spotted a woman, and asked her if she could boost my truck. She said sure, but asked if I had the cables to do it. Well, now I did. Jump started my truck again, and headed on down to the Toyota dealership. This time I left the truck running. I walked in, asked them if they installed new batteries, if they could do it now, and how long it'd take. They said yes, right now, and not too long. They also asked me why I needed it now and so badly, and I only responded with "if I turn my truck off, I'll need someone to boost it to get it going again."

When we yanked my old battery out, it was frozen solid -- just a dead chunk. I could only gawk. They got a new battery in after a little mix-up on the battery type and she started like a charm. Made me happy. Hopefully the new one doesn't freeze. That'd just be bad luck.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Enjoy Your Flight

Some people like to consider traveling refreshing. After all, most people never leave their quaint little towns, never see the world or do anything that others might consider "interesting" or "exciting." I was once like them, thinking that going places in and of itself was an adventure. Oh, trust me, while it is an adventure, it's more an adventure in patience than anything else. I used to think flying was brilliant, when I first did it. And while I do like the idea of going to places I haven't been before, the idea of having to get from point A to point B being some kind of wondrous joy has long since worn off.

My travels started yesterday. But truly, they began when I got to the airport in Kelowna at just after 5:00 AM PST. I had been up since 4:30 AM PST. It was the start of my long day. I thought things would go well -- had how it was going to go down all planned out in my mind. My flight would get into Winnipeg sometime around 12:30 local, I'd catch the 2:00 PM local bus to Brandon. It would go well. And it did, in the beginning.

I got on the plane about a half hour before it was supposed to depart at 7:00 AM PST. I got a window seat...with no window. Didn't bother me. I knew I'd end up asleep. I had a tendency to sleep on flights. A learned habit, and useful. Only wasn't to be. I got a young couple sitting next to me with their son. I was polite, asked how old he was. 13 months, apparently. And when the plane took off, so did the babies little lungs. He could wail, much like any child that age. Wonderful. No sleeping, not now. Eventually, after about an hour of squalling, the pilot tells us we're making descent down into Calgary for a quick stop-off, drop off people, pick more up. I just sit on the plane as the couple leaves. I didn't know they'd be back...with a fervor I could've done without.

The plane took off, and there were more children this time around. And they all had such beautiful voices that screeched in the cabin air. Loved it. So, we flew toward Winnipeg, then a nice little announcement came over the intercom from the pilot. The airport in Winnipeg had just closed. Turned out a plane had stalled, blocking not one, but both runways. And it would take two hours to get this plane out from its current position. Back to Calgary, to land. Or so we thought. Nope, can't land in Calgary. Too much fuel on board the plane to make landing feasible, let alone safe, so we go into a holding pattern around Calgary. Eventually, the air control crew down at Calgary tells us that, no, we can't land, because our flight plan takes to Winnipeg, where we also can't land. Our alternative? Fly to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and land there. And that's exactly what the pilot does.

So we land in Saskatoon. And wait. And wait some more. Can't get fuel until we get a flight plan. Can't get a flight plan until Winnipeg re-opens. We're stuck, and not being let off the plane because who knows when we'll leave! So, I get to sit there for another few hours. But, as all things are eventualities, we become airborne once more and make our way mystically toward Winnipeg, where we land. And we touched down five hours after we should have. 5:30 PM local instead of the 12:30 PM local. Painful. Then comes the two hour wait at the bus depot for a bus that would be delayed a half hour. I got home after 10:00 PM. The day was long, tiring, and a real pain in the ass.

I hate traveling.