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User Journal

Journal: Uncle Aridhol 6

Journal by aridhol

Well, I haven't been spending much time around these parts, but I just got some news from home that I had to share.

As of 3:40 this morning, I'm an uncle. 9 pounds, 1 ounce, 22 inches. Stuart Jeremy. Stuart for my brother, Jeremy for my sister-in-law's father.

Data Storage

Journal: Hard drive surgery 8

Journal by aridhol
I'm on Halifax now on a 4-month course. Among other things that I packed along, I brought my laptop (of course) and my external hard drive, on which resides my music collection. Unfortunately, I brought the wrong power supply, and managed to drive 12 volts down a 5 volt connection.

I currently have a very dead hard drive (Samsung SP1604N), which I would like to recover. I have already purchased a new enclosure. If the hard drive is not connected, the light comes on; however, if the drive is connected, the light comes on briefly then goes out. The hard drive doesn't spin up.

Does anybody have any suggestions regarding drive surgery options? Is there a fuse or something similar I can replace or bypass just for a couple hours so I can copy my files onto a new drive?

User Journal

Journal: Airline baggage handlers

Journal by aridhol

For about the zillionth time, Air Canada has managed to lose my luggage. There were no problems with my flight - no cancellations, adequate layover time - yet somehow, once again, I ended up at my destination and my luggage did not.

Now, according to my luggage tracking page, they've managed to find one of my pieces of luggage. The other is still in limbo somewhere.

Christmas Cheer

Journal: Tracking Santa

Journal by aridhol

We all know that NORAD considers the fat man to be a number one priority this time of year. However, did you know that Canadian ships as far away as the Persian Gulf are assisting the search?

Yes, that's my brother's ship. No, he's not in the video. Merry (winter holiday of your choice) to everyone. To the guys out in the "box", come home safe.

User Journal

Journal: Updates - NaNoWriMo, Weather, Family, and Moving 5

Journal by aridhol
Well, between school and military obligations, I got nowhere near my 50000-word NaNoWriMo count. Next year, when I don't have school, I'll try it again.

I phoned home the other day to laugh at their weather. Never do that. The next day, it snowed here, and we had a warning to stay off the roads yesterday. Making fun of someone else's weather is bad.

I did get some interesting news when I called, though. I'm going to be an uncle :) My brother, who is in the Persian Gulf aboard HMCS Ottawa, and his girlfriend, who was on the same ship, had a little pre-deployment celebration, and we'll be seeing the results in May. She was sent home as soon as they found out (can't have a pregnant woman in the combat zone), and he'll be back in March.

School's done on Thursday, I go home next Saturday for Christmas leave. Then I come back here, and go back there for my house-hunting trip. Then back here one final time to graduate, then I get 15 days to drive from St. John's NL to Victoria BC, an "official" distance of 7200 km. Should be an interesting roadtrip. Anyone have suggestions on what I should bring (emergency equipment, food, etc)?

User Journal

Journal: Funerals suck

Journal by aridhol

I was a part of my first military funeral today. As a member of the funeral escort, I was part of the funeral service and the burial ceremony, but not the repatriation.

From what I saw, the most emotional moment was when the flag was given to his mother. She looked to be holding herself together until that moment, but that appeared to be the moment of finality; she held the last bit of her son - his uniform hat, signifying his life in the navy; and his flag, signifying his final rest.

Fair winds and a following sea to LS Travis Pye

User Journal

Journal: A Mariner's Remembrance

Journal by aridhol
My school did a mariner's remembrance ceremony today, in honour of those sailors who died during the wars. This poem was read during the ceremony.

On all the oceans whitecaps flow,
they have no crosses row on row,
but they who sleep beneath the sea,
sleep in peace, for our country is free.
Your duty with courage met,
we bow in grateful memory,
we will remember them,
we will remember them.

I had the opportunity to talk with a few veterans and hear their stories. It really emphasizes the reality of what I enlisted to do.

User Journal

Journal: Funeral and Posting

Journal by aridhol
Recently, a Canadian sailor died in the Bahamas. I was in the honour guard when he graduated from my school last year. This weekend, I will be in his honour guard again, this time as he is laid to rest.

On a brighter note, I just got my posting message. I'm going back home to Victoria in February :)

User Journal

Journal: Indeed I Is 6

Journal by aridhol
For those who haven't had the opportunity of passing up a drink of Newfoundland Screech.....er....Screech, I heartily recommend you do so. Pass it up, that is.

But now, indeed, I is a screecher, from a ceremony that goes something like this:

Host: You want to poison yourself on stage?
Me: Sure, I'm already drunk, why not?
(Host & I go on stage)
Host: Is ye a screecher?
Me: Indeed I is me old cock and long may your big jib draw.
Me thinking: WTF did I just say?
Host: Take a shot of this and let me know how it feels.
Me: (Drink) Aaarrgh!! (The reason behind the name of the drink.)
Host: (hits me with a paddle) In the name of Davy Jones and the Lord Thunderin' Jesus, I declare ye a screecher
Crowd: (Drinks)

So now, I'm "officially" a newfie, although I've been living here for the last two years.

User Journal

Journal: From Kandahar 3

Journal by aridhol
This is from army.ca. For anyone who wonders what makes military members volunteer to return.

It has been 2 month and 2 days since I deployed to Afghanistan, with 8 Platoon, Charles Company, 1 RCR. I was honored, as a reservist augmentee, to be attached to such a great group of probably the best soldiers our country has to offer.

In the three short weeks I was in Afghanistan, I learned more about commitment to my military family than most soldiers learn in a life time. It seemed both unfortunate and amazing that it took battle and blood shed to forge such a strong bond.

It has been 1 month and 12 days since I was wounded and pulled from the battlefield. When I was in the hospital in KAF, I had hoped that I would stay in Afghanistan to recover. Why would I want to stay in such a horrible place that almost claimed my life? I didn't want to leave my family.

Germany and Toronto (hospitals) were a blur of Morphine, Demerol, Fentanyl, IV lines, wound packing's, shrapnel removal surgeries, catheters, bad food, and good care. I think back on it and it seems dizzying. But when I close my eyes, only 2 images flash and they take me back to where I'm supposed to be.

I see Panjwayi; the fields of pot. Rockets and bullets. The smell of burning and the heat. Then all I see are the bodies of soldiers I helped carry to the CCP. 2 covered by body bags (WO. Richard Nolan, Sgt. Shane Stachnik) and 2 on stretchers; my platoon warrant (WO Frank Mellish), and a soldiers I new only casually from living in the shacks in Petawawa (Pte.Will Cushley)

While at the CCP I find out that a very close friend (from my reserve home unit) had been wounded by shrapnel from Taliban RPGs. His sections LAV had been left on the battlefield. For a long while, I didn't know how badly he was wounded. (He's still over there, thus no names) I'll never forget the feeling; the sense and fear of loss. I will never forget those who were lost that day.

I try to think of the good times I was privileged enough to have with my Platoon. WO. Mellish made me the unofficial piper of 8 Platoon, (shortly there after; Coy piper) and I played reveille as per his request (and everyone else's distain) anytime I was able. In dreams I still hear him shouting "Piper!!! Black Bear!!"... The last tune I played on my pipes... at panjwayi. (I still don't have them back)

When I close my eyes, I also see the morning after Panjwayi. Sparks, smoke, fire... then the burp of the main gun of the A-10. I remember the feeling of panic as I crawled for my Weapon and PPE, thinking we were under attack. I can still feel the burning on my legs and back, the shock of thinking my legs were gone.

I can see the faces of the injured... the twice wounded soldiers of Charles. I see the face of the soldier who saved my life by applying tourniquets to my legs and stopping the bleeding from my back and arm... (He will remain nameless for now)

From then, everything's a blur until I'm back in KAF. I remember asking if everyone was 'ok'... Reaching from my gurney to other wounded soldiers walking by, trying to peace together what had happened... more confusion. I asked again and again... Pte. Mark Graham. An inspirational man whom I only really started to get to know shortly before deploying, a brother in our family of warriors, was dead. My heart sank even more.

Our CSM (who was also wounded) came over to me and asked if I was going to be able to play the pipes for the ramp ceremony the following day. I held up my right hand, which was numb, and looked at my fingers. The tips of 2 of them looked like they had been chewed up in a blender. I felt tears run down my face. Not because I thought I'd never play again, but because I couldn't play for my departed brothers the next day... I would have given both of my hands and more for their lives.

I had hoped to attend the ramp ceremony the next day, even if I couldn't play, but I couldn't move my legs and they couldn't put me in a wheel chair because of the shrapnel in my back. I was sedated that day, and came to on the plane to Germany.

I couldn't attend any of the funerals of my fallen family, and I feel no closure.

It has been a month and 12 days since I lost my brothers in Panjwayi and it might as well have been yesterday.

When I close my eyes at night I not only see the ones who have paid the ultimate price, but also the ones who are still there... and I feel as though I am betraying them.

My life seems to be dragging me on. My fiancé and I are planning our wedding and future. My family and I get together often. I've been able to socialize with my friends... and yet each thing I do here makes me feel guilty, because I shouldn't be here to enjoy this.

I wake up every day and plan and plot. I think of only one thing; how can I get back to my family... How can I get back to Afghanistan? My wounds are almost healed. Only 3 holes left and they're almost closed. I can walk pretty well now, but I need to run.

My family and friends don't understand. They don't want me to go back. My fiancé has threatened to end our relationship if I chose to return... and yet this doesn't dissuade me. I have to get back to my boys. I have to get back and do my part no matter the cost to me. I love my family here in Canada, but no one's shooting at them.

Every time I see more soldiers killed over there a piece of me dies, and I feel the urge to return grow stronger. And each day I enjoy in my freedom here, I feel as though I have betrayed their memory. I need to finish my job over there. I need to go back.

I can only think of the families of those who have died, and I can only say this, and hope it provides some solace: A warrior's sword is made from the finest steel, forged by hammer and anvil to create and edge, baptized in hot coals and flame for strength, then quenched in cold water to harden it.

Our brotherhood of Warriors, the finest of men, has been forged by Battle; Baptized by fire and Quenched by tears...

We became and will always be a fraternity of blood with a bond stronger than death.

Pro Patria

I hate to rant, but I need to vent. It's been a hard road, and I know there are a few others here who have seen it and may or may not feel the same (HoM).

- Piper

User Journal

Journal: NaNoWriMo countdown

Journal by aridhol
Today is my last day of putting off writing. In just under eleven hours, NaNoWriMo starts. I have a general storyline mapped in my mind, as well as a few specific scenes. But until midnight tonight, nothing's actually written out.

If you're bored and want to monitor my progress, I'm Lacqui there.

User Journal

Journal: Why is it? 4

Journal by aridhol
I can hang out with a mixed group with no problem. I have no issues being the only guy in a group of girls even in potentially awkward situations. Even being along with a girl (just as friends) holds no fear for me.

So why is it that, with a specific girl for whom all of the above applies, we make plans to go to a movie and my heart starts skipping beats and I get all light-headed?

Yes, I went on a date. Not something I was planning on doing, especially so recently after breaking up, but it was arranged by a mutual friend. And really, although my ex and I officially finished it up last weekend, there were three weeks of silence and three months of near-silence between us; we just made official what was already fact. So depending on your point of view, I've been single for at least a month (I don't count the 3 months).

My biggest concern is the future. In January, I graduate from here and will be posted somewhere else in Canada. Is that really enough time to decide about the future? By the end of January I have to know if I'm moving alone or with someone else. It's a rather extreme version of moving in together - we may end up moving across the country to do so.

Is it better to end everything now, before it gets too far? Or to wait, hope for the best, and risk breaking it off when it's getting into full swing but before we're ready to make that kind of commitment?

Or am I just reading too much into a single date (although there are plans in the works for another)?

User Journal

Journal: Single 2

Journal by aridhol
After a series of text messages today, I'm single.

As I mentioned before, it's been rocky. Well, after two weeks of being ignored, not being called back, and generally avoided, I sent her a message pretty much saying wtf? She responded telling me to leave her alone. Then we exchanged messages discussing how and when we'll return each others' stuff.

I can't believe I used text messages to do it. It makes it feel even worse now, like I couldn't do it to her face. Although I tried for a while to talk with her and sit down and have a face-to-face, it wasn't happening.

This is just the tail end of what happened. There's more that's been happening since July, but I haven't been here. Maybe I'll write it here later, but I'm not in the mood to go through it all again right now.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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