Burmese Days – Impressions

If you read books, I am going to assume that you are at least somewhat familiar with George Orwell’s 1984. If not, you more than likely need to read more. Just earlier today I finished my read of Burmese Days, which is based on Orwell’s experience as a part of the British Raj during the interwar period of the twentieth century. If history does not concern you, then do not worry; Burmese Days is fictionalized and exists firstly as a novel, being Orwell’s first. As someone who adores 1984, how does this earlier work stand up?

It should be apparent that I had just set up this post as a comparison, but I believe that to be fair and of course, I will get it out of the way. Upon inspection of Orwell’s larger bibliography, one can gain the sense that all of his novels serve as stepping stones that culminate in 1984. Throughout Burmese Days, I picked up on lots of parallels between the two novels, but for the sake of spoilers, I will not mention them. This ‘stepping stones’ mentality is important to keep in mind because this novel’s best aspects were enhanced for 1984.

(Disclaimer: Do not look at historical novels with modern morality. If you do, you will likely miss the point of them and end up hating everyone older than a hundred years old.)

As a character-driven story, Burmese Days presents the waning days of imperialism through its characters rather than any larger-than-life politics or skirmishes. I found protagonist John Flory to be compelling as he is a reflection of the novel’s setting: he is a stranger in a foreign land, and his plight almost seems tragic. However, Flory is an imperfect character who would show mercy to the Burmese populace while treating them as fascinating ‘aliens,’ which is just a tad more realistic than being the black sheep who is different in every conceivable way. He is a sympathetic character that is surrounded by characters who he perceives in very different ways than from how the audience does, which gives this novel life and propels its presentation of imperialism to be fascinating.

What will kill the novel for some is its repetition and lack of variety in its plot structure. Burmese Days is as focused as it is small in scale; many characters appear sporadically, with major time devoted to Flory and his relationship with a newcomer leading to a major plot-point being pushed in the back of the character’s minds. This is even true with Flory’s role in the novel at some points, where he is absent for noticeable stretches. This criticism may make it seem as if my point on repetition is mute, but the novel does not present these characters in a manner that is vastly different with or without Flory. The overall theme of how British imperialism was a dark thing for the lands under their subjugation is also a meaty one, but it is quickly established without much in the way of profound exploration, which correlates to character exploration as well.

I also cannot dig into the ending, but it was abrupt and almost felt forced for the novel to end the way it did.

Despite my ‘hefty’ criticisms that seem to blanket Burmese Days, I can safely assume that Orwell made these decisions consciously for the novel and they can easily be seen as non-issues. They make sense within the context of the plot, but for some, they will make it somewhat cluttered. However, Orwell’s writing style is prevalent throughout the novel, as well as his slow-burn approach to building a darker world. The pacing of scenes and plot-points is also very fluid, which made Burmese Days a comfortable read that was interesting from a historical and narrative point of view. If you are looking for something 1984-esque with a dash of history, this novel should be perfect for you. Just do not keep your expectations unreasonably high if you have read Orwell’s magnum opus.

Also, stay tuned for another impression post very soon. Let’s just say that I am ecstatic to talk about a certain movie… 🙂


The Thirty-Nine Steps – First Impressions

Hello all, and welcome back!

Before I even delve into today’s subject matter, I would like to address the question of why there is a new post so soon. Now, the title of this blog most likely gave you a good idea of what you’re in for, but let me elaborate what this post means for this blog.

Due to my limited posting schedule this year in conjunction with my university lifestyle (Which will most likely escalate when I have to do that eight-page paper…), I have two choices: make blog posts once every few months and leave you all in the dust, or try out something a little more manageable. As I am focusing my studies on English, that means I’m going to read a lot. I am a fairly slow reader, as I like my novels to last me well into a month. However, at my current pace, I have read three plays, three novels, and one epic (and I’m currently reading two more novels) as of yet, so I had an idea. For every novel/movie/television series/video game/play/whatever I experience, I am going to write a quick pseudo-review/first impression post on it.

Here is how that will work: I will give a spoiler-free(ish) overview on my overall impression of the piece, as well as a brief run-through of what I both liked and disliked. I will then sum things up, and be off with it. These posts will be very short, and as with every review, this is my opinion. I feel as if that should be obvious, but I wanted to have that disclaimer regardless. You can feel free to debate my opinions in the comments, as I love to hear other points of view! I should also add that if my opinion changes over time, I will come back and update the post. Don’t worry about having to always check; I will point out any changes to previous posts in future ones.

Anyways, that’s the game plan. Let’s get started.


The Thirty-Nine Steps (by John Buchan) is a spy thriller novella that concerns itself with protagonist Richard Hannay as he is pulled into a dire situation, coming to gain the knowledge of a political assassination involving a Greek official. He puts on a game of cat-and-mouse with the British police for a murder he did not commit, as well as a mysterious organization that seeks to invoke a grand scheme that has the potential to change European history.

One interesting part of this novella is that it pioneered the spy thriller genre, which may be what makes-or-breaks it. If you have read plenty of other novels of the type, The Thirty-Nine Steps may prove to be excruciatingly simple in comparison and a slog to get through as a result. One reason as to why is the characters. If you wish to experience the thrill of emotional and deeply-characterized personas through tense situations, you will inevitably be disappointed. Every character here serves the plot and does not go through any significant development including the protagonist. Richard Hannay’s exploits are nothing to be attached to, as there is no emotional investment that is directed towards his goals and endangered position.

To me, this slight criticism comes from my point of view that emotional storytelling is key in telling a character-driven narrative. However, I almost feel as if it did not matter in comparison to the entertainment value of the novella. The narrative of The Thirty-Nine Steps is straightforward and simplistic, and the mystery unfolds at a comfortable pace. Each step of the journey is filled with quirky character interactions that do not overstay their welcome, being paced quickly without losing footing. The novella did not feel as if a stupendous amount was omitted to fit a certain word count or too barebones either for that matter. Action drives the brisk plot as well, meaning that at no point did I feel bored as I experienced Hannay’s plight through England and Scotland.

The Thirty-Nine Steps was an enjoyable read, but I am aware that it is not for everyone. If one seeks a short weekend/evening read to power through, this novella is perfect if one also does not expect perfection. There is nothing to give any lasting impressions after a read, but it is nothing to regret either.

I should finally add that there are many adaptations of this story, including an Alfred Hitchcock adaptation. There are also four sequels that seem to be full-length novels, of which I have not read at this point. I have heard the Hitchcock film is phenomenal, but that should not come across as a surprise.


With that, we come to a close. If you have suggestions/feedback, please do not hesitate to give them in the comments. These posts will be very informal, and I do not plan on giving any lengthy breakdowns (or actual meaty reviews) if that is your suggestion. Those will be longer posts, as not every story is worthy of a thousand or more words dedicated to sufficient examination.

Either than that, have a great night! 🙂

On Aestheticism and Art

I can already sense the reactions to this title. Is it not true that the purpose of art is to be ‘aesthetic’? What does ‘aestheticism’ even entail, beyond being a buzzword that wannabe photographers (including my own limited repertoire) love to spew? Well, after a short introductory paragraph, that will be the hot topic of the day!

As always, thank you for joining me again today. I swear I had another post planned just shy of a month ago, yet a lack of interest in the subject matter following its closure left me without much tangible goodness to latch onto. However, upon my one-month anniversary at university, I have regained a much deeper appreciation of art and its various mediums that the blistering summer days scolded off of me. I am also aware that sounded quite preachy, so let us move on to the actual topic at hand.

This post will not be terribly thorough or ‘deep,’ so just sit back and enjoy me ramble on about art!

What does it mean to be ‘aesthetic’? In the simplest explanation possible, it is ‘art for art’s sake’ as per the slogan. Well, duh, you probably think to yourself at this moment. However, this applies to all mediums of art, including books and movies. You may also think to yourself, Doesn’t every book need some moral lesson to wrap things up? Aren’t books supposed to challenge us in a literary sense or at least provide an enthralling narrative? These arguments against aestheticism may sound like something I want to simply disprove, but as with all things human and at least somewhat complex, there is no correct answer that everyone unanimously agrees with.

One example that one of my university classes had me read was Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Before I go on, I highly recommend you read this play on your own time as it is simply delightful. To speak more specifically, the play is a comedy of manners that pits various members of high-class England into a complicated dilemma on their pursuit of love, with various mishaps and sass to give it a bumbling character. If you have only read Shakespeare and you are afraid of archaic language and lengthy plays, feel relieved in knowing that Wilde’s play is only fifty pages long and that the language is quite close to fully modernized English.

Going along from that tangent, The Importance of Being Earnest is hilarious and colourful. As with most plays, it has symbolism, characters with different personalities, and poetic/literary devices. But how about deeper meaning? How about a commentary on the issues of 1895 in Victorian England? Why not be controversial, or even harshly truthful in a subtle manner? This is where aestheticism reigns, as not everything needs to speak to us on such a deeper level. Wilde’s play is not the commentary on insanity and leadership that Hamlet is, or on privacy and ideology that 1984 is either. It is simply a piece of art that is to be enjoyed and appreciated for its beauty.

Now, whether or not this is something you agree with this is a matter of personal preference. The importance of aestheticism here is that if you make something, make sure it resonates with you in some dazzling manner.

Now, it would not be a stadarooni blog post if I did not dwell on something that exists outside of the textual realm. Now, the reason I found this topic to be one of interest to me is due to me rewatching Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver over the past weekend. Even more so than Earnest, this film just screams aestheticism.

Also, I really love this movie’s poster.

What is the purpose of music in the film? No, it is not like Guardians of the Galaxy in that it is a blast of the blast to be ‘distinct’ in a manner. Instead, music is for the film’s incredible choreography for the actions of its characters. To dig down further, what is the purpose of the choreography in itself? Well, it does not serve a narrative use, and it goes beyond fashionable filmmaking. It is ‘art for art’s sake,’ bringing this discussion back full-circle.

It does not need to be deep, as some critics would have you think. It is simple: a film like Baby Driver is to be appreciated like a sunset. When one gazes upon a sunset, do they see it as a metaphor for the last breathing moments of one’s life? Perhaps, so let us think of a better example. If one is in an idealistic beachhead with their lover, walking through the glistening beach, sipping on a pina colada (or your beverage of choice), and embraced by the turquoise sky, do they think of it as a metaphor for anything? No, they are enjoying the moment for its beauty, just as one watching a film like Baby Driver or a play like Earnest should seek to do. If one chases that which does not exist, they have set themselves up for nothing but disappointment.

Regardless, whether you believe aestheticism is great or if it betrays the complexity of art and meaning is ultimately up to you. If there is a slight lesson to be gained here, it is to look at things on a case-to-case basis. Do not go looking for the wonderful joy of art in a text like Beowulf, as you should know better.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I know I have been absent for a while, and it is a nice thing to be able to write so casually every now and then. Throughout my absence, I have been keeping an eye on this blog’s performance though, so there has not been a day I have truly forgotten about it. If I am to make one last announcement, you should go follow/friend me on Goodreads! I will be happy to let you see all the geeky Halo novels I have read, as well as all that highbrow literary crap that will prevent me from ever writing in a straightforward manner. (I kid, of course)

Anyways, enjoy your day, and keep on going! 🙂

Some Ways YOU can Improve Your Writing!

Hello, once again! I have returned from the other side of my room to write another post, and this time I will be doing something I am most likely unqualified to do.

Have you ever struggled writing? Can’t get through the painful process of editing and revising, or do you ever get writer’s block? Maybe you have an awesome idea, but you just cannot get it down on paper. While I cannot hope to address every problem we face as writer’s, these past few months and my tenure on this blog have allowed me to alleviate the meticulous cycle of getting words on a blank piece of paper and having them look presentable.

What are some ways to look for mistakes while editing?

First and foremost, I could just tell you to install Grammarly and get done with it. It will look for some errors and make suggestions for fixes, and also explain why you need that comma or why your choice of words may not be as effective. There’s a premium version that is infinitely more powerful, but the free version is more than helpful. You can install it as an extension for your browser, for Word, and even as its own application. However, you will need an Internet connection, which may or may not be detrimental.

Also, pro (but not really) tip: DO NOT solely use Word’s grammar check, and ESPECIALLY NOT WordPress’ (heh).

One thing I need to add is to not only look at Grammarly for applications that assist you in editing. Another one that compliments it very well is the Hemingway Editor, which is also free of charge unless you desire to use the desktop app. Chopping down on unnecessary words and making your sentences concise is something to strive for, and this app indicates just that. Are some of your sentences hard to read? Hemingway will tell you that, but it’s up to you in figuring out how to do that.

Another way to alleviate this process is to read your writing aloud. You will find words that are missing, words that are misplaced, and words that just sit there awkwardly. Look for proper verb tense as well, and ensure that you understand everything that is on your paper. If you have trouble following along with your own work, then others will inevitably get lost. Along with this, saying words aloud can help you write more effectively to achieve the same benefit while writing and before editing.

I have a great idea; where do I begin to write?

Let’s pretend you have a great idea for some sort of story, or blog post, or essay. You have the outline in your head: this is Point A, which will lead to Point B, which will all culminate in Point C. The problem is how these points will connect in a fluid and meaningful way.

Having a plan is only one step of the journey, but one piece of advice is to just write. Thinking an idea to death is one way to just disappoint yourself after you start, while overplanning may prove to be a burden if you get new ideas that may not fit in as seamlessly. (This is a great way to combat writer’s block!) If the latter case is true, you may have to stick to your current plans and abandon a good idea. Ambition is a great thing while writing, but you can only have so much content before you overstay your welcome.

(Knowing that the rest of this article does not address writer’s block, another way to combat it is to go out for a walk, and also to just go out in the world and not focus on your ideas. Who knows, maybe you’ll get an epiphany in an unexpected place?)

There have been countless times where I have seen people (as well as myself) make excellent pieces, but they ramble on after their point is proven. Avoiding this is key, as beating a dead horse will just bore everyone. Trimming down on ideas is a key to writing, and can furthermore lead to a better understanding of what you are going to write. This also holds true to ideas that seem to have merit but stick out like a sore thumb. (ex. a horror themed chapter in an adventure novel) These could work, but make sure you always evaluate consistency.

As I stated above, just writing is the best place to start. Hooking your audience early on with whatever is relevant to your piece (ex. the theme of your novel, represented by some symbolism) is a great way to generate interest, and you want whatever is introduced to carry on and develop throughout your piece. Don’t just have an amazing introduction and then backtrack, as people can and will lose interest partway through your piece.

This carries on to my final point: do not fluctuate in quality. Always revise and edit, and revisit earlier parts of your piece. There may be something that you have set up that you forgot about, and it is easier to alleviate this sooner rather than later when changing your piece could throw everything off-balance. This especially holds true to pacing, which I can discuss in a future post as I have quite a bit to say about that.

Although I said that was my final point, make sure you read constantly! Creativity is a beautiful thing, but focus and purpose are what makes it special. Always analyze how things in a novel or movie or whatever work, and why something is good or bad. What is detrimental, and what is an aid? This can work with mediums that are beyond words on a sheet, but the craftsmanship of writing is still present in a speech or even a video game. (This is from experience. I read 1984 two and a half years ago and that elevated my mark in English quite a bit)


Of course, I am no expert. Take my advice as you will, and tell me if you liked this post! I would be happy to make more articles in this vein, especially on topics with a more specific and fine-tuned approach. Keep reading and writing, and make sure you take pleasure in it! Out of everything, feeling obliged to do something will not yield the best results.

And no, I did not feel obliged to make this post. 🙂

The End of the Beginning is the Beginning of the End

(Potential melodrama alert!)

Wow. It’s been a bit over two weeks since I ended one part of my life, and here we are again. The difference this time is that the doors are shutting slower, and some drips are still pouring in. There’s still a lot of goodbyes to go around, both to conclude relationships and to cherish the continuation of some.

Bleh. I apologize, but welcome back to another issue of stadarooni, and the fiftieth at that! While I did not plan for such an occurrence, know that this post may be the last time you will see me as sane. University is coming up and as some wise cliché always spouts, this is only the beginning! For now, however, we are not going anywhere.

Now, as with last summer, I want to kick things off with a story. This one will be a bit different, as I graduated! Maybe I made that sound passive, but I am unsure if it has hit me yet. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this descriptive story and enjoy the sunshine. 8)


You have just said goodbye. Not for two months or even three, but for good. It lacks weight, and the cauldron’s fire seems extinguished. That walk or drive felt the same as it did in September, and your bag tumbles onto the floor as usual. This time, it will remain there forevermore, but that feels insignificant. You handed in your final assignment and penned your last test, but it does not daunt you in knowing that is it.

Faces. They were there an hour ago, and the hour before that. Perhaps they were that of a student, a teacher, or a nobody. In the next hour, they may amalgamate into the haze of memories, which are untouchable. In that impervious shelter, they cannot be tended to, and they may deteriorate into forgotten dreams. It is not the end, however, as they make take to your road in another form and create new memories. Faces may not be forgotten so easily, but what of voices?

Emotions. Bittersweet? Joy? Sadness? Anxiety towards the unknown? For some, the end of the line may be where life reforms into eternal meandering, phasing into normality without any excitement. For others, the end is just where the page ends and the next begins with new life. Some may feel like heroes; some may feel indifferent to the trial they have persevered through. Whatever the causation, words linger in your mind, defining your smile as you take your cue off of the stage.

Fall. Why is it that during your moment, you only look to the door? There is plenty left for you before the page turns, only bound by your imagination. However, the leaves do eventually crinkle. Regret is only crushed when memories are gone, and the invincible cogs of society grind on in the invisible wind. The midnight soliloquy will never be heard and the rest can only lush and blue for so long.

Memories. The twilight jingle of a music box rusts, leaving its tone mute for all of time. The moment may be forgotten, but emotion will dwell to the grave. The same suit will take course for friends, mentors, and children until your world is nothing but a memory that the cogs have marched beyond. Still, this meaningless part of existence cannot bring you down, as purpose takes precedence over this shallow fact.

Pride. No matter philosophy or judgement, this is your moment. You can set the sail wherever you choose to, as the sea is now open. Opportunities await, but you take heed of danger and consequence. The world is changing, and so is yours. You could not see its beginning or end, but you have control over yours. You have survived the first round, but you are just getting started. The end is the beginning, and the beginning is the end.

Whether or not there be parades or shrines, memories of your accomplishment are engraved. The song may never be sung, but it will always exist. The final day is over, but there is still the next one. Time may march on, but our stories are what give it meaning.



While I have no idea what I just wrote, I hope you could at least think and reflect on everything. Unlike last summer, I will not be leaving for an extended period of time so you can expect posts in both July and August! This was my fiftieth post on the blog, and I can guarantee (just like the story said) I am just getting started. 🙂

The Greatest Journey.

You might be wondering what that picture is. If you are, I suppose that means the mystery is only now unfolding. All of those vague hints towards some wildly different post I was going to make in June, and that one post on Instagram that highlighted the blog’s new category: Life.

Today, it is time for those shackles to come loose, and for a special story to come out. Not one written by a writer behind the keyboard, typing away at ideas and introspects as they relate to stories and their meanings. This is a story that is true, and with whatever meaning you want it to have. This the story of one side to a life, over the course of five grand years. This is my story.

I apologize for the dramatization! You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but this post will not be about creative writing. Instead, I want to narrate the story of my Cadet career! This is the first time I have done something like this, but this is a story I want to cement here and now as a memento. While this post will come out a bit later than when I started writing it, (right now it is currently 8:58 pm on a Monday evening) I want to capture the thoughts I have before I leave the Cadet program as a whole.

Without further ado, this is my story!

Before we begin, I should probably describe what the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program really is. You can skip below if you want to get to the meat and potatoes, but it is a youth program for ages 12-19. It is not the military for kids, but instead an extensive leadership program, although that is a very limited description of it. We do everything from flying (yes, ACTUALLY flying actual planes and getting an ACTUAL licence) to field exercises (basically ‘camping’ with capture the flag and formally smoke grenades) to military drill to band to first aid to effective speaking to volunteering to parades to biathlon to sports and fitness to shooting! It is a program that is the most of what you make it and does not require any interest in the military. As you will find out from my story, you will make plenty of friends and accomplish many things to build yourself up to what you might see as a model citizen.

There is plenty more, but that is the gist of it.

Year 1

Where did it start for me? Well, back in September 2012! When I first walked onto my squadron, I had no idea what the Air Cadet program was or what my place in my squadron would eventually be. Their drill looked amazing to me at the time, and I was somehow under the impression that the Flag Party routine looked easier than the rest of the squadron’s drill. Despite this, having a clear image of what Air Cadets actually was made me very excited to join the following week! I was under the (other) false impression that it would it would be much alike to Scouts due to my complete ignorance as an eighth grader, with a focus on building yourself up more so individualistically.

I still remember standing in a group of other new recruits on that first day. I was extremely shy and quiet (which I still am tbh) and I could not remember their names, even combing two of them by accident. Despite this, I was not swayed away from the program from what I remember. On the second night, I made a decision that while minor, changed everything. Our Squadron Commander came over to us Level 1’s, handed us a clipboard for something called ‘Drill Team,’ and as a naive child, I joined because I did not see the option of saying no.

If you are in Cadets, you know what bear-marching is. Over half of the first of the first Drill Team practice, I went back and forth between that and marching normally, and I felt like an insult to the rest of the squadron. Despite being a Level 1, I wanted to look amazing, acting constantly ‘professional’ which was really me being immensely quiet. Back when I was in Level 1, we had a thing called ‘Level Senior’ where one exemplary Cadet would get the chance to watch after their level following opening parade. After not getting it the first time, I knew I had to try harder. I had a craving to be the best of the best, and next month I achieved what I desired.

Our Level 1 year was quite small, and we were a moderately tight(?) knit group. On our first FTX, I still remember what this one girl told me (and again and again later in the training year). You see, I am a quiet person, but I am usually just accepted for that and not pressured into speaking/out of my comfort zone. She told me to talk more, which was extremely odd to young me. Talk to a crowd of scary people, and become friends with them? I valued my life, but this is the one regret I have of this story. I wish I listened to her then, but I suppose I learned the lesson later on in this tale.

One tragic event happened during right after: the death of my grandfather. I got this news while on a vacation in Hawaii, and it certainly was not the most pleasant way to wake up in the morning. Despite that, I learned one thing: he saw me marching as a Cadet. An AC in blue, daunting through a cloudy morning representing a lifestyle that my family has dedicated themselves to for so long. Knowing that he smiled was one thing that kept me pushing on: Air Cadets had an impact on not only myself, but for those around me. I could make others proud of not who I was, but for something I stood in and believed in. And although I most likely did not realize it then, I could and would do it as a member of a team, as a teacher, and as a leader.


Drill Team was one part of this mentality. Imagine a perfect machine with fifteen different parts, all working in unison for five minutes to present the perfect display of absolute precision. I still remember looking up to our Drill Team Commander and being intimidated by our Drill Team Officer, (sorry, sir) and especially doubting my ability. However, this was when I began to break out of my shell a slight bit, (but not really) and I still remember competition. Second place to 777 Neptune, and we went off to provincials. To be a part of that was amazing, and when I came back, the training year was nearing its end.


There was an award for Top Level 1 in terms of Academic Achievement. I was certain that I had a shot at it, but there was one other Cadet in my Level who I was certain would get it instead. This individual had the characteristics I thought were essential in being the model Cadet and I still believe that they did. It came to a surprise that I won the award instead, and it felt like it was the end of a chapter. Little did I know that it was just getting started.


Before our second training year, I went to General Training, my first summer training course in the Cadet program. Two weeks in a new place with new friends – sounds like the start of this, doesn’t it? However, this was the first time I was truly away from all of my family and friends, but there I learned what Cadets really meant. Teamwork, teamwork, and teamwork. I still remember telling my flight staff that I wanted to become more social, and getting told to ‘never stop’ and that they were ‘proud of me’ once I completed the course. GT was a place where I made lots of new friends, and that second last night was one that sticks out as well. A bunch of friends looking out to a magnificent sunset, with a streak of clouds like a delicate paintbrush on the navy-blue canvas.


GTC was the first time I cried in my Cadet career, but that was of happiness. Still, I am not going to end the story on this note, will I? A Cadet who was extremely quiet, and had the happy ending?

Year 2

Another September of sunshine, and now I was in high school. Grade 9 was awkward for me: I was expecting to meet a lot of new people just like Cadets the prior year, but I was disappointed. While this eventually came true, I did not like high school at all to start off with (I love education, though). Cadets felt lifting on the other hand, and this time I went into Level 2 headstrong like a wave on the ocean that will hopefully not knock a surfer off of their board. All my friends were back, and I actually talked to them this time around! There were also a bunch of new recruits below me, and some of them even have a role to play later on in this story. Despite this, familiar faces were all around me, and it felt amazing.


Drill Team was the same, and we even came in second place once again. While we did not move onto provincials due to budget cuts, (sigh…) I also found out I liked writing a lot at around this time! Not to deviate, but I liked to show off a lot in Level 2, and I was even appointed a parade position: Flight Sergeant/2IC. Now, a Cpl/FCpl should NEVER be appointed this position, but at the time this was empowering. I had a lot more responsibility, but I embraced it and stood on whatever pedestal I could. I thought things would continue to go uphill, but that apparently could not happen.


In late May of 2014, I broke my wrist. Now, I also signed up for Basic Drill and Ceremonial as a summer course, and I made the ultimate decision to not go as the cast came off the day after I would have arrived at camp. I was upset at not going, and getting Top Level 2 felt secondary to the hope of going to camp. While I breezed through this section of my Cadet career, I feel as if there is no greater lesson here. If things are consistently good they will come crashing down at one point or another. Perhaps things will become consistently bad, but it is important to remember that things will also become better eventually.

Level 2 was when I can say I semi-broke out of my shell. I was not adventurous, but I talked a lot more to the peers I had. There were new faces, and I even saw some old ones leaving. This is also a bittersweet part of the Cadet program: knowing everyone around you is only a part of the story. They may only be around for your beginning, with you only being a part of the end of their story. The cycle is one that repeats endlessly and is a reason why I will not be able to revisit my squadron forever. In ten years, it will more than likely be completely unrecognizable.

I remember this point of my life feeling effortless, uplifting, and blissful. However, that is not an ending, and things have to continue.

Year 3

Level 3 was where everything changed. I had been used to a constant uphill routine, but I should have expected complications from the moment I broke my wrist earlier that year. As a tenth grader, I was in my first two Honours classes: English 10 Honours and Social Studies 11 Honours. I was prospective, but I was not expecting to be challenged as much as I did. The C+ I got on my first English write (I don’t want to sound too pessimistic, but let’s just say I was too comfortable with being an A-student at this point) was something I was not too proud of, and I finally saw a part of myself that was afraid and clung on to what I had.

While also not too related to Cadets, I also went on a huge three-week family trip to New Zealand and Fiji, which made things quite worse. I could not talk to my friends, attend school, or be in Cadets for three whole weeks, which was a long time. After this time, I noticed a transformation. I was no longer as invested in classes at Cadets, as it felt like more of the same. I began to slightly flow away from my peers, and I still wonder what would have happened differently if I had not been absent. I was also a normal Cadet in a flight as opposed to having a parade position, which disappointed me back then.

Despite this, I pushed on forward, losing interest as well as friends. Level 3 was when a lot of my level quit the program one way or another, and even now there are only two left from my original group. Classes were not gaining my interest, and Drill Team did not go as well as it had before. Even worse, I was once again selected for Basic Drill and Ceremonial, but another important family trip was the cause of me not going for the second time in a row. I was quite upset, and dare I say, I even contemplated quitting from time to time.

One new thing I tried was Band, specifically for the purpose of competition. Learning Band drill as well as being in a marching band was something I had never experienced to that point, and as someone who has been playing music since first grade, it was definitely an experience! New opportunities were something that kept me moving forward, as any blip in a usual routine brings a lot more enjoyment. However, nothing was the same. Peers were gone, and Cadets somehow felt a lot more empty at this point. I am still disappointed I did not follow through with joining Flag Party like I initially did, but I digress. Still, things did pick up towards the end, and I remember making new friends and opening horizons within the squadron. Despite this, Level 4 was the year that would either make or break my Cadet career.

Year 4

Grade 11 and Level 4. The penultimate year of my life leading up to that point, and it started off like usual. Very few people left in my level, I was in a flight, and nothing was really changing. However, one specific individual came into our squadron from another, and he was quite the character at that. With that, there was also something I never saw coming that changed everything.

One of my officers asked me if I wanted to be in Level 5. Now, that was not a question I expected to hear. I knew late-joiners (I joined the program a year late) were automatically accelerated a level or two, but I was never given that opportunity until that moment. Knowing all my friends were gone and how mundane lessons were becoming, I graciously accepted the offer, not knowing what would actually happen next. At that moment I was a Level 5 out of the blue.


A lot of peers I had outranked me, and at that moment I felt like a massive underdog. I was once again in the parade position of Flight Sergeant, but now I had to teach Cadets. I had a mock lesson in Level 3, but now I had to do the real deal. Of course, I messed it up, as I had no idea what I was doing. I taught the new Level 3’s off the EO, (I apologize for that, and this current year I actually taught my lessons properly lol) and one time I did not have anything prepared and almost had a panic attack during opening parade. Cadets was still routine but in a new kind of way that was still mundane in my eyes.

Band and Drill Team were once again elements of my fourth year, but nothing was drastically new. We did much better at Band competition, but we just missed our mark. One event I remember is the Level 5 Workshop, which was awkward as I did not know anyone from any other squadrons. I even embarrassed myself in front of my peers, but it was an important learning experience. One thing I dealt with a lot in tenth grade/Level 3 as well as that year was that you may succeed a lot, but you will fail a lot as well. Despite that, failure is a learning experience and must be looked at as that. If you give up after failing, you are limiting yourself to the future and how ripe it is in opportunity.


Level 5 was also when I got to know a lot of junior Cadets a lot more, and I realized one reason for why I was there: because of them. The program was about cementing a legacy, and my job was to give mine. Despite what I thought I was building up towards, I had to push on and see it through that I left a positive impact on a program that I once loved immensely. Thankfully, I regained that love later that summer when I finally went to my second and final summer training course, Drill and Ceremonial Instructor Course.

In July 2016, I headed on a plan to head over to that course. I would not be seeing anyone I knew for six weeks this time (as opposed to two) and I had no idea what would happen. It could be the best six weeks of my life or the worst part of my Cadet career. With the way this story has gone so far, which one do you think it is?


Now, I am not a social person, but that summer I learned something important: I am not shy. Or at least, that’s what someone said to me. I just like to think. A thousand different possibilities can exist, and that is something that fascinates me (hence the existence of this blog). That summer began with me plunging myself into new strangers, realizing that I either talk too much or not at all. I also realized that I will never be the best at everything, despite getting Top Level 1, 2, and 3. However, there is no such thing as the best of the best of the best. Everyone has weaknesses, but a team is how to circumvent them and to build the closest thing to perfection.


DCIC was where everything turned around in my Cadet career. It is the reason for why I did not quit on the program, as I loved everyone there. I learned rifle and flag drill, and it made me feel elite. One specific story I want to share is the Rifle Drill Team (‘RDT’) tryout that was brutal. Our uniforms had to look amazing, and our drill had to look perfect. It was two hours, and people were taken out of the tryout in phases. Not everyone was happy; some cried, others didn’t talk for days. Some were so close, but in the end, I made it through. Now, the RDT was something I thought I would try out for because the chance was there, and there was nothing to lose from trying out. After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, am I right? You will not get every chance you take, but the only way you will find that out is if you are on a constant move. Do not overthink what you lose, just reflect and move on similar to what I said about failure.


Back to DCIC, another moment that sticks out is when I was sick. I wrote my entire barracks a sentimental note that was to be passed around, but one of our Sergeants read it aloud as a speech. One Cadet even got up every thirty minutes to replace the wet cloth on my head, and I appreciated the kind gesture so much that I smuggled food out of the mess hall when he was sick later on. I remember a rave we had, but I decided to sit out after things got too sweaty. I sat with a few of my peers, looking at the Okanagan sunset. We only had a week left, and then everything would end. I would never see most of these people again, and as cringeworthy(?) as it is to say, I still love them. I remember sobbing for an entire day when we left and telling one of my peers in an emotional burst that I appreciated being in a place where I could be appreciated for who I was and not immediately shafted. I will always remember the simple response: “Why wouldn’t we?”

Year 5

Now, Level 5 (round two) was where things picked back up for me. I decided to move forward, despite not being at DCIC. This was my final year of Cadets, and like I said I had to make an impact. However, I knew to not get too cocky: you don’t get to choose what kind of impact you make to such a precise extent. It’s ultimately how your subordinates and peers see you, and what you do with that.


Now, I finally decided to get more involved. I became a WO2, (the second highest rank) and I tried out for Flag Party for the first time and got Commander! I was very excited to work with a smaller group of Cadets and pass on a summer of training to them. I got to spend a lot of time teaching large groups of Cadets the proper way for both Drill and in the classroom. I was once again excited and happy to be in the program, and I can hold that to being true to this very moment.


I did not pursue Band, but Drill Team was an interesting story. Just as I said earlier, you do not get every opportunity that you seek, and Drill Team Commander was one of those. Despite this, I noticed a shift in the Drill Team that will ensure its success in the upcoming years: more power to the Cadets in it. What that means is that it is built and formulated as a family, like a perfect machine of pieces that care for one another and a Commander that intermixes them self with the team. While we did not succeed as much as I hoped, it was not a failure. Instead, it was the start of a new chapter that I will watch closely, but never be a part of. I’m okay with that.


Now, I should mention that this was the year that I showed up every week, despite the fact that it is twelfth grade and that I am graduating from high school. Did I drop Chemistry 12 for Cadets? Well, no, but I can say as of this moment that my positivity has been exponentially high when compared to last year and the year before. I finally got a lot more social with my peers, although maybe a bit too much so as you will see below by the ‘pictures’ that I embraced in my final month as a Cadet.


Now, I failed a bit this year as well. I fumbled as the Flag Party Commander here and there, especially in places where I should have been more competent. However, knowing that I built a family from seven individuals was something I could never be more proud of. If I could have another full year of Cadets to tie up every loose end of Cadets that I have, I would take it in a heartbeat. However, Year 5 is my final year. It summarized my Cadet career and functioned as my swan-song in the program. I would not change a thing about it, as it is my ending. The ending of the best part of the last five years of my life, and one that I will remember forever. It shaped me as an individual, making me go from silent to slightly but not really talkative.


At the end, I gave my final speech. But there is no point in talking about it – watch it. My words do not express how much this program means to me, but this post only scratches the surface as well.

There are plenty more events in my Cadet career, but this is my story. It is only a fragment of my squadron’s story, and even of my own full story. If you are a Level 1 or 2, do not give up hope. Take every opportunity that you can, as you do not really know what you want until you have it. If you are on my Level, I apologize. I should have been more expressive, but that won’t really be a part of my repertoire. I’ll leave that to further character development. If you aren’t in Cadets, why not join it? I could say that you’re missing out, but you really wouldn’t know until you find the answer yourself. Just remember that tomorrow is just around the corner and that it could either be surprising, more of the same or really shitty. Do not let anything put you down too far, as you will just be limiting yourself.

If you want any more cringeworthy lessons or information about my Cadet career, do not hesitate to ask me! I will still come back from time to time to see how far you guys have come, as University hopefully won’t be like a jail cell. If it is… Well… Whoops. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this read and the pictures. It may lack any anonymity, but let me know what you think of these kinds of blogs!

Of course, Yours Truly,

The Perfect Combo

Today, we come to an ‘unexpected’ post on this blog.

Minus some April Fools foolery, most posts on this blog are generally taken seriously to such an extent that something can be gained from it. Lessons in storytelling? Perhaps. Do you see some flaws in my writing? Perhaps you can, see what they are, and find out how they can be improved. No matter the quality of a work, there is something to be gained.

However, today is not a day to be taken seriously.

As I have mentioned, I am in a Writing class at school, and that is where the bulk of my work in the past few months has gone towards. While I take a lot of what I do very seriously, yesterday was when everything changed. Now if you may excuse me, I hope some comedy will bring a smile to your day. My assignment was to make a paragraph from the point of view of a waitress and an unhappy customer on the topic of a burger. However, I decided to add a short story as well…

Enjoy! 🙂



It’s do this, do that. Why is it that this Triple Decker Deluxe Hamburger brings me so much joy? I can just imagine my teeth puncturing that bacon like a toothpick, only to sink into that beef, hot off the grill and sizzling with the aroma of delicate Havarti cheese. Here it is, topped off with fresh and hand-picked lettuce and tomato, not to mention that soft yet crispy bun that just soaks in all these flavours. The smorgasbord of perfection is right in front of me, and here I am serving it. I could just pick off a piece of bacon instead of thinking about how ripe it must have looked on the burner. All these parts mushing together and complimented by these scrumptious fries. I almost feel as if I’m internally screaming at myself.

Unhappy Customer

No, no, no, it’s all wrong! One of these patties is slightly out of proportion from the others, and that just won’t do! Why is the cheese WHITE? A proper hamburger from an eloquent dinner such as this should use house-made aged cheddar, as that just SMACKS pizazz! The aesthetics are also all wrong! Why is the bacon a slightly redder red than the beef, and why do the colour of the vegetables strike me more than the meats? The buns are also way too small; how am I supposed to enjoy my first bite when I get oozing meat on my hands? Also, the lighting in this room is all wrong. The 50’s vibe just takes away from this innovating hamburger, and the lighting doesn’t even give the glamour that a family-oriented venue needs! Forget the burger, this place needs a proper interior decorator!


“So, um, are you just going to stare at it or do you plan on eating it?” said the waitress as saliva foamed on the corner of her lips. The customer’s family gazed upon her in unfashionable horror, but he just stared at it with an indomitable look of disappointment.

“The meat should be cooked to a perfect medium-rare, not this gnarly medium-medium-rare! I expect perfection from a fast-food chain such as yours; how hard is it to make a gourmet meal for a family of six and a single father?”

“Bro, I’m just a waitress. If you actually have a problem, take it up with-”

“Don’t even get me started on the rug at this place? Do you people really call dark burgundy a velvet red? Sheesh!”

The waitress looked again at the burger, with its handcrafted Angus beef patties glistening in the last beams of the sunset. It was beautiful and better than all of mankind. It did not cry, moan, whine, or complain about the different between salmon and an aggressive pinkish-orange. It just stood there lovingly, destined to be eaten like an angsty teenager eats ice-cream. That was when she dug down on the burger, squeezing its soft exterior on her scarlet lips.

“Hey! That was my burger! If anyone thinks they can just take up a man’s lavish meal like you just did, I don’t know what that makes me!”

“It makes you kind of slow, dude.” The burger tasted of manufactured beef and microwaved bacon, but after a monotonous two-hour shift, everything tasted better. It was as if a surge of energy had hit a starving survivor of a plane crash, not knowing where they were headed. It was love at first bite.

“That reminds of the time my wife loved me! Until, of course, I took interior decorating as a hobby! Why be so 2016 when you can be so 2017?” The customer then took his hands to exquisitely retrieve the bugger from his assailant, which meant he was going to rip it out of her hands. Instead, he overshot his range, rather grabbing the waitress by the hands.

It was then that time slowed down. It was a haze of confusion as if twenty IED’s went off in a public restroom. It was a dirty feeling, as if two stars merged and danced into a supernova, with no concern for the surrounding planets. (Or in this case, for the family members who would not approve of such unconditional love.) Like the burger, it was cheesy to such an extreme that outreached the stars, not knowing whether the love would create a family, which in turn would cause the couple to purchase expensive appliances that polluted the environment, therefore killing off the sadly endangered black spider monkey.

“Um, this is 2017. You can’t touch me like that.”

“Oh, I just slipped. It happens all the time, that’s why I have six children!”

It was then that the waitress realized that love was overrated, as people simply sucked. Yeah, they sucked. As a random YouTube video once said, love only happened in movies. In real life, it was called stalking.


I hope you enjoyed this unexpected post, and I hope you enjoy my upcoming sentimental post set for next week!