Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Been awhile...

It has been far too long since my last post, and for that I apologize. It is funny how life seems to rush by you, leaving you chasing the fleeting moments as the fly by. My life is no exception. So many things have transpired in the months since my return from Iraq. For the first time in 4 years my life has started to take a turn towards the norm. I am working, going to school, and doing what I can to enjoy all that life has to offer. With this shift in lifestyle, I felt a need to document life in a way other than what I have done here. This does not mean that I am abandoning this blog, although the past 6 months are evidence of the differ. With this said, I invite you all to take a look at my newest blog concoction, c l i c k 3 6 5. I will be approaching this new blog with more images than words. I am doing my best to post a new image everyday, a photographic diary of sorts. Some images may simply be "a day in the life of", while others may be images from which I draw inspiration from others. Either way, stop on by and check it out.

And for the few fans of my musical selections, I have new podcasts in the works for you as well. Again, you can check out
c l i c k 3 6 5 for details.

I wish you all the Happiest of Holidays.

Hope to see you soon.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

one month...

One month... I have been home for one month to date. Looking back now it all feels like a dream. I see images of Iraq on the front page of the newspaper, videos on TV, yet it doesn't seem like I was really there. That is until I go to the movies with my wife and find myself instinctively reacting to the sound of rocket fire coming through in Dolby surround sound. It is still something that I look back upon in a dreamlike state. Why? I have no idea.

The human mind can do some pretty incredible things. When placed in an environment where it seems no one should be able to adapt, people do. Not only surviving, but thriving amidst the stress and turmoil surrounding them. Yet, at the same time I think it is hard for many to mentally grasp all that is going on. Compartmentalizing things in their mind to help digest life with a little more ease. I know that I am finding out I did just that. Things are slowly starting to come back to me...Slowly emerging in my thoughts. Making self realizations from time to time that help me put it all back together in my head.

I am not promising, but only aspiring to write at least once a week. Not just for you to read, but to help me get this story, my story, out of my brain and onto paper. So, stick around...I know I have been a ghost for the past month, but there are still a lot of stories left to tell.

Until then...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

this is our last goodbye...

After spending 48 sleepless hours at Baghdad International Airport, I finally found myself walking towards a plane...a home bound plane.

Although a sand storm had tried to keep me in Iraq, it was time for me to go. The emotions encompassing my mind as I walked towards the plane were a mixed up, grab bag of chaos and clarity. Knowing that I would be home in a few days was too much for me to comprehend, so I pushed that thought to the back of my brain. I also felt as though I was leaving things undone, as if I had not done enough and needed to stay to see things through. These people still needed me, right?

The Air Force Sergeant led us in a single file towards the cargo bay door of a C-130. I quietly found myself looking around in awe...watching a pillar of smoke rise in the distance, smelling the scent of burning trash, feeling the grit of sand on my skin. It seemed like it was just yesterday when I was getting off of a plane and watching, smelling, and feeling all of these things for the first time. Perhaps, this time will be my last.

The closer I got to the plane the more I felt as though I was actually going to be leaving. The more I believed I was actually going to be leaving the happier I became. Yet, my happiness was shattered when I set foot on the plane. Laying before me was a comrade, Fallen and wrapped in the warmth of Our Flag, he was making his final journey home. A journey bringing him home, but never bringing him back.

Silent tears escaped my eyes.

Knowing how much my family went through on this deployment, I cannot even begin to fathom what it must be like for this Soldiers family. I immediately felt guilty. Here I was, going home unscathed and whole, while others never return.

I couldn't shake this image, these thoughts. What is it all for? Did this Soldier believe in what he was doing over there? Was he at peace with himself when he left this world?

There are rumors that some soldiers know, or feel, that they are going to die days or weeks before it happens. Was he one of them? Jeff Buckley immediately came to mind.

Jeff Buckley was a singer songwriter who died after writing songs foreshadowing his death. His most notable song is aptly named "Last Goodbye", where he croons and wails about love, and how he came to terms with its death...with his death.

I wanted to know that the soldier laying before me was able to come to terms with his death, with his life. I know that I will never know the answer to those questions. They are not answers for my ears to hear, but only for his heart to know.

May God bless him and welcome him home, as my family has welcomed me.

This is not the end of my story, but rather the beginning.

There are many stories still in need of telling.

Only time will tell if I will do them justice...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Catch Up!

So, I know I haven't posted in awhile. I promise to try to do so very shortly. In the meantime, here is a quick update. I will be leaving here within the week. I can't put out dates or times, just know that I will be heading home very, very shortly! It has been a crazy ride and I have done and seen things I never thought I ever would. I promise to write something much more eloquent and heartfelt this weekend. But, for now here are the last 3 radio shows that I have been slacking on posting.


:Easter Sunday Show - Hour 1:

:Easter Sunday Show - Hour 2:


::Remember the Nineties? - Hour 1::

::Remember the Nineties? - Hour 2::


:::Free For All - Hour 1:::

:::Free For All - Hour 2:::

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Threesome at Saddam's house...anyone?

I awoke early yesterday. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I quietly packed a few of my things before heading out the door. The sun was just beginning to rise as I left my room and walked through the palace courtyard. This was going to be a good day.

As I approached the Republican Palace Pool people were already starting to gather around. They were marking their bodies with race numbers, stretching, spinning on their bikes, etc. You know, the normal routine seen at every other triathlon around the world. But, wait...we're in Baghdad!

I must admit I have run some triathlons in some fairly abnormal conditions. Hell, my very first triathlon ever was in a swamp down in Louisiana, where a Game Warden had to flush out all of the alligators in the area before we could start the swim. Although that ranks high on my list of strange places to compete, swimming, biking, and running in Saddam Hussein's backyard takes the cake.

So, here we are in the middle of Baghdad kicking off the Baghdad Triathlon Club's 2008 season. Gotta love this stuff! Since Baghdad has had a surprisingly chilly winter, yes it actually snowed this winter, water temperatures were holding steady at about 64 degrees! Shockingly no one had wetsuits so we did a reverse tri, with the order of events being run, bike, and then swim. The idea behind this was to help speed things along by allowing the run and bike to spread the field so that no one would be stuck waiting to get into the pool. This event order also allowed the temperatures to rise a little, making the jump into the water a little less shocking to our bodies. This sounds good in theory, but trust me, that water was damn cold!

Before I get ahead of myself, let us start in the beginning...

45 of us gathered at the starting line to begin the race on foot. It was a quick 1.5 mile out and back winding through the dust and gravel of the US Embassy compound within the "Green Zone". The run went quickly and before you knew it we were transitioning to the bike. Much like our wetsuits, most left their tri bikes back in the states as well. To accommodate for this we rode in 2 divisions, those who had their mountain bikes and townies did a quick 4 mile double loop very similar to the run route, while others, like myself, hopped on a trusty stationary bike to pedal our way through the 4 miles. I used this opportunity to draft behind the former "Blue Angel", Rear Admiral Driscoll. That's me in the yellow "Livestrong" jersey right behind the Admiral.

After the quick ride on my stationary steed it was in to the cold water of the pool. Luckily the swim was only 250 Meters. I was in and out before I knew it. After exiting the water it was over. My first race of 2008 is under my belt, and I did it in Baghdad no doubt! I think this is going to be the start of a very good season.

The best thing about this race was getting to be around the people. The race director David Moore is a God send.(That's him in the Army shirt pre-race!) He coordinated this race in conjunction with a race being held in Manassas, Virginia. You can read all about it here. Not only did the guys in Virginia sponsor this race, they treated us not only to an official race packet, but they also donated tons of other goodies for us. In every packet a brand new TYR Triathlon Race Suit was included! They provided this, along with many other things, for free! If I ever make it out to Manassas again I will be sure to stop by and thank these guys personally. This was just another example of the love and support shown to the Military Men and Women by the American people. Thank you guys for always being there!

Serving in Baghdad has been quite an interesting journey for me. As my time is drawing to an end I can't help but to think about how I have changed. Wondering how this time has truly affected my life. Since I am already on the topic of triathlons, let me say this...

I am viewing this time here as a transition area so to speak. Completing one aspect in the race of life, while transitioning into the next. Perhaps my life hasn't always gone as planned, but most races never do. It's all about what you do to overcome those challenges that defines who you are. This analogy is one of the reasons that I love triathlon. It not only helps overcome physical challenges, but it helps you overcome life's challenges as well. It's days like today that make me come back for more...one more swim...one more ride...one more run. Further preparing me for the ever changing conditions I face traveling through the course of life.

Thank you Baghdad Triathlon Club, here's to a great season!

Friday, March 21, 2008

:: Ode To Ireland ::

My apologies for posting the show a little late this week. I have a lot going these days as my time in Iraq is drawing to a close. I also apologize for my lack of posts in general lately. Hopefully this weekend I can make it up to you.

So, this show aired last Sunday, March 16th. It was my hopes to get everyone into the spirit of St. Patty's day with some good ol' Irish music. Here is my meager attempt to do just that...

Ode to Ireland - Hour 1

Ode to Ireland - Hour 2

Saturday, March 1, 2008

:: Double Shots, Deuces, & Duos ::

So, this week has been fairly hectic... So, I threw together a show rather quickly. I am finding that I prefer to have a theme for each show. It helps me focus and keeps me from bouncing all over the place with my music selection. I had a whole "From New York to London" show planned in my mind, but getting the time to research all of the bands and their heritage, etc. was difficult this week. So, I decided to run with a "Double Shot Show", playing two songs by each artist. Here are the results. Not my best show by far, but fun nevertheless. Thanks for everyones support. You guys are the best!

Download and listen here:

:: Double Shots, Deuces, & Duos : Hour 1 ::

:: Double Shots, Deuces, & Duos : Hour 2 ::

And the play list :

Hour 1 --

Foo Fighters – The Pretender
– Times Like These (Acoustic)

Feist – I Feel It All
– My Moon My Man

Actual Tigers - Testimony
- Standing By

Editors – An End Has A Start
– Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors

Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life
– Hot Knives

Iron & Wine – Boy With A Coin
– Love Song Of The Buzzard

Billy Bragg & Wilco - Secret Of The Sea
- California Stars

Hour 2 --

Beastie Boys – No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn
– Paul Revere

Stephen Malkmus – Gardenia
– Mama

Drive By Truckers – Easy On Yourself
- Never Gonna Change

Straylight Run – Existentialism On Prom Night
- Still Alone

Cat Power – Free
– Living Proof
- New York

Brendan Benson – Tiny Spark
- Metarie

Patty Griffin – Blue Sky
- Let Him Fly