The Blog

Iraq Journal. A Review... Last Out: Elegy Of A Green Beret. 

Mary was packing her things.  She was, at the age of 84, leaving her home of 57 years.  So many memories.  Moving to a vibrant independent living community, to try and re-establish a normal social life, and make the most of her days such as they are now.

I was helping her.  Got her cane, some warm coats, and as many houseplants as we could carry.  I took a cell-phone-photo of the handprints she had us kids paint on the wall in the hallway, when I was 8 years old.  What a fun, simple, time.  Rummaging thru…

Read more

Blue Eyes, Part 2. the ocean, I've struggled with it for years. 

I remember being afraid of the water.  But I think most people initially are.  And then the day arrives where you just “Jump in with both feet”.  Next thing you know, you’re swimming. 

As a teenager the whole surf thing had it's allure for me.  Maybe better described as having it’s pull on me.  The oceans gravitational pull, perhaps?  And I remember being in awe of the waves.  On big days, awe would turn to fear.  But again, you had to “jump in with both feet” as it were, and paddle out.  Take the drop*…

Read more

Cancer Letters #4. Going downtown. Get in the game. 

In the last Cancer Letters, I wrote about praying and planning.  Today's letter seems to be about educating myself, and attitude. 

Dr Supple advised me to go downtown for the liver resection surgery after he reviewed my initial CT Scan results.  USC or UCLA.  A tertiary care hospital.  That is, a hospital specializing in cancer management.  Before all this happened I couldn't have told you what a tertiary care hospital is.  I can now.

He gave me phone numbers to USC and UCLA.  I called both, to arrange…

Read more

Iraq Journal #4. Alarm Red. 16 June 2004. 

Continuing the journal entries.  In entry #2, I describe the BIAP area.  In #3, I cover the first journal entry I made in-country.  Todays entry, #4, was written at the end of the first week... 

To re-cap part #3, we were instructed to lay flat on the ground during an attack, and during an afternoon attack I was caught out in the open.  A mistake that I vowed not to repeat. 

Today, in looking over this next entry, I noticed the profanity and political incorrectness had started creeping in.  Some of my…

Read more

Gear Geeks #5. Fender-Japan. Limited Edition FSR 54 Strat. 

Here it is, rock'n the stage... 

In April of 2013 I picked up a '54 Limited Edition Stratocaster.  I believe it came from Dyna-Gakki, Fender-Japan.  At the time, I heard there were only 200 imported to the US from Japan.  As a hardcore 'Made In USA' guy, buying this guitar was a little bit of a tough pill to swallow.  But I couldn't overlook the fact that this guitar is super resonant and light weight.  And it had a neck you could not find at this price point.  It has a baseball bat, V-neck, that rivals…

Read more

Blue Eyes. Revisiting a Riff. For Better Or For Worse. Part 1 

Tonight we tracked piano and vocals on another previously written song.  This song started life as a break-up song.  A few years ago.  We tracked it at Perks Place.  I pitched it to the band Whiskey Glass Eye.  After we finished recording it, Ed, the bandleader for WGE turned it down.  He had a good reason...  It was kind of a mean song.  It wasn't called 'Blue Eyes' back then, either. 

This song had a riff I really like.  A good bouncy beat.  A guitar tone that is nasal, but crunchy at the same time.  The…

Read more

Music #4. Gear Geeks. The Marshall Origin Amplifier 

I've had my ORI50H for a few months now.  I recorded The ‘I Can Shine’ album with it, with a JCM410B 4x10 cabinet. I've used my Origin 50 head for shows with a 2x12 Marshall model 2045 cab from 1976.  Last rock 'n roll show did reveal that I could actually make use of a 4x12. …Master and gain dime'd on 50 watts, nothing left to give with those two twelve inchers, and realized I coulda maybe used a little more horsepower.  And maybe something a little newer.

Enter the Origin 4x12. 

I love the Marshall ORI50H…

Read more

The Cancer Letters #3. Thankful for those who went before. Game-plan & Livestrong 

Right off the bat, after diagnosis, I was pretty busy.  They sent me straight over to the hospital for bloodwork that same day.  The very next day I had my first CT Scan.  A lot was riding on the results, because I understood that if the scan showed that the cancer had already spread, I'd be referred to palliative care instead of treatment.  I thought, "no problem, I can do this".  But the next three days, waiting for the scan results, was murder.

So much of what happens after diagnosis boils down to…

Read more

The Iraq Journal #3. USAF & UXO's. 10 & 15 June 2004.  

The following are the first entry's I did in country.  As members of the California Air National Guard, we ended up with the Active Duty Air Force, for OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom).  Our initial activation orders said OEF (Enduring Freedom, which meant Afghanistan).  But once we got to Travis AFB, we were assigned to a group called Team Panther, which was slated for duty attached to the 447th AEG (Air Expeditionary Group) at Baghdad Airport.  BIAP, or Baghdad International Airport (formerly Saddam…

Read more

The Cancer Letters #2. E-mailing the Veterans. 

9-12-2012 I had my gallbladder removed.  Before that, for months, I had a funny feeling in my side and had been waking up with a sore throat.  Neither issue was debilitating.  They were more annoyances, really.  I told my Primary Doc at a routine physical about these issues, and knowing I had gallstones, he advised that I should have my gallbladder removed by a surgeon.  I actually waited a few months to get in contact with the surgeon because I thought, "Surgery?  Really? Aren't we making a mountain out of…

Read more