Friday, June 15, 2012


I'm nervous about posting this. Here are things that I've never told anyone, here I am bearing my inner thoughts and fears. Talking about this may help and that's why I feel I have to. Even if no one reads this it will not be a wasted effort. I have given words to my fears. And words cannot hurt me.

Things have been rough for me for a while and I finally decided to get some help for it. I've had a hard time sleeping for years and have some residual effects from my deployments. It was finally the right time to try and work something out. Going on 3 deployments to a war zone is bound to change someone, and it has changed me, that is very obvious. I used to be optimistic to the point of annoyance, ask the people that know me. Now I find that I am very cynical. I don't really like that. I also have a hard time enjoying the things I used to do. Just look through this blog. I don't write as much and my photography definitely has suffered. The joy just isn't there.

I realized that a lot of that has to do with a lack of sleep. Falling asleep isn't a problem for me, staying asleep is. I toss and turn all night and wake up several times in the few hours that I am able to actually sleep. It's exhausting, and has become completely unbearable as of late. I'm tired when I wake up and am tired throughout the day. I don't know why I have such a hard time sleeping. I didn't have any traumatic experiences while deployed that would cause nightmares, or so I thought.

I'm seeing a counselor. One of the things we've discussed is my deployments. Talking about those years I came to an understanding and it was all because of one question: Did you feel safe at any time while on deployment? No, how could I have? Combine that with the other experiences that I've been through and that adds up quickly. I didn't feel safe then. I don't feel safe now. I live on a base with live fire ranges. I know it's irrational. I know that there are no enemies trying to kill me here, but I feel like a target. I feel like one of those rounds will hit me on day. I hear the explosions and gun fire and think that the next one will come through the roof of my house or where I work. I feel vulnerable no matter I am. It's hard living like this.

I am also seeing a psychiatrist. I'm taking some medication to help me with my sleep and anxiety issues. Yesterday was the second time taking those medications. I went to bed around midnight and woke up around 8 AM. I felt rested, and I don't remember tossing and turning last night, nor did I wake up. It will take a while for the anxiety medication to start to work-4 to 6 weeks-but I'm hopeful that it will help. It's a start at least.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Work, Work, Work...

And I'm using the term "work" loosely. I don't actually work anymore. The unit is deployed and there just isn't much to do. I've been on night shift for a week just watching storage containers making sure that no one messes with them. This weekend was a 12 hour shift-9 PM to 9 AM. And summer here is kinda sucking. Last month we actually had a week and a half of great weather in the mid 80s. Now? 60s. Seriously? This is summer? 60 degrees in the day and down to 40 at night. Yeah, it's time to leave Germany. Got a bit of a wait though, March of next year.

And that is my life for June of 2012. Sigh...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Amsterdam. Yeah, I've Been There

I took a trip recently to the Netherlands. The family and I went to Amsterdam and Keukenhof-which is where they grow a lot of the tulips sold around the world. It was a fun trip and I have a few pics here.

This is Amsterdam. There are canals everywhere, hence the nickname "Venice of the North. "
The wife wanted to go to The Grasshopper coffee shop and pick up one of their t-shirts. She got one for me the last time she was here and wanted one of her own. Unfortunately, we couldn't find The Grasshopper. That is until I looked at this pic and saw it in the background. Now at least we know where it is. 
This is the main entrance to Keukenhof. This is where they grow a lot of the tulips that are exported throughout the world.
Lots of pretty plants, and a ton more tourists.

I'm going to post some of these pics to my Flickr account the next couple of days, I'll put up a post when I get around to that.

Monday, April 9, 2012


It only takes one time. The one time it takes to re-read an article or chapter. The one time it takes to hit a shutter. That could be the one time that it takes to understand something fully. I had a revelation of my own the other day, a simple one at that. I've been using my camera, a Canon EOS T1i, for a while now. I've read about a half dozen photography books, checked out numerous blog posts and now I understand a simple concept. A simple solution as to why my pics don't pop as much as they should. White balance. I've ordered a grey card to set my white balance properly. What is white balance? Setting the white balance is vital to getting proper color in photographs. As soon as it gets here I'm going to give it a shot and see how it looks.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Trips And Plans

The family and I have been doing a bit of traveling as of late. Last weekend we went down to München (or Munich for those not familiar with the German name) for the day. On the way we stopped at Dachau and toured the concentration camp there. It was an interesting experience. We spent about an hour and a half there, got a lot of good pics from the place as well. I do have pictures, I swear. I know what you're saying, pics or it didn't happen. I'm lazy, give me time. In München we went to the Deutsches Museum. We got there about an hour before it closed and that is no where enough time to see even a small part of it. I will be going back there.

Speaking of trips, went to Berlin three weeks ago. We went and saw the Berlin Wall which is now The East Gallery. The imagery on the wall was great and made some great pictures. I have a problem though. I don't have a wide enough angled lens-something I have to fix in the future.

This weekend we went to Nürnberg and saw the sites in the downtown area. It's pretty interesting there. Lots of buildings that have been there for hundreds of years beside ones that less than 10 years old. I would have taken pictures of that but the sky was just too...blah. That works in some instances, but not for me on that day. The plan is to go back in a few weeks when the weather is better.

We are also planning to go to several other places in the next few months. The plans haven't been finalized, but should be soon.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

ICS and Me

I updated my tablet (ASUS Eee Pad Transformer) OS to Ice Cream Sandwich yesterday. At first everything went great. I rummaged around the new OS trying to see what changed and what stayed the same. I like the new look. The notification section is improved and looks great. I like the crisp clean look of the interface. The setting have also been revamped and expanded upon. I'm not going to go into detail about all the changes, I'm not running a tech blog here after all. What I will say is that ICS impressed me. But that was last night.

I warmed up my tablet and again started playing around with it seeing what was new again. Then the tablet started getting really unresponsive. And then it froze completely. I had almost every app I tried today crash. Basically, what happened was that my tablet became virtually unusable. Let me take that back, it wasn't virtually unusable, it was completely unusable.

I tried the tablet again tonight. And everything seems to be fine. The only thing I did was switch from the live wallpaper to a standard one. After that all seems right with the world. Hmm, don't know what the problem was, but I'm glad everything works OK.  Final verdict: ICS is great.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Return

So, I've been gone for quite a while. And my lack of posts proves that. Where  was I, you ask? OK, just go with it. I know you didn't ask, but whatever. I was in Afghanistan for six months. A poor internet connection is not conductive to writing and such. I got home about a month and a half ago. I went to work for a week or so, then I took a bit of well deserved vacation time. Hey! I did so deserve it. Six months with no days off in a war zone requires a bit of time to rest and decompress. You will have to take my word on that one. I went back to work a few days ago. Not much is happening. A mechanic generally has no work when all the vehicles are in storage. Needless to say, with nothing to do the last couple of days have been kind of a drag.

I've missed out on a bit while I was in the Bakersfield look-alike country. Those of you that have been there know what I mean. Anyway, Twitter was ignored for the most part, as was G+. Obviously Blogger didn't get any love either-hence the 10 posts for all of 2011. In fact, not much of what I've done prior to 2011 has gotten any attention. I've been popping in on my usual ethereal locals getting back into the swing of things. I've gotten back into Star Trek Online (yes, I'm a Trekkie, Trekker...whichever), Star Pirates (no relation) and Flickr. The family and I went to Berlin a couple of weeks ago, got some great pictures of the wall. Which reminds me, I need to take more pictures as well. I have a few pictures from Afghanistan to process and post, but not many. Sorry, but I'm not inspired by a place that looks like Victorville, CA. Been there or through there? Then you know what I mean.

I think I will close for now. I do have a lot to write about, but I think I'll start a bit slowly. Speaking of slowly, I've also been trying my hand...or brain, at fiction. Nothing good yet, but I'll post a little something here in the future. Enough for now. Tchuss.