Sunday, June 24, 2007

There is no sense to be made

I know normally I go on about some inane stuff, or my bikes, or any other random item that gets me ruffled. But today I'm going to address something a bit serious.

Most of you know I was in the Army. I was a squad explosives expert, and a close quarter combat instructor/specialist. That meant that I did underwater demo, defused land mines, homemade bombs, unexploded shells, anything that could go boom. I also left them behind when it was needed. I also was good at hand to hand combat, so much so it was my job to make sure my squad was as good as me.

I can't make sense of what I did, but I think about it every now and then. Of my squad, I'm the only living member. All the others (13) were killed in action. I see what goes on right now, and again , realize there's no making sense of that, either. Many good people are maimed or killed as we speak, just as when I was in.

My father told me "when someone has something someone else wants, there will be war". It's that simple. Really. Except that there's no reason, in any sense of the word, so unreasonable acts follow. It's not a political party thing, as Clinton was President when I served, and we were sent to fight myriad dirty little wars.
I don't know why we went where we did. My absolute best friend in the Army died in my arms, but I don't know the reason. I literally tried to put him back together.

For all the good missions, we had horrible ones, fraught with misinformation and logistical screwups. I had wounded buddies we couldn't get to in time, and we heard them kill themselves to avoid capture. I remember the fear that gripped me momentarily when our outpost was under attack, and we couldn't shoot the enemy fast enough, and then my mind screamed at me "DON"T PANIC, THAT"S HOW PEOPLE DIE!!!!!". At that moment, my mind morphed into a hyperprocessor.

What am I saying? Not totally sure, other than there is no logical explanation to a logical mind for what's going on now. I've got to live with these memories, and scores of others. I've taken lives from a distance, up close and personal, and I can't always wrap my mind around it.

I'm not scarred. Not physically, and sometimes I think it'd be easier to explain all this to myself if I were.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

UPS + bike = bad day

My bike arrived Friday, and I was all excited. Until I saw the end of the box. Let's just say that I'm waiting for a call from a UPS claims person to inspect my bike. The frame and fork have some structural issues, as in it may just snap while I ride it.

So if you need to send something really near and dear to your heart, drive it yourself. Considering how tough carbon fiber is, and that it was wrapped in bubble wrap, carefully placed in the box (remember, I do this for work quite often) and had gaps filled with other things to make sure the contents wouldn't shift, it amazes me that they actually knocked it out of alignment. Plus chipped the carbon all the way through clear coat, lettering, into the weave.

Right now, UPS is dangerously close to being on my blacklist, which individually isn't too big a deal, but lots of their business is from cyclists. We all talk to each other. Many of us have websites. You get the idea. Besides, I insured my bike. I expect the full amount it's insured for. This ought to be fun.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Back in the Black

Well, we are finally back from vacation. It was really good, everyone was nice to my wife, the weather was crazy muggy and mostly good, and I had fun. Other than the fun of flying to and from, but that's another post entirely.

I'll spare the details, but I saw my nephew for the first time, all my family was together, we played wiffle ball, saw everyone we needed to, and ate all the time. I gained almost 8 pounds!

As for my bike, I raced Memorial Day, and I got 10th, 28th, 33rd, and 31st respectively in my races. Considering I was there at 720, and my last race fired off at 2, and it was sunny hot and humid, I think I did ok. A few tactical errors, but that's life. I was able to ride some up in Lake Placid, too, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. Maybe next time.

So, that's about it. Time to put my bike back together when it gets here, and start getting into shape again. I feel like I've lost a whole season, but it's not even half over yet. There's still time.