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Posts made in: 'In Their Words' (32) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 32

January 23, 2015 at 5:23pm

JBLM soldier reminds no one left behind includes the spouse

In the Army, each soldier has been told "no one left behind." This can be applied to every aspect of the service.

One area several soldiers tend to forget about is the home front. As much as I am sent on deployments, training missions or school courses, I still struggle with doing my job and not forgetting to help my family.

This brought me to the question of "merge or overtake?" Do I keep trying to make all the decisions miles to continents away or work with her?

My wife keeps the day-to-day operations of raising our children, paying bills, managing the vehicles, keeping the house clean, cooking food and taking care of anything situation upon my departure. She has first-hand knowledge that time and life don't get put on hold, but sometimes surge forward faster than expected. She can get so busy with appointments, events, tasks and trying to find time to Skype or call me that she becomes overwhelmed and sometimes feels under or unappreciated.

One experience was shortly after I got married when I left for three months for a reclassification course eight hours from her. I tried to adapt and help with every issue or problem she faced. Instead of helping her, majority of the time ended up more difficult for my wife.

This led to my spouse playing catch-up with all the decisions that I made when trying to help. After having this experience, I told myself I needed to not overstep any boundaries and help where I could. This caused me to drift more and more toward doing less and less until she was giving me updates and me not making any decisions.

I am guilty of this on more than one occasion. I went from one extreme to the other; now when I am away from my spouse, I tend to make fewer decisions about situations back home and focus on myself. This is dangerous because thinking only about myself when away causes my better half to feel alone in decisions.

I am pretty good about being perceptive and realizing something is bothering my wife, but I am completely oblivious to when what is bothering my wife is me. When she tells me how she's feeling, it sinks in, and I realize I have not been doing what I promised her in our vows.

During my last deployment, I thought I had found the balance of knowing what to make a decision on and what to let her do. Unfortunately, after noticing she was getting stressed out again, she told me I had been making it harder by making the decisions in the areas I had no control in.

As much as I knew that she had stuff she had to do, in the back of my mind was the thought that everything would wait for me until I returned home. I knew better, but was extremely difficult and hit me hard watching my first son grow up on Skype without me there. For example, I was fortunate enough to see him stand up on his own and take his first three steps on Skype. I was so proud I wanted to pick him up, but then realized I couldn't and was depressed. It happened repeatedly before that seeing the pictures of his teeth coming in, eating hard food, playing with toys, laughing, but hit me hard when he started to walk.

We are told to be patient and realize life has continued to go on without us back home, but hard to keep a grasp of when you don't want to miss a single moment. I remember being told throughout the deployment to be patient and understand my family has their own lives and schedule in place, and not be discouraged if they don't have time to talk. My wife was told the same thing about me when she attended briefings from the Family Readiness Group and other unit officials. After she was done with the meetings, she would tell me what was said and show me some brochures or pamphlets about how to help her with me. This makes me think more emphasis is placed on preparing the family for the Soldier but just as much should be placed on preparing the Soldier for the family.

If it weren't for my family, I would not have the drive and motivation for accomplishing the mission and strive to succeed in classes. For example, when I was single, I was content in my career, still trying to progress through the ranks, but no real push to become a pilot. After I married my wife, I realized being content was not the best thing for my wife and family. I suddenly had more intent and drive to accomplish more. She kept telling me not to be scared to try and accomplish my dreams and I could do whatever I wanted. With that push and support, I started to move forward with the career progression that I had wanted to for years but didn't because I was afraid.

I could build a house. With the support of my family, I could build a skyscraper. What I am asking you is when you leave for school, training or deployment, don't forget about the home front. It is the best thing going for you so do not take them for granted and they will stay by your side. Make sure you do your best to help with whatever they need, be there for them, and make them feel they are not alone.

Remember, no one left behind, this applies to your better half. They can be the most powerful thing you have in your arsenal. So when you are not home, ask yourself "Merge or Overtake?"

Sgt. Daniel Schroeder is with the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

September 18, 2014 at 4:07pm

Comedian Emo Philips sent the Weekly Volcano a postcard

Love, Emo

Every week the Weekly Volcano presents a round-up of the nerdy events and news happening in the South Sound and around the world. Scribes Rev. Adam McKinney and Christian Carvajal trade weeks penning the week in geek. The two actually wanted to settle it with 10 paces and turn. The trade-off was a more civilized solution.

Anyway McKinney previewed Emo Philip's Tacoma Comedy Club show in the Aug. 19, 2014 Nerd Alert! column.

Whenever a legend of comedy comes to Tacoma, it shouldn't go unheralded. Emo Philips has been in the business for almost 40 years. Since the beginning, he's been a true original, inspiring a whole generation of absurdist joke-centric comedians such as Mitch Hedberg, Demetri Martin and Patton Oswalt. His style is frequently copied, but never matched, with his odd falsetto and wandering way of delivering jokes. Emo Philips is like Steven Wright, countering Wright's philosophical deadpan with an impish, singsongy surrealism. This is not to be missed. Witness it at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24 at the Tacoma Comedy Club.

Apparently, this column moved Philips, who sent us this postcard. ...

Love and coleslaw. Nice.

Filed under: Comedy, Tacoma, In Their Words,

April 16, 2014 at 9:32am

The difficult road to building a military family

An image of Heidi Burger, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Burger, and a teddy bear that honors his son, Gabriel, who died last November from pregnancy complications. Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Carlos M. Burger II, 11th Public Affairs Detachment

FORT HOOD, Texas - My story isn't unique in the military. In fact, it's more common than people know.

This week has been a hard Army week for me. It's not about being deployed for the fifth time or recovering from the media event we conducted yesterday morning or even dealing with young Soldiers that don't quite seem to understand the concept of the term "professional development."

As I sit behind my desk, I look at the beautifully expensive photo of my wife from Glamour Shots and the tiny cotton teddy bear with the red bow tie next to it and realize that my son, Gabriel, would be born this week.

That is to say he would have been, if he hadn't died five months ago. My son died last November due to a premature labor. The teddy bear the nurses put next to his tiny body is all I have left to even know he ever existed.

Service members and their families sign up to support and defend our great country. It's an honorable profession and wonderful experience that many, myself included, wouldn't change for anything. But some Service members sacrifice more than others. Some sacrifice the time and effort to build families of their own.


Read more...

Filed under: Military, Health, In Their Words, Kids,

May 29, 2013 at 3:54pm

Words & Photos: Sasquatch! Festival 2013, Day Four

Having Fun in the rain at Sasquatch! Festival 2013. Photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

Ed. Note: The Weekly Volcano sent Olympian Red Williamson of newspinphoto.com to Sasquatch! Festival 2013. For four days in a row he submitted amazing photos from the festival. Williamson brought his wife, Rachel, and friend, Matt Guile, along. Rachel files the report below on the final day of the festival, Monday, May 27, from The Gorge.

We are wrapping up day four of our incredible weekend at Sasquatch 2013, and we're coming home feeling a little wiser. We've learned a few things - people will actually buy $3 water and $9 chicken strips, honey buckets are not full of honey and rainy skies won't deter passionate people away from a kickass music festival.

Newspin Photo team member Matt Guile summed up the Sasquatch experience nicely. "It's the epitome of mixing business and pleasure," he said. "At the best of times, work is euphoric; at the worst, you are lost in a sea of fans, artists, security guards and sun - but you are here."

Well, in our case today, the rain was pouring down without mercy. Fans around us found comfort in hot food and warm hoodies, and were packed like sardines underneath covered spaces. Our team felt grateful to spend the morning diligently working, sheltered from the rain in the media area - a space at Sasquatch that has begun to feel like our home away from home.

>>> Barr Brothers fans, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

>>> Wet crowd, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

>>> P.O.S., photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

The afternoon arrived, and we made our way over to our first show - an energetic hip-hop set with live instrumentation. Nissim (formerly D.Black) wears a cap that, like his changed name, reflects his new journey as an Orthodox Jew, "to make music that inspires and elevates this world."

We wandered over to the Honda Bigfoot stage to see spunky, electro-pop band CHVRCHES first, then P.O.S, who really inspired us with the way he pumped up the crowd. His energy made us forget about the rain for a while with lyrics like, "This is for everybody who carries the world's weight, but stands up straight."

We were impressed again by Elliott Brood, three guys and a bunch of instruments who use music to tell historic, century-old stories. Dirty Projectors rocked us with its incredible arrangements and the duo ODESZA's live show did not disappoint the excited fans. While waiting for its sound to get sorted out, The Barr Brothers, called "the best live band in Montreal," showed their personalities by drinking and smoking cigarettes on the Yeti stage. Band members were creative with many different instruments; one moment that stood out to us was when three band members played guitar together, using a string!

>>> Barr Brothers, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

>>> Death Grips, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

>>> Elliott Brood, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

Theoretics' high energy, funky hip-hop show really came to life with a full band, and Death Grips' performance was rowdy and off-the-wall. As the set started, the microphone was having problems, and rapper MC Ride suddenly threw it on the ground and left the stage! For a moment the crowd wondered if he would come back; luckily for us, he did, and Death Grips put on an incredible show. Imagine Dragons headlined over on the Sasquatch stage, and rocked a sopping wet crowd full of colorful ponchos and garbage bags. Lead rocker Dan Reynolds thanked the crowd at the end of the show and said with pride and gratitude, "this might be the best festival we've ever played."

Portland duo Menomena stood out to us right away with its smooth saxophone skills, insane rhythms and personal lyrics. The crowd size over at Grieves was the largest we had seen all weekend. Grieves apologized about "hiding under a rock for a while," saying, "I had to get some shit together." The audience met him with enthusiastic approval as he started his first song. Twin Shadow brought the electric, 80s power pop and put on a swanky, lively show. Unfortunately, we left for our 4-hour drive home, back toward reality, work and responsibilities, and had to miss out on late night shows like The Lumineers and The Postal Service. However, what we heard from our sources back at The Gorge confirmed what we suspected. As we've seen so many times, the music is alive at Sasquatch 2013, and even a rainy day can't cloud our good times.

>>> Grieves, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

>>> Nissim, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

>>> Twin Shadow, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

Team Newpin saved one of its favorite Sasquatch interviews for last; we were excited for the opportunity to chat with P.O.S., and we found it fitting when he said, "One thing that festivals teach you is that there's room for everybody."

Yes, truly there has been room for all walks of life and all forms of expression here at Sasquatch Music Festival. Many things can't compare with this special and beautiful way that good music has the power to bring humanity together.

LINK: Many more photos from the final day of Sasquatch Festival 2013

LINK: Words and photos from Sasquatch! Festival 2013, Day Three

LINK: Words and photos from Sasquatch! Festival 2013, Day Two

LINK: Words and photos from Sasquatch! Festival 2013 Day One

Filed under: Concerts, In Their Words,

May 27, 2013 at 3:10pm

Words & Photos: Sasquatch! Festival 2013, Day Three

Tiger Girl was at the Sasquatch! Festival. Photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

Ed. Note: It's Memorial Day weekend. It's Sasquatch. It's good times. And Red Williamson is there. The Weekly Volcano sent Olympian Red Williamson of newspinphoto.com to Sasquatch! Festival 2013. As you can see below, it was a wise choice on our part. For the third day in a row he has submitted amazing photos from the festival. Williamson brought his wife, Rachel, and friend, Matt Guile, along. Rachel files the report below on Day Three action from The Gorge.

It's Day Three of the Sasquatch!, and this festival at The Gorge has certainly met all of our expectations and more. This landscape is full of diversity, almost like a small city - an incredibly unique gathering of different people and music. It's obvious this radical experience would never be a reality without a massive crew of people behind-the-scenes. It has been a real treat to watch humanity come together in so many ways.

Capital Cities was our first stop of Day Three, and they set a happy tone for our day with uplifting, electronic pop rock. Their songs are full of heart, and impossible not to dance to. Capital Cities' hit song "Safe and Sound" had the crowd on their feet.

Deep Sea Diver's uniquely crafted sound of pop and guitar rock was another positive way for us to kick off Day Three.

We also enjoyed Colyn Cameron, the singer/songwriter of Wake Owl, and the way he harnessed genuine emotion through his music.

>>> Chalkboard VW Bus, photo credit: Red williamson/Newspin Photo

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Filed under: Concerts, In Their Words,

May 26, 2013 at 3:23pm

Words and Photos: Sasquatch! Festival 2013, Day Two

Empire of the Sun came with dancers Saturday, May 25 at Sasquatch! Festival 2013 at The Gorge. Photo credit: Red Williamson / Newspin Photo

Ed. Note: It's Memorial Day weekend. It's Sasquatch. It's good times. And Red Williamson is there. The Weekly Volcano sent Olympian Red Williamson of newspinphoto.com to Sasquatch! Festival 2013. As you can see below, it was a wise choice on our part. Once again, his photos are awesome. Williamson brought his wife, Rachel, and friend, Matt Guile, along. Rachel files the report below on Day Two action from The Gorge.

We rolled out of our tents and into Day Two of the Sasquatch! Festival. After gaining our bearings, we made out way toward the media tent. Weaving our way through humanity it became apparent people were letting their guards down around camp - everyone seemed a little dirtier, more hungover and more comfortable embracing this raw, real gathering at The Gorge. It is truly special to watch humans sharing a collective experience, in a place where you are free to be who you want to be, express yourself however you choose and immerse yourself in the glorious music around you.

>>> Headress Girl, photo credit: Red Williamson/Newspin Photo

Read more...

Filed under: Concerts, In Their Words,

May 25, 2013 at 2:18pm

Words and Photos: Sasquatch! Festival 2013, Day One

Sasquatch Festival 2013 is on! Photo credit: Red Williamson / Newspin Photo

Ed. Note: It's Memorial Day weekend. It's Sasquatch. It's good times. And Red Williamson is there. The Weekly Volcano sent Olympian Red Williamson of newspinphoto.com to Sasquatch! Festival 2013. As you can see below, it was a wise choice on our part. The photos are awesome. Williamson brought his wife, Rachel, and friend, Matt Guile, along. Rachel files the report below on Day One action from The Gorge.

Well, the time has finally come. It's the Friday leading up to Memorial Day weekend, and Team Newspin - Red Williamson, Rachel Williamson and Matt Guile - arose at the crack of dawn and drove to the other side of the state to get lost in a sea of people, and soak up the sunshine and booming music coming from all directions. You guessed it; it's none other than Sasquatch! Festival 2013, and we have arrived!

After finding a spot at the artist's campground with our friend and Seattle rapper Xperience (performing on Sunday), we pitched our tents and went out to explore the festival grounds. Our first glimpse of the festival was like the calm before the storm. Everyone was busy working with various equipment, vendors were setting up shop and occasionally we saw people who, like us, had a camera in their hands.

>>> ZZ Ward, photo credit: Red Williamson / Newspin photo

Read more...

Filed under: Concerts, In Their Words, Olympia,

April 13, 2013 at 8:40am

South Sound Sidekick: How to take care of your skin

STACEY GAVATT: You can seek out her skills at Spa Aneity in downtown Olympia.

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday - sometimes on Saturday. Today, esthetician and spa owner  Stacey Gravatt has some advice on skin acre for Spring 2013.

Stacey Gravatt writes,

Is your skin feeling dry and dull? Does it have a case of the winter blues? Believe me you are not alone. Winter in the Pacific Northwest definitely takes its toll on us. Chances are this blustery season may have left your skin feeling like a reptile and screaming for attention. Good news is it's nothing that a good Spring Tune up won't take care of.

Skincare 101: Facials are amazing. Fact is, there is nothing like seeking a professional to help you balance your skin and get your glow back on. Most estheticians will offer several customized options to meet your needs without busting your budget. Remember this is the only skin that you have, and it's worth spending a few bucks on.

Read more...

March 29, 2013 at 4:11pm

South Sound Sidekick: Hanging art for Noobs

CHRIS ROSS: The Olympia artist meditates in front of one of his murals.

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Olympia artist Chris Ross has advice on how to hang art in your house

Chris Ross writes,

With Olympia Arts Walk just around the corner, and with the future purchases of Art looming, I thought it would be a good idea to share easy steps to hang art in your home. As a former curator for the Olympia Film Society with years of experience hanging art professionally, and a former gallery owner in Portland, Ore., I'm frequently asked, "How do you hang art work?"

Galleries and museums have a standard height for hanging art in a space for patrons to see. This standard applies well to the home. The average height of all people was determined to be 58-62 inches for eye level. Most institutions use this average because when a viewer of the work walks into a room and sees the piece of art, they don't have to strain up or down to get a good view of it.

Below are steps you can use in your home to hang your new pieces, or to adjust current ones to give balance to all your art work, or even family photos, etc.

1. Determine what wall you want to hang the piece of art.

2. Using a tape measure and a pencil, find the middle of the wall, or the middle of the area you want the piece to hang from. The procedure is done by measuring the distance, dividing by two.

3. Measure out the found distance and mark the wall with a pencil. I use pencils because you can erase the mark.

4. Take your piece of art and turn it over. Measure the height of the piece and dived by two again to find the middle of the piece. Mark the back.

5. Trickiest part, measure the distance from the center of your Art piece to the bottom of the hardware used to hang the work. Typically this is a picture wire.

6. Take this new measurement and add it to 58 inches. So, for instance, if you found the distance from center to the picture wire was 10 inches, your new number would be 68 inches.

7. Back to the wall ... measure from the floor, the total of the two numbers (in our example it's 68 inches) and mark the wall at that height. Where the two marks intersect on the wall is where you will hammer your picture hook. This will guarantee that the center of your artwork is hanging at 58 inches.

Christopher Ross is a working artist in Olympia, Wash. His work can be seen at www.Christophrossart.com

LINK: Parent's guide to raising rock stars

LINK: How to be a scenester

LINK: How to be a bartender

LINK: How to manage a band from your office cubicle without getting fired

LINK: How to tell if you're clown material

LINK: Make film gore with household items

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: More South Sound Sidekick advice

March 22, 2013 at 3:16pm

South Sound Sidekick: Parent's Guide to Raising Rock Stars

KEVIN SMYTH: Hew has advice on how to raise a rock star - tips that may keep you from losing all your hair.

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Kevin Smyth has advice on how to raise a rock star. Smyth teaches history and English at Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup. He knows a thing or two about teenagers - especially ones that want to be rock stars. He's the father of two sons, including Patrick Galactic of the Tacoma band Death By Stars.

Kevin Smyth writes,

When my son was 3 he was already an entertainer singing and dancing on coffee tables to whatever was on MTV or the radio.  It should have been clear to me - even then - that my dream he'd earn his PhD in French medieval history from Stanford was probably illusory. Today he's 33 and playing in a local band poised for commercial success. It's been a long road pitted with potholes for him and me.  I have a few tips that might get you through those early awful years when you're ready to kill them and they're ready to kill you.

1. It's gonna be loud

If your kid's serious they'll want to practice. No, I don't just mean the crap they'll do if they take lessons; they'll want to play all the time. You'll buy 'em a quiet little practice amp, but it won't be enough. They'll rock their siblings' world when you're away. They'll literally drive the pets up the wall. The neighbors will complain. They'll want to practice with their band mates in your garage. My advice: don't surrender, negotiate. Establish some times when it's OK to practice. Have a realistic conversation about noise levels. Determine whether it's even possible for his band to practice in your neighborhood without triggering some horrible homeowner's association sanction. If it is, be sure to take a half rack of really good beer over to your neighbors and be prepared to apologize regularly for the noise. Don't make the mistake of making it so hard your rock and roller feels they can only play at somebody else's house. Keeping your options open means you can keep an eye on your future star. And get earplugs, really good earplugs.

DEATH BY STARS: Patrick galactice on the left. Photo courtesy of Facebook

2. You gotta believe

Becoming a rock star is really hard. There are a whole lotta people saying "No!" You're not good enough! You're not old enough! You don't fit in with our target audience! Your band is full of high school seniors and everyone is going off to college but you. If this is the life they've chosen, it's really tough. So when those moments happen when your kid and his buddies get those gigs, you gotta be there. Even if it's a roach-infested, smoke-impregnated dive, you have to go and show your support. Look, you went to those horrible orchestra concerts in fifth-grade didn't you? All those Saturday morning soccer games standing in the November rain, remember when you were there? These are at least as important, not only to offer confidence, but for head count. Bands only get gigs if they can bring in their peeps. You have to buy their CDs, and you persuade family members and friends to go to shows and buy CDs. But in the end it's worth it to see your kid perform, to see him adored, even if the crowds are small and it isn't Madison Square Garden. 

3. It's not your dream

This was the hardest lesson for me to learn. I teach high school history and English. My son is every bit as smart and a better writer than me. I dreamed of him getting into a great school and using his amazing mind to be, well, amazing with his first rate education. His dream was to be Thom Yorke or Gene Simmons or Kurt Cobain. We had heated arguments about all the important questions - why, when, how, you name it and the answers were never satisfactory. The more we pressed, the more strident the rebellion became. "What if you don't make it, what if you can't be a rock star, what's your back up plan?" That was my favorite question. Every time I asked it was like lighting a match near a leaking gas main. I still have scars. But the bottom line is my son has given himself a solid education about the profession of being a musician. He's taught himself to play multiple instruments; he's learned the business of band management and understands the marketplace of live music in the Puget Sound region. He's developed an outstanding work ethic. It's important to have dreams, and I'm proud that he stuck to his.

4. Be the parent, but be patient

I know what you're thinking. How could you let your kid bulldoze you? I'd never let mine get away with this. That's a fair criticism. It's critical that you act like a parent to set effective limits. Drug and alcohol use are not OK. You have to finish school. You want a new guitar, a new amp - that swell new effects box? How are you going to pay for it? Bring your budding superstar into the conversation, set some guidelines and limits you both can agree to and enforce them, with logical consequences when they cross the line. But let go of the silly things. Hair length and hair color? That's big, really? Clothing? Do you want people telling you what to wear on your own time? Offer your help to transport your rocker and his equipment. Your support will buy lots of good will. If he was playing in the Northwest Sinfonietta, or playing for a U-17 select soccer team would you say no? Expect there will be bumps along the way. Kids are kids. They make mistakes including poor choices. Hold him accountable, but don't give a death sentence. Your patience will pay dividends down the road.

Though my plan for my son was to get a really good education, my dream was always that he would have choices to do whatever he wanted to do in his life. Education can help you do that. Talent and determination can do that for you too. I always planned to attend his Stanford commencement, watch him walk up and take his diploma and scream in delight with the whole family. Last week I sat in my empty classroom and listened to the radio as his band played live on the Bob Rivers show in front a hundred thousand listeners. They never sounded better; he was living his dream and I couldn't have been more proud.

LINK: How to be a scenester

LINK: How to be a bartender

LINK: How to manage a band from your office cubicle without getting fired

LINK: How to tell if you're clown material

LINK: Make film gore with household items

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: More South Sound Sidekick advice

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