The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

NOTHING IS OVER |

February 24, 2014

Name: Don Gomez
Returned from: Iraq
Hometown: New York City
Milblog: Carrying The Gun
Email: dgomez@me.com
Twitter: @dongomezjr

Framed GOMEZ headed to Iraq
SGT Clark and me on the flight to Iraq.

Suddenly, people are interested in Iraq again.

Violence in Iraq has been steadily spiraling out of control for the past year, long before the black flags of al-Qaeda flew over Fallujah. 2013 was the worst year in Iraq in terms of violence since 2008, when US forces were at the tail end of the “surge.”

But the image of those flags has suddenly made Iraq relevant again, especially for American veterans who fought there. Symbols matter, and until Fallujah was decisively captured in November 2004, it stood as the chief symbol of resistance to US forces in Iraq.

There is something very selfish about watching the violence in Iraq and wondering how Iraq war veterans feel about it. It is the Iraqi people after all, who are suffering in this growing wave of violence, and it is the Iraqi military who will be charged with going ‘house-to-house’ this time. Having left Iraq in 2011, we have the luxury to wax nostalgically about Operation Phantom Fury and ‘what it all means.’

If history is any indicator, this sudden interest in Iraq will be short-lived, and as a country we will soon go back to ignoring it, along with that other war.

That is unfortunate. Whether we like it or not, whenever we hear the word ‘Iraq’ it will forever carry that same dull sting we feel when we hear the word ‘Vietnam.’ We will not be able to think of Iraq except through the lens of war. Our histories are cosmically intertwined. And instead of ignoring it, we should embrace it. Especially the men and women who served there.

Framed GOMEZ Ground Assault Convey to Samawah
Ground assault convoy to As Samawah, March 29, 2003.

Last year, as we approached the ten year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I felt a strong need to get it all out. I deployed during the invasion and that experience of being a part of it and the subsequent occupation was formative and everlasting. I always imagined that when I came home, I would sit down at the kitchen table with my parents and lay out all of the pictures I took and explain to them how the whole experience went down. From start to finish. A long night of beer and emotion. Laying it all out, once and for all.

That never happened. Instead, the war dripped out, slowly, over years and only in short, meaningless anecdotes. Boasting at the bar with friends after a few drinks. In the field eating MREs with soldiers who weren’t there. At the mall with my wife, a familiar smell or sound jarring me into revealing a fading memory from Karbala or Baghdad as we lazily walked from store to store.

A few years ago, I was interviewing Iraqi veterans of the Iran-Iraq War for my dissertation. They confessed to me that they had never really spoken to anyone about their war experiences. Terrible, formative experiences -- bottled up and ignored for decades. I watched them and scribbled notes, realizing later that I was doing the same thing with my own war experiences.

Framed GOMEZ Whoosh
Listening to Nerf footballs whoosh overhead. As Samawah, March 30, 2003.

My sister served. My best friend served. But we never talked about it, not in a serious way. The research I did convinced me that the healthiest thing to do was share the experience in a serious manner.

The anniversary came, newspapers ran retrospective ‘ten years later’ pieces. I wrote about my perspective as a young soldier in Kuwait, learning that the war had begun from an overeager soldier who had learned it from the television in the chow tent.

I decided I would gather up all of my pictures and letters home and go through them and put them on my blog. I tried my best to time it right to get the relevant posts up exactly ten years later.

Framed GOMEZ letters home
My letters home, arranged by month.

The project became engrossing. What I initially imagined as a weekly post with a picture or excerpt from a letter became a time-intensive undertaking. I spent my weekends researching my own life, matching pictures to letters and talking with old friends to get details right. I woke up early on the weekends and wrote the posts for the week, scheduling them to go live at as close to the exact moment, ten years later, as I could.

Friends who served with me cheered me on, saying that I captured the way they felt back then, even though to me the war felt very personal. Their laudatory comments compelled me to treat even more seriously the events that held a special place in my experience. Like the Battle of As Samawah. Or the day we swam in Saddam’s pool. Or the week we spent at Baghdad Airport playing Halo.

Writing about Iraq every day forced me to relive things I’d long forgotten. It also forced me to pay closer attention to what’s happening there now. While I wrote about R&R in Qatar and Brazilian belly dancers in 2003, car bombs detonated in Baghdad in 2013. I wondered about the Iraqis in my pictures, children who are now young adults. I wondered if they would remember me, or if they are even still alive.

Framed GOMEZ Paratroopers resting after combat, As Samawah, 4-3-03
Paratroopers resting after combat. As Samawah, April 3, 2003.

Back in August, I grew disgusted with the whole thing. Iraq was getting worse and no one seemed to care. I thought about stopping the project. I was exhausted and angry.

I hung in there and continued on into the boring last few months of the deployment.

And now I’m coming to the end. I came back from Iraq on January 23, 2004. My year long project is about to end. It was fun and interesting and now it’s done. I’ll go on and Iraq will still be there, smoldering.

It is peculiar to me that Iraq is suddenly interesting again. The headlines coming out of Iraq the past ten years have always been grim. Dead bodies and explosions. More killed there than other places. If I had to guess, people just expect that from Iraq. We have grown numb to it. It took the silly raising of a flag -- a symbolic gesture -- to wrestle the attention of a media saturated American public to care, if even for a moment.

I hope that people will pay more attention this time. I’m not holding my breath.

FALL |

February 18, 2014

Name: Ross Magee
Returned from: Afghanistan

Note: Ross Magee wrote often for The Sandbox during his deployment. His numerous posts include THE BIRDS, PYRAMID OF WOOL, SEVENTY THOUSAND A VERY KABUL CHRISTMAS, THE COMING OF A STORM, and THE DONKEY.

 

Framed MAGEE FallIt was fall when I came home; a year to the day from when I left. I stepped off the rotator and into the arms of my wife and it was as if I was suddenly awake, like I’d been asleep for a year. In my first weeks at home I staggered about, relearning, remembering and trying to find my place in my country, in my home, in my marriage, in my own head. I spent a lot of time thinking about last fall and trying very hard stitch together memories and create a fabric of what it meant to be at home. I kept coming up with an incoherent patchwork quilt that held pieces of me, pieces of Afghanistan and pieces of life at home. They fit together but the shape of the thing was unrecognizable to me.

I ran miles along the trail, past the secret persimmon trees where my wife and I collected fruit in the weeks before I left home. It seemed like a distant memory, like a dream from another life, another era. In a way I suppose it was. It was after all, Before Afghanistan. 

Everything in my life now falls into three categories which are unevenly weighted: the thirty-six years of my life Before Afghanistan, the one year of my life In Afghanistan and this new space where I now find myself. The present. The handful of weeks of my life that consist of the entirety of my life After Afghanistan. 

We gathered persimmons and made scones and a cheesecake. The warm deep yellow flesh of the fruit spoke to me of home, of fall, of this life. We drove west to the orchard where we picked apples last year. The familiar road settled me, reminded me that there are consistencies in this life, that things can be familiar if never the same again. The sun was warm and the day was bright. I helped the Old Dog out of the truck and he stood unsteady in the tall grass. He tottered around for a few minutes before collapsing and resting in the sun. We offered him water and he lapped enthusiastically at the bowl, his wide pink tongue sloshing the water out across my hands. Then I picked him up and put him back in the truck. I cracked the windows so that he might enjoy a bit of a breeze and we set off to collect our apples without him. Last year he wandered the orchard with us, exploring, sniffing, rolling in the discarded fermenting fruit and helping as only a dog can. This year it was all he could do to circle the truck. Much has changed.

Fall seemed to last forever. Perhaps that is because I was only offered a taste of it last year. The temperatures cooled and the days shortened. The leaves along the parkway began to fade from the lush green of summer into a bouquet of ocher, henna and gold. The American flag on our front porch swayed gently in the breeze, illuminated by the rarefied air and unobstructed sun. The sugar maple in the front yard turned into a brilliant yellow sun almost overnight. The crepe myrtle bronzed and then surrendered its leaves in the span of a few days. The Japanese maple clutched its foliage, slowly turning from burgundy to burning crimson, shining like the flame of fall’s truth in the morning sun, a torch of light marking the eternal passage of time.

The Old Dog rustled in the dark and I helped him to his feet and then opened the front door. He stood at the threshold and breathed deeply, peering into the dark before turning and staggering into the living room. I left the front door open and walked down the driveway to pick up the paper. When I turned back toward the house I heard the Old Dog skittering down the sidewalk towards me. He kept moving when he hit the grass, not strong enough to stop and stand still knowing that his only chance at remaining upright was to keep moving forward. I marveled at his determination, and then my heart sank when I thought about how painful his life had become. He slowed and walked an unsteady zig-zag across the front yard, gradually working his way down the hill as he relieved himself. He fell in a heap beneath the sugar maple, colorless in the dark, and looked back at me. I walked across the yard and sat next to him, pulling him between my legs and placing my hands on his body. We did not speak.

We sat together in the pre-dawn darkness and listened to the wind blow through the trees. The large leaves came off the oaks some sixty feet above the ground and tumbled through the grey sky in loops and circles backlit by the streetlamp like bats chasing moths on a summer night. Leaves swirled across the yard, spinning themselves into a tiny tornado that coursed across the street and back again before washing over us in a blast of leaves and grass clippings. The Old Dog lifted his nose towards the fading stars and breathed in deeply, distilling the coming day from the night wind. Entire herds of leaves migrated in waves down the street, pushed forth by the wind and a communal drive to move. The herd gathered more and more leaves into their company as they went plunging along with their rough edges and stems scratching at the pavement like the hooves of a thousand tiny animals on a migration as venerable as time itself. 

The Old Dog rested his chin on my leg and looked into the distance facing the dawn. The sky seemed to lighten fractionally and I felt the warmth of his body against my legs. I shivered and tucked my hands under him to warm them beneath his chest. He looked up at me and I could feel his old heart beating weakly.

My wife came looking for us and asked if we were okay.

“I think so. We’re just waiting,” I said, unsure of just what that meant.

She returned with a fleece and a cup of coffee for me and a blanket for the dog. He stirred like he wanted to get up but did not have the strength, and we resolved to rest a while longer. I wrapped him in a blanket and cradled my coffee in my cold hands. Our breath smoked, rising and disappearing into the sky. We watched silently as a lady unaware of our presence walked her dog down the street. A school bus rumbled past. The sky turned silver and I could begin to discern the color of leaves as the world moved from the starlit black of night to the brilliance of another autumn day.

Framed MAGEE Old DogI found myself wondering how many autumns the Old Dog had seen. Eight? Ten maybe? I hoped it was at least that many but knew that it was certainly not more than that. He surveyed the yard then looked up at me before resting his chin on my leg again. We waited for dawn. This would be his last fall and I wondered if he knew that. It was my first one home from Afghanistan, my first with him and it would be our last together.

A few weeks later I loaded the Old Dog in the truck and my wife and I drove down to the river’s edge. I carried him down to the bank where we all sat in the warm afternoon sun looking out across the water. It was impossible to not think of crossing the river. I wondered if the sun was warmer or the breeze sweeter on the other side, what the woods might smell like, if they might be free of pain. An hour later I carried the Old Dog back to the truck.

He died that afternoon. We sat with our hands on his chest and spoke his name to him as he took his last breath and made the crossing alone.

NEVER ACCORDING TO PLAN |

February 12, 2014

Name: Jeff Clement
Returned from: Afghanistan
Hometown: Cary, NC
Milblog: The Lieutenant Don't Know
Email: thelieutenantdontknow@gmail.com

Framed Clement with truck
With my armored MATV (a type of MRAP) May 2010.

After deploying, one of the reasons that it took so long to relax, to not be on edge, was that nothing in Afghanistan ever went according to plan. We always had to be ready for anything.

May 23, 2010 was supposed to be a routine day.

“Alright, guys, another recovery mission.Third Battalion, 7th Marines is up north of us. They hit a couple IEDs last night, but they’ve pulled the two trucks and one mineroller back to a relatively secure area.” A mineroller was a 9,000-pound sled with wheels that would be attached to the front of our trucks to limit the damage from IEDs — the IED would go off under the mineroller instead of under the truck with Marines inside.

I was five months into my deployment as a truck platoon commander with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, a Marine Logistics unit. We had the cranes, trailers, and wreckers needed to recover vehicles that were damaged by IED strikes.

I continued briefing. “The idea is that we’re going to move fast. This isn’t a resupply, so we’ve only got 15 trucks. We know that the insurgents will try to target us with IEDs on the Tabletop, this ridge in the middle of the route. So we are going to try to run up to the objective, load up and get back. Mission time, six to eight hours.”

I looked up. Calm, dirty faces stared back at me. Dirty was good. It meant they had spent time on maintenance. Calm was good too. They knew what they were doing.

My routine mission was disrupted right from the start. At the last minute, we had to bring some supplies up to 3/7, so we left about six hours late. 

Still, the trip up to the recovery site was smooth, and I thought we were back in a groove. I found the officer in charge and asked him where the equipment for us to recover was. “Alright, so we got three MRAPs,” he said, “and one mineroller.”

“Three?” I cut him off. “The request was only for two.” Another change.

“Can you show me where this mineroller is?” I asked

“Yeah,” he pointed to the map “it’s a ways down here by itself.”

“You left it?” I was incredulous.

“Well yeah. It’s pretty heavy,” he laughed. “I don’t think anybody can take it.”

“I’m not worried somebody could take it. I’m worried that somebody could booby-trap it!”

“Hadn’t thought of that. Well, can you still get it?”

“Don’t have a choice, do I?” The risk went up.

My driver drove in a circle around it with our mineroller. It would be much better for our mineroller to be destroyed by a booby-trap than to damage one of our wreckers, which were in very short supply.

“Bump that mineroller with ours. Don’t crash into it, but hit it hard enough that any hair triggers or pressure-release switches will trip.” No explosion, but my adrenaline was still pumping.

Once we got everything loaded up on the wreckers, we headed back down south.

WHUMP.

“IED!” my gunner called down. Our first vehicle had struck an IED. The Marines in the truck had concussions, but could go on.

The only mineroller left was on my truck. My platoon sergeant demanded that we switch places, that he ride in my truck since it would be in the front of the convoy.

“Sir, you shouldn’t be up front. You know that.” Our tactics didn’t allow platoon commanders in the first vehicle.

“You’re right, but I can’t switch trucks with you. It might be right by the textbook but how could I ask you to ride up front if I’m not willing to do it myself?”

A few hundred meters after we started moving, the ground under us erupted.

WHUMP.

In slow motion, the air filled with brown moondust and the front of the truck was lifted off the ground.

“Lepinski!” I grabbed at the gunner’s leg. He had been in the turret, exposed to shrapnel.

“I’m okay!”


Umoren, my driver, was visibly in pain, but said he could continue. After the shock and adrenaline of the IED strike wore off, everyone in the truck had a splitting headache. A few of us had some torn muscles and damaged vertebrae (we later found), but nothing that seemed to warrant a MEDEVAC.  

We would have to push through. The convoy continued south.

Framed Clement rollover
An LVSR, a heavily armored cargo truck, upside down on top of the MATV it was carrying.

The radio crackled, “I think the truck in front of me just rolled over!”

I could see a pair of headlights off to the side of the path. They appeared to be about 15° from level. Well, that wasn’t too bad...We could just tip the truck back down and it’d be fine.

As we got closer, I realized that the headlights were 15° from level because the truck had slid down a ridge, rolling 195°. The Marines inside the truck were okay. But because it weighed over 100,000 pounds, we had nothing that could recover it.

I sent a request to higher asking for an M88 Tank Retriever.  We would have to wait until it arrived before we could flip the truck upright.  The 6-hour mission had stretched over 36. We couldn’t relax yet.

We set up security for the night...

 

Jeff Clement served two tours in Afghanistan as a US Marine Corps logistics officer. His first book, The Lieutenant Don’t Know, will be released in April.  Find him on the web (http://clementjd.com) or on Twitter (@jeffclement).

OBJECTIVE RALLY POINT |

February 06, 2014

Name: Owen Powell (aka "Sgt. Roy Batty")
Returned from: Iraq
Hometown: New York City
Email: objective.rally.point@gmail.com

So, this is the end, my friend.

The Sandbox was good to me. It was a sanctuary from the insanity that reigned around me every day in Iraq, back in 2006-2007. I was a military police sergeant, deployed to FOB Rustimayah, FOB Shield, and Combat Outpost Callahan, on the east side of Baghdad.

I was writing under the pen name "SGT Roy Batty," thinking, falsely as it turned out, that it would stop me from getting into trouble with the Army. It didn’t, at least until my Company Commander, CPT Eric Tangeman, a really decent man, actually read my posts, and decided they were halfway readable and not an OPSEC issue.

So I would get back to the FOB after mission, go down to the hadji coffee shop, drink Saudi Arabian soda pop, and plug the day’s experience straight into The Sandbox.

It helped

but less so as things got more real

like when we started losing people.

Brad Shilling was first, from a NG infantry company I worked with, E Co, 1/125th INF.

Took an Explosively Formed Projectile through the door of his HMMWV.

I was on the QRF that responded to the scene, and I remember looking at the dark little hole in his door, and knowing that the wisecracking kid with the big smile was dead.

We moved to Combat Outpost Callahan, and life got more real, more focused,

personal.

Brandon Parr, Michael Peek, and Ashley Moyer were taken next;

500 lb IED underneath their truck

flipped it upside down, engulfed it in fire, and they all burned to death.

Then Karen Clifton,

her head gone from the RPG that came through her window and went out through the windshield.

All of them were under the age of 25.

And then there were the wounded,

here one day, and then gone the next, never to be seen again. From our perspective, It was almost the same as if they had been killed. Almost.

And then there were the dead Iraqis.

Burnt to a crisp in VBIED attacks, clothes blown off.

Or bound and executed, dumped in alleyways, draped in darkness.

Families flashed out of existence, stacked like long trash bags in IP pickup trucks.

The Worst Wake-Up Ever, when a bunch of 120 mm rockets, fired from a disguised van

100 meters away,

blew through the walls of our makeshift barracks.

The sniper round that tore through my Peltor headphones, and out through my ACH helmet

leaving me with not so much as a scratch, but a whopper of a headache.

The final attack on our IP station,

where I finally shot back

only to get reamed by Higher.

My platoon sergeant, who had been warped by Iraq from a semi-crazy but able leader

into a scared and abusive little tyrant of a man

told me "It is not MP tactics to put down suppressive fire while being attacked!"

which went against everything I had been taught, both in the Marines and the Army,

and who then vowed to make my life as miserable as possible, starting that night

as if it wasn’t enough already.

I went to kill him that night, pistol in my hand

and ended up, instead, turning the gun on myself.

Standing in the darkness in front of my squad leader

M9 charged, in my hand, at my temple,

“What the FUCK do you want me to do?!”

I was done, and was gone from Iraq with a quickness

after a quiet word with the BN Chaplain and Command Sergeant Major

which ultimately led to my platoon sergeant being kicked out of the Army.

Turns out he was sexually coercing and abusing his female soldiers

as well as terrorizing a whole slew of others.

My squad leader got busted in the process. I’m sorry for that, SSG J.

You were in over your head, in all regards,

but you didn’t deserve to go down with him.

So, I was back in Germany, with my wife and my dog,

but hating myself for leaving my Soldiers behind,

for being a non-hacker,

and the descent continued.

New duty station, Fort Hamilton, in NYC.

Garrison, chill, non-deployable.

Getting help from the VA was next to impossible

and I was angry and hating myself and charging as hard as I could away from it

throwing myself into training Soldiers, hoping it might save them

when they eventually would deploy.

Wife left after a year. Maxed the cards and took the car and one of the dogs.

The other one, Rocky, died shortly afterwards.

It was like a bad country song.

Two months later I was thrown into a mental hospital, after going after a smartass Soldier.

Took five DACP cops to take me down

but I had a good Commander and a great 1SG, who realized that something was seriously wrong inside SGT Powell, something that had to get fixed.

That helped a little bit

and I managed to squeak into retirement by the skin of my teeth.

Thanks, CPT Mouradjian, and 1SG Gonzalez. I am in your debt, forever.

But the descent continued.

Retirement was bewildering, like having your umbilical cord cut, in deep space.

I ran away from one overwhelmed girlfriend into family drama back home in Ohio,

punched out my stepfather in a stupid, heated argument,

landed up in jail,

and then blew up at my real father, who had bailed me out of jail, just two weeks later.

I was running, falling, and the ground was coming up fast.

Stayed for a couple of weeks in the basement of a good Army buddy, in Kentucky.

Thanks, Frank. You saved my life.

Regrouped. Got my shit together, a little bit.

During that time, I just happened to reconnect with an old flame over the Internet, and we decided to take a leap of faith together.

I drove 700 miles on my Harley, in 105-degree heat,

with my entire life strapped to the bike, back to NY.

Lizz calls it my "redemption ride."

We got  married four months ago

in a funny Tiki-style wedding that we put together ourselves,

complete with a Celtic blood vow, cutting our palms, and making our Oath together.

Blood binds people together

and it was the first step in putting my family back together.

Thank you, Lizz. You truly saved my life.

You were the only one that realized that I am just a traumatized Big Dog

and you will be my Lil Dog, forever.

Over the past year, I got into school, which I love in a way that I never fully appreciated before.

The VA, after almost two years, came through with my disability rating: 80%,

although they maintain that there is no proof that I have PTSD.

So here I am now. Doing okay. Maintaining.

Not looking at the railings of the bridges I ride over

thinking about how it would feel to go sailing over the edge,

with that long blue/black ribbon of water waiting below.

And this is where it gets weird.

Thirty-five days ago, around January 3rd,

I had what I can only describe as a massive consciousness change,

that got me thinking about life and consciousness and the Universe, from a fundamentally different perspective. That change brought about a Powerpoint presentation that described the

creation of the Universe in the Big Bang from the perspective of a raw Consciousness
and in describing that process, I guess I was really describing my own birth.

The strange thing is that the presentation was heavily centered around quantum mechanics, theoretical physics, and cosmology. I have been math-averse all my life, and can barely pass college algebra, and yet suddenly I was driven to learn about mathematics.

I gave the presentation to my Dad, who is both a retired USAF fighter pilot and a retired college math professor. Dad is the best quantum theorist I know (the only quantum theorist I know, but still…). He started bringing me up to speed on the math behind the theories, and Consciousness Theory evolved as he did so. 

If nothing else comes of this, just having the peace of mind from getting a piece of the Big Picture, and reconnecting joyously with my father, every day, this process has made me content and happy, for the first time in my entire life.

Dad urged me to put my thoughts into a book, which I did. This thing has been going on for over a month now, and the book is at 25,000 words, almost ready for submission to a publisher.

I copyrighted it three days ago. I even have a great editor -- David Stanford, who has so ably manned the helm, here at the Sandbox, all these years.

The book focuses on my awareness that the Universe is Consciousness, and we are part of that consciousness. The Universe is experiencing itself from the inside out, experiencing itself as you and me and the other seven billion souls on this planet.

The book is in the form of a Field Manual, a military FM, that gives enough information to get an idea of the scope of the operation, and then gives step-by-step instructions on how I raised my consciousness. 

Perhaps it will work for you too.

The funny thing is, as I became aware of this, I noticed that the people I came in contact with seemed to blossom and expand. Instead of people being afraid of me, people were the opposite: friendly, positive, supportive. Sometimes this happens with complete strangers, who appear out of the blue. It has been a revelation to me. I want that effect to continue, so I focus on actively projecting and radiating positive energy, from myself, all the time.

And the Universe is reacting to it.

If I am free to create my own reality, in union with the Consciousness around me, and all of the human consciousnesses on the planet, then I can make it as beautiful as possible, for as many people as possible, for as long as possible. 

We all can.

And in doing so, I can help to raise the consciousness of everyone around me, boosting all of us Higher, in a sympathetic Field. 

Teamwork.

Humanity is my fire team now.

And the related applications from that teamwork, and from Consciousness Theory, are impressive.

Like powering an Alcubierre Drive warp engine with directed consciousness energy.

If you are free to create your own reality, why not create it as B I G as possible?

Personally, I’m planning on being my own superhero.

At least within myself, I am looking at the stars

and all of you are welcome to come with me. 

If you feel like it. Of course, we have plenty of work to do right here at home, first.

Actually, the subtitle of the book is: How To Be Your Own Superhero In X Easy Steps.

I believe it is completely possible. 

So much so, that two days ago I had eleven tattoos cut into both sides of my hands and feet, as well as a couple of other places, like the fontanelle of my skull, and chakra locations on my chest and back.

Why? To focus creative energy, of course.

A superhero has to be able to focus his powers, right?

Pain instructs as much as pleasure. Often more than. 

Yep, here’s SGT Roy Batty, in all his glory.

 

Framed POWELL Rally Point
 

Or, as my Dad says, “You can never unsee that.”  Sorry.

So, here I am.

Either I am a

half-crazy, dope smoking, burnt-out combat veteran, sitting in my tiny NYC apartment,

writing hippy dippy science fiction stories as I slip deeper into psychosis

or

I’ve figured out how to be my own superhero.

Which reality would you choose?

Yep. I’m going the superhero route.

But whatever I’m going to do,

it will be with a couple of different outlooks.

The first of which is: peace.

Whenever possible, in all things. And it IS possible, 99.9% of the time.

The next of which is the Four Precepts, as I’ve written in the book.

Be open.

Be honest, with myself first. And then everyone I come into contact with.

Be positive, in all things.

And then verify. Check the shit out of everything I think or do, at all levels. 

Never stop learning. Never stop asking questions.

The world has some huge, highly complex problems to deal with.

Our nation has some huge, highly complex problems to deal with.

I feel that we’ve lost our way, and I think a lot of us are feeling that something

Big is coming down the line for us

and it’s up to us to make that Big thing something beautiful, rather than something horrific.

Too many of the old ways don’t work anymore

and we are fragmenting as a society because of the fear.

We have to find some new ways of looking at ourselves

and I am passing along the only thing that has worked for me.

The title of the book is

FM 33-4-5: Navigating Consciousness and the Space-Time Continuum.

If that resonates with you, check it out.

I’d love to have you on the Team

because we have some work to do

together.

 

Namaste.

 

P.S. And then there's this: Objective Rally Point.  

 

Owen Powell's numerous Sandbox posts include VBIEDS ALONG THE TIGRIS, THE TERMITE MOUND, GOT THEM IP BLUES, and MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE? 

 


Search Doonesbury Sandbox Blog

LINKS


About

My Photo

FEATURED BOOK