Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What, or who, is a GECK?

G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) is an interesting story device used by Interplay and Black Isle Studios in Fallout 2 (1998). What they didn't know was that I had already been granted that title in 1983. In my case it was a portmanteau of Geek and Jock.

I am very much a geek.

Yes, I was on chess teams. I played many forms of pen & paper role-playing games. I was even a D.M. for a 14 man gaming group that gathered and played during Desert Storm. I started my programming life with Basic, progressed to FORTRAN and U.S.C.D. Pascal in High School. During High School I also got to use much of Temple University's facilities. At my height of success I worked in Silicon Valley pushing myself to limits undreamt of by my parents though they did like it.

But in equal measure I am a jock as well. I'm built like a 6+ foot, 275 lbs linebacker and I've played many forms of sports, in school and in the military. The most aggressive military sport I engaged is was war.

There is much about me that is still geek though my traumatic brain injury has changed a lot about my skills, passions, and tolerances. I don't remember any Pascal, PHP, or Klingon though I'll admit I wasn't quite fluent in those. Something I do remember is integrity and self dignity.

See, I've recently changed course with a alternate reality game I play. Reaching the maximum level attainable I decided to switch teams. Granted with a two team league I suspected there would be some hard feelings with some players on my old team but I never suspected the level of hostility I've started to encounter. Being called bad names and having my character questioned & slandered is annoying.

I wonder if my accusers have any idea of who they attack with their thoughts? Their pitiful minds are consumed by the shallow and petty world they have inside the game. They are angry that I beat them out and decided to totally restart on the other team once I maxed out. But it is not unusual for me to choose this course.

I love beginning game, in chess, in computer gaming, in all things. Mid-game is nice too. The complexities and course start to emerge from the limitless options beginning game presents. End-game is, to me, boring as hell. There is little that can surprise me once that point is on the close horizon. Might explain why I love Shyamalan's movies, very little about many of his movies are obvious endings until the ending.

In closing, I'm just getting out my feelings in response to such harassment. I only made one negative comment their direction and this diatribe was my thoughts on it. Guess this is a moment where I become close to their real problem which I accused them:

"Get your head out of your a$$."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Talk, talk, talk. Something I can not reliably do.

Something that people don't get no matter how plain I am about it: I'm afraid to talk.

Aphasia makes me terrified of conversation, truly. It can not be avoided but what I can avoid is any discussion with depth or substance. Regardless of necessity, I just can not face the stress of starting one as it is highly likely that I'll lose the ability to talk... period.

I know my condition can, at times, make me something of an embarrassment. I know just how undignified and stupid I appear when Aphasia strikes. I know how much I hate my life when this happens. So why is it so hard to understand my reluctance to talk?

This does create problems though: Almost every part of our society requires verbal interaction. Shouldn't be removed but the flaw for me is that much of those interactions require "initiation" from me in the form of verbal dialogue. That leaves me isolated and abandoned in many ways.

Trouble with the Police? Call the department and talk to someone.
Trouble at work? Call H.R. and talk to someone.
Trouble at VFW? Call Dept, State or National and talk to someone.

Just the start of a list of ways I am isolated and abandoned.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I Kind Of Belong,

See, my accident wiped away allot of who I used to be. I used to belong to many worthwhile communities but now I'm different. These differences caused me, and them, some confusion on how to further interact. My Church, a truly worthwhile community, I've become distant from. I know what caused that, just one thing that rubbed me wrong, and it truly doesn't deserve any animosity from anyone. However, I've regularly thought about returning to that aspect of who I used to be but various tasks (work, VFW, etc.) divert me from humbly returning to those fine people.

There are several other communities, bless them for they are worthy to belong to, that I have distanced myself from for not good reasons. That is one of those not talked about complications of Brain Injury. I've succeeded in garnering the gumption to live but there are times where I find myself debating the why should I. I'm not suicidal!!!

I'm just confused about why do this or why do that each & every day. This situation has put me into an existential trauma the likes of which there is little that leads me onward other than the heart that beats inside me.

That being said, this was not a chest beating exercise of me whining about how my life and how I've changed. Today I am pondering about what I have made of my life since then. I've stumbled, often, and I realize that I will continue to do so, now, for the rest of my life. However, this blog, these postings give me a record of my thoughts that I can review to regain context of who I am, why I am, and how I think I should move forward.

Right now, I belong to several new communities. New to me since my accident and I'm going to type about the ones I am proud of for their level of support and interaction with me.

- The VFW, I did not belong before my accident (why not - I don't know) but they have helped me to recover a lot of my identity. Interesting the lifeline that Military training has become. It stamped itself upon me so firmly that I think it was the saving of me. Having someplace where that experienced is mutual has been a phenomenal support avenue. Granted, some of my new flaws complicate matters, Brain Injury is outside their experience but that doesn't change their willingness to accept who I am (now). These guys and gals respect me, provide me outlets to sharpen my wits and encourage me to re-learn much of how to belong to society.

- Work, interesting avenue for sure. Much of what made me competent in the workplace was truly wiped from my mind. I can still do many Information Technology functions but, again, I stumble a lot and stumbling within this environment is not good. So I've taken on a job not far from a high percentage of my military service, again the stamping was strong. I now mess around with auto parts, not a mechanic - never was one either, and I drive those parts to where they need to go. After all, from training and war time service the motor pool is a huge part of who I was and still am.

- Gaming. This is one of those off beat aspects of the old me. I was commonly heavily involved in computer gaming and involved with massive communities that engage in those games. At one point, I interacted worldwide with a couple hundred thousand individuals. Many who liked me, quite a few who did not like me but all knew that if I said something was wet, they all grabbed towels and mops as the situation was wet.

This brings me to a recent community I have joined. It is online, we build and fix. Think Minecraft but on a much more in depth scale if you are familiar with that. Now, such things aren't the cup of tea for my VFW members, Church members, or co-workers. But here I am once again being accepted by a community whose faces I have never seen, spending time striving for mutual gain and satisfaction, and delighting them with my presence.

Still, I stumble at times yet no one there has barked at me for my stumbles. I am learning, at times learning with their help but many times learning by myself what works and does not work. That is the good thing about using this environment, learning without the possibility of physical harm to myself or another. That is one of the prime reason everyone should use computer games. It is an avenue to exercise your brain and strengthen yourself... and explore your capabilities as well.

As these people get to know me one thing about me stood out in their minds and I was promptly stamped with a nickname that honored me greatly. They see that I am highly functional regardless of my new flaws and routinely seek my assistance with ongoing endeavors. Again, like the VFW and Work.

I am blessed as I belong. New places, indeed, but I do belong even with my new flaws.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Professional Decorum

Many civilians don't realize how many concepts and traditions they have acquired from the Military. One such concept is "Decorum". On a personal level you may dislike a co-worker but while you may feel that way never should that thought come out of your mouth or your demeanor. Never should your co-workers know your private opinion of another especially those of supervisory status.

See, I'm currently dealing with two such issues. I have 3 direct supervisors. The Commercial Supervisor who sends us drivers hither and tither about. Then there is the Store Manager and his Assistant Supervisor. This Assistant has, for me, been a phenomenal force for positive change. She strives to make the workplace supportive, encouraging, and worthwhile.

The Commercial Sup truly does not like her and I should NOT know that. The Commercial Customers also know that, THAT should never have happened. Such thoughts expressed undercuts confidence in that person. So, the actual Customers have developed such low expectations from the Assistant that they choose not to interact with her. In fact, one Customer complained to her about her interacting with him as if she was an idiotic bothersome pest in his day.

I can't imagine how that must feel. Actually, I can imagine it and I feel threatened by such antics. After all, I'm the new guy who is mentally disabled. It is disgustingly easy to throw me under a bus, even a bus I had not part in creating.

"Oops!" Says the Commercial Supervisor one day in the future, "Um, sorry this happened.  Q tries hard but he's the new guy with brain damage. What can you expect?"

This leads into my second such issue. A fellow VFW member, again no names, has created, for me, something of a hostile environment. Whether he realizes or not, it is something that I have to bear with as rocking the boat to fix this is going to make me seem like the trouble maker. His aggressive behavior in challenging my every decision and activity has others thinking that is how I should be treated.

An example: Two weeks ago a member annoyed with what he consider a National VFW failing and my somehow failing (as well) stomped into the Post and told me to fix it "Soon or I'll shoot you in your f-ing head". Now being of an intelligent and creative being I, on the spot, created and presented to him a solution that appeased his need and anger. However, I am troubled that such words should EVER come out of anyone's mouth regardless of membership or affiliation.

That was completely a death threat said to a mentally disabled Veteran by another non-mentally disabled Veteran.

Recently I complained about another mistreatment of me and how I could respond, without names I might add. One member, who shall remain unnamed, thought it was about him. So I received a text on my cellphone from him informing me that if I ever talk about him again on my blog (which is not where his issue happened) I will face lawsuits for slander and defamation. Then he continued on complaining about my Facebook post, as if I was talking about him, as if I was trying to get people to hold a pity party since I'm failing my duties, that I swore an oath to uphold, with my laziness and inability to function in that regard.

Well, I have these questions:

1 - Slander and defamation lawsuit from a nebulous Facebook posting? I'm not sure but I don't think that is legal, yet.

2 - What basic quartermaster duty did I need investigated? Yet again?

3 - What pity party is he talking about?

4 - Where did I fail to act or demonstrate any inability to execute the position I swore an oath to uphold?

5 - Is this the best social practices of the VFW itself?

Now, I have asked these same questions from the New Hampshire VFW State Officers. Included my Commander but he's on vacation far away from here but as of yet I have received no answers from anyone. Wonder why I'm feeling abandoned?

Now, if there were some issues to be addressed this member was directed, in the past, to share them ONLY with the Commander, not directly to me. With the Commander being away, he should have approached the Vice Commander as is an appropriate second for such things. This did not happen, once again I have an aggressive person in my presence challenging and questioning my judgement and actions. Further undercutting me with my fellow members. I am beginning to understand why people seem to think treating me in a hostile manner is the way to succeed.

How am I to fulfill my sworn duties with such an pattern of abuse, unchallenged?
I could challenge it but I've tried everything short of cursing and throwing a punch. And that would be even more disastrous as either I would hurt him or he would hurt me. Given his recent bar-room brawling experiences I think I'd get punched a few times before I disable him. And what I'd have to accomplish to disable such an attacker frightens me as it will leave some permanent issues. (Broken bones)

But in the Military no one should ever be dealt with in a hostile fashion unless the are your sub-ordinate and they have truly made a stupid mistake repeatedly. No one should ever know what you think about you superiors, sub-ordinates, or equals. Such expression via demeanor or voice is something that will, if it continues, get your cashiered from the military or the civilian workplace. Well should but civilian aspect likes to think it follows such practices but they don't always.

The Military does let such habits slide, ever.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I am not a liar...

... though at times I may seem like one.

As an example, when a particular location was mentioned I commented that I had never been there. Said this to the person who physically visited the location with me! But, at that moment, when asked about that location I had actually never been there even though I had been there.

This is the disaster that can be caused due to memory issues. At that moment I truly had never been there... until the person looked at me sideways and said "Remember the school bus exit?"
"Aahhh, yes now I remember!"

Additional complication, Aphasia. It's a condition where I say the wrong thing and don't even realize I did that. We may be standing outside enjoying a beautiful moment in the sun, nothing happening other than enjoyment, and I'll say, "what a beautiful Red sky". The sky is and was Blue, not Red, but I actually did say Red.

Did I mean Red? Heck no, but you will hear that.

And therein lies the damage that this condition causes... There are times where I am asked simple yes/no questions. I'll respond quickly, like most people, but that is where Aphasia can strike the hardest: I'll sometimes say the opposite of what I mean and not even know it. Did I mean it, heck no, but that doesn't change what I said.

The best trick from the other person in that situation is to pause then asked me "Are you sure?". To stop and challenge my response as if I meant to misspeak into a lie is not the ideal response. I truly could've accidentally said the opposite without knowing I did... or I could simply not remember something that happened 10 minutes ago... until I take a moment and think. Truly think, a moment where one chews on a thought.

See my disability, being brain damaged, is that any "snap-kick" thought of mine is not to be fully trusted - ever. Not that it will be wrong, just that it could easily be wrong.

And therein lies the pain of my life where other people are concerned.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Who paid for this land?

Politicians - make your laws, break your laws but they do not actually protect your laws.

Lawyers - Argue your laws, use and abuse your laws, but they do not protect your laws.

Judges - Interpret your laws, strive to honor those laws, but do not protect your laws.

Police Officers - Try to enforce your laws, try to stop fellow citizens from acting uncivilized. But they do not protect your laws.

Reporters - Report the news, mangle the news, and provide you with their news about your news. But they do not protect your Freedom of Speech.

Teachers - They promote liberty and freedom, they show how liberty and freedom was achieved, they show the cost that someone else paid for freedom and liberty.

 Soldiers - Protect your laws, protect you from uncivilized hostility that would devastate your life, your family, and everything you care about.

Veterans - All of them but especially the ones eligible for the Veterans of Foreign Wars did the protecting.

This is the land where you can be as hostile as you wish to those who protect(ed) your right to commit that act. Rarely do we ask for anything in return. Never do we take your things, never do we take your partners, and never do we openly complain when you disrespect us. Many other countries you'd be whipped, mutilated, and/or shot for such things.

All in all, this is the Land of the Free. We proudly defended this land, and you, no matter what cost we had to pay.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


That is what I am.

Wife and family still by my side, thank God, but in almost every other way I have been abandoned. It is almost as if my accident never happened, at all. If the scars could be wiped away from my body, I bet that "they" (whoever they are) would make them disappear as well.

My accident report doesn't exist. In fact, for me to try to get any information about that day I, a brain injury survivor, have to drive down to Boston and show up in person to get any answers. The financial burdens from a couple of weeks in ICU, again wiped clean. All the critical life support time at Brigham & Woman's, all the surgeries, the time coming out of coma at Northeast Rehab Hospital, all that medical treatment was (for me) completely and totally FREE. I can not find out who secretly paid all the medical bills either. "They" did not wish to be known.

Since I do not know "who" New Hampshire Lawyers don't want to be bothered by me. Firstly, things happened in Boston. Saying Boston is an almost immediate get out of my office response. Finally, after years of desperately (me!) trying to find legal representation I contacted a nationwide service. The service took 3 days and said, "Since we don't know WHO, and without that we don't know what you could gain, we politely reject your case." Don't know what I could gain?


Please, without the accident report - which I'm sure would appear if someone sues over this matter - we don't have names of any witnesses and we don't know what happened to me. And to be honest, that is all I want to know: What happened!! Why is my life now such a burden to everyone around me, including me, now?

And people wonder about Robin Williams actions? Here was a resoundingly successful man in the prime of his life facing a sudden inexorable decline into senility and madness. I face that reality every morning when I wake up, I know that depression, I know that mental anguish.

That is what I think many people (even close family) don't understand: Just because I am seemingly jolly go-lucky in attitude, just because I apparently have memory issues, people seem to think I laugh my way through life. I don't.

Jolly go-luckiness is a family trained defense against life's many sadness-es. It helped me handle my P.T.S.D., being able to talk with others as an equal helped me as well. That equality has been stripped from me. The words "brain damaged" does not come up but that is how I am treated. By family, by friends, by the Government (on all levels), and by legal representation.

The only thing that sometimes pops into my mind is why haven't I ended this problem? If I did so, family would be released from further emotional and financial baggage I present and "they"/"who" can now stop worrying that I'll find them and sue them for interfering in those so called god given rights that I sweated and bled to defend. That is the bitter irony for me, here I spent a couple years of  my young life defending American freedoms... while having someone now using those freedoms to deny me mine. In many ways I wish "they" had just killed me: all of this would be over, for me at the least.

Yes, my life sucks and I am abandoned searching for ways out of suck.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Exhaustion is my enemy

    Granted it is everyone's enemy. For me getting tired intefere's with my ability to speak, to think, and to stay upright. I've been letting my enjoyment of working allow me to get into situations that are, in hindsight, high risk and should be avoided.

    See part of my daily routine, since my accident, has been a nap. It usually takes place in the afternoon after 6 - 8 hours of wakefulness. The more mental activity that takes place in that time frame, the more necessary the nap becomes. With my new job I strove to find one that I could work 3 - 4 hours in the morning, go home and take my wife to work, then go home and continue my daily routine.

    Here is one aspect that is surprise to people when I share it: My pain NEVER stops.

    The extensive nerve damage in my forearms makes it so they are always a live wire of pain. This pain has become, essentially, background noise that is always heard but unless you focus on it, not paid much attention. As I get tired, the background noise/pain becomes more noticeable until I reach a point where my arms become inoperable.

    Last night, after a day of 12 hours of nice mental activity I paid the unwanted price: I fell down. I was so tired, unrealized, that I stumble while going through the front door of my house. The door, which closes on it own, snagged my back heel causing me to stumble. Hands full at the time I went down falling into a window, ripping the screen, and landing heavily on the window frame cracking some ribs. I also sprained my ankle in the process and scratched up my body in various areas from sudden violent contact with things.

    This places me in an awkward position indeed: Scheduled to work, going to see if I can call out so I can go to my primary care physician to get properly checked out and treated. Also going to see if work can comply with my shift request or I'll have to say goodbye to them and continue looking for worthwhile activity with which to spend my days.

    The terror I put my wife through during that fall - I will not let that happen again, ever!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Does the knife thank the grindstone?

Hmm... I've not shared this thought exercise here as I've shared with others in various other venues but it is probably one of my better thoughts, ever.

See the best knife is a sharpened one. A dull one is just that, dull and uninteresting. Of no matter, no notice, and of little value. The grindstone helps the knife to become the most useful, valuable, and effective it can be. But does the knife say thank you? It usually does not but it would miss it.

That is what I've been missing. The people who used to be very involved with my life. They were my grindstone. Many are still available but I've inadvertently sunk inside myself kind of like a turtle. But in fairness many of them haven't thought about that question or how they interact with me. They are still my friends, no doubt, but they try not to stress me. And therein lies their failure: I need stress.

I need challenge because with out challenge I slowly become a dullard. And that has been bothering me for a few months: How do I tell them they are no longer providing me what I sought from them and they are not doing it out of love for me? Not easy to be so open while being almost asshole at the same time. So, I've finally succeeded in getting a job.

Apparently I'm more competent than I feared as the job is vigorously seeking to engage me in as many work hours as possible. Today was an interesting accomplishment as I left home at 6 a.m. to get to work at 7 a.m., took a 2 hour break in the middle of the day, then returned to work at 1 p.m. and worked till 5:30 p.m.. A nice vigorous 10+ hour day and I did not need to take my daily nap to accomplish it!.

The job is trying, and succeeding, in being supportive and flexible to my disability. The job is also being something of a grindstone. The activity itself is the real challenge. My co-workers set up the work but don't get in my way when I go to take care of it. Granted they are starting to realize I don't shoulder any burden I can't handle but the learning process is moving along at a good clip.

It is just interesting to me how something as simple as a hardworking job can revive my spirit!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

It's a Reason, not an Excuse

Recently I was approached with a troubling situation. Troubling for the people wondering, not a problem for me at all. When the situation was presented to me I laughed and suggested that they move  forward with my blessing. I love nothing more than to be accused of misdeeds that I did not do and can prove it.

So that was the situation presented to me: Some people though that I engaged in some nefarious behavior and was going to seek damages against me for such behavior. In fact this troubled me not at all however it was HOW it was presented to me that got under my skin.

For months, years in fact, I have made myself available for social activity to some of the wondering people. I would, once a month, sit down and have coffee with a few of them who were going to seek those damages. At what point did they approach me? At what point did they seek answers to the speculations?

None, but that did not stop them from including a friend of mine in their hostile solution. The friend contacted me with "Crap, there is an issue!!!" and I chuckled at the silliness he presented. However it was not the WHAT that bothered me, it was HOW it approached me.


Speculations of cheating.
Easy to cure.


Slandering my good name.

That is the reason I blew up. And it could be an excuse, indeed. Yet not the point I was bringing up.

See I routinely talk about my brain injury. I have to, a part of me is trapped by the experience in a PTSD kind of trap. Every day I go through stress and panic over "is it going to happen again?" My accident was totally unpredictable and my emotional mindset is trapped worrying over the next unplanned event in my life.

Being so routinely stressed out my reactions at times can be extreme. The person who approached me got no hostility from me. In fact, I still like him. The people who speculated and was going to seek damages against me, a fair bit of hostility. Undeserved I'll admit but not unwarranted either.

Ingress and social media... those vehicles did not deserve my hostility regarding this issue. Of course there are many other to grump about but this should not have made the list. So I am trying to deal with the guilt of those I disrespected with my actions.

To those who I directed my hostility: Sorry.

To myself, for acting the fool: Sorry.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


I am a brain injury survivor. Traumatic Brain Injury, in fact. Which means one day, several years ago, I drove down to Boston for the Boston Hub on Wheels charity fund raiser. I paid to ride 20 miles through that gorgeous town on a 10-spd bicycle. At 15 miles something happened which ended up with me doing a 30 mph face plant on the asphalt.

Forearms mangle, face and skull broken, medically comatosed until the bleeding & swelling reduced. I am annoyed that the face fractures were not compound as my disability/damage might be more obvious to people I interact with but it is not.

The lingering Mal-adjustments for me is Aphasia and pain all day long in my arms. Pain is easy to explain but why it lingers not so easy. Nerve damage inside my forearms and my brain takes forever to heal, if it ever will. Aphasia is a cognitive damage that lessens over time due to practice and experience but will never ever go away.

What is Aphasia?

For me, it is the occasional loss of language. At times, I may say words that are totally out of linguistic context of the dialogue I am engaged in. Sometimes, annoying times, I completely lose the ability to speak. My mouth works, my jaws move, but I can't find words with which to speak.

It also has robbed me of being able to dice words to keep anything private. Things that should not ever be said, I will say. Answers that should not be given, I will when asked. It is not that I don't lie - I can't as I do not have the mental capacity to NOT answer in detail to any question presented to me.

Imagine that? Any question posed to you, you answer in annoying level of detail. Not by any choice either mind you.

So here I sit, having to deal with some accusations most dealt to me on the sly. Not upfront where my disability would answer them straight on. No, from side angles where my loss of emotional response sets me off like a time bomb. Where my aggravation levels go to extremes and I respond accordingly thus proving that I am now something of a social embarrassment.

A group of old friends saw me that way, so I resigned from my Lodge. I am publicly banned from some parts of Portsmouth, N.H. simply because in the misbegotten opinion of a few people brain injury makes me "unsafe" for "safe" locations. I am "possibly" mental undesirable to serve the Officer Position I hold with my VFW. But no one has been bold enough to present these questions to me for me to answer.

When I find out about such things I respond strongly due to several reasons: I don't quite have the social know-how to respond well; Emotionally I have been reduced to a teenager; I am by nature an upfront person who strives to address things upfront then and there.

As an example: For a time I worked at Home Depot. A co-worker complained that I made her feel sexual. I made HER feel sexual. I always greet a woman with respect, apparently doing so can cause some people to feel something that they are not used to feeling. My response to this accusation: I quit Home Depot.


Because such an accusation has no viable response from the accused. Especially given my brain injury. It is so easy these days to paint me with any kind of brush that my accusers wish to paint me with.

So I recently faced several situations where I was accused of not being capable or of engaging in erroneous behavior. In one case, my response shut things down with a speed and firmness that encourages me to trust responding vigorously without hesitation. I realize that may not always be ideal as my response to the other accusation was firm, vigorous, and may fuel continuance of the accusation as "Why such a firm response unless you are guilty?"

Therein lies my disability. At face value, I am undamaged but act odd. And given the speculative natures of other human beings, odd is not always good or welcome. Irony being ironic, I am kind of grateful for this unpleasant situation. Experience sucks especially when you don't have any. This situation is yet another learning experience for me... ... just painful to endure but endure and strive for better I will.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Is it Police Harrassment? (Probably Not but....)

On May 25th, 2016 I was, yet again, stopped by a Somersworth Police Officer. Correction: I was already stopped, of my own accord, and the Police Officer found my stopping in a public parking lot curious and turned on her lights. She then approached my car, told me that because I was stopped at a public parking lot around 1 AM she found that curious oh and may I have your driver's license and registration. 10 - 15 minutes later I am allowed to resume my tasks.

Now, this incident is, by it's nature, Illegal. Just because something is "curious" does not give a Police Officer the right or authority to interrupt another citizen's day. And for me this is a problem as I am forever going to do things that are "curious". Off-beat, strange, off-the-wall, curious.

  • I could say that it is because I'm a recent Traumatic Brain Injury survivor.
  • I could say that it is because I'm a member of Somersworth VFW and all that entails.
  • I could say that is is because I'm a Freemason, Mensa, Airborne Trooper, on and on.
  • However I have NEVER been illegal with anything I have ever said or done, period.

That being said, I sometimes get stressed out while driving and I pull over to the side of the road to take a deep breath. I find the best place to pull over is PUBLIC parking lots. Due to work schedules I am, at times, out and about around midnight. Strangely moving around at that time seems to strike the "curious" note with your young Officers and they proceed to pull me over.

Being of large stature I can only wait for the day an Officer shoots me as some sort of so called appropriate response to my stature. After all, I suffer Aphasia. Maybe one of these stops I engage in a tourettes fit and get shot for telling an annoying intrusive Officer off. I have yet to ever get a ticket in Somersworth with all the stops but what if I choose to stop these curious fishing expeditions? Somehow or another your Officers are abusing their authority diminishing the "automatic" respect those lights grant.

Is it THE LAW that I must let them continue interrupting my day just because they are "curious"? Is that the Freedom I defended with my sweat, blood, and skill? I don't think so. Again I re-iterate: Curious is NOT a valid legal reason to stop anyone anytime.

I proudly refuse to allow you, the Police Dpt, to infringe on the Liberty I sweated, bleed & killed for in return for a little bit of Security, no matter how loose or tight you can provide it. So I can only presume that because of my brain injury, which I received due to no fault of my own, I have been identified as a problem child. Far too many visits to my house on spurious reasons, far too many parking lot stops for spurious reasons.

A question comes to mind: What is the number for Somersworth's Police Dept legal representation?
After all, I need to know who to serve with lawsuit papers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dinosaurs still exist...

"Interesting point, they do still exist. In human form but they still hang around."

Currently, I'm once again helping some Dinosaurs enter this millennium. Sadly, the last time I did it was a resoundingly ungrateful success. I started interacting with a group of Dinosaurs from a fraternity I belonged to but little did I know this chapter was not the best heart-ed or brightest. Instead of trying to climb the fraternity officer ladder, like many of them seek, I just puttered around in areas I knew well.

I started them with a Facebook page, to garner attention and connection with each other even spent time with Photoshop using my skills to give them something of an interesting banner they could use (and still do); started a Google calendar so they could plan & announce activities. Granted at the time it was, to them, not a worthwhile activity so they treated it as such. Not too long after my brain injury, it became important enough to them so that they asked me to hand everything off to someone else. This was before I realized what an embarrassment I now was to some of them.

What they don't realize, or give a damn about, is that as the creator I still get notices of changes and activities. In fact, I know how much they use this medium. Not a humongous amount but usage is growing. I know what they don't give a damn about: Thanking the guy who started them on the path to this millennium.

To be fair, I never mince my words, I've never been quite politically correct (possibly ever). However asking if that Turnip is a turnip should not be something held against me though many humans have done so. I just thought that this fraternity was above such failings. When I learned otherwise I debated leaving the fraternity entirely but settled on leaving the chapter involved. I've yet to find another one to belong to and I am afraid that while I may satisfy the requirements of the fraternity.... does the fraternity meet those same requirements or mine?

So here I am, once again, looking to help a worthwhile group of Dinosaurs to connect with this millennium. Upgrading the "official" computers operating system, forming blind recipients e-mail lists and notifications, heck some of them bring me their new smartphone and ask "How do I do this?" or "How do I do that?" And I'm the one brain injured?!?

Not that I'm thinking about stopping this activity mind you. I'm just griping about the last time I did this and how I was treated. Granted I could've spoken up in my defense at several junctures but that would've have created discord with my name at the center of it all. That's a big no-no and I didn't want to give those  so inclined to give me the heave ho from the fraternity.

So, yes I'm going to do it. Yes, I'll be happy to do so as I'm sure these guys will appreciate any effort on their behalf, even if they don't quite get it. The one thought that they generate inside themselves, "Thank you". Ironic, when people think about it they thank these guys & gals for their service all the time. Little do people realize that we only did it out of gratitude for our fellow citizens and for our country. We don't need the thanks but they are nice when given.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What is a support group?

I've been to many Brain Injury support groups in the past 3 years since my accident. A few are weak but they try to be a support group, bless their souls, but one or two are just awful. The horrendous experience I am enduring with one has my back up so far I'm thinking about calling an attorney. That being said by complete happenstance I found one support group that has been phenomenal. And their goal has nothing to do with Brain Injury exclusively.

Even during my accident, I kept trying to walk. Unconscious, broken, bleeding from compound fractures - I still marched on. So after I came home I started walking around my current home town. While walking I noticed this old church with the sign "Dumont Lessard VFW Post". Noticed that the grounds was not as beautiful as the building so I started doing regular police calls of the property. One of the members noticed me, walked up, asked my name and >boom< found out I could join.

Since that time the Post has gently learned and dealt with my condition. They've always helped me get involved with anything I seem interested in, and I've yet to discover anything I'm not, and they are always beside me with helpful hands regardless of the activity I've become involved with. In essence, they've become part of my family. Grumpy, lovable, annoying, interesting, crazy, calm, wise members of my family but family none the less.

That IS a support group!

Now, I've been allowed to shoulder some tremendous mental responsibilities as I grow up. And truth be told, I am still regrowing into an Adult, mentally. Not quite at my physical age mentally, yet, but my VFW allows/helps me to exercise my mental & physical abilities to strengthen those aspects of me that my accident greatly diminished in me.

A friend of mine is shocked at the difference that can be clearly seen if one takes the time to look. In person, my abilities with language are difficult and, at times, can be greatly diminished from a "normal" rational human being. The shocking difference, in their eyes, is the complete turn around when I type what I am thinking. In their words, "OMG I want a signed copy of each book you write!"

That IS a support group!

Even though lately I have to shamefully confess to having developed some social anxiety issues. In the development of that issue I have disconnected myself from a worthwhile group of Skype friends. When I was in a coma, they drove several hours down to Boston to support my wife during my operations and what not. When I was moved to rehab hospital, they swung by on occasion. When I was released, they were always there on Skype to help me relearn how to talk and socially interact. And let me tell you, like a toddler I was in the beginning, without their guidance I'd be as awkward as can be. So I proudly say:

That IS a support group!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blessings come in all forms....

This is going to sound pathetic, it is, but I have once again been approached by the Somersworth Police on behalf of the Portsmouth Police. I have yet again be issued a Trespass Notice. I, for the next year, am not allowed at the Portsmouth Community Center.

This is not a problem as I rarely go there. However, that being said, this situation has interfered with my duties as VFW Post #4485 Surgeon Officer. This spiteful action was taken against me a couple of years ago.

At times there are community meetings held by the State Gov't that I should attend. Went to the public Governers Meeting on Brain Injury Affair. Was in the audience until someone tapped my shoulder. It was a Portsmouth Police Officer. We quietly exited the meeting room and then they asked me if I would leave. The Officer was obviously ashamed of his duty so I gave him no trouble whatsoever and I quietly left.

Why is this yet again appearing on my door step? No idea, I don't visit. It's been several months since my last visit. What is the complaint? Unspecified. What crime did I commit? Again, unspecified. However it is clear that without any charge, of any kind, Portsmouth has found me guilty.
My past relationship with the Community Center? It houses the Brain Injury Support Group Krempels Center. I am one of the rare fired support members. Apparently they have issue with someone who is unafraid to ask "Why?" when it comes down to money matters. In essence, they wanted to bill me so much money. No problem, just why? 
But here I am a few hours ago talking about how blessed I am. I wake up and while I'm fixing my breakfast the police knock on my door. Yes, I am blessed but now I am fricking pissed that my name is being slandered by the City of Portsmouth.

I am blessed with purpose,

I am now the Quartermaster at my VFW post. I am trying to learning my duties but it is not easy as many of my fellows (other members of my VFW) don't know, or understand, the function and duties of the Quartermaster. Doesn't slow down commentary on my performance though.

One of the things I'm realizing is that, essentially, I've once again become an enlisted man serving an organization. My Commander, outstanding gent btw, is the officer who helps set and define our goals. Essentially it is my job to be his NCO and see that that the goals are met. How that is accomplished is, like military history, upon my shoulders.

Guided by examples that led the charge before my time, guided by traditions laid out by generations before me, confined by laws and common sense practices, I will meet the standards of that mission.

So before me is the task of finding guidance. Focusing my energies towards that goal, gathering the willpower to maintain determination and discipline to be another worthwhile example to the coming generation of VFW members, and following Quartermasters, I will strive to be more than who I used to be even before brain injury.

It is in these moments of clarity that I realize, in many ways, how blessed my life is. Let me count the ways:

Dad - I love you. A Vietnam Era Marine who took me under his wings and raised me though he did not have the bearing of me. The bumper sticker I got from my church says it all, "DNA does not prove family. Love Does!"

Yvonne - The love of a good woman is more powerful than many will ever realize this side of life. Without her in my life, even before my accident, I would be a poor excuse of a human being. Through her efforts and guidance I have, in many ways, become a better man than Special Forces made of me.

The VFW - Many people don't realize the good works of this organization. I can't speak of other programs from the VFW. But I can say this: During my recovery I have been involved with many "support" groups for brain injury survivors. Some were good, some were quite the opposite (no names will be mentioned), but none have helped me re-grow into a worthy person like the people at my Post of the VFW.

At no point did they ever dissuade me from trying. Even if it looked beyond my reach, mentally or physically, did they stop me. Caution me from concern for me, like siblings do, but slow me down - Never did they try that. They understood the passionate heart that throbs in my chest. They understood that as long as I breathe I will strive to be more today than I was yesterday.

They understand the Marine I was raised to be, they understand the Airborne trooper that I was and still am, they understand that I am damaged and my striving is not to fix the damage but to do more even with the damage. At no point do I feel diminished in their presence though secretly I think I always will feel that way about myself after my brain injury.

So, gladly I say I have a purpose. Handle my duties as Quartermaster, share with the younger generation of possible members the joy that comes from continuing to serve, and identify a powerfully good brain injury survivor outlet for the returning soldiers with similar disabilities.

Yes, you are damaged and not who you used to be.
Yes, it is not an easy road to travel with many pitfalls and hazzards to navigate.
Yes, you are still needed and wanted while breath still inhabits your body.

If you want it, there is a place built for us - at the VFW.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A curious way of explaining Brain Injury suddenly came upon me:

Each day you and your mind is in a room. A room that you are comfortable with, familiar with, and confident in. You spend your days helping your mind walk in that room endlessly, even when sleeping. As you grow up, as you age, as you gain experience, the room expands. You and your mind walk the new expanses with delight (I hope) but on and on the walk in the room goes on. 

My Brain Injury has taken my room and changed it from an exploration of strange new expanses to a prison that some days shrink without warning. On a daily basis, I can never tell what the dimensions of my mental prison is until I try to walk it but when I hit the boundary my mind wants to shut down and sleep.

Now, saying prison could be taken negatively. Just representing the annoying aspect of my new limitations.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I am a burden

I recently wrote a poem describing who I am, or more about what made me "me". It proudly declared many things that I should be proud of but like most poems it boiled down moments of my life to far too few words. Instead of a novel it reduced moments of my life to simple sentences but it also removed many of what made those moments difficult, trying, and in the process stripped down what made them worth being experienced.

Philadelphia Ghetto I survived,
Fast Fighter I am.

This is more significant than given credit. Philadelphia was the forge that gave my backbone the steel that it is. There are many events during my growing up that like many of us our parents and siblings don't know and those that know some of them don't speak of out of respect, not embarrassment.

I learned to fight. Not just mentally facing a difficult troublesome environment but physically as well. I joke about the appearance of physical threat: My hands come up but my feet, at the same time, swing into reverse ready to move as fast as I can.

I learned how to throw down with the best of them but I also learned that running is, at times, the best answer.

Troubled Family I survived,
Big Brother I am.

What family is without trouble? My extended family is one that was dominated by spite and anger. My parents did what they could to protect us from this problem and in many ways they succeeded yet within the intimacy of close family some issues arose. It was living and learning through those that was an aspect of that steel that I was forged into.

The love I feel for my family has been a major motivator throughout my entire life. My Mom, delightful terror that she is. My Dad, the Marine he will always be. Peter, the weasel. Elizabeth, the beautiful woman with the heavenly voice. Wayne Robert, Bobby you have the heart and passion of a gentle giant. Nicole, filled with love for her family, even me. And Justin. I can't properly express how proud Justin makes me.

The love of my family consumes me.

Army Jumping I survived,
Airborne I am.

A joke about this is: I'm afraid of heights. So lining up at 1,200 hundred feet and getting out an airplane is something that can not be explained. People commonly ask, "Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?" My joking response, "Why do you presume it was good? You don't know until it successfully lands. If there is trouble with that, you are too close to the ground to jump so you've waited too long!"

This ignores the military hell that I lived through. I am a disqualified West Point Cadet raised by a Marine who served in the US Army. Four things about me my 1st Sargeant hated, the KKK nut that he was. I was almost an officer who could have told him what to do and he'd have to do it. I was Airborne which was something that he couldn't bring himself to do and hated those of us who could face that stress successfully with a passion. I was the son of a Marine, which many Army guys don't like by nature. And I was the son of an African American Marine who I would not denounce, so he tagged me as a "Race Traitor", a silly KKK label. So for a couple years of my life I was dragged through as much mud as possible encouraging me to quit.

I didn't.

Desert War I survived,
Soldier I am.

Got out of the Army and went back to Civilian life. Not quite a year later I was reactivated for Desert Service. One of the accomplishments I made during my military hell was becoming Desert Trained and qualified in a combat unit. A reserve unit from the Poconos was activated and they had no one desert trained or with any combat experience, so the Army stepped in and tossed me in as a life preserver for that unit.

For 18 months I endured the slights and mismanagement of medical command structure in a war zone where they had no idea what was what and by Geneva conventions had no weapons. I, and my guys, had weapons but that was ignored with the way they badly talked at us and treated us.

Not one casualty in my unit, period. Heat or weapon casualty. My guys followed my guidance, those under the command structure realized my guidance was right on target and adhered to my suggestions. I proved what a leader and soldier I am regardless of the disdain from those above that was dump upon me.

In essence, my sin - my shame - being right.

Our Society I survived,
Civilian I am.

Being of a humble and gentle nature, NOT, I have continued being shameful to be around.

I have not learned the method of being right quietly. I see something wrong, I speak up. I don't slap wrong and right around like a club over people's head mind you. But when things fall apart it is commonly remembered that I was the one who said, "Wait a minute..." That at times has propelled my career forward but outside of professional settings has branded me as "trouble".

Our Society has a flaw: They don't like reminders of their failings and seeing someone who defined their failure, no matter how succinctly, is not desirable. Thus, by those standards, I have never been quite a desirable commodity to our Society.

Bicycle Accident I survived,
Disabled I am.

Boston Hub on Wheels! I signed up to do 20 miles, most people only did 10 miles, and at 15 miles something happened. What? I don't know and my accident report is ... ... gone. The only thing we do know is that I did a 30 mph face plant on asphalt. Broke my face, mangle my forearms, cracked my skull and chipped my spine. The horror is those were my lightest injuries.

Physically and mentally disabled,
Brain Injured I am.

My brain took a beating. So much disruption and injury my forearms waited a couple of weeks before being repaired as I could not be laid down for the operations. Could not be laid down must have been an annoying complication because holes were drilled into my skull, tubing inserted to control the swelling and bleeding, and maintaining life in this broken comatose body.

The outcome: I am changed. Not so much as to be horrified but in mental capacity and spiritual burden a lot. My memory is returning but it is damaged. It is there but I don't have ready access to memories that keeps things in line. My ability to think beyond the level of most teenagers is also now beyond my capabilities.

Regardless what people think,
Crippled I am NOT.

A lesson I lost sight of for a time of my life is: A special forces soldier strives to be more today then they were yesterday. For me, now, this means sometimes I over-commit myself. I'm still learning what I can do ... now. You don't learn if you don't try but sadly in decision moments I forget some of my new limitations. (Refer back to memory issues.)

It is in this that I inadvertently make myself a burden: To those I awkwardly support (and let down) and to those who support me, and again let down. My life continues due to the unwavering love of a wonderful woman. My condition wears on her patience, tries her soul with the complications, but her love for me which I gained before my accident has never wavered.

The personal demon that plagues me is am I worthy of this love? I strive to be worthy of it but in the striving I inadvertently create drains upon it, not support for it. It is in this that I face the reality that:

I am a burden.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Shar Tegral

People are becoming more accustomed to virtualizing their identities. Some for misbehavior but most because it is the requirement/standard of the virtual environment. Using real names is a big no-no so subsuming who you really are under the name of a virtual avatar is the way to go.

However many people don't realize how much the name they pick speaks about who they are or what they were experiencing at that time. Granted there is the common situation of inspiration #2244 as your inspirational spark struck someone else. Probably for completely different reasons but well there it is: You were not the first.

There is a small story behind my inspirational spark but that's really nowhere. But the gist of the name Shar Tegral is that it spells the words Large Trash. Almost backwards, Hsar Tegral didn't work in my mind so I swapped two letters. The joke lasted for 5 years, and that is an eternity in the Eve Online Universe, until I accidentally sent an email from my Shar_Tegral@ account to a family member. In one hot minute she replied, with utter disbelief, "Large Trash!!!"

That might explain something about me and my family. We are clever, swiftly clever, and unbelievably creative in many ways. I commonly joke poking fun at Marines (I was Army after all) but regardless of mistaken popular opinions the smartest & wisest man I know raised me: He is a Marine.

My siblings are truly his get as they are smart and generally of high moral fiber. Which is honestly the truth of every Marine I have ever known. Mistakes happen, yes, but a Marine always adhere to Simper Fi or beat themselves with guilt if, or when, they realize they missed that mark.

So, I started Eve Online when it was in Beta. Connected up with some good people and spent time in that environment. Some of those people failed, some aimed for discord and failure, some succeeded at that beyond belief. However whenever I logged into that game my name was a constant reminder of who I wanted to be: The opposite of large trash.

That being said, I never cut a dirty deal. Sometimes I found people making silly actions, the marketplace is anonymous till after the transaction is completed. Whenever I found someone made a gawd awful mistake (usually where their resources fell into my pocket) I'd contact them and ask, "Did you mean to do that?" If they didn't we'd work out a fair exchange and I'd send them back the difference.

That is just one aspect of my virtuosity.

I became huge in the manufacturing, research, financial, leadership environments. Also, unsung to many, I was also huge in the warfare aspects. After all, I know warfare. I was schedule for West Point at one spot of my military career and I did serve under arms for 18 months of fun in the sun in Southwest Asia.

I know challenge.

But one thing I learned about myself along the way was my inner-journalist. An opportunity opened up at Eve Guardian and I was given the chance to become a Reporter. The man who helped me, my mentor, was quick to point out word trash and verbally chided me until I produced what the situation required. I learned and I loved it.

Eventually Eve Guardian management had a scat and disbanded but I was not in that meeting. So, having nowhere else to go I re-branded it and opened Eve Guardian.Net not .Com. And ran that for several years while at the same time growing in stature and abilities in the other Eve Online aspects.

I started as a diamond in the rough. Those years chipped away at me until the cuts revealed the shining aspects contained within me. Now, granted this may seem like a bunch of ego wash but not only will I provide links so anyone interest can look around at my history but as an added joy I get to share the people contained within each of those moments again. Some to honor as they honored me, some to public disdain considering the disdainful manner in which they acted but mostly just to confirm that pre-Brain Injury I was hot stuff.

Closing this up, I am still hot stuff.

Yes, I am physically and mentally disabled.

No, I refuse to be crippled.

Letting Eve Online Know What Happened to me.

The gobs of posts I made in Eve Online.

My Old Guild/Corporation (Miss you guys!).

My old Combat Guild/Corporation.

My testimonial about that Combat Guild/Corporation.

PS: When I joined Ingress spaces weren't allowed in the name so I thought up a quick solution, SharQTegral. Shar Tegral as that is how my virtualized minds think and Q as that is my real life nickname.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ice Creamed Man!!!

Yes this did happen.

A military camp has several setup requirements. A motor-pool can't be near main camp as we store fuel and other volatile liquids. So to protect the main base from any accidents (intentional or otherwise) it is a couple of hundred yards away. As a member of the motor-pool (Acting Jack Sgt I was) one gets used to living off to the side of the normal(s).

One night I was down at base camp enjoying dinner at the KP area and stuck around at the R&R tent watching a movie. After the movie I proceeded to walk "home". Being mostly cloudless but a waned moon night, I could mostly see the ground I was covering. I could even see some light sources, a touch, here and there as my motor-pool guys worked. So I started walking home.

As I was walking I then saw a wave of fluid washing my direction. "Crap, who burst the fuel bladder!!!" was the thought in my head. I then proceeded with ominous vigor to find out who did it and what we'd have to deal with in that case. I wasn't worried though as we stored diesel on hand and it takes more than open flame to ignite diesel.

I continued to "Home" and let the fluid wash over my boots. Continuing to walk I heard the hish and sizzle of fluid washing over sand. Wasn't worried until I heard a lot of click-click-clicks. I then looked down and say that it wasn't fluid - at all! Apparently our construction activities disturbed a huge scorpion nest and they, as a group, were moving to a new home.

Here I was surrounded by about a million scorpions, late at night, without a flashlight or surrounding light source and all I could imagine was falling down and disappearing under stingers and claws quick. So I then launched into a run... through the scorpions they way they came from as that was the shortest distance to get the heck out of there. I ran with the balls of my feet the only thing touching the ground and my knees hitting my chest I was so scared.

And the entire time I ran... I screamed like a little girl.