Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Contacted by MTV

Next Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 5pm, MTV will air an episode of “True Life” about the subject of PTSD.

Here is a link to one of the people they will show on their special:

One in five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan report symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental illness that causes depression, inability to trust, constant alertness, nightmares and fits of rage. If untreated, severe PTSD can last a lifetime and make it impossible to hold down a job, form a lasting relationship, stay sober or lead a satisfying life. Yet only half of veterans with symptoms seek treatment. In this episode of MTV’s “True Life,” viewers will see what it’s really like to live with PTSD through three young veterans who are struggling to get their lives back on track.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An email from a friend at IAVA

Hey Zach---

I'm so sorry about your bike---at least you weren't hurt i guess? I can barely drive a car so I don't totally understand the appeal of motercycles---but I do know how much it sucks to break or lose something right when you get it.---a lot.

Anyway, I’m sure you've probably already heard a little about the PSA campaign that IAVA in partnership with the Ad Council launched last week targeted toward veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan but I wanted to give you a little more information that I wasn't sure you had.

The social network, is based upon the understanding that readjustment challenges of combat stress may compound the many other challenges servicemen and women face when they return to civilian life. Its also based on the reality that many times, the only other person who understands that experience and can help with readjustment and, if necessary, recommend mental health services, is another veteran. As you probably know, here in the states, that’s less than 1% of the population, so finding that person can be another hurdle to be overcome.

As a result, the public service advertising campaign and social network were born. The advertising aims to encourage veterans to join the online community (the first and only of its kind) that’s exclusive to veterans of these wars, to help them connect to each other. Like with military blogs---the social networking site provides a place to talk about an experience that is so unique.

Veterans can go to to join.
You can check out (embeddable) video of the TV advertisements here:

Which brings me to another unique population (one that I am a part of, actually—in my personal life I’m a proud sister of a Marine veteran of the war in Iraq) whose involvement is critical to a vet’s mental health. Families and friends: those of us who want to help our loved ones but are unsure how to get the conversation started about this sensitive issue. These loved-ones play a more important role than they may realize, but it can be difficult. For them, a second website will be launched this month at where they can learn more about how to talk to the veteran in their life about the readjustment challenges he or she may be facing, as well as to find information about helpful resources.

If you have a moment, I’d very much like to hear what you think or if there’s any more information about this campaign that you’d like.

All my very best,


PS- A belated Happy Veterans Day and very large Thank You for your service.

On behalf of IAVA in partnership with the Ad Council

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Motorcycle Wreck

So, I got a new bike, it was a 2007 Honda 919. Were you sharp enough to notice the 'was'? Yeah, I also got into a wreck with it. Gravel and curvy roads don't mix, I am ok, my knee is a little bloody but other than that I am good. My helmet and armored jacket saved me from some major damage and just might have saved my life. Both took a beating. I had on my boots and gloves as well. I was drug for a bit then thrown from my bike when it hit the curb, did one or 2 somersaults (not sure on the exact number). My insurance company determined that the bike was a total loss. Yeah, 5 days after getting her... I suppose some of you are like, yeah, that happened to me once, and others are probably calling me an idiot. There was no excessive speed involved, just gravel strewn across the road where trucks had been entering the main road from a construction site, the gravel (it was night) and the curve did me in.

There wasn't any need for medical care or anything, but what I wished I had known was about gap insurance (yeah, I didn't even know what that was). Apparently it covers that difference in what you pay for a new vehicle (in my case my Honda motorcycle) and the depreciation that happens when you drive that vehicle off the lot.

So... I'm out about $1000. I know you probably will think I'm a jerk for this, but if anyone feels like donating for my cause I'd be grateful. If you don't donate I'm ok with that too, but please keep visiting me on my site, I do love the hits. Those of you who know me personally know of the other thing I am going through as well, so you know how much every bit helps (See 'A fork in the road' for an idea). All that being said, if you feel like donating just click on that Pay Pal donation button to the right of this (you might have to scroll up just a little).

Oh, and yes, that was the bike (just below this post)... She sure did look good didn't she...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My 2007 Honda 919


This is how I get to work in the morning...
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Friday, November 14, 2008

My life as a Metaphor

My life is a metaphor for something, I just don't know what that metaphor is... Swirling and floating along all the while connected through the type of work I do. Drifting from one experience to the next. I'd be lying if I told you that I was hitting every high along the way, lows are as frequent during my journey as those beautiful cliff top peaks. You have to learn to find beauty in that darkness as well, the darkness of those valleys.

Even the lowest marshlands serve their purpose. Looking out the window I see multiple worlds staring back. My eyes are one pane of that realm, a window (mostly one sided) from my head to the physical world. I sit in front of an actual window right now, looking at a homeless man sitting on a bench down there by the road. His world and mine are miles apart however right now unbeknown to him we are sharing something even if it is only one way in a voyeuristic sense to me and he is unknowing in his role.

Next comes the life around me, the people colliding in their words, their bodies, and their thoughts. Some collisions bring union as one person finds a connection with one another. Others bring conflict as personalities clash over things that are mostly nonexistent. Mere thoughts in one's head, inflections of the voice and the posture of the body.

I play a game in times like this. My head harbors secret thoughts about those around me, ideas and stories about who they are and what kind of life they live. That man alone at the end of the bar, he keeps checking his phone, texting with someone and drinking his beer oblivious to the game going on next to him. He appears as lonely as I feel right now.

The three friends at the bar next to him look like they are mixing the secrets to the universe with the friendly banter of the young. They stack their empty glasses into pyramids and look serious as they try to hold back their smiles, the smiles of the young and naive who (as I said before) believe they know some secret to the universe. I know this because I too once believed I knew that wise bit of knowledge which seems so allusive to most adults. It is merely the ideas of youth. Age and experience bring wisdom. I have seen 20 year old men in Iraq who have lived lives more tattered and worn than old men I had met.

My thoughts for today, take them with a grain of salt or take them to heart...

A new motorcycle

I traded in My V Star for a new bike on Veteran's day. A Honda 2007 919. Her (the bike's) name is Lola.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I am posting this a bit late, you see I voted last Friday during early voting. I encourage all of you who read my blog (and are US citizens) to go out and vote for your picks. I'm sure you can guess who I voted for :)