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Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

“top of the world” party

January 30, 2011 Leave a comment

welcome to the top

If you don’t run in the action sports crowd, you may think that these types of parties are for amateurs, but you would be seriously mistaken. Between Monster Energy and RedBull, you just don’t get in to these parties. There is no amount of schmooze that you can accomplish at the door to just waltz in. I know, because we have whiffed on plenty of opportunities to get into these venues, but were lucky enough to get the invite here in Aspen.

“Top of the World” party was aptly named because it was a 20 minute gondola ride to the top of Aspen where the party was being held in the main lodge. The gondola ride in itself was fun because we were all amped at the night ahead of us, but also because the stars were out shining bright over the whole city. 20 minutes seems like forever when there are 6 “kids” packed into a sardine can waiting for their surprise. As we reached the top, we shared a collective deep breath and prepped ourselves for a night under the green lights.

have you seen my face? I think I danced it off, so its gotta be around here somewhere...

We were a little early but wanted to establish ourselves. VIP bracelets and all access granted. We talked to some top athletes like Nate Holland and others while bumping to good beats and just marveling at the week were having. It was all smiles from the gondola on and only got better when the act 51Fifty came on. (I linked to their FB page because their site takes a while to load. If you wanna sample their stuff, check it out here.) 51Fifty (police code for a lunatic) is comprised of a DJ and Drummer combo like I have never seen live before. Their drummer was absolutely lights out amazing. I have never seen Travis Barker in person, but I know his skills and this guy was approaching rock star status with his beats. He absolutely shred apart those drums. The DJ was just as good, scratching and mixing rhymes that would have made my friend WalkStar proud. It was only topped off by the tatted go-go girl dancing her face off. I don’t know how she did it when I could barely breathe after dancing around for five minutes. She crushed it for two 45 minute sets without breaking a sweat. I just could not adjust to the soupy, altitudey air like she did. Maybe I needed to wear a Monster swimsuit and tiny booty skirt to breath easier. Next time. Read more…

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a little place called…assssssspen!

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

road tripping!

About four hours of driving from Crested Butte to Aspen because the pass isnt maintained during the winter, but the travel was simply amazing. Through the little town of Gunnison where Daniel and Amy lived at one time, into the Black Canyon pass on a sketchy road, to a town straight out of the midwest called Crawford, on towards Paonia, through Redstone where the mountains are red, and into Aspen where the snow is falling.

The scenery is like nothing I have ever seen before. I have flown over the Hindu Kush mountains, a 500-mile mountain range stretching between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan which climb to 25,289 ft, but this was different. The Hindu Kush was incredible to see from the air, but driving these four hours through the heart of the Rocky Mountains was so much more intimate and exciting. We spotted two bald eagles and several deer along the way, which is something that you can’t really find in Manhattan. I took so many pictures but I know that these pics wont do the mountains true justice.

daddy fat sacks

A quick pit stop in a tiny town that I can’t even remember the name to grab some gas, some snacks, and a potty break. The thing I love most about road tripping is the fun things you get to do together. One of the things I love the most is eating out of the back of a vehicle. I know that seems random, but I don’t know how many times I have done this and all of them standout to me. Sandwiches leaning on the trunk of my Civic with my old man on our way from MD to AZ. Drinks and snacks in the bed of Cody’s truck from AZ to MD on I-10. Sandwiches with IAVA in a gas station parking lot before getting into the ESPN campus for a taping of SportsNation. And once again today, turkey sandies out the back of the Traverse. No cheese because we forgot it so cream cheese had to do, some stolen condiments from Western Colorado University and some salt and vinegar chips. Sweet deal.

On the road again, the snow started to lay just outside of Redstone, but not too bad. It was nice to have a clear drive without weather today or four hours could easily have been doubled. We passed the Winter X Games half-pipe at Buttermilk, just a couple of miles before Aspen and then rolled into Aspen proper where the snow was coating the streets. Upon crossing the city line there is a banner welcoming everyone filtering into the city for the X Games, but to our surprise as we blasted Big Boi, that mofo is playing here at a free concert on Saturday night. Ironic and awesome. I took my brother to see Outkast for his 16th birthday with Kevin and they were out of this world. Outkast played for more than three hours that day with Ludacris and Goodie Mob. Out of sight! Cant wait to see him on Saturday night, if our schedule permits. Read more…

Review: “Restrepo”

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Restrepo: “Simply an incredible piece of film-making that allows the viewer to wear the uniform, then lock and load for 90 minutes.” – Matt Colvin, 29Nov2010

I arrived back in the city just as the sun was going down today. This is my favorite time to look across the Hudson at NYC because the light at that time sets the city on fire. Though the bus ride was lacking, I felt some kind of energy in the city today. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but something was there. Maybe it was because I was home where there is no fast pace, no slow pace, there’s just no pace. I don’t mind that for a while, but I think I start to go stir crazy after a shorter amount of time now. Stepping off that bus fueled me for another interesting night. I was feeling good. Partly because it was so beautiful out and partly because I was heading to IAVA to watch the premier of “Restrepo” on Nat Geo.

The documentary takes place over a 15 month period in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. This place has been named the most dangerous place on earth and for good reason after you see what these soldiers had to endure. I have seen this part of the country from above and even from up there it looked menacing. TICs (troops in contact) were almost a nightly event as we flew overhead. Now to see what it was like through an unbiased lens and through the eyes of those that lived it just puts those troops on the ground that much higher on a pedestal for me. Read more…

The real Medal of Honor

November 16, 2010 1 comment

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

No, not the most popular video game on the planet, but the no shit, real deal thing. A Congressional Medal of Honor (MOH). The first MOH to a living hero in this generation’s wars and the first living recipient in nearly 40 years dating all the way back to Vietnam. If you didn’t hear about this today, then where the hell were you? If you thought today’s top news was Prince William getting engaged then you need to be slapped! If you watched the Real Housewives today at 2pm EST then you have no concept of what “reality” is.

Paul Rieckhoff (IAVA Founder) said it best today that if you weren’t watching, then “you need to wake up!” I had a hard time believing that regular programming continued while this, one of America’s shining moments, was overshadowed by the every day. The “every day” that happens every F@ck!n& day! This is something that comes along a handful of times in a person’s life and we are too busy with the trivial to pause and pay respect to the phenomenal. A hero stood before us today and was awarded THEE HIGHEST military honor a person could ever be bestowed, yet many channels never televised it. Way to go networks, way to go America. I still love you to death, but like the mystery that is “women,” I will never figure you out.

SSG Salvatore A. Giunta of the US Army received the Congressional Medal of Honor today for heroics on a mountain top in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. His patrol was ambushed, he covered one wounded soldier then realized another was missing. He singlehandedly took on enemy fighters who were dragging away that missing wounded soldier, killed his kidnappers, took fire himself, yet still administered first aid until the medevac chopper arrived to evacuate the wounded. The wounded were airlifted and SSG Giunta continued on his mountain top patrol with the rest of his squad as if to say, “all in a day’s work.” What did you do today? Anything close to that? Me neither, but I did recognize that heroism and paid my respects.

SSG Giunta has now been indoctrinated into the Congressional Medal of Honor Society where so few have been granted membership and even fewer have lived to enjoy its perks. What an incredible day for our United States. Too bad many of us didn’t get the chance to see real history being made. Do yourselves a favor and read up on this example of American heroism, hopefully the next time the Medal of Honor is awarded, the whole country can watch.

We now return to your regularly scheduled programs…

WELCOME HOME JOE (its in all caps for emphasis because its a good cause!)

September 30, 2010 5 comments

So a long time ago, when I used to keep up with this blog, I wrote about a photo shoot that I particpated in with IAVA.org, Joseph Abboud, and JC Penney. Well if you read about it and wanted so longingly to see those pics, well here THEY ARE!!!! Im totally joking about the previous statement, but really, the campaign is about to launch with the JC Penney mailer that goes out to a hand full of millions of people and also the JC Penney website has a section devoted to it. Im honestly amazed at how well we all were portrayed and the pics and videos are incredible. Im sure Ill get some fun poked at me for doing this, but this is an experience unlike I have ever had and I am thankful to IAVA.org, JC Penney, and Joseph Abboud for letting me be a part of this. I am truly and humbly thankful. Read more…

in 6 hrs 20 minutes

July 11, 2010 7 comments

C130 into Afghanistan with the crew

I have to be in the meat packing (hehe) district in NYC for a photo shoot. I am nervous as hell and I cant even really think of sleeping right now. I racked out in the back of the car for about an hour today, got back and watched a movie, and now I am wide awake. SHITE! Im hoping this nervous energy subsides and I can get some beauty rest because God knows I need that since I DO NOT photograph well.

20 days ago I received an email from an organization I belong to called the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America or IAVA for short. The email was calling for all vets in the NYC area to come out for a casting call for a suit designer named Joseph Abboud. You can read the rest of the details on a previous blog entitled Today Was a Good Day.

I have no idea what to expect right now, but know that I cannot be late to this and that I am working for almost 12 hours a day for the next 2 days. Haha I said “working”. I bet its not as easy as I think its going to be. I shouldve asked my model friends the Davenports to help me with my “Blue Steel” look. They have it down pat.

Oh, I was asked to bring some candid photos of me while I was in the military so here’s the ones I picked. I figure I can tell a little something about each and make it funny, but there are three in there that are going to either make or break me. I havent shown these to anyone and no one knows about these unless you were flying over Afghanistan with me. I feel like showing you the “stache” pics is already a mistake, but here’s to being spontaneous. Cheers. pics

world cup brings troops together



I love this story. Whether you call it futbol or soccer, its definitely something that transcends war riddled continents and countries. It crosses all language barriers and racial turmoil. I cant truly think of anything else that has a greater impact on the people of the world, than this moment and this World Cup 2010.