Saturday, December 23, 2006

Enjoy the silence...


iTunes runs into trouble after Depeche Mode pack failure
©Bernard Van Isacker

Earlier this week Side-Line announced that Apple's iTunes was to release a special Depeche Mode pack holding 640 tracks of which 59 were considered to be 'rare' songs.We also mentionned in updates that the first packs were either defect, incomplete or simply not purchasable. This has now been confirmed by iTunes who pulled all of the packs from all of their online stores.
According to the store there are some technical issues on the various iTunes stores with song titles not matching the actual songs. Actually there was more going wrong than just this. On the Belgian store for instance it was impossible to get the complete packet, period. One only got partial tracks and there were also constant error messages saying the songs could not be purchased at the Belgian store.

As a result of all of these issues, iTunes pulled everything offline including the special publicity they had reserved on the homepages of the stores. It looks like that iTunes will have the set back up as soon as they have solved the remaining problems.
Also, and this is new, the pack will not hold remastered tracks only but also early not so clear masters which is a rather weird choice.
It would have been the 4th time in the history of the downloadstore that such pack was made available. The pack consists of no less than 640 tracks of which 59 are exclusive and previously unreleased. As far as the pricing is concerned, iTunes has set the pack at roughly 179 US dollar / euros. Not all of the rare tracks will be available seperately and this has already caused quite some mayhem amongst the fans. Unlike what is being suggested here and there, this pack will be available outside the USA as well though it has become clear now that the releasedate will not be the same everywhere due to the above described problems.

Strangely enough no official word has come from the Depeche Mode management or the band's label, Mute Records, regarding this event. It was only when Side-Line launched the news one week ago that a short statement was made. Does this indicate that it was merely a test by iTunes or will Mute rather focus on having physical release ready for the next months which might explian their silence on the matter? Time will tell.

Note: It's just a question of time. And logic. How many collections do we need?

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Afghanistan
Iraq
Kuwait
anywhere...


In honour of all our troops this holiday season.
Standing, sitting, or fallen.
Worldwide.
Heroes.
All.

–B.man

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No matter what your flavour...


'Ho
'Ho
'Ho...

and a very MARY Christmas.

OK. Festivus.

PS. Shout out to Dave for the artwork!

Waking|Goodnight Lovers
DM in Poland



Enjoy the stripped-down version here.

I, I can see the danger signs
They only help to underline
Your beauty

I'm, I'm not looking for an easy ride
True happiness cannot be tried
So easily
You can take your time
I'll be waiting in line
You don't even have to give me
The time of day

I remember being at MSG on 7 Dec 2005 when they did this live on the early leg of the tour, my right arm around Austen, both his arms locked around me, leaning into me. Alone together in a packed Garden.

I don't think he knows I was crying.

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Unvanted Wake-Up Calls....

WHY am I waking up at:
1:23am
2:22am

and the related?

What's the message here?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fruit Crate Labels
BELT


Guess where I'm hanging my mistletoe this year?
Sure beats the camel toe...

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Fruit Crate Labels
FULL


In this "case" a fruit crate label is worth 1,000 orange groves.
Blood oranges, by the way.

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Haunting me. #18|Streaming Audio

Here, somewhere in the heart of me
There is still a part of me
That cares



And I'll, I'll still take the best you've got
Even though I'm sure its not
The best for me...

Something I read...

"I don't judge anyone, I evaluate myself."

Sounds good to me...

Tough|2006 vI

KAS.

THAT'S tough.

I (still) believe that you told me
a promise laced with lies.



And I'd do it all over again.
In a heartbeat.

Re|View 2006
Monthly

January: Getting out of the hospital on New Year's Day!

February:

March:

April: Austen called it quits...OVER THE PHONE.
My lecture.
May: Depeche Mode + Goldfrapp (my date was a creep!)
A CHEAP CREEP.

June: Hands down: Madonna. The entire evening.
And 20 rows closer.

July: My new HP Scanner + Printer

August: Hands down: resigning from the G-Machine;
Lewis Carroll and Wonderland

September: Hands down: the ring.
Greenman in New Haven. In the rain.

October: Meeting + greeting the PSB.
Shaving my head for Hallowe'en.

November: "That" meltdown.

December: Hands down: being the Photo Elf for Santa for the
CT Natl Guard kids' party!

Best moment of 2006: Tie.
1. April 6, 2006, my lecture to the faculty entitled "yPhotograph?"
2. December 16, 2006. Playing the Polaroid Photo Elf for Santa for the
CT National Guard's Kids' Party

Worst moment of 2006: Tie.

1. April 2006: "that" phone call from KAS calling it quits.
And all the lingering fallout, to this day.

2. August 2006: Accused of being the "Lewis Carroll" of the lens of my neighborhood. And the lingering fallout, to this day.

Notables:
1. Madonna, entire evening.
2. Painting New Haven Orange and Green one night...until 6a.

Most influential person:
1. The good Austen
2. rTH

Person I need to package up and forget?
2. The bad Austen

Person I need to think of more often?
1. Me
2. Me
3. Me
4. Me
5. Me
6. Me
7. Me
8. Me
9. Me
10. Someone who needs something and doesn't ask me...

More later.
It's going to be a writing weekend...

Gay Bloggers in the Advocate.

placeholder.
spleen venting later.

Thursday at the Convention Center

Later.
When I'm in the mood to write.
Just a placeholder.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Apple Software
iScrewedU

Watch out during those job interviews.
Someone's husband may object.
Diversity, my ASS.
How about professionalism?

Seems to be in very, very short supply there.
And up the ladder.

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Haunting me. #17



Are you ready maybe too long to confess?
Do you feel that you're already numb?
Are you sure of yourself?
Would you lie if you're not?

You tire me out
Don't wanna let that happen
A secret scream so loud
Why did you let that happen?
Ooh ooh so put your arms around me
You let me believe that you were someone else
So let me believe
That I am someone else

Man, are you ready to break?
Do you think that I push you too far?
Would you open yourself?
Are you reckless some nights?

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Something's Rotten at Apple|WestFarms


Stay tuned.
It's ugly, and I'm spilling the beans,
with all the names, including the big ol' worm.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

C'mon. Just one more try...

Congrats to the Farmington VisComm crowd for completing their 18-month life sentence at Gibbs. I'm truly grateful to have taught most of you, especially the few who really wanted to learn.

And I'm especially grateful for two specifics:
1. you put up with my mercurial moods, and
2. I introduced you to photography, and for that I will be eternally grateful...

Remember:
Just one more try, always!
You never, never know!


I've had enough of danger
And people on the streets
I'm looking out for angels
Just trying to find some peace
Now I think it's time
That you let me know
But if you don't just let me go...

'Cos teacher
There are things that I don't want to learn
And the last one I had
Made me cry
Because it ain't no joy
For an uptown boy
Whose teacher has told him goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

When you were just a stranger
And I was at your feet
That look in your eyes
Telling me no
Just let me go...

And teacher
There are things
That I don't want to learn
Oh the last one I had
Made me cry
Because it ain't no joy
For an uptown boy
Whose teacher has told him goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

So when you say that you need me
That you'll never leave me
I know you're wrong, you're not that strong
Let me go

And teacher
There are things
That I still have to learn
But the one thing I have is my pride
Because there ain't no joy
For an uptown boy
Who just isn't willing to try

I'm so cold
Inside
Maybe just one more try...

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Pro-life? Pro-choice?
Found on the 'Net

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

CONCRETE!
Pet Shop Boys 2006 Live


I swear this cover was shot at Newhouse.

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No more ITMS!
Happy Holidays to my readers!


Under .20 for EVERY SONG YOU CAN IMAGINE.
Especially British, Japanese, Australian, and "deleted from American catalog" releases.

Ready? Set? SHOP!
Happy Holidays to my readers!

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Stalking
Pet Shop Boys
Release


Go for the 2-CD Japanese edition with the remixes.
Again, deleted immediately by the US distributors.
WTF?

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Happy Holidays!


from Dave, Martin, Fletch, Anton...and Orange Mercury!!!

Bang It! on this CONCRETE


Bang it!
Until you are Numb.
It's alright.

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The Cold War is Over.
or is it?

The Woman behind the Man of the Hour!


Mrs. Claus, & Santa.

Superb, in every way!
Great! An absolute pleasure...

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Quiet Heroes + Faces of Bravery
Portraits with Santa




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ABCEFR [You had to be there]


Gotta love the "subliminal" images of TEXAS.
And the fact they can use the font repeatedly,
and it's always fresh.

Love the shoes.
Where's the bag?

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Quiet Heroes|Portraits with Santa


all photographs of children with Santa
©2006 orangemercury.com
Republication in any format is strictly prohibited,
and will be aggressively pursued.
Written permission will be granted to anyone interested:
Santa Photos.

*Note: no childrens' names were taken.

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Anything trining my...Mercury.


Personal Daily Horoscope
Tuesday, 19 December 2006
born 4 May 1960
©Astrodienst AG

Untried and True
Mercury Trine Uranus exact at 06:30
activity period from 18 December 2006 to 20 December 2006.
This is a very stimulating influence that will make you feel more alive and awake mentally than at any other time. Although your thinking may be somewhat lacking in care and discipline, you will make up for this in the scope of your intuition. This is an excellent day to tackle some problem that you have been unable to solve with tried and true solutions. New ideas will come more rapidly than usual. Solutions that have eluded you will be obvious, and your vision will have considerable breadth and scope. Any new phenomenon will interest you, and the idea of traveling to foreign places will be especially appealing. If at all possible, break with your usual routine and go off somewhere, at least for the day. If you do, you will be glad for the freshness that such a break introduces into your life.


Note: I have learned to recognize the potential for good fortune,
but not without serious shoulder to the grindstone. Note the arrow.
Right where it belongs.

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Streaming|So In Love with You
Texas

I'm so in love with you
I'm so in love with you
Whether it is right or it's wrong
I'm too weak to be strong
I'm so in love with you

Well you say you need something
To help you when you're down to take your fears away
Yeh you say you'd do anything
To keep your feet off the ground
And help you on your way

When you see your reflection
You say it isn't you
Then you turn the other way
And I'm watching you suffer
Yourself and your pain
So please don't fade away

Note: Fading rapidly. A shadow, almost.
Just one of those off-guard moments.

I hate being "on-guard"
and, compared to the soldiers,
that's 1% of their 1,000,000% reality.

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To quote Stephen King:


As horrid as this sounds,
it's reverberated in my head for decades.
I learned its veracity during the AIDS Crisis of the 80s,
which, "kids" is still continuing.

Horrible, but somewhat true.

Sometimes dead is better. – Stephen King

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Deadly December
60 US Troops in 15 days

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Why I Love
TEXAS [20 Years Strong]


Red Book, sixth studio album from Sharleen and company, features 12 tracks
Texas was formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1986 by Johnny McElhone, a veteran of the Scottish rock circuit who had been a part of two groups, Hipsway and Altered Images. The group made their performing debut as a band in March 1988 at a local college in Glasgow. Texas took their name from the 1985 Wim Wenders film Paris, Texas for which Ry Cooder composed the soundtrack. Red Book, sixth studio album from Sharleen and company, features 12 new tracks. It represents over two years of work for the band, a time that has seen a variety of inspired recording sessions with a group of both new and old friends. Red Book is classic Texas and yet it is also something undeniably special and vibrant too. It's modern confident pop music as fronted and sung by Sharleen Spiteri. And it's an honest, independent breath of fresh air in the current scene. Texas represents music with a strong sense of melody and passion. New music committed to renewal and a healthy dose of reinvention.


The best album from Texas since White On Blonde

Red Book is being hailed as the best album from Texas since White On Blonde. It certainly marks an improvement on more recent efforts and further demonstrates Sharleen Spiteri's ability to stretch herself vocally. Stylistically, it also marks a progression given that it features writing and production collaborations with the likes of Brian Higgins and his acclaimed Xenomania team, Mike Hedges (Manic Street Preachers) and Dallas Austin (TLC, Sugababes). There's even a vocal collaboration between Sharleen and Paul Buchanan, of cult group The Blue Nile, which helps to turn Sleep into one of the album highlights – conjuring memories of Kylie and Nick Cave in contrasting styles (albeit a little less dark). Album highlights include the breezy Getaway, the hypnotic Bad Weather, and the edgy Just Hold On, which is melodic but slightly melancholy besides. What About Us sounds the most diverse on the album, more like recent Madonna, but the absolute standout has to be Cry, which drops in some vintage soul. Final song and title track, Red Book, ends the album on a real high note, showcasing Sharleen's vocals at their most expansive – breathy, earthy and distinctly Billie Holliday influenced. When put together with the teasing guitar riffs and electronic bleeps, it works wonders.


Return to form for the band, whose career has spanned over two decades

The beauty of Texas (besides Sharleen Spiteri) is their ability to produce memorable yet uncomplicated pop songs. There's no hidden agenda or underlying concept, just an unerring knack for delivering quality tunes with little or no fuss. Red Book is arguably the Scottish act's finest and most commercially sound album since White On Blonde, effortlessly covering a bewildering variety of pop bases. Blending elements of rock, soul and their signature synth-pop, the album is seen as a return to form for the band, whose career has spanned over two decades. Red Book is one of real strength and depth, focused on secret dreams, heady hopes and private desires. On the whole this is another strong album from Texas that places them at the top end of the pop spectrum.

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Adobe Photoshop CS3
FREE BETA COPY!

U-MYX


HOT!

Seriously, the next biggest thing.
Myx your way to iTunes fame!

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

More Santa shots.
Smiles are the new great.

More Santa shots.
Brown is the new black!

WHAT I'VE LEARNED
Bryan Anderson
Esquire

Brian Mockenhaupt, ESQUIRE.


WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Bryan Anderson
Soldier, 25, Rolling Meadows, Illinois

This is the gripper. It's like a robot hand, a stronger tool. There's a sensor on the inner and outer parts of my forearm. All I do is pretend my hand is still there and open and close it.

If I want it to close, I make the close-muscle gradually. If I want it to spin inward, I make that close-muscle really fast. This is my baseball mitt, like a lacrosse racket. This is the hook. You can angle it in and out, put a spoon in there or whatever, pick up little stuff with it. My grandpa says, "Why aren't you wearing the hook? It's so much cooler." Well, it scares me. You see a hook and you think, Oh, my God, there's a hook there. I lost my hand! It scares me and other people, kids and stuff. You wear a hand, you look down, ah, it looks real.

This one is my swimming hand, but it's also my sports-activity arm. I have smiley faces on this one because I thought it would be funny. I can play baseball, golf, whatever I feel like. This is a pool-playing hand. You stick the pool cue through the hole and put that down on the table. It's called the Hustler. They have a catalog with all these hands in it. They made this one using a mold of my brother's hand. It has pores and veins and everything. They couldn't use my right hand because it was all fucked up. I just got a motorcycle hand today, too.

Those are my hands.

I use my right hand and the prosthetic left hand just fine. I get by. This system, with the hand, is like sixty grand. My wheelchair is twenty-five grand. I had the guy who works on the chairs tweak it. I said, "You need to make it faster." He hooked it up to a computer, changed it around, and now it takes off.

When I don't have help, it'll take me ten minutes to put my legs on. The first time I ever did it, it took me an hour.

Five, ten, fifteen years from now, can you imagine the prosthetics they're going to have? They're going to have Terminator shit, stuff that's not going to come off. It's just going to be your limb. That's what I'm hoping for anyway. I'm doing fine right now. I can wait. I've always been taught in the Army: Expect the worst, hope for the best.

I'm not really going to wear pants anymore unless it's a nice function. It's hard to pull pants over your legs because your feet are straight, and my legs aren't ever going to get cold. And if people see I'm walking with prosthetic legs, they're more likely to get out of my way than accidentally bump into me and knock me down.

I think I have the record for falling in physical therapy, because I try to push myself to the max on these things, and if you're not falling, you're not trying. That's my motto. I don't fall as much anymore, but for a while I pretty much fell a couple times a day.

I've been wakeboarding, water-skiing, jet-skiing, tubing, rock climbing, snow skiing, playing catch with my brother. I try to do the same things. I'm not going to let it stop me. We did a 110-mile bike ride from Gettysburg to Washington, D. C. Sixty miles the first day, fifty miles the second day. Hand cycle, three wheels. I ended up ripping the glove, breaking the hand, breaking the whole socket. I might do it a little differently, but I'm still going to do it. I didn't actually get up water-skiing. I was up for a second then my arm ripped off and I fell.

I went up to Alaska for the National Wheelchair Games. I participated in two events, Ping-Pong and archery, and I won gold medals in both. I love Ping-Pong. Ping-Pong's the shit. Any real Ping-Pong player will say, No, it's table tennis, it's not Ping-Pong. But I don't care. Ping-Pong. Nobody knows it as table tennis. Most people are going to say Ping-Pong, right?

I used to be a gymnast. I started my freshman year and went to state all three years. Parallel bars, floor, rings, vault, then pommel horse. I hated the pommel horse. I may not be able to do gymnastics like I used to, but I still do little stuff. When I fall out of my chair, I do a handstand to get back in. I lift up my body, push off, and snap up.

Hello? I won a trial gym membership? How did you get my name? You pulled it out of a fishbowl? Do you have any idea who I am? I don't have any legs. And I have only one hand. I lost them over in Iraq. No, don't worry about it. I'm fine now. But I probably won't use it, so you might want to give it to someone else.

I've been here nearly thirteen months. This isn't any way to live for a long period of time. I've had my mom with me the whole time, and that's been great. But we've been in the same small room with just this little burner and microwave. You know each and every little thing that goes on with each other. So I'm ready to go.

Look at all the movies I've collected. I didn't buy them all. A lot of people sent movies because I said I was bored, so they started sending boxes and boxes. I'm a big movie nut. Even before. I like comedies. I like the superhero movies.

I want to be a stuntman. I could be on prosthetics, and they could blow my legs off. They have a harness attached to me, they pull me back, there's blasting caps on my legs, and boom! My legs are gone.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Go back to school? But if I go back to school, what am I going to do? So I started making a list of everything I really liked to do: Roller coasters. Skydiving. Bungee jumping. All that I could tell from that list was that I'm an adrenaline junkie. I like going fast and doing all that stuff. But I didn't put it together until the first time I was in Iraq. We were watching Titanic, the ship was going straight up, and you saw the guys fall and hit the railing, and my friend said that a stuntman actually broke his leg. Then it was a light bulb. Ding, ding, ding. Oh, my God. That is the perfect thing for me. And now that I'm like this, and I have an identical twin brother who's just as crazy as I am, I'm hoping we can make something happen of it.

When I'm a stuntman, I'll tell them, Get as gory as you can if that's what you're looking for. I don't have a problem with it. I don't have flashbacks. I'm just the same person. It doesn't bother me to see stuff like that—never really did.

For the most part, I dream that I'm full-bodied. Last night I had a dream I was like this, walking around really good, keeping my head up, not even looking down.

The doctors say some people have phantom feelings, like your legs and hands are still there. They wake up and they can feel their feet. They try to stand up and then they fall. Not me. I have pain, and the feeling sometimes, but not that much. Every once in a while, I'll have an itch on my knee. Mostly it's a tingling in my feet. It sucks.

You have two options once this happens: Roll over and die or move on. I chose to move on. I'm still me. I'm just 75 percent off. Get a great deal on Bryan Andersons this week. You know who actually told me that the first time? My mom. We were in Vegas, talking about T-shirts we should make, and she said 75 percent off. She said, You should get a shirt showing off your personality.

This doesn't define me. It may be how I look on the outside, but it's not who I am. I guess you could remember me easily as being a triple amputee, but it's not who I am, has nothing to do with who I am. I've always been the same person. A lot of my friends were scared with me going into the Army. They didn't think I'd be the same person when I came back. I may not be as immature, but I'll always be the same person. Which is true, I grew up. I make the same stupid-ass jokes, the same stuff to make someone laugh, but I'm just a little bit more responsible.

I was hit on October 23. They call it your alive day. You celebrate it like your birthday. Well, except without the presents. I felt like it was celebrating the worst day of my life. That's just my mindset right now. Why would I want to celebrate the worst day of my life? And they're like, 'Cause you're alive. Okay, I kind of get it. But that still doesn't change the fact that that was the worst day of my life. But it's another excuse to have a party.

There's this other triple amputee that I met here who was hit October 27, but a year before me. He helped me through my hardest times. There's four triple amputees. He was the third and I was the fourth. He's just like me. He has a little bit longer limbs than I do, and instead of him missing his left hand, he's missing his right hand. That's the only difference. I'm right-handed. He was right-handed too, though.

Smoking saved my right hand. I'd be a quadruple amputee if I wasn't smoking. I'd normally have my hands on the steering wheel, but I was smoking, so I had just my left hand on the steering wheel. My hand still got messed up, but if I had my hand down there, I would have been done.

We were laughing and then boom!

I was going really slow at the time. Whoever it was looking out, who armed it, waited for all the civilian traffic to go by. They were aiming for the third truck, so when my front tires rolled over the infrared laser, it exploded. They built it into the cement and painted it to look like the curb and sidewalk. It took most of my front end off instead of going into the cab. But I still had a little extra come at me. My gunner had some shrapnel in his ass. My team leader had shrapnel in his hip and his wrist. I didn't hear the blast. I saw the smoke and the fire come through the door, but I didn't hear it.

The concussion of the blast collapsed my right lung, so it was hard to breathe. I was in so much pain, my body wouldn't even let me feel pain. It's like Icy Hot after the icy part, when it gets hot. That's what it felt like all over my body.

I was lying there. Before I said anything, I wiped my face because I felt blood and the flies were all over, and the first thing I saw was my finger gone. Okay, not so bad. Then I turned my hand over, and the whole thing looked like ground beef. But it still looked all right, kind of. I could see bone. Anyway, while I'm looking at this, I went to wipe my face with my left hand and there was nothing there. Oh, fuck. After that I looked down at my legs, and right as I saw what had happened, my friend grabbed my forehead and pushed it down, hoping that I hadn't seen. But I did. I knew they were gone.

My hand was over on the passenger's seat, and my legs were on the floorboard. It cauterized everything instantly because it was so hot. I bled a little bit, but I think that helped save my life. But I took 120 units of blood by the time I got to Walter Reed, and you only have 10 in your body.

I was awarded my Purple Heart at the hospital in Baghdad. My battalion commander dipped the ribbon in my blood from one of my bandages. Actually, by that time I don't know whose blood was on it. I had so much blood going through me. But it went through my body. I inherited it.

The guy that opened my door and was first to grab me was the driver of the truck in front of me. He didn't know how bad it was because the window was all smoked over. So he opens the door and he's like, Ugh! He ended up saving my life. The doctors said those tourniquets were put on so perfectly, they didn't have to take any more off my legs.

They pulled me out and I was a little disoriented. I made eye contact and I could pretty much see that my guys were freaked out. They all looked like ghosts. Their faces were white. In your squad, you're all best friends, and they were just freaking out. I said, "Oh, shit, I wonder if I'm ever going to get laid again" to kind of make them laugh and get back on track, just to let them know I was still Bryan. That's what I do; I try to make people laugh.

They thought I was going to die, saying, "Hang on, hang on." In my head, I didn't ever have that feeling that I was going to die. And just in case, I kept telling myself, Keep breathing, do the motion, stay awake. It was when I got on the bird that I felt safe to pass out. I woke up at Walter Reed.

But I actually forgot that I'd lost my left hand, because when I woke up in D. C., I went to scratch my face with my left hand. I looked up at the ceiling. "You couldn't have given me a break?"

My mom said nobody's allowed to cry in front of me, and they didn't.

I kind of felt guilty. I feel like I took the easy way out, which I know isn't true, but I wanted to be back there.

I've heard that some of the people here are intimidated by me because I'm a triple amputee with a great attitude. They shouldn't feel that way. Everybody has their own problems. You could be a single amputee but have something else wrong with you. I'm missing my legs and a hand, but other than that, I'm perfect. I'm very healthy. I'm still athletic. You don't have to be intimidated because you think I have more problems than you. It's not true. I don't have many problems. Not anymore. I'm fine. It's just part of who I am, coming from good roots, good parents. I have good people around me. They instilled good values in me, and I grew out of that, manners, holding doors open for girls, being courteous to people, always trying to stay positive.

You know, everyone says I don't know if I could handle that. You don't know until it happens to you. I ask myself, If I lost this hand, too, would I think it was worth living? I don't know. It would be a very, very tough decision. I just don't know.

There's kids at Walter Reed who have had forty, fifty surgeries. I was lucky. I was out of the hospital six weeks after this happened. I say I'm lucky a lot. I'm lucky to be alive. Everybody at Walter Reed sits there and assesses everybody else's injuries and says, "Oh, my God, I wouldn't want to be that guy." I feel fortunate. I may have lost three limbs, but I'm not paralyzed. I can get up and walk. I have both my eyes. Nothing's wrong with my face. And I'm of sound mind. There are a lot of guys who say I'd have rather lost a limb than lost my mind, and I agree.

If you could see all these amputees and the great attitudes most of them have, you'd be shocked. Everybody went through a dark time. Mine was very short, only two weeks, but, for me, it felt like forever. Mine, it really hit me after four months. That's after everything had settled. I was working with the prosthetics. I was having a hard time, even though they didn't think I was, I did. You're your own worst critic. They thought I was doing great for being four months and what I was able to do already. And they're telling me this, and I said, What are you talking about? I'm not even walking for an hour a day. That's nothing.

One day I was in the shower looking at myself, and I kind of lost it a little bit. That's when my self-consciousness really shot up. Dude, nobody wants me like this. It went bad from there. I couldn't sleep. My chest was getting tight, like I was going to have a panic attack. I didn't think I was thinking about it. I just started freaking. I didn't want to be inside. I didn't want to be outside. I didn't want to be anywhere. I didn't want to kill myself, but I just felt like I didn't want to be anywhere. I didn't want anybody to be around me.

I tried to get away from here, just so I could clear my head. Me and my mom spent three days in Vegas. Craps and blackjack, that's what I like to play. The next week we went to Aspen. I was fortunate that my dark period was that brief. That weekend in Aspen really brought me up. That and Percocet. I wasn't really taking pain pills, so I took some Percocet and I felt great, lovely. The doctors put me on Zoloft for a little bit, and I was like, No, that's not the problem. I don't need this. It's not what's wrong with me.

I know people are going to look at me differently. When you're looking for a girlfriend or a boyfriend, you have this mental picture of what you're looking for. And you can ask anybody, and nobody's going to say that they're looking for somebody who's missing three limbs. But then there's some people who get into that position and say that doesn't matter. They don't care about that.

But I'm still self-conscious. I think I look ugly. There's friends that always tell me I look hot.

After so many people saying that to you, some of it sticks. But I still have that self-conscious feeling inside because of the accident. If I had just lost a foot, or if it was both below the knees, I wouldn't think anything of it, but since I'm so high up and missing a hand, too, it's hard for me.

If I'm trying to hook up with somebody, it's going to bother me. And I don't mean "hook up" like one-night stands. I mean get together.

I could be perfectly fine without kids. If my wife wants kids, that's fine, too. It's not an issue because of this. But I plan on wearing my prosthetics most all the time. And if I have those on, I'm not going to be able to carry my kids. I can't really bend over because it'll throw my balance off. So I'm not going to be able to pick up my kids. So you're walking through the park and they don't want to walk, they want to be carried. Sorry, I can't do it. I've thought about that a lot. It's going to be hard.

I think it will be good for my kid to see someone like me, so when they grow up and they see someone like me, they won't make a quick judgment on them.

I'd tell my kids not to join. If they're anything like me, they're not going to like people telling them what to do. Yeah, it's kind of like a job. But in a job, your boss can't tell you when to eat and when to go to sleep. And if you say something wrong, you're not going to lose money, you're not going to get dropped to do pushups. I didn't like that. You can quit a job. You can't quit the Army. And if they insist, I'm going to tell them to go into the Air Force. You can't put that in the magazine. Wait, I forgot, I'm going to be out by the time this comes out. Fuck it, balls to the wall.

My brother was a tank mechanic. He joined after me. I told him not to join, but if he did, to make sure he got Fort Hood so we could be together. But we were only together for a little while because I went to Iraq the first time. We're twins. We know each other's likes and dislikes. He didn't like it.

The Army is a good thing. It's for some people; it's not for some people. It wasn't for me. I wanted to get out after my first year. I was in the military police. I didn't like arresting people, didn't like giving people tickets, so I didn't. We pulled over fourteen people one night, didn't write one ticket.

Right before I went into basic training, I dyed my hair white with green tips. I left the day after September 11. I was supposed to leave on September 11, but they didn't let us. The next morning we had to get on a bus; they wouldn't even fly us.

When I rolled over the line from Kuwait to Iraq the first time, and those people were cheering and screaming, that's when I knew we need to help these people. Whether I agree with being there or not, I don't know, but if we pulled out now it would make me raise the questions, Okay, so all those guys who lost their lives and lost limbs, was it for a reason? Did we change anything? Was it worth it? If it is, then great, pull out. If it isn't, then they all just died in vain. I don't know. I can't be the one to sit there looking at the overview and say he lost his life for no good reason.

I think the only time I would agree with war is if there's a childish country that wants to do something really, really stupid and won't listen to anybody. Then it might be worth it.

Even when I was home after the first time, I didn't watch the news. I didn't want to know. You know it's bad over there. You know what's happening. I don't need to sit there and watch TV to be depressed. I watch TV to laugh or be intrigued. I think the news is depressing, so I don't watch it. It's not that I don't care about everybody over there—I do.

Iraqi police officers have come a long way since I was there last. We couldn't get them to come to work. And when they did, they would come for two hours and leave. When we would ask them to patrol us, they'd do it for twenty minutes, then leave. "We've gotta go eat" or "We've gotta go home." Now they stay at work all day. They're patrolling. They're almost self-sustaining. Almost. If we did leave and pull out, they'd at least have an idea of what they need to do.

I was in a police station one day, sitting at the top of the stairs. There were three Iraqi cops downstairs standing around a desk. I saw this guy walk in and didn't think anything of it. He walks up to them, says, "Allah akbar," and presses the button. He had a vest on under his long robe, but it didn't go off. Those three cops just started beating the shit out of him. Almost killed him. You should have seen his face when they were done. You couldn't tell it was the same guy who walked into the police station.

I wasn't scared the first time. But the second time, after the first three weeks, then we were all scared. Not scared like shivering-in-your-boots scared, but there was always the tickle in your throat that you knew you were in real danger, that it was just luck. At any moment, anything could happen. We were lucky for ten months. We knew we would get hit. It was always a question of how bad it would be. I never thought it would be this bad.

Whenever I travel and I'm not wearing my legs, they say, "Would you like an aisle chair?" And that's one of those small chairs where they drag you down the aisle and put you in straps like you're Hannibal Lecter. I'd always say, Don't strap me, don't strap me. But they would anyway. So now I just get down and hop to my seat. If I have to go to the bathroom, I'll hop down, open the door, and lift myself up onto the seat.

Some people don't even say, Hey, were you in the war? They just come up and say thank you. I'm sure once I get older, people won't say that. Once the war's over, people won't even think twice about it. They'll just think I have diabetes.

Did it hurt? I'm sure it did, but I didn't really feel it, except for the burning. They say pain is your friend because you know you're still alive. If you can feel it, it's not that bad. If you don't feel it, that's when it's bad.

With all the people that I've met, to be able to see how nice people really are, it's almost worth it. And if I could help anybody, inspire anybody, one person would make it worth it.

I'm being built a house by the Wounded Heroes Foundation. They've already donated me a van. This thing comes off the side of the steering wheel: down for gas, push for brake. Simple as that. I lock my prosthetic onto it and that's it. Now they're going to donate me a house. I told this girl, So you're going to build me this house, can I have some things I want? She said, Like what? Well, I want a basement with a bar. That's going to be like my entertainment area. She said, Yeah, and we'll put an elevator in for you, too. Really? Cool.

Everything that has happened to me since I've been hurt has happened to me because I've been hurt. I got to go to the Pentagon. There's this quarter-mile-long hallway that is just filled with people, and I mean filled with people. There's a little space to go through and everyone is clapping and crying and coming up and hugging you. Okay, that's great. But what about all the people who did the same exact thing that I did that didn't get hurt? They should get the same recognition we do. We all did the same thing. Some people just got the shit end of the stick, that's all. It's all luck.

I've been getting tats since I was eighteen. I had nine tattoos. After the explosion, I had six and a half. They cut half of one out and put the skin on my hand. I had one on each leg. I have a tribal piece on my right shoulder, intermixed with a barbed-wire band on my right bicep. I have a chain on my left bicep and a bulldog on my left shoulder. On my left chest I have a purple-and-yellow fireball-type thing, and on my back I have a tribal-type thing. On my right forearm I used to have a black widow, but now it's only half a black widow. On my left inner forearm I have the Chinese symbol for life. Go figure.

I'm the type of person who would put my life in front of somebody else's in a heartbeat. I don't know how I got that way. I have great friends—true friends—and they help me to be a better person. And I help them as much as I can. I would do anything for them. Anything.

I believe in God, but I wasn't brought up on going to church. I'm not going to say your whole life is planned out for you, but I think there are certain things that are supposed to happen to you, and however you handle that defines you. So this happened to me. I'm not like, "God saved my life" or "Why did God do this to me?" God did this to me for a reason, and I'm still alive, so God knew I was going to be alive.

From every decision you make, you learn something, whether it was the right decision or the wrong decision. I believe everything happens to you for a reason, and it's going to happen to you regardless. So whether I was in Iraq fighting or I was walking across the street and got hit by a bus, it was going to happen to me regardless.

I don't regret anything.

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With Santa.


This guy's the best.
I hope you enjoy that dragon jigsaw puzzle book.
Much better than CANDYLAND.
And I hope your dad and uncle return safe and sound.

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With Santa.

Let go my Legos!

Diane Arbus
Rethinking Arbus

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FUR poster design
orangemercury.com

Diane Arbus
Matching Bathing Suits


I'm convinced these suits are red, white, and blue.
Fucking CONVINCED.

Photoshop beckons (tough job!)

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Diane Arbus
Boy Waiting to March...


In the interest of full disclosure:

Boy waiting to march in pro-war parade, NYC, 1967

My theory?
Everything's untitled, with just the "location" or "self-portrait" labeling.

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Diane Arbus
Christmas Tree

Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Boy with Flag


The Master of Surrealism, in my book.
This stuff I'd kill to dream...

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Diane Arbus
Patriotic Young Man

Extras|Portraits with Santa


Amazing how many kids looked RIGHT at me.
Brave. All of them.

They must get it from their parents...

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The Spirit of Giving.


Why TOYS FOR TOTS in ANY of its incarnations
is so very, very important.

If this smile tells the story,
I'll say thanks to whomever donated whatever's wrapped
in front of this smile.

Thanks for the moment.

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Portrait of Bravery. Totally Spontaneous!


All I said was "can I take your picture?" and he snapped at attention.
Wow.
One thousand words...

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Vault|Archives_Blur_Miami [late 90s]
Birthday Self-Portrait


©2006 orangemercury.com

Untitled|Self-portrait
Birthday
4 May 1996
Photo-booth Polaroid|Miami

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Santa's Official Photographer's Portrait!


©2006 Mrs. Claus

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Why I do what I do...somewhat anonymously.

From The Hartford Courant; Sunday, 17 December 2006

At another table, Tia Lazenberry, a nurse and young mother from Middletown,
admired the Polaroid photo just taken of her daughter with Santa.
She plans to include it in a scrapbook for her fiancé, Sgt. Erik Allen, who enlisted voluntarily as a mechanic after they ran into money troubles. "He wanted to support his family," she said. "To do that, he left." She wore a heart-shaped necklace he gave her one Valentine's Day.


Photographer's note:
I was told there was "only so much film" (which, I found out, Polaroid DIDN'T donate!) and I had to speed things along, there were so many kids. I started asking "who's in deployment" and way too many "mom" "dad" "my brother" "my sister" started coming up...if the child even knew the word DEPLOYMENT!

Iraq. Kuwait. Afghanistan.

Let's just say a couple of packs of Polaroids fell off the back of the truck and I did two or three or four...and co-signed them "The Elf" with "Santa" in Sharpie Green and Sharpie Red, respectively.

A few people (mostly the parents of the soldiers in deployment) were so fucking thrilled to have a photo to mail IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS, I thought I was going to choke.

And the kicker?

"Thank you so much. You don't know what this means to (fill in soldier's name.)"

WRONG!
You are thanking the WRONG PERSON.
DON'T THANK ME. My life's not on the line here folks.

(Although the standing ovation I received when I fell into the 12+ foot candy cane and nearly fell off the stage. THAT was funny, and I really did get a standing ovation for grabbing on to something and pulling myself back up. How do you spell KLUTZ?)

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3 (Ho)
Holiday Greetings from DM



©2006 original by Anton Corbijn; reworked by orangemercury.com

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Operation ELF
Picture with Santa #2

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Operation ELF
Picture with Santa #1

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The Official Holiday Card...early.


Happy fucking EVERYTHING in 2.double O.seven.