Sick Baby and CPT Morgan's Tattoo

My poor little girl is sick.  Mims got up this morning to a burning hot and sobbing toddler (100.0F temp).  She's had sick eyes all day and has just wanted to lay on us and watch MoMo (AJ language for Elmo from Sesame Street).  On that, I absolutely love Youtube and the Sesame Street channel for creating the Elmo playlist.  We think it may be her first molar trying to push through because she doesn't have any other sick-like symptoms to go along with her fever.  Whatever the case, we rock the baby tylenol like it's our job (isn't it?).  I hope she gets some peaceful rest tonight.

I also hope E gets some rest tonight.  Too many nights without sleep makes wifey a sad panda.

On a completely different note, have any of you tried Captain Morgan's "Tattoo" Spiced Rum?  I bought a bottle of it recently looking to try something different.  So far, it tastes and smells more like dimetapp and robitussin had a child (as Em tells it).  I'll finish it up, but don't think I'll purchase this stuff anymore.

Any of you try it?

Here are some recent photos for your enjoyment!

AJ and my dad cheesing at Rudy's BBQ

AJ and Mommy smooch at Rudy's

Mims snuck a picture of Pops and I at Texas Roadhouse


Rinsing Your Baby's Hair

I haven't quite figured out the perfect technique in rinsing my 14-month old daughter's hair during bathtime.  As the primary bath-giver, you'd reckon I'd have figured this out by now, but no, not yet.

I've tried to teach her how to close her eyes, but then she accidentally breathes in the water as I pour it over her head.

I try reclining her and rinsing that way, but she won't lay back for longer than a few seconds before freaking out.

My wife has her look up towards the cup and this seems to work best.  I think I'll try this one out during her next bath.

AJ jumped in the shower with me this morning and she wasn't too sure about the shower head.  I had to turn it into a game (with the assistance of my determined wife).  Eventually she was ok having her back in the water, but once I went to put her head under to rinse the shampoo, she was trying to get away from it...

Any ideas?  Have any of you figured out a sure method to rinse your kid's hair without simultaneous choking and screaming?


Happy Father's Day!

As I sit here enjoying my early afternoon Paulaner, I can't help but feel loved.

I can't believe I'm a father and that this is my day. I am blessed with the sweetest, most beautiful and loving wife and daughter ever created. I am thankful beyond words.

Thanks must also go out to my dad, Bill, who if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be the man I am today.

All told, I've had a wonderful first Father's Day. I spent the day with my favorites, had some amazing bbq at Rudy's, nommed the world's best no-bake cookies, and received a slick new watch to wear when I dress up.

How was your Father's Day?




Almost Ready

Emily, Amelia, and I are just about packed up for our first family trip! We are flying to San Francisco (or as I say Sansenfrisco) tomorrow afternoon and will be gone for seven days as we bask in each others' company and take in the sights of beautiful California. It will be both Amelia's and my first trip to the west coast and we are both very excited.

Emily has really been the driving force behind getting us ready for the trip. Sometimes I think we are so similar, and other times (like now) I realize we can be very different. Emily is very organized and I, well, am not. If it wasn't for her meticulous pack-plan and determination to get our house in order before our trip, we'd be a mess...I'd be a mess. Sometimes we butt heads because our different personalities, but after the initial rough spot, we come out stronger, closer, and happier. I've heard it said that people can't change, and to some extent I agree. However, I have come to find that in a marriage, people can and do change - for the better.

Before meeting, dating, and subsequently marrying Emily, I've was a completely unorganized right-brainer who procrastinated and didn't take much seriously. I'm not much different now, but I am a little, and that little bit is very important. She makes me a better person, husband, and father. She is amazing and I'm grateful for her love and patience.

So, if you haven't been keeping up with us on the Facebook, we've been super busy since my redeployment. From working on our house, to spending quality time together, to getting to know our neighbors, we've been all over. Emily and I were talking about it last night. It's so weird for me to be home and leading a normal life. Up until this point, we would try to cram 5 yrs of life into 3 months before I had to leave again - be it school, training, or deployment. Now I'm here at home and quite a few of my friends are deploying and it's an odd feeling, being on this side of leaving. I dropped my friend Phil off at his assembly area last night for his Afghanistan deployment and I just got really sad. I wasn't expecting it because I have always been the one leaving, trying to focus on the task at hand. I got just a tiny morsel of what Emily has had to endure these past 5 years and I'll tell you: I do not like it AT ALL.

Well, it's' about time for my ladies to wake up, so I'll close with some photos and a new mix. I hope you enjoy it all - I sure do.


Redeployment Mix by DJRedsamick



House of Rockets - Week 4

I'm starting in on my 4th weekly installment of House of Rockets and I thought I'd give a wrap-up to let everyone know how it's going.

I initially set out to mix from about 8pm until midnight but it's become more like 7:30pm until about 10:15pm.

Nobody showed up to dance the couple of times I played and I think these are the main reasons why:

  1. I didn't really promote myself (no flyers around the COB, no asking friends to come out [Digital DJ Tips creator/writer explains the usefulness of bringing your friends to your gig in this article]).
  2. It's on a Monday night, and even in Iraq people want to get to bed at a decent time for work the next day.
  3. The venue is a bit hidden so with a bit more #1 perhaps more people will come out.
I have since posted more flyers and gotten some people to come out.  Namely, my commanding officer came (he just happened to be writing an MWR article) to talk with me about my hobby and to snap a few photos.  This is the best one he shot:
Wearing my favorite hat, mixing on my netbook.  Bigups to Coffee Times and the Rices for the bumper sticker.
At one point there were about 11 people dancing which totally made my night.  Early on in my set, I had dropped Subway pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese on my uniform and had tripped over nearly every cable in the place (was basically having a clutz night), but seeing those people dancing made up for everything.  I felt a brand new energy when people started dancing and smiling at what I was playing.  It was weird.  I had already worked a 13 hr shift that day, was in combat boots and was dirty from a workout I had done earlier and yet, if they had kept on dancing, I would have kept on spinning.  It was neat.

A couple things of note from that night:
  • Some people who are on the dance floor have NO PROBLEM coming right up to you and pretty much demanding (putting on a poopy face) that you play their favorite Adam Lambert/Britney Spears song.  This one lady actually busted out her iPod and looked at me as if I could run it into my net book and make it work.  I wanted so bad to help her out but had no idea how to make it work.  So, instead, I played the only BS song I had:  Hold It Against Me.  It didn't really go with what I was playing, but she went nuts over it.  So, hey, cool beans.
  • As you can see from the photo, my pc was set atop a bar of sorts.  One person decided to set her dixie cup of juice right next to my setup.  I left it alone because I was having so much fun, but I couldn't help but imagine what kind of disaster that could turn up to be.  I'm glad we can't drink alcohol here for this reason.
  • On the other side, I think if people were allowed to drink it might loosen them up and make them feel more comfortable getting on the dance-floor.  That's all I'll say about that.
  • I love to dance to the music too, so I find myself jumping out from behind my pc and dancing along.  I just can't HELP it.
There's more to the night, but not much.  My next House of Rockets (HOR) is coming up in a few days so I'm working on getting my set-list done.  The more nights I mix the more I figure out which tracks and what style of music I like spinning the most.

I'm also being given a guest slot next Saturday night alongside a hip-hop DJ so I am UBER excited about that.  First I will get to spin during prime-time; Second I'll get to work with someone instead of alone.  So cool!

I will be posting another mix here soon. Upload speeds are snail's pace around here...


Daddy's Letters to Amelia; Number 1

Well, this is actually my 6th letter to her, but this is the first one I wrote to her after she was born.  Like Mimsy Lou, I plan on publishing some letters that I've written to Amelia to help capture my thoughts and feelings about her as time passes.  The act of writing to her was at first odd but quickly became easy and fun.  Imagining her reading these letters when she is older takes my imagination to whole new level.  I highly recommend this exercise as it is enriching not only to me but for Emily and Amelia as well.

So, read on below for my first published letter to my daughter Amelia.  I've edited some stuff out for OPSEC and personal reasons.  You can't know EVERYTHING about me ;)  There's only one person privileged to that information.

08 October 2010

Dear Amelia,

Hi my little princess.  I’m back in Iraq now.  I’m still up at 2:10am due to jet lag.  I’m going back to work on the ECP around [edited].  I’m trying to stay up all night to get myself back on Iraq time. Gary and Geri are with you and Mommy right now and Daddy is happy that Mommy has some help with you.  However, I’m really jealous that they are getting to spend time with you and I’m here.  But, I guess that’s life sometimes.  I hope to get out of the Army in 2014 so I won’t ever have to be away from home too long. 

[edited]  I just miss you so much.  Kissing you goodbye in the back of the RAV was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life and I hope I never have to do that again.  You’re just so beautiful and great.  Saying goodbye to Mommy also hurt because I just love being with her and I know raising you alone for the next 5 months is going to be hard on her.  I feel so useless out here.  Back home I get to help Mommy with you and that gives me such a great purpose in life.  Out here, I’m just an OIC for an ECP.  I don’t even have that many Soldiers anymore.  So, I’m just going to try and stay busy until I get to come home.  Some people around here have hinted that we may come home early, but I’m not getting my hopes up just to get them shot down.  So, I’m going to continue with the assumption that I won’t get home until March. 

Delilah has been very cautious about approaching you.  I hope that she eases up and that you be nice to her.  Please don’t pull her hair or tail.  She’s a really mellow cat and loves to just be petted.  She’ll play with Daddy too.  She likes it when I fling her string with her.   She likes to love on and sleep with Mommy.  I hope one day I can teach you to play with her.

I also hope that one day I can help you learn how to play baseball, football, soccer, and any other sport you (or your Mommy and I) take an interest in. 

Popop and Grandmolly think that you look just like me.  I think you look more like Mommy than me.  In any case, you are beautiful and are Mommy and my princess.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you different. 

Well, I’m going to get off here and putter around a bit and hope I’m awake at [edited]am to take my shower and shave. 

You are great, you are wonderful, and you are ours. 

Love you,



House of Rockets - My First Gig!

Greetings from the sandbox!  This post is about my first "House of Rockets" night in which I played/mixed house music in a small venue here in Basrah.  Even though I was the only one that danced - or showed up for that matter - I had a good time and learned a few things.

My ho-made flyer

I arrived at the room (I can't call it anything more than that b/c it's so small) around 7pm for my set that was supposed to start at 8pm.  I plugged everything in and booted up my little netbook and was off.  After about 15 minutes of warming up and goofing around with effects (wanted to get this out of my system before "everyone" started showing up) I tried shutting down background applications/processes to free up my processor.  I'm running a 1.6 Ghz Atom processor, so I need every bit of juice to mix two tracks in VDJ7Pro.  In my fervor to free up my processor, I shut down the main audio application on my computer.  The sound went out and I was left with slightly ringing ears in a small, quiet room.  Felt capital D, dumb.

So, one shutdown and reboot later, I was being a little more careful about which processes I was ending.  I still haven't figured out exactly which ones to stop so as to still be able to run VDJ well, but hey, I'm running a Mini, what can I expect?

On the "decks"

After I got everything back up and running, I was feeling good and on the lookout for my first "punters."  (It's just fun to say/write that word)  I was feeling good about my mixing.  I still need lots of practice with blending well.  Turning the EQ knobs with a small mouse pad is really tedious and not condusive to my dancing while mixing, so I'm looking forward to (a) a new computer and (b) a midi-controller.  What usually happens is rapid and sometimes abrupt EQ kills and crossfader jumps.  But I was having a good time.

I continued to mix for the next couple of hours.  Over those couple of hours I noticed a few things:

(1)  Some songs really do go together well.  Some REALLY do not.
(2)  Little electrical glitches WILL happen.  Best to just roll with it and hope your system doesn't totally crap the bed.
(3)  Knowing a song inside and out is paramount to any skill in beatmatching, EQ switching, sampling, or effects cueing.  Both Phil Morse from Digital DJ Tips and Murray Lunn from BeginnerDJ both told me this before my gig.  They were certainly correct.  I feel like this is the area I need the most improvement.

As for the "punters," they never really showed up.  A few people stopped in to see what the noise was all about, and proceeded to leave quickly.  For some reason, I don't think Monday nights are that conducive to people dancing to House for a couple of hours.  Hmm...

I'm looking a bit ghostly in this shot.  Not intentional at all!

I was only phased for a short while.  Most of the time, I was really liking the music coming out of those massive speakers, so I got out from behind my computer and just danced.  Doing that took me back to the Hong-Dae disctrict in S. Korea when I was a younger man dancing for 8-12 hrs in a night fueled only by a vodka&juice cocktail and some rockin' DJs.  Club MWG, you will forever be in my heart.

All in all, I feel like I had a good time and am looking forward to doing it again tonight.  I've listened to my set list many times over now and feel at least a little more confident in picking a song that will mix well next on the "decks."  Special Thanks go to my wife for supporting my dream from 8k miles away, Phil Morse for his wisdom and kindness, Murray Lunn for his tips and enthusiasm, Will Stoffer for providing me with the opportunity/time/space to do something I really enjoy doing, all of the various artists who made it into my mix, and Amelia for being so stinking cute.

I've embedded a short snippet from that first gig for you to enjoy and comment on.

Cheers until next time.


House of Rockets - 17 January 2011 by DJRedsamick


My ladies are sick...

Yep, my little munchkin is teething, congested, on the tail end of a growth spurt, and is super snotty.  My wife is now coming down with something which is making the equation even more complex.  I feel bad because I can't really do anything for them except show them a sad face and encourage Em that she's a great mommy - which she is.

Can't wait to get home.


What I Carried

Back in college, I read a book by Tim O'Brien titled, The Things They Carried.  The book is about a lot of things, but it's title could also read 'The Things the Soldiers in Vietnam Carried."  Here is a link to an online (free) version of the book.  I haven't read through this version, so I can't vouch for its completeness.  I recommend buying the book. 

It's a great book and a quick read.  If you like reading war stories, you'll like this book.  If you don't know anything or have any interest in Vietnam or war in general, I think you'd still like it.

So why bring this book up?  Well, I was emptying my pockets after work here in Iraq one day and O'Brien's book came to mind.  Since I find myself in a warzone, I decided to pay a small tribute to O'Brien and his book by listing what I have carried during my tour.*  Below I have listed all the items that I carry day to day.  Below that list is a shorter list of additional things I carry if I go outside the wire.

What I carry (inside the wire):
  •  tourniquet
  • Gerber multi-tool
  • 9mm Beretta
  • 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition
  • 1 magazine holding 9mm rounds
  • Beretta holster w/leash
  • I.D. (dog) tags
  • QuikClot combat gauze
  • Common Access Card (CAC)
  • security badge
  • black Sharpie marker
  • yellow highlighter
  • 2 pencils (mechanical, 0.7mm)
  • 1 black skilcraft pen
  • wallet w/debit card, driver's license, cash, and EagleCash card
  • 4 Gigabyte SD card
  • chapstick
  • pocket knife
  • eye protection soft case
  • uv protective or clear lens eye protection 
  • ECP badge with clear case
  • 3x5in notecard used for in and out briefs for my Soldiers
  • leather gloves
  • reflective belt
  • 8x5.5" record book

What I carry (outside the wire):
  • all the things on the above list
  • Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH)
  • rhino mount for night vision goggles
  • Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) (i.e. body armor)
    • this includes front/back/side armor plates
  • hard plastic holster for my Beretta
  • Camelbak water reservoir
  • M4 carbine
  • 210 rounds of 5.56 ball ammunition (spread over 7 magazines)
  • 45 rounds of 9mm rounds (spread over 3 magazines)
  • Improved First-Aid Kit (IFAK)
  • seatbelt cutter
  • Petzl Taktikka+ headlamp
  • lighter
  • hard candy, gum, or both

Well, that's what I carry.  As I was writing it down I realized the list was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be.  I guess I have just gotten used to carrying it so I don't really pay attention to how much there really is.

What do you carry?  Whether you are in the military or not, I'd be interested to see what kinds of things people carry on a daily basis.


*  I wonder why they call it a "tour" of duty...  There are no guides.  There are no bright red umbrellas to serve as our beacon in case one of us gets lost in the crowd.  Do you have any idea why they call it a "tour?"



Welcome to the new blog! You will find all of my old blog posts + comments from "I Hug" here in full flavor. I moved here in order to link my blog into my Google account to help everyone with commenting and also to create a more comprehensive dashboard while signed into Google. Signing into and out of Google to check mail and blog was getting annoying. Now I can do it all from one hub.

Look for a few posts coming within the next few days. One will be about Army stuff and another will be about music stuff. I may also tell you about my daughter's new "toothy" achievements.