Saturday, June 30, 2012

Here's To 26

My birthday was this past Monday.  What did I do?  I went to work! Sounds awesome right?  I got a lot of mixed reactions when I told anyone I was working on my birthday.  Honestly, I just didn't want to break up my schedule just to have this one day off.  It's just not that big of a deal to me.  Especially since i'm in the middle of an 8 day stretch off now!  Woohoo!

My stretch off has been pretty awesome so far!  I got to be a part of the Flaming Lips record breaking day of shows.  They broke the Guinness world record for most shows in different cities in a single 24 hour period.  They ended up doing 8 and it just so happened that 5 of them were right here in my home state of Mississippi!  It was a really fun experience and they live streamed the entire event from the start in Memphis until they were announced as the new record holders in New Orleans. I must say that I think we had one of the best shows.  That's not just my bias for being at home either!  The show was poolside at the Hard Rock!  Beach balls were flying and the crowd was splashing around in the water throughout the show.  You really couldn't ask for a better scenario on a beautiful South MS day.

-I made a joke at one point, while I was out there, saying how I would hate to be the guy that has to clean the pool after that show.  With all the Lips fans in it, there is bound to be so much glitter and so many plastic stars floating about that it could turn into a cleaning nightmare.  Worth it though!

Neon Trees opened up the show.  I didn't know much of
them beforehand, but they put on a pretty good show!

Beach ball fun waiting on the Lips.  What a perfect scene 
for an awesome show.

The Flaming Lips (with phantogram) at the pool!

Wayne doing an interview before heading back on the road
towards Baton Rouge.  

Awesome pic my cousin Justin got from the 
side of the stage.

This experience alone was pretty much enough to make my week amazing!  I've had some opportunities, the past few days, to spend some good times with my friends.  We attempted to do a little flounder gigging the other night, but the wind and tides just weren't in our favor.  It was still just to be out on the beach in the middle of the night though.  

Last night my dad and I headed up to Hattiesburg for my first dirt track race in a long time.  A couple of guys he knows, from his work, had their sprint car up there this weekend, so we decided to go watch.  As soon as we got to the track I got the itch again.  From the mullets in the stands, to the smell of the race fuel and the dirt in my teeth, I miss it all.  You probably don't know this, but a few years back racing was my favorite pass times.  I really enjoyed it while I was doing it.  When my engine finally gave out I never got around to putting it back together and it all just kind of fell by the wayside, but seeing it again I really wish I could get back out there. Maybe one day!

I know it's a terrible picture, but those are the sprint
cars before the race.

The 86 car was me back in 2008.  I went from the dirt track
to asphalt on a sporadic weekly basis.  None of my dirt 
track pictures remain.

26 has definitely started out on the right foot.  I've got a lot of big plans for this year from the Colorado trip coming up in September to things that have remained unannounced.  I'm feeling very optimistic of the potential this year has.  I think it could be my best yet!  Here's to it!

Until Next Time,

Make sure to vote in my poll at the top right!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Make a Choice

I ended up getting put on call for work last night and somehow managed to not get called in either.  Sitting around, waiting on the phone to ring, last night gave me a lot of time to think.  This isn't always a good thing, but it managed to be pretty interesting.  I pondered on a question that you're sure to have been asked at one point in time.  You're interested now right?  Well, here it is.

Q:  If you HAD to choose, would you rather be blind or deaf?

I know that's a loaded question.  It's meant to be.  It's supposed to get you digging deep down inside and pondering these things.  I really went back and forth with this one.  When I thought I had it answered, I would change my mind again.  I fell asleep thinking about it last night.  I don't know if it had anything to do with the dreams I had, but they were WEIRD!  Maybe i'll do a post about them at a later time.  

I managed to wake up a little bit early today, so I headed back to the park to do a couple miles of heavy hiking before getting ready for work.  I was still pondering these senses while I was making laps around this little trail.  As I was looking around I could see the signs of tropical storm Debby turning in the Gulf.  

The water was much higher than usual.  It
was all the way up to the trail in places.

Debby also was giving me a nice little breeze on a hot day.  The beauty was all around, that part was obvious, but I also adore the sounds of the woods.  From the birds chirping, to the rustling of the leaves from the wind.  I love all of those sounds.  I also had my iPod playing into my ears.  The songs that shuffled up seemed to be perfect for the day.  How could I go without music?  This decision is much harder than a yes or no answer.  

Although the decision was hard, I finally put my finger on the answer I know is right for me.  As I was hiking, out there today, I kept thinking of all the amazing places i've been and the things i've seen.  Just thinking of never being able to see them again was a little bit disheartening.  Don't get me wrong, music makes my world go round on most days, but I have enough songs floating around in my head to keep me singing for the rest of my life.  

The thought of never seeing....

... another Grand Canyon sunrise, 

Tennessee sunset from my hammock on the Natchez Trace, ...

Horn Island on a perfect day, or...

that perfect smile of a beautiful girl intended for me 
(maybe i'll be able to add that picture at some point!),..

those are the things I can't handle losing.  I am very grateful that both of these senses are intact with me.  I've come quite close to losing one of them, so I understand how different my life could be at the moment.  I know it was a loaded question, but you're thinking now!  So, what would you choose?  

Darkness or silence?

Until Next Time,

I told you I was going to add "I am weary" from last night's Prairie Home Companion whenever it was up... here it is!

I've also been noticing lots of new readers from all over the country.  Thanks for stopping by and checking out the site!  Thank you all for your continued support. -K-

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Plans Plans Plans

After tonight I will be halfway through my work week.  It's always hard working through the weekend, but I always survive.  This time I have some plans to look forward to.  I'll have a full 8 days off starting Wednesday morning and i've nearly got it all scheduled up.  First off i'll be going to see The Flaming Lips on Thursday morning!

And yes, those tickets say 9:45AM.  The whole situation has intrigued me.  Apparently the band is going to be breaking a world record by performing the most shows in a single day (take that Jay-Z!!).  They are doing it all in small venues and how lucky is it that they are doing it through south Mississippi and Louisiana!?  I will be seeing them next to the pool at Hard Rock Biloxi.  If nothing else, it will be a good story to tell one day.  

If you aren't familiar I definitely suggest listening to 
this album.  If you don't really have any experience
with experimental type music, it's.... different, but good

Following this surely to be awesome event, i'll be taking off super early Friday morning and going camping for a few days.  By early i'm talking 3am.  I'll be heading back up to the northernmost section of The Natchez Trace to return to Meriwether Lewis State Park.  I didn't spend the time I really wanted to there on my first trip, so i'm going to take a little extra time to dig deeper into this great little park.  My friends Logan and Jessica are supposed to be going with me, so it should be a really great time.  I'm looking forward to introducing someone new to the wonders of the Trace.  

The grave site of the great explorer Meriwether Lewis

On a completely different note, as i'm sitting here typing i'm also fulfilling my Saturday night tradition.  This time every week I enjoy tuning into my local public radio station and listening to A Prairie Home Companion.  A lot of people find humor in the fact that I get so excited about a weekly radio show, but what can I say? I was born in the wrong time.  They always have small news clips during the show and the one they had a few minutes ago really grabbed me.  They told a heartbreaking story about a car accident and a young child that found herself in a coma after it.  Then they told of the families worst nightmare, having to make the decision to let their daughter go.  Following this story, the singers and band played a rendition of "I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)" that was absolutely amazing.  It's such an emotional song to begin with that it really made for a fantastic moment.  I'll upload their version when they put it online tomorrow.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kyle, You Did Good

Sometimes the simplest phrases can really stick with you.  This isn't a happy story, but it's the life that I live.

A few weeks ago I came into work and looked at the assignment list, like I always do.  I picked up a report sheet and started the typical search for the day shift nurse that had been taking care of my patients.  I got report and started my night.

I could tell when entering the room that if I was going to have a problematic patient, this was going to be it.  By problematic I don't mean being demanding, whining, or anything like that.  Sometimes you can just tell when a patient is teetering on the border of bad and worse.  He was on the cusp of going into full on respiratory failure and I think he knew it. Just by looking at his status you could see it.  He was on a lot of oxygen, breathing too fast, and his heart rate was way too fast.  

After checking him out I headed back out to the desk to formulate my plan for the night.  The one thing that really stuck out to me was that it was very easy to see that he was legitimately scared.  So, needless to say, my goal for the night was to keep him calm so we could keep the rest under control.  Thankfully, this is something i've gotten pretty good at.  

I spent a lot of time during that night sitting in the room and talking to him.  He would get worked up and start to panic.  When he would panic, his respiratory status would decline in a hurry.  We would make some changes and press on.  I was on and off the phone with doctors throughout the night. They would give orders and I would make changes.  Honestly, it was a stressful night.  His status wasn't improving.  My fellow nurses and I knew what was coming, but we just kept on working because that is what we do.

We had made it through the night.  It wasn't an easy feet up on the desk kind of night, but we made it.  As I was tying up all the loose ends at the end of the shift, I was sitting in the room talking to this gentleman before I headed home.  He was telling me that he was feeling a lot better this morning and was just ready to go home.  I told him that I would be back in a few days and would come find him wherever he was in the hospital to come say hey.  As I was walking out the door he stopped me and said, "Kyle, you did good."

I headed home for a few days off.  That phrase would pop into my head several times in those days and I would wonder how he was doing.  I considered calling up there a few times to ask about him, but kept telling myself I would be there in just a day or two.  

My first night back I got some bad news.  Somewhere around a day after I had gotten off, his status had declined to the point where he had to be placed on the ventilator.  That is typically no big deal to myself because we place people on the ventilator all the time and manage to get a lot of them off.  Sometime after he was placed on the vent something else happened.  This incident left him completely unresponsive.  I went in to see him that night and he didn't even look like the same person.  

I took care of him the next night.  I was told in report that the family was waiting on one other son to get into town and then they were planning on withdrawing care.  Soon into the shift the family came out to the desk and told me that they were ready.  I made all the proper calls and we did what we had to do.  The family told me that they didn't want to be in the room while he passed.  The family said their final goodbyes and headed out into the waiting room.  I stayed in the room with him.  I just didn't feel right letting him pass in that room alone.  A few of us, that had taken care of him, stayed by his side and watched his heart rate creep down until if finally reached zero.  

All I could think of were those words.  "Kyle, you did good."  You'd never believe how a couple of words can stick with you until it actually happens.  In the field we work in, we experience them more often than most.  We have our moments and we press on.  I'll tell you one thing, you really learn to not take life for granted working in the ICU.  Take it from me, life is a precious thing, so don't waste it!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Butterfly Effect

According to the Merriam- Webster Dictionary, the butterfly effect is defined as:

a property of chaotic systems (as the atmosphere)
by which small changes in initial conditions can
lead to large- scale unpredictable variation in the
future state of the system.

This story actually goes back a few months.  My friends Logan and Jessica have decided to start a DJ business (website info to come).  This plan goes all the way back to probably February.  They have slowly been accumulating equipment and are finally set up to rock.  About two months ago a plan was developed for an intro to the business/ one year anniversary/ generalized get together bash.  I volunteered to provide the party with a cooler full of my infamous whoop juice.  That was the fluttering of the butterflies wings that would lead to my eventual demise.

The plans were finalized and the date was set for Friday night.  I got off of work on Wednesday morning and caught a few hours of sleep before setting out for the making of madness.  The key to the whoop juice is making it far enough in advance to allow all the fruit a good soak time.  So, Wednesday I went to the liquor store to gather up the key ingredients.

I don't often share my secrets, but here are the main 
components of "whoop" juice aka jungle juice aka
hunch punch aka whatever you call it.  It's basically
liquor, fruit, and fruit juice and it's a dangerous

Throughout Wednesday and Thursday night we began to create the party zone.  The room came to be called the "kill" room as it strongly resembled one of the rooms where Dexter fulfills his form of justice.  What we didn't really account for was that this stuff is basically identical to a slip n' slide when wet.  Poor planning, I know, but it really did look awesome.

Kill Room

I was proud as could be carrying that cooler full of that evil fluid into that party on Friday night.  Then when the initial reports came back confirming it's deliciousness, I felt like a proud parent.  I'm a bit of a catalyst when it comes to party.  I somehow always convince people to go outside the box to find their good time.  Friday was no different.  Then it didn't take any effort once everyone started filling themselves up with this delicious tropical paradise in a cup.  With the music playing and the lights going, everyone was having a great time.  

Let's fast forward a few hours.  I'm now many glasses in and in a state of consciousness that can only be described as impaired.  I am in the kill room and not even doing anything crazy at the moment!  I was standing there just talking when the inevitable happened.  My red solo cup decided to release itself from my services and bomb our plastic floor with it's tasty payload.  This is why we lined the whole room in plastic.  I'm going on about how dumb I feel, but how genius this idea was when it happened.  One misstep of my uncoordinated feet and i'm down.  My knee went down so hard into that concrete floor that i'm honestly glad that I really didn't hurt anything.  No permanent injuries doesn't mean I haven't been layed up for the past few days though.  Of course it didn't hurt me that night, but the next day I didn't know if I was going to be able to get out of bed.  A little stretching and it was free again, but I was stuck with the party injury.  Such is life I guess.

So in conclusion I volunteered to make the drink, built a plastic covered kill room, bought the liquor that reduced my coordination, made a cooler full of whoop juice, drank a lot of it, lost my coordination, spilled the drink, and slipped in the puddle.  There you go.  The butterfly effect!

On a different note I had set up my camera on the DJ table and was using my remote to randomly click off pictures all night.  After looking through all 250 of them I decided we definitely had a good night.  Here is a choice selection for my friends. 

Me getting the camera set up.  I guess the curtain
in the bottom of the frame didn't bother me at the time.
With a little cropping, these will still make some great

The only group shot we managed early in the night.

Random party shot.  I was creeping in the background
of almost all of the photos.  My remote doesn't work 
through bodies!

No idea...

I just really like the madness of this picture.  I'm apparently
in full howl right here!

Straight creepin!

At one point a full on dance circle broke out.

There are many many more pictures, but i'll spare you the time!  I can't wait to do this again.  I definitely have one amazing group of friends.  life is never boring with them around that's for sure!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kyle Does Art.... Kind Of

My regulars will know that recently I have become a little bit obsessed with the sport of benchmark hunting.  Sport is used a little bit loosely, but I have a lot of fun doing it.  What is it, you ask? Well, it's basically searching for something specific using gps and other forms of navigation.  I spend most of my time seeking out antique survey markers using old survey notes dating back to 40's.  I just enjoy being able to spend the time outdoors searching for something.  I'm always searching for something. I've come to find out that these little markers are pretty much everywhere and i've gotten pretty good at picking them out.  I've managed to find quite a few around this little town.  At one point in time there were a couple that were even out on our barrier islands, but they are long since considered lost. 

What do you do when you find them?  Honestly, nothing.  You definitely don't move them. (not that you really could without a crane)  What do I do?  I log them into a book I have and photograph them. Exciting right?  It's just one of the little things that keep me occupied.  What i've been doing here recently is altering the photographs and making an art form, of sorts, out of these benchmarks.  

Here are a few:

Normal benchmark

Now Kyle's "Art" benchmarks

Eventually I want to collect enough of these to tile a poster with.  Only a few people will find any interest in something like that, but I sure will enjoy it.  Until then i'll just keep collecting.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Time for Training

Sometimes I can tend to be a very unmotivated person.  Therefore it usually takes a goal to start getting around to doing something.  In my last post, I revealed that my buddy Brandon and myself will be setting off into the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness of south western Colorado.  That means I have to get back into hiking shape.  

How do I do this?

Training.  I don't have the knees or the motivation to ever become a long distance runner, but there are other ways to get into good hiking shape.  Honestly, the only reason i've ever found myself running on a hike is because I came across something I wanted to get far far away from.  Before a big backpacking trip you really have to get comfortable with weight and uneven ground.  One of my favorite ways to train for this is what I call heavy hiking.  I got out to my local National Seashore Park and start turning laps on their "nature" trail while i'm wearing my weight vest.  

Small section of trail

I started doing this a few days ago and I typically always start out the same way using just the weight vest.  The vest is 25lbs and it's a good weight to get comfortable with.  As I start making easier work of the miles I will start adding weight in various ways.  The weight goes a long way for conditioning along with improving your footing.  Footing is one of my big problems.  I take tumbles just walking on normal ground, so the woods can be quite the challenge for me on occasion.  

Loaded down working up a good sweat.

I do have one HUGE problem though.  I am training at nearly sea level.  We will see altitudes of 12k+ when we are out west.  I could tell a huge difference at the 7k Grand Canyon.  My legs were with me, but my lungs weren't so much.  If you know anything I can do to prepare for the altitude please let me know!  

Until Next Time,

All tips are welcome!  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Drum Roll Please

My adventure buddy Brandon has been in town the past week.  I don't know if you've been following long enough to catch our Grand Canyon trip, but if you have a little time and interest here are all the links.

Grand Canyon Day 1

Grand Canyon Day 2: Part 1, Part 2

Grand Canyon Day 3

Grand Canyon Day 4

Grand Canyon Day 5

We are always talking about our next great trip.  Our spring trip kind of fell apart and that's when I went to the Natchez Trace as a quick change of plans.  Well, we have made the final decision for our next destination of choice.  I put up a little sneak peek picture for my followers on Instagram and Facebook last week.

The sneak peek

Sometime in late September I will be flying out to El Paso to meet Brandon.  We are going to hop in his truck and drive 10 hours north to Mt. Sneffels Wilderness near Ouray, Colorado!  We are going to be enjoying 4 days of hiking and camping around high altitude lakes while being surrounded by 13,000 + ft peaks; the neighborhood giant is over 14k.  We will be camping on a ridge above the lowest of the lakes at around 11,000 ft.  

We are in the first stages of planning this trip.  Over the next couple weeks we will be nailing down the dates and other details.  I will be keeping you updated along the way.  

I know this isn't the best of pictures, but this is what we will 
be seeing from our camp.  Wait till I come back with my own

One more announcement.  I will be embarking on a smaller hiking/camping trip into the woods of Georgia during the 1st week of July.  Just a quick little get out of town trip to clear the mind and soul.  I'm definitely looking forward to any kind of camping I can do.

Until Next Time,