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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Check out the FIREFIGHTERCO22 YOU TUBE Channel! I’ve uploaded some simple videos about Firefighter Training and Fitness.

The last 6 days I have taken a “back to basics” approach to my fitness. Taking a cue from Chris over at FSW, after a minor tweak, I’ve simplified my training to get my overall conditoning back up to speed. Over the last year I’ve had ongoing medical issues. Serious enough to lose some strength and stamina but not serious enough to put me down and out.

I had yet another test last week which was negative, it’s good becuase there was nothing wrong, but bad that we can’t figure out what’s wrong. So back to fitness. I’ve been doing nothing but PUSH UPS, PULL UP , AIR SQUATS and JUMPING ROPE. Max reps or time over 6 sets. DAMN I FEEL GASSED by the end!

Every once in a while take a step back, recharge and get going again. Sometimes we must take 2 steps back to move 1 step a-head!

Thanks for reading


Some writing text say you should make sure your opening sentence attracts the readers and ensures they want to continue reading. I’m just going to jump into this, with no plan and with hopes that you, the reader, will get something out of it.

 Music has always been and will always be an inspiration to me. At the age of 10 I started playing trumpet, at 12 started guitar and 14 started the drums. When I was 13 my cousin asked me to play in his band. They were all a few years older then me. We tried writing our own stuff. It was a strange mix of Dead Kennedy’s, Danzig and Pantera. We would play; take breaks by skating the mini ramp in the back yard and of course getting into other trouble. Before this time I wanted to play Major League Baseball and was good at school. During a very important time in a young mans life, puberty, I had to go through what most American youth have and will deal: my parents divorce. Soon after their split another complication reared its head. In the winter of 1992 I became very ill. In the local hospital I had surgery to remove excessive fluid from my left sinus. Within 3 days it returned and I was transferred to Children’s Memorial in Chicago. Turns out I had some strange infection on my brain and it needed to be removed. The location of it was just behind my left eye and the swelling was so severe my eye was swollen open and the eyeball was literally popping out. Anyone that has ever been around someone with an infection knows they have extreme fevers and become very delusional. That was me, 13 years old in a state of utter confusion and extreme illness. Good news is the infection was removed and I recovered. Two years later the infection returned to my sinus and they opted to remove the sinus. For those that know me and have met me in person, if you notice the scar that spans from left to right, now you know why.

 Why talk about this on a Firefighting blog? After my surgery, even at 14 years old, I realized I had to make my own way. No one was gonna give me anything, I had to take it. Grab my MP3 player and you will find nothing but Hardcore and Punk. Never will I change who I am, just how I get things done. It’s all in the attitude. The music I listen to tells it straight, how it is. Never could I get into alternative music, it was too abstract. Hardcore, most of what I listen to is positive, talks about being proud of yourself, working hard and staying true. So much of the message is really what the Fire Service is and should be about. The following is a perfect example. This is My Life, My Way by NYHC Legends Agnostic Front:

If I die before I wake, if I make it to another day
This is my life, it’s my destiny – so I will do it my way!
If I fail or I succeed, if I make it through another day
It’s my life, it’s my destiny – so I will do it my way!

I’ve learned the hard way
In this life, nothing came easy to me
And never will I ever be fake, never will I follow
That’s just my personality

Can’t look ahead without looking back
All the hard times gave me strength
I chose to follow my own path – my life my way!
I found a place where I can be
You can say it’s destiny!
Either way I know it’s where I’m supposed to be
This one’s for the rebels!

We came up the hard way
That was our life, that was our reality
Never did we give up faith, some lead and others follow
With us there’s only one way to be
We weathere every single attack
And fought to keep my on the map
Say what you want but the proof is there to see
- my life my way!
We helped unite never turned our backs
We stayed the course never fell off track
Or sold out for some bullshit industry

 I’ve always been a D.I.Y. type of person, meaning do it yourself. When I was in a band, we recorded and sold our own music. We didn’t wait for a record deal. When no record deal came, I started my own label. We learned to silk screen and made our own shirts and when the Internet came around we started our own website. If a booking agent wouldn’t support us we booked our own shows. Lucky for us places like Fireside Bowl and UIC in Chicago allowed us to play and do what we loved, playing our music for true fans.

 For me another way to make sure I stay true and always make progress is living Straight Edge. Straight Edge means no drugs, no alcohol, no smoking and no chasing loose women! I live a poison free life and can keep clarity of mind at all times. Life is too short to waste time drunk, high and destroying my body.

The idea for this post came to me tonight while I was out for a run. The music in my ears, no one on the streets and when the moonlight was just right my running partner would appear. Always just ahead of me, I push harder to catch my shadow partner, never able to catch him. My run also brought me to my backyard, which is next to the cemetery. Everyday I am reminded of how short my time on this planet is and how much I still want to do and see. I may never accomplish it all but at least I know I gave it my all. No time can be wasted waiting for someone else to do things for me, I must control myself.

 As I finished my run I walked down the main drive that goes past my house. I stopped and starred at my house, the moon lighting up the backyard and blasted My Life, My Way. Standing there I reflected on where I came from and where I’m going. Their was always this strange feeling in me that I was meant for something, something bigger then myself. At 14 years old I had the same feeling except I didn’t know where I was meant to be. Now at 33 I do. I will never back down, I will always fight, and I will always have my brothers back. My life was meant to be dedicated to the Fire Service. I know this to be true.

Once is a while take the time to stop and Dance in the Moonlight.

Forgive my writing style. My ability to write has been tuned and refined through a musical background. Most of my pre-adulthood was spent strumming a guitar, banging on drums and writing lyrics about how the world has done me wrong. So here and now I try write emotion and the words are sometimes abstract, since they are my emotions rather then words telling the whole story.

Why perseverance? Today in my training session I was racking a 1 rep max well below my personal best. It left a terrible taste in my mouth. Days of training so vigorously has left me nothing to show for it. I thought to my self, “what if this was the fight of my life, the fight I’m always preparing for.” Of course this battle I speak of is the fire where I not only must perform my job but perform where I must save a life, a life that could be my own.

Stopping to gather my thoughts I thought about the courage I would need when faced with that moment. Isn’t it really the same courage I need now to put that weight on my back, squat down then stand back up? It is. Although completely different circumstances, in the mind it is the same. Overcoming an obstacle and Persevering.

Re-racking the weight I realized it’s just as much about regrouping to defeat the enemy as it to charge the enemy head on. The difference, you must understand the ememy and not go forth blindly. Put yourself into this position. For me it was taking a deep breath, pausing then grasping the bar. I released my breath and took another short inhalation while I gripped the bar tighter, sunk down, hit the mark then forced it back up exhaling on the way. All that needed to happen was to understand my enemy and know how to engage in battle. It was not about the chance of losing or satisfaction of victory. My mind and body needed to prepare for what was to happen.

This may all sound very melodromatic, which it could be. What difference is it that I went from not hitting all reps at one weight to blasting through to my 1 rep max? It was my mind overcame the obstacle, I persevered in the face of uncertainty. As you go through your day and with everything you do, take a step back allow yourself to make a mind-body connection. If you have a problem or something is giving you trouble, don’t just power through, think about it from all angles and the solution will present itself and you will succeed, you will persevere.

“The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.” Sun-tzu

Firefighting, obviously, is a very hands on activity. Although you should never put your practical training on the back burner, the fall and winter months are a perfect time to read. Just don’t read the blogs either, grab some good old fashion paper bound together by a cover. For myself I’m enrolled in the local community college. Each semester I have time for one class, which allows me to read one book every 4-5 months. Currently I am taking Fire Investigation and reading two books on the subject. Try not to just read technical sources. Get into a text that talks about the job itself. Pride and Ownership by Rick Lasky is a great pick me up when your down about the job and a energy boost to push even harder when times are good. It doesn’t stop there, pick up something not Fire Related. Looking for a promotion read books about leadership, want to improve your health; grab a health and nutrition guide.

Reading can stimulate your mind, which in turns keeps your body going strong. As much as this profession is physical, our mental capacity is what allows us to do it!


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