Monthly Archives: August 2011

Getting creative

I’m delighted by my friends out there in the world, judging by all of the the comments, posts of support and of course the wonderful filthy lucre I see accruing in the PayPal account, you folks are really pitching in…THANK YOU ALL!

Every dollar is most appreciated, since every dollar brings me that much closer to being able to board my vehicle and just motor off. A late summer’s day like today would be perfect, come to think of it.

Perhaps you’ll indulge me while I blue-sky for a bit….I can see the itinerary in my mind’s eye already:

Maybe hit the Copper Kettle over in Green Hills for a light lunch, they offer the charming Southern traditional meat-and-three style of service along with all the other tasty à la carte dishes you’d expect to find. Today is Wednesday, and that means their featured meat entrée is their coconut chicken, which I’ll gladly attest is fabulous.  With some favorite sides like glazed carrots, buttered corn, and perhaps their renowned Jalapeno Cheese Grits to fulfill the ‘-and three,’ you can dine like a king for nine bucks, and the southern hospitality is genuine.

Afterwards, I could head over to the Edwin Warner model flying field for some air time. I’ve got everything needed ready to go right now!

It doesn’t take a big outlay to fly R/C planes these days…all false modesty aside, I am one of the best around for sniffing out outrageously good deals online, especially on eBay. I recently scored an amazing one, courtesy of my mom who insisted on paying for it. It arrived in a box seemingly big enough to ship livestock in, and by the time I got done digging through the contents, I was feeling almost guilty for all the goodies inside, starting with a rather large, ready to fly Curtiss P-40 Warhawk electric 5 channel radio control airplane, two 4-cell lithium polymer batteries to power it, and a nicely built AC-680 battery charger. Just the electronic goodies and batteries exceeded the amount paid, it was like buying them and getting a nifty near-5 foot span warbird gratis (and the shipping cost of that monster box, naturally). It looks to be a good flyer and I suspect it would be something I’d really enjoy!

After a full day’s excitement, after the sun goes down, it’s hard to think of a better place to unwind than the Nashville Flying Saucer Pub. It’s located in the old stone freight building adjoining Nashville’s Union Station, now an upscale hotel since the days of plush public railway transport are long gone except for a few private specialty railroad services.

I spent a lot of time here in my healthy days, throwing darts in the back room or relaxing in the patio area, with members of the friendly and courteous staff always nearby, ready to see to customers’ needs. The Saucer’s famous for its huge selection of beers from around the world, kind of ironic since I’m not much of a beer drinker! The food available was always top notch if you were feeling peckish, and they serve a wonderful concoction known as Hummingbird Water, made from a mixture of hard pear cider and Lindeman’s Belgian framboise ale that was my perennial favorite. This nectar is like a potable confection and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

On the way home, I could make one last stop, park and take the evening air at one of the many public access areas scattered around Percy Priest Lake. The view of the lake on a nice evening is lovely, and best of all, my home’s only a couple of miles from it!

Not a bad day’s outing, wouldn’t you say?

There’s only one catch:

Until this blog’s purpose is fulfilled, until my Honda Element is modified so I can safely use it again and drive it from my powered wheelchair, I can’t do a single one of the above activities.

Not one.

Apart from the primary goal of avoiding the risk of transferring to and from my power chair…leaving it behind and reliant on my mom to schlep me around in my manual wheelchair at the destination…for the times when I have to go somewhere like a doctor’s appointment, I think of all the times over the last several years when I simply wanted to go out…but couldn’t.

You folks are doing a stellar job, but there’s a long way to go…please don’t quit on me.

Tell your friends and family about this blog if you like it. Everyone’s welcome to enjoy all the fun pics, links and videos while they’re here, and make comments or ask questions at their pleasure. But at the end of the day, it’s your donations that will make the difference and allow me to regain so many of the things in life that multiple sclerosis has robbed me of.

Won’t you take a moment to hit that PayPal button and give a little to the cause? Like I said, every dollar gets me closer to freedom, so I’m truly grateful for every dollar contributed.

Thanks so much!

Glenn

Inch By Inch…

More than one person has expressed their concern to me about how ambitious this project is, that perhaps I’m aiming too high here. They’re being polite of course…what they’re thinking is “you’re nuts, trying to raise twenty-six grand from strangers all over the world who don’t know you from Adam.”

Fair enough, that’s definitely a chunk of change, but that’s the wonder of the internet…being able to reach huge numbers of people at an opportunity cost that’s next to zero, especially compared to the pre-internet days of fundraising with its phone and mailing lists, the time and expense of printing thousands of flyers, and of course the costs of postage and phone bills to get that message out. Factor in the reality that most people who received phone calls or mailed flyers simply weren’t inclined to contribute to the cause in question and you had a lot of wasted phone calls and flyers wadded up and tossed in the trash. I hate waste.

With the internet, if people aren’t interested they just move on…no expense incurred to the would be fund raiser, and better still, no trash to add to all the other junk out there as a result!

But those who do contribute do so because they want to do something helpful for a cause that they’ve come to believe is a worthy one. That makes it my job to convince them that my goal IS a worthy one,and I’m happy to do the convincing. Honestly, I don’t see it as all that tough a job. All I have to do is describe the reality of my situation well enough so people can really understand it and put themselves in my place.

Those  folks who are willing to help know their donation isn’t going to vanish into the ether on some vague and nebulous promise that it’ll somehow do some good somewhere at some undefined point. The goal is concrete, this fundraising effort is viable, and as I’ve posted before, the target may not be within bowshot yet, but it sure is very much in sight. When my Element is successfully converted, I’ll quit adding PayPal buttons to my posts and change the name of the blog to something suitable like Glenn’s Happy Smiley World-O-Fun Blog…you get the idea, something more laid back and casual than its current, more urgent mission.

Their donation won’t be diluted by ‘operating ‘ or ‘overhead’ expenses, because I have none, thanks to that aforementioned near-zero opportunity cost. I’m doing this on my own. Being forcibly retired by this stupid mindless disease gives me plenty of time to really put some of myself into it with my efforts, and that’s a healthy thing to do with my energy.

Best of all, that donation will, like the tag line of this blog says, help a disabled guy get his life back after having it shattered by a particularly nasty affliction, and that’s not some maudlin story ginned up to provoke an emotional response. It’s ME…and being human I can’t help absolutely hating that it’s me and not some truly nasty creep who really earned it…but I’m stuck with it.

This project is going to happen. It won’t happen in one miraculous swoop, it’s going to succeed because I’m going to do what it takes to reach the thousands of people I know are out there who can’t afford to do much, but they can give a buck here and a buck there without straining too hard…and that will get the job done.

My friend Arlo Guthrie knows all about this idea. I can say with confidence that he’s my friend even though we’ve never met; as he’s said before himself, when people’s hearts and minds are in the same place, they’re friends, even if they never actually encounter one another. Arlo knows all about accomplishing things a bit at a time…inch by inch and mile after mile.

Glenn

The Devil’s In The Details

I received a reply from a member of a forum I hang out on quite a bit, in response to my first post…one almost identical to the post that was ‘disappeared’ from that Honda Element Owner’s Club, except this one’s evidently okay with the moderators at this particular forum. I got the impression I hadn’t fully communicated the quirky specifics of my situation judging by his response, which while thoughtful and caring made me think he hadn’t grasped it all.

I hate typing so much, but accuracy demands a comprehensive coverage of the matter at hand, so here’s his question along with my reply:

(Member writes): I had a nephew with MS, and saw what it did to him. Unlike you, he had the “luck” of at least being born in a country with a pretty good social security system, meaning he did get most of what he needed to make his life bearable, but even so there was very little to be envious about.

Now those modified cars you are talking about, they are expensive as hell; dont get me wrong, its not like I wouldnt wish you one, but I have to ask… isnt there at least any organized hospital transport available? Like a minivan/ambulance/taxi? Its common here. Its obviously nowhere near as good as having your own car, but when my late father had to undergo dialysis, he was picked up by a minivan from the hospital 3x or 4x a week (and thanks to our social security, it cost nothing, or next to nothing, which kinda makes sense as its still so much cheaper than hospitalizing him). If that doesnt exist there, then surely there must be someone willing to take you there, I mean, every other month? Neighbors, family, friends? Heck, I dont even know you, but if Id lived any closer, Id gladly drive you now and then. Seems like the very least one could do.

Anyway, as for your actual question, I cant seem to find the forum rules; but even if somehow there was a rule you’d break by linking your blog (I seriously cant imagine what rule that would be), sometimes rules are meant to be broken and this would seem like a perfect reason to do it. This has nothing to do about swindling or spamming, and afaict, this is still a community of human beings.

And today’s reply:

Thanks for responding!

It might be productive if I emphasize some pertinent details, I’m thinking:

Sorry about your nephew. I wouldn’t wish this MonSter of a disease on any human. As many say “The difference between a very serious disease and MS is that while the serious disease threatens to kill you outright…MS threatens not to.”

When you mention the expense, well, yes, the mod to my vehicle is inconveniently expensive, and you clearly mean well…but if someone told you this: “Your life is now basically over. You can’t ever do any of the things you used to again except for eating, sleeping, being on a computer or going to a doctor’s office. By the way, the cost to get a good deal of your life back is about $25,000, but no one thinks you’re worth it.”

Wouldn’t you exert some effort to make this statement a lie?

I already have a power wheelchair.

In my garage is a 2008 Honda Element with only 3500 miles on it, and after my last payment on it in September plus whatever fiddling amount in fees they may have tacked on, it will be entirely mine and I can do as I please with it.

I’m two-thirds of the way there!

Maybe telling some more of my story will help you see why I feel pretty darn confident about this wacky adventure:

When I was told by my flight surgeon that he couldn’t renew my first class aviation medical certificate, I found myself unable to fly just a week later when my current one expired. On my blog, in fact, I added the YouTube video of very my last approach and landing in the Mitsubishi MU-2 I’d flown for years to my very first blog entry. I think it’s worth a look.It had better be, ’cause I don’t think I’ll be able to get IN an airplane’s cockpit again, much less fly it  😯

My paychecks stopped that week. I went with zero income for 2 1/2 years, and the better part of the last two years of that was spent fighting the government to get them to acknowledge that I was actually disabled.

When this ordeal began, I had just paid off my previous car, so that wasn’t a factor, and during it the local Civitan Club kindly built custom ramps in my home long before a wheelchair was in sight…just in case.

At its end I was 2 weeks from losing my home, but even that was resolved.

Even though I had just been approved for permanent disability status and had that fat retroactive check enroute, my mortgage company wanted to toss me out anyway…but a call to the local newspaper whose reporter called my mortgage company to verify that they were actually planning to throw an 8-years-in-residence, profoundly disabled homeowner in the street for being  just 3 months behind in his mortgage payment, and they scurried like cockroaches under a kitchen light, suddenly turning very accommodating and understanding.

You see? For all the atrocious things I was forced to deal with, between the disease crippling me, the government trying to delay me to death, treacherous medical people trying to delay my disability decision even further in order to make me a compliant and dependant research guinea pig…for all these things…my story is full of miracles! I should have been homeless and destitute, but that didn’t happen.

No way I could give up now…too many wonderful things have happened for me to dishonor what’s happened and give up at this point!

Besides, as one of my favorite writers, Robert A. Heinlein said: “Money problems can always be solved by a man not frightened by them.” I’m a believer. I’ve found that if I don’t just sit here and expect good things to happen to me, and am willing to put some heart into an endeavor, it’ll happen if it needs to.

In regards to public transport for the disabled, I am actually going through the bureaucratic maze of getting approved for ‘Access Ride’ here in Nashville, but it looks like it’ll be unpleasant at best to use…they require you to call and make an appointment for a ride, but make it clear there’s at least a couple of hours leeway for the actual pickup time, they require more notice if you need to get somewhere more than 1.5 miles from a bus stop, and if you miss your return pickup time by any amount of time, the driver will leave immediately.

There’s more, but you get the idea…it’s a dismal grey bureaucratic mess. Imagine the surly workers at a motor vehicles department being in charge of your mobility. No thank you, sounds like a fine way to find yourself alone and stranded on a winter night.

I don’t mean to demean your thoughtful mention of finding someone to take me places, or even offering to do so yourself if you were nearby, but I don’t think you quite absorbed the salient factor from my first post: having a volunteer available to take me places would still be no less hazardous than my current situation. The danger to me is in transferring from my power wheelchair to whatever vehicle it is, and out again later. THAT’s when I’m likely to fall and risk serious or fatal injury.

I drive just fine, amazingly enough. The threat comes from getting in and out of a vehicle with one utterly useless leg and completely unreliable physical balance.

Even then, the volunteer would have to push me around at the destination in that manual wheelchair since my powered chair gets left behind. That really limits what both people can do when they get wherever we’re going, and seems awfully unfair, especially for the volunteer trying to help.

I think the picture’s perhaps a bit clearer. As I’ve mentioned, this whole thing’s been going round and round in my head for months.

As to the blog? It’s only been about a day since I posted so I don’t yet feel right about posting the actual link…but let’s try this:

You’re aware that if you highlight a phrase on a page, then right click and select “Search Google for “(insert phrase)” from the options available, you’re likely to turn up something interesting, right?.

Try it on my favorite motto these days: Let’s Get Glenn Mobile!

Highlighting four words, right clicking, and selecting the search option isn’t too taxing, I believe…capiche?

Glenn

I hate having to be so verbose…I feel like I have to write a technical manual to get all the specifics across. Still, I checked over it and there didn’t seem to be anything there that didn’t need to be, so I submitted it as you see it.

As they say, the devil’s in the details.

Dammit.

Glenn

Mobilis in mobili

I was doing a little reading today and came across this nifty graphic:

The title says it, Mobilis in mobili, that’s Latin and roughly translated means “moving amidst mobility”, “moving within the moving element”, or “changing in the changes,” which nicely describes my quest here.

If you’ve read Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, you’ll recognize that it was also Captain Nemo’s motto, and while he certainly had some issues, his submarine Nautilus certainly fulfilled his fundamental need for freedom and independence, which really resonates with me.

All three of those interpretations can be applied to me if you think about it, but I have to smile at the “moving within the moving element” translation…exactly what I need…to be able to move freely into, from, and within my own Element (pun very much intended) which sure does move very nicely!

Take care, all.

Glenn

A lovely kick in the face

So much for my great idea.

I took a bit of time and effort when I posted my intro over at the Honda Element Owner’s Club as I reported yesterday, making it a bit shorter than the ‘about’ page here so I wouldn’t bore the socks off the casual reader, but included enough data to explain my dilemma and why I’d created his blog. I put it in their ‘Greetings and Introductions’ forum, since that looked likeliest. The description said:

“You’re new to the community? Not sure about our rules? This is the forum to use to introduce yourself to other EOC members and to learn the basics about our club and forum. We’re glad you are here…now make yourself known to us and start interacting.”

Cool, I wasn’t sure about the particulars of these rules, but it’s always a sure thing that any web site will prohibit direct solicitation, links from members not known to the community, or advertisements, as it should. We’ve all seen the various types of lowlifes that’ll barge into a group spewing all of the above, usually spamming every available forum with their crap. So I went ahead and told them about the bind I’m in, being sure not to add a single link or even naming this blog, just letting the community know who I was (including my own name) and specifically asking the members and moderators for suggestion and guidance with my project here.

I proofed it and posted it, then took off.

I returned last evening, hoping to see some helpful responses from community members or moderators…maybe someone had a helpful idea or suggestion I hadn’t thought of, ya never know, right?

Surprise! The post was gone. Vanished completely. Odd, I thought perhaps they’d moved it so I checked my member profile and it showed I had zero posts since I joined in 2008. Okeydokey…I wrote a second post, just three or four lines politely asking where my post had gone, reaffirming that I was sincere, not a spammer, and that I was mainly looking for suggestions and guidance at this point.

It was a troubling feeling, you’d think that if I’d violated any rules a moderator would have sent me a note explaining why.

This morning there was a PM from ‘Mike,’ one of the moderators there. Get this:

Your thread(s) were removed because...

...you were evidently soliciting for donations. Yes, your circumstances are unfortunate, but EOC cannot be used for solicitation. The policy is stated here in the forum FAQ.

 You are welcome to repost your intro without mention of your blog, or requests - direct or inferred - for monetary assistance.

 ...mike
 EOC Moderator
Yeehah! This yutz skimmed my post, drew his own conclusions without actually reading it, then vaporized it…way to go, Mike! I just have to post my response, I was rather proud of myself for maintaining my composure:

Hello, Mike-

You didn’t bother to actually read my post before zapping into oblivion, did you? ‘Evidently soliciting,’ my lifeless, dead foot.

A real spammer would have joined that day, had a random jumble of letters for a user name, would have posted the same spam in every forum, full of links, and been unresponsive to communication. A moderator worth his salt could spot the difference in a second.

I came here looking for fellowship and guidance, and got kicked in the face. I’ve been a moderator before, and have never treated a member with such callousness and indifference. No warning, no questions, not the slightest attempt to reach out.

If you’d read my post, I was seeking permission from the members and moderators to discuss my dire situation, and how best to solve it. Sure, if at a later point members felt my cause worthy, I’d have loved it if they visited my blog, participated in open discussion, and contributed to it, but there was never any solicitation.

I’m in a life threatening situation, it directly involves my Honda Element, which I adore, and I’m honestly scared to death that my progressive neurological disease will cause me to fall while I’m trying to use it, leaving me broken and bleeding on the concrete floor.

I feel like a hobo who found his way into a snooty country club and was thrown out by the bouncer before the members could be offended by his presence. Congrats, you threw the riffraff out.

I notice you didn’t even have the courtesy to address me by name, Mike. I suppose you view me as untermenschen…subhuman and not deserving of that courtesy.

Have you ever been that frightened, Mike? Ever really feared for your life from a clear and present danger? It’s not at all pleasant. I suspect you’d feel the same desperation to escape it as I do. Before you have a snicker at my attempt while deleting this note along with my post and call for help, you might want to stop and consider for a moment that what’s happened to me can happen to anyone…even you.

You’ll notice I’m verbose. Guilty…I love the language and using it to communicate which is why I picked the blog format to communicate my distress to the world…and have the ability for the world to communicate back.

I’m trying to make it a warm and friendly place; here it’s cold…cold as ice. Enjoy, I’ll seek warmer climes. Sayonara.

Glenn Horowitz

Hey, sometimes things don’t work out, but I was pretty appalled by the actions of this twerp, being a moderator carries a degree of responsibility with the job, and he acted like a rude moron. I especially liked that last line of his, You are welcome to repost your intro without mention of your blog, or requests – direct or inferred – for monetary assistance. Woohoo..shades of the totalitarian ‘PATRIOT’ Act, huh? Like when the spooks break into your house and trash it, rifle through your computer and papers, but you’re not allowed to talk about it to anyone for…ahem…stern voice…’reasons of national security.’ Give me a break.

I think my take on this was right on, I came into their spiffy country club looking for help and got the bum’s rush. Sure, I’m free to talk about myself so long as I don’t mention anything that might upset the locals or that I’m looking for ideas to better this blog and help it reach more people. Oh yeah, and by the way, Mike…and I’ll speak  s l o w l y  so perhaps you’ll get it this time: I surely am soliciting money for my cause. Here. Not on your message boards…but then I was serious…I won’t be back.

Thanks for the li’l kick in the face, Mike me lad. In return, have a nice BOOT TO THE HEAD on me! ♥

Glenn Horowitz

Gad, I want a new brain

Hooboy.

I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this before.

Well, scratch that, I know full well that it was because of this stupid MS stealing my brain’s RAM, making dealing with new information difficult at best. Old info, hey, no problem, I can talk about airplanes, both full size and models, all day long. In fact, I can jabber like the village idiot about any old data I’ve learned. I can spell antidisestablishmentarianism without breaking a sweat. But new data, not so much.

I’m serious when I talk about MS stealing my brain’s RAM. Confronted by a bunch of new data…like poring over all those fine print links to supposedly charitable resources…makes me lock solid, just like when you ask an obsolete computer to multitask. Oh, the ol’ CPU is just fine, but when I try to digest new stuff, especially a lot of it, I feel like I’m swimming in thick pudding.

So, three years after getting my Element, it suddenly occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, the zillions of members of the Honda Element Owner’s Club, which I joined weeks before even getting Miss Leeloo (that’s her name), might be sympathetic to the cause…getting me able to drive my own Element. I just wrote an appeal to post links to this blog on their member forums, and I bet it’ll be OK with the moderators overseeing them. Gee, not much of an oversight, just thousands of likely sympathetic folks who might be inclined to hit one of these PayPal ‘Donate’ buttons and drop a few bucks in the kitty…that I only just thought of.

Yep, I want a new brain, one that doesn’t lock up if you look at it crosseyed. One that recognizes hunger signals so I can have an appetite. One that doesn’t make me a basket of nerves when trying some new activity.

Even one that was on sale at a K-Mart blue light special would be an improvement.

Ahhh…much better. The generic look’s gone and I’m getting this arranged more to my liking. I’m spreading the word to my online friends and my favorite communities, and with any luck as the old commercial said “they’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on…”

I got thinking about this whole nutty venture this morning, it’s a gorgeous day and I’d wheeled over to my regular spot a mile away to fly my ultra micro radio control T-28.

I took off and as soon as it was airborne I realized I wasn’t going to be flying much today since the air was unpleasantly choppy even though there was almost no wind. I flew for a few minutes with the plane jumping around, making uncommanded turns, and in general not having a good time. Rather than push my luck and court disaster, I landed the little machine and packed it up.

It struck me that this exercise was reminiscent of my life in general: it has often been turbulent, but exercising my better judgment and not doing anything impulsive or stupid in bad times has pretty much always gotten me what I need. Not necessarily what I want, but what I need to survive and accomplish the most important stuff in my life.

Maybe it’s hokey…but it’s been true for many years.

Let’s see…

Does a PayPal donation button work?

Hallelujah, it does!

Now I’ve got to spiff up the look of the blog. Bear with me, I’m just getting started…

For the moment, you can jump in the cockpit with me on my last landing in an MU-2 back in 2006, and if you enjoyed it, perhaps you’ll consider dropping a buck or few in the kitty. There’ll be more vids and other cool stuff to come, this is just the beginning: