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Another Step Closer

As I mentioned in my last post, I arranged for Freedom Motors, the outfit that performs the X-WAV conversion on vehicles including the Honda Element I own, to send a sales rep in a converted Element to my home so I could look it over and interact with it, necessary to be absolutely sure it’s the right vehicle for me with my Quantum 614 power wheelchair.

Yesterday afternoon, right on schedule, a bright green Element festooned with Freedom Motors advertising pulled into my driveway. Andrew, the pleasant representative from FMI driving her, removed the right front seat and readied the little SUV for me to try.

I was delighted to find I could drive my power chair aboard, rotate it and be ready to go on my first try. I’d had a slight concern that my 614 with its long wheelbase might have difficulty negotiating the Element’s cabin, but my worries proved groundless, and the automated ramp and doors closed with no trouble at all.

I haven’t driven it yet, but the few questions I had have been answered. Rather than using the wheelchair in the left front drivers’ position, I’ll park it on the right side, raise the chair’s left hand armrest, and slide the few inches into the driver’s seat. Owing to my limbs’ weakness, this will take some practice, but as you’ll see in the video of the demonstration I’ve posted, there are no obstructions to hinder me and the action is similar to the sideways movements I use daily to position myself and transfer from my bed to and from my wheelchair. The only additional equipment I might need is a smooth transfer board to slide on if any difficulties arise, but I doubt even that will be needed.

It is possible to use the wheelchair to drive from, but it turns out that’s an additional $2500 modification for the device that secures the chair to be fitted and installed, and would require my going to Michigan for the fitting, since every chair requires individual attention to assure it’s exactly right for the user. No, thanks…I’ll slide over!

The one additional expense I hadn’t counted on is the relocation of the manual emergency brake, which is currently on the floor and very much in the way when I’d be transferring. Apart from relocating it, the brake will be actuated by a solenoid operated by a pushbutton, so I won’t have to worry whether I’ll have the hand strength to operate it. The $650 expense is a minor issue; if once the fundraising goal is met I come up short by that amount I can easily finance it if need be.

I’m excited, the X-WAV is everything I thought it would be, and the electric automated ramp and doors mean I won’t have any trouble trying to operate them with a dominant left hand and arm that have lost most of their function.

Well…all systems are go. I can proceed full speed ahead with fundraising for my cause with no lingering worries that this is just the right vehicle to regain my mobility.

I’m dreaming of the day when I can safely drive again without the hazard of falling that I still face every time I have to go out to get to a doctor’s appointment, and that keeps me from driving at all for any other purpose than that. Being able to take my wheelchair with me will restore so much of my life that was taken away when MS disabled me to this point, from being able to move about a park, shop at a store or dine out at a restaurant. I’ll be able to get out in public to cover events for the essays I write for the American Daily Herald, interview members of the public along with politicians and officials, and best of all, help Dr. Ron Paul’s campaign for the 2012 presidential election…IF I can get some assistance to publicize this project and get the word out to all those people I know are out there ready and willing to contribute the small amounts that in large enough numbers will Get Glenn Mobile!

Please help speed that day’s arrival by donating what you can and telling the people in your life…friends, family, coworkers…about this project. We’ve come a long way since this blog began in August, and there’s still a way to go, but with your assistance I’m confident that it will come sooner rather than later.

Bitcoin Donation Address: 1N9FWbFhTQrmTTQwMYYMBoc4ymdXBKSg5L

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Krip Kam #3 video released!

This video is a result of my going for shakedown cruise with the wheelchair mount I assembled to allow me to take pics and videos from my power chair using a reasonably steady platform for my camera.

Even though I traveled a mile to the parking lot I use as a flying site while bearing my micro R/C airplane and gear as well as my camera, only to find that the wind had sprung up to a speed too high to fly in, it was a valuable trip for getting some experience with this sort of thing, and I’m pleased with the results.

I’m enjoying the whole video creation process, from selecting suitable music at Incompetech to trimming the individual clips to creating and placing titles, then putting it all together to make it tell a coherent story.

I hope I’m succeeding in this and improving my technique as I go…but you can be the judge of that! As always, comments, questions and constructive criticism are welcomed.

The Breakfast Club

My friend Karen dropped by today for breakfast after my mom taunted her with homemade waffles recently, and the goods were as tasty as promised. Karen’s not only a good friend, she’s familiar with the ins and outs of neurological disorders like mine and autoimmune problems in general. It’s always good to have friends you can really talk with, and while I certainly count myself lucky to have so many online friends, there’s nothing like hanging out with people in the 3-D world!

I went out earlier, well before breakfast with the intention of doing some flying at my usual parking lot. The weather was unseasonably warm and days where I can be out past my block are short, so it was worth a shot. Not too surprisingly, as soon as I got my little Aeronca Champ unpacked, the wind whipped up. It picked the plane up, spun it around and dropped it. No damage, but flying wasn’t going to happen.

It was a worthwhile trip though, I was able to take my camera with me and took a bunch of video while testing my now-complete camera mount. It’s as good and versatile as expected and I plan to have some fun editing my raw footage into a new Krip Kam video. It should be posted within the next couple of days, so be on the lookout!

The Plan Evolves

Yow, yet again I’m going too long between updates.  Nope, that won’t do.

I’m enjoying where this blog’s going, I just need to prioritize my time and assets better. I spend a lot of time thinking about, writing and editing my articles for the Herald, and lo and behold I’ve left myself no energy for blogging at the end of the day.

Blogging is supposed to be about fun, so even though my goal is certainly a serious one, that’s what I’ll concentrate on here. I’ll save the more serious stuff for my online essays…and it’ll be a lot more enjoyable just to relax here!

Speaking of fun, I’m only awaiting one part to make my Krip Kam setup as useful as it’s capable of being, and it should arrive in a very few days. I’m really enjoying the creative process of photography, editing and scoring each project. They’re not terribly demanding of energy and yield a lot of pleasure, so look for a whole lot more as time passes and I gain skill.

I do love a good adventure!

Bad Blogger…No Biscuit!

I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since I posted last…the days really are running together, one of the not-so-pleasant things about being housebound with this late fall weather, I observe to my chagrin.

The time hasn’t been entirely unproductive, I had another article published over at the American Daily Herald a few days ago, and so far it seems well received. I certainly enjoy the writing, but it does take it out of me. To a healthy observer, it must seem like I’m moving at a snail’s pace; lots of breaks to clear my mind, making sure to keep some food in me lest I get even more lightheaded and gloomy than usual, and LOTS of editing. I’m the sort that mainly edits on the fly, not a bad thing when I’m writing a narrative based on my experiences…there’s a strong tendency for the topic to get lost as my mind tries going in a dozen directions at once. A 2000-word article takes me a good two to three days to put together, something that I could have done in a matter of hours in my healthy days.

The satisfaction of putting these things down in print is worth it though, and gives me all the incentive I could want to keep up with it. Still and all, I only have a limited amount of energy even when I’m at my best (remember the Spoon Theory I wrote about a while back?) and I just haven’t had anything left at the end of the day in me to write anything here.

It’s getting better with practice, albeit slowly, and that’s gratifying. Over these last few weeks I’ve also been devoting a bunch of time and effort to getting up to speed on my videography. That first Krip Kam video came out acceptably, but there was and is plenty of room for improvement. It’s not just the editing that’s been on my mind, I also spent some time researching no-royalty music I could use in my videos without running afoul of the  horribly tangled IP regulations that swarm around these creative endeavors.

In this area, I’ve found some fine resources, but one stands out from all the rest: Kevin MacLeod’s terrific incompetech web site…he’s a gifted and prolific musician who’s also very serious about helping people like me (substitute the phrase ‘poor slob’ in my case) find all sorts of great audio for all manner of creative productions. His songs and sounds are available in every conceivable shade of tone and feeling to fit any project, the site is the most user-friendly I’ve come across in a long time, and best of all, he only asks for a properly worded attribution for himself in new works, along with an acknowledgement of the Creative Commons license structure. If you’ve ever wondered how you can find genuinely good music for a video or other artistic endeavor, look no further.

There’s plenty more coming, but I’m out of juice for now, so until I get caught up, allow me to leave you with my latest offering in my Krip Kam© series of videos. It’s my first go at using a wheelchair mounted camera for videography, as well as trying new things with my video editing skills. I hope you like Krip Kam Video #2!