Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, July 18, 2004

My Week Leading Up to Becoming a Year Older (and wiser, perhaps?)

There's something very rewarding and fulfilling when you discover things on your own....getting such things to actually work is an added bonus! Sharing such discoveries with others is where you experience the most joy. What fun is it to learn things and have them bottled up in your mind and NOT share things with others?! In life, communicating ( in ANY way) with others is such an important aspect of living! It is how we find support, encouragement, correction, joy, sadness...pretty much the gamut of human emotion and feelings.

Perhaps, the best communicators (and people to communicate with) are teachers/professors. On Monday, when I went into work for Dr. Skouge, I was genuinely eager to show him what I had done over the weekend, after presenting at TFL. I am one who prefers to have a baseline to work from, assuming I have a project/assignment to do, ahead of time, as opposed to waiting until the last minute. Baseline, or models, allow us (or at least me) to, dare I say, procrastinate and maybe (just maybe) wait until the last minute to do things. Essentially if we have a baseline to follow, completing what we need to do should become "mindless" work. Now, mindless can imply not giving thought to something - that is NOT what I mean in this instance. My project entails communicating my life story as it evolves, so obviously I need and WANT to put in significant thought into what I convey. My aim, or should I say our (Dr. Skouge, Dr. Leake, and I) aim, is to present my story in a somewhat interesting, but more importantly accessible mode. Thus, my writing here at a blogging site.

Getting back to my point, I had discovered blogging a while back, dabbled in it a little and that was that - never feeling inspired or had the urge to maintain an online journal for the world (or whoever was interested) to see. But agreeing to participate in a project that Dr. David Leake is coordinating demands that one be willing to share as much as possible, and in ways that are creative, so that the goals of the project are met. I'll save the discussion of the goals of Dr. Leake's project for a later entry. So, blogging...I discovered that I could effectively and efficiently communicate my thoughts on my own and present them in such a way that was easy to follow and access! I also discovered how to enhance my sharing, by including text, audio, and even video!

I shared my work with Dr. Skouge and he, too, was genuinely excited about what I had discovered and worked on! This type of reaction and feedback can only serve to motivate someone to keep working just as hard. It also helps to have an experienced storyteller (or conduit for storytelling) like Jim, as a mentor, as he can provide me with ideas to enhance the ideas I might have come up with. "Audio is a powerful mode of media" - those words lingered in my mind for a while, and I was determined to find a way to be able to figure out how to incorporate audio into my blogging, thus my entry with my conclusion from my presentation Communication Strategies for Persons with Speech Impairments. As I'm typing, my mind is just running through the endless possibilities that lay ahead of me!

Jim and I had a wonderful week working together. I was able to sit in on a very important meeting that could potentially benefit a beautiful community on the Big Island (Hawaii). Sitting in on such meetings are great experiences as I'm able to learn how to act in the most professional way, respecting what the other participants are saying, all the while standing up for what YOU believe in. Sometimes you need to be agreeable, but at other times you need to stand up for what you believe in, throw it out into the open, and not be afraid of how it will be received. Ah, sounds like advice I could use in my own personal dealings with "professionals!"

Work does NOT need to be all serious and boring. This was demonstrated to the nth degree this week, right in Jim's office. Suffice it to say, Jim and I had a blast! We shared so many laughs throughout the week, and that was great! We fiddled around with technology that Jim has discovered (with the help of computer-tech genius, Silas), involving cameras and AOL Instant Messenger. The office now has the ability to hold video conferences with full-screen video that looks just like broadcast TV-quality! Apple makes amazing products! Anyway, we were "testing" this system, and the way Jim had set it up, he'd talk and his voice would travel into the deep spaces of the Internet and output on a laptop that couldn't be more than 3 feet away. This created a fascinating echo effect, since live sound travels faster than sound going through the 'net. I can't really explain it well, since the concept is way beyond that what my feeble mind can process...Bottomline, it is COOL!

On Thursday, July 15, I attended my first meeting as an appointed board member for the Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB). I was appointed to this position by our Governor, Linda Lingle. It's an honor and privilege I take very seriously. I was nervous going into Thursday since it would be a whole new ballgame to me. I had no expectations or pre-conceived notions of what this board meeting will entail. Jim, in his infinite wisdom, comments to me literally minutes before I am to leave for this meeting, "Just know that sometimes these types of board meetings can be very boring...but don't be afraid to share your thoughts and knowledge with them!" The existing board members were very warm in welcoming me to their group. Everyone on the board brings with them years of experience and wisdom, so I view this as yet another learning opportunity that will only prove to be beneficial to my growth, personally AND professionally.

Kristine, a staff member for DCAB, who's been extremely supportive and instrumental in allowing me to become more active in the disability movement community, especially as it relates to representing persons with speech impairments, provided me with encouraging words after I had relayed some of my initial thoughts after attending the my first Board meeting.

I won't reveal everything that went on during this meeting but I'll relay some of the thoughts that ran through MY mind. First, "How the heck did I get myself here!?!?!"
- everyone is established professionally and here comes in this "kid" who is still in school! Second, "Don't say anything that will make me look foolish!" - save that for future meetings, once I have established some credibility, that way the bar of forgiveness won't be set so high! Third, "Don't go against ANY votes" - I did my homework and read through the background information on the issues that were to be voted upon and I really agreed with everything that was proposed, thus this was NOT a big deal.

My Thursday was a long, long day. It began as usual around 5:30 a.m., and I didn't get home until about 8:30 p.m. But even then, I felt compelled to stay up even more - I'm a night owl. I do my better thinking at night. As soon as I got home, I checked my e-mail (a natural reaction for ALL people, right?!) and found out that my friend Aletha had purchased tickets for us to see a comedy show on Friday. Ralphie May, a nationally-known comic, made famous from appearing on NBC's Last Comic Standing and the late night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, was the headliner. Aletha saw an advertisement at the Blaisdell the week before, while attending TFL, and had asked if I'd be interested in checking that out. I've never attended, nor contemplated attending, any comedy shows, but I agreed to check it out.

I know I mentioned Aletha in a prior entry, but I'll elaborate a bit more. Aletha has opened up my eyes to the"fun" aspect of life. Enjoying my first beverage known as a 'screwdriver,' enjoying a tiny bit of crab (and living to write about it!), appreciating the ambiance on the Roof of Dave & Buster's, etc.
- These are all experiences that have resulted in the friendship I've developed, and am developing, with Aletha. She's definitely going to make for a wonderful Dr. Aletha, when she finds that "want-to" sense in finishing up her doctorates degree. It's not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN...time is a mute I mentioned to her, sometimes we need to become re-energized, and as soon as we do we can plow our way through just about anything we desire!

Paul Ogata, a local comedian here in Hawaii, opened for Ralphie May and he was funny as heck! What is up with girls dressing in shorter and shorter clothes these days anyway?! A thought to ponder. Aletha made an interesting observation that I'm now realizing is very true - we remember that a certain person is funny, but remembering exactly what they said that made us laugh so hard is almost impossible to do! With that said, and in respect to honoring the work of the comics, I won't even attempt to relay any jokes in full!

Ralphie May is a HUGE guy. But he is funny as funny can be! In my mind, he put on a solid show, going about a full 2-hours non-stop. It was much more than the PG-13 activities I had intended for Aletha to plan. But, what the heck, I will be a year older tomorrow - so why not get exposed to some R-rated material?! Ha ha....I don't think I've heard so much vulgarities uttered since watching South Park: The Motion Picture! The funniest material, at least in my mind, and I hope I don't come off as an insensitive person, was his set about ______. (Subject left blank to protect my integrity and maintain whatever respect I've earned thus far in life!) What he said was so true though, _______ truly are the happiest people on this Earth and people spend big bucks trying to become _______ (i.e. consuming alcohol and mind-altering substances). See picture below:

Aletha, Ralphie May, & Brian

As I reflect on my first 28 years of life, I definitely am proud of what I have accomplished. However, I am more excited and anxious of all of the opportunities that lay ahead of me. Numerous doors of opportunities have been opened, it is MY duty to take it upon myself and take the bull by the horn so to speak and walk through these doors. Or in my case, roll/wheel through them without hesitation! I believe that I haven't made my contribution to society yet, but these 28 years have placed me in a great position to reach my goal. Was Rome built in a day? Of course not! So, whether it takes me X amount of years, or Y amount of years, as long as I have the vision of a goal in the forefront of my mind and do everything in my control to reach that goal, I can't afford to become pre-occupied with the notion of time. Things WILL happen. I WILL make a difference in this world. My goal, which is to help at least one person realize his or her hopes and dreams, coincides with my philosophy of life. If I am able to help someone, I would hope in turn that person will feel motivated to help someone else, and so on and so forth. Ultimately, we can create and maintain this endless continua of help that will thrive and grow long after I am gone. I WILL achieve my goal.

I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge and thank ALL the wonderful people (family, friends, teachers, special education resource teachers, professors, therapists, etc. etc.) who have been a part of my life thus far and who have supported me to be the person I am today and the person I am to become in the future. I hope that I can continue to have you in my life for the next 28 years of my life!


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