Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Another Chapter Closes.....

"Never say 'no' to anyone who asks for help..." Those were my closing thoughts to Dr. Skouge's Technology for Children with Disabilities course as I was asked "what I learned this semester. A very bold statement and a great lesson to learn over the course of a semester.

However, I feel a supplementary statement should be added to this. There WILL be times when I will NEED to say "No," if I am to maintain a healthy mental outlook. One can definitely stretch and go beyond perceived limits, but just like a rubberband, there's only so much stretching that can be had before the band will become weakened and result in a snap. I believe it is vital to always have a grounding force, something/someone you can turn to who will be honest and remind you to slow down. My grounding force can be found in my family, particularly my parents, specifically my mom. She will constantly remind me that I can't do everything and that I must set limits. I am very, very appreciative of this.

As I look towards the future, I can definitely see how important it will be for me to set my priorities, committing myself to projects/activities that I can honestly say I can put a 100% effort into. Recognizing the need to establish such a life system demonstrates growth. I definitely have grown personally and professionally this semester.

I have learned to balance the demands of work, with the demands of a challenging graduate-level academic program, all the while maintaining a social life to maintain my sanity. I also feel that I have grown and developed personally and professionally, gaining invaluable knowledge and participating in activities that will undoubtedly impact my future in positive ways.

Throughout the semester, I have been asked and challenged to take on tasks that pushed my 'perceived' limits. I took ALL of these tasks on without hesitation. Did I experience the stress that comes with additional responsibilities? Sure! Did I ultimately succeed in accomplishing what needed to be done for these tasks? All I can say is I gave it my all and did the best I could, and am proud of everything that I was a part of.

Working with Dr. Skouge for the semester was a sheer joy. He took on the role of boss, mentor, but most importantly he was and is a friend. We've developed a relationship that goes beyond the office and I feel privileged to have Jim as a mentor. He is unselfish in sharing whatever vast knowledge and resources he has as it relates to disability related issues, specifically in the area of assistive technology and multimedia. I also value the fact that he has brought additional workers into the office, who share the same passion and energy to do "good" for society and their community. Steven and Patrick definitely enrich the whole atmosphere of the office, with Steven being the one who is great at organizing and remembering where all the many, many pieces of equipment are in the office, and with Patrick generously sharing his talent to compose beautiful music and share his talents with anyone who wants to listen or is in need of original music for projects. I definitely look forward to working with them all again for semesters to come!

I have also thoroughly enjoyed being a small part of the College of Education's Special Education department. ALL of the faculty and staff have accepted me as Jim's "assistant." Effie has been a treat to be around, her personality is one that exudes happiness ALL the time. Amelia is the head of the operation, but as busy as she is, she takes the time to make sure that her staff, including the students who help in the department, are doing okay. I still haven't figured out what this whole e-mail exchange that she's a part of is all about, but to each their own! I'll leave that at that... It has also been a treat to get to know the other GA in the department, Sabrina. At first, we knew of each other literally as "the other GA," but as the semester came to a close, I think both of us realized that it would be nice to know each other beyond that superficial level. And I definitely look forward to building our friendship as time progresses!

Seussical the Musical....a wonderful production being done by the Diamond Head Theatre. I was fortunate enough to tag along with Sabrina on Sunday, and I really didn't know what to expect. All I knew was that it would be abut something Dr. Seuss-related, and I enjoy Dr. Seuss so I went! Awesome...that sums up my thoughts on it. The actors did a superb job, the story was such that it left you with so many messages, all of them of a positive nature, and many of them causing you to leave thinking about how you as a person are. Some main highlights of the messages: Diversity, embracing those who might be different, and not being afraid to think out of the box. Another main idea is respecting ALL people, for "A person's a person, no matter how small!"

Speaking of diversity, I am excited and happy to announce my next big undertaking. Back in July of 2003, some classmates and I organized an event called Art Enabled. This event was a celebration of disability and the arts, while spreading awareness on disability-related issues, especially the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. There was a strong hope that the event would be held in the summer of 2004; however, due to the busy nature of our schedules, we were not able to stage the event. However, Sabrina and I are spearheading the charge to revive this wonderful and important event! Our aim will be to involve the community, as a whole, in a festival celebrating disability and the arts, all the while promoting the idea of inclusion. An inclusive community makes for a more unified and happy community! If you are interested in participating in this event, scheduled for Friday July 22, 2005 please contact me through this site or you may e-mail I will definitely be blogging more about this in future entries.

The University of Hawaii Warrior football team is going bowling on Christmas eve!!! What a wonderful accomplishment, to HAVE to win their final three games of the season against quality opponents in order to make it into the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. This week, the team is busy practicing in preparation, but they also have the fun opportunity to do the "tourist thing," something many of them simply don't have time for during the regular year. As a fan, I'm ecstatic that I'll get to enjoy watching Chad Owens and Timmy Chang play one last time as Warriors. It'll be a very Merry Christmas, indeed!

I am anxious to start off the Spring '05 semester. It will be one filled with a crazy schedule, many tasks to accomplish, and even more tasks to work on! I know that I'll end up taking on more tasks than I should, but I like pushing my limits with the idea that it will broaden my horizons. As long as you remember to stay true to yourself and stand for your beliefs, THEN and only then can you truly say that you lived a great life. Not long ago, a Ukraine interpreter for the deaf, Natalya Dmytruk, was working during the Ukrainian Presidential coverage on television. The elections were and are highly controversial, scandalous, fraudulent etc. but this interpreter risked her professional career to voice HER opinion and stood up for what she believed in, relaying a completely different message to the viewers tuning in, reporting in sign language, "Everything you have heard so far on the news was a total lie. Yushchenko is our true president. Goodbye, you will probably never see me here again." That is an example staying true and honest to YOUR values.

I've been composing this entry for a while now; days have passed. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I had a nice Christmas, spending the day quietly at home with family.

Congratulations to the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior basketball team for winning the Rainbow Classic championship! And congratulations are in order for the Warrior football team for ending the season, full of highs and lows, on a high by defeating the University of Alabama Birmingham, 59-40. Great, great win for the team. A nice early Christmas present for the fans of Hawaii, the seniors on the team, and the coaches who never gave up! Timmy Chang and Chad Owens, perhaps the greatest duo to have played for Hawaii (who were local boys); what a way to close out extraordinary careers!

Randomness for the week:

Jim and I hanging out at the computer lab after the semester

The wonderful nutcracker at Jim's office!

Lynn returns home before Christmas

Lori arrives home before Christmas

Christmas display outside of Honolulu Hale

Final UH Warrior football practice of 2004

Jasmine Trias performs at halftime of the Hawaii Bowl (the
girl in the purple top and jeans)

Lori, me, and Lynn on Christmas day

Until next year....


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