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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Status Update

A year ago I wouldn't have known what "update your status" meant. Of course the way Facebook incessantly changes its format, I'm not convinced anyone truly knows what it means this week. What exactly constitutes "Top News" as opposed to "Most Recent?"

But I joined the legions a while back, and though I convinced myself that I was only doing it to promote the website, I've certainly enjoyed "connecting" with a few old friends and a lot of former acquaintances. I'm still on the fence about the complete strangers who don't seem to have reached me through my website.

So, with football behind us, baseball still too far away to think about, and basketball becoming more and more irrelevant, I thought I'd bring the Status Update to the blogosphere.

Winter doldrums: I have never been more anxious for spring to arrive in my life, and it's not really because of the unbelievable amounts of snow the Philadelphia region is getting. I'm really not one of those people that wants summer year-round - at least I never have been in the past. I actually like the changing seasons. I'm guessing a big part of the reason is that I bought a bike last year and never enjoyed being outdoors more. As the Philadelphia area endures its second big snow storm in a week, biking seems a long, long way off. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to its arrival like never before.

The Super Bowl: Exciting game, but I'm not sure it was great. Sean Peyton gets credit for the onside kick because it worked; if it failed he's the goat. The Colts defense cost them the game - Peyton Manning cannot spend the third quarter on the sideline. He also can't give the Saints the ball back before the half after they were stuffed at the goal line. And someone please, please fix the halftime. The Who? C'mon.

After the Super Bowl: It's the time of year where sports go to die. Many are appalled that the NCAA Tournament is likely about to double in size. I basically agree in principle, but there's a part of me that says let's just start the damn thing now. February has just become such a wasteland for sports, screw the regular season. Or start the NFL season after the World Series. Play the Super Bowl the day before Opening Day. Of course it's absurd, but I used to watch every Sixers game, and I haven't seen a full half yet this season. The players don't care, why should I? Hockey? Figure out how to make it work on TV and get back to me.

What I'm reading: I'm about 100 pages into re-reading Catcher in the Rye, which I suspect is what J.D. Salinger was doing when he recently died of boredom. (Obviously, I'm kidding.) The problem I have is that I've been 100 pages in for three weeks. The narrator just grates on you after a while. Yes, I get that it's part of this character, but he's just so repetitive it drives me nuts. Plus, he's obnoxious as hell and a complete idiot who thinks everyone else is clueless.

My workouts: After a week of being completely unmotivated, I've been back to hitting the Total Gym twice a week and the exercise bike 2 or 3 times a week at the gym. That pace will be difficult to maintain this week thanks to the snow, but I am very excited about participating in the 2010 MS Ride in September. It's the first time I've been able to set a tangible athletic goal in my life, and despite last week it has already been incredibly motivating. I'm even staying in the neighborhood of my goal of stretching my hamstrings - very tight due to cerebral palsy - for 60 minutes a day.

Writing: I've been re-typing about 10 pages of a novel I've been working on for about a year that I lost in the transition to the new computer. While I certainly need to be more disciplined, the experience has been a reminder of how much my slow typing speed hinders my efforts. Lack of inspiration doesn't help either. That said, I simply need to sit my ass down for the sole purpose of writing (not including blogging) on a daily basis. On the bright side, I plan to seek out places to send a play I wrote some time ago. It has received some positive feedback from a couple of people making a living at their writing.

Social: I recently had a rare opportunity to socialize with a group of people with disabilities and able-bodied individuals involved in the disability community in some fashion. I noticed two things, besides the fact that I'm just not very good at cocktail parties. The first was that not once did the issue come up of how to refer to someone with a disability, which seems to be a major issue for the rest of society. We went crazy and used names.

I also encountered something that baffles me every time I experience it. To be purposely vague, let's just say I was cornered into a conversation with a woman completely oblivious to her own limitations. It was particularly annoying as this woman's delusions were masked by her repeated question, "What do you do?" Having had the experience with the individual previously, I knew it was merely her intro into telling me how she is a busy career woman. I happen to know she's not. Worse, while her speech is no better than mine, she actually asked the question (about me) to the person I was with as if she hadn't understood me after I blew her off.

The arrogance was unmistakable, and it is something I have only experienced from women with disabilities - never men. I've heard it called the "competitiveness of people with disabilities among each other," but, again, I've personally encountered the “professional inquiry” version of it exclusively with women. Not all women, but it's definitely a purely female thing in my experience. For now, it's just an observation.

PhillyACCESS: I'm at the far end of the 2-4 months I committed to with this new project. Intended as a resource of information and opinions from the disability community, feedback has been spotty. That's basically what I expected, but hits are good enough that I will keep it going through the summer. Individuals have actually been more involved than organizations, which only strengthens my belief that this type of user-generated resource is needed. If you are involved in the disability community, please check out PhillyACCESS at Every year around now I question why I'm doing the website. Commissions were slightly down in 2009, but I picked up a couple of advertisements that made it the most profitable year yet. (It’s still far from anything worthwhile from a financial standpoint.) The new name has received some positive feedback, and I actually hope to do some advertising of my own in the fall. I'm also networking to find someone who can help me enhance the site search. I've also been promoting the site on Facebook and just put the site on Twitter in the last week or so.

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