Jul 232014

41. The number doesn’t roll off the tongue, but I’m happy to be here. Yesterday, a lovely young woman complemented me on my curly hair, so decrepitude hasn’t completely set in yet. Let’s hope I can keep it at bay for a while longer.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. And now I must call my attorney to ensure he remains on call this evening.

Jul 162014

After much waiting and bureaucratic hoop-jumping, I drove home in my new Honda Odyssey earlier this week. Automotive technology has advanced considerably since 1999. My Caravan’s engine always made its presence known with a steady rumble, but I can barely hear the Odyssey’s engine. Everything is very sleek and digital and unobtrusive. It’s like commuting via the starship Enterprise. Even the modifications have a futuristic feel. With a single button on the key fob, the sliding door opens and the ramp deploys. The ramp is stowed within the van’s floor, so I no longer have to listen to it rattle beside me.

I’m on vacation next week. I believe I will spend it driving around the lakes and inviting random attractive women to join me.

Pictures will be forthcoming. Of the van, not the women. Unless they’re into that sort of thing.

May 202014

Given the news that Minneapolis will be hosting a Super Bowl in 2018, I’m wondering how much my place could fetch on Airbnb for that weekend. My guess: quite a bit. I’m located within walking distance of the new stadium (currently under construction) and the airport is easily accessible via light rail. My kitchen isn’t terribly well-stocked, but that’s a small price to pay for location and a decent Wi-Fi connection. This may be the ticket to funding a European trip or paying off a chunk of a car loan.

What are my readers’ experiences with leasing out your place to strangers?

Apr 032014

I’m currently debating whether to purchase a new van. My 1999 Dodge Caravan still runs well, but 15 years is a long time to hold onto a vehicle. I worry that it could suddenly fail without warning, forcing me to scramble to find a replacement. A new van would be a significant expense ($45,000-$60,000), but I might qualify for some assistance via a Medical Assistance waiver. I’m also fairly certain that my next van will be a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. The Dodge has been generally reliable, but its hunger for new parts began rather early in its lifespan.

Of course, I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can reasonably afford a new vehicle. For most people with disabilities, an accessible vehicle is a luxury item that is too expensive to even contemplate.

Mar 262014

Kevin Featherly, friend and fellow Humphrey Policy Fellow alumni, recently wrote a profile of me that appeared in Politics in Minnesota. It’s behind a paywall, so I’m linking to a PDF in case you’d like to read it. Technically, I don’t have permission from the magazine to reprint it, but I’m hoping my charm and good looks will keep the lawyers at bay. I also tried to reformat it as webpage, but that induced way too migraines.

Anyway, here’s the article. Kevin makes me sound much smarter than I really am.

Feb 062014

I consider myself a hearty Midwesterner who doesn’t hesitate to venture outside on an icy cold morning. I have walked to class on days when the wind chill was -20 and the sidewalks were clogged with snow. But this winter has tested my fortitude. Temperatures have barely nudged out of the teens for the past month and the copious snowfall has rendered the landscape a blinding white void. Other than the commute to work, I don’t think I’ve left home since early January. I’m pretty sure my broadband usage for the past couple months rivals that of a good-sized Bulgarian town.

The weather is certain to moderate soon, but I would like to at least see Her without risking frostbite or a spinout on the highway.

Of course, I reserve the right to complain in a few months that the excessive heat and humidity is keeping me indoors.

Dec 202013

I have some vacation coming up next week, which may allow for more frequent blogging. Assorted MNsure-related issues have come to dominate my corner of the bureaucracy, leaving me more inclined to park myself in front of the television rather than attempt to compose a blog entry when I get home. Lazy, I know. But I’m hoping to post a few Year in Awesome entries over the next week that will highlight my various pop culture obsessions of 2013. I may even share some thoughts on the recent whirlwind events surrounding MNsure.

In the meantime, perhaps one of my UK readers might like to send me this Union Jack Dalek as a Christmas present. Or I could just pay you for it. It would be a nice addition to my geek shrine.

Nov 272013

I hope all of my readers enjoy a wonderful Thanksgivukkah tomorrow. I’ll be enjoying some football and mashed potatoes while doing my best not to splurge too much on the Steam Autumn Sale. As ever, I’m grateful for your continued patronage and forbearance. I’ll post again on Friday to accompany your noshing on leftovers.

Oct 312013

I’m a little sad that we don’t have more kids in my building. I have so many ideas for costumes that would totally freak them out.

Enjoy your Halloween.

Oct 282013

A friend and co-worker died suddenly a couple weeks ago. Like me, Kelsey had spinal muscular atrophy; we first met back in 2006 when she interviewed for a job at the Department of Human Services. Kelsey was smart, funny, and adventurous. She was thrilled when she was elected as a Minnesota delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. We didn’t get to talk as often after I changed jobs, but we still found time to hang out in my office and talk about work, finding decent help, and all the inexplicable things able-bodied people do in our presence.

As happens too often to people with SMA, Kelsey contracted pneumonia and she didn’t have the strength to fight back this time. Her friends and co-workers demonstrated overwhelming support for both Kelsey and her family; a final testament to the person she was.

I will miss her. And I have a renewed appreciation for my own continued presence in this world, however tenuous it may be. Farewell, Kelsey.