100% Accessible Taxis.

To follow up on my accessibility + travel adventures (yes, the Chicago blog is STILL a work in progress!) I wanted to share this article. It highlights Montgomery County’s intention to, by 2025, have 100% of their taxicab fleet accessible to those with mobility impairments.

With how much I travel and get around, and have been increasingly leaving my personal vehicle behind, the guarantee of having an accessible mode of transportation no matter where you are is a BIG DEAL.

Montgomery County is aiming to develop a plan to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible cabs that have lifts or ramps, with a goal of having 100 percent accessible taxicabs within 10 years.

One of the most ridiculously true passages, I think, in the entire article is the paragraph where it says, “Accessible taxis can provide backup transportation when Metro elevators are broken, or late at night when public transportation, including paratransit, is no longer running,” she said. “Accessible transportation ensures that each and every one of us, and those we care about, can remain active should we find ourselves living with a temporary or permanent disability.”

It’s also authorizing accessible vehicle licneses to driver-owned coopearatives to encourage them to do the same.

Finally, shout out to Roger Berliner, a council member who seems to be spearheading this bil!

Pixar’s Inside Out.

If you haven’t seen it yet, go do it. Now. It’s the greatest movie I have seen, hands down, all year.

Like Jimmy V said, “If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day.”

In this case, that’s a heck of a movie.

Now, mind you, I only watch a handful of movies every year. But watching Inside Out did for me what few other movies do – it held my attention all the way through. I have an admittedly short attention span and have a hard time getting into characters in such shorts amount of time. This begets my preference for episodic television shows where the character development can last over the course of, practically, years (can you say ‘Jack Bauer‘?).

It’s most interesting because you spend most of your time watching this movie in the head of the main character, Riley. As the adolescents  handles a move, as an only child, from the mid-west to the American west coast, she has many emotions and feelings – and that’s where the other main characters (pictured below) come into play. There’s Joy and Sad and Fear and Anger and they all work together in Riley’s “control station” (a.k.a. brain) to effect how she reacts to various situations.

Simply put: this movie is a beautiful, thoughtful, yet animated portrayal of emotion. It’s deep. It’s almost as if they consulted many psychologists to make sure they got it “just right.” There are references to so many terms that I learned in school, like REM sleep, that you wouldn’t normally see in a kid’s a movie – but they make so much sense and play a very intricate part in understanding the greater, more deep parts of the story as an adult.

I laughed, I teared up, I thought…and I continue to think…about how great of a movie this. Go check it out if you have the time.

Emerson.

Let’s start this with a question.

If you don’t openly and vulnerably engage in conversation with others, how do you ever grow? 

And then, let’s say their experiences are different than yours, or they disagree with you?

Isn’t that a monumental opportunity to try and think from their perspective?

The best, most robust, vivid, and loud memories I have are from conversation with others. You know why? becuase you can learn from people things that you would never, ever learn from a textbook. And, too, you can learn from people the same things that you could potentially learn in a textbook.

Say you’re speaking with a historian…

Read more after the jump …

Baba Nam Kevalam: love is all there is.

It’s taken be a bit of time to get all of this put into words. Here it is though…

It was July 2013. That was the first time I met Phyllis and Clark. I never thought that two years later, after meditating with them for the first time, I would have to come to terms with never seeing Clark again on this Earth. He passed away late last night. SO, it is with a very heavy heart that I sit down to share the news of the passing of my good friend, Clark Webb.

Read more after the jump …

HESONWHEELS is going to Chicago!

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at Wednesday night trivia at Clare and Don’s with my good friend Ari W. She mentioned that her job was sending her to Chicago for a few days so she could take care of some work. She randomly says “hey, I don’t know what you have going on but you should come!”

Up front, here’s the moral of the story: Don’t suggest I should do something if you don’t really want me to. Cause I probably will.

In that moment, I whip out my iPhone and start looking at how much financial damage a flight to Chicago would do for me, especially in such short notice; we were less than 2 weeks out! Anyone who knows how airline pricing works knows that that is not a good thing.

I end up finding a great deal out of Baltimore–Washington International Airport and found a place to crash with a great friend of mine, John F., for when I arrived in Chi-City. I looked at my work schedule, realized I’d be able to dip out for just a day or two, and the rest is history. That’s how the adventure of HESONWHEELS going to Chicago was born.

That next week, I mentioned my trip to a good friend of mine who happens to have a disability. He also has always wanted to visit Chicago, just as I had it on my short list of places I really wanted to visit in the very near future. When he heard about it he asked me a simple favor: to let him know how it went.

I decided to do him one better and turn my quick trip to Chicago into a mini-event here on the blog. I’m going to live-tweet the adventure that is this trip to Chicago, and oftentimes through a lens of accessibility. What’s the airport like? What are the airline employees like? What are the accessible Ubers in Chicago like? Things like that.

If you’re interested at all you can follow me on Twitter (@HESONWHEELS, real creative, right?) or check out the hashtag #HOW2CHI that I will use in some of the posts. If you decide to check it out, I hope you enjoy!

Oh, and we did win trivia by the way. :)

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C’mon, vamanos! Everybody let’s go!

To the Virginia Tech Class of 2019.

You know those moments in life where you really feel like you’re making an impact on people? A moment when things that you do – and some of them might be totally normal, day-to-day things for you – gets some kind of recognition? Well, one of those definitely happened to me today.

Late last night, I got an inbox message from a Hokie friend of mine that works at VT. Justin M. showed me that the President of the university, Dr. Tim Sands, had written a letter to the incoming class of freshman: the class of 2019.

He told me that I had gotten a “shoutout” in his letter…and I was kind of confused. Why would Dr. Sands give me a shout out? Read more after the jump …

Hands on, Minds on.

With it being “orientation season” at VT, many people have been asking me questions…from current orientation leaders to rising freshman (“first-year”) students. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to partake in this wonderful video about a hike to the Cascades that my friends helped me do. I wanted to share the video here because, really, everytime I look back at that experience it gives me THAT feeling. That feeling of, “man, what amazing friends do I have?” Great people, they are. Check it out, and many of the other great projects that have been going on at the university in recent years.