One shoe off

October 12, 2008

101 Things in 1,001 Days … jr.

Filed under: blogging,life,Uncategorized — Liz @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been contemplating drinking the 101 things in 1,001 days Kool-Aid, but I admit I’m a little intimidated. Not just by the sheer size of it, but also the idea of planning things two and a half years in advance … If there’s anything this past year-ish has taught me, it’s that I have NO idea whatsoever what’s going to happen in the intermediate future.

But in random Blog-reading this Sunday evening, in my pyjamas (which is really, the best kind of blog reading — Sunday night in your jammies), I came across the 20 things in 30 days. THIS I can handle. 30 days is just about the time frame I can work with right now. It’s a chunk I can handle.  I also notice a big need to work on my schtuffss right now. A BIG big need.

So here we go, 20 things in 30 days.
The rules:
1. Goal-setting is always hard for me, so I’m going to buckle down and do what all those people who do this kind of thing for a living tell you to do: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Timely is of course built-in by virtue of the 30-day framework.
2. They don’t have to be things to “accomplish” (although they can be); they can be things to do throughout the period.
3. It’s o.k. if I don’t hit 100%. Just clarifying that for myself, cus I tend to like to hit 100% or not even try. See, I told you I had schtuffss.
4. Directly or indirectly the Things need to address or relate to the schtuffs I’ve identified.

Day 1 begins 12:00 a.m. Oct. 13. Day 30 ends 11:59 p.m. Nov. 11. (Incidentally, the day after my half-birthday.

20 Things in 30 Days

  1. Wake up early on Mondays and Wednesdays to swim.
  2. Go back to yoga on Tuesdays.
  3. 8 hours a night. No excuses.
  4. Only read one book at a time. Yesterday, I said to Dad, as I sat on the couch with my head in my hands, “I’ve gotten myself into this morass of books I’m reading and I don’t know how to get out. I’m reading 4 right now.” Dad said, “Well don’t start another one. And just pick one up and read it until you’re done. And then do that with the next one. THAT’S how you get out of your ‘morass.'” I got the feeling he was half-mocking me …
  5. Go to three events and not whine that there’s no one to go with me.
  6. (private)
  7. Two blog posts a week.
  8. Journal for at least 10 minutes every day.
  9. Not go to the church that makes me angry, even though it makes my parents happy.
  10. Answer “I haven’t decided yet” instead of “I don’t know” when people ask me what I’m going to do after my job goes away.
  11. Fill out the application for the SIT TESOL certificate program in Oaxaca. Even if I decide in the end that I DON’T want to do it, I can still apply.
  12. (private)
  13. Go camping with my dog.
  14. Paint my bedroom.
  15. Take my lunch to work 85% of the time.
  16. Call my friend who used to work at my office and catch up with her. And give her the thing I got her in Guatemala.
  17. Ride my bike to work every Friday.
  18. Teach the Judy dog a new trick.
  19. Write down my dreams again.
  20. Create and follow evening and morning routines that ease me into and out of the day with some kind of movement, alone time, reflection and self-caring.

Anyone else have 20 things they want to do in 30 days? Care to join me? Can you think in terms of time:to-dos? Anyone currently doing 101 things in 1001 days? How’s it going?

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October 8, 2008

Universal Design stuffs …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 8:42 pm

Via¬† Temple University’s Disability Studies blog, this Washington post article (free registration required) about Gallaudet University‘s new development, which has been big news in disability circles here lately, because it will be “mixed” development — mixed not in the traditional real estate state, but in that it will be specifically created for use both by the Deaf and hearing communities. The article makes much of the whole “insular community opening up to the outside world” aspect, but being the geek that I am I’m most excited about the design aspects. Universal design is a mental hobby of mine (in that it’s something I like to read about and think about and geek out about). Gallaudet’s architectural and aesthetic vision includes elements like these:

Sidewalks wide enough to accommodate pedestrians using sign language. Rounded corners and strategically placed reflective glass so people who cannot hear can see who’s coming and who’s behind them. Glass elevators so passengers can communicate with outsiders in case of emergency.

And

“It’s a way of designing buildings that support and express deaf cognitive and social sensibilities,” Bauman said. “It means lots of spaces that encourage people to come together as a community and be free of barriers to visual communication.”

The university has tested the aesthetic on campus with the construction of a $32 million language and communication center, which features a glass elevator and rooms spacious enough to allow students to sit in large circles and converse.

The aesthetic also could mean avoiding wall patterns that are distracting or colors that blend too easily with skin tones and make reading sign language more difficult.

For the Sixth Street project, it will probably mean a preference for ramped walkways, as opposed to stairs, which can be difficult to navigate while conversing in sign language. “You have to stop and look at the steps, and it interrupts the conversation,” Bauman said.

The Temple U. blog post concludes that this kind of attention to design — which benefits not just the Deaf community it had in mind, but a whole host of diverse communities — “[is] not about ‘special accommodations,’ it’s about considering, from the start of any project, our preconceptions about who belongs where.”

If you are as big of a nerd as I am, here’s a list of Universal Design principles from North Carolina State’s Center for Universal Design.

Related to universal design and accessibility (specifically communications accessibility), consider this post from Emily on the inaccessibility of NPR.

She writes:

Some people would argue that the Deaf community as a whole would not be interested in the option of hearing news.

And I do agree that I love things like Sign News or online news outlets that are given in ASL as they are available.

But I would also argue that there is no difference between the extremes of educated and not-educated Deaf as educated and not-educated Hearing. I wonder how one could judge that a culture is not interested in the option, when the option has never been offered.

Besides, if there is anything the Deaf community – especially in America – has fought for consistently from the beginning – is the right to have the same options as hearing people, and then choose for themselves whether they are interested or not.

So my first battle of the day, because fighting battles is what I do, was to send one more email to NPR requesting easier and better access to transcripts for the Deaf community.

What would universally accessible media be? Are we moving closer to universally accessible media? Can we apply universal design principals to the media that we have, or do we need to start all over with something new? Thoughts?

(In case you’re too lazy to click the universal design link above, but you still want to play, here’s the definition I’m working from: [courtesy of the Institute for Human Centered Design] Universal Design is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design.)

October 3, 2008

Poetry will save us. Really.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 5:43 pm

I’ve had the awfullest time posting this … first I accidentally posted as a “page” rather than a “post,” then I copy-pasted it into a post, published it and then promptly (unintentionally) deleted the post. This was all last night. And then I finally just gave up and went to bed. So here it is again, in all its glory …

Two new poems by Sherman Alexie (whom you should adore as I do, if you don’t already) on failbetter.com. (Via Bookslut. Another thing you should adore.)

While we’re on the subject of Alexie, he did a guest stint for Savage Love back at the beginning of September. (To be honest, I think that one came from Bookslut as well.)

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