Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Old Lady Gets a Tune-up

Recently the "old scientist" and I renewed our membership in the Changing Aging program at UBC. We are entering our fourth year in this program and every year, as part of your membership, you receive three sessions with a personal trainer, including a fitness assessment. I have written about "going to the gym" previously so I won't repeat all of that again. However let me assure you that we still go faithfully to the gym three times a week and very rarely miss.

We each follow a different program but basically it takes us about an hour and a half and we seem to finish at the same time although we do not cross paths on our journey around the equipment. I start with two miles on the treadmill while I read a book and the rest of my program, on the Keiser machines, with free weights and stretching, I think I could do in my sleep. It's rather a zen-like experience as I complete it while listening to music on my iPod.

But it was assessment time and I was contacted by my "new trainer" to arrange a time for this. For the first three years my trainer was the young woman who runs the program, but this year I met up with Tania, a graduate of the Human Kinetics program and intending to go into physiotherapy in the Fall.

Now I'm five foot six and more substantial than I should be. Tania turned out to be five feet, slender but wiry, with tiny hands and feet. But she seemed to know her stuff and was not the least bit intimidated by me looming above her. Off to the lab we went to go through the usual set of tests which allows them to design a personalized exercise program for you.

Of course there's the usual weighing and measuring and checking of resting heart rate and blood pressure. After all we are old and they don't want us conking out while following our program, although you do require a doctor's clearance before starting and regularly thereafter.

To assess your aerobic fitness you ride a stationary bike while wearing a heart monitor which is connected to a computer and the program shuts down if you exceed the recommended heart rate for your age. I have never been able to complete this test since my heart rate always shuts the machine down. However it does not stop me doing aerobic exercise and I have never had any problem, touch wood.

The other tests assess strength and flexibility and I am glad to say I am in the excellent range for those, for my age, and I have improved considerably in these areas since my first assessment, just over three years ago.

One of the tests is quite strange to my mind. You are required to stand on one foot for a minimum of 30 seconds. Apparently I can stand on my left leg indefinitely but the right one is a bit more difficult. Then you have to do it with your eyes closed and that turns out to be almost impossible for me. I seem to manage about 8 seconds only. You try it and see how good you are at it. Well you can't time yourself with you eyes closed, so you will need help with that. It's quite an interesting test. We went over the tests results together, I gave her my program card to look over and we arranged to meet in the gym in a few days where she would tweak my routine.

One of the first things she did in the gym was get me onto the elliptical machine, a relatively recent addition to the gym, but which I have been avoiding like the plague. Five minutes and I thought I was going to die. My heart was racing, I was sweating and muscles I did not know existed were screaming, Stop! Now this was planned to replace some of my treadmill time. Good luck! Well would you believe that a few weeks later I can do twenty minutes on this machine, which thankfully is the time limit? Unfortunately it's quite boring and you can't read a book so I listen to my iPod and grind away at it. Then I escape to the treadmill with my book for a bit of a rest. Well it seems like a rest after the elliptical.

Just as my mother always told me, Tania said my posture was not good so some tips on improving this were bandied about, but the thing that really got me was I was told that I did not walk up and down stairs correctly. What? Apparently I walk on the stairs with my feet turned out. Well yes, I have big feet and stairs seem to have very narrow treads. So can you believe I have to practice planting my foot straight and walking up and down on some wooden stairs in the gym? She added a few other exercises to my program and corrected some bad form I had on some of the machines, but basically that was it with my personal trainer until we meet again in six months.

Well she might be a tiny little thing but Tania was very professional and I was impressed by her knowledge and she dealt well with the tough old lady who is now good to go after her tune-up. Changing Aging. Well I'm doing my best to stem the tide.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Museum of Anthropology at UBC -- Part II

As you approach the entrance to the Museum of Anthropology which I wrote about previously, you are greeted by the figure below, carved in 1997 by Susan Point, an internationally renowned native artist of the Musqueam band, on whose traditional land the Museum is built.


Imich Siiyem - Welcome to good people

The collections at the MOA comprise many objects from the First Nations (or native) cultures of British Columbia. Since most of these are composed of wood they deteriorate over time and many fine pieces have been collected here in an effort to preserve them.


Haida Totem pole fragments

You may remember the soaring glass windows of this building in my previous post and they form the outer wall of the Great Hall, where there are some magnificent examples in red cedar of large totem poles and house poles which held the beams of the structures.


Sun streaming through the full length windows
into the Great Hall


Close-up of the house post with built-in
seat, seen above at the end of the hall

Detail of figure holding up the seat

Potlaches which are ceremonial gathering involving feasts require large vessels for the food and below are some examples of very fine feast dishes as they are called, along with assorted storage boxes.

Ornately carved feast dishes

Haida Bear, large sculpture carved by Bill Reid
in 1963, standing in the Great Hall

Bentwood boxes were used for many purposes by First Nations people. As well as for storage they served as drums and cradles and even coffins. They are made from a single plank of cedar wood which is notched for three corners. After steaming until pliable the plank is then carefully bent into a box. The fourth corner is sewn with cedar roots or pegged, with the bottom attached in the same manner.


This fine Haida bentwood box dates around 1870

Weaving was a traditional craft of the Musqueam and other coastal communities for thousands of years until around 1900 when it died out as a craft with the Musqueam. However around 1984 it was revived and this spectacular blanket was woven for the Museum by Debra and Robyn Sparrow in 1999.


Contemporary woven blanket

Of course the highlight for me in this museum is the monumental Bill Reid sculpture, the Raven and the First Men which naturally I considered deserving of its own post. There is an excellent gift store in the Museum where you can buy many small items and books plus some very fine modern art pieces.


$1150 will buy you this very powerful Cannibal Mask by Rupert Scow

Thank you for making it to the end of this very long post about a museum of which I am very fond, so much so that I have an annual membership and can visit whenever I wish.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Wooden





WOODEN


Surely this had to be one of the easiest photo hunts ever. Well in one way. In another way there was just too much choice. Finally I decided on some photos that I took at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver recently. Click to enlarge for more detail.



These magnificent carved door panels once framed the entrance to the museum however they now reside inside, at the entrance to the gift shop. You can see how large they are in comparison with the items nearby. It was very difficult to photograph them because they are so tall and the light was poor.


These doors were were made in 1976 by four master Gitxsan artists: Walter Harris, Earl Muldoe, Vernon Stephens, and Art Sterritt.


Represented on the doors is a narrative of the first people of the
Skeena River region in B.C.



Detail of the previous door showing a magnificent Sun image


SUN - Healing Energy, Guardian of the Earth by Day Released from a box by Raven, Sun Chief inhabited the sky and it is believed he could be reached by climbing a chain of arrows, and sliding down its long rays. The Sun is often carved on totems and masks and sits atop the tallest totem pole.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vancouver, Number 1 Most Livable City

For the fifth year in a row Vancouver was ranked the best place to live in the world in a survey by the Economist magazine in 2007. Not the least of which factors contributing to that is the gorgeous setting.


Looking towards the mountains beyond the BC Place Stadium
home of the opening and closing ceremonies
of the 2010 Winter Olympics

Out and about today with my Thursday walking group I took some photos that might convince you that they were not wrong.


Warm enough for a stroll, more mountains to enjoy



Time to get the old trimaran ready for some sailing


Mr or Mrs Bald Eagle is back, to the left of the huge nest
a little difficult to see unfortunately

Later on my drive home I stopped to take this
photo looking back towards downtown


Looking across the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club towards
the North Shore Mountains


February 21st and Spring is here, almost

I think you have to agree that Vancouver has a few things going for it. When did this blog turn into a photo blog?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Museum of Anthropology at UBC

The Museum of Anthropology began as a collection of ethnographic objects in the basement of the Main Library at the University of British Columbia in 1949. Funds from the Federal Government and others enabled the magnificent building you see here to be constructed and opened in 1976.

Designed by the renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erikson who used traditional Northwest Coast post-and-beam style architecture for the design, the building with its soaring glass glass walls and concrete beams sits on the cliffs of Point Grey facing the sea and the mountains. The original plan called for a reflecting pool in the surrounding area but the weight of the water would have contributed even more to the instability of the cliffs which are slowly being eroded away. Instead an area of gravel was installed with the shape of water.

The grounds were designed by landscaper Cornelia Oberlander and besides the gravel "pool" and the indigenous plants and grasses there are two outdoor Haida houses and ten full-scale totem poles (one inside the larger of the two Haida houses).

These two carved house-posts below are found on the path which leads to the front of the museum facing the sea and are relatively recent in a more contemporary style of carving.


Today the museum houses over 35,000 ethnographic objects, many of which come from the Pacific Northwest Coast of British Columbia although the collection also contains objects from around the world. Many of these are housed in what is known as the Visible Storage galleries where you can open drawers and browse to your hearts content or look in showcases just packed with items.

Next time join me inside the museum and also I'll be featuring the magnificent hand carved doors for my Photo Hunt this weekend when the theme is wooden.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New MyBlogLog Widget and Awards

Something I want to bring to your attention in my sidebar is the new format of the MyBlogLog widget. Eyes right! Isn't it the neatest thing? I haven't seen it in anyone else's sidebar yet, so I am thinking that maybe few know about it. Temporarily I have the new one, with small avatars to fit more in, and the old at the top of the sidebar so you can compare.

I have the MyBlogLog blog on my bloglines feed, so in a new post I discovered that they had reworked the widget to give this very splashy one. You can change the colours of the display and the size of the avatar and you can set up the number of avatars to show quite easily, with the maximum number of rows being 10. After you have tweeked it to your liking, you take the code and insert into the sidebar. The really neat thing about it is that when you hover your mouse over the avatar a window opens with a little more information about the visitor. Check it out on mine and go play yourself. I think you will like it, especially if previously you did not know how to increase the number of avatars displayed. Luckily a blog friend helped me with that on the old widget but now anyone can do it easily.

No unfortunately, no money changed hands for this testimonial.

Every now and again someone will present me with an award and I thank them and think to post it later. Sometimes, well quite often actually, I forget and I am really bad because I often don't pass them on. I had a piece of paper by the computer with a couple written down but it seems to have disappeared. I'm not so good with memes either, usually only doing the ones that appeal to me. So this is also a bit of a catch-up post of a couple of recent ones.


This one above came to me via Ian at Failure is the Key to Success, one of my first commenters, just over a year ago. Thank you so much Ian, I do appreciate it. Acceptance is conditional on passing it on to 10 more people. I'm going to pick some of my medblog reads so I don't think the award will be going much farther down that road. Still they are all excellent reads. Dr Rob, wild and crazy pediatrician and internist; Dr Schwab, surgeon extraordinaire; Ex Utero, neonatologist and excellent writer; Grunt Doc, maverick ER doc; Shadowfax, another ER doc; Suture for a Living, all you ever wanted to know about plastic surgery and quilting; Dr Val, online doctor at revolutionhealth.com; No 1 Dino, solo practitioner and he of the three cardinal rules of blogging; other things amanzi, surgeon in South Africa with tales to tell; and finally Brainhell, ALS patient who died recently but left a magnificent written legacy of that journey.


Liz of Finding Life Hard? gave me the Nice Matters Award. Thank you so much Liz, who seems very nice from what I see in her blog and she passed it to some other nice people but nice is an adjective I don't think about in regards to myself. Oh I try, quite unsuccessfully it seems to me. Maybe I'll have to try harder in the future to live up to this award.

If you gave me an award and I did not post it, I do apologize. Put it down to the old lady being a bit forgetful now and again and losing her piece of paper.

Update: I remembered one more award:


Leslie of the Pedalogue was kind enough to pass this award on to me and said some very kind words about me and this blog for which I thank her. Leslie is a local blogger and one day we'll get together.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Free





FREE


Free is an adjective with one of its meanings, to be at liberty or a verb which means to set at liberty and what is the symbol of liberty or free-dom that is most renowned? Why the Liberty Bell of course, housed in its very own Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia.


We spent a few interesting days in Philadelphia at the end of last summer and I wrote a whole post on the Liberty Bell, with more than you ever wanted to know about the thing. However it is a very interesting story and you might like to give it a click to read more.

The story is not what you might have thought at all. As a bell it was a total washout and it did not acquire the name of the Liberty Bell until 1837 when the abolitionists named it so, long after the Declaration of Independence, but somehow it has morphed into this iconic symbol of freedom over the years.

I wonder if there will be a photo of the Statue of Liberty this weekend for Photo Hunt.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day at Granville Market

Today the Thursday Walking group did the Granville Island walk and we ended up back in the Granville market for lunch. There were quite a lot of opportunities to buy something for your beloved today and I took a few photos of the options.


Now, says the young man, which bouquet would she like best?


Maybe some candy as well


Red jewellery would be elegant


Of course, don't forget a card



One can never go wrong with chocolate cake

Lots of choice at the market today for showing your love how much you treasure him/her. I hope you all had a happy Valentine's day today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Raven and the First Men

The most important and well known Pacific Northwest Coast aboriginal artist was Bill Reid and his work features prominently at the Museum of Anthropology which I visited recently for the ceramic exhibition I wrote about earlier. While there I also visited the rest of the Museum itself and in this post I want to show you one of the great highlights of Bill's work.

Bill Reid was born of a Haida mother and an American father and did not know of his native heritage until in his teens. His first career was in radio in Toronto, however a jewellery making course set him on a new artistic path and he began to explore Haida design in his jewellery. He also became involved in totem pole restoration under a master carver and thus he moved into wood carving. This link gives a very comprehensive biography so I won't repeat the information, for here I want to introduce you to the monumental carving which sits in the rotunda at the Museum of Anthropology.


The Raven and the Men

Walter Koerner of the Ceramic Gallery collections had acquired a very large block of laminated yellow cedar and he commissioned Bill Reid to carve this work which sits flooded with natural light under a clear glass dome. It took two years to carve, even with the help of several others, and it was unveiled in 1980 by Charles, the Prince of Wales. The huge work was lowered into place by crane through the ceiling and it rests on its podium on a ripple of sand which reminds one of the waves of the sea. It was actually placed above one of the World War II gun turrets which remained in the area where the Museum was built. It is a lovely golden glowing image, for the cedar was never stained, however there are several cracks which have formed over the years, causing much consternation.


A different angle of the work, note the tilt on the sculpture

The work represents the Haida Creation legend where Raven discovers men emerging from a clamshell on a beach at Rose Spit in the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia and the sand in the display was brought here by the Haida from this specific beach.
According to this myth, the raven who was both bored and well fed, found and freed some creatures trapped in a clam. These scared and timid beings were the first men of the world, and they were coaxed out of the clam shell by the raven. Soon the raven was bored with these creatures and planned to return them to their shell. Instead, the raven decided to search for the female counterparts of these male beings. The raven found some female humans trapped ina a chiton, freed them, and was entertained as the two sexes met and began to interact. The raven, always known as a trickster was responsible for the pairing of humans and felt very protective of them. With the Raven perceived as the creator, many Haida myths and legends often suggest the raven as a provider to mankind.*



A rear view shows more detail on the body and tail of the Raven

This work of Bill Reid graces the back of the $20 banknote along with three others of his works, the most notable being The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, his momunental bronze sculpture outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. I was very privileged to see this in Washington several years ago and, although we have another casting of this sculpture at the Vancouver Airport, it was good to see it in the place for which it was designed.

*Taken from here.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Freeze! You're at Grand Central Station.

A bit of a lazy post but I am having 10 to dinner tonight so I'm sure you'll understand. However this is an absolutely brilliant video and you can read the story behind it here, with lots of photos too.

207 "actors" from Improv Everywhere, which causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places, all froze in various poses at the same instant for five minutes in the Main Concourse area of Grand Central Station in New York City. It's the spot where everyone says I'll meet you under the clock at Grand Central . It's quite the feat for them all to have held absolutely still for that length of time. I've been there many times and normally this is an incredibly busy spot as people bustle back and forth to catch the trains. Enjoy.




Now the website of Improv Everywhere is fascinating and for an encore this performance is just marvelous too. Actually without the story behind it the video is a bit confusing. So here's a short introduction.

If you are a book lover and you've been to New York, you will be familiar with the Strand Bookstore in Greenwich Village. It's mammoth with 55,000 square feet over several floors with all kinds of nooks and crannies and filled to the brim with used books, new books and rare books too. You have to check you bags at the front counter and occasionally a cell phone can be heard from inside one of the bags.

Improv Everywhere decided to infiltrate the store with sixty people, all leaving backpacks with cell phones inside and have sixty people outside ringing the phones all at the same time. Not only that but they would create music, a cell phone symphony, with all the Nokia phones playing the same ring, all the Motorolas, all the Samsungs, etc, playing separately and playing in turn. One phone with a custom ring was given a solo. The article about this on their site is fascinating. It's actually worth reading before you watch the video.



I'll definitely be visiting that site again to check out some of the seventy other events that this group has created. For example 100 men, all without shirts, going to shop at the very tony store in New York, called Abercrombie and Fitch.

Thanks to Aussie blogger, Cellobella.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt ---- Heavy





At first I did not have a clue how to deal with this week's theme of Heavy but suddenly it came to me. This photo has appeared before here but as part of the Thursday Walking Group outings. It is so perfect for the theme that I hope you don't mind me using it again.

Below you can see the German Friendship Globe Fountain in a park alongside the seawall in West Vancouver. You can push lightly on this 2 1/2 tonne globe and it will spin as it says below. It was a gift from the local German community in 2004. Kids just love turning it.


The globe fountain consists of a square granite water basin with a precisely machined impression that fits a three foot diameter granite ball engraved with the continents of the world. The 2 1/2 tonne granite globe floats on a thin pressurized cushion of water which allows it to be turned at the touch of a hand. It symbolizes peace and friendship among all nations around the world.

A little closer look at the countries on the globe, with Europe
and the top of Africa on the right and Greenland
and North America on the left.
What a beautiful piece of granite it is.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE




Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy First Anniversary --- JMB's Blog

One year ago today, I burst onto the blogging world. Well actually, as I described it myself, I ventured out, putting my toe in the shallow end. What an adventure it has been. I have mastered an incredible number of technical skills, thanks to a lot of research but also thanks to the kindness of many who have helped me in the spirit of sharing. I've come a really long way down that road I'm glad to say.

I've learned a lot about my camera and although I still don't have "the eye" my photos are a lot better than they were. I also muck about with them a bit before I post them, so that's been quite the bonus, learning those skills. I have developed from no image posts to some with images from the web to the fact that now, by far the majority of the images on the blog are photos I've taken myself. Saturday Photo Hunt is great fun and has helped me tremendously to learn more about photography.

But by far the most positive thing to come out of this blog has been the online friendships I've developed over this past year. Four people came out of nowhere to comment on my first post and I'm still in contact with these people. I've developed many online friendships from this blog, some more casual than others but I think that has been the biggest bonus of all. What is so amazing is the variety of ages and nationalities and different interests that I have encountered in these friendships and it illustrates what a global village we are today. I think this is what makes blogging so valuable. It breaks down the normal barriers that separate us so that we find out how much we have in common with each other, how much people are the same, no matter where they live. Only good can come of that.

Now blogging is very hard work, if it's done correctly. It's not only writing your own blog to the best of your ability, but it's visiting other blogs and interacting with those bloggers with your comments and exchanges. In that spirit I joined a small group of bloggers at Blogpower doing just that during the past year and that's been quite the experience.

Blogging takes a lot of time and effort and many things in my life have suffered this past year. Reading has been one of them and it seems that I only read a book a week or every ten days now whereas I read a book every couple of days before, sometimes one in a day. I've only made a couple of small quilts this past year instead of the usual number and my house is a total disaster.

Lots of times along the way, I've been tempted to quit. I don't really have anything to say. I often wonder what the heck I am doing here. Sometimes I can't think of a thing to post and am ready to call it a day. But somewhere along the way, as it got closer to the time, I said I've got to do this for a full year at least. But somehow I doubt there will be a second anniversary for this blog. Nobody Important is the perfect title. This age challenged lady is playing at having a blog and nattering on about places I've been, books I've read and as it says above, going wherever my fancy leads me. Well, you never know, maybe I'll still be here next year. Chissà? Who knows?

Now a little word about stats. Yes, I check my stats obsessively, just like everyone else. Yes I know that more than 80 per cent of the visitors are google searches for one thing or another. Yes, maybe around twenty five visitors each day are return visitors. But a couple of times I've had huge daily numbers, as when I hosted the Advent edition of the Blogpower round-up. Sadly, I set a new record this week. The first time for over 200 visitors on one day to this blog. All because visitors from Brainhell's comment section came to read my tribute to him. For one day many of his loyal readers came to my site.

But I do want to thank the people who come regularly or intermittently to read this blog and comment, or not. Every one of you is precious to me and you have made this year very special. My family and friends all think I'm crazy with this blogging thing but I know that each and every one of you understands the lure of it all.

So join me in a virtual toast on this, the first anniversary of blogging for jmb. Cin Cin!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Planets ---Gustav Holst

Recently I had an invitation from a friend to go with her to a concert by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Considering the parking debacle of the last time I was at the symphony, we decided to be very cunning, as well as cheap, and use the parking space of a friend who lives in the West End district of Vancouver and has no car at the moment.

While our friend lives a fifteen minute walk from the Orpheum Theatre the plan was to go early, stroll along Robson Street, a quite trendy street for fashion shops and restaurants and find somewhere to eat before going to the Symphony. Good plan except it was freezing cold so we walked briskly past all these wonderful stores in order to keep warm. I was also not aware that this is where all the young Asian people in Vancouver seem to hang out on Saturday evenings, no doubt due to the number of different types of Asian restaurants in the area. Or do you think they might be shopping in the Coach Store, or Gucci or Prada or perhaps Salvatore Ferragamo? They were certainly out in great numbers, in groups of three or four, meandering slowly down the sidewalks and generally impeding our fast pace.

Well we did stop for dinner and finally arrived at the Orpheum in time to check out the program and the concert started not long afterwards.

The first offering I had never heard before, Richard Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Opus 28 which was a quite charming piece with excellent solos for the French horn and the clarinet.

We certainly had not heard the next piece before, for Equilateral, Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano and Orchestra was being performed for the first time ever, a world première, no less. Since it was being recorded we were asked not to cough, sneeze, rustle or make any noise whatsoever. Right. Certainly not. The Gryphon Trio were the performers of this new piece written by Jeffrey Ryan, VSO's Composer in Residence. This piece I found interesting in parts but I think I would need to hear it again to fully appreciate it. Often the solo instruments seemed to be overpowered by the orchestra although each soloist was given an opportunity to extemporize above the continuum of the orchestral background.

Finally after the intermission came another of my personal favourites, The Planets by Gustav Holst. This orchestral suite consists of seven movements and is the most widely performed composition by an English composer. The range of instruments used for this piece is wonderful, with everything on stage including extra woodwinds, two harps, xylophone, glockenspiel, bells, along with two timpani players. It was a visual delight to watch the percussionist display his talents as well as a sound delight for the whole. Each movement represents a different planet and the last, Neptune the Mystic, featured the eerie voices of the Elektra Women's Choir who performed offstage.

I hope you will enjoy music of the planet I have chosen below. It was not an easy choice on YouTube. Would it be Venus, the Bringer of Peace to a background of images from outer space? Finally I chose a video which showcases more of my loves, both dance and ice dancing. So may I present Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity. You will recognize the music I'm sure, especially around the mid point. The beginning and end are said to be very reminiscent of English folk dance music. Enjoy.



The conductor for the evening was Bramwell Tovey, who has been the very popular music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra since September, 2000. We are very fortunate indeed to have this English conductor and composer in Vancouver.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

This young man who touched my life --- Tribute to Brainhell

What if they discovered a disease and nobody wanted it?


Before I even started this blog I was a medblog reader and somehow I came across the blog of Brainhell, a young man with a young family and the same age as my son. His logo is above.

He had been dealing with the terrible disease of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, since January 2004. His blog was the story of that journey, from diagnosis, to searching for a cure, to acceptance. Every day he wrote about his life and interacted with the group who were his online family. I was privileged to become part of this family. Every morning, first thing after signing on to the computer, I checked his blog. Mostly I was a lurker but sometimes I commented and I treasure the few emails that BH and I exchanged.

This intelligent young man, a very good writer, did not suffer fools gladly. He held strong opinions and made them clear to everyone and no doubt they were well thought out. Throughout this journey Brainhell was always his own man. He hated the use of the words confined or bound to a wheelchair, which of course he became. He used a wheelchair and I have never said those two words since, when speaking of someone in a wheelchair.

Reading along with this young man's journey always made me feel very humble, for he dealt with this terrible disease with grace and his strong spirit never wavered. He had not been able to speak for quite a while and communicated via computer or message board. His last post on his blog was a message of love to his wife and two young children just over a week ago.

Last night Brainhell died and his sister posted this on his blog. This journey we had shared with him had come to an end.

BH guarded his privacy and the privacy of his family zealously. But he left as a parting gift for his readers a photo of himself and some last words.



ok i'm dead. so what? i partook of much wonder and beauty. you should be so lucky!

Peace be with you Brainhell and thank you for sharing your journey with me. I will miss you but I will never forget you.