Monday, November 23, 2015

First Degree Connection

I had an odd experience the other night.  I'd just been to a presentation at DVRPC where I gave the standard presentation about all of the work we are doing to make Indego bike share a representative and socially equitable program in which the race and income of our users mirrors that of Philadelphia as a whole.  I was on a panel with a guy from Rutgers, Charles Brown, (no joke, generally goes by Charlie) who presented his team's research on the disparate impacts that crashes have on people of color.  The upshot: if you are poor or black or brown or poor AND black or brown, your odds of being hit or killed in a car crash are dramatically higher than if you're white and middle income or higher.  In places like New Jersey and the Philadelphia Metro, the maps of crashes can often look like the maps of 'communities of concern' as they've been dubbed.

I was impressed by the work, and particularly by Charlie's presentation.  I work hard on making sure that when I give a presentation I'm engaging and that I use whatever media I've got at my disposal to the best of my ability. Over the years, I've gotten pretty good, and I'm generally to the point where I think that I'm one of the better presenters on any given panel that I do.  I did a passable job last week, but Charles' absolutely rocked.  Clear, compelling and well supported by the graphics in his powerpoint.  I was in presentation envy and following our meeting, was pleased to find that he'd sent me a connection request through LinkedIn.  I'm not much for social media, but I do dabble enough to understand that it could be useful to cultivate this connection, so I clicked on the link.  Charlie and I were now connected, and since I was in the portal where one accepts pending invitations, I started clicking through the requests.  Several were from people who I'd never heard of, several from some who I didn't want to hear from again and then I found one waiting in my inbox from Wade Frank.  He'd sent the request some months ago and I'd never really bothered to respond.  No particular snub there, I hadn't responded to 10 or 15 other people who'd been patiently waiting in my inbox.  I hadn't seen Wade since he'd moved back to Des Moines from Ames where he worked for my dad while he was finishing, or generally not finishing, his dissertation at ISU.  I'd always liked Wade and I'll always think about him now in my work.  Not because of our connection on LinkedIn, but because I think that I'll always be thinking about how to encourage more people to ride bicycles and to help more people stay safe on the roads.  It's a strange coincidence that my reminder of him was the result of a poignant talk about road safety.  Cheers to you Wade, and goodbye.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Historical information.

Yesterday I got a text from my friend and former colleague Mardi who, in an effort to age gracefully, started with a new personal trainer.  The catch was that the new trainer was pushing her to do things that her body didn't like, such as moving side to side, rather than front to back.  Lateral motions generated enough winces and ouches that he told her to stop and go see a doctor, something was not right with how her left hip was working.  On the minus side, Mardi was headed to Rothman for some x-rays and consultation, on the plus side, I COULD BE THE BEST FRIEND EVER SINCE I'D ALREADY HAD MY HIP RE-JIGGERED AT ROTHMAN!

We talked for a good 30 minutes about all the various procedures and doctors and pains and aches and really connected on the sort of stuff that connects people who are getting older, slower, and also have no kids.  I was able to forward on my blog posts from 2013 when I'd undergone my various surgical and therapeutic procedures.  It made me realise, or in fact, re-realize how this blog has become a lot more like a diary than the communication tool that it started as.  I began it when we were in Japan, 12 years ago, as a way to keep my friends and family in the loop with how we were doing half a world away.  Supposing that my blog isn't magically wiped out in the next economic catastrophe or during the GoogleBook merger of 2018, I would like to keep it as a log of my adventures and deeds.

But because I'm 'busy' and 'committed' and 'a hard worker' I rarely take the time to write anything here anymore.  It is in this vein that I'm going to (and seriously for real guys/friends/family/future Aaron) post some things that I should have gotten around to long ago.  There is a set of posts from Iceland over this past summer, more and better posts from our trip to Germany, some ruminations from our continual projects around the house, a set of great shots of sunsets from across the Great Plains and some ruminations from my time spent as a crew-member on RAAM for Meurig in 2013.  I'm going to try to put them in the general order of when the events happened for the better finding later.  First day of the next part of my life, where I remember and write about the last part of my life, starts now.