Posts Tagged ‘laptop’

Thursday

// August 12th, 2010 // No Comments » // Cooking, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Homeless Outreach

Gifts 001This week has been both productive and difficult at times, but for the most part it has been a very rewarding and blessed week for me.

My week started with a trip to see my doctor to get lab results for my HIV as I stated in my blog, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about the outcome of the labs. The first reason was because I knew I was still fine and the second reason is because even if I was told I needed to start HIV meds, I know I now have a great doctor and awesome support staff there at the clinic that will get me through it. I know that with my faith and will combined with them, things will be just fine.

The only thing that was on my radar is the fact that there is a history of heart disease as well as other things in my families history and I need to make sure I am doing all I can to make certain I don’t go down the same road. While it was good to talk with my doctor about this and she was able to offer some expert advice and direction, the ultimate outcome is all in my hands. I have to eat right, make sure I am getting plenty of rest and I need to exercise. Bottom line is this, my doctor can give me all the information, advice and support there is, but if I dont start changing how I view food as well as spend more time exercising then the road that I want to avoid I will surely go down and I will have no one to blame for this but myself.

I also had the cool chance to spend some time with one of the guys from my Skid Row outreach and get to know him better as well as give him some information on how to go about correcting and dealing with some of the things he now has in front of him as it pertains to ADAP and Medi-Cal. Thanks to the support of my Keep-n-Touch program I was able to purchase a phone for him that will allow him to stay better connected to the things he needs to stay on top of. Not having a way to contact people, be in control of things you need to take care of and always having to depend on others to get messages or make phone calls can be very discouraging and even depressing for someone who is doing all they can to make things better for themselves. My Keep-n-Touch program allows me to supply a free prepaid cell phone to those in need. It may not seem like much to many people, but I know from experience that having a cell phone is a real connection and allows you to stay in control of some things in your life, while others are in charge of so much more.

Quality Products

One major set back this week came in the form of my video camera breaking on me. I’ve had some problems with the camera for a while now. Slowly but surely the camera has been in what I have called “shut down” mode and Wednesday afternoon the camera finally shut all the way down. JVC has been no help with this other then offering tech support that I must pay by the hour for or by shipping the camera to them and allowing them to repair it for far more then the camera is even worth. However they did say that if I ship them the camera and they find that the problem is something that is defective, they would cover most of it, but since the camera is past the one year warranty I would have to pay for some of the cost to fix it. So how this does not seem right, the camera could be defective, but I would still have to pay.

Whatever happened to the day when the customer was KING? Where companies made quality products that lasted forever? What happened to the days when you could by something and it would be around for many, many years? I recall things in my grand parents and even my great grand parents home that had been in their lives forever. How is that companies are allowed to make lousy products, that cost so much, but you get far less then what you paid for them?

BE OF YOUR WORD

Gifts 002Another thing I have noticed is that I am pulling away from certain people from YOUTUBE because they have volunteered or offered things and time and time again they never come through. Furthermore they act as if they have never volunteered or offered. For me this speaks to their character and the person they truly are. I am not saying they are bad people, just that they are people whose word no longer means a thing to me. Once I get to the place where your word no longer means anything, it isn’t long before I start to pull away. As I type this I am thinking about a call I received this week from someone who I had to step away from last year, she wanted to call to offer her apology and wanted to see if things could be different. She also tried to engage me in conversation, but I was not about to go back down a dead end road. I thanked her for calling and told her it was water under the bridge and not to worry about it. I then told her I hoped she was well and said goodbye. It is impossible for me to maintain any sort of relationship with someone who does not keep their word.

Hygiene Supplies

Wednesday shortly after coming home I had a knock on my door, when I opened it the UPS guy was there with a box. The box came from someone on YOUTUBE, who wanted to help me with hygiene supplies for my outreach. Inside the box were items such as toothpaste, deodorant and razors along with a very nice card. Let me tell you a little bit about this person, first she is a teenager and all we ever seem to hear, see or read in the news about teenagers is all bad. But here is one who reached out to me a while back after viewing one of my cooking videos where my family and I were doing an outreach to Chess Park at Santa Monica Beach. She wanted to help me with my outreach, she wanted to help me help those who are in need. A teenager stepping to the front of line and saying “I want to help” and not just that, but making sure she was allowed to help by staying on top of me and reaching out several times to remind me that she was willing to help.

This young lady saved her allowance and purchased items that will be used to help people who are homeless or battling HIVGifts 005 and AIDS. This young woman suited up and showed up, without excuse for people who are in need. She didn’t place empty comments on my blog or vlog, but she gave me her word and she followed through and this speaks volumes to the mother she has and the values instilled in her. It speaks volumes of the type of teenager she is and the amazing woman she will become.

Peer Support

So last month I was able to go with Donald as he made his purchase of his laptop. He saved his money and asked me to o with him to make assist him in selecting a new laptop. Since then I’ve had the huge honor of helping him learn his computer and once again today I have the huge honor of helping him once again.

Donald is someone I met through my HIV outreach on Skid Row and right away there was just something about him that stood out. He has become someone I consider as a friend, someone I care a great deal for, but more then this he has become someone I truly admire, respect and look up to. He is a massive inspiration to me and is someone who is beating the odds against HIV. He is someone you will never read about on some CDC report and is someone you may never see in some magazine, but for me he is the cream of the crop. He is kind, caring and damn funny. I look forward to visiting with him because it is always so much fun, but most of all I look forward to the pearls of wisdom he drops in my life each and every time I see or speak with him. Wisdom that you can’t get from a book, on a job or from any school, but the kind of wisdom that you must stop dead in your tracks to soak in, wisdom that can’t come from rushing things or by pretending, but the kind of wisdom that you must sit and allow to settle into your soul. Wisdom that comes from someone who has lived a rich life filled with great joy and even some sorrow that the soul is so ready to give to all who welcome it.

As a kid growing up I had the huge privilege of having what I called “elders” in my life. I use to want to go visit them and just sit and listen to their amazing stories from their rich lives and each time I would walk away with wisdom and a great feeling of encouragement. I had great respect and a greater reverence for the “elders” in my life and in many ways  Donald has become an “elder” in my life. I can count on one had, three fingers in fact, the “elders” I now have in my life and they are my great Aunt Loraine, my Aunt Emma and Donald. I am so richly blessed and honored to have them in my life.

Gifts 008I will spend my Thursday afternoon doing what some call “peer support” with my friend Donald, but in reality I will spend my Thursday afternoon in the company of my “elder” soaking in all the wisdom he allows to flow from his soul.

New Laptop

// July 4th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // HIV and AIDS, Me Time

HIV outreach 003I know some people might be reading the title of this blog and say “How did he buy a new laptop?” Well I didn’t buy a new laptop, but one of the residents from my Skid Row outreach did and he called me to ask if I would help him. I was excited for him, so of course I said yes.

It’s the 4th of July, so I needed to check to make sure the store he wanted to go to was open, I also wanted to check the train schedule to see how they were running as well. Most importantly I wanted to make certain my cell phone was fully charged and not acting like a crackberry like it has been doing for the past two weeks. You can never be too careful when riding METRO here in Los Angeles. I guess this is true for anyone who rides public transportation all over this country.

Last week I was able to get some informational books on healthy living with HIV from Louis at the Gay and Lesbian Center. I also had a pill container that was passed out while I attended an HIV update through Being Alive. I packed these items into my backpack to take with me to Skid Row and leave them in the TV room for the residents. I am hoping to be able to get some POZ Magazines to take down there as well. I am still waiting to hear back from someone at POZ. As much information on HIV and AIDS that I can make available to the residents means the more tools they have to help them live long and healthy lives with HIV or AIDS.

Things started off pretty smooth. Since the fair machines inside the station do not accept METRO issued coins for theHIV outreach 002 METRO issued TAP card that we must now carry, I had to jump on a bus, instead of walking the four blocks to the METRO Red Line. Seem rather odd that I can get a day pass with the METRO issued coins on a METRO bus, but not at a METRO fair station inside the METRO stations. This is almost as odd as not having agents inside the stations should someone need to ask questions, fair cards stop working or if there is some emergency.

Once off the bus and down into the station I could here the train arriving at the platform. I was able to TAP my card and dash through the gate and make the train right as the doors were starting to close. This was sweet and meant that I would arrive in Downtown Los Angeles at least 30 minutes faster then I thought I would. The train was pretty empty, so I was able to get a seat. With the holiday this didn’t surprise. I was at the Vermont street station in no time and this is where I would make my transfer to the METRO Rapid 720 bus. I have learned to make the transfer at this station instead of riding to Pershing Square station and then have to walk 4 blocks to get the 720 bus. At Vermont the 720 is right up stairs.

Things didn’t go so well on the 720. The bus was packed, the driver seemed to be having a bad day and the bus smelled like a gang of shit filled diapers. There was no air and no matter where you tried to stand things were tight. I made my way toward the back of the of the bus through the extended section and once through the extended area there was plenty of room, even seats so I sat down. I had my shuffle on, so at first I did not notice the loud noise coming the group of drunks behind me, but after about 2 minutes on the bus, things went south. Two guys rushed past where I was sitting, down the set of steps and turned around yelling towards the back of the bus. When I saw one flip the finger toward someone in the back, I pressed pause on my shuffle. Another guy was pulling the one yelling towards the back and speaking to him in Spanish. From what I could understand he was telling him, to let it go and they should just get off the bus. The other guy wasn’t willing to let it go. He kept yelling at the guy a few seat behind me in the back. This is when I heard from behind me “Shut the fuck up before I kill you.”

HIV outreach 004The guy standing near me was no longer as brave as he first was and began to move toward the front of the bus pushing his way through the crowd and the extension area. Since I was in the back area where you must go up two steps my seat had a clear shot of the driver in her mirror. The two guys started talking to her and the look in her face was not very comforting. I saw her read for phone and start talking. This is when I heard the woman seated behind me say in a soft voice to the woman next to her “He has a gun”

While talking on the phone the driver kept driving like normal, but since this is a Rapid there was no stops for her to make. However she was driving very slow and when the time came to make the turn onto 6th street she sat there for a very long time. She finally made her turn but continued to drive very slow. We pulled into the next stop and about 10 minutes later there were police all around the bus. From the time this took place until it ended with us having to get off the bus and board another bus it was 35 minutes. What sticks out most for me is the fact that it took the police over 12 minutes to respond. I never saw a gun, but I do know someone was placed in handcuffs. I have always said that METRO puts profits in front of public safety. This can also be said about the new programs they roll out. Just like TAP card that riders must pay to get and pay to load them as well. However if they don’t work METRO you must mail them back to an outside contractor for METRO.

I was really happy to finally be able to exit the bus and get on the new one. I was even more happy when I got off,HIV outreach 007because just as he pulled up to my stop a fight broke out in the center of the bus. As I walked down the street the bus remained at the stop with it’s emergency lights blinking. Sometimes riding METRO can be a real nightmare. I am glad that even in the midst of all of this mess, no one was hurt and I was able to get to where I was going.

We walked to Office Depot and I showed Donald the computers we had already spoke about on the phone. He asked questions and I was able to answer them for him. After about 15 minutes he decided to go with a Toshiba. He also picked a shoulder bag to carry it. We headed to the check out, grabbed some drinks from Starbucks and I spent the rest of the afternoon helping him get all set up and show him some things on his computer. I even able to help him when he called the cable company to get set up with wireless service.

HIV outreach 005Donald is one of the very first residents I met when I first started my outreach on Skid Row, he is someone I care for a great deal. He is also someone who is in full control of living with HIV, not afraid to ask questions, seeks out advice, support and education on HIV and so many other things. He is someone I am always happy to see and speak to. He is a long term survivor and someone I look up to, admire and respect. He is also someone I consider as my friend. He is always so kind and always so eager to help and provide assistance. He can also make you crack up laughing too.

It’s was a real treat to see how happy he was to purchase a laptop for himself. So cool to see the sparkle in his eye and the joy in his voice when he talked about his independence and how he is eager to learn about using the laptop. It was the perfect way for me to spend this 4th of July, helping someone gain more of their own independence.

I can hardly wait to see him on FACEBOOK and make SKYPE calls with him. I am so very proud of him and how is is working very hard to live a great, happy, healthy and productive life. Just to see the smile on his face was so damn awesome.

The ride home on METRO was very quiet and danger free, which was very nice. Once home I made a scrambled eggHIV outreach 008sandwich, took Dodger for a walk, spoke with a friend and then kicked back. Tomorrow is Monday and I going to the ceramic studio. I’ve got some really cool things I am working on that I am so looking forward to completing. Plus I have at least five pieces that should be ready to be fired.

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