“Can I videotape my brainwaves?” I asked my trainer. “Sure!” she said, and I handed her my iPhone, gleeful thoughts of finally getting to play with iMovie dancing in my head.
I’ve been in a bit of a blogging funk lately. At the same time, I’ve told lots of people about the neurofeedback I do, but it’s hard to visualize. So to perk me up and give you a glimpse of what I see, me and my trainer videotaped my brainwaves in the PZ position (brainwaves look different at different locations) as I sat still or tried to make a virtual bowling ball move, and then I created a “movie trailer” in iMovie from the clips. The gamma-enhancement session didn’t go as well as usual cause my muscle tension went up — though my heart rate dropped into the 90s (woot!) — and we had a blast. I had my trainer in stitches, and I haven’t laughed so much or hard over so many hours since my injury as I did this day. Enjoy!
I attended yesterday’s BIST meeting to celebrate the awarding of a $72,300 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario. I expected the usual boring speeches. Instead, Ontario MPP Mike Colle got up and grabbed the crowd’s attention with his compelling no-notes speech on how brain injury is leaving the social taboo hemisphere and how important it is to celebrate success whether little or big. He then presented BIST’s president with a celebratory plaque.
“When you recognize success, you make people feel stronger … and you go on to another success.”
The very first benefit of the grant is the hiring of social worker Michelle Ratcliff. The grant will also allow BIST (Brain Injury Society of Toronto) to expand its programs to provide support groups for those with brain injuries and their caregivers; workshops; and community meetings in two locations, not just the current one.
I went to the BIST Brain Injury Awareness Celebration at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto last Thursday, 17 June 2010, and it was a ton of fun, full of photographic opportunities, amazing artists to meet, clowns to laugh at and be interviewed by, a mesmerising aerial artist, and speakers who moved us. I felt inspired to create a video diary of what the Brain Injury Society of Toronto put on and to use Jann Arden’s Ode to a Friend to create a music mashup as the soundtrack.
Been awhile in the making, but at last Lifeliner in Short is live on YouTube. Not a book trailer and not the whole biography of Judy Taylor, but a nice, pleasing taste of her amazing story set to music from ccmixter.org, licensed through Creative Commons. I had fun playing with the pitch of my voice, overlaying music tracks, scanning in photos, and trying out some video with my Nikon Coolpix S2. I hope you enjoy it!
I usually use my other blog to pontificate on all things politica, but couldn’t resist posting here my video on Parliament, made for all those who think coalitions are somehow an anathema to our Canadian Parliamentary democracy and have never happened before.
[Play in high quality if you can. It’s MUCH better.]
Eight years, seven months, and three days after a couple of unthinking drivers smashed so hard into the back of the car in which I was a passenger that they pushed us into the car in front of us, causing me neck, shoulder, and closed head injuries, all the legal actions are over, and I can come out into the open. I had hoped to do so when Lifeliner was published; I had hoped that my final lawsuit would wrap up about the same time, and then I could merge my blog with my new website. But it was not to be. And so I continued leading two online lives: one anonymous and one under my own name here on this website. Until today, that is, when the lawsuit was finally done, wrapped up, settled, over, and I can now merge my two selves.
It started back in 2005. I was falling down the rabbit hole of frustration and turmoil. I had to find an outlet and I had to both practice my writing and learn for myself if I could even write regularly again, a crucial step towards writing my book. I decided a blog was the best way, and using blogger was the easiest way to blog. But my personal injury lawyer was troubled by my idea. We agreed that I could blog if I kept it anonymous and if I didn’t blog on a whole bunch of topics he listed for me. As the movies say, anything you write will be used against you in a court of law. Well, that’s a bit of a twist on the old line, but it’s certainly true.
I thought at the time that this would be a temporary thing, that my made-up user name would soon be supplanted by my real name.
As I blogged and practiced writing and expanded my online activities, the insurance companies dragged their heels, proceeded on their counter-suit of my ex-spouse, and sent me to more medicals. As I dipped my toe back into photography and an angel came into my life to help me finish my book interrupted, I waited for the mediation to happen, the mediation that was booked almost a year away. I think I also went for a repeat medical. As I published my book, we at last went to mediation. What a total waste of time. Time wastage continued as I watched the months crawl by towards my pre-trial in June: my lawyer had informed me that nothing was going to happen between mediation and pre-trial as the insurance companies would just wait as is their wont. Finally the day came. The day went. No change. And then at last, the companies started negotiating in earnest with my lawyer, and I recovered from the shock of how the state, insurers, and judges shaft car crash claimants with the legal system’s blessing. We struck a deal! And then I waited some more.
Today, it is done.
Today, I can amalgamate.
Only thing is, it’s too weird. From finding it strange to write under a made-up name on my personal blogspot blog and on Metblogs and to share my photographs under another made-up name, to becoming used to being called Points or Pointsy (my Flickr handle), it is now utter strange to go back, to put my real identity on all my online activities, to amalgamate my blogs and websites under one moniker. But I’ve begun the slow process of putting my selves together. In addition to seeing changes on my website, you can also be pretty sure I’ll be writing about life as a car crash claimant, the hell of losing yourself through a closed head injury, the weirdness of growing a new personality and new hobby(ies?) out of that personality, legal system, health care, insurance companies, and all sorts of interesting topics (Chinese curse: you lead an interesting life) — on my blogger blog. The blog on this website will continue to focus on Lifeliner, my writings, and author-related work.
First though, I need to recover from this anti-climactic moment, anti-climactic because after the many times I thought we were finishing up only to find out not, that when it finally happened, I was too worn out to feel much excitement.
But I’m free! And to meditate on that is to touch excitement.