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Saturday, February 29, 2020

HP: HOW DO I NOT LOVE THEE

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS


HP--4-day delivery by donkey in the get it to you in 2 hours era?

I desperately need to print out event tickets.

I go to print on my HP printer-scanner.

Nothing.

Try again.

Zilch.

Then get dialogue box – out of cyan (why can’t we call it blue?) so printer can’t print.

No problem, I’ll switch to black ink only (grayscale) and I’ll have it in a jiffy.

Locks up again, another nasty dialogue box.

Printer won’t work till I refill cyan.

I root around, swear I have a cartridge…find none.

Who made it so you have to order color ink to make a lousy black and white print out?

Dialogue box now directing me to HP site.

Free next business day shipping.

Okay, I’ll bite.

It’s early Saturday, so I’ll get it first thing Monday.

Maybe I’ll even get it Sunday, since Amazon and others can get rare things to me in 2 hours, so why can’t giant HP get it in my hands in 24 hours.

Monday, nothing.

Tracking number not even working, 48 hours after order.



I get a request from a client and have to print our reports by early Tuesday.

Surely, next day business delivery has to mean Tuesday, because it’s the next day after business Monday.

But tracking number still worthless.

I waste time Tuesday first thing, running to the store to buy exact same thing I ordered way back on Saturday.

Finally, after I basically bought two of same thing, I get an update that cyan cartridge will be delivered Wednesday.

I also get a note reminding me that warranty void if I used non-HP ink.
I resent the mob tactics.

I get to thinking how HP operates on the schoolyard drug dealer business model.

Give the stuff out dirt cheap (the printer itself) cash in (outrageous ink prices) once the client is hooked.

Way past noon Wednesday, ink cartridges (I ended up buying a full rainbow of colors online on Saturday) finally arrive.

Is there anyone on earth, who does business in today’s two-hour delivery window, instant message with every continent world, that thinks delivery late on a Wednesday = next day delivery (from an order 4 days earlier on a Saturday?)





Friday, February 28, 2020

UNREGULATED E-SCOOTERS AND E-BIKES ARE NOTHING SHORT OF A NIGHTMARE

FOR WHEELCHAIR USERS, BLIND PEOPLE AND OTHERS WITH DISABILITIES




Unregulated e-scooters and e-bikes are nothing short of a nightmare for wheelchair users, blind people and others with disabilities.

Thanks Miami Herald, for remembering to explore that key aspect of the way Miami and the region neglects to keep its sidewalks, crosswalks, bus stops, etc. – free of clutter.

I am all for car alternatives and first/last mile solutions.

But none of the scooters deployed in Miami are built for people with disabilities. Other cities have demanded this -- Miami has not. That is discrimination.

Scooters and bikes blocking the sidewalk...and in many cases, the path to curb ramps and the "walk" button to push for safe street crossing.

This is not just an inconvenience.

It forces wheelchair users to back track to find an accessible route.

That can make them late for work, stuck in the rain or lead to missing a doctor's appointment.

Worse still, some go into the street to avoid the obstruction -- literally meaning this clutter is a matter of life and death.


Thursday, February 27, 2020

PROUD TO BE A LITTLE HAVANA RESIDENT

FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES


Love the historic preservation, curated tenants and human-scaled revitalization by the Barlington Group.

Great assets such as Ball &Chain, Futurama and soon to open Tower Hotel.

Proud to be a part of the ongoing evolution of Miami’s most-authentic neighborhood.

We have great housing stock, restaurants with emerging chefs and diverse people.

Bill Fuller (Barlington) helped ignite the revitalization of Little Havana, reopening the Ball & Chain nightclub that was a fixture in the neighborhood in the early part of the 20th century but was closed for decades. He keeps his office a block away and owns and operates many of the commercial properties in the neighborhood.

Though he calls himself an avowed free-market capitalist, he said other developers in the region know to keep their skyscrapers out of Little Havana.


"I know some of the developers that have built some of the stuff around us … and I've told them, 'Listen, you can build where you want, and I'm not going to put up the public battle, but if you come into these three blocks, you're going to hear from me,' " he said.


Our 100 year old house is just stone's throw SW of the "SW 8th St" label just to the right of the bold Calle Ocho marker

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

NEFERTITI HOTEL

LUXOR, EGYPT
Thanks so much to the staff at Nefertiti hotel for answering my dozens of questions while planning a trip to the Upper Nile.

The Aladin Tours branch of the family helped me customize a West Bank journey to the Hatshepsut Temple and beyond.

The same family runs the acclaimed Al Sahaby lane Restaurant onsite. 

In the El-Sahabi Family’s words:

The hotel’s central location in the historical site of Luxor with panoramic view overlook Luxor temple and the avenue of the Sphinx, the River Nile and the mountain of the Valley of the Kings, has given the hotel a magical atmosphere.

Through many years until now we received an excellent recommendation from all the major guide books and trip advisor our guests recommend us as the best in our category.

Nefertiti Hotel and Aladin Tours, named as the best agents for independent travelers by the official website for the Tourism Ministry of Egypt.




Al Sahaby lane Restaurant
Opened in the 1930 by the great grandfather of the Al-Sahaby Family. Since opening, the restaurant grew to be the most popular in the city. The restaurant has been grown year by year until it’s became recommended by many international guide books and magazines.  

Due to its popularity amongst tourists and locals alike, the street was renamed for the founding family in appreciation from the governor of Luxor. Al-Sahaby restaurant serves a variety of international and authentic Egyptian and Bedouin food.


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

GOLDEN HOTEL

DOWNTOWN CAIRO, EGYPT
Thanks so much to the marketing department and staff for answering my dozens of questions while planning my first trip to Egypt.

Downtown is a fascinating mix of Belle Epoque buildings, grand cafes a bit past their prime, street vendors, authentic restaurants and much more.

The property is very inexpensive and conveniently located very close to the Egyptian Museum, Sadat Metro Station and east bank of the Nile.

In the words of the hotel:

The Golden Hotel has a new Egyptian and French management since August 2011. It's located just a few minutes walk from Islamic and Coptic Cairo.

The hotel is fully equipped with air conditioning, offers free wifi access, fresh renovated, high ceiling rooms with TV, fridges and en suite bathrooms.

At the tour desk we organize for you any tour in Cairo or trips around Egypt.




Monday, February 24, 2020

THANKS TO THE HILL

FOR NOT PAINTING A FALSELY ROSY PICTURE OF AMERICA AFTER

30 YEARS UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

Dangerous, flooded & terribly maintained curbramp in the pedestrian heart of Center City Philadelphia

Although access overall has gotten better for people with disabilities, the employment rate is low.


The national employment rate for people with disabilities hovers around 36 or 37 percent.

Compare that to the employment rate of people without disabilities in 2018 at 77.2 percent.

Full story:

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Perils For Pedestrians 138: The ADA and Sidewalks

PROUD TO BE PART OF THE SAUDADES

 Poetry/ Photography/ Short Stories/ Painting/ Song Lyrics Anthology


The book is titled: SAUDADES Anthological Contemplations on Persons, Places, Identity, and Time.

It will feature the work of artists that originate from nine countries including Brazil, Cuba, England, Iran, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain and the United States.

I am indebted to my friend and colleague – the immensely talented filmmaker/artist/creative force Amy Serrano, who is leading this project.

There will be multimedia events – perhaps around the nation and overseas – to come.

Though I have certainly experienced saudade and a great amount of my overseas photography portrays aspects of it, I confess I did not know the word until the brilliant and multicultural Amy Serrano posted a call for artists that explained the word. 

I borrow from her background information:

In English, saudade is often explained as a word, impossible to translate, yet quantifiable as an emotion that encompasses a wholly relatable configuration of bittersweet emotions.

These involve a distinct strain of profound melancholic yearnings that may be for a person, a place, an identity, or a time that has gone, and may never return. 

Saudade is also a word for a deep-seated longing about an idealized experience that has not yet happened, and perhaps never will. 


Aspects of saudade may include one or more these emotions: a profound sense of longing for a lost love or the homeland, bittersweet nostalgia, deep loss, a sense of "missingness,' dynamic regret, a gaping hole, transcendent emptiness, mysterious incompleteness, poignant sadness, an elusive wish, a singular absence, having "the blues," an ardent wistfulness, a haunting emptiness, a desperate yearning, and/or indolent dreaming.




Saturday, February 22, 2020

JASPER THE JAGUAR CUB -5

AT ZOOLOGICAL WILDLIFE FOUNDATION MIAMI

The youthful, but very professional and accommodating handler kept Jasper on a leash.

She said he was a little cranky, having been woken from nap.

She suggested we pet him on his lower body, because she said he already can whip around fairly quickly to nip/bite at a hand near his neck.

He was perfectly calm during our visit and was purring like our Siamese rescue cat HoneyBear.

https://zoologicalwildlifefoundation.com/

Friday, February 21, 2020

JASPER THE JAGUAR CUB -4

AT ZOOLOGICAL WILDLIFE FOUNDATION MIAMI

This is Heidi’s new friend, Jasper.

He's a jaguar cub at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation.

His coat is exquisitely beautiful and soft.


“I was blessed to spend a few moments with him today,” was Heidi’s comment after about 15 minutes worth of private baby animal encounter at the sanctuary.

https://zoologicalwildlifefoundation.com/

Thursday, February 20, 2020

JASPER THE JAGUAR CUB -3

AT ZOOLOGICAL WILDLIFE FOUNDATION MIAMI



Jasper is just a baby – playing with his stuffed animal toy.

Prices vary quite a bit depending on time with the animals, online discounts, holiday discounts, etc.

We paid, with tip to the excellent handler, $200 for two adults.

It was advertised as a 5 to 7 minute encounter, but we enjoyed a good 15 minutes with Jasper.

https://zoologicalwildlifefoundation.com/

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

JASPER THE JAGUAR CUB - 2

AT ZOOLOGICAL WILDLIFE FOUNDATION MIAMI


Jasper is a 90-day old, about 30-pound jaguar cub born on the premises of the sanctuary.

There are group tours through the grounds.

The staff was polite and upfront in saying that soft gravel would make it difficult for Heidi to maneuver her wheelchair.

There also are private animal encounters with cubs of big cats, primates, sloths and other creatures.

https://zoologicalwildlifefoundation.com/

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

JASPER THE JAGUAR CUB -1

AT ZOOLOGICAL WILDLIFE FOUNDATION MIAMI


We found out about this tranquil animal sanctuary via a promotional video of South Miami-Dade attractions put out by the Floridian Hotel in Homestead.

We drove down on President’s Day to check the place out.

We are animal loves and we wouldn’t give a dime to a place that is run down, care-worn or worse.

We found a lot of very enthusiastic young people taking great care of big cats, primates and other beautiful creations living at the sanctuary in the Redland.

https://zoologicalwildlifefoundation.com/

Monday, February 17, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 20

CALLE DE LAS SIETE CRUCES Y ROCAFUERTE


In Centro Historico, have a meal in an old-world restaurant or join the festivities on lively La Ronda street before retiring to one of the many charming guesthouses in the neighborhood.

--Lonely Planet 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE NOT INNATELY VULNERABLE

BUT WHEN THEY ARE LEFT OUT OF THE ADAPTATION PLANNING
PROCESS — THE CONSEQUENCES CAN BE DISASTROUS




Proud to have written groundbreaking story on impact of sea level rise/climate adaptation on people with disabilities.

This feature was published by the forward-looking people at On Common Ground, the smart growth magazine of the National Association of Realtors.

This is my second national feature story to be published within two weeks.

Another blockbuster article is on the way in March.

To read On Common Ground, visit:




Saturday, February 15, 2020

OUR RESCUE SIAMESE CAT HONEYBEAR CELEBRATED DIVERSITY ON VALENTINE'S DAY

BY SHOWING SHE’S NOT AFRAID OF A SIMPLE MOBILITY DEVICE


Since Valentine’s Day is all about love, we’re sharing a picture from yesterday when our beloved Meezer played in her Mom Heidi’s wheelchair.

If a cat can be comfortable with a mobility device, you can too.

HoneyBear would NEVER say something stupid, like her guardian is “confined to a wheelchair. She knows it’s inaccurate and derogatory.

She’s wise enough to not be uncomfortable around people with disabilities, because she knows disability is a normal part of nature.

Honeybear would know sooner write the pejorative term “wheelchair-bound” than she would any other archaic slur toward people who are different. (Besides, she’s never heard a sedan driver called “Toyota-bound” so what’s the sense in WC-bound?

Please have sense enough to be as wise, loving and considerate as our cat rescued from the streets of Little Havana.

Friday, February 14, 2020

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

MY SOULMATE HEIDI HAS BEEN BY MY SIDE FOR 34 YEARS


We have dashed across the jet airplane runway that separates southern Spain from Gibraltar.

We have balanced the neighborhood delights of the 11th arrondissement with the legends and landmarks of Central Paris for our 30th wedding anniversary.

I watched proudly while Heidi delivered a key presentation at the American Institute of Architects' National meeting just after Michelle Obama gave her first post-White House public speech.

Heidi rooted for me while I was an award-winning reporter at the Columbus Dispatch Newspaper in Ohio and when I served as the senior policy advisor to the Chair of the Miami City Commission in our adopted hometown.

We took an all but condemned house in Little Havana and turned it into a showplace of both wheelchair access and preservation of a nearly 100-year-old home just footsteps south of famous Calle Ocho.

We discussed policy with Filipe, then the newly-married Prince of Spain and now King.

We have explored wheelchair access in Monument Valley, Moab, Zion, Bryce Canyon and other treasures of Utah.

We enjoyed the natural beauty of both Hawaii's Big Island and Costa Rica.

We often spend the Christmas week either in Mexico City or New Orleans.

We have documented universal design from London to Barcelona.

We have spent cumulative months exploring inclusive mobility in Los Angeles and New York.

We have sharpened our Spanish speaking skills from Santo Domingo DR to Andalucia.


We have a lot more on our plate.




Thursday, February 13, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 18

PLAZA GRANDE



Plaza Grande’s benches are great for soaking up the Andean morning sun and watching the bustle all around.

--Lonely Planet

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 16

PLAZA GRANDE



The white building on Plaza Grande’s northwest side with the national flag flying atop is the Palacio de Gobierno, the seat of the Ecuadorian presidency.

--Loney Planet

Monday, February 10, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 15

PLAZA GRANDE



While wandering around colonial Quito, you'll probably pass through the Plaza Grande several times.


--Lonely Planet

Sunday, February 9, 2020

A SQUEAKY WHEEL GUIDE TO LOCAL ADVOCACY


YOU CAN FIGHT WORK WITH CITY HALL


Gratified to be published in the best disability advocacy/lifestyle on the planet. 

My Government Advocacy feature is probably the 30th article I've written for New Mobility -- with and without my brilliant ADA coordinator/Universal Design expert wife Heidi. 

We have contributed design, travel and advocacy stories for more than two decades.

This is my second national publication on disability issues in less than two weeks.







Saturday, February 8, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 13

SUNRISE OVER QUITO



From the rooftop of the 500-year-old Casa de las Tias guest house within the UNESCO World Heritage site on Calle Rocafuerte.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 10

EL PANECILLO


El Panecillo is topped by a 41m-tall aluminum mosaic statue of La Virgen de Quito (Virgin of Quito; completed in 1976), with a crown of stars, angelic wings and a chained dragon. 

-Lonley Planet

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 9

EL PANECILLO



The hill to the south of the Old Town called El Panecillo (the Little Loaf of Bread) is a major Quito landmark.

-Lonley Planet

Monday, February 3, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 8

CALLE DE LAS SIETE CRUCES Y ROCAFUERTE



Calle de las Siete Cruces sites include: the Museo de la Ciudad, the Carmen Alto Monastery, the Presidential Palace and Plaza Grande, the Numismatic Museum at the Ecuadorian Central Bank building.

--Casa Gangotena

Sunday, February 2, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 7

CALLE DE LAS SIETE CRUCES Y ROCAFUERTE




Picturesque plazas, baroque 17th-century cathedrals and the snow-covered peaks beyond form a backdrop to a vibrant city in motion: indigenous in traditional garb and bowler hats mingle with mestizos amid the sing-song voices of street vendors, newspaper sellers and shoeshine boys, while the scent of Andean cooking spills out of open-sided restaurants and food stalls.

--Lonely Planet

Saturday, February 1, 2020

QUITO, EQUADOR -- 6

CALLE DE LAS SIETE CRUCES Y ROCAFUERTE



Calle de las Siete Cruces is home to early 20th-century aristocrat María Augusta Urrutia’s residence (for a taste of upper class Quito), La Compañía Church, the Cathedral, even a colonial home where, as a sign once read, “Bolívar danced”.

--Casa Gangotena