Personal website
April 2, 2012 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to a lead from a question I posted on this mefi thread, I finally found the contraption I was looking for to help disabled people go hiking.

It turns out the device, referred to as The Trailrider, has been around for some time. Finding it came as a nice surprise as it saved me the huge hassle of having to design and build one myself. Ironically, it was another adventurous quadriplegic with a similar desire to return to life's activities who designed the prototype. Now, after several revisions (including disc breaks, shock absorbers, a collapsable frame and mummy bag), the device is a safe and enjoyable ride. In fact, an organization called BCMOS uses it to transport happy individuals like myself across a beautiful stretch of British Columbia. This summer, I hope to be first in line for a ride. Now I'm looking to my fellow mefites for help with a follow up project of mine.

I'm looking to start a personal blog/site where I share videos of my adventures like the trip to BC mentioned above. I want it to have a reality show type feel where I narrate to pictures and videos from the past. The videos will have youtube-type Chat boxes, where I field selective questions and give responses. I want to be engaged with my audience. Besides these exsursions, the site will also have the following features:

* In large part,it will be a personal recounting of my diving accident which happened at the age of fifteen. I'll reminisce and share what it was like to go through the emotional transition from star athlete to quadriplegic. Early stories will include the HS and college years. Later I'll describe what is was like finding a job, marry my highschool sweetheart, and being blessed with a beautiful girl. All in all, it will cover a period of over 34 years of being in a wheelchair now. I'm hoping that it will be a unique story of tragedy, comedy and personal triumphs, where my life is an inspiration to others.

* After purchasing these HD glasses (or a similar product) I want to film my outdoor escapades in an up close and personal way. I think the glasses will give a unique perspective as I interact with others in the group wearing the same glasses. Individual forrays by team members can capture additional scenic shots not accessable to me. Besides giving the videos a unique flavor, the glasses make for easy upload and live streaming to social media. Other possible excursions include a ride on this glider plane, a downhill cruise on a snolimo at Whistler, and a sailboat ride from Puget Sound to Lake Washington, for a tailgate party at Huskies Stadium.The "spy" cameras make for a natural, often comical interaction with strangers unaware of being recorded (of course a release form will be signed before posting to the web).

* I'm a very artistic person who uses my mouth to draw and paint. I'd like to display some of my artwork-- consisting of several sketches and a few paintings. My portfolio is limited, but I'm hoping the site will provide inspiration to do more projects. One such undertaking is to do some animation. I'd like to collaberate with graphic artists to make a caricature of myself and set it to animation. The skits will include a curious mixture of dramatic, true life experiences, along with slapstick scenes of crashes, and the sort. The animation gives artistic latitude to depict myself in and out of the wheelchair. The ultimate experience would be to create a life-like avatar and record myself giving my daughter a hug for the first time on a virtual reality website, like Second Life.

* I'd like to test different high tech gadgets which could make a big difference in my independence and quality of life. I know there are a million things available on the web that could completely transform my life. Sometimes I wonder what Bill Gates' house would look like if he were in my situation. I'm thinking maybe the holodeck off Startrek. The biggest difference between Bill and I is money. To this end, I've thought of a few possibilities: One option is to monetise the site with Google adsense, advertising the products I'll be testing (eg..Apple, Dragon Dictate, etc). The other is to ask for small fund raising contributions by viewers for projects through paypal. Donations will give people a vested interest and allow them to see first hand the difference their funds are making. Funding for something as simple as this fishing pole could have a huge impact on my weekends and make for some fun viewing entertainment. I can imagine pulling up to a crowded dock with my hd suglasses and record the faces of the fishermen as I cast a lure 30 ft past theirs in the lake. Other examples include bci, iphone,ipad, dragon dictate, home ECU's,security, this gun, etc.

* I'd like to reblog videos of other disabled people who've had to face similar obstacles and come out the other side overcomers. I want people to write in with inspirational, touching stories of family or friends with special needs who are making a difference. Videos like this young man, for example. Maybe some day I can even do personal interviews with these talented individuals to bring an awareness of their abilities and value to society.

I've locked in a domain through godaddy called "AdventuresofDave.com" and I'm ready to start building the website. The problem is that I'm only moderately familiar with web design, animation, and videography...and I don't have the capital to hire professional help. I've been putting off the project for some time now while I get "up to speed" in these fields, but I've come to the conclusion that I never will be fully adept at any of them. It reminds me of the wasted hours I spent trying to build the Trailrider when the product was under my nose the entire time. All I really needed to do was reach out for assistance in attaining my goal. I've messed with sites like Blogger and Tumblr, and I could be wrong, but I don't feel they meet the criteria. Does anyone have suggestions on how to get this thing started? What's the best way to enlist the services of qualified web builders or animators? Do any of them do it on a Pro Bono or commission basis? Is it possible to take it another direction and open/crowd-source my life so to speak. Provide the storyline, dialogue, artistic inspiration and collaberate with the masses? Maybe have two or three sites open to public contributions and point top results to AdventuresofDave. Any advice on the project is welcome, including feedback on my choice of domain name or possible alternatives.
posted by dthm42 to Human Relations (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
For a naive naive answer, it seems like WordPress would get the job done for the most part. It gives you a blog and then 'pages', which are exactly what they sound like (bits of the site that aren't part of the blog). There are endless form plugins, which would allow people to write in. What you can't really get is re-blogging in the sense of Tumblr, as far as I know. (Which is maybe a good thing--the endless re-blogging is what makes Tumblr baffling to me.)
posted by hoyland at 7:18 PM on April 2, 2012


Can you find any examples of websites that have the look and functionality you are aiming for? (The topic can be completely different, of course). If so, maybe posting a link to them here will let people tell you whether wordpress or similar can get the job done, or if not, what you need. And/or you could email the site owners and ask them what software they are using.
posted by lollusc at 7:27 PM on April 2, 2012


You could ask for volunteers at sparked.com
posted by at at 6:38 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


From everything I've gathered, I think Wordpress is definitely the platform to use. I've been studying up on it for some time now, but I'm getting frustrated. The learning curve seems so extreme for my talents and abilities. I feel like a fish out of water trying to take in all the in's and out's of web design. I have a general idea of the features I want on the site but I'm getting lost on the execution part. To make matters worse, what I'm envisioning is so unique that I can't even provide links to similar projects. I like the idea of sparked.com and I'll be investigating it, but you have to be a non-profit org to ask for help and I'm not sure if I qualify or what that entails.
posted by dthm42 at 9:15 PM on April 3, 2012


Dang it! I was just seeking you out to recommend this very contraption. So glad you found it.

How are you coming along with the blogging?
posted by Madamina at 7:49 PM on July 6, 2012


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