Kirk's Blog

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Kirk started writing articles for his blog around the time his first book was published (September 2011). Not having any other bright ideas at the time, he adopted the book title as his “brand” for the blog. Over time, Shaky Paws Grampa (SPG) has become his “identity” in the PD world. The good news is that he hasn’t had to fight anybody for it and there was no competition for the web address (understandably).

He didn’t have any clear goals in mind for the blog when he started other than to make his target audience the “PD world”, opting to write about what ever inspired him at the moment. Over time, various themes emerged:

Book or writing-related
PD-related information
Clinical research study advocacy/participation
Cognition issues
Living with PD-personal
PD meeting/conference announcements
SPG speaking engagements, media interviews, and webinars
Calls to action

Three years later, he has posted 120 articles that have been viewed by readers from over 60 countries around the world.
Kirk Hall

Confessions of a Hobbit-wannabe

I used to really love reading.  I think I really got hooked when I first read The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien my senior year at Ohio State.  Not for a class, but for pleasure.  I don’t remember for sure who “turned me on” to that book, but it may have been someone I knew at a campus men’s wear store where I worked part-time, College Classics.  I tried working at McDonald’s and walked out after a few hours.  I guess it wasn’t meeting my career goals.

I probably read all three books five or six times over the next ten years.  I do believe that on at least one occasion, I started the first book (Fellowship of the Ring) immediately after finishing the last book (Return of the King).  I wasn’t just reading those books, when I picked them up I was in Middle Earth.  If by doing this, I was “escaping” the real world for a time, that’s OK with me.  That is one of the things a good book is for.  I have gradually become aware over the years that, whether it’s a personally engaging book or movie, when it’s over I feel like I was there.  Sometimes it takes me a while to recover afterward, because of the impact the book or movie has had on me.  These feelings have been amplified the last couple years, I am sure due to PD.

As I got older, I would read at night before going to sleep.  Another favorite reading time was on long airplane trips for business.  During my “free time” when I wasn’t working I was busy going to watch our son’s games, running (I jogged wherever we lived and on trips-I can remember jogging in Tokyo, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Detroit, Buffalo and lot’s more), playing tennis or golf, or doing yardwork (with the help of my reluctant staff-our boys).

For example, I remember getting into James Clavell’s Noble House books about Hong Kong on several flights back and forth to that great city.  I was a big fan and ardent reader of Stephen King for many years until I read Pet Semetary (I don’t think I have fully recovered from that one to this day).  I can remember reading the Agony and the Ecstasy (if I remember correctly, it was about the life of Leonardo DaVinci).  One book that had a big impact on me in the early 1990’s was The World Is Flat. It helped me to understand the “big picture” of how the world was changing at an accelerating pace and the challenges we would face as a result.

Fast forward to the more recent past when I became a fan of Tom Clancy and John Grisham, in particular.  I read very little in the few years after my PD diagnosis.  I tired easily and basically gave up on it.  As time has gone by, I have “re-engaged” in many ways including reading.  I started reading on a much more regular basis the last couple years.  Books that I found to be particularly memorable included A Man Called Ove which was made into a memorable movie (mostly shown at small “art” theaters). 

My son gave Linda and me their children’s used Kindle Fires for Christmas last year.  After getting over the initial intimidation factor I experience with any new technology, I found that a fabulous door had been opened for me.  I learned how to up or download (I can’t keep straight which is which) ebooks from the library to my Kindle Fire using  It still takes me a long time to navigate the system, locate a book that I would like to read and actually get it sent to my Kindle, but I have persevered.  I have really enjoyed Bill O’Reilly’s Killing books and found more good Grisham books.

I just started a fascinating (and controversial) book that was loaned to me by my younger son’s father-in-law (and good personal friend), 1421: The Year China Discovered America, that makes a convincing case that China became a major force in world exploration in the early 1400’s before the time of the famous European explorers.

If you have PD and have “given up on reading” like I did, you might want to give it another shot.  I am glad that I did.

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Kirk Hall

Important Paid PD Research Opportunity

I receive quite a few contacts through my website related to PD.  I did some research on this one and it seems quite legitimate and credible.  It seems worth checking out if it appeals to you.  The company is Video Chat Network (  They are an agency that uses innovative technology to gather information for the pharmaceutical industry for product and services development.  To be clear, I can't endorse this company personally but it looks good.


My name is David Mechlin and my company is Video Chat Network ( We are an independent research firm engaged in a project for an agency who helps Pharmaceutical companies improve how their patients understand and use their treatments for best results. We would like to speak to patients in the US who have suffered with Parkinson’s Disease for at least 4 years and who have received treatment for at least part of that time. The purpose of the project is to learn more about the various treatments you have received for Parkinson’s and how well you have been served by them. Additionally we want to hear your opinions and points of view on living with Parkinson’s in order to better address the overall treatment and lives of PD patients everywhere. If you are a patient meeting these criteria and are interested participating in a 30 minute video chat interview in your own home, we will compensate you $75 for your time and opinions. If you can refer us someone qualified we will compensate you $25 for every interview performed that your referral provides. All you will need is access to a strong internet connection along with a device with a camera such as computer, a tablet, or smartphone. We would be asking you for an appointment to perform the interview at a time convenient for you over the next few weeks. If you are more comfortable doing the Interview together with your caregiver we welcome them as well. Please know we have extensive experience conducting health care/pharmaceutical research which you can check out on our site ( We are always respectful of patients and their condition. Please send me an email or call me at 646-772-7016 if you are interested in helping us out. Thank you for your interest and help. David Mechlin Video Chat 646-772-7016 

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