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Disability Linkspam: UK PhD Accessibility etc

July 26th, 2016 (01:04 am)
current location: On the soapbox
current mood: Informative

Professor Farah Mendelsohn (the author) mentioned this paper in the Fans for Accessible Conventions FB group (she's a well known UK fan as well as being a disabled academic) and it should potentially interest a few people: UK PhD Accessibility, A Pilot Study I don't think there are any astounding revelations, but it does collect a bunch of stats in one place and confirm there are issues.

I've been shooting off my mouth to journalists again, and seem to be responsible for the title of :

Drop in Access to Work numbers shows DWP ‘is strangling the scheme’

TLDR: Disability employment figures supposedly rising, yet the number of disabled people accessing government support to work is actually down slightly - either employers are cherrypicking people with minor disabilities, or the scheme is increasingly difficult to access. (What makes this all utterly ridiculous, government was making £1.40 in tax revenue for every pound spent on AtW, so the Tories cut the scheme).

I won't link to anything as it's more a cumulative effect thing, but there seem to be quite a few people raising questions about how accessible Pokemon Go is. I'm not really a mobile game person, but I'm not remotely attracted by a game that requires you to walk around.

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/95716.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

When Othering Reduces us to Monsters to be Slain

July 18th, 2016 (07:27 pm)

current location: Standing with the other monsters
current mood: sad

Horrific story in the Guardian with three deaf women in Haiti murdered for allegedly being 'lougarous'. Trigger warning for a horrific disability hate crime.

Link to story

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays and finally got around to setting up cross-posting. You can reply on the original DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/95283.html using OpenID. I've left LJ commenting on for the moment, but don't know how often I'll check it and haven't decided what I'll do about it in the long term.

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Currently Reading - 15 July 2016

July 15th, 2016 (02:56 pm)

current location: New Amsterdam and points East
current mood: okay

Recently Read:

New Amsterdam, (New Amsterdam #1),
Elizabeth Bear

He’s a wampyr, she’s a Lady, they fight crime!

Lady Abigail Irene Garret, Th.D, Detective Crown Investigator, forensic sorcerer, with a scandalous reputation, a once noted beauty, and connections in the highest places. Now one of only three DCIs in Britain’s New Netherlands colonies, and the only one who is actually competent.

Lucifugous, Over the Atlantic, March 1899

Don Sebastien de Ulloa, renowned Great Detective, less well known as a wampyr, is fleeing Europe and its memories in the company of his protégé Jack Priest by airship, when a passenger goes missing.

Wax, New Amsterdam, April 1901

A disturbed night and a body in the street leads to the discovery of an entire household vanished leads to a case for Detective Crown Investigator Lady Abigail Irene Garret, soon joined to her evident annoyance, by Don Sebastien de Ulloa. But with the case setting her between the Lord Mayor of New Amsterdam, and her lover, the Duke of New Amsterdam, Abby Irene is soon grateful for the help.

Wane, New Amsterdam, March 1902

Abby Irene receives an invitation from an old lover, Prince Henry, the heir to the throne. But there is murder at the ball, a royal reputation to protect, and once more Abby Irene finds herself caugtht between the Lord Mayor and the Duke.

Limerent, New Amsterdam, October 1902

A wealthy Fenian is found dead inside a locked room, a pistol in one hand, a Rosary bead clutched in the other. But if he knew he was in danger, how did they get to him? And then there is the bigger, political, question, is his business partner, pro-independence Lord Mayor Peter Elliot, involved? And will his political opponent, Abby Irene’s patron, boss, and lover, Richard, Duke of New Amsterdam, accept any answer bar guilty?

Chatoyant, Boston, December 1902

Someone is killing high class male courtesans, and if Sebastien can’t investigate, then Abby Irene, newly fled from New Amsterdam, can. And then a figure from Sebastian’s past arrives. And war breaks out.

Lumiere, Paris, December 1902, January 1903

Sebastien and his court have travelled to Paris, the city of Light, city of Tesla’s marvellous broadcast electricity, to seek French aid for the rebels in the American colonies. But aid comes at a price. Ghostly wolves are invading Paris during its harsh winter, and someone needs to hunt them down.

Overall it’s a rock-solid collection. The political aspect took me by surprise, but the forensic sorcery aspects were everything I had hoped for, with a well thought out magic system. And each story stands as a competent mystery in its own rights, while simultaneously contributing to the overall arc.

Garret Investigates, (New Amsterdam #5), Elizabeth Bear

Five more stories from Bear’s New Amsterdam sequence. I actually read this straight after New Amsterdam as I wanted more of Abby Irene

The Tricks of London: London, April 1879

Told from the PoV of a young detective sergeant, London faces the return of an old threat, and a young Lady Abigail Irene is the Detective Crown Investigator charged with hunting it down

The Body of the Nation: New Netherlands, April 1897

A locked room mystery, on a river steamer, with a dead Bavarian princess, and bonus Sam Clemens.

Almost True: New Netherlands, 1900

The first Abby Irene story written, this sees her caught up by an attempt to assassinate her lover, the Duke of New Amsterdam. She’s a rather more physical force in this than in the other stories.

Underground: Paris, April 1941

Despite the collection’s title, this one doesn’t actually involve Abby Irene, the focus here is her former housekeeper, Mary Ballard, now working for the Resistance against Paris’ Prussian occupiers, and charged with getting someone hunted by every side out of the city.

Twilight: London, 1941

The last Abby Irene story. She’s an old woman now, but preserved by her sorcery, and she and Sebastien have not sat out the Prussian occupation. But now the Prussians are fled, the King is back, and the intention seems to be to pension off not just her, but the entire Crown Investigator service. But not before one final case that draws in all Sebastien’s surviving court.

The collection is a little varied, but well worth reading if New Amsterdam left you wanting more of Abigail Irene.

The White City (New Amsterdam #3), Elizabeth Bear

In this double-stranded addition to Bear's New Amsterdam tales, the wampyr Don Sebastien de Ulloa takes his court to Moscow both before and after the events in New Amsterdam and Paris, and both visits are marked by murder. (If the order I'm reading these seems odd, I'm trying to read them in chronological order rather than publication order).

The stories are interwoven, and the second finds his court marked by grief, so this may not be the best place to start (try 'New Amsterdam' for that), but if you like the structure it's well worth the time. Unlike the other books I've read in the New Amsterdam sequence, this is a single short novel (182 pages), rather than a collection of short stories.

In the earlier thread, Sebastien's protege Jack continues his habit of running with the revolutionary crowd, seduced by the artist Irina, and introduced to someone who may have the potential to be this universe's Lenin (Ilya Ilych Ulyanov? - that patronymic and surname combination is too big a coincidence), only for Irina to find herself framed for murder, allowing Sebastien to roll out his Great Detective persona.

The later thread again revolves around Irina and her acquaintances, as Sebastien stumbles on a body in her studio, and into the orbit of the Russian investigator Dyachenko, which allows Lady Abigail Irene to dust off her forensic sorcery skills. There's an interesting contrast in this one as the Russians have done away with forensic sorcery, and invented conventional forensics, so Abigail Irene and Dyachenko get to play 'let me impress you', to the amusement of Sebastien.

And lurking in the background to both stories is the enigmatic wampyr Starkad.

I really liked this, and Bear's prose continues to be gorgeous, but the resolution jarred a little - it makes sense, but there's a sequence that goes 'Ah, it was about A. Oh, it was really about B. Ah, so it was actually about C' that left me a little whiplashed

Penric and the Shaman, Lois McMaster Bujold

Four years on from Penric and the Demon, Penric is a fully qualified sorcerer-divine of the Bastard's Order, once more living in Martenbridge in the court of the Princess-Archdivine and spending his time trying to spread the medical knowledge of Learned Ruchia, the previous host of his demon, Desdemona, through a rather clever spell.

And then, just as winter sets in, there arrives Oswyl, a Locator in the Father's Order, hot on the heels of Inglis, a Royal Shaman, who is suspected of murder. Oswyl is very, ahem, dedicated to his work and the rest of his team have headed off in the opposite direction, convinced they know better than he does which way Inglis will have gone. Penric isn't exactly enthused by the prospect of a trip into the high mountains in winter, but being a sorceror-divine of the Bastard, the god of everything else, means his job is whatever comes his way.

Meanwhile, up in the mountains, Inglis has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle.

Oswyl, and most everyone else, start off dismissing Penric because of his youth (he's 23 in this story), but Penric has matured into his role, and he's actually far more at home in the outdoors than any of the other protagonists. It's also not the first time he's gotten caught up in the affairs of gods, and their habit of tugging the strings of their pieces on the board is one he's a lot better placed to recognise than most.

If you like the world of the Five Gods, this is another solid entry. It's written as rotating third person limited point of view, but once or twice I found myself having to page back to check whose PoV we were in. It's mostly not a problem, and the story works better for it (and maybe I was just tired), but worth your while to pay attention to PoV shifts at the chapter starts. About my only other criticism is we don't see enough of Desdemona. She has her moments, but this isn't a tale that requires overt sorcery, nor much reference to her well-travelled background. If you're new to the world of the Five Gods, this works more than well enough as a standalone, but you'll get more out of it if you've read both the first Penric novella and, especially, The Hallowed Hunt, which establishes the background of the shamen in Wealds society. Marketed as a novella, but at 160 pages it's definitely pushing into short novel territory.

Up Next

Probably Seanan McGuire's Velveteen vs the Seasons if it's out in the UK, S L Huang's Plastic Smile, the new Cas Russell book, if it isn't.

Forgot to mention I've started following another couple of webcomics: How to Be a Werewolf, and Kismet, which has one completed long story, Hunter's Moon, and another, Suncutter, in progress.

How to Be a Werewolf is contemporary set fantasy, the protagonist, Malaya, is a 20-something Filipina-American barista who was bitten by a werewolf when she was five, but has never had contact with a pack to learn how to be a werewolf, and has led a deliberately sheltered life. Now someone has found out about her and she's in trouble, but she turns out to have more allies than she realized. Several great gay characters and a core mixed race family.

The Kismet stories revolve around the eponymous moon, home to a small colony basically run by crime families, which makes it pretty idosyncratic. Hunter's Moon is about the local offworld militarists running a particularly nasty plot to take out an old terrorist threat. People die. Lots of people die. Suncutter is a separate tale running partly in parallel, about a bootleg spacedrive development programme also being run on Kismet by those same militarists, with some deep family linkages between the two stories, but only limited crossover characters. Despite that I'd definitely read Hunter's Moon first.

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays and finally got around to setting up cross-posting. You can reply on the original DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/95086.html using OpenID. I've left LJ commenting on for the moment, but don't know how often I'll check it and haven't decided what I'll do about it in the long term.

DWGism [userpic]


July 12th, 2016 (03:33 pm)
Tags: ,

current location: Sitting in the window, pining
current mood: okay

I finally had the dressing changed on ex-nail today - it was supposed to happen at the 48 hour stage, but they forgot to give me the number for the wound therapy clinic (conveniently based at my GP's, but booked via a central number) and I didn't get hold of that until 48 hours gone, at which point today was the first available appointment, a full week on from surgery.

2:45PM appointment, home by 3PM, which is a bizarre contrast to last week's surgery and refusal to release me.

The wound itself is a lot tidier than I expected, while the weal from the spilled phenol looks like a burn that just failed to blister. The verdict is both are okay, so no more appointments, just keep covering both with plasters for another week to protect them. That is - fingers crossed - a lot better than last year's experience, when it took about two months for the cholesystectomy wounds to heal.

So I was home by three and the sun was gorgeous, so I pencilled in book, beer, sun for the rest of the afternoon. Which of course meant the skies immediately clouded over, the wind whipped up and the heavens opened.

British summers, sigh!

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays and finally got around to setting up cross-posting. You can reply on the original DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/94845.html using OpenID. I've left LJ commenting on for the moment, but don't know how often I'll check it and haven't decided what I'll do about it in the long term.

DWGism [userpic]

Test driving the new wheels

July 11th, 2016 (10:10 pm)

current location: XaLTing to the Heavens
current mood: satisfied

I managed to give the new wheels a decent test drive on Saturday, and they're so much better it's ridiculous. It also helps we're finally having some decent weather, though a touch too sticky.

I ended up parked in the further of my two regular parking spots in Rochester, which is about 700m from our regular Saturday haunt on the High Street, so a decent but not excessive push, with a helpful downhill slope going (the height difference is about 40ft). So it's about 50m on the road I park on (no handy kerb cuts to get on the path), across a busy junction into the Vines, a local park, 200m on its paths, which are tarmacced but not exactly flat as the avenue of trees has some major roots under them. Then out into the precinct at the back of the cathedral for about 250m on bricked roads (the paths are partly possible, but the heritage flagstones make them worse than the road and there's one stretch where neither side is passable for a chair), then out onto the main road between Castle and Cathedral, a quick cut through the disabled car park (which you can never park in - only 6 bays, and which they now want to sell for development - grr!) and on to the High Street

I'd realised the chair was significantly better than either the clown chair or the eBay chair as soon as I pushed out of Wheelchair Services on Thursday, but this really showed it off. I'd expected it to be better than the clown chair, that was the whole point of moving to a rigid frame, but not that it would be markedly better than the eBay GPV, which is another rigid. I'm tentatively putting that down to inflatable tyres vs solids (which were an unpleasant surprise on the eBay chair, but at least I didn't end up paying for them). Rolling resistance appears to be significantly less, the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres seem to have quite a narrow contact area, in fact I was a bit worried about slowing down at that first junction, which has quite a sharp descent into it. It was fine in the Vines, though I nearly lost it coming out of the park and onto the road behind the Cathedral - there's a driveway I've been using as a kerb cut, but if I'm hitting it that little bit faster then I need to be taking it at closer to a right angle, which means slowing down however I do it.

I'd say the ride on the bricked road was actually better even than the GPV. In the clown chair (which is now back with Wheelchair Services, presumably to be refurbished as a fleet chair) it was literally tooth-rattling, the GPV smoothed that out to a rumble, and with the XLT it's barely even that. Not much to report on the ride past the Castle, apart from motorists who see a wheelchair on the road and freeze like a rabbit in headlights, nor really on the high street, though people who erect scaffolding on the pavement and then block the way through it with barriers for no reason are not my favourites! One definite advantage to the new chair is that I don't need to fold it to get it through the doors of the George Vaults, I still need to get out, two steps up inside the door, but the XLT is light enough to pick up and lift in if I want.

On my own for lunch unfortunately, one set of friends are in France, the other has a sick family member, but no problems getting a table, and I took a chance on the special (a chance as the waitress's description was a bit garbled) and oh, boy was it worth the wait - chicken breast (the bit I heard) on a bed of freshly made ratatouille, with a smear of pesto (the bits I didn't). The ratatouille was absolutely gorgeous.

Back to the car was a bit more of a chore, 40ft uphill rather than downhill. On the bright side I made it almost all the way without stopping, the first time I've actually managed that, though I was close last week. It's pretty clear my shoulders are a problem on even fairly slight upslopes, though there's a slow improvement. And the 'almost' is effectively a mandatory stop, there's a 10m stretch of path that's too steep to safely wheel going uphill. Especially if you've forgotten to put the anti-tips out....

I'm still figuring the best way to fit the dismantled chair into the boot of the car, there may even be a way to do it without dropping any of the back seat (the boot in my Yaris is pathetically tiny), but I need to spend some time experimenting.

Next stop was PC World, checking their ink prices - £10 more than HP? Thanks, I'll pass. I've actually taken all three chairs to PC World to try them out on a decent-sized  flat surface almost as soon as I've gotten them, and the XLT is just a pleasure on that kind of surface (so long as salespeople don't step out in front of you!).

And at least I didn't have to demolish any displays to get into the aisles this time, he says innocently ;)

Then up to Asda for some grocery shopping. Thankfully the XLT will connect to their wheelchair trolleys, the GPV wouldn't, the vee front is too narrow and I was worried I might have to revert to online orders only if the XLT wouldn't fit them. Of course they were a) in the middle of restocking, with pallets of stuff blocking my way everywhere I went, and b) they'd decided to rearrange all the aisles so no one could find anything, which made it a thoroughly irritating experience. But at least the chair was a non-issue; well, until the trolley broke free as I wheeled to the car and pivoted out into the roadway. So only just connects, I guess.

Back home after that, and asleep on the sofa from 7PM til Midnight, sigh. My body is all too predictable in its reaction to exertion.

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays and finally got around to setting up cross-posting. You can reply on the original DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/94598.html using OpenID. I've left LJ commenting on for the moment, but don't know how often I'll check it and haven't decided what I'll do about it in the long term.

DWGism [userpic]

New chair!

July 7th, 2016 (05:06 pm)
current location: On new wheels
current mood: XuLTing

New chair! Picked it up from Wheelchair Services this afternoon.

Far better than the old chair, you can tell that the moment you start to push, but with a couple of minor niggles. The back is higher than expected, nearly as high as the old chair, where I have to use it folded, but as it's the correct width, that isn't quite such an issue. And the cushion set-up isn't ideal, the lower part of my thigh isn't properly supported.

We've agreed I'll give it a couple of weeks in the current setup before doing anything, but if I want they'll chop the uprights and push handles off level with the top of the upholstery and/or swap me to a three inch cushion rather than the two inch they've given me. I'm pretty certain after sitting in it for a couple of hours and getting uncomfortable that we will be going for the three inch cushion. I've temporarily added a one-inch underneath and that seems to be better, but I can't really tell if it's a complete solution until the discomfort wears off and I can start from scratch.

Getting it into the car is slightly more complex than the old one (cushion off, skirtguards off, fold back, wheels off, lift), and needs part of the back seat dropped as my boot is tiny and it's a rigid frame, but the weight to be lifted is trivial compared to the lump that was the old one.

Side-on view of a rigid framed wheelchair

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays and finally got around to setting up cross-posting. You can reply on the original DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/94231.html using OpenID. I've left LJ commenting on for the moment, but don't know how often I'll check it and haven't decided what I'll do about it in the long term.

DWGism [userpic]

What a Palaver!

July 6th, 2016 (07:42 pm)
current location: Discharged
current mood: Slightly Singed

Back in December I somehow rammed my left big toenail back into my toe - physically shunted it backwards at least 3mm, which got tediously infected. I finally had a hospital appointment to look at it a couple of months ago and the decision was the nail needed to come off. Ironically within a couple of weeks of seeing the surgeon the infection dried up, but it was clear the nail was slowly being ejected, so no change in the plan. After a couple of changes of date yesterday was the day for surgery.

Admitting time for the Pre-Operative Care Unit (POCU) was 7AM, and no sooner had 7AM come around than they called for me, which given I'd been warned at the pre-op assessment I might be there all day was a bit of a relief. So I was escorted through to a little room of my own (armchair, chair, sink and not a lot else) and left, for an hour. Then I fairly rapidly had visits from admissions nurse, surgeon (not the one I'd previously spoken to, a humongous, jovial Indian guy), and anaesthetist (not quite sure of her origins, but likely somewhere speaking a Latin language), and was eventually taken through to the pre-op room. This was when things got a little weird.

The anaesthetist noted I was down for a local and said "are you really sure about the local, we usually do light general for this?" and explained the op could be done fine under local, but putting the injection into the two nerves of the toe was extremely painful. I said I was willing to be guided, but the surgeon had said local. At which everyone in the room got a rather you than me look on their face. They did check and the surgeon bounced into the room, said 'oh, definitely local', and bounced out again.

So local it was, and by god was the anaesthetist right; forget extremely painful, try excruciating! I didn't quite turn the air blue, but I was swallowing the words to do it. Despite the pain the local was instantly effective, I could feel vague pressure on the toe, but not a great deal more. And the rest of the forefoot was slightly numb. I was through into the operating theatre about ten to nine, and the op started pretty much on the dot. Some vague clipping noises and I was told the nail was off, and then it was time for the 'phenyl ablation', intended to stop the nail growing back as a problem. I did get a burning sensation as they put that on, oddly over my middle toes rather than the big toe. And seven minutes after starting we were done. At which point I was wheeled through to Recovery.

The Recovery Ward had a dozen beds, and I was about the tenth patient to arrive, being hooked up to a blood pressure monitor on my left arm and a blood oxygenation clip on my right index finger. So I was pretty much pinned in place, but they did fetch me a cup of tea, Despite the nurses randomly breaking into snatches of Give Me Joy in My Heart (clearly one of them had earwormed all the others - I suspect the little West Indian nurse, probably not the Hungarian one*) they were ever so slightly in crisis mode; not only did they only have two senior nurses rather than three (one had rung in sick), but they were also dealing with having had three patients overnight in what is supposedly a day-only short-stay ward (which presumably meant every other bed in the hospital was jammed - this is what happens when you have one acute hospital for a city of 270,000+). So the two senior nurses were run off their feet trying to cover 6 patients each rather than 4, the junior nurses were having to cover where the seniors couldn't be and surgical nurses were being forced to hang around until they could corral one of the seniors to do a handover (one of the surgical nurses was someone I knew, we did eventually have a chance to have a catch-up when she was stuck watching a semi-comatose patient in the bed opposite).

Initially this wasn't a problem for me, I was enjoying watching the comings and goings and noting them down in author-brain, but then my foot started to hurt. And not just this is a bit sore, but fuck, this is burning! I finally kicked the blanket off it as unbearable, and there was a bright red weal from the second joint of my middle toe running about an inch onto the top of my foot and then trailing off towards the outer edge. It was pretty clear what had happened - they had spilt some of the phenyl onto me, that burning sensation during the op had been right where the problem was, but the local had been enough to obscure the fact it was still doing damage until it started to wear off. So I needed to flag down a nurse, but of course 'my' nurse had vanished, the beds on either side had curtains drawn, cutting off my view of the rest of the ward,  and every nurse I could see was handling something urgent. On a normal ward I'd have had a call button, and I could have pressed it so someone would come as soon as they were free, but the Recovery ward beds/trolleys don't have one (this strikes me as dangerous, so I'll probably write a letter). In the end it probably took over half an hour to flag someone down.

The nurse wasn't exactly dismissive, but it was fairly obvious that she thought the scenario I sketched in was unlikely. OTOH she did agree to contact my surgeon. He popped up eventually (I couldn't expect instant response if he was in surgery), I explained and he too said he thought it was unlikely, but he'd clean my foot off to be certain. He was back fairly quickly with saline and a scrubbing brush, but as soon as he started he said "You're right, I can smell the phenyl. I don't know how it happened, we put it on with a cotton-bud to stop this". Of course being right doesn't makes someone scrubbing a chemical burn any less unpleasant, but it did at least deal with it. It ended up as a dull weal rather than blistered, which they covered with some gauze to protect it. I haven't checked under the gauze yet, but I've not had any more pain from it.

Time started to tick by, and by Noon even patients who had been brought in after me and unconscious from a general were being released to the discharge ward. Someone eventually mentioned the hold-up was one of the nurses in POCU was worried about releasing me given I'd driven myself in and live alone. And then about 1PM  one of the senior nurses was on the phone to that same nurse, about me, and came over to my bed to check my notes. "Looks like you're here overnight' she commented to me as she discussed it, "there's no way you can drive home with only one leg usable." That was when I stuck my oar in, pointing out I don't use my left leg to drive, and that being a wheelchair user doesn't make it more of a problem, it makes it a non-issue. Which got a collective 'Oh!' and 'We'll go sort out your discharge papers then'. There was a short delay while we waited for my chair and clothes to turn up, but by 1:30 I was on my way to the discharge lounge. (Which incidentally explained why 'my' nurse kept disappearing. Every time she had someone to discharge she had to walk over to the discharge lounge, which is at the opposite end of the hospital, at least five minutes walk away. Add 10 minutes to do the handover and she's out of the ward for 20 minutes a patient). Once she'd handed me over I just needed them to print my discharge letter and I was home by 2pm, asleep in the sun in the garden by 2:30pm.

*Once again, the people caring for me emphasised just how much the NHS depends on immigrants to keep it running.
Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays and finally got around to setting up cross-posting. You can reply on the original DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/94101.html using OpenID. I've left LJ commenting on for the moment, but don't know how often I'll check it and haven't decided what I'll do about it in the long term.

DWGism [userpic]

So I drove into the car park and burst out laughing...

July 4th, 2016 (08:00 pm)
Tags: ,

current location: Shorn
current mood: Triumphant

I've needed to get my hair cut for several weeks now, but I've been singularly ineffectual about managing it. Mostly because by the time I get myself organised to leave the house, they'll be on the point of shutting. (It's not that I'm <i>that</i> ineffective at organising myself, more that my day is shifted about 5 or 6 hours later than everyone else's at the moment)

But Friday I actually managed to get over to Rochester in just about sufficient time, only to realise I didn't have enough money on me. So I headed over to the cash machine, but first I had to deal with the ramp out of the carpark. Despite it being a council car park, this pretty definitely doesn't meet Annex M of the Building Regs, it's too steep and should have at least two landings for that rise. OTOH it's over 100m shorter than going out of the other exit. I was in the eBay chair, and it turns out it's still too tippy on slopes, especially this one. I managed to get about 90% of the way up, but my arms were giving out, and no landings, so I had to grab the handrail to hold myself in place while I got the chair's brakes on one at a time. On the plus side, it proved I set the brakes right when I reconfigured it if they can hold me on that slope. On the negative, getting the brakes off again, without careering backwards down the slope took some doing - I really needed three hands if not five (handrail, 2xbrake, 2xwheel) and I had two little old ladies asking if I needed help before I managed to get myself moving again.

But eventually I triumphed and headed off to the other end of the High Street to get some cash, and then back to the barbers, only as I arrived outside I bumped into one of my old colleagues, Jason, who I haven't seen since Evil Aerospace gave us both the push. He was also headed in for a haircut. Only one problem (well, two if you count me having to head 20m in the wrong direction to find a kerb cut), when we got inside there were three barbers, three guys getting cuts, three guys in front of us in the queue, and only 25 minutes 'til they shut. I hung around to catch up with Jason, but bailed once it was clear there was no chance of getting a cut, while he stayed on the off-chance they might fit him in.

So I headed over again today, only rather earlier, and as I drove into the car park I burst out laughing as Jason walked out in front of me. "I bailed not long after you," he admitted, and headed off barbers-ward. I followed him once I'd parked (going the long way around), and this time instead of three barbers and a queue, there were four of them, one cutting Jason, and three not doing anything. I was driving out of the carpark on my way home barely 25 minutes after arriving.

Moral of the story, don't try to get your hair cut on a Friday ;)

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays and finally got around to setting up cross-posting. You can reply on the original DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/93827.html using OpenID. I've left LJ commenting on for the moment, but don't know how often I'll check it and haven't decided what I'll do about it in the long term.

DWGism [userpic]

Has 38 Degrees Abandoned the Hardest Hit?

November 5th, 2011 (03:48 am)

current location: Waiting for the Avalanche
current mood: irritated
current song: Waiting for the Wheel to Turn - Clannad

I've got a new post up at Flat-Out, asking why disabled people are finding it so hard to get any support from the campaigning group 38 Degrees. It seems to have tapped into an undercurrent of puzzled annoyance amongst disabled activists - it's drawn nearly as many page views in a day as the rest of the blog has in two months...

DWGism [userpic]

In Another Place

November 2nd, 2011 (02:14 am)

current location: Windmills of my mind
current mood: groggy
current song: Dizzy, my head is spinning

I've been semi-knocked out these last few weeks by repeated inner-ear bugs - I'm not sure if I'm on the second or third of the month, and spinning rooms are so not my favourite thing, but I've managed some entries over at Flat Out.

The first was prompted by a newspaper article which asked "Is Britain the Worst Place to Live in Europe?" I don't know about worst, but it's definitely not ideal!

Next up was 'Attack of the Flying Monkeys' commenting on the open hostility of Ricky Gervais fans after he was asked to stop trying to bring 'mong' back into use (for non-Brits, it's a local equivalent to the US 'retard' in all it's disablist hate and fury). The abuse I picked up along the way paled into comparison to some of that being thrown around.

'Flattened' talks about the non-obvious ways that disability can limit you. It was partly a reaction to the lack of empathy from the flying monkeys, partly a reaction to a real spike in my disability that fortunately seems to have eased off.

'30 Pieces of Silver, the International Paralympic Committee and ATOS Origin' is me in full-on political mode. It's a copy of a letter I sent to the IPC protesting their decision to partner with ATOS Origin, who have an appalling record of outright disablism. So yeah, really obvious partner for the IPC... My own experience with ATOS is documented in an article at WTB: 'The WCA, Sick Joke or National Disgrace'. 

Due up next is a report on the first national conference of Disabled People Against the Cuts, which I attended last Saturday, that should be written in the next couple of days, spinning head allowing, but will probably go on WTB.

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