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Oh, shit....

... {splat}

aka I just flipped myself out of the chair backwards.

I think I was a bit energetic in decoupling from Asda's wheelchair trolley when I took it back after putting my shopping in the car, and when I stopped my wheels the chair pivoted on them. I flung myself forward, but couldn't quite get the momentum to stop it, but it did make it a fairly slow motion flip. And curling forward also meant my head missed slamming backwards into Asda's plate glass windows by about an inch.

Of course people came running, and I had to stop them from trying to pick me up, which wasn't helped by the fact they were a bunch of foreign schoolkids and didn't understand what I was saying!

Amazingly the two bottles of spirits in my back-bag also survived, though the two loaves and sadly the box of Magnum icecreams may never be the same again. (Doubly amazing for the spirits as there is a very prominent projecting bar across the back of the chair)

I'm okay, just literally a bit rattled. My neck hurts a bit, but it wasn't exactly happy before I left the house.

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Big Wheelchair is Watching You

The other day I received a letter letting me know that Kent and Medway Wheelchair Services is being privatised (they were worried about this happening when I went through the system last summer). Now in theory it shouldn't make any difference to the service I receive, but, as I noted on Twitter, it does mean someone now expects to make a profit out of my needs/my wheels.

Today the new franchise holder followed my twitter account. Now admittedly it's a new account, but they're following a grand total of 7 accounts, only two of which are individuals, and the other one is Tanni, aka Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson, parliamentarian, multiple paralympian and the most famous wheelie in the country.

The scary thing is I didn't mention where I lived. They must have pulled it out of the #wheelchair stream from a week ago, figured out I was talking about them and made a note to follow me once their account was up.

Of course that's not remotely likely to intimidate someone from freely discussing the service they depend on.

Nope, not one bit.

(Well, not if you know me, but other people...)

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Dear people hand-delivering* letters...

If you're going to post something marked 'Urgent, please do not ignore' through a letterbox, maybe spend 5 seconds to make sure you have the right house?

And they weren't even close, I live at 41, the letter was addressed to number 49, which is literally the first house in the street...

I just tottered down the road in the freezing rain to put it in the right letterbox. (So of course the rain has now stopped).

*I know it was hand delivered, because a) no stamp and b) I heard them knock and them put it in the letterbox about 6PM last night, but given at that point I'd already gone to bed because of the whole sinus bug thing and was asleep not long after I wasn't about to get up to answer the door and didn't actually see it until this morning.

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That dull thudding noise...

... is me beating my head against a brick wall in response to this tweet from Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for Disabled People:

Yep, that's the Minister of State for Disabled People celebrating World Downs Syndrome Day by saying how 'inspiring' it is that a young woman with Downs Syndrome actually has a job. Disabilityconfident she isn't.

I may have been inspired to a rant about the objectification of disabled people as 'inspiring'.

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Ooh, spinny.

AKA I came down with another inner ear bug over the weekend. Fairly mild, I'm just very slightly dizzy when I move around, but annoying as I've a few errands I want to run now there's hints of spring in the weather and there's no way I could safely drive. I think I've had one bug or another more than I've been bug free this year, and that may well be true as far back as last September, which is getting boring.

So I mostly spent Monday dozing in bed, which seems to have helped, and there was an interesting sequential dream to keep me amused. 'Sequential' as I woke up several times during it, but the dream picked up once I'd dozed off again.

Slightly futuristic setting, the characters were the high command of Singapore's space navy (?!) until an attack with a WMD took out the top man, at which point his deputy has to take over, said deputy being something of a joke and alleged former crook. Unfortunately for the bad guys he's also Bruce Willis. So cue thorough reprisals, both individually against those who plotted the attack and collectively against them as a nation - I never did work out who the bad guys were, but my subconscious is saying South American. Some of the reprisals were slightly Cthulhu-esque, probably a result of the Laundry Files re-read I've been doing. It's interesting the places my dream-director chooses to go.

Hopefully I'll be over this buf soon, but if not I'll settle for a few good dreams.

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So how did I get here again?

AKA Life with Dyspraxia.

Stumbling half awake across the living room and kick over a glass left from last night (it was at least on a tray, though if I'd been too lazy to put it on the tray it would likely have been somewhere I wouldn't kick it over - no deed of voluntary housework goes unpunished).

Glass lands roughly where my foot was meant to be coming down, I'm left standing on one leg, the dodgier, wobblier left one, with my foot dangling in mid air while trying to work out where the hell do I put my foot that isn't 1) on top of the glass (pint pot, not likely to end well) or 2) the tray (also not likely to end well).

In trying not to lose my balance, I end up throwing myself headlong across the arm of the sofa and onto the floor beyond, fortunately avoiding the wall beyond that (which I'm still not sure how I achieved, it took a 45 degree change of direction in mid-air).

I escaped with a sore knee, but let's hope that's not an indication of how the rest of the day is going to go.
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'Furious People'

The title is what I was called on Twitter yesterday by Times columnist Libby Purves for challenging her article supporting the one by Rosa Monckton in The Spectator advocating that disabled people be paid less than the minimum wage (she's specifically talking about people with severe Learning Disabilities but seeing as a) LDs are a spectrum and b) you're setting a legal precedent the issue is much wider). Purves' article was shocking in its savagery, lashing out at anyone who refused to support Monckton and who argued disabled people are worth an equal wage. She's the only person I've ever seen defend that Tory social neanderthal Philip Davies MP, who even other Tories think is beyond the pale. The one thing missing from Purves' article, any opinion from a disabled person...

As for Rosa Monckton, the fawning over 'friend of Princess Diana' by the BBC was stomach-churning. Perhaps more relevantly, she's the Honorable Rosa, daughter of a Viscount* and married to Dominic Lawson, who is the son of Thatcher's Chancellor, Dominic Lawson, and former editor of both The Spectator and the Sunday Torygraph. She does have a reason to be talking about this, a daughter with Downs Syndrome, so that's her own daughter she's arguing is worth less. But someone whose Twitter profile claims "Champagne is the answer" and is the former chief exec of Tiffanys, never mind the family connections, is arguing from a position of significant privilege**

The argument has been very heavy on the 'we're parents, we have to advocate for our children, we know what's best', which they might have a better chance of carrying off if they weren't trying to shut down disabled people attempting to comment, and apparently completely ignorant that there are a lot of very eloquent LD self-advocates, never mind the whole history of parents campaigning for what they want and not what we want that's wrapped up in the Autism Speaks/Actually Autistic campaigns.

So I've been thinking about this view that we should be paid less than the minimum wage, and I think it comes down to a conflation of two separate problems:

First the idea that disabled people aren't as able, which is an aspect of workplace disability discrimination (and wider social discrimination). This is grows out of the (illegal) demand we all be identical cogs in the production machine. It's based on a presumption of incompetence and defending the right of employers to that view.

The second is a presumption that worth and dignity can only proceed from having a job - that's clearly visible in Monckton's piece. It's probably not entirely coincidental that this has come out in the wake of the Green Paper on Work and Health which preaches a similar view. The reality of disability is many disabled people can't hold down a job. Whether you're averbal, or can argue eloquently is irrelevant. Our worth isn't defined by holding down a job, our worth is equal whether we do or we don't, whether we can or we can't. Society fails disabled ppl when it devalues us over our employment status. And that's what the pay less than minimum wage argument does.

Worth determined by job? An identical cog in the machine? Disabled people worth less? A refusal to challenge workplace disability discrimination?

We've misread the whole discussion.These aren't the views of concerned parents. they're the views of hardline Tories.

*A friend just pointed out her brother, the current Viscount Monckton, was sacked as vice president of UKIP and has views on gay rights so extreme even UKIP would be embarrassed.

** I wouldn't normally make a point based on class privilege, but in this case I think it's central to the discussion - Monckton can afford for her daughter to be paid less, that's not necessarily true of families or individual disabled people in more straitened circumstances.

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One of those days....

Or day and a bit.

I've really not been out of the house much this year, one bug after another and winter weather, etc, so yesterday afternoon I decided I really needed to pop out, at least to the supermarket. So I got myself ready, got the chair into the car, buckled up, turned the ignition, and the car went "wwwrrrrr".

Flat battery, enough power to work the dashboard, not enough to work the starter. I guess I really haven't been using it. It was getting dark at that point, so I left it for today.

Just to add to the fun, I woke up this morning with neckache. My neck is a lot better than it used to be*, but  I'm having a day where I can't decide whether I'm happier with a collar on, or off, which is a real pain in the neck. The pain levels aren't actually that high, but come with associated nausea and a slight light-headed feeling, which isn't my favourite thing.

I missed my chance to snag my neighbour and ask for a jump start, so I had to go for my battery charger, which has a solid record of charging my battery - it's never worked yet. I don't think it has the oomph to charge an actually discharged battery. So picture me fiddling about under the bonnet, while wearing a collar and unable to look down properly. Also picture me confirming 4 hours later the battery charger has kept up its record. I'll see if I can catch my neighbor tomorrow, if not I'll have to dig around and find the contact details for whoever my homestart is with this year.

And to add to the fun I remembered to go out and check whether there was any damage from this week's storms - something was making a disturbingly metallic screeching noise while the wind was blowing. So picture me trying to look at the roof of the house while wearing a hard collar - just as well I have a long garden. The roof of the house is, thankfully, fine. Then I looked down.

The roof of the shed, not so much. Fortunately it's just the tarpaper that's ripped and flapping loose, the wooden roof is intact, but it will still need replacing properly at some point. For now, picture me wearing a hard collar, tacking down a rip that's a foot above my head and as far away as I can reach.

I have a bottle of wine, and I think I'm fully entitled to use it.

* I wore a hard collar 23/7 for pretty much a decade. The root problem was probably a C5/6 disc prolapse, but it just wouldnt get better, As far as I can tell the problem was the way I limped putting lateral stresses on my neck, it finally went away spontaneously when I started using crutches and my limp smoothed out.

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Academic Gaming

I know there are several people here who are quite into gaming in various forms, so it's probably worth passing on a fascinating website I just came across (and save myself a link to it at the same time).

PaxSims is run by Rex Brynen, professor of political science at McGill University. His focus is "the development and effective use of games and simulation-based learning concerning issues of conflict, peacebuilding, and development in fragile and conflict-affected states" So you get lots of stuff trying to simulate the intersection of politics, military affairs and humanitarian crises. There's at least one complete game available under the Aftershock link, but it's the reviews I've been finding fascinating, as there are more games in the sector than I'd imagined, ranging from the serious military simulations with added politics (Persian Incursion - Israel tries to take out the Iranian nuclear programme, incidentally the link that brought me here), to slightly more balanced mixes with BCT Command Kandahar, to much more political/resource management focussed with Afghan Provincial Reconstruction. Even better, the reviews are mostly based on having played them, in some cases with his students, and analysing what worked and what didn't, rather than simply having skimmed through the rules.

There's also reviews of books on wargame and game design, which I'm pretty certain [personal profile] yhlee  will find interesting, and a ton of links to related sites Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/110718.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.
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