Radiohead.

Radiohead is one of those bands, you know what I mean? That band that you like to tell people can do no wrong, meanwhile they have released 3 albums that, at the very least, underwhelmed.

Before I continue, this is less a review of the career of this band and more of a personal reflection. If you could not tell from the intro paragraph, I am biased. There are some fantastic documentaries about parts of their career (Meeting People is Easy is a personal favourite) so I won’t even pretend that I could do such a monumental task even the mildest justice.

The first album (Pablo Honey) came out in 1993. I love parts of this album, and couldn’t care less about others. The Bends (released 1995) is pretty well the same tale. I would say that I like more of this album, but it still just seems to be holding onto the early ’90s grunge aesthetic. I am not complaining for that reason, but more that I came in much later into their career and therefore had certain unfair expectations.

OK Computer from 1997 was life-changing for me. It was the first exposure to the band that I had, and I hated it upon first listen. Looking back, I hated it because I couldn’t understand it. It took about 2 years from its debut for me to actually grasp some (not all) of the nuance and beauty that this album held. The complexity of Johnny Greenwood’s guitar riffs in contrast to the simplicity of Phillip Selway’s drum patterns did not make any sense to me before I was about to enter high school.

Kid A and Amnesiac (from the year 2000 and 2001 respectively) changed everything for me. I finally understood OK Computer, then I watched the video for Pyramid Song. I loved that I didn’t understand it. I didn’t find out the time signature for at least five more years. They started to experiment with a more digital production, using computers and drum machines in addition to more contemporary instruments. The juxtaposition was astounding to me.

Hail to the Thief came out in 2003. I first heard it when I borrowed the album from a good friend of mine, and HATED it. I found it arrogant and winey. Well, I did the first time through it. I went to give it back, she forced it back into my hands and told me that I just need to give it another chance.

Thank you, Cristine. Your forcing me to listen to it has secured it into the pantheon of albums that I will never be rid of.

I fell in love with it simply for the first song, 2+2=5. When I actually gave it the chance it deserved, that song blew everything I thought about music out of the water, and left me weeping uncontrollably while I clutched my copy of 1984 in my left hand and wrote my will with my right.

Melodramatic? Might I remind you that I was a senior in high school at the time? I never took drama, but I deserved an award for being one of the most dramatic people that ever lived. Hell, if I knew who I was back then now, I would actively avoid me.

I digress. I was a certified Radiohead fan by the time In Rainbows came out in 2007. I was playing in a grunge/punk/metal band called All Cut Up, and we were all fans of any sort of music that would change the way we looked at life. I distinctly remember this album coming out because my guitar player and I got it release day then avoided each other for 24 hours to digest what we just purchased.

It was amazing. Even the slower songs (like Videotape) had enough depth to keep our little minds attentive.

That’s where I think Radiohead should have ended. I know of one more released, call A Moon Shaped Pool (2016), and I hated it. It was boring.

While writing this, I have been listening to random tracks from random Radiohead albums. I can still remember where I was when I first heard every single one of them. Either in my parents activity room, on a school bus, or organizing stock at work.

I just stuck to the main releases. There are many singles and EPs that have importance, but they deviate so heavily from the overall narrative that the albums create. I cannot say I recommend all of them, but definitely give Talk Show Host a listen.

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Patient Zero

I created something that I think is okay.

Well, just the video. The song was given to me by my old guitar player {Hannah Rae Jordan} months ago, and I have been trying to figure out a way to share it with everyone since.

She has informed me that this was just a demo, and it has gone through many permutations since this recording. In fact, she claims that it’s far from done.

This does not change the fact that I love this recording very much BECAUSE it feels like a demo. This hiss, though probably not intended, fills a void from the lack of bass. The missing drum track also adds to the almost haunting feel of the song. I would argue that my horrible camera skills do not do the idea of this song justice.

Please, give it a listen. Give me (and her) feedback on the ideas at play. Very rarely, in life, do we find something that reminds us that there is beauty in the chaotic. This song reminds me that everything will be okay.

I just can’t…

The following is a post that I’m writing while I’m depressed. There is no reason to worry, I just thought I’d get my emotions out unedited and maybe this will explain why I am the way I am. Not for you, dear reader. I hope that it will allow for introspection, and allow me to figure out my brain a bit better.

I have, ever since I saw Amanda Palmer, championed the idea that writing while actually depressed is very difficult. I know that, for me, I become hyper critical.

I mean, I looked at the title for this post for about 25 minuets to decide if it was too flashy for this experiment, or not flashy enough. After all: I am trying to garnish an audience. At the same time, I am trying to avoid clickbait and concern.

The pride that I take in the image I portray is pathetic. Even to me. I want to be seen as strong; as a kind of guide for the people that have been struck down later in life by a disability. I don’t have any credentials, but I think I’m doing an okay job figuring shit out.

I digress. What kind of depressed am I today? Just a melancholy level of morose and leads me to come off as caring more than I should. That sounds almost malicious: I should say that I come off as overly empathetic. The feelings are real, but the delivery seems almost fake. I think, anyway. I could be wrong. I just feel like I am costing through the miasma of life, and I will do almost anything that seems like a good idea to someone.

This is the mood I was in when I started smoking. I had a friend who smoked, thought I came off as disturbed, and tossed me a cigarette to help me calm down. I really would never blame my smoking on someone else, but I want to be truthful in this.

So, yeah. This has been a deconstruction of what my depressed brain thinks. If I post this, it will be unedited from this point on. I have done very little in the mean time, and I think I have done okay. I am saying that without reading everything over, so if I’m wrong, all the better.

One thing I do want to say; I am writing about what goes on in my own head. None of this is a representation of depression in everyone. If you are depressed, or know someone who is depressed, contact someone who is trained on how to help.

Anyway, I feel I have rambled on enough. Something I am finding very hard to do is to leave this “article” alone as a kind of stamp and evolution of my mood. I am sorry if it gets a bit rambly at times. I am sorry if this ending is anti-climatic. I feel silly closing off what I wrote with a paragraph like this. I just need to tell everyone, especially you, that it will all be okay. It may not seem like it, but we’ll all survive this hell. Maybe we won’t be able to do it alone, but there is always someone out there. Even when it’s hard as hell to find someone, they are out there. At the very least, you have me.

Why Blog?

Alternative name for this post was “Why Write?” but I feel like the answer to that is too broad but can still be answered very easily (I have to to get the demons out). For now, I will stick to this topic, because it’s easier to answer and less etherial.

As everyone is no doubt sick of hearing me harp on about, I got sick in 2013. Equally harped about is how I died at least twice, once made very public. I have mentioned how over 100 people showed up to say their goodbyes, to which I am overwhelmed and elated by the show of support for both me and my family. That event really is what got me started on this journey, though. I was both trying to figure out my standpoint on the whole event, and explaining it to everyone. It is nice having a place I can get someone to read a more structured version of the events as opposed to my trying to ramble my way through.

Now, for the less structured explanation. I have to write. I have to do something artistic. It’s like a knife driving into my brain. To relieve the pressure, I need to do something. So, I write. The book came together by accident, and I realize that I enjoyed going down that path.

Another thing it gives me is (at least an illusion of) a voice. I can say things in a public forum and have ways to get feedback. I have, in the past, only received feedback in semi-private areas like FaceBook or Twitter. I always apreciate comments and I hope that, one day, a conversation about the topic I just brought up can happen.

If what I write is not comedy that day, it is meant as a conversation starter. I try to bring up topics to create dialogue. Often, I see the topics as (at the very least) personal issues that people would appreciate discussing. I moderate every comment as to prevent ass-hattery. By that, I don’t mean if someone disagrees with whatever. Just comments like “LAWL YOUR SAD” or whatever because they can be unneeded.

For as much as I write about it, I don’t choose ventures that make money. First music, now writing. I am the worst bread-winner.

Regardless, I am enjoying writing the more blog situation. I get the freedom to express anything I want, and you people choose to read it! Good Lord, you’re all strange…

Do what you say you will.

Something that has been literally holding my life back is people making empty promises. I couldn’t tell you how often I am told that someone will do something, then either don’t come through, or pretend that the conversation never happened.

Now, it is something entirely different if you say “I’m going to visit every so often” then fail to do so. That falls under the category of wishful thinking. Therefore, you’re a dick, but you haven’t ruined lives or bailed on anything greater than a nice gesture.

The kind of promises that I am talking about is saying something along the lines of offering to pay for a service, only to renege that offer past the point of no return. Especially when the decision was made only because you make yourself available on fallback.

Example: when I published my first book, I did so independently. That is to say that I paid for printing, editing, and distribution. Now, I did this with no expectation to be paid by anyone for doing any of it, but I was promised by a third party that they would reimburse me for what I have put out. I made sure, triple checked, then went ahead with aditional things that made the publication easier. Thing that I would not have bothered with if I wasn’t promised that they would cover the whole cost.

I am well aware that it was expensive: it cost me around three-thousand upfront. My issue lies with the idea that I dropped another two-thousand on advertising and localization that I would not have if I didn’t think that the initial was going to be covered.

Now, is that my fault? I cannot say that it’s not. I didn’t wait for the money to appear before I spent more. If I was smarter, I would have waited for the exchange before I went ahead and dropped more onto that failing venture.

Please, keep in mind: I say failing because I made back about a fifth of what I put into the project. I do NOT regret the book, though I do feel like the rewrite that I have half completed is MUCH better. More news on that in the coming weeks.

That is one, very shallow, example of what I am talking about. I could go into issues surrounding school, medical stuff, rent, dogs, food, and all of this would ignore the times that I have been in a good financial standing and had my questions disregarded to generate a much worse situation. I am not going to bring up spacifics. There is too high of risk of the people involved reading this and realizing that I am talking about them, and I don’t want to deal with any of it right now.

I guess this devolved into a rant about money. Again. It seems to be a reocuring topic on this blog, and I am very sorry about that. I very much wish that I could ignore money and just focus on other things, like writing and walking.

Side-note: does anyone else find it mildly offensive that society puts so much emphasis on walking? I realize that this comes off as me justifying me not walking, but that just strengthens my point. The fact that I don’t walk shouldn’t make me seem like a burden or someone you need to caudle. In fact, what I have survived (both medically and in life) should inspre the opposite reaction from people. I AM OKAY. I WILL SURVIVE.

Another aside, please consider giving to my Patreon. I am okay, physically and mentally. I cannot afford to feed my dogs some weeks, though. I might be okay physically or whatever, but that doesn’t mean that I can hold a traditional job. Plus, everyone is so close to hitting the $100 mark! I want to do something amazing for that number. I want to post something fascinating, or do a video, or bake dinner for people, or SOMETHING. If you have ideas, place them in the comments below. Please, consider helping me hit that mark. Even just a dollar is fucking fantastic. PLUS and the ansP subscription is only $1 right now! That means you get releases early!

IMPORTANT [or, the long name; why cripple punk is important]

Today, I did something I should never have done. Today, I looked up the keyword ‘wheelchair’ on Twitter.

Sound innocuous, right? Should just be the occasional stupid thing followed by a bunch of like-minded people discussing wheelchairs, right?

WRONG.

The first page was entirely animals in homemade chairs. Pretty cool designs. Really nifty for the “I love animals” crowd. Then, it was almost a page of tech surrounding wheelchairs. Prototypes, interesting chair designs, cars adapted for wheelchairs… that kind of thing.

I would argue for these kinds of posts existing. They are general knowledge, to an extent. That is not to argue how adorable that puppy is running for, in some cases, the first time in its life.

There was the standard frilly “you can do it” bullshit that seems to be everywhere when dealing with wheelchairs. I get the message, but the words do not fix anything. Plus, it places an unfair standard on those who will never be able to be what you think they should get over. These lines say nothing for those born with physical or mental disabilities…

Again, nice try. The intention is there, and though I personally get frustrated by such public displays, they do not harm anyone. I have never heard someone in a wheelchair get actually offended by these sentiments. Like always, feel free to prove me wrong in comments or whatever.

Then, there was a collection of updates that I was not mentally prepared for, and it corrupted everything I saw prior.

Update after update of companies announcing that they are finally wheelchair accessible. It was all like they wanted a pat on the back or some sort of award for recognizing people as people. It was incredibly hollow and self-serving. People in wheelchairs are, well, people. If you have to MAKE your location wheelchair accessible, you have to MAKE your store/company/whatever usable to a percent of the general public.

Yes, I realize that there in a silly small percent of people in wheelchairs. I will, however, point out that there is a large percent of people with mobility aids. Announcing that your building finally has accessible parking should not effect your bottom line, not having accessible parking should be hurting your bottom line. Finally catching up with the rest of society does not make for a good image. As stupid as it sounds, it’s the wheelchair COMMUNITY. If your place of business is not acceptably accessible, we do talk to one another. We will pass that information to friends, family, and neighbours. We don’t like being patronized, and we REALLY don’t like being singled out because of the wheelchair.

I might be putting my opinion as fact, I am well aware of that. This does not, however, mean that my opinion is only share by me. How many people remain silent because they do not have a soap-box to stand on, or legs to do so?

The Effects of Long-Term Hospital Stays

*THIS IS ALL FIRST HAND. I DON’T HAVE REFERENCES*

Now that I have the disclaimer out of the way, I am going to warn about long-term hospital stays and the effect on the mental wellbeing of the person in question.

Someone who is in hospital for any amount of time may be misdiagnosed as having depression or, in my case, brain damage. The patient can seem distant, gullible, despondent, or just all around wrong. The symptoms can include (but are not limited to) an unbalanced appetite, uncontrollable sadness, anger, sadness, and unwarranted outbursts.

To be blunt, this is not the fault of the individual OR the hospital. That person is used to life being one way, then (in some cases) literally have their independence ripped away from them. They might be used to keeping to themselves, then they have to socialize with specialists, nurses, and other patients. They might have their own regiment, now they have their day dictated to the minuet.

How does one treat them? With delicate understanding and a firm stance. You cannot bully them back to being “themselves”. You have to let them accept what’s going on around them in the hospital, and help them create new neural pathways to accept their surroundings.

Be careful when introducing new meds. Be sure everything in place is necessary. Do NOT be afraid to say that time is all they need. Last thing someone needs in time of emergency is to be on several anti-depressants when they don’t need it.

Please, if you have additional insight or know of better guidlines in how to cope with institutional stays, leave them in the comments. I am sure other people need them, and I would love some additional reading.guidelinesPlease, if you have additional insight or know of better guidlines in how to cope with institutional stays, leave them in the comments. I am sure other people need them, and I would love some additional reading.

Dare to be Morbid

I hit on this topic a month ago or so, but it came to light recently by a friend. He pointed out that I need a “Positive attitude.” I agreed, and acknowledged that I can be a bit morose, but I use my bleak outlook as comic alleviation. They immediately started pointing out how that is wrong. I am not denying that having a positive outlook is admirable, but being ostracized for being dark is extreme.

To look at the darker things in life can be shallow, but what does that say about life? If it is easier to point out and wallow in everything bleak and horrible, we have to look at our current climate and question the direction of society as a whole.

Where I deviate is that I point out the dark to accentuate the positive. I will help 10 old women across the road, then explain how patronizing and ridiculous it is that doing so makes me a good person. I am not doing it to minimize my actions, or to ridicule those who do not take them. I am simply examining what is going on and finding some sort of silver lining.

This world is scary. Life is horrible. We are all going to die. Now spin that! The world is scary, but it is scary because we do not look at what is possible. Did you know that your liver can reconstruct itself when just a quarter of its original size? That is fucking cool!

Life hurts. Heart ache, death, abandonment… So many things to fear and hate. It can also bring so much joy it can be overwhelming. Just look into the disabled community for stories that very much define how life can be amazing. Look at child birth to literally see a life that didn’t exist, exist! What the holy aweifoweifawefasfaweio — that’s so cool!

Yes, we are all going to die. That is a fact of, well, life. So, if that is such a fact, why ignore any part of what’s around you? Amazing things are only amazing in contrast to the less-than amazing. The time you don’t think that you made it across the street without getting hit will be the time you get hit. If you just celebrate the good all of the time, it will feel less good. If your zero is awesome, how could much be better? I’m done with metaphors to explain this. You need to look and laugh at the bad. It is a part of life – I would argue the most important part. It gives highs and lows definition.

Cripple Proud

I am a self-proclaimed cripple. There is a lot of discussion whether that is okay or not. I am going to give my 2-cents on that term, and you can feel free to challenge me to a foot race if you disagree with me.

To begin, I do understand the discomfort people have around the word. It is like any derogatory noun, but it just makes people feel dirty saying it as opposed to inciting violence.

The term should be used properly, and be (at the very least) mildly respected. By all definitions, I am a cripple. I cannot walk and I suffer from cranial damage. For me to call me a cripple, it is more in jest than self deprecation. If someone were to describe me as “crippled” I would take it the same as proclaiming that I wear glasses. In that case, it is no more offensive as someone using the colour of my shirt to pick me out of a crowd.

The more taboo phrasing is derogatory. To describe someone using that statement as part of an identifier is one thing. To define someone as a cripple is rather dangerous. Me, for instance, would find it mostly funny. If the topic was about going for a race and someone said something to the extent of “you have the cripple.” I would laugh, probably too hard. If someone came into a room and say “fuck, who let the cripple in?” joking, I would laugh. Really hard, depending on who it was. If someone bumped into me and said “fucking cripple” I would have to restrain myself not to hit something. The first two examples are saying cripple as either a mocking-identifyer or as a statement. The other is out of unnecessary frustration.

Now, I admit, the examples are poor. Anyone knocked by someone who then curses them out would be frustrated. I use that example more to illustrate using the term in passing as an insult. When you say the word to hurt someone, it is wrong, or “dirty.” If someone walks up to you and says “you woman” regardless of your sex, or gender, you would take it as an attack. That does not mean the word woman is bad in anyway.

Anyway, that is my take on calling someone a cripple. I am proud to be part of this community. The collection of differently abled people around are, for the most part, caring and loving. Of course, like every community, there are some bad eggs. My statement to them is that they should not be a bad egg.

Sidenote, if you want to make a pizza delivery person awkward, put ‘crippleparty’ in the comment section for an online delivery. Then, you have to have an obviously crippled party collect the pizza. The delivery person, if they read the comment, will be mortified and not say ANYTHING about it. It’s so good.

Chair Movement!

This is a post that I have wanted to write for a while.

I was recently chastised for having my hands in the wrong position when moving around. I would like to make it clear that it was by accident, but I do appreciate the note.

It seems like a strange thing. Why would it matter where you put your hands? Should it not be okay to have your hands anywhere as long as it is comfortable?

SURPRISE! It matters a lot. Or, it does if you want to keep your arms in use for a long time, anyway. Please, allow me to educate. I would like to add that this is all experience based, though I will be following up with people with a physio background to make sure that I don’t make egregious errors.

Imagine the wheel is the face of a clock. To propel yourself forward, your hands should be at 945-10. Why so far back? If you keep pushing from 11-1, you are not allowing the full motion of your arms to play out. You are forcing them to start part way through a natural motion and, therefore, will wear out your shoulder joint faster than if you start further back.

This is something that was mentioned to me early in my wheelchair experience, and I thought I was doing a fine job of it. However, I met with an occupational therapist the other day and she pointed out that I start my push too far forward.

Now, I was doing that in the apartment. It is hard to say that I do that when out and about, as it is easier to gain speed when pushing from further back. Having your hands closer to twelve makes it easier for small maneuvers and quick turns. This does not excuse where you have your hands. The possibility of muscle and join damage is present, anyway.

Advantages of having your hands at the right spot? As I mentioned before, speed. There is the vane advantage of improving pectoral muscles. This all does not ignore NOT NEEDING SHOULDER SURGERY!

Last happy update for a month! So, I will leave you with a warning. The next four updates are far from happy. I think the posts are important, but I realize the potential impact they can leave on a person. If you are one who has a hard time with dark ideas and depressing facts, I understand if you don’t check back in. Normal updates start back in June. If this warning has not scared you away, I hope you find the following four updates and funny as I do!

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