Posts Tagged ‘getting around in a wheelchair’

So yesterday, another major Festival contacted me about helping them improve Wheelchair Accessibility.
This time, it’s the Casino Sound & Light Festival.

My Wife and I attended it two years ago, and we didn’t have fun, largely to how unaccessible it was. I had a hard time getting around, and by the time, I found a spot, it was under a Tree.
We also had a hard time trying to get out.

Needless to say, it’s a big catch for me, and hopefully I’ll be able to help them out.

As of right now, I’ll be working for three major Festivals in Ottawa.
They are:

Ottawa Bluesfest
Ottawa Folk Festival
Casino Sound & Light Festival

I’m still waiting to hear from other Festivals/Events, so who knows what’ll happen next.
Hopefully, more will be interested in hiring me.

After finding that out, I made a few Phone Calls, and then headed out to have an Espresso.

For the rest of the day, I stayed home.
I’m still using my Nintendo Controller to drive my Chair, so I can’t really go far.

This Weekend’s a long Weekend, so I’m hoping that my regular Controller will be fixed by Friday.

I had an Appointment today, and on Thursday, I’m heading to a Park Downtown to hear Bagpipes.

That’s about it for now.

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My Wife & I checked out the Pop Life Art Exhibit at the National Gallery yesterday.
Some parts of it are pretty odd, and the Music is a little loud for an Art Exhibit, but all in all, I suggest you people check it out.

After that, we headed down to Piccolo Grande to have a Gelato.

So last night, I wanted to see MonkeyJunk, but they were just wrapping up as we got there. I only got to hear half a song, but they sounded pretty good. Hopefully, they will perform at a Wheelchair Accessible Venue in Ottawa soon.

So after that, it was time for The Canadian Comedy Show, hosted by Mark Forward. The show also featured Ryan Belleville, Debra Giovanni, and Pete Zedlacher.
The show was pretty good for the most part. The Host seemed kinda annoyed, and perhaps lost due to people leaving, and not laughing at him enough.

Sadly, after Bluesfest is over, it will be awhile before I get to see Live Comedy again. For those who aren’t aware, I’m a big fan of Stand-Up Comedy, and even perform it sometimes.

Up until about a year and a bit, I performed regularly at Yuk Yuk’s. They moved to a location that isn’t Wheelchair Accessible. Since then, there’s no longer any Wheelchair Accessible Comedy Venues in Ottawa.

Needless to say, I’ve been seeing as many Comedy shows at Bluesfest as humanly possible. I find it funny/sad that a temporary Tent can be made Wheelchair Accessible, but an actual Venue doesn’t want to bother to even try to be Wheelchair Accessible.

I’ve approached both of the main Clubs here in Ottawa, and either they don’t care & flat out refuse to even try to put a Ramp, or they shut me up when I tried talking to the Media about it.

Either way, it’s a horrible situation, mostly due to Owners not really giving a crap about Comedians or Club goers.

I’m done my little rant.
Sorry

So, after the Comedy Show, I went to see Great Big Sea, or tried to.

My Wheelchair stopped working on the way in.
My Wife spent at least ten minutes trying to fix it, and it worked for the rest of the night.

Great Big Sea was great as per usual.

I want to point something out.
While my Wife was trying to fix my Chair. Security & Volunteers kept wanting to help me get in to the show.
We both refused several times.
For some messed up reason, they refused to listen to her.
Now, noticed that I said her?

None of the “rent-a-cops” asked me directly. They chose to ask my Wife instead.
My Wife told them many times that I was the one refusing help, not her.
If I can drive, I will FREAKIN drive in there myself somehow.

Furthermore, people have to learn to talk to Disabled people. While it’s true that SOME of them can’t speak, don’t automatically assume that we can’t.
It absolutely drives me nuts & boggles my mind, especially since i was publicly interviewed three times in the past week.
Plus, I’m pretty sure it was obvious that my Wife & I were chatting as they approached us each time.

Anyways, my Chair stopped working shortly after we got home.
I’m now using my old Nintendo Controller, which is really hard to use.

So, today/tonight, the only show that I’ll be able to get to is Lewis Black.

As for tomorrow, I have a ride to & from Bluesfest.
I’m definitely going to see Ryan Shaw, & then Weezer later on that night.
As for the few hours in between, that’ll be tough since I can’t drive as much as usual.

Either way, I’m sure it’ll be interesting.

Day 9 at Bluesfest was headlined by Santana.

I made sure to get there early to get a spot.
Like a true Canadian/Concert goer, my first stop was the Beer Tent. I noticed that they had a Trivia booth set-up near by. I sat quietly for a few moments watching others, while silently guessing each answer. Once I realized that I knew Canadian Music well, I decided to play.

I somehow managed to get them all right. After that, they gave me a Fridge Magnet & a little flashlight.

After that, I headed over to the Platform to get a spot. It was a good idea because it was filling up pretty quickly.

It was an hour before show time, so I just sat in the back of the Platform drinking Beer after Beer, after Beer, well, you get the idea.

I saw the Superintendant of my Building, and he hung out with me for awhile. This seemingly set off a chain reaction, cause soon after, tons of people came over to thank me for getting the Platform. It’s quite gratifying when Disabled people went out of their way just to come meet me, say hi, and to personally thank me.

Speaking of which, I emailed four major local Festivals/events yesterday to see if they’d like my help with improving Wheelchair Accessibility. I contacted The SuperEx, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Westfest, and the Rideau Canal Festival. So far, none have responded yet.

Santana started, and after awhile, someone else stopped by to say hi. Bobby Slayton saw me on the Platform, and came over. I think he actually wanted to sit with me, but they didn’t let him. I was pissed about that because I really wanted to hang out with him, and talk to him. Like I said yesterday, I’m a big fan of his, so that would be awesome for me.

As for Santana, it was a GREAT show. He did most of his hits, plus old stuff, and new stuff, and some covers. I’m horrible with Song Titles, but he performed alot of familiar stuff.

Oh yeah, I just wanted to point something out.
Just because someone is Physically Disabled, it doesn’t mean they can’t be a Jackass.
Here’s an example of a Disabled Person being a Jackass:

So, because I had a few Beers (I lost count after the fourth one.) I had to pee a few times during the show. Each time I left, I got one of the Volunteers to save my spot, and my Beer.

One time I left, this jackass (I’ll call him roller jackass now.) decides to move into my spot. When I returned, roller jackass refused to move. He didn’t just refuse to move for me, but he refused to move for anyone, including others in Wheelchairs trying to get out. He also had a really pissed off look. At the end of the night, as I stayed to finish my last Beer, roller jackass was still sitting there pissed off, and not moving.

From there, I headed to the Bathroom. Driving into oncoming Crowd is quite hilarious at times. My favorite people are the ones talking or something, and not paying attention. Next thing they know, they’re face to face with a 500 pound Wheelchair in front of them. Their reaction is to either jump, scream, or move away. It’s even funnier when I’ve had a few drinks.

I headed home after that.

As for tonight, I plan on seeing Matt (don’t call me Matthew) Good, and Crowded House.
Crowded House was actually one of my favorite bands in the Eighties. Hopefully, both will be good.

I might check out some other shows as well.

My interview with The Ottawa Sun appeared in the Paper yesterday.

Here it is…
http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2010/07/12/14690926.html
(Copy & paste url into browser please. Html confuses me greatly.)

I arrived at Bluesfest for day 8. Within two minutes of walking on to the site, I got recognized for being in the Paper. I walked into the Museum, and got recognized, and called by my first name, which was kinda odd at first, but I really liked it.

Even the host of “The X-Rated Comedy Show”, Bobby Slayton recognized me enough to come from Backstage just to talk to me, while I was waiting for my Wife. That was a pretty big deal for me since I’m a big fan of his.

That was pretty much the theme of the night.
I either got “hey, I saw you in the paper”, or “keep up the good work”.

So as I mentioned, we went to “The X Rated Comedy Show” which was hosted by Bobby Slayton, and featured Ari Shaffir, Tiffany Haddish, and Mike Wilmot.

The show was pretty good. Mike Wilmot was the best of the bunch, even though he messed up a few jokes. This was my first time seeing him live, but I’ve been a fan of his for years.

After the show, my Wife & I headed to see Arcade Fire. I had no idea what to expect.
On the way in, my Wife wanted to introduce me to someone.
At first, I thought it’d be one of her Co-workers, but low and behold, it was Ari Shaffir.

We spoke for a few moments, and he seems like a cool guy.
After that, it was time for Arcade Fire.

After seeing bands like RUSH, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, I sat there waiting to be rocked.
It didn’t happen.
Arcade Fire reminds me of a highschool Band that never grew a set of balls.
It also reminded me of Comedians who only do jokes that their friends get.

We left to go see Alexisonfire.
Oh good, screamo Music.
I hate to sound old, but hearing a guy scream obnoxiously, is not my type of Music.
If I wanted to hear perverse screams and bad Music, I’d watch Porn with the sound on.

After that, we headed to the Theatre to hear Alvin Youngblood Hart , who was a Blues Singer. He was great, but he talked too much.

When I go to a Music Festival, I want to hear Music, not your life story.
That’s like going to a Strip Club and the Stripper doesn’t shut up.
I’ve had it happen many times. Part of me wants to say to her, shut up & get naked, I’m paying $20 for this.

We headed home after that.

Tonight’s big act is Santana.
I’m really looking forward to seeing him.
It’s like sex, but with a Guitar.

I came to realize something, well, with my Wife’s help.
I’ll probably be more well known for fixing Wheelchair Accessibility than I will for my Comedy.
It’s a sad statement when you think about it.

The irony in all this is that I can no longer perform Comedy often, due to Ottawa not having any Wheelchair Accessible Comedy Venues left

Another way of looking at it is at least people know my name now.
Now I need to get them to remember the name, and showing them exactly what it means, and who I am.

So, as some of you know, I was on the CTV Ottawa News this Weekend talking more about Wheelchair Accessibility at Bluesfest, and my involvement with improving it.

If you missed the story, you can view it at http://ottawa.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100711/OTT_bluesfest_accessibility_100711/20100711/?hub=OttawaHome
(Please copy & paste the link into your browser.)

I thought they did a really great job putting it together, and it made me actually feel more a part of Bluesfest. I already felt like it, but this further cemented it, if that makes sense.

Anyways, I returned to Bluesfest around 8:30 on Saturday, just in time to see The Flaming Lips. The opening was crazy with balloons, streamers, confetti, and the Lead Singer got into a giant bubble and went into the crowd. It was like Crowd Surfing, but in a huge bubble. I need one of those.

The show itself was great. I don’t really know any song titles, but I wanted to see them mainly cause I heard it’s like a party. It definitely was.

I headed home before it ended, but it was great.

That brings us to day 6.
I spent most of the Afternoon with two buddies from Montreal.
One of them wanted to see the Finals of The World Cup, so we headed to The Royal Oak to watch it.
After that, we came back and chilled out before RUSH.

We got to Bluesfest around 8:30, and off I went to the VIP Section, and Scott & Kris went into the Crowd.

The Platform was packed by the time I got there, but I managed to get a spot.
The show started at 8, and they covered alot of material in three hours.

Part way through the show, there was an Intermission which I found kinda odd, but my bladder was grateful.
I got back just in time for the second part.

As I said, they did tons of old stuff, & even some new stuff.
I usually worry when a Classic Rock Band chooses to do new songs in their sets.
I think most people pay to hear the songs that they actually know.
On the other hand though, if you want to hear old stuff, you can get it online for free.
Humans can be odd at times.

Anyways, RUSH did a good job with their new stuff too.

After that, we headed home for a bit, then we headed to a Patio nearby for some drinks.

As for today, nothing`s on at Lebreton Flats today, but I have to be down there at 5 pm for a Photo Shoot with The Ottawa Sun.
They’re doing a story about my involvement in making Bluesfest more Wheelchair Accessible. The story will appear in tomorrow’s Paper.

I talked to the Reporter by phone earlier today.

My Wife is gone to Montreal until tomorrow.

I may just relax tonight or check out Bluesfest stuff in The Byward Market.

I headed down to Bluesfest shortly after 1:30 to catch Big Jeezus Truck, who are a local Rock Band.
I’ve seen them before, and have even hung out with them after seeing them the first time.
It was a great show, highlighted by their version of “Runaway”.

From there, I headed to the main Stage to see Staff Benda Bilili. Staff Benda Bilili are 8 guys from Africa, and they’re all Physically Disabled in some form.
It’s a great feeling seeing 8 Disabled guys on the Main Stage at Bluesfest.
They were pretty good actually.

From there, it was time for me to head to The War Museum to do another Interview about my involvement with making Bluesfest more Wheelchair Accessible. This time, I was interviewed by CTV Ottawa.

They basically followed me around the site, and interviewed me.
The story will air TONIGHT at 11:30 on CTV Ottawa.

After the Interview, I headed home for a bit to rest up before seeing The Flaming Lips at 9.

As I mentioned in my last post, tomorrow will be busy.
Two buddies of mine are driving here from Montreal to see Rush, plus, I have a few other people who want to see me as well.

Yeah, it’ll be insane, but I feel pretty popular right now, and that’s definitely not a bad thing at all.

I’m heading to day 5 of Bluesfest soon, but wanted to give a quick recap of day 4.

I left just before 7 pm, as it was still raining.
Rain doesn’t really bother me if I’m prepared.
When I say prepared, I’m referring to having a Poncho.
If I don’t have it & use it, my Wheelchair go nuts once it gets wet.
Like I said though, I was prepared.

I arrived just before 7:30, and got ready for the show.
I realized after I parked my Chair by the Stage that Umbrellas are perversely big, and not really good if you’re trying to see the Stage.

The show started, and I was rockin’ out.
Sure, I looked like a demented Bubble Boy, but I didn’t care.
The rain stopped shortly after the show started, and I broke free from my Bubble.

Hole was pretty good. I’ve been wanting to see them for awhile now.
They’re one of those Bands that has a “train wreck” appeal to it.
All in all, I was pretty impressed.

From there, I headed to the Blacksheep Stage and caught the end of “The Italian Show”.
It wasn’t bad, but not being Italian, I didn’t get some of the jokes.

After the show, they told everyone to get out so they could get ready for Louis CK.
In a funny moment, as I was leaving the Tent, I overheard some guy yelled something about a guy in the Wheelchair. I turned around so he could see me, but he didn’t say anything to me. I just kept going out of the Tent.

I headed outside to wait while they setup.
Awhile later, they let us in.

Louis CK was great
This was my second time seeing him.
My first time was a few years ago in Montreal at the Just For Laughs Festival.
He performed for almost two hours.
By the time I left, the rest of the site had shut down for the night.

As for today, I plan on seeing Big Jeezus Truck at 2, Staff Benda Bilili at 3.
At 5, I’m supposed to be meeting up with CTV News to be interviewed about Wheelchair Accessibility.
After that, I might be hooking up with a friend for a bit.

This time of year is usually busy for me, but this year, it’s even crazier.
I don’t mind it though, and I’m enjoying every minute of it, to be honest.

Rock on!