Posts Tagged ‘raising awareness about disabilities’

On Tuesday, I headed over by the casino to meet one of the organizers of the casino sound & light festival to discuss improving wheelchair accessibility.

The ride there was interesting.

The para transpo driver had no idea where I was going, and it had been two years since I had been there. For some odd reason, he kept asking me for directions on how to get there.
There’s a few reasons why that’s a horrible idea.

1. I don’t drive.
2. I assume most disabled People don’t go to home renovation stores often, so I had no idea where to turn off, or what streets to take. (I was going to Reno Depot, which is the french version of Home Depot.)
3. My direction skills are HORRIBLE. I’m not kidding either. I once got lost when I came out another Door of my wife’s workplace.

After about 45 minutes of trying to read french road signs, and asking 3 random car drivers on the road, we discovered that we were in the opposite end of Gatineau. I somehow still managed to make the Meeting semi on time.

Our meeting went well. I was given a very thoroughed tour of the site. As it turned out, the main reason, I had so much trouble 2 years ago is because my wife and I had general admission tickets instead of reserved seating. If you buy tickets for the reserved seating section, you can sit on a platform, which is directly in front of the fireworks.

The view there was absolutely beautiful, and it seems like it’d be incredible at night.
One of my beefs is that I’d have to pay extra for my attendant, which is extremely stupid, plus expensive. So, I will be writing a letter to the festival president to see if they’ll drop that policy.

When I was a kid, a roommate (at the hospital) went on TV to discuss how unfair it was that we had to pay for our personal care attendants if we wanted to see a movie. It turned out that our complaining made life easier for us, and other severely disabled people.

After that, it was up to the theatres on whether or not to let them in for free. Nowadays, for the past few Years, we’ve been issued an “Access 2 Entertainment” card. Whenever I go see a movie or a special event (like wrestling) at the movie theatre, I show them the card, and just pay for myself. The next step is trying to convince concert/sports venues to do the same. I’ve been discussing it with different places for many years now, and it’s a never ending battle.

Speaking of movies, on Tuesday night, I checked out The Other Guys, starring Mark Wahlberg & Will Ferrell.

For those who don’t know, Mark & Will work for the Police Force, but not as Cops.
Will’s an Accountant, and Mark was relieved of his cop job after shooting Derek Jeter.
The two of them team up to try to solve a crime in the hopes that they can earn a cop job.

This movie pokes fun of other cop movies, especially buddy cops movies.
The duo of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg came off very well, and extremely funny, and it also helped that Eve Mendes was in it too. She played Will’s wife, and Mark’s absolutely stunned that she’s married to Will.

To me, Will Ferrell is a hot/cold type of actor.
On the hot side, he’s been in such great movies as, A Night At The Roxbury, Old School, Anchorman, Elf, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and Blades Of Glory.
On the cold side, he’s been in movies like Bewitched, Semi Pro, Stranger Than Fiction, and Land Of The Lost.

To me, The Other Guys, is one of his better movies.

As far as the rating, well, I give it a solid joysticks up. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a Will Ferrell fan.

The rest of my week was spent trying to fix the weekend schedule for my attendants. For the longest time, I’d be without anyone for 32 hours, which is very bad considering I require 24/7 care.
Luckily, I managed to convince people to work, including a brand new attendant, and 2 that no longer work here regularly.
All that matters is that everything worked out, and I’m proud of myself.

As for my weekend plans, Saturday’s gonna be a busy day.
My sister and nephew are in town.

Saturday morning will be spent with my family visiting my Grandmother. My Grandma will be having major surgery next Wednesday, so we’re all gonna visit her at the nursing home.

After that, my sister and I will be heading to a Tattoo Shop to get tattoos. My wife’s coming too, but not getting one done. I hope to shoot some video footage of me getting my tattoo done.

After that, we’re all heading to East Side Mario’s for a family dinner. It’s very rare that we’re all able to be together, so this will be a special occasion, and I’m really looking forward to it.

As for Sunday, I’ll probably sleep and relax after a long day.

So on Monday, I retrained an Attendant who’s returning after being away for a Year.
Everything went fine, and she remembered how to do everything.
I also interviewed a new Attendant, and she seems good.

As for the rest of the night, I did laundry, reserved a table for a Dinner date with my Wife for our Engagement Anniversary later this Month, and vegged.

On Tuesday, I trained another new Attendant. This was her first day, so it went ok. On the first day, they usually just suction me at the end of the day. She did, and it went well.

I spent the Evening with my Wife.

As for Wednesday, three hours was spent learning about my new Ventilator.
It’s ok, but it’s really freakin loud, and has alot of bright lights.
Right now, I’m just gonna use it when I’m sleeping.
I’m not really sure how well I’ll sleep, but I’ll find out tonight.

Eventually, I’ll be getting a second one to put on my Wheelchair.
My new Wheelchair’s gonna look like the Car in Back To The Future.

And now it’s time for the “is this really happening?” moment for the Week:

As some of you know, I was supposed to meet with one of the Organizers of the Casino Sound & Light Festival to discuss ways of improving Wheelchair Acessibility.
So, on Wednesday Morning, my Attendant called Para Transpo (Like I’d get up at 7 am.) to book my ride.
Well they said that Para Transpo doesn’t go there. HUH? Since when?
That makes no sense whatsoever.

Anyways, we’re gonna try to meet up next Week.

As for the rest of this Week, I’ll be checking out Fortissimo on either Thursday or Friday night.
Fortissimo features Military Bands, like Bagpipes, & Drums, and also features live demostrations of things.
It takes place on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday at 7:30 pm on Parliament Hill.

No other Weekend plans yet.

On Friday, my friend, Alan came to visit. We hung out, drank, and laughed our asses off.
We’ll be checking out a Comedy Show on August 29th at a Bar called Grace O’Malley’s in the West End.
If all goes well, I hope to be able to do a set there in September or October, which would be awesome. I really miss performing Stand-Up Comedy, and I’m glad that other Comedians told me about the place.

In other news, I had a pretty lazy Weekend, which is good because I have a busy Week ahead.
Here’s what’s happening:

Monday — Retraining an Attendant who’s returning to work for me. Also, meeting a potential new Attendant.

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday — Traning another new Attendant all day.

Wednesday — I’m getting a new Ventilator, which requires five hours training apparently.

Thursday — I’m suppose to meet one of the Organizers of the Casino Sound & Light Festival to discuss Wheelchair Accessibility. We were originally supposed to meet on Monday, but it was supposed to rain, so I had to postpone. it.
As luck would have it, it rained on Sunday, and apparently will rain on Thursday now. I hope we can work something out, cause that Festival needs alot of improving with Wheelchair Accessibility.

Any free time in between will be spent trying to remain sane.

Wish me luck!

On Monday, my Wife arrived home just after 11 PM. Her Brother drove her, with his Daughter.
We hung out for two hours as they got ready for Bed.

I usually see his Daughter once a Year, and she’s a great Kid. A little wacky at times, but who isn’t when they’re ten years old.

I remember the first time that I met her.
My In-Laws, & my Wife all went to a Restaurant. I order Deep Fried Ice Cream, and she wanted to feed it to me. I thought that I’d end up wearing it, but no, she did great.

See, Kids, if you offer to feed a Disabled Family Member or Friend, Ice Cream or Beer, it’s a beautiful thing.

First, you’re helping us, which SOME of us truly appreciate, especially with food.

Secondly, it gives them a hands on experience about being around Disabled People, and shows them briefly what we deal with. It also gives you a chance to ask us questions.

Speaking of asking questions, I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t say it enough.
Sometimes when I go out, Kids ask me or their Parents “what happened to me”.
Usually Parents are quick to shush them or something. To me, that’s wrong.

I’d personally prefer if Kids ask me or ask their Parents, and that I or the Parents answer their questions.
Kids are naturally curious about life in general, especially about me.
To them, I probably look like a Giant evil Cyborg.
So, Parents, chill out, let them ask, and let me answer please.

If I can educate them, and hopefully help them not become ignorant, & shallow, & uninformed like alot of Adults, I’ll be happy to talk to them.

Adults, for the most part, are a lost cause.

I’m done my little speech now

Anyways…

We spent the next day together. The Weather was crappy, so we hung out, played some Games.

My Wife and her Brother decided to go get a Pizza, so I got to babysit for about twenty minutes. It was nice cause I never get to spend time alone with his Daughter.

I showed her some Pictures of me online, and played some games online. I wish we had more time together, but it was nice while it lasted.

It reminded me of when I was a Kid living in the Hospital. I looked after TONS of Kids, almost daily. We’d play Video Games, watch TV, listen to Music, play Board Games, or just talk. I’d do whatever it took to cheer them up, and make them forget their illness for a little while.

Anyways, a few hours later, my Brother-In-Law & his Daughter left to head back to his Dad’s, before heading home to Halifax today.

Speaking of today, all I’ve done is I met my Wife for Lunch near her work.
Then, I went to the Bank to get Laundry Change for her.
I’ve done my good deed for the day.

Speaking of Laundry, I’m gonna do some now.

On Wednesday, I called my Chair Tech Guy to see if my Controller would be back by Friday. At the time, he didn’t sound too positive about it. Needless to say, I was frustrated at the time.

Eventually, it ended in a good way, but let’s talk about in between.

On Thursday, I headed to B In The Park, which were Bagpipes in a Park. I decided to take a Cab because there was no way that I’d be able to go from the Bus Stop to the Park using my crappy beat up Nintendo Chair Controller.

My Cab showed up at 5:30, and I got down there about fifteen minutes later.
Now, it was my understanding that it would cost $10 to get in, but nobody asked me for it. It’s a good thing cause I spent $10 just getting there.

The first Band were Sons Of Scotland. I think they were a local Pipe Band. They were good, but not as good as The City Of Chicago Marching Band.

Shortly after they came on, I had to go catch my ride home. I booked my ride early, so I could get home to spend time with my Wife before she left for her Dad’s place. She’s gone all Weekend, but at least we were able to spend time together, both Thursday & Friday.

On Friday, I woke up & found out that my Chair Tech Guy dropped of my Controller. I found out soon after that it didn’t work, and neither did my backup one. Luckily, he was able to return a few hours later and he fixed it.

So now, I have my good Controller back, and I’m all set to enjoy the great outdoors this Weekend.

A few hours after he left, I spent a few Minutes with my Wife, and had Iced Coffee.
Not to sound like a Commercial, but Starbucks sells packs of Instant Coffee, which are actually pretty good. I recommend it.

I walked with my Wife to the Bus Stop to catch the Bus to the Train Station. The Bus pulled up right when we got there, so we just had time for a quick kiss.

There was no cheesy Celine Dion song playing or Rain falling, or me crying, or me ripping my shirt off, or glittering, or some crap. Have fun picturing all of that though.

After she left, I went to the Store to buy a Lottery Ticket, then returned home to do Laundry. Good times on a Friday night!

Anyways, like I said, I’ll be out & about all Weekend.
There’s the Busker Fest, & the Rideau Canal Festival, and I’ll be at both.
Both need to improve Wheelchair Accessibility, but I can’t save the World that fast.

I’ll be making mental notes this Weekend on how I can help, if they want it.

I hope you all have a good Weekend out there.

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.

A Look At Day 13 At Bluesfest 2010 & A Wrap-Up Of This Year’s Bluesfest

Posted: July 19, 2010 in canada, comedy, Daily Life, Daily Living, disability, ontario, ottawa, personal, writing
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Last night was the final night for Bluesfest 2010, and Weezer was a great choice for the final act.

I saw four acts yesterday, so let’s discuss them first.

My first stop was Bjorn Berge in the Theatre. One of my friends suggested that I check him out, and I’m glad that I did.

Bjorn played solo Guitar, and was awesome. He was really funny, and played a mean Guitar. He even did a Cover of Motorhead’s “Ace Of Spades”, which was pretty rockin’ especially since it was in a small Theatre. This was a definite hidden gem for me.
I hope he returns next year.

After that, my Wife & I headed to the Cafeteria, so she could eat, and I could rest my arm.

We headed to the Claridge Stage to check out Ryan Shaw.
We were able to get a good spot in General Admission, which is extremely rare. We even made it onto the big Video screen a few times.
Being the Camera Whore that I am, I ate it up, and rocked the hell out every time the Camera pointed at me.

Ryan Shaw was great as per usual. He did some new stuff, his version of Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”, which still blew my mind. I really wish that he’d release it as a Single, but no luck yet.

Either way, you people should google him. I’m not typically a fan of “happy/semi-religious” music, but he also knows how to rock out. I still consider him to be a hidden gem, simply because not that many people know about him yet.

We tried to meet him afterwards, but he wasn’t signing Autographs this year. I do know that he saw me rockin’ out in the second row though.

After the show, I headed to the Merchandising Tent. I wanted to buy a T-Shirt from this year’s Bluesfest, and I got one.

From there, it was time for Jimmy Cliff. That was a good show, but a little too crazy with the “love Earth” stuff.

Jamaican me crazy, man!

After he did “I Can See Clearly Now”, we bailed, and got ready for Weezer.

Weezer was great, and they did all their hits like “Hash Pipe”, “Buddy Holly”, and others.
It was a great way to end Bluesfest.

I decided to walk home from Bluesfest.
Normally, I do that anyways, but I was gonna take Para Transpo this time because I’m using a Nintendo Controller, which is much harder to use.

With it being the final night, I just had to attempt it.
Somehow, I made it though. It took twice as long to get home, and I was having a really hard time near the end, but I made it.
I’m a tough, stubborn S.O.B.

So ended another Bluesfest.

For me, I will remember Bluesfest 2010 for many, many years, possibly forever.
I admit that it’s largely due to the fact that I was in the Media so much, rubbing elbows with top Comedians, and having such a huge impact with Wheelchair Accessibility.

Oh, and the Music & Comedy Shows weren’t bad either.

With that said, here are my picks for top acts from this year’s Bluesfest:

Top Musical Performances:

10. Iron Maiden
9. Big Jeezus Truck
8. Hole
7. The Flaming Lips
6. Crowded House
5. Grupo Fantasma
4. Ryan Shaw
3. Rush
2. Weezer
1. Santana

Top 5 Comedy Acts:

5. “The Canadian Comedy Show” — Mark Forward, Deb Giovanni, Ryan Belleville
4. “The Relationship Show” — John Heffron, Maryellen Cooper, Finesse Mitchell, Jim Breuer
3. Lewis Black, with Kathleen Madigan opening.
2. Louis CK, I forget who opened for him.
1. “The X-Rated Comedy Show — Bobby Slayton, Tiffany Haddish, Ari Shiffir, Mike Wilmot

I think it was a great lineup this year, and Mother Nature co-operated.

In closing, I’d like to thank the following for helping me out this year:

— The Organizers for Bluesfest for listening to my ideas, and installing a Platform, and for the top notch treatment.

— The Ottawa Sun, 24 Newspaper, CTV Ottawa, and the Bluesfest Website for helping me get the message out about how important Wheelchair Accessibility is.

— Bluesfest fans for coming up to me to personally thank me, and encouraging me to keep up the good work. That meant more to me than you’ll ever know. Rest assure, that I’m just getting started.

I look forward to being a part of Bluesfest 2011.