hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
I could go the entire rest of my life without encountering another story about how ~~~inspirational~~~ disabled people are, and how ~~~amazing~~~ it is when they're successful. And I would be happy to do so.

Seriously, the news story I just watched was all about how this woman runs a restaurant, but it's not an ordinary restaurant, because she uses a wheelchair. They could have done a story about the barriers she faced getting it set up. (Hurdle number 1, as pointed out by [personal profile] exor674: people who are surprised that they can own a business!) They could have done about a hundred other stories about her. But no. This was flat-out "Hey, abled people, you can watch this and feel good about yourselves!"

Positive depictions of people with disabilities are good. The story I saw (which I am not linking, even via DoNotLink, because fuck that) is not positive, that is patronizing. It's inspiration porn, and I'm sick of it.

If you really want to use the media to help disabled people, you don't only show them the same way you'd do a story about a water-skiing budgie.
hopefulnebula: Snoopy reads a book called "How to Cure Stupidity" (Cure Stupidity)
Why yes, I *am* asleep in bed like I should be right now. Why do you ask?

Day 08 → A photo that makes you angry/sad
A TEM image of poliovirus

See that? That's poliovirus. This is 2010, last time I checked, and there have been effective polio vaccines available for cheap for well over fifty years now. How has it not gone the way of smallpox?

And polio's just the first one I thought of. Since June 2007, 53,129 people have contracted vaccine-preventable diseases, and 458 of them have died. That's in the United States alone. Worldwide, the percentage is much higher. (I was planning on posting a picture from one of McCarthy's rallies. Then I decided against giving her the positive attention.)

Many of these people - especially in more developed countries - are children too young to vaccinate, or people with weakened immune systems. Ask Dana McCaffery's parents.

There are also diseases that don't even need vaccines to prevent. Clean water + good hygiene = no cholera, for instance.

To end this rant positively, I'm going to link you to GiveVaccines.org. Even if you only spend ten seconds answering questions, you'll help more than just the people you vaccinate.

The remaining days )
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
I got my ballot in the mail yesterday. Biggest ballot ever in the state of Colorado, as I've heard. Two full pages, both twice the size of normal paper, printed front and back.

I've got it all filled out, folded back up, placed in the privacy sleeve and sealed up in the envelope. Once everyone else in the house is done, we can drop them off and save on postage (It costs $1.17 to mail these things!).

Does this mean the pollsters will stop calling me now?

I envy many aspects of Great Britain's electoral system. They have, what, two months? Six weeks? to campaign. None of this yearlong bullshit.

(Also, there are four different bathrooms in this house. WHY IS EVERYBODY USING THE ONE I NEED TO SHOWER IN AAAARGH.)
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
OK, it seems to be PSA time again. Not lj-cut, either, and not very damn well going to lj-cut.

Yesterday (or maybe the day before, as I forget what protocol gmail uses for timestamps), [livejournal.com profile] zogblog forwarded me this gigantic steaming pile of horseshit.

Of course, it wasn't the exact same story. Somewhere along the line, somebody stripped it of all its paragraph breaks, rendering it one barely readable mass of text. Somebody had also "corrected" the spelling of the child's name, because evidently Shaya isn't a real name, and somebody else had added the fact that the child died that winter, because evidently we need to pity him and his family even more.

So, where do I start? I'm going to set aside for now the fact that it's been on Snopes for eight years now and that if you don't have the decency to delete the names of the steaming pile's 47,000 previous recipients, you probably shouldn't be forwarding anything. I'm going to set aside the fact that I've said numerous times that I do not want to receive said e-mails in the first place, too, and concentrate on the story itself.

Or actually, how about a slightly different telling of the story? Imagine somebody telling this story, except instead of a disabled child, it's a girl who wants to play with a group of boys. Imagine the boys only letting the girl play after her father asks them to, and only putting her in because they're already losing. Imagine her stepping up to bat and the pitcher closing about half the distance between them. Imagine that same pitcher throwing the ball as lightly as he can manage... and the girl missing. Imagine him stepping in again, and again, and on her third try, she taps the ball. The pitcher catches it, tosses it out of the field, and tells her to run. Game ends, obligatory cheering and ice cream ensue.

Would people still call these boys "heroes" and be proud of them? Is it still a celebration of "God's perfection?" Would [livejournal.com profile] zogblog still have hit the forward button? Or would people hold up this story as an example of what feminists have been speaking out against for as long as there have been feminists?

Who would, in this day and age, forward something that so explicitly acknowledges women as so inferior as to not only be so stupid as to need to be carried through the game, but to be unable to recognize when they're being pandered to?

And now back to the original story. I'm not saying that the boys shouldn't have helped Shaya. They promised to let him bat in the ninth inning, and they let him. That much is good. The story mentions that he didn't know how to hold or swing a bat, and that he was "not at all athletic," so I'm fine with the pitcher stepping a few feet in and one of Shaya's teammates helping him hold the bat, so long as Shaya was okay with it. That's called "reasonable accommodation," and it's why we have wheelchair ramps and why public restrooms have at least one large(r)-sized stall. (If it weren't beyond the point, I'd mention something about how difficult it is to prove the need for reasonable accommodation for invisible disabilities here.)

But there's a big difference between reasonable accommodation and pandering. The fact that these boys are held up as heroes for taking pity on Shaya and letting him win the game because of his disability is despicable. He wanted to play baseball. The boys, in letting him win the game, weren't lifting him up. They were telling him he wasn't worth actually playing the game for.

And if, after reading this and the Snopes essay on the subject, you still think of that story as heartwarming, please let me know. I want to play baseball with you sometime.

The Cliffs Notes version: Pity bad, reasonable help good, [livejournal.com profile] zogblog needs to think about what he forwards.
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
DAMN, I loathe Facebook more every time I have to use it.

If nothing, it's worse than the driving question. At least I could shut people up with the disability response when people ask me why I don't drive. (Also for why I don't drink, but that's somewhat less successful.) But I hate Facebook so I must come from another planet.

Also, my not driving is something everybody (I hope) sees as a personal choice. People seem to see my not using Facebook as a judgement against them. Evidently, because I don't join in laughing at pictures of people trying to balance Solo cups on their asses, I must hate them. (And trust me, I'm starting to.) And why does my opinion matter to them? It never has before. It obviously doesn't on other matters.
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
To summarize: Yesterday sucked. Today was going to suck less but so far hasn't succeeded.

Naming my computer "Aeryn" seems to have been prophetic: it made it not quite two years before... well, if you've seen the Farscape episode "Season of Death," that's the approximate situation. Without the freezing water or the cryostasis or the crazy!Crichton. (The boot CD should arrive in the mail tomorrow. At least I knew exactly where in my room back home it was stored.)

Also. I said this to somebody privately but want to do it publicly as well: Just because I used to work for LJ Support (also: note, "used to") doesn't make me a slave to every problem you have with your journal or with the site. When I worked (again, note the past tense) for LJ Support, it was as a volunteer. Voluntarily choosing then to go to a page that aggregated people's LJ problems and choosing what questions to answer is a vastly different world from having total strangers come to me with their LJ problems (especially when there's an FAQ with the EXACT SAME TITLE AS THEIR QUESTION, at that). I helped this particular total stranger but plan on ignoring and ban_setting any others who may come by, as well as whomever told them to come to me instead of reading the FAQ and/or filing a Support request. Even when I was a support volunteer, I hated answering questions asked directly to me. If you have a friend who's a plumber and you have a drippy faucet, do you call them at midnight when they're off duty and tell them to fix it for free? No? It boggles me why people ask the exact same thing from tech support as a whole.

(Also. This one is more of a PSA than anything: Yes, I have a Facebook account. No, I never use it. I don't think I even remember the password. And since I never use it anyway, it's not really a problem. So I'm sorry if I don't reciprocate the adds I've been getting...)
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
Good question. Let me fetch my Magic Crystal Ball of Precognitiontm... it's a shame I can never remember where I'm going to put the damn thing.

Ah, here we go. It was somewhere in 2009 this time. I usually don't leave it that far... let's see what it has to say, shall we?

In A.D. 2008, year was beginning. (Useful little thing, isn't it? Let me fix its language subroutines... there. All better now.)

My predictions )

(Voting isn't for two weeks on this one. And as you may have gathered, I did end up taking that bye week last week. Nothing against you, Tianna, but I really didn't want to write something as smarmy as that.)

Do you need to know what this is by now?
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
Unfortunately, it seems to be for all the wrong reasons.

That guy who created it is all "sorry if" and not "sorry for." More importantly, he doesn't seem to have learned anything from the backlash it caused. And of course, he only cites neurotypical voices as the ones who swayed him over...

What a jackass.

I don't ever recall being kidnapped.

Your language of fear and hatred will not work on me.
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
One of the doctors who killed a boy in the name of making him "normal" is going to stand trial. (For those of you who are listening to this post, there's a "listen to this article" link on the article. I haven't tried it, but it might be better than TTS programs.)

I wish I could say this was an anomaly.

I wish I could say with any certainty that he'll even be convicted.

I wish I could say that we as a species are better than this, that we could use our vaunted critical thinking skills to realize how stupid treating autistic people for completely unrelated disorders they don't even have is. Even if there were a link between thimerosal and autism--which there isn't: that horse has been thoroughly killed and beaten by this point--chelation only works for acute, recent heavy metal poisoning. As in, large amounts of whatever heavy metal is in question. That's not the case with vaccines to begin with. So why is the issue that this hack excuse for a "healer" administered the wrong drug, and not that he did this at all? If he had used the correct drug correctly and the boy died, you can bet it would have been painted as a simple tragedy rather than the malpractice it still would have been. If he had administered chelation properly to a neurotypical person, you can be damn well sure he'd be nailed for malpractice. And autism is the tragedy here?

I wish I could say that these parents are among only a few who think this way, who can't accept that their children are anything but their precious "normal." I wish that tripe like "Autism Every Day" didn't exist to make it seem normal for parents to want to kill their autistic children. There was one set of parents a few years ago, who hired a "priest"--I think he was a phony, but I'm not sure and that's not overly relevant--to perform an exorcism on their autistic son because they honestly believed it would cure him. Not long after, their son died in agony, wrapped in a blanket and having his head sat on by a man three times his size. And autism is the tragedy here?

I wish for effective treatment for autistic people. I wish that treatment to be highly individualized, because despite the umbrella terms we use, there are as many kinds of autism as there are autistic people. I wish their focus to be on helping autistic people function in a neurotypical world--occupational therapy for socialization, life skills and sensory issues; auditory integration for those with aural sensitivities; and yes, even the much-vilified applied behavior analysis has its place. I wish for people to accept that not everybody's brain is wired the same way, and that's okay. It's outright hypocrisy for neurotypical people to write about how all autistic people have no theory of other minds, when autistic people more than neurotypicals are the ones who are more able to accept and even embrace the fact that "he isn't like me, and that's okay." I am what I am. This little boy died for who he was. And autism is the tragedy here?

I wish for these child's parents to feel a whole damn lot of guilt. Now, don't get me wrong. I feel awful for them. I can't even come close to imagining what it must be like to lose a child. But these parents moved to another country for this. They presumably did enough research to find out what it's supposed to do, as well as what it actually does do to people without acute heavy metal poisoning. They spoke with the quack and ordered the treatment anyway. And they were so desperate to have a "normal" child rather than love the one they had, that now they have no one. Their attitude is less "I wish my son weren't autistic" and more "I wish I had a son without autism." And autism is the tragedy here?

I wish to know where the hell the public outrage is. We have monuments to the people who have been tortured, beaten and killed for their race, for their political views, for their sexual orientations. There are days of remembrance for them. There's legislation in a lot of areas that give harsher sentences to killings that are motivated by race or gender or sex. (Whether it should exist is another issue entirely, and isn't really relevant. It still exists.) So where is the monument to Katie McCarron, whose mother suffocated her because she wouldn't take a nap and was therefore "regressing?" Marcus Fiesel, whose foster parents tied him up, put him in a closet and left town so he'd starve to death? Christopher DeGroot, who was only a year younger than me when his parents locked him in their apartment and set it on fire? Ryan Davies, whose mother drove her car off a bridge, killing both of them? Oh. I get it. They're "mercy killings." They're "acts of love." The victims were autistic and that makes their murders acceptable. And so, then, are all of these. Take a moment and read that. Look at their killers' sentences. Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson both got life in prison for the exact same crime. Next October will mark ten years since they tortured and killed Matthew Shepard for mistakenly hitting on them in a bar. The only difference in the crime is their choice of victim. And autism is the tragedy here?

I wish I could say this was an anomaly. But it isn't. And that breaks my heart.

Voting banner goes here.
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
1. The next person who posts a meme that stretches my friends page in any way is going to be e-fishslapped. FAQ 75 is your friend. *pets it*


2. I've noticed a dramatic upswing in the number of people who've friended me since I joined [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. While you're very welcome to list me, and I'm not going to make you comment or anything, don't expect me to friend you back just because you've listed me. Don't take it personally if I don't. There's just only so much a girl can read, and I don't want to use custom filters to avoid reading certain people just out of feeling obligated to friend them back.

God, I hate the fact that way back in the day, Brad decided to call it "friends" instead of "reading" or some such.
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
I went back upstairs, because GAH. My chances of developing high blood pressure are enough without listening to those douchebags, tyvm.

Did I mention how wonderful "douchebag" is as an insult? Not only does it just sound perfect, it's fun to say and it's a term for something completely useless.

Anyway, I just felt compelled to post these. )
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
"A vegan couple were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for the death of their malnourished 6-week-old baby boy, who was fed a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice."

...just... urgh. Words cannot describe... what awful parents. Just... gah.

*goes to be sick now*

Being vegan is fine. But I just can't see how a vegan can deny a baby breastmilk that's *designed* for baby people in the first place. It's free of animal cruelty (unless the baby bites, I suppose), it's got everything they need to be healthy during the first few months of life, it's free, and it's wasteful to pump it and not use it.

Really, though. What the fuck kind of parents don't realize they're starving their child when said baby is 6 weeks old and weighs only 3 and a half pounds? I was preemie and I weighed more than that when I was born. I can't believe they thought that a baby losing that much weight was healthy. Assuming average weight at birth, that's 50% body mass. In six weeks. Fuck, if my cat lost that much weight at all, let alone in just six weeks, I'd be hauling (what was left of) her ass to the emergency vet.

Who's up for using taxpayer dollars to fund a tubal ligation for her and a vasectomy for him?
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
Lesson of the day:

Violence in the media doesn't make people violent.

Listening to people spread lies about violence in the media makes people violent.

(In particular, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold didn't listen to Marilyn Manson, and Seung-Hui Cho didn't play video games.)
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
So. One of the first things you're supposed to do with a new skein of yarn is roll it up into a ball because otherwise it'll tangle.

One question:

Why the everlasting fuck can't the manufacturers sell the stuff that way?
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
Oh... part n+1 of the DMV saga came through yesterday.

There is absolutely no way they'll let me renew my ID without being there in person. Since there's no way in every single Hell in the universe that that's gonna happen, I'm gonna be getting myself a Kentucky state ID. Good thing is, the courthouse is just a few blocks away and it's rarely crowded. I'll even wave at the webcam when I go. (It won't be until Wednesday at the earliest, but meh.)

In other news, GO AVS!!!!!!!!
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
Fuckers expect me to return to the office in person to have it fixed. No way they can do it by mail. And my passport will be out of hand when I go back home in May (have to get a visa, and Centre arranges that by shipping them en masse to the consulate in Chicago).

So, I'm shipping the relevant paperwork home for the Denverites to sort out. The DMV had damn well better accept that. It's their fuckup, so it's their job to fix it.

Useless fuckers.
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
The Arapahoe County DMV shall now forever be on my shit list. I don't know if their hiring process is meant to weed out all forms of critical thinking or if working there makes one stupid, but either way...

OK. So. First time getting my state ID (just after I turned 18), they munged up my address and blamed it on me (never mind I had the paperwork to prove I'd given them my correct address. They didn't want to see it.) Since they'd rather have me jump through eleventy billion hoops to get an ID with a valid address on it, I put the correct address on the back and had done. No lasting harm done, right? Right.

Flash forward to spring break. As my 21st birthday (and thus the expiration date of my "under 21" ID) was approaching, I spent a morning in a new-ish branch of the Arapahoe County DMV. Thankfully it was slightly cleaner and much less crowded than the other one.

Not so thankfully, they sent me an ID that not only has already expired (and was only valid for ten days), but also still lists me as under 21. My bet is they interpreted "renewal and address change" and just took "address change." Never mind I filled out forms for both. The printout I got that was to replace my ID until the new one arrived did expire on Friday, but I'd thought that was because it was replacing the ID they'd invalidated.

So, to "celebrate," a poll.

This is my head. This is my head on a fucking BRICK WALL. )
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
I need some kind of travel-related icon.

So, Friday before last, I went home for spring break. Fair enough. The plan was to fly Southwest from Louisville (SDF) to Chicago Midway (MDW) and then use my neighbor's buddy passes to fly Frontier home.

...Yeah, that didn't go over very well. SDF-MDW got delayed by an hour and a half and I had to end up buying a ticket on the way back, because my Frontier flight was the last one out that day. And *that* flight was delayed due to the nasty weather that was going on out East. Domino effect and all that. But two and a half hours and $200 later, I made it home. (Chicago hotels are about the same cost, so...)

And then, today. Urrrrgh. Just... urrrrgh. I got SSSS'd at security first time I went through (yes, first.), so even though there was no line at the time (it was 4:40AM), I spent a half hour getting patted down, having my luggage rifled through, etc. etc. (I think the reason I was selected was because my ID expires in a week, and the DMV invalidates IDs once they're renewed. I have a paper ID that's perfectly valid until my new one arrives, but even that combined with my old photo ID wasn't enough.)

Supposed to be the opposite of the plan for getting to Denver from Louisville. Except, there were 6 standby people before me who got on, and a few other standbys who didn't even make it. And it seemed every other Frontier flight to MDW was overbooked today. Fucking spring breakers.

Plan B: find another flight, as I'd assuredly be missing my connection. (See why I never check baggage unless I'm ticketed and there's a need to?) Finally found one on American Airlines. Denver to Chicago to Louisville, even (never mind that it's O'Hare instead of MDW, but meh. I still loathe ORD). But to buy the ticket, I had to go back out. So I dug out my passport to avoid being SSSS'd again and spent 45 minutes in line behind a clone of my ex-roommate. (She and her buds were, like, on the way to Mexico, like, of course that's like the only place you should go for spring break, like totally.) And my first flight was first class (only open spot), so I got to bypass the OMGFUCKINGHUGE security line (it was easily a half hour wait, or even more) and go through expedited.

I even got some sleep on the plane. Or at least dozed.

I didn't even spend this much actually going places for break freshman year.

And did I mention I have a cold but no voice? And there's a big choir rehearsal tomorrow and it'll suck if I can't sing. What worries me more is the fact that when I get a cold it always turns into a sinus infection. And I don't want to have to deal with that.
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
I bet you thought with the Stanley Cup finals over, you all would be spared my hockey blatherings?


Vancouver traded Todd Bertuzzi. To Florida, of all teams. Good riddance... now Vancouver's off my shit list.

For those of you not in the know about why I disliked the Canucks... In February 2004, Vancouver and Colorado were playing. A Colorado player named Steve Moore checked Vancouver's captain (Markus Naslund) and ended up giving him a mild concussion, sidelining him for three games. The hit was perfectly legal, and the damage was accidental. Sometimes it happens; people misestimate the amount of force needed, or just are going too fast. Naturally, the Vancouver coach and players were pissed off, but didn't do anything since the NHL commisioner was at that game.

Fast forward to two weeks later, when Vancouver and Colorado played again (this time in Vancouver). A Vancouver player named Brad May had declared a... crap, can't remember the word he used... vendetta, maybe? against Moore. Everybody else on the team (especially the coach, who has quite the rep for being a sleaze and has since been fired) agreed and spent most of the game picking on Moore.

And then finally... this happened. (clearest part of it is toward the end, but don't watch if you're particularly squeamish.)

So. Moore isn't playing anymore. He broke two neck vertebrae and a massive concussion, among other injuries, and didn't regain consciousness until several days later.

Bertuzzi got himself suspended for the rest of the season (not that there was much of a season left at this point), and the following year (but there *were* no NHL games then because of the lockout.) He was captain of Team Canada in the Olympics, and although assault charges were filed, he was only sentenced to community service.

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