tempus fugit

This time last year we were probably in bed. its 5am in sydney, or thereabouts. yet at 5pm local time we were just ariving at our hotel from uluru. thoose days now seem so very distant, almost like a dream. thherefore, on the aniversarry of my eating lobster, I’ll let dad blog for mme…

Dec 31st (written on the 1st Jan) [06/07]

The boys had breakfast and went swimming while Mary and I walked into the town of Alice Springs. It’s not very big, and the main street is mostly Grockle shops. It was also very hot, even though it was only 9.00 in the morning. We had a juice in a small caf, and walked back to the hotel, across the bed of the Todd river. You could see the water flow was strong when there was water, but we were walking through sand and gravel that was bone dry. Under the bridge there were hundreds of bottles and cans, clearly a place used for night time parties. We saw many aboriginals in the town, apparently Alice Springs can be a bit dangerous at night because of drunken and drugged aboriginal people. This was according to our tour guide Evan, who said this during the Kings Creek walk.

Back to hotel, packed, checked out, rode in a full sized wheelchair-accessible taxi to the airport. The taxi driver was a real Aussie, who had moved to Australia when 2 years old, having been born in Hastings! He has lived out in remote districts on various stations, started driving when he was ten. Drove many times from the station into the town to buy a hamburger, a distance of 400 Kms!

At the airport saw the Winstons for the last time – Rozie said goodbye to Matthew. The Winstons are a Californian (Santa Cruz) couple who had been on the tours with us, John, Jill, three daughters including Rosie, who is learning-disabled. She had taken an interest in Matthew from when she saw she was not the only disabled person on the tour. Luke also attracted interest from a young lady on the same tour, an Aussie girl who was on holiday from her job organising tours for other people. Luke’s interest was not so obvious.

The flight to Sydney was remarkable only in that our Customer Services agent Pam was on her last flight, retiring after 36 years. There were very emotional farewells, good wishes and applause from everyone on the plane. She gave Matthew a big hug and a kiss, as he was her last ever passenger to look after.

The hotel we are in, the Four Points, is very well placed for the New Years Eve celebrations, so it was absolutely packed last night. It was therefore to be expected that we had trouble getting rooms – they had reserved rooms on completely separate floors for us. However, with a bit of persuasion (and 15 minutes of juggling by the room clerk) we had a complementary upgrade so that we have rooms opposite each other, and our room has excellent views across the harbour.

We also had personal invitations to the buffet meal in the hotel restaurant for the evening, starting at 8.30. It was a really excellent buffet, with tons of seafood, wine, beer, for the evening. Fireworks for the kids at 9.00pm, a box of party favours to be played with (we have the photos of Luke experimenting with them), lots of laughter, many people including a family from Cyprus. So at 12.00am there was the famous Sydney firework party. We were all out on the terrace watching, and to use the clich, we were spellbound. It is enormous, loud, bright, and it seems to last hours, but is only about 20 minutes. So we all wished each other Χρόνια Πολλά, along with all the Cypriots, and went exhausted (MG: also both exhilarated and stuffed!) to bed.

[how time flies, eh? oh well, what a year its been. nevertheless, I fancy some VB]

its your prooblem, not mine

I was out in town this morning, looking for one or two things I’d forgotten, pondering the whole subject of disability rights. Navigating my way through the crowd, I stumbled the idea that the whole movement can be framed in terms of a paradigm shift: the problem of disability does not lie with disabled people, but with those around us. Further, this does not apply only to disability but any other so-called minority.

Take, for example, my dribbling. I drool quite a bit. for me to try to stop it, however, I’d need to concentrate on swallowing more than any other thing. At the extreme ends of the scale, my productivity in writing would slow, almost to a halt, because I’d be concentrating on not dribbling. Thankfully, my friends and those around me accept me for who I am, including the fact that I drool. Other people need to adapt to me, not me to them.

Moreover, say two guys were walking along the street, obviously in love. The most appropriate response would be none at all, or rather to respond as you would suing any other couple. Yet some people would be appalled at such a sight; and it is such people that I have no time for. I hate intolerance, bigotry, and conservatism.

We all need to accept people for who they are. We also need to see disability in terms of ability, not the lack thereof. Most of all, ‘we’ want to be seen as people.

A week or two ago, I came across a new York times article on a dance class for girls (and presumably boys) with cerebral palsy. They would be changed into dancewear, and helpers would guide their bodies through a ballet class. This seems the epitome of social model thinking: under the s.m, nothing, not even something as quintessentially physical as ballet, is closed to us. If those girls wanted to do ballet – and what’s more natural than a little girl wanting to spin about in a tutu? – then why shouldn’t they. The organisers have seen those girls as girls, not as kids with cerebral palsy. While some may say ‘that’s silly’, I say ‘why the hell not’.

The point is, society’s perceptions of disability must change. I drool, so what? Those girls probably can’t walk, let alone dance en point. So what. We are, first and foremost, people. at uni, for the most part, people got this point. Why can’t everyone else? The problem lies with other’s perceptions and failure to adapt, not disabled people.

house visits

I went over to Chester today, to see charlotte. She’s well, as ever, as is her family. I think mark was surprised by the enormity of the hug with which we greeted each other but we were glad to see each other. I think I rather needed to go over there – I was going stir crazy,, sitting around the house, and anyway there were one or two things we needed to discuss. I love the fact that I can do such things, go visit my friends. To be honest the only reason I don’t visit my other friends too (not that the burrow isn’t welcoming enough) is that I don’t have their addresses, so if you want a weird, twentysomething cripple turning up on your doorstep, demanding food and alcamafrol, leave your addy in the comments box.

speaking queeny

Although I firmly support democracy, and the power of the people, I kind of like the monarchy. It, along with cricket and proper beer, is what defines Britain.

Therefore, and because there’s not much better to write about, I’ll send you here, to the 2007 queens speech, and here, to the 1957 one. quite interesting, really.

xmas day activities

Yesterday was nice. Even with so many people about, mum managed to stuff everyone. The turkey this year was probably her best, and even her sprouts were good. How she does it I’m not sure, as I was banished from the kitchen all morning. I was just sitting about, not doing much.

As for presents, my haul consisted mostly of books, clothes and films. Part of me still yearns for a toy or two, but I’m supposed to be an adult now. Got a new watch too. I think everyone was happy with what I gave them, which these days seems to please me more than receiving. Odd isn’t it.

I spent yesterday nursing a distended stomach, wondering about the house seeing what everyone was up to. At such times, I act like some domestic flaneur. I love when the place is so busy. I must say, though, I’m very disappointed that everyone is pissing off today. To disappear so quickly seems…well… a bit rude, quite frankly. I don’t see my cousins enough as it is! Anyway I still owe Cyril a drink for graduation!

Speaking of such matters, I got a phone call last night from charlotte! I rarely get phone calls from anyone (usually I use email or facebook). Of course, it was great to hear from her; these days, we have much to discuss: lets just say there are two or three things in the offing, one of them huge. I’m going to try to wrangle a lift her way soon, if I can. I like getting phone calls though – it just feels so normal!

Anyway, I think my pc might be in demand. The house just went eerily silent too. Better go investigate.

hope everyones enjoying theirselves!

I must admit I’ve been somewhat antisocial today. 13 ppl in the house and I’ve spent most of the day behind my pc. Not sure why – I just keep out off the way. The family are doing various things. However, I had a cool conversation about French cinephilia with my aunt.

I’d like now to whish all my family and friends and everyone who reads this, the best of Christmasses!

heeres some christmas music

full houuse

I don’t recall a time when the house has been fuller: there are 13 people downstairs, from places as diverse as brazil and the Russian far east; between us, we speak about 6 or 7 languages. Its just incredible. Better go back downstairs.

I love Christmas.

fundimentalism?

I am actually quite irritated to read that the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan has compared atheism to fundamentalist religion, for it is to me a case of the pot calling the kettle black. There is a huge difference between religion and atheism, as the latter is based on the principals of logic rather than a series of ad hoc superstitions. I find it preposterous that Dr Morgan said: ”All of this is what I would call the new ‘fundamentalism’ of our age. It allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion.” For atheism rather than religion is the very thing which allows debate inasmuch as it doesn’t rely on a set of rules. If science proved there was a god, I would be fine with it. It is religion that is intolerant. Of course, the archbishop is reacting to scientists like Richard dawkins. While dawkins may sometimes go too far, all he is doing is presenting empirical testable data; there’s nothing intolerant about that.

As for myself, I do not have anything against religion, save when it causes problems. I reserve my right to call it irrational, but welcome debate. I certainly hope I am not intolerant. I just dislike hypocrisy. Mind you, things would be so much simpler if we all believed the same, provable, thing! Grrr!

link

mince pie theory

An adjunct of wrapping-paper theory (Esther, 2007) is, of course, mince pie theory. Just as in wrapping paper theory, branes envelop ideas surrounding objectivity as in a Christmas gift, the truth of what is inside is unknowable. Mince pie theory takes this one step further, stipulating that branes surround dark matter: in essence, the truth about dark matter is unknowable,, for it is surrounded my lighter matter (pastry). However, sometimes the dark matter leaks out, and we can see it has bits of light matter within (the so called suet phenomenon). This is very mysterious: we don’t know much about the suet phenomenon, only that it is very hot at first, then cools down. We know that it is a major ingredient of the main part of Christmas phenomenology: the pudding.

Ok, I better stop trying to marry cookery and physics. I’ll go back to cripple politics tomorrow…maybe.

paralels

Its kind of strange really, how much two of my main interests seem to ‘match’. That is to say, they have roughly the same schemata.

My blogging about creationism has dropped off recently. While I’m still interested in it, its such a one-sided debate that there isn’t much I can say. I find it both amusing and frightening how one sided the debate is: evolutionists hold all the cards, their argument is by far the strongest, but certain religious people still want to argue that we didn’t evolve and were created by god 7000 years ago. They (quite irrationally) dismiss the mountain range of scientific evidence for biological evolution.

Something similar applies to inclusion. On the one hand, study after study shows that segregation is damaging, and inclusion must proceed. Admittedly, this is not as Himalayan as the evidence for evolution, but it is vast in comparison to the almost wholly circumstantial ‘evidence’ supporting segregation. Indeed it’s not evidence at all, but the gut reaction off overprotective parents. Here again is a one-sided argument. See http://www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/titles.html

However, the main difference is that, while one can comfortably dismiss the creationists as nutters who pose no real threat, I for one cannot ignore those fools who think segregation is the way forward. It is too damaging to be ignored. This is why I attack CaMoron. He would rather see kids with sen back in special schools, and don’t fall for his bull about caring: if he actually cared, he would have read the data. He just cares about cutting taxes and getting votes rather than children’s welfare.