In Between the Pink…

There she sits, in between the glitz and supposed glamour of Barbie Doll. On the pink Aisle, if in stock. The most popular doll in the Christmas Season. An Autistic Zombie! Yes, you did read that correctly, that link is a flash page though when it loads on my slow to load computer, the meta data appears to be set up so that people with readers can play too. I may be wrong since I use just a magnifier.  Ghoulia Yelps is also the best friend of THE Popular Girl, which of course in a high school setting makes her Popular too.

 

I found myself fascinated with these dolls in a way that has hit only once before, with Batman. I remember being worried someone would find out I loved Batman when I was small, so that they would then destroy the entirety of all he was. I had no conception of how big he was until I was old enough to indulge. At the moment, the toys I have are comic book related. After the Winter Holiday Season of Shopping HORROR is over and the toys restock, and prices fall… I am going to get Monster High Dolls. This may be less expensive than the monthly DC release temptation. On average before the Christmas Gouging began, they were fifteen USD. Mattel doesn’t even have the dolls on their site, and every where I have poked the internet people are talking about Ghoulia.

 

I think a part of my connecting here is not just my indecent love of puns for names, which if it wasn’t cruelty to animals and they had accepted would have ended with the cat my carer just got today via “Oh hai strange black kitty rubbing on our legs and stealing the ham from my hand” (verified homeless, a girl, and starved to the point of human interaction) would have been named… Malinda Pettigrew! The name may happen, M my friend thinks it’s horrible but loves me anyway. He also promised me a Ghoulia. He was willing to try and get her now, while the internet is full of others having a rabid reaction to these dolls.

Ghoulia isn’t the only Monster High doll that is a goth’s dream who just happens to be made VERY cool by her disability. Nope, lets go over the list. I will not link you to their website again, but if you want to you can go play games there afterwards. Frogger… I mean…Froggie Dash, and a few others. I’ve had too too much fun and now want a color lazer printer for all sorts of printing of useless but amusing stuff.

The Main Character, meant to be the Barbie (since this IS Mattel) is Frankie Stein, she’s sewn together from various parts of other dolls and is of course the daughter of the professors who created both Frank and his Bride, and they consider her Frankenstein’s kid. Being stitched together, with visible stitches, hands that fly off and do things on their own (creating the amputation effect) and being only 15 days old? How is this one not disabled? In a way she has to learn all her social skills from scratch, she could be equated with some forms of Amnesia, surgical scars, and she even has mismatched eyes and a visible assistive device (Bolts in her neck for charging). This is also what makes her, as Mattel is calling it. “Freaky Fabulous.”Oh yeah and her limbs flying off at inopportune moments? Couldn’t that be dislocations? Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome does cause skin splits and dislocations. Frankie Stein are you super flexible?

On each Bio, each doll (even Miss Popular Cleo de Nile) has a Freaky Flaw. This is of course related to their being monsters. There is another feature which my need for the picture on the box to actually match the Doll or I have trouble accepting they are meant to be the same (I am looking at you Bratz) is not a problem with. These dolls actually DO look like their boxes. I’ve never seen such quality. Or so many casket shaped items. Some of the announced accessories have me flailing in glee, literally, because I can go to walmart and buy a casket/coffin shaped …. Jewelry Box!

In fact, I already accidentally bought something Monster High and had not understood what it was. The post Halloween Clearance socks I bought, pink argyle with little crossbones, were indeed branded Monster high. They are also my favorite arm warmers, and alas… I am babbling. Back to dissecting the disabilities of these delectable dolls!

Skipping to Cleo de Nile, daughter of the Mummy… Cleo is not as white as I expected, since the mainstream Media usually casts a woman as white as me to play Cleopatra types. Cleo is more of a honey color, but she is clearly not a white woman. This is impressive, considering how racist Mattel can be. I won’t link you, you can go find all the Barbie’s that are sold as “Ethnic” or all of the black and hispanic Barbies named Keysha who come with a hair salon, which I can’t find for the life of me with a white Barbie… (Yes, that’s… what? Mattel BAD!)

Cleo is the “Rich Bitch” of the cast. There are some very cliche things going on here, some gender reifications though these dolls also rebel in many ways or at least make mainstream toys I like. More on that later. Cleo’s bio has a flaw as she refers to herself as Exotic, which is in my experience in the media a key word for racism and the fetishising of people of color. Leopard print, Faux Mendhi or anything not white bread tends to be called Exotic. This made me a bit uncomfortable with Cleo so it took me longer to admit I really like her. She also is only sold with her boyfriend. Guess she is codependent or he is at least till they get home and the box is cut up. (I want to keep the little skull logos. Heeh!) She is afraid of the dark. Her disability is less concrete than the lovely Ghoulia’s autism or Frankie’s hands running away however she is someone who is always in bandages. That’s about it, but this bootiful character IS afraid of the dark.

Cleo’s boyfriend, who if I have my way will be dating Jackson Jeckyl or Holt Hyde (whichever I get first), is Duece (as in Medusa) Gorgon. Son of Medusa. He has a snakey Mohawk, scales on his arms, and a thousand yard stare that turns anyone he looks at, regardless of them looking back, temporarily to stone. This gives us a few disabilities. Psorisis or any other visible skin condition. This could be from bad acne on through even some scarring. He’s the most popular guy in Monster High except someone who I will mention later. He also has to wear sunglasses at ALL times. This could be taken to the route of vision issues, but at the very least it marks him as other.

 

Next up on the list is… Clawdeen Wolf. Daughter of the Werewolf. She is the first doll I wanted, before I saw Ghoulia. Frankly if you don’t know it… I am a werewolf lover. I dressed up as one for Howloween and the entire concept was fairly similar to a certain miss Clawdeen. Clawdeen is a person of color, so in the initial line up we have… Two for Two. She’s a black woman. This means you don’t have to fight Mattel for dolls of color. There are two defined this way by the company. Of course they are trying to hint that all of the dolls are nonwhite, since some are green, blue, gray etc. I think this is good and bad, but none the less there is no dancing around. Clawdeen is Cleo’s main rival but they are still considered friends.

The main issue that Clawdeen has is what she considers excessive bodyhair. This is her freaky flaw, shampoo commercial hair… everywhere. This is another one that I felt that “Oh just like me!” with. That’s most of the dolls getting the differences sympathetic jump in my brain. I happen to be a person with what society deems too, too much body hair. When I was younger I was teased mercilessly over this. so, Clawdeen does have a disability as most often hirsuitism is based on medical things. Perhaps she has Polycystic Ovarian disease or Endometriosis and she really howls at the moon because her periods are more than a small pain?

My least favorite of the characters, who I still want (so I can steal her clothes for Ghoulia’s War…drobe…) is Lagoona Blue. She’s the Aussie surfer type, everyone’s best friend. She is laid back and is the daughter of the Sea Monster, though I would’ve thought with her name, the creature from the Blue Lagoon. It could be a copyright issue there, but as you can see these dolls should also appeal to the horror movie nerds that are out there. Oh wait… I am one of those too! Lagoona’s flaws for my liking her? She is just another blonde and the fauxguru thing is a stereotype I suspect my Australian friends don’t like. I could ask them but… that’d just be silly. I have yet to meet anyone who likes being stereotyped.

On to her disability analogy. Lets start with the one that may be either super obvious to you or makes you go”Huhwhat?” Asthma. She’s a fish out of water! Lagoona has fins, so she could also be part of the birth defects that are visible listing, and well she is blue so circulation is obviously a problem. She also has dry skin problems and again, scales. Lagoona’s must have item? Moisturizer. She is listed as an Exchange Student at Monster High, so she’s also a fish out of water in other ways. I still like Lagoona but she just doesn’t connect well with me, what with her liking the sun with it’s shining…

 

That brings us to the doll that started my knowing about these young ghouls. Draculaura. I saw the name on Facebook, someone’s daughter is wanting one and it’s a little too late to get Draculaura now, so the parental lamenting had begun. I googled the name and stepped right into the halls of Awesome. Draculaura took some time for me to decide to be okay with partly because of all the fricking pink, it tastes like literal poop to me. So I struggle. There’s enough black and other coloring that the reaction isn’t so bad. In fact the pink issue has me a bit worried about going to buy my dollies in the future because they are on that …Pink…Aisle… in the toy section and I don’t want to just send M the carer, because picking out your own is half the fun I think. I’ve not had a doll I liked before, except the specialty Goth stuff such as Evangeline Ghastly (not linked because her prices are more horrifying than her theme or lack of diversity. She’s white, white, and even whiter). I never really felt that the Living Dead Dolls were that great. I am not much for BABY dolls…

So I will face the aisle so I an get my fangs on them. So, Draculaura, the most goth fashionably…. I want her umbrella for real, the Monster High Umbrella just doesn’t do it for me with the skull. I like Bats. Not just Bat man but the bats in general are pleasing to me. Bats and Butterflies… someday I will have an outfit themed in such a way. Well Draculaura is a vampire, who is terrified of Blood. She’s vegan, lives on fruits and veggies while taking supplements. Saying or hearing Blood, not even seeing it, is enough to make her faint. I think that’s adorable and it does show something often ignored when a character is going vegetarian or vegan. Vitamin supplements are necessary to help with survival and health.

Since I am often accused of being a vampire by random people on the street because I myself need to hide from the sun or fry crispy, I do like little Ula D, as her nickname happens to be. Her disability could be many things. Just side effects of medication making her sun sensitive, carrying the albinism gene, porphyria (though she’d have to have multiple types for the full effects of vampirism). Plus there’s a disorder that exists where you cannot identify faces, even your own, in the mirror. So that fits.

Now there are more dolls and characters than listed on the website. There are a pair of guys I am listing in one category because… Jeckyll Jeckyll Hyde, Hyde, Hyde Jeckyll

 

Jackson Jeckyll and Holt Hyde…

 

Jackson is a casketball player, and the very human best friend of Duece Gorgon. He happens to have the same tattoo, yin yang symbol, and piercing as Holt Hyde.

Holt is a bit of a bad boy, he has blue skin and fire for hair. Both he and Jackson have classic symptoms of Multiple personality disorder, including black outs, memory lapses, and so on. Holt is the school DJ. I am not sure if this is a positive portrayal but Holt doesn’t seem to be evil, which is a good thing.

Some of the characters not turned into dolls yet so no bio availible (but they are coming)

Spectra Vondergeist, daughter of the ghost. She can do ghostly things like floating through walls.

Abby bominable, an exchange student from up north.

Operetta, the offspring of the Phantom of the Opera who has been on a date with Holt. I don’t like her name but it could be worse…

Oh yeah, and.. the most popular person, big man on campus, is … Clawd Wolf, Clawdeen’s big brother. The undolled characters are mentioned in the story books that come under the guise of a diary with each doll. The first issue (regular clothing) dolls all have them. I am not sure what they have for the Dawn of the Dance dolls or Gloom Beach instead but I am sure it’s something just as cool.

So, incase you didn’t follow the link to the flash website with Ghoulia’s Bio… let me tell you about her. You tell me if you think she’s not autistic.

Ghoulia Yelps — a zombie. Her parents are not named but played in the music video Thriller by Michael Jackson. She has light blue hair and pale gray skin. Her appearance is very studious and she wears glasses. She is depicted as timid and shy and could only speak Zombie (basically groaning; a possible reference to the ghouls from the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead and other films from the Living Dead film series. She is also the smartest girl in Monster High. She has a baby blue colored owl named Sir Hoots-a-Lot.

Glasses wearing Ghoulia is the smartest Ghoul in school. She cannot function properly without a schedule and doesn’t process last minute changes very well. Her zombie nature makes her a bit slower physically, and she has trouble making facial expressions and can only speak zombie.

She loves to read and learn new things, she always fits books into her schedule.

Her pet peeve:

Last minute schedule changes and Monsters who cannot speak zombie. There is nothing quite so frustrating as arriving late and having to explain why to a monster that doesn’t understand you.

A direct quote from her bio that is another hint of the ASD:
Favorite Food:
Brains… just kidding. I actually have quite the affinity for rapidly prepared, mass market cuisine. (Translation: I like fast food.)

She likes all her classes and her favorite color is red.

 

So there it is… my new obsession. I have spent days pouring myself into the internet to glean tidbits about these dolls. I am going to sew them clothing, I already know they come with dollstands but if they are in their shoes they can stand alone, they are posable, seen the cartoons on youtube, decided despite it’s pop quality I like the music video… and… that a lot of depth was given over to these dolls. Between their attempts at normal such as fashionable clothing and bodies that are so weird looking my response is, “Well they must have been genetically engineered that way”… there is depth. They aren’t all boy hungry, the attempts at life lessons in the cartoons are pretty cute, and if these had existed when I was a kid? I would’ve been torn between wanting one and trying to pretend I hated them because of my family.

Still, the popular kid is autistic.

I will warn you, if you share this info with your friends, children, and such and they love these dolls… check comments on sites because a lot of people are complaining about Ghoulia’s speaking zombie. These people seem to forget that not everyone gets to speak. A nonverbal character in what is likely to be a TV series, a movie is being made… so not just “high functioning” but… average autistic…

I am definately sold on Monster High. Besides, in trying to find out what is for sale (iCoffin anyone?) I find hilarious things that make me think someone at mattel has seen one too many episodes of the Godfather. Like so. Freaky beheaded horse! A final warning, right now the MH dolls are being marked up to fifty online. Just wait till after the restocking post holidays. They average fifteen to twenty, and if you can be patient which isn’t easy you can afford more dollies! Oh and feel free to send any extra dolls you find my way!

Here are some links to the media online about Monster High. No place out of this blog is guaranteed safe but I had no issues:

MonsterHigh.com – Flash site. Signing up lets you get activity sheets etc. Addictive.

MonsterHigh on Facebook: Has some unique content, such as a Ghoul to English translation. Most are obvious such as Biteology being biology but this is a place to glean more info.

The Youtube Series: The music video with words like Freaky Fabulous, and the short cartoons (skip the thirty second videos, they are teasers of the next episode)

The Halloween Special from one of the cable networks.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The Phone

I know that it’s something other people with Autism happen to deal with. The Phone. I sit here staring at it every day. It takes me four hours to make a single phone call. Which of course comes after I plan out my calls sometimes four days in advance. The phone… it feels like an enemy despite the fact that my phone isn’t even a smart phone so it lacks the most basic sentience. Not certain if Smart phones are sentient but my carer’s Blackberry says it’s thinking all the time so I will suppose it’s a very stupid smart phone since it rarely gets past the first thought of the day.

I hate my phone. From the phone bill, which if I was willing to risk being out without a cellphone could be less, on to the talking. The talking is the worst part. Why is it people shout into the phone? I know I am quiet and hard to hear but most of the people I know literally yell into the phone. When I had roommates I started asking one of their guests to go to another room since every time she was on the phone she began to yell. The roommates got louder too but this was usually because our phone was a piece of crap landline, and even I had had to yell into it so I wrote that off.

The phone fills me with foreboding. If I could translate that feeling into a story the phone would be the killer in one of my gory little trips down violence lane. The phone did it. Not the man, woman or mutant sewer alligator. It was the act of saying “Hello?” The silence at the other end, a crackle that could be breath and then you are dead, in the dial tone of terror.

This is about how it feels to make a call. I know the phone won’t actually kill me but this supposedly innocuous device creates a whole new level of communications challenge. Even texting can be difficult for me if I am tired or if my hands won’t function. Coordination is never a guarantee. Texting is the best part of a phone however, as I know when it is my time to text.

Sometimes waiting to talk on the phone I pull up a clock, so I can watch the second hand. This helps me to feel less like it has been an eternity since the other spoke when it has been a single breath. I am always angry sounding on the phone, but this is because I am focused on hearing you, understanding you, and frankly, knowing when it’s my time to go.

I often hang up on people too early. I don’t get the phone right, which bothers me. I feel self conscious with the phone. I can’t see you. You always sound hostile to me when I can’t see you. Then the phone brings me bad news. Whenever my student loan people call it’s never what I expect. “We approved you for this deferment but the department of education says your doctor isn’t the right kind of doctor.” Yet, they can’t explain why my doctor is not qualified to sign the paper. They don’t even understand what they are saying so I hit the end button before I yell at them for being stupid. Why would you hire someone who cannot understand and explain what is wrong with the papers? I already took care of this but am I to be a mind reader? Am I to infer that they wanted an MD not an Osteopath? They don’t know the difference and I don’t either. Luckily my doctor’s office does and someone else there can and will sign the papers.

The phone. It’s stalking me now. The only useful thing about the phone for me is the alarm clock. I do have internet on my phone but that is merely a back up in case my coping mechanisms fail then I can wait patiently while I poke at the buttons and read something on wikipedia. It’s about staying calm. In that moment the phone is the worst computer ever.

I suspect the advent of the video phone will eventually occur and I wonder if that will be worse or not. What about those six am calls from idiotic office workers who don’t comprehend that I am sleeping? Will they be more awkward since I don’t wear clothing to bed? I think that’s the entire reason why videophones aren’t what we use anyway. The video phone would level the playing field by making certain EVERYONE feels as awkward as I do on the phone.

Soul Lobotomy

As being a goth requires thinking on Death, I seem to fit that quite well. Of course not all Goths are actually death obsessed but I myself have always been. You see, I do fear death. It is not my death I fear, I accept that this is an inevitability. It is the deaths of others. Sprite is not handling Nymph dying well, and her behavior has started to reach the critical point when she begins to self mutilate. I am left remembering my own deeds of self destruction, and yet most of those times others would think of were the acts of them not me. It is a strange tangle. So in my worry for her I spent the day on the phone with the vet, who worked with us via telephone for free.

Our options are find a cat…. or trying antidepressants. I am certain that you all know what my decision was and my vet strongly recommended the cat over the drugs. I have crystalized the thoughts enough as to why she cannot be the only cat, and M my friend helped that by flat out asking why it is okay for me to put her emotional needs above my own.

I don’t think I am of course, but with animals and love in general I am a thousand times bitten and a million times shy so I never recover from a loss. The trust and love of any living being is far too rare for me. Sprite also keeps me alive and happy and healthy. The trifecta of need is met with in her compact furry form. So much soft fur, so much amazement.

So what is it that has her in such a state each time she is the only cat?

Some Sprite facts.

She has never been the only cat, except with me. The formative years of her life were spent first in a hoarding situation with a cruel cat hoarder. Yes they think they love cats but when you cannot care for them and there are so many that they are starving and just a trapped Pride of ferality, you are being cruel and need them rehomed. She then moved there to a crowded foster home. A shelter, a multi cat household with five cats, including herself. Then, back to a shelter. Another multicat household. A shelter where to save her from being euthanised she entered yet another cat household with a slew of people and cats. Two cats per person and at least five people, though I think it was way more. I forgot as it’s been a long time. Six years in fact. Then she moved in with myself, my roommates, and their two cats. She struggled to deal with just two other cats. IT took her over a year to adapt to that, and at first she self mutilated over being lonely.

Then I got married. She needed stitches from her self harm fit, and we got William Shakespurr. Even typing his name makes my ribs hurt, so there are regrets but not between Sprite and myself. After rehoming him once she started self mutilation there was Nymph. Sprite hasn’t been so depressed in the entire time I have known her. She is in some moments a shell of who she was. My eyes and nose have the tingle feeling that I associate with crying when i think of her pain.

So do I drug her and spend exactly the amount I have after rent for food and other bills? Nope. I am going to find a cat. The cat won’t be big, I will not risk my health for this cat. I won’t get the poodle off of Craigslist I found. A dog I could pet! Wee. It would be fine until it barked, licked me, had to pee, wanted to go for a walk, needed grooming, a bath… and of course there’s DOG food. Ick. We have a few caterviews coming up. The first one I feel won’t happen as the people with the cat first asked for 1000 for a mixed breed cat of no special intellect. They admit she’s a very stupid cat. Then again she was more likely spoiled than stupid, as the humans adopted her instead of a child. They cannot afford pet rent anymore. Something I do not contend with here thankfully. So we moved on.

Yet it was in this that my fears came to verbalisation. You see, I wake up and my first thought is rarely, “God damn I have to pee.” That’s my third thought. My first thought is, and has been since my first night with her. “Oh god is Sprite still alive.” My second has become, “Oh God is my secret love’s name here still alive?”. It leaves me shaking. Then I breathe, realize yes, Sprite is here. Go pee, and check to see if said lover is still alive. This has gotten worse since Rose died and a lot worse after losing Nymph. I am prone to going to my bedroom if Sprite is sleeping and waking her up just in case. I had gotten past that need just a few years ago. I will try again. By past, I do mean I just didn’t do it every few hours every day. About once a month.

In fact my fear that my loved ones will die was an issue with my ex-husband, as I would sometimes have to wake him up if he was too still or quiet. I would wait hours, biting my nails, trying to not cry and when I could stand it no longer I would touch him. Breathing isn’t enough, I need actual movement preferably with snarls of “I am sleeping go away”.

Somehow this lead to a promise that lead to a discussion of Greek Mythology, the details would give away identities of people who must remain secret so, shh… In the discussion of the Greek Afterlife aka Tartarus, I mentioned I would rather be in the torture section also called Tartarus instead of the Elysian fields or the very boring sounding waiting dock where people who cannot pay the boatman’s fee end up. No, the Elysian fields sound horrible to me. They are after all intended as a Utopia but one person’s Utopia is another’s meloncholic vision of sadness.

Imagine waiting forever for your loved ones. This is what you do there. You wait. They must die to join you, you are not aware they are dead, and so you spend your days at home, doing small things like cooking or cleaning. You do not remember them fully you just know you are waiting. You do not even know you are dead and the urge to explore or go beyond the simple tasks is removed from you.

What if you don’t have a loved one? What if your loved one goes to Tartarus instead? What if they become immortal? Do you wait forever? What if they are one of the chosen few who is allowed something else at the discretion of the god Hades? You are left to remember nothing forever. How is that utopian? It sounds more like a lobotomy of the soul to me.

As it is, I have found no conception of the afterlife suits what I would see as heavenly. Golden streets sound hideous and wasteful, and a heaven as the Christian Heaven was taught to me with no pets, gender segregation amidst other kinds (not wholly a universal tradition) but where there is need to fear attacks from hell, where again thought is not prized… this seems wrong to me too.

I cannot think of any widely known traditions that don’t make me sad, lonely, or a bit angry. Probability factors? All three. Some of my sorrow is my depression and aching heart over the lost friends. A lot of it is the sensation of insult that even in death I am relegated to doing what others would deem right for me and not what would make me happy in these supposed places.

I guess heaven would require me to be fulfilled by myself. Even that possibility is a requirement. I would demand full disclosure, instead of fading to a shade of my former self as the Greeks put it. So as I think of Rose and Nymph and what their heaven’s should entail i want to be remembered, I want them to know they are dead if THAT will make them happy, and if they want to wait for me great. If not? That’s fine too. I dislike the image of my friends being leashed until I die. In a way it’s a sort of a chain unless people become hermits.

Your mother loves her husband. He loves her. Your parents love you. They love your siblings. You and your siblings marry and have children. You die, you and your parents and siblings are now all dead and waiting. Your children and grand children are alive. They reproduce, or even just fall in love or make friends with people on the deep level. Now you are all waiting.

The waiting never ends.

Anyone up for a Soul Lobotomy?

A call for writers and some moments of Cats and Awesome

I feel like a character in a musical this morning, my mood is so good. I was actually cranky for the last few days and couldn’t figure out why. I finally had alone time (something I miss with caregivers, alone time to me means days of solitude) but I just hurt and hurt. Sprite and her magic paws of awesomeness found the source of the epic pain. That isn’t the source of my good mood however.

Here is a science fiction writing contest with a theme on disability, the rules stipulate the disabled character cannot be disabled to mark their evil. This is the main reason that I have not read any sci fi in the last year, as I have grown tired of the same tropes, it wounds me. I’ve instead begun to write scripts and dramas that focus on this very thing. I am going to enter (will start that story once I finish my show pitch and between composing for the composition gig). If you are a writer, want to try your hand at it, or know someone who may be interested pass it along. This entire paragraph is a link that is screaming CLICK ME.

Ria, an ally and a friend on Facebook also shared this link with me today. It’s a call for papers about the same topic, disability and literature. I think addressing the treatment of those of us with disabilities in writing is a huge step towards being enabled by our communities. Not tolerated, not accepted, not just respected but enabled and embraced. So this paragraph is also a link that is screaming CLICK ME.

I know that on the competitive side of things some of you may be wondering why I would want competition but, I am the sort of person that likes it. I want to go against the best so that when I win there is no doubt in my mind that victory was deserving and if I lose then I can just try again and again. Sometimes of course I am disheartened but, I feel already a winner with this literary contest. Not because I will win, but because I feel my humanity is being embraced, my flag flown high, I feel enabled. I am enabled to find something to read that doesn’t have me rolling my eyes at the helplessness, evilness, or apparent horror that is NOT actually inherent with disability.

Now on to the crankiness. It’s another Sprite Tale. I have lived with her for five or six years now, can’t peg it today which is fine with me. Each day she amazes me with her intuitive nature. Florence Nightengale wishes she had my cat for her nursing aide. From the waist down for the last few days my pain level has been slowly increasing. I couldn’t peg it and was going to call the doctor this morning although I just saw her. This started the day after my last appointment.

The ache in my knees was bigger than anything the arthritis causes, and since it was rainy I was certain that was the culprit. I did my normal rub downs to check for dislocations and there wasn’t any sign of one. Everything felt normal if a bit squishy. I chalked it up to a few days of a flair up and tried to go with it. Yesterday the pain got worse, and worse, and worse. By the time it was 11 pm I had to throw in the towel and went to try and sleep. As I laid down Sprite did her evening body check.

She started with my head and worked her way down tucking my blanket in around me. This limits how much I can move without waking up, but since I have to wake up anyway and it’s very comforting I don’t mind. It’s one of the very human things Sprite does that amuses me and makes me wonder why people think that the cat has to be the baby. Nymph was helping and worked her way down after, which tickled considerably. I managed to not laugh too much and after Sprite was done she curled up to purr on my knees.

Sprite proved to me long ago that her purring can ease my pain. I am sure there is a psychological component but she usually warms and massages the muscles and there is some mention in a national geographic that I can’t find (or I’d give you the source) that the cats purr can increase bone density. It’s being studied. Cats do purr more when they are wounded and Sprite purrs more and closer to my body’s aches and pains.

I felt it then, I really had dislocated my knee. It wasn’t something I had felt because the bone had tried to go back into place and was pinching the tissues. I could feel the exact spot that was out, it wasn’t my knee cap which is the usual suspect but instead my stretchy tissues had let my knee snap down when I’d stumbled in the bathroom, the one place I have to walk.

With a different type of dislocation I had to figure out how to fix it, but with Sprite’s help that didn’t actually take much. I just dangled my leg over the end of the bed, she went on the floor and pushed up. It hurt, but I could feel gravity pull things apart and with her pushing up, not a lot of force needed, everything snapped into place. It made me feel like I am a giant Lego. The sound was similar.

She tucked me in again and resumed purring on my knees. I slept for four hours uninterrupted, which is twice as much as normal. Nymph and Sprite took turns being closest to my legs when I would shift or roll over. This morning my legs still ache but the pain is almost subtle, almost normal, and it is decreasing rapidly. My muscles are tired from over compensating so it will be a few days but once again Sprite has amazed me with her grasp of how to make her human better.

If I had a million cat dollars (mouse tails perhaps?) I’d give them to her just for her awesomeness.

Catnip: Lobo Anime and Comics

Lobo Anime and Comics is Located at : 1016 Juan Tabo Boulevard Northeast Albuquerque, NM 87112

Their Phone Number is: 505-332-0499 (May be updated if this is an old article)

What Makes them so Awesome?

I haven’t had such good customer service as with this shop. Anywhere. Ever. Not only is this one of only TWO accessible comic book stores, but it is one that has windows, treats their customers so well that it is impossible for me to bedrugde them my dollars that I can spend there, and they work with Comixology, a pick up service that lets me do shopping before I send either a carer or go in the manual chair (Gate and Paratransit access pending at the time of this writing).The other comic book store shall remain nameless because they don’t treat people well and their selection also pales in comparison.

They have a website that could use some professional touches, but over all isn’t so bad that it makes me not want to shop there. This is also where I go to see the Batmobile annually. This comic shop is one that I treasure. Not only do they announce their sales with about two weeks notice, sometimes more, but they throw events. This shop is where I met some of my fantastic artist friends like the ArtAssassin (You can and should google him, he’s a fantastic artist and a real sweetheart). Every year on Free Comic Book Day they give more than just comics. I came away from FCBD with a few things I had wanted but hadn’t been able to give in on because of sales, and they also enabled my purchase of a Batgirl statue which is my birthday present to me.

What makes them deserving of my rare praise for a shop of able bodied people? It isn’t their mom and pop status. It isn’t their customer service. It isn’t their accessibility. It’s what they do beyond those things. Every year they sell hot dogs on FCBD, with relish. Which could send me into anaphalactic shock. This year I decided to call in and let them know. Their accomodation of my need was something that went beyond reasonable, they pulled the hot dogs away from the lone ramp (not their fault) and also made sure that there was extra room on the side walk for manuevering a chair since last year my ogre of a scooter made things beyond difficult. Then to top it off the relish bottle stayed closed and as far from people as possible. I still had a little reaction this year but that is because of people eating the hot dogs and daring to breathe. Since I wouldn’t want them to suffocate I took my allergy pills before and during the event and was prepped with several epipens ready to stab me if I needed them.

It gets better. Since they use Comixology and I can pick things up, I often have to call them and ask them to wait a bit longer with my hold items and they always do. Today I called in and they let me know about a minor error on my order (in my favor no less) and this really means that my statue is THERE. Right now. I can hardly wait to get down there (possibly Friday) but this shop will hold my items until I can because I let them know I am having some transportation challenges. My goal once I have paratransit is a minimum monthly trip, because I want to support this shop. This means I will spend about five dollars minimum getting there and home and around five in the store. Okay so maybe two in the store on the Birds of Prey series but my goal is five! I mean a girl has to get her Oracle and Batman fix right? Plus every so often there is a Batman in the store!

For Albuquerque New Mexico there is really only one place for any true believer, nerd, geek, comic book fan, anime geek, or admirer of graphic novels to shop and that would be Lobo Anime and Comics!

(Trust me on this, their prices are also usually much lower than listings on the internet, there is no shipping, and with my rarely met standards being surpassed you know this is THE best shop in the state, possibly the entire multiverse.)

Pictures from Free Comic Book Day 2010 at Lobo Anime and Comics (yes that chair IS as uncomfortable as it looks):

Kat Fury with Iron Man beside her and another Iron Man Behind her. The first iron man is very adorable and is around four years old. Kat Fury and Batman infront of the 1960s Batmobile. Batman has his cape stretched out behind both people.

Dear Internet…

Please stop putting videos and music on autoplay. I don’t want to hear your off key midifiles, I don’t want to hear your commercials, or other noises.

Kay… thanks… It makes me not pay attention to your advertisments and what you are selling and I won’t refer people to you.

The Cliche of Anger

I am tired, in massive pain, and yet I still am riding on the waves of fulfillment. I worked an entire week straight. I am taking a few more days to get back to my standard however, and reminded myself why I do not work in a traditional manner. I would have been fired today for being unable to wear standard clothing for one, and my attitude for another. Every action I take, every interaction I am bogged down by references to the past, lessons, and reminders. I hear my mother’s voice most clearly, and that is not something I welcome. I want to be an individual not the product of my family.

I wasn’t going to post until tomorrow but I was reading a few pages over at Womanist Musings. The proprietor of Womanist Musings has recently outed herself as being amid the disabled. She is beginning to run into the challenges of being suddenly unwelcome, invisible, and at times hated for merely existing. Today one of the commenters told her that she should start a civil rights movement, ignoring the fact that the disabled community has been pulling for equal rights for as long as other civil rights movements have been in effect. Before we go on, I want to remind you my dear reader that every single civil rights movement hasn’t ended, and that the fight for equality is on going no matter what your ism is. This reader seemed to think that a few protests fix everything.

This ignores the protests in New York, the individuals who do sacrifice their energy and at times sanity to try and force businesses to comply with the laws, and it ignores the fact that there are those who came before you and I. This is an erasure of our history. I responded with snideness and sarcasm, ignoring for the few moments it took to suggest a hacksaw so she could remove her legs as “easily” as I can get off of my scooter, the voice of my mother. “All disabled people are angry, they think they have rights.” I am aware that it is the events of today that shape the memories that seem to nitpick at us. Before I was disabled my sexuality was most often the harbinger of a Mommy Memory. “Bisexuals are selfish, they just want to have sex with as many people as possible.” Every time I went to flirt with a woman or a man, I heard something like that.

The myth of anger is just that, a myth. It erases the happy moments with friends and family, it erases the moments where competent and open minded people realize that everyone has rights. The myth of anger is often used to subjugate. Stop being angry, so that I can continue to oppress you. That is what I hear. The expectation that an entire group of people must never feel one emotion is ridiculous yet this is foisted on women of color, the disabled, homosexuals, and countless other oppressed groups, all to control us. Anger is forbidden.

Many times when I am smiling, I am told, “This inaccessible area will be fixed soon, we swear!” The tone is always frantic, that hint of “Oh god she will be mad that we haven’t done this yet.” It doesn’t matter that I am smiling and just nod and say, “Great, thanks for letting me know.” The fear of my anger, which is some how more toxic than their anger or fear is there. I still don’t understand it, but, I see this often. The times when I am angry, I am also not heard. It’s enough for me to want to go back to trying to be Super Cripple, but, I won’t do that.

My anger is valid. Your anger is valid. Anger is not a reason to oppress, discriminate, or subjugate. Anger is not an excuse to not build the ramp in an accessible manner, and anger is not an excuse to try to “just get rid of” someone. I am tired today, and I am trying to seem reasonable. My mind is far from reasonable. I am in truth alone, and am having a small tantrum every time I need to get up to move. My fiance forgot to feed the cats, which merited an hour of sitting there whining about how I wasn’t sure if I could do it, I can’t bend, and their bowls are on the floor.

It wasn’t anger that had me make a really big mess trying to feed them either. That was love. They were hungry so I fed them, without bending. (Sorry honey, but the kitties have to eat too!) It won’t be anger that I let him know he forgot either, but amusement. Every emotion that I have is not anger. The lessons that our parents teach us, may shape what we see but it is the choice that I made in my first experience with disability as an adult that showed me otherwise. I chose to not see anger.

It’s really that simple. Demeaning an entire group of people does cause anger. If you fear our anger so much, stop discriminating. If you come near me right this second and discriminate I will show you anger, but I won’t run you down with my scooter. That’d hurt me too, and you just aren’t worth my time or pain.

To my friends, allies, and fellow disabled persons, don’t forget that every moment that we are alive is the revolution for our people. Every time we are seen out of our homes, with our assistance equipment, service animals, and even having issues, this is our revolution. VIVA LA REVOLUCION! Free my people!

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