Occupy Hope

I turned off for a while this year. I just needed to shut down. I fought it at first then I let myself drift. Just as I started to come back on the annual depression spree and PTSD kicked in. I did not stop watching the world entirely but the thread was tenuous. I pulled into myself in order to survive and function. I was stolen from by carers. Stupid things. Things. Not important. Some very important. Nothing of greater value than my dolls. That cuts deep still but not as deeply as if they had taken my fine jewelry or had physically harmed me or the cats. The second most important thing out of the myriad is Sprite’s drinking bottle. M has rescued Sprite from being trapped in the house. She recovered her ability before I did.

I have wondered for many years, since I learned about nonviolent protests if I would get to see one happen, without people being maimed. I did. I lived to see peaceful protest in at least one example end successfully. Some people will say that Occupy Wallstreet is using technology to facilitate this but technically savvy does not mean peaceful. It just means youth over all, intelligence and adaptability. I sit here in a world Star Trek dreamed of and I find myself for the first time hopeful. I came back online in the proverbial sense and immediately was innundated with a lot of horrible things, right on my doorstep. Literally.

The police are so corrupt that the Federal Government is trying to investigate but even the mayor of Albuquerque is not allowing this. These words put me in danger to type but I will not stay silent. I read stories, hear stories and feel the brunt of this corruption constantly. GOing out of my house has always frightened me to a point, then my exhusband happened and it became a task where each inch is a mile. This corruption, knowing that if I end up arrested they will find this blog and I will die for it? That shut me down too. I wanted to survive but thriving seemed out of reach.

Yet elsewhere in the world, people are standing in the cold or heat dependent on their local region together. They are working to fight for my freedoms in a way that I wished for so many times. My dream of moving away and being safe stays a possibility because these people fight for their own rights and mine. I do not know what will happen but a part of me knows that the moment a great movement of violence occurs this thing will explode. Its not a matter of time, but a matter of daily choices by millions of people and a single wrong choice is dire. The odds of this staying peaceful are so slim yet we have seen efficacy in this protest that has gone unmatched.

I think it is the multigenerational aspect of this protest. IT is not the first generation of protestors alone or just the youth of today but a bridge of various peoples and experiences. Its the right leadership. Its also desperation. The protestor cannot afford to die, to lose their ability to work for having been violent, and no one wants pain. This desperation can turn on itself in a moment yet, peace has prevailed. This is not to say there are not individuals that with in the movement haven’t made mistakes, died from violence with in the camps but that is part of such a large gathering of people. The fact that the police and the government sent spies in says a lot. The rich plan the destruction of the movement, unwittingly fueling this. The one percent… I am at the opposing end of the spectrum just by being disabled and not working.

None of the problems we adults face today are from just our time on this planet. You can be 100 or more years old and some of these issues are generational. Peace as a protest is still very new. I recently spoke to someone about technology being in it’s teenage years, rebelling in it’s creation of anything and everything for a price. Peace is still in it’s infancy. This is the birth.

I am a member of the 99%. I live in daily fear of starvation. I live in daily fear that the police will throw me illegally out of my house. I live in fear that the neighborhood I live in, considered the warzone in a state so poverty stricken and corrupt will explode in violence. It’s been quiet for a few months. Its just a matter of time until the shootouts resume. I do not mean the once a week kind we’ve had but the daily kind, where regardless of the sun people are hunting one another in the streets like sport. I fight for basic medical care and feel guilt in knowing that most of the 99% working or not do not get the same medical coverage because we are deemed less than and subhuman for not being born with money. Money that most often is the result of crimes like bootlegging, or exploitation of people feeling as desperate as I do.

So I am supporting Occupy Wallstreet with my most potent weapon. My words. I cannot go into the streets and protest. I wouldn’t survive the exposure to the sun, cold, rain, etc and dying horribly does not support the movement. However, I can add my voice to the Chorus. I did not dive in head first. I sat back and watched and I am honored to live to see this protest.

Wait, you’re bleeding?! (Hospital Stupidity and Trigger Warning)

Okay, so, I have been wanting to write all week. I am sick however and have expended my writing energy in other ways such as whining and sleeping when no one was looking. Very productive if they fix what ails you. The whining I tried to do only to myself and M, because hey what are best friends for if not a whinge every so often? Plus I think he would worry if I didn’t whine about stuff just a little.

I ended up in the ER because my uterus is trying to work. This would be fine if it wasn’t shooting clots out like a machine gun that are the size of my fists side by side. That’s a very large clot and my vagina wasn’t made for those. I am in more pain than I want to handle, but I am handling it in my way. So I went to the favored ER that has never been bad.

It was as bad as UNMH the local travesty of medical studies. The nurse in intake didn’t even ask me what medications I take, which is a big no no. They presumed I was taking the medications I took last time I was there, almost a year ago. She laughed at my list of diagnosis, which I gave the short list of the ones that matter. This should’ve clued me in that they have hired idiots. I found out after we were there, we being M the carer, that there was a recent scandal with a drunk nurse. Wondering if she was the one doing intake though she seemed sober if incompetent.

So, I am left to wait for three hours before intake, in which time my legs turn a very nice shade of blue which gets me in the back before Mr. I broke my ankle, see it’s dangling by a thread and creepy lady that wanted to touch me after she coughed. I almost hit her, but M the Carer is good at what she does and interceded and moved me out of range of creepy. I was already considering a sequel to the horror script I wrote about mental health hospitals (currently being cast at Pendant Audio.com if you want to act in it). I am afraid a fiction could not out weight the reality.

Once I get in the back it’s three hours before anyone even says boo, and they demand a urine sample. It is presumed that I can do this, and I manage. This is where I discover that the hospital is not ADA compliant (though I already saw manifest wrongs and horror but more on that later). The bathroom could not fit a manual wheelchair into it and close the door. The door is also heavy. My carer helped me manage the situation, and the staff were off put that she used gloves to do so. Since sanity and sanitizing stuffs are bad here. Keep in mind at this point I was already imagining Dr.Zombie and his chorus of Brain Devouring Nurses.

I question the futility of a pee sample that is the color of cranberry juice, but we deal with it anyway. An hour later Nurse Pain returns. She looks at my sample and says, “Wait you’re bleeding?!” This is when I mimic Spock’s eyebrow raise and my carer and I say in unison, “Well yeah, that’s what she’s here for abnormal vaginal bleeding.” So, I end up chugging a 20 oz soda, because that’s healthy and I couldn’t stomach anything else they had on hand in mass quantities. A catheter later and hey my pee sample has barely any blood in it and that was probably still external since I had flooded the world with red. So usable urine sample.

The thing was, during this cath process the nurse was upset with me for not crying out, grimacing, yelling, or generally acting like she expects. It was painful but she decided I wasn’t in pain if I wasn’t doing the usual dance and scream she is used to with her typical patients. I have never been typical and I even stated when asked by my carer, who I felt was translating body language very clearly, “Why bother? I hurt now, I will hurt later, if I waste that energy then I can’t deal with being here.” It’s truth. It obviously disturbs Nurse Pain.

So it’s back to waiting, Nurse Pain decides she had best get the doctor because I obviously wasn’t making it up. Then she tells us the doctor has left the site. Well, it turns out this ER has ONE doctor on call. One. Not two. Not three. One. Who has LEFT. This is when I start considering abusing my power of phone and mp3 player that takes voice notes. Yep. I started recording things, and we took pictures of things.

Things we took pictures of include the wall made out of mold. Not joking, they put me in a moldy wall room. The bloody pen that is on top of the sharps container, instead of inside it or in another biohazard containment. I think there were others. There’s yet more however. Nurse Pain wasn’t the only in ER bungler, aside from Nurse Giggles.

Now lets talk about Nurse Nasty. Nasty is a male, who doesn’t change his gloves or wash his hands between patients. M the Carer and I are watching him, he doesn’t close curtains so we can see proceedures, he shouts out what is wrong with people. I see him as a walking germ factory. He comes in to take my vitals and I say “Sure, but can you wash your hands?” His expression is the one I call dumb shock. I can’t really read much more past my question liquifiying his brain with it’s sheer fantasticness. So as his brain melts he agrees to do so, overlooks the sink and clean gloves in my room, walks out and ne’er returns. I never once had my vital signs checked while I was there, and I did pass a few monster clots.

Other things of grossness, they didn’t want me to use the absorbant pad things. Those pads are there for me and you. They didn’t understand the idea of wiping myself clean so I could put on my clothes and leave their atrocity. I mean hospital. Now, eight hours have passed before Doctor McLeavy decides to do his job at least with me. I get it, he’s the only one there and the place is packed, dirty, and did I say inefficient yet because wow. So he takes a look and says, “Well there’s a lot of active bleeding, you really should get this checked out.” Since you know, I called my doctor during the weekend and left a voice mail, called again first thing and was told she would call me, called a third time found out she had not been given the voice mail since she answered herself and was sent to the ER. I am obviously incompetent and unable to concieve of the idea that this is an issue. I resist the urge to kick the doctor in the head, because that might end up with Nurse Pain and Nasty returning to rescue Doctor McLeavy.

So, that was my … Monday. Monday… evil monday. I think it would’ve been more productive had I just done what was planned. Which was done today. My carer and I also spent extra money on things that absorb gushing amounts of blood while I called the health department, the hospital’s patient relations people and tried to get an appointment with a female gynecologist since when I specify that due to PTSD this is a requirement as McLeavy already triggered my PTSD. McLeavy asks if I am sure I cannot take birthcontrol because that might fix the issue. Or it could you know, make me so sick I end up in hospital anyway.

Now I run into Dr.Receptionist.

Dr.Receptionist tells me at 9 am she will call me right back. She tells me at noon when I return to calling her that she is working on finding an opening before September. She’s getting downright bitchy. I am working on not telling her to shove her head into her uterus and see if that makes her have any abnormal bleeding, because she seems to think she is qualified to doctor me over the phone.

Third call, fifteen minutes before five, she calls and still has not figured out a way for me to have the accessible room (of which there is only one). She has not found a female doctor with an opening because “we only have two.” Instead of asking them if they would accomodate me. She even tells me, “This would be so much easier if you would just take the next availible instead of insisting on the wheelchair room and a woman.” Little does she know, when she calls me tomorrow I am recording the call. She is going to face the burning rain of hellfire that I am sending the way of the hospital via every legal channel. I may sue once I get a diagnosis. Dr.Receptionist prattles on about how I am just being difficult for a while, and then says, “You know since you are 25 I wouldn’t worry about waiting until September.” Mind you no appointment has been scheduled, she continues. “No one gets cancer at 25, you are just too young.” I did respond now, though not as fluidly as I wanted, It was more of a growl that probably was picked up in the phone, then, “Really? Since you know my medical history so well and every risk factor I have that is above normal you can just decree this cancer?” I wish I had said, “Oh when did you examine me, when did you go to medical school, did you take tissue samples or even a pap? I don’t recall having any of that done since the ER refused as that’s not their job.”

So tomorrow this continues. Of course I left out some tales of woe such as Nosferatu Sucks at Drawing Blood and a few more but you get the drift.

I do have this to say, Hospital Internal Affairs, when I told them I had proof jumped to. They were already but they managed to jump faster and higher. In fact the woman told me she admired my not leaving. When I told her there was no nurse call button and pointed out that I cannot walk out of my room to fetch a nurse so if my carer had left like the office was pressuring her to do so (incorrectly but we got through to the right people to get that fixed) I would not have had anything done yet. I probably would still be there growing cobwebs, well the IA person expressed her utter horror and mentioned that I could sue them and if I did she doubted they could fight. The fact is, when she said that she added legal liability to the hospital. I just need to get this problem fixed before I decide just how much to make them pay.

I am still haunted by Nurse Nasty. How many people got sicker because of him? How many people will handle the tools he used and put back? I wish he’d given his name but he did not. I did describe him and I know what vehicle he drives since he had a purple biker jacket and a shiny helmet. There was only one motor cycle in the parking area for the employees and I took a look. So that cuts down suspects greatly. I am going out of the system to find a doctor next, because I need a specialist and I am discovering that in the year since I started seeing only my pain specialist … well… Lovelace Women’s Hospital and Lovelace aka ALBUQUERQUE HEALTH PARTNERS has fallen into crapville. Though I could add a fictional twist, this is no laughing matter for dancing zombies but is a serious breech of all sorts of ethics and fun stuff. I think I will be fine, given that this has happened before and yet I also know that when they told me I needed a hysterectomy at 16 but they insisted on waiting incase I wanted children, that need likely hasn’t gone away. I still don’t have or want kids and this is one of the worst times I have bled like this. Not as bad as the time I ruined an entire mattress because I couldn’t get up, the wheelchair is making a difference but my pain level is far too high, and with my PTSD triggered there are other complications. Plus my cramps are so bad I can’t pee. I told my carer I may have to go back to the ER tomorrow if I still haven’t gone. I will update when I have the energy. I wanted to write this out so that you all know, and the details are there.

Nymph and Sprite are also helping as much as they can, neither is pressuring me for snuggling but if I let them they are like velcro. Nymph even let me trim her claws for the first time today and didn’t even try and run. Once it was done she just sat beside me and looked a little sad until I petted her. I know my health is in that dangerous spot between Oh Crap and Uh Oh, so I will try to stay towards the oh crap side on the woopspometer.

Oh and the names of the Guilty HIPAA and health code and common sense violating zombie medical staff have been altered to protect the names of said Guilty parties until I sue their pants off or do something else equally deserving with spite and fury.

What Defines New Mexico? (Trigger Warning)

This post is going to make the New Mexico Tourism Board cry. As Nymph runs off after startling me because she jumped up into my lap and I laugh, my brain still turns and mulls over what created me as I am. As a person born in New Mexico, a person that has never left this dusty state except to go over the border into Mexico for a mile (it all looked the same, I got lost and it doesn’t count if I don’t know I left the country on purpose) I have a perspective on New Mexico that can be broken down as follows..

1. Education
2. Poverty
3 Religion
4. Healthcare

These four things combine to make New Mexico an unpleasant place to live. I hear so often how nice it is to visit my state, how beautiful it is, and how neat it is that all of the natives sell their homemade crafts at the various squares for thousands of dollars. That’s the tourism factor. New Mexico has great places to visit, places I enjoy. I love so much of the history and lore here. I revel in reading about Billy the Kid, in knowing that I have been in places that this young man had.

New Mexico has yet to stop being the wild west. The same mentality that created the gun fighter out of the ex soldier (That would be the James Gang lead by Jesse and his brother) on through the modern gangster there is an element of hopelessness in this state. It may have been here before the Civil War, but New Mexico is not a place that is nice to live.

When you are a tourist it is easy to avoid the areas where people actually live and work outside of the glossy tourist shops. It is easy to see the big expansive sky, the glorious mountains, and even our gun fighter reenactments that happen every weekend in Old Town. It is easy to be sucked up by the dust and the wind, to feel for a moment you are somewhere else. Tourists are guided to specific areas JUST for this effect. Every city and place does this so that their dirty laundry is not aired.

New Mexico is not accessible for wheelchair users. When you visit in a chair you will find that downtown has great curbcuts and… that is it. A small section of the sidewalk is accessible, if you leave the Tourist Safe Zone you will be stuck. Even there you will be treated like garbage by the mindless peons of this state. They are educated to hate you, tourist, regardless of disability or no.

New Mexico has a long history of religious intolerance. This started back when Cortez rode through and spread disease looking for Eldorado. When you come and look at our history reveling in the ruins of churches, you are reveling in the murders of people. With that conquest came racism. The people of this state who claim they are Mexican are actually descendants of the first European rape marriages of the native daughters. This was done not out of love, no one married out of love before the Victorian period, but out of power. If you take their wives and daughters, you exterminate them. The devout Catholics could be practicing a variety of earth based religions, but most of their culture was beaten away or burned away. The chiefs and medicine men were killed over and over again. The image we have of the indigenous people also known as Indians, Native Americans, or first nations, this image is a construct by the first conquerors. This image is what tourists come to see.

Through the school system that we have currently, the children are taught to worship the conqueror. Those that can read will read books that talk about how impressive it was that these men brought horses, guns, and that yes a few of the First Nations died because of disease but Cortez didn’t really mean it, so that makes it okay. It was just an accident. The germs may have been accidental but pretending to be a deity was not. That was a conscious choice. Turning on the people that embraced these European WHITE men because of their difference? That was an act of hatred.

When you come to New Mexico as a tourist and are frustrated with your potentially not white counter clerk’s inability to count out your change properly or their not really smiling or enjoying their menial labour? You are feeding off of a centuries old hate crime. New Mexicans of color (Hispanics, Blacks, First Nations, etc) are given a poorer education. There are schools for the white children such as Saint Prius where if you can pay for the education or are smart enough you get in. in the Cities the education is better, but with a state that is made up of rural regions most of the people who come to the city as adults are not well educated or are from out of state taking advantage of the economic opportunity presented to them by the lack of local applicants that are qualified to do this job.

In the rural areas, especially Estancia (The worst school district in a state that is chronically the worst in the nation educationally) the teachers are often not certified. I haven’t checked since I escaped that school, but since a lot of the same teachers are there as when I went? You can BET that the teachers are either not caring, not qualified, or are the exception to the rule. There are a few of them and these people can make a difference in the education of a few students, but the majority in that area never learn to read, the focus is just on sports (though despite Brian Urlacker who is from Albuquerque not Estancia, this has never quite worked out for any of them). No one who leaves this small town returns. I did for a few months and that was under the guise of visiting and I got out again. The town is stagnant. The people never change. A few may come from outside, like my mother, but their children enter a society that is backwards. Anyone who was not born there is not accepted.

The culture here socially is also one of teen pregnancy. Abstinence only education as well as the idea that a penis will give you Aids (Not a lie but not a truth in how it is taught) lead many young women to being mothers. In Estancia every single girl in my graduating class was pregnant when I was 17 except for myself. Every single student is encouraged by the social culture to be sexually active. In a state wide experience as I have lived all over, I can tell you that girls are encouraged to become housewives and mothers. I suspect some of this is a national occurrence (This is according to an annual survey, the details of which have not changed enough to matter int he last few years. If anything the rate has increased). The system is set up so that it is almost impossible to become independent from these systems. With Welfare you are to hungry and tired from trying to work with your parents to learn. Every family dependent on Welfare that I know of is actually working to escape the need for assistance but with the set up that if you earn you lose the needed income so you can keep earning and eat, therefore it becomes a matter of starve or get off of welfare.

No one chooses poverty. No one chooses hunger. The image of the Welfare Queen of New Mexico interchanges one stereotype for another, and yet the one exception I know of to this rule is not a person of color but is a white person that feels entitled to not work. Parents with children struggle to better their education but this takes resources that we do not have. Each year education is cut, and each year it is the children who lose out. There are several remedial colleges in the area that help you learn the basics from elementary on through High school so you can get a degree, but this costs money and time. Not everyone has the time or money and many people here cannot qualify for federal aide because they do not have the knowledge to fill out the application.

This sends the locals flooding back to their churches. This state is stunted in many ways, and is so dependent on guidance from privileged white men or men who have fallen into the line of the Patriarchy and this leads to actions such as murder based on appearance, ability, sexuality and gender. This leads to people who may be declared a witch to actually be burned at the stake. Religion is used to prevent thought. When I was excommunicated from the Church, it was for asking questions to try and understand what I am being fed. This action is against the church and without education to encourage thought more people will not question. Questioning also takes energy and is a luxury in this state as if you are worked to the bone and exhausted there is no time to think. Church becomes a solace then, a place where you can dream of a heaven taht may or may not exist, where you can barter your soul on the chance that if you are a good enough person and suffer enough now you will not suffer when you are dead but oh you could be wrong.

This culture of underpaid labour is not at all threatened by immigration, when the children here are not educated enough to know their own legal rights when it comes to working. This means that there is a higher incidence of sexual harassment, dangerous working conditions, and those that speak up are more likely to be fired because they have no resources with which to fight back. In this culture that you visit and say is so wonderful, the people who are selling mass produced silverwork at a high price are doing this because this is all that is expected of them, and for many this is all they can do. Some do make their own jewelry but most of the merchants buy those works at a pittance of what you pay. There are some sellers that are reputable and will price their works fairly, but they often are told by you white tourists that this piece of jewelry must not be as good as the same one that costs YOU more at another store, you reveling in your privilege and showing your own lack of thought.

In New Mexico in these tourist areas people are often run down, because the worker there is not seen as a person but merely a prop to bring in your money to our state. People die because you choose to run them down out of the claim of being so tired from walking all over our cities on through you just not giving a damn. Yes sometimes it is a local driver that has mowed down a pedestrian but it is such a common occurrence that many people don’t notice anymore. The closer I am to a tourist spot the more likely I am to be killed.

With the movie industry coming to New Mexico there is another form of financial gain and another element of tourism. Our open spaces are now inundated constantly with the cameras. I fall prey at times to the excitement but now I am noticing that a large number of smart young people are choosing to try to get discovered instead of working or furthering their education. Hollywood is a shining element of fools gold showing a way out, that is another form of a trap. Such a low number of people actually become famous or rich, that this is creating another strain on the resources of the state. In order to not starve prospective actors and actresses turn to food stamps and state assistance or unemployment between gigs as extras. I consider periodically trying out for a space myself but it is always a choice between their privilege or my dignity. So I choose my dignity.

With so much hunger and often governmentally enforced squalor (Looking at you Denish and Richardson) where the funding is sent away from the programs that need it most and into cronies pockets the healthcare system is irrevocably broken. I am lucky enough that my insurance which often refuses me basic needs like medication forcing me into the hospital is here. Most New Mexicans will not recieve medical insurance until after the Obamacare plan has been enacted at it’s fullest. Then it is a matter of this plan being enforced, as enforcement is something you rarely see here unless it is law enforcement using their power to oppress a minority. The hospital connected to our University is never empty, the emergency room is always so full of the crushed and downtrodden humanity that people bleed to death in the emergency room before they are given care. People are dying there needlessly as there are only so many hands and many of them are simply students trying to learn the trade of medicine.

Between the countless malpractices, of which I am a victim, and misdiagnosis you will find mothers with screaming and sick children, people with a simple cold, and people that are dubbed homeless, pushed into a warm space by the lack of appropriate and accessible shelters. Between the dying are those who truly need a primary physician but they can get medical care in the ER and they cannot do so with a regular doctor because the fees are so high. If someone has the state’s Molina insurance they are forced into this system, and they may wait months before seeing a doctor. It is better to spend 48 hours in the ER than a month without care.

There are other hospitals, which I personally use but they often face the same problem. The overflow of emergency into their wards and those who want to try and avoid the crush of humanity at University of New Mexico Hospital enter these halls, it is the same. Long wait times, mass suffering, and the dying who would not be dying if they could just see a doctor on a regular basis. I am told there is no need for socialized medicine by you and those who can afford to travel, which denotes immediate privilege. I am told as you go to the nicest ER if something occurs on your trip that things surely are not this bad but this is my version of a happy tail for New Mexico.

The people are suffering, they are oppressed, and pushed down. The children do not know the benefits of education and are taught often with physical violence that questioning anything is wrong. It creates a mindless hive that is then sold to the consumer as an authentic culture. The authentic culture of the people here has been murdered long ago. Each time you come and consume us, you add into this even more. I know no one will stop coming after this, and yet there are things in this state beyond the borders of your safe tourism friendly areas that are fantastic and interesting. There are people here that are taught beliefs and educationally things that you see as archaic. You could explore the world of living anachronisms.

The people can be wonderful, sweet, charming, and amazing. The conversations you can have with some of the children and elders in my state about it’s history may disenchant you a bit, but isn’t this better than a ghost story that was manufactured for your fifty dollars? Wouldn’t it be better to hear about why the James Gang and Billy the Kid were seen as heroes from the descendants that still feel attacked, and rightfully so by the government?

What defines New Mexico is not the beautiful skies and wide open spaces that are nice to visit but instead is the massive amount of oppression, appropriation, and torture forced upon those born here. I have not spoken of the domestic violence culture that you are supporting by visiting… but it is a nice place to visit, so I hear. It would be better if it were a nice place to live.

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.

Poverty and Cultural Hate

I grew up hating my state. It took me a long time to see the good points of living here, especially when the only things that seemed to come up were Bad. Growing up in a myriad of small towns I was never an insider, and I did develope a good deal of hatred for my Hispanic neighbors. I hated the rednecks, the popular girls, I hated the girls who put out and the other outsiders who were still virgins. Eventually I was the only virgin in my school, and the pressure was unbearable. On top of that I had to hide self loathing. My family sucked, as far as I was concerned. We were poor and white. That meant we were just trash and no one wants trash.

Today I found out about this. Cheese Sandwiches do not accommodate potential allergies for these children, and they do humiliate. I was humiliated often by my peers and the adults in my life as a child. I never got to eat the school lunches because they made me sick but we could not afford anything else. I can taste my own cheese sandwiches, the ones I ate during my tenure in this same school system.

I also know how APS (Albuquerque Public Schools) is going to handle the repercussions of media attention. They will instead offer Peanut Butter Sandwiches. That is how they handled it when I was a student there. This is not a new policy, this is instead just a new excuse to deprive.

New Mexico has a fundamental hatred of it’s children. I have yet to see much proof to the contrary, when, the school systems are cut first, then public health. Anything that benefits the children lacks security. I do wonder, when we are of the age of grandparents, wizened and realizing our errors, if it will be the lack of care our children show us that makes us stand up and say “Sorry.”

The only things I really gained from my APS Education are an overwhelming sense of regret, and a GED. I am one of the infamous drop outs. I was always hungry, I was rarely reached out to by my teachers, and I am aware that the problem has merely gotten worse. The hunger I felt masked any outreach that was there. How can we expect these kids to learn when we starve their bodies? Some might not even get to eat at home. School might be the one meal they get a day.

So much for the economic stimulus package. Now we will have another generation of hate filled youth. Few will wind up okay, those kids who are singled out now are at greater risk for mental difficulties. They might have easy access to guns too. Albuquerque has a healthy gang community, and, improper diet will cause more drop outs.

Children need to feel loved. They need to feel like the adults want their success. I never felt that. In retrospect I can see it, but, it was so rare to have anyone wanting me to succeed that it never made a big enough impact. The impact that good people are trying to have is being deadened with this stupidity.

How can I help these kids? I am not sure. I do know that the public being made aware is a step. Maybe Bill Gates will remember being in APS and will provide the funding for food. He still has a charity right? Oh, top it off with the local coverage. There is so little it didn’t even make the news advertisements, instead they talked about the Governor being busy. I found out about this on my favored Feminist Blog, Womanist Musings. The local news has not aired yet, but will they even cover this topic? they did not mention it yesterday either.

Are our children truly this disposable? I look forward to the baby boomers joining me on the caregiver train. This generation which we just sentenced to starvation will be theirs. Perhaps they will find that anger in youth begets anger in the adult world. I am not wishing them harm, but, I am wishing that the adults and people with the power to change the future see that the future is in our children. They will someday make the policies that shape who gets to eat, and they will take away from those who wronged them.

The Antidote for Discrimination Is…

I have felt the urge to blog repeatedly, but until now I have not given in. Blogging can be as personal as writing. I have spent the last week in preparation mode skimming the internet reading other blogs, seeing what I liked, what I didn’t like, and the power behind the words. Some of these bloggers brought me to tears, and that is no small feat. Others made me laugh, some caused me to feel sorrow, and a few gave me the chance to feel angry.

I wasn’t sure how to start my first post, but, since I am an advocate for all disabled, all women, all men, all people in need I will start there. The topic nearest and dearest to my heart is Service Animal Law. Some of you who read this might think you know about service animals, and you might be right. Others will presume that a service animal is only for a blind person. You are not correct. A service animal, by the federal definition, is any animal trained to assist a disabled person with a task. This does mean that if you have a seizure alert dog, it has to do more than that. The law even gives behavioral guidelines.

I have a service cat. She is trained to do things including retrieval, seeking assistance from specific humans in the case of an emergency, medication reminders, object retrieval, and she has also been trained to help me balance. A lot of these tactics came out of her instinctual responses, but those needed to be honed. She also had to be trained to handle a crowded mall. Now she handles it better than I do. People often ask me why a cat, and my response is simple. I am not allergic to cats, most of the time but I am allergic to dogs. I also trust cats, and I haven’t trusted many dogs in my life. I have to trust my service animal partner.

I have faced some serious discrimination because of being disabled. When I was still walking most of the time, it was harder because I was in extra agony since forcing myself to walk through a store took all of my energy. The more tired I am, the more pain I feel. There have been times when I have had shopping carts jerked out of my hands, causing me to either fall or nearly fall. I have been denied the right to buy groceries, and recently I have been illegally denied medical care.

I am perusing legal action but I am well aware that other people might not know how. Today, one of the blogs I read, reminded me that not every person is trained in how to handle discrimination. When you are disabled, you might feel more vulnerable to attack, and when people threaten to take away your service animal or refuse access, it can be terrifying. I feel often as if I am going to be hit if I push forward. I was an abuse victim for most of my life, but, adulthood came and I found a way to break free. Not everyone is that lucky.

So, here it is, my guide for other disabled people with any LEGAL service animal on how to advocate their rights. A side not before I begin, if you do not need a service animal, do not lie. We will catch you eventually, and the crime has a punishment. Depriving people of their rights through your shallow behavior is the worst thing you could possibly do, and, whether you believe in Karma, Hell, or just recriminations in this life from other people, you will pay for it. The law will get you, Advocates will get you, and if Karma gets you, it will be worse than anything I could dream up.

The Guide– Dedicated to Renne, Helen, Aimi and Snow, but especially Bree. (All Links will open in a new window/tab.)

Step 1. Stay Calm. This is for me the hardest part of advocating for your rights. Sometimes I want to run, other times I want to scream and cuss. Neither tactic is helpful. As hard as it is, you have to be the bigger person, and stay nice. You can have anger in your voice, do not deny the emotion but do not let the emotions over ride your goal.

Step 2. Calmly as you can, state that they are breaking the Federal Law. This is what I have practiced saying in the Mirror daily for the last two years. “You are violating the Federal Law. The Americans With Disabilities act provides protection for my use of my service animal.” When I say this I hand them a copy of the law. You can get a copy of the service animal laws from the ADA.  I  have the business brief printed with my state law on the reverse side. You can obtain access to your local service animal laws at http://www.animallaw.info/ I carry  my print out in aUSB case on my scooter keys. You can also buy laminated cards from various businesses with the law on it that explain your rights. For some people this is easier. Those cards are usually kept on your animal’s harness.

Step 3. Explain the law in simple terms and how they are violating it. This does mean you need to know the law. Not only does knowing the law protect you from discrimination, but, it lets you educate people. The biggest cause of discrimination in my experience is a lack of knowledge. If someone isn’t willing to learn, or admits they know, then you have a larger problem. One of the main causes of confusion with service animal awareness is that few businesses train their employees. It is illegal to require a service animal to wear a vest or show an ID tag. When someone asks me for this for my cat, I show them the law and educate them. Often, they will try and state she cannot enter because she is not a dog. My local laws state only dogs can be service animals. The laws are written so that the stronger law prevails. This means that if the Federal law says I can have any animal, that is trainable and meets the standards and the local law does not, we refer to the federal law. However if you live in a state like California that requires ID tags for all service animals, then, the law requires you have an ID tag. This is another source of confusion, but, it is an attempt at increasing the rights of many.

Usually by this point I am either in the building or they are just going to break the law anyway. If you have reached this point, it is time for Step 4.

Step 4. Take a very deep breath, and remember Step 1. Then ask to speak to their supervisor. If they refuse or are the supervisor you can try explaining the laws again, or calling another advocate to try and help. I keep the number handy to the local advocacy organization, and they have helped me countless times. Even knowing I can call day or night, is helpful because I do not feel alone. At this time I have no national links, but if you are in New Mexico, contact Service Animals and the Law. (Link forthcoming). If you have links nationally to websites that can help, post them in a comment. I want this page to be a resource for any person in need.

At this point you should be through the trying time, most managerial staff listen well and correct their employees. Recently I had to fight my way into an apartment complex using this tactic for three months. Even when I had food poisoning I had to try and follow my rules, but, eventually I prevailed. Advocating for yourself is the hardest part of having a service animal.

Not every person responds to this and if you still cannot get through to them, you need to contact the ADA. You can email them a detailed complaint, include names, addresses, contact information for both parties, and send it to ada.complaint@usdoj.gov . If you would rather call you can contact the ADA via their hotline using these numbers: 800-514-0301 (TTY-800-0363).

Remember, you are strong, you are beautiful inside and out, and you are not alone.

Other posts in this series: What is a Service Animal?

Additional Resources will be added as I find them:

Information:
http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/
http://www.deltasociety.org
http://www.ada.gov/svcanimb.htm
http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm
http://www.equipforequality.org/resourcecenter/ada_serviceanimals.pdf

http://www.animallaw.info/
Service Dog Vests and Supplies:
http://www.pettop.com/
http://www.raspberryfield.com/
http://www.activedogs.com/servicetherapyvestharness.html?gclid=CI-6iKm7rpgCFQEpGgod3QL9Ug
http://www.ldsleather.com/patches.html
http://www.petjoyonline.com/ADA_Federal_Law_Information_Card_for_Service_Dog_p/svd-0054.htm The Law Info Cards
Scholarships
http://www.assistancedogunitedcampaign.org/scholarship.html
http://www.keystonehumanservices.org/ssd/ssd.php
Blogs:
http://www.servicedogblog.com/

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