Archive for May, 2010

Happy Memorial Day from Cripz: A Webcomic!

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Have a safe and fun time, y’all!

Have a safe and fun time, y’all!

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Make Yourself Miserable or Make Yourself Useful

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“The truth is, if I actually spent my days actively paying attention to every example of misogyny around me, I would be a profoundly unhappy woman. Not bitchy or grumpy or short-tempered, but paralyzingly depressed. Women have to train themselves to avoid consciously reacting to every bit of misogynistic detritus permeating the culture through which we all move, lest they go quite insane. I write about the things I can’t not write about. If I wrote about all the examples of sexism I see every day, I’d never sleep.”

Melissa McEwan

This quote sums up some pretty sad stuff about the world in which we live.  Replace misogyny with racism, classism or ablism – especially ablism, the most vastly ignored of all the “ism”s – and it still stands true.  It’s sad, sure, but to look at it a little more optimistically, it’s also a challenge.  Beause we actually are able to move forward on these things (remember when I wasn’t allowed to vote, and Rhett & Griff & Jeff were all confined to institutions?), even when there’s still so much that needs fixing (like how I can’t parachute on Sundays in Florida or Jeff can’t legally go into certain washrooms without being pointed at at length first).  So never be bored, because if this, this, this, this and this are any indication, we’ve all got a bunch of world-changing to do.

“The truth is, if I actually spent my days actively paying attention to every example of misogyny around me, I would be a profoundly unhappy woman. Not bitchy or grumpy or short-tempered, but paralyzingly depressed. Women have to train themselves to avoid consciously reacting to every bit of misogynistic detritus permeating the culture through which […]

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Wheelchair, engage!

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Wheelchair controls come in all shapes and sizes. My electric chair is controlled through a pretty traditional joystick system, but I have friends who control their chairs with things like sensors on their headrest or a straw that controls the chair through blows and sucks. But apparently the people at MIT are working on a voice-controlled wheelchair. Apparently it will work a little something like this,

This wheelchair is intended for those who may not have the physical mobility to utilize a standard joystick, and as well for those who may have progressive muscular diseases.  Not only will it operate from voice commands, because it is a robot it can learn the common routes a person takes throughout their day and carry them out via commands.  David Hatch, one of the designers and a retired engineer coping with Multiple Sclerosis says, “I like the idea of telling my chair where to go.” (via EmpowerAbility, LLC)

It all sounds very cool, except I’m a little concerned what might happen if I was in one of these chairs, got upset with someone and said “Screw off!”

Wheelchair controls come in all shapes and sizes. My electric chair is controlled through a pretty traditional joystick system, but I have friends who control their chairs with things like sensors on their headrest or a straw that controls the chair through blows and sucks. But apparently the people at MIT are working on a […]

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Hulk SMASH!!

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Hulk SMASH!!

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The subject of disabled characters and able-bodied actors has been coming up again and again over the past few days so Clara and I decided to do a little comic about Glee and our feelings on most movies involving characters with disabilities. This episode is dedicated to Cherylee Houston, a disabled actress who plays the “feisty new girlfriend” of Kirk Sutherland’s character on Coronation Street (via InspireBlog).

This episode was also inspired by, and as such dedicated to, a great academic named Dan Harvey, who threw caution to the wind and bravely wrote a great paper about Glee and their problematic uses and abuses of disabled characters. We tip our hats to you Mr. Harvey and may you forever stay one wheel ahead of the blood-thirsty mob of Glee fans who are no doubt out to get you. Stay strong buddy.

Hulk SMASH!!

The subject of disabled characters and able-bodied actors has been coming up again and again over the past few days so Clara and I decided to do a little comic about Glee and our feelings on most movies involving characters with disabilities. This episode is dedicated to Cherylee Houston, a disabled actress who plays the “feisty new girlfriend” […]

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A Special Announcement

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From the moment I was diagnosed at 3 months old with Congenital, Muscular Dystrophy my parents raised me to be a fighter. While my parents acknowledged there would be challenges, they truly believed life with a disability did not have to be a life of no ability. It is because of their undying support that I have been able to accomplish some pretty amazing things in my short life, all because they wouldn’t let me use the word “can’t.” In many ways, it was for my parents that I set off from London in 2008, to honour their hard work and help show the people of Ontario just how “able” someone with a disability could be. On my trip to Ottawa, I hoped to show people that contrary to the popular euphemism “confined to a wheelchair,” wheelchairs are actually about freedom. Unfortunately, wheelchairs are expensive pieces of equipment, the average electric chair running over $20,000, with limited funding to offset the burden placed on families whose youth have disabilities. The result are youth left stuck, immobile in their own homes, watching their friends play as they wait for funding to come through.

Enter Easter Seals Ontario. Easter Seals is an organization that helps fund the costs of these crucial pieces of equipment to help get kids moving again. Over the years, Easter Seals has helped thousands of families like mine purchase equipment that helps us overcome our limitations and live independent lives. Recently though, as our community tightens our collective belts, Easter Seals London had to waitlist two families in dire need of equipment funding last year, a nightmare scenario set to repeat itself this year as international disasters have diverted much of the local moneys to support those worthy causes. The result, however, is more families in London may be waitlisted this year, left in the lurch, waiting for equipment that is needed now.

On May 29th in Springbank Park, supporters of Easter Seals are gathering for the “Walk With Me” event to help raise money to ensure this does not happen. Youth and adults alike from the London community will be using their legs to help kids with disabilities get moving and it didn’t seem right for me to not do my part and help out. It is for this reason that on Friday, May 28th of 2010, I am taking to the road once again, this time driving my electric wheelchair around the circumference of London to raise awareness about the dire need of funding for Easter Seals in London to help us continue to support youth with disabilities in our community. The marathon will take me over 10 hours to complete, start to finish, and will be the longest drive in a single day that I have ever made in my electric wheelchair, totaling over 90km. The trip will be tough and the road will be long, but it’s a journey that would not have been possible without organizations like Easter Seals to help pay for the wheelchair. On May 28th of 2010, I will show London just how able we can be if we have the right support and that’s where you come in.

On Friday, while I’m out on the road, show your support by going to the Easter Seals Ontario website and making a donation online or make a donation to support a friend or family member who is participating in the “Walk With Me” event on Saturday. Your donation will go a long way to getting kids with disabilities in London moving again.

From the moment I was diagnosed at 3 months old with Congenital, Muscular Dystrophy my parents raised me to be a fighter. While my parents acknowledged there would be challenges, they truly believed life with a disability did not have to be a life of no ability. It is because of their undying support that I have […]

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The SHUN in Fashion

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The SHUN in Fashion

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No matter how you slice it, the clothes we wear are important. Not only do our clothes provide warmth and protection from the harsh Southwestern Ontario climate, they are also key in the exposition of our identity to the outside world. Through our clothing, we tell people a little story about who we are, what we believe in, and what we like.

Consider: What type of person would walk down the street in a sleeveless denim jacket with a ketchup stained undershirt and some nice short-short jean cutoffs? You know exactly the kind of person I’m talking about. If your answer was “Jeff’s Dad,” then you are a horrible person. Dave would never cut off the sleeves on his denim jacket.

But what if you couldn’t choose the clothing you wore? What if you were forever doomed to wear kids clothing? This is an unfortunate, and sometimes terrifying, reality for many adults with disabilities, whose bodies don’t fit in the typical adult sizes and are forced to wear youth sized clothing. For me, this means spending a lot of time shopping at places like GAP Kids, The Children’s Place and J Crew Kids, where I can find adult-appropriate fashion in youth sizes and as frustrating as it can be, I have it easy compared to women. You see, often men’s fashion is pretty similar from child to adult. Yes, there are definitely a lot more Spiderman or Bob the Builder graphic t-shirts in youth sizes, but there are also lots of white collared shirts and normal looking jeans that I can wrap myself in and quite successfully pretend that I’m a real adult. This strategy is a lot harder for women, though, as the differences between girls’ and ladies’ fashion can be quite divergent, if only in colour palette (hot pink is not always the most appropriate colour.)

I’ve long considered attempting to protest this injustice by perhaps wearing nothing but blankets, but I quickly decided against this when I realized I would look less like a noble freedom fighter and more like one of these guys. Instead, I decided to do the next best thing–make a comic about it.

PS: Dave Preston does not own a denim jacket or short-short jean cutoffs. I clarify only because he used to be a police officer and I’m pretty sure he can make me disappear.

The SHUN in Fashion

No matter how you slice it, the clothes we wear are important. Not only do our clothes provide warmth and protection from the harsh Southwestern Ontario climate, they are also key in the exposition of our identity to the outside world. Through our clothing, we tell people a little story about who we are, what […]

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Dating Advice…!

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So, I’m toying with the idea of starting a mini dating advice column here.  Depending on the response, of course.  So if you’re sick of posting on Craigslist and following girls into alleys to no avail, and you want some dating advice, disability-related or otherwise, email me at clara@cripz.ca.  I’m an expert, you see, because I have no qualifications whatsoever to be answering your questions and was in fact mostly pressured into it by Jeff.   To christen this little column, I’m going to start by giving some advice to these fellows right here:

?

Point One: Honesty is key, Boys on Wheels.  Did you really hear the doctor say that the moment you were born?  I really don’t think you did.

Point Two:  Kare Conradi reference?  Who ARE you?

Point Three: Wind machine at 1.03 and 1.22.  What is this, Total Eclipse of the Heart?  Just…no.

Point Four:  For real now.  Rule number one of like, life: show, don’t tell.  If you are greeting women by assuring them your balls are okay, the rest of you is probably not okay.  If you are assuming romantic interest will not garden in someone who thinks your balls might not be okay, then you are selling yourself short.  Act confidently–because you can do that, because you, and not just your balls, are probably ok (unless you are this)–and forget about your balls for a while.  Because someone who won’t give you the time of day based on a slim possibility that you have inferior gonads isn’t worth your time.  And a confident attitude, in actions, which speak louder than words, which are cheap, will hint at a functional pair of cajones anyways, hopefully.

So, I’m toying with the idea of starting a mini dating advice column here.  Depending on the response, of course.  So if you’re sick of posting on Craigslist and following girls into alleys to no avail, and you want some dating advice, disability-related or otherwise, email me at clara@cripz.ca.  I’m an expert, you see, because […]

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High School: A Short Essay by Griffin Moonlove

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High School: A Short Essay by Griffin Moonlove

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In my experience, people seem to have very bizarre memories from their time in high school. Most adults will rant and rave about how it was the best time of their life and how they wish they could just go back to that time. Frankly, high school sucked…and I think if you think really hard about what it was like, you will agree. For me, high school was a time of social awkwardness and an abundance of rules that were augmented by a sudden expectation of responsibility. High school wasn’t all bad, of course. I did have towers of chicks like Griff (probably). There were plenty of formative experiences that I wouldn’t change for the world, but I am interested in our ability to block out all the crappy parts and seemingly only remember the golden times many years later. It’s this ability to live within an idealized or downright constructed fiction of our past that this strip takes aim at. Is Griff crazy? A liar? Perhaps. More than that though, I think he’s just an optimist who makes the best of whatever situation he finds himself in.

Cripz Season 1, High School: A Short Essay by Griffin Moonlove

In my experience, people seem to have very bizarre memories from their time in high school. Most adults will rant and rave about how it was the best time of their life and how they wish they could just go back to that time. Frankly, high school sucked…and I think if you think really hard […]

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Seat-Robbers!

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Yo.  Clara here in Jeff’s stead (he’s off hanging with Rick Hansen, f’realz).  Just stopping in to let all two people reading this know that this exists.  Like people of WalMart, but featuring people less innocently pathetic and more willfully jerkish.  This guy‘s by far my favourite.  He looks like he could just move right in and live there.

Yo.  Clara here in Jeff’s stead (he’s off hanging with Rick Hansen, f’realz).  Just stopping in to let all two people reading this know that this exists.  Like people of WalMart, but featuring people less innocently pathetic and more willfully jerkish.  This guy‘s by far my favourite.  He looks like he could just move right […]

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Funny Kids with Disability

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So I was checking out the google analytics for the website when I discovered one brilliant gentleman found our site by googling “funny kids with disability.” What could he possibly been searching for? Are kids with disabilities funnier than kids without disabilities? Does this individual only appreciate the comedy stylings of youth with limitations? A knock-knock joke just isn’t the same without 4 wheels and some steel.

Hats off to you, funny kids with disability guy, you have made my day.

So I was checking out the google analytics for the website when I discovered one brilliant gentleman found our site by googling “funny kids with disability.” What could he possibly been searching for? Are kids with disabilities funnier than kids without disabilities? Does this individual only appreciate the comedy stylings of youth with limitations? A […]

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