Friday, 28 December 2012

Liberation

Ahh the simple pleasures in life...

It is marvellous to go to bed when you want, not when someone else is tired. Although I did not abuse the privilege like I will in the future, last night was the first time I went to bed without it being contingent on someone’s schedule. The first time in my whole life.

I am not even 36 hours into independent living, and I know it is something I will cherish for the rest of my days. My first night was a simple, but revolutionary affair: watching TV at cinematic volume, in the dark with air conditioning on. Then at 10pm making some notes for the new PhD chapter, whilst listening to Tegan and Sara at full blast before I called it a day at Midnight.

Whilst it may seem mundane to you, this is what I call utopia.

Today I got up at my normal hour, got dressed and showered just in time for the first ball of Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test, Kindle at the ready. I was left alone from 930am til 2pm when I decided I wanted some food. No carers arrived halfway through my book or in the middle of play: this was freedom.

And in a final somewhat vulgar note, the most pleasant and liberating surprise is being able to sit on the toilet without someone in the next room impatiently waiting for me to finish. I’m beginning to think ‘Just buzz me when you are done’ might be the most beautiful phrase in the English language.

Viva Toddocracy!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

My Year in Pop Culture

Now is about the right time to list my favourite songs, books and TV shows for the year, especially considering I filled out my ballot for Triple J's Hottest 100 yesterday. The trouble being of course that the station has an annoying limited playlist designed to attract the hipster douchebag. As I am a man of many musical loves, consider the following list of songs as an addition to those mentioned in the link above.

Best Additional Songs






Best Books I read (In order of enjoyment)


Best TV Shows (In order of preference)

Movies (Alphabetically, Reposted)

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS   
DEEP BLUE SEA, THE   
GOODBYE FIRST LOVE   
LIKE CRAZY   
MARGIN CALL   

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Trying Hard, Failing, But Still Trying

Perhaps because I have had to work for everything I have gained I experience my highs and lows more dramatically than others. These sentiments could apply as easily to this week where I gained a house, and lost a friend. Or more broadly to the entire year where I have successfully and slowly gained independence, whether it be physically or emotionally. But I have also lost ground with so many life goals. Even though I have internalised my feelings more than ever before, the losses that I have experienced this year were felt more keenly than those previously. This contradiction is evident again when I think that creatively I have felt more frustrated this year despite making some progress on the thesis, beginning a manuscript, and continuing to update this blog on a semi regular basis.

It is much tougher to grasp how I feel emotionally at this particular point in time. Upon turning 29 a month ago I began to feel that time is passing me by. That I no longer feel that I have time to make the naive mistakes that characterise my life. I have to take more responsibility for the course that my life takes. I am (hopefully) through a third of my life and so many life goals remain unattained. They are not minor ones either. They are the big ones, to do with life, relationships and legacy building. I feel like I am so far behind my contemporaries in terms of life experience. Most people I know would likely scoff at this notion, but these thoughts terrify me. I am hopeful that I will catch up now I get to live my own life and make my own choices. In fact I am counting on it.

When describing the move to Brisbane I told a friend that I may never get what I want straight away. Instead I work harder than anyone I know to achieve my goals and I get there eventually. That of course is ideal when striving towards the tangible goals: occupationally, intellectually, and materially. It is however the intangibles that worry me: the things I cannot control. I cannot make anyone love me, as much as I may love them. I cannot expect other people to inforce the high standards of respect and integrity that I place on myself. I cannot convince people to adopt my arguments even when I know that I am right. Most importantly I cannot wish away this dilibating disease that holds me back in every aspect of my life.

I guess I shall look back at this year as one of transition. The one in which I left my latest bout of depression behind and found a group of friends who I care about. For the first time in a long, long time, the future looks promising and not one in which I continually mourn the life that I wish I could have had. It is so much harder for me to focus on the good aspects of the constant challenges because there are not that many. But now the constant grieving is easier because I have things to look forward to.    

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

In Case it Really is the End of the World

I did this survey about this time last year, its time to do it again

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I moved.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I made plenty, some I kept, some I didn’t but I tried my best with all of them

3. What countries did you visit?
None

4. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
More stable relationships

5. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory?
September 17th, the best day of the year, August 31 where it all began, November 19th A Chorus Line with The Novocastrian, November 23rd & December 2nd both heartbreaking

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year??
Getting stronger

7. What was your biggest failure?
Everything to do with my thesis, I feel way behind (Still)

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No.

9. What was the best thing you bought?
Books

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?
TCF and The Novocastrian for always being there, and Miss Gravy for being my biggest cheerleader.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
They know who they are

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
A Chorus Line, Jersey Boys, The Noosa and Brisbane Writers Festivals

13. What song will always remind you of 2012?
The 'Happy' Mashup

14. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Much happier.

15. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Enjoy the precious time I had before I lost it again

16. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Brutal honesty

17. How will you be spending Christmas?
It is my last Christmas living with my parents, so with them.

18. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Yes.

19. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
God, Yes.

20. What was the best book you read?
Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn tied with The Marriage Plot: Jeffery Eugenidies

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Rediscovering old show tunes

22. What did you want and get?
New friends, a place of my own, fleeting moments of contentment

23. What did you want and not get?
Prolonged moments of contentment

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29,  suitably quiet day, with a Clarke double hundred and dinner with TCF and her boyfriend.

25. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
See 23. 

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Shabby. I don’t care about what I wear, I only choose what I wear if I want to impress someone.

27. What kept you sane?
Kindle, TV shows, and TCF (in that case literally)

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Lena Dunham

29. Who was the best new person you met?
The English Lass, it is not even close.

30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012?
People are shit except those I like. It is blunt but very true

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Quest is Over, Now to Become A Statesman

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits. Thomas Jefferson
Life changed for me yesterday. A whole new world has opened up for me. My two year quest to become independent will finally be at an end on December 27. In just two weeks I will be moving out of my parents' home on the Sunshine Coast (about a decade too late) and begin living independently in the city lights of Brisbane.

A few months ago, you may remember that the Queensland Housing Commission offered me a house to live in. However, there was a catch. I had to come up with the funds for 7 hours of in home support a day to help with my personal care needs. I was told this would cost upwards of $100,000 per year. Given that the Queensland Premier has cut everything except his ego this was not a viable option.

Last week I reached the end of my rope and turned up to the local Disability Services Queensland (DSQ) Office uninvited. My political skills were put to good use because I had to outline the gravity and urgency of my particular situation in intimate detail. Given all the shit I have given DSQ publicly and privately over the past two years, the bureaucrats I encountered were enormously helpful and sympathetic.

Enter YoungCare. Whether it be through happenstance or organised chaos DSQ were able to find me a place at the Sinnamon Park complex of units, located between Brisbane and Ipswich, which will provide me with guaranteed personal care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When the two bureaucrats described the set up in the complex I had to admit I was very skeptical. As I was well aware, the trade off for 24/7 care is that I would have to share resources with other people with disabilities. Experiences of others I knew taught me that such ventures were tantamount to institutionalisation: the very thing I had been working hard to avoid my entire life. I had a week between my meeting with DSQ and my tour of YoungCare to dream up worst case scenarios in my head that would make stories of A Current Affair look like Play School.

Thankfully my visit to YoungCare yesterday made those fears turn out to be utter nonsense. The complex is equipped with the best set of facilities I have ever seen. Including a private unit, and my choice of whether I want to be involved in communal activities or not. I was continually jealous of my contemporaries in my native South Australia who always had superior disability services to the backward looking Queensland. Now they will be jealous of me, because I will have complete autonomy to live the life I want as independently as possible. Those without disabilities take for granted their freedom. The ability to stay out late, get pissed, pick up a girl (or three), take her (or them) home, and wake up the next morning with a stupid self congratulatory grin on their face. Now it is my turn!

Through an extraordinary amount of sponsors and donors the complex is also equipped with everything I could ask for: wheelchair accessible vehicles, cable TV, a gourmet chef, internet access and air conditioning. This also applies to things I never want such as therapy and exercise equipment.

What I cannot get across in mere words is how life changing this development is for my family and I. A lifelong goal for my Mum, Dad and I is about to be reached in a safe, secure environment without compromising any of my values. For the first of many, many times I am asking friends and readers to donate whatever money you can to YoungCare. With the gift I have been given I now have the responsibility to change someone else’s life, just as mine will be.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

My Top 5 Movies of 2012

Television program At The Movies has an annual (Australian) viewer poll to see what they rank as the best movies of the year. Each viewer can make up to 5 selections. Mine in alphabetical order are: 

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS   (Released: 6/09/2012)
DEEP BLUE SEA, THE   (Released: 12/04/2012)
GOODBYE FIRST LOVE   (Released: 5/04/2012)
LIKE CRAZY   (Released: 1/03/2012)
MARGIN CALL   (Released: 15/03/2012)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Today Should Be An Inquisition, Not A Party.

If I were a betting man I would guess that a person that did not have a disability came up with the concept of the International Day of People with Disabilities. I have previously discussed similar themes, but here’s a list of things that happen all too often
  • A lack of privacy
  • Being constantly underestimated and undermined
  • A lack of autonomy
  • Being constantly pitied
  • Having to fight for everything I need, want or desire.
  • Being part of a country that treats me like a fifth class citizen
  • A lack of respect
  • Having to endure countless amounts of bureaucracy to gain resources everybody else takes for granted
  • Being ostracised by a community who claims to support me, but in fact shuns me because I speak the truth
It was rather fitting that I spent the morning in a government office begging, pleading and literally crying for my freedom. That I had to give over my soul to two government bureaucrats who I had not known for more than five minutes, just so I can live in a house by myself.

So, what exactly is society celebrating?

That they are inclusive? They are not.
That they are tolerant? They are not.
That they are understanding? They are not.
That they are compassionate? They are not.

Sparklers for all!

I mused earlier today whilst crying in the government office that if at least 90% of the non disabled population were denied basic human rights there would be no celebration, but tyranny instead.

Think about it.

Monday, 26 November 2012

'Are You Sure You Want You Delete Your Accounts?'

In July last year when I started chronicalling my adventures in CripDating™ I thought my journey would never end. I thought that I would remain unloved terminally. That there was no person for me. This journey would never end, because I would not be satisfied unless I had tons of sex, and broadcast the status change to the world ‘Todd Winther is in a relationship with…’

That never happened, at least not yet. But I have been happy, finally moving on from the past and I have met some truly wonderful women in the past year and a half. But love (with equivocation) is hard. Multiply that difficulty by ten and the challenge of finding the smart, beautiful, quick witted, compassionate woman (who loved me too) was hard. Getting over my fractured self esteem was harder still. Those were the goals I wanted to achieve, and I blitzed even my pathetically low expectations.

I felt loved. I am loved by new extraordinary people. People that I know who would do anything for me. I know this because they have. I now know that women that I am attracted to are attracted to me, legitimately. I now know that my instincts and gut feelings are to be trusted again. I now have confidence that a wonderful woman (who I may of or may not have met yet) will love me the way I want to be loved.

Currently I have failed in my big picture goal of finding a ‘girlfriend’ but I have closed down all of my online dating accounts because I have everything I need, and a whole lot more I didn’t expect.

Friday, 23 November 2012

You Cannot Try Hard Enough

‘It is not a tragedy’ she says trying to sound both sympathetic and supportive. Trying so hard, but failing miserably. She can’t do anything to make this feel better. Poor girl, it is harder for her than it is for me.

What she does not know is that it is indeed a tragedy of the highest order. You see tragedy and I are old foes. I thought I had him beaten. Finally. I got cocky. Then in one foul swoop, he won again.

People often ask me why I am so cynical. It is because I know first hand that you always have ten failures before you have one success. That wanting something with all the passion and willpower you have means fuck all. That every time I think I’m okay, a personal tragedy happens to remind me not to become so complacent. I have survived 29 years and one day and happiness across the board has eluded me every day of my life.

Two years ago I wanted to die. I was convinced that my life was pointless. I look back on the time since and I have no tangible rewards, I have no house of my own, no girlfriend, and the PhD has made lackluster progress since: the three things that I want to achieve most with all my passion and will power. And yet if I had died when I wanted to I wouldn’t have met TCF, Miss Gravy and The English Lass: all three I count among my closest friends. And that is just one positive thing.

I promised myself I would play the long game. I will not let this defeat me, and one day, one day I will get what I want. I have to believe that for my own sake even if I don't right now. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Happy Returns

It is my birthday on Thursday. I shall be turning 29. I didn't just write that because I am expecting a lot of well wishes, but because it simply marks yet another passage of time. A marker which indicates that my longevity is rewarded. To me it means that I will enjoy a day of cricket, some well wishes and time with my parents who deserve a lion share of the credit for my survival and productivity. Birthdays have diminishing returns for me as the years pass. So instead, I'd like to highlight the small things that have made the current passage of time extra special.
  • Thanks to the people who gave me hugs when I needed them
  • Thanks to people old and new who put their trust in me
  • Thanks to the people who doubt me, because I take great joy in proving them wrong.
  • Thanks to the artists and philosophers who continue to inspire me
  • Thanks to the small but loyal group of friends that I have, because I continue to need you most of all. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

NDIS Out of Wonderland: Where Reality Ruins the Fantasy

Independent think tank The Centre of Independent Studies (CIS) released a report today on the cost viability of the NDIS. It has backed the arguments I've been making for two years. It is important to note that while the CIS is not a bastion of social progress, these concerns are REAL. Here are the main points:
  • The NDIS may be the most significant social reform since Medicare. However, the NDIS will not ‘be like’ another Medicare. In budgetary terms, it is another Medicare.
  • In fact, the NDIS will be a monster of a government program. It will start big and get bigger, and grow to become the new leviathan of the Australian welfare state.
  • The government’s cost estimates of the NDIS have been revised upwards regularly. Early estimates found that the scheme would cost about $11 billion. Revised estimates from the Productivity Commission increased the total cost of the scheme first to $13 billion, then $13.5 billion and later to $15 billion a year.
  • However, the commission’s widely used figures of a $15 billion scheme providing services to 411,000 people do not reflect the true cost of the scheme when it will be fully operational in 2018–19. These figures do not take into account wage increases, price inflation, or population growth from 2009–10 to 2018–19.  (The QLD government estimate that I will need $100,000 per year of funding, qualifying as someone who needs a 'low amount of care', in terms of hours, so how will $50,000 per person meet the needs of those with more severe disabilities?).
  • This has led to a dichotomy between the estimates and the implementation timetable. As a result, the actual budgetary cost of the NDIS will be substantially more than the commission’s estimates and substantially more than the figures being used in the public debate. 
  • Around 500,000 people on the disability support pension, and another 600,000 people aged 65 and over with a severe or profound disability will also miss out on NDIS funded supports as well. Together these groups represent more than 1 million voters with a vested interest in seeing a bigger and more generous NDIS 
I choose to let these points speak for themselves.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The 'Happy' Mash Up


Long before the term ‘mash up’  reached cultural significance in the early 21st century came a song which remains a long time favourite of mine. Performed on The Judy Garland Show in 1963, the song is the combination of Barbra Streisand’s cover of the popular American jazz standard Happy Days Are Here Again, and Judy Garland’s cover of Get Happy which she sang in the 1950 musical (and one of the best of its era) Summer Stock.

At the time of the song's recording, Streisand had released her cover earlier that year as part of her first album (recorded at the age of 21), which established her as a multi talented performer in a career which has lasted five decades. Garland, meanwhile was at the later stages of her decline, which ultimately led to her tragic death in 1969. In a sense one can envision Garland metaphorically passing the torch of diva superstardom midway through Happy and saying to Barbra “It’s yours now, treasure it”. Don’t believe me? One only has to look at the two versions of the same film: A Star is Born. The 1953 version was the last of Garland’s cinematic critical successes. The 1976 version represented Streisand at the peak of her fame. For the record I think the 1953 version is far superior.

The Happy Mash Up is the song that will be played at my funeral if given the choice. The suitably melodramatic arrangement is a wonderful counterpoint to the tenacious lyrics. Some make the mistake of thinking that this song is overwhelming positive, mostly with reference to the gay rights movement, but I take the mixture of melody and lyrics to be the ultimate expression of tenacious behavior. Even on my most cynical day (and there are many), I am determined above all else.

If however you play this version and think of me I will haunt you in your dreams forever.  

Monday, 5 November 2012

My First 'Session'

So here I am writing about sex again. Unlike the previous occasions I chose to write about it, I am now entirely comfortable with myself as a sexual being. I know what I want, I know how to get it, and more importantly I know how to ask for it. So when I went to see The Sessions yesterday, I was surprised to see how much I regressed.

The Sessions is a well made film (for an accurate review read Ebert), but to be blunt it was probably the most painful experience I have ever had in a cinema. I saw so many of my hopes and struggles played for laughs to make the audience feel comfortable, and this in turn made me decidedly uncomfortable. My first time was not unlike Mark O’Brien’s. I too paid for sex, because I had no other choice. I lost my virginity at 20 after feeling so sexually repressed I felt that I no could no longer control my own body.

Like everything I could not keep this choice private. Someone had to help me logistically to get in and out of my wheelchair, and that remains to this day the greatest thing that person ever did for me. It is a tough thing asking someone to help you prepare for sex  (‘Hey let’s go so I can have a good fuck!’ isn't the appropriate motivational technique) let alone having that same person come in and out of the room before and after the event. Though I did not find these circumstances embarrassing, I found them to be an annoying imposition. Just like the rest of my life.

I don’t expect people against prostitution to understand the motivations behind the decision. At the time I thought that I was never ever going to have sex with someone who cared about me. Thankfully I was proven wrong. I wanted sex to be an act of affection. I wanted sex to be special. I wanted to sex to be about love. My first time was about none of those things. It was biological. It was an expression of relief, physicality and (yes) anger. No cuddles, no kissing, no post-coital conversation except ‘Will there be a next time?’

I don’t regret what I did, but as I saw The Sessions, all those painful memories came flooding back. How long it took my body to get used to the sexual touch of another person, all the logistics and manipulation of my body, and the indignity of it all. My most vulnerable moments were projected back at me as a tool for laughter, it made me feel like I was 16 again.

That’s why I had to write this. Deciding to go to a stranger for sex was not my choice. It was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make and should not be subjected to ridicule. If you go and see The Sessions think how far you would go to feel physical love. If you have never had to answer that question consider how lucky you are, and then think twice before laughing about it.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Love & the 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl'

There are several problems with the modern mainstream definition of ‘love’. It sets off unrealistic expectations and conforms to outdated notions, such as ‘monogamy.’ Young men and women have been pre-programmed, and expect to find ‘the one’ lurking around every corner. (Although lately it seems society wishes to ‘rebel’ against this in the most turgid way possible. No folks, reading Fifty Shades of Grey does not qualify you as an expert in the realm of BSDM. It might actually help if you understood what the acronym actually means first).

The problem with this notion of ‘the one’ is that this particular individual does not exist. Rather I have come to believe that there might be two, three or four people (possibly at the same time) who fill in your blanks to complete the sketch of love throughout the course of your life. American film making suggests otherwise for they have constantly revived and expanded a tried and true concept of 'romance'.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) trope is largely responsible for propagating the notion of ‘the one'. and made it acceptable for this unrealistic goal to be realised.
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is there to give new meaning to the male hero's life. She's stunningly attractive, high on life, full of wacky quirks and idiosyncrasies (generally including childlike playfulness and a tendency towards petty crime), often with a touch of wild hair dye. She's inexplicably obsessed with our stuffed-shirt hero, on whom she will focus her kuh-razy antics until he learns to live freely and love madly (Sound familiar?).
Although this term was first coined by The AV Club writer Nathan Rabin in 2007, the origins of the MPDG can be traced back to the days of Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. In each case the beautiful eccentric woman would waltz into the life of the male protagonist, take him on a few zany adventures, where they both fall in love and the audience enjoys the show leaving satisfied. One could argue that the high point of the ‘Classic MPDG’ genre defines the terms for what constitutes 'romance' for much of the Baby Boomer and Generation X cohorts.

Even though I don't belong to either generation, I had inadvertently fallen into this tired notion without even realising it. Every woman that I had shown the slightest interest in for my first quarter century conceivably fell into the MPDG archetype. I wanted to be swept off my feet, to escape from what I had seen as an ordinary life. Retrospectively I now realise that is what the MPDG plays on: a lack of self esteem. If you are not confident enough to change the circumstances of a terrible life, why not let the presence of an MPDG do it for you?

That is why I acted with such justified revoltion to 500 Days of Summer. That movie is the most sickening piece of propaganda for 'romance' one could ever see. Summer (and by extension Zooey Deschanel, because that’s the only role she has ever played) is of the most vapid, superficial, vengeful and nasty characters in modern cinema. There is no attempt to examine the motivations for her ‘quirkiness’ or demonstrate that she has any intelligence, beyond being the hipster’s ideal sex toy. (Additionally, I bet the sex would be awful too, as we all know the most intelligent people have the most creative sexual tools at their disposal and Summer is a screw short of a tool box).

But it is not only Zooey and Summer that have questions to answer. Think of a popular romantic comedy made in the last 75 years.When doesn’t the female love interest achieve MPDG status? This applies to television as well.

This cynic has given up on finding a MPDG to make him happy, even if there were a political variation on the traditional model. ‘Love’ in its strictest societal definition seems unattainable to me, and just as well too. A MPDG will not be your soul mate, but instead your most painful memory.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A Gentle Sloping Ramp

I read, read and read. So much that all my former schoolteachers would all laugh at that statement in overt irony. I was the kid who hated reading in primary school and the early part of high school. In my own defense it was because I was forced to read some truly shit house material. Reading non-fiction was not an option that was encouraged. I am rarely interested in fiction. I need pictures to imagine and for that I love my television beyond measure. Books for me enhance reality.

The same is true for my writing. I don’t consider myself to be a ‘decent’ writer by any measure, but even if I were, it could only be by writing non fiction: either writing about myself, or about politics. In fact I used to get in trouble at school for writing all my ‘fictional’ pieces as play by play commentaries of fictitious football matches. Port always won, naturally.

And so here I am: a once prolific blog writer with not much to write. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly I’ve become more cynical and superstitious. I have been reluctant to share good news here because every time I have it has blown up in my face. While seeing the reality of my words does wonders for personal development, I have decided to shut up and only share good news when it is life changing. Less pressure, less expectations, less drama. However, I still appreciate small victories.

Second as you can probably tell I hate my niche topic of writing. If the disability sector was bad before, it is certainly worse now. I have been criticised as ‘cynical and deconstructive’. Damn right I am. If constructive is what passes for the ‘action’ in the Australian disability sector recently I wish not to be part of it. Most of the participants hate me, and I hate them too. So I am trying to divorce myself from all the shit, at least as much as I am able to. I have stopped writing about the disability sector until I am invigorated by the challenges again (if that ever happens at all). It is just not worth the effort. I am relieved by this decision. Others are too I am sure.

Lastly, there is so much pop culture I have loved recently and wanted to write about, but I have not had the energy to (I will probably collate them all in a giant post in the next few days). This is largely because I am on to my ninth draft (Yes ninth!) of the second chapter of my thesis, and as much as I prefer to write here, work remains the priority, as does dealing with my current bureaucratic bullshit.

Fear not my (small) readership. I am here and I will be back. If you are curious to know: my mood is adequate, with a tasty side dish of ‘pissed off'. And that is the best I have felt in nearly two years. I would call these ‘small steps’ but I hate steps, so I will just call it a gentle sloping ramp.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

This Cut is the Deepest.

Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to explain.

I have spent the best part of two years ‘stuck’ on the Sunshine Coast with no place to live on my own in Brisbane, but enough support to have ‘in home care’ at my parents' house. As of last Friday, the situation has reversed. I now have a place of my own in Brisbane, but the Queensland Government are unable to provide money for ‘in home care’ in the capital. Even though the locations are just one hundred kilometers away, my funding is not transferrable from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane. The humanitarians that comprise the Newman Government decided to cut my stream of funding for my impending transfer two weeks ago when they handed down their first budget. For me to move the bureaucrats at Disability Services Queensland (DSQ) will have to pull something out of thin air. The time line for my move is once again uncertain.

The politics of my particular circumstances are largely irrelevant, but my personal circumstances are not. Understandably the Housing Commission cannot 'allow' me to sign my lease unless I have ‘in home care’. It is an occupational health and safety situation you see. They cannot ‘allow’ me to sit in my own shit and piss without readily available access to food. But DSQ will ‘allow’ my mental health to be compromised by preventing my move to Brisbane, taking away my freedom of choice, my independence, and my basic human right to live my life the way I choose to live it.

In doing so the Government is stifling every aspect of my life: preventing new friendships from being created, limiting my ability to learn basic life skills, halting the progress of my academic career, and stopping me from achieving my most important goals. Am I angry about these things? Somewhat. But that is not what infuriates me the most. These circumstances are merely emblematic of my life as a whole. For every piece of good news comes bad news.

All I am asking for is what every other person my age takes for granted. I want to take control of my life. I wish to make my own decisions. I want to fulfill my own destiny. I want to develop more life changing friendships. I want my life to be mine. Instead it is in the hands of people who have never even met me.

If these all sound like reasonable requests then why are they so hard to achieve?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Lessons Or Thoughts I Need to Carry With Me

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. Listen to those who matter, ignore those who don't
  2. Patience will be rewarded...eventually
  3. You will never get the right answer unless you ask the right question first.
  4. Thoughts that I obsess over are not the obsessions of others.
  5. Sit, breathe, slow down and wait a moment. The right idea will come.

I really need to stick these somewhere.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Elipses

“Do I fear death? No, I am not afraid of being dead because there's nothing to be afraid of, I won't know it. I fear dying, of dying I feel a sense of waste about it and I fear a sordid death, where I am incapacitated or imbecilic at the end which isn't something to be afraid of, it's something to be terrified of.” Christopher Hitchens Mortality
About two weeks ago I read Christopher Hitchens final book Mortality on the train. It is an unfinished work, which is really the only way to conclude a book about death. It is only 100 pages long, I had a 90 minute journey ahead of me to a nervous destination. 'Reading Hitchens will calm me' I thought. I had to be intellectually impressive that night. I knew the book would make me sad. These were going to be my hero's last words.

The book took me an hour to read. It is not an easy read in any regard. I felt as if it took a piece of my soul as I turned to the last page. The train pulled up at Northgate Station and I started sobbing in a carriage full of passengers. The journey still had an half an hour left.  I just could not stop. I shouldn't have read it then, but I had to.

Just a day earlier I found out that a friend died. I had to find answers in a concept that had none. The most trusted source to me was Hitchens, after all he knew death was coming at a rapid pace, cancer slowly destroying his body, as he fought to communicate with every fibre of his body. The book was progressing nicely, and then nothing, he just stopped. The final chapter is full of incomplete thoughts waiting to be elaborated upon. It is one last glimpse into the mind of a man who I regarded as a genius. No goodbyes, no famous last words. Instead the pages had lots of space. Ideas that were like rare steak, still able to be consumed, but badly undercooked. This was not how I wanted to remember him. I wanted his last written idea to be grand and prophetic. I imagined something like 'Give me 5 minutes and I'll tell you I was right. God is not there.' Instead, all I read were a series of ellipses. Perhaps this was his intent all along?

Death seems to pop up everywhere now, even in my football team. Death seems to be stalking me tangenially. No beginning, no end, just a series of unfinished sentences.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Final Draft

Dear Friend,

I haven't heard from you in a few weeks, though this is not uncommon. You were about to start a new job, you were going to work on your three unfinished manuscripts and a play on your uni holidays. That first draft of your play made me laugh, it was so dark and black. I loved it. It was so you.

I went to your Facebook page yesterday, quitely wondering why you hadn't posted a meme in a while, you know the ones, the piss take of those horror movies you like that I never get the meaning of? I assumed that you had locked yourself away and went on a 'writing binge' free of technology. You had warned me previously that you may do this without notice.

Only you didn't. You died five days after we last spoke. Cause unknown.

Cause unknown summarises it all really. I was obvlious to the fact that this tragedy occurred almost three weeks ago. I missed your funeral and your wake. I'm so sorry. I really wanted to be there. So badly. I know it wouldn't have mattered to you anyway. You would have just said to me 'Watch a movie instead, you'll have a much better time, as long as it isn't made by FUCKING Woody Allen!'.

All together we had known each other less than six months, and we never even met face to face. I loved talking movies with you. I made this list because of one conversation that we had. You said my list was too bland. This started a lively discussion on the artistic merit of the Coen Brothers. You convinced me to watch The Big Lebowski again. I did. I still HATED it. I managed to convince you to watch Amadeus as part of the deal despite the fact you said that it was nearly '...3 hours of Milos Forman over directing a movie about opera'. You told me after a second viewing that you liked it. Your willingness to be open to a change of mind, whilst I was (rightly) insistent about my taste suggests an openness I am not yet capable of and that you always had.

I remember the last words you typed to me.

Fuck you shit me, but at least you're smart about it... sometimes :P

We had made plans to go to the movies lots of times when I had moved to Brisbane. You said you were going to 'teach me about the finer points of the art of film making'. I was looking forward to that so much. Sadly I will never get those lessons now, but the next time the Coens make a movie, I'll watch it just for you.

Goodbye, may you find the audience your talents demanded.


Monday, 27 August 2012

The Good News: Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom



Without a doubt the finest achievement in television this year was the first season of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, which concluded this afternoon. This series in my opinion far outweighs the stellar first season of another Sorkin creation, The West Wing. Yet I seem to be an island by having this opinion, for the critics I have the utmost respect for have almost unanimously panned the series. They think they know the tricks of all of Sorkin’s writing tics, but none of this matters to me. Yes, I have been a fan of Aaron Sorkin from the beginning, especially of his televisual endeavours. Aside from The West Wing, both Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip were cancelled far too soon. The latter in particular copped similar scorn to The Newsroom. Why? Because Sorkin doesn’t just write to merely entertain audiences, he preaches to them. While many people have found this disconcerting, even offensive it’s not like Sorkin hasn’t done this before, whether it be to discuss the vagaries of religion, or the harmful effects of drug abuse.

With The Newsroom however Sorkin begins with a sermon in the very first scene. Protagonist Will McAvoy launches into a tirade against the notion of American exceptionalism. Some have suggested that the tone which Sorkin adopts throughout this monologue is full of a pompousity that Will has not yet earnt. This misses the point however, for although The Newsroom's themes and issues are realistic and are sometimes based in true fact, Sorkin is actually creating an alternate universe in which media commentary and journalistic discourse are seen through optimistic middle way politics. By using stories from the recent past, Sorkin has snookered himself, and he is open to justifiable criticism of intending to comment on factual events in a fictional way. The basic synopsis of The Newsroom goes to the heart of this issue.
A moderate Republican news anchor, Will McAvoy, returns from a forced vacation to find his staff have jumped ship for another show on the Atlantis Cable Network (ACN). He is forced to work with several new team members brought on board during his absence.
A ‘moderate’ newscaster of either political persuasion would never have his own news show on an American cable network. Cable network news thrives on opinion and this in turn suggests that successful cable news anchors must identify with the extreme left or right. Whilst it could be argued that Will is based upon my favourite news anchor, Olbermann has always maintained the notoriety of being both temperamental and pugnacious. In the pilot however, Sorkin goes out of his way to point out that Will achieved popularity, by having no opinions of any consequence before his rant at Northwestern. The very premise of Sorkin's central character is entirely fictional.

Instead Sorkin is doing what he always does with his writing: creative wish filfullment. He is directly challenging the audience to question why producers like Newsnight’s Mackensie McHale do not exist anymore. He is provoking discussion within the viewer so they can weigh up whether content is more important than ratings. The smart viewers or at least the Sorkin devotees like myself are aware that this is his modus oprandi.

Events like the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the capture of Osama Bin Laden are covered in reverential tones during The Newsroom's first season, in ways that once again echo The West Wing's attitude to politics, and a Hollywood movie nominated for Best Picture. What makes one piece of art better than the other? Is it that one is written by the likeable George Clooney, and the other is by the occasionally egomaniacal Sorkin? To dismiss The Newsroom because of the personality of the writer has added an unintended sense of kismet to the whole project. The loud voices of discontent that have followed The Newsroom has typified the whole point of its first season: some see the world for what it can be, others see it for what it is. To the millions disenchanted with the current political culture and/or the state of journalistic ethics, Sorkin’s fictional world of The Newsroom is a grand place to live. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Language of the Past Time.

This week I've been working my way through a famous 19 hour documentary on the history of American baseball by documentary film maker extraordinaire Ken Burns. It is a wonderful way of getting acquainted with a game I've only had a passing interest in. My favourite bits so far are these zany quotes from arguably the two greatest player/managers of the game.

Former player/Yankees manager Casey Stengel

"I was such a dangerous hitter I even got intentional walks during batting practice."

"If this keeps up I'm about to manage until I'm a hundred."
- after a 4-game winning streak

"He'd fall in a sewer and come up with a gold watch."
- on Yogi Berra

"Mister, that boy couldn't hit the ground if he fell out of an airplane."
- on a player sent down to the minors

"Best thing wrong with Jack Fisher is nothing."

"It's wonderful to meet so many friends that I didn't used to like."
- after an old-timers game in 1971

"They brought me up to the Brooklyn Dodgers, which at that time was in Brooklyn."


Former New York Yankees Catcher/Manager Yogi Berra

"Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical."

"It's déjà vu all over again."

"It's so crowded nobody goes there anymore."
- on Toots Shor's restaurant

"So I'm ugly.  So what?  I never saw anyone hit with his face."

"I always thought the record would stand until it was broken."
- from a publicity stunt letter sent to Johnny Bench after he broke Berra's all-time home run record for catchers

"You've got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."

"I ain't in no slump.  I just ain't hitting."

"We have deep depth."

"If the fellow who lost it was poor, I'd return it."
- what he would do if he found a million dollars

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

"If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be."

"The other teams could make trouble for us if they win."

"He is a big clog in their machine."

"If the people don't want to come out to the park, nobody's going to stop them."

"We made too many wrong mistakes."
- why the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series to the Pirates

"I wish I had an answer to that because I'm getting tired of answering that question."

"I usually take a two-hour nap, from one o'clock to four."

"He must have made that before he died."
- referring to a Steve McQueen movie




Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Movin' Out.

I have some good news to report on this blog after what seems like months of bitching and moaning.

In what has been almost 2 years in the making I finally have a place to call my own in the city of Brisbane! I cannot overstate what a life changing piece of news this is.  Best of all, it comes from the Housing Commission, which means that the rent is cheap and affordable. The unit is close to city, my uni, has easy access to public transport and is located a kilometre from one of Brisbane's biggest shopping centres. The unit itself is fully wheelchair accessible, and I don’t have to pay money to do any alterations. The only work it needs is to have an automatic door installed so I can come and go from the unit safely, which the government is paying for. The only drawback to this is that I have to wait 10 weeks to move in.

Possibly my favourite aspect of the unit is that it has two bedrooms that are for my use exclusively. Due to the rent being cheap, I don’t have to share the unit with anyone, with the second bedroom being known henceforth as ‘Todd’s Office’ The office will store my trusty Mac and my ever growing library of political texts, non fiction books on popular culture and classic novels.

Given the political climate in Queensland this outcome was totally unexpected. From past experience both my parents and I knew that we couldn’t afford to buy and renovate an existing place to suit my very particular needs. In order to renovate the bathroom it would have cost me between $20K and $30K alone, assuming that every other room fit my requirements. This cost would have been on top of the purchase price.

It seems a bit of luck came my way, after what has been such a difficult time. For the first time in 28 years I am in charge of my life, finally.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Extended & Restricted

I haven’t been motivated to write here recently because it does seem redundant. The thesis continues to progress at a snail's place, so much so that the deadline has been extended by a further year and will now be due in August of 2014. This is both an agonizing curse and delightful blessing, as the deadline pressure has eased, but it’s still another bloody year, which means that upon its presumed completion the thesis would have taken five and half years, and that is just too fucking long for my liking.

The other two projects have been documented in great detail previously. I’m still desperately lonely, longing for a meaningful companion without success, despite my frenzied efforts. Equally frustrating is the saturation of coverage on the NDIS. This tires me particularly when reading stupid, self serving, one sided op-ed pieces. If I had more energy and purpose I would perhaps pen a more intelligent retort, but it now seems easier just to express my frustration internally and concentrate on my two ongoing projects. While I can alter my own destiny personally and professionally I cannot alter systemic bureaucratic ignorance and incompetence that lasts a lifetime.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Alone?

I have been temporarily living on my own for over a fortnight, or as I refer to it ‘House Sitting For My Parents In The Place Where I Live’. As of today, I have two more weeks left. People have asked me if I have been lonely during this period. My response is ‘…no more than usual…’ In terms of a strict definition, loneliness is a condition I am rarely affected by, for I prefer my own company ahead of anyone. I have always things to do, whether it be reading a couple of books, watching a series of movies I have never seen before, trying to fix a particularly frustrating form of writer’s block, or listening to some great tunes. I have been able to take the phone off the hook and pretend the world has ended.

So I may not be ‘lonely’, but these past two weeks have emphasized that my life resembles a ubiquitous pop song. I’m about to tie up the last loose ends of the past 18 months, which has made me realize that I need someone to come home to, or at least be someone else’s first priority, I find myself going to bed earlier, just so I can tune out the white noise in my brain that suggests I’m getting too old for this shit, I can only take a certain amount of rejection with the facade of good grace. Yet at the same time, I look at the options I have, and a common theme emerges. People in their late 20s seem to want to travel as much as my brother and my ‘housemates’ do. They also want to participate in ‘outdoor activities and adventure’. If you asked me what my two least favourite things in the world are, they would be travel and outdoor adventures. I have been pondering whether I have to bend a little to meet the expectations of others, but then at what cost? I have to be happy and I have to be me.

Travelling through several countries with a variety of methods for weeks at a time is probably my worst nightmare. By now I could have travelled overseas with my own family about ten times now. Each time I have said no instantly because in my mind I have better things to do with my time in places where I feel comfortable. And yet that single conclusion has resulted in a revolving door of rejection for over a year now. What person in their late twenties doesn’t want to travel? Would rather spend a Friday Night curating their own film night rather than getting drunk? Would rather read a book and debate its thematic relevance than go for a bush walk?

Getting a positive answer for just one question let alone all of them seems impossible. That perhaps is the new definition for loneliness.

    

Monday, 2 July 2012

'It Was A Good Year, A Very Good Year'?

This month marks a year since I started venturing into the world of online dating

Here are the results:
  • 1 close friend
  • 2 online friends who I communicate with on a semi regular basis
  • 1 friend who I think could be a pretty darn good long term partner, if only she was interested (She’s not, I’ve checked)
  • 1 date that went well initially, but ended horribly shortly thereafter.
  • 1 date that stood me up (twice)
  • 0 hookups
  • Countless rejections (Yes, the actual number is stored in my photographic memory, but you wouldn’t believe this number if I told you).
So what does this mean exactly?

Does it mean I’m not ready for what I truly desire? Have I set my sights ‘too high’? Am I chasing a fantasy that will never match the reality?

And now for the big questions: Does my crippleness play a role in this? Or my antisocial behavior? Or it is my lack of bravery? Three people who I could have approached earlier are now attached. Doubtless they would probably end up in the ‘rejections’ pile too.

So here’s to another year, or maybe more. I never really know.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Since I've Been Gone...

There are two reasons I haven't posted recently...



  

In the meantime listen to this please, it is a work of the finest art.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sorkin's Society?

One of my favourite writers, Aaron Sorkin gave the commencement address to students at his Alma Mater, Syracuse last week. While there is no doubt that this forum provided Sorkin with the opportunity to embellish many of his stylistic cadences, which divide critics in equal measure the speech is worth commenting upon for a number of reasons.


This speech is the essence of Sorkinesque writing: a patriotic, hopeful, naive diatribe. In fact much of the speech he has used before a number of times. However, it is those qualities that provide a source of motivation to this writer. Perhaps the thing that infuriates the public most about Sorkin's writing is that he has higher expectations for society than it does for itself?

It is no coincidence that the current President of the United States is often compared to the one which Sorkin created for The West Wing. The difference is obvious though, Josiah Bartlett was never subjected to public scrutiny, for if he were he would have mostly likely been impeached during his first term of office. These days, the more progressive political operatives quote Bartlett from the passages of Sorkin’s many teleplays instead of Marx. Those brought up on episodes of The West Wing rather than pages of Robert A. Caro or David Day live in a vacuum where politics is a noble game and minds can be changed with five pages of dialogue, rather than through proper policy formulation. The end result is that politics becomes a circular exercise: people become aspirational pawns in the political process, once their desires cannot be met, they quickly figure out that there is a massive gap between the Sorkinesque view of the world and the actual one we inhabit. Rather than finding a leader who conforms to real world expectations, society says the system is broken, and then tries to find another leader of the same type. Society then begins anew destined to repeat the same mistakes.

Among Sorkin’s closing paragraphs of the commencement speech, he propagates his world view as if he were Sam Seaborn himself: 
Develop your own compass, and trust it. Take risks, dare to fail, remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt.

Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character. You’re too good for schadenfreude, you’re too good for gossip and snark, you’re too good for intolerance—and since you’re walking into the middle of a presidential election, it’s worth mentioning that you’re too good to think people who disagree with you are your enemy. Don’t ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has.
Of course there is nothing wrong with this view if you are a wide eyed optimist who believes that the power of words is enough to change minds. I was such a person once. However, the more I hear Sorkin’s words, the more I believe that he is just simply a great storyteller on a quest to find a fictional utopia.

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Goal

“I just want someone, who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me.” - Hannah, Girls.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Inward and Inaccurate

Last night's Fabian Society Forum on how and why the ALP lost the 2012 Queensland State Election highlighted how insular the party is in times of reflection. The forum’s three participants included ALP State Secretary and Campaign Director, Anthony Chisholm, Former Bligh Government Minster Cameron Dick and the Queensland Political Editor of The Australian, Sean Parnell.

Chisholm was in a remarkable position last night. Despite being the architect of the worst loss in the Queensland ALP's history, he still has his job. Chisholm’s contribution to the proceedings was always going to be the most intriguing of the night. Unsurprisingly, he blamed the government’s decision to privatise state owned assets for the ALP’s electoral wipe out. ‘We never recovered… he said. Everyone is connected to the railways in regional Queensland, and the ALP misjudged the electoral climate…’ was his admission when I questioned him later about whether he could have anticipated any backlash to those sales. There were no strategic measures in place to counter the negative reaction to asset sales. 'The LNP and the unions got out in front on the issue’, Chisholm opined. Consequently the ALP turned negative during the election campaign and focused their attention on Campbell Newman. According to internal party polling this strategy was working (Apparently) right up until the moment Anna Bligh said (in the last ten days of the campaign) that there was ‘no evidence…’ that Newman had participated in any illegal activity, despite claiming in Parliament that he had done so. Remarkably, the polls returned to their original state of Labor oblivion immediately after this admission (!). The moral of Chisholm’s argument: ‘When in doubt blame Bligh.’

This theme continued for much of Cameron Dick’s speech, clearly using his speech to position himself as the non-existent alternative leader of the ALP. Comparing himself to Chifley in the 1930s, (when the former PM lost his seat in Federal Parliament, and was on the wrong side of the New South Wales split) Dick took the soft, gutless option of blaming Bligh and her Deputy Andrew Fraser. Despite being a high profile member of Cabinet and being a high profile advocate of the asset sales, the former Minister chastised his former boss by constantly questioning her abilities as leader, and in particular saying the ALP lacked ‘strong and effective leadership.’ In 2039, I wonder if we will see such words in writing when the Cabinet minutes are released into the State’s archives? It is interesting that Dick attempted to portray himself as a modern day Chifley, because all he succeeded in doing was to demonstrate that solidarity, a hall mark of the Chifley era, has no place in the Modern ALP.

Parnell, on the other hand demonstrated his analytical skills with a cogent unpacking of the last four years of Queensland politics. Whilst also criticising Bligh as being decisive but lacking necessary political skill, he hit on the key point of the Bligh era: The Government over promised and under delivered. Contrasting this maxim to that of her predecessor’s Peter Beattie, Parnell highlighted the hall mark of his term as Premier by saying ‘Beattie delivered on what he promised during the election campaign and only deviated from these when responding to immediate crises’.

The three speakers each encapsulated the current malaise of Labor, not just in Queensland, but also around the country: strategic incompetence, policy objectives taking a backseat to internal Machiavellian supremacy, and a tin ear when assessing the public’s expectations. All three speakers highlighted the asset sales as the turning point towards the death of Bligh Labor. And yet none of them were able to answer the most basic question of the night. Why sell the assets at all? I still doubt whether Chisholm, Bligh, or her team of incompetent advisors know the answer to that.

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Linkage, Volume I, 2012

I work, I eat, I shower, that’s it. Occasionally I take a dump, just as a sort of treat. I mean that really is my treat. I sit there and I think—no, I'm not gonna read the New Statesman, this time is just for me. This is quality time just for me.
Hugh Abbott: The Thick of It

For much of the last two months I have been working on the PhD thesis from hell on a constant basis. I did 12 drafts of the second chapter and it took a year to it get right. So now that I am as healthy as I’m going to get I have either been focusing on my work, or trying to get out and explore new things. This hasn’t left much time for substantive blogging (In short, I really hate the NDIS, and I really need to get laid). So with that in mind, here are some things that have got my wheelchair motors running over the past six weeks.
  1. This amazing performance of It’s a Man’s, Man’s World by American Idol contestant Joshua Ledet
  2. The new HBO series Girls created and written by the wonderfully talented Lena Dunham. I want her to be my next girlfriend, I would also like this to be arranged post haste, please.
  3. This except of the third volume of Robert A. Caro’s biography of former US President Lyndon Johnson which chronicles the events before, during and immediately after the 1963 Kennedy assassination.
  4. An old but great clip of Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert singing Rebecca Black’s Friday with an array of special guests
  5. To close, here's my favourite song this week

Friday, 11 May 2012

Credibility?

What happens when you have little credibility?

My very vocal detractors may argue cogently that I have absolutely none to begin with. To them I’m just an upstart with a loud obnoixious voice trying to get attention and noterity. Especially those who claimed they have won after the piss weak announcement in this week’s budget. Let’s look at the facts, with thanks to Vern Hughes from the Physical Disability Australia Facebook Group
The federal budget committed $1 billion to the NDIS over the next four years: 
Beginning with $84 million in 2012-13 
Rising to $363 million in 2015-16.

Only one third of this is for care and support for people with disabilities. 


  • $53 million is to set up the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

  • $155 million is to employ local co-ordinators for the NDIA.

  • $250 million is to build an IT system for the NDIA "to measure the performance of the new arrangements"
  • $123 million is "to prepare the disability sector to deliver services in new ways."

  • $17 million is for "research and development"
  • $59 million is for assessments of people with a disability to determine their eligibility. 


This breakdown of spending, and the prioritisation of management functions over care and support, is absolutely predictable. It fits perfectly the priorities of the industry representatives who form the NDIS Implementation Task Forces.

  • $0 for education and training of people with disabilities and their families in self-direction.

  • $0 for an IT system for people with disabilities and their families to use and to manage their supports and services.

  • $0 for research and development for innovations for people with disabilities  and their families.

  • $0 for development of a retail market for people with disabilities and their families to access and to choose the services they want based on transparent price and quality data.
And instead the public are exposed to this ill-informed piece of crap by Wendy Harmer who thinks people with disabilities should be ‘happy’ and we should ‘cheer’ for this miserable excuse of a policy. This comes from a woman who will not have her fate determined by the effects of this policy for the rest of her life.

I realise that I am in the very severe minority here, but I feel like I am one of the few who can see the absolute obvious here. Why can’t more people see it? I cannot tell you how much it frustrates me.  Every time I voice my objections, I’m the one who gets painted as having no credibility because the majority has group think.

So what will it take to get some credibility? Finishing my PhD? Becoming a celebrity and pimping myself out? Becoming one of the useless people who get put on these pointless advisory groups?

And then I think ‘Fuck it, I’m done with this disability policy shit, I want to have fun, try to form a decent relationship with someone I love and develop my academic career.' And then it hits me like a punch in the guts.

If I give up on the policy shit, the person who loses out the most is me.

And then I remember why I hate being a cripple.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Indoctrination At A Young Age

I have just finished re-watching The Last Days of Disco. This underrated movie contains a favourite exchange of mine, that is worth reposting.


CHARLOTTE: Saturday, I took my niece, who’s seven, to see the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp. She loved it! It was so cute. I’m beginning to fall in love with the whole idea of having kids.

ALICE: I hate that movie.

CHARLOTTE: What?

ALICE: It’s so tacky. Not to mention depressing.

CHARLOTTE: This sweet movie about cute cartoon dogs you found depressing?

JOSH: There is something depressing about it, and it’s not really about dogs. Except for some superficial bow-wow stuff at the start, the dogs all represent human types, which is where it gets into real trouble. Lady, the ostensible protagonist, is a fluffy blonde cocker spaniel with absolutely nothing on her mind. She’s great looking but, let’s be honest, incredibly insipid. Tramp, the love interest, is a smarmy braggart of the most obnoxious kind. An oily jailbird, out for a piece of tail, or whatever he can get.

CHARLOTTE: Oh, c’mon.

JOSH: No, he’s a self-confessed chicken thief—an all around sleaze ball. What’s the function of a film of this kind? Essentially it’s a primer on love and marriage directed at very young people; imprinting on their little psyches the idea that smooth talking delinquents, recently escaped from the local pound, are a good match for nice girls from sheltered homes. When in ten years, the icky human version of Tramp shows up around the house, their hormones will be racing, and no one will understand why. Films like this program woman to adore jerks.

DES: God, you’re nuts!

JOSH: The only sympathetic character, the little Scotty who’s so loyal and concerned about Lady, is mocked as old-fashioned and irrelevant, and shunted off to the side.
 

DES: Isn’t the whole point that Tramp changes? OK, maybe in the past he stole chickens, ran around without a license, and wasn’t always sincere with members of the opposite sex. But through his love for Lady, and beneficent influences of Fatherhood and Matrimony, he changes and becomes a valued member of that rather idealic household.

JOSH: I don’t think people really change that way. We can change our context, but we can’t change ourselves.

ALICE: I agree with Josh. Scotty is the only admirable character. It would have been a much better movie if Lady ended up with him.

DES: I’m really surprised. I think Tramp really changed.

JOSH: Maybe he wanted to change, or tried to change, but there is not a lot of integrity there. First he’d be hanging around the house, drinking, watching ball games, maybe knocking Lady around a little bit. But pretty soon, he’d be back at the town dump chasing tail.

DES: Oh give me a break! Are you taking your medication? Because what you’re saying is completely nuts!