Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

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It’s Not What You Got, It’s How You Use It.

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By Treadmarkz

For those of us with disabilities, it is easy to get down on ourselves for what we don’t have. Abilities, skills, functions. Whatever. If you have recently experienced this feeling of dejection, this observation recently made by my wife is for you.

We were thumbing through a book of “useless facts” when we stumbled upon something that turned out to be quite useful. “Leaches have 32 brains,” it read.

To which my wife blithely replied:

“How come they haven’t taken over the world yet?”

and

“It just goes to show its not the brains you have, its how you use them.”

and finally

“I mean they’ve got thirty two brains and all they’ve figured out how to do is suck.”

All this before I had mustered up the wit for a single observation of my own.

Overcoming the Human Body’s Inherant Limitations

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by Treadmarkz

I received this video by email the other day (Thanks Mom) and it is a perfect example of why the spirit is much more important than the body that we are born into.

The video is of a man born with no arms or legs but a good reminder to anyone who’s ever said “I can’t” before. He is also an example to the world on how to be untouchable in your determination to persevere.

Give it a look HERE

How To Run a Smear Campaign on Your Blog While Cutting Out the Self-Deprecating Nonsense

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by Treadmarkz

“Mindless nonsense”

“a blog about nothing”

“rambling, incoherent fluff”

“pointless yammering”

We’ve all seen them. They are taking over the blogosphere. Self-deprecating blogs written by bloggers who attempt to set themselves apart from the pack by insisting, right out in the open, in the title of their blog that they have nothing to say.

Unfortunately I think the whole mad cycle begins with WordPress itself. If you are a WordPress blogger you will remember that when you started your blog, before you gave it a proper title, the subtitle read “Just Another WordPress Weblog”, something like that. Some people have chosen to keep that sub-heading. Generic, lifeless, non-committal. Bloggers may start their blog with high hopes of putting on display their original opinions, concepts, and points of view, only to quickly find that they are just one of millions. And it quickly turns them negative. Why?

I mean, sure, we aren’t necessarily aspiring toward professional journalism here, but at least the goal should be credibility. Or at least to have a concrete point. This is not to say that these people actually are without a point or lack “something to say”. But these titles do not help convey that. Not at all.

God knows I am as self-defacing as the next guy in my everyday dealings with family, friends, etc. But this… I’ll give you an even better example. I saw a blog posting one time with the title “Don’t Even Bother Reading This.” You know what I did? I didn’t read it.

It reminds me of the “negative campaigns” that U.S. Presidential candidates are often accused of running against each other. Only in this case, bloggers are using these smear tactics against themselves. If you are going to do it, I say why not do it to smear your competition? To bring into question the credibility of a blogger who runs a blog similar to yours?

For example, on this blog, I usually discuss a wide variety of disabilities, usually focusing on issues regarding those of us in wheelchairs. So, suppose I decided to run my smear campaign against “Disabilities Blog X”. In that case, I might say “Disabilities Blog X: They haven’t got a leg to stand on.”

It would take something much better than that, I am sure, but you get the idea. And, no, that slogan would not be self-deprecating just because I am in a wheelchair myself. I am merely using what I know about my competition and spinning it to my advantage.

How about “Disabilities Blog Y: At Least It’s Not Mindless Rambling Rubbish Like Disabilities Blog X.”

Well now that I’ve shown you the way, stop smearing yourselves, and get out there in the blogosphere and play to win! And, you know, don’t go making any enemies, for God’s sake, but set yourself apart from the rest

Is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton About a Disabled Man and an Able-Bodied Woman?

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by Treadmarkz,

Here’s a weird one.

I was flipping through http://www.songfacts.com and I came across “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. Songfacts is a site where fans can submit “facts” or, mostly opinions actually, and a lot of misinformation, about any song you can think of. Under “Wonderful Tonight” I found an entry from someone putting forth the theory that “Wonderful Tonight” (one of the greatest love songs of all time, next to “Layla” also by Clapton) was written about a man in a wheelchair and his able-bodied girlfriend/wife. Let’s analyze the lyrics to see if we can’t find a nugget of truth in this hypothesis:

“We go to a party/Everyone turns to see/this beautiful lady/walking around with me” – If the stress and focus is on the word “walking” it could suggest that the person she is with is not, himself, walking. But that is really suspending disbelief, so let’s move on.

“I give her the car keys/she puts me to bed” – This is about a man who is unable to drive. Not able to at all or just as a result of intoxication or fatigue? More and more disabled people are driving, but in the 1970s when this song was recorded, this may not have been so. And the second line may have something to do with a woman physically lifting the man from his wheelchair into bed.

That’s about all I see backing up the aforementioned claim. But the overall theme of the song is a man who is desperately in love with his woman, who “just doesn’t realize how much” he loves her. I am married to a woman who is not “disabled” in the usual sense of the word (She told me herself that she believes that everyone is disabled to some degree), so I can identify with that feeling, the desperation to tell that person how much their unconditional love means to you. However, I would hope that anyone in love has felt it that strongly.

And so, upon deep reflection on this matter, I think that “Wonderful Tonight” is just a regular, boring, good ol’ fashioned walkie love song. Case closed. I have spoken. Turn out the lights. Don’t let the door hit ya.

Beatles Bash 2008

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by Treadmarkz

My wife and I went to the Beatles Bash 2008 in Mantorville, Minnesota this evening. The weather forecast called for cloud cover and probable rain, and it did sprinkle as we arrived, but as soon as the first of two Beatles “tribute” bands began playing, the clouds opened allowing the sun to shine through, or as I told my wife “So God could help pay tribute to His favorite band.” The sun shined the rest of the day uninterrupted.

I don’t “dance” too often but tonight I thought “to hell with it, this is the Beatles…sort of” so my wife and I rocked it out on the dance floor and during one of “George’s” guitar solos I pulled my leg up and played air guitar on it for a brief moment. Showing off really. I was really impressed with myself how unbridled I can get on the dance floor yet able to show everyone around me that they need not worry about getting their legs cut off by my chair.

The two bands were Liverpool Legends and The Cavern Beat. The Cavern Beat was probably more authentic to the sound of the Beatles, but only focused on the band’s early days. They only went as far as 1965, with one song from 1966, “Paperback Writer”. Cavern Beat’s “Paul” had an incredible vocal range, I thought, and emulated the real Paul’s style and mannerisms on stage, as did the band’s “John”. See, each actual Beatle had a very distinctive stance, Paul with his feet close together, legs straight, and John with his knees bent a bit, feet spread apart. Pulling that off, along with the band’s Beatlesque stage banter, the whole package helped the Cavern Beat make one feel like they were “there”. The only inconsistency I saw in this band was that their “Ringo” really did not sound or look like Ringo. But hey, who does?

Liverpool Legends rocked harder, and focused even more on the “banter” and the Liverpool humor, and they covered the span of the Beatles’ entire recording career from old cover tunes through Abbey Road, which was great, but I felt like they suffered from the same syndrome that I have seen in a few other Beatles tribute bands. It’s called the “That does not sound like George Harrison” syndrome. Funny since they were formed by George’s sister, Louise Harrison. Louise was actually at the event today. She signed autographs and gave a little talk, told some stories about George, and answered a few questions shouted up from the crowd. I wish I would have asked a question, or even went to speak with her directly. But while the chance to speak with her directly was presenting itself, I was just waiting for the next act to start, and it ended up taking a long time. So it turns out I had my chance and let it go. Which just goes to show, don’t hesitate. Take your chance when you have it. I could have shaken hands with a flesh and blood relative of one of the Beatles. I could have told her how much the Beatles have meant to me and how much respect I have for George’s honesty in his solo music.

Alas…

Great show though. Go and see Liverpool Legends in Branson, Missouri if you are in that area. They play in Branson almost all year round. I would love to see them again. My wife’s feet are tired from dancing and my hands are tired from clapping and tapping on my knees and swinging my chair around out on the floor.

On a side note, halfway through the show, a Beatles Trivia game was played by audience members. It was done in two sections, and in each section, one of the contestants was a woman with a developmental disability. I was a bit upset when the first woman could not think of the answer to her question, and the “hostess” whispered the answer in her ear allowing her to continue. No such luck for anyone else of course. Then in the second round she got her question wrong and the hostess said “We hate to see you go” followed by “Who’s next, this guy, he looks smart”. I don’t think she realized how it sounded. Plus I don’t think that what any disabled person needs necessarily is to be catered to or “given the answer.”

Just a game though. By the way, when “John” said “Here’s a slow song…for you slower folks” it was part of the act, it was authentic John Lennon, and I laughed along with everyone else, so you figure that one out.

In the second round of the trivia game, the other woman with a developmental disability got her question wrong and the hostess was very condescending toward her. “You did really good. I think you should win a prize too”. Stuff like that. I just hate this kind of crap, and I don’t think it is what anyone with a disability needs. I wonder if she would have condescended to me had I been one of the contestants. I am really bummed that I didn’t put my name in. I could have won a poster.

A Chance to See How the Disabled Other Half Live

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by Treadmarkz

I recently wrote a posting imploring disabled people in Canada to let me know they were there and that they were reading “Treadmarkz”. This led me to look at the rest of the map and realize that my readership in Russia is almost zippo. I was doing some research to see what topics I could tackle to try to reach out to my Russian disabled friends. That led me to a great blog that really sums up everything that I’d been attempting to do with the Canada posting and the planned Russia posting. It is all about what its like to be disabled…outside of America.

I added it to my blog roll and I’d like to direct your attention to it. It is called “Outside America.” Give it a look. For those of you who are in the States, it will be eye-opening I am sure. And I guess for anyone on the planet it may be eye-opening to see how the disabled live in any other country which “Outside America” covers. And it covers a lot of ground, I can see. Check it out, in my blogroll on the right.

How To Deal with Walkies and Their Strange Ideas About “Wheelchair Humor”

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by Treadmarkz

A couple of weeks ago I took a roll down to my favorite rib joint (I like their fish), to get a take out order. I had almost made it home, I was in the parking lot actually, when a truck stopped behind me, and the guy inside stuck his head out the window and yelled “Hey man, you wanna race?”

I looked in the bed of the truck to see if he had a wheelchair. No wheelchair. This was a walkie I was dealing with here!

Now, ever since I started this blog and started reading what other people in wheelchairs have had to say about the weird, uncomfortable comments they get from people, I had been looking forward to a situation like this, so I could come up with something great to say back.

But I had nothing. I just said “Uh…no” and laughed and rolled away. I spent the night angry with myself. I brood over stuff like that.

I thought what I should have said is “No, I don’t have an engine.” You know. Point out the obvious advantage he had and how pointless it would be to race. Fake an absence of a sense of humor. Today I rolled down to that same rib joint to get myself another fish sandwich and in that same parking lot on the way home, another guy stopped his truck, stuck his head out his window and said “Wanna race?!”

Keeping in mind the obvious advantage he had over me in a race, I thought, let’s see if we can’t even the playing field here a bit. I stopped and turned and said “You wanna arm-wrestle?”

He rolled up his window and drove away.

“Check, please!”

Now, the important thing to remember, is, I think anyway, that nobody does this with the goal of being a jerk. They just don’t know that a lot of us in chairs think it’s a little embarrassing, and some feel it’s flat out offensive. But it’s important that we let them know.