27 November 2005

15 November 2005

There have been no updates for the last couple of weeks, because I have been a poorly Lisy.

Just now, I was on my way home from the hospital, where they took my blood away from me to see if it tested positive for H. Pylori. Which to me means "if I do test positive, they can give me antibiotics and I'll be all well again." So keep your fingers crossed for me that I do have some spirally bacteria eating away at my stomach lining, because the fix is quick and easy.

Anyway, I was on my way home, and I passed a woman, drinking her take away coffee who paused, looked at me with genuine sympathy and said "I hope you have a nice life." I'm not sure if she was passing comment on me being a crip, or the big ball of cotton wool I currently have taped to the back of my hand to stop me bleeding to death.*

Having been stuck at home with the ability to do nothing other than lay and watch DVD's...

Actually, on that, so far since I fell ill, I've watched:

Series 5 & 7 of Friends - each series 24 episodes each 21 mins long
Series 6 of Friends - 25 episodes at 21 mins long.
Series 1 of Buffy - 12 episodes, 42 mins each.
Series 4 of Charmed 22 episodes of 42 mins
The first 8 episodes of Tru Calling - again 42 mins an episode.

Plus the last episode of series three of Charmed (42 mins), The first two episodes of series 5 of Charmed (hey, I was watching series 4 and I wanted the context!), the first 4 episodes of series 8 of Charmed, and the first half (12 episodes) of series 8 of Friends.

Any mathematicians care to work out the total time (in hours / days) that I've spent plonked in front of the TV since my guts went nuts?

Anyway, back to the sentence I started before I was rudely interrupted by, erm, my brain and its tangents... I was forgetting how weird the world outside my flat was. I've had no-one saying weird things to me in the street... because I've not been out in the street. On my way to the hospital this morning though, I was crossing the road, and I could see a guy just itching to say to me something that someone actually did say to me at a pedestrian crossing a few weeks ago.

"You're alright now, love."

Because, apparently, I was in such peril when the red illuminated man was showing. But Mr Green made it all OK.

And on the note of odd people, I feel my DVDs of sitcoms calling me.

*That may be a slight exaggeration

31 October 2005

Halloween

This afternoon I was sitting in front of my computer, planning my Halloween evening of sitting at home, by myself, watching all the Halloween episodes of Buffy and eating popcorn, when the following Email arrived in my inbox:

Fancy joining myself and Nat in Ben Crouches for halloween drinks tonight?


I had thought the other day that Ben Crouches would be a fun pub in which to spend Halloween. After all, the place is adorned with such spooky goodness as this funky gremlin all year round:

A gremlin with wings and a cyborgy eye

So, I accepted the invitation, and headed off towards the pub.

On our table was a pumpkin, all ready to be carved. So, after we ate, Nat and I used our knives to carve a face into it.

Nat carving a face into the pumpkin

I did the right eye and the nose. Nat did the left eye and the mouth. Rob refused to participate in the carvage because he feared the pumpkin would collapse.

It didn't stop him playing with the removed pieces once the carving had been done:

Nat and Rob posing with the removed pumpkin pieces.

Very soon, our pumpkin looked like this:

Our pumpkin

And Rob decided to name him "Eric."

We did not have any candles about our persons unfortunately. We did however have mobile phones, so we managed to make Eric glow:

Eric glowing from the backlight of three mobile phones inside him.

At some point during the evening, I acquired a hat:

Me wearing a witches hat with silver cobwebs on it

Of course, Eric tried it on:

Eric the pumpkin wearing my witches hat

Turns out that Eric's a smoker:

Eric with a fag hanging out of his mouth

And when he ran out of cigarettes, he got desperate and tried to smoke a tube of Smarties:

Eric with a tube of Smarties hanging out of the corner of his mouth

Eric and Rob had a deep and meaningful conversation:

Rob listening intently to Eric the pumpkin

Though, at some point in the conversation, Eric said something shocking:

Rob looking dramatically at Eric

Eric and I got on well:

Me and Eric

Perhaps a little too well:

Me snogging Eric

And then, after I'd worked my way through over half of the Seven Deadly Sins cocktail menu, it was time to go. Nat gave Eric a very sweet goodbye kiss:

Nat kissing Eric the pumpkin on the cheek

And we left Eric on the table for others to appreciate our creativity (but I wore my hat all the way home).

25 October 2005

Back to uni

Don't read the subject line and panic. I haven't gone back on my vow that I never want to write another essay in my life and gone and signed up for a Masters or something equally silly.

It's bad enough that I still have nightmares that I've got upcoming deadlines and I'm not sure what I'm meant to be writing about, or when exactly the deadline is. At least these days I can reassure myself that it was just a bad dream. My degree is all over now. Yes, I did rubbish in it because I never did any work. But, it's all in the past. Now go back to sleep Lisy, it's alright.

Yes.

On Saturday night I performed at the Comedy Night in the students union at Brunel.

And I thought that place was a shithole when I was a student. It's now just one great big building site (though it does still in places have the A Clockwork Orange look going on. Unsurprising really as it remains depressingly concrete which was what made Kubrick think it an ideal location for shooting the film. For three years I had my lectures in the building which made for the block of flats in which the protagonist in that movie lived). Twenty five minutes it took me to find the way in to the SU because they've moved and hidden the door. When I finally followed someone going in I realised that I'd passed the door twice. I just got confused by the sign next to it saying "Protective headgear must be worn beyond this point." I knew The Academy could get a bit rough, but...

I must confess, I had been dreading the evening. Once during my three years at Brunel I went to the comedy night. The audience were so rude to the acts (not even heckling, just flat out ignoring) that I decided that, actually, I'd head into Central London to get my comedic fixes. And then, 2 and a half years after leaving, here was I not only going back, but, actually getting up on the stage in front of these people.

As soon as I entered the building, I thought I was going to be sick. That wasn't nerves mind, that was because of the smell of alcohol and still being hungover from 2 nights earlier. Then I went to go to the bathroom and some delightful student had chundered in the sink in the crip bog. That smell didn't help my uneasy stomach either.

The difference about between being a "performer" and being a student became clear then. A member of venue staff had had to show me where the disabled toilet was, seeing as it had moved since I graduated. If I tried to go in the spot where the disabled toilet used to be, I'd have ended up squatting behind the bar. Upon seeing the sick filled sink, he went, "Oh, no! Don't go in there! I'll clean that up first!" I do seem to recall several times whilst a student mentioning that the disabled toilet was flooded and being greeted with a "yeah, so?"

In amongst my dread of going back, there was one thing I was desperately looking forward to. I was going to get to perform upon a stage which had been performed upon by none other than the great Tiffany herself (yes, the one who thought she was alone now) just two and a half years earlier. Imagine my disappointment when the new look Academy came into full view, and the stage had gone and been replaced by another!?! My hopes dashed, I decided to go and sit backstage and hang out with the other comics until showtime.

It appears that when they refurbished The Academy, the one bit they forgot to do was "The Guest Room." When I say "it was a toilet" I don't mean it was a bit icky. I mean it was an actual toilet. With no seat. And a paint spattered brown sofa in the corner.

One of the comedians I recognised as soon as I entered the room. Which surprised me because my face recognition is appalling. Very often comics will say to me "Oh, I remember you, we gigged together at ......," and I never recognise them. Until they get on stage and suddenly I find myself about to recall their set almost word for word. And, sure enough, she got about halfway through her set and suddenly I was able to recall where, when, and who promoted the gig we did together.

The night was MCed by the comedy double act best known as Big Cook Little Cook. It is remarkably entertaining to watch children's TV presenters singing silly songs about sex. It feels slightly naughty, even though no-one in the room is in fact under 18.

I was on in the middle section of the show. I went on stage, still disappointed that it's not the same one on which Tiffany had walked. I told my first joke, and the audience laughed so loudly for so long at one point I feared I wouldn't get another one out in my allotted time slot. My nerves and nightmares had all been for nothing, as Brunel apparently now has nice students. Well, they'd have to be to put up with paying all that money to do their degree on a building site I suppose. When I came out to them as a Brunel graduate they all cheered at me, surprisingly not quite as loudly as when I came out to them as an Essex girl though. It was quite nice to be gigging on familiar territory as even "so, does the fire alarm still go off in Mill Hall five times a night?" got a laugh (Mill being the hall of residence in which I resided in my first year).

I fear that several of my punchlines may have gotten drowned out by the laughter which kicked in two words into the line. But, fuck it. I was there to make them laugh, and I did. Even if I couldn't even hear my own punchlines over the laughter because it was so loud.

As I said my farewell, I said "It was a pleasure to come back." And, you know what? I actually meant it.

I came off the stage and a girl I'd never met before flung her arms around me and told me how amazing I was. She seemed "bubbly, friendly and outgoing" rather than "scary," so I hugged her back and said "thanks," rather than flinching and shrieking. I like that kind of feedback, so whenever I see an act I enjoy I make every effort to tell them. Mind you, I do also try to keep my arms to myself as I'm sure that to most folks I come across as "nut."

This time last week I couldn't imagine me typing this... but, I want to do it again!

18 October 2005

Incurable Hippie has tagged me to post 20 random facts about myself and then tag the same amount of people as minutes it takes me to write the facts. Except, I'm not going to tag people. Mainly, because I don't really know who reads my blog regularly.

But, have some facts:

1) Last night I had a bubble bath for the first time in years. It was very bubbly, thanks for asking.

2) I dislike feet. They smell. My biggest foot hate though is people with skanky fungal toenails who wear sandals. I firmly believe that wearing sandals should be made a criminal offence.

3) I hate mushrooms. I'm allergic to eggs, but, I'd rather eat an egg than mushrooms. That is the extent of how vile and evil I believe mushrooms to be.

4) The stapler on my desk currently contains pink staples. But, purple staples are my real stapling passion.

5) Despite identifying as a lesbian; I do have a crush on the character Spike from Buffy/Angel. I can justify this by saying "But, he's a fictional character. They could've cast a female actor to play that role." But, if I'm honest, I do think that James Marsters is unusually hot for a guy. Or, at least he was when he was blonde.

6) The majority of pens laying around my flat are purple. Some are perfumed, some are glittery, some are metallic shiny, but, purple is the over-riding theme.

7) I only wear novelty socks, because, they're easier to pair up when you pull them out of the wash.

8) One of my feet is a size 4. The other is a size 2.5.

9) My right leg is 2 and a half inches longer than my left.

10) I'm left-handed. When I was a child I was ambidextrous because I had to learn to do everything with both hands due to always having one or the other in plaster. But, now my right hand is definitely my non-handed hand.

11) My eyes are greeny hazel with blue whites.

12) I have a mini-mirrorball above my desk (can you tell I'm just looking around me for inspiration?)

13) I'm not superstitious, and I don't really believe that the number "13" is unlucky. But, I never have my stereo or car radio on volume setting "13".

14) I do not have a favourite film. I've seen and loved too many.

15) I could quite happily live on a diet of Pesto Pasta.

16) I hate washing up almost as much as I hate mushrooms. I wish my kitchen was big enough for a dishwasher.

17) I am incredibly severely punctually challenged. I can never be on time for anything. No matter how hard I try. If I set off early enough to plan to be somewhere early there will be some traffic/public transport nightmare that will inevitably lead to me being late.

18) Someone just buzzed my door saying "Did you ring for a taxi?" Um. No.

19) I have a burning desire to make some yummy vegetable soup. But, I'm not sure I can be bothered.

20) This has actually taken me 47 minutes to complete because I got distracted by the telly.

17 October 2005

Last week was an odd week. I kinda knew it was going to be right from the start.

I woke up on Monday morning, went in and said "Good Morning" to The Swede on my sofa, and then went into the bathroom to splash some water on my face to rinse away the crusty sleepy gluey crap that was stopping my eyes from opening. I turned on the tap: No water came out. Great way to start the week... huh?

So I wound up going to see Serenity smelly. Even The Swede sat one seat away from me rather than next to me.

After the movie, we went out for a final night dinner as The Swede was returning to Sweden first thing on Tuesday morning. As the bus pulled up at the stop nearest to the restaurant, I rang the "special" bell in the cripple enclosure not once, but twice. The driver did not get the ramp out, so, I shouted down the bus "Driver, can you get the ramp out please?"

He turned around and leaned out of his cab and said; "Oh, do you want to get off?"

No. I just like the siren noise the ramp makes as it extends and retracts. I think it's pretty. I actually want to stay on the bus until Clapham Common so I can get beaten to death by homophobes.

I've already mentioned Tuesday. No need to revisit.

Wednesday was fairly normal for me, except for the fact that I've suddenly become popular. The vacancy on my couch left by The Swede was soon replaced by a more locally based friend of mine. And there was the fact that a supermarket shelf stacker had the audacity to correct my pronounciation when I asked him for "bu--er." It's not my fault I was brought up in Essex and got lumped with the accent so don't pronounce my "T's".

On Thursday I gigged in the evening. It was actually a really nice comedy club, though my sofa-dwelling friend disagrees as she was the one tasked with carrying my wheelchair up and down the stairs, and became fairly convinced that this was how she was going to die. She didn't, thankfully, and was still alive to bring me a cup of tea on Friday morning before she set off for work at around about the time I was thinking about getting up to go to work. Tea in the mornings is good. Tea in the morning that you didn't have to make yourself is even better.

The audience were quite friendly. After the show one woman came up to me and told me how funny I was. "I really respect people who can do stand-up. I'd love to, but I don't have the nerve."

I wanted to say "And I really respect women with Scottish accents." But, I didn't. Because I'm shy. Or, something.

Though, some people were a little too friendly. I had one woman telling me for about 5 minutes how inspirational I am. Yup, inspirational, that's me. If only I could inspire myself to get out of bed on days when I don't have to go to work.

Then I got the ultimate: "It's such a shame. If there is a God, well, there can't be because you're such a nice person, you don't deserve to be in a wheelchair, it's just not fair!"

I did proceed to point and laugh at him at this point. He still seemed to think I was nice.

And then on Friday I saw someone I haven't seen for years.

As I was getting ready for work that morning, I randomly found myself reminiscing about the Red Nose Day when I was doing my Film Studies A Level.

I walked into the class, late, as usual. I sat down and immediately said "As it's Red Nose Day, I think that instead of watching whatever boring film our teacher has got planned for us, we should go to Blockbuster, rent a decent movie, buy loads of popcorn and coke, etc, and all pay £1 to Comic Relief for the privilidge."

Our teacher gave me, and the whole class (all 6 of us) an almighty lecture about how our exams were coming up and we didn't have time to piss about, blah, blah. Then he reached into his pocket, pulled out a fiver, handed it to me and said "Go on then, go to Blockbuster."

Me and three friends bundled into my car and set off to Blockbuster where we stayed for about half an hour trying to decide what to get. By this point I was feeling slightly guilty, not just for being my usual disruptive self, but also for the fact that we'd had to leave two classmates behind to watch something dull. In the end we settled on The Big Lebowski, went back to college and watched it. And raised £13 for Comic Relief!

I don't know why I was remembering this on Friday morning, but I was. Imagine my shock as I pushed past Kings Cross station, only to spot my A level Film Studies teacher. He was down in London for a Film Studies conference. How very bizarre. He laughed when I told him that I now do stand-up. I wonder why...

Then, in the evening, I had Sharleen Spiteri mocking the volume at which I can cheer. It started off as "Bloody hell! Even I couldn't hold that!" but then progressed as the evening went on.

Though, I did acquire this:



If you can't read the black writing across a picture of a black top, it reads "To the lady with a louder voice than me."

Yup.

Well, that's another one to add the fact that Mel & Sue always refer to me as "The Hyena" because of my laugh.

I often wonder if my voice is a blessing or a curse.

11 October 2005

This evening I had a very attractive lady Off The Telly ask me:

"Was it good for you?"

But, she was enquiring if I had enjoyed her stand-up set. Dammit.

09 October 2005

This is just a courtesy post to let you know I'm still alive.

I've been remarkably busy, yet, I don't have anything to say. Not that I ever do, of course. But, usually I manage to use a lot of words to say not much.

Until I do have something to say, or at least I can think of big words to convey nothing, enjoy some photos I took at a Texas concert in Birmingham on Thursday... here.

I'm well aware that a lot of them are shite.

I've turned on Word Verification on my blog. I didn't mind the spammers until Friday morning. They had made me feel like at least someone was out there reading my wifflings, and spam comments always start so flatteringly telling me how wonderful my blog is, before encouraging me to visit their penis enlargement site. But, on Friday morning, I switched on my computer (having not been online for over 24 hours *gasp*) and I had 80 Emails from spam blog comments. That's far too much spam for my liking. I am a vegetarian, don't you know.


Spam is morally wrong.


I just had to post that to wind up one particular person who probably isn't still reading my blog anyway. I feel smug knowing I've posted it so, ner.

If you have any problems with the word verification (e.g. if you use a screen reader) let me know (by Email might be the easiest means if you're having problems with commenting in the first place), and I'll turn it off.

29 September 2005

Today someone has come by my blog by typing "baking substitution lisy" into google.

They were looking for an alternative to me to put into their cake?

Huh.

"Four and twenty Lisy's baked in a pie..."

It just doesn't have the right ring about it. Does it?

And can you imagine when the pie was opened and the Lisy's began to sing? There'd be some wincing in terror I tell you. It'd sound worse than those two cats shagging.

27 September 2005

On Saturday night, heading back to my car having returned my trolley to the little trolley park bit in the supermarket car park, I passed the door to the store. There was a man outside screaming at the manager about the fact that his bag had just been stolen in the car park. I actually heard him say:

"It's on your watch! Doesn't look good, does it?"

And I thought I watched too much TV. I don't feel so tragic about using Buffy quotes about Apolcalypses (thank you to Joy for pointing out in my last post the correct plural of "Apocalypse") in my blog to fill some space.

On the subject of screaming and TV, I haven't heard porn coming through my ceiling for a week or so. I think my upstairs neighbour might have gone on holiday. At least, I hope the noise of something big and heavy being dragged down the stairs at 3:10am last Wednesday morning was a suitcase. Either that, or, I think he was disposing of a corpse. Hmmm...

Last week was not a good week for being woken up during the night at 10 past hours which are a multiple of three. The following morning I was woken up at 6:10am by two cats having obscenely noisy sex, right outside my bedroom window.

At first, I thought they were fighting, and just smothered myself with my pillow in an attempt to block out the noise.

Until I heard one of them crying, and figured I'd better pull back the curtains and have a nosey incase it was injured. I was greeted by the most comical sight...

There were two cats sitting next two each other, and it was so obviously post-coital and not post brutality. I'm surprised the ginger one wasn't smoking a cigarette. The black one was crying, and you could almost see the ginger one rolling his eyes at the black one for getting so over emotional. In the end, he decided he'd had enough and walked off.

Immediately the black one stopped crying (attention seeking, much?), cleaned herself off, and then wandered off in the opposite direction.

Though it was kinda funny, I was Not Impressed about being woken up that early. When I finally get around to getting a cat, the first thing I shall do is make sure his bollocks have been detached.

Yes.

21 September 2005

I tried talking to God, but he ignored me. OK, show of hands... how many Ellen DeGeneres fans clicked on that link and the first question they asked was "Why are there fleas?" I bet she wouldn't have phoned him if that website had existed when she wrote that routine.

I think I made him paranoid when I told him that I knew that "The anonymous 'they'" are in fact wheelchair repairers.

On the subject of wheelchair repairers and God... a sure sign that the apocalypse is coming (as if tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and Boy Bands weren't indicative enough)...

On Tuesday I had wheelchair repairers booked to come and change my tyres, seeing as they'd become so deformed that my chair was no longer going in a straight line.

What happened? They actually showed up. On the day they were booked to. Between the hours they were supposed to show up. Not only did they appear, but, they brought the correct tyres for my chair *and* they've been fitted correctly.

See? The world is doomed.

I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse.

14 September 2005

My thumb has been very sore for the last two or three days now.

There's one thing about it that I can't help but notice:

It doesn't stick out.

Does this make me "special"?

Edit: Alright, pedants... yes my thumb sticks out to the side of my hand in that way that thumbs do. How's this then:

My sore thumb doesn't stick out any more than my non-sore thumb.

Better?

12 September 2005

Ha ha! Evil god of bathroom lightbulbs. I have thwarted your plans.

Ner ner ner ner ner.

The god of bathroom lightbulbs has hated me for a few years now. I'm assuming it's a god, and not a goddess because of the meanness. What would a goddess of bathroom lightbulbs have against me? It's not like I slept with her girlfriend or something.

Unless, maybe I did? Being incorporeal, but having the power to watch over everyone all the time, gods and goddess must start to fantasise about certain people they're looking down on. Perhaps the goddess of bathroom lightbulbs had built up this whole fantasy relationship in her head about someone who, in a moment of temporary insanity, decided I'd be a suitable bedfellow?

That would explain a lot.

Especially if she's doubling up roles and is the goddess of bathroom lightbulbs and shower drains. Though, I've already dealt with the shower drainage issues. Mr Muscle Sink and Plughole unblocker. That stuff can destroy months of planning on behalf of evil shower drain gods/godesses in one gloop.

The shower drain god/godess has still tried bloody hard though. One day while I was at uni a friend came to stay with me for a few days. We both decided it'd be a really sensible idea to dye each others hair for a fun way to pass a Saturday night. By the time we were done, there weren't no water going down my shower drain. At all. My bathroom was officially flooded. It looked like Hurricane Lisy had hit.

I dragged my friend to my local Sainsbury's. There was a gap on the shelf where Mr Muscle Sink and Plughole Unblocker should've been sitting. The god of shower drainage had been busy that weekend in the Uxbridge area apparently. That, or, he saw me coming. So, I dragged my friend to Tesco's. Again with the empty shelf space. Dammit. This god had planned good. I forced my friend back into my car and dragged him to Sainsbury's in Hayes. The evil shower drain god hadn't seen that one coming. Ha ha! I almost fell to my knees with glee in the middle of a crowded supermarket with cries of "Hallelujah!" But, only almost. I clutched that bright orange bottle of toxic chemicals so dearly, you'd have thought it was a Paralympic gold I'd just won. I felt a similar sense of glee (I'd imagine... the highest ranking medal in my collection is national gold).

Back to Uxbridge we went. I put on my most waterproof shoes to wade through my bathroom to the shower drain in the corner, and down glooped Mr Muscle. A few minutes later my floor was shiny dry!

That whole hair dyeing incident was a bit of a nightmare. I ended up with gold patches (which should've been blue streaks) in my hair. It had a profound effect on me, and the blondishness seeped thorugh into my brain. A couple of months afterwards while the blonde/gold patches were still there, I was reading my horoscope and it said "Relatives could also be quite helpfull with birthday gifts" and I found myself thinking "Wow! That's uncanny! They even knew that my birthday was coming up!"

Duh.

Anyway, back to the evil lightbulb god. While I was at uni, I had an en suite room. The halls office was open from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. I'd get back to my room from lectures on a Friday at about 5:15pm, go into my room, go into my bathroom and turn on the light... and the bulb would blow. Regularly. Just because there was bugger all I could do about it for 2 days (three when it went on a bank holiday weekend).

I hate peeing in the dark.

After I left uni I lived in a shared flat, and despite the fact that my official flatmate was also mobility impaired and only half an inch taller than me, there was always someone around who could change a bulb. Then, I moved into a bedsit, so I had a communal bathroom. I'd just leave bulb replacing up to someone else (it's not like I could do it).

So, moving into this flat in March is the first time for a few years that I've been responsible for my own bathroom illumination. The bulb had held out for six months.

Until Saturday night (yes, I don't have a life and I was sitting at home watching the telly while the rest of the world was out having fun). I went to go pee, pulled the light cord as I entered the bathroom... There was a bright flash, and suddenly my whole flat plunged into darkness.

I headed for the drawer in which my torch lives (or did. I dropped it down behind my dining table yesterday. I'm fucked if I need it again any time soon cos I can't be arsed to crawl under there and retrieve it). Torch in hand, I went and fetched my giant poking device from the bathroom (it's actually an extendable roller handle I bought when painting this place. I keep it in the bathroom for poking my gas meter to see how much credit I have left before it all goes cold. It is not in there for dodgy, sinister purposes. I assure you) and the three of us (torch, poking device and me) headed towards the fuse box in the kitchen.

I first encountered my fuse box when I was stripping the disgustingly vile wallpaper in this place. The steamer blew the fuses a couple of times. It took me fucking ages to open the flap on the front to get to the trip switches, trying to hook at it with a long handled dustpan. Once it was open, I "accidentally" opened my kitchen door against the flap and it "accidentally" snapped off. Shame, because now I can easily reset my trip switches with the aid of something pokey.

So, with the rest of my flat illuminated again, I still had to face the prospect of peeing in the dark. At least I don't live with any men. Who, from past experience, seem to only manage to pee in the bowl an average of one in three times even when they can see where they're aiming.

Evil lightbulb god overlooked something though. What he didn't realise was that just over 12 hours later I had tall people coming over to do tall things in the still ongoing redecoration of my flat. Ha ha. My friend's ex-boyfriend installed an energy saving lightbulb guaranteed to last twelve years.

Blow that evil lightbulb god!

I shouldn't say that - he will.

08 September 2005

I love the internet

Bush: One of the worst disasters to hit the U.S.

One of the greatest photos I've seen for a long time.

On the subject of Bush, a friend pointed out this page today, which is so offensive that it's hilarious.

My favourite quotes are:

"Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society."

"Causes of homosexuality include: 'sex with animals'"

"[Homosexuals] want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers."

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."


But I think my very favourite is the second quote, right near the top of the page:

"Not all Muslims may be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims."

Still on the subject of Bush, though, a different variety... today someone came to this page by typing "wheelchair pussy," into Google. I do so hope they were looking for cute, mobility impaired cats that they could adopt.

05 September 2005

You asked for it...

OK, those questions you've been asking:

Linette asked:

1. If there was absolutley no way you could fail, what 1 thing would you do?

Erm. Trying to become a stand-up comic? Oh, that's right, I'm doing that anyway. But knowing that failure wasn't an option would be handy.

2. What are you most proud of?

Having gotten an A in A Level Film Studies. It's the only A I've ever gotten in my life.

Gumchewingfreak asked:

1. If you could do it all again, what one thing would you do differently?

I don't know. There's lots of things in my life that I wish had happened differently, but nothing that I did that I'd change I don't think. If I could re-write history and change just one thing, I'd have brought in the Disability Discrimination Act 25 years earlier so I could've had a decent and enjoyable primary education.

2. If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?

My skin. Everything about my skin. From eczema, to acne, to excess hair... I have the worlds worst skin.

3. Whats the worst thing that's ever happened to you?

Ooo. Tough one. I think it's a tie between three things:

- My primary school Learning Support Assistant.
- My primary school Headmistress
- Getting classified as an S9 whilst at an international competition. This gives a basic idea of the classification system. Just reading the description of an S9, SB8, SM9, anyone who has ever met me can tell I'm much more disabled than the people I was expected to be able to compete equally against. It was quite unanimously agreed that I should've been an 8,7,8. By everyone except the classifiers that is, because most of the characteristics of Osteogenesis Imperfecta don't fit neatly into the classification system. Hence why I quit swimming.

4. When am I going to see you next?

Well, the last twice I've seen you have been because I've come to Cambridge. So... next time you come to London :-P

5. What's your fav colour?

Purple. Closely followed by blue and then bright pink (I dislike pastel pink. It's boring).

6.Have you ever been angry with you/at you/because of your imparment?

As a kid I used to wonder "why me?" But, when I look back, it was always discrimination, inequality and failures of our medical service that made me think that. Like, I'd be in agony with a broken leg, wondering "why me?" When if I'd been given some decent pain relief and not just half a paracetamol every 4 hours, I'd have been fine. Similarly, when my school refused to take me on trips I'd wonder "why me?" If I was at primary school now, post-DDA, I'd be able to make a fortune in compensation out of them for treating me like that.

7. Whats your deepest darkest secret?

I wish I was interesting enough to have one.

8.Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

I once got moaned at by a copper for having my car radio too loud. That's it.

9. Do you harbor secret fanticys of some job you'd totally love to do when you grow up?

When I grow up, I want to be able to make a living as a stand-up comic.

Lanei asked:

Which do you feel is more intrinsic to your identity, sexuality or disability?

My disability. As I've grown up, it's been a much bigger part in shaping me. Mainly because other people judge me on it more than they judge me for being a lezzer. I'm discriminated against daily because of my disability, but I don't think I ever have been for being gay. Which is odd. Being disabled shouldn't be so important. To people my age, such a big part of socialising is going out on the pull/dating/relationships which being gay obviously affects, but disability shouldn't.

Alex asked:

1) Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? If so, how would you label your spirituality, if at all?

Not really, no. I identify as an atheist. Last month I went to a Pagan Handfasting ceremony, and that was really lovely. Far more beautiful than any Christian wedding I've ever been to, and I'd kinda like to know more about Paganism from that. But I'm too lazy to actually research. I also learned a bit about Witchcraft when I lived with a Witch, and that was quite interesting too, but again, me = lazy.

2) Where is your favourite place on earth?

When I was a kid, it was Woodlarks, but I don't know now. I certainly wouldn't now want to live anywhere other than where I do. I love London, and I'm so Central here. Though, I wouldn't say no to a bigger, more accessible flat, especially if it was built right next door to where I am right now. I think if I ever grow up and have a family, I'd want to move back to Cambridge. I'd need to live in the city, and not some surrounding village. But, having lived there in my teens, I think Cambridge is a fantastic place for kids to grow up.

3) Who do you admire the most?

I honestly don't know. Sharleen Spiteri?

4) Who do you despise the most?

Anyone with discriminatory attitudes.

5) If you went on Desert Island Discs on Radio 4, which eight records would you choose?

1. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper. The most beautiful song in the world. Ever.

2. Karma Chameleon by Culture Club. The first single I ever got (and Colour By Numbers was the first album I ever got in fact). I was 4. I'm still absolutely crushed that the night I went to see Taboo, Boy George wasn't in it. He was my childhood hero (well, him and Su Pollard. Probably goes a long way to explaining why I'm such an odd adult).

3. Saint by Texas. This is my favourite of all their songs, and I'm devastated they never released it as a single.

4. I Think We're Alone Now by Tiffany. I just love this song. It's great to sing along and bounce around to. And a week and a half before I left university, she played in the students union, and during that song she crouched down and took my hand. Heh. I was just a wee bit excited.

5. Ode To My Family by The Cranberries. I could pick anything off of No Need To Argue, it's an album I always find very humbling to listen to because of associated memories of the year I listened to it pretty much constantly... and that's the song off it that seems to get stuck in my head these days.

6. Lonely Girl by P!nk. On a variety of levels this song describes me fairly well. I love the line "I'm looking for a way to become, the person that I dreamt up, when I was 16". And I also love the line "how the birds would sing, as I'd count the rings, around my eyes". Very me.

7. So In Love With You by Texas (the original version off the album Ricks Road, not the version that's on Greatest Hits). Just cos I couldn't compile a CD track list with only one Texas song on it, and this is my favourite of all their singles.

8. Lady Marmalade - Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Little Kim, Mya. A fun song to end on that reminds me of working in a little office in an old, dingy Oxford University building under extremely stressful conditions with someone who was the complete opposite of me in every way, but we hit it off so well. And every time we meet now, this song has to be played and danced to. It's one of life's musts.

Cryx asked:

If instant teleportation was invented, where in the world would you live?

Right where I do now (see above answer re: a slightly nicer flat though). I'd travel bloody widely though.

Flash asked:

1) Who was your first crush? By which I mean embarrassing pop star or film star etc...

I think probably Tiffany (the one who thought she was alone now).

2) At what age did you start using a wheelchair and how did you feel about it at the time?

5. It didn't make too much difference to be honest. I was so rubbish at walking that up until that age I'd spent most of my time being pushed around in a buggy. At least my wheelchair had self-propelling wheels so I could push myself if the ground was flat enough (my arms were so weak that I couldn't even push across carpet in a completely flat room) so it was a bit more independence than a buggy. Also, when I got the first chair I had a broken leg, and a wheelchair was certainly an improvement on being stuck in bed.

Here's a photo of me in my first chair:

Me, aged 5, on a swimming pool side in my first, red, wheelchair, with my left leg in a full length cast, clutching a trophy

I'm clutching my very first swimming trophy. Obviously, from the lump of plaster of paris on my leg that weighed as much as me, I'd not actually been in the pool that evening.

3) What's the worst hairstyle you've ever had?

About 18 months ago I went and got my hair cut. Despite asking firmly for him to not cut anything off the front at all, he did. I left with a mullet. I was so upset. Fortunately, I keep my hair tied back, so it was hard to see that I had a mullet. But, it took me forever to restrain the short bits at the front. I remember a day or so later going clubbing with Linette and my hair was all I could think about all night.

4) What are you looking forward to the most, in the future?

I honestly don't know. I'd love to settle down with someone amazing and start a family. I frequently doubt that that will ever happen.

Kimkali asked:

If there was one question you could ask and know the answer was The Truth, what would you ask and who to?

I'm fairly sure I know what you're hoping I'll type. Cheeky cow.

There's someone (I'm not saying who) that I'd like to ask if she does actually hate me or not. If not, why does she blank me 9 times out of 10?

Tim asked:

During an argument, why doesn't my girlfriend pay attention to anything I say? And when she does listen, why does she only listen to half of it so when she repeats it it sounds like I'm a complete bastard?

I have no idea. I'm no relationship expert. But, if you know any witty, single lesbians, point them in my direction and I'll conduct some research for you.

04 September 2005

I'm so famous!

I am!

Yesterday I was out in public, and someone I've never met before came and spoke to me because they knew who I was!

Bow down before me, non-celebrity types.

Yes, bow down before me and do my bidding.

My bidding is check out my favourite website of the weekend: http://www.everythingsoundslikecoldplaynow.com/

And, if you think it's funny, go out and buy the single. It's released tomorrow. Go to your local record store and demand it! It's Mitch's first venture into the singles market. Show some support!

31 August 2005

"This platform's nicer than the other one. The other one looks like a bomb's gone off," said my friend as our Northern Line train pulled into Kennington.

This was followed by a sharp gasp "Oh my god, it hasn't, has it?" He's not from round these parts, bless him. Not yet, anyway. He'd come down to London a week earlier to sort out paperwork for the degree he's shortly going to be starting down here, and then just failed to go back to Manchester again.

"No, but as we went through Stockwell I had an overwhleming urge to sing "Let's get shot," to the tune of Def Leppard's Let's Get Rocked. But, I didn't. As you know. You're sitting right there opposite me."

We talked about how horrifc that shooting appears to have been, that he seems to have been shot simply for the colour of his skin. My friend, being a male of middle Eastern descent has more reason to be concerned than most. He was telling me how he's been pulled out of queue's and searched, as have other people he knows, simply for not being white. Big Brother is watching him and all that - which is kind of ironic given how keen he used to be in wanting to appear on that show.

On my way down to Balham this evening, I wasn't in his company, so couldn't access the tube because I wasn't with someone tough enough to assist me (we met up down there). So, I had to make my way down south by bus.

You know those tour buses with a guide that points out interesting sights "And on your left you'll see the Houses of Parliament," etc, etc? Well, from what I could make of the situation it seemed that there was an Irish woman (I can spot accents, aren't I clever?) with her parents. It appeared to me that she now lived here, and her parents were visiting her.

As the bus moved southwards, she was giving her parents a running commentary:

"See that bus? That's a number 30. The same route as the bus that blew up on July 7th. And see that church? People were leaving floral tributes outside there. And here, this is where the bus actually blew up. And look, over there, there's still some flowers."

Either the Big Bus Company or The Original Tour want to snap her up sharpish. A bus tour for the post 7/7 London.

29 August 2005

I have a confession to make.

I'm sure that most of you will be so ashamed that you'll never read my blog again. I apologise, but I need to get this sin off my chest.

Please don't judge me too harshly. Remember that I'm still the same funny Lisy underneath.

What have I done that's so shameful?

Well, yesterday I had a ticket for Fox FM's Party in the Park in Oxford. Texas were playing.

I couldn't be bothered to go.

Please, don't look away now! Hear me out!

What impeded me? A common cold and a dodgy shoulder.

I know, I know! I shouldn't have let that stop me. But, I did. I know, I've let my readers down, I've let Texas down, but most importantly I've let myself down. I'm well aware.

As punishment for my sins, I'm now waiting for my Texas CD collection to spontaneously combust.

It seems that somehow though, you all psychically knew all that. I appear to have suddenly become even more unpopular than ever - only one person has so far responded to my request for questions.

I'll go and sit in the naughty corner then.

27 August 2005

Ask Lisy

Well, it's the last night of my holiday. Unlike last year I'm not stuck in my youth hostel due to a broken fucking wheelchair, but I'm trying to be sensible and get an early night because I'm panicing about missing my train at 10:30am. Except, I'm actually procrastinating online. Cos, that makes a change for me, and they say a change is as good as a holiday...

Anyway, almost a year ago I wrote a short post inviting readers to Email me asking me questions. Any questions. Though, I did stipulate that any maths questions would not be gratefully received.

It was quite fun, and I got some interesting questions. And I got some writing work out of it which is a bonus.

So... I'm doing it again. If you've got any questions... if you want to know something about me, if you want to ask my opinions on something, or if you just want to ask me something entirely random... please Email me. I anticipate that I won't be flooded with such an overwhelming sea of questions that I won't be able to answer them all... but, I'd better say that I can't promise to answer them all. Though, I'll try. Unless you ask me something mathmatical, in which case I'll just post your Email address here and hope all the spambots find it.

I'll try and post all the answers in about a weeks time, so, you have one week to complete your task. Also, in the questiony Email let me know if you want me to use your name/an alias or if you want to remain anonymous, and also if you have your own website/blog you'd like me to link to.

21 August 2005

"Give my Grandad's teeth back"...

... was by far the most random flag of the day I saw being waved over the crowds by people hoping to get on the telly yesterday at V2005.

I understand people waving flags in an attempt to be the centre of attention, and the thowing about of inflatables over the crowds... even if the crowd surfing dinosaur during the Kaiser Chiefs seemed to find the experience deflating. But there's two things I cannot understand why people feel the need to throw - beer and toilet paper. The throwing beer pisses off the people who wind up wearing it... OK, if you're a cunt, I can see your motivation for wanting to throw it. But aren't you a weensy bit annoyed that you're wasting alcohol? And alcohol at festival prices to boot?

The second thing I don't understand the throwing of is toilet paper. If you've had the foresight to take your own bogroll, you don't want to throw it away on your first afternoon, do you? When you wake up on Sunday morning and have to go for a crap (which you certainly will do after eating festival food the day before) you're gonna have to drag your arse across the grass like a dog! And that's just not dignified, even at a festival.

The worst thing about festivals though is the mud. Yesterday the rain held off all day, until I was snuggly in my car and heading back to London. I felt disproportionately smug about this, after the last time I went to V 4 years ago and got soaked through to my pants. But, despite the absence of rain, the ground was still soft, moist and muddy. I'm currently on a train up to Scotland (and hooray for having my computer as a distraction from staring at the guy sitting opposite me who keeps going off to vomit) and am taking plenty of Essex mud with me where it's firmly caked on my wheels. Today I feel like I have the upper body strength of The Incredible Hulk after yesterday's wading through swamps.

The bands I managed to view during the day were:

* KT Tunstall - Why did no-one tell me she had such a sexy accent?
* Good Charlotte - Boring - apart from the couple of songs I recognised off the radio, which were worth bouncing along too. Took their set as an opportunity to go get some lunch if I'm honest.
* The Bravery - You'd think that with a name like that that they'd be a band solely made up of wheelchair users, wouldn't you? But, their name misleads. I'd never actually heard their name before, but I recognised a couple of their songs, presumably from Popstarz.
* Kaiser Chiefs - Fab. Lots of energy, enthusiasm, and who could go wrong with a mystical ability to forsee riots? Even if they were slightly weary seeing as they'd never been that far away from home before (Go, groan, I know you want to)
* Robert Plant - So boring I'm amazed my arse is still attached. I expect to be lynched by lots of middle-aged folk for typing that.
* Texas - They're Texas... is any more of a review needed?

Exiting I managed to blag my way backstage! This was because I'd parked in the car park near the production gate, and backstage was not only a much shorter route to my car, but they'd also laid down temporary roadways, whereas us ticket holders, who'd paid to be there were expected to wade our way back to our vehicles. In my begging to be allowed to take the easier route I kept using words like "reasonable" in conjunction with words like "access" until I think I confused the toothless security guard (hey - I wonder if it was his grandson in the crowd with the flag?) and he let me through, with a warning that I'd probably get sent back the way I'd just gone as I didn't have a backstage pass. About 200 yards on, I came to another security checkpoint where the path passed right behind the Channel 4 Stage. I was just about to open my mouth and explain the access inadequacies to the man trying to look fearsome, when two women came up behind me, with their backstage passes and said "she's with us!" La. No explanations needed. Hooray for that good old festival spirit.

On the subject of festival spirit. When I was on my way over to the JJB Arena to see Texas, I passed a man, sitting on the grass wearing a T-shirt that I thought was somewhat entertaining. I went up to him and told him I liked it, and asked where he got it. So, he took it off and gave it to me.

What do we think:

The logo on the T-shirt has a picture of the universal symbol for 'cripple,' with the word 'LAZY' written underneath.

I have to say, I think it looks better on me than on a non-disabled bloke. On him, he looked like a bit of a cunt. Me - I can pull it off as a kind of statement. I don't mean pull it off as a statement in the Lady Godiva sense, I mean, oh, you know what I mean...

Going back to the me being allowed to roam backstage. That was fair enough, it was a reasonable access adjustment if you ask me. I'd have had no objection to being escorted by security while I went through... just to make sure I didn't go harrassing Texas. But, they didn't care. Not that I would've gone hunting for people off the telly. That'd involve going off the laid down track and would be like far too much hard work if nothing else.

But, I would like to award the security staff at the event in general my "nutsack of the week award." Particularly to the ssecurity they put to protect the cripple viewing platform by the Channel 4 stage. They didn't care about the fact that, as far as I could make out, on the festival site itself (not including the campsite) there were only 4 disabled loos. Their job in patrolling the viewing platform also included protecting 2 of the toilets from non-crips. Did they? No. They just made sure the queue remained orderly. By 7pm the toilets were full. I'm so glad I only had a day ticket and don't have to face the prospect of having to use them today. Though, I am currently on a train, and the "space for a wheelchair user" is of course next to the toilet, so I've still got that festival aroma with me.

Ooo, here comes Edinburgh. No time for a humourous punchline. Instead, to commemorate my return to Edinburgh, here's one my friend made earlier:

picture of the stick man from the universal cipple symbol having fallen out of his chair with the caption 'Fucking cobblestones'

18 August 2005

Summer of Love

Well, it would appear it's the summer of love.

Two weekends ago, I went to an engagement party. I'm obviously not averse to an opportunity for free champagne. And it was an interesting learning experience... did you know that if you go round the Oxford ring road, that Abingdon is signposted in a clockwise direction, but not anti-clockwise? That's logic that is. Naturally, my friend and I discovered this after we'd orbited Oxford in an anti-clockwise direction.

More geographical challenges followed me this weekend just past... I went to an actual wedding. Gulp. The bride informed me that the Traveloge in which she'd reserved a room for me was on the A5 towards Oswestry. But, did you know that if you leave Shrewsbury town centre following signs for "Oswestry A5" that it brings you out on the A5 further west than the Travelodge? Boys and girls, don't fall for that. I wound up in Oswestry before I learned this. My father upon reading this will beam that I went to Oswestry. When he was in his youth he attended the "special" college there for disabled young men. I love the fact that their entry criteria was that you must be disabled, but not a wheelchair user. Inclusive education ladies and gentlemen. Yes. His school photo's all consist of a bunch of crips being propped up on an assortment of sticks and crutches, looking like they may fall flat any second.

But, yes, wedding. It was pissing down when I arrived in Shrewsbury. I've never been so happy to see a church in all my life. As I entered the door the minister handed me a towel, because I looked like a rat that had just swum up a drainpipe. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate weather? Oh, yes... repeatedly.

The bride looked stunning in her silver dress. The poor woman spent Thursday night in hospital, but on Saturday she looked radiant. The groom also looked fabulous in his black and red dress. It's so not fair that all men who cross-dress look better in dresses than I do. On Saturday, I even made the effort and wore a skirt! Nicely showing off all the bruises on my shins. On Friday a friend (on her way up to the wedding a day early) got tipped out of her wheelchair when the ramp from the train snapped. Her chair alone weighs 18 stone without someone's body weight in it. Her and her chair all landed on her arm. She wound up with a bruise the same size as the one I got on my arm from being hit with a smegging door handle.

Which leads me off down a tangent - I've mentioned before some of the Google terms people have used to find my blog. Well, the other day someone typed in "Fucking door knobs," and got Google sent them to this post. Fair enough. But what where they hoping to find? Door knob porn? Kinda makes those people that search for Dolphin porn look almost sane, doesn't it?

Anyway, back to the summer of love. Last week, not one but two of my friends moved in with their respective partners. Two more of my friends who've been single for ages have in the last couple of weeks gotten themselves girlfriends.

I think there must be something in the air and living in Central London the air is too polluted for me to get any of that love dust into my lungs, instead I just inhale car exhaust emissions. Oh, no, wait, most of my friends live in Central London. Maybe I'm just too low down to inhale it?

I wonder if that pile of dust collecting behind my stereo speakers has romantic properties? Maybe I should do a line of it to find out...

17 August 2005

After the ritual humiliation that was being the on board entertainment for most passengers on the way up there, I knew I was in Edinburgh when the train doors opened and in wafted the smell of brown bread toast. I've never known a city to have such a distinct smell. Though later on that day I ran into some friends in the Pleasance Courtyard. While one of them is keeping daily tabs on the extent of the toast smell in her Fringe Blog, the other maintained that just occasionaly she gets a whiff of Weetabix with warm milk.

Liverpool is "City of Culture 2008," London is "2012 Olympic [and Paralympic] City," maybe Edinburgh should become subtitled "Edinburgh: City of Breakfast Foods."

Another telling sign of Edinburgh is all the hills and the cobbles. What fun! I stayed in a youth hostel I've never stayed in before (I'm gradually working my way round all the SYHA Edinburgh hostels I think), and, guess what? It's on a hill! A cobbled hill.

Cobbles on hills ruin all the fun of hills of just being able to let go of your wheels and frighten people as if you were using a scooter. Because you can't freewheel down. Your front wheels would get caught and you'd be on your chin in a puddle of blood quicker than I can down a Smirnoff Ice.

And Edinburgh cobbles are all so violent that they rob you of any cheap sexual thrill you can usually get on cobbles as a wheelchair user. It's really not possible to roll over them at a normal pace and enjoy the slight vibrating sensation. No. You have to go so slowly and carefully over the wretched things the only sensation you're going to experience is frustration. And annoyance at the people that ask if you need a hand every 5 seconds, which is not an offer you can accept because, as I wrote last year, their pushing would be less attentive than mine, and they'd have me out of my chair and on my chin in that puddle of blood within seconds. Do you reckon it's possible to take Edinburgh City Council to court under the DDA - because disabled people are treated less favourably when it comes to moving around the city simply because the council have ignored the fact that nice, shiny tarmac has been invented?

Bringing together themes of cobbles, the DDA, the Pleasance Courtyard and drinking (OK, it only got a fleeting mention in the post, but, still), something that happened on Monday night got me wondering...

After seeing Richard Herring's show on Monday, and before going over to the Gilded Balloon for my So You Think You're Funny Semi-Final (out of the 8 of us competitors, I was not the lucky one to go through to the final. I shall be cursing the lovely yet too talented Stuart Goldsmith for the rest of my days), the aforementioned two friends and I had a drink in the Courtyard.

I bought my drink from the bar out the back by the toilets. This bar only sells bottles and cans. So, I bought my can of Blackthorn and asked "can you not open it please? It'll be easier for me to carry."

"I'm afraid I have to open it. Licensing laws..." said the bartender.

In the Courtyard I'm at a seriously disadvantaged drinking position... because of the cobbles. I can either down my drink at the bar, or, wind up wearing it as I try to carry it back to a table. The taste of cider mixed with fabric softener where you've had to suck most of your pint out of your trousers really isn't as refreshing as it is straight out of the can.

Which is where my brain ticked. "If the DDA and licensing laws got into a fight, which one would win?" I posed this question to my friends once I'd returned to the table, with surprisingly minimal Blackthorn on my trousers.

"I think they'd battle it out for a while on equal footing until eventually they caused so much trauma that the earth imploded and sucked them in," said my friend. I wonder what she might have thought up if she had a propensity towards melodrama?

My other friend gave me a ginger nut biscuit.

15 August 2005

The things we wish we could say, if only we had the balls.

"Attention train crew! Disabled passenger alarm activated!" Said the announcement. What it might as well have said was:

"Attention all passengers in coaches G and E: All turn and gawp at the lady in the wheelchair who is trying to mind her own business, and has clearly not pulled any handles or pushed any buttons."

As hundreds of eyes burned into me because they were waiting for me to spontaneously combust, or at the very least, fall on the floor, I couldn't help but become transfixed by my fingernails.

After the announcement had repeated itself 4 times. it ceased. And most passengers resumed facing in the same direction as their seat. Except for one woman.

"Oi! Woman three rows down in the white T-shirt! Yes, I'm well aware that I'm pretty. But please stop staring because I'm not the on board entertainment."

I wish.

10 August 2005

And, the 'fuckmuppet of the day' award goes to:

The man who felt the need to sprint down the road to stop a van from reversing around a corner.

Why did he do this? Well, it would appear that he made a value judgement about me, and assumed that because I can't walk proper, I can't know the Green Cross Code, and therefore presumed that I was going to wheel off the pavement and into the path of the reversing van. I'd love to take him out for a ride in my car and watch him break into a panic at every road junction "but, you can't walk! How do you know what that red light means?" Because my brains are in my knees, clearly.

I suspect though, he'd fall into the camp of people who believe that crips can't drive. They're an interesting breed. I used to know someone through the Brittle Bone Society who worked in the field of motoring. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago, but I remember him telling me and my parents the story of a man who'd reached the age where he now had to get a medical certificate from his doctor to certify that he was still fit to drive (is it 70? I'm living on the assumption that the DVLA will send me a "you're old now" reminder notice). Suddenly, his driving licence was revoked. Apparently this was because his doctor had informed the DVLA that he wasn't fit to drive. The reason for his unfitness being "he's got no legs, he can't reach the pedals," despite having been driving as a lower limb amputee for decades.

In my stand up set I usually mention driving a couple of times. Mainly because I'm too lazy to actually sit and write material, and usually wind up thinking about what I'm going to say in the car on my way to a gig. After a gig a few months ago, a comic I gave a lift to the gig and back said "I really liked that, but, you might wanna mention something about being able to drive. Tonight the audience saw you have to get out of your chair to bump it up on the stage and sit back down, so they knew you could use your legs a bit. But, comedy is funniest when it's believeable, and if you're playing somewhere that the audience don't see that you can stand, they won't believe you can drive, so that bit won't be as funny for them."

Because... driving is done in a standing position?!?!?

Going back to today's Mister Sprinty Man - maybe from behind I just look suicidal? Interesting concept to garner from someone's hairdo. Like I wasn't paranoid enough about my fuzzy locks.

Anyway, I like the word 'fuckmuppet'. I first encountered it recently when a friend used it to describe the occupational therapist who wouldn't let me have a non-slip floor in my bathroom. I should update you that he has, under the duress of all the other managers in his department, reconsidered. I'm now waiting for a rep to come from the flooring company with shiny samples to let me pick my colour. And it's going to be glittery too! Seeing as my day started by watching the BBC's Breakfast News while I chowed down on my breakfast, and they were talking about new and popular insults, today seems like an excellent day for 'fuckmuppet' awards.

Today's 'instiutional fuckmuppets of the day award' goes to:

Halifax, Camden Town branch.

Why? For their comedic flouting of the DDA.

Today was the first time I'd tried to go in that branch since I only had a savings account with a small amount of money in with them, that I never put money in nor took money out of. But, today, I wanted that money, so I ventured inside.

Just inside the door, they have two steps. So, I got out of my wheelchair and bumped it up them, with an audience comprising of the employee standing in the doorway trying to sell mortgages. She never offered me any assistance, but, fortunately, she didn't grab my wheelchair out from underneath me either.

Once inside I couldn't help but giggle at all the "writing point only"'s at a suitable height for a wheelchair user, complete with the universal symbol for 'cripple' printed on them. I especially loved the "portable writing point" with the wheelchair logo on. It was basically just a tea tray fastened to the wall, and presumably there so they could whisk it outside for their customers that they force to bank in the street. What a safe location Camden High Street is to make people have to bank outside. The drug dealers and dodgy DVD sellers must love it.

It reminded me of the irony of the Chinese/Thai restaurant in Golders Green with the step at the door, the step down to the toilets... but then a spacious and handrailed toilet at the bottom of the step with a cripple sticker on the door. That's truly a disabled toilet if ever I saw one.

Today's final award is for "random thing of randomness," and that goes to Quorn fake chicken slices.

Why?

For making my wee smell like Quorn fake chicken.

05 August 2005

"But, I paid for straight!"

"But, I paid for straight!"

Was my cry of Monday (yes, I know, delayed posting reaction. Kinda like on Monday night when my friend kept playing with my knees trying to get a reflex reaction, and so I kicked her about a minute later).

"But, I paid for straight!"

Probably what my parents think every time they look at me.

I should actually point out at this juncture that my parents didn't buy me off some internet site - there was no net in 1979. But, raising me wasn't cheap. My collection of Care Bears alone must've cost them a pretty penny.

I haven't seen a pretty penny for ages. When I was a kid I used to get all excited by the shiny bronze ones, but, now they all seem so drab and brown. Have they stopped making them? Or do the Royal Mint just drop them in muddy puddles as soon as they come off the press?

"But, I paid for straight!"

Yes, on Monday, I got my hair cut.

Those of you that know me in real life will know that 99% of the time my hair is firmly restrained in a pony tail. Usually with clips for extra hair holding down efficiency.

I hate my hair. My hair's natural texture is the same as that of Troll Dolls. Remember them? Popular in the late 80's/early 90's?

At school the people that called me names observed my hair. Oh yes. They moved beyond the bog standard "Lisa the pizza" (oh what joy it was to be called a name that vaguely rhymed with 'pizza' and have teenage acne that kicked in at age 7). Most people even got beyond the fact that my Essex upbringing meant that I never pronounced my "h"'s or my "t"'s. It was my hair that warranted the nickname that stuck with me throughout secondary school - 'Troll'. Because of my erectile hair.

You think they were exaggerating with their claim? I wish. Despite having sported the ponytail for most of my life, because I was kinda shy and insecure, I used to have a "fringe" (it actually came down to my chin) to hide behind. Whenever I brushed it back off of my face, it used to stand straight up, supported by it's own fuzziness.

Thanks god for products! I've now learned to keep the frizz under control, so I no longer resemble a small piece of plastic with pink hair. But, my hair still likes to do mad things when unrestrained.

5 years ago I decided to have all my hair cut off. This was literally the first time since I was a baby that my hair had been unponytailable. When I was about 11 and going through my phase of being obsessed with Bobby from Home & Away (me, baby dyke, much?) I had my hair cut into a bob just like hers. Though I never did actually tie my hair back back then (Bobby never did!) it was still technically ponytailable.

But, five years ago I decided to look the lezzer part and have short hair. It only lasted about a year until I got a job during my first summer at uni - in Oxford. Commuting out from Uxbridge every day meant that I never got home until about 9pm, and, because I was earning I had the money to spend my weekends in exotic locations like Brussels, Dublin or a festival campsite up to my wheel spindles in mud... in short, I never had the time to get my hair cut, and by the end of the summer it was back in a ponytail, and I decided I preferred it that way.

See, when my hair was short, it went a bit wild. Fortunately university students are (a bit) nicer than kids so I never got called "Troll" again, but, then, I used to put so much mousse in my hair to hold it down I'm surprised that no Friends fan decided to start calling me "Wet head." Instead, students just used to steal my cheese out of the communal fridge. Bastards.

Not long after my hair grew back, I bought my first digital camera. From then on, New Hair Days were a cause for much celebration, and many self taken photos. Friends have tried to blow dry my hair straight, and all have failed. It seems to take years of hairdressing training to know how to make my hair behave. So, those 4(ish) days a year when I get my hair lopped off are worth photoing to prove that I can look (vaguely) pretty sometimes.

I used to always try and arrange a night out on New Hair Days to celebrate and show of the shinyness of my locks. But, I've concluded that that involves too much effort in cajoling people to hang out with me. So I've now resorted to only getting my hair cut on days when I know in advance that I'm doing something in the evening. I mentioned in my last post that a friend and I went out to see Stryngs on Monday night, and I had a meeting on Monday afternoon, so Monday morning seemed a perfect opportunity to get my hair cut and show off my hairs shiny newness to the maximum number of people.

I left the hairdressers at 1pm. By 3pm my hair had gone all flicky at the ends. I was Not Happy.

"But I paid for straight!" was how I greeted my friend on Monday night.

"Aw, it looks gorgeous," she tactfully responded.

"But, I paid for straight! Look, it's all flicky at the ends." I untucked the curliest bit from behind my ears to highlight how bad my hair day was.

"But, that's where it's been behind your ears..."

"No, this is why I tucked it behind my ears!"

"Oh. It still looks good. Don't worry."

"I am worried. I paid for straight!"

"Well, your hair is just like the rest of you, isn't it."

"That's not funny. I paid for straight, and I can't even ponytail it now until I've washed it because it's too volumey from being blow-dried."

"My hair's got flicky bits at the end too..." my friend was still trying.

"Yes, but you didn't pay £46 for straight this morning!"

So, my excitement over my new hair day quashed by the fact that my hair had curled in an assortment of random directions at the ends, I did the only thing one can do in such a dire situation - get very drunk. Strongbow can take away all the pain.

04 August 2005

Oh the pretty noises

Me: Do you remember back in the days when Mel & Sue were presenting RI:SE, there used to be a random giant black foot in the studio?

Friend: Yes, vaguely...

Me: Well, I always wanted to steal that foot, so I could give it to Athlete, so it could be theirs.

Friend: Why?

Me: Think on it for a moment.

My friend paused to think while looking at me like I was a freak of nature.

Friend: Nope, don't get it.

Me: Athlete's foot?

To which my friend groaned. Quite rightly so. But, still.

Me: Maybe I should give up writing observational comedy, and work on crap puns instead?

It's been a very musical week. First there was Texas on Saturday, and despite having been through the wash, there's still dirt on the knees of my jeans from being squished against the stage (being a wheelchair user, your eyeline is roughly arse height. You have to make the effort to get to the front, or you can only see a bunch of buttocks. Which is fine in certain circumstances, but Texas being on stage isn't one such circumstance).

Then, on Monday there was Stryngs and some other bands/singers who were fairly good. But not a patch on Stryngs. I first saw them back in April when they were supporting James Marsters at Islington Academy, and they might have blown my socks off, had it not been for my trainers providing containment. See, some good has come of my random obsession with Spike. In fact, when I saw them in June, when my friend and I moved to the front to be able to see as they were preparing to go on stage, we explained my aforementioned buttock problem in crowds at gigs to the lead singer. So, whilst on stage she graciously turned round to provide us with a "buttock moment". Indeed.

Last night was rather spontaneous. I found myself seeing Athlete at Somerset House. This all came about because my friends sister married into the support band, Morning Runner, and had a spare spot on the guest list. A free gig is always worth attending, especially when it's less than a 20 minute bus ride from your flat. And you get to hang out in the backstage/guest bar and spot people Off The Telly. An hour and a half before the gig I had no plans to go see such sportily named bands, and was in fact looking forward to an evening of watching DVD's, eating crap and moping over my bruises and life in general.

Between Morning Runner and Athlete, my friend and I went questing for some toilets. Right behind a sign saying "Disabled toilet this way" there was a tape, sealing off the direction the sign was pointing towards. Always helpful. The tape was at the bottom of a slight slope, so I just rolled down and ducked under the tape. This amused my friend.

"When they issue you with a disability you have to promise you'll learn to limbo. It's one of the conditions for entry into the club."

"You obviously passed the entrance exam with flying colours," she complimented.

We concluded that we were on the right path towards the disabled toilets. At least, none of the security guards tried to stop us in our tracks. But, then, we were wearing the purple wristbands of freedom. It's amazing how quickly the power will go to your head when you're given a pass to roam at such an event. All we had to do was flash our wrists and security guards stepped aside and allowed us through.

Then my friend said "Once we've found the disabled toilet, then I'm going to have to go and find a ladies..."

"Well, they might be together. Or if there's not any crips waiting in a queue, just use mine," said I.

"But I feel like a hypocrite campaigning for disability rights and then using a disabled toilet when I'm not physically disabled."

"So? If any security guards come along, just tell them that your bladder was full, and it was doing your head in..."

"Oh, that's good." She agreed.

Aren't I evil, giving people tips on how to abuse disabled facilities? Not that security needed any such excuse. Both times I went to use that toilet during the evening it was engaged, being used by someone non disabled. One of them even managed to pull the emergency alarm cord, presumably having mistaken it for the flush.

"It's nothing to do with me, it's not my job," said the security guard when I pointed out the shrieking noise to him. Nice to know that if I was to fall and break one of my bones that there was someone there, so eager to scrape my broken body off the floor and call an ambulance for me.

So, as soon as the perpetrator exited the toilet, I went in and hit the "reset" button for the alarm. I was still slightly concerned that a member of venue staff that actually gave a shit might come along and kick the door in expecting to find me splayed on the floor. That was not a pleasant wee for that worry. After all, it wouldn't be the first time a member of venue staff has burst in on me on the toilet at a gig. I need not have worried. When I exited, Mr I Couldn't Give A Shit was still there on his own.

After the gig, my friend and I decided to have one drink in the guest bar to hide while all the crowds were exiting - because we could, we had the purple wristbands of power. We were sitting there when all the members of Morning Runner who hadn't gone home came and joined us. It felt slightly odd to be that popular. Though, they are my friends, brother-in-laws band, so that scuffers my feelings of popularity. We were sitting right next to the Thames, and the wall separating us from water had a sign on it saying in smallish letters:

"Do not sit or place anything on this wall!"

And then below in much larger type:

"WARNING! SHEER DROP!"

"I'm now just worried about tights," I said to my friend which made her emit a suppressed laugh out of her nose.

"Yes, you really should write terrible puns instead," she informed me.

03 August 2005

Fucking knobs

Most Londoners are currently afraid of The Terrorist Threat. So much so that Even six months ago, when the retiring commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir John Stevens, said an attack on London was "inevitable", a fire on a bus would not have caused such a heightened reaction from passengers or the authorities.

But, me? I've found my own thing to fear - Doors.

It's official. I hate doors.

I don't mean The Doors. I mean, doors. Those things you go through.

Today I have managed to bruise my right arm not once, but twice on door knobs.

Firstly, as I arrived at work this morning and was unlocking, I got into a fight carrying my bag, some bottles of water and the mail and trying to open a door simultaneously. Needless to say, the door won. I got savagely attacked by the handle and am now sporting a nice patch of blue on my arm just above my elbow.

Last week when my friend came over to help with the still ongoing redecoration of my bathroom, she painted over some pink painted pipes with blue paint, looked up at me from under the sink and said "It's got that smothered baby look about it, both flesh coloured and blue..." I suspect if I were to put my arm against the pipe now, they'd match. Except for the hairs and the freckles of course. Though, I have just painted over the layer of dust 10 years thick (yes, my flat was really that icky when I got it. I don't wanna know about the thick layer of black gunk on the underside of my toilet cistern), so it might get the hirsute look from fluff showing through. And perhaps slightly speckled in a freckley way too.

I managed to get through the rest of the work day avoiding further attacks, despite a rather close call with the automatic door of Boots in Kings Cross station.

I arrived outside my block of flats thinking "Ahhh, home sweet home" after a stressful day including a weeks worth of answerphone messages following me not going into work at all last week after the arse-injuring, and my colleague being on leave. Then there was the internet connection packing up. Ooo. I don't like days that start without me being able to send Emails. Especially with PMT.

Anyway, I went to enter my building when once again I was brutally attacked by the door knob. This time it was just below the shoulder. Though, that bruise isn't the same impressive blue, and looks more like I have a teensy patch of jaundice.

The one good thing about having an impairment that makes me bruise easily is that I have always got bruises to show for any bumps I may get. Though it's often weird trying to explain away those spontaneous bruises. Especially when they're somewhere really random, like my boob. Not that anyone ever sees them, so I don't have to explain that often.

Today isn't the first time I've been brutally attacked by a door. A couple of years ago I was volunteering on a FOCUS project. I was chatting to the Project Manager, and leaning on the frame of the main door. As you might be able to tell from the picture of the site we were using on this page, the door was quite heavy and hefty. While I was chatting away, I didn't realise that the door was swinging shut behind me. A split second before the pain of a fractured knuckle struck, I saw the person I was talking to flinch, but it wasn't enough time for me to see what he was flinching at and retract my hand. Oh no. Doors are mean and evil and have it in for me.

Maybe it's revenge for the fact that I once kicked a hole in the bathroom door at home when I was a moody teenager? I'd have thought that the broken knuckle was sufficient punishment for that. So why must doors continue to attack?

I previously wrote about a vague notion of re-subtitling my blog. Maybe I should opt for "How to injure oneself..." or maybe I should go for a quote from lifts everywhere: "Please stand clear of the doors."

27 July 2005

The true meaning of "a pain in the arse..."

This post was going to be about so many things.

This post was going to be about mansized bottles of unisex perfume. Yes, that is what the man manning the perfumery in Boots yesterday asked me if I wanted to buy.

Huh?

Mr Klein can advertise his largest bottle of unisex perfume as 'mansized' if he wants, but it's not going to change the fact that it smells so girly that not even the screamingest of queens ever wear it.

I never understood why "mansized" was synonymous with "largest". As a child, mansized tissues were a mystery to me. "But men's noses aren't *that* much bigger," I thought. Now I understand what they're really all about, I just think "yeah, right, cos women never do that, obviously."

This post was also going to be about the horny and confused ant that I sat and watched for about 20 minutes yesterday evening as it attempted to hump a fleck of dirt on my bathroom floor (yes, I really don't have a life. And it was funny). The segway between the two threads was going to be about sprayable stuff (perfume to ant poison, see?).

At least, I think the ant was attempting to hump it. Because ants are so small, it's hard to see what they're doing. It might have thought that the fleck of dirt was it's mummy, who'd been poisoned by all the "Ant Stop!" I've put down in my bathroom (now I've found the hole the little fuckers are coming in through), so it was attempting CPR on it. Or maybe I need new glasses again already, and it wasn't a fleck of dirt, but really a dead ant, and it was quite rightly trying to perform CPR. Or, maybe, it was a dead ant, and the horny ant was in fact a necrophile. Who knows? And who cares? It's in ant heaven (or maybe hell, if it was an ant with necrophiliac tendencies) now after a run in with my size 4 Skecher.

But, then, last night I had a gig. I sucked, big time. The PA system was remarkably hissy/noisy, and I allowed myself to become distracted by it. Well, I didn't really have a choice - I had to pay attention to the level of noise coming out of the speakers because if I pointed the microphone in certain positions, it just got even worse. I'm not good with background noise. I can only concentrate on one lot of sounds at once. If I'm engrossed in the telly, I will block out what you're saying to me, etc. So, trying to concentrate on the hissy noise, and the words coming out of my own mouth - it all went wrong. I managed to uneloquently just say "you know" for the better part of 10 minutes. No-one laughed.

Then, I returned to the little alcove where all the comics were sitting, and that was when I added injury to insult.

I sat on the seat I had been sitting on before I went on stage, and my bag had moved to the other side of the little hole we were in. So, I leaned across the person I was sitting next to (who already thinks I'm crazy. She has, after all, seen me very drunk) and reached for my bag.

My fingers were just in reach of my Bang on the Door rucksack that I wrote about in my last entry, when, suddenly I found myself yelping, clasping my right buttock, and being flung back into my seat by the pain. Fortunately, my teensy fingers had just managed to get a grip on my bag, so I didn't have to lean for it again. Though as I swiftly sat back down, I think I may have hit the girl I was sitting next to with it. Not doing anything to help convince her of my sanity.

It would appear that in leaning forward, I pulled a muscle. In my arse. Hooray for the pain! Not (as Wayne would say in his world).

Standing from sitting, sitting from standing and walking up steps are by far the most painful things to do with a damaged rear I have discovered. Fortunately, as I take my own seat on wheels with me wherever I go, I don't have to do those things in front of people much. Which is a good thing, as clutching at my bum while I pull strange facial expressions because I've moved wrongly is not going to leave people with a good first impression.

I took today off work due to bum pain (though I think on my sick leave sheet I may type "pulled muscle in leg") but I shall hopefully go in tomorrow. And I'll have the office to myself, so no-one will notice when I drop my trousers to apply Ibuleve Max Strength Gel to the affected area at regular intervals. I'm sure the neighbours will also be grateful that my basement office has no windows.

I hope you're all wishing my backside a speedy return to form.

24 July 2005

I've been thinking today about the criminality of fashion.

Hoodies. Now, if my Nan was still alive, she'd be delighted if the teenage me had put on a jumper to go out of the house. Especially if it was one that kept your ears warm and prevented a chill from going down your neck. She'd have jumped for joy - despite the severity of her arthritis.

But, now, jumpers are "cool", and so kids are getting slapped with ASBO's to prevent them from wearing them, schools are banning them, etc. There must be millions of grannies out there fraught about their offspring's offspring going out in the cold without a jumper on. OK, I know it's July... but have you looked out the window at the weather today?

And then there's rucksack's. Which seemed to have been on their way out of fashion anyway. A couple of months ago I sought high and low (well, from one end of Camden to the other) looking for a decent rucksack to replace the dying, denim, Hello Kitty bag that I bought in San Francisco three years ago.

Rucksacks seemed to have fallen out of favour and been replaced by those silly bags that go diagonally across your person. Have you ever tried to hang one of those off the back of a wheelchair? Farcical, I tell you. Because it's asymmetrical it swings to the side, gets stuck in your wheel, you end up jarring to a holt and spinning 180 degrees with a combination of the forward momentum you had, and the fact that one of your wheels now has something jammed in it. Getting stuck in the wheel rips the bag, but only a tiny hole, big enough for all your tampons to fall out. Then the guy walking along behind you that was going to offer to help you pick up your stuff sees what's fallen out of your bag and runs off blushing. You've still got the old woman who tripped over you when you did your sudden about turn swearing at you for not looking where you were going. A nightmare I tell you.

OK, that hasn't actually happened to me. But I did once try to hang one of those silly bags on the back of my chair, and it just went straight for the wheels like a weirdo in a crowded place to will always gravitate towards me ("I think you're so brave and wonderful for going clubbing even though you're in a wheelchair."). The rest is a montage of various incidents from the course of my life (mostly from having broken wheels...). But, it could happen...

Holdalls are out as well. OK, they will actually hang properly on the back of a chair. But, they stick out too far. There's the nightmare that if you try and turn in a shop, you end up knocking several shelves worth of stuff flying because of the excess size at the rear (and excess size at the rear is something I know all about). Or, there's the risk that with all the space inside a holdall that you'll fill it too full (it's amazing how much crap you can cram into a bag. It's not like I ever wear make up, so why the hell would I need a little make up bag "just incase"??), and the second you hang it on your back, the weight flips your chair over and you're left there with your feet pointing skyward, feeling slightly stunned. The good thing though is that the holdall will act like a cushion and prevent you from whacking your head on the pavement and acquiring a concussion.

After having exhausted the possibilities of Camden, I turned to the only other place I could think of that sells funky stuff. eBay. Result! I found a plain purple rucksack which I persuaded my parents to buy me for my birthday. That'll do for when I have to look vaguely serious. And I bought a Bang on the Door rucksack for when I'm allowed to unleash the real me. It's suitable for age 4 - 8, which is about right. My drama of not being able to find something funky that would also hang on the back of a wheelchair was over.

But, now, rucksacks are the epitome of all evil! OK, I'm not concerned about plain clothes police officers blowing my head off because of my pretty purple and pink bag. I'm a wheelchair user; I can do no wrong! Oh, the joys of being under age and mobility impaired. Despite being 13/14/15, I never, ever got IDed buying alcohol. Ask anyone else disabled and 9 out of ten of them will tell you the same story.

Suddenly, rucksacks are the brunt of all jokes! There's pictures circulating the interwebnet (OK, granted, that one is mocking the police rather than rucksacks themselves, but it's still got a bit of a "rucksacks are a faux pas" theme). 'Careful with that rucksack!' is the new office joke. Apparently. I wouldn't know, there's only 1 day a week where I'm not the only employee in my office.

Maybe I should start a rucksack pride movement. Just today I was again browsing eBay trying to find a rucksack like laptop case in the hope that if I purchase one, then I'll be able to take my PC to Edinburgh with me. My current case I wouldn't be able to carry, with a bag of clothes as well. And besides, I don't like carrying my laptop case in public. It's too obviously a laptop case. I may as well stick a sticker on it saying "I contain a computer. Steal me." But, a nifty rucksacky one I'd be able to whack on the back of my chair, et, voila!

And, after all. If the people I meet are of the quality of the folks I met last year, it'll be well worth taking my PC with me to blog about them. Like the woman who felt compelled to cross the road just to tell me "I was going to ask if you wanted a push, but, from the fact that you don't have handles on your chair, I'm guessing you don't." She guessed right. I can only hope that her inner monologue wasn't working in an Austin Powers style manner. Some people should have their voice boxes removed at birth, and she'd be a prime candidate, right after the constantly screeching toddler in my building.