Friday, 26 June 2009


Michael Jackson has died aged 50. Well, that's cheered me up. Not.

A final, ironic twist to the strange career of a hugely talented and troubled chap.

I really hope this isn't going to turn into another Diana saga. Death - and take it from one who knows, is part of life. The death of someone who's in the public eye, even someone who's not openly exercised their talent for many years, tends to focus the public eye on their own mortality.

I'm sure the grief is very real to his legions of fans. I find it hard to relate to myself, probably because I don't have hero's or aspirations to be someone else, or fellow anyone's lead, by virtue of personality. I'm not made that way. Monroe, Dianna and Kennedy were problems to be solved, Elvis - apparently some bloke who sung like me, (cheers for the cash mate) died of unhappiness and over indulgence.

And a frail, child like, mentally fragile debt riddled man on tranquillisers, anti-depressants, and powerful painkillers passes away from heart failure. Poor chap must have been stressed to hell and back at thought of that forthcoming 50 tour gig. No hero's to follow there.

My thoughts are with his terribly distressed family, the children without a father, and those poor, sad souls who will try to follow him. RIP Mr. Jackson.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Hot hot hot

Blimey, about time too! :)

I've had some real problems getting on line over the past couple of weeks. No sooner had I written an email, then I'd lose my broadband, so it's been a case of getting out of a habit of doing my correspondence online, and getting back into the old 'dial-up' ways of composing mail and articles off-line and uploading it when I can get a stable connection. Even if I can get online, stuff like paypal has been playing up.

It's funny how used you can get to near instant responses, isn't it?

I suspect it's because it's so darn hot - My city isn't renowned for being the sunniest place on the planet, but even now, at 04:30, my desk thermometer says it's 30 C. Even son'o'mine, who's just got back from Florida, can't sleep because of the heat. Not that I'm up at this time by choice - having cats walking up and down you and nibbling your ear because they want to go out because their uncomfortable is no fun. Dunno why they pick on me. Maybe I'm the kitty man. Despite what the thermometer says, it feels a bit cooler at this hour.

Still, family asleep, a bit of P&Q and a cold Cola with ice is a consolation. Time to stack my meds in the fridge - they need to be kept below 25 C, otherwise they can become next to useless. Quite dangerous when your on 135 a week. Off to sort out the family finances, reply to a few mails, and more of that diet coke with lots of ice :)

Sunday, 21 June 2009


Someone referred to the other day, thinking I was out of earshot, as a 'disability activist'. Really? I help out where I can, if I can. But I guess that means I am, sorta.

Mind you, that doesn't mean you'll find me chaining myself to the railings of the Town Hall any time soon. For a start, it doesn't have any.

But if it did, the consequences would be most unfortunate. After ten minutes it'd be "Can you please undo these chains and handcuffs, because I really need to use the loo?" Which in this city would mean a half-mile dash through busy traffic to the nearest toilet - they've shut most public toilets down. Besides, I've absolutely no wish to cause my missus endless merriment by being seen to be wearing chains and handcuffs in public.

While I think of toilets, a councillor told me recently, "Yes, we've had to consolidate local services, but that means that we have won the coveted "Toilets of The Year" award because we were able to target resources more effectively ". Yup, the Loo's of the year awards actually exist.

I'd loved to have "targeted" his "resources" for an answer like that, but I need at least one leg to stand on.

Serves me right for asking. I would have preferred a chat with an MP, but for some reason, recently that lot have been remarkably unavailable, and when they have, a bit shifty and distracted. Can't think why.

Perhaps the thought of 'talking shop' puts them off?

Saturday, 20 June 2009

I have to admit...

I'm a bit of a net-a-phobe. Not the internet as such, more the modern version of it.

Recent events haven't helped much. I've had to close down a blog because of problems.

Luckily for aged folks like me, who remember the freer, non-commercial net that is admittedly harder to use, the old version is still around, built into modern versions of operating systems. I've slipped back into using it recently, and man, is it a breath of fresh air.

With a modern computer, it's blindingly fast, and seamlessly integrates with modern home networks too. It's not for everyone though - it tends to be text based, though pictures are possible - if you don't mind converting them to, put simply, indecipherable text files in blocks that need rejoining and converting back again (Mime Files). No Adverts !! But extra work.

But in my position, the modern net just can't be ignored. A friend emailed me and remarked "Hows your lifeline?". They know I prefer the, as they put it, 'the old fashioned way', and not being an out-person much, my life line, as they put it, is that I have a reasonably powerful system.

My graphics card is not the greatest or newest, but it does have two outputs, that I normally use to run two monitors. But with a couple of minutes work, I can feed my computer to my 40" Plasma tv, connect in a 5 year old web camera, and an even older microphone to my computer.

Then I'm away having a coffee with an office in Tokyo, joking with a plumber on the Pole, (now, there's a job!), brainstorming a problem with a lawyer in LA, or being made fun of by a Preacher in California, or a gentle argument and a beer with a scientist in Germany.

So the 'new' ways can often be much more fun - and if it ain't fun, it ain't worth doing, old or new.

Try it yourself.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Phew, it's too hot. Where's that snow then?

"You look alright? They get it wrong then? Nowt wrong with your thinking I see. How come you use a wheelchair when you can walk?"

Sigh. I get variations variations on those kind of questions too often sadly. Nowadays, I try and change the subject - particularly if in the next breath they mention 'benefits' and how they can't get them, and could I...

Help them fiddle the bloomin' system? Heck no. Despite what lurid headlines you can read, you can't get, well, DLA specifically, without the backup of a string of health care professionals, and regular embarrassing, pokes, prods, high tech and very personal investigations, for as long as it takes.

Benefits are for people who need a little extra help with care, and being cared for. It's the responsibility of the people with a disability, and those health care professionals to keep the benefit payers in touch. When I read about the con artists, I think WTF? Who's prosecuting the Doc then? Did DWP not pull them in for assessment? (which they do, regularly)

Sometimes, you know people are having a dig. There's only one answer. Fine. Have the money, little as it is. But y'can have the bloody disability that goes with it.....

But sometimes, the questions are in innocence, and for those :-

When you have a stroke a part of the brain loses its blood and oxygen supply. The symptoms this causes depends on the part of the brain affected.

Every stroke is different and the effects can vary enormously. Some brain cells are damaged and can recover while other brain cells die so they cannot. In my case, I had a cerebellar stroke, followed by smaller strokes in other parts of the brain over a very long time, and continue to do so.

Many people make a good recovery and have hardly any symptoms. For others the effects are more severe and long-lasting. Which is why there is a continuous assesment. Recovery is most noticeable in the first few months following the stroke, although many continue to recover for many years.

Although there's a lot of publicity aimed at over 50's, it's because people who otherwise had been healthy before 50 can become more at risk later. In 2009, medical science has advanced so much in the last 30 years, we now know that what was once considered a health lifestyle - wasn't.

However, a stroke can affect anyone of any age, and The Stroke Associations campaign FAST, is aimed at the most common symptoms of stroke.