To help you walk this way?

I guess its fair to say I’ve always been into diversity, and inclusion issues, given I’ve fallen under the LGBT banner for, err, a while. Nowadays I can also qualify under age, and disability too, it seems.

One thing I have discovered since my back started deteriorating, is just how much difference it all makes to my mobility. A few decades ago, I could go for a walk on a Sunday (betting shops never opened on Sunday’s back then), and quite literally walk miles. Now I’m finding the 3/4 of a mile or so from the Bus Station, to work, a major challenge! And a distance that not so long ago I could cover in just over 10 minutes, if I had to push it, now takes a minimum of 15! And yes, I’m quite literally killed for a few minutes if I try that!

But still I have one blessing that not all have, for now at least. I can walk, even if its getting more painful, and more difficult by the month. There are many others who are far less fortunate than me. Anyway, when trawling through Twitter this morning, 1 of my science connections had a post up about this.

https://lifeboat.com/blog/2019/01/can-nanotechnology-rewire-an-injured-spinal-cord

Yes, if you’re on Twitter, go track down Lifeboat Foundation (@LifeboatHQ) and tell him Harlean sent you, I’m sure he’d be thrilled for the publicity. Yes, my spinal cord is damaged, though thankfully at present, I still am able to walk. And yes, I’m a robot fetishist, so the idea of nanotechnology improving my ability to walk impresses me no end. If this does work, and allows those who cannot currently walk, to be able to have some mobility, wouldnt that be marvellous? But at the same time, I want to say to them, why not try it first on a less damaged spine, and see how it all plays out. Yes, me, as the guinea pig!

Oh fine, I’d love nanotechnology that transformed my body completely, into a nice new cybernetic one, but this could make for an interesting start. Yes, at least part of me would actually be machine, lol. In truth, I’ve seen similar articles for a few years now, and nothing practical has come of it, so far. But fingers crossed, this might be the one. It could definitely help me, but it could help others far more, and that has to be a good thing?

OK, video time. This is where Rap met Rock, and the collision was an interesting one.

Can I get some money back?

Its ironic, isnt it? I wasnt thrilled at the idea of waiting until I was 65 to get my state pension, instead of 60, as it was when I was growing older, but fine, we want equality, so equalising it to the men’s retirement age, fair enough. But to say the matter was planned badly, would be to put it mildly. Then they kicked me again, by raising the retirement age to 66, though again I could see the logic of it, as most people seem to be living longer, and more healthily, but…

Yes, says the woman who had confirmation yesterday that she qualifies as disabled, due to the deterioration in the state of my spine, plus a few other issues (knees, wrists, shoulder to name a few), and in theory has to work for just over another 5 years. Yeah, thats as likely as me replacing Trump as US President, and before anyone says it could happen, no, it cant, you have to be born in the US to do that, lol!

I have now just read that Labour are proposing to reduce the pension age back to 64, but I’d believe political promises when I see it, and besides, 3 more years might still be a challenge for me?

Seems there is now going to be a judicial review on the matter, but how much it will change, not sure? https://davidhencke.com/2019/01/08/date-set-for-judicial-review-of-state-pensions-for-50s-born-women/

Well yes, I’m going to give it a go, and see if I can get some disability benefits at least, to ease the workload on my body. Before anyone says anything, yes, I know I’m now disabled, but on the basis of all I’ve heard, thats only part of the battle! But strictly, my mobility is getting more limited quite quickly (a few months ago, I could just about do the walk to work without issue from bus station, now its tough to do), and with my wrist gone, I also tick the box for things like preparing, and cooking a proper meal from scratch, no chance! We will see on that, will probably battle with the paperwork involved the week after next, when I’m on holiday. Then the battle with the disability benefit people, and with all I here, they dont like giving out money, even to deserving cases!

But yes, fingers crossed… Even if it meant I could afford to cut back to a 3 day week, so I could always get a rest day, between work days, it would help. Equally, if they want to offer me a new, cybernetic body, I’ll take it!

Anyway, hopefully I can get some of my money back, to help me get by, as a disabled old lady, at least to whatever my pension age ends up being, fingers crossed, sooner the better!

OK, video time. Dont blink or you’ll miss it, lol. This predates Baker Street, literally the first solo Gerry Rafferty album released.

2019, the avenue I might be being taken to

OK, if anyone can spot the (almost) line of lyrics, I’m impressed. Well, there are a couple who might get it, but otherwise?

In truth, 2019 is probably the least pre-planned year that I’ve had in a very long time. Lets face it, the May holiday is not only usually planned by now, its either booked, or just about to be booked. This year, not a clue what I’m doing! And though September has got some tentative plans, in the sense that both Kate and I have agreed, both health permitting, that we will get together ‘somewhere’ at that point. Its fair to say that it will in all likelihood be either, Oklahoma, or New England, but beyond that…? No, no commitments!

The one thing that is sure, is that before either of those, there will be 2 trips to Blackpool. First one in just over 3 weeks time, which will be the pre-publicity event for the Film Festival in March, on my Birthday weekend. This time, the latter is already planned as a longer stay, from Thursday, to Monday, as I can do work, and enjoy myself for the whole weekend. Numerous anniversaries that week, and a theme of Hollywood glamour, which should all be a lot of fun. Seems quite likely I will get to have a ‘Clara Johnson’ moment on the Friday of that weekend, for which I might now be a little old, but will be a dream come true. But more on that at the end.

Other than those, most of the known events for the year are of the less cheery kind. Firstly, and most obviously, is the state of my body. How long the back is going to last, even on a 4 day week, even with TLC (including that heavenly flotation/sensory deprivation tank), I have no idea! There is also the fact that I now have big issues with 1 wrist, and I have a hunch the other might only be biding its moment, and…? Given that now, with my wrist damage, that I’d have issues preparing, and cooking a proper meal, on top of everything else, I have been told I ought to at least try for PIP (disability related) benefit payments, because lets face it, my mobility, in a stamina sense is also becoming a bigger issue by the month. I’m sort of determined I will get to March (for obvious reasons), but in a serious sense, what used to be a stroll to work is now getting a challenge at the end. Oh fine, it is a challenge, but anyway… If you want a resolution (ghastly things), that had probably better be mine!

Yes, any politician offering to reduce the retirement age for women can have my vote, lol! 61, I’d be thrilled, 62, or 63 I could see as a target, but beyond that, not sure its going to happen? No, I know, not going to happen in reality, but would help me so much.

OK, Brexit, lets try and be diplomatic. Especially given the government are seemingly terrified of having a vote on their escape plan, rolls eyes. I could give my view on the ‘threat’ from the government that if they dont win, Brexit wont happen, and say that not everyone would be sorry if that came to place. Its not what the voters were promised at the referendum (we found that out within a few days), so is it any wonder that hardly anyone, on either side of the fence wants to vote for it? Fine, I voted Remain, but besides all that…

Alright, lets get to cricket. This summer will see the first ever test match between England, and Ireland at Lords, a pretty historic moment for we Irish cricket supporters. Yes, I’d probably have got an Irish passport at the last renewal in truth, but my Irish ancestry is 1 generation too far back for that. Even more I’d love to do that now, as so many others are seemingly doing. Nothing to do with the Brexit chaos of course. And if you believe that…?

Oh fine, you want some silly wishes for the year, I guess? Things I’d love to happen, but are only likely in my dreams?

Lets start off with the obvious one, which actually gives me more issues than work? Yes, travel. What I wouldnt give for a cute flying saucer/space shuttle, if a passing alien reads this, to whisk me to work, without strain, oh please! There are some ‘Just Eat’ adverts on TV over here, where the motorbike delivery people have bikes that fly, wouldnt say no to one of them, either!

Clearly, with my health issues, I’d love a full body upgrade. Chrome robot look would be heaven, but a more human looking fembot body would probably be more advisable. If so, if it can come looking about 20, with pre programmed dancing skills, I’d love that.

Oh, and fine, I’d love that sensory deprivation tank to really mess with my mind, as well as heal my body. Brainwashed, or mind controlled, while in that pod, oh please!

Lastly, a sugar daddy, or mummy (I’m bi, lets face it) to put this ‘Broadway Baby’ in her own apartment, somewhere warm/hot all year round, would love that. But fine, who would want an old lady like me for that, lol?

Right, lets get to the video. That Friday night in March, in Blackpool. One of the show moments is a local dance team, performing from 42nd Street. (At least) 2 of us are hoping to at least make cameo performances on that sequence. Will be the closest I ever get to replicating Clara Johnson without that new body, for sure! No, I’m certain I wont be this good, but some of this might be involved, so…

 

Artificial body, artificial mind?

OK, let me say that in terms of what I’m considering, this is purely in the realms of fantasy at this time. Maybe it will be possible in decades to come, but for now…

When you mention artificial intelligence (AI) to people, it seems to be a love, or hate issue. Some people see it as a massive benefit for all the good it will be able to do, both in a practical, and assistance sense. Others see it as something sinister, controlling, and big brother like. Oh fine, a robot wannabee submissive like me might (alright, would) enjoy being controlled by technology, but lets consider other matters.

The other artificial thing that people are busily trying to create, currently with limited success, is artificial bodies. For disabled people like myself, where it gets interesting would be some combination of both items. Just imagine if people could literally be given a new artificial body, rather than their disabled human one, wouldnt it be tempting to do a swap? I know, for me, a nice chrome robot body would be heaven, but lets assume that in the future, its possible for people to transfer to a human looking, but artificial body, how many disabled people would be tempted? I guess not all, but some would, I’m sure.

As to the AI side of things, I suspect how far that went would make people decide how far to go. If its a literal download of your own mind, into an artificial body, its going to be preferable to one that is purely AI, even if the ‘personality’ is based on yourself? But lets say its a combination thing, it is you, but you need an element of AI, for the artificial body to function, hmm?

I know, me, I’d love the full robot life, but I’m probably in a class of one on that, lol!

But just think, OK, its only a replica of yourself, but no pain issues, full mobility, and all that brings, well? Yes, I know, if only I could, even more so as my body continues to fail of its own accord.

So yes, AI has good points, it has bad points, but overall, what do you think?

Right, video time. Have you ever wondered what a sound check is like, at a pop concert. Well, this is your chance. It does mean you dont get the full song, but you get to see behind the scenes stuff. Besides which, its Seattle, its black and white, so…

The wicked things we do

Tomorrow, instead of heading to Bradford, to do a normal, full day at work, I’m heading to Leeds instead. No, I’m not throwing a sickie, or anything, its work related.

In an ideal world, my back would allow me to work for nearly another 6 years, and retire at what is now the normal retirement age for British women, at 66. In truth, I would say, that even doing a 4 day week, as at present, my chances of doing so, rank probably as fair, but no more. So yes, on a pre retirement course tomorrow, to learn what I can do to make my future as easy as possible.

The thing is, it means I need to be in an office, just outside the center of Leeds, for 9.30 tomorrow morning. Yes, thats right, I need to get there right in the middle of the rush hour, and thats why I’ve done a wicked thing.

Its fair to assume that the 8.15 train tomorrow, from Huddersfield, to Leeds will be busy, and its quite likely some people will need to stand. Yes, the chances of me being able to stand, even with my brace on, for about 25 minutes, in one place, not good, or less! So yes, depending on your view of matters, I’ve either been practical, or wicked, and reserved a seat on the train, no pot luck for me! I cant do the same coming home, unfortunately, because I dont know exactly what time the course will end, and whether I will get out in time for the 5.00 shuttle, especially given my mobility limitations (its meant to end at 5.00), or need to be on 5.30 one, and that will affect the time I get back to Leeds station, and what train I’m able to get, so yes, wish me luck on that trip, especially as my disability is an invisible one! Hopefully my old commuting skills will return, and I can find a seat!

But yes, I know, I’m partially disabled (suspect I count as disabled, but prefer not to see myself as that, just yet), so I shouldnt be bothered by covering myself this way, but I do! But yes, it will be nice in the morning, knowing I dont have to scramble to get a seat on a rush hour train.

The video, talking of things wicked…

Disability training required!

Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!

Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.

I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!

Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…

Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.

Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!

OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…

Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…

Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.

Search for the hotel room for yourself

Well fine, I have finally come to the decision that the back will (probably) survive the flight to Seattle, and back in May, so have started the process of transferring money to cards to allow me to pay for everything. Fine, I might have left it a couple more weeks, but Thomas Cook tell me there is a sale on to Seattle, so fine, it has to be done! Always was on a budget for these things, but even more so now I’m only able to work a 4 day week. A fact which also means this will be the only US trip that I will pay for this year! So yes, only trip lol! 😛

The amusing thing, when it came to hotel rooms, was the discounted rates available at the Choice Hotel group hotel I’ll be staying at. As a member of their scheme, I get a discount over those that dont belong, which is fine, we need some incentive, lets face it! And no, I’m never going to stay enough to get free nights lol! The thing that ‘annoyed’ me slightly, was the fact that I can get my discount for a standard queen/king bed room, but nothing if you need an accessible one! Fine, I can almost certainly get by without one, and will have to now, but I must admit I looked for one, as the extra help in the bathroom at least might have been handy, given the state of my back, let alone the room more designed for someone with some mobility issues.

Maybe its the norm, I dont know, as of course its the first time I’ve ever looked for such a thing! But no, I’m not paying $17 a night extra, for 8 nights, just on the vague chance I might need that! I guess the number of access rooms are more limited, so not offering them for discounted rates is due to that, but it concerns me for others, who might need it, are on a budget, if they cant get rooms for the same price as people with no health issues.

OK, disability rant over, though I might yet write to their customer services dept, and ask them why, and see what answer I get, hmm?

Fine, video time. M People fitted for my other blog video, so I took the lazy route in finding this one. As so often, clue is in blog title!