What If…

A few days ago I was eating breakfast at my parents house in the 253 (Tacoma, WA area) before I got in my car and headed back to the Portland, Oregon. My dad, he is a republican and has this tendency to bring up conversations that you don’t want to really be part of. He also has an issue with people playing sports, in America, not standing for the national anthem so let me write a few things down, in no particular order, before I get onto the topic of way I started this post in the first place.

The first time the National Anthem was played at a public sports event was during the 1918 World Series held by the Major League Baseball. According to a quick Google search Major League Baseball was established in 1869. So not taking the mouths into account, just doing basic math, that’s 49 years without singing or even standing for the National Anthem. It was only sang by the military two years prior in 1916 under the order of President Woodrow Wilson.

Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete of the MLB didn’t play under the MLB until the year 1947. So doing basic math again, that’s 29 years that we sang the National Anthem before black dudes were able to play on the same field as white dudes. On a side note, the Negro National League was established in 1920, so that was 27 years before he was allowed to go over there.

By reading an article from ESPN, it sounds to me like the National Anthem stuck around because of the fact that it drew a larger crowd. So if you’re like me you’re asking yourself is it because people liked it, singing a song that made people feel unified; or is it because the MLB wanted more money due to ticket sales?

Since I’m doing this, the NFL was founded in 1920 in the state of Ohio.

Onto another point which will lead into my main point…

I’m part of a group on Facebook where all its members listen to the same podcast out of Seattle. Most of these members are from the Seattle area, and by the Seattle area I’m talking about a 50 mile radius around the city of. Some of the other members used to live Washington but since then moved away to other states such as Nebraska, like I used to; Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, so on and so forth. The ongoing motto of the podcast is to ‘stay positive’ and we all seem to not only joke around and have fun, but show support for other members regardless of political or religious differences, and this environment creates very few arguments.

A few days ago, one of the most known members of this group shared an article from Sports Illustrated about how Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks did not stand for the National Anthem. This post has generated 67 comments over the span of 3 days, many of those comments having subcomments. I even have a few comments on said post, and even though I was not trying to fight with anyone; it just…there was a reason to even though I think I stayed pretty neutral.

So let’s jump back, or forward, to eating breakfast at my parents house, I got into a discussion with my dad; my family always yells at one another even if we are not fighting. From the conversation I found out that my parents also have arguments with my dad’s sister-in-law; the wife of one of his two brothers, or two of his three nephew’s; the three sons of one of my dads five sisters. I found this out just based on hearing my mom say, “Just shut up Bill, you’re talking to a brick wall; it’s just going to be like talking to Dan or Becky.”

These family members are from Nebraska and never lived outside of the Midwest, they never lived in parts of the country that tend to be more democratic based on population size and how different one person is than the other and the idea that you have to learn how to coexist on a rock that is floating, in a pattern, though space.

My dad thinks that our current President, Donald Trump, is a fucking idiot; well hey, I do too! Even though he is a republican he is more moderate than he may think, he is not one of those 33% that live in the Midwest and thinks everything Donald Trump does is a gift from God.

At one point during the fight I got my dad to say, even though he kinda disagreed with me, “Yes, he has that right, and I will fight for that right,” my dad used to be a Marine, “But I still think it is disrespectful. But you’re right Daniel, I would not want to live in a country that forced its citizen to sit or stand.”

My mom thought me and my dad were fighting, but no, we were just yelling at one another. We didn’t really start fighting until he asked me, “Why did he sit, what was his reasoning?”

I quickly, without a thought, replied by saying, “He sat due to something that he thinks is a injustice, the mistreatment of black people.”

From there the conversation kinda ended, I kept saying “Okay,” at one point just to avoid a fight.

I get my use of metaphors from my dad and for whatever fucking reason he was comparing black people to tigers saying, “You’re right, police need to be better but at the same time I can’t really blame them; when you deal with tigers attacking people everyday and then you find a tiger you’re going to be on edge expecting it to attack you.”

This is kinda where I zoned out and started saying, “Okay.”

My mom ended the conversation when I said, “God dammit dad, he didn’t approach a tiger, he approached a god damn domesticated house cat who told the officer that he was getting his wallet out of his back pocket; and he fucking got shot!”

So with the idea of this posting on Facebook and the conversation that I just had with my dad, on top of the conversation that I had last week I ended up with a thought in my head as I was driving south on I-5.

“What if I didn’t stand for the National Anthem? Would it be assumed that I can’t because I’m in a wheelchair? How would they know that I was choosing not to stand, is it just because they assume that I can’t? What if I wanted to raise awareness because people who are physically disabled have a extremely difficult time finding employment. What if? Would people even be talking about it?”

We have laws in place, I know this, a place of employment can not legally discriminate against me, but you know what? It happens! Do a large majority of people believe me when I tell them that finding a job when you’re physically disabled is extremely difficult? No.

All of the discrimination is unintentional, it’s not like the hiring manager is going around and telling me I’m less then a human because I’m in a wheelchair.

But guess what employers? We feel that way even though you don’t have any intention of doing so, and maybe you do, maybe you are an asshole; but there are ways around that law, some of you know this and you are an asshole, some of you just say no based on this or that but either way you still make handicapped people feel pretty god damn useless.

So because of the idea that I can’t speak on your perspective, lets throw myself under the buss.

In high school, even though I could walk at the time, I was still disabled; my disability is not going away. Unless they come out with a cure, which they were supposed to happen ten years ago. Regardless I was in a wheelchair at that time and my education was based on the field of science and technology, engineering to be more specific.

During my sophomore year of high school I took a drafting class, that as you would expect started out using things like pencils, paper, table, t-squares, triangles, scales, eraser shields, so on and so forth. That then moved into AutoCAD. In my junior year I moved high schools and more or less ended up taking the same class with a different name. For my senior year of high school I could not take the same class over again, so I more or less ended up being a teachers assistant in the same class that I took the year prior.

At one point I got yelled at by my teacher saying, “You’re supposed to be helping these kids, not doing their work for them.” I’m sorry, most of these kids were taking this class because, “It’s an easy A man,” and when you’re trying to explain to a kid to type ‘@34.25<270’ and they act like you’re talking a foreign language it’s easy to just be like “Here, I’ll show you,” but then you get trapped in a moment of, “I’ll just do it for you, because I don’t want to get pissed because you can’t.”

After graduation I went to college and obtained my Associates in Mechanical Engineering Design. I spent two and a half years in a land of…taking my son to daycare, going to school where I studied mechanical blueprints, trig, geometry, physics; for 8 hours a day, picking my kid up from daycare, and then being yelled at my his mom.

I have extensive knowledge in blueprint design, I can’t necessarily tell you how to build a bridge that is supposed to hold 100 tons, and I might have to brush up if you ask me, “If I have a truck that weights 2,000 pounds and is going 40 miles per hour up a hill with friction and a 35% incline and I’m towing a 2,000 pound boat how much will it slow me down and how long will it take for me to get to the top of the hill that is in another 50 feet.”

After that I started a job that was not an engineering type job, but was related in the field of such and gave me experience in the manufacturing/production environment. I held onto that job for 5 years before I was transferred to Seattle and realized that the drive was too much and I could not do it anymore.

While I was employed at that job I went to school…again, got my second Associates in Machining and Manufacturing Technologies, my main goal of getting that degree was to become a CNC Programmer, but then you got the idea that the vast majority of employers will not hire a CNC programmer if said person was not a CNC operator beforehand. That was the beginning of my downfall with that company, I more or less started a job that I could not physically do at the speed that they were asking, and they kept asking me to speed up so much that I got into this mode of doing stupid shit, scraping parts, and asking a ton of questions that I already knew.

And my walking has became worse since that point in time, so while I may not be able to run the machine I can tell you how to setup the machine, load the program, set the Z, set the offset, how to takedown, and I can even tell you what N76G01Z-0.625F1 means.

But does that matter to employers? No. Because my job as a CNC operator was a failure, why? I don’t know if they care. On paper they see this, they don’t care if I know how to program the part being made, the history tells them differently. And I don’t want a job in CNC anything, I’ve done that before, don’t want to do it again.

I’d rather produce a 3D model based on a customers 2D blueprint and hand it to the machinist and say, “Make this shit.”

Then you got the idea that people make assumptions. And that is the downside of being in a wheelchair. You don’t know what I can or can not do, and it’s illegal for you to even ask.

Part of me blames America too, where the fuck do you get the idea that I’m going to sue your company because I fell down or whatever? Oh yea, people do that; but I’m not an asshole. Do you know that? If you give me a job and I stand up with the idea that I might fall over and I do fall over, that is on me, it’s my fault. Now, I’ll sue you if you made me stand up, but if I could do the job without standing up, and I make the personal decision to stand up; I’m not going to sue you because I made the choice to and fell down.

But does it happen? Yes, people sue people over stupid shit all the time. Look at out president, cough cough.

The thing that pisses me off about that is…the negative stereotype plays a lot into your assumption. And while you sit there making assumptions about things that you don’t know or even understand; I’m sitting here being depressed day in and day out because you’re not the only one making those assumptions, everyone else is too. While you sit there I’m taking money out of your pocket, and sure you could sit there and say, “You fucking lazy bastard, stop taking my tax money,” but that’s your fault, it’s your fault that your paying me just to live.

It’s not like I’m not trying to find a job, it’s that all you fuckers make assumption that…you can’t legally make, but can you? And do you? You can make up reasons not to hire someone, sometimes you don’t even need to make shit up. There are a lot, a lot of jobs that I can’t physically do, I get that, but I’m not trying to apply as a patrol officer either.

You’re legally supposed to provide accommodations, but that is a slippery slope and I don’t think people understand that. A chair, fine, if you have to spend $20 on a chair so I can sit, fine you figure I can make that money back within X amount of time. But if you assume, and what happens when you assume? You make an ass out of you and me. When you assume that you need to spend more then it costs to employ me, you wont employ me. And we come back to the negative stereotype that surrounds people in wheelchairs.

Do you know me? Do you know what I can do? Oh that’s right, you can’t ask.

After that job I was giving an under the job table helping my dad. At that time my father was the senior design engineer at a company in Nebraska, and that is why I moved back to Nebraska in the first place. My dad did not know how to use Solidworks, but he knew that I did, he also knew my educational background; based upon that he gave me a job that I could do from home, a job that I could start at three in the afternoon and do until four in the morning if I wanted to.

I talked about this in a previous post, but to summarize it I moved back to Nebraska to take a job at said company. My dad only took the job because they promised to give me a job. By the time I moved back the government shutdown was in high gear, the job never happened, and every time my dad mentioned my name to his boss, he boss would straight up walk away and act like I didn’t exist.

And that is why my dad quit his job and moved back to Washington State to take his old job.

But when he moved we had reason to stay, so we more or less end up staying in Nebraska for another three years. During that time I was lucky and found a job, that hired me after saying that they wouldn’t.

When I started working there I’ve heard a few times that I did a good job and they were happy that they gave me a job, which to be honest only made me feel like I was negatively stereotyped during my initial interview.

I kept that job for a year and a half before I was laid off due to a loss in customer base. During my employment there I ended up turning 2D blueprints into 3D models and then doing the reverse.

I spent my life focused on this, mainly because I knew I had to get a job that I could do from a desk. But the vast majority of the time, these people have worked on the floor for several years. Can I work on the production floor? Then we get back to my first job. Can I work on the floor? Yea, depending on the job. Do you assume that I can work on the floor? Most manufacturing jobs would make you assume that I can’t. Sadly, a lot of them are set up that way and they don’t even bother to ask if they could provide reasonable accommodations unless I have a golden penis that cums one hundred dollar bills.

After I got laid off from my last job…we were planning on moving to Oregon the year before, and due to her job and my job, the decision to stay in Nebraska was made about two weeks prior to me finding out that I was laid off.

So I found myself staying in Nebraska for another year without a job. At this point, I knew from previous occasions how hard it was to find a job. What do I do? I call social security to go back onto disability, and that, that was the most stressful month of my life. I didn’t know if I was going to receive money again by the time my rent was due. I didn’t get any word from anyone about anything. I just sat there worried until money popped into my account without any notification.

I was trying to find a job. Under the rules of Social Security I can work part time for under X amount of money per month, in gross pay, and Social Security still gives me something.

But are you aware how hard it is to find a job, yet alone a part time job when people assume you can’t physically do the job that you’re applying for?

I lived in Lincoln, NE at the time so let assume that there are 250,000 jobs and at the time the unemployment rate was 4.8%, so by doing simple math 12,000 jobs. If you figure that half of those jobs are part-time that take your 12,000 down to 6,000. Then you take into account that I can’t work fast food, I can’t stock shelf’s, I have no customer experience experience, what can I do? That takes the number 6,000 down to about 600. Then you got to account for all the people that can either physically do shit or have better qualifications.

Do you know how much Social Security Disability pays? Do you even care? I assume it’s different for everyone. Let’s assume that you have a full time job that pays you $11.87 an hour, sounds good right, a gross pay of $1,900 a mouth; not great, but that is livable for most poor people; and fuck, there are a lot of poor people in this country. If your monthly gross is $1,900 your take home pay is roughly $1,463; that goes to say that every other Friday you’re taking home $731.50.

Now take that number and instead of getting it every 15 days, you get it every 30 days. How the fuck are you supposed to live on that? Now of days a good 95% of the apartments charge rent over $731.50, so I can’t even pay rent; much less car insurance, car payment, gas for said car, cell phone; what do you expect me to do, get a land line…it’s 2017 people.

So, I need a job, I want a job, do you know how depressing it is to sit here and eat food, go to the store, play Fallout 4, or write a 3,365+ word blog post? I want to feel like I’m contributing to society somehow. Not only that, but fuck, I don’t want to live with my fiances parents either.

That’s easy Dan, change career paths. It’s not that easy! What the hell do I do? My life is surrounded around the idea of engineering, and yes; there are more things I can learn, but still. It’s not like I’m going to take a job that I can’t even do.

So if I was in the situation where millions of people could witness me sit down for the national anthem is it okay just because you assume that I can’t stand? If I made the choice to sit would you know that I’m sitting based on the fact that I’m already sitting and you assume that I can’t stand?

If I wanted to use that as a vehicle to raise awareness to an issue that I deem is an injustice would people even be talking about it?

I used this metaphor once, and I’m going to use it again. That’s the problem Colin Kaepernick is dealing with; it’s like he used a 1998 Toyota Super as a vehicle to raise awareness about how cars don’t get enough gas mileage, and the vehicle worked; it made people all around the country talk. But a year later people are still fighting over the type of vehicle that he used and instead of getting engineers involved to figure out how to reduce gas mileage you got a bunch of people arguing about muscle cars, SUVs, trucks, vans; and why that vehicle is better. Everyone, or most, forgot what the fucking issue was about.

So if I sit during the National Anthem would people care? Would they make an issue about it?

Disabled people, in 1990 the A.D.A. was formed and did a lot to protect us, but does it do enough? There are ways to get around it, and employers use them all the time rather they intend to or not. Discrimination against disabled people happens everyday, might even happen right in front of your face; and you don’t even know.

Perspective; when is the last time you saw someone and thought, “I wonder what their life is like, and if I was faced with the same issues could I overcome it?”

I’ll end this post by asking a very basic question. In this country we have the 1st amendment; that being said we have the freedom to sit or stand for the flag and that same freedom grantees that no one is going to force you do to what they think you should do. Some people might say, “Yea, well standing for the flag is a sign of respect.” You know what, you’re right; but at the same time exercising your right to make a choice on the matter, is also a sign of respect.

Sit or stand, I don’t care, do whatever makes you happy; but think about what you’re saying before you say, “That’s disrespectful.” Is it?

You have that freedom, is it not respect to choose either of the two based on the fact that “they” gave you the freedom do make that choice?

 

 

 

 

 

Proud of Thy Self.

Okay, so before I get into this let me give you a little background. I used to have a job located in Auburn, WA. During my employment there I had a coworker who became someone who I had to train, this individual frustrated the fuck out of me.

To this day I remember the day he tried to take a pad off of a die grinder without holding the shaft stationary. It was like he was trying to unscrew a nut from a bolt without holding the bolt, so all he was doing was turning a object in circles and not making any progress other than looking like an idiot who probably shouldn’t have that job in the first place.

I also had another coworker, who I talked to, but didn’t really care to hang out with.

Throughout the years the second coworker, who no longer lived in the same state as me found me on Facebook just based on the fact that he and I liked the same radio station/Facebook page. He commented on one of my posts on their page, it caught me off guard but was cool nonetheless.

Getting back to the first employee I mentioned, on the day I said, “If he doesn’t want to pay attention and at least pretend that he is learning something, I’m not going to try to teach him anything.” I said it in anger, and I probably shouldn’t have, he was a nice kid who was more than willing to do his job, but didn’t seem to grasp at the most basic idea.

This guy is Facebook friends with the other guy. After I stopped caring to try to teach him and just told him shit without any explanation they moved him to the other side of the shop; same department, different area. So guy 2 ended up training guy 1 and therefore ended up as friends on Facebook.

I typically never add coworkers to Facebook until I don’t work with them, I don’t want them to know too much about me.

As soon as guy 2 found me on Facebook, I get a friend request from guy 1. Whatever, I don’t care, it’s not like I’m trying to avoid him. And I come to find out that he now lives in Oregon, and at that time I was about 1 year away from moving to Oregon.

Fast forward to August 5th, 2017; I share something on Facebook about how it’s cool if you rape someone, kill someone, get in a fight the requires police action, hit your wife, or do copious amounts of drugs when you’re in the NFL  but if you sit down you’re the worst player in the history of the NFL.

So…A conversation with guy 1 came out of the woodwork, we will call guy 1 ‘Steve.’ While it was a fairly short conversation, I was proud of myself for being so clear and concise with my way of thinking. I will refer to myself in the third person, kind of. I will even edit his comments to appear as is he knows how to use words properly.

Steve: This post is so stupid. So you’re okay with people in America not standing for our flag that your founding fathers fought for?

If you’re a fan of the NFL, you know what I’m talking about so I’m not even going to share the picture. But if for some reason you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll let you know if you ask.

Daniel:Yes.

Like…really, you’re going to ask me that? After the initial “what the fuck” moment I added onto it by saying…

Daniel: Since when did they not have the right to choose not to stand?

Which sounds kinda weird because, I feel like, the word ‘not’ creates a double negative.

Steve: If they are living in the U.S.A., playing an American sport, they should show their respect to our country and its military.

Okay, so I wasn’t really going to fight him there, that…while related that was not my focus, but I was getting ready to go this road if that is where he wanted to go.

So I asked a basic question.

Daniel: Do they have to?

I figured, if you’re going to go down the route let’s try to figure out why you’re not okay with it.

I leaned that when you talk to someone who has an opposing view to yours it’s a good thing to find out where they are coming from. Hopefully force them to look at themselves instead of just telling them why they are wrong.

Steve:No body has to do anything but people have the right to lose respect for that person who won’t even show respect to their country

He more or less said what I was hoping he would, but man…a right and a freedom are two different things. While I can see a connection between to two it’s not like they stood up in 1776 and say, “Now hear this, it is your right as an American citizen to loose respect for people.”

But that did make me take the question to its next logical point.

Daniel: And the other crimes are okay?

To which he responded just as I hoped.

Steve: No they are not okay, look at O.J. and Arron Hernandez; they are in prison and because of it don’t have fans anymore.

At this point I asked myself if he knew what was going on it the world but that is beside the point.

I go onto say…

Daniel:Okay, so yes, while people have the freedom to dislike whoever, for whatever; it is massively skewed. He has the freedom to not stand because of what he deems to be an injustice. It just bothers me when all these people loose their shit because he remained within the guidelines of the law without being violent or hostel while trying to shine light on an issue that needed more exposure.

Before he could reply to that I said… But in terms of keeping the conversation in-line he said…

Steve: There are other ways to shine light. I just think it’s very disrespectful to our country and our men, they fought for our country so he can play football and he won’t even stand and show respect.

But before I replied to that I said…

Daniel: Now, if you stand for a country who is doing something that you don’t agree with, is that freedom of speech or expression? Who is the fucked up person in that situation?

I was not expecting a response from that, I just left it as something he can ponder. But I did reply to his last statement by saying…

Daniel: They fought for you to have freedom, the freedom not to.

He ended up liking that comment. I could tell he wasn’t trying to fight, neither was I.

Steve: That’s true. I just feel it’s a matter of respect.

Okay, so I took that, his definition of respect a little bit further. It was also my last comment.

Daniel: Okay, so…choosing to act in a non-violent manner about something that you disagree with is a sign of respect. Choosing to not stand is a sign of respect. They, if you want to call it that, they fought for…I could totally do a research paper on why we separated from Britain. Regardless, not standing; which is your freedom based upon a right that all American citizens have, is…showing respect. 

You have the freedom to, therefore exercising that freedom is showing respect for your country. A country and “the men” who gave you that freedom, the freedom to make a choice without being killed and vilified for doing so.

Now, blindly standing because it was beaten into your head as a kid… does that show me that you fully understand the freedom that you and all Americans have?

Are they standing because they choose to or because they were told to? And is that freedom?

And that’s that, I was actually proud that I was able to speak my point of view without sounding like an idiot who was just shouting meaningless words. And…now I’m going to go get out of my wheelchair and play Fallout 4.

Maybe I’ll get a little “some some” if I go hang out with my fiance for a few minutes.

Should I Change Names?

I just spent the last two and a half hours outside reading chapters 28 and 29 of The Walking Dead: Decent. Then when I realized I was going to begin reading the 6th book, hoping to get the 7th on my birthday; I figured I might as well post a posting that I never post.

I’ve been legally allowed to go to a store and purchase up to one ounce of marijuana, and posses up to eight ounces in my residence for about 3 weeks now. Have I? No. Because really, finding a fob is more important. And I’m an adult, I can choose one over the other. Apparently companies that choose to can still drug test for THC. Which doesn’t really make seance to me.

I understand that you don’t want someone to be drunk at work, but they can not legally fire you for being shit faced off hours. That being said, if I want to smoke pot when I get home and don’t work for the next 2+ hours, I should be able to.

And senate bill 301 in Oregon, which I just literally found out about might make that a possibility.

But that is not the post of this post.

The 402 (Lincoln, Nebraska) that became a 253 (Puyallup, Washington) when I was 14 years old and turned back into a 402 area code when I was 29 years old has just developed into a 503…apparently Portland has two area codes either a 503 or a 719. Should I change the name to my blog?

I’m only 150 miles south of my friends and family and I’m okay with that. It’s no longer 1,625 miles and a two hour difference. If I want to call my friend at 7pm, it’s fucking 7pm. I no longer have to be like, “Well it’s 11 here, so it’s 9 there.”

For the most part I love being back in the Pacific Northwest. There are things I can complain about, but all in all they are small things that can be fixed.

I no longer have to worry about 2 inches of rain in one hour or tornado’s. No, we got volcanoes and earthquakes. And an earthquake, unless you’re around a bunch of tall buildings without current engineering standards you’re fine, it’s not like the ground is going to split and you’re going to fall into it.

And volcanoes, If one goes off in my lifetime, well I guess I’m fucked; but I don’t see that happening.

Tornado’s, now you can live in Lincoln and be like, “Oh we’re fine,” But when you have a unfurnished basement of dead cockroaches and no cable TV that shit fucking sucks. Especially when you’re in a wheelchair and can’t easily get down, or up, a large set of stairs.

And I made this post with nothing to say, so…I bid you adieu…I’m going to go play Fallout 4.

Wasting Time

You ever hear someone ask you, “Why do you listen to talk radio, that is so boring.” Well, no, no it’s not; you just haven’t discovered it.

When I was a kid, my dad was the typical older guy who listened to classic rock. At the point in my life I listened to rap, and only rap; everything else was dumb. As I got older my musical tastes have spread to places that I wasn’t looking at before. Now a day at the age of 33 I like…see, everyone classifies shit as whatever the fuck they want it to be. To put it very simple I opened myself up to rock: classic rock, metal, heavy metal, alternative, blah blah blah.

I can list the bands but then you’d be stuck with a pointless post full of band names.

I still listen to rap, it is still my favorite; but I have so much more now.

As my dad got older I came to find out that all he did was listen to some kind of talk radio, talking about something. And as I get older I’m starting to understand the mental stimulation that comes with that.

I mean I still listen to music, I love music; but here in a few days I’m going to spend 3 days in a car. On day one I’ll be driving from Lincoln, Nebraska to Laramie, Wyoming; a total of 492 miles (or 792 kilometers). On day two I’ll be driving from Laramie, Wyoming to Boise, Idaho; a total of 690 miles (or 1,111 kilometers). On day three I’ll be driving from Boise, Idaho to Portland, Oregon; a total of 430 miles (or 692 kilometers).

That comes to a grand total of 1,612 miles/2,595 kilometers.

That song? Oh I’ve heard that song before, hundreds of times. Podcasts and/or talk radio make it much easier to sit on the road for hours at a time. Time flies by a lot faster when you’re using the excuse of driving as an excuse to hear what they’re going to say next.

Regardless of what cell phone companies claim, when you leave a city in the Midwest you also loose any 3G connection, and based upon that I bought SiriusXM radio just for this trip, which I’ll have to cancel here in about 30 days or so.

If I have the internet, I don’t really care about Shade45, Octane, The Bridge, or Faction Talk; but it’s going to come in handy over those 3 days of car travel.

And on that note, I think talk radio also calms people down. I’m one of the only people I know who can be comfortable sitting on South 167 from Auburn, Washington to Puyallup, Washington and spending the next one and a half to two hours traveling 25 miles.

The Men’s Room, KISW, look it up.

Your Handicapped Perspective of the Day

Yesterday I went to the store to buy my fiance a card and roses; partly because it was sweet just to do it, and partly because I needed to offer an apology for the events that took place the night before.

At this point you might say, “What did you do?” It does not matter, it’s not the point of this post; but just to satisfy your curiosity I got too drunk and ended up throwing up on the carpet.

I’m one of those people in a wheelchair who actually goes outside and does shit. Like I’m known do to. I went to the store and after picking out what I wanted to buy I realized that I left my wallet at home, so I put the items on hold to go home and get my wallet.

Which more or less means that I already put my wheelchair in my car, but now I got to transfer it two more times then I wanted to. So at this point I would have to put in/take out my wheelchair a total of six times.

Can I do it? Yes? I don’t mind doing it. The only reason I don’t want to is because it adds about 20 minutes to my trip that was not supposed to take that long in the first place.

It was a nice day yesterday in southeast Nebraska. Sunny and warm, but not that humid; kind of reminded me of Washington Summer’s in a weird way. When I came home to get my wallet I had the task of getting out of my driver seat, using the side of the car to help me walk to the trunk, taking my wheelchair out and assembling it, going up the ramp into my house; and by the time I got my wallet I had to do all of those steps in the reverse order.

I get home, I got to the back of my car, took out and assembled my chair. Just as I sat in my chair and wheeled myself over to the ramp that takes me to the front door of my house and I hear, “Do you need any help sir,” to which I said, “No.”

This guy sounded like he was offended that I said, “No.” Look man, I’m doing something that I do many times a day. If I had that much trouble getting into my own house don’t you think I would live somewhere else?

I’m very active, as far as someone in a manual wheelchair is considered. I hear, “Do you need any help,” more times in a week than most people do in a year.

I understand that you want to be nice, as part of me appreciates that you want to be nice. The other part of me however hears that so much that it gets annoying and makes me think that you’re someone who assumes that those of us in wheelchairs are not independent and clearly can’t do anything by ourself’s.

I do this many times a day, I don’t need your help; and for you to assume that I need help with one of the simplest tasks that I do on a daily basis just makes me think that you’re an asshole who just wants to feel better.

Don’t you think if I needed help I’d be like, “Hey, can you help me please,” versus just getting unprovoked help that might not be needed in the first place?

That’s like me being somewhere and asking you if you need help walking. The first time it happens you might just think they’re weird for asking such an odd question, in my case you might even expect it; but being asked that multiple times a day is rather annoying.

If I needed help I’d ask. I much rather ask then having people assume.

I Feel Like Writing!

I’m the type of person who does not care if my friends use my wheelchair if I’m not.

Back in high school I was in yearbook production, I could also walk; it was not able to walk like most people think of walking, but nonetheless I was able to get myself from point A to B and back again without using my wheelchair.

One day I’m sitting at the computer using Photoshop to design one of the junior pages. I was not in my wheelchair, I was in the nice “school version” of an office chair because I deemed it more comfortable.

My friend Lance had to go interview someone, about something, and said, “Hey bro, can I use your pimp ride?” Which I didn’t care, “Yea man, whatever, just don’t be trying to go down a set of stairs or whatever.”

About 30 minutes later he came back to class and said, “Man, how do you guys do this, my arms hurt.”

About two weeks after that I was staying after school to work on the yearbook and Lance was with me, a few other students, and the teacher. School was pretty empty at this point, and once again I was not sitting in my wheelchair. When I had to go to the bathroom I decided I would just walk there.

For some reason the bathrooms are locked after school, which I didn’t know at the time; by the time I walked 50 feet in one direction, 150 feet in the other direction, and another 1,000 feet that same direction to end up going to the bathroom to just walk 1,150 feet back to class I opened the door to say, “Man, how do you guys walk, my legs hurt.”

And this leads into my topic.

My mom, who didn’t show signs of our disability until 1973 or 1974; at the age of 18, just got a manual wheelchair. Before that she was using a cane or one of those walkers with wheels on them. She was still able to walk, and still is; but as time goes on it is slowly deteriorating and you can tell she is having a harder time doing so.

Me on the other hand didn’t walk until I was 3 and pretty much had a wheelchair my whole life, 33 years later I’m on my fifth wheelchair and due to how active I am I see myself needing another one sometime around the age of 40.

I was able to walk in the past, but it was…different. I can still walk I suppose, but I need assistance with every step. Back when I was able to run, jump, and skip I still had a wheelchair even though I rarely used it. Around the age of 16 when I entered high school I more or less started using my wheelchair when I was away from home.

I had many years since then to figure out shit that most people don’t know how to do. Wheelie’s, opening doors, getting into my car, and toning my muscles to take me places.

So now my mom is asking me, “How do you open doors?” I can tell her, “You go up to the door until you can’t go any further, then put one hand on the door handle and keep your other hand on the wheel, roll backwards as fast as you car and swing the door open. Then take that arm that you were holding the door open with and use it to catch the door as is closes, use the door and your one arm to move though the door.” Or, “Go up to the door, crack it open, and slowly run into it until it opens to the point that allows you to push yourself though the door.”

But, I don’t know how much she will understand that. She has never done it before. It’s kinda like explaining how to swim when you only know how to stand in a pool.

And she doesn’t have the same arm tone that I do. I can go 500 yards on a sidewalk and not be tired, but I don’t know if she can; and hills, come on man, I can get up a 30 degree incline and understand the physics of weight changes and whatnot. I can even do the same thing on grass based on the fact that I know how to do a wheelie.

But she does not. Part of me wants to call her and say, “You need to go to the mall and just cruise, get your arm strength up.” Then going up a hill, I don’t know if she’ll be able to navigate that without falling backwards because she doesn’t know any better.

Then going down a hill, seems easy, but that too requires knowledge of how to stop, how to steer your chair at a fast rate of speed, and how to control each wheel if you lose traction. The breaks won’t do shit in that case, they might burn your hands and cause you to crash into whatever you’re not steering away from.

Like, I’m not there. I can’t take her to the mall and give her wheelchair lessons. My dad is a motherfucking genius when it comes to physics, but I don’t know how much he can help either. I’m 1,600 miles away I just can’t be like, “Do this,” and even when I do move to Oregon I’ll still be about 200 miles away.

Last night I told her, “Go to Youtube, that’s a good resource for almost anything that you want to know.”

I was on the phone with her when she said, “Boy, carpet is so much harder then wood.” Part of me felt good that she can finally grasp that understanding, and part of me was like “Well no shit.”

Moving to Oregon!!!

(I’m writing this a few days after I posted this. There are a lot of grammar, spelling or incorrect words in this post; I do not feel like editing it right now…so just know, if you don’t, that I’m not that stupid, I just suck at editing my self before I hit post)

A few days ago I remembered doing something and a few minutes later I attempted to make a funny post about said memory. At the beginning of my relationship with my now fiance I took her on a last minute date to Mt. Rainier. While that was running thought my head I had a thought that hopefully would seem funny to those outside of The Midwest, or Nebraska.

I more or less posted:

Hey, Shannon remember that time I took you on a last minute date/adventure to Mt. Rainier? It was fun wasn’t it? Mr. Fox hanging out next to the car, the bathrooms were berried under snow (in the summer) and then after we got home I realized I could of got in for free.

We had lunch in the paradise parking lot and the entire time there was a gray fox sitting right next to my car starring at us. We didn’t feed it, but we wanted to; he or she was kinda cute just sitting ten feet away from my front door watching us eat in a non-violent manner.

And there is the issue that I can get into a national park for free based on the fact that I’m disabled.

What am I supposed to do in this state? Take you somewhere and be like, “This hill is the largest hill in this state and its peak is 20 feet high.” Or take you to a body of water and be like, “Hey look, it’s a body of water, I’m pretty sure its deepest point is less than 100 feet; and look, you can even see land on every side”.

So that was my attempt to make fun of my own state, the state I was born in but was away for for 15 years.

On another topic I went to go get gas today and had another thought which I will talk about more below, but based on that I had the idea to write top top reasons I’m excited to move to Oregon.

These are not in any particular order, but I tried to put the most important shit upfront, however they are all important to me and towards to end of the list I found myself asking if this was more important then that.

1. I’ll be closer to my kid

As some of you might know; my kid was born in 2003, around the summer of 2005 I was booted out of the house and moved back in with my parents. After that I got to see my kid every other weekend.

Shortly after I moved out, like right after…and I have a post called Restless Night if you care to read more about that.

Now…if you read that post you might already know. She spent no time jumping from boy to boy. Nine mouths later they were married. He was in the military; and if you know anything about Washington State…Ft. Lewis.

Anyhow because of said marriage my son spent the last ten years, starting at the age of 3, maybe 4 moving all over the country. Then his step-father got a job in Seattle, out of the military.

So now my kid is back in the state where he was born and when I move to the northern edge of Oregon I’ll be a 21 hour drive closer. So I’m looking forward to that, my son says he is too. We both suck at coming up with things to say, so our phone conversations are very little. Not because I don’t care about my kid, but due to awkward silence. And if I ask him questions or say something I still get “Okay,” “No,” “Yea,” “Cool,” so on and so forth, like where do I go from there

But being with him in person is different, he will talk your ear off…which I did at that age too.

I’m just hoping that his mom will let him come live me Shannon and I for 30 days during his summer break.

2. I’ll be closer to my friends.

This…I might not need to explain this either. If you dig into my blog there is plenty of information to tell you what I’m about to summarize.

When I was a kid in Nebraska, I was picked on…more so than most kids, yes we were kids, yes that what kids do…but 30 people every day. Then I moved to Washington State and that pretty much stopped.

I became more popular that I could have ever imagined. My soon to be best man at my wedding…I’ve known him since 1998, the year I moved there; granted he only hung out with me because he thought my sister was hot, but after he got to know me he stuck to me like adhesive.

My other friend, he sucks at giving speeches; he will not be making any speeches at my wedding. I’ve known him since 1998 too.

My friends in Washington…what else can I say.

3.  I’ll be closer to my family

Now, my dad has five sisters and had 2 brothers, 1 remaining; regardless of that it has spawned a huge family who mostly reside in Nebraska, a few in Iowa. But I don’t think of them as…people who are close to me, mainly due to religious and political difference which I might mention later on it this post.

I moved back to Nebraska a year after my father moved back to Nebraska. He offered me a job in Nebraska a year prior. If you know anything about my blog, you know my stance on how difficult it is for people with disabilities to find a job.

As much as I didn’t want to leave the state of Washington, I saw it as a foot in the door to the engineering field. In which I have two college degrees that focus of the line of work. After talking to my now fiance, she moved to Nebraska with me in the same hopes that I would walk into that door.

Which never happened. At that time the government had a shut down of manufacturing, and the company my dad worked for got all to most of its contracts though the U.S. government. And his boss, whenever you mentioned something to him that he didn’t want to talk about he would just act like the situation was not there.

So I lived in Nebraska hoping for a job that I never got. On a positive note I found a job similar to that and was employed for 19 months until I was laid off due to a loss in customers base.

Around that time my father received a call from his old boss (they really liked my dad and were sad to see him go). After a, “You sure you don’t want your job back,” conversation on the phone; he quit his job in Nebraska based on several factors, one of them being that his boss promised to hire me but acted like I didn’t exist, and moved back to Washington to take his old job.

So being able to drive up to the Tacoma area for holidays or just because would be awesome.

This last Christmas I stayed in Nebraska, mainly because neither I nor my parents could afford to fly me out. I was sitting at a dinner table with my fiance, 3 of my dad’s sisters, my closet cousin, and a few other family members. The men were in the family room watching a Seahawks game, which was great for me; and the women were all hanging out in the kitchen talking about whatever.

As I’m sitting there talking to my Aunt Sandy and Aunt Diana I hear them say, “Oh my God Daniel, you look, act, and talk just like Billy (my dad). That makes me feel good.

There are things me and my dad disagree on, him being a republican and me being a democrat; which I’ll speak about later, but I have always been closer to my father than my mother. Mainly because my dad, as much as he doesn’t want me to fuck up, realizes that sometimes I won’t learn if I don’t. As my mom…she tries to stop me from doing anything that she deems dangerous, like you know, driving to Taco Bell or going outside when she thinks I will fall.

4.  Mountains, ocean, and trees.

Before I knew that I was going to move back to Nebraska I had a coworker, who I ate lunch with and also knew that I was from Nebraska. He would ask me some of the dumbest shit ever, which was funny as hell and stupid as fuck, but he is still a friend, not a close friend, but someone I still talk to and would hang out with.

“Do black people live in Nebraska?” May I mention that he was black. To which my smartass response was, “Do white people live in Baltimore?” which is uneducated on my part, I never been to Maryland other then a field trip in middle school. But…I think you can understand what I was trying to get at.

“Do people in Nebraska listen to anything besides country music?” Another smartass reply came from such, “I don’t know man, do people in Seattle listen to anything other than Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden?”

“Are there any trees in Nebraska?” This honestly made me look at him and think, “What the fuck man.” “Yes, there are.” But after being back here for about 4 years now…I can understand when you take The Evergreen State and try to compare it to Nebraska, that’s like trying to compare me to a seven foot tall NBA player. Yes, we are both human beings, but there are very distinct difference the two.

I don’t know if I need to say anymore. Oregon has mountains, Nebraska does not. Oregon in on a the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Nebraska is not anywhere close to either ocean. And trees…Oregon is a giant ass forest with cities built in the middle, I’m so used to the Pacific Northwest type forest that when you take me to a plot of land in Nebraska and say, “This is a forest,” I can’t help but laugh at you.

5.  Different climate

Keep in mind when I reference Oregon I’m talking about the low land portion of Portland, not the eastern side or up in the mountains.

So in Nebraska, there are actually four seasons; Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. In western Oregon there are only two; Rain and Summer.

In Nebraska it easier to distinguish the four season than it is in Oregon.

As far as Nebraska goes the winters average a temperature from 10-25, and it can get as low as -10. It’s common to see 6 to 12 inches of snow more then two times in a three month period. Spring starts to get warmer, all the trees that have no leaves start to grow leave again, the grass starts to turn back into a green from a brown. The average temperature can be anywhere for 30 to 70, and I love When it’s hot in the spring, reminds me of Washington summers.

Summer here, the average temperature is anywhere for 80-110, and there is no ocean, so there is so much humidity it the air that it feels like you’re in a 90 degree sauna with a 120 degree heat lamp that you can’t escape from. Then you get into the fall which is more or less the reverse of spring. Leaves die, your grass turns brown, its starting to get colder outside.

Oregon has four seasons too, but they are “closer together” than what you would experience in the Midwest. Winter might be anywhere from 15-30 degrees, but it’s raining. Spring might be anywhere form 40-70, and it might be raining then too. Summer is the best, and I think I’ve explained that already, it might rain; but for those 90 days, I love that, when it’s not raining the weather is fantastic. Then you get back into the fall which again is the same as spring, for the most part.

And let me say one thing about the rain: The rain in Oregon ain’t that bad. People associate it with Seattle, but it ain’t as bad as you might think. When someone says,” Oh yea, it will start raining on Monday and won’t stop until Saturday.” That sounds bad, but it’s not. Rain here is like standing under high pressure shower head for an hour compared to standing under a low pressure sprinkler for a week.

Rain might sprinkle on us for a week, but it dumps on you for an hour.

And humidity…come on man. If you’re in the Midwest picture a 90 degree day in the spring, take out the gusts of wind you get and then imagine that in August.

6.  Jack in the Box.

Some people hate the food at Jack in the Box, which I don’t understand, but whatever, people are allowed to feel anyway they want.

But…Breakfast at 6pm or dinner at 5am, need I say more? And a large menu with a lot of options.

Nebraska does not have a Jack in the Box, and it makes me sad. I have to drive 110 miles over to Kansas City, Kansas just to have Jack in the Box. Every time I’m up in that area one of the things I make a point to do, which might be more than once, is eat at Jack in the Box.

7.  Weed is legal

I could talk for hours about the legalization of marijuana, but I won’t…if you agree with me you know everything I’m going to say; and if you don’t you won’t care anyways. Both times in college I has to take an English class, both of them had the topic of a persuasive essay either 5,000 words or a 15 minute speech, both of those time I wrote about exactly that: The legalization of Marijuana.

Now, I’ve been away for so long that I’m not keeping up with the laws in said state. And when I left I didn’t live in Oregon anyhow.

Do you know how good it feels to say, “I was one of the many who voted to legalize relational marijuana in Washington,” when you live in one of the few states that does not even allow medicinal marijuana.

Say what you what, but Washington as well as Colorado showed a decease in violence, and traffic fatalities with a large, and I mean large, increase in state revenue that goes back to the states infrastructure.

And I’m pretty sure Oregon, all all the other state that passed it since 2012 will follow suit.

8.  I don’t have to pump my gas.

So my fiance’s my was out here to visit and while my fiance was at work I was driving around town from place to place to do some stuff with her mom, who is 50 something… I’m guessing, when we pulled up to a gas pump to get gas I asked, “Do you mind pumping the gas?” And She said, “I don’t know how to.”

After thinking about it for a few seconds it made sense to me, and I’m not trying to say she is less of a person because of it.

Do you know how many jobs are created in Oregon because of that? It’s against the law to pump your own gas. So that’s cool, but good luck getting gas at two in the morning. You might just have to cross the river and go to Vancouver, WA if you need gas at 2am.

As far as I go, I just got a new car, a car with the gas tank on the passenger side. And as time goes on its getting more difficult for me to walk. Yea, I know, there is a disabled button on gas pumps, but not many people use them and that being said the employees inside of the store are not used to it; every time I pushed it, nothing happened.

When I had a car with the gas pump on the drivers side, it was much easier for me to pump my own gas, but now I got to add the task of walking around the vehicle just to do it, then I got to walk back afterwards.

It’ll just be great to roll up to a gas station, I might have to wait in line, but I don’t have to get out of my car; I can either say “Fill it up,” or “Twenty bucks,” and it will be done for me.

9.  More democratic.

A few days ago I caught myself thinking, “Do republicans view Washington and Oregon the same way democrats view Texas?”

On a separate occasion I went to the movies with my fiance and one of the characters said, something along the lines of, “This is a small village, people don’t have that many issues do deal with.” And in the middle of the movie that got me to thinking about how smaller towns tend to be republican while larger ones tend to be more democratic.

And yes, there are republicans in Oregon; there are democrats in Nebraska. Lincoln and Omaha are the two largest cities in Nebraska, and that being said there are more democrats and more moderate republicans who understand that there are a lot of people here that deserve the same rights as everyone else, they all have different religions and backgrounds.

But you get outside of Lincoln or Omaha into smaller towns you tend to find people who think it’s okay to force people to be a certain religion, it’s okay to force kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school, it’s okay to deny a couple the right to marriage because of a religion that is not supposed to hold any legality and that everyone who doesn’t speak English should fucking get the fuck out; all of these make you think, “What the fuck is your problem.”

Now Oregon, specifically the Portland area is the same as Western Washington; as far as cities go. A bunch of cities all jam packed next to one another with very large and very diverse groups of people. And the republicans there, are surprisingly moderate. They might consider themselves to be financially republican but socially democratic.

I’ve heard a quote from a comedy special on Netflix where Trevor Noah said something along the lines of, “There are so many people in this world, once you start to travel from state to state, even country to country you start to understand how insignificant you are.”

I don’t know about you but I’d rather live somewhere where people allow you to live your life how you deem fit as long as you’re not being violent versus someone who is close minded and thinks everyone should be just like him or her.

10. Less religious.

I don’t know what I can say about this. I’d rather live somewhere where people don’t think your a violent people who kills children and drinks their blood just because you’re an Atheist.

Due to previous research I can tell you that – these stats might have changed – Mississippi is 7% Atheist, Nebraska is 14%, while Oregon and Washington are up in the 24 to 25% range.

I don’t care what you believe, you can believe in a giant lumberjack who has a blue Ox for all I care, but the moment that you try to effect my life, the education in schools, or the freedom that is in the first amendment, that is when I have a problem.

11.  Ikea, Fred Meyer, and others.

Fred Meyer is great, I don’t really know what to say; I miss it. It’s like going to a smaller bet better version of Walmart.

12.  More handicapped accessibility.

People here think that shit is handicapped accessible; but it’s not. Yea sure, I can get from here to there, but it’s not as easy. I mean like I can get around in a wheelchair, but it’s like the Midwest has this idea of…

“If we have to legally do it, I guess we will; but that’s as far as it goes. If you can get in and out of the store we fulfilled our legal responsibility. If you can get out of the door on the side of the building because a fire is blocking the door that you can enter, that ain’t our fault. And well if you cant get down to the street via a curb-cut, well that’s not our fault either; go over there and then come back this way. We don’t care about how easy it is, all we need to check off of our list is rather it can be done.”

I don’t expect to climb Mt. Hood in my wheelchair, but Oregon has a better idea of, “You’re here and you need to get there; you can go this way or that way.”

And if you’re from the Midwest and think I’m talking out of my ass, go borrow a wheelchair and live in in for 30 days. I grantee you smaller towns are not as accessible as bigger cities. And I’m sorry but, Lincoln ain’t as big as you think it is.

And keep in mind I’m very active, which is a weird adverb to relate to someone in a wheelchair. But I’m not just some dude that lives at home and doesn’t go anywhere, just because we can go over there and do this does not mean we don’t what to go over there and do that.

I’m just saying, larger populated areas seem to have a better grasp of said topic.

13.  Thrift Shopping

A few days ago I was listening to Seattle Rock Day on KISW and Maclemore’s Thrift Shop started playing, which was odd for that station; but made sense in the context. And that got me to thinking about how happy I would be to go thrift shopping in the PNW.

Thrift shopping in Nebraska is like going into a hoarders house and finding nothing that you want and then when you do find something that you think would be $3.99 you find out that they want $19.99 for a crumbled up piece of paper.

Portland and Seattle area thrift shops just have a much better selection, you can actually find what you want, and they don’t charge a ungodly amount of money for something that should be half of that price.

Everyone out here sales their shit, they don’t donate it. And when the sale it they thing it’s perfectly okay to ask for 75 to 100% of the price that they bought it for five years ago.