Wednesday, 9 September 2020

The Scooterverse

* Just want to emphasize that this is simply a fun way to pass the time, and shouldn't be taken as a serious writing project.*

In June, I had said I was going to do a month of writing based on Scriptwriting projects, the comic I pitched, and heroes I had created for fun.

Well, the "month" has lasted almost all Summer long!

I started by writing an origin for The Red Knight, a hero I made for a one-act play. The Red Knight II, a legacy character, came next, followed by two other heroes I'd created some time ago.

Elements of those first profiles led to more writing and more characters. Profiles and origins were becoming more and more intricate.

Eventually, I had villains (a lot harder to create than heroes), at least one team, an event or two, and a loosely connected history.

Around July, I found my notes from Scriptwriting for Cryptic, the TV show I came up with, then comic I pitched. I challenged myself to expand on some them and let my creative side go wild! I discovered that bits of Cryptic fit pretty well with my super-folks. 

Just like that, I had my very own universe. The Scooterverse, if you will!

The Scooterverse has been a great way to pass the Summer, and has reminded me how much fun it is to write this kind of stuff.

Next step: some Scooterverse-inspired short stories, maybe??


Sunday, 23 August 2020

Review: Nothing Without Us

In June, I streamed a panel called Disabled Literature that was part of a virtual conference put on by Renaissance Press, a small publishing company (that, to me, is local) specializing in diverse Canadian talent and content.

Panelists were discussing Nothing Without Us, an anthology of realistic and speculative (sci-fi/fantasy) fiction featuring characters with disabilities, written by disabled authors. The book sounded like something I'd like, so I eventually bought it.

While I liked everything, I thought the speculative stories were the best.

Fantasy elements meshed really well with the subject of disabilities. The first story featured a small golem being made to assist the main character as a sort of personal service worker, then being passed on to do the same for another disabled individual.

Another story was about a wizard wanting to see an oracle. As with similar stories, the wizard had to take on a challenge first. Only here, instead of climbing a mountain or jumping over a bottomless chasm, the wizard's task was to descend a flight of 99 stairs, a real feat due to the character's multiple sclerosis, which itself was externalized as a doppelganger because of a curing spell gone wrong.

In my opinion, the stand-out story of the anthology was one called "Search and Seizure", about a young woman with a condition that causes her to have intense seizures. Throughout her young life, this girl is made to feel like the condition is all in her head and is essentially blown-off by doctors, until one day when a doctor thinks it's okay for her to drive home from the hospital and she has a seizure which causes her to crash and die. The story finds her ghost stuck in the hospital, along with the ghosts of other patients whose complaints have been ignored.

One day, the young woman is passing by a playroom and notices a copy of The Hobbit she had lost. It's the only physical object she can connect with, so she continues to leave it at the desk of the doctor responsible for her death, hoping to be acknowledged. He doesn't, so she follows him around. One day, she's observing him with a patient; a girl with a condition similar to hers. This girl gets ignored and put down, until the main character gets fed up and causes power to flicker. After that incident, she outright haunts the doctor, appearing to him in a mirror at the end of the story.

When I finished reading it, the only descriptor I could think of was "beautifully @$&!ed up", and I mean that in the best possible way!

One final story actually made me question my own advocacy, and whether I might be being a bit too passive at times.

As far out as some of them were, each story had roughly the same message of taking ownership of your condition and feeling comfortable with it and yourself, which I appreciated.

While it wasn't perfect, I really enjoyed Nothing Without Us. Well written, unique, and entertaining.


Friday, 7 August 2020

Almost Like Old Times

Bit of bragging.

Back in March, I had written a post about how, because of COVID, my one goal for the summer was to be able to walk through my subdivision, cross the road, and get lunch.

Well, I can now check that goal as complete!

This afternoon, the weather was finally cool enough (after an oppressive month-long heatwave), and I was confident enough, that I went for a walk and got some Subway, and brought it home.

The whole thing felt equal parts exhilarating, boring, and weird, but I guess that's a sign of the times.


Phase Three Festivities & Masked Munchies

Me and my abundance of emotion...

A few weeks ago, Ottawa entered Phase Three of its COVID-reopening plan, which meant, among other things, that restaurants could return to dine-in service, albeit with added safety measures. Just in time for my mother's 60th birthday!

While she probably would have preferred her usual vacation-birthday, that wasn't in the cards this year, so we took advantage of the re-openings and had a fancy dinner out at Beckta, a restaurant in downtown Ottawa my Mom's wanted to go to.

It was my first time sitting for a long period outside of my home since I left work in March and, to be honest, I was terrified (halfway through dinner, my family said I looked pale, so I guess it showed). But, I had my mask and some sanitizer on hand, the restaurant was extra safe, and with my Mom's birthday and the opportunity to be downtown again, the rewards outweighed the risks.

Beckta itself was a really nice higher-end restaurant, with great service and good food. We all splurged and got the Chef's Choice, a five course tasting menu. It was like being on one of those Top Chef shows!

We had scallop crudo, an amazing tomato and ricotta tart, lobster dumplings (pictured above), roast pork (or duck), and a gourmet strawberry shortcake. Absolutely worth it!

The following week, my Dad and I went back to The Works, our favourite burger place, for the first time this year (photo's at the top of the post)!

To ensure safety, they had taken out about half their tables, required diners to where masks until seated, and left everything (menus, etc.) on each tabled until customers left. They had also cut their menu by about a third. But all my favourites and go-to burgers made the cut and it was as delicious as ever!

I'm still keeping safe and to myself as much as possible, but it's nice to finally have some options for the occasional reprieve.


Monday, 20 July 2020

Convention Season

One thing that I've always wanted to to has been to attend a major comic book convention.

I've been to events like Toronto Comics Art Fest (TCAF) in Toronto, Hal-Con in Halifax, and Ottawa's own comic convention, and they've been great, but every summer I still dream of going to one of the major conventions like those in New York, Seattle and, of course, San Diego. Unfortunately, they're always too far, too expensive, or too crowded for my liking, so I usually just settle on going online to read the latest news, look at cosplay photos, and watch the odd video that gets uploaded.

Thanks to COVID, some of these conventions are going free and virtual, which means that I can finally cross off one of my biggest Bucket List items and participate!

San Diego Comic-Con, or ComicCon@Home as it's branding itself this summer, starts this week, with tons of great panels, interviews, and workshops set to be streamed. So much so that is was kind of overwhelming reading through them all!

Also announced for later this summer around the end of August-early September is DragonCon, normally held in Atlanta, Georgia. DragonCon seems to be a gaming and literary convention, but still sounds pretty awesome, so I'll probably look into this one too.

Even though it was cancelled, TCAF even got into the online spirit a couple months ago, releasing a digital showcase of work from vendors and creators who would have attended this year's event as a PDF that was free to download with a donation benefiting both next year's convention and the comic shop located  next to the Fest's venue, which I thought was a great idea!

Fun times ahead!


Saturday, 18 July 2020

"Special" Words

*This post is meant to be just for fun. Apologies if anyone is offended*

I’m a person with different abilities who was looking to be included in the workforce. An organization for neurodiverse individuals set me up with an Inclusion Specialist. Now I take special transportation, known locally as Para Transpo, to and from the office three days a week.

If anything about that statement seems odd to you then you're not alone.

When I was writing the post about channeling George Carlin, I was watching some clips of his stand-up, and he did a bit about euphemisms and political correctness. Part of that bit was about language within and about the disability community. Over the last month or so, I've been casually writing down as many disability-related euphemisms as I can, and I've come up with quite a list!

There's standards like disabled and handicapped, "positive" spins on those like differently-abled and handicapable, and person-first language like person with a disability and person with different abilities. 

I picked up on tons of old-timey words like crippled, mad, deviant, lame, infirm, and invalid.

I read a bunch of slang like crip, gimp, wheelie, aspie, and spoonie (related to autism, but I forget how). I even remembered a friend with a shunt calling themselves an airhead. 

You've got mental retardation and every one of its unfortunate derivatives.

All the "special" words and phrases, from special needs and special education to special siblings and special purpose. I looked up that last one in Google. None of the results had to do with disabilities, but most did mention military surplus and auto parts!

I noticed that, when I need a drive somewhere, I use an accessible parking permit. However, when I reach my destination, the vehicle parks in a handicapped parking spot. And when I fly, I take advantage of pre-boarding as a person in need of assistance.

I wrote down exceptional (referencing education), neurodiverse, which I actually think sounds pretty cool, and access inclusion seeker, which is a term that exists, apparently.  And finally, because of COVID, there's vulnerable.

I'm not writing this post to be judgey, or tell people how to talk or anything. I just figured there's an insane amount of weird words out there related to disabilities, and thought it would be a fun little exercise to see how many I could write down.


Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Ten and Two

The last couple weeks, as well as the next couple, represent two anniversaries for me.

Two weeks ago marked an entire decade of me living in the city of Ottawa. Technically, it's eleven since I had spent most of the previous year at college, but it became official in 2010! I still remember staying in our, at the time, brand new house overnight, on my own, and how excited I was. I also remember being out and about, and doing things independently around the city within a year of moving.

In other anniversary news, as of next week I'll have been at my current job for two whole years! I feel like I should be more excited and write some more, but I guess work is just part of the routine now.

Nothing more to add, just a quick post to share.