selies“Life moves so fast. You gotta document the good times, man.” ~ Big Boi

According to Wikipedia,The first partially successful photograph of a camera image was made in approximately 1816 by Nicéphore Niépce.

In just over two centuries through the constant development of technology, we have been able to capture our favorite moments with our most beloved people in our lives.

In the 21st Century, we take photographs of anything and everything that crosses our sight. In the press of a button, people upload an average of 1.8 BILLION images every single day!! That’s billion… with a B.

I have done my fair share of that. And I am unapologetic for many photographs that I have uploaded. And some will never be uploaded or shared because they are taken for personal reasons. (Get your head out of the gutter!)

In 2011, I started traveling. Many of you will remember the countless blog posts of shows that I attended in Houston. I started doing so because I was so excited about traveling that I wanted to share. I have spent a lot of money buying disposable cameras to document my travel, fun moments, and loved ones. And I have spent even more money getting that film developed.

Three years later, I found myself attending events locally. Particularly in the downtown area. As you can imagine, I have met some people and made some friends along the way.

Within those three years, I received an Olympus digital camera as a gift. And since then I have been using it extensively ever since. I didn’t ask or beg for it. It came from the kindness of that person’s heart.

Yet bringing it into the world of smart phones, it seems a bit ancient and archaic. But it still functions as it is supposed to.

Yeah, the flash is super bright. I am aware. People seem to think I don’t know that. I HAVE HEARD MANY OF YOU WHEN YOU THOUGHT I COULD NOT. Gossip-1

Throughout this summer, I have heard people mumbling about me wanting to take photographs. A majority of it actually are people who are complaining and bitching about it behind my back and they don’t think I know about it or even think that I actually heard them as the words actually came from their lips.

If it comes down to you not liking your picture taken, that is your choice. But 99.99999% of the photographs I have taken, that has not been the case. Plus you simply will not receive the benefits. Again, that is your choice.

So it is time for me to set this record straight. Even though I was not asked to, nor do I feel that I should. If I have ever taken a photograph of you, and/or taken a photograph WITH YOU…. you will see that this is for YOUR benefit.

As I stated already, photographs are taken when I wish to document a special moment. Or if I am with people that I have deemed special to keep in my life that I would always want to remember those moments.

Think about for a moment. I WANT to remember that time when I was with you. Flattery should fall upon you, not loathing.

Over the last three years, a majority of my social life has involved entertainment in music. Live music mostly. The Olympus coming right along with me.

So I sit there right up in front of the stage to be able to feel in the moment when the music is playing. I take my photographs to the best of my ability with what I have.

And at the end of the night (by way of habit) I take selfies or pose for pictures with the musicians that are participating. After that I take more pictures of those who also attended. Mostly those whom I have grown to have a personal relationship with.

Then those photographs will obviously be uploaded. And just about everyone whom I have taken a photo with knows it and knows just where to find it.

Good or bad. Pretty or ugly. That is all subjective. They serve a higher purpose than your self-image based opinions. (I don’t like how I look in pictures either. But oh well!)

I have never charged any person or public entity for the photographs that I have taken over the years. It is not a business to me. Other people use photography for business and profit. Kudos to them! If they can make a living from it.. good for them! I wish them all success.

It would be very nice for people to think the photographs that I take are for the following reasons. Because it is 100% true:

  1. Promotion. 100% FREE promotion. People that you do not know are going to see these photographs. If they are ever curious as to what I am doing or what I like, they are going to look to see who and what is there. Musicians and entertainers in particular, if you want the message of what you are doing and saying to be spread to people who don’t know, the photographs I take act as that kind of promotion. And it has been more successful than you think. Just think of the different people’s faces that you see at your events that you never saw before.
  2. Personal documentation & reflection. Many entertainers share the same common dream: Making it big in the business. If nobody knows your product, nobody is going to buy it. And yet personally for those that I believe have the ability and potential to fulfill those dreams, I can hold these images dear to my heart to have the ability to say that I knew you. Chances are that I won’t be able to do so again if at some time you “made it” in your chosen field.

If you are in the entertainment industry, you should have been well aware that people such as I are going to ask to take photographs of you. If you didn’t think about that before, or don’t like your picture taken, you should probably leave the business.

“Graphs” ARE your business.  They are your life. PhotoGRAPHS and autoGRAPHS.

And finally the most personal reason of all. If by now you still are not understanding of why I do what I do, hopefully this will sink in.

In these most recent years, I have had so many people expressing their “concern” about how they wished I would do something more than just sit around the house. I made the choice to go and enjoy music. It was something that for most of my life I never thought that I could do.

I was wrong. I was totally wrong.

Man in wheelchair_0

YES I CAN!!!

Photographing and documenting gives me a reminder that I CAN do these things and that I should do them as much as possible. Life is too short to do nothing!

It is proof positive that I am living a more fulfilling life.

I recall a conversation with a colleague a few years ago. I told them that I was going out to see a particular event and I asked that person if I would see them there.

Unknowingly that person had broken their toe (or foot, I don’t remember specifically) and therefore stated that they could not go anywhere.

I expressed some sympathy towards their most recent plight as I was totally unaware of that happening to them and ended the inquiry and conversation altogether.

Then I was very discouraged and filled with frustration. This person was choosing not to go out because of their temporary situation.

On the other hand MY SITUATION is very permanent. Someone with the worst and most severe form of Spina Bifida, a birth defect is willing to make the choice to go out and have some fun while someone who has more physical ability 99% of their life decides to whine and moan over a temporary setback.

I bring along my digital camera and use it to show to the WORLD that even though I am living with the most severe of disabilities, I make the choice to get out. My photographs are my proof that I have done so. And I hope that it brings encouragement to those who sit at home alone.

So instead of whining about me “always asking to take pictures,” understand what the real reason to it is.  Even if I ask again and again and again and again.

And finally, I want to address something about the selfies that I have taken in the past. A lot of people are thinking incorrectly about them. index

If you already follow me on social media, you know that a vast majority of selfies that I have posted include other females. Not ALL, but a lot of them. That’s my choice.

However more than just a few people have told me that they are jealous of those women. And when I ask them why they are jealous, they say:

BECAUSE THOSE WOMEN ARE SITTING ON YOUR LAP!!

As fun as I think that might be, the only person that has ever sat on my lap in order to take a selfie with them, is Kimberly Freeman from One-Eyed Doll when they are in town on tour. But the last few times she has not done so. I am guessing maybe only two times in all. I also had a friend of mine do so to take a photograph together but she only agreed to do so after a lengthy explanation as to why it would look better in the photograph.

The others have stood close by me to make sure that they are within the shot and they have to squeeze in close to do so.

The truth is that other than Kimberly Freeman, two other women have sat on my lap to take a photo. But those photographs are not uploaded for a purpose. Nor will they ever be. Mainly because at the time they were extremely drunk and it could come back to bite them. So I don’t publish as I refuse to put myself in a situation to be blamed for consequences they could receive for their decision and action.

I think that the truth of the matter is that people in general are afraid to sit upon my lap. Of course again, the exception of those who are extremely intoxicated.

I hope that clears the confusion. There’s no need at all to be jealous.

I still stand firm in the opinion that a person SHOULD sit on my lap for a selfie because it is for their personal benefit so they don’t hurt their back or their legs or knees from squatting or bending over just to make sure they are within frame. But I can not convince the world of it.

And lastly I will end this post with a bit of self defense from what I touched on at the beginning.

A majority of selfies I have taken by myself. I have long arms and can stretch out a digital camera enough to get two people (maybe three) in frame. I honestly would prefer someone else to take the picture for me. I simply just don’t ask any more.

But for those who offer, whenever I hand over the camera I constantly hear comments and remarks about how the camera is a “dinosaur” or outdated technology or whatever. And remarks about the flash being “bright and blinding.”

I am a personal believer in “if you can fix it, you should.”

If you don’t like the flash on the camera or if you cannot figure out the button on the top of the camera is what you press to make the camera function or if you think it is too old, then why don’t you step up and offer to help upgrade it? I don’t have much disposable income as many other people do.

Should I just start another GoFundMe campaign to find a camera in which I can use without a flash and the photos turn out just as well?? Or am I just really stupid in believing that could really be something that someone would want to do???

If you can fix it, you should. So allow me to start you on your journey to help out everyone involved…………………………………

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RKNND2W/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1QJMCDBR7M5ON&colid=14ORUMN2Y06CD

I started out small, I can upgrade and grow as we go along. Does that help???

fightwc“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”~ Winston Churchill

I don’t think that I have ever felt such frustration as I am about to write about in all of my life as an adult. Eventually this will go away, but this blog has always had the original intent to be my therapy so buckle up.

And before you start going on and on about how fighting is never the answer. Yeah, I know that. You just need to keep reading.

I went out the other night and I ran into this woman that I had not seen in a very long time. Someone that I have wanted to see more of but never actually do.

And while she did hang out with me for part of the night, I did notice that she would disappear off and on. I didn’t know if she was going to the restroom, or going to the bar, or going outside to smoke, or anything.

I will spare you the boring and long details of the evening, but I will mention that I was making the moves, and I planned to see just how far it would go and to see where I stand with her.

But during her frequent disappearances I noticed that when I looked around for her that she was standing there talking to another man who also was in a wheelchair. That guy and I would pass by each other a lot and he always was giving me dirty looks. I tried to engage him in conversation but he never said a word to me. I even threw him a compliment and still got nothing.

However after I decided to make a move, I noticed that whenever she was socializing or doing whatever it was with the other guy, he was doing the same stuff I was doing.

What in the world?!?!?!??

The woman is beautiful. She’s going to gain attention, I get that. But I felt like this guy was taking away from me and taking for himself.

This non-verbal, non-physical altercation of an event was happening.

Physically speaking… even though he and I lack severely in that department, he still had a bigger build than I. If he and I were to stand up and face each other, he would in fact be much larger than I in all capacities.

At that point I knew that if something between he and I broke out, he would have the advantage and probably the victory. But as time went on, I realized that he kept drinking and this was actually causing him to become weaker and ultimately a burden for anyone surrounding him.

At times when I would actually go and seek her out and find her with him, he gave even more dirty looks towards my direction. I took it as a non-verbal threat. This shit is not cool!!

Towards the end of the night, this woman did come to me to tell me that she was leaving. I offered to walk her outside so I knew she was safe, but she emphatically refused my offer.

She left, and then shortly after the other guy left. But I cannot definitively tell you that they left together.  I don’t know that.

I realize that I live in a certain corner of society where it is the survival of the fittest. I know that it is winner take all. But what people don’t realize about this kind of world, for who do not live the same as I do that it is an understatement to say that it is brutal.

Two men fighting go at it until there is a clear loser. We always hear about how if two women fight that it is even worse because they never fight fair.. pulling hair, clawing each other and so on. It is not pretty.

So then let me explain that if two disabled people are in a physical fight, it is far worse than you have ever seen!!

Because of the fact that they are disabled to begin with, they fight like they have nothing in the world to lose and everything to gain. They literally fight to the death. The only two ways that a fight between two physically disabled people come to an end is if someone steps in and breaks it up, or the victor realizes that their opponent is near death and they don’t want to go to jail or have that on their minds for the rest of their lives.

Disabled people already are engaged in a fight for their lives because of all that we have to deal with in daily life. Going down in a blaze of glory for something we want to have or to protect is not a second thought. There have been too many times where I have found myself in that situation and I did what I did to make sure that I protected myself.

Now that a few days have passed, I think about how I probably could have taken this other guy down after realizing that he had too much to drink and probably couldn’t fend for himself that much.  But I never went after him for it. I also knew that starting a war with him from the moment that I saw what was going on would have been a personal disaster for me. I am still pissed off about it. And I could probably blame everyone and everything. Him, her, and myself included.

Some of you reading this might say that she’s not worth it. But I think that it is worth something because if I had not done anything I would never find out for sure where she and I stand, or could stand because there is no omelets without breaking any eggs.

Carpe diem, baby!

$_58“Marriage is a good deal like a circus: there is not as much in it as is represented in the advertising.”~E. W. Howe

A few days ago, my computer basically gave up.

The power would not turn on. I was stuck.

So with the help of family, I was able to run out and go look for another one.

I only needed the machine. The tower, if you will.

After several minutes of spending half of my time looking over machines and the other half of trying to hear what my nephew was telling me, I finally heard the voice of one of the employees.

“Looking for a new computer?” Geez, Einstein. Good guess! I don’t know how you did it!!

I noticed a pattern that from right to left, the price would go down. So obviously I kept moving left but kept in mind that I wanted and needed specifics in the machine.

The employee moved me back over towards the right and showed me a machine that he felt was a good one. Stating that he had it before in the past, similar to it.

Okay well that is all good and everything. This machine that was presented to me had a price of $129.95.. not bad at all.

I had gone in there with a budget. I was only going to spend so much. And I could afford that, but would anyone actually buy it if they could get it for a lower price?

A few moments later, I pretty much found a machine that was nearly 100% the same machine that I had at home that stopped working. My reasoning was: This is what I have, and I am fine with it, just replace it and start over.

This similar machine was $89.95, so cheaper than the one I was shown.

I checked its specs and I was satisfied with it, and I had picked it up and went to purchase it.

My nephew and I just stood there waiting for someone, anyone to come complete the transaction.

Finally the same guy shows up and he begins to go through the process of checkout. But little did I know that there was a “paper work” involved, so it took some time to go through and he said “We’re not ready for the cash part yet. Put your wallet down.”

He then checked the price tag to scan it, and literally shouted at me.

“This is not the same computer. This has a core 2, the one I showed you has a core 3… much faster!”

Rudeness, anyone?? I told him I was on a budget. To which he snapped “Doing budget computers, eh?” Dude whatever, shut up and finish the transaction.

Well as the saying goes, it was my lucky day. This week and this week only…  everything was 20% off.

And so the guy had to tell the computer to take off the discount.

He did not specifically ask me if I was. He did not ask to see any forms of identification to show my age. He had already made the assumption. Either that or he was just trying to be super nice to me. But apparently there was an additional 10% off for those customers 55 and over.

The only response I gave him after he told me that he put the additional discount on when he handed me my receipt and change was: “Every little bit helps!” I had no idea he had done that until I paid.

My newly purchased computer, complete with taxes and everything else was a whopping $68.16 total. Well within the money I had budgeted.

I took the computer and my nephew and left and caught up with my sister and showed her the machine and then showed her the receipt.

Then I sent a message to my brother, telling him the same story. Both of my siblings had the same response “It is because of your grey and white hair.”

The moral of the story… don’t be so vain about your hair changing colors naturally. It is going to happen any way. And sometimes it can work in your favor.

17992224_10209654760828983_7631828641930830694_n
“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”~ Gilbert K. Chesterton
 

Yep, you are reading this right. IT STILL WORKS.
This is a t-shirt that I had custom made recently this year. And it serves well for many purposes. But its legacy has taken off.
First, an explanation as to why it exists.
As an adult with a disability, I can safely say that I have had a lot of people come up to me and ask a lot of questions. Some innocently out of their own ignorance. But A LOT of personal questions that are downright stupid.
With children, the most popular question I get is: What happened to your legs?

Innocent enough. I answer the best that I can. Or I just tell them “That’s how I was born.”

With adults, the most popular question I get (outside of “What happened?”) would be something like:

Can you still do it? Does your dick work? Can you have sex? Can you feel “down there?”

Anything like that.

Trust me, it is really annoying. Especially since it is none of their business. Considering that a vast majority of the people asking, I will never see again in my lifetime.

So I decided to answer the question once and for all.

Honestly, I have not had a single person come up to me asking that kind of question ever since I wore the shirt out in public the first couple of times. Of course there have been some people who have seen it and read it, thinking with dirty minds. It was something that I anticipated to happen. And I just deal with the laughter and snickering that people think that I cannot hear behind my back.

Now let me tell what has happened since I started wearing the shirt in public.

As expected, I have a lot of people tell me that they like the shirt, as they sit there and laugh real hard until they can no longer breathe.

A few times I have had people come up to me, asking to take a photograph of it. In which I do not have a problem with.

I went out last night to watch the band AUTUMN STAY play a show at the Dirty Dog Bar wearing the shirt. And the legacy took off with a whole new chapter.

Before the show even got started, two people who said that they loved the shirt buy me drinks. One of which happened to be the touring band that was in town. The other an employee of a different bar next door.

It didn’t stop the entire night. Drink after drink after drink after drink. Included with so many people asking to take photos. And of course…. I never really know where those photos end up. 19221669_10154696784091453_5194340704344925977_o

As the night continued, more and more drinks and more and more photos. I didn’t have to spend ANY money on refreshments last night. And it was very very HOT, now that it is June in Texas. I think the temperature reached 100°F for the first time in 2017. Hydration was very important last night.

I had several people passing by continually expressing to me that they liked the shirt up and down Sixth Street. And a few women came up to me asking what it meant. As if that was not obvious enough. And other women were either brave enough or drunk enough to end up kissing me!!!

To this day, I have not had anyone challenge me to find out whether or not I am lying. I mean of course it works. If I cannot go through the process of urination, I am in trouble!!!! But yes I know what this hints at. And its supposed to. It has more than one function, perverts.

Before there was a time when someone would ask me if it works, I would answer “There’s only one way to find out!” but nobody ever followed through on that. And that is probably a blessing in disguise.

The only problem that I can see wearing the shirt is that some story randomly finds my family. But they already know about it. I told my parents, and all I got back in response was a chuckle. Especially from my father. So really, I am good.

Stay tuned for more adventures of It Still Works as it travels into the world.

A Massive Thank You

Posted: May 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

ty846

I wanted to take this extra time that I have to express my deep appreciation to those of you who are reading this that helped in the assistance of getting a new wheelchair.

I began the goal of reaching a very meager $3,000 but then realized that with fees and what not, I would not receive that amount if I received that equally in donations. So I raised it to $3,500.

To be very honest with everyone, I honestly believed that I would only receive a few hundred dollars.

The $3,500 goal was raised in TWO AND A HALF DAYS! And what was even more shocking than ever was the fact that even though I had reached that goal in such a short amount of time that I still received very generous donations. 100 donations came close to $4,300!

It has been a month or more since the last online donation, and as of last week, I have been talking to someone through Twitter who still wishes to give another $100 via personal donation.

Trust me when I say that I wept for days. Emotional would not even begin to describe it.

For those of you who donated, I cannot thank you enough. For those of you who shared the link to the donation website, I deeply appreciate it. The response was overwhelming.

The donation page is still active. But I believe at this point, I would be shocked to receive any more.

I also was able to set up a different page in which people can order a t-shirt with a hashtag that I commonly use in all of my social media. If there is any interest in that, I can provide information.

In the rare chance that I am wrong about no longer receiving donations, I will add that money to the up keep and maintenance of the new wheelchair that I had to buy in haste as the loaner wheelchair gave out on me rather quickly.

So thank you so very much from the bottom of my butt…. since its much much larger than my heart in size!!!

 

rosieRiveter12“A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars. “~ Carly Simon
In the mess that is current life, I was feeling very determined to come back for all of you and share a tale during the lull of commotion and weirdness.

A story you may find humor in, and that’s okay. And others might find astounding.

For those of you who watch “The Walking Dead” you might be reminded of the one liner that Negan says: “You got some beach ball-size lady-nuts on you, coming in all kamikaze like that.”

This is one story that I feel would illicit a very similar response.

Last Friday (Cinco de Mayo) I went out to downtown Austin to see some live music. Three varying musical acts in three different venues. The last of which I have spoken about when I was doing concert reviews on this blog.

With most bands comes merchandise. With merchandise comes the responsibility of someone to watch over it all and take part in the transactions of sales.

I was sitting around waiting for the music to begin and I felt something strange come over me as if someone was watching.

I gazed over at the merch tables and a young woman was gazing what I thought could have been in my direction. She seemed happy and content in her little chair. Smiling and waving. But I was not 100% sure if she was waving at me or at someone behind me. I was not very close, probably twenty feet away so there could have been anyone in that line of sight that she was communicating with.

I went past her on the way to the rest room, but I was not paying her any attention and she shouted out to get my attention. However this being a live music venue, I could not understand what she was saying. So I moved on ignoring her.

I returned to my usual place near front and center of the stage and I noticed movement from the table, her eyes locked on me the entire time. I knew she was about to come over to me.

Unfortunately, she had no idea that she was actually invading my personal space. Since I did not know her, I didn’t make a fuss about it.

And then suddenly …………. LET THE GAME BEGIN.

She leaned over into my ear and asked if I knew how to slow dance. The band was playing a slow song so it was an appropriate question for the time. I shook my head no.

The next question was straight to the point. Are you married?

Wow!!!
Time for situation control. Since she was in my personal space and I was actually getting uncomfortable, I told her that I was married. I had hoped she would at least take a few steps back. All I got in response was this loud “Awwww!” and she promptly and swiftly returned to her post at the table.

A little while later in between bands, I stepped outside to watch people and grab some fresh air. Wouldn’t you know it, she came outside and headed straight for me!!! Charging like Custer’s Last Stand. mosit

Again, she wasted no time in asking where my wife was. I simply said “she was not here” and she nodded. Then very sheepishly asked if she could give me a hug.

After lying to her twice… I began to feel rotten. So I allowed her request. To which she slipped her arms around my neck and squeezed very tight. The side of my face buried into her chest for a couple of seconds before she let go.

She stood there, hanging on to my wheelchair in awkward silence. Again in my personal space so I turned my head the opposite direction. Several minutes passed and neither one of us was talking until finally she let go and returned inside.

She and I would exchange glances again and she blew one more kiss. I waved back.

I thought about this experience a few hours later and I began to realize something about her. Something that I felt was very unique and special about this young woman.
We always talk about those creepy people that come after us, but we never hear about those who choose to be respectful in their approach. So much to the point that all these warnings we hear about people that we begin to question every little motive of everyone else.
One thing was for sure. She knew what she was looking for and she went for it. The moment she realized the answer was NO, she stopped and went no further.
At the moment I said to her that “my wife was not here” she honestly could have hinted or insisted on participating in something on the side. But she did not. She left it alone. She obtained the information she was seeking and dropped it.
I also want to point out that she was full of courage in going after what she was wanting or at least curious about. She followed through. And looking back on it now, it was a different and refreshing approach as she had more guts than a lot of single MEN that I know. From personal experiences and listening to other men talking about this issue, there are so many men who lack that kind of confidence.

I want to say that I know a lot of men who could really learn from this young woman.

dollar and Donation Box
Before I dare to mention anything that went on during SXSW 2017, I must address the issue that my wheelchair broke and has rendered me essentially home bound until the situation is taken care of.

Sadly less than two years of having a brand new wheelchair paid for by insurances, the front wheel bit the dust and I went spilling onto the floor H.A.M.

For the past two days, I have been doing what I can to bring this to the attention of many people to help get a brand new wheelchair, as well as have the old one repaired.

I started a GoFundMe campaign and for the first two days has done extremely well. If you donated and you are reading this, THANK YOU from the bottom of my butt, because its bigger than my heart.

The goal is in sight now. It is so close to being reached. It is in the final push now.

If you can, donate. Donate & SHARE. With your help, we can tackle the last bit that is left… the part that will pay for fees and other expenses in addition to the cost of repairs and the cost of a new wheelchair. This time, it is personal!!!

Anything helps. Donate here.

Thank you.