Ted Shiress

DON’T OPEN IT!

Posted on | April 5, 2016 | No Comments

Ever been told to ignore dodgy-looking email attachments? I’m sure you have, but in the days of spam filters and anti-virus it’s easy to ignore such advice if a particular message catches your eye – just like it is to avoid backing up. And so yesterday I received an email saying I owed £900 for a fridge from a lawyer at a firm called ‘Life After Loss’, and weirdly it was addressed to me but at my parents’ address (in London, where I haven’t lived for a decade!). Stupidly my mind started making bizarre connections and asking irrational questions: ‘Why to my parents’ house?, Well, I don’t put it past dad to order something using my email to save him signing up’, ‘I remember my folks buying a new fridge’, ‘Life after loss? Well I lost my grandad two years ago, maybe it’s something to do with money he left’, ‘Yeah it’s probably a scam but why not look at it? It passed my spamguards and if it is still dodgy my anti-virus will zap it. It’ll make for good comedy no doubt!’. And so I downloaded this measly little Word file expecting that the very worst outcome would be AVG Antivirus shrieking “THREAT DETECTED, FILE IS NOT SAFE!”.

I was so wrong. AVG was blissfully unaware that anything was up, but it was. It turned out to be ‘Ransomware’, as soon as I viewed the file (which turned out to be some stupid terms and agreements) my computer started processing like shit and every file on my desktop turned white; I quit and discovered this to be apparent in every folder for every file bar mp3s and PDFs (and that would be just bearable if my entire 500+ manually ripped albums were in mp3 not AAC). I now cannot access my music, my comedy routines nor the original files of the Youtube videos you never watch.

Every folder now contains this html file with this lovely little message.

help

Basically ‘Pay up or you’re screwed’. At first I didn’t believe it and assumed simply googling ‘Maktub ransomware’ would tell me how to zap the problem – and it did, well one of the problems. I found thorough advice on how to remove the bug, which seemed to work and I’m reasonably sure my PC is no-longer infected. Still cleaning the computer is different to de-fucking my files. They remain as inaccessible as the buildings I should spend more time blogging about and nothing can change that. Apparently each attack works in a different way making it practically impossible to break the code, so I’m fucked.

One of the great ironies here is the ‘ransom’ itself, starting at 1.4 bitcoins (588 USD) for the first three days before it goes up. I am no way going to pay this sum as a, they are criminals and b, I’m reasonably sure it won’t work; but had it been something like £30 I’d have swallowed my pride, sucked those cyber-cocks, funding criminals in the desperate hope I get my files back.

So I sit here looking at some of my 500+ cd library no longer able to call any track up in three clicks, worrying about how many of my routines I can remember, apologising profusely to those I share Dropboxes with and feeling a total spaz. So, I know you won’t listen to something like this until it happens to you but: DON’T OPEN STRANGE ATTACHMENTS and BACK THE FUCK UP!

Devoted Ponderings

Posted on | March 9, 2016 | 1 Comment

So BBC3 have just put out a quite balanced (for them) documentary of devoteeism – sexual attraction towards disability, as a disabled person who is as chronically underlaid as he makes out on stage do I see a place for it? Well initially it seems fucking weird, trust me this thing is no fun and I struggle to see how someone would get off on it. But then again aren’t most of the things that turn us on bizarre? I find myself insanely appreciative of the organs females use to feed their newborn – EW, how sick is that?! And when put like that it does seem rather dark – yet it appears to be an urge shared by the majority of heterosexual males.

The question is what type of relationship would you consider having with a devotee, the idea of pursuing something meaningful and long-term with a devotee does initially seem somewhat degrading, but hooking up with one for a quick fuck – hell, I would! If there is any objectifying going on it is mutual – she’ll be taking advantage of my abnormalities but I would be doing the same with hers. I occasionally get contacted by this slightly strange yet perfectly polite American girl on OKCupid who is “into disability” and wants to do “webcam stuff” with me, I have always declined but a part of me feels ‘why not?’. Yes some disability activists may argue that she’ll be degrading my disability but some feminists will argue what I’ll be doing will be degrading her femininity.

However we like to say what we desire in a sexual partner, though are we always telling the truth? Dating more than before, I have discovered that a true romantic partner and a well suited friend who happens to have the right sexual organs are two very different things. The times when I have ‘clicked’ on a date there always been some sort of vulnerability on both sides and that has brought us closer than a shared love of blues or comedy. This is surely a milder form of the same thing devotees feel. The issue with devoteeism is it puts it out there from the start that this is attraction towards a vulnerability/disadvantage which seems rather sick, but when you scratch the surface of romantic attraction and connection it’s quite normal – or a highly exaggerated form of what is normal.

But yes, you couldn’t have a meaningful relationship with someone who just likes your disability and I’d advise strongly against trying, but if such attraction can help build a connection or get you a quick fuck – why knock it?!

FREEZE PEACH!!

Posted on | February 27, 2016 | No Comments

What does it mean to be a liberal? Fuck knows these days to be honest. It speaks volumes how rightwards the paradigm has shifted that a term that traditionally meant central and perhaps a tad to the right now gets used as a slur for ‘left and progressive’. But yes, I’m cool with gays, I support the right for everyone to speak their mind so if you are using the term to mean one who follows the principles of social libertarianism I am a “liberal”.

I am however concerned at how often the term ‘FREE SPEECH!’ gets shouted these days – and yes in my frustrations of just how niche my appeal seems to be I may have been guilty of this too. If a paper won’t print views they don’t endorse someone shouts ‘FREE SPEECH!’, if a comedy club won’t give a gig to a comedian whose jokes they don’t dig someone shouts ‘FREE SPEECH!’ or if I delete that crass comment you’ve left below calling me a retarded spastic someone shouts ‘FREE SPEECH!’. As my understanding goes the right to free speech protects us from being locked up or beaten up for speaking our mind, and this is something I fully endorse. I am constantly sickened by societies that outlaw any sort of freedom of expression, but freedom of expression isn’t an invincibility cloak that lets you spout anything anywhere with no consequences.

The Libertarian argument is the free market and free expression go hand-in-hand but they don’t, when a financial contract is involved one becomes an employee therefore tied to the rules of their employer. When Germaine Greer caused controversy a few months ago for views that were frankly batty and out of touch my initial thoughts were ‘let her air them, it’s a free country is it not?’ but then I realised she was getting paid to share these views and I did a bit of a 180. By paying Greer universities were buying her views so if you believe they were hateful and transphobic they were buying hate and transphobia and reselling them to their students. An ethical supermarket (yes a complete oxymoron but just imagine one exists) may choose not to sell Nestle products and that is fully their right to do so, anyone who complains doing so is undermining the principles of a free society is catastrophically missing the point. This is just as valid if it’s words and ideas being sold as well as food.

And yes, I’m still going to harp on too much about how outfits should be more accepting of less mainstream views on disability because I believe that – and it’s high time I got paid for these brilliant things that fall out of my mouth and fingertips. However I’ll try not to be so crass as to reduce everything to the cry of “IT’S FREE SPEECH!”.

Too Tired To Fake

Posted on | February 25, 2016 | No Comments

Doing the things I do I’ve accepted mass-appeal ain’t a thing I’m likely to achieve therefore I’ve begrudgingly accepted pitiful Youtube hits and just a handful of followers on Twitter. The thing that always causes amazement is on the occasions I do pick up more traffic (usually with a crass impersonation of Trump or Farage) I receive accusations that I’m a fake. It seems like the default opinion of the standard internet-user is if someone is being ‘out there’ with what looks like a disability they are obviously ‘doing a bit’. Yes, given the nature of my stuff I probably ask for this a bit but should disabled people really have to prove they are disabled?

There always is a ‘model’ of how disabled people are portrayed – we’re either superhumans, evil scroungers or the pathetically vulnerable, but the truth is we’re all those things and more; in fact we’re everything! I tire of hearing disabled people getting turned down for a role because they ‘don’t fit a mould’ when there’s simply no mould to fit; and perhaps people would be slower to shout “FAKE!” if these moulds didn’t exist.

I stand by my opinion of I’m Spazticus which was it is a painfully unfunny show made by people with a pitiful grasp on the mechanisms of humour – but so what?! Channel 4 chose to commission a bunch of disabled people doing something they believe in and for that they deserve credit. There are countless shows by able-bodied people that I also find catastrophically unfunny but I don’t attribute that to a caricature of being able-bodied. Admittedly I was worried that the average Joe would watch I’m Spazticus and assume that disabled people are by nature AIDS-degree unfunny but we need to move closer to a world where these worries have no weight. This can only be achieved by allowing disabled people to do what they do regardless of if it fits a glove and encouraging people to judge it solely on its merit as a piece of art. I would have loved it if Channel 4 chose to simultaneously commission a show showcasing disabled people being insanely funny –like Cynic!-, but it came close with ‘The Last Leg’.

So the next time you witness something by a disabled person accept their disability as a given, move on and judge freely.

PS if you enjoyed this blog or thought it was a pile of shit please feel free to say, but don’t go comparing it against some make-believe blueprint of how disabled people should behave.

Five Songs I’ve Played The Shit Out Of This Year

Posted on | December 31, 2015 | No Comments

With 2015 about to be wrapped up I thought it’s mandatory I’d do some kind of list, but with a few of 2015’s offerings yet to be unwrapped I’ll keep it sparse as any longer and more definitive list could well change.

1. Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – “Big Box”
Most people are well aware I’m a compulsive Neil Young freak, especially when it comes to his heavier work with the flawed, shambolic yet somehow perfectly fitting ‘Crazy Horse’, yet most are aware his output since about 1996 has been frequent but patchy. With this in mind I was apprehensive about his ‘new political record’ (especially after 2006’s hard-hitting but unremarkable ‘Living With War’ and 2009’s quite-frankly dire ‘Fork In The Road’) with a band that sounds ‘just like Crazy Horse’. Yet Neil has teamed up with young rockers Promise Of The Real to produce quite a beaut and ‘Big Box’ is my favourite cut from it. Clocking in at 8 minutes, quite a standard length for a Neil-rocker, it offers a hard-hitting attack on corporations and big-chain supermarkets spaced out with a couple of gems of jams. He even loves this band enough to give them a few solos, one minute he’ll be screeching away, then Lucas Nelson will before they’ll come together and harmonise. This track is the tits.

From “The Monsanto Years”

2. Richard Thompson – “Patty Don’t You Put Me Down”
Although I insist the inclusion of a Neil Young song on this list in more surprising than some would believe, a Richard Thompson track is not – his releases are consistent, frequent and brilliant and after many listens “Patty…” is still Still’s top cut. This perfect little rocker proves that this 66 year old still has enough fire and vitriol to burn a navy and yet somehow is catchy at the same time. In this song he initially assumes the position of a confident young male lover unimpressed with the forward advances of a kanieving lover he’s casually courting warning her that “We might be in bed together but the deal’s not signed”, however, as Thompson nuts will know, there’s many twists ahead. There’s the dry sarcasm of “They say you collect shrunken heads would you like to have mine?”, the destroying chant of “In you ten-watt world it’s beyond any pleasure you know, to stick your fingers in the socket and give yourself a glow” then back to the I’m-a-fool-for-you- refrain of “Patty don’t you put me down”. Genius tune, with guitar-work to die for too.

From “Still”

3. Samantha Fish – “Place To Fall”
I don’t know why I never gave The Fish any more attention sooner as there’s not much about this young blonde blues-rocker that doesn’t appeal to me. This haunting swagger-full yet romantic 6/8er is nothing short of brilliant and just about as raw as it gets and if it wasn’t for the subtle backing steel guitar and the occasional second guitar part you’d be convinced it was live. Although reasonably conventional in structure, the shades of light and dark and the way the song rises and falls between the chorus and verse prove Samantha to be an undoubtedly skilled writer. Bitter and sweet, haunting and heavy – this track is where it’s at!

From “Wild Heart”

4. Duke Garwood – “Disco Lights”
Given how niche and limited my touch on current releases is, I decided to subscribe to MOJO this year and Garwood’s “Heavy Love” was one of the first write-ups that really appealed. It described the album’s genre as “modern blues”, implying it was of a blues idiom but not confined to the tired structures that I know [and admittedly love] rather well. Those who know me won’t be surprised that I picked the album’s most conventional cut, but what the fuck – I love it. Set in the refreshingly familiar [for a blues fan] signature of 6/8 its soothing vocals and distorted but perfectly-paced guitar work make it a heavenly experience for the ear and a perfect contrast of heavy and soft. A lovely piece of music indeed.

From “Heavy Love”

5. Steve Earle & The Dukes – “You’re The Best Lover That I Ever Had”
Yeah ok, three out of five on this list are songs from those you’d expect from me but I suppose I love them for a reason! Steve’s 2015 offering initially unimpressed me, being dubbed a ‘blues’ album it fell between two stalls, it wasn’t quite the type of blues I love nor the type of Steve Earle. Then suddenly it clicked, of course it was neither, it was a mixture of the two – and what a creative and beautiful concoction it was. Having recently divorced Alison Moorer, aka Wife no. 7, you’d hope a bit of irony to be hiding behind the title but even if there isn’t this track is still a brooding yet sweet masterpiece. Combining its sweet yet restrained lyrics, toe-tapping rhythm and spot-on blend of acoustic and electric guitar I can’t see how any woman won’t be touched to have this written for them. A blues masterpiece from a non-blues song-writer.

From “Terroplane”

Restaurant Tale #2

Posted on | November 8, 2015 | No Comments

Last night a thing happened in a restaurant, and we all know what happened the last time I blogged a similar tale. (OK, you may not – basically everything went MASSIVE and to be honest it became somewhat of a ball-ache.) So basically I now will do all I can to make you turn away before telling you what happened, therefore my arse is clean in case it all goes a bit front-page-of-The-Echo.

By the way have you seen every episode of Cynic? Quite frankly the hits are shit so if you want to read this story I think I should give you the opportunity to watch every episode first…

Still there? Damn!

OK, have you seen my new set of videos where I joke I was molested by a preacher? They are obscenely unfunny and will turn you away instantly.

What, you’ve made it this far?? OK, here’s the tale…

Last night I went to Lilo’s (although Oz Urfa trumps as the best Mediterranean on City Road sometimes Lilo’s is great for shoving your face full of meat) and upon arriving I was greeted by ‘Panicky Manager’. Panicky Manager insisted I should go next door to its ‘grill house’ which they insist is the same but Tripadvisor disagrees. (I think the thinking was l could drive my scooter into the side-door of the grill house.)
So Panicky Manager got a waiter to show me to said side door, and upon arriving it was obvious I could not drive in, and for five minutes I and said waiter had this conversation on loop:
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”

etc etc. So eventually said waiter gave up and left. I then parked and walked into the grill house which was full and none of the staff knew me or quite understood why I was there (they didn’t understand my reason “I don’t know, some waiter [who’s disappeared] told me to come [come]”.)

They found me a table in the end, by that time they had run out of most items (it wasn’t even 9!), and while the items I ordered were identical to next door on the menu the quality was clearly inferior. RAH!

They pay me too much!

Posted on | October 23, 2015 | No Comments

An eye-catching and provocative title if ever, but allow me to explain – several months ago I discussed my fight to maintain my care-package of 20 hours a week when the reality is I get too much money for care, or rather I SEE too much money. As a Direct Payments user I am in charge of my finances and I have access to a bank account which I pay my PA through, I am forbidden to do anything other than what the council tell me to do with this money. (This is paying Esther every four weeks and the occasional tax thingybobby to the powers that be.) So in reality I am in as much ownership of this dough than I am your eyes reading these words. In fact probably less ownership you spunky cumbuckets because I just made your eyes read the words ‘spunky cumbuckets’ and I do not have such liberties with this money.

The one thing I can do is observe that every month more money goes in than comes out, and the difference is often a three-figure amount. My last statement revealed a payment in of £700 and a payment out of £500 and this is entirely typical; I have numerously told the council about this and they’ll say they’ll pay me a bit less next time but I still end up staring at a redundant £2k. It just stays there like an attractive female friend you’ve caught in lingerie, appetising as fuck although you know your desires are illicit and unhealthy. You start to believe she’s winking at you and inviting you to dive in but you just know doing so will land you in a pile of shame and trouble.

My question is ‘why?’. In an age of sickening cuts seemingly designed to cripple the crippled this just seems utterly ludicrous. The best answer I’ve had was ‘it saves time’, but wiping your arse with fivers instead of purchasing new bogroll saves time, but it is still a catastrophic waste of money. I do not know if this is a common issue or one just somehow unique to me but for god’s sake sort it! (Or relax the rules slightly so I can blow it on a few hookers.)

What’s luck got to do with it?

Posted on | September 11, 2015 | No Comments

One [of the many] thing that irritates me is when luck (by that I mean positive luck, it can exist apparently) is applied to the topic of disability. “You’re lucky you can get out” or “You’re lucky you don’t have it worse”, I’ve been told. I’m sorry but fuck off, being plagued with the dildo that is disability is a very unfavourable roll of the dice and no amount of cringe-worthy faux positive thinking can change that. I’ve read that one in five-hundred people have Cerebral Palsy, that’s the equivalent chance of rolling a di about 90 times and not getting a 1 – so yeah, not great odds at all.

But aside from my love of cynicism this false appropriation of luck overshadows personal achievement. I was once told I’m lucky my disability doesn’t make me feel like a social outcast, which admittedly was by someone with a severer disability so responding was awkward, but no, this isn’t luck: it’s hard work and effort paying off. It took me quite a while to be who I am, do what I do and mingle with the groups I want to and while I’m not expecting praise for doing so putting it down to ‘good luck’ is rather condescending. Anyone with a disability (yes, not just me) who can go out being themselves and being admired and recognised for that deserves a fuck-off pat on the back – so give it to them directly.

This explains my beef with ‘disability pride’; yes, it is truly appropriate to feel pride in being able to deal with a disability, but this is NOT synonymous with having one. Your disability deserves no credit, so don’t give it any. And yes, I realise that having a disability almost forces you to cope with it and the line between the two is thin – but it’s a line that should be drawn nonetheless. Every disabled person I’ve met has developed their own way of coping and (by in large) it works incredibly well for them, so it is them as individuals who deserve the credit for it.

The ‘you’re lucky you don’t have it worse’ thing is all types of wrong too. Thinking relatively, it may be fair –though morally dubious- to say ‘you’re luckIER than someone who has it worse’, but lucky – please no! This is being asked to look on the bright-side of something inherently dark, which, although can provide good humour, is incredibly counter-productive. I understand the ‘count your blessings’ mentality but looking for blessings while focussing on disability is a massive non-starter. Plus also, what’s this saying about the poor sod that has the severer condition than you? From what I’ve deduced being told this is offensive to both you and anyone who has a severer condition.

I am not saying disabled people are worthless or void of achievements; far from it, I’m saying disabled people are rich of worth and achievements but looking for them specifically in their disability seems a non-starter.
Oh by the way, here’s my ‘Disability Pride’ routine from I’m Not Sting

Assault Assault

Posted on | August 16, 2015 | 1 Comment

An activist is threatening to report me to the police for ‘attempting rape’.  I do not know whether he is serious or not; if he isn’t this is something I cannot see humour in (and this is me!); but if he is I feel I am at a duty to inform you of such behaviour. As I have nothing to hide, here’s the story:

Several weeks ago we had a Twitter-spat (and we have a few), and our spats generally follow said structure: I make a point, he counters it with something completely meaningless, I lose the will to communicate while a bored friend voluntarily joins in and does the fighting for me. This happened a fortnight ago, and after several tweets of absolute meaningless babble from said individual my mate trumps “Someone put a cock in this guy’s hand so he can stop typing”.

Lots of things can be said about this tweet (I personally found it hilarious) but no matter how vile, childish or brilliant you find it it is clearly not a genuine rape-threat. Still, two weeks later, and after I delivered an ass-kicking when he tried to pounce on me for endorsing assisted dying, he informs me he’s about to turn me onto the police for attempting to rape him.

I am not going patronise you with a huge list of reasons, but here’s a select few reminders it’s not a rape threat:

We are repulsed by him and have no desire to be near him.

It’s a joke.

He lives ages away from us.

It’s a fucking joke.

‘Cock’ has several definitions and penis is the slang one. (“Someone put a chicken in this guy’s hand” is an equally plausible – and far more entertaining – reading of this.)

It’s a joke.

The word ‘someone’ indicates this was a request of another party, so even in this paradox where this line is a genuine incitement of rape it voids our involvement in such an act.

It’s a fucking joke.

Plus, this is a homosexual gentleman. I have no intent to slur homosexuality but by nature this means there are more instances where he is likely to enjoy having a set of male genitals in his hand than someone who isn’t. As a heterosexual gent I can only think of two situations where I’d favour a penis in my hand (both situations involve my own), but he’s not limited to these two examples. If you were to claim said line is hate-speech the anti-gay route seems much more logical (but still bonkers) than the rape route.

I apologise, that last paragraph went dangerously close to humour and this is no laughing matter. Sexual assaults go unreported constantly due to people being too afraid and threatened to speak up, people kill themselves as they have been conditioned to think they made themselves get raped. Yet this dude thinks he can report me for attempted rape because I bitchslapped him in a row? Well I hope you burn in hell.

(PS to make it clear I have nothing to hide I popped into see the police yesterday just to say what happened and they basically said such a claim will get thoroughly ignored, so there’s that.)

The Vulnerability of Independence

Posted on | July 8, 2015 | No Comments

I put off blogging about this as I’m not one to milk attention, but the Friday before last (Saturday morning actually) I was reminded how vulnerable crips are. I arrived home at 3am in a state that was legally dubious to be driving a mobility scooter and as I entered my back garden (ooh err misses!) I heard a voice. Drunken logic dictated someone upstairs was watching tv loudly with their window open so I didn’t worry and kept driving, but then I found a mound of clothes over my front-door. After a while this mound started to talk and I concluded there was a human beneath it. (Bear in mind I live behind a code-protected gate so jumping the fence is the only other way in.)

She kept saying something along the lines of “I know your boyfriend…”, (great, even the women I have no interest in feel they have to cockblock!) “and I know what you’ve done”. This (bar the gay stuff which I’m immaturely making light of) somewhat scared me, though luckily Dutch courage from my meeting with the Reverend (Reverend James – Brains’ best beer) meant I could maintain composure and call 999.

The police were great, they understood me perfectly, came quickly and stayed on the line comforting me while they arrived. They then took her away with haste and complete professionalism leaving me to enter my flat and start trolling Facebook for pity.

I then realised just how fragile one’s independence can be. I live life assuming nothing will upset the equilibrium – eg I get up assuming my scooter doesn’t have a puncture so I can go out and I come home assuming there’s no stranger on my doorstep. It’s vital we make these assumptions otherwise we wouldn’t get the most out of life, but when they don’t prove accurate it’s as scary as fuck. One cannot linger on these things which is why we have to become good at thinking in the moment.

This is why I have no regrets about calling 999 – the woman probably was harmless and may have left by her own accord eventually – but I saw potential danger and acted immediately. So the purposes of this blog is to say one must not ponder the ‘what ifs’ but they must be prepared to act in the ‘what nows’. Life is too short to ponder but also too short to let crazy women harm you.

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