Marquis de Saydrah

Because I’ve moved from thinking, “I’ve GOT to blog that!” to doing it.

Back from the DNC, and I brought photos! September 15, 2008

Filed under: activism,Photos,politics — saydrah @ 4:44 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

 Holy cow I’ve been swamped lately– I’ve been meaning to share my DNC photos with y’all since the event ended, but life has been crazy. Anyway, better late than never, right? I have the flu today, so got some downtime for blogging. On the down side, the cold medicine makes me loopy, so I’m going to keep typing to a minimum and just share some photos! I have many, many more, but I’ll spread them into a few different posts so it’s not a total image overload right away. I’m making a Flickr album, too. Today’s photos are all from Invesco (not the best ones I have, as the upload went wonky and these are what got uploaded before it crashed… more soon!)


Invesco Field at Mile High as the stands begin to fill up for Obamas speech.

Invesco Field at Mile High as the stands begin to fill up for Obama's speech.


This is a view of the podium. The seats that are ON the football field (which is covered over) are for delegates and select media personnel only.

The delegate seating area and podium.


Bill Richardson speaks at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Bill Richardson speaks at Invesco Field at Mile High.

A projection screen at Invesco Field shows Barack and Michelle Obama, with their daughters, at the end of the evening.

A projection screen at Invesco Field shows Barack and Michelle Obama, with their daughters, at the end of the evening.


ADAPT Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Bus Sit-ins July 5, 2008

Went to ADAPT’s 30 year celebration of the RTD sit-ins. Was awesome. Exhausted now from walking about 20 city blocks and then back again, but will post photos and video later. Had a great time– and I think I met a couple members of the Gang of 19. I’m not 100% sure (nobody seemed to want to brag) but someone told me later that some of the original 19 were there.


The other surprise of the day was seeing a high school classmate and her brothers along on the march. Last time I saw “Wren” (name changed for the blog) I remember being terribly envious of her mile-long legs, height near six feet, and how easily she makes friends. I hadn’t seen her since graduation, though I’ve run into her brothers occasionally, most recently at PrideFest. I don’t know her well, but when we graduated, she was pretty tight with some friends-of-friends of mine. Most of them still hang out, and some of the group even moved in together, but now that I think about it, I haven’t heard anything about Wren since graduation.


So, it was a bit of a surprise to see her brothers pushing her in a manual wheelchair at the ADAPT march today. Firstly because I didn’t know she had acquired a disability in the few years since I last talked to her, but secondly (and more surprisingly) because, to be honest, I remember her brothers as the type who’d be “too cool” to go march with 30 people in powerchairs, and not at all interested in disability advocacy.


One of the first memories I have of her middle brother, who I’ve known (not closely) since middle school, is of him stuffing a boy with Asperger’s in a trashcan and laughing, calling him names. I knew he’d grown up some since then, but the last I heard, his ambition in life was to be a transient street performer of some sort.


People change. Today, the same middle brother who used to make that Aspie kid’s life a living hell, as well as the older brother who I thought would be somewhere on the other side of the country in grad school about this time, helped a woman back into her wheelchair after a fall on the pavement that caused her to badly scrape a knee. Then the middle brother pushed her for the rest of the walk, as she was tired and shaken up by the fall, and made sure she got safely inside the Atlantis ADAPT building. The older brother, meanwhile, stuck by Wren the whole way.


People change. Thinking about it, I guess I changed, too. That same Aspie kid from middle school– I was pretty hard on him myself. I liked him and wanted to be his friend, but I couldn’t understand some things he did, like following me all over school every day, or provoking bullies instead of avoiding them as I would have done. The bullies started targeting me, too, for being friends with the Aspie kid. So, eventually, I stopped trying to be his friend, and told him off pretty harshly for calling another of my close friends “fat and gross.” Shortly thereafter, he transferred schools, and from what I hear, did very well in a more structured environment.


I looked him up a couple years ago to apologize, and I talk to him online sometimes these days, and when I found out he was back in town after college, we grabbed dinner together and caught up with each other’s lives. He’s interested in atheism and Libertarian politics, and studied film in college. I still don’t understand some of the ways he communicates, but I’d say he’s, at least in a very casual way, a friend again.


People change.


RE: Politically Correct Methods of Addressing the Able-Bodied June 27, 2008

ATTN: All Team Members
FROM: Timothy Q. Snorfleblark, Director of Human Resources
RE: Politically Correct Methods of Addressing the Able-Bodied




It has come to our attention that certain persons in this office have shown a marked lack of sensitivity in addressing able-bodied team members. Several complaints have been filed with Human Resources, forcing us to take action. The offending individuals have been warned, but insensitivity toward the able-bodied seems to be a company-wide problem. As a result, Human Resources has put together a simple guide to appropriate methods of addressing the able-bodied. Please read in full, and, when in doubt, consult Human Resources before doing or saying anything you feel could potentially be offensive.


Timothy Q. Snorfleblark
Director, Human Resources
ACME Mega-Corp


ATTACHMENT: “ablebodiedsensitivity.doc”


Use of Appropriate Language


Using appropriate language in the workplace is essential to maintaining a harmonious work environment. All coworkers deserve to feel safe and accepted at work, regardless of their disability or lack thereof.


In order to avoid causing discomfort to able-bodied team members, please refrain from using terms like “social model of disability,” or “crip culture” at work. It is considered rude by the able-bodied community to create confusion and challenge preconceptions by asserting that people with disabilities do not want to be cured of their conditions.


In the same vein, calling coworkers “curebies” is also inappropriate, particularly as a reaction to the expression of a charitable sentiment or a request for donations to a worthy cause.


“Crip fashion” is also a term politically incorrect for usage in the presence of the able bodied. The able-bodied consider this term inaccurate and offensive. It is very impolite to insinuate in front of able-bodied team members that team members with disabilities are concerned with beauty, dating, and sex. As discussed above, this causes confusion and discomfort. Please be considerate of others.


When referring to your disability in the presence of able-bodied team members, do not call yourself a “crip,” “gimp,” “amp,” or any other term that could be associated with language reclamation. Many able-bodied persons suffer from a fear of change. In order to make your coworkers’ selection of appropriate verbage easy, refer to yourself as a “person with a disability,” if you must refer to your disability at all.


Making Conversation with the Able-Bodied


When conversing with able-bodied coworkers, remember that their condition may prevent them from understanding certain types of humor or relating to certain topics of conversation. Please do not discuss bodily fluids, catheters, colostomy bags, or assisted showering and toileting. It is considered polite within the able-bodied community to limit discussion of disability to positive and uplifting topics.


In order to converse politely with the able-bodied, try mentioning an exciting hobby like tennis or swimming. Make sure to emphasize how you’ve overcome your disability in order to compete or participate in this hobby. The able-bodied person may tell you that you are “an inspiration.” This is a compliment; please accept it graciously. Some people who are able-bodied may even be moved to tears by your courage. Again, this is to be considered a compliment.


Some able-bodied team members may make conversation by pointing out to you news stories about disabled persons, or by asking if you know another person with the same disability. This reflects the depth of their caring and an effort to reach out to you. Laughter is not an appopriate response to such a query. Nor is it polite to call an article brought to your attention by a coworker, “stunningly bad disability journalism, typical of the New York Times.”


If in doubt, limit topics of conversations to sports, crafts, and the weather. Discussing sex, health, politics, dating, friendship, work, or, worst of all, protests and activism, with able-bodied coworkers may contradict existing prejudices and offend a team member.


Meetings and Office Parties


Appropriate behavior during workplace gatherings is just as important as appropriate behavior during one-on-one interactions. Please do not scold coworkers for assisting you at office functions by preparing your food, pushing your wheelchair to an appropriate location within the room, or ordering for you at group lunches. It is important to allow the able-bodied to keep their sense of autonomy and control intact despite the presence of disabled persons within the organization. Thank able-bodied coworkers for friendly gestures such as those listed above, in order to help preserve their self-image as charitable and inclusive individuals.


Complaining about accessibility at office functions is frowned upon. Providing ASL interpreters, for example, might take away from the positive experience of others during parties. You wouldn’t want to be seen as selfish, would you? The same goes for requesting that team-building exercises be conducted at fully wheelchair-accessible facilities. The able-bodied community loves paintball and ropes courses, and it would detract from their enjoyment of these delightful activities if a disabled person were to come along and repeatedly emphasize his or her inability to participate.


In order to avoid offending a team member, it is best to excuse yourself from events where access could prove challenging. Use an excuse that doesn’t reference your disability if at all possible. A sick family member, flat tire, or salon appointment is a good excuse not to attend team building exercises. If you recuse yourself in plenty of time, you’ll avoid looking like a wet blanket while others are having fun.


During meetings, please avoid calling attention to your disability by objecting to the language or suggestions of others. The able-bodied are very sensitive, and scolding them in front of their peers could cause emotional trauma.


If all of these guidelines are followed, we anticipate that our workplace can be a fun and inclusive environment for all. Let’s remember our company motto: “What’s Good for the Company is Good for All!”


Disclaimer: This post is satirical and inspired by this and this. Please have a good laugh at the expense of ignorant ABs everywhere.


Heartwarming. June 25, 2008

Obama sign by wheelchair ramp.

Description: A Barack Obama for President campaign sign is planted in a neatly mowed suburban lawn, next to a wheelchair ramp. There’s a young tree in the foreground, and in the background are several brightly colored pinwheels and a “beware of dog” sign.


There are little things that warm my heart, and among them is this house, with its beautifully crafted ramp, its Obama sign, and the whimsical collection of pinwheels.


‘Days of Our Lives’ Tackles Autism June 24, 2008

So it seems that ‘Days of Our Lives,’ that bastion of fine contemporary drama, plans to “tackle Autism” with a storyline revolving around the parents of a 3-year-old child who receives an Autism diagnosis. I’ll give you three guesses which organization the show is partnering with to produce this storyline, and the first two don’t count.

That’s right– Dena Higley, mother of a child with Autism and Days Of Our Lives’ head writer, is partnering with Autism Speaks to “ensure the storyline contains realism and sensitivity.” Of course, that’s when Autism Speaks isn’t too busy sending their lawyers to intimidate real, live, speaking Autistic teens and adults and allies who criticize the organization.


A quick run down of questions that weren’t asked in the Today Show interview:


“Dena, how does your 19-year-old son, Connor, a college student and athlete with Autism, feel about the portrayal of Theo on Days of Our Lives?”


“Dena, how does your 19-year-old son, Connor, feel about the organization Autism Speaks?”


“Dena, did any person with Autism play a role in ensuring that the storyline ‘contains realism and sensitivity?'”


“Dena, has ‘Days of Our Lives’ ever hired a writer with a disability?” 


“Dena, doesn’t it strike you as strange that an organization called ‘Autism Speaks’ employs only neurotypical people to speak for Autism?”


Is it so hard to understand?  Really! I can be somewhat sympathetic to the neurotypical view that Autism must be difficult to live with, if one has never met a happy Autistic person, and I can understand that it’s not a big jump for many NTs from the reasonable ‘It would be nice if people with Autism could live with more autonomy if they wish to do so,’ to ‘Let’s cure Autism,’ but how is it that people just don’t even wonder why they’ve never heard someone with Autism thank Autism Speaks for their hard work in attempting to eradicate the condition that makes her who she is?


I do some politicking, and something stupid. June 19, 2008

I am generally a politically active person. Of course, this makes me a PAP, which I think accounts for why everyone in politics seems to be complaining about “smear campaigns.” Anyway, most of my recent activism has been centered around getting this guy elected:


Barack Obama in a photoshopped image that makes him appear to be The Terminator, on a motorcycle, holding a gun.

He’ll be baaaaahck… For another four years, after his first term! And, I seriously need that image on a black t-shirt. But the image I’m really looking forward to is more like this:


Barack Obama in a photoshopped image showing him in front of the White House smiling and pointing.

Anyway. Yeah. I have a whole collection of these Obama images, and I use them as backgrounds for my desktop at work, usually leading to some good natured bantering with more conservative coworkers, and compliments from anyone wandering by who either shares my opinion on Obama or just appreciates good Photoshop. Note: I didn’t make either of these. Both were found on Reddit. I’m rubbish at Photoshop.


Anyway, what I’m trying to get to is, I haven’t really done anything for local candidates in a while. So, I got an invite to my county Democratic party’s next central committee meeting. Actually, it was a summons– the words “Your attendance is mandatory,” were featured prominently. I attended.


It was great fun; I met lots of candidates I hadn’t previously met, and reconnected with some old friends, including a girl who I knew from my childhood. In fact, I think I may have made a friend. She told me she just moved back to Colorado and had no friends here yet, gave me her number, and said we should get together for coffee and catch up. Yay for new friends!


Another old friend was there: A prominent local Democrat with a disability. Probably the most recognizable wheelchair user in the Colorado Democratic party, and the main reason I’m so interested in disability activism. I used the opportunity to mention to some candidates that they ought to make disability civil rights a central part of their campaign, pointing out that my friend was available to answer any questions they might have. And, of course, I got “The Appraisal.”


The Appraisal is what happens when an apparently able-bodied person mentions disability rights to another apparently able-bodied person. There’s the quick, furtive look at my feet and legs, then a slower glance at my face, searching for cognitive disability, and often, they watch carefully as I walk away.

They’re speculating: Is it fibromyalgia? No, too young. Diabetes, maybe. Lots of young women have diabetes. Maybe a family member is disabled? Or, could it be, she WAS disabled, and now is cured? Or MS– MS is one of those “invisible disabilities,” right? Maybe she’s Autistic… I hear some of them are “indistinguishable from their peers.”


Then I get the, “Of course, we’ll reach out to voters with disabilities, because it’s the right thing to do, not for political gain.” That line. God, I hate that line! If a young, Liberal AB like me can recognize that nobody wants your outreach for charity purposes, why can’t a lifelong political professional get it? No! Reach out for political gain– because that means that you respect voters with disabilities and understand they can do something for you, not just you for them!






I promised you a stupid thing I did. No, I did not kick the candidate who said that in the shins. Sorry.


I bought a Dems 2008 magnet. A super strong magnet. I stuck it on my purse.


Then I stuck my cell phone in my purse.