Without Teachers

I’ve seen a lot of people posting against the education cuts planned/made under the Ford Government. I would like to add my own voice to the mix.

As a student with a disability, I wouldn’t have succeeded without the help of educational assistants. They were my hands when mine couldn’t work. They had the challenge of putting my thoughts to paper; my thoughts often coming faster than they could write. They were the biggest advocates for my success, letting teachers know what I needed; and sometimes reminding ignorant teachers that I was more than an extra body at the back of the room (the 90s were tough times.)

Larger class sizes and cutting EA’s is educational sabotage. Teachers will not be able to effectively do their jobs. I had a few classes on Main Campus at Western, and I recall the overwhelming feeling of being “just a number.” That feeling shouldn’t occupy the minds of elementary or secondary school students. Those years are meant for figuring out what works best for you and where your passions lie; before sinking thousands of dollars into them later.

I’ve heard teachers be referred to as lazy. That is so far from the truth. My passion for writing did not come from my parents. My passion for writing came from teachers like Judy Carter, who spent several painstaking periods trying to help me grasp Shakespeare; and write a poem of my own.

My love of Media and Animation was born from Linda Harvey-Rioux teaching the basics of photoshop; and dedicating several classes to the subject of Claymation

Extracurricular activities like choir in elementary school, gave me reprieve from an unstable life at home. I learned confidence, as well as how to socialize with my peers. Making cuts will deny students a key form of expression and growth that you can’t get anywhere else.

It is so discouraging and disturbing knowing that people who evidently don’t value education — don’t even finish what they start, are left in charge of the policies.

Don’t forget to thank the teachers and EA’s in your life. You probably wouldn’t be where you are today without them.

My Grade 6 teacher, Sue Hatch, who I still see on occasion.

Yoshi’s Crafted World – An Accessibility Review

I’ve always wanted to write game reviews that included how easy or difficult it was for people with disabilities to play. Sometimes, I buy a game and I end up getting really frustrated because of the tasks and the motor skills needed to do them. Truthfully, I know that video games are not accessible for everyone. However, if you can play, I hope my review will provide some useful insights.

As a Nintendo Switch user, I personally enjoy playing in portable mode with the joy-con attached. I have played in TV mode, and I find that I have difficulty controlling buttons and screen prompts

For my first review, I decided to start my review idea off with Yoshi’s Crafted World. I was pretty stoked for this game because it’s my first serious Yoshi game. I believe I tried a Yoshi game on the Nintendo DS platform, but I had trouble getting into it, and just plain stopped

Yoshi’s Crafted World has proven to be more enticing, thankfully. The game has two modes; Mellow and Classic. I chose to start with Mellow because I don’t have previous experience with any Yoshi games.

The nice thing about Mellow mode, is that it gives more time and power to Yoshi’s flutter jump. This is great for people who have difficulty lining up and timing jumps. Another handy feature of the mode is that it alerts you when a level objective is nearby.

My Orange Yoshi with Mellow Mode wings.

If you use the Nintendo Switch in TV mode, there is also an option for 2 player co-op. This is great, because if you are struggling with a particular part of the game, you can ask a pal for help. The second player also has the bonus of infinite Yoshi eggs.

The one thing you will need in this game is patience. The objective can be difficult to achieve all at once. It’s ok to come back to a level and try again. I made the mistake of repetitive tries on the same level. I would recommend visiting another level as a break up to avoid any frustration. I’m happy to report that after coming back to them , I achieved 100% in 4 levels so far.

At the time of writing, I have defeated 1 small boss and 1 large boss with little difficulty. I will update this post when I’ve completed the game.

I’m not disappointed with my first Yoshi experience at all. I would recommend it to someone who likes a bit of a challenge and doesn’t mind looking at a game from many different angles. The levels are very crafty in design.

If you would like me to add more to my reviews, please leave a comment below

That Kevin Guy

When I first started working at Diply, I was very proud of having a few Yuk Yuks Amateur Nights under my belt. I was so confident that I was funny; I even performed my favourite bits for the DIY team on my first day. I was soon told that there was a really funny guy on the Humour team named Kevin, who I should really get to know.

Eventually, I got to work with him. He even invited me to come to a show at the Roxbury when the Yuk Yuks season died down. I remember being floored when I learned that he hosted the show. It’s been my favourite spot to perform ever since.

Why am I devoting a whole blog post to a guy named Kevin? After 9 years in the London Ontario comedy scene, he hosted his last show yesterday evening.

Kevin has given so much to the comedy comedy community. He’s one of the reasons I enjoy shows as much as I do. I’ve met great people because of coming to his shows every month that I can manage. He’s someone that I look up to. When he says he enjoyed a bit, it means more to me than even parental approval.

Kevin deserves the best in all of his future experiences and plans. I couldn’t have managed at Diply; or grown in comedy without his support and friendship. He even makes the whole unemployment thing a lot more bearable. I don’t know what I’d do without Mario Parties to look forward to.

If you don’t have a Kevin in your life, you’re missing out. I can 100% guarantee that you will never find a Kevin quite like my friend, Kevin Avram.

I Am Trying

I’ve had some good moments in the last little while. I’m back seeing an employment specialist, I’m going to a job fair this week, I have appointment #2 for a new chair, too. I remain very hopeful about these things

However, I’m struggling for a very different reason. I have helpers that come in to assist with daily living activities. Usually, I’m grateful for the assistance, because there are more good eggs than bad ones.

It’s been difficult to fully heal from my job loss because on a given day, 5 different people could ask how the job hunt is going. I’m aware that some people are genuinely concerned; but there are a good portion just looking for a hot piece of gossip.

By the 2nd week of losing my job ALL THE STAFF KNEW. I can change the topic with most of my helpers and discuss what I choose to. Some push, and attempt to rephrase the question if they don’t get the answer I can imagine they feel entitled to

Unfortunately, it hasn’t stopped at my job situation. I have people constantly asking whether I went outside today. Let me tell you, there is no winning. If the weather is nice and I stayed inside, Why? If I have to do something in bad weather, Oh, well you should know better than that. My life doesn’t stop just because I’m disabled. I find myself begging the universe for a job, just to get some sort of reprieve from helpers, and what can feel worse than FBI interrogation

Having a disability, I have no choice but to give up a large chunk of my privacy. I have accepted this. It doesn’t mean I choose to relinquish ALL of it

I’m struggling with the newer helpers because some pat me like a dog, some talk like I’m 5 (or like I’m not there at all), some have even referred to us generally as “these people.” I’m not sure if they think we’re lesser, but I have more education and life experience than a good portion of them would know what to do with. I by no means should have to mention my educational background to earn respect, or compare my education to anyone’s for any reason. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re all people.

If you stumble across this post and feel offended, ask yourself how you treat people. Perhaps, instead of asking whether someone went out, or about a personal aspect of life, ask how you can do better.

I would like to take the time to thank my good helpers. I’m very aware that this is a physically and mentally draining line of work. I appreciate your effort and compassion. This was not meant as an attack on helpers at all. Just as the job is a hard one, it can be hard to accept the help.

A Tall Glass Of Comedic Relief

I started performing at open mic 3 years ago now. When I started, of course I wanted to make people laugh. However, I also wanted to use it as a teaching tool of sorts. When you tell others not to do something because it hurts and is incredibly ignorant, they get defensive. When you turn that same thing into a joke, it sticks because you aren’t directly attacking somebody else’s character.

Aside from teaching others, comedy has also given me control of things that I would otherwise have zero control over. I get to change the typical narrative behind disability.

You guys think I’m dumb/damaged? Perhaps to a certain degree, but there was a fully grown man who asked if I slept in a bed the other day. Nope, I sleep upside down like a bat.

I’ve never minded questions, but there are some that make me fear for the future of humanity.

My absolute favourite part of comedy is the community behind it. We’re all a hot mess in our own unique way, but it feels like having a family (one that Dr Phil couldn’t dissect if he tried.) I’ve never felt more grateful for comedy. In a way, I still have a job, (even if it hardly pays.) Comedy is something that gravity and oxygen deprived brain cells can never steal from me. I hope to never give it up.

The bold text is a joke. I’m okay, really!

Bring On 2019

2018 started with the usual reflection and optimism that comes with the start of any new year. However, I wish I could’ve rewritten the ending. As previously mentioned in this blog post, losing my first job was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced.

The only thing that’s really left to say now is what I’m hoping will happen in 2019. I won’t be foolish enough to set any concrete goals, because I know that’s just setting myself up for disappointment. I know that I can easily lose 300 pounds, if only I just stood up, but that won’t happen in my lifetime.

I would like to spend more time with people who actually want to spend time with me. A lot of 2018 was me inviting people to do things, but nothing actually coming of it. In 2019, I will stick to my tried-and-true hangout buddies. and be pleasantly surprised if anything else happens.

I finished off 2018 with my favourite kind of party, involving Mario and a “smashing” good time. I was too excited to finally get some four player action with some of my aforementioned buddies. It’s a lot more fun gaming in a group, than alone.

Obviously, I hope to find a new job in the new year, but until then I would like to focus more on my love for comedy. I’m not exactly sure how, but I would like to take the Amateur out of my title. I’d love to experience opening for a comic, or headlining my own show.

I’d also love to try public speaking. I feel like it would be a great outlet, and a way to share my experiences. Whatever happens, I’m just ready for a fresh start.

Bring on 2019!

Thank Goodness for Books

Since being laid off just over a month ago, I have had time to get reacquainted with my love of books. Usually, I tend to go for the books that get me as far away from reality as I can possibly go. It provides a very real and inexpensive means of escape.

Recently, I finished the series Crazy Rich Asians. Surprisingly, the series has more drama than my own life. I was even more surprised by how much I liked it. I guess it was just relieving to read something crazier than my own circus.

Aside from juicy and dramatic books, I’ve also been reading books by celebrities that I admire. I finished both of Mindy Kaling’s books in 2 days each. It was sort of therapeutic to read about her struggles and to see how she overcame them. I had fallen into the trap of assuming that she was just like Kelly Kapoor, her character on The Office. I guess that means she’s good at her job.

I’m probably not going to be famous, but reading books has reminded me that everyone goes through slumps, no matter who you are. It has reminded me of my desire to write my own book, and finally, it has reminded me to always make time to take care of yourself and do the things you love. I didn’t realize how burned out I actually was until I took some time to take care of myself