The Phenomenal, Fabulous, Fantastic DS Blogblog

Dan Niblock is tireless when it comes to blogging about the syndrome of D. Not only about his own bundle of magic, little Ozzie, but also about events and info relating to Downs on the wittily titled Down Town.

He’s just released a new one into the wild. I’ve used the short, snappy title as my own for this post [ ๐Ÿ˜‰ Dan]. There’s some fantastic writing on it too, except this time he’s highlighting other people’s experiences. ‘Words of wisdom from a multitude of Down syndrome bloggers’, he calls it. I’m not sure if that means people with Ds, people with people with Ds, or something else altogether, and I’m glad I don’t know. There are already too many restrictions in the minds of too many people, and I’ll be trying not to add to them in 2010.

He very kindly asked me to lend an old post from here, which I was happy to do, and there are already a handful of real pearls from some smart people there. I’d urge you to visit, and to pass it on to anyone who might benefit (that is just about everyone, if you ask me). It deserves a big audience.

Happy new year, everyone.

Special Olympics Ireland on Facebook

Can you help me push their Facebook membership towards 2,000 fans?

facebook_logoNext Thursday I’m meeting a group of people from Special Olympics Ireland. Volunteers. I’ve been asked to talk about social media, and how it can help organisations like them in fundraising and getting the positive messages and experience out. There are 300 million people worldwide on Facebook. I’d like to use it to make as many of them as possible aware of the amazing work Special Olympics do.

I won’t need to tell you lot what a great bunch they are, and not just in Ireland. As part of my presentation to them, I’m really hopeful that I can demonstrate how powerful our little blogging community can be for the cause too. We network, advocate, share resources and provide a great early warning system for each other, as well as having a laugh and keeping up to date with our wonderful friends worldwide.

On Friday last I pushed the same message out on Twitter. In the space of 24 hours my little group of followers on Twitter, none of whom are involved in the Ds scene, had added 60+ fans to the Special Olympics group. The fan base went from 1,660 people to 1,740 and is still climbing. It’s at 1,785 as I write. The internet has made this stuff possible, and I would love to hit 2k before next Thursday, Oct 22nd.

How can you help?

  • Join the Irish Facebook page here.
  • Link to your own area’s Special Olympics FB page too if you’re not in Ireland.
  • Blog about the group yourself. Feel free to cut and paste from this post.

Picture 1

And if you want to follow me on Facebook, (not you, Revenue) here’s my profile. It’ll all be just lovely and we can have tea and scones and tut tut about the young people today.

Summer sports camp in Laois/Kildare

Image by Dru Bloomfield

Found this over on Irish Autism Action.

Summer Sports Camps are running in conjunction with the Laois, Kilkenny, Carlow and Kildare Local Sports Partnerships and Special Olympics Leinster.

It’s for any child with an intellectual disability between 6 and 16 years of age. Siblings welcome. If it sounds like you then check out the details at the Autism Action site.

Oh, and a quick apology for the lack of everything round here. A Jacob update is on the way when I can get him off the stairs and in front of the keyboard. ๐Ÿ™‚

A post to support Irish Autism Action

The absolutely amazing and tireless creation that is Hammie is yet again going without sleep so that Irish autism can benefit. She’s got two incredible kids with autism herself, yet despite the 27 or so hours she devotes to them every day, she also finds time to do stuff like help loads of other special needs groups like Jacob’s. Oh, and she fundraises like Billy-o for Irish Autism Action.

The latest push comes with the assistance of O2 and Samsung. For every Samsung Tocco Sold In O2 stores during the month of June, โ‚ฌ10 will be going to Irish Autism Action Charities in your area.O2-5628+Sam&IAA+Corp

If you ARE in the market in Ireland for a smartphone, please put the Samsung Tocco on the list for consideration. And if you’re not, I’d take it as a personal favour if you could spread the message to anyone you know who might be.

If you want to find out what that support means from the perspective of someone with autism, Hammie’s blog post says it rather nicely. Please support her essential (and usually unsung) work if you can.

Cyberlove. All of the fun. None of the Kleenex.

I have to say thank you tonight to four great people. I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting Nan P, Cathal’s Mammy, Sesame and Hammie, but I know a lot about a little of each of them. In the last week or so they have all separately named Our Jacob as a site that they like, so obviously they’re particularly discerning and highly intelligent individuals.

Initially, being the rejectionist that I am (actually I’m not) I thought ‘Oh, here we go, another piece of shiny bloggerbait.’ (I’m a bit too precious like that sometimes: Stick with the mission, Nick. It’s about Jacob, his difference, his impact, his effect on us, our coping, our adapting, our stress and all the rest of it. That’s the reason why I don’t list any of the other wonderful and nourishing blogs that I read and contribute to on a regular basis. My links are to people or places with special needs relevance or crossover.)

But now I realise something else. The four people who passed this outreach to me are special and, by no small coincidence, they are all very close to people who deal with stuff in ways that the majority of us don’t have to even consider. They share some genes with people who don’t share some other genes with most people. And here we all are, with our special needs on our sometimes turbulent but mostly cheerful ship of specialness, scuttering away across seas of- oh for sweet Jesus’s sake get on with it, windbag!

Kay. I want to say a big thanks to all four of you, for thinking of this journal as something that has relevance for you. I’m glad it does, and yours all certainly do for me. I hope others who read this end up linking and learning. Now on with this chain mail, about which I am absolutely not cynical, Hammie. No, I swear!

Les rรจgles du jeu:

1. The nominated may put the picture on their blogs.
2. Please link to the person who awarded you.
3. Then annoy nominate seven other people and link to them.
4. Leave a message on those people’s blog to make them aware that they’re nominated.

My annoyminees:

South Dublin Dad is Ava Charlotte’s dad and makes me consider important stuff that I hadn’t considered. A good thing.

Wellied on Life ALWAYS has an alternative weather report, and she never fails to stimulate my grey matter.

The Muse. Noah’s dad writes good, and gives me the comfort of strength in numbers. I’m not the only joker in this pack!

Mothering by the seat of my pants. Chris does a lot of wondering aloud. But it’s never idle and it’s usually challenging.

Bock the Robber. I’m giving this to Bock in honour of his long-range opinions and his sublime crankiness. A beautiful award like this will probably add to the latter.

The Voyage. Sharon’s the centurion at the gate, advocating for autism in a beautifully written way. But watch out – she knows kung fu.

Narrow Ridge. Tom, another downsdad, always delights me with his pics and thinks through things before speaking. Clever.

Play the game or some or none of it – all up to you guys. I won’t be offended. I include you all because you’re worth it and you all stay on my Reader, not that I think you’re clever or anything…


Kick Ass Blogger?

It’s all too apparent to me now that this interthing is full of absolute tosh that I place no value on whatsoever. The idea of people passing awards around to each other whenever the urge takes them just diminishes the value of everything if you ask me.

I mean look at this. I’ve been nominated as a Kick Ass Blogger. As if I’m going to put it up here and, like, feel a silly little glow of pride because someone thought of my blog and sent it to me. As if I’m going to visit it when I’m supposed to be doing other things like feeding my children. And check on the traffic too often just to see how many others have genuflected before my obvious wit, charm and wisdom. Damn pride. No sir, you misunderestimate me if you think that I’m going to commit one of the deadliest sins just for that piece of vanity. Or is that two of the deadliest sins? (You see how creeping these things are? You see?)

But I’m not a complete churl, and I do not want to offend others needlessly. So even though I hold it in no esteem whatsoever, I will say a polite thank you to Yankee who passed this ‘award’ on to me and is obviously an erudite, thoughtful and totally hot blogger, despite her weakness for shiny things that I put no value on whatsoever. And I will also follow the rule and give respect to MammaDawg who is Christian and obviously designed this award from a completely Christian perspective of charity and doing unto others etc. Misguided, of course, but sweet.

Ok, so I thanked the giver and mentioned the creator. But beyond that I am not playing the game. I’m not going to push this chainmail on five people who I respect in Blogitania like Sharon who’s far too busy with the signal boxes up there on the Northern Line, or enc who’s almost as stylish as I am myself, or Xbox who is definitely too busy for this kind of tawdriness. I’m not going to pretend to be impressed by K8 the Gr8 so that I can drag her into this and I most definitely, assuredly and with utter certainty am not going to ask Elbog to partake of this nonsense.

No. I’m sorry. These awards are the kind of self-referential and self-reverential dweebism that gives this beautiful interland a bad name and I’m not going to dignify them with any acknowledgement whatsoever. To paraphrase Winnie Mandela Churchill, it’s the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put.

Apologies to my normal readers (ie non-blogfreaks). Normal service will resume shortly.

Tree of Happiness

A non-DS related post for a change. Today I’m listing six things that float my boat because Hammie told me to. Then apparently I’ve got to nominate five others who have to do something similar. Hmmm. Is this what memes are? (Incidentally, if you haven’t yet been hammified, you should.)

I’ve tried to avoid the obvious things that I love like family and world peace and completing my collection of Horst Bucholz movies, and apologies in advance for dragging those linked below into this. The least you can do, dear reader, is call in on them and offer some sympathy and have a rummage in their wildly different but similarly excellent drawers of stuff.

Anyway. Happiness. It’s easy.

1. Music.

Can’t imagine life without it. I worship good lyrics. Get tickled when I discover a new meaning after listening to an album for ten years. Sometimes, with particular favourites, I can listen all the way through but only to a specific instrument, or just the harmony voice. R&B (what a ridiculous hijacking of a name) and metal are out. Other than that it’s open season, from The Blue Nile to Marvin Gaye to Schubert to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I’ve read that 80% of sensory input comes in through the eyes. Hmph. Feed your ears here or here or here.

2. I like to run.

The sound that ten thousand running shoes make is a sort of high speed schlup-schlup-schlup, like a caterpillar on fast forward, and it’s eerily quiet and solitary to be in the midst of that sound. I love it. I also love the heat that bounces off the wall of Glasnevin Cemetery, even at 11.30 at night, if it’s been a warm day. Did you know that poet Gerard Manley Hopkins lies there? So does Jonathan Swift, and Brendan Behan, along with the usual round ’em ups of Irish history – Devalera, Collins, Pearse, Daniel O’Connell… They must have either great parties or seriously boring yakkfests. Now what had this to do with running again?

3. Patrick Kavanagh’s poetry.

Boorish, thick-fingered and brilliant, this man died the month after I was born in October ’67. My sensibilities were formed in rural Cavan, a grey Monaghan stone’s throw away. Yeats had the little people, but Kavanagh had the muck. When I now read that great man’s words, it seems as though he walked the lanes just a short bend ahead of me. Nothing is ever constant, but the moments he captured a generation before mine resonate deeply in me. They can bring me directly to a simpler time I witnessed when I was growing. From the 1970s we were hurtling into the future, but looking back maybe we were doing so with two feet in the past. I remember visiting cousins in Donegal before the rural electrification scheme had reached them. It always seemed quite cosy to be going to bed by Tilley lamp. I can remember too other cousins in Cavan getting the colour telly in. My God! Dan Tanner’s car in Vegas was red! And his denims were blue! I was enraptured, but I’d have to wait until August 1979 before the ‘colour’ reached our house. Thank God for his magnificence Pope John Paul II! We’d lived in monochrome until the Popemobile sashayed into town in a riot of colour (mostly Vatican yellow and white, it has to be said, but everything hitherto had been black and white, so we were transfixed anyway.) Come hell or high water, by Jesus Mam was going to see JP 2 in glorious technicolour. Fine with us, Mammy! Anyway, Kavanagh didn’t have Vegas on colour tv, but he had a Christmas Childhood, breath plumed by frosty starlight, calves born in the wee hours in cosy, hay-smelling byres and he had a love and a hate for his loam-clogged boots. He got the point of a whin bush, and so do I, even yet when I’m cast adrift in a metropolitan landscape of constant bustle and no darkness and nothing but foxes to tell day from night.

Luke Kelly and the Dubliners give a great rendition of his words here.

4. Raising Arizona.

The Coen brothers have made by now an impressive list of fine, fine films. Thoughtful, different and engaging. Always ultra-professional productions. You might choose Miller’s Crossing over Barton Fink, or claim that Fargo was wayyy better than The Big Lebowski, and nobody can argue really. For me, it’s their second one that is the greatest. A perfect little gem of hilarity that ought to be the textbook for how to write a proper screenplay. No wrong note, funny as Mother Teresa in Paula Radcliffe’s running vest and perfectly, perfectly cast. Yes, that includes Nicolas Cage. He’s not wrong in everything he does, you know. I’ve seen it somewhere between 25 and 26 times, and hopefully some more too. I can’t believe this was 21 years ago.

5. Crows

Can’t explain this. Don’t want to anyway. If I see crows flying in any kind of appreciable numbers, my heart skips and I cannot suppress a smile.

Crows know stuff you didn’t know they knew. Loads of stuff. Don’t stone the crows, ok?

6. My iMac

I’m not techie, but I am an utter Mac snob. I love how it goes about its business and how dang fine it looks even when it’s asleep. I can’t understand why anyone uses a PC. Just don’t get it. But I’m not sure I want everyone to have one of these swift beauties either…


Tell us some stuff what floats yer boats, peeps…

The most beautifully titled Raptureponies

The magnificent McAWilliams

The mother on the hill: Sesame

By the seat of her pants: Chris

By the light of the moon: Jo the Mama

Have at it, me hearties.