My Book Pitch

I am due to become an aunty soon, and upon hearing the news, I started to reflect on what it is that I want to be able to teach my new niece or nephew. After thinking about it long and hard, I have come up with absolutely nothing.

There is the old chestnut, “you can be/do anything you dream of,” but that’s been done, and let’s be honest, most children already think that anyway.

If you ask an average kid what they want to be when they grow up, chances are they’ll tell you they want to be a firefighter, an astronaut and a wizard all at once. In fact, I posed this very question to a 3 year-old I know recently and he told me he wanted to be a dinosaur. Children see nothing as impossible.

As a small child I thought this too. I expected I could climb mountains. Not literally of course, but as a littlie the prospect of climbing a set of stairs seemed almost the same.


However, as a disabled child, I found this to be impossible. Not because it was, but because I was never allowed to attempt it by myself. So, I “learned” that this, and many tasks like it were simply not something I could do. Until blissful adulthood, when as master of my own destiny, I gave it a go and surprised myself.

Granted, there are indeed things I can’t do, and I found that out the hard way. But I survived the attempts (albeit with a few bumps and bruises in some cases), and now I know. This means I have more scope to make decisions on how to tackle other things. It is empowering.

I guess the conclusion I have come to then, is that its not the new baby who I need to impart my wisdom on. It’s their parents.

Along with about 99% of the population (I’m assuming) I have a long-held desire to write a book. The problem is, that takes time that I just don’t have. Plus, I am only an expert on myself (which isn’t very interesting), and I don’t have enough expertise on anything else (or the motivation to get some), to be able to write a book about it. Except for Harry Potter that is. But I think JK Rowling has already got that covered.

I do have an idea for a children’s book though.

Its about Molly. She’s not like the other helicopters who live on the airfield. In fact, She’s a clever forklift (who picks things up easily). Molly has a best friend, Freddie the go-cart, who dreams of being a muscle car when he grows up.

Molly’s parents, Mister and Missus Coddled (a pair of middle-aged helicopters) love their daughter very much and recognise her superior intellect, but despite this they can’t seem to be able to let her experience life for herself.

Now, fiction and writing for children is usually not my forte (some might say it still isn’t). So, I have no idea what my characters should do, or how to make them do it.

Although, there was this one time when my brother and I were playing “too near” to a pond and the adult who was supervising us spent so much energy reminding us to be careful and shielding us from the possibility of falling in. That they weren’t watching where they were walking and fell in themselves. Would that work?

I am hoping that my book, which I envisage as a picture book, (even though I’m blind and can’t draw) becomes a regular fixture in the bedtime rotation of children across the country, (I have no ambition for world domination). That way, parents, like my brother might pick up on a few hints. You are welcome little ones.

So, who wants to publish me?



A crumby thing happened on the way to The Project: The post script

Previously on Inner Musings of a Funny Looking Kid…

I wrote of a run-in I had with a taxi driver in Melbourne, who refused me entry into his cab (for full details see “A crumby thing happened on the way to The Project”).

I do not really like to make formal complaints (I prefer to whinge about my issues on my blog) because, regardless of what the circumstances I always feel bad about possibly getting someone into trouble. In addition, the attention I get from whinging is usually enough to placate me.

As usual I considered letting it slip, “what if I miss-understood him?” I thought to myself. Was it that big of a deal?

Apparently it was. This blog has been the most interacted-with blog I have ever done. For whatever reason it struck a chord with so many.

So, I went to the website and made a complaint, giving all the detail I had, but not expecting much (as I did not have his number), and feeling very guilty.

After three weeks, I had started to lose hope of ever hearing back, and as the dust had settled by now, I was a bit relieved. But eventually they did get back to me.

As it turnsout, this is a very serious issue which they take very seriously. The driver has broken the company’s code of conduct and (I think) the law. Yet another lesson not to doubt myself.

The driver in question has been appropriately dealt with and I have been promised compensation, funded by a fine he will have to pay.

Despite my dislike of getting people into trouble, I did get a little giggle from this. Is that bad?

Let this be a lesson to him, and to me.


Musings of Melbourne


Damion and I have just returned from our first-ever holiday together, a weekend away in Melbourne Victoria.

I am not sure how Melbournians do it, living in that cold. I froze my arse off. Ironic, given how much I ate.

“They” are not wrong when they say there is good food to be eaten in Melbourne.

My favourite meal to go out for is breakfast and knowing this, I was told that whilst in Melbourne I had to try a meal of smashed avocado and feta. Apparently, it is what all the trendy people eat for brekky there. I did so, and I have to say I cannot see why it is so exciting.

On the subject of trendy dining, is it normal to have to eat your $35 meal on your lap?

For our last supper, we went to a very cute, very old Irish pub. The place smelt of wooden furniture and had a roaring open fire (always a highlight for me). Our “table” was knee high and nestled within a booth that made me think of my Catholic school days and giving confession. When our enormous plates arrived with servings to match, we had to pull them up on our laps to eat. This meant I wore a lot of it, but it was the yummiest Moroccan Lamb Salad I have ever had. Even Damion had nothing but praise for his rack of lamb. My only criticism (if it is one), is that due to the huge serving of salad, I could not finish eating the chips (French fries) I really did not need, but had to have anyway. This was tragic, as they were amazing!

For the record, I consider myself to be something of a hot chip connoisseur. They are quite often the only thing I can eat on a menu, so I have them everywhere. I am thinking of starting a blog just reviewing hot chips…

I am not a big pub person, although in Melbourne I made an exception. They are different to the ones in Perth. Full of character and quiet enough to have a conversation. Even when they are full. I also settled on my drink of choice in Melbourne. Raspberry Vodka and lemonade. I took great delight in ordering “the usual” everywhere we went.

For a modern city, Melbourne has a lot of horses pulling carts (for the tourists I assume). Although there are plenty of cars about, the carts and the constant “ding ding” of the trams made me feel as though I had stepped back in time. Until I got on an actual tram, that is.

I was expecting to see Judy Garland gleefully singing about how jolly it is to ride on the trolley. That is not what I found. Instead, there were bored looking commuters, carrying their shopping and trying not to catch each other’s eye. Shame not all the trams are wheelchair accessible.

St Kilda is my favourite spot in Melbourne. Mostly because it was warmer there than in the CBD, but also because St Kilda beach is amongst the nicest I have seen. So easy to get around and really wheelchair accessible. We originally only went there to see “the clown “ at Luna Park but we ended up spending hours eating and drinking while overlooking the beach. Bliss!

I still have not seen the famed “beach boxes” though, which is disappointing.

Of course, we had to watch an Australian Football League game while in Melbourne, seeing as how it is the home of football.

They are not my team, but we went to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (AKA the MCG or the Holy Grail) to see Damion’s beloved West Coast Eagles play the Collingwood Magpies. To my surprise, there were many Eagles supporters there. Even more surprising was the amount of people sporting merchandise of my team, the Fremantle Dockers. Many of them were wearing Collingwood jumpers and Dockers hats which was odd.

That day, West Coast beat the “Pies” at the MCG for the first time. I was unsure how the very passionate Collingwood supporters would react to us, given that Damion was now wearing an Eagles shirt that he bought at the ground. I need not have worried though as everyone (Pies and Eagles supporters alike) joined in on celebrating what was a very good game. This too was unlike anything I had experienced at the footy in Perth.

On a side note: Is there anyone in Melbourne who isn’t obsessed with the football? People seemed to want to stop and chat about it everywhere we went. What do people talk about in the off-season?

I hardly did any shopping whilst in Melbourne, but Damion (who loves to shop) did convince me to buy a Harvard Alumni jumper. I wore it on our journey back to Perth and, while at the airport, I kept trying to catch people’s eye, hoping they would ask me what I had studied. No one did. Oh well.

But then, Damion had a West Coast Eagles shirt on and no-one asked him if he was a player.

Thanks Melbourne. Until we meet again…


Niina at the Pub

A crumby thing happened on the way to The Project

I thought I was used to discrimination. It often seems as though I go about wearing an invisibility cloak, which is ironic considering the amount of people who stare at me. But never have I been so blatantly discriminated against as I was on my journey to the Channel Ten studios in Melbourne to watch The Project.

I was super excited about this and thrilled to have scored free tickets to be in the studio audience on the weekend we just happened to be in Melbourne.

We had been asked to get to the studio on Chapel Street in South Yarra by 5:30 PM to allow us time to check in and be seated before the live broadcast began at 6:30.

By 4:30 PM we, (myself, Damion and my collapsible wheelchair) were waiting outside our hotel for the taxi that the hotel receptionist kindly called for us.

About 20 minutes later, a taxi in the form of a station wagon finally pulled up.

As we approach the vehicle and made to get in, the taxi driver wound down his window and with a look of disgust in my direction said to Damion, “I’m not taking her she’s in a wheelchair!”

Now, we were both prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he thought the wheelchair would not be able to fold down, and that we were planning to somehow squeeze in anyway.

However, when we explained that the chair was collapsible and could fit easily into the boot of his car, he continued to refuse me entry.

Still only addressing Damion but looking at me with absolute incredulity through the passenger side window, he told us that we would have to ring the taxi company again and asked for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Even though I was perfectly capable of getting into the taxi that was already there.

We tried pleading with him. Explaining that we had an appointment that we simply couldn’t miss. At this he seemed to reconsider, asking (very rudely I might add) “well, where are you going?”

We gave him the address, which as we were currently in the centre of the city and it was peak hour, meant that the fare ended up being more than $40. This however must not have been tempting enough though. He simply said, “nope, you’ll have to call the taxi company.” Then, he wound up the window and drove away.

I totally get that A taxi driver has the right to refuse to take a passenger if they feel that the passenger in question could be a threat to them or their vehicle.

I was neither of those things. I had absolutely no intention of causing trouble, especially as I had on my favourite skirt and causing trouble would risk it getting dirty. He just didn’t want to take me because of my disability.

Not happy Jan!!!!

Following a call from a very I rate Damion to the dispatcher, we eventually did get a taxi.

Ironically, it too was a station wagon. But, it did not have an oaf for a driver.

We made it in the end. We were half an hour late, but we did make it in time for the broadcast. Phew.

Sadly, in all the fuss we were unable to get the taxi drivers number. However, I still plan to make a complaint.

Is it any wonder that Uber is so popular?


TV or not TV? My visit to The Project

I was in the studio audience for one of my favourite TV shows the other night and it was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had…

For those who don’t know, The Project is a news– comedy show that broadcasts live six nights a week. It is filmed at the Channel Ten studios in Melbourne.

Before we went into the actual studio we got a lesson in audience participation. We learned handy skills such as how to clap and make the appropriate noises. “Ooh and ahh” etc.

I have been in a studio audience once before. That time was at the ABC studios in Sydney where I saw the taping of Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. Afterwards, I got to meet the man himself, and because I am a groupie, naturally I asked him for a photo. He agreed, adding “ you can have anything you want because you make me look tall.” Cheeky bugger!

But I digress…

This was just like stepping inside the TV. There was the set just as I had seen it from my lounge room. Although it seems so much smaller in real life.

There were the four hosts, just as I remembered, The only difference is that if you talk to them they will talk back. This is what happens during the ad breaks.

For the record yes, co-host Waleed Ali is that intimidatingly handsome in real life.

Speaking of the ad breaks, although the show its self seemed to slide past so much faster in real life, The ad breaks seems so much longer than when you have to sit through the actual ads. I found this curious, but on reflection, it’s probably because when the ads are on I’m usually in the loo…

The show only had one live guest on this night. Blogger, writer and super cool chick Constance Hall. I was beside myself with excitement. For a while now I have been convinced that Constance and I are destined to be besties. As it turns out it is Damion who was destined to be her bestie though. I found out later that he had been chatting to her and her hubby when he ran into them and their gorgeous brand-new baby in the car park outside the studio. I was MIA. Dammit!

Having a vision impairment can sometimes be a vexation to the spirit. After the broadcast, Damion and I were heading down in the lift with two of the crew members. While the three of them were chatting I was gazing around the lift and my eyes fell upon a “photo” of co-host Joe Stanley that was hanging on the wall. In order to focus on it properly I stared at it probably way too long.

Then, A new voice asked me, “did you enjoy the show?” I was in my wheelchair facing the back of the lift so I craned my neck to see who had made the query. Possibly realising I couldn’t see her, the owner of the Voice bent down beside me and put her hand on my shoulder. It was co-host Carrie Bickmore. OMG! She too is tiny. I’m sure if I stood up we would’ve been the same height.

It was only then that I realised the “photo” I had been staring atfrom mere centimetres away was in fact Jo herself. So embarrassing.

Sadly I have no photos from my visit to The Project. Cameras and mobile phones are not allowed in the studio.

I do however have yet another story to add to my faux par file.