Tag Archives: blogging

Indoor Skydiving Part 1: The differences between indoor and traditional skydiving

Regular readers of my blog may recall that in 2015 (after much deliberation); I jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet.

To be clear, it was a planned tandem skydive and I had a parachute, there was no mid-air emergency.

Anyway, since then I have been searching for an activity to match the adrenaline rush and extremely awesome buzz that I experienced that day. I’ve tried jet boating, aerobatics, ridden a pony (hey, it was wild for me), and abseiling 160 metres down the side of a skyscraper in Perth’s CBD. These were all a lot of fun, but not quite the adrenaline rush I was searching for.

Then I discovered indoor skydiving, would this be my holy grail?

For those who don’t know, wind tunnels (as they are known) were originally invented so that scientists could study aerodynamics. Until, someone decided they could also provide a great recreational activity and money could be made from it. The first person to try it was former Green Beret Jack Tiffany in 1964.

Initially skydiving instructors used them to practice skydiving and in the early 80’s they became available for the great unwashed (who can tell I’ve been Googling?),

They work by blasting a cylinder, (about 6 metres in diameter of air upward. The wind speed can be up to 3000km/h and the force of the wind is enough to hold you up.

I imagined that the tunnel would look a bit like the room where Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe drink the drink that makes them weightless in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It wasn’t. It looked to me to be more like a cross between a fish bowl and a cookie jar.

As I mentioned I loved my skydive, so I was keen for this too. That was until I remembered that the part of skydiving that I wasn’t particularly fond of (the freefall) is exactly what the wind tunnel simulates. Oh shit, I didn’t really think this through.

I did my training and suited up. The outfit for indoor skydiving is cooler than a traditional dive. Then, I only got a helmet, goggles and a pair of clown pants to put on over my jeans. This was because you come into land by skidding on your bum.

For this, I still got the helmet and goggles but I got a full jumpsuit to wear as well. I felt a bit like an aviator pilot, a feeling I didn’t get when I did my aerobatic flight. Go figure.

Now, in skydiving you tip out of a plane so for this I imagined that I would have to leap off a diving board. Nope, you just walk up to the wind, lean in, and whoosh! You are not very high off the ground though, (a metre or so). It was a bit weird to be able to clearly see the floor.
Your “diving” position is different too. Here you need to pretend you’re a starfish but when you jump out of a plane it’s a sort of kneeling position with your arms crossed in front of you.

I had recently read in a history book called “ The United States of absurdity” about a very dodgy amusement park called “Action Park,” which existed in New Jersey USA in the 70’s and 80’s but was closed down in the 90’s for being too unsafe (google it, it’s fascinating).

They had a wind tunnel, and when your time in the wind was up, they just cut it and you fell. I had been expecting that this was how my turn would end too, but actually, the instructor just grabs the handle on the back of your jumpsuit and gently pulls you away from the wind. Thank God for that.

The tunnel itself is actually very similar to the freefall I did from 14,000 feet. Except the experience is longer (a freefall from that height is roughly 60 seconds) and this is not as cold. Possibly because this is indoors.

In next week’s instalment, read about my actual flights, the disaster and the success and find out the question on everyone’s lips, which form I liked better.

I bet you can’t wait…


PS – to see video of the adventure, check out the Inner Musings of a Funny Looking Kid Facebook page.



I saw the sign: My evening of comedy with Ray Bradshaw.

Ray BIt is Fringeworld time again here in Western Australia and to be honest, I was not particularly psyched about it this year, mainly because I could not navigate the festival’s website or guide with my screen reader software.

Then I read about a show called Deaf Comedy Fam by Ray Bradshaw, a stand-up comedy gig about life as a hearing person living with deaf parents.

I have always been hearing impaired and I have worn hearing aids on and off throughout my life. I currently wear a hearing aid in my right ear and I have a cochlear implant on the left.

I have also always felt a bit self-conscious about my lack of hearing. Often feeling guilty at the frustration I cause by my constant reply of “pardon” and feeling stupid when I still can’t get it after one thousand repeats

I hoped that by seeing this show I might overcome this, a cheap form of therapy you might say. You know what? That is exactly what happened.

For those of you who do not know of him yet, Ray Bradshaw is a young Scottish comedian who was one of three children of deaf parents.

Note: Hearing impaired and Deaf are different. The former (i.e. me) can hear somethings with assistance, while the latter hear nothing at all.

The show consisted of Ray standing on stage dressed entirely in black and standing in front of a black curtain. He gave his performance in English while interpreting himself in sign language AT THE SAME TIME! It was incredible.

I assume that the choice of outfit and staging was to aid the audience in being able to see the signing.

I have not seen such impressive multi-tasking since I did the aerobatic flight back in 2015. On that day, the pilot was; controlling the plane, being in constant contact with the control tower, and keeping up a natural conversation with me all while doing stomach-churning tricks in an effort to make me throw up. I did not by the way.

Who says men cannot multitask?

Ironically, this was also the day where my ears were blocked so my hearing was worse than usual and I cannot understand sign language (not that it would have helped, I am also visually impaired), so I almost did not go. As it turned out though, the acoustics in that room at The Brass Monkey were perfect so it was not a problem. I wonder if that was just a coincidence.

The other example of irony I spied was the fact that a comedy show about disability was upstairs so I had to walk up the stairs and get Damion to carry my wheelchair up. This just goes to show that not all disabilities are created equal. The staff were super helpful though.

I know many Scottish people and in my experience; they tend to speak fast. Ray did not though, he spoke slowly. Not in a patronising way mind you. It was more in a “I really want you to get what I’m saying since you paid for your ticket” kind of way. This is probably due to the fact that he was signing too I would imagine.

I cornered him after the show for a chat and this is not his default mode though. I think he did automatically start signing to me but stopped when he realised I could hear him. He is so lovely.

***NOTE to PERFORMERS: Beware. If you do something and I like it, I will attempt to bond with you. ***

I learnt some cool stuff too. For example:

Did you know that sign language differs from country to country? Even in different countries that speak the same spoken language. I assumed it would be universal.

Or, that sign language doesn’t only rely on the hands but your posture and your facial expressions too? In fact, the way you hold your eyebrows can change a sentence entirely.

On a less technical note, I learnt the mischief kids could get up to when Mum and Dad cannot hear. This has further strengthened my resolve never to have children.

Of course, I also learnt some sign language. Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I learnt them from Damion who learned them from watching Ray not from Ray himself (my ability to see detail is not that good).

I learned the words “Scottish,” Irish, Brothel” and “Shit”.


I would be happy to demonstrate them to you. But as my left hand is permanently clawed, and given the details of the second fact above, who knows what I would actually be saying.

I did have cause to sign “Scottish” at the gym on Sunday and I was not even referencing the show. But I do not think I will use the first two very often other than that. I do love using the “S bomb” though, and we do have not one, but two brothels around the corner from our apartment building.
Perhaps I will have to give someone covert directions one day.

They really would be covert directions too, unless the other person happens to speak sign language as well.


PS – Ray if you are reading this; loved the show. Let’s be friends!

32: A Year in Review


Almost every night for the past month, I have been dreaming about kittens and every night more and more of them appear.

I am not a cat person so I decided these dreams must have a meaning, and I went on a mission to find it.

As you may have guessed, I am the kind of person who will read a horoscope, and pick out the good bits and discard everything else. With dream interpretation, I was no different.

I sifted through information that indicated I was pregnant (I am not, I checked), and that foretold of an upcoming betrayal from a loved-one (“snore”).

But my favourite?  Apparently, kittens in dreams indicate that I have an unrequited sexual fantasy that I am trying to suppress. Really? How interesting.

Then I found one that said that dreaming of kittens meant I was in a transitional phase that would lead to independence.

Ah ha! Now, this is something I can work with.

During my research, I also discovered that I share a date of birth, the 16th of December with Ludwig Von Beethoven and Jane Austin. This has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was cool.

My 32nd year has been my best yet. I moved to my very own place and finally began living like a proper adult.

Damion moved in and for the record, we are living together out of wedlock (what an inviting term) and we have no plans to get married so stop asking.

I have somehow landed in a job that I genuinely enjoy and that I get to flex my creative. muscle in. I am also a very active member of the team, something that has been missing in my work life for some time.

My blog seems to be gaining steam and I have had some awesome opportunities to appear in other publications and as a guest blogger. I have had a few lovely people get in touch to say they enjoy my writing and are learning a lot. I love when this happens. It spurs me on.

In bucket list news. This year I finally got to fulfil my dream of riding a horse…err pony and I successfully managed to abseil 160 metres down the QV1 Building completely by myself. I even got to see my beloved Fremantle Dockers win a game live and in person.

I learnt that when setting up a home you should always buy a bigger fridge than you think you will need as every man and his assistance dog will assume you are starving and bring you food. Trust me, I had to get a second freezer. I am not complaining by the way.

Best of all, this year is the first one since I went blind in 2009 where I have not been admitted to hospital at all! I have had far fewer infections this year too. This in itself is a major miracle.

On my last birthday, I was not very well. I had a blood infection, which had seen me need to take three months off work. It affected pretty much my whole body. I was really stressed out and as you can imagine, quite depressed.

A lot of this was because I never had a spare second to scratch myself, I was finding my feet in a new job and I was trying the independence thing for the first time.

I found myself in the position I had always wanted to be in but without the ability to enjoy it. There was only one thing for it. I needed to slow down and cut down on my stress. Here is what I did.

As a people pleaser, I constantly feel the need to prove my worth to others.  I just cannot say no.

Consequently, if there is a committee to join or a cause that needs help, you can bet I was somehow involved.

Despite being afraid that people would be let down, this year I stepped down from all of these, always apologising profusely and offering to join back up “next year” to appease my guilt. I probably will not though if I am honest.

I have stop trying to make my life resemble a Hollywood movie too. I decided that I do not need to accept every single invitation I receive.  It is better for me to say no to attending something that would be awkward for me because of my various disabilities if it means I feel safer.


What is the point of going, not being able to participate and feeling like a moron? The anxiety in the lead up to events such as this is not worth it.  No one really cares how many Facebook check-ins you make anyway. Further, friends who do not understand why you cannot attend their event and make it a big deal, are possibly not good friends at all.

Ironically, in doing this, I am possibly the busiest I have ever been and I find that I enjoy things a lot more. It is funny how life works!

Speaking of false friends, I have also done a comprehensive clean out this year. As a person with a disability, I had a lot of acquaintances but very few real friends. I defined a real friend as being someone who wants to spend time with me because they enjoy it. Not because spending time with me makes them, feel better about their situation/body. Or worse, because they feel the need to fulfil a civic duty.

To those who have never had to deal with it this might sound harsh. If my being around happens to inspire you then so be it, but I have things to do.  So, if you need someone to make you feel better about yourself see a counsellor

Congratulations to those still in my life by the way.  You have made the cut LOL!

Finally, I have learnt that my relationship with Damion is perfect as long as it works for us.

The biggest lesson that I have learnt this year is that if you constantly feel the need to tell people how happy you are and how perfect your life is, it is probably not. A full social life and a million thank you gifts for favours are nice but a sleep in is better. And, the word “no” is fun to say. Ask any toddler.

Independence Ahoy!

I credit this new philosophy with the massive improvement in my health.

As I write this my 33rd birthday is two days away. I wonder what lessons the next year will bring.

Happy birthday to me!



There is an “I” in Team

I always get angry at myself when I leave a shop or venue and feel flattered that whoever I was dealing with spoke directly to me. It annoys me that it happens so rarely that I feel as though the attendant in question deserves a medal of honour for their efforts. Even when in fact it really shouldn’t be an effort at all.

Even worse, if ever I have an encounter with a child where they don’t go tearing from the room at the sight of me, I feel the need to heartily congratulate the parents on a job well done and in some cases, adopt the child.

I get that it’s my issue and that only I can overcome it, but the fact is that there are very few situations, (other than those in my own apartment) where I don’t feel singled out as the weird-looking disabled one.

I can’t really write about it either. In a recent post, entitled “Please stop helping me without my permission. It really is a pain in the arse”, I wrote about why I have the right to be left to my own devices, and I was told I was just ungrateful.

It’s easy to say that. You’re not the one with the painful bruise on your backside!
This being said, I got a real shock on Monday during our team meeting. We were discussing possible venues to get together to celebrate Christmas when suddenly someone chimed in with “we’ve got to make sure it’s accessible for Nina.” For a second I didn’t even realise they were referring to me.

In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that, at first, that was because I couldn’t really hear the conversation properly – thanks to the humidity I was having a “bad ear day”.

However, it was also because at that moment (despite being very aware that I was hearing impaired), I had somehow forgotten that disability and in particularly mobility were an issue for me. I don’t remember a time where this has happened before.

Later, when I was back at my desk, opening my daily can of Coke with a fork (that I keep in my desk drawer for just this purpose), it occurred to me that this is why I felt so “normal” here. Because I can do normal things my way and no one really cares.

To me, this is the actual meaning of inclusion.


Why Every Girl needs a Walking Frame!

Nina selfie

Well, that was weird!


Today an old guy came up to me and told me that he hoped God would help me soon.


“With what?”  I thought to myself, “waiting for my taxi?”


Now, I had just finished work for the day (for a very respectable organization I might add), so i was conservatively dressed (i.e my devil worshippers uniform was at home) and I wasn’t doing anything except standing there with Cecily, my walking frame. 


I can only assume then that he meant that I needed help (and had the desire) to overcome my obvious disability.


I don’t.

It’s not the first time it has happened either. Once, when I was in a fruit and vegie shop with my mum another old guy (I seem to attract them) came up beside my wheelchair and told mum that one day God is going to come and get me out of that chair.  Shame, I was quite comfortable.


I know this is well intentioned, but it is also incredibly sad. It posits the notion that I am not happy as I am and, worse, that being like me is so bad that I need to be fixed. I assure you, this is not the case.


I am not going to sit here and write about how great my life is because if you need to hear it, you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway.


Besides, I am far too busy having an awesome life.


Sure, after I have spent half an hour looking for something that was never lost.  Or, I missed the end of the movie I’ve been waiting all year for because my hearing aid battery decided to die 15 minutes before the credits, I can find it (said disability) a tad irritating. But I wouldn’t be without it.


Hearing loss is great if you have a partner who snores. And ladies, how often have you been at a party enjoying a drink when someone comes around and offers you a delicious-looking canape which you can’t accept because there is nowhere to put your glass down and you’re already holding your bag.  I don’t have that problem. Cecily has a storage compartment.


And, it’s big enough to carry that jacket that you knew you should never have brought as well!


Suddenly a walking frame doesn’t look like such a bad accessory after all. Does it?




Is This Thing On? The Time I wasn’t Funny


This will come as a surprise to no-one. I am very sarcastic.

It’s how I deal with stress, failure/disappointment and ignorance.

Often it will get me into trouble, and sometimes it will cause me to fall flat on my face (figuratively speaking).
I once found myself in a situation where I was one of a lucky group who was being lectured to by a pompous ass.

If there is one thing I hate, it’s a pompous ass (unless it’s me), and this was a huge one. He had an opinion on everything from dealing with our indigenous population to marriage equality, and as I’m sure you can imagine his comments were not very complimentary.

Anyway, eventually he stopped trying to fix the world and began telling the room at large about how he often got to ride his Dad’s “Chopper.”

I was totally over him by that stage and, if I’m honest, would quite have liked some of that attention myself. So, I said in a very loud but still extremely innocent tone, “wow, I didn’t know your Dad had a helicopter!”

This turned to be a mistake because although it stopped his blabbering and made everyone laugh, it wasn’t for the reason I had hoped.

You see, I thought I was being humorous with irony. Mistakenly (on purpose) presuming the word “chopper” to mean helicopter instead of motorbike although it was clear this was his intention.

Of course, he corrected me and as he did so I realized that everyone was laughing at me, not with me.
He was still the hero while I was the ignorant one.
Damn it. That’s not how that was supposed to go…

I learnt 3 important life lessons that day:
1. Not every situation calls for point scoring.
2. Know your audience, and
3. Sometimes you should just keep your mouth shut!


Please Stop “Helping” without my Permission: It Really is a Pain in the Arse

nina at door


I have written many a blog about how you should not help someone with a disability unless they ask you to. Further, if you offer someone your help and they say no, then leave it. However, I’m pretty sure that people think I only say this because:

A. I am too embarrassed to ask for/accept help,

B. Because I don’t realise that I can’t do something myself, or

C. Others believe they can make the task easier/quicker for me.


I have one thing to say to you. WRONG!!! 



Here is why:

The front door of my apartment building is really heavy and it is not an automatic door. Plus, every time I pass through it I have Cecily (my walking frame) with me.


As the majority of times I go through the door it is on my way to or from a taxi, I am usually on my own.


I am pretty weak, wobbly and I have no peripheral vision (I.e. I can only see things that I am looking directly or that are directly in front of me).  So, it has taken me a bit of trial and error but I have found a way to get through the door completely by myself in a way that is easy for me.


I simply open the door with my bottom and then lean my full weight against it while I bring Cecily through. It might look a bit awkward from the outside, but actually, it works really well and is very quick.


The other day I was doing just that when a “helpful” person who happened to be walking past decided that I needed help.


Can anyone see where I’m going with this?

She reached for the door handle and wrenched it back so that the door would open wider and I could get through more easily. Unfortunately, though, when she did this I already had my full weight leaning against the door. This meant that when the door flew backwards, so did I and I landed heavily on my arse.


 It bloody hurt!


Naturally the lady was mortified and apologised again and again and again before helping me up. I will admit, I was really pissed off and (of course) there were lots of spectators. But, because I knew she was only trying to help I couldn’t very well tell her off.


Now, she wasn’t to know this, but because of my vision impairment I didn’t see her coming towards me and I had no time to steady myself and this is why I fell. 


If she had asked first I could have explained that I was already leaning against the door and saved us both the embarrassment. It also might have been helpful for her to assume that I have possibly done this before.





It’s wrong to assume that someone needs help just because they have a disability. In order to maintain independence we, as disabled people, are able to find our own unique way of doing things. They may not be the way you would do them but they work for us and that is all that matters.




Having such low expectations of me because of my disability is not only offensive but it is also bigotry. In fact, it’s ableism. So, stop it!


Sometimes it’s really a pain in the arse…