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I knew I was asking for trouble when I installed Windows 10, but I did it anyway.  Now I'm having all sorts of problems with my Wacom Intuos 440 Tablet and I can't seem to find a solution.  Windows 10 comes with its own built in pen / tablet driver which seems to be screwing things up.  I tried to re-install my Wacom driver, but I keep getting a "Driver Not Found" error message.  I've tried to stop and start my Wacom services, but that doesn't do anything.  The tablet still draws, but with a big lag that sometimes crashes my Photoshop.  I also get this irritating ring thing that brings up my brush menu whenever I try to draw.  I'm desperate but not wanting to re-install Windows 7.  Any suggestions?
Paraplegic artist to lose full-time Medicaid nursing care | Medical Alert - WBAL Home

My situation almost completely mirrors Mr. Florio. I have spinal

muscular atrophy and so does my older sister. Two years ago my mother

had a severe stroke leaving my elderly father who is barely able to walk

himself as the sole caregiver. I fought for twenty years to get any

sort of assistance at all and my sister is fighting still. The

regulations are such that if you have more than $2,000 in assets of any

type, are employed, or earn any money, you are not eligible for any

attendant care services. You must be completely broke, and in most

circumstances must have lived in a nursing home for several months after

having been on the waiting list for many years. It cost between $20

and $50 per hour of attendant care. I alone would require about $50,000

in attendant care per year. I had to justify every penny I spend going

back seven years before they accepted me on the Living at Home Waiver

program. Once you are on the program, it is a constant fight to keep

the hours you have and you must constantly prove that you are still

disabled. They are completely incompetent and it is virtually

impossible to get through to anyone. I am an artist myself, but I can

not sell my artwork lest I am seen as being gainfully employed and thus

am no longer considered by the state to be disabled. I am terrified

that if my father were to pass away, I would end up homeless. If I

inherit anything, I'd be dropped from all disability services and would

have to sell everything I owned just to pay for the attendant care I

need to live. I am actually amazed that Mr. Florio managed to get 39

hours of care a week. I've been fighting to get 35. People with

disabilities have absolutely no voice. We are trapped at home and

treated worse than prisoners. At least prisoners don't have to worry

about loosing the roof over their heads.

So I come to find out today that in a stroke of brilliance, our fine city of Baltimore has decided that in an effort to stop criminals from breaking into the cars and vans of people with disability placards, they will completely eliminate the free parking privilege for all the disabled. You see, up until July 10th, people with disabilities who had a placard could park at a meter within the city for free. This is due to a number of reasons. If you are disabled, running to feed a parking meter simply is not feasible. It takes often ten times longer for someone with a disability to get in and out of their vehicle, and to get to where they need to go. Depending upon where your vehicle has its wheelchair lift, you can’t park in most parking spots within the city. The free parking ‘privilege’ was meant to be a way of getting the city off the hook for not having enough wheelchair accessible parking spots allowing the disabled to park anywhere they can for free. Now, rather than go after the criminals who have started to break into the vehicles of the disabled to sell the placards on the black market, the city is putting in supposedly ADA compliant parking meter in an effort to, as their website explains, create more available parking (for the non-disabled no doubt). So, now the disabled, who are already the highest number of people living in poverty have to be able to race back to feed meters in the city where most streets still have no curb cuts, no accessible parking. The city of Baltimore and the mayor's office has decided to hike a tax on the disabled population by charging for parking which will harm a group of people who already make up the largest segment of the population living below the poverty line. By their own estimates, the new fees on the disabled will rise the cost of parking for someone with a disability by $6,000 every five years. I assume that the state of Maryland does not plan to raise the disability payments or SSI amounts to cover these additional cost (which barely covers food and shelter) nor use any of the additional income raised by these fees to assist the disabled in any manner. The poverty rate among disabled males: 24.5% Disability rate in this city among poor males (it is 25.7% among residents who are not classified as poor): 33.2% Poverty rate among disabled females: 28.8% Disability rate in this city among poor females (it is 25.9% among residents who are not classified as poor): 33.7% www.city-data.com/poverty/pove… a positive note the website tout, the placards are less likely to be stolen as they will be completely worthless.

“By removing the free parking associated with disability placards, the incentive to steal and abuse them will be eliminated. Faced with the prospect of paying full price for parking at a metered location, those who use disability placards but don’t need the accessibility will look for cheaper parking elsewhere or not drive. This will free up hundreds of on-street parking spaces when meters are in effect. Moreover, requiring payment from everyone will remove the incentive for people without disabilities to steal or abuse disability placards.” www.morespace4all.com/about-th…

So, the state of Maryland has raised a 'parking' tax on the poorest segment of the population who already receive inadequate at home care, have heightened medical cost, and whom are largely unable to use public transportation. Before you state how the disabled have access to public transportation, I should remind you just how poorly the state of Maryland complies with ADA with regards to public transit. “(E)ither the lifts are failing due to operator error (meaning the lifts are not in need of repair), operators are claiming lifts are broken when they are not, and/or that not all of the buses are undergoing pre-trip inspections, preventing discovery of the defect until the driver has to deploy the lift on the road some time in the future. MDLC also concluded: When lifts fail and drivers do not call the malfunction in, no one at MTA knows that a passenger is waiting. Consequently, people may end up stranded or they may have to wait for long periods of time before another lift-equipped bus arrives.”
Property Name Documents Location Date of Final Report Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) Final Report (PDF) Transmittal Letter (PDF) Columbia, SC June 30, 2014

Disabled riders have complained numerous times that of the buses that are wheelchair accessible, many of the lifts do not function or the driver is untrained on how they operate. Subways frequently have broken elevators (which often smell of urine) and ticket machines are un-reachable by someone in a wheelchair. “ The MTA System Map does not indicate which routes are accessible. Patrons must have printed schedules, or contact MTA, to find out about accessible service if they do not have a printed schedule.” Paratransit and metrowheels both have a large number of complaints for failure to meet ADA guidelines and often fail to pick up disabled passengers in a timely manner which is critical for someone with a disability who must frequently make doctor's appointments. Paratransit often state that they can arrive plus or minus two hours of their scheduled time meaning that someone with a disability could potentially be required to wait as long as four hours, plus make many additional stops to their destination. This means that for most disabled individuals, some form of wheelchair accessible vehicle is necessary, especially if they work or need to attend scheduled doctor's appointments. This cities treatment of the disabled borders on criminal.

I was also reminded that most parking garages in the city do not accept vans. The hi-top vans to accommodate passengers are too high for the height requirements that normal cars fit into. So for someone in a wheelchair who must use a van for transportation, they are forced to park on city streets. I was told by Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Disabilities " Through Project SPACE, we are reserving 10% of the on-street parking spaces within Phase 1 for people with disabilities. They are at the end of blocks, adjacent to existing curb cuts. If these spaces were reserved but still free of charge, the problem would be further exacerbated. Many garages do accommodate vans per ADA guidelines, especially garages built within the last twenty-five years. All parking lots accommodate vans. All of these new on-street spaces reserved for parking for people with disabilities can accommodate hi-top vans."
Project SPACE is reserving 10% of the on-street parking spaces within Phase 1 for people with disabilities. This 10% obviously does not include counting garage parking which is 90% to 99% inaccessible. They state that many garages do accommodate vans per ADA guidelines, especially garages built within the last twenty-five years. What percentage of garages within Phase 1 were built within the last 25 years and how many allow vans with raised roofs to park? Few to none. What percentage of those only have a few spots on the lower level that are accessible that no doubt are the first to fill? Such information the office should know the precise figures before implementing this law. What number is many? I will tell you from experience, many is none. How many spots for disabled will be reserved in phase 2?

Lately I've been feeling a bit stuck about the quality of my artwork.  I sense I know the areas that I need to improve, but I'm not really getting anywhere.  I would love to do a fantastic graphic novel, but I still feel my artwork  is not at the level it needs to be to do a decent graphic novel.  It still takes me far too long to do the artwork at the level I'm at, and my days lately seem to be far too short to work on improving.  I was wondering what other artist do to help themselves improve their artwork and speed of work as well.  I'm not really looking for critiques of my own work... but maybe some ideas on how to improve or break out of ruts.
My email address at darkrubymoonstore@gmail.com has just been restored for my store.  Unknown to me, I had used up my maximum storage and as the emails are redirected I was not aware that mails were no longer being forwarded.  I apologize to anyone who tried to reach me but could not send me an email.  The problem has been fixed and mail should function again.
 I almost fell for a scam aimed at artist.  I have just confirmed that the person was indeed attempting to scam me and has posed the same ploy on a number of other artist and has no doubt taken a lot of people for a lot of money.  It is a fairly complicated con, and I normally do not fall for scams, but this person was very believable.  Please be aware of anyone posing as an overseas art buyer who wishes to buy a large number of artwork for a gallery.    This person generally claims to be a worker on an oil rig, and makes claims of difficulty to communicate because they work on an oil rig.  This con is called a cheque/credit overpayment fraud.  You can find details of it at  www.stalbertgazette.com/articl…  This person goes by a number of different names.  He sometimes ask for the art to be sent to Dubai and sometimes Saudi Arabia.  This person also frequently orders a large number of expensive art, but is vague as to art preference.  From what I understand of how the con works, the person orders a bunch of random expensive paintings from random artist.  He pays them using a fake PayPal or uses a stolen credit card.  The person then claims to have over paid and demands a money wire to pay back what he has over paid.  Once the person gets the money wire, they disappear. The artwork is shipped over seas to a random address leaving the artist to either let their work be destroyed or pay expensive international shipping fees.  This is a very bad convincing scam as the person appears to be legitimately purchasing the artwork and is good at playing on people’s desires to be ‘discovered’ as an artist.  Please forward this post on so others don’t fall for the same scam.  I’ve had to change my policy with sale of my artwork as a result.


The emails I received are as follows…

»Hello,

I’m an art collector, who intends opening a gallery of my own. I have been on the lookout for artists worldwide to buy wonderful paintings from, also recently saw a beautiful piece of your painting online and would love to buy paintings from you. Kindly send me your price range? And I hope you accept credit card as a means of payment as that is the most suitable for me.

Await your response soonest.

Sincerely,
Mohammed Al Harbia.

»Hello,

Very nice reading back from you with a response to my inquiries about your paintings, It would gladden my heart to inform you that I would be interested in purchasing ten paintings from you as not only do I find your paintings wonderful and attractive but I am buying these paintings for my upcoming gallery in Saudi Arabia.. Do send me a list including pictures and sizes of paintings you currently have for sale within this price range 150-400USD. This will enable me make my selection.

Because of the tense conditions working offshore as a safety person on an oil rig to be honest it would be difficult for me going through your website selecting paintings of my choice. Please find it suitable in assisting me with selection of wonderful and affordable paintings.

I can also see us building a wonderful business relationship with each other and helping ourselves achieve our goals in life, looking forward to working with you and also building a good bond with you based on trust and honesty.

Regards.
»
Find below paintings I have selected and willing to purchase from you; kindly get back to me with the shipping cost to Riyadh then we can proceed to payment.

1) Chang’e 18” x 24” - $280

2) Mardi Gras 18” x 24” - $250

3) Rape of Daphne 16” x 20” - $150

4) Stairway to Heaven 20” x 16” - $150

5) Flower Fairy 15 .5” x 16 3/4” - $120

6) Bathing Beauty 18” x 11” - $120

7) Effeuiller la marguerite 36” x 24” - $400

8) Fall of Knight chess 24” x 17” - $150

9) Rainbow Bridge oil painting 10.5” x 13 3/4”   $80

10) Still Life- Bacchus Table 13.5” x 10.5” - $100

» Hello,

Thanks for the update and emails am very certain we would have many successful business transactions and we can both help each other achieve our goals and dreams in life.

In regards to the shipping after discussing with my colleague he told me i will pay huge custom charges here but if we use Package Ready TO GO Delivery Service, their charges includes shipping packages and custom charges/taxes, Saudi Arabian customs is one of the most difficult in the world to deal with. If the paintings are not well shipped and accepted by the customs officer (due to the religious beliefs here) they will be seized and destroyed. Customs duties in Saudi Arabia are very expensive and corrupt. To avoid all of those potential charges their email is (packageready2go@fastservice.com)
 
Just let them have the full pick up address, delivery address plus zip codes respectively and also the weight and sizes of the paintings, he also said they would do the packing themselves.
 
Also I would like to inform you that I would be purchasing some other paintings from your collections in future and my preferences are (abstract, landscape, contemporary, (wildlife, floral &oceans) acrylic/oil paintings) but in the meantime i want to finalise this order first, also my colleague will like to order paintings from you as well, should I send him your email address? Kindly contact this courier service asap and we can proceed with payment soonest once everything has been finalised.

Regards,

Thanks.

PS: My full shipping address is: Al Ma’ather Street,Al Wazarat District, 11464 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 
(NOTE: Address turns out to be a Marriot Hotel)

I'm in an awkward position.  I received a request by email a week or so ago from someone interested in purchasing ten of my most prized original works of art from someone claiming to be starting an art gallery overseas.  While I can not for certain state that this is a scam, there were enough red flags that I turned the offer down and feel I should warn others about a potential new scam.  Generally, when things are too good to be true, it has been my experience that they are.  This person was willing to pay full price for the artwork and seemed willing to pay for shipping that cost more than the value of the paintings.  Normally, I am very good at detecting scams, but this really seemed legit.  The address given however turns out to be a hotel, and when I explained the cost of shipping, they recommended a shipping company for which there is no record of online.   Like I said, this person might be completely legit, but there are a lot of red flags that indicate it might be a scam.
An article about me and my artwork was just published today (October 29th, 2013) in the Carroll County newspaper "The Advocate of Westminster and Finksburg" in the arts section.  You can read the article online at  www.carrollcountytimes.com/adv…
The proprietor of Outback called me to issue an apology for the issue we had getting seated in their restaurant.  She assured me that they will work to improve things to make sure individuals with disabilities have adequate seating in the future.  I just wanted to post this update as I feel it is as important to note when someplace does something right as when they do something wrong.
Last night, Sunday October 6th, my family and I visited the Outback in Frederick near the Burlington Coat Factory. We were planning to have a nice meal as it is rare our family can go out. My mother, my sister and I are all in wheelchairs. We have come to expect that when being seated in a restaurant to expect it to take a bit longer due to the need to accommodate the wheelchairs. However, the wait at Outback restaurant was completely unacceptable. The restaurant had just two regular tables to seat individuals in wheelchairs whereas the rest of the restaurant only had elevated booth seating. When we entered, there was no line ahead of us and the restaurant was not particularly busy. While we waited and watched table after table of newly arriving guest get seated before us, we noticed that the hold up was due to a single couple occupying one of the only tables in the restaurant. The couple had completed their meal and were merely talking to one another. We indicated to both the manager and staff that we had been waiting a very long time for a table. They did nothing other than apologize for the long wait. In total, we waited for an hour and ten minutes and were on our way out the door when our waiter finally came to tell us the table was ready. A good manager would first of all made sure that the only wheelchair accessible seating remained available until all other seats were no longer available or a large party arrived. Since the single couple at the large table had finished eating, a good manager should have offered the couple another table with a complimentary drink or snack so we could be seated. Every restaurant needs to be aware that they must have seating available for individuals in wheelchairs and do everything possible to make sure disabled guest are treated the same as non-disabled guest. Both my mother and sister have difficulty sitting for long periods of time and the lengthy wait was more than an inconvenience but physically painful for them.
I was looking through a catalog the other day, and I was shocked to see someone else was selling a t-shirt with nearly an identical phase.  Instead of my design with the phrase "Given enough thrust, Pigs fly just fine" posted here October 10, 2012 darkrubymoon.deviantart.com/ar… , their t-shirt said "With Enough Thrust Pigs Fly Just Fine" and showed a clip-art image of a pig.  I haven't sold any of my design, but apparently the rip-off is quite popular and seems to now be appearing in several catalogs.  Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to determine who came up with the phrase first or do anything to prevent someone from simply stealing one of my ideas directly to profit from themselves.  I am pretty sure I came up with the original phrase entirely on my own, but I can't dismiss the possibility that I had seen it elsewhere before or that someone else had the same idea.  It is my sincere hope that no one perusing my gallery does so with the intent of directly stealing ideas although I do expect people from time to time to be inspired to do their own artwork loosely based on my work.  Regardless, I don't have the financial means to sue anyone over stealing a phrase. It really sucks though :(
My computer has been down now for almost a month and I finally got it back up and running after having to purchase a new graphics card... which is actually a good thing as I thought it was my mother-board that had gone up.  We had a bad lightning storm, and despite both our house and my computer being on a surge protector, it still did damage.  I apologize if anyone has tried to reach me over the past month as I may have missed any emails or request.  Thankfully things are working again.
I want to thank Lyndi McNulty of the Carroll County Advocate, Advocate of Westminster & Finksburg, for coming out to visit me today and taking time to do an interview with me about my artwork.  It was a pleasure to speak with her and I look forward to reading the article when it is printed in the paper in the arts section.  The Carrol County Advocate's website is at www.carrollcountytimes.com/adv…  and Mrs. McNulty's column is under Eye for Art.  You might be able to see the article there when it is completed.  Mrs. McNulty also runs Gizmos art in Westminster Carroll County.  Be sure to check out their website at www.gizmosart.com/ to check out their custom framing and artist whose work is on display. 
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VOTE FOR MY INSTRUCTABLE!!! Vote for my instructable at www.instructables.com/id/Castl… Look for little VOTE tag in upper right corner to vote for my instructable of ball toss game for Toy Contest! If I win, the first prize is a 3D printer and runner up prizes are the use of a 3D printer. I want to be able to use 3D printer to build an idea I have for a sortof arm-brace similar to the one made for the girl in the Youtube video youtu.be/WoZ2BgPVtA0 called a WREX Brace. This is a special brace designed to allow someone with limited arm strength to regain full mobility of their arms.  Unfortunately, such a brace cost over $4,000 and is not covered by insurance... so I want to design and build my own that uses motors instead of rubber-bands that is open source.  If anyone wants to help with the engineering or design I could use the help. I want to make the brace open source so that anyone with a disability who could use such a device can make one themselves using a 3D printer.  I think it could help a lot of people, from individuals with muscular dystrophy like me to stroke victims and those with muscle weakness who can't afford the high cost for specialized medical equipment.  If I win the contest, it will help defray the cost of prototyping a design.
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For some time, it has become rather difficult for me to produce much in the way of artwork that is not done on the computer.  Being in a wheelchair, I use to ask either my mother or father to help me setup the supplies I would need to start whatever project I was interested in working on.  That would usually simply involve pouring some paints or reaching out a canvas to put on an easel or maybe clear a space for me to work on a table.  Well, since my mother had her stroke last year, I've not really been able to ask my parents for help with cleaning or setting up.  My dad is struggling with walking himself, and my older sister has medical issues... and is rather demanding...so I've simply been piling up junk on my tables to the point I no longer had space to work and lack the physical ability to clear space.  That is the main reason I have so few oil paintings or large works of art.  Anyway, we have some truly wonderful helpers who come to the house, and they have offered to help me do some spring cleaning and reorganization as much as they can.  Since they finished with organizing my sister's area, they've now begun to help me dig through and clean out stuff I haven't seen since we moved in our house.

One of the biggest problems with being in a wheelchair is that everything you need has to be located within an area of about two feet of space one can reach.  Therefore, anything located inside a cabinet or upon a shelf is simply inaccessible unless you have someone to reach it for you...which almost never happens when you actually need something.  If you have any suggestions for organization that might help me, let me know.  Pretty much the only things I can reach have to be set on a table, and I don't have enough room for much table space.  Right now, I've got about ten projects that are about 80% done, but due to not being able to reach something, has been put aside for years.   So, now I'm trying to resolve the problem of how to store things such that I can reach them... and what to get rid of because I need the room.  This is causing some difficult choices as I have lots of old artwork that I found, that while not particularly good, I've been holding onto for sentimental reasons.  I had to give up this neat model I made as a kid of a wheelchair accessible motorcycle I imagined building someday that was made of paper machete.  I also am tossing a bust that my art teacher who passed away gave me of his mother.  Found a bunch of old comics I wrote that I plan to scan into the computer before tossing.  Its a bit sad, but it has to be done.  There simply isn't enough room... and it no longer seems like I will ever have a place of my own big enough to hold all these memories... and I'm in danger of becoming a hoarder if I don't start getting rid of stuff.

I'll probably be having a yard sale soon.  If you are an art collector and see any artwork in my gallery you might like to purchase the original... I can't guarantee I'll have it or that it is for sale... but if interested, please inquire.
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I am so angry.  Square Enix, the copyright holders of Space Invaders, just forced Zazzle to remove from their store my design posted at darkrubymoon.deviantart.com/ar…  I just had to write the following letter to Zazzle.

To whom it may concern, I strongly object that my artistic interpretation entitled Gamer Girl in anyway shape or form infringes upon Square Enix's intellectual property rights of Space Invaders video game.  You will note that the section of the image in question has more than seven points of differentiation from the Space Invaders game character and is therefore my own original creation.  Please find attached a close-up image depicting Square Enix Space invaders alien verses a close up of the image used within my original artwork.  

Variations
1) My work is in 3D.  Square Enix is a flat image
2) My creature has a mouth.  Square Enix design does not.
3) There alien has arms downward, my creature has one arm up and one arm down
4) My creature is at an angle.  Their alien is perpendicular
5) My creature is green.  In the computer game, their alien appears only as white.
6) Their alien has feet inward pointing.  My creature has feet outward pointing.
7) My creature is composed of shaded squares.  Their alien is a solid shape.
8) The creature in question is a minor part of the composition of the work and not the primary focus of the work.
9) In the game, the alien does not appear to attack a person whereas in this image the alien appears to be attacking a girl.

I object that Square Enix's can claim right to all digital forms of alien depictions.  My alien is in fact not a representation of Space Invaders but rather my own game as depicted at instructables website www.instructables.com/id/Space…  for which I am the copyright holder.  In addition, United States copyright laws permit the fair use of  parodies of a copyrighted work.  This work, for which the alien depiction is only a small portion, is a saterical parody of video games.  The Supreme Court of the United States described fair use as an affirmative defense in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.[20] This means that, in litigation on copyright infringement, the defendant bears the burden of raising and proving that the use was fair and not an infringement. Thus, fair use need not even be raised as a defense unless the plaintiff first shows (or the defendant concedes) a "prima facie" case of copyright infringement. If the work was not copyrightable, the term had expired, or the defendant's work borrowed only a small amount, for instance, then the plaintiff cannot make out a prima facie case of infringement, and the defendant need not even raise the fair use defense.

If my work is not  immediately restored, I may seek damages from both Zazzle and from Square Enix for violation of terms of service and suppression of my work.

Sincerely,
Eric Ovelgone
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news.yahoo.com/scooter-ads-fac…
The link above is an important article that highlights a trend that has been going on for quite some time that has made it very difficult for people with disabilities to get wheelchairs they need.

Companies like the Scooter Store and Hoveround are doing great harm to people with disabilities.  By mass marketing their wheelchairs to senior citizens, many of whom do not need wheelchairs, they are driving up the cost of insurance and causing Medicare to crack down on who may get a wheelchair. It is costing Medicare millions, and as a result, Medicare and insurance companies have started making regulations so tight for getting a wheelchair that people who really need them are unable to get wheelchairs.

Here is the huge problem with what the Scooter store and Hoveround is doing.  It is extremely difficult anymore for someone who really needs a wheelchair to be able to get one anymore.  It use to be a simple process.  You use to just get a note from the doctor and then place an order for the wheelchair of your choice.  You got to pick the color and seat type and whatever you needed to be able to use the chair.  Each new chair use to be better than the last.

It now takes over a year to apply for a new wheelchair do to all the red tape.  Wheelchairs are not like cars.  Each chair, particularly for some disabilities, must be custom adjusted for the individual.  There are no Wheelchair rental places for power wheelchairs, so if your chair breaks, you are stuck until it is fixed or replaced.  Insurance covers almost NONE of the wheelchairs designed for people with serious disabilities anymore.  Each new chair is made cheaper and less reliably than the prior.  Because scooters are made much cheaper than a true power wheelchairs, the sortof chair  someone with a real disability would need for mobility… insurance companies look at the cheaper scooters and now that is all they are willing to pay.  They take the average cost of all scooters and wheelchairs made from third world countries, and that is what they will pay…never-mind that some people with disabilities can't sit in a wheelchair without special cushions, padding and adjustments only available on  high end wheelchairs.  So for example, a normal power wheelchair that someone needs capable of driving all day long normally runs about $16,000 (base price…no extras).  A scooter, designed cheaply for a few hours of use for someone who can walk, cost about $2,000.  So, Insurance is only willing to pay $2,000 for a power wheelchair.  This leaves people with serious medical disabilities unable to afford the wheelchairs they must have to survive. Even if you have the money…often wheelchair suppliers aren't even allowed to sell directly to you without the insurance companies approval.

People who need real wheelchairs now must make due with chairs not designed for the heavy stress of all day use…leaving people with serious disabilities in chairs not suitable for their condition.  Scooter stores have actually gone to old-age senior care facilities and bused people who don't need scooters to their store to fill out paperwork for scooters they don't need.  In my own case, I had to accept a 'used' wheelchair, one that the person died before taking delivery, or otherwise I would be unable to get a suitable wheelchair.  It is now nearly time for replacing my wheelchair, but I am hesitant to do so as I know my next wheelchair is unlikely to be as good as my old chair.
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So, last night, I get a letter from the Division of Eligibility Waiver services (DEWS) which is the agency that handles the financial eligibility for the Living at Home Waiver Program, a program I have reluctantly been trying to get on for the past twenty years.

For those of you who don't know me, I am in a wheelchair with a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and I am essentially a quadriplegic with limited movement in arms and legs such that I am unable to stand, walk nor dress myself without attendant care.  For most of my life, my parents helped with the task of going to the bathroom and getting washed and dressed and to the bathroom.  I use to work as a computer programmer, saved my money… did everything I was suppose to do to be a productive member of society.  Eventually, as my parents aged, it became difficult for them to get both me and my sister who has the same disability dressed and transported to work.  I began to look for attendant care services and discovered that the cost of paying for an attendant to wash and dress me was more money than I was actually able to earn.  I was also beginning to have medical issues due to the long hours and my physical condition.

So, I applied for attendant care through the state and went on disability.  It turns out that one can not qualify for attendant care services if you still work or have more than $2,000 in assets of any type including a house, car, stamps, coin collections etc etc.  To 'spend down' your account to qualify for services, you are also limited to only being permitted to spend your savings on medical related equipment.  So… out of necessity, I legitimately spend down my account on medical equipment I needed essentially impoverishing myself to qualify for assistance.

With my mother having a severe stroke putting her into a wheelchair, and my father left to care for me, my sister (who is now bed ridden due to a level four pressure sore), there was a new sense of urgency to getting attendant care.  The Department of Social Services currently provide me an attendant four days a week to get dressed in the morning, but I am now in need of someone seven days and nights a week. The budget for DSS keeps getting slashed, so even those few hours are in no way certain. After twenty years on a waiting list, my number finally came up to get on the Living at home waiver program.

To call the people who run DEWS inept is a vast understatement.  Since sometime around May, I have provided this bureaucratic nightmare of an incompetent agency every thing they asked for regardless of their idiotic due dates. So far, despite meeting every one of their deadlines, despite calling in a second disability support agency to help through the process, despite meeting every single requirement, they have declined my application for a third time. The reason this time? My application expired due to taking more than six months and they claim I didn't have a medical evaluation which I had in September of 2012. My contact for the Waiver program has since left his agency and my case worker at DEWS has either quit or been fired, and so now it all starts over again.

For a few months, while my mother was in rehabilitation due to her stroke, a short term grant program was paying for attendant care for me a few nights a week to put me in bed. The grant program was created due to massive incompetence by the state handling funding for disability programs when auditors found millions that were suppose to be spent helping the disabled that had somehow fallen through the cracks. So, for a few months, this program was paying for the extra attendant care I needed. Sometime around January, when no attendant showed up to put me to bed one night, I call the agency to discover that the funding ran out.  The attendant care agency had apparently continued to send attendants for months past the time the funding ran out.  They just sent me a bill which exceeds my savings as I had to 'spend down' my account to qualify for attendant care.

I am a college graduate. I have a degree in business and a degree in computer programming. There is no way that the average person who is in need of this program would be able to navigate the gauntlet of obstacles the state has put in place to prevent individuals with disabilities from getting the services they need. The way the system is set up is a person with a disability must be in absolute poverty before they qualify for even the meager hope of any help. Then, when help is declined or denied, they have absolutely no means whatsoever to have their voices heard as they are undoubtedly imprisoned at home with no money or means for a voice.

Why should this matter to you? Everyone is just one small accident, one small health issue from becoming disabled. I am too tired to fight this anymore. They say that you have to be your own advocate if you are disabled to get the help you need. That basically is a nice way to say, you have to hold your own beggar sign and cup… cause no one is going to help you.

For more on this, read my first post about the frustrations with trying to get attendant care at darkrubymoon.blogspot.com/2012…
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I'm running out of room in my DarkRubyMoon store on CafePress.  I'm limited to 500 folders on the website, and right now I'm at about 498.  I'm going to have to decide soon which images to keep and which ones to take down.  So... if you have been to my store before and seen something you liked, or if you've never been to my store, you might want to make a purchase soon before the item you want gets taken down forever.  I'm also less likely to take down an image to which anything has been purchased recently.  

Visit DarkRubyMoon's website at darkrubymoon.com/ for all sorts of great activities, artwork and much more.  Be sure to check out DarkRubyMoon Store for my artwork on all sorts of fantastic items from T-shirts and prints to clocks and camcorders at the following web locations.

* DarkRubyMoon Store CafePress:  www.cafepress.com/darkrubymoon
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So... I just spent two days loading a new drawing into my DarkRubyMoon store, adjusting the image size for all the different products.  I go to load the new drawing design here... and then I notice for the first time... I accidentally drew the cowboy in the picture with six fingers!  How did I not see that!  Ugh!  Now I have to remove all the items from my store, reload and resize them... another two days!  Grrrr.  And the worst part is... if it is like most designs... I probably won't sell any.  If your looking at the drawing counting fingers... don't bother... it will probably be fixed here already.  I love to draw but hate loading these drawings on the store website.  I'd probably of fired myself except I am the only employee.
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