All posts by seeingtheworldblind

You must be newly blind?

I think it’s a wonderful time to be blind. For the first time in my life as far as technology goes you can go to any of the big companies and use their operating system Straight Out of the Box. Microsoft, Apple, and Google all offer options straight out of the box that are accessible to anyone who is blind. That really is a dream come true saying that statement. When I was a kid I would have to buy a laptop for example then pay around $1,000 to add on a screen reader. You couldn’t just buy a cheap computer back then no computers were really cheap but even the cheaper ones wouldn’t work with a screen reader you had to have extra Ram to make it work efficiently. So we would spend around $1,500 on a laptop plus then an extra thousand for the screen reader. That isn’t the end of it though unfortunately! What would happen is the screen reader would have to be updated every 6 months to a year depending on how fast technology was moving. So for that you would have to buy what’s called a maintenance agreement which would cost around $25athree upgrades. Things have gotten a lot better since then really we have apple to thank for making voiceover accessible and so good out of the box it has Force Google and now Microsoft to play catch-up and do the same. After seeing Microsoft I really feel that they are wanting to make they’re operating system accessible. This hadn’t been the case under the previous CEO but I really do feel they are trying hard to catch up and possibly become better than what we currently have. It will take time but meeting the people who are actually developing narrator and the other products I do believe in them. Four jobs we need them and Jaws to become better!

I had a few moments out there of just realizing how far technology has come for blind people and how affordable it’s becoming. I think I told you last post I switch to Android! I actually trade in my Galaxy S9 in for a new Galaxy Note 9. I did that because I wanted the bigger battery and even though I’m not thrilled with having the bigger phone the battery makes up for it. This note 9 simply is the best phone I’ve owned in 2 or 3 years! It’s fast and gets me through the day and then some. I used it the entire day once getting to the airport so I had a four and a half hour flight to Chicago and another hour to Louisville. It did amazing I still had 50% of my battery left when getting to the airport to call an Uber. Accessibility wise I do run into a few frustrations with apps however it’s nothing that I can’t manage I’ve pretty much replaced any app that I used on a regular basis on iOS besides games. I wish Android had a few more games that were developed for the blind or that were developed for everyone that worked with the screen readers! I miss my card games! I think though I’m going to stay with Android for the foreseeable future

It’s funny though I was at the airport waiting to fly to Chicago and I heard voice over coming from someone’s iPhone. I thought I wonder if I know them because you know all blind people know each other! See how I plan to the stereotypes? Anyway I heard the guy talking and I said George is that you? He said who is that? I said it’s me Joe. I had met this guy George at the world blind Union conference that was going on out there he works for the American Federation for the blind. I also met his colleague Matthew so I assumed Matthew was with him and I said Matthew are you there too? It was pretty cool recognizing them from afar.

I didn’t have a moment though we’re I realized as a blind person that we still need to push forward. I have contemplated ending the blog and not giving updates because honestly my life isn’t that interesting. However I met Chris in Chicago who changed my mind. So I get to Chicago from Seattle and ask for an agent to get me to my gate because I only have about 30 minutes and didn’t want to risk being late. So Chris meets me and asked me where I was coming from so I mentioned that I was coming from Seattle he asked if I was there on business or pleasure? I responded business. He said just out of curiosity what do you do? So I gave him the run-down and advised I was out at Microsoft for 4 days. He said wow you can work at Microsoft? I didn’t really know how to handle this question but basically what I actually do. He said oh so you must be recently blinded? Me know I have cancer when I was a year old. Chris damn dude you must be really smart! Me that may have been a? I apologize but I’m dictating. Anyway I said no I work with a lot of people who are smarter than me I’m just a tester. It really is true I’ve talked about this and other post I feel that the blind developers I work with do not get the same recognition they deserve for producing these products. Anyway it’s sort of irritates me that people still have this opinion that blind people just sit around and do nothing all day. It’s sort of baffling to me for someone who has worked their entire life! Well maybe not my entire life but most of my adulthood. I’ve had the struggle that most blind people face in finding employment but I’ve been fortunate I know there’s people out there who aren’t as fortunate and haven’t found work and it’s guys like Chris that really irritate me because unfortunately you have some of those same folks hiring. The problem is that I feel you go into an interview and people look at you and say wow how would he do this or how would she do that? They’re not looking at the realization and the abilities of person actually has their seeing themselves as a blind person. It was completely out of the normal for Chris to think that a blind person could actually work at Microsoft never mind that I had actually met three blind people who work at Microsoft while I was there.

I feel like the dictation so far is killing apples! I haven’t corrected anything yet. Any mess-ups probably are from me not speaking clearly. Anyway it’s been a crazy few months hard to believe I’ve been married for two already! Abby and I are doing well our heat went out today so I called and have a repairman coming tomorrow. This happened once before at my house and it was a cold night thankfully and Louisville it’s not that cold yet! It’ll probably get down to about! I’m enjoying being married though we are a good team! Her more so than I probably. I haven’t had to sleep on the couch yet so that’s saying something! The next entry I’ll be back to the keyboard well as long as Apple fixes their damn iPad keyboard issue. I bought an iPad to be a replacement for a laptop lately since iOS 12 though for some reason when I click on a box my keyboard refuses to type the thing it’s supposed to do the best! Too bad apple doesn’t hire me to be a quality assurance person for them I would have pointed this out and beta! It really is driving me nuts.

I’m going to be real with you guys for a minute. I recently just got back from a trip and I do like to travel but the older I get I realize there’s a sadness with that. As a blind person I don’t enjoy going places as much as I used to when I was a kid. I think as I’ve aged I miss some of the things people who can see get when they travel. For me all the sounds are the same. I think that’s why I enjoy Germany so much because it was actually different. I gained a lot of experience and her new things that I don’t often hear here. Seattle or Redmond felt just like Louisville! I used to flip on the radio and go up and down the dial listening to different shows or programs because city-to-city they would be different. Now radio is the same no matter where you are! So that’s gone. I didn’t even bother. However went out walking or driving around in a Uber. I noticed all of the same restaurants and the same things that Louisville has. I mean sure I could go to the Space Needle but what am I gaining from that? I don’t know maybe I’m just being a little grumpy but it is true the more we grow and become unified the more things are looking the same. I know that may not have hit you guys yet as people who can see, but for blind people it really is sort of becoming sad. I think that’s why I enjoy going to see Fraser in the country because it’s different it’s quiet not many people around and it’s just something I don’t get to experience every day. I also grew up on a farm so it reminds me a lot of my childhood but these are all feel the same to me for the most part. Other than being definitely more pine trees and sort of forest e feeling it was Louisville! I just had to travel five and a half hours to sort of be in the same place. I think some services are helping with describing different scenery and things, but at the end of the day it’s sort of his old the same to me. For example when Abby and I were in Chicago and we did our sailboat river cruise we learned a lot about the city’s architecture, but nothing really remain with me from that. The feelings of being on the water in the wind were incredible and that is what stuck with me. Mainly because it’s something I don’t experience every day here in Louisville. I’m sure though if you asked a majority of the people on that same Cruise they would point to a picture of something in the skyline from Chicago or something they salt. After that cruise really Chicago is just a big city experience. I don’t know it’s sort of made me sad in a weird way that I feel this way, but there’s not much I can do I’m just saying and sharing my experience. I wish that going to Seattle or going to anywhere else somehow felt different. I tried to go to some local restaurants while I was there and did. I had a great shrimp burrito for example, but most of the places that we were near were chain restaurants. Due to timing I ended up having to go to Red Robin one night and Jersey Mike’s the next. Maybe that also maybe just sort of feel like I could have been anywhere else or at home. I had a co-worker with me the first two days and he was walking around and describe some of the scenery to me which helped! One morning on his own and I met him at Microsoft. He was telling me about all the things he saw on campus which I thought was me but had I been with him I don’t think I would have felt any different than I do now. It’s great that they have a treehouse but I can’t see that..

I’m a pretty positive guy so I’m not sure I wanted to end with that. I don’t have much else to say other than it is a great time to be alive with all this technology! I know this might be hard for you to understand but I don’t honestly sit around and think about having sight at all. Just when reflecting in a forum like this and hearing people talk about visiting Seattle and things they did I realized that there are definitely disadvantages that I’m seeing. I’m very content with being blind I honestly if given the chance probably would not take Vision if it were available to get. I would have to relearn everything I’ve talked about that and other post. I will give you guys one break quote from me. I think that we’re all custom to what we know. The grew up in the country sometimes the city could be scary. If you grew up in the city sometimes you might think the country scary. Ultimately how we grew up the things around us develop the character we become. I’ve been blind since a child and to think about having sight randomly is sort of scary. When I sit in my chair and listen to a baseball game for example I have no light perception my brain is completely focused in on that game. Or an app. Anyway if I could see I would constantly have light hitting my eye Michael May talks about that in his book crashing through when he was able to get some Vision back.

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Can it really do an ECG if it thinks I’m standing while rocking in my chair?

Tomorrow I make my Samsung Galaxy life official. I have had the IPhone for 8 years now, and it has changed my life so much. What used to take 3 or 4 devices now is just one. Below I will explain what I think Samsung and Android are doing well, and why I pulled the trigger.

Let me start off by saying there’s nothing wrong with Voiceover on the IPhone. For the sighted folks Voiceover is the software that comes on the Iphone that reads the screen to you in a quick explanation. Here are the reasons I started thinking of leaving.

Bugs Apple’s software over the years has become so buggy. In fact IOS 12 really doesn’t have hardly any new features, but is being put out to mainly fix the bugs of IOS 11. Poor Bluetooth support. One thing I have noticed of late is I get several Bluetooth dropouts. This is not the fault of my Bluetooth devices, but rather the phone. I have an HTC phone I started testing the same devices with at work and guess what the Iphone dropped connections 4 times an hour where the HTC and Samsung kept the signal the entire time. Yet when I go to the zoo or better known as the Apple Store they say nothings wrong.

This brings up a point. Apple was bragging that 6 million people visit Apple stores yearly. I don’’t know all are of them coming for education or learning? How many are coming in because they can’t remember there password to ICloud? Lol I just found that funny when Tim mentioned it yesterday.

On my Apple Watch it can’t tell when I am standing correctly. Yet one of the new features is it can detect if you fall? I can literally rock in my recliner and bend my arm at the elbow and the watch things I am standing. It even sometimes thinks I am exercising. I know I am blind but I don’t rock that hard. The watch is so bad at this I’m supposed to think or assume it will do a accurate ECG or detect my falling?

Changing sounds don’t actually always stay as they should. So lets say someone named Joe buys a sound for $2.00 in the ITunes Store. Then let’s say I make that sound new mail. Do you know some times that sound plays, but then randomly the default ding sound takes over and goes off 50% of the time. Basically saying f you and thanks for the $2.00. This has gone on for at least 2 versions of the OS.

The final one is dictation and Siri. What the hell is Apple doing with the data they collect from us? Maybe I’m the only one dictating. Because it is just bad. Shut the front door. Siri translation fuck the whore. Lol it would seriously be about that bad. Yet Apple year after year does nothing but they do give us a better camera. I’m sorry did taking pictures really suck that bad last year?

Finally the price has just gotten observed. I know the Galaxy note is up there too so this isn’t just an Apple thing. However I will say this I am getting a Samsung case silicone similar to something Apple would sell., It’s $12.00 at Best Buy now, while the Apple case is $34.00. Seriously it’s silicone!

Alright I think I have most of it out of my system. I just want the products to work as expected not being credited exercising while rocking in my chair eating buffalo wings that come from a chicken. Anyway on to what I like from the Galaxy!

I love the fact I have 2 different screen readers. With Apple if something doesn’t work with Voiceover I have no other options. On the Galaxy I actually have 3 options. Voice Assistant, TalkBack, and Shine plus. I’m mainly using Voice Assistant and Talkback. Similarly they also have to smart voice assistants. One called Google you may have heard of it! The other Bixbie. I think Google is by far better, but Bixbie has some compelling things. Instead of being an assistant like Siri, Alexa, or Google Bixbie wants to let you control anything on screen with your voice. They have a way to go here, but at least it is a start.

I have had some minor annoyances with finding accessible apps for everything, but slowly I am getting there. I’ll be honest I think this is doable! I would not have said this a year ago. I find the phone to be picking up on what I do and it’s getting smarter about what I want to do and accomplish. The speaker quality on it is much more pleasing than the IPhone’s was also. Guess what I changed a notification sound, and it stuck.

One app I find super useful on Android is called Move it. It’s a bus app. It’s also on IOS and used to work well, but still not as well as it does on the Galaxy. What it does is it tells me when my bus is 1 minute away from me. It then watches and notifies me when were 2 stops away. It then lets me know again to pull the bell and get off. If I am transferring bus’s like I have to in the afternoon once I exit it shows me on the lock screen how far my next bus is away from me. Madden football has something called beast mode. On Android this app is full on Beastmode man I’m telling you. It’s so useful having these notifications just testing it this week has been life changing.

Anyway that’s about it for now. I am keeping my IPad Pro,, but the Iphone 8plus gots to go! Lol sorry I had to rhyme. I think Apple can get it right, but do they care anymore? I am tired of waiting on things I find important. Will I buy another Iphone in the future? Some think I will, but I don’t know. It depends on how I feel Android and Samsung improve. For now I honestly have to say I’m 98% happy I switched.

7 years in Kentucky Y’all better consider me a Kentuckian now!

It’s hard to believe 7 years ago I took a job at Humana moving from Muncie to Louisville. At the time I wanted to do move somewhere new with an airport, and bus station. I know my wants are so low. Seriously though it was a struggle to get transportation besides friends out of Muncie. I wanted to try and chase a dream of being in radio, and I needed those things to try and do that.

I’ve always been a sports fan, and grew up thinking I could be in the NBA. Then my mom told me I had two strikes against me. One I was blind and 2 I was white. Now trust me I think if I were black I could have played damn it. Anyway when I moved here I liked both teams. I always thought the Kentucky Wildcats had a much better radio play by play announcer, but regardless I kept neutral.

It was 4 years ago roughly that my life and views on the world and people changed. I got a call that Ethan had killed himself. It changed me in several ways I try to tell people I love them and what they mean to me now. You never know when that last time will be. I would just come home from work and sleep. Reading was about the only thing I could do that took the numbing away.

I then got in to a radio showed called Kentucky Sports Radio with Mat Jones. It’s about sports, but it usually is the ridiculous banner that comes up that makes me enjoy it. For the first time in a month or so I could laugh again. I started really [pulling more for Kentucky. I got in to the teams that year loving the roster of guys for both Football and Basketball. In many ways it brought some new normalcy back for me.

I still have a hard time with the NFL. That was something Ethan and I shared the passion for and would talk about. I try to watch, but it hurts and that enjoyment isn’t there. Life is funny that way we all take the little things way to much for granted. I remember thinking at one point in my life no woman would come between me and my sports. I loved sports so much then Ethan dies and it’s tough to get through a NFL game.

Tonight Kentucky ended a streak of 31 years losing to Florida. I went to the game 3 years ago at Commonwealth and we should have won that game. Abby went last year I’d just got home with Frasier and decided that would be two much for him. They should have won that game, but fell short. Abby and I both until the end thought we may lose this yet, but when they won oh man we were both so happy.

Then I had to hear what Matt and the other fans thought. It made me so happy listening to folks who’ve gone for 30 years to games and finally got to celebrate. That’s the thing I like about Mat’s show. Most radio and Tv is based out of New York or has a national appeal but when you listen to Mat’s show it’s folks from this state who just love there team.

Anyway I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since taking that leap of faith that things would work out. Robin and I learned downtown, and then got a house. Now I have a wife it’s crazy how I’m becoming part of this wonderful city and state. Anyway I wanted to reflect on things tonight and I realize how fortunate things have been for me. Wrapping up go Cats!!! Also miss you bro I think about you still every day. Give Robin a hug up there,, and I’ll see you on the otherside.

Wedding and the Honeymoon!

Finally I have the time to update y’all on the wedding and honeymoon. Before that in a month I get to go see Microsofts campus in Washington for work. As a tech enthusiast is really cool. I have actually been looking at the surface line, but still feel the IPad Pro line serves me better. I still think it will be neat to spend a few days there.

The wedding. I first want to say it was such a nice opportunity to see people who I haven’t seen in a while which felt great. I talk to Phil and Denny once a week, but I haven’t seen them in a few years. My friend Sue came and I hadn’t seen her in about 5 years. Muncie and Ball State I met a lot of great people. Having Carlos there was awesome. Anyway I don’t want to call out people by name I’d be here all day and I wouldn’t want to forget anyone. The weekend went so fast and the day was a blur while it was happening. I do just want to thank anyone who came y’all are family and I love you.

We had a dinner Friday night where anyone who came in from out of town we just sat around and talked with. I got to see Linda and Dan. Linda was a professor at Ball State who went blind later in life. Carlos and I would go out drinking with her some back in the day. Real quick my favorite Linda story has to go on here and this is a great time to tell it. We went out for her birthday and we all had several drinks. We call a cab to take all of us home. Linda has hearing issues also which makes her orientation a bit tricky. So she starts climbing in to the cab and she has her butt on the dash and says so. The cab driver goes honey you can sit in here any way you need lol. I still tease her about sitting the wrong way. Seeing Dan was cool he has gotten Parkinson’s and that was tough for me to see. Dan was a handy man good with his hands and a hard worker. Now he told me he doesn’t have the energy and has the shakes and fatigue which is difficult for him. It was nice sitting with them and made me reminisce on hanging out with them at Carlos and I’s apartment many years ago.

Seeing my uncles and Ants also was really good. Were not a huge family in that a lot of my childhood I’d see them a lot. I wish we could have had all of my cousins and had them there, but Abby and I wanted to try and do something but not spend tons of money.

Anyway the night before I got about 2 to 3 hours sleep. I went to Denny’s room and I sat up joking with him, Rachael, Bridget, and Phil. I used to play dolls with Rachael now she is about to drive, and she is turning in to a nice young lady. Man where the hell does time go?

I went back to Phil’s room and slept on the couch. Before falling asleep we showed each other some electronic gadgets. The couch was short, so my legs kept falling off. Anyway in the morning I woke up and went to my mom and dads room. We had breakfast as a family which was really fun.

The minutes counting down to the wedding were nerve racking. I remember pacing a bit, and just ready to get to it. Once Abby walked down I settled in. The ceremony felt like it took a while, but viewing a video later it was only 13 minutes or so.

The reception went really well. I was starting to feel the fatigue a bit, but I think I saw everyone at least twice. Jenny told me I had to cop a feel of Abby’s dress cause by that point I still hadn’t. On the way home I looked at it man those things are so cool. Being blind I haven’t really seen them much, and all of the fabric is just incredible to feel.

For the honeymoon we went to Chicago. Abby hadn’t been to a Major League Baseball game so we wanted to go see the Cubs. My grandpa took me to a game in 2001, and I’ve visited a few times over the years, and being there is just a great feeling. I will never forget her first reaction to the stadium. We got out of the cab and were about a half block from it. We encountered a bunch of people right away and she grabbed on to me tight, and kind of froze on locked in to the sound of the organ playing and all of the crowd noise. I said honey we have to move and she said wow this so busy. When we travel together even though she has a dog I get in front with my cane and she hangs on to my shoulder. We do this, because if she were to use Bancroft I would never find her again. A lot of people assume that Bancroft guides both of us which really isn’t the case. It really is hard for them to guide two people because they really only clear for one so it’s a bit dangerous to try that. Anyway I got to the gate and asked for assistance to will call to pick up the tickets. This guy John helped us. Man he was so good. He got us to will call and then to the team store, and then to our seats. He came back in the 7th to see if we wanted to stay or not. The game went in to extra innings and the Cubs won in a walk off. John helped us get to a street that wasn’t blocked off to catch a cab out of there back to the hotel. This was useful so that the next day I would know where we could do so. I think if we were there more Abby and I could get out on our own like we do with the Bats here at home.

One thing we did when are first night was we went to navy peer. I had always wanted to go, and so we took a Lyft over to it. I used my GPS app, and also Aira the service I’ve talked about her before. We took an architecture boat tour where you get on a sailboat and go on to Lake Michigan and can view the skyline. Okay I will stop there. Most of you may be like what the hell do blind people get from this? Actually I just wanted the boat ride. Lol the wind and smell of the lake were so nice. However with Aira I had the lady take pictures and she also described some of the views for Abby and I and that ended up being nice. After we got done with the tour we walked to the gift shop. It took us a bit, because the gift shop ended up being inside what I would call a small mall building. When asking sighted folks along the way they made it sound like it would be a little store on the peer if that makes sense? It ended up being us walking threw McDonald’s in to a small mall lol but we found it. The lady in the gift shop was so great about explaining the different souvenir’s we could get. I think this the hardest part it’s not like online shopping you have to really ask whaat do you have? The hard part is whenever doing this people tell you what they see they like not what you may want. I think that is where online shopping is so great. Me myself can find what I want it has drawbacks though because sometimes an item feels different than I would have pictured lol.

One night we went out for pizza, but the place had a hour wait, and we both got cold. I said we need to find some other place. Abby pulled up a few places on swarm and we settled on a place called Bottled Blonde. We walked about 2 blocks and found it. Oh my gosh this place was like a night club I would have visited in college. The music was loud, and rather than tables and chairs we sat on a couch and had a coffee table in front of us. I told her I didn’t realize were going to visit a night club on our honeymoon. The pizza ended up being good and I had an Oldstyle so it was fine. Afterwords I said lets take a Uber to Shakeshack. In the Uber we told him it was our honeymoon and Abby hadn’t ever had it before. I had in NJ last year gettting Frasier. I forgot we were in Chicago and nothing has a drive through so he parked his car on the side of the curb and went in with us. I told him we were fine, but he said he wanted to buy us shakes for our honeymoon. I was so worried about the car would it get toed? He said it would be about a 50% chance which didn’t make me feel any better. Anyway we got back and the car was still there. I got to say the Uber drivers were so kind and we had so much fun with them. We took both Lyft and Uber and they’re so nice. I tipped him nice, because he didn’t have to do that and we weren’t wanting him to go above and beyond like that.

We took the subway in to the game on Sunday which that was fun. I love taking the trains and subways when we can since we don’t have them in Louisville. When we got off at the Wrigley stop it was so crowded. I got us to a broken escalator going up we walked up, but then hit a massive line of people. A guy asked us if we were going to the ball park? I said yes, and he said grab my elbow. He took us right up to the gate but helped us weave through the crowd. That was such a cool experience to do it like someone who lived there. Saturday we did the tour of Wrigley and we got to go on the field. It also gave Abby a chance to feel how big the stadium was.

By the end of our trip we missed home. Everywhere you go you encounter people or horns it’s just so much more easy going at home. I love the bustle, but it does get fatiguing after a few days. Overall though it was a wonderful trip and something I know we will reflect on for years to come. One more thing I was surprised the hotel didn’t’t have Braille in the elevator. We got a tour of the place a few times. We learned where the buttons were after a few times messing up, but it shocked me that they wouldn’t have them. We’re in downtown Chicago!

I am starting to hear the Wedding bells.

Were less than a week away from the wedding. Abby and relaxed this weekend since the next few will be pretty busy. We have the wedding next weekend and then the honey moon the weekend after. I started hearing from friends this weekend, which got me excited for next weekend. My nervousness is building a bit, but I am just going day by day. You can stress yourself out, and my mindset these days is to just relax there’s know reason to worry.

We tried a place I heard about on a flight to Vegas. It’s a restaurant called Dragon Kings Daughter. I had some top quality sushi and one of my favorite beers Gumball head on tap. We also did a lot of odd and end things like get Bancroft a bath trim Abby’s hair and stop buy the bank.

I tell you what Lyft and Uber make life so much easier just being to move between locations easily and on our terms. I tend to try and get to a shopping center with multiple things I need. For example we dropped Bancroft off at the pet groomer, I walked down to the UPS store and mailed something off to Bose, and then Abby and I walked to a Chinese place for lunch. After that we caught an Lyft to the bank, and then to the Salon. When she was done we caught a Lyft back to pick up Bancroft and then to go home. The amount of things we got done at one time was great and before this would not have been possible. I say all of this, because I see New York trying to put restrictions on Lyft and Uber slowing things down, and complicating things. Hopefully things sort themselves out, and that Louisville never threatens my independence. I see so many posts on Facebook and Twitter I’ve done it also getting angry when Lyft or Uber deny a ride for having a service animal. The thing is Yellow Cab did this also, but the thing with them is I can’t see the cab number with them. If Uber or Lyft do this I have the drivers info on my screen.

Recently I’ve started a new obsession yes move over technology. I started a love for real leather briefcases and bags. I’ve been researching them for about 2 months reading up on vegetable tan vs chrome tan. My main reasoning for wanting one is I like the idea of using one bag for a life time and being able to pass it along to your family. If I use this bag for the next 20 years, and then I’m able to give it to one of my nephews somethings just really neat about that. Anyway I got the Marlondo double spaced briefcase. My god it’s beautiful. I’m blind lol, but it smells so good, and so soft feeling. It was a bit stiff at first, but I’ve broke it in. It can hold a lot, and I can pack my lunch in it, plus all my tech. It’s heavy as these full grain leather things are, but it’s just so nice. If anyone’s looking for something like this just ask I will share my knowledge in research on these bag companies. I also was able to speak to a leather maker in Australia for a little bit, and talked to him about kangaroo leather which is much stronger than cattle leather it’s also thinner. He is selling a kangaroo leather wallet I have my eye on. I don’t know what’s caused me to geek out on this, but I’m loving it.

Something I’ve stumbled upon recently is these YouTube channels from Gamers from Twitch. These guys and girls have channels where they talk about there lives and they have a huge following. It must be a generation thing, because I don’t get it. I’m going to watch a guy or girl play a video game all day and not play myself? When I was growing up we had game faqs, but the idea was you’d still play it yourself. To top it off though these YouTube channels are like podcasts or radio shows where these kids just talk about life. It’s so weird that people are so obsessed with these video game players. I’m not the brightest ball on the tree, but I just don’t get it.

Arms as big as a tree trunk

The other night Abby and I went to Acoustic Jam put on by WAMZ. This had 6 different singers at it, and I loved the format. They had 3 bands up at a time and they each played a song, and joked with one another. I really loved Mattie and Tae, Travis Denning, and David Lee Merfie. The concert was at a place I’d never been to called the Mercury ball room. According to the tickets there was no seating. Abby said they will find us a place to sit, because sighted folks are nervous about us standing. I said I don’t know, but sure enough we sat. I am not complaining we were out of the way and it was nice not to have to worry.

When we got to the venue this security guy came out and took us to a bench inside. I grabbed his arm and it was amazingly huge. I mean I couldn’t put my hand around his arm. My brother and dad have big arms, but god this guys arm well I’m going on and on like a school girl would. When your blind pretty much the only image you have of people is from feeling yourself and the handful of others along the way. I went home and pumped some iron I want Abby to be amazed by my arms lol. Whenever I hear Stern or guys gush about women part of me goes Christ haven’t you seen it all by now, but the part of being blind that is sad is truthfully everyone is different and we miss so much of that. It’s probably a gift and a curse all at the same time.

We had to leave a bit early since it was a work night. We couldn’t get anyone’s attention because it was loud in there. Abby grabbed my shoulder and I put my cane out in front of me. I hit several feet, but people move and were nice. I knew which way the door was, and moved towards it. A guy came up and said need an elbow? I said yes sir, and he navigated us the rest of the way outside. It was a great venue as are most in Louisville for assisting and not a bunch of confusion to help us get in and out.

I want to address a comment I heard recently, about blind folks being parents. I was on the bus talking about getting married to someone and I was asked if we wanted kids. I said no were older, and honestly I don’t have the energy for it. I love seeing others kids and loving on them, but it’s great when the house is quiet also. Someone recently mentioned you should want kids so they can take care of you. Dude I’m not 90 or in a nursing home. They then said yeah but they could make your life easier. Kids for the first 4 years first off do nothing but shit, cry, eat, and the other 1% do something cute. I actually got kind of offended with this comment. Help me? Make it easier? If Abby and I had a kid it’s going to be a kid. Does your 4 year old make your life easier somehow? Then it got worse the conversation that is. They said well once the kid grew up it could drive you around. Okay dip shit seriously that would be 16 years at the earliest and honestly I’ll have a flying car.in 20. I don’t even know where to start here. With Robin and Frasier I’d always hear some sighted folk go you take care of him don’t you? It always pissed me off. If I didn’t feed the dog, take it out to shit, or do the cleaning or maintaineding of the dog where it would it be? I feel like people think having a kid all most makes it a slave to the blind people which is just crazy! The blind parents I know take there kids to dance practices, soccer games, and anything else the kid wants to do. I don’t know where this kids taking care of a blind parent mentality comes from, but it needs to stop, because it‘ so absurd.

I am still not sure if I want to get another dog. The time away again, uncertainty if it will work any better than the last time, and the fact is I’m getting around fine. Yeah for sure when we go to Chicago I will miss what the dog provides,, but that’s random instances. I took a few Lyfts and Ubers this week, because I’ve been sick, and it’s been nice to get in not having to worry whether the driver is going to cancel or not which is sad, but if I’m being honest with myself it is nice. It’s been slower getting around, but I’m fine. I’ve encountered a blind person lately who is completely silly with her dog. She treats it as if the dog has choices which it shouldn’t have. She told her dog to sit 5 times before it did, and still gave it a treat. No corrections just acted as if giving a command five times before it listened was normal. These schools that don’t believe in corrections trouble me. Her dog was from a school out in California I think. Both Robin and Frasier if they didn’t sit when I said sit it was correction time.

I wanted to give a shout again to my teachers in the past. I was really lucky and had a teacher who taught me Braille, and knew the code herself. Ms. Tami taught me Braille when I was 4 years old. I remember her bringing over a rubber board and putting pins in it to represent the dots. I recently have witnessed and also told about kids who are graduating school knowing parts of the Braille code, but not all of it. I sort of have to be careful here, but I will speak my mind and be honest. I was somewhere doing a presentation on a product for work. A teacher asked me if rather than something being displayed in Braille could it be displayed in print? She said they struggle with reading braille. Wait what your a teacher of the visually impaired yet you yourself struggle with reading braille? How can you teach something to someone if you don’t know how to do it yourself? Tami taught me so much when I was really young on technology, and how to navigate things. The teacher then said she didn’t know how to use voiceover on the IPhone or IPad so she normally does something with it off then turns it on for the student. Again how do you teach this to a student? Tami Could use Win Vision or a scanning program she taught herself then me. If she couldn’t figure it out she called a company and learned. I’m sure there forcing kids on these teachers, but god you got to know the tools that can help these blind kids succeed. Maybe I need to get my masters and go help educate these kids I feel so bad for them, and the fact some of these teachers are earning a paycheck and don’t know braille or the technology these kids need.

I am really a technology guy, and I am trying to not continue to buy new things and just enjoy the ones I have. I had a HomePod but Apples wall garden started to annoy me. My Alexa can play MLB audio, Podcasts, call and message people, and more. My HomePod can only be used with Apple Music which I don’t want, and could Airplay. I just wanted a speaker that could do everything I wanted so that brought me to sell my HomePod on EBay and get a Sonos 1. I love it. I have Alexa built in, and plus I have Airplay 2 now. This speaker can do anything I need. Airplay put the Sonos over the top for me that was it’s one big drawback. If you have Android it still lacks Google cast, but maybe it will show up when the google assistant does later this year. If not sorry you have a inferior operating system. Hahaha just kidding. I’ve had it a week, and love the sound plus all the services that are integrated in.

Fireworks have different colors and images but year after year they have the same sound.

In a few days it will be July 4th! It’s weird I used to post articles of political nature to Facebook trash talk others and try to convince someone my opinion is right and they were wrong. Lol it’s so exhausting. Not to mention pointless. The older I get I do fear that people are so set in there thinking. I still try to remain balanced whatever that means anymore but people can’t sit and have a conversation anymore. I miss being able to hear ones side and than give my side and feeling okay that we think differently. I now feel if for example I am pro something someone automatically puts me in a box and I can’t think another way about something else. Obama becoming president I think started this polarization, and then Trumps took it to a new level where the media gives us nothing else anymore.

All that said blind people get worked up about things going away. Maybe changes are coming, but I’m so happy for the opportunities I have here, and I am so humbled at times. I was talking to a gentleman from India the other day, and he was telling me the Braille access issue in India. We put out a $449 Braille display, but he was saying in India for most to afford it we need to be around 100 dollars. I’ve always been fortunate to have Braille or audio at my disposal, and it’s important for everyone to have access to it. I think we get lost in chasing money or self worth, and we don’t stop and say how lucky we have it enough

Thank you. For me it’s all the mobility lessons when I was young from Ms. Tammi making me step outside my comfort zone and shop for her groceries. I just hope and wish we all could just stop and breathe a minute things we love are worth fighting for, but we need to remember were all human and all have different backgrounds.

I find myself struggling with the little things without a dog. Robin and Frasier would both put there paws on my feet during the work day. You can’t help but bump them as you work, but just knowing they were there made such a difference. If your having a bad day you’d feel them put a paw on your foot and you’d reach down and pet them and instantly everything got less heavy. I think I am having a bout of depression I sleep when I get home then I’m up at 3 in the morning. I don’t feel unhappy, but I feel my body dealing with the downs. Having a dog gives you that I have to take this thing outside and you gain responsibility.

Abby and I went to the movies, and she maneuvers people and objects while I feel clunky running in to things. I’ve been having this thought I should go to Dunkin Donuts and just have a donut and write or read some news. With my dogs I wouldn’t have thought twice, but since I haven’t been there I really am struggling with the layout and if I want to go explore or not.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel I am a great cane user, but the level I have to be at with it is perfect. If I’m off or maybe I have a cold or it’s windy instantly I feel more nervous and thoughts of should I go out come in to play. I remember in college I’d have days I felt fine, but I just didn’t want to have to deal with bumping in to people or interactions so I’d just not go to class. I don’t know why looking back on it I got so overwhelmed, but when getting the dogs it helped with those feelings.

I’m torn I do like the ability to jump in a Lyft or Uber and get to a location and go in without any hassle but then once I am there if its a new place I’m not as comfortable as I was with a dog if that makes sense. It’s like I’m constantly up or down and I can’t figure out what I want to do. Abby and I have been talking about going to Indy or Nashville or NYC for a weekend and it’s difficult for me to imagine doing it with a cane. Especially NYC maybe if I’m successful or not it will be the deciding factor if I go back for a dog or not.

One thing that makes me more and more nervous is people being able to take there dogs places. I’ve been reading about more and more work places being excepting of bringing your pet dog to work. As we become more relaxed in things of this nature I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for blind folks and guides. Maybe I’m overthinking things.

As I get older I things I found that were fun for me have changed. Fireworks now for me are all the same. Year to year the sound of them never changes yet the images colors etc. do. I used to love being at the county fair or going to one of the lakes listening to them. Now sighted folks make it worse by playing shitty soundtracks with the fireworks trying to have a theme. Why? I want to hear the boom it’s the only fucking enjoyment I get from these things and now your covering it up? Stop it! I love Thunder over Louisville because it is booming, but even they do it. I know some blind folks who use Aira to describe the fireworks but still if you’ve never seen color I’m not sure how cool that is. Since Louisville does Thunder in April July 4th here pretty much is nonexistent.

One thing about the 4th I loved as a teen my brother and I would buy fireworks and set them off. I learned to light them and run and get low to the ground. Once by myself I put a bottle rocket in a 2 leader bottle lit it and ran and dove. The thing shot right at me lol. What’s life if you don’t take risk’s? Happy Forth everyone! To the Canadians happy Canada day on Sunday!

Part 2 plus if I could talk to myself from high school

This post is a continuation to the last post in ways, but may be a bit more rational will see. I want to say RIP Mr. Rekey Frank. I should have said that in my last post. I got worked up at the end. I just think the could be me. I’ve been with people who’ve ran a light it happens, but that article was written with no regard to Mr. Frank. He was a blind man who thanks to that article I know was blind for 20 years. That’s all. I know the other guy had a job lol. Let me tell you something about penalties and having to follow the law.

For a year after college it was a struggle for me. I couldn’t find a job I got hired by Apple than fired because there system for answering tech support was not accessible. In this time I made $638.00 per month from the government on SSI. After a year I found a job. I had a meeting with someone at SSI and they told me about a blind work program. If you made a certain amount you could keep SSI because they would take off travel and work expenses. I did exactly what they told me, but when I moved to Louisville to work at Humana I received a letter from Social Security. It said I owed $1800.00 and it had to be repaid. I had no way to fight this and this would have been a year after stopping anything from SSI. Now I have student loans and I’m having to pay $75.00 to Social Sucurity every month. Basically that hour I spent learning about the blind work program cost me money lol. I paid the fine back, and it was a struggle for the first year I lived here. Again though I didn’t kill anyone I was just given money by the government. I had no forgiveness rule this story just baffles me. Also student loans aren’t forgivable debt yet killing someone where you have a fine is forgivable if you do the community service?

One thing if I could go back in time and tell myself in high school is to relax. Looking back I do wish I had attended the blind school for at least one year. I’d like to have gone my 9th or 10th grade year just to be around people like myself experiencing puberty. That was hard in public school being the only one blind. Looking back at it I’ve learned so much. When I went to Bal State I think that was the biggest growth for me. I met Carlos who was blind and he taught me the bus system something I never had access to where I grew up. I met my first blind female that I was around for more than a week at a summer camp. I think that experience would have been nice to have during high school when all those changes are happening. Sighted kids steel a dirty mag or video and figure things out lol it’s a little different being blind. I think the pressures of high school also do you want to be the person dating the odd kid with no vision? Reading this that sounds like I am being hard on myself but kids don’t want to do something others might find not normal. I also think as a person I missed some of the nonverbal communication that if I had it may have changed things also.

Abby and I were watching something where they referenced eye contact and how nice it was just looking at someone’s eyes. Abby says that eye contact must be some amazing thing? It got me thinking about a paper I had written in college 90% of communication is done with eye sight. I know in college I missed some opportunities with dating, because I think I didn’t interpret something correctly. My first girlfriend in college when we broke up she called me drunk and asked if she had a bad personality since I broke up with her? In her mind it couldn’t just be that we didn’t have the right chemistry it had to be she had a bad personality.

Whenever we go out with friends you know they look around and watch people. It’s amazing how much people can observe that I miss. Abby’s mom for example gets annoyed that I look at my phone when were out eating. I don’t really get it, because I am mainly looking at a sports score or news article. Yet during the same conversation she may bring up the score of a game because they have it on a television nearby. I’m not just picking on her it’s came up a lot over the years, but I don’t know how it’s fair for you to glance around and see things yet I can’t listen to my phone and hear some updates? I was going to say maybe because when seeing you can stil listen, but sighted folks get distracted and don’t always hear you.

It’s 4:21 AM I have a CPAP which is helping me sleep, but now I’m just left with the blind staying asleep issue. I no longer stop breathing during my sleep scaring Abby, but not I am refreshed at 3:30 ready to get my day started. That not seeing light does suck to keep your body in rhythm.

So Sighted people can kill us now and just do community service tell all your friends.

I want to say first of off Happy Birthday to my Robin. I saw a video of Abby and I opening gifts for her and it made me smile. I miss her so much. I want to thank the instructors, trainers, and staff at the Seeing-Eye for all they do. The instructors have to train a string of dogs walk miles upon miles in rain cold or shine, and I do want them to know how much I appreciate them. Maybe I’ve been a bit harsh on the school lately I’m just frustrated. They gave me 2 great dogs that made such an impact on me, and I don’t want to hurt the hard work from those people. That being said maybe out reach or communication needs to change. If I go back it would being to the Seeing-Eye because of how they do ownership of the dog, plus no dumb extra stuff like graduation etc..

Recently Abby rode home with a cab driver and he said Joe doesn’t need to get a dog because technology is so much better now. First off technology has improved, but it’s still clunky at best. I think now the only thing that is 100% is I know where I am with GPS. Meaning I have an idea with in 30 feet or so. Cane technology hasn’t gotten any better. I actually got 4 different cane tips to play with and they all seem cheep and not useful but my old faithful marshmallow rolling tip. Canes even have gotten worse since people want them thinner and lighter they just break so much easier now. Sure they have laser canes so fancy but not practical.

I tell you what I want Aira is awesome but sucks if your cell connection sucks which is more than I’d like with Verizon or at&t. What I want is a device that can keep you in a straight line. I have to look drunk as hell walking down the street, because I veer left and right. The dogs kept me straight and also could follow the sidewalk making it less work for me. I miss that so much. To that cab driver or to anyone else who is sighted who thinks they should weigh in on what a blind adult should do how about you put on a blindfold and just walk 10steps then remove it and see where you are. Honestly look at something put the blindfold on and move 10 steps. I bet you veered off track a bit. Now go to a busy street or have a damn lawnmower factoring in and see how walking 10 to 20 steps is now.

My other annoyance has been passing people. Man Robin and Frasier were so good about maneuvering me around people it was just awesome. Today I got behind another blind person and couldn’t get around them. Every time I would go right to pass they would veer right so I kept tripping them lol. It’s so frustrating though to not be able to pass someone when I want.

This next story my friend shared, and I can’t believe it. This guy kills a blind man by running a red light. This infuriates me that no one seems to care. What if it was me or Abby? We’re going off parallel traffic hoping you guys pay attention. Driving has become such a wright when it should be a privilege in this country. Recently I was crossing a light and a car blew its horn first off don’t do that. I don’t know if your honking at me or something else. I think a car was trying to turn which I still the light and they were signaling me to wait. It’s just scary out there even easy intersections have become difficult because no one enforces the laws we have. I like in this article it points out what the sighted person was doing he is going to work, but what was the blind gentleman doing? All I know reading the article he was blinded 20 years ago. Maybe he was walking to see his granddaughter, or just exercising this is a piss poor article and the writer should be ashamed. I guess even though the sighted guy ran the light the blind man was just in his way. It basically paints the sighted person as this working class citizen and the blind person who was by all accounts correct in his street crossing worthless. In the comments tell me I’m wrong and misinterpreting this article.

http://www.koin.com/news/local/multnomah-county/driver-who-killed-blind-man-admits-careless-driving/1247569655

A week with my cane

A week has gone by and I am doing okay. I miss Frasier a lot. My walk with a cane takes about 24 minutes where it was 13 to 15 with him depending on the day. I find a lot more trees and bushes than I did with him. Our house has changed also with him gone. This weekend I think I hit a bit of depression realizing I’m without him.

He met the fedex driver Saturday and got a treat according to Lee’s text. He is a good boy and is doing wonderful with them. I think it is what he needed and that helps. I never worry about him, because he is with people that love him I just miss him.

It’s strange before when I used my cane no one talked to me, but now that I’m back to it I am attracting some interesting people. I will try and video some of the experiences along the way and put them up here. Last week I met a guy who says his great grandfather took the famous picture of Babe Ruth’s called shot. He talked about it the entire bus trip until I got off. It was a really cool story actually.

This blog amazes me how much visits it gets from around the world. Frazier’s retirement post was viewed a lot in India, South Korea, Japan, and the UK. Of course it does well in the United States also, but I could have never imagined it reaching all of those countries pretty regularly. Again thank you for reading.

I am now writing my blog in an app called Drafts 5 on the I-pad Pro. It’s really nice and allows me to have a few options that I don’t have in the Apple Notes app. I also from time to time say Alexa how do you spell then a word. Lol.

Abby tried her dress on this weekend and got some alterations done and it should be ready next weekend. It’s hard to believe the day will be here in about 2 months now. I’m getting excited, but nervous.

My Apple AirPods didn’t hold up so long. I have had them about a year, and I”be noticed a pretty bad battery drain. They used to last about 5 hours a day now they’re down to 3. Still not bad for the size of them, but it makes a work day a bit harder. On another electronic thing though one thing about losing Frasier that has been tough I miss talking with him on the way to work. I wouldn’t say much, but at times I may say it’s hot buddy, or not much traffic today. I now wear the Bose Soundware until I get to the bus stop and then put it in my bag. I like it, because it still keeps my ears open so I can listen for traffic. Also pausing it is quick and simple. Thank you Bose for this product I also use it a lot around the house when taking trash out or cleaning.