Category Archives: childhood

The importance of braille.

With this blog I’ve said and put in to words a lot of different experiences that I’ve had. I want to talk about something important that a lot of people ask about, but I really haven’t put in to words. Is braille still relevant today?
 
I first got in to this conversation when I went to Ball State. Ethan and Whitney asked me about it after reading an article that someone wrote questioning if braille should still be taught. My opinion has gone back and forth on this, but with my new job especially where I am working with the first ever low-cost display my opinion has changed again.
I would start here would you want your kid to only learn by speech? If your child is sighted I am going to guess your answer would be no. Why are we trying to dictate that blind children would be illiterate? I hear things every day when I sit down with my IPhone or my computer, but being able to read what I wrote is life changing. I want you to take what I am about to say and think about it. I’m 31 years old, and for the first time writing this on my couch I can view my writing. I can see commas, question marks, periods, quotations, and etc. I’ve never had this access before.
 
The reason being is cost. The IPhone came out in 2009 and mainstreamed accessibility by putting Voiceover on every device. As a blind consumer I can go by a phone and turn on speech and use it with no additional cost. I had access to a braille display in college, but it eventually broke and a new one was $3000 and that wasn’t in the budget. Imagine just to be able to read what you wrote if they charged you $3000 for paper and a pencil, so that left me with speech. A lot of my childhood I had speech in everything, but braille really hadn’t become electronic yet so I missed a lot because it wasn’t available.
 
The fact that in a month or so that schools and parents will be able to buy a braille display for around $500 is huge. That is still a lot, but it puts braille in more children’s hands. My dad and mom used to joke but were serious when I went to school in Kindergarten that I had the most expensive backpack. I had a Braille N Speak 640 which was $1500, but it only talked there was no braille output. I went and observed some kids playing with these braille displays and it was amazing. My niece and nephews all have access to IPads or Kindles, but if your blind and a child you don’t really get exposed to braille until your school aged. My 2-year-old Nephew can point at a Netflix logo and say Thomas the Train, but a blind child doesn’t have that ability.
At work in the mornings I usually spend some time talking with Ken. He reminds me of an older version of myself, but smarter. Well maybe I’ll get there. We talk a lot about parents with blind children, and how they try and do too much limiting the things that child could learn. I get the privilege to work with Larry who created one of the first screen readers for Windows, but he cuts his own grass. Ken works on a lot of things in his house. I never learned these things. My parents were really good about letting me experience things, but on some things they still say to me I will help you.
 
One thing I’ve found challenging is doctors’ visits. When I was a kid my mom would fill out the paperwork, and I’d see the doctor. The other day I went in for a toe surgery, and the lady hands me a card with an appointment time and says you can give this to whoever drives you. Really? Again people make me feel like I can’t possibly do something unless I have a sighted person managing things. Maybe that’s an extreme view, but it’s frustrating. My parents doing that when I was little sheltered me from these types of attitudes. Let your kid try things, make mistakes, and then help them learn how to correct it. Being a helicopter parent does nothing useful for your child. One day you will die then what?
 
Sorry back to braille. As an adult I really haven’t had the opportunity to read a lot of braille books, because of convenience. With this display I can pair it to my IPhone and read a book from Amazon or Bookshare. I have things at my finger tips that I’ve never been able to have before. It highly offends me when sighted people discuss the merits of braille and it’s use. Should I do the same for print? After all you can get your newspaper on any device why do you prefer getting an actual copy? I don’t think people stop and think about how much reading helps you with spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and etc.
 
The other thing is graphics are coming a long way also. Ken is in charge of a display that refreshes graphics. Imagine being able to feel long division on a graphical braille display! It’s coming. We’re going to be seeing in the not too far future huge advancements in teaching math to blind children which opens the door to a lot of things. I’m excited to test that display when it’s done. The other thing is you can draw on it. I can make a shape or even draw what I think something looks like then someone sighted can draw me what something actually looks like. That display for now will be out of my price range, but as the Orbit braille display is doing to price maybe in a few versions the graphical displays can also come down. I think as a braille reader were entering an exciting time period for being a braille user.
 
I am doing okay. I am getting better with the cane I don’t feel like a novice anymore. A lot of it is coming back. I think about Robin every day probably always will. I really enjoy the on this day feature on Facebook, because I would write in things and include her so whenever I see one it helps. I still can’t believe how fast her health declined.
 
My friend Denny came in to town last weekend and we had a lot of fun. Abby, Denny, and I all went to the Bats game Friday against the Reds. They did not have the game on the radio, but we just talked the entire time so it was still a lot of fun. Cold, but fun. Sunday we went to Abby’s and she made us lunch it was great. We also sat outside for the first time this year for a few hours. It’s funny we listened to baseball and played Dice World on the IPhone.
 
Abby and I are doing well. It’s hard to believe with each month that passes were nearing 2 years together. Her dog Bancroft has really gotten to be closer to me now that Robin is gone. Not that she wouldn’t allow it, but they both are really close to their owners. I’ll never forget the last weekend with Robin she followed me everywhere she wanted to be in the same place as me all of the time I think she knew. The MLB season has started, so I’m pretty excited to see where teams end up.

A few thoughts on blindness cancer and the Ronald McDonald house

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about the reason I’m blind. When I was a year old I was diagnosed with a cancer of the eye called Retnal Blastoma. Which after hearing the other names of eye diseases if I must say Blastoma sounds kind of spacey oriented. Pigmatosa or however you spell that just sounds horrible. Usually rental blastoma only takes one eye, but mine was caught late, so it took both. My mom and dad noticed me crawling in to walls or not looking at my food before I ate it, and decided to take me to Fort Wayne for a doctor to look at it. They were then sent on to Riley Children’s Hospital where I was the seventy fifth case in Indiana.
The doctors for the most part wanted to just use me for studies, and thought there wasn’t much chance to save my life. One doctor in particular said lets remove them, and try. They did and I made it. For the next 8 years of my life every 6 months I had to go to Indy for check ups. I remember the long ass drives to Indy when your a kid those things stick out. I felt like I spent more time there than most places. My childhood was really normal I climbed trees, chased goats around and tried to ride them like horses, played a ton of basketball. Being from Indiana that’s a requirement. I’ve often said I don’t remember being blind as being a problem until around puberty. Which is interesting. Maybe it’s the innocents of bing a kid I’m really not sure. That may have been a question as well, but I’m tired so forgive me we will just pretend it’s retorical.
When I first went to Riley my dad was farming pretty much full-time, and my mom might have been at the bank still, but was mainly a stay at home mom for the first few years of my life. They stayed  at the Ronald McDonald house while  I was going to my cancer treatment and they said that it was a really great place. They had enough worries not to have to worry about how they could afford a hotel on top of things. I’ve always been grateful for things that happened back then.
For being blind I’ve gone back and forth on emotions. I used to think one day I’d just get it, and I’d be 100% fine. I think being blind is for me easy most of the times. On a windy day, and I have a headache it’s a bit challenging to focus clearly. At work I hear a screen reader talking all day, and then people on the other side, so sometimes at night I come home and need a few minutes without noise. I used to think I could work really hard and make people understand I’m just like them I just can’t see. I’ve given up on that thought awhile ago. I think blindness is something most can’t get unless they’re faced with it. I wrote something a few years ago I liked, so I will share it now about cancer.
The myth is about cancer is that somehow you beat it, and life is magically better. the reality is usually cancer takes something from you, and then your hopefully left to deal with the aftermath. For example when people look at me I survived cancer, but they offen don’t even know that or would even focus on that they focus on the fact I’m blind. I can’t hide that it sticks out anywhere I go. A job interview it’s there. I’d love to be able to hide it when possible but Robin just won’t disappear for those interviews. Maybe I have a different perspective I haven’t really talked to a lot of survivors, so this is just my longwinded thoughts. I imagine anyone who survives breast cancer or something along those lines are still left with the scars. My thoughts on cancer really is yes you can win, but it leaves it’s marks.
That’s a little peace I found I wrote from a few years ago. Blind people are like anyone else we all are on are own levels, and we all have a different skill set. Like I said earlier I’ve gon through a lot of different struggles. My teen years I was probably depressed living in the country and I couldn’t drive like my friends. My friend/brother Brandon or Sean would pick me up a lot, but it wasn’t the same of having that freedom. I think right now I’m probably the healthiest I’ve been, because I realize the  positives and negatives. Look being blind I’m truly an individual you can stand out easier if your upbeat. You can only play the cards you were delt and just move on. I think rather than being down and sad about things that aren’t going to change is pointless move on and make a difference. I think I will still struggle at times with not being able to see. I think a lot at nights when I can’t see the sky or stars that part kind of blows. I’ve never been married, but I feel a little weird about not being able to see my wife walking down the isle. I don’t know why that sticks out so much, but it does. I think it’s because in that moment your focusing on one beautiful woman coming to join you I jus think somewhere I’d be a bit sad but who knows. I think maybe just feeling  her in her dress before hand might fix that but it’s something I’ve thought about over the years. I think in a weird way rather than face that I’ve pushed people away somewhat afraid to face that. Again did I mention I feel pretty healthy right now? You never stop learning in life, and you hopefully grow from mistakes if not you may want to start there. Haha that’s my advice.
Anyway christ that was long. Tonight I went to the Ronald McDonald house which is something I’ve been working on for awhile. I took some Derby pie that I got from a great place, and I worked with a catering company for the food so it was homemade Look I can cook certain things like burgers and crab legs but honestly I’m not the best at it. I make some mean  Ramen noodles. Anyway my crab legs are amazing. Being blind doesn’t hamper me being able to cook it’s mainly laziness, and cooking for one sucks honestly. Why do I want leftovers? Anyway Everything came together very nicely. I also let Robin off work for a few people to play with. They loved it so did she. When we got home she was wound up and wanted to play ball a little more than normal. For a Bachelor I thought everything went off well! At first I was a little nervous, because the people I was working with hadn’t really ever interacted with a blind person, but thats pretty normal for me to work with these days. After a brief description of myself and explaining why I wanted to get involved it was fine. I met a little boy who I am going to try to take to a Bats game. No one likes to go to the Bats games with me my friends mainly hate baseball, so I usually go by myself because it’s my therapy. Also I realize how long the Reds are going to suck and that makes me smile somewhere inside if it were only the Cardinals instead. I can stomach Cincinnati but St. Louis just rubs me the wrong way being a Cubs fan. Anyway he knew a lot about the game, and so I will check with my Bats contact to see if we can make something happen. I asked him if he’d ever gone to a game and had a stadium hotdog? He said no, so we’ll have to change that. Again I don’t know why I feel this way, but nothings better than ballpark hotdogs. Milwaukee has sausages that are out of this world good literally. If I had to pick my favorite park for a hotdog it would be Miller hands down. 

Wait did that brickwall move? My thoughts on the riots

At times in life you have to step back and look at yourself, and if you don’t like what you see take a different step. I am watching the nonsense in Baltimore last night, and the way people act and I realize it just makes me angry. Police brutality is a big problem that needs to be addressed, but on the other side the analogy I like best is if you shovel shit for a living and they reward you and give you a gold shovel you’re still shoveling shit. I don’t envy police at all because if they stepped in and did something and killed someone you’d focus on that if they did nothing you focus on that. I don’t know what it’s like to be black and to be frustrated, but I do know what it’s like to be blind and disabled. I know what it’s like to be denied services simply because I have a service animal, and it’s frustrating. I also know what it’s like to feel alone when you walk in to a busy place because know is the same as you. Blind people as a whole and lump in the disabled crowd constantly get ignored and play catch up to everything. The ADA didn’t pass until 1991 that’s long past the civil-rights movement.
Still even though there are laws I have to defend myself daily, and what was promised in 1991 were still fighting for today. America isn’t perfect the constitution said all men were created equal and then it didn’t allow for blacks to vote as well as women. Blind people couldn’t vote independently until 2004 and finally today talking machines have shown up all most everywhere. I get really frustrated that I went to college, and worked hard and have found the job market difficult. I’m happy where I am now, but I also would like to move up in a company. Currently thats impossible do to technology where I am. Again though I’m happy. Growing up people didn’t expect me to do much they put limitations on my abilities because I couldn’t see. Read back to last years first months blogs, and you’ll see some of the struggle I faced. When I listen to radio shows from the early 1930’s and 1940’s blind people were focused on more than I could have imagined. Most focusing on some act of kindness or in the case of the Lone Ranger the show actually demonstrated a blind person retaining a job they had when they could see. Going back as far as the bible what was one of Jesus’s claims to fame? He could make a blind person see. My whole life people pray over me hoping to heal me and rid me of this supposed problem, but in reality they’re the ones hurting because I’m fine and they’re praying for me to see. It’s why I don’t find myself being to religious because I feel exploited by the faith, and that gods supposed to somehow make me see someday and just fucking fix me. I don’t feel like I need fixing. If I die and I go to heaven, and I have to live there blind as well I’m fine with it.
My point in all of this is if you sit around and blame others for your failures in life your going to be is herbal. You have to eventually love yourself. I had teachers who didn’t believe in me along the way, but I always did. I also didn’t go to a vary supportive place where people wanted me to succeed ask the principal who openly discriminated against me. We all have a rough time, but burning things down isn’t the answer. That doesn’t fix anything. I don’t know the answer to the why things are the way they are, but I am here to say America’s been unkind to more than just one group of people along the way. Go read about how the Japanese were treated in 1940. How about the Irish when they were coming over. For me the fact I can own my home, but struggle to pay the damn water bill or actually have access to my house payments it’s crazy. The fact 60 to 75% of blind people are unemployed, and the poverty we face. Not to mention are technology costs twice as much as yours, so were not even close to being on the same playground.
I was in a cab earlier this week as a matter of fact, and the driver said to me. You live alone? Me yes. Driver in my country blind people have to have someone guide them around from place to place. Me they don’t have canes? Driver no and in my country they don’t think blind people can function on there own. He said my cousin has a degree, but it doesn’t matter because the country doesn’t feel he can work.
My moral to this story is that while I’d love things to be perfect here, and for more people to be educated on blindness I’m able to make something of myself. I have that opportunity. It’s not perfect and never will be I can try and attempt to chase the American dream like anyone else. I got lucky and sold a show to MLB Network, and have been blessed to say the least, but every person struggles with something. The beauty of America isn’t the flaws which there have been many along the way its the ability we have here to flourish. I think with technology now we can keep a better eye to brutality. Any group of people can make excuses for wrong doing, and it’s easy to be angry, but it feels good to prove people wrong, and become something. Imagine if people saw what I see when looking at each other, and just treated each other the same we’d probably be a better world. It’s never going to be that fairy tail, so you have to hope for small progress. Maybe one day that drivers cousin will be able to get a job, or be valued as a member in society. I still struggle with feeling productive myself, so I don’t know. I just feel fortunate to be able to have the things I have, because it could be way worse. I probably solved nothing with this, but I felt like it was some sort of therapy.
My other thing is I think I am finally going to leave Facebook. It’s been a long time coming I deleted it from my phone earlier, because it just really does annoy me. I am big in to the Twitter these days. My nose is recovering from an accidental run in I had with a brick wall I had headphones on, and thought I could navigate my porch I was wrong. Again sometimes I have way to much confidence in my abilities.

Feeling faces it’s just weird

This week has been real amazing looking back. Netflix first of off put audio description up of its new series Daredevil. They also stated they will put it up for there other series as well as other things from studios. This news is so exciting, because the content was hard to get a hold of otherwise, and its nice to see blind people be able to have equal access as sighted viewers.

My post on things being not accessible seem to ruffle some feathers. KHC is going to have an audio captcha up and running next month. The water company seems willing to also make the changes.

Over the weekend I got a new application I’m playing with called periscope. Basically it allows you to record and broadcast live video which is very neat. I have really great ideas for example this weekend was thunder over Louisville and my thought was I will record thunder so people can see it the way blind people do and just point the camera towards the ground. Stay tuned I plan to do some things with it. When Jenny posed the idea of a blog video came up with it, because it could capture real life experiences, so maybe I will use it for that. I’m going to keep playing with it, and we will see.

thunder was great I spent it with some friends just talking and having a good time. I had 7 beers from 1 on, so I didn’t get to crazy. I felt it today though I’ve been pretty lethargic. Since I can’t see pictures my memories of events are what triggers me to think about someone. Ethan came down 2 years ago and it’s when I really started feeling like Louisville was my home. That was a great evening I tried bourbon for the first time and Woodford has made it in to my life now as a staple. It has to because bourban is Kentucky’s thing. I didn’t get sad, but I just smiled a lot thinking about him.

My final thought of the night is so Netflix added description to a blind superhero show what do I think of it? Honestly I felt like it was good, but a few scenes really had me feeling uncomfortable. One scene in particular delt with face feeling. I don’t know where this notion came from that blind people go around and feel everyones face and it means anything? If someone knows please fill me in. In my last job I was doing a presentation and this lady at the end asked me if I wanted to feel her face to know what she looked like? I laughed it off, but it just made me feel so awkward. If I’m with my girlfriend who is imaginary at this point, but lets pretend I had one for the sake of argument. I may caress her cheek or something. I’ll be honest one time in my youth a sighted person said to me you should ask a girl to do this so you can tell what she feels like? I did, because I felt maybe it would help me so I asked her, and fuck was that awkward. I never listened to that person again that’s for sure. Other than that scene I thought the storyline was well done it had me hooked for most of it. I’m not usually in to things like that, but I wanted to give the audio discription a shot, and wanted to support Netflix for doing so. Now Apple please just release a new Apple TV at WWDC, and everything will be great on the tv front.

Matt painter, high school and college thoughts pretty random

When I was probably four years old we went to a Purdue game where I got to go on the floor meet Jean Katie and the whole team. I remember this pretty vividly, because as I’ve commented before in my underwear basketball league I would always be Purdue and take them to the tournament. You really should’ve seen my game. Before my mom crush my dreams telling me no blind people can play in the NBA. It’s really her fault I have low self-esteem, a bit fat, and have a difficult time playing basketball today. i’m just kidding I love my mom there will be no Marshall Mathers album here. Anyway we got to the Arena around the same time Coach Katie did. I remember being on the court sitting on Craig Riley’s knee and we were just talking basketball he was my favorite. He spent probably about five minutes with me and then asked would you like to meet Matt painter? I don’t exactly know why I said the following I think he missed a shot last game that upset me. I said no he stinks, and of course being blind I didn’t realize he was right there. I may have said sucks I don’t really recall but it was one of those two words. my parents told me his face turned bright red and I’ll Riley could do was laugh. I do remember saying sorry and he gave me his autograph and I sat on his knee as well.

After the game I got to meet Coach Katie before he left and I told him I thought Bobby Knight sucked and he was the best coach in Indiana. I still stand by that. Since I’ve left Indiana I do like to see them do okay now but for a long time I really despise them. Truthfully I just love the game of basketball college that is nothing beats the competitive back-and-forth tournament game. I still remember the guy that rub me the wrong way that day was Woody Austin. I was right in front of him and rather than sign my dumb little sheet he said he had a party to get to funny the things you remember from being a kid. I went to Purdue one more game I think it watched Glenn Robinson he was another one of my favorites. I did see Riley in Fort Wayne a few years later and he remembered which I thought was cool. I’m never got to see Coach painter but if I did I would tell him I think he’s doing a great job and he learned from one of the best Bruce Webber. I would probably throwing a joke and tell him he’s a better coach than basketball player just to remember the old times but I do have a lot of respect for him. He could’ve just ignored me but instead I remember him being nice after I realized he was there.

That definitely is one thing about being blind you always have to be careful what you say because you never know who is around. That burnt me a few times. And middle school my friend Lance created this game where he would say a codeword to let me know when teachers were around if I was talking inappropriately. I am actually surprised we didn’t get into more trouble as kids. I think the blind think probably helped a few times. I had a cane that had a skinny tip on it so Lance I believe got the idea to put it in a pencil sharpener so basically the end of my cane was sharp like an arrow. and had an elastic string so we would pull it back and shoot it at the ceiling making marks in our school I wonder if they’re still there. We would also sometime shoot it across the room that thing was pretty dangerous. I was sad when I left it in a Burger King bathroom on a field trip never did get it back.

My friends always encourage me to try new things. My friend Lauren let me drive his car that was probably my first time driving. I think I was 15 and I drove it down town and my hometown. My friend Sean had a Mustang and I forget exactly why we did this but we went offroading through a field. Then of course my friend Brandon always try to get me to mow the yard for him they never let me do it fully though I think I would’ve been a great person to cut the yard of course I would have missed spots. Sometimes I get these notions to write a book and then sometimes I think my life isn’t that entertaining so it’s always a back-and-forth battle but one thing I remember admiring about my childhood versus now is the way I’ve grown with independence. When you live in the country as a blind person unless you can teleport you have to rely on someone to get you places and I was not very independent as a teenager to be honest. I was also not very good at science so teleportation was out. I remember going to Ball State with my mobility instructor it was big to me, because I had all these buildings and space but by the second day of being there or third day I made a lot of friends got lost A lot but somehow found my way I’ll never forget those days. in high school for your first year it kind of feels different because we had an upstairs I guess. It was one building though so it was completely different from college. I remember being at orientation at Ball State and I thought to myself while walking around holding onto someone’s elbow because I didn’t know my way that can I really make it here can I do this? It just all felt so big, but I did. I never share those feelings with anyone no one really cared that’s not me being cynical just truth lol.

I still feel that way like when I flew into Atlanta I sometimes get nervous about traveling somewhere new because everything is foreign. I commented last post about not wanting to walk around a lot that probably has to do with my mugging things of change for me since Ben I’m not as adventurous. I can explain to you the rush I feel when I get to the airport and we board to take off and then we get to the new place and just everything else is in the air. I’ll just put my idea here so if it gets taken I’ll sue you really I will. I always thought the greatest thing would be to have a television show where it shows blind people navigating because I think it’s fascinating. People often think I feel sorry for myself I believe or that I hate being blind. I don’t feel either one of those things I just find it fascinating that blind people fight audio signals or deny help because they want to look as independent as possible. People who can see have all the signals it’s not like they just have a greenlight they have a sign that says walk I’m surprised you don’t have someone usher you across the street by now. People complain about having to sit and 15 minutes of traffic meanwhile when we go to the grocery store it could take us up to three hours and still not get everything we need. Do you want to know my biggest annoyance? I don’t think I’ve ever talked openly about it so here it is. it’s when people offer things and don’t mean it. For example I will be somewhere and someone will say oh you could call me for a ride anytime. I’ve never relied on people that say these things because if you ask them there’s always some kind of excuse. I would rather you not even mention that if you don’t mean it. It’s not really that big of request. I don’t think me saying this probably translates properly I think it’s just you have to be blind to understand that. This blog is been interesting I’ve had people wonder why I remain or try to be independent if that’s the right thing to do all the time my notion is does it really matter? At the end of the day if I have a job if I own a house if I make all my payments or if I’m a good person or not a good person it doesn’t really matter because I’m blind. again that’s not anything about Pity it’s just being 100% honest. I struggle at times in my life because people who mean a lot to me say things that I don’t know how to interpret all the time. And college a few people would want to take me to bars because it would look good to women or maybe it might boost something going on in them. traveling around even today when I go to Atlanta or walk down main street here it’s amazing how many people don’t understand a service animal even more amazing how many people know very little about blindness. And college my friend Bryant told me something that I’ve kept with me. He call me sweetness but we’re having a conversation about how blind people or myself did something and he said that I was the first blind person he’s ever met I imagine that to be the case in most situations. I know I stand out which is nice and you can use that to your advantage definitely in certain situations but often times it’s a hindrance because people will exploit you but people also can be nice. I’ve really grown up and an interesting time where we sit with things becoming more and more speech friendly and more and more accessible. for example when I started college all of the ATM machines were pretty much unusable, but now Chase fifth third and other banks have fully functioning accessible ATM machines. Which meant or means I remember a time where either I had to remember all of the prompts to get cash out of an ATM machine or I had to trust somebody to read the screen and give me the correct amount of money which takes a lot of trust. Of course when you’re drunk and you wake up the next morning with weed in your pocket and you don’t remember how you bought it I apparently trust a lot of people. Haha. In 2004 I remember meeting a blind person who told me they just voted for the first time independently with a talking machine it’s just amazing. Tonight another dream of mine might be coming true by December 2016 I samite because I still don’t know what happens if they fail to comply the FCC didn’t tell me. however the top 10 cable companies or television providers I should say are going to be required to have a talking set box it’s about time. And smaller markets it’s December 2018. I literally went all over the place in this post. that’s why I’m great if you like sports you get a little bit of that, alcohol deathly talk on that, real-world problems I give you that it’s all here.

A childhood memory I just thought about

Maybe was my last post about things that really frustrate me, or maybe was my recent eBay search for Reggie Miller items and Careywood paraphernalia. I remember a story about collecting things. They actually had braille sports cards I only found them in football and NASCAR never baseball or basketball. I believe they were called action pack. On the front they had like a football helmet or something you could feel and then on the back it would have the players name the year position and maybe something else. I remember being a young kid and getting normal baseball cards I had booklets and I made my mom or grandma or grandpa read me the card and I would put it in a special place in the book and memorize which player was where. It was dumb but I remember spending hours flipping through the book thinking about each player when I was a kid. Of course their card didn’t really mean anything to me I just remembered which place I put them in the book. I remember getting my first Braille card it was a Thurman Thomas card I had gotten in a pack of other action-packed cards. They only had one but I thought it was neat that the top card was a braille card it would’ve been cool if all The cards had braille but I like the touch. I know it’s a little late and no one really collect cards anymore but thank you action pack for the gesture. It was a different experience knowing what card was actually what and not having to memorize everything. Alright I have to go make crab legs and California blend for dinner. Today was perfect I would’ve like to see Louisville win but otherwise going to the game with Kevin was great he had a great time and enjoyed every second.

Stevie does it why don’t you?

So I was playing my acoustic guitar tonight something that I’ve picked up in the last year and I realized that my whole life I’ve been doing the wrong thing. for the longest time I know it sounds strange but I would not play an musical instrument because that’s what blind people did. You don’t know how many times when I was a kid someone said or suggested I should play the piano or sing or rock back-and-forth because that’s what Stevie wonder does. Instead I play basketball causing one of my teeth in the front to be lower than the other tooth still today from running into a pole and a kids head in football. There is something soothing for me about playing the acoustic guitar now I just never got when I was a kid. I don’t know why I was so scared to embrace something but maybe at the time I wasn’t interested. The only thing I really picked up from a blind person was feeling a girls wrist to tell how big her boobs are like In Rey so thank you. I don’t think I’m old enough to tell if I’ll pick up a heroin habit but that seemed to plague Rey as well. I’ve gotten quite good at the game I think Ray was onto something. It’s like a lifetime ago but in college I used to impress women all the time with that I don’t know why that work but if you knew me back then I’ve settled down a little. Looking back in my life it’s amazing I didn’t die. I laugh now but that craving acceptance that I don’t think I’ll ever get nearly did kill me. Don’t get me wrong I think losing your site would be tough it definitely is the dominant sense but you guys are way too dramatic about it.

You would think because it’s so scary that eye progression would be better than it is. People would pay millions of dollars for a sliver of light and heavy treatment. I do miss things and because of my cancer the optic nerve is completely gone for me, so I’m really doubting anything in my lifetime will help me see. It’s a difficult acceptance but I also want to live and not be sheltered. I got a job in Muncie where I was comfortable, but I’ve been there a while and I want to change and to see something new so I took a job in Louisville sold a show to MLB and the rest is history. I definitely get frustrated about things for one job progression, you don’t often see blind people in management positions unless they own their own business. I could widen that to people with disabilities and it would still mean the same. Sometimes when I meet new people they act is if I have a limited cognitive ability. I don’t know where this concept comes from but it’s happened to me a few times. At the end of the day I think people just don’t know what or how to approach a blind person because let’s be honest you didn’t really learn about blind history ever. The more I sit and think and deal with some depression the more I want to help people I think I’m really going to focus on getting some job where I can assist with technology or teaching technology to individuals. Not only to teach them how to use something but to become confident and themselves. I was very fortunate I was on that without work a year and I found something a few other my friends here have gone through the same situation, but imagine if it was two years or three years? wouldn’t you eventually give up on yourself even if you had a higher education? let’s be honest is McDonald’s going to hire a blind person and then have to get the Technology in place for them to be successful? same for the 711? can it be done shirt but it would take a lot of advocating and a lot of strength.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading sorry about that shit above I don’t really know where that came from. I’ve been reading this Max to the nationals deal. I got to see him pitch a few times and Detroit he is a special player! I often said people that pay attention would deathly rank him at least in the top three the last three years. his dads have only gotten better. There are now six clients from Scott Boris on the nationals they should probably rename the team. I have to go make a few phone calls. I’m really trying to go to the All-Star game this year it’s in Cincinnati I think it would be fun. I’m going to the gun range this weekend after I take Robin for a bath so I should have a few stories on Monday stay tuned.

Miracles

I thought long and hard about the title I didn’t want to call it sports miracles because I thought that might drive some people away. I hesitated on calling miracles because it could have the same effect depending on how you feel. We going to the weekends when the Colts and Packers are playing for the right to be in the Super Bowl on a year where things have been pretty fucked up it’s very ironic for me. That was the first football game I ever got to see with Ethan a few years ago. if it happens I’ve been thinking how will I cheer for someone in that game and I probably won’t for me it will be more than a game it’ll be a memory and somewhat difficult. it’s easy to get lost in things such as cheating, abuse, rape, university is making millions off of kids, and the numerous other problems sports create. The things that always create that escape for me have been sports football not so much in the recent months when I watch the game now it’s not quite the same last weekend I washed a quarter and a half of the Packers game and then had to go watch boardwalk empire because it’s just difficult. Even though it’s been difficult there’s that aspect for me that’s weird a team in the colts that have played above expectation and a majority of people thought they wouldn’t be in the spot there in now and on the other side the Packers defense is questionable a call goes in their favor so who knows. If it is the Packers and colts I’ll have a Guinness and five beers of my choice and it will be one of those random things and something I didn’t expect.

I remember when I was a child I used to play basketball all the time. I would pretend I was Perdue and I would announce the game and be the 10 players on the court all at the same time. I had a hero named Reggie Lewis he was undersized people didn’t expect much and yet he came out and dominated. I remember when he died later in life I learned it was a Coke overdose but he was a good guy we all have demons and he did a lot for Boston they still do memorials for him there. on that date for me the NBA changed it was different and it took part of me that I’ve never really gain back.

Baseball is my overall therapy maybe because it’s relaxing, or maybe it’s because of the game I despise so long because I thought it was a sighted game. After my grandma died I saw how my grandpa would put on a game and fall asleep he seems so peaceful and happy during those times that when I finally gained appreciation for the game I understand it. This week alone I’ve been angry at two different blind issues and it’s easy to get lost in things that really don’t concern us but when you witness a miracle and sports you’ll never forget it. i’ll never forget watching Carrie would strike out 20 with my grandpa or watching Jordan play every weekend on NBC with him. Sometimes he would turn the TV sound down and I would play basketball being the Chicago Bulls playing the team they were playing. I don’t know what will happen this weekend but of the 2 underdogs dogs end up playing each other in the Super Bowl to be a little miracle for me. If they don’t it won’t be a heartbreaker but I just find it interesting. I just thought I would write a positive story so many people focus on downside of things but it gets to me. For me one thing I’ll never forget is with my dad and I went to Arizona and watch spring training together we never really done anything like that sometimes I wish we could do it more but it’s one of those trips that was just fun because it was father son and a game. Same for my trip to Green Bay over so many things about the trip as one thing I’ll never forget it was caould for October but it was brother brother and the game.

Holiday party fight it’s not worth it

So on Friday night the girl I’ve been hanging out with for a little while invited me to a holiday get together. She had some of her coworkers and friends there. I knew no one! so I found a conversation where people were talking about sports so I thought hey this will work for me. I have my in. so I made a comment and a guy said what would you know you can’t see it? now I have never really gotten into too many altercations, but I nearly punch this guy but I restrained and said go fuck yourself probably again not the best choice of words but I didn’t hit him. I think the only time I ever really gotten to a close altercation would’ve been with Lance in the seventh grade when we were teasing another kid. Anyway word got back to her what happen so on Saturday she call me after the Chapelle show. She asked me what happened so I told her my side and she said that I shouldn’t behave like that. I said well imagine if you were in a room full of guys and you made a comment and they said well you’re a woman what do you know how would you feel? that did not prove anything or explain or show her anything on how I felt. I think it may have agitated her actually. she started cussing at me and I said why are you yelling? And finally she said I don’t want to see you anymore. that my friends is why demolished a whole cheesecake on Sunday was pretty damn good.

The vacation is over sort of

When I started writing this blog I felt I could be real and speak honestly about blind issues and just life as how I see it. I believe the last several posts I really haven’t been myself. The last week or so I’ve just wanted some privacy to work on some things in my life. When you talk about stories from your past sometimes they can become haunting. Then when family members figure out your blog address it can become even worse. haha I want to dive into a topic today touched on a lot but I will make myself more vulnerable than ever and speak Freear than I’ve ever spoken about it. It’s easy for people to tell you to just move on or let it go but when it is the common perception it’s very difficult.

I remember being 13 we would go every year to the fair or two these lamb shows. You got to be around the same group of people because after all 4-H is a club. I remember even back then feeling different not quite the same as everyone else. If you will that people viewed my abilities different from others. I’ve never been able to see myself so obviously you have to have a little self-confidence I’m probably ugly as shit but I don’t know that so I try and walk around positive. I really am a half glass full thinker. I remember one day talking to a friend of mine at the fair about asking another girl out and she told me the following she said to me that she had talk to this girl and she didn’t want to date me because of how people would view her for dating someone blind. Now I know you will think that that is shallow and ridiculous but this repeated offense keeps following me around to a degree. It happens to others as well it’s something I talk about with my friends quite often. Obviously at the end of the day there’s nothing I can do but this thought process troubles me. There are people that get it but when dating your selection is narrowed quite a bit. Again I could subscribe to the thought that I’m just ugly as shit but I don’t think that’s all of it it probably contributes to 75% of my rejections but I still think there is something else. I’ve done well for myself I live alone I can support others but yet somehow I’m not that desirable to many women. I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve but again getting that first date getting to that point where they won’t even look at you as a candidate is so difficult when you can’t see. My teenage years are full of these stories and then it’s followed me into the 20s and probably the 30s until I find a girl in rehab who need someone to help her finance her habits. Alright that was a bad joke I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.

My parents always installed the belief to me that one day they will be gone so I need to be self-sufficient and take care of myself. I guess I’ve done pretty well at that. My sister lives an hour and a half away from me the only times I’ve seen her is when she comes with my parents. When I talk to my family we talked mainly about them or a little bit about work for me but no one really has any idea of how I live day today that’s one reason I thought about this blog. The last two years I haven’t been home for any major holiday I’ve hardly been home at all. I remember before I move to Louisville I was met with all this opposition like why are you going to leave Munssee your stupid you should just stay where you are. I wanted to leave and experience something different plus Muncie only really have Ball State so if you don’t work there it’s hard to find a job. When I moved I sold a show to MLB network intern with the tigers and I’m making about 15,000 more than I would’ve in Muncie. Creatively for me I needed to get somewhere new and start my adult life if that makes any sense like for me Muncey was my college life.

Going back to where I started a number coming home when you’re from college for summer break and I went to a football game at my old high school. I ran into an old friend and he asked me what I was doing so I told them I was a freshman at Ball State. He actually said the following to me really that’s amazing we thought you would just sit around and play video games the rest of your life. Again that perception that somehow were weaker or we possibly can’t make something from ourselves. I guess the thing for me is so many people that I hung around on a personal level from kindergarten expected so little from me that’s quite haunting for me. My friend Charles who moved it in the eighth grade got to know me and he never had any of these perceptions that’s what’s weird for me to understand how certain people can just get it and 99% of others can’t. Maybe because I wear my heart on my sleeve or whatever I just start to realize how fake a lot of people are or how shallow people can be. People still ask me to this day why I go to baseball games when I could just watch them on the radio excuse me listen. I’m amazed I even have to answer that question but it’s why people do anything for the experience there’s nothing like being somewhere live. Part of me wonders when people ask that is that more of a question as to why am I putting myself out in public? I was reading an article on Isaiah Austin on Thursday was a Baylor center going to the NBA draft who is blind in one eye when teams learned that he was blind in one eye is draft stock fell tremendously. He’s had a great college career and is playing through his blindness but somehow teams feel he’s less than someone with two eyes. Maybe that’s where my thought perception is these days and ultimately me being myself I can only control so much but there are a lot of people that devalue me because I have no site and that’s just the way it is.

In the past week I’ve thought a lot about do I want to continue riding in this blog and being so honest with my thoughts? It took me a while but I realized with this blog we’ve touched countries that have way worse perceptions than America about blind people. Places where blind people are denied adequate education and maybe one day one person that reads this will make a difference. Doing this mortgage has taught me a lot a lot of files are still incompatible and not working by now to me any PDF file should be readable for us but they aren’t. I’ve gotten some help signing documents as well as reading them at night since my iPhone and computer won’t. I had a brilliant idea on how to tie this altogether but I lost it so now this whole post just looks like me complaining.

I think overall right now I’m probably going through a stage of depression. This week I’ve been working my two jobs and sleeping and occasionally throwing in a little baseball. And life I think we can all make mistakes I make them on a daily basis. Where I work the two sides look identical so once in a while I’ll accidentally walked into the other side and go to sit at my desk and realized wait this isn’t my desk. Mel told me she made the same mistake once. I think as I get older that’s what I learned even though I’m blind you have to look past that and realize everyone makes mistakes. I wasn’t throwing you under the bus Mel I was actually saying here that you taught me a valuable lesson. If you toss away the things you see such as race disability what you have left is the fact that were human. We’re not really that different but because not even 1% of people are blind there’s just unawareness about it. That sometimes gets lost from my point of view since I’m blind. Being blind as a part of me it does contribute to who IM but it’s not all that IM. Some people may look at me and say why don’t you fight more for yourself or why don’t you protect yourself more but you know I get tired of doing that I get tired of fighting for rights that we should already have. Not being blind or not having a disability of any kind is easy for you because no one is telling you you can’t go somewhere because you have a service animal. You don’t get the notion to want to go somewhere but then in the back of your mind say what if I can’t get home what if I’m denied a ride? You look at my Lyft situation I reported to three different news companies and nothing is going to be done about it other than the fact I got a free ride. They aren’t going to train their drivers any better or train themselves on the law it’s just going to keep happening until more get involved. People actually told me after that happened that they didn’t realize it was a law that they have to take a service animal they cannot deny them arrive. I do think therapy dogs and things like that have to be reevaluated because people try and sneak them in the places when they are not service animals and that is blackening my situation. At the end of the day you’re not going to look through my eyes as much as I see how you get around because you don’t have to deal with it like I do. I read in the Washington Post how blind people when taking service animals and look at housing are denied or the apartment complex all the sudden doesn’t have room for them but that’s just a minor story I look at our unemployment rate again a minor story it’s just so baffling to me.

When I find someone that can look past or treat me like a normal person it’s difficult to lose that. I think everyone deserves a second chance we all make mistakes but there also has to be healing that goes along with that. I’ll just leave that thought there.