Category Archives: life

CES thoughts

I am out in Las Vegas for the 2019 CES Consumer electronic show. I am pretty people fatigued lol. Over 180 thousand people come this conference. I saw so much my brain is a bit mushy on it. If your company is making anything with a speaker on it I think you have a chance to do well.

One thing I observed on the first day was when I would ask for a card or paper the person would hand it to my coworker. I decided at that point I wanted to go around myself. I used AIRA and navigated perfectly. I’ve walked in NYC but this was awe full because people are looking at phones and shoulder to shoulder. A few times I lost my connection or the AIRA agent couldn’t see well enough to assist so I found things like an escalator or hallway. I actually met a lot of nice people doing this, but it’s always somehow focuses at first on the disability aspect. This nice man helped me around people just standing and he said my son has a disability. I honestly enjoy these moments though, because maybe for him it was eye opening that his son could be more independent or accomplish what he wants to do. I’ve said this before my parents didn’t really know anyone blind it really is a miracle they just raised me normal for the most part. I think parents try and be to protective at times and don’t let there kids experience life. My parents just let me get drug by a full grown steer. All over the yard

I met up with a friend of mine from CNET Jesica. I’ve known her for a long time from a podcast she and some other folks did. I used to tease her about Android boy did she give me some shit lol. Were going to hit up In and Out Tomorrow and say good-bye we met up last year. I told her she needs to come to a real state like Kentucky and meet Abby. I hear In and Out is incredible I’ll let you know.

Tonight I had some German food and a leader and a half of great beer. I’m doing well. I think this year I am going to learn German I need a new hobby other than headphones and cellphones so that might be one thing I try to learn. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to contact me just remember it can’t be visual.

We were out walking last night, because after CES closed it was a hour and a half wait for a cab and ride sharing wasn’t much better. We decided to walk to get out of that area. I think about this from time to time, but honestly if I don’t entertain myself life is pretty boring. For example were walking by these water falls that are timed with the music. To me the music and the water fall are both annoying as hell, because it’s disturbing my traffic listening. But then I think on it and I realize I miss that beauty of things. It can be hard I’d like to say fuck it and move forward, but so many nice things I can’t appreciate. Even something like a sunset it’s just disappointing. Not to be rude, but I lately just want 5 minutes of quiet as a sighted person you can go drive somewhere to clear out your mind I get in a damn Uber and have to make small talk. I must have a friendly face or look like a shrink or something, because these drivers tell me an entire life story when I just want to sit in silence. I’ll be fine in the long run, but I just thought I’d share those thoughts.

I am just cranky I’m sure. I miss Abby being around and even Bancroft. Haha he can’t read this just kidding buddy. I’m only sleeping about 4 hours. I’m also pretty amped up. Today I spoke to Samsung about accessibility. They were pretty impressed on my opinions and changes I had. I do love my Samsung stuff as far as replacing Apple I am about 90% happy. I wish I had a way to read PDF’S I haven’t found an accessible client yet on Android. Also doc files from Word. That is somewhat irritating, because things I could do on the phone have become a bit more challenging. Teufel noch mal. For those wondering Google says that is damn it in German see I am already learning! Christ though that’s a mouth full damn it just sounds better and quicker. I’ll get there I promise. Anyway Samsung was pretty responsive and I think the future looks bright.

Sunglasses that have speakers are becoming a thing. Bose has some I want to see, but I couldn’t find them here. I did see some from Aftershocks which are bone conducting. I said if they could stick a camera and make it work with Seeing AI my department head would be over the moon.

I saw some accessibility gadgets too. I won’t mention the company do to where I work and I don’t want to have a conflict of interest or anything, but honestly I wish people would ask someone before assuming the product they make will work. To be fair maybe I needed more time with this, but let me explain. Someone here has this computer mouse looking device that has 1 Braille cell on it. You can change it by moving the device to the right. Basically the Braille changes below your finger but you only can read one letter at a time. Now the dev of this product is I’m sure a wonderful human and I mean no disrespect when I say the following statement. When I told him I can read the Braille but by the third letter I’ve forgotten the first letter alone trying to peace together a sentence. He goes well I met a girl earlier that could do it. Well great good for her proving again I am not the smartest rooster on the farm thanks sir. He goes you just need to change the way you read. Oh really are you an educator now? How about this what if I take you to a room and hold up flash cards with one print letter on it and see if you can read what I am trying to convey to you. Every suggestion I made he’s just like no can’t do that. I suggested maybe putting 4 cells on it so at least you could have some context. My other one was instead of moving the device maybe just put a sensor on the right that would advance once you moved your finger somewhat simulating reading Braille in the first place. Let’s not listen to the blind guy me over here with sight I know more than you about that bumpy stuff you read, and I just can’t figure out why reading one letter at a time would be freaking stupid. Okay I feel better now. For the record some sighted folks do know more about Braille than me I’m sure he isn’t one of them though, but again though I am a dumb rooster.

On that note I am wrapping this up. I do have one more story when I got to the Louisville airport I used Nearby Explorer with the indoor navigation to get to my gate. Before I talk about that I was going to Southwest because for some reason no one was outside for curb pick up. I walk in and this friendly gentleman from Delta started walking with me asking where I was trying to get to. I said I am going to the Southwest counter. He says man you walk fast. I guess in his mind I’m blind so I am supposed to be slow? I just responded yes sir. I didn’t ask for you to walk along side me I don’t care, but it just strange. Anyway once I checked my bag I used Nearby to get me to the gate it was so awesome doing it independently I can’t express enough it’s just me my skills and a computer voice telling me what I pass. I just wish it were everywhere. this time I used my cane no Frazier of course like last time I had done it by myself. I did find every damn rope bar thing in the airport, but besides that it was such a great walk and experience. It just makes me proud that I know the developers and get to test this for a living. I just hope one day blind people don’t have to ask where it is available it just is. I bid you Frieden which Google tells me it means peace in German. I now know 3 words before this blog post I knew 0 so that’s a hell of a start.

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Trip to Muncie.

Last Monday I caught the bus and got off at my transfer point. I use an app on my phone that tells me when my next bus is approaching. It goes off alerting me it is 1 minute away. The bus stops but is in the street it didn’t pull all the way up to the curb. I start walking towards it to get on because I thought it was my bus. My cane went around the poll but my face didn’t. I smacked it hard and started to bleed. THis guy gets off the bus and is like are you okay? I’m saying every 4 letter word I can think of in my mind, but I reply yeah. Ending up it was the wrong bus. So I got a bloody forehead for nothing. God that hurt.

Last weekend Abby and I traveled up to Muncie it was a lot of fun. I hadn’t been back for 7 years. I was hoping to fit seeing some people in to the schedule, but we did good. Are time in Indy was so short so unfortunately I couldn’t see Monica and her family, Collin or Jonathan.

We got to Muncie on Friday and we met Carlos for lunch at Scotties. That wrap was so good. I didn’t get a beer that would have been truely nostalgic, but it was good. I told Abby about some of my adventures there. I’d meet Ethan and some guys and on pitcher night and then stumble home. Then when I got Robin I’d walk there have a beer and walk home not so tipsy. After that we took a shuttle ride to the Bell building. I saw the new accessible tech lab man it is so different from when I was there. Carlos has done a fantastic job keeping it up.

One thing I did was get the door to door service set up so we could get around cheaper and more reliably. Muncie is a small town so Uber is setup there but you may not always have one available. We rode out to the Best Western with a driver named Viola. I actually rode with her back in the day to work. She would keep dog treats for Robin and hand them to me when I’d get off so I could give her one when I wanted. Needless to say Robin adored her. Thats one thing I miss we have so many drivers here in Louisville we get to know some, but there it’s more like a family feel.

Anyway we went in to the Best Western and found the desk. The person behind though made no noise and we stood there for about 5 minutes. Abby said this isn’t good maybe no ones here. Finally the guy cleared his throat. Can you believe that shit? Seriously if we were sighted this wouldn’t happen, but my guess is he didn’t know how to deal with 2 blind people. Later Abby and I joked that blind people just walk in and hang out in hotel lobbies for the fun of it. After awkward guy checks us in I ask him what direction is the room? He fucking points and says it’s that way. I say to the right? No it’s that way. Finally I just start moving. We walked through a door and I guess he finally maybe understood we couldn’t see and he met us and showed us where the room door was. You just never know what your going to encounter. The hotel though was easy to navigate and I found the pool hot tub, and vending machines all with ease. I used AIRA to learn what was in the soda ones, so that was cool.

For dinner we went out and celebrated my long time friend Phils birthday at Red Lobster. I saw some folks I hadn’t seen in years and one in particular made me laugh. This lady named D is visually impaired so she can see a bit. I said hi D and she sort of hesitated so I knew she didn’t recognize me. I said it’s Joe. She says Oh my gosh I didn’t know you since you put on so much weight. Lol when you can’t see yourself people calling you a fat ass makes you feel good.

After Red Lobster the driver Steve said he enjoyed me and Denny going back and forth. He took us back to the hotel and said he could come get us in 40 minutes saving us a cab to Denny’s. Again that small town kindness was just so nice. We went back out and hung out with Denny for a bit. Our first night went well.

Saturday we went to Dina’s Christmas party. I have so many memories over the years of this. So back in the day this event was my first gathering of mainly blind folks. Maybe at a later time I will talk more in detail about this, but being around folks that are going through the same struggles is comforting. Over the years it’s become like a family event. I also got to see Sue and M’lee Sue’s daughter. M’lee I forgot to mention this to her the fact she has an ‘ in her name just rules. Anyway the party was lots of fun and I really enjoyed seeing everyone.

Alright now to the fun part. After the party I asked some folks to come over and we would just hang out and drink some wine. Phil, Dina, Steve, Sue, Carlos, and Denny all coame over and man it was a blast. Carlos brought 12 beers honestly I thought to myself no way were drinking all of those. He got me some Gumb Ball head from 3 Floyds oh my gosh so good. Needless to say we finished them all. I was bar tender. Abby, Phil Dina, Steve, and Sue had wine. I thought we may get in to trouble for being loud, but no one said anything. I know I don’t see those folks much, but I love seeing them and being able to tell old stories as well as new ones. I love them al, and it was a great trip.

It’s funny since the anniversary of Robin’s passing in my head I try and go over old memories and being back in Muncie brought up a lot. I’d say Robin not only increased my independence and made me more confident, but she provided stability and made me grow up. It’s like when you have a kid you can still drink and probably more, but your responsible for something else. Robin helped me realize that and made me grow up. I wanted to make the Seeing-Eye proud and wanted to have her on display working and doing a great job.

Carlos and Kelly took Abby and I downtown after we had some breakfast of course and we caught the Gray Hound home. It was great seeing Kelly I wish she could have come to the hotel also. Abby and I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed sharing that part of my life with her. We plan to go back again it won’t be 7 years. Abby and I are wanting to go to Portland Maine next summer. Some of that depends on when I get my new dog, but we really want to explore and see some places we haven’t been to. Plus I want some fresh Lobster. Anyway happy holidays to y’all.

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

You’re blind so don’t you know this blind guy met 10 years ago his name is Bill from Little Rock?

I wonder why some times during school or when I was a child people kept me away from certain paths? For example shop class my teacher never taught me how to measure or hammer a nail. Is it because I was blind and no one thought a blind person could do these things? It’s funny I used to go out to the barn with my grandpa Hoyier and just hammer nails in to boards and make shapes or just mess around. I enjoyed this, but in school my shop teacher let me stand around with my thumb in in my butt basically. Never even thinking of reaching out for a Braille tape measure or talking one. Maybe I’d be good at that, but since I wasn’t ever taught the skill set I can never flourish. Maybe I wouldn’t have been good enough to make it a career, but at least I could fix something if it broke.

I contemplate this on the eve of selling my house. I will miss that place. My last days with Robin were there my first days with Abby were there. Yet when going to sign today I felt awkward in a room full of strange sighted people. The lawyer a smart woman who I thought was maybe the best reader of legal documents I’ve met asked if my dog would help me sign the documents? She wasn’t kidding I explained just put my finger where you want me to sign, and I will do the rest. After about 23 signs the deal was done and my old Kentucky home was sold. I then came back to my new Kentucky home and wondered why at 32 I still feel awkward in a room of sighted people? Why do I feel dumb when I shouldn’t? Why do I feel people try and talk for me when I am right there? Oh wait they try and sometimes do.

Maybe an article I read about how even though in the world it’s the best time to be blind still only 30% of us are working. I’m no better than any other blind person I’ve just been lucky. I know the struggle of applying for a year after college and hearing nothing. Going on interviews where they talk about the dog and hardly about any of my accomplishments. When will this end? When will sighted folks see the value in what blind people could contribute? The scary part is Tomorrow I could be back in the same boat as the other 70% which makes it hard to relax.

Why as kids can’t we learn to fail at something? I think one thing that made me successful is my parents let me fail. However teachers didn’t for the most part. By all means I am not blaming anyone in particular, but let that blind person hammer maybe he or she will hit there fingers with a hammer, but they will learn. We try as a society to think of things a blind individual might be good at rather than let that blind individual maybe experiment and do something outside the box. Why is it we have the most technology possible, but 70% of us still can’t find work?

People find it amazing I can move from point a to point b. In Germany blind people for the most part still have sighted guides and aren’t given the freedom to do the things we do. Most countries are miles behind us here in America yet over half of us can’t find work. I also wonder why those blind people in other countries aren’t able to break away from the notion they need a sighted person to navigate?

I’m interested what traveling will be like in Germany. I wonder if people will look at me funny as I move around with my cane? So many people tell me they’ve never met a blind person and so many have questions. Why is the only blind person we meet or know about Hellen Keller? Braille is hardly mentioned in school no wonder people have no idea.

My friend Joe took a Lyft tonight and the driver was asking him how can you be married to someone? How would you know if they’re sexy? This was asked by a 62 year old woman who was a airline worker. I am sure she saw some blind people in her time one would think. She also asked him if he knew Bill from Little Rock who is blind that she had met 12 years ago? I guess were all supposed to know each other. Anyway I will go now just thought I would write this.

Maybe one day I can walk in a room with sighted folks and not have to talk about the dog or come up with some amazing blind fact about myself. Maybe I can just maybe be me and you can see that and be okay with it.