Tag Archives: life

Update plus Google vs Alexa

My new job is going well! I get to play with technology, see some cool new things, and look for issues within the software, so really how can it get any better? I still think about Robin every day she crosses my mind. I imagine it’s like a parent losing a kid. I’ve never gone through that, but we were with each other so much I have this void. Even if I get a new dog I’ll miss her the new dog will be fine, and it will do great things, but there not replaceable. I went to a new shopping center over the weekend, and people really do not respond to a cane. I said sir excuse me could you help me or ma’am can I ask you a question? No one responded. Abby and I went to Kroger both with canes since Bancroft her dog, and my boy was getting a bath. We walked in, and got to the pharmacy ourselves with no one really taking notice of us. Finally, a person saw us and came over. Why Kroger do you guys put your customer service counters in weird places that have no cues for blind people to find you? Do you do this on purpose? Lol
 
My friend let me borrow his Google Home, so I thought I’d talk about what I like and dislike as well as compare it to the Echo. I think the Google Home is a solid product. It’s presentation as far as skill quality in my opinion dominates Alexa. For example, if you ask Google to flip a coin you hear a coin flip. If you ask Alexa to flip a coin she just gives you the result.
 
The Google Home just recently received IHeart radio as an option putting it on the same level as Alexa. They both have Tunein as well. I think purely on asking a device to play radio stations Alexa is dominating. I would ask Google Home to play WULF, and it could never get it. Alexa on the other hand got it every time. You can also ask Alexa to play local stations for example play 94.3 and she does it. It was hit and miss on the Google Home. Asking it to play 94.3 gave me a Spanish station from California.
 
Google home wins on directions as expected. Any place of business I asked it Google found it. Alexa wasn’t bad, but she would miss a few times. I asked Alexa once the address for Coals Artisan Pizza, and it gave me the address for the department store. Lol
 
One place where Alexa does beat Google in surprisingly is the calendar. Hello Google you control Google calendar right? At this time Google Home cannot add events or I cannot get it to read my calendar events even though it says it’s supposed too. Alexa on the other hand adds events tells me about my day, with no problem. This test shocked me.
 
Sports they’re about even. Both really don’t know a lot. I thought Google would be better, and I guess if I had to choose I’d pick Google, but both have a lot to learn here. Siri is really good with sports knowledge. For example, I will wait go ask your IPhone or Siri device who was on the 1975 Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team. It will give you the answer. Now ask the google home who plays on the team from this year, and it can’t help you neither can Alexa. Both do good with finding out a particular score.
 
As far as setting timers and alarms both do well, but I do like Google Home a bit more. Main reason is I can set two or more timers. For example, I can set one timer and call it kitchen, and then another timer for soaking my foot. With the Echo you only get one timer option. Alarms work the same. I was surprised however to find that the Google Home didn’t have a sleep timer. One feature I use constantly with Alexa is go to sleep in 2 hours. Google really needs to add this feature.
 
As far as actions go Alexa has so many. Google has some, and they do feel maybe more professional, but honestly there is just so few it’s hard to tell. One I love though is Weather Sky. This action allows you to get forecasts in great detail. Also you can ask it what was the forecast for Louisville KY on March 11, 1993, and you’ll hear the details for that day. I’ve looked for a skill like this for a long time. It’s amazing! To be fair to the Home Google has only been taking action submissions since December. Alexa has had 2 years. Amazon though seems to be working with a lot of top companies, and I haven’t heard much from Google. I love the MLB audio skill Alexa has I will be using that so much this year.
 
One thing I do like I wish Amazon would do with alexa is I do enjoy the casting ability. For example, I listen to a lot of podcasts, so if I’m in the middle of one when I get home I can cast it to the Google home, and continue where I was on my phone. On Alexa there really is no way to do this other than Bluetooth. I don’t mind Bluetooth, but Casting is just easier.
 
Amazon also has the advantage of getting Alexa in to so many devices. My baby got me a Fabriq speaker that has Alexa in it. They also have the Tap and Dot. Alexa this year will be coming to cars, lamps, clocks, and a lot more. Google is trying to figure out how to put their own assistant on all android devices still. Lol Let that sink in. Probabilities are that even if they do release it if you have an Android phone your carrier won’t let you get it. Okay I will stop bashing Google now, but seriously? It will take them a while to get this done I’m still not sure what it will look like. For example, we have a Pixel at work I’ve played with, and the assistant is on there, but you can’t play trivia on it like you can on the Home. I’m not really understanding what the differences are between Home and the Pixel’s assistant, because they say it’s supposed to be the same, but it isn’t. Long story short Amazon is getting Alexa everywhere true Google has the advantage of having so much market share on devices, but if you really don’t control how many devices will get the upgrades it will stunt growth for a while.
 
Amazon also really does a good job with their services. I signed up for Amazon unlimited music even though I’m an Apple guy normally. How can you beat $70 a year? Google really doesn’t offer me much on the Home besides Pandora which Alexa has also. The YouTube casting is a joke, because you have to sign up for YouTube red to do it. Also can Google make their subscriptions any more confusing? I mean I did a trial until July, but I think with a subscription I can get Google Play music as well? I don’t know then on YouTube red you still can’t cast just any old YouTube video. It’s annoying, and way more frustrating than its worth. Amazon has a much easier and less complex system. I really wish Google would improve on this either open up YouTube Red to everything on YouTube, or something I’m not really seeing the point to using it with the Home.
 
If I had to pick one at this point, I would choose Alexa. I think Amazon does a great job getting you in their ecosystem it’s also not so confusing. I also think Alexa just understands radio call letters better, and deals with media better. I do really enjoy Googles production, and it’s way more cheerful. Over time I don’t know which one will win, or if there even will be a winner, but for now it’s Alexa. If you can get a Google Home I would say get one also, because asking it to play different animal sounds is fun. I heard a Buffalo man I would not want to run in to a herd of those on the Prairie. Alexa is easier to say consistently. 

 

Happy birthday Robin!

I will eventually get to a Robin story, but I have to take care of something personal first. Last post I commented about Dave and a discussion we were having in a Facebook post. Imagine my surprise when I found out he blocked me. haha Well that’s okay, so I figured I would just say my peace here.
When I started at college at Ball State in 2004 I had a mobility instructor who would come sit beside me show me a braille map, and then when I’d walk it and get off track would get mad at me. Seeing a braille map can help, but I’ve found for me the best way to learn something is to just walk it. With a cane there are so many variables you just don’t know what you’re going to find when doing it in reality. I fired him, because his lessons weren’t helping me learn the campus. I went out and found another person named Dave who came in we walked the campus twice, and I felt so confident. Along the way we became associates when I worked my first job we needed a mobility instructor he worked when I needed and it all most cost me my job. I stuck by him though, because he got things done. When I was thinking about moving to Detroit to work for the radio station he called me and said you might want to think twice about it with the current state in which Detroit finds itself. I took that in to advisement. Fast forward to last weekend when he commented on a Facebook status saying I was irresponsible and it was dangerous for me to take Robin to a ball game. Which by the way I’ve taken her to more games then I can count. Baseball was supporting me for a point or at least helping. It just floors me that he is going to call me taking my dog to a game irrisponsible. All the things I have heard about him over the years I dismissed and never judged, but seriously? He helps blind people learn how to navigate for a living then posts feel good moments and how it helps him repent something. I’m glad your job helps you sleep better at night Dave, but blind people are people, and it’s amazing to me after all the ones you help you can’t seem to figure out some have lives and aren’t needing you to self loth. Am I a better person because you helped me become a great traveler and helped me to believe in myself yes, but to call me irresponsible for a sighted person stepping on my dog out in the open is a bit ridiculous.
With a cane some days I would just shut down. It took so much concentration to navigate I hated it. Rather than go out and do something I would just stay in my room, because it was easier. Carlos was the first person I met with a dog, and I saw how he was able to navigate so freely and I felt the dog made him better. I do not know if that’s how he’d feel but observing it it’s how I saw it. In college had I just got a dog it wouldn’t have went well. I needed to mature, and get the young things out of me. Like drinking obsessively and passing out in yards mainly. When I got Robin I decided to make that change I’m going to start living more responsibly. I commented last post I’m scared to think about retiring Robin, because if I give her to someone else maybe they’ll let her off leash and not watch her and she’ll get hit by a car. Sighted people especially Pita supporters or as I call them hypocrites would argue a blind person can’t take care of a dog after all how can they spot the blood in there urine? I think Robin and I do just fine, and I am tuned in to her because were constantly with each other. When your blind everyone has these great ideas on how we should live or what we can or can’t do, but in reality your not living the way we are so just stop.
Dave’s suggestions were I should leave Robin at a hotel or a friends. If I had to leave her at a friends overtime I wanted to do something what would be the point of having a dog? I’m not trying to hide from society because I have nothing to hide. I want to go out and let people see a blind person and his dog navigating alone or being successful because that’s how things change and progress. At the Reds game 3 people that sat by us as I was leaving shook my hand and said they enjoyed my commentary on the game. Would they have approached me if I were sighted I don’t know. One guy was a Jehovah witness, and di the religious thing, but what he said didn’t bother me. He said last week every Jehovah witness learned about some blind person. Sorry I kind of blocked him out as he was telling me the story, but what I took from it was everyone was learning about someone blind. In public school my classmates knew me obviously, but its not like we learned about any blind people or what they could do.
On Robins birthday it’s hard to exactly state my feelings on her. Along the way I’ve faced different emotions. I get annoyed when I meet people in the elevator at work and their responses I bet she does a lot for you? Yes I guess she does, but they mean it in a way of I can’t feed myself or something or I couldn’t possibly exist without her. That’s the way I take it anyway. The best quote I found is a guide dog is like the ship and the handler is like the captain. If the ship had no captain it would just float around aimlessly. I’m going to Toronto this weekend, and with Robin I will do better than with out her. She makes it easy for me to travel, and feel sighted for the first time. When I got lost in Phoenix last year that might have been the most scared I’ve been, but I was lost with Robin and that made me feel a bit better. It didn’t help when people didn’t know english kept passing me, but we eventually got on track. The scariest part definitely for me was when I got mugged and when I woke up on the ground and Robins leash wasn’t on my hand. I remember being real frantic wondering where she was. When she came over to me and licked my hand it took the weight off my shoulders. I can lose my phone and wallet, but she isn’t replaceable. I will get another dog eventually and it will be good, but she’s my first and took me through a lot of hurtles in life.
After college being unemployed for a year through break ups where I wasn’t sure how I was going to get over that person. She’s always been there wagging her tail in the morning wanting me to take her out. I do think having her does help people connect with me easier in that it gives people the ability to say something. At the end of the day I have a lot of getting out to do, because most people don’t encounter blind people much. Happy birthday Robin, and thank you for making my life easier and more complete. I’m sure when I have dog number 2 she’ll probably look down and think damn he didn’t let me get away with that. When I first got her I never broke in of the rules as she has gotten older I’ve relaxed a little maybe at times to much. haha I think it’s like being a parent you have to find that balance and figure out what’s right and wrong.

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. 

Thank you to the Seeing Eye and an epic sports rant an update from my relationship

I got Robin from the Seeing Eye in 2008 July to be exact. I keep up with things time to time by reading friends Facebook statuses or seeing Twitter posts about the organization. I admit it’s been probably five years too long since I’ve made a donation, I don’t know why I guess life just gets in the way or things get busy. I’m very grateful for the experience and the freedom that it’s given me, but I mainly focus on technology and reality of where blind people actually are. Since I’ve gotten Robin and started this blog I’ve pretty much pulled no punches that traveling with a guy dog can sometimes be difficult because no one is holding companies accountable for actual loss. 98% of the time everything is fine it’s just that 2% that really frustrates me. You’re constantly in advocate which is fine I like to keep on people. Other than the transportation companies I’ve talked about Louisville has been fine, Muncie was fine, but when I’ve traveled to Arizona when I go home people follow you around stores it’s very interesting at times. This all being said I joined a Facebook Group recently related to the Seeing Eye. A question was raised from a person that made me interested for retraining someone said they were only staying for two weeks, so I asked if this was new practice because it used to be 2 1/2 weeks? One of the administrators pointed me to a conference call saying listen to this and you’ll have your answer. Now again I’m not being ungrateful when I say this, but I have far more better things to do than to listen to some stupid conference call that doesn’t really relate to me in anyway and why would I seek that out? I maybe that was a little harsh I’m in a bad mood from watching the Arizona game yesterday. I figured there was something completely astonishing that comes out it will make the rounds and I’ll hear about it otherwise I don’t seek out conference calls from any organization not just the Seeing Eye. I just thought the response was a little weird, but maybe I should just follow things better than I do. There’s a lot of people that talk shit about which school is better for getting service animals it happens on all sides even the people from the Seeing Eye get blamed more but I just stay out of all of that I don’t care. It was the first however so I will say that. Haha that actually is one of the reasons I chose it. Not to mention I had seen a lot of successful cases around me at the time from people who graduated from there. There are other good schools but I’ll continue to go to the Seeing Eye. I was telling my friends Jerry and Lee that I feel a little bad from time to time and I don’t know if I’ll get a second dog, because I don’t take Robin on 4 mile walks which seems to be the normal from the lists I read. Maybe is just being from the country, but if I don’t have a purpose or destination I don’t just go. When I was discovering GPS like playing with different units and things I would just go discover roads and I might do that here in the spring since I moved to my new neighborhood but it’s hard just to go out and walk for no reason at all. I mean this week for example we had wind chills in the negatives why take my dog out and make her freeze just so she can walk 4 miles? I don’t understand that philosophy. Then again maybe that’s why I’m a little fat. See I see things from all angles or least try to. Robin I travel a lot together and were at work a lot but when I get home I honestly don’t feel like walking around tons. I don’t know if that’s normal and I’m not sure if it’s fair to get another dog where people are putting a lot of money into for me to do so. There are these types of people that have to know everything about something if that makes sense maybe that’s what I’m seeing on the list I just don’t get that involved.

Robins been with me for seven years now going on seven I guess this year. There’ve been things in life that definitely make us closer at times whether it be moving somewhere new, someone dying, traveling, and just a whole bunch of other things. When I first got Robin I would come home we would play and then she would go to her room and do her thing and I would be in another room doing my thing but now she’s always usually in the room with me. Once in a while if I making a lot of noise or annoying her I guess she’ll go lay in my room but if I sneeze or get up and go somewhere else she usually comes running. I think I’ve always been close to her but definitely moving to Louisville submitted that because she was something that came with me if that makes sense. I’m kind of weird so maybe that’s why I struggle with relationships but I never really talk to her much or I didn’t used to because some people carry-on full on conversations with their dogs and that’s kind of weird to me. In the past I only talk to her when I needed her to do something or if I was congratulating her on something or we were playing. Some handlers really go on and on with their dogs. when Robin and I are working together I say good job tell her her direction, and that’s about it mainly because I don’t want to be distracting. My thought is if I’m dating somebody or in a relationship does my partner want to hear me say everything that’s on my mind or constantly hear my voice? Let me rephrase that so say your partner is reading and you come home and they’re really interested in what they’re doing if you keep talking to them throwing them off you’re going to get vague answers that’s how I feel it would be with the dog because they’re supposed to be watching out for you and being your eyes so why when I walk down the street constantly singing or doing something with my voice to be distracting. rereading that May have been a question but this isn’t your best grammar blog.

As I was saying I’m not the best with relationships. I honestly do try, but maybe it’s my communication skills maybe I just like batty people. here is my side of what is going on in my life. Soap for Valentine’s Day I met my friend Kevin and Lexington and went to the game which is all known to my friend Taylor. We went out to eat the week before and I know she doesn’t like to go out on the actual day because of crowds. I told her my plans because Kevin hasn’t had Valentine’s Day plans for a few years now and she seemed fine. We even made plans when I got back for me to make crab legs and some vegetables and watch a movie. So let’s go to the actual day of Valentines. I get a text message during the Game asking where are you? I responded I’m in Lexington. She then started texting me crazy things like I thought we’re supposed to hang out together today and it’s Valentine’s Day why would you be gone and then she threw in the dagger sports are more important to you than me. Alright therapy time I will admit something here that I don’t know that I’ve said very many other places. In the right situation I could walk away from any sport even baseball, but if someone cared enough about me they wouldn’t make me choose. Anyway she told me that she was going to her house and to forget any plans we have for the day. I couldn’t really call her then there were too many people around too noisy. I’ve sent her a few text messages since then with no response so I don’t know really what’s going on. Apparently though I miss something like a sign men do that we just drive around until we find it. We actually did speak yesterday for the first time. That’s just weird for me and my relationships is it seems that if something occurs the women I like don’t want to talk about it but rather space themselves from the situation or we completely break it off. It’s an observation I’ve made along the way. apparently she wanted to just lay on the couch and watch movies all day and rather than do that I went to a basketball game which created this how I’ve been living in for two weeks. I asked her why she didn’t just say that? Her response was one that just drives me nuts about people she said you should’ve just figured it out. I was in shock I told her the story about how my friend survived cancer how is going to be with him we were going to make something special happened on Valentine’s Day for the both of us we celebrate our Valentine’s Day we Carly and I’m just supposed to know you want to lay on the couch all day and watch movies? You could’ve worked that in somewhere.

Between that situation and not following organizations correctly I’m having a rough morning. Not to mention how irritated I am with Arizona fans. Actually just make that sports fans in general saying Kentucky’s one and done situation isn’t fair. Really? Don’t the rules encourage that? are they cheating? If you’re so mad at the rule why doesn’t it change and be more like the NFL? you shouldn’t be mad at Kentucky or the way they operate rather than you should be mad at the NCAA for their dumb rule change. actually you should also factor in the NBA because I think they’re the ones who really made that change. As a fan I don’t like the real personally myself but I’m not going to sit on sports radio and I wouldn’t be a sports radio host and allow people to come on the airwaves and say that Kentucky cheats how does a cheat? Because they enforce a rule that is already a rule? I’m sorry Indiana fans, Purdue fans, Wisconsin fans, Ohio State fans, and any other team that sits in denial that they’re going to take for year kids and eventually make a team. You have this archaic notion the Big Ten is tossing out about making freshman teams. Sports in general already don’t make much money besides basketball and football every other sport pretty much is a losing entity, so you’re going to make the system bogged down by adding freshman basketball? What is that proving? Can you imagine if Anthony Davis for example had to play on the freshman team? The big 10 in my opinion might be the best basketball conference in the United States, but to think like that is just so backwards. I guess Kentucky and Louisville winning the tournament the last few years has made the Big Ten hungry. how Ohio State forgets the year they had Michael Conley and Greg Oden who reportedly did not go to class at all funny isn’t it? I guess since they didn’t have the success Kentucky has with the system things have to change. Maybe before you start hating on a guy or saying a program is it legit maybe you should look at the overall system and see how it’s failing. The real joke is that you watch these major sports and think a kid has to graduate college that’s not really the intent I don’t care who or what the propaganda tells you anyone who’s playing basketball or football that has a shot for the pros is going to go to the pros only a select few actually care about the education. I love those commercials of course if you’re on the swimming team you’re going to graduate they’re not throwing $40 million at swimmers unless your name is Phelps. A basketball team has what 13 players? Even at that how many players are in the NBA so if you have a talent of a Bryant or James or Wade you’re going to go where the money is and of story. Colleges mask the sports programs as a good deed let’s face it all it is is a free training process for the majors while the universities make millions and the student athletes may Jason education. look at the video game market they were selling video games where colleges we’re getting paid the NCAA was getting paid but the player got nothing until a lawsuit which still the players who were in the game probably won’t get anything. Lol and I love college basketball but you just have to look at the facts the one and done rule doesn’t benefit anyone except for a coach who is smart enough to take advantage of the system that’s it and I’m not hating nor should you. All this talk about where a team ranks against a team from the 70s it’s just boring talk to me things change in the 70s they didn’t have a shot clock how can you compare a team back in the four corners offense days to a team now it just doesn’t make any sense.

If you can or if you would like please go to http://www.seeingeye.org and make a donation it is a great cause and I thank them dearly for what they’ve given me.

Valentines day early

On Saturday Taylor and I decided to celebrate Valentines a little early. I did that because she hates crowds for one and it just felt like a great weekend to celebrate. I really don’t know why I plan anything anymore, because those plans get aborted but I’ll explain the evening. I got reservations for us at bonefish she showed up at my house and we went out to eat. While she was here she gave me a braille card which I thought was a nice touch. It was actually a birthday card but she said she couldn’t find a braille Valentines so she went with that. I got her some of her favorite candy and some of those Sherry berries. i’ve been listening to Czabe A lot lately and he was advertising them so I took the plunge and oh Jesus are they good.

At dinner we talked a lot, laughed and just had a good time. I was able to open up to her a lot about feelings I haven’t shared with many people. Tomorrow if I feel up to it I’m going to write a post that I hope blind people don’t find offensive but it honestly is a conversation we have to have. I find myself being angry and emotionally different right now I literally go through a whirlwind of emotions weekly. it’s difficult to describe I just wish I could change things that I’ve done that I didn’t do I don’t know. Anyway getting back on point because I don’t want to write 10 pages I want to go to bed. Taylor and I have this relationship where things are so easy for me to communicate. We talk a lot about each other’s faults and strengths and she’s been there for me the last few months when things have been pretty grim. i’ve got a few calls about getting back into writing but I just haven’t really felt like being funny or like it matters. that’s just me being honest.

Anyway it was such a beautiful night that rather than go sit inside Taylor’s very spontaneous kind of like myself so we took a drive and ended up in West Virginia. One thing that’s really starting to bother me as I get older is I tend to get bored with being in one place too long. When I was traveling hard with radio and sports not only was it fun for me being blind I really got to experience new senses. When you wake up in the same place go to sleep in the same place and nothing really changes it’s very dull. what I mean is I can’t really see the sunset or the sunrise some of that real beauty in the world gets lost. When I was a kid when we would travel I would listen to the radio and every city we were and it was different. now Louisville has the same stations as Fort Wayne or Indianapolis feels like Denver if you go by radio. I remember taking a trip during the summer when we drove around Kentucky and I felt sadness for the first time because of what I couldn’t see. i’ve never had depression like that so it was strange. When Taylor and I were driving to West Virginia she described a lot of the scenery which was cool a lot of people don’t take the time I enjoyed that even if some of it was hard for me to understand or picture.

I don’t know if Taylor and I will date because of our past. It’s hard for me to open up myself again for the second time to someone. I’m kind of ashamed but I’ve never had a date or girlfriend on Valentine’s Day when Taylor and I dated a year ago I believe she was my first actual Valentine. I know I should’ve Brian Williams that made it bigger than it actually is. Hahaha this post is been pretty heavy that made me laugh. We have some champagne at the hotel and she actually brought up the fact she was happy to be my only Valentine. Usually in life I’m the fast one I’ve arty one Belmont and we haven’t even ran the Kentucky derby yet. I’m just taking one day at a time but it was a pretty special evening.

My conversation with the guy from Ethiopia

Yesterday we got stuck in traffic it was probably the worst well not as bad as holiday traffic but we had a pretty decent amount of time to Converse. My cabdriver was from Ethiopia, so I decided to ask him a few questions. I kind of got into interview mode it seem like a few times during our conversation and I felt a little bad because maybe I pressed him too much. I thought the conversation was great though and I enjoyed it because until you ask you never really know something. I will put some of the highlights in here and what we talked about it was literally a 20 minute to 30 minute cab ride which was not normal, but I enjoyed every minute of this one.

One thing I did on New Year’s eve since I was sick is I started browsing around other countries radio stations. It just so happened I listen to a station out of Ethiopia so I told him about it and started asking him about his former country. He moved here 10 years ago he was a lawyer. He told me that lawyers are not respected as much they don’t have as much money as they do here. I asked him about degrees he told me there you take courses and then learn from under studying. He said their mud hinders your travel like snow would hear. He was telling me that most roads are not paved just recently the capital city got paved roads so it used to take you 12 hours from his house has been cut down to about four he said. I’ve then started asking him about pets he said dogs are used more for guard or protection then a member of the family. He told me he grew up Muslim and then converted to Christianity later in life more on that in a second. When he told me this I then had to ask him the Muslim stance on dogs? I’ve had tons of trouble in my life with Muslim cabdrivers for whatever reason I know it something about their religious views so I had to ask and finally know. I probably could have just googled that but fuck it I had someone real. He told me that Muslims think dogs are dirty they can’t touch a dog but then they have to wash their hands. So I asked him if they would have a dog as a pet and he told me that they would more than likely use it for guard. I don’t really know what to think because he told me that they can actually interact with them, so I’m not exactly sure why they’re denying me cab rides or try to. Maybe his stance was different obviously but I just find it interesting.

We started talking about Muslim versus Christianity, because I asked him if that cause separation and his country? I wanted to gauge how they viewed religion if that makes sense? He told me he grew up Muslim as I said earlier he met some friends that I converted to Christianity and he started going to church openly but then some of his relatives were uncomfortable with that so he started hiding it. He said his family knows but it’s something they don’t often talk about. I told him that I had met a blind person from Africa and they told me that Braille was very hard to obtain and they’re often viewed as not being able to do anything. Most blind people there can’t read or write because they don’t have the materials and probably because the society is such that they don’t think they can. Once I got home I felt very complex it’s interesting how life works sometimes we take things for granted and his country he was a lawyer but here he drives a cab but as he told me he has way more access to things here then there. In America blind people are still limited but doing something isn’t unreachable. With the termination, work, and a hell of a lot of luck the college education you obtain you may be paid fairly for. I’ve been very fortunate some blind people or at least around 70% of us can’t find work still. That will be a different post for a different day, but it definitely got me thinking I really enjoyed the conversation. I was also happy not to have to listen to NPR I don’t mind it sometimes but that shit can really get on my nerves.

My friend Whitney wants told me that I can get along with anyone that’s probably true. I don’t fit in with just one type of person I never have. I can get along with just about anyone mainly because I find things interesting. The thing about people is that we all have a story to tell some more interesting than others but that’s what makes life wonderful. okay that ending is a little week but I’ve had about five hours asleep sorry. I was up most the night listening to sports radio I also listen to an archive baseball game from 2012 between the Diamondbacks and Pirates. i’m going to write Tim Cook a letter soon I will post it here. Few days ago I tweeted Sonos asking them to make the Mac application more voiceover friendly because right now it’s unusable. they responded saying they knew and it would be fixed in a later release that is so neat that we live in a world where I can contact the developer I get an answer from them in a few hours of course could be lying to me but only time will tell. It is amazing to me to see all of these mainstream companies working with applications and making them accessible. There are certain places I would like to see it more such as the television, or even on mainstream appliances like a washer and dryer. Apple was really the first company to take mainstream technology to a new level. Back in the 80s when they released the first ever text to speech and then into thousand nine when they put voiceover on the iPhone three GS.

Year in review

Every entertainment source has one of these at the end of the year, so I figured I’d do one as well. This is my year in review. I started this blog in March, and it’s been doing good numbers. Even when I don’t update frequently people stumble upon it. I don’t know how much good it’s doing, but maybe for what it’s worth it will help someone, or it provides you a laugh. This year has been tough. I went from being real up in the beginning to probably the lowest I’ve been in a long time with the loss of a friend. This weekend I plan on doing some shopping I got robin’s Christmas gift in mind I just have to go buy it I’m getting her a pig, because the one she has is getting torn up. She loves it, a lot of times at night I will reach down on the ground and she is lying below me with the pig between her paws. She has been more destructive with her toys lately, but maybe it’s because I’m home more. I’m also going to Dave Chappelle Saturday night, so that should be a fun time.

In January I was working with a radio company as a consultant working with shows that were struggling for ratings. I loved it, and did well with show out of Nashville. It wasn’t what I pictured myself doing, but I really enjoyed it. I got fired in March, well more like I quit and was fired. We just had a difference of opinion.

In March I went out to Phoenix for a television job with the Backs. I didn’t get it, but loved the opportunity. If I ever retire Arizona will be where I head. I got lost by taking the wrong bus, but with GPS I found my way. I just kept singing amazing grace you know that part where they say I was lost but now I’m found. Gaps have come so far in my lifetime it really is an amazing tool. Plus it’s easy to be lost when it’s 90 not so much when it’s 30 like today.

In May I went to New York and sat in during the O&A show at Sirius. This was an amazing experience. Those guys are great, and after hating them for years they’ve helped me through some tough times. I saw the empire state building, and went to Philadelphia to watch horse racing and see my first Phillies game. That was a great trip. I also got to see Niels house out in Philly I miss him here, but glad he is doing well. I thought I had found a great girlfriend, but oh boy did that go downhill quickly. I also enjoyed traveling on the east coast; besides the traffic it’s pretty nice.

In August I was homeless for 3 weeks. That was a weird experience. I will say this never try and beat the system. I tried to save money and lost. Thankfully Natalie, Jerry, and Lee hooked me up with places to stay. I’m glad to be in my house now. Robin is happy to have a routine and her toys again I think she was confused for that time period. She still had me though and was a good sport. That dog has seen so much since I’ve gotten her. I miss Lee’s cooking though.

In September I moved in to my house the first I believe. I’ve enjoyed every second of it. It’s true I’m becoming quite the handyman. It gives you pride to take care of something, and make it your own.

In September the news of Ethan’s suicide changed me. For the first week after I just listened to books everything else just seemed irrelevant. I regretted not calling him the Friday before or even that morning. I was struggling with a depression of my own, and kept to myself. It’s not that I feel I would have changed things, but I don’t know. He was away on duty for the summer so we hadn’t talked a lot lately. I think about him every day. Sometimes I cry sometimes I smile. I have a hard time sleeping a full night’s sleep anyway, so that’s when I think back about a memory. He’ll always be with me as that person who I write about constantly in this blog that just gets it. I complain all the time about people that don’t, and rarely do I focus on the ones that do. That gives me strength to keep moving, that he treated me like anyone else I miss that, but in the 9 years I knew him it’s equal to a full lifetime. I remember when I moved to Louisville his first visit here he really got me over being homesick. Every time he’d visit after that it felt more and more like Louisville was becoming my home. He’ll always be here with me.

It’s taken me 2 weeks to write this part, because I wanted to do it right. I began the year with my little brother I was mentoring tried to commit suicide, and they were able to pump his system clean. He’s undergoing therapy, and is in a blind school now which is helping him. The pain of this all is just difficult, and I just don’t know. I went back and forth if I wanted to say anything, but I felt that I always talk about the funny times, but I really just enjoyed just hanging around watching YouTube videos or playing videogames. I just miss those things. I loved him because I just felt normal around him something that seems to be a struggle for me these days.

I’ve been working at getting my house ready for the Christmas get together with my family! I’m excited to see them. there’s going to be a lot of people here at one time but I’m excited. Today while I was getting my haircut I had a new lady cutting my hair so as a joke when she finished she said how does it look I said if she got me the mirror and moved it closer I would be able to tell her. I finally told her that I couldn’t see it all she thought it was funny. I think she felt kind of bad for ask me that question so I ended up tipping her well so I wasn’t an asshole hopefully. I’ve put my resume together for a few sporting jobs that I heard about so we will see. I went to Dave Chapelle last night with my friend Chris it was great seeing him. I think in life you will fail more than you will succeed but if you stop trying all together youlol never know. I just made that shit up I should start writing for fortune cookies. I had to end this somehow positively the last two paragraphs took me around 2 1/2 weeks to write, because every time I started I got emotional. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and let’s have a good New Year.