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The blind Elephant February 16, 2017 keith

The elephant in the room. That’s what it has become. It’s here, obvious, but has been with me so long I usually never notice it any more. Inconvenient, sure. I seem to have gotten used to it. I forget that some people might be interested in it, and what its all about. How did the elephant get here? How do I get things done? Even things I manage to do seem to amaze people, although I can’t imagine why. OK, there are some adaptive things I do, but those measures seem pretty obvious to me.

I get around, but clearly driving is out of the question. I know my immediate surroundings at home well enough, I don’t walk with a white cane. However, stepping outside the house is different. There’s a measure of technique in using a cane to feel the ground and sweep for obstacles. It’s not hard. A few basic moves to engrain into muscle memory, and away we go.

Clearly a distinct path to walk on is key. No cutting across parking lots, or wide open spaces. It can be done, but it takes on another whole skill set. Lots of listening and concentration on form, posture, and that muscle memory as you walk. Let’s save that distraction for later.

It’s all about boundaries. The border of the sidewalk as it meets the grass, or gravel, or the seam in a driveway as it crosses over one. The border of a hallway, complete with all those moveable obstacles like potted plants, wet floor signs, mop buckets… and watch out! That lady in the hall who just bent over to pick up her dropped wallet… Oops… sorery, I didn’t mean to touch your bottom. But thanks for the high pitched squeal. I needed something to loosen the ear wax build up that was accumulating. And no, there’s nothing wrong with me. And yes, I am indeed blind. Sorry again. I’ll try to be more alert next time.

The trouble I have most often is the lack of traffic on the street, and the over helpful onlooker. First the helpful onlooker. They mean well. Bless their hearts. But they usually act first, and think later… if at all. What seems like a collision with disaster to them is merely the boundary I need to find to keep on track. Dodging around it, like most people would do, only removes a landmark for me, and a sure fire path for me to get lost at worst. Or disoriented at best. .

There’s more to say, and I know I left a couple side topic hanging, but my time is up for this stream of consciousness. Stay tuned for more on Traffic noise. For now, let’s just say it makes an invaluable invisible boundary to keep on course. How to handle wide open spaces? Avoid them, but when you can’t it’s not entirely impossible, but the lack of boundaries and environment noise can make it the worst kind of traveling.

Forgetting Where You Came From January 26, 2017 keith

Time marches forward, like troops in lock step.
A vanguard of locked shields, and weapon at the ready.

Forcing approval of policy,
though many in the nation disagree with those sanctions.

Awkward and unpolished egos need buffing,
and ratings of approval take first place over substance.

Potential lies dormant from the beginning.
The solution is so simple, and could be winning.

It’s not a ten step process to avert devastation.
Success could be to decrease aggrevation.

Step out of the tower, and listen.
Middle ground can be found without going to extreme.
It’s about serving the people, not self image, or a meme.ling 22 Successful

23 Oversight

Adventures in the Life of a Blind Computer Geek #anticipation November 23, 2016 keith

Or, the Joys, and Risks of Computer Upgrades

Decided to see if my desktop computer would upgrade to Windows 10. I reserved a copy shortly after it was released, but balked for months. Then I discovered my video card might not have compatible drivers. Not to mention, I knew my screen reader technology wasn’t going to work either. No voice for me, and no screen for an assistant to look at for help. Not going to happen.

Lately, I’ve been hearing how much improved Narrator is in the latest releases, and my fallback screen reader, NVDA has been up to speed with Win10 for some time. Should I? Or shouldn’t I?

I’ve been using Windows 10 with growing success, and ease on my old Dell laptop, but it bit the dust with hard drive failure. Windows 7 is still a good workhorse for what I use my desktop for, but since my laptop died, it has had to double more as a personal computer, instead of being strictly a home file server. I finally decided to check on updating. No system errors about video drivers. All I gotta do is ditch my age old, tried and true screen reader… gulp…

OK, let’s do this thing.

I sat, watching the progress bars tick slowly by, missing a chat session I like to hang out in. Tick, tick, tick. “You may continue using your computer while Windows updates,” my computer cheerfully told me. So I did. There I sat, comparing files from my back up drive, to motes I have on my web site. Yeah, I know, exciting stuff, but it kept me busy while I waited the process of files trickling from Microsoft to my humble little hard drive.

The process completed, software began doing it’s behind the scenes black magic, and starting yet another process of checking for updates, and upgrading the upgrade. After agonizing minutes that bled into hours, an empty stomach, and drooping eyelids, it was time to abandon the computer to take all the time it wants, while its human component shuts down for the night. With a fresh boot up in the morning, it was time to see where my computer left off, or if it needed human interaction to continue.

It needed to know which of my adaptive software to remove. Grudgingly, I said goodbye to my screen reader, fired up my back up, and clicked. I was soon greeted by an error that brought the update to a halt, and a reboot was demanded. How rude. Good news and bad news awaited.

The bad news. I was going to have to restart the update process from scratch. All those hours of waiting, lost. And the thrill of more endless hours was in my future… well, not exactly.

The good news. Using an alternate method of getting the update started, I saved an easy 3 hours, and probably more.

Within a short time the initial installing was done, but now comes the cycle of reboots, and waiting, as things still aren’t quite to the point of talking to me. About 2 hours in, I finally have some assistance to look at my screen… 37%. More waiting, but at least I know there’s progress. I can get back to it after breakfast, and a pot of coffee. I can also tend to a misbehaving sump pump, and a semi-flooded basement. Ah, real life encroaches on my fantasy, cyber reality.

Will Windows finally load? I’m sure it will, just gotta wait for it. Will the sump kick in and start pumping water again? I’m sure, its main problem seems to be a clog. Putting in a substitute pump we borrowed, while the other gets cleaned out. For now, we’ll just have to wait, tackle the small things that come our way, and anticipate the best.

PS: Thanks to #DailyPost, and the #dailyprompt: Anticipation

Crazy Pilgrim Friends #ThanksgivingCarol November 20, 2016 keith

Or: My Lame Thanksgiving Carol.

Pilgrims feast, and then grow fat.
So sad, but way too quirky;
They need full bellies of deer and turkey.
Or pants could fall down, with buckles on shoes and hats.

A harsh winter carved numbers down;
But harvest gave plenty for all.
So we now celebrate with football.
Pass, punt, and kick! Touchdown!

O, Pilgrims and indians can be friends;
And so can we, to the end.
Don’t be so jerky,
Ad pass me the turkey.
O, the Pilgrims and indians can be friends.

A Lifestyle of Waiting October 18, 2016 keith

People tell me, “it’ll be OK.” They offer encouragement, advice, or relate what happened to them, or somebody they know, But nobody offers real solutions. I’m told that government programs will meet my needs, but the process is endless.

Strangers poke their nose into my business. They want an exact accounting of my personal life. Income, expenses, assets, lifestyle, medical, not to mention the endless forms to fill out. Papers filed, with what seems like the same information. Endless papers, endless and tedious waiting for my piece of paper to filter down the stack, and finally reach a human being who can make a decision. Will the support really be enough? I’ve heard that line before, and the assistance turns out to be barely enough, and plenty enough to keep me buried well below the poverty line. I’m assured the wait is worth it.

So, here I am, Waiting, without recourse. No body to ask where my piece of paper is in the stack. Excruciating nothingness screeching through my head with the mystery of what will happen to me. Where do I stand in this process of waiting. Where am I down the dark tunnel of red tape. No ray of light, and no way to talk to anybody who knows how long.

“Just wait,” is the official word. “Why the long wait?” is the question on the lips of everybody. Mental numbness, and the only lame response I can offer is, “I don’t know.”

I’m told it’ll be worth it. The longer they take, the more back pay I’ll receive. That’s nice, but what about now? What about where my next meal is coming from? What about how I’m going to pay my housing, or utilities, or provide for my kids? What am I supposed to do, pack myself up into a closet, pack myself into mothballs, and wait? How long? Should I just tell my bill collectors to just wait for… Oh I don’t know… sometime in the undetermined future… and don’t worry, it’ll be worth it. I’ll be telling them that from the homeless shelter, while I wait with a better response in a soup line.

I called once, and the stock answer was it can take ten months. I wish it were ten months. I was told that over 6 years ago. I would love a decision in ten months, it would be an answer to prayers. An end to a long, slow, decline into the dark, endless tunnels of time and red tape. Why so long? I don’t know. When will I hear where I stand in the waiting list? I don’t know. When will somebody contact me? I don’t know.


But wait. What happens if the hidden decision makers of my fate tell me something is missing in my papers, or I used the wrong form, or I used the wrong wording that isn’t in the dictionaries and lexicons of government lingo? I get to refile my papers, and go back to the end of the line… and wait. Believe me, this is a reality. I know, because it has already happened.

Don’t worry. I’m doing OK. I manage. I keep on keeping on. But while I plod through life, and keep busy… I wait…





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