Thursday, December 24, 2009

season's greetings

Hello everyone. It's just past four o'clock on that longest day of the year regardless of one's age, Christmas Eve. I've been awake since around five this morning. It seems that my thinking on the vitamins having a positive effect on my sleeping was a bit premature. However, I still think that they are having an overall positive effect on my ability to cope cheerfully with said difficulty. The day is passing slowly but pleasantly enough. It seems like only yesterday that I was in church celebrating Good Friday. No, Reader, I'm not so old that time passes that rapidly for me. Our church has changed up its calendar for this year so that we're having Easter services while the rest of the world contends with Christmas. Yesterday evening was our Good Friday service. It seemed very odd indeed to leave the building after it without saying anything to anybody. I must say that it does make one reflect on Christmas with a good deal more gravity than might otherwise be the case. It puts things in quite a different perspective to have the commercial clout actually match up with celebrating what all of us ought to be most thankful for. Namely, Christ's death and resurrection. This afternoon, I managed to catch A Christmas Carol broadcast on the Accessible Channel in descriptive audio. Not bad at all. It was my favorite version with George C. Scott as Scruge. I can now officially declare myself in the grip of the holiday season.

Things have been progressing on other fronts as well. The bar code reader I ordered arrived in splendid condition earlier in the week. That nifty gadget would have saved us a good deal of time and trouble were it available during my marriage of five years. I'll keep it handy in my kitchen to identify all those foods and other items destined to be eaten or otherwise consumed. Its database also knows about medicines and the like. A very nifty addition to my talking arsenal. We also got the first batch of forms filled in and delivered to the agency which will help me afford to live in what will soon be my apartment for the foreseeable future. There's more of that sort of thing to be done in the new year. I'm profoundly glad that this transition is happening while my parents are still able to help me if I need it. Getting everything lined up properly is going to take a while. There'll be all kinds of little things to sort out over the first year or so. What a year of new people, new economics, and new opportunities that will be. I'll at last be able to truly find my true style of life.

All that is coming up though. For the next week or so, the focus will be on enjoying friends and family. Recently, while participating in free tournaments held on All inPlay, I was chatting with a woman whose mother had just died a couple of days ago. I can't imagine how she was able to concentrate on Crazy Eights after experiencing that kind of loss. Ringing any enjoyment out of the holidays will certainly be profoundly difficult for her this year. The last experience I had which was even remotely similar was when my grandfather passed away during my later school years. She seems to appreciate people keeping in touch with her even if they're complete strangers from the All inPlay community. It's the first real exposure I've had in quite some time of the power to break down barriers which games can afford. Even as I hope to move more fully into the real world and local community, I see that I still have a role to play in the blind online world. A far more perifferal one than previously, but nevertheless capable of having some positive impact on people.

I can now say with confidence that there'll definitely be a small gathering at my parents' house this New Year's Eve. Mark, Wendy, and Ron should be there. I don't know for certain about anybody else yet. However, I have one or two other possibilities. The sise of the gathering doesn't matter nearly as much as that there'll actually be some good company with me to celebrate with. And here, I think I've arrived at a good place to close off this entry. I don't anticipate writing another until early January. You can picture me, if you've a mind to, able at last to look forward to a fresh new possibilities as well as some very happy holidays. Of course, I extend my best wishes that you, my audience, might enjoy the same good fortune which seems to have befallen me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Thank God! I just got a call informing me that my application has been accepted. As of February 6th, I will be in an apartment building on Aquitaine Road. Mom and dad were the first to be thrilled by the news. Now, constant reader, it's your turn. There are still documents to sign, a package in the mail to go over and return, and a lot of other things to do in order to prepare for this very welcome beginning to a new chapter in my life. I can't begin to describe the absolute releaf, anticipation, and excitement I'm feeling. It's been a very long wait, but I can at last start to put all the frustration which comes of being economically denied the opportunity to live on my own despite proving that I'm more than capable behind me.

Getting everything I'll initially need will make the next while interesting. A grille and talking microwave are certainly near the top of the list. I've heard good things about one talking microwave called Magic Chef. If possible, I'll get the same sort of indoor grill with removeable trays that served Rebecca and I so well during the marriage. Doubtless, it'll take a little experimentation to get my mastery of timing meat cooking up to the level I once had it. I'll want to be familiar with both appliances right from the start. A new desk and bed will also be good to acquire. My parents will help me pick up some of the larger furnishings during the first months I'm there. I won't need to get a phone since my cell phone can serve to answer the door. It'll just be the Internet and tv that need to be arranged quickly. There's suddenly so much to think about; so many possibilities. Winter will doubtless have its dull and lonely moments, but with so much new coming at me, it won't seem nearly as empty as much of the past summer.

Mainly, I'm looking forward to getting to know any people around me who are actually interested and have time to know me as more than "that blind guy in the building". It will also at least marginally improve my chances for finding dates and friends. Living with one's parents is unfortunately quite a turn-off for people to take you seriously as an adult. It shouldn't be. There are a lot of legitimate reasons besides my economic restriction for people to do so. However, in a prodominantly sighted world, people all too quickly jump to conclusions about each other. At last, I can actually begin the process of setting down roots in a community where I know I'm going to be for the foreseeable future. Such an indescribeable releaf despite all the challenges to come.


Hello everyone. Ever since friday, I've once again found myself with the prospect of long-awaited and hoped for profound life change dangled in front of me. There's a good possibility that an apartment in Mississauga will be made affordable to live in for me by the government. Counting the time I spent married, I've been waiting around ten years. One of the major pressure factors which killed the marriage was the lack of affordable housing. The only opportunity which ever came for us happened soon after we had signed a year-long leace which there was no legal way out of. This time, presuming my application is accepted by the landlord, nothing like that will get in the way. I can simply plunge into the batchler's life I was ready for when I separated from Rebecca. At last, I would have a place I could truly think of as my home. All the living skills I have will at last be put to good use again in a kitchen and apartment arranged with my needs and ease of life in mind rather than my parents. I'd at last have my own place to have guests where I could take proper care of them. Also, knowing where I was to live on a permanent basis, I could look into volunteer opportunities requiring a long-term commitment. Any time I spent learning routes to get places would be time well invested since my situation wouldn't be subject to change coming out of the blue.

My parents and I went to see the apartment on sunday afternoon. Frankly, I would be very hard pressed to imagine a better place for me. It's far more spacious than I would have expected. The elevator and laundry feature raised buttons so I wouldn't have to label everything in braille. Also, regarding laundry, the machines are coin-operated. No more worrying about a card running out unexpectedly. The oven has dials so I could actually use it. The place is also relatively near my church as well as the Meadowvale Town Centre where Symposium Cafe is. Learning to walk to my parents' house wouldn't be too hard either. The balcony is also big enough to have a few guests out on it in suitable weather. After the colder reception I've experienced in other potential places, it was very refreshing to have the woman I met there think positively rather than assume I was incapable or worry what I might damage.

Now, I've filled out the application and am waiting to find out whether it's approved by the landlord. The experience on sunday afternoon was so positive that I had dared to think that perhaps, the long delayed winds of change were about to at last blow my way. Everything felt so right about the place. There are at least a few more disabled people living there so it's not like I'm in the trail-breaking position. Nice to have a bit of a break from that now and then. As more time passes, I find that the optimism I had is somewhat dwindling. There's no real rational reason for this. My credit rating is quite good since I always pay off my credit card right away. You'd think that would count in my favour. I have no criminal record which should also help. All I need is for a complete stranger to say "yes". That might seem like much more of a sure thing even after the nail-biting wait now well into its second day had I not so recently been abandonned by a woman who I had every reason to trust would marry me. I've gone from thinking that this opportunity was too good to be true to an optimism for the future I wasn't certain I would ever feel again, and now, I'm at an awkward midpoint hanging by a thread. Will this possibility also vanish? The answer is utterly outside my control.

Even for a man known for his patience as I seem to be, this waiting is hard. I couldn't do creative writing to save my life. I have to first know whether I can at last move on or whether I'll be stuck here one step removed from proper adult life for God knows how much longer. Yesterday, I read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I had heard that Peter Jackson, who did such a marvelous job with the LOTR trillogy, was the director for a film based on Alice's novel. The novel wasn't my usual cup of tea but certainly passed the time wonderfully. It has an interesting take on the afterlife where people have their own versions of heaven which intersect each other in places. I won't wreck the story for anybody. However, it's certainly worth the read. When faced with situations where so much of one's future is outside one's control, it helps to keep my gripes and worries in proper perspective. As restricted by circumstance as I feel, I can at least enjoy my family and friends. Things may not be ideal, but reading that book and hearing the most recent From Our Own Correspondents podcast from the BBC, I know that I'm still comparatively quite fortunate. Doubtless, the film of The Lovely Bones will turn out alright. Hard to imagine Peter screwing anything up too terribly. Today, while waiting for that fateful phonecall, I have a number of podcasts to go through. So far, email hasn't proved to be very interesting. That could change as Christmas draws a little closer.

I'm very thankful that the holidays are so close. Should this chance for change be snatched away from me as the last one was, I'll at least have that to cushion the letdown. Also, I at last know that I'm on a position in the waiting list where people are actively looking for a place for me to live. Until last friday, I had absolutely no idea if I was even close to the top. It's nice to have at least the knowledge that my entrapment in this comfortable place on life's sidelines is finally that one step closer to being over. Thankfully, time isn't dragging despite having only five hours of sleep. I'm not too tired. However, I don't think I'll be playing any accessible games today. I don't have that kind of focus. Books, tv and podcasts will have to carry me through until the suspense ends one way or the other. When that happens, I won't keep you, my faithful readers, waiting overly long.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Busy Weekends and Crazy Crossings

Hello everyone. It's past time I updated this blog of mine. The last while has certainly been interesting. I helped set up the Christmas tree last sunday. That's a sure sign that the holidays will sneak up and pounce on us all in short order. We also put a tarp over the patio furnature. Those two things were done in reverse order intuitively speaking. The tree is nicely tucked out of harm's way so I won't blunder into it accidentally. Thank heaven for small mercies.

I've now completed the racial reconsiliation workshop and am a certified facilitator. The second weekend was just as packed as the first. We covered a whole lot of ground. All of us got to try our hand at facilitating one of the workshops. I've come away with a sense that I'll feel a lot more confident once I've had my first actual experience and have become more familiar with the material. Trying to make certain I covered all the bases via referring to my netbook proved problematic. I'll have to rely more upon memory. The only thing which might possibly help would be to get hold of a small braille display which I could attach to my netbook. Prices of those are ever so slowly coming down but are still beyond my means. Even being a participant in a full set of the workshops would be helpful. We taught condensed forty-five minute ones. On one hand, more of what made me a good leader of an online community will potentially be useful in actual circumstances. There were thankfully no interpersonal issues among us. While the experience of trying to deal with such things would have been an asset, There just wouldn't have been time to deal with any such created obstacles effectively during the workshop practices.

This stuff can hit you in a very personal way. The very notion of addressing these issues of inequality can make one get defensive all too quickly. This happens even when you know full well that the people pointing things out to you have nothing at all against you personally. I can't be certain what colour a person happens to be unless and until I'm told. When I meet someone, I presume he or she is as intelligent, capable, and deserving of respect as I am until time and circumstances prove otherwise. This is the case even when I can't understand them when they speak. I just presume they could likely run circles around me in whatever their native language may be. What more can one do to approach and treet others fairly? And yet, the thought creeps in; What if there were still prejudices I unconsciously held and therefore had never challenged? You start scrutenizing yourself without even meaning to. This is particularly the case when you come into contact with people who have been hurt by both the conscious deliberate kind of discrimination and by the unwitting kind which can hurt all the more for its utter innocense. As a blind man, I'm very aware of the many stereotypes people either approach us with or, far more likely, avoid us because of. We're either thought of as infinitely wise beyond our years, totally incompetent/stupid, incapable of contributing, presumed to be musical, presumed to be def, or presumed to be unfailingly good/superhuman people. We can't just be thought of as average men and women. I had a number of discussions about the whole concept of white priviledge; Sandra explained at one point about how black parents had to prepare their children to face the reality that people would treet them differently because of their skin colour regardless of other factors. They'd likely be suspected of being up to no good merely due to how they looked. I certainly had plenty of people warn me in advance while growing up that life just wouldn't be the same for me as for other people who could see. My options would be more limited. People would feel awkward around me despite all my attempts to be as approachable as possible. I guess that's sort of similar in some ways. Of corse, I don't have to worry overly about unwarranted legal entanglements. If anything, quite the opposite. Nothing stops a blind person with sufficient skill from engaging in some kinds of crime but we'd likely be last on the suspect list.

It's an ugly and complicated situation. So much of it is rooted in the past. It can all too easily feel like white people can simply never atone for and live free from what their ancestors have inflicted upon others. It would be like me blaming one of my two little neaces for something my brother had done a decade before they were born; Completely unfair. And yet, these mistakes of the past have tendrils which stretch into the present and need to be dealt with. The only way to get through the impass and onward is by sitting down and actually getting to know one another. It certainly helps that all of us share the same faith as a starting point.

What really breaks through the resistance are all the personal stories. We've all been victims of either racial, class, disability or gender-based prejudices of one sort or another. It's just part of the human experience. It helps you realise how much racism has gone underground but is still very much present in this supposed multicultural bastian of Canada. When Irene first came over from Africa, she worked with children in a daycare centre. However, she was kept away from the parents since it was felt that they might not trust their children with her because she was black. She's patient and gifted enough to have learned three languages. English is her third. I couldn't even muster the patience to stick with learning French. I can't speak to her appearance, or my own for that matter. However, she certainly comes across audibly as someone who is just as kind, patient and friendly as I am. What a horrid slap in the face to have to live with such groundless distrust. I heard from Chinyere and Ashley. They're from Africa originally but you'd never be able to tell that from their voices. It certainly wasn't obvious to this blind man. They had quite a lot to share. Two of their stories stuck in my mind; The first had to do with a class they attended with other students concerning the whole issue of diversity. They were asked to stand in a circle holding hands. They were then asked questions regarding how much racism they had personally experienced. Eventually, it became painful and then impossible to keep the whole circle holding hands. I can't think of a more concrete way to illustrate the needless division such prejudices can cause than those friends having to physically face how different their life experiences were. Chinyere later told me of another incident where she and another friend who hailed from Africa had a conversation with a university student. It eventually became clear that his impression of Africa was of cities where lions and tigers romed the streets. That really hurt her friend. Having people making plenty of false assumptions about me as a blind person, I can certainly sympathise. I once had an American subscriber to my magazine ask me how I kept my computer and Internet going without melting away part of the igloo he presumed all of us Canadians lived in. I guess I tend to presume that things are largely the same over most of the world when it comes to civilisations. I know that this is eronious but would rather make the mistake of presuming equality and find out I'm wrong than the reverse. My grasp of geography has always been exceedingly tenuous.

I could write these down all I wanted and it probably wouldn't make a scrap of difference. This is definitely an area where learning in person is the way to go. I'm not even convinced having groups watch and listen to video presentations would do nearly as good a job at reaching one's heart. You really have to be there. The design of the workshops is quite good and they ought to start some more active discussions and get people as individuals to stop and think about what they believe about others. Learning to facilitate them has certainly had that effect on me. During the week between the two weekends which comprised the corse, I read Stephen King's The Green Mile again. Despite having read it something like five or six times over the years, I found at least twenty things in there which had never registered before. Our leaps of logic based on preconceptions can do so much damage. You come out of a corse like what we took feeling older and wiser. Every once in a while, optimists like me need to be reminded that there's a dark side to life. This corse certainly did that. I'd love it if I could simply make it all better for people. However, even if I worked on this the rest of my life, I'd only chip the iceberg. There are no shortcuts. However, there are a growing number of people dedicated to helping God make things better for everyone who might attend churches. It's a start anyhow. I hope I can be of help in the coming months. Other than that, all I can do is try to be as fair and alert for any prejudices I might harbour unconsciously.

While this experience has been the most formative in quite some time, more things have happened over the past week and a bit. My sleeping has been very good lately. I begin to think there's definitely merrit in these B12 pills Dr. Slinger prescribed. I've been waking up pretty consistantly at seven or even eight on some mornings. Lets hope that continues. Attending little Amia's party was fun. She's "*twoooo!*" now. A number of Dan and Alison's friends showed up in addition to family. Amia seemed to enjoy things but couldn't really play with her presents since there were so many to be opened. She'll certainly have lots to occupy her up until Christmas. She doesn't seem to have developed a real concept of ownership just yet. Ava becomes very attached to things she thinks of as hers. I'll have to remember to make it clear to Ava that the globe is for both of them although I suspect Ava might glean more from it. Poor Elliot, the family dog, had to stay outside for most of the occasion. He had a cone around his head to stop him from biting a certain area. The cone has since come off due to its edges getting sharp and breaking. It extended outward around his head and face like the petals of a flower and must have been keenly frustrating for the fixed four-legged fellow. I can't imagine what having his head surrounded like that would do to his hearing. I don't even like to wear tooks or hoods since they tend to alter the sharpness of how I hear things. Hopefully, he won't take out any sort of revenge on either good-intentionned human masters or on the Christmas tree which is bound to go up there sooner or later.

Ron got quite a chuckle when I told him about how I was rejected on Plentyoffish for being unwilling to become a hacker. He jokingly hinted that perhaps there was hope for him since he'd put "willing to hack" on his profile. He was, of course, joking ... I think. Given that things tend to happen in threes, I must have another rejection with a humorous element in store for me. I've had a teacher lose interest due to giving too much information too soon. I count that as the first remarkable case. Let's face it. I really was somewhat disappointed that time. However, there's that inescapable feeling of poetic justice at the thought of scaring off a teacher thusly. The woman on the lookout for decidedly untrustworthy friends is ever so clearly the second. I can scarcely believe it can get any more absurd but I've been wrong before and lived to enjoy it.

I got to see Adam again for another night of our two current games. This time around, I didn't conk out remaining alert and clear-headed throughout the afternoon and evening. Dragon Age is somewhat linear but has tremendous production values. Docobone Dungeon is a game which just keeps entertaining. The game's AI can simulate additional players. Adam has, of course, spent endless hours with the game and knows all the tricks. However, there's enough randomness that it's possible for newcommers to do well and have fun. In the middle of the evening, his mother interrupted us to pass on a message. Unfortunately, she reinforces that stereotype Jewish mothers must live with about nagging. There's really no nicer word for it. Each time I hear it happen, I can't help thinking of Robin Hood; Men In Tights, Princess Bride, etc. Having taken a corse on diversity makes one even more painfully aware of how inappropriate and yet how utterly inescapable such thoughts are. I find that I cringe for both of them simultaneously. Adam, at age 33, really ought to be able to have a visit with a friend without worrying about having that happen to him. At the same time, I'm certain she finds it hard to know when a good time would be amid all his gaming. His annoyance at these interruptions is just instant. Their different life experiences and priorities can clash. Since, like me, he lives with his parents, he must feel that his mother just doesn't respect his adulthood and all the work he's done. Mutually, Adam's mom feels like she's being disrespected and so keeps going on when she must know how not only pointless but counterproductive that is. Adam has done so many different jobs. Everything from working in a gas station to the post office to being a knife salesman to his latest one doing tech support for HP. He'll have so many stories to tell when he's older. If there's not enough material for an autobiographical book by the time he hits fifty, I'll eat my winter boots. Despite all that, there just doesn't seem to be any way to break that defensive pattern on either side.

Other than that, a good chunk of one afternoon was spent installing mom's present onto her laptop and tuning up said contraption. Things worked out with far less difficulty than I thought they might. I couldn't figure out a way to hide the icons so she can see the names of the games I purchased for her. Bigfish Games had quite a few nifty casual games which ought to suit her quite well indeed. They also have demo videos and post walkthroughs for many titles on their blog. The games themselves aren't at all accessible to play for blind people. However, acquiring and installing them was quite painless. I have only one more gift to get in an offline store. I'm hoping the price might come down a bit more but don't mind terribly if it doesn't.

I went to Symposium for the first time in something like three weeks. Going there went quite well. The meal was, as usual, quite excellent. It was also quite solitary. However, it was good to hear the odd bit of conversation around me. It was a PD day for a couple of kids who were there. I remember those unexpected gifts from the educational gods quite fondly. Presuming the snow and weather hasn't rendered the walk too dangerous for me by the 18th, I may encounter more kids since that's when school seems to be starting Christmas break this year. I can't for the life of me remember when that started during my school years. Vic, the manager on duty, and Michelle, who was my waitress, were both bustling about but still exchanged a friendly word or two with me.

Going home, I got turned around badly. I ended up out by Inlake Court. Thank heaven I wasn't in any sort of hurry. It took quite a while to get sorted out and find the way back home. People would help me cross a street and I'd walk off convinced I was in the right place only to find out a while down the road that I was approaching an unfamiliar intersection or a school I had never heard of. I believe Glen Erin and Montevideo was the intersection of doom this time. At last, my GPS got me all the way back to Montevideo and Lorca Crescent which I'm near the corner of. I couldn't feel any corners though since I was directly across Montevideo from my home. In the end, I couldn't find any crossing point near either Lorca intersection and decided to cross the street close to where the Trekkor Breeze said my home was. I was spotted by a friendly police officer who, I only realise now as I write this, saw me J-walking. Oops. Thankfully, he merely confirmed that I was indeed at the correct address. I was utterly roasting when I finally got back home and went through a couple glasses of water. Hard to believe I was that parched after a mocha and fruit freezy. Damn! It's just past two in the morning. I'd better turn in for a modicum of sound slumber. Have a good weekend, everyone.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tranquil Spirits

Hello everyone. It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted a slice of my life. For most of that time, there just hasn't been much of substance to justify an entry. Life has mainly drifted along with one day being much like the next. After my blood testing was done, my doctor started me taking some vitamin B12. Apparently, the lack of it can have some fairly serious consequences. I've taken my pills quite faithfully since I was asked to but can't honestly say I've noticed any difference. On the bright side, I'm confident that there won't be any side effects like there can be with various drugs. The past four or five days have been very good ones which have left me feeling more useful, connected to my community and hopeful than I have in quite a while. This is particularly true of the weekend I've just had.

Things started to pick up early last week when an event I've long hoped would happen finally did. Blast Bay Studios released Q9, a basic but very competently done sidescroller game for blind people. The best way I can describe the experience is that a part of the childhood of video games which I could only live vicariously through others was finally presented to me in a form I could actively participate in. At last, it was possible for me to truly understand the adrenaline rush and excitement of this style of game. You'll find a more detailed review in the next issue of Audyssey Magazine when Ron publishes it. Meanwhile, check out the game for yourself at:

I also got to see Adam last week. He's looking for a new job but doesn't seem to be overly troubled by current circumstances. I took him out for a late birthday dinner. We also got some good gaming in. He has that new Dragon Age rpg which is actually quite impressive. It's full of dialogue which has actual consequence to it. The sounds and music are top of the line. After dinner, we played some more of that Docobone Dungeon board game on his PS3. However, I found myself starting to doze off fairly early in the evening. I hate that when my sleep gets out of order. It's frustrating. These days, I find that I get up around five AM and then tend to turn in at around ten thirty or so. The dry cough doesn't do wonders either but I'll gladly take it over the flu I had a couple of weeks back.

Nothing too exciting has happened on Plentyoffish in quite a while with the exception of a deliciously absurd rejection. I was contacted by a woman in Toronto. All was going fairly well at first. She didn't seem to have a problem with my current circumstances. However, after she found out that I had no interest whatsoever in becoming a hacker and commiting computer crimes, she blocked me right away. Isn't that just priceless? Rejected for being too honest! Who would have thunk? All one can do is throw up one's hands and laugh. With the kind of friends this lady seems to be seeking, I trust she'll watch her back.

I found what I hope will be an excellent Christmas present for my two adoreable neaces Ava and Amia. The Discovery Store had a talking globe for sale designed for pre-school children. I think Ava will learn some things from it while Amia, being only two, will still enjoy hearing it respond when she touches it. In coming years, I suppose I'll have to be more careful what I reveal in here when Ava starts learning to navigate the web and read. They're growing up fast. Ava seems to like going to kindergarten. Hopefully, I can fill the role of the wise uncle with the interesting answers as they start to become more sophisticated in their thinking. I certainly look forward to that.

The real treasure was this past weekend. I've joined a church program designed to combat racism and better respect diversity. A group of us are being taught how to facilitate a series of workshops designed for adults to participate in. The people I find myself engaged in this enterprise with are very dedicated to breaking down barriers and promoting the kind of fair world that I also would love to live in. A world where people can count on being treeted equally. They're people who I could cheerfully converse with for hours on end were the opportunity ever presented. There are breaks and such where we've had a chance to do this briefly. There's quite a bit of material to cover though so things are kept moving at a good pace.

I felt absolutely recharged after last friday evening but still got to sleep fairly quickly. It's such a tremendous treet for me to finally have an opportunity like this. I've wanted to join a quest which was larger in scope and less solitary than the ones I undertake alone at this keyboard. I couldn't have asked for a more worthy torch to take up nor a better equipped set of companions. There's still a whole lot to learn and read. I'll be plunging more into that over this week. It makes all the difference in the world to at least have the possibility of greater interaction with people ahead. Not knowing when I might be moving into affordable housing, it's hard to find anything I could commit to. God seems to be opening an interesting doorway for me. Time will tell where it ultimately takes me but as usual, he'll have my best efforts. I was very tired after saturday and went to bed at around ten. However, it was that good kind of tired which comes of actually being engaged in something you believe in. Next weekend, I'll be experiencing the full effectiveness of the program I'm to teach first hand. I'll also have a chance to get a better sense of how much my abilities and past experience can be brought to bear. I've never considered myself to be cut out for formal academic teaching as such. This dialogue learning stuff seems like it's something I can hopefully facilitate pretty well though.

If my patience, ability to listen and unique point of view can even help one person take a fresh look at their prejudices, that would be more than reward enough for me. I've already gained a lot from this initiative which will inform future projects. Already, what I've learned has caused me to begin to re-evaluate my approach to Enchantment's Twilight as a whole as well as how I'd like the game to begin. I'm less happy with the idea of having each player control two characters and may just start with the island councel members having been chosen at the start from a roster of double the needed characters. A whole lot to read and think about over the next days. that's for sure.

That old recurring nightmare of mine paid me a visit last friday evening. I wasn't able to get any sleep afterwards so I'm glad I didn't have that blasted dream any earlier. Why I still have the nightmare is something of a mistery to me. I've written it down, thought about it a great deal while awake, prayed about it, and experienced it countless times over the years. Is there some piece of greater understanding I'm supposed to draw from it that has so far escaped me? Is it simply there as a foil to make me more thankful for the normally more pleasant sleep I experience regularly? Perhaps, someone who reads my account of the dream in A Life of Word and Sound will have some fresh insights. The item is called A Pawn of Fear. After recounting the nightmare, I go over the major conclusions and thoughts that I've come up with already. I look forward to any speculations my readers may have.

Listening to some peaceful positive music and actually having something to do with other people on saturday morning both helped dispell the jumpy shaken feeling the dream usually leaves me with. The music from the game Oblivion features some excellent pieces for relaxed contemplation. The work of Kevin Kern, Age of Echoes, Blue Stone, and David Lanz certainly give a positive sonic ambience. Bill Brown does some excellent music for various games and movies also. He has a bunch of his stuff up for people to grab freely. check him out at:

One new thing to keep in mind while using a netbook is that you can't just close them up and expect them to go properly into standby mode before they've finished booting. I lost around thirty percent of one battery due to this during saturday morning. I guess it was still trying to load stuff or do some scan or other during a period where I didn't need to use it. When I pulled the netbook out to check it later, I immediately noticed the warmth coming from it. It doesn't seem to get alarmingly hot but you can tell when the netbook has been exerting itself. Despite that blunder, I still had over half of my second battery's charge remaining at the end of the day. Not too shabby at all. University days would have been a lot easier with such long-lived batteries to hand. There were more than a few occasions where I'd have to head back to the house I lived in on campus, plug my old laptop in, and type every scrap I could from memory of a class where my batteries failed. As much as I enjoyed the lectures and wide diversity of people to talk to, I'm damned glad those days of corses are behind me.

Sunday was a very good day as well. The church had a soup lunch after the service. Those are always enjoyable. I met and talked with some interesting people. During the evening, I went out for dinner at a local pub called Lion Heart with Mark and Wendy. It was damned good to catch up with those two very good friends. The food was absolutely delicious. I had a curried chicken dinner and my first beer in around two weeks. After I got the flue, I thought it prudent to hold off until I felt better. However, life just carried on and I never got around to enjoying any beer despite having plenty of it at hand. I'm rather glad I go through times like that and don't particularly miss it. It helps me be certain that I can occasionally enjoy a drink without alcohol getting any sort of foothold on me. I'm entirely too familiar, through people I've known over the years, what devastation that can bring to one's life. Anyone who chooses to walk with me in friendship or love won't have to deal with those issues. I value having a clear mind entirely too much for that. They'll just have to cope with my deep thinking, strange intelectual sense of humour, insomnia, irritability due to writer's block, etc. That's enough for folks to contend with.

I've finally gotten around to getting a spare battery for my cell phone. It's now fully charged after three hours plugged in. I figured I should get a fresh one since the one I was given with the phone didn't always last the whole day. Also, like a lot of access technology, it's a pretty specialised phone. It would truly suck to find that I could no longer use it because I waited too long to get a backup battery and the company went under so I no longer could. That kind of thing can happen when there's lots of competition for a small market. The last thing I need is one of these overly complicated newfangled phones which can do six impossible things before breakfast. I don't even text for heaven's sake.
Life is certainly moving in a good direction. I very much look forward to this coming weekend. Before that, I have my little neace Amia's second birthday to attend at some point this week. Given what I've been up to lately, I may not go to Symposium. I've got to stretch out my cash a little more with the holidays approaching. I'm in good shape financially but a lack of discipline could undo that in a hurry. I find that as long as I try to pace things out properly, I do well on that score. The only access technology related purchase is an update to Kurzweil 1000, the print-reading software I use which also can help with pdf files among other things. I figure I'll get the latest version of that in the new year. Pretty soon, the holidays will pull me into their magic. I believe I have Christmas gifts well sorted out but I haven't given a great deal of thought to New Year's Eve yet. It would suck to find myself with no friends to spend that with. I guess there's still lots of time to sort that out. Perhaps, an interesting opportunity will come up there. One of these years, I'd love to join in one of the larger public New Year's celebrations. Unfortunately, I don't know anybody who would enjoy attending that sort of thing with me. Heading to something like that alone would be less than safe and none too practical. It'll certainly be different without Janene there. So many possibilities snuffed out. Ah well. I at last have the possibility of greater community engagement ahead of me. Something to be profoundly thankful for.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Keep This Warm Weather Coming!

Hello everyone. Today has been another beautiful one. I didn't even need a jacket and am in short sleeves. Church was an interesting look at the different types of prayer and how we ought to grow into all of them like jacks of all trades. I tend to be a pretty thankful person for the most part. If anything, I suppose I'm a little less ready to be a boat-rocker than others. I tend to look for the peaceable compromise although injustice has at times gotten me roused up.

After the service, I decided to head over to Symposium Cafe for lunch. Determined to try something different this time, I tried the steak rap. It was absolutely delicious. The rap itself isn't overly filling but it comes with a generous helping of fries. Taste-wise, you're dealing with steak, red pepper, Jack Daniels bbq sauce, onions, and probably a couple of other odds and ends. Absolutely capital. It doesn't drip all over the place. You can pick it up and not curse yourself for a damned fool as your shirt and slacks get drenched. The strawberry and pineapple fruite freezie went down as well as they all do. I don't believe I'll bother with supper this evening. A fine beer like one my brother got me for my recent birthday, is a very tempting idea indeed. Sundays seem to be far more lively at Symposium than saturdays. There were a lot of people there. As usual, nobody said anything I felt compelled to take note of on my netbook. Now that I have one handy, that kind of luck doesn't seem to befall me like it used to. Doesn't that just figure? But I find it impossible to give a damn. The walk was nice and the atmosphere at Symposium was up to its usual conjenial standards. The only thing which would have improved things at all would be either a good friend or new date sitting at the table with me.

There's still that age-old problem of sitting in a crowd alone. I don't find it as painful a prospect as I once did. However, eating such good meals without good conversation seems such a waste. There just doesn't seem to be any quick way to wip up a social life of any sort. I feel like some sort of bent dart which can't seem to stick anywhere on a dart board. Both the new friends I found earlier seem to be quite busy. I still haven't been able to get hold of Ron or Steeve either. On the other hand, a woman over in Denmark seems to have taken an interest in my profile. Surprisingly, she actually has a description in her profile which she herself wrote. It tells me next to nothing about her, but it's damned refreshing when you read so many automatically generated ones. I still have a rather hard time with the idea of falling in love with anybody who's too far away to actually spend time with on a regular basis. It would just seem so absurd after what happened with Janene. The chat line I found yesterday doesn't seem to work all that consistantly with Skype. The sound quality is fine but the tones you hear that simulate a touchtone phone don't seem to be picked up correctly. They work fine with my telephone banking but not with this. Yet another vexing mystery.

I've at last gotten round to updating my netbook. The Jaws11 demo comes with a free and quite useful program for reading Daisy books. I have a copy of the NIV bible which I heard about on the Blind Planet feed agrigater a while ago. It takes up a few gigs and takes a while to load up. however, it's quite quick and easy navigating and reading after that if you use the FS Reader which you get along with the Jaws11 demo. You keep the reader even if you uninstall Jaws11 as I have. I won't be able to upgrade for the foreseeable future so there's no point doing much with the demo. I've also got the release candidate for NVDA to tinker around with.

Looking ahead, I suppose I should get a haircut at some point this week. There's also getting back to work on Enchantment's Twilight. Added to the mix, however, is this year's Christmas shopping. I have no ideas lined up for Ava and Amia yet. A visit to the online Discovery store is definitely in order. I've found it to be quite accessible and speech-friendly. Futureshop and Bestbuy are also quite good that way. I always enjoy looking around at everything at my own pace for that nifty idea which nobody has any chance of guessing. For the rest of the evening, there's TV, Skype, and quite a pile of podcasts I've gotten somewhat behind with. There's also this wonderful beer I've just popped down to the cold cellar and retrieved. On that fizzy note, I think I'll sign off and partake.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Very Warm Autumn Saturday

Hello everyone. Another week has drifted past. For the first chunk of it, I had a short-lived flu of some sort. It certainly drained my batteries something fierce but then left in a hurry. I felt fine by the time I went for the physical I had previously scheduled on tuesday. Nothing major I have to worry about as far as that went. I stayed in for most of the week just in case. Other than that, things have been pretty uneventful. I read two books called Pandemic and The Ten Thousand. They were fairly nifty modern thrillers but nothing I'd call extraordinary. However, they certainly kept me from boredom while I was too damned tired to do much else than read. For that, I'm thankful.

Writing was pretty slow going this week. Dragon Tavern adventuring has gone fairly well though. I've finally gotten Eldrex up to level 50. A bunch of randomly generated outcomes punctuated by the odd decision to return to base or purchase equipment here and there is hard to actually call an acomplishment. However, it's taken long enough so that it feels like one. There are now a bunch of new areas, new skills, new items, etc, for me to pursue in an endless frittering away of time.

Today, I went out to Symposium. It was a terrific day for it. From what I hear, tomorrow is going to be equally as pleasant. If nothing else comes up, I may decide to walk over there for supper tomorrow. Church will definitely be a welcome excursion. Not much new to report socially other than a phone chat line I learned about via Twitter. Due to a couple of spammers who have recently tried to make their malodorous presences known on this blog of mine, I won't post the phone number. I've been pretty much free of such idiocy for quite a while but it looks like the ability to moderate comments to this blog is going to come in handy now.

That stupendous sense of entrapment and utter disconnectedness I felt over the Summer truly seems to be gone for the foreseeable future despite nothing major having changed in my social circumstances. I guess I've finally adjusted back to facing the likelyhood of a solitary future. I can enjoy days pretty reliably again so long as a damned flu doesn't decide to pay me a visit. I still very much hope for more; more outings, more friends close enough to hang out with, a more interactive way to spend some of my days on a regular basis, a new special lady. Those things would all be very nice indeed. However, I've regained the ability to enjoy what I have. I'll keep slowly plugging away at Enchantment's Twilight, surfing the net, and taking in as many documentaries, interesting auditory experiences, and whatever else comes within my reach. The divercity training my church is taking part in ought to happen fairly soon. I may find out more about that tomorrow.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

a quietly satisfying day

Hello everyone. The evening draws near on this very nice first day of November. This morning, I got up quite well rested at around six AM courtesy of that extra hour we got from daylight savings time. MY computers took care of themselves but my watch and cell phone didn't and I had to set those manually. Something to remember for next year's time changes. Church was a very different service this morning. It was all about ministering to God. A lot more standing than usual but I didn't mind. I hope that it was actually God prompting me to share that truth about how envy is really a bad shortcut of thinking and breaks down with a moment's careful examination of all the things our envious impulse glosses over. It seemed to resonate with at least one lady so I guess it fit. After the service, a group of people prayed for God to give me more vision. I always feel a tad uneasy when people pray for my physical sight to be granted me. That's a medical impossibility and after you've had numerous people do that, you start to get concerned about how many of their faiths will be shaken when, predictably enough, they remain just as invisible after the attempt than they were initially. I certainly appreciate the good will. They also prayed that I would have increased insights from God. Those are things I would gladly accept.

After that experience, I was driven home and decided to head out to Symposium for a rather late brunch. I don't believe I'll bother at all with supper. Those deluxe omelets and fruite freezies are just delicious as was the mocha drink. The walk there was made more interesting by a mother and son I met. Terry, the mother, has schizophrenia and is also on the same government support that I am. Her son also has special needs. We chatted for a little before I went into the restaurant. Things were absolutely hopping busy today. It was good to hear. Having the place close down on me for lack of business would royally suck after all the effort I put into learning the route there. I would have greatly enjoyed being swept into a conversation there, but despite that not happening, it's pretty much impossible not to have one's spirits lifted there. The staff are friendly despite the bustle, and the food, as I've stated already, is splendid.

Things have pretty much wound down now. Nobody is in the chat sites I frequent and no interesting new postings are on Plentyoffish. I wrote a couple of new ones over recent days so perhaps, I'll be contacted as a result. Not much more to say really. Normal life begins again tomorrow. Back to working on Enchantment's Twilight again. The first working day of my thirty-fifth year. Here's hoping it's a productive one.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Hello everyone. Happy Halloween. Today is a quiet one so far in terms of family plans. Currently, I'm listening to the programming on Icebox Radio. It's an Internet radio station devoted to audio drama. All day, they're playing various horror-related episodes from various companies including their own work. Catch it at:
the quality and seriousness of these works naturally varies. It's taken a rather sharp nose-dive at the moment. Earlier, however, I heard an episode of Darker Projects's The Byron Chronicles which was quite well done. One of the few series that company produces which I have yet to listen to. There. The top hits station on Sky FM is somewhat better than the current Icebox offering. I'll tune back in later.

Halloween has lost most of its magic for me as it doubtless has for most people over 30. If I'm lucky, a good documentary on fear, horror, or some such will be on. Failing that, there's the slim possibility that a horror film which relies more on disturbing thoughts than gore might be shown. They're rare but do indeed exist. I lost track of what day it was yesterday once or twice. My two little neaces were over and dressed up in their costumes. Amia is still a bit young to fully get what Halloween's about. Ava is certainly looking forward to tonight's activities. They had a bath at our place since they'll be too busy to have one today. I don't remember a Halloween from my own childhood where things were that busy. However, it's fun hearing them in such high spirits. Earlier yesterday, we took my grandmother to the casino. I kept to my usual twenty-dollar limit and actually walked away with sixty this time. That doesn't happen often. It'll be enough to treet a friend or two for lunch or dinner presuming an opportunity emerges. It very well might. I was stopped on my way in and asked my age. Apparently, although I've often felt older than my 35 years, I look somewhat younger. I presume that'll stand me in good stead later in life.

Earlier in the week, I had dinner at Symposium with Colin. He's certainly an enjoyable fellow to talk to. A very earnest believer who thinks that we're living in the end times. I disagree with that conclusion and think we have a whole lot of history in store for us. This is, in my judgement, quite likely a pivital point of hopefully positive change in our time. The status quo has certainly been rattled substantially and the climate for lasting change is certainly here. However, despite all the bad things afoot in the world today, I just can't subscribe to the idea that it's the beginning of the ultimate end. That belief has given him and others like him the freedom to jump off of life's normal rails and I feel that he will ultimately help a great many people when he gets his ministry going. He's clearly had some fascinating experiences. On my way home after that dinner, I met another potential friend. Shaun is a film maker among other pursuits. A very engaging artistic guy. He seems quite interested in knowing me better and in my writing. He also lives quite close so it's actually possible to get there. It's a complex I pass by on the route to Symposium. That would be a novelty. A friend I could literally go to. If nothing else, these encounters have shaken off a good deal of that utterly isolated feeling from my own generation that I've had for most of the Summer. There actually are some people out there with a little time on their hands for friendship rather than just charity. It's given me back a good measure of optimism.

I can't remember whether it's this weekend that we move the clocks back an hour. Have to check CBC about that I suppose. Both of my computers ought to do that automatically but my watch is another story. Not much is happening next week. I have a doctor's appointment. Haven't had a physical in quite a long time. Doubtless, I'll get a talking to about my weight. I don't think I'll ever be all that keen or motivated to exercise unless the whole nature of my life changes. I need more to do in life; more places to go and people to interact with. As things are now, being in much better shape than I am just seems pointless. There's no real need for more strength or endurance when you spend most of your days in one place. Perhaps, the training I'm going to have in November regarding diversity will lead to something more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

current happenings

Hello everyone. It's been around a week since my trip to Winnipeg. This weekend, I went to see Mark and Wendy on Sunday after a soup luncheon at church. It was damned nice to have a full day like that after a mainly empty drawn out week. The church is having a workshop on diversity which I'll be joining. I find learning about different cultures to be interesting and hope that my perspective might add to the work being done in that area. It'll certainly give me something interesting to do over a couple of weekends. Some time soon, I'll be discussing what blindness is like with the sunday school class they've got going. That kind of thing is something I've always found enjoyable. All I really need to do is find something which makes the weeks somewhat less empty and I'll be off to the races.

Mark and Wendy are doing pretty well. They made an excellent Morokan chicken dinner and the evening passed in the pleasant, thoughtful, conversational way in which time with good friends like them ought to pass. I introduced them to a nifty youtube video where some people forced some laptop batteries to explode to demonstrate the consequences should that happen. It's one of those things that I always would have been curious to hear the sound of but would never dream of instigating myself. Glad somebody else did it and recorded the somewhat dangerous results. The batteries they have these days are quite safe. They had to go to some trouble to cause the cells to vent explosively.

I was more tired than I would have expected to be after getting back from Winnipeg. It seemed so obtuse. We didn't exactly leap over tall buildings while we were there. Still, I'm back in writing trim again. On the way home from another scrumptious omelet at Symposium Cafe, I met a nice couple who just moved into the area. I think God has stepped in to at last fudge the odds in my favour in the socialisation department. I got turned around on the way back ending up near a school and pharmacy. Thankfully, the Trekkor Breeze was eventually able to get me back on track. Had that not happened, I would have missed them entirely. Colin and Ena seem like the kind of down-to-earth good people who I can get along quite well with. We've exchanged phone numbers and emails. It was good to chat with someone completely new for a while. Also, it was a damned nice day to get lost in. It's quite warm out there for this time of year. A much better way to spend time than contending with writer's block. It looks like dad will get in another game of Golf today. He passed me as he left and I returned home. Thank God the water is back on. It was cut off this morning while they fixed pipes. While I'm writing this, I've been enjoying a substantial glass of it. Work on Enchantment's Twilight is proceeding in dribs and drabs. I think I'll have to just get used to that kind of slow pace until a greater variation of events or a change in circumstances gives me more life experience to work with. A couple of ladies have contacted me on POF and but they seem to lose interest. I always leave them with questions so they have an easier time thinking of what to write back but I haven't received any answers in quite a while.

That's pretty much the sum of things here at the end of my thirty-fourth year on the planet. I fervently hope there's more social activity and opportunities to be of some help to people who are actually in this community. Things feel like I'm finally on track for some healthy change. I hope I'm correct in thinking that such change is actually on the way. Even if that isn't the case, I'm still thankful not to be in the dismal mental place in which I spent most of this past Summer. Even with the occasional reprieves provided by the church, friends and family, there was just way too much squandered dark lonely time there.

The rest of the week looks like it'll get more interesting. My birthday is on thursday. I don't have any special plans but will doubtless have some sort of celebration with my family. Alison's birthday is coming up also, and then there's Halloween. While I was visiting Mark and Wendy on the weekend, Ava and Amia went with their grandmother and aunt to a pumpkin patch. Both of them apparently had a good deal of fun. I would have thought that perhaps Amia was too young to grasp a lot of Halloween's fun but it seems she can handle it so far. They enjoyed the haywagon ride. I vaguely remember those. TV ought to have some interesting offerings over the next while. Halloween always brings out the better horror movies. G4TechTV has had some interesting stuff about various horror-related games and such. Nothing immediately useful for my own creation, but it certainly passes the time. I suppose I should also keep an ear on the Accessible Channel over the next while. They'll doubtless have the odd interesting thing fully described. I purchased an audio drama series from CDBaby last night which sounded promising for Halloween. That's been a bountiful harvest lately for me. The Ann manx series has proved excellent so far. I haven't listened to all of it yet. Overall, its depiction of a future universe is somewhat thin on details. However, it's supposed to be more of a comical romp and they did a splendid job with sound effects and voice acting. Not quite as good as The Adventures of Sexton Blake from:
but definitely up there overall.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

my trip to Winnipeg

My Trip to Winnipeg

October 15:

Doubtless, this will remain a high point in my writing for some time to come. I'm beginning this blog entry while on my way to Winnipeg aboard an Airbus 319. We're flying quite late at night. Due to the hour's time difference, I guess it'll be around midnight local time when we arrive. The ride is quite smooth but you certainly feel the speed during takeoff.

This ought to be quite an interesting visit. I haven't been to visit the extended family we have in Winnipeg for close to ten years. A whole lot of life has transpired for me during that time. I've married, divorced, nearly gotten married again, finished a major project and begun working on two others. Packing was a whole lot lighter and easier with this netbook and accessories. On my way back, I'll carry the speakers and lapdesk with me rather than in my luggage. I could have used that in the airport during the wait. There's plenty of room on the tray in the seat back in front of me for now. Using the netbook is quite comfortable in this situation.

The flight was very smooth. We've had a visit and I've settled downstairs where I'll sleep during our stay. I'm tired at the moment but wouldn't be surprised if I don't sleep long tonight, or rather, this morning.

October 18:

I meant to write in this blog a bit more frequently during this trip. We've been pretty busy. On friday, I saw my grandmother at her apartment. It's pretty much as I remembered it sonically. She makes excellent cookies and seems to keep a very tidy place. We had a pleasant afternoon and then went back to Uncle Neil and Aunt Cathy's for an excellent Chinese food dinner. Uncle Dennis also joined us. We played a word game afterwards called Apples to Apples which certainly passed the time and worked out quite well.

Yesterday, dad, Neil and I joined my grandmother at a casino. Gambling is a favorite activity of hers. I actually came out ahead by around four dollars having started with twenty. It's pretty unusual that I have anything to walk out with after even the brief trips we usually take when she visits us in Mississauga. I kept getting small wins just as I was running out for what I thought would be the last time. Visits to casinos will never be something I'd choose to do on my own but it makes a nice outing with my grandmother.

Later on, we went out to Jimmy G, a small band who performed music from the 50's and 60's. Music from that era isn't exactly my cup of tea. However, they were quite energetic and, so far as I'm any judge of these things, did quite a splendid job of it. The rest of the family all loved it. I enjoyed the Fort Gary Dark beer somewhat more than the music but it was still fun being out on the town.

Today has yet to begin in a proper sence. I've been up since around five thirty local time. Presently, I feel quite well rested. They have a comfortable bed which can fold into the wall down here. I can use my netbook in comfort sitting on a couch. It's good to be able to put these speakers to some extended use. The netbook and accessories have performed splendidly. I couldn't be more pleased with that. It's light and compact enough to take everywhere. So far, the only cause of occasional annoyance is IE8. I suppose it could also be my early version of Jaws which doesn't interact as well with it. Everything else is nicely up to date. I've played a good deal of Dragon Tavern between activities. Overall, I've done pretty well but Eldrex did bite the big one yesterday and I got stuck with another hefty debt of experience points which took some doing to pay off. I'm something like 117th in Canada now. Scary, isn't it?

Today, we're going to be visiting my uncle Dennis and aunt Pat. They live out in the country. I may at last get to find out what riding on an ATV is like. Uncle Dennis likes his vehicles. Last time we visited him, I rode on a motor cycle as well as in an old Corvette. Those cars certainly let you feel how fast you're going. I was surprised at how low to the ground it was. They also have a bunch of cats and other animals around. I'm thankful i brought along some alergy medication as it's impossible to resist petting animals. Later on, we're going over to se my cousin Barbi who I haven't seen in ages.

I'm back. Things are settling down again. It's been quite a fun day. Dennis let me drive his all-terrain vehicle while we were in a ploughed field. We had lots of good conversation with everyone. I was correct in thinking that I had previously met Bill, Barbi's very significant other. He's quite the nice fellow. Barb's going to have a baby early next year. Everyone was ghlad to see them in their new house. They live in a very quiet area. As we stood outside I couldn't hear any trafic at all.

I've at last gotten all caught up with emails. They can pile up pretty fast. My grandmother and the others are playing Scrabble. Other than the three brothers going off for a game of Golf, I don't know of any other plans for tomorrow. It's our last full day before we return on tuesday. The trip has certainly been fun.

October 20:

I'm writing this while we're waiting for our flight at the airport. Nice to have something to do this time. Yesterday was pretty quiet. However, I went out with mom and Aunt Cathy to a local restaurant called the Poney Coralle. They have very good hamburgers but they're a tad messy. Dad went golfing with his two brothers and Jeff, Neil's son. Afterwards, we had a nice dinner of leftovers with my grandmother. We'll be seeing her in a couple of weeks. She'll be here for my birthday this year.

I've had a really good time on this trip. Life seems to be going well for pretty much all of us at present. Jeff is well on his way to becoming a teacher. We spoke over Skype with Nancy and her special man in Saskatoon. It was good to get all caught up with family happenings. I'll be adding Aunt Cathy to my Skype and try to email them more often than i have previously.

We'll be back in Mississauga a little after noon so I'll be all caught up quite quickly. I'm already caught up with online stuff and I most likely don't have any voicemail messages. This little netbook has come in quite handy during times when everyone was busy or when they were doing something inaccessible to me. It's good to be able to whip this out, keep current, and amuse myself. Despite the netbook's excellent performancce, I'll be happy to return to mainly using my desktop. Afull-sised keyboard and Bose speakers are things missed while out and about. The lapdesk was superb at holding everything steady. I couldn't have been happier with my travel setup.

I'm all unpacked and settled back in my usual chair in front of my desktop computer. It's good to have everything squared away. I'm enjoying a nice cool clamato drink. My ears don't quite feel normal but that ought to finish correcting itself soon. The flight back was on an Airbus 320 which seems to have slightly narrower seets. The ride was a bit smoother during the takeoff and landing. However, we had a little turbulance to liven things up a tad. Well, ..., I enjoyed it and would have liked a little more. Doubtless, I'm the only deranged soul who thought that. It's just approaching two thirty as I polish off this blog entry. I don't have anything planned for the rest of the week. It's back to the normal daily duel with writer's block and staving off boredom. Good thing I'm currently cleaning both of their clocks these days. I'll go over to Symposium for a nifty brunch tomorrow or thursday. Other than that, I guess I'll just play things by ear so to speak.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Hello everyone. It's been somewhat windy and rainy out over the past while. My sleeping isn't back to normal just yet but it's better than it has been over the past while. I'm feeling quite happy and wide awake this morning. What's more, I've enjoyed life over the past number of days. The highlight was definitely Sunday. Our church had another games night which I was able to attend. This time, there were three of us playing Monopoly on my netbook. Joseph brought the normal board game which seems to have helped the sighted folks out. I found myself on the losing end of things this time. Well, second place to be precise. It was an absolute blast of an afternoon and early evening. More people took notice of us this time around. When you spend most of your time alone, that sort of thing definitely helps with one's sense of isolation. Another excellent investment I made was acquiring the new audio drama The Adventures of Sexton Blake. It's a six-part series from:
The guy who plays Arthur Dent in the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy starred as the hero and it worked wonderfully. This crew doesn't cut any corners at all when it comes to high-quality sound. I'll be keeping an ear on them.

Dragon Tavern is still going quite well. Eldrex is continuing his climb to digital and meaningless glory. I've abandonned Thorebar. He's just gone and died too many times and I got tired of building him up from scratch again. I've decided to invest in a subscription to Che Martin's card room at:

I very much enjoy playing Texas Holdem and it's a lot cheeper than All inPlay. At least it's a more social way of passing spare time when writer's block takes hold. It looks like I've finally rid myself of that ailment once again. Work continues at a slow but thankfully more steady pace on Enchantment's Twilight. Those rpg books are a gold mine of ideas and information. I've just started reading the one about ancient ships and life at sea. I haven't yet settled on a ship type for the kind wizard to leave his homeland in. However, I'm somewhat drawn to the idea of a cog. The openning act of the whole sauga is something I've never really had a fixed idea of and that may well be the next thing to try and work on over today and tomorrow. The group of people who accompany the kind wizard will provide me with some scope for interest as they must integrate with the island's population and a new way of life.

Time seems to be moving along at a far more rapid and endurable pace now that I've found my equalibrium again. This weekend is Thanks Giving and we'll be going to see my aunt Kay and other extended family. It's been quite a while. I always enjoy hearing what's happened with everyone. At the end of next week, we'll be heading off to Winnipeg. Meanwhile, I certainly have plenty to keep me occupied. G4Tech TV has changed somewhat from how it used to be. However, it still offers a lot of interesting stuff. So does the Accessible Channel. I'm very much enjoying that. History and Discovery are also up to their usual excellent standards. It's been quite a while since I last caught Mythbusters. I'll have to do something about that over the next while. Catching the new episodes is a bit harder when they repeat all of the older ones. However, I've missed a number of them so I figure I'm bound to hit a new one again soon. I just have to remember to actually think about TV when I run into a patch of boredom. It isn't really a natural thing for me. The Internet tends to be what I focus most on these days.

Well, I suppose I should think about getting more presentable seeing as I'm at last going to walk over to Symposium Cafe again for a brunch. It's been a couple of weeks but I feel quite confident that I remember the route. That's still a very new and wonderful experience for me. I don't feel that I have to constantly practice or face losing all the progress I've made learning how to get there and back. It's certainly taken long enough to get to this point. The Trekker Breeze is definitely worth its weight in gold despite its quirks. It'll be invalueable when I at last come up for affordable housing. Not a peep from those folks. No action on Plenty of Fish over the past while either. At this stage, my profile on POF is about as good as I can get it. I'll keep watch for any interesting threads on the forums to put my two cents in. Other than that, all I can do is wait and hope.

Friday, October 2, 2009

nearly out of the woods

Good morning, everyone. Despite not having much sleep at all, I'm actually feeling quite good. That coke I had after mom and I got back from dinner with family friends at Symposium was probably not the brightest move. It was, however, quite enjoyable at the time. I didn't think I'd get to Symposium this week. It just isn't very smart to try and cross streets which are busy or have crookedly cut curbs when you're not completely able to exercise your powers of concentration. Somehow, things finally seem to have sorted themselves out in my mind. Perhaps, the book I ended up reading, Hairstyles of the Damned, had something to do with it. It was a depiction of an American teenager's experience of essentially reaching adulthood. He tried absolutely everything in order to fit in but just never quite achieved any personal satisfaction. Frankly, I find it hard to imagine a high school experience anything like what was portrayed. All the drugs, sex, and other shenanigans should have wound the whole lot of these teens in jail. Instead, it was like all the adults just gave up the ghost and let them have at it. One aspect of the book which felt absolutely genuine to me was how the main character came of age at the most unexpected and unlikely time. He had essentially just paid for the right to have a sexual encounter but turned away from it in order to comfort an old friend who had already indicated that he had no chance of going any farther with her. All of a sudden, but quite naturally at the same time, he began thinking about the larger picture of life. The long-term consequences of actions became more important to him.

I guess adulthood kind of sneaks up on all of us. It isn't a state of mind we just suddenly reach. Rather, we come into it and then, there comes a point when we stop and finally realise just how much we've changed from who we were. This week has been quite a rough ride for me. However, I feel like I've gained a kind of emotional fortitude that I've been lacking for months. Perhaps, it was all the misery I contemplated through the books I read and the email list I'm on. Perhaps, I just had to smash hard against rock bottom in order to face my current circumstances with more equanimity. Over the past while, I've put myself as much as possible in the path of other people and have gained very little as a result other than frustration. What I've finally concluded is that my life just isn't likely going to change all of a sudden. There's no stone I've left unturned in the social life improvement department now. I don't regret any steps I've taken other than eHarmony. Neither of the two ladies who showed some interest in me have followed up for a while. I doubt I'll hear from either of them again. POF seems the most likely to put me in touch with a new lady friend over the long term. I'll certainly continue to frequent that site. Meanwhile, I'll keep enjoying life as much as I can and keep ready and open to opportunities to have some sort of positive impact. For now, like it or not, that's pretty much all I can do.

In the process of trying to expand my social circle, I seem to have lost touch with a couple of good friends. I haven't heard a peep from Ron or Steve in ages. Ron's email no longer works which makes me wonder whether I actually dialled his number wrong or whether he's just moved somewhere. Now that I've at last gotten my own shit together again, I'll have to see what's become of them. Steve was having sleeping troubles but seemed to like his job alright when last we talked. Haven't seen either of them on Skype for ages. In all likely hood, I'll be seeing Adam either today or tomorrow. He's stuck it out with me despite all this frustration and insomnia. I haven't always been the most exciting of company these days. I've got to work at varying my listening somewhat. It's time to start making the most of the life I have again. I still have some sleep to catch up on, but I think the worst is finally behind me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

quite a night

Good morning everyone. I've had a rather strange night to tell you all about. Yesterday was pretty much a write-off. I spent most of it finishing the book Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler. I enjoyed it and can remember the story, but not as much as if I had read it while fully alert. I tried to play Tom Ward's new beta for Mysteries of the Ancients but shouldn't have bothered. My dulled reflexes didn't give me the ghost of a chance even on the beginner level. After dinner, I felt extremely wide awake for a few hours and was worried I wouldn't get any sleep at all. However, my energy level dropped off sharply at around ten o'clock and I had decided to go to bed by a little after ten thirty.

From then until around quarter after three in the morning, I slept pretty soundly free of charge. After that point, things changed. Each additional small chunk of sleep was paid for by having a creepy little vignette. I'll write them down here in case they might be useful later. Nothing has ever worked out well when I've tried to write horror stories but you never know. I'm feeling surprisingly wide awake and rested this morning and I may as well put that to good use.

*quarter past three:
I dreamt I was lying in bed when my father knocked on my bedroom door. I knew this was impossible since he's on a golfing trip at present. However, there he was in the doorway asking me if I had any slow music I could put on. I woke up with a bit of a start and checked my watch. Deciding that I really needed more sleep, I stayed in bed and drifted off eventually.

*Ten past four:

In my dream, I heard a man be murdered in a pub. He had parked his car such that it effectively blocked another man's car in. This horrid parking job enraged the second guy who saw that he would have a heck of a time leaving as a result of the first man's bad parking job. Both men were drunk by this point and got into a fight. The blocked man finally pulled out a credit card and killed the other man by shoving the edge into the front of his throat. Next, he left the bar and tried to get away in his car. However, he couldn't get out of the parking space before the police came and arrested him. He was put in jail where he literally rotted away and died from some strange disease. I woke up and checked the time. Seeing that it was still damned early, I decided to see if I could get any more sleep hoping no more bad dreams would be forthcoming. They were though.

*Five thirty-five:

I dreamt that I checked my watch and it was past seven in the morning. Deciding I had better get up, I put on my bath robe, got my electric shaver and headed into the bathroom. Things started out normally enough as I began shaving. However, there was a sudden funny click from the shaver. After that, my skin and the flesh underneath began to peel off and flap away from where I shaved. I stopped immediately as any sane man would but the rest of my scalp and face continued to curl off. My bath robe became drenched in blood with solidified so that there was no way to remove the garment. The process wasn't painful in the least somehow. I remember wondering how I could cover the mess over so it wouldn't frighten my two little nieces the next time they saw their Uncle Mike. There are moments when I've come up with some pretty grotesque thoughts but I doubt I'll ever top that one in my waking life. I don't recall exactly how the scenario ended but when I woke up and checked the time for real, it was around five thirty-five. I felt very tired and didn't have the will to get up.

*Seven ten:

This last one was by far the worst. I found myself sitting in front of a desk and a computer which weren't my own. The keyboard felt different. I discovered next that I was chained naked into a wooden chair with a long lever on the right side. The chair was on a raised platform. I had a choice to either pull the lever and effectively kill myself or not pull it and let a series of catastrophes befall an innocent family of eight people. The computer was there to permit me an opportunity to write a last message to friends and family explaining my decision. However, if I took too long, the decision would be taken out of my hands. I would die and the family would have a series of horrific events unleashed upon them. Every one of their futures was clearly etched out to me with branching probabilities and conclusions. You couldn't have orchestrated so much damage if you had an army of a hundred people in on the conspiracy. However, I was somehow utterly convinced that either I found the courage to pull the lever or every member of the family would face disaster. I had made up my mind to pull the lever and was trying to figure out what to write in order to explain my choice and provide as much comfort to those I would leave behind. A clock was ticking ominously somewhere behind me. I could also hear some sort of machinery involving gears, blades and acid which I presumed would be what did me in. The dream ended with my hand on that lever wanting to write more but fearing I was in danger of taking too long. That one woke me up quite thoroughly and I decided to get up for the day before something worse occurred to my subconscious. It was past seven anyhow. I got up to shave and was never so happy to feel only two days worth of stubble come off.

I've eaten breakfast and the energy kick from that is now starting to desert me. Today's going to be a long one. However, I think I'll get through it alright. I merely feel tired rather than the gloom I felt yesterday and the day before. I'm far from feeling in tip top condition but I believe I'm back on the way there. Under better circumstances, I might have started in on a book of ghost stories I have waiting for my attention. However, given my nocturnal musings last night, I believe I might instead read The Science Behind Sherlock Holmes. That might be a trifle safer just now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

insomnia and writer's block strike again

Hello everyone. As the title of this entry indicates, it looks like I'm in for another scrap with insomnia unless I really get lucky sleep-wise over the next while. What really twigged me to this was yesterday in church. I started to notice that my voice sounded deeper, less cheerful and more listless than it usually does to my own ears. It only hit home towards the end of my time there. Suddenly, I thought back to how often I had gotten up either much later or earlier than usual over the past week. Particularly when there's no real routine in life, insomnia has an incidious way of sneaking up on you. So many days since this whole chapter in life after Janene left me have been the same. Too damned similar and too damned solitary. I've put so much effort into changing that over the Summer but have gotten absolutely nowhere other than coming away with a few more people to email or talk to at a distance. I even tried interjecting myself into a conversation in Symposium I overheard as I prepared to head home. Big mistake. Janene seemed to do it so effortlessly but I figure there must be visual cues I'm missing there. I felt intrusive and likely just made an ass of myself. I'll still absolutely enjoy meals I have there despite the lack of company. I'm also getting to know the staff a bit better. However, I think it's safe to say that Symposium is a good place to bring people who you've somehow met elsewhere to. The next time I luck out and a woman near enough takes an interest in me, I'll have somewhere to meet her at which isn't my parent's house. That, of course, presupposes that I'll actually be noticed by someone near enough to visit and interested in at least friendship. You just really feel the irony when you meet people on the way to and from there who have all sorts of time to help you but none to get to know you. To have so many interests, be as open and outgoing as I am, and still have nobody to really share that with in person is damned frustrating and painful in a fundamental way. If there were a group of people around my age I could join even once per week for socialisation or some shared interest, it would help a great deal. There doesn't seem to be anything like that though. Everyone else on the planet seems to be too busy, already taken, or too damned far away.

This round of insomnia is definitely going to make the next while drag painfully. However, after what I went through when Janene broke up with me, the real danger is that I might underestimate it and let it get the upper hand. Nothing seems anywhere near as bad in comparison. Of course, I could get extremely lucky, have a few nights of good sleep and avoid it entirely. I'd have an easier time hoping for that were there more substance in my life. when there's nobody special who might want to go out somewhere, no job other than the massive project I've set for myself, and no real reason even to shave other than the dread of how damned bothersome it'll be after a few days of not doing so, it's too easy to slip into bored oblivion. As much as possible, I know I have to keep my spirits up and try to be ready for any unexpected experiences, people, or opportunities which God might send my way. Until I've fully recovered from this, I won't touch a drop of alcohol. Having it become the master of me is just not on. As always, I'll face my rough patches with a sober head. I doubt that having my usual maximum of one drink in an ordinary day would actually do any real damage. However, it isn't something I'm willing to chance. Fortunately, I'm very well stocked with podcasts, a couple of books, and whatever digital cable TV might have to offer over the next while. As long as I don't sink to that utterly torturous point where I can't focus my mind on anything, I ought to be able to get through this. If I'm very lucky, I might come away with ideas which rid me of the writer's block which has once again gotten me in its clutches. One can only hope and pray. I'm hopeful that I might be able to write down a concise version of my story for a person on a listserve I belong to where everyone is on ODSP. A collection of a thousand such stories is being collected in order to be sent to parliament in hopes that they might make a difference. That list is a kind of perverse comfort as most people who are on it have far bigger issues to deal with than I do. A lot of them have gotten into deep financial trouble, have obvious mental illness, and have become estranged from their families. There's a whole lot of utter misery out there which I know I've fortunately managed to avoid. My circumstances certainly constrain me and prevent me from engaging more fully with life. It's extremely frustrating but at least I know that my basic needs are covered. Some of these people might actually go off the rails and truly flip out. In fact, reading some of the stories which have been posted, a number of them actually have done so. I hope that my somewhat less dire story does somebody some good.

Rather than saving the various new rpg books I purchased in anticipation of a long, dull and lonely winter, I fear I'll have to start in on them earlier once this bout with insomnia is behind me. There's some hope that Atlantice Found and Subterainian, the two fictional books which seem interesting enough to help me through the next few days, may offer enough ideas which I can adapt for Enchantment's Twilight so I won't have to dig into books like the GURPS basic manual and other such sources until winter time.

Not a lot has happened over the past while. Dad's off golfing for the week and hopefully enjoying his yearly trip. Mom certainly has plenty to keep her occupied babysitting the grandkids, visiting friends, and doing her painting. I can only hope I'm that lucky when I'm her age. At times like this, it's all to easy to imagine the next thirty years going by without anything getting better for me. Short of resourting to the utterly absurd or downright criminal, there just doesn't seem to be any way to change life. I'm really not cut out for either the absurd or the criminal. You'd think I'd have sufficient cause for that kind of anger or disenchantment with society at large. However, there's that small issue of empathy. I want to be remembered for the good things I've managed to do, for being a good friend, and hopefully, for being there when I'm needed. That's just how i was made. I just have to keep ready, keep knocking on doors and wait for things to finally change. I know they will eventually. Over the shorter term, there's more social occasions at church and our upcoming trip to Winnipeg. That'll make for a nice change of pace. Also, after I'm back from that trip, I'm going to check out Mississauga Community Living as well as the local police to see if there might be any way I could be of use to those organisations. My brother thought that it might be a good idea for me to get in touch with the police since they'd certainly have the vehicles to get me to wherever they might be able to make use of me. I hadn't thought of that idea before. It's certainly worth pursuing once we're back. Having such things in the future helps a lot. I know I won't sink too far down. It's still damned annoying to have days like this where I feel this lethargic.

I caught the first episode of Flash Forward last week. It's good enough to give the next couple episodes a try. Robert J. Sawyer seems very happy with how it turned out. While I'm certainly happy for him, it just didn't hook me in all that profoundly. The book was ever so much better. I spent most of a day and a part of another rereading the book. I also listened to Crazy Dog Audio Theatre's The Stuff of Myth. It's a kind of musical commedy which I found mildly amusing. I've picked up a few new audio dramas from ZBS Audio in order to help pass some time. That raises the whole problem of my fear of becoming too much of a consumer. I'm spending money on things in order to pass time that I'd much rather spend in the company of others. There's just nothing else to do though. It's either that or sit there bored out of my skull with nothing at all new to occupy me in solitude. Podcasts, games, online discussions, documentaries and the like are the square pegs I'm sticking into round holes. Helpful but never entirely satisfactory. I need some way to connect with the wider community around me rather than all these people I'm never going to meet. You have that sense of actually making a difference when you're in a relationship. You also find it if you're lucky enough to have a meaningful career. As a single man limited in his ability to get places, the only time I find that satisfaction is occasionally through friends or when I complete one of my projects and hear from the people who it has made a difference for. Enchantment's Twilight will certainly have a good impact when it's at last ready but its such a large undertaking that I need to find something else in the interim.

There's a hellish kind of gloom hanging over me. I know intelectually that things must eventually get better. Affordable housing will finally come through and I'll actually have a place of my own if nothing else. This dark tunnel will at last end or change radically in character. It just seems like such a damned long walk through a thick fog which cancels out one's efforts. I've literally done everything possible to change things and have gotten nowhere. It's truly in God's hands now. I'm as ready and able to serve as I can be.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Day With Good Friends

Hello everyone. Yesterday was, without a doubt, the best day I've had this Summer. Mark and Wendy arrived earlier than expected just as I had gotten my gear together and we headed out. The trip to Symposium went without a hitch. Frank, a friendly man I met on a prior walk there pointed out a way to make the route slightly safer. It's certainly an easy enough change to make. The digital recorder performed quite well although the wind made chunks of what people were saying impossible to make out. There'll definitely need to be some editing done but I believe I have the centrepiece I need for the documentary. Perhaps, in future, I should decrease the sensitivity setting of the microphone when recording indoors. Oh well. Live and learn as they say. What I have is certainly useable. Everyone enjoyed the food. We all had omelets. I was sorely tempted to have the bacon and egg breakfast but that deluxe omelet with its myriad ingredients including bacon ultimately won me over yet again. We all had Fresh Fruit Freezies which were absolutely splendid as I've always found them to be. Each of us also tried a mocha coffee completing a meal and experience which truly made all the effort I've put in over the Summer seem utterly vindicated. In a very quick move which was absolutely vintage Mark, he ended up paying for that delicious meal despite my plans to the contrary. It was all good though. I later treeted them to dinner at Turtle Jack's which they thoroughly enjoyed.

After I managed to successfully get us back home without difficulty, we headed off to their house. There, at last, I was able to get them to watch one of my favorite movies, Stranger Than Fiction. I had lent it to them some weeks ago but Mark and Wendy aren't the type to watch all that many movies on their own. This one, I had long thought, they would both enjoy if they gave it a look. I was absolutely right about that. Each of them noticed details which I hadn't previously been aware of. Mark noted that in one washroom scene, Harold was analysing the soap dispensers and how full they were. None of the people I've seen the film with have ever pointed that little detail out to me. Both of them got a lot of laughs out of it. As for the message at the heart of the film, these two actually live it anyway. Sharing a treasured experience like Stranger Than Fiction in person with a couple of very thoughtful friends was profoundly fulfilling in a way that my solitary lifestyle doesn't let me enjoy nearly often enough. There's so much that I find in my solitary pursuits which simply has nowhere to go but into my writing and this blog.

After some post-film discussion, we headed off to Turtle Jack's. I hadn't realised that they never went to that place before. That very much surprised me as it's precisely the kind of place which you'd have thought they would have long ago gotten around to eating at. The burgers and fries there are exceedingly good. So was the Score Brownie dessert we shared. Even after spending a whole day together, we still managed to find lots to talk about as we enjoyed our second feast. Everything from comparing internet services to how very cold it can get in Vermont during nights there in the mountains. We ended the evening with a stroll through downtown Burlington before they drove me back home. I don't often walk that much during a day but my legs felt good rather than overly strained.

It's just approaching eight o'clock as I finish writing this entry. I've been pecking at it since around six AM. Breakfast just doesn't seem very essential today. I believe I'll skip it entirely. I suppose I should get around to completing the process of rendering myself presentable now. It just seemed like the right thing to do to get this posting done first. Splendid days like yesterday haven't exactly been plentiful these past five months. I know I'll enjoy looking back on it when solitude, insomnia, writer's block, or all three of the above decide to have their way with me once again. From time to time, even an optimist like me needs to be reminded that things eventually do get better.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Anticipating a fun successful excursion

Hello everyone. The heat on my shoulder tells me that it's a sunny saturday morning. In a little while, I'll be heading off to Symposium with my very good friends Mark and Wendy for a kind of victory celebration brunch. I plan to make a recording of this and use it as the centrepiece to an audio documentary about this past summer's efforts learning how to get there on my own. This will make the first time that I've actually lead my friends somewhere rather than the other way around. Presuming I don't somehow screw this up, it'll be a damned good feeling. I imagine we'll be enjoying our brunch for an hour or two and then I guess we'll see what happens after. I certainly have no plans for the rest of the day. I'll have my hat, netbook and other equipment with me so I'll be about as ready for anything as humanly possible.

Yesterday, I heard some pretty nifty stuff. The Escape Pod episode was a story called
Mr. Penumbra's Twenty-Four-hour Book Store
by Robin Slone
If ever a writer starts to feel useless and unimportant, this story will hopefully give him or her something positive to ponder. It's certainly one I'll be hanging onto. Another more poignant piece was an all too real and tragic situation. There's a tropical island out there whose population is being completely resettled since the sea will soon completely cover it over due to climate change. I think it was called Carterer Island or something like that. It was the BBC Radio4 Choice episode right before the current one that's up there. Their whole way of life is just being literally swept away by water. It certainly puts life into perspective hearing stuff like that. As eager as I am for a place of my own, I'm glad people in such a circumstance get that sort of help first. I can't imagine how painful it would be to see a place you've lived in and helped to build all your life be ruined and abandonned due to something which is completely unstoppable. Should the players fail in Enchantment's Twilight, that will be what happens to their fictional characters. Thanks to what I heard yesterday, I'll try all the harder to make the players feel an actual sense of loss.

The new small TV I got a couple of days ago is working out quite well. It's nice to be able to take advantage of descriptive audio when it's actually offered on regular cable. I can get Voiceprint on TV now rather than through the Internet. The Accessible Channel, however, is digital and I can't access that in any way unless I want to pay for a digital box. Perhaps, there'll come a time when cabin feaver compells me to do that. However, at present, I don't feel I'd get enough of a benefit to justify signing up for an ongoing expense like that. A trip out to Symposium for a good meal in good company is worth so much more to me. That's where I'm heading quite soon now so i believe I'll sign off here. Have a good day everyone.