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.