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.


Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for some time, Michael. Don't give up hope yet, God will answer your prayers... Remember when our prayers aren't being heard, maybe it isn't the good timing or maybe it's not good for us... Just be patient.

Heather said...

B12 will probably help with your sleep and your mood in general. It's good stuff!

Say hi to Adam for me. I'm home with the flu.