Hello everyone. It's ben quite a good week. Steve's visit went quite well. It was fantastic to have such a good friend there to enjoy this place with. He got to meet my pastor as well as Sandy. Neither of us really had discovered anything of interest to the other in terms of software, music, etc. However, Steve enjoyed listening to A Study in Scarlet as dramatised by the BBC. He also enjoyed an interesting audio drama from the BBC called Alpha about a kind of assassin/priest who worked for the vaticon in the near future. He and I enjoy the kind of deep soul-searching questions raised by that excellent drama as well as by our lengthy and at times late conversations. One piece of software which interested him was Microsoft Security Essentials which I helped him obtain and install. It's a lot less troublesome than AVG has become when it comes to working with screen-readers.
Sandy also got to have his first experience with chatting on the Internet. That was a hoot. One flurtatious wild southerner mistook him for a lady. Sandy does have a high-pitched voice and has an unfortunately gender-nutral name to go with it. Put it through any kind of transmittion process and it's easy to make that mistake. Even still, it'll be a while before the jentleman lives that blunder down given his long-standing delight in sturring the pot where women are concerned. Hearing him get a kind of divinely engineered just desert was priceless.
Steve was divinely aided when he left for Toronto also. Pastor Sam had offered to drive Steve to the Go station when he came to visit us. Steve was originally just going to call a cab. However, I thought I'd check to see if Sam was actually available. It was a good thing he was. The ticket booth was closed and Sam was able to help Steve buy a ticket from one of those automatic machines in time to catch his train. HI found it interesting hearing those two have a good conversation; A new friend and one of my longest surviving friendships. They come at the world in such different ways. Steve's going to get images of windmills on his eye patches. That certainly sounds like it would look neat. Hope it turns out to suit him visually. Talk about meddling with what you don't understand.
Hopefully, when Steve next decides to stay a couple of days here, I'll be confident enough to take him around the lake or to Symposium Cafe. I'm gaining more confidence in doing that. Earlier this week, I went out on my own for the first time and managed to have a good walk from which I returned safely thanks to the Trekker Breeze. Dad and I just discovered that the route I recorded going to Symposium didn't record correctly so it'll have to be re-recorded next time we go there for lunch. I'm glad it was that specific instance of a route and not the software in general that was misbehaving. I'm still waiting for that update for the Breeze.
Friday was a big day. John Morgan came over and brought a terrific computer desk for Sandy. I basically spent the whole day in Sandy's appartment. John ended up assembling the desk all by himself despite many offers of assistance. I expected to be turning screws, holding boards in place, etc. That's how things usually happen with my father. I figured that with his experience with so many blind people, he would expect one or both of us to lend a hand and be able to explain what he needed done. Sandy and I ended up talking for most of that time which seemed to interest John while he worked. After the desk was all together, John had to leave. That was when my work began. I set up Sandy's computer in its new permanent home. Those speakers caused me some unexpected grief and I certainly gave myself a workout crawling and contorting under the desk connecting cables. Once things are permanently in place, they ought to be splendid though. The control puck makes adjusting the volume and base nice and easy. AFter things were set up, Sandy made dinner and we enjoyed some of the evening. I was quite tired and slept like a log last night. Haven't felt as productive and satisfied with what I got done in a day for quite some time. It's just one step at the start of a very long road. However, it's a pretty important step. Sandy has quite a bit to learn and I'm just beginning to discover how he likes to be taught.
Yesterday started with me going down to investigate a buzzing noise Sandy heard coming from his speakers. It turned out that he had jiggled the speaker cables and screwed up the contacts. Those jacks are pretty sensitive to that. Otherwise, he's got some superb speakers there. He's planning one more rearrangement which I anticipate might move those cables. After that, things ought to remain stationary and I'll likely never have to crawl under the desk and fiddle with those cables again. The only two pieces of hardware that I feel uncertain of my ability to help him set up are the monitor and printer. I've connected the monitor but have no way of knowing whether I got that right until somebody sighted takes a look at it. The printer is one of those combination jobs and I have no experience with them at all. I'd rather have someone who can see present when that gets set up. I still have reservations about how useful that contraption will end up being for him. It isn't immediately obvious where you'd put things like mail which needs to be scanned. Kurzweil1000 ought to be able to control pretty much any scanner but you have to be able to physically put stuff in and line it up.
Yesterday, I ended up finishing a very good psychological thriller called Equation For Evil. It was set in California. The subjects explored included why people commit acts of hate, racial identity, and the nature of society. The lead characters, a special agent and a psychologist, were both very well written. I felt bad when one of them didn't survive. The book leaves you hanging in the sense that you want to know how numerous characters get on with life after the story ends. I don't often turn to mysteries but that one passed a good bit of time very pleasantly.
I was going to try for a second walk around the lake yesterday afternoon. It was a nice day out there. Unfortunately, the Trekker Breeze didn't lock onto me even after ten minutes wandering out there. I didn't find the path around the lake but took a brief walk around a fenced area where there are benches and I suspect a pool in the centre of the area. I didn't want to lose my orientation so I headed back before that might have hapened. I spent a little time out on the balcony with my netbook. However, there's just no percentage, other than fresh air, of being out there by myself for any great length of time. That'll change once I get a balcony table set up out there. I'll then be able to set up my USB speakers and work far more comfortably. I can also position my Blue Snowflake microphone for some nice Summer time internet chats. Hopefully, I'll spend a good portion of this Summer with people who I come to know in person around here. I'd like to think that things are finally moving in that direction. However, just like yesterday turned out, I have to face the fact that people just won't always be around when I'm eagter to enjoy the outdoors or feel like companionship. To one extent, I'll always be forced to live more of an introvert's life than I'd like to. It just isn't easy finding people who are interested in sharing the kind of stimulating conversation, programs like DNTO on CBC Radio or From Our Own Corespondants on the BBC. I may never find a group of people my age who I can truly share life experience with in person rather than online despite all my efforts in that direction. I'm far from giving up hope but a little voice in my head is saying: "Be ready for that possibility." The only real way to do that is to make certain there are enough islands of companionship to break up the solitude. Easier said than done, but at least I have an actual shot at pulling that off here over the next five years or so.
Today is one such island. It's a soup lunch day at church. Another chance to get to know some good people a little better. Something which differenciates the weekend from the rest of the week. People who work all week must have no way to imagine how time can stretch out when there are no clear borders to break it up.
Soup lunch was great. I met some new people and touched base with some long-standing acquaintances. Sandra was one of them. Haven't run into her since a gathering at her place a number of weeks ago. She was unfortunately sick recently. However, because of that, she at last found time to enjoy Stranger Than Fiction. I had lent it to her a while ago thinking that it might appeal to her. I'm glad it was there when she wanted something to take her mind off being sick. It was there for me when I needed to distract myself from the failure of my marriage. I also got to see Julius, Angel, Shane, Sue, Carl, Rose, and a few other people. Coming back from this excellent outing, I called on Sandy and was in time to meet a couple of his good friends from Toronto. They come across as the kind of friends anyone would be fortunate to have and it's obvious how much they care for Sadny. It's no wonder he misses Toronto. He's fairly far from them here in Mississauga and a lot of them don't have cars. It was a pleasure meeting them. Apparently, more of Sandy's friends have recently contacted him again and may eventually make their presence more felt in his life. I can only hope so. It was certainly interesting meeting Tom and Liz.
It's after nine o'clock on sunday evening now. I've come back from the second-last of a series of evening programs our church had which concern how to make people who think and believe differently than us feel safe and welcome in church. The focus was on people who were gay and lesbian but a lot of things could well apply to any marginalised group. I hope that if and when an opportunity presents itself for me to make a positive difference for someone, I'm ready to put some of what I've learned into practice. As open-minded as I believe myself to be, there are doubtless people who would present challenges. I have very little natural patience for overly negative people. While I try to be patient with people for whoom verbal communication is difficult, I can doubtless use some exercise in that particular area also.
Tomorrow, I'll be heading down to do some work with Sandy on his keyboarding. I believe a worker from the CNIB is coming also and it might then be possible to take a crack at setting up that printer. At the very least, I'll find out whether the monitor is actually working. I'm almost positive it is, but there's that nagging little doubt. I should have thought of asking while Sandy's two sighted friends were present. oops. Hopefully, it won't take too long to get to a point where Sandy feels confident enough to start trying things on his own. It's looking more like he'll have to find some way of affording his own internet access. That's too expensive for me to take on. I've found a way for him to be able to listen to CNN over the Internet. However, he'll miss out on a lot of sports he likes. I don't know where he could find those online but haven't investigated that area much yet. I'm not interested in sports myself and am not the best person to do that. However, it would certainly make the prospect of giving up cable TV more bearable for Sandy. Sadly, it's going to come down to a hard choice like that for him. I believe the Internet will do him a tremendous lot of good. However, music and TV are pretty much all he's had to count on for quite some time now.
For supper tomorrow, I really ought to bite the bullet and grille the tilapia I've got in the fridge. I removed it from the freezer thinking I'd need more than I ended up using when Steve was visiting. There are four fillets. I thought I'd have had more guests over the past little while. The tilapia is very enjoyable. If one has to eat something a few times in a row, there are a great many worse things to be stuck eating. The fillets grilled quite nicely for Steve and I. There's no reason to think they won't come out delicious another time. Which spices to try out on the fish is something to consider. Garlic worked well and I would think oregano might. Not so certain about other spices like sage or rosemary. Sounds like a job for Google. Well, it's getting a tad late. I believe I'll post this and turn in for the night.