Hello everyone. It's early saturday evening. Jarte decided to crash on me in a very rare instance of recalcitrance. I had been lax in saving my work so this is my second attempt at a blog entry today. Follow me down yet another stream of consciousness. It's been a pleasant day. I've spent so many similar saturdays utterly frustrated at how excluded I've been from life. All that anger and frustration seems to have disappeared as if God just figured he'd zap it all away. I know I've written a little about this before but I'm still completely stupified by the phenominon. Too bad the cellulite didn't vabourise along with it. I'm not euphoric or anything. There's still a longing for more inclusion, more time talking with friends rather than typing to distant ones, and to be in love again. However, there's a kind of positivity which sort of balances that off now. Even during days spent completely alone, a kind of quiet enjoyment or joviality prevails for the most part. Insomnia and writer's block are still annoying me but that no longer prevents me from enjoying other things while I wait for them to leave off. I just know somehow that it'll all work out in the end and that things will get etter/more interesting.
I'm certainly in for some interesting changes over the next while. I've been approved for ADP upgrades to my access technology and that process is now underway. After ongoing discussions with friends and other blind folks, I've set my sights on getting an iMAC which has Windows7 on it. That way, I can best take advantage of both operating systems and can hopefully better dig myself out of trouble if stuff goes wrong given the Mac OS's built-in accessibility. I also hope to get a short and portable braille display. Negociations have begun with my preferred vendor and we'll see what they can do for me. That'll open up a lot of new possibilities when it comes to presenting my writing, doing more podcasts, perhaps even voice acting. At the very least, I'll hopefully be in a better position to help people in both the PC and Mac community.
An even larger change starts this tuesday. It'll be my first afternoon volunteering at The Dam. I've been eagerly anticipating this welcome addition to my weeks for quite some time now. My father will drive me over for the first week. The weather has been very cold and snowy lately and walking there would be somewhat dangerous. I have a few people I can turn to for rides so the Winter should be manageable enough in terms of getting there. I'll walk there and back myself in the spring, summer and autumn. Unlike when I published my computer guide, I don't have the jitters. I've done all I can to prepare and must simply try to be the best man I can be for the young kids and for those I'll be volunteering with. That's really all there is to it. I'll learn more once I'm there.
That attitude very much puts me in mind of Stephen Murgaski. He's made it to that school for the blind in India after some initial frustrations. I had to let slip the hounds of Google to find his blog since he didn't really tell me he started the thing. Unfortunately, he doesn't yet have the wireless internet access he expected and must post updates when he can plug into an ethernet cable from time to time. Hope they get those technical rinkles ironed out soon. They've certainly set him a challenging task. I'm not at all certain I could pull it off but if anybody can, he'll find a way as long as he can get the information needed. You can read more on this without needing to make use of Google by going to:
I can't help wondering if anything we do as young blind people will really make a bit of difference in our lives other than to our character. It seems like nothing we acomplish is ever enough to really make a difference to prospective life partners or employers. Society puts us in a very strange box. Not many people my age have met as many famous people, been on television and radio, had articles written about them online. We are given unique access to resources like funding for expensive access technology to enhance our personal lives. And yet, it's like we're punching at a brick wall for all the effect this has on the 80 percent unemployment rate the blind community suffers. It's like we're damaged puzzle pieces that simply can't quite fit anywhere unless something extraordinary happens to make a spot for us among the rest. I don't feel damaged. There are plenty of able-bodied folk who strike me as having far more damage to their integrity, honesty and other things. Yet, it too often seems that they'll get even second and third chances at at least a moderately good living while I'm barred from even earning a basic one. All due to that one sense I lack and they have. Once in a while, like when there's a blackout, people will actually need our particular skills and we'll be sought out. Once every so often, we'll notice that we haven't heard a curious child who has snuck away from parents. We may be in the right place at the right time to notice some strange sound or the absence of a sound that nobody else present notices. These things might just save lives once in a while. More often, we're in the right place at the right time when someone needs a good listenner or we come out with some thought that people think is profound. I've never thought myself particularly extraordinarily wise. I've just had more time to actually think about things than most people. That's what happens when you get largely sidelined by so-called normal life. Every great once in a while, some experience will befall us which enriches us or gives us a rare opportunity to really make a positive difference somewhere. I stil hold out some hope that we'll somehow cross the threshhold where people start inviting us into life's more serious commitments of love and secure jobs. That we'll somehow stumble onto a hidden experiencial equivalent of a spring which catapults us into that realm. Whether Stephen succeeds in India or not, he'll come back a somewhat changed man. I think of incredible human capital in someone like Stephen. To just march off like that speaks such volumes about him. Will even that be enough to make a prospective imployer or special lady change their question from a worried "what if?" to an eager "What can?" Sadly, I doubt it. It's definitely going to be a formative experience for him either way. Such things come upon us so infrequently that the effects can act as a lense for our thinking and worldview for some time after. My relationship with Janene was one such. It has definitely cost me a degree of selflessness, trust, and optimism. I won't be nearly as willing to just go off and start life fresh with someone unless I'm very convinced that they're really in it for the long haul. That's a pretty substantial change in character for me. No doubt my time at The Dam will prove a more positive such formative experience. I'll meet a lot of people with very good intentions and a lot of precious young minds. It is very unlikely, given past experience, to change my future prospects much at all. Going in with such expectations would be foolish and could damage the good I hope to do. I'm far more interested in learning about how today's kids and teens think about things. Especially moral issues. I can take those observations and eventually use them in building Enchantment's Twilight. I'll feel fantastic if I actually manage to help one or more young people avoid some nasty pitfalls. Everything else is just icing on the cake. I've come to believe that the only real way forward is to do as much good as selflessly as one can and let the chips fall where they may. I've seen so much good in people like Ron go to waste. There are tremendous transformations in character like what Earle has gone through. I've spent so many empty hours raging at how there never seems to be a positive echo for us; how the only satisfaction we gain is internal. Now, inexplicably, it just doesn't matter that this particular lot falls to me. Rage has done me very little good and I guess a bit of me has finally simply realised that. Our measures of success must simply differ from so-called normal able-bodied people. I didn't set out to be special and would trade all the extra time in the world away for a more ordinary life. However, society seems to need us where we are, ready to fill in the atrocious gaps left in the hectic lives of everyone else. I guess I've finally made a real kind of peace with that which wil see me through until either the next extraordinary experience or more drastic permanent change comes along.
Inner peace is one thing. Why then am I so very cheerful? It's as if I knew I was going to win a lottery or something. I guess I've just know that I'm at last on the cusp of an ongoing stable opportunity to actually do some good for people. Good has its own reward which I've experienced numerous times now. At the moment, it's a kind of glimmer of good feeling that tells me I'm on the right path. At times, I've experienced waves of sublime clarity. Sometimes, I have that sense when some profound idea initially presents itself to me. Usually, it's when I've done something which I find out has unexpectedly helped someone. Personal Power has given me many such moments over the years. So has Audyssey. There were times when I worked on those things that I felt absolutely fulfilled and content. A euphoric sense of rightness would sweep over me as if God was saying so that my very guts could hear: "Well done Michael. You're in the right place at the right time doing precisely what you were meant to." My world just suddenly seems to make fundamental sense regardless of all the disapointments and imperfections. I haven't tried any recreational drugs and have no desire ever to do so. However, I'd be willing to bet that none would produce a sensation which even came close to that kind of tranquil sublime euphoric contentment.
I've begun reading a book called Outside The Wire. It's about the experiences of Canadians over in Afghanistan. Any secondary school kid who smurks at Rememberance Day ought to be forced to read the book at gunpoint. It really brings home what kind of courage it takes to try and contend with political greed, stupidy, lust for power, and corruption. Even more than the CBC audio drama Afganada, this book gives you a substantial idea of the human cost of what we're trying to do over there. Reading the emails and letres of those who have died is particularly heartbreaking. How can so much shere good be so misconstrued that some folks there would try to kill these excellent people? It takes one's breath away.
Well folks, I believe I ought to sign off here and head to bed. I have a somewhat busier day tomorrow than I've just had. I welcome that. I went to bed early friday night for lack of anything at all to do. I feel far better about today even if I did lose a good chunk of blog posting due to not saving often enough. Where does that sense of digital immortality come from anyhow? Now there's a profound question to dream about.